Follow by Email

Inspirational Reads

Friday Morning Latin Lesson, Vol LXXXIII

August 27, 2010

I've been letting my hair grow out for a while now. This year, I think, instead of going door-to-door around the neighborhood, we're going to go to a Halloween party. My wife has cooked up a notion to have a themed set of costumes for all of us. Because I'm a fun-loving guy who will do almost anything to please his children, I've decided to join in.

The theme is Bleach characters, the anime series I told you all about a while ago. My son wants to be Ichigo, my daughter--instead of being Rukia--wants to be Lieutenant Yachiru, mostly because of the pink hair. My wife is going to be Rangiku...but, maybe just not so...Rangiku, if you know what I'm saying.

Me? I'm going to be the best damned fat Kisuke Urahara you can find! I mean, he gets to wear that hat and carry a cane? Sign me up. The fact that he bears a resemblance to Kurt Cobain is awesome enough, but he's kind of a scheming, behind-the-scenes badass, too. Plus, the hat.

Anyway, for that reason alone, I've been growing my hair out. It's longer than it's been at almost any point in my life that I can remember. Growing up, my mother threatened me with physical violence along with forceful shaving of the head if I dared to grow my hair out longer than she deemed appropriate. Though I'm sure she would still threaten me, I long ago learned that her threats were as hollow as Tara Reid's skull. So, here we are, a head full of hair that's gotten to Shaggy proportions (both the noun and the adjective). I should easily have the locks to pull off the Urahara look by Halloween.

Now if I could just lose 75 pounds...

Fortunately, I have a fine head of hair. I may have a little bit of recession going on above my temples, but other than that, I'm good. Solid head of hair, nice and full. Not that I'd have a problem if I was going bald; I'd fully embrace it. It's just...well, I'm just glad I'm not bald and trying to grow my hair out. For one, I'd be better off going the Ikkaku route. For two, there's no fucking way I'm ever wearing a skullet.

You know what a skullet is, right? It's the bastard child of male pattern baldness and a mullet. Bald may be beautiful, and you may have business in the front and a party in the back, but that doesn't mean that there a baldly beautiful party will be springing forth at any moment from you, Mr. Skullet Man.

And really...ugh...I think the best way to say it is in Latin:

Calvo turpius est nihil comato longo.

Pronounced: "Call-wo toor-pee-oose est nee-heel coh-mah-to lohn-goh."

*shudder* Translation. Hovertext. Going to wash my eyes out with Bleach...er...bleach

If you have a skullet...well, I guess you won't be reading here anymore. If you're simply balding and thinking of going through a midlife crisis, do us all a favor and don't, okay? Just buy a sports car and bang a stupid college chick. Friends don't let friends grow skullets.

It might not be a happy coincidence that Urahara looks like Cobain. One rumor floating around as to why Tite Kubo, the author and artist of the Bleach manga, named his work "Bleach" was because he loved the Nirvana album by the same name. And, well, I have to agree. Bleach (the album) is pretty fucking spectacular.

However, this probably isn't the real reason why Tite Kubo chose the name "Bleach" for his work. It probably has more to do with how the shinigami "purify" the souls of the Hollows, like how we reference bleaching something as making it cleaner or more pure. The other reason is probably because the main character, Kurosaki Ichigo, has orange hair.

Still, I'm going to lie to myself and make the Nirvana connection, because it makes me happy.

Only a few days to go until college football season kicks off! Unless you're like me and have to wait and extra week before the first game. *grumbles*

Take Me Out

August 26, 2010

Last night, I took my kids to the baseball game here in town. It was a good time. My daughter has wanted to go to a game all season, but the schedules just never worked out, be it their school/vacation schedule, my being sick schedule or what have you.

As the season ends next weekend, I pretty much had to take them out now or they'd not get to go to a game this season. We got tickets for down the first base line, right by the bullpen. We ate hot dogs and pretzels and sno-cones. We had a good time, except that in the middle of the first inning, a very obnoxious prick came and sat five seats in front of us. He would not shut the fuck up. Amazingly--and I know this might be a shock to some--he wore full UNC regalia: hat, shirt, and pants with the UNC logo stitched into the pockets of the jeans.

I shouldn't make fun, but he had what can only be described as a "messed-up grill", one where his teeth stick out from his mouth at strange, obscene angles. I only make fun because he was, without a doubt, the most obnoxious fan I've ever been around at a game--and I've sat with myself. He kept yelling at the players--the home team Bulls players--all night, and complained about every call the first-base ump made, even though every last one of them was correct. It was made even worse because his words were nearly indecipherable. The first baseman for the Bulls wears number 26, but for a good fifteen minutes I thought sure he was yelling "Hey, Toothpicks!" instead of "Hey, Two Six". In short, he was a douche nozzle, which is understandable given the outfit he was wearing.

Regardless, we had a good time. We left before the end of the game because it was 9:00, which is an hour after bedtime for the kids. Part of the negotiations for "we're leaving now" was that I would turn the game on the radio in the car. We listened to the game on the way home, but since it's baseball, the game wasn't finished by the time we got home, got teeth brushed and faces washed and got dressed in pajamas. So, my son decided he wanted to listen to the game on the radio in his room. I wasn't going to turn it over, but then my daughter found the sports radio station on the FM dial, so I fixed it so that he could listen to the rest of the game on his radio. I tucked him in and went to fix my daughter up for the night. I found her trying to find the game on her radio. So, I fixed her radio up, too. I tucked her in, and returned to my room. A few minutes later, I hear her crying, so I go to find out what's wrong, and I come to find out that she tried to turn the volume up, but messed up the radio settings instead. I fixed them, tucked her back in, and went back to my room. Everyone was happy.

We didn't get any of the extra souvenirs, although a foul ball came our way. Unfortunately, it sailed over our heads into the section behind us. A couple of others fell closer to the field of play, but not really in my reach.

This is not the first time I've almost caught a ball at the ballpark.

Last year, my wife and I took the kids to see a game and to stay for the fireworks afterward. We got bleacher seats. Having never sat in the bleachers before, I thought it was kind of fun. Crowded, but fun.

No home runs were hit that night, but when the right-fielder finished warming up one inning, he tossed the ball into the crowd for a souvenir. The ball just happened to be headed right for my daughter...or my daughter's forehead, to be precise.

Like a dutiful father, I raised my hands up to catch the ball and to spare her. Since it was coming for her face, I was going to give it to my sweet, innocent, happy little girl.

Instead, the ball hit my palm with a meaty smack--I'm not gonna lie, that shit hurt--and then popped up into the air. Before I could grab it, the ball landed in the lap of the crotchety old bitch old woman sitting in front of us. She held the ball up like she had just caught it, gesturing to the crowd and showing it off to her henhouse girlfriends. Finally, the queen of the bluehair brigade turned around and looked at me and said "Thanks". Then she took the ball and held it up in my face--as if I didn't know what she was talking about--and waved it back and forth.

I wanted to kick her in the hip, but I figured I'd just injure my toe--those artificial joints are tough and made of steel. I just turned to my daughter and said, "Sorry, Cookie, but I guess you won't get that ball back."

I don't think she was upset, but she was probably a little disappointed. I bought her a bag of peanuts instead. Everything was made better.

