Friday, May 30, 2008

Sonic...America's Drive In

     Yesterday I wrote a little about Sonic Drive-Ins.  Literally none of you asked "Big Dave, what's your problem with Sonic?  You seem especially bitter towards them."  Well, that is correct.  Because I had a bad experience with a Sonic once.  
     I fell prey to the same thing that PePe did.  For years I watched ads for Sonic Drive-Ins flash across my TV screen.  No matter where I was or which of my TV's I happened to be watching I still saw the ads.  Amazing cream-cheese-filled apple flavored turnovers that you dunk in a sweet buttery sauce.  Eleventy billion different flavor combinations for your slushie.  Delicious world-famous onion rings.  All amazing stuff.  All the restaurants were going to be bright and clean and colorful with cheery, happy patrons.  I was suckered.  So I went to a Sonic.  I went the to Sonic in Warsaw, Missouri.
     I went there with Little Jeffy.  I had drug him to Warsaw to go kayaking over Easter weekend one spring because Warsaw is strategically located smack dab in between two huge man-made lakes with lots of shoreline.  So we roll into what turns out to be a VERY small town at the edge of the Ozarks.  And it's not long before we notice the Sonic located across the street from our hotel.  So on night two or three we decided that we were going to go eat at the Sonic.  Something I was very excited to do.  Something that I had wanted to do for a long, long time.  Something that I was very much looking forward to.  And that's where the trouble began.
     I don't know if you noticed, but I said that the Sonic was right across the street.  But that's not quite right.  There was just this huge asphalt area, sort of a road mixed with a parking lot mixed with inner city basketball court plopped down in the middle of a wooded southern community.  It was strange.  But Little Jeffy and I couldn't see getting in our car and driving over to the Sonic when it was closer to our hotel room door than my mailbox is to my apartment door.  I know that this is America and we love our cars, but even the two of us aren't that lazy.  So we decided to walk over to the Sonic and order up some food to bring back to our hotel.
     We knew that Sonic was a drive in style restaurant.  We knew this.  But we could not fathom that they wouldn't have a small indoor counter or at least a window that once could walk up to and order some dinner.  Well, Sonic doesn't have a walk up window.  They don't have anything except for the automobile stalls.  Little Jeffy and I stood there, milling around in front of the building, trying to figure out where the walk up window was.  But we were never able to figure it out because there wasn't one.  So we walked around a bit more as the two high school girls inside stared out at us.  It was like they were soldiers hiding inside a trench in the Ardennes trying not to be seen by the passing German tanks.  Because they saw us outside, struggling and confused, and decided early on that they wanted nothing to do with us.  We knew that we had been spotted.  And we were smart enough to know that, after making fools enough of ourselves, simply walking into one of the many empty car stalls was out of the question.  We were hungry, and I was all about Sonic, but there was no way we were going to be those guys.  So we walked away.  And my Sonic dream walked away with us.  We went across the street/parking lot hybrid thing to McDonald's (or Clown's as Little Jeffy likes to call it) and ate there.  And we never went back to the Sonic.  I have never since that day had the desire to go back to any Sonic.  Nothing kills desire like public foolishness.  Or at least for me.  So go try Sonic if you dare.  I might even be persuaded to go back eventually.  But don't be like Little Jeffy and I.  Please, please, please...take the car.

Regional Unbias

     When I called PePe on her birthday she was in South Carolina.  Which doesn't sound remarkable until you learn that she doesn't live in South Carolina, had never been to South Carolina before, and has no ties to South Carolina whatsoever.  She was there looking at a town and a potential employer, but that was not the most exciting part of her trip.  The part that she was most excited about was that the particular town she was looking at had a Sonic.  And she has always wanted to eat at a Sonic.  And I totally understand.  Her seemingly unexplainable yearning for Sonic is the result of one of the greatest unrecognized scourges in America today:  regional chains advertising nationally.
     I know, it doesn't seem bad.  It really doesn't.  But it is.  Because it causes people like my dear, sweet PePe to jonze uncontrollably for things that they have never had.  Sonic is one of the worst offenders.  Sonic drive-ins tend to be in the south and west, yet they regularly advertise on national television.  ESPN, TNT, etc.  So day after day I am wooed by Sonic and their amazing drinks and delicious tidbits.  Yet I cannot go visit one.  Because the nearest Sonic to my house is almost 400 miles away.  So I guess that I could go, but that's an awful long way to go for a mango-blue coconut slushie.  I can just make something like that in Egypt's kitchen.  The bottom line is that Sonic shouldn't be doing this.  Why would they advertise to someone who lives in a non-Sonic area?  That's wasted money.  If The Weather Channel can give towns 60 miles apart specialized local forecasts, then Sonic should be able to advertise only in the areas that they serve.  
    Same goes for Ruby Tuesday.  There is no Ruby Tuesday where I live.  And there is no Ruby Tuesday where I grew up.  And there is no Ruby Tuesday in Boise, Idaho.  But I have seen Ruby Tuesday advertisements in each of those places.  And they taunt me with their high end burgers and quality fresh produce.  Because all I can get here is creamed corn from a can poured over pancakes.  Okay, that's a lie.  I can get all sorts of good food here.  But I can't get Ruby Tuesday.  So I don't want them cluttering up my TV.  Beef-a-roo could be advertising in that spot.  Or at least Kohl's.
     "So Big Dave, is it only restaurants that are involved with this nefarious plot?"  That's the question you just asked.  And my answer is no.  It's not just restaurants.  Home Depot is the same way.  The nearest one is much closer to me, a scant 90 miles away.  But I still have to watch their lame commericals about building a deck over the Memorial Day weekend or buying a $4000 stainless steel outdoor patio barbecue.  Home Depot is not great enough to make me drive 90 miles for that business.  And it's not just happening here.  There is no Home Depot anywhere near Marfa, Texas and I bet they are watching the same shit.  There is one exception though.
     I tend to grant chains like Best Buy and Circuit City a little bit of an exception.  For one reason.  I have driven the 170 or so miles each way to go to Best Buy before.  I will admit it.  But when your store has a well developed and nationally recognized online store, I think it's okay to advertise everywhere.  Because I can hop on Bestbuy.com and buy all sorts of sweet gadgets and they will ship them right to my door.  I can't go online to the Home Depot and order up 8 4 x 6's and 24 2 x 4's to build a sweet tree fort in the perfect tree at the frat house up the street and around the corner.  That just doesn't work.  Because I don't live in their local area.  SO WHY ARE THEY ON MY TV?
     So go away Home Depot.  If you are in Quebec you can yell for Reno Depot to go away if you want.  Go away Ruby Tuesday.  And go away Sonic.  Leave me alone and stop taunting me.  Because that's not fair to me or to anybody else.  Stop advertising on my TV.  Either that or put the time and effort into building a store within 20 minutes of my house.  Because otherwise you and your commercials are just sucking away moments of my life.  Moments I can't get back.  They don't even sell them at the Home Depot.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Rachael Ray and People Who Need a Hobby

