June 28th, 2006

Tom Lehrer is Smug

busy, busy, busy

For a long while back in the late 90s, any time I needed to put my name down on some inconsequential piece of registration (anything I didn't care enough to have my actual name associated with -- software products, newspaper website registrations, that kind of thing) I'd use the name Snuggles the Fabric Softener Bear. When asked for an Organization or Company Name, I'd invariably put down The Magic School Bus.

...because it amused me, all right?

Tonight when I was asked by the data collection computer for an Organization name, I realized I'd grown up and beyond such silly references. I'm older and wiser in the ways of the world. The answer didn't take too long to pop into my head, though I have absolutely no idea why it hit me like it did. But it did. And I liked it.

So I put down Wampeter-Karass and Associates.

(nice, nice, very nice...)


One of the phrases I dredged up yesterday was a remark made when I discovered a few years back that Curious Liquids, the funky, quietly counter-culture coffeehouse up on Park Street across from the State House, had been sold, gutted, and turned into a Fox News studio (for the picture-perfect view of the State House, natch.) I remember saying something like "Well I just checked the back room, and I'm sorry, but we're fresh out of irony."

Yesterday the Metro ("The Newspaper You Read So You Don't Have To Stare At Some Random Straphanger's Crotch") ran a two-page spread inviting us to write in and vote for our "favorite Metro ad of the year" from all the times this past year they've splashed large-scale ads across the front page, or smothered an edition in a large wrap-around sheet, or made it look like a cellular phone was OMG BURSTING OUT OF THE PAPAR!!!1

Today they ran a letter from a woman who probably thought she was being adorably witty for suggesting that the MBTA's new Charlie mascot "take some fashion hints" and "wear a business suit with four-button cuffs" instead of his current suit, which apparently sports cuffs with two buttons, oh the horror and shame. Oh, by the way, for those of you who haven't seen the Boston transit authority's new mascot, he's a cartoon character.

Sorry, folks, I just called the distributor and now they're saying that the irony is still on backorder.

Actually, I am reasonably sure (I want to believe) that some bored person on the Metro staff makes these letters up on slow feedback days. This belief, however optimistically misguided, is the only thing that keeps me from slowly tearing the paper up into little tiny strips while on the train and then garnering the attention of the one person riding who'd Say Something if they Saw Something.

No, I will cling to my hope that these people are simple constructs of an easily amused editorial staff, much like the overblown right-wing crank stereotype they trot out every now and then. You know the guy. He's the one who'll show up even when there's no Burning Non-Issue in the national spotlight, rattle his saber at "the godless heathen liberals", suggest that Jesus would've just mowed down all them queers and illegal immigrants with his Second Amendment-protected assault rifle amen, and then sit back and watch the indignant letters and email come flying in.

The nut's more amusing than sports columnist Bob O'Halloran, who's currently letting everybody know he's no longer BFF with Pedro Martinez and that it is our God-given right to boo Pedro when he takes the mound today because Pedro was never good for the Red Sox and he's a meanie and a traitor to boot for shipping off to the Mets. The fact that Pedro got a standing ovation from the Fenway faithful last night doesn't enter into it; Much like politics, if you're not for the Red Sox, you're agin the Red Sox, and are better off with a D-cell battery embedded in your skull. So it goes.

Some days I feel as if I've leapt off the Earth and landed smack dab in the middle of a wholly different world.