Thursday, December 31, 2009

#17 New Year's

[I'm not bobby apologizes for there being so little SYANALTNL lately. He's on vacation and has been happily rant-free for a while, but...]

then New Years happened. Hear me out.

Shouldn't new years be at the beginning of spring or, per my people, at the onset of fall, when the summer's over? That sense of newness makes so much more sense associated with the new school year that marked the passage of time in a much more meaningful way when we grew up than this weird anti-climax post-halloween-thanksgiving-and-christmas-and-after-this-everything-is-going-to-be-cold-and-miserable-or-at-least-back-to-normal-back-to-business-so-let's-freak-out-and-go-apeshit-idiot-fest. There's something so kind of sad and desperate about the way people party on New Year's. It's one last grotesque and desperate hurrah.  And I mean how much money does NY waste on that freaking party with the ball, anyway? Meanwhile, I can't get an express train on the weekend???

Speaking of which, what brings someone to go to Times Square for New Year's Eve? What kind of odd confluence of genetics and life experiences leads someone to go do something that ludicrous? How do you get to a place in your life where you're saying, Oh, I mean no I can't make it because I'm going with a whole bunch of people to west 45th and 6th and we're gonna spend all night standing in the half-rain-half-snow with thousands of drunk and desperate people frenching each other? And then trying to get home and everyone kind of knows the season is over so they're just a little bit belligerent and a little more drunk and a little louder and a little bit more completely-impossible-to-take.

Anyone who's into the idea of changing new years to September 1st let's organize, get a petition together, write your congressman, meet up a nice hotel bar for a drink, something...or just bitch about it and agree not to participate. Who's in?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

#16 The First Snow of Winter

So it's the first snow of the year and I'm already pissed off. Everyone's completely delighted at the wonderful winter wonderland and all I'm thinking is that this crap is going to be disgusting grey slush in no time. It's the first real indication that you're basically going to be spending the next 3 months indoors, with outdoor time essentially being spent getting from indoor point A to indoor point B. And in that journey, you're going to half-slip on the ice-slush at least once, your nose and ears are going to burn-hurt, your lips are going to chap and god forbid it's actually snowing, in which case everything you and everyone else is wearing is going to be covered in the stuff and it's going to get all over everything and you can't even walk and do the crossword anymore b/c it's either snowing or too darn cold to hold the pen without gloves on and who can do the crossword with gloves on? I don't know about you, but I like being outside. I like walking on unslushy stable traction-granting ground. I like not having to try to leap over the little pools of standing arctic pond that settle at every pedestrian crossing and falling in at least once a week completely soaking my feet in the icy hand of death. I like my trains running on frigging time.

Speaking of which, so I'm on the subway this morning and the conductor announces "due to the cold weather express trains will be running local between 96th street and Chambers."(emphasis added)

What the hell is that??? That's like saying due to a water shortage, we will be screening "Yentl" in IMax 3-D every day, non-stop, for the next 6 years. But no one even questions it, they just nod their heads, seeming to say Oh, well that makes sense. No it makes no freaking sense. But everyone just expects the entire freaking system to break down just because it's cold or snowing. It basically gives the city carte blanche to half-ass it for 3 months.

I mean, yeah, there's definitely something pretty about snow when it first falls and you're at home all warm and safe, sure, I get that. But the gigantic hassle is completely not worth it. And any time I bring all this up, people will nod and agree with me and say, yes you are totally right,
but then when I say and that's why I hate the first snow of winter, it totally freaking sucks people always say oh no snow's great, it's wonderful, it's so pretty and wonderful and great and wintertime is a time to spend at home, with family and really take stock and enjoy the company of your loved ones. Um, I mean aren't loved ones for the most part best enjoyed when you're not forced to? Isn't being thrown in with your family for long hours out of a sense of holiday obligation or meteorological exigency a sure recipe for disaster? I mean doesn't it basically ensure a total familial meltdown?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

#15 The Greatest Love of All

"I believe the children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way..."

