I resolve to chew thoroughly every bit of corn I consume so as not to see them again at a later time.
I resolve to ignore.
I resolve to field a team instead of constantly teeming a field.
I resolve to sit patiently while the doctor reapplies the cement.
I resolve to ask questions while shooting, instead of just shooting first.
I resolve to take three hundred and fifty-third in the Lottery.
I resolve to be more attentive to my self-preservation needs (which is not a euphemism for masturbation, although I'm sure that will play a role).
I resolve to put the stink back into elegance.
I resolve to live life as if there were no tomorrow, nor yesterday, nor even today.
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Speaking of which, they don’t have any flat rocks at work to demonstrate so I usually just head down the hall to the men’s room when I need to see a man about a horse. When jockeys say that I guess you never know whether they’re really going to see a man about a horse or just using it as a euphemism. Since I don’t work with horses or have enough room to keep a horse at home, you can assume that I’m off to take a leak if you ever hear me say that. Not that I would ever say that. But I did have an intern once who had a merchant marine background and insisted on telling me every time he was going to “hit the head.” Even when I told him he didn’t have to alert me each time. He stopped just short of saluting me. After he graduated from the Academy the only job he could find was driving a casino boat in a circle, so he ended up working for us before he went crazy and took a bunch of blue-haired granny gamblers on a joyride down the Des Plaines River. But I digress.
Believe it or not, the cow pissing on the flat rock was not a digression. I intended to extol my good hygiene and how militant I am about hand washing. The problem is that I think I’m washing or rinsing a little too violently because on more than a couple occasions I’ve recently splashed significant amounts of water onto my pants (or kilt if it’s not too chilly out). Then I end up returning from the men’s room looking like I pissed all over myself and in severe need of remedial lessons in going #1.
I may have to start wearing an apron.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
This morning he seemed a little groggy. So, I gave him a two liter bottle of Jolt Cola and a bag of Skittles for breakfast. He still seemed punchy. What kind of a parent would I be if I sent him out to take two finals in such a tepid state of mind? I had to rile him up.
To get his mind cranking a little, I asked him about what he expected to be on his tests. He replied with a snotty, “Everything - they’re finals, you know.” No need to be a dick, asswipe. I devised another line of questioning specifically designed to entice the capillaries feeding his brain, to which he replied with a Gatling gun-like round of “I don’t know” responses.
Since brain tickling seemed like a lost cause, I decided to rev up his mind through psychosomatic irritation. I began punching his arm, daring him to get mad at me, to get mad at the tests. “Don’t take crap from those tests, dirtbag! You can take them! They’re just words on a page. Are you gonna let harmless little words get the better of you? You gotta show those words who’s boss! You gotta get mean! You gotta get ugly! You gotta smell bad! You gotta take a relaxed yet alert posteur and draw consistent and deliberate lines and curves with your yellow number two pencil! YOU GOTTA GRAB THOSE TESTS BY THE BALLS AND RIP THEM APART!”
“I’m going to miss the bus.” And he left.
Then I remembered he wasn’t very good at comprehending figurative language. Luckily, he never listens to me. I think he’d get a zero for a ripped up final. But if he did listen to me, literally, I would be interested where he grabbed the tests before he ripped them apart.
Friday, December 12, 2008
In the past year and a half, they have each given me a George Foreman Lean Mean Fat Reducing Grilling Machine as a gift. Is it because I’m a bachelor on the go, and have little time for culinary activities? Is it because George Foreman used to be my favorite boxer? Is it because they are concerned about my health? No, it’s because they think I’m fat and want to make fun of me. I get it. I need to reduce my fat intake. That’s fine. I can’t argue with them. I’m a little chubby – but only around the fat areas of my body. My ankles are in good shape. They’re like race horse ankles. And you should see my sleek elbows. One would wonder why I am not a professional elbow slash ankle model. I know I wonder about that.
Insult or not, the George Foreman grill is an effective cooking machine. It renders steaks a perfect hue of pink, detoxifies rancid chicken in a succulent manner, crisps corn flakes to a delectable singe and vaporizes little drops of water when I’m strapped for entertainment and have no cash for the bar. But, the grill has one annoying flaw. It doesn’t self clean. My oven does, why can’t the George Foreman grill? What is the difference between an oven and a grill? Wanna go camping? Not only does it not self clean, it is a pain in the ass to clean.
The cleaning instructions suggest waiting until the grill has cooled before cleaning, purporting some precautionary piffle about avoiding burns and skin grafts. The problem is the cooling time is also animal fat petrifaction time. By the time the grill becomes a safe temperature to clean, the left-over meat residue has chemically melded with the so-called non-stick surface. Removing it is like trying to grind the scuz off Paris Hilton. As a joke, they include a molded piece of plastic to help scrape the charred meat scum. It cracked in half the first time I tried using it – and that was only to carve a totem pole out of a banana. It would probably disintegrate if I tried using it on the petrified animal fat.
I was about to drop the grill into a vat of Ocean Spray Cran-Salami juice until I read, in large bold letters in the instructions, Do Not Immerse In Water Or Other Liquid. Not only did that ruin the light show for my Accompanying Flavors of Cranberry Juice Festival, it destroyed my hopes to turn the George Foreman grill into my new favorite bath toy. This, of course, has nothing to do with the cleaning of the product, but I felt it was important to mention at this time because I figured some of you were wondering about it.
