Thursday, March 29, 2007

"The Ultimate Experience"

Those words are posted as an advertisement in the cafeteria in the complex where I work. The cafeteria where they are posted is managed by the Marriott Corporation, so we're told the food is really great, not that salty, fatty, over-priced slop that I see there every day. Anyway, I went down to the cafeteria this afternoon to get some ice water with lemon (only 22 cents!) when lo and behold I was captivated by a sign posted by the coffee service.

"The Ultimate Experience" the sign read in a nondescript, aiming-to-look casual font, and it was plastered all over the coffee urns like some kind of Marriott corporate fake-out. The Ultimate Experience? Excuse me? Should anyone DARE to take a cup of coffee and not be terrified that, in so doing, they were courting a growing depression that would eventually rob their life of any hope of joy and pretty much end it all? Because let's face it: after the ULTIMATE Experience it's pretty much all downhill.

Really, The ULTIMATE Experience? In a fucking cup of coffee? Well, shit, if I pour myself one of these magical suckers I might as well lay down and die immediately afterward. It will be, after all, The ULTIMATE Experience. Once I drink this coffee there will never be another experience in my life that will even approach this one since ULTIMATE is pretty much the tip top of anything.

ul - ti- mate (adjective) not to be improved upon or surpassed; greatest; unsurpassed

Greatest. Unsurpassed. Not to be improved upon. You better be fucking careful mofo, cause if you drink this coffee you will never, ever, in this life, approach this moment with anything even remotely resembling happiness or fulfillment or contentment. Finding "Mr. or Ms. Right"? Don't bother; you've already sipped The ULTIMATE. Having children? How could they ever hope to compare to The ULTIMATE, which you have, sadly, already experienced? They'll just be an ongoing and life sapping disappointment to you. Finding any happiness whatsoever through work or an avocation or just plain living? FORGET IT, MOTHERFUCKER! Been there; done that! You drank The ULTIMATE Experience, remember? Give it up!

Which is what brings me to the apex of this blog post: my burning hatred of the wholesale overuse of the English language in the name of the great god of commerce. THE BEST! THE BIGGEST! THE GREATEST! THE ULTIMATE! Is there no advertising executive with even one iota of shame when it comes to using superlatives to try shill for any product from flushable toilet wipes to a fucking cup of coffee?

Why not be more in line with reality? What's wrong with that? Instead of The ULTIMATE Experience why not: "Our hot, freshly brewed coffee. It'll wake you up!" Or: "Take a drink and get a jolt", or how about the simple, straightforward: "Our coffee: have some!"

I'm down with all the misplaced exclamation points, I mean I'm not a total curmudgeon. But for the love of all that is holy, please stop screaming at me about how your piddly ass product is going to be my motherfucking salvation!

I'm ULTIMATELY never going to buy it!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Thank You For Sharing Your Music With Me

Here in Baltimore we get about 3.5 truly nice weather days a year. It's either not cold enough for snow but cold enough for freezing rain or it's hovering around 100 degrees with humidity levels typical of the Amazon river basin.

Last Sunday was one of those 3.5 beautiful days with sunny skies, temperatures in the 60s and a gentle breeze. Now normally the ABIB is not an outdoor person. Normally just the thought of the outdoors gives the ABIB hives, but Sunday, for some reason was different. I was outside, enjoying the weather and cleaning out my car. I've probably mentioned that I live in a typical Baltimore rowhome community, which means that I, and everyone else in my neighborhood shares a wall with somebody. I'm monumentally unlucky enough to share both walls with somebodies. But one side in particular makes me regret daily my choice of real estate.

"Jesus Freaks Through the Wall" was the subject of one of my posts and they were out in force last Sunday, with all their Jesus freaky-ness in full, evil bloom. Religious zealots of any stripe make my blood boil. They of the self-righteous attitudes and holier-than-thou positions of pseudo superiority. But probably, for me, the worst of the lot are the Jesus freaks. Holy shit they piss me off! Sick fucking wierdos with their judgmental anti-gay, pro-life, I'm-going-to-heaven-and-you're-not crap. To quote a bad movie with one very good line: "Capital P, capital U, capital TRID."

There I was, minding my own business, cleaning out my car and enjoying the communal nature of the day, when suddenly the air was riven with the sounds of the most unspeakably insipid, vile despicable "music" I have ever heard. The spawn of the White Whale and Brunhilda had gotten into their GIGANTIC FORD EXPLORER and had turned the radio on full blast. To a Christian "pop" station. Big truck, big speakers, full blast.


