Monday, December 31, 2007

Bathroom Monologue: Thankful 2007

We should all take the time to remember what we’re thankful for in a year, even if we do so on the can. I’m thankful for a lot of things. Like any year that I’m thankful for a lot of things, it’s the small things that are important.
-I’m thankful for finally throwing “Norman Rockwell” into google and browsing the Images results. I’d never really taken a tour of his work, and even on a screen less than an eighth the size of his average paintings, they were stunningly beautiful and so full of character. There were two paintings in particular that I am thankful for seeing. The first was of a man and a woman arguing; from afar it looked like they were kissing, and when I took a closer look and saw they were fighting I assumed that it was a spat and they’d make up soon. It’s the only painting to ever immediately generate an entire story in my head. The other was of a man (probably Rockwell himself) in a museum, looking at a Pollock painting. I’ve retitled this painting, “I Could Do That.”
-I’m thankful to have discovered Nat King Cole this year. The first time in my life I’ve listened to his voice, it shakes my soul. I’m particularly thankful for his version of “Glory, Glory be to the New Born King.” It made me a Christian… for three minutes, anyway.
-I’m thankful for picking up Michael Chabon The Yiddish Policeman’s Union. It’s one of the few contemporary books I picked up this year, and the language was so rich that I lost myself in the first few chapters for days. I’m so woefully ignorant of Jewish culture that his speculative vision of Alaska was a completely original fantasy world to me, and was lovely, as cold as he made it.
-I’m thankful for Ring of Honor and Pro Wrestling Guerilla, two small companies practicing an underappreciated art. I couldn’t have a more satisfying hobby from intellectual studies than cheering on men in underwear as they slap each other.
-I’m thankful for, an alternative to that, with its primarily black layout, conserves hundreds of thousands of watt-hours. If you don’t know what a watt-hour is, blackle it.
-I’m thankful to everyone who has ever held the door for anyone else. I’ve done it hundreds of times this year, but the two times other people did it for me were wonderfully pleasant surprises.
-I’m thankful I wasn’t killed when that tornado struck in the middle of my morning walk. Since I did most of the running, I guess I’m mostly thankful to myself for that one.
-Of course, I’m thankful to everyone who did me a kindness this year. I won’t embarrass them by listing them, but they know who they are. You can’t really thank somebody for putting a roof over your head one night or providing Thanksgiving dinner, after you’ve thanked people for holding doors. There is still quite a bit of good in this world. Thank goodness.-Fuck it, yes you can. Thanks Mom, Rene, grandpa and grandma (these two are, ironically, not related), Shelly, Jemma, Nick, Nat, Paddywack, Give the Dog a Bone (I had to), GregH, Cassie, Deirdre, Alec, Lunchbox, Teri, Lorenzo, Serin, Kathleen, Red, the funny looking lady at the plaza, Jack/Neal, Max, and that literary agent who provided absolutely no useful advice other than to use blogspot. And thanks to everyone else who’s slipped my mind as I try to post something before I run out the door so the realtor can show the house.

Bathroom Monologue: Room for Seconds

"The second coming of Christ was another immaculate conception, to another Mary. However this time the Mary was a lesbian. Her partner, Josephine, didn't take the news well at first. She thought Mary had cheated on her, and harbored doubts until their baby boy turned his bathwater to merlot. Things were going to be different this time, especially the conversions."

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Bathroom Monologue: "Pakistan needs to be more pro-Western" -Pundit on ABC Radio

"You're right. We'll go stop using the wheel and the number zero immediately. What has the West made that we can replace it with? Small pox? Perfect. But also, could you define "West" for us? Because Africa is west of us. Actually, everything is west if you go far enough. The world is a spheroid, if you haven't heard. We sort of figured that out in 600 B.C., though we'll pretend the world's flat if it'll solve all our problems."

Bathroom Monologue: 'Till Tailgating Do Us Part

" My wife and I can't drive together. She is insane. She'd rather look at anything instead of the road. A pretty house. A pasture. The clouds. Like she doesn't see clouds when we're home? There'll be a car weaving in front of her and she'll be looking at the condos. And when I'm driving, she's constantly pointing out things for me to look at. Apparently that mansion is more interesting than the sharp turn ahead. I'm not taking anything from her. She's been in seven accidents, and the last one cost $3,000 to repair. She says, "Well I've been driving every day for the last ten years, and only been in accidents on seven of them." I say, "You've been working for twenty years. How many days have you made $3,000?" We'll be divorced by Easter. "

Bathroom Monologue: "You can't be neutral on a moving train." -Howard Zinn

"Of course you can't be neutral on a moving train, you idiot. It's a moving train. But a train moves in one direction. If you walk backwards you still move in the same aggregate direction as the train, merely slower than the other passengers. You can't go left or right unless you jump off, in which case you'll probably kill yourself, and if you survive you'll be stuck in the middle of the wilderness. And then you'll probably have to walk in the same direction the train was going, following its tracks, to get to civilization so that someone can look at your broken arm. You'd have to derail the thing, killing several passengers, just to get it to deviate from the tracks a little, and seconds after derailing it doesn't go anywhere at all. It’ll be neutral."

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Bathroom Monologue: Sun Tzu Inspires Some Weird Thoughts

Not telepathy. Intrapathy. It's probably an abuse of Latin, but that's okay. Who speaks Latin anymore? Intrapathy is the ability to read your own mind. Think you already do? You delusional sucker. You think with your mind, but you don't know your mind. Most people are so bad at picking their own brains apart that they either lie to themselves for their entire lives, or hire a minimally superior mind-picker in psychologists or psychiatrists. That's where intrapathy comes in. Only you can do it, and when you've got the talent, it stays. Figure out the reasons behind your actions and tastes, below the logic, below the rationality, just a layer of skin above the pink membrane of instinct itself. You'll remember what really matters, the memories so important that your mind has swallowed them and prevented you from ever remembering them afterward - like in my case, that time I went sledding with my dad and accidentally overturned us into a snow bank started my pathological fear of controlling devices. Without intrapathy, I still wouldn't have a driver's license. Good intrapathy allows you to get in there and really change who you are, to edit your personally like an author edits their manuscript. How many books are good on the first draft? Maybe one, and that book probably isn't yours. Intrapathy requires no gurus or professionals. It beats the heck out of the human genome. And once you get adept at it, those telepaths will be knocking down your door, inviting you into their heads to fix what's wrong with them. They'll do it because they know that if you don't know yourself, it doesn't matter how well you know your enemy.

Bathroom Monologue: A Matter of Life and Death

His name is Life. You had to know he existed. With all the personifications of Death out there, you knew there had to be a personification of her boyfriend. And that’s Life. Due to the company he keeps, he’s a rather pale, sickly fellow, skinny with red eyes, silver hair and a serene smile that gives away not an inkling of what’s on his mind. If you haven’t figured it out, his mind is the earth. Every so often he gets in a fight with Death, which is natural for couples. She’ll go over and sulk in some corner of the intensive care ward at a hospital. He’ll go try to cheer himself up at the nursery, though he always gets bored and goes outside. When Death gets over herself, she finds him sitting out in front of the nearest available statue. Life likes statues. He likes Art. Art is his best-known son, always imitating him. Then Life and Death will talk out their problems, the same ones they’ve had for millions of years, and kiss and make up in the twilight of morning. Life will talk to you if you try hard enough, though it’s hard to get him to answer questions. The one time I’ve asked him why he associates with Death, he smiled wanly, already beginning to fade, and answered, “It’d be real lonely without her.”

Bathroom Monologue: Revenge of the Return of the Bathroom Dialogues

Ghost: Oh, you can go ahead.
Charlie: That's alright, you go first.
Ghost: Really, you were here before me.
Charlie: Which is why it's kind of me to let you go first.
Ghost: Well you don't have to be a dick about it.
Charlie: You got a problem?
Ghost: You got a problem?
Charlie: What's wrong with you?
Ghost: You steppin'?
Charlie: I'll knock a mother****er out.
Ghost: Well then it's on!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Bathroom Monologue: Flight of Dragons Redux

Zinsen Fen did a great thing by slaying Th'uuban, the cannibal dragon. There was no question in the goodness of his act. However, it was something of a burden on the populace of the neighboring city to handle several million tons of dragon carcass. It blighted the land, its fumes retarding the crops, its dead grimace scaring off tourists, and its bulk blocking so much of the horizon that dawn came an hour and a half later in the morning.

With the swift thinking that ensures promotions, the mayor's aid put the body up for auction before the neighboring castles could figure out what a terrible thing on which they were bidding. This "deluxe luxury item" and "one of a kind memorabilia from Zinsen Fen's greatest adventure" sold for enough coin to keep the township prosperous for decades to come (though the misappropriation of those funds by the newly appointed senior mayor’s aid is another tale entirely).

The L'Argent Family who ultimately bought the dragon's corpse had so little use for it after the party for its unveiling at their new and wholly unnecessary art gallery (formerly a hollow mountain no one else was using that century) that they left it in the hands of the very gypsies that had shipped and handled it for them. Not that the gypsies had much of a better idea of how to use several million tons of dragon corpse than the crazy rich people who had bought it. They tried selling its scales for armor and good luck charms, but both of those opportunities dried up once everyone in the region owned at least ten dragon scales, and felt no safer or luckier than before (though they all felt a bit poorer, a bit cheated, and a bit angry that they hadn't asked for receipts).

The gypsy king had a stroke of genius to make a ship from the carcass. He'd always wanted a ship, in the hopes that his people could sail to new countries that needed shipping, handling and the purchase of faulty good luck charms. Dragons are naturally hollowed out upon death by the expulsion of their own fire, so Th'uuban's torso made a fine hull, and his wings made for an exceptional pair of sails - a truly great pair, since the H.M.S. Th'uuban set off on its maiden voyage to pick up the gypsy king's wife and immediately left the water and took to the air. They had the first flying ship, wholly on accident.

The gypsy king (who was deposed a week later in the wake of the tribe going global, and was replaced with a kinder, more sensible democratic body headed by his wife) took the ship across the continent, barging through crowds of clouds. The town that had auctioned Th'uuban's body shook its collective fist at the sky, and began doubting the value of paving their streets with gold the way they had. The L'Argent Family quickly summoned their lawyers, to see if they could sue for a piece of the profits. Everyone expected the gypsies to make a great profit off of this, and they did.

And that is the story of the first Overnight Air Delivery in the land.

Bathroom Monologue: Live to Duct Tape

"I have six days to write something that will go live on network television? I don't even know how to write for live theatre! Or dead theatre! You could produce my skit for an audience of zombies and they'd be just as likely to laugh as an audience of living twenty-somethings! And when the ****ing skit was over, the living audience would be just as likely to rip my limbs off and devour my flesh as the zombies! I can't do this! I don't know how to do this! I'll lose my job! But you know, all this emotion is kind of inspiring. I kind of want to write. Wait, I'll come back in ten minutes. Either I'll have a script or I'll be begging you to fire me."

