Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Questionable Lyrics

Here's another lyric game. Guess the artist/song that each question belongs to.

1. Am I wrong? Have I run too far to get home?

2. Does anybody know a way that a body could get away?

3. Did I miss out on you?

4. How do you do it - make me feel like I do?

5. Has anybody wasted tears on loneliness that everyone becomes when they're not alright?

6. You don't know which page to turn to, do you?

7. Do they just mean to be mean?

8. Hows' your boy been?

9. Oh can you feel it? Do you believe it?

10. Is there another reason for your stain?

11. How dare you?! How old are you now, anyway?

12. Will the wind ever remember the names it has blown in the past?

13. What's your name? Who's your daddy? Is he rich like me?

14. Where'd you get your information from, huh? D'ya think that you can front when revelation comes?

15. Do you take plight on my tongue like lead? Do you fall gracefully into bed anymore?

16. Don't you think that you need somebody? Don't you think that you need someone?

17. Have you seen your mother, girl? Has she gone away?

18. Who was I to come between a whore and her money?

19. Doesn't anybody stay in one place anymore?

20. If you could make everybody poor so that you could be rich, would you do it?

21. Could we leave before it gets bad?

22. You really think you're in control?

23. Where do I go to fall from grace?

24. Do you want to find alligator cowboy boots they just put on sale?

25. Where have all my friends gone?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Garbage Bowl Kids

I know a lot of people hate Rachael Ray. She's too perky, her recipes seem to be inspired by the back of a soup can, she invents sickening "words" like "yummo" and "sammies", she is staring a line of dog food based on recipes she has created for her pit bull, Isaboo, and so forth. I'm not her biggest fan, but I've never held a real hatred for her. Not until I saw this at Amazon:

Okay, okay, maybe "hate" is too strong of an emotion for a cheerful capitalist like Mrs. Ray. I still don't hate her -- not when i can focus my rage on the Amazon customers that buy this shit.

5.0 out of 5 stars

Not......just a "Garbage" Bowl

It is not....just a "garbage" bowl but rather a real time-saver! It saves you steps in the kitchen and is large and deep enough to catch all your prep scraps. It is great in the garden to bring in herbs / tomatoes / stringbeans, etc. and big enough to marinate cutlets in and tranport them to the grill. Attractive enough for the counter top which makes it the "go-to" when you want to grab something quickly.

--K. S. Verno (Eastchester, NY)
Wrong. It IS just a bowl. I'm going to slit your throat. With my knife. It's the "go-to" when I want to slit throats.

5.0 out of 5 stars

Sounds Goofy, But It Works!

I have watched Rachael Ray on 30-Minute Meals for years and am very familiar with her "garbage bowl." I, like so many others, thought okay, this is clever and cute, but I did not try it. Eventually, I started using whatever bowl was handy. I kept seeing the "Authentic Rachael Ray Garbage Bowl" in various stores, and I found myself drawn to it as if I were in its magnetic field. Tempted as I was, I resisted.

Shortly after Christmas, however, I bought the orange bowl on a lark. Though it was not the red accent color in my kitchen, I used it anyway. I loved it! This bowl is the perfect size, shape, and weight into which you can toss your vegetable trimmings, cans, and whatever else comprises your garbage. When it is full, voila, one dump into the trash can, and you're done! No muss; no fuss.

One day, while cruising around the Amazon site, I found the other colors and bought them all. This particular one, the marble, is my absolute favorite. I find myself reaching for that one repeatedly.

If you're wondering whether or not to invest the money in something called a "garbage bowl," do yourself a favor - just do it!

--Diane Rocha (San Diego, CA USA)
I'm no physicist, but I'm pretty sure these absurd bowls do not have a magnetic field. And I'm also pretty sure that buying ALL the garbage bowl varieties makes you San Diego's biggest bitch. You're next.

5.0 out of 5 stars

So much more than a "Garbage" bowl

I now own three of these bowls in various colors. They are great for hand mixing, serving, as well as Rachael's "toss the garbage in them" functionality. They are perfect for serving chips or crackers on a buffet. By the way, they are not too light or too heavy and they stack really well. A simple hand washing and they are ready to go!

--Barbara - EPP (Tallahassee, FL)
Congrats, Barbara! You spent $45 for three bowls. I'm going to spend a chunk more than that to bring a family of orphans over from Darfur. I'm going to drop them off at your place in Tallahassee, and they are going to beat you to death. The last thing you will see before losing consciousness is me, callously shattering your goddamn garbage bowls. Also, the orphans are going to eat you.

