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Happy End of 2012: Holden Caulfield's a Whiner

Monday, December 31, 2012 | 3 Comment(s)

I'm going out with a bang.

After that whole circumcision piece, i have that wonderful feeling you get from over-sharing with the interwebs (when it doesn't involve nudie pics).  And.  Well.  I'm going to go out on a limb once again, but this time, it's a "classy admission".  As opposed to "crude admissions" regarding smelly gasses and bodily fluids, classy admissions involve insensitive taste buds and not knowing the difference between Monet and Manet (pleeb).  And this classy admission could change our blogger-bloggee relationship.  Forever.
Deep breath.
Here we go.

Catcher In The Rye didn't speak to me.  I mean, I could follow it.  It was an engaging story.  But Holden just didn't epitomize an innermost piece of me.  His battle against the phonies never hit home for me when combines with his own, let's say, somewhat jerky, personality .  And I know that angst goes a long way in literature, and that a good 75% of you are all like "Are you KIDDING me!! Catcher in THE RYE!  It's like the best book ever.  EVER.  It's just.  just.  so . . . "  and then you make the noise that equates to your own idea of ineffability.   A noise where, in the background, you can hear the fire escape ladders being drawn up from the townhouses.  And look people.   I'm not arguing with you.  You are, in fact, the majority.

That said.  Listen very closely to the following words: Catcher in the Rye is not one of my favorite books.   Not even in my top ten.  (top five in no order: The Power of One, The Phantom Tollbooth, A Prayer for Owen Meany, Lamb, & The Calvin & Hobbes Treasury.)  Caulfield isn't even in the field.  He's kind of a whiner.  I'm just saying.

Perhaps it's because i didn't really go through my angry teens until i was 25.  Maybe it has something to do with the fact that my idea of "rebel punk music" includes Blink-182 and Green Day.  But my rage simply didn't match up with the immortal H.C.'s.   You know whose angst i TOTALLY related to as a kid?  Paul.  From the Wonder Years.  Now there is childhood angst.  You want slightly older.   I'll take Angela Chase 8 days a week.

If there is one take away point from this, it's that i liked to watch t.v. as a kid way more than i enjoyed reading.

But, if there is a second point, it's that i could have ended the year with a pithy little fluff piece about Fluff, or an in depth look at the magical anatomy of the unicorn.   I could have sat here and written about how JD Salinger's masterpiece Catcher In The Rye opened me up to the possibilities available to a writer, and that it was ok for a book's character to reflect a point of view counter to the accepted norm.  I could have expounded about how Holden typified how a book could be used as an amazing vehicle for expressing the anger and the difficulty of life from a variety of viewpoints.

But no one like's a phony.


So long 2012, it's been real.

Fear the Foreskin

Friday, December 28, 2012 | 0 Comment(s)

I am scared of foreskins.

There.  I finally said it.  It's been a sentiment that has been eating away at me for awhile now, and when I can't find a socially acceptable outlet for my deep confessional feelings, i take to the blog.

Now I'm not scared of foreskins like i'm scared of large snakes (pun intended).  I don't think a foreskin is going reveal itself from a dark corner as it simultaneously uncoils to snap out and bite me.  I mean, i can see it happening.  But i know it's reasonably unlikely.

This is also not a homophobia thing.  I have no problem with penises.  Peni?  Hell, i even have one of my own that i like to give it as much attention and play-time as possible.  Sometimes I even procrastinate with it.  So, this isn't a simple matter of anti-penis bias.

So where does this aversion to the "natural" state of the human male sex organ at rest come from?  Well, first of all, it comes from a lack of exposure.
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When I was 6, I went to my first all-boys summer sleep away camp in the Berkshires.  The camp was about 40 minutes from my parent's house, but to a kid my age, that was practically out of the country.  Just like the movies, we had a lake, no working electricity except for in the dining hall, and a girl's camp just "through the woods."  Another staple of the summer camp experience is communal showers.   At  6, this was not as horrifying experience as it was educational.  We were still too young to really compare working parts at that point (kinda like trying to compare tree stumps), but it was still the first time I can recall seeing peers naked.

