Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Anjin-san! You must bow!

So yesterday I was at work, right?

And I was having a really stressful fucking day trying to get information together for a meeting - it was bumming me out BIG TIME. So I decided I needed to take a break and watch some Ninja beating the hell out of people - because what situation ISN'T calmed by watching people get the balls kicked out of them by the world's deadliest assassins?

I navigated my browser toward where I hoped some Eighties nerds would perhaps have supplied some clips from the bafflingly unavailable classic, Enter the Ninja - a Golan Globus production for Cannon Films.

Yes - the creative team that brought you the erotic thrillers Breakin', Electric Boogaloo: Breakin' 2 and Superman IV: the Quest For Peace was responsible for this classic tale of honor and revenge.

Now, in typical Cannon Films fashion, this film paid little attention to accuracy. The producer and director, whose fingers were on the very PULSE of mainstream American society and had a movie ready to exploit the latest trend almost as soon as it happened (see Rappin' starring Mario Van Peebles as a tragic example), didn't care about particulars as long as there were lots of explosions and people getting cut the fuck up.

Ninja are running around using all sorts of weapons a true Ninja would NEVER touch, Ninja are wearing white uniforms in the middle of summer when clearly they were meant as camouflage during the winter months, et cetera. But who gives a fuck? You get to see Franco Nero performing the kuji-jin hand signs. Sho Kosugi - the modern Ninja master - plays his nemesis bent on his downfall.

I don't know about you, but to me - that spells entertainment.

So I got to youtube and typed in "Enter the Ninja." This clip came up:

I watched it ecstatically and then decided to peruse the comments to see what sort of dull horseshit internet nerds were typing about this crucially important martial arts epic, when I saw that a website called featured the movie in its entirety, for free, and completely legal! Well, I knew how I was going to spend my evening...

So, after getting the shit kicked out of me by a particularly sadistic Greek yoga instructor who had us performing Ardha Chandrasana and Vrischikasana poses on repeat until we were almost dead - I needed to relax. It was time to watch Enter the Ninja.

I prepared a steaming plate of kale, brown rice and seitan - now I was ready to sit my ass down and get my Shinobi groove on.

The film started. Franco Nero was being chased through a tropical forest by a black Ninja and his gang of red Ninja - and he was beating the FUCK out of them. One by one, the red Ninja fell to his superior skills, leaving only the black Ninja as an obstacle. As Nero ran toward a paper hut, the black Ninja leapt out of nowhere - Nero was ambushed! But the white Ninja rose to the occasion, pinning his enemy, shouting "SURRENDER OR DIE!"

Cut to commercial. A COMMERCIAL. Oooh, I was pissed.

But what pissed me off even more was its content. Chili's Bottomless Express Lunch. That's right - yet another chain restaurant is contributing to the rampant morbid obesity, greed and gluttony that is consuming this nation.

Thighs chafing in too-tight jeans, shoppers and turds around the United States are at this very moment gearing up to waddle themselves in the direction of the nearest Chili's in order to partake in some "endless baked potato soup" or "endless chips n' salsa" - all resulting in endless ASS.

I have had it with the disgusting need to cram, cram, cram as much god damn food as humanly possible down our throats. On top of their soup, salad covered in bacon bits and thousand island dressing and their endless bowl of tortilla chips, you know these "express lunchers" are sucking down glass after glass of Coca-Cola. That's just how they operate.

In case you stupid dildoes haven't heard - we're on the brink of a food calamity here. We need to escape the "more is better" mentality that has turned us all into Huttesque, rotund slovens and re-learn how to conserve. It is vitally important.

Meanwhile, after watching this commercial in which chipper "workers on-the-go" manage to slurp down fourteen bowls of "broccoli n' cheddar soup" before shuffling back to their cubicles, I was too bummed out to watch the rest of the film.

Franco and Sho would have to wait for another day, a time when that particular commercial is no longer in rotation.

I wish I was a Ninja - these endless bars and their patrons would be out of commission asap.

Endless bars piss me off.

