Friday, March 28, 2008

Ve Haff Vays...


More unintentionally funny comic panels here.

"So, they laugh at my boner, eh?"

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Bubbles

Not that I'm any kind of expert, but a visit to a hair salon must be something like a trip to a cathouse.

I'd noticed myself getting a tad shaggy these days, so I made an appointment for today at noon, a little place near work. The girl on the phone asked if I wanted to "see" anyone in particular, and as I hadn't patronized this place in a good long time, I said no.

I walked into the place and announced myself. Unisex hair places try very hard for that ultramodern feel, lots of brushed aluminum fixtures, photos of sexy models on the walls, glass and chrome furniture -- I'm sure it's the outcome of a lot of very careful psychological research. All the stylists in the place, nearly all of them quite attractive women, are dressed in black, black, black.

Again, the receptionist asked me that rather intensely uncomfortable question: Is there anyone in particular I'd like to "see"?

Now, for me, a haircut from a sexy babe in stylish black clothing is a rather, how do we say, erotic experience. It is, I'll admit here and now, the closest thing I get in my life to permission to perv out a little bit. From the shampoo, her fingers massaging my scalp with foofy shampoo, to the cut itself, as she leans in very close to get just the right angle and a pert breast brushes my back, her breath and perfume mingling with the fruity hair-care-product smell of the place, as, in the mirror, all the women come and go, talking of Michelangelo: The whole thing serves to put rather unwholesome thoughts into the Jingo cranium.

And I don't think I'm alone in this dirty little secret.

So asking me if there is anyone in particular I'd like to "see" is a big semantic matzoh-ball. The intention of the question and its interpretation are oceans apart. Most female customers will understand it -- correctly -- as a challenge to assess the competence of the stylist who gave her her last cut; got a good one, repeat. Bad one, move on. This male customer, who happens to like women very very much thanks for asking, thinks it's exactly the same question that they ask at the front desk of the Mustang Ranch. I do suppress the urge to look around the room until my eyes light on a cutie-pie who's just my type and point and say, "Well, that petite blonde in the ass-pants and sleeveless t-shirt, she looks like a goer!"

But just barely.

Instead, I shake my head, a little sadly. "No, I'm new here." Thinking, I'm at your mercy. Please pick me a nice one. Oh, and by the way, if you can read my mind, you'll be forgiven for declaring me a complete and utter pig and throwing me into the street.

I got the only dude in the place.

What's worse, he gave me a real nice haircut. I got his card.

I can't go back.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Tick Talk

WASHINGTON, DC — March 26, 2008. A local conference of IT professionals was thrown into disarray when an outbreak of deer ticks in the beds of Omni Shoreham Hotel conference attendees forced hundreds of information-technology workers into the streets of Washington, DC, at three o'clock in the morning, fearing Lyme disease and worse.

"This totally sucks, man!" shouted one displaced technology worker, clad only in his plaid jammy-pants and Anakin Skywalker t-shirt as he froze, barefoot, in the street outside the venerable hotel. Exterminators swarmed the sidewalks around him, vying for the order to spray individual rooms for the dangerous, disease-bearing insects.

All is not completely lost, however. One attendee used the occasion to perform some valuable entomological research; with some highly specialized sonar equipment he "just happened" to have in his room, he was able to trace and document the communication patterns of the revolting critters.

"Yeah, they talk really fast!" said Jim "Ethernet" LaPorte, of Kankakee, IL, in town for only one night. "You gotta slow it down a lot, but if you do, you can totally hear 'em saying, 'Must... eat... blood...!'"

Representatives of the Fox Television network have reportedly been in discussion with the ticks about the development of a movie deal with the marauding arachnidae. However, they have met with little or no success.

The idea that ticks possess the ability to communicate with humans has most reputable entomologists scratching their heads. "Beats me," said one local professor of entomology. "Didn't ever think of that before. Talking ticks. Huh."



The headline in Variety the next day:

TICKS ATTACK TECH TALK
TECH CLOCKS TICK TALK!
TICKS, FOX EXECS NIX TALKS!
TICK TALK?
TICK TALK!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Marking the Resurrection

My work buddy Jason spent his Saturday in a far sillier way than did we, who prepared to mark the Resurrection with deep contemplation and fervent prayer.

This sort of thing must be stopped, for the greater good of the Republick. John Adams would not have approved.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Goddamned Insolent Bunnies

This year has been a bumper crop for bunny rabbits chez Jingo. Can't walk from house to garage without tripping over one. I just made the trip up there for liquid refreshment, and a bunny sat in my way, glaring insolently, like a soccer hooligan at a referee. As I walked, it moved just enough to get out of my way, and sat its ass back down in the grass. Insulted -- I thought I was a bit more threatening to the property's leporine population than that -- I moved toward it again. Again, it moved just enough to get out of my way, and then plunked its fat little ass down in the grass.

