45 Pages of Sex and Counting (The Disturbing World of Search Engine Terms)

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This past week, I noticed a little spike in my blog hit numbers. At first I was happy – who doesn’t like seeing their hit totals go up? With further research, though, my enthusiasm dwindled. All I had to do was look at my Google Search Engine Terms, and my nice hit bump was explained.

426 of my total views this week came from people who Googled the word “Sex.” Yes, sex. Nothing more specific than that. I’m not sure if they were looking for advice, porno, prostitutes, sex offender registries, or information about the saxophone and misspelled it. Whatever it was, they Googled plain old  “Sex” and somehow that led them to my blog.

“So,” my girlfriend asked me, “you’ve been writing a lot about sex?”

No, I don’t think I have. Apart from a post about music lyrics and maybe a few jokes, I don’t think I’ve written about sex at all. Then we got to wondering how many Google pages one would have to go through, having searched the word ‘Sex,’ before he or she (likely he) would end up on my blog. We decided to check it out. We Googled “Sex” and scrolled through page after page. 45 pages later my blog still hadn’t come up, and we were bored by that point and quit.

How many pages of Sex are these people going through? What kind of time do they have? Why don’t they refine their searches? I would think that if someone is still reading after 45 pages of sex, that person is a serious danger to society. Now I like sex as much as the next guy (unless the next guy is David Duchovny), and there’s no way I could read 45 Google pages of it and still want to keep going. That would be sex overdose. Even in my teen years, I tried to limit my Internet sex searches, as I didn’t want to spend too much time erasing my history.

After that, I decided to see what other Search Engine Terms had brought people to my blog. The results were disturbing, but in an enjoyable way, kind of like hearing Sean Hannity talk. Since I’m such a nice guy, I thought I’d share some of my favorite – and most horrifying – Search Engine Terms from the last week.

I want a foot licker” – What, is my blog a genie bottle? Your wishes aren’t getting fulfilled here, Dr. Scholl’s, and please don’t try to rub me.

Ketchup is naughty” – I feel whoever thinks this is projecting. Is ketchup really naughty, or do you just want it to be naughty?

XXX peanut comics” – Disgusting. Maybe I could understand Blondie or Hagar the Horrible.

Asses Sculptures” – Sadly, I do have this on my blog. Seek and ye shall find, Asses-Art-Lover!

Chinese girl with white penis” – Hmm, is it a Chinese girl having sex with a white man that you want? Or is it a tranny, or are you looking for a Chinese girl who happens to have a white penis that she keeps in her cupboard or under her bed or something? The possibilities are endless.

Gay dog gives man blowjob” – Does the dog really have to be gay? If you were to stumble upon, say, a female dog or even a straight dog doing this, would you hit the back button and continue searching? Plus, just out of curiosity, does the man have to be gay as well as a the dog? I like that you seek consent in your animal porn, you sick bastard.

Street fight of little elf people” – Actually, that does sound entertaining. And I think it’s a little racist that my blog on Korean street fighting came up.

Femstache fetish” – Well, at least I learned a new term. Maybe you should get together and hang out with the guy who wants a Chinese girl with a penis.

I think I have more than one nipple” – Just guessing, but I think you do too.

In a way, I’m glad that I’m getting an assortment of eccentric people visiting my blog, although I’m sure they left disappointed. In closing, I’m leaving a link for future Search Engine Term friends. I hope you’ve enjoyed my blog, and you might also find it beneficial to click here. Peace!

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A Man, A Dog, A Nose

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Jeff was in his late 40s and lived in a group home for Jewish men with mental disabilities. He was the kind of person that everyone tries to diagnose, his weirdness being irresistible, as though just seeing him brought out the amateur psychologist in a person. The scary thing was that everyone came up with the same diagnosis – schizophrenia. If the whole world thinks you’re schizophrenic, or anything for that matter, even if you’re not, well, you might as well be. I know I thought Jeff was schizophrenic. He’d put his right hand over his ear and talk to himself; he was constantly talking, chattering, about nothing that made sense to any of us and probably not to him either. His house staff would catch him sneaking into the kitchen in the middle of the night to make sandwiches. Not to eat, just to make.  They’d send him back to his room. Jeff had a small amount of wispy blonde hair on his otherwise bald head and was the kind of bald man that reminded one of a baby. Thinking back, the best way I can describe him is to say that he looked like a combination of Richard Dreyfuss and a Kewpie doll.

