Monday, December 15, 2014

Talking to himself

Today is the Complete and Total Loser's father's third deathday which, as the Loser wrote to a friend, is like a birthday but the complete opposite. 
Tom Brokaw

An unrelated note (he thinks) is that the Loser, who talks to himself constantly as he has always lived alone and wants to hear the sound of a human voice sometimes, is talking to himself today with the voice of former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw. 
You will have more birthdays than deathdays, but as celebrating birthdays makes little sense after you're dead, your deathdays will out weigh them over time.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

More books

Paul Newman readingThe Complete and Total Loser is reading more these days. He can get good books for just dollars at the used book store in his library's basement, which he feels OK about doing because even though he likes to support writers, he has been out of work since July. Books he can't buy, he can always take out, of course.
The Loser likes his library. The building was made in the 60s and is swoopy and modern. Half a dozen years ago, they wanted to move to a space in an industrial park nearby and demolish the building, which leaks every time it rains heavily. (In fact, at the moment access to the stacks is restricted thanks to an autumn snowstorm.)
topless girls reading

The Loser's late father and others protested this plan. They were among the many retirees who go to the library often and sit and read newspapers and magazines, meet others their age to chat with, take out books now and then, and in general get out of the house. Their protest was successful and the library will stay where it is. For now.
Back to the Loser's reading. The more he reads, the easier it gets. He doesn't go for reading for entertainment. He likes good books, the kind you can quote, and books like that aren't necessarily dull. Honest. Watch, he'll open the last book he finished, The Sense of an Ending, by Julian Barnes, and find something worth sharing in no time. Ready? Here goes ... 
OK, it's been three minutes and here's what I found without looking too hard:

I remember a period in late adolescence when my mind would make itself drunk with images of adventurousness. This is how it will be when I grow up. I shall go there, do this, discover that, love her, and then her and her and her. I shall live as people in novels live and have lived. Which ones I was not sure, only that passion and danger, ecstasy and despair (but then more ecstasy) would be in attendance. However ... who said that thing about "the littleness of life that art exaggerates"? There was a moment in my late twenties when I admitted that my adventurousness had long since petered out. I would never do those things adolescence had dreamt about. Instead, I mowed my lawn, I took holidays, I had my life.
standing woman reading

The Loser wants to get good enough at reading to make it as if he's watching a good movie or TV show. Think of all the money he'd save!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Dear American blacks

I'm sorry to see so many of you angry about recent events in Missouri and New York, and you could include Cleveland in that, too. I don't like it either, and I'm a white man who never has had trouble with the police and has been robbed at gunpoint by blacks. (I hope you don't mind, by the way, that I say "black" instead of "African American." I think it's as stupid as whites calling themselves European Americans when they've never even been there, and almost no whites do.)
As bad as I find these events, you won't see me on the streets carrying signs. Part of this is just me. I plan to make it through life without ever shouting "Hey hey! Ho ho! This thing I think is bad has got to go!"
But another reason is—and this may be hard for many of you younger ones to understand me on—O.J. Simpson. 
Nichole Simpson

O.J. Simpson murdered his wife, Nichole Brown Simpson, and a man she was friends with named Ronald Lyle Goldman, on June 12, 1994. He used a knife and slit her throat. Everybody knew O.J. did it within a few days, but he got a trial and smart lawyers played the race card (I believe that trial popularized that phrase). He was acquitted October 3, 1995. On that day, blacks literally danced in the streets, jumping up and down, shouting "We won! We won!" 
That's right. A man got away with the cold-blooded murder of a woman and a young man, both unarmed, and thousands of blacks thought that was just great.
O.J. Simpson
O.J. Simpson is now in prison serving time for unrelated charges.

Because of this, don't expect every white person you meet to have much sympathy when things go bad with a twitchy police officer. You can't have it both ways, you know.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

On Craigslist Rants and Raves today

Craigslist Rants and Raves ... the anonymous forum for angry, racist, misogynistic men. It's usually a look at the dark side and is little used thanks to more effective social networking platforms. The Complete and Total Loser was surprised to find the following exchange today.

