May 30, 2009

Late Night Thoughts

It's Saturday night, the Midnight Special is on the radio, and it's time again for Late Night Thoughts!  Brought to you this week by the good people at Wham-O!  Makers of such fun products as the Hula-Hoop, the Frisbee, and my personal favorite, the Super Ball!  Did you know we have a quiet man named Norman Stingley to thank for this magical orb?  Norm, who when not performing chemistry for Bettis Rubber Company, enjoyed compressing synthetic rubber under 3,500 pounds of pressure in his garage, and after months of experimentation trying to make this material into a super prophylactic, finally decided to put it into "ball" form and the rest is history.  Well, almost, as his balls kept falling apart, and how many of us guys haven't had that problem?  But seriously, this was a big obstacle to overcome until he approached the Wham-O people and they put some sulfur in his balls to hold them together and presto!  The Superball was born.

Now I loved these things, but they hurt like hell if you got hit by one and actually, they still did fall apart after being hurled around for a while.  What I liked even better though was my skateboard with suicide wheels.  For you "youngsters" out there, when the skate board was first invented, the wheels didn't really have any "give" in them, so if you hit any small object, like a piece of gravel on your driveway, the board would come to an abrupt stop, but you didn't and you spent the whole summer with your knees covered in oozing scabs that never healed because you were continually hitting little fucking pieces of gravel and being hurled to the concrete again and again because you were too goddamned stupid to stop because it was so much fun.  But, I'll bet if the people at Wham-O had invented the skateboard, they would have made the wheels out of the Superball rubber shit and then you maybe could have bounced over your house on your skateboard and that would have been awesome.

Oh my, there I go again.  Let's get to those Late Night Thoughts, shall we?

I was messing around with anagrams the other night and discovered that if you rearrange the letters in my name, you come up with "Bevel By Terror"

It depresses me to know that I can't buy new carpet or flooring for my house until the cat dies because of all the hair and vomit it spews all over the place.  Fucking cat.

I don't think I'd do very much for a Klondike bar.

Did you know that if you live east of the Mississippi and are a conservative, you are more likely to say "Hispanic" and that if you live west of the Mississippi and are a liberal, you probably say "Latino"? Fascinating!

I'm frightened to go in my attic because I'm scared of what I might find.

Have you ever done something and then said "I couldn't do that again in a million years" ... and then you did?

I wonder what it's like to work in a factory that makes dildos.  I mean, what do you tell people when they ask you what you do for a living?

One of these days, I'm going to learn not to drink a quart of Diet Coke before I go to bed.

No matter how I change the pattern, it still takes an hour to mow the lawn.

If Spiderman were put in a matter transmitting pod with a fly, like in that movie with Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis, what would he come out looking like?

And by the way, don't Geena Davis' big gums and little teeth weird you out?  They should.

May 29, 2009

Lost In A Lost World

Like a lot of young couples, Jan and I moved around several times during the first five years of our marriage.  Our most adventurous move was from Davenport, Ia. to a small town in southwestern Pennsylvania.  I had been given the opportunity to work for a different feed company at either their Peoria or Everson, Pa. locations.  The choice turned out to be simple.  Jan said she wouldn't move to Peoria because it was a scum bucket town and an insider at the new company told me that the job at Everson was easier.  Choice made!  We moved to Pennsylvania.

I left Davenport to start the new job and to scout out locations to live, which turned out to be a little more difficult than I anticipated.  Now granted, Davenport was no Metropolis, but at least it had grasped the concept of "apartments" and we had lived in several nice complexes while we were there.  But we were moving to coal country, which turned out to be another culture entirely.  I spent days looking for a decent place to live in towns called Connellsville, Continental I, Continental II and Uniontown.  After a while, one of the guys at work took pity on me and suggested that I look at a house in Scottdale, which abutted Everson (only later would it come to me that this work comrade didn't like me very much).  I tracked down the landlordess, and after she determined that I was married and had a job and wasn't a low-life douchebag drug dealer, she agreed to rent the house.  Since my new employers weren't going to pay for a motel room for very long and Jan had quit her job, we had to move fast, so I described the house to Jan over the phone and she agreed to it, sight unseen.

So, we moved to Scottdale, which was a typical small SW Pa. town of about a thousand people.  It had a little downtown with a movie theatre, a five & dime, a state liquor store and several "lodges" (Elks, Moose, Vet's) which turned out to be THE social centers.  Our new home was a 1920 something vintage "shotgun", which meant you could fire a gun from the front door through the house and the bullet would exit through the back door.  We ran into trouble immediately.

On the first day, the moving van broke off the utility pole at the street corner, we figured out that the house had several spots in it that we had no interest in going into (the root cellar and the second bedroom occupied with wasps and bats that I later boarded up), and to top it off, on our first night there, Jan woke up in the middle of the night, sat straight up in bed and yelled "Ican'tlivehereIcan'tlivehereIcan'tlivehere" until I calmed her down. Actually, I didn't want to live there either, but we did ... for a while.

Gradually, we settled in, but discovered that we were looked upon as outsiders by the local poplulace. In fact, we might as well have been from Swaziland as Iowa.  We did socialize with people from my work. In fact, the production manager took a real shine to Jan and we were invited to the Elks Club every Saturday, where at midnight, 12 bells would ring to remember and honor those Elks who had passed on to that big Elk place in the sky.  I was invited to the Friday night bar crawl, which started at 9:00 at the "Coop" and ended at about 2 in the morning back at the same place.  I was only invited once though, so I must not have did it right. 

We were friendly with our next door neighbors, "Big Barley" his wife and JD sons, and we would drift over on an afternoon and drink beer with them until the police would show up to hassle either Big Barley or one of his sons, at which time we would awkwardly shuffle back to our place.  We were invited to dinner once by one of the landed gentry, who wanted to check us out to see if we really were aliens from another world as had been rumored around town.

We made the best of it, until winter hit.  I came home one cold afternoon to find Jan hunched over on the couch with blankets covering all but her eyes and nose.  The water froze in the toilet one night.  It was time to move.  Jan found a nice new condo to rent in Mt. Pleasant, which was actually as nice a place as the name suggested.  We enjoyed our new place, ate at the Italian restaurants in town, sat in reasonably nice bars and watched TV while we sipped our drinks and took trips to parks up in the Laurel Highlands.

But, even though we didn't say it, we knew there was no future for us in that area.  Jan couldn't find a teaching job because she didn't have direct lineage to either Benjamin Franklin or William Penn and my job had kind of stalled.  When I was offered a promotion to move to Illinois, we didn't think about it for two seconds and we've been here ever since.

I think that if you live long enough, or even if you don't, most people have THE one place that they lived that fuel endless stories and jokes.

I just hope that Pennsylvania turns out to be the only one.

