25 March 2006

God Hates Boners

Believe me, I know exactly what this kid is thinking.


You were surprised to hear that Dad's gonna be churchin' up, or re-churchin', or whatever they call it when somebody makes the Jesus-Jew-Jesus turnaround. Perhaps "making a return to the cloth". Ummm, "a rethinking of one's convictions". "Spinning a philosophical donut", or "pulling a religious brodie", to speak in automotive terms.

So yeah, I guess the diocese is going to decide whether he's naughty or nice, and then if all goes well he'll get his collar back. Probably not the same one, though. I think he probably threw that one out years ago before he went to Israel to stay on that kibbutz. Or maybe he sold it at a garage sale, and then some 13-year-old picked it up thinking he had just procured the ideal age-enhancing, beer-purchasing disguise. I wish I woulda nabbed it, because I would be out there right now impersonating an Episcopalian minister. I'd be preaching all over hell and gone. Cash money!

I'll tell ya, though, the one thing I am glad about is that I'm way too old to acolyte for him anymore. He won't be calling me to ask me to be his crucifer or thurifer any time soon. He's probably aware that if I walked into a church, the rafters would burst into flame.

I swear that's how I blew out my L5/S1 disc - by doing all that kneeling up at the altar as a young acolyte. As a matter of fact, the first time my back went out was while I was acolyting the ten o'clock service. I was thirteen, I think. You remember how your mind used to wander when Dad was singing the eucharistic prayer and the sanctus?

"It is very meet right and our boun-de-ehen doo-hoo-ty / that we should at all times and in all places gi-hive tha-hanks unto thee / Oh Lord Holy Father / Al-migh-tee-hee eh-hev-ver-lah-ahst-ing Looooord!"

So yeah, 'bout that time my mind started to wander, and being thirteen and all, it turned to topics far more interesting than eternal salvation - subjects like Kathy Kuhns from my third period English class, and more specifically the size of her brand new boobies. Needless to say, this thought was sufficient to cause me to crack a woodie right there at the altar rail. This in turn caused me to break into a froth of terror because I knew that in just a few short stanzas, Dad was going to get to the holy holy holy part - the part where I'd have to stand up thrice and show the congregation how I'd turned my cassock into The Unholy Tent Of Prurience and Damnation. So I freaked out and tried shifting my weight from knee to knee, hoping to - hell, I don't know what - deaden the erectile nerve or something. And right then bang! my lower back gripped me with a massive spasm. It hasn't been the same since.

I know this all happened because God hates me. I'm pretty sure Jesus likes me just fine. I celebrate his birthday every year, so I think that probably means I'm a "made" guy. God, on the other hand, thinks I'm a douche for that whole boner-in-the-church deal. I can hear the conversations in heaven right now:

Jesus: "Hey Dad, Thaddeus is getting nailed for taxes on all his freelance work from last year. You think you could maybe put in a good word with the IRS - have them cut him some slack or something?"

G-D: "Thaddeus? That kid who got a boner in church? MY church? Fuck that randy little chump!"

Jesus: "Aww c'mon Dad! Just this once!"

G-D: "You know what? Just for that, I think I'm going to just go and arbitrarily fuck his shit up right now, just for hoots. [God swears, like, all the time. It's true. I know this because I was an altar boy. -Ed.] Check it out. The phone is going to ring, and when he goes to answer it, he's gonna slam his bare toe into the table leg. And then - oh man this is sweet! - when he bends over to rub it, his back is going to freak out! But wait - wait! It gets better. He's going to hobble over to the phone and pick it up, only to find out that it's the IRS - and he's getting audited! OhmiGAWD this is gonna be ossum!"

Jesus: That's some cold shit, man. You're just straight-up mean and capricious.

G-D: Of course I am! Why do you think they call me God?

Yeah, it's probably a good thing I became a nontheistic Buddhist. Otherwise I'd be going straight to hell right after I finish my coffee this morning. And if I ever pull a philosophical brodie and decide to re-church, maybe Dad and Jesus can put in a good word for me.

Cheers, and give my best to Marie.


23 March 2006

One More Time For Us Dumb Kids

Somewhere in Pontiac Michigan, a young wordsmith ponders all the
possible spellings of the word "beeeyotch".


Got your email describing your invention (an email which I do not count as correspondence, so you're not off the hook yet). I have just one question: ...What?!

There were many, many big words. What do they mean?