And then I kicked peanut shells into Granny's purse.

One of Those Days

August 25, 2010

Ever have one of those days? Of course you have. Granted, you'd be hard pressed to define what "those" meant, but you know what I'm talking about.

I'm smack in the middle of one, which is why I'm sitting down to eat my lunch at 2:30 in the afternoon. Actually, it started yesterday. Now I'm just slapping that thigh and riding the wave.

Yesterday, while in the midst of purifying my compounds, the HPLC I was using decided to reset itself. This annoyed me only slightly (slightly as in I was simply telling it to go to hell, as opposed to coarser, more physically impossible curses). I reset everything, decided that my compound wasn't completely lost...yet...and so I started it back up. The machine injected my sample and, once again, shut down.

It was at this point, while I was telling the machine to fuck itself, that an angry cloud actually appeared over my head as I grumbled and left. The joys of lab life. This was only a little bit after I burnt my thumb on some steam from my lunch (which, truth be told, wasn't worth getting burned over).

I coasted through the remainder of the afternoon, my anger waning. As I got home, I decided to rest for a moment or two before dinner. I laid my pretty little head down at 5:15, thinking I'd start making dinner in fifteen minutes. A moment later, it was 6:30 and I was panicking because there wasn't enough time to cook, eat, and get the kids in bed at the appropriate time.

I dashed downstairs and asked what they wanted for dinner. My daughter said Mexican; I said good enough, off to Taco Bell we went. I tried to hide the evidence, but the ass concerto that I serenaded my wife with last night gave me away. That, and I totally confessed when she crawled into bed beside me.

This morning, when I got up, I realized we were out of coffee. THAT should have told me how the day would be going. I get to work, pour the stuff that they offer here down my throat, and dash off to my meeting. During the meeting, the coffee runs its coarse, so that by the meeting's end, I gotta toss a major whiz. I make it back to the lab, do some stuff to allow the bathrooms to clear out (they're always packed right after a meeting like that) and then proceed to go and take care of my business.

Only problem is...while I'm standing in front of the urinal...I find it difficult to snake my dick out of my underwear to commence with the pissing. What the hell? Did I shrink? NOOOOOO!!!!

Finally, I was able to unleash my horror upon the urinal. I tucked myself back in and went about my business of preparing for my next meeting. I get a few tasks done and then the coffee and last night's Taco Bell run their course, and I realize I've got to go for a sit-down in the restroom. No problem. I go down, my favorite stall is free, so I drop trou, sit down, and begin to relieve myself.

That's when I look down at my pants and underwear wrapped around my ankles.

I am wearing my underwear inside out.

So, no. No shrinkage. No pencil dick. No turtling.

Just an idiot who can't dress himself.

Totally Blowing Shit Up Tuesdays, Vulcanalia!

August 24, 2010

August 24th was a busy day in Roman history. In 49 BC, the Second Battle of the Bagradas was fought, in which the Roman forces lost. In 410 AD, the Visigoths started pillaging the city of Rome itself--a festival of plunder and rape that would last for three days.

However, neither of those are why we're here today. Today marks the one thousand, nine hundred and thirty first anniversary of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, which buried the cities of Pompeii, Herculaneum and Stabiae. Of the three, Stabiae suffered the least, while Herculaneum was history's red-headed stepchild in that it was completely forgotten until archaeologists began poking around the site where Pompeii had been and found another city. Research then revealed that the city's name was Herculaneum.

Now, here's a bit of irony for you. Vesuvius went up on August 24th. August 23rd was the day set aside on the Roman Calendar to celebrate Vulcan, the Roman god of fire, both beneficial and harmful. He was associated with Haphaestus, the Greek god of fire and smithworking. As such, he is considered a fertility god, because ashes provide fertilizer when worked into the fields. He is also a bit of a war god, because you can use fire to subdue your enemies. Along with all of these, he is a master smith, who keeps his forge beneath Mount Etna.

Apparently, Vulcan was none too pleased with the natives as they celebrated his special day.

As I mentioned before, his festival is the Vulcanalia, which was celebrated on August 23rd, was an offering up to Vulcan to prevent fire from harming the wheat crops which were nearly ready to harvest at this time of the year. Typically, the late summer was the dry season, so crops of all kinds were especially threatened to be ruined if anything sparked a fire, so it's best to appease the fire god to keep these kinds of things from happening.

Since Vulcan was a fire god, his temples were typically located outside of the cities, so that celebrations for Vulcan would not destroy the entire town. As you might imagine, a lot of the religious rites surrounding Vulcan's worship involved open flames.

And, yes, we derive the word "volcano" from Vulcan's name, since his smithy was underneath Mt. Etna. He was married to Venus, and it was believed that whenever she was unfaithful to Vulcan (which is to say, a lot), he would get pissed and hammer out his frustrations in his forge. Sparks would fly from him work, which would be visible coming out of the top of Mt. Etna. Kind of like this:



Now that's some nature blowing some shit up, my friends.

Mount Etna is located on Sicily. However, Vesuvius is located down the coast of the Italian peninsula from Rome, sort of in the "ankle" region of the boot. The thing about Vesuvius is, it started smoking and billowing ash on Vulcanalia of 79 AD. It wasn't until the next day that it went up, destroying the three cities.

The area around Pompeii and Stabiae was a very popular resort for wealthy Romans, and August was the time when most of the Roman families would have gone south to their villas for vacation. This means thousands of people were killed in the volcano's explosion and eruption that ensued. Famed historian Pliny the Elder (that's pronounced "Plinny") was in the area when Vesuvius erupted. Pliny commanded a fleet of ships, and he decided to take a closer look at the volcano as it erupted, because Pliny was famous for writing about the natural world. This wasn't just a grab for further fame, however, as Pliny did command his ships to sail across the bay to Pompeii and Stabiae in hopes of saving some of the people who were stranded there.

Unfortunately, this was the last thing Pliny would do. Pliny died on August 24th, 79 AD, but we know that his attempts to save people were successful because survivors escaped to tell Pliny's nephew, Pliny (this one being "the Younger"), that the Elder had saved them.

In Pliny's honor, the tall pillar of smoke and ash that spews forth from a volcano is referred to as a "Plinian cloud" and any volcano which does this is said to be undergoing a "Plinian eruption". Something like Krakatoa exploding is referred to as a "super-Plinian eruption". I'll bet he's so happy.

Pompeii and Herculaneum were not rebuilt. Instead, this paved the way for an ancient Greek city, Neapolis ("New City"), which was now under Roman control, to thrive as the major port in the area. It has grown up today to be known as Naples. Naples still sits in the shadow of Vesuvius.

And to add just a bit of doomsday cachet, Vesuvius is not a dormant volcano. In fact, recent seismological studies have shown that the magma chamber beneath the volcano is filling once more. In other words, you might want to put off that trip to Naples for a while, lest you end up like Pliny the Elder...but you'd have to put one about two hundred pounds before that happens.

Happy Rose of Lima Day!!!

August 23, 2010

Today we venerate the first Catholic saint in the New World, Rose of Lima. Rose was born in Lima, Peru, under the clever guise of Isabel Flores de Olivia. Her father was a Harquebusier, which is a kind of Spanish cavalryman, and her mother was a native of Lima.

