Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Bloggy Blog

Editor's Note - As part of out First Birthday celebration, we here at Big Dave and Company have asked a very select group of people to write a little something about us.  Today we feature the original Celebrity Endorsement and all-around awesome dude, Guy H.

     One year has come and gone and what a year it has been.  On March 28, 2008 a brilliant man sat down and devoted himself to writing a witty blog everyday and personally I didn't think it would last over 2 months but hey, I guess I was wrong.  Big Dave and Company has been my Saturday morning entertainment, well...since I started the ol' day shifts.  Big Dave does an excellent job keeping everything short, sweet, and to the point and always has a good joke for you.  And to keep the Big Dave tradition going I decided I would go back and figure out what amazing events have happened on said day in history.
      Out of all the years and shit that has happened, I myself don't get into politics, and don't care that on
March 28, 1885 the Salvation Army was officially organized in the U.S, or that in 1908 automobile owners lobbied in the U.S. Congress supporting a bill that called for vehicle licensing and federal registration, because all that did is piss me off when my birthday came around and made you need to go pay freaking money to drive your '84 Honda around.  But what makes everyone happy is that in 1797 Nathaniel Briggs patented a washing machine.  If it wasn't for this guy we'd be going down to the stream to wash our dirty undies on the washboard.  So that, my Briggs, thanks for
making things a lot easier, because I don't want to start the laundry  or put it in the dryer, let along scrub the shit by hand.  And also, thank you Big Dave for giving us something to do while we sit in front of our computers being bored and lazy.  Oh, and guess what.  It's Julia Styles' birthday as well.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Ten Years old!

Editor's Note - As part of our First Birthday celebration, we here at Big Dave and Company have asked a very select group of people to write a little something about us. Today we feature Mike-a-licious creator and all-around awesome super hottie Mikealicious. He is also a well-known man about town with a crippling obsession with aftermarket car bling.

Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday Big Dave and Company, happy birthday to you! OK. now that the formalities are out of the way we can commence with the party poppers, noise makers and silly pointy hats.

Big Dave and Company just turned one year old. That's a huge milestone for just about anything Internet related. I think Internet years are allot like dog years, maybe more so. The Internet ages very quickly. One year on the Internet is more like ten years. So by that logic, Big Dave and Company is ten! These are formative years. Girls, love notes in math class. Your first felony. Ahhh, childhood. The choices Big Dave and Company make in the near future will shape the rest of its time in cyberspace. I'm not worried. The man at the helm is the only man I would pick for the job.

I'm going to let you in on a little secret people. I have actually been to the world headquarters of Big Dave and Company. I was given a personal tour by Big Dave himself. I got to see all the interns fetching coffee and making copies. We ate in the ample cafeteria, which had a great selection of assorted fruits, sliced meats and many pudding cup choices. It was amazing. Then, I got to see the place where all the magic happens. Big Dave's writing area. He told me "This is where I sit without pants and just let it happen". I think by IT he meant writing. But now that I thing about it again I'm not totally sure. Anyhow, he doesn't like to call this area an office and you really can't because it so much more like a living room. It was truly a life changing tour. It was after that experience that I decided to do what any young white guy would do. Try to copy him and be famous. I started wearing the same clothes as he did, I got rid of my female love interest ( wife) I gained weight and purchased a well worn Japanese made sedan. Complete with tomato can exhaust and barbed wire license plate holder. Then I started my own blog. I thought that was all it took to be famous and have interns hanging on my every word. Wow was I wrong. What no one told me was you had to actually be a good writer. So I pretty much gave up blogging and joined the peace corps.

On a serious note, Ive only known about Dave and Big Dave and Company for a short time. In that time he and his wise words have changed many lives including my own. His writing is witty, insightful and just plain fun. I hope to see his following grow even more in the coming years. People don't know what they're missing.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Happy Anniversary Big Dave and Company!

From the Editor - As part of our First Birthday Celebration, we here at Big Dave and Company have asked a very select group of people to write a little something about us.  Today we feature Mind Junk creator and all around awesome super-hottie Adrianne.

In case you have no sense of what's important in life, you may not know that the greatest thing to ever come out of Wisconsin since Jeffery Dahmer is celebrating it's one year anniversary.  Of course I am talking about "Big Dave and Company."  You and I both know the only reason you're reading this right now is because of Big Dave and his mysterious Company.  I would have never become a blogger if it weren't for BD & C.  Heck, I wouldn't even have the legions of fans that flock to my blog from all over the tri-state area if it weren't for Big Dave.  He and the Company inspire people.  He inspired me to get off my ass, walk four steps to my desk, sit on my ass again and create "Mind Junk."  As a result of that I am a better human being.  Let me tell you a story...