Ultimately, it takes about fifteen minutes of dousing and scrubbing to clean the grill. In my world, where cleaning after cooking either involves the dish washer or the garbage can, that’s the definition of pain-in-the-ass. Consequently, I don’t use the grill often. I set aside the first one I received after using it once without cleaning it, and forgot about it, only to find it a few months later underneath the couch. Who knew the George Foreman grill could also be used as a Petri Dish? They may want to incorporate that feature into their brochures. The grill my other sister gave me is still clean. And it’s still in the box. That’s the best way to keep it clean.
Now that I think about it, George Foreman is fatter than I am. The grill must not help people lose weight. Maybe my sisters weren’t trying to torment my fat. Maybe they wanted to torture me through excessive cleaning aggravation. They know I only clean enough to keep my kids from drowning in soot. Either way, I admire their dastardly ingenuity. You got me. Nice one.
Monday, December 08, 2008
by Edgar Allan Poe
The dying swan by northern lakes
Sings its wild death song, sweet and clear,
And as the solemn music breaks
O'er hill and glen dissolves in air;
Thus musical thy soft voice came,
Thus trembled on thy tongue my name.
Like sunburst through the ebon cloud,
Which veils the solemn midnight sky,
Piercing cold evening's sable shroud
Thus came the first glance of that eye;
But like adamantine rock,
My spirit met and braved the shock.
Let memory the boy recall
Who laid his heart upon thy shrine,
When far away his footsteps fall,
Think that he deem'd thy charms divine;
A victim of love's altar slain,
By witching eyes which looked disdain.
Why did Edgar Allan Poe write a poem about somebody's ass? That is what I thought when I read the title of this poem - Fanny. Poe, it seemed to me, had too much class to write about something so trashy. Although his other works tended to concern the macabre and the psycho-gruesome, his approach had seemed sophisticated. The fact is that old Edgar was a guy, and that "class" was feigned. You knew at some point his true nature would surface. And surface it did; in the form of Fanny. It's not a pretty sight.
Guys like women's asses. If we had the talent, I'm sure we would all write a poem or two praising them. Since the majority of us aren't as gifted as Poe, our verses are manifested in whistles, howls and grunts. Sadly, our efforts aren't as appreciated as of those who can paint with a quill. Fanny is no more than a primal grunt from Poe as he wallowed in the inescapable truth of his maleness.
After reading Fanny I was confused. Not one mention of a butt; not even a cheek. This surprised me, because the word "ass" has many words that rhyme with it: bass, class, gas, glass, lass, mass, etc.. It should have been simple to write a poem using all of those rhymes, not to mention the plethora of rhymes that go with butt, buns, tush, rump, rear end, derriere, gluteus maximus, buttocks and, of course, pooper and turd cutter. Yet, the words in the poem did not seem to live up to the title. I felt disappointed. Instead of giving up, I decided to dig deeper into the hidden meaning of the words on the page. To my delight, Poe, like the master that he was, came through for me.
With most poetry, the meaning is never blatant. Hence the need for interpretation. I gouged the lines of verse to discover Poe's true perspective on the posterior.
The poem presents itself in retrospection of a man looking back on his younger years when he tangled with his attraction to "Fanny", as described in the third stanza: "Let memory the boy recall". The event encoded in memory must have taken place some time in the past, "when far away his footsteps" fell. Obviously, he met someone with a remarkable backside, and he confused his lust for the butt with love for the person who wore the butt. He "deem'd thy charms divine". Literally translated, those charms were an ass made in heaven.
The second stanza describes his first rendezvous with the "Fanny". This gets a little disgusting, so bear with me. Remember, I did not write this poem. I am merely an observer. Also, keep in mind that Poe was bent toward the degenerate side.
In this stanza, he finds himself in the
At this point in the interpretation process, it helps to have knowledge of the personality of the author. Poe was not very smooth with the ladies. He had a hard time meeting them. One covert strategy he employed was to climb into the pit of the ladies outhouse, pretending to be searching for a lost wallet, with the hopes of initiating a chance encounter. As he was extremely shy, he generally went unnoticed as he floundered in the sewage, too afraid to fulfill his scheme. From this vantage point, Poe had direct view of "the brown eye", if you will. It was during one of these endeavors that he spotted the "eye" of worship and became infatuated with it. You could imagine how the lighting underneath an outhouse might resemble that of a northern evening sky, so I will not offer a graphic description. It is this parallel that stimulates the author's memory to this occasion.
The power of his infatuation or his "spirit"..."like the adamantine rock" vanquished his normal apprehensiveness as it "braved the shock". He pursued and seized the ass and the woman to whom it belonged. Like most relationships based on carnal attraction, this one failed. Focus switches from the single "eye" (her tush), which originally enticed him, to the "witching eyes that looked disdain". Disdain brought about when she finally learned of his cesspit meanderings, which also explained his interesting aroma. He should have known he could not keep his squalid past a secret forever. My guess is that one of his buddies, hopped up on mead, haphazardly blurted it out at a party. She dumped him, leaving him "a victim on love's altar slain".
With a broken soul and pain in his heart, he traveled to the North Pole to introspect. The first stanza begins at this point. After appropriating some of his pent up aggression on the skull of a swan, he takes time to reflect. As he listens from a distance to the wailing of the broken fowl, his retrospection begins. He realizes that the swan's "wild death song" (probably "Killed By Death", by Motorhead) echoes his waning state of being. "Thus trembled on thy tongue my name." I'm not sure if swans have tongues, but it doesn't matter. The metaphor works, and he probably got extra credit for using a personification. It would not have been as effective if he chose to write, "Thus trembled on thy BILL my name". That would have been silly, and Poe would have lost all credibility.
