Friday, December 3, 2010

RIP... Renovation In Progress!

OK, OK, it's been a while...but I'm coming back, I swear! 

Friday, May 14, 2010

5/12's Dear Prudence, plus Preakness Last-Minute Picks

Cousin Jackal, for the record, does not gamble on the ponies; I'm too, err, frugal (coughCHEAPcough) to waste money on a bet, and I am a lousy handicapper.  I am a lousy handicapper because instead of spending my youth at the track, I spent it in 4-H learning to be a conformation judge.  I can walk down a line of identical-looking horses (or, hell, twelve different kinds) and tell you which one best fits its breed standard.  I could expound for several minutes on the merits of the "original" standard of a given breed versus the "modern" standard.  I can tell you whether a horse is sound, whether its stride will be smooth or choppy, and even what sport it's best suited to based on how it's built.  What I can't tell is how fast it can run.

That's okay, because tomorrow's Preakness doesn't have anything to do with speed.  The Kentucky Derby is called the Run for the Roses; the Preakness should be called the Clusterf&ck for the Black-Eyed Susans.  Every year it's the same.  Every year, all the jockeys manage to forget somewhere around the final turn that the homestretch is a sixteenth of a mile shy of Derby distance, and all the late-movers' late moves come too late.  Which is why Super Saver is going to win the second leg of the Triple Crown.  NOT because he's a great horse--but because Calvin Bo"rail" is going to plant him on the inside again, same as before, and Super Saver has a good mile and three-sixteenths in his tank.   There's the win, and I'll side with Andrew Beyer in calling Aikenite and Lookin At Lucky to place and show.  But fear not (or hope not), there won't be a Triple Crown winner this year.  Super Saver hit his peak distance in the Derby and flattened out before the wire; he doesn't have the Belmont's mile and a half in him.

Finally, after several insane weeks of real-life hassles, there is time to do a few DP letters.  The originals can be found here.

Letter 1:
Two of my coworkers are boinking each other in the conference room!  Can I rat on them and, like, ruin the guy's marriage?  'Cause, y'know, I've got some baggage and it would REEEEALLY hit the spot to get some misplaced vengeance!

Dear Bitter Twat,
Oops, did I say that out loud?  I should have kept that to myself.  And you should keep your baggage to yourself in the office.  You want to "ruin the lives of a young mother and her toddler", even though you don't know them?  Well...if you don't know them...see if you can follow me here...then you don't know she isn't aware of her husband's office shaggery and isn't already planning to divorce him.  Or maybe they're separated and he's having a fling.  Or any of a hundred other possibilities that make their marriage none of your business.  Your coworkers' quickies and parking lot canoodling makes you and the rest of your team have to pick up their slack?  Bullshit.  If that were true, either your manager would have noticed the team pulling overtime and the schedule slipping, or you'd have already lodged a complaint.  I don't buy it for a second, with all your seething victimhood, that you'd have covered for them for an instant.  So it boils down to you not wanting these two to make sweet sweet love in the conference room.  That's actually the only fair part of your complaint.  It's not professional behavior, and it squicks everyone else out.  (Run a blacklight over the table.  I dare you.)  Unfortunately, if you don't have evidence of wrongdoing on their part, you can't lodge a complaint with HR.  Fortunately, this is exactly what nanny cams are for!  Rig one up, record, grab a series of offensive behaviors, report to HR with evidence in hand.  Personally, I'd just pound on the door or shove it open and run away, but, hell, technology is our friend!

Letter 2:
I've been in the workforce for a year and I'm still identifying myself as a recent college grad.  But beyond that, I got promoted to a tough new position and rely heavily on the person who used to have the job.  I spent forever--nearly a month!--working on a task, only to find that she sent our boss a better version!  Can I tell her what a meanie she is?

Dear Here Is A Towel,
Please take this experience as an opportunity to dry off behind your ears.  There are two possibilities with this situation.  First, it's possible your boss directly assigned her the project and she completed it without anything to do with you.  She doesn't work in your department and she doesn't owe you any notification of what tasks she's working on.  Second, there is the term "scooped" in journalism to mean one reporter getting to a story before another reporter does.  You may have simply trusted the wrong person and gotten scooped.  Either way, bringing it up with her or your boss in any accusatory fashion WILL make you look whiny--because, hey, you're whining!  Go ahead and mention it in conversation with her to learn whether she meant it as a strike against you or not, and proceed with your office friendship accordingly.  Oh, and for fuck's sake, rely on her a little less to do your job.  You're a year out of college; you need on-the-job training, not training wheels.

Letter 3:
My fiance never wants sex.  I do.  I try to turn him on, even dressing up in sexy outfits.  He laughed at me!  Should I resign myself to a sexless marriage because it's the nice, generous thing to do?

Dear Naughty Nurse,
Run, do not walk, from this relationship.  I say this having recently consoled a friend who divorced her husband after eight miserable years of unwilling celibacy and unanswered questions about why.  Just take Mr. Dan Savage's advice and dump the motherfucker already.  Sex isn't the only basis for a relationship, but if it doesn't remotely match up then it's doomed to fail.  And as for him laughing at you, well, I'll cut him some slack there.  You probably looked funny.  "Sexy" outfits, when sprung on someone without warning, tend to look more comical than lust-inducing. 

Letter 4:
My relatives are trying to crash my graduation and mooch off my mother.  My grandmother has threatened to make a scene if I dare to be fat at the ceremony, which I will be.  What to do?

Dear Get the Smelling Salts,
You've come to the right place, because if Cousin Jackal's good at one thing, it's lobbing sickeningly truth-filled, bridge-burning insults at relatives who are behaving like lower forms of life.  (Ask me about Mother's Day.  Better yet, don't.)  But you're young.  Presumably you want to still have some sort of relationship with your grandmother.  I say, tell yourself you don't give a flying fuck what comes out of the old biddy's mouth.  Whatever she says, just roll with it.  Deflect it.  If she faints in the aisle, she faints in the aisle.  Let the audience worry about her.  Shrug, collect your diploma, and don't give her another thought.  As for the mooching guests, talk to your mother about it.  Plan a response together.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Not Quite, But...

Well, my Derby calls were a bit off, but...
- Super Saver, reaching in and pulling out the quality!
- Ice Box.  DID YOU SEE THAT CLOSING RALLY?!  Another sixteenth and he would've had it.  Like the rest were standing still!

Friday, April 30, 2010

And They're Off

Cousin Jackal will resume posting a DP response next week.  I know, it's been a while.

