LAST STARBUCKS SKETCH OF THE YEAR

Last everything of the year, from a blog point of view, I suppose. It would be nice to go out on a high note, a bang not a whimper. But it's not in the cards. I proudly hold my whimper flag high. But only for a few moments--it's a heavy fucker. Okay, screw the whimpering: I'm enlisting LC to rescue this last post for me:

The Music Crept By Us

I would like to remind
the management
that the drinks are watered
and the hat-check girl
has syphilis
and the band is composed
of former SS monsters
However since it is
New Year's Eve
and I have lip cancer
I will place my
paper hat on my
concussion and dance.

 

 

UNHAPPY CAMPER

What's the point of being an unhappy camper if you can't let the whole world know about it in no uncertain terms? People deserve to be informed about the constant tribulations that threaten to turn business executives into unhappy campers. Such as an administrative assistant at your insurance company who doesn't respond to your demands with sufficient subservient haste. By going on at length (30 minutes and going strong when I left) at the top of his voice, this gent was actually performing a public service. I left with a new appreciation of the slings and arrows of outrageous underlings these warriors have to endure on a daily basis. It almost makes me sympathize with their plight. But not quite.

MY TRIUMPHANT RETURN TO STARBUCKS

Perhaps "triumphant" is a wee bit of an exaggeration. If you want to be nitpicky about it, and I know you do, my re-entry into the Starbuckian sphere might more precisely be described as skulking, mainly because of the guilt that descends on me when I take the road more traveled rather than hoofing it all the way to FairGrounds. Such are the knotty moral issues one must face when one doesn't drive no more. And don't start on me about bike-riding--I know that's what has just leapt into your hyperactive brain pan. I could never bring myself to wear the biking uniform. Those goofy helmets that balance on your head like a mattress balances on a bottle of wine (I'm playing the Bob Dylan drinking game solitaire) and spandex! For me to try to put on anything spandex-like would be way too close to sausage-making for my tastes. And if I tried to ride a bike in my everyday clothes, I would tragicomically remind myself of those poor hulking circus animals that are forced to wobble in circles on miniature bicycles while clotted legions of snot-nosed children jeer at them. And my sense of dignity just wouldn't allow it. It allows so much already, there's just not room for any more.

COFFEE

I just got back from the grocery store, where I saw a headline in the Enquirer: "AL GORE SEX ATTACK." As soon as I saw it, I said to myself, "I knew it! It was only a matter of time! That poor soft naive man, taken cruel advantage of by a wretched pervert--I hope it didn't hurt too much!" Needless to say, I was stunned to read a bit of the fine print. You know, if I were a masseuse and Al Gore asked me for a happy ending, I would have said, "Al! The Florida primary was 10 years ago! Time to move on!" And then it would have dawned on me what he really wanted and I would have said "EWWWWWWWWW, GROSS!!!" And then laughed a lot. See this all started back in the primaries when that lady made him start wearing earth tones. Now this.

Actually, it's pretty disgusting. Does fame have to make monsters of everybody?

DENIZENS

It’s been a while since I’ve indulged myself in a liberal rant, so I think it might be time to clean out the pipes. With some regularity, you hear from conservatives the argument that the wailing doomsaying Cassandras of the left, sobbing about energy and resource depletion and climate change, don’t take into consideration human ingenuity, the fact that time and again we’ve come up with solutions to seemingly intractable problems. (Are you ready? This is where I say “And yet...”) And yet, it’s been the conservatives who have opposed, blocked, and ridiculed every attempt to apply some human ingenuity to these problems. In some respects, it’s the ridicule that’s the most heinous of these behaviors. They stand on the sidelines and smirk whenever solar or wind power is brought up. They mock vegetarians, Prius owners, even recyclers. In an article sent to me by a conservative friend, a columnist chortled about how pissed liberals are going to be at some unspecified point in the future when they realize how their sacrifices were a waste of time. Have we reached the point where moving our fat asses off the couch for a minute to drop some plastic in the recycle bin is considered a sacrifice? And even if climate change turns out to be the grand hoax the right fervently wishes it were, is conservation of our resources ever a waste of time? Psychologists will tell you, of course, that this right-wing sneering is an attempt to deal with the vague guilt they feel for sticking their heads in the sand (this is not a metaphor gone haywire; it’s my contention that they’ve learned to sneer with their butts.) To no avail: psychologists, along with scientists, teachers, philosophers, and Harvard professors, are all dismissed by the right as deviant wild-eyed socialists whose goal is to round up the common folk in re-education camps and subject them to fluoridation and homosexuality. Such fear and anger consume these people. Talk about a waste of time.

