Thursday, December 22, 2005

I Have a Dream #2: Hanna-Barbera Edition

As disconcerting as it is to awaken with a compulsion to recall the seating chart of my freshman English class (see below), at least that need is rooted in actual experience. By a conservative estimate, I spent at least 150 hours in that classroom. (For anyone interested in interviewing me for a management consultant position, I’ll be glad to talk you through how I arrived at that number, since it’s the process and not the answer that interests you.) That’s a significant amount of time, and even though it occurred twenty years ago, I can rationalize why some of it might still occupy my neurons.

Not the case, a few mornings ago, when I awoke with the phrase “Goober and the Ghost-Chasers” running through my head over and over. That lasted through my morning jog, my drive to work and about half my workday. Goober and the Ghost-Chasers, Goober and the Ghost-Chasers, Goober and the Ghost-Chasers. Unpleasant, right? Especially since I had only a vague idea about what Goober and the Ghost-Chasers was until I did a little research.

What I did know was that Goober and the Ghost-Chasers was a Scooby Doo knockoff. I was never a Scooby fan as a kid, but I have certainly seen many episodes. Presumably, I’ve seen at least one episode of Goober and the Ghost-Chasers, though I have no conscious memory of it. According to
IMdB, not only was GatGC a Scooby knockoff, it was a knockoff created by Hanna-Barbera, the same creators of Scooby. No word on whether or not they sued themselves for copy write infringement. Whereas Scooby was a cowardly Great Dane who ran from danger, Goober was a cowardly greyhound that turned invisible in the face of danger. Also, Goober was green. Clever. Both hung out with investigative teens including, in the case of Goober, some of the Partridge family.

Paul Winchell performed the voice of Goober. Winchell’s IMdB page reveals an extensive cartoon voice career. Most notably, he was the voice of Gargamel in The Smurfs and of Tigger in numerous Winnie the Pooh TV specials and movies. Winchell died in June of this year, and this, I do vaguely remember, because the long time voice of Piglet from Winnie the Pooh, John Fiedler, died one day later. I’m certain, however, that no news articles chronicling this bizarre, macabre coincidence contained any tidbit like, …and of course, Winchell was the voice behind the much beloved, Goober, of Ghost-chaser fame.

mini biography page on IMdB is surreal. He attended Columbia University, then studied and practiced acupuncture and hypnosis. In the 1950s, he became “the most beloved ventriloquist of the children of the USA.” (Many conservatives in this country revere the 1950s as a simpler, better time. Americans should ask themselves if they really want to return to a time when any ventriloquist was beloved.) His puppet sidekicks, Jerry Mahoney and Knucklehead Smiff, are now in the Smithsonian Institution. He published the book "Ventriloquism for Fun and Profit" in 1954. Don’t bother reading it, I’ve tried, without success, to have fun or make money with ventriloquism.

But wait, there’s more. Winchell was an amateur medical inventor who patented an artificial human heart! Holy shit! In addition, he held patents on over 30 devices including: a flameless cigarette lighter, an invisible garter belt, a method of breeding Tilapia fish so that poorer countries could feed their citizens, an indicator to show when frozen food had gone bad after a power outage, an automobile that runs on battery power, and the disposable razor which he neglected to patent. Like Wikipedia, IMdB is user edited, so I can’t help wondering if Mr. Winchell was a crazy liar that managed to slip in a fantastical biography for himself.

Whether he was or not, I’m still no closer to uncovering the reason for my fixation on Goober and the erstwhile chasers of ghosts.

Monday, December 19, 2005

I Have a Dream #1: I ♥ Diacritic Marks

Freudians take note. This may be a recurring posting topic. I don’t remember most of my dreams, but the ones I do are usually entertainingly bizarre. I’m not even certain I can call the ones I remember dreams, as usually, I’m partially awake and aware that I’m having them. Perhaps I should refer to them as notions that I can’t get out of my head during my first waking hour of the day.

