Thursday, December 29, 2005

New Year's Eve is Stupid

Sorry. Had to come right out and say it. And when I say "New Year's Eve", I certainly don't mean the calendar day. That would be foolish. No calendar day on its own is stupid, with the exception of August 27th. I mean the celebration surrounding New Year's Eve. That's what's dumb.

And to address this over-hyped "holiday", I have decided to tell you the top 5 things I hate about New Year's Eve as well as recounting my 3 least favorite New Year's Eves in recent memory.

OK, here's what I hate about New Year's Eve:

1. Dick Clark. I do appreciate this guy busting back like Lazarus to take the torch from that ultra-annoying Ryan Seacrest, but when I think of something that is "rockin'", I most assuredly don't think of Dick Clark or his lame-o New Years bash. Oh, PLEASE, can you show a bunch of drunk, freezing New Yorkers in Times Square in a split screen with 3 Doors Down singing their latest depressing tidbit, or better yet, Hilary Duff, who I am convinced is up past her bedtime (but still would pay an enormous sum of money to see her settle her feud with Lindsay Lohan in a pit filled with $240 worth of pudding)? The last good thing Dick Clark did, other than make a deal with the Devil to make him look 54 for eternity, was the $10,000 Pyramid and that ruled because every once in awhile, they would have Sandy Duncan on and she could literally have one eye on the giant pyramid and one on her teammate. Not for nothing, but I personally think that gave her an unfair advantage over the Nipsey Russells of the world, but what the hell do I know?

2. Those completely ridiculous New Year's glasses that people wear. Thank Christ we only have three more years after this one that I will be subjected to these fashion atrocities. After that, the only ones that can wear them are pirates and Cyclopses.

3. Champagne and board games. I hate champagne anyway. It's sickly sweet. I have to drink it in a glass that invariably gets in the way of my schnoz, and it is so carbonated, one tiny sip of it sends me into a 3 hour long hiccup rager. I'll pass. Where's the hard stuff? And I normally don't mind board games either, but some of them are really terrible (Jenga...not really a board game, but you get the idea, Pictionary) and some of them are a little outdated. For example, do your party guests a favor and drop the extra $29.99 and upgrade your old blue Trivial Persuit "Genus Edition". Sure, it's an antique, but if I have to answer another question like "What astronomical anomaly is next due to occur in 1986?", I'm going on a three-state maiming spree. Hey, I'm no killer.

4. "We have to watch the ball drop!" Stop everything! Gotta watch this stupid disco ball, which looks like it is more at home in Allen Iverson's ear lobe, descend from a flagpole to this even more tacky electronic billboard announcing whatever year it is about to be. Baby New Year won't come if we don't watch the ball drop! I fully expect that somewhere on the earth, there are New Year's Eve orgies going on, and I guarantee, they all stop, mid-coitus, to watch the ball drop. There's a double entendre in there somewhere. And I'm not saying I've been to one of these things, but if you find yourself there, the password is "Fidelio".

5. "Auld Lang Syne". Isn't it time to retire this dinosaur? Not only is it abrasive, but what the frig does it mean? Not to mention the fact that it is totally unimaginative. Hope the lyricist didn't lose any sleep coming up with this poignant bit:

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And days of auld lang syne?
And days of auld lang syne, my dear,
And days of auld lang syne.
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And days of auld lang syne?

How about we rename it "Auld Auld Auld" and have the words be:

Auld auld auld auld auld
auld auld auld auld auld
auld auld auld auld auld

Now, THAT'S "rockin'"!

And here are my 3 least favorite New Year's Eves in recent memory:

3. 2000 - The millennium was not kind to Dim. My then-girlfriend had recently dumped me and I got a pity invite to a party thrown by a bunch of people my buddy Joe knows. At that time, I was a chain-smoking, light beer-drinking, black trenchcoat-wearing heap of misery. I go outside of the house to have a smoke as everyone else watched the ball drop and proceeded to sit on one of those beach chairs that had plastic slats going horizontally on it. You know the ones I mean and google images is not helping me. Anyway, I sit down on this chair to ponder my pathetic-ness and my ass goes straight through to the ground. After struggling to get out of this inhumane trap, I look down to see that the cold air had made the slats very unmalleable. I completely pulverized it. Dejected, I walked back into the house and sheepishly told the hosts what I had done, only to be informed that the chair had once belonged to Henry Kissinger. HENRY KISSINGER!! And so, the new century really started suck-ass.

2. 1993 - I got completely obliterated drinking vodka with Clearly Canadian, not very manly, I know, but I was 22 and as long as it wasn't Milwaukee's Best, I thought it was top-notch. I broke a guitar string while playing some Pearl Jam song and didn't notice until I went to put the guitar down that the broken end of the string was lodged in my little finger and I was bleeding like a stuck pig. Forget tetanus, I wanted more vodka and Clearly Canadian, which caused me to pass out sometime around 10:30 PM (WAY before the ball dropped). My friends at the time had senses of humor and decided to have some fun with me. So, when I awoke the next morning, I had dried ziti in my ears, goldfish crackers stuffed up my nostrils (with the tail fins sticking out, of course), and a Blow Pop strategically placed in my unzipped jeans (yet another double entendre). Not fun times.

1. 1994 - After watching the ball drop, I actually uttered these words: "I kind of liked that Hootie and the Blowfish song they did." I really am such a baby. The dolphins do make me cry.

Well, that's that, mattress man. Hope you all have a nice end of 2005 and beginning of 2006. And don't forget...if you hear me say "Science and Nature for the wedge", it's too're already dead.

- Dim.

Friday, December 23, 2005


If anyone reading my blog is offended by me wishing the citizens of Dim City a Merry Christmas, I invite you to partake in a yule log suppository. Sorry...I fully intended my pre-holiday blog to be free from rants, but I woke up to 3 things that absolutely drove me crazy.

First, this story is beyond appalling. These TWO parents who have their panties in a bunch over the word "Christmas" really should be ashamed of themselves. May your holiday season be filled with rancid fruitcakes, lost electricity, and termite infestations.

Second, not a big fan of people bringing their kids to work with them. I realize daycares might be closed, but I have two words for you: "vacation day". One time this woman brought her kid into work and the little ankle-biter commenced violin practice in her office. Real nice. All I can picture when people bring their kids to work is that scene in Raising Arizona when one of Glen's kids writes "FART" on the wall of H.I.'s mobile home. Leave the whippersnappers at home. Unless you want me to come over your house during nap time and do the loud part of my job.

