Monday, March 19, 2007

F**k the Irish (A guest Rant)

{I got an email last week from "Annalisa," which attempted to detail her "issues" with the cult of "Irish-Americanism." I was so impressed I asked her if I could reprint it here. Note, I absolutely do not agree with her (although neither do I disagree with her; I do not have enough personal knowledge to take a position), but the reason I was impressed was because it was such a great rant. In that vein Annalisa has actually inspired me to return Soap Box to its roots. So, without further ado.....}

I haven't seen the Departed yet because I hate Irish-Americanism. I have no problem with Irish people, but the cult of the Irish-American; their cold, dirty city (Boston) and their stupid holiday and the ridiculousness they call "culture" offends me as an American.

1. These people have some sort of claim on suffering. Really? They are the only people, other than the original WASPs who came here speaking English. My grandparents came here speaking no English and never complained about their suffering under fascist rule and as substinence
farmers. And not just Italians but Eastern Europeans, Mexicans, Asians, Arabs, Africans. You know, people who had bigger problems than some strange unionized refusal to pull up potatoes.

2. There is no actual Irish-American culture to speak of, getting really hammered and getting into fist fights was pioneered by Eastern Europeans. Soda bread? Gross, cabbage? gross. Notably things "Irish-Americans" eat one day a year and celebrate how great it is in March, if it were so great I'd be able to order it at Bennigans.

3. I think their language is entirely made up, like Klingon

4. They have taken a religious holiday and made it into a festival of drinking and buffoonery for the benefit of faux-irish bars and Guiness.

5. The Boston Red Sox were the last team to integrate. In Boston, home of abolitionism, want to know why? Because the Irish-American population made it one of the most hostile and racist cities in America. 13 years after #42 went to Brooklyn.

6. And yet they remain obsessed with their "experience", like the pathetic baby-boomers, as if it was so unique. They emigrated to America en masse and then tried to shut the borders against anyone else, they cry racism and anti-Catholicism at every chance they get when in fact they are as white as any WASP and Irish-Americans funded the IRA but now try to stop Palestinians from sending home remittances. They were dirty, did commit crimes and had too many kids. Now they are part of the establishment, but they would never admit it. They added nothing to America but Riverdance and Jameson.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

One way to pick an NCAA team

The following is true.

So 'Chelle called yesterday to ask about the rules for my NCAA Pool. As I was explaining, somehow the story of "Sparrow" came up.

Sparrow entered my pool in 2004, and she picked some hella-weird teams, even for someone who knew nothing about basketball, as did she.

When I asked Sparrow about it, she explained to me that her picks were based on the Universities' proximity to TV towns that she had/did enjoy. So, for example, there was St. Joseph's, which Sparrow picked because of its close proximity to Beaver Falls, PA, home of Mr. Belvedere.

(Right now some of you are rolling your eyes, while others, let's call you "women," are nodding and going, "That's a great way to pick teams!")

Anyway, 'Chelle laughed but said she couldn't use that method because she never remembered where shows took place. I told her she DID remember, but didn't remember that she remembered.

I started her off easy. "Did you ever watch CSI? Where did that take place?" She groaned. "What about CSI Miami?"

I moved on to another easy one: "What about the Simpsons?"

"I don't watch the Simpsons."

I don't expect to talk to here again.

Monday, March 12, 2007

New Ways to Swear

This week's terms you can add to your conversational repertoire, thus impressing the ladies or the fellas, gaining friends, getting that promotion; having a better life. Both terms come from our friends at Home Box Office.

This first is a swear word I heard on "Rome" the other night: Cack. Apparently it means "shit," although one is not sure if this is Latin or not. Anyway, it sounds dirty, but since not identified as such, you can use "Cack" with impunity around the home or office.

The next term is a synonym for "cool," and Lord knows we need more of them. Watching "Carnivale" last night I came upon this gem. One girl was asking another if everything was cool, and she said, "Is everything Hucky Duck?"

How cool, er, how Hucky Duck is that?

I expect to see these terms on your blogs, emails; whatever. Go out and spread the word.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Papa John's

[I had a problem with Papa John's the other night. Unable to resolve it, I went online and wrote what happened. There was no room on the website for spacing, so this is how it came out:]

