Sunday, April 19, 2009

Commercials That Suck

Commercials are the fleas and ticks of our modern media-drenched life. They can be mere annoyances or they can be evil, bloodsucking soul-stealers. Commercials are how your life slips away from you undetected and as a result one day you wake up and see your father staring back at you in the mirror and you wonder WTF happened to my youth? The vast majority of commercials are complete, utter wastes of time. I have no interest at all in whatever product or service they are shilling and never will. Sitting through them is dead time, 30-second segments of my life squandered that I will never get back. And that's plain wrong.

Necessary evil, you say? They pay the bills? Maybe. The occasional commercial I could deal with. But when they come in packs of eight or more in a row, a tedious torrent of banality disgorging from your television into your living room, well, I have a little problem with that. Often repeating themselves in the same short span of time, their spawn-of-Satan creators apparently regard us as a bunch of idiots who need to have their tiresome message mercilessly drilled into our heads like some kind of cerebral root canal.

Most television commercials are just boring, stupid and lame. But there are some commercials that rise above mere mediocrity and reach toxic levels of mind-numbing, stupefying awfulness. These are commercials that not only clumsily attempt to sell some crappy product but also, intentionally or not, end up killing your mind and spirit and make you feel like you have been assaulted by some media zombie that just sucked your brain out through your eyes. And that is not an acceptable thing to do, just to sell some high-calorie sandwich or laundry detergent.

Here, then, is my list of Commercials That Suck, from least to most offensive. Five masterpieces of awful that crush your spirit and stink up the air. I rated them 1 (very low) to 5 (very high) on these attributes: General Ickiness, Level of Obnoxiousness, and Creep Factor, which is when either implicit or explicit sexual connotations are thrown in just to make everything a little more loathsome. Because you can never have too much loathsome when it comes to commercials. These are not local commercials, which are so invariably, deeply inane and stupid they don't even deserve mentioning. These ads are for national products and services shown in prime time or late night, on either over-the-air networks or cable/satellite.

5. Jared Jewelers: Every Christmas, Valentine's Day and Mother's Day it's the same damned thing. A bunch of hoity-toity people are in a restaurant or something and someone's administrative assistant starts waving her hand in everyone's face showing off her ring. With a smarmy, dead-headed smile she intones, "He went to Jared's!" Then everyone in the restaurant has to knowingly say to each other with a winky-winky nudge-nudge, "He went to Jared's!" Even total strangers have to crane their necks 180 degrees around and say that. It is annoyingly repeated over and over again like some kind of mantra, which if said often enough will impart some cachet of quality to a tacky, overpriced bauble that was probably cobbled together in a sweat shop in the Philippines. Bitch, please.
Ickiness: 2
Obnoxiousness: 4
Creep Factor: 1
Total Score: 7

4. Alltel Wireless: There are a whole raft of annoying cell phone commercials starring some blonde him-bo named "Chad" and how cool and with-it he is compared to the quartet of pathetic geeks representing other cell phone providers. The commercials are stupid and bad enough, but their obnoxiousness is immeasurably compounded by the hyperaggressive saturation ad campaign which airs these ads literally hundreds of times an hour on ever single available channel. In the weeks before AND after Christmas you could not get away from them for one single second. They've since dumped the Four Geekmen of the Apocalypse but "Chad" is still around navigating us through the moron-filled expanses of cell-phone hell. Needless to say I will never patronize Alltel, solely on the basis of these appalling ads, and I hope no one else does.
Ickiness: 2
Obnoxiousness: 5
Creep Factor: 2
Total Score: 9

3. Just For Men Hair Color: Most of these "get rid of some of the gray" ads are pretty vapid and lame, as if having gray hair is that big a deal or a problem. They are more boring than offensive, but there is one commercial that is really bad. It shows what appears to be a single dad with two tween daughters, who barge in and say to him solemnly, "Dad, we think it's time..." and shove a bottle of hair coloring in his face, adding, "We think you would be a great catch for someone." First of all, why are those two preteen daughters so obsessed with their dad's sex life? How did they figure out that graying hair = never get laid? Secondly, any guy who takes romantic advice from a ten-year-old deserves to never get laid. Inexplicably, the guy listens to his daughters and the next scene has him at dinner with less gray hair and a hot babe, taking a cell phone picture of the two of them to send to his girls. And the girls cackle gleefully when they see the photo, like, "Gee, once Dad starts getting some on a regular basis he'll be in a good mood and we can do or have anything we want." "Wheeee! X-box, here we come!" Sad, pathetic and downright icky.
Ickiness: 4
Obnoxiousness: 3
Creep Factor: 4
Total Score: 11