May 27, 2009

Radio Rules

Yesterday I was out in the truck doing some errands.  I had the radio on, kind of half listening when something came on and I immediately reached over and turned it off.  And I mean like "right this fucking second" turned it off.  It was a commercial, and it goes like this:

1-877 Kars for Kids,
K-A-R-S Kars for Kids,
1-877 Kars for Kids,
Donate Your Car Today.

It's sung in some crazy-ass folksy, country way, and it annoys the living shit out of me.  It plants an earworm on me that I can't get rid of for hours.  Then I started wondering how many other things come on the radio that cause me to do the same thing.

With songs, it's "Playground In My Mind" by that creepy Clint Holmes, "Hooked On A Feeling" by David Hasselhoff, and anything by Gilbert O'Sullivan, although I don't think too many people know who he is, which is fortunate for them.  With talk radio, it's Charles Osgood and his stupid little segments on CBS, which I'm sure he thinks are clever but everyone else thinks "boy, I sure do bet Charles Osgood thinks he's clever".  Surprisingly, I'll listen to Rush Limbaugh on a long trip, even though I'm a closet liberal and Jan keeps asking me "Do we have to listen to this asshole?"

Jan and I have our own unspoken radio rules.  She'll allow me to lunge at the control knob and turn something off without objection.  And I'll allow her to do the same.  Except that she's never done it before.

But she probably will after she reads this.

May 26, 2009

Vermin Assassin

In the course of my career in the feed industry, circumstances dictated that I become an "expert" in the field of pest control. During my stint at a feed plant in southwestern Pennsylvania, I took a state sanctioned test and became a licensed pest control operator.  Although this sounds impressive, the test was really easy, and heightened my suspicions that any lunatic could run around splashing dangerous chemicals anywhere at will.  Never the less, I was now part of a "brotherhood" and took my duties seriously.

And I applied the science that is pest control diligently at the plant. Due to it's age (built in the 1950's), the feed mill had more holes in it than a damaged colander, and being situated in  a rural area, was invaded year round by every pest imaginable.  My tools were snap traps for the mice and rats, and a gun for the birds.  Yes, I said a gun. I bought a small caliber rifle and when loaded with scatter shot, I could knock birds out of the rafters before they could shit on finished bags of animal feed, keeping them in pristine condition for a customer to store in his barn and have the birds there shit on them. I'd always wait until everyone went home, and then hunt birds inside the mill. On one occasion, I herded a flock of disease ridden pigeons into the top of a stairwell and, standing just outside the doorway, blasted away at them until all that remained was a bloody pile of avian carcasses.  By the way, that was a real fucking mess to clean up.

But, my greatest achievement was a total plant fumigation one hot 4th of July. Fumigation involves sealing the plant airtight (good luck with that place) and then pouring out gas pellets at various spots and letting them work their magic for 48 hours.  Theoretically, you open the place up to air after the allotted time, and marvel at all of the dead bugs, rats, mice, birds and a few unfortunate vagrants. Seriously, I did have to worry about this because we did have a few bums who set up camp in the plant on off days.

So, after convincing my boss, the local fire department and generally everyone else in town that the gas I was going to use was not the same stuff that the Nazi SS used to exterminate the Jews during WWII (but it kinda, sorta was), I was able to seal the plant, set off the gas and enjoy the 4th of July holiday, punctuated with nightmares about opening the plant on Monday morning and finding the bodies of dead bums who came back to life as flesh eating zombies and pursued me to the end of my days for causing their terrible fate.

And on Monday morning, I opened the plant, and armed with my not-so-trusty gas detector, walked into several pockets of gas, resulting in me lying on the outside dock for several hours with only minor hallucinations and drinking can after can of Coca-Cola until I could wobble away, thankful to be alive.  By the way, a big shout-out to all my concerned fellow employees who left me laying there without summoning medical help.

And the results of my effort?  Less than spectacular.  Less than a week later the vertebrate and invertebrate intruders were back with a vengeance.  I went on to do one more fumigation at another of our plants in central Illinois, which through my heroic efforts of combining foot stomping and water throwing, involved only a short-lived smoky blaze that hardly did any damage at all.

But I'm still trying to forget about that one, so I won't go into it here.

May 23, 2009

Late Night Thoughts

It's Saturday night, the Midnight Special is on the radio and I'm back again with Late Night Thoughts!  This week's edition is brought to you by the fine folks at Pontiac Motor Division, who selected this forum to advertise on because their marketing budget has kind of been tightened since GM dropped their ass like a hot rock.

Which reminds me, I took my Pontiac motor car into my local dealer this past week for a general recall to correct a minor defect that could set the whole car on fire!  But the good people at the dealership quickly and efficiently fixed this problem in 30 minutes with an odd shaped piece of plastic, so no worries.

While I was waiting, I started thinking about the name "Pontiac". Turns out GM took the name from the city where they had a factory; Pontiac, Michigan, who in turn took it's name from an Ottawa Indian chief named Pontiac, although his real name was Obwandiyag, so I guess Pontiac was his stage name, kind of like Cher.  Anyway, I thought naming a car after a town was kind of dull and what happened to the days when cars were named after the individuals who thought up the cars, like the Hupmobile, named after Robert Craig Hupp, or the Oldsmobile, named after Ransom E. Olds.  And by the way, who names their poor kid "Ransom", and I'll bet he got a lot of shit in school with a name like that unless he was smart enough to change it to "Randy". Then I thought how cool it would have been if the people at GM had named the car Obwandiyag instead of Pontiac. But then my car was ready and I didn't think about it again until right now.

There I go again.  Let's move on with tonight's Late Night Thoughts!

Riding as a patient in an ambulance is surreal.  First of all, you feel embarrassed to be there in the first place, and then there are no windows so you can't see out.

My buddy's girlfriend once told me that I had long legs and a short torso.  Since then, every time I look in a full length mirror, I feel inferior.  Thanks bitch.

If Jan would let me, I'd put strings of beads in doorways.  Except the bathroom doorway.

I hate Shrimp Scampi.

One of the cool things about picking up a date in the dorm was that the receptionist would call up to the room and say "You have a gentleman caller in the lobby".

The phrase "Bat Turn" always makes me snort.  You would have had to have been in Drivers Ed that one day to understand.

I always shampoo my hair twice because of something I saw on a "Simpsons" episode.

I've never won a raffle.  Not once.  What are the odds of that?

If I had to do it over again, I would have doubled down.

I knew I was really on my own when I realized that I could use all of the toilet paper I wanted to and no one would yell at me.

See you soon.

May 22, 2009

Fantasy Isla

The other day, I was reading about a couple in New Zealand who owned a gas station.  They went to their bank to get a draft for 6 thousand dollars for one thing or another, but the bank made a small mistake.  It gave them a draft for 6 million dollars.  Now, I would imagine that the couple had only a few hours to make a momentous decision. Return the draft to their bank and point out their mistake, or take the money and RUN!

