I got an email this afternoon. It said: “Hi Mark, Thanks for that moving write-up about your grandmother, and your uncle. It honestly choked me up and really stopped me in my tracks, so to speak. I’m sure it got a lot of us cynical, sarcastic hard-hearts to quietly reflect on the state of our own lives and family… You have a great gift at making people laugh with your vinegar view of the world. Again, thank you for sharing your life with us like you do, making us laugh and think.”

To which I responded: “Mind your own fucking business, asshole!”

I thought that was funny as hell, but Linette, who was looking over my shoulder, told me that he might not understand that I was joking. I ended up adding a real note below it, telling the guy that I appreciated his taking the time to write, etc. Inside, it was killing me to do it though. I would have loved to have had the balls to have just sent it as it was. I can’t imagine what the guy would have thought. Here he takes the time to tell me how my writing choked him up and I reply with, “Mind your own fucking business, asshole.” Classic.

That makes me think of the film “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” Do you remember the part at the end, when Charlie thinks he’s won the grand prize, but then Gene Wilder, suddenly acting like a real prick, reels off the list of all the shit Charlie fucked with while he was in the chocolate factory and tells him to get out? I think that must have scared the shit out of me the first time I saw that movie as a kid. (Before I realized that everything was going to work out.) At any rate, what I almost did to your fellow reader reminded me of that exchange between Willie Wonka and Charlie.

Amazon’s Anus

I just happened to stumble into the last square inch of Amazon’s colon yesterday.

I think it’s named something like, “My Treasure Chest” or “My Gold Box.” The link to it sits up in the upper right-hand corner of the Amazon home page. When you click on the chest, it opens up to reveal a ‘great’ bargain of some kind, some incredibly marked-down thing that you’d be stupid to pass up. You’re then presented with a choice. Either you can buy it or you can pass it and go on to your next fantastic deal. If you pass on it though, you pass on it forever and you’ve only got 60 minutes to make up your mind. There’s a clock there, counting down for you too… The pressure is on.

Once you go through five such deals, you’re done for the day. That’s all you’ve got. In a way, if you liked the stuff, it would be like gambling. You’d have to agonize over each choice and whether or not to risk it and move on to the next one. If you liked the stuff, it would be like “Let’s make a Deal.” The only problem is that there’s NO FUCKING WAY IN HELL that you’re gonna like the stuff.

I just ran through it yesterday and my best thing, the very best of the five, was a “20-inch Green Velvet Frog.” I couldn’t make that shit up it I tried. It was originally $25, marked down to $7, which, I’ll admit is a great fucking deal, if not for the fact that it was a Green Velvet Fucking Frog!

If it were a ceramic bust of Lady Bird Johnson, I’d snap it up in a second. If it were a “Best of Goober” video compilation from the “Andy Griffith Show,” I’d probably toss in $7. There’s tons and tons of shit that I don’t need, and probably don’t even really want, that I’d pay $7 for.

There’s no way, however, that I’m going to pay for some shoddy velvet frog, whose big, plastic eyes, I could tell, would choke a toddler to death in a minute flat. I’m not going to do it. And I’m not going to pay $14 for an eight-piece auto jack set that was made in Croatia. (I believe that was one of my other choices.) I’m not going to crawl under a car that’s being held up by a product that was made in an eastern European, state-run labor camp during the mid-1980s.

The stuff inside the Gold Box is basically stuff that didn’t, or couldn’t, sell on the Home Shopping Network, but isn’t quite ready to go the Dollar Store route. My theory is that most of these are products being liquidated by third world socialist governments. I bet there was a Chinese factory just kicking these velvet frogs out in the early 70’s. They probably used them in some secret, late-night communist ceremony at the Great Wall.

The thing that made “Let’s Make a Deal” great is the fact that some of the gifts were good. You’d have something pretty good, but there was the chance that you could have something even better if you’d only take the risk. Here, that’s not the case. There’s nothing good to risk. There’s only shit that wasn’t good enough to be absorbed by the Amazon system.

