Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Who The Fuck Is Jackson Pollock?

I've always found the modern art world just a little inaccessible, and people — well, artists — give me shit about it. Nothing personal. But I never really believed it was nothing personal, and Harry Moses's documentary Who The Fuck Is Jackson Pollock? vindicates me. The movie is your typical slobs versus snobs story, questioning the "value" of art through the eyes of unlikely critic Teri Horton, a 73-year-old truck driver and stereotypical crotchety old lady. Horton was in a thrift store when she came across a tabletop-sized canvas, "paint all over it, no picture." Teri's reaction was, "It was ugly," but she bought it as a gag gift for a friend, negotiating the price down from eight dollars to five. Funny story: Teri's five dollar painting bears a striking resemblence to the works of Jackson Pollock, whose paintings sell for twenty to twenty-five million dollars at auction.

Teri entered the privileged universe of art dealership with a simple question, is this piece legit? The answer — not that I'm surprised — is fascinating, as the painting itself becomes less and less relevant and its authenticity, or lack of authenticity, is a product of the huge social class gap between the people who regularly sell million dollar art and the people who serendipitously find it in a thrift store. The experts Teri asked, the kind of people who'd spend thirty-thousand dollars on some guy's poop, didn't say no; they laughed her out of their galleries.

The final word on the authenticity of an artwork belongs to the International Foundation of Art Research, who issues its judgments in anonymous reports. Ever notice how people who make subjective decisions affecting others always issue those decisions anonymously? Who The Fuck Is Jackson Pollock? reminds me of Kirby Dick's investigation into the MPAA ratings board in This Film Is Not Rated. The legitimacy of their power is fragile, so they issue anonymous decrees that nobody can challenge. IFAR's position is given voice by Thomas Hoving, the former curator of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and a former editor at Connoisseur magazine, and a condescending douchebag so insufferable I have no idea how he manages to walk down the street without getting punched repeatedly in the face every ten minutes. Hoving's the kind of asshole who would edit Connoisseur magazine; he introduces himself by pointing out that the opinion of a security guard at the Met is worthless, but as the curator for eighteen years, his expertise is invaluable.

I can't believe that Hoving's imperious personality is typical of art connoisseurs — he's the guy who lets Sean Hannity rail about the liberal elite, but a sizable part of the art market belongs to old-money conservatives and evil corporations. However, his attitude seems echoed all over the place. He quickly dismisses the painting; it's "neat dash compacted, which is not good." It's pretty, superficial, and frivolous — ironic words coming out of Hoving's mouth. The clincher is his evalutation of Teri: how dare she be upset that we art experts don't believe her painting is for real? Who does she think she is? I have a degree from Princeton; she isn't even a Sarah Lawrence dropout. I live in an Upper East Side apartment; she lives in a trailer park. It's people like her — dilettantes — who are ruining this great nation!

In his defense, not that he deserves a defense, the art world has changed in the past twenty-five years or so. Art for art's sake (or status's sake) has become a big business, and the art market runs on the "provenance," tracing the piece back, owner by owner, to the artist. Hoving's expertise aside, the paper trail is objective proof of a work's authenticity (assuming it's not forged). As an art appreciator, Hoving is becoming obsolete. The thrift store where Teri found her painting had some poor record-keeping, but forensic evidence strongly suggests that the painting is Pollock's. There are fingerprints in the paint proving that the same person touched Teri's painting, a paint can in Pollock's studio, and an undisputed Pollock.

So there's three viewpoints, the philistine (Teri: "There was nothing to it. It was just all these different colors all over the canvas. To me, a painting has to have something you can look at and say, 'Oh, that looks cool, like Norman Rockwell or someone like that.'"), the investor, and the erudite art-ophile, all asking the fundamental question, "Where's the value in art?" So you see Martin Creed's The Lights Go On And Off and wonder if it's good art... Sotheby's pulls out a balance sheet and checks if it's increased in value, Hoving strokes his ego by saying if you don't get it then it's your problem, and Horton's opinion is irrelevant. Art is no longer expressive; it's just a medium for intellectual masturbation among the rich and shallow.