Ok, so this song really really pissed me off when it came out. I guess if you know me, you can probably guess I was a bit of an uppity kid, and I was hyper-aware of being condescended to and generally treated like an imbecile in the way adults do because, for the most part they resent kids, and simultaneously begrudge them their freedom and innocence while placing all the responsibilities for the future of the world on their shoulders. Maybe it's the home I grew up in, or maybe it's growing up Jewish, or maybe it was just me with a severely underdeveloped denial mechanism, but I never envied adults. I saw (and I think I was right to see) that for the most part we kids had it way better, with other people taking care of our needs in ways they clearly found extremely stressful. I just didn't see, even at that age, the profit-margin in adulthood. Sure, they had more freedom of movement, but at what cost? For the most part such freedom came saddled with the kinds of responsibilities and worries that were written in 24pt font all over their sad, tired faces. Yeah, I resented the fact that adults got to vote and I didn't, especially because I didn't really see any evidence that their opinions were any more considered than mine were, but I was willing to accept that because otherwise, the system really kind of worked in our favor.

But then this song came out and it just literalized how goddamn condescending and disingenuous adults were. You know how old Whitney Houston was when she recorded The Greatest Love of All? 22 freaking years old. 22!

How about you be the future for a little while?! I thought to myself. How about you lead the way and let me be a freaking kid instead of trying to pawn off all your frigging problems on me?! OK?! How about that?

And, you know what? You're not allowed to not like The Greatest Love of All. We've all been to that party at the end of the night when the DJ plays it and everyone starts singing it in the worst possible drunk-screech like it's the most profound freakin thing and every time I hear it, every single time I hear it, I'm that kid again, thinking about how shallow, how cowardly and impotent and flat-out unfair the sentiment of that song is.

And that's just the first line!

"I decided long ago, never to walk in anyone's shadow" What? When you were 12?

"They can't take away my dignity." No but you're doing a pretty good job of that yourself.

"Give them a sense of pride, to make it easier, Let the children's laughter remind us how we used to be." You're 22! How about reminding yourself how you are right now! and get the frack out my face trying to recapture the youth that hasn't even gone away yet, no matter how much coke you shove up yourself. It's creepy and annoying. I've got my pride ok, pride comes from within, which is what the frigging song you're singing is ostensibly supposed to be ABOUT! so not only is it condescending but it's also internally illogical!

Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all. Now that might be the first honest thing you've said because if this frigging song demonstrates ANYTHING, it's that you completely and totally love yourself so much it isn't even funny.

Ok, so maybe I'm channeling a young and mixed up I'mNotBobby, but I mean, you know what I mean, right? It's wrong. It's just all wrong.

Friday, December 11, 2009

#14 Beer

You know when you're, I don't know, 13, 15, 9, and someone older gives you your first taste of beer? And they're invariably older than you and this pretty much always happens at that time of your life when "older" means "better" in pretty much every conceivable way that matters to you. And so it's 2 in the afternoon and you've spent the afternoon out in the heat and there you are, and your older brother's hanging out with his friends and Danny, the one you know they all think is funny and cool and he's athletic and kind of a dick and there's something in the pit of your stomach that tells you this guy's bad news but all the girls in your class totally love him and talk about him all the time, and he's like, hey I'mNotBobby, c'mere, you ever had a beer before? And he hands you a cold bottle of Flitzenflachen and you're not sure, but you've thought about it before, I mean by that age, you've seen enough beer commercials and ads to think of it as this beautiful, translucently gold, foamy, cold-sweating-glass wunderbeverage and but while you're kind of scared of taking that oddly sacred leap away from your childhood, you're also anticipating this almost nectar-of-the-Olympian-gods type experience?

So you decide to do it, to have your first beer.

And then you open your watering eyes and can see them all laughing at you, laughing at this kid whose face looks like the entire world has gone through an enormous amount of time and trouble to play this lame little practical joke on him. And then it occurs to you, wait a minute, that makes no sense, people must actually really like this crap, and that's even more bewildering. So then you steel yourself and take a long deep gulp to show Danny, show him you're tough, you can take it. And he smiles at you, acceptingly, and the whole group of them are watching by now, encouraging you to drink drink drink and then confiding in you like you're one of them now, and saying yeah, it's a bitch when you first try it but you have to keep drinking it and you'll learn to like it.

But that concept is just completely and entirely foreign to your experience. Kids don't "acquire" tastes. Your body tells you whether you like something or you don't and for the most part, when you're a kid, you like what you like and you don't what you don't and you may for the sake of your parents force yourself to eat certain things you have a natural revulsion for but it's not really until you get older that either your tastes change or your power of denial is deft enough to start convincing you that you like things you don't really like.

