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Inspirational Reads

I Give Up

February 26, 2014

There are a few things in this life that I really like.  Boobs is one of them...or two of them, since they usually travel in pairs.  Unless you're on Mars.  Wait, did the lady with three boobs make it into the remake of Total Recall?  Damn, she made me wish I had three hands.

I might have digressed, but given the subject material, you probably understand.  I mean, it's boobs.  They're GREAT!  I'm getting off-track again, aren't I?

I also like food.  I mean, who doesn't like food?  Well, I had a room mate in college who, I suspect, didn't like food.  He didn't like what food did to him; his body did strange things with various foods.  They were not exactly allergic reactions, but he would develop nodes on his vocal chords or have gastric issues and such depending on how his diet varied.  He didn't like food.  I kind of understand.  Okay, I lied.  You're talking to someone who drinks beer, even though his throat tightens up when the sweet, delicious nectar of the hops oils hits his adenoids.  I totally don't get not liking food.

My former room mate was forced to give up various foods so that they did not wreak havoc with his innards.  We used to joke that he would eventually just filter feed from the air and wash it down with water.  Drunk, nerdy college kids come up with stuff like filter-feeding as a solution to your problems.  It's a wonder I didn't get laid more in college...

At the beginning of the year, when most people were resolving to lose weight or quit smoking or stop cruising high schools in black vans with ether-soaked rags, I decided to give up ice cream.  Just give it up.  Drop it completely.  No more.  Cold turkey. 

*crickets*

Okay, that may have been a bad pun. 


A couple of years ago, I was pushing 1/6 of a ton (kind of puts it in perspective, doesn't it, when you do the fractional math) and I was miserable.  Everything hurt, I couldn't sleep, really bad apnea, so I took up hobbies that got me more active, lowered my caloric intake, and amazingly I lost around 50 to 60 pounds.  I made it back down to my college weight.  Well...the weight I was when I graduated college.  I was still in college; therefore, it was my college weight.  I've mostly held steady since, though I'd like to drop another thirty pounds or so.  And no, motherfuckers, I'm not cutting bacon out of my diet.  I will cut a bitch if you suggest that.

In order to help achieve this goal, I'm trying to cut back on the calories again, hoping that, when the weather improves, I can get more active outdoors and help make the final push for my high school weight.  But, man, it's hard.  I love ice cream.  I love ice cream almost as much as I love blow jobs (but still below boobs--you people know how awesome boobs are, right?), so giving ice cream up was a real sacrifice.  Sure, I gave it up in January, when it's cold, and ice cream doesn't sound that appealing.

Well, I would never turn down a blow job in January.  So there.  Sacrifice.  No matter how you slice it.

The thing that I found, though, was that I was substituting something else for ice cream.  Oh, here, let's have a cookie or a cupcake, it's fine, you're not eating ice cream.  Have half a pizza!  Those slices are small.  Better yet, here's a tub of Crisco with some chocolate shavings in it.  Have at it, Blubbo.  So, I've given up cookies, too.  I reserve the right to enjoy a canoli from time to time.

What?  Who doesn't love a delicious tube filled with white cream?

The problem is, cookies rank right below ice cream and blowjobs.  So far, I've been pretty good--I've been cookie-free for, like, a week.  Despite the fact that I have been doing Girl Scout cookie booths and selling those sweet, delicious little bastards (and the cookies, too), I have yet to succumb to the pressing cookie urges.  Our friends at McDonald's remembered that it's spring, so they've trotted the Shamrock Shakes back out, just to smear that shit in my face.  Fuckers.

So far, I've been able to withstand the siren song of both the GS cookies and the Shamrock Shakes, but, Lord Jesus, it's hard.  It's so hard.  So.  Damned.  Hard.

Maybe next I'll work on giving up sexual puns.

Friday. I'm in Love.

February 21, 2014

I do realize that I promised a blog on Monday giving you a rundown of the fun I've been having for the past year or so.  Monday came and went, and nobody was surprised that nothing popped up in their RSS feeds from me.  Admit it.  I wasn't surprised, either.

Mostly, I wasn't shocked because I spent the weekend riding out a torrent of vomit and diarrhea around the house.  The Pale Rider, the Grim Specter of Death, whose poisonous touch brings about a pestilence and who leaves gasping, retching, heaving broken, disease-ridden bodies in its wake, took a turn through the house.  I realize that I'm now thirty-eight, and though my mind likes to think that I'm still in my twenties and that I'm flushed with the hale and hearty glow of youth, my body likes to say "Whoa, there, fella.  You might need to take a rest or two before commencing with grabbing life by the horns."