Pretty much what you'd expect.  Bunch of little kids rushing to get the hell out of the bathroom.  But, one image that i still haven't forgotten involves the "exchange" kid from Korea.  Now, I don't really remember who this kid was.  He wasn't in my bunk.  I realize the idea of an exchange student at camp is fairly silly, and considering my age, I could have just been a tiny racist and assumed the Asian kid was an exchange student (not a ton of diversity in the Berkshires in the mid-80's).  However, for some reason i feel strongly that the kid was an import.  Regardless of his origin story, when i looked down to where the little Korean kids ding-dong should be, i saw something distinctly foreign.

Where I expected to see a miniature Smurf-house on its side, was instead an entirely different shape.  The base looked pretty much the same, but then the tube quickly pinched off, almost to a point.  Then, at the tip of the point, was a ball of skin about the size of a small marble.  His pee came out said marble.  I was in a state of utter confusion.  At first i thought that maybe he had some sort of half penis-half vagina.  It would be another decade or so until i could properly compare this kid's wiener to a human vagina, and I correctly predicted that i didn't have that kind of time.  My mind raced as i tried to avoid been noticed staring quizzically at another camper's junk while soaping my underarms. 

I don't think i ever figured out the sphinx that was a 6-yr-old's uncircumcised penis.  And i haven't seen another another kid's uncircumcised penis since (not really a goal of mine, i might add).  So, somewhere in my grey matter lies that tan marble of fear for even, or especially, the tiniest of foreskins.
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The frequency of foreskin in my life hasn't increased much since.  If asked at this moment, i can only think of two of my friends who i know have penises untouched by carving tools.   Of those two, i have a long running joke with one of them regarding his uncircumcised scribe.  And, therefore, he has come to represent for me, "the modern uncirsumsized male."

I know this because of a dream i had about 4 months ago.  In said dream, this friend, let's call him Chris, and I are hanging out in "the city".  Now, i wish i remembered more details relating to the bigger picture of the dream, because it would create a more full reconstruction of the event, but instead I just give you the event:

For whatever reason, and somehow (don't ask me how while im conscious) in a non-homosexual way, Chris and I decided that we needed more "docking" in our lives, and then proceeded to dock one another like Marty McFly reconnecting the extension cords right before the lightning strikes.

"What is docking?" says every reader over the age of 40?   Sadly, i will tell you.  Docking necessitates two men; one circumcised, one un.  And, again, i apologize for being the one to tell you about this.  The two men take their non-erect (maybe, like, 25% erect?) penises and have them approach each other, head on, like one of them is going the wrong way down a one way street (which, in a way, they are).  Next, the uncircumcised man takes his foreskin and pulls it over the the head of his own penis and then stretches it out over the head of the other man's penis, forming a finger-cuff-like palindrome of penis.  The term docking denotes how the two penises, when approaching each other, sort of look like the male and female end of some strange human extension cord and/or person connection unit.

*I can't reiterate this enough to you people out there who don't know any gay people or have somehow barricaded yourself from the reality of homosexual america . . . this is not how gay men have sex!!!!!!!!* 

And so, there i am, awaking from a dream in which i become one in the absolute strangest of ways with a good friend of mine.  If this doesn't more fully explain my fear of the foreskin, i'm not sure what else to say.

Some clarification.  I do not think being uncircumcised is wrong in any way.  It is, truly, how we are made.  I actually think it's pretty hypocritical for the religious folks in the world to be all "we are created in God's image" and then the first thing they do to newborn boys is lop a piece of that God created image right off.  Kinda sends a mixed message.  At the same time i'm glad i've never had to have this call and response which i found over on Yahoo! Answers:
I'm 13 years old and I can fully retract my foreskin. But, yesterday I saw a white substance under my foreskin. I looked it up and it said that it was smegma. So how am I supposed to clean this?
-Demetrius

Hi Demetrius

I am a doctor in Australia, where most guys have foreskin, so I frequently answer foreskin-related questions.


Yes, this substance is probably smegma (or commonly called d*ck cheese). The best way to clean it off is to just rinse the penis and foreskin with warm water, perhaps some gentle body gel if you like avoid using soaps as they can dry the soft skin of the foreskin and the glans (head).


Other causes of "white substance" under the foreskin can be a minor fungal infection or pearly penile papules (a type of benign nodule), although these are far less likely then just smegma.


If things don't work out with just washing it off, let me know and I can advise if it might be something else.

Source(s):
I am a doctor [*editors note-i find this self citation badass and plan to rip it off]
__________________
Now, i am aware that there are many other, even more superficial reasons to avoid face time (or god forbid FaceTime) with foreskins, but i'll leave those arguments to straight women, gay men, and everyone else for whom the penis plays a distinctly different role.  

