Wednesday, April 28, 2004

The Collected Wisdom of Mina Lou Prior

My grandmother Mina Lou Prior (“Lynn” to her friends; “Mamaw” to her grandkids) was a veritable trove of pithy observations, as the following quotes should hopefully demonstrate. Three things you should know:

1. She often referred to herself in the third person (as “Mamaw”).
2. She cursed like a sailor.
3. She referred to my sister and me as “Tootsie” and “Chrisco” respectively.

So read on, and allow yourself to be drenched in the wisdom that was Mina Lou Prior…

On Hygiene
“Sugar, when you get as old as Mamaw, you learn to just wash what stinks.”

On Christ’s Agony on the Cross
“If I’d been Jesus, I’d have slapped the piss out of them!”

On Heredity
“She’s just the prettiest little thing and I don’t know how that happened because both her parents look like my ass.”

On Profanity
“Mamaw doesn’t cuss! She may use little tacky words like ‘shit’ or ‘piss,’ but I’ll have you know I was 40 years old before I ever used the F-word!”

On Beauty
“She’s really pretty for a colored woman.”

On Bonanza (and Me)
“I like ol’ Hoss. God bless him, he’s dumb as he can be, but he’s got a heart as big as all outdoors. He kinda reminds me of you, Chrisco.”

On Heirlooms
“Now Chris, Mamaw worked hard to make that quilt, and it’s the kind of thing that you’re supposed to keep in your family for generations. So don’t be letting your nasty-ass friends cover up with it.”

On Lying About Her Age (to her son and my dad, Jamie)
“Hell, Jamie! I can’t back up much further or I’ll run over you!”

On Dating
“Well, your daddy’s seeing a girl named Sherry right now. Of course, next time I talk to him, it’ll probably be a ‘Mary’ or a ‘Carrie.’”

On Clarification
“What in the shit are you talking about?”

On Home Protection
“Jamie, do you remember that time you got up to turn off the sprinklers and Mamaw came outside with her gun and almost shot you?”

On Scattergories™
“Well, how about dumbass? That starts with a D!”

On Fashion
“That mod shit just don’t look good on you, Chrisco.”

On Jim Nabors
“He sounds like such an idiot when he talks, but he can sing so pretty!”

Saturday, April 24, 2004

But I Digress...

I remember when I was 10 years old, and I spent hours upon hours making potholders out of sock loops. I would hook the loops onto this special plastic frame that had all these little pegs on it, and then I would weave the little sock loops in and out, in and out, in and out, until I had filled up the entire frame. And when it was done, I would take the little plastic hook and go around the edges, hooking each loop through the previous loop, until I had finally formed a beautiful, colorful potholder.

One night, my mother and sister and I were just sitting there, making potholders and watching Quincy. It was this really interesting episode where Quincy was investigating some guy that had died, but what I remember most of all was this commercial for Grape Nuts cereal.

The commercial sticks in my mind because there was this old man in the ad who was feeding Grape Nuts to his grandson, just like my grandfather used to do to me. I would often ask him, "Grandpa? How come they call them Grape Nuts? They don't have grapes or nuts in them?" And my grandfather would just laugh softly and tell me to shut the hell up before he sliced my freakin’ throat with a bayonet.

My grandfather was a little high strung because he spent 3 years in a Japanese POW camp during WWII. He finally escaped one night when he broke the neck of one of the guards with his bare hands, dressed the guard in his rags, and left him in his cell. He then donned the guard's uniform and made his way into the streets. Some Philippine rebels took pity on him and helped smuggle him to Hawaii in a gigantic halibut. Grandpa returned home a hero, but was never the same.

My grandmother, in the meantime, had believed my grandfather to be dead and had been so stricken with grief that she was unable to cope. At last, she found that killing drifters abated the pain somewhat. Even when Grandpa returned, she found herself unable to stop. She would spend her evenings cruising the highway in her green Ford LTD and picking up hitchhikers.

One of these hitchhikers, surprisingly enough, was Jim Morrison himself! Turns out he had faked his death in Paris to get away from the fans and surreptitiously made his way back into the country. He was on his way to Memphis to visit the grave of the recently departed Elvis when my grandmother picked him up and plunged a ceremonial dagger into the back of his neck.

The dagger had been a gift to her from Grumar Daemonicus, the crazy old satanic high priest that lived in the boarding house. My grandmother had once hidden Grumar in her basement when the local church came looking for him, hoping to burn him at the stake for practicing witchcraft. In return, he had given my grandmother the dagger that, according to legend, had been carved from the bones of a long dead god.

This god, Viseroghagoth, was said to be so horrifying that anyone glimpsing its true form would be driven instantly insane. Such was the case of Galgamor, a Sumerian priest who received such horrifying visions that he finally tore his own eyes from his head and drowned himself in the Euphrates River.

Galgamor's remains were discovered in a clay pot by Dr. Reginald Reese, noted archeologist and expert on ancient cultures. Dr. Reese uncovered the urn while on a routine dig, but was devoured by a ravenous swarm of scorpions as he was attempting to decipher the strange cuneiform text.

