Saturday, July 29, 2006

Don't Snake the Feed of the Bite That Hands You

(This started out as an innocent piece of commentary on a friend's blog. As my tales usually do, it got out of hand, and I felt compelled to post it here. Because you guys need to read something funny, before any of that "reality" stuff catches up to you)

The Eye Wit here....

Reminding you to go and read MY blog, I'll get motivated to write more entries if more of you stop by. Especially you, and you know I'm talking to you especially.

Now, on MY blog, there's a link to this one. Is there a link here to MINE? Nope.... don't see one.... great. And I'm all out of self-esteem pills. I tend to use a lot of them up in the morning, when I'm reading the newspaper. Sorry, not the Montgomery Advertiser, gang. I don't live anywhere near Montgomery, so I have a limited interest in what's being advertised there. No offense.

(For crying out loud, Mariann, I'll tell you how to code it in.... unless.... unless you don't WANT a link to me here.... and I.... and I.... DAMMIT! Another davenport ruined!) (PS - the link to HER blog is in the right-hand column. For NOW....)

But, I digress.

We had eight snakes ourselves at one point, three different species. We are inquisitive people; we got to know about snakes. On the Letterman segment Mariann thinks she remembers (don't tell her), they had a variety of king snake. These are beneficial (they eat rodents) and harmless to humans. THIS variety mimics the look of a coral snake quite well. This, and the difference between the two (easy if you take five minutes away from eating that stale Pop-Tart and look it up), is especially good to know about around here; we have both the sartorially-clever king snake AND coral snakes, which are extremely deadly and will kill you a lot. If you get bitten by a coral snake, it will be useless to tell it "Blast it all, why couldn't you have been the harmless king snake?" This is stupid for two principal reasons: One, you're going to die really soon, and stopping to have a conversation isn't a good idea. Two, snakes don't have ears! I know this, because I know snakes. Not in the Biblical way, but we're pals.

This lengthy introduction leads me to MY complaint about this film, which I won't have to go see in order to know what's going to happen. The snakes are fakes, baby! That's right, they're playing you & your somewhat-appropriate gut-level-piss-someone-else's-pants fear of snakes. Trust me: there are NO poisonous snakes in that movie. Eh, maybe a couple for close-ups, but those will have had their venom sacs removed and forced to register to vote as Republicans. No, what you're going to see are a bunch of constrictor snakes. In plainer terms, these are snakes that stun, coil around their prey, then suffocate or otherwise make it into "collateral damage" by squeezing it. It then unhinges its jaws and swallows something that can be three times its own diameter, which is damned impressive to watch. Even more impressive was the time my parents were visiting, and I cornered my mother into watching one of our corn snakes smite and devour a gerbil. Priceless beyond the mightiest dreams of MasterCard commercials. However, the ball pythons, the rat snakes, the boas from South America, the various tree snakes that they're going to show "killing off" the passengers (the nice guy with the handicapped wife and 12 children to support dies first) aren't very dangerous. A lot of them don't even have teeth; they have ridges of cartilage. Yeah, they make a quick snap at you, it leaves a mark, and the bigger ones will draw blood because they're quite strong; constrictor snakes are deceptive in that regard. They're muscled in layers that overlap & criss-cross each other. This is why they can force their way into your pants whether you like it or not. Why? You'll find out in a minute. In the meantime, just think about that slimy, gooey bastard invading your nether regions and....

That's a myth, too. Snakes aren't slimy; they're smooth and dry. Now, those Republicans I mentioned before? Yes, THEY are slimy and gooey. Hey, don't look at me like that! I'm an Independent, I don't support those creeps, not nor the Democrats, neither (who are damp & squishy). By the way, don't use metaphors that compare politicians to snakes. That really hurts a snake's feelings. If you've never tried to force-feed a boa constrictor Prozac, just take my word for it that it isn't very stimulating. At least, not any kind of stimulation that you like.

(Hell, this is already long enough, I'm going to put a copy on my blog which more of you would read if only.... if only....)

