I’ve had the entire week off, and now that it’s Friday, I’m already dreading the alarm clock Monday morning. This week has gone by in a blur and I don’t even drink anymore.
I had jury duty Monday. There were people there who I wouldn’t want deciding my fate no more than I’d want to play Russian Roulette with five bullets. Put it this way, I’m pretty sure that I saw Quasimodo’s long lost twin sitting in one of the jury boxes waiting to be swore in.
My mother-in-law fell and broke her foot, so I watched my daughter part of the day Tuesday, most of Wednesday, and a good deal on Thursday. I’m not complaining, believe me. It was nice not having to drag my ass out of bed like an old muffler sparking off the highway at five am.
It was also a special treat to be able to hang out with my little seven month old sack of shit’s and giggles. But for the record, I’ve never had the aspiration of being a stay-at-home dad. After a few days with the girl, which is what I usually call her, I can say that staying at home with your kid would be much harder than working a full-time job. For sure, it would be a lot harder than working my full-time job.
At my job I have a little time to write at least a few days a week. At home with the girl? Nothing. I wasn’t able to get in one single sentence. I had to time everything I wanted to do, including taking a deuce, with the girl’s sleep schedule. At least at work I can up and go to the bathroom whenever I want.
When I’m at work, I can have discussions about politics, different cultures, and try to help solve deep philosophical questions like, “Do you realize that if corporations have Constitutional rights, that they are therefore considered legal beings. And if that’s true, then they are actually an evolved species who know how to make exorbitant amounts of money and we are their slaves.”
Versus, “Who’s talking to Mr. Bear? Are you talking to Mr. Bear? Yeah. That’s Mr. Bear.”
I don’t mind having the Mr. Bear conversation. I’m fine with Mr. Bear and Mr. Rabbit too. I’m just saying, maybe Monday won’t actually be that bad.
So for those of you who have jobs, appreciate them. And if it’s your Friday, and are receiving this on Saturday, have a good rest of the weekend. I look forward to seeing you Monday.
I love using quotes. That’s not exactly true because I never can remember them. There is nothing worse than somebody stumbling to remember a quote, just ask former President George W. Bush. So what I really should say is I love reading quotes.
I think it’s cool to see what other famous people said out stuff. That just makes it seem more important than if just some regular guy said it. (Noticed how I threw in other famous people? Like I’m already famous.)
“He who pursues fame at the risk of losing himself is not a scholar.”—Chuang Tzu (369 BC – 286 BC), The Great Supreme
Someone once told me that if you want to use a quote as your own, you have to credit the original author three times, “Then the quote is yours.” I think I like this rule, although I will tell you now, this rule doesn’t apply in comedy or in writing.
Most comics don’t have a sense of humor when you steal their material. For instance, one night I was with a group of friends telling a story about how I had gotten drunk for the first time and thought I was as smart as Albert Einstein. I started asking my friends what I perceived to be deep philosophical questions about the World, such as: “What is the first car in traffic doing up there? Is he just sitting there picking his nose or what? Maybe he’s getting a little road head. I don’t know, but I sure would like to know what the hell’s he doing up there?”
I was about 16 or 17 the first time I got drunk, and since I was telling a real story, I didn’t expect to hear, “YOU STOLED THAT FROM CARLIN!”
This was the first time someone had ever called me out on material stealing, although for the record, it wouldn’t even be close to the last. But the first time anything happens to you, you never know how you’re going to react. Since the rules were explained to me, and since I didn’t steal the bit on purpose, I didn’t feel that I had committed any joke-stealing crime.
“What the hell are you talking about?” I said to my 6’5”, skinny-assed comic, friend of a friend.
“Carlin,” he said. “As in George Carlin. That’s his bit. He did it back in the 70’s or at least the 80’s. Either way you can’t just take someone’s bit and use it as your own! That’s stealing. I mean, you at least got to give him credit for it.”
“First of all, who invited this guy?” I said, looking around to see who this clown was with, so I would know whether or not I was allowed to beat his ass. “Secondly I was 16! And drunk for the first time. It’s a real story! I wasn’t ‘doing a bit’. Smart ass! Besides I’m not a comic, I don’t have to live by your rules. My rules are if you quote a guy, you only have to do it three times then ‘the bit’ is yours!”
“Oh REEEALLY? Three times huh? Kind of like a joke genie? Rub it three times and it’s yours?” he said.
“That’s right! Or how Lenox Lewis knocks mother fuckers like you out: ONE, TWO, THREE!” I said, throwing shadow boxing combos at his face.
“Don’t get mad, I didn’t steal the bit,” he said.