When word of her husband's grisly death reached her in Salt Lake City, Emily Reese could scarcely contain her joy. For years, she had been suffering in silence, secretly in love with their maid Marie, yet she dared not speak of her forbidden passions. But now, with her husband out of the way, Emily and Marie were at last free to love. Their lingering embrace became a passionate kiss, and before they knew what had happened, they were lost in a white flash of hot, blinding lust. Their naked bodies entwined, their pale and sweaty flesh pressed together as, wordlessly but in unison, they brought each other to the sheer pinnacle of ecstasy. And Emily wept, because she had never known love could be so primal.

When they had finished, Marie left Emily sleeping so she could go downstairs and start dinner. While she was waiting for the water to boil, her mind drifted to her brother Maurice, whom she hadn't seen since he had been dispatched to Iraq to assassinate Saddam Hussein. It had been six years, and she hadn't heard a word from him. She was remembering his sad eyes and his kind smile when she reached for the boiling pot and burned her fingers. Gasping, she jerked away and accidentally knocked over a mason jar full of grease.

The grease spread across the stove and immediately burst into flames. Foolishly, Marie tried to extinguish the fire by pouring water on it, which only caused it to spread further. Before she knew it, the curtains were on fire. Marie tried desperately to make it upstairs to where Emily was sleeping, but was quickly overcome by the smoke. She passed out on the stairs, and never made it out alive.

"What a senseless waste of human life," said Bill Sadler, a local fire fighter and deacon, as he presided over Marie's funeral. The entire congregation wept, but none more bitterly than Emily, who had been miraculously spared in the raging inferno. "But for me," Bill went on, his voice quavering with poignancy, "the most tragic thing is that this whole horrible incident could have been avoided if only Marie had used a potholder."


I submitted this short story to a literary magazine called "Axe Factory Review" last November, because they said they were looking for "quirky, off-center, offensive and annoying" stories. The manuscript was returned to me with a Post-It note attached. And written on the Post-It note was:

"You need to weave this a little better to get it past the maws of Axe Factory's guardian spirits. Send $8 for a sample."

Yeah. Cute. But pretty much par for the course. Most of these literary magazines like to hawk their subscriptions even while they're telling you how much your writing fucking sucks. But the funniest part was that, written on the manuscript itself (right around the 7th paragraph), was a single comment. And it read:

"What boarding house?"

So apparently, Mr. Axe Factory Guardian Spirit Wrangler was okay with the story up to that point. I can just see him reading it and making his notations. "Hmmmm... sock loops... right... right... uh huh... bayonet... right... giant halibut... got it... killing drifters... hmmmm... Jim Morrison... I see... uh huh... ceremonial dagger... uh huh... WAIT! WHAT FUCKING BOARDING HOUSE?"

I imagine he was so upset by this point that he dropped the skull from which he'd been drinking port and began frantically waving his silk lace handkerchief to ward off "the vapors." And as the naked serving boys scrambled to fetch his briar pipe and his fur-lined cape, he cried out in an effeminate voice, "By the flaming tits of Percy Bysshe Shelley!" Then, I'm pretty sure he crapped his pants.

"You need to weave this a little better to get it past the maws of Axe Factory's guardian spirits." Christ. How much pretension can you fit on one fucking Post-It note?

Friday, April 23, 2004

Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! FUCK!!!!

Confession time. I’ve been in love with a married woman for a year and a half now.

A lot of my married friends are probably squirming nervously right now, wondering how to let me down gently. Well, knock that shit off! It isn’t you, okay?

So I know what you’re thinking. Wow, in love with a married woman! How could THAT possibly go wrong?

Thing is, she loved me too. Or she said she did. I’m seriously starting to think that the only key to this girl’s heart is not being her husband.

But you’ll have to bear with me. She’s this incredibly beautiful, funny, smart, sexy woman and at first, I couldn’t believe my luck that she was actually interested in me. I was terrified to tell her how I really felt, afraid that I was going to frighten her off. But she coaxed me and said all these amazing things and totally convinced me that I could trust her, that I had nothing to fear. So I told her I loved her, and she told me she loved me.

Here. I’ll cut to the punch line. She’s been involved with someone else since last year. All that bullshit she fed me about how special I was, about how I made her feel, about how much she cared for me? I can only assume it served her just as well the second time she used it.


And the thing is, I don’t even know how hurt I’m allowed to be about this. I mean, how indignant can I get when I’m accusing her of cheating on her husband with somebody besides me? It’s not like I’m on the high moral ground here. There’s no way I can write this story and make myself the hero or the hapless victim.

I’m just a dumbass who should have known better.

How long did she string me along? I knew something was up, but I was terrified to confront her because somehow I didn’t think I’d be able to bear hearing the truth. Now that I know, I only wish I'd known sooner.

But she couldn’t be bothered to tell me. She apparently decided it would just be easier to ignore me and avoid me until I got bored and went away. Did she even feel guilty about treating me like that? Or was I just a joke to her?


