Saturday, January 31, 2009

Wii Hate Ozzy

     Oh Ozzy.  You are not what we expect.  You are not a crazy, drug-addles former Black Sabbath singer who has a crazy family and got famous a second time for doing a hilarious reality show.  No.  You are a little dog.  And you are a little dog who struggles.  For those of you who do not know what I am talking about, here's the skinny: At Christmastime in the great wilds of Michigan's Upper Peninsula a family received a Nintendo Wii entertainment system.  One of the coolest things about this is that the controllers can sense your motion, so you use them less like a video controller and more like a prop.  For instance, if you are playing baseball you make the motions of batting and the guy on the screen swings at the ball, same goes for pitching.  Well, as you can guess, when you are playing the bowling game that comes packaged with the console you have to get down like you are bowling.  They even require you to wear the ancient shoes that have had thousands of pairs of feet in them just this week.  
      Well, that is all fun and well until you take your Wii and combine it with an annoying little yippie dog, such as Ozzy.  One day, while Ozzy's family was playing Wii bowling he did what little annoying living dustmops do, he jumped up and got in the God-damned way.  This was not a good decision on his part.  He jumped right in front of where owner Kathy White was attempting to Wii bowl, and she smacked Ozzy in the temple.  Hard.  Hard enough that she knocked him out.  In fact, Kathy says that she "killed him instantly."  Or at least that's what she though.  He may have been as good as dead but neighbor Pene Honey hadn't had her say yet.
     Pene rushed into the scene like she's Horatio Caine, JAG, and the friendly local EMT all wrapped into one and proceeded to give the dog mouth to mouth.  Now I don't know a whole lot about dog physiology, but apparently there is some sort of cross-wiring in little annoying yippie dogs that allows mouth to mouth to overcome massive head trauma.  Yeah, it's true.  Pene did mouth to mouth and revived the dog.  The dog went to the vet the other day and it's fully recovered.  Amazing.  And strange.  But the strangest thing to me is what has happened since the day of the incident.
     Since then, the Fearsom Foursome of Pene, Ozzy, Kathy, and he daughter Alexis have been in bigger demand from the media than recently disgraced Illinois Governor Rod Blagojavich.  They have been on Countdown with Keith Olberman, the biggest radio show in Australia, and they even got a call from The Ellen DeGeneres Show.  That's nuts.  Kathy noted that "For...almost two weeks straight, I've had constant phone calls of people wanting me to be on the talk shows..."  How crazy.
     I am not sure that I agree with all the media frenzy surrounding this business.  I mean, I admit that it's a nice story, heartwarming even, but let's get real here people  Let's not make a gigantic deal over a stupid little dog and a clumsy gamer, okay?  If this dog was ugly as sin or if it had died no one would have even taken notice.  And honestly, we shouldn't celebrate this.  That dog is stupid and probably deserved to be knocked the hell out.  Maybe it learned a little something.  Like to stay away from the Wii or maybe not to walk in front of an oncoming wrecking ball.  In the end all this shows is what America really has a soft spot for: stupid little yippie dogs and video games.  Fantastic.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Beer Clouds

     On Tuesday night I was watching my favorite show, The Universe, on The History Channel when I heard something astounding.  They told me that there are clouds of matter in space that are filled with organic molecules of ethyl alcohol.  For those of you who are not alcoholics or chemistry majors, that's the same alcohol that is in beer. 

OH.

MY.

GOD.

I cannot even begin to lay out the ramifications of this discovery.  It is quite possibly the most important discovery in the history of important discoveries.  It has such amazing wide-ranging implications.  Let's look at some of them.
     First of all, the folks at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (you might know them as NASA) have found water out there, or at least they think they have, on a moon of Saturn called Enceladus.  This moon is only the sixth-largest moon that orbits Saturn, and it's orbit is right in the middle of Saturn's diffuse E-Ring, which is a notoriously bad neighborhood and most likely why you've never heard of this little, out-of-the-way spot.  But it does have water, so that's cool.  And if you have water on Enceladus and ethyl alcohol just sort of floating around in clouds out and around the reaches of the Universe, you have the makings of BOOZE and that is fantastic.  Not only has NASA found one of the main things required to support life on other planets, they have discovered the main ingredient required to have night life on other planets.  Isn't that fantastic!?
     Plus, this most amazing news is going to change the way that NASA goes about their business in ways almost unfathomable.  Right now, NASA is a bloated, slow beauraucracy that engages in important scientific missions that fail to relate to the bulk of working blue collar Americans.  Well, my friends, that is about to change.  With the quickness.  Because if there is one thing that brings together the good people with blue, white, red, etc. collars it's beer.  And you can make a lot of beer out of that.  The History Channel people said that the amount of alcohol floating around in just one cloud could provide every person in the world with like 52 glasses of beer every day.  That's probably not right but it's a close approximation.  So with that kind of beer potential NASA will be on this like the parents of a child beauty pageant contestant on a hair spray sale down at Wal-Mart.  Can't figure out why?  Don't worry, Company.  I will tell you.  Because everyone likes booze.  The blue collar people will be behind this.  And the NASA people, well they are all college educated, and guess what 64% of college is all about.  That's right.  The sauce.  So they are all about it.  They won't be messing around with things like safety and technology and being part of the government.  They will have a manned mission to the beer cloud in like a year, tops.  And they won't stop until the streets of America run amber with a nice, perfect head of foam.
     You know what else?  Everyone in America will be behind this.  NASA will never have a funding cut again, EVER.  Not that it will matter.  I remember back in the day collecting all my empty cans so I could have enough money to buy beer.  I remember skimping and saving so I could have enough to have a little fun come Thursday, Friday, Saturday night, or Sunday afternoon.  So I am sure that NASA would be happy to spend lavishly to get a million billion gallons of beer from space.  I mean, who wouldn't?  We lost the race into space.  Who cares?  We won the race to put a man on the moon.  So what?  We could win the most important race in the history of history.  The race to the beer.  Ex-President Bush spoke of putting a man on Mars.  Screw it.  Skip Mars, skip Jupiter, stop in Saturn's neighborhood to pick up some water, then it's off to the beer cloud.  That's where I want NASA to go.  That's something that will enrich everyone.  Just think about it.  It will be great.

Let's Get Plowed: Update

Someone at the city Department of Public Works must be an avid reader of Big Dave and Company because yesterday it snowed a paltry 2 inches and then last night I was awoken at 3:30 am by what I thought was a train crashing through my building and I realized that it was the city clearing the snow out of the street. They came through with the big Caterpillars and plowed all the snow into the middle of the street and then came through with the Caterpillar with the giant snowblower and blew it into dump trucks and hauled it away. That how it's supposed to be done. Nice and easy at 4 am. I would rather be woken up by that than to wake up to the sight of them doing the ineffective snow removal tango that takes 5 hours at 7 am. Thanks guys.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

My Nemesis

Warning: If you don't like venom spewing forth from your computer screen, or if you don't like people making sweeping and most likely incorrect generalizations about someone who they have never met or never made any attempt to get to know, then this post is probably not for you.