As for me, I feel better.  This confession has cleansed me like the smegma off a confused 13 year old.

A High School Miracle

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 | 2 Comment(s)

Every   single     time    i hear one of the songs from that mix tape Alli (real name) gave me back in the early 90's, I'm transported back to Route 20; cruising the one lane highway from Pittsfield, Mass. to Albany, New York.   I couldn't list the songs out to you in any meaningful way.  I know a few:  Catholic Girls, My Girlfriend is a Centerfold, Jesse's Girl.  But i listened to that tape over and over in my previous car so often that the playlist is imbedded in my hard-drive.   So much so that any time one of those 20 or so songs pops onto the *sigh* classic rock station, i have a visceral response and think immediately of Alli.

I met Alli through my jewish youth group.  More accurately, Alli was my youth group best friend's girlfriend who i was introduced to at one of the many weekend events.  She was adorable and crude and I immediately loved her.   Being my best friend girl gave us the unique opportunity to hang out as platonic opposite-sex wing-people.  Sure there was some sexual tension . . . and perhaps, post her breakup with said boyfriend/best friend there may have been some mutual, and purely educational, ear-lobe suckery (hormones are a helluva drug), but 95% of the time we were just a couple of super kick-ass friends who lived an hour away from each other.  47 minutes if you don't mind occasionally getting pulled over for speeding (only once).

Now here is where it gets a little more interesting.  I did not have a wonderful time in high school.  It was nowhere near as bad as middle school, but it just wasn't my thing.  Frankly, my jewish youth group was my thing, for 3 main reasons.  

1) In my youth group i was considered attractive, popular, and hilarious.  In my high school, i was not.

2) In my youth group i had tons of friends who really liked me for who i was.  In my high school, i felt like i was hiding most of the time.  

3) And potentially most important:  In my youth group, girls wanted to make-out with me.  In my high school, not so much.  

And so, I increasingly wanted to spend my free time with these jewish friends, of whom none lived in Pittsfield.  The closest location with an actual grouping of my jewish friends was the greater Albany area.  So when the weekend rolled around, all those long weekday nights slaving through homework paid off in an ok to get the hell out of dodge.  I rode a bus or two.

My senior year I got my first (and favorite) car ever (1986 Volvo 740 GLE).   I was mobile.  The limiting factor now, however, became finding a place to stay on the tail end of these journeys.  To further bait the hook, i increasingly, and not coincidentally, i also started having girlfriends who, by totally happenstance (not by total happenstance), all lived in and around the greater Albany area.  But what parent is going to let their daughter's boyfriend come have sleepovers every weekend?  No matter how much i played up my quintessential "nice jewish boy" qualities, i needed a pad of my own.

It really was a social pickle.  And Alli popped the lid off it.  Well, more accurately, Alli and her parents.  Mr. and Mrs. T welcomed me into their home pretty much unconditionally ( i remember there few a few non-negociable rules).  I'm not sure whether it was that they knew Alli was dating someone else exclusively, or if it was because their older daughter had recently left for college, or if they are just the nicest, most giving human beings i was lucky enough to spend time with -- but they eventually set up a bedroom that was made "just in case Matt stops by this weekend."

And that's exactly what i'd do.  I'd just, be there.  Sometimes, Alli wasn't even there.  I think once I even stayed there alone.  But they became my family away from home and forever changed my high school years for the better.  Not only did i have a perfect location to visit my girlfriends from (heyo!), but i also retreated post "curfew," back to an actual slumber party with one of my best friends. 

 In a greater sense, Alli and her family turned the possibility of place where i could go to evade the dangers innate to my high school experience, and they made it real.  They gave me a place to escape to.  Whenever.  Whyever.   And, judgement free, I was always met with enthusiasm and excitement upon rapping their front door.  "Zimby's here!!!," I can still hear Mrs. T yelling up to Alli, Mr. T still enjoying his second cup of coffee and the Saturday paper at the kitchen table.  

The kindness i was shown by Alli and her family is the type that can never be repaid.  There simply is no way to do it.  Instead, it changed me as a human being.   It made me softer in the middle and more open to the simple miracles that exist when i am able to open myself up further that i felt comfortable, and to ask another person do the same.  Where those furthers overlap, i have found a consistency of simple miracles and occasional heartbreak. (ps. worth it.)  With Alli and her parents, it was all miracles. 

