Unfit to Lead

The City: Gotham.  

The time: The not-too-distant future,  

The city is paralyzed with fear as gangs of hooligans have taken over the city and rule the night.  Decent people hurry home as the sun sets for fear of being caught out in the open after dark.  Mr. Charlie Wilson has no choice tonight.  An elderly man who has called Gotham home since he was mustered out of the Army after World War II, he must stay at his convenience store until closing because his assistant has called in sick.  But Wilson is not scared.  After all, he survived three years fighting Nazis in Europe and North Africa, and thirty more years fighting his mother-in-law.  He has faced down would-be robbers, shoplifters, and even a small time racketeer who thought he could shake down Charlie Wilson with a protection racket.  All that and nary a scar to show for it.  He can manage to walk the two blocks from his store to his brownstone.

As he shuts out the lights and locks the front door, his mind is elsewhere...on the shutoff notice he received from the water company for an unpaid bill that he is positive he paid. Well, pretty sure he paid.  His mind is fixed on whether that Frito Lay driver has been shorting him on his Dorito order every week...it is not on the shadow that steps out from behind the ally entrance next to the dry cleaners.  Or on the second figure that materializes across the street and mirrors Wilson's movements as he makes the trek home.  By the time the third appears, this time in his peripheral vision, he is halfway home.  He quickens his pace, hoping to reach his porch before these young fellas make their evil intentions known.  But when his path is blocked by a fourth thug, he knows he won't make it home without a confrontation.

Inside, Mrs. Rose Wilson is in the kitchen making ravioli with Alfredo sauce - marinara gives Charlie terrible heartburn - when she hears her husband's shout from outside in the street.  She puts down the wooden spoon and races to the front door, through it, and out into the street.  Her neighbors' porch lights  are all turning on and some of those neighbors are starting to filter out of their homes to watch Rose as she kneels down over her fallen husband.  Broken and bleeding, he struggles for breath.

As she cradles her husband's head in her lap and he takes his dying breath, she shouts out to the world the question that every citizen of Gotham demands an answer to:

"Is there nobody in this whole world who can differentiate between Castillian Spanish and Latin American Spanish, navigating the subtle differences in enunciation and pronunciation, especially the z and th sounds???

Meanwhile, word reaches Commissioner Gordon's desk that armed and masked men are holding everyone at a day care center hostage and threatening to detonate a bomb unless the city releases the head of their gang.  Gordon is in a quandary,  If he sets the king pin loose, he is unleashing a monster, a criminal mastermind.  If he refuses, scores of children are blown to pieces.

Walking over to the mahogany cabinet on the south wall of his office and opening the class door, he  pulls out a bottle of scotch.  Not the good stuff.  He saves that for celebrations.  And there won't be any celebrating today.  No, he gets himself the cheap stuff, the scotch that calms his nerves and helps him think.  But he already knows what he must do.  Who he must call.  There is no other way out.  The city has only one hope.  Only one man can save the day now.  He opens his office door, pops his head out and barks out an order to the desk sergeant.

"Light the beacon.  We need the Translator!!!"

Pretty lame, huh?  Well, that's the vision that our Commander in Chief, Barack Obama shared with the world the other day.  He was being interviewed by "Entertainment Tonight" and was asked what his choice of superpower would be.  Now, if he were as smart as people say he is, he would have already read my guide to becoming a superhero, both parts 1 and 2 and he would have nailed the answer.  He could have gone with the ability to fly.  That's a popular one.  Or X-ray vision, which is cool, but I can understand if he chose to stay clear of that one because nobody's really sure if he'd be allowed to use it with the new ObamaCare thing or whether there'd be a six month wait.  Being bulletproof is cool.  Ditto for heat vision, invisibility, super strength, etc.  But he passed on all those.  Instead, the leader of the free world and smartest man in any room decided those weren't good enough.

He chose "The ability to understand any language."