She earned the nickname "Rosa" as a child when her babysitter swore that she had seen little Isabel's face turn into a rose.

*puts thumb in mouth, cups an invisible bottle, takes a few swigs*

As she grew older, she made it a practice to fast three times a week in the manner of Saint Catherine of Siena--because imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. It's at this point that we learn that Rose was a bit full of herself. When someone admired her, she cut off all her hair, sang a doleful song about unrequited love, and then tore a picture of the Pope in half. Because she was so beautiful, she disfigured her face with pepper and lye, hoping to help others with her self-imposed ugliness.

...

Really?

Not only was she too beautiful for the rest of us to look upon, but she also was a petulant little snit. In opposition of her parents' wishes to marry, she decided to take a vow of virginity. Way to show them! The "don't hate me because I'm beautiful" attitude and the fucked-up face probably had nothing to do with that whole virginity thing.

Eventually, she also became too good to eat meat. Her daily fasting led to her giving up her carnivorous habits. But, take heart, people, she still did a lot of good. Her embroidery was so beautiful that she was able to help support her household by selling it. She also grew beautiful flowers that she would also sell. In the meantime, she built her own personal grotto, where she could spend the nights praying and contemplating the Blessed Sacrament. Eventually, she would only leave the grotto to come out and take Communion. Finally, she entered a convent, took the lifetime vow of chastity (insert sarcastic "no" here) and then prophesied her own death. On August 24th, 1617, Rose did indeed die as she had promised at the ripe old age of 31.

Her symbols are the rose, the anchor, and the baby Jesus. Rose is the Patron Saint of Embroiderers, Gardeners, and Florists and is invoked--somewhat ironically--against vanity. She is also the Patron Saint of Peru, the Peruvian Police Force, Latin America, native peoples of the Americas, India, California (*stifles laughter*) and those nasty, flat green beans you get in mixed vegetables.

So let's offer a little something up to Rose of Lima today, because even self-righteous ugly chicks need love too.

Friday Morning Latin Lesson, Vol. LXXXII

August 20, 2010

Being the terrible blogger that I am, I totally forgot to laud some people who saw fit to include my blog on their daily turn about the blogosphere. Apparently, my tale of the encounter with the Checkout Girl and the Deli Hag from last weekend tickled the fancy of the keepers of Hippest Snippets, and they linked me in their Tuesday round-up of all things bloggy. I am humbled, and I thank you for the kind words of praise.

Secondly, this morning...damn. I finally succumbed to the illness that has been clinging to me for days, or maybe it's a new one. I'm not sure. All I know is that I had had enough of chemistry for the day yesterday and so I left, came home and ate some hot dogs, watched an episode of House, and then took a two hour nap.

Awesome.

I'm feeling better...ish...now. So, hopefully I can make it through a full day.

In the past, I've done little snippets on Roman life, Roman history, Roman religious practices, Roman holidays, Roman gods, and Roman law. I even talked about Caesar a little bit, but he's been the only historical figure I've really ever discussed here. So, I thought I might try introducing you to some of Rome's more...colorful...denizens. If nothing else, would-be authors (like myself) can pattern various characters off these guys for whatever reason you may need--and believe me when I refer to them as "characters".

Today, let's learn about Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, more commonly known as Caligula. Caligula earned his nickname when he accompanied his father, Germanicus, on military missions in Germania (see the connection?). Caligula's name means "little boot". Apparently, Caligula was only about two or three when he went off with daddy and the army to fight those unwashed barbarians across the Rhine.

Germanicus was the nephew and the adopted son of the Roman Emperor Tiberius. However, before Germanicus could assume the throne of Rome, he was killed at Antioch in 19 AD. Germanicus's wife and Caligula's mother Agrippina the Elder returned to Rome with her family and had a falling out with Tiberius. In those days, you didn't really have a falling out with the Emperor; instead, you said something he didn't like, and the Emperor killed your family.

So it was with Agrippina. Suddenly, she found all the males in her family dead--except for Caligula, who was fancied by Tiberius. Apparently, Caligula was a great actor and praised the old man for his wisdom and knowledge, which tickled Tiberius' cold, rock-like heart. Eventually, Tiberius named Caligula a co-heir with Tiberius' grandson, Gemellus--who just so happened to be a weak-minded fool.

Finally, Tiberius died at the ripe old age of 77...though he might have been helped along by a friend of Caligula's named Macro. At any rate, Tiberius was a bastard of the first order and was much-hated by the Roman people. Caligula was able to take this and wrest away any claim that Gemellus had for the Emperorship through various Jedi mind tricks and accusations of insanity. Thus, Caligula became emperor.

The people rejoiced. They fucking loved Caligula, partially because they had fucking loved Germanicus, as well. The other main reason why they loved Caligula so much was they fucking hated Tiberius with the white-hot passion of a thousand burning sons--er--suns (pun intended). In fact, when he was ushered into power, the people of Rome threw a party that lasted for three months! That's a lot of vino being put down, my friends.

And...for the first two years of his reign, Caligula was still much-loved. He built some nice public works, improved some key ports, expanded the empire in the western part of Africa, gave raises to the military, and got rid of Tiberius' treason executions. Blah blah blah.

Then...something happened. Around AD 39, Caligula began to lose it. Some people think he was actually insane, some think he had some sort of brain disorder, and some people think that he is the pinnacle of Lord Acton's maxim "Absolute power corrupts absolutely."

It might have been a mixture of any of these, but without a doubt Caligula suddenly turned into "douchius maximus" about two years into his reign. He would be eating dinner with guests when he would stand up, point to someone's wife, and then he'd take her off and fuck her. He'd return to the table and tell the guy--whose wife he just banged--whether she was a good lay or a bad one. And then he'd return to eating.

But it doesn't stop there. Once during some gladitorial games, during halftime, he forced an entire section of the crowd onto the floor of the circus to be eaten by the wild animals that were part of the games "because he was bored". He had a long list of accusations of killing people in cold blood for his own personal amusement. He also started sending the military off on pointless campaigns and missions. He wasted money on creating a pontoon bridge across a stretch of water between the ports of Baiae and Puteoli, simply so he could thumb his nose at a friend of Tiberius' who said that Caligula had as much chance of becoming Emperor as he did of riding across the Bay of Baiae.

On top of that, he really disliked the Jews. Coupled with the megalomaniacy of the Emperors, Caligula wanted a statue of himself erected in the Jewish temple. This guy made a habit of pissing off everyone.

And then, perhaps the greatest story surrounding Caligula. He was so at odds with the Roman Senate that he named his horse, Incitatus (which means "swift") a Senator. This really didn't sit well with the Senators, which only managed to further put the two parties at odds.

Of course, while he's being a bastard and a fuckhole, he upped the ante by fucking his sisters, Agrippina the Younger, Drusilla, and Livilla. That wasn't enough for him. He decided to prostitute them out, as well, mostly because he could. He turned the imperial palace into a brothel, for his delight as well as his friends. However, the incest charges were not unique to when he was Emperor; there's some thought that he was banging Drusilla while they were the wards of their grandmother and various aunts.

Which brings us to today's Latin lesson, which you can almost hear young Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus saying while being caught creeping down the hall...

Quid? Ne scilicet! Mea soror ea est!