Tomorrow is Derby Day!  That means it's time for Cousin Jackal's Last Minute Picks.  Let's run down the list of obvious contenders:
- Lookin At Lucky:  He's a good horse.  Probably the best of the lot quality-wise.  But he's drawn the No. 1 slot and he's known to have a hard time dealing with trouble; stuck on the rail, trouble will find him in spades.  He's either going to have to run against type and make a speedy opening move to get clear of the main pack, or else he's going to have to catch a break dodging between horses.  Luck ain't this pony's strong suit.  Look for him to make a strong closing rally but ultimately fail due to being hemmed in for too long...unless he pulls a diva move and decides to quit because he got a little dirt kicked in his face.  Doubt this one will do better than show.
- Sidney's Candy:  Raw speed on the hoof.  A bunch of idiots got together and decided to lob four or five sprinters into the Derby--like that ever works.  This one, though, looks like trouble; or he would, if he hadn't drawn the outside No. 20 slot.  He's got the speed to go straight to the front, but he's going to have to work twice as hard to get there and I doubt he'll have enough juice to go a mile and a quarter after that.  My guess, he'll fade quickly after the final turn.  No money.
- Line of David:  This little sprinter gives Jackal the creeps.  Lumped in with the speed horses, he's expected to be among the four or five dueling for the pace.  Something about the way he's built makes me think this horse may pull out some major staying power, though; he's heavy on the forehand, suggesting he's matured a little better than some of the rangier horses in the field.  Whether that will power him to victory or just weigh him down remains to be seen.  I'd bet place or show here, depending on how the rest of the race shakes out.
- Devil May Care:  As much as I'd love a filly--especially one with an awesome name like Devil May Care--to take the Derby and then the Triple Crown, it's not happening this year.  You might remember last year's Rachel Alexandra; Rachel Alexandra is built like a colt, no difference between her and the boys, and that lets her compete alongside them without disadvantage.  By contrast, Devil May Care is a slim dainty horse...which is good, in a way, because at least she's not built like behemoth-on-stilts Eight Belles, so there's little likelihood of her breaking down strictly on structure.  No, Devil May Care won't be in the money because she just doesn't really have what it takes.  Her previous competition was lightweight compared to what she'll face on Saturday and she's a known loafer once she gets in the clear.  Doubt she has the motivation for a long stretch run past spread-out horses.
- Super Saver:  A speed horse, but I like him.  If he gets snugged up in fourth place under a tight rein, saving speed, this is the one to watch out for in the homestretch.  Cousin Jackal is getting the hoodoo-voodoo tingle that there's untapped quality here.  Win or place, my bet.
- Ice Box:  He was the second-favorite this morning, and to my mind with good reason.  He's set up perfectly for a Derby win--good gate slot, a stretch runner, and well built.  May place if his stretch run comes to late to close the distance, but shy of a jockey's mistake like that, here's your winner.

So I predict a possible showdown between Ice Box and Super Saver for the win.  For third place I'd say Lookin At Lucky if he gets clear, but possibly Line of David.  Mix yourself a mint julep, don your outrageous hat, and kick back to watch the Sport of Kings.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A Day Trip 'Round The Crunch

Today has been a great steaming pile of liquid shit.  It is ninety flippin' degrees in my den because the condo board hasn't decided to turn on the AC yet.  There is a fire raging two buildings down, so to keep my smoke alarms from going off, the windows have to be shut.  This morning my office building's transformer blew, so our computers and phones were taken down--meaning I'm now behind schedule when I had been nicely ahead.  AND, to top it all off, I give you THE CRUNCH:  As seen on Wednesday night's airing of "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon," it's confirmed true...Noel Fielding of The Mighty Boosh has bleached his gorgeous black glam-rock shag to a dead Straw Blond.  It's awful. It's tragic.  *Sigh*  I may weep. 

But enough frivolity; it's Prudie Day, and that means fresh carcasses to gnaw on.  This week's letters look to be full of amusing fools....

Letter 1:
I live in an apartment with four women who have no clue how completely superior I am to them.  I'm practically perfect.  I drive an alternative fuel vehicle that runs on the tears of Robert Smith (totally sustainable!). I'm a fifth-level vegan; I don't eat anything that casts a shadow.  My roommates, however, are lesser quality beings.  We get along in a coolly civil way, but one of them is actually a pregnant teenager!  And she smokes! Can you imagine?!  Please, please, may I bombard her with pamphlets outlining the error of her ways? Can I try to adopt her nicotine-deformed offspring when it arrives--before Angelina Jolie has a chance to?

Dear Communal Living Manifesto:
Move out.  Please.  For the love of every god that never was, please move the fuck out.  Pack up your self-righteousness and take it with you.  If you want to start a roommate war then by all means slide "some information" under her door...just be prepared to have it shredded into confetti, piled outside your door, doused in kerosene and lit ablaze.  You know what your problem is?  Here it is in a nutshell: you're too fucking self-absorbed to even try to make friends with your own bloody roommate, but you're willing to take a stand for her unborn offspring.  Priorities, honey.  Straighten yours out.  And mind your own fucking business.

Oh, and thanks to Prudie's flagrant overuse of the term, allow me to add "innocent child" to the list of words and phrases I can't stand.

Letter 2:
My daughter "C" is so very very bright and sweet and special.  She has Asperger's.  I wanted you to know this right off because it's her defining characteristic, the most interesting thing about her.  It's her whole identity. She's my pwecious widdle baby flower and Mama Bear's special widdle cub, and if you don't play nicely with her I will eat you.  No kidding, I will hunt you down and flay you and make a Silence Of The Lambs-style human suit from your skin.  And your children?  They have to play nicely with her too.  I don't want to hear anything about them not liking her, no matter what the reason.  She's SPECIAL, do you understand me?! SPECIAL!!!!!  Now invite her to your child's birthday party, or so help me....!

Dear Hurricane Pain,
You are out of your fucking mind.  Do not--repeat, DO NOT--email the other kids' parents letting them know how much of AN OUTRAAAAGE it is that little Pwecious Bear Cub was the only kid in class not invited to a birthday party.  You are, without a doubt, the psychotic ur-helicopter parent who honestly believes her widdle darling is entitled to a conflict-free, frown-free existence of pure sunshine and candyfloss.  Friendships among children are fluid.  Do you seriously not understand that no amount of forcing your kid on these other children will *make* them like her, and if you try you'll only wind up embarrassing her or inviting their swift cruel retribution?  It really doesn't matter whether she has Asperger's or not; you'd be dealing with this for any kid.  Quit obsessing over her as "Your [Pwecious Widdle] Child" and realize she's more like "The Neat Proto-Adult You Get To Teach How To Navigate Life (Some Assembly Required)."  You want her to have a normal life, right?  Well, part of a normal life is learning to deal with disappointment, and learning to be discerning about who you call a friend.  I hate to think what you'll be like in ten years when Pwecious tries to go to college or get a job.  Now pop a Xanax, put on The Orb's third album, and chill the fuck out. 

