Friday, May 27, 2011

Pole Dancing Goes Mainstream (and to Church)

I recently read a newspaper article where local girl Natasha Wang made good by winning the National Pole Dancing Championship and $5,000 (in one-dollar bills stuffed down her bra). In her interview, she stated that she’d like for pole dancing to “shake the strip-club stigma and be recognized as a legitimate sport.” I couldn’t agree more.

I love sports, and there’s no reason leather corsets and fishnet stockings can’t come in traditional team colors. Plus, it takes a serious athlete to work a pole and defy gravity while wearing 9-inch heels. That’s a lot of drag. Hopefully, when pole dancing is recognized as a sport, scientists will perfect the 9-inch heel by making it more aerodynamic. And then there’s no stopping this sport! Look for PPDA franchise teams to spring up, with names like the “Pittsburgh Pole Kittens” and “Sheboygan Shimmies.”

In these days of personal seat licenses and hundred dollar tickets for sporting events, I think America is ready for a sport where you can get a front row seat with a just a fat wad of dollar bills. Thus making it easier to explain to my wife . . .

Me: I’m going to a not-quite-sanctioned sporting event at MSG.

Wife: Madison Square Garden?

Me: Well, no. It’s a place called “My Secret Garden.” It’s a little more intimate.

Wife: And the bulge in your pocket?

Me: My admission fee. Fifty dollars in one dollar bills. But there may be a discount since it’s Monday. And lunchtime.

The great thing about this . . . sport . . . is that they haven’t lost sight of their roots. The pole goes way back to the early 1900’s Colonel Quentin Pfepherhaus’ Traveling Burlesque Show, held in a large tent, where Lois “Good and Plenty” Amore got tired of running into the main tent pole and incorporated it into her routine. You didn’t need a Ph.D. in literature to tell you what that pole symbolized. The pole was here to stay. And still today, anyone able to pull off those crazy acrobatics without getting her hair tangled in their stiletto straps deserves our admiration, respect, and cash.

While doing research for this blog, I stumbled across another article: Pole Dancing for Jesus. Naturally, this group is based in Texas; leave it to Texans to take a great sport and elevate it spiritually.

Every 2nd Sunday of the month, the group gets together to work out on the poles with Christian music. Then they carry the collection plate through the church. But it’s not as decadent as it sounds: they wear t-shirts and shorts instead of nothing. But still I can’t help but picture Jesus, hiding behind sunglasses and with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth, sitting in a club waving twenty dollar bills to his, er, disciples. How much cash must a dancer earn to be saved?

I can already see the next rapture approaching in October:

“So do I have what it takes?” asks the pole dancer/athlete/disciple as she slinks down the pole.

Jesus shrugs.

The pole dancer jumps off the stage and into Jesus’s lap. “Maybe you’d like a little lap dance? Don’t tell my manager, but I’ll let you have two songs for $40.”

“Eh, I don’t know,” Jesus says. “I’d kind of like to check out the other dancers/athletes/disciples.”

The dancer runs her fingers up his chest, licks his ear, then whispers, “What about the VIP room? I can do things there that are illegal in 17 states. I’ll show you a real rapture.”

“Okay, sure, just let me tell Moses to find another ride home.”

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Viva Las Vegas... Nyet!

“Did you see any shows?” is the second question people ask you after you get back from Las Vegas. (The first is “Did you win any money?”). But there’s no need to ask us about Las Vegas shows anymore. Two years ago on our last trip, we attended a show that pretty much soured us on Vegas shows forever.

It wasn’t one of those $120-a-pop supershows with flying flaming monkeys, surfing clowns, and acrobats who can swallow their own foot. We opted for something a little more low key and intimate, but mostly cheaper. The show was in the small cabaret theater of an older hotel on the strip, the kind of place you might expect to find Major Nelson and Major Healy in white dinner jackets on a Saturday night. Or Don Ho. The show featured a little comedy, singing, dancing and, some, er, mature entertainment. So let’s just call the show “Juggs.”

Too busy drinking wine and playing video poker at the bar to watch the time, we ended up near the end of the general admission line. This turned out to be a major tactical error. The maitre d’ led us and another gentleman into the theater where he sat the gentleman in a center seat near the back. Then he motioned for us to keep following.

