Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Crocodile News

From Australia, Granny vs. Gator (Yes, it was a crocodile but I'm a sucker for alliteration.)

From Africa, crocodile eats wedding ring (and arm).
Latest Stupid Thing

I'd love to blame it on muscle relaxants or anti-inflammatory meds but it was just plain dumb. Leaving the library, I loaded Devilboy and -girl in the car and put the books up on the luggage rack.

That triggered a bad memory of driving off with books still up there and having them scatter around the parking lot. "Boy," I thought, "I'll never do that again."

So, I'm driving down Five Mile Road and hear flap-flap-flap-flap. I had to circle around and pick up five of the six books from the middle of the road (speed limit: 50 mph). One actually stayed on the luggage rack for almost a half a mile. Two were damaged but the others were okay.

The bad thing was that the book that was hurt the most was one that I'd put on reserve for my poetry/mythology project and it turned out it was a book I'd already used.

Did I mention I scored a ten out of ten in Eighth Grade math?
They're Right--I Don't Care

You Are 74% Evil

You are very evil. And you're too evil to care.
Those who love you probably also fear you. A lot.
File Under "I don't Effing Believe It"

You Passed 8th Grade Math

Congratulations, you got 10/10 correct!

Studying for the GRE, I ignored math, rightfully figuring that it wouldn't play a big role in English grad school. I still scored in the 68th percentile. I guess it's the fact that I understand obscure things like "What's an eighth?"

The latest great deli question was "How many days are there in February?"

Answer: Slightly less than 28.25.

Saturday, February 25, 2006


Someone please make sense of this.

Normally with lunatics I can at least see some sort of a motive but what exactly was she trying to do? How would a microwaved penis help her in a drug test, no matter how hot it was?
Shingles and a Broken Back

Under the "what next" file:

I threw my back out and the muscle-relaxants and anti-inflammatory meds are barely helping. Devilboy knows that I can't chase him as well. When I took him to the doctor on Thursday, he broke away from me and sprinted into an elevator. I zombie-lurched and caught up to him but if I hadn't got there before the doors closed, he could have made it to anywhere in the building.

Unlike normal people who get shingles on their sides, I'm getting them on my hands, legs, and one on my lip. Nothing beats the flavor of chicken pox-laden pus oozing into your mouth.

On the bright side, the finger tip that I cut off last week is healing up.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Devilboy vs. Chickenpox

We now join Evil Dad who, in the middle of cleaning the fish tank, was phoned by Devilboy's school about a chickenpox attack.

Evil Dad (rushing into School Nurse's office): I'm here! Hey, this place is hardly messed up at all. I guess chickenpox has a calming effect.

Nurse: This is the main health office. You're looking for the Early Childhood Office (points to now smoking rubble down the hall)

ED: Do'h!

(runs down hall)

ED: Devilboy! Don't swallow that filing cabinet!

Devilboy: Urk? (leaps at Evil Dad)

ED: Stop! The doctor said you shouldn't bite off that finger!

Other Nurse: We noticed the pox and called you right over. He's highly contagious.

ED: But he had his vaccination. He only killed seven doctors that day.

ON: Children sometimes still get chicken pox despite the vaccine. You can't blame anybody... unless you're the superstitious type who believes in plague demons.

(Devilboy's eyes glow red.)


(Minutes later)

ED: Come out! I know you're in there!

Pazuzu: Who dares command the demon of the southwest winds? For I am--oh shit, it's that kid!

ED: As you can see, we're not in a good mood right now (Devilboy twists Pazuzu's head around backwards), so I'll get to the point: why'd you give Devilboy the pox?

P: It wasn't me. After Peter Blatty, I gave that stuff up. Sure, I might have passed Paris Hilton the clap but who hasn't? It must of been one of them pagan deities or Pat Buchanan or somebody.

ED: I'm warning you (Devilboy vomits on Pazuzu's slippers) if you lied to me, you're gonna need a whole new set of priests.

P: I swear. Check out Sopona! He's always bragging about all the pestilence he spreads.

(At Sopona's beach house)

ED: Open up! It's time for a little deicide!

Sopona: Ey, mon! What you be jabbering to I and I for?

ED: Shut up! I know you grew up in Queens.

S: The accent's good for chicks.

ED: You won't need to worry about that any more! You gave Devilboy chickenpox!

