Monday, February 28, 2005

Perspective and How to Know When You Need Some

One use of the word perspective is of the artist's tool - to help you create a picture with some believability, so that, as opposed to the picture you drew with crayons as a munchkin, the people in your latest work do not look as if they could destroy their house with a well-placed karate chop. It helps you to gauge the world, to place objects into your world so that they relate to each other in a natural and believable way. Houses are bigger than people. Things look smaller if they are farther away. Chances are, you can't see the front and both sides of a building at once.

Perspective is also a useful life tool. I like to use perspective when I start to feel whiny or just a little peckish for something, not sweet, but maybe salty. I like to remind myself that there are many, many people in the world right now who would have fought off their neighbor for the leftover spaghetti that I threw away last night. I don't know hunger, really, so why am I whining to myself about wishing I had a bag of those barbeque flavor Baked Lays in the kitchen? Does it work all the time? No. Otherwise, I would not be carrying around 5 extra pounds in Baked Lays and tortilla chips alone. But it's worth a try. I believe strongly in the power of guilt.

We could all use a good dose of perspective on occasion. Here are a few examples: do you have a flush toilet in your house? Congratulations! You are in the minority worldwide. Do you have a house? Congratulations again! There are many here in this country who do not. Are you a little pudgy around the middle? Congratulations again! You live in a country where it is far more common to be overweight than to starve to death! Can you believe the price of tomatoes? Well, can you believe we can drive to the store in our cars and buy tomatoes from Chile without selling any children? Boy, don't you feel lucky now?

Here are a few common phrases that, should you hear yourself uttering, might prompt you to take a Perspective Moment:
  • I couldn't live without my cell phone/notebook computer/blackberry/huckleberry.
  • I would never buy another car without heated seats.
  • I don't think I can sit through another middle school combined band/chorus/drama club recital night (guilty).
  • I have too many books to read and not enough time (guilty again).
  • The arugula in this produce department always leaves something to be desired.
  • Give me an extra-large tub of popcorn with extra buttery goo, and a Diet Coke.
  • I need a new crank for my bike - the one made out of space age carbon-fiber-titanium-nitrate compound alloy. It's lighter than cotton candy and stronger than Bruce here's farts. My old one is making a funny noise when I go 92 revolutions per minute.
  • I need a new manicurist. My last one kept talking about her Bishon Frise until I thought I was going to scream.
  • If I can't get five more tanning sessions in before we have to leave for our cruise, the whole thing will be ruined and I'll have to stay in my cabin the whole time. I am so under the gun here.

Heard a good one recently? Add your own. It's fun!

