Monday, June 28, 2010

Circling the Drain

Being a single guy I don’t do a lot of cleaning. I’ll do the dishes when I’ve run out of plates to heat up my blood sausage hot pockets and ever since I found a family of Ethiopian refugees living under a pile of newspapers in my living room, I’m more diligent about picking up trash from the floor. Other than that I’m like most men in that we can live in a certain amount of our own dirt and thrive, growing taller and more self-assured.

The bathroom is the room in the house that no one wants to clean, even neat freaks. I avoid it like Grateful Dead heads avoid showering. However, I’ve seen some signs lately that its time to clean.

I walked in the other day and found a message written on my mirror in toothpaste. Turns out the mold spores on the bottom of my shower curtain have been their so long they have evolved into new silicon-based sentient beings and they wanted to open up diplomatic negotiations with me. Apparently every morning when I take a shower I wipe out half their population, the interstate highway system and several layers of infrastructure.

But before I could take a United Nations tour of my bath tub, I heard a slurping sound that made me turn toward the sink. I watched with fascination and revulsion as the filmy layer of old soap, water, skin dirt and beard clippings from the edge of the sink had coalesced into a globulous creature resembling a BP executive. It tore its suction cup-like body away from the counter top, leaping at me with a ferocity matched only by movie critics reviewing a Robin Williams film. As it flew through the air it shouted, in a voice reminiscent of Carl Castle from NPR radio, “I’m alive! I’m alive!”

I sidestepped the beast, tripping over the toilet and slamming into the wall. The blob foresaw its impending doom and wailed “Remember me my Holy creator!” before landing in the bathtub right on top of the newly rebuilt mold home world. When it hit, the thing split apart covering my tub in a gooey paste.

From the floor I could hear the mold people crying out; their emergency vehicles speeding to the manifold scenes of destruction. Their satellite, which hovered just above my showerhead, changed position as they broadcast a hastily organized press conference where the president called for calm before being swept away to an undisclosed location by the secret service. The mold people celebrities quickly gathered in the ruins of the opera house for a benefit concert/telethon while the conservative commentators blamed liberal border control policies.

I picked myself up off the floor and decided to take the easy way out. I turned the handle marked H. Hot water rushed out of the showerhead, washing everything down the drain. My cleaning is done for another 6 months.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Lohan Mania

Sometimes I’m looking for something to write about and it’s a struggle. I’m poring over the entertainment and news sites hoping an article will strike a spark. Last week I was in that position and then, like a divine lightning bolt, a member of the Lohan family did something so inane, the blog practically wrote itself.

Here is their latest nugget of insanity: Dina Lohan, the increasingly self-absorbed and toys-in-the-attic mother of the clan, went to a Carvel ice cream store to get a cake for her son’s birthday. She handed over a Carvel black card starting a kerfuffle only an elitist, entitled, Z-list celebrity can find themselves in. Apparently these cards were issued to commemorate Carvel’s 75th anniversary. For advertising purposes they gave a card to 75 celebrities allowing them to get free ice cream for 75 years. Do you see the pattern with the number 75? Ok, good.

Dina “Please Someone PAY ATTENTION to ME” Lohan hands over the card and the clerk at the counter, who is now my favorite person in the world, says: you’re not Lindsay Lohan, the card says Lindsay Lohan, where is Lindsay Lohan? At this point I’m sure Dina pulled the “don’t you know who I am?” gambit but the clerk, again—my favorite person in the whole world, sticks to his guns and says: you’re not Lindsay Lohan, the card says Lindsay Lohan, where is Lindsay Lohan?

When Dina couldn’t produce her daughter the guy behind the counter, my new favorite person in the world, refused to give her the cake AND kept the black card. Dina, feeling that this was the single most egregious injustice in the history of the mankind, called the police. For an ice cream cake. When the authorities got there they made the clerk give her the cake and the card but told her she couldn’t use the card again. Later in the day, a Carvel spokesman, my second favorite person in the world, issued a statement that the card was being revoked because Lindsay had been abusing the privilege by ordering copious amounts of ice cream for her family and friends.

Did anyone actually see Lindsay and exclaim, “Look, it’s that boozy, cokehead actress who did a couple of Disney movies and she’s carrying a Fudgie the Whale ice cream cake from Carvel’s. Let’s go get one too!” I don’t believe this form of advertising works for 2 reasons. One, I didn’t even know Carvel’s was still in business. Two, I’d never heard of these mysterious black cards until last Friday when Dina Lohan found out how much of a nobody she really is.

Have I mentioned how much I love the clerk who wouldn’t hand over the cake?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Ant Wars Redux

So the ants now have control of my kitchen cupboard. My food sits in a box on the dining room table like I’m a transient waiting out another day of ennui at the bus station while holding pathological conversations with invisible rabbits. The cat is back. And holding a grudge. We’ve developed a tense relationship where I feed him and he spits invective back to me as payment rendered. I’ve also seen a few ants in the kitchen sink. Those I took care of with my secret weapon they call “The Hammer of God”. I refer to it as my index finger.

Friday night when I got home from work I dug the potato chips out of my hobo box-o-vittles and walked to my desk in the living room. As I sat down to turn on my laptop I saw an ant on the desk. Dispatching him I swore aloud and wondered where he had come from. Then I see one in the carpet. Grabbing a flashlight and ignoring the cat’s guffaws I traced their main grouping to a small garbage can a few feet away from the desk.

