Thursday, December 31, 2009

Working on New Year's Eve

I have always considered New Year's Eve to be "amateur night", so working it has never been a hardship. In fact, the only occasions I refuse to work are the Solemn Feast of Saint Patrick, Queensday, and the second Tuesday of the month. Work has been especially nice this afternoon- I got to watch the sun go down over the mighty Hudson River, and I saw buffleheads for the first time this season. I also startled a great blue heron (which I was shocked to see this time of year), and saw a flock of about a hundred Branta canadensis land in the pond on the premises. There are two or three inches of snow on the ground, so my environs look like a Currier & Ives knockoff postcard. Overall, I can't complain.

I'll be getting off work at midnight, so I may actually go out after work if I am up to it- it often pays to be the only sober person in a social setting, although it is a rare enough occurrence for me. Luckily, I can walk from home to any of a dozen bars within five minutes.

I usually don't make New Year's resolutions, but I'll make one for this coming year... I started this blog a month ago, and I did not post any Jack Vance related entries. Next year, MOAR VANCE!!!

May next year be a healthy, happy, and prosperous one for all- we deserve it.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

In Praise of Brassica

Today, I cooked up a big pot of collard greens with some smoked pork neck, a half-dozen tiny garlic cloves (the little ones in the center of the bud), and a touch of hot sauce. I had found the collards on sale, and purchased them, not even thinking of their significance to this season.

Collard greens (usually accompanied by black-eyed peas) are a common New Year's Eve/Day meal for persons of Southern extraction. I have a good friend from the Florida panhandle (for which FLA stands for F'in' Lower Alabama) who cooks up a pot of greens and beans every New Year's Day, and has people over to usher in the new year.

Of course, "Southern" cooking is indistinguishable from "Soul Food", the cuisine of the African-American community (slaves, and later domestic servants, of African descent did most of the cooking for white slaveowners). Perhaps the best book on African/American foodways is Hog and Hominy by Dr. Frederick Opie of Marist College. Soul Food, like all great cuisines, is rooted in frugality- inexpensive ingredients are transformed, through brilliant technique, onerous work, and, for lack of a better word, love, into gustatory masterpieces. The collard greens and black-eyed peas of the Southern sharecropper, the cannelli beans and escarole of the Italian contadino, the bok choi and soybeans of the Chinese peasant... all are the products of poverty faced with ingenuity and dignity, and all are fantastic.

Tonight, I am going to buy a bag of black-eyed peas to cook tomorrow with some salt pork I have left over from a New England clam chowder cooking experiment (wildly successful, I might say). Might as well go whole hog (literally) with my Southron feast.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Anniversary of Rasputin's Death

Hat tip to M. Bouffant...

Today marks the anniversary of the death of mad mystic monk Grigori Rasputin. Just about anything you could possibly want to know about Rasputin was encapsulated in disco form by band Boney M. in 1978.

Rasputin is heroically bizarre- it's a heady mix of sheer brilliance and utter stupidity... how else can one describe this particular couplet?

In all affairs of state he was the man to please
But he was real great when he had a girl to squeeze

Please note, the version I linked cuts off the end of the final "hits it out of the park" line, Oh, those Russians. It's the best video I could find, though, because it has the awesome "concert" footage.

As a added dollop of weirdness, the genius-moron behind Boney M. was Frank Farian, who also unleashed Milli Vanilli on an unsuspecting, credulous world.

If Only Ogden Had Known...

I knew I would post on this topic eventually, but a "Smut synergy" at Riddled has forced my hand- when I saw the recent posts on alarming duck penes and turtle flatus, I knew that the time had come.

One of my favorite poets (besides that other Big Bad Bald Bastard, aka the Scallop-Skulled Skald) is Ogden Nash. Mr. Nash was blissfully unaware of the truth when he wrote his poem The Turtle:

The turtle lives 'twixt plated decks
Which practically conceal its sex.
I think it clever of the turtle
In such a fix to be so fertile.