S: Oh, you're thinking of Sagbata, pox god of the Fon! I'm Sopona, pox god of the Yoruba.

ED: Oh, yeah. Well, if you're not telling--hey, why is Devilboy so mellow?

S: My brownies!

(After Sagbata, Azo, Reshef and Horon, and Xi Wang Mu)

ED: Well, this is it. If this isn't the right plague god, I'm going home. (rings bell)

Martha Stewart: Yes, can--oh, you? Did you like the chickenpox I sent your brat?

ED: Get her, Devilboy!

MS (laughs as Devilboy hits invisible barrier): You'll never break my tastefully textured evil force field.

ED: If it's invisible, why do you care about the texture?

MS: Philistine!

ED: We might as well give up. We've never encountered such evil before. (A squad of police cars pulls up)

MS: Heh, heh. Did I mention I called the fuzz?

Cop: We had reports of a distur--what's this! (Points to brownies on Martha's patio furniture) Looks like little miss stock-cheat baked up some Dolly Madison weed wasters!

MS: It's not mine! It's that Devilboy's!

Cop: And blaming an innocent child. This time we're locking you with a biker whose lesbic AND flatulent.

ED: Well, we're still stuck at home for seven to ten days with a potentially dangerous virus but we were at least able to send someone to prison under false pretenses. Hey, stop bogarting those brownies!

Stay tuned sometime in the possibly distant future for another exciting adventure of . . . Evil Dad and Devilboy!
Chocolate on my Finger

One of my students who came in late told me that I had "chocolate or something" on my finger. No, that's a distorted hunk of flesh that was once part of my finger.

Prior to the chicken pox discovery, when I was putting on Devilboy's shoes, he kicked my finger, breaking it open again. A flap of skin now sticks straight out and is crusted over with blackened blood, like a beetle shell.

It doesn't hurt at all but looks disgusting.

Monday, February 20, 2006

What Do Frodo and I Have in Common?

Yesterday at the deli, I was trying to cut through the wrapper of Boars Head salami and accidentally cut into my left index finger, just below the fingernail.

It wasn't bad but later, when I was sanitizing a meat slicer, I cut through the top of my right index finger, from about halfway above the top of the fingerprint on the one side and just before the top of the fingernail on the other.

Fortunately it didn't hit bone but it gushed blood like the old SNL Julia Child skit. I had to wrap it up with six bandaids before it stopped splurting. (As I was walking to the pharmacy with my finger wrapped in paper towels, leaving a trail of blood drops behind me, a customer still came up and asked where some damn French product that I've never heard of was.)

Today it looked like it had stopped bleeding but, when I had to give Devilgirl a bath, I ripped it open again. It was like Psycho in reverse. Naturally we were out of bandaids, so I had to tape on two gauze pads.

Later I tried to grade papers but Devilboy knocked the whole stack of them on the floor and was about to rip them to confetti. I grabbed them up but as I did, a broken strand of carpet slid into the cut and wedged in. I couldn't yank my hand free without pulling off the top of my finger and threading the carpet out was like solving a Rubik's cube in the dark.

Finally I pulled it out, and Devilboy looked at my finger and said, "Uh-oh, boo boo."

Forgive my typing tonight, folks.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Heart/Butt Connection

Desmond Morris said this years ago but a professor has made the news by claiming that valentine heart symbols are modeled after the female buttocks.

I'm going to hold a press conference that light can be both a particle and a wave and see if I can make the papers.
Television: Friend, Teacher, Secret Lover

I've wondered how bad television is for kids. To me, it's the mental equivalent of smoking pot: it doesn't really hurt you but it feels good enough for you to vegetate and eat a whole bag of Extra-Ranch Doritos.

It's possible that it's not bad for children whatsoever (television, not pot).

I'm torn about this. For one thing, unless you're rich enough to have servants to entertain your children, cutting television out entirely isn't very likely. There's a reason why t.v.-free generations married their kids off by age 11.

On the other hand, the depths of many people's parenting skills is being able to work the VCR AND the DVD. "Don't bother Mommy; Dora the Explorer is on."