If you’re reading this (and you know goddamned well who you are), then you should know I’m not over you. I may never be over you. I think about the times we shared together, and it makes me hurt so badly I can’t imagine ever feeling happy again.

I’m not over you. But right now, I hate you more than I’ve ever hated anyone in my entire fucking life. I’m glad your husband caught you, and I’m glad it wasn’t with me. The fact that you’re utterly miserable too is my only solace.

So now I’m going to concentrate on putting this travesty behind me. After all, it’s time to move on to my next unhealthy relationship.

And that, my dear, is what we call “closure.”

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

I remember when the movie “Bad Santa,” came out last year, and all of these rocket scientists and brain surgeons started blasting the movie, posting negative reviews and barely legible rants about how you shouldn’t take your kids to see it. AND THANK FUCKING GOD FOR THESE VIGILANT WATCHDOGS!!! If only the movie industry would come up with some kind of rating system to designate which movies are for grownups and which movies are for kids, then maybe we wouldn’t have to rely on a bunch of stupid, inbred, cousin-humping retards to point out the naughty films.

Seriously. If you were dumb enough to take your child to see “Bad Santa,” then you’re too dumb to have children. It’s time for the government to intervene.

But I understand that being a dumbass parent is a full-time job, and you occasionally find yourself wishing somebody would step in and share a bit of the responsibility. Well, you’re in luck!

There’s this Christian organization called the ChildCare Action Project, and these guys apparently spend all of their free time going to movies so they can count the curse words, exposed breasts, and decapitations. They then plug these numbers into some complicated formula to determine if a movie is suitable for family viewing. And when they’re not at the movies, I imagine they spend an awful lot of time licking light switches or trying to walk down the sidewalk without stepping on any cracks.

For a real laugh, check out their analysis of the Star Wars series, where they cite the films for such offenses as (and I swear to God I’m not making this up):

Forced hibernation
Choking to avenge wrongs
Unholy ethereal beings
Child slavery
Disappearing bodies
Statue nudity (Damn you, John Ashcroft!!!!!)
Female anatomy ghosting through thin clothing

Ah, it's so nice to see the Lord's work being carried out. Because when I ask myself the age-old question What would Jesus do?, the answer inevitably leads to Jesus sitting in a theater with a plastic counter in one hand and a legal pad on his lap, scribbling furiously every time a naked statue shows up on screen.

Which brings us, I guess, back to "Bad Santa." The geniuses at CAP Ministries didn't get more than 8 minutes into the film before walking out. Kind of ironic that they had no trouble sitting through "The Passion" or "Kill Bill," but "Bad Santa" was enough to send them scrambling for daylight.

Anyway, they were afraid (with good reason, apparently) that some of their less-than-sharp readers would mistake an R-rated film for a family movie, so they got a guest reviewer. My favorite part of the whole thing is the author's disclaimer near the end:

"If anyone entertains thoughts about doing guest commentaries for us, I will not ask anyone to do so because I will not ask you to subject yourself to such filth as Bad Santa."

Thank you, obsessive-compulsive Christian movie reviewer people, for striving against the cesspool of corruption and debauchery that is the MPAA rating system. And thank you for working so hard to more clearly define that blurry line between R-rated and G-rated movies.

And finally, thank you for at least trying to protect kids from parents who are too fucking stupid to raise them.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

You know that feeling where you’re in love with someone, and they’re in love with you, and you’re so outrageously happy you can hardly believe it, but somewhere deep inside you, you know you weren’t really meant to be that happy and it’s inevitable that something’s going to come along and fuck it up?

And so you press on, basking in the joy, fearful that each moment with her is, for some reason or another, going to be your last? Just waiting for the other shoe to drop, so to speak?

And as time moves on, you start to realize that she doesn’t seem to enjoy your company as much as she used to? She won’t say anything, she won’t admit it, but it’s obvious her feelings towards you have cooled, to the point that she can no longer even bring herself to say that she loves you? And when you tell her that you love her, she laughs uncomfortably and changes the subject?

And you feel more and more like a stalker, hopelessly in love with her and lying to yourself constantly, telling yourself that you’re imagining things, that it’s just a phase, that she’ll eventually snap out of it and then she’ll love you like she used to?

And you know in your heart that it’s over, but you’re scared to death to confront her because somehow, hearing her say out loud what you’ve feared for so long is the worst thing you can imagine?

You know that feeling?

I fucking hate it.

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Christ, I turned 37 today. Thirty-fucking-seven. XXXVII.

There’s no denying it. I’m middle-aged. This is the time in my life when I should be getting hair implants, buying an expensive, red convertible, and leaving my wife for a model in her early 20s. Unfortunately, I’m not married, I don’t know any models, I’m too broke for a new car, and I still have all of my hair.

Actually, as far as mid-life crises go, I guess I handled mine with a bit of class. All I did was quit my job of 8 years to pursue a career as a writer. And no matter how things go, I will always remain convinced that I made the right choice.

