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SurfGuitar101 Forums » Best-Of SG101 »

Permalink "The Shallow End" by Rip Thrillby

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Most of you know, The Penetrators like to take their sweet time on projects worthy of mass distribution and this is a prime example.
But, after two years of research, we finally found most of Rip Thrillby's posts regarding "The Shallow End". As a build up to May 11th (5 years since his "reassignment"), I'll be posting 2 episode's a day.
As Sheriff Bart says,"I like to keep my audience riveted."

So, go ahead and hit the latrine, we don't want anyone soiling themselves due to excessive laughter, grab your libation of choice and sit back and enjoy the sapience of Rip Thrillby.

Respectively submitted,
Trace Luger 017

"The Shallow End" #1
by Rip Thrillby

Well, you asked for it. "The Shallow End" was a weekly column I
wrote for a while when I was working at Cox Interactive Media, an
existence I hated. I think it was a coping mechanism writing them -- misery can inspire creativity, and I wrote them in character as my band alter-ego, Rip Thrillby.

It's odd; since being self-employed and enjoying most days, my
work and the freedom that comes with the freelance life, the
commentary doesn't flow from the noodle like it did when I was in
Oh well. Some of the stuff is a little off-color(I've worked on
cleaning up my language and some of my thoughts since then);
hope you're not offended too badly, and that you'll still talk to me
after reading them! I read them now, and some of them seem a little
too critical, but as I said, I was not enjoying my daily routine too
much then. Other stuff in them I'm still pleased with. As a teacher, I
hope you enjoy the one "written by" a seven-year old boy. It
amazed me how many people really believed it was actually a kid writing

It started with this, written in the winter of 1999:

The Cowabunga listserv has been pretty boring lately. I've been
pretty bored this afternoon. Here are the fruits of my boredom.
Apologies in advance to the offended. Feel free to respond.

I can't remember who said it, but "You can tell how boring someone
is by how far back in their lives they have to reach for glory" is as
true as truth gets.

I wish more people would actually learn to play their instruments
before starting a band. And how to tune their guitars.

I want to find a chick who's as obsessive about dressing like a
gogo spy babe -- boots, form-fitting bodysuit, false eyelashes, flip
hairdo (see Honor Blackman)-- as all these rockabilly chicks are
as obssesive about looking like Betty Page. I really don't think this
is too much to ask.

If I hear of another band with "Daddy" or "Daddies" in their name,
I'm going to puke.

Why are true straight-leg slacks so hard to find?

You may not be able to judge a book by its cover, but I've found
you can tell a lot about whether a band is going to suck by looking at
its equipment setup. Any of the following are warning signs:
- Les Pauls
- Any guitar which is supposed to look like a Strat but says
anything other than "Fender" on the headstock
- Fretless or five-string basses
- Double kick drums
- Amplifiers by Mesa Boogie, Crate, Peavey or any other number
of also-rans

On the other hand, good signs are:
- The band's logo on the bass drum
- Fender blackface amps -- or hell, these days, just about any
Fender amp.
- Ampeg amps.
- Backdrops
- Tiki torches or skulls mounted on posts
- The band's name as "Thee" somethings (plural is always
- Chicks

Ideal sleep schedule: hit the sack at 4 am, get up at noon.

Things that are described as "classy" never are.

If a genie popped out of a lamp and gave me one wish for one
skill, I would choose to hit two under par on every hole I golfed, no
matter what. I'd then have guaranteed income as a golf pro or hustler for
the rest of my life, as golf pros have the greatest longevity of any
sportsmen, and be able to hang around tropical resorts with hot
rich babes wearing very little clothing every day. Not too shabby.

I can think of a lot of people for whom a really good playground-
style wedgie would do some good.

Spectraflex cords last the longest, and provide the highest output
in my experience -- never had one short out.

Bypass the tone pots on your Stratocaster. No one ever uses
them anyway, and all they do is add resistance to your signal. You'll
get a significant increase in volume by doing it.

I'm glad males don't have a "monthly visitor." I'd sure hate for it
to appear early and have to improvise with a tube sock and
masking tape (or worse).

The 1966 Pontiac GTO has the coolest-looking grill of any car
Detroit has ever produced. There are several close contenders,

Just what DID happen to style? Yesterday I was looking at a
restored 1960 T-Bird, and compared the difference in its dashboard to
that of some Chevy Lumina or something parked next to it. Designers
used to understand that form and function are supposed to be balanced
-- now they've forgotten all about form, which is why modern cars are so
dang boring.

Once I can play the song "Voodoo Juice" by The Ghouls perfectly,
I will be satisfied with my guitar playing.

Humbuckers suck.

Adam Sandler, Hootie & the Blowfish, the show "Friends," the
Taco Bell chihuahua, Details magazine and Jerry Springer are all
extremely successful in the United States, and are considered "hip" by a
great many people. Now, turn on the news and try to tell me this
country doesn't have the government it deserves.

I have a pretty high threshold for amazement, but Fox
programming amazes even me. Next week they're having "World's Most
Hilarious Deformities" or something like that, with a guy with two faces and
people with goiters the size of bowling bowls, among other
Of course, I didn't miss the Robbie Knievel Building-To-Building
Death Jump last week, though. I also enjoy "When Stunts Go
Bad" -- I just sit there chuckling and thinking, "Man, you brought
that one on yourself, fella."

Most useful chord: A minor.

Some people find terms like "whisker bisquit," "poon tang,"
and "quid pro quo" offensive, but I have to laugh like a hyena every time I
hear them.

I've never shot anyone's dog or fed one a steak laced with
but I've sure thought about it.

I think having your Cheerios pissed in would make just about
anyone frown.

Link Wray has the coolest name in rock & roll history.

Back to your regularly scheduled programming...


Tune in tomorrow...;-)

Fender Bass, Small Firearms

Last edited: May 13, 2008 00:11:51

Subject: The Shallow End
Date: Fri, 19 Feb 1999 16:13:30 -0500
From: Rip <thrillby>
Reply-To: thrillby@p...
To: Shallow End list

Wow. Last week's lark of an email detailing my
boredom-developed thoughts elicited such positive response (except from one Cowabunga subscriber
who emailed me to tell me I was "trying too hard to appear hip" -- it was worth writing it just to get his email) I've
decided what the hell, why not do it on a weekly basis. Apologies
to the inconvenienced. Everyone else, hope it gives fodder for
conversations over the weekend if you don't have anything else
to talk about. Forward it to anyone you want, or tell me if you want
off the list.

But anyway, welcome to The Shallow End -- dive on in.

There is one group of people that it's still perfectly okay to
discriminate against: stupid people. Stupid people are denied
employment and opportunities of all sorts every day, just for
being stupid. It begs the question: when will stupid people organize
and protest? Imagine thousands of self-proclaimed, out-of-the-closet
morons marching on the Capitol, brandishing misspelled signs
and screaming slogans full of faulty logic, demanding their rights
as memburs of sesyiety.

One of the hallmarks which separates great work from the
mediocre is Attention To Detail. Take, for instance, The Road Runner &
Coyote cartoons. In your mind's eye (you've seen this happen at LEAST
a hundred times before), watch the way Wile E. Coyote falls off the
cliff -- face down, limbs spread, growing smaller and smaller,
drifting a little to the left, then a little to the right as the
whistling sound-effect diminishes. Then, he disappears for a full
second, with no sound. Then, a distant sound effect that sounds
like a cross between a SLAP! and a POOF! as we see a puff of dust
rise when he hits the desert floor. THAT is attention to detail. The
cartoon still would have been funny without that three or four
seconds, but that just takes it over the top. How about another
desert-themed work -- the scenes in "Raising Arizona" when the
Snopes brothers ask Ed about breast feeding as they eat cereal,
or when H.I. says Ed's insides were "a rocky place" where his
"seed could find no purchase," as the camera shows him spraying a
garden hose over the dirt? Attention to detail.

I've noticed when I get nostalgic about different periods from my
past, I only remember the good stuff. And I'm not talking about
major events -- just everyday stuff. It gives me pause to consider
what aspects of my life right now I'll be nostalgic about years
down the road, and to try to appreciate them more in the present. You
should, too.

Chuck Yeager is a badass.

The right to bear arms, despite what the anti-gun lobby will tell
you, isn't based upon an outmoded model of society in which
everyone hunted for their food. It was put in the Constitution because the
framers knew that a government which knew the citizenry was
armed to the teeth would think twice about what it did with its power,
power which is granted to them as a necessary evil by those same
well-armed citizens. And how is government different than any other
social institution? Well, it can take things from you -- possessions,
freedom and your very life -- by FORCE if it wants. No other
institution can do that, and the framers understood this very well.

Why I don't have cable TV: every minute you spend in front of the
TV is a minute lost forever in which you could have done something
productive. That's not a particularly stunning insight, but it's a
good one to remind yourself of now and again.

Thanks to Spanky, I'm now hooked on Big Ed's Super Saucer
chocolate-chip cookie ice cream sandwiches, which I really don't need.
I've seen Spanky eat a whole bag of nacho-flavored Doritos while
dipping them in a jar of peanut butter -- no danger of me picking up that
habit, I'm glad to say.

I do enjoy looking at naked women, but strip joints have to be
one of the most depressing places on earth when you notice all the
lonely but prosperous-looking middle-aged fat guys who look
like the boss on "News Radio," many wearing wedding bands, leering
and lusting at women they could never get without money. Neither
casinos nor strip joints bring out the best in the human spirit.

Speaking of "News Radio"... man, is Phil Hartman severely
His death is yet another reason to watch less TV.

I'm not an actor, but I'm convinced what acting really is is just
deciding which words in a sentence get the emphasis. Take, for
instance, this conversation-opener which you might find useful in
restaurants. Say this line out loud:

How can you eat that shit?

Okay, now say each of the following variations out loud, and
behold the subtle nuances created by emphasizing one particular word
or another:

How can you EAT that shit?

How can you eat that SHIT?

How CAN you eat that shit?

How can you eat THAT shit?

And for you aspiring DeNiros:

HOW can you EAT that shit?

How... can you... eat... that SHIT?

How can YOU... eat THAT... shit?

See? It's all in the emphasis. Remember to thank me in your
Oscar acceptance speech.

I think one reason The Andy Griffith Show seems so natural is
because of the way they filmed the scenes in Andy's office. In any
scene, you'll see the office from every side of the desk and every
angle, so that it doesn't seem like a set, or that there could be a
camera crew there. This was quite innovative for its time. Still is,

Speaking of 60s television, while talking with a buddy last
he pointed out that Robby Douglas' band on "My Three Sons"
was named The Griefs. We both agreed that's a damn cool name.

When I see hipsters wearing nose rings, the first image that
always comes to my mind is one of livestock -- pigs and cows, both
literally and metaphorically -- then I wonder if they pick their
noses with the rings in, or do they wait until night and pick a
day's worth of boogers at once? Or do they take booger breaks
throughout the day? I doubt this is the imagery nose
ring-wearers intend to project.

Am I really expected to believe that Michael Jordan would wait
until Sundays to take advantage of MCI's 5¢ a minute rate to keep up
with his "Space Jam buddies"? And no, the fact that he would
call cartoon characters is not the part that stretches my credulity.