They ran.  And I imagine unless they have spent years planning for such an unlikely event, or possess the most incredible luck in the history of man, they will be tracked down and forced to return the money.  And I thought about what I would do in the same situation, except it hurt my head too much and I drifted into another mode that I sometimes settle into really late at night.  It's pure fantasy, but it keeps a sleepy mind occupied until the sandman kabongs him.

What different ways could I come into big money without working for it?  I've come up with three ways.  The first two are plausible for everyone, but the third is pure "Rob's tired mind at work in the land of the absurd".  But I'll share it with you anyway.  Let me lay this out:

Inheritance:  For many people, this is a real avenue to come into money without too much trouble.  Well, maybe a little work.  You've got to be nice to relatives you loathe and maybe you have to do some shameless whoring, but for the most part, it's easy.  Sadly, this isn't a possibility for me.  My parents have little money, and my chance for marrying into it were dashed the second I saw Jan's parent's house.  In fact, the only person I know who inherited anything was the guy across the street who got his aunt's "old lady car" when she passed.

Lottery:  A few of us do strike it big time playing the lottery.  I'm not a real gambler, but I'll generally pick up a ticket once per week, either on the state Lotto or one of the national lotteries.  I have no illusions of winning, and in fact, I'm carrying around a couple in my wallet that I haven't checked for weeks.  I usually buy a state lotto ticket, because the payoffs are not humongous.  I can live with 5 million dollars or so, and besides, when you don't win super large jackpots, you aren't going to have all the hassles and tragedies that winning ungodly sums of money often entail.  At least that's the way I think.

Supernatural Powers:  Also known as "magic".  Unless I find an alternative universe where Al Gore became president and komodo dragons have PhD's, this method of money gathering would be patently impossible.  In this scenario, I wake up one morning and find I have the ability to teleport "things".  And the first "thing" I want to teleport is a ten dollar bill.  So, on the first day, I teleport a ten dollar bill from every cash register at every retail establishment in my town to my front room.  Then I wait a few days to see if anything happens. Only then do I become bolder.  I teleport tens from every cash register in the county, and then my federal district, then the state, then two states, then .... then ... then ....  Bwahahahahaha! My entire house is filled with ten dollar bills!

But then, the rational side of my fantasy mind takes over.  How do I use this money?  Do I take it to the bank every day and deposit it?  No, they'd get wise to me after a couple of times and call the cops.  How about money laundering? How do I find a money launderer?  Are they listed in the Yellow Pages?  How much do they charge?  Thirty percent?  Fifty percent?  And what if they get greedy and want a piece of the action?  How will I protect my secret and my turf?  Will they torture me or hold my family hostage?  Will I have to go all Keyser Soze on them?  Oh Shit!  How did I get myself into this fucking mess?

And then ... my fantasy crumbles into a million tiny fragments ... and I go buy a Lotto ticket.

May 20, 2009

It's Not THAT Difficult

It happened again.  I was making an appointment this morning and the person taking it had trouble spelling my name.  This has happened all of my adult life. You would think that the name "Beverly" would be an easy one to recognize.  There are places named Beverly (Beverly Hills, Beverly, MA), there are famous people named Beverly (Beverly Sills, Beverly Cleary, Beverly D'Angelo, well maybe not her), there's even a St. John of Beverly. The name Beverly has distinguished origins.  It originated as a place name meaning "Beaver Stream".  Well, I think that's distinguished anyway.

Distinguished as it may be, I experience it being mispronounced all of the time. Beberly, Everly, Beverid, Beamerly.  This becomes doubly cutting when it's coupled with my first name being spelled wrong, i.e. Ron, Bob, Rod, Rahm.

I also have my name transposed.  The worst and most embarrassing time this occurred was during roll call in my first day of high school typing class, when the instructor addressed me as "Beverly Roberts". She seem disappointed when I turned out to be a male.

To be fair, there are a number of alternative spellings to my last name, including Beverlea, Beverleigh, Beverlie, Beverley, Baverley, Beaverley, Beverlie ... shit even Peverall and Peveril.

But still, this has to be a common enough name for people to get it right.  For help, I went to the U.S. Census bureau Genealogy site to find out.  And I learned ... that the name Beverly has a 0.006% frequency rate in the population of the United States and is ranked 2,279.

Hmm ...  Maybe I'll just change my name to Ron Beberly.

P.S.  You can find your name ranking here.

May 19, 2009

The Best Date I Never Had

One of the reasons that my senior year in college was so great was because I had turned 21 over the summer and could finally go to bars ... legally.  And the place to be during the Fall of 1973 was "Fridays Child" on Tuesday night.  Why? Because it was Ladies Night!  My buddy John and I would blow off all studying that night and head for the bar.

So many great things happened there.  I met a girl one night who sang to me in the parking lot, and we ended up dating for a while.  A month or so later,  this same girl dumped beer over my head because she must have been pissed at me. I lost points with my buddies for the singing in the parking lot thing, but gained them all back and more when I got beer poured on me.  One night my cousin who had just ended an affair with my uncle showed up and tried to hit on me. That was kind of creepy, but awesome anyway.  But the absolute strangest, best night I had was when I had to get the woman who was older than me with a kid and a jealous boyfriend, out of the bar restroom and take her home.

It was Tuesday night, and my buddies and I met up at the bar.  As usual, we sat together at first, and then moved to different tables as we met girls.  I was a slow mover that night and ended up sitting by myself, but a woman came over and sat down with me and we started talking.  She seemed nice, but she drank an awful lot.  As the hours went by she became increasingly plowed and started to reveal things that should have raised 400 red flags in my mind, but they didn't. She was 5 years older than me, had been married and divorced, had a 4 year old kid, and just wanted to have "fun".

By now, it was getting near closing time and I was looking for an "out".  But before I could think of anything, her girlfriends came over and announced that they were leaving.  She told them that was okay, because I was taking her home.

Uh oh ...

After they left, she told me that she was going to the restroom and then we could leave.  Then she lurched toward the ladies room.  Right there and then, I should have bolted ... but I didn't.  I guess my "chivalry" response kicked in, or some shit like that.  The bar was closing and she still hadn't come back from the restroom, so I did the only logical thing.  I went in after her.  And there she was, sitting on the floor with her chin pressed against her chest, semi-passed out.

I managed to haul her out to my car and dumped her in the front seat, then I rolled down all the windows and took off.  Fortunately, the cold air revived her somewhat and she was able to tell me where she lived.  She also told me that she hoped her boyfriend wouldn't be mad at her.


Scared shitless at the prospect of having her jealous boyfriend beat the living hell out of me, I got her to her apartment, managed to get her door open and deposited her on the nearest chair. Rotating my head like an owl the whole time, I got back to my car and sped home.

Now, at this point, I need to mention that I lived at home during college.  You can all titter if you want, but I graduated owing exactly ZERO in student loans, so sit on it.