Pronounced: "Kwid? Nay skeel-ee-kate! May-uh sore-ore aye-uh est!"


Translation in the hovertext!


I certainly hope that you get the reference I've made here...

Anyway, after fucking, killing and spending his way to the top of the Public Enemy list, the Senate conspired with a guy named Cassius Chaerea to put an end to Caligula's reign of terror. On the morning of January 24th, 41 AD, Chaerea and some of his cohorts found Caligula in an underground passage beneath the palace. Chaerea stabbed him. In a sort of poetic symmetry, Caligula was stabbed 30 times by a man named Cassius; Julius Caesar was also stabbed 30 times by a group of conspirators led by a man named Cassius.

Not satisfied with purging the Empire of Caligula, the assassins also killed Caligula's wife, Caesonia, and dashed the daughter of Caligula and Caesonia brains out on the walls. However, before they could find Caligula's uncle, Claudius, he had escaped and was being protected by the Praetorian guards.

The Senate, at this point, tried to wrest the power in the Empire back to themselves, hoping to restore the Roman Republic. This was not to be, however, because the military and the Praetorians rallied around Claudius, who became the fourth Roman Emperor. Claudius hunted down Chaerea and his co-conspirators and slaughtered them ruthlessly and told the Senate that he wouldn't be having any of that Republic bullshit.

Claudius went on to be a pretty good Emperor...but that's a story for another day.

Hopefully you enjoyed this little history lesson. Just remember, college football starts in two weekends...unless you're a Notre Dame fan, and then you have to wait another three achingly long weeks...

Oh, and that's Juliet Landau, who played Drusilla on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

That Was Close...

August 19, 2010

One nice thing about Facebook is that it allows a person to appease that stalker facet of their personality that they bury deep down under their good looks, witty repartee and debonair charm. *smiles rakishly, light glinting off my pearly-white teeth*

I've spoken often in the past of my unrequited high school yearning for one miss Betsy Hagar. I've also mentioned that I found her once on Facebook, but decided not to repursue our friendship, because I preferred to keep the fantasy that she hasn't changed a bit from high school (except maybe her boobs got bigger, thanks to having children...I'm a simply--if roguishly appealing--creature).

And, well, my fears might not be completely unfounded.

Betsy is apparently the exception to the rule. Last night, I decided to go through and cyberstalk check up on several of my ex-girlfriends, various crushes, and other ladies that I had been interested in or who were interested in me throughout my Cassanova-esque career.

Unlike the wall I've erected around my personally-skewed memories of Betsy, I've actually become friends with various ex-girlfriends, mostly from high school, including She of the Unkempt Pubes. I haven't asked--nor do I want to know--if a razor has Lewis-and-Clark-ed it's way down below, or if "Here There Be Dragons" should simply be written below her waist.

Notice how I said only high school ex-girlfriends. For the college ladies--as I mentioned to someone else--I tended to go for the nucular option when burning those bridges. It's amazing what a little maturity can do for breaking up...

Anyway, I went delving through the profiles of several ladies from my past--from the few I remembered from elementary school all the way through those last few moments before meeting and falling for my wife.

Look at me, trying to save face.

My most common thought: "Whew...dodged that bullet."

What I found before me was a panoply of candidates, all ripe for being featured on People of Walmart. Several of their profile pictures resembled screen shots taken from an episode of Cops. One of them I mistook for a dude--a dude with very large man-boobs, but a dude nonetheless.

This is not to say that all of them looked like they had succumbed to meth addictions, but, wow. My tastes in high school must have been turned to "trashy" more often than not. Either that or Huntington, Indiana is not the land of milk-and-honey that it's advertised as being. I know, shocker (without the dirty pinky).

As I pondered what life would have been like with some of these women, I suddenly saw the episode of the Simpsons where Lisa and Milhouse were married and living in a trailer, Lisa lying in a mumu suspended above a garbage-and-rat-strewn floor in a hammock. I shudder now even to recall the vision, no matter how amusing it might be.

There were a few former flames that I could not find. For instance, the girl I was with before I met my wife? Her last name is "Adams". Do you know how many fucking "Adams" there are? Not to mention, she shares a first name with an actress AND a photographer (and a physicist at Vanderbilt), which only serves to complicate the stalking search.

And though the Sword of Damocles threatens from above, I can safely say I wouldn't trade the woman I somehow secured to share my bed with any of my past crushes. Well...except for the girl I nearly threw up on. She turned out to be pretty fucking hot.

But not as hot as my wife. *shifty-eyed* Love ya, baby!

That'll Do, Kevin...

August 18, 2010

Hey, did you guys hear? Batman, that badass, hard-nosed, ass-kicking, crime-fighting superhero from Gotham City is a total fucking pussy who pisses his pants when he gets scurred?

At least, that's what Kevin Smith, the portly director of Clerks, Chasing Amy, Dogma and whole host of shitty films, has imagined.

*sigh*

While this is far from his only transgression in anally-assaulting the Batman legend--a more elaborate description of Smith's heinous assault on the Caped Crusader can be found at Comics Alliance--it is by far his most damning. I'm particularly fond of Smith's notion that a crossbow, for some strange reason, uses a firing pin. Way to rock the Wikipedia, Kev!

This one trick-pony--two tricks, if you count dick- and shit-jokes--has to be sitting on 14:59 by this point, right? Yes, Kevin Smith is comic chic, I get that. He's written a few series in the past that have been decent, but the storylines have been spiraling down into his normal dog-and-pony show, culminating with Batman's "bladder spasm".

What's the difference between this and fanfic? Is it just that the author of this particular piece of fanfic has thrown up on a reel of film and called it "Mallrats"?

Is this what it takes to write comics these days? I know the industry is feeling the pressure of the southern turn of the economy, but shit like this is not going to fix anything. I stopped reading comics a long time ago (and apparently, so did a lot of people) because the storylines were just getting too fucking ridiculous thanks to terrible writing. Sure, not Kevin Smith terrible, but terrible nonetheless.

Here. Here's an idea. All those years that dweeby-ass Peter Parker was listening to Mary Jane fighting with her dad next door, all the times he saw her running out into her back yard to cry away the pain daddy inflicted on her...well, Peter was standing at his bedroom window with the shades half-drawn, the lights turned out, masturbating. This was his dream girl, and she was just so...vulnerable...and it turned him on so much that he had to relieve himself manually.

See what I did there? I made an early connection between Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson, I appealed to the adolescent males in the audience who can't get the gall to ask out the girl they're pining for, and I gave Spider-Man a much-needed dark aspect to his personality.

I can have my own series now, Stan Lee? Oh, and I'd like a shit-ton of cash to go with that. Thanks, and, I'll be in touch.

Kind of like Petey in his bedroom.

*sigh*

Shit like this frustrates me. It frustrates me to no end. I consider myself to be a writer of some talent who doesn't devolve into dick-jokes at every turn of my writing. Sure, maybe I rape my characters a little too often, but that's for effect, not for a puerile joke. Honest!

I guess it's just the frustration boiling over about not being published yet. Combine that with this past year of being dicked over by publishers and agents and shit, and the frustration doubles ten-fold. I'm doing everything I can to get published (not true, but work with my lying here, please) and yet I'm still holding my manuscript in my hand. All the while, someone is making Batman soil his knickers.

