Archive for March, 2008

Great Caesar’s Fat Ass!

March 21, 2008

Run, Fatboy, Run!

It’s called getting old, dipshit. Your metabolism won’t let you eat and drink like Falstaff and not gain a pound anymore. It’s having a job and kids and no time for much except scarfing down some unhealthy food at lunch, helping the kids with homework, taking them to ball practice, squeezing in some quick dinner, catching maybe an hour of prime-time television and falling asleep by 9:30 so you can get up and do it all over again.

And don’t give me that pantload about giving up the watching television hour in order to get to the gym. That’s the decompression time used to get the kids to wind down and ready for bed. Take your “Live Strong” wristband off and shut the fuck up.

Getting up at four every morning may be an option. Well, an option for someone highly motivated and willing to do whatever it takes to get back in shape. Obviously, that isn’t me. If it were, I wouldn’t be in this situation to begin with.

Cutting out booze isn’t really an option. There is so little to cut out.  My liquor intake is a tiny fraction of what it was just a few years ago. I bought a six-pack five days ago, and there is still a beer left in it. Shocking, I know, but true.

Part of the weight loss equation that is oft-forgotten is time. These fad diets, meal plans and magazine covers talk about losing the weight or getting in shape in like six or eight weeks. True, if you change your diet and exercise regimen, you will notice a change within the first month or two. About that time, you also feel like you can go on autopilot. Your body figures out what’s going on and makes adjustments.  That’s when the weight comes right back with a vengeance. There’s no point to doing it at all if once you start eating bread again, you fatten right back up.

Here’s my plan. Stay away from junk foods, soft drinks and anything with high fructose corn syrup. Eat balanced meals with sensible portions. Exercise whenever time permits. The goal is to lose 2.5 pounds per month. By next Paddy’s Day, that will be thirty pounds. That’s thirty pounds that will stay off.

Otherwise, the alternative is to continue down the same path.

I wondered where all the phone booths went.

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& Teller

March 21, 2008

Teller made a short film. It was for a Diary of the Dead contest.

Good stuff.

Panic In The Suburbs

March 14, 2008

There was an incident at our oldest’s school yesterday.

Apparently, an eighth grade girl had a “hit list” of people she didn’t like. Pandemonium then proceeded to erupt.

I especially love the well measured and not at all overwrought response of the parent in the piece.

If I didn’t have my friends around me, I probably would’ve had a heart attack or stroke because I was so scared,” said parent Frances Lopez.

In a related story, the CDC has announced that the presence of friends can reduce your risk of heart attack or stroke by 1000%.

Mrs. Lopez’s reaction is sadly all too typical. Especially around my house. We received news about this directly from an unnamed seventh grade source. The thing with the middle school grape vine is that the facts tend to get mangled after the initial telling of the tale. Making a bigger deal out of this isn’t helpful. Among the rumors that were passed on was that the girl might have brought a gun to school.

Never mind the media adding to the pants shitting hysteria of neurotic parents. But go ahead and read the lede from Channel 4.

A local school system is dealing with hit lists, and they believe they are coming from an eighth-grade student.

Oh. Now it is multiple lists? Not multiple lists! Oh, the humanity!

Mrs. Sarcastro went into full panic mode over this stupid damn thing. She started railing about whatever it is that Security Moms get worked up about.

I foolishly tried to extinguish this blaze of outrage.

“What’s the big deal? This kid made a list. So what?”

“What if one of our kids was on that list?”

“So what? It’s just a list.”

“It was a KILL list!”

“So kids are getting expelled from school for making lists?”

“She brought a gun to school!”

“No. She might or might not have brought a gun to school, and if she did, then she should be expelled and charged. If she really brought a gun to school, don’t you think that would be the story instead of this stupid list bullshit?”

“If 13 was on that list, I would have him in private school so fast…”

“Like that is a solution. Nothing bad happens in private schools. Just ask those Amish girls.”

“What if she brought that gun to school and started shooting people in the cafeteria.”

“I would expect someone in that room to be able to disarm an eighth grade girl.”

“You just don’t get it.”

“You’re right. I don’t. Kicking a girl out of school for making lists of the kids who are being shitty to her doesn’t make a lot of sense.”

