One disadvantage of being a soulless, horrific fiend, who with a mere glance can boil the marrow in the bones of the innocent, is that people think you don’t like cartoons. Peasants, tradesmen, and scruffy German professors who should know better all clasp this flabby misconception to their bosoms, as if it were a sickly infant that only the milk of ignorance could nourish. This notion is nothing but odious rubbish. I assure you that I and four other Vampire Princes sat in attendance on opening night of Fantasia, urging that Mickey Mouse suffer damnation, delivered by a broom that surely was animated by the forces of Hell. Therefore, to those churlish enough to suggest I must disdain animated films, I say bah. May their slumber be destroyed by scorpions behaving in an entirely improper fashion.

Today I propose to discuss the film Despicable Me. I admittedly approached it with elevated expectations, since its protagonist is a literal villain, and the word “despicable” dominates the title. It is as if the filmmakers have promised ninety minutes of terror, suffering, and grinding degradation. Indeed, my henchman Nodwick squirmed in anticipation to such a distracting degree that I resorted to chaining him to his seat, and I found myself compelled to threaten him with nailing his hands to the armrests. 

The film’s initial scenes sated my hunger for an execrable, villainous hero and whetted my anticipation for greater depredations to come. True, I could wish that Groo had simply killed his horrible neighbor’s dog rather than alluding to the act in a sideways manner, perhaps with entrails artistically hurled across the lawn. But that is no more than quibbling on my part. I sensed the film urging us forward from Groo’s current loathsome, alligator and rhinoceros-filled existence into a future of shattering destruction, rushing along a story arc that would make Aeschylus blush with approval. I saw the film’s promise come into flower as three moderately innocent young persons thrust themselves into Groo’s world of devastation and woe, and I waited for him to visit profound, agonizing, and all-encompassing obliteration upon them, as certainly he must.

That which followed shocked me in a manner unequalled since Lord Zülta devoured twelve drunken gypsies and goat in three minutes. In fact, I heard Nodwik whisper, “Holy shit,” and I clouted him so fiercely he was unable to open his left eye for a month. Aghast, I observed Groo allowing himself to be cajoled and goaded in a manner that would make any black-faced lamb weep with shame. He accepted this abuse from three insignificant, barely sentient children, some of whom wore pink, if that can be conceived. I felt impelled to slay Groo without hesitation, yet I realized he was merely an image wrought by an animator and his calculating machines. I resolved to find this animator at once and dismember him, hiding each limb on a different continent like grisly Easter eggs.

As I began to unchain Nodwick, an image scraped across the screen that altered my entire perception of the film. I refer to Vector, the supposed antagonist of the film, presented as a villain to rival Groo. I came quite near to smiling in amusement—indeed, my lip might have twitched. Vector was a vapid, crass, worthless excrescence of a villain, undeniably so. Even the squid in Vector’s “squid gun” rolled its eyes at his ineptitude. The appearance of Vector’s repugnant self placed this film into its proper focus. Despicable Me is not a heroic saga of evil and horror on a profound scale, as I had initially conceived it to be. Rather, it is a cautionary tale of allowing one’s potential for hideous malignance to dissipate into pathetic ineptitude. Heedless of the peril, Groo descends into mediocrity by waging against a mediocre puff of flatulence. He embraces frailty by coddling frail and unhygienic urchins, rather than splintering their bones and stripping their souls from the flesh.

Why does Groo fail? The brilliance of Despicable Me resides in Groo’s excuses for his abject embarrassment, which he disguises as compassion and ridiculous finger puppets. Groo fails because his mother treated him abominably. That weakness then seeps into his mighty cruelty and splits it, just as water might seep into an oak tree and smash it open at the first freeze.

Good lord, Groo, we all had mothers. Having a mother excuses nothing.

Every being that wishes to perpetrate evil upon the pure and guileless denizens of this world should immediately watch Despicable Me. Do not wait until you have tortured that final shabby villager. Do not wait for that virtuous young woman to retire, clad in her ridiculously diaphanous nightgown and awaiting your mesmerizing presence to usher her into damnation. Go and see it forthwith.

Despicable Me serves as a foul beacon reminding us to master our craven weaknesses, and to slaughter every prepubescent child before it utters a solitary precocious syllable. For that, I give Despicable Me five horrific tortures involving the mucus membranes, out of five.

