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Outed!

Pumpkinhead

Originally published at Big Ugly Man Doll. You can comment here or there.

The Reigning Queen of Pink, Grand Duchess of Fluff, Lord High Protector of Barbies, and Baroness of the Hummingbirds just walked up to me this evening and announced that, quote, “Daddy, it wouldn’t surprise me if you were Bi.”

BUMD:  “Um, what?”
RQOP:  “You’re Bisexual.  Or at least you’re probably Bisexual.”
BUMD:  “Okaaaaaaaaaaaay…  May I ask how you came to this conclusion?”
RQOP:  “Oh, nothing.  I just have a feeling.”
BUMD:  “So, I’m setting off your Gaydar.”
RQOP:  “Well, Bi-dar, but yes.”

So, I guess I’m bi.  Who knew?  Mind you, this ties in with my theory that pretty much everyone is about 3 drinks from bi, but I really didn’t expect to be outed, while sober, by a 12-year-old whose total sexual experience is limited to The American Girl Body Book and a handful of tampons. I guess I’d better pick up some flowers for my boyfriend tomorrow.

Bi-dar?  I’ve known this little pink thing for 12 years and she can still make me say “huh?”

 



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Thankful on Thanksgiving

Pumpkinhead

Originally published at Big Ugly Man Doll. You can comment here or there.

Thanksgiving is a time for making lists of those things for which we are thankful, and this year is no exception. Without further ado, a short list of things for which I am thankful:

  • I am thankful for my health, without which I would need to actually pay attention to all this Obamacare stuff.
  • I am thankful for my wide and extended family and friends, some of whom still read this once in a while despite the lack of updates.
  • I am thankful for my kids, who still find ways to make me say “Huh?”
  • I am thankful beyond measure for SOBUMD, without whom I would still be pumping gas in Hope, Arkansas.
  • I am thankful for my job, without which I wouldn’t have any reasons to get good and angry about things, which considering my low blood pressure is one of the few things keeping me alive on a week to week basis.
  • I am thankful for Thomas the Tank Engine, who was finally fished out of the subwoofer the other day, after about 8 years. We’d wondered where the hell that thing had gone.
  • I am thankful for beer, more than I can ever say.
  • I am thankful for being a middle-aged, middle-class white guy in America right now. Guilty, and sometimes nauseous, but thankful. My life is not easy, but it is not hard.
  • I am thankful for ridiculous password requirements, which provide me an excuse to type really vile swearwords in the office every morning.
  • I am thankful for coffee, for many of the same reasons as beer, but in the morning.
  • I am thankful for all the assholes in the world, who make the few really nice people stand out in sharp relief. If you’re not casting a shadow, think about which group you’re in.

And finally, I am thankful for ducks, without which I would have to cook and eat another damn turkey today.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you and all of yours!



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Halloween & Happy Birthday

Pumpkinhead

Originally published at Big Ugly Man Doll. You can comment here or there.

Sixteen years ago, on this day, our lives were changed forever on the occurrence of the birth of the Human Tape Recorder.  Her life was changed just as much, in that she was born, which is, when you think about it, probably just as bizarre as having a baby.  We went from DINK yuppie scum to frightened parents in the blink of an eye, and she went from floating in a safe warm dimly-lit room to a weird, brightly-lit cavern with wind and air and stuff, and people poking at her and talking to her.  Her first reaction was to poop, and I was so nervous I nearly did the same.  We’ve come a long way since then!

So without further ado, Happy Halloween and Happy Birthday to the Human Tape Recorder!  Sixteen years old and she’s still my walking memory bank.



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Happy National Pink Day

Pumpkinhead

Originally published at Big Ugly Man Doll. You can comment here or there.

Since the Reigning Queen of Pink, Grand Duchess of Fluff, Lord High Protector of Barbies, and Baroness of the Hummingbirds is the only one in the house who wasn’t born on or around a holiday, we are hereby, by the authority vested in me, declaring that August 21st, Her Royal birthday, shall henceforth be known across the land as National Pink Day. 

My understanding is that, not having received her Hogwarts letter on time last year, she is this year expecting her letter from Pigfarts Intergalactic School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, which as I’m sure you’re aware is on Mars.  I sincerely hope that the intragalactic mail system is on time this year, and that she has a super-mega-foxy-awesome birthday.

And so, happy birthday to the RQOP!



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Fly, Be Free!

Pumpkinhead

Originally published at Big Ugly Man Doll. You can comment here or there.

Robin Williams has said “Fuck it” for the last time. 

I was all of 9 years old when Mork and Mindy hit the television.  Along with much of the rest of America, I practiced sitting on my head, drinking through my thumb, and answering questions with a cheery “Nanoo Nanoo!”  He was the funniest person I’d ever seen, and I wanted to be like him.

By the time I got to college, I’d been introduced to George Carlin, Billy Crystal, and a dozen more – and Robin Williams was still the funniest person I’d ever seen.  His stand up routines and shows were so far out there, and yet still so close to the heart.  He made us laugh until we cried, and then made us laugh until we thought. 

Last night, we watched Good Morning Vietnam, as a memorial.  The kids lacked the context of the Vietnam War era, but it otherwise stood up well.  (“Da-Nang me, Da-Nang me, why don’t you get a rope and hang me?”) 

There are so many:  The Fisher King.  Patch Adams.  Good Will Hunting – which we would have watched, but no one was streaming it and I don’t – yet – have a copy.  Aladdin – and it became real for the Reigning Queen of Pink when I explained that Adrian Cronauer was also the Genie from Aladdin, and he was dead. 

One of my many, many favorite scenes was actually from Mork and Mindy.  He’s just made Mindy a sandwich, trying to cheer her up and make her feel better, and he turns to offer her the plate.  “Sandwich?” he asks.  She shakes her head, not feeling up to it, and he holds it out again, saying, “It’s very clean – untouched by human hands?”  That bit, it turns out, wasn’t in the script, and Pam Dawber visibly lost it, trying desperately to stay with the role while she cracked up laughing.  Between that and the whole bit with throwing the eggs into the air (“Fly! Be free!”) – only to watch in horrified confusion as they crashed back to the ground and shattered – he didn’t have to say anything.  The look on his face captured his inhuman confusion so well that we all laughed. 

Fly, Robin.  Be free.  Nanoo Nanoo.



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Everybody’s a critic

Pumpkinhead

Originally published at Big Ugly Man Doll. You can comment here or there.

So there we were, at dinner, and to the surprise of no one at all, Number One Son says something that was, by any definition, highly inappropriate.  What it was, precisely, is not relevant to our story.

NOS:  [Highly inappropriate and disturbing remark]
BUMD:  ”Son, that’s not appropriate.  You need to learn ….”  And here, I paused, trying to think of how to phrase this message.  After a pause of perhaps 20 seconds, I gave up.  It’s been a long week.
BUMD:  ”Do you know what?  Never mind.”
Reigning Queen of Pink:  “Dad!!!  What the hell kind of pep talk was THAT?  You really suck at this!” 

Thanks, kid.

SOBUMD was howling with laughter.

I can’t WAIT to be a grandfather.  My kids are going to be SO frightened to bring their kids to Grandma and Grandpa’s house….



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Everybody’s a critic

Pumpkinhead

Originally published at Big Ugly Man Doll. You can comment here or there.

So there we were, at dinner, and to the surprise of no one at all, Number One Son says something that is, by any definition, highly inappropriate.  What it was, precisely, is not relevant to our story.

NOS:  [Highly inappropriate and disturbing remark]
BUMD:  ”Son, that’s not appropriate.  You need to learn ….”  And here, I paused, trying to think of how to phrase this message.  After a pause of perhaps 20 seconds, I gave up.  It’s been a long week.
BUMD:  ”Do you know what?  Never mind.”
Reigning Queen of Pink:  “Dad!!!  What the hell kind of pep talk was THAT?  You really suck at this!” 

Thanks, kid.

SOBUMD was howling with laughter.

I can’t WAIT to be a grandfather.  My kids are going to be SO frightened to bring their kids to Grandma and Grandpa’s house….



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A Definition of Friendship

Pumpkinhead

Originally published at Big Ugly Man Doll. You can comment here or there.

It took 14 years.  We really didn’t think it would happen.

Number One Son is downstairs, playing video games with his friend, who slept over last night.

When was the first time you had a friend come over and play?  Just swing by, hang out for a few hours?  You were, what?  Five years old?  Maybe you were all of 8 or 9.  I think I was 8, honestly, but I could be off by a bit – I don’t remember the 70′s well, for obvious reasons.  But Number One Son has never had a friend come over to play with him – ever.  Not one.  This past Wednesday, he mentioned to SOBUMD that he was going to step outside for a few minutes.  “OK,” said she, “just come in before it rains.”

This was unusual in and of itself – he doesn’t going outside much, willingly at least.  “Dad, I went outside *last* week – sure, the graphics are amazing, but the gameplay sucks.”  So SOBUMD wasn’t surprised when he came back in 3 minutes later.  She *was* surprised, though, when she heard more voices.  She went to check.

“Hi, I’m Owen,” said the boy we’ll call Owen.  “Number One Son has stayed in touch with me over the summer.”

“Nice to meet you!”  We’d heard about Owen from school; they were friends.  This is the first time Number One Son has ever stayed in touch with anyone.  We just didn’t know he lived in our neighborhood.  “Do your parents know you’re here, or are they out frantically looking for you?”

“Oh, no, they know exactly where I am – after all, Dad dropped me off.”

Whoa.  It turns out, Number One Son had organized this whole thing – he just left out the bit where he told us about it.  The boys communicate for hours, it turns out, over their headsets on the servers that they’re logging into for gaming.  So, fast forward 2 days, and suddenly we’re hosting a sleepover.

Number One Son and I just drove Owen home, pizza, Coke, and a good time having been had by all.  On the way home, I got this question:  “So Dad, is this what friendship is like?  A loss of interest and enjoyment in the things that you used to enjoy, unless your friend is with you?”

I said yes.  The more I thought about it, I told him that that might be one of the best definitions of friendship I’d ever heard.  It took him 14 years, but I’m very glad he’s finally found friends who really get him.  There’s hope for us all!



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Take Me Where?

Pumpkinhead

Originally published at Big Ugly Man Doll. You can comment here or there.

Hey, yes, I know, it’s been forever.  Or at least, far too long.  As always, time gets away from me, and things get complicated.  In any event, this was worth sharing.

You might not be surprised to hear this, but I’m the kind of guy who walks around singing a lot.  This is somewhat unfortunate, considering my singing voice, but still.  Considering my advanced age, it probably won’t surprise you that many of the songs that I walk around singing are, shall we say, less than current.   Yesterday, while getting out the door to go shopping for cat food, Coke, and a 16-foot long 2×12 (you should see our dinners), I found myself singing Eddie Money’s “Take Me Home Tonight,” which I must have heard on the radio recently, since I seem to remember some of the words.

“I can feel your heart beat faster / Take me home tonight / I don’t want to let you go ’til we see the light / Take me home tonight…”

Whereupon Number One Son, in all his 14-yr-old glory, looks at me and interjects, “Well, OK, but you could at least buy me dinner first.”

 Fourteen years old and he’s still making me say, “Huh?”

I leave you with Eddie, Ronnie, and the ’80s. But please, buy her dinner first.

 

 

 



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I’m not out of touch…

Pumpkinhead

Originally published at Big Ugly Man Doll. You can comment here or there.

I’m just 30 years out of sync.

Number One Son has been asking me to walk to the local park with him for a few days, and this morning seemed like a good time.  I brought my coffee, he brought an apple, and we got there in record time.  This works well for a morning activity, since he gets to swing as long and as high as he likes, and I get to sit quietly and watch him and the birds while I have my coffee – it’s almost like having a deck, except 3 blocks away.

Anyway, after building up a good head of steam swinging, he decided he was done with that, and came over to my bench with his phone.  “Here, you have to listen to this.  Do you know Radioactive?”

“Yes,” said I, “I know the song Radioactive.”

“Cool.”  And he played a parody of the song, set in the Portal videogame world, something about being a non-defective turret.  Or being a defective turret.  Or something.  He kept watching my face for a reaction.

“Sound familiar?”

“No.”

“Getting anything?”

“Really, no.  I’m not familiar with this.”

Big sigh.  “Daaaaad, that’s why I *asked* you if you knew the song Radioactive!”

“Son, I do know the song Radioactive.  It’s just a different song.”  Since we’re both walking around with phones, I whipped out mine to play it for him – and realized as soon as I searched for it that he’s thinking about a band called Imagine Dragons, while Dinosaur Dad is stuck in 1985 looking for The Firm.  If you’re a little more recently plugged in than I am, you probably already know it’s not a remake.

I played him mine:  “Got to concentrate / Don’t be distractive / Turn me loose tonight / ‘Cause I’m radioactive.”

He played me his:  “I’m waking up, I feel it in my bones / Enough to make my systems blow / Welcome to the new age, to the new age / Welcome to the new age, to the new age / Whoa, oh, oh, oh, oh, whoa, oh, oh, oh, I’m radioactive, radioactive.”

Welcome to the new age, indeed.  Not my thing, maybe, but not bad.  Number One Son conceded that 1985 might have rocked as well.  We leave the final analysis to you!

The Old…

 

And the New!



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Painful Flashbacks

Pumpkinhead

Originally published at Big Ugly Man Doll. You can comment here or there.

My friend the wonderful and funny Diane Henders recently posted a few notes about times she’s managed to hurt herself in somewhat embarrassing fashions, and called for comments.  As I commented, it occurred to me that many of you might appreciate some of my pain as well.

Despite having inadvertently proven that I cannot support my body weight with my left arm at full extension, by dint of dislocating said left arm at the shoulder  … twice  ….  my best, if that’s the right word for it, was actually an incident involving the lawn.  I was outside, mowing the grass.  (I suppose this would have been a much more interesting story had I been inside mowing the grass.)    I decided that the grass needed to be shorter than I was making it, so I stopped the mower – of course I stopped the mower!  I’m not stupid, after all.  I stopped the mower, then adjusted the wheels next to me.  Being always economical of motion, which is not the same as lazy, thank you very much, I leaned over the mower to adjust the wheels on the other side.  I realized I didn’t have the leverage to quite reach, so I leaned on the top of the mower with my right hand.

Do you know what’s on the top of the mower?  The exhaust manifold, it turns out.  Can you describe the exhaust manifold of a gas mower that’s been running for 10 minutes or so?  If you said, HOT, you’re right.

There were two parts of this that were embarrassing.  The first was that my wife insisted on driving me to the local ER/Clinic.  This is not a full fledged ER or hospital, this is just a “patch them up, put it in a cast and send them on their way” type station.  We walked in and the people behind the desk started panicking, telling us, “No, no!  We’re not equipped, we can’t do this here!”

That’s when I realized that they were looking at a man walking in under his own power next to his 8-and-a-half-months pregnant wife.  SOBUMD waved them off, pointed at me, and said, “Don’t worry, I’m with Stupid.”