Finally, in my position, we have a flexible schedule. I tend to work 7:30 to 4:00. Each day, the time I arrive varies by a few minutes due to my snooze button, but I show up roughly around the same time. Every day, there are the same people here before me. They probably get in around 7:00. Now, the last working day before Christmas, our company throws this HUGE bash in one of its offices. Everybody gets to clock 0ut around 11:30 or so and attend this party, which is really something else. So, I walk into work today and I'm the only one here. All of the people who normally come in at 7:00 are nowhere to be found. They will all lolligag in around 9:30-10:00 instead to take advantage of the short day. Stuff like that really frosts me. The company is being nice...don't be a tool.

OK, now on to what this message was supposed to be about. Cyberspace is an odd bedfellow. Not that I sleep with fellows, mind you. But it can allow you the ability to communicate with people around the word, yet it heartlessly denies the personal touch we all crave this time of year. I'm sad that I can't give all of you, dear citizens, a holiday hug (complete with 2 pats on the back, instead of the customary non-holiday 1 pat), a bottle of booze, or a knicknack from my work desk that I wrapped in printer paper because you surprised me by giving me a gift when I didn't have one for you.

Regardless, I would like to wish you all a happy whatever-you-celebrate. May your religious denominational holiday be joyous. Unless, of course, you are a devil worshipper. In that case, I wish your celebration is filled with whatever level of evil you desire, provided it is only a touch of evil. The most amount of evil I can wish for you is that the lights go out on your while listening to Iron Maiden's Number of the Beast. Anything more evil than that I most assuredly cannot condone. Me? I'm a Christmas guy. So feel free to wish me a Merry Christmas. I promise I won't send the PC cops after you.

In my guilt that I cannot give you all the presents you so deserve, especially to my newfound pals Rusty & JG. I give you the next best thing. A picture of me in kindergarten. Don't spend it all in one place. And yes, I got TONS of chicks in this outfit, thank you very much.

- Dim.

Thursday, December 22, 2005


(Trying something a little different...a "blast" from my past. Dim presents..."Babylon"...what would have been my first blog entry if there were blogs back in 1998.)

The sun exploded today.

Blunt, I know, but there's really no sense in beating around the bush on this one. I hate reading things that talk about water lilies and seagulls all the way through and then end up being about the author's perverted obsession with Lucille Ball. So, now you know. This is about the sun exploding today. A significant event, in and of itself without question, but it would appear dwarf-like in stature if i did not disclose a bit of my recent past to explain its great galactic importance. No pun intended.

My morning started off pretty much like a normal Saturday morning. I had gotten home late the previous evening after spending an absurd amount of time and money on a newly discovered watering hole, a place that I liked instantly, but I suspect will never visit again, since it is most likely singed to the scorched ground from today's colossal fireball.

Anyway, I was sleeping off quite a few Rolling Rocks and an outstanding roast beef sandwich this fateful morning. Now, I know you are saying that everything tastes outstanding when you have had quite a few Rolling Rocks, but this roast beef sandwich was something else. I will spare you the delectable details and I would highly recommend this all night drunk food joint if I was not thoroughly convinced that it, too, is a giant tinder stick at this very moment.

So, the phone rings at 11:23 this morning, startling me from one of the better sleeps I've had in awhile. You may ask how I know it was precisely 11:23. Well, when the phone rang, I immediately woke up and stared at my clock radio and said out loud to nobody, "Who in the HELL is calling me at 11:23 in the morning?!?", not stopping to realize that the majority of this doomed planet's population did not get in late the previous evening after having quite a few Rolling Rocks and a roast beef sandwich.

Needless to say, I was instantaneously bent out of shape since it disturbed a rather Rip Van Winkle-esque batch of z's, which was rare. I haven't been sleeping well lately and a voice inside my head says it's stress-related, but unfortunately for it, it happens to be the same voice that tells me that I was one of the Smothers Brothers in a former life, to which all the other voices in my head argue the impossibility of that, since neither Smother Brother is dead yet. So, I don't listen to that voice, not only because it makes no sense, but also because it causes quite a racket.

In addition to this little sleep problem, my body hasn't been in the best shape, since I have been suffering from (#1) Cotton Balls in the Head Syndrome, (#2) Rodents on a Treadmill in My Belly Syndrome, (#3) Little Pinprick Pains in My Brain Syndrome, (#4) Really Funky Sly and the Family Stone-like Heart Rhythm Syndrome, and (#5) the Pesky Thing in My Throat that won't Melt Away Syndrome. So, these things, combined with my obvious hypochondria, various neuroses, and the fact that my bedroom is as temperature-friendly as Goldilocks' porridge all mixed together to make a cocktail of restlessness. And the best sleep that I WOULD get every night would be during the nano-second before the alarm went off. So here I am, Saturday morning, sans alarm, and the phone rings.

I pick it up and growl a "Hello?" A voice whispered in my ear "Where's your freedom?" Now, this was a refreshing change since most of the time lately, when the phone rings while I am sleeping, I pick it up and it's so-and-so from some bank asking for my roommate while mispronouncing her last name. When I say that she's not home, then they ask me if I am Mister My Roommate's Mispronounced Last Name. When I say no to that, they ask when would be a good time to reach her and I would say "Anytime is good except for the current time of 8:26 AM (or whatever time it actually is), so call back in a minute." I hang up and when the phone rings again in a minute, I let the machine get it. It's the little things that make me happy.

I was so startled that it wasn't Joe Bank-Guy on the phone, I failed to pay attention to the caller's question, so I re-inquired with a "Huh?," to which he responded again, in a slightly louder whisper "Where's your freedom?" Looking back at it now, I think it's a pretty cool thing to call and ask a stranger out of the blue, but I was kind of groggy from the lack of sleep, the quite a few Rolling Rocks, and the roast beef sandwich, so I mumbled "Must've left it in the car" and hung up. Funny thing is that I proceeded to throw on some clothes with the full intention of retrieving this freedom thing from my car, but when I left my apartment, I forgot all about it and decided to get the mail instead.