*Special thanks to Friend Steven who helped me immensely with today's blog despite the fact that he probably agrees with none of it except for the first sentence.*
    I must be stupid.  Perhaps I am just naive.  Or maybe I am totally devoid of understanding.  But it seems to me that people in this world need to lighten up.  But I saw this article and it pissed me off.  And I hope it pissed you off too. 
     For those of you who didn't hear about this, or those of you who don't understand how a link works, this is what happened:  Recently, talk show host, Food Network personality, and strangely hot Rachael Ray had a commercial in which she appeared pulled from the airwaves.  Dunkin' Donuts pulled the ad after several groups complained that the scarf she was wearing looked like keffiyeh, which is a traditional Arab male headdress used by Muslim militants in all sorts of nasty, terrorist-associated videos.  But then again that is according to Fox News, so take what you wish from that.  That being said, an article stating the same thing appeared in the Boston Globe, which has way more fact checkers than I will ever have.  So maybe it is right.  Either way, I've got a problem with this whole thing.  Because it is exactly what is wrong with people.  People are stupid.
     Now let's get our wires crossed here.  I am not pro jihad.  I am not supporting any sort of terrorists.  And I am not against America in any way, shape or form.  So don't get all bent out of shape.  But what I am against is people overreacting to everything everywhere.  I would seriously doubt that Rachael Ray is supporting terrorism.  You are not going to find a terrorist training camp backstage in her studio.  She's not baking muffins for Osama bin Laden.  All she was doing was wearing the scarf that her stylist told her to.   Nobody freaks out when people wear green.  Green is the traditional color of Islam.  Why hasn't that nutjob Michelle Malkin hopped right on that one?  What's wrong Michelle, silent on that one because you have that favorite green sweater of yours that you just couldn't bear to part with?  I am sure that somewhere in her house Rachael Ray has something made of cypress.  Lebanon is famous for its cypress trees.  Uh oh.  That means that Rach must be a terrorist.  Seriously people, this is ridiculous.  Let's not take stuff so seriously.
     I hate to break it to you, but you can't jump on stuff like that all the time.  Because life is too short and important for that business.  And most people understand that.  You want to know what most people thought of when they saw that commercial flash across their Sony Bravia full HDTV w/ 1080p technology?  They thought about donuts.  Maybe those television fans thought about the old school "time-to-make-the-donuts" guy.  Maybe they thought about iced coffee, I don't know.  But nobody watched that commercial and had the urge to attack the great satan.  Because 98% of the people in the United States don't know what a keffiyeh is.  I know how to spell it and I know what it is but I would still be hard pressed to tell you why it's significant.  And it's not because we don't care.  It's because it doesn't matter to us.  Just like the significance of Chuck Taylor All-Stars doesn't matter to a 34-year old mechanic in Karachi.  Chuck Taylor and his shoes do not represent a threat to Islam any more than a keffiyeh does to the US.  Bottom line.  Don't even try to argue, because there is no other option.  That's the truth.
     The biggest problem here is with Ms. Malkin.  People that far out of whack shouldn't be allowed to be on broadcast television.  But Fox News took her.  Of course.  Not even public access would probably have her.  Because she obviously has way too much time on her hands.  And she obviously WAY overthinks things.  When you are on TV you have to keep ratings up.  I understand that.  I have the same problem.  But come on, let's not stoop to shock jockery to keep our numbers up.  There are enough people who get all worked up over small things that we don't need people doing it on TV and inciting others.  Because then people who were smart enough to not care pick their heads up and start asking questions that really don't need to be asked.  Michelle, even if you just happened to be holding up a picture of Yasser Arafat (and here's a picture of him wearing his trademark keffiyeh) next to a TV when Rachael's commercial came on and you just casually noticed the similarities between the scarves, you should have just muttered "Hmmm...that's strange" to yourself and gone out and done a show about oil or something.  Honestly.  There are swastikas on the University of Chicago's Yerkes Observatory but we aren't sending masons over there to chip them away.  Yet we are spending $600,000 to modify a Navy Barracks they look like a swastika from the sky, where only 7 people or so will see it.
     The point here is that we can't pick and choose.  We either need to whitewash everything so no one could ever be offended or just learn to get over ourselves.  I choose the later.  So everyone, go out and eat Dunkin' Donuts, make a 30-minute meal or two, and wear your scarves around.  But not you Michelle Malkin.  You had better not wear a scarf, ever.  Because then you are obviously a terrorist.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Naming Rights

     Sometimes in life we have to talk about people who suck.    Truly awful people, or maybe good friends who at that particular moment simply do not deserve to be called by their given name.  Not even by their regular nicknames.  It's at these times that the art of creating the horribly demeaning, completely inappropriate generic name is useful.  And we here at Big Dave and Company are going to help you with this hilarious and therapeutic device.  You know, as a public service or something.  
     One of the most important aspects of the temporary nickname is to fit it to the mood and audience of the room.  At first this might take some conscious effort on your part, but in time it will just sort of happen automatically.  For instance, if you are with your fiancees parents, and they are humorless Mormon farmers, it might not be a good idea to break out the hilarious temporary nickname.  Enough said.  But if you are around some adults who aren't so much into swears or sexual innuendo, you will not want to bust out one of the old standbys like nut-rag or ass-face.  For the more uptight crowd, something like apple-peeler or chicken-toe.  It's not so great but if you come upon a silly enough combination it can be a crowd pleaser no matter who the audience.
     There are three main methods for creating the temporary nickname.  Feel free to use any method that you want.  The second two take a little bit of planning ahead, and work very well when talking about a close friend that you like to belittle at every chance you get.  We will get to those shortly.  But the method that gets used by far the most is the random method.
     The completely random method is fairly straightforward.  You simply string together one of three strings of words:
     -  the first two nouns that pop into your head (ass-plow, purse-brow, or couch-leaf),
     -  the first noun and first verb to pop into your head (nose-bang, train-boil, dick-paint),
     -  The fist noun and the first verb with -er added to the end of it to pop into your head.  This is often the best (hair-drinker, ass-beater, face-creamer, nut-wanderer).  Honestly, this is the one that we here at Big Dave and Company use the most, and odds are it is the one that you are going to use the most as well.  It is going to be the easiest and most hilarious to come up with in a split seconds notice.  And they are usually the funniest in a very funny genre to begin with.
     The second option is a premeditated noun-verb combination.  The easiest way to get a big effect with this method is to use an inappropriate body part combined with a verb ending in -er, much as described above.  Usually that verb will be "eater."  Names like ass-eater or dick-pincher or face-miner all work.  But usually anything ending with "eater" will be a hit.  Slang nouns are okay too, don't forget that.   Trust us, it's great.  And the best part?  The more obscure and less sensical the better and more hilarious.  The farther out of left field the better most of the time with this genre.
     Same with the third method, the premeditated dual noun method.  This is our favorite premeditated method for making a temporary nickname.  The possibilities are endless.  There are something like 53,000 nouns in the English language (which I feel privileged to destroy on this blog on a daily basis) and they are all fair game.  Even the irregular plurals.  Just try it, it's easy.  Two random nouns.  Nut-face.  Boat-cord.  Dip-screen.  Spam-monkey.  Now that's a good one.  Sometimes you have to try a few in your head or on your blog before you hit on a winner.  But the beauty of this method is that you have time to find an amazing combination.  You can craft something legendary.  If the random method is the quick fire, pistol shots of temporary nicknames, the premeditated dual noun is the atom bomb.  Hit your target square with a perfect one and there is no comeback.
     Now, once you get the hang of the temporary nickname you can start making combinations with them.  Huge long strings of stressed, beautifully crafted, debilitating taunts.  But they can be simpler.  The most famous example is from the movie Office Space when Mike Bolton calls Michael Bolton a "no-talent ass clown."  Classic.  And hilarious.  These combinations can be festively sprinkled throughout your daily life and conversation like so much birthday confetti.  Like any temporary nickname or description they can be a head turner, you can even elicit a double take.  Or at least a sly grin.  
     So there you are.  You've been prepped on the greatness that is the temporary nickname.  Use it liberally on your enemies, friends, family.  Whomever.  But use it responsibly.  Only bust one out in appropriate circumstances, and in appropriate company.  You don't want to become a social pariah because you called your mother-in-law's cousin Turd Herder and she took exception.  That's not cool.  But if you call your best friend Condom Wrangler at his bachelor party, you will go down in the history books.  Even if it's just your book.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Big Dave and Company's 50th Post Spectacular!