We now know what Poe is telling us. It's an idea that has been around for eons and can be summed up with the old proverb, "Don't let the little head do the thinking for the big head." This philosophy is never a main ingredient in a successful relationship, although it works well as a garnish. Poe's greatness allows him the ability to expand on this adage: "...unless you don't mind becoming distraught, moving to the North Pole and clubbing water fowl".
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
William Byrd was one of the most celebrated English composers of the Renaissance. He was born in 1540, underneath a milking cow. He had begun as a musician at an early age. He was so young, in fact, he whittled a flute in his mother’s womb out of one of his newly generated femurs. Later in life his leg would play beautiful music when he stood pantless in the yard on a windy day. He sang in the Chapel Royal during Mary Tudor’s reign which placed him in the best choir in
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
I rolled into town on my road trip Sunday only a little behind schedule due to the snow and in time to catch the Bears game. The weather was crappy, so I asked the pixie-like front desk clerk (pixie-like as in the mythological creature, not the Black Francis type) for a recommendation on my quest for a decent sandwich and a screen to watch the game. She smacked her gum a couple times and sent me two doors down to the sports bar in the neighboring hotel.
Hotel sports bars, as a rule, suck. They’re like the finance department at an auto dealership. Like the sushi platter from Costco. Like the Cubs in the playoffs. Like the scrambled eggs at a breakfast buffet. Like a no-smoking sign on your cigarette break. Like a traffic jam when you’re already late. Wait, I think I’m getting away from suckitude and into irony. And I digress.
But the snow was blowing sideways and I didn’t feel like driving so I skipped across the parking lot to check it out. There was one other patron, a creepy fat guy sitting square in front of one of the two big screens. The décor reminded me of a joint that the Charlestown Chiefs might frequent after a game (see Slapshot, circa 1977) and did not appear to have been updated since that era. I grabbed a white leather lounge chair at the bar and inquired if the kitchen was open. I didn’t understand the mumbling barkeep but he handed me a couple pieces of paper that looked like they were spit out of an ink-jet printer several years ago. I ordered the special Hawkeye burger and a diet coke and nodded in response to the incoherent comments the barkeep made during the game, while a few other creepy guys filed in and filled the grimy, yet groovy chairs in the lounge.
Then they walked in. Number one was tall and wearing spike heels that nobody had business wearing in this weather. But she must have been well acclimated to the cold since she wasn’t wearing underwear either. I know this because when she bent down to the bar to get her drink her dangerously low-rise jeans dropped into the danger-zone revealing nothing but the top half of her bare butt.
Number two was wearing proper shoes, but was also apparently well acclimated to the cold because her shirt was… well, I know what it was but I don’t know what it was called. I wanted to say camisole, but when I looked it up it wasn’t what I thought it was. Okay, I did further research and I guess it can be called a cami, but I’ll also have to add relaxed fit and, well, wonderfully slutty. The cami can be your secret weapon - it looks sexy on its own with jeans or worn with a shrunken cardigan, tie-front sweater or fitted blazer.
I overhead some of the exchanges with the barkeep, and it turns out that by not going to the strip club down the street to watch the game that I, by total chance, ended up going to the bar where dancers from the club hang out. Which means I got to enjoy the scenery and watch the game without some topless harlot trying to sell me a table dance every 30 seconds.
It’s just too bad the burger sucked.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Elmo was a bartender at Vernon’s Bar and Grill, a place I used to hang out at many years ago. I never found out his real name, but learned everyone called him that because he was from a small town called Elmo, Texas.
Rebel was a cocktail waitress at another Dallas bar where I used to hang out called the Wild Turkey. I can’t be sure Rebel was not her real name, but I’m giving her parents the benefit of the doubt.
3. Hookah Man
Let’s just say I only met him a couple times in college when we ran out of plastic sandwich bags. He always seem to have some on hand.
I worked with Hillbilly one summer during college when I did roofing. The name fit and I never heard him called anything else.
Fatboy and I worked at that same roofing job with Hillbilly, and he drove the whole crew to the job site in him mom’s Dodge Aspen station wagon because he was the only one with a valid drivers license and not on probation.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
It kind of caught us off-guard while we were locking the bikes to the parking meters in front of the Polish bakery. Maybe the Wolfman Jack tone of his voice added to the surprise. We looked up and saw an older black guy ambling along the sidewalk in a matching velour sweatsuit and carrying a shiny cane.
“Good, how’re you?" I replied.
“Looking good, looking good. Bottom line – you look good.”
We weren’t even wearing matching team jerseys. But we looked good. Bottom line.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
At no point is it ever good to put garlic in your vagina.
Sometimes I think about saving the world, but I’m just not sure it’s feasible.
I just don’t want to do it with a drunk lesbian.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
“What are you doing up here?”
“I’m here on business.”
“Seattle.” Crap. My first blunder.
“So what are you doing up here?”
“Just came out early to check out Vancouver for the weekend.”
He was buying it. “You have relatives or friends there?”
“Where are you staying?”
“Holiday Inn, North Vancouver.”
“Awesome. You know I hear Shania has stayed there.”
“Oh, I know. Why do you think I booked it?”
“Party on, brother, and have a good time.”
He was ready to return my passport and then pulled it back.
“You don’t have any weapons, do you?”
“Not unless you count these fists.”
“Just make sure they’re only used in self-defense, Grasshopper.”