Letter 3:
I'm 30, and married, but I'm, like, soooo attracted to my incredibly hot coworker!  I, like, read Twilight, and, like, we're sooo like Bella and Edward, because I'm totally hot for him but he keeps me at arm's length, and that's soooo romantic!  Can I, like, totally cheat on my husband?  This is soooo meant to be!  It's, like, destiny!

Dear Bitch In Heat,
Where's my frickin' tree branch?  A swat to the skull will sort you right out.  Keeps you at arm's length, does he?  I'll bet he does.  There is no way you've been keeping this (completely one-sided) infatuation a secret.  And now ask yourself how many of your other coworkers know about your crush.  All of them?  Dingdingding, we have a winner!  Do yourself a favor and quit embarrassing yourself.  It's pathetic.  Really.

Letter 4:
My bestest bestie is in jail and I adopted her pet sugar gliders while she's gone.  One of them died, and if I tell my friend I'm afraid she might get very depressed.  What should I do?

Dear Sugar Mama,
Well, the first thing you should do is disregard everything Prudie said, because the bitch didn't even bother to read your letter.  She just looked up "sugar glider", spotted an animal she didn't recognize, and wigged out.  Frankly I think those little critters are completely adorable.  You do need to tell your friend that one of them died, though.  Break the news gently.  Then--and this is important--ask her what you should do with the other one.  If she doesn't know that they don't do well alone, tell her.  You can suggest giving it to a sugar glider rescue, or someone who has a couple of them already, whatever is available--but please allow her to make that decision.  If she cares about her pet at all then it's going to make her sad, but not nearly as sad as getting out of jail to find that it's been given away without her knowledge.  Find it a good home for her and keep her updated on the process.  Take a photo of it for her to keep.  Best of luck to you, her, and the little bundle of fuzz.

Well, that's it for today.  I'm going to go put on some Gary Numan and light a candle in mourning for the beautiful Boosh 'do.  *Sigh*

Friday, March 26, 2010

Jackal Ate Your Baby

Good morning and good morning!

*Sigh.*  I've really got to start writing these blog posts on Thursdays, before I've got a chance to read the comments.  There really is nothing like reading Slate comments to put a blight on a spring day that would otherwise be full of sunshine and candyfloss.  The day could start out wonderful and then *BAM*, Cousin Jackal is reminded that the world is full of people who are thrice as judgemental as she is and who have the gall to lob the words "selfish" and "immature" at anyone who does not worship the Cult of the Glorious Infant.  Well, let's get on with it.  The original DP letters can be found here.

Letter 1:
My aging granny is dangling a juicy family secret over my head, hinting that my father is not my grandfather's son.  I've questioned her, and pried, and wheedled, and cajoled, and now I'm ready to move on to rougher tactics.  Can you tell me how to build a Salem-style dunking chair so I can wrest the information I want out of the old witch?  Or should I just put her on the rack?

Dear Hey Torquemada, Whaddaya Say?,
Granny is either hoping (stupidly) that giving you this information will ease your fears about your father getting Alzheimer's, or she's gone batshit caring for your grandfather all by her lonesome.  And yes, she's *given* you the information, because you don't need a magic decoder ring to get the message here.  If she dropped any bigger of a hint it would make a crater the size of Lake Tahoe.  In any case, howsabout we play some chess?  This is a special kind of chess that tells the future.  Intrigued?  Okay.  It goes like this:  Take a course of action and mentally follow it through to its natural conclusion.  See the end product.  Decide whether it will benefit you.  Got it?  Good!  You could, A) Demand the truth from Granny-->Tell your father he's adopted/illegitimate/from another planet/whatever-->watch Dad's heart break-->watch Granny's heart break when Dad asks her about it-->watch Granddad's heart break, if he's got any faculties left.  Sound good?  Or, you could, B) Look at that juicy dangling secret just hanging there waiting for you to grab-->Leave it-->Continue on with your life.  Which of these two outcomes is most likely to benefit you and all concerned?

Letter 2:
My ex-wife is a crazy fricking psychobitch from the fourth dimension.  She's papering the neighborhood with fliers besmirching my character and the character of my new lady-love.  We're afraid our neighbors may look down their noses at us.  Can I type up a rejoinder and stick it on everyone's windshield, just to make sure they're on my side?

Dear Self-Conscious Litterbug,
Cousin Jackal has a thing about unwanted mail that doesn't concern her.  Cousin Jackal especially has a thing about fliers.  In fact, Cousin Jackal has been known to take "Come To Jesus" church fliers off her car's windshield, carefully place them under a wheel, and then run over them several times just to make the point.  So if I'm one of your neighbors, Sunny Jim, you better realize that if I wasn't looking down on you before, if you make me aware of your petty little ex-relationship problems, I sure as hell will look down on you now.  See, if you were friends with your neighbors, they'd probably already know your ex was the PsychoBitch From the Fourth Dimension and ignore her ongoing idiocies.  But they're not your friends, are they?  They're strangers.  And you know what, Sunny Jim?  If you and your neighbors are strangers...fuck 'em.  Fuck 'em and fuck what they think.  Dirt. Fucking. Simple.

Letter 3:
My sister Eileen is a drama llama and wants to schlep her husband and newborn to my sister Karen's house for a layover during a trip.  Karen doesn't know what to do.  I'm a passive-aggressive sort who likes to pointedly refrain from giving advice under the guise of making people deal with their own problems.  What to do, what to do?

Dear Prudence,
Oh, sorry, for a minute you sounded like Prudie.  Contrary to popular response on the comment forums, this has nothing to do with the baby.  The baby is the MacGuffin.  Who knows, and who cares, why Karen doesn't want to lose sleep over hearing the little slug wail all night.  Maybe she works 24-hour shifts.  Maybe she works graveyard shifts.  Maybe she has her own embarrassing reason for not being able to have guests in, and that was the most convenient lie to tell.  Doesn't matter.  The actual problem here is that the whole family is walking on eggshells not to disturb the delicate sensibilities of MacGuffinMomma Eileen.  What exactly is going to happen if Eileen gets upset?  Here's Cousin Jackal's advice:  Karen, say no.  Eileen, shut the fuck up and find an EconoLodge.  And you, LW, butt the fuck out.

