March 31, 2010

It's Hard Being Anti-Social

Today at work, it was nearing lunch time, and a woman from down the row (aisle?) in my particular section of the cube farm stopped by and asked me if I wanted to go for a walk.

A simple matter for most people, but not me.  I chat with this woman occasionally and it's always easy to break away whenever I want.  However, going for a walk with her would mean that I would have to engage in organized conversation for at least a half-hour.  No breakaways allowed.

So I hemmed and hawed for a few seconds, and mercifully, she suggested that we walk over to the cafeteria to get some lunch and bring it back.  Okay, so I could handle the couple of minutes it would take to do this, and I agreed.

As we walked and talked, she mentioned where she lived, and it just happened to be in the same village I do. Before I could stop myself, I blurted out "Hey, that's where I live!"  The second the words left my lips, I tried to grab them back, but it was too late.  Not missing a beat, the woman said "Oh, we should carpool together".

There are only a few fast and firm rules in my little world, but one of them is I don't carpool ... With anybody ... Anywhere ... Anytime.

From the minute I owned my first car as a teenager, I drove to and from high school alone.  Same thing in college, and the same thing when I started work.  The time it takes to drive to work in the morning is my prep period.  I clear my head, think of the things I have to do that day, listen to the radio stations that I like; and am free to change stations, throw in a CD or turn the radio completely off if I wish.  And in the evening, the same routine holds, except I use the time to unwind, stop for anything I please and just generally transition to the "home me."

The only time this routine was cast astray was a horrible 5 and a half years that I spent commuting by train to downtown Chicago.  Three hours out of my day crammed into a metal box with a half a hundred coughing, burping, sneezing, farting individuals that I grew to loathe.

I don't know if other people share this feeling, and I don't care.  If this particular quirk is a sign of mental illness is no concern to me.  This small portion of the day is mine, and mine alone.  No sharing.

All of the above flashed through my head following the woman's statement, but only a second went by.  Instead of fumbling for a half-assed, poorly worded, awkwardly stated reason why I didn't want to carpool, I called upon my new-found, old-aged induced bluntness and said "I don't carpool".

And then I waited for the hurt sounding, slightly indignant reply that I knew was coming.  But instead, the woman said "I understand completely", and left it at that.

I was so taken aback that I ended up taking my lunch to her cube and we had a nice conversation as we ate our lunch together.

Damn ... I hate socializing.

March 30, 2010

Car Repair 101

Jan has this week off for Spring Break and is making the most of it.  Every day is planned out with projects, appointments and visiting family.  I came home from work this evening and asked her if she was still planning on visiting her mother in one of the collar counties tomorrow.  She told me she was planning on it, but the car was making funny noises and she wanted me to check it out before she drove it in the morning.

I don't know a hell of a lot about cars, but I can recognize it if something sounds wrong, so I took it out for a drive around the neighborhood.  Just like she said, it sounded "funny".  Every time I'd turn the wheel, an annoying whine would come out of the engine compartment.  I cut the test drive short and pulled the car back into the garage.  With the motor still running, I popped the hood and took a look around (like I would be able to recognize anything).

However, when I looked behind the plastic engine cover thingy, I saw a metal mount, about 6 inches by 6 inches.  The mount had four bolt holes in it.  The top was scarred and marked like something had once sat there, and each of the holes had 4 nuts in them.  No bolts, just loose nuts.

Jan came out in the garage to check on things, and I asked her if she had heard anything strange in the last couple of weeks when she drove the car, like a LARGE piece falling out of the engine compartment.  She looked at the empty mount that I was pointing at, and said "Hmmm, that doesn't look right."

The car is attending a slumber party tonight at the local repair shop.  We'll see what's wrong with it tomorrow.

First rule of automobile engine trouble shooting:  If a huge piece is missing, something's wrong. 

March 29, 2010

Economy? Still Bad

Spring is sputtering to life here in Northern Illinois. Although it was only in the lower 50's on Sunday, the sun came out and I literally needed something to do outside to start chasing off the Winter blahs.  So, as I stepped into the garage early in the morning and my shoes started crunching on the approximately 500 pounds of road salt that had flaked off the car and truck, I decided on my project for the day.  A garage make-over.

