Monday, May 22, 2006

So it's been over two weeks since my last entry...

... and that means it's time for another one. Whether or not I have a good idea.

I don't.

But, hey, this is my paycheck, so a cynical asshole's gotta do what a cynical assho --

Wait, wait, wait, wait ... wait.

It suddenly occurs to me that I have absolutely no monetary and therefore logical reason to maintain a fixed schedule with this mother-shoving time-sucker. I swear, the Internet is like one big, fat, insatiable black hole. Except more colorful and with occasional opportunities to win Xbox consoles.

So if I'm not doing this for the non-existent money or the threadbare comments I receive from the precisely three people who make up my illustrious constituency, what exactly am I doing throwing my literary skillz away on a blog when I should be doing some actual writing?

Well, the same reason anyone keeps a blog, I guess. Rampant, unchecked narcissism.

Keeps me indoors and away from society, too, and I think the four of us can agree that that arrangement can only effect a positive result on the world-at-large.

In any case, here is an abridged list of words and phrases in common usage in my immediate time and space that drive me batshit crazy. For reference, if course.
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1.) Bubbler: *sighs heavily, rubs throbbing temples, vomits repeatedly* Okay, half-wits currently squatting in the southeastern corner of Wisconsin, let me walk you through this one last time. That commonplace item which you continue to refer to with such unapologetically bold and brain-meltingly faulty conviction as a Bubbler is, in fact, A. DRINKING. FOUNTAIN. Also occasionally known as A. WATER. FOUNTAIN.

People, people, look, "Bubbler" was (is? Was? Who gives a shit?) a trademarked name for A DRINKING FOUNTAIN developed by the Kohler Company in Wisconsin waaaaaaay back when. So, while every Bubbler is a drinking fountain, not every drinking fountain is a Bubbler. In fact, I can't remember the last time I've even seen an actual, honest-to-the-various-gods Bubbler. And I've been looking.* So, for the same reason that I don't call all modes of vehicular transport "Geo Metros," don't call all dispensers of thirst-quenching H2O "Bubblers."

*No I haven't.

Of course, the kind of illogic I'm railing against is perfectly acceptable if the rest of the nation is doing it, such as calling all tissues by the brand name Kleenex, or referring to any bandage you slap on your fleshy frame a Band-Aid. These are names that have stood the test of time, and, let's face it, the average consumer can easily explain why he might refer to all correction fluid as Wite-Out. However, the following mostly fictional exchange is a mind-numbing example of why my former classmates in the hell I knew as "childhood" would call a perfectly normal drinking fountain a "Bubbler:"

A YOUNG AND ALREADY BITTER T.C.I.: I was at the drinking fountain.

SOME LICE-RIDDEN LATCHKEY KID: The what? Man, you're retarded! That's a bubbler!

A YOUNG AND ALREADY BITTER T.C.I.: No, no. I'm pretty sure it was a fountain out of which shot an icy stream of water from which I was seen to be drinking.

SOME LATENTLY HOMOSEXUAL JOCK WITH AN IRONIC CASE OF HOMOPHOBIA: Dude, you're so gay! No one calls it a drinking fountain! Dude! Huh, huh, huh, huh!

A YOUNG AND ALREADY BITTER T.C.I.: All right, then, uh, why is it that you call it a "bubbler?"

(Various looks of intense confusion are passed around a nearby circle of my 'peers.')

SPOILED BITCH WEARING TOO MUCH BLUE EYESHADOW: Well, duuuh. It's because, um, when the water comes up, it -- it bubbles... You know, it sort of bubbles up. Like it bubbles out of the -- thingey -- that it -- bubbles out -- of...

(My logic-deficient 'peers' crumble before my steely, unimpressed stare.)

A YOUNG AND ALREADY BITTER T.C.I.: You Wisconsinites aren't going to budge on this thing, are you?