That's it. I'm going Farmer MacGregor on their asses. Ate my whole cucumber crop last year, little bastards. An exemplary rabbit stew with spring vegetables begins to take shape in my perfervid mind. I will leave it, untouched, by the forsythia under which they camp.

Also, them lazy-assed dogs are going to get a very firm talking to. If I have to resort to the words of Captain Nolan at the Battle of Balaclava -- "There, sir, is your enemy!" then that is what I shall have to do. I take no pleasure in it. No satisfaction.

Time to man up.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Timeshifting

These days, I've been listening to podcasts from NPR on my commutes to and from work. One of these is "Car Talk," with Click and Clack the Tappet Brothers. A regular feature of that program, to which I'm sure nobody needs any introduction, the Puzzler. Ordinarily, I gloss over the Puzzler, because they usually involve Higher Logic, small bits of paper with cryptic notations on them, or algebra, which I leave to the pros and concentrate instead on the often very funny byplay with the callers.

This week's Puzzler, though, I figured out nearly as soon as Ray Magliozzi read it out. Here it is; see if the answer is as immediately apparent to you as it was to me (quoting from memory):
I visited my friend Mary in her office. As I walked in, she was dialing the phone. She shushed me, saying she wouldn't be a minute, she was calling her husband. The call went through, and when her husband answered, she said, "Hi, Tim, it's me." She then asked a question that would have been a very strange way to open a conversation twenty (or thirty, or fifty) years ago. A strange question for any caller to ask anybody, not just Mary to Tim. What was the question?
Write your answer on a 5000-watt Black & Decker electrical generator, with stereo speakers, full carpeting, eight-cylinder Speedo rack-and-pinion flywheel wind-up, and a pony, and send it to...

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Calling the Neddie Jingo Irregulars....

Some few weeks ago, I found a site that was utterly astonishing in its thoroughness and attention to detail. It documented absolutely every bluegrass song in the Classic Bill Monroe/Stanley Brothers Canon, with painstaking notes on recording dates, how many times each song was recorded, by whom, down to Child Ballad number, if applicable.

I've just discovered it's disappeared. Somebody didn't renew a domain name, it appears. Now all I get is a generic Search page.

This is fucking devastating news for my book. I was using that bitch like toilets hadn't been invented. A more useful resource you could not possibly find.

I know there's such a thing as the Internet Archive. Nothing that has ever been posted has actually disappeared. (I know this through dire, dire experience.) But how do I operate it???

Help me, somebody!

The original URL for that site was http://www.bluegrassmessengers.com/master/

How can I get that stuff back? Musical History demands to be rescued!

And I will be eternally, pleasure-you-in-a-way-that-will-endanger-my-marital-vows kind of way, grateful...

Edit Next Morning: Turns out, as you Irregulars pointed out to me (and I thank you from the heart of my bottom), that I'd accidentally stumbled across notes belonging to Richard Matteson of the Bluegrass Messengers, toward a book of his own, Bluegrass Picker's Tune Book, published in 2006, which you can get here, and which I've already this morning ordered. I found the notes quite by accident when Googling the lyrics of "The Little Girl and the Dreadful Snake" for my "Soul Butter" post a few weeks ago. No violation of copyright (or privacy) was intended, and for any information I gleaned from the notes, the book (not the web site) will be rigorously and properly cited. I did email the site's administrator when I found the notes, to ask about provenances and sources, but never heard back.

Speaking of copyright violations, in the course of the search for the foregoing, someone linked me to a copy of the book at books.google.com. I was slightly horrified to find that the entire book has been posted by Google. Not, as at Amazon and similar sites, the cover and a few representative pages, but the whole flippin' thing! Surely -- surely! -- that's got to be a copyright violation. I'd read about Google's project to make every book ever published available on the Net, but only now do I see the implications. Are we authors about to get the same ass-fucking that musicians get from file-sharing? Why charge money for a book ever again?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A Four-Diamond Girl

I have to confess myself completely flummoxed by the concept of a $5000 hooker.

The WashPost this morning declared at $300 (after, no doubt, a great deal of careful market research, hands on keyboards, no subtle fingers tweaking the Importunate Equipment under the desk) the going price of the kind of lady-of-the-night who will report to your hotel room and place herself at your disposal.

This gives us a discrepancy of $4700 between the price paid by your average horned-up convention-goer and that paid by Elliott Spitzer.

