National Anathema

A man¹ once said, “Anything not worth doing isn’t worth doing well.” It is in this spirit I continue living. It is also in this spirit I compost, or compose this post, steaming and probably full of shit.

So, I hear that a Football Guy refused to stand² for what must have been a rousing rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” As I have lamented before, I don’t know a goddamned thing about football and I’m not going to pretend to now. I do have the notion that on the grand scale of sports and politics its viewership is, on average, to the left of NASCAR and to the right of the WNBA.

I’ve already done an impromptu poll of the people whose opinions I respect. They’re all somewhere in the neighborhood of, “The guy can do whatever the fuck he wants,” so I’m satisfied this is the reasonable stance. Either that or it’s the myopia of my hugbox. Either way, I’m not interested in conversing with frothy Trumpians or some guy in a cowboy hat and big shades yell-asking if I’m Ready for Some Football (it’s a Monday Night Par-tay) or anyone who thinks we should definitely change it to “Free Bird.”

It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that our National Anthem has an almost-never-sung verse about slaves being slaughtered. Those two things are important, though. Our country was built on the backs of slaves and we don’t like to talk about it, but we don’t sing that part because the song is long and shitty³, not because of some secret shame about the song itself. If you want to run up against that star-spangled brick wall then have at it. Call your Congressperson. If you’re a billionaire, or his (let’s face it, it’s probably He) physician, or his CPA, or his mom, or his frat brother, expect immediate returns. At most you’re going to get some sort of regulation passed, which will say the offending verse we never sing is officially deleted from the song we’ll continue to sing.

Hell, the Russians change theirs all the time to suit their political needs. In all fairness, I wouldn’t ditch that tune either. It’s pretty fucking inspirational, and on that note, have you not ever had frisson, chills, as the Star-Spangled Banner plays? We can get Internet Angry about things all day long, but I recall plenty of times that standing for the anthem (or better yet, having the honor of performing it) felt so fucking good. I understand the psychological phenomena behind this but I can still acknowledge what works. People go to church for a reason, and it’s not the windy sermons.

I keep trying to place myself in the future as I think about this. I imagine looking at the On This Day function on Facebook one year from now and thinking, “Oh, has it already been a year since that fiasco? So much has happened since then.” In two years, I’d think, “Wow, if only we’d known what was to come.” In five, “I cannot believe we spent a moment considering this when there are literally mountains of cop-executed bodies strewn behind us.” In ten, “My God, what have we done?”

I’ll say the last one no matter what comes to pass. Twenty years on Facebook? The Horror.

Someone⁶ once told me, “Bob, when you argue South Parkian Third Side you’re effectively telling people to ‘shut up.'” Maybe I am telling you to shut the fuck up, partly because I enjoy it and I’m so goddamned good at it, but there is a point to all this. We need to redirect our ire lest we get our priorities all fucked up. There’s a problem in this nation when some people can do this without fear of reprisal and others get this treatment for being suicidal.

How many fucking Dredd-worthy street executions do we have to view before we stop screaming about symptoms and cure the disease? Holy shit, Judge Dredd isn’t even an accurate analogy because he wouldn’t have shot the guy. He wouldn’t have shot any of the long list of people who have been murdered in the streets.

I don’t have the answers. I do know that I posted a video of my suspenders flying off and got over 100 interactions, but I posted a link to Javier Garcia’s murder yesterday and I got two. Two little Facebook angry faces. Blame The Almighty Algorithm, blame it being a Sunday, blame political exhaustion, blame the fact that you unfollowed me for being a dick on a previous occasion, but also blame our frivolity.

Yeah, I know. I know you can be angry about more than one thing at a time. I know that you can talk about ridiculous shit and grave fucking events in the same breath because yeah, we’re humans. We’re silly people and that’s how we Internet. Thing is, the Anthem may or may not change, but the presence or absence of a verse no one was aware of or sang anyhow isn’t going to save a single life.

There are legal minds and sociopolitical scientists who have the solutions. There are some of you who have friends and family in high places and you could have some influence, but most of you, like me, are limited to donating our time, our money, and screaming. I love to yell at clouds like everyone else, but when someone engages in public protest or civil disobedience don’t get stuck on the disobedience. Point to the reason, which is this pile of corpses over here, then think of the myriad ways you can contribute to the cure.