     So, I was having a shitty day today, Company.  And I am not sure why.  Nothing bad happened at work.  No one upset me.  Just, for some reason I really, really wanted to be anywhere else.  And as I look back on it I sort of had a short fuse.  It's not like I went off on anyone but I think that if the wrong person had said the wrong thing it probably would have gone down, if you know what I mean.  I was even nice to the mechanic even though I waited four weeks for him to fix my car and then he had it for two days and it still wasn't done.  But I am not bitter and grumbling.  Actually, I think the reason I wasn't upset with him was because he was apologetic and making plans to do everything in his power to get it done today.  So since he was making an effort to rectify the situation I thought I would just relax and give him the benefit of the doubt.  See?  I might have had a slightly shorter than normal fuse but I was willing to work with people who are being reasonable with me.  And since everyone was being reasonable with me today we had no problem.  Crisis averted.
     I still had a sort of binding, deepening, unhappy and unsettled sort of feeling that was residing back behind the bottom of my sternum and sort of spreading its way up into my shoulders.  It's amazing how you can actually, physically feel the stress in one's body.  But I digress.  I've had this feeling in my all day long, and so it's no surprise that after I walked down after work and paid my rent (which involves going into a candy store and usually gets me in trouble, but not today) I did not feel like going home.  So I walked right past my apartment, right past Don in his barber shop, and right past M&M's son getting in his car, and to the Post Office.  I didn't expect there to be much in my PO Box, as I had gone and picked up my mail yesterday, but I was half-heartedly hoping that there would be a package waiting for me.  There was not, but there was an invitation to my niece's birthday party.  So I was looking at that, and it was cheering me up a little, and then it happened.  My nemesis drove by.
     This, in itself, is not a rare occasion.  Because, see that's all my nemesis does.  He drives his stupid fucking car up and down the same six blocks of the same little town day after day after day.  Or evening after evening after evening.  Or night after night after night.  It doesn't seem to matter the time or the weather, there he is always driving by.  Which to me pretty much means that he doesn't have a job.  And why would you?  Something as trivial as a job would cut into your being a raging douchebag.  And we wouldn't want that now, would we?
     Then there's the car.  I don't even know where to start.   Like the normal fucking social retard he has a car that he thinks is super cool.  But I am going to share a fact with you.  It's not.  I don't really know this boner, but I know someone who does, so I know that his 'rents went out and bought him a car.  This is not a big deal, as many parents buy their kids a car like when they are in high school.  And this asswipe was lucky enough to have parents with some scratch, so he got pretty much a carte blanche to do whatever he wanted.  And instead of getting a cool car with a little pop, he took a strange approach.  Usually what happens is that some lame asshole gets a shitty old Honda Civic and tries to trick it out with lame after market bolt on parts to try and make it look cool.  They do this because they can't afford a decent car.  This guy had the opportunity to get a decent car but instead chose to get a Saturn Ion, which is a relatively gutless family sedan, like the one that A-Town drives (no offense A-Town), and he then I am sure paid about eleventy billion dollars to have someone bolt the same after market lame parts on that the poor kids did.  Fantastic idea.  Obviously, in addition to being a fuckbag, this guy is a Goddamn genius.  So he's got this black Saturn Ion with lame black covers on the lights, lame black wheel covers, and probably some lame black ground effect package.  Oh, and he's got one of those packs on his muffler that makes his car sound louder, which is the biggest fucking waste of money I have ever seen.  I am not sure why anyone who had a working car would pay money to attach things that would make it seem like it's broken, but apparently when you are a fucking moron that's cool.  Me?  I would have just bought a shitty car to being with.  Or maybe I would have just disconnected the exhaust behind the catalytic converter, or maybe just in front of the muffler.  But then again, what do I know?  I am not super cool like the nemesis.
     In an exciting new development, he had his window open today.  I don't blame him, seeing as it was a balmy 18 degrees out this afternoon, but he often has his window open.  Even when it was 18 below outside.  Well, since he has tinted the hell out of his windows he probably puts it down on occasion so he can see outside.  Unfortunately this means that we have to see him.  And what I saw angered me and made me wanted to ralph all over my shiny shoes (Yeah, I wore my shiny shoes today).  Actually, what it made me do was wish that he would make a decision once in his life.  See, ass-blaster is far too cool to be able to come up with his own personality, or his own look, so he has tried to emulate the looks of other people.  And much like his decision in regards to his fucking stupid car, he has made a fucking stupid decision here.  Because what I saw through that open window as my nemesis and I glared at each other tauntingly was a mixture between Eminem and a flamboyantly homosexual European man.  Yeah, I can see you imagining that right now.  And now I can hear you laughing your ass off.
     The real reason he had the window open was because he was smoking, and in lieu of opening the window a crack and staying warm like a normal human being he had the window open.  And he was holding the cigarette like a flamboyantly homosexual European.  It was a bold move since I would guess that he doesn't even know where Europe is.  I am sure he saw EuroTrip and just copied what he saw, or maybe one day the batteries on his remote stopped working as he flipped through the Travel Channel.  But there is absolutely no way whatsoever that he actually knows anything about Europe, since it's not located along the six or eight blocks that he routinely drives over and over and over.
     I am sure that he knows about Eminem, though.  He probably has a lovingly worn copy of Eight Mile somewhere in his bedroom, that he's been taking notes on and jacking off to for the last four years.  He was dressed in that sort of small-town-or-suburban-white-boy-who-wishes-he-was-from-the-hood way with a black hat that he paid probably $642 for at Lidz, and a lame sweatshirt with the hood up over the hat, and I am sure that the clothing underneath started with the word wife and ended with the word beater.  And the pants?  I assure you that they were nice and baggy and made him look like a dipshit.
     I can just imagine him getting home, taking off his sweatshirt after a long afternoon of driving around aimlessly and smoking Virginia Slims, sitting down in a big recliner and having his mom ask him if he wants some Sunny Delight.  Because he lives at home with his parents.  he has to.  He HAS to.  There is no way around it, because a person who has their own job and lives on their own can't afford to just drive back and forth all day long for no reason.  They can't afford to have a nice new car that they modify to sound crappy.  And they usually can't afford to buy huge amounts of clothing to make them look like they live in the middle of a decimated urban area.  You can spot young people who live on their own by the usually newer but affordable or super crappy cars that they drive, they wear whatever clothes they have to wear to work or maybe jeans and T-shirts, and they eat a lot of mac and cheese and Ramen.  They certainly do not drive from parking lot to parking lot, sitting there and thinking they are cool.  They are too busy being AT WORK.  They don't have time to be a lazy sack of shit.  
     I wouldn't expect you to know that.  You are too busy sitting outside your mom's house, smoking your butt, and waiting for your fucking useless ride to warm up, all while thinking about how bad you have it.  Well, that's fine.  But I will give you another something to think about.  I am far cooler than you will ever be.  Because I am my own person and I am not a slave to what MTV tells me is cool.  And until you get that through your think, bong resin-coated head, I will always win.  So think about that if you can.  And let me know what you think next time you drive by in your fucking retardo-mobile.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Weather Channel