It's good that kids aren't being harmed but it might be better if parents still felt guilty about the electronic babysitter.
Top Science Legends

Technically this should be legends, not myths, but it's a good read.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Well, I'm Off to the Clinic

Last December I took this test after seeing it on Stephanie's blog. I decided to wait to try again and got pretty much the same result. Hey, if I'm listed as feminine, at the very least I'd like some multiple orgasms to go with it.

You scored 40 masculinity and 80 femininity!
You scored high on femininity and low on masculinity. You have a traditionally feminine personality.

My test tracked 2 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 5% on masculinity

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 91% on femininity
Link: The Bem Sex Role Inventory Test written by weirdscience on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Almost Zero Tolerance

Have you heard news stories of a nine-year dressing in a fireman's costume for a school Halloween party and getting expelled because the costume came with a plastic (and obviously fake) axe?

Have you heard about the boy who was disciplined for "shooting" another schoolmate by extending his index finger and thumb and saying "Bang"?

By adopting a zero tolerance approach to school violence, administrators don't have to even pretend to use their brains. No incident is too stupid to be covered.

That all changed yesterday when my step-daughter did something TOO STUPID FOR ZERO TOLERANCE. (For those of you who follow education policies, this is even bigger than Catwoman getting knocked up.)

My step-daughter's English class was studying drama with groups assigned to write and perform short plays. Her group had troubles coming up with anything exciting for the characters to do, and, in typical soap opera style, decided to kill off a few. One boy said to my stepdaughter something to the effect, "It be cool if we killed you."

Even though everyone in the room clearly understood that he was talking about the play, she ran to the teacher and insisted on having a "Death Threat Alert." This is like pulling a fire alarm: once you start it, you legally have to play it through. After wasting the time of her class and the administrators, the principal decided that even though zero-tolerance would mean the boy would get suspended, my stepdaughter had always known there was never a threat, but only acted to stay in the spotlight, on stage and off.

A conference is in the works.
Catwoman Pregnant

Frankly, with the way she dresses, I'm not surprised. Comic book geeks are buzzing with theories--Is it Batman's? The new Messiah? The Joker's?

Imagine how much child support Bruce Wayne would have to shell out each month. At least it would get clear up that gossip about Robin.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Me Smash

Your results:
You are Hulk
Green Lantern
Iron Man
The Flash
Wonder Woman
You are a wanderer with
amazing strength.
Click here to take the "Which Superhero am I?" quiz...

Of the choices, I'm content with the Hulk. I look good in purple pants.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Harry Potter: Anti-Christ

God knows that my step-daughter has watched the oh-so-dreamy punk who plays Harry Potter so many times that I cringe at the mention of anything Potter-esque. Yet even I have to object to Harry Potter, Narnia, and the Lord of the Rings: What you Need to Know about Fantasy Books and Movies by Richard Abanes. Apparently the Potter books are the gateway to hell and Philip Pullman of the Dark Material Trilogy is the anti-C.S. Lewis.

Staunch Christians like Tolkien and Lewis get a pass but Abanes brings up several objections to Rowlings. Most telling was the statement: "Harry Potter is a fictional tale with a nonfictional backdrop." In other words, wizards and witches really can fly about on broom sticks but they don't all live in English boarding schools. It gets better:

1. "Those who stand against Voldemort are good. Those who stand with Voldemort are bad. . . This morality is not only flawed, but also simplistic."

Lewis did make Narnian morality more complex but Tolkien sure as hell didn't. Other than Gollum, Middle Earth is as black and white as the Potter-verse.

Also Abanes' entire morality is "Jesus=good; Satan=bad," making this one of the unintentionally funniest lines in the book. Somehow I can't see him applying this argument to the Bush administration.

2. Objecting to the argument that while not overtly Christian, Harry and the other good guys have positive attributes: "What everyone is failing to recognize, however, is that Rowling's 'evil' characters are brave and courageous, too. Her evil characters also show perseverance, loyalty (in the face of persecution), and a willingness to make sacrifices for their cause."

Again true of Tolkien--the orcs knew they were cannon-fodder but kept on coming--but even more true of Lewis. Even though evil puts up a decent fight, there is no mistaking the good and evil sides of any of the books.

And isn't Satan the very model of perseverance? Booted out of heaven, slapped around the Holy Lands, destined to lose the Final Battle, but never stops tempting.

