Sunday, November 30, 2008

I Rot the Songs

In a group I belong to, 3 of us out of 10 friends have the same birthday in December. My older friend Bill (Everything You Know About English is Farkakteh) celebrates the day after I do. I have several other friends born around the same time (late November through mid-December), meaning all are Sagittarians. I am more into words than astrology, so what interested me most about this calendaric coincidence is that it would make a good country song: “All My Friends Are Sagittarians”, kind of like “All My Exes Live in Texas”. Now, the majority of people I know are not Sagittarians, but “Some of my friends, but not all and none of my close family, are Sagittarians” doesn’t work so well as a song. Also, I know that ‘friends” does not rhyme with “Sagittarians”, but “exes” doesn’t exactly rhyme with “Texas” either (though it works better than Steve Miller’s “rhyme” of “Texas”, “facts is” and “justice”), but I pronounce the words as “frenz” and “Sagittarienz”, giving the song a hip-hop flava. What I want to write is a country, hip-hop, pop, folk fusion song. I am struggling with it because I can write a parody song given some one else’s tune, but coming up with a completely original song is tough, which is why I’m a number jockey in Cincinnati, not a tune smith in Nashville.
Much of the typical Sagittarian traits apply to me: Interested in philosophy and religion, impulsive and independent, procrastinate, natural comedians (sometimes exaggerating their adventures to entertain people), but sometimes offend by speaking without thinking, and can be argumentative or blunt. Sagittarians are susceptible to hip troubles and leg pain. Okay so far, but also, Sagittarians are great athletes, big-game hunters and fishermen. HA! All these traits ought to be worked into the song, unless they don’t rhyme. But like I said, I’m having trouble; in fact I pretty much just have words that rhyme but have nothing to do with the zodiac or my real friends. Here’s what I have so far:

All my friends are Sagittarians
We have affinity for philosophy,
Sometimes we act like horse rear ends
Comedians, contrarians, some quinquagenarians
All my friends are Sagittarians

I know some Rastafarians
Braided, bearded, hairy men
Need ganja? They are carryin’
They grow it: they’re agrarian

This woman’s name is Marian,
She is a librarian
‘Til her body turns to carrion
She’ll be Sagittarian


One pretends she’s a thespian
She also is a lesbian
She won’t eat meat or marry men
She’s a vagitarian

So, not all my friends are men
Some are more ovarian
And even imaginary friends
Of mine are Sagittarians


We’re characterized as mutable,
Think everything’s disputable
We’re blunt, unlike our arrow,
Don’t follow the straight and narrow

We’re impulsive but procrastinate
We’re honest but exaggerate
Legs hurt from the brains we’re carryin’
We are proud Sagittarians


See, it’s pretty lame. I invite you to make a much better song, produce it and upload to YouTube and link to it in the comments. When some record label or artist buys it, we’ll split the profits. Or just write some lyrics in the comments. Here’s some leftover words you might use:
Bavarian, Aryan, clarion, barbarian, Bulgarian, Hungarian, non-sectarian, sectarian, Wagnerian, centenarian, grammarian, libertarian, vegetarian, proletarian, seminarian, Unitarian, veterinarian, authoritarian, disciplinarian, egalitarian, humanitarian, octogenarian, parliamentarian, totalitarian, utilitarian, septuagenarian, begins and ends, portends.

(I was going to use the Sagittarius image from this site, because it's pretty right on, but I couldn't get past the misuse of "your" instead of "you're".)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Absolute Creepiest Thanksgiving Image Ever