The Shallow End
©1999 Southern Surf Syndicate Productions
--- End forwarded message ---

Fender Bass, Small Firearms

looking forward to reading more of his stuff......

Thanks Trace, these are wicked funny

Danny Snyder

aka El Gringo Viejo of Combo Tezeta
aka Mycroft Eloi of The TomorrowMen
aka Shecky Shekels of Meshugga Beach Party

It was the best of times, it was the blurst of times

Had the chance to read these many years ago when Rip shared them with me. After reading them again, it just amazes me how insightful he was.. and to be so young. He was certainly blessed with a ton of talent and not all of it was musical. I sure do miss him.

Ron (ToneBoy)
The Mariners (1964 to Present)
Lonzo & Oscar (1999 to Present)
Billy Henson & Summerstorm (2001 to Present)

Wow ... too much hilarity. Thanks for posting these!


That was excessively violent and completely unnecessary. I loved it.

trace Worship !!!!!!!!!!!!

I think Ive read three or four 'shallow ends' that were at one point reposted on one of the yahoo groups few years back (not long after Rip died) and I went off my chair laughing. so good these are available again. they WILL get printed and kept!

thanks man, again.

Rules to live by #314:
"When in Italy, if the menu says something's grilled, don't assume it is."

Thanks for posting.
I hope there is more. I have admired Rip's playing for years. I had no idea he was such a brilliant (and funny) philosopher.

Now I understand why The Shallow End is dedicated to him.
To Rip Cheers

The next episodes will be posted as new topics.

Fender Bass, Small Firearms

Last edited: May 09, 2008 07:18:39

Welcome to The Shallow End #3: commentary of absolutely no
importance whatsoever
by Rip Thrillby!

This week's look at Attention to Detail comes from my favorite
movie, "Dr. Strangelove, Or How I learned to Stop Worrying and
Love the Bomb." In a movie, attention to detail is what it makes the
events seem like they're happening in their own consistent
reality, however outrageous or bizarre it may be.

At the beginning of the movie, we see the bikini-clad
mistress/secretary of George C. Scott as Gen. Buck Turgidson
answer the phone in a hotel room while Buck is off-camera having
quality time on the can. Look at her carefully -- she's the only female role
in the movie, but she has already appeared once in the movie,
when we saw the crew of the B-52 bomber piloted by Major T.J. Kong
(Slim Pickens). While the plane flies on autopilot, Kong looks at a
Playboy magazine whose centerfold model is the same woman, with a
copy of Foreign Affairs strategically (pardon pun) covering her buttocks.

Dr. Strangelove is chock full of this kind of easy-to-miss
minutiae, such as in the War Room, where Turgidson has a stack of
books in front of him labeled "World Targets in Megadeaths." Yes,
attention to detail. I won't ruin the rest of them for you, but I will point
out that President Merkin Muffly has to be one of the all-time
funniest names for a movie character, especially if you know
what a merkin is.

Time really is relative, and there ain't as much of it as it
sometimes seems -- and there never has been. A trait I know I
share with many others is the tendency to view eras before before my
time as their own self-contained spheres, particularly those with
easily identifiable styles of fashion, music, cars, etc., such as the
1950s and early 60s. That's not the way it really works, though. Things
changed so quickly through the middle part of the century, at
least on surface levels, that it really seems like it should be a
longer period of time.

Now, I can remember 1989 like it was yesterday, and it doesn't
seem that remarkably different to me than 1999. Fashion and
entertainment aren't as monolithic as they were 30 and 40 years
ago, and this has a lot to do with this perception. Ten years was the
same space of time between the end of WWII and Elvis' first
recordings, and between Buddy Holly dying and The Beatles
calling it quits, events which seem worlds apart, for more than just the
profound difference in hairstyles.

The ad slogan for the 1973 movie "American Graffiti" was,
"Where were you in '62?" The movie came out eleven years later, and its
world seems as different as night and day from 1973. Would a
movie about 1988 seem as quaint and nostalgic today? I seriously
doubt it, and yes, I'm quite aware of the recent spat of movies taking
place in the early 80s.

Taking it further, it puts in perspective just how young this
experiment called the United States is when you look at it in
terms of a series of overlapping human life-spans. There are a handful
of people within 100 miles of 99% of the people reading this,
wherever you are, who are over 100 years old. There were people around
that they themselves considered old as dirt when they were kids 10
decades ago. Some of the oldsters at the end of the last century
were at least teenagers or in their twenties by the time Thomas
Jefferson kicked the bucket, and well into their thirties by the
time James Madison, father of the Constitution died in 1836. So,
basically, today you could go to a nursing home and meet folks
who in their youth shared the planet with and probably knew at least a
handful of people who were born while George Washington was
alive (he died in 1799). It really wasn't that long ago.

I pointed out to my mother on her 50th birthday that she had
already lived through nearly a fourth of this country's history. She didn't
like that very much.

Speaking of Madison and the gang, have you ever looked at the
back of two dollar bill and tried to picture what that scene must have
really been like? The body odor must have been of lethal
pungency -- a bunch of guys wearing long-sleeved shirts, coats and wigs in JULY, with no air conditioning or even electric fans? How often did
people bathe or launder their clothes? Folks tend to forget that hygiene
is pretty much a 20th Century innovation, but I bet you wouldn't if
you caught a whiff of Ben Franklin on a summer afternoon.

Johnny Cash is a badass.

I'm not sure if I'm imagining this or not, but lately it seems like
there are a lot more television advertisements using the time-
honored tradition of dressing a guy up as a giant rooster or Milk
of Magnesia bottle or whatever. Can the return the four guys
dressed as the Fruit of the Loom, laughing hysterically from inside people's
underwear be far behind? What about the Budweiser Taste
Buds (always my favorite of the genre)? The Fox Network, no doubt will be the first to air commercials with people in condom or tampon
Maybe they have, and I've just missed them.

How in the hell are they going to advertise tooth brushes and
razor blades 30 years from now? Every commercial you see has them
flying through space and being transformed my angelic beams of
laser light in to what look like tools that should be hanging from a Jedi's
utility belt. How high-tech can you make a razor??

Speaking of Jedis, there is an article on the new Star Wars
prequel in today's USA Today --
where they interview fans who are so obsessed with Star Wars
that they are planning on flying from Europe to the US to see the first
screenings. And they say there's no American Culture...

There's a profile of one guy who likens "Star Wars: The Phantom
Menace" to a Christian discovering the existence of the Old
Testament after only knowing of the New. If that's not disturbing
enough, he's planning on naming his child Anakin, which is of
course, Darth Vader's real name.

Being named "Anakin" should ensure plenty of ass-whippings
from the kid's peers in the years ahead, but I can also see young Anakin
having plenty of excuses to justify any delinquency in his teen
years. "Sorry, pop... I know I shouldn't have run over all those
mailboxes with your car, but I just couldn't help giving in to the
power of my hate."

"But hate and anger lead to the Dark Side, son. A Jedi is the
master of his emotions, and craves not vengeance."

"Uh huh."

"Tell me -- what is it that you hate so much, my son?"

"What do you think, you stupid geek?? I hate YOU and mom for
giving me this idiotic name!!"

This week's Shallow End Diving Board takes you to:

Pulp Art
A gallery that sells the ORIGINAL PAINTINGS for pulp novels and
magazines from
the 30s-60s!! Wow.

Worst Songs of the 60s, 70s and 80s
Just what it says -- great commentary such classics as "Indian
Reservation" and

Archie McPhee Online
Speaking of the classics -- get whoopee cushions, fake vomit
and dog crap all online!

To unsubscribe or subscribe, send your request to

The Shallow End
©1999 Southern Surf Syndicate Productions
--- End forwarded message ---

Fender Bass, Small Firearms

Subject: The Shallow End 3/05/99
Date: Fri, 05 Mar 1999 14:33:56 -0500
From: Rip <thrillby>
Reply-To: thrillby@p...

Welcome to another edition of The Shallow End: weekly
commentary of absolutely no importance whatsoever by Rip Thrillby.

Let's dive on in:

Unlike the author of that feel-good book, I did NOT learn
everything I needed to know in kindergarten. In first grade, I learned that if you throw sand or milk in your opponent's eyes you can
temporarily blind him, and then kick him in the nuts. Better to learn late than never, I suppose.

If you play guitar in a band and you smoke cigarettes on stage,
please... don't put your lit cigarette between the strings and the
tuning head. That kind of studied "coolness" is the worst kind of
dorkiness. An ashtray on your amp will do just fine.

A year takes forever when you're five years old because it's a fifth
of your life. As you get older, every lap around Mr. Sun seems
faster than the last, and that's the reason -- each year becomes
a smaller percentage of your overall experience. I shudder to think
of what it's like when you get to your seventies or eighties.

My vote for all-time coolest Olympian: Eddie The Eagle
<http>, the
UK's most famous ski-jumper. Watching all the French and
scandinavian guys whining about how "thees Eengleesh buffoon"
who was barely making it off the jump without killing himself kept getting
all the press (and the babes, too, I'm sure) while they were
setting world records was priceless.

Given the choice between being overly cynical or overly naive, a
lot of people will tell you it's better to be the latter. The irony is,
the latter always leads to the former eventually, and usually to a
much worse degree.

There are many tests of a true friend, but at the top of the heap
has to be whether they'll come bail you out of jail. God has
blessed me with some true friends.

Some chicks think all they have to do is give a sexy wink, flip
their hair that certain way, thrust their breasts out and give an
innocent smile, and then they can get away with just about
Know what? They're right.

I'm still waiting for a vacuum cleaner company with the nerve to
use "Our vacuum cleaners SUCK!" as a sales pitch.

On a similar theme, as I watched what I could stomach of the
Monica Lewinsky interview, it occurred to me that if Bill Clinton has
proven anything, it's the old adage that you can "take the boy
outta the holler, but you can't take the holler outta the boy." Look at
any group of University of Arkansas sports fans wearing those
red plastic pig ("Razorbacks") hats on their heads and screaming
"Sooo-EEEEE!" and you'll know what I mean.

It's a cliché and so obvious it barely bears repeating, but you
really are what you eat. Consider if you ate every meal at
McDonald's for a couple years. All the raw material your cells use
to replicate themselves would have come off a McDonald's grill
or out of a deep fryer. Eventually, you would be little more than a
walking, talking, highly processed hunk of McDonald's food.
Something to consider. Variety is key in a healthy diet -- so, stop
by the taco shop or order a pizza every now and then.

It may seem hard to believe that people once thought the world
was flat. The moon and the sun seem like they'd have been pretty
good hints as to the nature of things, even then.

But then, today you've got people who believe the alignment of
the planets controls their destinies. Why is astrology evil? Because it
actually CAN control your actions if you let it. If you read your
horoscope every morning and it tells you what kind of mood
you're going to be in or what kind of luck you're going to have and you
actually believe it, you'll alter your behavior either consciously
or subconsciously to match its predictions. Congratulations! By
doing so, you've surrendered at least part of your destiny not to
the planets, but to the whims of some idiot like David St.
Hubbins' girlfriend in "This Is Spinal Tap."