Interesting Matt Fact #883: The Bank of America Blues

Tuesday, December 18, 2012 | 1 Comment(s)

I have been in the process of closing my Bank of America checking and savings account for the past two years.  This is not an exaggeration.  While, in much more difficult, awkward, and painful circumstances, i have always found the strength to put my money where my mouth is (pun).  I am decidedly not all talk.  But even my true moral outrage is practically powerless compared to direct deposit.

And so i waited until i graduated grad school and no longer had my pittance wired directly to the corrupt, system-fixing, sonsofa bee.   But now the cable bill and my car insurance get auto-paid out of those accounts.  You start to see why they implement these programs.  To draw you further and further into a bank dependency where the effort to change banks is always made greater than the effort to stay.

Recently, I took the first step.  I opened a checking and saving account at my local bank.  I have my escape route.  Now it's that critical time in the break up where i try to get as many of my things out of the other person's apartment without them realizing it's happening.  "What? This ol iPod? Nah, nah, i just wanted it at home because i was hoping to use it to work out with."  

Leave the toothbrush.  You can get a new one.

At some point they took 8 of my dollars from my account.  Apparently i agreed to keep 1000 dollars in my account or forfeit 8 dollars.  I told the guy that that seemed ridiculous, and he said, "well, we would have sent you a letter."  Fuck you dude.  That's not good enough.  And it's so not good enough that instead of explaining how not good enough that explanation is, i am leaving this bank forever.   Don't take my 8 bucks and tell me you sent me a letter.  How hard is the concept of my bank just holding my money without taking it!!!  This is not one of those "possession is 85% of the law" deals because the whole (supposed) point of your institution is to hold and protect other people's stuff.  Not take it in tiny increments.  That's not the deal.  Bank of America, WHY ARE YOU SO HANDSY WITH MY MONEY.  And so, the ball had to get a-rolling.  I need out of this menagerie.

This post, of course, is all part of the process.  By shaming myself publicly i just shorten the amount of time it will take me to unravel my "assets" from one system, and recoil them in another one.  I'm just glad that my assets are significantly shorter than my computer and phone charger cords, because they have been braided for so long they have merged into some form of iDreadlock charger.

I've also tried reconceptualizing the problem.   As in, "for my new years resolution, I am leaving Bank of America."  This is a good resolution in that I may be the first person ever to give themselves an achievable goal.  It is also a good resolution in that it gives me a year.

Un-fortuantely, this deficiency of mine is a bit generalizable to other completely doable errands such as mailing letters.  Not writing letters -- i have a knack for that.  It is the mailing that stymies me.  Ask any of my wedding guests who are still waiting for their thank you notes (sorry eric).

It gives me a certain demonic pleasure to think that before too too long the postal system will become obsolete, thereby erasing my deficiency by default.  It's pretty logical to think that a similarly outsourced fate lies a bit further down the road for the banking system.  The world is coming to me.

Technology: Lazinesses greatest enabler.

The Death of Imaginations

Monday, December 17, 2012 | 0 Comment(s)

It is a difficult time to find words.  It is hard to find the space in me where comforting words exist.  And it is even more difficult to imagine those words giving any measure of relief.

am i filled instead, with mental flashes of empathetic terror.  I am sickened for the children, disillusioned to the cruelty of the world at the very moment they departed it.   I think of the wonder that died.  The wide eyes.


When I was in 3rd grade, a student (who we'll call Kevin) decided to take a stand during one of our science lessons.  He insisted that one day, while playing outside, he picked up a worm and it stuck its tongue out at him.  The teacher tried to explain that, because the anatomy of the worm is just one long tube, worms don't need tongues to redirect food because everything that goes in the front end simply gets poops out the back end.  Therefore, worms don't have tongues.  This was 25 years ago, so I can't remember if the teacher went into what a  prostomium is (a tongue-like protrusion  in some worms that is actually used for sensory purposes).

I do remember that Kevin was not ready to drop the subject merely due to a teacher telling him some fact about how worms have no tongue.  He had seen it, and to a 3rd grader, that is truth.  "NO, HE STUCK HIS TONGUE OUT LIKE THIS!" Kevin screamed, as he then repositioned his mouth to show how his very real tongue could jut straight out from between his lips.  The conversation (and i use that word loosely) only degraded from there.  Soon, Kevin was throwing a full blown worm-tongue fueled temper tantrum.  He was crying.  And screaming.  Because in his world, the world he knew and felt safe in, worms have tongues.  And they aren't afraid to use them.