A few weeks ago, I woke with the notion/compulsion of trying to remember the exact seating chart for Mrs. Hazard’s 9th grade English class, Louisville Male High School, 1984-1985, 6th (final) period. The class was arranged alphabetically, in six rows of five desks each. I sat in the last desk of the penultimate row. Since there were only 29 freshmen in the class, the desk to my immediate right was empty. Kären Wäntland sat in the final seat of that row. Her father was the Drug Czar of the Jefferson County school system. From there it gets hazy. Danny Präther sat directly in front of me? He was a good friend throughout high school so I should remember clearly. I do remember that he wrote a Snigglet (!) on the chalkboard everyday before class started. And yet I can’t help thinking that going from Präther to Shroät is too big a jump. So maybe, just maybe, he sat two seats ahead of me. I spent most of my morning jog trying to conjure a student with an R or S last name that might have separated us. But that’s not nearly as perplexing as trying to remember who sat to my immediate left. I can easily picture the front, left-hand portion of the room; Gilliän Ausländer, Chip Currëns, and Fred Bürczyk, among others. The rear, left side of the room? Complete memory blind spot, and it’s driving me fucking insane. I can’t remember a single M name from my English class? Days later, it’s still maddening. And I refuse to pull the yearbook off the shelf to supplement my memory.

So those of you who have wondered why I don’t do more with my life, here’s your answer. My brain has a fast processor, lots a RAM and a large hard drive. Unfortunately, the search engine is for shit. There’s no rhyme of reason for what pops to the top of the results page. You have no idea how much energy I spend on a daily basis trying to sort this shit out.

*Mrs. Hazard’s class was the only one in high school in which I received a B as my final grade. That was the difference between being one of the valedictorians (we had four, I would have been number five) and sitting in the audience at graduation. Still, I would been salutatorian, if not for the sly machinations of Därryl Fucking York. While I was taking college credit courses during the summer prior to senior year, he took an extra high school class (pussy) and of course received an A. And so, even though Därryl had also received one B during high school, just like me (and Dënise Dëvine and Elainë Härris), he now had one extra A to factor into his GPA, giving him the slight edge he needed. Thus, Elainë, Dënise and I had to listen to his nasally, lame ass speech in Broadbent Arena. Okay, now I remember where Dënise and Elainë sat in Mrs. Hazard’s class. But the row right next to mine…fuck?

**Ironically, though my only high school B came in an English class, I won the best writer award for my graduating class. Weird that I haven’t thought about that in many years. Sentence diagramming was my undoing with Mrs. Hazard.

***I didn’t go to high school in Germany. I’ve taken the liberty of umlauting the shit out of the proper names so as to avoid having self-Googlers stumble across this post. I don’t want to get emails or comments saying, “Why are you writing about me? What the fuck is the matter with you?”…from them.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Conversational Pungi Sticks

Itsbeginningtolookalotlikechristmas (see prior post) practices the art of ambush conversation. As a receptionist, she’s stationed next to the hallway to the men’s room and directly next to the only water fountain at the dealership. Thus, walking past her 3-5 times a day is unavoidable. Her tactic is to start talking, whether eye contact has been made or not, as if we are picking up where we left off in a previous conversation. The fact that I always respond with either:
A. a forced laugh
B. a smile and nod
C. a smile and raised eyebrows, meant to convey interest

D. “Oh, really?”
E. some combination of A, B, C and D

doesn’t phase her in the least.

Here’s the one-sided “conversation” we had early Wednesday morning:

Me: (refilling water bottle, avoiding eye contact)

“That was weird.”

(no response) (I guess this would be choice F. - pretending that I don’t realize that she’s
addressing me.)

“I just had a call from Michigan.”

(thinking: Fuck, she’s continuing to address me.)
Me: choice C. - a smile and raised eyebrows, meant to convey interest

“That was weird.”