This involves a determined mind set to look for things that have been thrown here and there since last Summer and getting them out to the curb before Jan figures out what I'm doing and starts bring them all back.  This invariable leads to a heated argument, the drawing of firearms and a visit from the local police.

But yesterday, Jan was in a benelvolent mood, and even suggested that I throw away several things that I thought she'd never part with.  So, after several hours, the floor was salt and dirt free, the shelves were wiped clean and everything was in top shape.

Sitting by the corner of the garage was an array of things I didn't want anymore.  A 23 year old snow thrower that stalled whenever it sensed snow, a broken wicker basket, a fractured table, a cracked kitchen waste can, two plastic lawn chairs autographed in magic marker by one of Jan's classes from years ago, hoses, fittings and other general shit.

I took it all to the curb when the sun started to set.  Our trash haulers are pretty good about taking everything away, just as long as we don't pile mounds of junk at the end of the driveway every week, so I knew that wouldn't be a problem.

But I shouldn't have been even the least bit concerned. By 5 a.m. this morning, it was all gone.  And the trash dudes don't even start until 7 a.m.

Every piece of junk was gone, and even the ratty towels, rugs and garden hose that I had stuffed into the trash can itself ... poof!  Gone.  Only the three bags of kitchen refuse that we had manufactured during the week remained in the can.

I found this kind of amusing, and was glad that the trash man hadn't gotten to the stuff first, because this way my crap has another life, and it's fun to think of someone else cussing at that fucking snow thrower next winter when , roaring like it will take on the world single bladedly, it won't move one flake of snow.

Five years ago, I could have put the same junk out for pick-up, and nobody but the trash collectors would have taken it.  But things are a little different today.  One man's trash truly does becomes another man's treasure, or necessity.

If you turn on any all news station during the week, you'll hear various economic experts and other voodoo practitioners explain how the economy is getting better every month, even though the unemployment rate still tops 10 percent.  Yes, bad economic times are over.

I'll believe that crock of shit the day I put junk out by the curb on a Sunday night, and it's still there on Monday morning.

March 26, 2010

10 Things You Didn't Know About ...

I'll bet you thought I was going to tell you 10 things you didn't know about me, didn't you?  Hah!  Fat chance.  I prefer to remain an enigma ... a riddle wrapped in a question ... a ghost.  I don't want anybody to know anything about me.  Not even my doctor.  In fact, I dread the question "Tell me a little about yourself", which is why when this comes up during a one on one situation, like a job interview, I quickly change the subject to famous vaudeville acts of the early 20th century.

However, while meandering through computerland at 2 a.m. the other morning, I did come across a highly informative bit of information titled "10 Things You Didn't Know About Clint Eastwood".  And I thought I'd share, so here goes.  Number ...
  1. Clint has directed more movies than Steven Speilberg.
  2. Clint played at Carnegie Hall.
  3. Clint used to dig pools for a living.
  4. Clint tried recording pop records.
  5. Clint was fired from Universal Studios.
  6. Clint received the French Legion d'Honneur Award.
  7. Clint drives a beater.
  8. Clint threatened to kill Michael Moore.
  9. Clint is allergic to horses.
  10. Clint is a vegan.
"Yawn".  Wow.  Way to give it up Clint.  Fortunately for you, and unfortunately for Clint-O, I know a few things about him myself that I'm sure he wouldn't want me to share with anyone.  But I'm not into that "secrets" shit, so here are my "10 Things You Didn't Know About Clint Eastwood".