Now, the interviewer did not follow up with the logical sequence of questions, probably out of fear of getting answers like "The ability to understand any language"  so I will have to ask (and answer?) the logical follow-ups.  Such as, if he had this "superpower" he would (obviously) have to become a superhero.  Which means he'd have to come up with a name for himself. What would it be? "Rosetta Stone"?  Sounds like a Bond girl.  "The Translator?"  Weak.  Where would his hideout be?  The library?  A call center in India?  Most likely, he and AquaMan would hang out together in the Fortress of Lame-itude,  Would he have a sidekick? Probably not, since rule numero uno regarding sidekicks is that they cannot outshine the superhero, and let's face it, that's a pretty tall order to fill here.  Well, maybe Joe Biden.  What crimes would he fight?  Crimes against language?  Who would his arch-nemesis be?  See, clearly he did not think his answer through.  Unacceptable.

Now, my guide did not specifically say this, but I think it is universally understood in the super power community: If there is a smart phone app for you superpower, or if Google can do the exact same thing as your superpower....then it isn't a superpower.  Which means you are not a superhero.  Sorry, GrammarMan.  You aren't an awesome superhero.  You are just the President.

Happy Father's Day, Mom

Good dads don't need to be wished a happy Father's Day.  A good dad takes pride in knowing that he is providing for and protecting his family and every Sunday is just as special and important as this one.  While he appreciates the sentiment and gratitude, he doesn't require that you offer it.  He just wants you to leave him alone and let him watch the ballgame so he can recharge his batteries and prepare himself to conquer the world next week.

We should replace Father's Day with Mother-Father Day - a day to recognize and thank those women who have to fill the role of both mother and father because dad is not around.  My own mother was like this when I was growing up.  In fact, my own father was in and out of my early childhood life so sporadically that I didn't even notice when my parents divorced.  Seriously.

So much of what is wrong in this world today directly results from men acting like men and not like fathers.  Too many men have the title of "father" when they do not deserve it.  They fail to understand the tremendous responsibility that is laid upon your shoulders when you choose - intentionally or otherwise - to bring a child into this world.  When you do not step up and take care of your responsibility, you cause irreparable harm to your child, to his mother, and to society.

Families need Dad to be there and to care.  A mother needs to have someone who will treat her with love and respect, and to know that she has a partner she can completely rely on.  Daughters need to be loved and have their fathers' guidance and approval, and boys need a role model to imitate so they can learn how to become a good man and father when they grow up.  This world would be infinitely better off for centuries to come if we just had one single generation of men who all did what they were supposed to do and acted like good fathers and husbands, providing for their families and not shirking their responsibilities.

So, to all the Mother-Fathers - especially my mother - , I say "Happy Father's Day."  And to all the good dads, I say "Enjoy the ballgame. And thank you."

I Oughta Be In Pictures

Well, the Fat Kid is gonna be living large.  And, no, I don't mean the "large" that comes from converting the Food Pyramid into the Food Skyscraper and having extending sessions of Assal Horizontology.  No, I mean "large" as in going Hollywood, making fat stacks of cash, and rubbing elbows with actors.  And not just the ones waiting tables at IHOP.  Real, working, Hollywood actors.

I am going to be a famous movie producer.

After repeated and exhaustive negotiations with a famous Hollywood movie studio, I recently inked a movie deal.  Yep.  A real live movie deal, with contracts and everything.  Well, technically my court appointed attorney said that the term is not "inked" but "served" and he doesn't call it a "movie deal" per se, but "restraining order."  It's all legal mumbo jumbo to me.


Anyhoo, I know you are wondering: How did I do it?  It all started when I went to the movies not long ago with the lovely Mrs. Fat Kid to see "Prometheus."  As the lights went down and the movie began, I sat with rapt attention waiting for something new and exciting to come my way.  

It never did. 

Instead, I was greeted with the usual alien flick fare, with the movie following a tried and true formula.

That's when it hit me.  All alien movies are basically the same and I can become rich by following this formula.  It's like card counting at the blackjack table.  Only without cards or math.  Here's the formula:

It must be set in the future, far enough ahead that we expect lots of cool gadgets and space travel, but not so far off that we can't identify with the people about to be fed introduced to intergalactic visitors.

The clothing must be sexy, shiny, and completely impractical.  The tighter and shinier, the better.  Apparently the need for breathable, functional clothing is something future humans have outgrown.  Also outgrown is the need for pockets.