The mail was a major disappointment, with the exception of a certain entertainment magazine that I receive on a weekly basis. I opened it with a youthful exuberance when a pang of hunger drove me to microwave some leftover Thai food for lunch. This was the very same Thai food which gave me and my friends weirdo X-Files-like dreams the other night, so I was slightly hesitant, but bizarre dreams are nothing compared to washing pots and pans, so I nuked it and began to eat. The Pad Thai must have reacted well with the quite a few Rolling Rocks and the roast beef sandwich since I experienced no obvious psychosis unless, of course, you count this story.

So I ate and read my magazine and was embarrassingly intrigued to find out that I could purchase a video tape of two celebrities engaged in some homemade hanky-panky for $29.95 plus shipping and handling. I wasn't embarrassed at the time, mind, you, but if I knew then what I know now...I mean, a celebrity sex tape pales in comparison to the entire eradication of humanity. Well...sort of.

So, after writing the check, I took a shower which was an OK shower as far as showers go, but the water got really hot towards the end, which should have clued me off to this whole exploding sun thing, but I was preoccupied thinking of my celebrity sex tape which would have arrived in 4-6 weeks, most orders shipped within 24 hours upon receiving payment. I shudder to think what happened to that tape now. I remember my video store displaying a copy of The Usual Suspects that someone left on their dashboard for an hour in the summertime heat. It wasn't a pretty sight. I could only imagine what a nuclear explosion would do.

I'm cleaning the hair out of the drain, lamenting the obvious fact that I'm going bald; a fact that, in retrospect, seems insignificant in the wake of the galaxy's annihilation, but let's face it. If the skin is going to be melted off of our bones in a split second of solar brilliance, we are vain enough to hope that our hair is properly moussed. At least I am.

After the shower, I got dressed and hopped into the car, completely forgetting to look for the freedom thing again, which I now assume is in the trunk with the Rollerblades I haven't used in a year and a half and a Native American wig my friend wore this past Halloween until we made fun of him because it made him look more like Hiawatha than Sitting Bull.

I drive to a local bookstore/music store/cafe with the hopes of drinking coffee (which I don't like) and writing something that doesn't want to be written. Upon entering the store, I plop down on a comfy chair and begin people-watching with the hopes of jump-starting some inspiration. No suck luck. Before the scream of questionable masculinity that emanated from me at the moment of the sun's explosion today, I thought I was pretty cool. And I thought that cool people went to cool places to hang out with other cool people and do cool things. And a lot of people in bookstores are actually cool, but it just bothers me that some people are walking around with Sartre and Machiavelli under their arms, while others just moseyed on by to pick up the new Guns and Ammo and "The Ron Goldman Story". Now, don't get me wrong. I have nothing against NRA people and true crime buffs. I'm sure that they are really fascinating to other NRA people and other true crime buffs, but they, like most other people, serve no useful purpose to me whatsoever. And thus went my inspiration.

So I abandoned my hopes of writing something meaningful and adjourned to the cafe to scald my mouth with coffee that I don't even like. I am an impatient person and this impatience contributes to the third degree burns my oral cavity suffers at the hands of this loathsome Coffee Monster. Not only do I rush to drink it so I can go home and get away from the NRA people and the true crime buffs, but I rush to drink it to get the damn thing over with because I hate the taste of coffee.

I order the coffee because 1) I notice that most of the cool people in the bookstore are drinking coffee or some mutant coffee hybrid, 2) and most importantly, I'm hoping that this torrid liquid will miraculously melt this lump in my throat, promptly curing syndrome #5, and 3) If I ever get the chutzpah to ask a girl to have coffee with me, it would be beneficial if I actually drank the stuff. It wouldn't be too cool to just sit there and watch her drink it. It would be like asking a girl out to go bowling and then saying, "No, you go ahead. I'm sitting this one out because it aggravates my sciatica."

I leave the store after pausing ever so briefly to weigh the options of purchasing a 50% off desktop calendar of "365 Days of Chicken Soup for the Soul." It's a little too "Shiny Happy People" for me, not to mention the fact that those self-help morons really piss me off, so I pass on the calendar and leave dejected since I couldn't write about anything and that disgusting coffee beverage did nothing to help Syndrome #5.

I get on the highway to go home and it hits me. I could write about this "Where's your freedom?" thing and have it be this really deep and cool philosophical piece and everything. I'm getting pretty stoked forming the story in my mind, not really paying attention to the road ahead, when I look up and all I see are tail lights. I slam on the brakes causing the Radiohead cassette tape case that was on my seat to hurtle against the dash at Top Gun-esque G-force. Once the car settled down, I looked up and saw it: The sun, just above the tree tops. It was HUGE and getting bigger by the second. I'm not sure if it actually got warmer out because at that same moment, I put on the defroster to get some ice off my window. All I could think about was that my little freedom story seemed pretty weak against this thermal holocaust. I kept thinking about how good that roast beef sandwich was and if I could call my bank and cancel that check, since I'm sure the video tape will not be arriving within the 4-6 week timeframe now. The sun filled up the entire sky. A golden, gaseous globe. And then...BOOM!

The sun exploded.

I'm almost sure of it. But don't quote me, though. Like I said, I haven't been sleeping well lately...

Sunday, December 18, 2005

10 Words and/or Phrases I Hate To Hear

Vizzini: "Incontheivable!"
Inigo Montoya: "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

- The Princess Bride

The following words and phrases put a terrifying shudder into me like when I hear the words, "Live from New York, it's Saturday night!" By no means is this list exhaustive. It's just what I could come up with after being up until 3:30 AM. Feel free to add your own.

1. Supposably. Cue Inigo Montoya. This is an oft-misused version of "supposedly", which makes the speaker of said word sound either like an idiot or Mushmouth from Fat Albert.

2. No brainer. Although not grammatically incorrect to the best of my knowledge, this is a phrase that just bugs the hell out of me. People use this to signify something that is "obvious" or that the answer is "so clear, one nary has to think to get it right." I tend to use the word to describe someone who had a fateful run-in with a brain-eating zombie. Which is probably why they use a phrase like "no brainer"...they no longer have any brains.

3. Irregardless. Let's break this one down. You have the prefix "ir-", which basically means "not". Then you have "regardless", which I'm pretty sure means "without regard". So, you put those together and you have "not without regard", or simpler, "with regard". So, instead of using the correct word, you use an incorrect version of the word which gives you the opposite meaning. OUCH! Slushy headache. Just knock this shit off.

