July 09, 2008

Helpful Romantic Do's and Don'ts

IN THE FOLLOWING VIDEO, Loyal Rant Readers will notice two dramatically different situations played out on screen. The first instance is the classic "wrong" video, in which foolish and decadent lifestyle choices are re-enacted so viewers can witness the horrors wrought as a result. The second instance is the classic "right" video, in which proper etiquette and manners are displayed:

My apologies to those readers who were sickened at the first video. It is truly disturbing to see such an unthinkable lifestyle choice played out on screen, but it is necessary to show so that future students and graduates of the schools may be instructed accordingly. I realize some readers may not have picked up on all the troubling aspects of the first video, but let's review them so we're all clear.

One. The Michigan girl is kissing the Ohio State guy -- even though he clearly has venereal disease.
Two. The Michigan girl and the Ohio State guy are starting their make-out session in a room that was last decorated during the first Nixon Administration. We can thus deduce they are making out either a) in the lout's sketchy apartment or b) the basement of his parents' home. In both cases, they suggest the Michigan girl is dating below her station, as further evidenced by her earrings, which may be diamond -- unless the Ohio State guy gave her the earrings, in which case they are cubic zirconia.
Three. The Michigan girl is kissing the Ohio State guy despite the fact he has not bathed in three days and has worn that same sweatshirt to class for the past four weeks.
Four. The Michigan girl has her leg crossed over the Ohio State guy's leg, yet she does not use the opportunity to deliver a well-aimed, debilitating shot to the guy's meat and two veg.
Five. The Michigan girl appears dazed and confused, while the Ohio State guy is clearly planning to make his move. It may be they met at a bar, and he spiked her drink with a chemical agent.
Six. Should the relationship continue, it has the potential to end badly for the Michigan girl, particularly if she is in Columbus when the Wolverines defeat the Buckeyes, which will result in rioting and general disorder throughout Ohio's capital. She thus could find her quest for "true love" and a "soulmate" ends when unruly Ohio State students tip over her car.

Now let's review the second video, in which responsible adults both do the right things, which are as follows:

One. The Ohio State alumnus, despite being an awkward and nebbish sort, and a man who clearly is dating out of his league, jumps out of a moving automobile to flee the hot Michigan alumna. This brave and meritorious action must be commended, as any true Michigan man would do the same if he found himself on a blind date with a hot Ohio State alumna.
Two. The hot Michigan alumna does her duty under the law by stopping to see if the Ohio State wretch was hurt after his desperate leap, but consequently flees in disgust upon realizing the fool was unhurt. This was clearly the proper and correct course of action.
Three. The Michigan alumna is kind and considerate to the schmoe she has picked up on a blind date, even though the yutz is clearly a sad failure. Not only did he not pick her up in his car, he is dressed like a complete schlub while she is wearing classy and appropriate attire for dinner.
Four. Upon observation and belief, the Michigan alumna is driving an American-made sport utility vehicle.

As we can see, both the Ohio State alumnus and Michigan alumna acted appropriately given the situation. This goes especially because both parties knew that if they continued seeing each other, got into a relationship, consummated it, and then later got married, their children would be forced to make difficult and painful choices down the line. Or, even worse, end up attending Wisconsin or Purdue.

God, I can't wait for college football season.

Speaking of college football, Every Day Should Be Saturday has a helpful point chart determining the college football team with the most legal troubles. As The Rant has been accused of anti-Southern bias in the past, I would note that Penn State is tied for fifth on the list, while the Illinois Fighting Zooks are tied for tenth place. That said, The Rant is not at all surprised Alabama -- home of evil Coach Saban -- is far and away in first place. The SEC also has four teams on the list*, no small consideration when one considers the site's writer is an SEC partisan.

* surprisingly, this includes Georgia, which I actually somewhat like.

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at 09:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 28, 2007

Methinks the Man Dodged a Bullet

THE RANT WOULD like to extend our heartfelt sympathies to the Houston Astros fan who paid $300 for great seats at Minute Maid Park and had the in-field cameras focused on him for his marriage proposal to his beloved. After going down on one knee and presenting her with the ring, she looked surprised. Then she looked angry. Then she dumped her popcorn over his head and stormed out of the stadium.

The identity of the unlucky suitor wasn't immediately known, but if you ask me, it sounds as if the guy dodged a bullet. A really big bullet. One can only hope the guy will do the smart thing now, and go on national television to gain the respect and admiration he deserves. Not only will that mean Valuable Prizes and Other Consideration, it will almost certainly get him at least a few dates. So, I hope the Houston Astros fan will snap out of what must be an awful case of depression and realize that, you know, people like him and stuff.

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at 08:32 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 14, 2007

Valentine's Day, Revisited Yet Again

AH, VALENTINE'S DAY! A day for lovers, a day for passion, a day for joy! It therefore should come as no surprise that your humble correspondent is sitting at his work desk in his living room, typing away on his computer and listening to moody music. Also, he is eating a small bag of chicharrones*, which he really ought not eat but because it is Valentine's Day night he feels absolutely no guilt about doing so. Yeah.

But anyway. Past Valentine's Day posts of mine have been rather, oh, I don't know, sour. Yeah, I like that phrase, sour. They weren't really bitter, I don't think, even though I made mention of these most times. Nor were they all that jaded or cruel, even though I would make smart remarks about St Valentine, the patron saint of love, affianced couples, greeting card manufacturers and -- my personal favorite -- against the plague. After all, as I wrote a few years back, one could only imagine the prayer for that:


St Valentine, the saint whom love hails
Last night I had much wine and ale
This rap let me beat
The clap let me cheat
It's my ass on the line should you fail


St VALENTINE: Go ahead and laugh! You're not leaving Purgatory 'til the Lions win the Super Bowl!

This year, though, things are different -- even if I'm yet again earning an extra three millennia in Purgatory for poking fun at St Valentine, who is also a patron saint of beekeepers.

Part of this is because this year, I actually engaged in what can loosely be termed Zany Romantic Hijinks, and in a couple of days I shall learn if said hijinks actually worked out great. As a result, I'm in a pretty good mood, despite having Flower Delivery Anxiety. Also, I stopped by the grocery store on the way home and found many of my fellow men aimlessly wandering its aisles, which makes for a good Valentine's Day post.

Generally speaking, the supermarket in which I shop is very busy on weekday nights, but today's blizzard made the 6 p.m. crowd about as large as a typical 10 p.m. crowd. To me, most of the shoppers appeared to be men, and were apparently picking up last-minute Valentine's Day things. That they were doing so in the grocery was a sign of things either very bad or very good.

I actually felt a twinge of pity for the backward-cap-wearing guy in his early twenties, who looked forlornly over a display of inexpensive grocery-store flowers before selecting a sad-looking bouquet of perhaps half-a-dozen roses wrapped in plastic. This was primarily because the man had absolutely no hope of getting through the night emotionally unscathed. After all, if it's 6 p.m. on Valentine's Day, and one is reduced to getting a small bouquet of flowers from the grocery, there's a good chance one will get in serious trouble for not making a proper effort, and for all I knew the poor bastard had intended to do better.