The original post:

I'm so excited (my world)
siamese fighting fish

Hi cl world
I'm a 62yr lonely old man who's retired and on a fixed income.
I'm so excited that soon I will be getting a fish. A betta also known as a Chinese fighting fish. For the last several months I been getting things together, I've gotten a nice size fish bowl for it, and different colored marbles for the bottom. I even got a fake plant and rock with a hole in it for him to swim thru.
It's taken a while to get it all together but I'm getting close and getting excited, I'm pretty sure it's going to be happy in its new home.
I only need a few more things until I actually buy the fish. There very pretty and come in many colors.
I'm thinking of naming it Bobby, because that's a unisex name and I won't know if it's a male or female.
Yep Bobby the betta, cant wait ( :
If anyone has a better name, I'd like to hear from you.
Have a wonderful day everyone and remember to be kind to your pets

The Complete and Total Loser's post about it:

siamese fighting fishI think you may be someone just joking around (they're actually Siamese fighting fish, not Chinese, so I wonder if you're really getting one), but if not, fish are a good choice for pets. They're inexpensive compared to a dog or a cat, and if you go away for a day or even a weekend, you don't need to worry about their care. If you haven't had a fish recently, be sure to read up on how to take care of the water. I see these fish in pet stores in very small containers waiting to be taken home. The store near me stocks lots of them, so I guess they're pretty popular these days.
Another good thing about fish is that ultimately, they're fish. Something people eat all the time. While it's never pleasant when any pet dies, it's easier to take when it's a fish.
It would be good to put it someplace where you look at it while sitting. That has been shown to lower blood pressure.
For a truly unisex name, how about Chris or Pat? Also, the males are more brightly colored and have longer fins than females, so they can be sexed.
May you and your fish thrive for many years. 

The original poster responds to the Loser:
Yes I am for real, I haven't rescued Bobby from one of those cruel little shot glasses they are kept in at the pet store yet . He's going to have a nice roomy bowl when he arrives, unfortunately it probably won't be for a couple of weeks yet. I have to take two busses to go get him and I want it to be a nice and warm day when he finally comes home . I haveddone my homework and decided on a little fish because I am sometimes gone for long hours, 12, 14, sometimes even 16 hours and that would be totally unfair to do that to a dog, which I also like and plan on getting one day. But not until I don't have any place to go and he can go everywhere I go. ( :
And no I will NOT being fighting Bobby. I will be posting pictures in the soon future of Bobby and his happy home for everyone to see. Thanks everyone and remember to be kind to your pets

Another response:

siamese fighting fish

Ok dude, your post has inspired me! I think I want to get a fish now too!! I used to have a beta when I was a young kid but being all irresponsible it ended up dying. I think I'm going to get one as well. Beta "fighting fish" are very beautiful and elegant, you've made a wise choice sir. Perhaps in time we can become good friends and have fish fighting championships! I'm not opposed to putting a little money on the table too! Perhaps we can find a dark alley or basement and have huge fish fights, we can invite a bunch of Asians because we know they have money and love to gamble. I'm not sure if fish fights are illegal or not but we'll build the biggest fish fighting circuit on the east coast. I'm going to start my aquarium this weekend and if I'm lucky I'll be able to score some performance enhancing drugs for my fish. I'll train that little bastard every day!!! He'll be so badass he can take down a piranha or even an Oscar. Yea man this is gonna be great, thanks for the idea!!
Nah, for real though, it's a nice idea and I think I want a nice aquarium with some fisheez swimming around. Thanks for the idea man✌️

Another response:
Aw, I am so happy that you are excited about your new fishy friend. I think that Bobby is a very cool name.
I am a huge animal lover who has had many pets through the years: Dogs, cats (a lot of cats), gerbils, a super smart parakeet that I was crazy about (and vice versa), turtles, an amazing bunny rabbit who thought she was a dog, gerbils, etc.