5.0 out of 5 stars


I have been an amazon customer for years, and this is the first review I have written. I just had to! This garbage bowl saves major time while cooking or baking. I have it perched on my counter at all times. My big garbage is underneath my sink. Now I don't have to open the cabinet everytime I throw something out, which you do a lot of when you cook and bake. I also bring it to the table after a meal to throw away the scraps, which is also another time saver. Sure, you could use any old bowl to do this, but I am glad that I got this one. It is always out and in use in the kitchen, so I am glad that it is pretty!

--J. Bonczkiewicz (NJ)
Hey! You Jersey fuck! I've also solved the problem presented by a garbage can hidden behind a sink cabinet door: I MOVED MY FUCKING TRASH CAN. I haven't figured out the mechanism of transmission yet, but rest assured -- you will die of superAIDS.

1.0 out of 5 stars

A ridiculous waste

Save your money. Go to good will and get a bowl for fifty cents.

I cannot believe this even exists.

--Stephanie Johnson

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

You (People) Wreck Me

> From: Jeffrey A
> To: dn
> Date: Wednesday, July 23, 2008, 12:50 PM
> thoughts on the petty show?
> ~jeff.

Well, I tried to take my sweet time getting there so I wouldn't have to endure much Steve Winwood. We approached our seats just as he broke out a 30 minute rendition of "Higher Love", the song that had been in my head since you texted its title to me a week prior. Okay, maybe it wasn't 30 minutes, but it was definitely approaching 10 minutes. But the crowd was all over it! Steve Winwood! The KANSAS CITY crowd ADORED Steve Winwood! Needless to say, "Higher Love" is still in my head, and my sanity is due to break any time now.

My faith in humanity was further shaken by the freaks that sat in our section. We were in the "cheap" seats in the upper deck, but since those tickets cost $55 each I thought we'd be surrounded by die hards. Wrong. The teenagers in front of us spent the entire night -- THE ENTIRE NIGHT, NONSTOP -- texting their friends. I had a good look at the girl's phone, and I could see she was texting the same boy over and over. She wasn't texting, "OMG! LTWMJane! Petty rulez!". She was having a conversation about a trip to Chicago.

But she and her companion acted like National Honor Society members compared to the 2 college-aged girls sitting to their right. These winners had made shirts for the concert. One girl, who was overheard to remark that Petty was "my favorite! They're, like, #1 on my iPod!", wore a gray tank top with the words, "Don't Do Me Like That" on the back. The other girl had ironed on the letters "Learning to Fly" on the front of her gray shirt, and completed the masterpiece by ironing shimmering gold angel wing stencils to the shirt's back.

Well, they must have had a little pre-party to make the shirts, and that party must have included alcohol. "Don't Do Me Like That" spent the first 5 songs of Petty's set chugging $5.50 plastic bottles of Bud Light and dancing with her counterpart in the aisle. She spent the remainder of the show slumped back in her seat, struggling (and mostly failing) to remain conscious.

The older individuals in the crowd didn't fare too much better. A woman my age sat to my left; I caught her using her Blackberry a handful of times, probably to close some really big business deals. And then there was the 40-something, 250-pound, shaggy-haired man sporting jean shorts and a plain gray sleeveless t-shirt. When shuffling by seated audience members, beer in hand, to get back to his spot, he lost his balance and tumbled hard into the row below. As Petty's set came near its end, the OPENING CHORDS of "Refugee" played, the entire row in front of us stood and left, except for shaggy and his younger, less-disheveled companion. (It turned out to be the last song before the encore, but how did the row know? And why not wait until the song is over before taking off? OR WHY NOT STICK AROUND TO SEE THE ENCORE??) Seeing an opening, the two creeps left their seats for one directly behind the drunk/nearly passed out girl and her drunk friend. Sensing the chance to conceive the world's most retarded child, Shaggy hit on Drunky while the wingman hit on winggirl. By the time the encore ended (you should sit down for this one -- they closed out with "American Girl"), things looked to be turning sour, and I'm pretty sure the antichrist isn't in Drunky's fetus right now. But with the behavior displayed by the texting generation last night, the antichrist should be due for a welcome appearance very soon.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The South American Experience: Iguazu National Park

[NOTE: This is still a thing. Remember when I went to South America? Remember when my travelogue got delayed? Well, it's back, and better than never.]

