Saturday, January 26, 2008

Knee deep in work.

Once again, I've taken on a bit more than I can chew. I know I've been fairly absent these last weeks without notice and I apologize. Chalk it up to deadlines, rewrites and having to travel on business to London the day after a plane crash. I'm trying to keep my head above water, but between Munchkin and CPT Dick's imminent departure and all of the FRG crazy that goes with it, I'm not doing such a great job.

Hope everyone else is finding balance a little easier in 2008.

What every young wife should know about military balls.

  1. It is not prom.
  2. Yes, your dress can be too short or too low cut.
  3. No matter how many times you've taken the AFTB class, when it's time to go through the receiving line, neither you nor your husband will remember which side you are supposed to stand on while walking through.
  4. There is never enough free hooch.
  5. How good a time you have is directly proportional to how good your hair looks and how comfy your dress is.
  6. You will spend over $100 for little more than a dried hockey puck of meat, mystery potato and a vegetable that has been overcooked in butter.
  7. If no one mentions the "Guess the stripper" game to you during the course of the evening, chances are, someone decided that you might be her.
  8. The Commander's wife may have had a few too many and had a really good time but you are never to mention that you saw it happen.
  9. Always, always find a seat next to the couple that brings their own bottles.
  10. No matter how good someone told you the guest speaker is, he will always talk for much longer than anyone really wants him to.
  11. And -- this is important -- see #1.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Some clarification.

I've gotten a few hurt emails over my Kissing Hank's Ass post. I put it out there without any comment to see if it would stimulate discussion but found instead that I offended people.

So, let me explain why I posted it.

Have you seen that Tom Cruise video? His defending Scientology video has made the rounds of the Internet over the past week, as well as a few funny parodies (here and here). And the blogosphere has overwhelmingly responded with comments about how crazy he is and attacks on Scientology.

Now, I'm no saint. But I find some of these attacks a little below the belt. If you are going to go after Scientology, go after it because of its desire to cut people off from friends and family that are not Scientologists or because it charges you to join. I'm with most folks that it is little more than a cult. But is it really fair to condemn because these folks believe that an alien lives inside them? This is their faith. Why is it any more unbelievable than a guy who can turn water into wine? Or that morality is an instinct? Or that if you kiss Hank's ass, you can win a million dollars?

I think that it is something to think about. All of these belief systems, when taken out of context, have an element of the unbelievable. And that's where faith comes in. Whether it be in God, man's capacity for suffering, science, Thetans or the rules written on Karl's letterhead.

That's why I posted it.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Putting the drugs before the tragedy.

As I'm sure you know, Heath Ledger died. And you probably know this because it's a top headline. Which, with everything else going on in the world, should not be. And worse, that headline leads to an ongoing, frequently updated story full of shoddy reporting, speculation and all around bullshit.

For the record, I liked Ledger's work. I thought he was great in both "Monster's Ball," and "Brokeback Mountain." And when I heard stories about him skipping around Brooklyn with his young daughter, I found myself crushing a little.

But instead of focusing on his work and the tragedy that a little girl woke up today to learn her father was gone, everyone is focusing on three things. Naked. Drugs. Mary Kate Olsen's apartment.

I don't know if Ledger died of a drug overdose. And it may turn out that he did. But why is the AP obsessed that he was found naked? He was in his bedroom, for God's sake. If I was found in my bedroom, I'm sure the press would have a field day commenting on my stretched out bra, Cookie Monster jammies and furry mules.

And the apartment? They got that bit dead wrong. His apartment was not owned by Mary Kate or Ashley either. And what if it was? How, exactly, would it matter? If landlords are famous, are they automatically complicit in crimes now?

And as for the drugs, well, having a bottle of sleeping pills by the bed, where, shocker, you may want them if you are suffering from insomnia, apparently means you are on your way to a bad end.

It just makes me sad. Not just for the loss of Ledger but for the direction that professional journalism is heading.

Rest in peace, Heath.

And to think, usually I just delete forwards.

This morning there was a knock at my door. When I answered the door I found a well groomed, nicely dressed couple. The man spoke first.

John: "Hi! I'm John, and this is Mary."

Mary: "Hi! We're here to invite you to come kiss Hank's ass with us."

Me: "Pardon me?! What are you talking about? Who's Hank, and why would I want to kiss his ass?"

John: "If you kiss Hank's ass, he'll give you a million dollars; and if you don't, he'll kick the shit out of you."

Me: "What? Is this some sort of bizarre mob shake-down?"

John: "Hank is a billionaire philanthropist. Hank built this town. Hank owns this town. He can do whatever he wants, and what he wants is to give you a million dollars, but he can't until you kiss his ass."

Me: "That doesn't make any sense. Why..."

Mary: "Who are you to question Hank's gift? Don't you want a million dollars? Isn't it worth a little kiss on the ass?"

Me: "Well maybe, if it's legit, but..."

John: "Then come kiss Hank's ass with us."

Me: "Do you kiss Hank's ass often?"

Mary: "Oh yes, all the time..."

Me: "And has he given you a million dollars?"

John: "Well no. You don't actually get the money until you leave town."

Me: "So why don't you just leave town now?"

