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Oops, Forgot a Title

by Jason Edwards

Always been intrigued by the idea of zines, those little self-published pamphlets. Absolutely love that idea. If there was a way distribute them internationally to millions of people, that would be my career choice. If it paid. I’d pound away at the keyboard and compile nonsense and edit it poorly and let the occasional misspelling keep it all authentic. I am being sincere.

A blog, or an e-zine, is the next best thing. I smashed together some stuff and printed it and folded it stapled it and called it WIFFLI, and then the idea was to do that again everyone once in a while, with an online version offerings bits on a more piece-meal basis. Sometimes the print version would have stuff from the online version, but not always.

Asked a friend and a writer if she wanted to participate, and she was eager. So we started writing articles and posting them. But the thing never got much traction. Not really anyone to blame for that. I suppose I can blame myself for not staying in top of it writing a lot more and all the time. But why bother? What’s blame going to explain, how’s it going to contextualize righteousness? There’s no righteousness in self-publishing folks, because there’s no righteousness in writing at all.

It’s just something to do. For the past few weeks I’ve been trying hard not to browse websites and play video games. Specifically Tumblr, Reddit, StumbleUpon, Diablo, and World of Warcraft, among others. Not because there’s anything wrong with any of those entities. But because I was turning to them out of boredom, not out of respect for their value. And the result of that abstinence: less slack-jawed grazing, and more time to be creative.

When I allow boredom to motivate me towards lowest-energy-cost endeavors, I wind up eschewing writing, blogging, drawing, minor household projects, reading, career development, time spent plotting sweet nothings for the wife. You see, I have a problem with balance. I get too easily addicted to do nothing for very large periods of time.

I’m not saying that those websites, those video games were the reason Wiffli fell off. But maybe eschewing them for a while will give me some cycles to dedicate to the ol’ zine. I even posted a small rant over at Antipundit.com, which saw its previous post in March of 2010.

And let’s be realistic: this may not last. Patterns within patterns, and I could easily slip back into that sort of webby depression. I once blogged for fifty days straight—mostly about blogging. Momentum is not the miracle elixir I might have thought it was. And indeed, when my get up and go has gotten up went, mostly I talk about how I wish I would talk about things more (like I am doing now… so meta!)

This, then, is an article written to myself. But there it is, breaking the crusty seal of inactivity to see what happens. Perhaps an opinion piece about breast feeding. Maybe something about the erstwhile Mariners. Or maybe I’ll give up, delist the domain and use the slot on my webhost to sell a book on Amazon. I need to write one first, but I’m just sayin.

Stay tuned.

Maybe I Don’t Mind Bleeping

by Jason Edwards

I went for a run this morning and observed a woman crossing a driveway off of 144th street near Aurora. A truck was in the street, waiting for her so he could turn left into the driveway. She looked over her shoulder as she crossed, saw the truck, went back to walking, lifting a compact with a mirror to inspect her eye make-up… and slowed down, right in the middle of the driveway, almost to a stop. What went through my mind as I observed this was, “Wow, what a c***.”

I am ashamed to admit this and I am ashamed to use such language, but I want to make a point about censorship, or, if may be orthographic, “censorship” in quotation marks, since bleeping out words barely counts as actually censorship. I don’t really mean to compare a bleep with book burning.

A few days ago I had a conversation with someone on a topic I’d discussed with others before: the inanity of bleeping out “bad” words on TV. It’s just so silly. You can’t say the F word, which is a word that in its literal definition means “to fornicate”—but you can say “fornicate,” or “screw,” or “boff,” or use the phrase “sexual intercourse” if you want. How is bleeping the F word protecting anyone—especially if it’s only being used as an f***ing adjective?

Or the S word. You can say feces on TV, and poo, and defecate. But you can’t say s***, even when you don’t mean actual s***, but random s***, or if you don’t give a s***, which if you ask me is a bunch of bulls***.

