14 Things About the Poobah

In the interest of helping you, the reader, know more about the Poobah, we thought we’d steal an idea from the various permutations of sites like 43 Things, 100 Things, Lies I’ve Told Myself, Six Big Lies About Sex, etc. and provide a little information that would illuminate your understanding of us.

To whit:

  1. We’ve visited Uruguay, Midway Island, and South Korea. In fact, we’ve visited 25 countries located on all the continents except Australia and Antarctica. All in all, many were quite nice, but many we’d be happy to never see again.
  2. We were once a timpanist. It’s a long story, but suffice it to say that we were not a popular kid in high school.
  3. We have worked at many jobs including paperboy, soda fountain clerk, airplane mechanic, art director/production manager, writer, photographer, musician, focus group tester, amusement park ride builder, janitor, and several other jobs that for the sake of propriety we won’t mention here. In the course of this extensive career we don’t feel we’ve mastered any of these things, but have learned just enough to become dangerous.
  4. We don’t sleep much. On average we get about 5-6 hours of sleep per night/day which is up considerably from the 2-3 hours we got during our 20s. We once stayed awake for 75 hours straight and had trouble going to sleep when we finally laid down.
  5. We lost our virginity at the age of 20. We weren’t saving it for anyone in particular, we just couldn’t find anyone to take it off our hands. What can we say? We grew up in a different time.
  6. We’ve seen several celebrities, including Tony Dow, Jonathan Frakes, Clarence Clemmons, Pete Rose, Gordie Howe, and several local newscasters in airports or on airplanes. We think Clarence is quite the conversationalist.
  7. We once found a snake in the process of eating a frog. The frog, legs kicking wildly, was halfway down when we found it. It’s not a Crocodile Hunter-quality story, but then we were 10 years old at the time.
  8. We once found a large tibia while beachcombing and convinced friends that it was human. It might actually have been for all we know.
  9. We once kept our tonsils in a jar. They were discarded after about 20 years because the alcohol in the jar evaporated. Tonsils, ours anyway, look like soggy popcorn.
  10. At various times when we were younger, we seriously toyed with the idea of becoming an oceanographer, a standup comedian, a stuntman, a war correspondent, and a chef. We think it is telling that we never became any of those things, but did manage to do the things listed in item number 3.
  11. Our grandmother, mother, and sister were all schizophrenics and they are probably just the ones we know about. We are from a demonstrably shallow gene pool and we think it shows.
  12. We saw the last steam train service depart the station from the shoulders of Poobah Sr. We think this makes us sound older than we actually are, but it shows just how interesting our life has been.
  13. We have owned four dogs – King Domino I (a Boston Terrier), Roscoe P. Beagle (a hound of uncertain origin who went blind suddenly during an afternoon nap), Gandalf’s Heartbreak (aka Chrisse Q. Retriever, a Golden Retriever), and Fiona (no last name because she doesn’t seem to need one, she is a Shar Pei/Yellow Lab mix that we call a Sharbrador). All of the dogs provided more enjoyment and companionship than any 50 humans put together. Our life would have been a much gloomier place without them.
  14. We don’t much care for cats. We had one as a child that attacked us at will and as a result, we bought a copy of 101 Uses for a Dead Cat. That pretty much sums it up on the cat front.

We hope you’ve found every one of these absolutely true facts interesting and enlightening. If you have any further questions, we’ll be happy to answer them. And please, feel free to tell these at the local pub. We’re sure it will make you a favorite among the hardcore barflies.

Let’s Do Lunch

The Poobah’s social calendar has been a bit thin as of late. You might think that being unemployed and having a completely flexible schedule would mean an increase in dining invites. Instead, it really means I’m out of sight, out of mind. So it was with great relish that I went to meet three of my former coworkers – PM, SM, and DG – for lunch at a little Japanese place near their offices. Since it was the first time I’d been out with friends in nearly six months, it was quite the treat.

It was good to see the girls again. For the past 10 years, I’ve worked primarily with women and over time they’ve begun to treat me more like another one of them than as a man. I don’t mean that in a negative way – quite the contrary – I see it as a sort of honor. They long ago started discussing many things with – and in front of me – that are normally reserved for other women. Relationships and their troubles, great places to get those kicky new shoes, babies (who’s having them and who’s not), gossip, and other complaints of the feminine kind – if you catch my drift.

It’s not that the conversation is all femecentric though. PM talked about her efforts to walk a marathon, but has decided not to follow through on a previous impulse to be a life coach. SM has finished her holistic health degree and is thinking of going for her master’s. She’s still undecided about doing it as a career. DG talked about her daughter and insurance rates and asked me what was up with me. Our group discussions also covered cadavers (a little squeamishly), television, pop culture, and online dating services. Since male conversations usually center on baseball, football, or basketball (depending on the season) it was nice to get a little variety.