Buenos Aires, Argentina

After another fine breakfast buffet, Matt and I packed our things and bid farewell to the TRYP Buenos Aires, which arranged for our taxi to the airport. The ride forced us to consider the worst cities in which to drive a cab. BA must rank near the top.

We waited in a long, slow-moving line populated with fair-skinned retirees. They each had several bags to check.

"Do you know why it's taking so long for those two to check in?" I asked Matt. "They have to print out their death certificates."

The wait continued, allowing Matt to reflect on his views against the elderly.

"I hate your smell, your skin freaks me out -- just stay inside," he muttered.

Then, changing his opinion slightly, he continued, "Old people should have to take buses everywhere they go."

It was our sixth day immersed in a language we couldn't comprehend, where spoken words were nothing but an additional contribution to the ambiance. When you're enjoying fresh fish and dark beer on a crowded Buenos Aires patio, you're blissfully ignorant of the potentially banal conversations of your fellow diners. When you're on a full flight to Puerto Iguazu, seated directly in front of an English-speaking couple, you're painfully aware of the female half's comments about kettle chips, or her flabbergasting comparisons ("Austral is to Airline as Tango is to Dance.").

We landed at a small airport and grabbed another taxi. As our bags were loaded into the trunk, Matt noticed a large billboard advertising the 5-star grandeur of Hotel Cataratas.

"Huh. That's our hotel," he laughed. He hadn't realized its status when booking our room, which was less expensive than some area hostels.

Our driver had a large frame and a shaved head. He spoke our language. I asked about the weather, and he told us no rain was expected until the following week. He talked a lot about the service he and his wife offered, arranging for day visas across the border to the Brazilian side of the falls.

(We had read up on the option before leaving the US, and decided we would give it a shot if we ran out of things to do within Argentina's borders. SPOILER ALERT: we never ran out of Argentinian options. Such was the bounty of Argentina that I remarked, "Brazil is for assholes" -- or something like that, I can't find it in my notes. Plus, we didn't really trust a guide whose weather forecast was off by six days. Oops. RETROACTIVE SPOILER ALERT.)

We got a look at our hotel room and dropped our bags. Wasting no time, we went back downstairs to the front desk and asked how to get to the national park. The clerk instructed us to walk across the hotel's lawn to the main road, where a bus would pick us up.

We followed his directions, waving taxis past as we looked down the road for an approaching El Practico bus. About ten minutes passed before one came into view, passed us, and drove out of view.

Our hotel was outside of Puerto Iguazu's city limits, so we walked a mile or so toward the city, found a functioning bus stop, and took a ten minute ride to the national park. Many of our fellow passengers were college-aged Brits. (At least they seemed British to me. I was basing this on one fellow in particular, who kept describing his Rio Carnival clubbing adventures as "fooking mental!".)

(Speaking of those youths...)

Girl describing Carnival: "These guys came up to us in Brazil and asked us if we wanted a ride. We looked inside and they were smoking pot. So they gave us a ride to Argentina."

That's probably a good idea. Have fun getting raped.

(The end.)

We didn't spend a lot of time in the park that day, just enough to complete the upper trail.

Back at the hotel, we lazed in the pool, watching a Spanish-speaking family's questionable attempt to play water volleyball. The employee in charge of handing out towels and equipment was blasting horrible, Lou-Bega-esque dance tracks through the PA system.

We took a shoddy basketball from him and played a few games of HORSE on the basketball/tennis court, where I experienced my first and only bug bite of the entire trip.

The evening was concluded with the hotel's buffet, which featured more horrible music. An older man, looking disinterested and possibly blind, sat behind a MIDI keyboard and played adult contemporary classics from the '80s. The food was better than the ambiance; some of the proteins were overdone, but the cold salads were outstanding. Our wine was a Latitud 33 malbec, which paired beautifully with the rich chocolate cake we enjoyed to end our meal.

Planning to get to the park early the next morning, we went to back to the room and watched TV instead of getting hammered up the road in Puerto Iguazu.

Puerto Iguazu, Argentina

Breakfast at the hotel was buffet-style, good but not outstanding. Freshly baked Italian-style bread loaves were probably the best single item, made better when sandwichized with bacon and cheese.

Another bus ride later, we headed down the lower trail of Iguazu National Park, which ended at the base of a waterfall.