At least, that was my contention before. And my fellow interlocutor seemed to think that, since there are much better ways for people to speak, it’s good to keep those words out of the ears of children as much as possible—even though she agreed that doing so is really impossible. No person or even group of people can do much to tightly control what children hear as they grow up, short of locking them in a room with no access to media. Kids learn new words every day, words their parents never even use. Shielding them from all the f***ing s*** people say is a Herculean effort doomed to fail.

So why bother? I’d always said before it was just more conservative bullcrap, right-wing pedagogues forcing their agenda on the populace as another means of control. And it was backfiring, I asserted. It was keeping those words special. Bleeping them called attention to them, maintained their power as “bad” words. We’ve seen the opposite: gay men adopted the word “queer” and it’s no longer a negative epithet. Gay women have co-opted “dyke” and the word’s lost its sting. And there’s the so-called N-word, which maintains its power in the mouths of whites by their being forbidden to say it, while it has no power in the mouths of blacks, who can say it as much as they like.

Why bother indeed? Well, I realized this morning that I was able, too easily, and without thought, to call that woman a c***. Sure, it was all in my head, but ironically, there was little or no thought when I did. I reacted, judged, labeled, moved on.

Sure, those bleeps on TV do almost no obfuscation of the words they’re meant to hide. But they make a person think, don’t they? The real issue with language is not that there are “better” ways to speak, but there are “many” ways to speak. And I’d like to think people think before they speak.

If children hear the F word and the S word all over the place all the time, they cease to think of those words as special words, and then they end up using those words without thought. From a psycholinguistic standpoint, they’re f***ing awesome words, with that lip-biting F sound and the harsh angry K sound at the end. And the S word, you can really spit that one out. But doing so is a kind of loss of self-control. And language is too powerful, too wonderful, really, to be used so absent-mindedly. In my opinion.

I’m not sure if I’ve dissuaded myself from the notion that an ass-backwards conservative elite are trying to control the masses via, amongst other things, bleeping out certain words on television. Certainly it’s abusive and idiotic that radio and TV stations can be fined tens of thousands of dollars, for letting a bad word slip through. Those fines aside, however, I think I’m fine, for now, with bleeping. It makes people think about language, which I say is always a good thing.

But don’t get me started on boobies. Blocking those out on TV is a travesty.

Fun Facts About Hard Rock & Heavy Metal

by Ambertolina

I like heavy metal and hard rock music.

That’s kind of an ironic statement for me, given that during my high school and college years, I couldn’t get enough pop and dance music. For many years, hard rock and heavy metal sounded like nothing more than loud, obnoxious noise to me; singers screaming, drummers banging away and guitarists vomiting out grinding, haphazard cacophony with their amps turned up to 11.

Continue reading Fun Facts About Hard Rock & Heavy Metal

30 Things I’ve Learned as a Deli Clerk

by Mr. Deli

Rule #1: Don’t eat the “Deli Ham.”

Rule #2: Stop looking down.

Rule #3: Stop looking down.

Rule #4: Old people in a state of indecision tend to move towards the Black Forest Ham.

Rule #5: Old people who can make a damn decision still tend to move towards the Black Forest Ham.

Rule #5.5: Always cut extra black forest ham.

Continue reading 30 Things I’ve Learned as a Deli Clerk

Hospitals Are Amazing (pun)

by Jason Edwards

A friend of mine had to go the hospital a few days ago. Nothing life threatening, of course, but even if you’re only there for a hangnail, the hospital induces a general anxiety and state of subtle panic in anyone. Since my friend needed emotional support, I hopped in my car and headed in that direction before I remembered how terrifying hospitals can be even for visitors. Maybe it’s all the Latin doctors use.

On the way, I realized I had no idea where to park, or what entrance to take. Parking in Seattle is impossible on a good day, and downright evil when you’re in a rush. I am not making this up: Seattle has been consistently voted one of the worst major cities to drive in. We have one way streets responsible for the establishment of indigenous people, who have given up trying to find their way home, and just established new dynasties between the fire hydrants and the mailboxes.

