So I have been vaguely dissatisfied recently. Depressed even.
I’ve tried sleeping more. I still can’t sleep past my five nightly hours. I’ve strengthened the potency of my sleeping pills. On other nights, I’ve tried the rum cure.
Strenuous running doesn’t help. I don’t notice the trees on forest walks. I don’t notice faces anymore. A friend said I walked into him, looked at him, and had no idea he was there. Dancing in the dark just makes me think of grenades and guerilla warfare.
A mini shopping spree at Value Village couldn’t raise my spirits (today’s treasures: sparkly baby blue summer sweater, Japanese goldfish tank top, black rodeo tanktop, brown falling star top, cool cut 60s tanktop, Pisces t-shirt). My new car made me slightly elated. But gas prices made me miserable. So I parked it.
I don’t have any phone cards around to call Beth. There is no one else to call. I should be working on my press release or the marketing strategy. I should be loading my clothes into the washing machine. I should buy food. We don’t have anything to eat.
The Comtesse DeSpair’s Morbid Mirth Du Jour:
Ireland’s worst plane disaster struck today when a two-seater plane crashed into a cemetery.
Irish rescue workers have recovered 828 bodies.
didn’t help much.
I need decapitated kittens or something.
The Celebrity Morgue made me wistful.
Do I wish I were dead? Should I move to Fallujah?
There is only one thing that can make me happy.
Lesbians on Ecstasy.
My white egg car disappeared forever. I didn’t even hug it goodbye. I didn’t kiss it either. This morning it produced alarming grunts. The radio stopped working long ago. The oil drips under my car could teach the Aral Sea a thing or two. Car salesmen** laughed at the metal bar holding my door together.
Now an aqua ice opalescent Toyota Echo* shares my life.
Everybody loves my blue baby. Out of all the compliments and congratulations on my car I am choosing to share that most erudite of comments, supplied by my grandmother:
“Men don’t need to buy new cars when their old one breaks down. They would know how to fix it.”
My grandmother is an expert on men. Many years ago, when all of us teenagers were getting braces, she spoke out that the males of the family were spared because men do not need to be pretty.
She further elucidated the subject of men: men could drink to destruction, but – and this is the defining feature of her theory – women could not drink, except when it was not polite to decline. Women thus could drink when partaking the sacrament (Romanians drink real sangre de Jesús), marrying, and whooping it up at a wake. My grandmother knows what she’s talking about. She was a beer factory worker for 24 years. Those 4-5 beers she drank daily on the job were daintily sipped. And she definitely an expert on men. She’s had three husbands after all.
That’s the other thing about men. They can be generalized. Unlike women. Every woman is an enigma. You never know what you’ll get. Some cook and some will order Chinese food for you. One might regularly pump out babies, another might bring home puppies from the pound. You treat one like a princess and she wants to be a queen. Or one woman might climb trees, thus defying all logic as to how women function. It is said that a woman – in spite of right-wing anti-abortionist polygamous tax-cutting deaf divorcee Republican voters – may one day become president of the United States.
Men do things in a straightforward, predictable way. You could set a clock by their bowel movements. Men can, in one sitting and without exception, drink an emu’s weight in beer. All 3 billion men on the planet love blondes. Every man on the planet has big nostrils. Even the most sheltered mama’s boy in the Gobi Desert owns a lot of saws, hammers, ladders and lawnmowers. Just like every other man on the planet.
We can therefore say – without one shred of uncertainty! – that men know cars.
Mankind’s rise from monkeydom was a race toward building the first car. Men since the beginning wanted to know something about cars. That is why early man invented the wheel before flushing toilets and washing machines. Predicting far in advance the 575-horsepower roadster, early man domesticated the horse in anticipation.
Aristotle, disappointed that he knew about cars before their inception, defended his beliefs by saying “Plausible impossibilities should be preferred to unconvincing possibilities.” He continued to mope about until his death, muttering his mantras “Philosophy is the science which considers cars” and “All men by nature desire cars.”
Saint Augustine, in his Confessions, admitted “I was in love with cars.” Renaissance poets followed suit with sonnets to dark cars, that only look good in the shade. Shakespeare tried to deny his infatuation with the car as well as his upsetting midlife crisis in his most famous sonnet:
My Porsche’s gaskets are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red, than her seats red:
If snow be white, why then her tires are dun;
If scratch’s be wires, black wires grow on her trunk.
I have seen roses damasked, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her breeks***;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the exhaust that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her screech, yet well I know
That dry wipers hath a more pleasing sound:
I grant I never saw a Volvo go,
My sports car, when she drives, bare treads to the ground:
And yet by heaven, I think my car nicer,
As any she belied with Ford Explorer.