It doesn't seem fair.

I guess what I really want--what I really, really want--is to get published so that someone can make an irreverent song that is full of awesome and win about me. Kind of like this one, which is filled with all sorts of Not Safe For Work lyrics and "book title based double entendres" as Neil Gaiman put it.

UCBcomedy.com

For more funny shit, visit: http://www.ucbcomedy.com

I will never look at Something Wicked This Way Comes the same ever again. And, wow...does she have some nice tits.

If that doesn't inspire me to keep writing, I don't know what will...

Happy Hyacinth of Poland Day!!!

August 17, 2010

Today is my best friend Joe's birthday. Joe attended Virginia Tech, thus the picture of the leggy blond wearing the Tech sweatshirt. I remember it's Joe's birthday--at least, in the time before Facebook reminding me--because today is also my brother's birthday.

My brother didn't attend college, which is unfortunate because I can't post any nearly nekkid chicks sporting his college's colors. He did, however, once get really drunk at a kegger at my undergrad and tried to bang this girl named Linda...which was apparently a Jenks-boy tradition (the trying part, not the banging...mores the pity).

In lieu of scantily-clad whores, I'll give you a charming story starring me, myself, I and my brother. There will be special guest appearances by our cousins, as well.

This takes place during the Christmas of (I think) 1996. We had all gathered at my cousin Napoleon's house for Christmas Eve. Napoleon's older brother (for continuity's sake, heretofore nicknamed Kip) was also there, along with his (second) wife and their little girls. Also in attendance was my cousin Scott (whose last name is vastly different from mine, so I don't feel the need to hide his identity nearly as much) and his parents.

There was also an eight hundred pound gorilla sitting in the corner that went by the name of "Kip and his (second) wife and my aunt and uncle really aren't getting along and the marriage is about to dissolve any second now--Happy Holidays!!!" attending the holiday festivities that year, too.

After the present exchange and before the meal, the tension was growing between Kip, his wife, my aunt and uncle. Because my mother was in attendance, she was also in a bad mood. My father and my uncles did what they did best--slept in front of the television. My cousins Napoleon and Scott and my brother and I sat around staring at one another feeling really uncomfortable with every snarky, snappy comment made between any of the "adults" who were still conscious.

"We should go bowling," someone stated--I'll credit my brother since it was a brilliant idea and it is his birthday, after all.

The plan was made quickly. Napoleon would drive. The other three of us would ride with him. We would bowl, we would escape the house, and we would...uh...not have to put up with the bullshit anymore.

The one snag, however, was going to be asking my mother for permission to leave. Since someone had pried her off the couch at home, she was miserable, therefore everyone else would also have to be made miserable. I knew asking her for permission would be painful.

So did my brother. Which is why he left the house via Napoleon's window. Opened it, raised the screen, bailed, and was already headed toward the car. In fairness to my brother, Napoleon had already done the same.

Scott had been granted permission, but true-to-form, my mother said absolutely not. Fortunately, my aunts convinced her that "the boys don't get to see each other much anymore, since they've graduated". My mother, pissed that she was outnumbered in this, finally relented. I bolted, not even feeling a pang of guilt.

Of we went, down the road, to the sprawling metropolis of Huntington. Being as how my brother was banned from the bowling alley on the north side of town (I'll admit, I'm only telling you that to flash my family's white-trash street cred), we were forced to go to the one on the south side of the city.

Aside from the owner, we were the only derelicts in the bowling alley that fateful Christmas Eve.

We each bowled three games and had quite a good time doing it. I don't know who won--my paltry 111 average doesn't garner me much in the limelight of bowling alley fame--but that's not the point. We escaped the house, we had a good time, and we didn't have to be around the snarling cur that was Kip's (second) wife.

As good things are wont to do, our time at the bowling alley ended. We turned in our shoes, loaded ourselves back into Napoleon's car, and headed back east for home. Now comes the time for the set-up: it was December in Indiana, which means that we had had some snow, but not a lot. There was a bit of a crust of snow along the edges of the road and some snow hidden in the folds between the high clumps of grass along the edges of the fields.

As we were returning, Napoleon was driving the speed limit--not because we were obsessed with being safe (the main roads were quite clear), but because none of us wanted to return to the simmering tension pot that we called "Christmas Eve" that year.

I voiced that opinion aloud: "Wow, I am in no rush to return to that any time soon."

My brother seconded my opinion: "Yeah, we should take a drive through the country."

Napoleon, hearing this, decided it was an excellent time to turn off onto a country road...without slowing down.

A country road that wasn't paved.

A country road that retained some of the ice from earlier winter storms.

A country road with a very steep drop-off past the shoulder.

A country road with a very steep drop-off past the shoulder without a guard rail that wasn't paved and was still retaining some ice from the earlier winter storms.

Tragedy Comedy was about to ensue.

This is the greatest "Oh Fuck" moment of my life, when the brown sedges and grasses came hurtling up toward the passenger side window, when the car was dangerously close to rolling, when we were--most certainly--hurtling toward death.

I felt kind of like Steve Martin to Napoleon's John Candy:



Needless to say, we survived. Unfortunately, we were at the bottom of a very steep "hill" surrounded by woods. We got out to assess the situation.

"I think we can push him out," I offered. "Napoleon, you just need to gun it."

So, Napoleon gets back into the car. My brother, Cousin Scott and I, get behind the car.

"Put it in neutral first" I hollered. We pushed on the car and found that we could move it quite easily. "Put it in drive and see what happens."


Napoleon put it in drive. He started moving, but the ice and snow that was hidden down in the bottom of this hollow did not make for good footing or traction. He threw a lot of mud, but the car was moving some.

"Alright..." I said, seeing the situation was going to call for us to put our legs and backs into it. "Scott, you take the middle. Brother and I will take the sides behind the wheels."

They stared at me with questioning looks upon their faces.

"Brother and I can go home and change pants; Cousin Scott can't," I explained. It was one of the most brilliant things I had ever thought through. Because, you know, if we came back muddy from having pushed the car out of the ditch, my parents would have killed my brother and I for surviving a wreck on Christmas Eve.

More importantly, we would never be allowed to escape family gatherings ever again.

And so we took our positions. I signaled Napoleon, who gunned it. We pushed. The car heaved forward. He gunned it more. We pushed it more. The car found traction and climbed the least steep part of the hill and found purchase on the gravel of the road once more.

I looked down at my pants. They were coated in a layer of mud at least half an inch thick. Brother's was the same.

That's when we started laughing, because when you go through a harrowing experience and don't die, shit gets a lot funnier. We laughed so hard we doubled over. We finally climbed into Napoleon's car and were off, all four of us laughing until tears streamed down our faces.

Napoleon drove brother and I home, where we quickly changed pants. As Napoleon lived only about three blocks away from our house, we weren't late in returning to the Christmas Eve emotional bloodbath. We finally stopped laughing in Napoleon's driveway, put our game faces on, and re-entered the house in time for the meal.

Awesome.

To this day, I'm still amazed that we somehow were able to pull that shit off without even the barest hint of suspicion out of any of our parents.

So, happy birthday to my little brother. I'm glad we made it through the best--and worst--Christmas Eve ever.