This “gold box” is nothing more than a last-ditch effort to unload shit. If you don’t believe me, just check it out.

Announcing the Birth of Theodore Bundy Kulpanowsky

Linette and I went and saw Dawn and David last night in the hospital and we got to spend an hour with their new son, Nicolas Evan Kulpanowsky. It was cool.

Other than the minute I spent trying to convince the new parents that there was a famous serial killer in the 70’s named Nicolas Evan, things were very nice. (Can you imagine if you didn’t really follow the news or popular culture and you named your kid Ted Bundy Kulpinowsky, only to find out that there was another Ted Bundy who had made quite a name for himself already? That was joke I was going for.)

I felt bad about that. I always feel bad when I say inappropriate things like that. I’ve got some kind of Comedy Turrets Syndrome though. I make bad jokes when I shouldn’t. It’s like I can’t hold back when I think something might be even remotely funny. Telling beaming new parents that they just named their gurgling little cherub after the guy who inspired “Natural Born Killers” isn’t funny, even if it does illicit a priceless moment of worried silence as the parents consider the option of changing their son’s name.

Other than that, the visit was great. Nicolas was beautiful and it was good to learn that everything went well for them the night before.

There was one really freaky part during our visit though. When Dawn got up out of her hospital bed to hug me goodbye. I heard this big splash of water against the ground and thought for sure that it was her guts falling out of her, or her water breaking again. I half expected to see a big chunk of placenta sitting on my foot when I looked down. Instead I just saw a cup that she must have knocked off the table. It really bothered me though, at least for a second.

Before leaving, I related the touching story my mom told me about my own birth. Apparently, she was completely knocked out, unconscious when I was delivered. They had to pull me out with forceps, which they clamped down on my head, because she couldn’t push. (As a result, my head still comes to a point at the top. There’s a ridge that you could cut paper on. It’s like the line of plates along the back of a stegosaurus’s tail. (I could have probably been a great swimmer if I’d applied myself.)) Well, once I came out, and my mom came around, a nurse laid me on her chest and said, “Mrs. Maynard, here’s your brand new baby boy.” To which she responded, “It’s not mine. I haven’t had my baby yet.” I can’t wait to have a lawyer lay that on a jury one day. It’s my “get out of jail free” card, and I fully intend to play it. My own mother rejected me and it’s been downhill ever since.

At any rate, concerning mothers and babies, we were discussing the fact that women often, in generations past, didn’t realize a lot of things about their bodies and about pregnancy in general. We were, I think, talking about episiotomies and one of us mentioned that their mother didn’t know what one was, although she’d most likely had one. It made me wonder if women generally knew about placentas, if they knew that their body generated a huge organ that also passed through them at the time they gave birth. I know that women on farms and such certainly knew, but did women in cities, women who never saw other animals and people giving birth? I wonder…. I’m not going to spend a long time wondering though. I just think it’s interesting.

It makes me recall a letter I once read in an American Studies class. It was a letter sent between a young Victorian wife and her mother, written on her wedding night. She had apparently dashed out of their wedding chamber to jot down this note. All I recall is that she mentioned the “little man” that rose up from her husband’s lap. I think she was suggesting that he, the husband, might be a warlock or some such creature. It was pretty funny, but I suppose it wasn’t the first time such a thing had happened. Say what you will about porn being a great sin, but at least I knew what I was in for. I didn’t have to write my dad about the “pink monster that unveiled itself unto mine eyes.”

All this other shit aside, Nicolas was a beautiful little kid and Dawn and David are going to make great parents. That makes me happy and gives me some hope for the future of the world… not much, but some.

Adam Curry: VJ/Parent/Freak

I went to the blog page of Lawrence Lessig last night. He’s a famous Stanford law professor who quite often speaks out on issues relating to patent, copyright and the ownership of digital content. If I get motivated, I’ll link to an article, if I can find one that simply outlines his positions. (OK, I found some articles and interviews that are pretty good. They all mention his Mickey Mouse example. You’ll like that.)