But now, stepping onto the uncertain sea of school peers and adult learning, worms no longer had tongues, and that was an unarguable fact.  Well, more accurately, it was arguable, but that argument sent you to the principal's office.  Tongueless worms crushed Kevin's ability to make sense of his world.   Disillusionment comes in many forms.


I wonder what worlds and animal parts we lost on Friday.  There were sure to be winged walruses and butterfly penguins.  Undoubtably there were untouched and still untapped imaginations.  When you are that young, you still have the superpower of sewing together reality and creativity.

 I can remember that fateful day back in 1990,when my Transformers lined up along the wall where the shag rug met the blue wall.  Opposite them, my M.A.S.K. (Mobile Action Strike Komand?(sic)) drivers sat at the board room table in the power circle, waiting to receive their charged up helmets full of special abilities -- before boarding their own transforming vehicles.  Optimus Prime declared for the Autobots to "TRANSFORM" as they launched an all out assault.  M.A.S.K. was ready for them, however, and split off into various mini-battles.  The action was continuous as mini-battle after mini-battle played out with such epic drama and plastic manipulation as to be far superior to either individual cartoon series.

In the end, it was Voltron (the lion-made Voltron, not the weird car-mad Voltron) who saved the earth from 3 TV shows worth of good-guys.  With all of those heroes battling, i just remember there being a lot of carnage.  Enough of it to make cleaning up almost as fun as the battle itself.   And in my adult mind, this battle still seems fairly real.  Some sort of historic.

The past weekend has similarly felt like a mix of reality and the surreal, except this time the carnage can't be dumped into large Tupperware containers and pushed to the side.  We are all left standing disillusioned together.   Our worms no longer have tongues, and it is world-crushing.  And we stare out at the decimated imaginations, wondering how we got here.  Wondering how things have gone this far.


I wish this piece ended with answers.  Any answers.  How to move forward.  How to make sense of what happened, even in a small way.  I want to tell you where the silver lining is.

But, it is a difficult time to find words.  It is hard to find the space in me where comforting words exist.  And it is even more difficult to imagine those words giving any measure of relief.


















The Humanity of Fame and Murdering

Sunday, December 9, 2012 | 1 Comment(s)

I think this "being a writer" thing is starting to sink in because lately i've been thinking a lot about what it means to be human.  Also, i've been mulling over what it means to be famous.  And then, naturally, the overlap: what it means to be human and famous, or human then famous, or, in the rare case, famous then human.

And it is hard in this internet-infused, video-phone enabled, 24-hr news chatcycle, to remember that famous people are human beings.  Especially in a world where Lindsey Lohan exists.  But at the end of what each of these these movie stars and athletes and rock gods call a day, they all must close their eyes in a dark room, and let their demons wash over them.

What if i'm a fraud? What if i blow out my knee tomorrow? Do i have AIDS?  

but those are specialized demons.  Famous demons for famous sleepers.  These are the devils of humanity's creation, and I'm talking about the more basic. human. fears.

I will die.  All of this money is meaningless when i am gone. What is the cost of being away from the one's i love?  Why do people like me when i don't like myself?  "Does anyone love me?  Can I ever really love someone forever?  Am I lovable?  Do they just like me for my money, fame, power, humor, connections, free drinks, car, ___________?  

___________
The last case i mentioned in my introduction -- going from famous to human -- is particularly intriguing to me because of the parameters that must be met for it to occur.  Not everyone can fall from fame.  Far from it.  In fact, once you reach a certain level of fame, a series of events is seamlessly put in motion to encourage and publicize your tragic fall from grace and eventual bottoming out. And then your gradual but heartwarming comeback via celebrity rehab show to formal dance competition.  Which is to say that America loves tearing down its idols almost as much as it loves voting for them by phone.