Where was I? Oh, yes. Now, you can get various bacterial infections from such a wound, so it's best to have it seen to by medical pros. I only know of one person that's ever happened to, but he got very sick. Oh, dear, the poor woman who's screaming has a fiendish, devilish BALL PYTHON around her neck! AAAAGGHH! Bullshit! Ball pythons are the teddy bears of snakes. You can buy them, imported from the wild in Africa, and they're very friendly pets. They're called "ball pythons" because they're very horny and try to get into your pants. No, that's not right. When they're frightened or threatened, they literally slither their way into the most compact "ball" possible. Notice how all the snakes move menacingly slowly, drawing out the suspense? Two reasons for that: One, they fed those rascals really well about three days before. They're not even hungry. Second, the set is air conditioned down to a low temperature. Poikilothermic critters get really sluggish when it's cold. (Oh, go look it up! Heh heh!). We had five ball pythons, so I know that species particularly well. They get up to about six feet long and a diameter of five inches, maybe more. And, as I said, they're quite strong. So, when people would visit and we'd shame them into handling one of the snakes, we'd wait until it got curled around their arm, then casually inform them "Oh, that one could break your arm easily, if it decided to." Then, the visitor next to that one, who has another ball python that's moved around the neck panics, screams, and proves once again that Stainmaster carpet is a good investment. It's all in the timing.

By the way, they DO love to crawl inside your clothes. They like your body heat. Which we eventually tell our guests.

You want to convince me that your snake movie has cojones? OK, bring in a REAL constrictor snake (No, not a damn anaconda. Don't see those movies, either). Impress me by bringing in an adult reticulated python. Oh, it's a non-poisonous constrictor snake. But this one could be thirty feet long, take sixteen men to carry, and it eats several goats at a time. Sometimes, they get in a pissy mood. Can they kill a human? You're damn right they can! However, the people that this happens to are almost always brainless Crocodile-Hunter-Wannabes who'll try to wrestle the snake, which makes them really pissy, and such a person could be squeezed into the consistency of that tube of toothpaste that you lost the cap for inside of 20 seconds. This is a process we call "natural selection."

"YOU! The idiot poking the 30 foot snake in the eye just to see what happens? OUT of the gene pool, NOW!"

So, that's the deal. I've just ruined the potential "suspense" in this celluloid morass for you. You know what? I feel fine about that. Because if you don't have anything better to do with your time and money than to go see this tripe? Do something more useful. Send all that money to ME. Why? Because I'm a nice guy. And I'm way behind in my yardwork, I could really use some help. In fact, why don't you come on down yourself? You can start on that big pile of branches & limbs left over from last year's hurricane season.

Do be careful though; I'm pretty sure there are some snakes living in there.

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Thursday, July 27, 2006

No, Doctor, REALLY!

Actually, the bizarre fact is that my doctor will believe me.

This problem has been nagging me for three weeks, and it simply won't go away. It badgered me all through the performance run of As You Like It. Not that Shakespeare consulted me (the bastard never does); this part, I didn't like. Generally speaking, I'm not a fan of pain.

Especially a pain in the neck. Not figuratively in this case, but literally. My neck is out of alignment, and none of the nifty physical disciplines that they teach in acting training helped. In fact, it's theatre training that caused this situation.

Try not to laugh too much when I say what it is. Because I'm not kidding. If you laugh, I will know it, and my feelings will be deeply hurt. Isn't it enough punishment to read the newspaper every morning, thinking naively that surely, today won't be even more ludicrous than yesterday? Every damn morning, I'm proven wrong.

Now, is everyone familiar with "Repetitive Motion Injuries"?

Oh, for Lugh's sake, Google it and come back.

The more familar ones are carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, cantaloupe tendon.... this is not one of them.

It's a sewing injury.

