Monday, September 26, 2011

My Latest Batch of Psychic Predictions

In tribute to the Christopher Walken character he played on SNL, Ed Glosser, Trivial Psychic, I have this habit of doing psychic predictions, usually around two in the morning. Here are last evening's results:

  • A kid will be bored by a trip to the aquarium; their mother will be disappointed in the kid's lack of imagination.
  • Someone will bring home Toaster Strudels instead of Pop Tarts. Reaction: "Now, those aren't Pop Tarts, ARE THEY?" 
  • The number of those dying nobly will lose, once again, to those surviving ignobly, by a large margin.
  • A homeless person will come up with a clever sign that will briefly increase donations for a few hours.
  • Someone will misspell "definitely" and "weird" in same sentence: this will be enough to keep me from dating them. 
  • A man will lament loss of Borders store, not because they read - that's where they went to the bathroom when at the mall. 
  • A teenage girl will buy a cute eraser at Japanese novelty shop; it will never be used to erase anything.
  • Owner will name racehorse cloyingly cute name; it will give horse low self-esteem, and it will never win.
  • An old pervert will make subway passengers uncomfortable by talking about how much he misses panty hose, out loud. 
  • Someone will regret asking the question, "So, how did you get that nickname?" 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Briefly, I Was a Pimp

Junior high. Anyone who knew me knew that I was not bringing a lot of swagger to the table. "Gawky" would be a prime understatement. I had about seven annoying tics, including a nervous laugh which occupied the end of fifty percent of my statements ("I am going to walk to the store - heh-heh"). I had absolutely no play with the ladies - even the girl I liked in seventh grade, who knew I liked her and liked me back, nothing every happened because I lived in terror and was afraid to act upon it (I wrote her a "secret admirer" letter which gave enough clues to make it clear it was me, including that I was a twin. Even Shaggy could've figured out that mystery by himself. And I'm talking about the dancehall singer). In short, I was a mess.

Drastic measures needed to be taken. My friend, Josh, who could also be argued was not refined with the ladies at that time, had one weapon that brought him attention - a Lakers Starter jacket which he wore everywhere, every day. It could be 122 degrees outside and that jacket was getting worn. It was his Indiana Jones hat, his Excalibur. The girls liked the jacket, and, at the least, it was a conversation starter (what he did with that, that's another story). As imitation was not only flattery back then, it was necessity, I pestered my mother, until one Christmas, I got this:

Back in 1984, a Starter jacket was not quite at the level of owning Air Jordans, but it gave you some street cred (as much as you can get street cred in Santa Monica, at a mostly white-bread school that almost made Izod shirts the school uniform). It was something I could call my own, gave me my own identity, and, yes, I wore the hell out of that jacket, with the white stripes turning grey with repeated wearings (I could never get the white to return to those stripes, no matter how hard I tried). Did it get me more play with the ladies? Not really. I was still a mess. Hell, I'm still a mess, although the nervous laugh is mostly gone, and I don't cover my mouth when I speak (but I'm not wearing industrial-strength braces, so that might have something to do with that one).

The ironic thing is, the mid-80s SOX look has made a comeback, falling into the world of ironic hipster couture (God, hipsters drive me nuts, and I speak as someone who is in the periphery of that culture). Most of the people who wear that logo on a shirt now probably don't even know who Harold Baines and Carlton Fisk were (hell, they probably can't name a player on the team now). If I went on eBay and bought this jacket again, it wouldn't be in support to my baseball team, it would be an ironic gesture, harkening back to a simpler time that has been romanticized far too much (in short, the music was overrated, Reagan wasn't as great a president as the Republicans would make you believe, and satin jackets were considered premium fashion). I still want to get an old SOX T-shirt, though. I love that logo.

Addendum (9/26/11): My brother, while helping my mother clean out a storage area, has found my Starter jacket. Surprisingly, it still fits (in the arms; a little tight in the chest). I have now given the jacket to my godson so that he can wear it. Let's see if the tradition continues...

Friday, September 16, 2011

20 Books This Year, #16, "Heathers (Deep Focus)", John Ross Bowie

So, my brother gave me this book a couple of weeks ago, knowing that I was a huge fan of the movie Heathers and had the same attraction to Winona Ryder that many awkward young men had during the early 1990s*. The book is a snappy, entertaining deep-analysis of the film combined with how the author's life parallels parts of the film**. This is one of a series of "Deep Focus" books, and I have to admit, I'm tempted to read the one about John Carpenter's They Live. Roddy Piper kicked ass and chewed bubble gum in that one. Grade: B+

* Hell, I still have it. Not in a stalking nature, but let's just say that if Winona wanted to go out with me, I'm willing to take a shot (like I really have a shot, anyway).

** For example, the author dated two Heathers. I "dated" one Heather, using quotes because mostly it was me trying to convince her that we should be a couple, and failing miserably.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

20 Books This Year: #15, "Popular Crime" by Bill James

I have been reading Bill James for years, but always as a baseball fan. He is, after all, the Father of Sabermetric Writing. So, when I found out he put out a book on crime, it caught me off guard. But, wowzers. It's an utterly compelling read, and to hear James discuss people such as Lizzie Borden, Bruno Hauptmann, The Boston Strangler, even Jon-Benet Ramsey and OJ, in the same curmudgeonly manner he speaks about first baseman, is fascinating. The chapter on the Kennedy assassination is quite compelling, mostly discussing one of the theories he read that makes the most sense.

James is focusing not only on the crimes themselves, but also the people who wrote about them, criticizing the major books on each crime. He is also not afraid to criticize police and legal techniques which were used for each case. If you're one of those people who watch all of the CSI or Court TV shows, you should read this book. Even if you're into understanding the fascination America has with such lurid stories, it's also worth a read. Grade: A