Beer is one of those things, and I never developed a taste for it. I can't tell you how many times over the years friends have said to me "What? I'mNotBobby, you don't like beer? That's weird." And then they insist on getting me to try this one beer that they're absolutely sure I'm gonna like because it's "really good beer." And you know what? It tastes like friggin' beer. You know why? Because it's beer.

The cult of beer is pernicious. For some reason we go on and on about smoking and transfats and DDT and sugar-water soda and genetically-engineered food or the overpriced scam that is
organic vegetables and meat but beer is somehow completely off the table. I mean beer gives you, over time, that distended, perfectly round beach-ball gut that has to cause so many health problems it isn't even funny. Not to mention the physical violence of all kinds that attends its sacred position in the pantheon.

But it's off-limits, and has this odd kind of regular-guy credibility that is so completely retarded that every politician has to be seen out there forcing down a frosty cold one with a pandering, [literally] shit-drinking grin on his face. The fact that beer-drinking was a factor in the '04 election demonstrates just how ubiquitous and retarded the beer-cult is. To say nothing of the fact that people thought sharing a beer with a privileged little nancy who doesn't even drink sounded fun.

I mean if you want to drink the disgusting brain-killing wheat soda knock yourself out, but why does it have to be this showing-off competition kind of thing? Because I think, I really believe this, that it's kind of impossible to really like the taste of beer. I mean to PREFER the taste of beer over say, Ginger Ale or a Pina Colada. That's ok, I don't have to. I just hope I pass on my distaste for the stuff to my kids, because beer is stupid, people are stupider when they drink it and encourage each other in their stupidity in the process and eventually get into fights and punch each other in their mouths or have sex with people they don't like. There's really nothing good about it. There's plenty of other stuff to drink.

[SYANATNL would like to thank Serps at Learning to Crawl for this post's idea...although Mrs. ImNotBobby reminds him that she gave him this idea months ago and she is absolutely right and deserves full unabridged props for it....thanks honey!]

Friday, December 4, 2009

#13 PAIN!

No pain, no gain! Push! Do it! Keep going! 2 More! GO GO GO!!!!

And that's when my foot cramps up.

Pain is your body's way of telling you to stop doing something. I know we learn from pain, probably more profoundly than from anything else, but that's kind of misleading. What we learn from pain is to not do the thing that hurts. Pain avoidance has to be highly correlated to genetic advantage, that's why the learning mechanism is so strong. Now of course women have to endure a certain level of pain for obvious reasons, but for the most part, our anti-pain instincts have to have served the species better than the pain-seeking aberrations. I mean the caveman who was really into burning himself was probably not the most attractive prospect for procreation.

But if Nike commercials and pilates-fascists tell us anything, it's that if we're not constantly pushing our levels of endurance and cheerfully working through the pain we're not worth our
weight in child-labor.
People with high pain tolerances don't understand how much it hurts for the rest of us, and that doesn't mean we're weak. Yeah, there're genetic predispositions toward variant pain-thresholds and I'm ok with that, I mean if you've got a high threshold and you don't mind feeling that burn and even kind of get off on it, well, OK, mazel tov, G-d go with you, go get 'em buddy. You're probably gonna look better for the first 30 or 40 years. But don't condescend to the rest of us. You're the freak, you're the aberration.

But you can't say that, you can't complain about the pain because that makes you a wuss and G-d in heaven if there's one pariah-class in this lonely, busy world, it's the wusses. Well the wusses inherit the earth. The wusses avoid situations that might get them into trouble and pay people to move their pianos and grandfather clocks and sofabeds and consequentially don't get crushed by them (at least as often). The wusses say, you know, I know getting hit in the face hurts and so I'm going to avoid situations where that might happen, and, over time, in the long run, they get in fewer fights, and survive longer. Sure, fighting toughens up the winners, but Goliath went through a whole bunch of young go-getters before that punk David suckered him with a lucky shot. It was the cowerers, the wusses, who carried on, married, had babies and passed on their wussful genes.

I say, "no pain, no pain."

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

#12 Voting

[I vowed never to make a political post, but I think, really, this post is resolutely apolitical, or at least politically neutral.]

Do you ever feel kind of icky when you're standing in that booth? Apart from the sincerely urinalistic feeling?