Underappreciated Trivia

August 16, 2010

Yesterday, I went to Kroger to pick up some ingredients for dinner. It was a short trip (thankfully) and, fortunately for me, I had just few enough items that I could slip into the express lane. There, I discovered that the Checkout Girl and the Deli Hag were having a spat.

The Deli Hag--a waspish, withered form of a woman who, prior to her two-pack-a-day habit and her tanning bed addiction may have been somewhat attractive in that train-wreck sort of way--was vehemently denying that the Checkout Girl had found a bone in her sandwich. The Checkout Girl, knowing what she had sunk her teeth into, stood her ground against the grotesque shade from behind the meat counter.

Compounding this argument was the fact that Deli Hag was telling Checkout Girl that she couldn't leave when her shift was over, because Deli Hag was going to be leaving then, and they couldn't be down two people on a Sunday, so Checkout Girl was going to have to stick around until someone else showed up.

I didn't quite get the Deli Hag's logic, but I also haven't fried my neurons on cigarette smoke and UV rays.

Finally, it is my turn to get my items rung up, and Deli Hag is clinging to the notion that she could not have possibly allowed a sliver of bone to intrude upon her otherwise perfectly-crafted tuna salad. She is insisting that Checkout Girl must have been eating chicken salad, which was (presumably) made by someone else--someone whose fingers are more apt to toss in spare bone fragments just for shits and giggles.

With a flip of her dry and crackling hair and a parting shot about how Checkout Girl is going to have to wait to leave for the day, Deli Hag slithers away to the tiled wonderland kept behind the deli counter. Checkout Girl turns and heaves a sigh, and then in a tone of voice stilted for no one other than herself to hear, she utters, "I know the difference between chicken and fish, so don't try and tell me what I was eating."

It was at this point that I decided to smooth things over with a little bit of useless trivia. Everyone feels better after getting hit over the head with a wad of useless facts. So, I busted out a beauty that I picked up while reading some books about Shakespeare:

"In the sixteenth century, the Catholic church decided that chicken was fish, so that poultry could be eaten on Fridays," I say, my deadpan voice carrying just the slightest Ferbian accent, because everything sounds more profound when said either A in Latin or B in a British accent, no matter how poorly-rendered.

Checkout Girl stares at me, her eyes opening to a soulless, vapid expanse behind. For a second, I begin to panic, unsure of what she might do now that I've expressed an interesting fact that is both pertinent and potentially undermining to her cause.

"Well, see, it was a piece of bone like this:" She presses her thumbs and forefingers together to make a tiny diamond between the tips of the four digits, "and then it was about this long:" She holds her index fingers about a half-inch apart. "And it was in her tuna salad."

And the fact that chicken and fish were once considered one in the same for reasons of religious rites was never mentioned again.

*sigh*

Friday Morning Latin Lesson, Vol LXXXI

August 13, 2010

Because I'm sick and lazy--but more lazy than sick--you're not getting what I had originally planned in this spot. We'll delay that shizz till next week.

Instead, I'll give you this little snippet:

We use a lot of abbreviations for Latin phrases in English. That is to say, we use a lot of abbreviations of Latin phrases in English incorrectly, mostly because people don't know what they mean.

i.e. stands for "id est" which means "it is" or "that is". We should use this in place of "in other words".

e.g. stands for "exempli gratia" which means "for the sake of an example", which we should use as "for example" (see, literal translation!).

etc... stands for "et cetera", which means "and other things" or "and so forth". The most grating thing here is that the pronunciation has changed so that the c has taken on a soft (sibilant) sound /s/ instead of the classical hard /k/ sound as the Romans would have pronounced it. But then "et ket-er-ah" sounds funny, even when I say it in my head.

For a handy guide, here's The Oatmeal explaining how to use the first two in the list, i.e., a proper grammar guide in humorous fashion for you.

See what I did there? I applied today's Latin lesson within the Latin lesson!!! I should be rewarded with something grand, e.g., boobs.

Fuck, I'm awesome.

That may be the cough drops talking; I'm unsure at this point.

Anyway, to keep up with tradition, here's a non sequitur picture of some girls wearing "togas".



To answer your questions: Green, white on the left, turquoise, white on the right, and then pink.

Valete, amici!

Ugh

August 12, 2010


It's been a long, long week.

What's that? It's only Thursday?

You're fucked, buddy.

Not really, because my wife still has a herniated disk in her neck. My son got better, my daughter got sick, my daughter got better, my son got sick--what the fuck???

Now wife is also sick.

And I have a sore throat.

So, yeah. The Happiness Express has slowed to a fucking crawl--and not even a pub crawl because A) I can't afford stuff like "alcohol" or "cover charges" or "hush money" or "a good attorney because I can't seem to keep from taking my cock out and showing everyone at the bar but WOULDYOULOOKATTHESIZEOFTHISTHING!!!1!" and B) I have no friends to go drinking with. The last part of A might have something to do with that.

Sadly, it's true. Happy Cat is all out of Happy right now. However, if you let me him sniff your panties or if you send me him boob shots, he might perk right the fuck up.

*sigh*

And now it's only five minutes later on Thursday.

Friday Morning Latin Lesson, Vol. LXXX

August 6, 2010

Apparently, it was clown week this past week. Might as well wrap it up with a little bit of a dead language, right?

The word "clown" doesn't appear until about the sixteenth century and comes to us through a Scandinavian language (either Icelandic or Swedish, probably) that meant "rustic, clumsy." This is not to say that clowns did not exist in antiquity. As theatre was a very common pass time for people of ancient cultures, there was usually a character that would be dressed in an odd fashion--usually with an enormous codpiece--who was written into the theatrical piece as a means of comedic relief.

In ancient Rome, there were various types of characters like this utilized in performance art. However, a more common place to find a clown would be in the houses of nobles, where they would perform and entertain for the noble family and guests. We might think of this more as a jester, but it was still an early form of clowning: funny clothes, painted faces, sarcastic commentary on current political scandals.

Also kept in the homes of Roman nobles were--for a lack of a better term--circus freaks. Typically, these were people born with some sort of birth defect, and while it might seem a little cruel to think of these people as being performance art, they were thought to have been gifted with these...physical anomalies...by the gods and therefore they were to be shown favor. Plus, these people, who probably wouldn't have been able to find any kind of work, were housed and fed by the nobles who kept them as performance "guests", we'll say.

And though it's not Roman, the ancient Egyptians used to capture pygmies, dwarves and midgets, keep them in the royal courts, and make them dress up as the gods and then wrestle.

Pagliacci (Italian for "the Players") is a famous opera centered around clowning, with the aria "On with the Motley" or "To Perform...Put on the Costume" (the latter being a more literal translation) being one of the world's most well-known musical pieces from an opera. Also, it sparked the joke from the Watchmen (themselves deriving their name from a piece of sarcastic Roman literature) ending with "But Doctor, I am Pagliacci!"

Good joke. Everybody laugh. Roll on snare drum.

My favorite clown will always be the Joker, who uses the traditional white-face and makeup to hide his identity from the Gotham city police force and Batman (naturally). I like the Joker because he's a more deep character than most give him credit for being. The toy gimmick is a little ridiculous, I just enjoy how he swings between being crazy and batshit crazy (pun intended), and you know you're in trouble when batshit crazy joker shows up. Avoid any magic tricks he offers to show you.