2. Trojan Fingertip Massager: Picture it: two younger with-it chicks are in a library leafing through a magazine when they come across an ad for a Trojan Female Fingertip Massager and begin chortling and snickering about how awesome it is. Behind them is a much older, matronly woman, who can hear them and look over their shoulders and seems to be getting a little grossed out at the concept. One of the younger women whispers something in the ear of the other, presumably some ungodly activity you can do with the massager, and the other says that's something that can "save a relationship." I consider myself reasonably sophisticated but have no idea what she whispered and I so DO NOT want to find out. The ad then switches to a look at the actual massager, and I have to admit at this point my brain went into lockdown mode to avoid any further damage. I do not remember much until the end of the commercial where the two young women are wondering if you can order this thing online and Aunt Hagatha behind them pipes up and says, "Of course you can get it online, that's where I got mine!!!" The two women look at each other all embarrassed and grossed out, to which I enthusiastically add EWWW!! OMG!! I SO did not need to know ANY of this! And no, I didn't see this on some porn channel, it was on A&E.
Ickiness: 5
Obnoxiousness: 4
Creep Factor: 5
Total Score: 14

1. Erectile Dysfunction Medications/Male Enhancement: There's just so much going on here I don't even know where to start. Let's do the ED drugs first. Viagra, Cialis, Levitra - yeah, you know who you are. Viagra with the bunch of good ol' boys sitting around a broken-down roadhouse with their musical instruments singing its praises. Those insipid couples in the Cialis commercials with the matching outdoor bathtubs. And I can't remember what's going on with Levitra but I'm sure it's no better. All these normal-looking guys having earnest conversations with several million of their closest friends (actually, total strangers - us!) about their erectile problems. Dudes, seriously: if you're having a problem getting Mr. Winkie to stand up and say howdy, try having that earnest conversation with your urologist, NOT US! Keep it to yourselves, we don't want to know. Side note: I wonder if the actors in these commercials are ever recognized on the street for their "work" with people coming up and asking them, "Are the guy with the flat tire?" or "What's up, Mr. Softie?" The worst one is with the black couple where the male has popped his little blue Ticket to Paradise and is starting to get amorous with the little woman, when DING DONG, it's the doorbell and one of their grown kids shows up with a gaggle of grandchildren. The couple look at each other like, "Oh well!" and welcome the kids inside. Not only does the man lose his big chance for sexy time, but he has to hang around a bunch of children for four hours with an erection. The Creep Factor is kind of off the scale with that one, and personally it makes me want to call Child Protective Services on the lot of them. As for "male enhancement", which invariably has to do with size, blah blah blah, there's this crap called Enzyte which is some compost of weird herbs and industrial waste that is supposed to "enhance the male member". Yeah, I'm so sure that will work. But the commercials for Enzyte are truly awful, terrible and loathsome. They are set in some kind of hallucinatory netherworld of 1950's-era Leave-It-To-Beaver bad fashion and furniture, starring this grinning idiot named "Bob" and all these horrible creepy Stepford-wife types. There are many variants of these Enzyte commercials and there is not one single good thing to be said about any of them. They are all repulsive and appalling and everyone connected with them needs to suffer a very public, painful death. They are truly the worst of the worst.
Ickiness: 5
Obnoxiousness: 5
Creep Factor: 5 (only because it doesn't go any higher)
Total Score: 15 (and that's being conservative)

Honorable mention goes to the Subway sandwiches ads and their spokesgeek/former dirigible Jared, who is one cheap wig and a bad make-up job away from being a really ugly drag queen. And now that we've found out that Subway workers spew all sorts of bodily wastes and fluids all over the sandwiches they make just to have fun, how many more reasons do we need to avoid Subway?

Yes, I do watch too much television, and I am ashamed. I don't HAVE to watch horrible commercials, yet here I am. Hello, my name is Steve, and I am an addict. I'd tell you more except it's time for 24.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Disappointing Choice

President Obama deliberately passed up a chance to really do a lot of good for animal shelters all over the country by choosing to get the First Dog from a breeder instead of a rescue organization.