  1. Clint's birth name is Fernando Noisydumper.
  2. Clint's father was killed at an early age in a mechanized clam shucker accident.
  3. Clint was the first director to authorize the use of live ammunition on the set of "Play Misty For Me".
  4. Clint's close friends refer to him as "That Whiney Old Douchebag" when not in his company.
  5. Clint has suffered from Chronic Flatulence since childhood.
  6. Clint was passed over for the lead roll in "Mrs. Doubtfire".
  7. During Clint's term as mayor, Carmel, California was recognized by Time Magazine as the "Worst Fucking City In The Solar System".
  8. Clint cleanses his anus with Tresemme Split End Formula Shampoo when bathing.
  9. Clint holds dual citizenship in Swaziland.
  10. Clint has an extensive collection of pubic hair toupees.

You would think with such extensive "insider" knowledge of the rich and famous, that TMZ would return my calls.

March 25, 2010

Silent Stalker

If there's one thing that I've noticed since starting this blog a year ago, it's that hardly anyone goes back and reads my old posts.  This is probably true for most of the other people who also write on a regular basis.  It's kind of like that old adage, "What have you done for me lately?"  And I'm the same way about reading other peoples blogs.  The only exception would be this person.  I know I've gone back and read every post she's written, some of them twice.  And like most of her readers, I'm right there when she puts in something new.  Boy, I'm sure glad I don't have that kind of pressure on me.  I just hope she can handle it and not get a swelled head, or a swollen something or other.

I thought no one ever went back and read any old shit of mine, until recently, when I was looking at a collaboration of my posts and the hits they've received. It was then that I realized that I have a regular visitor to a particular one.  I'd forgotten about it, and once I read it again ...  I don't know ... I guess it was kind of mean.

Having nothing else to do, I tried to figure out who was reading it, and what may have drawn them to that particular one.  Using triangulation, satellite tracking, sextant positioning, and mainly by looking at the IP address, I determined that it was one person.  And that person is ... the subject of that post.

It would appear that three or four times a month, Frances pours herself a whiskey and soda, fires up another Luckie and reads her post.  I can imagine the things that run through her head, and most of them probably concern my prolonged unnatural death.  I wish she would comment at least once, but she never has.

But Frances, if you ever read this, thanks for being a loyal reader, even if it is of only one post.  I may never have the wide audience of other more successful writers, but then again, they don't have you.

March 23, 2010

Bargain Bin

Hey Kids!  Do you remember record albums?  Do you still call CD's albums?  Then you're probably old enough to remember these from your local wax merchant.  If the covers are this awesome, just imagine what the music sounds like ...

Yessir!  That's some goooooood listenin'!

March 22, 2010


The week I have dreaded is now upon me.  For the foreseeable future, I will not be able to cruise through my evenings sitting in my comfy chair and watching cable on my beloved teevee.

My lovely wife, who normally doesn't care what I watch in the evening as long as it isn't South Park or Family Guy will be parked in front of the television, her school papers and Tetrus game be damned, watching her favorite show of all time.

Fucking Dancing With The Fucking Stars.

I'll be forced to sit upstairs in the "extra" room, watching network crap on the teeny television with rabbit ear reception.  How did I come to deserve this ignoble fate?

However, Jan doesn't ask much of me, and I love her.  So, I will not say a word and will let her enjoy "her show" in peace.  That's what kind of guy I am.  Plus, she would de-ball me with a boning knife in about two seconds flat if I touched the remote.

If you're wondering about the competitors, Olympic Skating Guy and Chad Ochocinco have been picked by the Vegas oddsmakers as the picks to win, at 5 to 1 and 4 to 1 respectively.  Super skank Kate Gosselin is pegged to go out on the first round.

And my boyhood hero, Buzz Aldrin is slated to go down by the third round.  Imagine.  Buzz Aldrin, X-15 pilot and the second man on the moon, on some slimy televised dance contest.  I hope he gets the hook during the first dance.

Have some dignity Buzzy.  And the rest of you losers ... break a leg.  Both of them if possible.

March 21, 2010

Medical Waste & The End Of Baseball

It's probably true that most memories of your youth are imbedded between the ages of 4 and 11.  At the very least, they are the most pleasant, because the next ten years tend to be a jumble of hormones, embarrassment and outbreaks of acne that you'd just as soon forget.  For me, those early years were spent at 1945 Cherry Street Court. I don't exactly know what a "court" is supposed to be, but ours was a horseshoe type with about 20 houses, most of them 2 bed, 1 bath bungalows.