Anxiousness for the soon-to-be-invented car reached a fever pitch in the Nineteenth Century. Poets drowned their sorrow in opium and absinthe, penning lines such as Oscar Wilde’s “I can resist everything except cars.” Teen angst poet Rimbaud threw a temper tantrum and quit poetry after his parents refused to buy him a car. His Sonnet of the Vowels (A noir, E blanc, I rouge, U vert, O bleu) referred to the car posters he taped to his bedroom walls: a black Audi, a white Ford Explorer, a red Isuzu, a green Volkswagen, and a blue Oldsmobile. Rumour has it that Verlaine shot Rimbaud over an argument over a brake tune-up. Van Gogh traded his ear for a prostitute’s car. (She later claimed her pimp ran away with the car, her life’s savings and the thirty grams of cocaine she kept a Chinese snuff box.) Even sqeaky clean John Wilkes Booth, when he discovered that Lincoln was a president and not a car, assassinated the poor man.
Luckily the advent of the age of the automobile occurred in the Twentieth Century. Men all over the world rejoiced. Murders ceased. Ears stayed put. No longer would they have to pass time with chess, mathematics, collecting old Master paintings, and listening to classical music. They could relegate effeminate names like Leslie, Pat and Cameron to women, while asserting male dominance over barbecues and football scores.
What lesson should women learn from this? Get better salaries. Break that glass ceiling, ladies! With all that you have to spend on hair products, frocks, designer makeup, plastic surgery, and dry-cleaning, you might not have enough for that new car when the old one breaks down.
Or you could just marry a car industry tycoon.
*Not 2004. I am unemployed after all.
**I almost wrote csar salesmen. Csar salesmen deserve an entire post of their own.
***Shakespearean English for brakes.
Carina, four years old, was at my Bawdy Aunt’s birthday party.
“Are you a princess or a queen?” I asked pointing to her tiara.
“Princess. Let’s play the princess game!”
There was no escaping her after that. I, too, became a princess; the tiara spent the rest of the night on my head.
“Princesses need to wear makeup,” said Carina.
“I am wearing makeup.” I closed my eyes and pointed to the eyeliner.
“No, princesses wear lipstick. Where is your purse?”
“I must eat first.”
Carina almost forced pieces of gum dripping in four-year-old saliva into my mouth. She was strong. Nothing did make it past my clenched jaw. The skin around my mouth felt as if it nested with a Golden Retriever.
Carina and purse followed me around until I put on some lipstick. Red, not pink.
“I am hypo,” she said. “I don’t sleep.”
We gave her more chocolate cake.
She pulled the doll out of her convertible. “This is Princess Barbie. She has a frog at home.”
Then we moved to my Bawdy Cousin’s dog, Adolf. “Sit. Dance! Dance! Dance!”
Bridal Barbie’s dress kept slipping off, leaving her topless.
We felt each other’s stomachs to see what we had eaten. Watermelon. If it grows, we’ll have puffy stomachs. Carina inflated her stomach to demonstrate the growth cycle of the watermelon.
The bathroom trapped Carina’s dad. Bawdy Cousin avoided entrapment by keeping door open. We stood guard. Carina peeked.
The question on the minds of male mice everywhere is, “Will we become obsolete?”
In an effort to quell rumours, Mickey, president of the Male Mice Union, speaking at a press conference late Wednesday night, outlined an action plan to halt male mice redundancy.
The plan is a five-pronged approach to promote awareness of the advantageousness of male mice:
- All male mice will henceforth wear sombreros, learn the words to La Cucaracha and serve margaritas on the patios of Mexican-themed restaurants.
- Male mice will immediately begin tormenting cats. The employment of blacksmith items, including but not limited to, anvils, horseshoes and red-hot pokers is encouraged.
- Male mice will fill the void left by the near extinction of the cheetah by performing cheetah stunts for well-heeled tourists.
- Male mice will establish styrofoam incineration plants in strategic woodland locations.
- Male mice will now perform open heart surgery for prices slashed up to 50%.
Black Bentley, star of cooking extravaganza Skeletonizing Cows in 30 Seconds, joins us today for an exciting visit to the world of toast. On today’s menu we have poison toast from the Black Lagoon, a dainty dish of subtlety and the crowning glory of Amazonian cuisine.
Maktaaq: Before poison toast from the Black Lagoon became a household name in North American kitchens, they were a staple of piranha diets. Were you ever concerned about the fat content?
Black Bentley: Not until deceased German artists started showing up in our waters. Before that, all we had to worry about were low calorie tidal wave surfers, who were also, thoughtfully, less chewy.
Maktaaq: Let’s talk about seagulls. Research shows that they have as much passion for poison toast as shoals of your brethren.
Black Bentley: Indeed. Why, just a few months ago, a seagull* plucked Blue Barnaby – my beloved stepson – from our calm waters and cruelly deposited on the deck of a boat. The impact killed him immediately. Autopsy reports on Blue Barnaby revealed that he consumed a helping of the toast half an hour before his kidnapping. Homicide detectives suspect that the seagull was after the toast, not my stepson.
Maktaaq: Poor lad. And now, what we’re all here for today: poison toast from the Black Lagoon!