“I’M NOT MAD!…fuck face.”
This guy totally ruined my mojo. Now I couldn’t go around saying brilliant things such as, “Don’t be afraid, the only thing we have to fear, is fear itself!” Or, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”
Now I understood what people were talking about when they’d reply, “Ah! JFK, 1964.” And why they’d look at me funny when I’d say, “No, Doug Wallace, right now.”
You might be able to get away with stealing someone’s quote in conversation, but once it’s in print, as I found out the hard way, you better quote it and name your source. Luckily the, “Authorities” were not called in like the publishers threaten to do in their letter. All I did was use: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.” Which for legal purposes, is by Charles Dickens in A Tale of Two Cities and is also the longest damn sentence you will ever read. If I wrote some shit like that my editors would be jumping all over my ass, “Run-on sentence! Run-on Sentence!” they’d yell.
I used the Dickens line for an opening for a story I had. I had read that line several times and figured if the three time rule applied in conversation, it applied to writing as well. Apparently the publishers of Dickens felt otherwise.
People take this writing stuff way too seriously. They expect you to go around quoting where you got your inspiration? Who does that? And it’s very specific how they want it done. You need to say first, where you got it from—a.k.a. the title, then the author’s name, then page number, then the publishers name—God forbid you forget the publisher’s name. Then Quotation Police want you to list the copyright date, and then where the thing was published—like New York needs anymore publicity. It’s all a big clusterfuck. And no, I don’t remember where I got clusterfuck; though consulting Wikipedia, cluster-fuck is defined as: “A disastrous situation that results from the cumulative errors of several people or groups. In semi-polite company this is referred to as a Charlie Foxtrot. (From the NATO phonetic alphabet)” So I guess I probably got it from Dave—my Step-dad, who was a career Navy man. Props to Dave on, “clusterfuck.” The point being, remember to quote people where you should and don’t where you shouldn’t.
One place you are not supposed to quote people is in the middle of your conversation, “with your fingers.” That shit drives me crazy. You’re sitting there talking to someone and they say something like, “Politically Correct” and then they throw their fingers up in the air while they’re doing it. I hate that shit…“HEY! Wait a minute! YOU STOLED THAT FROM CARLIN!”
Senator Gaylord Nelson organized an “Environmental Teach-in,” the week of April 16 through April 22, 1970. (I’ll forgo any Gaylord jokes.) Earth Week focused on environmental teachings that climaxed on April 22, 1970—which became known as Earth Day.
Today, Earth Day is more than just some event created by a Gaylord. (I couldn’t resist.) It’s about taking notice of what we are doing to the Earth. I’ve heard that American-Indians used to plan their actions toward the Earth, mainly hunting and fishing, for ten generations. These days’ corporations don’t even plan what they’re doing to the environment for the next ten years. It’s been Environmental Activists that have been bringing what corporations are doing to the environment to the forefront of public awareness. With the invention of the Internet, activists are getting more organized every year.
But even with all the strides that we are taking to save our environment, there is a bigger culprit than all the polluters combined. This polluter is so big that it’s taken over an entire continent and we have to do something to stop it. Who is this polluter who’s messing up our Earth at a speed that would take ten Earth Years, not Earth Days, to fix? It’s the volcano in Iceland. If you haven’t seen the eruption yet, here’s the video: http://news.yahoo.com/video/world-15749633/19168040
I think we need to start a “Stop the Volcano in Iceland from Polluting our Earth,” Group on Facebook. All the hard work that generations of environmentalist have been doing for the years, Eyjafjallajokull has destroyed that in a few days. Besides, if you’re going to be the World’s biggest polluter, you need to have a name that’s not impossible to pronounce. So I’m going to start another new Facebook group today. It’s going to be called the “Rename Eyjafjallajokull Volcano to something the rest of the World can pronounce,” Group.
Remember, Earth Day is about changing the World for the better. Yes I understand we can’t stop a volcano from blocking out the sun and stopping air traffic and possibly killing crops in dozens of countries around it. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t throw your recyclables in a recycling can or use a refillable container instead of drinking bottled water. And yes, it may feel like you’re just pissing in the ocean when Eyjafjallajokull is dumping so much pollution into the atmosphere. But just imagine if everyone in the World was pissing in the Ocean at the same time. Oh wait! Please don’t do that either.
So this week I may be taking a little break, or apnea, breather, breathing space, caesura, downtime, hiatus, interlude, intermission, interval, lacuna, layoff, letup, lull, pause, recess, respite, rest, suspension, take five (days), time off, or time out from writing my blog. I’ve got a lot going on this week and I probably won’t have a lot of time for writing. So if I do get a story in, expect it to be short and sweet.