Really Groo? A unicorn?


Inspiration sucks. It’s like that five dollar macchiato you drink every morning to get yourself going. Then one day the cat barfs on your shirt and makes you late, and you don’t have time for Mr. Macchiato. You can’t get yourself going without it, and at work you just stare at an imaginary point hoping no human comes near you before noon. The professional writers say that inspiration is for suckers. Just start working and let the work take care of itself.

So I felt really bad today when I sat down at the keyboard uninspired, depressed and communing with that imaginary point rather than attacking the keyboard like I was John Henry. I squirmed in my chair and felt shame that I was attempting to use the same alphabet used by Mark Twain. I’m a man of my time, so when I have a problem I do what the people of my time do. I go to Google. I searched Google for inspiration. By the way, the word “inspiration” produced 107,000,000 hits, and I don’t think any of them are at all inspiring.

After a while, like a lazy, willful mule, I started looking for anything I could use as an excuse for not writing at all. I landed on bipolar disorder. That was promising. I figured I could whine about it for at least a couple of paragraphs and be done. But then I found a page listing the best things about bipolar disorder, which isn’t your normal kind of post about a mental illness.

I think the “best things bipolar” list contained some fine and illuminating stuff, but it didn’t quite capture my experience with my friend bipolar. That’s what led me to create this alternate list of The Ten Best Things About Being Bipolar.

  1. Since you’re manic sometimes and depressed at other times, bipolar can be claimed as the reason for almost anything you’ve screwed up or don’t want to do.
  2. After being manic for a while, you can tell people what it’s like to write the sequel to Lord of the Rings, invent the perpetual motion machine, and fly without an airplane.
  3. You have a wide selection of pills in decorator colors, so there’s no need to remodel the bathroom.
  4. You can finish a day’s work when other people are still asleep, and you can think faster than reality occurs.
  5. When depressed, you get plenty of health-enhancing rest for long periods of time, in rooms darkened by curtains that block out harmful UV rays.
  6. You can openly pay someone to put up with your shit and react in a patient, thoughtful way, because it’s more acceptable to do this with a psychiatrist than with a prostitute.
  7. There’s no substitute for being the smartest, most charming, most articulate, sexiest and most creative person on Earth for a while. It’s worth the embarrassment of later looking back at what you did and wondering what the hell you were thinking.
  8. If you make bizarre money decisions, buy ten thousand pairs of bowling shoes, lose your home and possessions, and cause all your family members to abandon you, that’s just an unambiguous sign that God wants you to become a monk.
  9. You give your spouse lots of opportunities to develop patience, tolerance, and the discipline to not hit you in the face with a frying pan.
  10. You get to identify with scads of famous people who might have been bipolar too, like Abraham Lincoln, Marilyn Monroe, and Tigger. That’s got to be good for your self-esteem.

So there’s a poke in the eye for you, inspiration.

It sometimes surprises me how many people like their bipolar experience just the way it is. Yet plenty of people don’t like bipolar, and they can get pretty angry that anyone might say positive things about it. So, I’m happy to see your comments, but please try to keep them civil, or at least more civil than a religious war.

The suspected-of-being-bipolar President Theodore Roosevelt. Is he manic here? Depressed? You decide.

I want a dog.

I can’t have one, because my dog would be neurotic enough to chew the feet off a bronze statue of Mussolini. Dogs need packs, and while I’m as much of a pack as any man, I’m just not home enough to provide Angus a stable, traditional family unit. Yes, my dog will be named Angus.

Someday, when I’m home to throw balls and pick up dog poop, things will be different. But it still won’t be happy puppy time right away. I’ll have the problem of deciding what kind of dog Angus will be. Well, that’s a lie. I’ll have the problem of negotiating with my wife on what kind of dog Angus will be. She grew up with a giant dog, the kind that eats trees. When her Great Pyrenees was a puppy, it ate a couch. Seriously. It dragged the cushions outside and scattered bits of them across the backyard. When my wife’s mom got home, the puppy had dragged the couch to the laundry room and was trying to shove it through the dog door.