Monday, May 19, 2008

My Life As a Garbage Man, Part Four

My immediate supervisor, it turned out, was a squat, rotund toad who coated himself in Aqua Velva, chain-smoked Kool cigarettes, and was a bigmouthed evangelical Christian - the type who will lecture you for hours regarding a topic on which he holds no expertise other than some sliver of 'wisdom' he heard from his pastor.

"You know it's the end times," he said to no one in particular one morning as we were standing in the parking lot of a Pick Kwik. "It's raining down Sodom all around us with these homosexuals."

"God, I hope so," I thought privately as I stared at him blankly.

As a devout idiot, he felt the need to "protect his people" - and since he knew absolutely nothing about me aside from the facts that I was a) white and b) in college, he thought he would be doing me a favor by separating me from the others.

Therefore, after an initial period in which I was out on garbage routes every day, I was soon left behind. I protested every morning when I peered at his assignment pad and noted that I was not on it, pleading with him to put me on a truck, but he kept me from going out on the garbage routes unless someone was sick, incarcerated or otherwise absent.

"I've got other things for you to do," he would say through the cloud of mentholated hell that shot from his nostrils.

I hated him.

I stayed in the office, doing absolutely nothing for days on end. Pedestrian tasks like mopping the employee lounge (who would be able to tell the difference?) and walking the perimeter of the sanitation yard and collecting errant trash were assigned in an attempt to keep me busy.

Although I whined that I wanted to take a more active role, my boss - who refused to remember my name and called me either "Red" or "Mike" - made sure that I was left behind.

During my daily travails in the sanitation yard, I became acquainted with several of the drivers, all of whom had worked with me, taken an interest in my plight and rallied to get me out of there and in on the action.

One, an enormous man built like a football player and whose English I could not understand unless he repeated himself at least three times, was a part-time pastor outside of his regular job, and enjoyed preaching to me as I was scraping near-toxic muck off the ground where the trucks had been parked.

"You see, God is good! You take an 'O' out of 'Good' and what you got? GOD!" he would say as if he were exposing the final link to an unsolved mystery. With the theatricality of a particularly untalented magician, he would further demonstrate this knowledge by making Os with his index fingers and thumbs and, at the pivotal moment, breaking one of the Os, leaving the other one to fend for itself.

Now, I am an Atheist and have been since I could remember. Jesus Christ himself would have to descend from Heaven and and tell me that he existed in order for me to believe any of that mullarkey these character-types are spreading around.

But, given the fact that this fellow was about 6'5" and built like the Terminator, I thought it best to go along with his prattle. I nodded at appropriate moments, smiling as if he were imparting wisdom that went beyond something you could read in a Hallmark store.

When there were no drivers to talk to and no floors to mop or muck to scrape, I sat in a chair in the office and listened to Lite FM. I would read and re-read the daily news in a desperate attempt to keep from killing myself.

Every once in a while I would be given special assignments, and I would get to drive a pickup truck through the city of Clearwater, whether it were to Clearwater Beach to get an air conditioner a driver had neglected to throw in his truck or to City Hall to collect papers for the Sanitation Superintendent.

As I went out on these jobs, I would, out of necessity, have to use a CB radio. I became familiar with various CB terms:

  • What's your 20? = "Where are you?"
  • 10-7 = "I am en route"
  • 10-8 = "I am returning from route"
  • 10-9 = "Repeat, please - I couldn't understand what the FUCK you just said" (I used this one most frequently)
  • 10-54 = "No."
  • 10-4 = "Acknowledged."
  • Assimilating this terminology into my daily routine was one of the highlights of the job.

    The first time I got to say "10-9" to someone, I had to pull my truck over because I was laughing so hard that I couldn't see. I am pretty sure that anyone driving past must have thought I was clinically insane, but after living through the stupid CB radio craze of the 1970s, actually getting to use this dumb shit in a real-life situation instead of just saying, "What?" or "Okay," made me all giddy.

    One afternoon when it was raining so heavily that I could barely see the road, I was driving back toward the yard from a job when I got a call from the office. They told me I had to go to a "Signal 38" out by Countryside Mall.