What?  Oh, you thought Cousin Jackal was going to go on a rant about babies?  I could. I can't stand the little fuckers.  And I mean that in the sense usually reserved for things like cockroaches and dried cat sick found behind the sofa.  (For the record, I have no siblings and no friends who have children. I live in a mercifully baby-free vacuum.)  I don't find them cute.  I don't melt in awe over their miraculousness. It annoys the living hell out of me to be commanded to treat the concept of someone's noisome little spawn as a gift from the gods, when all I see is a swaddled bundle of cooing vomit.  Baby animals I adore, but baby humans are just somehow wrong. They have no consciousness in their eyes; they bend in the wrong places; they're alien, wriggling things I cannot fathom and avoid at all cost.  It amazes me that people who call Karen from Letter 3 a heartless bitch for not flinging her doors wide open to admit a baby would wholly support her in denying guest privileges if instead Eileen's "child" were a big dog, or a small yappy dog, or a Scarlet Macaw...even though a baby rivals all three in the ability to make noise and get shit everywhere.  Hypocrisy, I tell you! *Sigh.*  There.  Rant done.  Happy?

Letter 4:
My coworkers are, like, old and stuff, and they, like, think my mom got me my job.  How do I totally make them realize what Epic Fails they are and ruin their lives when they're, like, not even on Facebook?

Dear Gen Why,
Listen, kiddo, Cousin Jackal's mental aging process might have stopped at 16 but I've got some grownup news for you:  You can't "make" these older farts (who are probably, what, 29? 35? *gasp* 40?) stop giving you gauche advice about getting older.  When they look at you they see someone so cute and fresh and wet behind the ears that they just want to hand you a towel to dry off.  Yeah, they're being a little awkward about it.  Just smile and go on with your work.  It's mindless office chitchat and it's not gonna hurt you.  Oh, and as for your mother getting you your job?  She did.  I know, I know, you applied for it yourself and she works in a different department, blah blah blah...but you better fucking believe that if your mom was an incompetent screwup they NEVER would have taken a chance on you.  Welcome to the wonderful world of Human Resources.

Well, that's it for this week.  I'm off to go run over a few fliers.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


It's back to the cute sleepy jackal picture.  Largely because I haven't slept well in weeks, and I haven't yet found a picture of a jackal contemplating a bottle of Valium.  When I sleep I dream, and when I dream, I dream of reality.  Waking up is confusing.  It begs questions.

When I don't sleep, it's because I'm awake in the darkness staring at the ceiling, listening for the telltale sound.  Cough. Hack. Cough.  He's doing it again.  He's choking.  He can't breathe.  My little boy can't breathe.  I could throw off the covers and go to him, but there's nothing I can do.  I could bundle him into the car to go to the emergency clinic, but in fifteen seconds his fit will pass, and he will breathe again.  So I wait, looking at the ceiling.  Ten...eleven...twelve.  He will stop.  It always stops.  Breathe.  Please.

This is Ace.  He's older now, six, and he's long since gotten that Styrofoam packing peanut off his nose.  A couple of weeks ago he was diagnosed with asthma.  Despite twice daily steroid pills, which he'll be on for the rest of his life, he still coughs.  Deep, wheezing, whistling coughs.  Once he coughed so hard for so long, he fainted.  Just fell over rigid, held a moment, and popped back to his feet like nothing was wrong.  Ace is funny like that; he's so darn happy, and so earnest.  To him, there's no such thing as a bad day.  Even when he's passing out from lack of oxygen.

It could be worse.  It could be FIV.  He could have gotten out, and been run over in the road.  I tell myself this, in the dark, staring at the ceiling.  Thirteen...fourteen...fifteen.  Breathe, honey.  Please.

Friday, March 5, 2010

...the H.P. Lovecraft edition

 Good morning and good morning!  Cousin Jackal has taken a brief respite from her travels by stopping off in Arkham, Massachusetts for a visit at her alma mater, Miskatonic University.  I've been whiling away a few hours in the vast library, poring over a copy of The Necronomicon and inhaling the intoxicating aroma of old leather-bound books underlain by a hint of brimstone.  But speaking of unspeakable smells, I've caught a whiff of something else, and it smells like bullshit.  That must mean it's Prudie Day!

Letter 1:
These three long years my wife has lain in her sepulchre; in her absence I have retired to the garret (where I listen to the rats scratch in the walls, and grow more eldritch and squamous by the hour) and hired a governess for my son.  The governess, aware of my prolonged celibacy and lack of social life, has made intimations that she and I should skip off into the woods and get it on like a couple of Cthulu cultists.  And hot damn, I could use some of that swamp-orgy action, but I'm hesitant.  Should I forget my life of solitude?  My sorrow?  The garret? The rats? Should I?

Dear Black Goat of the Shoulds,
Whoa, there, dude, I realize you've gone without for a pretty long time, but rein in the horny goat for a moment and think about this. How well do you know this woman? Sure she's probably a good nanny. But do you know anything else about her? For instance, do you know why she's "restless" in her current relationship? Do you know why this 24-year-old woman would choose to seek employment caring for a widower's only son? When Cousin Jackal was 24 she had a J-O-B, a real career-type job. Granted, what with layoffs people have to make ends meet, or perhaps this job gives her time to study or whatnot, but you'll forgive me for wondering whether Miss Poppins is simply "restless" that her boyfriend hasn't popped the question yet and so she's made the brilliantly Machiavellian move to worm her way into someone's (yours--and your son's) good graces, your home, and, she hopes, your bed and your life.  Additionally, were you to have a simple fling with this woman, do you know her well enough to be sure she wouldn't take her wounded feelings out on your son if things don't work out the way she wants? How about this: Go out with her first, on a non-sex date. Find out how she thinks. Proceed accordingly.

Video Letter:
My hairstylist possesses scissors wrested from the star-spawn of the Old Ones by Mad Abdul Alhazred; consequently, her cuts are awesome and I love my hair.  Unfortunately, she charges an arm and a leg (and occasionally a virgin ram and a firstborn child).  How do I tell her I'm breaking up with her? 

Dear At The Mountains of Shear Madness,
Cousin Jackal sympathizes mightily with your plight; a good hairstylist is worth his/her weight in bacon-wrapped diamonds. However, without seeing your hair, I fail to understand the problem--is it that her rates are so much higher than other stylists', or that you have less money available to spend on your coiffure? If the former, you may have to give up your access to the magic shears, because just as it isn't fair to ask an artist for a reduced price on a painting, it's not fair to ask your stylist to give you a discount; you'll have to let your feet do the talking and go somewhere else. (I could be wrong here, but I've never met a stylist who didn't consider him/herself to be an artiste deserving of every drop of virgin ram's blood--err, penny.  Occasionally it's even true.) If the latter, if you normally have to spend a lot to maintain your hair--Cousin Jackal's hair has been every color under the sun, and that shit ain't cheap--you should find a color you can stretch for a while with box root touch-ups and a style that you can manage going a couple of months between trims.