I mean I know our forefathers went through etc etc etc so we could have the privilege to whatever whatever whatever, but I mean honestly. We don't really genuinely ever really know who it is we're voting for, do we? I mean 99% of the people you vote for or against are people you've never even really heard of. And even when we do there isn't often any real correlation between the reasons people vote for X or Y and what actually happens with respect to those reasons. And people's reasons are, for the most part, completely ill-informed anyway. I'm not blaming people for being ill-informed. Hell, I'm ill-informed. And so is everyone else. Because really, in reality, it's kind of impossible to be well-informed on any particular data-driven issue (as opposed to "moral binary" issues like abortion and gay marriage, which, for the most part are not data-dependent or predictive, they're just judgment calls and I have no problem with making those because I don't need to understand anything to make them) over which there's controversy, because there are people who are way smarter than you (or me, or the politician running for office) who have devoted their lives to studying just this one particular thing (e.g., tax policy or the effect of CO2 on the climate or energy policy or international political and defense policy), and they disagree. Those people have way more information than you could ever hope to have or process and they disagree (and not because they're corporate hacks or self-delusional hippies despite what either side will tell you...for the most part all of these people have good faith reasons for believing what they believe). And why do they disagree? Because, really, these issues are, for the most part, unknowable. At least insofar as predicting what SHOULD be done about anything. No one really knows what's going to happen if, say, we have public healthcare, or alternatively, if we don't. And yet everyone gets so riled up over the thing. The thing they don't really know or understand or could possibly understand because the whole system is way more complex than it is possible TO understand.

And that's assuming that you know, when you vote, how those names on the thing relate to the issues you've made these arbitrary decisions about, and that the people those names represent are actually going to behave in the way, vis a vis those issues, that you think they are going to. Which they aren't. And you, the voter, also probably don't know any of this anyway. I mean honestly, what do you or I really know about who should be the City Public Advocate or State Senator or Congressman or President or School Board Member and why? Most people who vote have no idea who they're voting for or why.

Which is fine, but it certainly doesn't fill me with a sense of pride in fulfilling my civic duty when I vote. Mostly it feels hypocritical or disingenuous or as I said, icky. But you're not supposed to feel that way. You're not allowed to not like voting. Rock the Vote, Choose or Lose, participate in the great American Democracy, the great debates of our punching little holes in this card for people you don't know, based on opinions you don't understand, and odds of predictive accuracy that favor the house big-time and in a way that is completely insignificant statistically anyway. That just sets off my internal absurdity-meter. Voting is annoying and impotent and kind of ridiculous when you think about. It should be OK to admit that, instead of participating in this gigantic denial-fest where everyone takes the opportunity to not only applaud themselves, but get in your face about what you should do and how you should feel about it.

Monday, November 30, 2009

#11 Liking Stuff

I get a lot of flack for being a hater. Or a hay-tah, or whatever the insufferable pronunciation is these days. I prefer to think of myself as a hateur, but who cares?

See, there's a lot of stuff I just don't like but it seems like, in toto, if you don't like more stuff than you do like, people start to notice and tell you that you just don't like anything, which isn't true at all, you tell them, there's plenty of stuff you like, you tell them and mean it, it just doesn't happen to be the same stuff they like, you say, or that most everyone else seems to like -- or pretends to like because that's what everyone else likes -- and so yeah, if you're sitting at some restaurant and the price correlates more to decor than food or you're in a movie theater being lectured to by sycophants or you're even at home staring at the TV hoping against hope simply to be entertained rather than subjected to so much human offal and bile, you're pretty much going to react in the only way you know how: by acknowledging that you don't really like the restaurant or the movie or the show or whatever for all the specific reasons that they're terrible.

And but see the thing is that the world really is really filled with a lot of really crappy stuff, really, that you're just pretty much constantly bombarded by and yes, of course, you know you'd be happier if you liked all of it but you just can't bring yourself to like stuff you don't like and what's worse is that then, the people who are able to manage it and enjoy the things that you don't and are actually able to achieve a level of happiness that is closed to you, these people insist on rubbing salt into the experience by deriding you as a hater.

And you hate that.

Because you like several things. Good things just not bad things...really you just differ on the distribution is all.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

# 10 Bacon

Ok, so I'm torn about this one, because I, like most of you, really love bacon. It's just delicious. What's more, there's sacrilege written all over it; sacrilege against the health-crazed vege-nazis, tacit acknowledgement that halal and kosrhut laws are just anachronistic nonsense perpetuated by the stasis upon which the power-structures of those religions depend. Bacon's as much a symbol of defiance as a foodstuff. Think of the hordes of chubby faithful straining to outdo one another in proto-baptist fashion as Emeril bams pork-fat into his roux. I get it, I do, and I feel the same way, but there is something a bit unnervingly cultish about it. I mean we all ask our vegan and vegetarian friends, "yeah, but I mean, what about bacon? don't you miss bacon? How can you live without bacon?" and almost invariably, even they will tell you, "Oh, well yeah, I mean, listen, bacon's great..." etc. etc. etc.

