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Saturday, August 14, 2010

Ladies and gentlemen, ALMO

The debut single from my new band, ALMO is now available for your listening pleasure!

Monday, July 5, 2010

"Too Hot for Facebook"

This was going to be a status update that turned into a note that turned into something that would freak out half my friends on facebook. I used to write a lot of angry or cynical blogs and status updates but I'm trying to keep my facebook statuses (stati?) from getting too pessimistic.

I just read an article that talked about how one conservative religious organization vastly outspent another conservative religious organization that was, until this story broke, thought to have been the biggest spender in their Prop 8 campaigns against gay rights. Neither organization was based in California, where Prop 8 was on the ballot. Resulting from the massive spending, one organization had to eliminate their staff by approximately 20%. Total spending for Prop 8 was approximately $40 million.

On an unrelated note, this weekend I learned that every month 86,000 children in Oregon eat from emergency food boxes. The suggested donation for one admission to the blues festival in Portland this weekend was enough to purchase approximately 50 pounds of food for the Oregon Food Bank.

So, if these numbers are correct, the amount spent against gay rights in the State of California in 2008 would have purchased 200,000,000 pounds of food for people who are going hungry. Of course, things are usually less expensive when purchased in larger quantities.

These are just facts. I haven't really been able to form an opinion based on this information because every time I try to reconcile those two different pieces of information, my mind sputters, stalls and for a second I forget what day it is or who I am.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Now You Semen, Now You Don't.

The already small room seemed to shrink even more after the receptionist opened her damned mouth.

The words bounced crisply off the walls of the waiting room, nearly the size of a bathroom stall, and into the hallway where the sound waves careened about like a pinball.

The blonde seated in the waiting area behind me and whose halter top struggled to retain her ridiculous breasts was now aware, as were any passersby, that I "have the option of taking the plastic cup home or using one of our bathrooms here. If you go home, you have to be back in thirty minutes or the specimen won't be any good."

I had a sudden rememberance of me driving through town when I hit a curb and spilled my soda pop down my shirt.

"Here. Fine. Is fine." I said quietly though with the grace and confidence of a neandrothal who had just touched the big black monolith and subsequently and mystically was granted the gift of speech.

"Okay, just take a seat in the lobby for now."

To my horror there were only two seats. Boobs was in one seat, and the other was adjacent to hers but close enough that our knees would have touched.

"Wow, they really pack us in, don't they?" I laughed nervously while I slid my chair a few feet away from hers. I sat and instinctively crossed my legs, not realizing until moments later that I had done so. I pulled out my phone and began to pretend to text.

"Mr. Moore?" I expected her to say, "you can go jack off now," but instead she said, "You're going to have to go downstairs and take this sheet to Admissions." I held the form in my hand and thought, "don't you have a fax machine?"

I withheld my protest, however, upon realizing that this bureaucratic nuisance at least spared me from enduring another second staring at the wall and not breathing. Above the reception counter was a sign that said, “Voted Best Hospital Laboratory – 2004” by such-and-such health magazine. These sorts of awards should have an expiration date. If they cannot follow this victory with a 2005 trophy, it is like saying, “Salem Hospital Laboratory… slowly declining since 2004.”

Hospitals are sick places. The corridors are narrow, the air is stale, and the patients are crazy. Like a casino there are no windows or clocks. For some reason I kept expecting the place to burst into flames.

I made it down to admissions (is that even what it was called?) and stood behind a sign far from the registration desk that read, "For privacy purposes, please wait here until you are called." Where the hell was this five minutes ago?, I wondered.

I was the only one in line and after thirty seconds had not yet been acknowledged by the receptionist who simply stared blankly at the computer screen. She lacked the courtesy to even move her hands about in order to look busy-- a trick I employ in the drive-up teller window at work when I don't want customers to know that I need at least a few moments to recover from the last dumbass who came through before I deal with their shit.

I began to slowly sway back and forth, hoping that she might then notice me; you know, sort of like how certain reptiles can't see you if you don't move. It worked, and she called me forward. I handed her the paper and she said I will have to take a seat and wait for a number.

Suddenly playing the part of Bill Murray's or Steve Martin's character in some 1980's comedy I sat in the waiting room and watched the receptionist do absolutely nothing. "Make my number happen!" I wanted to yell. "You aren't making anybody else's number happen! Make my number!"

I was again in a waiting room with but one other person. This time it was a stout, old woman in a sundress with what appeared to be male pattern baldness not unlike Terry Bradshaw's. She was reading a paperback novel entitled, "The Demonic Pigs."

"Ohhhh," she would mutter. "Ewwww... Ohhh Gawd."

Then she looked up at me: "It's a really good book."

I mouthed, "Oh."

She nodded and returned to her book, but immediately after her head tilted toward the pages it bounced back up at me and said, "It's sort of a sorcery and magic sort of thing."