Art is whatever comes from the hands, or out the ass, of the art community. And the art community is an exclusive club of people (or robots or elephants or whatever) that create art. It's like the Writer's Guild or Skull and Bones. Something suggests that if an elephant's brushstrokes can be (valuable) art, then my brushstrokes should definitely be considered art. I can just imagine Hoving spitting at that idea. It really is personal when those art dealers kick Teri out of their store.

And of course there's something anti-American, certainly anti-egalitarian, about the self-defined artists' community, justifying recycling itself in its abstract, meaningless gibberish. I'm offended by the hypocrisy, or the denial, or just the disrespectful pig-headedness of modern art, conflating aesthetic value with provenance. Horton got an offer to buy her still unauthenticated painting for nine million dollars, about forty percent of its worth should it be declared legit, and turned it down. Good for her, standing on principle, even if the principle is "the value triples once it falls into important enough hands."

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The first year I don't watch the Miss Teen USA Pageant and Miss Teen South Carolina gets asked to evaluate our nation's education system. Let's say you're in this situation, on the spot with Mario Lopez sticking a microphone in your face, and someone asking you why Americans can't find America on a map. The thoughts you gather, just during that first deep breath, might be something like, "Not enough schools, not enough teachers, culture glamorizes stupidity, too many kids in each classroom," and Caitlin Upton, Miss Teen South Carolina — so she's like the best teenager in all of South Carolina — comes up with this:

And people want to hate on her for saying on stage what is probably the stupidest thing ever said, ever, in the history of the universe. But in her defense, has anyone shown that there isn't a correlation between maps per capita and Americans' ignorance of where we're actually located? No, they haven't, because it's the stupidest thing ever said, ever, in the history of the universe. So there.

I bet Margaret Spellings saw that, and she's right now drafting up a proposal — no child left undirected. Not like it's gonna be any less effective than the millions we've spent on abstinence education.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Everybody needs to calm down a lot about Alberto Gonzales's resignation. Not that I wasn't thrilled to hear that the incompetent, imperious, lying little twerp finally got his sleazy ass pushed out of office, but I remember that same, serene, everything's gonna be alright feeling when Ashcroft resigned two and a half years ago. Oops. That was misplaced. Given the administration's history of promoting hacks more loyal to Bush than to their office, I'm duly jaded now. The status quo is bad news and changes within the administration are even worse. Frankly, I'll be surprised if we don't end up with Attorney General Ted Nugent before January 20, 2009.

I finally met with a career coach last Friday, so I guess I'm all serious about this job hunt now. But last Saturday, my... uh, motivation picked up a respiratory infection and that was plenty good reason to stay in bed clicking my remote and coughing up phlegm. It was my most productive week all year. The downside to being sick and idle all week was that I had plenty of time to be bummed out over how I'm an Ivy League graduate three years and I still have the work schedule and income of a high-school dropout. I need to be proactive here.

Let's see: when I grow up, what do I want to be? It's too bad the position of British crown prince is already taken — I'd be good at that. All he does is march in parades and wave to the crowds; the only requirements for the job are that you have a hand attached to an arm. I have two; I'm overqualified! I think I would also make a pretty good Ben & Jerry's ice cream taster (sure beats being a making a living as a dog food taster), Miss Teen America judge, professional sleeper and/or copulator, Disney Imagineer, or treasure hunter — I could probably go on all day and night — but those jobs appear to be off the market right now. When I consider what's left, I see myself probably freelancing as either a writer or a maniacal masked supervillain... and since I already have the skill set and business casual wardrobe to be a writer, I think I'll go with that.

Judith, my career coach, said that I need to force my work upon an unsuspecting, and unforgiving, audience. My goal — let's say her goal for me — is to get feedback. Ugh. I know I invite you guys to leave comments for me, and I'm even disappointed when the readership is silent, but I'm writing in my virtual world, safe behind like ten different firewalls and encryption protocols. Right now, I've got a little pillow fort set up to protect me from space aliens or rampaging barbarians or constructive criticism. If I wanted feedback, I'd just talk to people face-to-face, the way they did in olden times, like 1998. Judith began the sorts of critiques I'm supposed to be looking for during our meeting. I handed over my blog's address, and for what was at least five hours, she was reading it to herself while I peeked over her shoulder. Super, super awkward.