Oh, Ogden, Ogden, Ogden, if only you had known the shocking facts about grave robbers from outer space alarming turtle penes. Note, labeling this video "Not Safe For Work" would be a meaningless exercise. This video is not safe for humans, period, and, once seen, can never be unseen. You've been warned, this is a potent mixture of hilarity and horror!

Monday, December 28, 2009

A Little Pop Culture Retrospective for Year's End

Although it happened before I started this blog, I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge the passing, earlier in this year, of a pop-music legend- a man whose name was practically synonymous with a genre of music, a man who was celebrated for his distinctive look, his outrageous outfits, and his terpsichorean endeavors. No doubt, you have figured out by now that I am, indeed, thinking of Imawano Kyoshiro, father of "Fuji Rock", who succumbed to lymphatic cancer on May 2, 2009. Here's Kyoshiro in a collaboration with the brilliant Ryuichi Sakamoto:

Saturday, December 26, 2009

St Stephen's Day

Boxing Day also marks the Feast of St. Stephen, first martyr to the Christian faith- the stone in his hand represents the instrument of his martyrdom. The day is perhaps best known to Americans as the day on which Good King Wenceslas (the historical Duke Vaclav of 10th Century Bohemia) set out in the snow with a page to bring a feast to a poor subject. Incidentally, Duke Vaclav was also canonized by the Church. The carol was written by English churchman John Mason Neale in the mid-nineteenth century. Obviously, Neale was a liberal who wanted to give unsuspecting children an example of liberal nanny-state largesse, masked as an act of piety and kindness.

More importantly, the Feast of St. Stephen, being the day after the family celebration of Christmas, is a traditional day for gathering with friends in the pub for some hearty wassailing. Although I will be working this afternoon (there's a fundraising event at the non-profit I work for part-time), I will be sure to hit the pub with my fellow wassailants when things wind down.

Edit: Who am I kidding? I just wanted to post a woodcut for

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Well, I'm working on Christmas, but it's quiet and peaceful. I feel a small compulsion to post a wistful "Christmas" song, so here's the inimitable Captain Sensible, with a melancholy, somewhat odd, ditty:

A lot of Captain Sensible's "solo" efforts were collaborations with Robyn Hitchcock, but the songwriting credit for "OCCTM" goes to Captain Sensible and Tony Mansfield. I like to think that a certain (Robyn) Hitchcockian whimsicality was foremost in their minds when they wrote the song.

The lush production values are a far cry from the sound of earlier efforts in which the good Captain played a part (Brian James on songwriting credits for "Neat Neat Neat").

Edit: Please note that I am just as much of fan of the Damned's earlier stuff, but did not embed the video because I wish to avoid cluttering the blog with too many videos.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Psychedelic Santa

Although Coca Cola ads have played a large part in Santa Claus iconography, there are some who would aver that Santa Claus' appearance is based on the hallucinogenic Amanita muscaria mushroom.

Navigate over to any one of the sites linked above, and read the tale of the mushroom-costume wearing shaman who harnesses psychedelic urine-consuming flying reindeer to his sleigh, and enters the smoke-holes of the yurts of the world's children. No wonder the guy's so jolly!

Gather my children, come into the room
And hear of the saint who's dressed as a shroom.
He slides down the chimney and never gets hurt
The chimney's the smoke hole of a herder's yurt
The sleigh that he rides in, it surely can fly,
The reindeer that pull it are screamingly high.
Although dear St Nick is all strung out on drugs,
It could be much worse, kids, you could all be Thugs
The stoner who visits you is much more jolly,
Than four-armed, skull-necklaced bloodthirsty Kali.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Pet Peeve

One thing that gets my ire up (channeling my inner Ed Anger here) is the mischaracterization of Jingle Bells as a Christmas song. Of course, the song has nothing to do with Christmas, but a little peek into history reveals a much richer backstory than I had ever expected.

Without further ado, here's a link to a story which exposes the drag-racing, rock and/or rolling origins of the song. After reading it, I suddenly realized why most renditions of the song only include the first verse.