Mary: "You can't leave until Hank tells you to, or you don't get the money, and he kicks the shit out of you."

Me: "Do you know anyone who kissed Hank's ass, left town, and got the million dollars?"

John: "My mother kissed Hank's ass for years. She left town last year, and I'm sure she got the money."

Me: "Haven't you talked to her since then?"

John: "Of course not, Hank doesn't allow it."

Me: "So what makes you think he'll actually give you the money if you've never talked to anyone who got the money?"

Mary: "Well, he gives you a little bit before you leave. Maybe you'll get a raise, maybe you'll win a small lotto, maybe you'll just find a twenty-dollar bill on the street."

Me: "What's that got to do with Hank?"

John: "Hank has certain 'connections.'"

Me: "I'm sorry, but this sounds like some sort of bizarre con game."

John: "But it's a million dollars, can you really take the chance? And remember, if you don't kiss Hank's ass he'll kick the shit of you."

Me: "Maybe if I could see Hank, talk to him, get the details straight from him..."

Mary: "No one sees Hank. No one talks to Hank."

Me: "Then how do you kiss his ass?"

John: "Sometimes we just blow him a kiss, and think of his ass. Other times we kiss Karl's ass, and he passes it on."

Me: "Who's Karl?"

Mary: "A friend of ours. He's the one who taught us all about kissing Hank's ass. All we had to do was take him out to dinner a few times."

Me: "And you just took his word for it when he said there was a Hank, that Hank wanted you to kiss his ass, and that Hank would reward you?"

John: "Oh no! Karl has a letter he got from Hank years ago explaining the whole thing. Here's a copy; see for yourself."

From the desk of Karl
Kiss Hank's ass and he'll give you a million dollars when you leave town
Use alcohol in moderation
Kick the shit out of people who aren't like you
Eat right
Hank dictated this list himself
The moon is made of green cheese
Everything Hank says is right
Wash your hands after going to the bathroom
Don't use alcohol
Eat your wieners on buns, no condiments
Kiss Hank's ass or he'll kick the shit out of you

Me: "This appears to be written on Karl's letterhead."

Mary: "Hank didn't have any paper."

Me: "I have a hunch that if we checked we'd find this is Karl's handwriting."

John: "Of course, Hank dictated it."

Me: "I thought you said no one gets to see Hank?"

Mary: "Not now, but years ago he would talk to some people."

Me: "I thought you said he was a philanthropist. What sort of philanthropist kicks the shit out of people just because they're different?"

Mary: "It's what Hank wants, and Hank's always right."

Me: "How do you figure that?"

Mary: "Item 7 says 'Everything Hank says is right.' That's good enough for me!"

Me: "Maybe your friend Karl just made the whole thing up."

John: "No way! Item 5 says 'Hank dictated this list himself.' Besides, item 2 says 'Use alcohol in moderation,' Item 4 says 'Eat right,' and item 8 says 'Wash your hands after going to the bathroom.' Everyone knows those things are right, so the rest must be true, too."

Me: "But 9 says 'Don't use alcohol.' which doesn't quite go with item 2, and 6 says 'The moon is made of green cheese,' which is just plain wrong."

John: "There's no contradiction between 9 and 2, 9 just clarifies 2. As far as 6 goes, you've never been to the moon, so you can't say for sure."

Me: "Scientists have pretty firmly established that the moon is made of rock."

Mary: "But they don't know if the rock came from the Earth, or from out of space, so it could just as easily be green cheese."

Me: "I'm not really an expert, but I think the theory that the Moon was somehow 'captured' by the Earth has been discounted. Besides, not knowing where the rock came from doesn't make it cheese."

John: "Ha! You just admitted that scientists make mistakes, but we know Hank is always right!"

Me: "We do?"

Mary: "Of course we do, Item 7 says so."

Me: "You're saying Hank's always right because the list says so, the list is right because Hank dictated it, and we know that Hank dictated it because the list says so. That's circular logic, no different than saying 'Hank's right because he says he's right.'"

John: "Now you're getting it! It's so rewarding to see someone come around to Hank's way of thinking."

Me: "But...oh, never mind. What's the deal with wieners?"

Mary: She blushes.

John: "Wieners, in buns, no condiments. It's Hank's way. Anything else is wrong."

Me: "What if I don't have a bun?"

John: "No bun, no wiener. A wiener without a bun is wrong."

Me: "No relish? No Mustard?"

Mary: She looks positively stricken.

John: He's shouting. "There's no need for such language! Condiments of any kind are wrong!"

Me: "So a big pile of sauerkraut with some wieners chopped up in it would be out of the question?"

Mary: Sticks her fingers in her ears. "I am not listening to this. La la la, la la, la la la."

John: "That's disgusting. Only some sort of evil deviant would eat that."

Me: "It's good! I eat it all the time."

Mary: She faints.

John: He catches Mary. "Well, if I'd known you were one of those I wouldn't have wasted my time. When Hank kicks the shit out of you I'll be there, counting my money and laughing. I'll kiss Hank's ass for you, you bunless cut-wienered kraut-eater."

With this, John dragged Mary to their waiting car, and sped off.