How Not To Wash A Car

December 31, 2006

As most of you know, I have a rather unfortunate aversion to those everyday commonplace tasks that are necessary for the survival of the Western world, such as mowing the lawn and carting pennies to the bank. At one point in my life, and admittedly perhaps later in my life when my worries will mostly center around when to schedule my bypass and what brand of cat food I’m having for lunch, I found these tasks to be endearingly charming, perhaps even relaxing, but by no means a net negative on my life. But now, the indignity passed upon me by the responsibilities of modern life in the form of putting away the Christmas lights and vacuuming the floor is a burden Atlas himself would have let roll out onto the dark recesses of the netherworld with nary a guilty thought askance.

Add to this list washing the car.

Again, at one point in my life washing the car was a remotely fun exercise; getting to be outside for a bit accomplishing something other than sitting in my chair thinking idle thoughts about (mostly) women wasn’t the worst thing I could be doing with my life. And I did it the way my ancestors did it: free, at home, with well water and a six year old bottle of Spic N Span bought specifically for the purpose, and the rag we used to bury the dog in set aside so we didn’t ‘accidentally” use one of the good washcloths in rubbing multicolored bird droppings off of the windshield.

Well, a few days ago I finally decided that the car needed to be washed before the onset of winter, because there’s no balls on way I’m doing it in the dark recesses of the netherworld, otherwise known as February. I made this determination after a rigorous examination of the facts, namely, it was the last week of December and it was almost 60 degrees out.

Alas, the appropriate accoutrements for washing the car had long been packed away under the laughably inept prediction that there would be a winter this year. So after a personal cost/benefit analysis I decided that I was going to drive the car to the car wash.

Now, it has been a while since I’ve been to a car wash station. The last time I went you needed to deposit pieces of eight in the vacuum to get it to run. Indentured servants would wax the car. So it wasn’t without a small amount of trepidation that I pulled into the concrete stall.

The first thing I noticed was that I didn’t like my neighbors. They were two ne’er-do-wells—damn, am I getting old—who apparently watched all those Cheech and Chong movies in an attempt to learn how to speak Hippie. Conversations seemed to depend on what the object of the conversation was going to be:

Jackleg #1: Dude, what are you doin’?
Jackleg #2: Man, what are you TALKIN’ about?
Jackleg #1: No, no, no, no, man, that’s it, man, that’s just the thing.
Jackleg #2: Yeah, dude, no kidding, right?
Jackleg #1: Got that right, dude. [high five, I think. I hope.]

The second thing I noticed was that I had failed to bring any change. Now, granted, the only thing I remember about the car wash was bringing what seemed to be at the time the equivalent of the federal deficit in quarters along for the trip. Of course, the other thing I remember is that I am pretty much a forgetful idiot, so all I had was a few disheveled Missouri reject quarters the Coke machine at work won’t even accept (and she’s easy) and plenty of pennies, dimes, and Chuck E. Cheese tokens in my coat. (Oh, that’s right, since the potentiality for getting soapy and/or dirty is high, I have a specific coat I use for the sole purpose of car washing and, apparently, going to Chuck E. Cheese.) So I couldn’t use the vacuum machine without change.

Helpfully, though, the machine for the actual car wash took dollars. And, coincidentally, that’s how much it cost to wash the car! Or, at least, that’s how much it costs for two minutes and twenty seconds worth of a car wash. I looked somewhat dubiously at the cryptic list of methods for car washing including, but not limited to: rinse, soap, soapy rinse, hot wax, blow dry, rinse, foamy soap, cold wax, rinse, rinse, soapy foam, toasted without pickle, and rinse. I determined by looking at my car and calculating the amount of bird crap on it that I was going to boil this down to rinse, soap with that big ol’ brush, and rinse.

Well, the initial rinsing went fine. But the brush with the soap on it—well, that was a different beast altogether. If there were three cameras and a live studio audience it couldn’t have been staged any better. I slip my dollar in and race over to the brush, lifting it gently from the cradle. Nothing happens. So I wait. Nothing happens some more. So, like every vacant-faced neighbor in every stupid sitcom ever made, I peer gingerly down into the brush inches away from my face to see where the soap is and—POOF—out comes a brilliant spray of suds to blast my face and my car wash coat all over with lather. And—I swear this is true—I did a slow burn to no one in particular—just in case anyone was watching. (“Hey, dude! All right, man! That’s just it, you know?”) If only there were a muted trombone doing the old “wah-wah-wah-waaaaah” that you used to hear in those old Merrie Melody cartoons when Elmer Fudd peers into the cannon that he thinks that wascilly wabbit had burrowed into, only to find the Korean 9-year-old that got paid fourteen cents an hour to color in the scene.

