Moonbat Nation, Tasteful vs. Tacky, and the Things We Do Because?

field and stream

This is an interesting concept.

I can see it now.  This could be the cover of a beefcake (as in nude dudes) calendar with a fishing and hunting motif.   The sign is from a local construction site where they are building a Field and Stream store as well as a Dick’s Sporting Goods.  (Yes, for the sports non-enthusiast,  Dick’s Sporting Goods is a real chain of stores.)  This sign just struck me funny in a puerile, sophomoric way.  It’s bad that I still enjoy toilet humor at my age, but some things are just funny, and it doesn’t matter if you’re 8 or 80.

Today’s trendy habit of photographing every bloody thing under the sun (and I am oh, so guilty of doing it too) provides vast quantities of comedic fodder.  The horrible pics of moonbats in Walmart are proof of that.

thrift store explosion survivor

It just seems incongruent that in these times where everyone has a camera (usually part of the phone) and can take pictures anywhere, that people go out in public looking like something left over from an 80’s slasher flick or an unfortunate survivor of an explosion in a thrift store.  Just because you can go out wearing a halter top, SpongeBob boxers for pants, and you can dye your hair Ronald McDonald red, doesn’t mean you should.

Back in the 1940’s, for example (one of my favorite fashion eras) photography was expensive, and taking pics of people wasn’t a particularly easy endeavor.   It was unlikely that someone would take a random pic of you, and even more unlikely that your pic would appear on screen or in print, ever.  Even so, people dressed a bit more appropriately out in public.  There are no pictures from the 40’s of anyone out in public with underwear showing above belts or pant waists in the middle (or the bottom) of the butt crack.

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Women didn’t go running around outside with their back boobs showing either.  It’s no crime to be large, but if you are, dress appropriately.  No one wants to see that.

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(Not sure if this is a woman, but you get my drift.)

We have become a nation of freaky moonbats.  It started in the 1960’s when people started doing acid and other hallucinogens, and it’s getting progressively worse.  Maybe I’m noticing this because my parents pretty much opted out of the whole ’60’s counter culture scene except for the thing for Volkswagens.  I know more about old air-cooled Volkswagens than anyone probably should, but as far as I know, my parents are tee-totalers who only take drugs they have scripts for.

vw air cooled

Saturday we’re going to the Ohio State Fair, which among other things, is a Walmart-caliber freak show.  I’m going to try to sneak off some pictures as long as I can do it discretely.  Last year didn’t disappoint.  The Popcorn Festival in Marion is the world-wide showplace of Very Bad Tats (this is coming up in September) and I will have to try to sneak some pics of those too.   The Festival is not an easy place to get pics, as it’s crowded, but the Bad Tat Bazaar (or should I say Bizarre) will be interesting.

I shouldn’t say anything about tats (I do have a small but tasteful rendition of Théophile Steinlen’s Chat Noir on my right calf) but there’s tasteful, artistic tats:

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And then there’s tacky, drunk-and-stupid ones:

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I did- or I should say Steve-o, aka Mr. Borderline OCD did- some research before we did the whole tat thing.  He was diligent in finding a facility whose standards exceed the county health department’s for cleanliness and sanitation, and whose artists are truly artists.  Getting the Chat Noir applied was a surprisingly pleasant experience over all, and going to a reputable facility was much preferred over getting drunk and giving some recently-released-from-prison bubba with a modified Walkman motor full of hepatitis A, B and C a $20 to scribble permanent scribblings into my skin.  My best friend in high school did that, and she probably still has that particular ex-boyfriend’s name in three inch block letters on her back.  I don’t know if she got hepatitis or not from that jailhouse tat, but it wouldn’t surprise me.

Add One to the List of Things I Thought I’d Never Do

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This is not my belly button area.

There are a few things that I thought I would never do in this life.  Some of them I’m pretty confident will never come to pass, such as climbing Mt. Everest or running a marathon, but I never thought I would (considering the dim view I take on tacky ones) get a tattoo.

I’m the first one to mock bad tats, and I’ll never forget the reason why my grandfather wore long-sleeved Oxford shirts with the button sleeves buttoned at the wrists every day of his life until he was dying in the nursing home.  Grandpa had some horrifically badly done tats on his forearms dating back to when he served in the Navy in 1943.  They did not improve with age.

I generally have a loathing for the “tramp stamp” or any other tats on a woman in places that are way too close to her naughty bits.  The idea of having an artist drawing on my cleavage, butt crack or any other area normally covered by clothing in polite company is a rather unsavory one.  I don’t want to subject anyone to that visual.