     Yesterday I promised you that we would talk about The Weather Channel today.  So let's talk about The Weather Channel.  I used to love The Weather Channel.  When I was a kid I used to sit in the basement rec room at my house and watch The Weather Channel for hours.  Think about that.  I would sit in a DARK, WINDOWLESS BASEMENT and watch them tell me what the weather was doing outside instead of actually JUST GOING OUTSIDE!  Sorry, I didn't mean to yell.  But that is what I would do.  And it's even more astounding when you realize that this was back before The Weather Channel had programming.  All it was was weather forecasts 24//7 back then.  None of this Storm Stories or When Weather Changed History.  All they ever did was tell me how much it snowed in Poughkeepsie, NY that day, or how hot it got in College Station, TX.  I even had the hots for one of The Weather Channel chicks (much like I do now, although now it's a different Weather Channel chick).
     I don't watch The Weather Channel as much as used to back in those days anymore, but like millions of Americans I watch it in the morning as I get ready for work.  I like it.  I get to see my local forecast at least twice, and I get to see my new Weather Channel chick.  I also get to see a little bit of the bigger national picture before I go off to work so I can see what all my friends and family spread around the country are waking up to.  I can also find out what it's going to be like for the next few days so I can plan when to wander to the store, when to stay in and clean, how long it's going to take my car to warm up, etc.  But the more I watch it in the morning, the more I find that I am not as enamored with it.  And I will tell you why.
     First of all, The Weather Channel is an unabashed homer.  There, I said it.  I know, I have never lived in a major population center.  But here at the Worldwide Headquarters it's been cold lately.  In fact, yesterday it was like -25F when I made my trek to work.  But The Weather Channel didn't seem to care.  They were busier talking about the ice storm that is effecting the Ohio River Valley.  Fine, I can understand that.  Ice storms are major, dangerous weather events.  But I can't tell you the number of times back in the day when my town (back before I moved the Worldwide Headquarters) would have a blizzard warning, A BLIZZARD WARNING out as I left in the morning, and The Weather Channel would be going on and on about how it was foggy in Atlanta.  Surprise, surprise, The Weather Channel offices are in Atlanta, GA.  I know that it's important to you Weather Channel, because it's what you have to put up with.  And I know that it's a gigantic major American metropolitan area.  But there's a tornado ripping through Pierre, SD right now, and that fits your sell out model better than the fact that it's raining in the A-T-L.
     Wait, what?  Yeah, you heard me right, Company.  I said that The Weather Channel has sold out.  And it has.  First of all, there are advertisements now on my local forecast, and you have L.L. Bean prominently displayed on your jackets.  Fine.  In that retrospect you have actually done quite well, because it's not overt and sickening like and NFL telecast is now.  But still you did it.  Plus, you have this weird passive/aggressive relationship with bad weather.  You send your poor reporter guys into blizzards, ice storms, brutal cold, hurricanes, floods, and excessive heat waves, but you seem reluctant to even mention the 107 mph straight line winds that just ripped Boise City, Oklahoma a new one.  What's with that?  I understand that severe weather makes people watch.  I understand that many people think of it as a real-life movie, and that you need to pay the bills.  But just because the disasters are happening in places with smaller populations doesn't mean that they are any less disastrous.  I am sorry, but if you want extreme weather I think that Jim Cantore should be standing outside my apartment when the visibility in the snowstorm drops to about 6 feet, not standing in Lexington, KY for the three inches of snow they are getting there.
     Speaking of Jim Cantore, can he just go away for a little while?  Okay Jimmy Boy, you've managed to sort of carve yourself a niche there at The Weather Channel.  Good for you.  But what you have also done is begun to annoy the piss out of me.  Here is the thing about Jim Cantore, he is a showman.  He hops in The Weather Channel van and goes to places that are just on the periphery of where the weather is going to be really shitty, and then he totally talks it up like he is in the eye of the danger.  It's like talking about how dangerous the situation is with the building that's about to be demolished by implosion while standing four blocks away with one leg over the barrier and one leg still behind it.  I mean, in Peoria they have just got 16 inches of snow that is whipped into 46 ft tall drifts but Jim is in St. Louis talking about the 4 inches they just got there in a very excited voice like it's the worst 4 inches of snow in the world.  Meanwhile, behind him, the plow has just gone by and people are getting off the bus to go to work and they are just wearing sweatshirts because it's not even that cold out.  That's what he's like, and it drives me up the wall.
     Here is the last thing that bugs me about The Weather Channel these days.  They can't tailor a local forecast for me.  Normally, I would understand this, as I live in a pretty small town.  But there is an airport here.  And when they are giving me the local conditions and local forecast for a town that's about 25 miles away, they still manage to put the temperature and sky conditions that are observed AT THE AIRPORT 1.5 MILES FROM MY HOUSE up on the screen.  So why can't they tweak it so that's my local conditions?  Because very often I look outside and see snow but my local forecast is telling me that it's 25 and fair skies in a town 25 miles away.  That just doesn't make sense to me.  I know, you can't have a local forecast for every burg in America.  But come on.  Twenty-five miles?  That's stretching it I think, don't you?  Get with it Weather Channel.  And I'll see you in the morning.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Coming to Terms

     The Onion has made fun of me.  Well, not me personally.  That would be cool Company, because it would mean that we have gone big time enough to be read by someone who is working at The Onion.  I love The Onion, I always have, and I still love it even though it took a pot shot at the blog community, of which I am an important, if not the most important part.  And granted, it wasn't even on The Onion proper.  But it still smarted a little bit.  
     I don't know if you've ever watched any of the videos from The Onion News Network, but like any good network they have stuff scrolling along the bottom.  And it's hilarious.  So I usually watch any given video twice, once to see what the video has to say and once to read the stuff at the bottom.  Makes sense, right?  So I was doing that the other day; re-watching a video about how The Weather Channel has been discovered to have a shocking pro-weather bias (more on The Weather Channel tomorrow) and I was reading the scroll of "news" that went across the bottom.  This is what I saw:

Archaeologists in Turkey uncovered primitive blog chipped into cave wall.  Etchings complain about the cold weather, mundanities of mammoth hunting.

     Ouch, that hurts.  "So, I thought about that for about for like three weeks."  Okay, I didn't say that.  I stole that from the villain in Ocean's Twelve.  He says that when he's talking to Danny about why he's starting the little competition between them and he's relating how the American businessman said the Bellagio job was the best job every pulled and LeMarque didn't correct him.  AND I didn't really think about it for that long.  But it did weigh on my brain an awful lot in the last few days.  At first I thought it was funny but then the more I thought about it the more it grated at me.  And here's why:
     They are basically saying that all blogs are just about that.  People complaining about the weather and the mundane details of everyday life and expecting other people to care.  And I have never wanted to be that really.  I always wanted to be something different.  I always wanted to occupy a unique space, do something out of the ordinary, go where no blog has gone before.  Looking back through The File Cabinet that has not happened.  I pretty much have just slipped neatly into the mold like a shotgun into a postal worker's hand.  And you know what?  I am okay with that.  I have thought about it and I have come to terms with it.  Because even if I am not doing anything revolutionary, I think I am doing a pretty good job at doing what I do.  I have a small but dedicated band of followers (Including a new person who is following me publicly that I don't even know!  Welcome, Mysterious Stranger, glad to have you aboard.  Thanks for following. :)  ) that's growing by the day and that is all I need.  I have come to terms with what I am, which hopefully will serve me well as the days go by.  Because, really, how can I sprout off about other people when I don't even know about myself, right?  But I am down with my bad self and we can proceed on.  Regardless of what The Onion thinks.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Day in Pictures

I had nothing for you today.  Nothing whatsoever.  This is not an unusual situation.  I sort of wanted to talk about Rod Blagojavich and how he needs to be quiet because every time he opens his mouth something more and more ridiculous comes out, but I don't do politics because that is the most divisive subject known to man.  So no good.  I sort of wanted to talk about Stephon Marbury and how he needs to be quiet for a while but I try not to talk about sports because, even though I loves me some sports, I know that many of you do not.  And it's all about the readers, right?  So no go for that either.  So I did what I always do when I don't know what to tell you; I hit the Internet to find something.  And one of my favorite stomping grounds is the BBC.  Well, today, even they did not have anything great to inspire me, so inspired myself.  So what I am going to do today is take each of the pictures in the BBC's "Day in Pictures" feature and put them here with funny captions for you to read.  If you want to know what's really going on in the pictures, go check out the BBC News website.  So here they are, 1 through 8, in the same order the BBC posted them. And if you have better suggestions for captions please just leave them in the comments.  How do you feel about that?

A guest on Hardball with Chris Matthews prepares for an epic shouting match with the host.

I can't believe that kid emptied a whole can of Silly String on me!

It's bad enough that this is the most boring movie ever, but now someone in the front row has to stand up and block the screen?

I will NOT stop for directions, I can see where we are going just fine.  I am sure that Greenland is right around the next bend.

Another unfortunate bystander falls victim to the vicious "Venus Flower Trap."

Proving that they are the same as the police in every major world city, Pakistani police in Quetta prove that they are willing to proceed right by an emergency situation in a minority neighborhood.

Ferries race past the Sydney Opera House in celebration of Australia Day.  Unfortunately, none of the passengers on these lines will actually reach their destination.