My hands, indeed, remained relaxed throughout the weekend. The folks of both Vancouver and North Vancouver were very Canadian, yet receptive of their visiting neighbor from the south. After approximately 60 hours it was time to head back to take care of business, so I tossed my duffel bag in the trunk and my backpack on the passenger seat and made my way back to the nurturing bosom of my homeland.
I rolled up to the border and found it much more crowded at noon than at midnight, with the overhead signs indicating a 30-minute wait. While spending my last minutes idling in the great white north I noticed that about 90% of the cars in line displayed Canadian license plates. I sat smugly in my US licensed vehicle, US passport in hand, waiting for my turn to be waved into my homeland.
As I got closer I spotted a sign notifying us that all fruits, vegetables and meats must be declared. My heart started to race as I remembered the two apples and two bananas in the bag on the front seat. I considered quickly wolfing them down, but had nowhere to dispose of the core and peel evidence. The line moved forward and suddenly I was before two uniformed border agents.
“Where’s your car?”
What kind of stupid question is that, I thought. I’m friggin’ driving it, genius. Of course, my actual response was a dumbfounded, “What?” as I handed over my passport.
“Where’s your car,” he repeated, as if repeating it made it any less stupid. Then I realized he was trained to spot rental vehicles amidst a fleet of generic, supposedly inconspicuous Chevys. I suppose that’s because rental vehicles arouse suspicion, as I obviously would not use my own personal car to make a political statement by blowing it up at a US-Canadian border crossing.
“In Chicago.” Since he was so interested, I considered telling him that it was really my wife’s car, even though it’s in both our names, but I take the train or ride my bike to work every day and really don’t have a use for a car on a daily basis, but even if she didn’t need the car I still probably would have chosen to fly into Seattle and drive from there rather than make a half continental road trip out of it.
“So what were you doing in Canada?”
Jeez, none of your goddam business, dude, I just wanted to drink some cheap Molson and get a free prostate exam.
“I have a meeting in Seattle this week, so came out a few days early to check out Vancouver.”
“What did you think?”
I think it’s not worth the hassle of trying to get back into my own country, Chief. Now how about giving me back my passport so I can let you get back to checking out these shifty Canucks in line behind me.
“Pretty nice, got in some good hiking.”
“Take some good pictures?”
Are you fucking serious? Does my passport say Ansel Adams or are you trying to trick me into saying I was really up there getting some Canadian kiddie porn?
“What did I tell you about ‘yeppers’?”
“I don’t remember.”
“I told you not to say it. When are you going back?”
WTF, you going to arrange for a car to take me from my hotel to the airport? Or did you just want to try to get together for a beer?
“Turn off the car for me and pop the trunk.” His partner went around back to look for dead hookers or back bacon. Or both. Your best Canadian hitmen know that back bacon is often used to cover up the odor of dead hookers.
“Give me the keys.”
Crap. That’s it, I’m going to end up in Guantanamo Bay in an orange jumpsuit and nothing but some prayer beads and a copy of the Qur’an for the rest of my life.
“Are you bringing back anything purchased during your visit?”
“I have a couple apples and bananas – hope that’s not a problem.” I was totally screwed. I prepared to be waterboarded.
The ruckus coming from the trunk area intensified. The back door opened and I was waiting for the drug sniffing dogs to discover the meth stash that porter working for Hertz stuck under the floor mat when his shift supervisor surprised him last week. Instead the agent had finished his examination of the trunk and was now searching under the back seat like a jealous girlfriend looking for a pair of unfamiliar panties. Then the passenger door opened and I told him, “Gas, grass, or ass, buddy, nobody rides for free.”
Well, I said it in my head. He didn’t look like the joking type and he pounded on the dashboard as if it were a soda machine that had just stolen his quarter. Fortunately, no hookahs fell out and he finally seemed satisfied with his vehicular molestation.
His buddy, still in possession of my keys and passport, seemed to run out of small talk and reluctantly turned them back over to me, obviously unaware of my unpaid parking ticket from back in 1990 and my activities during that night in Memphis in November of 1996. But I digress.
I finally got waved through and gave the Mrs. a call to relate my traumatic experience.
“You have a goatee, probably haven’t shaved all weekend, and I bet you’re wearing your bank robber hat and sunglasses, aren’t you?”
“Well, of course they inspected your car.”
Screw you guys, I’m going back to Canada where I’m welcome.
Here is what they did to my normally well-organized bag.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
I took advantage of a business meeting in Seattle by flying out the weekend before to head up Vancouver way and get down with some Canucks and freebase some back bacon. Unfortunately, my timing kind of sucked – it was too early to ski or snowboard and too rainy to hit the mountain bike trails. And although the US dollar is recovering a bit, those Canadian hookers are still on the high side.
Instead, I packed my hiking boots and decided to do some line dancing in Calgary. Or hiking in North Vancouver. Yeah, that sounds better.
I did some research and determined I should check out Lynn Canyon and Grouse Mountain. Lynn Canyon supposedly had a suspension bridge, a cool creek and some decent trails. Grouse Mountain had The Grind, slutty teenage girls and Romanian prostitutes. Oh, sorry, that’s myspace.
My plane touched down quite nicely late Friday night at 9 pm. I got my rental car and after putting on my tire chains I started north. I checked into my hotel a little after midnight and on the lobby wall was a picture of none other than my hero Shania Twain, celebrating her stay at that very hotel in 2003. I could barely sleep knowing that I could be sharing a bed with her. I was hoping they hadn’t changed the sheets in the last five years. Eventually I dozed off with images of her Any Man of Mine video dancing through my head.