One of the few things I’ve missed about not working is precisely this sort of human contact. A little mental stimulation to take my mind out of the house in a way that is difficult with my family. I love both Mrs. Poobah and Daughter Poobah dearly, but ours is a much different relationship, based more on the ebb and flow of our home lives and interrelationships and less on the world outside. The relationship I have with the girls – including others who weren’t there today – is different. Even more so, I think, because it gives me the chance to view the world through a woman’s eyes at least for a few moments. That’s a rare treat indeed.

The lunch also made me consider the kinds of relationships I have. I’d describe myself as a bit anti-social, though I’m told I hide that fairly well. I freely admit that people are not my favorite mammals and the overwhelming majority of my friendships include at least a bit of distance for my own comfort. The intriguing thing to me is the number of friendships I’ve been able to sustain for relatively long periods, despite sometimes having scant contact.

Somehow, I’ve developed a cadre of friends – both male and female – that I can easily revisit and pick up where we left off. The conversations aren’t forced. We’re still able to find shared interests. We can still engage in a relatively stress-free and comfortable way. I think this is probably more a testament to their ability to be friends and than to my ability to sustain my own attention and overcome my natural impulse to not participate. I suppose that if it weren’t for them, my anti-social side would win and I’d be pissing in alleyways or living alone under an overpass somewhere.

So girls, if you’re reading this I just wanted to say thanks for lunch, and everything else. And by the way, I just found this great little place that has the cutest belts.

John Bolton – Great Boss or Great Diplomat?

John “I Am the Walrus” Bolton’s name fought its way back through the busy media curtain today in a story suggesting that King Dumbya may appoint him ambassador to the UN while Congress is on its summer recess – a tactic that would bring new meaning to the phrase “what I did on my summer vacation”.

You’ll remember Revoltin’ Bolton as the psychopathic arms negotiator/Republican lawyer in the Florida recounts as the man who believes there is no place for the United Nations. Apparently, this makes him the perfect candidate for the job of ambassador to said organization according to many G-O-PeePees.

He’s also the guy that provided such great entertainment during his confirmation hearings.

It seems “Laughin’ ” John had a penchant for throwing temper tantrums if he didn’t get his way. Stories included one where he chased a staffer through a hotel and hammered on her door with a shoe because she wasn’t supporting his position strongly enough. John also caught the eye of his boss Colin Powell, who kept him on such a short leash that all of his public statements had to me approved by the SecState before he was allowed to speak to actual human beings. His new boss, Condi Rice, promises to keep him on an equally short leash as a way to placate concerns about his abysmal behavior. Gee, he sounds better all the time doesn’t he?

Most of Capt. Kangaroo’s confirmation hearings centered on his less-than-admirable behavior toward his co-workers rather than his other poor credentials for the job. There were dozens of stories about him berating junior analysts, screaming at co-workers, and vociferously arguing the point with superiors after it was clear that he had lost the argument. Apparently, some Repugnant Repubs thought his mistreatment of others was as hearty a recommendation as his belief that the institution to which he was being nominated didn’t need to exist. US allies were, of course, thrilled about this nomination.

The Poobah isn’t particularly surprised that these Repubs, who will be the future lobbyists and CEOs for large companies, feel that way. They are steeped in a long tradition of powerful people with huge egos who can’t seem to get along with “the little people” (and we don’t mean midgets). It seems that, in the business world at least, anti-social behavior is what gets you ahead. Think Enron, where Ken Lay and his energy traders giggled as they “screwed poor old Aunt Millie in California” while swearing on a stack of well-used Bibles that they had no part in the energy shell game going on that hot summer in the West. Think Martha Stewart, who fought her way to the top through sheer tenaciousness and a mean streak that would make a wolverine wince. Think Dennis Kozlowski, he of the $6000 shower curtain, the Roman bacchanal, and mistaker of large corporations for very large piggy banks. Heck, even GE’s ex-CEO and current business Golden Boy was known as “Neutron Jack” for his ability, like a neutron bomb, to kill all the people without touching the buildings.

No, we think John will fit right in, though he’ll have to work a little on his non-existent smile. It’s important in the Bush administration that you learn to smile – or in George’s case smirk – when you talk to the, “peeble of this You-Nigh-Ted-States of Umerca“. He’ll also need to learn to toe the line, bite his large and active tongue, and support the Commander and Cowboy at all costs. That is the get out of jail free card he’ll need to protect him when he blabs something he isn’t supposed to. Not that an Ambassador to the United Nations, who has such a great regard for the organization, would ever do anything to jeopardize its mission. Just ask Karl, “I’m the Soul of Discretion” Rove.

So here’s to John. May he learn to smile, buy good quality shoes for those doors he’ll need to bang on, and continue to hone his fine managerial qualities. I hear there’ll be some openings for talented ex-government servants at Halliburton in a few years and he looks like a very, VERY strong condidate.