3. In deriding the argument that the series provides good role models, he writes "it is a mistake to think that our culture exalts only those icons that are good role models for children" and lists Beavis and Butthead, Freddy Krueger, and the MTV show Jackass.

Here's the tortured logic:

Potter fan: Harry's a good role model because he fights against the rise of power of a mass murderer who wants to enslave the world.
Abanes: Ahh, but isn't Hitler a role model to neo-Nazis? Ipso-facto: Potter=Nazi.

I think Abanes realized that this doesn't make sense and he glossed it over to get to his next point.

4. He states that the number one reason for Potter's popularity is "gross imagery and crass humor" which is described as "vomit candy, pus and booger references, assorted profanities, 'Uranus' jokes, and a dash of bloody violence." (Abanes admits in the text that there was only one "Uranus" joke but what's a little lie between friends?)

It's true that the Potter books I've read are more crude than Lewis or Tolkien's but compared to the backdrop of society, Rowlings is old-fashioned and uptight. Harry asks a girl on a date in one of the books but does he bring along any magic condoms? Does anyone in these books have sex at all? Unwed comic book characters have been fathering and giving birth to children since the 1970s (Speedy/Arsenal was also a heroin addict in the 70s; Rocket, the first single mother superhero; Mystique who has supposedly given birth to and fathered mutant babies; Spoiler/the new Robin; Plastic Man; etc.[believe me, I could go on a while])

Today Disney characters fart and belch. Many family movies include scenes of animals sodomizing unlikeable characters (Dr. Doolittle II first to come to mind). Is there anything in the Potter books to compare to that?

And does anyone at Hogswarts smoke fairy pot or snort magi-coke? The hobbits smoked pipeweed which sounds suspiciously like hash but Abanes gives them a complete pass.

5. Claims that some of the occult shows influencing Christian American youth are Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Charmed and Sabrina: The Teenage Witch. At first I thought it was a fluke but he repeatedly mentioned Sabrina as an occult influence.

Sam Kinison had a routine about what if Manson had blamed the Monkees, not the Beetles? "'Hey, hey, we're the Monkees! People say we monkey around! Last train to Clarksville!' How clearly does he have to say it?"

I'll alert the FBI to be on the outlook for infant sacrifices if UPN shows Sabrina re-runs.

6. His defense of censorship: "Censorship is merely the way a community (or segment of it) deals with certain material that it deems inappropriate for a specific location or readership--for example, racist, pornographic, or anti-Semitic literature."

In a loose sense, I agree with him. I don't think Hustler should be in the children's section in the library. But Abanes is seriously worried. He refers to a seven-year old who killed his brother by imitating WWF moves, a story that was debunked by news agencies as a fraud. He also cites a four-year old who was left unattended by a babysitter who went to buy cigarettes. The four year old killed his 15-month sibling while wrestling was on television. Who is to blame? The babysitter? Well, you can't sell a book that condemns babysitters or lack of personal responsibility.

Do you consider a work's age-appropriateness on multiple factors or do you just toss anything that doesn't include Jesus on the cover?

I believe it was Edith Wharton who said, "Censorship, like charity, should begin at home. But unlike charity, it should stay there." I'm not sure if that would go over for Abanes' crowd.

7. The author also wrote Becoming Gods which warns "Did you know Mormons hope to eventually become Gods?" Now that he's picked on a fictional character and the LDSs, let's see if he's up to a cartoon book about Islam or if he'll continue with subjects that won't bite back.
A Million and One Pieces

Another literary hoax.
More Croc News

"One thing was clear that they wanted to salvage at least a piece of my flesh for burial should the crocodile get the better of them."
Defining Art

I'm finishing up the Definition Argument paper at NKU. As the name implies, you argue for a specific definition of a term, e.g. "A real dog has to be big enough to scare away a burglar"; "A true sport involves an intense physical challenge so golf is not a sport"; "A family is any group of people who care about each other."

One student is writing about art which is a tricky subject. Thinking about her position, it occurred to me that in non-prose literature, we have an all-encompassing word--"verse"--which is made up of work with merit--"poetry"--and work without--"doggerel."

If I were to start my own language, I would do the same for art. I'm not sure what I'd call each term but a wider vocabulary might help the expression of our thoughts.

