Saturday, April 30, 2011

Nash Your Teeth

     Nash Your Teeth

Every now and againses
Before I come to my senses
I desire a life without consequences. 

I would hose down drunks,
Teach atheism to monks, 
Breed lilac-scented skunks. 

I would punch politicians
And use carbon emissions
To steal hats from magicians. 

I'd topple ancient runes,
Bound over Sahara's dunes,
And tour Jupiter's moons. 

And when I was done
With compunctionless fun
I'd dive into the sun.

I dedicate this to Ogden Nash, based chiefly on the non-word "againses"; the content does not particularly echo Nash, although he did delve into absurdities from time to time. Before anyone reminds me, I realize how "gnash" is spelled.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

So Long, Suckas

The time for caring about whom the song "You're So Vain" is about has long since passed. 

The time for caring about what all the allusions mean in the song "American Pie" has even longer since passed. 

So bye, bye, "bye bye, Miss American Pie"
Heard your rhymes so many times
Now they just make me sigh.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Cross Whisp

I don’t know what Christopher Cross looks like. I’ve never seen a photograph of him. People who have seen him perform live probably know—or think they know—better than I do, but I suspect Christopher Cross, much like Voldemort before he regained human form in the third or fourth or fifth Harry Potter book, has no body. He’s nothing more than a whisp capable of crooning listenable soft pop numbers, unable to assume corporeal form. Any alleged concert footage of him is probably just an anonymous actor hired to lip sync while the Cross Whisp does the actual singing. I’m not accusing him of being a fraud because I think he’s actually present at his performances. And people who pay for a ticket at least want to see a human appear to sing songs, so I don’t even begrudge him for hiring the actor. In a way, I’m sorry to expose him but sometimes the truth has to come out. In his defense, when you’re a disembodied whisp with a pleasant singing voice, hiring someone to impersonate you is probably the best that you can do.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Stop Making A Spectacle

Why did Harry Potter wear glasses? So did Dumbledore. Muggles can get laser surgery while magical beings still rely on antiquated optical aids. Weird. 

Sometimes people complain that immigrants are taking their jobs, but that’s usually not true. Most of the time, it’s the opposite. These people who are griping want to take the immigrants’ jobs from them, but the problem is they didn’t know they wanted those jobs until someone else got hired.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Depths of the Shallow

            Depths of the Shallow

It plummets hard and sudden like the hooting, hard-hatted pig
Crowing lecherously from atop a girder perch,
Every bit as crude but less honest.
They hated you all along but never said.
He did, the one who handed down your grades,
So did she, the one who pretended to listen,
Her mother did too; she smiled in your face.
And you didn’t know enough to hate back.

It’s time for the plunge, the fall, the descent
Into the depths of the shallow with a lurch.
They had their reasons, all niggling,
Small and dark like a musty closet
In a cramped, Depression-era flat.
And it’s too late for vengeance, for redress,
For forgiveness, for anything but
Resignation. And you’ve got plenty of that.

I can’t decide if the fact the above poem sort of rhymes—but not quite—represents a failure or a triumph.
    I can’t wait for the day when Lady Gaga becomes a candidate for School Board in Stamford, Connecticut. You know it’s coming, right? Busta Rhymes appeared in a film with Sean Connery. Basil Rathbone’s last movie was (seriously!) entitled “Hillbillies In A Haunted House.” Ice Cube recorded “When Will They Shoot,” one of the fiercest, most bellicose rap songs ever; now he’s involved in family-friendly visual entertainment. Past performance is not always indicative of future results. Bear that in mind when Stamford’s next School Board election rolls around.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Whatcha Gonna Doofus?

In about 3986 BC, near the city of Uruk in Sumeria, present day Iraq, human beings witnessed the first ever verified instance of a complete doofus surviving past the age of fifteen. Almost certainly it had happened before, but this represented the first time history noted the incident. Though the name of the individual is not known, the doofus is believed to have been male. Subsequent examples of doofuses making it into adulthood occurred independently in Egypt, China, and Central America, ensuring that most, if not all, early human societies were doofus-endowed. For many years, early Hebrew societies seemed to have been an exception, with no doofus appearances reported until centuries later, but scientists now realize this was merely a linguistic quirk, the term “Jewfus” having been employed to describe the same type of person.