There was a park ranger kiosk at this part of the park. Matt and I discussed optional tours with a ranger about our age, a South American who spoke precise English. We were primarily concerned with crossing the basin over to San Martin Island, where visitors could get yet another spectacular 180-degree view of waterfalls. The ranger, a dedicated salesman, gave us a hard sell on the park's most expensive package, which included a boat ride into the falls' mist as well as river rafting. He told us it would be exhilarating.

"I'm not--" he stopped mid-sentence and looked to his left and right to see who was within earshot. "I'm not bullshitting you guys."

Knowing the phrase "I'm not bullshitting you" is code for "I am definitely bullshitting you", along with our already tight schedule, we told him we'd think about it and walked away. Heading to the park's marquee attraction, Gargantua del Diablo, "The Devil's Throat", it began to sprinkle. We sat on a concrete ledge under a tree until the rainfall picked up, and retreated to a tarp-covered spot along a trail. I zipped the legs back onto my convertible waterproof pants. It continued to pour. Knowing we had to take the park's small train to approach Gargantua del Diablo, we pushed on to the train station, where we stood underneath another mostly effective tarp while waiting for the train to arrive. Everything was soaked by then. Most people had donned plastic ponchos purchased from a park shop. It had been raining steadily for at least 30 minutes, which meant that I'd used the "I think it's letting up!" joke four times already. I removed my ringer tee to wring out the water and wondered if we'd see the sun again that day. It was looking grim.

We boarded the train, crowded with other tourists looking for a dry respite. Matt and I sat on a short bench. Next to us was a 50 or 60 year-old woman, and her husband sat on the short bench across from us. Though he didn't speak english, he told communicated with us by pantomime. He said, "I see you shave your chest. That's cool. I might do that too, if I didn't have this beer belly! Ha ha!"

Our stall tactic failed. The rain outlasted the train ride. Marching along the catwalks that lead over the Parana River and toward Gargantua, I used my blue Old Navy ringer tee to shield my eyes from the rain, the drops stinging my smooth torso. I was cold, but pleased that my socks and feet remained dry. "I think it's letting up," I again joked. And then it let up.

We were at the viewing platform of Gargantua del Diablo, struggling to reconcile the weather and our digital cameras, when the rain reduced to a sprinkle. We relaxed to take in the view, and it was obvious then that the trip's considerable expense was money well-spent.

"This is probably the coolest thing I've ever seen in my life," Matt said. "This or the Great Wall of China."

We held an unobstructed spot against the platform rail for about ten minutes, watching the river funnel the Statue-of-Liberty-green water down the semicircular cliff, watching the water dissolve into mist as it fell. We prepared to go back to the park train, but as Matt took a few steps toward the catwalks, he paused. The rain had completely stopped. "You know what? Let's stay here a while longer," he said. I understood and I agreed. After consecutive days of aggressive tourism -- constant movement, pausing briefly to snap a few photos before pushing on -- reflecting at Gargantua felt like kneeling in church. (Except Matt was there, so I knew that it wasn't really church.) I closed my eyes and listened to the rushing water.

We eventually left and split a salami sandwich at one of the park's snack huts. The baguette was surprisingly fresh, resulting in an unexpectedly superb lunch, accented by the comic stylings of the Big Group Of Stereotypical Retired New Jersey Jews sitting at the adjacent patio table.

A small boat ferried us and a dozen other park visitors across fifty yards of the river to San Martin Island, yet another fine place to hike and photograph waterfalls.

The bus took us back to the hotel. In the pool, Matt and I tried to decipher the relationship between an attractive young woman and her older companion, deciding she was a Russian bride and he was awesome. After more relaxation in the hot tub, we retired to our room to view the finest English-language programming available: a Walker, Texas Ranger movie. It was getting late, but I insisted we finish the film before finding dinner, and I was well rewarded for my patience. See, there was this guy that worked for this company, and he knew TOO MUCH, and he had the missile navigation thingy at his house, but then the terrorists found him, and were all, "We know Kung Fu!", and dude got beaten to death, complete with a glass coffee table
fatality. But the dude's kid was a computer nerd, and he had a dirtbike, so he took the thingy to his friend's house, and they were like, "Computer it!", and found out that it was clearly for missile navigation. Walker got involved, and beat those North Koreans at their own Kung Fu. Oh, also: there was a side story that was even worse.

Since we'd been burned by the guidebook before, Matt and I went to the front desk to ask about one of the book's recommended cafes, Latauro.

