Friday, July 31, 2015

The big city

girl in city fountain
A girl cools off in a city fountain.

Today, the Complete and Total Loser went into the city by train. It was a nice day; hot but the humidity was low. He met up with a friend and they ate gyros together. Then they had coffee. After that, they met up with other friends the Loser hadn't seen for awhile. They walked around some more. Then the Loser said goodbye to his friend and took a train home. 
The Loser had a nice day. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Seven [great] reasons to love Trump

Donald Trump
Donald Trump

  1. The press hates him so the pictures they'll publish will be ones in which he looks funny
  2. He'll fund his campaign himself, which will show everyone what someone like him would really do if elected
  3. Once he's sure of something, like birtherism, he just won't let it go
  4. His extreme views could energize a new era of activism
  5. Melania Knauss, his current wife, will provide both men and women with a useful distraction during boring events and speeches
  6. He wants Sarah Palin in his cabinet and will probably make many other entertaining decisions
  7. All those movies about a future in which an evil, dictatorial president gets elected will have more credibility

Melania Knauss Trump
Melania Knauss Trump

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Look at him go!

Today, the Complete and Total Loser's blog, this thing you are looking at now, hit 21,000 views. Yes, that's impressive. Or it would be if the Loser's blog hasn't been active for six years, six months and seven days, including today. That means that during the 2,379 days the Loser has been keeping this up, he's had an average of 8.82723834 hits per day and that on average each post has been viewed by 35.9589041 people!
number of page views graphic Complete and Total Loser blog

Thursday, July 23, 2015

My Netflix girl

Netflix's log-in page has been using the image here for an unusually long time. The Complete and Total Loser thinks the girl in it looks a little like Heather Graham, the actress, but Heather Graham if she had teeth like real people. The Loser likes Heather Graham so it doesn't bother him. 
Heather Graham
Heather Graham

What does bother him a little is a closer look at this photo. The girl is sitting on a nice couch in a nice room. The houseplants are healthy, there's a wholesome beverage and snacks on the table. The walls are made of wood, not wood paneling. She's wearing comfortable clothes that suggest an environment with a moderate temperature. She is possibly barefoot. 
She is, however, alone, watching a movie on a tiny screen. True, she might be watching a half-hour television show. That would make more sense. But still, does anyone really watch such things at home on a screen they're holding in their hands? If you're on a train or in a waiting room of some kind, yes. But in your house or apartment? 
Are we to learn from this that Netflix can assuage the agony of being alone, left on the shelf because although you look a little like Heather Graham you're not quite her and have been rejected because of it?
netflix log-in page woman on couch
A female Netflix subscriber watches a show or movie on a handheld device while sitting on a couch.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Stop smoking!

Why, oh why, would anyone smoke these days? The Complete and Total Loser can understand it if you're over 40, but surely anyone younger than that grew up in an age when smoking was so restricted and expensive that they didn't get thoroughly hooked on it.  
Or not. The Loser has a friend who is 36 and smokes heavily, even now, just under a year after his mother died of lung cancer at the age of 58. 
seated woman traveler smoking
A woman smokes a cigarette outside Philadelphia's 30th Street Train Station.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Choose one!

The Complete and Total Loser likes looking at the magazines in his library. He also likes the messages you can get sometimes thanks to the simple, alphabetical arrangement of them on the racks. 
Look how different these three women are. The one on the left never even had her pallet spread, consistent with her natural-way-of-life adulthood. The woman on the right is lean and super fit, maybe too fit for some, though the Loser likes that look.
And then there's Kim Kardashian. Repulsive, but she does catch your eye. Talk about your magazine racks!
Covers of Organic Life, Rolling Stone and Runner's World magazines
Covers of recent issues of Organic Life, Rolling Stone and Runner's World magazines.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Swimming pool

Today, the Complete and Total Loser went to the swimming pool where he spent many happy childhood summer days with friends and family. The pool, he sees now, is tiny. It can't be more than fifteen yards long. But it was on a nice college campus and there was a large pond nearby with a small waterfall, geese, ducks, turtles and fish. The Loser and one of his two older brothers would put towels around their necks and pretend they were superheros wearing capes.
A memory the Loser has is of seeing a girl, older, with short hair, walking toward the Loser to talk to his oldest brother, who was 14. The girl is singing the song Reach Out of the Darkness, by Friend & Lover. "I think it's so groovy now, that people are trying to get together, think it's wonderful to know that people are finally getting together." The song was current then, meaning that the year was 1968. The Loser never spoke to the girl and he misheard the song and for decades would think it's, "It's the one who buys the house, where people are finally getting together," which of course makes no sense. 
small outdoor swimming pool on Eastern University campus
The small, outdoor swimming pool on Eastern University's campus.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Pluto! Pluto! Pluto!

Disney character Pluto
The Disney character Pluto was named after the planet.
This picture is used with permission of the Walt Disney Company.
Yeah.I called Bob Iger the CEO on the phone personally and told him I
Had a blog that gets about seven accidental hits a day and
asked him if I could use it and he said, "Sure, Loser, go right
Today, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft made a close (considering) pass at Pluto, a planet not even known of when the Complete and Total Loser's father was born, in 1920.
The Loser loves science and even though he's not smart enough to be a scientist he does look at things with a fairly scientific approach.
Close up of Pluto
Close up of Pluto reveals roads, buildings, and residential housing.

New Horizons photo of Pluto
New Horizons photo of Pluto, received on July 14, 2015.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Free food

Japanese beetle scent trap
A Japanese beetle scent trap.
The Complete and Total Loser has been trapping Japanese beetles with a scent trap, putting the bag they fall into in the freezer, and then feeding them to the three koi in the tiny, man-made pond in his back yard. 