MONSTROUSLY BLOATED OLD HISTORY TEACHER BITTERLY ENVIOUS OF YOUTH: No, I don't see how we can, really.

Drinking fountain. It's just a few extra syllables. Idiots.

2.) "Sick:" So, uh, a word that has, in the past -- with no exception and for all intents and purposes -- been regarded as being strictly negative in connotation has now, in current urban slang, been co-opted as a positive term?

For those of you not of the streets as I myself am, the phrase "That's sick!" nowadays roughly translates to "That particular car/stunt/shoe/pair of mammary glands/method of execution elicits feelings of admiration and/or desire from me, the speaker." Which begs the question...

How do we now refer to someone who is, in fact, actually sick?

SQUARE IN SUIT: Um, just say that they're "ill?"

Nice try, Poindexter. But all you've done is point out the unquestionable "coolness" of our hypothetical avian flu victim.

SQUARE IN SUIT: But -- But I thought "sick" meant "cool!" How can they commandeer both of the terms commonly used to denote poor health? I -- I'm so confused...

I know, my friend, I know. We'll just -- just have to try and keep up, then.

3.) Stop-and-go light: Apparently the same people who won't take the extra second to utter the words "drinking fountain" instead of "bubbler" have decided to use this sudden free time to add the wildly unnecessary "and-go" suffix to the "stop" in "stoplight."

I just don't get stupid people. Look, not only does "stop-and-go light" sound like the inane blathering of a drooling two-year-old, it makes no sense on any mental level I can comprehend.

MORON: Uh, hel-looooo! I don't just stop at a light, I also go at one. Duuuuh.

Really? Really? That's your lesson in ass-backwards rationale for the day? Well, in that idiotic case, you ought to call it a "stop-and-go-and-prepare-to-stop light."

MORON: Huh. Well, that's just dumb.

See? So why don't you shave off those redundant syllables from "stop-and-go light" and use that time you've suddenly freed up to schedule a vasectomy.

Everybody wins. But mostly future generations.

4.) Ax (formerly known as "ask"): Let me ax you a question: How the fuck hard is it to pronounce the letters 'S' and 'K' in succession? And the application of this linguistic blasphemy isn't even consistent. I mean, "mask" isn't pronounced "max." "School" isn't pronounced "xool." This ebonical nightmare makes me sick (adj., 4.b.).

5.) Pop: I don't know if I'll ever be able to adequately express my all-consuming contempt for the numbskullery that is the word "pop" in reference to a soft drink. The following is a brief but telling list of the various definitions of the word "pop:"

> POP is a fine example of onomatopoeia.
> POP is what corn kernels do.
> POP is a short, high fly ball in the sport of baseball.
> POP is a nickname for your male parent.

What it is not is a consumable carbonated beverage.

It's soda, you beetlebrowed 50's-era throwbacks. Soda. Soda, soda, soda, soda, soda. SODA.

ONE OF THE DUMBEST PILES OF CARBON I'VE EVER MET IN MY LIFE: Uh, no, it's pop. If I say 'soda,' you might think I was talking about baking soda.

That, my faithful readers, is an I-kid-you-not quote from some pathetic asshole I knew in high school. Seriously. Of course, he has a point. I mean, nary a day goes by when I don't somehow WORK THE PHRASE "BAKING SODA" INTO AN ORDINARY GODDAMNED CONVERSATION! I mean, are you kidding me? Who the fuck shortens 'baking soda' to 'soda?' And is this honestly a common source of confusion and consternation amongst "pop" advocates? Jesus, really, I just -- I can't -- I -- I mean, is this some kind of cosmic IQ test God is subjecting me to? And will my eventual and assured psychological breakdown place me ahead of the bell curve?

Call it a soda. Call it a soft drink. Hell, call it a fucking cola, for Christ's sake, you tick-scratchin' hicks. But please, please, for the love of what rare and precious brain cells you still manage to hold onto, give up that archaic and ludicrous, only-sounds-appropriate-on-a-black-and-white-rerun-on-Nick-at-Nite colloquiallism! GODDAMNIT!

