Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Fifty Two!

So what’s with the number 52? Here is the best explanation I can come up with, with the caveat that I might be completely wrong about this. This is only my understanding of why we did these things, like a five year old explaining Christmas presents. He might not know why they’re there, but they’re still there.

Fifty-two is the coolest number on earth, namely because it is an amalgam of the two numbers which are tied for second place: fifty, and two. Fifty is a cool number because, when used as an adjective, it succinctly describes anatomical conditions present in both sexes: pointy boobs and uncircumcised penises. This is because both of these conditions were prevalent in the Fifties. My circle of high school friends had need to discuss these things because my one friend Jon briefly dated a girl (known as Dead Rat) with pointy boobs (also known as torpedoes, or bananas) and one guy we knew was famously uncircumcised, which we needed to talk about frequently. Don’t ask why; this was high school.

Two is a cool number because it ends in an “oo” sound. Any word that ended in “oo” (or, “ool,” which we shortened to “oo’,” as in “schoo’”) was said with a particular style, sort of like a drunk guy trying to moo like a cow, but more belligerently. It helped to achieve the right voice by raising your eyebrows and elongating your face while you said it. Actually, any one-syllable word became cooler when said that way. For two-syllable words, you would say the first syllable that way, but then say the last syllable in as high a falsetto as possible. We were, in retrospect, quite bored.

So if fifty is cool, and two is cool, it is self-evident that fifty-two is even cooler. What cinched it, though, was when we found out that Jon’s dad was born on 5/2/52. It was almost like a sign from heaven.

Thus, to show Jon I am still his friend, even though I do not talk to him much, I take pictures of every State Highway 52 sign and mail them to him. Not every state HAS a Highway 52, though, so I have not gotten Nevada or Arizona, but I have gotten California, Utah, Kansas, Missouri, and now New Mexico.

As a PS, Jon has often-times bemoaned his role in beginning the fifty-two crazy. People he hardly knew would steal the table numbers from Carl’s Jr. because it had 52 on it, and then present it to him. He said it came up too frequently for his tastes.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Two More Counties!

All right, Poindexter! Listen up: I got to go to TWO new counties last week. Here’s the general synopsis of events:I had to go to New Mexico with Tito again. This time I got out of having to eat at Los Mariscos, which was nice. We argued about basketball and popular music, and I had some very good meals. “What meals?” you ask? Well, I had some shrimp/scallion/lobster/cheese thing at Red Lobster that was SO GOOD I went back a few days later and ate it again. (Yes, I know I belittled the idea of eating seafood in New Mexico, but this was a national chain, not a mom-and-pop place.) I also had tilapia at Denny’s that was very good, and a shrimp pasta bowl at Applebee’s. (Okay, it turns out I eat nothing BUT seafood in New Mexico. Probably because it's the only dish not served under a mountain of undrained green chillies.) So much seafood because I am as big as a house. Sort of.

Anyway, here was the good news: Tito was going home Wednesday afternoon and I was staying until Friday. Due to Tito’s anal-retentive nature, I dropped him off at the “sunport” five hours before his flight, so I had plenty of time to drive to Catron County, where I saw the Very Large Array (the field of radio telescopes from the movie “Contact,” which movie sucked), and I saw State Highway 52, which holds special meaning to my circle of high school friends. I’m not sure I can explain that, but maybe some other time I will try.

The next day I went to EspaƱola for work, and on my way back to Santa Fe to eat at Red Lobster again, I went to Los Alamos County. That was especially gratifying to me because it had been over ten years since I had gone to the surrounding counties. Ten years of having a tiny little hole in the middle of my map of counties visited. Two years ago I went to San Miguel and Dolores Counties, Colorado, which had been a hole in my map since 1983. That was very satisfying, as well.

So there you have it: two new counties. Also, yesterday at work they began entertaining the idea of allowing me to go to southern New Mexico sometime in the next two months or so, and that would yield a lot more counties.

Two interesting sidelights of this trip: the desk clerk at my Albuquerque hotel was clearly insane and she nearly drove ME crazy when she took an hour to check me in. And every time the phone rang she would say, “It’s a great day at the [name of hotel chain affiliated with Marriott]."

Secondly: I sat next to the same woman I sat next to after my LAST trip to Santa Fe. Her name, her REAL name, since I don’t even know her, is Lily and the nicest part about flying next to her is that she doesn’t try to talk to me while I am reading. Although, last time I sat next to her she told me I should eat at Sadie’s in Albuquerque, and I haven’t done it yet. What were the chances of ever being called on the carpet for ignoring a stranger’s restaurant recommendation?

FOLLOW UP: Virginia is too snooty to pretend to be snooty for the purposes of comic relief, so we’ll have to let that go. I think you all (meaning Virginia and Persephone) should write about loser hobbies you have, like me and my county gathering, that you know other people think are lame, but you still like to do them anyway.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Hi-Diddley-F'ing-Ho, Neighboreeno

Why is everyone so unfriendly these days? In particular, our neighbors. Their name is something impossibly German like Schlitzmeier, only different. They refuse to talk to me unless I corner them, and even then sometimes all I get is a nod.

Part of it might be because of how things have gone since they moved in. There is one parking space that is closest to both their place and ours. We had adopted it as ours because we have two kids to get in and out of the car, while they have two cars and no kids. However, for the first several weeks after they moved in, it became a contest to see who could get home first to park in that spot. Our three year old, Crazy Jane, would ask us three-year-old-type questions like, “Why are they in our parking space?” She would usually ask this while we were walking past the Schlitzmeier’s place. (I didn’t even have to bribe her to do it.) Within a few weeks they resigned the spot, but since then the husband has said just about nothing to me.