However, the man did not look as if he couldn't afford a proper bouquet, which explains why I only felt a little pity. After all, Valentine's Day is one of three key dates in the romantic year (the other two being the spouse's birthday and the anniversary) which all men shouldn't forget. It also doesn't take too much time or money to go to a proper florist and select a proper bouquet, or have one designed -- and although I admit I am a stickler on this, it also seems a more important purchase than one of a hundred things a man might buy for himself during the year.

I was much more impressed with the man in his later twenties who was actively quizzing one of the produce workers over near the fresh vegetables. This was partially because I looked in the man's cart, and noticed that he had a variety of fresh herbs and various other gourmet food products in it. A few minutes later, I saw him place a call on his cell phone. This, therefore, suggested the man would soon be cooking dinner for his beloved, which meant he would gain bunches of style points. Furthermore, any man who would harangue produce workers about the various offerings at the grocery either A) is Chairman Kaga or B) wants to make damned sure he has done everything he can to make for a good evening on Valentine's Day. I certainly can't disapprove of the latter option.**

So I suppose I'm looking at Valentine's Day this year with a bit more ... I don't know ... tolerance? respect? cheer? Oh, my God, cheer. Well, I guess it happens to the best of us once in a while. On a serious note, I do hope all of my readers had a happy and joyful Valentine's Day of their own, or at least celebrated in a manner befitting one's own situation.

Mmmmmmm. Chicharrones.

* Padres: No pregunte a Marco lo que significa esa palabra, por favor.

** We know Choice B applies because the man did not bite into a bell pepper, despite approximately 700 close at hand.

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at 10:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 02, 2006

There's Always a Catch, Isn't There?

SO THE NEW YORK TIMES has just published a fabulous article on a wondrous city where the ratio of available women to available men is an amazing five to one. This classic case of shifts in demand and supply has created quite a stir in the local dating market, where women make a point of competing for male attention.

Wouldn't you know the city in question is Beirut?

(via Dean's World)

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at 11:44 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 14, 2006

What the World Needs Now is Love, Sweet Love

Oh No!
It’s Yet Another Installment of …

An occasional Rant feature

AH, VALENTINE’S DAY. For many, it’s a day of sweet romance; a day on which couples can express their love, devotion and fidelity, or at the very least have at it like rabbits in heat. For others, Valentine’s Day is a sad and embittered time; a day on which bad memories surface and past regrets are drowned in oceans of drink.

Then, there are the people who are simply clueless. Many of these arrive at The Rant through search engines. Their queries reflect myriad emotions: romantic haplessness, hidden fury, and desperate secrets.

Some undoubtedly had a deer-in-the-headlights look about them when they fired up Yahoo! or Google, and perhaps at this writing, they are bumbling through the flowers section at the supermarket, hoping their hastily-bought bouquets of yellow or orange roses will do the trick. Some undoubtedly had figured out their beloved had bought them a blender for their special day. Others, perhaps, were scared out of their wits, praying they wouldn’t say the wrong things over dinner.

Fortunately, though, we’re solutions providers here at The Rant, and our business is providing solutions, particularly to search-engine queries. So without further ado, here’s a special Valentine’s Day edition of “Your Search Engine Queries Answered” – for all of you who were riding high in April, but shot down in May.

QUERY: things not to say on your valentine s date...

ANSWER: Well, there are a variety of things a man ought not say on one's valentine's date. However, thanks to modern technology, computers can now figure out the things one especially ought not say on one's date. Here's a list of the worst sayings:

5. "I can't believe you ordered the salad and the lobster. Am I made of money?"
4. "I haven't seen a dress like that since Murray threw up on Kay back in '78."
3. "I like these fancy places with the napkin dispensers."
2. "Honey! Look! The bed's got Magic Fingers(TM)!"
1. "Oh, don't worry, the doctor said that cleared up."

QUERY: woman kills man

ANSWER: That's because he got her a new crock pot for Valentine's Day. How many times must it be said? DO NOT BUY APPLIANCES FOR VALENTINE'S DAY.

QUERY: woman kills man with high heel shoe

ANSWER: That's because he got her a new vacuum cleaner.

QUERY: she said shed like to score some reefer and a 40 she ll know that i m the best that she ll never have lyrics

ANSWER: I don't know about you, but it would disturb me somewhat if I was bluntly told my heart's desire wished for some reefer and a really large bottle of beer, malt liquor or other fortified beverage. Mostly because I'd prefer my significant other not drink Boone's Farm or anything that routinely has "fortified" applied as an adjective.

QUERY: narcissist boss attracted to subordinate

ANSWER: I suppose you should file a complaint with your human resources office, as that type of behavior really isn't tolerated any more. Unless, of course, you're already in the human resources department, in which case I don't know what you do. It's not like HR departments can forward their complaints to the Internal Affairs Bureau and let them deal with it.

QUERY: i hate paris hilton jessica britney americans greedy middle class sex no talent

ANSWER: BING BING BING BING BING! We've got another loyal Rant reader!

QUERY: why people wears sexual clothes

ANSWER: People wear sexually-revealing clothes because they want to go where the people dance. They want some action, and to both give action and get some too. Also, they love the nightlife, and want to boogie on the disco 'round, oh yeah.

QUERY: lumber yard nudists

ANSWER: There can't be a worse place for a nudist than a lumber yard. There just can't.

QUERY: public display of affection on a first date

ANSWER: I am not a big fan of public displays of affection, simply because I don't think they're very polite to others. Holding hands is fine; a hug or a kiss is fine, but anything more is a bit much. In private, on the other hand ...

QUERY: jesus is coming for dinner

ANSWER: Well, for Pete's sake, make sure to serve white wine with the main course. If you serve red wine, He's going to think you're serving it because He's Jesus. Also, before you start getting airs about having Christ over for supper, remember that He made a point about dining with folks who have serious frickin' issues.

QUERY: me and my neighbor s wife

ANSWER: Maybe Jesus should have dinner with *you*, because you've broken Commandments Six and Nine right from the get-go. Gad.

QUERY: valentine s day after an affair

ANSWER: Geez. I don't know how to answer that one.

QUERY: nice sweet reasonable love quotes about moving on

ANSWER: There aren't any. Besides, be honest with the poor sap and tell him why things just didn't work out. In the end, it'll be easier for all concerned.

QUERY: all fair in love and business

ANSWER: Dude, this is the United States of America, not Hong Kong. Being unfair in business will get you in serious trouble with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Being unfair in love will get you in serious trouble with 150 million American women. Either way, honesty and fair play are the best policies.

QUERY: catholicism comparison to wiccanism

ANSWER: I'd answer this but I'd get in trouble.

QUERY: i burn i pine i parish

ANSWER: I'd answer this but I'd really get in trouble.

QUERY: valentine s day investing quote

ANSWER: Money can't buy you love. It can, however, buy you a really sweet car which will upstage your neighbors and make you the envy of the block.

QUERY: decent diamond size for engagement ring

ANSWER: As I understand it, a one-carat diamond engagement ring is accepted as the industry standard. This will cost you several thousand dollars, but I have no doubt that it's very much worth it.

