Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Cultural Outrage Continued

A Question and a Comment:

“Hello, Jello Customer Service. How can I help you?”
“HI! It says on the wrapper here for Jello Puddin’ Pops to call this number with any questions or comments. I have one of each. Is that OK?”
“Why it sure is, sir! Shoot!”
“OK, first I have a comment: Mmmmmmmmm Chocolaty!!!!!!
And my question: Is it OK for me to call them Pud-nnnn Pops?”

I wish my question and comment were so benign, but, I dunno, it’s that kind of a day!

While driving back from our gigs in NY this past weekend, Bob Ethington who, in addition to being a terrific drummer and really great guy, also serves as head of Pop Culture for the Summit County (of Ohio) Public Library System, was telling us about an event held in the theater at the main branch in Akron.

Eve Ensler, the author of The Vagina Monologues made an appearance during which, she coached all the women in the audience to yell out, in unison, the word ‘Cunt.’ The idea was to ‘take back’ ownership of that word.

Now I have a problem here. The entomology of this word points to the Middle English word ‘cunte,’ and the Lower German, ‘kunte.’ Both pretty much referring to the female genitals. My problem with this word, is that I have encountered women, foul acting, foul speaking women, women of incredible intelligence and sensitivity, and women who wouldn’t blink at watching a kitten knifed in front of them, and there seems to be an almost across the board consensus here:

“Call me anything. Do anything you want to me. Just DON’T EVER DARE USE THAT WORD!!!!!”

Is it the fact that it comes from MIDDLE English, or LOWER German? Was every woman I’ve ever met, unbeknownst to me, violated and beaten by a dear uncle while having this word slobbered through hot rancid garlic breath into her ear?

Why is it that some women will put up with unimaginable abuse, terrible treatment, with a strength, patience, and stoicism that literally drops me to my knees in astonished admiration, and yet would just as soon slit the Pope’s throat than hear this word uttered?

I have stood in a world where I, my mother, father, grandparents, nieces, all of us have had to hear about how someone “Jewed someone down,” how someone was (and this said with a chilling leer),”A Jew Bastard,” this after having 6 million of us slaughtered for no real reason I can make clear… even THIS FACT argued by some skinhead bastards. I have friends who are 'niggers,' called THIS after years of slavery, after evolving to the societal point we’ve reached today where so many of this race have been beaten into places no human should have to sit or stand. The more charitable of the ignorant bastards generously declaring that there are black people that are ‘just as good as you or me, and then there are niggers.’
Now, outrage and incredible anger at all this I can understand, and I can understand not liking to be called anything dirty, but what, I want to know, makes this word, like what I wrote about above, worse than so many other horrible things one might refer to a woman as, if one was so inclined.

I’m not arguing it, I’m just uninformed here. What’s the issue ladies?
I mean it’s obvious that I’m sensitive to it. I used it once this whole blog, and was looking over my shoulder as I typed it. I just realized no one ever explained it to me.

And now my comment:

The conversation about the above event with Bob led me to some Zen Interstate 80 think, and I came up with the following revelation.

I think the word ‘penis’ is a silly little word, and minimizes the importance and impact of our dear little friend. None of the slang words for this organ are related to the clinical term, ‘prick’ the closest by sharing the first letter, so no real attachment in this sense.

To correct this linguistic silliness, I nominate a new word:


First, a far more clinical sounding word, lending far more credibility to male genitalia as a serious and important organ. It also lends itself to a far better, more masculine slang term for it,

My Tac (a very manly sounding nickname)
My Scrappy Tac! (stupid but still faithful to the root, if you will)

I don’t think more need be said. Women, take back that nasty assed ‘C’ word, and give us guys a real, juicy one to carry between our legs. Spread the word far and wide!!!


OK, I’m done here, probably have offended some, again assuming anyone ever reads this. But gee whiz kids, on both these counts , someone help me out here. It doesn’t have to be in the comments section. It can be a separate e-mail. On the other hand, never mind. I never use that word anyway, and no one’s gonna buy into my exceptionally improved term for the male genitalia.