Nothing feels better than to walk into your daily meeting on a project so horribly mismanaged that it’s giving everybody involved ulcers, and announce that, as of Friday, you will no longer be with the company. And then you get to spend the rest of the meeting giggling every time somebody else brings up yet another show-stopping issue. Ah, good times.

But I digress…

My party this year was a bit subdued, especially compared to the drunken brawls of the previous two years. A few close friends, and my immediate family. A real grown up party.

*sigh* Dammit.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

So I finally went and saw “The Passion of the Christ.” And as you know, it is the duty of all bloggers to publish pretentious reviews of movies we see, because we’re all still operating under the delusion that, somehow, our opinions matter.

I’ll be the first to admit, I was prepared to dislike this movie. You see, I used to go out with this girl named Sherry who was really into the whole crucifixion thing. We argued a lot, and slightly more than 100% of these arguments would end with us standing in a parking lot while she screamed at me about Christ’s agony on the cross. “And then they whipped him until the skin came off of his back, with a whip that had hooks on it!!!”

It didn’t matter what we’d been arguing about before. It could have been money, my latest speeding ticket, or which of the Little Rascals was gay. But somehow, she’d inevitably turn it into a religious discussion, and then I’d get the full forensic report on just how ghastly the crucifixion had been.

I was afraid “The Passion of the Christ” would be pretty much the same thing.

When my mom asked me to go see it with her, I agreed. My motive was pretty selfish, I admit. I have no patience for people who trash movies without seeing them, and I was really eager to start trashing this one. So I braced myself for two hours of gut-wrenching horror and bravely made my way to the multiplex.

And it was violent. Horribly, offensively, graphically violent. About three-quarters of the movie are devoted to scenes of utter cringe-worthy brutality. The Gospel According to Mel seems to be that Jesus was born and said some stuff and then he was arrested and bound and beaten and beaten and beaten and then turned over to the Romans, who scourged him and flayed the flesh from his bones and then marched him through the streets with his cross while kicking and beating him and then took their sweet time driving nails into his hands and feet and then raised the cross with such force that it snapped some bones and then a bird ate somebody’s eye and then Jesus died and a guard stabbed him with a spear. Oh, and then he came back to life or something.

But I found it hard to simply disregard this movie, because of the smaller scenes that were lost amidst the carnage. There’s one scene early on, in which we discover that Jesus invented formal dining. We also see Jesus and his mom acting like a mother and son, laughing and joking and being very human. I really liked that scene.

There’s another scene where Jesus is bearing his cross, and he stumbles and falls. Mary then flashes back to a memory of Jesus as a child, stumbling and falling as he played. We see Mary running over to the crying child, comforting him. And as cynical as I pretend to be about this stuff, I had to wipe the tears out of my eyes.

For me, those two scenes elevated the movie to something other than an ecclesiastical snuff film. Those two scenes made me realize just how powerful this movie could have been, if only Gipson and Company were willing to focus on the whole story, rather than just the bloody parts.

But that’s just my opinion. I’m sure Sherry LOVED it.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

“We were not presented with a plan. We were presented with a series of actionable items…”
-Condoleezza Rice, testifying before the 9/11 Commission

Okay, you have got to be SHITTING me! I keep hearing my Republican buddies, often with mouths full of Schlitz and pork rinds, yammer on and on about how “credible” Condi Rice is. Of course, they don’t add “for a colored girl,” but I know that’s what they’re thinking.

But how pedantic is that quote? I mean, JESUS! I’ll have to try the same tactic next time I get pulled over. “I wasn’t speeding, officer. I was simply in a state of advanced acceleration beyond that stipulated by the law.” If the cop is a Republican, I’m sure he’ll let me off with a warning. But if he’s a Democrat, then he’ll issue me a ticket because HE’S JUST A PETTY LIBERAL BASTARD WHO HATES OUR AMERICAN SOLDIERS!!!

Kind of makes me miss the old days, when the Republicans got their flowing white robes in a knot because Bill Clinton wanted to debate the meaning of the word “is.”

Condi also claims that our administration had absolutely no idea that Osama was planning on attacking the US prior to 9/11. Despite the fact that the President was issued a daily briefing on August 6, 2001 that was entitled “Bin Laden Determined To Attack Inside the United States.”

So far, the administration has blamed their failure on the CIA, the FBI, the previous administration, cosmic rays from Jupiter, the cancellation of “Touched by an Angel,” the liberal media, gay marriage, and the French. Richard Clarke apologized for the part he had in the cluster fuck that led to 9/11, and that’s far more than Bush or Condi or the rest of the Legion of Doom have been willing to do.

Of course, that would go against the current administration’s policy, which is apparently to “Fuck everything up, and then pretend like it was what we intended all along.”

Sunday, April 11, 2004

JFK Theory #2

Elvis testified before a congressional hearing in the early 60s that he felt the Beatles were detrimental to the morality of America's youth. This testimony did little to curtail the popularity of the Fab Four, but it did draw the attention of CIA Director Allen Dulles, who was on his way out following the Bay of Pigs fiasco.