As in most houses that size with mom, dad and two or three kids, we continually tripped over each other and fought for the one bathroom.  So, when summer rolled around, the kids spent as little time indoors as possible.

The Spences' home was in the southwest corner of the court.  They were the landed gentry of the neighborhood, with a large house, a large lot, and an attached empty lot about three-quarters the size of a football field.  They were reclusive people who we thought kept a couple of horses in a small barn at the back of their house.  We didn't know much about them and kept our distance out of respect for the upper class.  But they were not unkind, because they let the neighborhood children play in their extra lot, which was known as "Spences' Field"  They had erected a small shack that resembled a concession stand in the northwest corner, and inside they kept canvas bases, a few baseball bats and a croquet set.  On one wall they had tacked up a list of "rules"which basically said to behave and don't tear up shit.  If they didn't like something that had happened, they would tack up another note admonishing us.  We always took these special notes very seriously, because nobody wanted to be banished from Spences' Field.

During the summer, there was a pick-up baseball game during the afternoon almost every weekday.  The Bench boys and the McNair boys would always play.  They were the jocks.  My buddy Mike and I would usually join in, and sometimes our sort-of friend, Mark, would play too. But Mark was kind of effeminate and tended to squeal when excited, so we liked it better when he stayed home. And there were others that I don't really remember. Most of the time, the games were small, but four or five times a summer, there were a full 9 kids on each team.

The baseball games went on year after year, with all of the fun and bickering that went with them.  But in the Spring of 1962, something changed ... big time.  One day, the equipment shack disappeared, and then the bull dozers came.  Over the summer Spences' Field (including the Bench home) and the pasture to the north along Glenstone Avenue was transformed into a new "Medical Village" with a huge adjacent parking lot.  The new facility was architecturally all early 60's chic, laid out like an outdoor strip mall with inverted canopies and hammered metal fountains.  But instead of shops, there were doctors offices and a pharmacy.  Actually, this was quite ahead of its time for a rube town such as ours.

Naturally, we were incensed at the change.  But what could we do?  Well, we could go play in the new "Medical Village".  This didn't last too long, thanks to the no-horseshit security guards.

But the security guards weren't around in the evenings, or the weekends.  In fact, nobody was there, so when Mike came over to visit, we usually ended up over at the MV, as we called it.  And it wasn't too long before we found the mother lode ... the dumpsters.

It's hard to fathom now, but back in the early 60's, the concept of "bio-waste" hadn't really been addressed, so the dumpsters were a cauldron for everything coming out of the doctors offices.

Including syringes.  Syringes with the needles still attached.  And one Saturday, we found the mother lode. Of course we knew what they were for, and we cringed when a doctor approached us with one. But here in the dumpster, they didn't look so menacing.  In fact, they looked like the perfect mini-squirt guns.  So we each grabbed a couple of the larger ones, found a mud puddle and proceeded to spray each other with muddy water combined with Jesus knows whatever had been in those syringes.  This went on for a while until Mike decided that they made great darts too, and started throwing them at me until I threatened to kick his ass.

Our dumpster diving went on for a couple of weeks, until one day we discovered something repulsive laying beside a bin.  A small, reddish gelatinous mass surrounded by bloody gauze.  Quicker than we could react, Mike's dog chomped down on the goo and swallowed it.  We stood, stunned, for just a moment, and then Mike went berserk, screaming an crying that his dog was going to die.  He dragged the mutt home and we waited several anxious days, but the dog was fine.

After the incident, it slowly dawned on us that we really shouldn't be messing around the dumpsters, and we stopped.  Which was just as well, because it wasn't long afterwards that the powers that be secured them behind a locked fence.

When I sit back and think about all of the things I did when I was a kid, I'm truly amazed that I lived into adulthood.  I guess there was some luck there, mixed in with just a wisp of common sense.  My best friend Mike wasn't so lucky.

But that's a story for another time.