Heh, just wait until my post about the possible origins of Santa Claus "iconography".

A Little Holiday Music

Given the sad fact that Christmas has been repurposed, to an appalling extent, into an orgy of consumerism and a cudgel wielded by right-wing religious authoritarians, here's a little number which sends up the commercialism/authoritarianism axis that threatens to ruin the gladness and goodwill the holiday is supposed to represent:

In the interests of full disclosure, the artist is a great and good friend of the bastard.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Poetic Musings...

Seeing the luverly poem posted at Riddled by Another Kiwi, I started musing on a poetic career that peaked too early.

Back in the mid-nineties, I wrote the finest poem that I can ever hope to write- all other poetic efforts on my part will be mere shadows compared to this work:

Fifty-ninth Street Bridge
Ain't no-one feelin' groovy
Commuting from Queens.

This Big Bad Bald Bastard, unlike a certain other Big Bad Bald Bastard, cannot hope to pull off an impressive late-life effort to top this... no Sonnatorrek will rival my Höfuðlausn, if you will.

Monday, December 21, 2009

It's Been a Downer of a Week

First post in a week... my father died last Tuesday after a long litany of various illnesses. He had been living in Florida for the last ten years or so, but came up to New York for a meeting with colleagues. He taught online courses for a small private college in the Hudson Valley, and his department is in the midst of a re-accreditation process under a new dean. My aunt (who has been a great source of strength for the whole family) and I transported him to the meeting, where he asked the tough questions that younger faculty members were unwilling to ask. He died on December 15, in his sleep, in the ancestral home in the Bronx, which had been built by his grandfather.

After a decade as a patient, he spent his last day as a doctor. He went with his pride intact, which was the best outcome a man as ill as he had been can expect.

My mother, three brothers, and sister all came for the funeral from various locales. Although unplanned, we were together for the holidays for the first time in years. All of my dad's surviving siblings (my uncle James died last year) and three generations of cousins all attended the wake, funeral, and interment. A contingent of family and personal friends also showed up to provide moral support, for which I am grateful.

I also had a profound sense of context as a result of the week's events, which occurred in a geographic location which has shaped my outlook in many ways, and were attended by individuals who represented all stages of my life, whether family, family friends, or personal friends. Even persons I didn't know, who had been my father's former classmates, former students, or former colleagues, helped me to better understand my personal history, and place in this world.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

An Appreciation for a Co-worker

The last three weeks at work have been a slog, to say the least. At one point, two of my co-workers were out with injuries and one was out with the H1N1 flu virus. Needless to say, the rest of us have been run a little ragged...

Last night, I relieved a co-worker who had worked a split-shift, doing the graveyard shift, then the afternoon shift (which is more difficult than working straight through a sixteen hour period). I came in early so he could hit the road, and then the hay.

He's an immigrant from Chile, who is nearing retirement age, and he is a tremendous opera fan, being an especial fan of Sweden's Jussi Björling. We stood around for a while, listening to a 1944 recording of Nessun dorma from Puccini's Turandot. As we listened, he told me that his brother had emigrated from Chile to Sweden, where he raised four daughters. My co-worker and his wife flew to Sweden for the wedding of his brother's eldest daughter, and he made a pilgrimage to Jussi Björling's house, which is now a museum, and then to Björling's grave, where he encountered a multinational contingent of opera fans, all united in their love for the tenor, who died at the age of forty-eight.

Listening to opera reminds me of my paternal grandfather, who religiously listened to the opera broadcasts on WQXR every Saturday afternoon, connecting to the culture his immigrant parents brought with them from Liguria, and a language he largely gave up when he married the Roscommon-rooted love of his life.

Next time you hear someone decry "multiculturalism", please give them a boot for the bastard.


The brilliant minds behind the Secret Science Club have scored a major coup by getting the Most Eeeevull Communistic Man in America, James Hansen (not to be confused with the slightly creepy androgynous boy band of a similar name) of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies to deliver a lecture at Brooklyn's Bell House on Tuesday, December 15.