I don't even have the space this week to get started on so-called
psychic hotlines.

Carroll Shelby is a badass.

I'm including this item to spread the word for my good friend
Gregory Fleeman, who has an amusingly pathological reaction
to a certain, commonly heard mispronunciation. It's "new-clee-ur,"
not "new-cue-lur" power.

That one doesn't bother me much, but my
fingernails-on-the-blackboard mispronunciation is "short-lived," as in, "the short-lived TV series 'Quark.'" "Lived" is an adjective form of the noun LIFE, not past tense of the verb "to live," which would make absolutely no
sense. As such, "short-lived" rhymes with "Mort thrived." I've
heard network news anchors mispronounce that.

Rip's Conversation Tips
Is there anything more annoying than someone whining about
their problems while you're trying to pay attention to a band, football
game, or wrestling match? Well, here are some track-proven
phrases guaranteed to bring those monologues to a screeching halt. It
doesn't really matter when you say them -- just pay loose
attention to when the other person's lips stop moving, and go for

"I guess the only thing more painful than living through
something like that is hearing about it from someone who has."

"Hm. You know, I was just sitting here wondering -- who died
and made you dog catcher?"

"Well, let's try to stay on the ball from now on then, okay? Great!"

"Wow, really? Well, you might be glad to know the rumors going
around about you barely scratch the surface."

"I see. And then your dad got a job?"

"What part of 'No hablo ingles' didn't you understand?"

"Gimme an S! Gimme an O! Gimme an L! What's that spell? Shit
Outta Luck."

"When I asked how you were doing, I didn't expect you to take me

(Stare at them without saying anything for a few seconds, then
look around over your shoulders.) "Alright, where'd they hide the

"Yeah, that sounds like it really sucks. Hey, what do you think of
my new haircut?"

"Guess that's why they call it 'getting the SHAFT.'" (Start
humming "Theme From Shaft." Bonus points for a few mock
karate moves.)

"Are you ever gonna get to the punchline?"

"Try thinking of yourself as putting the 'fun' back in

"Casey Kasem said it best: just keep your feet on the ground,
and keep REACHIN' for those stars. C'mon -- let's see you try it."
(Stand on your tiptoes, lift your arms and claw at imaginary

This Week's Web Picks:

Greg Knight's Patio Culture
The good life! Green salads, red meat, exotica music, and kids
torturing insects!

Planet Krulik
See the underground classic "Heavy Metal Parking Lot," in which
filmmaker Jeff Krulik interviews headbangers in the parking lot of
the Capitol Centre before a mid-80s Judas Priest concert.

The Dysfunctional Family Circus
Bil Keane's cartoons are actually hysterically funny when other
people supply the captions. I have no idea how this site has kept
from being shut down.

To unsubscribe or subscribe, send your request to

The Shallow End
©1999 Southern Surf Syndicate Productions
--- End forwarded message

Fender Bass, Small Firearms

Subject: The Shallow End 3/12/99
Date: Fri, 12 Mar 1999 18:12:49 -0500
From: Rip <thrillby>
Reply-To: thrillby@p...

Welcome to another edition of The Shallow End: weekly
commentary of absolutely no importance whatsoever by Rip Thrillby.

Let's dive on in:

When you run out of things to be thankful about, pay attention
some time to the advertisements during the news for health products
you don't need (yet).

There is Trouble With The Trees

When I was in high school, a couple friends had an English
class where everyone was given the assignment of writing a poem,
which they'd have to read out loud to the class. My buddies came to
lunch one day laughing about how one of the stoners in the class
simply transcribed the Rush song "The Trees," which is about oaks and
maples fighting over who gets the sunlight, and then a bunch of
lumberjacks show them who's boss by chopping them all down.
Or something. (I'm not making this up.)Y´

Anyway, those in the class who recognized the source kept their
guffaws to themselves, even when the teacher went on to rave
about what an effective metaphor the stoner had come up with.

That the teacher was suckered in is not surprising; most "rock"
lyrics read like mediocre-to-bad high school poetry anyway,
especially since they usually rhyme. ("Serious" poetry, as we all
know, never rhymes.) Prevalent themes include self-obsession,
frustration, despair, self-obsession, why everything sucks, and
self-obsession -- in other words, the kinds of things that 16 year-
olds who are given to writing poetry think about.

... Which is one reason I love instrumental music. I appreciate a
well-crafted lyric as much as anyone, but a well-crafted melody is
even rarer, and has as much if not more power to emotionally
affect people (and without a language barrier). And like the best art of
all disciplines, it doesn't tell you WHAT to think or feel -- it
just throws it out for you, and you're free to interpret it
anyway you want.

I liken it to what Low Brow artist Robert Williams said in an
interview about his extremely detailed paintings. They always
have long, evocative titles, but beyond that, he refuses to say what
their "meaning" is. "Figure it out for yourself," he says. Indeed.

Back to the high school students, I'd love to see the results of an
experiment where you'd play a handful of instrumental songs of
different keys and tempos for a class, and have them write a
100-word essay on what they think each song is about.

I doubt greedy trees and lumberjacks would come up, but you
never know with these kids today.


You can tell a lot about a woman by whether she objects to being
called "dollface," "babycakes," or generically, a "chick." And you
can tell a lot about a guy by whom he chooses to address with
these terms, and when and where.

The only thing more annoying than a guy who gives you a limp,
dead-fish handshake is one grabs your fingers and squeezes them
before your palms even meet. A limp handshake is a sign of a wimp --
no ambiguity there. But what is Mr. Finger-Cruncher's message? Is
the guy just an uncultured dumbass who doesn't know any better?
Or is this some kind of primitive alpha-male power play? Saying,
"Sorry if my hand's wet -- I just took a leak out back" is always a good
line in these situations. It doesn't even matter if your hand is wet
or not.

An even trickier situation these days is when men and women
shake hands. The traditional rule is that a man doesn't offer his hand
unless she does first. But how many people actually know this? I
still go with tradition, even at the risk of being thought rude.
Lots of people already think that, so I consider it an acceptable

Notes To Aspiring Standup Comedians:
We all already know that:
- New York and LA are different than each other.
- Airline food sucks.
- Lots of foreigners run convenience stores and drive cabs.

Related note -- with Elizabeth Dole flirting with running for
president, get ready for the endless onslaught of jokes about
how PMS will start a nuclear war.

As I attended the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans on January 2, 1993
to witness the University of Alabama destroy The University of
Miami and win its 12th national championship (a record, btw -- suck on
that, Notre Dame fans), as I mingled with thousands of other
Alabama football fans it occurred to me what the greatest benefit of
organized athletics is, if not its actual purpose. People who
would ordinarily have absolutely nothing in common -- socially,
politically, economically -- can enthusiastically agree one thing:
their team.

A bus driver and millionaire discuss the pros and cons of the I-
formation as bona fide experts while standing in a concession
A Democrat and a Republican slap each other on the back and
laugh in hearty agreement about how the opposing team blocks like a
bunch of South Beach hairdressers and how their cheerleaders are uglier
than a wallflower at a slaughterhouse sex party.

Plus, it beats talking about the weather.

Speaking of sports, this week's badass is the recently departed
Joltin' Joe DiMaggio. I'll hand the mic over to my buddy Charles
Earle, who put the Yankee Clipper's achievement's succinctly
this week:

  • Hit .325 for a career

  • Struck out a total of 369 times in his entire career with a one
    year high of 39 times his rookie year (Sosa and McGwire
    combined to strike out over 320 times last year and Reggie Jackson struck
    out over 2,500 times in his career)

  • Had the amazing 56 game hitting streak during which he hit

  • Gave 3 1/2 years of the very best of his career to WWII

  • Was on 9 teams that won the World Series

  • Possibly the all time greatest hero to Italian American
    immigrants next to Sinatra

  • Had sex with Marilyn Monroe

So how does your resume compare?

This Week's Web Picks:

Swingin' Chicks of the 60s
Just what the title says. You will be amazed.

Pulp Cards
Virtual postcards of cover art from vintage novels with names
like "I Was A Teeny-Bopper For The CIA," "Naked On Roller
Skates," and "The Gods Hate Kansas."
How can you go wrong?

Grim Rides Club Hot-Rod Hearse Gallery
And finally, this one's for Stanley Kubrick, who never let his
chauffeur drive over 30 mph, even on the highway. No more
excuses, Kue-Ball -- tell Jeeves to punch it!

To unsubscribe or subscribe, send your request to
--- End forwarded message ---

Fender Bass, Small Firearms

Welcome to another edition of The Shallow End: Weekly
commentary of absolutely no importance whatsoever by Rip Thrillby.

Billionaire Boys Club

People loathe Bill Gates for a lot of reasons beyond the obvious
ones like pure envy or the fact that his software sucks. Go figure -
- people just naturally hate a billionaire. And most billionaires
don't help their public images with their public statements and
actions (see Ted Turner), assuming they actually care about
them in the first place. So why is Virgin Records/Airlines/Cola and who-
knows-what-else magnate Richard Branson a press darling, as
billionaires go, and not Bill Gates?

Is it Sir Richard's dashing good looks, winning smile and
blazingly white teeth? His witty repartee with interviewers? His actual
multinational corporation? Those are each part of it, but the real
reason is: the guy exhibits tons of personality. His carefully
cultivated image of Boyish Billionaire Daredevil For Whom Life Is
The Ultimate Thrill-Sport sells fantastically well in the media.
Bill Gates' image of Boyish Billionaire Devil Himself For Whom
Global Domination Is Neat-O doesn't.

My advice to Bill Gates would be to crank up the volume on the
Wackiness Knob, so that around the world, people at the
proverbial office water-coolers would say things like, "Man, did you see
what ol' Bill's doing THIS time? Hilarious..." The guy's got more money
than he can spend in a hundred lifetimes, so why not use it to
inject some good-humored surrealism into the daily lives of

Ways Bill Gates can become beloved:

  • Hire a legion of sky-writers to decorate the skies across
    America with dirty limericks written in Pig Latin. Every day.

  • Start a 5,000-unit chain of restaurants serving authentic Eskimo
    cuisine, in buildings shaped like gigantic igloos, with dining
    room temperatures of 22 degrees F.

  • Start his own broadcast television network whose
    programming consists solely of sweaty fat guys running on treadmills while that version of "Jingle Bells" with the dogs barking the melody plays
    on the soundtrack -- 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Every few
    hours, a dwarf, arms crossed and wearing an executioner's
    hood, would mosey onto the screen, look at the fat guys, nod
    approvingly and then mosey back off-camera.

  • Mail a box containing a kazoo, jew's harp, accordion and
    ukulele to every residence in America.

  • Announce that after two decades, Microsoft is finally getting into
    the hardware business, and that it is opening a nationwide chain
    of hardware stores selling nothing but nailguns and
    realistic-looking, lightweight styrofoam anvils. At the press conference, explain to the assembled reporters that these are "prank" anvils as
    suddenly, the dozen assistants throughout the room each throws an anvil
    into the crowd of frantically scrambling reporters.

"See? They're to scare your friends! People need to laugh." High-
fives all around the speaker's podium. When asked about the
nailguns, answer testily, "Well, because people NEED nailguns
too, all right??" and immediately end the press conference. Of
course, you really will open the hardware stores -- this is not just a one-
time joke.