March 16, 2010


Every once in a while, my photo album becomes a little too much to manage, and I start looking for the runts of the litter to throw into the virtual trash can.  Some of them have been there for a long while, and others just a short time.  But they all need to go.  However, I am not by nature a cruel person, and like the jailer who gives the condemned man his last meal, I'm giving these images a last public airing before their hasty demise.  Please give them the respect they are due ...

But It Must Not Have Went By This Sign

This was supposed to be in Amarillo, Texas, but I'll be damned if I could find it.

Our Car In Salinas, California

And we were in Gallup, New Mexico.  A long story with a tragic, yet uplifting ending that I won't go into now.

Giant Phallic Rock Formation

It really didn't look like that in person.  It's in a national park, but there's probably a reason you never see it in a travel brochure.

The Last Vacation Photo

An abandoned gas station in Denver taken in a traffic jam.  We went 800 more miles and I can't believe we didn't take even one more picture.

My Son, The Artist

One of his projects from college.  It always made me want to watch Total Recall.

Portrait Of Stalin In Weird Hat

This fascinated me.  The only thing I could figure out was that it was a covering for those crazy WWI helmets with the spikes on top.

The Day Came And Went ... I Got Neither


I was going to build a post around this, but realized that I had nothing to write about.  Such a shame.

Same Thing (click to enlarge)

It was fun guys.  Now head for the trash can where you belong ...  "CRRRUUUNNNCCCHHH"!

March 14, 2010

Never A Dull Moment

About a week back, I passed the 200 post milestone for this blog.  Frankly, I never knew I had that much material pent up inside myself and I'm just a little more than amazed when I look at that number.  Of course, there are days where I'd like to write something, but inspiration is lacking.  I know of other bloggers who hit that wall too, but they seem to have a well of material that they can always draw from.  Whether it's their children, their perceived poverty, or their psychcoses, they usually have some source from which to cobble together a post.

I guess I've got that source also.  He's not as reliable as kids, poverty, etc., but he comes across on occasion.  And he is my next door neighbor, Ron.  Ron is in his late 30's. He's a big guy with a beer belly who likes to wear doo rags, cut-off Walmart jeans and day-glo t-shirts with "Security" printed on the back.  When he's not littering his front lawn with a hundred bicycles he bought at an auction, practicing small engine repair on 10 or 20 broken down lawn mowers and snow throwers in his driveway or driving his go-cart around our court, he likes to try to kill me, cut the heads off of deer and ... trap cats.

On a given weekend morning, it's not unusual for me to step out the side door of my garage for a breath of fresh air and see something totally off the wall next door.  This morning, groggy from losing an hour's sleep because of the stupid time change, I carried my cup of coffee out the side door and saw this:


I shook my head a couple of times to clear the cobwebs and looked again.  Yeah, that's a cat all right.  He's had that small animal trap sitting there all winter, but I thought it was just another piece in the menagerie of junky shit he keeps all around his house.  Apparently, he armed and baited it last night.  I don't know if he was really gunning for the raccoons that roam around here, or if he had specifically targeted cats.

This cat looked vaguely familiar, so I walked over to take a closer look at it to see if it was the same one that had taken a nose dive into my window well about a month ago.


Yup, same one.  Geez Blackie, you're sure using up those nine lives at a good clip!  While I was standing there, trying to figure out how to open the trap, the garage door started going up.  So, rather than being caught trying to free the cat from it's holding cell, I skittered back over to my place.  I don't know what would have been more weird ... me trying to explain why I was trying to let the cat out of the trap, or him trying to explain why he was trapping cats.  But at 9 a.m. on a Sunday morning, I didn't feel like having one of those "life's awkward moments" experiences.

Anyway, I looked out the side door a couple of hours later, and the cat was gone.  I figured that either a) He had freed the cat or b) Was preparing same cat for this evenings dinner.  Knowing this guy, I wouldn't put "b" in the realm of the unlikely.