    "Signal 38, signal 38... I don't know that one," I said to myself, upset that I had let one of these codes slip past me. "10-4," I said authoritatively. "What's the addr - excuse me, what's the 20?" After I had taken down the information, I asked what I was going to be picking up at this "signal 38."

    It turns out that Signal 38 is the CB term for roadkill.

    I am a sensitive soul. Especially when it comes to animals. I will stay awake for nights on END of I've seen a baby bird fall out of its nest or if I accidentally hit a butterfly while driving or if I read about the plight of an endangered species or think about fur coats, leather moccasins, ham, steak fajitas, or any other thing in which an animal may or may not have come to any form of harm.

    So when I was told what Signal 38 was, I panicked. Over the CB system, a network that every single employee of the City of Clearwater Division of Solid Waste was potentially listening to at that exact moment, I choked out a limp, quivering, stuttering "10-4" after I was instructed to look for a cat.

    Address in hand, pitchfork in the bed of the truck, I careened toward my destination through the pouring rain.

    When I got there, the rain had slowed a bit so I could be graced with a full vision of what I had to scrape together and remove from the site. It also meant that all of the people driving past me on this heavily-trafficked thoroughfare were able to get a perfect view of what I was doing.

    The yellow flashing light on top of my sanitation vehicle signaled them to gaze as they slowed down.

    Wearing a sizes-too-big fluorescent yellow rain suit, I got out of the truck, blubbering hysterically to the point that I was nearly hyperventilating, and managed to collect this animal's battered, limp corpse on the tines of the pitchfork.

    Holding the sad remains on the end of the pitchfork and as far away from me as possible - arms at full length out to my right side - I staggered through the rain back toward my truck, making a much bigger show of this than needed be, accidentally dropping the creature more than once. When I managed to get it to the truck, I pitched it over the side into the bed and trickled back into the driver's seat.

    Beside myself with grief, I managed to drive for about 50 yards before I pulled into the parking lot of Countryside Mall. I could not handle having this carcass around me for one more second, so I swerved over to the AMC theaters and hurled the body into a dumpster.

    "I need some music," I said to myself. Turning on the AM-only radio, I located the one station whose reception wasn't flawed to the point of unlistenability.

    "Rainy Night In Georgia," Brook Benton's sad tale of a hobo's long lost love, came on - "Lord, I believe it's raining all over the world," he crooned. He was right.

    Somehow, through my blind haze, I wound up back at the sanitation yard.

    I thanked the hideous weather for masking the persistent stream of tears that poured down my face. Listening to the rain drum down on the tin roof of the sanitation building, I sat on a bench and drank a Diet Coke in honor of my fallen friend.

    Mas en el futuro.

    Wednesday, May 14, 2008

    Let's Hope It's a Local Thing.

    I hope Democrats en masse aren't as stupid as the ones in West Virginia are appearing to be.

    Listen to this shit: according to exit polls, only 36 per cent - that's right - THIRTY SIX PER CENT of West Virginians who voted for Hillary "Let's Bomb Iran" Clinton said they would vote for Barack Obama if he won the Democratic nomination. A "bare majority" of Obama voters would vote for Clinton over McCain.

    Pardon me, West Virginia - are you people fucking insane?

    Do you really think that four more years of deceit, pandering to big business, multiple wars, and steering the country in the wrong direction as far as renewable energy goes will be better than voting for the opponent of the Democrat you voted for?

    So what if Obama doesn't wear a flag lapel pin - anyone who actually considers this a strike against him as far as his viability as a Pressident is an idiot. And yes, Hillary said she would annihilate Iran with nuclear weapons should Iran choose to attack Israel. But we all know that was just plain old political posturing to make herself look like a badass in the eyes of people who are still on the fence about whether or not she could handle a "situation." McCain, on the other hand - he'd actually do it, and with glee. He's hoping to, actually.

    Let me tell you something. The Republican Party as it stands right now - the ones actually running things, mind you - is a gaggle of foam-filled colostomy bags who do not give a frog's fat ass about you or your family's welfare. They care about making money. They care about waging war against "the enemy." They want to make the rich richer and the poor poorer. They want to sell off public lands and treasured national parks to logging and oil companies. They want to delist every single animal on the Endangered Species Act so fat fuck Wal-Mart shoppers can go out and hunt the fuck out of the dwindling populations, opening the animals' habitats up for housing developments and outlet malls.