     Well hello everyone!  It's Memorial Day today so we here are Big Dave and Company want to thank all of our veterans for all they have done for us.  Veterans of every conflict from The Revolutionary Warthrough Grenada to the conflict in Iraq and their families have sacrificed more than the rest of us can ever know or repay.  So here's to you today.
     Memorial Day is a day of rememberance, and so it is only fitting that we hold the Big Dave and 
Company 50th Post Spectacular today.  Let's look back at some of our favorite personalities, stories, and moments from the past two months:
-  Guy H from Sand River, MI.  One of our most avid readers, Guy was our very first Celebrity Endorsement.  He is also one of the most frequent commentators.  Guy was gracious enough to provide us with a picture so that if you see him out and about you can stop and say hello.  Unfortunately the picture was taken after Guy went to get the mail during a blizzard and Guy is slightly obscured.
-  My Encounter With the White ShirtsApril 5, 2008.  This is one of my most favorite posts.  It describes a meeting I had with a band of white shirted teenagers at my friendly local grocery store who were less than forthcoming about their purpose.  In the end I become the leader of an awesome army crusading for supermarket justice.  So I guess you could say that it's more like a self-portrait, or an autobiography.
-  "You want a silent weekend?  Then call your girlfriend fat on Friday afternoon then turn off your phone."The 100 Vacations to Enrich Your Life, March 31, 2008.  Dingo loves this quote.  And so do I.  It is from one of my very first posts, in which I respond to a book I read.  It was the ranting and raving about this particular book that led me to start the blog.  I had some pretty funny stuff to say and I thought that the world should have the opportunity to hear it.  And so this was born.  And the best part is that that quote remains a classic.
-  Chocolate Rain, April 16, 2008.  I wrote a big post about the Internet senesation video called Chocolate Rain.  And don't think it was so much the post as it was the included video.  I think a lot of people watched it, because as I go through my daily life I can sing something in the form of Chocolate Rain and people crack up.  People that wouldn't normally crack up at that.  That's how I know it's working.  Just sing along 
with this line: "Fifty posts makes you as famous as Chocolate Rain!"
-  In our 50th Post poll, Peg-a-saurus Rex and the Stuffed Beaver (May 13, 2008) was voted as your favorite moment from out first 50 posts.  And I am not going to lie Company, I think you made a very good choice.  Because not only is it one of the most controversial posts, it is also by far the most commented on.  I have petted Peg-s-saurus Rex's stuffed beaver, I have even kissed it, and it is a lovely, cuddly stuffed animal.  And Garm even got one too and thought it was great.  But still, come on.  Come on!  We here are Big Dave and Company will never condone handing out a stuffed beaver for Mother's Day.  Unless they hand out stuffed roosters for Father's Day.  Because I can always use the material.  And then at least things will be equal.  So congratulations to Peg-a-saurus Rex and the Stuffed Beaver, the winner of our Readers' Choice Award for out first 50 Posts!  Way to go Peg-a-saurus!
-  One of our most active commentators is Little Jeffy.  When asked to comment on our first fifty posts he had this to say:  "Yes, I banged [Egypt's] mom, too...I would that I did not intend to do that."  Well said Little Jeffy.  Well said.  We don't endorse doing Egypt's mom, or any of our readers' moms.  Unless you happen to be the father or stepfather of one of our readers.
-  So You're A Lazy Sack of Shit, April 4, 2008.  I don't know if you have noticed but I get a little angry sometimes.  And someone at work pushed me over the edge one day, leading to this classic post.  In retrospect I think that this is one of my most favorite posts.  I love everything about it.  Except for the inspiration.  Anyway, in it are included three easy steps to avoid becoming a lazy sack of shit.  So follow
these tips and you will be a productive member of society.  Or at least not a leach.  And then we won't have to have a post about you.  Well, unless you are the Peg-a-saurus Rex.  
-  The Abbey Road to Ruin, April 11, 2008.  In this post I took on The Beatles.  And I am pretty sure that I won.  And Craigster never said a word.  Yet.
-  We've been lucky enough to have some outstanding celebrity endorsements over out first 50 posts.  From the above mentioned Guy H. of Sand River, MI to Kansas University's Sherrod Collins to Marcolino Moco, the third Prime Minister of Angola we have relished all of your endorsements.  Thank you very much.
-  Let's talk about the Salt Book (Click here or here for more information).  It's proper name is Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky, but I have taken to just calling the Salt Book.  It is still missing.  It went missing when one night when a bunch of us were playing euchre and it has yet to come back.  After a couple of weeks I received a ransom note, seemingly cut from a combination of eleventy billion different Glamour magazines.  It was this ransom note that led me to call out the reserves.  Even the White Shirts are looking into it.  And the reward for the return of the Salt Book remains unclaimed.  So let's get on it people!
-  "At least wear a tank top, because the world doesn't want to see your nipples displayed on Fox." From The Naked Truth, May 19, 2008.  In this post we explore why people like to be naked so much.  And not just when the lights are off.
-  In Graduation Aftermath (May 7, 2008) we got to see David Nathaniel's bare ass.  And we never want to see that again.
-   Another of our celebrity endorsements came from Friend Steven, who had this to say in support of the Big Dave and Company 50th Post Spectacular: "Some men take the bull by the horns.  Some bulls take the men by the horns.  In short...Vikings and bulls shouldn't hang out."  What, have you been hanging out with Jack Handey, Friend Steven?  Either way, thank you for the support.  Although I am still not sure if I am the
bull or the horns.
-  We have had some pretty exciting videos for you to watch during out first 50 posts.  Everything from some Magnum P.I to the ever exciting Dick in a Box.  So I guess you could say that we are multimedia.
-  In Mailing It In (April 12, 2008) I explored the ongoing cold war between the entire Big Dave and Company staff and my mailman.  And every time I see him I still just want him to love me SO BADLY!
-  I also advocated sending all the stupid people to an isolated island to live together (Stupid People, April 2, 2008).  I still believe that this is a good idea.  I will turn out to be a genius if this actually goes through, although the people of Pitcarin or Kiska will most likely not agree with that assessment.  I thin that it's doable in any event.  But this post is memorable not so much because of my world class idea (which is great by the way) but because it led to the addition of links to my blog.  Before this I rarely if ever linked to what I talked about.  Now I try to link anything that is not commonly known.  Except in this post.  Because this is for a trip down memory lane.
     And what a trip it has been.  I hope that you have enjoyed our look back at the last 50 posts as much as we here at Big Dave and Company have.  We would like to thank all of our readers, no matter how voracious, for their support and cooperation.  Please feel free to dig through The Filing Cabinet to find your own favorite posts and moments.  Or just revel in ours.  But mostly, please keep on reading and commenting and being yourselves.  Because Big Dave and Company is as much about The Company as it is Big Dave.  So happy Memorial Day, thanks again, and we hope that our next 50 posts can be as successful and eventful as out first 50 were!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

yourSpace

     A.O. loves mySpace.  And the is not alone.  So does Legal Anne.  PePe does mySpace.  Little Jeffy does mySpace.  So does Egypt.  Bands and small businesses and CNN and Tila Tequila and about eleventy billion other people do mySpace.  And the other eleventy billion people in the world do Facebook.  And that's cool.  I am all for social networking.  And honestly, it can be a great creative outlet.  And everyone is keen for me to get a mySpace.  But I won't.  And there is a secret.  The more that people try to get me to start a mySpace page the less likely I am to.
     Honestly, part of it is just because I am stubborn.  I continually refuse to do mySpace because everyone else does.  And this is not the first instance of this.  On the computer, AIM is a great example.  I didn't get onto AIM until about 4 years after everyone else did.  Now I am signed on more than I care to admit.  Cell phones are another great example.  Everyone else had a cell phone long before I ever considered walking into a Sprint or T-Mobil office.  In fact, I didn't even go get one until my mom made me.  How do you feel about that?  Now I use it far more than I want to most days.   And so on and so forth.  That's just my m.o, avoid things while they are wildly popular, and then jump on once the fad dies down a little.  And that time hasn't come yet for mySpace.
     Besides, what do I need mySpace for?  I have this sweet blog, and I would guess that that is probably more of me than you guys want already.  So now you want me to add mySpace?  Anything that I would put on there is probably on here, except the photos.  And let's be honest, I don't particularly like photos of myself anyhow.  So why would I want you to see them?  Someone explain that to me.  "But Big Dave, you can set it to be private and then only your friends can see it."  Well I could do that with this blog too but I don't.  Because I don't see the use.  Why bother with having something that not all the world can see?  My friends don't need to see that stuff.  My friends all know the stuff that I would put on my mySpace already.   That and more.  So why does that information have to live in cyberspace?  Company, do you understand what I am getting at?  Am I talking to a wall here?
     Of course I am not talking to a wall.  I am sure that you understand my skepticism and reluctance.  Or maybe not.  Either way it's okay.  Because in the end I will cave I am sure.  I always do.  Someday Egypt and Legal Anne and goodness knows who else will receive invitations from me.  It will happen very quietly I am sure.  Time and society will always win out.  So keep the heat up A.O. and eventually I will get mySpace.  But until then, keep it as yourSpace.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Cost of Growing Up