Cold beer, hot topic- what could make for a more potent mix?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Yonkers Human Rights Commission Award Ceremony

Last night, I attended a ceremony in which the Yonkers Human Rights Commission gave its annual award to "stewards of the Hudson" Riverkeeper, with president Alex Matthiessen accepting the award. A reception followed.

The theme of the evening was "A Clean Environment as a Human Right". When the Hudson River was used as a waste-dumping ground by such companies as General Electric, Anaconda Copper Wire, and General Motors, the riverfront was an insalubrious locale in which to live, so low-income residences were often located there. Now, as water quality improves, the riverfront becomes a more desirable place to live, which may result in the displacement of low-income residents. Low-income individuals also tend to rely on fishing and crabbing as a supplementary food source, so they are affected by chemical pollutants to a greater extent.

The downside of the evening is that I was unable to get my ass down to Greenwich Village to see the lovely and talented Dorian Devins (see four posts ago) sing at Gizzi's Coffee Shop, but the Human Rights Award is only given out once a year.

Edit- forgot to mention that yesterday was Human Rights Day, which explains the scheduling of the awards ceremony.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Woodcut for Smut, Hat Tip to Actor212

Swiss pike square, battle of Dreux (1562)

In my first blog post, I linked to Albrecht Dürer's Melencolia I, which inspired the woodcut-obsessed Smut Clyde of Riddled to comment, "Only one woodcut?"

Well, not wanting to horn in on his schtick, I will limit it to one woodcut a week.

Two days ago, I saw a rig that could haul that tanker, Brad of Sadly No wrote a post encapsulating Anne somebody set us up the Applebaum's opinion piece concerning the Swiss ban on minarets. Anne's piece opens up with a picture of an idyllic Alpine scene:

A few weeks ago, I found myself walking through a Swiss village -- okay, it was really a Geneva suburb -- called Nyon. Still, it looked like a village: There was a castle on the hill, and I could see some Roman ruins.

In response, noted "Sadly No" commenter actor212 wrote:

I had that same diorama when I was in middle school.

Now, having a great-grandfather from the Berner Oberland and a great-grandmother from Graubünden, I could not let this gross misrepresentation of Medieval Swiss military tactics go unanswered- the diorama in question lacked polearms.

Uncle Gary would be spinning in his grave!

The backbone of the Swiss armies of the medieval and early Renaissance period was the pike square, which was effective against cavalry and infantry, but, alas, not artillery. Crossbowmen (later, arquebusiers) were placed inside the pike square, and infantrymen armed with halberds and Lucerne hammers (essentially can-openers, designed to punch through armor to get at the soft, knightly goodness inside) were interspersed among the pikemen.

Needless to say, the increasing prevalence of firearms on the field of battle put paid to pike square, and the Nineteenth Century saw the end of the Swiss mercenary tradition (on the field of battle) and the rise of a new mercenary tradition among the Swiss.

Bastard's Drinking Buddy

Here's a tip of the hat to "Another Kiwi" of Riddled, who posted a link to a Temple University study of the effects of booze and caffeine on mice made to run a maze.

I suspect that this little critter was caught by one of the local cats, and was in shock, so I picked it up, gave it a wee nip of courage, and placed it by a nearby fieldstone wall, whereupon it scampered off. I have two friends who told me I was nuts for picking it up, both saying "Aren't you worried about rabies?" Rabies? Nah... it's the hantavirus that should have dissuaded me from picking it up.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Simply Deplorable

Reading the "House of Substance" post on The Deadliest Man Alive, I clicked on the Wikipedia link for "Count Dante". Following various links from there, I stumbled upon this hilarious, though poignant, quote in an article on the India martial art varma kalai:

Attempts to capture all the glory for the origin of martial arts in India for China or Greece is deplorable.

I want to visit the parallel universe in which the majority of martial arts movies were filmed in India, and all of them feature elaborate song and dance numbers.