But one of my all time favorite pets was my goldfish, Beau, who lived to be 10. I got him and his brother, Sparky, for 10 cents each at a pet shop where they were being sold as piranha food. It's a very long, story that I could write a book about.

These two guys grew to enormous lengths; they were the best of buds; and they had personality to spare. Beau, who was absolutely beautiful, thought he was a dog. He would come to the top of the tank, stick his little head out and let people pet him. I would walk back and forth in front of his tank, and he would follow me. I would pull up a chair next to his tank and talk to him. The guy would come to the side of the tank and look up at me, and just listen. When he died, I grieved for him for months.

Anyone who says that fish are boring pets that don't have personalities doesn't know what they are talking about. They are great pets, that offer unconditional love and companionship.

So enjoy your new fishy buddy, my friend. May you have many happy years together.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

I Saved My Friend From Bill Cosby

The title of this post is the same as the title of a Daily Beast article published today and written by Lloyd Grove. It's about how Tony Hogue saved a friend from being sexually abused by Bill Cosby in 1984.
The Complete and Total Loser also saved a friend from being abused by Bill Cosby. 
Here's how he did it:
  1. Instead of pursuing work in the glamorous, high-paying world of show business after graduating from college with the lowest GPA allowed by law, the Loser got a job in a liquor factory through a temp agency in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in the early 1980s. 
  2. The Loser futzed around over the years in similar low-paying jobs until in the 90s, when he put himself through graduate school in journalism.
  3. Five years later, after making a living but going no place in that field, the Loser quit his job at a wire service where he was mocked and disliked. He got a job in retail.
  4. After a dozen years of being treated poorly by his customers and superiors, the Loser lost that job due to "restructuring." 
  5. The Loser, now well into middle age and without any marketable skills, is living on unemployment compensation. He wants to start his own business, but whether or not he has the self discipline to do so remains to be verified. So far, it doesn't look good, and the Loser may soon be operating a cash register near you.
  6. The Loser has never had attractive friends, precluding having any who would have access to Bill Cosby.
Bill Cosby
Comedian and alleged rapist, Bill Cosby.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Dead and largely forgotten

This woman's name is Fanny Brown Coleman. She was born in 1861 and died in 1935 after a long illness. She lived in Lebanon, Pennsylvania and never married. Fanny traveled frequently, usually to Europe but once as far as China. She was active in charity work. Her family was a prominent one. The first Coleman in America was Robert Coleman, who came from Ireland. He worked his way up from clerk to head of a foundry and supplied iron to Revolutionary War troops. George Washington was a personal friend of his. Coleman's foundries made him Pennsylvania's first millionaire. 
Fanny is the Complete and Total Loser's second cousin, four times removed, and he'd never heard of her until he found the photograph in a drawer, scanned it, and sent it to a cousin who is retired and does the Loser's maternal side of the family tree. She knows everything about the family's history. The Loser is grateful to her and thinks every family should have such a person in it.
Fanny Brown Coleman
Fanny Brown Coleman

Friday, November 21, 2014


The Complete and Total Loser's parents married on Halloween of 1952. They weren't trying to be cool or goth. The day was just a kid's day back then. Adults had yet to co-opt it in order to dress as sluts (women) and women (men).