4. For all intensive purposes. This one is completely fantabulous, because not only do people actually say this phrase in this manner, but they also write it like this. It's like they took their moron status and super-sized it. Anyway, "intensive" is an adjective which deals with intensity. So, when you look at it like that, it is confoundingly nonsensical. And if you happen to use this phrase and wonder what the real one is supposed to be...I'm not going to tell you.

5. It goes without saying that... Again, not grammatically incorrect, but terribly misused. How come this phrase always seems to precede a long-winded diatribe? If it goes without saying, guess what? Don't say it.

6. Worse comes to worse. OK, this one makes sense. You are trying to say if something bad gets even badder, will do something. But, instead, what you are saying is, "if something bad remains the same exact level of bad", will do something. Perhaps what you should be doing is taking a few night courses. It's a no brainer!

7. Not trying to reinvent the wheel. I work with a bunch of salespeople and I hear this one ALL THE TIME and drives me up a friggin wall. Again, nothing wrong with it on the surface. But they use it to illustrate to me that they don't want to do something that has already been done. "Look, I'm not trying to reinvent the wheel here..." Isn't there a better metaphor you can use, because I am reasonable sure there's a patent on the wheel. How about trying to fly a kite with a key attached to the string during a thunderstorm? Or are you not trying to rediscover electricity either?

8. Vice-a versa. Good job, Jar Jar Binks. Meesa gots a bad feeling abouts this too.

9. Fustrated. This is one that is often said, but I rarely see people actually write it out like this, so they have a modicum of brain activity going on upstairs, but the mouth fumbles the handoff from the noggin and the "r" gets kidnapped somewhere along the way. The only people allowed to say "fustrated" are ones that really hate soggy fench fies.

10. I could care less... This is a classic. Usually said contemptuously to REALLY emphasize the fact that the speaker has such little regard for what is about to follow. A very powerful and empowering phrase usually uttered by someone who is being really pissy about something, usually what another person thinks about them. But in actuality, what they are saying is that, in fact, they do have the ability to care less about what they are about to say. So, they care more about what they are going to say than they really want to care about it. Which is the exact opposite of the point they are trying to make. Kick-ass way to not only sound like a doofus, but also to completely chop the balls off of the spiteful point you were trying to make.

Feel free to add your own!

Couldn't possibly care less,


Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Grinch Redux

Although I completely stand by my grade of Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, this was actually on the other night and I looked at it with more of a disparaging eye. Don't get me wrong, I still think this is a classic and I still think Dr. Seuss is a good children's book writer (even though "There's a Wocket in My Pocket" sounds more like a sleazy pick-up line than a kids' book). But I found a few things...10, in fact, that struck me about the Grinch, the story, and Dr. Seuss' rhyming tendencies that sort of ruffled my inner Grinch:

1. Maybe the Grinch was just a miserable little prick. I mean, if you are even hypothesizing that he not only hated Christmas, but the WHOLE Christmas season because, perhaps, his shoes were too tight, something tells me it has more to do with him being a miserable prick than him needing a trip to Payless. I've worn boots that gave me bunions the size of Short-Round from Indiana Jones and while it caused me to completely LOATHE Groundhog Day, it really didn't dampen my Christmas Spirit. No time for six more weeks of winter, Dr. Jones.

2. The Grinch doesn't wear any pants.

"And he made a quick Santy Claus hat and a coat."

Curiously, the Grinch decided not to cover the south pole. And it's certainly not because Seuss had problems trying to rhyme with "pants" (see #3). The good Doctor purposely left his Grinchhood swinging in the wind. Now, I am the last person to defend the tyranny of pants, but this is a children's program and unless you want to see those mall Santas with dropped trow outside the Crate and Barrel, I think the Grinch needs some Wranglers. Let's see...what rhymes with "pervert"...

3. The made-up words. Dr. Seuss is a fraud in a lot of respects, because a lot of poets out there have to painstakingly go though the alphabet to find a word that not only rhymes, but also fits in with the sure-to-be depressing theme of their poem. Not Seuss. And this permeates all of his work...not just the Grinch. Contained therein, are no less than the following faux-words that are toys and noisemakers that those crazy Who's apparently dig:


The latter of which is something that is banged. I saw a movie that once that dealt with the banging of a gardinka, but it was some Cinemax After-Dark feature that took place in Hungary.

Anyway, I don't like the whole "making up words just to rhyme" bit. I mean, can you imagine Maya Angelou penning:

She ate the sweetest orange
Hey, look at that plorange!

4. Cindy Lou Who (who was no more than 2) - While all the other Who's in Whoville looked like a cross between Ron Perlman and Garfield, Cindy Lou Who (save for the confounding antennae sprouting from her head) looked like a regular old baby. What's up with that? Something tells me the mailman for the Who's might just be a human. Or an ant.

5. The term "Santy Claus" is heard multiple times. And each time I cringe like I just heard, "And now...a special two-hour 'One Tree Hill'...". The only one allowed to say "Santy Claus" is Buster Poindexter. Please tell me you remember that "Is That You, Santy Claus?" tune, which is horrible, but not nearly as horrible as the two worst Christmas-related songs in history: "Feliz Navidad" by Jose Feliciano. And before you give me grief about it, the dude is blind, not deaf. He should have written a better song. Stevie Wonder is blind too, but he wrote "Superstition". Granted, he also wrote, "I Just Called To Say I Love You", so I realize I'm not helping my cause any. Never mind. And the other putrid song is "Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time" by Paul McCartney. The only Christmas song that makes me wish I was an Atheist. But I digress...

6. That Christmas Who song sucks. It doesn't have a good beat and I most certainly cannot dance to it.

7. The Grinch hates noise so much that he is willing to go to great lengths to give himself some peace and quiet, yet he and he alone is the one flapping his gums, to a dog, no less through the whole damn show (save for 4 words by Cindy Lou Who). You want peace and quiet, skinny Hulk? Shut your friggin' roast beast hole. Which brings me to the:

8. The strangely regenerative roast beast. Did this delicacy come from Re-Animator? I mean, it gets carved, yet the slice that is removed, reappears instantaneously on the carcass. That's downright creepy. A roast beast o'plenty that feeds all of Whoville. I'd need a hell of a lot of Who Hash to wash that down with, believe you me.

9. After all this effort, the Grinch gets the warm and fuzzies after realizing that a day, the actually calendar day, will arrive even though he stole a bunch of wreaths and tartookas. Wow, Einstein, you can't stop the sun from rising too? And because of that, you see what Christmas is all about?! I haven't seen a faster 180 since Revenge of the Sith:

Anakin (to the bad guy): "You're evil. I'll fight you forever."
Bad guy: "Want to join the Dark Side?"
Anakin: "OK."