Thousands of Indians ritually bathe in order to offer their prayers to the Sun god on the most overcast and foggy day in the history of the world.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Greatest Post Ever Written

     I wrote the greatest blog post ever the other day.  It was yesterday, Saturday, actually.  The problem with it was that it never made it out to the public.  I had it up in my head in the morning, very early in the day, just the beginnings of something great. Unfortunately, on the way from the part of my brain that is responsible for fantastic, which is right in between the place that reminds me to clean the refrigerator and the part that makes me sweat, and my fingers and onto the keyboard and into infamy it somehow lost its way.  Actually, I don't think that is correct.  I think the idea stopped at a wayside along the way, or maybe it was waiting down in my fingers for the ferry to take it across to the computer and it got mugged.  Or perhaps some ner-do-wells screamed up in a black van with no windows and it whisked the post off into oblivion.  Because when I sat down to bring you the greatest post ever written it was nowhere to be found.
     One of my favorite writers, Garrison Keillor, wrote about the same thing.  I am sort of astounded and appalled to admit that I have favorite authors.  Not that I am ashamed to be associated with Garrison Keillor or the works he has produced, but I just never would have imagined that I would be able to sit down and pick out a favorite.  I guess I never realized that I became an adult, or I just suddenly am not as close to being a kid as I used to be, because it was always adults who had favorite authors, prententious adults at that, but I can't deny it.  I hope that I am not pretentious but I have to admit that I have favorite authors.  And Garrison Keillor is one of them.  And he once wrote the greatest story ever.  Didn't you know that?  Oh yeah.  He relates the tale of the greatest story ever written in his book Leaving Home of how he wrote the story, and was so excited about it that he wanted to finish it on the train on the way to a vacation to the Pacific Northwest but then he promptly left the story, along with the rest of his briefcase, in a public restroom in the Portland bus station.  After searching high and low, retracing his steps and the whole nine yards, he finally gave up and continued on his way with his vacation.  But that story tainted his whole experience.  He attempted to recreate the story on some index cards but it never came back, just fleeting, disjointed glances that never seemed to make sense.  And he was haunted by that story.  It poked its head out from behind the crevices of his mind time and time again but never showed itself fully.  And that's how it has been with me.
     I haven't been able to reconstruct even a tiny portion of the greatest post ever written.  Eh, the greatest post never written.  That would probably be more appropriate.  And it most likely never will be written, because, true to form, the harder I search for that lost piece of greatness the father away it is.  I understand this.  It's like when you are trying SO HARD to think of the name of that movie that Alyssa Milano gets all naked and dirty in to you can talk to your buddy about how awesome it was but the more you think about it, the harder you throw yourself at it, and more you scrunch your brow, the more elusive it becomes.  Yeah, that's what it's like with the greatest post never written.  The more I look for it the farther away it is.  And the worst part?  It tricks me.  I can see little bits of it flash past the back of my eyes every once in a while, which makes me think that I can jump in there and wrestle it out, but then I get into the hard thinking and I get nowhere.  I also tried the opposite tactic, just forgetting about it and trying to move on, but that didn't work either.  It won't let me.  It just keeps taunting me at every turn.
     So I apologize to you, Company.  You deserve the best post ever written, you really do.  And please believe me, I really wanted to be the one to bring it to you.  But unfortunately it's gone.  My desktop (and not, I don't have a real desktop, I am talking about the one on the Chester A. Arthur Memorial Apple G4 Laptop, it littered with notes about post ideas I have had.  Most of them are terrible.  Yet when the greatest post in the history of posts comes to me I neglect to write it down and now it's gone and is probably being dry-humped into submission somewhere on a blog that you will never read.  The thought shames me.  I guess that I will have to come up with something better than that could ever have been. How does that sound?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Goat Cheese and Handcuffs

     The other day, in Nigeria, someone stole a car.  I would guess that this is not an extraordinary occurrence.  But the only reason that this made it all around the world, including to my little corner of the Great White North, via the Associated Press and whomever else, was what happened after the car was stolen.  Actually, what happened after that was quite extra-ordinary.  See, when a group of local vigilantes (and why not, who better to get involved with this than a group of vigilantes) cornered the auto thieves, one of them escaped, like a normal car thief would, and the other took a more, how do we say, a more non traditional, no, innovative way of trying to get away with his crime.  He took the unusual step of turning himself into a goat.
     Hmmmm.....yeah.  A goat.  He turned himself into a goat.  At least that is what people are saying.  And not just any people.  Not just the grizzled old guy with cataracts who sits in front of a local village hut chewing tobacco.  Some very reputable and official-type people are saying this.  The first of these people is local police spokesman Tunde Mohammed, who not only told this to a newspaper, but took the extra-ordinary step of parading the "suspect" before the media.
     All of this business came to light because a large Nigerian newspaper, one of Nigeria's largest daily newspapers actually, called The Vanguard, actually reported this.  It was the newspaper that published Mr. Mohammed's account.  It was the newspaper that got to witness the goat parade.  It was also the newspaper that published a photo of the "suspect."  How fantastic.  When the AP came sniffing around, however, local police, including Tunde Mohammed, could not be reached for comment.  Strange how that works, isn't it?
     Let's be honest.  Nobody turned into a goat.  Do you know why?  Because people don't do that.  I know, many people in rural Nigeria believe in black magic, but people just don't turn into goats when they are about to get their ass kicked by a group of local vigilantes.  That just doesn't happen; people don't turn into goats not then, not ever.  There are many things that occur on this planet, in this Universe, in out lives in general that we don't understand.  There are things that happen that we don't know why they happen.  And there are things that go on that we don't know about.  But a person turning into a goat, that doesn't happen.  I know this because I have never heard about it.  I have never seen it.  There is no pictorial or video evidence of it happening.  And don't bullshit me and tell me that a picture of a goat in a Nigerian daily newspaper is proof.  Because it's not.  I could claim that Mikealicious turned into chicken sandwich and produce a picture of a chicken sandwich in order to support my claim and you would laugh in my face.  You know why?  Because I could have just gone out and got a random chicken sandwich from ANY RESTAURANT ANYWHERE and taken a picture of it.  Right?  Well here is the secret.  Goats are as prevalent in Nigeria as chicken sandwiches are around this town.
     I also don't believe in this man-turns-into-a-goat business because there is no evidence of that ever have happening anywhere anytime.  And if that had gone down, everyone would know about that.  Because it's amazing.  And don't give me the whole "Well, you'd have to believe in and practice black magic to make it happen" routine.  Fine, I understand what you are getting at.  There aren't going to be a lot of video cameras lying around in rural Nigeria where the black magic practitioners are doing their thing to document the event.  But you know what?  There are plenty of people around the United States, Western Europe, Japan, China, Oceania, etc. that are practicing black magic in their suburban split-levels that if it could be done, they would have done it.  And they would taped it.  And it would be on YouTube.  Or at least a mySpace page somewhere.  But it's not.  Because it's never happened.  In 2003 there were 159 million cell phones in use in the United States.  And that was in 2003, six years ago.  So imagine how many there are now.  And just about all of them, except for maybe Zack Morris' phone and maybe Duke's old one, have camera that take video.  So don't try to tell me that there wasn't a camera around to record some black magician in Ohio turning their little brother into a goat.  So I don't believe it.
      I wonder if anyone out at The Vanguard ever thought about this scenario: Let me lay it out for you.  Two guys swipe a Mazda sedan in Nigeria's heavily rural and impoverished Kwara State.  So they take off and a group of local vigilantes tracks the guys down before the police do.  There happens to be a goat floating around, as would be expected.  The first guy escapes in a very visible manner.  I am thinking he runs down a small rural street, probably runs into an old lady or two, tumbles over a fruit cart, and probably scatters some chickens. Fine.  While he is doing this the second guy - the goat guy - slinks off into a nearby alleyway very quietly, leaving just the Mazda and the goat.  So the crowd, having lost the first robber, turns back to apprehend the second one.  But he's gone, and now the vigilantes just see a goat.  So they go with what they know, the black magic, and assume that the second robber turned into a goat.  A few minutes, hours maybe, along come the police, who discover that there are no robbers to be found.  So they've got a stolen car and no one to blame it on, and they are embarrassingly late to get to the scene.  Or maybe the car belonged to someone with some wealth or power.  Who knows.  But they don't want to have egg on their collective faces, so they take the vigilantes story and they run with it.  Parade the goat in front of the cameras.  Let's make some statements.  Let's get The Vigilante in on it and save our own behinds.
     But it doesn't work, and they know it.  That's why I can't find the story anywhere on The Vigilante's website, despite spending a half hour working searching for it.  That's why the local police suddenly can't be reached for comment.  Because they never expected it to run through the wires across the Western world.  Because they went home and slept on it and realized that it is kind of retarded.  And because people don't turn into goats.  And because it just plain doesn't make sense.  If you are a car thief, and you are about to be apprehended for swiping a car, and you have the power to change into an animal, you don't choose a goat.
     Seriously?  A goat?  Why would anyone in Nigeria choose to change into a goat?  I understand that there are goats everywhere you turn in rural Nigeria, so maybe you are looking to blend in.  But I would guess that goats are also routinely slaughtered in Nigeria.  And I would guess that goats are not fast.  Personally, I would turn myself into like a tiger, or maybe a fly.  Or a locust.  Maybe a bird.  Something that could run away quickly, maybe burrow into the ground, or something that could fly away.  I am not sure what I would turn myself into but I can tell you this: I wouldn't turn myself into a goat.  That's for sure.  All goats do is stand there and eat grass and tin cans.  How is that going to help you escape?  It just doesn't make much sense to me.
     So let's get real Nigeria.  You've got a lot of things going for you.  You have a HUGE population that I am sure has it's fair share of creative, hardworking, talented individuals.  You have lots of natural ports and a river that runs deep into the African interior.  Oh, and you have billions of gallons of oil buried beneath your soil.  You can add to all that a reputation for arresting goats, and then telling everyone about it.  Please just tell the world that you were drunk, or your ambassador is going to get laughed out of the next United Nations meeting.  Or maybe tell them that you had one of those terrible African diseases that makes you have hallucinations.  Just think of some story to tell the world tomorrow morning.  And please, please, please do not have it involve someone turning into a goat.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Let's Get Plowed