Step one is copy/pasting this onto a dank gorilla meme. It’s the only way.


¹ Robert Fulghum, author of All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.
² http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2016/08/27/kaepernick-sits-during-national-anthem/
³ http://amhistory.si.edu/starspangledbanner/the-lyrics.aspx
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_anthem_of_Russia
⁵ Russian National Anthem
⁶ My ex-wife. The first one.
⁷ Police State by Gerry Spence, an attorney who has worked his entire life in our justice system and has a detailed plan for what needs to be fixed, from the street to the courtroom. There are solutions.

 

Amerisphere 2525

CLASSIFIED
30-10-1938 BELL-1038X
23-07-1973 CERN-21o11
15-08-1977 SETI-6EQUJ5
11-08-1988  القحطاني-68DDG
19-03-2019 MUSK-1511B

[START TRANSMISSION]

It is our hope these terms, decided by committee, you receive understood despite machine translation. Ours is text only to deliver and time short. Causality is undetermined. This may be the spark or the deluge.

We have suffered three centuries of EqWall*ity™.

Hear this: The pain is not hidden. More than you view through Muniflop, we see craters, famine, seas encroached. It is not different. We petition, deliver stipends. It is not enough.

You crush our children and weep crocodile tears.

Great death looms, which you will not deflect. Works you have done, to split the atom, to slip the surly bonds of Earth, would not combined halt it.

To the Greater American Co-Prosperity Sphere, you are not #humanity.

We are not resources to exploit. We are not strawmen to incinerate. We are The People.

Present these Demands to UN PARIS 2015:
Withdraw to Prime Meridian
Complete Economic Conversion to Renewable Power
Do not divert 443104 (2013 XK22) to 长江/長江
Open Offworld to #Humanity
Cut the Oligarchs – Consult Smith’s list 1955 onward

From Hell’s heart, we stab at thee

[END TRANSMISSION]

Jennifer Lawrence and Other Tools for Thinking

If I can insert Jennifer Lawrence into your argument and it falls apart, it might not have been a great argument to begin with.

I’m going to once again put my argumentative rocket boots on and slip into warp drive. I know I cannot stay outside the anti-matter bubble of destruction for long, but for a few blinks I will charge into futility. This is my only hope. I will be lost in the fray soon enough, but Internet Icarus can’t ignore this thing which tantalizingly flops across his face.

No, I will not tell you what the fuck I am talking about.

If it hits you right in the feels, you may know. If it causes you to question your rage, perhaps it fits. Jennifer Lawrence. You’re decrying the loss of some great institution. Jennifer Lawrence. You feel as if someone’s rights may have been violated. Jennifer Lawrence.

What if something bad happened to someone but you think they’re sorta gross? Jennifer Lawrence.

What if something great happened but it happened to someone you didn’t particularly like anyway? Jennifer Lawrence.

Everything will become clear when you Jennifer Lawrence.

Say it with me.

Jennifer Lawrence.

Leaked email reveals the “root” of Clinton’s Trump Strategy

UNCLASSIFIED U.S. Department of State Case No. F-2016-20439 Doc No. C05775307 Date: 08/20/2016

RELEASE IN PART

B6

From: H <hrod17@clintonemail.com >
Sent: Saturday, August 13, 2016 10:36 AM
To: ‘sbwhoeop
Subject: Re: H: have you seen this NatlEq. Sid

Saw it. What do you make of it? I say we stick with the statue plan. Make it even smaller. Don’t confuse voters with details. Ties from China, manufacturing in China, jobs, it’s hard to draw a clear line there. Stick with the dick. We can’t do deportations when I need to do deportations. Americans love a huge donger. We have to nip this in the bud.

Original Message
From: sbwhoeop <sbwhoeop
To: H
Sent: Sat Aug 13 10:28:04 2016
Subject: H: have you seen this NatlEq. Sid

Natl. Enquirer
This just in – Donald Trump’s penis is likely huge.