Black Bentley: It’s very easy, Maktaaq. In a bowl mix together 2/3 cup of oily sponge bath water and hoof paste (4 cloven hooves, minced and mashed to a paste with a pinch of ants). Cut some day-old washed-up starfish into 1/4-inch thick slices, brush both sides lightly with the oily bath water mixture, and bake the slices in one layer on baking sheets in a preheated 250?F oven for 30 minutes. Turn the slices, sprinkle them with banana flakes, and bake them for 30 minutes more, or until they are pale golden and crisp. Makes about 48 toasts.
Maktaaq: It’s that easy?
Black Bentley: Yes! And for something really decadent, you can try the toast with carmellized parrots.
Maktaaq: How perfectly debauched! I shall try it. Time’s almost up tonight. Let’s give a warm hand to Black Bentley!
Black Bentley: Thank you very much! It was a pleasure being here.
*Later identified as Mr. Ezekias Grenoble, Esq., of 7-8 Leigh Street, London.
(Muchas gracias, Underwater Times.)
The Singer asked me if I like cooking. I admitted that I could probably kill with my poison toast from the Black Lagoon. I did add that I was interested in learning how to make Filipino desserts. I don’t know if that made it better.
Not much time to write today again – my list of to-write is growing bigger by each passing day.
But what I really want to impress upon you tonight is the wonderful new links I added. You see, I was busy oohing and aahing over art. The art connoisseur in me has taken possession – spitting phlegm and yelling obscenities, it demands some time here. The weird Maktaaq in me was handcuffed with its hands behind its back, duct tape slapped over its mouth, stuffed in a car truck and pushed over a bridge. (Luckily its training as a locksmith in the army will save it from a watery death. Escaping will take time and tomorrow night is the class where we discuss the Flamboyant Gypsy Violinist.)
So an introduction to the new denizens of Etc. Animals on the Underground: all of me is ready to commit suicide over this one. Why, why, dear God, did I not think of this one? I kowtow Nick Thomas.
August Strindberg & Helium: at least there are a few weird, obscurish nineteenth century writers I chuckle secretly to myself about. You’ll just have to wait until I learn all that animation stuff for my cartoons. Before that happens, I think I will watch this a million more times.
Ishkur’s Guide to Electronic Music: Thanks Joe!
Mr. Scruff: something old but I don’t know why I didn’t put a link to it sooner. Amazed my coworkers with my Mr. Scruff screensaver. You, too, can have it.
Weebl and Bob: another place I drool over cartoons. Very belated thanks to Kate.
There are some cool art sites I have been perusing, but haven’t had time to put up all those links yet. Will probably make a new section, since Etc is getting unwieldy.
Lastly, I want to point out my reading list for the next few years. I accept recommendations. Indeed I was about to also post the recommendations I got so far…but it is rather embarrassing that I have only finished about six novels out of twenty. And such famous novels! Silly me, wasting time with comic books.
I may as well add here that I went to two comic book shops…the temptation…I escaped just in time…a book with Krampus cards…I already foresee myself $30 shorter in the approaching future. The Krazy Kat memorabilia (see Sunday March 14) was gone, by the way. Yet, I found something better: two collections of Krazy Kat strips.
Enough of the whale blabber.
Nope. It wasn’t Barbara Cartland. The quote was from Frankenstein.
Cartland claimed to write a book in seven days.
Romance must be really easy to write.
Mr. O’Connor of Albino Neutrino reports that Romania is ready to clash with one of the poorest countries in the world (this week it’s Chad) over who gets dibs on the tricolour flag. Both countries await the UN verdict.
Interviews with a cross-section of the Romanian expatriate community in Canada proves revealing:
Sister: Maybe it’s Chad’s flag. We’ve only been using it since 1990.
Mom: It’s our flag. Give it back.
What do the experts say?
Romania gets a B for its flag, while Chad gets a B-.
Chad’s flag is from 1958. They win.
And 100 % of Romanians who participated in an informal survey admitted that they like the old flag better.
At least one Romanian thinks we should go back to the “Revolutionary” Flag.
Arguments for the convenient hole in the middle of this version of the Romanian flag point out that it cure many of the social ills in the ailing Balkan country.
1. No longer would the poor trample about in rags. The hole flag makes a lovely, patriotic poncho. Frags for the poor!
2. Romanians could rake in the tourist dollars with decorative Revolutionary flag doughnuts (or floughnuts) on the national holiday, December 1st.
3. Romanian circuses can train their multitude of mongrels to jump through the hole. Taking the rest of Europe by storm, the performing pups, or wild flogs , will amaze and thrill.
So, let Chad get their tricolour. Romanians will re-adopt the 1989 flag. We’ll be rich and revolutionary.
*Via the Flags of the World website.
The Harem Syndrome – the occurrence of women fighting over what seems to be the sole man in the vicinity – was so artfully illustrated in the movie, Raise the Red Lantern. In that movie no one much liked the man, but they could have their favourite bean soup if he shone his favour upon them. That was enough to snip off each other’s ears.
Young ladies of today’s generation might scoff at such an idea. But replace the fried green tomatoes they lust after, with the pesto gnocchi beloved by another woman, and they would just as easily succumb to the Harem Syndrome. Many more modern women would be earless if equal rights for all genders had not put a stop to such barbaric diets.