(thinking: That’s weird? You’re the phone operator. This is a car dealership. We sell cars made by a company headquartered in Michigan.)
Me: choice D. - “Oh, really?”

Itsbeginningtolookalotlikechristmas: “She wanted to know what to get my mother for Christmas.”

Me: (
thinking: Huh? Great, a teaser to try to get me to engage. I’m not taking the bait. I don’t care.)
Me: (finish filling water bottle, screwing on cap, no response, I figure my last “Oh, really?” is still in force)

(as usual, completely unfazed by the lack of response) “Yeah, we met her on our trip to Hawaii in 1994. It’s a mother and son we met. That was the mother. She wanted to know what to get my mother for Christmas. I wasn’t expecting that call…”

(drifting out of earshot, looking slightly back to convey at least one ounce of attention)
Me: choice E. – “Oh.” slight smile, eyebrows still raised

So now I have more insight into Itsbeginningtolookalotlikechristmas. Just what I wanted. In addition to postcards from such exotic locales as Ft. Lauderdale, Phoenix and Pittsburgh, IBLLC’s desk is festooned with photos (her and her mother), trinkets and tschotskes from the Hawaii trip, now 11+ years in the past. Obviously, that trip was the pinnacle of her adult life. I’m guessing she and her mother live together in a house full of
Precious Moments figurines. Our little “exchange” has put me in the position of feeling sorry for her (slightly). That quickly becomes annoyance, for being put in that position.

One additional creepy tidbit about Itsbeginningtolookalotlikechristmas:
IBLLC, and in fact, all the older, back-office fatty, fat fattersons, love “Little Heather”. Little Heather, a 4’11” coworker of mine in the finance department, is not to be confused with Big Heather (a.k.a. Bitchy Heather, a.k.a. Heather). Big Heather is a personal assistant to the GM and the owners, which apparently involves occasionally driving their demo vehicles to pick up their laundry and stationary.
Big Heather side note:
BH just had a baby out of wedlock. While she was pregnant last summer, I overheard one of our salesmen say, “She’s just hopin’ that the baby comes out the right color.”

Little Heather is the whiniest, most passive-aggressive non-thirteen year old I’ve ever met. Everything in her life, work related or not, is a Sisyphean ordeal for her. She sighs so often, it’s a wonder she doesn’t hyperventilate. She was recently demoted (though she probably doesn’t realize it) to a less stressful, less demanding job, yet her sighing and whining have continued at their previous levels.

But though Little Heather is almost always unfriendly and unhappy, Itsbeginningtolookalotlikechristmas clearly has a Lennie-Small-and-the-rabbits-type crush on her. Whenever one of the receptionists has to use the restroom, they generally call us to let us know that they will be forwarding the calls back to us, temporarily. However, when LH is in the office, then Itsbeingtolookalotlikechristmas will call and ask, “Is Little Heather back there? Can she come up here and cover for me?”

I think that IBLLC fantasizes about braiding Little Heather’s hair and dressing her in doll’s clothes and squeezing her and never, ever, ever letting her go.

25 Days until Christmas

I ♥ Food Day

Our back-office, fatty, fat, fattersons had a Food Day on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. I was not invited to participate. Though I am unfailingly polite to everyone in the office, I am not personal or friendly with the non-sales staff. Also, rumor has it that I am "educated" and thus, arrogant. At least that is how I perceive the back-office workers' perception of me. It's a whole Gordian knot of misperception.

Regardless, I'm not eager to share in an impromptu buffet with our accounts receivable, accounts payable or human resources staff. Their portion of the office is a crowded warren of file cabinets, decaying cubicles (one decorated with a collage of Dale Earnhardt Jr. photos, some of him, some of his car) and boxes of supplies. They have no natural light whatsoever and the ceiling can't be more than seven feet tall. It smells like a combination of old lady perfume, car exhaust and gasoline (they share a wall with the service garage), Windex and feet. Occasionally, a hint of diarrhea makes its way into the mix.