That's right, I said a frigging sewing injury! I've been sewing since I was 17, and have owned my own machine since I was 19. I decided to make (we call it "build" in the biz) part of my costume, as I'd have ongoing use for the piece (relatively unadorned Elizabethan pants). Hey, I know what I'm doing. I took the costume classes, I've kept up with the skill.... no pattern? No problem, I have books with sketches and I usually improvise my way.

I also blame furniture manufacturers (look, I'M not going to take the blame. Forget it). The problem is, they are sexists. They make the blithe assumption that all people who sew are women. The average height of women in America is 5' 6". Therfore, sewing tables are made to accomodate that size, just as airline seats are specifically sized to the dimensions of a hunchbacked hamster. I'm six feet tall. Therefore, the machine sits too low for me. So, in order to see what I was stitching, I had to keep tilting my head to the left to look down and under. One, I like to do a good job, and two, if you've never had a powered sewing needle penetrate a finger, then you haven't used some of the vile profanity that I just know lurks, waiting for you to vent your spleen and whatever other internal organs it can manage to grab on the way. I haven't done that in years. That is, I haven't run a needle through my hand. Vile profanity, that's a skill that I manage to hone and advance nearly every day. It's a gift, don't you know.

I don't like pain; although, being an actor is a good argument against that statement. We suffer. Oh, Lord, do we suffer! And all for you! I hope you swutting well appreciate it. This appreciation is best shown by large sums of cash or bearer securities.

But, I digress.

So, ever since, I've been using yoga techniques I learned back in the day to stretch and relax the affected muscle groups, to try to restore order in me vertebrae. About two times a day, I "break through" and it loosens up, YOWZA! Unfortunately, it then re-kinks itself. Having done this for nearly three weeks, I have now added to the problem by irritating the tendons, bruising bursae and grinding cervical bones in ways that the manual insists that you should not. The result being, now it hurts a hell of a lot more, and I'll have to go see my doctor. He's an osteopath, and can put good fixes on these things.

I'll say "sewing injury", and he'll say "ah", and go directly to the task. Why? Because I injure myself in such ridiculous ways on a regular basis that it's getting hard to surprise him anymore. Actually, that's a bit disappointing....

For a lot of that, I blame my parents. I have inherited major "klutz" genes from both sides of the family (my daughter is unhappy that I then passed them to her, scorning the idea that it's some kind of treasured inheritance. I didn't buy it, either). I have quite the collection of bruises and scars, with my only disguise being follicularly derived. That is, they're somewhat hidden by hair. No, not a hairy back, thank you! But arms, legs, and even well onto my hands? Yes. My head? Yes; I've bashed it about lots of times, and at least I got the genes that mean my hair isn't receding or thinning.

No, as I see it, I am totally innocent in this entire endeavor. An artist suffering for his art. But, in the end, if you trace events carefully, even more intricately than that time you read The DaVinci Code while you were on another one of those acid flashbacks, you will eventually discover who is ultimately responsible. He is, directly or indirectly, the cause of nearly everything that goes wrong in the world. Could you but meet him, you would instantly know this. For one reason, something bad would happen to you just for saying "Hello" to him.

So, Bruce, wherever you are? DAMN you, this is all your fault!

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Saturday, July 01, 2006

Sally Fourth!

Here we are on the verge of July 4. It seems like we did this last year.

We didn't do it very well, but that's not the point. This year, the 4th falling on a Tuesday, the "people" have declared it a four-day holiday weekend. Most of these "people" work in the hotel and restaurant business. Also, the prostitution and demolitions industries will make out like bandits, because everyone will be out for a big bang. Oh, goody; FOUR days of people setting off explosives at any given moment, the acrid stench of sulfur in the air (though that could merely be the unwashed masses), and my cats zooming through the house at 87 mph trying to find a place to hide from what they think surely must be gunfire. As fate would have it (and damn fate, anyway; it always seems to get its way), one or both are frequently in my lap at the time, I'm wearing shorts, and they launch themselves off using my subdermal tissue as traction. The fact that I have seven layers of skin on top of that tissue is a thing that they don't take paws, er- pause to think about.