Cast and Crew
1. The captain.  If the captain of the interstellar craft is a man, he must be a grizzled, hard boiled type who likes to drink.  He doesn't need to threaten to beat you up if you fall out of line, but he will probably just strand you on the dark side of the moon.  But that's only if he survives the encounter with the alien life forms, which he never does.  If the captain is a woman, she must be the kind of alpha male that alpha males are afraid of.  And she must be drop dead gorgeous.  But if you cross her, she will kick your ass so hard that you will strand yourself on the dark side of  the moon.

2. The android.  Never, ever trust the robot.  Whether it is Ash from Alien, HAL from 2001, Robot from Lost in Space, or David in Prometheus, the robot is always bad news who is going to try to kill the rest of the crew.


3. The Company Man.  He is along for the ride to look after the company's interests, but he (like the robot) always has an ulterior motive for being there and he thinks the rest of the crew is expendable.  He is usually killed off before the question of "If the rest of the crew is sacrificed, who's going to fly the ship/wake him up from cryo-sleep when the ship gets home?" gets asked or answered.

4. The obvious love interest.  There is always a character who would fit well with the main protagonist - if only the alien didn't kill him before that relationship could blossom (see "Who Survives?" below).

5. Monster fodder. All the rest of the crew, who will be eaten, usually one at a time at first, then in bunches.

Green Slime
For some reason, hostile aliens always leave a trail of green slime where ever they go and it is usually this gross substance that the monster fodder peeps first encounter.  When they first see the trail, rather than shouting "Hey! It's green slime!  There be aliens about! RUN!" they study it like a fine wine connoisseur encountering a Sauvignon Blanc for the first time.  Only, by the time he decides whether it has breathy, oaky temper or has a playful but shy aroma, he has a scaly tentacle sticking out of his belly and blood spewing from his mouth.


The Aliens
They must be gross, they must be ugly, they must be scaly, and they must stand in front of the monster fodder and snarl menacingly before they kill the first victim.  It absolutely has to happen.  In figure skating that would be considered part of the "compulsory program", leaving all the rest of the kills open to free style interpretation.  Their blood is often toxic, meaning even if you get a kill shot off, if it's at close range, you die a slow, agonizing death.  They never carry weapons because they don't have to, because they are part dinosaur part trial attorney and they can rip you into pieces with their bare hands/claws/tails.  Unless they are Predators.  But those guys are the exception that proves the rule. Predators are also the exception that proves the rule that aliens don't need a good reason to kill you.  They just don't like you.

Who Survives?
Here's a fun bit of trivia: you can predict the body count in any alien movie by counting the number of humans on the ship and subtracting 1.  That is the number of people who will be munched by aliens.  Why?  Because there can only ever be one survivor. Unless there is a child or animal involved, then there can be two.  But before anyone can be declared the sole survivor, all the rest of the aliens must be laid to rest/blown to bits and a final mano y mano chase-and-fight sequence decides the winner.  And the winner is always the human because with the alien winning the battle to the death there would not be a sequel.

So that's the formula for financial success in Hollywood.  Now I am just waiting on my court appointed attorney to tell me when our appearance before the judge production meeting is.

Paging Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine, Dr. Howard

So, the other day I was walking through the grocery store. I happened upon the cold cuts aisle, stopping just long enough to ponder my many choices of luncheon meat, when one particular type of ham caught my eye. It was labeled Oscar Mayer Honey Cured Ham. I began to ponder: what sort of disease was this ham cured of? Would I want to take a chance eating ham that had been infected with something even if it had been cured? Is it wrong for me to be prejudiced against previously-sick lunch meat, because, after all, the package said it had been cured?  And just what sort of disease can be cured with honey? Ah! That is the key isn't it?

My brain began to churn as it only can when focused on food. If whatever disease had infected this ham could be cured with honey, might there be more diseases also curable with other sweet, delicious confections? What about M&Ms? Is there some sort of malady or affliction that can be remedied by the regular and copious ingestion of M&Ms? I mean, other than skinniness, that is. After all, there has to be a reason why my friends and I refer to this wonderful creation as "Vitamin M," doesn't there?


And if I had just been so lucky...errrrr... I mean unfortunate to contract a disease that is only treatable by M&Ms, would I ever want to be fully cured? I think not. I can totally see myself becoming one of those chronic, hypochondriac, malingerers, calling my doctor five or six or seven times a day to tell him that my dosing is all wrong and that I need need more.  Of course, he would try to tell me that I was crazy or that I was cured or that I should stop following him and calling him at all hours of the evening. But really? Who's the expert here?  That's right: I am.