“Tanack!  Tanack!” Jeff would shout, making up noises, pacing the hallway up and down. I met him at the non-profit agency I worked for. I’d never been around people with mental disabilities before, and Jeff frightened me a little bit. Maybe it was all the nonsense sounds he’d make, or the reports in his file about him getting physically aggressive with staff members, or how everyone said he was schizophrenic, or maybe it was the way he would scream at the top of his lungs when he’d get upset.

“Tomorrow is Saturday!” he’d holler.  He’d bite his wrist. “It’s Saturday!”

I tried taking a logical approach. “Jeff,” I’d say, “tomorrow is Thursday. It isn’t Saturday. Relax, buddy.”

“It’s Saturday! Tomorrow’s Saturday!”

My attempts were futile. He was in sheer panic mode and I wasn’t helping. Jeff normally shook with nervous energy, anxious and fidgety, but was generally able to compose himself. About once a week, though, he’d blow his lid. And when he did, he was always upset about tomorrow being Saturday, which was strange, because I thought that was a day everybody looked forward to.

As with all the people in our program, Jeff had a big file in the main office stuffed with papers written by psychiatrists, behavioral therapists, and other care givers. I pulled it off the shelf, sat down with it like I was back in a college lit course or something, and started reading, hoping that there would be some insight or nugget of wisdom. There was.

“Jeff can get upset at times,” it said. “When he does, staff should ask him, ‘Jeff, what color is the dog’s nose?’ This phrase has a calming effect on Jeff, and he will answer, ‘It’s black.’”

What color is the dog’s nose?” I thought, bewildered. I went to the room where my coworker, Billy, was.  Billy worked closely with Jeff and knew him better.

“Yo, Billy,” I said, “what color is the dog’s nose?”

He nodded. “Yeah, that’s what you got to say to Jeff to chill him out.” Then Billy reached over to a shelf and grabbed a magazine with a dog on the cover. “Sometimes, when he’s really worked up, I stick this in his face and have him touch the dog’s nose.”

“That works?”

“It works perfectly,” he said, shrugging.

In the days that followed, I waited for Jeff to get upset again. It was almost like I had my fingers crossed, hoping he would. Eventually he did, walking to the end of a hallway and screaming out the doors at the world outside.

“Tomorrow’s Saturday! Tomorrow’s Saturday!”

I approached him and got his attention. “That’s nice, Jeff,” I said, “but listen, more importantly…what color is the dog’s nose?”

He stopped, as though I’d flipped a switch on his back. He turned and looked me straight in the eye, and with a perfectly neutral voice, he said, “It’s black.”

Then he went back into one of the rooms, sat off in a corner away from the others, and looked out the window, seeming quiet and sad.

Every week, Billy took Jeff to a pound to see the dogs. Jeff was afraid of them and wouldn’t pet them, but he loved to go anyways and always anxiously volunteered to go on the dog trip. I secretly wished that I could take Jeff to see the dogs, just to observe him, to see him full of excitement and fear, watching the animals and still, just as he did with basically every person that tried to talk to him, keeping his distance.

I’d like to think there’s an internal logic to how human beings work. There must’ve been something to Jeff, some explanation. Saturday. There had to be a reason he dreaded it so much. And the dog’s nose. That had to have significance. A memory from when he was a kid, or a phrase some person he cared for used to say to him. Or it could’ve been that he simply liked dogs, and one time a dog touched his hand and he felt its wet nose on his skin. Maybe that was the only time he’d ever been touched by anything.

Then I realized that I could invent a whole life for him. His entire history, written by me in my head. I wondered if that would make me feel better, safer. It was sort of like how people guessed he was schizophrenic. If a visitor were to ask, “What’s wrong with him,” I guess it’s more comforting to make something up than to just say “I don’t know.”

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Don’t T-Shirts Mean Anything Anymore? What is this World Coming To?

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The “I’m with Stupid” joke taken to the next level.

