Thursday, July 28, 2005

Kid Flash and The All American Boy

I like to give the students I work with nicknames. I find it helps to pass the time.

Kid Flash arrives at 8 am. He's freckle-faced and tow-headed. He has a warm smile for adults and kids alike. He is inquisitive; he'll ask a question every thirty seconds, if you'll let him. The questions range from "Which do you like better, Shrek or Donkey?" to "If I was purple and floaty, would a shark eat me?" to "Why does my brother lock me outside?". He has theories and ideas about everything that will happen in the future: "In the future, I'm going to invent a titanium house that has layers that you can build right on top of an earthquake and it'll be ok." He is forthcoming about his fears and nightmares: "Last night I dreamed that I saw pirates invade my house and they were everywhere and then they weren't there except that they were there but then they weren't and then my family was there and then they doubled and doubled and doubled and then they turned evil. And then I ran into my room and then I woke up." I wanted to tell him that I call that "family reunion", although in my version there's usually a carnivorous plant. He shares his thoughts and questions and ideas barely taking breath while he flits about the classroom distracted by anything shiny, in shadow or not nailed down. If I'm lucky, I can coax 10 math problems out of him between bursts in an hour. He's going to be 11. I think if you tried to give him Ritalin, it would vaporize upon hitting his system, dump out through his pores, coalesce and reform, and then march over to his parents with a white flag saying "Look, we tried..."

The All American Boy arrives at 9 am. He owns one t-shirt. It reads "I Make Stuff Up." Every other shirt he appears to own seems to be a wife beater. Clearly his fashion choices (bullshit themes and white trash couture) mark him early as a soul in search of the American Dream. In his case, the American Dream is to do as little as possible and still get full credit for it. He's 12. I guess it's good that he's figured this out early. However, he's good natured about the whole thing. He'll try to distract me with clever conversation: "So, yesterday I made six dollars selling lemonade. Can I buy you a Powerade?" He marvels at my intellect: "You, like, know everything. Can you live in my desk at school next year?" He was very earnest when he asked me that. I had to let him down easy: "Well, no. I have a job. And they pay me in money instead of Powerade." He was a little depressed, but he rallied: "Oh. Well, did you know that my brother has an insect collection and sometimes he lets me feed the tarantula?" It was cute. I didn't even have the heart to tell him that an tarantula is an arachnid and not an insect.

Today was The All American Boy's last day of tutoring. He's taking a well earned rest on the Cape before the rigors of the school year. I'll miss him.

One more week to go. Perhaps I'll regale you folks in future posts with the stories of the children whose Native American tribal names are "Stick In The Mud" and "In 7th Grade But Has Smoker's Cough".

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Must Be Tuesday


You ever have a day spent McGuyvering a buzz out of tequila, Nyquil (tm) and Jell-O (tm)?


Must be Tuesday.


• Why do beauty products that promise me “younger looking skin” fulfill this promise by making me break out like a teenager?
• Why didn’t I realize that snorting brownies would hurt?
• Why does Scotch taste so damn good?
• Why am I out of Scotch?
• Why can’t I find my pants…again?
• Why did Berkley Breathed think that “Outland” would be an even remotely reasonable successor to “Bloom County”?
• Why did I think my allergies would go away faster if I shot the Sudafed directly into my eye?
• Why are we only supposed to eat chocolate in moderation when stuffing ourselves until we’re heady with endorphins from the rich, dark chocolate-y goodness – excuse me, I have to find some chocolate…
• Why am I out of chocolate?
• Why did George Bush finally have to go and make a statement I agree with:

Re: Live 8 – “…Bush came out strongly against MTV cutting into Pink Floyd’s set”. Statement was made after Bush met with Bob Geldof and Bono during the G8 summit. (Rolling Stone. July 28, 2005. page 36 - I'd post an online link, but I couldn't find one. However, here's a picture of them:)

A million dollars upfront to sleep with my wife you say?  Well, Laura, you better get in there before Barbara does him for free like she did Tim McGraw.