JFK had earlier threatened to "splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and cast them to the winds," and in spite of later recantations, the CIA still took that threat seriously. Dulles' replacement, John McCone knew it was necessary to take JFK out, but realized the CIA was under too much scrutiny to do the job well. So, at Dulles' suggestion, he recruited Elvis to their cause.

The deal was simple. If Elvis could arrange for JFK's death, the CIA would break up the Beatles. McCone put Elvis in touch with Jack Ruby, who in turn introduced him to Lee Harvey Oswald. Elvis stationed Oswald in the book despository, and took his position on the grassy knoll. And, of course, Oswald got the blame. Jack Ruby only shot him because he threatened to go public with Elvis' name.

The CIA held up their end of the deal by sending in their own operative, Yoko Ono, to break up the Beatles.

In 1977, John Lennon learned of the plot and confronted Yoko, who did her best to placate her "husband" and convince him that he was misinformed. In the meantime, just to be safe, the CIA had Elvis fake his death to get him out of the way. In 1981, the CIA decided to get rid of Lennon once and for all.

Elvis really did die in 1987, so the CIA faked Roy Orbison's death so they could bury the King. Roy has been living under deep cover ever since, working as a clerk in a 7-Eleven in Lubbock.

Friday, April 09, 2004

Hippity Hoppity, Easter's On Its Way...

Easter. A magical holiday, one fraught with tradition and pageantry. As has happened with many religious holidays, the true meaning of Easter has been lost amidst a flurry of commercialism and secularism, all a part of a nefarious plot of the Jewish-run liberal media, who are conspiring with the French Freemasons to pass legislation making it illegal for people to go to church. Or, at least that’s what they said on FOX News.

Anyway, it turns out Easter has nothing to do with rabbits and eggs, both of which were introduced sometime in the 1970s in an effort to reduce net carbs and increase proteins. Easter is a celebration of Jesus Christ coming back from the dead. And if you’ve seen Mel Gipson’s madcap romp “The Passion of the Christ,” you’ll know that they didn’t just kill him…they killed the SHIT out of him!

But apparently, he came back. And rather than go all zombie and seek vengeance on the Pharisees and Romans, he just hung around long enough to show off the holes in his body. Then he floated on up into Heaven, returning to Earth only periodically to help football teams win the Superbowl or pose for pictures in somebody’s tortilla.

Every Easter, I go to church with my family. As a rule, I only actually go to church for the major three religious holidays: Christmas, Easter, and Mother’s Day. And since my mom and grandparents are Baptist, it means I have to haul my sinning, backsliding, satanic, wicked, debaucherous ass into the First Baptist Church of Winnsboro, where they put the “fun” back in “fundamentalist.”

First Baptist Church (or FBC, as the kids like to call it) is conservative as far as fundamentalist churches go. No snake handling, no drinking strychnine from a mason jar, and absolutely NO SPEAKING IN TONGUES! Seriously. The quickest way to get your ass kicked by the entire congregation is to throw your hands into the air and let loose with some of that “Sheema la camina eeki pateeki she came in a Honda” bullshit. The second quickest way is to start the wave while they’re taking the offering. But I digress…

I remember two years ago, when the interim pastor (can’t remember his name, but FBC goes through preachers almost as fast as the Republican Party goes through flammable lawn crosses) decided it was no longer enough to accept the Resurrection on faith. He was going to prove it to us EMPIRICALLY!

I honestly didn’t know that was allowed. You see, by circular Christian logic, God intentionally denies us proof because He wants us all to accept Him on faith. But that very absence of proof is seen by many to be proof of His existence. Or something like that. I usually lose interest and start drawing in the hymnal about that time.

But this time, I sat in rapt attention, eager to hear the issue of Christ’s Resurrection put to rest (so to speak) once and for all! What kind of evidence did this guy have? Photos? Pie charts? Sworn testimony?

Turns out it was a “logical” argument. It went something like this:

“Some people claim that the Resurrection never really happened. They claim that Jesus’ followers simply waited until the Roman centurions on duty fell asleep, and then they moved the stone themselves and made off with the body.

“So, we’re supposed to believe that these Roman centurions, who knew that sleeping on duty would carry a death penalty for them, simply fell asleep? And then the disciples managed to roll that heavy stone away from the tomb without waking them up? It’s impossible! It simply doesn’t hold water!”

So that was it. That was the irrefutable proof of the Resurrection. The disciples coudn't have moved the stone without waking up the guards, so the only logical explanation left is that Christ came back to life. And then, somehow, moved the stone without waking up the guards.

Needless to say, my doubts weren’t laid to rest that day. I mean, when your working premise involves the dead coming back to life, you’ve pretty much given up any right to call anybody else’s theory unlikely or outlandish.

These guys should give up the logical arguments and stick to the blind faith. It suits them better.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Bill Clinton was opposed to the war in Vietnam and didn’t go. The Republicans called him a draft-dodger and questioned his ability to lead our nation. John Kerry served in Vietnam, but was so horrified by the atrocities he saw committed over there that, upon returning to the States, he became adamantly opposed to the war. The Republicans are calling him a hypocrite and questioning his ability to lead our nation.