"Si," the man hombre behind the desk said. "Si, cafe," he said, pantomiming a delicate sip of coffee. He seemed to give it a good review, and said that it was "two kilometers" from the hotel. Matt and I set out into the dark night, walking in the red, clay soil of the highway's shoulder, toward Puerto Iguazu. Three or four kilometers later, we found 03 Brasil Avenue; Latauro's had been replaced by Angelo's Cafe. Sitting outside, we both ate big beef loins (ordered more or less blindly) and cheese empanadas, and shared a bottle of malbec wine.

The check paid and the wine finished, we sought and obtained more liquor (and a corkscrew) from a small market, and hauled everything back to the hotel. One of the street signs in our path was puzzling.

"That's easy," Matt said. "It means Businessman Crossing."

"I think it means Caution: Blockhands," I said.

(NOTE: Thinking I'd never find this sign online, I attempted to draw my recollection with MS Paint.)

(Not too bad, eh?)

We had some beers in our hotel room and called it a day.

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 10 Puerto Iguazu, Argentina

It was raining when we got out of bed to eat another breakfast buffet. I went to the tiny computer room and struggled to find a weather website that showed real-time radar images of the Brazil-Argentina border (and to find a map that showed where exactly the park was in relation to the radar's map). When I finally defeated the internet, it was apparent that the sun would return in a matter of hours. I went back to the room to watch "White Men Can't Jump" in its entirety while Matt napped.

On our final scheduled day at the park, Matt wanted to take the wildlife trail -- he wanted to see a monkey. When we arrived at the trailhead, a large puddle sat in the red clay. Unwilling to trudge through a mile of muck, I negotiated a split from Matt. We agreed to meet at the Gargantua train stop in a few hours. I walked through the upper trail one last time, soaking in the views, before taking the train to Gargantua del Diablo. I saw the giant waterfall, in full sunlight this time, and a caman.

It was clear by that time that Matt and I had missed each other, so I went to the park's gate to meet him. The last Practico bus was loading, but Matt wasn't on board or in line; the bus left without us. He wasn't in the restroom. I sat at the gate, watching visitors trickle out. An hour passed. It was getting dark.

I was alone except for the two park rangers, who sat in a small office near the gate.

"English?" I asked.

The woman shook her head. "A little," the man said.

I held one hand to indicate "mi", and the other to indicate "mi amigo", splitting their paths to show our divurgent paths.

The ranger listed the trails, indicating that all were checked at closing except for the Macuco trail, the one that Matt took earlier that day.

Since the sun was almost down, the ranger hopped on his scooter to check the trail for whatever remained of Matt's body. I was left at the park entrance with the female ranger, who was suggesting I do something with the telephone.

"No tango nombre," I said. (I might have correctly used "numero" instead, but who really knows? My mind was clouded with fear.) She took me to the office, dailed the number for Hotel Cataratas, and handed me the receiver.

"English?" I asked.

I got a negative response and handed the phone back to the lady ranger, who arranged to be connected to my hotel room.

"Where are you?" Matt asked. "I just got off the phone with the police."

"I'm at the park. I just sent a park ranger to search for you."

I was nearly out of pesos, so I walked a few hundred yards into the park to conduct an ATM transaction, and returned to the gate. A taxi was waiting for me. The male ranger was back from his fruitless search -- he smiled and told me that no one was on the trail. Thanking him, I shook his hand and left the park forever.

It turns out Matt did try to meet me at the appointed time and place, and never did figure out how we missed each other. Matt left the park via bus, only after calling the hotel's front desk to ask if I had returned. The desk clerk, the same one that recommended a nonexistent cafe to us the night before, told him I had taken the room key, so Matt took a bus back to the hotel, only to find the key where we'd left it.

"At least we like each other enough to call the cops or park rangers to find each other," Matt said.

We made the 2+ kilometer walk to Puerto Iguazu to eat at El Gallo Negro, a restaurant that was crowded when we passed by the previous night, but now sat empty. Dinner came with a complementary salad bar. After a tasty chick pea salad, I enjoyed potato gnocchi with ham, garlic, and tomatoes. Matt's grilled river fish (he recalled its name was Surubica, but Google shows no similarly named fish) was a gigantic and strangely fatty.

Back at the hotel, we drank our remaining bottle of wine, and then we slept.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Did Jesus Leave The Oven On?