She'd chuckle, and inside I'd be like, "Yes! Nailed it!" and then there'd be a long, long, long silent time till the next teeny laugh.

In her eyes, my blog is often distant and dispassionate, maybe more vitriolic than necessary, but I'm funny. I think she's making an off-hand allusion to my literary Q-rating, which I calculate as modest but serviceable, and I briefly considered selling out, blogging about how totally awesome freaking celebrities are and the super-cute thing my puppy learned to do yesterday, but I can't do it. At least not for the lousy wages professional bloggers earn. I figure I can't be the only acerbic person in the world, and there's probably a market of spoiled, crotchety white people somewhere out there looking for an online messiah.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


They postponed my doctor's appointment yesterday for half an hour, which I hear is normally not all that bad, except that the nurse-receptionist handed over my time slot to a succession of drug reps, which makes me very uncomfortable. And jealous, cause it's not like as a web developer I'm having Microsoft and Sun and Apple comp me ballgames and vacations. I gotta pay my own way for those exciting Oracle DB and PostgreSQL conferences in lovely Tulsa or wherever the nerds hang out. I can appreciate that Big Pharma's business model requires us (wealthy) people to become ill from time to time, but the thought of my doctor getting free dinners thanks to my sickness makes me nauseous. (They should make a pill for that.) My physical took all of five minutes — either I'm extremely healthy or I'm just not a good candidate for the drug companies — and given the myriad things that could be totally fucked up with my body, I'm a little suspicious.

But then there's always the chance that I'm suspicious in the wrong direction, and I've started to wonder if the medical community isn't just making up new diseases to sell us more drugs. "Restless leg syndrome?" I don't remember that existing last year. It just popped up all of a sudden, like that song by Plain White T's, but thank God that GlaxoSmithKline had a pill waiting and ready to cure it. Lucky them, really, because without restless leg syndrome materializing out of the ether, all that time and money GSK spent on Requip would've been a total waste. I still can't believe they let this stuff out on the market; did you read the list of side effects? Requip may cause gambling or sex addiction (how'd they get a chemical compound to pull that off?), nausea, dizziness, and vomiting. And in bold print: "Requip Tablets may cause you to fall asleep or feel very sleepy during normal activities such as driving." So basically, you can't stop moving your legs, so you'll put everybody on the road in danger of you nodding off behind the wheel.

I'm sure the pharmaceutical companies will only be too happy to sell you morphine and antibiotics after you get mangled in your inevitable accident. (Plus side: no more legs means no more restless leg syndrome!)

Turns out that shaky legs was a problem before Requip, it just had a different name: Wittmaack-Ekbom Syndrome. That's not a very marketable name, so it's a good thing they renamed it something nice and simple and descriptive... otherwise we wouldn't know what to call the disease that we didn't know we had.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

"If My Words Are Your Words..."

I wrote that David Milch deserved the benefit of the doubt with his inscrutable allegory John From Cincinnati, and now that the season's over I can judge for reals. There's no doubt that Milch is a brilliant person... but John From Cincinnati is like a piece of modern art, where you stare at something like an aluminum tube splattered with paint and you're just not sure whether the artist is a genius or a hoaxer. There's that little artist's intent wall-blurb talking about the individual's isolation in the Internet age, and it sounds like an interesting idea, but it's just not in the aluminum tube hanging on the wall. Perhaps Milch bit off more than he could chew in ten episodes — Deadwood had a fraction of the philosophical intensity of JFC and it still took Milch three seasons to finally realize his point. The trademark Milchspeak is probably the writers choking on the myriad themes.

So when JFC manages to express a complete, intricate thought about these characters and their universality, it's exhilarating television, and rarely does TV actually say something. The final three episodes, where Imperial Beach coalesces into a community based around their fear and awe of John's miracles, flew by — the scene near the end where some perv makes an obscene comment to Tina was fun (even if some characters' personalities shift way too suddenly), especially compared to the corresponding scene in the fifth (sixth?) episode. On the other hand, when JFC blathers — and it blathers a lot — the show becomes a mess of contradictions: profound and petty, damning and redemptive, stationary and motile, and it's a bitch to muddle through. John's limited vocabulary doesn't help any, as his words spin around what he's trying to say so much it makes you dizzy.