The worst part of the ER trip was that this time, SOBUMD was with me when the nurse asked me when my last tetanus shot had been.  “Oh, I don’t remember, but certainly in the last 3 or 4 years,” said the guy who hates needles and really didn’t want a tetanus shot.  “You liar,” piped up my lovely bride, “we’ve been married more than 11 years and you haven’t had a tetanus shot since I’ve known you!”  WHAM, right in the shoulder, like my body didn’t hurt enough already.

But that wasn’t the MOST embarrassing part of burning myself on the lawn mower.  That was reserved for the scar, which was, essentially, a brand.  You see, the exhaust manifold of the mower assumes that you might not read English, so the warnings are in symbols.  Specifically, there’s a picture of a hand – a right hand, even – inside a circle, with a big line through it:  a universal Do Not Touch.  This symbol, along with several of the holes from the exhaust manifold, was now neatly branded onto my palm.

There are few things that have ever managed to highlight my own idiocy as effectively.  I couldn’t use my mouse hand for week.  This was also about the time that my neighbors stopped letting me use power tools….



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Time for My Mid-Life Crisis!

Pumpkinhead

Originally published at Big Ugly Man Doll. You can comment here or there.

First, as I hit the mid-stride of the afternoon of my 45th birthday, I have to note that I cannot remember spending any previous birthday shoveling snow.  I’ve done a lot of different things on past St. Patrick’s Days.  Some of them involved drinking, some involved being born, and some involved drinking to sufficient excess that I wished I hadn’t been (I’m looking at you, dear Ma’am), but none have involved shoveling.  So, that’s a new thing.

New is not the same as good.  Get this winter over with.

However, I think 45 should be more than just looking back, however fondly or blearily, at the years gone past.  I’ve decided that I will not worry about all the things I have thus far failed to accomplish, all the almosts, all the maybes.  I will not consider for one minute the fact that when John Keats was my age, he’d been dead 20 years.  No.  I shall keep my eyes due north, face forward into the wind, and imagine what comes next.

Based on statistics and actuarial tables, I can reasonably assume that I might live to 90, assuming a smooth downhill road and a good tailwind.  That means that today marks my halfway point, my middle life.

So, Dear Friend, Fond Relation, and Gentle Reader, I ask you for input:  What’s a good crisis to have?  I’m ready for my mid-life crisis, and I’m entertaining ideas!  Bungee jumping?  Skydiving?  Fast cars?  Loose women?  Pot is now available legally in 2 states, and I’ve never had any – is that a decent option for a mid-life crisis?  Recreational alcoholism is old hat; nothing new there to try.  My understanding of how this works is that I realize my own mortality and then try to distract myself from same by spending inordinate amounts of time and/or money on something I don’t usually do.  Since there are thousands of things that I don’t usually do, the field is pretty open here.  I want to keep the financial aspects of this crisis to a minimum, so please don’t suggest I start a Ferrari collection – unless you’re willing to donate the first one as a starter, in which case I’m all in.

So, what should I do for my mid-life crisis?  All comments welcome!



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On Being the Best Person

Pumpkinhead

Originally published at Big Ugly Man Doll. You can comment here or there.

The Happy Couple, on the Books!

The Happy Couple, on the Books!

I was in a wedding this morning!  I was all atwitter, aflutter, and excited – and honored beyond words that I’d been asked to stand up for my friend’s wedding, as her best person.  My friend Brenda and her fiancé Darla finally tied the knot.  I met them at the courthouse with the rest of the wedding party, handed the right ring to the right bride, and watched as two people in love became one couple in the eyes of the law.

As Brenda and Dar get married, as Brenda’s best person and having been married for half my life, I thought I’d say a few things about marriage.   Mind you, I also met Brenda more than half my life ago, when we worked together at the US Postal Service, and so I will tell you that marriage is like mailing a first class letter.

On the inside is a secret message, just for the two of you.  Everyone knows that!  But on the outside, there is still some very important information.  It tells you about where you’re from, and about where you’re going.  There’s no superfluous data on an envelope.  Just as in marriage, everything – even the small things – are important.

Plus, there’s trust involved in mailing a letter, just like there is in a marriage.  When you put your stamp on the envelope, you’re trusting the post office to deliver your message – and as Brenda can tell you, they will.  That stamp is a 49-cent contract that they will deliver:  through rain and through snow, in  sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer.  That stamp is the government seal of approval for your letter.

So congratulations to Brenda and Dar today, not just on getting married, but for persevering long enough for our government to realize that everyone deserves a stamp!  I am glad and grateful to have been a part of their day.

To the happy couple!

 

 

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A Quick Valentine’s Day Book Review

Pumpkinhead

Originally published at Big Ugly Man Doll. You can comment here or there.

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d re-read and review one of the best love stories ever written.  It’s particularly appropriate, since the book turns 100 years old this year, and I thought I’d see how it’s held up over the century.  Don’t worry, you know the story.  It’s Tarzan of the Apes.

So, yeah, I know, it’s not the first thing that jumps out at you as a love story.  Oh, sure, it’s got beatings, killings, maulings, beheadings, and all sorts of good jungle violence.  Some characters die for vengeance, some die because someone else was angry – or just hungry.  At least 16 men or apes are killed before chapter 10 – and I mean right in front of you, with guns, knives, or teeth.  All told, there are probably around 80 deaths in the book.  There’s a lot of blood.

Warning:  Hereafter lie spoilers.  I know, you think you know the story.  Disney didn’t cover the books very well, and many people really don’t know the original story.  If you’re interested in reading the original, I’m going to give away the ending here – be warned.  (Also, for those who know me well and are curious, no, I don’t have a first edition.  I’m reading a later reprint, from around 1916.  If anyone wants to get me a first printing/first edition, they’re most welcome!)

But still, it’s a love story.  The first time Tarzan lays eyes on Jane Porter, his world changes – as does hers.  He goes from wondering about his purpose in life as a man among apes, to a man with a mission – Jane.  She left the jungle without him, against her will while fearing him dead or worse, but left him a love note.  For Jane, he leaves the jungle, learns the ways of civilization, and crosses continents.  He went to Paris, then to Baltimore, only to find she had moved to Wisconsin.

He makes his way to Wisconsin, just in time to save her from a raging forest fire, and then moments later from a loveless marriage to a miser.  He gives her father enough money to cover his debts, restoring the family’s honor.

And then, at the end, Jane has a crisis of faith, and agrees to marry William Cecil Clayton, Lord Greystoke, who inherited his title, wealth, and lands when his uncle was declared dead – his uncle, who was Tarzan’s father.  Tarzan, for his part, receives a telegram from Paris just moments later, from his friend who had been investigating the matter, stating:  “Finger prints prove you Greystoke.  Congratulations.” 

He realizes that at a word, he can have Clayton stripped of his title, lands, and money – and in doing so would strip them from Jane, too.  Clayton chooses that exact moment to walk up to him, thank him for all the help he’s been, and ask how he had wound up in the jungle anyway.

“I was born there,” said Tarzan, quietly.  “My mother was an Ape, and of course couldn’t tell me much about it.  I never knew who my father was.”

Yes, Burroughs was a privileged white man born in Illinois in 1875, and wrote what he saw.  The impression he had of Africans as savages, the idea that women were little better than chattel, the concept and conceit that British nobility would of course shine through despite a life lived as a brute among brutes, all of those products of Burroughs’ time that we now look back on and cringe – these are all here in this book.  The anachronisms, the patois of racism and privilege, grow worse with each passing year.  As a book, it doesn’t hold up well to modern morality.

But – that’s a love story.  He swept her off her feet, she fell in love with his savage nobility, and at the end he renounces his true identity and birthright, giving her up, to secure her happiness and well being – without telling anyone.

I hope everyone had as Happy a Valentine’s Day as that kind of love can bring!

 



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Not Bad – For a Monday

Pumpkinhead

Originally published at Big Ugly Man Doll. You can comment here or there.

OK, this came to me driving in to work this morning, and as usual I felt the need to inflict this on share this with you all!  I’m blatently cross-posting from Free Range Poetry, where it can be found at http://www.freerangepoetry.com/?p=149.  Also, you need to remember - Jimmy Buffet is singing this to you.  Not me.  As you read it, imagine Jimmy Buffet singing it.  In fact, if any of you know Jimmy Buffet, please point this out to him and let him know it’s for sale! 

Without further ado…

“How ya doin’?”

“Oh, I’m not bad…  For a Monday.”

Well I’m not bad for a Monday
I could use another Sunday
I need a weekend with One More Day
But even if I had it I know I’d say
That I’m not bad … for a Monday.

—————–

I got into the office and it’s too damn loud
My feet are on the floor but my head’s in a cloud
And the prospect of the work-week has my spirit cowed
But I’m not bad – for a Monday

And my wallet’s empty but my head is full
Of angry squirrels, with maracas, and no sense of timing
But I’m OK.  Not bad, really. 
For a Monday.

Well I’m not bad for a Monday
I can’t remember much of Sunday
I need a weekend with One More Day
But even if I had it I know I’d say
That I’m not bad … for a Monday.

—————–

Well the weekend was a blur, it went by so fast
My arm’s in a sling and my leg’s in a cast
And I don’t really know what was in that pipe they passed
But I’m not bad for a Monday

My ex won an Oscar for playing herself
In a movie she wrote about what a jerk I am
But that’s all right.  Not bad, really. 
For a Monday.

Well I’m not bad for a Monday
I can’t remember much of Sunday
I need a weekend with One More Day
But even if I had it I know I’d say
That I’m not bad … for a Monday.

—————–

Friday it all started out so well
Half a case of beer for our thirsts to quell
Who could guess how fast it would all go to hell
But I’m not bad for a Monday.

I don’t think that beer was half the problem since we were OK until
My half-brother’s sister’s cousin showed up with that Tequila,
But we forgive him.  It’s OK.  Not bad, really. 
For a Monday.

Well I’m not bad for a Monday
I could’ve lived without Sunday
I need a weekend with One More Day
But even if I had it I know I’d say
That I’m not bad … for a Monday.

I don’t remember much of Sunday
I need a weekend with One More Day
But even if I had it I know I’d say
That I’m not bad … for a Monday.
Yeah, I’m not bad … for a Monday.

 

 



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Goodbye 2013

Pumpkinhead

Originally published at Big Ugly Man Doll. You can comment here or there.

So here we are, at the end of 2013. Back in January, I declared 2013 an unruly teenager, and decided to review and assign each month a grade. As I recall, January got a C. Needless to say, my resolve to grade each month lasted about as long as teenaged boy’s resolve to remain master of his domain, to wit, less than 3 hours. But in the spirit, I think it’s only fair that I review and grade the year as a whole. Since I’d dropped it for so long, I’m going to cut the year a break and let it go Pass/Fail. Let’s see how 2013 did, shall we?

We started well, with a Starbucks opening in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. It took a long time, but we’ve won, and Jane Fonda owes us all Venti Caramel HoChiFrappaMihnos. Shortly after that, the Almighty tried to pick up a spare when the most powerful meteor to strike Earth’s atmosphere in over a century exploded over Russia, injuring 1,491 people. International reaction was swift, calling for studies regarding the vulnerability of all humanity (with the obvious exception of Keith Richards) to meteor strikes. The Russian reaction boiled down to, “Was that a nuke? Eh, it must be Friday.”

In science news, 3D printers came into their own when scientists were able to print a human ear, and some yahoo shared his plans for to print a handgun. The idea is that someone could someday have an organ printed to order, and then get shot for having funny-looking ears. Also in February, Benedict XVI resigned, and about damn time, and King Richard III was exhumed in Leicester. On feeling the first sunlight on his old bones since his internment in 1485, he was heard to mutter something about the winter of his discontent being made glorious summer by this sun of York; the University of Leicester chaps buried him right back up again.

March came in like a lamb with the first Jesuit pope, and it’s a good thing the weather was nice that day because March also saw Canada become the first country to withdraw from the UN Convention to Combat Desertification. Because, you know, Canada’s really just inches away from being the next freaking Kalahari. Whatever. March went out like a lamb, too, with the death of Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez, and not a moment too soon.

On tax day, two loons bombed the Boston Marathon. I have to wonder, who thinks it’s a good idea to piss off Bostonians? These two failed their history exams, is my guess. April sucked, really – we saw the demise of Roger Ebert, Margaret Thatcher, Jonathan Winters, Richie Havens, George Jones, and Deanna Durbin. On the plus side, in May, researchers from Oregon Health & Science University created human embryonic stem cells by cloning. Can you imagine a clone made from Margaret Thatcher and Jonathan Winters? My head hurts just thinking about it.

In June, Edward Snowden decided that he was smarter than the NSA, and promptly moved to Russia. (The Russian reaction was, “Are you crazy? Eh, it must be Friday.”) Later in June, flash floods in India kill more than 5,700 people. For further proof that nature is better at killing people that people are, Richard Ramirez, who killed around 2 dozen people, died in prison before California could get around to killing him. Just pull the trigger already, you know?

In July, Croatia joined the European Union, which made Greece jealous, and Prince George of Cambridge, future King of England, graced the world with his royal presence, which made Prince Harry jealous. On the downside, Helen Thomas is now attending press conferences in the hereafter. Also in the hereafter are Elmore Leonard, Seamus Heaney, and Frederik Pohl, three great writers who now have being dead in common.

In another example of science advancing the sum total of human knowledge, September saw the publication of a world-rocking study showing that guys with smaller nuts are better dads. The Internet couldn’t leave those headlines alone for a week. October, of course, treated us to a government shutdown, with Republicans blaming Democrats, Democrats blaming Republicans, and everyone blaming the media. They only go through all this because they know we’re watching. If they thought no one was looking, they’d work together and just get things done. Mind you, they’d screw us all, but they’d get things done. October also saw the signing of a UN treaty to protect human health and the environment from emissions and releases of mercury and mercury compounds. The 140+ signatories of the treaty were promptly sued when Mercury Records stock nosedived the next day.

October was a busy month: Saudi Arabia became the nation to reject a seat on the United Nations Security Council. (The Russian reaction was, “Are you crazy? Eh, it must be Friday.”) Plus, October 22nd was the 16,000th day of Unix time. No one will ever know if Tom Clancy knew that, except for him and the CIA spooks who killed him for his latest plotlines. (You can imagine the Russian reaction.)

In November, Typhoon Haiyan “Yolanda”, proved once again that nature an kill more people faster than we can, with a death toll higher than 6,100. On the plus side, Iran agreed to limit the number of nukes it will try to build if only we start letting them buy food and cigarettes again.

As we round out the year in December, we have to note three deaths: Nelson Mandela, whose name became synonymous with peaceful resistance; Mikhail Kalashnikov, inventor of the AK-47, whose name became synonymous with armed resistance; and Peter O’Toole, whose name was double-phallic. Finally in December, we saw the Chinese spacecraft Chang’e 3, carrying its Yutu rover, become the first spacecraft to soft-land on the Moon since 1976. There were questions about why China wanted to land a rover on the moon; the Yutu is widely seen as “Me Too.”