     Things seem so much cooler when you are a kid.  I am not going to lie.  It a pretty sad consequence of humanity that as we grow up we grow knowledgeable, we grow analytical, we grow skeptical.  It's awful.  We lose are sense of wonder and excitement about many things.  Pretty soon the only things that impress us are the Grand Canyon, fitting a V8 engine in a Toyota Celica, and that girl on TV who can tie her legs in a knot behind her head and lick the backs of her own knees, in that order.  Nothing else seems to amaze us any longer.  It's downright depressing.  And here is a list of things that no longer hold wonder for us once we grow up:
-  The County Fair.  This used to be something big.  Like, the highlight of our summer.  There were elephant ears and foot long corn dogs and the Tilt-a-Whirl and the chance to win a goldfish in a little plastic bag.  Oh my was it wonderful.  And way over on the other side of the fairgrounds there was music, music that we'd never heard before wafting in from the main stage.  And there were even animals that you could pet in the agricultural barns.  How cool was that?  But not it doesn't seem to amaze us anymore.  I mean, don't get me wrong, it's not like I am dissing the county fair.  It is still a pleasant diversion from the routine of daily life, but it doesn't have the wonder.  I mean, we know all about it, and most of us have seen bigger and better.  So it's nice but it's not AMAZING and that sort of makes me sad.
-  Fireworks.  Fireworks have always been awesome.  And they are still pretty freaking awesome.  But honestly, I think that they have lost some of their awesomeness from when I was a kid.  Oh man, back in the day the colors and the lights and the booming and the explosions were so full of wonder and amazement and greatness for me my parents probably always had to bring a change of underpants for me.  Lying on a blanket at the Expo Center watching colors explode from the sky was perfect.  But now I fear that I look at fireworks differently.  I look to see where they are setting them off to see what kind of setup they have.  I see the white and know that it is magnesium burning, see the green and think copper.  Which is okay I suppose.  But I look at the fireworks going off in the sky or under the ore dock and don't just think that it's amazing and fantastic that there are explosions in the sky but I critique the artistry and production values of it.  How awful is that?  I can never just be happy with the fact that people have figured out how to blow up the sky.  I have to have it be aesthetically pleasing.  I should be beaten with a stick.
-  Supermarkets.  When I was a kid the supermarket was ridiculous.  First of all, it was huge.  I mean absolutely gigantic.  And everything in it was cool.  Because first of all there was more candy than any one child could fathom.  Everything from Jelly Bellies to chocolate to circus peanuts.  There were hot dogs and macaroni and cheese and cereal of every kind.  There were items that I knew nothing about except that they were delicious because they were in brightly colored boxes.  Hello!?  Even the fruits and vegetable section was a wonderland because a.) the food wasn't in a package and you could touch it b.) you could also throw it and make grown ups do hilarious things and c.) there were little automatic nozzles that rained water down every so often.  How great is that?  And I think that the best part of the supermarket was that I could have all of it and more.  Whatever I wanted.  Because my mom had the checkbook.  Who are we kidding?  I was seven, I didn't have to pay for shit.  But now, I can read, and I am poor.  So I have to compare and buy off brands and clip coupons and budget and count calories and you know what?  The supermarket is not so great anymore.  While a trip to EconoFoods (Fresh savings now!) can still be fun it no longer holds the magic that a trip to Senty did when I was a child.  So you'd think that I would be getting skinnier.  But no.
-   The Basement.  A lot of people are scared of basements.  I am not.  And I think that that comes from the fact that my parents had a furnished basement rec room in the house I grew up in.  Oh and is it great.  It is straight out of the early 80's, with lots of that faux wood panelling that is thinner and more brittle than even waferboard could ever be.  And thin brown carpet laid right over the cement floor.  There is also a bar down there with stools and carpet where the elbow pad should be.  There is even a refrigerator that used to be a giant kegerator but now has been converted back to being just a plain old fridge.  It even had the tapper on it and a little tray with a grate for overflow.  How great is that?  And there was a pool table and all sorts of old furniture.  It was sweet.  I used to drive Matchbox cars on the floor and the bar and get my fishing lures stuck in the carpeted part of the bar.  But it was great.  I used to play down there all the time and watch Ducktales on the gigantic old Curtis Mathis TV set with the old school cable box.  It was good times.  But as I grew up and the pool table grew broken and the furniture seemed more and more tacky well, it just wasn't as wonderful.  And now it is filled with junk and the magic is lost forever.  And there is one less place to try and recapture that wonder.
     That's just a random sampling of the things that aren't that have just lost their shine.  I am sure you can think of more if you try.  And so could I.  There are still times when that sense of childish wonder and playfulness and amazement can be recaptured.  Maybe it's seeing a muskrat swimming through the clearest spring water ever high up in the Idaho Rockies.  Maybe it's playing with sparklers on a very early spring night with Sister and Sweaty Betty.  Maybe it's staring down at the earth passing below at dusk from the window seat of a 737 and watching as town after town and farm after farm turned on their lights.  So it's there.  It's deeply embedded in out psyche and our genes.  So it's on us to uncover it every once in a while.  Try next time the fireworks are going off.  Just live in the moment and enjoy the bang.