 Ah, that felt good. That ought to hold me for a week or so.

BACK TO COFFEE PEOPLE

Well, that portrait thing was fun, but to every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose. I already tried gathering stones together, but after a while, when I had a nice pile of stones in the middle of the living room, I said to myself "what the fuck??" and I cast away the stones, whether it was the season for it or not. So I decided it was the season to go back and draw coffee shop people. I swear it's not too late.

JUST MORE STARBUCKS PEOPLE

What, you're tired of them? No more than I am, bub! You don't think I'd like to walk into Starbucks one day and find it full of emus? This constant stream of humanity can really get a person down. Maybe if I were an emu, traipsing down to the emu watering hole every day of my goddamn life, I might look forward to seeing a human or two. Except they'd probably shoot me, so not even then, I guess. I suppose you'd call me a misogynist. I'd like to know what that "gyn" is doing in there. Something to do with lady parts, I'd guess, but I haven't worked it out yet. 

OVERHEARD

No, don't look to me for an explanation. You're on your own. I'm busy trying to keep from ranting. You see, I accidentally heard Karl Rove being interviewed today. What a--no, I'm not going to. I'll just say this: why do so many supposedly intelligent people mispronounce "Iraq"? Eye-rack? Aside from sounding like a hillbilly, and my apologies to hillbillies everywhere, especially the ones who carry shotguns, don't you imagine Iraqis would consider it slightly disrespectful? In whose interests could it be to gratuitously offend them? Oh. Never mind.

ADDICTS AT THE COFFEE CLINIC

It's the day after Pi Day, and we all know what that means: time for a rant! I'll try to keep it to a minimum, and those of you of a conservative bent may feel free to excuse yourselves from the room. Today's topic was inspired by a letter to the editor in the Pilot this morning, on representative democracy. Taking a sharp turn to the weird right, as letters to the editor are wont to do, the writer maintained that obstruction by filibuster is mandated by the Constitution, which of course it isn't. But it's true that our democracy is representative. In their wisdom, our founding dads built into the structure of our government a buffer of sorts between the fleeting moods of the populace and the lawmaking function of Congress. The avenue for us rabble to express our wishes comes every 2, 4, or six years, when we can vote the rascals out. Why, then, are the Republicans howling that the Democrats are raping the Constitution by applying an administrative tool (reconciliation) to counter another administrative tool (filibuster)? Regardless of what the electorate, whipped to a temporary and misinformed frenzy by unscrupulous self-serving blowhards, thinks at the moment, Obama was elected by a distinct majority after having clearly outlined his plan to push for healthcare reform. If there are any surprises in the plan currently before Congress, it's how mild it is compared to the one Obama outlined to the electorate, which made him President. If the plan makes it through Congress, it will be because it was supported by lawmakers representing the majority of America's voters, who in the next election will have the opportunity to express their opinions of this action and, if they choose, elect people who will have the power to modify the plan according to their wishes. That's how the Constitution specifies that our representative democracy work. If you don't like it, amend it. 

IT'S NOT MY JOB TO UNDERSTAND, JUST TO OVERHEAR

You can try to make sense of these things, it's a free country. They're much more charming to me sans context (that's French for "out of context"--I think adding French phrases makes this blog seem more classy, don't you? La plume de ma tante est sur la table, if you know what I mean.) I don't usually get to overhear grad students. The proprietors usually send them packing, mainly because they steal stuff, but also because of conversation like this, which makes the other patrons grind their teeth and emit high-pitched whines. These two went at it for quite a while, and it was eventually revealed that they were discussing Hilary Clinton's presidential campaign, which is so typically grad-student-like, not only affording them an opportunity to relieve themselves of several ponderously silly pronouncements, but also being totally irrelevant, Hilary 'aving perdu l'election deux annees ago! Dudes!

ENEMIES AND FRIENDS

I depicted those ladies in an unflattering light because they annoyed me to no end at the counter by dithering right in front of me. Dithering over whether the carmello macchiavatto was too sweet and what the no-foam latte had instead of foam and whether soy instead of milk made it taste like dirt. And then excavating the dim basements of their pocketbooks for exact change, pocketbooks the size of which would make a carpetbagger blush with shame and abandon his line of work in despair. And so I felt perfectly justified in employing my Artistic License and drawing them with just a touch of venom. I could have done much worse, giving them tentacles, perhaps, or jaws that could unhinge themselves, disgorging another, smaller head full of razor-sharp teeth and dripping mucus and gore. But I am an honourable man. So are we all, all honourable men. You ladies too. Honourable bints all, except for these two brutish beasts. Okay, now that I've gotten all Shakespearean on their asses, I've worked up an appetite. I could really go for some hydrolized vegetable protein. Where's them hickburgers at?