In the end, I opted for smoked turkey. Because, if you stop and think about it, smoking kills. So I automatically knew what killed this turkey: smoking. I don't know what killed that ham. I mean, sure it was sick, but it had been cured right? I thought it best not to take any chances with the pork. And just to be safe I picked up a big old bag of M&Ms on my way out. You can never be too careful.

Great News!!!! I Hate You!!!!

Two recent news stories caught my eye and got me thinking.  The first was news that vampire novelist and Catholic-turned-atheist-turned-Catholic Anne Rice has announced that she is leaving Christianity.  Apparently, she was "tired of having to be anti-gay and anti-feminist" and can no longer be associated with "this quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, and deservedly infamous group."  The second was about employees of an Ohio strip club protesting outside a church whose members had been protesting outside their club for four years.

anne rice.jpg

While I have never read any of Rice's books or seen "Interview With A Vampire", and I must also confess to never having been a stripper or having been inside a strip club, I can see where these people are coming from and why they'd want to turn the tables and do some picketing of their own.  To many in our society, Christians are just another group of angry people, shouting and waving their fingers in everybody's faces.

How did this come to be?

Roll back the clock two thousand years, to that first Easter Sunday.  There the Apostles were, gathered together to ponder and discuss what to do next.  Their spiritual mentor and leader whom they followed for three years was dead.  Everything they thought they knew to be true was taken from them and they were adrift in the world.  Jesus was not going to free Israel from Roman bondage, nor was he going to be healing any of the sick or challenging the Pharisees.

Jesus was dead.

But what happened next would cause all of them to leave that place and spread the story of Christ throughout the Roman Empire.  To a man, they would all give their lives in Christ's service and in the name of Christianity.  They fanned out across the known world, sharing the Gospel with others, who in turn shared it with their friends, spreading this new faith until it became the dominant religion of the West.

But what did happen next, to make these dejected young men go out and willingly lay down their lives for God?  Jesus appeared to them and spoke to them.  Did He say "Go out and confront some gays and strippers, get all up in their faces and tell them they are going straight to HELL!!!!  While you are at it, round up some feminists and liberals and roast them on a big fire."?

Not exactly.

Did He get the team into a huddle and tell Peter "You go here and preach that God hates those people, and Stephen can go over here and tell them how much our heavenly father just can't wait to smite them"?

Not hardly.

What fired these guys up so much and changed their lives (and the world) forever is the realization that God sent His Son to the earth to save it because....wait for it...He LOVES us and does not want us to be separated from Him any longer.  Through Jesus's resurrection, God showed that He can overcome anything, even death.

These guys got plugged into the greatest news ever in the history of the world: The Creator of the Universe loves each and every one of us and wants us to have a relationship with Him.

"But, Fat Kid," a good and honest Christian might protest, "surely God is not at all happy with what these young ladies and their gentleman clients do at these clubs.  They need to be shut down."

As a father of two precious daughters,  I can tell you with absolute certainty that little girls do not grow up dreaming of becoming strippers.  Or prostitutes.  Or heroin addicts.  Or drug mules.  They dream of becoming ballerinas and zoo keepers and musicians and princesses.  Unfortunately, this foul world we live in puts these ladies in circumstances such that they seek male attention and money in very, very wrong ways.  Most of them fall into that terrible life and cannot get out.  And they cannot get out because they never encounter people who tell them that they are better than that.  Nobody who works in or frequents the clubs can share with them that there is a powerful and loving God who can take them out of that life and turn them into something new.  That there is hope and life and redemption awaiting outside for them.

And why isn't there anybody telling them this?  Because the very people who should be sharing the Good News (it is, after all, what the word "Gospel" means) are condemning them and telling them that God hates them.  Protesting outside a strip club isn't any more likely to lead anybody who works there or seeks out their pleasures there to come to church and hear what God has to say than the strippers protesting outside the church will cause the pastor's wife to start pole dancing for money.


Churches and all their members should have a heart for the lost.  They should have a never-ending and burning passion to reach out to people who need to know that God loves them. Introduce someone who is lost to God, let Him turn their life around.  Call me simplistic, but if those churchgoers had been ministering to the people at the strip club and sharing God's divine and infinite love, they wouldn't have to protest to get it shut down because it would close on its own due to lack of business.