Anyway, Steve’s Big Trip to the Big Car Wash was largely a success. Even though I didn’t get to clean out the inside of the car and run the alarmingly real risk of finding asiago cheese and herb trees growing in the passenger side seat by March, I had least made the token effort fighting the good fight against dirty vehicles and sedentary musings about pretty girls. Dude, you, like, know? High five. I think.

The Top Ten Single Greatest Moments of 2006

December 31, 2006

Here, in no particular order, are the top ten greatest events of 2006.

Academy Awards Actually Slightly Less Predictable Than Normal

We’re here, we’re queer, and we didn’t win any Oscars

This year’s Oscars had a lot to declare, but being the gayest Oscars ever is a pretty bold claim. I mean, it’s hard to imagine a show full of elaborate musical numbers, choreographed dance performances, and an unhealthy devotion to fashion designers could contain even minute influences of homosexuality. But with Philip Seymour Hoffman’s portrayal of Truman Capote, the transgender drama TransAmerica, and Brokeback Mountain all as important contenders, this would be one big lavender celebration of fabulousness. The only way they could have made it any gayer would have been if Jude Law had hosted.

Then, to everyone’s shock and dismay, the Best Picture award didn’t go to Brokeback Mountain. It went to Crash, a dramatic tale of…well, something. I don’t know what because no one has actually ever watched it. As a conciliatory note, Brokeback director Ang Lee did win. So, for those of you keeping score at home, in the Hollywood scorecard Asians rank above the gays, who rank above Polish directors who have sex with 13 year olds, who rank above cousins of Francis Ford Coppola who can’t act yet still manage to keep finding work, who rank above fluffers, who rank above TV stars.

No, I Said DUCK, not Duck!

The Vice President shoots a lawyer in the face, which is somehow unexpected

Close your eyes for a second and imagine this. Say I say to you, “One of our Vice Presidents just shot someone in the face. Who is it?” Chances are you you’d say Richard Nixon. Then I would tell you no, not him, then you’d probably go with Spiro T. Agnew. Then I would say, no, dammit, guess again, and you may say Al Gore, and I would say what, did I say he shot him in the face with a nerf dart gun? No, guess again. Then you would say John Ashcroft, and I would say I didn’t say it was a Planned Parenthood receptionist that got shot plus he was never vice president, then you would guess Donald Rumsfeld or something, because you’re stupid, and I’d say just forget it and storm off.

Anyway, Dick Cheney shot some guy in the face, and that’s hilarious.

Women Take Over The Government

Wars scheduled to start approximately every 28 days

Around the world, nations gathered around the ballot box and managed to elect several new leaders, a rather remarkable number of them women. Michelle Bachelet was elected President of Chile; Han Myung-sook was elected Prime Minister of South Korea; and even in America, the next Speaker is poised to be Nancy Pelosi. Granted, women have been in power in modern history, most notably the United Kingdom and India, but women are also making gains in nations and institutions that formerly were strictly sausage-only affairs. Even in such testosteronial territory as the corporate boardroom, Patricia Dunn exemplified that women can be just as corrupt and misguided as men in the business world.

Because of this sudden and slightly unexpected surge in female leaders, many women government leaders have joined together to create kind of a master plan for a more feminine political administration:

1) Replace “veto” powers with “I may change my mind later” powers;

2) Break off diplomatic relations with any country that doesn’t call the next day; and

3) Emphasize diplomatic relations and use military force as a last resort unless she’s wearing the same outfit as you. Then the bitch is dead.

Flying Blindly Into The Inappropriate Metaphor

Scads of people previously lifted to significance on the merits of their own flawed illusion of self-importance resign

It wasn’t the best year for those already in power. Many important people resigned, either out of scandal, corruption, inappropriate behavior, or personal responsibility.

Ha! Just kidding about that last one. No, everyone was pretty much screwed this year. First was Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who rather than run a campaign after what would be a certain indictment, he resigned. Unfortunately, he resigned after it was revealed that he had spent time in a room with several baby puppies, and he had failed to strangle a single one of them, thereby violating the terms of the contact he had with either Lucifer or George Soros, depending on the source.

Another high-profile resignation was for Charles Kennedy, leader of the Liberal Democrats in the UK Parliament. After a little more than six years as their leader, he resigns after admitting that he is an alcoholic, a move that shocks most analysts, expecting him to resign because he is not an alcoholic.