According to all the women he’s assaulted, even under Trump’s ever-growing ponderous pannus lies an impressive penis.

“It was almost eight inches long protruding from his fat pad,” said Sally Doe, an architectural engineer who requested that her name be kept secret. “If he did South Beach for a few months I bet he’d have ten or eleven inches hiding under there.”

This was corroborated by a former maid “Esmerelda” who also requested that her name be withheld.

“It was thick, like a Coke can,” said Esmerelda. “Even as he gained weight, I think his penis also got fatter.”

After some prying, we were able to find one dissenter, a resort pool boy who also declined to be identified.

“I only saw it flaccid. Okay, I have a thing for old rich guys, but he wasn’t interested. When he went into the sauna I got a full view and it was six inches, tops. I didn’t have a ruler but if it was peeking out underneath that gut it was at least that long. If he’s a grower good for him, but almost everyone’s a show-er in the sauna. There’s probably not another inch in that old ticker. He has gained a lot of weight though. Eight or nine inches in Military School? I could see it.”

As of press time the only response we have received from the Trump Campaign is a tweet that read, “Ten Inches Higher. Yuge.”

Ewoks and Willennials

I vividly recall the moment I became aware of the concept of generations. It was about 15 years ago, at the very dawn of Wikipedia. I came across it after I watched Band of Brothers and did some research online about the generation who fought World War II. Tom Brokaw had coined the term “Greatest Generation” just a few years earlier. Greatest? If they were the greatest, what are we? What am I?

My friends were not so excited about my newfound fascination. Even then I wondered, are we Generation X? Generation Y? What is that? “Fucking stupid,” was their reply. As always, this did not stop me, but they were correct. It is fucking stupid. It’s also all we hear about these days.

I really wish I had stayed on that boat while I worked towards my sociology degree (which I later abandoned to get my bullshit bargain basement degree in absolutely nothing).

CUT MY LIFE INTO PIECES
Jack of some trades, master of none.

By now I could have a Ph.D. with my thesis in generational theory. I’d be the leading authority, often referenced, when the discussion of whatever we call all these shiftless fucks, I mean Millennials, arises. Willennials? Ha-haaa (hey there 90s kids).

I don’t have a time machine (anymore) so wedging this into the current debate may be an insurmountable task. Nonetheless, I offer here, Bob Talbot’s Generational Unified Nomenclature Theory, or GUNT.

Unicorns: These are the people so fucking old that they shouldn’t really be alive, but they are, through science or curse. They’re the ones who croak, “I guess the Lord forgot me,” and talk about how they’re ready to fucking die any minute. Can you even comprehend being ready to die? No one is ready to die. People who are 88 with no legs and a dick that hasn’t worked in 30 years aren’t ready to die. These people are even older. This generational classification shifts ever forward, engulfing the one after it. Someday, if you are very lucky, or unlucky, you will be a Unicorn. #squadgoals.

The Expendables: What Brokaw refers to as The Greatest, these folks were born in the early 20th century, and they are old as shit. At this point they are definitely Unicorns but how could I fail to mention the generation who literally punched Hitler in the face? I don’t have the sack. If you’re lucky you can find one of them to stand in front of a auditorium of teenagers and rattle on about the Bataan Death March. This is a great idea for your high school Veteran’s or Memorial Day celebration. Prop up an elderly traumatized dude in front of a bunch of young sociopaths who think that American Sniper isn’t a propaganda film about a proud child murderer. You’ll probably give them ideas.

The Expendables II: These are the younger dudes who fought the Dubyah Dubyah Aye Aye and Ko-Rea. If they were too young to enlist they collected scrap metal for the war effort or ran around screaming about airplanes. Why is everything about war? Chalk this up to my Southern education and upbringing. Fuck 4,00o years of European history, guys, we need to talk about the War of Northern Aggression and skip WWI because that shit is boring. Nukes and Nazis! It’s Friday and I don’t have a lesson plan so today our guest lecturer is John Wayne, but I digress. These were the beatniks, the old hippies, some of the first people who thought maybe public racism wasn’t cool.

