April 29, 2010

Worst ... Prize ... Ever

I was glancing at my hometown's facebook page this evening, when my eyes were drawn in by this post:

Robin Thornton ok i won a trip to springfield, missouri!!!! 2 nights. fantastic caverns, dickerson park zoo, discovery center, sports hall of fame, wild animal safari, century cafe' and beer tasteing tour. wwwoooo hhhoooooo
Since I grew up in Springfield, Missouri, my initial thought was "What God-forsaken, fucked-up contest did this woman enter?"  Really, a trip to Springfield?  What was second prize?  A pile of freshly squeezed dog shit?

Okay, so maybe I'm being a little hard on my old stomping grounds.  Robin hails from Tulsa.  I have been to Tulsa and I must admit that if I'd spent hard time there, I'd be saying "wwwoooo hhhoooooo" to a little Springfield getaway too.  Especially if I could visit the places Robin gushes about in her post.

What's that?  Not familiar with these prime tourist spots?  Luckily for you, I can provide a brief still-picture synopsis for each of these regionally-famous Springfieldian attractions.

Fantastic Caverns - Billed as the world's only drive-thru cave.  The Department of Interior reported that in 2009, there were only 47 deaths reported at this location due to falling stalagtites (vibrations from the rickety old Jeep) and carbon monoxide poisoning (the Jeep was overdue for a tune-up).


Dickerson Park Zoo - Covering a mammoth 1.3 acres, Dickerson Park Zoo is located in the center of Springfield's late-night homosexual hook-up district. Although the zoo is going through some bothersome economic struggles, it finds it can stretch it's food budget by feeding the occasional tourist to the inhabitants.

Lunchtime At the Polar Bear Grotto

Discovery Center - For Spring 2010, the Discovery Center features it's most popular exhibit "The Wonders of Reanimation!"


Sports Hall of Fame - Hard working Springfield City Councilmen were able to "score" a hefty $146.23 government grant to build this tribute to Springfield baseball legend Mickey Owen.

If You Build It, They Will Come

Wild Animal Safari - Inspired by the memory of Mutual of Omaha's Marlin Perkins, planned and constructed by world famous asshat Donald Trump, people from as far away as Marshfield flock to WAS to view natural wild animals in their natural wild habitat-like setting.  From the comfort of your car, you can view such exotic creatures as ...

Ling-Ling, The Weight Lifting Panda!


Kareem, The Basketball Playing Giraffe!

Century Cafe - Home of the Half-Pound Crawdad Burger!


And Finally ...

Cyrus McNutt's Pub Crawl - Where every tour ends in a bloody fist-fight!


And so Robin Thornton of Tulsa, OK ... Enjoy your two night adventure in The Queen City of the Ozarks!  Be sure and bring your Instamatic, because the folks back home ain't gonna believe the time you done had!

wwwoooo hhhoooooo!

April 28, 2010

No Show, But The Show Must Go On

We've lived in this area well over 30 years now, and have always watched the local ABC station WLS, Channel 7 in the mornings and evenings.  So, we're pretty familiar with the comings and goings of the various anchor people, weather people and street reporters.  Just a few days ago, one of my favorite weekend morning anchors bit the dust.

No, he didn't die.  He was fired.  Apparently, Kevin Roy just didn't have the heart anymore to read the news and do all the silly spots so often required of local morning anchors, particularly on the weekends.  So last Sunday morning, he just didn't show up for his allotted 6 a.m. broadcast.  I guess most people could understand missing a routine show once, but this was the third time in as many months that Roy had pulled the same stunt.  So, WLS sent him packing yesterday morning.

When it was apparent that Roy was AWOL last Sunday morning, on again/off again staff reporter Michelle Gallardo was yanked off the street and thrown unceremoniously into his seat, where she managed to read the news without fucking up too bad.  Twittering furiously afterwards Gallardo wrote "Why do these things have to happen on a day that I didn't blow-dry my hair!  Lol!"

Lol indeed.  After reading about Roy's suicidal career decision, I wondered what level of panic the producer was in when he/she realized that they were about to turn the cameras on a newscast featuring the Invisible Man?  I realize that they deal with all sorts of problems like showing the wrong graphics or film clips, or the occasional marauding robotic floor camera that takes in everything but its intended target, but no smiley/serious anchor to open the newscast?