Back in 1991, when I was in the 8th grade, I remember begging my father to buy me a pair of Umbro shorts.  We were in Dick’s Sporting Goods, and my solemn father shook his head ‘no.’

“These are soccer shorts,” he said.  “Why do you want soccer shorts?  You don’t play soccer.”

“I think they’re cool,” I said, not wanting to reveal the truth (everybody’s wearing them!!!).  “Umbro is a really good brand.”

“Look at the price,” he said.  “I’m not paying that for soccer shorts when you don’t play soccer.”

I’m not sure if I promised that I would start playing soccer, or if I came up with some other brilliant argument, but he eventually relented and I became the proud owner of two pairs of Umbro shorts, one black and one blue, that I would wear to school proudly.  To me, it didn’t matter at all that they were soccer shorts.  The most important thing was that they were shorts – it wasn’t like I was asking for cleats or goalie gloves or something – and could be worn successfully in a non-soccer environment.  And, as I may have mentioned parenthetically earlier, everybody was wearing them.

“I started getting into communism a few months after I was conceived. I’m not sure if it was the work of Marx and Engels, or all the Cuban food my mom ate.”

I couldn’t help but remember that incident over this past weekend, when my girlfriend and I went to Uniqlo to pick out some summer clothes for my (now Umbro-less) wardrobe.  She went over to the t-shirt section and held up a nifty looking black and grey shirt, pressing it up to my body like she was dressing a cut-out doll.

“I can’t wear that,” I quickly said, rejecting her selection.  “It has a picture of Batman and says ‘The Dark Knight.’  I haven’t even seen ‘The Dark Knight.’”

“So?” she asked.  “It looks good on you.”

No, I insisted, I couldn’t wear the Batman shirt since I’m not that into him.  Nor could I wear the ‘Hard Day’s Night’ shirt she liked, or anything with an Andy Warhol print on it because I am decidedly opposed to artwork being on t-shirts.  In the end, I bought a yellow t-shirt with Japanese characters all over it.  Later research revealed that, in future incidents when I wear this shirt, I will be supporting some noodle restaurant in Tokyo.

“That’s fine,” I said.  “I can get behind noodles.”

Lately, I’ve been pondering the t-shirt choices of the general public.  Now I like t-shirts just as much as the next guy, girl, or mannequin, but I, unlike my stance with the Umbro shorts, have grown up believing that what’s on the front of a t-shirt matters.  I remember several instances in the last few years where I tried to ‘connect’ with my students, and ended up failing miserably:

“I love The Velvet Underground. I buy all my organic groceries there.”

“Hey!” I’d say, all excited.  “Awesome Velvet Underground shirt!  That’s a great album.”

“Huh,” the student would respond.  “What are you talking about?”

“You know,” I’d stammer, “your shirt…with the banana on it.  It’s Velvet Underground…Lou Reed…”

“Oh,” the kid would say.  “I just like the design.”

The same thing happened a bunch of times with sports jerseys, too.  “Nice, man!  I didn’t know you’re a Knicks fan!  Go Melo!”

“I hate the Knicks,” the kid would snap back.  “They suck.  I like the Heat.”

“But you have a Knicks hat and a Carmelo Anthony jersey…”

“I just like the colors.”

Where have our allegiances gone, folks?  I’m a Knicks fan, and I would never wear a Heat jersey.  Didn’t this kid know that the Knicks and the Heat hate each other?  It baffled me that this couldn’t matter.  That would be like a Crip dressing in red because it’s more his color, or Bin Laden walking around in a US flag shirt because it took attention away from his ugly beard.  Couldn’t these kids wear band and sports paraphernalia from the groups and teams they actually supported, and thus stop confusing me?

“My life sucks and is full of pain…I paid Supercuts handsomely to express this on my head.”

As steeped in modern vernacular as I am, it somehow eludes me whether or not people use the phrase ‘poser’ anymore, or if there’s a more modern equivalent.  In the ‘90s, if I showed up to school wearing skater jeans and a Rancid t-shirt, I’d likely get grilled on both the subjects of skating and punk music.  And if I failed, if I didn’t know Rancid from Ranch Dressing, I would be termed a ‘poser’ and that would be the end.  There would be no friends for my fake ass. Given that, how can someone nowadays wear a Ramones shirt, not know who the Ramones are, and not get flack about it?  I guess we don’t have any more mean teenagers out there, enforcing the sacred commandment: Thou shall only wear clothing that fits one’s tastes and overall personality.