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Bathroom Monologue: Chilling

Lo: This abandoned prison is the perfect hideout. The villagers think it's haunted and won't go near it.
Puck: But it's not really haunted?
Lo: No, it is. But I pay the ghosts reasonable rent, and I can play the stereo as loud as I like until 9:00.

Bathroom Monologue: Rejected Bumper Stickers

-I have the right to bear arms (it’s in the Constitution)
-The Elderly are our Greatest Resource... of Mulch
-Respect the truth enough to leave it alone
-I have the right to arm bears (it's in the Constitution)
-Hitchhikers are like Drivethru for Cannibals
-Women are like paintings: pretty to look at, useless to listen to
-I have the right to throw this van into reverse (it's in the Constitution)
-Remake Directors, Not Movies
-I have the right to follow you home (it's in the Constitution)
-Love Conquers All, The Occupation is Harder
-DUEL Wasn't a Movie, it was a Warning
-My bear has the right to follow you home (it's in the Constitution)
-I only brake for imaginary Stop signs
-Legalize Pot to Solve the Budget Deficit
-It's not racist if you do it right, or if you're black
-My Other Car is Your Mom
-Has anyone seen my bear? (she stole my copy of the Constitution)

Bathroom Monologue: "Man is a Ghost that Haunts Himself" -Me

You know who I'd like to see a ghost possess? Himself. Or herself, sure. But semantic gender aside, himself. It's a little sadistic, but wouldn't it be neat to see what he noticed? If the ghost, separated from the living body for a time, and was returned to it to inhabit it anew. It'd feel familiar, like getting back behind the wheel of a car you'd been driving for nineteen straight years but then left in a garage for two more. There's a certain comfort when you get back in, and there's an unease. It wouldn't feel exactly the same as before. You look in different directions and notice things in different orders. You likely notice things in there that you'd forgotten were there, or that you were so used to that you overlooked them. Vital things, things you loved, things you stole and hid. Important things you never think about anymore. Wouldn't it be neat to find out what things a ghost remembered when settling back into his own bones?

Bathroom Monologue: Sure. Blame the Director.

It was only then that Billiam realized what earth was: a remake. The body counts are higher, the wars are nastier, the conflicts are more superficial – this planet and its history could be nothing else than a remake of a decent original, sensationalized to sell. Maybe the original was a classic. Billiam couldn’t be sure. But the remake was clearly directed by a hack, with an inferior cast. And as he read about global warming and frightened countries building nuclear arms, he worried that the flick might be pulled from theatres prematurely. How sad, he thought it, to live in a b-movie world. His only comfort came from imagining what was playing across the hall.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Bathroom Monologue: Our Contradictions, as Viewed by a Dwarf

“Humans. They want it warm when it’s cold, and they want it cold when it’s warm. They build devices to give them light when it’s dark, and they’re always turning them off. They don’t want to go to sleep, and then they don’t want to get up. They never get to somewhere without wanting to go back an hour later. And they have the nerve to bitch about paradoxes. I don’t even bother thinking about half the things these humans want to get done and undo again before supper.” –Aegis Erengeld

Bathroom Monologue: November 1st: The Worst Day of the Year

Well for starters, October ends. Halloween is dead. Horror movies disappear from TV and drip out of theatres. I love horror movies, but even if you can't stand them, you must have a candy cane lodged in your brain to think the holiday movies that shortly replace them are better. You have to get rid of the jack o'lantern, the stores take down the cool displays and candy gets more expensive. Then the Christmas B.S. pours in, as though it isn't 55 days away. In the U.S., November 1st is inexplicably closer to elections, accelerating the amount of political nonsense spinning in media, quickly reducing politics to a subject you can't possibly discuss with civility until long, long after November 1st gets the **** out of town.

Bathroom Monologue: The Joy of Re-Reading

To Kill a Mockingbird was Maureen's favorite book, even though she'd never read it. She carried it for years. She had her story down -- her father had given her this copy when she turned twelve, and it had been with her through high school, college and the workplace ever since. That was all true. What she did was stare at the pages, not actually reading, but thinking over whatever was on her mind that day. It was the perfect excuse to keep men or chatty old women from talking to her in the dentist's waiting room, at the bus stop or on the subway. Through practice, she could turn the pages at a convincing fake-reading pace, and she had mastered that frown women make, that one men cannot possibly realize isn't a frown of concentrated reading when a book is in her hands, but is instead a frown of concentrated plotting on how to make it to junior executive before they turn twenty-five. She learned the memorable moments and quotes from all the strangers who knew the book and just had to talk to her about it, though from all the conversations she'd had about it, she still wasn't sure what the plot was. She'd have to read it some day.

Bathroom Monologue: That Neck Thingie

It's tough being a 250-pound guy in a neckbrace; you look like a cartoon bird being strangled. You're already huge, and now you have this decoration - this decoration that every single idiot you help at Walmart can't help but ask about. And you're not going to tell them the truth - oh Hell no. You make up stories on the way to work, and then you make up fresh ones on the spot, because after the second time you replay the original set of lies in your mind you realize how dumb they sound. Oh, you popped your neck lifting something. Something heavy. Or you fell off a ladder. Or a bar fight. Yeah, you were hit with something. Something heavy. Something manly, something iron. No matter the lie, iron will always be involved after that. You tell these iron lies because they make you feel like a man, and because there's no Goddamned way you'll tell them you tore a muscle in your neck straining too hard while taking a dump. You didn't even know that was possible, and you damn sure don't anyone else realizing it's possible at your expense.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Bathroom Monologue: That It Do

pages grow yellow
paint flecking on wood
quills scrape along paper
random visuals
frantic touches,
so fake they bleed
every sentence fragment so full
of itself and nothing else
doesn't have to rhyme
doesn't need rhythm
occasional odors
soundless music
sensory imagery
pomp and thunder fills a void
a void that calls itself the Universe
things said better
more clearly
more concisely
more correctly
in prose
this is why
I hate poetry

Bathroom Monologue: Goodbye-Sexuals

In the future there will be heterosexuals, homosexuals, and finally the asexuals. Straights, gays and nays. People will never even have to go outside to find a date. It will be harder to win civil unions for a man and his right hand, but once enough nays raise stable children, they'll make it. It's not like they'll be the first to have single-parent households after all. And nays will the lowest divorce rate of any sexuality, though accompanied by the highest bifurcation rate. They'll be the fastest growing minority in Mexifornia, too, because they won't only multiply by conversion, and they won’t marry other races. Their kids will be just like mom (or dad). Except they'll like newer, dumber music and dress like complete idiots until their twenties. Some will try to rebel. Go straight. Or gay. But they'll come back. It'll be in their genes. We know, because there'll be nothing else in them.

Bathroom Monologue: Think of their contact lens expenses

It's a shame that "Triclops" isn't a better-sounding name. The Cyclopes had no such problems. Even werewolves have weathered popularity of brand name well, despite "lycans" sounding like something that grows on the underside of your boat. But the Triclopes had no such luck, which was a shame, since they had so much to offer. Why, with their skill in spears, if given the proper lead role in an RPG they could have made lances the next "swords." And most of them could stop time by blinking their third eye, and even the weakest Triclops could pluck up two ends of time and knit with it. Yet to re-launch their brand they needed a new name, having been unpopular to the point of obscurity since that bastard, Homer, snubbed them out of a villain role in his "Iliad sequel" project. Most of the three-eyed beasts wanted a three-related or eye-related name, with conservatives demanding a three-eye-related name, and liberals proposing something fresh. The young suggested some kind of confection-based name, since it has been well-known to those who know it that Triclopes make the best cookies on earth. However, one cynical comment about "Master Bakers" and the cookie proposal crumbled. "Three Eyes?" No style. "The Gejj?" Foreign-sounding names were going out of style. "Triads?" No, they weren't going to pick a fight with the mafia of any country that had nuclear weapons. Exhausted and out of ideas, the Triclopes will take open their search to internet suggestions this winter, hoping for some of the same "unappreciated minority" appeal that has worked so well for other species and races. Though first, they have to agree on a catchy URL.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Bathroom Monologue: A rose by any other name is mislabeled

Most countries have one name that is similar across all of the languages that speak about them. The name may sound a little different or look a little different on paper, but you can tell that "Espagne" and "Spain" come from the same name. The difference is mostly the product of hundreds of years of pronunciation in one dialect or another. "The United States" and "L'Etats Unix" are the same; the latter is just French for the same words, put into the syntax of their language.

But then there's Germany. In English anyway. You see in English it's "Germany," but in French it's "Allemagne," in Polish it's "Niemcy," and in that country itself they call it "Deutschland." These words don't look anything like each other. Their parts don't translate into the same original words. They mean the same country, but they're curiously different names.

The "deutsch" in "Deutschland" comes from the old German word for "people" or "folk." A nice word to name your homeland. It meant people were there. I'm a citizen of the unimaginatively-named United States, so I can appreciate it. The "Germans" still use that name for their country today. But what of the other names?

It turns out that "Germany" from the old Latin "Germania," a murky, generic word for tribes living in the region that we today call "Germany." Similarly, "Allemagne" is a mutation of the original name for a tribe that used to live in Germany, the Alamanni tribe. Say them out loud and you can tell that one was once the other. Speakers of such languages grew to identify the area by the tribe with which they were most familiar. Even "Niemcy" comes from an old Slavic word, "nemoy," a very rude term for people who didn't speak Slavic. That's a pretty rude way to name a country.

Actually, they're all pretty rude. The country is Deutschland. That's what they call themselves. My name is John. I'll understand if you localize it, say it with an accent or even substitute the local equivalent, but calling me "Theodore" makes you seem senile. Calling Deutchsland "Germany" or "Allemagne" boils down to countries lacking the respect to call it by its name, and rather going by the name of a tribe that lived there 2,300 years ago. It's been "Deutschland" long enough that we can call it that now. It's a frickin' world power, people.

