Eugenics, Idiots, Guns, and Celebrity Chefs

Continuing to explain all there is to explain to my grandson, Banzai, I let him know that the overwhelming majority of humans are idiots, regardless of how well we dress, what college degrees we earn, or what kind of television set or vehicle we own, and that the history of our miserable lot is, with the exception of a few, short periods of time, dominated by fumbling dolts and avaricious assholes. Continue reading

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Meat, Music, and Lake Michigan

A travel diary, if you will.

Kathy convinces me to accompany her, chumming me with proven bait: “You can eat some great food; you can drink as much as you want, whenever I’m not with you.”

I take the hook.

The result: I find myself an untethered observer at the National Conference of Keyboard Pedagogy, an every-two-year gathering of pianists and piano instructors. Continue reading

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The World’s Absolute Most Thrilling Job Ever

Every year, a self-embellished professional here in Siberia With a View is invited to speak to the kids at the high school on Career Day — to motivate the youthful scholars, focus them on their studies, get them charged up about a rosy future —and to help them forget that the local school system is ranked near the bottom of districts in Colorado in terms of quality of education. (Everything is OK, however: our youngsters rank extremely high in the self-esteem evaluation.)

Year after year, I waited for my invitation. It did not arrive.

The school principal assured me this was the result of an oversight, a computer error, or a mistake on the part of the postal service. According to the principal, my invitation was misplaced each year by a careless minor administrator (who, I’ve been assured, will be dismissed), omitted from the system by a software malfunction, or delivered to someone else by a dyslexic postal employee.

This Career Day, said the principal, it will be different. I’m the professional du jour. The owner of a petting zoo was scheduled to appear, but had to cancel due to an outbreak of hoof and mouth disease. Continue reading

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Ecru Pants, High-Tech Torture, and Mac and Cheese

It’s a classic confrontation: hapless bozo versus impersonal corporate interests, and their tools of oppression.

It begins with Valentine’s Day gifts from my wife: a pair of pants a size too small, and a new bathroom scale incorporating technology worthy of the nerds at MIT.

These gifts are a clear threat in my world, where there are two groups of people: those for whom the number of inches in the waist measurement exceeds the number of inches in the inseam, and everyone else.

On what is ordinarily a day afloat on a swell of affection, I am forced to fight off a giant company that has combined forces with my wife to blight my comfy existence. I am tag-teamed by Kathy and the Tanita Corporation. Continue reading

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