Sunday, November 16, 2014

An animal answer

The Complete and Total Loser's neighborhood has changed since he grew up in it in the sixties. 
It's still made up of mostly well-to-do whites, though now they're whites who grew up in the suburbs, not ones who emigrated from the city, like the Loser's parents and neighbors. The population has burgeoned, but the proportion of whites to other races is probably about the same as it was.
The change the Loser's talking about is in animals.
When growing up, you'd hear about people seeing an opossum, raccoon, or skunk, but about the only time you'd see one yourself was when it was dead on the road, killed by a night time driver, a college kid, probably. When the Loser was sixteen, a deer vaulted across the road he and a friend were driving on. They were so excited by the rare vision they went to the area the next day to look for its tracks, as if to prove to themselves it had been real. 
It's different now. 
Since summer, the Loser has caught four raccoons (the most recent just yesterday), two skunks, an opossum and the same feral cat twice. Deer often hang out in his back yard for hours at a time. Last night, the Loser shone a flashlight out back and two pairs of deer eyes glowed back. Both had laid down, ready for a cold November night.
One word explains the change. Dogs.
When the Loser was a kid, dogs were never leashed in the suburbs. They ran free, got in fights, killed animals or, if they found an already dead animal, rolled around on its corpse. Seldom neutered, the males would disappear for days at a time, traveling for miles to mate with a bitch in heat. The Loser's dog did this into his sixteenth year, returning hungry and grinning. His DNA is in a lot of dogs by now. 
Now, of course, everyone's so timid and litigious that the idea of a child being nipped by a dog and the packs of personal injury lawyers has made that impossible. Any dog just roaming a neighborhood is assumed to be feral, maybe even rabid. 
So the animals run free, with no natural predators except maybe a fox or two and, of course, cars, their primary foe.
buck deer
If the Loser knew how to hunt and butcher deer, he'd have to buy a meat locker.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Non-stop animal invasion

The Complete and Total Loser has now trapped four raccoons since summer. To some of those living in the countryside, that's a piddling number, but the Loser lives in an East Coast suburb where there are so many cars it's amazing there are any non-flying animals left at all. 
He trapped this one overnight on a Friday, meaning he released it on a Saturday morning. That's not easy, because anyplace suitable for raccoon release and car access is also coveted by runners and walkers and their dogs. Usually, the Loser doesn't set the trap on weekends for this reason but he hadn't baited it for days and simply didn't bother. 
The release was a suspenseful one, with a 30-second window, if that.
The raccoon looks mean but was very sweet, actually. A young one, it was just mushing its face against the cage, the way a kid watching TV might against a sofa arm.
raccoon in havahart trap
The Loser's latest victim now lives miles away.

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Loser was happy

This is a picture of the Complete and Total Loser in November of 1958. He was happy then.
Here's why:
  • Everyone loved him
  • He had a job he enjoyed and was good at: being adorable
  • People encouraged him to eat as much as possible
  • If he was tired, people let him sleep
  • When he cried, people cared and did something about it
  • Everything around him was warm and soft
  • Pretty women smiled at him all the time
  • For all eternity, only good things would happen to him. He would get bigger and be able to do more and he would never grow old and die.
baby picture boy

Sunday, November 9, 2014

If spam were real

What if all the spam the Complete and Total Loser got were true?

It would mean:
  • A pedophile just moved into the Loser's neighborhood
  • The Loser's credit report has just been accessed
  • Eight horny girls want to have sex with the Loser
  • A Canadian pharmacy will charge the Loser $2 per pill for Viagra
  • Fourteen women in a community of swingers desire the Loser join them
  • A government check is waiting for the Loser
  • The Loser can learn to F*CK LIKE A PORN STAR!!
  • The Loser's arrest record has just been accessed
  • A horny housewife who lives one mile away is eager to have sex with the Loser
    man woman money
  • A barrister from Damascus, Syria, wishes to give the Loser several million dollars because the Loser shares the same surname as the barrister's client, who has died
  • There are a number of credit cards with very low interest rates and $2,500 worth of credit on them waiting for the Loser to activate
  • For $15 a month, the Loser can get $250,000 worth of life insurance
  • If the Loser responds in time, he can get a free bottle of a safe, natural substance that will enable him to shed pounds without ever dieting again
  • For a low price, the Loser can attain an advanced degree by studying online at his own pace
  • A woman named Natalie has eight new pictures to share with the Loser
  • The Loser can grow his hair back and thereby look and feel younger
  • The Loser can peruse a popular dating site for a weekend at no cost 
  • huge breasts beach