Right before I purchased the yellow Japanese noodle shirt, my girlfriend and I came to a rack with a whole variety of David Lynch movie shirts on it.  Eraserhead, Lost Highway, Mulholland Drive, etc.  I was disgusted.  “What the hell is this?” I nearly shouted.  “Why do they have these?  They shouldn’t have these!  I love these movies!  Why are there t-shirts of them being sold at Uniqlo?”

Technically, I should’ve been excited.  If my goal was to find a shirt with something I liked on it, here it was.  My girlfriend shook her head, “Don’t buy that,” she said.  “The design is ugly.”

So that brings me to the closing question: If given the choice of a single shirt, would you rather wear an ugly shirt of something you like, or a cool shirt of something you either don’t like or are oblivious to? There is no right or wrong answer.  Unless, maybe, you’re a Crip.

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You Abandoned Me with a Cockroach: A Love Story

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It was 7:30 one Thursday morning and I was sound asleep, curled up like a potato bug in my girlfriend’s pink and purple bed.  I can’t say with much accuracy exactly what I was dreaming of, although, given my dream history, it probably involved either playing with a big bunny or losing my teeth.  In other words, my attention was fully absorbed in something exciting.  I’d gone to bed at 1:00 the night before, and my alarm was set accordingly, programmed for 9:00 so that I would be getting the standard 8 hours of sleep that every human must have.  That’s a requirement.  Go under that number and you will be exhausted; go over it and you will officially be a lazy bum.

Suddenly, a harsh, loud, pounding noise pulled me from my rest.  It was my girlfriend, slamming on something by the kitchen sink.  My head hurt and my vision was blurry.  I longed to go back to losing my teeth.

“What the heck are you doing?” I asked.

Delicious Coconut: Toolkit Required

“I’m opening this coconut,” she said.  She had a coconut in one hand and was banging on it with a giant hammer like she was John Henry workin’ on the railroad track.

“What?” I moaned.

“I want to drink the coconut water,” she said, and proceeded to keep whacking away at the thing.  I briefly entertained the thought of going back to sleep.  The coconut had no quit, though.  As opposed to helping my cause by just plain breaking open, the stubborn thing refused to yield, remaining as impenetrable as a bank vault, and so I gave up and dragged myself out of bed.

Sleep is an important part of my life.  I do it every day and often look forward to it. Being in a relationship is also important, although it sometimes makes sleeping a lot harder.  Since I’m happy in my relationship, I try to accept not getting enough sleep or being woken up.  Sure, it’s a little annoying, but it’s more imperative to be a good boyfriend.  I try.  I’m generally supportive, spend lots of quality time with my girl, and often tell her that she’s beautiful.  Too often in today’s society, women feel that men only want them for their personalities – I like to remind my girlfriend that I also love her for her physical appearance.

What I’m getting at is this: If one had to choose but one thing, would one choose love or sleep?  It’s not a very interesting question, as this is typically not a decision a person must make.  There are times, though, when it’s as paramount as anything.  In the instance of the coconut, I suppose I could’ve gotten grumpy and told her to be quiet.  I didn’t want to be that guy, though, and so I chose instead to let it go.  I chose love over sleep.  Also, I don’t want my girlfriend to feel controlled or inhibited in any way.  If she wants to smash open coconuts with a sledgehammer at 7:30 in the morning, she has the right to make that decision.  Just as I have the right to purchase coconut water in a can and present it to her shortly before throwing her hammer in the Han River.

On another occasion, though, I had a bit more difficulty dealing with the love/sleep dilemma.  It was on a weeknight, and I was stressed because I had an especially hard day ahead of me at work.  My girlfriend, as she always is, was impeccably sweet and comforting.  Around 1:00, I decided to call it a night and shut my eyes.  Two hours later, I was woken by the blaring sound of my girlfriend’s security system.