Do you show all of the commercials allotted for the hour in one big dollup?  Do you go to a silent shot of the Sears (sorry ... Willis) Tower skycam panning the Chicago landscape?  Or do you run willy-nilly into the street looking for the first person walking by wearing a suit and tie on a Sunday morning at 6:00 and keelhaul him?

Contacted shortly after being shown the door, Roy said "To those who might speculate on the reason, be assured that my problem is one of physical exhaustion only."

Any questions?  No?  Okay then, let's all move on ... nothing to see here.  Mr. Roy, 41,  walks away (with a little encouragement) after 12 years with WLS, one of the premier television stations in the U.S.  Previously, he had worked at KGW-TV in Portland, Oregon and at two other low wattage outlets in Louisville and Cedar Rapids.

Geez, I wonder how you gussie-up your resume after that titanic boner.  Tuscaloosa, here he comes.

Aye Roy, me boy, I'll miss ye laddie ...

April 27, 2010

High Fidelity

Over the weekend, I took a drive over to beautiful downtown Homer Glen to visit my favorite record store.  The place with the stax of wax, the piles of platters, the dusty discs ... The good people at "The Scratchy Needle".  As usual, I headed for the bargain bin, where I found armloads of great music at rock-bottom prices.  If the album covers are this awesome, just imagine what the music is like!

April 26, 2010

Always A Bridesmaid ...

Once again, my dreams of wealth and the truly good life have been shattered.  Someone else won the latest big ticket, multi-state lottery drawing.

This time it was Powerball.  The 258 million dollar grand prize was won by a Mr. Chris Shaw, a convenience store clerk from Jefferson City, Missouri.  And who is this gentleman with the sudden humongous stash of cash?

Everybody Hates Chris

Okay, I know what you're thinking ... so just for a half-minute, DON'T be politically correct.  Go ahead, say it ... All right, I'll say it for you.  WHAT THE FUCK!  Yes, boys and girls, it isn't like you were brought up to believe. God does not hate trailer parks.

Let's pretend for a moment that Chris has a facebook page.  Of course, we have to believe for another moment that Chris actually knows how to use a computer.  This is how it looks ...

Name:  Christopher Hannibal Shaw
Sex:  When?
Birthday:  N/A
Current City:  Jefferson City, MO
Hometown:  Don't Know
Children:  5 that I know of
College:  What's that
High School:  See above
Employer:  Cum & Go
Position:  Clerk Trainee

Weighing his options, Shaw is undecided on whether to take 125 million in one lump sum, or spread the original amount out over 29 years.  He said he first has to consult with "people who know about money".

Well, Chris my boy, I'll tell you something about money ... by the time you pay exorbitant amounts of back owed and future child support to three of your children and their two mothers, your girlfriend takes you to the cleaners, make untold number of really stupid investments, give wads of cash away to long lost friends and relatives who crawl out of the woodwork, pay 50 lawyers to keep you out of trouble, and just literally blow tens of thousands of dollars on God-only knows what ... your money will be gone in ... oh, let's see ... 5 fucking years.  And that's being optimistic.

And of course, I'm just speaking out of jealousy. Seriously, good luck to you Chris, in all your future endeavours (jerk). 

April 25, 2010


I hate wearing glasses.  I hate the way I have to keep pitching my head up and down to see things at varying distances.  I hate the way they slide down my nose.  I hate the way they scrunch up crooked into my  face when I working in a tight space.  I hate the permanent dents they leave on the bridge of my nose.  And I hate the way I look in them.

But I do like the way everything isn't all fuzzy and shit when I don't have them on.  And, I could probably do something about the way I look in them if I bought a new pair.  I guess I'm pretty lucky that I went as long as I did without needing them.  I still remember the day I knew something was wrong.  When I used to ride the train downtown, I read the headlines on other people's newspapers who sat in front of me.  I could even read the body of the news item.  Then one day, everything turned fuzzy and I couldn't do it anymore.  Just like that.

Shit.  So I had to start wearing glasses, and everyone told me how good I looked in them, but they were lying because I could see the truth on their faces.  Not being able to find a new group of people to hang with who could lie well, I just lived with it.

In the past several months, I've been reading about what great strides have been made in "vision correcting" surgery, but when I've talked with people who have had it done, I get the feeling that they weren't 100% satisfied. I'm guessing that since they spent so much money on the procedure, that they felt they had to talk up how well it went, but some of their comments betray them.  I talked with my neighbor a few months ago who had the surgery done.  She said she was happy, but did mention that when she's out at night, streetlights and on coming car lights have a large "halo" around them.  I don't think I'd be real fucking happy about that.

