A Weiner By Any Other Name

Despite his condom cap and dark glasses, we'd know him anywhere!  (Illustration by the author - no, I'm not proud)
Despite his condom cap and dark glasses, we’d know him anywhere! (Illustration by the author – no, I’m not proud)

By now, most people have heard about New York City mayoral candidate and former congressman Anthony Weiner’s recent relapse. Once again, he’s lost his footing on the slippery slope of posting naughty photos of his private parts. By a stroke of luck, I’ve been granted an exclusive interview with the star of the show, Mr. Weiner’s penis, Edgar Winston Weiner.

1PP: Edgar, thank you for joining me.
EWW: My pleasure, One Point, but please, call me Chumley – it’s been my nickname since Anthony saw his first Tennessee Tuxedo cartoon back in his childhood.

1PP: I think America is more than ready to hear your views.
EWW: I appreciate you giving me this forum. I’m sure there are a few wise-asses who’ll think it’s funny that a penis is being interviewed by someone named “1PP”, but I was tired of waiting for Pierce Morgan’s people to call. I want my side of the story out there.

1PP: Let’s get to the meat of the matter, what’s it like to be the object of so much attention, again?
EWW: Look pal, if you’re gonna get cute with the questions, we can end this interview right now. My PR people warned you about trying to be funny with word-play. I’m in a difficult position here, and if you’re going to go for cheap laughs with meat references, I’ll take my bag and leave.

1PP: My apologies. It was a Freudian slip, I guess.
EWW: Fair enough. Back to your question. It’s been hard on me. I mean, like most penises, I live my life in the dark most of the time. I’m not really accustomed to the spot-light.

1PP: How do you answer those who’ve speculated that you’re the brains behind the operation?
EWW: I’m glad you asked. Certainly I’ll admit to having a fair degree of influence over Tony, but these sexting fiascos are pretty much his doing. Can you imagine me taking snap shots and texting them to bimbos? I mean, look at me; I have no fingers! Seriously, look at me! How do I look? How about from this angle? Hold it a sec…how about now?

1PP: Umm. You look…ummm…can we get back to the interview? Please, sit back down.
EWW: Sorry. I’m trying to rebuild my image, but it’s an uphill battle.

1PP: Yeah…umm…well…Back to the questions. Speaking of your image, do you feel people are unable to look at you without a jaundiced eye?
EWW: I think lots of people have that problem. They can’t just look at me and see a penis; to them, I’m that penis. It’s embarrassing. I mean, I’ve got a life too. It’s not easy trying shield your family from the scrutiny of the media.

1PP: Tell us about that.
EWW: Well, you know, I’ve got the twins. I always try to keep them nearby, and sometimes it’s tough to protect them from the hurtful things that people say. For the record, I’ve done my very best to keep them out of this. I admit though, on at least one occasion, they were inadvertently featured in a photo.

1PP: Yes, that must be difficult for you. Have you discussed your feelings with Anthony, to try to help him avoid these incidents.
EWW: I’ve tried, God knows I’ve tried. Tony isn’t always easy to get through to – he’s a driven man. He’s running for mayor, for crying out loud! On some level though, I feel like he’s still an 11 year-old boy trying to impress that Blattstein girl behind the snack bar at the city pool. For the record, I told him it was a bad idea even back then – the water was especially cold that day and we could have been caught. Her mother was right around the corner, waiting on line to buy snow cones. Sorry – that’s still a difficult memory for me. I wish I could turn back the hands of time.

1PP: I think we’ve all had moments of regret, when we wish we could undo bad things we’ve been a part of…
EWW: Maybe the Blattstein girl is in the phone book. If not, Tony could get himself on the internet and do one of those searches. He could send her a pic, show her what my A-game looks like. How’s this pose? Whaddya think?

1PP: Umm…I thought you were referring to going back and not showing yourself to people.
EWW: Oh…oh yeah! Yeah, that’s what I meant.

1PP: Did you have anything to do with Anthony’s choice of the name “Carlos Danger” in his attempt to protect his anonymity?
EWW: Glad you brought that up. As you can imagine, Tony had a tough time growing up with that last name of his. I mean, I had the same last name, but look at me, the name fits right? Really…look at me. Anyway, I understand him wanting to try to use a different name for discretion and all, but I was never a fan of “Carlos Danger”. I thought it sounded a little corny, you know? It was too B-grade porn star for my tastes.

