Sunday, September 11, 2011

Slowly I Turned, Step by Step*, Dept.

The Times (New York's, of course; Washington's I wouldn't insult a puppy's ass with) had an interesting article this week concerning a condition whose existence was unknown to me: misophonia, which the paper describes as being sent "into an instantaneous, blood-boiling rage" by "[t]he sounds of other people eating—chewing, chomping, slurping, gurgling."


I mention it both because it's interesting and because (here I stand up, introduce myself to the group and acknowledge) I cannot stand to watch or hear people eating.  Now, it's not quite clobberin' time if I do happen to find myself in, say, a restaurant or even, God forbid, a food court.  But there are times when I would gladly push a large-caliber bullet into a diner's forehead with my hand rather than have to watch him—and it's most often a "him"—chew his cud.

Case in point: I'm in a dumpling house yesterday, waiting to enjoy a plate of pan-fried dumplings.  Because the kitchen forgot my order, I find myself without food for a long time in a smallish room that holds four other occupied tables.  Two of them are occupied by Asian-Americans, whom, the law of averages holding, are likely Chinese-born.  I lean on the law of averages in this case because their table manners were very reminiscent of those I saw exhibited by Chinese nationals during my time in the PRC, i.e., they manifested the relish with which they ate by (i) shoveling food into one's mouth as if trying to beat an off-stage timer and (ii) chewing in an open-mouthed style that produced a smacking sound like a wet towel hitting a bathroom wall.

Now, sensitive to multiculturalism as your sobsister is, I did not fling my unused chopsticks at either party (or, cooler, at both simultaneously) with sufficient force to pin his gobblin' hand to the nearest wall.  But the thought crossed my mind.  Along with that of a 16-ton Terry Gilliam-brand weight dropping on each of them.  Call me bourgeois if you must, but there are a few things of which I should be unaware unless I'm rightnexttoyou.  One is the smell of your perfume, another is the sound of your chewing.  I would add to that list the sight/sound of people sucking the nonexistent contents of an empty cup through a straw and scraping the nonexistent contents of an empty yogurt container with a plastic spoon.  Not unreasonable by any yardstick.

So, yes, misophonia.  Stand up and proudly own your disorder.  I have.  And if you happen to be in an eating establishment, and an otherwise-mild-mannered person is lunging, Wolverine-style, at a patron who's rendering the 1812 Overture with only his spoon, his mouth and a bowl of soup, please come over and introduce yourself.  I'll need someone to post my bail.

*If you've never had the pleasure of seeing the "Slowly I Turn" bit, feast your eyes on Lou Costello and Sid Fields or Lucille Ball or Moe, Curly and Larry working it.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Irrefutable Assertions, Dept.

Right, so, today, as a result of the quite tarsome rain we've been enduring or perhaps of the strong winds accompanying same, a Very Large Crane (not the flying variety) crashed down at the National Cathedral.  It had been transporting supplies to the top of the cathedral as part of the repair effort necessitated by the earthquake that shook Choc City a few weeks ago.  In the WaPo's words, the "crane toppled...sending its operator to the hospital, damaging two out-buildings and crushing four vehicles that belonged to contractors."

Pretty brutal, right?  The cathedral had sustained fairly serious structural and external damage as a result of the quake, to begin with, so this would seem the proverbial insult atop the the proverbial injury.  But here's another take on it:

"The Rev. Simon Bautista, canon for Latino Ministries for the diocese...[s]uddenly] heard a sound that was like “thunder,” Bautista said. “My office started shaking.”
When he looked out and saw the yellow crane sprawled on the ground, he said his first thought was that people must be hurt. When he learned that no one had died or was seriously injured, Bautista called that miraculous.
'You can see that this was a divine hand that kept something else from happening,' Bautista said."

Well, one could see it from that angle.  Or one might ask, "Gee, God, why are you toppling a crane that's helping to rebuild your house of worship?"

But kudos to the good padre.  Talk about a spinmeister!  When asked about the Black Plague that killed roughly half of everyone from Constantinople to Stockholm by the end of the 14th century, Bautista noted, "Truly a wonder!  Clearly, it was the hand of God that prevented Europe from being entirely depopulated."

'Cause there's those as drink the Kool-Aid and those as pour it down your gullet.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

That sticky sauce of buttermilk and Clorox*, Dept.

" a result, the king said fellatio did not count as sex, and the youth of the realm set at it with a renewed vigor that even the Spanish ambassador found remarkable."

I swear, I did not know Foxe's Book of Martyrs was so entertaining. Because the title's a bit of a buzzkill, right?

I joke, of course—the preceding is not from Foxe's Martyrs, but from the somewhat-better-known Pilgrim's Progress by John "I gotcher Slough of Despond right'ere!" Bunyan.

But, taking just a moment to expound on fellatio (from the Latin fellare, "to do something that, really, is quite reasonable and shouldn't have to be requested, like Baked Alaska, accompanied by ample notification and much occasion"), why is one of the great divides in American society—a polity already riven by any number of polarizing dualities—spit versus swallow?

Your sobsister's experience working the business end of the membrum virile is limited. And by "limited," I mean "nonexistent." So, I cannot in all honesty judge—harshly, generously or at all—those who will not take the bitter draught in its full and fertile flow, though I have met women who would screw up their faces in a startling grimace at the prospect of gargling some groin grog.

That said, then, let's look at the numbers. The human male ejaculates, on average, 4 milliters of seminal fluid, with maximal levels of 10-11 ml recorded, according to the Internet, which has never, if rarely, let me down. By comparison, a teaspoon is equivalent to 5 ml. So, really, this entire debate, which has engulfed generations of Americans and generated more angry and tearful arguments than the question of Ann Coulter's birth gender, centers around individuals' unwillingness to down a teaspoon of viscous fluid when people drink entire cans of Coke Zero without batting an eye. I mean, really? Really really? You'll eat a Twinkie or a Hot Pocket or one of those horrible cheezy peanut butter cracker sandwiches they sell out of men's room vending machines, but you won't down a teaspoon of spooge? What are you, a fucking Communist?!

So, come on, America, he ejaculated, suck it up! A source of high-quality protein, low in fat and calories, rich in flavor.

Semen: It's Not Just for Prostitutes Any More™.

*A tip o' the topper to Philip Roth for that memorable description.