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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Russell Brand Is Sooooo Ugly!

February 27, 2011: Well, judging by that colossal non-response to my last Blah-ugh! entry, I'm guessing I'll need to get up for work tomorrow morning. (Thanks for nothing, you @**#*/!'s ...) But that's okay. I'll be, if not a better man, certainly a bitter one, and this can only help with my bitter Blah-ugh! ramblings, which I heartily enjoy, even if you don't!

And on that note, my god, Russell Brand is sooooo ugly! I'm not sure who he is -- I guess some actor. (Please don't expect me to keep up with these things, for it's hard enough doing a Blah-ugh! entry every three days and my laundry every week, let alone following pointless current events!) But I just went to the IMDB website to see if Mr. Spielberg was making any progress on Jurassic Park IV, and that Frankensteinian face of his jumped out at me like a fright mask. (I literally had to duck away from my computer screen in fear.) Apparently he was at the Oscars, lurking about and grinning like a Jack O'Lantern. What's going on in America, I want to know, when we can let such an ugly man stalk the red carpet, looking like an underfed hatchet murderer in a tuxedo.

Speaking of bizarre looks, I was also dumbfounded to learn that Anne Hathaway hosted the awards. By what logic was she chosen for this? And while perhaps her "hosting" abilities may be somewhat stronger than her benign acting skills -- a benign feat itself, believe me -- it's hard to believe they couldn't have come up with at least 400 other more engaging personalities for that honor, even starting with Russell Brand (whoever he is).

Speaking of looks -- and please understand, I am certainly that shallow, as many of you know -- why can't more people look like Halle Berry -- men and women ... I almost wonder if she isn't some kind of android, as she seems to keep getting better looking each year (unlike Russell Brand, who'll probably go from Steven Tyler ugly to Crypt Keeper ugly by the end of this decade).

(NOTE: In an effort to keep these posts accurate and timely, I just now took the trouble of looking up Russell Brand -- (and I'll bet you didn't know he was a Gemini!) Apparently he's some kind of actor, although he must be of that character variety made popular by people like Peter Lorre and that ugly guy with the crooked teeth who was in Ghost, and always plays a homely man. I'll add that I was pleased to find him English, and could almost forgive him everything for that, but I fear ultimately -- and I hate to harp on it -- he's got to be one of the scariest looking individuals in our hemisphere.

Which is not to say I find Anne Hathaway much more attractive. In fact, she sort of looks like a CGI outtake -- wobbly, blown out features ... or perhaps like someone you'd see on a Pink Floyd album cover ...

Of course, even with her physical miscues, she's no Russell Brand ... God, that guy is sooooo ugly!

Friday, February 25, 2011

What Have You Done for Me (Jarret Liotta) Lately?!

February 25, 2011: It's late February, and the time has again come to ask yourself, "What have I done for Jarret lately?"

No, it's not my birthday, nor do I presume to pay some kind of weird homage to Finnish actor Leo Golowin, who as you know was born on this day in 1903. Instead, I merely think that, owing to the uncanny wealth of wonderfully engaging words with which I selflessly provide you on an ongoing basis through this Blah-ugh! (and for free, mind you), it just seems (if you have any heart, or at least a modicum of shame) you might feel a festering motivation to help further the questionable cause of my sordid career by consciously spreading the word about ... well, me!

As you know, I'm still on the lookout for the right agent (meaning any agent) to represent my first novel, which currently waits in the vaults unfondled, and leaves the world without that opportunity to see just what sort of meandering madness I can squeeze out of my brain, given the space (and a clean spot to stand). Beyond that -- meaning beyond your forcefully pursuing any avenue available to you to get me in touch with some fool willing to champion my book -- I'd hope that (like E.J. and Shannon ... and possibly Matt, though I'm beginning to have my doubts about him) you're making some effort to spread the word about this wonderful (and free, mind you) Blah-ugh! you find populating your happier moments (and, let's be honest, where you find yourself identifying with many of mankind's grungiest thoughts and basest feelings as only I can recount them).

Please understand, I don't want you to feel that you're not doing enough for me simply by being a loyal reader, but I'd hope you would exhibit just a little guilt -- not a lot, but a little -- enough to motivate you to move this thing along toward its ultimate conclusion.

Well, I've said my piece. I can't promise not to talk about myself next time, but I'll certainly talk far less about you.

But once again, my darlings, thank you for lurking here ...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

On Eyebrows and Butter

February 22, 2011: I awoke this early morn with two ideas competing for my attention (and No, E.J., you weren't one of them ... this time!) -- 1) How the consumption of butter is greatly misunderstood and the population misguided on its value, and 2) How (and why) women mutilate their eyebrows.