     They came through and plowed the street in front of the Worldwide Headquarters today, which doesn't sound exceptional until I tell you that it didn't snow today. Oh, and it didn't snow yesterday either, or the day before that. In fact, it hasn't snowed for six days. So you could imagine my surprise when I looked out the window and saw the crew out there doing their thing.
     What I saw made me want to cry, and not in the good "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" kind of way. It made me cry more in a "I can't believe this is what my tax money is paying for" sort of way. Because here's the deal: I have never seen an organization charged with clearing the streets in a city on the edge of a
snow belt do such a mind-bogglingly inept job. First of all, let me give you my qualifications for judging the work of these people. I do not work for a Public Works Department or a Highway Department and never have. And although I think I would enjoy it I probably never will. But before I moved the Worldwide Headquarters I lived in a town that gets ON AVERAGE 126 inches of snow every year. So if you think about it, if it snows 3 inches every night that's 42 days that it snows. But I lived through like three winters there when we got around 300 inches of snow. Now for you math majors, that is 25 feet. If we use our 3 inch model that means it snowed for 100 days that winter. That's over three months straight. So needless to say I have seen my fair share of the snow removal process. And I know what it should look like, and it shouldn't look like what I saw this morning.
      Granted, I live in the downtown Central Business District of a small Midwestern town where the store fronts push right up to the sidewalk and the sidewalk pushes right up to the parking spots on the street. Fine. But they had that setup where I used to live too. And there, it took three pieces of equipment to make the roads basically free and clear. A front end loader. A dump truck with a plow, and a little wheeled and articulated vehicle with a
snowblower on the front to clear the sidewalks. That was the lot of it. Okay, sometimes they would bring in a semi with a dump trailer on it to haul the excess snow away but that was the lot of it. Nothing more really. And it was effective. Oh, and the most innovative and important part was that they actually CLEARED THE SNOW THE SAME DAY IT FELL! Holy shit. I hope that the public works people in this burg just read that and fell over in amazement, because this concept has apparently not reached this part of the Union yet. Because here's the deal with that business boys and girls...if you leave the snow lying around for a week to get all sand covered and mashed in with shoes and tires and snowmobile tracks and the backs of drunk people who fall down on the sidewalk then it's that much harder to remove. Jesus people, this is not freaking rocket science. Plus, then it doesn't have a chance to turn into hard packed ice that is impossible to remove. Holy shit.
     Then there was the way they were going about it. They had two, count them with me: One. Two. Two different dump trucks, one with a plow, and two front end loaders, one with a plow and one with a traditional bucket. Plus, there was a pickup truck with no snow removal equipment involved. Oh, and they pulled a shovel out of the back of the truck and were using that too. So that's six pieces of equipment. And the front end loaders kept going over the street, and specifically the parking lanes over and over and over and over and accomplishing nothing. At one point they had all of their vehicles in the middle of the intersection doing something in a strange, loosely coordinated dance of heavy machinery. It was like some drunken Argentine visitors decided it would be a really cool idea to do a tango with Caterpillars in the middle of the street. Seriously. Apparently none of those intrepid public servants ever evolved beyond being that little kid in the sandbox with his toy bulldozers.
Because what I witnessed this morning was about as orderly as the moving of those sand piles. And I am not sure but I think one of the guys might have been making those same heavy equipment engine noises with his mouth as kids do when they are playing with their bulldozers in the sandbox. I really do.
     Plus, there was the time element. Beyond the fact that it was six days after it actually snowed, they were being terribly inefficient. During the time that I was watching them they probably spent about a half hour
cruising around and they still had not managed to clear my block of snow and ice. And as I walked away up the side street to go to work they still were not done, so only God and the elderly invalid in the second story apartment over the corner drug store who just sits in his wheelchair and stares out the window all day long know how long it really took them. But I seriously believe that me, equipped with just a 1982 Dodge Ram Power Wagon with a straight plow could have probably finished in a more appropriate amount of time than they did. And I am truly terrible at plowing unless you like inconveniently located piles of snow.
     Plus, they came by and started their work at about quarter after seven in the morning. Well, in a town where most people work 8-4 that's right at the beginning of rush hour. Well, it's more like rush minute, but it's still the busy time. Back in the old town they'd clear the streets at night when only the police, weirdos like me, and the bartenders on their way home were out and about. You know, when they weren't in
everybody's way. I don't know who decided to clear the main drag through town at 7:30 am with an armada of equipment six days after it snowed but someone should get them a Timex and a calendar so they plan their timing a little better the next time.
     Now, I know I have been complaining and I shouldn't be. Because the streets are passable and I can get to all the places that I need to go. And this is just pertaining to the city streets by the way. The highways through town are plowed by the county and in
general they do a fantastic job. They plow like plowing should be. As for the city, I feel that there is much to be desired. I can't even imagine what it would be like to live outside the downtown area back in one of the neighborhoods where nobody goes. I would have to get a dogsled team or something to get around in the winter, and then I would have to get a little bumper sticker on my DykeSedan that says "My other car is a dogsled." Seeing as how they plow around this joint I can see why snowmobiles are so immensely popular. Because the roads are always snow covered and slippery.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Broken: Me

     Big Dave has had a rough start to his 2009.  So as part of our January Special Promotion we are going to offer a look at a few of the things that have broken under his hand or gone wrong on his watch.  Today we are going to look at him.