Secret Science Club, After Action Report

Last night's lecture was primarily about perception, not vision per se. Ben Backus' loverly assistant handed out dark gray filters to attendees for a demonstration of the Pulfrich effect, and Dr. Backus gave a quick overview of the visual cortex, with particular emphasis on the V5/MT region. He also provided a program of videos, with which to illustrate precepts of perception, and explained how perception can be changed using variable visual cues.

The highlight of the night, though, was meeting frequent "Sadly No" commenter N__B and his lovely wife. I have to confess that N__B is bigger than the bastard (I am of strictly average height for a North American male, though thick, broad, and girthsome, while N__B is decidedly taller than is the norm). While conversing over pints of Six Points brewery's Winter Ale, I discovered that N__B is a consulting engineer on an expansion project being undertaken by one of my employers, so we know some folks in common. As Stephen Wright would put it, "It's a small world, but I wouldn't want to paint it."

After the lecture, local band La Strada played a set. I enjoyed their sound (tight vocal harmonies, accordion, violin, and cello in addition to the more traditional rock-n-roll lineup) enough to purchase a CD for eight bucks. Talking to a couple of band members, I found out that they will be embarking on a tour of Canada. They come across as a really nice bunch, and I wish them success.

Finally, Secret Science Club co-host Dorian Devins informed me that she will be singing at Gizzi's Coffee in Greenwich Village tomorrow night. I hope to be able to attend, but I have a family obligation that may not wrap up in time. If hearing an amazing woman sing standards for a crowd of interesting people while drinking quality coffee is your thing, you should check out her performance. As an added bonus, Gizzi's isn't too far from Mamoun's, should you need an after-performance falafel fix.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Scrumping in the Popular Culture

A follow up to last night's first post:

I was driving home last night, and heard the Who's 5:15 on the radi-adi-o. Sure enough, a scrumping reference:

On a raft in the quarry
Slowly sinking.
On the back of a lorry
Holy hitching.
Dreadfully sorry
Apple scrumping.
Born in the war
Birthday punching.

Not having picked up on this before (I'm relatively new to my orchard-despoiling), I verified the lyrics on teh t00bz (an effort of dubious utility), and I found an interesting thread on gleaning and usufruct. This anecdote, from commenter "Keith Talent", amused and impressed me to no end:

When we were kids, my mother was a devoted canner, her favourite game, (still is actually) was "lets pretend we're poor," which dovetailed nicely with her other favourite passtime (sic) "Lets save pennies." Explaining the cost of driving across town to save on tinned tuna wasn't really a savings due to gas and time did not compute for her.

Anyway, the local high security prision (sic) had a number of apple trees on the grounds, outside of the formal prison proper but within a barbed wired yard. Mom marched up to the gate, informed the gaurds (sic) on duty she was a taxpayer and intended to not see the apples fall uneaten to the ground agian (sic), she was here to pick them with her two young sons. She'd make applesauce.

Unbeleiveably (sic) they allowed it, we picked apples on the prison yard. I liked my mom for throwing nice apples over the fence to the prisoners on excercise break in the actual yard. My brother and I were completely terrified the whole time. We never went back a second time, I suspect my father probably forbid it, or maybe my brother and I whining made the apples cost more than they were worth.

Man, I would love to meet Mama Talent, and give her a hearty high-five.

The thread commenters also mention the wonderful documentary The Gleaners and I. Being a nerd, I thought it was a great date movie, as foreign-language documentaries tend to weed out non-nerdlicious prospective mates.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

That Time of the Month Again

The next Secret Science Club lecture will take place on Tuesday, December 8th. Free lecture, comprehensive bar, interesting crowd, no exams- it's all the benefits of college with none of the responsibilities.

If you are in the NY metro area, you'd be a fool not to attend. A fool, I tells ya!