A Making Grilled Cheese Sandwiches Monologue... by way of Dialogue

Abe: We want them scared, though.
Fenris: Not really, sir.
Abe: What's that?
Fenris: They have the second largest army in the world. Should they become too frightened, they will be much more likely to fire upon us, and the west coast, in which the two of us reside, cannot weather such a shelling.
Abe: You don't know what you're talking about, Fenny. I've always been smarter than you.
Fenris: Actually, that's just an illusion I've kept up in my tenure as your loyal man-servant. I'm quite a bit smarter than you, by at least thirty I.Q. points. My retirement portfolio is actually twice the size of yours now. I generally go around behind your back, fixing your mistakes, while stroking your ego, so as to make you as comfortable a master as you can be. It is my job. But please, don't antagonize the guys with nuclear weapons. It'd be a terrible career move, especially with your real estate holdings.
Abe: ... I'll tell you what. I'm going to call them and say this whole war-thing was a misunderstanding. And then I'm going watch as much reality TV as it takes to forget what you've just said.
Fenris: Jolly good decision, sir. Ranting about The Apprentice always cleanses your mind.
Abe: Fetch me a seltzer.
Fenris: Positively, sir.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Bathroom Monologue: Best of the Rest

Well Mandy and Sam loved each other for a good long time, which meant they had that day, the best day of their lives, which, of course, was run to please other people. Two aunts and a surviving grandmother ran the kitchen. Sam's sisters organized where everyone slept, except for Mandy and Sam, who were accidentally kicked out of their bedrooms for Great Aunt Helen and Bill (Sam’s sister’s boyfriend, from Australia), to instead sleep in a hammock outside and in the laundry room, respectively. Mandy's mother picked the location, and Sam's mother got square dancing as part of the celebration after the ceremony, since she'd had another location in mind and needed some form of reparations. It was the best day of their lives, with food they normally only tolerated on holidays, vows that didn't quite fit their feelings (but that had Great Aunt Helen in tears) and Mandy's mother's dress, which was the loveliest thing they had ever seen, though it wasn't much designed for square dancing. Mandy and Sam were spun in every direction, lifted up, marched down the dance hall, and in general, were completely separated by a clapping, stomping barrier of relatives and friends of relatives. Nathaniel, a childhood friend of Mandy's, was the first to notice the divided couple's wandering eyes and frowns. Nathaniel hailed to Christine, a sweet ex-girlfriend of Sam's, who drafted her brother (Lenny) and Bruce (Mandy and Sam's best friend from college, who was about as terrified of square dancing as you could get). This fantastic four infiltrated the next dance, which saw Mandy and Sam at literal opposite ends of the room, partnered with Renfield (another boyfriend of a sister) and some kind of second cousin, respectively. Well Bruce linked arms with Sam, and Lenny gallivanted with Mandy, and Christine gave covert directions, and without anyone noticing (not even the watchful Great Aunt Helen), Mandy and Sam were square-danced square out the back door. It was hours before anyone noticed, and even then it was fine, because it was 1:00 AM, and they had already had the best day of their lives.

Bathroom Monologue: I think it shields from rain, or bird poo...

Ted was the proud inventor of the car sheathe. What a magnificent invention to father. It was durable, big enough and pliable enough to snugly fit the form of most vehicles, and despite it all, could be folded back up and stored in your trunk, taking less room than a bag of groceries. How cool was that? Something that covered your entire car and fit so easily inside it when you were done. Of course Ted was proud of fooling thousands of car-owners into believing it did something useful, and the millions of dollars it made him, but he was most proud of its space economy.

Bathroom Monologue: Redefining Ignorance

There's an interesting debate about what words should be spoken, and by whom, and what they're allowed to mean. It's an interesting debate, in part because no one’s allowed to say the words even when they’re discussed. The master debaters want the words remembered, and their hateful meanings to be permanent - they're outraged that the words ought to be given other, simpler, dumber meanings that undermine the history of hate behind the syllables. For some reason, they think a century of slavery or a trail of tears can be forgotten if a rotten word turns into a joke. That's a shame, because it's only a way of keeping hate alive, of preserving the tools of social pain. A "kike" ought to be a typo for what a five-year old learned to fly yesterday. "Jewing you down" ought to be the Hebrew style of breakdancing. The "colored water fountain" ought to be a rainbow pool that kids of all shades of skin wade in when it's hot. There is value in remembering the past, but it's not always a case of those forgetting history being doomed to repeat it - often, it's the case that the malign study history in order to out-do it. We need to be careful with what history we decide to write and how we share it, because in 2050, the only "burning cross" I want to see in someone's front yard is a wicked skateboard move. Then "Jewing you down," "redskin," and "towelhead" will be as "fuck," "shit," and "damn" are now - pale ghosts of offense. Because really, "Jewing you down" shouldn't be anything but Hebrew breakdancing.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Bathroom Monologue: We've all been Student #4

The teacher asked his four students their conclusions on the material.

The first student said, "If there is a God, He must be a chemist."

The second student said, "No, God is chemistry."

The third student said, "No, God is what chemistry truly studies."

The fourth student said, "I thought we were supposed to read up to Chapter 6...."

Bathroom Monologue: Fatal Corkboard

I mean, "Hellraiser" is pretty much a series of movies about a rubix cube of doom. There are bondage demons, but they are all captives of the rubix cube. Freddy Kruger's trademark is a glove. Yeah, it's a glove with knives on it, but he doesn't even need it with his dream powers. Isn't "Saw" just about a guy with far too much time, bear traps and real estate on his hands? "Friday the 13th?" Hockey Mask. "Child's Play?" A freaking baby doll of death. That's the trademark! It's a killer cabbage patch doll. I could take a cabbage patch doll in a fight! If you lay these things side-by-side, you’ll find that most horror movie trademarks aren't very scary. Rubix cube, hockey mask, baby doll. Shouldn't it be easier to come up with horror movie weapons and villains, then? Like, could I make corkboard scary? Could an undead serial killer stalk a half-naked movie star with his trusty Nintendo 64 in hand? It doesn't seem so. There must be some kind of code. But I'm going to crack it. Because when I do, it'll be the new dawn of product placement. iPods, pulp novels, and maybe a shredded 7-Up can used as a mask. I'll be rich. And no one will be safe to go in the water again...

Bathroom Monologue: Down the Freudian Stream

You see, there are post-Freudian writers, and then there are post-post-Freudian writers. Post-Freudian writers have studied his theories and apply his concepts and symbologies into the constitutions of their characters and plots. Post-post-Freudian writers have heard something about Freud, and write about everyone wanting to bang their moms and their boss looking like that bully from second grade. Post-post-Freudians are part of a greater pandemic of authors who overwhelmingly seem to have written more books than they have read. It wouldn't be nearly as bad if the first post-post-Freudian writer wasn't Sigmund Freud.

Bathroom Monologue: Things from the Train Station P.A. that Utterly Derailed Bathroom Monologues

-"Can anyone who speaks Spanish please come to the Information Desk?"
-"Attention: due to technical difficulties, the 52 train is canceled. It will arrive in fifteen minutes."
-"Attention: Velvet Ray is needed at Club Acela."
-"The 72 train to Birmingham, New York and Brooklyn, Vermont is five minutes late. Please stand by for track assignment."
-"Have a good day, Franky."

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Bathroom Monologue: Eventually, you get to do a 'Long Ago'

Long ago, when the Ogres still had some wisdom, they bowed to the wind. The lord of the wind was Kierneg, and he rewarded their worship with music. He invented many instruments for them, like the horn, the bagpipes and the tuba. They were mostly ostentatious instruments, but they were invented by a god, after all. There was one instrument in the horde of gifts that only Kierneg could play: the wind chimes. The Ogres learned how to make them and make them right, but no one made them sing like he. Its songs came when he passed through, telling the Ogres when there god was near, and nary much more than a day went by before he rode through, wiggling his invisible fingers over the wind chimes and tinkling out a melody. Sometimes it was a sweet tune; on others, it was frantic and warned of storms. The Ogres knew what every song meant, feared none, and cherished all -- until their intellect waned. The wind has never left us, though.

Bathroom Monologue: Beware, 'Lest the Spoils Spoil You

I look at you from across the road, and later from across the hall. Your black limousine looks like a hearse. Your tie is no better than a noose. That three-piece suit is only missing the zipper up the back. You sit on your plush leather chair in an office with your name stenciled on the door, in the same font they use on headstones. That liquor in your desk fills you up, makes you burn and kills your head, only a little slower than embalming fluid. Do you live in a skyscraper because you're afraid you'll never go to Heaven? I only look at you and wonder, will your coffin be silk-lined, like your bed?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Bathroom Monologue: Something you've probably never seen in a book before

Jim waved as the ticket taker came up. "Good afternoon," he said. Then his eyebrows rose. Of course, it wasn't afternoon. It was 7:00 in the darned morning, but Jim had so often slept 'till noon that he was wholly out of practice at saying anything other than 'Good afternoon' or 'Good night.' "Sorry," he apologized and held out his ticket, "It's actually 'good morning.'"

Bathroom Monologue: Men on the Long-Fabled Feminine Tradition of Greeting Cards, OR, To a Great Godnephew

Let the word go forth from this time and place: cards suck. Christmas cards, Birthday cards, Independence Day cards, it doesn't matter. If they aren't attached to a sports bike or don't contain a check, they're lame. I don't need evidence that you are so unmotivated and unoriginal that you needed to pay Hallmark two bucks for a two-sentence compliment. Oh, and to those people who put their family photos on cards - stop it. Stop mailing the cards. Stop making the cards. Stop having a family, if you can. Your kids are ugly and no one else likes them. Keep them to yourself. If you don't like someone else enough to buy them something they'd actually enjoy, don't mail them proof. A card is paper that folds. You're not fooling anyone.

Bathroom Monologue: Things I'd like to see a clown do

-Get creative with the grease paint for an NFL offensive line.
-Run in on a bukkake with a seltzer bottle. If you don't know what that is, don't look it up.
-Tame a chair with a lion and a whip.
-Fend off a zombie invasion with nothing but the contents of a bakery.
-Run a Poland Spring franchise for twenty years, totally deadpan. I defy you to find a better use for a clown in full make-up than to show up at your house instead of a union guy every time you run out of water.
-Explain the metaphysical aspects of Smashmouth's "Tubthumping" as part of an Oxford lecture series.