Friday, November 7, 2014

Gone, all of it

From December of 1997 to April of 2001, the Complete and Total Loser made his living by writing. Yes, it was low-level journalism for a weekly suburban newspaper, and when he tried to go beyond that he failed miserably. Still, how many can say their sole source of income came from writing about things they'd witnessed? The number gets smaller every year.
The building the Loser worked in was built in the 1930s and, when the Loser first started working there, still had printing presses on the premises, rumbling machines that could kill you, giant spools of paper delivered by truck, barrels of ink. Publishing something on the Web is fine, but when you see thousands of copies of things you wrote bundled into stacks and taken away to stores, honor boxes and driveways where they could be stared at, clipped, hung on refrigerators and put in scrapbooks, it's different. Hard copy.
The building was torn down Monday. It held memories the Loser could sense despite the ugly late-70s decor. Reporters in the 30s writing about divorces and other society scandals. The war years and hometown heroes. The 50s and 60 thick with coverage the paper in the city didn't have the personnel to cover. For years, the Loser heard, there was a payphone on the sidewalk just off the premises from which a city reporter would call his editor and relay whatever story the paper might have had worth covering. 
The Loser was there for the photographer's last year at the paper, where he'd worked for 50 years. He still spent much of his time in the darkroom, even though they'd been scanning in color negatives for years. He'd tell the Loser of the days of old, hustling to get the occasional hard news story you'd get in the suburbs, shooting high school sports, fires, the first local baby of the year. 
The paper still exist. It shares offices with what was once its fierce rival, a new paper with modern graphics. Of the two, the one the Loser worked for skews old. Any day now, he expects to see the two to stop publishing independently and for them to merge. His paper's name will be below the new paper's, smaller and preceded by "and." After a few years, they'll drop even that, and no one will remember.
demolition site

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Another opportunity, gone

For years now—a decade, at least—the Complete and Total Loser has kept a spare twenty-dollar bill in a little container attached to his key chain, and he's taped a piece of paper with his phone numbers on the outside. The idea of this is that if he loses his keys, whoever finds them will call the number. They can keep the $20 as a reward. 
key chain money storage
He has yet to lose his keys, but there have been a few times when he's gone to a store and realized he's forgotten his wallet yet he's managed to buy enough of what he needs with the $20, make the trip less than a total loss.
The Loser shows this to friends and they say, "Huh. Good idea." None of them, as far as he knows, has ever done it themselves. 
Now, the idea has been marketed as part of other things to attach to a key chain, and you can buy it at Staples for over twice the Loser paid for his at a camping supply store. 
It's a pity you can't copyright an idea.
cash stash true utility

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Today, the Complete and Total Loser went bird watching on a guided tour in a national park he lives near. He is not a birdwatcher, but he has two friends who like it and, having been fired in July, the Loser certainly has his days free. 
Good people, bird watchers. If they're nerds, the only thing they're nerds about is birds. They appreciate the mannerisms of the birds and know their habits and calls. They see small things the Loser, whose binoculars were as good as theirs, don't, like rings around the eyes. Bird watching has little practical use, but doing it sharpens the senses and is a good reason to get outdoors, especially on a perfect autumn day like this one.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Big Mouse

The Complete and Total Loser's summer and early autumn tally for trapping: Three raccoons, two skunks, one opossum, and one feral cat (twice). 
Now it's getting cold and the Loser has mice in the house. He uses a no-kill trap for them, too. He trapped his first last night and let it go a few miles away while he biked for exercise. 
Victor no-kill mousetrap
A Victor no-kill mousetrap.
He used the same trap when he lived in the city. Mice are so light that it's usually hard to tell whether you've caught one or not. When the door closes there's no way to see inside and they frequently trigger the trap without entering it. The Loser found that if he picks the trap up and shakes it side to side, he can feel the small, furry body hitting the sides. This morning when he picked the trap up there was no need to do that. It was noticeably heavy. 
The Loser, being a loser, feared the worst: What if he'd trapped a pregnant female and she gave birth to her pups while in the trap? She'd be in there now, probably eating them alive! Too macabre an image to think about.
When he opened the door and tilted it, what plopped out was, fortunately, just one large, healthy and astonished mouse. It looked up at the Loser from the ground for a moment, then turned and scurried into the wild.
As big a mouse as it was, it seemed small compared to the Loser's previous catches.