STILL LIFE WITH ILLUSTRATION ANNUAL

It could be argued that what you're sketching when you sketch is not objects but what happens to light when it strikes objects. After all, what squeezes itself through the little black hole and boinks on the rods and cones is light, not actual coffee-cup molecules. And light travels at nearly the speed of light, so why doesn't it knock us across the room, if not farther? Something moving that fast should propel you through a whole series of interior walls, leaving you-shaped holes in your wake, eventually depositing you in your kidney-shaped pool, where, as you slowly sink to the bottom, you fervently wish you had hired a pool boy instead of wasting your money on a MacBook. Because who's going to fish you out now? 

Now I've left myself open to someone saying how dare I make fun of Republicans when I don't even know how science works, something very like which was uttered about me in the comments section of another blog a short while ago. Well, as they say, all PR is good PR. 

A PLETHORA OF DEVICES

So, it turns out "plethora" is not the anatomical term for a naughty bit. That would explain why my friend Ruben has had no luck at all incorporating it into a pick-up line. Neither, it seems, is "plectrum", which I now see in hindsight is the reason my doctor looked puzzled when I told him mine was red and swollen. Vocabulary can be a minefield for the unsuspecting. To his credit, though, my doctor looks puzzled and mildly annoyed when I say anything at all. He sees any comment of a symptomatic nature I might make as a willful erection of a roadblock against the swift completion of his Anthem-sanctioned rounds. This is, after all, the best goddamned health care system in the world, if we would only let the private sector work its magic, its magic being defined as 10-minute symptom-free doctor visits, and none of these sneaky fucking pre-existing conditions neither. If doctors suddenly had to start listening to spontaneous complaints by patients, it would upset the actuarial parameters set by the private sector, and then the whole contraption would collapse in a heap. Because one thing the Republican Party and its conservative think-tank, the Tea Party movement, don't seem to understand is that the private sector consists of sweaty guys in polyester sport coats, just like the public sector. By the way, to all of you with delicate and retiring natures, my apologies for using the term "erection" in such proximity to "red and swollen". As my way of making it up to you, your next visit to this blog is totally free of charge.

WHY AREN'T THESE PEOPLE AT WORK?

They could be helping drive the great economic engine that is the US of A instead of sitting on their cans drinking chain-store coffee. Oh, I know, a cursory glance in my direction might lead to  a snap judgment that what we have here is a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black. First of all, I'll overlook the slur of referring to me as a "pot". Second of all, for years I tried economic-engine driving, and finally, after several fiery mishaps, had my license revoked. So I can only stand by the wayside and watch the rest of you hurtling to your doom. Ha ha ha, you bastards.

DESULTORY DAY AT THE COFFEE SHOP

I don't know what 'desultory' means, I just threw it up there because it sounds erudictable. I'm one of those phonies that Pierre Salinger wrote about. Like sometimes I'll pretend I'm a professional assassin when I'm really not. Like when a lady in front of me in the grocery store line just stands there and stands there and stands there while her giant mountain of groceries gets rung up and only then, when the checker looks up at her expectantly, only then does she swipe her credit card. She could of swiped it and entered her code and all that stuff be forehand, but no, she had to wait. And I will pretend I'm a professional assassin and get out my VIP card, the one that gives me lots of special privileges at the grocery store, and I'll syruptitiously touch her coat with it, like it's coated with a Uruguayan poison that makes people writhe in agony on contact, even contact through a puffy Nordic jacket. But here's the thing, I'm not really a professional assassin. Far from it. I don't even own a turtleneck. I wouldn't have a clue how to assassinate somebody. Maybe I would offer them some tasty Virginia peanuts on the chance they have a peanut allergy and didn't know about it yet. I've tried that on Dr. Research a couple of times, but he apparently isn't allergic to them. So in a nutsack that's why I consider myself a phony. And that's only one reason.

IT'S ALL ABOUT THE WAFFLES

This is my idea of hell: to have some guy in a ball cap reprimand me for not watching the waffles--and have a snickering sketcher sitting behind me! You'd think that, having been subjected to my share of such indignities in my working life, I'd give the poor guy a break and find another drawing subject. Think again,chief! We play hardball in the major leagues, pal. If you can't stand the heat, get out of the bathroom!