Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


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   lerdy late
Thursday, February 16 2006
"Lordy, lordy, look who's forty!" was one of many canned classified ads one could buy in the Staunton Daily News Leader in celebration of a friend's birthday. It was such a cheesy, folksy phenomenon that it has taken up residence as a permanent arrow in the quiver of my personal comedic style, right along with my father's Chinese food "half hour later, hungry again" jokes and various stories about being afflicted with lower intestinal distress. I tell many variants on "Lordy, lordy..." such as "Lerdy live, look who's thirty five!" and "Lordy leven, look who's fifty one!" Today I treated myself to a "Lerdy late" and even a "Lordy legative lou" in honor of my 38th birthday. How the time flies! I turned 18 twenty years ago.
Since I'm not a huge fan of cake, last night and this morning Gretchen made me a birthday pizza, complete with candles and everything. Along the way she told a series of semi-successful white lies to conceal her work.

Later this evening, after I'd completed a successful day of web programming, Gretchen took me out to the Armadillo, that Tex-Mex restaurant in the Rondout where, a little less than three years ago, we'd had our big "night before our wedding" dinner party. As usual, I got the jalapeño shrimp poppers and a shrimp burrito. Regarding the menu, decor, and staff, Gretchen made the following observation, "Nothing ever changes at the Armadillo.".
In Kingston it's very common to see mixed-race couples, and this doesn't just come as a pleasant surprise to me (such miscegenation was unheard of in Charlottesville, even among liberals and free thinkers), it's also unfamiliar to Gretchen. Interestingly, we often notice in cases where a black man is with a white woman, the man is much more attractive than is the woman, who is invariably obese. This evening at the Armadillo an inter-racial couple seated near us conformed to this paradigm. He himself wasn't all that attractive, but she was so hideous that it was hard for me to look at her. Her face looked deformed, but not in any way I can easily describe. For his part, he was speaking English with an obviously West African accent, leading us to theorize that their relationship was all about the obtaining of a green card.
I was so full after our meal that I suggested we walk around the Rondout just to give my stomach contents a chance to settle. The last few days have returned to the default conditions of this particular winter: those of mid April. Conditions on the streets of the Rondout were like those of a far more bustling season, but culturally and schedule-wise it was still the depths of winter and so the streets were deserted. As we were heading around behind the Bridgewater (a large sports bar located in one of the Rondout's many repurposed churches), we heard the unmistakable sound of karaoke. So we decided to go in and see what was happening.
It was one of the saddest karaokes imaginable, with a local radio personality serving as MC and a couple of bar employees taking turns trying to prime the pump of the evening. But, until we arrived, there were no actual customers. There was a special of four dollar mai tais, so I ordered one. They were billed as "liquid courage" for those whose fear of the stage might cause them to resist the allure of karaoke performance. But given the sad nature of the audience, it hardly seemed necessary. At a certain point I got up and did "Crazy on You" by Heart (since this was Karaoke my performance was not, however, by heart). I quickly abandoned any attempt to actually sing the song and instead did it spoken-word style, like some of the weaker material you'll hear on a William Shatner CD. Later Gretchen and I sang a duet of "We've Only Just Begun," my favorite Carpenters song. It was all great fun. As ridiculous as it is, karaoke can always be relied upon for a good time being had by all. I know it's a Japanese import so this shouldn't come as a surprise, but it has a quintessentially Japanese relationship to popular culture, treating it all as a fixed part of the landscape, to be accepted with non-judgmental light-hearted reverence no matter what it is, especially if it is Billy Joel.
Something about the cheap liquor used in those mai tais sent me in search of Pepto-Bismol the moment we got home.

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