    At this point, I cannot even believe that anything as stupid as what I am reading could be humanly possible. Do you assholes not read the news? McCain is a liar and a back-peddler and a warmonger just like the rest of them. You vote for him, and you're voting for four more years bogged down in this Abysmal Hell we've suffered through under the Marsupial Junta.

    You people are fucked up.

    This race is too important to let moronic frenzy the media has stirred up over minor, superficial crap get in the way of doing what is RIGHT. This is by far one of the most important elections we have ever been faced with.

    Hillary Clinton, sensing danger, spoke up and told all y'all dipshit motherfuckers that a vote for McCain against Obama would be a mistake. Let's hope you listen.

    I will not stand for - I REFUSE TO ALLOW - four more years of Republican rule in this country.

    Tuesday, May 13, 2008

    If You're Going To San Francisco 1

    I had taken a very big step in my life by uprooting myself from New York City and moving across the country to unknown territory - Northern California - for a "dream job" that would alter my existence forever.

    I had never been to California, except for the day I took out of my regular schedule to fly to San Francisco for my job interview. It seemed pretty, but I didn't get to explore it at all. In my mind, I envisaged free love hippies boning each other indiscriminately while Anton LaVey, Kenneth Anger and the Manson Family cast black magic spells on their detractors, all set to a Grateful Dead soundtrack. Yoga, vegan comestibles, animal rights activists, alternative lifestyles. This is what Northern California represented to me.

    My future coworkers, with whom I spoke on the phone before uprooting and moving, told me that I should move to a town called Petaluma. "It's the cheapest place you're going to find in the bay area," one told me - a resident herself. "And it's beautiful."

    I was sold. Sight unseen, I rented a place on the charmingly named Belle View Avenue for a whopping $550 a month. I would be living in the lower level of a house that had been converted into a separate apartment. Above me were three girls who were all attending Sonoma State University.

    One day in late May 1999, I bid adieu to my friends and associates in New York and, as Vince Guaraldi said, "cast my fate to the wind." Jetting off from LaGuardia airport, my morbidly obese cat Yoshi drugged up and tucked under the seat in front of me, I gazed out of my window at the Manhattan skyline and anticipated my future. I had never done anything like this before.

    Sure, I had uprooted myself and moved to New York City - pretty much on a whim - but I had tons of friends here from college. I was going to be living with one, as a matter of fact, and that level of comfort afforded me a sense that everything was going to be okay.


    My parents had driven across the country to meet me there. They were (and are) great parents - and were so proud of the job I had gotten that they were actually giving me a car. They had arrived long before I did, and driven to look at my future apartment. They told me that it was beautiful - pastoral, surrounded by blossoming rose bushes and cherry trees, with a panoramic view of Petaluma Valley and the rustic city therein. I burbled with excitement.

    They picked me up at SFO, very late at night, and we drove through San Francisco, over the Golden Gate Bridge, through lovely Marin County with all of its lazy eucalyptus trees, inlets, houseboats, mountains, and scenery, up to Sonoma County - where, sudddenly, everything changed. Gone were the gorgeous trees, replaced by rippling fields of what looked like dead grass. I could tell I was going from high to low brow pretty quickly.

    PETALUMA 11 MILES, the sign screamed. and my heart sank. All of this was freaking me out. The next sign read, PETALUMA BOULEVARD SOUTH 1 MILE. Here we were... my new home.

    Now, Petaluma has been featured in many films. Peggy Sue Got Married and American Graffiti are two of the most famous.

    It is also known as the "Butter and Egg Capital" due to its historic (and for the most part, gone) poulty and dairy farms. Petalumans celebrate this fact with a Butter and Egg Days Parade through downtown Petaluma. I knew all of this before I got there - I just hadn't really let sink in what that would entail as a resident.