BTW, need to figure out an alternative word for break or any other word? Here’s a link to http://thesaurus.com/.
Today is Hans Christian Andersen’s birthday. Who is he, you may ask? He wrote stories and fairy tales 200 years ago. A few of these stories are: The Little Mermaid, The Little Matchbox Girl, The Emperor’s New Clothes and The Princes and the Pea. Besides writing stories starting with the word the, he also wrote Thumbelina. (Maybe he had a thing for the letter T.)
So how do I know it’s Hans Christian Andersen’s birthday? Google told me so. I think Google’s Daily Logo sets what was once an obscure reference, and makes it the top five most searched term of the day. Take for example, Topeka, Kansas. Topeka, Kansas changed their name for a few days to Google, Kansas as a publicity stunt. It worked. Then Google took notice and changed their name to Topeka on their home page for the day.
I wonder whose job it is to change Google’s Daily Logo from day to day? They probably have some title like “Creative Director of Google’s Daily Logo.” Actually, Google would probably come up with a much cooler name than that. The guy would probably have some crazy Google acronym like G.O.O.G.L.E.—Gee, Optimizing and, Organizing, Gets, Lots of Earnings.
Google’s motto is, “Do no evil,” which is why they felt as a company they had to pull out of China because of censorship issues. That move cost them billions of dollars and sent stock prices tumbling.
Google is so big it’s become a verb—“Just Google it.”
But the coolest thing Google ever did for me was indexing this site. Believe it or not, it’s not as easy as you think. And after two or three months of writing consistently, I felt a small sense of accomplishment when you, the searcher, could type my full name in, without the .com and without having to type it in directly to the browser and have the site pop-up as #1 on the first page.
So here’s to you Google and Hans Christian Andersen, if I get 1% as big as either one of you, maybe some year on August 27, my name, Douglas Thomas Wallace, will be a Google logo of the day.
I remember the first time I watched Scarface. I was six years old and I went to watch it at the theater with my dad and my little sister. My sister, who was four years old, kept leaning over and saying, “Doug, they said the F-word.” Then every twenty seconds she would say, “Doug, they said the F-word again.”
About ten minutes into the movie I leaned over and said, “Dad. I don’t think we’re supposed to be watching this movie.”
He looked over at me and my little sister and said, “Ok, let’s go.”
Well this week a kid’s version of the movie was done and here it is for your viewing pleasure.
I knew this would happen someday. A couple of days ago, nine people were arrested for ploting to shoot a policeman and then shoot more cops at the funeral. These people are calling themselves, Hutaree which means “Christian Warriors.” Shooting cops sounds real Christian-like to me. They should ask themselves, W.W.J.D?
There’s an old spiritual that shares the title of this essay. The lyrics go, “Onward Christian soldiers, marching as to war, with the cross of Jesus, going on before. Christ the royal Master, leads against the foe; forward into battle, see his banners go!”
I was raised as a Christian and was taught that we are engaged in a spiritual war. I didn’t realize that fundamentally, as a Christian, we would even consider shooting cops. That was never taught in my Sunday school.
People today are interweaving their politics and their religion. People are bastardizing their religion to fit their current beliefs. It doesn’t matter if you’re Christian or Muslim, killing people is not the core message of either religion, yet soldiers have traditionally felt that God is on their side. My question is this, why would you think God even cares about the petty little argument, whatever the situation is, that you’re involved in?
As I said, I was raised in a Christian home. My mom’s side is Southern Baptist. My dad’s side is Methodist. I was baptized twice, once at five years old and again when I was around eight, just in case the first time didn’t work. I went to church twice a week up until about the age of 10. I went to a Baptist high school. I’ve read the Bible from front to back and studied various parts of it, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, Job and Revelations in particular, several times.
But as I’ve gotten older and met people from other cultures, other religions and from other places in the world, I’ve realized that maybe “Our God,” might not have all the answers. I always treated other people’s idea of God on the same level as my own, because my thinking was anything that’s spiritual is just as alive to them, as my God is to me.
As I’ve traveled throughout the World, my thoughts on God have changed dramatically. I was born in the Bible-belt and was raised there until age 10. I moved to Hawaii and had my eyes forced open to other cultures and religions.
When I was in high school and my first two years of college, I used to drink with my friends in the parking lot of a Buddhist temple. There were three giant 30-40 foot Buddha statues sitting in this temple. We partied like rock stars in that parking lot. The monks never kicked us out even though we trashed the place every weekend for a month straight.