And so, despite disasters both natural and otherwise, despite twerking and Justin Bieber, despite deaths both small and large, I think I have to give 2013 a Passing grade – but only just barely. 2014 starts on academic probation, and if it starts skipping classes, I’m going to know about it. I’m happy to see 2013 in my rear-view mirror.

In the meantime, I wish you, Gentle Reader, a fantastic New Year.

 

 



Yep, looks like another post from the Big, Ugly Man Doll!

Pumpkinhead

Originally published at Big Ugly Man Doll. You can comment here or there.

Long story short, I got a new job.  Actually, I got the old job, but with a new company.  Anyway, long story, but I have a new crew that I’m working with, and on my first day back, three out of four of us decided to go out for lunch – the fourth guy was already eating his sammich by the time we got decided, so he stayed.  After all, we were just going to lunch – no big deal.

I drove up to the 8th St restaurant row, planning to hit Ted’s Bulletin, which is a decent place for lunch, if a little loud.  By the time I found us parking, it was later than I’d planned, and also freezing.  One of my co-workers offered to pay for parking with his parking app, which he did, before remembering that he needed to tie the app to my car, which he then tried to do, eventually succeeding, but not until we were even colder than we’d been when we got out of the car. 

Having based my parking decision on expedience rather than proximity, we found ourselves walking briskly toward the restaurant when the other of my coworkers made a sharp left into an Irish place called Molly Malone’s.  He told us he’d based this less on any particular reviews of the place and more on “getting out of the cold.”  We agreed that made sense, and followed him in.  He had a steak sandwich, my other co-worker had a soup and salad, and I enjoyed a shepherd’s pie, which was delightful.

As we were eating, a small group came in behind us and went upstairs for lunch; as they were going upstairs, one of them waved to all of us and said, “How’s everybody doing today?” 

It was the President of the United States. 
And the Vice President of the United States. 

By the time we had finished our lunches, the Secret Service had set up a rope line blocking the door.  Since we couldn’t leave even if we’d wanted to, we stood by the rope line for a bit.  Then we met and shook hands with Barack Obama and Joe Biden.  For the record, the President has enormous hands – I can palm a basketball, but I need to make an effort.  For him, it must feel like a softball would for me.  Joe Biden, on the other hand, has a more firm grip.  Make of that what you will.  They were both funny and gracious, and looked just like their pictures. 

We still can’t quite believe it.  So, how was YOUR first day at work?



Yep, looks like another post from the Big, Ugly Man Doll!

Conflickted

Pumpkinhead

Originally published at Big Ugly Man Doll. You can comment here or there.

This does not usually happen to me.  I do not, as a rule, become conflicted about things – do something, don’t do something, make up my mind and get on with my life.  I try, most of the time, to be a person of action – I don’t tend to over analyze or overthink things.

But, Ender’s Game has come out on the big screen.  I’m going to go see it, on the big screen.  There’s no conflict there – I’ve been waiting for this flick since I heard it was in the works.  It has Indiana Jones, for Pete’s sake.  And, oh yeah, it’s based on one of the greatest works in sci-fi history.  Ender’s Game is so good, it’s the only sci-fi book that my mother has read, to my knowledge.   I read it in college, more than 24 years ago, and as I was nearing the end of the book, a really gorgeous redheaded girl that I’d been hoping to go out with some day called me and asked if I wanted to go out right then.

I told her I couldn’t. 

I had 75 pages left, and I couldn’t put it down.  Probably for the best, since I found SOBUMD, but still – the book was that good.  Since then, I’ve stood in line for signings, met Orson Scott Card, and bought all of the books in the Ender series, and many others as well.  Back in the day, before the Internet made everyone as connected as they are now, no one really knew that he held views that were incompatible with those expressed in his books.  It is still amazing to me to find that he espouses such hate-filled homophobic views and yet has written such lovely, loving, and open-minded characters.   I write, or at least I try to pretend that I do, and I’m not sure how I could do that; nor even the other way around and have one of my characters spout nonsensical vitriol and hate without having some other character standing there to point out what an asshat the first one was. 

So, I’m going to see his movie.  I’ve heard a lot of talk about “separating art from politics” and the quote from Oscar Wilde about “The fact of a man being a poisoner is nothing against his prose.”   Mind you, even Wilde, no paragon of virtue there, went on in the same article to say, “Of course, he is far too close to our own time for us to be able to form any purely artistic judgment about him. It is impossible not to feel a strong prejudice against a man who might have poisoned Lord Tennyson, or Mr. Gladstone, or the Master of Balliol.”  In our case, Card is far to much a part of our time to be able to easily wholly divorce his odious and onerous views from his towering literary achievements. 

And so, I find myself conflicted.  I’m going. I’m probably going to like the movie.  I still recommend the book, and its sequel, and the rest of the series.  They’re that good.  But, I feel the need to caveat them to people with, by the way, the author’s a right-wing homophobic nutjob, but if you’re into good sci-fi, you need to read this anyway.  (At least the first two.)

I’ll post a few thoughts, if not an actual review, about the movie once I see it.  Anyone else going?  Not going?  Conflicted?

 

 

 



Yep, looks like another post from the Big, Ugly Man Doll!

Pumpkinhead

Originally published at Big Ugly Man Doll. You can comment here or there.

Happy Birthday to the Human Tape Recorder!  She is 15 today, and sometime in the next 12 months will start, god help me, a car.  And, like, drive it.  I don’t know how we got here, but here we are!

Here’s hoping the next 15 years will be filled with even more wonder and adventure than the first 15!  Happy Halloween, and many happy returns of the day!



Yep, looks like another post from the Big, Ugly Man Doll!

Pumpkinhead

Originally published at Big Ugly Man Doll. You can comment here or there.

I know, I was doing the whole Shutdown Countdown thing, but I got furloughed.  Luckily, I’ve declared myself essential personnel, and I’ve brought you, yes, no, that’s right – another song.  You know the tune.  And now look – I sang the last one.  You know you don’t want me to do that again, so I’m asking you to sing this one for us.  Post it to YouTube and let me know, and I’ll update this with a link to your version!  You know you want to!  Come now, sing, and fiddle with me while the Titantic goes down, and Rome burns, and we can mix drinks and metaphors until the sun comes up on the smoking remains of our economy!  After all, there’s just a few more hours….
There’s just a few more hours.
That’s all the time we’ve got. A few more hours
Before we go ker-splot.

There are budget deals all over Washington,
and Congress has to track ‘em down in just a few more hours!

We’re gonna default in the morning! Crash bang!
The banks are gonna fail. Pull out the stopper!
Let’s have a whopper!  ‘Cause they’ve left us in the lurch this time!

I don’t wanna wake up in the mornin’
I sure don’t wanna watch the news prime time.
Europe, come and kiss us;
Show how you’ll miss us.
‘Cause they’ve left us in the lurch this time!

They’ll take a vote, Roll Call the Floor.
And it will fail, and roll right out the door!

For We’re gonna default in the mornin’
Crash bang! the banks are gonna fail.
Kick out this Congress, Show them the egress;
they’ve left us in the lurch, left us in the lurch,
‘Cause they’ve left us in the lurch this time!

We’re gonna default in the morning
Crash bang! the banks are gonna fail.

Jail ‘em or stone ‘em – vote out and disown them!
They’ve left us in the lurch this time!
I’m gonna sleep in, in the morning!
What’s the point of lookin’ at the time.

The Senate ain’t able, to pass a pay bill,
And they’ve left us in the lurch this time!

Because we’re debtors, they’ll grade us down.
And if we default, 
China takes the crown!

For We’re gonna default in the morning!
Crash bang! the banks are gonna fail.

Feather and tar ‘em;
Brand and disbar ‘em! They’ve left us in the lurch,
Left us in the lurch…
‘Cause they’ve left us in the lurch this time!

Starlight is reelin – time to vote now.
Midnight is ticking like a bomb.
The markets are waking…
DC is shaking…  Good luck, you fools,
Perhaps you can pass it with aplomb.

No – we’re gonna default in the mornin’
Crash bang! the banks are gonna fail…
One-finger salute ‘em – Then haul off and boot ‘em…
they’ve left us in the lurch, left us in the lurch,
‘Cause they’ve left us in the lurch this time!



Yep, looks like another post from the Big, Ugly Man Doll!

Pumpkinhead

Originally published at Big Ugly Man Doll. You can comment here or there.

“Someone told me it’s all happening at the zoo. I do believe it, I do believe it’s true.” – Simon and Garfunkel, 1967

04 October 2013, Washington D.C.: As the US Federal Government continues to bicker about whether John Boehner and Barack Obama are both actually the biological sons of Frank Sinatra, the National Zoo finds itself struggling to maintain its mission, feed the animals, and avoid PETA protests.

Unlike the chaos around the big cats and the zebra enclosure, Adélie Humboldt, who works with the penguin exhibit, says she’s had no problem with her charges. “It’s like they’re self-sufficient,” she said. “I don’t know how they got the National Aquarium to donate all those fish, but we’ve got plenty of food for the penguins. They’re a resourceful bunch.” A brief check around the small, flightless avian enclosure revealed a patchwork of tunnels, several caches of weapons, six badly forged Canadian passports, and three sets of webbed tracks leading to and from the nearest payphone. Graffiti near the phone said “Cute and cuddly my imperial flightless ass,” which Humboldt said hadn’t been there a few days ago. A call to the National Aquarium confirmed that they’d received an anonymous call requesting the Piscean package. “Honestly,” said Aquarium spokesperson Terry Nazon, “it was a relief for us. We didn’t know how we were going to feed all the damn things, and the sharks can’t eat all the time. They were going to clog up the filters.”

Walking back up the trail from the penguins, I spoke to Ranger Castor Canadensis, who works with the zoo’s beavers. “I just love beavers,” he said. “I know some of the other factions here at the zoo would really like to eat them, but I don’t want anyone else eating my beavers.” Not seeing any beavers in evidence, I asked him about their absence. “Oh, they’re kind of shy. You really have to wait for them to get to know you, bring them dinner a few times. Some of the bolder ones will let me pet them.” Asked how many beavers the zoo has, Canadensis remarked, “Oh, we think there are six or seven, but I’ve only ever seen one at a time. Seeing two beavers at once is really a dream of mine – it’s why I took this job, and why I’m here today even though I’m not getting paid for it.” I heard the sharp smack of a tail as I turned up the embankment toward the gate, and saw the Ranger blush as he smiled.

Back in the Monkey House, Zoo Ranger Mike Papionini explained the current commotion emanating from the new chamber of what he called the Primate Parliament. “Most of the great apes are in favor of holding a vote to decide if they should start foraging for food or just follow the penguin’s lead and order take out,” he said, “but they can’t bring it to the floor because everyone’s talking about that Macaque there in the middle of the room.” There was a large Macaque standing on its hind legs in the center of the chamber with several other primates walking around it and looking at it. “It has the bluest eyes I’ve ever seen,” said Papionini. “There are rumors that its mother’s brother may have been Frank Sinatra.”

Clearly, even the primate world, scandal and politics go arm in hairy arm.



Yep, looks like another post from the Big, Ugly Man Doll!

Pumpkinhead

Originally published at Big Ugly Man Doll. You can comment here or there.

“If ‘pro’ is the opposite of ‘con,’ what is the opposite of progress?” – Paul Harvey

03 October 2013, Washington D.C.: As the US Federal Government continues to bicker about how many toppings they want on their healthcare reform, the National Zoo finds itself in the cross-hairs, forced to feed the animals in their care – whatever the cost.

Zoo Ranger and spokesperson Griffin Waccatee, who wishes I’d stop citing her in public, mentioned today that the situation will get even more dire if the government does not re-open before Saturday. “We’re going to need to feed the reptiles eventually,” she said, “and right now, that looks a lot like the lemurs. In the meantime, the regular locksmith is out, and so the Orangutans have popped their locks again and let out all the rest of the primates.”

A brief check of the Monkey House confirmed that all the major primates – High- and Lowland gorillas, Orangutans, and the chimpanzees – had all gathered in the main hall and were working out a set of parliamentary procedures in order to establish a National Zoo Government for themselves. A small faction of the chimps had been holding up the debate, but politely bowed to the majority opinion for the good of the greater nation without conceding their position. They agreed to disagree for the sake of progress.

Over by the zebras was another story of cooperation for a common cause, albeit a less heartwarming one – unless your heart is warmed by watching a pack of hungry alpine dingos bring down one stripy-assed hoofed ungulate after another, pausing only to share the meal with the raptors – which the chimps had let loose in the spirit of bi-partisanship. “God I love nature,” said Elle Fantus, taking a break from monitoring the elephants to catch a quick smoke and watch the terrified zebras run screaming through their small enclosures as the dingos circled around. “Right now, this is the best damn zoo in the world. It doesn’t get closer to nature than this shit, man. I hope they never solve the budget.”

The last stop of the afternoon was at the Zoo’s public relations office, where Mr. Bob Dobbs was busily preparing a flyer. “We’re asking for the public’s help during this time of crisis at the Zoo,” he said. “It’s the chance of a lifetime! Come feed the lions! When do most people get to do that, outside of the Serengeti?” His smile was rather unfortunately feral, even for a PR guy.

When asked if they had reached out to any other zoos, he smiled again. “Oh no,” said Dobbs, “We’re fighting fire with fire. If Congress doesn’t pass that budget in the next few days, the baby panda meets Mr. Lion. Shutting down the government is one thing, but I’m sure no one who votes to kill the little panda will ever hold office again.”

He’s probably right. As I left, I saw four Orangutans circling a payphone and holding their oversized hands in front of their eyes. I’m sure they were trying to call their congressperson, but of course she doesn’t really have a vote anyway.



Yep, looks like another post from the Big, Ugly Man Doll!

Pumpkinhead

Originally published at Big Ugly Man Doll. You can comment here or there.

Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself. – Mark Twain

02 October 2013, Washington D.C.: As the US Federal Government continues to bicker about the budget, twerking, Obamacare, and whether Miley Cyrus would make a better ambassador to North Korea than Dennis Rodman, the National Zoo finds itself in the cross-hairs of history, caught in a landslide of media attention and budgetary brouhaha.

“The biggest issue with giving 800,000 Federal workers a few days out of the office is that they’ve suddenly got ALL DAMN DAY to watch the Panda Cam, instead of the usual 3-4 hours they waste on it,” said Zoo Ranger and spokesperson Griffin Waccatee, speaking on condition of anonymity since she was furloughed as well. “We had to turn it off before it melted – it wasn’t built for that kind of load.”