Anyway, the next day I went to class and when I got home that afternoon, my Mom asked me where I had been the night before. When I asked why, she said that a woman had called saying that she had woken up naked on her kitchen floor that morning and did she know anyone named Rob.

My mom can be pretty scatter-brained at times, but in that one instance, she had the presence of mind to say "No".

I never found out how the woman got herself naked on the floor in her kitchen, but I really never wanted to find out anyway.  I stayed away from Fridays Child for about a month, but when I returned, it had fallen out of favor, as all bars of that type eventually do.

Mom never did ask me what happened that night.  And that was just fine with both of us ...

May 18, 2009

Yep, They're Dead All Right

I was thinking the other day about things that we take for granted now that never existed 30 years ago. Take the internet for example. Most of us use this tool every day for work or leisure, but 30 years ago, hey, it wasn't available.

And there's so much more than free porn to look at! Take this site for example, the SSDI or Social Security Death Index.  For the easily amused, the SSDI can provide hours of fun!

You can check out relatives, friends and  loved ones to confirm they are dead. Or you can see if former bosses, bullies, enemies and best of all ...  ex-girlfriends have bit the dust.  And, you get to see their social security numbers as a bonus!

It would seem to me that the criminally-minded could use these social security numbers for nefarious purposes, but then again, this is a federal government function, so of course, nothing could go wrong.

And speaking of dead people, check out these cool pictures you can have added to your tombstone or marker.  Creep out your friends and relatives by staring back at them from beyond the grave!

I like the black and white ones.  Color pictures are a little tacky for this purpose.

P.S.  If you have a few minutes, check out my new blog Domestic Correspondent.  Won't cost you nothin'.

May 16, 2009

Late Night Thoughts

It's Saturday night, The Midnight Special is on the radio and it's time again for Late Night Thoughts.  This weeks' edition is brought to you by the good people at Hulman & Company, proud makers of Clabber Girl Baking Powder!

And, if you're like me, you've probably wondered most of your life, "What the hell is a Clabber Girl?" Well friends, I've done some research on this subject and although I was thrown a couple of curve balls along the way, I think I just may have an answer.

One definition defined a Clabber girl as a prostitute strung out on crack (as in "Hey, that 'ho is a real Clabber Girl!)  Apparently, baking soda is a prime ingredient in the manufacture of crack cocaine, and Clabber Girl is the ingredient of choice by all of the top drug cartels. I'm sure that as soon as the management at Hulman & Co. become aware of this fact, they will want to immediately incorporate it into their advertising campaigns.

Actually, I don't believe that this particular definition was what the company founders were thinking in 1837 when they branded the product.

Finding no other information worth a damn in my extensive search, I resorted to the definition of the two words.  Clabber is defined as "milk that has naturally clotted on souring", and girl is defined as "miniature female". Therefore, I can confidently conclude that Clabber Girl was derogatory slang for a young lady who either smelled like curdled milk, or resembled same. I'm not really sure if this was what the company founders had in mind either when they named the product, but maybe they were strung out on crack at the time.

But ... whatever.  Let's get to those Late Night Thoughts!

When will people start referring to this year as "twenty oh nine" instead of "two thousand nine"?  One hundred years ago, did people say "one thousand nine hundred nine"?

I'm glad that NASA decided to change the name of their launch site in Florida back to Cape Canaveral.  This naming everything "Kennedy" horseshit had gotten way out of hand.

When you get a new phone book, do you transcribe all of the notes and doodles in the old one to the new one, or do you just throw the new one in the trash like I do?

When you wake from a dream, do you find that you miss the world you were in, or not so much?

I'd still like to bitch slap Mrs. Cassidy for smacking my knuckles with a ruler in 2nd grade.

Some aspects of personal grooming are highly annoying.

Does the universe ever end?  And if it does, what's on the other side of it?

Denny's isn't as good as it used to be.  Or maybe it never was.

I can't stand to watch even one second of "Oprah", "Wheel of Fortune" or "Two and a Half Men".

I wonder what my life would have been like if I had never gone back to Jan's place after her party and asked her out for coffee?  I'll bet it wouldn't have been very good.  Our first date was 35 years ago this month.

And that is a significant Late Night Thought.

Good night all.

May 15, 2009

Pay The Man

Today is the 15th of the month, which means it's "bill day". Although this only happens twice a month on a regular basis, it is still almost as tiresome as "cleaning day". Neither days are very happy times.  But I guess they are for the happy couple I've pictured on the right.  Beaver Boy seems to be having the time of his life as he sits in his yuppie condo in some hip urban city, wearing his one-size-too-small polo shirt, grinning buck-toothedly at his almost Stepford Wife who obviously had her right arm severed in some horrid accident and it was reattached backwards by some hack surgeon.

Anyway, good for them.  I usually day-dream of two things while I'm sorting through the bill pile.  I look at the amount of each bill, and imagine what I could have bought with that particular money instead. This only works for bills like electricity, water/sewer and similar items.  If you look at a credit card bill for something that you bought because you wanted it, you're kind of at cross-purposes with yourself and get caught in a weird loop that's difficult to break.  The other thing I daydream about is what if I had all the money that I had spent on bills since the day I turned 21 just given to me in one big-assed cashiers check?  Wouldn't that be awesome?

I pay all of my bills on line through my local bank, "Lumberman's State Bank of the Ponds", or something like that.  Actually, it is one of those banks that starts with an "A", like amalgamated, associated, affiliated, androgynous ... you know, one of those words that's supposed to instill confidence.  And really, they don't do an awful job, except when they don't pay the bills I tell them to pay.

I'll explain.  Several months ago, I received a late payment charge from one of my credit card accounts.  Even though I'm as anal-retentive as they come about paying bills, I copped to it being my fault.  And then I got another one.  And another one!  Okay, I thought, enough of this shit, I'm calling customer service at the bank.

Now, paying on-line with my bank is pretty straight forward.  You pick the account, type in the amount and hit "pay".  If the payment goes through, you get a "success" tag.  If it doesn't, you get an "error" tag. Anyway, I talk to this gal at the bank and explain my problem:

Me:  Your computer isn't paying my bills.

Bank Lady:  Can you tell me which bills?

Me:  Visa and Mastercard.

Bank Lady:  Just a minute.  Hmm.  I don't show those bills being paid.

Me:  Exactly.  I paid the bill, the computer said "Success", and I moved on.

Bank Lady:  Oh, the "Success" message doesn't always mean the bill is paid.

Me:  Huh?

Bank Lady:  The "Success" message doesn't necessarily mean the bill will be paid.  You have to go to the "confirmation" window to see if it's going to be paid.

Me:  So ... if the computer is having a bad day, it can just say "Success" if it wants to, but it's really just fucking with me.

Bank Lady:  Pardon me?

Me:  Your computer has a wicked keen sense of humor.  It says "Success" when it doesn't mean it.  How do I know it's not fucking with me in the "confirmation" window too?

Bank Lady:  Sir, I'm going to terminate this conversation if you don't change your tone of voice.