This caught my eye when Kim and I were in the antique mall last weekend (yes, really). I like to call this painting "Confused Jesus".

I like to imagine why Jesus looks so confused.
"Thomas wants to put his hands WHERE?!"

"Did you say five loaves and two fish, or two loaves and five fish?"
And so on. I invite you to post your own ideas in the comments. But remember, you're never going to beat my favorite:
"Why do I let bad things happen to good people?"

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Worker Controls The Means Of Refreshment

This month marks five years of service for my current employer. I get a certificate and a handshake next week.

You can waltz through schoolwork or your part-time job, metering the minimal amount of effort necessary to pass a course or to get paid. You can do that in your professional work as well, but it's not as fun.

What's really, really not fun is when you exert the maximum amount of effort, produce a similar set of results, and get paid the same as if you'd sat on your ass playing spider solitaire.

But you know what makes it all worthwhile? Earning enough money to invest in funds shortly before the American economy turns to shit buy an iced tea maker on a whim.

Fresh brew in less than 10 minutes! I love you, iced tea maker. I love you, career.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Wherein I Find Something To Say About A Movie That Was Meh

Corinne always talked about this party idea. She'd get a bunch of people to show up dressed in 1912 garb, and she'd play -- let's see here: Irvin Berlin's "He Played It On His Fid, Fid, Fiddle-dee-dee" or his "Pick, Pick, Pick Pick On The Mandolin, Antonio" or, if for some reason she got sick of Irving Berlin on her phonograph, if that's even possible, she could switch to "Beans! Beans!! Beans!!!" or "Daddy Has A Sweetheart (And Mother Is Her Name)" or a song party guests might actually recognize, "It's A Long Way To Tipperary". So people would be partying like it was 1912, and then the news would break (via hand-cranked telephone? A newspaper boy selling extras?) that the Titanic had sunk, and the party guests would act as if they were truly in 1912. "Why, the unsinkable luxury oceanliner? Why, 'twas to make port in New York only this week! Any word on John Jacob Astor?"

Ignoring the logical implications, I thought it was a decent idea. Until I watched Cloverfield last night -- it makes disaster parties seem a lot less fun.

Somewhat Fun Fact: I met the actor holding the videocamera for most of Cloverfield twice, back when he was the fellow troupe member of a friend of a friend of a friend. He was in an improv group called Chuckle Sandwich -- they were so good that I waived the chance to see Carlos Zambrano pitch at Wrigley for the opportunity to eat stuffed pizza and watch comedy.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008


Ok. Huh. Where to start here...

I understand the hometown paper needed to fill space in its entertainment section. The university's not in session, and there isn't much going on, so I completely understand why the editor would be grasping for any news he or she could find. No big surprise the paper ran the story.

But where do you hear about twins that (*sigh*) graduated from (*sigh*) the American Boychoir School? (Does that school's name remind anyone else of Motherboy?) All signs point to the twins' mother.

MOTHER: You kids! I'm so proud of you kids!

TWINS: Thanks Mommy.

MOTHER: I'm calling the newspaper! The whole town should know about you two!

TWINS: Okay Mommy.

MOTHER: Everybody's going to be so impressed! We'll get them to take a publicity photo, and you'll be the most popular kids in junior high next year!

TWINS: Are you sure, Mommy? Are you sure the kids -- and the whole town, I guess -- won't see us captured in our most awkward years, dismiss us as geeks, and administer a beating or two?

MOTHER: Oh, heavens no! Your Mommy knows what's "cool" these days! When you go to the photo shoot, just make sure you both wear the high-tech digital watches I gave you for Christmas -- that'll show 'em all that you're no "squares"!

TWINS: Okay Mommy.

MOTHER: It's weird that you two both say the same sentences at the same time.

TWINS: Yeah. I guess it was easier than breaking us up into Twin #1 and Twin #2, or assigning us arbitrary names, or whatever.


Sorry, twins. This probably wasn't your fault. The bright side is that you'll look back on this and laugh one day. "One day" being a day no sooner than 30 years in the future, after you've locked your mother in a 60 Minutes nursing home.

Yep, soon you'll look back on this strange experience like your very own Motherboy.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

show boobs "elk river" missouri canoe

Oh right, thanks for reminding me!