QUERY: valentine s day and consumerism

ANSWER: Certainly, Valentine's Day is laden with consumerist sentiment, something which may dismay some folks. However, I view it like this: there are a few days in the year in which it makes sense to spend lots of money, and Valentine's Day seems like one of them. So I don't see any problems with spending lots of cash on Valentine's Day, provided you're still being smart with your money.

QUERY: valentine card with doing sex pose.

ANSWER: Meet John Smith. A schlub, a yutz, a loser: a man who spent the night on the sofa, all thanks to a pathetic Valentine's Day card he saw in the discount bin at the novelty store. Little does John know, though, that the next morning, he'll awake in The Twilight Zone.

Well, that's it for this edition of "Your Search Engine Queries Answered!" Tune in next time when Benjamin Kepple confronts disturbing queries about tax issues, fiscal concerns and God knows what else.

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at 09:07 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

February 13, 2006

Happy Valentine's Day!

I DON'T KNOW ABOUT YOU, but I certainly wish I had some of these for Valentine's Day. Considering that they'd help me deal with the anguish of my wretched and miserable existence, and wouldn't have any unfortunate side effects.

OK, so my existence isn't wretched and miserable. I'll still take the "dejected" box, though, for what will undoubtedly be obvious reasons :-D.

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at 09:31 PM | TrackBack

February 13, 2005

In the Long Run, We're All Nauseous

Oh No!
It’s Time for Yet Another Installment of …

An occasional Rant feature – Special Valentine’s Day edition!

LOYAL RANT READERS will have undoubtedly noticed it’s been several months since we last scanned our search logs for depressing, nauseating and downright disturbing examples of idiocy and depravity. Part of this was due to time constraints, as it takes quite a while to compile all the data and pick out the really amazing stuff. But part was also due to a bit of fatigue with the entries.

We can assure readers that scanning through our search-engine logs is enough to cause us to despair. While some searchers arrive at The Rant looking for important and meaningful information related to personal finance, news from abroad and other salient matters, the vast majority of searchers continue to look for material related to celebrity weight-loss schemes, people doing objectionable things in public, theme songs played during advertisements, and other things which contribute nothing to the sum of human knowledge. Such searches are even more disturbing when one considers that we’re not exactly the No. 1 search on Google for many of those things, as it means people really went through the lists looking for this or that. Still, that said, we must say we’d think it quite cool if we ended up as the No. 1 search for Lord Keynes’ immortal quote: “In the long run, we are all dead.”

But we digress. In any event, here are the latest and greatest search-engine queries between December 2004 and February 2005, for your amusement:

QUERY: things not to say on valentine’s

ANSWER: Well, here’s a few we thought up off the top of our heads. First, there’s the old never-never: “Well, it’s cubic zirconium.” Then, there’s: “But it’ll help you with the dishes.” Other things not to say include: “Oh, I couldn’t get a reservation,” “But roses cost $75,” “What DID they do to your hair?” and lastly, “Well, I thought we could skip Valentine’s Day this year.” If our male readers do in fact say any of these things, we would encourage you to look forward to President’s Day, when all the nice sofas go on sale.

QUERY: commericalism of valentine’s

ANSWER: We personally do not approve of the commericalism surrounding Valentine’s Day. After all, the cost of spirits goes up something fierce, and that makes it more expensive for us to indulge our own Valentine’s Day traditions, which involve sad rumination and drinking alone.

QUERY: sweet love memo


My dear beloved,
I’ll say just three little words:
Endorse the pre-nup.

What? OK, OK. How’s about this?

Dearest beloved,
Valentine’s Day shouldn’t mean
loss of consortium.

Gad. OK, so that doesn’t work either. Sorry. We’re in this rut.

QUERY: cruel valentines

ANSWER: See above.

QUERY: nauseous valentine

ANSWER: That would be us.

QUERY: mile high club penalties

ANSWER: Well, first thing’s first – if you’re on the same flight we are, we’re going to be rather displeased you made the common lavatory unusuable for us and the other passengers. Second, the airline is going to be rather unhappy with you for the same reason. That should be bad enough, but we’re sure there’s some kind of federal law mandating severe penalties for such awful behavior. There’s a federal law for everything else. Lastly, you’re bound to knock yourself out if the pilot suddenly flies into a spat of turbulence.

QUERY: lewd and laviscous behavior definition

ANSWER: Well, there ya go.

QUERY: public display of affection inside the workplace

ANSWER: In a right-thinking company, you’d kiss any chance of promotion goodbye.

QUERY: why do men expect sex on the first date

ANSWER: Men generally don’t. However, many men strive for having sex on the first date because it precludes having a second and third date, and all those minor things like commitment and fidelity and what not. Also, it’s fun. Speaking personally, though, we are not the type to go all out, simply because we’re very cautious in that regard.

QUERY: how to make an excellent impression on a man

ANSWER: As Clint Eastwood said: “Try knocking on the door.” (No, really. It's that easy. If you show interest in him, he'll probably be quite pleased with that and will thus have an excellent impression).

QUERY: men who cut women down

ANSWER: Well, they aren’t worth your time nor your trouble, because they aren’t frickin’ men. We’re serious. Any man who has to cut down his wife or girlfriend to make himself feel better about his own miserable, wretched existence isn’t much of a man, and isn’t deserving of what he’s managed to acquire thus far in life.

QUERY: hacking into you ex’s e-mail account

ANSWER: Oh, get over it. Get over yourself. Jesus.

QUERY: dating a journalist

ANSWER: NO! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, DON’T! YOU – oh, just a moment, we’ve a letter from our fellow journalists. Let’s see here … um. Ooooh. Eeesh. OK, let’s try again.

Dating a journalist is a clear ticket to happiness, as your date will undoubtedly be handsome, witty, and free of any and all personal problems whatsoever. Why, dating a journalist is a sure ticket to upward social mobility!

There! That’s better!

QUERY: charter communications billing me for cable movies i did not watch

ANSWER: Yeah, right! Good luck with that, buddy! Just out of curiosity, do you have teenagers in the home? That might explain your problem right there.

QUERY: how human being have sex

ANSWER: Son, The Rant is intended for adults only. Now run along.

QUERY: corruption husband stigma

ANSWER: Yes, there’s probably rather a lot of stigma there, but don’t worry – it only attaches to your husband. The wife is generally innocent in these situations and everyone usually recognizes that. Unless you haven’t been all that nice to people. In that case, they’re not going to shed any tears for you either. But we are sure such a situation does not apply to you.

QUERY: men love curves

ANSWER: Yes, we do. Most of us. There are some men who do like very thin women. But that’s them.

QUERY: top five things men are attracted to in women

ANSWER: a compatible personality, good looks, intelligence, a matching outlook on life, and a good disposition. But let’s move on.

QUERY: dragnet far-out groovy

ANSWER: No, no. The quote is, “You’re pretty high and far out. What kind of kick are you on, son?” Heh. Boy. It makes you feel for our grandparents’ generation, it really does.

QUERY: crime happen because lack of moral

ANSWER: Well, that’s one good reason, certainly.