I might as well give up and screw myself in the… oops.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Peeve Deluxe

"The 19th Century belief that unemployment was a matter of
individual bad luck or bad character was deeply ingrained in Wisconsin and American culture, and the realization that in fact it was an unavoidable feature of the modern industrial economy came only slowly."
- from a plaque in Milwaukee's Wisconsin Workers Memorial Park


A few months ago I received what has been a popular forward suggesting all welfare recipients should have to pass a urine test to collect their checks.

Most of the time, when I get stuff like this, rather than engage the ignorant, I let it go. Besides, more often than not this kind of shit comes to me from a relative, so I really see no reason to hurt people’s feelings, and start a … thing.

But when I got it, having lived in NY for 20 years, having known homeless folks, having actually BEEN homeless, if even for less than a month, having known people with drug, alcohol, and mental issues… and I AM A LIBERAL DEMOCRAT… I couldn’t help myself and had to respond.

I was relatively kind, suggesting that while it might seem like a good idea it was a far more complex sociological issue and it was a bad idea, and maybe, possibly, perhaps, not so charitable to send it around to everyone this person knew.

Then a couple days ago I got it from an old high school chum, who has managed to live much of his adult life in the south. Now keep in mind, of the relatives that send me this kind of crap, one lives down south, and allowing for the malleable personalities involved as well as the general human ability to adapt to a fault, I sort of understand. The other family source also talks with something of a southern drawl, but lives in northern Ohio and just… well… I can’t say anything nice in this respect, so I’ll stop there.

But my pal came through the 60s and 70s with me and knows better, and catching me on the same day we contributed to Obama’s campaign, I lost it and wrote the following:

I received this from my ******* a few months ago and felt compelled to respond then, as I do now. First, people with serious drinking and drug problems also need shelter, also need to eat. Most of the people affected by this live in a country where opportunity is NOT as apparent and available as everyone wants to preach it is. Either the actual physical facilities and systems are not there and available, or more likely you're dealing with a culture that straps people in for a ride along a three block radius of nothing, and the drugs and drinking are it.

If you think that just by threatening to take away their welfare checks, they'll stop drinking and/or doping, clean up, and fly right, you're the most naive gal at the dance. It also has you looking at these people as infants... and even infants don’t readily respond to this kind of tactic. I lived in NY for 20 years, and in my last couple became friendly with a husband and wife who were panhandlers, living under the FDR overpass a couple blocks away. White, from Jersey, with a kid. Partiers and blue collar folks. He had suffered a back injury, got hooked on Percodans while he couldn't work and over it was. The point though, is that these were people, who could have conversations, who could acknowledge what had happened, who had to struggle mightily to get out of it. Others aren't so lucky, but they are people, with stories and histories and feelings. Some are good folks, some are scum, but most are there based on circumstance. These aren't cartoon characters. These are people, for God's sake, and if you look around closely enough you might be forced to utter "There but for the grace of God walk I."

You implement this kind of thing and other than spending millions upon millions for urine tests, money that could be earmarked for schools, neighborhood programs, things that might help some on a grassroots level... people will die, including children.

I know, seemed kind of clever on the surface, but, and I'm sorry to go on a rant here ******, I love ya and know you care about folks... it's creepy and stupid and really pisses me off.


To his credit, he responded:

I totally respect your perspective on this. I really didn't mean to cause you to expound yourself and your thoughts! (which I admire!).


OK, so I only wrote this blog because I found myself fed up with people doing this perverted skin head Will Rogers thing, half the time crediting this Nazi Bullshit to Poor George Carlin and thinking because most of the time a flag is draped over it, it’s OK to invade MY GODDAMNED HOUSE WHERE MY COMPUTER SITS with this racist, mean spirited, ignorant shit!!!!

Well I don’t care for that, if they can invade my space and insult my sensibilities, well I guess I can respond… and my tap got opened.

Friday, March 16, 2007

In a message dated 3/16/07 2:38:22 AM, markrprice@earthlink.net writes:

i need barberton chicken bad

Maybe you do Mark, and maybe you don't. One pretty summer day, Dolli and I hi-jacked our new neighbor, Chris Butler. We went up to Rosatti's for the best soft ice cream anywhere, ever. I mean 'Higbee's Chocolate Malt!!!' Y'know?

