Friday, February 23, 2007

Planet of the Bloodthirsty Chimps

Chimps have been observed making spears out of sticks and then using them to kill bushbabies.


Wait, and let me explain in more detail. First, a female chimpanzee (apparently the females are more "innovative") finds a deep hollow of a tree of the type where bush babies--"small, monkeylike mammals"--sleep during the day. Then she finds a long, straight stick, and uses her hands and teeth to tear off the side branches. She peels off the bark, and makes one end into a point. Then, holding the spear in a "power grip," she jabs the spear into the hollow repeatedly "at a rate of about one or two jabs per second." After every few jabs she "sniffs or licks" the end of the stick to see if she's jabbing a bush baby or not. Then she smashes the hollow tree branch, exposing the dead (or possibly just horribly injured) bush baby, and eats it.

One of the researchers who observed this said that it reminded her of the shower scene in "Psycho."

So, OK, we're doomed. The chimpanzees are going to organize, surprise us with the ferocity of their spear-jabbing warmongering, and take over the world. We'll become the subjugated species, kept around as pets, zoo exhibits, or pack animals for the ruling ape class, and by the time Charleton Heston comes from the future to find the Statute of Liberty crumbling in the ocean, we will have become mute and forgotten the time before the chimps ruled.

Looking on the bright side, though, maybe that's not such a bad way to go, given the other options. A year ago I thought the world was going to end in a dramatic firey apocalyptic nightmare initiated by TomKat and its army of Scientologist alien minions. A few months ago I was thinking more along the lines of drowning or slow dehydration caused by global warming. Planet of the Apes is actually fairly fun and campy, and the loincloths are more flattering than you might suspect.

OK, I'm in! Chimps, if you need me, I'll be under my desk.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

I curse thee, o poet blouse

I know from poet blouses. I owned one in 1993. It was teal, and made of very shiny silk, and I got it at the Limited. Because it was silk, it was my fancy shirt--I wore it to important events such as varsity basketball games. Many other girls in my high school had the same shirt (albeit in other colors, like hot pink, eggplant, or forest green), so sometimes when I wore it I would feel slightly disappointed because I was predictable, although also somewhat reassured, for the same reason.

But eventually I realized: the poet blouse is a blight on all human clothing. Something called a "poet blouse" should be romantic and lovely, but in fact it is large and baggy and made to be tucked in, creating the look of a muumuu crammed into bike shorts. The rest of the world must have come to a similar realization at around the same time, because the poet blouse disappeared from civilized life (or at least from malls).

Apparently everybody except Banana Republic, because this is currently featured on their website:

Apparently 14 years is long enough for us to forget what history has taught us. Based on this, I'm calling it now: by 2009 we will see the return of the kilt-with-long-wool-vest combo that I wore to my senior high school Homecoming.

Democratic Rule: Bennett Barrington III slums it at Potbelly's

I went to Potbelly's for lunch today. If you haven't been there, Potbelly's is this chain sandwich place that has the type of "quirkly" atmosphere that is signified by mass-produced kitschy decor and enforced by uniform corporate policies, like Chotchkie’s in Office Space. Instead of a 19-pieces-of-flair requirement, though, Potbelly's has musicians sitting on platforms above your heads singing Dylan songs. (See image at left.) The musicians are always slightly grungy-looking dudes, generally with white-person dreadlocks, which all seems in keeping with the natural order of things.

Today, though, the Potbelly's musician was an extremely preppy-looking guy in blue-and-white-striped button-down shirt, khaki pants, and--I kid you not--a braided brown leather belt.

Could it be that this guy was my first real live sighting of that rumored species, the umemployed former Republican staffer? I read about this phenomenon in this article, which contained this priceless quote from a 23-year-old about why he didn't want to take a job at the Department of Labor, even though it paid more than his erstwhile phone-answering gig on the Hill:

"It's simply that I don't want to have labor issues stamped on my resume."

Awesome. I may go again tomorrow.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Sickness on a plane

Hello, chickadees! I apologize for my long absence, and offer the following excuses: First, I was in Brazil for a friend's wedding, which was awesome and which I highly recommend.

Then, I had a stomach virus, which I do not recommend, especially the kind that starts at the beginning of an 11-hour flight back from Brazil. Try as I did to convince myself that being sick at that particular moment was good timing--after all, I wasn't missing my vacation time, and what else was I going to do on the plane?--the reality is that, as my friend Iron Seth recently noted, there are few worse places to get sick. In addition to the regular sickness unpleasantries experienced in a teeny, airless, non-stationary bathroom, you have the embarrassment/shame of walking by the same people multiple times an hour on the way to said bathroom; the anxiety about the possibility that there could be a line and you could thus did not make it to the bathroom at the necessary time, which anxiety is only partly assuaged by carrying around those little vomit baggies (especially given that the airlines seem to have shrunk the baggies along with the seats and the meals); the guilty suspicion that you may be making hundreds of other fellow air-travellers sick; and, during the night rendered sleepless due to your having ralphed your Lunesta, the acute malaise/misanthropy caused by watching the hideous Zach Braff vehicle The Last Kiss, whose point seemed to be either that all relationships are miserable or that awkward 30-something men are understandably prone to freaking out when their lovely, kind, funny girlfriends get pregnant, because men need their freedom, dude, and that the best cure for this poignant situation is a fling with a 20-year-old stereotype of perky, innocent femininity.

But I'm all better now! Thanks for asking. :)