Sunday, March 25, 2007

Now That's What I Call Rhyming

I'm not a songwriter, just a regular writer. I've written some jingles so I know how hard it can be to find a decent rhyme. I even bought a rhyming dictionary but it's been moderately useful at best. So it is with this in mind that I decided to give a shout out to two deceased performers from the 80s who sneer at the challenge of rhyming with the attitude of someone confident that they can find a rhyme for "orange" if they had do. Not content with the standard ABAB or AABB rhyme scheme of most songs, they stick with a less-conventional AAAA.

The first shout out goes to Michael Hutchence of INXS and the 1987 song "Mediate" from the "Kick" album. In the interest of full disclosure, I'll admit that Andrew Farriss wrote the words but who ever heard of him? Plus he's alive. What this song does is take the sound "ate" and rhyme it close to 80 times with few repeats. It works a little hard sometimes, like in the lines "sex ornate" and "edge serrate" but still, if I were on "Jeopardy!" and the category was "Sounds Like 8", I'd put all my money on Farriss.

Number two on the charts is Robert Palmer and his 1988 song "Simply Irresistible" from the "Heavy Nova" album. He takes the "ible" sound and rhymes it around 15 times. In retrospect, this isn't as impressive considering Palmer cheats but rhyming "permissible" and "principle" but why quibble (see what I did there?)?

If anyone else out there knows of other songs which rhyme the same sound over and over, please let the staff here at Greetings From Suburbia know. You'll get credit.

Monday, March 12, 2007

On A Serious Note

I'm sitting here at my kitchen table late Sunday night (or early Monday morning) and I get an e-mail from my best friend Dave. Comedian Richard Jeni apparently shot himself in the face. I have a way-too-personal relationship with suicide and reading about someone else's attempt, especially a successful one, really affects me. Or effects me. I could never tell those two apart.

So anyway, I won't ramble on the way I usually do in these things. But Elaine Boosler wrote something really nice that's worth reading.

I hope, wherever Richard Jeni is right now, he's finally found peace from the torture he believed he was facing.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

P.T. Barnum Was Right

In 1869, famous showman P.T. Barnum said, "there's a sucker born every minute." Mine was somewhere between 2:30 and 3:00 DST on March 11, 2007, right after I paid $15 for a sno cone at Mr. Barnum's namesake circus performance in New Jersey. (Actually, it turns out that Barnum never said his famous quote. But for the purposes of this post, he did.) I wonder if he also recognized that there's an impatient douche bag born every other minute.

A circus is supposed to be a happy place. Clowns! Acrobats! Trapeze Artists! And kids. Lots and lots of happy, smiling kids. It's really quite contagious for an adult to be surrounded by so much mirth. Except the 2 adults in the lobby of the Continental Airlines arena must have been immune. Actually, it was only one guy who was frustrated by the crowds in the lobby and violently pushed past another adult in an effort to stay with his family. Words were exchanged, threats were leveled, security was called and we all got on with our lives. But jeez, at a circus? It wasn't even an out-of-control crowd. No one could say it was a circus in the lobby, even in jest. No, one schmuck lost his cool and looked like an ass.

The circus was fun. The kids had a blast. And while the clowns were rolling around on the floor, a question came to mind: which came first--the word, "clown" or the term, "clowning around"? Are the people who wear make up and throw confetti at the crowd called clowns because they're clowning around? Or are people acting like morons clowning around because they're acting like clowns? $7 boxes of popcorn will make you think of things like that.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Oh, Shut The Hell Up

Bumper stickers are okay, I guess. They rarely have anything worthwhile to say and they're usually put on cars by owners who feel that the rest of the world has to know their political views or favorite bands. The college stickers on rear windows? Not a bumper sticker so they're immune.

The standard rule of thumb tends to be the older the car, the more stickers you'll see. But these usually take on a "whatever" place in my mind. Until I saw this one in the parking lot where I catch the bus every morning.

"Don't Jersey Vermont." Okay, I get it. Vermont is some pristine land, still untouched by the modern world. That's actually really nice. I'm all for it. But when did New Jersey become the scapegoat for all things crowded and polluted? Okay, I'm walking right into a Jersey joke but seriously, "Jersey" is now a verb for spoiling nature?

But that's not what pisses me off. I'd be mildly amused if I were in Vermont and saw this sticker. But it rests on the back of a car registered in New Jersey! I'm the last person to adopt a "love it or leave it" attitude but you know what? You live here, you use its transportation. Maybe your kids go to its schools. So don't go driving around telling the world how you want Vermont to remain the last outpost of the old world. Move there and protest every time a Starbucks wants to open. You always get a better parking spot than me so get lost and let me take it.

My Cat JoePa: 1993–2007

I had to have Joey put to sleep a couple of weeks ago. People always want to have more power but the power to decide who lives and who dies isn't an enviable power. And when I was finally granted this power, I did whatever I could to pretend I didn't have it.

JoePa the cat was always a very fat cat, reaching close to 14 pounds at one point. I got him from a shelter (where all pets should come from) in September of 1993. Joey was playful and loved to sit on laps or lie in bed. In April of 2005, he started looking thin and was acting listless so I took him to the vet. After an hour or so, it was determined that Joey would have to be brought to the hospital for tests. And I was suddenly thinking about a dying cat. But I was also thinking about the fact that it was Passover and we were going to be driving out to Long Island for the first Seder.

Here's the thing: Joey's a cat. I never felt attached to him on a higher level beyond pet and owner. But now I'm sitting in this stainless steel building, killing time by watching TV and other pet owners. There were lots of dogs and dog owners are definitely more attached than ct owners. Maybe that's because dogs have more of a personality.

Anyway, I was told that Joey was going to have to be kept overnight and that it wasn't looking very good. Apparently, he had diabetes for some time and he was dehydrated. I didn't know. I mean, I wasn't about to just let him die. So I was a little sad but at the same time, I started thinking about cost. This day alone was going to cost me a nice chunk of change. How long do we keep him alive? Can I have an animal put to sleep just because it's expensive? It doesn't seem right.

The Seder that night was difficult as I waited until the proper time to call and check on Joey. And when I did, I was told that he responded really well to re hydration and he'd be okay with some medication. I don't remember what the cost was but it was close to a grand. And then there were the follow up appointments. And the insulin. And the syringes. There was a debate brewing at home over what to do about this. But Joey wasn't in any pain and I wasn't about to kill the cat because of inconvenience.

Then came the incontinence. He started peeing all over the place. We had to throw out two area rugs and a couple of door mats. We broke an electric litter box. It would soak through a mat and into the wood floor. But I still wouldn't bend. Then he started pooping in the playroom and that was it. The time had come. I chickened out and made Stephanie take care of it.

Our other cat, Spider, makes lot of noise now. Maybe he's looking for Joey. I miss him and in quiet moments, I think about him. But in the end, he was just a cat. He got sick and he could have died naturally but he was really stinking up the house. So rest in peace, Joey. You were a great pet and we'll miss you.