What the FUCK? WHAT THE HOLY FUCK?! Suddenly all that could be heard, which amazingly enough even drowned out the continuous blast of noise that had been their enormous family squawking and honking and screaming and yelling and basically poisoning the air with their ever-present cacophany of SOUNDs, suddenly all that could be heard was this nauseating treacle with it's freakishly bright voices informing everyone for sixteen blocks that THEIR GOD WAS AN AWESOME GOD!!!

First of all, assuming Jesus Christ exists and if so, that he enjoys hearing music all about himself, wouldn't one hope that, as a freaking DIETY, he would have better taste than "OUR GOD IS AN AWESOME GOD"? Lord have mercy, it sounded like the fucking Wiggles, like Barney the Dinosaur. Wouldn't Jesus be just a little bit more discriminating about songs about him? Shit, most mortals would! I'm thinking that he'd want something a little bit, oh, I don't know, BIGGER? How about the Star Wars theme? Or Indiana Jones? Or even Spiderman for Christ sake! But OUR GOD IS AN AWESOME GOD with the synthesizers and the snare drum and the too-happy chorus of voices? I don't think so, babe.

So there I was, cleaning rag in hand, glaring with my angry, Jewish eyes toward the offending crush of sound, willing them all to instantly DROP DEAD, when White Whale figured he'd allowed enough of the healing power of the music to wash over my heathen head and he ordered Peppermint Patty to turn off the radio. Suddenly I could hear the birds again, the soft "whoosh" of the breeze through the tree branches overhead, the muffled sounds of life in the Garth.

But then the demonic shriek of Brunhilda rang out from inside the house like the screaming of the Hound of Hell:


I take it all back! Your God IS an awesome God! I swear! I swear! I'll listen to the music until I'm cross-eyed, I'll do anything you say just PLEASE SHUT THAT SUCCUBUS UP!!!

Lovely weather we're having, isn't it?

Friday, March 23, 2007

Get Your Fat Ass Out Of My Way!

The ABIB was raised by two very polite people. Most of their sensibilities in this area were transferred to me so when I get confronted with IMPOLITE people I'm tempted to kick their ignorant asses through the nearest portal. But I don't; I just seethe inwardly and then empty my spleen on this blog.

It happened today. There I was, walking through the lower lobby of my very populous office building, navigating POLITELY through and around the hoardes of other people in my way. It was further crowded by the presence of a vendor selling her sickeningly sweet handmade crap surfeit with little stuffed Easter bunnies, little dancing plush chicks and other hand-made gewgaws aimed directly at the Anne Geddes crowd. Makes the ABIB vaguely nauseous. Which is why you can imagine I was in a bit of a hurry to navigate my way through the horde and get to the cafeteria for my breakfast food. That and since I also pretty much hate most other people, just being around so many of them in one confined space gives me the heebie-jeebies. French philosopher Jean Paul Sartre had it right: "Hell is other people".

I was almost to my destination when smack dab in front of me and everyone else for that matter, was a conclave, a gathering, a fucking herd if you will, of about six big, fat women. Standing there. In the middle of the path. CHATTING!! Chatting and laughing as if they were standing out in a 17 acre meadow rather than directly in the way of anyone coming from or going to the cafeteria. Which, at 9:30 in the morning, as you can imagine is quite a lot of people. So, small space, only one way in and the same way out, with oodles of space anywhere ELSE in the lower lobby, these ignorant bitches decide to have themselves a little "catch up".

GURRRLLLLL, you did NOT just say that!
LOOK OUT, ya'll! Sista 'bout to throw down!

Oblivious to the huffing and puffing and evil sidelong glances all around them as people squeezed by on every side, these gals just kept on hollering and laughing and BLOCKING THE PATH. I wondered then if, just this once, it would be OK to step out of my learned behavior, risk shaming my deceased parents who I imagine to be occasionally peering down from heaven and let loose with decades of repressed rude behavior. I picture it going something like this:

Say what? He was NOT in that condition on your anniversary!
YO! FAT ASS BITCHES!! LISTEN UP! Everyone in this hallway has had to circumnavigate past your ignorant lazy asses while you stand in the MOST inconvienient place in this building right now. Why don't you all just take your big 'ol butts to the left, the right or straight ahead and finish your conversation in such a way that not everyone but YOU is inconvienienced? OK? I think I speak for everyone here when I say that WE DON'T CARE ABOUT YOUR PERSONAL LIVES! MOOOOOOVVVVVEEEE!!!!