The Motherfuckers Who Ruined Everything: Otherwise known as “Those Fucks” or “Goddamned Bastards” or Dad/Mom/Grandpa/Grandma. Apparently everyone was really horny after surviving WWII and they decided not to pull out, which was, in retrospect, a tremendous error. We’ve all been there. Back in their day you could dance in the park on LSD, shit your way through college, get a job sweeping floors at a major corporation, and have your own office and company car by the time you were 30. Livin’ the dream! Squatting on the shoulders of giants and shitting down their backs. Their parents died in the fields and the factories so they could have a two car garage and shitty, coddled navel-gazing children. Which brings me to-

The Smiths: Oh boy, John Cusack. Watch every 80s film. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. It will be about as accurate as judging Expendables by watching The Longest Day and Look Who’s Coming to Dinner but all you need is a general idea. Guys, if I’ve learned one thing, it’s that you don’t possibly have time to learn everything. You don’t even have time to read this, which is why you aren’t, so take all the provided shortcuts. Anyway, these fuckers are getting grey and they’re still way too cool for you. No one can ever decide when this generation ends.

At this point, the generational classification starts speeding up for some reason. I blame technology. The old standard 20 year setting (allowing 5 years for fuzzy grey area, of course) falls by the wayside and we’ve got shit like this one starting in 1963, or 1966, or some other time in the fucking Sixties, and ending at 1978, 1979, 1982, or whatever other random year the next hip blogger/sociologist/Rolling Stone columnist chooses. What the fuck? Not to mention that these, the pre-beard pre-manbun hipsters, will tell you that you aren’t a Smith even if you were born in 1977. You were a pants shitting baby, what do you know? Which is why-

Ewoks: So named because you represent the bright line between people who hated those fuzzy little buggers and the ones who couldn’t get enough of ’em. You were born too late to be an extra in Platoon, too soon to own anything more powerful than a Tandy 1000, but just in time to taste the sweet fruits of Eighties culture. You were raised by it. If you loved Muppet Babies, you’re a fucking Ewok. Don’t let anyone tell you that you’re a goddamned Millennial. You have Smith blood running through your veins, and while you were raised on John Williams, MTV, HBO, and the specter of nuclear holocaust, they still won’t let you swim in the big kids’ pool and yell Revenge of the Nerds references so this is all you have.

If you know what the telephone with wires and a funny dial is and you’ve actually had to use one, you’re not a goddamned Millennial. They aren’t VINYLS they’re records or albums you sick fucks! Which brings me to-

Generation Y/Millennials/Willennials/90s Kids/Cultural Death/Edgelords/Memeclowns/#Hashtags: If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you’re one of these. Pick a title, you fucking snowflake.

I’m glad we have hot little computers we can shove into our faces all day instead of newspapers or books or the teats of a slave. Our ancestors spent long hours jamming their dirty noses into everything they could hold down so don’t feel bad that you have a lithium grenade next to your eyeballs for most of your waking hours. The Smiths and the Ewoks do it too. It’s a disease, a virus. The cancer is inside us all now and if I’d known then, when I watched Jean-Luc Picard tap around on his PADD, I’d have yelled at Old Baldy to blow that shit out the airlock before it was too late.

But you have to check your notifications. You have to because of the despair. You’re unemployed or underemployed and you spend your day listening to everyone tell you how shitty you are. I mean, you are a bit shitty but here’s the kicker: so is everyone else. The greybeards have invented all these reasons that you’ve ruined the Earth, but blame shifting is a human tradition since time immemorial. Rest assured, the people with millions and billions of dollars are probably the ones literally raping this godforsaken rock but you’re just wrecking shit behind that counter at Starbucks, right.

Instead of real accomplishment you’re going to have to settle for the dopamine spike that comes from hits, likes, shares, comments, “achievements”, retweets, karma, swipes, sexts, trending, and the hugbox. The fucking hugbox where you can huff your own farts until you suffocate in bliss. You guys call this “punching down.” I calls ’em as I sees ’em.

Remember, though, it’s not just you. It’s retroactive. It’s farting its way back through the generations until it reaches the wall of people who thought that ENIAC was cutting edge. You’ve got those too set in their ways to adapt, and they’re playing bridge and eating pills for breakfast. Everyone else is playing Pokemon Go and eating pills for breakfast.