Finally one day we noticed that someone had placed a trash can right where we use to hang out. That was the Buddhists way of saying, “Hey assholes, pick up after yourselves.”
I remember right before I left Hawaii, I picked up a girl at a bar and brought her to that temple parking lot with a buddy of mine. She wanted to smoke some ice—crystal meth and my friend happened to have some. I have never smoked it, but she was more than welcome to it if she wanted it. When they were done smoking, she was supposed to do me a favor since I done her one by hooking her up with my friend and his drugs. I unzipped my pants and she got down on her knees. Then she looked up and saw those three giant Buddha statues and she completely lost it.
“Oh my God! What the fuck! We’re at a temple? Look at those things,” she said, fucked-up out of her gourd. “They’re beautiful. They’re fucking huge,” she said.
“Yeah, I know, I see them all the time,” I said. “Now come on. You promised.”
“I’m sorry I can’t do this,” she said. “This is totally fucked up. I can’t do this outside a temple. You’re supposed to treat your body like a temple and look what I’m doing right outside of one.”
I hope that was her religious awaking and that she got her shit together. I’m not too confident of that though because we went to the pool hall afterward and she said, “I’m going across the street to work.” The only thing that was across the street was two strip bars and a restaurant that was closed. It must be nice just to walk into a place and get a job right away, especially after having a once-in-a-lifetime religious experience.
I got married when I was three months shy of turning thirty. My wife and I went to the Mayan Riviera for our honeymoon. While we were there we visited Chitzen Itza—the Mayan pyramids. We learned that the people who lived there 1400 years ago were religious zealots who believed in human sacrifice. We were told by our tour guide that one of the popular games they played was a mix of polo and basketball. The game involved throwing a goat’s head through a ring that was 20 or 30 feet high while riding horses. He said also that the game could go on for several days. The winner’s were then sacrificed to the gods. I thought to myself, no wonder the game went on for several days.
I went to India a few years ago and visited the Taj Mahal. I didn’t realize that the Taj Mahal is a mausoleum as well as a mosque; although it’s not really used for prayer purposes today. The shear size of the white marble building made me realize that Shah Jahan, the Mughal emperor who had the Taj built for his dead wife, must have been a zealot himself.
In India, Hindu and Muslim zealots are always fighting, even though Hinduism is thousands of years older than Islam. In Jerusalem, it’s the Jews, Muslims and Christians that are always fighting it out.
When I returned home from India, for some reason religious zealotry was stuck in my head. Then I thought about the ancient Greeks and Romans. What happened to their gods? What happened to the Mayans gods? What will happen to mine after enough time passes? This kind of thought brought me to the next level in the evolution of my personal God.
My opinion, formed by the events listed above, God has been used over the millenniums to explain things that we as humans don’t understand. He (or she in some religions) has taken on many forms. God has been the cause of many wars and people have taken up a multitude of causes in his name. But when I realized that God is made up in the human mind, passed from one generation to the next, I lost my sense of self for a while.
The topic of whether or not God exists is completely taboo to discuss in families who believe there is one; that is unless you’re talking about how great he is. It took me about six months to even say my new point of view out loud. Then it took me another year of hashing it out before I could even tell my mother. I was very surprised to hear she went through her own ten year struggle with the same opinion.
And now we’ve come to this, “Christian Warriors” taking up arms. As a person who no longer believes in God, I’m wondering when will the people who do believe in God, start acting like they do? It’s bad when heathens like me are the one’s asking for a cease fire.
But just so you know, I passed the class to get my CCW license this past weekend. I also own several guns and a shit-ton of ammo. That’s just in case the rapture does happen and I’m one of the people who’s left behind. If that happens, I give you permission to smile down from up above and say, “I told you so. Not so funny now are ya?” Because to me, that is how many religious people are acting right now.
I love EBay. I don’t know why I love it so much, I just do. Maybe it’s because I can browse as long as I want and drool over things I can’t buy and know that no one’s watching me.
I love hitting the “Watch” button on EBay to see how much items end up selling for. I sometimes do this because I want to snipe the item. Sniping, in EBay terms, is where you wait for the last few seconds of the auction and then outbid the highest bidder. There’s even free software you can download to do the sniping for you. I don’t usually get into all that though, I just place my bid at the highest monetary amount that I’m willing to pay for an item and let the dice roll. If I win it great, if not, there will probably be another one offered tomorrow.
