Wednesday, March 26, 2008

What's Wrong With Middle America?

I hate to get all preachy and serious but...

First, watch this video.

For those of you too lazy to watch a video (seriously, what is wrong with you? It's a video), a teacher in Indiana was suspended for a year and a half without pay (she cannot teach in the district until after the 08-09 school year) for teaching a "banned" book in her classroom. Insubordination, it was termed.

"This must be some horrible book," I thought.

So I decide to see what this book, The Freedom Writers Diary, is all about. Socialism, no doubt!

Um, oh.

The Freedom Writers Diary, is a true story in the Stand and Deliver/Dangerous Minds vein. No doubt, The Freedom Writers Diary script is already in the works in Hollywood, just as the aforementioned true stories were dramatized*.

I haven't even read this book, but reading the reviews on Amazon is rather inspiring. This 23-year old teacher is thrown to the wolves, 150 "at-risk" kids who no one else wanted to teach, and she manages to turn their lives around. They all graduated high school and many went on to attend college. You couldn't make this stuff up.

So why would this be banned? The book contains the diaries of these kids from Long Beach, CA. I'm sure those kids have hooked many-a-left on 21st and Lewis (word up, Warren G!). Stories of racism, abuse, etc. no doubt abound. This reality is too much for these kids in Indiana to handle? Isn't that just silly?

This type of story is not alone.

A friend pointed me in the direction of this story. A state representative from Oklahoma declared the "homosexual agenda" a bigger threat than terrorism. Really. Really? I found rumors that her husband used to be a KKK leader. Positively shocking!

We all know the story of school districts in Kansas teaching Creationism as a scientific possibility. Yeesh. And some people actually believe it to be true, and aren't sure if the WORLD IS ROUND and think that NOTHING PREDATES

I don't hate religion or anything. It's not really my thing, but if it helps other people, what's the harm? But when religion starts to instill bigotry in people, that's where the line is crossed. Homosexuals aren't hurting anyone and they're not trying to take down American society, Rep. Kern; Hello, Kansas. The Bible is not meant to be read literally. God didn't create the earf in 6 days and it is ROUND.

What causes people to be so strange?

I try not to blame individual people. Most people, even intelligent ones, have similar political/social beliefs as their parents. There's a line from the Oliver Stone movie JFK that seems appropriate, "How do you know who your daddy is? Because your momma told you so."**

*Yes, I am now aware that it is already a movie. You can all stop telling me. Sheesh.
**I realize none of this is groundbreaking social thought. I just had to rant.

Afterword: On the way home today, a beautiful sparrow did a nosedive right into my truck's moving path, dying in an explosion of feathers. I took this as a sign that I had angered the Christian God, and edited some inflammatory things out of this entry. I pray these changes will suffice, and that a rhino does not run me over on my way into the gym today.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Happy Trails, CWebb

Yes, Chris. I did hear that you're retiring!

Ye shall be missed!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Beauty Tips Needed

But, Thomas, you're so handsome, you're thinking. This is true. You are not mistaken. However, I have a specific beauty tip I am in need of.

About a year ago, I made a lifestyle change. I resolved myself to stop biting my fingernails. A nasty habit, to be sure. And not the least bit attractive when you have fingernails bitten down to the quick. Painful, too! I quit cold-turkey, so to speak. However, there is an issue.

I'm not sure if it's from years of biting my nails (that doesn't make too much sense but whatever), but I have weak ass fingernails! I've seen other people's...mine are very thin in comparison. So they break ALL THE TIME. I can catch the corner on my t-shirt and it splits. Horizontally. So then I have to cut the damn thing way short to ensure it doesn't split downward (it's sort of like a windshield crack, no?), which sort of defeats the purpose of growing them out. And they're not THAT long, either.

I don't think many people read this, but can anyone tell me what I can do to stop this shit from happening? I searched the internet and only found stuff about vertical splits, which I do not suffer from.

Sorry for the half-assed (and vaguely to terribly metrosexual) post, loyal reader(s). I just need some help!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Folsom Really Sucks

Written in the Key of Zine

Dear Scarlett's Bartender With the Sweet Painted On Beard and Steroidal Physique:

We didn't get off to a good start, did we? As I walked into an empty Scarlett's to celebrate my friend Jeff's birthday, you were seated at the table with my friends, and I figured you were what you are...a bartender who had made himself a little too comfortable. As I said my hellos, interrupting your oh so important run-down of the delicious "Ladies Libations" that your fine establishment has to offer, you shot me a dirty look and paused in annoyance. I really went too far, though, didn't I, when I stepped in between you and Kelly's line of vision to give her a hug. I hadn't seen her in a couple of weeks, but of course you don't know that. You paused even longer this time and shot me a harder look and I thought that perhaps you actually know Jeff or his sister and you weren't on-the-clock for Scarlett's*. I politely apologized and sat down. You weren't having any of it.

You looked like Hulk Hogan when he was with the WCW** with that ridiculous painted-on-looking beard. And that's alright. We all make fashion mistakes. You'll look back at pictures one day and say, "Yeesh," as you and your wife laugh***.

When I went to get a round of drinks for the table, you looked right passed me, even though there were no other customers waiting to order drinks. It was early, and the bar was empty. But that's a good point. It was more important to cut some extra limes instead of taking my order. You can never have enough pre-sliced limes!