The question burns, like a chlamidia-victim's gorgonzola, what the hell does $4700 buy you?

The girl may be fine, she may be so-fuckin'-refined-she-smells-like-Hyannisport-in-August, she may have an ermine-lined snatch for all I know, but... Jesus Christ! An orgasm's an orgasm, y'know? And post-coital chit-chat's post-coital chit-chat. Does the $4700 girl lecture you on Wittgenstein afterwards? You can buy the same goddamned honey-of-a-spasm for 25 simoleons on 14th Street -- and your provider may even remove her upper plate for extra gratification. If Spitzer had managed to confine himself to that kind of independent provider, he'd still be governor of New York.

It may come as a bit of a shock to my regular clientele when I admit: I've had sex! I've even had really, really, really good sex! So, as an experienced man-about-town, I have to wonder: What is it about paying 4700 clams to dip your wick that is so fucking appealing?

I'm sure it has a whole lot to do with the same Absolutely Nothing that differentiates a $500 bottle of wine from a $50 bottle. You pay it just because you can, because that's what makes the difference between the Rabble and the √úbermensch — and for that, Elliot Spitzer will now be privileged, forever, to just go fuck himself.

For free.

Schadenfreude's a Bitch

I'm afraid I emitted a long, low, throaty chuckle when I read this graf. I'm not going to mention the name because I want to stay out of the search engines --they still hold a small amount of power over me -- but read the rest of the article here.
Several recently departed executives contacted this week described the climate at [company name redacted] as acrimonious. They said there had been confrontational meetings of employees as well as screaming matches in offices, as senior executives worried about making their aggressive quarterly ad sales goals.
Bastards are going down.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

We Is Not Learning

We read in this morning's WashPost of Conspicuous Organic Consumpion. "Anna Sova Luxury Organics Turkish towels, 900 grams per square meter, $58 apiece. The eco-friendly 600-thread-count bed sheets, milled in Switzerland with U.S. cotton, $570 for queen-size.... [We buy a] 2008 LS 600 hybrid for $104,000 (it actually gets fewer miles per gallon than some traditional makes, but, see, it is a hybrid). Accessorize the interior with an organic Sherpa car seat cover for only $119.99...."

Pretty sharp stuff, for the petroleum-based rapacious destroyer of forests that is a newspaper.

We here chez Jingo are trying to be good green citizens. As they burn out, we've been replacing our incandescent lightbulbs with those newfangled windy-twisty jobbers. I used up the last one just now, and was preparing to throw the package away when a whacking huge observation smacked me like the hot kiss at the end of a wet fist. (Twelve points for ref.) I wrestled the thing to the floor and photographed it immediately:


Do you see what I saw?

The package is huge! It's twice the size it needs to be! The space used for branding the fucking thing is the same size as the thing itself! And of course, what is all that wasted space made of? A little cardboard and a ho-ho-whoooole lot of thick plastic. This package isn't meant to Save the World; it's meant to Sell Lightbulbs. And I, sucker of suckers, thinking I was Saving the World, Bought Lightbulbs. Probably killed about eight acres of rainforest doing it.

Well. The first thing to do, I suppose, is to fish the damned thing out of the trash and put it with the recycling. (There will be a sign on the recycling dumpster: "Bottles and Cans Only!" Screw it. It goes in.)

Now, those little windy-twisty lightbulbs are fragile. Really fragile. You can't wrap them in jute or switchgrass or something. They need a shell to protect them. Maybe the recycled cardboard they make egg cartons out of might do the trick. But with examples like the above, where the need to brand a product supersedes the need to actually be environmentally responsible, we're probably consuming ourselves into extinction.

(Free tip from the Jingmeister: In the few weeks we have before the Collapse of Civilization As We Know it, there's a bloody fortune to be made in the invention of a device that lets you change those lightbulbs on the ceiling while standing on the floor. The thing I use now, the one designed for rounded, incandescent bulbs, has so far broken three of the new ones.)

Sunday, March 02, 2008

A Linguistic Conundrum

I am cursed to ponder, this fine early-spring Sunday:

What is the relationship between

Coo-coo-ca-choo, Mrs. Robinson

and

I am the eggman
They are the eggmen
I am the walrus
Goo-goo-ga-joob

The odd thing is, both lyrics were written at approximately the same time. Paul Simon adapted the song for 1967's "The Graduate," and the song was officially released on "Bookends" in 1968. Lennon wrote and recorded "I Am the Walrus" in September 1967.

Was this nonsense phrase, you know, "in the air" at the time?

And why does this question torture me so?