Friday, February 29, 2008

Happy Leap Day

Those of us paid monthly know there's nothing happy about February 29--the day we work but aren't paid for. Or, as bloggers call it, a weekday. That is all.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

My Primary Sources

Regarding those final essays you've been hearing so much about recently, here's an actual email I received from a student:

Hi Mr. Shain,

I just had a question about the essay question. Im working on topic three and it says that I have to incorporate significant primary sources. I was wondering if I could refer to my lecture notes as my primary source. If you could get back to me as soon as possible, that would be greatly appreciated.


Thursday, December 27, 2007

Gifts Abound

While many Americans celebrated Christ’s birthday with an orgy of consumerism and contempt for their extended family, I celebrated Christmas by reading the inspired works of fiction my students submitted as alleged final exams. And although some of you may feel your bounty of gifts included some real “crap” you can’t wait to return, I bet few of you received self-identifying crap like these essays:

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Jamie Lynn Spears: Pregnant, Fucked

Today, Jamie Lynn Spears, sixteen year old sister of Britney Spears, announced in OK! Magazine that she is indeed pregnant. Self-proclaimed devout Christian Jamie Lynn played cum dumpster to teen-boyfriend and fellow church-goer Casey Aldridge (pictured shirtless). Shockingly, Kevin Federline was not implicated as the father (yet). One source cited Spear’s reluctance to “give up the brown eye” and “mistaking Tic-Tac mints for contraception” as contributing factors to her pregnancy. Aldridge did not return Facebook messages left by *The Life and Times, although he did update his status to “royally fucked.” No comment yet from older sister Spears who managed to avoid teen pregnancy through abstinence and visits to Planned Parenthood. Critics say this move may help bolster Britney Spear’s tarnished image merely by association, especially if Jamie Lynn accidentally kills her own child by leaving it in a parked car while in rehab. Meanwhile Britney’s publicist confirms Ms. Spear’s Christmas card this year will feature a photograph of her two children with the caption “At least mine aren’t bastards, y’all.”

Friday, December 14, 2007

Day Four: Evacuating

It's now day four of the Mr. Shain has no power campaign. Let me assure you, I've given up and moved to an undisclosed, powered location in Oklahoma City (with the dogs of course). However, digital cable is still out at my safe house so don't think my situation is without its misfortunes. The tipping point came when the local meteorologists predicted 6" of snow and highs in the low 20's. While discussing the plight of middle American families with my mother, she told me, "I'd rather freeze to death in my own home than sit in an emergency shelter with 800 people." I think this really explains a lot about how my brain was distorted as a child.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Day Three: I Can See My Breath

Where the fuck is FEMA? Just because I’m not a black grand-mother of twenty in the Super-dome doesn’t mean I don’t need help too. Oh wait, I guess things didn’t work out so well for those folks either. Well replace New Orleans with Oklahoma as FEMA’s latest victim by stupidity. Do you know what the FEMA officer brought to my door today? Electricity? No. A generator to make my own electricity? No. Bottled water? No. Hot chocolate and spiced cider? Hell no. He fucking brought me a chainsaw. What the fuck? Am I supposed to take this out into the woods to collect my own firewood? Or am I supposed to volunteer to start removing trees from the city’s streets? Will that keep me warm tonight? I politely told the FEMA man I wasn’t in need of a chainsaw. He looked at the two trees laying in my front yard and wished me luck. I said, I don’t need luck, but if you’d like to use your chainsaw to get this debris out of my yard, that would be a big help. He pretended to laugh and walked away. I pretended to use the make-believe generator he brought me. I can still, however, see my breath in the house now.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Day Two: Still No Power

*The Life and Times of Mr. Shain is still without power after 48 hours. The fun has really, truly worn off. The house is quite cold, despite the fire I’ve been stoking non-stop all day. I, along with every piece of clothing I own, smell like Malibu (think about it…). Have any of you ever tried to grade term papers by candlelight? Well it blows, let me tell you. I would have killed myself if I were born in the middle ages (for several reasons, but mainly due to the lack of central heat and air). Oklahoma Gas & Electric issued a statement saying that it could be seven to ten days before power is fully restored to neighborhoods with downed power lines (like mine). As a result, a line of customers trying to buy generators formed at Home Depot and wrapped around the entire building. I did not buy a generator; I was only there to pick up caulk and potting soil (unrelated). However, I may have purchased sweaters for the dogs on the way home. They're argyle.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Ice, Storm, Target

Today I woke up very cold. It was because the heat was off. The heat was off because the power was off. It seems that overnight we had a bit of an ice storm causing every fucking tree in the state to topple over under the weight of the ice. We all awoke to cold toes and the cracking, popping noises of branches breaking. The neighborhoods looked like war-zones with debris covering the streets and yards and all the houses dark, powerless. Here is my street.

Bees-spot and I braved the storm to buy emergency provisions at Target. It was like a bank run. People we grabbing and pushing and buying everything in sight. We attempted to secure hotdogs, but the only thing left was pepperoni (picture forthcoming). However, they did have Toblerone, Saint-GĂ©ron bottled water, cashmere mittens, and bagged ice (for our gin and tonics). Thank God. Afterwards, we meandered through town and took jaunty pictures of ourselves, which we do every Monday night. Usually we can’t show people, but here’s one, just this once.