So apparently, in order to succeed within the Republican Party, you have to be rabidly pro-war. Actual military experience isn’t required and, indeed, seems to be discouraged. After all, who better to lead us in a time of war than a man who spent about four days on duty in the Texas National Guard?

Apart from Bush’s tour of duty during the Vietnam War, where he fought to keep Galveston Beach safe from Charlie, the current administration is decidedly light in the military background. Cheney managed to avoid active service because he claims he had “other priorities.” Well, you know what, Dick? That’s exactly what Clinton said right before he burned his draft card!

John Ashcroft was too busy teaching to “let the eeeeeeeeaaaaagle sooooaaaar,” and Tom DeLay claims he was unable to enlist because the military ranks were already filled with young men of color, who had volunteered to escape the ghetto. I swear, I’m not making that up.

It looks like the only person in the White House who actually served in the military is Colin Powell, and the rest of them have pretty much treated him like a bitch from Day 1, sending him out for beer and Cheetohs while they sit around in the White Room with Black Curtains and throw darts at a map to see which country is next to be invaded in our “War on Terror.”
According to the most recent polls, 43% of Americans *still* approve of the president’s handling of the war in Iraq. Which is pretty impressive, when you consider that’s more than actually voted for him in the first place.

But still, 43%? What the hell is the matter with these people? What in the hell is it going to take to shake them from their blind faith and retarded assertions that George W. Bush is blameless and holy?

The answer? Nothing. There’s a reason why conservatives and fundamentalist Christians are such compelling bedfellows. These guys wrote the goddamn book on blind faith. And when you spend day after day thanking an invisible man in the clouds for letting the Jews murder His son to keep you out of hell, then I guess you’re pretty well equipped to accept any stupid fucking thing at face value.

So George W. Bush can do no wrong. Only terrorists and slaves of the liberal media would imply otherwise. The Republicans can sleep well, secure in the knowledge that everything bad that’s ever happened in the world can be blamed on the Clinton administration and gay marriages. And any time the truth becomes so overwhelming that it threatens to seep through that impervious shell of blissful ignorance, they can always switch over to FOX News or tune into Rush and kill off that pesky part of the brain that insists on thinking.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

My father, Jamie Irby, shot himself on Thursday, March 27, 1997. He died two days later. To this day, we have no idea why he did it. For some time afterwards, we searched desperately for some kind of rationalization. We wanted there to be some concrete reason, some one thing we could point to and blame. But it just wasn’t there.

The night he did it, he had just gotten home from the hospital (where he had been treated for pneumonia). He was living with my grandmother at the time, and she said he was nervous and on edge that evening. He kept pacing around and couldn’t keep still. He finally got up and said he was going to bed, and she reminded him to take his medicine. He replied, “I’m sick and tired of all these pills. I’m just sick and tired, period.” He then went into my grandmother’s bedroom, took the revolver off of her dresser, took it out onto the back porch, and blew his brains out.

And why? Who the fuck knows? All I can do is guess, but I don’t think it was any one thing that drove him to it. I think he was tired and hurting and full of despair, and he couldn’t bear the thought of waking up one more time. I’ve been there. We’ve all been there.

I’m not recounting this little grief-fest for shock value, or to give you some kind of insight into my dark and wondrous soul. Seriously, I went through therapy and wrote like hell to exorcise these demons and, while it still makes me unbearably sad at times, it no longer haunts me like it did.

I’m bringing up this sordid chapter only to put what follows into context.

My dad was a musician… an immensely talented guitar player and a pretty good songwriter. He was good friends with Chet Atkins, and knocked around some with a lot of Nashville legends. In fact, his address book read like a regular Who’s Who from Hee Haw. But despite all his efforts, Dad never made it big.

Back in 1990 or so, he ran into Martha Carson, a retired gospel singer who had been quite popular in her day. And Dad decided that he was going to be the one to engineer her comeback. Undeterred by the fact that she was approximately 165 years old, or that years of chain smoking had given her a voice like Lucille Ball with a tracheotomy, Dad was convinced that the world would eagerly embrace the “First Lady of Gospel Music.”

To his credit, Dad did manage to book some gigs for her, although most of them were in venues like the New Boston Opry in New Boston, Texas (population 5,057… SAAALUTE!). In fact, Dad masterminded Martha Carson Appreciation Day, where all two members of Martha’s fan club showed up to present her with a plaque.

At the height of Martha’s comeback, Dad actually realized one of his lifelong dreams by playing guitar on stage at the Grand Ol’ Opry. But soon after that, he and Martha had some kind of falling out. He would never say what exactly happened, but I always had the feeling that Martha had ditched him for another manager. He was bitter, but refused to say anything bad about her. (Well, he did get drunk one night and refer to her as a “fucking bitch,” but he wouldn’t elucidate.)

When he died, Martha called us and offered to sing a song at his funeral. We told her we weren’t interested.