And since I'm discussing the Joker, here is this:

Cur tam gravis es?

Pronounced: "Koor tahm grah-wees ess?"


I'm sure you can guess, but the translation is in the hovertext nonetheless


I thought I'd never have the opportunity to hit you with this one. I learned it a while ago through various "alternative" Latin books and sources. How serendipitous that clown week rolled around and allowed me to finally share this nugget with you:

Minutus cantorum, minutus balorum, minutus carborata descendum pantorum.

Pronounced: "Mean-oo-toose cahn-tore-oom, mean-oo-toose bah-loh-room, mean-oo-toose cahr-bohr-ah-tah day-send-oom pahn-tore-oom."


Bubbly translation in the hovertext.


Hmmm...no, that's not seltzer in my pants...

Perhaps I've said too much.

And I would be remiss if I didn't throw this one out there for you all (mostly because, in an oxycodone-inspired haze last night, my wife helped me translate it):

Non possum dormire; Falisci me edent...

Pronounced: "Noan poh-soom door-mee-ray; Fah-leese-key may eh-dant..."


Translation, as always, in the hovertext


A note on the word "Falisci". The Falisci were a group of people from the area just north of Rome in what is now southern Tuscany. They allied themselves with the Etruscans and resisted Roman rule for as long as possible. Finally, when the Romans were victorious over the Etruscans, the Falisci were conquered. However, when the Punic Wars were rolling (I believe the second Punic war), the Falisci rebelled against Roman rule. The Romans put a stop to that once they had taken care of the latest Carthagenian/Phoenican issue, and then moved all of the Falisci out of their traditional home into an area that could be less-well defended.

This is all important because the Romans enjoyed what were known as "Fescinnine verses", which came from the area where the Falisci lived. Fescinnine verses--none of which survive today, but which are alluded to in other writings--were performed by people dressed in what is essentially clown outfits. Some were parodies of current issues, mocking individuals both political and social, used a sort of "free verse" in their form, and ofter were delivered sing-songy or in rhyme and were, sometimes, improvised to improve the comedic stylings of the verses.

The second Latin phrase above would probably be along the lines of a Fescinnine verse.

Therefore, I took a bit of a stretch and used "Falisci" to broadly cover the term "clown" in this sense. Another, perhaps more traditional word for "clown" in Latin is "fossor", which means "grave digger" or "miner", but also can be used for "clown".

And, let's see: discussing Batman, a ridiculously hot woman in an equally ridiculous costume, and a Simpsons reference. Yep, I think that about covers everything. Awesome. Good jokes.

Curtains. Fade to black.

TMI Thursday: The Midnight Visitor

August 5, 2010


Preach it on, Brother Wolverine!

That was sent to me by my friend (who just happens to have red hair) Alaina. I owe her many thanks.

And, hey! This is convenient. You know who else has red hair? My wife does! That leads me into a story I've been meaning to tell for a while.

One night I was feeling mighty randy, and so I did my tried-and-true method of slipping my pajamas off while the wife was in the bathroom for one of her last pee breaks before bedtime. When she came back to bed, she slipped beneath the covers and I started rubbing myself up against her booty.

"OH MY!" she said, as she noticed I had fully hoisted my mizzenmast. I performed the old reach around and massage her tits from behind while rubbing up against her trick, which--much like Colt .45--works every time. Soon, we were both naked and well into the throes of foreplay.

Finally, things came to a head and coitus was undertaken. As we were going at it, we were changing positions to maximize the carnal pleasures in which we were indulging. Eventually, we moved to one of my favorite positions, which is where I stand up at the side of the bed and go at it that way, either missionary- or doggy-style. Bow wow. It just so happened that this time, she was on her back (for maximal breast movement viewing).

I was there, giving her a jolly rogering, when suddenly I felt the bed move...differently. It was not on the same wavelength as our sexy time movements. I paused in my exuberant thrusting; she paused in her exuberant begging for more pounding. And then we heard:

*soft yawn* "Good night, Daddy."

The boy, Tank, had graced us with his presence. And not so much graced us as he had crawled up into the bed on my side, pulled the covers up over his little body, laid his little head down on the pillow, and tucked himself in.

When the kids were younger, we used to leave the bedroom door open at night during sexy time just in case something would happen where we needed to go and tend to their night time whining ailments. This practice has since fallen by the wayside as the children have gotten older. In fact, this may have been one of the last times the door was left open during sexual activities.

Allow me to remind you, I was still inside my wife!

Rather than say anything, my wife made a face like "take care of this" and nodding her head toward the almost-sleeping form of our younger child. Still inside her, I leaned down and whispered in her ear "I'm in no shape to take him back to his room!" I flexed myself inside her in order to drive home my point.

"I'm naked. Just get him and take him to his bed and get back here!" she hissed. She flexed herself to drive me toward returning him to bed.

"I'm naked, too, in case you didn't notice!" I whispered, knowing I had already lost the argument. I extricated myself from between her thighs and then, not feeling that comfortable just running him down the hall whilst I was naked and hard. I couldn't find where I had throw my clothes in the darkened corners of my room, so I went with what I could find:

I pulled a sock over it.

I picked the little boy up and carried him down the hall to his room. I tucked him in bed, kissed him good night, and then returned to find my wife was already asleep.

I kid, I kid. She was still naked. I pulled off the sock, rubbed myself a couple of times to make sure there was no sock fuzz clinging to me, and then I buried me treasure in her once more.

And now, we close the door. Every time. No questions asked.

Oh, and she lived up to her redhead billing.

*fist bumps Wolverine*

Well, a Happy Odin's Day to You, Too!

August 4, 2010

Last week, the trailer for the Thor movie was released in the wake of San Diego Comic Con. Since I don't have enough money to even hire hookers, much less pay someone to dispose of their bodies, I couldn't attend Comic Con. Therefore I had to wait and download the trailer online.

Now, I'll say that I've never really followed the Mighty Thor in comic book form because...well...Marvel's vision of the Norse pantheon and my vision of the Norse pantheon don't exactly jive. However, I was never a big fan of Iron Man, either, but the movies have been good (I say that having only seen one), so I thought I'd at least give Thor a try. Plus, it's being made by Kenneth Branagh, who is probably the first in a line of man-crushes for me. Dead Again is one of my favorite movies, and not just because one of the characters is named Roman.

See? Yeah, that's kind of a joke toward me. Get it? Fine.

Anyway, while perusing various blogs and other sites where the clip could be found, I saw a lot of...um...less than aware people...who were complaining about Sir Anthony Hopkins' "pirate eye patch". In case you're unaware, Hopkins is playing Odin in the movie.

I'm not going to critique the trailer. It looks pretty, I'll go see it for no other reason than it's a Kenneth Branagh film and because Natalie Portman is in it. Clothed, but what can you do? And Australian Christopher Hemsworth looks like a fucking Viking god...which is appropriate, since he's playing Thor.

I did this for Athena a few months ago, which was received rather well, so I thought I'd give you a quick primer on Odin, and maybe explain why he's wearing a pirate's eye patch.