Back on Memorial Day weekend, Floyd, Shawn and I traveled to Noel, Missouri to enjoy yet another lazy trip down the Elk River. It was much like the years past, with a few notable exceptions:

Many of us chose "River Nicknames", which we substituted for our true names while at the Shady Beach campground. I was Hard Tack, Floyd was Hound Dog, Shawn was Ol' Cracked Jug, Brian was Bondo, Kelly was Catfish, Mikey was Lone Wolf, and so on.

Jug, Hard Tack, and Hound Dog enjoy the night. Photo courtesy of Camille.

After an inaugural night campfire-side of drinkin', Mikey decided to forgo more common accommodations to sleep in his truck's bed, even though the bed contained a small mound of dirt. Using some spare tent poles and a tarp, he was successfully sheltered until sunrise, when a storm front moved through. After the second 40 mph wind gust blew off his tarp, Lone Wolf called out. "Uh, guys? Help? Uh, truck tent? Nathan? Hound Dog? Help?"

The river float was as usual, except we manned four-man rafts instead of two-man canoes. Hillbillies begged girls to flash their breasts in exchange for beads or beers. Many obliged, including one teenager with a tramp stamp tattoo that read "Live, Laugh, Love".

Shady Beach is a nice place to camp, a full-service facility that sells ice, firewood, and even a reasonably priced lawn chair to replace the one that Hound Dog neglected to pack. Up near the general store are the toilets and showers, a busy building after a long day on the Elk River. While I enjoyed a brief, hot shower, I listened to the one-sided conversation between two fellow Shady Beachers waiting for an available stall.

GUY: "You have a good time on the river today?"

FATHER: "Same ol' same ol'. Not enough beers, not enough boobs. My oldest there, he's eleven, he almost saw his first pair of pierced titties today, but he didn't look in time. Wha -- hey, get over there! Get in there, git goin'! Hell, you remind me more and more of your mother each day. She would dawdle too, that's why I divorced her ass.

Knowing the soap and water could not wash away what I had heard, I left the restroom, walked back to the campsite, and ate three hot dogs.
I grabbed my towel and brushed off

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Part Four Of Our Series Of The Agonizing Pain In Which I Live Every Day

You have probably wondered how I became such a quick wit. It's probably kept you up at night. "Where does he get those wonderful zingers?" you asked yourself as you stared at the textured ceiling.

Maintaining a sharp wit is hard, constant work. I always have to be aware of my situation, simulate possible inputs, and prepare to respond to those inputs.

For example, today I ate lunch in my cubicle. (Stops typing, looks through medicine cabinet for something to dull his life's pain, only finds expired lortab, cries, drifts to sleep and dreams of a better place, starts typing again.)

Today's menu consisted of two ham and swiss sandwiches with leaf lettuce, several handfuls of raisins, cheddar-sprinkled Chex, and HyVee brand iced oatmeal cookies.

Ready for dessert, I reached for the cookies, still in their original packaging, a long plastic tray in a plastic sleeve. I took the zippered freezer bag I brought in from home and began to transfer the treats from their makeshift stay-fresh container.

I evaluated the situation:

*I was in my cubicle, moving food around to prevent it from going stale.

*Moving food around to prevent it from going stale is an activity uncommon among my coworkers.

*My coworkers are humans who both love to yap about any stupid thing and who are starved for conversation starters.

Ergo, the most probable input was simulated to be:

*A coworker could walk by at any moment to say, "You're moving generic iced oatmeal cookies from their original packaging into a new plastic bag?"

My quick-witted brain prepared a response to the most probable input:

"Iced oatmeal cookies remind me of my dead grandfather, so FUCK YOU."

[If the internet gave enough of a shit to post a photo of generic iced oatmeal cookies, the photo would go here.]

True story, people. This is how my mind works. I am always, always searching my radar for incoming would-be insults, and gauging potentially devastating comebacks. It's not great.

Also true story, people: iced oatmeal cookies do indeed remind me of grandpa Ed. His wife made a lot of great pies, but never bothered with cookies. Instead, there were boxes of Nilla wafers and those strawberry/chocolate/vanilla rectangular sugar wafers and iced oatmeals and so on. Dr. Pepper reminds me of Grandpa Ed. Back when it came in a glass bottle. And bologna. The man once said to me, "Sometimes you just need a good bologna sandwich". He was right. Why else would I keep swearing off bologna sandwiches, only to crawl back a few months later? Bologna can hold a spell over a man, especially if that man shares much of his DNA with another bologna-loving man named Edwin, who died of a probably-not-totally-unrelated-to-bologna heart attack.