Which is just to say that I think bacon's become one of those things you're technically not supposed to not like. When you see some super-skinny lettuce-nosher waxing rhapsodic about bacon, doesn't it make you kind of what to slap her in the mouth and say, "right, you love bacon, sure you do, you love it so much, clearly, given that you weigh ninety-eight friggin' pounds. Give it a rest."

There's just something so, I don't know, extroverted, about people's insistence of their love of bacon that fills me with distrust and skepticism. And I'm as guilty anyone. I told my wife when we got engaged not to make me choose between her and bacon, because, of course, I would choose her, but I would resent her for it and never forgive her really because I mean this is bacon we're talking about and man alive do I ever love that delicious bacon.

That's freaking retarded.

I guess what I'm saying is, yes, bacon is great, but just calm down about it already and don't protest too much because it's kind of poseurish and over-the-top. Eat your bacon. Eat the crap out of, I don't care, but calm the frak down and stop congratulating yourselves about it.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

#9 Hiking and/or Camping

You're not supposed to not like hiking or camping; it's getting right up in there with nature and being natural and exploring and sleeping in the wondrous beauty that is the natural world.

But, I don't know, nature makes me uncomfortable and I kind of think that's the natural response. Look at most every creature in the wild, they're all basically terrified of anything that moves. As well they should be, because they're probably either close to starving or close to being some starving creature's dinner. The flora's nice, but you don't really have to sleep in it or trudge 10 miles uphill to get that, do you? My people have a word for hiking: it's called "shlepping" and believe you me we don't mean it all happy-like.

Hasn't the whole project since the beginning and we started to get smart and figure this stuff out been a pretty continuous effort to shut out the random perniciousness and flat out filth of Mother Nature? Haven't we been continuously applied to the task of figuring out ways to withstand and cordon ourselves off from the earth because our experience has taught us that we're a lot better off that way? Don't get me wrong, I love going to parks and setting up a nice picnic in a grassy lea and gasping in rapturous delight as lo! a sweet antelope comes bounding along to the music of the trees sighing in pleasure from the wind's dear caress as much as the next guy, but do I really need the shlepping and the sleeping with the bugs in the dirt on the rocks without the plumbing and the cooking on the fire and the freezing or the sweating and the overall dearth of chairs or couches or air
conditioning to enjoy that stuff? I can drive to some nature or go to a nearby park and set up a picnic blanket for a nice couple of hours and then pack up and go home to my shower and bed and fridge and air conditioner and electricity and bookshelf and sofa. We have brought millennia of ingenuity to bear on the problem and, outliers notwithstanding, the structurally sound, safe, climate-controlled, cushioned, be-toileted, insect-and-dirt-free (at least as far as we are capable) have won the day.

Which makes the whole camping and hiking thing seem, I don't know, kind of forced right? I mean don't you get the sense whenever you're camping or hiking that everyone's always trying to outdo one another in their insistence of how awesome the camping or hiking is and so you feel obligated to stifle that part of you that wants to bitch about what a frigging shlep this mountain is, or how much you'd give to sit in a nice armchair with a cup of hot chocolate and a book like Watership Down (because there's nothing wrong with enjoying nature from a distance, in comfort, like Bilbo) or how you can't sleep because you're absolutely sure that as soon as you doze off some lithe and enterprising spider is going to have its way with your ear-hole? Doesn't their insistence feel like they're trying to convince themselves of something and make you feel like you're not supposed to contradict them? It's environmental fascism and it needs to end here, buster. Hakuna Matata.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

#8 Halloween (Booooooooooo!)

You really aren't supposed to not like halloween. What are you, a wet blanket? The death of the party?