“That guy got a center seat,” I thought. “We must be getting a really good one near the front.”

The maitre d’ did lead us toward the front of the theater. Then he opened a side door next to the stage. He stood there smiling and pointed out into a hall.

“Awesome!” I told St. Pauli Girl. “Backstage pass! We get to meet the dancers!”

We followed the maitre d’ into a long, dimly lit hallway.

“I’m not sure we’re in the theater anymore,” St. Pauli Girl whispered after we had walked about a hundred yards.

We could hear loud noises at the end of the hallway. The maitre d’ turned to the left and held open a swinging door which opened into the hotel kitchen. Cooks, waiters, and dishwashers ran around screaming and throwing things. The maitre d’ signaled to one of the lowly cooks who then rolled two barrels of frying oil over to him. He set them upright, and the maitre d’ slapped our programs down on the barrels.

“These are our seats?” I asked.

He nodded, pointing to a television monitor mounted on the wall above the swinging doors. Then he left.

We sat down and sure enough the show started on the television screen but with no sound. Then an angry chef threw discarded duck organs at the screen. Soon after, the head chef came over and grabbed me from behind by my shoulders. He spun me around on my feet then jabbed a finger into my chest, yelling something in some sort of French or German. (I thought it was French, but he spit and growled a lot.) Then he pointed to two huge sinks full of dirty dishes.

“You want me to wash dishes?”

He pounded his finger into my chest even harder.

“But I have tickets.” I showed him our tickets and pointed at the television screen.

“Nyet!” He shoved me toward the sinks.

“It’s alright,” St. Pauli Girl said. “According to the television screen, it’s intermission.”

Okay, so maybe that was a slight exaggeration of our experience. In reality, we were seated behind and underneath a projection screen that hit me at about nose level. I had to lean down to see anything, while the guy in front of us kept leaning back and banging his head on the screen.

“Oh, they’ll take that up before the show starts,” I told St. Pauli Girl.

But they didn’t. A man down the row from us left after the corner of the swinging projection screen poked him in the eye. Lucky me, I wound up with only a stiff neck.

It’s one thing to not thank customers as they walk out of your store/restaurant/theater, but this brought customer service to a new low. In a message I sent to the resort, I pointed out that essentially their message to us was, “Thank you for your money. We hate you. Please don’t ever come back.”

Guess we should have spent the money on a show with double-jointed contortionists on unicycles.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Do Politicians Need More Bandwidth?

First I’d like to apologize to any follower who got spammed by a Google bot recently. I’m not sure how/why it happened, but I am investigating furiously so that it does not happen again. Evil must not be tolerated!

The U.S. government recently announced a new cell phone alert system in which people could get critical alerts from government officials, including the President. I’m not so sure this will work the way they intended.

Let’s imagine possible text message alerts about a tornado forming in Austin and how a Mr. R. Perry of Austin might react:

Obama: Attention Texans, this is your President speaking. Tornadoes are forming across Texas. Seek shelter immediately!

R. Perry: (answering cell phone) Hello? Hello? Who is this? Is anyone there?

Obama: It’s a text message. Use your keyboard to text me back.

R. Perry: 118547770321889

Obama: No, not the number pad. Use the keyboard that slides out.

R. Perry: Weren’t you recently clubbed to death by a team of seals?

Obama: That was OSAMA! This is President Obama!

R. Perry: I believe weather and tornadoes are a local matter. We don’t need Washington telling us when to carry an umbrella.

Obama: An F-5 tornado is bearing down on Austin. Get to the cellar!

R. Perry: Maybe that’s a tornado for you Eastern elites but where I’m from in west Texas, that’s just a summer breeze.

Obama: You will die if you don’t seek shelter.

R. Perry: Ha! A Washington death panel. I knew it!

Obama: The tornado will kill you! Look out your window. Can’t you see the dark noon sky?

R. Perry: Looking east towards that Washington swamp, it’s always dark.

Obama: What’s it going to take to drive you to safety? What if I said there’s two gay illegal immigrants trying to get married on your front porch while trying to vote without a valid I.D.?