My Most Bitter Rival

Being in a confessional mood, I have to admit that I have been living an extensive, though one-dimensional, life of crime. Well, a while back, I was in one of my usual haunts, when I discovered a marauding marmot muscling in on my scrumping-grounds. The cheeky devil was nicking the very apples that I was planning to steal! Oh the humanity rodenticity! The woodchuck scampered off before I could chuck it in a wood chipper, and I haven't seen it since. While some would propose a somewhat mundane reason for this absence, I suspect that the little sucker, after his last big score, jetted off to Brazil, where he's shacked up with a sleek agouti half his age.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Passing of a Legend

Yesterday marked the death of balladeer Liam Clancy, the last of the Clancy Brothers to grace the planet with his presence. How tragic, how ironic that a man with such a voice should die of a respiratory disease.

A personal favorite:

Just watching these old videos gives me goosebumps. Songs such as Roddy McCorley and The Rising of the Moon are freighted with history, and the balladeers that interpret these songs are the heirs of poetic traditions that stretch back to the haze of proto-history.

I Got the Radio On!

The local college radio station has always been remarkably good. Currently, I am listening to "Your Old Pal Jim", hosting his Tunes from the Defective Jukebox show. He's always good for playing snippets of dialogue from old movies along with the music. Ghosty's Show follows, and "Ghosty" is going to be interviewing Mike Joyce of the Smiths and Brian Wilson(!) tonight. The Big Al Show caps the night's programming.

All told, it's an interesting musical lineup- a damn sight better than anything the commercial stations typically play.

Happy Birthday, Sweetums!

Today is my older brother's birthday. Back in the days when I had hair (big blond afro!), my sarcastic sister dubbed him "Sweetums" in a fit of pique.

"He's so perfect, he doesn't do anything wrong, oh Sweetums, he's so perfect!"

Well, everyone in earshot pretty much agreed with her, so her sarcastic intent was nullified by my brother's inherent goodness. Now, some people are nice because they lack meanness, but my brother's niceness is a positive quality, not an absence of ill intent. Over the course of years, and through travels in many different countries, Sweetums' reputation continues, and he is universally loved by all persons of good will.

My younger brother Vincenzo's birthday was November 30, before I started this blog, so I'll give him a shout-out here as well. The family Thanksgiving tradition always encompassed a celebration of Vin's birthday as well. He, as well, has always had a remarkably generous spirit, and brought countless friends into our family "sphere of influence".

Friday, December 4, 2009

Context for the Corporate Conscience?

Yesterday was the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Bhopal disaster, in which over 25,000 individuals were killed by a toxic cloud- death courtesy of Union Carbide. Of course, environmentalists are just a bunch of human-hating, tree-hugging pinkos, while the "Competitive Enterprise" and "Deregulation" proponents are morally pure Randian supermen.

Uh, Can I Get Verification from a Canadian?

So, a couple of days ago, I learned that a friend of mine likes Clamato, a blend of tomato juice and clam broth. Live and learn, live and learn... For some obscure reason, I decided to look up Clamato on the Intert00bz, and was informed that the "National Cocktail" of Canada is the Caesar, a Clamato and vodka blend similar to a clammy Bloody Mary. Googling "Canada's Number One Cocktail" yielded a paucity of results, but all were Clamato related. Now I would have suspected that Canada's number one cocktail would be a rum and coke, or a gin and tonic, or, giving an allowance for patriotic stirrings, Canadian whisky and soda, but Lisa of the Toronto Institute of Bartending assures me that the Classic Caesar is the real deal:

Now, who the hell would be so churlish as to doubt Lisa?

Personally, being a nerd of a certain age, I would combine Cointreau, cilantro, and Clamato in an unholy blend and call it a Trow toe, because I think it would have this effect on one's stomach.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Bastard's First Video

Figured I'd have to start off with a bang, here, so I chose The Day the World Turned Dayglo by the X-ray Spex:

One of my greatest accomplishments in the mid-to-late 90's was introducing the Spex to Peoria, Illinois. One of my baby brother's classmates was an Illinois-boy, and he'd often come around to the homestead when he had time off, but was unable to travel home. At the time, I was playing the hell out of a newly released CD reissue of Germfree Adolescents, (I'm talking "laser burning a groove in the damn thing" here) and he became enamored of their music. When he returned home, he got his younger siblings hooked on the Spex, and the damage was done.