QUERY: petty theft can I own a gun?

ANSWER: In our mind, it’s not a question of can, it’s a question of should, and so far, we’re not very convinced. But of course the answer depends on your jurisdiction.

QUERY: now warning labels are indelibly etched into gun barrels as though men have somehow forgotten that guns are dangerous things.

ANSWER: Well, blame the guy who asked the last question, not us.

QUERY: suing stockbroker over stock market losses

ANSWER: Dude, what part of “past performance is no indication of future results” didn’t you get? Why would you even think of suing your stockbroker? Good Lord. You made the decision to buy the security, didn’t you? Yes. You did. As such, we expect you read the prospectus and did your research and did understand you could – wait for it – lose money on your investment. In any event, we don’t know whether you can or not, but we’d expect you’ll end up in arbitration, as the brokerages are wise to these things.

QUERY: investing for stupid people

ANSWER: First thing, you need an advisor to guide you, but make sure you keep control over the accounts. Second, stick to simple things like index funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Also, past performance is no indicator of future results. And read the prospectus before you invest in anything. And use a discount broker. And a fool and his money are soon parted. Finally, and most important, we’re not a licensed financial advisor or anything like that, so do not construe this as legal or financial advice, people can and do lose money, etc. etc. etc.

QUERY: effects that hyperinflation can have on the usefulness of financial statements

ANSWER: Well, for starters, it’d be useful to lop off a few of the zeros.

QUERY: percentage american millionaires

ANSWER: Last time we checked, about 2 pc (one in 50) of American households had more than $1 million. This drops off sharply though by the time one gets to $5 million – only 0.2 pc (one in 500) of American households have more than that.

QUERY: number of households in america with net worth of $50 million or more

ANSWER: We don’t know, but it ain’t many. There are only about 30,000 with more than $30 million, and that’s for all of North America, according to this year’s 2004 World Wealth Report from Merrill Lynch and Capgemini. So if you figure that Canada has 3,000 of them, that leaves 27,000 for the United States. How many of those have more than $50 million? We’ll guess and say perhaps 10,000 – at the higher levels, the herd thins out quickly. There are 111,278,000 households in the United States, according to the Census Bureau, so that means about one out of every 11,000 households is extremely wealthy. These are not, of course, evenly distributed throughout America, though – Manhattan will have far more of them than Syracuse.

QUERY: which suburb of los angeles best for children

ANSWER: That would be none of them.

QUERY: stupid customers making this up

ANSWER: Oh, let ‘em return the clothes already. Geez.

QUERY: simple ... spells employment

ANSWER: We have one, but it requires a lot of concentration. OK, ready? First – concentrate very hard, and go to your closet. In this closet, you will find a shirt and a tie and dress slacks. Put them on. Then, concentrate hard again, and will yourself to go out and get a job application. Success should follow shortly.

QUERY: i am being manipulated

ANSWER: You don’t say.

QUERY: should you have speak english if you live in new jersey?


QUERY: how many carbohydrates are in sauerkraut?

ANSWER: There are 14 grams of carbs in one pound of sauerkraut, all of which are dietary fiber.

QUERY: paris hilton is horrible

ANSWER: Questions, please. Statements of fact don’t count.

QUERY: nick coleman sucks.

ANSWER: We said questions, dammit!

QUERY: what does one for the thumb mean?

ANSWER: It means to win a fifth Super Bowl, thus providing a team with a championship ring for players to wear on the thumb.

QUERY: steelers one for the thumb in 81 shirts

ANSWER: Oh, God. Oh. We could weep. That said, where could we get one of those shirts? Having one would just rule. And speaking of the Steelers ...

QUERY: sammy davis jr song eo eleven


It’s all a state of mind
Whether or not you find
That place down there or heaven
In the meantime,

Well, there’s always next year, we suppose. And with that, we hope everyone has a very happy Valentine’s Day – or at the very least, survives it intact!

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at 11:15 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 13, 2005

Men, Explained

(We have written an UPDATE to this post, see below. -- BJK).

MAUREEN DOWD -- whom we suspect may have had a bad week -- has written an amazingly petulant column complaining about men. It seems Ms Dowd believes the coarser sex is increasingly interested in marrying women of lesser status, while accomplished women of greater status are left out in the cold. This has made Ms Dowd upset -- and she even goes so far as to wonder whether feminism was some kind of "cruel hoax."

Well, of course it was. But before we get into that aspect of things, let's look at men and why it is they're supposedly more attracted these days to women in subordinate positions. (They're not, but we'll get into that). Ms Dowd, you may take notes, if you'd like.

Now, we should first start off with saying that we are not the type of man inclined to marry his secretary, although we would never rule anything out.

We do know our own soul, and because of this, we know we not only want but need a woman who is very well-educated and very intelligent. And while secretaries by definition fall into this category (you try the job sometime) many women have decided they do not want to be secretaries, and instead have become doctors and lawyers and actuaries and economists and what not. Therefore, it stands to reason our eventual wife will likely have a professional background, and will likely be quite accomplished in her field. (She will have enough smarts, for instance, to realize that one never, ever, ever crosses a secretary, lest the wrath of Heaven fall upon one, causing one to wail and gnash one's teeth).

So we have one of our base minima established. Next, we must add in two other base minima. These deal with physical beauty and personality. The beauty aspect is something which, as a man, is hard-wired into our system and which we cannot ignore. For instance, we like women with curves, and nothing is going to change our predisposition for this. But more important than the first two criteria is a woman's personality -- we want someone who is nice and caring and kind and preferably religious and likes children and shares our interests and isn't inclined to cut our balls off at the first opportunity.

There. We got it out into the open. We do apologize for the coarseness of that last remark -- unseemly, we know -- but there is no better way to encapsulate what we mean. We men have enough trouble in this world without getting undeserved crap from our wives. (Sometimes -- many times -- we do deserve it, but that is another kettle of fish entirely).

Now, we realize many of our readers may complain that we have boiled down how men work into a simple equation: X (sub I) + X (sub B) + X (sub P) = Y; IF all X values > 80, AND X (sub P) > 100 and Y > 300, THEN call tomorrow for second date. But the thing is, this is kind of how men work. We're simple that way. Men are fundamentally different from women, whose decision-making processes remain unknown to Guy Scientists.

(However, early research indicates those processes are somewhat like incredibly-complex flow charts, except the variables keep moving around in the charts without notice, and the relative values of the variables keep changing, and variables may disappear and reappear with no forewarning whatsoever. Success on this front is expected eventually, once Guy Scientists stop blowing up bridges and begin focusing on key questions, such as the Football Season Issue).

Sorry. Couldn't resist. Anyway, back to the matter of undeserved crap from one's spouse.

One of the things for which men hunger, if they have reached that point in development where they recognize and appreciate manly virtues, is a partner in every sense of the word. We personally want someone with whom we can talk and with whom we can share new things and with whom we can present a united front to the outside world. This last item is incredibly important. In short, we want someone who is going to offer us unqualified support -- just as we would offer them unqualified support.