The resignation of Mark Foley, a heretofore invisible congressman from Florida, resigned after it was found that he inappropriately propositioned several male pages under his employ. While he originally tried to blame it on alcohol, he was eventually unable to come up with a defense more solid than “I thought I was a priest.”

Last on the chopping block was Donald Rumsfeld. Too few troops on the ground, and Rumsfeld gets his paycheck as normal. Abu Ghraib? Donald is invincible. Mounting civil war? “You’re doin’ a heckuva job, Rummy.” Lose control of the Senate? Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

Meet Virginia
Young slutty stars shocked—shocked!—that their hoo-has appear all over creation

Remember when you were like thirteen years old and a male and there was absolutely nothing more in the world than you would like to see than what was hidden underneath the confusing confines of the opposite sex’s layers upon layers of complicated clothing, undergarments, and various oddly shaped accessories with clamps and elastic and who knows what else? And despite all your efforts the best you could do was the occasional glimpse of the record store clerk’s cleavage and, if you were exceptionally fortunate, the pink Power Ranger?

Well, hold the presses, boys, because today, the ladies are just givin’ it away for free.

A plethora of young starlets, such as the pretty Britney Spears, the adorable Lindsay Lohan, and the plastic Paris Hilton, have made it somewhat of a cottage industry of “accidentally” placing themselves in such a position as to display to the entire world their canyon of pleasure. Usually this is done by playing the old “I’m getting out of a vehicle” card along with the “I must have forgot to put my underwear back on after getting busy with someone who is not you” card. And sure, they have excuses and they have apologies and they have creative explanations relayed via their agent or, if you’re a multiple time winner of the panoramic honey pot display world trifecta, a stilted interview on The Insider to prove that beyond a shadow of a doubt you really aren’t that careless about your public image, which is directly counter to the established fact that you’re an incredible whore.

Anyway, keep it up, ladies. Some of us don’t have access to the Internet all the time.

I Can Say “Sugar Tits” In The Course of A Legitimate Journalistic Investigation

Mel Gibson drinks, then drives, then says some unfortunate things

Celebrity meltdowns are always wonderful things to watch, whether it be Nick Nolte’s high just-woke-up slacker brother-in-law in I-can’t-believe-he’s–actually-wearing-that-shirt-well-he-was-in-I-Love-Trouble-so-I-guess-his-judgement-really-isn’t-that-great mode of expression or Michael Richard’s petition to join the crazy racist but-no-I’m-not-honest-to-Pete-I-Knew-a-Black-Guy-in-the-70’s clan (er, club). But nothing was so extraordinarily fantastic as watching Mel Gibson dissolve.

Perhaps it couldn’t have been so bad. Simply calling a police officer “sugar tits” is insensitive yet somehow inspiring. Uniforms sometimes do that to guys, you know. Like that blonde public safety officer at the university I attended who I know could have easily beat the daylights out of me, and oh how I tried to get her to do so…

Wait. What was that? Oh, right. Mel Gibson could have gotten away with just being a boor. But he also peppered his comments with anti-Semitic remarks. Alas, Gibson had been charged with anti-Semitism before, when his movie Passion of the Christ was charged with being an appeal to hatred against the Jews. After the movie’s release, he had for the most part managed to skillfully maneuver around that inconvenient sentiment, and then threw all his credibility away by blaming them for all the wars. Such remarks, many contended, will harm him movie career; Gibson was previously one of the highest-ranked movie stars and directors in the world. Now, however, his future is uncertain. Thank goodness Hollywood doesn’t have any Jews to offend!

Oh, and he was also drinking and driving. But that’s hardly important.

If A Tree Falls In A Forest And No One Is Around, Does Someone Post It on the Internet Accompanied By That Benny Hill Music?

MySpace, Google, Yahoo, MSN, YouTube, the Wikipedia, FaceBook, and become one big conglomerate mass of insignificance

The announcement that Google had purchased YouTube for a paltry $1.65 billion (with a capital B), which works out to about $165,000 per video clip of a dog vomiting on a sidewalk, is a nearly unprecedented activity in the annals of that odd fusion of technology and business. It started to raise red flags for many people, from internet consumers wary of any media monopoly to business leaders watching carefully for the next big buyout that will turn out to be a bust. But mostly it was a fear that if you suddenly needed to get a video of a 18-year-old webcam hottie wearing next to nothing dancing to London Bridge by Fergie on her iPod while posting a blog about how her g-friends all went out to the party last night and got crazy drunk and then post all the photos of all the girls making out, but honest Ryan I luv you glitter-style, there may only be one place to do it. And I think that replaces Pestilence as one of the Four Horsemen.