I finally found a parking garage, and, of course, the slowest driver in the universe was in front of me. He had to stop at every single parking spot to read the sign that confirmed he was not allowed to park there. I would have honked my horn, but I was afraid I’d give him a heart attack—this restraint on my part, though, was not consideration, but desperation, not wanting to be stuck behind some dead guy.

All of those space, those empty space, you see, were reserved for doctors—it was frustrating to see two floors of spaces I couldn’t park in, and then disquieting to realize all these empty space meant that all of those doctors were not in the building that day. Maybe ambulances should just start taking patients to golf courses, so folks are sure to see a doctor at least somewhere.

Once I found a spot, I got out of my car… and promptly got lost looking for the elevator. My wife says I have no sense of direction. This is like saying a bear has no sense of dining with fine China. I can get lost in a bathroom. Lately I’ve been relying on my smartphone’s GPS features, but this has had the unfortunate side effect of making me cocky. And when you’re cocky in a cement tower with no cell reception, you’re just stupid.

Eventually, through a careful application of the left-hand rule, and blind luck, I found the elevators. I went up to the main floor, consulted the maps. I was delighted to find them incomprehensible. That’s not sarcasm. I was expecting the maps to be incomprehensible, and having at least one thing go as expected gave me a kind of bitter satisfaction.

I should point out that the map for this particular hospital campus included a building called “The Health Building.” That’s sort of like going to a university and finding “The Education building.” Or going to a military base and being directed to “The Military Building.”

You know that old saw, about how when you lose something, you only find it in the last place you look? Yeah, goes for hospital emergency room entrances too. I found pretty much every other entrance to the hospital: oncology, spinal cord rehab, chemical dependence rehab, post-stroke rehab… if I get shot and need the emergency room, screw it, I’ll just go to gaping-wound rehab.

When I finally found the emergency entrance on the map, I started to navigate the maze from where I was to get there. And it is a maze. There’s signs everywhere, and since none of the hallway junctions are at right angles, the arrows all go in really weird directions. They’re pointing up and to the right, backwards, with curly-cues on them… one of them was in 3D, and pointed right at me, and said “You are there.”

At one point I saw a sign that says “Emergency is on A floor.” Now, I was in a tiny bit of a panic, so I didn’t catch the capital letter. I started freaking out. Great! Emergency is on a floor! So that means Surgery is on a wall and Osteopathy is on a ceiling? Come on!

And the whole time I’m looking for the emergency room, there’s pages going off. “Paging Dr. Blue. Paging Doctor Green. Paging Doctor Mauve with a Hint of Canary.” What the hell, am I in Rainbow Bright Memorial Hospital?

Actually, I have friends who work in medicine, and they told me nurses use code words so the patients don’t get alarmed. There is no “Doctor Blue,” that’s just a code for when someone’s croaking and they need the defibrillators. Personally, I found it a bit unsettling. I started doing the translations in my head. They said “Paging Doctor Brown, and I heard “Paging Doctor One Of The Psychos Got Loose Again, Dr One Of The Psychos Has A Freakin’ Scalpel, Please Report To The Nurse’s Station.”

Somehow, I found the emergency room desk. It was easy, when I finally figured out that all I had to do was follow the smell of despair and depression. Not the despair of getting one’s hand caught in a pickle jar. No, this would be the despair of realizing you have to wait three hours for a doctor to show up, and the only thing there to entertain you are tattered issues of People magazine from 1994 and a 19 inch TV mounted on the ceiling showing Lawrence Welk reruns.

At the check-in desk, I told them the name of “my cousin,” and they buzzed me right in. This was a bit frustrating. I had an elaborate story prepared, explaining why me and my cousin had radically different last names, nationalities and skin colors. I was even going to throw in some bullcrap about being an advocate and an interpreter. But receptionist didn’t even look at me. I could have been a serial killer looking for bad asthma patients, or something.

So I sat with “my cousin” for a few hours, cracking jokes and stealing as many latex gloves as I could fit in my pocket. Like I said, it wasn’t a life-threatening situation in the least, no big deal at all. I think, actually, during my harrowing trek through the labyrinthine corridors, I was actually the one who had been in the most danger. Everything worked out okay, and “my cousin” was released no worse for wear.