I've long wondered why the waxing of eyebrows has been pushed to such a weird extreme. By and large, I think most women are much more attractive with eyebrows, and even large, full ones. Instead, it's become common practice for self-conscious girls to wax the shit out of their lids, and far too often it leaves them looking like swollen boxers who stayed too long in the ring.

I marvel at the waxing shops (or whatever they're called) and all the business they make mutilating in the name of fashion. And I marvel at how so many women (sadly) compete to look like other women who aren't that attractive to begin with, and only end up looking worse in the process.

I think my fascination with America's demented eyebrow treatment began with the mysterious popularity of Pamela Sue Anderson, who I long thought had the most awful eyebrows -- veritable pencil lines -- and who, if you take an objective look, actually bears a remarkably disturbing resemblance to the late female impersonator Divine. The slope has slipped since then. Today's beauty sell is asking too much, in my opinion. I want you girls to stop this immediately. I like my chicks to have eyebrows, and not look like Jake LaMotta.

Now, on the issue of butter, like you -- like the league of ladies that's been fooled into believing they need to butcher their eyebrows -- I've habitually taken for granted all the propaganda about clogged arteries and heart stoppage and such. But I'm here to say now -- right here! ... No, over here! ... That it's all lies (at least for me, and I'm no different than you, except my eyebrows may be thicker).

For starters, I've long been a proponent of -- (or is it correct to say "I've long proponentized"?) -- consuming foods according to your cravings (assuming you're eating more than just creampuffs and coffee). I think another great misconception we as a society suffer under (and believe me, when I see some of that awful eyebrow architecture, I do suffer) is a forced belief that some stringent common diet should be adhered to by everyone. Instead, diet should be as individual as our spiritual beliefs, and many of the most notorious food substances need not be shunned like women with bushy eyebrows.

Case in point, I've upped my butter consumption considerably over the past six months and I've never felt better. Ironically, my weight has stablized at a nice number and, even though I had some weird chest pains yesterday when I went walking in the snow, overall I feel terrific.

More importantly, food tastes light years better when substantial amounts of butter are added. My potatoes, pancakes, and cinnamon toast, for instance, all bring me much greater joy when drenched in beautiful butter, as do my eggs, grilled cheese sandwiches, and even my bacon.

In closing, I would like to say that the opinions expressed here were strictly those of the person who gave them. If you found any of this even remotely funny, please contact your local newspaper immediately and insist that they offer me a column, or at least a job in delivery. Otherwise, I hope you learned something of value, namely that every moment you waste reading this stupid Blah-ugh! is time that could be better spent rubbing butter on your eyebrows ... E.J.!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

(Still More) Pointless Ruminations

February 19, 2011: It's one of those ambivalent Blah-ugh! moments, wherein I don't know what to write about first -- should I bash movies, celebrities, bad drivers, my children ... The options seem endless, and therefore the impetus to focus on any one is that much more precarious.

Meanwhile, it's terrifically windy out, and cold. My moonlight beach walk was hastily aborted not an hour ago, in part because there was no full moon that I could see -- (not to say it wasn't there, but I live in a very exclusive town and you can't take anything for granted ... and I'm not even sure what that means, but there's got to be a joke in there somewhere!) -- but the weather, the whipping ice wind and such, sent me running back to my car before I could find the meditative solice I so sorely craved on this early Saturday evening.

Now I'm back at the soul-sucking blue screen, waxing clever (or at least waxing). My daughter's downstairs yelling like a little girl, and my wife is playing these strange happy folk songs on her computer radio, and somehow, from up here, they sound like some weird means of psychological torture -- bouncy songs about "freedom" and "old hats," they creep under my skin like the cold humidity of thawing February.

Weather is, by the way, a great topic to write about, and I keep meaning to address a number of important related items. I happen to be someone -- it often seems like the only someone -- who loves winter. My soul thrives in the solitude it presents, and I relish snow and nighttime fires, and reading Dickens (even though that always sounds dirty to me). But now's not the time for that; too many other things wrestling for my attention.

That brings me to the George Clooney movie I watched half of last night -- "The American." I was kind of enjoying it, though it seemed a bit heavy handed, until Clooney had to bear his naked butt and ruin everything. After that I felt like I was watching some kind of bonus softcore pornography footage you get for joining the George Clooney fan club, and I was riddled with discomfort and fear ... then later, George Clooney fantasies ...

