Friday, July 13, 2018


In what seemed like a charming and really good idea at the time, some months ago I bought tickets for myself, my wife, and nine year-old daughter to see KIDZ BOP in concert. And what then seemed like a far off event is now tomorrow.

This is not my daughter's first concert, though. A couple of years ago she was visiting a family member with my wife and there just happened to be a Brian Setzer show that somone had tickets for, so they all went.

I imagine when people are having that conversation about their first show, she might omit the Brian Setzer show, either through shame or to avoid blank looks. Unless Brian Setzer has a big comeback in 2027, which seems unlikely. Unless it's Robo-Setzer or something, becuase they have discovered how to keep pop-rockabilly 80s guys perpetually alive in a kind of stasis where they pray for the release of death but cannot ever die, and just keep touring and putting on shows down at The Boardwalk for new generations of fans. Kind of like The Hall of Presidents at Disneyland, but with real Stray Cats and Roman Holidays and Polecats.

KIDZ BOP is, of course, kicky family-friendly versions of hit songs, sanitized for your child's tender ears, performed by tweens. And, of course, if you had told me when I was 20 that I would voluntarily play that in my home, I would have been less than receptive. But here we are. Or rather there we are, or will be. Watching day-glo-covered children sing Shake It Off.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Personal Deep Cleansing

I had my 6-monthly dental visit a few days ago. Every time I go to the dentist is a little bit of a gamble. If I get a certain hygienist performing my cleaning, I am golden--she has a bit of a scrape, sure, as hygienists are wont to do, but she lauds me with effusive praise about my very clean teeth, and mostly uses a light touch. Some of the other hygienists vary in their enthusiasm and can I say sadism?

This trip I had a new-to-me hygienist, and this woman clearly enjoyed her job.

I have had all kinds of dental unpleasantness in the past. From the facial surgeon who decided to pull out all my wisdom teeth, since he was in there for one, and at one point put his foot up on the chair for leverage as he yanked on my tooth, in fact breaking it in half. Good times.

Or when I did not go to the dentist for a good 15 years. That resulted in ROOT PLANING. Holy crap you do not want that. Root planing is when, not satisfied with a visible-tooth scraping, they go under the gums with whirring implements and various metal rasps. Lots of novocain is required.

So this new-to-me hygienist was really nice, although a little talkative. And everything seemed to be going pretty well. Surface level cleaning. Checking gum recession. That kind of thing.

And then she said Oh. You have some tartar back here. This could lead to BONE LOSS.

So she started telling me this story about when she lived in Japan and her friend visited her. Her husband and this woman and another guy went to a crazy restaurant in Shinjuku where a guy in a woven mask throws flour on you or something. And they all got drunk and her friend married the other guy eventually.

It's all a jumble for me because this woman had a metal hook under the gumline between my back molars, trying to pry off a bunch of tartar that I probably have because I eat Cheez-its like it is one of my LinkedIn skills. ("It was through Kaf's dedication to stuffing his mouth full of snack crackers that our company was able to realize a 37% annual growth and broaden our customer base. Although you probably don't want to watch him do it.")

I got a mental image of someone prying gunk off a horse's teeth, as I often do when I am at the dentist. And she was leaning into the pry so much, I was wondering if my tooth wouldn't just implode like a Vegas casino in the early 90s.

And the story of the Shinjuku restaurant with the masked flour man was whirling in my head as every muscle in my body was tensing. I thought of that flour man and started to think of him as some tiny homunculus with a dental pick--to him the size of a spear, so basically the Trilogy of Terror guy--wedged in my molars and leaning with all his might, laughing demoniacally, spraying flour around my mouth.

And she kept talking, but I was completely focused on survival and making auuuuurgh noises at this point. Let me know if this is uncomfortable! She said, with a glint in her eye.

And here is the thing about dental pain. In some way I feel like I deserve those little twinges of pain you get during routine dental work. I think maybe I even kind of like them. They remind you that you are alive, and that you should probably take better care of your teeth. I am not religious, so I take my penance where I can get it.

And I can withstand most of the twinges. But Oh man, this was unpleasant. And I developed a complex series of eye-widening and groaning that tipped this woman off that I was uncomfortable.

This worked out as she said "Well, I have to stop anyway. There is so much blood I can't see what I am doing anymore."

Which, while not usually what you want to hear in any situation, sounded fine to me.

Cavity Creeps
Colgate ska commercial 

Friday, May 04, 2018

Life Goals

Whoa hey! Did I forget this site again?