I arose refreshed and downed my protein shake (not a euphemism) mixed with the new dark chocolate raspberry flavored frappacino. It was raining, but Shania had inspired me to conquer the Grouse Grind that day and not even a rabid Eskimo could stop me.
The Grind is a trail that goes straight up the side of Grouse Mountain. It gains 2,800 feet over a short 1.8 miles. As a point of reference, the mighty Sears Tower is 1,450 feet tall. So it would be like putting a rickety wood ladder up against the Sears Tower and climbing to the top. Twice. In the rain. While juggling, doing a tap dance and singing the Catalina Magdalena Lupensteiner Wallabeiner song. But I digress.
There are numerous accounts of people having to be rescued each year while attempting the climb. Mostly overweight men in halter-tops and stripper shoes bringing along a 40 of Olde English Ale for hydration. Told you Canada is a weird place. I had planned ahead and was wearing my moisture-wicking halter-top base layer under my waterproof shell and ditched my stripper shoes for my hiking boots. I notified the local press that I would be attempting to break the trail record of 24 minutes and 22 seconds in case they wanted to cover it live or interview me at the top.
After what seemed like an hour of hiking, burning legs and a maxed out heart rate, I saw a sign indicating the ¼ point. I checked my watch and saw it had only been 20 minutes. I considered setting up a base camp and taking on the rest the following day, but my hotel room was already paid for and I forgot the bring the blueprints for a lean-to shelter so I ventured upward. As promised, it got steeper.
During this leg, I continued to get passed regularly by other hikers. Including a man carrying a baby on his back. I was moving as if I were carrying an imaginary refrigerator on my back. Not one of those mini dorm room fridges, but a nice stainless steel Viking side-by-side fridge with an ice dispenser and built-in plasma television. Eventually, I saw the ½ point marker. I found a log and had a seat before my heart, pounding as fast and loud as a bass drum at a Slayer concert, gave out in a wet, messy sort of explosion. As hikers continued to approach and pass me, I sucked in a deep breath and offered a pleasant “good morning” so as not to alarm them with my distress. After about 10 minutes, I ventured upward. As promised, it got steeper.
During this leg, my butt became number than a sub with a spanking fetish and my neck cramped from looking up to the trail ahead. Hikers continued to pass, including a couple women who looked like they stepped out of a Mop n’ Glo commercial and a man about the same age as John McCain. I tried not to become discouraged as I was positive I must have missed the ¾ point marker. Unfortunately, about 10 minutes later I came upon the said ¾ marker, and made another pit stop where dementia began setting in and I started to strip off my clothes and sing Celine Dion songs. This prompted an attack by a flock of nearby grouse (hence the name of the mountain), and I was sent scrambling for my clothes and abandoned my set list. I ventured upward. As promised, it got steeper.
Surprisingly, the last ¼ didn’t seem as long or painful. Same thing I used to hear from sex partners. Finally, I emerged from the trail and onto a paved driveway circling the lodge at the top of the mountain. I cried a bit. Because I accidentally shot myself in the eye with the pepper spray I was carrying to fend off bears. After it wore off, I spent a half hour wandering the trails and exhibits and enjoying the best view of Vancouver from anywhere on the North Shore.
Realizing that rolling down the mountain side is probably not the safest or most effective method to get back down, they sell one-way tickets back down on the tram for a mere $5 Canadian. I think that’s something like $1.23 US so I took them up on their offer and enjoyed the ride back to the parking lot below.
My time was 1 hour, 20 minutes. I only missed the record by 56 minutes. Fortunately, the press was busy covering a girl scout cookie sale that day and didn’t show up for my failed attempt. But I’ll get the record next time.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Sid: I think I need to go to the hospital.
Mrs: Why, what's wrong?
Sid: I'm exhausted.
Mrs: You don't need to go to the hospital.
Sid: But famous people check into the hospital for exhaustion.
Mrs: You're not famous. Get your ass out of bed.
Three years of medical school and she thinks she knows everything.
When you look at a narwhal, the first thing you'll notice is that it has no arms or legs. The next thing you'll figure out is that the narwhal is wet, as it lives in water. For those of you with keen senses of observation, you will be able to identify the narwhal's most distinguishing feature - its single tusk. The tusk is actually a tooth, one of only two teeth the narwhal sports (this characteristic leads some naturalists believe that the narwhal's origin is
For reasons not entirely understood, the left tooth of the male narwhal grows to colossal proportions; up to ten feet in some cases. That's a big tooth. Every now and then a female will don an elongated tooth, but it doesn't grow as large as the average male's tusk. These are probably the feminist narwhals, who have become increasingly predominant in the narwhalian government. Some experts believe the purpose of the gargantuan tooth is to break ice for breathing holes. But, they use their bulbous heads for that. Others believe that the tusk is used to fend off predators, but the tusk is too fragile and would break off in any kind of skirmish, leaving the narwhal not only prone to being eaten, but really embarrassed. The most popular theory is that male narwhals use the tusk as an aid to establish dominance in battles over females. It is a similar concept to the sword fighting that occurs in high school locker rooms between teenage boys. That is all bunk, of course, because it is obvious that the primary use of the narwhal tusk is billiards.