Bathroom Monologue: Chance Encounters of the Third Kind

Before we knew it, Wakeem was pulled aside by Uncle Archie. Uncle Archie was a good guy, but the Gulf War disillusioned him. By disillusioned, I mean that he rarely leaves his room, updates his blog every four hours, and gets hives if he's away from cable news for too long. And Wakeem was sucked into that smoky, dimly-lit room for the entire party. At midnight he stumbled back out again. My erudite friend, who I was supposed to take care of while he was in our country, and forgotten almost all the English he'd learned at university, in favor of three phrases: "National healthcare is for pinkos and border jumpers," "In cash please now," and "I don't like the women. They are having the AIDS." It didn't help that he debuted the third phrase on my mom while she was offering him finger sandwiches.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Bathroom Monologue: It's all about image, people

Unbeknownst to the public, companies do not just run advertisements for all their products willy-nilly. For instance, the Pepsi Cola Company has divisions for marketing beverages independently of each other, including specific accounts with separate advertising firms representing Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Wild Cherry Pepsi, Mountain Dew and all of the non-traditional specially flavored variant drinks, like Code Red, Jazz and We-Swear-We-Came-Up-With-It-Before-Coke-Did Pepsi. Sure, the specially-flavored ad division has a feud with the Wild Cherry division (on many a night ad executives in the Wild Cherry wing can be heard crying, "If only we had specially-flavored's budget!"), but the worst feud is between Pepsi and Diet Pepsi. Not a commercial goes by when the diet brand doesn't claim it tastes just as good as regular cola. No, you aren't the only one who knows this is bullshit. The regular Pepsi pushers know it too, and they've been mad over it for decades. Decades of pent-up rage. But this winter, the Pepsi Cola Company will finally let the regular Pepsi ads fight back. In a revolutionary series of commercials, drinkers of any diet soda will be cast as ugly, awkward, effeminate social rejects with bad complexions and friends who don't really like them. Yes, next year it won't just be about Diet Pepsi (and diet drinks in general) not tasting like regularly sweetened Pepsi; the ads will see these "dieters" ditched outside of reststops, laughed out of nightclubs, and contracting cancer for no apparent reason aside from the can of Diet Pepsi in their hands. Their fashion sense will be mocked, their exercise regimens will be unfairly criticized, and their sexualities will be questioned. And while it may not sell more soda, the Pepsi Cola Company expects to draw a lot of attention with their new "Diet Pepsi is for Fags" campaign.

Bathroom Monologue: Ayouism

"Atheism has opened up a whole new worldview for me, but no, it’s not atheism. It's denial. I love it. When I really don't like someone, I'll just stop believing in them. I've already stopped believing in a lot of atheists, and a lot of religious assholes. Not their gods. Just them. Jesus Christ lived, but if you ask me, the 700 Club is a total hoax. And the I.R.S.! I was so sick of owing them money every April. But now? I'm not paying tithes to an imaginary institution. Supposedly your taxes pay for all the government projects, but I've had a pothole in front of my house for fifteen years and the road service never filled it up no matter how much I prayed to the Transportation Bureau. I thought they were lazy, but now I get it. They're not lazy. They're just not there."

Bathroom Monologue: The Refund of the King

Agentius was every ounce the rightful successor to the recently deposed throne of the Kyle Empire. He was the son of Celmets Kyle the 4th (and a buxom librarian), narrowly avoiding death in the coup by witlessly blending into the crowd of children in the local nursery - a curious skill shared by most infants. He was raised by humble monks until he reached that tender age when the elderly no longer feel guilty about kicking an irascible, ungrateful bastard child out of their monastery. From that day on, Agentius lived the life of any rightful rulers of a recently overthrown country - hand-to-mouth, with absolutely no chance or thought of becoming king. He had a hard enough time arguing digits off his bar tab. He met his best friend, fiancé, and twelve of his present co-workers at a rustic carnival, when he broke all of them out of their cages. Some might consider starting up a shipyard with twelve infant krakens to be a wee bit foolish. Some might consider getting engaged to an Elf whose normal diet consists entirely of human flesh to be unwise. Some might even consider their first meeting to be vandalism. He considers it highly satisfying. Indeed, the twilight hours on every Saturday morning, just before he and the last of his comrades pass out from their most recent frivolous celebrations, are the only times Agentius feels like a king. And, it's the only time he wants to.

Monday, December 17, 2007

A "While Walking from Home Depot to Borders" Monologue

Felix and Creed grew up on different ends of the same street. A curious zoning law shuffled and dealt children of that neighborhood between two different schools. Thus, these two boys only met for two weeks in their entire childhoods, when the plumbing at Creed's elementary school exploded and his class was temporarily reassigned to Felix's school building. During those two weeks, they had one memorable meeting: when Creed beat the snot out of Felix, and took his lunch money. Creed was a big, funny-looking boy, often mocked for his size, which was the primary reason he turned into a bully; and being beaten up by a big, funny-looking boy became the primary reason for Felix's pathological fear of large men for a decade afterwards.

Creed was kicked out of his house at thirteen for "causing more trouble than you're worth," as his father put it. Felix's mother, who was the rare sort of guidance councilor who might have helped Creed had they met more than once, died that same year. Felix's father did his best, but Felix still ran away from home three years later. Three years apart, the two youths followed almost identical paths down the Mississippi river. Their nearly identical paths leant them almost identical tastes for spicy foods, appreciations for jazz, and talents for finding somewhere safe to sleep. The trek also introduced Felix to a wide array of very tall men; some of them perverted, one whom hurt him badly, and one lanky paraplegic whose tenderness and endless supply of dirty Bible jokes began to turn Felix around on his phobia. This last gentleman, Mr. Corksworth, got Felix into a halfway house. There, the youth learned of a talent of gymnastics that would come to odd use later. Creed also visited this halfway house. He slept in the alley outside Felix's window one night. He ate breakfast there the next morning. He looked a little too "big, mean and gangly," for these parts, or so he overheard two girls commenting. So he left, coincidentally just as Felix came downstairs.

All Creed was any good at was picking fights. He spared the girls, because he only enjoyed hitting men. It'd started when he fought other boys for leftover beans or squatting privileges. Then it matured, if such tendencies can be said to mature, to amateur boxing and fighting in private clubs, where only underage performers were wanted, and the winner always lost a little more than the loser by the end of the night. By the end of the year, this kind of life drained the desire to hurt people right out of Creed. It was only by luck that he fell out of such circles, and into the circuits of the smallest of small-time pro-wrestling. Hitting people - for fake - but making it look real, for pathetically small crowds. They weren't pathetic to him, though; to him, they were intimate, like a gathering of friends. These crowds, sometimes only ten people, bought into his fake fighting, his absurd performance - something he thought only friends could do, and that made each crowd the closest thing he had to friends in his life. In this queer little art it was all about character, about passion, and about appearance. For a guy on that level, Creed was about the biggest and ugliest bad guy those companies ever saw, even before he turned 18. And when he turned 18, they could actually pay him over the table if he wanted (not that he ever did).

At the same time, an amazingly athletic, wiry young man named Felix Jester came along the professional wrestling independents. He was popular for sympathetically countering bigger opponents' offense with deft acrobatics, like he'd trained in gymnastics or something. He was so nimble that no matter how badly an opponent bent or stretched his limbs, he would look bored instead of in pain. The crowds loved it, and had no idea that Felix, their favorite hero, was living out of a used car as he traveled from show to show. The fans had no idea their most hated villain, Killer Creed, also lived out of a used car. Even the writers of the wrestling shows had no idea that these two cars were parked next to one another outside the arena, the night before the a first-time-ever match: Killer Creed VS Felix Jester. Felix was trying to sleep, while Creed was getting his jazz on with the new CD player attachment for his stereo that he could finally afford now on layaway. Felix rolled up his window, waved to get the guy to shut that crap off, before giving up, since Louis Armstrong was one of his favorites, too. He wound up tapping on Creed's window to ask if he would crank it up. They spent most of the night talking to each other from the front seats of two of the most beat-up automobiles in the state, their doors open, almost touching. It was 3:00 AM before one figured out the other was wrestling, and 4:00 AM before the other figured out this one was wrestling him. The next day they put on a Hell of a match, an especially impressive match for two guys who had never met before. Under the guise of characters they feuded for years, but they were friends and traveling partners on the road long after.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Bathroom Monologue: Bea Arthur: A Novel

Don't you want to slap authors who add " : A Novel" after their titles? Hearts: A Novel. Orchard: A Novel. Who are you helping here? The guy who restocks the shelves? It's sitting next to six hundred other novels. It's not my fault your horribly unoriginal cover doesn't convey what kind of book it is (it's probably a picture of a building, a road, an empty beach or a photo of you, isn't it?). It's a book in the Fiction section! Picking the thing up and flipping through it, which I'll have to do anyway if I'm going to buy it, will tell me if it's an anthology or a picaresque. If you shaped the book, say, like the Himalayas, disguising the pages as 1,000 meter-tall sheets of ice and rock, then, then I might need you to label it " : A Novel." I'd be quite surprised. I'd probably buy two, for stocking stuffers. But not your 250-page paperback of My Doves: A Novel in the middle of the Fiction section. It doesn't even say, "Checkpoint: A Good Novel," or, "Company: A Novel That Has Some Shortcomings, But There's a Really Clever Ending." Even culinary anti-artists like candy companies put more on their bags than, "Oreos: A Cookie." Given, they do have a more compelling product than most literary authors, but still. It's the principle of the thing, and novels are about the principle of the thing. How am I supposed to trust you with the English language for hundreds of pages when you're wasting words right on the cover? Strunk and White frown, madame. You know what I'd like to do someday? Drive past one of those capital offenders' houses and huck a stone with a note on it through her window. The note would read " : A Rock. "

Bathroom Monologue: When you grow up, you trade in "imaginary friends" for "characters"

"This is why you're so bad at reading the Bible, John. You feel bad for the Jews. You feel bad for the Christians. You think God should do more, especially if He's a Trinity. Then you turn from the full book to your empty notebook, and you feel bad for not helping your characters. You want to be a better god than God. It's cute, but it ought to give you more sympathy for the creator. Think of all the authors out there. How many of them don't kick, stab, rape, addict, orphan or otherwise savage their protagonists? And always the protagonists! Think of all the vile characters in literature that only suffer at the climax of the fiction, while the virtuous have a tough time from the opening. There are thousands of terrible gods walking the earth, raining down a perverted justice called "realism" on their fiction. How many souls would be sympathetic to God if when they died they found out He only did this to seem realistic? As a professional character let me say, I'd much sooner live in an unrealistic, poorly-written Eden than an edgy, sharply-detailed crack alley."

Bathroom Monologue: Those who do not suffer fools usually miss their own foolishness

Emperor Kyle did not suffer fools. If a poet stuttered at recitation, he was banned from the court. If a philosopher dared cite a disliked theologian, she was imprisoned indefinitely. If a doctor failed to cure him within a week, he was beheaded. He pushed science, literature and taxation to new levels - never had the culture been so rich, as everyone in his court could attest. Ignorance was not bliss; it was a crime. That was why it was so funny when the starving masses overthrew Kyle's government, for ignoring them so long.

Bathroom Monologue: From the Annals of Poorly Written Science Fiction, Volume 170

"My world has three races. The first two are the Whites and the Blacks. White people have a kind of tope- or beige-colored skin. Their hair is black, brown, yellow or orange. Black people have brown skin, and black hair. The third race that some people call Yellows or Reds, but those speakers are mostly ignorant. This race has mostly the same skin colors of white people when they've been out in the sun, but their eyes are a little narrower. Their hair is black, too. Oh, and white, black and yellow people all have the same color lips and scar tissue: pink. I guess I'll do it as beige sometimes, for variety. When any of the races gets older, their hair turns grey or white, or just falls out. There's not much rhyme or reason to it. Huh? No, white people are never really white. Truly white people are called "albinos," which is a word from a period in this world's culture that nobody cares about."