Sunday, February 27, 2005

I'm All About the Oscars

Okay, I'm not all about the Oscars. My cinematic choices usually stray closer to Will Ferrell and the Farrelly Brothers, rather than the Oscar nominated types. I think Sideways and Ray were the only two majorly nominated films that I have seen. I usually get around to watching them on DVD (unless they are big downers. There's no call for watching a movie that makes you feel awful.) But the Oscars is like a circus with really pretty clowns. Always something to see, and always good for a laugh. Here are a few observations from this year's Oscar hype-athon.
  • Cheers to Chris Rock for being himself.
  • What's it like to cheer with your arms outstretched because your new bazongas (is that what they call them? or are they gazongas?) are so enormous that you have to reach around them to clap?
  • Why doesn't Robin Williams just free-associate into a camera for a half-hour each week and sell it to a network? Wouldn't that be 200 times better than 2 1/2 Men?
  • If you wear a dress that hobbles you about the knees so that you are required to walk as though you are wearing prison shackles around your ankles, you should be required to wear a Miss America-type sash that says, "I forgot to try walking before choosing this dress." Or maybe, "Help! I'm being held captive in this dress by fashion terrorists!"
  • The best acceptance speech was from Andrea Arnold, the maker of the short live action film Wasp, who likened the award, fondly enough, as they say in the old country, to "the dog's bollocks."
  • I try not to do much "best-dressed/worst-dressed" business, but what was with Laura Linney's hair? It seemed very sharp, and not the snazzy sort of sharp, but the paper-cut danger sort of sharp.
  • My role model for aging gracefully is Annette Bening (how many "n"s in that?).
  • The Aviator garnered quite a few awards tonight. A bunch of firefighters I know screened this movie recently. They didn't like it, which is probably as reliable an endorsement as the awards it won.
  • It's nice (well, expeditious) that this year they assembled the nominees for the less glamorous awards on stage, or at a mike set up in the audience, to save us the time consuming walking-to-the-stage business of the less gorgeous winners, but isn't it kind of dismissive to pick only these types of awards to treat like this? Although I'm sure they know who they are, and we know who they are, shouldn't we at least try to treat them as if they were as important as the cute ones?
  • I hate to agree with People Magazine on anything, but Johnny Dep is, as Derrick Zoolander would say, really, really, incredibly good looking. He acts good too.
  • Beyonce can make a really lame song sound good. (Of course, she's had a lot of experience at it.) I suppose that's why they needed to bring her out so many times tonight.
  • It's a good thing Prince keeps that moustache. Otherwise he would be continually mistaken for a pretty woman.
  • Why did Jorge Drexler have to re-sing his Oscar-winning song as an acceptance speech? Did he think that Antonio Banderas butchered it so badly that it needed a quick fix? Or was it just a good idea when you have to accept an award in a foreign language?
  • Charlie Kaufman's acceptance speech (for co-screenwriting Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) was satisfyingly Kaufmanesque.
  • If I could switch bodies with anyone, it would be Salma Hayak. Unfortunately, I doubt if she would want mine in return.
  • Speaking of bodies past their prime, it seems that Barbra Streisand has grown such a large decolletage, she must wear a necklace with enough metal in it to make a set of chain mail. Ooh, I feel bad about being so shallow and snarky. But I'm not deleting it.
  • Jamie Foxx was, as well as the sentimental favorite, the right choice.

On that note, I must get out of this uncomfortable chair, curl up with a good book, de-hype, and try to remember what's important. Happy Oscar Night. See you tomorow in the real world.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Our American Stonehenge & The Possible End of the World

I just came back from a walk at the edge of the Mighty Columbia, which is presently calm as a cat in the sun - no wind, no choppy water, no rain, no clouds, just sun reflecting up into my eyes. In July I might be able to take such a situation with some pleasure, and a smug "as it should be" sort of smile. On February 24, it's just plain freaky, and makes all of us Oregonians and Washingtonians feel like we are getting somebody else's good fortune. This is literally true, as the winter jet stream usually aimed at us is currently aimed at Southern California with disastrous results, if you've been watching the news video of beachside properties sliding down onto one another.

It feels somewhat like getting free cable from the previous tenant's pirated cable split, or maybe like your mortgage company making a mistake and not billing you all winter. It feels great, but you know fortune's wheel is going to turn, and you are going to be required to pay back, big time. And yes, the Northwest will suffer some pay-back-type consequences, such as summer water shortages and a sizzling wildfire season.

However, the itchy, undeserving feeling is even more personal than that. Northwesterners spend a lot of time in the fall mentally preparing for the months of cold, dark, grey wetness that can penetrate the soul, let alone the layers of wool and Gortex we wear in hopes of at least some semblance of physical comfort. This year, God has seen fit to lift the burden of cold grey wetness from our lives for nearly the entire winter. We are happy, yet wary of the karmic consequences. We don't feel like we really deserve this, and deep down, we feel that it's just wrong. How can we truly enjoy our summer without experiencing its opposite? It's like good without evil, beauty without ugliness. How can we truly appreciate the good without deserving it by conquering the bad? If we wanted angst-free living, we would have moved to LA. Oops, except they are now experiencing our winter.