I would feel so embarrassed trying to describe the Korean thief to a sketch artist.

“Baby?!” I hollered, shooting up in bed.  The door slammed.  The security alarm was still going off.  My girlfriend was not in the bed with me.  The room was dark and my head started spinning.  What the hell was going on?  I wondered if I was going to have to fight somebody, and tried to remember where the giant hammer was kept.  Just then, the door re-opened, with my girlfriend standing in its outline like I was looking at a photograph of her in a picture frame.  She typed in a few numbers and the alarm went off.

“Sorry,” she said.  She was fully dressed.  “I have to go to the store.”

“The store?  Now?”  I looked at my phone.  It was 3:15 in the morning.

“I saw a cockroach in the bathroom,” she said.  “I can’t sleep.  I have to go get repellent.”

No one has the right to be afraid of cockroaches until after they’ve seen that last segment of Creepshow.

My girlfriend’s apartment is nice and clean, and she likes it that way.  The presence of a cockroach was too much to stand.  It had to die, and it had to die now.

“Can’t this wait until later?” I begged.  “I really need to sleep.”

“No,” she said.  “I can’t stay in here with the cockroach.”

“Maybe it’s friendly,” I said.  “You really have to go now?”  She nodded.  “Well, I won’t be able to sleep with you awake and fighting bugs.  I’m going to walk back to my place, then.”

I can’t explain precisely how my mind was working.  It was very decisive, sort of like a dog’s.  When a dog’s owner throws a stick and tells him to fetch, he either goes or he doesn’t.  A dog never stops to ponder, thinking about his owner and asking himself, “If I don’t go fetch, how will that make him feel?”  All I wanted was to sleep, and so I put on my clothes and left.  I split.  I chose sleep.

My girlfriend sent me a text message the next morning.  It said, “I can’t believe you abandoned me with a cockroach.”

All made up.

Yes, yes I did.  It’s one thing to abandon your girlfriend; leaving her alone with an insect makes it worse.  If it wasn’t for sleep, I feel none of this would’ve happened.  That’s my defense.  Luckily, we were able to work out the abandonment incident and I was able to return to her apartment, which is now equipped with a cockroach patch.

This morning, I was again yanked from sleep by a loud sound.  In the alley in front of my girlfriend’s place, people walk around with wheelbarrows, picking up recyclables that they can sell.  Today I was woken by the grating screech of someone’s wheelbarrow tires; it was as though he was barreling along and a cat or a small child ran in front of his wheelbarrow and he had to slam on the brakes to avoid vehicular homicide.  My eyes snapped open, my brain confused.  But there was my girlfriend, with her head tucked up against my chest.  My arms were around her shoulders and hers were around my waist.  Our legs were intertwined.  The wheelbarrow also woke her up, and her sleepy eyes looked up and met mine.  It was, really, the most beautiful way to start a day.  The morning sun came in through the window and everything was quiet again.

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Fun Share: Street Boxing in Seoul

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Today’s fun share comes from Bucheon.  It’s a video of a US Military guy street boxing a Korean dude.  It irritates me quite a bit, for reasons I will briefly explain later.  First off, here’s the fight:

Okay, that was fun, right?  Let’s do a quick recap: Basically, for a minute and a half, the US Military guy bombards the Korean dude with punches, missing most of them and landing a few but not doing much damage.  The Korean guy offers little to no offense at all, running away, ducking, and dodging the military guy.  You can almost sense the growing frustration on the part of the military guy as the Korean dude keeps running off.

Then something surprising happens.  The Korean guy taunts his opponent by offering his chin, and follows the taunt with a quick left jab to the military guy’s face, knocking him down.  The fight is over.  The military guy wobbles back onto his feet with help of his friends and the crowd cheers the winner.

So…I don’t know…this victory leaves me cold.  For all intents and purposes, I should really appreciate what the Korean guy has done.  He has won due to his smarts, skills, and patience.  That said, I don’t feel it’s much of a win. It’s less convincing than that guy beating Pacquiao last week.  To run away like a scared little kid and then dupe the guy into falling for a sucker punch…that’s not how I’d want to win a boxing match.  If I ever fought in a boxing match, that is.  I’m kind of skinny and lack muscles. I think I would get myself killed if I tried, unless I fought a teenage girl or the house elf from Harry Potter.