So once you are a, say, a Britney or a Lindsey or dare i ask for any flavor Kardashian, you can't ever be human again.  You, unlike our banking industry, are not too big to fail, but rather the perfect-sized big enough to fail spectacularly.  Because, as we have learned, even in jail, Paris, Lindsey, and even Martha Stewart are still more famous person that human being.  We feel no tragedy in their loss (ok, maybe martha got some white people on her side).  They deserve it.  At are weakest moments, Paris Hilton pouting her way into a jailhouse is even funny.  If the idea of you being locked behind bars is funny to any large group of people, you can be fairly certain that you will never again be human -- unless maybe when you are old and living in Montana and have become completely unmarketable.  Even ironically.  Even to hipsters.

So that means to go from famous to human, you must be only modestly famous.  Famous enough to get consistent adulation, but maybe not famous enough that everyone knows you on sight.

Writers are the perfect example.  How many of your favorite authors would you recognize if they were strolling the opposite direction in the mall?  The way i figure it, a writer of any renowned is only one homicide away from being human again for the rest of their lives.  And they will spend that personhood in a jail similar to famous-person jail except that no one cares and you never get out.

Which brings us naturally to the second requirement of going from famous to human; you have to do something pretty f'd up.  I mean, we can forgive a ton of stuff as a society.  And if you're one of those really famous people, we'll forgive (or at least forget) almost anything (see Ray Lewis and murder).  

So, if you find yourself a mid-range celebrity having sex with an underaged prostitute being recorded on HD video, you better hope that DVD sells mad copies, cause your only screwing yourself (regardless of how vigorously the videotape may despite that truth).

Sadly, such an occurrence (falling from fame to humanhood, not the underaged prostitute stuff) happened recently in the National Football League.  On Friday, Joshua Price-Brent was the starting nose tackle for the Dallas Cowboys, preparing for his game today against the Bengals in Cincinnati.  On Saturday, Price-Brent went out on the town with his current practice squad teammate and former college teammate at the University of Illinois, Jerry Brown Jr.

On Sunday morning, this morning, Joshua Price-Brent was in jail accused of asecond-degree felony: intoxicated manslaughter.  Saturday night, while speeding above the posted 45 mph, Price-Brent hit the curb on the side of the road, flipping the car and killing his passenger and friend Brown Jr.  When police arrived on the scene, Price-Brent was pulling his friend from the car which was catching on fire.

This weekend Price-Brent went from famous to human.  He is a pro-athlete turned man who will most likely go to jail for killing one of his best friends.

And it was this case that brought me to this existential place about "being human" in the first place.  This is not a blog about the wrongness of drunk driving.  I think that goes without saying.  But if you   can get past the drunk driving part of this, and just think about this man Justin, it is a more complicated story.  Justin grew up in California, played college in Illinois, and was drafted by the Cowboys after being declared academically ineligible his senior year.  While in college, he was convicted of drunk driving (in 2009) and sentenced to 2 months in jail, 2 years probation, and 200 hours of community service.  Which he served.

I am not even making a Pro-Justin argument here.  What I have been attempting to do, is put myself, my humanity, into the imagined experience of Justin over the past 3 days.  From pro athlete on the shoulders of the world, to the murder of a college friend in less than12 hrours.  In his first public statement he said, "I will live with this horrific and tragic loss every day for the rest of my life."  In reading the full statement, the emphasis is put squarely on the loss of a great person and friend in Brown Jr.  He speaks to Brown's family, friends, teammates.  He is only full of apology and remorse.  I am not insinuating my personal support for Price-Brent when i tell you that, as a psychologist, I was thoroughly convinced of his misery and the infinite sadness he feels in having negligently killed his good friend.

Once again, this is a story with no right and wrong.  Piling blame on Price-Brent feels cruel in the face of his taking both complete responsibility for what happened, and also, the totality of the responsibility of taking another human life.   And yet, it is also difficult to feel wholeheartedly empathetic for the man, especially in the face of his previous drunk driving conviction.

And somewhere between involuntary manslaughter and negligent homicide, we find the simple truth of our humanity.  Because, thankfully, I am not the judge or jury of Josh Price-Brent for his crimes against his friend, or the greater public at large.  I am just a white jew 2000 miles away feeling for a man who will, inevitably, go to bed tonight.  And when he closes his eye, his demons, like mine and yours, will come a calling.

And Josh Price-Brent will no longer have famous demons.  I can't even be sure that he will have same fears and questions that we all ask as humans. Price-Brent will be haunted by his past, the size and shape of which give me chills to speculate upon.  And it is my humanity, in that instant, that reaches out reflexively.  Because i saw what happened to Willy Lopez (and Willy Lomen for that matter), and I haven't been convinced since then that the reality of living with searing shame is any less terrifying.