Perhaps Christians would be more effective if we followed Jesus's example.  He did not condemn the tax collector, the prostitute, or any other sinner.  Instead, He met them where they were (He even invited himself to dinner at the tax collector's house), showed them His divine mercy by healing their infirmities or forgiving their sins, and then instructed them to "Go, and sin no more."  He did, however, heap particular scorn on the Pharisees - religious people who allowed their own incorrect interpretation of God's will to entangle those seeking God and interfering in the relationship between God and the average person.  This is not to say that we should not hold true to our core values and stand up for what we believe is right.  We should, however, keep our eyes on the Great Commission that Jesus gave to all of us - spread the good news.

I fear that as Christianity moved from a religion of the oppressed into the religion of the ruling class, the focus shifted from individuals sharing God's love with their neighbor and toward finding fault with our neighbor and looking for ways to reject them.  We must take care to make sure we emulate Jesus and not the Pharisees as we reach out to the lost.

A Boy Named Goo

As both a native of Buffalo, NY and an avid student of history, I could fill you in on every good thing that has come out of Buffalo in the past 200 years.  There is (obviously) the chicken wing - what people outside of Western New York refer to as a "Buffalo wing."  That's an easy one.  The Erie Canal begins (or ends) in Buffalo, and its proximity to Niagara Falls causes many who would not otherwise visit the Queen City to do so.

The Buffalo Bills hold a singular (albeit dubious) distinction in accomplishing a feat that will never, ever be duplicated in losing four consecutive Super Bowls.  Buffalo has been host to a Pan_American Games, at which President William McKinley was assassinated, leading to the swearing in (in Buffalo) of Teddy Roosevelt as new the President.  Millard Fillmore called Buffalo home, as did Grover Cleveland, the only President to serve two non-consecutive terms (he won the popular vote in all three of his presidential contests).  Republican presidential contender and H.U.D. Secretary Jack Kemp was from Buffalo, even playing for a few years as quarterback of the Buffalo Bills.  Newsmen Wolf Blitzer and the late Tim Russert hailed from my hometown.  Mark Twain also spent much time there, although he found San Francisco summers colder than Buffalo winters, so he must have been just a summer visiter.

Perhaps all these eclectic and esoteric offerings from Buffalo are inaccessible to the Average Joe and he may say "So, really, what has Buffalo ever done for me?"  To which, I would answer "Well, there's also the Goo Goo Dolls," leaving Average Joe to respond "Ah, you have saved the best for last because, quite frankly, aside from the Buffalo wing and Buffalo Bills, I had no idea what all that other stuff is."

Why my sudden interest in the Goo Goo Dolls?  My precious ten year old daughter loves the band Switchfoot.  Why?  Because like all ten year old girls who have an older brother, she looks up to him and likes what he likes.  And her fourteen year old brother's favorite band is Switchfoot.  And Switchfoot was the opening band for the Goo Goo Dolls here in Phoenix tonight, and Mrs. Fat Kid and I took them to the concert.  This was the third time we had taken our boy to see Switchfoot, but this was our little girl's first concert and I was unsure how she would do with all the noise and lights.  Fortunately, a great time was had by all, and my little princess got up and rocked to The Sound and Meant to Live, two simply awesome tunes.

What was even better was that after their set, they invited their fans to meet them in the lobby of the venue.  We took the kids to meet them and they were all great to talk to.  Their drummer even took a picture with my boy (who is quite an avid drummer himself).  Each member of the band shook all of our hands, gave every as many autographs as we wanted, and seemed genuinely interested in interacting with their fans.

Then the Goos came onstage.  All I can say is that it was the closest thing to having fun without actually having any fun that I have experienced.  Sure, they were OK and most of the songs they played you'd recognize if you listened to the  radio at all over the past ten years.  But the most common thought I had with each new song was "Didn't they just play that one?" because all their songs sound alike.

I suppose that I should have known from the first number that something foul was afoot.  The bass player was running around the stage, all excited, banging on his bass guitar like he was really working it.  Of course, he was not working it.  Unless your name is Flea or you play bass in Primus or some speed metal band, you could probably have your instrument unplugged and nobody would notice.  Sorry, bass players, but that's just the way it is.  If your band is boring (Goo Goo Dolls) and your instrument is boring (bass guitar) you have to overcompensate by running around the stage, jumping up and down and trying to convince all of us that you are working really hard and having loads of fun.

