Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Whatever It Is, I'll Just Keep It To Myself

Dear LivingSocial,

I don’t know exactly what "colon hydrotherapy" is. However, I am pretty sure it's not anything I would consider a social activity and need a group discount on.

But thanks for all the half-price froyo. That's awesome.

An Appreciative Subscriber

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Things That Never Fail To Crack Me Up No Matter How Often I See Them

Like everyone else, I have my bad days. Days when everything is just wrong, when nothing seems to want to function properly or go as planned. Days when very little can convince me that the best possible course of remedial action doesn’t involve vodka, a 20 lb sledgehammer and ‘Ride of the Valkyries’ at full volume.

Fortunately for me, my neighbors and my furniture, there are some things I know I can count on to improve even the worst of bad days. Laughter, as they say, is the best medicine, and Life’s Pharmacy has seen fit to grant me unlimited refills on the following prescriptions:


Despicable Me was the first, and to date the only, movie I have ever preordered on DVD. I was not going to risk it being sold out during the holiday rush. I had to have it. When I saw it for the first time, this scene

triggered an almost painful laughing fit that didn’t end until three days later. It made sleeping difficult, but I didn’t care.

The Minion je ne sais quoi flowers subtly and gracefully from the soil of a simple truth; if something can make you happy once, there is no reason it can’t continue to make you happy, repeatedly, indefinitely.

I think there’s a lesson in that for all of us.


My singling out of the Simple Dog posts is not intended to, nor should it, deter you from reading everything else on Hyperbole and a Half. Everything. Every word. As soon and quickly as possible. Your boss will understand. I promise.

But even in that, the veritable sea of brilliance that is the 70% better and funnier than the rest of the world that Allie Brosh insists on being, the stories of Simple Dog shine a like beacon of awesome. From a lighthouse of awesome. Standing on an island comprised of millions of individual grains of unmitigated awesome.

Each in the shape of this dog.



I... don’t know. Don’t ask, because I do not know.

But these get me every time.

And finally...


Particularly baby wiener dogs

but just about any animal that has yet to grow into itself will usually do it.

Monday, July 4, 2011

What the Flag Isn’t

I hesitated to write this because it just seemed too much the beating of a long-dead horse. Then I asked myself, can the horse really be pronounced dead if no one can identify the body? If what made the horse what it was still resonates in the minds and hearts of all who knew it? If the horse’s voice can still be heard to whinny from beyond, a plea unanswered, a conundrum unresolved, the one thing the horse always wanted in the whole wide world of ever still ungiven?

In short, and English, is there such a thing as saying something too often, if people still don't fucking get it?

And the conclusion I came to is that no, as often as this has been said, it apparently hasn’t been said enough:

There are things you just really shouldn’t do with the flag.

Now, before I go any further, let me clarify something. I will never say “YOU CAN’T DO THAT WITH OUR FLAG!!!” because the painfully beautiful thing is, what that flag represents actually means that my respect for it equates to my support of other people’s rights to be disrespectful of it. So if you are someone who knowingly, intentionally and habitually disrespects the flag, this post is not directed at you, because you are a complete douchewit and I do not waste my time and genius on people like you. It does no good and just makes me feel tired, sad, and slightly clammy.

Rather, this post is directed at people who disrespect the flag not only without seeming to realize it, but while thinking they are actually doing something that shows their support of our country and troops.

Last year, I wrote a poem for an issue of a magazine that was being compiled as a tribute to the men and women of the U.S. military, and I wanted some photos to accompany the poem. My mother has a beautifully photogenic garden in a quiet neighborhood, so shooting with it as the background seemed not only ideal for what we wanted and a good excuse to spend a morning with my parents but also, with Dad being a former Navy guy, I knew having the flag displayed properly would be guaranteed.

Mom & Me & Dad, post-shoot

Flash forward the time it took to get my copies of the magazine, and frankly I wished I could have removed all traces of myself from it right then and there. My parents, my father in particular, were equally stunned at what was being presented as a tribute to our military; photos showing the flag being used as a shawl, as a tablecloth, as a wall covering, and in one instance spread out on the ground with someone sitting in the middle of it.

I’d like to say I don’t get it, but the truth is I’m old and I know a lot of what I learned in school isn’t being taught any longer. And it saddens me that something I was taught in the first grade has been so completely forgotten, the most basic tenets of flag code, like you don’t let the flag touch the ground. Seriously. This was drilled into our heads so often that as a child I thought our flag was protected by some sort of invisible electro-chemical-magnetic field that would cause it to explode if it ever made contact with asphalt. I can still remember when my elementary school got a new flag, and I was too terrified to ask what had happened to the old one. I just assumed it had gone up and taken the janitor with it.

They don’t instill irrational fear in kids like they used to. I blame the video games. But I digress.

The point is, just having a flag somewhere in your photo doesn’t make it a patriotic photo. If your use of the flag is a breach of flag code, not only is it not honoring our country and military, it can actually be downright offensive to the men and women who, as a part of the training they undergo to pledge their lives in defense of yours, learn and know that flag code almost as surely as they know their own names.

The flag is not an article of clothing. It is not a backdrop, it is not a window covering and it is most certainly not a throw rug or a beach blanket. Please keep that in mind next time you’re planning a photo shoot designed to showcase your love and respect for your country.