Tom and Jerry: Defenders of All Things Right and Good

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Things They Don't Cover In Marriage Prep Class, Final Installment

As I prepare to leave for Tom's wedding, I conclude my marriage prep series for Tom. I've tried to prepare him for some of the little things I've discovered in my short time as a married man. Here are a few more tidbits:

> The first 6 months or so is the "Honeymoon Period". After this, according to marriage experts, comes a period of "power struggles". This period is supposed to last a couple of years. The "power struggles" for Lynda and I lasted approximately 20 minutes. I lost.

> If you see an attractive woman on TV, it is OK to mention to your wife that said woman is attractive, as long as you follow it with "She looks like you."

> A great thing about being married? Every morning, as I begin to wake up, I become aware of a warm body next to me. I roll over and see a pair of brown eyes, with nothing but love and affection reflected in them, gazing longingly at me. I can see who much she loves me, how much she wants my attention and affection....

Then Lynda comes out of the bathroom and tells the dog to get off the bed, and for me to get my lazy butt up and get to work.

> Seriously, though.........Married sex is different than any 'experience' you may have had when you were single. For starters, you don't feel guilty and you don't need to go to confession later. Mostly, though, it's because I feel completely "there", and because I see my wife as a person instead of a mountain that I've reached the top of. I don't feel the need to fret over performance, because I'm not 'competing' with anyone else she may have 'been with': I'm the only husband she's ever had, and since for Lynda, like most women, physical intimacy is more about the 'intimacy' than the 'physical', to her I'm the greatest lover who's ever walked the earth.

> Remember that the 'courting' of your lady is never over. Flowers, little love notes, the occasional stuffed animal - all these go a long way toward reminding her that you don't take her for granted.

> Tell the Pope I said 'Hi'.

Happy Honeymoon!!!!


Monday, January 28, 2008

Things They Don't Cover In Marriage Prep Class, Installment #4

Besides the shower, another change in store for you will be waiting for you when you come home from work. When you first walk through the front door, the change from single to married life is definitely an improvement. You get a hug and a kiss, and you really have nothing more to say than “Fine” to “How was your day?”. You then plan to lumber off to the couch or the computer for some “Decompress Time”. After a long hard day of oppressing women and minorities**, all you really want to do is relax in silence at the computer or the TV for awhile, recharging your batteries. The most taxing thing you wanted your mind to process during this time would be how to watch two TV programs at the same time.

As of February 2, those days are over.

** - According to such luminaries as Betty Freidan, Jesse Jackson, and Noam Chomsky, as a white male, this is what you do, being part of the white patriarchal hegemony and all. I don’t get to get to do this too much; it’s not that I don’t want to oppress women and minorities, it’s just that as a software engineer, I don’t get that much of an opportunity.

The first thing you will notice is that you are being followed as you set about to lumbering toward the couch or computer. Since this is a new sensation, you will turn around and ask “Yes, dear**?”. The reply you will get, in a semi-soft pleading tone, will be “I want you to talk to me…”

** - “Sweetie”, “Pumpkin”, “Shnookielumps”, etc.

This marks the end of your relaxation for the foreseeable part of the evening.

You, not wanting to be insensitive to her feelings, will sit and attempt to carry on a conversation. You hope that after a few token minutes of effort, she will appreciate that you tried, and leave you in peace. This is what I hope and pray for every night with Lynda. God a) ignores my pleas and b) must derive great pleasure from watching me squirm. Lynda starts to talk. And she talks

And talks.
And talks.
And talks.
And talks.
And talks.
And talks.
And talks.
And talks.
And talks.
And talks.
And talks.
And talks.
And talks.
And talks.
And talks.
And talks.

I cannot believe that a person can talk so much. I can’t help myself but to allow my eyes to wander about her anatomy, looking for an “OFF” switch. As to holding up my end of the conversation, I can’t just ‘mail it in’, so to speak, like I would when listening to my 8 year old niece regale me with the latest scoop about all things Pokemon. Nope, that would be insensitive to her feelings. So I’m stuck, and I just have to gut it out.