It's enough to compel us to keep making comments to each other like, "Is this the end of the world? Ha-ha..." spoken with a quick glance to the side, as if expecting our prophecy to come rolling through the clouds. Well, if this is the end of the world, we Northwesterners are certainly being treated to a nice last chapter.

Drew and I both had yesterday off, and the weather report was, monotonously enough, for beautiful weather, so we took off in an easterly direction for a change.

I had heard tell of a re-created Stonehenge in a small, once completely privately owned town of Maryhill, Washington, about 100 miles east of Vancouver, so off we went to investigate.

Turns out that on a bluff overlooking the Mighty Columbia River and neighboring Oregon, Samuel Hill, a railroad and land baron of the late 1800s to early 1900s, built a full scale replica of England's Stonehenge as a memorial for the soldiers who died in the First World War. The names of the 13 Klickitat County soldiers who lost their lives in the war are inscribed on brass plates embedded in the stones.

My first question was "why Stonehenge, of all things, to pick as your war memorial?" Turns out that Mr. Hill, a Quaker pacifist, was in England during the war and visited the original Stonehenge. He was told that (as some mistakenly believed at the time) the monument was originally used as a site of human sacrifice. This led him to make the connection between such ancient human sacrifice and the continuing sacrifice of human beings in the name of war. So there you go. Makes sense in that light.

Yes, it's rather surreal driving past some bored-looking cows, grazing on adjacent land, to find a full-scale Stonehenge around the next ridge. However, it's obvious from the start that this is an all-American endeavor for the following reasons.

  1. It is complete. As in, it is how Stonehenge would have looked had time not taken its toll. All lintels are in place, as opposed to the authentic Stonehenge, where time has worn away the rock so much that the great stones once resting on and across the upright stones have tumbled down eaons ago. This Stonehenge not only looks practically roofed with the lintels spanning all the outside stones, but from inside, it seems practically crowded with all the huge inner arch stones, smaller secondary stones, and the big flat altar stone. (We started to think of all the cool end-of-movie chase scenes you could shoot while our hero hides from sight around the next stone, running from hidey-stone to American are we?...) anyway, Mr. Hill "improved" on the original by replacing all the stones that have never actually been seen by modern man. How American is that?
  2. It is made of concrete. Really. Firstly, stones as big as those at Stonehenge are not easily found, quarried and carried with early 20th-century technology, let alone with stone-age technology, which makes the original so mind-blowing. Secondly, I guess old Sam Hill just loved, loved, loved this newfangled material called concrete. He used it to build an enormous chateau for himself as well as his Stonehenge. So I supposed it's actually a ConcreteHenge. Is there anything more American than the overuse of concrete? Hardly. So it only stands to reason that the American Stonehenge is made of smaller stones encased in tons of concrete.
  3. It's got graffiti on it. I'm sure the Maryhill Museum (which the aforementioned chateau now houses) tries to keep on top of the idiots with spray paint, but the idiots often have them outnumbered. Lots of idiots with spray paint. Also very American.

For more information, you can go to

Anyway, it was a beautiful day. Hope the world doesn't end or anything.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Band Name Update

This week's leading rock band name: Weasel Delivery System.

Your Thought for the Day: I was intrigued by a phrase that sort of hangs in the air after a particular groove by BT: Seven Thunders Uttered. It sounded to me like a good name for a rock band, so I googled it. Turns out it comes from the Book of Revelation (Rv 10 for you curious readers). Which makes it even more intriguing...I tend to stay away from Revelation, thinking that it is not really translatable by us mere mortals. Except maybe after the fact...

See, we can even learn from our dance music.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Learning About Life from Hunter S. Thompson (including a short ode to Johnny)

My son is mourning today, as he should. His encounters with Hunter S. Thompson's work are so fresh and raw. I suppose I should take a moment and think back so, so many years to when I learned a few things from the Doctor of Gonzo.