It’s about 10:30 pm now and we still have no power and my house is very cold. Please send gas-powered electric blankets. Target had none.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

My Intellectual Property

Recently I’ve experienced a minor surge in traffic on *The Life and Times. While my ego appreciates the attention, my brain wants to know why. While investigating the source of my new popularity, I serendipitously came across another blog (which shall go unnamed, unlinked), which had reposted my “Short Fat Toddler” story without a byline or any reference to my blog. Although the blogger didn’t claim authorship of my work, I thought that his preface, “From a link from a link from a link link link” left something to be desired in terms of blogademic honesty. Honestly, I felt a little cheated. It raises the question: What are the normative standards we ought to observe in this world of weblogs? I wish I studied ethics. Or not so much.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Jenna Bush on Ellen: Daddy Time

On Tuesday Jenna Bush, first daughter of the United States, crossed WGA picket lines in Los Angeles to film a guest appearance on the Ellen DeGeneres talk show in order to pimp out her book (or something, I don’t really watch daytime television). Having the daughter of the President cross picket lines pissed off some writers of course, as it should. But what are you going to do about it? Her father could have you killed.

What I found even more disturbing, however, was what happened when Miss Bush unexpectedly called home to talk to her parents during the taping of the show. After negotiating the family assistant who picked up the phone, Jenna was transferred to her mother, Laura Bush. When Jenna asked her mother what she was up to, Mrs. Bush answered, “I’m just sittin’ here with daddy.” Was she referring to the corpse of her dead father Harold Welch? No. She was of course talking about Jenna’s father, George W. Bush. Laura Bush calls her husband, the President, “daddy.” Am I the only one who finds this repugnant? No, because it’s a normative fact. Here are some discussion points for the comments section:

Do you think Mrs. Bush likes to ask for a spanking from “daddy” while making love?

Does President Bush refer to himself in third person as “daddy” during cabinet meetings? E.g. Daddy knows best, etc.

Has the president ever confused himself with Mrs. Bush’s actual biological father?


Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Pimping Juno (Movie) & Diablo Cody (Writer)

It's rare that I spend any time talking about other people's successes on *The Life & Times. However, when I find something that is so good and so unreasonably distributed by Fox Searchlight, I just have to pimp it out on my blog. Today, December 5, Juno opens in theaters in select cities nationwide (read, no where in Oklahoma). I had the privilege of seeing Juno two weeks ago at the DGA screening, and I loved it. Juno is a wild, surprisingly honest story of a girl, a guy, their unborn baby, and the couple that wants to do adopt it. Zaniness and heartbreak ensue as Juno decides what to do with the baby, how to talk to the father, and where to find the couple that would be the parents. Written by stripper cum writer, Slackmistress look alike, and fellow blogger Diablo Cody, the story springs between the irreverently comical and impossibly awkward. Allison Janney, Juno’s stepmother, steals the show. If you haven’t see Drop Dead Gorgeous lately, rent it. But before you do, find Juno and see it.

Monday, December 3, 2007

I Am a Horrible Human Being

But you already knew that, so enjoy...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Please Turn Off All Electronic...

While enjoying the spacious Denver International Airport waiting for my delayed flight to hell, I thought I would capitalize on an opportunity to share with you, my *The Life & Times reader, my Thanksgiving Holiday. Within an hour of landing at LAX I was at an art gallery opening on Robertson listening to an Israeli explain how he believed Jesus was a great spiritual leader but was not, in fact, crucified. Did I mention this show was dedicated to the crucifixion of Jesus? Because it was. There were a lot of skinny jeans being worn that night. I decided Jesus would have worn skinny jeans; he had the body for them. I however do not. Instead I will be rocking the oversized knit sweaters and jackets this winter.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Two Girls One Cup, We're Not Funny

Last night, Bee-Spot and I thought it would be really funny to do the 126,873,270,982,390th reaction video to the viral hit "2 Girls, One Cup." Blythe had never seen the video, so she came over and we recorded the magic in honor of "Cringeday Wednesday," a regular feature over at the Bee-Spot. Turn up the volume really loud before playing the video because it's hard to hear us. Also, if you've never watched the original video before... then maybe you should just pretend you never saw any of this and forget all about it. Or you can find it on Remember, you can't un-watch something.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Kanye's Mom Would Have Loved Batter Blaster

Last week, while reading/skimming Clinton's brilliant blog Zombie Fights Shark, I discovered the best new product of 2007 that will forever change our lives--compressed pancake batter in a can--Batter Blaster! Check out their website to see how blasting batter can improve your quality of life. Realizing that there were no nearby retail stores in my area selling this new wonder of the western world, I sent the company this simple letter:

Which prompted this email response:

As soon as I get back to Los Angeles, I'm buying these miracle blottles by the gross and driving them back to Oklahoma. So please place your orders with me as soon as possibe.