This is the kind of dog my wife wants. She doesn’t know why small dogs exist. If she wants a pet that weighs 15 pounds, that’s what cats are for.

The dog I grew up with weighed less than the daily drool production of my wife’s dog. This dog didn’t belong to me. My mom spotted the Toy Poodle in the pet store one day and fell in love when it nestled into her hands. From then on it was my mom’s dog. It then proceeded to destroy dog myths. All dogs can swim? Untrue, as it proved by falling into the pool, sinking, and sitting on the bottom like it was sitting on the kitchen floor, waiting to be picked up. Dogs are cute, or maybe smart, or at least loyal, right? No, this one was dim, vengeful, and lazy. The zenith of its wit was gathering its turds from the yard and lining them up at the back door when it was angry with us. And cute? Once grown, its closest approach to cute was sprawling on the front seat between my mom and dad for thousands of miles of road trips, snoring and farting all the way.

Okay, I’m pretty certain this is not the kind of dog you can name Angus.

It’ll have to be a compromise. We can each list the qualities most important to us in a dog, and then we’ll find the dog that does the best job of making us both happy. I want a dog that’s good natured, not stupid, can swim, and doesn’t have its own gravity well. My wife wants a dog that’s big enough to hug and can bite a moose in half.

I guess we need to discuss it a little more, perhaps over drinks. A martini or two, maybe a White Russian, a daiquiri, some Wild Turkey shots, and a round of Jägermeister. We can finish off with some punch I used to make by mixing Everclear and cherry Kool-Aid in a dirty ice chest. If my wife wants a huge, grunting, drooling creature that flops all over the bed and whines all night, then booze and I can oblige her.

What kind of dog do you think Angus should be? And what’s your perfect dog?

Hugging today. Biting moose in half tomorrow.

Photo of a person who is *not* my wife courtesy of

Despite my new medication, I almost lost my mind last night and wrote something about religion to post in this space. If I’d done it, I’m not sure how things would have turned out for me afterwards. A scriptural phrase might describe it well—something like “lamentation.” Yep, I think I’d have a lot of lamentation going on today if I’d gone whirling into a religious discussion.

My dad told me that you’ll never change anyone’s mind about politics or religion by talking to them. That’s not entirely true. Through religious debate I’ve changed people’s minds from liking me to wanting to torture me to death in ways that would make an Apache blush. As I get older I find that I care less about whether people hate me, but I don’t try as hard to make them hate me, either. Wisdom of Age? Cowardice of Age? Maybe it’s the Seems-Like-Too-Damn-Much-Work of Age.

Maybe I hold radical religious beliefs, but I’m not radical about them. I intended to tell you the “Cucumber Story,” and the story about “The Ant, the Flower, and the Bottle of Vodka.” These are stories of compassion and insight that would immediately make a lot of people hate me worse than syphilis. That’s far too much work.

I considered trying to be humorous and sarcastic to share my thoughts on religion. Then I remembered Niccolo Machiavelli, an Italian fellow who wrote The Prince long ago and whom history has ever since kicked in the nuts for being a very bad man who advocated awful things. The funny thing is that Machiavelli loved democracy, republicanism, and the judgment of the people. Most of his writing shows it. But for what I’m sure seemed wonderful reasons at the time, he wrote The Prince, a manual for despots who want to get and keep absolute power. It coaches them on how to behave worse than a demon with crotch rot in order to do it. But he wrote it as a satire. He didn’t mean it. It was okay if the bad people thought he was serious, but everybody else was supposed to get the sarcasm and see how much he really hated despotism.

Niccolo, I’ve got to tell you—a lot of people just don’t get sarcasm. Now everybody thinks you’re a hideous bastard. Sorry, dude.

I don’t need that either. So, this chat is mainly religion-free. I’m trying to swear off hate, although I did yell at the nice Time Warner salesman at our door when he kept pushing after the fourth “no.” I think I hit the wall, too. Scared the crap out of my wife. So I’m going to take a deep breath, go somewhere quiet, and engage in my own, private religious/non-religious practices. And eat ice cream.

I was going to show a picture of Machiavelli, but he’s as ugly as a stump. I’m pimping out this picture of cute puppies instead to get more people to read this.

Photo by DannaCaterina245 via Wikimedia Commons.