Another issue Waccatee noted was the crushing fiscal burden of continuing to feed the animals through the shutdown, despite having no budget. “We’re really doing triage here,” she said, “just trying to figure out how to feed more than two thousand critters, large and small.” The small ones, of course, are less of a problem – Waccatee said that the slender-tailed meerkats, for example, will eat pretty much anything. “We’ve just been bringing in our compost from home. Those bastards don’t care.”

The elephants, of course, are another story. “We’ve started giving them massive doses of hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin), which is cheaper than all those vegetables anyway,” said Elle Fantus, who works with the over-sized proboscideans when their non-essential handlers aren’t available. “They’re basically a bunch of walking piano keys that eat,” she said, “and I don’t play piano.” Fantus reports that the ivory-tusked mastodon-wannabes have lost a few pounds, but seem a little more irritable than usual. “It certainly keeps the costs of their food down, and I wasn’t enjoying that diet anyhow.”

When asked about the big cats, Zoo Ranger Waccatee sported a small, sly smile. “Like I said earlier, triage. Ninety-eight percent of Americans don’t know what the fuck a Tapir is, anyway – and the lions needed some exercise. Problem solved.”

If the shutdown continues more than a few days, Waccatee said that they would expect to just open a few more doors and let the various species forage the grounds for themselves. “Hey, there are clearly a bunch of dumb animals grubbing around Congress,” she said. “Why shouldn’t we let our animals have some fun? It’s not like they’re paying us over here.”

The Panda Cam is expected to remain off for the duration, despite the howling protests of the entire Internet.



Yep, looks like another post from the Big, Ugly Man Doll!

Wake Me Up When the Shutdown Ends

Pumpkinhead

Originally published at Big Ugly Man Doll. You can comment here or there.

OK, with all due respect, rights, and mad props to Green Day, I present for your reading and humming along pleasure my cheerful filk on one of their best songs. You can just please read, hum, and pretend you’re hearing Billie Jo Armstrong bitch at Congress.  (And not, you know, me.)

Lyrics: 

The fiscal year has come and passed
 And so it goes, just like years passed
 Wake me up when The Shutdown ends

ObamaCare is all they say
 but Congress gets paid anyway
 Wake me up when The Shutdown ends

Here comes the vote again
 The Budget’s on the Floor
 Now send it back again
 Amending it some more…

As my savings start to drain
 I’ll never forget to VOTE again
 Wake me up when The Shutdown ends

You’ve passed a budget once before
 Do you need there to be a war?
 Wake me up when The Shutdown ends

Shut down the Feds again
 Like we did in Clinton’s Day
 Wake me up when The Shutdown ends

Here comes the vote again
 The Budget’s on the Floor
 Now send it back again
 Amending it some more…

As my savings start to drain
 I’ll never forget to VOTE again
 Wake me up when The Shutdown ends

This Congress is just a big disgrace
 Your sorry asses can be replaced
 Wake me up when The Shutdown ends

ObamaCare is all they say
 but Congress gets paid anyway
 Wake me up when The Shutdown ends

Wake me up when The Shutdown ends
Wake me up when The Shutdown ends

 

Really, you don’t want me to sing that.  Billie Jo has it.  I don’t have it, and I can’t carry it in a bucket, either.  YouTube channel notwithstanding. 

 



Yep, looks like another post from the Big, Ugly Man Doll!

Pumpkinhead

Originally published at Big Ugly Man Doll. You can comment here or there.

This Friday is once again answer time at the ManFAQ, and so I don my manly mantle as Sage of the Sexes, helping demystify the more malodorous gender for those of the gentler, as we add to the list of questions women have asked about men over the years.  Actual questions, posed by real women, and answered by a REAL man.  Like the man said, ”What could go wrong?”


Question:  There’s a study out that says men with smaller testicles make better fathers.  Is this true?

Answer:   No.  Assuming I remember my math and the commutative nature of addition, which also applies to spurious studies, if A equals B, then B also equals A, and therefore your question is actually better phrased as, do great dads have small balls?

No, no we don’t.

The study making headlines these days postulates the notion that human men with comparatively smaller testes might turn out to be, as a group, comparatively better fathers than those men with larger testes.  And when I say “making headlines,” I mean there were more than 20 at my last glance, all debating the relative merits of the study with various levels of aplomb, decor, and punch lines.  Most of them stick pretty closely to the standard “Testicle size linked to father role,” or “Men with smaller testicles may be more nurturing dads.”  They move quickly into “Do better dads have smaller gonads?”, “Small testicles equal big parenting skills?”, and “Men with smaller testicles predisposed to hands-on parenting.”  Once we’re done thinking about how anyone managed to run a headline with the words “testicles” and “hands-on” in the same line, we get to these gems:  “Size Matters: Testicle Size Linked To Nurturing Skills,” “Study: Choose Dads With Smaller ‘Nads,” “Aw, nuts! Nurturing dads have smaller testicles,” and “Dudes With Smaller Balls Are Better Parents, Says Science,” as well as some that have leads of “This is nuts!”

We’re left with the perpetually feminine-leaning Huffington Post, who turns it around: “Men With Big Testicles Less Likely To Be Caring Fathers.”  That’s right – it’s not that John Smallberies is a great dad, it’s that John Bigbooty is a bastard.  (Like that was news, right?)  The Week Magazine is the only one in their camp: “Do big testicles really make for bad fathers?” They’re at least asking it as a question; HuffPost just goes straight to “they’re all bastards.”

Now, this here study was based in Atlanta, GA, and included no more than 70 men, almost all of whom were Caucasian.  What can we infer from these facts?  First, what is it with those southern boys feeling up each other’s junk?  Second, dudes, why so few black guys?  Were they afraid to skew the results?  Third, Emory University clearly has too much time on their hands.   Also note this quote from the study:  “We’re assuming that testes size drives how involved the fathers are … but it could also be that when men become more involved as caregivers, their testes shrink.”

This sounds a lot like a couple of academics looking to get an endowment to explain their under-endowment, as it were.  They want a plus side – “But hey, at least I’m a good dad!”  They want an explanation – “What?  No no, they were bigger, um, just this morning, I looked, I swear – they must have shrunk as I was changing the baby!”  I’d also love to hear how they recruited volunteers for this study.  “Well, first they bought me dinner…”

And so I here cheerfully refute this premise, coming to my conclusion by generalizing from one example (which everyone does – or at least, I do) – to wit, the hunk with the junk can be an awesome dad as well.   I leave you with some final thoughts from those paragons of brilliant parenting, AC/DC.

 

 


 

Now you know.  Please, feel free to comment!  Also, forward any questions you’d like answered to BUMD – at – biguglymandoll.com!  As always, your anonymity is guaranteed!

 

 



Yep, looks like another post from the Big, Ugly Man Doll!

Remembering

Pumpkinhead

Originally published at Big Ugly Man Doll. You can comment here or there.

It was raining 4381 days ago today, pouring, a terrific lightning storm in the early evening outside the window to my home office.  I was watching the rain and lightning as I typed something (now long forgotten) under the window.  As I glanced up again at the pounding rain, I noticed the wireless router with its two antennas, silhouetted in the flashing lightning.  As I watched, the hairs on the back of my neck started to stand up and a green glow started to form between the two antennas. 

Two things went through my mind very quickly.  The first thing was that having a set of wifi antennas on a wifi device in a windowsill during a lightning storm might been a bad idea. 

The second thing was:  duck.

I dived off my chair, getting my head down and flying for the floor as fast as I could.  The net effect of this was that my left hand went up while my right hand and head went down, as the boom shook the house and my eyes were nearly blinded despite being tightly shut.  I felt the shock in my left hand, down through my elbow, and into my shoulder, where it stopped.  I picked myself up off the floor a moment later (this was all in the sub-second response time we expect from lightning) to find surprisingly little damage – the window wasn’t broken and my hand wasn’t burned.  My left arm and shoulder hurt, but that was it – aside from the wireless router, which showed no external damage but never worked again; no surprise there.  My arm was fine by the next morning.

It is not surprising that I remember the incident so well – literally burned into my memory, as it were – but I would not ordinarily be able to recall the exact year, much less the month and date.

But the next day was September 11.

SOBUMD and I met working at a newspaper and have always been “print media” people, no matter how techie we get.  Of the thousands of questions we all had in the aftermath, one of the less important ones going through my mind after 9/11 was, “What will the New Yorker magazine do for the cover?”

I can no more forget it than I can the events of the day itself:  Art Spiegelman’s cover was black, completely.  I remember being a little surprised that they thought that was enough – and then I turned the magazine, just a little, and you can see the faintest outline of the towers, in darkest gray.

It was a powerful reminder that no matter how dark it gets, while we remember, they will never be all the way gone.

Wishing peace for us all on this day.



Yep, looks like another post from the Big, Ugly Man Doll!

Pumpkinhead

Originally published at Big Ugly Man Doll. You can comment here or there.

So there I was, driving in to the office again, and still listening to the CD I’d started nearly two weeks ago. I should mention it’s a new car, which I bought completely by accident a month or two ago (long story), and one of the perks (which I found only after the car followed me home) is that the CD player also plays MP3s.  Since SOBUMD used to have a car that could do that (we replaced her old van as well, but at least we did that on purpose), we had a few CDs with MP3s laying around collecting dust.  One of them was marked “BUMD Mix,” so I popped it in the new car and decided to see what was on it. 

That was nearly two weeks ago.  Since the CD was probably made before Obama took office, I had no earthly idea what was on it.  Those of you old enough to remember “mix tapes” from the ’80s will know what this is like – a walk down memory lane with a few songs you know you’ll like, since you put it together yourself, even if you don’t remember doing so because you were totally baked at the time.  The difference with a mix of MP3s on a CD is that there are more than a hundred songs. 

As I played the CD, I noticed two things – first, I liked all of the songs, which makes sense, and second, they were completely random, which was surprising.  Not sure how they got copied onto the CD, but it’s a pretty trippy bunch of segues.  Not bad, just surprising – like listening to a radio station tuned specifically to you, but you’re just along for the ride.  And it made it even more fun to guess when the ride was going to end, because I had no idea how many songs the thing held. 

So I’ve been shaking my head at these totally random segues of good song into good song, until this morning’s drive.  I’d gotten nearly to the end of the CD, more than a hundred songs, and I’d gotten used to the randomness – until I realized that I’d followed David Bowie with the Cranberries, followed by Tom Petty, followed by Cherry Poppin’ Daddies. 

Do you see it?  Yep.  Ziggy Stardust, Zombie, Zombie Zoo, and Zoot Suit Riot.  Real random.  My life would be so much easier if I could spell.  I leave you with Ziggy, because every day should start with some God-given ass.

 

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Yep, looks like another post from the Big, Ugly Man Doll!

Pumpkinhead

Originally published at Big Ugly Man Doll. You can comment here or there.

But today is one of those days!   Break out the party hats, the Reigning Queen of Pink has turned eleven!  She was actually brevetted to 13 the other day, to get her an account she probably shouldn’t have on FanFiction.net – she’s found the wonder that is FanFic, and hasn’t looked back.  I didn’t realize the effect all this had had on her until a few days ago, when she mentioned that she wanted the account – not to read, which is reasonably open, but to post her own FanFic short stories, set in the Harry Potter world, with some Dr. Who thrown in once in a while.  I decided it was worth the jump in grade to encourage that sort of thing – and she’s pretty good.

So happy birthday to the RQoP – keep writing, and I’m sure your letter from Hogwarts is on its way by owl even as we speak!



Yep, looks like another post from the Big, Ugly Man Doll!

Come Fly With Me!

Pumpkinhead

Originally published at Big Ugly Man Doll. You can comment here or there.

I know, it’s been too long, and I’ve missed you too – but you can’t have a triumphant return if you don’t take some time to gather your mojo now and then.

Besides, today is an auspicious day.  21 years ago today, SOBUMD and I stood up in a church in front of family and friends and made promises until death did us part, and to our surprise no one said anything when the priest asked the crowd, “If anyone feels that this marriage is not in the best interests of baseball, speak now or forever hold your piece.”  At 21 years, our marriage can now go pick up beer at 7-11, but it looks so young that it would still get carded.

But rather than reminisce on the last 21 years, I’m going to focus on the last 4 days.  To commemorate those blessed nuptial celebrations, we woke up before the crack of dawn this past Sunday and drove to North Carolina’s Outer Banks – wheels up at 0430, and as Adrian Cronauer said, the “0″ stands for “Oh my God, it’s early.”  We were packed and loaded for bear, by which I mean I managed to bring 4 different pairs of shoes, because I’m a girl.

Driving pell-mell down the coast in the gathering sunrise, stopping only to fill the car’s tank and empty our own, we made Stack ‘Em High pancake house by 0900 – good time by any measure.   It turns out I can’t stack ‘em as high as I used to, but I still put a respectable dent in my hotcakes.  Pancakes were followed by finding the hotel, and since we couldn’t check into our rooms until four, we used their access to the beach and headed for the open water – stopping first to apply sunscreen in greater or lessor amounts.   Everyone enjoyed the beach, including myself and Number One Son, who is starting to be old enough to notice that some of the bodies on the beach make grown men think of wardrobe malfunctions, and prison terms.  We enjoyed the beach for several hours, by which I mean the Human Tape Recorder and I went out and got lunch and brought it back to the beach, and we hung out until we could check in.  Lunch, for those scoring at home, was from a place called Ten 0 Six, which was great – nice people, good food, neat local art for sale on the walls.

But I’ll skip to the lesson here – the kids burned. Well, that’s not wholly true. Number One Son burned. The Reigning Queen of Pink didn’t burn so much as boil.  (Note to self: do not let small pale pink things apply their own sunscreen.)  Of course, once applied and everyone was frolicking happily in the surf, no one gave it another thought – we HAD applied sunscreen, pretty liberally, all over, after all.   The Human Tape Recorder is in pretty good shape; she got a little pink but not too burned.  Number One Son’s nose is a study in epidermal conflagration, and the RQoP has blisters on her cheeks and chin.   The only positive here is that neither of them will ever again question anyone telling them to put on more sunscreen.  To say that we feel terrible would be gross understatement.

Dinner was a quick jaunt to Armstrong’s Seafood, which boasts a few tables, a big local fish selection, and a waiter who could get a smile out of a burnt prune.  The food was good, plus they had Black Radish beer, from my beloved Weeping Radish brewery – a taste I’d been missing for the past 14 years or so, that being how long it had been since we’d gotten to the Banks.  We hit a Brew Thru on the way back to the hotel, mostly because the kids didn’t believe us that there were places like that, and got to watch a particularly amazing lightning show from a large storm just north of us.  The storm had no chance of keeping us awake, however.

A little after 3 am, though, I woke up enough to step out onto the balcony of the hotel, facing the Atlantic, and looked out at the waves.  That being the prime night for the Perseids meteor shower, I was graced with the spectacle of distant lightning from the receding storm, the pounding surf, and a couple of shooting stars, all displayed for my viewing pleasure.  It was amazing, and I was asleep again inside 5 minutes.