10. The whole heart growing three sizes thing. They put that x-ray thing in front of the Grinch's chest and his heart grows so big, that it pulverizes the apparatus' border. First, I don't watch ER, but I'm pretty sure this exploding heart thing would kill him and two, if not, then at least his heart would be engorged so much that he could be featured on TLC's Medical Mysteries. I'm not looking for perfection. Just a little realism. A note on realism: Christine recently informed me that she steadfastly won't go see that new giant gorilla movie because it is so unrealistic that a giant gorilla (surprising, NOT played by Jack Black) can climb up a building and get Naomi Watts to have the hots-on for it. Yet, the #1 movie on her must-see list: The kid who walks through a closet and meets a talking lion that's really Jesus and a half-man, half-goat thing. Okey dokey.

Well, that does it. I still like the Grinch, but these things kinda ruined my buzz.

And if you agree with my post and my blog
Ring your blimtoast! And send a guffog!

Still not getting it,

- Dim.

Monday, December 12, 2005

So You Wanna Be A Rock 'N' Roll Star

So you're sitting at home listening to Green Day, Nirvana, and the Ramones and you think, "Hey, I can do this! This is EASY!" So, you dust off that old AC/DC vinyl and as the last tortured notes of "Back in Black" scratch through your speakers, you crack a maniacal smile of self-affirmation. Well, listen up, Davy Jones. Been there, done that, have the bump on my head. And let me tell you, no matter how effortlessly Ricky Martin shakes his bon bon, it's NOT that easy. But because I am the Ayatollah of Rock and Rollah, I have developed a twelve-step program for rock 'n' roll success. Follow it to a T and who knows? You could be the next Right Said Fred. So sexy it really DOES hurt.

Why should you listen to me? No, I don't have a CD out, nor have I toured the country extensively. I haven't worn make-up (at least not for a gig) or teased my hair with a natural gas tank-sized can of Aqua Net. But I have been in the trenches. I've sweated and bled for my music. Not because I've toiled hard, but because I get hot all the time and cut pretty easily. And I’ve played open mics for backwoods whack-jobs. And all I have to show for it is tinnitus and Elephant Man-like calloused fingers. Hell, I was in bands called Maelstrom, Tempest, and Blackstar all before I could even play an instrument! I dreamed of being a star in the music biz and had everything I needed to reach my goal with the possible exception of an instrument, talent, and equally clueless bandmates. But that doesn’t mean I don’t know what it takes, Simon Cowell, alright?!

I started playing acoustic guitar at a very early age. My parents tinkered around on the church circuit and showed me a thing or two. I even got to sit in a couple of times playing for masses and prayer groups, but after realizing that I wasn't going to land a ton of chicks playing "His Eye is on the Sparrow," I abandoned the six-string and moved on to that babe magnet instrument, the clarinet. All that got me was lip splinters, atomic wedgies, and kids at school that would literally pick up dog shit with their own bare hands just for the opportunity to hurl it at me when I was walking home. So, like the Prodigal Son, I sheepishly returned to the guitar, electric style, the year I entered Catholic high school and focused on being the next Vinnie Moore. Who? Exactly.

Bands came and went. We were kicked out of mass for playing an instrumental version of Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb" during Communion, which we would have pulled off, if the student body decided to contemplate Jesus dying for their sins rather than singing, "There is no pain, you are receding", but we had fun anyway. Well, as much fun as you can have playing electric guitar in a mass, hampered by a suit jacket, tie, and a very un-rock star-like haircut. I went through a long dry period where I wasn’t doing much musically. My beloved Monkee's Uncle had disbanded and I did little more than play horribly depressing Bob Mould covers on my acoustic for my mirror and, apparently, my upstairs neighbor Maxine. But now I am back with the creative juices flowing and get my kicks out of playing horribly depressing Bob Mould covers on my acoustic for the real-life cast of Deliverance. Man, if I had a nickel for everytime someone requested "Duelling Banjos"...But that doesn’t mean I don’t know what it takes to make millions. So take heed, remember my words, apply them and never forget... I get 15%.

I – Choosing Your Equipment

Always remember: Style over substance. I had the opportunity to buy a gorgeous Gibson hollow body electric for my first guitar way back when I was fifteen. Instead, I opted for a Value-Rite Red Flying-V monstrosity because it looked like the one the Night Ranger guy had. Oh yes, Sister Christian…the time has come. It was virtually impossible to play sitting down and the knobs would inexplicably fall off mid-strum, but I was Joe Rock Star with that thing. I used to put my arm through the opening of the "V" and play it that way. I ran home the day I got it, cranked the Scorpions' Love At First Sting and pretended I was "Still Loving You." My parents listened outside my door thinking I was a prodigy, not stopping to realize that a) all of a sudden, without a mere lesson, I could play a rock song, b) a drummer materialized in my room from out of nowhere and c) I now sang in a thick German accent. Riddled by guilt for miming the tune, I learned it years later. My parents affectionately referred to it as a "racket." Also, be an intelligent, thrifty shopper. I got a decent deal on a Peavey amp with a vomit stain on the speaker cover. Not a bad amp, but when it got really hot....

II – Choosing Your Teacher

Not all of us are born with Stevie Ray Vaughan chops in our genes, so if you feel the need to be tutored, go to the best in your area. My first instructor was named Bill. Bill was a great guy and a really decent axe-man with a lot of integrity. He would sit there during our lesson, with his Pat Metheny shirt on and just roll his eyes disapprovingly when I asked him to teach me Rush's "By-Tor and the Snow Dog." But he still lowered himself to my depths and I greatly appreciated it. Evidently, Bill's girlfriend also appreciated him because one day, he was gone (he knocked her up and needed something slightly more high-brow than a $4.25/hr. teaching gig to put food on the table.) Enter Manny. If you want a teacher, I implore you. Find Manny. Sometimes Manny showed up for the lesson, sometimes Manny didn't. Sometimes Manny made bail, sometimes Manny didn't. When he had enough energy to shake off that Friday night Heffenreffer bender, Manny could play pretty well. Manny had long, greasy hair and I swore he played that same Gibson I dropped the ball on years earlier. Snugly tucked in the headstock was a stunted cigarette butt from the Paleolithic era, the sure sign of a bad ass rock star in the making. Manny also wouldn't put up with my shit. We played what HE wanted to play, which invariably was "Sympathy for the Devil" by the Stones. Every solitary week. One time I brought in a copy of Dokken's "Alone Again" (OK, OK, shut up. I was in high school for crying out loud.) Manny had never heard it, a fact that in retrospect, commands infinite respect, but was willing to learn it for me. He put the tape in, listened to the first few bars of George Lynch's delicate guitar intro, got a really dumb look on his face, rewound it, listened to it again, tuned his guitar to the tape and proceeded to launch right into "Sympathy." For the love of all that's holy, find Manny. And tell him that Dim says "The Stones suck."