I think I could take this guy.

I’ve heard that this Korean guy is actually some sort of professional fighter and that he street boxes for fun and usually doesn’t hit back because he’s not out to hurt anyone.  I don’t know if that’s true; if it is, then I take everything back.  If you’re a real, trained fighter, than I’m sorry, Korean dude.  Don’t hurt me!

Otherwise, it’s whack.  There are ethics to fighting, and I don’t see them on display here.  No, it’s not about winning pretty, and I understand that simply winning is the most important thing.  Still, the way you win IS important. Maybe the lesson to the youth is that there’s a great sense of satisfaction in earning a victory.  You feel good about yourself by winning the right way, you don’t leave any doubt in people’s minds, and, most importantly, no skinny wimp ends up criticizing you in a blog.

(Quick shout out to Rayner and Shanell for posting the video.)

(Note on Accuracy: I have been made aware, via my girlfriend, that Bucheon is actually not in Seoul, but in Gyeonggi Province, between Seoul and Incheon.  I suppose I should, therefore, change the title to “Street Boxing in Gyeonggi Province…but that’s not too catchy.)

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No, I Have No Expereince in this Field, But I’ve Studied It Thoroughly By Watching TV

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Seeing that my work contract will expire in about two months, it would seem like a good time to start looking for a new job.  Most people, when faced with the prospect of looming unemployment, tend to do things like sending out resumes and filling out applications.  That approach, while proven to be effective, leaves me cold.  I prefer to sit in my apartment and watch movies and let the jobs come to me.  As of this writing, I have not received any job offers, but that should change.  Employers just need to start looking a little harder and they are sure to find me.

Once in awhile I start feeling froggy and I look at job listings online.  It’s a good way to see what’s out there.  Doing this got me thinking, though, that job listings themselves could be much more helpful if employers described what they were looking for a bit better.  I don’t mean in terms of job qualifications; management, like a Hollywood casting director, surely has something in mind before they start interviewing, and it would be nice to know what that is.  In other words, there must be someone who fits the part, not simply looks wise, but in terms of personality also.  Because jobs are not only titles – they’re roles, too.  While I could get hired for the same job as anyone, it would be very unlikely that we would fill it the same way.  We would more likely create our own distinct roles out of it, just like how two people can sing the same song and both versions can sound different.   

Let me give you an example.  I see a lot of listings for “Teacher.”  Sometimes it will say “English Teacher” or “Math Teacher” or maybe “Qualified Teacher.”  That’s fine, but what role is the employer really looking for?  I would prefer to see something like this:

Wanted: Bright-eyed, Optimistic Young Teacher Fresh out of College Wanting to Make a Difference.

See, if that’s what they’re looking for, I would not apply for that job.  However, I might later see this:

Wanted: Disillusioned Veteran Teacher, Tired of the System, Looking to Teach Lessons and Otherwise Be Left Alone.

Perfect!  Now THAT’S a position I would apply for!  I could fill that role perfectly, like a screenwriter wrote it with me in mind.

There are other roles I could fill that don’t have to do with teaching.  There are arenas of employment where I would fail as a normal worker but excel if expected to fulfill one specific function.  Since I watch a lot of movies, I am hyper aware of what these are.  So listed below are a few positions I could surely fill with gusto, audacity, and exuberance:

“Don’t worry – it’s a toy. My kid traded me it for my real one.”

Wanted: Cop Who Breaks All the Rules

Normally, this cop is a real badass, like Dirty Harry or Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon.  I could absolutely break all the rules, although I might go a different route with it.  For instance, maybe I wouldn’t get to work on time.  There might be grammar mistakes in my reports.  As I don’t have the capacity to kill, I would carry a toy gun.  Maybe I would forget my badge and have to flash my Costco card.  Things of that nature.  At the end of the day, rules would certainly be broken.  That’s what’s important.  Never mind that no arrests were made. 

“Hello. I’m Jell-o. What’s your favorite flavor of me?”