As with most animals that have hard things growing out of them, the narwhal is a favorite target of humans. Humans just can't get enough of ripping tusks off animals like narwhals and elephants to carve useless knickknacks out of them. Consequently, narwhal populations have dwindled, but not to the point of sanctioned endangerment (but give us time). It's not that I mind the merciless killing of helpless animals - it's all the damn knickknacks. They're everywhere. Knick knack paddy whack, give the dog a bone, this old narwhal needs dentures now (except that he's dead). People should buy stuff they can actually use. And if they absolutely need some bric-a-brac, they can carve them out of bones of dead relatives. It's a great way to promote family unity.
Narwhals weigh between one and two tons. Their diet consists of mostly squid, crabs, shrimp and fish. That does not say much for you fish eaters out there who think you are keeping the weight off by eating seafood. Better start eating some burgers before your left tooth starts growing. Narwhals measure about thirteen to sixteen feet long. Their appearance is similar to that of the Beluga whale (except for that crazy tooth), with whom they can be found swimming together. Neither of these traveling buddies have dorsal fins. That could explain why they choose to hang out with each other, since the other dorsal-finned whales tend to ridicule them. "Hey, Beluga, where's your dorsal fin? Doesn't your mommy let you where one? Are you not whale enough to grow one? Your back looks like that of a land dwelling mammal. You LANDLUBBER! You, too, Narwhal!"
The scientific name of the narwhal is Monodon monoceros, which means "one tooth, one horn". They should be called Monodon huge monodon, since, as we know, the horn is actually a tooth. This single horn-like appearance has sparked some people to refer to the narwhal as the "unicorn of the sea". I think it's safe to say that it is the "unicorn of the world' until somebody comes up with evidence that a horse-like unicorn ever existed. The narwhal gets little respect from most special interest groups. Once exception to that are the Inuit people of
Narwhals live approximately 50 years, barring "higher species" intervention. They follow the philosophy coined by The Who: "I hope I die before I get old." No worries about social security in the narwhal camp. For this reason, their economy has always been strong. Like other whales, they communicate with each other using pulses and clicks. There are about 25,000 to 45,000 narwhals out there, so it is unlikely that you'll meet one walking down the street. Even if you did, you probably wouldn't be able to understand what it was saying to you. But, if you do meet one, and he wants you to give him a ride in your convertible, don't put the top up. Sometimes they get a little "sword-happy" with those tusks, and you won't know that when he says, "Pulse, pulse, click, pulse, click, click" that he's actually saying, "Hey, look, I'm Zorro!". There goes your rag top.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
At least BC. At least that part between the US border and North Vancouver.
First, after bribing the border patrol with a sixer of Elsinore I started my drive to penetrate their proud land. I quickly encountered some flashing yellow lights on a sign about ½ a block before an intersection warning me to get ready to stop because the light was aboot to turn yellow. Serious? Isn’t that what a yellow light already is? That’s like ordering cheese on your grilled cheese sandwich.
Then, while still in my car, I next encountered a flashing green traffic signal. I could only assume it means to step on it, which makes sense since everyone seems to drive the speed limit or less and could probably use some encouragement to pick up the pace.
Speaking of speed limits, they’re posted in km/h. My car had those listed on the speedometer, but they were printed very tiny in a color called “nearly invisible especially at night”. So I used the rule of thumb to take the km/h and multiply by 6.2 (rounded down to 6). So if the posted speed limit was 50 km/h, then that would be 300 mph. Hmm. That seems high. So I just divided by pi (again rounded down to 3 to be safe). Yes, 100 mph. Unfortunately it was difficult to maintain that speed since most of the native drivers were barely going 30 mph.
To make matters worse, pedestrians seem to expect drivers to yield to them. I can tell you that several of them won’t be making that mistake again.
I had to refuel and gas was only $0.98. I was shocked to discover that my rental Cobalt had a 49 gallon tank. It barely looked 13 gallons.
Speaking of money, they have a bunch of coins instead of paper currency. So you go into a store, pick up a couple dollars worth of back bacon, hand over a $10 bill and get back a handful of coins. So now instead of just sticking a bunch of bills that weigh about the same as a piece of paper the size of a paper bill, you have to lug around a pocketful of coins. I wish I’d have known so I could have brought along my medieval coin bag.
Judging from the languages on the signs, Canada also appears to have a problem with illegal immigration. Except instead of accommodating Mexicans with Spanish signs like the US offers, Canada places French on their signs until they can build that wall along their border to keep the French from illegally entering. Although I heard from many Canadians who would prefer to look the other way since the French take low-paying skate sharpening jobs that might otherwise go unfilled or possibly increase the cost of those services.
Okay, there were a couple cool things. First of all is that every restaurant, bar, school, church, firehouse, doghouse, homeless shelter, barn, library, jail cell, strip club, bus stop, gym, and hiking trail has a high-def, big-screen television broadcasting a hockey game.
And finally, Red Bull gets it. In the US, they just talked us into mixing it with vodka so we could stay up all night to maximize our drinking. In Canada, they take it to the next level by suggesting that after some Red Bull and vodkas it’s a good idea to don some skates and participate in a little competition called Crashed Ice.