Me:  I'll terminate it for you.  Just tell your Commodore 64 to pay my bills.

A couple of months have passed now with no late charges, so maybe my mini-tirade did some good.  And, just last week, my bank completely overhauled their on-line banking system.  I'd like to think that I was a small part in the change, but I sincerely doubt it.  

And if things don't change ...  well I'll just find out what bank happy-go-lucky Bucky and his mate up there in the corner do business with and make the switch.

May 14, 2009

More Monsters!

Even though the calendar says it's more than a month away, you know it's summer when there's another sighting of the Montauk Monster!  This hideous creature has struck fear in the hearts of Long Islanders for two years running now.  It's typical modus operandi is to wash up dead on local beaches, scaring the shit out of unsuspecting strollers, who then take pictures of it and push it with sticks into a garbage bag and spirit it away to an unknown location, after which they contact local news organizations and wait for the big money that will surely come their way when some idiot or another offers them tens of thousands of dollars for what will later turn out to be the water bloated corpse of a particularly mangy dog.

Closed-minded skeptics have ventured that the monster is just that.  A drowned mangy dog. Other skeptics describe the creature as a drowned raccoon, sea turtle, rat or a sheep.  And there are others who speculate that the washed up creature may be the result of experiments gone horribly awry at the sinister Plum Island Animal Disease Center.

But what do they know?  The real experts, cryptozoologists, point out that this is just another indicator that there are a vast array of strange creatures living among us, invisible to all but the most observant, as I have written about in the past.

And so, as pointed out so accurately in the 1951 motion picture "The Thing From Another World"; People ... Watch the skies!  Or in this case, watch where your walking on the beach or you may inadvertently step on one of these things. Ewwww!

May 13, 2009

The Burdens of Community Service

As a part of my on-going campaign to position this blog as a responsible community member, I'm proud to introduce this highly educational feature "Today in History".  It is my fervent hope that this, and other semi-regular educational type articles will instill the thirst for learning in young and old alike ... plus it will help me fill those days where I've run out of ideas for regular posts. And so, without further hyperbole, Frogs For Lunch presents Today in History!

1568  Mary Queen of Scots is defeated at the Battle of Langside and immediately flees to North England where she opens a bodega in the hamlet of Tuppanceshire.

1607  English colonists land near the mouth of the James River in Virginia, tragically missing their intended landing site, Omaha Beach on the Normandy coast, by several thousand miles and 337 years.

1779  The war of Bavarian Succession ends.  Coincidentally, the Bavarian Baby Boom of 1880-1885 begins.

1861  Britain declares its neutrality in the American Civil War, reinforcing its well deserved reputation of chickenshittery to the world.

1888  Slavery is abolished in Brazil.  Most Brazilians consider it a publicity stunt that had been "done already" over 20 years previously.

1940  Winston Churchill told the British House of Commons in his first speech as prime minister, "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat". Members are livid as Churchill's primary campaign promise had been the creation of "Bubble & Squeak Wednesdays" in the House cafeteria.

1958  Vice-President Richard Nixon's limousine is battered by rocks thrown by anti-U.S. demonstrators, led by future Watergate Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox, in Caracas, Venezuela.  In retaliation Nixon fires Cox from his position in 1973.

1981  Pope John Paul the second, survives an assassination attempt by drunken Turkish tourist Mehmet Ali Agca.  Ironically, the Pope cuts himself shaving the next morning.

Today's Happy Birthdays:

Vampire Boy Robert Pattinson 23
Dead guy Ritchie Valens 68
All Around Asshole Dennis Rodman 48
Annoying Actress Beatrice Arthur 86 (Just missed by "that" much Bea)
Singer Stevie Wonder 59

By the way, did you know that Stevie Wonder (aka Stevland Morris) was born prematurely, and that a high oxygen content in his incubator was the direct cause of his blindness?  I didn't.

Today's Happy Deathdays:

Gary Cooper 60
Dan Blocker 43

And that about wraps it up.  That was bien educational, don't you think?  Be sure and share your new found Today in History knowledge with your friends, neighbors and loved ones. And remember ... Keep Learning!

May 11, 2009

Before ... Or After?

Yes, that's right.  I've been traveling around the intertubes again today and came across this picture.  This is a page from one of Anthony Bourdain's cook books.  It is the result of his recipe for Coq Au Vin.

The question is ... was the photograph taken before or after he drank a fifth of gin and threw it up?

You decide.

Band Aid

I was in the marching band in high school.  I actually started playing a musical instrument in 5th grade, for some reason I'm still unsure about, but maybe I thought it would be cool, or as we called it in 1962, "The Bees Knees".  Once I had decided that I wanted to play an instrument, I had to decide which one.  Pianos were too bulky to carry to school, so that was out.  So like any 5th grade boy, I chose the trumpet. But, alas, there were already too many trumpets in the grade school band, so I had the clarinet foisted upon me.  Even at 10 years old, I knew that the clarinet was a bit effeminate, but at least it wasn't as openly gay as a flute.  And besides, I had watched "The Benny Goodman Story" on television, so maybe it wasn't so bad.  I was loaned a clarinet and learned to read music and play.  After a month or so, my parents bought me a plastic Bundy model, which I think they did simply because they didn't like me sucking spit out of a used school clarinet.

I wasn't a real good musician, but I wasn't awful either, so as my band mates dropped out and went on to other things, I continued playing into junior high school, where our most important gig was playing "Pomp & Circumstance" for the graduating 8th graders.  When I became a freshman, I knew I should try to do something to "fit in", and since I wasn't athletically inclined and didn't want to join the chess club (because I couldn't figure that game out for the life of me, and still can't), I decided to stay in band.

To my horror, I was shoved into "Cadet Band", also known as "Loserville".  And for the first time in my life, I did everything in my power to escape.  I whined, wheedled and betrayed others (all the things I would need in later corporate life) and two weeks later, my sinister efforts were rewarded with a seat in "Senior Marching Band", even if it was second-to-last seat in the 3rd Row section (Hah! Someone was still lower than I was!).  Befitting my new status, I lobbied my parents for a new clarinet, and aided by my 5 dollar a week, private music teacher, I shamed them into buying me a 300 dollar (a King's Ransom at that time) Buffet model.

Now, everyone always laughs and makes fun of Marching Band, but let me tell you brothers and sisters, it was fun!  With just a few exceptions (including the assclown Drum Major), we knew we were a bunch of dorks.  I mean, we took it seriously and worked hard when we had to, but it was a good homeroom to have during the four years. Plus, we got cool, dweeby uniforms, which consisted of a green suit coat, green slacks (these doubled for Concert Band season), an overlay with epaulets, spats (SPATS!) and an enormous Shako (look it up) that was so heavy that it always gave you a head and neck ache.