Their heads would swivel on their fat necks in shock, at first not really understanding what was happening. A thunderclap of silence as everyone else stopped dead in their tracks since what was about to go down must surely result in someone's imminent demise. Then, outburst relieved, I would stride past, my stiff-necked indignation on display to the outpouring of applause and cheers of everyone else who wanted to do what I did but were, like me, raised to be polite.

SNAP! The ABIB wakes up from this lovely daydream and, with a passive aggressive scowl on her face, sidles past the oblivious buffalo herd as best she can, just like everyone else. Damn my good upbringing!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

American Idolatry

OK, the ABIB is an American Idol fan hook, line and sinker. I get all wrapped up in the tryouts and the inexplicable auditions of some of the freakiest, scariest folks on the planet and then I get all carried away with the top 24 and then the top 12 and so on.

But I have to say that, even as a fan, I'm getting a little tired of having to listen to barely warmed-over copycats who have no original style and aren't called on it. For example, this year's batch has a guy who looks and sounds EXACTLY like Justin Timberlake. Now what's really crazy is that, in the ABIB's opinion, Justin Timberlake is a sucky-ass wigger who just a few short years ago used to be in a boy band. Yeah, Justin, we all remember 'Nsync. But now he's throwin' down like a regular thug from da hood. Please, he was in the fucking Mickey Mouse Club.

So here on this year's AI we have a Justin wannabe for Christ sake. I don't even want JUSTIN to be JUSTIN, let alone have one of my Idol top 12s trying to be him. And the thing that amazes me is that nobody calls him on it. God forbid anyone should try and cover a popular singer and present even the whiff of similarity. The judges enter into a chorus of "KARAOKE!" "I'm not gettin' you dawg; where's YOUR sound?", and the positive kiss of death from Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm: " LOOK adorable!" If you can't please even Paula you might as well go the fuck home.

But this guy saunters out on stage with the day old stubble and the wigger Marine buzzcut and proceeds to fucking IMITATE Justin Timbergag. The same intonation, the same key range, the same godforsaken endless melisma. Its enough to make a fan PUKE! But the judges smile and heap praise on this KARAOKE MACHINE like it was absolutely the first time they'd ever heard this "original" sound. One of them even cited the way the contestant "reminded" him of Justin Timberfuck. Reminded him? Yeah, like Saturday reminds you of the day after Friday.

It's a real pain in the ass, but I keep watching because I'm a ho for the Idol and it gives me someone to rant and rave at outside of this blog, which is good because I generally have enough unexpressed rage built up after the average work day to fuel a moon launch.

So, bring it on Justina: you keep sounding like a warmed-over version of a really bad singer and I'll keep screaming at my TV and entertaining the neighbors. Or not.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Happy Edibles

At one time in her past the ABIB was a vegetarian. I had sworn off all animal flesh for a period of several years. What broke my resolve you ask? That well-worn meat eaters fiesta of gluttony: Thanksgiving. Yep, a few years back at a traditional family Thanksgiving meal that slice of holiday turkey on my seat neighbor's plate suddenly became irresistible and I took a piece. It was all downhill from there.

Now, I'm not sure if other fallen vegetarians suffer from the same periodic self-loathing that I do, but at random intervals I'm afflicted with a sense of profound failure. As I sit in the McDonald's line waiting to claim my fish sandwich I wonder: how did it come to this? But by god, I have to believe that it's not only the neurotic, guilt-ridden ex-veges like me that have a problem with the topic of this post.

By Happy Edibles what I mean is the need for humans in the advertising trade to anthropomorphize food. Why, just today while driving to work I saw, not once but twice, a truck with a picture of three smiling dead things. The tableau was creepy and inappropriate and just plain wrong: on the left a vaguely human looking cartoon cow positively beaming with joy, on the right a chicken with roughly the same amount of happiness emating from two twinkly eyes and a beak upturned in an open-mouthed clearly toothless smile, and in the center, with his two gigantic claw arms draped across the shoulders of the other two a red (boiled to death!) lobster with a bizarre set of humanish eyes and a nose. A NOSE! Now, quite apart from the physical impossibility of that since lobsters in their natural state live under water, the notion that humans are actually comforted by the happy faces of something that they are about to devour is just plain ghoulish. Its like something out of Night of the Living Dead. Christ, I felt like I needed to take a shower.