CIAmerica

     I have come to the conclusion that we are a nation of spies.  I know, that sounds ridiculous.  Because we are not all like James Bond.  In fact, it you were like James Bond, running around in a tuxedo all the time with jet-powered cufflinks and lasers shooting out of your shoes, you'd be what we call a social outcast.  And don't even get me started on Inspector Gadget.  If you were like him, with a helicopter coming out of your head and a little computer built into your arm, well you should probably seek medical help because you very obviously have survived an explosion at a helicopter factory or something.  You should get that helicopter part and your go-go-Gadget arms removed.  Because that's not normal.  But what is normal is for all of us to be spies; always scouting, looking, and constantly attempting to glean information about everyone and anything else.  
     You might not be driving around in a souped up Aston Martin through the arctic shooting KGB agents, but I bet you are spying while driving your '92 Ford Escort four-door hatchback with aftermarket tape player and "If you can read this you are driving too close" bumper sticker through the drive-thru at McDonalds.  First thing is first, you are sizing up the car in front of you from the moment you pull into the driveway.  Is it a car or a truck?  What kind of bumper stickers are there?  I am sure you are checking out the inside too.  Counting heads above the seat backs.  Looking for a carseat maybe.  Because you want to know every single thing about them that you can figure out.  We all cream ourselves as we crane our necks to hear what is going on in the car in front of us when they make the half turn around the corner to order their three double cheeseburgers and McFlurry shake.  You want to hear what radio station they are listening to, what the two high school girls in the back seat are squealing about, and you want to hear what they are ordering.  Be honest.  And it's okay if you don't hear what they order.  Because you are going to burn rubber to make it up to the little display screen and confirm what they've ordered.  So you can see it with your own eyes.  Humans are visual animals after all.  You don't realize it but you've just spied on those people in front of you, just like the guy behind you is doing to you.  And it's not the only place.
     Dewey is a spy.  He lives across the street from me, and I wouldn't be surprised if he has a telescope pointed right through my living room window.  And it's okay.  I have one pointed through Hot High School Girl's window too (don't get yourself in an uproar, she's in college now and is only home in the summer).  But the point is that we are always spying on our neighbors.  Have you ever looked at the house next door to see what lights are on so you can speculate what's going on inside?  I have.  Have you ever gone and jumped up to look behind the fence across the street?  I did it at Foxy Roxy's house last week.  The point is that we are always checking out our neighbors.  Peering out at them as they load the trunk of the car.  Pick through their things at their rummage sale not so much to buy something but just to see what they have.  Peeking at if they have a recycling bin put out and just how many beer bottles there are in it.  We've all done it.  So don't deny it.  It's no big deal.  
     We've all eavesdropped too.  You are sitting in a restaurant, maybe the break room at work, waiting your turn to tee off on the first hole, and you just listen to what the people around you are saying.  The girl in the next booth talking about her one night stand.  The guy from accounts receivable making plans to his daughter's graduation party, the man in the cart in front of you talking about the taxes on his Roth IRA.  This is all information that you don't need.  But your ears suck it up greedily and you file it way, just in case later that girl is your sister-in-law, or you see that guy and his Roth IRA in court.  Because you never know.  And you want to know.  You want every little bit of information you can.  We all do.  We all have little satellite antennas rotating around and around inside out ears hearing everything that's going on around us.  Whether we want to admit it or not.  And we listen while we look through out telescopes.
     The consequences of our spying are all around us.  Think about the library.  In the library they used to have tables for people to sit at.  But now everyone has to sit in these little cubbies because we can't keep out eyes on our own papers.  Us boys know that it's happening in the bathroom too.  I don't know if you know this, but back in the day there just used to be troughs at stadiums and bars and wherever.  Now there are separate urinals because Johnny couldn't stop peeking at Ralph and Terry to see what he could see.  Because we are always spying.  Always looking at what's going on next door, across the street, in the next town over, etc. etc.  Yet many times we don't know what is going on with ourselves.  So keep your eyes to yourself, take care of your own business, and only get into others if they ask you to.  It's easy.  And quit being such a spy.  Unless of course you really are James Bond.  Or James Bond Jr.  

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Stirring the Pot

     Hello company.  I must apologize for my absence for the last couple of days.  But my life has been in upheaval.  Not only did I have a super-fun-time day with Guy, but I have completely rearranged my entire living room.  Foxy Roxy generously donated her old couch and love seat to the cause, and I had move everything around to make them fit.  Or at least I assume.  They arrive tomorrow.  But it's amazing how much rearranging my living room has opened my eyes.
     Dad had it all wrong.  When he was single he used to move from apartment to apartment every year or so.  Out would come the old boxes, he'd round up a trailer or two and pack off to a new location somewhere across town.  I can't explain it, but I certainly understand it.  Because sometimes the apple really doesn't fall far from the tree.  I am the laziest person I know, so I tend not to like to move.  But I have lived in the same apartment for the last three years, and my first apartment I lived in for two, and I get a little stir crazy.  After, oh say, 32 minutes or so I start to feel the itch.  I haven't even unpacked yet (let's be honest, you never really do) and I am ready to whip out m toothbrush holder, defrost the fridge, and move on to another apartment.  It makes no sense.  No matter how much I like the place I am in.  But what I have discovered is that if you periodically move all your furniture around, it's just like you moved but without all the heavy lifting and paying another security deposit and ordering the sweet cable package.  But everything looks new and fresh and exciting, and you can run into all sorts of tables and bookcases and golf clubs as you wander to the bathroom late at night, just like you just moved in.  It's marvelous.  Dingo will back me up on this; her and Teener move their shit around all the time.  If moving is diving off the high dive, the rearranging your place is like diving off the starting platforms.  You still get the sensation but without all the big effort.  Plus, it actually gets me to clean my apartment.  Vacuum and dust and wash and the whole nine yards.  
     The is a small caveat though.  If you have a shit ton of furniture I would not recommend this exercise. It is fun but it is way more intensive the more things you have.  Same goes for knickknacks and collectibles.  It's awful.  The sparser your furnishings the easier it will be.  If you have a lot of stuff, it will really hammer the point home to you.  And you will end up being fed up and throwing a lot of your things in the trash.  At least I hope you will.  You really should.  You are such a pack rat.  But if you are like my buddy Hardcore, and all you have is a desk chair, phone charger, and folding table, you can rearrange your stuff every night before you go to bed and then every morning it's like a neat little surprise when you come out of your bedroom to get your bowl of Special K with Hershey's Syrup or whatever you eat.  When you go to put some money in your piggy bank that's actually a middle aged, balding black man with greying hair that is sitting in an armchair reading a newspaper that you've names Alphonse it will be like a fun new game of hide and seek every single day.  But if you have a lot of things it sort of feels like that scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail where the knight is running and running towards the castle but never can get there, then suddenly he arrives.  You feel like you have a lot of shit and you will never get it done and then suddenly it's done.  And by then you are sick of it and ready to rearrange again.
     There is one more thing that I realized.  And this is more for you budding architects or builders out there.  Listen, whatever you do, don't design funky-shaped rooms.  Like, ellipses or hexagons are fine, but if the only mathematical term that describes the shape of your room is "polygon," then you need to change the shape.  Pronto.  Because my living room is in the shape of an "L" and it sucks like a street corner whore.  There is no good way to arrange it so everything fits and makes sense.  Especially since it is a narrow "L."  So the way that works best makes sense and the way that makes sense doesn't work.  It's hard to explain but frustrating as hell.  I can hear all of you naysayers out there going on and on.  "But Big Dave, lots of places have strange shapes.  The apartments in Marina City in Chicago all have pie-shaped rooms.  That's way worse than anything your apartment will ever have to offer."  Well, I say shut the hell up.  You try putting stuff logically into a room that is shaped like a letter.  Plus, all the pie shaped rooms do is make for a lot of wasted space.  At least you can still have some sort of sensical arrangement.  So suck it.  Maybe I will sneak into your house and build some walls in the middle of the night.  Turn your priceless little rectangular living room into the shape of the Traditional Chinese character for typhoon or something.  Or maybe into the shape of a puppy.  Then you can try to figure out how to arrange your overstuffed leather couch and faux-bamboo coffee tables.  Or you can just go to hell.
     So anyhow, like I was saying.  If you want a fresh start within the confines of your present life, go change your house around.  Maybe put the bed on a different wall.  Move all the items in your kitchen cabinets to new homes.  Perhaps swap the locations of your couch, end table, and entertainment center.  At least take the time to move that lamp from one end of the room to the other.  Do something with your domicile and it will open up your horizons.  Just make sure that your living room isn't letter-shaped.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Naked Truth