Ahem.

Moving on...

6.) Git-R-Done: For those of you well-bred, well-read intellectual types who have no earthly idea who the hell Larry the Cable Guy is...

... God, how I envy you.

Larry the Cable Guy is comedian Jeff Foxworthy's successor to the throne of Redneck/Nascar Dad humor. A throne, in my humble opinion, that would best be dismantled, steamrolled, incinerated, re-incinerated, placed in a Payless shoebox, and launched into another galaxy... at which point we would declare war on said galaxy and obliterate it. Larry is fat, slovenly, loud, boorish, ign'nt, puerile, far from complex, and speaks with a pronounced Southern drawl. He represents precisely the Southern stereotype that our Confederate brethren insist is completely untrue.

Needless to say, southerners love him.

No, I don't get it, either. But, to be uncharacteristically fair, if a big fat bald guy dressed as a baby prancing around on Blue Collar TV makes their Jell-o jiggle, well, good for them, you know? I mean, I fully admit I just don't appreciate southern humor, and that's my own "problem," I guess. For that matter, I don't enjoy black or woman humor, either. Jewish humor is hit-or-miss, too, now that I think about it. Gay humor is funny for all of about three seconds. Comedy about parenting, ditto (Christ, if you're gonna spend all your time bitching about what a pain in the ass it is to raise kids, maybe you should have taken a much longer look at that "don't fucking have kids, then" life option). Marriage humor...

Well, now, that I can get behind.

Where was I? Oh, right. Larry the Cable Guy. Anyway, I wouldn't mind Mr. the Cable Guy so much if he kept his grating catchphrases firmly on his side of the Mason-Dixon line. But no. Now I've gotta listen to pseudo-southerners (read: Dumb Yankees) hollering "GIT-R-DONE!" out of their rusted pickups.

Actually, I don't hear that phrase hollered all that often around "these parts." It's mostly uttered by drunken proofs-of-evolution outside of bars at closing time, where I happen to conduct the majority of the "research" for this blog. I also believe there is a federal mandate in place requiring all tow truck drivers in the Midwestern and Southern states to display a "Git-R-Done" sticker prominently on the cab of their vehicles.

"Git-R-Done," as far as I can tell, roughly translates to "Though my ability to correctly spell 'get' is obviously in question -- and, as you can plainly see, I can't be bothered to add the first two letters of the word 'her' -- I have no problem spelling out 'done' accurately, though by all accounts I ought to have spelt it 'dun.' Odd, no?"

Just kidding, of course. It actually means, "Everyone! Hey! Hey, everyone! Look at me! I just repeated a meaningless catchphrase created by a transitory mediocre talent! Wasn't that clever of me? Wasn't it? Hey! HEY!"

Man, what have I got against people? Honestly?
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Well, there you have it. Just a brief sampling of the vast array of local words, phrases, and speech patterns that set my teeth to "GRIND." If you have any craw-stickers you'd like to add to this incomplete list...

Tough shit. Start your own fucking blog.

In closing, I could really go for a soda of the non-baking variety right now.
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STUPID THING MY WIFE WANTED TO DO THE OTHER DAY: While getting my weekly dose of exemplary Saturday afternoon television programming in, my wife came in from the yard to deliver the following news:

T.C.I.'s WIFE: I'm probably going to get rid of that skull in the garden. I think it's real!

Okay, perhaps I could have set that story up a little better.

We do, in fact, have a skull in our "garden" just off the patio that was left for no decently-explored reason by our house's previous owner. And before you reach for the telephone to rat me out to the fuzz, you backstabbing son of a bitch, I should point out that it is the skull of a horse. And it is, indeed, very real.

I have a real horse's skull of unknown origin squatting prominently off my back patio. There is a word for this. And that word is "sick." I mean, "cool."