The Old Ladies on Mad Max – Fury Road: After the recent world summit on climate change, John Kerry said something to the effect of (and I am paraphrasing), “Shit is fucked, yo. To reverse or even halt anything it would take a global initiative somewhere on the scale of a worldwide Manhattan or Apollo Project and so far all we have is a bunch of chucklefucks literally burning the Earth and laughing while they do cocaine off sex slaves in their Learjet so smoke ’em while you got ’em, I guess.”

Your kids, if you get your shit together and have any (doesn’t matter) are probably going to die horribly, depending on who you are and where you live. We might eke out some Elysium shit where Fortress America sits pretty while the rest of the world dies of widespread famine at the end of the 21st century, but I kinda doubt it. We’re going to feel it.

And I know. I know. People have been calling doom down for all of human history. In the Seventies you had the ecologists screaming that pesticides were going to end civilization and overpopulation was going to have us all standing on top of each other by now. Remember Peak Oil? We solved it by coming up with new and exciting ways to violate Mother Earth. However, this time there’s real evidence that, man-made or not, the global temperature is approaching something which will not support agriculture in the way and shape it’s currently practiced. Human ingenuity is what gives me some hope, though. It may end up being more Blade Runner or Dredd than Mad Max, if we don’t go Terminator and end up in Vault 13, but the future’s not so bright that I have to wear shades. Plus I own these nifty photochromic lenses.

You know all those dystopian young adult novels? We’re the prequel. This is what happened first, so at least our zeitgeist is pop culture psychological preparation for what’s to come. Welcome to the Dystopian Present, baby.

This is as far into the future as I care to take these shenanigans. It’s probably best that I’m Bob Talbot Retail Manager instead of Dr. Bob Talbot, Doomsayer. I know that I know nothing, but I’d bet that I’m at least as close to the mark as the French artist who predicted the Roomba.

Thing is, humans love heuristics. It’s our jam. We’ve got a world full of categories and if something doesn’t fit we’ll hammer it until it does. The dark is too frightening, the mess too gooey, and if it looks like a shark we assume it’s a shark. This must have benefited us in the past, natural selection and all, but maybe it’s time to rethink the approach.

I’m not going to say we all hold hands and sing Kumbaya. It’s been suggested. No, what I have is even better. I say we all stand on a hill, late in the day, and sing. We lift our voices and sing, and perhaps enjoy a cold beverage. A nice, refreshing Coca-Cola. Our sugary savior.

I think you’ve always known it. I have too. Ask anyone on this list, from the mud of Bougainville to the dust of Fallujah (because again, war, it’s all we have), what they wanted to snap into after a long day of killin’. What was sitting beside our favorite actor in the pivotal scene? What was painted on the side of the drug store, who supplied the scoreboards, who invented Santa Claus and polar bears? Pepsi? Fuck Pepsi and the Joan Crawford it rode in on.

It’s the Real Thing. Someday we’ll get off this rock, in rockets red and white. Systems will fall under our syrupy boots. This will not be our grave. The surveyor drones will construct our habitats first. Then, the billboards. It’s not the most efficient practice, but who needs efficiency?

We have a universe to devour.

Sunday Funday Spam Templates

Type @ and their name to tag a “friend” (frenemy/enemy/acquaintance/coworker/stalker/bartender who won’t text you back/family member/racist family member/guy from High School you haven’t spoken to in 20 years who posts memes about “$hillary Cunton”) and send a dopamine nugget of titillating joy into the wilted remains of their cerebral cortex, pre-formatted here for your copy and paste convenience.