    People like to get naked.  That is the conclusion that I have come to.  I am not talking about getting naked when it's time to be tender with your significant other.  That is totally understandable.  But the nakedness that I am worried about manifests itself in everyday life.  And the worst part is that it's never the people that you want to see naked that are getting naked.
     I don't understand it.  I don't like to be naked.  I always have some sort of clothes on.  Even in the shower I wear a hooded sweatshirt and a fedora.  In fact, I am finding out that the older I get the more I cover myself with.  I used to wear shorts and a t-shirt all the time.  Now it's more like shorts and a sweatshirt, or a t-shirt and jeans.  It's like I passed some sort of threshold and the percentage of my body that needs to be under wraps went up.  Kind of like cooking time goes up when you get to a higher altitude.  So I don't get the naked phenomenon.  But you see signs of it everywhere.  EVERYWHERE.
     Don't believe me?  Turn on your to to MTV, which incidentally is the root of all evil.  But seriously, take out your ruler and protractor and TI-86 graphing calculator and you will find that there is more skin showing than designer clothes.  Low cut jeans.  Low cut shirts.  Even those little socks that don't come up over the tops of your shoes are in on the act.  And as you know, what appears on MTV eventually shows up in every Omaha, Nebraska and Mussel Shoals, Alabama.  And everywhere in between.  So now every Heather and Kayla and Sarah is wearing jeans that they shouldn't be wearing and shirts that I'd rather they not be wearing.  And let's be honest.  It's not that they are following the latest trends.  It's just that the latest trends have tapped into the fact that they just plain want to be naked.  But if they are naked they can't go into 7-Eleven or Blockbuster.  So they are the next best thing.  But I am not saying that it's MTV's fault.  Because there is somewhere even more blatant that you find our deep seated desire to be naked: sports.  
     Not all sports.  You don't see anyone parading around half naked at a tennis match, or an NBA game.  But I challenge you to turn on a football game or NASCAR race without seeing some hairy, shirtless retard with something painted on his man boobs.  NASCAR I can sort of understand.  You are sitting on top of your RV on the infield, people are paying attention to all the commotion around you, and all that heat is radiating up off the asphalt.  Plus the hundred thousand running engines surrounding you don't help.  But that doesn't make it right.  Listen, climb down off your Winnebago and fetch your Skid Row t-shirt off the keg and put it on.  Because the only thing worse than those near-Daisy Dukes cutoff Wranglers you are wearing is the fact that there is nothing between the belt buckle and your mullet.  At least wear a tank top, because the world doesn't want to see your nipples displayed on Fox.  I am sure they have some sort of info graphic about that stuff too, I don't know.  I don't usually watch NASCAR.  But I do watch a lot of football.  Both college and the NFL.  And it's just as bad there.  Actually, it's worse.  Because okay, you see some yahoos in Tampa and San Diego in August without a shirt.  I believe that it's hot in that situation.  Especially with 75,000 people wedged into like two acres of space.  But still, if you live in Buffalo and it's December and you aren't wearing at very least a poncho like Dingo and I bought for Duke, then you have problems.  You don't need to paint your chest green with a "4" on it in yellow because you love Brett Favre.  You 
can buy his jersey in the gift shop.  Which at a professional stadium is called a pro shop; don't even get me started on that business.  Seriously though, the only place that you should be running around with your shirt of is at the beach.  So if you want to paint your chest for a sporting event learn to like beach volleyball.  That's just the way it should be.
      And unfortunately it doesn't end there.  Think about those people who streak at football games, Presidential speeches, baptisms, wherever.  Because we love being naked.  What about that creepy neighbor who is always wandering around without clothes and without closing his shades?  Because we love being naked.  The baby that always sheds his diaper.  Because we love being naked.  It's deeply embedded in our DNA.  It may lie a little deeper in some of us, but it's still there.  And that's the naked truth.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Things Are Getting a Little Hairy

     Hello Company, we need to talk about hair.  Specifically, body hair.  I've got a problem with body hair.  So do you.  We all do.  Because every one of us shaves, waxes, sculpts, or does something to altar the state of our body hair situation.  Except for Grizzly Adams maybe.  But I really do suspect that he did some sort of personal grooming.  I mean, he had that gigantic beard but I am willing to bet that his back was smooth as Robin Williams in Cadillac Man.  Wax city!  Or at least I would guess that he was getting rid of some sort of uni-brow with a disposable Bic.  And it gets old.  You can't tell me that a bikini wax is something that anyone looks forward to.  I don't even look forward to shaving my face, and that pales by comparison.  I haven't shaved for a week because I am growing a beard.  I just made that up.  I'm not growing a beard.  I am just too lazy to shave my face.  Or my head.  That's why I am growing my hair out.  LIES!  I just haven't wanted to take care of it.  See what body hair can do to a person?  It can turn even the most docile person into a hairy, uncomfortable a%$&hole.  
     So you can see the problem.  We all have unwanted body hair; and we all don't want to have to deal with it.  As far as I can see there are really two options.  The first is to change social norms to make body hair more appropriate.  We could just have a vast, unprecedented shift in social norms so that moustaches on girls are as sexy as ones on boys.  So that back hair implants are the new Botox.  Believe me, nothing would make me happier than if fat, bald, and hairy was the new tall, dark, and handsome.  But we both know that that is not going to happen anytime soon.  There is always going to be that one numbnuts who is sneakily clipping his moustache hairs with a cuticle scissors in the corporate bathroom after the 10:30 am budget meeting.  So I don't think that changing society is going to be the most fruitful of decisions.  That's why I advocate we turn to the same place we turn to solve all of our problems: technology.
     We live in the most technologically advanced society in the history of the Earth.  We have put a man on the moon.  We have mapped the human genome.  We have places that will deliver Chinese food right to your home.  So how is it that all we have come up with for hair removal is wax and sharp things?  That's just not right.  If there are doctors and clinics that can remove hair follicles from one part of your head and move them to another part of it, why can't they just have an operation that simply takes the follicles away and throws them in the trash?  Or why couldn't we donate them once they are removed?  We can make it part of the Locks for Love program.  Let's get on this.  If Revlon can spend $24.4 million dollars on research and development in 2007 don't you think that they could have come up with something for permanent hair removal?  Researchers at the University of North Carolina - Charlotte received a government grant of $100,384 to research making medicine for weaning piglets from soybeans.  Don't you think that that money would be better spent trying to figure out how to permanently remove my back hair.  I mean other then falling backwards shirtless into a campfire.  Seriously.  The LAPD receives money to improve community relations within the City of Los Angeles.  Why not spend that money on uni-brow prevention?  That will improve a lot of relations.  Just a thought.  
     So let's everyone get on it.  Because I am tired of shaving my face.  And the ladies are tired of shaving their legs.  And their armpits.  And bleaching their moustaches.  And pruning their eyebrows.  The other day a friend of mine was complaining about having hair on the top of her feet.  Come on!  No one should have to live like that.  As a society we should have long ago moved past intentionally cutting off parts of our body with sharp thing, or intentionally putting scalding hot substances on ourselves.  Although Nair is pretty cool.  But anyway, we should be beyond that.  And since out eyes and fingertips and fashion magazines won't let hair be hot, let's do some social good and have science fix it for us.  I think that that is more important than figuring out how to make out TV pictures look better.  And it's probably more lucrative

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The WNBA

     I am all about Title IX.  If you don't know what Title IX is, it's a federal regulation that says colleges and universities across America must offer the same number of scholarship sports for women as they do for men.  Fantastic.  Women are equal in athletic ability to men.  Most of them can outrun me.  Most of them can outjump me.  And a certain group of them are much better at rugby then I will ever be.  So to make a long story short I think that they should get equal opportunity to show their athletic prowess.  But that doesn't mean that I should have to watch them.  So I wish that everyone would stop pushing the WNBA on me.
     I don't particularly like women's basketball.  There is really nothing wrong with it other than the fact that it is completely unentertaining to me.  I don't really care to watch the regular NBA, where they make crazy mad moves and gravity-defying dunks in a plastic, corporate-run, multi-billion dollar street-life atmosphere, so I don't know what makes the good people at ESPN think that I am going to want to watch a bunch of girls in loose fitting jerseys doing layups in a half-filled areas that are attached to casinos.  
     Now I can hear all you pro-WNBA types out there getting yourselves all riled up.  And that's cool.  I know that all of those women are better atheletes than I will ever be.  And I know that all of those women are far more wealthy than I will ever be.  And that's cool.  I don't begrudge what they are doing.  I am not advocating that there shouldn't be a WNBA.  I am not advocating that there shouldn't be women's pro leagues.  I am just advocating that the people who control the television and the internet to stop forcing women's basketball down my throat.  If I lived in Connecticut or Indiana where women's basketball is huge for some reason, or Sacramento or San Antonio where there is absolutely nothing else to do I would be all about the WNBA.  But as is I don't live in one of those place.  And I don't care about the WNBA.  So don't put it in my face everywhere that I go.  And I won't have to be so bitter.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Your Child vs. Your Beer