Being the curious sort, I looked up this site and learned that, indeed, there is more than one way to skin a cat and prepare a delicious feline main course.  And, if I were you, I really wouldn't click on that link unless you want to ruin your appetite ... unless you already did, in which case it's too late and I really should have thought it through about placing this caution before the link.

Sorry ...

March 12, 2010

Descent Into Madness

It's a troubling feeling when you find that you can't tell fact from fiction.  Take last night for example.  I was rushing through all of my news sites on line before I went to bed.  I was getting more tired by the minute and was attempting to bookmark some articles that I wanted to come back and read in the next day or so.  Finally, I became so sleepy, that I just put the computer to sleep and turned in.  This morning I was working on a project, and suddenly the phrase "Pee Funnel" came into my head.

This stopped me dead in my tracks, and I tried to remember if I had glanced over an article about using a funnel to pee though, or if I had dreamt of myself peeing in a funnel.  I think it stayed with me because it was a really good idea.  When a guy gets older, he just doesn't have that "force"that he used to have to push the old piss out at a high velocity.  As you stand and dribble over the bowl, you long for the days when your mighty piss stream punched a hole in the water with a resounding Niagara Falls type thunder. Not only do you dribble, your aim is severely compromised and you end up going other places besides inside the bowl on occasion.  Very messy.

If you peed into a funnel, your problems would be over and all of your expelled liquid would go exactly where you wanted it.  Problem is, what to do with the funnel afterwards?  If you just get a regular funnel, you've got to have some easy way to rinse it out and store it, unless you're just gross.

So, in a misguided two prong attempt to not only try to find out if I was actually reading an article about peeing into a funnel and find out if they make funnels designed specifically for this purpose, I hit the Google.

And I learned that Google can get away from you like a grease covered pig if you're not careful.

I did find a site selling disposable pee funnels for women ... a lot of sites as a matter of fact.  Women obviously are serious about taking a piss standing up.  Here are the best ones as far as I could tell.

Take Your Pick Ladies!

The Freshette Trough, the Travel Maxi (doubles as a a stake for your camping tent), as well as the Whizzy and EZPee disposables.  I could find no pee funnels for men, but we guys could no doubt use the womens models as long as we didn't make an embarrassing public display of ourselves, unlike this woman who actually demonstrated one on some Australian television talk show ...

Aussie Gals Love To Pee Into Giant Pilsner Glasses

Okay, my question was answered about as adequately as it was going to be ... I still don't know if I read it or dreamt it, but let's move on now.

Except ... that picture of the woman peeing was pretty fuzzy, and I wanted a better one to post.  So I Googled "pictures of women peeing", but just got a bunch of fuzzier pictures, except for one of a Japanese woman peeing in a slit toilet, but the site wouldn't let me copy it. Damn it.  But I looked for more anyway, and you know how the farther you go down a search list, the item that your targeted keeps getting more obscure?  Well, I ended up at one site that was about nothing but women drinking their own urine.  Gross!  And no pictures! Damn it again!

Being lazy, I just went up to my finder bar and started backspacing on what I had written, until I was down to "pictures of women pe" when Google got all excited and suggested that I look for "pictures of women with enormous breasts"  Well, since Google went to all that trouble to look for me, I decided to take them up on their offer.  Which led me to discover that ...

"Twenty Eight-year-old Sheyla Hershey of Brazil is the proud owner of the world's largest breasts - with a staggering, life-threatening, and unfortunately-named bra size of 38KKK."

Congratulations Sheyla!  Definitely More Than A Handful!

Apparently Sheyla underwent eight surgeries and had over one gallon of silicone pumped into her boobies to achieve her epic proportions.  You go girl!

After gawking at numerous pictures of Sheyla for a couple of minutes I continued on until Google asked me if I'd like to look at "pictures of women with three breasts"?  In for a penny, in for a pound ...

This Has To Be Photoshopped, Right?  Right??

Incidentally, there is a medical term for a woman with "accessory breasts"  It is called  Polymastia.  Also incidentally, this was more information than I needed to know.

