"Klotz" As In "Blood"

A Testament to the Insidious Impact of Florida Sunshine on Brain Matter

Friday, December 29, 2006

Oh Dem Golden Slippers

Filed under: Etherea — Steve @ 12:53 am

The impetus for the following started right here, a simple fender bender that got so out of control I read it open-mouthed for the entire afternoon it unfolded.

This whole thread got so nasty and personal I couldn’t even find a wedge to squeeze in and say something disarmingly silly to get everybody to stop. (Which, as might be evident by now, is my preferred M.O.)

So. It’s my last post of 2006. May I step out of character and add this?

I’ve lived in much better places than south Florida, and worked in many more, but I moved here 21 years ago and I’ve never been happier.

While this will never be home, this is where I’m staying. I like it, in part because of all its faults. In fact, I love it.

The new friends Guido and I made moved back home after a few years. They hated it. We’re still in touch. It wasn’t for them. But it’s for us.

I never met a Cuban until I moved here, and my first impression wasn’t a good one. Foaming fascists whose daily maniacal conduct led me to believe that maybe the bearded asshole dictator had a point. Then I befriended a few, talked with many, opened my eyeballs, and figured it out. Nothing like real life, experience, yes? There’s no such thing as “a Cuban” or anybody else, because we’re all different, with his own special scent. That’s true of every-fucking-body you’ll ever meet.

While the shit goes on here isn’t unique, it has its own style. It’s foreign and strange. But damn your yellow eyes, that’s true of Boston and Washington, D.C. And Chicago, Minneapolis, Cleveland, and San Diego, too. Gotta think that’s what it’s like from London to Calcutta; Buenos Aires to Beijing.

Mummers_2005_Trio_Clown.jpgBelieve me, most of the people I’ve met here in Miami would find my home town of Philthydelphia so weird, hostile, ornery, and strange, they’d say far worse things about it than I ever said about the Banana Republic of South Florida (BRSF) I happily inhabit today. Shit– you guys ever eat scrapple for breakfast? You even know what it is? Ever drink Jack Daniels and stand on Broad Street when it’s 14 degrees to watch the corny Mummers Parade on New Year’s Day? You even grasp why we’re so negative and nasty, particularly when it comes to sports and politics? Well, why would you unless you ended up there, and learned to love it, too.

As I did here.

Thing is, the longer you live, the more similarities you see, and learn to appreciate. That’s what us people are. As the late Ron Magram used to quote his own mother, “the only difference between people is the seasonings they put on the chicken skin.” Unless you’re a vegan, I guess.

Lighten up, neighbors. Have a good time. Let’s all laugh at ourselves first, and invite others to join us. Happy New Year! Over and Out.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Like A Candle in the Wind

Filed under: Sense & Sensuality — Steve @ 12:11 am

TALLAHASSEE – State Sen. Gary Siplin lost his right to vote in elections because he’s a convicted felon. But because he can still vote in the Florida Legislature, he is trying to make sure he and other felons automatically get their rights back after they finish their sentences. —Miami Hurled

flatulence.gifIn fact, this is a singularly bad idea on many levels, among them (1) Florida Legislators are already felons, either actual or eventual, but that has little to do with ordinary citizens, even other felons, whose sense of honor, shame, decency, etc. prohibits their running for office, and (2) any efforts on behalf of convicted felons would be better directed to the 50% of innocent Americans who never bother to vote, despite their right to do so.

But here’s the real reason we shouldn’t bother with the alleged voting rights of incarcerated felons:

NORTH PLATTE, Neb. — Brian Bruggeman caused a stink at the Lincoln County Jail earlier this month and will now have to answer for it in court. Another inmate, Jesse Dorris, alleges that Bruggeman’s flatulence, passed in close proximity to Dorris, sparked a Dec. 14 fight between the two at the jail.

Now Bruggeman, 38, faces a Jan. 11 preliminary hearing on the state’s complaint of assault by a confined person. It’s a felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

Sheriff Jerome Kramer said the incident was a result of overcrowding. The jail was built in 1933 and has a capacity of 23 inmates, according to 2006 standards, Kramer said. As many as 65 inmates have been lodged at the jail in recent days, he said….”You just can’t get a reprieve from one another,” Kramer said. “When you’ve got a guy causing problems passing gas, there’s no way to get away from the smell.” — Washington Post

Farters’ Rights? “Free Flatulent Felons?” There isn’t enough shit in the world we need to hear this, too? Here’s a guy so incensed by somebody’s farts he attacks him: you wanna be stuck in an elevator (or a voting booth) after a lunch of rice and beans with an olfactorally correct convicted felon?

I think a 10 year sentence to a small cell with a foul-farting felon is hilariously appropriate. It might even be a better disincentive to committing crimes than the death sentence. God knows there’s enough flatulence already in an election year: what little of it remains in prison, out of whiffing range, should be considered a blessing.