It's enough to make me drink engine coolant. Grrr.  Argh.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Common Courtesy


To:........Executives at Coca-Cola Company and Hollywood


Re:........Stop Raping My Childhood!

It is at least common courtesy to offer some ice cream or a stuffed animal before being tricked into getting in the van, you unbelievable bastards. But, no, you went straight for the chloroform. My childhood hasn’t been able to sit properly on its bottom for weeks.

In short succession, I have been bombarded by Coke Zero’s “Chilltop” ad campaign and remakes of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and “The Bad News Bears”. What did my fond childhood memories ever do to you that you would see fit to steam roll over them in such a fashion?


If you follow the link and then click on “Chilltop”, followed by “Commercial”, you’ll get to see this craptacular advertising statement in all its putrid splendor. The original “Hilltop” ad (also available on the site) may have been cheesy, but it was classic cheese. However, if “Hilltop” was a solid piece of cheddar, “Chilltop” is welfare distributed American Cheese “Food Product”.

I could put Emily Dickinson poems to “Hilltop” to explain rhyme and meter. See watch:

“I’d like to buy the world a home
And furnish it with love.
Grow apple trees and honey bees
And snow white turtle doves.

I’d like to teach the world to sing
In perfect harmony.
I’d like to buy the world a Coke
And keep it company.”

Now here’s Emily Dickinson’s “Because I Could Not Stop For Death”
Sing it to the tune of the Coke Jingle.

“Because I could not stop for Death –
He kindly stopped for me –
The Carriage held but just Ourselves –
And Immortality.

We slowly drove – He knew no haste
And I had put away
My labor and my leisure too,
For His Civility –”

Now I’d have to sing “I’d like to teach the world to chill…” Who even says “chill” these days? Yes, let me sing something using recently outdate slang so the kids can focus on that instead of the lesson. And then there’s all that annoying rap crap. I would be less offended by this ad if you'd shown a guy peeing into a lake and then looking dead into the camera and telling me that "Coke is the pause that refreshes." It’s useless, useless I tell you. It perverts something that was good and pure and sweet. And it makes me have to use “The Yellow Rose of Texas” to teach Emily Dickinson now. I’m very angry.

“Charlie And The Chocolate Factory”

In the history of unnecessary remakes, this will rocket to the top of the list. Gene Wilder will always be the only Willy Wonka that I will ever acknowledge. I don’t want my Willy Wonka to be childlike and na├»ve. I want him to be bitter and sarcastic. Johnny Depp’s creepy, Michael Jackson impersonating Willy Wonka does not exist. Nope. Because I said so.

“The Bad News Bears”

I like Billy Bob Thornton, but this is another movie that did not need to get remade. Sure the kids will remain foul mouthed. Sure Thornton’s character will remain a beer-swilling misanthrope – and on the surface I can get behind that. I enjoyed the same kind of foulness he brought to “Bad Santa”. But there is a quality to the language in the original script that you just can’t get away with doing in today’s politically correct climate. It gives the stuff the kids say an additional “I can’t believe they just said that” factor missing from the new movie.

On the other hand, it’s not “The Bad News Bears Go To Japan”. We can at least be grateful for that.

Meanwhile, my childhood is very upset and would like therapy and a hemorrhoid doughnut to sit on.


Saturday, July 23, 2005

Fashion + Film + Beer = Murderous, Murderous Rage

Author's note: I don't make a habit of subjecting Mr. Scoop to chick flicks. Really. I swear.


In case you ever wondered how to drive Mr. Scoop into a rabid, angry, hate-filled, murderous rage, it is really quite simple. Just sit him down and make him watch Robert Altman’s “Pret-a-Porter”, specifically any scene that has Kim Basinger as the vapid FadTv fashion reporter. As an added bonus, have him start sober. Twenty minutes into the movie, he has stated in no uncertain terms that if he ever sees Basinger in the street from this point on, he will bash her in the brainpan screaming “This is for ‘Pret-a-Porter’, you hosebag!”. He will club her repeatedly and then, when she is writhing around on the ground in pain, he’s going to kick her in the stomach and say, “And that . was for ‘Batman’”.