And ... we got to do cool shit!  We went on a bus trip to Bartlesville, OK (where there was some minor Native American trouble), we got to tie up morning rush hour traffic by practicing parade routes down by Fassnight Park, and of course, we got into football games free!  All we had to do was wander around on the field at half-time trying to make formations that spelled out "Go Team", or some other shit that could only be deciphered if you were in an airplane, while we tooted, blatted, honked and pounded our various musical thing-a-ma-jigs to arrangements that vaguely approximated "Proud Mary".

Our band director was a guy named Dan Palin, who fashioned himself a Marine DI, and liked to yell and throw his little directing stick at us. He carried a bull horn that he used to yell at us with on the practice field, and he usually threw that on the ground a lot when he got pissed, which was more often than not.  On stadium rehearsal day, he yelled at us over the PA system, but was unable to toss that in our direction, so instead he made us run laps around the football field when he didn't like something he saw.  I was always running laps because I didn't keep my knees together and my feet at the right angles, which I really couldn't help because I was knock-kneed.  Mr. Palin left after two years and we had a couple of more directors, but I don't remember much about them, except we called one "Bohunk".

Four years went by and I moved on to college.  I was offered a partial scholarship to be in the Marching Band there, but I was going in a different direction then, and band just wasn't cool anymore.

Once in a while, when I'm clearing stuff out of the basement, I'll run across old sheet music that I've saved and, having completely forgotten how to read it, I'll wonder how I ever did it in the first place.

And, like most close relationships in your life that gradually fade, you think back to the good times that it involved and push all of the bad stuff that it entailed to the back burner, and you get this little wistful smile on your face.


May 09, 2009

Late Night Thoughts

It's Saturday night, the Midnight Special is on the radio, and it's time once again for Late Night Thoughts. Brought to you this week by the fine folks at 20 Mule Team Borax!

I've gotta tell you, when I was screening potential sponsors this week, I was actually shocked that this shit is still being sold.  I thought it had went the way of the early 60's show "Death Valley Days", narrated by that great American, Ronald Reagan, who incidentally was also the spokesman for General Electric.  The things I remember ...

But, it's still around!  And I learned some exciting things about 20 Mule Team Borax!  For instance, did you know that it not only controls fleas, but you can make green slime out of it and use it to make clothing flame retardant?  This product is definitely "da bomb"!  And there is so much to tell you about 20 Mule Team Borax and borates in general, that I will save them for a future post, so stay tuned!

So, without further ado, here are thoughts that I actually think late at night.

Metra Rail Service will not take credit cards as payment for monthly passes, but when you write a check, you have to show them a credit card.

There's an old saying that goes "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink." What if I led the horse to a hydrant and stuck a fire hose in it's mouth?

I love buying stuff on line.  By the time it arrives, you've usually forgot you ordered it, and you're always pleasantly surprised.

Can life really be as simple as "Animal, Vegetable or Mineral"?

Time waits for no man, but man waits for no time if everyone is on time.

The Sambo's Restaurant chain had to be the earliest victim of the Politically Correct Movement.

I haven't accidentally cut my hand with a knife in such a long time, that the odds are stacked overwhelmingly against me.

Peter Weller is the best "B" actor in show business.

I've never had a Stuckey's Praline Bar.  I don't even know what a "praline" is.

Wouldn't life be dull if we released spores instead of having sex?

May 08, 2009

Furious Flying Fishies!

While I was scanning the news wires yesterday, I came across the curious case of Tad Newell, who hales from Pekin, IL.  Tad was happily tooling around astride his brand new jet ski on the Illinois River, when without provocation,  a fish jumped out of the water and knocked him off of his ride. Fortunately for Tad, he was able to call 911 from his apparently water-proof cell phone and summon authorities to his rescue, where he and his half-submerged jet ski were unceremoniously towed to shore. Tad's harrowing experience was shared by young Arkansas native, Seth Russell, who was innocently riding along on an inner tube being pulled from a speed boat, when he was viciously attacked by another fish that jumped out of the water and broke his jaw.

As it turns out, both of these incidents, and many others have been caused not by ordinary, run-of-the-mill fish, but by hoards of vicious Asian Carp.   These cold blooded vertebrates were exported from China in the 1970's under the ruse of clearing algae from southern catfish farms.  However, their real purpose was to gather industrial secrets for the Chinese government.  That is, until it was discovered that due to their physiology, they were unable to escape their watery confines, at which time their funding was revoked and they were left to fend for themselves in favor of another force of Chinese undercover agents, Asian Lady Bugs, who successfully stole top-secret blueprints for the "Sham-Wow" and sent them to their oriental masters.

Abandoned by their government, and languishing in their scummy ponds, the carp vowed revenge and waited for their opportunity to escape.  The opportunity arose with the great southern floods of 1993.  The carp were washed, en masse, into the Mississippi River and paddled North, into the Illinois River; from where they planned to reach the Great Lakes, and set their final plan into motion; to control all maritime shipping and ultimately, the world!

Fortunately for all Americans everywhere, the Department of Homeland Security caught wind of this plot early on and has devised several defenses to defeat the carp menace, described by experts in the field of aviation to be the "ultimate invader".  The first line of defense consists of a series of nets in the Chicago Sanitary & Ship Canal, between the Illinois River and Lake Michigan, which continually pump one million volts of super-charged electricity into the water to flash fry any carp foolish enough to approach. 

The second avenue of defense involves you, John Q. Public, and is a combination of two separate but intertwined strategies code named "Operation Evinrude" and "If You Can't Beat 'Em, Eat 'Em".  The first strategy enlists the help of recreational boaters, who continually speed up and down the Illinois River and take advantage of the carp's "Achilles Heel", their tendency to jump out of the water and into your boat whenever they hear an outboard motor. This reminds me of a story about my former colleague, Dan Ingram, whose favorite pastime was zipping up and down the river in his 16 foot runabout at 100 mph, until the evening when he ran over a sunken log and tore the bottom out of his boat and lost his cooler full of beer and sandwiches, and though he should have been glad he wasn't killed or even injured, all he could do was continually bitch about it for weeks to anyone within ear shot until everyone started avoiding him because they couldn't stand to hear his goddamned story one more time! 

Anyway, the related strategy, "If You Can't Beat 'Em, Eat 'Em", relies on the above said recreational boaters taking their loads of squirming fish to super-canneries, where they are sliced, diced and vacuum packed for consumption. The only hang-up in this plan is what to call the product, because the name "Asian Carp" doesn't exactly conjure up visions of lip smacking goodness, so the government is currently working on alternative names, such as "Chocolate Swirl Ice Cream Fish" and "Aquatic Fillet Mignon".  It is hoped that a large quantity of this product will be exported back to the Chinese, which will teach them to steal our industrial secrets, except that the bulk of the gazillion dollars the U.S. is receiving now to handle that pesky little economy thing comes from Chinese loans, so I guess they get the last laugh after all.