I don't even know if Switchfoot has a bass player, but if they do, he wasn't running around the stage trying to show people how much fun he was having, which means he was probably a pretty good bass player.  Or else he had a really, really short cord to his amp and has to stand in one place lest he accidently unplug his instrument.

Anyway, if you have a chance to see Switchfoot, I would recommend that you do so, even if it means having to buy a ticket to the Goo Goo Dolls.

Memories Light The Corners Of My Mind...Don't They?

The other day I was waiting for "The Simpsons" to load on Hulu and happened upon a news story .  It seems that 1 in 5 people has fond recollections of events that never happened.  As in false memories.  Like the kind that psychiatrists put into your brain when you lie down on their couch and ask you to tell them about your mother.  Like what aliens implant into rednecks' brains after abducting them and sticking probes up their Nether Regions.


That got me to thinking.  Could some of my fondest memories be implanted by aliens or unscrupulous therapists?  Could it really be that when I asked Becky Rhubabrb out in eighth grade that she didn't say "Yes!  Yes!  Of course!" and we dated throughout grade school and college and lived happily ever after?  Could it be that she really laughed until she wet herself and told me "Not if you were the last boy on earth and all the girls were busy that night"?

Or might it be possible that in high school I didn't come up with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning in the playoffs and hit a home run, being mobbed by my adoring fans and ecstatic teammates, who then carried me off the field and starting chanting "Fat Kid! Fat Kid!" as I took my bow?  Might it be that I really struck out chasing a ball out of the strike zone, losing the game and causing my angry teammates to chase me around the field with bats and pitchforks?

Or when I went on "American Idol" and I got a "Dawg! You da BOMB!" from Randy, an "I am quitting the music business because you are setting the standard way too high now" from Paula and a "Cancel the rest of the auditions because we have a winner" from Simon? Could that be just a false memory?


Or when I went on "Hell's Kitchen" and convinced Chef Ramsay to  change the menu to hot dogs and Ding Dongs, and he called it "&!^#%$'ng brilliant!!!!" and I won in a landslide and he changed the name of the show to "Fat Kid's Kitchen"?  That really happened, didn't it?

I know that those things really happened, because I have vivid recall, just like I can see clearly how I won an Nobel Peace Prize for my work with my friends Shaggy and Scooby in tracking down the culprets who were dumping toxic waste into the swamp behind the school and then tricking people into thinking it was haunted so that nobody would come around and catch them in the act, but it turns out that the ghost was just a sheet on a wire accompanied by a creepy soundtrack, and we unmasked the bad guy and exposed the whole thing.

Now I know that really happened because they gave us an award and everything.

If I could just remember where I put the thing...

Things That Make You Go..."What The Heck?!?!" - Part II

Some people just don't have a strong grasp on reality.  Take, for example, the band Radiohead.  While technically not serial killers, they don't quite see things the way normal people do.  They recently announced that they would never again be performing their first and biggest hit "Creep" live in concert.  Likewise, A Flock of Seagulls front man Mike Score proclaimed during a television interview that he hates that band's huge hit "I Ran" and wishes that he would never have to sing it again.  He said that too many fans only come to the shows to hear that one song and fail to appreciate the rest of the A Flock of Seagulls catalogue. And Liam Gallagher of Oasis fame has been loud and proud telling people how little he cares for "Wonderwall" - you know, Oasis's most popular song.


When I was in college, Counting Crows was just getting popular, on the heels of the release of their first single "Mr. Jones."  When they came to Chicago to play the Horizon, guess which song didn't make the set list?  Yeah, their one and only hit.  These chuckleheads trashing the very songs that made them rich and famous (and, apparently, clueless) would be like Michael Jordan telling people to stop talking about his basketball skills and that he is sick of people only wanting to see him play.  I wonder how many tickets the Baja Men would sell to a show promoted as "The Baja Men, who will NOT be performing 'Who Let The Dogs Out'?"  Some advice for Mr. Score and the rest of the Flock: You should open up your show with "I Ran", play it a couple more times, close the show with it and then come back and do it as an encore.  And then thank your fans for loving the song so much that they would pay to see a moldy 80's band live, even though they haven't been hip since day glow, thin ties, and parachute pants were all the rage.