We do not mean that in the sense of "we'll have someone to do the dishes." We mean that we need a sounding board and a shoulder to cry on (or at least pour out our heart upon) and so on. The last thing we need is for our wife to act like Clytemnestra. Then, we'd have to deal with scorn and unpleasantness heaped upon us when we got back from a hard day's work at the office, and we'd have to watch ourselves in the bath, and it'd be a huge mess.

We should further note we do not expect women to consider "unqualified support" as the equivalent of "letting the man not hold up his end of the bargain." For there are things men must either do or be capable of doing for things to balance. He must, for instance, be willing to work to support his family. He must be willing to show the proper love and devotion to his wife and family. He must be willing to defend his family from the world, even if it means sacrificing everything in the process. In short, these are virtues which men must have for a relationship to work. This explains why, despite certain regrettable instances in our popular culture, nearly all men despise those who Dante memorably called "pimps, troublemakers and other suchlike scum."

But what we do expect in terms of that "unqualified support" is not to be cut down unnecessarily. For instance, if we were sitting on our sofa and not out looking for work, then a reminder of one's mission might be justified; but if we were looking for work but simply didn't have any luck yet, then such a remark would be unjustified. A man would not dare openly criticize his wife if he didn't like some aspect of her appearance; but women like Ms Dowd must recognize the same must hold if, for instance, her eventual husband failed to get a promotion at work.

Quite frankly, we do believe most professional women realize this; it's just that others haven't gotten the memo yet. As for Ms Dowd, we don't exactly see why she is so surprised men aren't attracted to women who upbraid and criticize them at every opportunity. Does she think the economics of competition stop during working hours? Let's take a look at one example Ms Dowd notes in her column, about these relationships she criticizes so.

Ms Dowd writes:

In James Brooks's "Spanglish," Adam Sandler, as a Los Angeles chef, falls for his hot Mexican maid. The maid, who cleans up after Mr. Sandler without being able to speak English, is presented as the ideal woman. The wife, played by Téa Leoni, is repellent: a jangly, yakking, overachieving, overexercised, unfaithful, shallow she-monster who has just lost her job with a commercial design firm. Picture Faye Dunaway in "Network" if she'd had to stay home, or Glenn Close in "Fatal Attraction" without the charm.

Ms Dowd writes later in her article:

Art is imitating life, turning women who seek equality into selfish narcissists and objects of rejection, rather than affection.

Gee, we don't know about you, but we suspect Mr Sandler's attraction to his maid in the movie is based on the fact that his movie wife is, and we quote, a "yakking ... unfaithful, shallow she-monster."

Of course he's going to want out of that marriage. Any man would want out of it. It's not a difficult thing to understand. Nor is it difficult to understand why men would be attracted to people who actually seem to love them for who they are. If Mr Sandler's movie wife was a decent human being, the attraction to the maid would not exist. God in Heaven! Only Ms Dowd could confuse personality issues with social status, and somehow think the latter is to blame for the misery which some in this life experience.

As for feminism, we had written earlier that it was indeed a cruel hoax, and we should explain why we think that way. It's simple, really.

Now, some tenets of feminism, for instance, having women in the workplace and letting them compete with men for jobs, were perfectly good things. We were smart to have introduced those things into our society.

But the Sexual Revolution, despite its initial intent, actually ended up being an incredible gift for men. It's not merely that it presented men with lots more opportunities to get action. It's that the Sexual Revolution released men from all the bonds to which they once had to submit to get action in the first place. If there's no incentive to marry, marriage will decline. If there's no disincentive to divorce, divorce will increase. The results of changing the rules aren't rocket science. And when one works out the new equations, one finds that in the end, we are all the poorer.

UPDATE, 8:17 p.m.: Based on some of the e-mails we have received, we should qualify a few things, as we would feel awful if we were being mis-understood. We have done so above in a couple of spots, but we'll do so again here. Our point is not at all to suggest that women in professional positions are undesireable -- far from it, trust us. Nor are we arguing that women in professional positions are inclined to have it in for men.

Rather, we merely wished to say that Ms Dowd is confusing personality issues with social status. So let's be perfectly clear about that. It's just that at the end of the day, men want wives, not carbon copies of their bosses. That's something which we think most women understand, and explains why so many professional women have happy and successful relationships. It's just that Ms Dowd seems to think holding a white-collar job can wash away everything else.

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at 12:11 PM | TrackBack

July 09, 2004

Love is Strange

WE WOULD DIRECT readers to a particularly fascinating discussion between some female bloggers about that maddening subject of love. At issue is what one of the writers, Anne Cunningham, has dubbed “the Marianne problem” – that is, the fact that some women pursue ill-advised relationships with men who have an amazing je ne sais quoi but not much else going for them. As such, the women often suffer amazing grief in the process. The main question at hand is whether a woman ought try to contain this impulse, the thinking being that doing so would produce a less-romantic but far more stable relationship in the end, one that would not ultimately result in pain.

Now, we fully admit we are not qualified to take part in this discussion. The first reason, of course, is that we are not a woman, and as such, we do not approach romance in the same way that a woman does. The second reason is that we are, we would submit, a man whom such women would likely term the solid boring type: we do not ride a motorcycle, we do not have much use for angst, and we would most certainly not do some damnfool thing like quit our job because we wanted to go hiking for a year. That is simply not us. However, because of these things, we are gratified to see this discussion is taking place – because we recognize this is something beyond our ken. Also, for what it’s worth, a man’s observations on this phenomenon might prove somewhat interesting.

For we can tell our female readers that we men react to the Marianne problem with myriad emotions. To explain it, it will require that we use some terms not normally used in mixed company, but unfortunately that is a necessity to fully show what we’re talking about.

Now, we can assure you that men as a class generally have three reactions when the Marianne problem affects us – that is, when a typical man is attracted to a hot lady, yet finds himself unable to go out with her because she a) is involved with someone else, or b) is not attracted to his type, or c) is not attracted to him personally, despite the fact said man considers himself a pretty good catch. These three reactions are as follows:

One: Bewilderment. This is commonly known as the what-the-hell-does-she-see-in-him reflex, which generally arises when one learns that a woman’s boyfriend is a lout, a cad or a schemer whose prospects are generally deemed dim according to prevailing societal standards. The bewilderment reflex does not, in itself, contain hostile emotion, as it generally involves a concurrent romantic writing-off of the woman.

Indeed, if the woman is married or going steady, a man – at least those with whom we hang out – would never think of intruding upon another man’s relationship. Such an act would be morally reprehensible AND it might just pose a long-term threat to a particular something of which men are very, very fond. So please, don't get us wrong. It's just that we don’t have any frickin’ clue as to why someone like her would be attracted to someone like him, as he’s not all that good looking/has no earning power/ moves his lips when he reads. And what the hell are we doing wrong anyway?

Two: Frustration. This is commonly known as the God-is-that-guy-an-asshole reflex, which generally arises when one learns that a hot girl is going out with someone who is a Factory-Approved Grade A Schmuck. The average “nice guy,” you see, cannot accept this state of affairs – and it even may strike him as immoral. Certainly he believes it irrational, foolish and decadent, as the mere existence of such a relationship is seen as an assault against every standard of truth and reason upon which he has built his world view.