Then, when I got to work I reached into my lunch bag (the ABIB is nothing if not thrifty) and got out a fresh banana for a nice mid-morning snack. Lo and behold, there on the lovely yellow background of the banana peel was a Dole sticker that had a banana with a human face wearing a fucking baseball cap with a tee-shirt labeled "Bobby Banana". "Bobby Banana" was smiling (again with the uber-happiness theme) and cradling a RABBIT in his arms? What the fucking hell is THAT all about? Now my bananas are named, they wear clothing and are pet owners! Is nothing sacred? I mean, it's bad enough when they try to freak me out of eating meat thinking about those cheerful faces and the implied camaraderie of the lobster claws about the shoulder thing, but now the fruits, too? I have to make a decision if I'm going to eat "Bobby Banana" and leave that poor little bunny a homeless, banana-less orphan?

It's all too much; I'm going to back to bed and when I get up it's nothing but bread and water for me. Hopefully my loaf of wheatbread won't have sprung its own personality by then.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

The Courtesy Flush

Let me begin this entry with a definition:

Ladylike, adjective: 1. like a lady; 2. befitting a lady: in a ladylike manner; Also, well bred, well mannered, courteous.

K? I work in an office. I am a female and there are, by my rough estimation, a hundred or so other females with whom I share a public toilet. Now its not like we all have to squat on the same can, there's a few of them in there, but the room that houses them is your typical communal space. Nothing but little stall doors and AIR separates me from the other few gals who, at any given time during the work day, are sitting on the can doing their business.

It's never, ever pleasant for me (and I'm guessing for most women) to use a public restroom. The variance of discomfort ranges from "let's get this over with as quickly as possible" to "Oh, fuck, no! I'll fucking HOLD it". The former is what I feel about my work bathroom the latter, any given gas station restroom. But somewhere along the way the rule book that I (and blessedly a few others) got was somehow not transmitted to the remainder of those BITCHES I am forced to share crap space with. I'm talking about the Courtesy Flush.

We all know that when you gotta go you gotta go and with the coffee and popcorn and other unspeakably horrible-smelling shit that wafts from the (also communal) microwave and that presumably people actually EAT, the ladies that share my crapper gotta go kind of alot. At any given time you can be sitting in a stall, minding your own business when out of the stall just a few feet (maybe INCHES!) away, come the unmistakable sounds of a big dump. I really don't think I need to detail them here; they're pretty much universal in the human species.

I'm stuck there, because, unfortunately, I, too, am mid-dump, and I begin to panic and to sweat and to say a silent prayer to the god of good manners, that this biotch got the memo: At all times we utilize the COURTESY FLUSH! The Courtesy Flush is just that: it's the courteous way to think of others who, through no fault of their own save the bad timing of their own digestion, are stuck seated so near to you that if there were no wall you could embrace. The Courtesy Flush is a flush that you exercise with each emanation from your bowels. Some goes into the crapper? Flush that sucker away! A few seconds later another blast? Flush, flush, flush! The secret of the correct use of the Courtesy Flush is speed. A hairtrigger flushing response is the ideal way to save your coworkers from the horrific situation of being engulfed within a brown cloud of the stench of your crap.

For those of you who have not gotten it yet, what the Courtesy Flush does is, to the extent possible, clear the air of the SMELL of your dump. It's not foolproof; some stink still persists, if say, there was fart action along with the dump action. But that smell, being considerably smaller, is largely contained to the stall. But, Christ Almighty, it's a far cry from the monstrously unthinking, self-centered hos who insist on sitting, flush-less until they are completely and totally cleaned out! HEY! Just because you are enjoying the aroma of your own brand doesn't mean the rest of us are! Don't the choking sounds and the moaning coming from ALL AROUND YOU give you a clue? FLUSH THAT SHIT AWAY, HO!

I've even heard vocalizations coming from other stalls (and maybe even have uttered one myself). They sound almost involuntary: "Oh MY GOD!", "LORD HAVE MERCY!" "Gagggggacckkkk". But does the perp get the message? Nope. She persists on sitting in silence, awash in that unspeakable stench, as the rest of us gag and retch and struggle to get finished as quickly as possible so that we can escape that odorous Hell.

I think that toilets should be rigged with automatic odor sensors that trigger a response whenever one of those lazy bitches refuses to do right by the rest of us. As the stall fills with her stink and the flush handle remains idle, a recorded voice should be tripped on that says loudly and repeatedly in a shaming way: "YOU ARE A STINKY LADY! YOU ARE A STINKY LADY!" followed by the flash of a tiny camera mounted in the stall door that snaps a pic of the ignoramus. Then, once a week, those pics get posted on the bathroom "Wall of Shame" for all to see and identify. So the payment we'd get is a good laugh as we stagger out the door. Considering what that place smells like on any given day I'd hardly call it even but it'd be a start.