Anyway, the point is, when are people going to stop telling me I look like George Clooney, and start telling him that he looks like me? And when is the thaw going to be complete, with its promises of spring and clover and drunken Irish. And when the Dickens is my wife going to stop blasting those weird moribund songs and put my Astrud Gilberto record back on?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Jarret's Practical Parenting Tips

February 13, 2011: People -- stupid people -- often ask my advice on parenting issues. (Really stupid people ask me about fixing cars, but that's not too often.) Of course, having written a successful syndicated column on education and parenting issues for several years -- ("The Education Consumer." You may have missed it, but it's too late now!) -- I feel I'm ultimately as qualified as the next person to offer my opinions and insights on this topic (provided the next person is Harpo Marx).

To begin, I don't believe in hitting children, primarily because they can hit back. I find it's much better to do something sneaky and assault them when they're not looking. For example, my son was recently refusing to clean the cat's litter box, so rather than smack him outright, I waited until he was tying his shoe, then I threw the cat on his back. This got a reaction, you see, and he was able to make the connection that neglecting the cat can equate to pain. (At least I hope he made that connection; he can be so thick sometimes!)

I also find deprevation can serve a handy purpose, especially when it relates directly to the lesson a parent is trying to impart. For instance, my daughter was neglecting her violin practice in order to read some book. My clever solution -- in order to foster discipline and simultaneously spare us the resinous screech of horse hair on wire -- was to force her to watch television. She didn't want to watch, but after three or four shows, she got into the spirit, and I was able to get back to my nap time.

It's not easy being a parent, as most parents know, but the rewards are boundless. There are tax credits, for one thing, and if you like sweets, you can collect enough booty on one Halloween night to carry you through the winter months. Children also provide laughter, although this can be grating, especially when you're trying to read. I like to encourage my children to laugh, however, but mostly when they're at school or in the religious institution of one's choosing.

To summarize, there is no license needed to be a parent, but anyone who has a television screen in the back of their minivan should have theirs revoked. I like to consider my children my friends, and have even borrowed money from them on several occasions. A well-oiled house can be like a machine, provided there is discipline and cogs and wheels and, perhaps, a conveyor belt.

Remember, if you teach your children well, their parents' hell will be slow ... and sometimes painful.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Racitry vs. Bigotism: Which Makes Me Look Worse?

February 7, 2011: A lot of people don't know this about me, but I have no use for African art. In these awkward modern times we live in, of course, I hesitate to mention it because one will automatically assume I'm being racist, but here at the Blah-ugh! we strive for honesty, and though there is no bigotry in operation -- for God's sake, some of my best friends are (or at least have been) black -- I hope my intelligent, liberal-minded and breathtakingly virile readers won't misinterpret my artwork opinions for broad hatred.

This, of course, begs the question of what exactly constitutes racism. (And I could even add a question mark there, but I'm choosing not to.) Is racial awareness -- noticing differences that are race-related -- racism? Obviously there's a dictionary definition out there to settle such a question, but I'm not really in the mood to look it up right now (and, frankly, I don't see you getting off your ass to do it!).

In "The Autobiography of Malcolm X" (which I actually read twice to prove I wasn't a racist -- once wearing a Pendleton shirt) the author (and, see, while it's billed as an "autobiography," it's kind of a pretend one, if we're going to be technical; I just don't want to later be accused of bending over backwards to appear non-racist by omitting such a detail, you see!) ... Hmmm. Now where was I? ... Oh yes! The author points out a very interesting second tier of racism, wherein the White Man (if you'll forgive the expression) constantly differentiates between the races, i.e., "My black friend" or "There's this black guy in my reading club," but for no other descriptive purpose. It's an interesting distinction, for really, in a perfect world, shouldn't we not even notice if people are a different color, like on Star Trek?

It goes farther, of course, because many people aren't even aware of doing it. I've long marveled at the politicians and Right-wing liberals (yes, I've just created such an anomalie) who extole the virtues of colored folk with references to their being so "articulate" (as if it's some marvel) and "dignified" (as if it's a surprise), and of course the capper -- forever referring to a black guy as being a "gentleman" (I guess because it's patronizingly safe) ...

But, hell, I'm no better (except in most other ways). I'm can't deny that the differences stand out to me. Sometimes I wish they didn't, but then I wouldn't have as much material to write about.

(Of course there's the opposite side to this coin, wherein if one more black guy calls me "Sir" -- which I always feel is sarcastic -- I'm gonna start smashing my Sam Cooke records ... No, I'd never do that!)