Breakfast found us at Bob’s Grill (motto: Eat and Get the Hell Out!), and should you find yourself in Nags Head, you should find Bob’s as well.  Great food fast and a very friendly staff, motto notwithstanding.  Since the order of the day was to try to stay out of the sun, we found things to do that were not the beach – to wit, the Wright Brother’s Memorial.

The Doors of the Wright Brothers Memorial

The Doors of the Wright Brothers Memorial

There is a bowl on the top of the memorial that at times holds a marine beacon like those used in lighthouses.  The beacon wasn’t there when we saw it, making it look like there was a large salad bowl on top of 1200 tons of granite. There is also a set of doors, wonderfully wrought with stylized images of the conquest of the air.   There is no information anywhere to suggest what might be inside this vault, leading one to all sorts of dreadful speculation about what horrors it could hold, and wondering if the bowl on top were to be filled with the blood of human sacrifices, would some creeping eldritch terror from the dawn of flight come flapping out of the vault below to consume all the Piper Cubs in the world?

On December 17, 1903, Wilbur flew for 59 seconds.  His girlfriend back in Dayton, on hearing the news, was heard to remark: “59 seconds? Sounds about right.”  But the memorial does make you think about a world where flight was impossible in one decade and routine the next.  In 1903, the trip from Kitty Hawk to Dayton took 7 days.  This can now be made in less than 11 hours by car, and flown in several hours less than that.  There was a small piece of the Kitty Hawk plane that went up to the moon and back with Neil Armstrong.  As a nation – heck, as a species - we went from the standing on the ground wondering how the hell birds did that, to the surface of the Moon, in just 66 years. That is more technological advancement in the space of a human life than there was in any other two thirds of any century, ever.

SOBUMD at the top of Hatteras

SOBUMD at the top of Hatteras

I’ve decided the Outer Banks is a magnet for engineers.  Proving this, our next stop was the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.  I took a quick picture of SOBUMD at the top of it, and she remarked that it had been 17 years since I’d taken her picture there.  I told her that I’d never taken her picture there.  It took her a minute to remember that the lighthouse had been picked up and moved 2900 feet west in 1999.   I mean, sure, it was going to be eaten by the ocean, but that’s a fate that pretty much all of us are going to share eventually.  Who the hell just picks up and moves one and a quarter million bricks, stacked 187 feet high?  We do.  We’re crazy like that.   Since it’s mostly decorative in today’s age of GPS and lighthouse apps on the iPhone, you would think as long as they were moving it they could have made the damn thing a little shorter, or put in a lift while they were at it.  All this engineering magic and I still have to haul my ass up 257 stairs?  Sheesh.

We got back down again and headed for the hotel, and some rest.  By rest, I mean that 257 stairs notwithstanding, the HTR and I still took our pet kite (Joe) for a walk on the beach – if you can’t fly a kite at Kitty Hawk, you can’t fly a kite at all.  Joe the kite went up easy, and I tied him to my belt.  If you think having a kite 200 feet in the air tied to your belt would look odd, you’re pretty much right – it looks just as odd as you think it does.   We returned in time for – you guessed it – more walking, this time to the Red Drum Taphouse for dinner.

Here’s a neat thing about walking to a restaurant for dinner – if you get there and the wait is 40 minutes, you’re still going to stay and wait, because you’re not walking back.  With the magic of the hat, and a few well placed “wow, these kids are troopers to have walked here” comments, a 40 minute wait suddenly became 10 minutes, for which I am eternally grateful.  In addition to good food, the waitress at the Red Drum also had a sense of humor about the name of the place – you can’t tell me people don’t pronounce it “Redrum!” all the time.  I understand the head chef is a guy named Dick Hallorann. Walking back to the hotel proved worth the effort, as the last of the Perseids fired a few shooting stars overhead, and we made one last stop on the beach to watch them before bed.

Obligatory Sunrise Picture

Obligatory Sunrise Picture

The following morning rose with the dawn, and the HTR and I took Joe the Kite’s sister Betty the Kite to the beach, early.  If you can’t fly a kite on the Kitty Hawk beach, it could be the lack of wind, but we decided that Betty the kite is afraid of heights.  After a few dips and dives, first by the kite and then by us, we headed back to check out and find some Duck Donuts, which are every bit as good as you think they are.  The lemon icing is particularly amazing, and the coffee’s worth the wait by itself.

A Very Pink Horse

A Very Pink Horse

We made a few stops along the way out, first to pose the RQoP next to a horse even more pink than she is, with wings, of course, because what’s the point of a horse that can’t fly on Kitty Hawk, and then on to Kitty Hawk Kites, to find a new kite who might serve as a therapist for the clearly neurotic Betty.

It began to rain as we left, proving that even the weather was sad to see us leaving.  SOBUMD got her final island wish granted as we headed west over the Wright Memorial Bridge to the mainland, as a large pod of dolphins broke the water to frolic and wave farewell to us, with a flashes of fins and something that sounded suspiciously like, “So long, and thanks…”

If the island was weeping for our leaving, it could only have been weeping like the Radish weeps for my tasty beer at the Weeping Radish.  I’m not much for lagers, but the Black Radish is one of the best.   The best part of that stop was that I was the only one to eat the sauerkraut, unlike the last time we were there, 14 years ago, when we fed it to the baby, who loved it.  Driving home 2 hours later, we had the windows down and tears in our eyes, and we didn’t love it quite so much.

But all good things come to an end, and thus our trip started as it began, later in the day but with the mighty tires still turning the earth beneath us, bending the planet around to where we wanted it to be.  It is interesting to me that two of the best known tire brands are called Bridgestone and Firestone.  What’s with that whole “stone” thing?  We haven’t made tires out of stone in thousands of years, or at least since the invention of the bumper sticker.   Despite bumper stickers being the main source of idea sharing in America these days, there were only two notable bumper stickers from the road trip home:  One that said “If you’re going to ride my ass, at least pull my hair,” and another that boasted “This car is running on clean, renewable bacon.”  Now THAT’s engineering!

And so today, as SOBUMD and I celebrate 21 years of church-sanctioned Hey Hey, I bid you, gentle reader, Hello Again.  Inspired by the Wright brothers, I’ll try to keep this thing off the ground a little more this year.

 



Yep, looks like another post from the Big, Ugly Man Doll!

Pumpkinhead

Originally published at Big Ugly Man Doll. You can comment here or there.

Friday is once again answer time at the ManFAQ.  And so I don my manly mantle as Sage of the Sexes, helping demystify the more malodorous gender for those of the gentler, as we add to the list of questions women have asked about men over the years.  Actual questions, posed by real women, and answered by a REAL man.  Like the man said, ”What could go wrong?”


Question:  Dear Big Ugly Man Doll, at what point should I request/insist my spouse address the 14 hairs sprouting on my 14-year-old son’s chin? –when the black one on his cheek passes one inch long? –when the chin hairs could, theoretically, be braided? I have mentioned it enough times that my Cool Mom status is in serious jeopardy. Shouldn’t someone who actually shaves (his neck, quarterly) have to deal with this?

-Sincerely, Hairy-legged Mom of Boys

Answer:  Dear Hairy,  Let me say first that you are wise and wonderful to approach this with some delicacy, or at least to make it your spouse’s problem.   They say you never forget your first girl, and I assure you as a former 14-yr-old boy, you never forget your first shave, either.  Mind you, I was 13.  My mother looked at me from across the room, rolled her eyes, and told me to go wash my face.  I returned a moment later, and she said “I thought I told you to go wash your face!”  “I did,” I protested.  “Come here.”  She realized that mere soap wasn’t going remove the incipient mustache that was darkening my lip, and immediately called for my father. 

So I have to side with you on this one – someone familiar with the razorly arts should sit him down in front of the mirror, bust out the whipped cream, and show him how much fun it is to scrape a phenomenally sharp blade across your features until you bleed.  Even for women who shave their legs, it’s just not the same thing.  (Women who regularly shave their faces don’t tend to have this particular problem in the first place.) 

But the question of when – when he’s ready.  (After all, if you’ve mentioned it to him, he’ll get to it.  No need to nag him about it every six months.)   No, OK, not really.  You’re going to need leverage.  Your best bet is to explain to the 14-yr-old that Fu Manchu never got girls, and that his own best chances of getting girls someday – some far disant day 4 years from now, perhaps, but still – is to chafe those cheeks and trim the scraggle-chin.  When he brings up ZZ Top – and we all bring up ZZ Top - tell him that when it comes in like theirs, he can grow it out like theirs – but until then, Gillette is still the best a man can get. 

Good luck!

 


 

Now you know.  Please, feel free to comment!  Also, forward any questions you’d like answered to BUMD – at – biguglymandoll.com!  As always, your anonymity is guaranteed!

 

 



Yep, looks like another post from the Big, Ugly Man Doll!

ManFAQ Friday: Who’s the Asshole Now?

Pumpkinhead

Originally published at Big Ugly Man Doll. You can comment here or there.

Happy Solstice!  We’re taking advantage of the extra daylight today, on this longest day of the year, and making sure that Friday is once again answer time at the ManFAQ.  It’s been a while, for reasons good and bad, but we’ve been getting actual questions – sometimes from actual women – and the start of a new season is reason enough to start answering them.   Mind you, we can’t answer questions we don’t get – send yours today! 

Today we turn to a question from my own father, FOBUMD, who, despite not being a women, posed a pretty good question.  Thus inspired, I don my manly mantle as Sage of the Sexes, helping demystify the more malodorous gender for those of the gentler, as we add to the list of questions women have asked about men over the years.  Actual questions, posed by real women (and sometimes my dad), and answered by a REAL man.  Like Dad used to say, ”What could go wrong?”


Question:  The instructions on your MANFAQ tab clearly indicate that this section of your blog is dedicated to answering questions from women.  I’m not one!  In fact BUMD, it’s FOBUMD here and I have an English grammar question related to gender.

Being nearly 70 years old and having grown up on the streets of Chicago, then spending 26 years in the military including 12 months in Vietnam, I believe I’ve heard every curse word in the book.  I’ve heard them used in almost every conceivable way, correctly and incorrectly I might add.  In fact, I’ve probably used every curse word in the book and could give lessons on their proper use.  That’s why it surprises me that I have never before pondered the question that struck me several days ago.  I’m wondering if the word “asshole” is male specific.  Now I’m not talking about sphincter muscles here.  Both sexes surely have those.  I’m asking about using the A-hole word pejoratively to describe a person that… that… that… well, you know, “is an asshole.”

I guess I started to ponder that because it dawned on me that I’ve never used that term for a woman, only for men.   Now, I might have shot that term out there a few times to other drivers, not knowing the driver’s gender.  That’s different, of course.  So, you being both the English major and the ManFAQ person, I was hoping you could shed some light on this topic, unless this is where the sun don’t shine.

Answer:  In keeping with the serious and erudite nature of this blog, and particularly the ManFAQ, we will constrain our reply to refrain from gratuitous, puerile, prurient profanity and turn to that mighty (and somewhat phallic) pillar of erudition, History.  We shall start with History’s Arse. 

As one of those great four-letter monosyllabic words for which English has become so famous, arse has been with us since way back in the day.  As with many other words for the buttocks, tail, rump, or base of the spine, it came from the Proto-Germanic, and has cognates in Old Saxon, Old High German, Old Norse, Middle Dutch, Greek, Hittite, Armenian, and Old Irish – and of course in modern German, Arsch.  (“Wenn’s Arscherl brummt, ist’s Herzerl g’sund!”)  Near the start of the 1400s, someone stuck a hole on the end of it:  arsehole!  At the time this was pronounced arce-hoole, presumably at the top of ones lungs while shouting at someone who’s donkey had just cut in front of yours on the way to the market.  It wasn’t until the early 1700s that we lost the “r” before the “s” – as we did with many other words (burst/bust, curse/cuss, barse/bass, and, in Texas, horse/hoss) – and our old arse became our ass.

Now, in addition to losing its Rs (thank you, thank you very much), English has long since lost most of the genders on its nouns, so for clarity we’ll look to a language that hasn’t suffered this loss.  Specifically we shall turn our gaze on the German asshole, which, like all good German nouns, has a gender.  Or does it?  It turns out that das Arscherl is, in fact, neutral – presumably since, as noted in your question, everybody has one. 

The donkey, on the other hand, der Esel, is masculine, as it was in Latin – asinus, from which all our asses are descended.  (Also, note that unlike assholes, not everyone has a donkey.)  Since English has been politely interposing “donkey” for ass since Shakespeare transmogrified Nick Bottom in 1594′s Midsummer Night’s Dream, it is not surprising that we would subconsciously bring over the sense of masculinity from the donkey. 
 
The other reason that we tend not to use asshole when specifically referring to a woman may have to do with the plethera of richer choices of epithets that are usually specific to the feminine gender, which I will here gleefully enumerate for the sake of my ratings on internet search engines inner George Carlin: bitch, slut, whore, Ann Coulter…  Well, you get the idea.  Suffice it to say that the list tends to be  longer for women than it is for men.  Interestingly, in researching this, I ran across a note that the term “douchebag” tends to be more often directed at men, despite its obvious association with women. 

Looking briefly at pop culture, Hustler magazine has a regular column featuring people they don’t like, called the “Asshole of the month.”  For the record, they’ve included women in that list over the years, so certainly Hustler believes that there’s nothing semantically incorrect with calling a woman an asshole. 

Mind you, they might simply not care, either, and I hesitate to put words in their mouth lest I make the list.  Not that it wouldn’t be a great honor to be Hustler’s Asshole of the Month.

A brief review of the vast literature on the topic shows that you are far from the only asshole to ponder this, and that most people concur that the sense of asshole is masculine – saying something like “Jane’s an asshole” comes out sounding wrong to most ears.  At the same time, the concurrence is that intellectually, it should be gender neutral – it’s just seldom used so.   As to why, I think we’re left with our residual sense of old Asinus the Donkey taking the masculine form, and transposing that gender onto its cognate, ass, within the asshole in question. 

But I could just be an asshole here.

 


 

Now you know.  Please, feel free to comment!  Also, forward any questions you’d like answered to BUMD – at – biguglymandoll.com!  As always, your anonymity is guaranteed!

 

 

 

 



Yep, looks like another post from the Big, Ugly Man Doll!

A Happy Teenaged Birthday

Pumpkinhead

Originally published at Big Ugly Man Doll. You can comment here or there.

It’s June again, and that means birthdays at the BUMD house – there are more than 5 of them!  As usual, around the start of summer, Number One Son has one of them – and today, he is a teenager.  Today, he is 13.  Honestly, I think he’s as surprised as the rest of us.  Following the infamous episode of Screw the Song, we’ve learned to just press on and go straight for the cake – or in this case, cupcakes! 

So Happy Birthday, Big Man – you made it another year!



Yep, looks like another post from the Big, Ugly Man Doll!

Do you know what today is? You should.

Pumpkinhead

Originally published at Big Ugly Man Doll. You can comment here or there.