The Loser feels a little evil putting the bag full of living organisms in the freezer. Think about that. There are red-blooded furry mammals that cry when distressed, show affection, play, suckle their young, have complex social orders, and live for decades that the Loser eats as a snack, yet gently killing these invasive insects that lack a discernible brain for a useful purpose, gives him pause.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Not busy

Zosia Mamet
Zosia Mamet, an actor.
The Complete and Total Loser hasn't been up to much lately. In fact, he would almost describe himself as retired, even though he's not. But at 57 and with no skills, what can he do besides spend his inheritance until Social Security kicks in? Everyone says not to take it at 62, but that applies to people who work, not the Loser, who doesn't plan to live very long anyway.

On Sundays, the Loser has dinner in a diner with a friend who's in similar circumstances but is working part time. They like the waitress they usually have, who reminds the Loser of Zosia Mamet. Here, she is showing off her four-month-old nephew in this picture. Four months old. Imagine being born in 2015! The things that boy will see!
waitress and baby nephew
A waitress in a diner shows off her infant nephew.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Long days and ants

There is a five-hour, forty-one minute difference in the longest and shortest days of the year where the Complete and Total Loser lives. It seems like these summer days will never end. The Loser likes dark nights. They signal that it's time for him to stop trying to accomplish anything, which means they tell him that he can stop losing. 
Meanwhile, ants are in the Loser's upstairs bathroom. They're small and everywhere. He has poison out for them. They drink it and take it to their queen, the Loser hopes, and she'll drink it and die. The entire process takes several days.
ants drinking Terro ant poison
Ants drinking Terro ant poison, which should destroy their civilization soon.

Friday, June 19, 2015

"Where are we going?" "Swimming!"

The first lap went well and the Complete and Total Loser felt like he could swim a mile nonstop, like he had when he last swam regularly.
That was twenty-five years ago, however, and after four laps in the twenty-five yard pool the Loser had to stop and spend several minutes catching his breath. After that, he had to stop after every two laps and recover. He is that old and out of shape.
The Loser has always loved to swim. The feel of water giving support. The forced rhythm of breathing once underway. He got serious about it when he spent a few months living in Western Australia in 1989. He lived near an Olympic-size pool where for a dollar he could swim all day. It was an outdoor pool, which suited the climate around Perth. He went every day.
men's locker room
The men's locker room the Loser uses at the pool.

There’s a cliché about learning that says you can’t learn how to swim by reading a book. That’s only partially true. A book about swimming the Loser found at a library in Perth taught him that his freestyle stroke was all wrong. He modified it and began to swim faster and for longer.
His favorite form of exercise—bicycling—is out now because of the painful knee of his crippled leg. The Loser has wanted to swim for ages but, poor and unemployed, he didn’t think he’d be able to find a place to swim that he could afford. He was wrong. A local college offers lap swimming year round in the mornings for just $30 a month. It’s closed on weekends, but that’s not a problem for the Loser in his current unemployed situation.
chrissie watkins death jaws 1975
If it's been awhile, those first laps can be tiring.

The other swimmers are middle-aged, like the Loser. There are only five lanes, but so far he hasn’t had to wait for one. (He gets there by 6:30, which helps.) Swimming seems easy and it is in terms of impact and force, but after doing it the Loser realized that swimming is like lifting a light weight hundreds of times and he felt a pronounced but pleasant ache from it the next day. He still does. Today, his third, he swam six laps nonstop several times. He’ll never be the swimmer he was twenty-five years ago, but he hopes to get in some kind of shape again soon.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Loser's latest obsession

The Complete and Total Loser has watched this clip more times than he wants to admit.
Bobby Banas Judy Garland Show Nitty Gritty

There's a longer version of it showing what happened before, which is that Martha Raye, Peter Lawford and Judy Garland are making fun of the then current teen culture of 1964. This comes at the end of it. The male dancer who will catch and keep your eye is Bobby Banas, who everyone's seen before in numerous movies, like West Side Story. He choreographed this to the Shirley Ellis song, The Nitty Gritty, but one of the male dancers didn't show up so
Bobby Banas Judy Garland Show Nitty Gritty
Banas had to dance it too. As you can see, he goes all out. The other dancers are fine, especially his female partner, who is great, but Banas steals it all nonetheless. 
You could write a thesis about this clip—an essay, anyway. A mild technical foul up after the intro, when the podium moves faster than anticipated makes Garland and the others stumble a little when getting off camera.
Martha Raye, Peter Lawford, Judy Garland
Martha Raye, Peter Lawford, Judy Garland get swept aside.
It's like you're watching the older generation literally get swept aside in favor of the new.

Bobby Banas Judy Garland Show Nitty Gritty

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The weaker sex

The Complete and Total Loser likes it when magazines on display have an element of social commentary like this one at his local library does at the moment. In the magazine on the right, the man, Chris Pratt, displays attributes of masculinity, while on the left is Zooey Deschanel, busty, delicate, unmuscled.
three magazines on library rack
The three magazines in the top rack have differing views.
The magazine in the middle, The Economist, is, of course, not referring to physical strength, but it's a nice juxtaposition nonetheless.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Never bored

Kids now. Never bored, always with something to do or someone to talk to. Sure, when the Complete and Total Loser was that age he might have had a comic book with him (but that's might, and no one did in a grocery store; not cool), but even with those you look up once in awhile and see what's going on around you. This boy didn't budge until it was time to leave.
boy in grocery store with smartphone
A boy plays a game on his smart phone while at a grocery store.