Just last week, the guy who works across the hall from me had his eyes "fixed".  He came in the morning after wearing a pair of those "Cyclops" sunglasses like old people in Florida sport.  He's a pretty truthful guy and he told me he wouldn't have had it done again.  As he described the procedure, including the parts where it felt like his eyeballs were being pushed into the back of his head, and how for hours afterwards, his eyes itched so bad that he wanted to tear them out of their sockets, my shit ran cold.

I've had more than my share of operations, but they've all been in the general torso area.  Take something out, re-route this, shove this thing over there, etc.  But I can always hide the results with a wife-beater, high rider pants or a sarong.  But no one is going to touch my eyes. Especially with butcher knives and lasers.  I can live with a lot of things, but I don't believe I could live without my eyesight.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to some eyewear place and priced a pair of rimless, small lensed glasses, hoping I could minimize the "look".  They came back with the low, low price of about 500 dollars.  It seems like the less hardware you put on glasses, the more they cost.  Which doesn't make sense and sucks.

I'll eventually go ahead and get them, simply because I'm vain.  And in the long run, it would probably be cheaper to have surgery done than to spend money on glasses 500 bucks at a time.

But I've got something about not wanting to look at halos for the rest of my days.

April 21, 2010

The De-Evolution Of School Trips

Although I've become adverse to posting anything on my facebook page, I still enjoy reading the stylings of my friends, their friends, and anyone else who leaves their "wall" and "info" sections open to the prying eyes of strangers.  In it's latest bid at relevance, facebook has taken your town of residence, hometown and alma maters and made mini- "wall" pages out of them.  From what I can understand so far, they just pull in random posts that mention the names of these places and throw them on a page for you to view.  I was looking at my high school's potpourri page this afternoon and came across this post ...
Deanna L Martin So my 3rd grader comes home today with a field trip form for me to sign...it is to go over to Parkview High School and pick up trash!!!! Ok, tell me ...am I overreacting? What does this teach the children? What do you think they will be picking up?...yeah just think about that a minute..
Hey!  Deanna L Martin has a somewhat valid point. What will they find?  When I was there, 40 some-odd years ago, the grounds would probably contain such litter as Starburst wrappers, empty cigarette packs and the occasional sanitary napkin.  Perhaps the trash on the school grounds has become upscale with the passage of time.   Or maybe I have misread Deanna L Martin's wry, yet outraged post.  Perhaps she fears her offspring are being used in this fashion ...

In any event, I must tip my hat to the municipalitians of Springfield for their resourcefulness in these budgetarily challenging times.  Why pay city employees to clean up when you can use free children?  A win-win outcome for all involved.

Back in time, during my school "daze", we didn't get to go on many school sponsored trips.  In fact, I can only remember two.  One was a train trip to Rogersville.  We boarded the Frisco passenger train out of Springfield's Louis B. Mayer Station and made the trip to R-town in 10 minutes.  Short, but exciting.  Unfortunately, our principal forgot to bring enough money for return tickets, so we all had to walk back to school.  Luckily, it wasn't raining too hard.

I still remember the second school trip in all it's detail to this very day.  Our class went to Central High School (I never knew Springfield had a ghetto) to watch a performance of "Peter and the Wolf".  The morning of the play, I was in such an excited state, that I forgot to eat my breakfast consisting of a Foodtown processed cheese slice sandwich and a handful of deeeee-licious Kitty Clover potato chips (I ate this same breakfast every day for three years until my parents could afford cereal on a regular basis).

Realizing my omission only when I had arrived at school, and not knowing that I could live quite comfortably off of the fat on my chubby frame for 23 days, I filled my empty belly with water from the drinking fountain, until I could hold no more.

This small act resulted in my learning the concept of "formulas" at the age of only 8 years old.  Empty Stomach + One Gallon of Drinking Fountain Water x 40 Minute School Bus Ride = One Kid Who Has To PISS really bad!

Fortunately, the Ghetto People of Central High School did have restrooms, where I ended up spending about half of the play emptying my bladder over and over again. To this day, I still don't know what the story is about, and it gives me terrible flashbacks when I see the title in print.