I only hope it makes it as part of the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
But when I came upon the place it was all like new and shiny and shit and packed full of trendy folks. Even the bar area was full. So I kept walking. I found some hole-in-wall Asian joints, a couple Italian joints, some dive bars, sandwich shops and a pita place, but nothing reached out and grabbed me. As I approached what I perceived as the end of the district, I walked past a sex toy shop, a lingerie shop and a place called the Honeyhole. Given its locale I figured it must be a massage parlor or house of ill repute, possibly a strip club at best. Since I prefer to keep my name out of the police blotter and my nose out of strange cleavage I didn’t pay much attention to the storefront. I wandered back up the other side of the block and found some hole-in-wall Asian joints, a couple Italian joints, some dive bars, sandwich shops and a pita place, but nothing reached out and grabbed me. It seemed like a good area to do some drinkin’ but I had trouble picking out a place to stuff my face. I found an abandoned doorway and consulted the iPhone. And surprisingly one of the recommendations was the Honeyhole. Apparently it’s a bar with pretty decent sandwiches, so I made my way back to that end of the block.
I peeked in the window like a creepy homeless dude and saw some tables, mostly occupied, and a small bar with an open stool. I yelled “dibs” though the window, ran inside and claimed my piece of real estate belly side of the bar. The bartender somehow was able to be both attentive and disinterested at the same time. As opposed to the waitress who was just plain disinterested once her table of friends left.
I probably should have been a little more self-conscious since I think I was the only one there without a neck tattoo or with someone sporting a neck tattoo. Great place for people watching, which is probably just another way of saying I was the creepy old guy staring at everybody. Fortunately, I was able to divert my gaze to the décor quite often as it was quite eclectic. Picture it as if Pee-Wee Herman were raised by the Addams Family and got to decorate his own room using only items found at an Asian flea market on the Canadian border.
The pulled pork sandwich wasn’t bad, either, cooked up by an indie cutie who occasionally poked her bescarfed head out from behind the curtain separating the kitchen from the bar. Probably checking me out. You know, the creepy guy at the end of the bar.
As soon as I get my neck tattoo, I’m heading back.
Friday, November 14, 2008
And the oppression continues – all in the name of security. The terrorists, and all bad people in general, are winning. We, the humble, good-hearted, decent citizens of the world are shackled by restrictions set forth by the paranoid rule makers, who are not so much concerned with our security or well being, so they may affirm, as they are girding themselves from being stolen from or criticized or sued. From the shaming personal space probing interrogation at airports to the infuriating blow-torch-requiring cd and dvd unwrapping struggle, our lives have become a battered polished ball in a pinball game of fear and absurdity. Woe is the talisman of abstract paranoia amidst a retention pond of wrangling. Do not heed the presage of byzantine scallywags set forth for foraging - forsaken, forlorn and formidable. Let oysters reel in a gouge of contempt. The plain obscured. Among the flippers, bumpers, plungers and slingshots are the passwords required to access the ever growing colossus of essential on-line systems in our lives – email, consumer accounts, chat rooms, CIA backdoor entrances, sex offender registrations, job related systems, bank account access, personal web sites, proprietary plastic surgery landscaping options, address databases, private blogs, education sites, and the rest, here ON GILLIGAN’S ISLAAAAAAAAAAANNNNND. Apparently we each have a lot of information to protect from the groping eyes of others.
The Doctrine of Cool deems no use for passwords. If xe is cool, xe will not peep the skivvies of others unless said peeping be permitted by the skivvy bearer. Since the Doctrine of Cool has not yet manifested itself in concrete form, it has no bearing here. Why even bring it up? I’ll tell you why, because I’m slowly writing the Doctrine of Cool in snippets strewn about the Internet, which I eventually will compile and publish while lounging on my death bed.
I don’t know the vast history of passwords. I can only speak to my experience. Passwords began as simple words or phrases that were memorable to the user, like booger. Everything was wonderful – the users’ information was protected by booger. Eventually the assholic principle of entropy kicked in, (Inconvenience = Number of Assholes times Time divided by the Steady State of Wonderfulness, or I = NA*T/SSW) when assholes throughout the world had enough time to figure out people’s passwords. This drove paranoid rule makers to invent the mandatory periodic password change. The assholes caught up quickly so we had to create more intricate passwords, like booger1, and change them constantly like a newborn after eating a pureed burrito. This pattern spiraled out of control, degrading the meaningful password generation process to a banshee of incommode.
Recently, I was instructed by the words on my computer monitor to change the password I have for a system I pretend to work on at by job. Since this is the month of November, I changed my password from booger1008 to booger1108. In response to my attempt, the words on my monitor screamed, “I THINK NOT!” I was provided a list of password creating rules to which I must adhere, else not be able to fake work in a convincing manner. Below are the rules of my password bondage:
Your password must:
have at least 8 character(s)!
not be longer than 12 characters!
have upper and lower case characters!
have no more than 8 upper-case letter(s)!
have no more than 8 lower-case letter(s)!
have at least 2 letter(s)!
have a leading letter!
have at least 1 digit(s)!
not contain a dictionary word!
not contain an exact dictionary word match!
not be your username!
not be your username backwards!
not contain your username!
not contain your username backwards!
not be your username with the letters rearranged!
not be an old password!
have no more than 1 pair(s) of repeating characters!
not have 3 occurences of the same character!
not contain three or more consecutive characters from the login ID!
I fell asleep three times while reading the list. When I finally got through it, I tried using “Joshua” as my new password, hoping the security programmers were fans of War Games and let that one go, on a lark. Nope. They’re probably Short Circuit fans. Losers. In order to come up with a valid password, I had to take off my socks, haul out my abacus and dig up my alphabetic See ‘n Say. I still couldn’t come up with a valid password. They were kind enough to offer some suggestions, like k#D9i_p&. Ordinarily, I would have thought, there’s no way I’m going to remember that! Luckily, I was drunk last week and got k#D9i_p& tattooed on the ball of my foot. That’s fine for this month, but what about next month, when I’ll have to change the password again? I can’t keep getting drunk and getting tattooed. Or can I? Naaaah.