Mr. Scoop has declared it “beer o’clock”. Basinger was on screen again for about 10 seconds before Mr. Scoop announced that he wanted to “sandblast her face.”

He was just treated to sequences of women walking down runways wearing “fashion”. He was astounded by the hats. “What the…son of a …who in the hell wears that?! That is an unfortunate hat!” he exclaimed, watching one floppy monstrosity fill the screen. “That one’s even worse!”, after a white head cover that wasn’t quite sure if it wanted to be a fedora when it grew up sauntered by. “You only wear that if you’re trying to cover up traumatic brain injury…better to be amputated at the neck.”


“It is only because I love you very deeply that I have not shit myself repeatedly while we watch this,” said Mr. Scoop. He’s romantic like that.

Speaking of shit, we’ve been keeping track of the running gag of characters stepping in dog shit. It seems to happen to some one in the movie about every ten minutes. Mr. Scoop says it’s the only reason he’s still watching. I think he’s watching because he’s become fascinated with the Julia Roberts character. He watched her down a half bottle of wine in about 3 minutes and announced that he wanted to party with her. Then, as Tim Robbins popped the cork on a bottle of champagne that she really oughtn’t drink, he watched her face light up. “That is the best 6 seconds of acting I’ve ever seen her do! Every muscle in her face is screaming ‘I want dick!’”

I think I . need a beer.


“I want you,” said Mr. Scoop, as he stood up for a cigarette break, “to kill me.”


Mr. Scoop sums up his feelings about the movie after losing almost three hours of his life to “Pret-a-Porter”. He’s had 8 beers:

“Quite frankly, that movie was a fucking mess. It was all over the place. Too many characters. Too many little vignettes. One character who randomly turns out to be a cross dresser. The two reporters who just end up sleeping with each other repeatedly for no good reason. Kim-fucking-Basinger. Although, I do respect the director trying to redeem himself at the end of the movie by showing me about 86 naked tits.

I’m picking the next damn movie.”

Next stop: “Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle”

I think I’m switching to whiskey.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Mom Sent This To Me:

Typical Day At The Job

I like it. It speaks to me.

Now if I could only get the other voices to shut the hell up....

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Legal Seafoods Vignette

or "Fun With Tourists"

One of the greatest things about living in Boston is that it is a town with a sense of humor – one of many branches of Legal Seafoods is located across the pier from the New England Aquarium on the waterfront. An afternoon visiting both is a favorite past time of myself and Mr. Scoop. If we go to the restaurant beforehand, Mr. Scoop can fill up on enough Sam Adams that he won’t want to try and feed the visiting tourists’ children to the sharks. Actually, he’ll still want to but it’ll mean having to figure out which kid in the triplet he’s looking at is the real kid and that’s a lot of effort when we could just be trying to get away with sticking starfishes to our faces and re-enacting “Alien”.

If we go to the restaurant afterwards, well, it’ll have been like we were window shopping for dinner all afternoon. You can sit outdoors with your food and beverage, enjoying the view of the waterfront and making fun of the tourists on the Duck Boats. A good time is had by all – generally.

There was a particular occasion that almost. marred the experience once. A family comprised of a father, visiting Boston “on business”, and his wife and sulky teenaged daughter, who he’d brought with him under the auspices of “family vacation”, were seated two tables over from us on the outside patio. The father appeared to be making an attempt at general small talk with his family. It degenerated into a loud full family argument about how mom and daughter thought dad was a cheap prick and how they didn’t even want to be there in the first place and when were they going to go on a “real vacation”. It went on for a good, loud ten minutes; all participants actively did not seem to care that they were disturbing the diners around them. A waiter went over to check on them somewhere around minute 5, right after the daughter stood up and loudly questioned her actual paternity. Her father responded by calling his daughter a “little bitch” and the mother defended her daughter by telling dad “to go fuck himself”. This quieted them down for about 45 seconds. The scene ended when the father announced he was going back to the hotel “take care of a few things” (read: get a hooker) and the mother and daughter exited to take a Duck Tour. The silence after they left was almost deafening. Then applause from the now greatly relieved patrons filled the vacuum. It was beautiful.