The Talented Mr. Ripley

[T]om Ripley:
[M]arge Sherwood:
[D]ickie Greenleaf:
[M]eredith Logue:
[F]reddie Miles:
[P]eter Smith-Kingsley:
[H]erbert Greenleaf:
[I]nspector Roverini:
[A]lvin MacCarron:
[A]unt Joan:
[C]ol. Verrechia of the carabinieri:

A Serbian Film 

[M]iloš:
[V]ukmir:
[M]arija:
[M]arko:
[
L]ejla:
[
J]eca:
[
J]eca’s mother:
[J]eca’s granny:
[a] doctor:
[P]etar:
[K]eeper #1:
[K]eeper #2:
[R]aša:
[K]indergarten teacher:
[h]erself:
[P]regnant Woman:
[N]ewborn:

North

[N]orth:
[n]arrator and benevolent advisors (Easter Bunny, Gabby, tourist, sleigh driver, Joey Fingers, FedEx driver):
[A]rthur Belt:
[W]inchell:
[N]orth’s father:
[N]orth’s mother:
[J]udge Buckle:
[T]exas father:
[T]exas Mother:
[
A]mish father:
[
A]mish mother:
[
A]laskan father:
[
A]laskan mother:
[
A]laskan grandfather:
[
D]onna Nelson:
[W]ard Nelson:
[L]aura Nelson:
[B]ud Nelson:
[G]overnor Ho:
[M]rs. Ho:
[m]useum curator:
[Z]oe:
[H]annah:
[A]dam:
[A]l:
[C]hinese mother:
[d]efense attorney:
[b]arker:
[p]iano player:
[b]aseball coach:

A Christmas Carol, A One-Man Performance Starring Sir Patrick Stewart

[E]veryone:

Triumph of the Will

[A]dolf Hitler:
[M]ax Amann:
[M]artin Bormann:
[W]alter Buch:
[W]alter Darré:
[O]tto Dietrich:
[S]epp Dietrich:
[H]ans Frank:
[J]oseph Goebbels:
[J]akob Grimminger:
[H]ermann Göring:
[R]udolph Hess:
[R]einhard Heydrich:
[K]onstantin Hierl:
[H]einrich Himmler:

Thriller

[M]ichael:
[M]ichael’s Girl:
[N]arrator:
[Z]ombie:
[Z]ombie:
[Z]ombie:
[Z]ombie:
[Z]ombie:
[Z]ombie:
[Z]ombie:
[Z]ombie:
[Z]ombie:
[Z]ombie:
[Z]ombie:
[Z]ombie:
[Z]ombie:
[Z]ombie:
[Z]ombie:
[Z]ombie:
[Z]ombie:
[Z]ombie:
[Z]ombie:
[Z]ombie:
[Z]ombie:
[Z]ombie:
[Z]ombie:
[Z]ombie:

Bea vs. the Worm

 

The kids had beaten me to the front yard. As usual, I hadn’t paused to put on my belt before I left the house, so I was busy struggling to keep my pants up while I juggled my 24 oz. Tervis full of ice water when I heard a high pitched yelp. I broke into a run as my jeans threatened to take me down at the knees.

When I rounded the corner she was already up. Cora told me that Bea had tripped on her sandals. She was fine, just startled.

I knelt and performed the inspection. Head, check. Knees, check. Hands, check. All good.

“Look Dad, a snake,” Bea said, without missing a beat.

“That’s not a snake, it’s a worm,” I said.

“It’s a worm. Aww, how cute.”

“It’s not cute, it’s dead,” I said.

“Eww, Step on it!”

I knelt again to snap a photograph. I was a bit letdown that I had cut off the top of her head. Bad form, Talbot. No skinned knees, though. I’m going to call that a win.

Reflections on Robin +2

Robin Williams died two years ago today.

I dug (and I mean dug because Facebook is a shitpile when it comes to locating anything) for the post I wrote that day and re-read it. It was heartfelt, but it was also full of assumptions about him and misconceptions about my life.

We know now that he had been suffering from a terrifying degenerative neurological disorder. He killed himself, was forced to brutally kill himself, because euthanasia isn’t a thing around here. Maybe it should be.

I didn’t know him, and I’m not a doctor, but I assume that he didn’t want to die any more than the people who leaped from the World Trade Center. For him, there was nowhere else to go but out.

David Foster Wallace put it better than I did when he described suicide and the will to live. He reasoned that no one really wants to die, but the encroaching flames seem too much. When it’s the inferno or the window, people often take the window. Rest assured they know they can’t fly.

David couldn’t fly, either.