I mean - I consider myself a reasonably intelligent fellow. I wasn't raised in Shackabama or Ohiowa or anything. I was raised - just like you were - in the intellectual heart of the Detroit Megalopolis: Pontiac, Michigan. This auspicious origin, combined with the twelve score and forty sermons we endured at our father's birdy little knee[1], has endowed us with vocabularies mightier than half the tongues in Missouri. This has also enabled us to use words like uxorious and abaxial in casual conversation (with stingingly precise usage, I might add) and has made me the hero of at least one cocktail party. (Dude - I totally got laid for using the term trompe l'oiel once. For real! It was ossum! I was 20! But I digress.)

Again, I reprise my entreaty. There were many big words. Whatever do they mean? I tried reading your description of the product. I really did. But I fell asleep at about the term carbon sequestration. Then I drank a whole bunch of coffee and tried reading it again. Apparently I was still a little dim or a little impatient or a little wired offa my tits on caffeine or All Of The Above because I still didn't get it. So I eventually wound up cutting and pasting the body of the email and making a Mad-Lib out of it...the kind of Mad-Lib you'd probably make if you were a ten-year-old kid who was wired offa their tits on caffeine. Horsies!? Horsies!? Like Horsies!? I must still have some caffeine left in my system. Tic tic tic! The result of my experiment is below. Enjoy.


MAD LIBZ! Product Brief Crazinesses!

The following is a description of the essential features of the [waste]product/[digestive] system. Interested [f]arties who would like to review [a three-dimensional drawr-ing of my butt] should first [sign an Oath of Alliegance to the Dark Underlord].

Keywords: hyper[kids light fires! fires! fires!], energy [d]efficiency, seis[mime] performance, fire[fire! fire! fire!]-proof, [your mom's] mold[y old underwear]-proof, [tiny, tiny bear]-proof, integrated,[segregated, delegated, masticated] whole-building, carbon sequestration [say what?], green [green is the color of my true love's hair!]

The invention is an engin[qu]eered building envel[d]ope system [so you can mail buildings to people? Neat!]intended primarily for residential building applications.

This system achieves remarkable [weiner] structural, environmental and cost efficiencies through the functional [weiner] replacement or integration of the disparate [weiner] components and meth[addeus] currently used in residential construction, [s]ex., stud [You said "sex stud"! You have a dirty mind!] framing, [s]exterior siding, [weiner] sheathing, (separate) [weiner] insulation, (separate) [weiner]ventilation, electrical [weiner] and water [weenie] supply races, and interior dryw[einer].

These features notwithstanding, the aesthetic [prosthetic kinetic] and archi[tech me on the boobies]values and appear[ants in my pants] of buildings constucted using this system ar[abbi a priest and a] completely [nun]conventional [walk into a bar].

Prior to specific inquir[ing minds want to know!], interested [f]arties should [get way]downlo[w]and read the no[-]disc[o]los[ers] document found at [h-tee-tee-pee-whack-wack-dubbadubbadubbadot-kiss-my-round-brown-bootay-dotcom].


Okay, in all fairness, here's what I'll do. I'll actually try to translate all of what you sent me into English terms that everyone can understand. And then I'll put it up here so people can read it. Then they will truly understand how ossum this thing is. They'll be all, "Oh - so it's like a jelly donut that does your math homework. I get it! Sweet!" And we'll be all, "Gzakly!" See what I mean?

Cheers, and give my best to Marie.


[1] EXPLANATION FOR THE READERS: When I say "sermons", I don't mean the "how many times I gotta tell ya to look out for the cat when you're mowing the lawn ya friggin' meathead" sermon. I mean the real kind, like "In Hooteronomy twelve, in the third verse, it says he who lays down with the she-ox will blinded verily be". That kinda thing. Our Dad was an Episcopalian minister for 33 years (that's One Score and Thirteen to you Bible-ish types), so we got the dress rehearsal of every one of his sermons on Saturday, the day before it hit the pulpit. But then he converted to Judaism, and then it was all "Jew" this and "baruch" that. Half of it was in Hebrew and I couldn't understand it anyway. Besides, by then I was all grown up and out on my own. When he spoke Hebrew, I just thought all the Xanax my shrink was giving me had screwed up my ears. But now - get this - he's gonna re-up! That's right! He's re-becoming an Episcopalian! He's busting his collar outta mothballs! Stay tuned for further developments.