Postscript:  While researching this post, I ran across a video clip that you can see here.  It's mildly hilarious and what I could imagine CNN ace reporter David Mattingly thinking while filming the segment was "I spent 4 years in journalism school for this?"

May 07, 2009

Albums You Don't Want In Your Collection

In my intertube travels, I ran across the cover of this record album. It just cracked me up and there's no way I can build a decent post around it, so I'm just throwing it in here.

Yes, I have a sophomoric sense of humor, and you're welcome!

May 06, 2009

Driveways and Criticism

I kind of lost track of time today.  I called a bunch of asphalt contractors this morning about replacing my driveway and then decided to criticize a blog that I became really  disillusioned with because it had so much potential when it started out and then the author just blew it.  You can read it here.

So, even though I wanted to write, I don't have time now because I have some other shit that I have to get done.  But, I earmarked an article I read at 3:13 this morning because I woke up to go to the bathroom and then I couldn't go back to sleep, so I wandered in here to read until I felt sleepy again, but that didn't really work.  Anyway, if you bought any of these ugly cell phones, you have more money than brains.

May 05, 2009

The Real Reason To Celebrate May

May is a pleasant month.   Here in the kinda-upper Midwest, the snow is gone, the birds have returned and the daffodils flower.  May is the portal to the summer, and we celebrate it with May Day, Cinco de Mayo and Memorial Day.

But until I opened my e-mail this morning, I was unaware of the true reason to welcome this, the 5th month of the year, with open arms.

In a totally unsolicited message, my good friends at the Adam & Eve catalog have informed me that May is Masturbation Month!

And, they provided me with a complete list of machines, plastic thingies and lubricants to make it an all encompassing kick-ass masturbating experience!

I love America!

Why We Hurl

I was in the grocery store yesterday afternoon, picking up a few things for dinner, and had the opportunity to watch two people vomit on the floor, which I'm sure was good for business.  I don't know about you, but the sight of people puking always puts me in the mood to buy more food.  Or in my sister Cyndi's case, it makes her want to consume more food, but more about that later.  Now in defense of these poor individuals, the store was having its parking lot paved, and the smell of asphalt was a touch strong inside.  The smell of steaming asphalt has been known to upset certain people's stomachs and besides the two stricken individuals, there were a number of other people inside the store who appeared a bit green in the gills.  Personally, I don't find the smell of asphalt unpleasant, in fact I think it has a certain piquancy to it.

The dictionary defines vomiting as "the act of ejecting matter from the stomach through the mouth."  Pretty straight forward.  There are different kinds of vomiting, including cyclic, winter, defensive, Jamaican, coffee ground and blood.  Of these, "defensive" sounds the most interesting and I'll have to read up on that when I get the time. There is even a website devoted to vomiting affectionados, but I wouldn't recommend visiting it before you eat.

In my observations, bystanders have varying reactions to seeing someone barf in public, but they basically boil down to two; Freeze or Flee.  The "Freezer" is basically trapped by the event and is too polite to hurt the hurlers feelings by scrambling away in horror.  I think this person also has a secret desire to see what's in the ejecta, although they would never admit it.  The "Fleer" has no interest in manners. He immediately leaves the scene in the quickest manner possible.  You can sometimes be a "Freezer/Fleer", but never a "Fleer/Freezer".

Good examples of "Freezers" are mommies and people confined in moving vehicles.  I was on a date once with a young lady who had to vomit after consuming roughly 43 tequila shots.  While I was driving her home (and had given up any hope of getting "lucky"), she asked me to stop the car because she was going to hurl.  I was in fast moving traffic and couldn't do it, so I told her to puke out the window.   So, she did, but she didn't roll down the window. What fun for me the next day as I hosed out the inside of my car.

Public vomiters are a repentant bunch, and will often never allow themselves to return to the place of their shame for fear of being recognized and stoned.  I can relate to this in a similar fashion.  I was on a road trip once and had just consumed a 20 ounce Big Gulp.  Forty miles out of Albuquerque, I had an urgent need to piss, but there were no rest areas, or anything else for that matter, for another 50 miles or so.  Desperate, I stopped the car and looked for the nearest tree or bush.  But, being in the middle of the fucking desert, there was nothing to hide me.  Fearing snakes and scorpions, I just stood by the side of the car and let fly.  And of course, a string of cars chose that moment to drive by and I was serenaded with car horns and catcalls.  I thought to myself, "well, at least I'll never see these people again", but for the next 3 fucking days, I saw these same people through Arizona and up into California.  They would point at me and snicker.  Assholes.

Oh, and I almost forgot my sister Cyndi.  When we were kids, my parents took us out for lunch one Sunday.  We sat down at the table and started looking at our menus.  Cyndi took this opportunity to vomit on the table.  The waitress came around and cleaned up the mess, but my parents actually sat there and ordered food!  And my sister ..... she ordered a cheeseburger and fries!  I was mortified and went out to the car while they ate.  I guess they were really, really hungry.  Weirdos.

Bon Apetit!

May 04, 2009

Ask Mr. Answer Guy

In the weeks since I've started this blog, I've learned that the majority of my readers consider me to be a worldly and sophisticated fellow.  So much so, that I've begun to receive letters requesting my advice on various subjects.  To date I've received more letters than I can almost count on two hands, and although time and prior commitments prevent me from answering all of your questions, I'll "give it a whirl", as they say.

Dear Mr. Answer Guy,
My mother-in-law hates me!  Help!

Francie in LA

Dear Francie,
Uh, I'm going to need a little more information than you provided in your letter.  Perhaps you can write me with a few more details.

Dear Mr. Answer Guy,
I have a 1967 Chevy Camaro with a 302 cu. ft. 6 cylinder power plant fitted with a Moon 2 cycle super-charger and a Thrush 4 watt PCV valve.  Should I set the carburetor for a rich or lean gas/air mixture and will synthetic motor oil increase or lessen the torque in the intake manifold?

Irv in Cleveland

Dear Irv,

Dear Mr. Answer Guy,
If a train leaves Sacramento at a speed of 63 miles an hour, and another train departs Albany at 77 miles an hour, which one will arrive in Peoria first?

Timmy in Tuluca

Dear Timmy,
This isn't "Homework Hotline".  Go ask your mother.

Dear Mr. Answer Guy,
Hi Dear, what's for dinner tonight?  Also, don't forget that I have a meeting at 3:30 this afternoon, so I'll be a little late getting home. Kisses!

Jan at School

Dear Jan,
Um, this isn't really the right place to talk to me.  Maybe you can send me an e-mail or something.  Oh, stuffed peppers.

Dear Mr. Answer Guy,

All right, that's enough!  I didn't spend 20 minutes reading this article by the renowned expert Hope Wilbanks of Louisiana for nothing!  If you morons can't send me some thoughtful questions about your most perplexing problems so that I can give you insightful answers that will change the way you live your lives in ways that you never thought possible, and let me fulfill my dream of making "Mr. Answer Guy" a nationally syndicated column, then I'm leaving!

