Monday, April 25, 2011

Ambivalent, Like Bobby

The IRS has me on hold. I called the IRS, because I have to make a final payment to them. I owe them some money from unpaid taxes in 2008. It's cool.

My call is important to them. The next available representative will assist me as soon as possible. Is anybody else on hold with the IRS right now? I'll race you. I'll race you to customer service.

I am using the speaker phone feature on my cell. Thank god for that. Otherwise, I'd have to hold the phone to my ear the whole time, which would make it difficult for me to type.

Jeez. I have certainly been on hold for a while.

I Look out the window. Children caper in the streets. Old people hang halfway out their windows. Dogs get walked. Tulips continue to bloom, dewy and purple, at the entrance of Prospect Park. McDonald's emits its singular fragrance. Life passes me by. Representatives are still helping other customers.

This song is awesome. I love the tinkling of the piano and the smooth back beat. Ooh, is that the irresistible pulse of bongos? All of this sounds so deep and crisp coming out of my phone's powerful speaker system.

I just talked to the lady. She was actually really cool and helpful, and now I feel bad about the derisive tone that pervades most of this blog entry. I'm so conflicted. I'm like Bobby, from the 1984 version of The Karate Kid.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Iced-out Paradise in the Sky

I finished reading Robinson Crusoe. That book is so dumb. I'm not even saying that because I missed the basic concept. The book just sucks, that's all. I'm glad I read it, though.

It's based on the real life, deserted island adventures of this Scottish man, Alexander Selkirk (1676-1721). He got stuck on the island of Juan Fernandez, for about 5 years, and became the monarch of all he surveyed.

He did all types of cool stuff. For instance, he ate tons of Craw-fish. He also made delicious broth from goat's flesh. He kept a tally of how many goats he killed on the island: 500. He hunted and killed 500 goats. Very respectable kill count.

When he ran out of gunpowder, he developed superhuman running abilities, and became adept at chasing down and tackling goats. One time, he sacked a goat, and he and the goat tumbled off a cliff. Then he lay there for three days, completely stunned, the goat squished beneath him. I'm guessing he eventually got up, dragged the goat's corpse into his hut, and made it into a delectable soup. Totally worth it.

He bred and trained cats to vanquish the rats that gnawed his feet during the night.

He made a goat-skin cap and would dance and sing with tame goats and cats. This simple diversion brought him great joy.

At first, he was very afraid of the sea lions and their terrible jaws, but then he learned to sneak up from behind and chop the bejesus out of them with a hatchet.

He also had some mathematical instruments. I have no idea what he did with them, or what they even looked like. Let's just imagine that he had an outstanding protractor collection.

I actually really like the accounts of Selkirk's adventure. I like his story much more than that of Robinson Crusoe. Check out what Selkirk said after he was recovered from the island and brought home: "I am now worth 800 pounds, but shall never be so happy, as when I was not worth a Farthing."

Indeed, Selkirk. The more money we come across, the more problems we see. At this very moment, Biggie and Selkirk are probably hanging out in Thugz Mansion together, along with Tupac, and 500 goats, dancing and singing.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Good Call, Marx

I am pretty sure the classic novel, Robinson Crusoe, sucks. I am almost finished with it, and it has been a painful literary quest.

The book has very few redeeming qualities. It doesn't help that there are no chapters. The story just goes on and on, as Defoe explains the protagonist's three boring decades on an island in the West Indies. It seems like the same stuff keeps happening over and over again: Crusoe gets some supplies; he grows crops; he cures food; he fears the cannibals; he captures a cannibal and makes him his boon companion/slave; he gets some supplies; he grows crops...round and round we go, with no end in sight. So far, the best part of the book is when Robinson Crusoe drowns the kittens.

The fact that this book was published in 1719 does not mitigate its suckiness. I have read much older stuff that is way better and more timeless. Robinson Crusoe hasn't aged well, at all.

They say that Karl Marx disliked this book, because of its capitalistic slant. I wonder if Marx also found it boring.

Maybe the ending will blow my mind. I hope so. Please don't put me through any more descriptions of corn growing and raisins drying in the sun.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Dog Training Tips

I've begun training my dog by using delayed positive reinforcement. It's the latest thing, based on my belief that you shouldn't embarrass your dog with any correction/praise in public.

Here's how it works: When my dog does something right, I approach him, later in the day, and I tell him that I really appreciated when he did that totally good thing earlier. He seems to respond very well to this form of encouragement. I just say something like, "Hey Franklin! Remember when you didn't try to kill that Westie in Prospect Park, this morning? That was so good! You're such a good boy! I've seen so much improvement in your dog aggression problems!" And then I pet him a lot.

Here's another example: The other night, Franklin was peeing on the couch, and it reminded me of the time, two days before, when he peed on a tree, outside. When he was done peeing on the couch, I immediately approached him and said, "Hey Franklin! I am so proud of you for peeing on that tree, outside, a couple of days ago. I know you can make it a habit to do that more often, instead of peeing on the couch. I love you so much, even though you have mysteriously exhibited bad house training, as of late. I'm sure you can make me proud by relieving yourself, outdoors, like you've done so many times in the past. You're my special pal and I have faith in you!" I said this while scratching him behind the ears.

This training strategy has been working wonders.