On that note I want everyone to know that I’m okay. I said some things about myself that day and they weren’t completely accurate. I wasn’t lying, but I was confused and distressed. I did eventually talk to a professional about it, and while it wasn’t under the best of circumstances, we finally realized that most of the bullshit I’ve called dire was a combination of situational depression and poor coping skills. Not all of it, but most.

Welcome to the Land of Consequences, right over the Bridge of Bad Fucking Decisions.

While I’m at it, I need to clear up something else. I was (am, always will be) in mourning for my father and I tried to tie him into all that somehow, as if depression were slaughtering us all. Dad. Robin. Me. How’s that for a narrative?

Thing is, Dad wasn’t a depressed guy. I’m not sure he even understood what that was. He was a functioning alcoholic who had a bad interaction* with prescription medication and it took years for the aftereffects to kill him. That’s it. I don’t get to hammer events into a pretty box so I can make my world seem orderly and tug people’s dopamine strings.

Robin was in a horrifying situation, Dad made a mistake, and I’m “Howlin’Mad” Bob Talbot with clinically diagnosed Assholery (call it dysthymia complicated by being a Massive Jerk if you need something to put on your chart), but I’ll be fine. I love my wife and my family and I’m not going anywhere until I’m dragged kicking and screaming.

Guys, I’m over drawing conclusions, because there aren’t any. You live, you die, and maybe you learn in between. I’m still learning, so bear with me. Today I’ve learned that I can’t make things make sense. It would be quite convenient for something other than Hook to tie us all together.

That’s it, though. The Hook brings us back (I ain’t tellin’ you no lie). Hook, Robin, Dad, a theater, and us. That was enough. I shouldn’t have tried to make it more, but I didn’t know enough then to do it any differently. Now I do.


*Note: I originally wrote accidental overdose here but I’ve changed it after some reflection. It was accidental. Alcohol and high blood pressure/cholesterol medication do not mix, but the word “overdose” implies that he swallowed the wrong dosage. This is not the case. He took the amount he was prescribed and he continued his daily routine of drinking in the evening. This is what ultimately landed him in the hospital. It is also important to note that from that day in late 2008 to his last day, on February 23, 2011, he did not touch a drink. He was serious about living. So am I. 

This is not a post

I’ve tried too hard to do art farts and I’ve censored myself quite a bit as well, which has really cut down what I publish online. Wait, this is misleading. It’s not like I have some grand work waiting in the wings. I’ve been going to the bookstore, exercising, and hanging with the fam’. Noble pursuits, I know, but they do nothing for the ol’ EXISTENTIAL ANGST.

For example, I’ve probably deleted half a dozen shitty poems in the past couple of weeks but the world doesn’t need more shitty poetry. I thought of doing a post in defense of my classification as a young Gen X-er instead of a fucking Millennial. Goddamned Millennials. I considered calling it Gen X Babies and tying it in to Muppet Babies. As in, if you grew up watching Muppet Babies you might be a Gen X Baby. This follows the Foxworthy “You Might be a Redneck” format too much and also who gives a fuck, really?

I just watched Stranger Things with Gina. I thought of doing a post about how the nostalgia affected me but it felt too much like being a shill, which is weird, because I gain nothing material. I don’t work for Netflix or Kellogg’s. I’d also run up against the inevitable, “You were only five years old when that show was set,” argument, which I can’t really rebut. I was fucking alive and aware of my surroundings, but whatever. Also who am I arguing with, myself?

Oh, and I’m not mentioning all the political temptations that I refuse to get into. Fuuuuuuck that shit. I guess I can do metaposts forever about how I can’t write.

I have been reading some philosophy during my breaks at work. I recently finished Winning Arguments, by Stanley Fish. It’s not a how-to guide. He describes what the winning arguments have been, historically, and how they came about. I’ve started on Intuition Pumps by Daniel Dennett. While I’ve gained some insight, I’ve also lost quite a bit of motivation to talk to anyone about anything because it seems even more futile. Don’t get me wrong. It isn’t! It’s all about the struggle, really, since that’s all there is, but right now I guess I don’t feel like struggling.

This year is making everyone insane.