    Past several bars that looked as if their keeps' names would be "Stack" or "Meat" we drove. Past a dilapidated bowling alley. Past several purveyors of "Quality Western gear" and "arts and crafts." Past a bar called Mr. Magoo's. Finally, we stopped at a Motel 6 where we would spend the night. We would collect the key to my new apartment from my realtor in the morning and my new life would begin in earnest.

    After driving up B Street past the high school Winona Ryder had attended, we turned on Belle View Avenue and there it was. A lovely ranch-style home with three decks and lush trees. It was exactly what I had hoped for. My upstairs neighbors introduced themselves - a hippie named Brooke and two others whose names I sadly cannot recall.

    They welcomed me and told me that they were relieved I seemed normal - the former tenant apparently had been running a meth lab that stank up the entire house. Fun!

    My portion of the apartment was basically a giant room with a kitchen and a bathroom. Shag carpet and a sliding glass door made it unlike anyplace I had ever lived; I was used to hard wood floors and four floor walkups.

    I took it as a sign - good or bad, I don't remember - when we went to Long's Drug Store and they actually stocked fishing lures and model kits, neither of which I had seen in a mainstream drugstore since the late Seventies. This was a much different place. I felt as if I were violating the Temporal Prime Directive by looking at the Testors model paints that sat collecting dust on those shelves.

    My parents and I went grocery shopping and my mother, who has never really accepted the fact that I am an adult, scolded me when I reached for a huge bottle of Ketel One vodka. "Well, what else do you expect me to do when I'm by myself?" I said to her, which made her even more alarmed. Sadly, I was telling the truth.

    The time came for me to bid farewell to my parents, and I drove them to the train station in San Francisco where they were planning to take a cross-country train ride a la North By Northwest.

    As they said goodbye, I realized that, for the first time in my life, I was actually alone. I panicked. I raced to the nearest Safeway where I purchased an EMERGENCY pack of American Spirits. Standing in the parking lot of a grocery store in San Francisco, frantically inhaling the strongest cigarette known to man, I trembled and started crying.

    I returned to my car and aimed it back toward Petaluma, unsure of what was to come.

    Wednesday, May 7, 2008

    This is SO wizard, Annie!

    Florida needs to be sawed off the rest of the country and allowed - the majority of its citizens chained in their homes - to sink into the bubbly, murky depths of the Atlantic.*

    Want to know how absolutely fucking stupid people in the United States are capable of being?

    Say you're a substitute teacher trying to make your class a little enjoyable for the unappreciative bastards that make your life hell on a daily basis, so you decide to do a simple magic trick. By prestidigitation, you make a toothpick disappear and then reappear.

    "Mr. Teacher, how did you do that?" some of the cherubic little ones ask, amazed and overjoyed that something so miraculous can happen in real life.

    After a day of dreary, enforced preparation for the standardized tests that have derailed the education system in this country, the children leave your presence and go home. There, they regale their parents with tales of their day at school.

    The next day, you're called in to the office and told by a supervisor of substitute teachers that you can no longer work as a substitute teacher because someone has "accused you of 'wizardry'."

    That's right - "wizardry." For making a toothpick disappear.

    This is what our world has come to - these drooling, indoctrinated, idiotic, jackass "Christians" will turn anything into a Satanic conspiracy to brainwash children into lives of sodomy, pornography, human sacrifice, and heavy metal "rock and roll music."

    Seriously - how astonishingly stupid can anyone be? For a parent to get alarmed that a substitute teacher made a toothpick disappear, he or she must be operating on the intellectual level of a planarian. And that's an insult to planarians the world over.

    BUT, for the Pasco County School Board to actually indefinitely suspend a substitute teacher for something so ridiculous, so absurd that any thinking human being would laugh at the person making the accusation and call him or her a fucking retard - well, I am at a loss for words.

    Wait. No, I'm not.

    I'm from the South - I know how those shitheads operate. When I lived there, on any number of occasions I was accused of Satan worship, told I was going to Hell, laughed at, spat upon, called a "fucking faggot" just for sitting in my car at a red light, subject to notes tucked under my windshield wiper telling me that I need to ask Jesus for forgiveness, and actually told TO MY FACE by a woman at a rest stop that "it's a wonder no one's tried to kill you yet." Do I need to continue?