Plus, Monday was President's Day, and no one was at work anyway, right?  I mean, I wasn't at work, so you shouldn't have been at work, either.  Yeah, we'll go with that excuse.

Anyway, I'm feeling much better.  I've been rescued from the lingering, lasting feeling of nausea that had settled into the pit of my stomach over the weekend, and the boneweariness of the fatigue that had suffused itself deep into my being has mostly gone.  One could say I've been cured of the illness from which I had been ailing.

And, it's Friday!  See, there's a certain synergy to the title.

So, now that I've taken up half a blog with explaining why there wasn't a blog (I went how long between posts?  I shouldn't have to explain myself, but, guilt works like that.  You're welcome.  And, I'm sorry.  Again.  Wanna make out?  Again?), I feel I should at least give a little run-down on that which I had teased in this space a week ago.

But then, what's the point?  Remember a few years ago when some Biblically-minded chap went through and calculated when Jesus was supposed to return in glory to judge the living and the dead, Homer-style?  But the guy forgot to mail Jesus the invite, and so the Son of God never showed up?  Rude.  On the guy's part.  Not on Jesus' side.  He can't RSVP if he never got the Save-the-Date card.

Oh, and remember when the world was supposed to end on my birthday a couple of years ago, with hellfire and brimstone and the sky falling and all that rot?  Well, yeah, it didn't, and the loans I took out of my 401K in order to really celebrate my birthday--think android wang, Russian prostitutes and monkey waiters, complete with the mini tuxedos--are demanding to be repaid.  Fuck.

Anyway, we're in one of those end times again.  Tomorrow, in case you didn't realize it, is the scheduled date of Ragnarok, which is the Norse version of Armageddon (that bears quite the uncanny resemblance to Armageddon, if you've read Revelation or had it shoved down your throat throughout your childhood).  I can see I just ruined the closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympics for you.  Many regrets.

If you're unfamiliar with Ragnarok (aside from the kickass sword from Final Fantasy III/VI), there will be a clash among the gods the likes of which we've never seen before (I wonder why...) and probably won't see again.  Because we'll be dead.  All of us.  Including most of the gods.

Everything starts because Loki busts out of his prison and rallies an army of the dead in Helheim, which is the realm of the dead.  The overseer of Helheim is Hel, who is, coincidentally, Loki's daughter.  As is Jorgmandr, the world serpent that will rise from the depths of the ocean and who will eventually poison Thor during the battle.  The Dark Elves, the Fire Giants, the Frost Giants and the Dwarves will all be involved, along with Odin's army of warriors that have been feasting, fighting, fucking and generally getting rowdy up in Valhalla for all these centuries.  It will be quite the throw down, to be sure.  Get your popcorn, kids.

Just don't plan on sitting through all of it.  Humanity is wiped out during the course of the fighting.  I guess epic battles between all-powerful celestial beings will do that to a species.  Curse these weak and spongy bags of flesh we call bodies!!!  Only when the world is reborn after all the fighting and Magni and Modi--Thor's sons--are walking through a field of green will they find two sleeping humans--a man and a woman--who will repopulate the Earth.  The rest of us?  Compost.

If there's anything that will help to calm your end-of-the-world fears, it's that Ragnarok was supposed to be preceded by the Fimbulwinter, which was a terrible winter that would bury much of the world in snow, ice and cold and would last for three years.  And, as everyone knows, we've all had a terrifically mild winter this year, so there's nothing to worry about (if you're reading this from Europe, just play along).

So, bust the seal out of a box of wine tonight, sit back, turn on the news, and watch as the cameras roll while one-handed Tyr and the giant Fenrir wolf duke it out.  You've been fairly warned; if it seems like the sun and the moon have been devoured by giant, celestial wolves, don't come crying to me.  I'll just tell you that I told you so.

Friday Morning Latin Lesson: Vol. CIX

February 14, 2014

Salvete, omnes!  How the hell are you this fine day?

In case you were worried, Winter Storm Pax (*eyeroll*) blew through and dumped a lot of snow on us, followed by some sleet, some freezing rain and then more snow.  Since the state was essentially shut down on Thursday, I had to take a sick day because I refused to skate in to work on the ice rink roads; on Wednesday, driving home with my kids, I took a lovely three-hour-tour to make the normal thirty minute drive.  I love living in the South.  Schools and most rational companies were closed or opened late today.