At no time is there a clean, clear surface area on any desk or table in the back-office. The buffet has been placed on the "ice tea table". The ice tea table is wedged between a stack of boxes and a supply cabinet. At any given time, the ice tea table has one and half
pitchers of ice tea, sans lids, sitting on it. I've never seen anyone drink the tea. Occasionally, I notice ice in the tea and the levels change minutely, so I know it’s not the same tea left unattended. However, whether I'm at the office after 9 pm or before 8 am, I can guarantee that tea is available, often, with a thin film/skin floating on the surface. Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the eternal pitchers of tea is that this building has no kitchenette of any sort. That means that any rinsing or washing of the tea pitchers (if performed) must occur in the restrooms. Refer here to the restroom habits of my coworkers.

The Food Day spread was impressive, by Food Day standards. It looked like a full Thanksgiving meal. Turkey, potatoes, dressing, cranberry sauce (the jelly kind), gravy, rolls…all present, though I’m not sure why my coworkers felt compelled to eat this meal in office the day before eating it again with their families.

But where were the traditional items, not of Thanksgiving, but of office Food Day? No cocktail wienies in homemade “barbecue” sauce (homemade by combining grape jelly and yellow mustard). No tiny meatballs with toothpicks in the same sauce. No spinach dip that goes rancid in the first 15 minutes. No queso (a.k.a. – queso sauce at my company in Atlanta) made from Velveeta and the mildest Pace salsa (“ooooh, too spicy” – Atlanta again).

Some Food Day traditions were observed however, probably by the emasculated, utterly defeated sad-sack handful of “men” that work in the back. Clearly, they were the ones that ensured that the buffet table had more three-liter bottles of soda than participants. One of them probably brought the grocery store deli meat and cheese tray or the grocery store cupcakes.

Man, I hope they ask me, next time.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Holidays Natch

Everyday since Halloween, one of the dingbat receptionists writes, with a black Sir Marks-A-Lot on a note card, the number of days until Christmas and tacks it to her Norman Rockwell calendar (her Adorable Kittens calendar must be at home).

47 days until Christmas

Kill me.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Turd Polishing

My apartment quadplex is being "remodelled".

Someone failed to get the proper permit. This was supposed to be done by ACL Fest (2005). New ETA, SxSW 2006? Hopefully, I won't be around to know.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Hometown Quote

My Morning Jacket is the first Louisville band to receive national attention that I can remember. I’m not that familiar with them, though I suspect they would list Uncle Tupelo, The Jayhawks and other alt-country acts found in my music collection among their antecedents.

I really like this quote from their website, describing Louisville:

My Morning Jacket hail from the city of Louisville, Kentucky, an odd metro-suburban mix of stark industry and fine thoroughbreds and rock and roll fevers. "It's a place with no labels. It's not the South, it's not Chicago, and you don't think of it as you think of New York or LA. It has some Southern romanticism to it, but also a Northern progressivism, this weird urban island in the middle of the state of Kentucky that has always provided a fertile, often dark, bed. For us, Louisville and the surrounding areas are the center of massive creativity and massive weirdness. The place has its flaws: You move away, but you're always going to come back."

Friday, October 07, 2005

God Fires from the Hip



Why must I have a blog to call my own?

  • This is a better format for periodic film and book recommendations than email.

  • To publish commentary that is too angry or offensive for ITPT.

  • To relate the occasional anecdote about accidental contact with other people's dung.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Vile and Puerile

October 3, 2005

I had to be at work at 7:30 this morning, which always throws off my regular, morning constitutional. As a result, I had to "put in some time at the office" (euphemism for excreting feces from my bowels, via my anus) about an hour after I arrived at work.

As I was finishing my business (and an ugly, painful business it was, paying the piper for Trudy's) and starting to wipe, I noticed a smudge on my left thumb. Grease? Closer inspection revealed it to be greenish-black shit. How did it get there? Wiping mishap? I don't mean to brag, but I've been playing the shit game for quite awhile now (All-District as a junior and senior in high school). I've got a pretty effective wiping technique mastered (I don't be ticklin' or nothin'). In fact, my left hand doesn't even enter the fray, instead being utilized to keep my flappy-happy-pappy out of harms way.

