Monday, December 22, 2008

Murder, She Wrote

The end of the year always brings some certainties with it:

a) The annual visit to the parents to renew the old goodwill meter, as I find it's good to do with all individuals who have any spare genetically-matched body parts in their possession.
b) Year-end best-of lists of media that I use as checklists by which I can measure my self-worth for the year.
c) Reception of fancy hand lotions sharply spikes, despite careful avoidance of any sort of reference to fancy hand lotions over the previous year.
e) The renewal of my Celebrity Death Pool list.

I've always had a morbid fascination with death--not sure there's any other kind, come to think of it--but the celebrity death pool is the single greatest thing to distract me from my responsibilities that does not include cheese. There's a few of them kicking around out there; I use this one, but am considering switching to this one--but the whole concept is the same: you write down famous people you think are going to die, and are summarily rewarded when they do.

A great deal of people find my joyful exuberance in a celebrity death pool to be unsettling, as if my desires played any sort of active role in the demise of marginally famous people; I take this as a complicit admission of my being some sort of deity, or at the very least, godlike, and am quite flattered. Aside from the fact that the rules very clearly stipulate that you're not allowed to actually cause the death of any of your team's registrants, or "even try to scare them or make them sick or anything", it's still gratifying to know that people think you're at least capable of it.

Learned a few lessons this year.

A year's roster is typically submitted in December, and no additions are allowed during the year. I used to start thinking about my team much earlier, but after getting bit in the ass by Gerald Ford and Saddam Hussein in the same sad, mortal last week of December, I now try to put off my selection process for as long as possible. If there's one thing a celebrity death pool teaches you, it's that the human spirit is either resilient or stubborn or both; I half expected Estelle Getty to croak before I finished typing her name, but she did some serious keep away with the Grim Reaper and kicked my ass three years in a row until shuffling off her mortal coil this past fall. Similarly, Castro's added "Continuing to Exist" to his list of atrocities in my book (just below "Hogging the Good Cigars" and just above "Bay of Pigs").

Actually, we can call it even.

Although I see myself as more of an oracle of mortality than any sort of harbringer--and no one questions you when you claim to have a hand in anything relating to their extinction--it doesn't change the fact that I'm still actively rooting for certain people to die, and for that reason I can never add anyone whose existence makes me happy, decrepit as they may be. While I don't mind wishing death upon Eunice Kennedy Shriver and would even lend a hand to any prospective Andy Rooney assassination plots out there, no part of me could ever take pleasure in Julie Andrews' or Bea Arthur's demise.

When I start soliciting suggestions for my upcoming year's roster, I always get a slew of people who think they've got the dark horse picked out and try let me in on their little secret--right on with your Britney conspiracy, champ, but I'm still gonna stick with the good ole "passage of time" as my main determining factor--and then a lot of people who truly don't grasp the concept of old. A lot of folks seem to think that career longevity is enough to get on the list, but merely spanning the decades isn't enough- I need the people who cause you to register surprise when you find out they're still alive, or even better, who you're shocked to discover still alive even when you're looking at a picture of them taken that week.

Not hard to guess what her birthday wish is.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

You Are What You Eat

I've long been obsessed with cannibalism, even considering myself to be a cannibalologist of sorts; I dare whoever flagged my Wikipedia page to prove otherwise, as I could probably tell them more about the mouthfeel of, well, mouths better than their owners. I've read all the literature, I've watched the right materials, I've seen just about every zombie movie ever made, and in the same way that writing about wine makes you crave a nice bordeaux and talking about Goldschlager makes you crave poor decisions , well, you get the picture. At first I thought it was the wendigo , but now I realize it's just carnivorous appreciation. I would like to eat human.

Off the hook.

Most people, when they hear this (it comes up more often than you'd think, if you does not equal me), assume that I'm referring those hypothetical situations in which one is without any food source but still has access to cooking utensils-- Jack Shephard didn't think it happened often, either--but if I were presented with the opportunity right now, at this very moment, then I'd dive right in, then make some crack about 'finger foods" to alleviate the attention that I imagine mounts when your coworker eats another human being in the break room. Of course, it would need to be OKed by said menu item, it'd have to be legally OK (or at least hard to prosecute), and it would have to be prepared in a manner in which one typically eats meat (though not marsala, I hate that shit). But I'd still eat it.