Hi, yeah, I know, it’s been a while.  Things are busy, and the usual flow of humor seems to be constipated – an uncomfortable blockage if ever there was one.  We’ll try to get back here a little more often in the coming weeks.  

In any event, that’s not a reason to miss a decent shout out for Convoy Day – I posted this once before, but hey – that was 5 years ago.  It’s worth repeating, fer sure fer sure!

 

————————————————————————————-
Uh, breaker one-nine. This here’s the Rubber Duck
You gotta copy on me Pig-Pen, c’mon? 

Uh, yeah 10-4 Pig-Pen, fer sure, fer sure
By golly it’s clean clear to Flag-town, c’mon? 

Yeah, that’s a big 10-4 there Pig-Pen, yeah
we definitely got the front door good buddy,
Mercy sakes alive, looks like we got us a convoy. 

Was the dark of the moon on the sixth of June
In a Kenworth pullin’ logs
Cabover Pete with a reefer on
An’ a Jimmy haulin’ hogs 

We’s headin’ fer bear on I-one-oh
‘Bout a mile out a’ Shaky-town
I sez Pig-Pen, this here’s th’ Rubber Duck
An’ I’m about to put the hammer down 

Cause we got a little ol’ convoy, rockin’ through the night
Yeah, we got a little ol’ convoy, ain’t she a beautiful sight?
Come on an’ join our convoy, ain’t nothin’ gonna git in our way
We gonna roll this truckin’ convoy acress the U.S.A.
Convoy, convoy… 

Uh, breaker Pig-Pen, this here’s th’ Duck
an’ a-you wanna back off with them hogs? 

10-4, ’bout five mile or so, 10 roger
Them hogs is gittin’ in-tense up here. 

By the time we got into Tulsa town
We had eighty-five trucks in all
But they’s a road-block up on the clover-leaf
An’ them bears was wall to wall 

Yeah, them smokies as thick as bugs on a bumper
They even had a bear in the air
I sez, callin’ all trucks, this here’s the Duck
We about to go a-huntin’ bear 

Cause we got a great big convoy, rockin’ through the night
Yeah, we got a great big convoy, ain’t she a beautiful sight?
Come on an’ join our convoy, ain’t nothin’ gonna get in our way
We gonna roll this truckin’ convoy across the U.S.A.
Convoy, convoy… 

Uh, you wanna gimme a 10-9 on that Pig-Pen?
Uh, nega-tory Pig-Pen, yer still too close
Yeah, them hogs is startin’ to close up my sinuses
Mercy sakes you better back off another ten 

Well we rolled up Interstate forty-four
Like a rocket sled on rails
We tore up alla our swindle sheets
And left ‘em settin’ on the scales 

By the time we hit that Chi-town
Them bears was-a-gittin’ smart
They’d brought up some reinforcements
From the Illinois National Guard 

There was armored cars and tanks and jeeps
‘An rigs of every size
Yeah, them chicken coops was full o’ bears
And choppers filled the skies 

Well we shot the line and we went for broke
With a thousand screamin’ trucks
And eleven long-haired Friends O’ Jesus
In a chartreuse micro-bus 

Uh, Rubber Duck to Sod Buster
Come on there, yeah, 10-4 Sod Buster
Listen, you wanna put that micro-bus in
behind that suicide jockey?
Yeah, he’s haulin’ dynamite and he
needs all the help he can get 

Well we laid a strip for the Jersey shore
And prepared to cross the line
I could see the bridge was lined with bears
But I didn’t have a doggone dime 

I sez Pig-Pen, this here’s the Rubber Duck
We just ain’ta gonna pay no toll
So we crashed the gate doin’ ninety-eight
I sez let them truckers roll, 10-4 

Cause we got a mighty convoy, rockin’ through the night
Yeah, we got mighty convoy, ain’t she a beautiful sight?
Come on an’ join our convoy, ain’t nothin’ gonna git in our way
We gonna roll this truckin’ convoy across the U.S.A.
Convoy, convoy… 

Uh, 10-4 Pig-Pen, what’s yer 20? …Omaha?
Well they ought know that to do
with them hogs out there fer sure
Well, mercy sakes, good buddy, we gonna back on out a here
so keep the bugs off your glass
and the bears off your…tail
and we’ll catch you on the flip-flop
This here’s the Rubber Duck on the side…we gone..bye, bye…

 



Yep, looks like another post from the Big, Ugly Man Doll!

Driving for Fifty

Pumpkinhead

Originally published at Big Ugly Man Doll. You can comment here or there.

Fifty years ago this past Saturday, SOBUMD’s parents got married.  Fifty years later, the fact of this event on this date remained sufficient to propel us out the door and into the car, facing the open road again - facing our destinies, our destinations, our debts, and our dreams.  After the last few months, it required Jimmy Buffet at an unreasonable volume to help us reach escape velocity, rocketing us out of the existential horror of our suburban Margaritaville and onto the open road, but we did it. 

It was a good weekend for gambling. The powerball was at 600 gazillion bucks, and the Preakness was running that night.  For our part, we were betting that we could get three lunatic children and a lot of beer up I-95 to PA in time for the anniversary party at 3pm.  The highway traffic was betting against us, and I didn’t like our odds.

Of course, on a larger scale, SOBUMD and I were betting that we will someday have kids setting up a 50th anniversary party for us.  Higher stakes are there none, but I like our odds.

Jimmy Buffet and the soundtrack to the Broadway musical “In the Heights” got us in range of the only decent radio station left on the East Coast, Philly’s WMMR.  Thanks to MMR, the Gin Blossoms, the Ramones, Led Zeppelin, and a host of others rocked us through the overcast miles, past bathroom breaks, past pit stops and snacks, past road signs and portents, and past a police-escorted motorcycle processional that blocked I-95 northbound for 25 miles or more.  By the time we lost MMR, we were within hailing distance of our goal, by which I mean a few well placed Billy Joel songs saw us pulling in just in time for lunch.

Lunch was preceded by hugs and Christmas.  As this was our first road trip in quite some time, there were Christmas presents that had been sitting under the metaphorical tree for so long, they’d had to be dusted.  I remain grateful and thankful for my big present, which turned out to be a case of exceptional beer, from the Breckenridge Brewing Company, called 417.  It’s a double IPA, bottled on the lees, and it’s truly great beer. 

But where was I?  Oh yes, heading over to the party down the street at SOBUMD’s sister’s house.  We brought in the beer (though not my Christmas present beer – it was not cold, which mercifully saved me from considering bringing it for the party), a few errant bottles of wine, and the revelers.  Revelling was again preceded with hugs, the aforementioned beer was quaffed, and the revelry commenced forthwith.  All the kids were there, and all the grandkids, and the bride and groom’s best man and his wife, and the groom’s sister, niece, and a friend they’d brought with them.

Immediately on the commencation of revelry, I spotted that friend – the one and only Dandelion Deb.  Alert readers will remember Deb from a post many moons ago; I was delighted to have her make a repeat appearance. The party and the social requirements kept us from picking dandelions, abut there might have been a dandelion or two rolled into the cigars we smoked on the deck.  And when I say we, I mean her, with the Human Tape Recorder and I merely enjoying the aroma. 

Such delights cannot last forever, of course, and the revelry soon devolved into more base pursuits, centered on the words “There’s a full sized ping pong table in the basement!”  Uncle Jeff and I battled valiantly, then acquitted ourselves admirably against the 13-and-under crowd.  All too soon, it was time to toast, time to tell tales, and time to head home. 

The Sunday dawned with a minimum of fuss, fond farewells were exchanged, pictures were taken, and cars were loaded. 

I’ve written before about the hell that is the PA Turnpike, but I’ll repeat it – there is no nastier stretch of road to be stopped on that the PA Turnpike.  Luckily, we had the radio on and Tom Petty wouldn’t back down.  (Every time I hear that, I flash back to a few days after Sept 11, when a group of musicians and celebs put together a fundraiser concert to raise money for the victims.  Paul McCartney wrote a new song for the occasion, which was pure money.  Tom Petty realized he’d written one already, and sang “Won’t Back Down.”  Priceless.)

Eventually, we got off the Turnpike and made it to I-95, with an eye toward Baltimore, because it was time for a pit stop. In this case, a very literal pit stop. 

Chaps Pit Beef is coal fired.  Chaps Pit Beef has been written up on many sites and foodie shows.  Chaps Pit Beef is as good as they say it is.  Is it in a nice part of Baltimore?  No.  There were two billboards next to it.  The near one explained the schedule for the Gentleman’s Club next door.  (“Daddy, what’s a lap dance?”)  I was just glad she didn’t ask about Swinger Saturdays.  The other billboard advertised Tyrese Orr, who’s wanted for murder.  They even had his picture.  He looks like such a nice guy – I’m sure he couldn’t have done it.  Except a quick search turns up that they evidently want him in Chicago as well; I don’t know if the Chicago cops think he’s in Baltimore, or he’s just on an interstate inner city murder spree.  Regardless of the local sights and sounds, Chaps Pit Beef was everything everyone has said about it – worth the stop, if you’re ever up near Baltimore with your appetite. 

Our need for good road food thus satiated, we wound and wended our way the rest of the way home.  In doing so, we passed an old brick trestle bridge, that with the aid of the amazing iThingy I was able to find out about.  It crosses the Patapsco River in Elkridge, and is part of a State Park.   http://www.dnr.state.md.us/publiclands/central/patapscoavalon.asp  http://www.patapscoheritagegreenway.org/history/HistPersp.html Barring anything else, it’s probably a great place to hide if you’re wanted for murder in more than one state. 

Home at last, we stretched our legs and checked our bets.  Oxbow won the Preakness, dashing the chances of a triple crown winner again this year; the winning Powerball ticket was sold in Florida, dashing my chances of immediate and wholly unnecessary wealth; and SOBUMD and I were on our way to our 50th, coming up in what is really not all that many years.   Until next time, we will continue to dream of the open road, and wish you fair skies and following winds.  Bet on it!

 

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Oh Really?

Pumpkinhead

Originally published at Big Ugly Man Doll. You can comment here or there.

Yeah, I know, I’m late on the ManFAQ.  It’s been busy around here, and I’m running out of questions anyway.  In the mean time, I thought most of you would appreciate this exchange.  

Merchant’s Tire and Auto of Springfield called me a few minutes ago about my car.  It’s happy fix the damn cars day here at the BUMD house, and in addition to the internal work the Blackfish needed, three different organizations had told me I need new tires, badly.  So, since they’re cheap when it comes to tires and within reasonable walking distance, Merchant’s Tire and Auto of Springfield is putting new tires on for me.  The phone rings:

BUMD:  Hello!
MT&A:  Hi, we’ve looked at your 2006 Outback, and it looks like you need some work.  The front left wheel bushing is cracked, and if that breaks your wheel could actually come loose while you’re driving.
BUMD:  Really?  Oh wow.
MT&A:  Yeah, your car looks like it’s never had a tune up.  Your spark plugs are rusting out, and you may want to replace some of the hoses.
BUMD:  Do you know, I’m REALLY surprised to hear that.  I mean, I picked it up from the Sheehy Subaru dealership in Springfield just this morning, after they did a 60,000 mile tune up on it, and you’d think they’d have noticed those things.  I drove it straight from there to your place for the tires.  I really don’t know much about cars, though – could those plugs have rusted out during that 6 mile drive? 
MT&A:  Oh, hold on – am I confusing your car with the other one?  I’m sorry, I’ve got two Subarus side by side in the docks, just one second while I double check that.
BUMD:  OK.
[Queue brief musical interlude]
MT&A:  Yeah, I totally had you mixed up with the other car.  Your car’s fine!  Sorry about that!
BUMD:  So, you’ll just be putting those tires on, then? 
MT&A:  Yeah, we’re going to put the tires on. 
BUMD:  Right then.

I can just see how someone could mix up two cars like that.  I’m $ure it happens all the time. 

 

 

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Great Answer

Pumpkinhead

Originally published at Big Ugly Man Doll. You can comment here or there.

So there we were, me and the Human Tape Recorder on a Saturday morning attending her first guitar lesson.  These are free lessons from the local Guitar Center store, which they provide as an inducement to buy something a public service.  She brought the guitar she got for Christmas and, never being one to be left out, I grabbed one off the wall of the store and figured I’d learn a little myself. 

Since everything I know about guitars would fit inside a box to hold your guitar pick, with room left over, I grabbed the cheapest one I could find, in case I broke it.  I was amused to see the instructor walk in a grab one off the wall as well – with a $1900+ price tag.  It’s nice to know what you’re doing.  (Seeing that, I would have traded up a few hundred bucks, but I figured I wouldn’t fret about it.)

There were about 6 of us there for these lessons, and the old grizzled dude next to the HTR turned to her and complimented her guitar – which is very pretty, in addition to sounding great.  She mentioned it having been a Christmas gift, and he asked her if that was the one she’d picked out, had fallen in love with, etc, etc.  She gave him a little bit of a shy smile, and said, “All I asked for was a beat-up six-string…”

She can’t play it yet, but she’s no foreigner to great music!

 



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Happy Day!

Pumpkinhead

Originally published at Big Ugly Man Doll. You can comment here or there.

Do you know, in many parts of the world, when someone comes back from the dead, the community bands together and rolls up its sleeves to put a stake through their heart.  This is to prevent the spread of evil.

In other parts of the world, someone comes back from the dead and the community gathers to celebrate by pretending that rabbits lay eggs, in unlikely colors and in equally unlikely places, and then employing child labor to find these eggs, paying these children in chocolate.  This is also to prevent the spread of evil.

As Google would have us note, Cesar Chavez would have been 86 years old today.  If he comes back from the dead, I’m sure we’ll celebrate by boycotting grapes and paying children a living wage, but probably still in chocolate. 

Happy Day!



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ManFAQ Friday: BVD TMI?

Pumpkinhead

Originally published at Big Ugly Man Doll. You can comment here or there.

Friday is once again answer time at the ManFAQ, and we will dedicate today’s ManFAQ to the manliest of men, Richard Griffiths, who died yesterday.  As a pompous, manly, and strong head of household, he was second only to Archie Bunker in his role as Harry Potter’s Uncle Vernon Dursley.  And so, as an actor’s actor and a man’s man, today it is in the memory of Uncle Vernon that I don my manly mantle as Sage of the Sexes, helping demystify the more malodorous gender for those of the gentler, as we add to the list of questions women have asked about men over the years.  Actual questions, posed by real women, and answered by a REAL man.  As Uncle Vernon would have said, ”What could go wrong, boy?”


Question:  Do you really use the front flap of your tighty whities?   

Answer:  It depends.  There are those of us who never use the “frontal access device” to access our devices, simply because we tend to forget it’s there.  (The access, not the device.  We’re usually pretty aware of the device.)  Some of us do not like the sensation of thrusting the device through multiple layers of cloth – it’s turning left!  No, it’s turning right!  No, wait!  Imagine a double-gated bra and you’ll see what I mean.   Mind you, some of us will thrust that thing anywhere, and see this as less of a big deal.