A nurse in London ended her life from the shame of being pranked by Australian Radio DJ's pretending to be the Royals checking on Princess Kate.

And when Justin closes his eyes, he will invariably be haunted by the visage of his college friend, teammate, and self proclaimed "little brother".  And he will feel the pain of his incapacity to go back in time to Friday, when he was famous and Jerry was alive.   And in that moment of human anguish where he realizes that he is both the problem and the inability to fix that problem, my entire heart goes out to him.  For that pain, you need the salve of the world, and the only people we reserve that kind of compassion for, are famous.

Interesting Matt fact #682: revisited

Friday, December 7, 2012 | 0 Comment(s)

Just for jollies i'm reposting an old blog that i'm guessing most of you reading now didn't read then . . . so . . . yah.  Because i can get creative juice from my stone brain at the moment, i will harken back to a juicier time.

Enjoy.  
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I like green peppers.  That is not the interesting fact. You should have known that because that is not interesting.  I say that i like green peppers because I have a fairly extensive "no fly zone" when it comes to vegetables, (I'm looking at you eggplant.  asparagus.  brussel sprouts.) that the green pepper is nowhere near.

*tangent.  Whenever I tell someone that I don't like eggpant, their first reaction is one of pity.  I don't know why, but I see it, and it's there.  After that split second when the part of their brains that mediate "appropriate behavior" kick in, their tune changes in a more Hare-Krishna direction.  By which I mean--conversion.  "oh, I make it so it tastes just like a chicken cutlet."  But here are the problemS that I have with that.
1) If I want to eat something that tastes "just like a chicken cutlet," why don't I just eat a chicken cutlet.

In my mind, they respond, "oh, but eggplant is so much better for you."

2) In almost all cases, this is true.  the EXCEPTION of course being when you bread and deep fry the shit out of either of them.  At that point, I don't really think the health benefit margins are too thick.

3) It is an insult to food to think that the preferred preparation of a food would be to try and mask its taste to taste like something else.  Now I realize that this totally imaginary conversation I'm having is about chicken/eggplant cutlets, so getting all philosophical about the place of food is a bit of a reach, if not just completely nit-picky.  But you're forgetting something.

I'm having an imaginary conversation with myself.  So I can BE reach-y and nit-picky.  that said, I respect eggplant enough to realize that people enjoy it.  And I am ok not being one of those people.  Let's just leave it at that.

end tangent*

This was a blog about an interesting fact about me if you recall.  ADD is amazing.
Anyways.  When I cut open a green pepper, and you get that weird white almost foamy stuff that connects the inner pepper walls to the seedy core.  That white stuff.  Freaks.  Me.  Out.   I think it's gross and otherworldly.  It's a totally green food, why is there white in there.  And the consistency is totally inconsistent with the rest of the vegetable.   The pepper iscrisp and firm. The alien white crap is limp and fungus-y, and is the vegetive equivalent of the limp "dead fish" handshake.  Fuck that freaky white shit. (seen here on the viewer's right side)

On a separate note, I respect garlic for having an outer skin that knows its place.  You squeeze (great word--Q & Z, both 10 points) a garlic clove hard enough and that skin will slip right off.  It realizes that its function is to act as a barrier up to the point that the garlics innards are being accessed, at which point, its job is over and the quicker it gets out of the way the better.  Good on' yah garlic skin.
Not onions.  Onion skin will cling and grasp at itself like saran-wrap on, well, saran-wrap.  it can be an awful bother.  Fuck you onion skin.

Seriously, they are called the Washington REDSKINS

Tuesday, December 4, 2012 | 0 Comment(s)

How the hell is the Washington D.C. football team still called the "Redskins"!?!  Every time i watch football I think this same question.  I mean sure, the NHL (when it exists) has the Chicago Blackhawks and a smiliar logo.  But at least the Blackhawks are a tribe of Native Americans -- not a slur we used to dehumanize them.  And, of course, baseball has the Cleveland Indians (with their highly offensive "Indian" cartoon face (essentially the Native Ameican version of those Uncle Tom blackface figurines) and the Braves (while their "Indian chant" may be offensive, using the word for a warrior and the tomahawk as a symbol were fairly smart choices-ish).  But somehow the Redskins seem to put themselves atop the gross gross gross gross grossness meter for dumb decision making. 