Judgement Day

CONTEST RESULTS - click here to see contest

When the Rapture, comes, the winners will ascend in "the twinkling of an eye". The decision is easy: the winners believe, the losers don't. The Day of Atonement, an annual event for my people, is more subjective. We have a little over a week to make a case for being written in the Big Book of Life. I have a greater appreciation of God's task during that week, as I judge who shall win the book "How to Profit From the Coming Rapture." Does God consider extending the time to let us atone? Does he wish that more people tried to get saved? I know I did.
But God and I have made commitments and as it is written, so shall it be done.
I was looking for (1) the best creative writing, (2) an amusing comment about the book and a (3) choice of Rapture companion on the all-expenses-paid trip to salvation and WHY. Cali's entry was a clear winner for creative writing the moment I read it. It not only is a creative poem, it is a perfect sales pitch for the book so it combined (1) and (2). (Cali - please email me your email address for HBG to contact you at - jbunyan @ Oh the irony of the entrant most likely to not be left behind winning this book. Cali, will this be left out on your coffee table?
Bill created a very nice parody, but could not beat Cali's. Nevertheless, I was most amused by his comment about his own work: "(Yeah, me loves a good Apocalypso tune . . .)" and his popular description of the 16 hooves of the Apocalypse: "Eight hoof, twelve hoof, horseman four!", so he wins best comment but also combined (2) and (1).
The choice for the final category was not so much about the who as it was the WHY. Therblig realized that if Bush/Rove could go, anyone could, even Therblig himself, and he stated it so poetically that he really qualified for (3) and (1). (Therblig I also need an email address for you).
Thanks for playing everybody!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Born To Be Wilde

Read this then scroll on down to the book giveaway entry and enter the contest.

My daughter, the psych major at Ohio State, is getting into the habit of emailing me her class papers to edit. I was in college before computers; I typed papers on an actual typewriter and did not have the luxury of sending them through the intertubes to my parents for editing. And, believe me, the lack of Spellcheck® and proofreading was starkly evident. If you are a regular reader of this blogmess you are familiar with my lack of editing prowess.
So it is incongruous for my daughter to ask me to edit her stuff, but even weirder that yesterday my roommate from college, who still lives in LA, emailed me two college essays to proof for his son. I guess because I have occasionally been paid for writing they think I can influence their success by adding a comma and changing a sentence structure here or there.
The subject of writing influence was brought to my attention by my friend and (much more talented and successful) fellow writer, Bill Brohaugh over at Everything You Know About English Takes Up Too Much Space to Write Out the Entire Name of Your Blog.
He used an amusing “on-line gadget” to determine that some of my writing is mildly similar to L. Frank Baum or Edgar Rice Burroughs (whom I assume was an assassin or mass murderer since they always use his middle name). My parody of “Take me Home Country Roads was oddly found to be wildly channeling Oscar Wilde. I thought it more similar to John Denver, but who am I to question the internet.
I have to say that I like Bill’s gadget better than the one my sister found some years ago that said I write like a girl. Well, Oscar Wilde was similarly inclined, wasn’t he. Nevertheless, my masculinity is not threatened; I mean, it's not as though I've carried that memory with me for 5 years and still recall the mocking comments that followed. What worries me is that I might edit a paper for my daughter or my friend’s son, the colleges will run an analysis and accuse the poor kids of plagiarizing a convicted sexual offender or a mass murderer. That would be embarrassing.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Devil You Know

(This has nothing to do with the "Profit From the Rapture" book contest in the previous entry* - but read this anyway, then scroll down and enter the contest)

I don’t listen to the radio much anymore so finding new music artists that I like has to be somewhat serendipitous. My best talent scout has gone off to college and I no longer get to suffer through her music in the car or in my house in order to find the few gems in “contemporary” music (I’m usually late to the party. By the time I asked to copy Allie’s “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” CD, she told me no one listens to that anymore).
I do listen to Bob and Tom in the morning to provide a little comedy stimulus and that’s where I first heard Todd Snider (who has been around a while).
They found a store with a sign that said their beer was coldest.
So they sent in Brad 'cause he looked the oldest.
He got a case of beer and a candy bar, walked over to where all the registers are
laid his fake I.D. on the counter top.
The clerk looked, and turned to look back up and stopped.
He said "Son, I ain't gonna call the cops, but I'm gonna have to keep this card"
the guys both took it pretty hard.
Not that I ever tried to buy beer when I was underage, but I, um, had a, uh, friend who did. Todd even had a song that connected to the accountant/mathematician side of my brain.
They say 92 percent of everything you learned in school was just bullshit you'll never need
84 percent of everything you got you bought to satisfy your greed
Because 90 percent of the world's population links possessions to success
Even though 80 percent of the wealthiest 1 percent of the population
Drinks to an alarming excess
Though there is somewhat of a kinship between Todd and my inner flower child,
Tree huggin’, love makin’, pro choicin', gay weddin’, widespread diggin’ hippies like me.
Skin color-blinded, conspiracy-minded, protesters of corporate greed,
We who have nothing and most likely will ‘till we all wind up locked up in jails
By conservative Christian, right wing Republican, straight, white, American males
I am a child of the 60s and Todd is much younger
My old man says the Woodstock generation
Found a way to make this nation
Open up its eyes and take a look around
And he says my generation
Ain't good for nothing
and has had quite a different lifestyle from mine.
I came in off a dead end street
Walked in slow and took a back row seat
I knew I had nothing new to say
So many people looking so burned out
I couldn't help feeling bad about just having to be there anyway