Sure, the family has the ultimate right to get their pet from whatever source they decide on, but it seems to me Malia and Sasha probably wouldn't care much where their dog came from - they just want a pet! I really don't think that the Obamas ever had any serious intention to get a shelter dog. Their first choice always had been a breeder, in spite of the very real tragedy of millions of perfectly wonderful dogs, cats, rabbits and all other domestic animals languishing in shelters everywhere, unwanted and unloved. The fact that they and their P.R. flunkies are now equivocating about getting their dog from a "home where he didn't work out" instead of a "breeder" indicates that they are aware of a public-relations backlash and realize their unpopular, indefensible decision. The fact that the dog was a gift from Senator Edward Kennedy does not cover up the fact that it came from a breeder.

I realize that being President is the most difficult job in the world because anything you do is guaranteed to piss off someone, and there are many more pressing issues that command his attention. But it would have been such a great boost to the thousands of organizations across this country, whose members labor tirelessly and often without compensation amid depressing, demoralizing conditions, to have a shelter animal in one of the most visible platforms in the entire world. Maybe people would have thought, "if a rescue dog is good enough for the White House, they're good enough for me."

A shelter animal in the White House would have been a great thing. The Obama girls would have gotten a fantastic pet and it would have been a potent reminder to everyone seeking a companion animal that adopting from a shelter is saving a life, and creating space for another life to be saved.

Obama chose not to exercise moral leadership and do the decent thing, and because of that he gets a great big FAIL!!! We expected better from him.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Separation Most Vital

Awesome article on detailing the many reasons why this country is not a Christian nation, claims of the religious right notwithstanding:

The fundamentalist extremists in the country never fail to exceed their own standards of arrogance when it comes to their assertions that the United States is a "Christian" country and anyone who disagrees can GTFO. The occasional mention of "God" and a "Creator" in the Declaration of Independence does not necessarily infer that this country was founded on "Judeo-Christian principles." Religious conservatives harp mercilessly on the fact that the Pledge of Allegiance has the phrase "under God" in it but they don't mention the fact that those words were not in the original Pledge, but rather added to it in 1954, not really that long ago.

The founding fathers back in the 1700s were not a homogeneous bunch of Bible-thumpers. They were a diverse group including Rosicrucians, Freethinkers, Free Masons and others. For the religious conservatives of today to appropriate the history of this country into their own narrow-minded, modernist version of Christianity is wholly invalid and quite an unreasonable stretch. They seem to think they have a monopoly on God and everyone should conform to their own particular brand of delusion. Two principles upon which this country most definitely was founded were religious freedom and a strict separation of church and state. It was no accident that the founding fathers worked so hard to keep religion out of government and government out of religion. The whole purpose of this country's formation was to provide religious freedom to those who had been persecuted by the majority, for their beliefs. And today it's happening all over again.

To insist that the laws of this country be modified to conform to the beliefs of the majority, at the expense of the freedoms of the minorities, is one of the most blatantly treasonous and un-American things that could ever happen.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Perfect Moments in Life

What is this thing we call life, the gift of existence and consciousness bestowed upon us when we part company with the womb at birth? Is it like a cosmic pinball game where we are the little metal balls and bounce from event to event, moment to moment, careening off in different directions depending on the event? Does our sense of time give us a better (or worse) idea of our destinies?

I think of the present as a singularity, an instant in time. We are surfers riding the very crest of the wave of time, teetering on the edge and rushing toward some distant, unknowable future. All the moments of our lives have brought us to this very point in time, everything we have ever done has contributed to us being right here, right now, and is the springboard to whatever fate has in store for us. And where we will go in the future is about as easy to predict as exactly where a leaf is going to touch the ground when it falls from a branch 30 feet high.

Humans have an understanding of the present, as do all forms of life, but we are also saddled with a memory of the past and anticipation of the future. It's hard to be sure if other animals would have detailed memories of the past or a concept of the future - they live completely and totally in the moment. Although who's to say the blue whales or porpoises or the great apes such as gorillas, chimpanzees and orangutans don't have similar understandings of time? We don't know, but humans certainly do. And, as is their wont, humans will embellish their concept of time with regret for things that happened in the past and entitlement for things that will happen in the future. Consequently humans experience time as a great mishmash of past, present and future all blurred together. Our present experience is colored with remembrances of the past and hopes, fears and desires for the future. But what about the times in our lives when the past and future drop away and we are living precisely, totally and perfectly in the present? These are some of my perfect moments in life:

I can remember as a child growing up in the Pittsburgh area one extremely frigid winter morning when I had to go on an errand or something. The sun was up but there was an icy haze to the air that filtered the sunlight and let the blue from the sky illuminate everything. It must have been single-digit temperature, and the ground was covered with a thick layer of dry snow that crunched loudly under my feet. I walked past a neighbor's house where they were drying their laundry in the clothes dryer, and the warm, moisture-laden air was being pushed outside through a vent. When the hot, moist air hit the dry, extremely cold outside air it immediately turned into massive, white billowing clouds of steam, which rolled and boiled out in fantastic, cloud-like shapes. There was also this amazing, pure, wonderfully clean fragrance of clothes and fabric softener and warmth that was just startling and incredible. The confluence of that wonderful, homey fragrance, the icy, frozen morning air and soft, blue skylight in that instant merged into a total memory experience that I haven't forgotten all these years. For an instant I was lost in those billowing, fragrant clouds of steam and I loved it.

Another time it was a summer evening at my childhood home in Pittsburgh. The weather had been very hot and uncomfortable for a while, but the day before some massive thunderstorms rolled through the area and, as often was the case, a cold front behind it brought deliciously cool, clear and dry air from Canada to our area. It was nearly nine o'clock in the evening and the sun had set about a half-hour before in the western sky. All the red and orange sunset colors had faded, leaving only a band of brilliant, ice-blue twilight on the horizon. I stood in my back yard and just gazed out at this beautiful band of blue light against the darkening sky and the inky horizon, feeling the incredibly pleasurable cool breeze and the silence of a summer evening. There was a business, I think it was a bank, in a town a mile or so away from me up the hill and they had these electronic chimes that rang out the hour. Right at 9pm as I breathlessly savored the cool blueness and serenity of the twilight the chimes started playing, and this very ethereal, dreamlike and pastoral music drifted in on the breeze from a distance like a whispered vesper prayer. The music danced in and out on the breeze, fading slightly and becoming louder at random, and I can remember being utterly transfixed and mesmerized by this perfect nexus of sight, sound and feeling. The past and future did not exist for me - there was only this moment of complete, total peace. I don't think I have ever had such a feeling of happiness and contentment in all my life. It only lasted a minute or two, but it was transcendent in its beauty and I will never forget it.

Today being Easter Sunday 2009, I invariably think back nearly fifty years to another Easter Sunday when I was in third grade. Easter was a movable feast and in western Pennsylvania was always at the mercy of the weather - sometimes it could be decent but often enough it was cold, blustery and rainy, even snowy. But that particular Easter occurred late in the spring and the weather was gloriously clear, warm and sunny. The gentle March weather that year had resulted in the pear tree in our back yard being absolutely loaded down with hundreds if not thousands of fragrant white blossoms. I can remember looking up and seeing golden sunlight filtering down through this incredible canopy of white flowers, and the soft warm breezes touching my face really did feel like a gentle kiss. I was dressed up in my finest Easter outfit and I just felt so perfect and clean and special, almost like being reborn. If there is a heaven it must be an awful lot like that sunny Easter Sunday morning in my backyard, all pure radiance and clean light and white blossoms. Again a moment of complete peace and contentment, something all the intervening years and events cannot possibly dampen.

These are just some of the moments that have made my life so rich and worth remembering for me. Please take a moment to remember one or more of YOUR special moments in life, when everything was perfect at that very moment and you didn't want anything more or less than what you had right then. Remember them, the precious, perfect moments that make up a life.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Forgiving Easter

Public Service Announcement: Do not give live rabbits as Easter presents. Come on, people, it happens every year. You don't need to give your shrieking, ADHD-addled offspring a little bunny to torture and feed crap to. No one's saying you can't have a happy Easter - give a plush toy bunny or a chocolate rabbit to enjoy. Save the beautiful life of an innocent rabbit. Spread the word.

It will be Easter in a couple of days and I always get to thinking about a lot of things when this holiday rolls around. I was born and raised in a devout Roman Catholic household, although I never considered myself to be Catholic. Actually I never had any say in the matter - a couple of days after I was born they whisked my little bald head off to church to be baptized. You see, I had been born with "original sin." Rumor has it (and by "rumor" I mean the Baltimore Catechism circa 1941) that after Adam and Eve partook of the forbidden apple they were banished from the Garden of Eden (site now occupied by a Honda dealership in Anaheim, California) and all of their progeny would be stained with "original sin" for all eternity.