"Really." I glanced around the room in fear that anyone nearby might have actually supposed that I had inquired about "The Demonic Pigs."

"Yes, there's this sorceror and he has a fairy. He has this fairy with him. Flies around and such. And there's this warrior. Well he was a warrior in the previous book but he died and in this book he came back as a weasel." She chuckled, "He wasn't very happy about that."

I shook my head in sympathy with the warrior.

A voice cut in: "Marge? Marge Witherby?"

Sun dress stood up, but before walking away turned over her shoulder and said, "It was nice talking to you." I told her likewise and I do not know why I am such a liar sometimes.

My number was never called but my name was called by a hospital employee who walked in from the back somewhere wiping mayonaisse off her face and brushing crumbs off her shirt, so I then assumed that "wait for your number" thing means "sit there while Glenda puts down her hamburger and gets off her fat ass."

I sat at a desk while Mayo typed into her screen information that she was reading off the paper. I looked around the office and no fax machine was in sight, and so I understood my role of courier.

Then the questions started.

Who do you work for? Wells Fargo.

Do you have your insurance card? Here.

This doesn't look like a card. It's what they gave me.

They didn't give you something else? No.

Hmm. (click click click click) Is this insurance company new to Wells Fargo? I'm new to Wells Fargo, so...

Hmm. I'm going to have to check on something. (click click click click click click) Ohh, it works now. Apparently something wasn't updated in the whatnot, and so therefore things weren't compatible with the so on and so forth, but it's fine. Good.

"And you're here for..." her eyes scanned my piece of paper. "Oh. OH. Okay."

Got weird suddenly: "And do you have any religious preferences?"

What? Will a chaplain come out and talk with me? Is there a ceremony that follows? Am I sinning if I say, "I'm Christian, now can I go masturbate into a cup please?"

"That's a weird one," I said. She chuckled, but waited for an answer.

"Do I have options?" I asked.

"Let's see," she said. "Muslim, Mormon, Christian, Baptist..." Apparently the Salem Hospital does not consider Baptists Christians. Ha.

"How does my answer affect the procedures that follow?" I asked.

"It doesn't. It's just for demographics." (Salem Hospital Issues New Study, Finds Catholics More Likely To Jack Off In Hospitals Than Buddhists)

"Hmm, that's a toughie." Part of me felt I was taking this too seriously and that I should just pick one, but at the same time this didn't seem like the sort of question that one handles lightly.

"We can just put atheist," she said.

"I'm not really one of those," I said.


"No... can you do sort of a Progressive Agnostic slash Liberal Christian Traditionalist?"

"We'll just put down other." She said.

I was dissatisfied but I accepted it.

"Now, sir, I am required to notify you of our Anonymous Research Disclosure. In the state of Oregon, any specimens that are not destroyed can legally be retained for research purposes," she said.

"If I break any records will I be notified?"

"No sir, that's why it's called an Anonymous Research Disclosure."

"Because that would look really good on a resume."


I returned to the laboratory upstairs with my marching orders and was relieved to see that Boobs had moved elsewhere and the lobby was empty. But by the time that my sigh had formed in my lungs in came a large, smelly lady with five children, two of whom were twins approximately two years old.

The twins began running around smashing into plants and my shins. The daughter, approximately twelve years old, sat down in a doorway and the mother, standing in another doorway, yelled, "Yer blockin' tha doorway!" The rest of the children started spinning around with their arms out helicopter-style and slobbering.

I began to feel the pressure. In a few moments I had a job to do, but I was not sure if I was up to task, so to speak, given the surroundings. Not exactly putting me "in the mood."

"Mr. Moore?" The receptionist called over the warbling sounds of toddlers.

"Okay, for your semen analysis here is this cup for the semen to go in for the analysis. Here is a piece of paper with a semen analysis questionnaire. On the back of the semen analysis questionnaire are the directions for you to follow for the semen analysis. There is a bathroom around the corner for you to conduct your part of the semen analysis. Semen semen semen. Semen."

"Now, keep in mind," she continued, "that if you've had any, um, activity in the last five days this test won't do any good."


"Yeah. They didn't tell you that?"


"Well they should've told you that."



"So, now what?" I said.

"Well, the test won't be accurate."

"Can't you calculate proportions?" I asked. "Do you have, like, a slide rule or something? Is there an equation where you can plug in the variables and..."

"I'm sorry sir, you're going to have to come back in later."

"When I come back can we expedite the process?"

"No sir, you will have to go through the same procedures."

"There's no streamlining process? My address will still be the same. I'm not switching religions or anything."

"Unfortunately the registration papers only last 24 hours."

Then what happens to them? What sort of paper do you write it on? Does it evaporate? Does it go sour?

"So I'm screwed then," I said, not catching the irony in time.