     I was checking out what the BBC had to say about our world today when I ran across this amazing little article.  Of course it happened in Australia; way out in the middle of the Outback Australia at that.  A man was pulled over by the friendly local constable (which is what I assume they call their police officers there) and found to have his beer belted in but not his child.  And I find this amazing and hilarious.  
     Now I have to admit that I have strapped all sorts of non-human things into my car with the seat belts.  Stuffed animals.  A lamp.  And yes, beer of course.  Because when you are young and single beer is very important to you.  But I would never choose to strap in beer instead of a child.  Or at least I think I would always pick the child.  I have never been in that position before.  Mostly because it is generally considered creepy for a single, childless 26-year-old male to be just riding around in a tiny station wagon with a 5-year-old child.  I am sure it's not illegal but it is mostly wrong.  Especially with beer in the car.  Those two things.  I am going to go out on a limb and say that a 26-year-old single male riding around with a six-pack and a toddler in the car is as bad as a 42-year-old man riding around an elementary school with a white windowless van filled with candy.  So that's why I have never had this problem.  I have never had to make a conscious decision about whether or not to make a small child into Rosa Parks, asking them to give up their seat so that a 24-pack of Lion Nathan's West End can sit down.    
     I really should be impressed by these guys.  I say these guys because aside from the man driving, there were at least two other people in the car.  The beer was belted into the center seat in the back, between two other people, and the child was sitting on the floor at their feet.  I mean, it is no big deal to put a seat belt on your beer.  But throwing the child on the floor?  That's raising the bar to a higher level.  I wonder if the adults were just confused.  Perhaps there was another child stuffed in a cooler in the trunk.  And there was probably a jug of Bundaberg Rum belted into the front street.  I wonder why they didn't just strap the child to the roof.  Then at least the child would have had fun pretending they were a superhero flying along or something.  Or maybe Aladdin on his carpet.  But sitting on the car floor?  That's boring.  You can't even play Pony Express on the floor of a car.  Believe me, I have tried.
     So apparently the Northern Territory is the place to go if you prize beer over children.  It's sort of an Australian Texas.  I am sure they bought that beer at a drive-through liquor store and were on their way to a sheep shearing or tumbleweed race or tumbleweed shearing or something like that.  Whatever they do out in Alice Springs.  Because there can't be much else to do there.  Have you ever been to Alice Springs?  It's boring and there's nothing to do.  I've never been there but I assume that that is what it's like.  All is not lost however.  After giving the man an A$750 (US$709) fine, the local authorities expressed the appropriate level of confusion.  "This is the first time that the beer has taken priority over a child..." opined local Constable Wayne Burnett.  Well he is wrong.  The beer has taken precedence over a child tons of times.  It does every time a parent drunk drives with their child in the car.  It does every time someone is too drunk to go to their kids soccer game.  Or when they spend their last 5 dollars on a six pack of Miller High Life instead of Children's Tylenol.  This is just the most blatant and hilarious and sad example.  And it's only hilarious because the child wasn't hurt.  Either way that child should have been rerouted to protective services.  When asked about it, the man driving just stared blankly.  Burnett stated "He didn't get it." And he didn't.  Where I live you buckle your kids in and put the beer on the floor.  Maybe that gets flipped backwards once you go into the southern hemisphere like the direction of the toilet water.  But come on.  That had better been some awesome beer.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Black Hole Sun

     You should always listen to what I say, even though I sometimes miss the mark by a little bit.  Back in April I wrote a post called "Shedding a Little Light on Things" in which I gushed about the sun and how it can totally change one's perspective.  It was April 3 to be exact, and I started out by saying that for the first time in 2008 my thermometer made it above 50 degrees.  And I don't think it's been back since.  
     That sun that I was so happy to see has since forsaken me.  What's with that?  I coddled it.  I stroked it's ego.  And all it's given me has been a couple of appearances and even then it wasn't that great.  It had the feeling of a used up 80's hair band who showed up drunk without instruments solely to rake in the appearance fee.  They don't care if they put on a good show and neither did the sun.  It's like it came by and melted all the snow just so Mother Nature wouldn't nag it and the moon wouldn't stand over in the corner with Jupiter and say "What's wrong with the sun lately?"  We want the sun SO BADLY and it just refuses to come out.  And on the rare occasion that it does it forgets to bring warmth with it.  So why bother?  Why bother?
     As you can see I am tired of winter.  Or spring, if that's what you want to call it.  I don't usually like to complain about the weather, but this is ridiculous.  Even the trees don't know what to do.  One tree out of the eleventy billion behind my apartment has decided to throw caution to the wind and put out some leaves.  The rest are just going to put out buds apparently.  Just to be safe.  Might as well just stop there because in three days a big wind is going to come and it's going to be winter again the way things are going.  I am leaving my showshoes out in case I need them to walk down to the Fourth of July fireworks.  I want to put my comforters away but I am afraid that if I do I will become the next ice man.  I put my comforters away tomorrow and two weeks from now a graduate research team from The University of Innsbrook in Austria ice climbs into my bedroom and digs me up.  Then I am put in a museum and they use me and the clothes I freeze to death in and my DNA to decipher just how humans lived in way back in mid-May 2008.  And it won't even be an accurate picture, because the NFL blanket that I will be found frozen under is old and has teams that no longer exist on it, like the Houston Oilers and the Los Angeles Rams.  
     So anyway, yeah, I am just sitting here waiting for summer to arrive.  I feel like someone sitting at the airport waiting for a loved one to fly in from Buffalo and seeing nothing but "Delayed" flashing on the Arrivals monitor next to their flight number.  So I think it's time to be proactive.  I am going outside tomorrow morning and spraying an aerosol can into the air.  I am going to stab the hose on my car's air conditioning unit so it releases some freon into the air.  And I have two cars so that's twice as much.  I am going to anything that I can to simultaneously a.) put more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and b.) enlarge the hole in the ozone layer.  I know that that sounds counterproductive but something needs to be done.  Because I am sick of this shit.
     I don't even care if the weather guys lie to me.  Just take that nasty little cold front symbol, the blue line with the little triangles, and replace it with warm front symbol.  I want to see more red lines with half circles on it on your little map.  Hell, you could even put the purple occluded front symbol on it and I wouldn't care.  Anything other than cold.  It doesn't matter if it's correct at this point, all I want is some hope.  And since the sun is supposed to give the hope, and it isn't around at all, we are going to have to manufacture some.  So that's why my sandals are out.  And my kayak.  Because maybe they will be able to coax the sun out.  Because every evening it goes away, and I don't know where it goes, but it doesn't always come back.And we need it to come back.  With some force.   This cold spring has been so uncool.  Well, not really.  It been way too cool for my tastes.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Peg-a-saurus Rex and the Stuffed Beaver