     Yes, I've even managed to break myself a little bit during this spell of bad luck.  Not a whole lot but I have a little bit.  But it's okay.  Much like my poor cell phone I am a resilient sort.  I am even wearing a red shirt right now so I sort of look like my phone too.  And I am all lit up.  Haha.  Just kidding.  Let's look at the ways that I have managed to break or attempt to break myself.
     First, I got drunk and fell down some stairs.  Yeah, that happened.  And I admit it.  For as much shit as I have given to people like The Dingo when they get drink and fall down I really deserve some shit myself.  So here is the story for all the world to hear: I went out on my birthday and was in the process of drinking way too much.  So in my drunken stupor I made the fateful decision to go break the seal.  I went back towards the back of the bar and I knew that women's bathroom came first, so I walked past the first door, read "Men" on the second door, and proceeded through the third one, which was the door to the basement.  As I stepped out into thin air I looked down and realized that this was not a bathroom.  It was not a bathroom at all, it was a set of hard concrete stairs.  So down I go, attempting to catch myself as I go and failing miserably.  I was lucky enough though to land on my knees as opposed to my neck or face and I only injured my left wrist, my right elbow, and both my knees.  I know.  I could have been lying on the landing bleeding from my ears and having spinal fluid leaking down the back of my throat until the keg of Busch Light needed changing but instead I was just missing a couple of small patched of skin.  The one on my left wrist was the worst and when I made it to the next bar some nice lady there put a bandage on it.  I know, I can't count this as part of my bad luck.  And I don't, because it had nothing to do with luck.  I was the one who threw all those cocktails down my throat.  And it was actually good luck that I didn't die.  But still, the high end Band-Aid brand cloth bandages that I bought to cover the wound really irritated my skin.  I still have hives or whatever where the adhesive was.  Now that wasn't my fault.  It was just a precursor of things to come.
     Somewhere not too long after that someone at the office noticed that the lottery jackpot was getting into the nine digit region.  Fine.  Fantastic.  Wonderful.  Well, someone had visions of happy offices of people blowing those little cardboard horns that you use at New Year's and throwing confetti all over each other as they celebrate their new found wealth.  That is, before they get torn apart fighting over the money.  Well, they thought it would be neat if that office was us for a change, so we all threw in one American dollar and decided we would split the cash prize evenly between all of us.  So who do they pick to go buy the tickets and enter the numbers we picked?  Oh yeah.  Captain Downtrodden himself.  So off I go, on the coldest day of the year on foot, to get lottery tickets.  How delightfully Southern, no?  Well I go but decide that I need to go to the friendly local bank to change the many dimes I have stored there into easy-to-transport nickels.  So my plan of attack is this: go to the bank, wander over to the gas station, get the lottery tickets, and then make my way back to the office, all in time for lunch.  No big deal, right?  Yeah, that's what I thought.  I go to the bank, do my banking, and start heading towards the friendly local gas station and I trip.  I am not sure on what I trip, because when I turned around to look nothing was there.  Just snow covered driveway.  But I definitely tripped on something.  I did that move where you end up standing on the side of your foot.  You know.  Well this causes me to break my ankle in at least eight different places.  Yeah, it hurt.  Oh, and by the way, the bank is right next to the highway so everyone saw me.  Even people from other states. Like Wyoming or Arkansas.  But I am a trooper.  I am not a tough hockey player, but I've been to a bunch of hockey games so I am like tough by association.  So I soldier on towards the gas station to buy lottery tickets on my extremely tender and possibly shattered ankle. (Okay, it was just twisted a little bit.)  I make it to the safety of the gas station and promptly sit down and begin scribbling out lottery number picks on the forms.  I go to the counter, pay the money, and begin making my way back towards the office.  About a third of the way there I come to an intersection.  Pulling up to the very same intersection at the very same time was an attractive young brunette twenty-something.  Awesome.  Well, realizing that it is about 100 below zero outside she courteously waves me through the intersection.  So away I go, trying to look super cool in front of Miss Driver, and I promptly trip again.  Same stepping on the side of the foot.  Same ankle.  Same result.  This time I broke it at least 419 times AND I looked like a fool in front of some unknown chick that I would never meet again.  Great.  I mean, I caught myself but I would doubt that I got any points for that.  She was really strict.  Like the Soviet judge at a figure skating competition.  AND, we didn't even win the lottery.  I knew they shouldn't have picked me to get the tickets.
     Aside from that, I have only managed to brain myself on an open cupboard door and get the gout.  No big deal.  But do you see?  I am even managing to break myself.  I am wondering if, at this point, I should be put in a straitjacket in a room all by myself, just to keep my safe from me.  Seriously.  I am afraid to go anywhere with anyone, lest I ruin their lives too.  But oh well.  I am just going to hold up in the Worldwide Headquarters until this all blows over.  I know I went on and on the other day about how I was going to rear my ugly head and fight this thing.  But sometimes you have to realize that maybe it's better to go with Plan B.  Maybe it's a wiser decision to hide in the church belfry until the enemy army heads on to the next town.  So I am going to hang out here, maybe send a donation to some orphans or bleach a nun's habit and see if karma will give up waiting for me and go after someone else for a little while.  Wouldn't that be nice?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Broken: Phone?

     Big Dave has had a rough start to his 2009.  So as part of our January Special Promotion we are going to offer a look at a few of the things that have broken under his hand or gone wrong on his watch.  Today we are going to look at his cell phone.

     Well Company, if you are a regular reader of Big Dave and Company then I am sure you have read about my poor cell phone.  If you haven't read about it, or maybe you have smoked too much reefer and have short-term memory problems, then you can read about the incident here and the aftermath here.  But here is the deal.  This was an especially cruel joke from karma or fate or whatever it is that is toying with me.  Because it led me to believe that something else had broken but in fact it hadn't.
     "Huh?"  I can hear you asking that from all the way over here.  And I am not only in a different room but I am most likely in a different town.  And I am certainly at least down the hall from you.  And I could still hear it.  Because the way this one shook down is so absurd it's hardly believable.  The worst part, the absolute WORST part is that most of the problems here are the result of sheer and unadulterated stupidity on the part of yours truly.  Okay, so I dropped my phone in hot boiling water twice.  That's on me, because you would think that I would be grown up and experienced enough with the ways of life to not try to talk on my phone while I am cooking.  Especially since my phone does not fit neatly into the contour of my neck.  And you would think that I have evolved far enough beyond being a monkey to not put my phone back in the exact same place that I set it when it fell the first time.  Fine, but it was the knee-jerk reaction on my part during the aftermath that probably shocks and upsets me the most.
     Long ago they were asking on a radio station I was listening to what would cause people more of a disruption: losing your wallet or your cell phone.  Well, I always thought my answer was wallet but apparently it is cell phone.  Because about three hours after I dropped it in the water, when it wasn't working right, I was on eBay looking for a replacement.   And I got one, used, for not much money.  Well, it was right about the time that my winning bid was accepted that Sister suggested that I put it in a bowl with some rice because the rice would draw out any moisture still inside the phone.  I did not do this.  I put it in a plastic Ziplock bag with some rice.  I was a little mad at myself that I didn't think of it myself but I figured it wouldn't hurt.  Lo and behold, the next day, after I removed about a dozen grains of rice from the inside of my phone, I slapped the battery in and turned it on.  And it worked.  Perfectly.  Or at least as perfectly as it had worked before.  Coincidentally my non-returnable replacement phone shipped that day.
     I think the thing that gets me most about this whole ordeal, like I said before, was my knee-jerk reaction.   I have always tried to take a deep breath and think about things until all the options were thought through and laid out.  I usually like to sleep on things.  And I am notorious about dragging my feet when making major purchases.  So I am still stunned that I was on it that night to get a new phone, and not a better one, a carbon copy of the one I already owned.  There must have been some sort of gas leaking into the Worldwide Headquarters that was messing with my brain functions, because that is nothing like me at all.  Oh well.
     So now I have two identical cell phones, which I guess could be worse.  I have a spare should I ever need it.  And I will have a second battery and a second power cord and whatnot.  So it's not too big a deal I guess.  But I still don't like it.  I don't like it one bit, but all we can do is just sort of move on.  It could have been worse.  
     By the way, I would be playing with my new used phone right now if it wasn't Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and the Post Office was closed.  So Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  If there were more people in this world with his kind of influence and countenance then the world would most definitely be a better place.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day