My eyes followed the two women as they got on one of the Duck Boats. The large amphibious vehicle swung out into the street. I could see the daughter leaning out the side to take a picture of Legal Seafoods with her camera phone.

I raised my glass of Chardonnay and, with a huge smile on my face, I flipped her off.

You have to have a sense of humor about tourists. Or you need to be sober enough to feed them to the sharks.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Is This Wrong?

Today, in a story I was reading with one of my 11 year old charges, we learned of the abduction of two guys who were out on a fishing trip by space aliens. They were examined and then returned to where they’d been fishing. Their first act upon return was to reach for their whiskey, presumably to soothe their nerves and whatever else needed soothing.

The kid looked up at me and said, “But Daddy says drinking in public is wrong!” I tried to explain that perhaps in this case the guys in question were pretty freaked out and that sometimes drinking is what adults do when they get upset. “But, Daddy says it’s wrong,” he repeated. I said, well, yes – drinking outside in public is against the law in some places. Adults are asked to keep that kind of activity inside because there are laws with names like “Open Container Violation” that will get you into a lot of trouble. Then he said, “But, what if you’re at a party and it’s in your backyard?” I told him that’d be okay because it’s private property. Private property is ok. “What about if you’re at someone else’s house?” Well, as long as you’re old enough, have permission to be there and you’re behaving yourself it’s ok, too. Otherwise, I told him, the law calls that “Drunk and Disorderly”. Sometimes, it’s even “Trespassing”. And, occasionally, that leads to “Restraining Order”.

"So, that's what happened to Daddy", said the kid.

I tried to give him a sympathetic smile as we returned to the story.

It's a bummer about his dad and the aliens.

But, I like to think that it was a learning experience for all involved.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Welcome To Burbclave

Mr. Scoop received notice from his landlord, about a month ago, that his building was going condo. He would either need to buy the space or get out. It would cost him a metric buttload of money. It was troubling to him. He liked his downtown location with it's close proximity to a diner, two Chinese places and a place that would sell him wholesale tobacco. And he'd spent a lot of time getting the nicotine patina of his bachelor pad "just right". Plus, there were rumors of a Quizno's that might be opened down the street in the near future. However, there were Death Cults and S&M Clubs in town. They should've had some kind of effect on the property value. One would think there would've been a balance. But, instead, no - the homestead suddenly cost too much. Mr. Scoop was sad to have to leave. He prefered to do things on his own terms.

He found a New Place, two towns over. It cost a little more, despite being a little smaller. But, it had a community pool and grill area. The unit came with a deck. It was also across the street from a chocolate factory. Clearly, the housing gods were smiling upon him the day he found the New Place.

Much effort was expended upon moving him in. Many individuals in the over-30-something range found themselves packing things and lifting things and unloading things for 12 hour periods of time. This made them annoyed, as they'd hoped for a better "Let's Move Mr. Scoop" turnout. On the other hand, once it was done, they felt ecstatic that they still had that kind of "balls to the wall", flat out work 'til it's done ethic. They sat down, eagerly awaiting a well earned frosty beverage and a slice of pizza.

Alas, none were to be had.

The last item was moved into the new apartment at 9:58pm on a Saturday night. A phone call was made to a local pizzeria at 10pm. The caller was informed that the pizzeria was closed. Confused, the caller placed another phone call to an alternate pizzeria. This one had the temerity to not answer at all. The caller was very confused. Furthermore, the caller realized that they were pushing several hours of sobriety. A decision was made to hop into a vehicle and cruise the streets of the new community in search of beer and pizza.

Disappointment awaited them.

It turned out that at 10:00 at night, all the liquor stores (except for one tiny convenience store) closed and locked their doors. All of the restaurants in the area appeared to follow suit. Coming from a community that had no problem supplying booze and food until the wee hours, a certain amount of culture shock and cursing was to be had, along with ocassional threats of violence.