This milestone represented both a great advance in civilization and a major setback. On one hand, it indicated life had become not quite so fraught with hazard and peril and raised the curtain on the possibility for long, reasonably happy existences among large groups of people rather than merely the fastest, strongest, and cleverest. On the other hand, it meant the species would have to learn to cope with doofuses! We put them in management because they can’t do work. We elect them to political office so they can speak only in the platitudes they understand since they have no appreciation for nuance. We give them reality television programs and talk shows. And ultimately, they acquire power.

Maybe this wasn’t inevitable. Perhaps slightly better planning or recognition could have altered the course of history, but now instead of having to tolerate and understand the doofus, the doofus barely tolerates and scarcely understands us. The doofus has become the rule rather than the exception. And bear in mind, this isn’t new. It only seems that way because of global media, because the population is now vast enough that a sufficient supply of smart and productive people is generated among the deluge of doofuses. One need only analyze history to realize doofuses have been influential for a very long time. 

Attempts to eradicate the doofus—sometimes called eugenics—have typically proved destructive. For one thing, the process gets corrupted because doofuses inevitably become involved in determining who the doofuses are, but more than that, anti-doofus extremists adopt unworkable plans that have to do with selective breeding, genetics, genocide, and so on. We don’t need to eliminate the doofus; in fact, we need the doofus around. A doofus can serve many useful purposes, such as protecting jobs created by bad companies that produce shoddy products only a doofus would purchase. No, all we need is to make the world safe and liveable for the non-doofus. It’s a modest, achievable goal, at least until doofuses get involved. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


It’s the Prevarication Sweeping the Nation! Thanks to a slick, deceitful marketing campaign, BNN, the Blathering Nonsense Network, has convinced many people—at least enough to generate decent ratings and adequate advertising revenue—that televised poker is interesting. Better still, last year seventeen viewers died of boredom while watching poker tournaments, thereby leaving their televisions tuned continuously to our network for hours, even days, before their bodies were discovered, another ratings boost. If you think watching people play cards on TV is entertaining, check out BNN’s new program “Nap Time”, where you can see pre-school students with their faces blurred out lie on the floors of day care facilities. Share the fun as some of them feign slumber while others drool in their sleep. Don’t miss “Nap Time” every afternoon at 1:30 on BNN. BNN: We Suck But You Watch Anyway.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Ready, Spit!

It's Muddy Waters' birthday and Martin Luther King's assassination anniversary yet again. Seems like a subject worth writing a poem about. If only I knew a poet.

It's also baseball season. Baseball is a wonderful sport and I love it. There are some intricate, archaic, and bizarre rules, both written and unwritten, and the game doesn’t always move too quickly. I fully understand and appreciate a lot of the complaints about baseball, whether they are in reference to the shortcomings of the game itself or matters like salary concerns and performance-enhancing substances. I’m not trying to convert nonbelievers. Still, I enjoy the game, the blend of nostalgia and timelessness, the eternal notion of summer. One of life’s most unexpected pleasures is traveling through an unfamiliar place and scanning the radio dial only to discover a baseball broadcast just beginning. This is particularly true if you happen to be in the middle of nowhere and pick up an AM signal from a distant city.

However, one aspect of baseball is so thoroughly jacked up that it cannot be defended by any reasonable person: chewing tobacco. For years now, pundits have, with some justification, obsessed over the use of performance-enhancing drugs off the field, but few have lamented the continued use of health-debilitating drugs on the field. Yes, it’s a tradition. But traditions have to be measured and assessed individually, not given carte blanche or, for that matter, universally assaulted. There’s nothing wrong with respect for traditions that are beneficial or even those that do neither harm nor good, but stupid, damaging traditions ought to be identified and confronted. Baseball is the only sport I know of that permits players to use a dangerous substance in plain sight while the game is going on. NBA players have a reputation for marijuana use, but I don’t see them lighting blunts during jump balls. Lawrence Taylor had a problem with cocaine, but he didn’t snort a line off of Joe Theisman’s helmet after shattering the lower half of Joe’s body. All right, so chewing tobacco is legal and the aforementioned substances are not, but if that’s your preoccupation, think of cigarettes instead. LeBron James isn’t about to light up a Marlboro on the foul line, is he?

So come on, Major League Baseball, at least join the second half of the 20th Century while the rest of us are living in the 21st. How many more people have to get throat or salivary cancer before you ban chewing tobacco on the playing surface? Obviously, you can’t control what players and managers do the rest of the time, but if they’re anywhere a camera can pick them up on game day—the dugout, the bullpen, the locker room, leading off of second base—this is a no-brainer. Pick whatever pretext you want, whether you want to use the “think of the children” angle or the “spitting on the field is disgusting” line, just get rid of the stuff!