Accomplishing all of this in the first month of the image-overhaul
would be a great start. It's the kind of stuff I'd do if I were a

Useful Phrase of the Week

Confuse your friends and co-workers by dusting off the
neglected classic, "Well, that takes the cake." Are you condemning or
praising? Is it a friendly ironic jab, or a real expression of
disgust? Who can be sure? That's the fun! Try it yourself.

Rock & Roll as Track & Field

How many people do you think actually choose what they listen
to based solely on the music itself? Not many I think, and I'm not
going to be so pious as to claim every band I like is because of
their music alone. Attitude, energy, and gogo dancers go a long

But in terms of just the music, I've concluded that there are a
number of different musical orientations, i.e. why people like
what they do. There are those who are primarily melody oriented,
those who are rhythm oriented, those who choose their sounds based
on texture (instrumentation -- guitar tone, drum sound, etc., and how
they all mix together), those who like the way a particular singer
sings, and then those who base a lot on lyrical content, like your
folkies and Shania Twain fans. Of course, no one falls strictly
into one category, but the leanings are undeniable.

And then beyond the music, you have the innumerable other
things fans find appealing, like good looks, spitting up blood onstage
and dying young. But there is another element: music people seem
to like simply because it's hard to play. People will stand there and
watch a guy play a guitar solo the same way people stand there and
watch a guy go over a pole vault. Will he make it? Wow! Damn, how does
he do that?

It doesn't matter if any of those million notes the guy just played
in 10 seconds flat actually sounded good strung together; it was
HARD to PLAY, dude. Don't let people who say they don't like
sports, but rave about "virtuoso" musicians, kid you. It's the same
dynamic at work.

In last week's segment on hand-shaking, I forgot to add the part
about Personal Space. There are very few people I care to have
less than 18" from my face, and they are all female. So step back,
fella -
- I may have damaged my hearing playing guitar, but I can still
hear you just fine from arm's length.

Escape From The Dump

A friend of mine got dumped by his very good-looking girlfriend
recently. That's always a bummer -- hell, I've been dumped by
some stunning babes myself, some of whom are actually reading this
column! (Hi girls!) Why do I mention looks? Look at the name of
this column, for crying out loud. Anyway...

The key to bouncing back is keeping yourself occupied with new
activities and not dwelling on the smoldering ash-heap of the
failed romance. Revenge on your ex, even if it's just internal fantasy, is
always a bad idea. Every bitter act and thought just mires you
deeper in the hole.

Some people do things like buy a puppy or a lower-maintenance
pet like a snake to take their mind off the breakup -- well, if you do,
don't name the dog or snake after her, not to mention the mice
you feed the snake. Don't use her photos to housetrain the dog. And
don't send souvenirs of the puppy's housetraining to her in a
shoebox with no return address, as funny an idea as it may

Don't tell your friends "it was mutual." Pride slows recovery. You
may have been ready to get out of it, but someone always pulls
the plug unilaterally, even if your passive-aggressive behavior was
designed to get her to do it first. Just say, "Yeah, that crazy
broad gave me the heave-ho last night. How's that for a kick in
the teeth?" People will buy you sympathy beers.

Before too long, you'll be raring and ready to go for more
punishment from the fairer ("fair" does not refer to"justice" in
this instance) sex. A good way to meet women is to go to a club
with another woman who's just a friend, but seems to be your
Significant Other. You see, a single man accompanied by an attractive
female pegs the needle on every single woman in the place's Eligible
Bachelor Sensor. They can tease and flirt with you, liberated by
no danger of consummation, as you're already spoken for, as far as
they know. Too put it in guy terms, you're like a no-pads,
light-contact football scrimmage.

You've already been road-tested and approved by whoever that
little hussy is (that's how they think, guys) you're with, so you're
probably not a dangerous psychopath, which is important to
today's eligible bachelorette. And women, who can give birth to
ten-pound babies yet somehow sustain the charade of being "delicate,"
make up for their relative lack of muscle mass by being exponentially
more competitive than any guy could hope to be. Stealing another girl's
guy is something women live for, whether they admit it or not.
You're the prize, so make the most of it.

Of course, none of the women I personally know behave or
think this way. These are just things I've heard and read about.

Whatever happened to Dr. Marvin Monroe, the psychologist
character on The Simpsons?

This Week's Shallow Web Picks

Gallery of the Absurd
Actual scans of hilariously bizarre actual advertisements, like a
They're Happy Because They Eat Lard!

The Tacky Postcards Archive
The world's worst REAL postcards, scanned and ready to send
to your friends and enemies.

The Censored Cartoons Page
Remember the martini-swilling St. Bernard rescuing Yosemite
Sam on Der Schmatterhorn? A canonical listing of all the stuff the forces
of political correctness are editing out of Looney Tunes to make
them "safe" for broadcast.

That takes the cake,

To unsubscribe or subscribe, send your request to
--- End forwarded message ---

Fender Bass, Small Firearms

Subject: Shallow End 3/26/99
Date: Fri, 26 Mar 1999 17:50:04 -0500
From: Rip <thrillby>
Reply-To: thrillby@p...

Welcome to another edition of The Shallow End: weekly
commentary of absolutely no importance whatsoever by Rip Thrillby.

This week's emphasis is on the state of advertising. I actually
saw a good commercial on television recently that was intelligent
AND funny. It starts out with a first person point of view showing a
gazebo on a cliff, overlooking the ocean. The announcer says
something about imagining a peaceful place where you can
have lunch with your "high school sweetheart... and Cornelius, from 'Planet Of The Apes.'" It shows a guy in a varsity letterman's sweater
cheerfully sitting next to... well, Cornelius, from "Planet Of The

Turns out it's a Serta mattress ad, as it then cuts to a smiling
babe slumbering in bed while the announcer says something
about the quality of your sleep on a Serta mattress (they should have put
the Statue of Liberty's head in the background). This is what a good
ad should be, highlighting what the product is supposed to do
without insulting your intelligence. This could be the start of a
memorable series of ads for the company -- what a dream job (huhuhuh) for an ad agency.

By far the most popular radio ad format these days has to be
the "Smart Guy Meets The Dumbass" approach. I'm not sure if
it's from 90% of ad copywriters being frustrated screenwriters, or if
they think this is actually COOL, but it dominates the airwaves.
You know the pitch. You'll hear at least 10 similarly structured ads on
your way home from work if you listen to the radio:

SMART GUY: Hey Bob! Whatcha doin' with that goat there,


DUMBASS: Just taking care of the ol' lawn, Gus!

SMART GUY: Your lawn? How?

DUMBASS:Well, the way I figure, this goat here's appetite will not
only keep my grass from growing too tall, but he'll also keep it
growing green and healthy by fertilizing it!!

SMART GUY: Uh, Bob... I have a better idea. Why not just buy or
lease a new Lawnboy SuburbanKing 500 riding mower with
patented Posi-Traction Turf Action? Its comfortable ride and top speed of 13.5 miles per hour ensure you'll get the job done lickety-split, and its
diamond-sharpened carbonate blades spinning at 1200 rpms
ensure a clean, even cut -- much better than your billy goat there.


DUMBASS: But GUS... don't forget, my GOAT also fertilizes my
lawn! I bet your new Lawnboy SuburbanKing 500 riding mower with
patented Posi-Traction Turf Action can't do that!

SMART GUY: Uh, Bob -- that's what a dog is for. And you're wrong
about the benefits of the new Lawnboy SuburbanKing 500 riding
mower with patented Posi-Traction Turf Action's role in fertilizing. You
see, its carbonate blades are not only designed to cut grass, but
ALSO to lift and disperse every pile of manure in its path,
spreading it evenly over an area of 15 square feet! That means a
rich, consistently green lawn -- NOT that dreaded polka-dot
minefield effect!

DUMBASS: Well, I guess you got me there, Gus. But I don't have
a dog!

SMART GUY: No problem, neighbor. I'd be happy to send ol' Rex
here <dog> over to fertilize your lawn every day!

DUMBASS: Wow, thanks neighbor! How can I thank you?

SMART GUY: Well Bob, not running down everyone's property
values with barnyard animals is thanks enough for now.

ANNOUNCER: See your local LawnBoy dealer today and buy or
lease the SuburbanKing 500 riding mower with the patented Posi-Traction
Turf Action! It makes the cut!!

DUMBASS: Say, Gus -- when can ol' Rex start fertilizing my lawn?

SMART GUY: (laughs) I think he already has!

DUMBASS: (laughs)

People like to bitch about the cost of the space program. It's an
easy target, after all. And we're waaaay behind on yesterday's
visions of tomorrow like "Space: 1999" and "2001: A Space
So here's how NASA can pay for the space shuttle program, and
have enough cash to get one of the cool pinwheel space stations like
in "2001" deployed, if slightly behind schedule.

A space lottery. Yep -- three or four times a year, fill the cargo
bay with airline seats and put a plexiglass roof on it, then sell
tickets for a chance to win the Ultimate Ticket To Ride. Ten
bucks, and you win two seats -- one for you and one for a friend or
relative. You sign every waiver known to man, pass a physical,
and off you go for a few hours of orbiting the planet. It's a marketer's
dream -- "The Democratization of Space Flight."

There are people out there who would spend MILLIONS of
dollars on tickets for a shot at blasting off into space. Hell, I'd buy a
couple, and I've never even bought a lottery ticket (a friend of
mine calls them a "tax on people who can't do math").

Where's the advertising? In the NASCAR-style stickers all over
the shuttle, of course.

This can't start soon enough -- adventure awaits.

Truth In Advertising
A very well-designed gallery of cigarette magazine ads from the
40's and 50's.

The Gallery of Regrettable Food
Scrumptiously appetizing shots of day-glo jello and glistening
pork chops from mid-century magazines and cookbooks. Very amusing.

Sovietski Collection
After all this capitalism, how about free market-liberated items
designed in state-controlled economy? Binoculars, cocktail
shakers, submarine name it.

To unsubscribe, subscribe, or receive previous editions send
your request to thrillby@p...

The Shallow End
©1999 Southern Surf Syndicate Productions
--- End forwarded message ---

Fender Bass, Small Firearms

Subject: The Shallow End 4/02/99
Date: Fri, 2 Apr 1999 17:15:46 -0600
From: Rip <thrillby>
Reply-To: thrillby@p...

Welcome to another edition of The Shallow End: Weekly
commentary of absolutely no importance whatsoever by Rip Thrillby.

Short one this week -- much to do and little time to do it.

A few inquisitive types have asked me why call this column "The
Shallow End." Well, being a Shallow Guy, it was the first thing I
thought of, and I find it best not to dwell on the whys of
inspiration too much. But, I liked it for a number of reasons after
I started pondering whether it was a good title or not.

As any surfer knows, still waters may run deep, but you need
shallow water for good waves. And every lifeguard will tell you not to dive
in the shallow end of the pool, because you'll hurt your head, or
worse, break your neck -- none of my ramblings are meant to
bring about either condition, metaphorically or literally (although
please write and tell me how it occured if the literal happens). And, you
don't have to tread water, about the most boring thing you can do
in the water, in the shallow end of the pool either.