Lessig 1 2 3

“Wait, so markmaynard.com has stories on fuel cell technology AND digital copyright law!”

“That’s right, guys! We’re not just cheap laughs about Phyllis Diller’s panties anymore. We’ve got it all here at MarkMaynard.com. If it’s hip and now, we’re all over it. This isn’t your father’s MarkMaynard.com.”

At any rate, I was looking around his page when I noticed his long list of links down the right-hand side. I thought it would be neat to take a few minutes and see who my esteemed blogging colleague liked to read, the people who perhaps influenced him to create his own weblog.

OK, I see Adam Curry on this list. That’s an interesting coincidence. I just read something about his blog and how popular it was. I think that maybe it’s interesting if professor Lessig is looking at it, so I follow the link, not knowing what to expect. Would it be nostalgia for the music of the early 80’s when he, Adam Cury, was a VJ on MTV? Or, would it be the day-to-day musings of a high-tech tycoon? (I’ve heard that he’s now very wealthy.)

Nope. I was wrong on both counts.

It’s complete fucking insanity from a fried new age nutcase. Maybe that’s not fair. Maybe I should have read the entire thing, instead of just the first posting, but that first posting was so damned troubling that I just decided to draw my conclusions based solely upon it. (I can’t imagine that any of the rest of it is much different.)

Here, for your enjoyment is an excerpt in which he describes the birth of his daughter some twelve of thirteen years earlier:

“The radio was on, playing “In my life” by the Beatles as our princess was lifted from her warm nest and brought into the world.

One more bit for the record, we chose Christina (Christopher had it been a boy) because this love child was conceived under the dining room table during a romantic holiday dinner the previous Christmas.

Today you become a young woman, but you’ll always be Daddy’s girl. Happy Birthday my darling Christina! – Love, Dad.”

WHAT THE FUCK! Did I read that correctly? They lifted the baby from its “warm nest”?! Am I the only one who finds that creepy? Do other folks call their wife’s womb, vagina, whatever, a “warm nest”? And what’s up with telling the world, not to mention the kid, where you conceived her? The last thing I’d want to know is that my parents named me Mark because the were fucking and my mom’s head made a “mark” on the wall at the moment that I was conceived, or that my dad, handed her a German “mark” as they were role playing “Bad Nazi and the Polish school girl.”

I don’t want to obsess on this. I’d rather go on and on about something that matters, like the Ritalin bottles I found in my back yard last week, but this just creeps me out. I don’t want to slander the man, but I’m getting a weird incest vibe from this site. I’m sure I’m just misreading it though.

I have to get back to working on Crimewave now. Bye.

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  1. Posted October 27, 2004 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    That whole time when Wonka was giving Charlie the business, he had a consealed everlasting gobstopper in his pocket! He was going to sell it to Slugworth!

    “You lose! Good day sir!”

  2. mark
    Posted October 27, 2004 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    I’ve heard that in the remake, Charlie shoots Wonka through the throat at that point and then proceeds to write phrases like, “Helter Skelter” and “Where’s the Beef” all over the walls in his blood.

  3. Posted October 27, 2004 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    I always figured the oompa loompas would stage some sort of uprising. Orange power!

  4. Posted October 28, 2004 at 5:22 am | Permalink

    I’m intrigued about the remake. I normally wouldn’t give it the time of day since I’m a HUGE Gene Wilder fan (I just love him), but since it’s Tim Burton and Johnny Depp, I’ll give it a chance. I am scared though that it’s going to be VERY dark.

  5. Posted October 28, 2004 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    The original movie is rather bad. It’d be hard to do worse.

  6. mark
    Posted October 28, 2004 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    “God day, Sir!”

    There will be no nasty things said about that film here, not on my watch! I love you, Steve, but you have to take that shit outside.

    – The Management

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