We would submit the asshole reflex explains much in this world, such as why some folks in Hollywood were practically coining their own money after “Revenge of the Nerds” was released in theatres. For this movie gets it; after all, the hot chick is going out with the football captain, and the football captain is not merely an asshole, he has the reasoning power of a lemon rind. So when right triumphs over might, it represents the way things ought to be, and would be in the man’s perfect and rational and orderly universe.

Three: Resignation-plus-Acceptance. This is commonly known as the gimme-another-one reflex, which generally occurs when a man learns there’s no way in hell he’ll ever have a shot at going out with the hot girl. The man orders a double-shot of something fierce, kicks back and takes a look around, and soon finds himself content with the world. The rationality has kicked back in again. So the man reminds himself there are plenty of women out there, and football season is starting soon, and that things aren’t too bad in life.

Now, the ultimate question which has been posed is whether women inclined to pursue passionate relationships ought look for something steadier. Despite everything we wrote above, though, we must say we think the answer is a definite No.

After all, a relationship in which both parties are so different as to be incompatible shall surely fail in the long run. We truly do think it would be a recipe for disaster: perhaps not one year into it, but five or ten or twenty years into it. We would consider that an unacceptable long-term risk. Far better to try working it out with people to whom one is genuinely attracted, then try to make things work by taking the safe route. There may be more short-term risk in that approach, but the long-term reward prospects are far greater.

CLARIFICATION/CORRECTION, 9:10 p.m.: We are downright mortified to realize that we erred grievously in our reading of the linked essays, which led us to write a post which in retrospect appears quite foolish. We would direct readers to our comments section for a full explanation, as well as our own admission of guilt in this regard.

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March 05, 2004

Pop Culture Delivers Quite a Surprise

SO WE WERE ON OUR WAY to the dentist's office today, and we happened to hear the new Avril Lavigne song ("Don't Tell Me") on the radio. We had heard it a couple of times before, and we hadn't really listened to the lyrics; but when we minded them on this rainy afternoon, we were quite surprised.

It's an amazing song, really; not merely because it's good music, but rather because of the message inherent in it.

You can read the lyrics here. After you do so, you may ask the same question we did: when was the last time a song like this got airplay on the radio? We certainly couldn't remember, and we thought it was kind of nice.

As we think this song shows Miss Lavigne is a force for social stability and sound judgment among youth, we call on all Rant readers to purchase her next album. If that is not possible, then we would ask readers to at least look the other way when they discover the kids have illegally downloaded it. Let them listen for a few days, and then deliver the stern lecture about the virtues of property rights and avoiding a lawsuit from angry, large recording companies.

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at 07:05 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

March 04, 2004

Oh, Come On!

stone heart
Heart of Stone

What is Your Heart REALLY Made of?
brought to you by Quizilla

JUST BECAUSE WE ARE slightly pedantic and arrogant and aloof and cautious and depressed and moody and cynical, to say nothing of always writing in the first-person plural, does not mean we have a heart of stone. Gad.

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at 06:19 PM | TrackBack

February 11, 2004

Valentine's Day, and its Cruel Stings & Arrows

WE WERE NOT SURPRISED TO LEARN that St Valentine, whilst best known for overseeing the affairs of lovers, the affianced, and happy marriages, has taken on many additional spiritual roles necessary in our modern era. For instance, he is the patron saint of bee keepers, in addition to travelers, and also for young people as a whole.

We did, though, find it funny that some of these modern roles fit in well with St Valentine’s original oversight over love. Consider that he is the saint to invoke if one wishes to avoid fainting in front of one’s betrothed. Consider that, at least indirectly, he is the saint to invoke if one wants to find a nice Valentine’s Day card at the stores; for he is the patron saint of greeting card manufacturers. And finally, consider that Valentine of Rome is also the saint to invoke against plague.

Gad. One can only imagine the prayer for that:

St Valentine, the saint whom love hails
Last night I had much wine and ale
This rap let me beat
The clap let me cheat
It’s my ass on the line should you fail

That sound you hear? It’s St Peter writing up an order for us to spend an additional million years in Purgatory. However, before we go off to practice our agnus Deis in preparation, we would like to address certain issues surrounding Valentine’s Day and our own thoughts about the holiday itself.


NOW THERE ARE SOME FOLKS who say that the holiday was invented recently on commercialist grounds; but this, we would argue, is not true. As the Catholic Forum’s Patron Saints Index says, the holiday may actually stem from the Christian usurpation of a pagan rite focused on Februata Juno, the Roman goddess of sex and fertility. It was also formalized in a more modern way in the 15th century.

For us, these religious and historical overtones to the holiday give it more meaning; and should there be Christian readers of ours who do not care for how the holiday is presently practiced, we would submit that studying the religious aspects of Valentine’s Day could make it a more meaningful and substantive experience. Certainly no one could deny the blessings of love and passion were anything less than gifts from God. Furthermore, while we agree that a man who devotes himself to such things only on this day is a cad, we do believe that setting the day aside as special, as important, can do much to strengthen the bonds which exist between lovers.

That said, why this strengthening must happen in public is another thing entirely, and we’ve bloody well had it up to here with it! God’s truth! it’s enough to turn a perfectly well-adjusted single man such as ourself into a caustic, embittered wretch who wishes nothing but doom and gloom upon his luckier brethren. Please, people! Enjoy your bliss in private. We’re begging ya.

For we can assure you that we single folk have very long memories indeed, and shall remember your unthinking pride months or years hence, when you are crying in your beer and proclaiming – like Rutebeuf of Troyes – that God has made you a companion to Job. Don’t get us wrong, of course; we have no complaint with you being happy – we want you to be happy. We want you to enjoy your nice dinners out, and your walks afterwards, and your shared, blissful congress long into the early morning. We only ask that on this feast day of St Valentine, that you not wander into our smoke-filled drinking dens, looking all chipper. We only ask that you not make pointed references to our marital or relationship status. We only ask that you not engage in lustful passion where we can see it. For we do not mind holding hands, or walking arm-in-arm, or even long hugs and kisses. But we very much mind it when you two are going at it like dogs in heat, all social caution thrown to the wind in your animalistic frenzy. Take that inside! Have at least some common decency, if only for the rest of us! For we can assure you that we are not going to be thrilled if simple manners force us to shout warnings about the presence of children, the elderly and the prudish; if the social compact requires us to icily tell you to get a frickin’ room. You see, some of us do not overly care for Valentine’s Day.

Now, Sheila O’Malley is one such person. She informs us that, as a single person, she finds the day “supremely obnoxious;” and further says that her temperment is not attuned to such things:

“My temperment is more ironic, more cynical and does not tolerate overt forms of sentimentality. This seems to be an Irish thing, frankly (Think of the raucous partying that takes place at Irish wakes. I submit that this is a cultural mindset.) It’s not the same thing as being uncomfortable with emotion, or keeping a stiff-upper-lip, or anything like that. I just, for whatever reason, feel very ITCHY when someone is showering me with romance, romance, romance. My entire psyche screams, as some poor man is proclaiming his devotion through the flickering candlelight: MAKE A JOKE.”