"Shallow" is generally used to mean "lacking of substance" or
just plain "bad." To the contrary, I think shallowness is good. Life is
obtuse enough as it is -- how about some crap that's easy to
understand? Not enough people's intentions and motivations
are clear enough to the casual observer. A Shallow Person's are.

Now, you can say a Shallow Person's intentions may be good, or
True. But either way, shallowness is not merely neutral -- evil
people are shallow by accident, and that is a good thing
because it's easy to spot them, whereas the kind of Shallow Person I'm
talking about aspiring to is shallow by design.

I can't believe I just wrote all that. Enough already. (A Shallow
Person knows when to cut his or her losses.)

A friend emailed me this week and told me to go to the Internic -- -- and do a WHOIS query for Do it yourself and watch who the domain owner
is, and please attempt to explain.

Has there ever been a song recorded more annoying than
"Going Up The Country" by Canned Heat? I almost just wrote that if there is I'd like to hear it, but on second thought, I wouldn't.

My favorite quote from Elvis was in reference to his name. He
said, "People have pointed out to me that you can spell 'evils'
and 'lives' with the letters in my name. I try not to think about
that too much."

Many people will tell you the job of elementary school teacher is
the most thankless in the world. I beg to differ -- the elementary
school JANITOR is. In the grade schools I attended, a kid
vomiting on the floor was almost a daily occurance, and six year-olds
don't generally make getting to a bathroom a priority when vomiting.
As I remember, it was usually interesting vomit, too -- purple from
eating too much of some purple candy, chunky from too many
brownies, even green (too much Jello?).

The vomiter would usually be hailed with a rousing chorus of the
old classic jingle:
It makes your TEETH turn green!
It tastes like gas-O-line.
Comet... it makes ya VOMIT!
So buy some Comet,
and vomit... to-DAAAAY!!"

I just realized that the janitors probably make more than the
teachers these days, so maybe the scales of thanklessness
have tipped back to the teachers.

Thought for Easter weekend: judging Jesus Christ by the most
vocal "Christians" in the media would be like judging Wolfgang Mozart
by hearing me try to play the overture to "The Marriage Of Figaro" on
a banjo, and a badly tuned one, at that.

Shallow Web Picks

Here's a couple dedicated to my favorite conspiracy theory -- that
the moon landings were faked. Probable? Naw. Possible? Sure.
People willingly believe in bigger hoaxes, like Social Security.

Evil Sam's Drive-In Theatre
A guide to drive-in movie culture, as well as to where all the
surviving drive-in theaters are! Spring is here, so help preserve
this priceless bit of American culture and attend a drive-in movie
this weekend. Movies are fun to watch through steamed up
windshields with your baby -- or if it's just you and the gang, take lawnchairs and a cooler.

Roadside America
Similar in intent to Evil Sam's site, this one is the online version
of the great "Roadside America" travel guide -- your source for all
the bizarre tourist traps on America's highways and byways.

I come from Alabama with a banjo on my knee,

To unsubscribe or subscribe, send your request to

The Shallow End
©1999 Southern Surf Syndicate Productions
--- End forwarded message ---

Fender Bass, Small Firearms

Subject: Shallow End 4/09/99
Date: Fri, 09 Apr 1999 16:13:11 -0400
From: Rip <thrillby>
Reply-To: thrillby@p...

Welcome to another edition of The Shallow End: weekly
commentary of absolutely no importance whatsoever by Rip Thrillby.

Howdy, folks -- I've been amazed at the number of people who've
written in who've had this weekly dispatch forwarded to them by
others who've had it forwarded to them by yet someone else. I'm
really curious to see how large the circulation has gotten, and if
you want to get on the subscription list directly, drop me a line.
Don't cost nuthin. Plus, your friends won't have to forward it to
you every week.

Also working on getting a Shallow End page setup, with archives
of past editions on -- should be up in a few


Memories of a Public School Education

I have no idea exactly how many teachers and instructors I had
over the course of my checkered academic career -- certainly, well
over a hundred. Interesting, though, how only a handful stand out in my

Some are memorable for unique reasons, like Mr. Holmgren, a
guy who could make history of any era seem as relevant to high school
sophomores as last week's cafeteria food fight or locker room

Then there was Dr. Pound, who taught political theory as
effortlessly as a favorite uncle tells you a joke all the other
adults think you're too young to hear. My favorite Dr. Pound
moment was when after wringing his hands in frustration for most of the
lecture period, he finally called the class a bunch of swine...
without them even realizing it. I can't remember exactly what the
lecture was about, but somehow the Judeo-Christian influence
on political belief-systems came up, and several members of the
class who were better at rote memorization than abstract thought
started quoting scripture, foolishly trying to shoot down his premise.

Dr. Pound valiantly attempted to explain again and again that
they were completely missing his point, as well as taking the verses
they were quoting out of context. Finally, he took a long sip of his
coffee, and his eyes scanned the room. Then he smiled, and
with a chuckle that lay somewhere between a snort and a sigh, he
shook his head. "The only Bible verse I'm thinking of right now concerns
the casting of pearls," he said, referring to Jesus' instructions to
his disciples not to cast their "pearls before swine." A couple of
us laughed out loud. The old boy seemed to appreciate that.

Among many other things, Mr. Larsen, my high school
journalism teacher, equipped me with tools I'll use even while writing this
paragraph. He was a stickler for certain very specific rules of
English, whose violations he called his pet peeves. They soon
became mine as well. Like knowing that "compose" and "comprise" are
NOT interchangeable. That "its" is a possessive pronoun, while "it's"
is a contraction of "it is." Similarly, the difference between "whose"
and "who's." He also HATED it when people used "hopefully" as
in, "Hopefully, the weather will be good." "What -- is the weather
full of HOPE??" he would rant. "We will proceed HOPEFULLY
that the weather will be good. It's an ADVERB. ADVERB. ADVERB." (This
was in Tacoma, Washington -- talk about dashed hopes for good

He said that if you got just a few of the most common mistakes
always right, readers will assume you know what you're doing
and give you the benefit of the doubt when you inevitably slip up
somewhere. Most importantly, he taught me that if you know the
rules, then you'll be able to (hopefully) break them effectively
(and that there's no such thing as a split infinitive.) And that
despite what nine out of ten English teachers tell you about
incomplete sentences, there is such a thing as a "fragment for
effect." Like this one.

Do you remember the kind of people who were in your high
school's drama club? Now, imagine, if you will, being dropped in the
middle of one of their meetings and engaging them in a debate on
anything from tax reform to sexual harassment. Scary, huh? That said, I
do admit I like to watch "Politically Incorrect" every now and then, if
for no other reason than to see how stupid celebrities can be.

The actors and actresses usually lead the pack in the Dumbass
Challenge, but sometimes someone else steps forward and
takes the level of the game from merely stupid to PROFOUNDLY stupid,
as earlier this week did former Dead Kennedy lead singer Jello
Biafra, a guy who in all fairness I will I bet was not a member of drama
club. Anyone who saw it knows what I'm talking about, as he
monopolized the debate while seriously advocating that no one
should be allowed to make over $100,000 a year, because he thinks no
one needs the kind of financial power that making more money than
that gives a person. Meaning, of course, that he does advocate that
someone should have the kind of political power (a lot scarier to
me than financial power) to take it away from you, but I doubt he
thought it that far through.

Speaking of "jell-o," did you know that the jiggly wiggly dessert is
actually made from rotting cow skin? Check it out:

And hey, kids!! Jell-O makes a swell treat after a meal of Potted
Meat Food Product!

Picking One Out From The Past
Let's take things down yet another notch, shall we? The pollen in
the Atlanta air is so thick right now due to a mild winter and no
rain that if you breathe through your mouth you can actually taste
it. And if you breathe through your nose (if your sinuses aren't
clogged up, that is) before long you will find that, well... it's a
veritable Booger Bonanza!

Along those lines, what follows is a piece I wrote for the
Cowabunga surf music subscription list when a thread on guitar picks got out of hand a little over a year ago. I've had requests for people to re-
send it to them since then, so here it is again:

WARNING: Technical post ahead

Everyone knows nylon picks rule. Enough said, but on a related
theme, what about the picking of the nose? I'm generally a right index-
finger guy if the booger is on the posterior (skull side) nasal wall
or septum, but I get good results from using my thumb for
boogers on the anterior nasal wall, while using the index finger for leverage and stability on the outside of the nose in a slightly curled
fashion, as though the thumbnail would be digging against the
second knuckle of the index finger. I have found that one gets slightly
better results for really stubborn specimens by using the
opposite hand for each nostril, i.e. right hand gets a better lane of
approach for dredging the anterior wall of the left nostril, and

*** Successful booger-picking is dependent upon a number of

  1. Mucus production: the single most important element. The
    "cold and flu season" is an annual "gold rush," so to speak, for
    nose-picking enthusiasts. No snot, no boogers. The aspiring booger picker
    should ensure that they drink plenty of liquids to keep the, if you will,
    "juices flowing," and it is also helpful to regularly eat foods that
    stimulate the production of mucus, such as jalapeno peppers.

  2. Dust content: get outdoors frequently if you are striving for
    boogers of superior bulk and texture. A well-ventilated office or
    home does not provide the proper density of dust particles per
    cubic foot of air for true professional-level booger production.
    Residents of the desert southwest have an obvious geographic advantage

  3. Nasal hair length: every field of endeavor has its prodigies --
    those with a genetic predisposition towards excellence in a
    given field which becomes apparent at a precocious age, such as your
    Mozarts, your Mary Lou Rettons, your Jimmy Osmonds and the
    like. And booger picking is no exception. Why, when I was in fourth grade
    there was a kid in my neighborhood named Mike Clark whose
    nose was a veritable booger spigot, and with a mix of awe, fascination and
    nausea, from across the room we all used to watch him EAT
    them every day at school. He would actually wipe them on the front of his
    braces, no kidding, and you could tell when he would slide his
    tongue over this booger "curing" rack of sorts for a mid-afternoon
    taste treat. This gave him quite an engaging smile, too, what with
    booger-encrusted braces on crooked teeth. But I digress. Thick
    nasal hair, like what hung out of Mike Clark's nose even at the tender
    age of 9, will produce more boogers more quickly, catching dust in a
    similar fashion to the way a whale captures plankton in the
    comb-like baleen at the entrance to its mouth. So. Given nasal
    hair's fundamental nature to booger cultivation, for maximum
    production, trim your nasal hair only enough to ensure that the hairs don't poke out of your nostrils. You don't want to turn off chicks with
    poor grooming.

  4. Self-discipline: just as a watched pot never boils, you'll never
    cultivate world-class boogers if you pick at them all the time,
    because you're not giving them the time to grow to their full
    potential! Set aside a few minutes each day, at specified times --
    say, 11 am and 9 pm, and DON'T FALL OFF THE WAGON. You
    will be amazed at the effect sticking to a simple schedule like this will
    have on your nasal harvest.