Frankly, after an hour of reading articles and viewing pictures of pee funnels, pee ingestion, humongo hooters and 3 boobies to a rack, I was feeling a bit "icky".  So I quickly closed my browser so as not to give Google any more opportunities to shower me with depravity.

And I went downstairs to watch an episode of Maury Povich, featuring brothers and sisters who marry.

Ahhhh, much better.

March 10, 2010

Life In These United States

When I was a young man in my "tweens", I had great ambitions to become a writer.  By the way, what is the "tweens" anyway?  I think it was coined to describe that period of time in a young persons life when they are not a child anymore, but not yet a young adult.  But what would that time be?  You're either not a teen, or you're a teen.  So, the "tweens" has to be precisely 12 1/2 years old.

Anyway, I had a lot of dreams in my "tweens", and by in large, they were crushed.  The writing thing went the way of Fat Sam when I took my first English Composition class in college and realized I sucked gas.  I recovered later in life, but the result is this blog, so I think the description "crushed" still applies.

But back then I was full of hope and ambition, and was actively looking for someway to break into the word biz. In 1964 (aka, the Bronze Age), I figured the best way was to send articles to magazines.  However they couldn't be any real good magazines, because those editors were highly sophisticated and  would no doubt recognize the musings of a pre-pubescent kid at 100 yards.

At the time, we had a subscription to Reader's Digest magazine, and each new issue was proudly displayed on our toilet tank in the bathroom next to the box of EZ Stryke Matches.  Incidentally, I was 10 years old before it came to me why the matches were on the toilet tank.  I knew my parents always lit one after they had used the facility, but I thought it was some mystic ritual that I would be taught when I grew older.  And then one day, it hit me that the smell of sulfur covered over the horrendous stench after either my mother or father had unleashed one of their cabbage stuffed devil dogs.

I always considered Reader's Digest to be kind of lowbrow, but this made it a perfect choice for me to show off my writing chops.  Even though it sort of sucked, I did like the little features they contained like "Life In These United States".  There were a couple of others that were almost identical, but I forget what they were called.  So, I thought long and hard and crafted together a couple of anecdotes, which were of course, totally fictional, but what did they know?

I never got up the nerve to submit them, but a few months ago, I ran across them in a box of papers in the basement.  Rather than burn them, I thought I'd share ...
Halloween is a huge event in our neighborhood.  Spooky decorations, free candy and great costumes.  In fact, many of the adults dress up in costumes when they accompany their kids trick-or-treating.  On our first Halloween at our new house, I answered the door to group of kids whose mother was dressed up like a pirate. I complimented her on her choice of costumes as I distributed treats to her children.

About a month later, I bumped into the same woman at the grocery store.  Imagine my embarrassment when I realized that she was, in fact, a pirate.
Early one morning, the phone rang, and I sleepily answered it.  "Hello?"

My girlfriend at the time, who was on the other end of the phone replied "Hello!"

"Who is this?", I asked, still extremely out of it.

"It's me.", she replied.


"Your girlfriend!"

"Yerg Irlfred?" I said confusedly.

"Your girl ... friend!"  She was sounding very annoyed.

"I'm sorry, but I don't know anyone by that name."


"I think you have the wrong number Yerg."  I said before groggily hanging up the phone.

I guess you had to be there ....

I wonder if they still publish Readers Digest?  Just maybe ...

March 07, 2010

Bizarro World

This morning I was looking up some information using our village website when I realized that I was not looking at Lindenhurst, Illinois, but Lindenhurst, New York.  The site must get a lot of this, because the first message that came up said something like "if you were looking for Lindenhurst, IL, you're in the wrong place, but come on in and take a look anyway".  Well, shit like this intrigues me, so I decided to see what was going on in our sister village half-way across the country.  I was surprised at some of the similarities, but of course, there are some differences besides the obvious geography.

Both villages have about the same population and occupy approximately the same amount of land.  Both are governed by a mayor and a board of trustees.  And just for fun, Lindenhurst, NY is the birthplace of singer Pat Benatar and 50's game show host Jack Barry.  Alas, Lindenhurst, IL has no favorite celebrity sons or daughters.