I grew up in Vernonia. What, doesn't ring a bell? Not surprising. It's a micro-town (then population 1,850, give or take) in the foothills of the coast range of Oregon, between Portland and the coast. The main reason for its existence was the forest surrounding it on all sides, ripe for the cutting by generations of loggers. I grew up there because my father was the corporate representative of the company that owned a lot of the surrounding timber, and had the job of managing the planting, growth, harvesting and replanting of the timber "crop."

Vernonia was surrounded by trees. On hills. Miles of trees on miles of hills. It was a wonderful, safe, friendly, small-town-y way to grow up, and of course, as a teen, I resented every minute of it. But through television, books and magazines, I tried to learn about the world beyond the trees and plot my escape.

Maybe I would write a great book, as hip as Studio 54, as funny as Saturday Night Live, and then I would be invited to appear on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, and I would sit on that couch and shoot the breeze with Johnny and the other guests...any less of a life would be too boring, too drab, too average. That's the mind of a teen for you - thinking that what they see on television is the only important thing to possess. But I was right about one thing - man, it would have been cool to sit on Johnny's couch and shoot the breeze.

I went to college at the University of Oregon. Granola U. The University of Birkenstock. Berkeley North. There's where my education really started. And that's where I discovered, among other things, Hunter S. Thompson, and really started to learn about the world - and writing - from one of the masters.

Reading Hunter S. Thompson for me is like riding in a convertible with the top down, when the driver is going way too fast. I can feel my hair being blown back, and the nervous smile start to form, the pupils dilate, the laugh lurking in the throat. Writing that, I couldn't help but picture that car on the highway to (Fear and Loathing in) Las Vegas with no chance, knowing the state of the driver and passenger inside, of ever reaching their destination intact, but knowing full well they will - by the grace of - what? The patron saint of recreational drugs? The god of talented fools with a way with words? We will never know.

But man, for a kid from Vernonia, this was a new way to live. Holding on by the fingernails - to life, to reality even - doing whatever seemed the most outrageous thing at any given moment. Of course, I never (rarely ever) lived that way. Maybe I did take a few chances that I might not have. But the very thought that you can if you want is both freeing and slightly, but pleasingly, frightening for a piglet-y type like myself.

But Hunter S. Thompson was about more than fun with drugs and guns. By writing about his own reactions to the stories he reported (or occasionally made), he was able to burrow underneath the surface of the facts. Whether he was writing about a murderer, a porn star or a president, his ability to weave his way into the story often illuminated facets about people that they would have rather left in shadow.

Mark Twain used to say of his short-lived journalism career, "I never let the facts get in the way of a good story." Although you couldn't necessarily count on Doctor Thompson sticking to the facts, in fact you could rarely believe a word he wrote, by the end of the article, you knew the truth.

And in the end, that's what we're all after, isn't it?

Friday, February 18, 2005

Dogs: Good, Good! Owners: Bad! Bad! Bzzzt!

One short note before I move on to what will probably be an unreadably foaming rant:

The directions on my frozen pizza say, "Do not eat pizza without cooking." Thank God for directions. Who knows what I might have done.

Now on to my rant, lucky readers.

My back still hurts, so I am a little more crabby than usual. Just like my usual approach to fitness, I try to do too much and then pay for it. Like today after work, I decided to take the dog to a nature trail a couple of miles from the house. When I'm not lazy or when the sun isn't setting, we walk down. If either of the former conditions apply, like tonight, I toss her into the back of my snazzy new SUV (yes, toss her - she's too prissy to jump) and drive down.

If you are smarter than me, you are thinking, "you toss her? I just read your last blog about your back injury. Isn't that bad for your back?" Unfortunately, I am not smarter than me and it didn't even cross my mind until I had 50 pounds of dog in the air. Then it did cross my mind.

No matter. She's in the car, I'm still in the Homo Sapiens upright position, it's all good. I drive down to the park trying to find a spot in the car seat that isn't trying to impress me with its superior lumbar support, because that's exactly where the big painful lump is. This makes it look to the casual observer like I have a case of hemorrhoids, compounded by an unmedicated case of Tourette's. No matter. It's a short drive.