     I was a troubled kid, always running my mouth and getting into scraped with the neighborhood toughs.  I was what you would call a real scrapper and I thought I had the world by the short and curlies.  I'd cut class to hang out under the bleachers, smoke cigarillos and drink Mad Dog 20/20.  Pretty heady stuff for an eight-year-old girl.  Instead of playing "My Little Pony" I was betting on "Mama's Hangover" in the third.  I was headed for a life of boozin', usin' and losin'...until that fateful day I met the Company.
     I was walking my usual route down Elm St. toward the race track when an old flesh-colored van peppered with rusty holes pulled up along side of me.  I yelled my usual salutation of "Go fuck yourself!" at the tinted windows.  There was no response.  What happened then would change the course of my life forever.  The side door of the van swung open and a giant arm grabbed me and pulled me in right off the sidewalk!  Before I had a chance to scream a piece of duct tape was placed over my mouth.  I looked around me and saw a cast of colorful creatures who appeared to be from Wisconsin.  (At this point in the story I must refrain from giving the reader a physical description of the members of the Company.  They have strong ties to the Yazuka and I would probably end up as doggie chow if I went into too much detail.) 
     A low, husky voice not unlike that of Kathleen Turner said "We are the Company and we are here to help you."  They then explained that they were members of a religion based on the teachings of Big Dave.  They spoke for hours of this "Big Dave" with such compassion and sincerity that despite myself I became intrigued.  I needed to know more about Big Dave and what the Company saw in him.  As soon as the duct tape was ripped from my mouth I demanded that I meet Big Dave.  I was in luck, for the Company informed me that we were on our way to meet their savior at that very moment.  We had a nice lunch of chicken salad sandwiches (the kind with grapes in it) and Orangina.
     We pulled up to a modest looking main street in a small town somewhere in Wisconsin.  I'd never been to Wisconsin before and was amazed at the multitude of bars and bowling alleys that stretched as far as the eye could see.  We entered one of the many taverns on the avenue and was met by a weathered old barmaid named Rhonda.  She reeked of Pall Malls and Peppermint Schnapps.  She was glad to see the other members of the Company and embraced each of them at first sight.  I then saw them do some weird, secret greeting that is too obscene to describe.  Rhonda looked at me with disdain in her eyes.  "Is this the little shit from Michigan?" she wheezed.  The Kathleen Turner-esque Company member assured her that I was who she thought I was.  She then asked Rhonda for permission for me to meet with Big Dave.
     After hesitation the old bag gave in and led me upstairs to a door with a large number "4" on it.  I was told to knock three times.  I nervously knocked and then heard a booming and intimidating voice..."WHO DARES DISTURB MY SLUMBER?"  The door opened, and there was Big Dave.  "Aw, hey guy, just kidding" he said and led me into his apartment...

      I'm sure all who reads this knows what happened next.  Dave touched me...he touched my heart.  We became fast friends and have remained so ever since.  I would like to congratulate Dave and the Company on their year of Internet domination and keeping all who read his blog abreast of the situation.  Way to go Dave!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Big Dave and Company's First Birthday