Popeye and Goofy High Five

Pluto gets kicked to the wannabe playa train

Poor Pluto. It don’t get no respect. Forever the runt of our planetary solar system, Pluto’s status has been questioned for quite a few years now. And despite generations of many very educated (or perhaps just energetic) mothers, Pluto finally got kicked off the list of places where there could conceivably be aliens building a utopian megalopolis, or at least tapping out Yo Momma jokes in Morse code for ham radio operators to record and subsequently play on Coast to Coast with George Norry.

Even more alarming, apparently there are two other “planets” in our solar system that are even bigger than Pluto that no one has bothered to tell me about. I mean, sure, maybe they showed up in the classifieds section of Omni magazine (“Lonely spherical, relatively warm asteroid looking to orbit. Want to be upgraded to dwarf status someday. No fat chicks.”), but the fact that there are large masses of minerals zooming around the heavens with naught a mention in Johnny Knowledge’s Big Book of Smartness is an distressing development, and shakes my faith in the astronomical community.

There are now three “dwarf planets” in our solar system to keep Pluto company. There’s Pluto himself, of course, making the cold and lonely trek around the sun every—well, whatever the time frame is for a celestial body to make its way around the sun. There’s also Ceres, wedged between Mars and Jupiter, waiting to see which one of them is going to make the first move. And finally there’s Eris, which was formally known as Xena, the name being changed once it was determined that the dwarf planet did not have another planet following its orbit to make subtle lesbian advances against her every episode.

Come on down! And grab my Metamucil while you’re at it

Bob Barker retires, still plans on groping women, snipping the nuts off of dogs

It was bound to take place eventually, really, but it always seems to be a surprise when it happens. Some fixture of the television screen announces their retirement, and everyone seems shocked, surprised, and slightly saddened until one remembers that said institution is pretty much a 90-year-old granite statue of uselessness, dragging the vibrant creativity of newer content down with them.

Thankfully, not so with Bob Barker. He started hosting The Price Is Right in 1972, CBS’s flagship daytime game show. And since then, he’s chugged away, hosting the hell out of what many would consider at most a one-trick pony of a show.

Still, Barker has to be given quite a bit of credit for lasting as long as he has. With his two stints as game show host (the other was his breakout hit, Truth or Consequences), he’s managed to stay on the air for over fifty years. And despite the banality of the games he has to officiate over (guessing the price of toothpaste isn’t going to be fun regardless of whether you dress it up in a game of Nine Men’s Morris), he still manages to make it a fun, fast-paced, stress-free ride. If you haven’t watched lately—I know I haven’t—the contestants aren’t bored housewives or grandmothers bused in straight from Branson, but mostly college kids and young honeymooners just waiting to make that Cliff Hangers mountain climber fall down or wait for that irritatingly placid noise that Squeeze Play makes when you lose. Or win. And, really, that’s the thing about the show: it isn’t so much the fact that you’re winning six rolls of TP, an electric cookie cutter, or a trip to Rio de Janeiro. It’s the witless fun of playing a glamorized version of a Speak N’ Spell that forces you to guess how much toaster ovens are nowadays.

But with Bob Barker retiring, we all lose. The only winners are German Shepherds, miniature schnauzers, and Dian Parkinson.

Trump vs. Rosie

The Ultimate Battle Between Talentless Lesbians and Shady Real Estate Moguls Finally Begins

I’m so glad I waited to write this illustrious retrospective, since otherwise I would have missed this particularly brilliant gem. Sometimes it is hard to choose, you know? On one hand, you have an overly opinionated, obnoxiously arrogant media personality with dubious physical charm known mostly for controversy and with little natural talent, relying on the efforts of others to prop up their otherwise vacant careers that are always on the verge of embarrassing collapse, yet too many people have financial and creative interest in them to let them fail. On the other hand…well, okay, I guess that’s both of them.

Rosie O’Donnell called Donald Trump an immoral, bankrupt rake who has no business declaring what the rules to morality are. The Donald told Rosie that she’s a fat slag with a penchant for slander and an uncertain grasp on her own romantic inclinations and, oh yeah, by the way, The Apprentice premiers on January 7th, Eastern Standard Time. Personally, I’m slightly in favor of Trump on this one, mostly because I prefer unearned money to unearned misinformed nonsensical bloviations. The winner of this feud will probably be Barbara Walters, who finally ahs a reason to jettison the increasingly ingratiating cohost. Do you know how hard it is for Barbara to try and pick up truckers at the gas station with that loudmouth cranking away?