It's Friday now, and the area is still digging out of from the big snowfall.  Myself, I never lost power, but some people did.  I also did not wreck on the way home, but there were times when I got disturbingly close to a guard rail and another time when my car seemed hellbent on diving into a ditch.  Neither happened, for which I am thankful.  It is here that I should add that snow falling and sticking to the pines down here in North By God Carolina?  Fucking.  Beautiful.

Not only is it Friday, but it's Valentine's Day, that day in the liturgical calendar set aside to celebrate the Roman priest who refused to set aside his belief system so that he could continue to marry couples under the Christian Rite of Marriage.  Eventually, Emperor Claudius Gothicus (Claudius Dos) got fed up with Valentine's antics, and Valentine was forced to set aside his head after the executioner's axe fell.

There are other Roman ties to the holiday.  First and foremost among those ties is the use of the pagan god Cupid in association with the holiday.  Cupid's name comes from the Latin verb "cupido," which means "I fall in love."  He was an adopted, re-envisioned version of Eros, the Greek God of erotic love and lust; since Venus/Aphrodite was the goddess of love and desire, Cupid/Eros is often associated as being her son.  Most of the time, there is no mention of a father, though logic would state that Vulcan/Hephaestus was Cupid's father as he was married to Venus.  Venus, however, enjoyed fucking Mars, and so there is an association of Mars as Cupid's father.  Poets like this idea because then it incorporates the "love" and "war" aspect of so many epics; symbolism is everything.,

However, there were actually THREE Cupids recognized in Roman religion:  Love returned (counter-love), impetuous love or infatuation, and the desire and longing feeling associated with missing someone--like parrots pining for the fjords.  These three aspects also appeared in Greek religion and, again, were associated with Aphrodite.

Originally, Cupid was a slender youth, much like the idea of Puck or any other lithe, fairy-like creature that arose in the northern mythologies.  Eventually, all three of the aspects of love morphed into one, and Cupid became a chubby little spanker with a penchant for shooting people in the ass with his love arrows.  Cupid actually carried two kinds of arrows:  those tipped with gold that would cause the recipient to fall madly and wildly in love and ones tipped with lead that would cause a person to want to flee, sort of the opposite of love.  He also sometimes is shown with a blindfold, because love is blind...but lust sure depends on the size of her tits.  Er, something.

Cupid himself never had any dedicated temples, but he often was seen in works of art cavorting with other gods, especially his mother.  He also was used often in shrines erected in the home; Roman families often built little shrines to the gods in their homes in order to gain their blessings and protections over the families, the crops, the guards and all other associated materials and people.

Though Cupid was adopted into the Roman mythology from the Greeks, Saint Valentine was a Roman and Cupid was the Roman representation of all things loving, lusting and sexalicious.  With that in mind, I thought I'd give you all some advice for tonight, Roman style, so that you may best get your sexy on in a proper celebration of Valentine's beheading. Don't forget the candles--just set them far enough away from the bed so that they won't get knocked over!  Sprinkle some rose petals on the sheets to help cover that funky musk you've been emitting during your nocturnal adventures.  It wouldn't be a Roman celebration without wine, so be sure to stock up on an amphora or twelve.

And don't forget to put on a toga--bitches LOVE togas.  Plus, togas allow for all sorts of easy access to the best parts of the human body (the eyes--I'm totally talking about the eyes...big, round, beautiful brown eyes...).  Togas are particularly helpful when your hands go Roman all over your partner's body.

And then, lay this one on your significant other when they come busting into the bedroom:

Romani quidem artem amatoriam invenerunt!

Pronounced:  "Roh-mah-nee kwee-daim ar-taim ah-mah-toh-ree-ahm in-way-nay-roont!"


Translation in the hovertext

That's all, folks.  Have yourselves a safe and happy holiday.  Enjoy the weekend, too.  If you've just been smacked by a great pile of snow, be careful.  More importantly, get out in it and have fun.  I, myself, forget how much fun it is to play in the snow; it's even better if you have kids.  It's even better if you kids can't hit the broadside of a barn with a snowball.  Myself?  I'm the Legolas of snowball fighting--I rarely ever miss!  It's a practice I honed for years in the Midwest.  Indiana's winters ARE good for something.

On Monday, I'll tell you what I've been up to for the past year or so.  

Wednesday Morning Latin Lesson?