When I shone the flashlight for a closer look I saw that the ants had converted the base of the wooden trash bucket into a night club, “Chez Tissue Paper with Glaze from a Donut Still on It”. For a nominal cover charge the ants were allowed in to crawl over the old donut paper I had stupidly thrown in the trash. After gorging themselves they stayed for $1 jello shooters and the dance stylings of Trixie, known to have the biggest thorax in the tri-state area.

I tried talking to the door-ant but he got belligerent with me: Something about my name not being on the list and “please move behind the velvet rope before I call security”. He wasn’t so tough after I brought out The Hammer, quickly calling for the club manager. Soon I was introduced to Rick. “Great,” I thought, “an ant that’s seen Casablanca.” Rick informed me that he was the owner and proprietor of dozens of after-hours clubs throughout my neighborhood. I told him I didn’t care about the others, but this one had to shut down.

The bribes began with some miniscule morsels of cookie. After I pointed out that I had an entire bag of cookies Rick attempted to subtly get the location from me by saying, “Soooo, where do you keep this bag of cookies?” He tried to cover up his clumsiness with a quick offer of a night out with Trixie and her double jointed friend Honey Larue. For the next hour or so I had to explain to Rick the impossibilities of inter-species mating with charts, graphs and a quickly thrown together power point presentation.

Given no other choice I brought out the Hammer of God, however, Rick rallied his troops and began an attack whose main tactic was for the ants to run in all directions screaming hysterically, “Save the glaze! Save the glaze!” My index finger wasn’t doing enough damage so I had to deploy the Ducha del Muerte, the Shower of Death, otherwise known as my can of Raid spray.

My living room is now ant free. This was the costliest battle yet as far as ant casualties but I know they’ll be back. They are an enemy that doesn’t give up easily. The cat and I gave the honored dead a proper burial. They are at rest in my vacuum cleaner bag.

I will now hum taps . . .

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Ant Wars 2010

The kitchen. I can’t believe I’m still in the kitchen.

It’s humid: the air lies on my skin like a wet dish towel and I’m not sure I’m still breathing. Kneeling down behind the oven, the sweat coats my face in a sheen of grease leaving me desperate for a drink of water and wondering where my air support is.

The ants and I are at war again. I’m pinned down in the kitchen, my last 2 cans of Raid spray running on empty. And I’m alone in my fight since a garrison of ants carried the cat away while singing “High Hopes”. I can still hear Phantom’s plaintive meowing: “No! This isn’t my war! I just want to eat and nap!”

I had arranged for a bombing run from a rogue hive of yellow jackets but it looks like I’ve been double-crossed. My entreaties to the feral cats in the alley were met with sneers after they found out how many times I’ve taken my own cat to the vet. One of them crapped in my garden on their way home as a final middle finger.

About an hour ago I heard noises. When I peeked around the oven I saw the ants dismantling my dining room table and chairs then re-engineering the pieces into a crude trebuchet. I believe squares of my kitchen tile will soon be whizzing at my head. I’m going to have to launch an offensive of my own before they start their attack.

I’m strapping a broom and a mop to my back and turning my spray cans to full automatic. I have to make my charge now. I can hear ordnance being loaded into their siege engine. If I don’t make it, will someone rescue my cat from the P.O.W. camp? He was right. This is my war and he doesn’t deserve to suffer without his treats.

Cry Havoc! And let slip the dogs of war!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Music in my Head

Its 1982, I’m listening to FM 104 and these words come from the speakers:

Little ditty about Jack and Diane
Two American kids doing the best they can

Jack and Diane is a song by John Mellencamp or John Cougar or John Cougar Mellencamp or Johnny Cougar or whatever he was calling himself at the time (Johnny Cougar, was that the best you could do John? It sounds like the 10 year old brat down the street. “Who broke the window?” “It was that little Johnny Cougar again!”) The thing is I hated this song back then. It has a distinctive opening and I immediately knew what song it was. I couldn’t explain why, but Jack and Diane made spiders crawl out of my skin and slap me with tiny barbed clubs. The radio knob would become as elusive as sanity to Glenn Beck when I grabbed for it to change the station.

I can’t explain what it was that I hated so much just as I can’t explain why I don’t hate it anymore. I heard it on the way to work yesterday and happily sang along. Whatever made me sweat 25 years ago has dissipated with age. The same goes with Bruce Springsteen. Back in the 80s during his heyday as “the Boss” I couldn’t stand his music. Part of it I think was the moniker The Boss: The Boss of what exactly? And it seemed like everybody else in the entire world liked Springsteen. I was on an island. When I told someone I didn’t like Springsteen’s music I got stared at like rutabagas were growing out of my forehead or I had just shit in their salad and called it a burnt crouton.

Now, again for reasons I can’t explain, I like some of Bruce’s songs, especially Rosalita. I don’t like everything he does, but the stuff I don’t like I don’t hate anymore. Bruce must be so relieved.

The point of all this is that our minds are constantly screwing with us. One day I have no use for country music and a few years later I’m singing Folsom Prison Blues in the shower. In the early 90s I’m happily listening to Nirvana, smelling the teen spirit along with millions of others. A decade later they bore me to death. Why do our brains hate us so much that it will mess even with the music we listen to? I tried to have a nice friendly chat with my mind on the subject but it started playing the Bee Gees to distract me. Twenty years ago I would have resisted but now I just start screeching “Stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive”.

I don’t know what changes in us that our likes and dislikes in music alter. Perhaps our minds continue to expand and become accepting of something that was previously distasteful. To make room it kicks to the curb the songs that don’t stimulate us any longer. I don’t know the exact answer. What I do know for sure is that I still hate The Talking Heads’ Burning Down the House. Hate it with a passion.