    So ultimately, this little toothpick escapade, while thoroughly ludicrous, really isn't that much of a shock.

    Southern Christians are a scary bunch. Their sense of entitlement coupled with their inability to comprehend that there are other ways of life and in America - "Land of the Free" - we are allowed to do pretty much whatever the hell we want as long as it doesn't draw blood, make for modern witch hunts that end in people losing their jobs or worse.

    Why not take the substitute down to the lake and throw him in to see if he floats? The collective ignorance at work here absolutely astonishes me.

    And these are the people in charge of "educating" our future.

    We. Are. Doomed.

    *I will, as a courtesy, set up a tram to transport the few Floridians worth salvaging OUT of the state before it disappears into the tainted brine that surrounds it on three sides. You may apply for asylum by sending me a typed, six-page essay entitled 'Why I Think Florida Is Evil.'

    Thanks to N69N for directing this to our attention.

    Sunday, May 4, 2008

    Money changes everything.

    Wow. We are a disgusting people.

    Apparently, economic woes have taken a massive leap over the senseless killing that continues in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the rest of the world as the major issue in this devastatingly idiotic race for the 2008 presidency.

    Fuck with people's money, and they forget their human dignity. If they can't gas up their Lincoln SUVs to get to the Costco and buy that bulk package of Fruit Rollups, then their lives just aren't worth living.

    Forty-nine percent of those questioned in a new CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey released Friday said the economy is the top issue in their vote for president, seven points higher than found in a March survey.

    The Iraq War is a distant second, with 19 percent of those polled saying it's the most important issue, followed by the issues of health care at 14 percent, terrorism at 9 percent and immigration at 8 percent.
    If the general population of this country weren't so FUCKING STUPID, they'd realize that the economy is in the toilet because that Drooling Pile of Offal has run this country into the ground with his endless and insane spending to keep us active in a war we had no right to be in from the start.

    And there's no end in sight - he's proposing a LUDICROUS amount of future money to continue this assault on Democracy he and his team of usurping Assboils perpetrated as a "response" to September 11, 2001.

    And we are now suffering the AMAZING consequences of this idiotic maneuver. We will be suffering for decades. It has increased gas prices, leading to an idiotic bid to get ethanol up and running as an alternative fuel, which has, in turn, increased food prices because fuckface farmers are raping the earth with vast amounts of fertilizer to grow corn, corn and more corn - and in the process dumping tons and tons of fertilizer and pesticide into already tainted water supplies.

    Where does that leave us? Gas that costs five times what it did fifteen years ago and overpriced Twinkies. Now, don't get me wrong - of course the economy is extremely important. I don't want to end up paying nine dollars for a tortilla any more than the rest of y'all. But we gots to fix ALL this shit up in this piece, and the best place to start is an end to the unspeakable horror this asshole has bestowed upon the world.

    Vote for someone who's going to get us the FUCK out of those inane, useless wars. A BETTER start would be to elect someone who's going to get us out of those wars and promote not "clean coal" - which will lead to further devastation - not ethanol - which is killing the Gulf of Mexico - but sensible alternative fuel / energy that will keep us and the rest of the world from living out Soylent Green for realz, yo.

    Vote to end the war. That's what you have to do.

    Thursday, May 1, 2008

    Most humiliating period in our history - it just keeps getting uglier.

    Will all of you people FUCK OFF about Reverend Wright already? We get it. You think what he said is offensive. WHO FUCKING CARES.

    Are you aware that there is a massive food shortage looming over our heads? Are you aware that while you're bantering about some inconsequential bullshit minister who may have said some things that offended some people there are two wars going on and one on the way thanks to our war-mongering Mongoloid In Chief?

    Will you PLEASE - Hillary, Barack, and John - shut the FUCK up about that minister and focus on things that aren't so blatantly stupid?

    We are on the verge of a major crisis here. We don't need all of this superficial chatter about the minister of a church Barack Obama stopped going to years ago. Stop acting like kindergartners and pay attention to real issues.