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Bathroom Monologue: Numbah One!

Their most popular beer is 'ichiban,' which is Japanese for "number one," I guess because once you've had an atomic bomb dropped on you, you never feel the need to be subtle ever again. But "ichiban" means something very different in English. Ichiban has had a dramatic effect on my life and family, particularly through my brother. Some of you may have family members who can't hold their imported drinks, but not like mine. You have not experienced the depths of foreign-alcohol-fueled dilemmas until you've been frantically trying to pay the bill at a Thai restaurant while your brother is so wasted on ichiban, which he brought himself because it's a fucking Thai restaurant and they don't sell Japanese beer, while he is so wasted on the stuff that he gets in a fight with the chef, who doesn't a speak a word of English, and when the language barrier overcomes his beer-addled brain, grabs the chef by his poofy hat and screams into his face, "No hable Chinkanese, padre!" Then you're chased ten blocks by Thai immigrants wielding samurai swords, even though those are also Japanese and struck you as inappropriate decorations even before they were pulled off the wall and swung at your brother's head for blaming Pearl Harbor on the waiter. Then, then my friends, you've learned what "ichiban" means in English.

Bathroom Monologue: I was never the same after... (Try it at home!)

-After I figured out most of my writing assignments in second grade could be about X-Men and Swampthing.
-After my third reading of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, realizing some of his plots had practical applications in my school and neighborhood.
-After realizing matches and bug spray might be boring separately, but...
-After that first accidental swear in front of Grandma.
-After the doctor fled the state, leaving me to learn I'd long since been incurable and inoperable.
-After I wore those jeans to school, the ones with the logo I tried to show off, that nobody noticed.
-After I realized that a close friend of two years was gay, and had been hitting on me all along.
-After that disturbed boy tried to strangle me to death in front of a laughing crowd.
-After two professors turned me down for classes without talking to me about my submissions, and a third talked down about every writer I liked, forcing the realization that there is someone in power who vehemently hates every little thing you could possibly like, no matter how trivial to their existence, or how important they are to yours.
-After I told that to one of my professors.

Bathroom Monologue: Why is World Trade Center a Flop?

Even though this one has a better soundtrack and more star-power, we've all seen this movie before. It's rare that a film hits theatres years after it's been on TV, but most everybody saw this one years ago, on a Tuesday morning in September. Even if you missed the premiere, it was rerun so much that month that most of us got our fill. The president of the United States even visited the set. The novelization (written by Congressmen, of all people) sold pretty well. If it wasn't weird enough that the book came out after the movie, we got hundreds of them, with every bias you could imagine, which slaked the thirsts of most of the remaining curious people. And then there was the t-shirt, the interviews with the characters, the slogans, and soon, by God, if we saw one more commercial with so much as a clip of this movie in it, we'd scream. Then this movie came along. Nobody likes a remake. You see, the story was gripping, the strife was greater than any cinematic experience before it, and while I'm sure Hollywood could have deployed shinier special effects at the time, the original had a better director than Oliver Stone.

Bathroom Monologue: A Violence of History

There is a cult in the east that expounds on a plane of existence above our own, which is populated exclusively by the spirits of weapons and sheathes. Each has a distinct and rich personality that is expressed esoterically on the physical plane, perhaps by cutting the hand of the wielder, fitting nicely on one’s belt, or being difficult to draw from a scabbard. Bare blades are feminine, wily and highly active, necessitating (and hence causing) the production of more weapons. Sheathes are masculine, shrouding the weapons, subverting them into docility and social harmony. The drive of blades and scabbards to reproduce, to couple and harbor the spirit for the creation of superior weapons, is what drives creation on our plane. Our consciousness and social hierarchies are mere tools through which the weapons reproduce and evolve. Guns and bullets may be the next step in the genetics of weaponry. Scientists accuse the cult of subscribing to a theory too abstract to prove. The sword cult admits that their theory is out there, but asks anyone to provide a better explanation for the violence of history.

Bathroom Monologue: Like your first words were better

The government sealed the audiotapes for years, just because these seemed like the sort of thing they were supposed to seal for years. Theologians and scientists were in an uproar before they even understood what the recording meant. Building a time machine to eavesdrop on pre-history was unpopular enough when the budget was announced; if the nation figured out that they'd left the lens cap on the camera, everyone in the department would be fired. Still, the recording device had gone through and not only picked up audio of the Big Bang explosion; thanks to the time warp, it got four seconds of audio from before the Big Bang. When the recording was still just a rumor it was decried a fake by people who hadn't heard it yet, and was heralded as proof of the existence of God by people who had money on the line. It was first released to the public by accident, when the MP3 somehow got onto someone's iPod, and onto 100,000 other iPods the next downloading day. An informal poll suggested most people thought these words supposedly recorded from just before time began were a mix-up, but everyone felt the same awkward peace when they heard them: "Did that do it, Gabe? No? What about this?"

Friday, December 14, 2007

Bathroom Monologue: No Gay-Dar

I don't care if you're gay. I never have cared. I'll care if you're lonely, I'll care if you two just broke up, and I'll care if your lover stole all the money from your joint-accounts and moved to Hawaii. But it's your sexuality, and I don't want to watch you have sex with anyone of any shape in possession of any form of genitalia. Besides, I suck at sexualities. I've had gay people hit on me, for years, and I didn't realize they were gay. I've had a gay professor talk to me about stalking his boyfriend, and I didn't realize he was gay. I've had gay people ask me out on dates. And I've gone. And at the end of those nights, I didn't realize they were gay. I can't tell why I can't tell. Everyone else seems really good at it. It wouldn't bother me so much, but I'm a little worried that I'll wind up married to one of them, and still not notice.

Bathroom Monologue: Bloody Unlikely

Everyone talks about that million-to-one odds business. Like they studied probability beyond what was necessary to pass Math in high school. It’s never a million-to-one. Listen, you could have a million monkeys flipping coins, and not one would land on its side before brunch. And the lottery? You wish it was only a million-to-one odds. Even surviving this plane crash has got to be somewhere around 240,300,605-to-one. See here, I did the math on these napkins. The stewardesses don’t seem to want them anymore. Getting a million-to-one odds, well, the chances are about a million-to-one. Hey, could I have that life preserver under your seat? Mine’s punctured, if you believe it. I know, I know, what are the odds?

Bathroom Monologue: A Response to No One in Particular

Yes, Fantasy is make-believe. But you know what? Make-believe is no worse than real-doesn't-care-if-you-believe. And your so-called realistic fiction is a million miles from real life, so I don't give a crap if my Fantasy is a million and ten (and your non-fiction isn't close to orbit, either). Why write make-believe? Because eventually you get tired of writing about middle-aged women who are afraid they got herpes off a subway bathroom seat, the heartbreak of the little league semi-finals, and sardonic Christmas-time department store elves. Eventually you say, "Screw writing about reality and sardonic department store elves. I'm gonna write egregious fantasy about woodland elves with D-cup breasts that defy gravity in every way my excessive vocabulary can muster." No, it ain't real, but this is Literature and life doesn't come in text form. Your favorite biographies probably so inaccurate that they belong on the Fantasy shelves anyway.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Bathroom Monologue: Tribute to Zapp Brannigan

"Sexist?" This word intrigues me. Is it like "typist" and "novelist?" Does it suggest that this is my trade? That I am a sexual specialist? A professional sexer? I know I get around, but to be an outright sexist... I'm honored. Yes, I approve of this... "sexism."

Bathroom Monologue: Eight Sentences, You Old Bat

I still remember Mrs. Cronenberg harping in fifth grade about how all paragraphs were at least eight sentences long. I never got an eight-sentence note sent home, no matter how elaborately awful I was. Any child who picked up a newspaper would find not one paragraph with eight sentences in it. Even today, four sentences is usually pushing it, with two-sentence paragraphs ruling the newsprint world, often beginning with "and," "because" or "but," and even ending in the forbidden "of." And I'm waiting for the girl who gets bored mid-essay to stop, write "Cont. Page 38" and inform her English teacher that she thinks the Science teacher has the Arts & Leisure section if she wants to read the remainder of her article. And the commas! I understand that it's difficult to explain the precise nature of independent clauses to a ten-year-old high off a twenty-ounce Pepsi, but come on, at least teach the kids rules that aren't broken every day in national media and bestsellers! In that respect, I guess we're fortunate that the literacy level is so low, or we'd never teach our young'uns how to write.

Bathroom Monologue: Bump in the Game Night

It's one of the most terrifying places in the world of the supernatural. So many have died here that fiends no longer believe it's real. It stretches disbelief too far.

It's a baseball diamond. The lights are solar powered, and with the flick of a switch can go from fluorescent to solar reproductive light. In the middle of any inning, they can reduce vampires to ash - ash that, if you believe the local stories, is used as the dust on the playing field.

The sprinklers, like every sprinkler in town, draw water from the local river, which runs behind the local church. The priest blesses it every morning, so the grass is slick with holy water.

The concrete of the dugouts is fifty feet deep, an unnecessary depth for such a construction. The reason? Immortals. You can't kill an immortal, but you can throw him in a pit and fill it with concrete. So if you believe the stories, there are some fifty immortal warriors under the stands, trapped forever in a soundless, airless, dark prison.

Two independent sources verified that the diamond is perfectly feng shui against evil magic, and if you look under the bases and benches, you'll find a lot of brand symbols for companies you've never heard of. That's because they aren't real companies, though their symbols are real - real holy symbols that nullify both black and white magic, rendering even the strongest magicians powerless if they're even within shouting distance of the ballpark. It keeps the neighboring high school safe (you wouldn't believe the anti-sasquatch stuff they've got in the chemistry lab). The baseball field is one of the town's most storied features, and one of the reasons there's never been a monster under a single bed.

Bathroom Monologue: Busy Serpent

"What really got me about the story of Eden was everything else in there. The birds, the bugs, even the trees are on the earth as well as in Eden. Humans weren't on earth before the fall. So logically, neither was anything else. God had to trick everyone with His magic fruit gag; eventually even the carnivores, dumb as they were, took a bite of the apple and were cast out. Insects that would perish from trying to fill their mouths with apple took a bite. Even trees! Look at all the trees on the earth. How the Hell did God trick all of them into eating from the Tree of Knowledge? Of course, the Tree of Knowledge didn't eat from itself, as it isn’t on earth (if it was, we’d all do better in Calculas). Maybe it tricked the other trees. Maybe it was God’s co-conspirator. Being that it was dropping fruits of genius left and right, the Tree of Knowledge ought to have been able to fool things without mouths into taking a little bite. Oh, but don't say it's impossible, since trees can't move. They've fooled you all into thinking they're immobile, but actually they're just waiting. Yes, waiting..."