The album is an amazing cultural artifact. The prescience shown by lead singer/head songwriter Poly Styrene (Née Marian Joan Elliott Said) verges on the terrifying- her commentary on such topics as genetic engineering, consumerism, gender and racial identity, germ-phobia and chemical saturation of the environment sounds as timely now as it did in 1977. The fact that she was a teenager when the album debuted should make dimbulb "pundits" such as William Kristol and Thomas Friedman slink off in shame.

Although I deplore consumerism, I implore anyone reading this (yeah, right!) to purchase Germfree Adolescents as soon as is humanly possible. If you've never heard any of the songs, prepare to be shocked at how timely they all sound.

In 1978, Poly started hallucinating, went on a hiatus, and was eventually diagnosed with bipolar disorder (from "tehWiki Waki Woo", although John Savage's England's Dreaming) has a lot to say about her). At the risk of sounding histrionic, I like to think that she had tapped into a vein of hyper-consciousness, which simply overwhelmed her for a time. Reading the article linked by Wikipedia, it's good to know that she's doing well- she paid a high enough price for her awe-inspiring awareness.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Sign of the Times

While walking down MacDougal St, I noticed this particular sign, and was intrigued. "Unnecessary Noise Prohibited"- could I have been cited for whistling?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Big Bad Bald Bastard's Bump of Benevolence

A short while ago, a local nonprofit had a fundraising event which featured several entertainers- including an interpreter from Old Bethpage Village who does a phrenology schtick. Of course, the phrenologist could not resist the quick study that my glabrous pate presented, so I was the recipient of a public "reading" of my "classic head".

Now, I would not be so naif as to give any credence to 19th Century quackery, but my reading was creepily accurate:

Starting at my occiput, he informed me that my philoprogenitive groove indicated that I had a tendency to nurture children and small animals.

Proceeding forward along my pate, he stated that I tended to be skeptical of authority, but that my respect could be earned with demonstrated competence.

As far as memory was concerned, he told me that my short-term memory (no cannabis jokes, now!) was not great, because I had a lot of irons in the fire, but that my long-term memory was extremely good. "You have the ability to remember conversations that you had twenty years ago with startling accuracy."

Finally, proceeding to the front of my melon, he told me that I had a "bump of benevolence", and was generally of good disposition, and generous character. Well, that's a most flattering view of me, and one that I would have to have corroborated by a disinterested third party, but one I would not dispute.

So, what the hell does one do when one's view of oneself is corroborated by pseudoscientific whackaloonery? Well, obviously one chalks the success of the quack up to lucky guesswork or keen observation, but rest assured, I would never view my phrenological "reading" as anything more than a harmless schtick performed by a gentleman who is usually occupied in more serious endeavors with an educational nonprofit.

Bastard's Blogging

Know, oh prince, that between the years when the oceans drank New Orleans and the gleaming cities were attacked, and the years of the rise of the sons of Bush, there was an Age undreamed of, when shining kingdoms lay spread across the world like blue mantles beneath the stars - Dunwoodie, Crestwood, Inwood, the Hudson Valley with its dark-haired women and byways of horseman-haunted mystery, Connecticut with its chivalry, Queens that bordered on the pastoral lands of Nassau County, Woodlawn with its shadow-guarded tombs, Central Park whose riders wore spandex and lycra and helmets. But the proudest kingdom of the world was Yonkers, reigning supreme in the dreaming Westchester County. Hither came _____, the bastard, no-haired, sullen-eyed, beer in hand, a nerd, a reader, a smartass, with gigantic sarcasms and gigantic mirth, to tread the littered sidewalks of the Earth under his ungainly feet.

Since all the cool kids are blogging, I figured I'd hop belatedly on the bandwagon. To tell the truth, it is pitch black quiet and I am likely to be eaten by a grue coming to the tail end of a twelve-day continuous slog at work. Ennui has set in, so I write to stave off melancholy.

Whoa, that really sounds... emo.