I stood there another five minutes, doing the usuals...head-nods, raised eyebrows, and everything else I could think of (short of my battle-tested raised hand. There was a cute girl right next to me, please!) and you twice took someone else's order instead of mine. Finally a second bartender came down from the other end and took my order. Thank goodness!

At the end of the night, I wanted to get my friend Jeffrey a shot of tequila, seeing as it was his birthday and all, and close out my tab. I stood there...for 10...fucking...minutes. Luckily, that cute girl was still there and I enlisted her feminine wiles to get your attention****. The second she turned towards you, pulled the front of her top down (it was a cute top, too) to reveal some more cleavage (and it was awesome cleavage), you turned toward her and she directed you to me. She sure was a nice girl. And hot. I don't blame you for paying close attention to her.

I asked you to close my account, and as you swiped my card, you overheard us laughing and me talking about how I never would have gotten out of there without the help from this beautiful girl and her feminine wiles. I know you overheard us because you turned to me, pointed to your ear and said, "I can hear you."

"I don't really care," I said.

And I didn't.

"I was just trying to compliment the lady," I said.

And I was.

I really should have gotten her number. Damnit.



*but of course you were
**thanks to Phil for that call
***Of course, she will be laughing through her fat lip and black eye that you so lovingly gave her the night before.
****I really did say, "Would it be possible to enlist your feminine wiles to get a bartender's attention?"

Friday, March 7, 2008

So...I'm an Uncle

It's pretty rad. Ok, so I haven't really done anything besides hold her for a few minutes (I was responsible and washed my hands first!) and give her little forehead kisses and say "ew" at her umbilical cord nub. But still. It's pretty cool.

The sister-in-law seems in good spirits. She didn't freak out when she handed the baby to me. She didn't seem stressed as I poked and prodded. She'll be a good mom. The Big Bro seems a little uneasy underneath. He's putting on a smiling facade, but I can tell he's uneasy. He has two good role-models, though, and I'm sure he'll be fine.

When we first found out the baby was a girl, I was a tad disappointed. I really wanted a nephew that I could teach how to throw a spiral and shoot a jumper, and block his shot every time he tried to score on me.

But she's pretty much perfect and now I could not care less. Besides, I realized when I was holding her, there's not a whole heck of a lot you can do with a baby, as an uncle, for a few years. Especially now. She just kinda lays there. In a cute way.

Fuckin Togo's.

Man, fuck Togo's.

I'm cooped up in this hotel room all day, counting down the minutes until free drink time (210 minutes exactly as I type this), and I decide I'm gonna grab my book (The good through 50 pages) and head down to the pool. But it's 1pm and I haven't eaten anything (The Old Man told me that the free breakfast went till 10:30, so when I go down there at 10 and I'm told that on weekdays it actually ends at 9:30, my morning was fucking ruined. Ruined.) besides an apple and I'm really damn hungry, you know?

So I walk out the hotel here in lovely Arcadia and take in my surroundings. I got a Tony Roma's and a BJ's. A Starbucks and a sushi place. And a Togo's. Now, I haven't been to a Togo's in years. I strongly considered BJ's, but I long ago learned the lesson to avoid that place at all costs. The food is terrible and I always find myself sitting there thinking, "Why the fuck did I come here AGAIN?" Right, beer. But for a brewery/restaurant, their beer sure is terrible.

So I decide on Togo's. As I walked in, I knew I had made a mistake. The dude behind the counter was just some stoner fuck who couldn't give two shits about making a nice sandwich. It's not his fault, though. I'm not really complaining about him. If you go into a chain sandwich place, you know you're getting a stoner who doesn't care about your sandwich.

Initial complaints: That menu is bare. There are hardly any choices. There are no prices. Nothing is prominently displayed. There is no listing of standard and available fixings. It's the worst menu I've ever seen.

Anyhow, I look at the menu. There are literally like 8 sandwiches in all. Three are vegetarian: "Cucumber and Avocado," "Cheese and Avocado," and "Cheese."

I hate avocado with all that is holy, so that leaves me one option.

I go with the cheese sammich. It's easily the worst sandwich I've ever eaten. I don't like mayo, so every time I order a sammich, I order extra mustard. I never have a problem, but the dude takes this to mean I want a gallon of mustard on my sandwich.

And here is why it's Togo's fault:

They have these super high counters that extend over the sandwich making counter so that you can't see your sandwich being made. I don't see the gallon of mustard being poured onto my sandwich. Honestly, it must have been pooled on there. The bread was completely soaked with mustard. The veggies and cheese were thoroughly saturated with mustard. It was revolting.

This high counter also prevented me from noticing that the guy put about a pound of cheese on my sammich. This may be hard for people who love meat to understand, but when I order a cheese sandwich, the cheese does NOT serve as a substitute for meat. Honestly it was about 2 inches thick of cheese. Of course this is more easily fixable than the mustard, it's obnoxious nonetheless. I don't like biting into a block of cheese anymore than the next guy not named Jeff Sample.

Why these high ass counters? I recall the last time I WAS in a Togo's they had this very same setup. I assume it's standard.

I'm already bored with this. The veggies were wilty. There's not enough vegetables. Bell Peppers...would it be so hard to have some god damn bell peppers? And it's expensive as hell. $9.68 for a terrible sammich, a small drink, and a tiny ass bag of Lay's?

Man, fuck Togo's.