"Ragheads are gonna get themselves eradicated." All the 9/11 imagery, for example, was lost on me — even though it seems to be the turning point in society, interpersonally, for Milch. 9/11, and the reductivist images Americans were bombarded with in the days following changed how we see other people. We categorize everything into "stuff I understand" and "stuff I don't understand," and then work to eradicate the latter rather than understand it. I get that. But from the commentary, not the show, and — I'm sure this is contrary to Milch's expectations — I'm not planning on re-watching the show until I can interpret every scene and line. It's not Ulysses. Redemption generates community, and community generates redemption, and unfortunately many impenetrable plot lines are left purposeless in the cold.


Maybe someone much more brilliant than I — someone with a literature degree from Yale — picked up on the deeper significance of the Stinkweed parade (John's idea), but I just cynically saw it as an evil corporation making a buck off (what looks to us like) a miracle. Milch, perhaps more globally cynical than me, was writing something completely opposite. Who knew? Freddie's imaginary drug war ended simplistically, which seems to work for the show's themes but not the show itself. Mitch's reunion with his family doesn't seem to negate that he's an oblivious new age pinhead. I saw germs of our knee-jerk reaction, and mis-reaction, to fear in the hospital's lawsuit against Dr. Smith, but again I couldn't follow it anywhere. Cunningham remains cryptic with his teddy bears, and I'm pretty sure there's a major plot point regarding him and Cissy that was barely alluded to ("You had shown me a kindness in the past.") and I had to find out about through Wikipedia. Extracting anything out of this show is downright maddening.

I'm afraid that Milch is setting up a second season, given the bizarre "Where are they now?" list that the series ends with, plus the never-explored (apparently) celestial relationship between Cass and Kai. I will not be watching JFC, Part Two, which is never going to get made. Wonderfalls, basically the same concept, except it was a comedy and it was comprehensible, didn't get a second season and it deserved one. Yeah, you still had to think (which viewers of the FOX network apparently don't like), but you could have an epiphany with Wonderfalls. All JFC will give you is a headache.

That being said, Ed O'Neill's performance is amazing. I mentioned this last time, but maybe some Academy of Television Arts and Sciences people didn't read my earlier post. I would love to see a show, nixing the sprawling socio-philosophical ideas, about Bill and Zippy. Maybe they solve crimes together or something.

My last video for YouTube

Click on the link above if you need some context here. --Ed.

Mouth stretches to warm up.

I'm proud of my smooth legs. How dare you mock them! I wear short shorts so I can show them off... same reason you do, LisaNova.

The Execu-Lux reclining office chair from Staples wasn't designed for flaunting my assets. STAPLES IS SO STUPID!!!!! DUMB STAPLES! DUMB-PLES!

You guys are probably all wondering...

You guys are my fans! You adore me!

You guys are probably all wondering: How come Jay isn't with a post in days and days and days?

You're all lost in the wilderness without me. The freaking wilderness!

Well, did you...? Not crying is hard. Here is why. This is the reason. Why. I'veNotPostedInManyManyDays. Here's why.

I point and indict you. You, bastards!... Wait, lemme hold on: Do I curse in these things? When I'm angry?

I was terrified. Terrified! I write and write and let you bask in my legs — AND THERE'S NOTHING SOCIALLY UNACCEPTABLE ABOUT A SCRAWNY HALF-MAN SHOWING A LITTLE (a lot of) LEG IN AMERICA — and all I get is critikisms. You guys totally suck!

Really, let's not encourage this kid. --Ed.

Is critikisms a word?

Critikisms IS a real word! Look it up! HereI LookedItUpAnd AndItSays Right Here RightInTheDictionary "Critikisms:" Noun. IsARealWord! I know I'm gonna get a bunch of critikisms from you. I just know! I know you're counting and watching me, all the playa-haters out there.