Honestly, every year, it's the same old thing, and I'm just bored to death with the whole business. It isn't that I'm unpatriotic; I'll be one of the few on our street (and why that is, I'm not sure) to hang the flag, and I always spend a little time on the 4th reflecting on the principles and ideals upon which this country was founded. Then I get depressed, since a lot of people seem to have forgotten what they are, and if you don't remember them, you're not likely to aspire to them. Judging from what I read about doings in Washington, DC, I don't think anybody there has heard of those principles and ideals, and obscure documents like the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

Naturally, the people at the NSA, CIA, FBI and the FKPH&W just read those words and subsequently marked me down as "unpatriotic and subversive". There's that, the long hair, and the fact that I've been brushing up on some of the classic protest songs. Only one isn't totally relevant to our current times, Ohio, penned by Neil Young. No students have been shot yet, and let's keep it that way.

But, I digress.

Look, we can barbecue any day of the year. I don't want to go to the beach, because everyone else has gone to the beach. The parade is exactly the same every year. So are the local fireworks displays. I am sick to death of fireworks, I'm over them, and I wish the bloody things would just go away.

Tonight, the official County display is planned; this is "the biggie", folks. Of course, if you've ever seen a Disney fireworks display, this is about as exciting as Tinkerbell dropping her wand and having it burn some tourist from Finland on the ass (though I'd pay a buck to see that). We frequently have afternoon or evening thundershowers this time of year, so it's a good idea to have room for a couple of rain days. Happily, the weather looks like they will get it done tonight. I have no intention whatsover of going. Forget it. The heat index is 99 degrees. The wind is negative 5 mph. Impossible? No, not with global warming. The effect is that all the air around you is trying to push the 99 degrees into your body from all sides. This "negative" wind also helps the mosquitos and other biting insects to zero in on you. This is bad enough that people soak themselves all over with that instantly-lethal wasp/hornet spray. This is foul enough to make you throw up those three hot dogs you ate, and have another chance to consider what in the hell those things are made with.

I can live with this banal ritual, since I'll be miles away inside my nice, air-conditioned house, dressing the wounds that my cats have inflicted upon me. By this time, I've remembered myself and have put on some jeans. Good thing, because it's the neighborhood fireworks that aren't going to let up for four damn days. "Sure", you think, "those screaming and screeching sparkler things that they sell in the stores are annoying as hell."

Fat chance.

Exploding fireworks, of course, are illegal to sell or use here. This is true of this county, and every other county to the north, east and south. However.... two counties to the south, they'll sell you nearly any kind that explodes or rockets into the sky, all under the ludicrous loophole that they deliberately keep open, since county officials are getting kickbacks, collecting extra sales tax, and because they just like blowing stuff up. All you have to do is sign this form saying that you're going to use them for "agricultural purposes." What that's supposed to mean is that you're going to set them off to scare off birds that are molesting your crops. Wink wink nudge nudge. Bottle rockets, Roman candles, and skyrockets that can take down a condor flying at 2,000 feet are so necessary and effective for that. That's why there aren't any condors left in the United States. 9 foot-long strings of M-80s? Yeah, they'll scare away whole flocks of birds for miles and miles around. But only once, as they'll be rendered totally deaf from that point on.

But, there's nothing for it; it's going to happen whether I like it or not. Next Wednesday, I'll have to go up on my roof and clear up all the debris that's landed there from all of this "agricultural use". I'll pause to thank God that the crops on my roof were thoroughly protected from those rampaging, dangerous swarms of hummingbirds. Then, I'll sweep off the remnants of Roman candle balls (which is also the name of a medical condition that they'll be seeing a lot of in the emergency rooms this weekend), burnt-out skyrockets, and a lot of seagull feathers, as the condors are all gone.

In the meantime, in addition to denim, I think I'd better keep a couple of thick towels on my lap to protect myself from further feline panic attacks. Otherwise, by Wednesday, I'm going to be out of blood.

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