Sadly, we are unsure how our own culture may impact our own romantic temperment; the Old Continent has been mostly scoured from our system. Even our present culture – which, for lack of a better word, one could say is Western Pennsylvanian – is being lost. This is not to say traces of it don’t remain in us – such as our unflagging ability to eat sauerkraut, scrapple and like foods –- Foods It’s Best Not to Think Much About. But there is little of that left.

Cultural issues aside, though, we can assure you we do not presently care for how Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the United States.

The reason why is not, as with some, that we are overtly opposed on sentimental grounds to the day. Nor are we all that upset about its commercial aspect.

For at our core, we are hopeless romantics to the point where our fellow men would turn nauseous. Indeed, it is almost effete, we have such a bad case of it. Consider: not only do we like and enjoy buying roses, we actually do our best to use the colors of the roses to convey our intention: red for love, yellow for joy, white for true-we’re-not-going-out-yet-but-I-very-very-much-like-you, and red and white roses when gasdgawrevffffff –

Sorry. Commitment reflex. Guy thing.

Anyhoo, as we said, this romantic reflex is deeply engrained in our psyche. Of course, we do know and appreciate the difference between this and wasteful extravagance; by which we mean in many ways we are downright cheap. Romantic or not, we’re still part Scots. But this frugality is largely personal; we have tasted the joys of self-deprivation and long-term thinking, and have seen that they are good. When it comes to spending our money on a lady – provided it is affordable and within our long-term financial plan – well, that’s a different story.

For us, at any rate, we could no further be prevented from doing that than the damned could escape from Dante’s Hell – indeed, like those wretches, it is a case where initial fear turns into complete desire. And besides, what better things could we spend our limited money on?

There is, of course, a catch to all this – and not merely that we do need to fund our retirement accounts. That catch, of course, is that such things come from our own heart; they are not things which can be compelled. For material goods mean nothing in and of themselves; one cannot buy love, one cannot buy affection, one cannot buy happiness or good spirits or true friends. For those things come from deep within the souls of men; to argue otherwise is to pose an unallowable contradiction.

In short, it’s the thought that counts – but it is important, we think, for a man to make clear that he has taken rather a long time to think about such matters.


SO IF IT IS NOT the sentiment and not the commercialism that causes us to dislike Valentine’s Day, what is the cause? Well, it’s simple, really.

First, we are getting tired of being left out in the cold.

We would very much like to take part in all these joyous outings and bacchanalian festivities, but Fate and our own foolishness have yet again combined to ensure that we shall not. Of course, we realize that it is patently unmanly to wail and gnash our teeth as we are doing, and we hold no one but ourselves accountable for this state of affairs. Our faults have indeed undone us. But still, this is all somewhat bothersome. For this is the one area in our life where we have – thus far – truly and utterly failed; and that failure gnaws at our soul like sulfuric acid.

Second, we are sick of being reminded of this fact for weeks upon weeks before Feb. 14.

It is the cultural equivalent of being forced to watch inappropriate public displays of affection. It is rot and ruin and decadence, all wrapped up into one miserable gauche package. We do not mind a culture that encourages consumerism around Valentine’s Day; but we do find it annoying when we are subjected to that from the day after New Year’s.

Third, we are dismayed that what should be a happy day for so many couples is turned into a day of misery and grief.

Now, we certainly do not mind advertisements that entice people to buy nice things; but we detest the fact that millions of people will try to meet some impossible standard this Feb. 14, and fail miserably at it. We detest the fact that on Valentine’s Day this year, millions upon millions of otherwise well-adjusted men and women will look at the gifts from those special to them, and sneer because on some materialist level, it does not hold up to expectations.

Now, we’ll admit that sneering – or worse – is an acceptable response if a lover buys his beloved a kitchen appliance. But barring that or some other inexcusable fault -- if these men and women do not realize how lucky they are, then God help them.

As an example of this state of affairs, we cite an instance which Ms O’Malley once saw with her own eyes, as she was riding the train with friends one Valentine’s Day. It is a particularly odd example of the above phenomenon:

“The train was filled with couples. And - it was like a zombie movie or something -everyone had the same expression: all the girls looked smug and happy, clutching their bouquets, and all the guys at their side looked like twitchy hunted animals.”

Now, if that is not exactly the type of skewed thing we’re talking about, then Bob’s your uncle. And it is very sad that our society can and does take what should be a happy day for all concerned, and ruins it.


BUT THEN AGAIN, WHO KNOWS? Perhaps we are being a bit curmudgeonly about the whole thing; perhaps we ought lighten up a bit. For we should know that when it comes to the ways of love, they are as irrational and complex and maddening and wonderful as anything in this life. Clearly this is a realm, where despite our fondest wishes, the intellect does not reign supreme and the sweet light of reason holds little sway.

For was it not Carlyle who said that love, while not altogether delirium, had many points in common with it? Was it not Hugo who said that love caused the stars themselves to pass through a man’s soul? And did not Dante, he who channeled the soul of Virgil, write amazingly of love’s irrationality?

Your science cannot take account of her
She controls, takes decisions, executes them
In her kingdom, as other gods in theirs.

Her permutations go on without trace
Necessity ensures that she is rapid
So you no sooner have a thing than you lose it

And this is she who is so crucified
Even by those who ought to praise her most
They blame her, but it is nothing but defamation:

But she is blessed and she does not hear
With the other primal creatures, she is happy
She rules her kingdom and enjoys her blessedness.

Well, no, actually, he didn’t. These words dealt with the vagarities of fortune. But we would submit that those words, which Dante has Virgil say so that God’s plan may be explained, could in many circumstances apply to love as well. For Dante knew, perhaps better than any man, of love’s cruelties. But he also intrinsically knew, deep in his heart, that earthly love is in itself a facet of that primal Love, the Love "which moves the sun and the other stars."

Happy Valentine’s Day.

(1) See Inferno VII, 85-96; also the the final line, Paradiso XXXIII, 145.

NOTICE: If you really don't like Valentine's Day, we suggest that you visit the good people at despair.com. Especially check out their "Bittersweets" collection of rueful candy hearts in six sad flavors -- they're emblazoned with sayings like "TABLE FOR 1," "I CRY ON Q," and "U C MY BLOG?"

Hey, wait a minute.

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at 09:54 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 06, 2003

Lad Mag's Beauty List Perplexing

IN A MOVE WHICH WE HOPE defies our critics' occasional crack that we are in fact more machine than man, we can assure readers that we spent some of our early morning checking out FHM's list of the 100 Sexiest Women. Sadly, though, we are a bit chagrined to admit that we have never heard of most of the women listed therein.

This may suggest that we need to really stop poring over documents dealing with taxation policy, manufacturing data, and economic history in our spare time. To that, we will readily confess. However, using the same rhetorical power which lets us hold forth on economic matters, we do believe we can respond to Ben Domenech's summary of the lad mag's list: have men gone mad?

Yes, they bloody well have.