Bathroom Monologue: We loosened the technology for you

"But if women found out how to reproduce with artificial genetic material, men were done for. But we couldn't destroy the technology. Sam and I had worked so hard on it. Then Sam came up with a genius solution: put it in jars. That'll teach 'em the importance of men."

Bathroom Monologue: Lineage of Dedication

John was begat by Erma Bombeck, Douglas Adams, Mark Twain and Jonathan Swift, but please don't hold it against him; the son is never greater than the parent, except in those cases where no one cares who the parents were. John was begat by Dante Allighieri, who was begat by Virgil, who was begat by Homer, who was begat by some kind of muse, if he existed. John was begat by Joseph Campbell, who was begat by Carl Jung, who was begat by Sigmund Freud, who, as he would have told you, was begat by his father. John was begat by Ralph Waldo Emerson, who was somehow begat by Jesus Christ, who was begat by Moses (don't tell the Christians their faith is plagiarism), who was begat by Pagan folks (don’t tell the Jews their faith is plagiarism), "Pagan" means pretty much everything not listed above, so they were begat by earlier Pagans who bore no resemblance to later Pagans (but for God’s sake, don’t tell the kids in pointy hats), and they were probably begat by some people who didn't really know what the sun was, but were very creative (and probably black -- don't tell any of the above faiths that, though). John was begat by a bunch of other people, but their names are withheld by request of the authors.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

While Pan-Frying Beef Monologue

Lo's first weapon was a jintachi, a sword with a long blade and curved handle designed for horseback fighting. He was a slave, so of course he didn't fight mounted, but the revolutionaries only had a few horses and made use of whatever weapons they had. It was severely dishonorable to use a mounted weapon on foot, but again, he was a slave. The jintachi gave him two things: a preference for swords in combat, and a disregard for personal dignity.

Long after he was freed he bypassed the expensive practice of buying master-make weapons and just picking up whatever was available: a broken claymore, a fallen branch, a bow no one in Ulysses' house could string but that still really stung if he smacked you in the eye with it. He dueled one master of the katana by dual-wielding a salad fork and a really big rock.

His favorite weapon was a giant's speartip. It was five or six foote long, very thick and hard, a dwarf-make thing. It was flat and triangular, with a jagged point and a blade on either edge. About a foote thick, he could hide behind it when he was showered with arrows, doubling as a shield. He held it by the butt, the tab of metal below the spearhead where a giant would insert a shaft. Being human-sized, he never bought a shaft. He wielded it like a big, ornery horsekiller, though he applied it in less orthodox fashion, too, such as riding it like a sled down a hill into the enemy cavalry.

He only graduated to using fine, honorable weapons when his friends started to be embarrassed by his antics, and got him one for his birthday. Being a former slave, he didn't have a birthday, but they made one up as an excuse to make him throw that damned thing away.

Bathroom Monologue: Liberal Arts Course Offering (Fall)

-Intro to Cloud Gazing
-Traditional Bread Crumb Reading
-Egg-Nog Smithery (belt sanders required; on sale in bookstore)
-Advanced Tree Re-Fueling
-Musical Botany
-Non-Linear Elephant Discovery (twenty hours lab/field-work required)
-Art History
-Intermediate Conversational Binary
-Honors Seminar in Paper Shakespeare Wiped His Ass With One Time Some Scholars Say

Bathroom Monologue: Bright Shines the Light of Scrutiny

Yes, ghosts do watch you. If you’re curious, their view of us is best-likened to our view of celebrity news. The dead spend most of their time obsessing over gossip and tidbits of what's going on in the real world, mostly so that they can roll their eyes, say how dumb some living person is, and speculate on how much better they'd do in their place. Coincidentally, the dead don’t talk much about what they did when they were alive. If you bring it up, they get all uncomfortable and evasive, much the way you would if I started probing about your violent divorce instead of that actress’s.

Bathroom Monologue: "John, what would your children's book be about?" -Jennifer Hyatt

Rumors that the governor's wife had a troubled labor and lost the child bring people from all over the county to the mansion the next morning. Startlingly, the child is alive and resting peacefully, but every doctor, nurse and maid in the estate is dead, torn limb from limb and strewn about the birthing chamber. The mother must have had a troubled birth, for she hasn't woken up since. The governor will have a lot of questions when he gets home, especially when he sees what is growing in the basement.

What? It's about a child.

Bathroom Monologue: Think of the Ballot as an Ark

Safari having reminded him what he loved about politics, Theodore Roosevelt returned to the United States figuring the Republicans would make him their presidential candidate again. When incumbent president William Howard Taft led the Republican Convention in a round of laughing him out of the building, Teddy stormed across the street with his loyal supporters and rented out the opposing hotel, founding the Bull Moose Party that very night. Rumors hold he named it after the moose head hanging in the hall of the building. But did you know other political parties are associated with animals? For instance the Republicans chose to embody their sense of humor with their token elephant, a creature indigenous to countries they looked down on. The Democrats wanted to embody their spendthrift spirit and debated between notoriously cheap animals: the goldfish and the donkey. The donkey eventually won out, because after Democrats lost damn near every election, they couldn't take out their anger beating goldfish. Even the American Socialist Party had an animal. No one knew what it was, though, because it was in jail for sedition.

Bathroom Monologue: Nerds v. Jocks: Ancient Edition

During the Ting Period, strategist philosophers enjoyed many games, both solitary efforts and competitions between teams, which taught them about interaction with the physical world. The favorite of philosopher generals was the finger puzzle, which trapped the index finger of each hand inside an unbreakable tube. The dualism of the solution, that submission and aggression would have to coexist for the problem to be solved, was very amusing to these generals. They used it as the foundation for several lectures on tact and careful touch in the execution of commands. One day Keiji, a great man of the wilderness, visited the capitol and was jokingly invited to test the finger puzzle. He was in good humor until people started laughing at him, at which point he growled, tore the puzzle in half, and ate it. The philosopher generals cried, "Impossible!" to which Keiji responded with an offer to further illustrate "my point" on the battlefield. With padded swords, of course. The generals declined, and afterwards amended into their lectures that care in military operations was only necessary if one wasn't overwhelmingly strong, and only if one actually cared; and that if one was dealing with an easily frustrated party of overwhelming strength, it was wise to ingratiate oneself to them. Keiji was invited to attend any and all of these lectures, and whenever there was a rumor he would attend, the lecture was curiously well-catered.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Bathroom Monologue: Could Have Been Worse

"I mean, I could have walked in on her going down on -- no wait, that happened. Well, it could have been my brother she was -- no wait. Well, in my disgust I could have whirled around and accidentally fallen down the stai-- right, that's why I have this cast. Jesus. And my freaking car was towed after only being there for three minutes! But, but, I mean, it totally could have been worse. I mean, when I was haling a cab to get to the hospital, I could have been hit by a -- I was? Dragged for four blocks? Wow.... Still, it could have been worse. It's not the end of the world-- what's that noise outside?"

Bathroom Monologue: Doublespeak, meet Liespeak

-“Epic” now means, “long.”
-“This is a smart comedy,” now means, “It isn’t funny.”
-“Fiery” has always meant, “bitchy.”
-“Upcoming bio-pic” means, “The screenwriter, director and producers were thoroughly out of ideas, so they plagiarized the life of this other person who had some left.”
-“Thrillride” means, “You can take your desensitized children to this without worrying that they’ll be confused by the plot.”
-“Sexy” now means, “There’s no way in Hell you’ll see sex in this movie, but we guarantee the wardrobe people are making her bustier a size too small.”
-“Never since [anything],” or “The best [anything] since [anything],” both probably mean, “We’re taking massive bribes from the studio.”
-“A spirited performance,” means, “She didn’t graduate from acting school.”
-“For anyone who has ever [anything]” really means, “Good afternoon, Fly. Come into my parlor.”
-“From the [anyone] who brought you [anything]” means, “This guy is coasting on his reputation.”
-“Academy Award Winner,” means, “Guaranteed to disappoint this time.”

Bathroom Monologue: You'll never look at grandma's toaster the same way again

When Maurine Ellington stopped by Clarice James's yard sale, she couldn't have known she was going to walk away with a piece of history. For three dollars she got a rusty old steam iron and some unused tennis balls. The balls were uninteresting, but the Casco iron, a brand she didn't even recognize, was actually a sixty-year-old prototype that the company never meant sell in the first place. It was one of the three first irons ever produced by the Casco company, and vintage collectors priced Mrs. Ellington's new iron in the neighborhood of $500,000, if she didn't use it first. Though unavailable for comment, friends of the Ellingtons say she intends to move to Florida with their newfound wealth. This station contacted Mr. James, keeper of the yardsale, and asked if he would sue for possession of the iron or a part of the profits when it goes on sale next month. He said, quote, "Aw no, I sold it to 'em fair. That was my own stupidity. Just wish I hadn't given 'em a discount on them balls."

Bathroom Monologue: Theodicy is that book by Homer, right?

Theodicy is, of course, the greatest work of poetry in any language and follows the rise of the Thousand Year Republic. Its central theme is the existence of suffering and injustice in a world ruled by a benevolent, all-knowing, all-powerful god. The problem of theodicy still mystifies philosophers, and the poem's handling of it attracts scholars and authors even today. Since the fifth century it has been custom to name a book in a poem or a chapter in a novel "Theodicy" as a sign of humility to that greatest of all works. Recent critics have questioned the paradoxical nature of titling a single chapter in a much larger work after something the author is admitting is superior to the entire novel itself; that one part, in name, is greater than the whole. Haruis Kwail, the modern author responsible for the best-selling Theogyny, answers that, "believing in theodicy means accepting a lot of paradoxes."

Monday, December 10, 2007

Bathroom Monologue: What do you get him for Father's Day?

Yusef was a very wealthy man. He was born into money, grew up in money, went to college to learn how to make even more money, and the summer after graduation he made such an embarrassing amount of money for his father's company that the few people who had tolerated him in college stopped talking to him, to focus on their screenplays and jobs at McDonalds. Yuseff inherited his father's company, and built himself a palatial mansion. He had symmetrical swimming pools, a private lake (not for swimming, but to repopulate a couple of endangered species his daughter thought were cute; his children got whatever they asked, no matter what), a private road, and a private airport (which sported its own symmetrical swimming pools that Yuseff and his family could take a dip in if they didn't feel like flying once they got there).

But Yuseff was unsatisfied. Sure, he had a platinum-plated wrist protector that kept his gold watch from chaffing, and a road no one else could drive on, but he didn't have enough. Consumer culture was too small for him. He lost sleep and spent an increasing amount of time away from his wife and kids trying to create something worth having.

One night, inspiration struck. A map. The world's first real map. Not a flat one, not a globe, not one that made Greenland look accurate in size, nor even one of those adjusting zigzag maps in the background of all the movies about the White House or U.N. Building. A map of total accuracy. A map that would have every coastline accurate to the kilometer, every building represented, and a key that read "1 Mile equals 1 Mile." That would show Capitalism how it was done!