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Not my back or my “tramp stamp” area!  Especially not Jabba the Hut, considering that from reliable reports he bears more than a passing resemblance to my ex.

Even so, I have toyed on and off with the idea of a tasteful tat of a black cat on a non-naughty bit part of my anatomy for a long time. Weirdly enough, Steve-o was sort of behind me actually doing it rather than just continually mulling it over.

Steve-o is deathly afraid of needles, so much so, that last year when he had to have a routine blood draw I told him to grab my hand and look the other way.  I thought he was going to rip my hand off and jump up through the ceiling.  So when he said he was going to get a couple of tats, I said, yeah, right.  I didn’t think he had the balls, and I reminded him, in spite of his swagger, of his very unmanly drama with the phlebotomist in the ER, and that only involved one needle stick.

I told him that I’d go with him, and if he went through with it I’d get one too.  Part of me figured he would wuss out, but if he did it, then I was obligated.  The nice part about doing this with Steve-o, is that as in everything he had done his research and found a facility with stellar reviews, autoclave sterilization and talented artists.  He is so paranoid about needles and the prospect of blood-borne pathogens that he’s going to choose someplace that’s scrupulously clean.

Either way, no real big deal.  I am not freaked out by needles.  My pain threshold is much higher than it probably should be, so either way, I was cool with it, and I’d been toying around with the black cat idea anyway.

When I saw the designs he came up with I almost had to laugh, but hey, he’s over 21.  At least no cartoon characters were lampooned in the making of his tats.

The one he had put on his shoulder is in German and roughly translated means: We Must Live Until We Die.

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The other one is way too close to naughty bits to show the actual picture of the tat, but let’s just say it’s an instructional diagram:

shift pattern

The motorhead crowd would know this (above) is the shift pattern for 4-speed manual Volkswagens, i.e. like his rail buggy.  In Toyotas and other civilized vehicles, (below) reverse is directly below 5th, but VW to this day still insists on that funky dog-leg reverse pattern.  It screws me up every time I drive one if I don’t consciously think about it, since I am used to driving the Toyota every day.

5speed Toyota

This one makes more sense to me.

The other bet Steve-o and I had was which one of us would be discovered first.  Since his are on his shoulder and in the nether region covered by boxers, and mine is on my calf, the Warden (Steve-o calls my Mom the Warden, which in some ways is sort of apropos) will probably notice mine first, being that it’s the season for wearing capris.  So I’m thinking the next time I go up there either I wear a skirt or long pants if I want to avoid the drama.  Unless of course, she already knows.  Mom will of course have a major tizzy fit when (or if) she finds out, because she thinks any tattoo is automatically tacky.  She may be right, but I’m 44 years old, and if I feel like getting a black cat inked on my calf I’m going to.  You only live once.   It’s not as if it’s on my face or hands or naughty bits.

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For what it’s worth, I think it’s cool, and right now I’m the only one I really care about impressing.

I’ve heard people say getting a tat is insanely painful.  It probably depends on where you get it and who you are, but at the very worst- for me anyway- it only felt like a minor sunburn.  The more that I thought about black cats in art, the Chat Noir illustrations by Théophile Steinlen stood out in my mind as being the coolest black cat icons I could find, though I did take liberty with the hot pink eyes.

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I do draw the line on a great number of things as far as tats go- where they can be, what they can depict and so forth to be considered tasteful.  Names are out of the question, as I remember all too well my best friend in high school having her boyfriend’s name- RAY- tattooed across her back.  When she and RAY predictably broke up, she was stuck with his name in three inch tall letters across her back.  I got smacked when I suggested she put BESTOS underneath RAY and get a job advertising brake pads.  There are just some things that aren’t meant to be illustrated on the human body, like this:

tattoo lenin head

Don’t be a Lenin-head!

So Easily Entertained, Laments of the 13%, and Country Music IS Noise Pollution

Those of us in the automotive industry aren’t exactly noted for being paragons of virtue, sad to say.