1PP: What’s next for you and Anthony?
EWW: That’s the 64 dollar question, isn’t it? We’re hoping he somehow manages to win the mayoral race. I try to use positive visualization to help him along. I picture myself standing proudly at attention on the podium as the band plays. Between you and me, I’ve got my eye on a cabinet post. Something in public relations, maybe. From what I hear, the mayor gets his own photographer, and the lighting in his office is supposed to be really nice.

1PP: Well, I wish you and Anthony the best of luck. One thing seems clear to me, no matter what happens with the campaign, I’m pretty sure we’ll see you again.
EWW: Thanks, One Point. Is there any chance I can get a copy of the illustration? You can text it to me.

Cheap Sentiments – Get ‘Em While They’re Hollow!

Apparently, I am far from being the only person to be annoyed by uber-cute posters like this. A quick internet search for this poster revealed tons of cynical and occasionally grisly remixes of this image.

As my loyal readers may know, I rejoined the bizarro-world better known as Facebook after a year away.  I went back for one reason only – to drum up some readers for my dopey blog posts.  At the time, it seemed a small price to pay for my own perception of popularity.

Many people will admit to a bit of sentimentality when it comes to catching up with friends on Facebook, I have to confess that it’s been stirring up a very specific piece of nostalgia for me (Cue the time-travel music and wavy-screen effect).

It was the carefree days of my freshman year in college.  The rigors of high school and  oft-embarrassing life history of my hometown were behind me.  I was a whole state away from those ancient gaffs.  My slate was clean and I was making the most of it.

I’d chat up some little cutie from the dining hall, and before too long, I’d be hanging around in her dorm room.  Her pleasant-but-dumpy room mate would be there as well.  While my amorous intentions were held in check by the presence of Mandy or Becky or whatever the hell her roomie’s name was, I would look around the dorm room, sizing the place up, hoping to spot some clues which might come in handy later if whatsername ever left.

There were two staples in any of these freshman girls’ dorm rooms;

The first was a prom picture of the girl in her gown holding a corsage with some dude in a powder blue tuxedo.  The size and display of the photo spoke volumes.  The bigger the photo, the more likely she was still carrying a torch for him.  If it was in a massive Rococo frame surrounded by a semi-circle of votive candles, that would usually be an even worse sign.  If, on subsequent visits to the room, you noticed that the picture was missing or face down on the dresser, things were looking better.  If on a later visit still, you noticed that she had cut him out of the picture or somehow mutilated his image, that was even better.  It wouldn’t be a bad idea to keep any photo mutilation in mind for the future in case things with this young lady actually proceeded into some sort of relationship.  Knives and razor blades in the hands of a scorned college coed can be hazardous to one’s health.  Still on the topic of one’s health, another good use of the prom photo was for reconnaissance, in case her knucklehead date turns out to be the possessive type and comes to visit some weekend, it was probably a good idea to know what this former all-county linebacker looked like.

All-County linebacker?! From what county?! In which state?!!
(pic from piclab.com)

The other mandatory feature in all of these dorm rooms were the schmaltzy posters hung on the rather institutional walls.  There were two posters which seemed to be on nearly every freshman girl’s dormitory wall.  The first had a  kitten on it, clinging to a span of clothesline with the words “Hang in there, baby!” in jaunty letters somewhere on the image.  The second poster would have some saccharin sweet image of a mountain sunset or a horse and foal, with the words “If you love something set it free, if comes back to you, blah blah blah”  (I’ve finally managed to forget the exact quote, so “blah, blah, blah” is kind of nice for me).  As for clues, these posters told me next to nothing.  The kitten poster was there because the girl liked kittens or because she needed an emotional boost to help her get through those tricky freshman courses for Elementary Ed majors.  The “If you love something, set it free..” poster may have been there for any number of reasons.  It could reflect a deep, philosophical stance on love’s fleeting nature, or a taste for sunsets and horses with the sappy quote as a mere afterthought.

In any case, they bothered me.  Unlike the prom portraits, the posters had no redeeming value.  To be frank, once you’ve seen one kitten dangling from a clothesline, you’ve pretty much seen ’em all.  If there was any doubt as to the worthless quality of these posters, all one had to do was look at the dorm rooms of these same girls as sophomores.  There were typically no traces of these sickly-sweet bits of visual noise.

As the years marched on and I moved into what I like to refer to as the  post-college-freshman-phase of my life, I have been blissfully spared those horrible posters.  I don’t mean to imply that my life is without schmaltzy sentimentality.  The hollow sweet phrases are still there, usually sold for 2 or 3 dollars with color coordinated envelopes from Hallmark and other purveyors of prepackaged emotional kitsch.

For the record, I don’t mind receiving a greeting card, especially if the sender writes something other than their name inside it.  There is something which borders on insulting when someone sends me a greeting card and only signs it.  It’s as if they’re saying “I have incredible fondness for you and wanted to take a moment to let you know just how much I care about you on the special occasion of your birthday / death of your uncle / recovery from same-day surgery / loss of your job.  Luckily, the folks who make greeting cards wrote this particular one and it captures all of my emotions just so.  All I had to do was pay for the card at the counter and put the old John Hancock on it.  Thanks Hallmark!  P.S. I hope you can read my signature, I signed it in the car at a red light.”

Apparently Facebook has some kind of massive photo album of inspirational Hallmark-ish quotes.  They come in a wide variety of fonts and colors.  The quotes cover every emotion known to man (OK, every emotion known to woman and more than every emotion known to man).  A person needs only find the quote of their choice and click on it, and it will show up next to their name.  Other people, who are apparently even lazier than the original virtual-Hallmark poster, can then “like” the original poster’s post of an actual writer’s quote.  It’s quite convenient to be able to post your emotions by just clicking on an image of a dorm poster (Certainly it’s less labor intensive than, say, writing a massive blog post, then revising it, editing it and then hitting “publish” and regretting it).

Unfortunately, like everything else on Facebook, some people feel the need to overdo it.  I have several “friends” on there who regularly who post dozens of these little posters of deep-thoughts every day.  It’s like they have an all-you-can eat pass from the dorm poster store.  I can barely keep track of how my other friend’s quest for magic unicorn eggs in Castleville is going without these cloying posters popping up every 30 seconds.  The implied “cleverness” of the person who posted it is also kind of annoying, as they didn’t actually do much more than browse at a virtual card shop and click a key on a laptop.  Friends then “like” the little quote as if the person who clicked first had some sort of creative stake in the process.  The fact that this person clicks on more posters in a given day than most people even have time to read gives a more accurate reflection of how little they actually put into it.

So, after decades of not having seen kittens-in-peril posters, I’m now inundated with a new generation of feel good, pep-talks on people’s walls.  The difference is that now, I never even asked to hang out in their stupid dorm rooms in the first place.

I unfollowed someone…It had to be done

This stuff is still pretty new to me.  I barely have a grasp on real-time, face-to-face etiquette, there’s just no way I can be up to speed on blog-site manners yet.

When someone clicks the “like” box on one of my posts (it’s happened to me a few times – VERY gratifying), I’m notified of it, and gently urged by WordPress to return the favor and look at the blog of the “liker”.  It seems genteel enough.  A polite gesture which, if followed, will increase readership and broaden everyone’s blogging horizons.  If someone is nice enough to follow me, I mentally applaud their impeccable taste and usually follow them in return, as it would seem likely to me that they might have something interesting to say.

More often than not, this strategy works pretty well.  Many of the blog writers I follow put out consistently interesting, enjoyable work.  Once in a while, it doesn’t quite work that way

As an aside, I must say that I was surprised at the home page of WordPress.  It seemed that most of the blogs which are featured were photographic essays.  I’m all for taking photos, and I know enough about the art form to know that I may take pictures, but I am not a photographer.  Still, taking photos of the foliage of Borneo hardly compares to say, writing a humorous piece about ones wife being traumatized by early TV exposure to Vincent Price in a bald cap.  I mean, let’s face it, the biggest challenge of taking those pictures is getting your ass to Borneo without forgetting to pack the camera.  Still, to each his own.  Since the likelihood of me getting to Borneo is pretty damn slim, I’ll enjoy the pics and let that subject go.

Anyway, the other day, yet another blogger “liked” my post.  Then they decided to follow me.  Not one to turn my nose up at a disciple, I returned the favor.  Big mistake.

It turned out this person just cuts and pastes anything and everything they find interesting onto their blog.  It may be a photo they saw online, or a piece of shiny metal they found on the sidewalk.  Occasionally they post written words, which appear to have been translated to English by someone who doesn’t speak it too well.  It’s kind of like walking on the beach with someone who’s never seen a bivalve before.  You can’t take two steps without being stopped and shown the new cool clam shell they found.   Only we’re not talking about something as limited as the thousands of genus and species of shellfish found on the Eastern Seaboard of North America, we’re talking about the entire internet and anything anyone has ever posted ever about anything.  If you think I’m exaggerating, consider this.  This blogger posted more than 23 blogs in less than 24 hours.  Some were single photographs, one was a memorial about Davey Jones written by someone else, still others were essentially bad, old jokes.

Wow! Check out these cool shells I found. I went all the way to Oregon to take this pic!

Since I’m notified via email when the people I follow post blogs, my email box was blowing up.  At first I was excited, thinking there was feedback for things I’d written or comment give and take.  Instead it was post after post after post by this person.  They had seen a sports car they liked and posted a picture of it.  No description, no editorial comments, just a picture of a car.  The photo looked professional and was doubtless taken by an actual photographer in some exotic locale.  The usual excitement I experienced when I see the little envelope on my phone quickly changed to dread.

What is it Skippy?  Did you find another oyster shell?

When I got back to my laptop, I unfollowed this hyper-blogger.

I recalled a fairly traumatic unfriending episode on Facebook with a co-worker.  I saw her daily, but when she annoyed me one time too many online, I unfriended her.  She ignored me in person for at least a year.  Not a huge loss, as she may have annoyed me in person a few times too.

I’m hopeful that this “unfollowing” doesn’t have similar repercussions.  Regardless, I can’t have people sending me knock- knock jokes, it interferes with my creative process.  No offense I hope.

I’ll stay out of the Oval Office, you put down that microphone…

"..got my mojo workin'..but it just don't work on you"

Let me save you the trouble of calling me a miserable old crank of a spoil-sport.  I am  a miserable old crank of a spoil sport!  You might want to consider getting used to it, because it appears I may have found my niche.

Now that the formalities are out of the way, allow me to do my thang.

I know that politics is more complicated than my limited, apathetic understanding of it.  Even so, I know what I like and don’t like.  One thing I don’t like is seeing the President of the United States playing karaoke with blues legends.  I honestly don’t care if he has talent or not.  Not only do I not want to see him singing, I don’t want people from all over the world watching him sing either.

Don’t misunderstand, this is NOT about Obama’s proficiency or lack thereof in doing the difficult job of being President; this is about how I get kind of queasy watching people doing things which they should stay the hell away from.  Please go back and read that again – I don’t want a bunch of Obama-lovers or -bashers leaving comments all over my nice neat blog.  I just finished getting the Vincent Price-related stains out of it and I’d like to keep it tidy.

It’s not just Obama singing the blues; I also have a problem with junior high school principals trying their hand at rap during assemblies and with corporate executives giving stand-up comedy a whirl at the shareholders meeting.  People need to know their skill sets.  They need to know that they’re only getting applause because the audience is afraid they’ll be given detention or get their asses fired.

I realize that in the never-ending desire to get themselves elected or re-elected, political candidates have to kiss babies they wouldn’t otherwise want to smooch.  To garner the votes of a largely Polish region, they might need to scarf down a few pierogies.  To woo the folks in Dallas, they might wear a Cowboys jersey (Yes, politicians can be THAT shallow).  Let’s not make any incorrect presumptions about Obama’s singing being an effort to woo voters.  To the best of my knowledge, he doesn’t need to work any harder to get the blues legend vote.  There are only a handful of true blues legends out there, and most of them are busy living and touring in Europe where their talent is appreciated.

When you think about it, being the President of the United States is not a position which is overly glamorous in appearance.  There are endless hours in meetings and sitting behind desks and signing things.  There are still more meetings where members of the congress and senate must be convinced to work together in a bipartisan effort (insert laugh track here).  Half the good photo ops are ruined by those pesky Secret Service guys getting between you and the lens.  Let me see, what else?  There are ribbons to cut, more things to sign, Christmas trees to light and turkeys to pardon.  All in all, a visually bland existence.

I’m going to go ahead and say it;  I’m okay with that!  I don’t need to see the President walking his dog, singing – alone or with Blind Lemon Jefferson – or vacationing (Lord knows, that seems to be a job with some serious vacation time).  If I have to see him at all, he should be at his desk in a suit looking serious.  He can have his sleeves rolled up and tie off if he’s hammering out some sort of proclamation or declaring war on low-nutrition school lunches.

If he has a hankering to belt out an Al Green song, he can damn well do it in the shower or at a red light, like the rest of us.