Voting rights for felons? Put a cork in it, Senator Felonious Siplin. At least in your mouth.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Holiday Hangover

Filed under: Sense & Sensuality — Steve @ 10:44 am

Well, that’s over with.

Guido and I spent Christmas Day sorting through the holiday wreckage, attempting to charge up/format/register/install the assorted electronic devices we were certain we couldn’t live without. We successfully re-phoned the house, for example. Now callers won’t be treated to dueling answering devices (while neither one actually records a damn thing). And by the way, who’s this lowly “Private Caller” who keeps showing up on the Caller ID? How come Corporeal Punishment doesn’t call? Or Major Catastrophe? Or General Dysfunction?

We paid a few holiday visits, too. Went to see the Old Bastard in his sordid apartment off Federal Highway in Dania Beach.

“Merry Christmas, Old Bastard,” Guido says. “Still alive?”

“Evidently,” he croaks. “Dammit.” Spits a chunk of something into a frayed rag — tobacco? Toast? Tonsil? “Goddam the Christ child” (he actually says), “for 82 years I ask for just one thing every Christmas and I never get it.”

And that would be — ?

“Peace on Earth,” he snarls. “Peace on fucking Earth. And I ain’t got it yet.”

Dania Beach itself was quite festive, with brightly colored scraps of waste paper clogging the backed-up sewers and plastered to the plywood artfully adorning abandoned storefronts. A police cruiser had pulled over, blocking traffic, while two sourpuss sheriffs, thrilled to be working on Christmas, hassled a vagrant for peeing in a bush. “Izzat you, Dontrelle?” we overhear one ask. “Where’s your Bentley?”

dead-santa.jpgEarly this morning — Tuesday — the recycle and trash trucks roared through the alley, slamming canister and breaking glass as they remove the last vestiges of wrapping paper, boxes, ribbons, bottles, garbage; the discards of excess. Soon people will be illegally dumping their dead trees into environmentally sensitive areas. The celebration ends.

Do we anticipate that those who honor the birth of their Savior each year will perform in exemplary fashion even a single day later? Ask the Old Bastard what he thinks.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Suicide @ Xmas

Filed under: Etherea — Steve @ 9:58 am

Wandering around the blogs yesterday I encounter a remarkable number of posts revealing depression, sadness, misery, and Jimmy Carter-esque malaise, all fingering Christmas as the culprit. Here‘s one, for example.

It’s commonly believed that the suicide rate in America increases this time of year. Turns out this is a myth, but one that lingers tenaciously. Nevertheless. it’s disturbing to see so many unhappy people around, other than the usual crabs, like the elderly population of Hallandale. Aside: There’s a terrific traffic sign on Hallandale Beach Blvd: “Warning: Christmas Lights Ahead.” Says it all, yes?

So I call Dr. Libby Rae Shone, feminist psychotherapist, and ask her for some learned views.

“It’s not my specialty,” she begins, “but of course, in my practice I see a lots of depressed individuals.”

Hanky.jpgYou mean after they spend 50 minutes with you and get the bill?

“What happens is, all the pressures of the year come to a head. People forget how to relax, so the hectic pace, financial squeeze, and sheer competition in the streets and stores boils up and over. It gets people down. Depression is just slow-motion anger, you know.”

Very poetic. No wonder you make the big bucks.

“You find a similar phenomenon among religious people. With all the celebration of the birth of Jesus, lots of people take stock of their lives, compare themselves with the Savior whose birth they celebrate, and feel that they come up short.”

And they’re spot-on right, too. But what does Christmas have to do with Jesus? I thought that confusion was ironed out years ago. Say, you know why Jesus wasn’t born in Puerto Rico? They couldn’t find 3 wise men and a virgin.

“I thought it was Poland. Or Italy. It isn’t funny, anyway.”

Humor, of course, being another area of unfamiliarity to a feminist shrink.

“Nevertheless, even if causes for depression magnify, the incidence of suicide actually decreases. Study after study confirms this. In fact, many in the counselling professions, like myself, take advantage of the lull and close their practices this time of year. I’m off early myself to do some shopping.” And off she goes.

As usual, Libby Rae answers my question: the reason suicides taper off, even at a time when at least anecdotally, people are more depressed than usual, is that the nitwit professional blowhards — shrinks, psychologists, counselors — shut down, shut up, and go away. These are the bastards who cause more anxiety among the population than a seminar of hairy terrorists. And that doesn’t even count the host of frauds selling herbs, charms, chants, and Orka-Winfriated advice everywhere you squat.