Last night I realized just how easily entertained I can be, and it’s sort of sad.  Jerry has been complaining about the slight vibration in the front end of his truck since the tires were rotated, so I had to follow him over to the dealership last night so their service department can tell him the same things I told him.  1. You have a 4WD truck.  It’s not going to ride like a car. 2. I personally don’t care much for Dunlop tires- at least not the ones Toyota uses as factory equipment tires.  They are OK if you drive the vehicle every day, but we are talking about a 2010 Tacoma with 9,000 miles on it.  When these tires sit, they cup.  When tires cup, you get vibration.  I had to deal with complaints about Dunlop tires (granted these weren’t the same exact model tires) 20 years ago when they were original equipment on Camrys- and the ones who bitched about them always had low mileage cars that would sit for long periods of time.   Most people aren’t fussy enough to even notice a slight vibration like that in a truck, but Jerry is sensitive enough to smell the fart someone just cut up in Moose Dick, Alaska (which is a hell of a long way from beautiful Central Ohio, for those ill-acquainted with geography.)  He notices anything even slightly off with that truck, even if it is well within the realm of normal tolerance.  I pity the service advisor who’s dealing with him.

Maybe I should not take sadistic enjoyment in tormenting car salesmen, especially when buying a new car is about the furthest thing from my mind, but I couldn’t resist wandering the new car lot as I’m waiting for Jerry to drop off his Tacoma with yet another whiny diatribe about the Dunlop tires.  I’m sure he thinks if he whines enough they’ll give him a free set of Bridgestones of his choice, but I highly, highly doubt it.  They’re not a safety issue or even a wear issue.  You have a bit of a vibration at 70 MPH.  Whoop de doo.

Just buy yourself a new set of tires if you are that damned fussy.  I told you to make them swap them out for Bridgestones before you took delivery of the truck…

Anyway, I didn’t even really get a chance to peruse the first two three-door Yarises- other than to glance and keep on walking because they were automatics- on the lot before a thin, sort of ferret-faced salesman starts chasing me down.  That’s what I get for perusing a new car lot on a weeknight.  The first thing I tell him is that I’m just checking out the new cars while I’m waiting on the old man to drop off his truck and that I’m not looking for a new car.  But of course, he persists, so I ask him if they have any (Scion) XDs or 5 door Yarises with manual transmissions.  Mr. Ferret gives me a sort of a weird look and asks, “You aren’t interested in an automatic?”

Ok, so ferrets are cute.  This guy wasn’t, but you get what I mean.

Hell, no, I think to myself, but then I have to wonder how many of the 13% he has actually encountered, and if he has had the rare opportunity to encounter one of the 13% who happens to be female. So I decide to take it easy on him.

“Sorry, but I only drive manual transmissions.  I won’t buy an automatic, which I know sort of narrows down my choices,” I replied, thinking that might make him give up right there.

It must have been a slow night, because the poor guy was running around all over the lot to see if they had any XDs or 5 door Yarises with manual transmissions.  They didn’t, but he did insist on getting my phone number (I gave the home number that I never answer) and e-mail. I don’t entirely want to piss these guys off because I’ve bought my last 4 new cars there.  Even though I pretty much despise car salesmen, I don’t want to be that much of a bitch.  I’m not interested in a new car right now- especially because Toyota isn’t building the Yaris sedan which is what I already have, and am perfectly OK with- anymore.  The XD is intriguing and even though it is a hatchback, that might cross my mind, but good luck finding one of those with 5 on the floor.

Yes, the manual trans is available, but have fun finding one with it!

I hope that I don’t have to resign to driving a farking Volkswagen just so I can get a sedan with a manual transmission the next time I buy a car.  It’s not that I dislike Volkswagen- as far as performance goes there’s no one like the Germans, and VW’s recent models (especially the Jetta and Passat) are interesting- but they are more expensive, and from what I’ve seen in the past, much less reliable than Toyotas.  Who got the farking idea that people who drive manual transmissions only like hatchbacks?   Who got the idea that everyone who likes a manual transmission can afford a European car, even if it does end up being a Volkswagen?  I know it’s hard to cater to the 13%, and I don’t mind that most of the available vehicles are econoboxes, but dammit, there is a market there!

The Jetta GLI could be fun, but I still wonder- how reliable?

I’m not enthralled with buying any car that isn’t made by Toyota, and I’m not buying an automatic anything, even if it means I drive my current Yaris until I drop dead.  So there.

I’m also wondering who around here is getting such a taste for oat opera.  Unless I put my headphones on, I am accosted to a rather foul auditory garbage dump of twangy tunes that make me think I’ve died and gone to redneck hell.  I try to be polite and use headphones if I want to listen to music outside of the privacy of my own car, because I understand that not everyone wants to hear Jethro Tull’s “Aqualung” cranked up.  It’s a cool song but sort of gross when you think about it.  I know I have unusual tastes in music and don’t aspire to inflict them on others.   But why do others think I want my auditory channels violated by Conway Twitty or Shania Twain?

Please, please spare me from bad country music- and most of it is IMO, incredibly bad- unless you want me to start playing David Allan Coe.