I have a few EBay weaknesses. The first and easiest weakness for me to ignore is my guitar obsession. “A 1974, white, but faded to yellow, reversed neck Fender Stratocaster?” my imaginary salesman asks, “Why yes we do have that Mr. Wallace.” How about a D-15 Martin played by Elvis Presley? “Why yes, we have that too.” Any guitar you could possibly want, or need, is available to buy or just look at, as long as you have the time or money.
My second obsession is knives. I usually have three to five knives in my “Watching” folder. I already own five or six pocket knives, but as a man, you can never have too many knives. I just bought another knife this weekend. It’s a seven inch fixed blade, skinning knife with a gut hook and a bone handle. It was only $15 plus $3.00 shipping. The slight flaw in my purchase? I don’t hunt.
EBay’s just all-around awesome. Where else can you look at knives, guitars, cars and pick up a DVD or two? But EBay also has a dark-side. Ever notice the categories if you scroll all the way down?
The last category on EBay’s list is called, “World of Good,” above that, “Giving Works,” but the category above that is the dubious one, it’s called, “Everything Else.”
When you click on “Everything Else,” you get brought to EBay’s underground. “Adult Only” is the first category, followed by “Metaphysical” and “Personal Security.” But the better categories are Weird Stuff, Slightly Unusual, Really Weird, Totally Bizarre and Other. Some of these things include, Japanese Real Leather Silver Butterfly Open Mouth Gag, or a Fun April Fools Gag Gift Fish Ass Holes & Tomato Sauce, to a Pathological Fused Vertebrae of American Alligator.
People have and sell weird shit on EBay. If you can’t find it here, you probably don’t need it. Not that you need any of it. So the next time your in the market for some Fish Assholes and Tomato Sauce, or the Open Mouth Gag to make your subject eat the Fish Assholes with Tomato Sauce, just remember, EBay’s your one stop shop for both.
No, I’m not talking about Fuddrucker’s or Fiddley-sticks. I’m talking about the other F-bomb. The other night, right before Obama’s speech on how he just passed a historic health care reform bill, Joe Biden introduced Obama. Bidden then whispered in Obama’s ear, “This is a fucking big deal.” Obama looked like he just smelled Joe’s fart. Joe must have forgotten that the microphones were on.
It’s even better when the frames are slowed down. You can see Obama frown, he then looks straight down at the two microphones and then shakes his head slightly to regain his composure.
Here’s the link to that and other Presidential Potty Mouths:
So I think it’s high time we address this word, fuck. I was told at a young age that FUCK meant, For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge. Of course I said cardinal knowledge, not carnal, for years. Come to find out, neither are true. It’s an urban myth.
Fuck, as we know it now as a verb, was first used in a poem called Flenn flyys around 1475. The word has been flung around literature ever since. From Shakespeare, who used the euphemism–firk, to J.D Salinger who actually used the word in The Catcher in the Rye and got the book banned many places; fuck is a good word for writers to use when they really want to get their character’s point across.
Apparently fuck has been used several times in politics as well. Lyndon B. Johnson told a Greek Ambassador “Fuck your parliament and your constitution. America is an elephant. Cyprus is a flea. Greece is a flea. If these two fellows continue itching the elephant they may just get whacked by the elephant’s trunk, whacked good.”
Senator John Kerry used the word fuck in a Rolling Stone interview when talking about President Bush. “I voted for what I thought was best for the country. Did I expect Howard Dean to go off to the left and say, ‘I’m against everything’? Sure. Did I expect George Bush to fuck it up as badly as he did? I don’t think anybody did.”
Both Dick Chaney and John McCain have been quoted saying to Senators, “Fuck You.”
President Nixon was notorious for swearing. A personal friend of mine’s dad was cussed out by Nixon in front of a whole room full of reporters. The next day Nixon called my friend’s dad into a private room and apologized. My friend’s dad refused to accept the apology unless Nixon said it in front of all the other reporters from the day before. I think Nixon’s reply was probably something close to, “Fuck you Seghers.”
I know most Americans cuss in some way, shape or form from time to time. If you’ve known me longer than an hour, you know that I swear when the situation warrants it. My favorite cuss word is flying-fuck. Like in, Who gives a flying-fuck if government officials cuss in public? What’s all the hub-bub about?
To me, the hub-bub is about being the Vice-President of the United States and being on International television, in front of hundreds of millions of people worldwide, and acting like a 16 year old kid who just can’t wait to shake his buddy’s hand and say, ”Yeah! Look what we fucking did! We’re so fucking cool! So fuck those fuckin’ mother-fuckin’ Republicans-fucks!”
So yeah Joe, you’re right, “This is big fucking deal.” Do you feel cool now? You should, because your hair looks fan-fucking-tastic!