It's competitive creativity, what's not to like about that? It's drunken extroversion. AWESOME! It's making clever puns and turning them into costumes and wearing the costumes so then people can ask you what you are and you can say something like "a board meeting!" or "george washington zombie" or "the concept of hubris," and they can fake-laugh and you can feel clever and then you can ask them what their costume is or better yet, "who are you supposed to be?" and they can say, I'm a "cheerful serial killier" or "someone who eats babies, see the baby-blood trickling from the corner of my mouth? ha-HAH!" or "the world's most enormous whore!" and then you can fake-laugh and you all drink and pretend to be having a wonderful time and not totally wishing you could just take all this stupid makeup off and get away from her awful cigarette-cosmo-breath.

Super. Just super.

I remember hating halloween when I was growing up. It's too much pressure and not enough payoff. It's embarrassing to go around begging people for food, especially when you really never get candy any other time. There's something downright shaming about it, your costume's never as good as the rich kid or the arty kid. It's just always kind of lame and literalizes how comparatively uncreative you are in a world that's already doing a pretty good job of reminding you of that every single other freaking day of the year. So you either feel bad about yourself or you make a total drunken ass of yourself. Either way, I don't see the margin there.

But no, let's party! Come on, Bobby, it's good fun! Well, I'm not really having any fun dressed up as "a dirty martini," really I just want to wear some normal clothes and hang out and, I don't know, just not be bombarded with this extroverted id all over the place. But try getting on the subway on Halloween with that noise. The subway on Halloween is the saddest, most desperate spectacle you'll ever see. People either sitting there ashamed of themselves for being forced by their girlfriend into wearing this stupid costume, or overcompensating and literally screaming at each other in a too-forced travesty of drunken revelry. Mostly it's just a bunch of prancing gits who need to be smacked in the mouth and told to shush and use "indoor voices."

Hm..."Indoor Voices," "The Wet Blanket," "The Death of the Party" now those might make decent costumes...


Monday, October 26, 2009

#7 Dive Bars

"Where should we go?"
"I know! There's this great place called Grimey's. Cheap beer, a bunch of regulars, it's awesome, follow me!"

And so there you are. Feet sticking to the floor where a thousand drunks have spit, drooled or spilled their beer and bourbon. The yellow-red light bouncing around the place. The palpable sense of hopelessness and despair. A couple of 50-year-old alcoholics glaring at intrepid you. And you, you trying to act like this is all perfectly normal; you act your absolute coolest with the overweight and lazy bartender who repays you by adamantly refusing to suspend disbelief and treating you like you don't belong. Oh and what's that playing on the Jukebox? "Downeaster Alexa" by Billy Joel?! Awesome!!!

Well, it isn't awesome. It sucks. Invariably. Dive bars suck. I mean I know the booze is a bit cheaper, and that's great and all but really, is the extra dollar or two you're saving per drink worth all this disgustingness? Slumming it is stupid, it is; it's simultaneously disingenuous and condescending. Are we so ashamed of our preference for nice things that we have to wallow in this filth just to make ourselves feel like we're not privileged even though the entire experience of being in the dive bar only literalizes how out-of-place we are? Isn't your disgust at the fancy-pants snoots at the nice, upscale bars really just disgust and shame directed at your reflected selves? The fact is, a nice uptown bar in a hotel or some such is going to be better in every possible way.

First, no one will look at you (RIGHTLY) like you don't belong (because you, my readers, don't belong at the dive bar, you don't, you're not "down" with the "people." If you're under 50 and you have a college degree you are OUT. You're privileged. Even if you have no money, you are still privileged and do not belong with those people...they know it and you know it, so stop pretending, because it's unseemly .). Second, the bathroom will work and afford you privacy or not make you want to kill yourself. Third, there will be plenty of places to sit, comfortably, at a table or at the bar, like a real-live adult, instead of surrounded by either people who are nothing like you or people who, like you, are trying desperately to be something they aren't. Either way, you'll be yourself and not some complete douchewad pretending your life away. Finally, the place will be nice, pleasant, you won't stick to anything, the lighting will be muted, neither too light nor too dark, the decor will be unobtrusive and will not pride itself on its obnoxiousness, tastelessness and/or low-scale destitution. In short, you will have a simply wonderful time, I promise.

All tolled dive bars are fine for their audience but that's it. They are not for you. Drink someplace nicer where you can ask for the top shelf stuff and the 55-year-old bartender in his bow-tie and sock garters will call you sir and make you a Don Draper-worthy sidecar.