22 March 2006

It Ain't The Clapper


Look, I know I'm supposed to keep a tight lip on what I say about your invention since it's not on the market and all. On the other hand, here you are in the same situation every inventor finds themselves in at least once: close to marketability but just shy of enough capital to get it there. I mean, c'mon, this is not some Rube Goldberg device we're talking about. It's a viable product that could do a lot of people a lot of good. It has been deemed utterly patentable by a genuine patent attorney with genuine morals. It has been computer-tested by engineers with genuine PhDs who gave it the thumbs up. It has been feasibility-tested by other folks with PhDs who know a thing or two about feasibility. They also gave it The Official Okey Dokey Stamp. Furthermore, there's probably a forlorn computer geek over on Mercer Island who cashed all his MSFT stock and is wondering what to do with that tumbleweed-size mass of c-notes that is clogging the foyer of his McMansion.

So what the hell am I going on about?

Here's the deal. We've already established that people are eavesdropping (eyedropping?) on this conversation. If some of these people knew something about your invention, they might understand exactly how ossum it is. Overcome by the brilliance of it, they might be compelled to gasp about it to two of their friends - and those two friends would tell two friends - until finally the geek on Mercer Island gets wind of it, blows that tumbleweed of cash your way, and faster than you can say cementatious admixture, you're on the market.

I also realize that by using our public correspondence as a venue for discussing something as technologically dense as your invention may create a wave of boredom that sweeps across this mighty land, causing necks to wilt and foreheads to crash into keyboards from Boston to Honolulu. That's a risk I'm willing to take. Lemme know whatcha wanna do.

Cheers, and give my best to Marie.


19 March 2006

You'll Drink It And Like It

You can't quit the Schmidt. You jes' cain't.


There has been a disturbing-yet-amusing development with this whole "people are reading your mail" thing. You'd think that folks would be content to sit back and watch the conversation unfold naturally with the same bemused detachment reserved for Christmas pageants and dog fights. I mean, this is after all a correspondence between you and me (save for the fact that you never ever write me back, so it's actually more like the one-way conversations people have with Baby Jesus - wait; correction: all people except psychotics). You'd think they'd be content to listen in on the party line without interrupting the conversation with a "wait - which one of you guys is Greg?" You'd think we could just serve 'em free Schmidtties right outta the Sport Pak and they'd like it. Oh mais non. That is where you'd be tres wrong.

DG reader-slash-viewer-slash-voyeur-with-an-opinion Dale Zeretzke has made it clear that he wants to hear more discourse on the topic of cognitive science. Jesus H. Gall Bladder of Christ. How do I respond to that? Considering the current forum (viz., a "private" correspondence between you and me), it's akin to having the mailman hand deliver a letter and then tell you, "Just skip to the last paragraph - the one where he confesses." Or like getting dressed and hearing a disembodied voice say, "I like the underwear you had on yesterday a lot better." Dale has gone and busted down the fourth wall on this whole thing.

But here's the unpossibly ironical part about all this. What did you say when you called yesterday? You said, "Hey - I have a cognitive science question for you" did you not? And that's exactly what I was going to talk about in this letter. So at least for know I can continue my original course without believing that I have given in to audience pressure - not just yet, anyway - and this is not the equivalent of playing "Free Bird" for the fried-to-the-hat gentleman in the second row. That said:

Your question about catatonia and whether it is a response that allows time to process information. From what I know about it, catatonia can cycle with states of extreme excitement like some sort of psychotic mania, so - yeah I know that doesn't answer your question, but I think that catatonia can be a response to acute sensitivity to both internal and external stimulus. To wit: when I was a stone cold coke freak, sometimes my thoughts were whizzing by so fast that trying to grab one and make it come out of my mouth was like trying to steal a hubcap off a moving car. I was so high and my thoughts were so frenetic, I simply could not speak. I imagine that from the outside, I appeared very calm. Likewise, I've read case studies where a person who was just on the catatonic horizon would respond to questions as though they were trying to sort out the conversation from myriad distractions, like trying to carry on a conversation in a very loud barroom. So in that case, I'd say sure - catatonia probably allows the person to limit the only stimulus that they can actually control, which is the sensations created by their own movement. Can a great deal of stimulus cause a person to shut down? Sure, take a look at a baby. Sometimes the only way to get 'em to sleep is to overstimulate 'em by putting them in the swingy-chair or the stroller...or at the controls of a loaded-for-bear P41 Mustang.

That's my free cents - or fuppence as I like to say. Take this as you will as I'm just a layperson who reads the MIT Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science for fun.

Speaking of which, it becons me even now. I'm up to h - as in homunculus.

Cheers, and give my best to Marie.