So cheer up, folks. You’re on your own, and that’s good news. Have another drink. That’s my “professional” advice, and it’s yours for free.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Holy Hell It’s Christmas Part II

Filed under: Across the Fruited Plain — Steve @ 12:26 am

After thinking about Ace’s perpective in yesterday’s post, I thought some heart warming stories about the spirit of the season were in order:

CINCINNATI, OH — Two Christmas grinches were arrested Monday, accused of stabbing a 12-foot-tall inflatable Frosty the snowman with a screwdriver. The Hamilton County Sheriff’s office said two 18-year-olds were charged with criminal damaging, and the investigation continues to snowball.

evil santa!!.jpg The assault on Frosty was caught on tape when homeowner Matt Williquette set up a motion-sensitive video camera in a tree in his yard because the snowman had fallen victim to two earlier attacks….The inflatable, the biggest figure in his Christmas display in suburban Colerain Township, was punctured with a screwdriver Sunday night, for the third time.

JAY, OK — Police arrested a woman after finding marijuana in a Christmas card she tried to give her jailed boyfriend. Dawn E. Smith, 44, of Grove, was arrested in connection with the incident at the Delaware County Jail.

WELLINGTON, OH — An artist who was forced to remove his Nazi gingerbread men from the window of a hardware store has set up the display in an empty storefront in another town.

“The Secret Lives of Gingerbread Men” depicts a small gathering at a Nazi rally. Keith McGuckin set up the display in this northeastern Ohio city Thursday night, a day before the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah begins at sundown.

COLUMBIA, SC — A man who dressed as Santa Claus and lured an 8-year-old girl on to his motorcycle posted $100,000 bail Tuesday on a kidnapping charge…..The man, John Michael Barton, 55, said the incident was a “huge misunderstanding” after he was released from jail.

“I was wrong, but I thought I had done nothing wrong,” said Barton, charged after taking the girl on a ride in his motorcycle’s sidecar for about a mile.

Chicago, IL –Baby Jesus is back where he belongs—under the watchful eyes of Joseph and Mary in Alice Michalik’s outdoor Nativity scene….The Garfield Ridge resident recovered her small figurine Tuesday morning after someone had taken it over the weekend.

“I was devastated,” said Michalik, 56. “Who would take baby Jesus?”

Nassau County, NY Two Nassau men were arrested after they used swords to slash through Christmas lawn decorations in Island Park, police said yesterday — the second known act of holiday vandalism this week on Long Island.

Links courtesy of AP, Tribune News Services, and South Sun-Sentinel.com. Season’s Greetings to All!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Holy Hell, It’s Christmas

Filed under: Etherea — Steve @ 9:25 am

Ace is a food and beverage director who has worked for numerous gigantic operations like Hilton, Sheraton, half a dozen casino hotels in Jersey and Vegas, etc. Every 16 – 18 months he flames out and quits, only to get rehired after a few weeks. This is the first Christmas season he’s had off since 1992. I meet him for a drink. Merry Christmas, Ace.

“Christmas season my puckered nuts,” he says.

Not your favorite time of year, I guess.

“Hey, I got nothing against Christmas,” he says, “just don’t get all religious on me. Christmas got nothin’ to do with Jesus, Christians, or Peace on Frickin Earth. It’s all about moolah. It’s all about merchandise, sales, and makin’ the year’s profits in a scant 8 weeks time. It’s all about the cash register ringin’ like jingle bells. It’s all about hotel and plane reservations, tables of 8, stockin’ the bar, last minute cancellations….”

Got it, Ace. But nothing against Christmas, right?

“Don’t get me wrong. I got family goes to Church every day. My mother wears out rosary strings like a fag goes through anal beads. But that’s not what this shit we call Christmas is. Jesus comes back and sees how we act he turns his ass around, crawls back into the cave, and slams the fuckin rock shut.”

Speaking of reservations, Ace, you made yours in hell yet?

SalvationArmy.jpg“This ‘Jesus is the Reason for the Season’ crap pickles my pecker. The reason for the season is the sheckels. End of story. You want Jesus this time of year, leave a message. He’ll be back when all this insanity dies down and people go back to brutalizing one another like normal.”

You and Bill O’Reilly in the same room would make for an interesting party.

“It’s like these dimwits out there complaining about politicians being ‘too political.’ The hell else are they supposed to be? It’s their job to be political. They get paid. Same thing about malls, bars, and party stores: Christmas is their job. Christmas is a retail operation. That’s why we have the damn holiday to begin with.”

Brothers and sisters let me hear an “amen.”

You want Christians you can find ’em, but it’s hard this time of year. Try the Salvation Army — and they do it every day, not just Christmas. But that’s the exception. What Christmas really is Saint Shitsingiggles and his little elves humpin the reindeer on the front lawn covered in fake snow and green and red lights. It’s piled up presents under the plastic tree and little greedhead kiddies stealing cookies and candies from their littler brothers and sisters. It’s drunken accountants gropin’ the office manager’s tits at office parties. That’s the American Fuckin Way, and Christmas is an American Fuckin Holiday. What, you don’t know this? Ain’t you got eyes in your head?”