Speaking of music turning the brain to mush....Apparently I need to hurry up and finish putting all of my thoughts on my blog before, you know, the internet ceases to exist.  Because the artist formerly known as "The Artist Formerly Known As 'Prince'" has seen the future and can share with us that the internet is sooooooo yesterday, approaching its expiration date.  Yeah.  Just like the internal combustion engine, jet flight, and frozen foods, this whole internet thing is just a passing fad.


But brain dead rock stars aren't the only ones a few fries short of a Happy Meal.  Some yahoo recently threw $45,000 away on a set of Marilyn Monroe's x rays.  You read that right.  X rays.  As in: black and white rendering of hard tissues taken in order to diagnose disease.  There is no distinguishing, unique, or identifying feature on the x rays that would cause one to ask "Say, isn't that a thoracic film of Marilyn Monroe?  I'd recognize that solar plexus anywhere!  And that clavicle is really one of a kind!"  Instead, one might take a passing look at it and remark "Boy does Callista Flockhart look different without makeup."  If people are willing to pay big money for some films of dead celebrities - films whose authenticity is impossible to verify and whose characteristics are indistinguishable from any other x rays - they may want to take a peek at my new E Bay listings.  I have some dental shots of Moses, a hand-wrist film of Christopher Columbus, and a lateral ceph of Alexander the Great that would be the envy of collectors anywhere.  The listings expire next week - that is, assuming the internet is still around.

Things That Make You Go..."What The Heck?!?!"

I am back from my hiatus, just in time to read that Mel Gibson decided that he didn't alienate enough people by getting drunk and going on an anti-Semitic tirade and that he should get drunk and rail against blacks as well.  Just to make sure that everyone got the message that he is a complete tool, he decided to throw in a few death threats and sexually disgusting comments, with some misogyny to wrap things up nice and tight. 


Seeing the story make me sit and ponder "What on earth is he thinking?"

But before he could answer, I read about John Mark Karr, the guy who claimed to have killed JonBenet Ramsey, and his fresh legal troubles.  A former fiancee' (aged nineteen) accused the teacher of pressuring her to find little girls who would become members of a Karr-centered cult.  Only, Karr is now known as Delia Alexis Reich.  Oh, and he dresses like a woman but is still really a man.


Where oh where to begin?

First of all, what possesses a person to publicly confess to a heinous crime that he did not commit?  He had to know that all sorts of scorn would be heaped upon him for the murder, as JonBenet was all of six years old when she was sexually assaulted and strangled in her own home on Christmas Eve.  And he also had to understand that the physical evidence would not jibe with his tale and that he would be proven, eventually, to not have been involved in the crime.  A more efficient legal system might have drawn and quartered this freak before he had the chance to be proven "innocent."  But this being the civilized world and all, the Colorado legal system had to go through the motions of determining whether Karr/Reich is a cold-blooded child murderer or a self-absorbed attention whore who would exploit the grief of the Ramseys to have the whole world pay attention to him, however briefly. Sadly, Colorado does not provide the death penalty for the latter, so Karr/Reich was released.

Secondly, what kind of woman finds herself attracted to this kind of guy?  If there is one man on all the planet who should not be able to find a date, it would be John Mark Karr.  But, no.  He apparently has quite a few female fans.  So do many serial killers on death row.  Some of these men awaiting their executions actually find women on the outside to marry.  Scott Peterson, convicted of murdering his wife and unborn child, was on death row scarcely an hour when his first marriage proposal came in.  His first day at the prison, the warden received three dozen phone calls from female admirers, asking for his mailing address.  (I know a lot of you old timers are thinking to yourself "Back in my day, the serial killers and mass murderers asked the women to marry them, not the other way around!"  Yes, things change and this younger generation has no respect for the old ways.)