At 10:45, the following was open:

- A Chinese Restaurant, cum Dive Bar. We weren't sure if we were ready for this, yet. Oh, but we'll get there.
- A megamart grocery chain. We ended up purchasing Hot Pockets here.
- A lone convenience store with the cahones to continue to sell until 11pm. God bless you, Lone Convenience Store.

Clearly, Mr. Scoop had moved to a Burbclave - a suburban community with deeply entrenched feelings about morals that affected business practices and zoning laws. It is populated by minivans, Home Depots and Bertucchi's.

We will be curious to see how the community reacts to Mr. Scoop's first naked, whiskey blackout.

We'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Slacking and Sucking...Not Necessarily In That Order

...An Open Letter To The Fucktard That Cut Me Off This Morning

Dear Gentleman In The White Ford "Super Duty" Uber Pick-up With The "Support The Troops" and "Bush-Cheney 2004" Stickers, American Flag Attached To Your Antenna And The Low Slung Suspension Who Cut Me Off At The Mobile Station This Morning:

I'm really . sorry about your penis.


But, you still suck.


...Slack Much?

Are You A Slacker?

"A new survey finds that the average worker wastes more than two hours a day, and that’s not including lunch.

That means companies spend as much as 759 (b) billion dollars on salaries annually for which they receive no apparent benefit.

The results are from a Web survey by America Online and Salary-dot-com.

The top excuse for wasting time nationwide is not enough work."

Wow. I guess it's nice to see I'm not alone in my slacking. Although I don't think I blow off my work because I don't have enough of it. Rather, I simply don't want to do it. Repeatedly slapping enough red ink on a kid's essay that it looks as though I've bled on it can suck the life out of anyone after a while. Plus, why should I use my prep time to plan lessons when I have a brand spanking new internet connection in my room to play with? Oh, yeah. The children are our future, etc, etc. But, I live in the now and in the now I frequently am fighting a hangover that likes to be fed constant dosages of aspirin, coffee and Minesweeper.

Oh, and congrats Missouri! Apparently, your state is number 1 when it comes to time wasted at work! Good job!

Monday, July 11, 2005


Yay! Baby pandas!!!!!

Panda Cub Born At Washington's National Zoo

"'Luckily, right now both mother and cub are doing really, really well,' said zoo spokesman John Gibbons. 'Mei Xiang is proving that she knows best and she's doing exactly what Mother Nature intended her to do.'

That would be cradling and nursing the white-haired cub, which Gibbons said was about 'the size of a stick of butter.'"

Pandas Rule.

Pandas rule. One time, when I was eight, a panda saved me from the Jabberwocky.

It's true.

I blame "The Muppet Show" (1980 - Season Five. Guest Host: Brooke Shields).

I'd been having nightmares about Muppets since I was 3. Grover's head on a black background with arms that stretched to infinity grabbing me by the ankles as he reeled me in to some horrible unknown fate. At times this would vary. Sometimes in the nightmare, he'd be hiding under a couch in our living room.

And frigging Grover is the most innocuous Muppet ever.

This was followed by recurring Fozzy nightmares from about age 6. Kermit would introduce him and instead of bad jokes and "Wocka wocka!", I'd hear growling and he'd try to climb out of the tv as I'd run to my room. In my dream, I was certain he was going to eat me.

I'm not sure what that particular dream meant in light of my eventual decision to try and pursue stand-up comedy.

But, the Jabberwocky nightmare was one of those childhood "waking dreams". I'm not sure that I ever actually fell asleep, but I was convinced that the Jabberwocky was in my room. Most likely, in the closet. And it was coming for me. I was rigid in my bed. Paralyzed with the kind of fear only a child can muster in the face of the terrifying monster that will surely materialize in her otherwise completely safe and secure bedroom, defying all logic or rational thought.

I lay flat on my back, breathing shallowly. I hoped that this would make me less noticable to any monsters in the vicinty. Meanwhile, my left buttcheeck was falling asleep. I should shift my position, but that could spell doom. Racked with indecision and tingling in my ass, finally, I rolled over.