Eventually, though, she will cover every topic that she can possibly think to cover with me. At this point – blessedly – she will wander off, leaving me alone to see if my mouth still has sufficient strength to chew food. She, however, is just getting warmed up. She will now get on the phone with either

> her best friend
> her ex-roommate
> her cousin
> a wrong number

and talk for another 45 minutes. She will talk, loud enough for me and everyone in our zip code to hear, about a) everything I just talked to her about and b) a whole new batch of subjects, up to and including the most intimate details of our marriage and intimate life:

Lynda: “Yes, my NFP mucus levels have been somewhat slippery lately…”
Me: “Who are you talking to?”
Lynda: “What was your name again?”
Phone: (inaudible)
Lynda: “He says his name is Bob…”

She will continue talking until the batteries on the phone run out, or until dawn, whichever comes first. She will then put the leash on the dog, and leave to take the dog for a walk. Halleluia!! While she’s excercising the pooch, I get some peace and quiet. I don't know how long it will last, so I try to enjoy it while I can.

Of course, after a few minutes, I realize that I can still hear her voice talking. This is not due to any dementia (not yet, anyway) but due to the fact that she and the mutt made it less than a half a block before she started talking to one of the neighbors. While the dog looks on pleadingly, Lynda will stand and jabber for another 45 minutes with one of the elderly ladies that lives on our street. By the time good-byes are said, it’s getting late, so the dog is lucky to get even a block’s distance out of this foray outside.

When they return, the dog jumps in my lap, looks at me with sad eyes, and I pet her very lovingly. Lynda will complain “She loves you more; you’re more lenient than I am…”

Nope. Just quieter.


Friday, January 25, 2008

Signs of LIFE Part I

One of the many blessings of living in D.C. is the convenience of attending the March for Life. I was struck by how many young people were in attendance. This is an issue that resonates with people of the younger generation.

I took particular interest in the signs. The vase majority of them were very positive, like this sign by a LIFE TEEN youth group from Missouri:

There were one or two gory signs depicting abortions carried by marchers. And there was a large display of photographs of aborted babies. It was very gruesome, but it tells the real story of abortion. However, the display faced inward toward the people marching. Almost as if it was meant to remind us why we should defend human life. However, many people are offended by such displays, and I do not think it is a particularly effective means of changing hearts and minds.

Members of Jeffco LIFE TEEN also carried this sign:

That was one of my favorites. When faced with the murder of innocent children, it is understandable to respond with anger and disgust. But, Jesus calls us to something much more difficult. He calls us to forgive. It is through His Love and forgiveness that the pro-life movement can change hearts.

Some signs were much more personal:

This wonderful little girl marched with her parents and other adopted kids. She was a visible reminder of the beauty of choosing life. Unfortunately, many in her generation were not so lucky.

It is no surprise that this little girl had fair skin. In 2004, according to CDC statistics, a child of a white mother had an 86% of not being aborted. Tragically, the child of a black mother had only a 68% chance of surviving his or her mother's "choice." 75% of mothers of "other" races chose life. For the same year, the abortion rate among blacks was 2.6 times that of whites.

In pro-life ads, we see cute little white babies pleading with pregnant mothers to choose life. Perhaps we should be seeing more ads with cute little black babies.

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Why I will never see another Tom Cruise movie. Ever.

If Mr. Cruise wants to believe in Scientology, fine. After all, according to fellow movie superstar and noted theologian and Bible scholar Will Smith, "the ideas of the Bible are 98% the same ideas of Scientology, 98% the same ideas of Hinduism and Buddhism." I suppose the 2% of differentiation in content involves some of this fascinating Scientology belief:

Once upon a time (75 million years ago to be more precise) there was an alien galactic ruler named Xenu. Xenu was in charge of all the planets in this part of the galaxy including our own planet Earth, except in those days it was called Teegeeack.

Now Xenu had a problem. All of the 76 planets he controlled were overpopulated. Each planet had on average 178 billion people. He wanted to get rid of all the overpopulation so he had a plan.