A friend of a friend from work came in
I never have known what to make of him
He'd always seemed to be so insincere to me
You know I've always been afraid of a 12 step crowd
They laugh too much and talk too loud
Like they all know where everyone should be
So when we went to his concert last night at a small theater in Covington, KY, we wondered what kind of crowd to expect. I told Karen it would probably be young, unemployed, recovering alcoholic, drug addicted, lazyass hippies.
We walked in off a Covington street, anticipating unwashed losers we’d meet, I knew we would feel so out of place. But so many people looked just like us, recovering hippies who were fifty-plus, with gray in their hair, age on their face.
Then when a friend of my in-laws came in, it made me laugh, made my head spin, this just would not seem to be where such old folks would be. I’d really picture them in the symphony crowd, where the music’s instrumental and not too loud, where blue-hairs go, not young dudes like me.
Seriously, friends of my wife's parents? at a Todd Snider concert? That was just wrong. More young people came in later. It ended up being a broad range of ages and, on the surface, not what I expected. I really wanted to ask some people if they were unemployed, recovering alcoholic drug addicts but Karen stopped me. Probably they were just former tree huggin’, peace lovin’, pot smokin’, barefootin’ folk-singin’ hippies like me.

*Mr. Snider does have a song for the Rapture

Monday, November 17, 2008


Click here for contest results
Three (count 'em) ways to win a copy of this book:
How to Profit From The Coming Rapture” (“Getting Ahead When You’re left Behind”) by Steve and Evie Levy (I’m assuming that’s “lee-vee”) (as told to Ellis Weiner and Barbara Davilman) is “The investment guide the Antichrist doesn’t want you to read”. I imagine the Prochrist doesn’t really want you to either, but they had me at the title.
I am not going to ascend when the Rapture comes. I have been assured of this by experts (I am chosen, not saved). I have read “Rapture Ready” and learned that I am not. So I need this new book.
As explained on the back cover, “about 1.5 billion people will join (Jesus) in Heaven. Five billion of the rest of us…will still be here, with questions…Including…What real estate to unload when the sun turns black and the mountains start shifting.”
Inside the book is a “Rapture-Tribulation Timeline” followed by a careful, chronological explanation of what will be happening on Earth and how you can be prepared and make some bucks along the way.
For example, when the Third Temple is built, if you have stocked up on kippot, and tallit, you can set up a little concession stand or gift shop and make a nice profit.
Now, that’s actually getting ahead of the story. You need to read the book from the beginning to understand the progression of events and do all the necessary things, in the proper order, to make the most out of your opportunities prior to Armageddon. (Knock, knock. Who’s there? Armageddon. Armageddon who? Armageddon married in the morning. These types of jokes are just one reason I will not see you in Heaven)
Odds are that some of you don’t need the book because you are saved. I still think you will find it funny, imagining the rest of us trying to cash in on famine and pestilence while you are strumming harps and eating ambrosia. I don’t think you will be punished for reading it, like you would for reading, say, Harry Potter, which promotes witchcraft and for which royalties go to the Devil. This book does not encourage people to hang around for the Tribulation and hook up with the Antichrist ("you'll come for the hail of fire but stay for the river of blood!"); it is a survival book in the event you don’t get called up to the majors. (Caution: I am clearly not well stocked with grace or faith, so don’t take my word for any of this).
Anyway, how can you win a copy of this book?
1) You can write a short, creative item (song, haiku, couplet, whatever) about the End Times (e.g. “On the First Seal of End Times, the Rapture brought to me, the Antichrist and a blasphemy.”)
2) If you will or would just like to ascend during the Rapture, tell me what celebrity would you want to travel with and WHY (don’t forget the why). The celebrity must be alive as of the date and time of your comment but need not be saved or even morally upstanding.
3) Write some other amusing comment about the book, the Rapture, the End Times, a related topic or about this review.
That’s right – three books will be given away. The contest ends, Wednesday, Nov. 26 or when the Rapture begins, whichever comes first. Click on comments and begin.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Shaking Things Up