I only wondered for a split second before I used toilet paper to scrape the shit and most of the skin from the base of my thumb. More alarming was the fact that the feces was not my own. A quick glance between my legs into the bowl confirmed this, as I'd had nothing green in my diet for a few days.

Often in the men's room at the dealership, in addition to the two rolls of toilet paper that are loaded in the dispenser, a supplementary roll of toilet paper is left on top of the dispenser. I always find it easier and faster to use that roll, when available. To do so, I stick my left thumb in the tube and pull off paper with my right hand. Today's supplementary roll of t.p., for some reason, had greenish-black shit caked on the inside of the tube. Someone else's greenish-black shit, into which, I had unsuspectingly inserted my thumb. Wondering why and how, is a mental exercise that is too maddening and infuriating for me to engage.

I finished my business with all possible haste and scrubbed my hands for ten minutes, followed by a close inspection of my entire person for signs of additional soilage. I'm thinking about chopping off that thumb when I get home. Thumbs are overrated.

I can now say that my job is both a figurative and literal "shit job". This also marks the second incident in which I've unwittingly handled someone else's poo. I'm not sure what is more baffling, shit inside a toilet paper tube, or shit inside a wallet left on a sidewalk in front of Plucker's. I didn't look inside the toilet paper roll for money.


October 4, 2005

Today was another 7:30 day, so I had to return to the crime scene. I was very careful to use my feet to open the stall door and lift the toilet lid. All appeared spic and span (courtesy of our janitorial service firm, Spics and Spanbaugher). Two ancillary rolls of toilet paper sat innocently on top of the dispenser. Very careful inspection revealed one of them to be yesterday's offending, shit-smeared roll. I had disposed of it yesterday in the garbage can that is in the stall. (Having a garbage can in the stall is disturbing, in and of itself. I've seen shit-caked toilet paper wads resting in the can several times. But like a busy, jaded, big city pedestrian witnessing a street crime, I decided not to get involved.) Apparently, the withered, Mexican crone that cleans the restrooms noticed the discarded roll and fished it out, hopefully not noticing the poo smeared tube. So, after finishing my business today, I dunked the tainted roll in the toilet (carefully), before disposing of it again. I'm off tomorrow, so, one way or another, I hope I'm at the end this affair.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Damaged Goods

Hey ladies, this is sure to moisten your dainties. Russell Yates is officially back on the market. Mr. Yates has finalized his divorce from former wife Andrea, who drowned their five children in a bathtub in June of 2001. You may remember that incident’s brief stint as the “worst thing to ever happen”, holding the title for a scant three months after taking it over from the Columbine massacre.

Russell said of his wife: "We still care about each other ... (but) I couldn't live that way." Yes, when one partner in a marriage goes crazy and murders all of the children, it can make for some awkward conversation. Also, living in a state hospital/prison is awfully tough on the non-murderer in the relationship.

Yates currently works for NASA, developing sensors to detect damage on the space shuttle. Great, a guy whose former wife kills kids in bunches of five works for an agency the kills astronauts in groups of seven. Attention to detail? Yep, he’s your man.

Yates is positive and forward thinking:

"I have the freedom now. I'd like to do that (remarry) someday and possibly have a family again. I've never put a lot of blame on myself.”

Good for you Rusty. You’ll meet that special someone.

Good Christian Man Seeks Fertile, Non-Drowner for Dinner, Fun, Reproduction

I enjoy travel, the bible, and occasionally living in buses. I’ll bear the burden of the workplace, but my work is stressful, so you must do all the shampoo shopping. No fatties.

He Did It for the Children (Oh yeah, and for his hatred of homos)


Theocracy in Peril!