I heard "playa-haters" on a Smosh video once. Do I have the street cred to use the words "playa-haters?" Yes, yes I do. My critikizers will laugh at me, but I'll get back at them with my magikal webkam.

Neither he, nor the super-caucasians in Smosh, have the street cred to borrow language from Hank Williams, let alone black slang. And no, they've never questioned themselves. --Ed.

Jay, you have so many posts! Six-hundred, and five-hundred ninety-nine aren't funny!

Sorry. --Ed.

Five-hundred ninety-nine are funny! Maybe you're not funny! MaybeIt'sBecauseYou'reStupid!

My fans can sympathize. LisaNova and GreenTeaGirlie and Todd2556 and RedEmerald22 don't understand, cause they talk to YouTube but they're not funny. They're dumb. Dumbdumbdumb.

People will say: You've wasted your time, Jay. Go outside, Jay. I know people are gonna say that, because I have lots of posts. Sleep with a hooker, Jay, that's what you should do with all your posts!

GreenTeaGirlie had a crush on me once.

I know so many people will say I'm stupid. I'm ugly. I'm spastic. I'm in perpetual puberty.

We made a sex video. I'll put it on YouTube and take that Jeremy from school. I'M NOT GAY! YOU'RE GAY!

There is no sex in the sex video. Sexuality remains in question. --Ed.


Guess I don't curse.


GreeTeaGirlie is totally into that.

I'll give you a minute to read the title. A whole minute. You read slow, becausae you're dumb. You're a dumb-reader.


.... find that video ....


.... remind them that time's running out ....


People suck! Here I am writing posts and people are so rude! I'm trying to share my life here, and what do I get from you people. What do you want? What do you want from me!?

Demonstration time, baby!

I'll tell you what you want from me. You want me to fall off my chair! YouWantMeTo BreakMySexyLegs! I'LL GIVE YOU WHAT YOU WANT!

The Execu-Lux from Dumb-ples doesn't maintain a steady weight distribution. When you stand up on it. They should have to have a warning label. Dumb-ples! They're so dumb!

Maybe this kid's an actor and he's putting on some subversive sketch comedy, making him an Andy Kaufman-type genius. But I really think he'll be shooting up a post office sometime in the next five years or so. --Ed.

You got what you wanted! Are you happy?

They're happy. Those jerks. But guess what....

I put pillows on the floor. Ha ha ha ha ha! Me: one. Playa-haters: zero. Yeah, sorry to rain on your parades...

Say something cool, say something cool...


Nailed it. That one's gonna spread across the internets.

[Random outburst. Not real words.]

I can't believe people! I'm putting my grade-A material out on YouTube and there you are: let's trash it. Let's ruin it. Let's turn it into a running joke. I AM NOT A RUNNING JOKE! This is me! This is reality!

They can't handle it.

You can't handle it!

They can handle it. --Ed.

My last post. I want to thank the nice people, the fans, the friends, the people who only laughed at me behind my back, and yeah... I just, I have a confession to make: Ian Doebber's trumpet solo was at least a few measures long. I was exaggerating for dramatic effect.

Now I'm about to cry.

He's always about to cry. --Ed.

It's a relief, getting that off my chest. And here's another confession I think you deserve to hear: My underpants situation, from back in May. Solved with a toaster oven, NotAMicrowave.

[Montage of posts.]

At least ten people must be heartbroken. Now, just wait five days and then: my triumphant comeback!

Yes, he came out of retirement in five days, beating Jay-Z's previous record of a week. --Ed.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Eighth Circle of Hell

My church, my ex-church, which I've grown steadily disillusioned and disgusted with, has decided to enter the political arena. I know that the Church, and individual churches, have been involved in politics since the time of Charlemagne, but St. Helen's has been steering clean of controversy. Lately, they've grown more conservative — like a few sermons away from preaching tax cuts for the wealthy, energy deregulation, and expanding Gitmo conservative — and I'm really disappointed that they've gone from peacekeepers to enemy combatants in the culture wars. Not coincidentally, the church's message has also strayed from Jesus's commandments and into a realm of contempt for any challenge to their dogma.