We arrive in the bumpy parking lot (ow), and I reverse the dog-tossing-in exercise (because she's too prissy to jump out too), and now I'm starting to feel the effects of the dog tossing.

Well, the best thing for that is a little walk, so we take off down the path, while I try not to breath too deep or pull too hard on the leash to avoid back pain. Here comes the rant.

What is it about dog owners that makes them think that they are above the leash law? Is it because their dog is so much better than other dogs, and will obey their every command, even when confronted by yummy girl-dog smells, ducks on the pond, and squirrelly squirrels? Well, I've seen him, and he's not.

Is it because your dog feels more deeply than other dogs the heartbreak of the leash, as if the leash is the only thing keeping him from really experiencing life? Well, you're wrong. Dogs are quite happy on the leash, as long as their owners aren't having weird little guilt trips and conveying their anxiety to their dogs.

Is it that your dog needs more exercise than you can give him by walking, so you are forced to pedal your bike while your dog runs (sort 0f) beside you? Than get your fat ass off your fat-tired bike and learn to run. Or get a basset hound. Come on - if you can't take proper care of your dog's energy expenditure needs, why did you get him? Don't you think you should have thought of how much exercise he might need before you brought home that cute border collie/lab/retriever?

There are off-leash areas for dogs. Find one. They are the perfect place to let your dog experience "freedom." My park is for leashed dogs only. Says so on the sign. Do not ruin my fun just so you can have yours.

Why are you ruining my fun, you might ask? Because your "well-behaved" dogs keep mauling my law-abiding dog. One tried to hump her. Luckily, she's spayed. Most just go for "drive-by" tauntings. One big sloppy puppy tried to climb on top of her. That one almost got a neck full of teeth. My dog may be prissy, but she doesn't put up with uppity puppies. And what if she did bite another dog for invading her bodily territory? Would my dog be punished for biting an unleashed dog? Would I be sued? I don't want to find out. I want you numbskulls to keep your unruly dogs off my dog. I'm the one obeying the law. I shouldn't have to be chased out of my own park because of you clods.

Leash your dogs, or stay out of my park! Or face the wrath of my crabby comments. That's all I got. I think the park officials would probably frown on my stun-gun idea.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Pain Hurts

Cautionary note: I am under the influence of pain killers that come with lots of advisories about operating heavy machinery, so if the following posting is a little less lucid than usual, please accept my apologies.

I missed my usual B-shift posting on Saturday due a major gravity storm. It was a real-life case of "I've fallen and I can't get up." It would have been extremely humiliating if it hadn't been so extremely painful.

And a note here: if you like watching bad movies, Road House starring Patrick Swayze is a must-see. My favorite line from that movie is often heard at our house because it's so ridiculously macho that it fits a lot of situations involving manly studliness. I can't even remember the context anymore. I'm guessing that he has been beat-up again, and some babe says "Doesn't that hurt?" or something. Swayze looks at her meaningfully and says, "Pain don't hurt." Despite my natural inclination to believe everything I hear in Patrick Swayze B movies, I would like to set the record straight on this matter once and for all: Pain hurts.

Here's something else I learned: the wooden steps out our back door to the patio (the patio itself consists of basalt rocks cemented together into a mosaic of pointy pain) get really slippery in the rain. I learned this at the moment that my feet were no longer underneath me. As I did not have the ability to hover in the air until I could re-orient my feet, my body returned to the steps, back first. Or, as Douglas Adams would say, I flew like a brick.

Luckily for me, Drew had the day off, because I think I was hollering for him before I even hit the ground. He helped me back inside where I lay on my bed, hoping the pain would go away so I wouldn't have to go to the emergency room. It didn't, so I did.