Um... seriously? Babies being born today who haven't done anything at all automatically have a sin credited against them when they take their first breath? You don't need to be Mr. Cynical to think that maybe it's just a transparent, self-serving scam perpetrated by the Catholic Church to make sure all babies get baptized as soon as possible after birth, before the parents can change their minds. And once the Church gets its fishhooks into you, you will stay hooked unless and until you do something drastic.

My parents were devout Catholics, not to excess. They certainly weren't fundamentalists, but the Church was a huge part of my life growing up. Attendance at Sunday Mass was absolutely mandatory unless you were two seconds away from death, and only then would you be grudgingly excused. In my first sixteen years of life I remember missing Sunday Mass only once, when I was very sick with a fever and was hallucinating about being 10,000 feet tall. I was sent to Catholic school and our house had a Bible and a huge garish crucifix in the living room above the television. Imagine watching Monty Python's Flying Circus under the watchful gaze of a bloodied Jesus and you get some idea of what my childhood was like. And yet the second I went away to college I turned my back on the Catholic Church and never, ever looked back. For all their good intentions, my parents made the same mistake that the Roman Catholic church, and most organized religions for that matter, make, and that is you can't force a person to believe in something that they innately don't believe in.

I may be wrong, but I've always intuitively felt that religious faith is something that comes from inside you, not imposed by force from the outside. Faith is a deeply personal thing that goes to the core of your understanding of life, your purpose in it, and if there is an afterlife. If you don't have faith in something, how can someone or something make you have faith? Fact is, they can't. Someone can impose their beliefs on you and you can say that you believe it, too, but that's a form of lying, because you are merely telling them something that they want to hear in hopes that they will get off your case and leave you alone. But that is not true religious faith.

However, back to Easter. It was the second-biggest religious holiday of the year, after Christmas. It was a string of days, starting with Holy Thursday, where admittedly nothing much happened but I guess it was a gearing-up day, and ended with Easter Monday, also known as Dingus Day in my little Polish-Catholic hometown, when it was okay to run around and throw water balloons at all the girls. I am not kidding about this, just don't ask me to explain it. In between was Good Friday, which commemorated the day Jesus was actually crucified, and we were not allowed to go outside and play or make noise or watch television between 12 noon and 3pm. We had to sit around a quiet house and stare at the walls and do pretty much nothing, which was amazingly surreal to me. At some point we got hustled off to church for Stations of the Cross, which was unmitigated torture to me. Also Holy Saturday, which was fun because that's when they had the Blessing of the Animals and everyone got to bring their pets into church, which I thought was outrageously cool, especially when some big dog would take a dump on the floor in front of the altar.

Speaking of unmitigated torture, nothing was worse than the previous Sunday, Palm Sunday, when the priest read that incredibly long gospel about the passion and crucifixion of Jesus and you had to stand throughout the whole thing. It was awful and I can remember wanting to sit down so badly as the priest just droned on and on. One horrible Palm Sunday the priest read through the long, tedious gospel in English, and then at the end when everyone thought they were going to finally sit down, he read it again in Polish! All the way from the start, for the benefit of the three elderly Polish ladies in the back row who couldn't hear a damned thing anyway. I can remember being delirious with outrage as I had to stand for what seemed like a horrendously long time while the priest blathered on in an incomprehensible language.

Tortuous church services notwithstanding, out of all the Catholic holidays Easter seemed to have the most meaning for me, because it dealt with redemption and forgiveness, two concepts which are eternally interesting to me. I liked the idea of admitting your sins, atoning for them, and coming out a better person afterward. Redemption is a transformative process, a way to get closer to God while still retaining your humanity, by admitting that you are a flawed being and allowing the power of love to heal you. But just as Christmas has become distastefully corrupted by the many, onion-like layers of greed, materialism, commercialism and consumerism that so easily supplants the true, basic meaning of the holiday, Easter has too become stained by the emphasis on colored eggs, marshmallow peeps and Easter baskets filled with the most obnoxious, wasteful crap imaginable. And, as I mentioned at the top of this entry, the unfortunate association of Easter with domestic rabbits, which in the vast majority of instances results in a rabbit being abused, neglected, abandoned, turned into already-overcrowded shelters, doomed to a lonely life isolated in some outdoor hutch, or worse.