Xenu took over complete control with the help of renegades to defeat the good people and the Loyal Officers. Then with the help of psychiatrists he called in billions of people for income tax inspections where they were instead given injections of alcohol and glycol mixed to paralyse them. Then they were put into space planes that looked exactly like DC8s (except they had rocket motors instead of propellers).

These DC8 space planes then flew to planet Earth where the paralysed people were stacked around the bases of volcanoes in their hundreds of billions. When they had finished stacking them around then H-bombs were lowered into the volcanoes. Xenu then detonated all the H-bombs at the same time and everyone was killed.

The story doesn't end there though. Since everyone has a soul (called a "thetan" in this story) then you have to trick souls into not coming back again. So while the hundreds of billions of souls were being blown around by the nuclear winds he had special electronic traps that caught all the souls in electronic beams (the electronic beams were sticky like fly-paper).

After he had captured all these souls he had them packed into boxes and taken to a few huge cinemas. There all the souls had to spend days watching special 3D motion pictures that told them what life should be like and many confusing things. In this film they were shown false pictures and told they were God, The Devil and Christ. In the story this process is called "implanting".

When the films ended and the souls left the cinema these souls started to stick together because since they had all seen the same film they thought they were the same people. They clustered in groups of a few thousand. Now because there were only a few living bodies left they stayed as clusters and inhabited these bodies.

As for Xenu, the Loyal Officers finally overthrew him and they locked him away in a mountain on one of the planets. He is kept in by a force-field powered by an eternal battery and Xenu is still alive today.

That is the end of the story. And so today everyone is full of these clusters of souls called "body thetans". And if we are to be a free soul then we have to remove all these "body thetans" and pay lots of money to do so. And the only reason people believe in God and Christ was because it was in the film their body thetans saw 75 million years ago.

Of course, maybe all that is tucked away in the Old Testament somewhere among all the "begats", and I missed it. When it comes to those who believe weird stuff, fine - free country, freedom of religious expression, and all that.


Pardon my language, dear readers, but enough of this horseshit already.

Hard to pick the most giggle-inducing/hair-on-back-of-my-neck-standing-on-end moment from this collection of clips:

The part where Mr. Cruise states that Scientologists are the only ones on earth that can save humanity? Kind of makes Jesus' "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Light" seem a little mundane, doesn't it?

The part where Scientology is extending its tentacles into federal agencies? Holy crap.

The part where Mr. Cruise states that, since Scientology is the only hope for mankind, they don't need "to ask permission" to impose it on everyone else?

The part where Mr. Miscavige (the Master of Ceremonies) vows that Scientology will remove anything in its path (presumably, any non-scientologist), no matter how big?

The part where Mr. Cruise relishes the idea of future without "S.P.'s" (Suppressive Persons)? Another instance of the "Oppose Scientology And You Will Be Eliminated" mindset, this time accentuated with maniacal, batshit crazy grin.

Tom Cruise has long been one of my favorite actors. However, his behavior over the last couple of years has done substantial damage to that, and by the end of this collection of clips, I had reached the point of no return. I have seen the abyss. Jerry, over and out.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Things They Don't Cover In Marriage Prep Class, Installment #3

Since the number three is associated with various sacred entities – the Trinity, my birthday, Joe Montana’s jersey number – I have decided to dedicate this third installment of “Things They Don’t Cover…” to the most profound revelation NOT shared with you by the good folks who run marriage prep: the root cause, the very essence, of every instance of your wife being upset with you:

You were insensitive to her feelings.

That’s it. Every frown, every complaint, every pout, every “uh-oh, what did I do now?”-inducing look your wife sends your way, at its essence derives from something you did that she interpreted as being insensitive to her feelings. Didn't notice her new hairstyle? Insensitive to her feelings. Unaware that she made spaghetti for dinner, you grabbed a sandwich on the way home? Insensitive to her feelings. Salma Hayek and Jessica Alba walk by you on a beach wearing bikinis, and you sneak a peek? Insensitive to her feelings. Using logic to win an argument? Insensitive to her feelings. (And also impossible, because a) being a female, she does not understand logic and b) you can never win an argument with a woman - even if you win, you lose.)