Wanted: Mad Scientist

Could I be a scientist?  No freaking way.  I don’t understand things like chemistry, physics, gravity, how to turn on a light, and apart from taking some shots at bars during college, I have no test tube experience.  That said, basic scientific knowledge is not required for a scientist who is “mad.”  All I would have to do is bleach my hair white and make it huge and frizzy.  I’d have to have a lab coat and a hunchback to assist me.  I could make talking Jell-o or something, which wouldn’t be hard, as I’d only have to throw my voice and have the hunchback manipulate the Jell-o from the ceiling with strings.  The downside is that I’m not sure how much money I would make, and therefore I might not be able to afford the hunchback or the Jell-o.

Wanted: Novice Defense Attorney Who Believes in Justice to Defend Innocent Man

This is the easiest job on the planet.  Yes, it looks bleak, as I, the Novice-Defense-Attorney-Who-Believes-in-Justice, have the odds stacked against me.  True, although my client is innocent, there is a ton of manipulated evidence.  I’m not worried.  I only have to be patient and wait for this to transpire:

JUDGE: May the Prosecution call the next witness.

WITNESS: Yeah, I saw the defendant…he had a gun…

DEFENDANT/MY CLIENT: (Jumps up in a rage) He’s LYING!  That never happened!  He’s a liar!

JUDGE: Sit down!  You’ll have your opportunity to speak.  Counsel (speaking to me), if there’s another outburst from your client, I’ll have to hold him in contempt of court.  Now let’s have the witness continue.

WITNESS: – says another lie –

DEFENDANT/MY CLIENT: (Jumping up again) LIES!  Who told you to say these things!  LIES!

JUDGE: (banging gavel) Order!  Order!

See, once that happens, it’s over.  Everyone knows he’s innocent after that.  Look at the passion he proclaims his innocence with and his refusal to be silenced!  I don’t even have to do anything.  The contempt-of-court-proclamation-of-innocence scene always sways the jury.  And then, once he’s freed, my belief in the system will be affirmed and I can lose my next 40 cases a happy man.

WANTED: Hooker with a Heart of Gold

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I want this job, but I think I’d be good at it.  I listen.  I can be gentle and tender.  If you cry, I will not laugh at you until you leave.  And I would charge fair prices, especially if you are a broke mad scientist or hunchback trying to pay with talking Jell-o.

There are many roles in life we can fill.  It takes some creativity and maybe a few more adjectives in the listings.  Two months until unemployment?  I scoff.  It’s two months until endless opportunity, my friends.

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Black Goat Tonic

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(Note: This post is extremely weird and dark.  Its focus is the underbelly of Asian alternative medicine.  A particularly ghastly recent news event is talked about in some detail, and some of the other content might not be for all readers.  Just a little warning: this isn’t funny and could be upsetting.)

My girlfriend handed me the McDonald’s bag and, as I took it, I was well aware that there was no Big Mac or any other delicious item from the Golden Arches sitting inside of it.  No, instead there was some strange juice concoction that she had gotten from a relatively remote area of South Korea, at my request.  It’s called “Black Goat Tonic” and is derived from what is occasionally called the KNG, or “Korean native goat.”  The KNG, or “black goat,” is something of a super animal; during the Korean War, much of Korea’s animal population died.  Oddly enough, the goat population continuously increased.  It was as though the goats were impervious to the perils of war, rising up as if they were planning to take control of the entire country and form a post-apocalyptic goat society.  Sadly, for the goats, things didn’t work out so well.  By the year 1997, 500,000 goats were being killed every year for their extract fluid.  It was that extract I held in the McDonald’s bag, which I would later ball up and stuff into the back of my refrigerator.  I had no idea how much the goat extract cost or what process was used to obtain it.  All I knew was that it was in my refrigerator, and I had requested it.

Strange medicine had been in the news a lot at the time.  In early May, Korean customs officials seized over 17,000 pills that contained the remains of dead babies, turned into powder.  The pills came from China, where there has apparently been a black market for “miracle cures” and “rejuvenation pills” dating back many, many years.  In the case of these particular pills, aborted or still born babies were sold to underground drug manufacturers who took the bodies, stored them, dried them in what is called a “medical drying microwave,” transformed them into powder, and combined that powder with various herbs to create the pills.  They were marketed as “stamina boosters.”  It is unclear who exactly was buying them, how they arranged to receive the pills, or how many pills had gotten through without being seized at customs.  According to the San Francisco Times, tests of the pills concluded that they were made up of 99.7% human remains, and scientists were even able to determine the genders of the babies used.

