Whatever happened to Lasertag?
"If I could work my will, every idiot that goes about with the words 'Merry Christmas' on his lips would be boiled in his own pudding and buried with a stake of holly through his heart."
I think A Christmas Carol is a great English tragedy, it's the story of a good man descending into evil. Or at least a wise man descending into stupidity.
I hate Christmas because it's a time you're supposed to spend with your blood relatives and I generally don't like doing that, except with the ones I spend a fair amount of time with anyway. The last couple of nights were more meaningful to me because I spent time with people I really wanted to be with, also I saw a lot of Christmas lights last night and those were cool. Lights are cool.
Those of us who are outcasts to our own kin (which I quite literally am even though the doddering old woman who made me so has probably forgotten doing so) pretty much get whiny this time of year, so please forgive me.
Then all I have to do is glance at the headlines to reinforce what a bunch of offensive crap the whole birth of Christ business is: Eight United States Marines have just been charged with war crimes in Haditha, among those crimes being raping a thirteen year old girl, then murdering her and her entire family (because if we don't fight them over there we'll have to fight them over here) Ethiopia is now blowing up large portions of Somalia, and that little town of Bethlehem is a heavilly fortified military checkpoint.
In the words of U2: "Hear it every Christmastime but hope and history won't rhyme so what's it worth? Peace on earth."
I did get an awesome present from one of my true non-blood family members, an MP3 of Tom Waits' gorgeous "Day After Tomorrow".
Art is the only true religion, it doesn't pretend to know what it doesn't know, it just wants you to feel something.
It's been a nice weekend, filled with just the right combination of socializing and not. The preceding few days however, were filled with some ill advised weeknight adventuring, which led me to go into work hung over and with about four hours of sleep on Friday. I was wearing a sweater with a large hole in the shoulder. It started out as a small one. All my life, I have been inept with/more or less indifferent toward what I'm wearing (isn't my not being naked fucking enough? Because I actually consider that something of a sacrifice that I deserve some goddamn credit for) but other people around me are not, so they always think they're being helpful when they point out things like the tear in my sweater. Since I was only wearing an old t-shirt underneath, I couldn't very well take it off. So as I walked around performing the frequently intense duties that an "office services clerk" i.e. everybody's monkey, must perform, all the while feeling nauseous and wanting nothing more badly than sweet, sweet sleep, several people decided to be helpful. They said "Oh Rory, there's a tear in the shoulder of your sweater" in a tone of concern that indicated that if I didn't get it checked out right away, the condition could easily develop into scurvy. By the time the third person "informed" me of this, I nearly vomited on her. What I really wanted to do though was grab her by the shoulders, shake her violently and say "Listen lady, I ASSURE you, that the hole in the sweater is NOT the problem right now!"
I finally got all the important stuff done, took off ninety minutes early and got a couple hours of sleep. When I woke up, I was happy. There was still a hole in that sweater, but it didn't affect my happiness in the tiniest degree.
I was going to write something here but you know, I've been a little too depressed by the death of Peter Boyle to do just about anything, as I'm sure we've all been.
He's probably best remembered for Young Frankenstein and more recently Everybody Loves Raymond. I remember him fondly as the star of the best X-Files episode ever, and of course, for a little project called Dream Team.
"It's great to be young and insane."
Sure, Michael Keaton said that but I think the point stands.
A friend of mine who lives in the same neighborhood asked me if I could stop in and feed his cats while he and his girlfriend are away on Christmas Eve.
This may be the single most exciting thing I do on Christmas.
I was going to make some amusing comments about my life but I realized I didn't want to subject any one to any kind of navel gazing so I'm going to talk about something else now.
Yesterday was the 65th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, I read some stories in the Tribune about it over the last couple of days, note the plural. Something that occurred to me is that FDR was wrong: the date doesn't live in "infamy" at all. For people who didn't live through it, along with D-Day and Iwo Jima and so much else, that date lives in awesomeness.
"World War II was totally awesome!" say so many of the Baby Boom generation, albeit in their own vernacular, "It filled our parents lives with moral clarity and purpose and it gave them meaning and shit and all we got was lousy Vietnam! Which most of us didn't go to!" This twisted fetishizing reached its peak in the late nineties when Tom Brokaw wrote his stupid book and Stephen Spielberg made his stupid movie, both of which could have saved a lot of space by just saying "I'm sorry, Daddy, I'm sorry I didn't go kill evil foreigners the way you did. You are the big, strong man I will never be."
When the twin towers came down a couple of years later, the sickest of these sickos, many of whom have jobs writing editorials in major newspapers, came all over themselves with pleasure and anticipation. They were going to achieve "moral clarity and purpose" through mass slaughter, albeit from a greater distance than their fathers and forefathers did. Off to fight the Axis and the fascists we were, once again. How marvelous! We'll pretend to be somber and reverent and so forth but really we can't wait to write the songs of the glorious battles against evil yet to be waged.
It's pathetic. It's pathetic because they don't understand that World War II was not in fact totally awesome. World War II was the worst thing that ever happened. It was not about brave young men hoisting flags over mounds of dirt, it was about millions upon millions upon millions of men, women and children being killed, in horrible ways.
Pearl Harbor should live in infamy. It should live as the beginning (for Americans) of something truly terrible. We shouldn't spend our time looking for ways to make it happen again we should devote every ounce of our strength to making sure that it doesn't.
We're not going to though.
So I've only ever read the first of the Harry Potter books, this tends to make people I know rather aghast, especially if they're a few years younger than me and were thus at least in their teens when Potter first appeared on the scene. I read the first book maybe six years ago and really enjoyed it but then, as I do too often with series, put it down and started reading something else. This is why, to my shame as any kind of literate nerd, I've never even read the last Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy book. But lately I've realized how silly that is and the thing to do is to read all the books in a series in a row, to "upload" them if you will. I've decided it is now time to do this with the Potter books, so I have set upon re-reading the first. As I remembered it's a witty, delightful romp and so forth blah blah blah, it certainly doesn't need my help to move copies.
But I guess what I'm saying is that I like it because it is a good story.
Also because I really like Satan. Satan is awesome. Satan, Satan, Satan!
They're really good books for teaching you about Quidditch and magic and how to reject God and embrace the Evil One. That's why people love them.
I heard the wittiest improv comedy suggestion ever the other night: CONDOMS!
It's been thirty six hours and the old funnybone has yet to recover.
Shortly thereafter I met an Irishman (like from Ireland) named Alan Woods. His Irish name is not nearly as Irish as my own.
It snowed a great deal yesterday, and it bewildered me once again, as it does every year, that people in Chicago react as if this is somehow an unprecedented calamity and they have no freaking idea how to deal with it. It's as if the entire city is populated by Floridian tourists who have never been here before. Public transportation apparently shut down. I managed to hit a good window and get into work on time (well, "on time" by my usual standards) Then discovered my office was closed! Like school. Chump I am, I spent a couple of hours there anyway, got some things done, then headed home. Then, since I'd been up pretty late the previous night, I proceeded to sleep away the rest of this bountiful day off.
God, I disgust myself sometimes.