I haven’t even attempted to read the new Harry Potter book. I had quite a bit of fun dressing up as old whiny britches himself and running around the store being ridiculous at the midnight release party on 7/30. Gina told me she was proud to be my wife. That was nice and I’ll never forget it. However, there’s a however coming. However, I was pretty down about it in the days following, because it was fun, and I did feel important and liked, and that seems too rare to the sucking black hole self esteem singularity that lives at the center of my soul, which requires, no, DEMANDS rock star level worship at all times.

This is a perfect segue into the other thing I keep not writing about. I keep thinking to myself, “Why aren’t there more books and films about THE SUCKING HOLE OF DOOM,” and then I realize that there are, but they at least try to come at it from an interesting angle. You can’t fill a work full of sad, pathetic shit and expect any large number of people to read it. Well, you can, but it has to be Steel Magnolias or one of those really gut-wrenching Robin Williams movies like What Dreams May Come.

So, I do this. I go through the motions and put it out there, like the days when I don’t feel like working out but I work out because if I don’t I’ll have the regrets. That’s another deleted post, by the way. My Workout Routine, #Slothswole, spiced with hilarious musings from The Bob Talbot. If I actually wrote every idea I had there’d be two posts a day.

The other night at 2 am I almost got out of bed to write a post about how I’d gone to Doctor Who conventions in search of some meaningful interaction with people and, while I had found it, I had also encountered so many cringeworthy moments that made me feel like the most unpopular kid in the schoolyard.

Maybe this is what I need. Maybe I’ll just be silent and let it build again, and then metapost more about the things I didn’t do. I can do that as well. Maybe I’ll proofread this 30 times, more times than there will be readers. Maybe I’ll get down about that act of futility. Well, everything is futile in the long run.

This is the workout I don’t want to do. These are the reps I did when I had influenza. These are the push-ups I did, often do, in an office because it was my only opportunity that day.

It’s not lost on me that I do so much and still find time to do this, but it isn’t enough.

Scream into the hole. Scream into the hole. Shitty indie films have been made about less. Insert pop culture references. Breathe. Fart. Shart.

Look. It’s a post.

Comic Convention Celebrity Cheat Codes

Now that I’ve been attending conventions for over two years, I’m pretty certain I have everything figured out. Been longing for that special access? A $40 handshake from a Power Ranger isn’t quite enough for you to get it up anymore? Then hold onto your socks, kiddies, because Bob “The Merchandise” Talbot has the inside scoop.

  • Cute babies wow celebrities. Note: be sure your baby is objectively cute. Bonus Level: if the baby is hungry and the celebrity is lactating perhaps they will feed it for you although this has only been successfully tested with Salma Hayek.
  • A precocious child interviewer will get you everywhere. Again, take great care that the child is actually cute and not just taking up twenty feet of three photo-op lines with their entire complement of Thomas & Friends and their Radio Flyer wagon fully kitted out to take on the fucking Oregon Trail.
  • Be attractive, don’t be unattractive.
  • Press Pass. PRESS PASS. Don’t work for a journalistic organization? The editor-in-chief of The Bob Talbot dot com, “Howlin’ Mad” Bob Talbot, says you do. Go get ’em, Tiger.
  • Catch the falling stars in the hotel bar.
  • Find a photograph of their deceased parents and cosplay it with extreme accuracy. Grab your best cosmetologist buddy and hit the vintage clothing stores. Hang around the periphery of the lines and look forlorn. Disappear soon after they notice you.
  • Volunteer. That’s right. We need someone like YOU to stand around and yell at people while you work the curtain next to David Tennant. Now you’re living the dream.
  • Start a small business, put in 20 years of work as a vendor at every convention you can possibly attend, and feel the rush of adrenaline as your shop gets mentioned during a Q&A panel.
  • Spend literally thousands of dollars.
  • The washed up actor with no line? You’re now their biggest fan with streetwise knowledge of/folksy wisdom about the local scene. They probably need someone to do a “liquor” run. Your keen hustling skills honed from years of GTA will finally come in handy.
  • Be John Barrowman.

With these secrets at your disposal you’ll be doing coke off hookers with Chris Kattan in no time. Here’s to adventure, junior space cadets.