“What the hell is this world coming to?” I thought when I first read this story.  It was astonishing, like something out of a horror novel.

“I’ve heard older people say that things like that are good for the skin,” my girlfriend said, discussing the pill incident.  “That if you ingest something like that, or a placenta, it will make you look younger.”

Now, I have no doubt that my girlfriend has never and will never go near anything like that, but she had heard of it, and that was weird enough.  The alternative side to Asian medicines doesn’t stop there, either, as I’ve read, nor is it contained to Asia.  In 2011, three species of rhinoceros were driven to either extinction or near extinction by poachers in South Africa who killed the animals and ground up their horns to sell as miracle cures.  Similar problems have occurred with bears and sharks, whose body parts are also consumed in Chinese folk medicine.  I’d wondered before what the world was coming to, and as I read more, I began to realize that the scary truth was not that the world was progressing into something dark and dangerous, but that it wasn’t, for some, progressing at all.  The culprit here wasn’t some smooth talking salesperson; the real criminal was the past, tradition, years and years of beliefs that can’t be shaken.  Is there medical proof that swallowing a pill made from a baby or eating a shark fin has any real value?  Of course there isn’t.  But there is faith, and hence there is the existence of such thing as the pills, and the shark fins, and the goat juice tucked away in my fridge.

Black Goat Tonic is said to have many uses.  It can assist with mental fatigue, impotence, and can also thwart off age-driven problems like osteoporosis.  I was told that it could stimulate weight gain and muscle growth.  Drinking my first glass of it was a curious experience.  It comes in small pouches which contain enough liquid to fill about a third of a cup.  The tonic is a dark greenish black and has no real odor.  It tastes a bit like soy sauce with wasabi in it and can be slurped down in two or three large gulps.  In truth, it really isn’t that bad or offensive.

Africa Black Ant Sex Tonic

I didn’t know much about it other than the name for awhile.  I’ve since learned that it’s taken from the body of a young goat, about 4 months old, whose carcass is boiled for 22 hours.  The liquid is filtered to remove fats and then sold in 100 mL bags for $2 a pop.  Looking in the mirror at myself, it is yet to be determined if the tonic does in fact result in any discernible physical improvement.  While writing this, I wondered why I’d gotten the tonic in the first place.  Why was I, in essence, doing something I didn’t believe would work.  Desperation?  A lack of confidence in whey protein?  I suppose it was nothing more than curiosity, and the never-ending hope that my skepticism is wrong.

It’s a bizarre world we live in, isn’t it?  But who am I to judge it?  I have my opinions and beliefs, mostly from the Western world I was raised in.  To me, looking at the alternative medicine products available on a Chinese website is bewildering:  W+ Skin Cream Placenta Product, Bird’s Nest Skin Tonic Serum, Africa Black Ant Sex Tonic.  There’s a whole different reality out there.  It’s easy to call it sick or foolish, to think of it as the antithesis to modernity, scientifically ignorant to the degree of being dangerous.  At its core, though, it’s essentially very human.  It is, like all medicine, driven by the fear of dying.  Of aging, of loss, of ceasing to be oneself.  From a fundamental standpoint, there isn’t that much of a difference between a rhinoceros pill and, say, chemotherapy.  Or at least I would like to think that.  There’s a comfort in similarity, and thus I seek it out.  And so I try to tell myself that the world isn’t as strange as it sometimes seems, and that life itself isn’t a hard thing to sell, whether it’s in a hospital’s austere whiteness, or the shadows of a place where people buy horrifying miracle cures.

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(Acknowledgments: Most of the information here comes from two articles.  The first is “Thousands of Baby Pills…Discovered by Officials in South Korea” by Richard Shears and Rob Cooper for Dailymail.co.uk.  The other is “The Marketing of the Goat in Korea” by T.G. Min, K.O. Kong, and H.B. Song.)