But thank goodness I thought to grab a candy bar from a vending machine before trying to leave. because on my way back to the car, I got lost again.

What it Means to be a REAL Patriot

by Ambertolina

After listening to as much right-wing talk-radio as I can stand and having endless arguments with hardcore Republicans in person and over the Internet, I have now established what it means to be a REAL American patriot. And boy, have I been totally wrong about what it means to be a good American! Just in case any of my fellow pinko-commie-bleeding-heart liberals have also been confused about what it means to be a REAL American patriot, let me clear things up for you.

Being a REAL patriot means that you get a job and you work your ass off until the day you die. You don’t ever, ever, EVER apply for unemployment or welfare, because that is PURE COMMUNISM. If you’re out of a job for awhile and you lose your house and have to live in your car, you can go wash up at the corner gas station, pull yourself up by your own goddamn bootstraps and start over. This is America, where opportunities are boundless. Doesn’t matter if you’re black, or a woman, or Hispanic or whatever. You just take whatever job you can find and accept whatever measly scraps they pay you, and you don’t complain, even if it’s not enough money to pay your bills or keep your kids. Affirmative Action? Please. That’s for socialists and pansies. Besides, racism and sexism don’t exist in America, so just shut the f*ck up about that stuff already. No one wants to hear it. Continue reading What it Means to be a REAL Patriot

The Men’s Restroom at The Herb Farm: A Review

by Jason Edwards

There’s probably a name for the decorating style used at The Herb Farm. Actually, I’m pretty sure there’s a name for “the name for a decorating style.” But when I was there, yesterday, I had eight glasses of wine. And since the dining was excellent, my brain had to choose memories of delicious food over nomenclature when the alcohol arrived to destroy cells.

At any rate, that style might be called “farm-house sumptuous.” Like what a French aristocrat from the eighteenth century (early eighteenth, before all that Reign of Terror nonsense) would choose if he were transported to this century, got used to it, and was told to live on a farm. I describe it to you this way because I am assuming that if you’re willing to read a review of a men’s room, chances are you don’t have the kind of decorating education that would even recognize the words that a proper fashion review would use. Continue reading The Men’s Restroom at The Herb Farm: A Review

America is Fat

by Jason Edwards

America is fat. Say it proud! No, really, we as a country have grown to gargantuan proportions. And with test-scores falling at the same time, most of us don’t even know what “gargantuan” means. I’m pretty sure it’s from the Latin for “you jiggle when you walk.” Then again, I went to public school. Continue reading America is Fat

God Help Us: We Need Throw Pillows

by Jason Edwards

I used to live by myself, which was an accident. I had a roommate, but then she decided she wanted to “be independent.” She seemed to think that living by herself would reduce the chances of someone “accidentally” walking into the bathroom while she showered. Fine. Then I got another roommate, but she left too—even though the rent was cheap, she claimed she was losing money on mysteriously disappearing underwear. I have no idea how that was happening and I categorically deny even knowing what underwear is. So I was eventually living alone, and like a good bachelor with a good job, I went to Ikea. And all was well. I used primary colors as my color scheme, thinking that if it worked for kindergartens, it would work for me. Decorating was a simple matter of making sure I never had anything pastel, any color that had more than two syllables, came from a foreign language, or also described soup. Continue reading God Help Us: We Need Throw Pillows

Men Don’t Read

bukkheadheadby Jason E

I was not aware of this, but it seems that men don’t read. I am a man, and I read. I haven’t always read—last year I read maybe one book. Maybe two. This year I am making a concerted effort to read, with a goal of one book per week, average. So I read. But read this article on Huffingtonpost: Why Men Don’t Read: How Publishing is Alienating Half the Population.

The author, Jason Pinter, insists that men do read. And I believe him, and respect what he’s saying. So why is it that there’s this pervading idea that men don’t read? Probably because it works, as an idea. It’s not true, or not based in truth. But if publisher can keep making money by assuming it’s true, well then, it’s as good as true, right? Continue reading Men Don’t Read