But, if I hadn't have had to piss all of the time, I'm sure it would have been a very enjoyable experience, and certainly better than going to Parkview High School, wearing an orange safety vest and picking up used condoms.

Poor kids.

April 19, 2010

Lunes Sopa de Letras

For my post title today, I decided to use my iGoogle translator.  I did this mostly to confound Jan.  She took a course in Spanish at the local JC about 20 years ago and has been lording it over me ever since that she can speak and understand the language from south of our border. The only thing is ... she can't.  She just has herself convinced that she can.  So, if she reads this post, I'll bet a loaf of marble rye that she can't decipher it.

I spent all weekend in the yard again, trying to make it look like something from Better Homes & Gardens, but I don't think I succeeded.  Sometimes I believe that trying to make the small patch of land surrounding my house look inviting is somewhat akin to trying to polish a turd. Anyway, before I turned in last night, I told Jan that I was glad to be going back to work on Monday so I could "rest up".  I expected her to giggle or something, but she just looked at me and said she wished I would stop using dusty old cliches in my conversation.  And while I was at it, to stop mixing my metaphors.  Well, this kind of took me aback, because I thought I had just made that saying up from scratch, plus I had to go run and look at the dictionary to make sure I knew what a metaphor was. Just once, I wish I could make up a word or a saying that nobody had ever heard before.  Like "you son-of-a-bitch". I wonder how old that saying is, and did the person who first uttered it get credit for it?  I'll bet he didn't.

Plus, work today didn't turn out to be any more restful than it was working in the yard this weekend.  Son-of-a bitch!  I had to go to a meeting in a building I'd last worked in about 5 years ago.  It was held in 32-14B/E-LL-W.  I remember hating this building when I worked there, because I always felt like I should be leaving a trail of bread crumbs or something behind me when I walked from the parking lot to my office so I could find my way out again at night.  So, I gave myself 45 minutes to find it, and I was still late because I kept getting turned around. And then they didn't even have doughnuts.

Speaking of work, today is my 6 month anniversary of this particular tour of duty.  I'm a hired gun, which at this point in my life, I kind of like.  The only problem with it is that I keep getting assigned to divisions within the company that are teetering on the brink of collapse. Personally, I don't mind, as long as I keep getting paid, but it means I work with a lot of grumpy people who walk around sideways like crabs all of the time because they're afraid they're going to be laid off.  Been there, done that.  In fact, it was 10 years ago this Spring that I was "laid off" from my career job, and I've had more jobs in the last decade than I did when I was in school.  I do feel some pity for these people though, because it has to be frightening to contemplate losing your job for the first time.  What they don't understand yet, it that it's not the end of the world.

And speaking of my blog (sorry, ran out of logical segways), today, April 19, marks one year that I have had my weblog.  I believe my first post was something about changing the sump pump in our basement, which sounds rather boring, but it was a big deal to me.  Changing out a sump pump in a driving rain storm is no task for the faint hearted.  In fact, I was so pleased with myself when I completed it, with no flooding, electrocutions and general fuck-ups that I ran around the basement whooping like an idiot.  And when Jan got home that evening, and I excitedly tried to tell her about it, all she could say was "that's nice".  I guess she had to be there.

And speaking of Jan, have you figured out what the post title says yet ... Seen-yor-ah?

April 15, 2010


At 5:20 this morning, I was getting ready for work when the phone rang.  In my house, if the phone rings after 10:00 at night or before 7:00 in the morning, it means that someone died.  At least that's what I always think, even though I've been proven right only several times.

So, I looked at the ringing phone for several seconds, muttering "shit" and then picked it up.  And was immediately assaulted by a flood of Spanish, in pre-recorded form.  After listening for a short time, and not understanding a fucking word because it was coming so fast, I hung up ...

Jan:  Who was that?

Me:  I dunno.  Some message in Spanish.

Jan:  (pause)  Spanish?  (exasperated look) That was probably the teacher's hot line at school telling me not to come in.

Me:  Huh?  Why don't they want you to come in?  It's 65 degrees outside, it can't be snowing (looks out window to make sure).

Jan:  (shooting eye daggers at me) Because the power went out before I left last night and they said it might not be fixed by this morning.

Me:  So, when I asked you what happened at school when you came home yesterday, and you said "nothing", you just decided that I didn't need to know this.

Jan:  Well ... now I have to call someone to see if we have school today!