Some of us tend to use the “frontal access device” when we need to be hands-free – sometimes, in this busy day and age, we’re otherwise occupied and need both hands to make sure we don’t drop the phone in the pool, if you know what I mean.  If I’ve got one hand holding down the shorts for Mr. Shorty to take his brief walk, and we can assume the other hand is against the wall holding myself up due to the near permanent state of exhaustion I’m in, then which hand is going to return your txt message or answer the phone when it rings?  Many’s the poor bastard who’s forgotten what he was doing and moved that hand away at the wrong time, causing the elastic to contract and firing the old hose straight up – no, sometimes it’s better to open those gates and let gravity do its work. 

Most guys also take this approach if there’s any chance you’ll walk in on them.  Usually, you’d be behind them, and this *might* give you the impression that they’re going commando today – which in turn might lead to thoughts of Hey Hey, since it’s already out of its cage…   You know where I’m going with this, right?  It never works, but we still think it. 

 


 

Now you know.  Please, feel free to comment!  Also, forward any questions you’d like answered to BUMD – at – biguglymandoll.com!  As always, your anonymity is guaranteed!

 

 

 

 



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ManFAQ Friday: Pope Shmope

Pumpkinhead

Originally published at Big Ugly Man Doll. You can comment here or there.

I know, Friday’s answer time at the ManFAQ, and I missed it.  I was busy doing manly things, honest.  Anyway, once again I don my manly mantle as Sage of the Sexes, helping demystify the more malodorous gender for those of the gentler, as we add to the list of questions women have asked about men over the years.  Actual questions, posed by real women, and answered by a REAL man.  Like the man said, “What could go wrong?”


Question:  Why is the Pope always a guy?  Don’t you think they’d have figured out by now that a woman would do a better job?  

Answer:  Issues with the Catholic Church letting women be priests aside, since we know the “strict” answer to the question, let me tell you this.  The Pope is supposed to be the voice of God on earth, the vicar of Christ Almighty, and the right hand man of the lord.  He’s the one with the hotline to heaven, with his finger on the ineffable pulse and the Holy Spirit on speeddial.  He’s the only subscriber to the Almighty Twitter feed, with the angels, all the saints, and the heavenly hosts on his Facebook friends list.

The Pope is a guy because the church doesn’t trust a women not to let slip to the boss how badly we’ve screwed up.  They keep electing men to the position because they’re confidant that a dude will keep “kind of forgetting” to bring up the whole bit about clergy abuse, or the fact that they haven’t let women be priests for 2000 years, or all that Inquisition business, when the boss checks in every week.  We’ve got Papal monthly reports that go back more than 1500 years, and they’re all pretty much, ”Yep, doing OK here, let me know if you need help with anything up there.”

A women would change things too much for their liking.

 


 

Now you know.  Please, feel free to comment!  Also, forward any questions you’d like answered to BUMD – at – biguglymandoll.com!  As always, your anonymity is guaranteed!

 

 

 

 

 



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Electric Elephants and Other Bad Ideas

Pumpkinhead

Originally published at Big Ugly Man Doll. You can comment here or there.

So there I was on a Saturday morning before the Mall opened, at the Mall.  As  usual, don’t ask.

Is there any place more soul destroying than a decrepit old mall?  If there is, it’s that mall before the doors open and the lights come on. As I walk past the run-down furniture store – and yes, they sell run-down furniture - the lights go up on the jewelry across the way, the furniture, the early morning dance studios.  The music starts slowly and the salespeople come to life like plastic automatons of some bygone horror film, the circuit is closed and the rusty sales force creaks to life, again.  This ancient mall is a palimpsest of stories, the hopes and dreams of sales and vendors and con men, written and crushed out and rewritten until the walls themselves can tell the stories, money, money, sell, sell, fail, fail, fail. We should accessorize our thirst, dance, relax, the walls tell us, beaconing us in, come in, buy something.

There are two massage parlors, open early, for the discriminating shopper to get their freak on in the early morning before the roving bands of stroller-toting exercise moms take over the halls.  There is a “D&D Security Training Academy,” which doesn’t seem to feature anywhere near as many swords or dice as you would guess.

They have anchor stores. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the purpose of an anchor to drag along the bottom and impede progress?  Right.  They have two of these.  I think this explains a lot, really.

There’s a store called Columbia Linens.  Columbia is the poetic name used for the female personification of the United States – there are 35 places in the US with Columbia in their names, along with at least 5 songs, a university, and the odd space electric-elephantsshuttle.  Linen, a textile made from flax, is valued for its marvelous coolness in hot weather.  In this store, Columbia Linens,  therefore, we should expect to find flax-based cloths that are either made in the US or printed with themes that might have something to do with the Americas.  Right?  No, of course not.  They don’t carry anything to do with the US, nor do they, in fact, sell linens.  Mostly they sell furniture of the Late Shitty period, and a lot of Far East knickknacks.  They do, however, have a display of Van de Graaff elephants, in front of a framed needlepoint rendition of Da Vinci’s Last Supper.

I mean, fucking electric elephants.  I’m sure someone asked their boss, “Hey, where the hell do I put this thing?” and got an answer of, “Um, put them in front of, Christ, I don’t know.”  Where else would you put them?

There’s a store called New York Fashion.  Here’s a pic.New York Fashion!

Now, I’ve been to New York City, and I don’t remember seeing anyone wearing this.  Maybe I didn’t get to the right part of New York.  I tend to think of this as Los Vegas Fashion, but what do I know?

I love the serial entrepreneurs as well. There’s a place called Eyebrow Designer 21. Me, I would probably have given up on this idea after the failure of Eyebrow Designer 8 or 9, but this guy perseveres. Good for him.

So, the mall.  In the end I outwaited them and accomplished what I came for, and possibly more than that.  After all, I now know where to pick up a steady supply of Van de Graaff elephants, which I can sell for a stiff mark up while wearing my New York Fashion go-go shorts.  What more could a guy ask for?

 

 



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ManFAQ Friday: Houseman Blues

Pumpkinhead

Originally published at Big Ugly Man Doll. You can comment here or there.

Here we are on the Ides of March, and it’s answer time at the ManFAQ.  Once again I don my manly mantle as Sage of the Sexes, helping demystify the more malodorous gender for those of the gentler, as we add to the list of questions women have asked about men over the years.  Actual questions, posed by real women, and answered by a REAL man.

Like Caesar said, “What could go wrong?”


Question:  Why does the maintenance guy assume you do the maintenance around the house?  ”You might want to tell your husband to put the date on the new filters.”  My husband wouldn’t know what the HVAC filter looked like if I broke it over his head – why is it automatically assumed that he changes it

Answer:  As much as I want to say, “Oh, no, he did NOT?” and do the whole neckrole thing like my friend Angie taught me, I can’t - not just because I’m whiter than chalk, but because it wouldn’t be credible.  Of course the maintenance dude assumes the man around the house is doing the dirty, manly jobs that require strength and technical know how.  After all, he’s there doing those things, and he’s a man.  He just doesn’t realize that you’re the one holding the remote in your relationship, or that the track lighting wasn’t your idea.

Is there any end to these bitter questions of gender stereotyping?  I sure hope not, or the ManFAQ would be out of a job.  But in the meantime, let’s examine the motives of the maintenance dude.  He’s there with you.  We’ll assume you have a pulse, so it’s a safe bet that he’s already thought about what you’d be like in bed.  In assuming out loud that it’s your husband who would be changing the air filters, he’s obliquely asked you if you have a husband.

Not to assume too much creepiness on the part of our probably innocent maintenance dude, but your safest answer is, “Oh, you can probably tell him yourself, he should be home any minute.”  Another good answer might be, “I would, but I shot the son of a bitch last year, and serve him right, too.”  I’m just saying, is all.

But it’s true, regardless of intent, most guys assume it’s the guy who’ll be servicing the equipment.  If you know what I mean.  He probably means it as a compliment – he can’t imagine you demeaning yourself to do something so base and low like changing that filter.  You’re a domestic goddess in his eyes, charged only with writing his check and fueling his equipment-servicing fantasies later that evening.

 


 

Now you know.  Please, feel free to comment!  Also, forward any questions you’d like answered to BUMD – at – biguglymandoll.com!  As always, your anonymity is guaranteed!

 

 

 

 

 



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ManFAQ Friday: Wedding Plan Blues

Pumpkinhead

Originally published at Big Ugly Man Doll. You can comment here or there.

Here we are, another Friday, and it’s answer time at the ManFAQ.  Once again I don my manly mantle as Sage of the Sexes, helping demystify the more malodorous gender for those of the gentler, as we add to the list of questions women have asked about men over the years.  Actual questions, posed by real women, and answered by a REAL man.

What could go wrong?


Question:  Why don’t more men seem to want to be active partners in planning the wedding

Answer:   While I am the last person to use gross gender stereotypes, or if not absolutely the last, I did it as recently as this morning when an Asian lady cut me off in traffic, I think we can safely assume that most little boys don’t grow up thinking about wedding dresses and veils and trains.  There are exceptions, certainly, but it’s equally certainly that the little boys who did grow up thinking about wedding gowns and such aren’t marrying you, they’re marrying guys with similar interests.  (In fact, one of the funniest arguments in defense of gay marriage I’ve ever heard boiled down to ”Why shouldn’t gay men have to suffer through the damned weddings like the rest of us?”)  Besides, we’ve already established that most of us can’t plan worth a damn.  He can’t get a simple birthday bash together – why would you think he’d be any better with a wedding?

Most guys, if you’ve landed a decent one, will be happy to do what you tell him to get ready for the wedding.  Our society has trained him to believe that this is your special day – not his.  (He’s hoping to get through it, so you two can get to your special night, which he’s been looking forward to for a long time.)  But the color of the the bunting around the windows?  To invite your Great Aunt Tessie or not?  Floral or solids for the bridesmaid dresses?  He doesn’t really care, as long as you’re happy.  Since he’s pretty much genetically incapable of caring about many of those details, he’s going to shut up and wait for you to tell him what you want him to do.  Oh, sure, if you press him he’ll differentiate between the cream, the ecru, and the off-off-white dress fabrics, but if you think his heart’s not it in, you’re right.  From the moment he proposed to you – or you proposed to him - to the moment you wake up next to each other as a married couple and think “oh holy shit what did I just do,” fully half his waking hours are spent thinking about Mythical Epic Wedding Night Hey Hey.

He wonders if it’s different when you’re married.  He wonders if married guys really do have sex more often than single guys.  He wonders if it will still be epic if his tequilibido kicks in during the reception.  But mostly, he wonders what Mythical Epic Wedding Night Hey Hey will be like.

This is how many women wind up with really large engagement rings.  “I like that one!”  “Huh? What, uh, OK.”  He’s not paying attention.  Don’t worry, you’ll have his attention back on your wedding night.  His full attention!

 


Now you know.  Please, feel free to comment!  Also, forward any questions you’d like answered to BUMD – at – biguglymandoll.com!  As always, your anonymity is guaranteed!

 

 



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ManFAQ Friday: Tequilibido

Pumpkinhead

Originally published at Big Ugly Man Doll. You can comment here or there.

Here we are, another Friday, and it’s answer time at the ManFAQ.  Once again I don my manly mantle as Sage of the Sexes, helping demystify the more malodorous gender for those of the gentler, as we add to the list of questions women have asked about men over the years.  Actual questions, posed by real women, and answered by a REAL man.

What could go wrong?


Question:  Why does he always seem to think he wants a little Hey Hey after he’s been drinking?  He can’t actually do anything in that condition – why does he want to try

Answer:  Here I have to coin a new term for you.  Welcome to what we shall call a man’s tequilibido.

His tequilibido is usually a function of how much he’s had to drink, how long it’s been since he last had sex (if he’s over 25), and what he usually thinks his chances are with you.  (If he’s under 25, the question of how long it’s been since he last had sex is irrelevant if we’re working in time increments larger than “the last 15 minutes.”)  Like they say south of the border, “Tómame como al Tequila – de un golpe y sin pensarlo.”  And, really, that’s about his level of thought after what he’s had to drink – “Hey, I got all the way here, we should totally celebrate that!  With some good, life-affirming, baby-making sex!  Yeah!”  After all, he didn’t even get arrested on the way home, even though he probably should have been.  He’s thinking it’s his lucky night!

And he sounds sincere, doesn’t he?  He really wants to, and he’s probably got your clothes off.  Now he’s standing there, looking at you, and looking down, and wondering what the hell’s happened.  He’s perplexed.  Please, be gentle.  If he’s over 25, this is about to be a rude awakening for him – because that’s really not going to work.  Trust that it’s not you – you could be as hot as that girl you wished you looked like on the cover of last week’s magazine and those hydraulics still wouldn’t be working.  Maybe you are as hot as that girl on the cover of last week’s magazine.  It doesn’t matter.  The Tequila is telling his brain “yes, now, here, her” and it’s telling his little buddy, “dude, once he’s asleep, let’s shave him! HAhahahaha!”

He thinks it’s a great idea.  He firmly believes it.  And he’s going to do it again the next time, because he won’t remember tonight either.

 

 


Now you know.  Please, feel free to comment!  Also, forward any questions you’d like answered to BUMD – at – biguglymandoll.com!  As always, your anonymity is guaranteed!

 

 



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ManFAQ Friday: Don’t Cross the Streams!

Pumpkinhead

Originally published at Big Ugly Man Doll. You can comment here or there.

Here we are, another Friday, and it’s answer time at the ManFAQ.  Once again I don my manly mantle as Sage of the Sexes, helping demystify the more malodorous gender for those of the gentler, as we add to the list of questions women have asked about men over the years.  Actual questions, posed by real women, and answered by a REAL man.

What could go wrong?


Question:  My husband was complaining about the large conference area in his office; it seats around 100 people, but the men’s room only has a single urinal.  I asked him why you guys can’t double up on a urinal, and he looked at me like I’d suggested he kiss the other guy on the mouth.  What’s the big deal? 

Answer:  I’ll concede that we’re built in such a fashion that you would think this would be feasible.  But it isn’t. 

Many years ago, I read a brilliant essay concerning universal rules.  One of those rules concerned the men’s room, and the fact that you DON’T LOOK AT WHAT THE OTHER GUY IS DOING.  You mind, as it were, your own business.  You hope he’s doing the same thing you’re doing, but you don’t look over to check.  It’s just not done.

Even in restrooms that maximize what I will call urinary efficiency, which cover an entire wall with porcelain and add a few waterfalls here and there, we men will stand in reasonably close quarters to do what we need to do – but we do not cross the streams.  It’s not that all life as we know it would stop instantaneously or that every molecule in our body would explode at the speed of light, but still – it’s just not done.  Part of this is about ownership – men and dogs still mark their territory this way, and to actively cross the stream of another guy is to say, “that’s not yours, I deny your claim, this is mine now,” which is not usually a conversation you want to have with a stranger with your dick in your hand.  Most of us haven’t played “who’s is bigger” since that time in 2nd grade when the – you know what, never mind that.  It’s not done, is the point.