Again, I’m only bringing all this shit up to put the following into context.

In 1998, SISTER SUNSHINE: The Martha Carson Story was published. I stumbled across this little tidbit recently by accident, when my friend Silver sent me a link to this page to annoy me. Why? Because he’s an evil, puppy-shredding bastard. But I digress…

Anyway, once I learned of the biography, I became overwhelmed with morbid curiosity. I just had to find out if she had mentioned Dad, and perhaps gone into detail about why they had gone their separate ways.

I ordered the book from (where it’s ranked #2,132,644, which means Martha Carson probably didn’t even buy a copy). When it arrived, I waded through 360+ pages of treacle looking for Dad’s name. I finally found it on page 363, in a chapter entitled “Family and Friends.”

There were two other men, besides Scotty Turner, who took an interest in Martha Carson, performer, during the ‘90s. The first, a Texan, was named Jamey [sic] Irby, who worked for the company that had made Chet Atkin’s guitars. He had met Martha during a visit to Nashville and was determined to become her manager and promoter.

"He wouldn’t take no for an answer. He kept calling me long distance and even sent roses. I did a benefit at Bell Cove (a club) in Hendersonville, and he came in. He was a smart, young man, who had arranged some bookings for me.

"Then he got cancer of the prostate, which turned to bone marrow cancer. That boy really loved his mother, who had to nurse his father during a fatal illness. Well, he developed pneumonia, but was determined not to be an invalid on his mother, so he shot himself!"

So that’s it. Dad’s death, recounted as a sordid detail in the obscure biography of an ancient gospel singer. It’s like the punchline to a sick, fucking joke, delivered bluntly and enhanced melodramatically so it’ll play better in the sticks. Just a minor footnote in Martha Carson’s tale of tragedy and triumph.

And they couldn’t even bother to get his fucking name right.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

JFK Theory #1

JFK actually flew to Dallas a day early to spend an enjoyable evening at Jack Ruby's Carousel Club. Unfortunately, he suffered an aneurism while in the throes of passion with one of the strippers. The Secret Service made a quick call to LBJ, who gave the order to cover up the incident, lest word get out of the president's immorality. Jackie was informed, and a plan was hatched.

The next day, the president's body was propped up in the limousine, and wires were used to make his hand wave. Oswald, who was into Ruby for considerable money, was pressed into service to fire the fake shots from the book depository and to ultimately take the fall for the fake assassination.

Monday, April 05, 2004

Here’s the deal. I’m not a Christian. I haven’t been one for years.

My family suspects, but so far none of them have asked me outright. And I haven’t volunteered the information. Not because I’m ashamed, but because the last thing I need right now is my mom and sister being upset about the damnation of my immortal soul. I already get enough grief because of my politics.

The weird part is, I do believe in God. I don't buy into the invisible man who sits on a throne in the clouds and answers prayer chains, but I do believe in something greater than us, something well beyond our comprehension. My belief isn’t terribly deep or profound, it’s just by default. I believe in God because the alternative is just too scary to consider.

But my relationship with God is casual at best. I don’t bother Him, He doesn’t bother me… if He sees me in the hallway, we wave to each other and move on. I have a lot of questions, and I’ve made my peace with the fact that I will never have the answers to them while I’m drawing breath.

Which is my biggest problem with Christianity. It isn’t just enough to acknowledge the presence of God. These guys have to know EVERYTHING about Him. They want to know what He eats for breakfast, what side He parts His hair on, and whether or not He’s voting Republican. And when the answers to these questions aren’t readily apparent, they just make shit up and call it canon.

The Baptists believe that the Bible is the literal and perfect word of God. You know why they believe this? Because it says so in the Bible! It says right there in Genesis that God created the universe in six days, and that means he finished the job in exactly 144 hours. If you believe otherwise, then you’re just a liberal godless heathen who hates our American soldiers!

Like I said, God and I don’t talk that much these days. But I do occasionally run into other people that know Him, and they’re always happy to bring me up to date. Turns out that God hates fags, and He allowed 9/11 to happen because of feminists. Oh, and apparently He REALLY wanted Mel Gipson to make that Jesus movie, which was really nice. It’s always refreshing to see a father take an interest in His son’s career.

I guess that’s why I’m not a Christian. I have a hard time reconciling the God I believe in with the petty, tyrannical prick that the Christians have imagined. They want to believe in a God who is just chomping at the bit to send us to Hell if we choose the wrong religion out of the thousands offered. Or a God that would create a devastating and horrific disease and unleash it on the general population just because He disapproved of a certain lifestyle. Or a God that would allow thousands of people to die horribly at the hands of terrorists because He didn’t like the idea of women working outside of the home.

I don't believe in that God, and I never will. And if it turns out I’m wrong? Well, who wants to spend eternity in a Heaven filled with fundamentalist Christians?

Sunday, April 04, 2004

Personality Quiz

This is an actual personality quiz administered by many companies in the Fortune 500 to determine the mental state of their employees. Dr. Phil administered this test to Oprah and she became so enraged that she smashed a chair over his enormous, bald head. I think she scored a 26. I swear to God, this is entirely real! I would never make up something like this! It would be a colossal waste of everybody's time if I did!