People in California today participated in the largest disaster drill ever. The massive mock drill tested preparedness for the consequences that would befall the state if Proposition 8 were overturned. At the sound of warning sirens, couples simulated the breakdown of their traditional marriages and staged sham divorces. Some smeared themselves with acrimony and disgust such as might be spread throughout the state if gays were to join in real matrimony.
In schools, teachers scrambled to distribute materials to instruct students in tolerance, promote rejection of the bible and demonstrate the benefits of homosexuality.
State police rushed to churches, synagogues and mosques to point unloaded guns at clergy and simulate forced performance of nuptials for same sex couples.
State officials addressed the people, saying that an actual crisis was unlikely but that they were proud of the readiness displayed in today's drill.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I Never Meta, Man

1. The first rule of Fight Club is: "Don't talk about Fight Club." That should be the first rule of blogging. Blog entries should not be about blogging.

2. According to Harvey Logan in "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" (one of the movies I guide my life by) there are no rules in a knife fight. Likewise, I guess there should be no rules in blogging; so rule number one is nullified.

3. Nevertheless, blog entries about blogging bother me.

4. As do blog entries that are lists of random thoughts or lists of things to do before dieing or any of those "meme" things that people assign you to write about.

5. But that's just me and I should get over it.

6. Still, as for the random thoughts, isn't that what "twitter" is for?

7. I can't say because I don't really get twitter. That's one of the signs that I really am getting old. I kept up with computers and email and blogging and im (though I really don't im) but the new stuff is passing me by. I don't twitter or podcast or watch tv shows on a telephone or tiny iPod screen.

8. I do burn my feed but I don't really know what that means and it makes me think that, somewhere, cattle are angry at me about this.

9. And "meta". I need to let you know that I don't fully understand the use of "meta"; though I did figure out that it is different from "meme".

10. So I'm getting old and I probably should make a list of things to do before I die (or, before I die, I should make a list of things to do?)
I wonder how many will involve beer? How many will involve pie? Give me your thoughts on that.

Monday, November 10, 2008

This is My Body - You Want a Piece of Me?

JERUSALEM - Israeli police rushed into one of Christianity's holiest churches Sunday and arrested two clergymen after an argument between monks erupted into a brawl next to the site of Jesus' tomb.
This is the picture with the story:

Look at the white haired guy on the right. Thst's not some Greek Orthodox monk, that's Kris Kringle fighting for control of Christmas.:

The supposed "War on Christmas", to me, is more about the conflict between Jesus Christmas and Santa Christmas than it is about non-Christians trying to get rid of "Merry Christmas". Maybe Mr. Sawyer was right about Kris being prone to violence.

Come Fly With Me

Growing up, I was taught to give up my seat on public transportation to the aged, infirm, pregnant, female or anyone else in greater need of the seat than I (females were frail and weak back then). Now, when I travel by air, request an exit row or other seat with legroom and learn that they are all taken, I find upon boarding the plane that they are taken by average bodied able people. Do these people look at me, leap up and say, "oh, here, your aged, long legs need this seat more than I"? They do not.
Delta is the main tenant of our airport so I may get a better shot at the good seats now that they may be charging extra for it. (Even more appealing is the possibility of new seats that will be comfortable even for tall people).
I understand the charges for baggage (extra weight means extra fuel cost) and food (if you don't eat, it saves money)and even choice seating (supply and demand). But here are a few charges I want to impose:
You want to recline your seat into my knees, or even further, into my face? Give me $20. I paid for the seat and I figure that includes the airspace as well.
If you stick your carry on into the bin above my seat, that's $15 to me, buddy. Since I always get an aisle seat, I am one of the last to board when Delta loads by "zones", but I expect my bin to be empty. There is no room under the seat in front of me - that's for my feet.
Likewise, since I'm in the aisle seat, if you are in the middle or window seat, I'll let you out to go to the restroom for $5 - okay, first trip is free, but after that.... oh, and if you are a terrorist who needs out to hatch your terror scheme, I want $50 - American!
Finally, it will cost the flight attendants $10 each time they hit my elbow or knee with the damn food/drink cart. Plus a free alcoholic beverage for the pain.
It is quite possible my premium seat fee, if not my entire ticket cost, will get paid for by the time I reach my destination.