Anyway, I think you get my point. And interestingly, I really have no use for Native American art either, although I like their casinos.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Another Negative Critique

February 4, 2011: Now that my readership is increasing exponentially -- and I don't say that to brag; in fact, I'm more embarrassed about it than anyone -- my duty to produce (Did I say "produce," when I meant "grind out?") ongoing installments in this intellectual and moral morass I call my Blah-ugh! increases exponentially as well. (I know you people don't mean to pressure me, but clearly you do, and for that, I simultaneously love and despise you {which is not to say I wouldn't help you change a tire if it came down to that}.)

Anyway, I'm reminded how much easier it is to write about things that are bothering me, versus things I'm happy about. I may have once, perhaps a year ago, done an installment on the things I was grateful for, but I don't think it got me any new readers, nor a literary agent, nor any dates ... (In fact, the more I think of it, it might be prudent to go back and delete that entry and steer my full attention toward this bilious course that combines churlish criticisms and petty hostility; it seems to be what the public wants -- (at least my public -- this gaggle of jellybeans which seems to grow like a festering goiter).

But here, look at all these tangents I'm creating (as evidenced by my almost foolhardy use of excessive parentheses). I'd hoped to keep my point focused, like a dart, or an Englishman's nose, and instead I'm dissipating without even the tawdry pleasure of consuming alcohol.

What I wanted to discuss was how much easier -- more pleasurable and bountiful -- it is to write negatively. And don't we experience that in all aspects of our daily lives -- the joy of waxing negative? How often do we wander across an acquaintance at work, and before long there seems nothing else to talk about but something negative; if it's not criticizing an incompetent coworker or bemoaning our squalid working conditions, we bash the weather for all the wrongs its doing to us. We roil and rejoice in our roiling, like so many sick salamanders, or a Christian missionary.

But it seems to keep working, so I won't be the one to start criticizing it. Hell, I'm just happy to see my numbers increase. Maybe one day all this silly complaining will result in meaning (for me, I mean).

At the end of the day -- and please take this in the fond communal spirit in which it's intended -- it's really just all about me!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Welcome To My World (Far From Egypt)

February 1, 2011: Is something happening in Egypt? Honestly, I don't know ... Nor do I want to.

You see, I learned -- taught myself, perhaps -- after the awful anxiety that stirred after 9/11 -- that I had nothing to gain by following the news. It's ironic, because at the time I was writing the news. Still, it made no sense to let my fragile, feather-like emotions (and please understand, they are feather-like) be swayed and slapped and sometimes throttled by the roller coaster rides that are -- at least for me -- prompted by current events.

Today at work -- (Yes, I work! Why is that so funny?! Not all of us have George Clooney's money, even if we're blessed with his brand of dashing good looks) -- a woman was innocently (and honestly) professing to know nothing about what was happening there (in Egypt), but certainly alarmed by all the media attention. She kept looking at me, as if I had some answer, and even the woman who soundly, succinctly summarized the situation for her, then looked to me and said, "Is that about right?" (I merely shrugged and tried to look more like George Clooney; then I spent the rest of the time ruminating on what awful traits I project that make people think I'm authoritative.)

To my credit, I listened to her intelligent explanation and I still don't know what's going on. Nor do I see any good in finding out. When all is said and done, my only real concerns (at least insofar as news information can provide relief or guidance) involve swarms of Arabs (or Egyptians -- honestly, I'm not even sure anymore if they're the same thing!) mounting some kind of offensive that targets my house. If this is the case -- if a large group (or even a small group, really) of Egyptians come riding up my street on Arabian horses wielding those big Ali Baba-type of cutlasses, then I want to know before it happens -- hopefully at least an hour before -- and then I'll take action (which will mostly involve fleeing, with perhaps a bit of screaming).

People will -- and probably often do, behind my back (My god, they do everything behind my back) -- say that I'm neglecting my responsibilities, or ignoring "reality" (and see, I put it in quotes, to emphasize its subjective nature), ... but the truth is I'm merely keeping myself happy, and rest assured, that is no small task, as anyone who's modestly acquainted with me can attest. You see, my fragile psyche is already overstuffed with terrible thoughts and terrors that constantly compete to get the upper hand in depressing me or working me into one lather or another. I don't need any outside help to make the situation (meaning my brain) more turbulent. It does just fine without media input.

Finally, on a related note, from no direct connection I don't think, several times this week I've found myself singing "Walk Like An Egyptian" in the shower. And I sound great, really. I'm even doing the back-up vocals at the same time, and that's not easy.

So don't tell me I'm not involved with world affairs.