Immediately he hired thousands of scientists who were very relieved to be employed after all that time in college with their parents asking what they would do with their lives. They experimented on how to get paper to fold extra times, on refractive light and holographic technology, and spent an awful lot of time surveying. Meanwhile, Yuseff handled the logistical end, trying to secure a place for his map. He wanted to try the moon, but his close advisors apologetically informed him that it was smaller than the earth, and even with cutting edge paper-folding technology, the map would probably knock the moon out of orbit. He almost licensed the sun for storage space, but it was informed that it was a poor locale, even if it was well-lit, and that if he tried to claim property on the sun, the Russians would probably declare war. And then, while he was filing the patents, he heard a nasty rumor and almost sued Google Earth for trying to steal his idea.

Early one morning he got a call from his wife. She was worried about their youngest daughter, Anita. The girl had been acting strangely for months, had been coming home covered in white paint, and wasn't playing with the other children. Yuseff begrudgingly cancelled his afternoon meetings and flew home to meet his daughter, who ran into his arms, her hands and face smudged with white paint. Yuseff asked her what this was all about and what was wrong with her, but her first reply was only to point at an industrial paint machine, usually applied for making lines on football fields. Before he could ask further, she dragged him to the roof of the mansion, where a telescope was fixed. After she threatened to cry if he didn't humor her, he looked through. Every so often in the distance of all four directions were large, white line segments, all perhaps fifty feet across, each row emanating from their property.

Yuseff gave his daughter a flabbergasted look, to which she responded, "One Mile equals One Mile!"

He blinked, looked through the telescope one more time, turned back to her, and hugged her to his side, saying, "Well, that'll do."

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Bathroom Monologue: Some Words of Unwisdom

“You can fireproof it, keeping flame from scorching the interior; you can waterproof it, keeping storms from ruining the wood paneling; you can tamperproof it, keeping clever people from rewiring it while you aren't looking. But you cannot foolproof it. Those who believe in foolproofing are a hundred times as stupid as those who believe in the gods. Gods, if they exist, will screw you. Idiots, if they exist, will screw you, and you hired them. And the worst thing is that maybe there’s a god of thunder running around in the sky, but there’s a potential fool running around in every brain. I’ve been around a long time, and I can attest that no one, no matter how wise or mighty, is so dangerous as in that one critical moment when they don’t know what they’re doing. For every master thief and prodigy commander, there was a fool who let them succeed and become famous, and two-to-five fools who foiled their own team's mission without an enemy hero around to take credit for the "victory." The fool is more powerful than the flood, because there is no dam that defend against him. And that is why I'm a fool."

Bathroom Monologue: Things weren't supposed to be this way

Puck: There is a way that things are supposed to be, and then there is the way that things usually are. I expect that you sometimes create an idea of the way things are supposed to be from the way that things usually are, which is a terrible idea. Watch a hundred movies, and the first ninety-nine all either have the guy getting the girl at the end, or the girl dying, or the guy dying, or some mixture. Then the hundredth is different. The girl wasn't there at the end, and the guy didn't die. Other relationships explored in the movie are abruptly severed -- and because I've seen ninety-nine movies lately that all ended with the guy dying or the guy getting the girl (or the girl dying), I can't even appreciate what the end or suspension of those relationships meant. It's different, and the good parts of my brain have rusted over, oxidized by the redundancy of old stories, so I start off any thoughts with a dislike for this movie's difference. That ain't right. That's a collective consciousness gone wrong, a collective close-mindedness, a self-enforcing stupidity. So now I try to think differently, because once I watched a hundred movies, and now I'm afraid that I've neglected the one or ones that were different in good ways. Now I'm careful to check if I'm disliking something because it's not the way it's supposed to be, or if it's just not the way things usually are.

Lo: Oh, our story is way better than that. Even if you don't like the way things develop, we get fightscenes for every couple of plot points. That makes up for any literary faults.

Puck: Oh yeah, this, this, this is great! I was talking about, you know... other stories. Of course.

Lo: Of course. And what's a movie?

Bathroom Monologue: Favorite Writers

No author has more implausible or unexplained plot twists; no author relishes in so much violence; no author switches focus so often; no author has such muddied ideologies and themes; no author has more poorly fleshed out characters; no author repeats Himself so often; yet despite it all, there's an undeniable charm in God's work.

Bathroom Monologue: (b th r m m n -lôg , -l g ) OR (it would have looked a lot more clever if the site could handle Greek letters)

1. (n) One of a series of short fiction or essay pieces written for general amusement and casual enlightenment, which were so much funnier on the can.

2. (v) An attempt for a cheap laugh.

3. (v) A desperate cry for help.

4. (n) The philosophical artifice of an individual not nearly so worldly as he ought to be, but considerably more worldly than was good for his mental health.

5. "Well, when I was at college I spent an unreasonable amount of time researching, reading and writing papers for my professors. I went there to study composing fiction, but was exclusively writing non-fiction essays, and I feared that I would lose my personal creative drive, that thing that makes writers write without the commands of an academic setting, since the commands of an academic setting don't exist in the money-making, and hence, bill-paying and life-affirming real world. So whenever I got up to go to the bathroom, I would try to improvise a narrative. Sometimes I thought they were funny, and would type them up into IM's for friends when I got back to the computer. Sometimes my friends would say they were funny, which is a service friends provide to artists to keep them from committing suicide too early in life. Then one friend in particular pointed me to a place to catalog them. I don't even know why I-- is that tape recorder on?"

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Bathroom Monologue: To Whom it May Concern, and His Roommate

Common law in New York states that if a man and a woman from different families live in an apartment together for fifteen years or longer, they are legally "common law" married. If gay marriage becomes legal, fifteen years later a bunch of roommates are going to get some very interesting letters.

Bathroom Monologue: Re:

BambiSmasher: Clearly a vain attempt of some asshole who spends all his time programming code to liken his work to that of Buddhism enlightenment. Let me clarify this one for you: you're unenlightened, Buddha hates you, and your kung fu is weak. And take out the fucking garbage. Even Southern Crane monks couldn't handle that stench.

James Vanderhuge: MONOLOGUE

Bathroom Monologue: Their dad could totally beat up my dad

Death is a great way to create a comic book superhero. Doesn’t matter who dies: your uncle, your step-daughter, or your cousin’s dog. Death is a tradition in origins. A new traditional in slumping sales is to bring characters back to life. Uncle Ben, the Waynes, even the entire frickin’ planet of Krypton came back for a while. At this point I expect the mafia-hunting Punisher’s family to rise from the grave. When they do, I think he’ll quit the Punishing business. I mean yeah, the mob is awful, but he's done his part. There'll be some therapy involved, but if you've seen how frustrated this man gets, you'll agree that he's one afternoon delight away from calling in sick to hunting down serial killers in a van with no air conditioning. He'll be the kind of dad who flips out in traffic and probably makes a scene with the other parents at tee ball practice, though if you're his kids, you won’t mind. You just came back to life! And having been dead for thirty years, you have no idea how common resurrection is in Marvel Comics.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Bathroom Monologue: Bad Advice Sounds So Nice

Lately I’ve been praying to the love gods and goddesses. I pray to multiple deities in this case because no one who’s ever been in love could believe only one being is in charge. I pray to the love deities because if I’m going to believe in any mysterious beings, I want them to be ones who can help, and I’ve got a plan that requires their services. The prayer is for everyone to wake up tomorrow and be helplessly, thoroughly and retardedly in love. We won’t be in love with any random person (though that’s an idea…); it’ll be with specific people, and everyone will be in store for some embarrassing emotions.

The Pope will wake up with a boner for the Dalai Lama. He who holds the Oxford Chair for the Public Understanding of Science will invite a Jewish theologian to sit in his lap, and the Jewish theologian will invite the Prime Minister of Palestine to tag along. White Pride marchers and black gangster rappers, Mormons and Evangelicals, antitheists and Christian scientists will be dying to hop into bed with each other. Folks with stricter morals won’t succumb to lust, but will instead feel the burning desire for long walks and handholding with people they previously found disgusting. Prudes will timidly invite strippers down from their poles to share a drink (of ginger ale – they’re only human). Previously heterosexual men will fall for other previously heterosexual men, wherever humbling is warranted. Dictators will fall for the lowest classes, not in the fashion they’ve lied about doing, but in a terribly polygamist fashion that makes them wish all the fieldworkers could move into the mansion. The rich will fall in love with the poor, and not in the meager philanthropic sense where a billionaire gives half his money to a charity, but the kind that gets the rich to move into the ghettos, because the only way the poorest, most run-down parts of the country will improve is if the empowered actually move into them, and have to see and deal with it all the time. Secularists will not only respect non-secularists as seekers of meaning, but as really cute people they could spend the rest of their lives with (the irony is they were going to do that anyway, but under the spell, they’ll do it from the same living room). Non-secularists will have the same experience, while wearing something different around their necks (perhaps a locket with a cross on the outside and a picture of your Hispanic transvestite skeptic girlboyfriend on the inside). Discussions over who can display what where will go much differently when they’re always with a girlfriend toeing the grass and whispering, “But can’t we please…?” Under the peace of love, arguments over whose religion is true and and the veracity of morals in nihilism will feel less like rewriting the world and more like doing the Sunday sudoku. All this, because of blind love. Blind love – not love that blinds, because love doesn’t blind; it opens the eyes to new spectrums that are often prettier or downright more important than what we’re normally staring at. With that vision, with an adoration and affection too deep for anyone to pull himself from and take advantage of, the only thing anyone in the world would have to change will be his underwear. And that’s worth a prayer, whether or not anyone is listening.

Bathroom Monologue: "Rules? There are no rules!" -Opponent

“No, that makes no sense. If there are no rules, there is no match. You want to just fight until we get tired and go home? I’m not doing that. Do I pin your shoulders to a mat? Push you out of a ring? Race you to a finish line? No rules means I can’t be disqualified either. I could pull out a gun and blow your head off right now, and because there are no rules, I’d just win. Except I wouldn’t win, because there are no rules! I’d just sit here during our eternal match, next to my decomposing opponent.” -Hung Lo

Bathroom Monologue: You might be an evil supervillain if...