I went home and jacked off anyways.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Shakespeare called it a Seven Day Wonder.

I was parked outside a convenience store around 11:30pm texting when a tattooed body with a shaved head appeared out of nowhere, and asked if there was any amount of money that would get me to drive him across town. 

I told him to hop in, and he was reluctant at first, unsure why I would be willing to do it for free.  I introduced myself first with a handshake and he then told me his name is Michael, a gang banger from East L.A.  Judging by the conversation we had and our respective reactions to the occurrence, we will likely spend the next seven days, if not the rest of our lives, wondering if the other one was an angel.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Life Won't Wait

I will sleep well tonight comforted by the realization that the Big Picture is relatively big and I am relatively small.  From these two relatives comes absolute peace and absolute joy.  This is greater than any minor stresses I have about money, career, relationships, etc.  

I am a flash in the pan, a random genetic occurrence, a sputter and flicker of a wavelength, a speck on a mote of dust.  Everything under the sun is meaningless.

Chances are, 100 years after I die, it will not matter that I lived.  What a relief.  However, if Einstein was right, there is no was, there is no will be; there only is is.  Everything in history happens at the same time.  Every rise, every fall, every heartbreak, every triumph.  All the sin and joy and love and pain.  

Based on this premise, the only thing I should do is the only thing I can do, and that is to be.  I need not worry about the mistakes I have made, and I need not fabricate an action plan to retrieve myself from any so-called rut.  The only way to fully be is to be fully.

It is time to die to the stale notion that a certain set of criteria must be met before I can live.  Ex: "Before I can live, I must_______"  (Insert:  pay off debt, earn my degree, move to L.A., lose some weight, do my laundry, etc. etc. etc.)  

Suppose it took x years to get into said rut, and y years to get out of the rut.  We've already wasted so much time-- why waste any more trying to climb out of the bottomless pit.  In a life rich with irony, imagine paying off that last pesky credit card of bondage only to get hit by a bus the next day while walking across the street to buy a pita sandwich-- right when your new life was supposed to begin.

George Carlin observed that life will never begin any time soon; it began millions of years ago.  The wheel is already in motion; the best we can hope to do is to learn to roll with it.  

Maybe this is what scripture means when it says we must first die to ourselves. 

"Life Won't Wait," boasts the title track from an album by the punk bank Rancid, released in 1998.  If life won't wait, why should we?  

Let's do some living after we die.
- The Rolling Stones, "Wild Horses," 1971.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, and Michael Jackson walk into a bar...

Abandon taste, all ye who enter. My perspective doesn't seem to be welcomed on facebook, so this is going to be my own little pressure release valve.

"You know how he really died?" Cory, one of my customers today, asked. "Food poisoning. He ate an 8-year old weiner."

Think of all those prosthetic parts. What's going to become of all those spare parts when his body decomposes? The inside of his casket is going to look like a Mr. Potato Head kit, sans potato.

Hey, maybe we can go for a triple-play and something will happen to Carrot Top.

I've been strangely unaffected by this whole thing. I think it's because I said my goodbyes when I was 8 years old, around the time Michael Jackson quit making good music and started raping people.

I'm dumbfounded by the outpour of sympathy. Sure, let's celebrate his music. I've got no problem with that. What irks me, though, are some people I know who are acting like they lost a member of their family. I guarantee you, though, that if Jacko was your uncle you would be able name more than three of his songs. And you'd also be in therapy indefinitely.

This is what happens when Americans lose a mainstay. We've never known life without Michael Jackson. We elevate our celebrities (especially the trainwrecks) only to watch them crash. And then we mourn them like Mother Teresa. I guarantee you-- guarantee you-- that when Britney Spears keels over here in the next few months there will be those who push to nominate her for sainthood.

And so when I write the line on facebook, "Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, and Michael Jackson walk into a bar," I'm jumped on by a former high school classmate who condescends from her lofty perch upon her ivory tower to remind me that these people are "real people too."

There's no such thing as just a joke. At least not with me. It's all commentary. Now, Gina Trapp, do you really think I'm so jaded, disillusioned and shallow that I get a kick out of making fun of dead humans? Or, maybe I'm subversively trying to indict a culture just as perverse as the biproducts we manufacture and worship-- our celebrity class.

Gina, it's true, they probably are real people. But not in the way the majority of us perceive them. For 99% of us, it's pure soap opera schlock. I think if there were an appropriate time to play the "humanity" card here, it should've been twenty years ago when the tabloid infotainment media began to feed us stories about the drawn-out, pending decline of a once-was pop icon for the sake of ratings.

Maybe the focus shouldn't be on a joke I made (hardly a joke-- doesn't even contain a punchline) but rather on the way our society has disgraced these individuals with the inhumane treatment our media has served them, and the eagerness in which we scarfed it down.