As convoluted as these password rules are, there are some interesting features. It’s basically a behavior study in people’s password choosing habits. Nobody likes coming up with new passwords, especially in this Nurse Ratched environment of security, so they’ll take as may shortcuts as possible – reusing words, respelling words, using the username, repeating the same letter (ffffffffffff), etc. I am proud of this outpouring of laziness. It’s good to know I am not the only one. Also, why is there an exclamation point after each rule? Are they yelling at me? Did somebody in the password rule meeting think, “We better put an exclamation point at the end of each one so they know we mean business!”? I guess the suggestion to place “It better fuckin’” in front of each rule (as in “It better fuckin’ not contain a dictionary word!”) didn’t make the cut. Speaking of the dictionary word rule, the words, “I”, “a”, “an”, “it”, “in”, “me” and others are all in the dictionary. Does that mean I can’t use those? I tested it and I can! E(at_Me!3 worked! So there, password Nazis! Do you know what else is in the dictionary? The word booger. They caught that one, however. Damn. Evidently, those exclamation points aren’t as stern as they appear. Or, maybe they intentionally mislead me with that rule so I wouldn’t try eating Saganaki until the flame was put out. It seems to work as well as the banana in Ernie’s ear keeping alligators away from
Eventually we’ll be expected to use foreign languages in our passwords, and the assholes will catch up to that. Then we’ll be expected to invent our own languages for the passwords. The assholes will follow suit. We’ll create new fonts and characters. The assholes will figure them out. Do you see where this is going? Eventually we’ll get back around to being able to use booger, only using machine language, with sounds and smells thrown in. Then, and only then, will we be safe from the bad people.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
To prove my point, without actually having one, I have composed a time line of our lives, using Barack's time line as determined by the Associated Press (11/8/08). I don't mind following his lead.
Read below to see which one of us screwed up and when.
Born on Aug. 4 in
Existed as protein molecules passed around a ranch in
Moves bowels in cloth diapers. Father forgets to change diapers for a few days while mother is away visiting relatives. Still has part of the rash to this day.
Discovers the wonderful world of game show television with programs like Password and The Newlywed Game, eventually leading to recurring infatuation with Brett Somers.
Helps his high school basketball team win a state championship.
Experiences first of many knee injuries thus destroying potential hundred million dollar multi-sport athletic career.
Works as a community organizer in poor section of
Drunk in college. Co-writes “Alan” and records it for posterity as guitarist for Leprosy (the world’s greatest band that was never meant to be).
Is allowed to graduate from the
Becomes first black editor of prestigious Harvard Law Review.
Finally gets a “real job” for some soulless, profit gorging, conglomeration of quarterly fabrications.
Runs Project Vote! which registers 150,000 new voters in
In a strategic move to secure a lifetime of free sex, marries Mrs. Rub.
Joins law firm specializing in civil rights cases; becomes a lecturer at
About a year after the birth of son, Rubson, determines that people should have to pass a test and become certified in order to become a parent, knowing full well he never would have passed.
Publishes "Dreams from My Father," a well-reviewed memoir about growing up in
Spends most days waiting for friends to have kids, too. Sits at home while friends are out having fun.
Rubdaughter is born. Doesn’t realize it at the time, but it is the best thing that ever happened to him. Rubdaughter takes offense at being referred to as a “thing”.
Daughter Malia is born.
After the first family dog, Emily, is killed in the infamous Mother’s Day Dog Killing Traffic Miscue, the family obtains Cammie, the second family dog, from a dog rescue in
Loses Democratic primary in
Celebrating the new millennium with a 7 year old and a 3 year old was not as much fun as Prince’s song promised. Nobody had a lion in a pocket.
Daughter Sasha is born.
For some reason, the family needed another dog, so they went and got one while Moist lay in a hospital where medical personnel had to enter through an existing orifice to retrieve a kidney stone. Cailey, the dog, not the kidney stone, was welcomed to the family.
Speaks out against invading
Informed that services as a husband were no longer required. Released back into society as a gentleman bachelor.
Delivers keynote address at Democratic convention; elected to U.S. Senate.
After being ridiculed for driving a 1989 Plymouth Reliant K car for two years, bought a 2002 Pontiac Aztek. This did not squelch the ridicule.
Publishes "The Audacity of Hope," a book detailing his views on national affairs; his narration of "Dreams from My Father" wins a Grammy Award for best spoken album of 2005.
A year in to contributing to the award winning blog, Leper Pop, decides he has nothing better to do, so decides to continue wasting people’s time and clogging up the Internet.
Launches presidential campaign; raises a record $100 million in campaign contributions.
Bored, takes up the hobby of letting his hair grow long.
Jan. 3, 2008
Still hung over from New Year’s Eve.
Feb. 10, 2008
"The Audacity of Hope" narration wins him a second Grammy.
Got drunk at Kowal’s Bar for friend’s birthday.
June 3, 2008
Locks up the Democratic presidential nomination.
Not much going on. Just a regular Tuesday. May have mowed the lawn.
Aug. 28, 2008
Accepts the presidential nomination at Democratic National Convention.
Irritated because Ugly Betty rerun pre-empted by some dumb political circus show. Curses the existence of George Will.
Nov. 4, 2008
Spent the evening watching election results. Didn’t see his name anywhere.
Eerie, isn't it?