I'm on a current quest to eat an entire animal, nose-to-ass (fish and pigs excluded--I'm not an amateur), just so I can feel even smugger about my place on the food chain, and to eat an entire person would just feel so tremendously self-satisfying (obviously it would have to be someone smaller than me cough DeVito). I'd even be willing to let a fellow connoisseur eat me after I'm gone if they'd offer the same consideration, though obviously we'd have to set up some weird, double-blinded Secret Santa-type agreement with others so we wouldn't end up killing each other when we got hungry, or a Facebook group at the very least.

Well, at least the sommelier question is answered.

This also raises the question of which part to eat first, or at all, assuming that some of the rarer parts would be out of my price range. More importantly, which ethnicity do I want to cook it? The French do some nice sauces, but that might disctract from the taste; I trust Eastern Europeans with meat, but not near me with knives. I think the only ones who can handle this is the Chinese--their stoic, hardscrabble nature keep them from balking at the concept and the grittier aspects, and they're used to cooking the full range of organs and parts, and I could have an egg roll to start.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Aperture for Destruction

The holidays brought the annual trip to the grandparents' house, along with their stores of unnecessarily scented household items and skirted furniture. While I'm happy to be back in a home where the phrase "decorative garbage can" doesn't exist, I did manage to find a few photos in the basement, in an homage to the man who did it first and best.

This is the most 80s picture ever taken in the history of moment capturing-devices. It is an analog TV, playing SuperBreakout on the Atari 2600, with a VHS and Betamax VCR also hooked up. Also, that's MC Skat Cat on top of the TV.

Who dresses their child up as a harem slave girl in order to take them fishing?

I know I've said it many a time before, but there's not a lot to do in Northern NY. If it gives you a better idea, I had been staring at that spot for three days straight. You can't imagine what a relief it was when those flowers actually grew- it was a real cliffhanger.

And yes, my house was orange.

I only put this here as insurance- insurance against all future opponents who seek to thwart me through blackmail. Now that this picture is out there, for all the world to see, nothing can touch me ever again.

I find it odd that if anyone other than my parents took this--and I really do hope it was my parents who took this--asked a small girl to pose naked next to something as uneventful as a fridge, it would land them in jail for 10-14 years. And yet, somehow, not only is this OK, it's being saved for posterity.

Here I am slaving over a hot stove. While other kids were getting kites, dolls, and games, my parents didn't want me to enter into the world of indentured servitude with any happy-fluffy illusions, and only bought me toys that would prepare me for a lifetime of hardship. I only wish I had been given a plastic database and Etch-a-Excel-Spreadsheet at a younger age.

Another example of the nudity trend. In what situation would two people, cousins, find themselves where one is fully clothed, and the other is completely stark naked, and not one party involved so much as thinks twice? What is the possible explanation for why this happened, and why my cousin was so cavalier about it?

I've never really commended my mother for much, but here she managed to capture the exact millisecond in which I went from "precocious youth" to "angsty teen", using some ethereal camera that captures otherworldy transitions. You can actually see the evil Green-Day listening, world-resenting spirit enter my body. It has friggin gills, for Chrissakes. This thing's more impressive than that flag-lifting Iwo Jima shot.

If I were to sustain some sort of blunt head trauma that resulted in retrograde amnesia--I'd love to say that "a la Mulholland Drive" was the first thing that came to mind, but it was more like "Samantha Who?"--and I forgot my entire life and had to piece it together based on old photographs, I would surmise that I grew up in a small fridge, one of many in a city of fridges. On the night of the Fridge Prom, me and my friends from my fridge district would get together to take pictures in front of each others' fridges, then we'd go off to the Fridge, which we'd decorated with a "Under the Sea" theme. Of course, I'd have no idea what the "sea" was, partially due to the amnesia, andmostly due to the fact that I never once left the front of my fridge during the course of my entire childhood.

Amazingly, I won the "best hair" contest that day.

I'm no psych major*, but it's just fascinating to me, how the world, in all its diversity and diverging paths and varying tastes, manages to craft little girls to just be so goddamn...girlie. Most standard-issue girl things are pretty much inherently without merit, and yet millions of girls the world over covet them, yearn for them, even kill for them. Dolls? Dresses? Fluffy bunnies? I'm thankful for the one shred of damn-the-manedness I exhibited in this room. Because that's a unicorner.

I stand by the brilliance to this day.

*Actually, I am, but the intro doesn't work that way