Being insensitive to her feelings cannot be avoided, and you will be insensitive to her feelings an average of 3.4 times per minute. Of course, as a man, you can not help but be insensitive to a female’s feelings. This is because, as men, we don’t have feelings. Can you imagine John Wayne “getting his feelings hurt”? Hell no; that’s because he, like all real men, doesn’t have any. Sure, during the dating process, we men may have had moments where we talked about “feelings” or may have acted in a manner that led women to believe that we have “feelings”; this is time-honored and highly successful male strategy to get women to have sex with us. However, Katie was, as was my Lynda, too smart for this – that’s why Tom and I decided to marry them.

Of course, not all moments of being insensitive to her feelings are of equal consequence. Here is a simple guide to the level of angry response you can expect from being insensitive to her feelings:

Your only hope is to do what I do: every morning as I wake up, I apologize - For being a man, for not having periods/pregnancy/menopause, for not having to eat less food than a gerbil to maintain my unbelievably high state of attractiveness, for failing to fully appreciate the entertainment value of Yes To The Dress…..whatever. Another apology right before you go to sleep isn’t a bad idea, either.

Weekly flowers help, too.


Monday, January 14, 2008

So, do you think you could use 'em to create a blonde and a redhead..?

After meeting with a couple of specialists in regards to my mystery injury, it has been determined that I have Arterial Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. Thoracic Outlet Syndrome is the compression of muscles, nerves, arteries, and veins between the clavicle (collarbone) and the first rib. 95% of all cases of TOS involve the compression of the nerves, with the resulting weakness and numbness of the arms being the primary complaint. Since I did not have these symptoms, TOS was not considered to be likely.

However, further examination revealed that, while my nerves passing through the thoracic outlet had no complaints as to their present circumstance, the compression in that area was wreaking havoc with both the major artery providing blood to the arms and the muscles that pass through the opening. As a result, when I raise my arms above my head, such that it looks like I am trying to be the 'Y' in YMCA or playing the part of a French general, I do not have a pulse in either arm. Furthermore, even light weight training or even extended reaching with either arm causes pain; in the weight training case, pain not only accompanies the workout, but continues for days afterward.

The solution? Shortly after Tom's wedding, I am to undergo Thoracic Outlet surgery on my left side, in which the surgeon goes down through my trapezius muscle (muscle between neck and shoulder, behind the collarbone) and removes my first rib. Surgery for the right side will come a few months later, depending on rehab time for the first surgery.

I was hoping they could use the ribs to create a blonde and a redhead to go with the brunette I married, but.......

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Sizing Up The Field

Before I continue my contributions to Tom's pre-marriage education, amidst the hub-bub over presidential primaries and polls, here is my take on the candidates:

The Democrats

Barack Obama - If I were the president of a foreign country preparing to meet with the president of the most powerful nation on earth, and Barack Obama walked in through the door, I do not believe I would be able to stop giggling for at least 30 minutes. I just cannot take him seriously.

John Edwards - What I said about Obama, only more so. Something else for you ladies to think about, too: When Carter became president, the price of peanuts (Carter had been a peanut farmer) went up. When Reagan was president, the price of jelly beans (Reagan’s favorite indulgence) went up. If Edwards were to become president, the price of hair care products would go through the roof.

Hillary Clinton – Should I ever wind up in a vegetative state, the instructions (my Living Will) to Lynda detailing the circumstances for her to pull the plug are as follows:

1. Letters from 3 doctors stating it’s hopeless.
2. Letter from the Pope granting permission.
3. Come into the room and announce that Hillary Clinton has been elected president and Notre Dame has joined the Big 10. If I don’t immediately jump out of bed and pull the plug myself, then pull the plug.

While the thought of an Obama or Edwards presidency induces laughter, Clinton induces my gag reflex. Besides being a socialist at heart, she rarely misses an opportunity to remind me that she is completely full of crap. Did you catch her post-New Hampshire primary speech last night?

"Listening to you, I found my voice!"

So after 6 years in the Senate and a year of campaigning, a weekend in NH has given you your "voice"?