Fueled by this grand infusion of sugar and high concentration of butter fat, we hit some yard sales in West Akron. Building up a whole new kind of appetite, we then headed off to Belgrade (or was it Hopokan?) Gardens. I honestly have to say that just as some people eat mashed potatoes for t
he gravy, some of us chosen peeps eat (or suffer) gefilte fish for the horseradish, Barberton Chicken seems to exist solely as a disguise for the ingestion of vast amounts of lard... and salt, if you want it to taste like anything whatsoever. Not unlike eating three bags of Thacker Burgers, or chewing up and swallowing all the red peppers in a Sechuan dish, it's less a meal than a gastric challenge. One invariably finds oneself driving on the highway, somewhere between 8 and 27 minutes later, when suddenly, you HAVE TO CRAP NOW! And if you hold it in long enough to consider whether you want to take the next exit hoping to find a toilet in time, it all stops, congeals like instant post hole cement, and you don't have a bowell movement for 3 or 4 days. So now, that being said... yeah, next time you're in town, let's do it.

How bout Michael B, Harvey & I open Lou & Hy's II..

Upon getting together wth my dear, dear wife, we considered "Harvey and Dolli's" or "Dolli and Harvey's" to be such the combo,
that if we didn't open a Deli with that name, no further Deli's should be opened anywhere, ever. Apologies to everyone, everywhere. You KNOW with a name like that, the corned beef would have:

'... just the right amount of fat.'

On the other hand, could be a whole new Jetson's style quasi Kosher carhop jernt with Mark generated ideas like:

offering free epitaphs and non-magnetic soda flange steak with grind piled fingers and humorless food refunds if you can still walk And the first (in America) cuisinery to offer free Customer Stacking Services in the waiting area (still waiting to hear from the Guiness people as to whether we'll get the first in Galaxy rating -
there's rumor of a little place on Io - but they're quibbling over the definition of "stacking" - just cause they can stack sideways cause of the low gravity doesn't impress me.

OK, we're good to go, I think. The visual image of M . Baker and Pastrami is a good one.

Monday, March 12, 2007

It’s a Little Gray Today

But just a little…

If you actually have read this blog for a time, you’ll know I have a penchant for dragging these creaky bones up to the peaked roof of my wonderful, charming, unique, and warm house filled with love and affection, and shouting out for all to hear how happy I am and how lucky and blessed my life is… to a sickening degree for some of you, most likely.

All true… in spades.

But the operative words, this gray morning, from the above paragraph (once again, a run-on sentence disguised as a paragraph) are “creaky,” and “life.”

Richard Jeni, a not very nice guy, a chauvinist pig from the old school, and very, very funny (lower common denominator, but still…) comedian, was the last host of a series I line and co-produced for A&E, ‘Caroline’s Comedy Hour.’ He was probably about 50 years old when he shot himself to death last night. Oh there’ll be an investigation. It was his girlfriend who called it in. Maybe it’s really a homicide. Nonetheless, dead.

Two days ago, the lead singer of Boston, apparently a really nice man, dropped dead at age 55. There had been a presence, a life force, a history, relationships, all the active tentacles. Now there is a shared vacuum.

It’s been said that men of my generation like to think we’re 19 well into our thirties. So, based on this math, as I stare at 55 this year, I’m representing the “New 30’s” here as I watch a bunch of fellow “30 somethings” drop. I’d be celebrating the milestone with Joe Strummer this year had he not checked out at 50.

As much as we celebrate our joy at finding each other and renewing our lives at age 47, Dolli and I also feel the brevity of time left to us. Absolutely, I’m grateful to be spending the rest of my life a living, breathing, happy man, with the true love of my life (there I go again), three stepdaughters I love dearly, a precious faery of a granddaughter, likely more tykes to come, some dear friends… a great life it is.

But to not recognize the fact that, while yes, it was a process and history that HAD to take place to get me to the precise spot I’m writing from today, I also may have precious little time with all the above, would just be the omissions of a blind man.

Someone wrote that sorrow is the cost of joy.

I get it.

Then again, the sun’s just now starting to come out. I’m gonna get another cup of coffee and get to work.

Pretty pleased very few read this. But I just had to write this. It’s hard to be just barely out of one’s teens and find yourself staring into the abyss, y’know?