  5. Finally, fingernail maintenance. Unfortunately for them, people
    who bite their fingernails are left on the sidelines in the arena of
    high-performance booger-picking. The fingernail serves as a
    shovel, and as such, must have at least 1/32" of a gap between the
    flesh of the finger and the tip of the nail. An easy way to determine this
    is by measuring the "white part" of your fingernail. When clipping
    your nails, concentrate on trimming a smooth, rounded shape.
    IMPORTANT: Wait a few hours after clipping your nails before
    picking again, or you may scratch the tender nasal membrane,
    producing the unwanted-except-to-a-few-eccentrics "blood boogers."

By following the above technical guidelines, anyone can become
an accomplished booger-picker -- with practice, you will be able to
effectively employ tricks of the pros like the "pinky clutch" for
those difficult-to-snare "elevator boogers" (a booger that shoots
up and down your nostril like an elevator when you inhale and
exhale through your nose) and the "turn and hook" maneuver
popularized by former Dallas Cowboys and University of Miami football coach Jimmy Johnson.

A few etiquette notes -- beyond the age of 10 it is considered bad
form to wipe your boogers under the table, except in a few well-
defined special situations. As much as you may tempted,
don't save them or show them to other people, no matter how
exceptional a specimen it may be, or how much it may resemble
some long-dead historical figure or star of stage and screen. And
lastly... this should be obvious, but I'll say it anyway -- DON'T
eat them, even if you are hungry. That's just gross.

This Week's Shallow Web Picks

Jump The Shark
A site that chronicles when various television shows went
irrevocably downhill -- named after the "Happy Days" episode,
when Fonzie (wearing his leather jacket) jumped over the shark on

Wacky Packages
By the time I was in 2nd grade I had a stack of Wacky Packages
stickers a foot tall. I would kill to have them back. I doubt I'd be
an illustrator/designer today if not for my childhood obsession
with Wacky Packages. This site is a must for anyone who grew up in
the 70s.

Would You Believe...
About the same age I was laughing hysterically at my Wacky
Packages and developing my irreparably warped sense of humor, I was
just beginning to realize that my favorite show, "Get Smart," was a
comedy. Which made me like it even more.

To unsubscribe, subscribe, or receive previous editions, send
your request to thrillby@p...

The Shallow End
©1999 Southern Surf Syndicate Productions

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Yikes! Shallow End 4/09/99 correction
Date: Fri, 09 Apr 1999 16:33:55 -0400
From: Rip <thrillby>
Reply-To: thrillby@p...

Ha -- if you want to have a mistake jump out at you, just send
something off to a printer then look at the final product, or
click "send" on an email and re-read it when it cc's back to you.

Here's an ironic mistake in today's edition, especially since it's
about correct English usage:

He also HATED it when people used "hopefully" as in,
the weather will be good." "What -- is the weather full of
he would rant. "We will proceed HOPEFULLY that the weather
will be
good. It's an ADVERB. ADVERB. ADVERB."

Blame this one on sloppy cutting and pasting during the editing
process (this is a one-man operation here). It was supposed to

"We will proceed HOPEFULLY this weekend; the weather may
be good.

Sorry, Mr. Larsen!


Fender Bass, Small Firearms

Welcome to another edition of The Shallow End: Weekly
commentary of
absolutely no importance whatsoever by Rip Thrillby.

Commercial of the Week

Either the folks at Saturn are really naive, or they're taking
targeted audience marketing to new levels of subtlety. Witness
the commercial that's been airing for a couple months, in which we
see the jelly doughnut-eating guy who's driving cross-country. He
apparently brings the car in to a Saturn dealership every 200
miles and chows down each one's complimentary jelly doughnuts
while they investigate his car's imagined mechanical problems .

On the surface, it seems to be a lovably wacky slice-of-life
portrait of a lovably wacky Saturn owner whose wackiness can't
help but draw a smile from the salt-of-the-earth Saturn mechanics, as
we see one call up the guy's profile on the Saturn owner database
to see that this guy "*likes jelly doughnuts."

There are a number of interpretations:

  1. The guy's got his first new car, and he's just really anxious
    about damaging it. And, hey -- free jelly doughnuts! What a
    homey, comfortable place those Saturn customer waiting areas are!

  2. Saturn understands that many of their customers are
    cash-strapped Generation X-ers. We remember when we were your age, and know that every dollar counts. So, hey -- free jelly doughnuts!

  3. The guy is so cheap he makes up fake car maladies so that
    he can eat jelly doughnuts for free at Saturn dealerships across the
    country. But, hey -- no big deal, we're happy to help -- have some
    free doughnuts!

But let's look at this logically and realistically. How much does a
jelly doughnut cost? A dollar, at most? And this guy is driving
cross-country. He's obviously got enough money for gas. So he'll
take at LEAST an hour out of his road time every day for free food
he could buy with pocket change?

Yeah, right.

That is why it's my contention that Saturn is marketing directly to
Gen X potheads. Look at the guy -- he looks stoned: grinning,
confused, slightly cross-eyed ("lovably wacky"). Why is he
stopping every two hundred miles? Because he's paranoid from smoking
pot! He eats jelly doughnuts because he has the munchies. And the
reason he's driving cross-country is he's probably following one of the
hippy bands who've filled the void left in hippies' social calendars
when Jerry Garcia lived up, so to speak, to his band's
namesake. A different kind of car company, indeed.

A Guy Walks Into A Bar...

Email may herald the death of the well-told joke. I had dinner
with friends the other night and a couple people told some jokes
they'd just heard. I tried in vain to think of a good one. It was weird...
why can't I remember any good ones?

Because now I READ them all, rather than hearing someone tell
them, which is a completely different experience. And rather than telling
the joke to someone else when it's fresh, I just forward them via
email. When it comes time to actually tell one... blank.

The advantage I see to emailing jokes is that the joke's wording
is preserved as it spreads. But on second thought, that might not
even be a good thing either. The best joke tellers add their own spin to
a good one, improving it as it goes along. The worst ones will
screw up a joke when they tell it, but that always amuses me too --
watching them squirm and try to recover as they realize they've
forgotten how to tell it. "Wait... I'm telling it wrong... no.. it
was THREE drunk guys and a midget bartender, and the midget
pulls out a sledgehammer... wait a second... okay, now I remember it!
The first guy asks the midget bartender if he HAS a sledgehammer
and then goes... uh... crap. Forget it."

Forgive this next one...

I don't have time to do this, but if you're looking for a theme for
a band, here's one you can feel free to run with (just thank me on
the album liner notes). The style of music is up to you, but
members dress as Dr. Stranglove, Inspector Jacques Clouseau, Dr. Fritz
Fassbender, Fu Manchu, and any variety of other specific movie
characters. Why? Well, the name of the band is... get this... "The
Peter Sellers." Huh huh huh... get it? The Peter Sellers? Huh huh
huh huh. Pretty funny, eh?

Billbo and Mr. Potato

There are a lot of things that make an effective leader. Perhaps
the most basic is good judgment. The lack of that, among many
other things, is what is most troubling about Bill Clinton's recent
troubles. Whether you think what he did and does outside his
marriage is wrong or right really isn't the issue. The reality is, a
significant number of people are going to go nuts if such
indiscretions are made public by a willing press, and is it
worth risking your effectiveness and position for a sexual fling?
Beyond mere moral considerations, it's a simple weighing of
short-term pleasures vs. potential long-term consequences. In other
words, judgment. So the real question is, what other decisions
which relate directly to the job are being executed as poorly?

Similarly, we have poor Dan Quayle running for president. The
fact that he thinks he has a snowball's chance in hell of being
elected speaks volumes about his decision-making abilities. He may
not be as dumb as he is portrayed in the media (though referring to the
Clinton/Gore terms as a "Decade of Deceit" in his candidacy
announcement speech sure doesn't help -- there are ten years
in a decade, Dan). Voters operate on their perceptions of reality,
which may or may not be reality itself. And a great many people
perceive him as an idiot and have for over a decade, which is an
obstacle he will never overcome. That he thinks otherwise is evidence
he's either a megalomaniac (alone, this would qualify him to run),
living in a dream world, or as dumb as they say.

Then there's his name... "Quayle." Alliterative with "quivering" ...
"queasy" ... "queer" ... "quirky." Funny that "qualified" wasn't the
first one that came to mind. It just sounds weak. This isn't
something a lot of people would want to admit, but your name is
as important as the rest of your qualifications for a job like
president, at least in terms of actually getting the job in the
first place. It helps to have a two or three-syllable last name that
ends phonetically with a vowel and an "n."
We've had:
B. Harrison
W.H. Harrison
Van Buren

No other name ending even comes close. Second is "r," with
Carter, Eisenhower, Hoover, Arthur, Taylor and Tyler.

But Rip, you say, that has got to be the most incredibly shallow
analysis of leadership potential I've ever seen. Well, that's my
job; it's what I do.

This Week's Shallow Web Picks

Buzzword Bingo
Do you work with people who use phrases like "mind
share," "traceability" and "relational paradigms" and pretend to
know what they're talking about?

Well, be "proactive" in your "intraoffice consensus-building" and
play Buzzword Bingo! This site uses Java to generate bingo
cards with buzzwords in the squares. Print them out and take them to
meetings -- the first person to fill their card out wins! If you're
in a new media company, this may take less than ten minutes.

How Stuff Works
Wow -- my threshold of amazement is pretty high, but the volume
of information here amazed me. This site, as the title suggests,
explains how stuff works -- and I mean, A LOT of stuff, from time
relativity to diesel engines. Equip yourself to bluff your way
through any conversation!

The Onion
This is a pretty well-known humor site, but if you haven't seen it,
check it out. It may be the funniest site on the web, with advice
columns such as "Ask A Demolitions Expert" and "Ask A Fratboy
Who Just Drowned A Pledge In A Hazing Gone Horribly Awry." Then
there are the news stories, with headlines like "Super Monkey Collider
Loses Funding" and "Crazed Palestinian Gunman Angered By

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The Shallow End
©1999 Southern Surf Syndicate Productions
--- End forwarded message ---

Fender Bass, Small Firearms

Lots of Subjects, Little of Substance
by Rip Thrillby

May 14, 1999 Edition

If Bil Keane can occasionally let Billy take over and guest-draw
his sorry excuse for a comic strip, "The Family Circus," then I can
occasionally let one of my neighborhood's seven year-old kids
take over and guest-write my sorry excuse for a weekly column, "The
Shallow End." I asked Josh, who is, in his words, "seven going
on eight," to share some observations from his world, which I now
present with minimal editing.

By Josh Campbell

I can make fart sounds with my armpits.

I tried to light a real fart once with this lighter I found like I
saw this big kid do at the pool parking lot one time but it didn't
work. Chuck said his dad lit a fart once at a cook out but he wont
do it anymore when he asks him.

When its hot outside and Ive been sweating a bunch, I can come
inside and drink orange juice real fast and then I can hang a loogie out
of my mouth until it almost touches the floor. Most of the time I can
suck it all the way back up into my mouth. That grosses out my

One time I grossed everyone out at my lunch table by putting my
whole peanut butter jelly sandwich in my mouth at once and chewing it
up and showing everybody. Then this kid named Kurt put two ho
ho's in his mouth and chewed them up and then spit them out on the table
and then he ate them again. It made this one kid named Terry the fairy
throw up all over the place.