     Because of a stunning lack of foresight and planning, we started our January Special Promotion at a piss poor time of the month.  As such I wasn't going to remark on the Presidential Inauguration because I did not want to break up the Special Promotion.  But the more I thought about it I realized that I needed to take the extraordinary step of breaking up the Special Promotion because, let's be honest, we won't have another Presidential Inauguration for four more year, unless something bad happens.  Let's all hope nothing bad happens.
     Now Company, you have probably noticed that I never talk about politics here at Big Dave and Company.  I have made this my policy because I have learned over the course of my life that nothing can ruin a good time or cause strife more than politics.  And that's not what we aim for.  But this is not politics.  It's beyond that.  Something is going to happen later today that I honestly never thought I would see in my lifetime.  We are about to have our first black President.  Now I am not going to get into whether I voted for Barack Obama or not, or whether or not I think he will do a good job.  But I am going to talk about how remarkable of a milestone event this is.  And I am going to talk about it because no one else seems to be.
     That's the stunning thing to me.  That no one has made a big deal out of America voting in out first African American president.  I think that fact makes more of a statement than the results of the voting do.  I think it is a truly wonderful thing that no one thinks this is a big deal.  That is a great marker of how far we have come as a society.  If you think about it, fifty years ago white police officers were still hosing down minority peaceful protesters as they marched through the cities.  Now we have elected one of those very same minorities and we aren't really even blinking an eye.  Unless I am missing something.  I know there has been some attention on the fact that this is our first African-American President, but nothing like what I would have expected.  I sort of like it.  It makes me proud to be an American.  And after the fiasco that was the last couple of elections it was sorely needed.  So, so long, President Bush.  Thank you for your service for your country.  We wish you well with whatever you go on to after this.  And welcome Barack Obama.  Best of luck as you enter into the hardest job in the world.  We wish you success in leading us onward.  Oh, and you are the first African American President.  I am sure you didn't notice either.  Which is how it should be.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Running Scared

     I am sure you've read about my cell phone.  About how I dropped it in boiling hot water twice in a row the other day and then went ahead in a fit of something and ordered myself a new one quickly without thinking about it, without figuring out and analyzing all my options.  Well, tonight I managed to one up myself.  I took the Subaru that M&M borrowed me and I went to do my laundry.  I went to the next town over because I still have my laundry vendetta against the local laundromats.  Well, I stopped at Subway to get some dinner and when I came out the car was dead.  Well, at least it wasn't running anymore.  The headlights were on but dim and all the fans and radios inside were off.  So I tried to start it and it wouldn't.  I waited about five minutes or so and tried again and it still wouldn't start.  So I freaked out, man.  I called Dr. J and asked if he would be kind enough to come give me a jump, and I figured that if the car wouldn't jump then at least I had a ride, right?  Well he gets there and the car fires up fine.  No jump.  No fuss.  So he followed me home, which was nice.  But I mean, what's with me?  The old me, the normal me, would have waited and tried it on my own.  I would have limped the car home on my own and bothered no one.  But instead I freaked out and called in the troops.  I interrupted peoples lives because I freaked out.  You know why? Because I am running scared.  I have allowed my recent run of bad luck to affect my thinking, my being, my decision making process.  I automatically freak out and assume that it is a terrible situation descending down upon me.  I actually think that I am creating some of my own bad luck because I am not just relaxing and going about my business in my normal manner.  I am just freaking out.  I have allowed myself to begin defeating myself in a horribly cycle of badness.  In the words of The Offspring "I am losing the race against myself."  My bad luck has me running scared of having more.  Well that's no way to be.  No way to be at all.  I am going to stand up and fight.  It's on bad luck.  You've got a lion by the tail.  And if I can't beat you, I will endure you until you decide it's not worth the effort and go away.  Either way I am coming for you.

Broken: Beef

     Big Dave has had a rough start to his 2009. So as part of our January Special Promotion, we are going to offer a look at a few of the things that have broken under his hand or gone wrong on his watch. Today we are going to look at the time he tried to make hot sandwiches.

     One of the craziest but most wonderful things about the place I work is that it is tradition to celebrate one's birthday by putting on a lunch for the rest of the office. I know, that sort of sounds backward. It's MY birthday but I have to cook for everyone. It just doesn't make sense. But that's okay. Because everyone has to do it. Well, some time ago, long before I came around, they began the tradition of joining forces to put on bigger and better birthday lunches. So it was in that spirit that Sue Too, M&M, and I decided to team up and do a birthday lunch, since our birthdays are all near each other in December. "But...it's January. You are not only in the wrong month but the wrong year." No, I understand. But here is the deal. There are tons of holiday potlucks in December, and we get tons of days off for the holidays. And by the time the New Year comes around everyone is sick of eating. So we waited until last Thursday (because we knew everyone would be there on Thursday) and we decided to put on small-town diner-style hot sandwiches.
      Oh yeah, you know the kind I am talking about. Start with a piece of white bread, maybe a nice Southern biscuit, and then plop some mashed potatoes on top. Then on top of that turkey or beef in turkey gravy or beef gravy, respectively. Serve it with some green beans with slivered and toasted almonds and cranberry sauce for a side with a big glass of milk and you have a stick-to-the-ribs, old fashioned, comfort food lunch. And that' before we get to the super dark chocolate cake and fruit salad M&M made for dessert. Oh man. So good. The weather even cooperated. It was the coldest day of the year. Well of course, the year is not even a month old. It was also the coldest day of the winter. Of the last several winters in fact. There, happy?
What they were thinking, with my record of luck for 2009, I do not know. But they put me in charge of the turkey and the beef. 
      Bad decision. First of all, I have to walk to the store. And it's colder than your mama's bed out there.  Second of all, I have to carry a beef roast (no big deal), a half dozen cans of broth for the gravy, and like a 10 lb turkey breast.  Which leads me to the next problem.  I have no idea what I am doing in terms of the turkey.  I have never made hot turkey for sandwiches.  I've done beef a dozen times, so I know what I am doing there, or so one would think.  I go home and put the stuff away and get ready to get ready for the big event.
     The day before the feast I go to make the stuff.  It should be easy enough, I am thinking to myself.  So I get home from work and bust out the crock pots.  I throw the beef in one with a couple cans of beef broth and set it on low and let it go.  Remember that part, that is going to be important later.  Then I turn my attention to the turkey, which as we all remember I have never made before.  And I find a bunch of things I did not expect to find.  Skin.  Bones, a gravy packet.  Oh, and it's all frozen still.  Great.  So I stick it in the crock pot, turn it on high, and dump a can of broth in there.  Bad mistake.  As I start to remove the skin and attempt to extricate the gravy packet the heat of the crock pot begins to thaw the turkey.  And every time I turn it over to get more skin off it's covered in broth.  Ugh.  But eventually I get most of the nasty skin off and decide to just let it cook.
       After a few hours in the crock pot the turkey is thawed and cooking nicely.  There is just enough collagen leaking out of the bones to get that sort of greasy, finger lickin' good look about the gravy, and I decide it's time for a dissection.  So I go at it, pulling off the white breast meat like I am pulling pork or something.  I throw all the meat back in the gravy in the crock pot and let it keep cooking.  Then I turn my attention to the beef, which I come to find is still red.  It's barely cooking.
     Great.  So I ramp the heat up to high and let it go.  And go.  And go some more.  Finally by 3 am it is done enough for me to pull it apart, barely.  So I call it good and stick it in the fridge, figuring that it can cook for four more hours tomorrow before lunchtime.  So we should be all set.  They both have something resembling gravy, and they are both cooked to the point where no one should get ill from them.  And really, that's all that I ask.
      Fast forward to the next morning.  M&M loans me the Subaru to go get the meats from the Worldwide Headquarters.  So I do, and I bring down the treasure-laden crock pots and set them in the passenger-side front foot well.  As I set off back towards the office, I tell myself to take it easy so I do not spill any of the meaty goodness.  So what happens on the second corner?  Yep, there goes the beef.  The rear end of the car fishtails out and the beef goes with it.  About a quarter of the beef ended up on the floor and the floor mat, and about a quarter ended up in the upturned lid of the crock pot.  For those of you math majors, you know that we have half of the beef still unaccounted for.  Luckily, that part remained in the crock pot.  So I quickly saved what I could and stormed into the office just pissed off.  And wouldn't you be?  I mean, the beef that I stayed up until 3 am the night before making is now soaking into a rubber backed floor mat.  You know what?  I bet the beef gave everyone some awful internal intestinal parasite and we just haven't discovered it.  Or maybe a wolf came into town because he smelled the little bit I spilled in the parking lot and then he mauled someone coming to the courthouse to visit the Commission on Aging to get their Meals on Wheels coupon or whatever.  "Area resident mauled by wolf lured into city by clumsy man's spill.  Pictures at eleven."  Great, I am a celebrity.  Yeah, I bet that's how it all ended.  That's my luck in 2009.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Broken: Dresser

     Big Dave has had a rough start to his 2009.  So as part of our January Special Promotion, we are going to look at a few of the things that have broken under his hand or gone wrong on his watch.  Today we look at his dresser.