Let's say that you are some lonely woman and you strike up a "relationship" with a murderer on death row and eventually marry the guy.  How does that work?  When you go to Wal-Mart and do your bridal registry, what does that look like?  "Cartons of smokes (good for bartering), Dull-tipped knife sets (will pass through security check but can later be sharpened down and used as a shank), Balloons, small (useful for smuggling in drugs)"?  And after you tie the knot, do you show your friends of pictures of yourself in a lei when you honeymoon all by yourself in Hawaii?  When people ask you "What does your husband do?" do you answer "Time"?  And what if one day he gets released and he is no longer the scandalous but distant bad boy who gives you notoriety and attention, but is the ex-con sleeping under your roof?  He killed a whole bunch of people to earn that trip to death row and being confined in a ten by ten cell for the past twenty years hasn't exactly afforded him much opportunity to develop healthy interpersonal skills.  So, you do what any good wife would do and try to get him sent back to prison.  Send him to the store for a pack of cigarettes and tell him to rob the place while he's out.  If he gets away with it, you get free cigarettes and maybe some Choc-O-Diles.  If he gets killed or (better yet) sent back to prison, you are safe while still holding onto that air of notoriety.  It's a real win-win.

But what if things don't work out between you two when he gets released from jail?  If you decide to file for divorce, what sort of argument could you make to the judge?  "He's just not the man I married?  He's cold and emotionally distant?  He doesn't show me that he loves me often enough?"  Helloooooooo.  You married a serial killer!  

What are these women thinking?!

To be continued...

Becoming Lindsay Lohan

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I haven't blogged much this past month because nearly every free moment of my time has been spent in some sort of dental continuing education class, acquiring knowledge and binders (retaining more binders than knowledge).  Some of these classes captivated me and left me on the edge of my seat wondering and wanting more.  But most of them left me bored and wondering "when's lunch?"

It was during one of these latter classes that my thoughts began to wander.  The discussion was on muscle memory and the mechanisms by which neural pathways are encoded into, um...I mean how they're....that is to say...hey...I wonder when lunch is?  Anyway, a thought popped into my head: Muscles don't have brains, so how can they have memories?  Hmmmm.  I began to argue with myself:

Many things have memories but don't have brains.  

Oh, yeah?  Like what?

Like computers.  

But computers have hard drives, which are like brains as far as storage goes.

Not all computers have hard drive storage.


Workstations don't have local storage.  It's all stored on a central server.

That's when it hit me.  Muscles are like workstations while the brain is like the server.  So, I reasoned, the muscle memory must be stored in the brain.  Or something like that.  This led me to the next logical thought: My server hard drive is almost full and I will need to upgrade to a bigger one soon.  Will my brain/server ever get full?


Here are the facts: 1) the human brain is a finite thing, 2) finite things have capacity limits, 3) we cannot add another brain to provide storage.  We are stuck with what we have.  So, returning to my computer server analogy, what do I do when my server is getting full and I am unable to add secondary storage?  Obviously I start deleting things.  Unnecessary things.  Things I haven't used in awhile.

Then,a terrifying thought popped into my head: Is this how my own brain works?  As I learn more and more things and acquire more and more knowledge, will my brain fill up to the point that I need to start deleting other knowledge and memories to make room for the new ones?  When I start purging stuff from my hard drive, I look at each folder and see if it's important now, if I expect it to be important in the future, or if it's disposable.

I don't think that my brain works like that because if it did, I would be reminded of all sorts of old things every time I learned something new.  I would, say, find out that the capital of Crapistan is called Trenton, and my brain would shuffle through all sorts of old memories to see which ones should be discarded to make room for this new tidbit.  You'd think I would be reminded of all these old things as my psyche looked for room on the cranial drive.  All sorts of useless things should pop into my head as they are evaluated and sorted before being discarded.  My second grade teacher looked like Mary Tyler Moore but with really bad hair.  I once ate a blue hot dog.  Papa Smurf creeps me out.  Shredded Wheat cereal reminds me of Wilford Brimley's mustache.

But, no, nothing like that ever happens.  Which leads me to believe that the brain is not like a network administrator, carefully evaluating space needs and judiciously deciding what can be deleted.  It's probably more like a lazy teenager who, when asked to put his clothes away, throws open his bedroom door and flings the clothes where ever he can, paying no heed to where they land or to what they cover up.

That notion terrifies me.  If I am correct, it means that it is possible to learn so much that your brain runs out of space and you start to lose vital knowledge and actually become more stupid as you learn new things.  Could that possibly mean  that Miss South Carolina is really super smart, but that she learned so much that her brain filled up?  I am not taking any chances.  No more new knowledge for me.

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