I immediately told my wife in no uncertain terms that there was no way in hell that that kickass cranium of Secretariat was leaving my property while I remained above ground. It's not like it has rotting flesh and hair hanging off its recently-decayed cheeks. *sighs sadly* Yeah, that would be even sicker-- I mean, cooler.

Anyway, never mind my wife's inability to appreciate the disturbing uniqueness a genuine equine skull holds as a conversation piece, but what exactly was the point of telling me she was gonna get rid of it now that she figured out it was real? By this reasoning, a fake skull of a large dead ungulate would have been a perfectly acceptable lawn ornament in her eyes. But a real one, well, that's just weird.

It appears my wife has much to learn about the undeniable coolness of keeping creepy animal remains on display. Which is odd, considering she's a Catholic who enjoyed seeing the toe bones of various saints in the Vatican exhibit at the museum last week...

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8 Comments:

Blogger The Fourth Earl of Excelor said...

I have horse skull envy.

10:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When are you ever going to take a stand on anything? Stop pussyfooting around every subject and let us know your true feelings for once. Stop being so chickenshit and get a backbone.
(What?, what do you mean this isn't my congressmans webpage? Who's is this?)

Sory, wrong blog, keep up the good work. I'm kind of thirsty, Let me ax you a question, is there a bubbler around here or a pop machine? Well, I'm off to git r done. They've got these stop and go light everywhere now a days.

Sgt Mellors

11:48 AM  
Blogger Chuckles O'Plenty said...

Well-played, Sergeant, well-played...

12:05 PM  
Blogger Dakota said...

After a several month hiatus from your blog, I return to find a photo posted, and am shocked to discover that you're actually strikingly attractive. Normally people who hate the world are hideous, but I suppose you're the exception to the norm. Perhaps I'm just starved for gentlemen given my current location, but be advised: you've got a pretty damn loyal following amongst gay Americans living in Pakistan.

In related news, I can't help but question your choice of punctuation in your last sentence there. I mean, elipses? Was that really necessary?

6:40 AM  
Blogger Chuckles O'Plenty said...

Dakota! T.C.I.'s favorite well-spoken, homosexual military man currently residing in another country! I figured I ran you off ages ago what with my non-stop, relentlessly ugly diatribes. It's good to know that the gay community enjoys an unhealthy, embittered rant as much as the next breeder.

As for being "strikingly attractive," well, it figures the first time I see those words in print in reference to me it would be written by another man. I can assure you that for every decent picture taken of me, there exists a hundred or so buried under a landfill to keep the collective eyes of humankind safe.

And finally, the ellipses...

Damn. They made sense at the time. You asshole.

Good to hear from you,
T.C.I.

P.S. I've been trying to crack the elusive "gay Americans serving in the military in Pakistan" market for years. Nice to see my work was not in vain.

10:36 AM  
Blogger Dakota said...

While my rippling physique and deep love of all things camoflague could certainly lead one to believe that I'm active-duty, your thoughts are in fact mistaken. Sadly, too, because if I got to wear a uniform for a living, I definitely think I'd get a lot more action: my people love few things like we love clothing that allows one to blend in with one's surroundings.

But no, the military remains a right-wing hotbed of all things anti-my-people, so I spurned them to become a low-level functionary in a large government bureaucracy. The US Diplomatic Corps -- similar to the Marine Corps, but with a considerably higher average percent body fat.

1:22 AM  
Blogger Chuckles O'Plenty said...

Hmm, I guess I rashly assumed that any American willfully living in Pakistan did so while armed with an AK-47 and a small tank.

So, you're a bureaucrat...

I have nothing positive to add to that statement.

3:29 PM  
Blogger Dakota said...

Say what you will about being a bureaucrat, my friend. This much I can tell you: you don't know true bliss until you've got a different color passport than everyone else and are armed with full diplomatic immunity. Stop lights? Not for me, pal. Speeding tickets? What am I, an animal?

7:10 AM  

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