R. Perry: Yikes! I’m battening down the hatches. Gotta go. Oh wait! I forgot. How about you going ahead and getting the ball rolling on some federal disaster relief?

Obama: Bwahahahahahahahahaha! OMG! LMAO!

For a fair and balanced blog, let’s travel back in time and pretend we had this system during the George W. Bush presidency. Same setting, different players: a tornado heads toward Austin, and a Mr. Lemony Alfalfa receives the texts:

Dick Cheney: Texans, get yer ass in a shelter, pronto!

Lemony Alfalfa: Hey, what happened to W?

Cheney: Don’t know. He’s walking Barney or something. I’m in charge.

Alfalfa: After not finding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, why should we believe a tornado is coming?

Cheney: That’s what Osama Bin Laden would like you to think. I’m pretty sure he conjured up this F-5 tornado.

Alfalfa: That’s possible. But wouldn’t he target New York or D.C.?

Cheney: Uh, the President’s ranch is in Texas. Duh.

Alfalfa: I’d like a second opinion.

Cheney: I’ll have Colin Powell text you. But you’ll probably be dead by then. Get to a shelter now!

Alfalfa: I’ll wait for the general’s text.

Cheney: What if I told you illegal immigrants were seen coming into your neighborhood?

Alfalfa: They’d probably improve the restaurant scene.

Cheney: These are Eskimo immigrants. I hope you like herring. And what if I said they had concealed handgun permits and they had grounded a ship leaking oil in the Amazon and now they were seeking work as union-busting goons?

Alfalfa: I haven’t finished building my shelter yet. I’m trying to make it green.

Cheney: Go #@*%$ yourself!

Friday, May 6, 2011

The TSA Healthcare Plan

I recently got to try out the new airport body scanner. No, I’m not going to complain about strangers checking out my hot, naked body; it seems most complainers wildly over-estimate how many people want to see them nude. I suspect the task is tedious and boring and causes most workers to kick the internet porn habit. I am here to praise the scanners and promote their usage.

I walked into the scanner and placed my hands over my head as instructed. I winked at the woman behind the control screen and said, “Yeah, that’s all of me.”

“I can see your gut just fine through your shirt,” she answered.

The machine whooshed around me, and I felt more like I was stuck in a revolving door rather than a nuclear reactor core as some people have stated the danger. As I stepped out, the control woman yelled at another worker, “Left knee. Check the left knee.”

Bewildered, I stood still while the officer slid his hand around my leg just above my knee.

“You can go,” he said.

He had barely touched me plus I was wearing shorts so I couldn’t hide a whole lot. But something got her attention. What could it have been?

“Is it cancer?” I asked.


“A tumor? These are giant x-ray machines, right? I assume you can see medical conditions?”

“Move along.”

But that got me thinking that we should combine airport security with health care. Not only should we scan for weapons, by why not just give people a full MRI? After security clears you, a doctor could then check out the image and either wave you on or steer you to a back office for further consultation.

The benefits would be tremendous. People like me who fly once or twice a year would no longer have to get an annual physical. The constantly traveling businesspeople could get cheaper health insurance. The government could cash in its frequent flier miles to force poor people to fly somewhere once a year to ensure they get health care. Plus they would be forced to fly to cash-strapped cities (like all of the ones in Texas) where they could help jumpstart the local economies.

Let’s assume the worst in my scenario and assume that it turns out I have gangrene in my left knee. Check out these great options:

 I could change my flight to Minnesota and go straight to the Mayo Clinic. (let’s also pretend airlines couldn’t charge rebooking fees for medical conditions)

 While sitting in the middle seat in coach, I could just gnaw off my leg to solve the problem.

 I might decide to upgrade to first class.

 I might decide to fly to Tahiti.

 I might upgrade my room to a suite in Vegas and bet everything I had on the craps table (assuming the El Cortez has upgrades)

 The airlines might add skydiving to the inflight entertainment menu to get more fees and provide dying people with that once in a lifetime experience.

Regardless, I would have options rather than just dropping dead on my keyboard like I probably will someday.