Saturday, December 19, 2009


Here's what happens: the weather man predicts some snow and/or sleet and freezing rain, and everyone flocks to the grocery store to buy eggs, milk, bread and toilet paper. No one really knows why, but I have a theory.

Now toilet paper I get. No one wants to be caught out on the can with no paper in the house. One can use anything to wipe, really; an old sock, a paper towel, a page out of the Victoria's Secret catalog, etc., but it's never a good idea. Cleaning up with anything other than the paper made for that purpose tends to leave the roundeye agitated and angry.

But bread, milk, and eggs? I don't get it. Why those foods and not red onions and bagged lettuce? A couple nice steaks and some cole slaw? Townhouse crackers and kumquats?

We discussed this one day last winter at the Vortex, and decided that everyone gets some weird collective urge to make bread pudding. Now I know the fact that people aren't buying up all the sugar and cinnamon as well put a hole in this theory, but bear with me.

The weather man is prophesying certain doom by way of a winter storm, which leads people to think about the apocalypse. Thinking about the apocalypse caused people to wonder, "Whatever does one feed the hordes from the Pit of Hell?" Then some kind of instinct kicks in, possibly the result of race memory and evolution, and everyone goes, "Why, bread pudding, of course!"

In keeping with this, I've come up with a recipe. Write it down and put it in your recipe box, or tuck it in your Bible (perferably in the book of Revelation.)

Apocalypse Bread Pudding

3 Loaves of bread

1/2 dozen (6) eggs

3 cups milk

1/2 C. sugar

2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

pinch of despair.

Preheat oven to 425, unless your neighborhood has begun to burn in which case pudding can be baked on the sidewalk.

Combine ingredients and pour in to baking dish.

Bake for 45 minutes; top should be brown and crispy.

Garnish with coppery red sauce, or eyeball rosettes.

Serve in warmed pottery bowls, while weeping and gnashing teeth.

Serves four horsemen.

Online Nakedidity: The Great Debate

There's a girl at work who has all the men drooling all over themselves. She's a tiny, petite girl with a spray-on tan who dresses like an extra from an Aerosmith video in 1987. I originally remarked that she looked like an extra from a Cinderella video in 1987, but my boss said I was wrong because the girls in Cinderella videos were too trashy and kind of gross. My boss really, really likes this girl.

According to my boss and my co-worker, tiny girls are more attractive because a man wants a woman he can lift up and toss around. It must be some kind of innate urge going back to caveman days; a kind of ancestral race-memory with roots in the need to be able to pick up one's woman and flee an oncoming dinosaur or a spewing volcano.

I referred to the girl, whose nickname keeps changing (from "Orangina" to "Tropicana" to "Object,") as my boss' "lady love." I was duly corrected.

"I'm not in love with her. I just want to show her how a demon fucks." Then he mimed what that would look like, complete with devil horn hand gesture. I think most women probably would have taken great offense to this, but I laughed so hard I snarfed my diet Coke. This goes a long way to explain why I'm just one of the guys, and also adds tremendously to my dude cred.

The outfits old Tropicana wears to the office are often less-than appropriate. One of my tasks as the resident good-old-boy/gal of the department is that when this girl is in the hallway or some other common area of the office, I have to sound the alarm. Mostly this is just me running in the door yelling "OBJECT!" I do this regardless of what she's wearing, but some days' outfits require a little more urgency.

One day there was a schoolgirl outfit that had the whole office talking; the men were beside themselves, giddy with lust and ogling at her as often as possible. The women were angry. "Did you see that?" "Who would wear that to work?" "Her supervisor should send her home!"

"Man," says my boss, "you battle-axes better not start complaining and ruin this for me!"

These women were all jealous, although I doubt any of them would admit it. Most of the women in the office couldn't get such a get-up in their size, unless Lane Bryant has started a stripper collection, and even if they could it would look ludicrous. I'm thinking most of us would wear silly sexy stuff like she does if we could.

We had a discussion that day about whether or not this girl had any kind of online profile. Turns out she does, and now there's a half-nekkid "Glamour Shots"-type photo circulating around. The reactions are the same as the outfits: the men are chuffed, the women acting disgusted, clicking their tongues with righteous indignation and muttering about sluts.

I said to a couple of my broad friends that if I had stunning abs like this girl, I'd do the same thing.

"No you wouldn't," said one of them, "and if you did we'd call you names!"

"Yes, I would," I retorted, "and I'd call you jealous."

Who wouldn't want to command that kind of male attention, to wield that kind of power? It certainly must be something to experience, although I'd wager that many of the girls who look good enough to have that kind of effect aren't smart enough to realize it.

Another friend, after viewing the photo, said, "That's it. I'm going to do what I did in my teens, where I only ate once a day, subsisted on water, and I'm going to get down to a size 8." She admitted this is delusional, and said that even if she got thin and toned, she wouldn't post such a photo on the internet because it would scar her kids.