My arm first came into contact with a large stuffed panda that I'd had since I was an infant. There are black and white pictures where it clearly used to be bigger than me. Upon touching the panda, all the silly fear drained out of me. It's hard to say why it happened. Why does an eight year old behave the way he or she does at all? But, somehow, finding my panda, I knew I'd be ok. Nothing was going to decend on me from my closet that evening.

Saved by panda.

Monday, July 04, 2005

And Scoop Is Denied...

The Present

...I did not get to watch tonight's fireworks festivities pantsless.

Normally, you can see the local fireworks show from my kitchen window. The nice people who blow things up for my town to celebrate the Fourth of July changed the trajectory of this year's explosives enough that Mr. Scoop and I had to take it (and our illegal "open containers") outside. I was just pleased that we got to spend the holiday together. Nothing says romance like thundering booms, bright flashes of light and the smell of cordite.

It was a beautiful evening.

I love the fact that I can see the town fireworks display from my apartment. Like Le Tigre, I too like things that go boom. Not necessarily cars, but anything that ends in man-made thunder and concussive force (particularly with a light show), well, then I'm a fan. Let me watch it 10 yards from my apartment with a large glass of sangria and a sippy straw from Friendly's that turns colors when it gets cold - and it's like Christmas has come early.

Which is cool because my birthday is only a week from Christmas and I often get shafted on gifts.

The Past

...When I was a kid, my dad wanted us to adore fireworks. But, cheaply.

There was the M-80 that he got off a guy at work for a case of Knickerbocker that turned out to be a dud. I'm still not sure who got the worse end of that deal.

Then there was the Fourth of July spent watching grown adults eat dried hot peppers, chased by cheap beer on a bet, until the house we were in may have been in violation of the Geneva Convention. My father's nose turned Barney Purple and anyone younger than 12 fled to the basement in fear. We children huddled there and prayed that gas was lighter than air.

Finally, let's not forget there was the Fourth of July spent on the side of a side of a road. We were in Stick-de-la-Stickville. Dad, in between pulls from his travel cup full of club soda and cheap scotch, claimed we would be able to see the town firework display perfectly, without the added annoyance of crowds and traffic from our position. He also claimed that the body of water adjacent to our position would keep us extra safe. What he failed to point out was that our "position" was one town over from where we lived and that the "adjacent body of water" was a swamp.

We got a better pyrotechic show from lighting the very necessary Deep Woods Off aerosol spray on fire to amuse ourselves in the lulls between "Shit! You can almost see something!" than from the fireworks. And dad got to avoid a DUI. Again.

I love you, Dad. RIP.

And Happy damn Birthday, glorious country of ours.

Please continue to give us more reasons to blow stuff up.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Porn In My Bed And Beets In My Rectum

Today I discovered that if you eat enough beets the night before, the next day the remains in your toilet will look like what might happen if you shit blood.

While I contemplate my mortality, and a possible call to 911, here’s a story from the past:

Once upon a time, I woke up with porn in my bed.

Not today. Not yesterday. This happened in 2000 BMS (Before Mr. Scoop).

The individual I was seeing at the time had left it in the bed, on the pillow next to my head. I was disturbed, to say the least. I usually like my wake-up calls to involve coffee and, maybe, midgets.

On closer inspection, it was a copy of Maxim magazine. Specifically, the Coyote Ugly issue (in case you feel the need to go looking for it at the local library on microfiche). It had been left open to an article, a text box actually: “Five Ways To Get Your Girlfriend Into A Threesome”.

I was somewhat taken aback. I thought we had a fairly open dialogue about “bedroom needs”. I had only countered his request to be spanked by giving him a time-out just the once ("Now I want you to stand in the corner and think about how that made me feel."). Then, it slowly began to dawn on me:

It was close to his birthday. Like Ralphie in “A Christmas Story”, he was trying to give me gift ideas. This was his Red Rider BB Gun.

Of course, Ralphie’s mother never got him the BB Gun. It was his father. And I just couldn’t quite bring myself to ask him “Who’s your daddy?”

So, I dumped him.

Ok, I’m off to call 911.
Pray for me.