There's this girl in my neighborhood whos pretty cool for a girl.
Her names fatty Patty except shes not fat but she can stick her finger
in her eyelids and turn them inside out so it looks like she has
monster eyes. I wish I could do that cause its really cool.

My baseball team got creemed 15 to 4 by the Giants one time.
Coach Griffin goes it doesnt matter if we win or lose its how we play the
game that counts. Our catcher Tommy goes how come you were
so happy then last week when we smeered the Pirates 11 to 1. Coach told
him to shut up.

Sometimes when I go in my parents bedroom in the morning I
can tell their not wearing any clothes under the covers cause they wont
get out of bed and then they always tell me to go watch cartoons in
the den and then they lock the door when they kick me out.
Sometimes I say why cant I watch cartoons here with you guys just to bug
them and they say you just cant so go in the den and watch cartoons. My
dad always throws his pillow at me but he usually misses cause he
never throws it very hard except for that time I sneaked up and yelled as
loud as I could in his ear to wake him up.

My mom never buys good cereal like everyone elses mom does.
Raisin bran sucks and so does Special K.

A cool trick you can play on people is when you take a magic
marker and put 3 dots on their wrist then you tell them this one is the
blind guy, this one is a guy who can't talk and this one is a deaf
guy. Then you start on the blind guy dot and start drawing a line
up their arm and say tell blind guy when to stop walking up your
They always yell STOP real fast and so you stop when they have
like an inch long line on their arm. Then you do the same thing and
stop when they say stop on the guy who cant talk dot and its also
about an inch long. But then when they say STOP on the deaf guy line you
say haha deaf guy can't hear you!!!! And then you draw the line all the
way up their arm past their mussle real fast. People hate that.
Magic marker works the best cause they cant wash it off.

I used my dads yellow magic marker to do my cursive writing
homework once and my teacher said it gave her a really bad headache to
read it. That was the funniest thing ever.

We got in a dirt clod war one time over where theyre building that
new house and I hit one kid named Arthur in the head and hit
this other kid I dont know smack dab in his nuts from like a mile
away. I didnt even get hit once.

This new kid at school Kelly had to go to the principals office on
account of what he called Nick when Nick called him Kelly the
smelly and made the whole class laugh. Then Kelly goes oh yeah well
you're Nick the dick and everyone laughed even more but Mrs Thomas
heard it and sent him to Mr. Sullivans office. Kelly didnt even know that
dick meant your weener or he said he wouldnt have said Nick the
dick where Mrs Thomas could have heard him. But then the funniest part
was two days later Nick called him Kelly the smelly again, so this time
Kelly tried to be smart and goes shut up Nick the prick. Kelly didnt'
even know prick also means your weener either but now he does
cause he had to go to Mr Sullivans office again. Me and Kurt and Dan and
Chuck told him what a whole bunch of other words were later too when
Mrs Thomas wasnt around for his own good. He didnt know hardly
any of the good ones before but now he does.

Everytime theres golf on tv my dad turns it on and sleeps on the
couch. Then I try to change the channel and he always wakes up
and says, I was watching that! He'd kill me if I tried to lie like that.

There was this kid in my class named Luther that cried evertime
he gets hit with the dodgeball during recess. What a homo.
Everyone called him a homo and then he cries even more. One time Nick
threw Luthers crappy Rugrats lunchbox on the roof but he didn't cry
cause he said he didn't care and he wanted a new lunchbox anyway.
That made Nick get mad and so then he karate kicked Luther in his nuts.
That made him cry but he came to school the next day all happy
showing off his new X-Men lunchbox his mom bought him so Nick karate
kicked him in his nuts again plus he threw his X-Men lunchbox on the roof
and made him cry and called him a homo. I havent seen him in a
long time cause he got moved to a different class but I bet he still cries a
lot and is a homo.

You can make really big fake boogers with rubber cement if you
want to try sometime. Dont try to eat them to gross people out though
or youll just get sick. You can also take elmers glue and if you rub it
all over your hands and then let it dry you can gross people out
by saying your peeling off all your skin.

This kid I know named Steve cant talk worth dog crap. He says
aminals instead of animals and fursday instead of thursday plus a lot of
other junk thats wrong. He can play baseball pretty good though
but we always laugh at him when he says strike free instead of
strike 3 and sounds like a homo. Hes not one like that Luther kid though.
I've only seen him cry once when he wrecked his bike down those
stairs over by the basketball courts and knocked all his front teeth out.
He calls them teef instead of teeth. He grossed everyone out by
eating one of his scabs off his knee at lunch after he did that. I
swear he really did that.

My dad has this humongus book shelf full of a bunch of really
boring books. He said if I read every one of them I wouldnt even need to
go to college but Im not going to fall for that. Nice try dad. He never
reads them either.

What's funny is to spit on your finger and then stick it in
someone's ear and wiggle it. People hate that but its really funny if its not
your ear.

My mom said I can be anything I want when I grow up. So did my
dad but he said I can be anything I want except an acter or a musition
on account of their all a bunch of fruits. So I said how about a race
car driver and he said sure but my mom wont let me get a go cart
to practice. My dad said he had one when he was a kid but my
mom said it was diffrent back then. I said how come, but she said it just was and then she stared at my dad really weird for like an hour when we
were eating supper.

Once when I was five we went to the beach and I saw this ladys

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The Shallow End
©1999 Southern Surf Syndicate Productions
--- End forwarded message ---

Fender Bass, Small Firearms

Lots of Subjects, Little of Substance
by Rip Thrillby

May 21, 1999 Edition

Playground assault triggers lunchbox ban

ATLANTA (AP) -- Officials from Fulton County School District
announced today they are banning elementary school students
from carrying metal lunchboxes, following a brutal attack yesterday
that left one 7 year-old student hospitalized and another in protective

Nicholas Bohannon, a second-grader at Candler Park
Elementary school, was listed in stable condition at Georgia Baptist Medical Center six hours after being assaulted with a lunchbox on the playground
by Luther Favrot, also a second grader at the school, said Principal
Harold "Happy" Sullivan.

Classes were canceled today, and an emergency community
anti-youth-violence town-hall meeting was held in the Candler Park
Elementary School cafeteria this afternoon, drawing a crowd of over 500
concerned parents, local residents and several dozen members
of local and national media.

During her opening remarks, Fulton County School District
Superintendent Ermatine Ragsdale said that effective
immediately, lunchboxes would be banned at all schools within the district.
"This is about the safety of our children," Ragsdale said as she stood
next to a table covered with a collection of confiscated metal
lunchboxes. "Every day we send our children to school expecting
them to learn, but yet we let them leave our homes carrying these
potentially lethal weapons corporate America euphemistically
calls 'lunchboxes.'"

"Why don't we call them what they really are? These
'assault-pails' are covered with the worst kinds of imagery of extremely violent cartoons, television shows and movies, as you can well see
here," she said, holding up a lunchbox depicting Looney Tunes character
Wile E. Coyote being struck on the head with an anvil. "Is is any wonder
our children follow through with these ideas on the playground?"

Time-Warner, Inc., which owns the trademarks for the Road
Runner and Coyote cartoon series, would not comment on the case.

To enthusiastic applause from the crowd, Ragsdale announced
that henceforth, students would only be allowed to bring their
lunches to school in brown paper bags, which she said are much safer
than than lunchboxes. "It's time we took back the playground and made it a place of safety, where children can be children," she exclaimed.
She said any students caught bringing lunchboxes to school would
be immediately expelled.

Meanwhile, the community searched its collective soul as to how
such a sobering episode of pre-teen violence could erupt so
unexpectedly and savagely, right in the heart of this idyllic Atlanta
neighborhood. "How could this happen here?" parent Alicia
Novak-Windham said, her voice trembling. "It seems no child is safe
anymore, not even from each other. Children are supposed to be
our most precious, innocent resource. What is this world coming to
when one child seeks to inflict pain on another child? The future
frightens me."

On the playground, though, no one seemed surprised. The boys'
schoolmates said the two students had a long history of run-ins,
with Bohannon the frequent aggressor. "Nick always throws Luther's
lunchbox on the cafeteria roof and then (assaults Favrot in the
groin)," witness Joshua Campbell, 7, said. "But then yesterday
Luther just freaked out and came up behind Nick and whacked him over
the head with his new Star Wars Phantom Menace lunchbox. Nick
started bleeding all over the place and yelling for him to stop but Luther
just kept on pounding on him like he was crazy or something."

Campbell said Favrot began shouting "lots of cuss (sic) words"
as Bohannon fell to the ground, and then proceeded to "clobber"
Bohannon "about a million times" with the lunchbox before finally
being pulled away by Barbara Thomas, a second grade teacher
at the school.

Campbell said Favrot shouted "Who's the homo now?" several
times as he was led away to Sullivan's office "kicking and screaming" and
biting Thomas' arms, but Sullivan would not comment on either
the veracity of Campbell's account of the beating, or the potential
significance of the alleged "homo" remarks.

Thomas, who wore a long-sleeved blouse when interviewed
today, would neither confirm nor deny that Favrot bit her arms, but said she was "deeply troubled" by the incident. "Recess is supposed to
be for hopscotch and kickball -- not violence and homophobia," she
said. "I just don't know what's happening with these kids today."

Emergency medical personnel arrived on the scene soon after
the attack and took Bohannon to GBMC where he was diagnosed
with multiple lacerations and contusions, a concussion and "very mild"
subdural hematoma. He received 40 stitches on his face, scalp, neck,
arms and back, said Dr. Walter R. Dawson, GBMC Pediatrics spokesman
Bohannon is expected to spend at least three nights in the
hospital's pediatric intensive care ward for observation.

Atlanta Police Department patrolmen took Favrot into custody
approximately 30 minutes after the attack, and are holding him at
the Fulton County Juvenile Detention Center. Officials would not
comment on when he may be released.

Neither boy's parents have made statements to the press and
would not return repeated phone calls.

The lunchbox ban comes only four weeks after the district
prohibited students from carrying backpacks, which Ragsdale said
students are liable to hide guns and explosives.

The biggest skeptics of the lunchbox ban's effectiveness may be
the same playground children it is designed to protect. Campbell
and his playmate Kurt Howard, 7, sneered at the ban. "Man, that's not
going to do anything. You don't need a lunchbox to beat someone up,"
Howard said. "Anyone ever heard of a fist? Duh."

Campbell agreed. "One time I saw this kid smash another kid's
face in with a lunchbag with a rock in it. He was bleeding all over the
place," he said. "Another time I saw this girl whack this other girl
over the head with her social studies book and almost knock her
out for sending this kid a love note. When are they going to make us
not bring books to school?"

Howard echoed his friends sentiments. "That would be so cool."

# #

This Week's Shallow Web Picks

Jack McCracken Fights Dirty
Join fifth-grade bully Jack McCracken as he kicks the asses of
dweebs, spazes, narcs and weasels across the playground!

Peter's Evil Overlord List
This guy noticed that evil overlords always seem to make the
same fundamental mistakes, and has compiled a list of 100 tips to
ensure a long and prosperous career in evil overlordship. Required
reading for all aspiring megalomaniacs.