What to do then, with this holiday where innocent creatures are sacrificed for some anachronistic tradition of the "Easter bunny". Maybe we should just forgive Easter for this unfortunate association and move on to a better way of celebrating it. After all, it would be the most Christian thing to do.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

They're Only Words....

I am an unabashed lover of language and words. Words are like mini-paintings to me, little nuggets (or capsules or bullets) of whatever emotion you need to convey. They can be elegant vessels of beauty or hateful globules of venom, whichever you want. They can be as focused and precise as a laser beam, all deep rich color and concentrated singularity, or they can be as broad and expansive as a rainbow across a stormy sky. Words are tools that can be used to build or to destroy, with equal facility. They can float and glide across your lips like the breeze that carries the fragrance of orange blossoms everywhere this time of year, or they can be spat across the room like little darts of vengeance and animosity. Here are a few of my favorite words, and some of the reasons why they fascinate me.

"Vituperative" (adj., verbally abusive) - This is one of those words which you can use just about anywhere and not a lot of people will know what you mean but it will sure make you sound intelligent. And in this style-over-substance culture we live in, often appearance will do just as well as reality. You can wildly misuse this word and no one will really notice or care. You can say, "Wow, these fresh strawberries sure are vituperative," and someone will say, "No kidding, try them with whipped cream!" Or, "That dress makes you look really vituperative," and they say, "Stop it, you're just saying that to make me feel good." Nothing is more fun than using an obscure word with a very strong negative meaning and have someone think the exact opposite.

"Desiccated" (adj., dried up, dehydrated) - This is a word that says what it means. It always makes me think of some bleached bones half-buried in the desert dust with the arid, hot wind blowing across them. I remember first encountering the word as a child reading an Isaac Asimov story, where two scientists got into a heated argument and one scientist called the other a "desiccated old fossil." At the time I thought it was the most awesome insult I had ever heard and the receiving scientist would be scarred for life and never recover. However when I used that phrase on actual people they were much less impressed.
USAGE NOTE: Words with a double-c in them should be avoided, e.g., "desiccated", "vaccine" and "saccharine". Words with a double-u in them are erudite and scientific-sounding, like "vacuum" or "continuum". But for God's sake STAY AWAY from words with a double-r-plus-h in them, like "catarrh", "diarrhea" and "hemorrhage".

"Quagmire" (n., a difficult, precarious, or entrapping position) - This is a word with a not-so-nice meaning that sounds like it should be really funny. It almost sounds like it should be "quackmire" and mean a meeting place for a social gathering of ducks. Someday when I complete my transformation into a cranky, ill-tempered old curmudgeon (something that people say will happen in about a week and a half) I'm going to tell everyone my name is Chester T. Quagmire, just to be disagreeable. I really like the word "curmudgeon", too, but we're going to let that one go for now.

"Lavender" (n., a pale purple color) - I like this word because I have so many pleasant memories of childhood connected to it. There was this children's song I learned early in Catholic school that had the words "lavender blue" and "lavender green" in it. I know "lavender green" is kind of nonsensical, but somehow in the context of the song it totally fit. I loved that song because it was one of the few songs the nuns taught us that didn't have some kind of religious reference to it. I also loved "My Country 'Tis Of Thee!" until I learned it was a total rip-off of "God Save The Queen!" As a child when I visited my grandmother her bathroom was a lavender color and she always had a bar of Camay soap near the bathtub. I loved the delicate, wistful floral scent of the soap. I associated it with her and I really loved my grandmother. She also had a bar of Palmolive soap near the sink, which is the only thing that could have made it more perfect. Lavender, the color and the word, is all good to me.

"Pristine" (adj., not spoiled, corrupted, or polluted) - A simple little word with a precise, uncomplicated meaning. Says what it means. All fresh, clean and natural, like a pristine lake or stream, or an unspoiled pine forest. One of my favorite songs of all time is Simon and Garfunkel's "Scarborough Fair/Canticle." This song is absolutely pristine and perfect. It also has a line which goes, "tracing a sparrow on snow-crested ground". That is awesomely pristine. Some words are just perfect little packages, just the way they are.

These are just some of the words I love, I'll be posting more on an occasional basis as I think of them. Maybe someday I will be known as a desiccated old curmudgeon with lavender underwear caught in a pristine quagmire of his own vituperative(ness). Just thinking of that sentence almost made my head explode but it was so worth it.