Ace and I drain our drinks, shake hands, and head our separate ways. I figure that now
I’ve heard the seasonal sermon, I can skip church this year — not that I ever go anyway. But I take Ace’s advice, and send some money to the Salvation Army. They’ll know what to do with it.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Papering Over the Problem

Filed under: We Put the "Me" in "Media" — Steve @ 12:13 am

One last look, before I commit two stuffed bags of newspapers to the recycling bin for Tuesday pick-up, at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. It’s a case study for almost everything wrong with newspapers today.

The front page contains 3 articles. Just 3. The bottom third is decoration, a glorified, colorized “Daily Digest.” Of the 3 articles, 1 is from the Chicago Tribune, 1 one written by a staff reporter, and the third composed by the Health Writer.fishwrap.jpg

In the remaining 24-page news section, the only other article written by a Sun-Sentinel staffer is a feature column called “The Help Page.” No other news originates locally, addressed by a real living and breathing reporter. Everything else is canned goods, a reprint from another source, including the New York Times from the previous day.

My, that’s appalling.

For the record, there are 11 Associated Press reports, 4 from the NY Times, 1 each from the Washington Post and LA Times, 1 (“Digest”) simply stating “Wire Services,” and the imbecilic People section.

The ”World” section, starting on p 25, contains zero local writers. Breakdown: 2 “Wire Reports” (Digests), 2 LA Times. 1 Chicago Tribune, 1 NY Times, 1 Associated Press.

Meager. Disgraceful. Lame.

This isn’t a real newspaper, friends, this is somewhere between Reader’s Digest and My Weekly Reader. Or maybe Highlights For Children.

So while the Miami Hurled cruelly disappoints and occasionally infuriates, give it its due: it meets at least the minimum requirements one expects from a newspaper. It has reporters, a local presence, a take on the world, and a grasp of what news is supposed to be. It may earn contempt, unlike its northern rival, but it’s not beneath it. (Talk about damning with faint praise.)

Expert assassination can be enjoyed at Bob Norman’s blog. And if Earl Maucker, the paper’s editor, would like to reply, he knows where the (newly repaired?) Comments section is.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Oooops. Dammit. Sorry!

Filed under: Etherea — Steve @ 11:31 am

You might have noticed that this blog has been absolutely saturated with spam over the last few weeks, sometimes several hundred per day. Incapable of figuring out how to load some kind of defensive device, I’ve been deleting comments manually, but I’m losing the battle. And today I accidentally deleted some genuine comments, for which I apologize.

Bear with me. If I can’t get on top of this, I will abandon the blog. Thanks.

DOH! A deer?

Filed under: Sense & Sensuality — Steve @ 9:30 am

I didn’t even TRY to find an appropriate graphic for this story:

FOND DU LAC, Wis. — Rick Lisko hunts deer with a bow but got his most unusual one driving his truck down his mile-long driveway. The young buck had nub antlers — and seven legs. Lisko said it also had both male and female reproductive organs. “It was definitely a freak of nature,” Lisko said. “I guess it’s a real rarity.” — Associated Press

Fond du Lac: Where the deer and the….octopus play?

Closer to home, further evidence of the season of Peace on Earth:

FORT PIERCE — An alleged case of road rage involving deer antlers and a handgun sent two men to jail, according to a report obtained today.

Keith Ransford, 23, of the 2100 block of Valencia Avenue, told sheriff’s investigators that he and another man were involved in an altercation Wednesday as they traveled north on U.S. 1.

At Midway Road, Ransford and Ronny White, age and address not available, got out and started arguing. White then allegedly whipped out some deer antlers and tried to hit Ransford, the report says.

Ransford then followed White’s vehicle to Starr Avenue where White fired a pistol, leaving a bullet hole in Ransford’s windshield. Ransford reportedly rammed White’s vehicle before the shot was fired, the report says.Sun-Sentinel

bullwinkle.gifSay it with antlers, gentlemen. At 40 paces.

Guido and I paid our annual visit to Aventura Mall over the weekend. Talk about the Christmas spirit: there it was in the garage, two drivers, one loaded down with gaily wrapped packages, barking threats and curses over a vacated parking spot. Fortunately, neither whipped out a set of antlers.

Saw a tee shirt featuring my hero Bullwinkle, complete with shit-eating grin, happily humping one of Santa’s reindeer. “Reason for the Season,” it reads, unnecessarily. Or, “Naughty Is Nice.” I forget. I didn’t buy it.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Happy Birthday

Filed under: Etherea — Steve @ 8:55 am

beethoven.jpg

Ludwig von Beethoven
1770 – 1827

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