We’re not in stalls, waiting our turn.  When we’re standing up, we’re out there in public, hanging it out for the public eye.  There is – I’m told – some degree of insecurity there for some guys.  (I, of course, have the opposite issue, and wait my turn for privacy as a public service so as to make sure not to embarrass lesser men.)  So why do we not, would we not, can we not share a single urinal?  I’ve given you universal rules, social mores, and privacy concerns.  Let’s discuss the clincher.

You’ve probably, at one point or another, been around a bathroom that has been used by a standing man.  What did you do?  You cleaned it up, didn’t you?  We’ve covered this before here at the ManFAQ, but it bears repeating:  We have lousy aim.  Now, would YOU want to stand anywhere near the line of fire when Johnny over there opens up?  I just got these Ferragamos polished, baby – if he pees on them, I’m going to have to sweep the leg in retaliation.  It’s just not pretty.  So it’s just not done. 

 


Now you know.  Please, feel free to comment!  Also, forward any questions you’d like answered to BUMD – at – biguglymandoll.com!  As always, your anonymity is guaranteed!

 

 



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ManFAQ Friday: Spaced Out

Pumpkinhead

Originally published at Big Ugly Man Doll. You can comment here or there.

Here we are, another Friday, and it’s answer time at the ManFAQ.  Once again I don my manly mantle as Sage of the Sexes, helping demystify the more malodorous gender for those of the gentler, as we add to the list of questions women have asked about men over the years.  Actual questions, posed by real women, and answered by a REAL man.

What could go wrong?


Question:  Why do you all go crazy for these asteroids?  What’s the big deal? 

Answer:  Now look, just because NASA says that some rock the size of a football field isn’t going to hit the damn planet doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods, cosmically speaking.   Remember, these are the same yahoos who slammed a multi-million dollar piece of gear into Mars because they couldn’t remember to convert between metric and standard units.  This one seems to have missed us, sure, but the next one should have our complete attention as well.  If you think it’s not a big deal, talk to those folks in Russia who thought there was a nuke over their towns this afternoon.  (It’s somewhere between ironic and frightening that they all seemed pretty used to that idea, and no one panicked too badly.)

But it *could* have hit us, and you need to understand that most of us guys live in a constant cloud of exciting “what if” scenarios.  What if it hit the earth? What if it hit the moon, and it knocked the moon out of orbit and closer to the earth and caused huge Tsunamis all over the world?  What if I came home and she was naked?  What if I came home and she was Kate Upton, and she was naked?  There are always “what ifs” to worry about.

So we have, at the most dramatic, huge city-leveling explosions that could wipe out humanity (with the obvious exception of Keith Richards), and at a minimum we have what AC/DC could only describe as bouncing big balls, hurling themselves around up there at speeds we can only dream of.  It’s like watching god go bowling for satellites after knocking back a few divine pints, right?  What if He threw a cosmic spare?  What if the Russians were using the asteroid to divert attention from their new air-burst nuclear testing program?  What if she really is naked when I come home?

These are exciting times!  What’s not to love?

 


Now you know.  Please, feel free to comment!  Also, forward any questions you’d like answered to BUMD – at – biguglymandoll.com!  As always, your anonymity is guaranteed!

 

 

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ManFAQ Friday: How Low Can He Go?

Pumpkinhead

Originally published at Big Ugly Man Doll. You can comment here or there.

Here we are, another Friday, and it’s answer time at the ManFAQ.  Once again I don my manly mantle as Sage of the Sexes, helping demystify the more malodorous gender for those of the gentler, as we add to the list of questions women have asked about men over the years.  Actual questions, posed by real women, and answered by a REAL man. 

What could go wrong?


Question:  What’s the deal with the low pants?

Answer:   Well, and you have to understand that since I am, relatively speaking, not merely a Big and Ugly but also an Old Man Doll, I am not afflicted with this particular syndrome myself, but I can safely conjecture about the deal, as you say, with the low pants, because I am a Real Man, and despite the fact that I tend to wear my pants hiked up around my navel, I understand these things. 

Started well, that sentence.  It got away from me.   Sorry about that.   Anyway, some guys wear their pants low because they want to you notice their rock hard washboard waists and abs, and then, with your eyes already drawn down, hope that you will become contemplative of what else they might have to offer in the rock hard department.  This has never been observed to actually work in practice, but it doesn’t stop them from thinking like that. 

Some guys wear the low-riding pants as a daredevil move, tempting fate to pants them in public.  Others have simply lost a good amount of weight recently, and haven’t gotten around to buying new pants yet. 

Mostly, though, low pants are a mark of low IQ, and as such natural selection tends to correct for this over time.  For instance, when being chased by something hungry and with more teeth than himself, most guys will run away.  The guy in the baggies with his belt around his knees is at an immediate and obvious disadvantage there.  This is also true in the procreation department, since most women will look at two otherwise identical specimens and choose the guy who looks like he’s actually dressed.   Most of the time, anyway.   


Now you know.  Please, feel free to comment!  Also, forward any questions you’d like answered to BUMD – at – biguglymandoll.com!  As always, your anonymity is guaranteed!

 

 



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Report Card: January

Pumpkinhead

Originally published at Big Ugly Man Doll. You can comment here or there.

OK, as promised in my annual state of the year address on the 1st, I’m taking a more active role in managing 2013 – I’ll be giving it ratings and marks on a monthly basis, and we’ll see if we can’t dress it up and take it out by the time December rolls around.  After all, the 21st Century is now a teenager. 

Without further ado, let’s start with the number one story of the year, which is that Starbucks plans to open a coffee shop in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, finally putting an end to the war in that country.  That’s it, folks – it took a long time, but we’ve won.  Jane Fonda owes us all Venti Caramel HoChiFrappaMihnos. 

In other news, car sales for the month are up – good – but after going 220 days without a tornado fatality in the US, January decided to rock that clock, killing one person and injuring at least 17 others across several states.  Gotta take some serious points off for that kind of thing, January.  There was another up and down ride this month as well, with first managing to avert the Fiscal Cliff - a solid plus – and then Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D was released.  So, a net minus there. 

The month picked up some big points for the inauguration, with the nation’s first Muslim president taking the oath of office for the 4th time – the most oaths since our most recent Roosevelt.  Also scoring some big points for January, Pakistani schoolgirl blogger Malala Yousafzai was discharged from a hospital in the UK, despite having been shot by the Taliban last October for being brave, bold, and bigger than life.  That’s a serious A++ right there.  On the downside, hostage taking is on the rise, from Algeria to Alabama to Aurora, Colorado.  On a scale of one to ten, that’s a minus five per hostage.  Not a good score there, which lead to the on-again off-again gun control discussions you’ve been hearing.  We’ll be tracking that as the semester, er, year, progresses. 

A new inquest began this month into the death of British singer Amy Winehouse after it was discovered that the original coroner was not qualified to conduct the inquiry because he was, quote “just out of rehab himself.”  (His initial report had indicated that he was “pretty sure she was dead.  Really, she looks dead.”)  A second inquiry into Winehouse’s death concluded that the singer died of alcohol poisoning, noting that her last words were evidently “No, no, no.”  Speaking of poisoning, an Ilinois man was determined to have died of cyanide poisoning after winning the lottery this month.  His last words were reported as, “Honey, I want a divorce.  Hey, what’s in this drink?” 

Back to the gun debate:  This month, a 16-yr-old opened fire inside a classroom in California, two people were killed in a community college in Kentucky, a gunman opened fire on a college campus in Texas, a 14-year-old was shot in Atlanta, and writer Stephen King issued a 25-page essay calling for gun control.  OK folks – when Stephen effing King tells you that you need to think up new ways of killing one another, because what you’re doing encroaches on his realm of “fictional horror,” you might need to consider a new hobby.   I’m just saying, is all.   Still scoring a low “D” on that front.

In other news concerning our ability to kill each other, the United States Armed Forces overturned its ban on women serving in combat, potentially clearing the way for women to serve in front-line units and elite commando forces.  This is widely seen as acceptance that woman are just as willing and able to shank a bitch as the next guy. 

In technology news, Boeing 787 aircraft were grounded worldwide over concerns about the safety of their lithium-ion batteries.  Am I the only one concerned that the newest and largest jet on the Boeing lot is powered by the same batteries that I use in my Blackberry?  I can just see some pilot having to land that monster halfway across Nowhere, Indiana, to re-charge the damn plane because he had to take one more call.  Also in early January, NASA scientists beamed a picture of Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece, the Mona Lisa, to a spacecraft orbiting the Moon.  The moon not only had no comment, but, like the rest of the earth, had no idea if she was smiling or frowning. 

Also in space news, NASA’s Kepler space telescope was placed in a precautionary 10-day safe mode after engineers noticed a problem with the instrument’s orientation mechanism – they were worried that it was a problem with the latest Windows 8 updates.  It turned out that Kepler had been focused pretty much exclusively on the Kardashians.  Can’t give January more than a C on that one. 

In politics, former Mayor of New Orleans Ray Nagin was indicted on 21 counts including fraud, embezzlement, money laundering, bribery, and tax evasion.  Say it with me – shocked, shocked we are.   In international news, tens of thousands of people rallied in Paris in support of the legalisation of gay marriage.  Since most of us thought France was pretty gay to start with, that’s a push – good job showing the US how civilized countries do it, but no real news there.

All in all, January gets a “C” from the Big Ugly Man Doll.  I want 2013 to try to cut down on hostages and tornados in the next 4 weeks.  We’ll revisit the grades in the month or so.  In the meantime, keep your gum in your mouth and your pants above your hips.  I don’t care if your hips don’t lie – January’s hips lie like rugs.  Run with it, but study your ass off.  Come on 2013 – I hope you know that this will go down on your permanent record.

 



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A Big Ugly Shadow

Pumpkinhead

Originally published at Big Ugly Man Doll. You can comment here or there.

It’s Groundhog Day, which is when otherwise intelligent people take a break from listening to the usual set of rodents telling them what the weather will be like for a while, and instead tune into a specific rodent for their precipitory prognostication, despite the fact that there’s not a damn thing anyone can do about the weather regardless of who’s lying to them about it. 

For the record, the Big Ugly Man Doll woke this morning before the sunrise to the sounds of “Daddy, you’re going to need the plunger because it won’t flush.”  Arising from my bed, I saw the long shadow of the next 6 weeks stretching out before me, filled with snow, slush, sun, and not enough beer in the world.  Based on this, I can reasonably predict the next 6 week will continue to be cold and shitty, not that there’s a damn thing you can do about it.



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ManFAQ Friday: A Flirtquent Flyer?

Pumpkinhead

Originally published at Big Ugly Man Doll. You can comment here or there.

Here we are, kicking off February with a Friday, and it’s answer time at the ManFAQ.  Once again I don my manly mantle as Sage of the Sexes, helping demystify the more malodorous gender for those of the gentler, as we add to the list of questions women have asked about men over the years.  Actual questions, posed by real women, and answered by a REAL man. 

What could go wrong?


Question:  What makes him flirt with everyone who walks past in heels and a skirt?  I had to tell him the last one was a drag queen, for god sake!

Answer:   There are many reasons for this; good reasons, bad reasons, new reasons, old reasons.  Among them include the more obvious, such as “he’s an asshole,” and the more esoteric, to wit, “he’s evolved to be predisposed to spread his genetic code as far as he can,” i.e., he’s an asshole.  Let’s dive deeper.

When he sees a beautiful woman, most of his neural network goes into “reset” mode.  Those of us who process information faster tend to snap out of it in a second or two, but trust me that all of us do this.  It’s not that he doesn’t like you, love you, or respect you – it’s not even that he thinks she’s better looking than you are.  It’s just that for that blip of time while his brain is resetting, he’s forgotten you exist, much less that you exist in a state of mounting irritation since you’re sitting across from him and he’s starting to drool. 

He’s flirting because he’s wired that way – short skirt, long hair, it’s an automatic reflex.  The problem is that he’s forgetting you’re there, watching him “innocently talking” to a 22-yr-old bombshell who probably thinks he looks like her dad.  If you hit him hard enough, he’ll snap out of it – unless there are pheromones involved.   Trust me, if his subconscious thinks she smells like motherhood and apple pie, you’ve probably noticed that you need a two-by-four.  There’s a reason some perfumes are banned in Boston, baby. 

So try to not beat him up too badly – remember he’s not really driving the bus, doing most of the thinking, most of the time.  A simple “eyes over here, buster” should usually push the reset button back where it should be.  Also, Chanel #5 is better than a 2×4 every day. 


Now you know.  Please, feel free to comment!  Also, forward any questions you’d like answered to BUMD – at – biguglymandoll.com!  As always, your anonymity is guaranteed!

 

 



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ManFAQ Friday: He’s in the Dark

Pumpkinhead

Originally published at Big Ugly Man Doll. You can comment here or there.

Here we are, another Friday, and it’s answer time at the ManFAQ. Once again I don my manly mantle as Sage of the Sexes, helping demystify the more malodorous gender for those of the gentler, as we add to the list of questions women have asked about men over the years. Actual questions, posed by real women, and answered by a REAL man.

What could go wrong?


Question: Why is it that almost all of his “plans” are spontaneous? I’d like to go to a movie or dinner, sure, but not tonight. Why does it seem like he doesn’t think more than 5 minutes ahead?

Answer: There are number of reasons for this, some of which were covered more specifically under Planning Parties. More generically, we tend to think about “the future” in two distinct categories:

  1. A period of time not exceeding the next 12 hours.
  2. “You know, a while from now,” which includes a range as soon as “tomorrow” and as late as “sometime in this life or the next.”

Needless to say, we don’t spend a lot of time on the second category. That leaves the next few hours as our primary focus. This is because we are thinking about Hey Hey, and we don’t think about Hey Hey in the abstract – we think about it as something we’d like to do RIGHT NOW. The net effect of this, of course, is that if we’re asking you about plans, the little guy doing the thinking isn’t doing any long term planning, he’s thinking about tonight.

Having established who’s doing this so-called “planning,” you can safely assume that any plans that involve you and the next few hours are, in his mind, plans that could conceivably lead to Hey Hey. (Take this as flattering or not, as you will.)

So why do we not plan for that second category of time, that amorphous future sometime between more than 12 hours from now and forever? Now that you know who’s doing the planning, can you really expect long-term thinking from a 6-inch-tall dude who spends 99% of his time hanging out in the dark with a couple of nuts? Really, that might be asking too much. The next 5 minutes are all he plans for, because really, that’s about all his headlights are illuminating, if you know what I mean.


Now you know. Please, feel free to comment! Also, forward any questions you’d like answered to BUMD – at – biguglymandoll.com! As always, your anonymity is guaranteed!

 

 



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