Now, there is no denying that all the women listed upon FHM's list -- who buys these magazines, anyway? -- are foxes. We are more than glad to give them that. What we cannot understand is why so many of the ladies we particularly fancy are ranked near the end of this list.

The idea that Monica Bellucci (Te Deum laudamus!) is ranked 77th is ... it's just wrong, OK? We are sorry, but Ms Bellucci does not deserve to be in the lowest quartile of anything, much less a list like this. And while we were pleased to see that Jamie Sale (how we rejoiced when she beat out Kournikova in some ESPN poll on a similar matter) rightfully tops Courteney Cox Arquette, Ms Sale should rank higher than 92nd. And we would ask that Scott Rubush take note that Sofia Vergara is ... 95th! God's truth, now that is insanity!

As Rant readers well know, though, we do not consider beauty merely a dimension of sight. For us, it is mandatory to add in the dimension of sound, and the dimension of mind. We would put a special emphasis on that final word, just as Serling did. So we while we were pleased to see that Maria Bartiromo was listed as No. 81, we do not fully understand how Alicia (Pink) Moore ranks No. 56. Surely, the whole angry-at-everyone motif is being a bit overweighted in the final tally. And while we would not dispute Jessica Simpson's inclusion on the list, we don't see why she gets No. 40, while actress and University of Michigan graduate Lucy Liu is only ranked No. 42 and Harvard undergraduate Natalie Portman is ranked No. 59.

Adding to this sense of befuddlement on our part are those listed in the higher echelons of the list. We have no idea who Leeann Tweeden is, for instance. We further have no idea who Eliza Dushku, Kristin Kreuk, Catherine Bell, and Brooke Burke are either. We are sorry, but until folks like this start appearing on the Sunday morning talk shows, you just can't expect us to recognize them the way we'd recognize Mort Kondracke. Which reminds us -- not one FOX News presenter gets named? Come on, now. Shouldn't Heather Nauert have received at least an honorable mention or something?

Finally, we ought say that we don't see how anyone in the Top 10 of FHM's list got there this year, with three exceptions. The first two exceptions are Anna Kournikova and Britney Spears. In Ms Kournikova's case, she was married to Sergei Federov, and as a Red Wings hockey fan, that is enough for us. In Ms Spears' case ... well, she's quite a dish. That, and she's been savvy enough to keep quiet on political matters.

Indeed, we would go so far to say that we're surprised to see Ms Spears was not ranked No. 1 on the list. But there's just something about a Bond girl that propels them to stratospheric heights, wouldn't you say?

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at 10:22 AM | TrackBack

December 05, 2003

Amor vincit omnia!

WE HAVE SOME WONDERFUL NEWS to share with loyal Rant readers this evening. We have just learned that our dear friend Lee Bockhorn has proposed to his fair lady.

And She Said Yes!

So we are thrilled to offer our hearty congratulations to Lee and Giulietta on their engagement! As one might expect, we are just beside ourselves with excitement and joy for you both. What an amazing and wonderful thing love is!

If only there were words to express how incredibly happy we feel right now.

May God bless you as you embark together on this most wondrous of life's journeys; and again, congratulations!


A wedding is planned for next summer or fall.

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at 12:36 AM | TrackBack

June 23, 2003

Blogging and Dating

I realized this evening that it has been something on the order of three years since I've had an honest-to-God date. Three. Freaking. Years.

Now this lack of dating on my part isn't, I think, a sign that I am not "all that and a bag of chips" (although the girls I have dated would likely say otherwise). Really, when it comes right down to it, a key reason for my lack of dating is that I have been too busy doing other things.

In Los Angeles, I was too busy scheming to move Back East, and I was disillusioned with California girls anyway. Here in Manchester, I find that I throw myself into my work both at the office and here at home.

Of course, working too much isn't the only reason. It doesn't help that the few times I have gone out here, I've felt pretty out-of-my-skin. I detest trying to meet a woman in a bar, because both of us have probably had a bit too much; and that's about all I've found in the way of venues around here. Add to this the fact that ... well, to be perfectly honest ... I'm not all that and a bag of chips.

I'm not merely talking about the physical imperfections: I mean, I can't for the life of me seem to figure out the type of things that will make me seem "keen" and "with it." To be honest again, my pickup lines are no good, and my conversation has been pretty boring as of late. In short, I am in a slump worse than a major-leaguer who just found out he got slapped down to the minors.

But am I going to let this stop me? No! I shall valiantly press on with trying to meet a Nice Girl Who Will, After a Reasonable Period of Time, Agrees to Marry Me and Have a Family and Such. I am going to Get Back in the Game. I am going to succeed at this, come Hell or high water!

Say. Anyone else smell sulphur?

In any event, this leads me into my question of the day.

Now you should know that I was over at Sheila's fine site recently and have very much enjoyed her description of her dates with the Nice Irish Fellow Who Shall Remain Nameless. (Actually, if you haven't been reading Sheila's site, you really ought to do so).

Now, naturally, because I am human, I want to share my stories about how my eventual dates have gone. The trouble is how to broach this subject with a girl I date.

After all, I'm a writer. It's going to come out eventually that yes, I do happen to have my own Web site, and yes, it draws a semi-respectable amount of Internet traffic. If I write about our dates and I don't tell her, she will a) find out about it anyway; b) concoct some sort of mediaeval torture especially for me and my vital organs; and, worst of all, c) inform every other woman in New England that I am a cad. And as we all know, once a man gets on that list, he basically has to move to Europe.

Now, I already know that I wouldn't refer to my date by name, merely with an appellation that describes her. This appellation would basically run something like "Foxy (Personality Descriptive Word)(Career/Occupation Descriptive Word) Girl."

But I'm worried that she would completely freak out were I to bring up the matter. I mean, I can see this type of thing happening:

ME: You know, I really had a lot of fun tonight. Can I give you a call sometime?
ME: Cool. Say, do you mind if I blog this?
FG: What!
ME: You know, blog our date. On my Web site!
FG: You never told me you had a Web site!
ME: Well, I was meaning to tell you, and ...
FG: I can't believe it! How could I have been so stupid as to think you were ACTUALLY NORMAL?!
ME: No, no, I'm not going to go into particulars, I just want to ...
FG: You make me want to throw up!
ME: Now look, it's really not what you're thinking. I can close out the comments section, and ...
FG: COMMENTS SECTION? Oh, great, so now you're going to have a committee judge our date?
ME: It's not a committee!
FG: I think I'm going to faint.
ME: What! Well, here, let ...
FG: Why, you! ...


ME: OUCH! Look! I don't have to do this, I just wanted your permission first, that's all!
FG: I'll bet you've already posted about the first date we went on! I can't believe I agreed to go out on a second with ... you.
ME: Well, no one's perfect, are they? (wince)


Clearly, this is a situation I want to avoid. So what I've decided in the interim is to keep things quiet until I get to the All-Important Third Date. By this time, we will both know if I need to start saving up for an engagement ring just in case, and by then I should have enough of a handle on things to actually ask. However, if anyone out there has any advice on that or any other aspects of dating, I would appreciate it. At this point in the game, I could use it.

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at 02:02 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack