Monday, June 29, 2009

Michael and Me*

Since I’m nothing if not timely I thought I’d write a little something about how Michael Jackson molded my life, indirectly. This isn’t really a tribute to the man, let’s face it there have been more than enough of those in the last four days, and they were all done better than anything I’d be putting out there. Not to mention there are more than a few people who question whether he was worthy of tribute or not. This is just a story I’m reminded of by his passing.

If you grew up in the 80’s chances are you were a Michael Jackson fan. I loved Michael Jackson, to this day Human Nature and The Way You Make Me Feel are two of my favorite songs. In 1987 Bad was the first tape I ever bought and I probably played it a thousand times in the next 4 or 5 years. I could listen to Wanna Be Starting Something over and over again and not get bored with it**. Seriously, I loved Michael Jackson.

One summer when I was 6 or 7 years old I was playing in the front yard with the radio blaring. Billie Jean came on and I guess I was inspired. I broke into a full on lip synched MJ performance. I’m not really sure why I was showing off the way I was, probably because Deanna and Candy (the two girls from down the street) were there, I can’t really remember but I was tearing it up. I was on the hood of the car doing my best impression of the dance moves from that iconic video. I was using the car antenna as a microphone when I snapped it clean off. Uh oh. This was not good.

My parents were never ones to tolerate stupidity. And seeing as I grew up (to put it mildly) dirt poor, they especially didn’t tolerate stupidity that involved them having to spend money unnecessarily. Needless to say when my mom saw that I had broken the antenna off of the car doing a Michael Jackson impersonation she was pissed. I should mention that my mom was also pretty liberal with the corporal punishment. It was the mid 80’s, it was still ok to beat your kids back then and my mom took advantage of that fact. When you’re doing something that you’re pretty sure is going to result in a whipping if you’re caught you know what you do not want to do? You don’t want to create a weapon that makes the beating process more efficient and painful. Like, I don’t know, maybe a long metal rod the size and shape of a car antenna.

My mom uncorked the beating off a lifetime on me. It was hellacious. The kind of beating that resonates, sticks with you for a very long time. She wacked the hell of me with that antenna. My ass still hurts a little when I hear Billie Jean***.

It’s impossible to predict what events, large or small, will shape you into the person you become. But I can say this; I’ve never been in trouble. Ever. Sure I’ve done a lot of dumb things, but I’ve never been in trouble. Here is the worst trouble I ever got into in school: In fourth grade we had a girl in our class with a pretty severe learning disability. One day everyone was making fun of her because, well, fourth graders are little assholes. My teacher Mrs. Daugherty had to call my mom to tell her she was concerned about me. Not because I was making fun a girl with a learning disability, but because everyone else in class was and I wasn’t defending her. My teacher thought that was out of character for me and wanted to call home to make sure everything was ok. So to same I’ve been somewhat straight laced might be an understatement.

Was that a result of the thrashing I took one summer when I couldn’t contain my enthusiasm for Billie Jean? I don’t know, but I think it played a big part. And for that I can thank my crazy ass mom, and Michael Jackson for being awesome.

*Isn't that title kind of creepy in light of certain allegations? I kind of love it.

**Obviously there was a ton of Michael Jackson music on the radio, television, and at every bar I went to this weekend. It gotten me thinking, why did the guy have to die for people to start playing his music more often, it's the best it should always be played.

***Save your jokes please.

Monday, June 15, 2009

J. Crew Thinks I'm an Idiot (and I frequently prove them right)

- This morning I got an email from J. Crew, like I do every Monday morning, promoting a 20% off sale between now and Wednesday. The sales vary, sometimes it’s free shipping on $150 or more, sometimes it’s 20% off all sales items, sometimes it’s just 20% off all items, but there is almost always a sale at the beginning of the week. Sometimes I need to buy something so I take advantage of this, more often than not I don’t. The subject of this mornings email though was:

PRIVATE SALE (it's super top-secret)

Holy shit, a super top secret sale of 20% of purchases of $175 or more, and did I mention its top secret! Which means only anyone who has ever purchased something from J Crew online or in stores is privy to this inside information! Really J Crew? Really? Does anyone ever fall for a marketing tactic like this? Does some perceived idea of exclusivity really make people shell out a couple hundred dollars they weren’t planning on spending? Especially when they never isn’t a sale (except on holidays when people buy things)? Nice try J Crew, but I’m not falling for it.

- So our building has a company in testing elevator safety today, which I guess is a good thing. But do you know how they test this? By dropping the elevator down to activate some sort of emergency catch system. Every half an hour or so an elevator goes thundering down the shaft creating a huge crashing noise and shaking the whole building. They couldn’t maybe, I don’t know, do this on a weekend so there aren’t a few hundred people riding the elevators later this afternoon pissing themselves thinking about how might not have reattached whatever needs to be reattached for them to not send me to a fiery death? Would that have been to much to ask?

- As mentioned many times before on this blog I suffer from an affliction called Being a Redhead. With that comes the subsequent pasty, freckled skin. So why, oh why, would I sit in a baseball stadium under the blazing sun for over 4 hours without sunscreen? After 28 years of having red hair, and the incredible sunburns that go along with it, how have I not learned this lesson? A coworker commented earlier about how hot it was in the office today and I had apologize because I’m fairly certain that the heat emanating from the back of my neck overwhelmed the air conditioner and shut it down.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Oh Baltimore...

Without intending to I sort created a theme with my blog posts for this week. That theme? Baltimore kind of sucks. I got an email from a friend a few days ago the dovetails quite nicely, I'll share it with you:

Only in Baltimore...

Got home tonight and there's a drunk passed out on my neighbor's steps, and nobody knows him. So my neighbor calls 311 to have the police come get him.

Well, when the cop pulls up, there are three people walking down the alley with open 40's. And no paper bags. Literally right as the cop pulls up.

So we pointed the cop a couple of doors down to the drunk on the steps. The cop runs him off, and goes back to writing citations for the three drunks from the alley. He asks one for ID, and the guy reaches into his pocket an pulls out a piece of paper and hands it to the cop.

Yeah, it's his processing papers from being released from the Balt city detention center this morning.

Seriously, where else in America?

I don't really have anything to add. That pretty much speaks for itself. I will say though I think I'm going to end the negativity with this post, Baltimore has a bad enough reputation, they don't need my help. And it really isn't that bad, maybe next week I'll have Baltimore Is Awesome! week and highlight some good things. Probably not though.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009


I grew up with a lot of animals; there were countless combinations of cats, dogs, hamsters, and fish throughout the years. Once we even found a giant parrot perched on our gutter and had it for like a week until we found the owner. I mention this to say that I have a lot of experience with the bodily fluids of pets. I’ve walked through a puddle of cat piss on my way to the bathroom in the morning. I’ve been tackled into a pile of dog poop while playing football in the yard. I’ve had a lot of disgusting things happen to me in regards to animal urine and feces.

I also grew up at the beach. If you haven’t been shit on by a seagull then you haven’t spent enough time near the ocean.

The point is I have experience with a lot of disgusting stuff and with experience comes a certain tolerance. This morning though I narrowly averted what would have been the most vile, revolting thing of my life.

The route from my parking garage to the office in the morning is like the perfect storm for bums. There’s the Goodwill headquarters which has a soup kitchen, the longest, creepiest alley in the city, and there’s always steam rising from the gutters so the sidewalk is like 15 degrees warmer than anywhere else in the city at night. I know if I was homeless that’s where I’d post up. As such I routinely have to tiptoe around a few dudes still enjoying their beauty rest on the sidewalk.

This morning though, I noticed no homeless people. So I’m sauntering along and I glance down just as my right foot plants on the sidewalk centimeters from a giant, soft, messy turd. It was repulsive, and I thought to myself, “It’s really an asshole move to not pick up after your dog.” Then I got a better look and noticed that this definitely did not come from a dog. It was most certainly human poop. Let me repeat that: HUMAN POOP! In the middle of the fucking sidewalk! And I nearly stepped in it. The breeze from my walking probably stirred up poo particles that are now on my shoe.

I know what you’re thinking, how can you even be sure it was man poop. Well, I’m no poopoligist or anything, but that was a rather large piece of shit and last I checked there are no bears, or moose, or any other large wild animals roaming the sidewalks of downtown Baltimore. Well there is the occasional cougar but I doubt they ever poop on the sidewalk (

When I finally stopped dry heaving I got to thinking about things. At what point does one reach the level of depravity where they’re just popping a squat and letting fly in the middle of the sidewalk? I mean, assuming it’s late and nothing with a bathroom is open, couldn’t you find a park with some bushes or at least go in the conveniently placed alley that you were less than ten feet away from? I figure you have to be pretty messed up to go on the sidewalk. Then I started to feel bad for the rogue shitter. Things can’t be going very well for him if he’s been reduced this level. But still, clean up your shit dude, I don’t want to step in that.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

A Word of Advice...

This morning I started following a Baltimore crime watch on Twitter. Good lord what a mistake that was. If you live in the city do not do this. Within an hour of following them I learned that 2 woman were the victims of "serious aggravated assault (cutting)" on the 2600 block of Madison Avenue, a man was shot in the leg on the 1000 block of Comet Street, and the was a "suspicious death" on the 1900 block of Mosher Street.

To recap: that's two stabbings, a shooting, and a mystery death. Today.

If I don't unfollow this page soon I'm going to end up locked in the corner of my bedroom, rocking back and forth in the fetal position holding a baseball bat, with a little pee dribbling out every time I here a noise.


Baltimore: We're awesome at murdering