Luckily for you I have news. I have decided that, since I am 46 years old, it's time for an affectation. But I'm trying to decide what kind of affectation would really suit me.... would really make my wife and daughter super embarrassed to be seen with me in public. So it can't be your run-of-the-mill hipster mustache or Grizzly Adams style beard (partly because I can't really grow a beard and if I tried it would be, as they say, hella patchy.)

No, this has to be unique.

That's why I think it's time to bring back 1980s Jobbers hats. You know, those baseball hats that had two neck flaps hanging down in the back?

That'll be me, with my Jobbers hat, maybe listening to Aerosmith or Rush or something equally tragic, shirtless in my garage. Drinking a Jolt.

Life goals.

Interestingly, it's pretty difficult to find any evidence online of those hats even existing. It's as if the entire world just wants to forget. The entire world is looking at me with sad eyes and sort of shaking its head saying "Please, let's not think of those hats. We have been through enough, what with oil spills and childhood diseases and governments being run by actual evil clowns. Don't make us think of them."

Thursday, January 25, 2018

The Flicking of the Fleas

I was watching the NFL playoff games last weekend, because I am a virile American. I had no rooting interest in any of the teams, although I preferred two of the four, both of which predictably lost.

I am not going to chime in with my hot takes about why football is terrible, what with the traumatic brain injuries and enforced patriotism and institutionalized racism. Yes. I know. You can tell I follow football to some degree though, since I said "hot takes".

I am a little conflicted about the Jacksonville Jaguars being eliminated from the playoffs though—on one hand, they are historically really terrible and they have a quarterback named Blake Bortles, which sounds more like Bo Jangles than any other player in the NFL, so I really wanted them to win. On the other hand, now that they are eliminated, I don't have to hear the play-by-play guys saying jagWIRES any more, and that can only be good.

I did watch most of the Jacksonville - New England game, and I was very glad to see not one, but two instances of the best play in football. That's right, the Flea Flicker. Each team ran a flea flicker! For those not hip to the jargon, a flea flicker is when the quarterback hands the ball to a running back who fakes as if he is going to run through the line of large gentlemen, whereupon he turns and pitches the ball back to the quarterback, who then throws it to a hopefully wide open receiver.

I mean, check out this video of The Greatest Flea Flickers--the crowd loves the flea flicker. You can't argue with that.

If it were up to me, teams would call flea flickers when they were on the opposing team's 1 yard line.

Also I would be in favor of having a really tiny guy who you could sneak in, maybe in your helmet or your pants, and he could pop out at an opportune moment and sprint with the ball over the goal line. He would be so small that the other team would be terrified, as the ball seemingly moved by itself across the goal line. Of course, there's is a very real possiblity that any tiny guy in this situation would be killed by a gang of extremely large gentlemen, but that is a small price to pay for innovation.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Self-Evident Truth

Some months ago, for reasons that are unclear to me, I signed up for Quora. And every day I get emails with subject lines like "Was Hitler so bad?", "Why is Google not hiring me despite my Mensa membership?", and "Does this flight attendant/barrista think I am the sexiest or merely super sexy?"

And yes, these are terrible and dull questions asked mainly by terrible dullards.

But today, all the dull emails, all the agonizingly dumb questions, were made worthwhile by the pinnacle of interrogative achievement. By someone finally synthesizing a question so central to man's experience on Earth--and perhaps even the stars themselves--that years of wandering lost were erased in a heartbeat as the majesty of the question washed over me:

What is the endless shrimp deal from Red Lobster?

At first, you might dismiss this question as the mutterings of a fool. After all, the very definition of the deal is contained within the name of the deal. Endless. Shrimp.



Repeat it to yourself as a mantra. As proof of your existence. The sound forming, making invisible waves. It should be on Voyager. Or maybe not, since beings from RETICULON 12 might show up with bibs. And those guys can eat some shrimp, I tell you what.

Is there an end to the shrimp? Could there exist a shrimp such that, due to its endlessness, could not perceive its end? Does a shrimp have knowledge of its own mortality or can all shrimp be said to be subjectively endless? The shrimp is you, and your end is unknowable. And therefore you are an endless shrimp.

And beyond these very basic discussion points, consider the batter factor. If shrimp are completely contained in batter, they exist in a quantum state of simultaneous shrimpness and nonshrimpness, and could even be a human finger. And in this ambiguous state have never started shrimpness, so could never truly be said to have a perceivable end.

Have your essays on my desk by Thursday.


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