III – Choosing Your Bandmates

Since you're gonna wind up playing with people you hate, you may as well start off with enemies. Friends don't let friends play in bands together. Remember what it did for Vince Neil and Motley Crue back before they kissed, had plastic surgery and made up? No thanks. Besides, it's easier to contemplate homicide using your Value-Rite red Flying-V if you never sat down and had a beer with the victim (usually the lead singer... don't say I didn't warn you).

IV - Choosing Your Setlist

Remember, diversity in your setlist is a good thing, but give serious consideration as to how Queensyche will sound following the Beatles' "We Can Work It Out." Also, stay within your limitations. Our stupid-ass bass player was into gadgets and gizmos. He picked up this voice processor (don't ask) and quickly discovered that, using this device, he could do the two-sentence spoken word intro to the Artist Formerly Known as the Artist Formerly Known as Prince’s "1999," an intro that the rest of the free world could replicate without the aid of some fancy shmancy piece of junk. Just talk like Barry White, man! So guess what gets thrown on the setlist? "1999." No electronic drums, mind you. No pencil thin moustaches. No scantily clad women playing keyboards. No guy mysteriously dressed up as a surgeon. Just a goddamn vocal processor. Being the only guitar player (and actually having my testicles intact,) I got to play Prince's guitar part and sing the lower vocal part that the rhythm guitarist with the Samurai headband sang. After the bass player got his ya-ya's with the processor, we started the song in utter disarray. After two measures, I pulled a Nigel Tufnel nutty, slammed my guitar down, grabbed the mic that was still plugged into the processor and said, in a tone eerily reminiscent of that thing in Sigourney Weaver's icebox in "Ghostbusters" that said "Zuul," "We are never playing this fucking song again." And we never played that fucking song again.

V - Choosing Your Name

Do not - I repeat - do NOT underestimate the potential catastrophe choosing your name will be. Keep sharp objects out of reach during discussion. Even potentially sharp's amazing what a little whittling can do. It's inconceivable that, with band names like Toad the Wet Sprocket and the Screaming Cheetah Wheelies among countless others, five semi-intelligent, non-comatose individuals cannot, or will not, agree on a moniker. After dismissing such gems as Crystal Nipple and Sport 'N' The Tall Boys, we settled on Zen Yogurt thanks to a faulty ice cream store marquee. Oh, and smart ass, if you're thinking of naming your band Free Beer, (picture that on a sign outside a club: Thursday - Free Beer) don't bother. I tried that one too. Also, keep your karma in check. I was in a band called Spork for awhile. Great musicians, but we almost killed each other. Taking your name from an androgynous eating utensil from Kentucky Fried Chicken is just a cosmic bus crash waiting to happen.

VI – Watch What You Eat

Not that I think that Drake's Apple Pies are the Devil's Dessert or anything, but they don't set well before practice, especially if you don't...

VII – Watch What You Drink

Now, Mountain Dew IS the Nectar of the Underworld, especially when coupled with Drake's Apple Pies and anyone who tells you different is too late to save. Kurt Cobain had his heroin. Janis Joplin had her Southern Comfort. Mama Cass had her ham sandwich. David Crosby had his...hell, what DIDN'T David Crosby have? Yours truly had Mountain Dew. I was in rehab for three years to get off of that stuff and still shudder like the space shuttle if I catch a glimpse of that Sugar Coma in a Green Can. And don't listen to these newly reformed rock stars. Play when you're tanked. You may not actually play better than when you're sober, but you'll think you do. And that's all that really matters. There's no better feeling of satisfaction than convincing four equally-as-drunk-as-you-bandmates that you really did nail that Van Halen solo.

VIII – Play Anywhere

Don't be choosy with your gigs no matter how embarrassing they are. One time, we played a cookout in the rain for a bunch of octogenarians. They were a little taken aback by our Faith No More covers, but we entertained them with our multiple electric shocks as our system shorted out. If you ever find yourself in a similar playing environment, remember: stop, drop and convulse. Plus, there is nothing more existentially surreal than having some guy older than Nebuchadnezzar screaming "Freebird!" through an artificial voice box. Kinda sounded like the vocal processor, actually.

IX – Develop An Entourage

You really don't need a Snoop Doggy Dogg posse to placate your developing ego, but it's nice to be followed around, even if it's by two fifteen year-old girls and you are well into your twenties. They'd beg us for autographs, used picks, broken strings, anything. They had a virtual Zen Yogurt shrine. Quite the ego boost, even though they probably just hung out with us so we could help them with their spelling homework. Tragically, over a fateful summer vacation, our little groupies decided we sucked and we never saw them again. When you can't even get two pimply-faced pre-pubescent girls who still have their baby fat to fawn over you, you're in deep shit now, Francis.

X – Develop An Ego

If you've even vaguely followed steps one through nine, this should happen automatically. And think everything you do is earth-shattering. We spent an entire day writing a song that we thought was better than "Smells Like Teen Spirit." Looking back, it sounded like a tune that couldn't make the cut on the last Winger album.

XI – Watch Out For UFOs

That is, Unidentified Falling Objects. I once got my bell rung by playing under a pull-down staircase in a garage. Just into our Journey cover, I realized that our Ritalin-deprived drummer needed to slow down. Having a drummer who can't keep the time is a real bummer, especially when he turns a Styx ballad into "Lady - The Slayer Version." Anyway, I go up to the drummer and scream "Slow down!!" He looked above me, noticing the vibrations from the bass and drums were causing the staircase to inch its way downward. He nodded, more to alert me to my impending doom than to comply with my request. Just when I figured it out, I looked up in time to get nailed on the side of my head with the staircase. I was out cold and the band thought my head and body went "Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)." After I came to, I swore I nailed that Van Halen solo. Then again, maybe it was all that Miller Genuine Draft (see "Watch What You Drink".) Also, beware of falling bandmates. Our rather energetic, yet hardly svelte, bass player decided to climb up on a saw horse of all god-forsaken stage props for the finale of "Helter Skelter." He burned up on re-entry, but the sound of him landing on his bass, along with his screams of agony, added some appropriate ambiance. Blisters on my fingers, indeed.