(Scroll down two posts and enter the annoying contest - only a few days left).

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

R E S P E C T - Find Out What it Means To Me.

In case no one picked up on this the past few months, I wanted Barack Obama to win the election. I went so far as to vote for him: just doing what I could to help the man out. What a wonderful acceptance speech it was, espousing

“a desire to move beyond the bitterness and partisanship of the recent past.
Our nation must rise above a house divided. Americans share hopes and goals and values far more important than any political disagreements. Republicans want the best for our nation. And so do Democrats. Our votes may differ, but not our hopes…Two hundred years have only strengthened the steady character of America. And so as we begin the work of healing our nation, tonight I call upon that character. Respect for each other. Respect for our differences. Generosity of spirit. And a willingness to work hard and work together to solve any problem…I was not elected to serve one party, but to serve one nation. The president of the United States is the president of every single American, of every race and every background. Whether you voted for me or not, I will do my best to serve your interests, and I will work to earn your respect.”

Oh, wait, that was George Bush’s acceptance speech in 2000. Later he claimed to “have a mandate” (from the fewer than 50% who voted for him?) and that he had earned “some political capital…and I intend to spend it.” He was so partisan and divisive, that the defeat of his party was assured this year, no matter how old and pathetic a guy they dragged out to try and get our sympathy.
I hope that Barack Obama can stick to his promise. I believe he intends to – I wonder about the Democrats in Congress. I hope that those Republicans or others who would like to see him fail can somehow rise above those feelings and try to help the country move forward and become a better version of ourselves.
Personally, I don’t know what I’m going to do with myself without Sarah Palin to mock. For a few weeks I’ve got college football to occupy me, but then what? It may take her months to resurface in the news and will people take her seriously enough to make her actions mock-worthy? I know, I should rise above it, but as my friend, Mary Tom, said, “(Mocking Sarah is) harder to quit than a bad crack habit.” I don’t know how hard quitting crack is, I haven’t tried to quit, but putting down the Palin pipe is tough.
Jason Henderson has given me permission for one day to savor: “Republican brothers and sisters are very hurt and afraid, so after this celebration we should spend some time showing them we're interested in making a better world, and not dancing in the end zone. But 24 hours is a decent time to dance.” So get a load of this: “One night, Steve Schmidt and Mark Salter went to her hotel room to brief her. After a minute, Palin sailed into the room wearing nothing but a towel.” Wow. Which one is gay (not that there’s anything wrong with that), Schmidt or Salter? Did someone complain about that or were they just…um…revisiting the image later and got caught?
The real bad part of the article is about Palin’s spending money buying up clothes for the family like Nieman Marcus was her back-to-school, shopping source. Well, that, and the going rogue with the Ayers thing.
She really was unprepared and unqualified to be on a National ticket.
But I’m putting all that aside now. I would be happy to meet with her anytime, anyplace and show her my respect and my desire to work together in a towel.

Hey, don’t forget to enter the contest in the previous entry below.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Annoying Contest Results

Thanks to everyone who entered this book contest - I enjoyed all the suggestions of new things I can get irritated by.
Let's all link to the contest now and read the last part, where the actual challenge is posed: "identify some modern thing that is truly annoying and write a brief description of why." Some of you may be annoyed to realize that you overlooked the last part of that. They are all fine things to rant about, but I was looking for the rant itself.
Susan's attack on punctuated but uncapitalized titles explained that the inconsistency makes it annoying. bill the annoyer amused me by explaining that "meta-annoyance is really annoying" which provided a solipismic "why" and he probably annoyed Susan by not capitalizing his name. Scarletvirago also stated why her annoyance was annoying in a humorous, self-reflective way.
Cali made me laugh by getting enraged because people "waste" a left turn availability and leave Cali stuck for another light cycle, and then she remarked that that road rage is annoying. A lot of meta-annoyance going on.
But no one was able to surpass my favorite entry that made me laugh the most even though it might have been unintentional. Jenny wrote, "Here's what's really annoying*: When someone leaves an asterisk without explaining below that it means."
That it means ...what? I am pretty sure she meant to write "..what it means." but the way she typed it made it perfectly illustrate the annoyance of being left hanging (along with the unexplained asterisk she included).
So Jenny is the winner. Jenny, I'll send the publisher your email and they can contact you for the address to send the book to.
Watch this space for another contest coming soon.