Letter 2:
I'm gravid with our family's second noisome spawn.  My mother-in-law had the audacity not only to be over forty, but also to get pregnant.  I don't know what's worse, her age or the fact that she clearly was so jealous of my gestative powers that she decided to give it a go herself.  How dare she try to stop me from being the center of the universe!

Dear DumbWitch Horror,
Dear sweet Elder Gods, please tell me this letter was a joke. You could not possibly be this immature and have reached (much less passed) pubescence. You know what, dearie, I'm going to lay this all at your mother-in-law's feet. Yep. That's right. It's her fault. She raised a sad sack of a man who apparently believed the best he could do in life was to breed with you. I pity her, her son, her spawn, and both of your spawns.

That noise?  Oh that's nothing, just the Perverse Glee Club summoning Azathoth the Blind Idiot God out on the quadrant.  That, or LW2 just had her baby.  Moving on...

Letter 3:
I have a friend who has sterling, platinum, gilded, jellied, sauteed, and pan-fried credentials.  But without even consulting me, she has taken a job in R'yleh, where *gasp!* there's a different system of government than the one I know!  And the Internet tells me that all sorts of nasty things go on there, things that never ever ever in a million years could happen here, no sirree!  I mean, if my friend only stayed away, the poor mutant underlings of that country would surely rise up and revolt against their overlords, bringing about peace and harmony and sparkle-farting unicorn circuses in a bloodless coup, but nooooo, she has to be selfish prat and go be Cthulu's tech support girl.  Am I justified in shunning her?  I mean, think of the human rights horrors perpetrated in R'yleh--they don't even have a Volvo dealership!

Dear Pickman's Model of Human Decency,
Ever shopped at WalMart? Guess what, you've supported an oppressive regime. (Cousin Jackal is referring to purveyors of sweatshop labor, not WalMart itself--although it certainly applies.) Unless your friend is being employed to shoot inconvenient protesters, steal food and medicine provided by aid groups, or torture prisoners, I'm afraid that you'll just have to shut the fuck up. Or better yet, go ahead and drop your friend; with friends like you, who needs oppressive regimes?  How's that mountain of morality you're trying to play king of, is it getting lonely yet?

Letter 4:
I was born with vestigial wings, a tail, and tentacles.  Because my parents did not want me to grow up to be a hentai art model, these extra appendages were removed.  Now I've met my mate and want to breed!  Should I tell my future spawn-mother about the genetic quirks awaiting our offspring, or should I just bring a camera to the maternity ward to capture the look on her face when she sees the horror she has birthed?  (And can I put the result up on FailBlog?)

Dear Cthulu Ftagn,
Gesundheit.  What's a few extra fingers and toes (or vestigial wings and tentacles) between lovers? Yes, in the interest of full disclosure go ahead and bring it up when the subject of either your scars or breeding arises.  And please note that nobody has perfect genetics, no matter what you may think by looking in the Victoria's Secret catalog. So you do your thing, you mutant you, and let modern technology do its thing if it comes to that. 

And now I'm off to find some lunch; I hear the dining hall is serving calamari.  Have a lovely week!  Cthulu ftagn!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Freaks and Geeks

This is about the umpteenth attempt Cousin Jackal is making to respond to this week's Dear Prudence, with specific regard to Letter 1.  For several days I've been writing posts and deleting them; some were too personal, others not personal enough. Ultimately "not personal enough" won, just because it probably wouldn't be interesting to read.

Letter 1 came at an odd time.  A few days ago I started reading the nonfiction Letters From Prison by the Marquis de Sade.  (I've found this is a marvelous way to keep people from crowding you on the train, by the way.)  In between describing the horrors of the Bastille and begging his mother-in-law for money to get out of debtor's prison, Sade waxes philosophic on the hypocrisy of society for pretending to be shocked by things that everyone does anyway.  This seemed particularly relevant to some of the comments made to Letter 1 on Slate.  Additionally, Letter 1 reminded me of certain events in my own life, and how destructive therapy can be when wielded as a club against a young person.  I thought about writing about all of that...and then I just said the hell with it and lost my fucking temper.  So basically it's the same as any week.

Just the responses, today; original letters can be found here.

Letter 1:
First of all, I have to give LW1 some credit for not making an outright clutch at the pearls.  The letter is written as matter-of-factly as she probably could have managed.  That said, Prudie's response is shameful.  A full psychological workup?  Therapy?  Sex abuse treatment?  (And can I smack that one commenter who kept extolling the virtues of conformity?  Please?)

I'm going to buck the trend and go with the assumption that the 13-year-old is basically okay.  Tucked in behind some of the concern voiced in this letter, I hear a parent's whimper that their pweshus widdle boy is gwowing up too fast.  I cannot articulate coherently how irksome this attitude is.  Your kid's hit puberty.  Masturbation is normal and healthy.  Sexual urges at 13 are incredibly fucking normal.  (To everyone who throws up their hands at the idea of their kid having sexual urges, let me ask this--at what age did you first masturbate?)  So he likes latex gloves, so what; at least he'll be okay with wearing a condom when he does get laid.  If he's keeping gloves lying around in piles, you can perfectly well tell him to clean up his room.  Get him a box for his gloves, with the admonishment that it's polite to keep one's toys out of sight when one lives with other people. But therapy?  Sex abuse treatment?  Do you seriously want your son to realize that you look at him and see a monster?  That you think about the grandchildren you'll never have because no good upstanding woman of values would marry The Gimp?  Horseshit.  (As an aside, please, for the fucking love of every fucking god that never fucking existed, can we all please stop using "values" as though it means anything?)   If you want to alienate your kid, then by all means chuck him into therapy.  Or, here's an idea, try actually engaging the kid in conversation like he's a human being with actual thoughts, rather than your precious widdle hothouse orchid.  Yeah, it's embarrassing.  Heaven forfend he get the idea that he can actually talk to you about the difficult stuff.  Oh, but he seems anxious?  Isn't therapy for anxiety?  No.  It isn't.  Therapy is for people who can't get past anxiety without intervention; you and Marigold Boy haven't even tried.  I'll bet he's anxious, he's 13 and terrified the kids at school are going to find out about the glove thing, and now his mom thinks he's a freak.  Here is what your kid needs to hear from you:  "Honey, there are a lot of shades of normal in the world and I don't think you're a freak.  I love you."  Just saying that will go a long way toward quelling a kid's anxiety, and if you reassure a kid he's normal it goes a long way toward helping him turn himself into a well-adjusted adult.  And that's your job, isn't it?  To build a well-adjusted adult? 