To unsubscribe, subscribe, or receive previous editions, send
your request to thrillby@p...

The Shallow End
©1999 Southern Surf Syndicate Productions
--- End forwarded message ---

Fender Bass, Small Firearms

Weekly Ramblings by Rip Thrillby

It's been a couple weeks since the last edition of The Shallow End; been
a little too busy to crank one out until now. This is also an unusual
weekend delivery, as I usually dispatch them on Friday afternoons --
hope it gives you something start the week right, especially for those
reading Monday morning at the office.

There's a difference between quitting smoking, and quitting buying
cigarettes. I once knew a guy who hated people bumming smokes from him
so much that whenever he'd open a new pack, he'd take a cigarette out in
front of everyone, then shove it so far up his nostril that you you
couldn't even see the filter anymore. Then he'd twist it around, a
creepy, exuberant leer on his face.
"How about some of my snot with your cigarette?" he'd ask. Then he'd
turn around and put the cigarette back into the pack, so that no one
would know which one had the jacket of mucus. "Who wants to bum from me
now? Eh? Anyone??"
No one ever did.

Speaking of snot, let me share my most embarrassing moment with a female
(so far) with you. It was my junior year of high school, and I was a lad
of 16 suffering from a brutal head cold. Massive nasal congestion.
During a break between classes, I was talking to a cute girl named
Renata in the breezeway.
I said something funny; she laughed. She said something funny; I
laughed. And as I did, a blob of brown snot the size of a full-grown
garden slug exploded from my right nostril, gluing itself to my lips and
chin, its tail still attached to the snot mother ship in my nose.
Conversation stopped. I felt my face flush as I realized, to my horror,
what had just happened.
Renata politely looked away -- what could she possibly say? Of course, I
had no hankerchief. What could I do but snort it back up my nose,
helping it along its way with my finger? Hoo boy. I can't even remember
how we ended the conversation, but she said something polite and excused
herself. To her credit, she never mentioned it later, and as far as I
know, never told anyone.

My junior year was a bonanza of female stress, and the second most
embarrassing female relations episode of my life -- second only because
I didn't have to see this girl's face -- occured that year as well. It
was at a high school dance, and I asked this little hotty named
Millicent, who went to the cross-town high school, to dance.
It was a "slow dance;" I think the song was by Journey or someone
equally lame. No one cared what the song was anyway, as long it was slow
song. The point was, for four minutes or so, you got to hold a girl
tight and have her 16 year-old breasts pressed firmly against your chest
while you hoped you didn't get too noticable of an erection. Seems like
So anyway, I asked this babe to dance, and things were going swell.
Being a teenage boy deathly afraid of scaring away potential slow-dance
partners, I was chewing some kind of breath-freshening gum, fresh breath
being of manifest importance. Bad idea. As we danced, rocking slowly to
Steve Perry's vocal histrionics, I realized to my horror -- there's
that feeling again -- that I had CHEWED HER HAIR INTO MY GUM.
I tried desperately to pull the strands of hair out without her
noticing, hoping against hope that the song would last long enough to
complete the task. It wasn't. As the final chords faded to silence, I
decided, "screw it," and just left the entire wad of gum hanging in her
hair. I can only imagine her expression when she went to the girls' room
and looked in the mirror.
I've rarely chewed gum since that night, especially when I attend high
school dances.

I have yet to see the new Star Wars movie -- I'm waiting for it to come
to the drive-in, to watch it in a lawnchair with fellow members of the
Starlight Drive-Invasion weekly movie-watching society we've formed here
in Atlanta. That THX digital surround-sound oughta sound killer coming
from the bank of cheap jamboxes we set up to hear the low-watt FM signal
the Starlight broadcasts each screen's soundtrack on.

Nearly without fail, every person I've talked to who's seen the film
describes it as, "Well, it's cool to look at," while their facial
expression resembles someone pretending they can handle a mouthful of
Green Apple Ultra Sour Bombs candy without grimacing. I've seen the
trailer, and as best I can tell, the film looks like a cross between
"Rob Roy," the 1980 version of "Flash Gordon" with the Queen soundtrack,
and "A Bug's Life."

I hate to say it, but not only is the emperor (not Palpatine) wearing no
clothes, but computer-generated characters suck. I'm not going to get
into problems with character movement, lighting and perspective and such
-- that videocamera-like sheen, which all computer-generated characters
have, alone draws as much attention to their fakeness as the blue line
around the dinosaurs in a Ray Harryhausen movie. I have no doubt this
will be remedied in the not too-distant future, as it's really not that
great of an obstacle, and most of the truly difficult work has already
been done.

"Star Wars" was the first sci-fi movie in which the space ships actually
looked used. Their worn-out crappiness added to their seeming realism. A
similar approach must be taken to computer-generated characters and
elements. Any Photoshop geek worth his or her salt knows when
compositing elements from different photos, after correcting contrast
and color, the last step is to apply a Noise filter to equalize the
apparent film grain on all the elements. It helps make the part you
added to the original frame look as though it were part of it all along.
You might call it "crapifying" the image quality -- yes, you want it to
look kind of crappy, because this particular kind of "crappy" looks

And then there's the whole matter of this Roger Rabbit Jar-Jar
character. I hate its guts, and I haven't even seen the movie yet. I do
believe George Lucas has fallen prey to what I call the "That's Cool,
Elvis" effect. Think about Elvis Presley's life, hanging out with his
buddies who comprised the Memphis Mafia, as they called themselves. No
one would tell him anything but "That's cool, Elvis," so there was no
reality check.

"Say boys, I'm thinking about making a picture with Mary Tyler Moore
where she plays a nun, and I don't even sing in it."
"That's cool, Elvis. It's got 'hit' all over it!"

"Hey fellas, how about if I put green shag carpeting on the walls and
install some TVs in the ceiling?"
"That's cool, Elvis. You should do that!"

"Hey folks, I think I'll direct this film. For comic relief, how about a
totally computer-generated salamander who talks like a Jamaican?"
"That's cool, Elvis. Hell yeah!"

What George Lucas could use is someone willing to say, "That's a really
stupid idea, Elvis. You shouldn't do that." If there were, the phrase
"Star Wars backlash" might not even exist.

This next section is purely utilitarian, but contains information which
I believe needs to be shared for the betterment of society. I'm no Beau
Brummel, but I do know the basic rules for men's dress, rules a lot of
men don't seem to know -- rules most of the ladies do seem to know,
and whose infractions they notice. Hate to step on anyone's toes in what
follows, but that's unavoidable sometimes. But follow these simple rules
of thumb, and you'll be better-dressed than 95% of the men you meet.

  • All leather should be the same color. If you're wearing black shoes,
    then wear a black belt. Same thing goes for the color of your watchband.

  • If you're the type who wears suspenders -- or "braces" if you want to
    get high-falutin' -- do NOT also wear a belt.

  • The bottom button on a suit jacket or sport coat should always remain
    unbuttoned, whether it's a two or three-button model.

  • There is a difference between a suit tie and a sport-coat tie. Never
    wear a tie with a small, repeating pattern with a sport coat; those are
    for suits. With a sport coat, one wears only solid ties (still not
    advisable -- kind of dull, unless it's a plaid jacket -- then ONLY wear
    a solid tie), striped ties, or ties with a widely spaced motif, also
    called "club" ties.

  • Your tie should be the width of the widest point of your jacket's
    lapels, and should be tied so that the tip just covers your belt-buckle.
    A four-in-hand or half-Windsor (for light fabric) knot looks best with
    most ties.

  • Never, EVER wear a tie with a short-sleeved dress shirt. A friend of
    mine says his dad always told him "only preachers and used-car salesmen
    wear ties with short sleeves."

  • Your jacket sleeves should expose about 1/2" of your cuffs. Hold your
    arms to your sides and curl your fingers in loose fists -- the bottom of
    your jacket should meet your first knuckles.

  • Do not wear more than one brightly colored, plaid or patterned item at
    the same time. Doing so makes you look like one of two things: a clown,
    or a fruit. Or both. Sidebar: Scottish plaid is not "plaid" -- it's

  • I have friends who wear earrings and think no less of them, but I do
    think they'd look a lot better without them. To me, earrings on men
    imply a studied vanity which is hardly in line with the masculine,
    devil-may-care aura most men wish to convey with their appearance. Just
    behold what a vain fool Harrison Ford looks like these days.

  • When wearing dress pants, wear socks that come high enough up your
    calf so as not to expose your hairy legs when you sit down.

  • You can wear any color of socks with shorts, as long as they're white.

  • A pocket square -- the hanky in the breast pocket -- is a touch that
    makes one stand apart from the hoi polloi. Like socks lapel buttonhole
    -- lose the pocket square and the Kiwanis Club lapel pin.

  • Learn to tie a bowtie. It's not that hard, and very similar to a
    shoelace. If shaming your peers at black-tie affairs is your thing,
    having a real bowtie works very well, especially in the wee hours when
    everyone's loosened up -- the clip-on hanging from the collar just
    doesn't cut it. If you've ever been in a tux and had a woman grab each
    end of your loosened bow tie in her hands to draw you into a wet kiss,
    well... enough said.

  • Don't wear white dress shoes or white pants in the winter. Most places
    the rule is between Memorial Day and Labor Day, but in the South you can
    get away with it earlier and later.

  • When having dress shirts laundered, instruct them NOT to press creases
    into the sleeves.

  • A grooming tip -- if you've gone a while between haircuts, shave the
    back of your neck.

  • And shine your shoes, for crying out loud. In college I knew a guy who
    was the best waiter I ever saw, who made buckets of dough waiting
    tables. He said he could always gauge what kind of tip he was going to
    get by checking out two things -- a man's shoes, and his watch. Shallow?
    Yes. Accurate? And how. (Another key tip-indicator is choice of salad
    dressing. Blue cheese, oil & vinegar, and Italian dressing eaters will
    likely tip well; French, Ranch or 1000 Island eaters may very well stiff
    you. People who order their steaks well-done and with steak sauce are
    likely cheap tippers as well. I'm not making any of this up.)

  • When in doubt on a clothing issue, ask a woman. They dig this very

  • Finally, when wearing t-shirts that say, "I'm With Stupid," make sure
    you orient yourself so that the arrow points to your companion,
    especially when attending amusement parks or the symphony.


The Sea-Monkey Worship Page
Instant life! Wonderful pets! Owning a fishbowl full of brine shrimp is
practically a rite of passage growing up in America. To this day, Spanky
can't drink orange juice with pulp in it, since I told him when we were
kids that the pulp was actually the carcasses of dead Sea-Monkeys.

The Straight Dope
Cecil Adams knows everything. Read his answers to compelling questions
from the teeming millions like, "Does the head remain briefly conscious
after decapitation?" or "Does anybody actually like Circus Peanuts
candy?" (Believe it or not, some people do.)

Doug Stickney's Silver Screen Sirens
WOW. Pages and pages of galleries of beautiful babes like Veronica Lake,
Lizabeth Scott and Bridget Bardot. Look at this site, and you'll
understand why so many people who didn't even live through it are so
intrigued with mid-century style.

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The Shallow End
©1999 Southern Surf Syndicate Productions

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