Good Day to you!

May 03, 2009

Taboo Stories

I was reading a story the other day about a guy over in France who tried to commit suicide. Now, normally, any story about suicide or attempted suicide is sad, and most people hope the individual involved will seek professional help if the attempt failed, and will have sympathy for the surviving family if it was successful.  But sometimes, there's one story that makes you snort. Now you know what I'm talking about, so don't go all "holier-than-thou" on me.  You're sitting there reading the story, the circumstances strike you as funny, and you snort.  If you're by yourself, you do a short penance and go about your business, and if you're with someone and they ask you what you're snorting at, you make up some lame-ass lie and change the subject.

In this particular story, a guy is living with his girlfriend, and I guess she gets fed up with him and dumps his ass and moves out.  Now, a regular person would probably go get drunk, moon around for a couple of days or weeks and then move on.  Not this guy.  He turns on every gas jet in the house and then calls all of his friends to tell them he's going to off himself.  What a Prince!  One of his friends takes him seriously. Either that or they're tired of putting up with his shit too, and calls frog 911.  The gendarmes come blazing up to the house, lights flashing and sirens howling ....  probably not the best move. The guy hears the sirens, pulls out his Bic, and flicks it.

Okay, I can just see this ..... The guy is standing in a cloud of natural gas, pulls his lighter out of his pants, puts the lighter up to his face and says to himself (insert French accent here) "I wondaire eef thees wareks?" It does.  The house explodes.  The windows blow out into the street and the roof shoots up in the air.  But the guy lives.  After the smoke clears and all the rubble flutters down to the ground, the cops find him standing there.  I imagine it's like in a comedy sketch. His hair is smoking, his face is all black and his shirt collar is sticking up.  Now, the guy is okay.  He lost a few feet of skin and will need some hair plugs, but he's basically okay.

So, this poor guy is obviously having the worst day of his life.  His girlfriend left him, he blew up his house and he looks like a burnt baguette.  But it's not over! The cops arrest him and charge him with arson, for blowing up his own house!

At his trial, I hope the magistrate (or whatever you call a French judge) cuts this dude some slack.

With his story, he wouldn't last 10 minutes in prison.

May 02, 2009

Late Night Thoughts

It's Saturday night, the Midnight Special is on the radio, and that means it's time for another "Late Night Thoughts."  This week, brought to you by Lucky Strike!

I almost backed into a car at the Kwick-ee Mart this evening. Sometimes the difference between a good day and a bad day is just a matter of inches.

Everything is NOT better with Blue Bonnet on it.

Do the benefits of acai berry outweigh the squickiness of mucous-y stools?

Absence does not make the heart grow fonder, it creates strangers.

I bought a cigarette rolling machine once.  It took 3 hours to make a pack of cigarettes and they all fell apart.

In high school, I knew a guy named Jack Gough (think about it).  He never looked happy.

Abandoned Pizza Huts still look like Pizza Huts, even if you put a funeral parlor in them.

Windows Solitaire is fixed.  You always start out 52 points in the hole.

I once didn't ask a girl out on a date because her first name was Beverly.  I figured if we got married, she'd have to change her name to Chloe.

What would have happened if my Mom had gotten her way and named me Bart?  Would I have been more popular?  Less?  Discuss.

What's Wrong With This Picture?

Last night, I was looking for a picture of Meteor Crater to put on my other blog, South By Southwest, and I came across the one seen above.  So, I was sitting there looking at it and it occurred to me that there was something odd about the depiction.  Then it came to me. See, there is already a crater there made by one meteor, and now, here comes another one!  In the exact same spot! Holy Shit!   The people who did the artwork for the website must know something. Maybe they are Seers or Shamans and can predict the future!  But when is this "second strike" going to happen?  Jan and I are going to this place in a couple of months, but I don't want to be within 500 miles of it if there's a chance of this shit happening.

Anyway, I was looking up some information on the crater, being certain to check that bastion of all truthiness, Wikipedia, and came across some interesting things.  The place was originally named Canyon Diablo Crater (which translates to "The Devil's Asshole") by some Eurotrash who were wandering around in the desert looking for a Jamba Juice stand.  Around 1900 or so, some dude named Barringer hears about it and checks it out.  He figures that a humongous alien iron ball made the crater and that the iron ball must be in there somewhere.  Now, I guess iron is really hot shit at that time and he has an idea that he wants to make all-iron cars that get crappy gas mileage, or something.  So, he buys it from the Indians with a combination of "wampum", "firewater" and casino licenses.   But, the joke's on him!  Turns out that the big iron loogie vaporized on impact and turned into an "iron mist" that spread for miles, which must have been a real mess to clean up.  So, he tries desperately to think of other ways to make some money off of the crater, including renting it out for children's parties, but nothing works.  And so, pissed off and depressed, he dies of a massive coronary several years later.  A sad tale indeed.

I found out something else interesting about the crater.  In 1964, two guys decided to fly their plane into it for some unknown reason, but were unable to fly out again because of "tractor beams", later amended to "down drafts" by the U.S. Air Force.  So, these idiots end up just flying around inside the crater until their gas runs out and they crash.  Now I have put together a short, one-act play of how this happens.  Opening Scene:  Two guys named Fred and Charlie are sitting in a dusty airport on their 18th beer.  Fred says to Charlie "Hey Charlie, let's get in the plane and go over and fly into that big hole in the ground".  Charlie:  "Capital idea old chum!"  Scene Two:  Charlie:  "Boy Fred, it sure is fun flying around in this crater, but we should leave before someone gets our license number and reports us to the authorities."  Fred: "Good idea! Whoa dude! I can't get out, we must be in some kind of tractor beam!"  Charlie: "Let's fly around until we run out of gas!"  Fred:  "Good idea!"  Scene 3:  Plane: "KEEERAAAASSHH!"

One last thing.  Some pals of mine and I visited the crater in 1972, and I decided to crawl down inside of it for some reason.  I got about 200 feet down and this guard started yelling at me to "Get out of the hole!"  I thought "Hole?" But it gave me an idea.  What if I could buy the place and rename it "Rob's Hole".

I bet I'd get tons of visitors. 

May 01, 2009

I'm Easily Amused

Okay, a couple of months ago, I ran across something really funny.  I'll set it up for you.  Now, I'm going to pretend like I'm discussing something really weighty, like why did those astrophysicist guys pull the Solar System Planet title from Pluto? I mean, who the fuck died and left them in charge of what rock or gas ball gets to be called a planet and what doesn't?

And then I say some more shit and get you really worked up on this subject, so that you'd want to know everything you possibly could about it.  Then I'd say something like "If you want to know more about this very important subject, click here."

Go on.... click it for chrissakes!

Hah!  You just got RickRoll'd!

Oh My!  That was such a hilarious thing to do about one or two years ago. Man, that's really funny!

I am so pathetic.