Odin is, of course, the chief of the Norse Pantheon, and head of the family known as the Aesir (which I think means "the older ones", roughtly). He is married to Frigg (or Frigga), but like some other naughty gods (Zeus, Poseidon), he had a bit of a wandering eye. He is credited with fathering Baldur and Hod with Frigga, and then Thor, Vali and Vidar with other various supernatural beings. Hermod is either a son of Odin or a servant, but is sometimes referred to as a brother of Baldur, which would make him another son of Odin. There's also a mortal hero named Hermod, who may or may not be one of Odin's offspring. He is also tied to fathering several heads of noble and royal lines across the Scandinavian and Germanic countryside. Take note: Odin was not the father of Loki.

Thanks to all this, Odin was known as the "All Father". This is not to say that he was the creator of the Earth (or Midgard, as the Norse termed it), but that he was prodigious in producing bastard sons to rule houses in the Nordic lands. He is also the father of the runic language, which he learned when he sacrificed himself to himself (a sacrifice made to the highest god, which was Odin) on the trunk of Yggdrasil, the World Tree. There the magic runes as well as magic songs were revealed to him.

Not satisfied in simply knowing some magic spells and some magic letters, Odin went to Mimir's well, the Well of Knowledge, in order to learn everything he could. Mimir wouldn't give up his secrets willingly, though, so Odin had to sacrifice something to the well. He chose his right eye. Plucking it out, he threw it in the waters and then drank from them, learning of the fates of the gods and the world. This, coupled with the Yggdrasil experience, made him associated with knowledge, and thus he became a wisdom god.

Knowing that the world would end with Ragnarok, Odin set about wandering the world. He also established the notion of the Einherjar, which are the spirits of warriors who died in glorious battle. The Valkyrie took the dead spirits to Odin's feast hall of Valhalla, where they would train during the day and get drucking funk during the night, all in preparation for the final battle. For this, Odin became known as a war god as well a god of death and dead souls. To bring this full circle, Odin was also the Father of Victory, for if you were victorious in battle, Odin surely chose your side to win.

In Germany, he was known as Wotan, and while the Germans were trading with the Romans (I couldn't leave them out of this, right?) they learned about the names of the days of the week from the Roman traders. The Romans called their day in the middle of the week "Mercury's Day." Mercury was a psychopomp--a leader of souls into the afterlife--which is also what Odin did. Since the Germans didn't worship Mercury, they altered the name to "Wotan's Day", which we now know as "Wednesday" (and that explains the fucked-up spelling for 'Wendsday'). This is why he appears in Neil Gaiman's American Gods as "Mr. Wednesday". Like the Romans, I can't leave him out of the mix, either.

The eye patch is a signature symbol for Odin. He is also associated with his two ravens, Huginn and Muninn (whose names mean "Thought and Memory" respectively), who fly around the world viewing everything. They return every evening to sit on Odin's shoulders and whisper in his ears what they've seen. He has two wolves, Geri and Freki, who flank his throne in Valhalla. He feeds them the food from his plate, since he only consumes mead and wine. He carries a dwarven-made spear named Gugnir and rides an eight-legged steed named Sleipnir into battle. Sleipnir was born of Loki, when Loki turned into a mare in order to fool a frost-giant's horse into running off. Care to guess who Sleipnir's father is?

When not wearing his black-and-gold battle armor (he's a fucking Purdue fan?), he usually wanders the world wearing a drab, gray cloak and a wide-brimmed hat that helps to cover up the eyepatch over his missing right eye. He usually has a long staff with him, as well as a signature white beard. In this guise, he is thought of as a charlatan, a huckster, or a con artist. He's also a bit of a shapeshifter, and as such he assumes the form of an eagle from time to time. He is doomed to die during the events of Ragnarok.

With that in mind, J.R.R. Tolkien formulated the image of Gandalf, whose Elvish name was "Mithrandir", meaning "The Gray Wanderer". Some have also associated Santa Claus as being a modern-day interpretation of Odin. Odin also shows up a lot in the Final Fantasy series of games, usually as a summoned monster/creature. Most of the time, he's riding Sleipnir.

In someone else's current manuscript in progress, the Norse god is only peripherally present. As such, the main characters simply refer to him as "Old One Eye", which is supposed to be a bit of an insult. You know, because a dick is also called "one eye".

Just to Let You Know I'm Not Dead...Yet

August 3, 2010

My son has been sick for five days. Five long days. He's stopped with the 3 o'clock wailing that he's going to throw up. He hasn't stopped coughing the cough of a chain-smoking former lot lizard living on borrowed time at the local retirement village. Regardless, I said fuck all to the continued health of his classmates and sent him off to school. He--and whatever it is he's carrying--is the educational system's problem now. I'm at work, with the phone lifted off the hook, a light strain of "la la la la la I can't hear you" being uttered in the round to avoid mistakenly hearing the phone ring.

My wife finally went to the doctor yesterday after two weeks of suffering through some sort of pinched-nerve thing which affected both the continued use of her left arm and the ability to put out. The other side-effect has been that she finds it difficult to get comfortable at night in the bed...a bed which she shares with me. Some nights, she merely shifts around, sighs heavily, and then shifts some more. Other nights, she's flopping around like a marlin that's just been heaved onto the deck of a fishing boat and is about to be gutted and turned into steaks...or a former child star on the floor of her rehab cell when someone turns the lights on without offering the proper warnings.

She's been given prednasone, which can sometimes lead to "inopportune arousal", or so I've been told. I shan't hold my breath, for even if that happens, the Reds are scheduled to sweep into to town for a four-game series this weekend. Please ignore the bulging forearms, though I am tempted to draw crudely-rendered stick-figure anchors on them while I hum inappropriate sea shanties.

This past weekend, I had two birthday parties to go to. One, I had to take my daughter to and which involved lots of swimming. The other was for my friend Joe's son, Joe. Creative, no? I also go to meet his dad, Joe, his sister, Jo, and his mom, Joanne. He's scheduled to become the father of a girl in October, whose name I can only imagine will be Josephine.

Anyway, in my hurry to hang out with Joe, I left my daughter's towel and--this is a far more pressing tragedy--a half-dozen of her silly bands at the party. This means I have to drive back out to the birthday celebrant's house and reclaim the towel as well as the silly bands. Priorities, you know.

My dear friend, Elliot, who you might know better as the Displaced Cheesehead, is on the list of people who I must sit and enjoy a meal with ere shuffling off this mortal coil. If this should also involve beverages of alcoholic nature as well as some sporting even, then I should be happy, however I'm not one to look gift horses in the mouth. Nor am I to look gift photography in the mouth, and Elliot provided me with the above image (via the website Oddly Specific). It is grand, and I concur with the photographer of the aforementioned door, "I entered the wrong major."

Speaking of cheeseheadedness, He Who Must Not Be Named has announced today that he's retiring. For reals this time. Maybe. I'm not sure. Perhaps. 50/50 at this point. Should Purple Voldemort finally be gone, I can only assume that someone torched his Wrangler Jeans horcrux, that Aaron Rogers is now the best quarterback in the NFC North, and that John Madden and Peter King are somewhere shedding silent tears with one another and snoodling in order to work through their desultory sadness.



P.S. If you are unfamiliar with the term, do not look up "snoodling" while at work. This is something to look up at home, preferably with the kids nearby, because it will give them an education. We can all agree that kids need more education, and this will provide it, even if the education is only "why not to drink heavily in college".