Then they have this dog, a little yappy dog that barks at seven-thirty when they leave for work and wakes up Crazy Jane. All winter long when they took this dog out to allow it to crap, they would stand on their porch and the dog’s crapping ground was defined by the leash’s radius, meaning the entire lawn area in front of our house was included. So now I’ve got two kids, but my yard is a canine toilet. Of course, they made no effort to clean up after their dog. And the lawn to the other side of their door, in front of their house, was bare of feces.

Several times we came in from the car only to find our kids had picked up dog crap on their shoes. We started having to keep our kids off the lawn. Crazy Jane would ask, “Why?” and I would say, “Because it’s a dog poop minefield.”

People sometimes complain about their kids asking inappropriate questions, but sometimes the easiest way to take care of an awkward situation is to allow your three year old to see it. Uncomfortable questions are bound to follow. Well, the dog crap has abated somewhat, but now the wife has nothing to say to me.

I say hello to them every time I see them, but they usually answer with a grunt or nothing at all. There’s not really a satisfying way to end this post, seeing as they just piss me off with their unneighborliness and whatnot. It’s not like our kids make a ton of noise and keep them awake or anything. When it snows they just walk on top of it, making it into ice. I shovel their walk and salt their steps. They say nothing. We found their car keys in the door of their car while they were out of town for the evening. We brought their keys in and left a note at their house. When they got their keys from us, they told us no one would have stolen their car, anyway. Maybe that was German for “thank you.”

FOLLOW UP: Only one person responded to the “embarrassing moment of television” request for submissions. Yes, ONE person. That’s it. I know at least TWO people read it, one of whom was my WIFE. Anyway, Virginia’s moment of TV watching was pretty good. It reminded me of when I was watching Jeopardy! last month in Albuquerque and the question was about which year Nixon and Kennedy had their presidential debates. The contestant answered, “1962.” Now, I happened to know the answer was 1960, but I didn’t expect everyone to know that. I did, however, expect people to know that 1962 was not a presidential election year. Get the answer wrong if you must, but get it wrong by a multiple of four.

DISCUSSION QUESTION: Is there something inherently snooty about Virginia’s snooty mocking of a poor, scared television contestant? (The answer is yes.) Is it just merely snooty, or is it quite snooty? Exactly how snooty would you say it is, on a scale of 1 to 10, with a 1 being Inbred Hillbilly and a 10 being Wealthy Dowager? (The answer is 8.37.) Since apparently no one reads and comments on my posts aside from Virginia, I look forward to a vehement denial of snootiness. That would be just the sort of snooty thing I would expect.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

A Cringe for All Seasons

Last week I saw the most embarrassing thing of my entire life, and it happened to be on C-SPAN.

Since our television at home is only hooked up to our VCR and DVD, I have to get in all my time-wasting while I am in hotel rooms. I was supine on a bed in the Albuquerque Journal Center Marriott Courtyard (very nice rooms, by the way) watching a taped-delayed broadcast of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. I think it wasn’t aired live in case his boob fell out.

Well, Justice Scalia went on for a long time about the efficacy of using foreign law to interpret our domestic Constitution. I found the entire thing quite riveting, but I understand if my one-sentence summary of it was too boring for you to read through to completion. I, however, thought he did a real bang-up job.

When he finished, the moderator got up and thanked him for coming, then said he had agreed to take questions. That should have been my first signal to turn it off. Any time you allow no-names to ask questions of important people, the “questions” are mysteriously void of requests for information, yet somehow jamb-packed full of attention-grabbing witticisms. I hate people.

The first questioner was a Scalia-lover who gave him an “aren’t you really saying what you say you aren’t saying (wink-wink, I’m so clever and you and I will become fast friends through our mutual superior intellects while the rest of these Neanderthals lick the dust from our boot heels and explode their brains trying to understand the merest trifle of our conversation)” type of question. That should have been ample warning. “Turn it off!” my brain should have been screaming. But like an idiot, I kept watching.

Then came the next questioner. He stood up and even before he spoke his very appearance called out, “I’m an insufferable boor.” Think of a man with all the self-congratulatory effrontery of Professor Frink without any of the humor. He seized the microphone and said in a smarmy voice, “Well, we’ve just heard the opinion of the great Anton Scalia.”

Justice Scalia said, “It’s Antonin.”

The guy blustered on, but not before my psyche was irreparably damaged. The guy just tried to belittle a Supreme Court Justice on national (albeit C-SPAN) television and he DIDN'T EVEN KNOW HIS NAME. I immediately had to turn the channel, and I avoided the program for the rest of the evening (C-SPAN programs tend to run six hours each, unless it is Prime Minister’s Questions, which is seven-and-a-half minutes.) But the damage was done. It was easily the most embarrassing thing I had ever seen.

The previous winner had been a scene from the movie First Kid. When I was a senior in high school my group of friends decided that the funniest comedian in the history of the profession was Sinbad, and we watched all of his movies, which included the Disney movie where he played a Secret Service agent who teaches the president’s hopelessly-nerdy son how to be cool. Sinbad accompanies the kid to a school dance, where it is revealed the kid doesn’t know how to dance. Sinbad takes up a position on the side of the dance floor and starts dancing (since all black people can dance well, obviously) and the kid just mimics Sinbad’s moves. When we were sitting in the theater (yes, we saw it in the theater) and the kid was dancing, I had to look away from the screen, when I noticed that all my friends were also looking away. It was too embarrassing to watch.

That moment had held the record for over ten years, but now it has been surpassed and I don’t think anything can ever top this.


What was the author’s most-embarrassing television-viewing moment? What is yours? Send a post and we will compare. Should you lose, the author will mercilessly mock you in his next post. Should you win, the author will never admit it.