-Mr. Shain
Batter Enthusiast

Friday, November 9, 2007

The Ebony Michael Jackson

Last month, Mark (the Mrs. Mr. Shain) produced this cover for Ebony Magazine, which will hit newstands on Monday, November 12. Thanks to the internets, already picked up the story, thus making Mark a more successful blog-entity than I could ever hope to be writing for this abject failure. Is there any justice in this world? I guess there probably by Matthew Rolston

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

You Might Have a Problem

You know what’s funny about alcoholism? Watching a middle-aged woman whose skin looks like a saddle bag with scabs on her face walk into a liquor store at 2 p.m. to buy a $5 bottle of vodka only to drop it in the parking lot while trying to unscrew the cap. If I had tags for this blog, I’d file this under: Mr. Shain Is an A-hole, Midday Cocktails, I Heart Oklahoma, and This is Not About Blythe's Mom.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Professor Bartok

The language skills of my 90-year-old professor seem to be atrophying with age. Granted English is his fifth language, but today he said to me, "I check my email erotically." I hope he meant erratically. I really, really hope.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Short Fat Toddler

Mr. Shain: I need to get this prescription filled.

Pharmacist: Alright, what’s the date of birth for the patient?

Mr. Shain: October 30, 2004.

Pharmacist: So he’s got a birthday just around the corner.

Mr. Shain: Uh-huh, guess so.

Pharmacist: I’m sorry, there seems to be a mistake on this Rx. The weight is listed as 50 pounds.

Mr. Shain: No, that’s correct, we just weighed him.

Pharmacist: No, he couldn’t possibly weigh that much.

Mr. Shain: What? Why? He’s really fit. Dr. Biles said he’s the perfect size.

Pharmacist: Well how tall is he?

Mr. Shain: How tall? I have no idea. Maybe a foot 'n a half? Why?

Pharmacist: So you’re telling your three year old son is only 18 inches tall, weighs 50 pounds, and your pediatrician thinks he’s fine? Do you realize the average three year old is twice as tall and half the weight of your son?

Mr. Shain: My dog.

Pharmacist: What?

Mr. Shain: My dog. The average weight of a three year old is half the weight of my dog. Did you notice that the Rx was written by a vet?

Pharmacist: Oh.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Silk Soy Sex

Silk Soymilk wants you to keep your heart healthy and blood HIV-free.

*Now with condom in every gallon!*

Monday, October 8, 2007

I Heart Teaching

Teaching college freshman is like giving yourself a big hug. Not really, it’s more like this—only not as glamorous. And there is certainly no craft services table (catering). I wanted to take this opportunity to share a few quotes from my students’ recent papers:

“The Bible is considered the most accurate book in the world.”

“Trying to comprehend a being that is all power is in a sense a waste of time.”

“My dog is not very intelligent.”

"Without Christianity there would not be any diversity in the world."


“The complexity of nature is obvious. Nature is complex.”

“The Big Bang is a theory that gives evidence for the Bible.”

“evil monkey-squirrel god”

“Where we live a sinful life and die.”

“Therefore, one can conclude that since the Bible is entirely accurate then God does exist.”


“Blaise Pascal, a credible Philosopher of the 17th century, spread his seeds to many fields.”

“incorrect fallacies”

“Faith in God is something personal that should not be challenged by a theory or thesis.”

Sunday, September 30, 2007

A Relationship In Trouble

Esquire’s second annual The Big Black Book (which is red this year) enlightens the modern man with a list of “10 Things You Never Say To a Woman.” Upon reflection, I realized I’ve said 8 of the 10 to Blythe, including the following:

“Is that what you’re going to wear?”

“You look [anything but ‘beautiful’].”

“You were hungry, huh?”

“And you’re not invited.”

“Do you have any cash on you?”

“It’s my money.”

“Let’s walk. We [you] could use the exercise.”


Monday, September 24, 2007

Monday Morning Mocha

I have a jolly-good idea. The first commenter (today) to correctly identify BOTH the name of the building in my header AND the identity of the statue in my avatar will win a $20 Starbucks gift card along with a signed photograph of Mr. Shain and Bee-Spot (including full frontal face). I’m serious folks; how else are you going to win free lattes this morning? It is on!

(Leave your guesses in the comments section.)

Friday, September 21, 2007

Can't Stop, Can't Go

Today while waiting in line at the market to check out, the man in front of me purchased a pack of Nicorette gum and two 48oz bottles of prune juice. I thought to myself, “this man is deeply frustrated.”

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Work, She is Over

Today was my last official day in the Los Angeles office. Following a short sabbatical, I'll move back down to part-time from Oklahoma, where the wind truly does come sweeping down the plains. Now that the nastiness is behind us, blogging shall resume in high fashion. Topics to look out for in the following weeks are:

• Driving 20 hours straight with two dogs
• My students are stupid, here’s why
• Bee-Spot & Mr. Shain do yoga (with pictures)
• Milwaukee and me, a retrospective

Also, thank you for all of your letters and phone calls asking if I was okay. Indeed I am. Also, screw you for not calling.