A Book Review and a Contest

ANNOYING UPDATE: The contest is over. Click here for results.

Well This Is Irritating
For some reason, I’ve been asked to review a book called “is it just me or is everything shit?” subtitled, “insanely annoying modern things,” by Steve Lowe and Alan McArthur with Brandon Hay.
I wouldn’t be irritated about being chosen to review a compilation of annoyances except that my sister once gave me a book called, “The Pocket Encyclopedia of Aggravation.” Am I so curmudgeonly that people think I am constantly jonesing for an annoyance fix? Or am I so laid back that people think I need a whole book of aggravating things to get me worked up to a mild lather?
“is it just me or is everything shit?” is an alphabetic list of those “insanely annoying modern things”. Some are longer pieces, such as “Xenu”, about what a scam Scientology is, or “Hitler, People Calling Each Other”, mainly about Bush calling people Hitler when perhaps he should be looking inward; these seem like a collection of essays the authors thought might go into some kind of book. Others are rather short such as “Toast, Overpriced”, which, in its entirety says, “There’s a lot of overpriced toast out there”, which are just there to fill out that book they wanted.
As you read it, you will recall Andy Rooney and “Didja ever notice….” Or Earl Pitts intoning, “You know what makes me sick? You know what makes me so angry…” except this is a whole book instead of one short bit.
Putting a bunch of annoying items together invites the reviewer to find the book itself annoying. I mean, if you read it for a while, you start to pick up on their vibe and think, “You know what’s insanely annoying: essays on insanely annoying stuff!” The list does not include “Blogs” specifically but does include “Self Examination columns”: any kind of writing in which the author observes him or herself doing something and writes about it as if everyone shared that interest. Yet that is the basis of this book, “Hey, we thought of some stuff we find annoying and you should too.”
If you are going to be out some evening with friends and you need something to pontificate about with a sense of superiority, read a few of these items and them bring them up over drinks. “Hey, what’s up with this people calling each other Hitler? And why is toast so pricey?”
In the end, though, these guys have identified a bunch of contemporary shit that does need to be called out (James Blunt, Botox, Dubai, Energy Drinks, among others) and they write about them in a humorous way that will make readers say, “Yeah, that’s what I would have written, if I was literate!” But you are not and you did not, so buy this book.
Or win a copy from me. In the comments, identify some modern thing that is truly annoying and write a brief description of why. The winner, as determine by the annoying panel of judges (me), gets a free copy of the book. The contest ends, not Sunday, November 9, but when I say it does. Then I will post the winner, who will need to send a mailing address to the publisher. Only residents of the US or Canada are eligible to win. You might find that annoying.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

I Write the Songs

This one was second place is the recent Washington Post Style Invitational (See "Report from week 785" after the description of the current contest)
(To the theme from "The Beverly Hillbillies")

Come and listen to my story 'bout John McCain,
Senate maverick barely floatin' his campaign.
He couldn't use a running mate with credibility,
So he went for youth and sex and selected Sarah P.
Palin, that is. Pit bull. Hockey mom.
Well, the bump in the polls was lookin' pretty big,
But was Palin pushin' change or puttin' lipstick on a pig?
They kept her under wraps, wouldn't let her on TV
Till she finally sat down to have a chat with Katie C.
Couric, that is. Gotcha girl. Media e-lite.
And now the voters are questioning the judgment of McCain
As Palin speaks in tongues that commentators can't explain.
And if those two thought it was as bad as it could be,
They don't have a clue to fix our e-conomy.
(Black Friday that is. It's a free fall. Market meltdown.
You vote Barack, now, y'hear? -
this last part was omitted in the results - for space reasons?)

"That One" was among the "honorable mentions"