I don't recall St. Helen's ever giving pro-life activists an open forum in its younger days. I'm sure they were pro-life, but they had the decorum not to rub it in your face, and no one got up at the altar talking euphemisms like a "culture of life." No longer. We had a pro-life speaker, and I could tell she was pro-life because her shirt said "PRO-LIFE" on it. Well, thanks for that. Your shirt totally changed my deeply-held beliefs on a complicated, sensitive, and personal subject! They're some group who's walking across America, from the godless activist-judges and hippie-filled West coast to the apostate, gay-marrying East coast, somehow raising pro-life money and awareness.

As and aside, I never understood these fundraisers where people get donations based on how far they walk or how many cheeseburgers they eat or whatever. Can't the donors just give the charity a set amount of money? It just seems like a cruel game for imperious philanthropists: "I want to see a cure for breast cancer, but I also want to see the lower classes perform useless labor. Perfect!"

Thankfully, this pro-lifer's speech was short, but she described the group's agenda and said something that caught my mind, "We believe in the sanctity and dignity of all human life, from conception to natural death." Now, here's the problem with the abortion debate. One side argues that life is sacred and the other side argues that a woman has the right to terminate her pregnancy, and they're not mutually exclusive because both sides aren't even talking about the same goddamn thing. If you want to watch a pro-lifer equivocate, you need to attack their premise. I guess I was pretty angry after the priest's Dobson-worthy pandering sermon and I have never in my life done this before (although I've always wanted to), but I took this girl's pamphlet and challenged her premise.

"Since you believe in the sanctity of all human life, I suppose you're also against the death penalty." There might have been a little stereotyping on my part, assuming anyone who wore a PRO-LIFE in all caps t-shirt would also be a Bush idolater, but there isn't a ton of subtlety to the pro-life (or pro-choice) movement. "And where does your organization stand on the issue of gun control, or providing health care to children," and yes, I know how to pull the "oh, our children are so precious" card when it comes in handy.

"What's your guys' view on the war in Iraq? Tens of thousands of people have died over there. You all have to be opposed to that." This is a pet peeve of mine, that the whole church will say a prayer for the safety of every American soldier, which is all good, but apparently God doesn't care about the Iraqis being blown up? I call bullshit, right there. (I also call bullshit on our prayer for the victims of the Minneapolis bridge collapse. That's what they call and "act of God," and while I guess you could beg God for mercy, you can't praise him for mitigating a disaster that he himself caused.)

I guess she never expected anyone to examine her views. "Well, we believe in the sanctity of individual life. All individual life." I don't really know what that means — so suicide is bad, but mass suicide is okay?

I have no problem with her believing that every (human) life is sacred. I sincerely hope she believes that. My problem is that she doesn't believe that all life is sacred. There are a lot of shitty people in the world — murderers, rapists, child molesters, terrorists — and when she's at the podium proclaiming that all human life is sacred, she has to be willing to stand in front of the entire church and say that, for example, Osama bin Laden's life has dignity and sanctity. I doubt she's willing to do that (but I seriously applaud her bravery if she is), and I think she's oblivious to how untenable her position really is.

My own opinion is that no life, human or otherwise, is sacred, but that we should (or a moral authority commands us to) strive to minimize suffering. I also believe that death itself involves no suffering, although of course the cause of one's death might. So abortion's cool until the fetus is sentient — I realize it's taboo to be so blasé about a topic like abortion, but if I truly believe that abortion is okay, speaking in gentle euphemisms is cowardly. Euthanasia, what's clearly misnamed "death with dignity," depends on whether the mental anguish of someone taking their own life outweighs the pain the person is suffering. This utilitarianism leads to some weird places that I'm not totally comfortable with (i.e., it's okay to kill somebody as long as they don't suffer and no one else cares about their death) but my point is that until I figure out how to modify my axiomatic premise, I'm stuck conceding these bizarro notions.