Me:  Oh, so the fact that I couldn't read your mind last night and I get a call blabbering at me in Spanish just now makes it my fault that you're inconvenienced?

Jan:  Well ... (retreating)

Me:  How many Latinos do you have on staff?

Jan:  None.

Me:  Then, WHY THE FUCK is the teacher hotline message in Spanish?

And after bickering back and forth for a few minutes like a couple of cranky 7 year-olds, I grumbled through the rest of my morning routine and left for work ... still grumbling.

It was 82 degrees and sunny here today.  And Jan had a marvelous, unexpected day off.  This evening, the teacher hot line rang again ... and this time the "all clear" message was in English.

Thanks, assholes ...

April 14, 2010

How Not To Have A Productive Business Meeting

I'm fortunate enough to work for a very large corporation.  Said corporation employs thousands of people world wide and makes things everybody wants to have.  Chances are, you are using something my corporation manufactures right this very instant, particularly if you are in a hospital bed or are suffering from the heartbreak of erectile dysfunction.

The primary work function in my particular group is to go to meetings.  There must be 50 meeting rooms in the building I'm in, and every work day, each one of these meeting rooms is occupied by someone for 8 solid hours or more.  The rooms all have peek-a-boo glass fronts, so you can look in as you pass down the hallways.  There are people working on their laptops, writing on white boards and easels, gesturing wildly with their arms, passed out on the floor, or in some instances, bitch-slapping each other.  It's quite a sight!

My supervisor is no exception.  She is a wise and savvy lady (after all, she hired me) and loves to have meetings. This week, one of her staff meeting times was preempted by another, larger meeting, so she was forced to take the only time available to her, which happened to be the lunch hour.

Fearing a revolt, or a 100% no-show, she came up with the idea of having a "pot luck lunch meeting".  Now, I have to admit, in all my years, I have been to a lot of pot luck functions, but never one with a business meeting as it's theme.

I've already forgotten what the meeting was about, but I doubt that anybody did, because from the minute that all 25 of us crammed into the conference room and started chowing down on the food laden conference table, it might as well have been about how one of our products killed adorable puppies and kitties, because no one cared about anything besides stuffing food in their faces, fake complimenting other people on their macaroni salad and wiping Kentucky Fried Chicken grease on their clothing.

At the end of our allotted meeting time, we all waddled back to our cubes, logy with starch and sugar and tried to stay awake.   And because we had given up our lunch period for business purposes, everyone left an hour early.

God.  I love this place.

April 13, 2010

Jumping Ship

It's Springtime here in my typical middle-class suburban subdivision, Americana Heights.

Before I go on, have you ever wondered how land developers name their creations?  I mean, take "Americana", a mysterious colonial-y play on the name of a great nation.  And "Heights".  Heights of what?  This is flat land.  There isn't a low spot around here unless you count the exhausted peat bogs that filled up with water and the village now calls "lakes".  I guess it sounds better than "Flats".  I can just see the developer and his team, sharing a table at the local bar, the table filled with empty beer pitchers and one team member fumbling with a random name generator.  "How about ... Misty Creek,  Boeuf Mills, Vacuous Valley, Mothra Hills?  I know!  Americana Heights!  And we'll name all the streets after famous early Americans!"  There is a great hubbub of excitement at the table and more beer is ordered.

This is how my street was named Penn.  A simple name, but constantly misspelled and mis-heard.  "What street?" I answer "Penn, like in William Penn."  "Who?"


Anyway, it's Spring here in my shitty subdivision, and the For Sale signs are popping up faster than the tulips and daffodils.  Only this year, they carry extra signage, tacked on below the main sign, with strange phrases such as "Under Contract", "Short Sale" and "Bank Owned Property".  A result of the times I suppose.

Last night, I pulled onto my street and noticed that the house across for us was sporting a brand new For Sale sign.  This is normally not a big deal, but I live on a cul-de-sac with only five houses, so it's rather unusual.  The first few thoughts that ran through my mind were missed payments, divorce and death in the family.  Such is the way that my cheery brain works.  But I imagine that they just got the bug up their ass to move, and they were following through on it.

Even though there are only five houses on our street, we're not a close knit group.  I won't miss these people. They have a tendency to make life "interesting" for the rest of us.  They're always good for a few police visits a year, one or two knock-down drag-out fights on the front lawn during the summer and teenagers who draw all the loud mouth shit heels from the other neighborhoods.