Once at the hospital, I was again pronounced lucky, because I landed about kidney height, which means I missed breaking any bones - missed the hipbones below, the ribs above, and the spine to the side. Which leaves me with a beaut of a bruise on my back and muscle spasms that send me screaming for mercy when I move. But those are treatable with the wonders of modern chemistry. A little Vicodin, a little Flexiril, and although it still hurts, I don't care as much.

Now it's Monday morning, and I am definitely making progress. Saturday, I was pretty much immobilized by pain. Sunday, I could make it to the bathroom by taking baby steps all hunched over, holding on to the walls for support, and going "ow, ow, ow." Today I've moved from Sunday's Australopithicus-style hunched-over gait, to a more Homo Erectus sort of posture. Tomorrow, with the help of modern medicine, I totally expect to be at Homo sapiens level once again.

Man, am I glad Drew had these days off. Without him, I would still be out on the patio in a crumpled-up ball of pain. He has fixed me ice packs, helped me to the bathroom when standing on my feet was nearly impossible, driven me to the emergency room, piloted my wheelchair all over the ER, filled my prescriptions, fixed me drinks, and cooked meals for me. I couldn't ask for a better Valentine. I know that as a fire fighter and fire captain, he has had the opportunity to be a much more glamorous hero, but he is my hero first and foremost for taking such gentle care of me this weekend. Thanks, Drew. You are my Valentine, just like every year. But especially this year.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

A Church Lady Gone Bad

I love blogging - you (sort 0f) meet the most fascinating people. Today I've found an excellent blog by an Episcopal priest (, who has a way with words and an unexpected reading list that goes from theological philosophy to sci-fi. My kind of Guy of God.

Side-note: My last two books aren't exactly in the same suit either: Bump and Run by Mike Lupica, and No Mercy: A Journey to the Heart of the Congo by Redmond O'Hanlon.

It made me consider my own theological life, which has been pretty quiet lately. I usually like to hook up with a church when I move to a new town. I like to talk about God, drink bad coffee, eat potluck food made with hashbrowns and cheese, sing in the choir and avoid babysitting duty, so I usually fit right in. But past events have really dampened my enthusiasm for trying new churches, so since I moved from Tualatin, a suburb south of Portland, Oregon, to downtown Vancouver, on the other side of the Columbia in Washington (Washington state for you geography drop-outs), I haven't really bothered looking for a suitable church.

When I was just a little bug, one of the babysat, my parents went to a great church (and by great church, I mean the community, not the baby-blue building with the faulty locks - fodder for another posting) with a great minister. Great as in having all the requisite qualities of a true man of God: 1) a grasp of the Bible received through extensive education and not just from one-on-one conversations with the Big Guy, 2) a questioning, open mind, and 3) an aura of, I don't know, not holiness, but love - maybe just a genuine fondness for people.

An early memory will help illustrate my theological upbringing: I remember asking my dad once, when I was snuggled up in bed, about why the Bible says we came from Adam and Eve, and the books I was reading (okay, I was a little precocious) said we evolved over millions of years. My dad, bless him, said that the stories in the Old Testament of the Bible were told over the years to explain things to people in terms that they would understand. And just maybe the story in Genesis wasn't so much a news story describing the true events leading up to the forming of man as much as God's way of explaining true things about the nature of man. This is the sort of theology I was exposed to as a young'n, and one that has stuck with me ever since.

I, as I was a midget at the time, have only a murky vision of what went wrong at the church. What I know is that our great minister resigned so that the church would not fight over him anymore.

It seems to me that it is usually number 2 in the list of prerequisites for great pastors (a questioning, open mind) that usually kills the buzz that you can sometimes experience for a short time in a great church. There are always those in a congregation that equate a questioning mind with doubt. And doubt with a faulty faith.

Anyway, that sort of hippy theology has understandably narrowed my choices of churches over the years. When we settled in a town in Central Oregon, I found another great minister. He had all the prerequisites with a bonus of a wonderful way with a story. I'm telling you, that first sermon, when he both quoted parts of the New Testament from the original Greek, and then wove in an analogy using The Velveteen Rabbit, I was sold.