I mean, think of new expansion teams in the same vain.

The Brooklyn Kikes -- I mean, why keep the "Nets" logo.  It's so bland and unappealing.  How cool will the basketball players look with peyus twirling down the side of their uniforms and a special "secular" outfit for Saturday games.

The Vancouver Yellowskins -- in an attempt to increase Asian turnout at hocky games, the Canucks decide to revamp their traditional uni's for something a bit more derogatory and defamatory.  While the sushi in the stands works out great (until they start throwing it on the ice), fans are caught off guard by the conical rice worker hat logo around the helmets and ExtenZe advertisements everywhere. 

And of course

The NFL's new San Francisco Queers -- Rainbow uni's abound as the none too subtle helmet designs were passed around.  I mean, a criss-crossed star with a missile heading toward it?   Keeping it classy.  The other teams always seem tentative to hit the Queers, even the pre-game stretching has taken a turn toward the awkward.  It's hard to innocently stretch out your teammate when the unicorns on your spandex pants line up juuuuuuust right when you do so.  

If you think these are super offensive and ridiculous, again, I present to you the football team playing in OUR NATIONS CAPITAL:  The Washington fucking Redskins.   Perhaps we just need a few doses of our own medicine. 

this kinda says it all
What about Rednecks instead of Redskins?

Life's Donkey Punch

Monday, December 3, 2012 | 0 Comment(s)

It has been a long week.  

It has been a week when the list of things I have to do, or I want to get done, or that need doing, seems to always have one more item I forgot to add, and unfortunately there are no lines left on the "to do"notepad in my head.  And somehow this transforms the world into a panicked place.  A place where  bills will never cease to pile up, errands will always need running to the store, and friends always could use just a little more of my time.  In this panicked world, I am a rubberized figurine being drawn and quartered by the four horsemen of responsibilities.   Always with a bit more stretch in my limbs, when i am pulled to my max, my original form is subtly but substantially changed.  At some point in the process, I can no longer snap back to normal.  Psyches, unfortunately, are less like a measuring- tape's extensions and retractions, and more like gummy worm's extension and bisection.  

And this feeling of having my ability to deal with adversary depleted Plinkos around in my chest, unsettled by the dissonance caused by the mesh of offsetting emotional pegs and the constant unending draw of gravity.  Downwards.  Ever downwards.

And in a life full of cognitive dissonance and juxtaposed feelings, here is the current battle.  On the one hand i am so insanely thankful for my life and the ability to lead it freely that I somewhat regularly have episodes of deep fear involving the contemplation of my own demise (see blog title).  And yet, in appreciating this miraculous and metaphor-laden existence, I also seem strangely attuned to the idea that life is an incredbly difficult, painful, and oftentimes cruel series of events.  We lose those we love.  We find ourselves motivated towards all the things we don't have.  We are bombarded by an "advanced" society that spends a majority of it's social capital convincing the public that there is something wrong with them.  That they either lack something (perfect skin, money, attractiveness, intelligence, cool clothes, a big enough tv, credit, Facebook friends, twitter followers, a significant other, etc.), or they have entirely too much of it (pimples, body fat, vices, fun, cholesterol, dirt, work, free time).  We are born perfect only to be wholeheartedly convinced otherwise for the rest of our lives.  

How do you appreciate this gift of life when it can hurt so much, so often?  Must we constantly be walking the tightrope between gratitude and defensiveness?  

I haven't figured out the answers to these questions.  At least not in any way that seems like a comprehensive solution.  I know appreciating and making time to spend with your favorite humans and animals is part of it.   It points you in the correct direction.  Loved ones keep you facing towards your principles and help prevent you from drifting sideways towards the mirages of quick money, easy fame, and false-friends.  

But even after you have reoriented yourself post-spin, you still have to pin the tail on the donkey.  And often, as i stride forward blindfolded with a confidence that is best described as completely faith based, what i feel in my hands is not a tail, but rather the size and shape of another donkey head.  And i know that I am supposed to pin the second head to the first donkey's rear end in order to win the game.  However,  there is no closure in completing the final image of a donkey replete with two heads.  It instead leaves you searching for the missing ass's ass.  

And this metaphor once again eats away at me because there are days when I feel just like the two-headed donkey, where every way is forwards and backwards simultaneously.  And other days,  I just feel a donkey's ass.