However, as I investigated further, I began to discover some not-so-fun things about our New York cousin. While Lindenhurst, IL (LIL) was incorporated from a farm in 1956 by gentile farmy folk, Lindenhurst, New York (LNY) was founded by descendants of fierce Germanic tribes from Silesia in 1873.  Originally named Breslau, the name was changed to the more innocuous Lindenhurst in 1891.

As Arte Johnston of Laugh-In fame would say:

Verrrrrry Suspicious

I dug further and found that  Nazi sympathizers of the German Bund were centralized in Breslau Lindenhurst in the early part of the 20th century.  In the 1930's many LNY residents were tried and convicted for treason.  And in 1937, up to 40,000 bundists would blow into town on any given Sunday to celebrate Nazism in America, greeted by young Siegfrieders lined up to meet them at the train station.

Just In Case You Wondered What A Siegfrieder Was

Hmmm ...  I looked at some pictures from the website ...

Parks Department Employees

Wehrmacht Welcome Wagon Members

Christmas Parade

Village Mayor and Trustees

And then to top it off, I found this headline ... ripped from the local Topix page:

Village of Lindenhurst is Corrupt

Oh my ... the things you learn on an innocent data search on a Sunday morning.

Postcript:  Just in case any of you litigious leaning Lindenhurst, NY residents read this ... I'm just kidding! I'm sure you have a wonderful little community!  Except, what's up with those two middle pictures which are actually on the village website?  I mean, really?

March 05, 2010

I'm Aware I Shouldn't Laugh

I'm admittedly a fairly cynical individual.  Present me with a positive situation, and I'll tear it apart until I find something negative about it.  Show me a light at the end of the tunnel and I'll wait for the speeding train that's behind it.

As a result, I don't laugh very often.  I do that "social laugh" thing when I'm in a conversation with someone and I don't want to seem like a stick-in-the-mud asshole, but that's about it.  Some people have said that I have a "dry" sense of humor, but Jan says that they're just being nice and they really mean warped, macabre or bizarre.

I suppose that's about right.  I do like to watch comedy, but I'm not moved to laugh very often.  In fact, I consciously try not to laugh.  This works most of the time, but there are exceptions.  Ron White used to be one, but I grew tired of his cigar, bourbon and tater salad shit.  Lately, Demetri Martin makes me snort at some of his skits, but he's becoming a little tiring too.

There is one person that I'm almost ashamed to admit that I like to watch.  I'll find myself laughing at some of his crap even if I'm trying not to.  As an example, one Saturday night Jan and I found ourselves watching "Step Brothers", only because we didn't have any ears of corn that needed shucking.  Try as we did not to, we found ourselves snorting at several of the scenes in the movie.  And each time we'd look at each other sheepishly and shake our heads.

Yes ... I like Will Ferrell.  Not all of the time, but he's just goofy and off-the-wall enough that he catches me off balance on occasion, and I laugh at him.  Maybe that's all that comedy is ... catching you off guard.

The other night, I was drifting through the inter-tubes and came across a piece with Ferrell in it.  Yeah, this is the kind of stuff I laugh at.  I probably need professional help.

March 03, 2010

You Know You've Had It With Winter ...

You know you've had it with winter when:

Parking your salt encrusted vehicle at work is actually embarrassing.

You shovel a spot in the back yard so you can see grass from your kitchen window.

The Burpee's Seed Catalog is more interesting reading than the Victoria's Secret All Bra Catalog.

You empty the bottle of Aveeno Hand Healing Lotion that you just bought in December.

A 37 degree day with a 25 mph wind is "refreshing".

You realize that there has been snow on the ground since Thanksgiving weekend ... OVER 90 DAYS AGO!

You run out of blankets to put on your bed.

White tennis shoes with slacks don't look so bad because at least you're not ruining your dress shoes by slogging through the slush and salty muck.

You have terminal "hat hair".

The skin on your ankles starts cracking.

You store frozen food in the garage ... and there's no freezer out there.

Florida starts to sound like a nice place to live.

You've actually experienced all of the above.