But, they're ours.  And when it comes right down to it, it's easier to deal with a known commodity, than the unknown alternative.  And don't tell me you haven't looked on in trepidation when the new neighbors, the "Aliens", have pulled their moving machines up to the vacant house and started unloading their shit.  There you are ... peeking through the drapes in the front room, checking them out.  And your gut churns just a little bit as you wonder if they're part of a motorcycle gang, or if they're going to start a meth lab, or if they're going to be knocking on your door 5 times a day, borrowing shit and never returning it.  You know ... "those people".

So, in the coming months, that's what I'll be wondering. With my luck, it'll be a family with 6 kids, all under the age of 5 with the 300 pound Mom in a muumuu and a skinny Dad with a bad haircut who wears white wife-beaters in December.  The brats will run wild and unsupervised, laying waste in their wake like a pack of locusts.  The front lawn will be cluttered with the rusty hulk of a car on cement blocks and pink flamingos. Squalor will reign.

And I'll turn to Jan and say ... "There goes the neighborhood".

April 11, 2010

Passing Time

I spent most of the daylight hours in the yard this weekend.  This was the first time this year that we have had back to back days in the seventies ... on a Saturday and Sunday.  As usually happens to me after being cooped up indoors all winter, I was chomping at the bit to get out in the yard, and I had a list longer than my arm of things to accomplish.

But this isn't about being a weekend warrior and writing down my list of outdoorsy accomplishments.  It's about a hard truth that sneaks up and grabs you by the nads.  It lets you know who's boss.

As I lay on the floor last night watching a movie from Netflix, I started to develop cramps in my legs, my arms, my back ... shit even in my ankles.  And for the first time it really hit me that I'm not able to do the physical things that I used to.

Because I'm getting old.

Sure, I always joke about getting old, or being old.  But that's a joke.  The way I felt last night was not a joke.  It was reality.

No, I can't go to the home improvement warehouse and load 1,500 lbs of landscaping block into my truck all by myself.  No, I can't unload same block and transfer it wheelbarrow by wheelbarrow to the back of my yard. And no, I can't set same block into a retaining wall ... all in one day.

Oh, I can.  And I did.  But there's a price to pay.  A big one.  And I'll be paying it all week long every time I make a move.

As I lay in bed after midnight last night, waiting for the Advil to start coursing through my veins to silence my screaming muscles so I could go to sleep, I finally realized that I'm not in my 30's or 40's anymore.  I am not superman.

So, from now on, I'll have to temper my activities just a bit.  No more spur of the moment projects that drive me to the edge of exhaustion.  Everything will have to be planned out a little more carefully ... Spread out over a little more time.

I wonder what I'll be like in another 10 years?

Shit.  It is like they say.

It's a bitch getting old.

April 07, 2010

Picture Of Dorian Gray

Things happen for a reason.  You make friends and acquaintances.  Life moves on, times change, and the cast of characters in your life constantly refreshes itself.  You lose track of people and you keep some people close to you.  This is good.  This is the way life is supposed to be. This is the natural order of things.

Facebook had turned this ages old ritual on it's ass.  The other day, I was bored.  So I let my mind wander and allowed myself to remember people I have known in my life.  People I lost track of for one reason or another.  I managed to remember quite a few people, and their full names.  So I started looking for them on facebook, and I found about three-quarters of them.

As some of you have found out, this is not necessarily a good thing.  I can think of only one word to describe the feelings I had when I saw pictures of almost all of these people.  Horror.

Sure ... ten to thirty years had gone by, but the inevitable had occurred.  They looked old, gaunt, fat, short, sick, bloated, bald, saggy, gray, wrinkled.  If they had written something on their info page, they were married, divorced, widowed, grand parents, great-grandparents, childless, mentally ill, crippled, tragic, assholes, saints.

I got a queasy feeling in the pit of my stomach.  And a feeling of ill-being like I hadn't experienced in ages.  If these people looked like this ... and these things had happened to them ... then what it the hell am I going to seem like to them, if they look me up?

Plus, I didn't even like some of these people when they were in my life.  Way to go Rob, dredging up all of those bad feelings that you had jettisoned years ago.

I've always believed that there is a predetermined script for everyone in life.  Fate should determine when and if you lose contact with, and meet certain people again across the years.  Certainly not an overblown, world-wide social networking site.  In my short experience, it causes more problems than it solves.