Like I said, I really hope she means it when she says all life is sacred, and with only circumstantial evidence to the contrary, I sincerely wished her good luck getting her message heard. The problem with hypocrisy is that you can't satisfy it: I either agree with your words and unwittingly fall into conflict with your beliefs, or I agree with your beliefs and explicitly undercut your words. I can deal with honesty. I may not agree with you, but at least I know where you stand, and we can figure out a way to share a community without repressed (or unrepressed) anger, persecution complexes and paranoia. I believe this is how America is supposed to work, but I'm apparently an unpatriotic blue state liberal, so what do I know?

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Trix Are For Kids... And Whores

This was the first time I've been grocery shopping in years, so can someone please tell me: When did breakfast cereals all become either horse feed or sugar bombs that could fuel the space shuttle? I usually wind up eating the horse feed, just so I can start the day without Mom's tired lecture on how sugar — like everything else that used to be edible — will send me to an early grave. There's really nothing better than waking up, thankful to be alive, and then slogging through a bowl of oat flakes or bran chunks or, if I can't decide between the two, multi-grain puffs. I guess a major force in the breakfast cereal market is overweight, constipated people.

But Mom's not here this week and there's no one to complain. I can eat Fruit Loops in chocolate milk and vodka, with maple syrup on top if I want. Not that I would, because I can see the morning commute where the train arrives two minutes late and I punch out the conductor. It will probably be another twenty-five years before Mom leaves me alone in the cereal aisle again — God, I hope not — so I've got to make this decision count.

And what a damn huge decision it is, all the marshmallow chocolate candy cereal I was never allowed to have. Can anyone explain how the advertising for Trix and Lucky Charms and Flintstones' Pebbles is supposed to work? I understand Frosted Flakes: "Eat this cereal, kids, and you'll magically become a basketball star." I'm sure that's totally true, as long as your Frosted Flakes are part of a healthy breakfast. But those commercials where the theme is little punk kids denying cereal from the mascot... What kind of lesson is that? "Eat this cereal, and you can be a hyperactive selfish jerk too!" It's a warning to parents: if you insist on feeding your brats breakfast, make it Grape-Nuts.

Do I get the corn puffs that promise to reduce my cholesterol, or the flakes that'll help me lose ten pounds? Or the ones with fifteen vitamins and minerals, and a hundred percent of my recommended daily allowance of riboflavin or something? The cereal with the smiling bear on the box, or the one with the smiling squirrel? Captain Crunch or Count Chocula? (Actually, we get the store brand knock-offs, so it's more like Admiral Munch versus Duke Choco-Puffs.) And aren't Cocoa Puffs and Cocoa Pebbles and Count Chocula exactly the same? Stop it already, Battle Creek! My life is complicated enough without having to suffer through your ridiculous cereal monopoly!

Hey, you know what's always good for breakfast: leftover General Tso's chicken.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Jesus For Sale!

Here's a video from the Associated Press about Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, revealing Himself to a hick family in Virginia (a fifteen minute drive from Jerry Falwell University) via an oil stain on their garage floor. An all-powerful manifestation of ultimate greatness and does He send a message of world peace, or the meaning of life? No. A fuzzy self-portrait on a garage floor. Thank you, Jesus. You really saved mankind with that one.

The family claims that their Jesus pic is "hallowed ground," and they won't step on it. But apparently there's nothing in the Bible saying they can't tear it up and sell it to the highest bidder on eBay. So they did. After all, what's the point of having a miracle in your home if you can't make a buck or two off of it?

But did you catch the starting bid for "Image of Jesus Christ on Concrete APPEARED SUDDENLY?" A hundred dollars. Excuse me?? This is Jesus, the hand of God touching all mankind, and you're gonna sell it for barely enough money to buy a DVD player! It's not only sacrilegious, it's just bad bargaining.

But bad bargaining for some hick family out in the boonies is good bargaining for you, tech-savvy urbanite! The current bid is $430. Think of that. How much would you pay to have a divine image bless your home and family? A thousand dollars? Two thousand dollars? Well, right now, Image of Jesus Christ on Concrete APPEARED SUDDENLY can be yours for the low, low price of $430! That's less than the price of an iPhone, and for all the things the iPhone can do, it's not gonna be able to save your soul.

Also, make no payments until 2008! We have great financing, just the way Jesus would want.