February 12, 2014

I was planning on re-emerging from my bloggery hibernation period on Friday, which just so happens to coincide St. Valentine's Day with Friday, which is the traditional date of all things Latin Lesson-y.  However, a wrench has been thrown into my plans, so I decided to go ahead and post something today.  You're welcome.  My sudden popping out of the slumbering hole can be linked to the impending doom heralded by the slow, yet ferociously fierce arrival of Winter Storm Pax.

Wait just a minute.  Winter Storm...Pax?

A large, fierce system of moisture and air just cold enough to freeze water is moving across the southern plains of the United States right now, as we speak.  Er, type.  Er, read.  Whatever, you get the picture.  With said wintery system--which has been deemed to have the potential to be 'catastrophic' by CNN, among other major news outlets--forecasters have predicted dangerous conditions for travel as well as large swaths of the American Southeast to go dark from power outages.  There will be deaths on the roads from auto accidents and there will be deaths in peoples homes from carbon monoxide poisoning brought on by improper ventilation while running their generators.  There will be people getting frostbite and suffering from exposure, there will be people who are chilled in their homes without power, and there may even be heart attacks and strain injuries from shoveling snow.

All of this paints anything but a peaceful picture.

However, the braintrust over at the Weather Channel has dubbed this particular weather system "Pax."  In case you're unfamiliar with the fuckwittery that goes on at the Weather Channel, a couple of years ago they came up with the notion to name "winter storms" in the same way that we name hurricanes.  Granted, there was no rhyme or reason behind the method to their idiocy madness; anything that spits snow is a winter storm now.  Also, for some strange reason, they decided to pull a mixture of historic names and obscure mythological entities for their list of names; all of this had a heavy Greco-Roman bias to it--except for Orko.  We all know that Orko comes from He-Man and Eternia lore, not from some obscure Iberian weather deity that barely has a registry in the Encyclopedia of Mythology.

All this aside, for 'p' this year, they chose "Pax."

Pax, as you may have guessed from the title of the this blog entry (you're so clever, you), comes to us by way of Latin.  Pax is a third declension noun (you can tell by the -x on the end of the word), which means that it probably entered into Latin via Greek.  If you've attended a Catholic Mass, or you're familiar with hymns, you've come across pax or one of its other forms in the line dona nobis pacem, which means "grant us peace."

There are two other flavors of pax that have appeared in English over the years.  One of them is the phrase Pax Romana, which describes the roughly two hundred year period of peace within the Roman Empire after our boy Augustus took power and thus ended the Roman Republic.  Pax Romana brought peace and prosperity to the people of Rome, and for those two centuries--minus the end of Nero's reign which led to the Year of Four Emperors--Rome was basically without internal strife.  No civil wars, no great rebellions by conquered people, no piracy along the coasts or across the Mediterranean, just wonderful, blissful, ever-loving Roman peace.  Yes, there were still foreign wars, but the Empire had ceased its indefatigable expansion and now focused on protecting their borders and their people.  For a couple hundred years, it was good to be Roman.

The other flavor of pax that you might have encountered is Pax Christi, which means "the peace of Christ" and it has its origins in Pax Romana...er...sorta.  Pax Christi was an attempt in 1945 to help normalize relations between France and Germany after WWII.  The notion was that the two largely Christian nations should try to emulate the teachings of Christ so that they could work together moving forward and avoid these types of conflagrations again.  You know, war, invasion, death...those kind of things that Jesus was pretty much against.  From there, the notion that people live a peaceful life based on the teachings of Christ really took hold in the churches--both Catholic and Protestant--and so Pax Christi has become a thing where Christians attempt to better emulate the lessons Jesus passed along to his followers.  Novel concept, I know.

So, clearly, it makes sense that a dangerous, potentially 'catastrophic' winter storm would garner the name "Pax" as it leaves frozen roads, closed schools and businesses, wrecked cars, and dead bodies in its wake.  Way to pick 'em, Weather Channel!

For reference, other weather outlets such as NOAA have largely dismissed the notion of naming winter storms, describing the practice as silly and potentially dangerous.  This is pretty much just a Weather Channel thing, though the supplicants at Time Warner Cable (another group of people renowned for their brilliance) have thrown their support in with the Weather Channel.  I guess this means the practice won't go away anytime soon, no matter how many people make fun of them.  If so, I hope they think a couple of moments before grabbing any old Latin word out of the lexicon in order to name their storm.  Next time, might I suggest "Pugnax."