Oh, and the glove porn?  Boys look at porn.  Men look at porn.  They just do.  Good luck with that filter; he'll find the shit he wants to look at anyway.

Video Letter:
Boo-hoo-hoo, you think you're friend's hotter than you.  Try being interesting, it's a hell of a lot more attractive than being jealous.

Letter 2:
Your friend/boss can't be "easy going and mellow" and "overbearing and micromanaging" at the same time.  Those traits aren't even in the same ZIP code.  It's up to you to analyze the situation and decide whether this person is more your friend or more your boss.  If she's more your friend, perhaps you could make a few constructive managerial-strategy suggestions, in much the same way you'd suggest she not wear those paisley pants that make her ass look two miles wide.  If she's more your boss--i.e., the aforementioned suggestions would put your job in jeopardy--then hey, presto, you have to treat her like a boss and either adapt or quit.

Letter 3:
Your roommate...insults your dog...nicely.  And this is an "ethical dilemma"?   Does Roomie hit your dog?  Yell at it?  Throw things at it?  Cause it to go out of his way to avoid him?  No?  Didn't think so.  See, your dog actually IS an ugly, smelly little rat, and the fact that Roomie tells him this in babytalk says that Roomie actually likes your little smoosh-faced fleabag.  And for the record, Cousin Jackal calls one of her cats Epic Fail, Fatass, Bobblehead, Oaf, and Dipshit.  The other cat is Snotface, Fucker, or Little Shit (and I strongly suspect he thinks his name is "Get Down").  And since both are half-Siamese, Cousin Jackal gets called plenty of names by them in return.  Ahh, feel the love.

Letter 4:
Yes, it probably will be awkward, unless you can spend the evening making sure your friends all get to know one another.  If you're not willing to do this, don't throw a party.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Carrion Luggage Redux

Socks…gloves…pocketwatch…. Oh, hello!  Pardon the mess—you’ve caught Cousin Jackal in the middle of packing for a vacation.  After kicking the last of the WhateversGoingAroundItis, I’m taking the witchdoctor’s advice and giving the den a good airing out by going on an extended voyage.  I’m off tonight on the slow ferry out of Duat, then boarding a train across the Western Desert, and from there, who knows?  El Dorado, Abydos, the wastes of Thule?  …Boots…a couple of meaty bones, save those for later…scales? Those always come in handy.  Ah, but it’s Prudie Day, isn’t it?  Then let me get on with it, so I can chuck the scales in with the rest of the junk:

Letter 1:
I spent my formative years being abused before winding up in foster care.  My therapist convinced me that after many years (and payments) that I had to “let bygones be bygones”.  Now I’m at peace and my problems are behind me.  Except…my youngest sister found me, and found Mom, and is trying to get us back together.  Suddenly I don’t feel so peaced out anymore; I may puke from sheer stress.  What do I do?

Dear Lifetime Channel,
Dramamine!  What?  Oh, sorry LW1, not for you, toldja I was packing for a trip.  First of all, you’re not at peace.  You can’t be.  You’ve got baggage.  Now, that’s fine.  What worries Cousin Jackal is that you—and your therapist—seem to be under the impression that with enough therapy (read: money) your problems can go away and never bother you again.  That’s not so.  It isn’t possible.  Don’t even get Cousin Jackal started on society’s stubborn insistence that anyone with personal issues has some cockamamie obligation to “fix” them, and that anything smelling of unresolved issues makes someone less of a human being.  People who demand scripted life stories and nicely wrapped up bits of closure have watched too much Oprah.  If you’ve got a worthwhile grudge, nurse it.  Coddle it.  Hug it and pet it and love it and call it George, because properly chained and trained that grudge-puppy will keep you safe from anyone like your mother so you don’t blunder into more abusive relationships.  You don’t have to give in to your sister’s wishes for a big happy family, but you do owe her an explanation—after all, you were there getting abused while she was gone, and no doubt Mommy Dearest has been filling her head with all sorts of self-serving excuses over the past few years.  Tell her, briefly and factually, why you want nothing to do with your mother.  Make sure she understands that you want her to look out for herself and that you are not trying to make her choose between mother and sibling.  Most importantly, don’t feel worthless for having these old pains dredged up.  (Cousin Jackal, unfortunately, has walked a few miles in your shoes, but that’s a story for another day.)  Pet that grudge-puppy, look around at the good life that you’ve built, and recognize that you have won.

…Compass…pith helmet… copy of Sarah Palin’s book?  Where did that come from?  Oh hell, you never know when you’ll need toilet paper…

Letter 2:
I married my husband while he was in the middle of a midlife crisis, and he’s so thrilled to have bagged a hot twentysomething like me that he can’t stop blabbing about it to his friends.  What I don’t get is why their wives don’t like me—I mean, it’s not like I actually socialize with them, but I don’t dress provocatively so I don’t get it.  How do I make them like me?

Dear Wholesome Fuckpuppet,
Shit, you married the Video Letter Writer from last week, didn’t you?  And for the love of all the gods that never were, I wish women would stop throwing in “but I don’t dress provocatively!”  What the fuck does that mean?  It sure sounds a lot like “if I don’t like what you’re wearing then you deserve whatever bad stuff happens to you,” and you can shove that straight where the sun doesn’t shine.  But I digress… Honey, just pretend you’re all friends and do something nice for each of these women.  Bake cookies.  Admire their shoes.  Do something.  Anything.  Just for the sake of doing it.  And for fuck’s sake get some real friends your own age.  Oh, and tell your husband that if he doesn’t lay off the “hee, hee, my wife is hawt” shit, he’s going to get the tree branch.

…The tree branch!  That’s what I forgot to pack.  Good thing, too, because I need it for LW3…

Letter 3:
My husband and I are proud upstanding ‘Merkin citizens who never, ever, ever would dream of doing anything remotely unsavory.  I mean, we were both hellraisers as teenagers, but we’re totally reformed and have good normal wholesome family values now, with the clenched sphincters to prove it.  We have two small children and we are absolutely clueless as to how to delude them into thinking that we have always been perfect godlike beings, especially when my husband has a pot-related tattoo.  Please, please help me mindfuck my children!