I am writing to tell you about my experience two evenings ago with Store #208. I wanted to order a half and half pizza, for carryout. This was about 10:15 p.m. I said carryout at the beginning of the phone call, but was not told that part was closed until later, which could happen to anyone, but in light of everything else....I wanted to get half and half, but with a special request. On one half of the pizza, I wanted them to leave the toppings off one fourth, so in effect you'd have one half, say Hawaiian, and one half part sausage and part cheese. I realize this is unorthodox but there are dietary/allergy concerns in my family, and this was the only way we could do it. I worked in a pizza place years ago and I know it's feasible to do something like this. Also, whenever we ordered from Pizza Hut and explained matters there was never any problem. I guess we should have ordered from Pizza Hut again, but my family wanted Papa John's, and we've never had a problem in all the places we've ordered from before. First of all, the person answering the phone was inattentive at best, lazy at worst. He seemed to know absolutely nothing about the product, and utterly unsympathetic with my concerns. At the drop of a hat he would pass me to someone else who barely listened before brusquely telling me this was impossible, as the policy was half and half only. I realized that, but explained that what I was asking for would actually save them pizza toppings, and if the manager told the cook directly should not be a problem. Finally the intermediary passed me to a manager, but his English was so mumbled that I thought he was actually answering a cell phone. When the manager finally came on he said hello twice quickly (which I thought was the cell phone), and then hung up. Of course I initially thought this was on purpose, and called back to find out what was the deal and if we could work it out. At this point the manager told me in no uncertain terms he could not do it, mostly because of how slammed they were. I found this reasoning silly, as I drove by ten minutes later on my way to another pizza place and the Papa John's in question looked deserted. My main concern is how little anyone tried to understand what I was asking for and seek to come up with a solution. After all, I'm giving business, and as we are new here and plan to say for some time, this would be repeat business over the weeks and months. Nobody cared or ever once seemed remotely interested in trying to make it work. Perhaps more galling, though, was the attitude, as if I were scamming or inconveniencing them for asking for this simple request. What I want to know from all of you is whether this was an isolated incident, a store having a very bad night, or more indiciative of how things are at #208. Like I said, my family prefers Papa John's, and this was a celebration of something, and we really wanted that pizza, but after the experience I'm wondering if we're not better off going somewhere else. We eat pizza 1-2 times a week, and I surely don't want to go through all of that again. Thanks for your time. Sincerely, Hyperion

[I'll update if they ever get back to me]

Monday, March 05, 2007

Was Richard Gere right?

Okay, so maybe Richard Gere is not as bad as I thought.

In the movie UNFAITHFUL (Warning: spoilers ahead!), Gere's character goes to confront his wife's French lover. This is after she has called it off, but he doesn't know that. The resulting conversation between Gere and Frenchie is going along okay, quite pleasantly, in fact, until Gere sees a Snow Globe that he had given his wife after a trip together years ago. The idea that she had taken such a keepsake and given it to her lover sends Gere over the edge, and he takes said Snow Globe and bashes Frenchie in the head, killing him not so softly.

Okay, so I've watched this movie with several different people, and always been astounded at their reactions. While Diane Lane's character is human and somewhat sympathetic, ultimately the fault for the affair is hers, as she took the action, and there was no mitigation (abuse, abandonment, etc.). Gere's murder is somewhat on her head (did she honestly think this would all come out okay?), but he's the one who actually made the decision. By going up to Frenchie's apartment he put himself in the situation.

(Side note: It astonishes me that most of the people I talk to blame Frenchie the most. Why? He's not the one stepping out on his partner. He's not the one killing people. True, he is all for the fling, but she comes to him, not the other way around.)

Anyway, I've always said Gere is completely responsible for his actions...


A few minutes ago the laptop I am working on seized up. My timer quit functioning, as the websites quit working. I hobbled up to the front desk and asked the man what was up. Without any explanation as to what was going on, he restarted my computer. I almost choked in disbelief as I heard the familiar Windows chimes to tell me that it was logging back on. I had two open documents, one of which contained most of the second part of the movie marathon column. Because of the way the computers are set up (multiple users, etc.), there is no carryover between each use (but sometimes you can save to the desktop).

This means that everything I just wrote was gone.

Almost too astonished for words I asked the librarian why he wouldn't have mentioned this to me, so something could be done. I could have tried to save what I was doing, or maybe he could have done some sort of master-library thing. The man nonchalantly told me the only thing they could do is restart them, and he thought I knew that.

I continued in my stupor, asking him what on earth he was thinking. Various other explanations included that he didn't see the open Word documents, they usually don't allow saving to the Desktop (like they couldn't have made a one-time exception), and other fripperies.

Finally he just cheerfully said "My apologies" and turned without pause to help who was next. At this point all I guess I really wanted was some sort of empathy, an acknowledgment that what I went through was traumatic, and while perhaps it may have not been avoidable (something I seriously question), he could at least give a nod to my temporal pain.

The actions, combined with the "who gives a fuck" attitude gave me a rush, like a waterfall in my ears. I suddenly felt faint and lightheaded, and everything started spinning around me. In that moment I realized that I understood just how Gere could have succumbed to murder. It was stupid to go up to the guy's apartment, but the mild-mannered husband probably never thought of the possibility of death. Suddenly overcome he acted in a moment.

That could have been me. Hell, that should have been me. I should have whacked the bastard with my cane.