The following is pretty accurate, and it only takes two minutes. Take this test for yourself and send it to everybody else you know, and something really wonderful will happen to you! Really! I did it, and five minutes later I was in bed with Amanda Peet! Conversely, Amanda deleted this e-mail as soon as she received it and five minutes later was in bed with me!

Just answer the following ten questions as honestly as the limited choices will allow, and then prepare to be judged!

1. When you wake up in the morning, you:

a) cringe at the thought of enduring another day.

b) sob bitterly as your pleasant dream fades, leaving you face to face with your horrible life.

c) pray to God to give you the strength not to drive off a bridge on your way to work.

d) pull the trigger and, if the chamber is empty, reluctantly get out of bed.

2. When you look in the mirror, you immediately think:

a) "God, I'm fat!"

b) "How did I get so fat?"

c) "I'm probably going to die alone because I'm so fat."

d) "I am a decent person with a good heart and a wonderful sense of... oh, who am I kidding? Look how fat I am!"

3. When talking to people, you:

a) stare at the ground and speak in a whisper.

b) bury your face in your hands to avoid making eye contact.

c) suddenly scream and panic as the realization of your low self-worth washes over you.

d) often find yourself paying $2.99 for the first minute, and $1.00 for each additional minute.

4. Which of the following colors do you like most?

a) black

b) obsidian

c) ebony

d) the bleak, somber color of loneliness and despair (black)

5. When you are going to sleep at night, in those last few moments before you drift off, you lie:

a) in a fetal position.

b) with your hands over your ears to stave off those wicked, wicked voices.

c) flat on your back, with your arms crossed over your chest, inviting the cold embrace of sweet, sweet death.

d) under the bed.

6. You often dream that you are:

a) happy.

b) successful.

c) in love.

d) someone else.

7. When faced with difficult choices, you often find that you are unable to distinguish between:

a) immediate gratification and long-term happiness.

b) healthy behavior and self-destructive impulses.

c) good and evil.

d) your ass and a hole in the ground.

8. If you're working hard and somebody interrupts you, you feel:

a) angry.

b) incensed.

c) furious.

d) a white hot rage so severe that you can barely choke back your bile.

9. Do you feel that life is pointless and that we're all spiraling blindly into a chaotic abyss of uncertainty?

a) Yes.

b) Yes, absolutely.

c) I can't argue with that.

d) Wow, do you feel it too?

10. Your relationships end most often when:

a) your partner grows tired of dealing with all of your self-loathing.

b) your partner finds somebody better.

c) your partner steals your TV, VCR and jewelry while you're at work.

d) you dismember your partner and stuff him or her into a tight crawlspace.

POINTS: Give yourself 1 point for every "a" answer, 2 points for every "b" answer, 3 points for every "c" answer, and 4 points for every "d" answer.

Now add up the total number of points.

10 - 20 POINTS: You are insecure and totally lacking in self-confidence. Like THIS is really going to help.

21 - 30 POINTS: You are a horrible person, and everybody knows it. Anybody that pretends otherwise is simply using you for their own nefarious purposes.

31 - 40 POINTS: You are a wretched excuse for a human being with absolutely no redeeming qualities whatsoever. You know it, I know it, and Dr. Phil knows it.

MORE THAN 40 POINTS: You either cheated, which makes you truly pathetic, or you miscounted, which merely makes you incredibly stupid. Either way, it's time to end this shallow charade you call a life. Remember to cut up and down, not across.

Saturday, April 03, 2004

Okay, welcome to the digitally replicated tortured labyrinthine contortions of my inner psychic dungeons. I'm glad you're here. No, really. I'm not just saying that. Since you've gone through all the trouble of clicking on my link, I might as well tell you a little about myself. And if, in return, you'd like to tell me a little about yourself, fuck off and get your own damned blog!

I am a single white male between the ages of 17 and 38. I'm an Aries and a liberal. I was raised Baptist, which means I'm agnostic now. Children and pets love me. I have no discernable accent despite being born and raised in Texas. I like the night life. I like to boogie. Like 98% of the English majors I know, I'm a writer wannabe who has yet to get published. However, I quit my job last year to pursue the writing thing full time, at least until my inheritance money runs out. I am not now, nor have I ever been, "goth." I have the strength of ten men. I am stardust, I am golden. I can hold my breath for four minutes. I can speak fake Spanish, but cannot grow sideburns. I can Mash-Potato, I can do the Twist. And before the Texas Rangers caught up to me, I shot 44 men... one of them just for snoring too loud.

This is my first attempt at a blog, and the way I understand it, it's basically like a journal, except without all the serial-killer ramifications. Just like the other 9,288,753,409,217 blogs out there, I intend to bitch about crap that means next to nothing to the rest of you guys, and otherwise inflict my whiny, self-important opinions on those of you foolish enough to wander here.

So just sit back, relax, and let the deep hurting begin...