The next time you and your friends find yourself at one of these dive bars (named "Flippo's" or "The Absolute End of the World" or "Grotesquerie" or, worst of all, "Dive Bar") and you're squatting there in the bathroom, staring at the drunk-retarded mutterings that seriously call into question the lasting value of the human race etched into the wall of the commode because that's the only place you can look without vomiting into your mouth, ask yourself whether the 3 dollars you're saving on that pitcher is really worth it. Ask yourself if you're just trying to prove something (i.e. that you're not a privileged little twit) that isn't really worth proving both because a) it's untrue and b) because lowering yourself to this level only re-enforces your pampered twittery. I think you'll find, if you're not too drunk and full of your own bloated self-importance, that you don't belong there.

So get up! Get up now! All of you! and leave the dive bars to those who have truly abandoned their hope. That's what they're there for. And you are just making them more miserable by sitting there, trying to take part, like the absolute worst kind of tourists. Unless your goal is to actually become one of those people (i.e. a miserable alcoholic shell of a human being) which honestly I have absolutely no problem with whatsoever...seriously, if that's the choice you want to make, go for it, but don't half-ass it and just visit and call it "awesome" or "fun" or "more real" because it's none of those things. If not, go to your own bars and leave them be. They are not for you.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

# 6 Being a Dork (or a Nerd or a Geek)

As a science fiction fan who owns the entire Farscape and Babylon 5 series on DVD, I'm getting really annoyed at the ubiquity of beautiful people saying "I'm such a dork!" I mean supermodels self-identify as “total nerds” these days because they read the latest Wally Lamb. By Grabthar’s Hammer, there’s a hip-hopping group called N.E.R.D.!

I know, there’s a way to spin this that nerds are no longer being marginalized and all that, but being marginalized is what being a dork MEANS.
The real nerds, I mean the ones who go to Babylon 5 conventions are just
as uncool as ever, but now they don’t even have the comfort of a shared
identity that hasn’t been co-opted by the Michael Ian Blacks and Jason Lees of the world.

Rather, cool people flatter themselves by associating with things like comic book culture and awkward outcastery because these things are now supposedly “cool,” but the minute that happened, they ceased to be genuinely, nerdy, dorky or geeky (I know that all these designations have their own sub-connotations and shouldn’t be used interchangeably, but for my purposes this holds, because the people using them who shouldn't don't understand those distinctions). If "punk rock died when the first kid said, 'punk's not dead,'" then nerdhood died when Jessica Alba said "I'm such a dork."

Isn’t this an even more insidious form of nerd-persecution? Would Natalie Portman ever deign to actually go to a Farscape Convention and hang out and talk about her favorite episodes or get together with real D&D dorks and commit to an adventure as a kick ass elfin bard with a penchant for skullduggery? Would the real-life analog to the Simpson’s Comic Book Guy ever really be welcome at the Greenpoint dive bar? Of course not. Genuine nerds are as unwelcome as ever and yet the Scarlet N is being worn with such pride these days that the word no longer signifies, and nerds, real nerds have been robbed of their one genuine comfort: belonging to an identifiable class that can differentiate itself at least from Natalie freaking Portman.

Being a dork is not about giggling, squealing, self-satisfied joy and false humility. "I'm such a dork" is meant to be spoken with shame...and yourself...alone, because you have no friends except your dungeon master and Londo Molari and Rygel the XVI, Dominar of the Hynerian Empire.

Friday, October 16, 2009

#5 Prince

Can you imagine going to a dinner party or something and the subject of Prince comes up and everyone starts waxing rhapsodic about what a genius the guy is and how sexy and awesome and what a musician and showman and everything and then you pipe up, yeah, but you know, I don't really like Prince that much I mean I get what people are saying but I just never really want to listen to the music, you know, and the hostess drops her platter of tilapia and everyone looks at you like you're the world's most enormous douche?

I can.

If you don't like Prince well then you are just not sexy enough, or really into sexiness and being all sexy and musical and short and totally sexed-up big time. But it's not just Prince's extreme sexiness, but also his songwriting! and musicality! the genius of his soulful musical songwriting! and not just how well he plays his instruments but how many of them! and his SOUND?! I mean no one else sounds like Prince, he's a genius at developing a musicality of sound that rises to the level of genius and when you combine that with all of that amazing sexfulness, I mean WHOA you really should NOT not like that. Because the women, you know, the "ladies", they love Prince's musical sexiness and the men, well, as I said, if the "ladies" love Prince's musical sexiness the "guys" are going to be all like Prince is totally way so super-genius and maybe the women will be so sexified by the sheer genius musicality of the sound-sex that Prince is bringing to the table, that some kind of soulful mustachioed midwestern purply sex-party will break out and I mean who doesn't want to be there for that level of sweaty squishiness? Everyone all short and sweaty and bristly and writhing on each other to the soulfulness of the musical SOUND of "Get Off"?