I've been thinking about this since I read about this on Innisfree. I wouldn't send the kid to the bughouse but I'm not against banning certain subjects in class. In English 101, I don't let students write about abortion, gun control, or the death penalty because they do such a bad job and never have anything new to say about any of it. After reading submissions for the defunct Evil Dog Magazine, I'd say the same about shock value. For every Nathan Singer, there's 100,000 illiterates who slap together a few paragraphs about raping the pope and cutting the babies out of pregnant women and mistake their grandmother's shock for talent.

Hey, I'm all for stories about blasphemy and senseless violence but just slapping raw ideas on paper doesn't make them stories. I remember a story about a dog-rapist. Attention-grabber? Yes. Well-written? Oh God no.

In the end, I have no real definition myself and have deliberately wasted your time, but here's a few quotes by people more knowledgeable than myself:

“How do I define a work of art? It is not an asset in the stock-exchange sense, but a man’s timid attempt to repeat the miracle that the simplest peasant girl is capable of at any time, that of magically producing life out of nothing,” Oskar Kokoschka

“We all know that a good person can be a bad artist. But no one will ever be a genuine artist unless he is a great human being and thus also a good one,” Marc Chagall

“In general, then, color is a means to exert a direct influence on the soul. Color is the key. The eye is the hammer. The soul is the piano, with many strings,” Wassily Kandinsky

“Art is artificial and not at all natural. Creating a work of art does not mean that one is imitating nature but rather that one is on an equal footing with it and has even surpassed it using means that, of all living beings, are only available to man,” Victor Vasarely

“All of painting, but also literature and all that goes with it, is merely a process of going round and round something inexpressible, round a black hole or a crater whose center one cannot penetrate. And those things one seizes on as subject matter, they have merely the character of pebbles at the foot of the crater—they mark out a circle which, one hopes, draws ever close to the center,” Anselm Kiefer

“I am for an art that is political-erotical-mystical, that does something other than sit on its ass in a museum,” Claes Oldenburg

“Art is a duet between the artist and his medium. Each must speak freely and directly and visible in his own language. One must allow all the fortunes proper to the material to emerge. . . To try to prevent these vagaries of fortune would be to deprive the world of all vitality,” Jean Dubuffet

“To the creative artist, in the making of art it is doubtful whether aesthetics have any value to him. The truly creative artist deals with vulgarity,” David Smith

“Since Duchamp, the artist is the author of a definition,” Marcel Broodthaers

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Crocodile Collision

I didn't think I'd be in the mood to post something like this but I guess I'm always up for a good crocodilian story.

The crocodile died in the collision and was given to local Aborigines, who ate it

Update: Another scary animal eaten by humans.

If these people went after bears, Timothy Treadwell would be alive today.
Short, Strange Class

When I left home, it was drizzling but soon turned to snow. For a while the flakes were enormous--some the size of leaves.

I cut the class short in part because Kentucky has better uses for tax dollars than clearing the roads. Also I couldn't help but notice that one of the girls looked very much like a student that both Wes and I knew who was killed in a car wreck a few years ago. It didn't help that she sat in exactly the same seat--two desks to the left in the first row--that Faith always took. I'm not going to start seeing visions in burritos (I hope) but it was unnerving. I haven't thought of her death for a while but it came back hard.

At the rate the snow is coming down, I'm glad I let them out early.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Strange News

We had Devilgirl's birthday party in the play area of the local McDonalds (yes, how very classy). Doctors should bus in patients who are considering vasectomies. They'd make a mint.

I learned that one of my cousins who has been in legal trouble in the past was arrested for gun and drug charges. A SWAT team broke down his door and found cocaine and $5,000 in cash. They broke the drywall in one of the rooms and found a stash of rifles. I googled for a news story about him but couldn't find any. I hope this is a joke but, if so, they told me an elaborate story.

Over the last few weeks I've heard a little more about my niece who had initially pressed charges against her stepfather for sexual abuse. After she stopped working with the police and prosecution, he was able to plea bargain so that he received probation but no jail time. Now my sister-in-law is both pregnant and wants a divorce. He claimed that he has hit her but she must be eight inches taller and fifty pounds heavier (while not pregnant) than he is. This sounds like Jerry Springer on a sweeps week but again I wonder how distorted the whole situation is.

At least Devilgirl had a great time at her party. I bought her two Superfriends vs. the Legion of Doom DVDs which are even stupider than I remembered them.