I joined the church, even though my liberal-tinged views did not always mesh with the views of the majority of the other church members. I learned a lot from the parson, and was happy singing in the choir and taking notes during sermons.

As with most of the protestant churches during this period, the congregation got older and started worrying about the death of the church. And instead of, oh, relaxing the rule about women's role in church services (the joke was "sure, a gal can be behind the lectern, as long as her voice is going up and down"), or maybe not singing "Onward Christian Soldiers" (scary and evocative of Crusaders galloping towards another successful slaughter) so much, they started talking about a youth minister to bring in a younger crowd. Knowing full well that our church could not afford both an "old" minister and a "new" minister, our parson took an early retirement. So much for learning at the feet of the master.

The new youth minister did not have the same educational background, or storytelling skills, or fondness for people. Church became a rather schizophrenic mix of groovy worship songs (use Cartman's recipe: take a love song and replace the word "babe" with "Jesus"), old organ music, old men, and sermons, energetically given, but thudding to the carpet like dead birds. I checked out.

The next church in Tualatin? A promising minister, but with a church community so clubby, clique-y and cemented in place, Drew and I could stand around for the full coffee fellowship hour without so much as making eye contact with any of them. It was excruciating.

So here I am, two years later and no church. It's just too risky. And church hunting has never been a team effort. Drew is one of those people who, maybe because of an early near-death experience, or maybe because he chats with God under his fire helmet, or maybe because he just doesn't think so much, feels so confident in his faith that he feels no need to sit in church and prop it up for another week. I do not have that sort of faith. Without a little weekly strengthening, my faith tends to slide, which usually leads to sleepless nights, thinking dark, ugly thoughts. But am I ready to try again? No. Maybe not for a long time. I don't know why going to the wrong church is so icky. It just is. So instead of dressing up and trying again, I will annoy you. Sorry. I'll stop.

In the meantime, though, I've found a killer sermon on a blog. Thanks, Ben. See you in heaven. I'll save you some brownies.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Super Bowls and Cellulite

I'm not much of a Philadelphia Eagles fan. I've never been to Philadelphia. I don't know anybody on the team. I do admire Donovan McNabb and love to see him kick ass, ever since Rush Limbaugh pulled up his pointy sheet long enough to slip his lily-white foot in his mouth to say that McNabb was over-rated due to his dark complexion.

However, that in itself is probably not enough of a pull to make me cheer so hard for them during today's Super Bowl festivities. The truth is that the New England Patriots were the heavy favorites to win, and had recent experience at winning. This is the key to my sudden Eagles fandom. I like to see the underdog win, and probably even more, I like to see the top dog pulled down.

This is not a unique trait. I call as evidence the cover of whatever National Ink-Liar or Weekly World Pooh that caught my eye in the supermarket yesterday. The cover story, splashed in big ink, was (and I'm so not making this up) Cellulite of the Stars - yes - with big, blown-up pictures of dimply thighs and sorry, saggy asses that I could have lived a long, happy life without being exposed to. But I bet it sells like hot cakes.

Once we crown somebody, we can't wait to dethrone them, and the bloodier the coup, the better. This goes for our celebrities (they're really ugly! and mean! and we're so much smarter! and happier! aren't we?), our sports heros (they're big dopers! well, okay, they are), and our politicians (okay, they usually deserve it).

I was reading a book review today about Lincoln - about the high regard in which we hold him, and especially his eloquence, in contrast with the poisonous ranquor spewed at him and about him and even about his finest speeches such as the Gettysburg Address when he was in power. Poor fellow never knew in his lifetime how his words effected the tide of the nation, and every American political orator since.

Okay, way too heavy. Back to celebrity cellulite. I would have liked to see the Eagles win. The last thing we need is an NFL version of the Yankees. But I guess it will just be that much sweeter next year (or God forbid the year after that) when the giant is taken down by the next little guy to try to whack him with a rock in a sling. Hope his name is David. Donovan would work too.