I've been on facebook for about a year now, and it's time for me to seriously consider if I want to continue with it. Maybe it's time to start simplifying some things again and let life move on like it was meant to in the beginning.

Shit, I need to go take my picture down.

April 06, 2010

Abandoning My Posts

Like all serious writers, I keep a notebook to store my ideas for novels, short stories, essays and screenplays. Well, actually, I never get any ideas for the above, so I just make notes for posts that I may want to write for my blog.  Using this method, I can open my file and pull out a gem of a topic for days that I may feel particularly un-idea-y, like today.  And the rest of this week probably.

So, when I got home from work this afternoon, I went to my file and sifted through it's contents.  After several minutes of scanning the pages, I realized that all I had was a pile of shit, consisting of bits of shit that I either couldn't decipher or sounded really stupid.  Rather than delete the contents and start fresh, I thought I would just throw the the garbage out here for all of you lucky people to enjoy, or not.  Here we go ...

Neighbor Ron is usually good for a post or two during the year.  His backwoods, hillbilly trailer trash style never ceases to amaze me.  One day last summer, I was sitting here in control central when I noticed him pulling his power washer out into the backyard.  He fired the machine up and began washing ... his  trees.  I kept hoping that the family would come out, strip to their undies and he would power wash them too.  But he never did and I couldn't think of any way to build anything out of a guy blowing the leaves off of his trees with a 5 zillion psi burst of water.  So that story died on the vine, so to speak.

A while back, I wrote a post on letters I had sent to the Readers Digest.  I liked doing that one and thought I would follow up with another one, but I could only think of one idea, and then I ran out of gas.  This is the only entry I could come up with for my second installment of "Life In These United States".
After spending a few weeks chatting with a nice girl I met online, she invited me over so we could finally meet in person.  You can imagine my embarrassment, when, after showing up at her house  and making myself comfortable while she went to change, I was suddenly confronted by a camera crew and Chris Hansen, the host of "Dateline NBC".
And then there are the pictures.  One of the things I love about my iMac is it's ability to transfer almost any image I find on the interwebs to my photo gallery, almost instantly.  Unfortunately, I usually end up with a shit load of pictures that I have no idea what to do with. Observe ...

(Click to enlarge)

Okay, now that I've cleaned out my files, I can flush the remains into the universe, where their electrons will play joyfully with others of their kind, and I can start anew with ideas guaranteed to bring in readers from all over the planet.

Shit ... Who am I kidding?

April 04, 2010

Yankee Dog Comics

I bought some Oriental piece of crap from World Market a couple of weeks ago, and as I was unpacking it from it's box, I came across some Japanese newspapers used for padding and thought I'd share this interesting piece.  I had no idea that Japanese newspapers ran American comics.

The Kitakyushu Post
About Our Comics!

Nature Punchman Go!

Nature Punchman Go! is most popular Yankee comic ever in Japan!  Read and see why!  A brave man uses fist of nature power to stop dog hunters, fullbellies, and beard men.  He can summon giant talking beasts to aid his just cause!  Very exciting comic almost as good as manga!  Punchman's real name is Mack Trailer.  He never has gun, only fist and sometime SUPER MAGIC BATTLE CAMERA!  Watch for it!  He has son, dog and wife sometimes!

Baka Family In Round Picture

English language can be hard to learn!  In this school age comic Baka Family acts stupid and talk slow so it is easy for little kids to read them.  It helps them how to read and count and draw and walk sometimes.  Also the Bakas teach young USA kids how not to act.  American moms say to disobedient children, "Don't be a Baka Family member!'

Why They Not Married? Apartment

Here are three pretty ladies that not attract husbands after trying 40 years.  Why?  Because they just so crazy!  Kitakyushu Post promises you laugh and laugh with this unexpected comic!  Reminds us of famous USA comedies like Seinfeld or Sex In A City.  You ask yourself, WOAH! What these crazy ladies do next?  No wonder they not married!  Ha ha ha for hours!

Sinister Overalls Boy

Do you like to read a Stephenking about an evil Gaijin with supermagical powers?  You will be terrified by Sinister Overalls the Neighbor Boy!  He haunts a terrorified Mister Wilson.  Why can not a Mr. Wilson not escape him?  Slowly, twisted secrets are revealed over decades in this USA classic.  Drawn by large award winning American manga artist Hank Ketchup.