XII – Go Out In Style

If you do decide to hang it all up after your hard work, have a rousing farewell bash. Drake's Apple Pies and Mountain Dew for everyone, including the entourage. Break stuff, preferably someone else's equipment and start making plans for an unplugged reunion tour. Either that, or change your name to Esteban Iglesias and learn how to sing in Spanish. La vida loca indeed.

So you still wanna be a rock and roll star?

Everything zen, baby. I don’t think so.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Open Mic Night

In addition to being a writer wannabe, I am also a musician wannabe and this manifests itself in a rather embarrassing activity. Yes, I play at open mics. And no, you can't come.

The open mics I tend to play are all in the boonies of Massachusetts by design. Out in the sticks, you can get a half hour set and the talent level is pretty middling, so if you're decent, it's quite an ego boost. If you play in Boston, you get one song in a coffeehouse and it's always really challenging following some ultra-pasty white disaffected college sophomore who is covering Lili Taylor's "Joe Lies (When He Cries)" from Say Anything...

So, instead of putting up with that nonsense, I end up playing to a bunch of hillbilly drunks and Golden Tee fanatics. The price I pay for my art.

Anyway, last night was a pretty decent gig. Good turnout from friends...good turnout from friends' friends. But the funny thing about playing these things out in the woods is that your audience can be weird, or like last night, annoying. Mom always said, "Playing open mics in Central Massachusetts is like a box of chocolates. You never know what annoying inbred wackos are going to show up." Mom's not so good with analogies.

So, me, Joe, and Christine get there and have a couple of drinks to loosen up. I usually get to the place and don't drink until I'm just about to go on, whereupon I have a shot of Southern Comfort which doesn't hit me until my set is over. I strayed from my routine last night and starting having anxiety attacks about that which rivalled the ones I get when I see Bumbles. I'm a ritualistic kind of guy and foregoing my shot of SoCo could have been a harbinger of things to come. And in a way, it was.

Joe goes on and plays a great set. I'm always envious of him because he is a great guitar player and knows great songs. Joe's hopes to do a Jimmy Buffet song were squashed by the guy who went on immediately before him who apparently knew of no songwriter other than Jimmy Buffet and proceeded to play most of his catalog. I never got the whole Parrothead thing, but that's a rant for another time.

Joe's set ends with "The Weight" by The Band and I join him on stage for that one and we have dueling guitars and vocals. It's always fun and it loosens me up for my set. We finish that tune and Joe goes and sits in the front of the stage with some cool friends of his that came out.

This is when things got...strange.

As soon as Joe finished up, there were these two people who took an immediate idolizing to him. I can't believe it. Joe has himself groupies! One was a smallish guy dressed in the most overbearing turtleneck sweater this side of Dane Cook's on the Saturday Night Live skit a few weeks back. This thing was like 20% wool, 10% sheepdog and 70% yak hair. It was a beast and quite possibly still living. The other person who saddled up to Joe was this large and LOUD woman. Now, normally, I would leave out the fact that she was large, but it will come into play later.

I go on and start my set off. And all I can hear is this really loud, abrasive woman fawning over Joe. As a performer at these things, you get used to the chatter that goes on, but this lady was as piercing as Sam Kinison using a bullhorn. Their conversation is something that I'll get to later, but in the course of my set, one of Joe's friends proceeded to shoot this woman the hairy eyeball because she was literally drowning me out, and then finally had to tell her to knock the volume down. It got to the point, during my last song, that I just said "Fuck it" to myself and sang the loudest I could while still staying in key. And I could STILL hear this woman's caustic cackle. In fact, here I am, about 11 hours later, and I can still hear it. Something tells me it will be something I will carry for the rest of my life. Now, I know why you see disheveled people walking down the street, swinging maniacally at the air, blocking their ears, cursing at the sky. They know this chick.

In the meantime, Christine gets up and sings a few tunes with me. She kicks ass in that she is a better singer and better guitar player than I. And everyone makes sure to tell her just how great she is when she is done. I'm rapidly becoming Sonny to her Cher. Captain to her Tennille, Tito Jackson to her Michael Jackson. Whatever.

So, I get off stage, and settle back in at which point, Joe informs me of one of the funniest things I have ever heard. This annoying paper-cut of a woman interjected herself, did I mention loudly?, into Joe's posse (who were exchanging early Christmas gifts) and saw that someone had given Joe a gift card to Dick's Sporting Goods. The conversation went something like this:

Chick I Just Wanted To Pound and Pound with a Shovel: "Are you a sportsman?"

Joe: "Yes."

CIJWTPAPWAS: "What do you do?"

Joe: "I hunt."

CIJWTPAPWAS: "What do you hunt?"

Joe: "Big game."

This is hysterical on so many levels, because, first of all, Joe doesn't hunt big game and, second of all, Joe doesn't hunt at all, and, lastly, this chick was immense. Definite the high comedy point of the evening up to that point.

Then it got weird.

And older guy came up and did some 60s classics, including Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Down On The Corner", which, to this day, I cannot hear without thinking of that scene in One Crazy Summer where George Calamari is buried up to his head in sand on the beach and some big guy doesn't see him and puts his beach chair right on top of his dome and then proceeds to eat a 5-gallon tub of baked beans. That song is playing in that scene and will be forever linked in my warped mind. John Fogerty weeps.

Then, after this dude, was a keyboardist who also happened to be the wearer of the yak hair turtleneck. This was a first. What made it even a "firster" is that this guy and his keyboard didn't do "Axel F". No no no. He didn't even do "Just The Way You Are" by Billy Joel (a song I predicted he would play, and also one that I predicted would cause me to walk out). Instead, he sets up and launches into a Hasidic rap. And, worse, he made it a singalong. By now, the only ones that were left were me, Christine, Joe, and some of our friends, and, of course, the omni-present CIJWTPAPWAS.