"Think about it-even if your mother were hot, you wouldn't want to see her nipples on the internet, would you?"

She may have a point, but if I had amazing abs I'd surely be tempted.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

As A Matter of Fact, They Don't Know It's Christmas.

In 1984, a passle of bedraggled sexually ambiguous pop stars assembled somewhere in London to record a charity record as "Band Aid." Organized by Bob Geldoff (the singer for the Boomtown Rats,) the purpose of the project was to raise money for starving Ethiopians. A noble idea, to be sure, but it is quite possibly the dumbest Christmas song ever recorded.

Don't get me wrong; I like the song. It's a good Christmas pop song, catchy and with the appropriate number of bell-like tones. To this day, when it comes on the radio I go "Oooh! Band Aid!" and turn it up. I seem to recall that at some point, all the radio stations everywhere were supposed to play "Do They Know It's Christmas?" simultaneously. Or maybe that was "We are the World," I can't remember. If I had worked in radio in 1984, I would have pretended to forget it was time to take part in the total unifying Geldoffing of the world. At the appointed moment, I would have played something else; some Nat King Cole, perhaps, or T.Rex's "I Love to Boogie."

I've always wondered if Geldoff (who's been KNIGHTED, for Christ's sake) is very stupid or was very, very high when he penned these lyrics. Maybe they were written in a hurry, so there was no time to really put a lot of thought in to them. Perhaps he scrawled them on the back of a Wimpy's napkin on the way to the studio and the limo driver took a couple of really hard, sharp turns that caused the words to smudge, and so what he really wrote was intelligent and insightful but by the time the napkin got to Boy George and Simon LeBon it was totally illegible and they had to wing it.

At any rate, I was listening to the song and thinking about how dumb it is, and decided it could use some analysis. The first part of the song isn't too bad:
It's Christmas time
There's no need to be afraid.
At Christmas time,
We let in light and we banish shame.
And in our world of plenty
We can spread a smile of joy.
Throw your arms around the world at Christmas time.

Aw, that's nice. Smarmy and saccharin and silly, just as a Christmas song should be. "Throw your arms around the world" puts me in mind of the "I'd like to teach the world to sing..." Coke ad from the 70's. C'mon, everybody! Frankie Goes to Hollywood say, "Buy the world a Coke!"

The next bit is where it starts to go downhill. I think this is the part of the napkin that got wet:
But say a prayer,
Pray for the other ones.
At Christmastime it's hard.
But when you're having fun,
There's a world outside your window
And it's a world of dread and fear,
Where the only water flowing
Is a bitter stream of tears.
And the Christmas bells that ring there
Are the clanging chimes of doom.
Well, tonight thank God it's them instead of you.

I get this part; pause in your Christmas debauchery to say a little prayer for all those hapless saps who, to invoke the late Sam Kinison, don't have the sense to move the hell out of the desert. The saps have no water save their own tears, poor buggers, and then there's all those clanging chimes of doom with which to contend. This line always gives me pause. Really, Sir Bob? Clanging chimes of doom? Seems like an attempt to wax poetic gone horribly wrong, although I feel it's a great name for a death metal band. The last line, which I assume is meant to be taken sarcastically, is sung by Bono of U2. My husband has postulated, and I agree, that this is the exact moment where Bono decided he was Jesus Christ.

The dumbest part of the song follows:
And there won't be snow in Africa this Christmastime
The greatest gift they'll get this year is life
Where nothing ever grows
No rain or rivers flow;
Do they know it's Christmastime at all?

Well, no shit, Sherlock. It's AFRICA; even when Africa is not in the midst of a drought it doesn't fucking snow. Well, except the peaks of the mountains, so I reckon if the Ethiopians wanted to feel all Christmassy, they could take a hike up Kilimanjaro. Most importantly, a good number of them DON'T know it's Christmas. People in this part of the world are predominantly Muslim, and although there are some Christians, the starving bush people about whom you are singing probably aren't either. I'd expect their religion probably has a lot to do with ancestor worship and praying to rocks. Even if they weren't hungry, they probably still wouldn't know it was Christmas.

The song finishes:
Here's to you
Raise a glass for everyone
Here's to them
Underneath that burning sun.
Do they know it's Christmastime at all?

Feed the world
Let them know it's Christmastime again.

I get it; take some of your Christmas spirit and send some money to Bob Geldoff so he can buy some food for the starving Africans. A nice gesture, all in all, although 25 years on it's reportedly been largely ineffective, as the corrupt governments of these African nations have a propensity for taking the food aid they receive and reselling it in order to expand their personal wealth. Perhaps a better way to let them know it's Christmas than sending boatloads of rice and powdered milk would be to build them some sustainable irrigation systems and send some agricultural people down there to help improve their farming techniques.