-You laugh maniacally when things go wrong for others when you had nothing to with the problem, such as the film breaking in a projector, at a car crash, or when flooding devastates a poor southern neighborhood that was built at sea level right next to the sea.
-You've been told at least five times in the last year that you have a "great maniacal laugh."
-You have to play evil theme music just to walk from your computer to the bathroom. And you will hold it until you find the right song.
-You find yourself inexplicably excited and/or aroused whenever Wonder Woman is losing a fight.
-When you hear "internet piracy," you think of galleons and cannons laying siege to Microsoft headquarters.
-When you hear "illegal aliens," you think of space ships, and your only worry is that they won't align with you.
-When you hear "World Series," you think of setting every sovereign nation in the world on fire in beautiful succession.
-You've lost more than one hundred nights of sleep in your life planning intricate plots that you know you'll never carry out and/or know can't possibly work.
-You cut yourself, but you imagine it's other people doing it, and the act gives you a rush, particularly because you spent the entire ordeal plotting revenge against your fictitious tormentor.
-You think hundreds or thousands or hundreds of thousands of people read your blog, website, web comic, livejournal or mywasteofspace than actually join or post comments. You simply have no idea why they don't show up on the hit counter or post those comments in support of your brilliant work. Your best guess is that they're intimidated.
-You know all the countries that don't have a Bill of Rights, and can list them off the top of your head, alphabetically or by population. And you have some great ideas you'd like to share with their heads of state.

Bathroom Monologue: One of the Brightest

"I have a memory like a bear trap. Anything that enters it is captured, several ridged blades driven through its flesh and its bones are broken, effectively crippling the memory. It's likely to starve to death in the wilds of my head while it tries to recuperate from the injury. That's my mind: an inescapable device that damages and detains information until I'm ready for it, or until disease sets in."

Milestones, Gravestones and Ninety-Nine Somethings

You might ask why I'd celebrate the ninety-ninth Bathroom Monologue instead of the hundredth. It's for the same reason I say kind things to people on unimportant days. People say all those nice things about other people right after they die. No one so admires a man as when he is dead, and never is he so popular as at his funeral. It's kind of disgusting, all those people voicing fond memories just when she can no longer hear them, those obituaries in the paper remembering her. Wouldn't one of those celebratory editorials have been put to better use when she was alive and could read it? Could have sent it to her parents? Could have clipped it and put it up on her 'fridge, and passed it every time she wanted to snag a soda, smiling a private smile, knowing someone would put such time and effort into something so nice for her? But no, they only print it for you once you can't read it, after she's collapsed at the last milestone. Milestones are fine, they remind us to check if you're there, they tell you how far you've come, but it's the miles they mark that matter.

You also might ask why I'm celebrating my ninety-ninth Bathroom Monologue when I'm not even at seventy-five yet. Well that's... stop judging me!

Bathroom Monologues: Lemme Axe You Something

Two hundred Christians tore down a church today over a misunderstanding. Apparently the visiting preacher told them to, “Honor God with your acts.” Mishearing “acts,” the local blacksmith began handing out pickaxes and the folk went to work hacking down the house of the Lord. When reached for comment, the Parish priest said, “Hopefully God will forgive them. Myself? I have a mortgage.”

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Bathroom Monologue: Wake up to go to the bathroom at 2:30 in the morning monologue

Orcish has the most limited vocabulary of any language. They're not particularly imaginative, and so when they come up with a word, they staple as many meanings to it as it can hold. For instance, "sluuk" has over a dozen meanings: stairwell, staircase, spiral stairs, wooden stairs, stone stairs, stairs made from bone, man-made slides, orc-made slides, chutes, steppes, shallow waterfalls, steel ladders, and wooden ladders. Interestingly "rope ladder" is not conveyed by "sluuk," but is instead conveyed by the same word as "net," "stockings," and "garter belt."

Bathroom Monologue: Personally, I Prefer Marquez

"I'd ask you if I could be Borgesian for a minute, but a Borgesian minute could easily last two hours, and Borges would get away with it, because he's in the literary canon. But if I could be Borgesian for a minute, since my problem is with canonical literature (or at least, with the scribblings that have been printed under that umbrella), I want to say how much I hate the writing things that have already been written. Sure, if I intend to write Don Quixote, with or without sampling it, that's good and well. Yet I spend so much of my time reading, sometimes reaching a titanic (for me) five books a week (then defragmenting my brain by staring a television all weekend, with the TV in various states of ON and OFF), that when I come up with a line I like, or even a notion I like, and then I read it in someone else's book later, I feel a rage that is distinctly realistically magical (I'd say, "magically realistic," but that sounds like a slogan for Lucky Charms cereal). In writing my first novel, two Orcish archers (who have horrible aim and have been treed by a Goblin) provided me with a clever line about one's thinking that "figment" was a mint extracted from figs. I thought it was very funny. Two years later I found the same "fig mint" pun in Yann Martel's Life of Pi. He'd published his book seven years before I read it; I'd written mine two years before I read his. This kind of thing happens too often. I swear, public school or college should have prepared me for this crap. Nobody writes, "To be or not to be, that is the question" and thinks it's his own (at least, not without a lesser degree of sanity than I'm comfortable admitting I lack). But how the Hell do you dig yourself out of that? It's especially troubling because I liked Martel's book. I liked his line. It fit the character, the scene and the tone. There was no way he stole it from me, but it was God-damned mine. Maybe a potential publisher wouldn't catch it. Maybe she hadn't read Martel's book. But what if she'd read Andrew Crumey's Pfitz, and another of my lines was in there? I read Pfitz. Not carefully. I had to read it over a weekend for a class, and didn't think it was that clever. But what if one of my good lines is in there? Or in The Five People You Meet in Heaven? Or in The Yiddish Policeman's Union? Or what if one of them's in one of J.T. Leroy's books? I'd never be able to live with myself if I shared a beloved line with Leroy, even if he really was a hoax made up to sell books by a middle aged woman who couldn't get published without a gimmick. I hate J.T. Leroy. But I read Leroy. I read Martel, and I read Borges, because I'm really scared that all of my good lines are floating around in well-manicured paragraphs on fresh pages on library shelves I've never visited before. And that's probably why I read five books a week. It's definitely why I watch a blank TV screen so much. And if you'll be so kind, you won't blame me for this Borgesian minute ticking beyond sixty seconds."

Bathroom Monologue: Paramount

"Our opponents were the best. The twelve finest samurai and warlords in the land. They came from the most reputable schools. They had the finest weapons. The sight of just so much as one of their flags made civilized people flee in terror. So what did we do? We went to the uncivilized ends of civilization. We found best of the rejects, the scum, the monsters, the people who went into the wilderness and survived. We gave each of our twelve untrained savages a shower, a suit and a sword. Then we stacked them up against the emperor's elite. Not only did we win, but we made a couple of those samurai cry."

Bathroom Monologue: Why? … But I never even ..

You can always tell how badly a man is lying about his feelings for a woman by the ratio of times he uses the words "why" and "never" to the number of seconds he speaks. If he says, “Never even,” this counts as 1.5 never’s. Seconds completely spent stuttering, stammering and/or attempting to form full sentences count as seconds speaking, but are usually doubly damning.

Bathroom Monologue: I'm gonna get kicked off the internet for this tribute to Punch Magazine

Iran recently began several long-range weapons projects that can evade radar detection and split a warship in half. The government even provided video of the weapons to any interested media outlets. Amongst the missiles was one capable of reaching beyond Israel or Europe, that Iran caled, "The Great Prophet" Project. Over the weeks they failed to explain exactly what this Great Prophet missile was supposed to foresee with its unnecessary destructive force. They were happy, though, to say it could hit anywhere in the U.S.. Seeing it, I had the urge to dust off our old Neutron Bomb project, that one that eradicates all life in a city but leaves their infrastructure and possessions intact, and re-label it the "Don't Make Me Come Over There, Bitch" Project.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Bathroom Monologue: The AenIbeforeEexceptafterCandsometimesincrazyRomanepicsied

This is why I don't pick on people who type "then" for "than" or "fourty" for "forty." It's because of Virgil (or "Vergil") and his stupid Anied. I mean "Aenied." I MEAN "AENEID." Dammit, it's happening again! I'll never be able to spell it, no matter how hard I try. I swear I've written paper after paper referencing the poem, switching where the "i" and "e" go, even using that silly "ae" single letter character, and no matter how often I spellchecked it, it came back circled in red. Is there a society of geniuses who switch how it's spelled whenever I write about it? How do they know which spelling I'll decide on in advance? How do they pull it off? And is the conspiracy just against me? Spellcheck and see for you'reself.

Bathroom Monologue: "$200" -Pricetag on a white shirt at Nordstroms

We're talking state-of-the-art. The rest of the art cries itself to sleep and dreams of being this artistic. Each atom of the fabric is handcrafted by quality union labor, woven across molecules in our trademark pattern of authenticity for ultrafriction. We're talking subzero friction, baby. The smoothest shirt you can get outside of antimatter markets. Your hand doesn't just slide off it -- it slides through it. It's almost like it isn't there. Every elite expert of every continent that fashion's ever cared about has been consigned to collect and condense every brilliant color in creation. This beats prisms like the sun beats a candle. Most eyes can't even process this kind of brilliance, though I'm sure you can see it. Look at those details. You only get that from our authentic weave. Now is that cash or credit? We're offering bonus store points for every hundred dollars spent on gold cards, you know.

Bathroom Monologue: Noise like snaketrails in the sand, you know?

The truth and nothing but the truth, scorned lovers, stealth bombers, death in childbirth, black light, black humor (of the M*A*S*H variety), black humor (of the Richard Pryor variety), list fiction, daydreams, near misses, original sin, freezerburn, Final Fantasy 2, healthy pride, compassionate conservatives, extinct predators, Native American Indians, biting the hand that feeds you, Oscar-winning Best Picture being good, freedom of speech being the right to wear whatever you want, and the State of the Union being the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Bathroom Monologue: The Power of a Million

A million people thought The Da Vinci Code was worth retail price. A million people voted for the Communist party’s presidential candidate while he was in jail. A million people think they’ll lose weight by strapping electroshock devices to their abs. A million people, while considerably more than the amount of people who care about me, is not that many in the face of a planet that can easily produce a billion who want to kick your million’s asses. It’s definitely not an impressive enough statistic to convince me we need great national change. It’s not even enough to convince me to change my tires when the treads wear down.

Bathroom Monologue: Jimmy the Traveler

His parents were Roman Catholic. James was Roaming Catholic. "Catholic," of course means "universal" or "universe," so "Roaming Catholic" meant James got as far the Hell away from his planet as possible to escape the Church. He made it as far as Mars, where he presently resides with an agnostic community of little green people.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Bathroom Monologue: Goodbye, Old Friend

Every year the Oxford English Dictionary strikes several words from its pages to make room for the new ones we've coined. The 2007 edition of the O.E.D. finally nixed “gullible” from the ‘G’ section. Oxford deemed the word archaic and obsolete, as these days it is only used in that stupid joke about not being in the dictionary. Oxford takes their English very seriously and struck the word. It will not return unless there is a resurgence in usage. “Dumbass” was included for the first time this year, considered a contemporary replacement for the obsolete word. Out of sympathy for fans of “gullible,” “dumbass” is placed both in the ‘D’ and ‘G’ sections of the book.
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