I don't know, maybe it's just me, but I've had Prince on my iPod for about 2 years now and never, not once, have I ever bothered to press play on it and whenever one of his songs comes on randomly I just skip past it and think to myself you know, this really isn't that good. But any time I tell anyone, it makes them drop their tilapia on my shoes.
Because you're not allowed to not like Prince.
It's just not OK.
You just don't understand MUSIC and Genius and Sexiness and Purple.
I guess I don't.
I guess I don't.

All I can think is, "Ew. Please get off of me (and my iPod)."

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

#4 Questions

Ugh, nothing is worse than listening to an artist talk about how it wasn't her intention to provide any answers, but really just to ask questions to get people thinking about X or stir people into having conversations about Y, or call attention to issue Z; "Isn't it more important to get people thinking and asking more questions?"

No. It's not. It's more important to get me some freaking answers aready!

What's more, it's completely disingenuous. Of course, these people think they have answers and the only real questions they want you to ask are "does this guy need an agent?" or "wasn't that brilliant?" or "do you think she's single?" The one way you know someone thinks the world of herself is when she insists that all she's doing is asking questions and maybe that's partially because you're not allowed to say that because we want our artists humble and so we have to have this whole song-and-dance about preferring questions to answers, but who in god's name prefers questions to answers? On the other hand, setting the art-bar so low creates the perverse result of spinning a cocoon around "artists" who really don't have anything to say and so this absolves them from the hard work of figuring something out.

Questions suck, answers are awesome. Any questions?

Monday, October 12, 2009


Ok, LOLCATS (and kind of internet memes in general).

It's the inside joke phenomenon. The fact of its being an inside joke is what makes people think what they're seeing is actually funny regardless of whether or not it IS actually funny, because what's "funny" is merely the sense of self-flattery that you're in on the joke and so if you admit that it's not really funny (because, really, it's not funny, it's just stoned-nonsense-dribblings that skew retarded), well then you're not "in" anymore which means you are no longer a cool part of this cool internet meme community that prides itself on its insularity and cleverness even though really it's just a bunch of bad stoner jokes. Lolcats are retarded (cf. this from Time Magazine, via Wikipedia: "The term lolcat gained national media attention in the United States when it was covered by Time which wrote that non-commercialized phenomena of the sort are increasingly rare, stating that lolcats have 'a distinctly old-school, early 1990s, Usenet feel to [them]'").

Uch...just, uch...

Friday, October 9, 2009

#2 Kale

People simply adore kale. Oh, it's so delicious, they say, steamed with just a little lemon, perfect.

Uh, no it's not. It's a leafy bitter fucking green. But you must love kale, because if you don't love kale you're not healthy enough. You need to embrace your health so dearly that you have to pretend to love something that is inherently undeserving of love.

People don't really love kale (that would be impossible). Rather, they love the idea of themselves eating a leafy green. How healthy, how delicious! No, it's not delicious. It's kale. It's not a bacon cheeseburger. It's not foie gras. It's not creme brulee. It's not even a really ripe, sweet and juicy peach. It's freaking kale.

Eat your kale, but be honest about it. Eat it with resentment. The resentment borne of being burdened with craving unhealthy things. Be unhappy, because really, kale is terrible. It is, it's just terrible. Yeah, it's ok if you eat it in a soup that you make with sausage, but that tells you everything you need to know. Just don't tell anyone you hate it because that means you're just an unhealthy person and we don't want to hear from unhealthy people reminding us of our delusionary relationship with healthy foods.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

#1 Stuff White People Like

You're not allowed to be white and not like "Stuff White People Like" because that means you take yourself too seriously, which is something the white people who like "Stuff White People Like" will tell you is really so totally white of you.

Here's something white people like:

Because if you're white and you like "Stuff White People Like", that means you're totally not one of those white people the white guy who writes "Stuff White People Like" rips on all the time for being so lame and white. Conversely, if you're white and you don't like "Stuff White People Like", you don't have a sense of humor and that's so completely white of you, it isn't even funny.