However, the line that really made me wonder "What in the hell are you talking about?" came about 3 minutes later:
"The oil companies, the drug companies, the insurance companies, the student loan companies....they've had a president (Bush) looking out for them...."

The "student loan companies"? Um, Mrs. Clinton, something like 90% (or greater) of student loans come via the federal government, the same institution whose federal loan programs you plan on pouring even more money into yourself.

Aside from the gaffe, her plan is just an escalation of an already out-of-control spending race. Terrific. Her plan for "change" is to do more of the same, except even more so. It hasn’t worked, nor will it. Much in the same way poverty can not be eliminated by printing more money, because providers of goods and services will respond by raising prices, increasing money for federal student loan programs will only allow colleges to further raise their tuition, an opportunity that no college will ever pass up. The federal government and colleges have been playing "tuition increase –> federal loan increase –> tuition increase –> federal loan increase..." ping pong for more than 20 years now, with the only real result being ever-increasingly-astronomical student debt. That Mrs. Clinton does not seem to understand this mystifies me, though it shouldn’t: The meaning of the African proverb "It takes a village to raise a child", the title of her 1996 book, similarly escaped her – the community supporting the parents’ efforts in child-rearing was (in true Clintonian collectivist fashion) morphed into the community usurping the role of parents.

Quite frankly, Hillary Clinton as president scares the hell out of me. I heard Hillary's "voice" a long time ago, and it hasn't changed a bit. It sounds like Margaret Sanger channelling Karl Marx.

The Republicans

Rudy Giuliani – He’s a mile wide and an inch deep. The folks over at must love him, though, as he consistently provides them with false and misleading statements to chew on.

Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee - Watching these two on the weekend debates was like watching two car salesmen trying to sell me a Buick. Romney’s second on’s thank-you-for-source-material list; watching Huckabee imitate Bill Clinton’s "I feel your pain" shtick makes me think that there must be something in the water in Arkansas. If you think the media and the secular left have been somewhat unhinged by the figure of G.W. Bush, how do you think they’d like Mormon Romney or former televangelist Huckabee?

John McCain – I like the fact that he seems to understand that the military is "Point At What You Want Dead" force and not a peace-keeping diplomatic one. Other than that, I really don’t know what to make of this guy. He’s gone from "Reagan conservative" to "liberal enough for John Kerry to want him as a running mate in 2004" back to someone The Nation called a "dyed-in-the-wool conservative", all in the span of about 8 years. Which McCain would be president?

Fred Thompson – I really like him. He’s got a 100% pro-life voting record, he’s done terrific in the Republican debates, his statements are rarely found erroneous or misleading, his immigration policy is a conservative’s dream, he has stated that "We need judges who recognize their role in our democracy is to interpret, not make, the law", and I find his positions on other issues pretty sound. His acting career – basically a series of roles playing himself – give him recognizability and an ability to communicate his message.

So why is he getting creamed in the polls and in Iowa and NH?

1. He waited way too long to get into the race. The peak of enthusiasm for a Thompson candidacy was around July 4th. When he failed to make his highly anticipated candidacy announcement that week, interest in him began to steadily decline such that by the time he did announce a couple of months later, it was greeted with shrugs rather than interest.

2. The American people tend to respond to energy and enthusiasm in a candidate, and Thompson is more of a "speak softly and carry a big stick" kind of guy. It didn’t help that in his early speeches and appearances he stumbled and mumbled his way through uninspired performances. His supporters were hoping that America would see Arthur Branch; what they got was Arthur Branch on valium.

3. To quote Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post: "I'm not sure he's quite escaped the impression, brilliantly parodied by Darrell Hammond on "Saturday Night Live," that he sorta, kinda wants to be president but isn't as energized or single-minded in pursuit of the office as his opponents. That suggests a much healthier psychological makeup...." Perhaps, but it won’t get him elected.

Who will I support? Thompson until he drops out. Then I have no idea.

Who will win? I may have to update my Living Will to "Come into the room and announce that Hillary Clinton has been re-elected president......"