Dear Half-Baked,
Congratulations—just when I thought today’s letters were going to bore me to tears, you’ve managed to set my very teeth on edge with the urge to rant.  Oh, where to start?  I’m going to call shenanigans over the whole “he hasn’t done anything illegal since he signed on after high school” crap.  He got a tattoo.  Of a tiger smoking a joint.  While he was in the military.  You just don’t get that sort of tattoo if you yourself don’t smoke pot.  You just don’t.  But oh, now you’ve seen The Light(™) and want to whitewash your pasts as far as your kids are concerned.  You want permission to lie.  Yes, lie, you coward.  You want your kids to think you’re superhumanly flawless.  News flash, moron: if your kids are smart, I give them until age 6 to figure out what a load of doublespeak you’re feeding them; if they’re average, maybe age 12…and then those chickens are going to come home to roost.  Forget a woman scorned, hell hath no fury like one’s offspring after they find out you’ve lied to them as part of a behavioral conditioning scheme.  They will call you hypocrite, and they will be right. 

…Parasol…opera glasses…leftover tin of whoopass…is whoopass a liquid or a gel?  Will it fit in a quart-size baggie?....

Letter 4:
I helped a lady in the supermarket by telling her that her fly was down, thus sparing her the indignity of walking around all day with her underwear exposed.  My husband said I should have just snickered and then posted her picture on FailBlog.  Who’s right?

Dear Barn Door Monitor,
Hell yes you should have told her!  Why did you even have to ask?  And why on earth did you even mention this to your husband?  How does that come up in conversation, anyway?  “What did I do today?  Well let’s see, honey, today I saved two baby raccoons from a forest fire and told a lady her fly was down.  Just saving the world as usual.  Pass the salt.”  Oh, and what’s up with your husband being an asshole?  Seriously?  You married this guy?  Hope you never get spinach in your teeth.

Well, that about does it.  The steamer trunk is full to bursting and now the only problem is figuring out how to convince the TSA that a passport written on papyrus is legit.  Have a great week!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Prudie...gets with the program?

Cousin Jackal woke up this morning to a major shock.  No, not the prospect of yet another day of cabin fever, as the snow piled up outside has made scavenging a tad impossible; rather, the realization upon reading today's Dear Prudence that Prudie has, mirable dictu, managed to pull her head from her nether regions this week.  Methinks she has been reading Dan Savage.  Which is good, because in Cousin Jackal's opinion, if the world operated the way Mr. Savage thinks it should, we'd all be much calmer and happier.  However, as per usual, my cup o'rage runneth over, so I'll take out what I can on these letter writers:

First letter:
A long, long time ago, when dinosaurs roamed the earth and all that Disney/Norman Rockwell stuff was actually true (really!), I met a lovely girl.  We held hands, shared malts with two straws, took long walks in the park, and little birds and forest creatures would gather around us and sigh at the pure, pure love we shared.  Then dark clouds gathered, and I was called away to war, and she waved her hanky as I trooped off to go beat back the bloody Hun.  I never saw her again...until a few weeks ago, when we met again in a supermarket checkout line reaching for the same copy of Martha Stewart's Guide to Homemade Vegetable Sex Toys.  O, she told me a woeful tale, wherein the man she married never came to her bed but to do his duty whilst thinking of England, and now in his later years his brain is turning more to mush with the passing of each day.  Our love still springs eternal, but we are godly upstanding folk, so we daren't do more than share long doe-eyed glances and pregnant pauses.  But, uhh, we got needs, y'know?  So, yeah, um, hypothetically, can we ditch her husband and have some crazy monkey sex?  We don't mind if the birds and forest creatures watch.

Huh?  Oh, sorry, I was vomiting.  Look, dude, you've got a little cognitive dissonance going on.  On the one hand you and your lady love seem to think you're honorable sorts who would never break that whole "in sickness and in health" portion of the Standard Marriage Vows(TM)...but on the other hand, dammit, hubby's got the cognition and sex drive of your average eggplant and it's Just Not Fai-hai-hair that you shouldn't be able to do the nasty when you want to.  Now personally I think traditional marriage vows are crap because they don't take into account the myriad of ways Life has of telling us, one and all, to bend over and take the fire hose.  Unpleasant things happen.  Catastrophes happen.  Things that no one on their bright-eyed, rosy-cheeked wedding day could imagine ever sundering the perfection of their relationship.  But Alzheimer's is certainly such a thing, and if this woman's husband isn't already not the man she married, then soon enough he won't be.  If you and she want permission to cheat, fucking talk to each other about whether you want to cheat.  Because that's what it is when one spouse fucks someone else when the other spouse isn't aware of it.  Either be okay with it, and be prepared to hide it from hubby to keep him from experiencing acute sadness and/or anger in addition to the daily panic of slowly forgetting all that made his life...or wait 'til he's dead.  Your call.  Just don't fucking kid yourself about your intentions.

Video Letter:
I'm in my forties and going through a pretty standard Mid-Life Crisis(TM), assuring myself that I still have some juice left in my balls by behaving like a fratboy with a twenty-year-career-professional's salary.  Long story short, I've got two fuckpuppets.  I woo them and ply them and promise undying affection to each of them...but it's not like I told them they were my one and only, or anything.  I mean, why would I do that? That would be stupid, because I know they'd stop giving me vagina access privileges.  So do I have to tell them?  'Cause it would totally wreck shit.

Oh, you.  I know you.  You're one of Those Guys.  Yeah, the ones with the red convertibles, the beer pong tables in the basement man-caves, and the crow's feet.  So, if I can sum up, you basically want permission to keep being an overgrown, manipulative horny teenager because it makes you happy and you don't really care what your beeyatches want so long as they keep their traps shut and let you climb in the saddle whenever you feel like it.  Oh, but they're totally cool with things now--right?  Sure about that, are ya?  I bet they're cool with it--since neither knows of the other's existence.  I believe you when you say that they don't have marriage on the brain (a.k.a. Picket Fence Syndrome), but even YOU are smart enough to realize that the only reason you have two pieces of arm candy is that you haven't flat-out told them, "No, honey, you actually don't mean anything to me, I'm just having fun riding your snatch."  See, while it may be that they don't each actually want a relationship with you, it's equally probable that they don't want your low opinion of them as walking orifices rubbed in their faces.  So go ahead, buddy, don't tell them.  Let them find out on their own and dump your ass.  But I'm sure you're fine with that--I bet you think you can still pick up college chicks.  Good luck with that.  Even college chicks can smell the whiff of fear that comes off a guy desperate to keep from aging.

Letter Two:
I, like, like a girl, and stuff, and I kinda, y'know, want to ask her out, but I'm like, too shy, so, should I, like, send her an anonymous note or something?