“You don’t know if that girl was being picked on.”

“No. You are right. Middle school is a Utopian paradise full of peace and love. There can’t be any likely reason why she would make a list of her tormentors. Errr, I mean kids who are just minding their own business.”

This back and forth went on for awhile with no resolution or apparent end.

School massacres are, by and large, an aberration rather than the norm. The hysteria about this sort of thing is generally fueled by emotion rather than the facts. Statistically, a kid has a better chance of being strangled by a parent than gut shot by some other kid with a grudge list. On average, about two thousand children are murdered in this country every year. Out of that number, around twelve of those kids are killed at school. When you figure out where the remaining 1,988 are killed, you get a cookie.

It just seems un-American somehow to cultivate the idea in children that putting their thoughts onto paper is a crime. We aren’t making our kids safer, we’re just making them better sheep.

Reclaiming My Past

March 7, 2008

The last battlefield domicile that the former Mrs. Sarcastro and I shared had a basement that flooded on a regular basis.  We were completely unaware of how bad it could get when we first moved in.  Being as mentioned unaware, we put boxes of stuff in the basement.  Boxes of stuff that had no business being there.  One of those boxes contained my yearbooks from middle school through college.

Shortly after the Treaty of Versailles was signed, I showed up to get some more of my possessions.  I found that box to be completely waterlogged and the books therein to be ruined beyond any hope.  Black mold had settled in as well as the water damage.  All those memories went into the trash.

It is problematic enough for me that the years 1985-1989 are  kind of a hazy blur.  You know when you wake up after a vivid dream and as the day progresses, your recollection of the dream begins to fade until you no longer remember what the dream was about in the first place?  It’s a lot like that.  I no longer remember what was a dream and what was my waking life.   Let’s just say that drinking my way through college has yet to pay off.  My crippled brain cells need the stimuli that the pictures in the yearbooks provide in order to recall the damaged files that contain those memories.

This phenomenon first showed its ugly head soon after I got out of school.  Invariably it went like this:  I would run into a former school acquaintance at an Atlanta bar who would proceed to tell me a hilarious story (that invariable involved alcohol) about some legendary feat with me as the heroic protagonist.  I would nod and smile like I knew what he was talking about while wishing I could recollect any of the story in the first person.  Sadly, the time frame he was referring to would only be three or four years in the past.

It hasn’t gotten any better in the almost twenty years since.  Faces are unrecognizable to me at this point.  I went to a charity golf tournament in October 2001 and couldn’t recognize anyone.  Until someone walked up and introduced himself and the others at the table, they were complete strangers as far as I knew.

By complete dumb luck, I recently stumbled across a copy of my senior year* college yearbook.   It was on ebay for like 15 bucks.  I bid on that sucker and was prepared to fight it out with what turned out to be no one for it.

I was like a kid at Christmas with guilty parents who buy their children’s love when it finally arrived in the mail.   It still felt like a new yearbook.  No identifying marks showing that it once belonged to someone else.   I immediately went to the Seniors section to find my portrait.

Evidently, I forgot to show up for pictures that year.   I’m sure there is a good story that explains why.

*Not to be confused with the Super-Senior year which came right after that.  Seven years of college down the drain!

A Million Times No…

March 7, 2008

Another meme has come here to die.

Got this one from the lovely Newscoma.

1. Pick up the nearest book.

2. turn to page 123.

3. find the 5th sentence.

4. post the next 3 sentences.

5. tag 5 people.

There isn’t a book of 123 pages in this room. Unless my infant son is reading Atlas Shrugged by the light of the ubiquitous Baby Einstein DVDs during the proscribed sleeping time.

The nearest book is, by happy coincidence, the one I am currently reading. Or re-reading. I don’t recall if this one is a do-over or not.

Made In America, An Informal History of the English Language in the United States by Bill Bryson.

No community in history had grown so big so swiftly. As Daniel Boorstin has noted: “Mankind had required at least a million years to produce its first urban community of a million people. Chicagoans accomplished this feat in less than a century.”

On advice of counsel, I must invoke my constitutional right to refuse to tag anyone.

This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

March 2, 2008

Yet another attempt by my loving wife to put me in an early grave.

That’s far enough!