     I have had the same dresser since as long as I can remember.  It came from a bedroom set that my father had when he was a young man.  There was a bed, a dresser, and like a bureau with a couple of mirrors.  Well, by the time I came along there was nothing left of the bureau, but I inherited the bed and the dresser.  The bed, long used the hardest, broke and was disposed of long ago.  But the dresser remains.  It is consistently one of the most bulky and cumbersome things that I have to move when I change location, and it has seen more than it's fair share of scratches.  Some of the decorative woodwork has been lost over time but it's always been a sturdy companion, watching me while I do whatever I am doing in my bedroom.  And I watch it sometimes too, but mainly because my TV is usually perched on top of it.
     Well, as most dressers are, mine is filled with clothes.  You know, socks, underoos, pants, etc.  But, unlike many dressers, mine doesn't get a lot of use.  See, I am a boy.  A bachelor boy.  So 1.) I wear the same 4 sets of clothes over and over and over and 2.) I hate doing laundry, and I hate putting it away even more.  I usually just live out of my laundry basket like it's a suitcase and I am a traveling salesman.  Dirty clothes go on the floor, which if you think about it is really just a huge shelf that goes from wall to wall.  So that's how I live.  But every once in a while there is a radical shift in the way one does things.  Like maybe you get a live-in girlfriend and so you lie naked on the couch and scratch yourself anymore.  Well, there was a change recently, and for whatever reason I decided to put my clothes away for a change.
     So I went to my laundry basket and started pulling out the stuff.  When it came time to stash my socks and skivvies, I grabbed the metal handle that had been installed by the manufacturer of the dresser all those years ago, and I pulled on it.  The drawer sort of opened.  The drawer did not slide out as designed, but the front ripped off in my hand.  Does that count?
     And it didn't so much just break off as it ripped off some pieces of wood along with it.  The main breaking was of a mortar and tenon joint that just let go, whether it being because of the extreme dryness of the air, or the extreme cold, or maybe just the age.  But some other small bits of wood took the liberty of ripping themselves off as well.  Fantastic.  
     I have tried to fix this.  Every night I have glued a little bit of this back together, piece by piece.  All I have left to contend with is the main joint.  And this has been vexing me for a couple of days.  Maybe today I am going to go at it on my day off.  It's going to take a lot of patience, a little ingenuity, and probably a lot of swearing.  But I will get it done.  Just in time for the same joint on the other side to break.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Broken: Cars

Big Dave has had a rough start to his 2009.  So as part of our January Special Promotion, we are going to look at a few of the things that have broken under his hand or gone wrong on his watch.  Today we look at not just his car, but cars in general.

     Ahhh yeah, the car.  You really don't notice how much you rely on your car until it's gone.  I live in a small town where I am fortunate enough to be able to walk from my home to my job, but I still think I managed to drive my car at least every other day.  And once you are without it for a while, you sort of get ashamed about the places you would drive it.  I would drive my car to Pamida, which is about six blocks away.  I would drive my car to Subway, which is about four.  I would drive my car to the grocery store, both of which about about six blocks away.  Kind of makes me sick on the inside.  But you know what else makes me sick on the inside?  The fact that I mercilessly seem to be killing every vehicle whose wheel I get behind.
     It all started with my DykeSedan.  It was giving me all sorts of trouble when I went to the ancestral homeland over the Christmas holiday.  So I took it in to get looked at, maybe a tune up, whatever.  After I take it in Dr. J diagnoses the problem as a bad spark plug or something, which makes me feel pretty good.  So I am figuring that when they call me I will have them do a tune up and an oil change and I will be good to go.  But no, of course not.  Not in 2009.  When the nice people at the friendly local service center called me they promptly informed me that they had replaced the #2 spark plug.  The lady on the other end of the phone must have read my mind, because all I said was "Okay..." and then there was this really long pregnant pause.  More of an awkward silence, really.  So she must have read my mind asking "Why the hell didn't you replace all four spark plugs?"  She must have read that going through my mind because she said "Well, he [the mechanic] was going to replace all four but he found water in your cylinder, and what's the use replacing all four spark plugs when you have a bad head gasket."  Fantastic.
     So I park the car while it waits to get fixed.  I know, I know.  Dr. J is going to read this and shake his head and tell me to out in three cans of Barr's Leak and I will be good to go.  But I am going to get it replaced anyway.  So the DykeSedan sits in the parking lot, looking very much abandoned.  The lot is plowed everywhere except around the car.  Every week or so I have to go clean the snow off of it so the cops don't have it towed.  It's covered with salt residue, there are no hubcaps to be seen.  There are food wrappers and empty soda cans littering the foot wells of the back seat.  The face plate is missing from the radio (relax, it's on top of my fridge).  It's great, but it's sad.  But there is sits, waiting for surgery as it were.  And I am hoofing it about town.  To work.  To the store.  Wherever I need to go, through the coldest cold we've had in like 10 years.  Of course.
     It's a pretty pitiful story so far, isn't it?  It's filled with expensive repairs, derelict automobiles and lots of walking around.  Well, M&M thought it was a pretty awful story and decided to take pity on me.  After hearing about how I was walking miles to my second job in the cold, she offered me up the use of her spare car for the weekend to get to work, for the scant return favor of running her out to pick up her truck from her mechanic.  That's easy.  I can do that.  So I did.  I happily putted home in her Subaru and parked it next to my stricken DykeSedan.  I was happy as a clam.  
     Fast forward to Friday night.  I bop out of the Worldwide Headquarters about a half hour before work.  I have it all worked out.  Give the Subaru 10 minutes to warm up, about 10 minutes for me to run to the store, and then another 10 minutes for me to go to work.  I would be walking in right on the button.  But it was not to be.  As I turned the corner in the Subaru to head towards the store I wondered why it didn't seem to want to go.  Turns out the completely flat rear drivers-side tire had something to do with that.  So I limp it all the way to the gas station and pump the tire full of air.  As soon as I remove the air hose I can hear all the air leaking back out.  So I decide that this won't work and we should move on to Plan B.  I pump it full of air and make my way back towards the parking lot to fire up the DykeSedan for emergency service.  I didn't make it.
      About a block and a half short of the parking lot I stop the car and park it on the street.  I jump out, lock it up, and head for the DykeSedan.  To my relief it fires up.  So as it warms I go around and check the tires.  I find the rear passenger-side one is flat.  Fantastic.  As I look around I realize that the other car that parks in the lot has a flat tire too, so I am starting to think about foul play.  But I don't have time for that business.  I limp the DykeSedan to the gas station and pump its tire full of air.  And I get the most amazing sense of déjà vu.  Because as soon as I remove the air hose I can hear the air leaking out again.  Here we go again.  I pump it full, try to make it back to the parking lot, and make it the same amount of the way as I did the first time.  I park the DykeSedan right behind the Subaru, two vehicles abandoned downtown with flat tires, and begin the long cold walk to work.
     So now not only has my terrible karma broken my car, it's got it's fingers into my loaner as well.  Since this just happened last night, in the morning I am facing finding a tire shop in a small town that is open on a Saturday.  I am faced with jacking up two vehicles on a busy street to get the flat tires off.  And I am facing doing all of that in the five or so inches of snow that are in the process of falling.  Great.  With my luck I will probably break the jack.