Yes.  I suggest you slip it in her locker between classes and decorate it with little hearts and arrows in the margins.  Or maybe you could go stand outside her bedroom window and pelt it with gravel until she opens it, whereupon you can serenade her with a boom box.  Seriously--how old are you?  Here, have a towel, you need to dry off behind the ears a bit.  It's great that you like this girl, but frankly if you're not brave enough to even make yourself ask her out using YOUR OWN REAL FUCKING NAME, chances are she isn't going to think you're worth dating.  Chances are, she may think you're a stalker.  Look, the worst she can do is say no.  Actually, the worst she can do is make fun of you on Facebook.  So there you go.  Hike up your Underoos and risk being The Biggest Joke On The Internet.  Ask her out, chickenshit.

Letter Three:
My mother's friend has been dating a wonderful man for just under two months, and he proposed.  She is ecstatic.  He's a Super Secret Agent and he told her that that was all he could say, because if he told her what he REALLY did every day then he would have to kill her, otherwise the fate of the world would be in jeopardy.  He invented cold fusion, found the Golden Fleece, and kicked Chuck Norris in the balls and lived to tell the tale.  He used to run a diamond mine and got really really rich but didn't want to lose touch with the common man so he got a job stocking nails at a local hardware store.  I looked him up on Teh Interwebs and was shocked, shocked to discover that he couldn't possibly have done all this.  Should I tell her, or should I just sit back and watch the hilarity ensue?

Train wrecks are an awful lot of fun to watch--when they happen to your enemies.  So yes, if you have some particular grudge against your mother's friend, by all means watch her sham engagement turn into a sham wedding and then you can cackle like a hyena while she tries to pick up the shattered remains of her emotional health.  Or, y'know, you could bring some facts to her attention and avert tragedy like a decent human being.  Sheesh, you people actually have crises of conscience over this shit? 

Letter Four:
I'm a senior in college and I've been putting together a plan to create a model that will plot the course of my boyfriend's and my life together after graduation.  Thing is, I was brought up my entire life to understand that men don't like women, only tolerate them, because women, y'know, have normal human emotions and don't particularly like being treated like fuckpuppets.  I swore when I met my boyfriend that I would be the perfect woman, the woman all men want, the woman who was rational and logical like a man and was perfectly able to see why a man as special as my boyfriend couldn't possibly keep from getting some strange every time he felt like it.  Lately I've been getting the weirdest twinge in my gut.  Jealousy?  No, impossible.  That's an emotion.  But I can't help but notice that I'm doing all the future planning here, and my boyfriend...isn't.  I don't understand.  Should I write up a brief outlining my completely rational reasons why I think I'm getting the short end of the stick?  How about a PowerPoint presentation?

Are you by chance majoring in business?  Yeah, real life don't work that way.  Jesus H. Christ on a polka-dotted circus pony, I actually feel sorry for you.  You're Sad Open Relationship Girl.  I know you.  Hell, I've been the fuckpuppet of the guy dating you; I've witnessed you firsthand.  You fell in love with a guy who, at some point during his college career, discovered that if he used words like "romantically monogamous" and "open relationship" he could have all the security of a regular booty call (I mean, girlfriend) while simultaneously being free to hook up with anyone else he wanted.  If you didn't want the same thing, hey, not his fault, he was totally cool with you dating other people, so long as he didn't see it or know about it and you were always there when he wanted access to your orifices, and if you didn't take advantage of the situation and fuck your way through the football team, well, that was your decision.  Not his.  At all.  So I'm guessing you dated a little...and felt kind of like you were you slowly stopped dating anyone else...and now YOU are monogamous but HE isn't.  Meanwhile you're busily planning your post-graduation merger and he' completely not on board it's frickin' obvious to a total stranger.  YOU are not in an open relationship. YOU have bought hook, line, and sinker the misogynistic claptrap spewed by all entertainment media that the only sort of women men want to be around is the sort that doesn't talk, doesn't think, and never, ever has an emotion (but preferably makes enough money to lend a guy some, and of course puts out on request).  Horsepucky.  Rationality is wonderful.  Logic is wonderful.  Logic to the point of rationalizing the bullshit "relationship" you find yourself in, huh-uh.  Does Not Compute.  You're not happy.  He doesn't want to marry you.  You got used.  In the words of the eminent Mr. Savage, Dump The Motherfucker Already.  I guarantee that in twenty years, he's going to be the Video Letter Writer.  If your boyfriend truly wants a logical, rational partner who never lets an emotion get in the way of him having a good time, perhaps he should buy one of those new Japanese Sex Robots that Cousin Jackal has read about.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Greetings and Introductions

Hello! and welcome to my Underground Lair, which is neither, as it is above ground and has a couch and a television, which I believe technically makes it a den.  I'm your friendly neighborhood Jackal and a recent regular on Slate's "The Fray," which seems to be giving its death rattle. With kind and gentle urgings from other Fraysters I decided to hie me over to the interwebs to continue vomiting my weekly hairball of snark, a.k.a. mocking the "Dear Prudence" column.  While bashing DP is fun, hopefully this blog will expand to include more thoughtful rantings over time.

But first, answers to a few questions:

Why is/was your screen name Jackal1013?
Because I could remember it.  See, originally, I just needed a screen name for Slate.  I've always liked the Egyptian god Anubis (as a child I thought the Egyptians were brilliant, as they made their deities adorable cartoons), so that's where "Jackal" came from.  "1013" is a recurring number in The X-Files, and Cousin Jackal likes her some X-Files the way other geeks like them some Star Trek.  So initially there wasn't any special meaning behind it, but Cousin Jackal seems to be on a roll, so I'm just going to let it snowball and see where it goes.

"Cousin" Jackal?
Yeeeaahh, that was a one-time gag that took on a life of its own.  The Fray board has an "Aunt Messy" (her blog is here), so I figured I had to pick a different title if I was going to be a part of the DP-bashing family; that got cross-referenced with Cousin Itt (of Addams Family fame), and the result was...yeah.

Why is it "A Scavenger's Take"?
Jackals pick clean the dead, rotting carcasses of animals after larger predators have had their fill.  Look no further than the Dear Prudence column for a rotting carcass (*rimshot*) and as for the larger predators, head on over to The Fly for a sampling of what the apex Fraysters have to say about it!

Is that supposed to be you in the picture up top?
That's a Black-Backed Jackal and it was such a cute picture that I had to stick it right smack at the top of the page.  I mean, c'mon, don'tcha just want to reach out and pet those huge ears?

Are you supposed to be a furry or something?
No.  (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)

So is this blog for real, or are you a character?
C) A and B.  The opinions, advice, and ranting in this blog are for real, but I'll dress them up in Cousin Jackal's made-up life so they will be more amusing.  In other words, if it sounds like unreal bullshit, it probably is--enjoy.