This guy begs, implores us to take part in the singalong, which we do out of sheer pity. I'll never be able to get my Gentile dignity back after helping him rap, "My name is Dr. Dreidel, eat soup from a ladle, bust rhymes from the cradle." I shit you not. 50 Cent weeps.

And to top it all off, CIJWTPAPWAS LOVED this dude! In the irony to decimate all ironies, she made sure we gave Dr. Dreidle here our absolute, undivided attention. And there she was, apple martini in one hand, doing the Elaine Benes dance, and shouting out all of these Jewish words that, for all I know, would have caused my mug of Harpoon IPA to part down the middle if I sang them too.

This routine resulted in yet another exchange that went like this:

CIJWTPAPWAS: (unconvincingly, at least, to me): This is hysterical!

Dim: OK.

CIJWTPAPWAS: (incredulously): You don't think so?!

Dim: I'm not Jewish.

CIJWTPAPWAS: You don't have to be!

Dim: I kinda think you do.

And then, during another song, she turned her nasty wrath on Christine.

CIJWTPAPWAS: (turning red, like a really really big lobster) Didn't you see Fiddler on the Roof??!?!!

Christine: Yeah, but I don't know all the words.


Then, after this mercifully came to an end, yak haired turtle neck guy came up to us and thanked us for our participation, saying that he is learning the keyboard and writing these songs to play for patients who have Alzheimer's. A noble cause for sure which then caused Dave (who is going straight to hell) to say, "That must be great, because each time they hear it, it's like it's brand new."

As if anyone can follow this up, some guy got up on stage and played a bunch of original tunes. He was actually pretty decent and not very noteworthy except for one thing. He prefaced one of his songs by saying "This one goes out to the soldiers in Iraq!" Yet another noble gesture, only if you are on a world stage or are playing to more than 3 people, which includes one guy, asleep face-first into a bowl of stale popcorn while his Hennessey Cream Ale is still in his kung-fu grip. Not exactly a message to the masses.

And with that, we left.

Here was my selist for those curious. In the parentheses is the artist who does the song originally and infinitely better than I.

1. Lone Star Song (Grant Lee Buffalo)
2. Miss Misery (Elliott Smith)
3. We're Going To Be Friends (The White Stripes)
4. Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground (The White Stripes)
5. Magnolia Mountain (Ryan Adams & The Cardinals) - with Christine on background vocals
6. Dragonfly (The Thorns) - with Christine on background vocals
7. Come Pick Me Up (Ryan Adams) - with Christine on background vocals
8. Your Ghost (Kristin Hersh) - Christine on guitar, lead vocals, Dim on background vocals
9. Long Slow Goodbye (Queens of the Stone Age)

Long post. Not very funny. But it's all true.

- Bo Bice

I mean,

- Dim.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Let It Snow!...Now, Don't Be A Shmuck.

Ahhh...wintertime in New England. The cold...the snow...the idiots on the road. Hey guys! We're not Pacific Islanders. This white've seen it before. You know that wet stuff that also makes you drive like imbeciles? Well, this is what happens to the wet stuff when it gets cold. Same driving rules apply. Scratch that. More cautious driving rules apply. This isn't the Iditarod. Calm the frig down.

For those that need specifics, let me see what I can throw together on this topic for you.

1. That thing got a Hemi? Good. Because my piece of shit Taurus probably doesn't (not sure what a hemi actually is, but if it in any way deals with the increased fortitude of one's vehicle, rest assured, mine doesn't have one). In other words, back off. Not everyone tries to compensate for biological inadequacies by purchasing a truck so large that you need to be shot inside it by a catapult. I know your tire alone could pulverize my house into oblivion, but there's a layer of ice on the street that would make even Brian Boitano have a party in his pants and unless you want to get up close and personal with my "I Break for Misspellers" bumper sticker, it's probably a good idea to stay a good 30 car lengths behind me. Out of the two of us, I trust myself to drive in a safer manner than you, who probably thinks that the Flintstones got better when The Great Gazoo came on board. No offense, dum dum. Got it? Sweeeet.

2. Clean off your windshield. The WHOLE thing. I love seeing these people who are in such a hurry in the morning of a blizzard that they clean off an 8 cubic centimeter section of their windshield, right where their eyes are, so they look like some sort of reverse raccoon when behind the wheel.

3. Clean off the bottom of your car. I understand that driving in the wintertime causes one to kick up a lot of filth and muck, but do your best to clear off that hunk of nastiness that looks like part fudgesicle, part waste by-product that fell off a passing space shuttle that lodges itself behind your front wheels while still in your driveway. For no other reason that the thing is just unsightly and really ruins my new-fallen snow buzz. Oh look! Such a lovely coat of snow...completely defiled by Frosty dropping a deuce in the middle of the street.

4. Clean off the side of your car. I hate driving and then having some chunk of snow roughly the size of half an igloo slam into my windshield. Because then you know what happens. It smashes on your windshield and immediately starts to melt and scares the bejeezus out of you, which, because you're not good under pressure, causes you to hit every contraption on your dashboard other than the windshield turn on your lights, you hit the hazard button, you open the trunk, you manage to find a radio station that is playing a Kenny G marathon, but you just can't get to the windshield wipers. And while physics takes over and slowly pushes that slushy mess' tendrils out of your line of vision, you find the wipers just in time to see that you missed your exit and are now in a stretch of road lined with moose carcasses and buzzards dive-bombing your Escort.

5. Clean off the top of your car. I totally sympathize with all you garage-less folk. I'm one myself. But take the extra 4 seconds and clean off the top of the car. Even if you have one of those mutant hemi-trucks and the only way you can get to the top of the thing is to be lowered down by a helicopter. Because the last thing I want to have happen is to be barrel-assing down the highway going 40 and have you pass me and then have this sheet of frozen wintry mix, bearing an uncanny resemblance to the prison Jor-El confined General Zod and his two other hurricane-force wind-creating yahoos to in Superman II secede from your roof and hurtle menacingly at my head. I get very testy when I think that movie versions of comic book villains are hurtling toward my head.

Strap on the studded tires. Can't believe I'm in for 5 more months of this crap,


Saturday, December 03, 2005


Very, very dear friends to us, R. & K., have increased the world's population by one within the last few days! A HUGE congratulations to the proud parents on the arrival of little Natasha. We are so happy for you!

And also a big congrats to the little hit the lottery! You won yourself two amazing parents.

With a big smile on my dumb face,

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