     One of our local Native American casinos has been running ads featuring a cartoon moose and a cartoon beaver.  And they are lame.  Really lame.  To the point that I turn them off when they come on the TV.  But they are out there and that is fine.  So someone at this casino thought it would be a good idea to get some stuffed animals and give them away, along with flowers, to their patrons who were mothers on Mother's Day.  And that's a fine idea.  And since the casino's ads featured a moose and a beaver they chose to have the stuffed animals be moose and beavers.  This is where it went wrong.  Because you don't give away stuffed beavers to mothers on Mother's Day.  And you sure as hell don't let me know about it.
     I found out because Peg-a-saurus Rex went to that casino on Mother's Day with her family, and she told Stepmom what she had received.  And Stepmom spilled the beans to me.  So of course the first thing I did was call the Peg-a-saurus rex on the phone and leave a voice mail saying "Why aren't you answering the phone?  Are you too busy playing with your beaver?"  And when she called back I proceeded to make beaver jokes and comments to her for the next half hour, all while giggling like a little schoolgirl, which led her to ask the Stepmom "Did you have to tell him about that?"  And she did.  Because I thought it was hilarious.  I was laughing so hard that I was choking; gasping for breath.  It was amazing.  Because seriously, you don't give away stuffed beavers on Mother's Day.
     If you are a business owner, you really should consult with someone of the younger generation, or at least someone with a perverted mind and perverted sense of humor, before you have a promotion or you generate a new slogan.  Because otherwise you will end up having you and your customers as the butt of many awful jokes.  All the marketing people at this casino would have had to do was to call me up, or ask their 15 year old son, and they would have realized that it is not a good idea to give away a stuffed beaver on Mother's Day.  Maybe on Father's Day or Flag Day or for their anniversary, but not on Mother's Day.  A few people got the stuffed moose, which is fine.  Those were the lucky ones.  But most of the patrons, including the Peg-a-saurus Rex, received a stuffed beaver.  For Mother's Day!  I still can't believe it.  You don't give that as a gift.  End of discussion.  
     So anyway, I hope that all you mothers got wonderful gifts and had wonderful Mother's Days.  I really think that Peg-a-saurus Rex's stuffed beaver is the best gift, even if only for it's comedic value.  Oh, and it's value to me to torture her with.  I also hope that everyone has learned from this little story.  Always be careful with what you say or do, because it's so easy to pervert ideas and intentions.  But there is a bright side.  At least they didn't give out stuffed roosters.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Morbid Curiosity

     I've got problems.  But I know that you do too.  Because The History Channel is all the way up to Engineering Disasters 19.  I am watching it right now.  And they didn't get there by just me watching.  National Geographic channel has shows called Air Disaster, Seconds from Disaster, Locked Up Abroad and Dangerous Encounters.  And those are just the shows that air on a regular basis.  You should see their list of specials.  A&E has made their success on crime shows and reruns of Magnum P.I.  I don't know what has led to this, but I love watching when things go wrong.  And so do you.
     Yes you do.  Don't even try that business.  If you didn't love watching disasters, and your mom didn't love watching disasters, and her boss didn't love watching disasters, and his barber didn't love watching disasters, and so on and so forth, then there wouldn't be 19 episodes of Engineering Disasters.  There would be 19 episodes worth of Cuddly Puppies Frolicking in Fields of Daisies.  And let's be honest, cuddly puppies frolicking through fields of daisies is all well and good if it's on a poster or something,  But you don't want that on your TV.  You don't even want to see that in person.  If you were driving down a country road on a sunny day in the summertime and you saw a fuzzy puppy bounding through a field of daisies chasing a butterfly or something, you wouldn't even think about stopping.  Unless it was to get out and puke on the shoulder of the road.  You wouldn't even stop for the scene if you were on
your bicycle, because you'd be like "No way am I stopping, that dog might bite me."  Now if a bear ran out of the woods and suddenly ate the dog AND the butterfly, then you'd stop and gawk.  Because we love it when things go wrong.
     That's why there is gapers block.  If you do or have ever lived in a big city with freeways, you know about gapers block.  That's when there is an accident for example in the eastbound lanes, and the traffic backs up, but then there is a backup in the westbound lanes too because so many assholes over there want to see what is going on with the accident.  It's retarded.  But it's inevitable.  Because even if two days ago you yourself were in a horrible accident, you can't not look.  You might try but you are physically and mentally unable to overcome taking at least a little peek at the ambulances and fire trucks, the pieces of Chevy Cavalier and Mazda MPV strewn about the roadway, the stretchers lying everywhere, the emergency personnel milling about.  You can't look away.  If a Flight for Life or Life Lion helicopter landed you'd probably piss yourself in excitement.  And so would I.  And so would the guy in the car in front of you.  And the truck driver two lanes over.  That's just the human condition.
     It's why Britney Spears still matters.  She hasn't done anything worthwhile socially in years, or musically ever, but she is still on the news, she is still in the tabloids, and she still manages to get more hits on her website than I do on mine.  Because she is messed up.  And we love it.  LOVE IT!  She's messed up and it makes us feel better about ourselves.  We love the dysfunction.  We love the tension of it all.  That's why everyone has heard of The People's Court.  We love watching people at odds.  No famous play or movie has ever been about two people getting along.  There can be no story without a protagonist.    That's the deal.  Peace and tranquility is good but disaster is great.  That's the human condition.  That's the way we are.  And all we can do is go along with it and go screaming off after the fire truck when it goes by to see what's burning.  Just so long as we don't miss tonight's all new episode of When Bears Attack Small Children on Bikes 2.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Your Mom

It's Mother's Day kids.  So my question is this:  what the hell are you doing reading my lame blog when you should be hanging out with your mom?  Unless you are reading this blog with your mom, then it's cool.  But seriously, go call her right now.  I will wait.




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...you're done?  No no no.  Go call her back.  I will wait some more.




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...okay, that's long enough.  Well, nothing is long enough when it comes to your mom.  You can never talk to her enough, spend enough time with her, get her enough gifts.  I mean, she's your mom.  And honestly, you can never repay her enough for what she did for you.  HEY!  Don't even give me that crap!  I will kick your ass if you say one more word.  I know, your mom yelled at you.  She grounded you.  She didn't let you do all the fun yet dangerous things that you wanted to do when you were a teenager.  She nagged you about your FAFSA and getting a job and going to class and cleaning your room.  But you know what?  That's her job.  And she was good at it I am sure.  It's her job to keep you in line.  And you don't have to like her, but she's your mother, so you have to love her.  And you should, because she has done a lot more for you than you have for her.  So let me give you just a partial rundown.
     Okay, she gave you life.  That's pretty fucking important.  I mean, she could have squeezed and kept you in.  Or poked you in the face with a coat hanger.   So you owe her for that one.  And I don't know how much you know about childbirth, but it is not a pleasant experience for the mother.  She gets to pee, poop, and disgorge a lot of other nasty stuff out of her body in front of dozens of people who have been staring at her vagina for the past 6 hours.  Oh, and it's incredibly painful.  Don't forget about that.  Cramps and pains racking every inch of her body for hours and hours and hours.  And even when she gets the good drugs they have to inject it into her spine.  Yeah.  Her spine.  How whack is that?  That's the ultimate slap in the face.  We are going to give you amazing drugs but to do it we have to jab this gigantic needle into your spine.  Yeah, she did that for you asshole.  Mostly for herself but also for you.  Think about that.
     She supported your ass for 18 years.  That's a long time.  And it cost a lot of money.  Think about you spend to live for one month.  Now multiply that by 12.  Then multiply that by 18.  Yeah, that's a lot of money.  And she might have had to do that for multiple kids.  So think about that.  Food.  Housing.  Transportation.  Toys.  School supplies.  Sketchers and a sweet skateboard.  Probably a car.  All that stuff she provided for you.  For all that time.  I bet you never thought about that.  So think about it now and get out your calculator.  
     She supported you in other ways too.  She drove you to ice skating practice every morning at 6 am.  She sat through countless awful school plays and musicals for years.  And believe me, your fourth grade Xylophone Musical Spectacular wasn't as spectacular as you thought it was.  But she sat through it.  She put your shitty artwork up on the fridge and adored it.  But you never said thank you.  She sat through the rain at your Senior Night football game to watch you play on two kickoffs and a punt return.  She came to your ballet recital to watch you come on stage once as a part of a chorus line.  She did it all because she loves you and you are her child.  So you totally owe her for that.  Because she was there for you.
     So do what you can for mom.  Get her some flowers.  Chocolates.  Go visit her.  Call her on the phone if you live far away.  Because mom deserves it.  She is a special lady and she has given and given for you.  Just honor her, because she deserves it.  It's the least that you can do.

Happy Mother's Day Mom!  Thanks for everything.  I love you tons!

And Happy Mother's Day to all the other mothers out there.  You are great!