Boring Girl Ruriko

What?  You thought all USA girls famous and naked rich like Paris Hotels?  No chance!  Ruriko is plain looks, bad sports, bad dance, not smart, just ordinary upper second school girl!  She embraces boring life and pretends she is important! Most USA young ladies like to read this strip and think it is about them!  Ruriko also has a dressmaker boyfriend and a potato face brother that dates a fireman futanari.

Mrs. Crazyfits

Here is very popular comic in America!  It is political satire like Mr. Bill Really.  Mrs.  Crazyfits is over the top clown woman!  Why always was going crazy wasting her husband money with shopping and eating and crying for hours.  She can't even do simple house hold chores without violent fits!  Great comic relief this one, making fun of USA gals.


Each day a real Yankee fullbelly writes to the manga artist and describes for him a terrible aspect about the Born in the USA life they all suffer indignity from.  The manga artist draws them like big slovenly animals.  Why they animals?  What?  You have to ask?  OK to laugh at big dumb American beasts!  Hoo boy yeah!

Salary Man Scribbling

Hey chief!  Want to look at secrets inside Yankee technology company?  Read this dramatic real life story of unqualified engineering and missing team spirit.  Keen glance into sickly competitors.  Art is done in sloppiest style, symbolic of shoddy workmanship.

Mariko Worth

By now you wonder, Wow!  Are all USA comics about insanes, oafs, and fullbellies?  Nice guess, but no!  Her is a graceful historical adventure about good manners taking place in the 1950's of USA!  Mariko Worth is respected in her small country village of Chatterstone.  Good quality guys here, no need for labor!  Relaxing escape into warmbelly USA charming rustic life.  Watch them eat sushi outside their orange adobe community cottage like many happy Ronald Reagans.

Also look for world favorites like OniMan in Purple Wetsuit, Shame Platoon, Saggy Canadian and Fuzzy Catdog ... all in your Kitakyushu Post!

April 02, 2010

Still (Almost) Commercial Free

We were on a rare Friday night food gathering trip at Walmart this evening.  I was pushing the cart up and down the aisles when it slowly dawned on me that all of the Easter crap had been removed from the shelves. Gone were the super cheap wicker baskets, the grainy faux chocolate bunnies, the fake grass and the stale marshmallow Peeps.  I had to conjure up a mental calendar to reassure myself that this was, indeed, Good Friday.  Of all places ... Walmart ... had given up on the Easter trade, two days early.

Strange ... but not so much once you stop and think about it.  Easter is one of the "Big Two" religious holidays of the year.  But unlike Christmas, whose deeply religious message was lost decades ago in a sea of commercialism, Easter remains a primarily religious event seemingly impervious to hucksterism.

Both holidays focus on one individual, but the message each holiday sends is as different ... well ... as different as life and death.

The Christmas Story is so much pablum.  An attractive couple, having difficulty finding a motel room, rest in a comfy hay filled barn, where their child is born.  Animals take on cuddly human personalities and "wise guys" appear, bearing pretty expensive swag for the kid.  Easter is a brutal, in-your-face reality show, with a scary, implausible ending.

The Christmas Story goes down as easy as a 12 year old blended malt whiskey.  What's not to like?  The Easter Story is like a four hour old belt of backwoods White Lightning.  Rough, raw and choking.

Christmas allows you to glide along.  Not much thought needs to be given to accept the circumstances of the birth of Jesus.  It's a fanciful story, probably exaggerated to the nth degree, but it ellicits pleasant thoughts.

Easter forces you to make a choice.  Do you believe that a man can rise from the dead (little alone move an 800 pound boulder), or is it beyond credulity.

So, it's little wonder that a story that is still shocking in these times, resists repeated attempts at commercialization.  Social mindsets are a hard thing to alter, and somebody will have to come up with something better than a giant rabbit who lays colored eggs to turn Easter into a retailers bonanza.

April 01, 2010

Mom, Read Me A Story

I found these children's books while cruising through web-land the other night.  I was born a little early to be weaned on Dr. Seuss books, but my mom did buy a lot of those Little Golden Books, which I remember enjoying as I was learning to read.  Sometimes I wonder if I grew up to be just a little more mentally adjusted than kids these days, particularly if these are the things they're cutting their reading teeth on.  Yes, I know, I'm a grumpy old man ... "Hey you kids!  Get off my lawn!"

Geez ...