     Some time ago I wrote an e-mail to B-Town, and she said commented to me that it was kind of like getting a little Big Dave and Company Blog Post that was meant for her eyes only. Never could she have known just how close to discovering the deep, buried, root cause of the creation Big Dave and Company she had come. One night, slightly over one year ago today, I sat down and wrote an e-mail to my dear friend PePe. Since she lived rather far away it was usually the easiest way for me to communicate with her. I had written her reams of e-mail over the years and they always had that sort of special entertaining quality about them. As I hit send on this particular night, as I hit send I sort of thought about the e-letter that I had just sent off, and how good this one turned out to be. I thought about how she usually got a kick out of them and I thought that maybe everyone in the world should get a chance to see what was spinning around inside of my head. I had been getting some flack for some time about my absence from mySpace, which was wildly popular at the time, and Facebook, which is wildly popular now. I decided that a blog would be the best way to bring a little bit of me to a lot of you without caving and going the mySpace route. And so Big Dave and Company was born.
     Never in my wildest dreams did I ever expect to still be here today, 365 days and well over 365 posts strong.  Way back somewhere in the deep recesses of my mind I sort of hoped that I would be famous by now, appearing on Oprah and watching Tom Cruise jump on the couch, squaring off with Stephen Colbert over something ridiculous on basic cable television.  Maybe I would be sitting in a Barnes and Noble Booksellers in Duluth, MN signing copy after copy after copy after copy of my book.  Because of course all this business is going to be a book someday.  At least I would assume that it will be.  So that's all the stuff that I sort of wished would happen.  What I expected to happen, though was vastly different.  I was expecting about 20 days worth of solid posting and then it would sort of trail off like Towelie or something.  But it didn't happen.  By the grace of God it did not happen.  And so here we are today; far from my wildest dreams but beyond what I really expected.  So it is all good.
     So, the finished product hasn't quite been what I expected, and neither has the process.  I had no idea what I was in for.  There have been days when it has seemed like a chore, when the only thing that got me through was knowing that Guy H, of Sand River, MI would be pissed off if he actually had to work for those five minutes at work.  There were times when it seemed like I couldn't write enough fast enough.  I would spew out days and days of stuff in one night.  And I know I have said it before but it is the most strangely true thing that I have learned over the last year: 9 times out of 10 if I think a particular post is gold, it ends up just sort of being.  But when I throw up some mindless dribble because I am totally out of idea it's a fan favorite.  I do manage to hit the mark once in a while though.  The point here is that I have never been able to figure out just how any given post will be received and I don't believe that I ever will.   And I think it's best that way.
      I can here you out there on the other side of you screens starting to ask yourselves "Well Big Dave, what happens now?  Where do we go from here?"  And to be honest, I don't really know.  I have never known.  There have been some pretty major changes and goings on in my world and yours over the last year, and the next year promises more of the same.  More big changes.  Maybe a pregnancy or two.  Maybe someone will leave the show.  Maybe I will start writing in French.  Maybe Adrianne will write a guest post.   Maybe that will be in French.  Who knows?  I sure as hell don't.  But I can take pretty educated guesses.  I will use the term 
"April showers" somewhere within the next month.  We will still mark the major holidays: Easter, Christmas, Independence Day,  St. Peaches Day, New Years Day, etc.  Someone will win the Second Annual Big Dave and Company Blog of the Year Award and I am sure with the economic shakeup there will be some exciting new sponsors for that.  More words and sentences and turns of phrases will continue to spew forth from, well, not so much my pen but my keyboard for sure.  Some of them will even align themselves into paragraph form.  So look forward to that.  But in the end look for more of the same.  It has worked so far and I can't imagine it won't work in the future.  I will see things and comment on them.  Officer Butt Hansen will keep us all safe.  The parade of celebrities will continue.  The posts will keep coming.  The counter will keep turning.
     At least I hope that you come along for the ride.  Because you are as important to this whole deal as I am.  You are half of the deal if you haven't noticed, Company.  It's Big Dave (that's me) AND Company (that's you).  Like Peaches and Herb.  Or Sigfried and Roy.  Or Hall and Oates.  Or Dollars and Cents.  Or those stripper twins that you met in line for the tilt-a-whirl last year at the county fair.  But seriously, I don't know that I can thank enough everyone who takes the time out of their busy days to read whatever is on my mind.  If it weren't for your loyal reading I wouldn't have ever been able to keep up my loyal posting, if you get what I am saying.  So thank you.  One year is as much a testament to you as it is to me.  
     And so it goes.  More stuff from the mind of Big Dave, or whomever I can round up to be a guest blogger.  It's like the reverse spin of what B-Town was talking about: it's like my personal correspondence plastered across the Internet for all to see.  And from those small seeds in PePe's inbox whatever this is has sprouted and grown.  I hope that you have enjoyed, I know I have.  And I hope that you all stick around while we growing into something else new and exciting.   So Happy Birthday Big Dave and Company!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Serving it Up

     Everybody who has worked in the service industry sometime in their life please raise your hand.  Wow, that's a lot of you, Company.  You guys can all get out of here.  You can actually go down to the cocktail lounge down by the lobby if you want.  Have all the drinks you want, just run a tab and the three douchebags who didn't raise their hands will pay it.  As for you three, we need to have a talk about the service industry, okay?
     Here's the deal: there are thousands and thousands of people who work in the service industry in this country.  That's the "services" part of goods and services.  You know how people in manufacturing are considered "blue collar", and those in offices are considered "white collar?"   Well, those in the service industry have red, black, green collars, all sorts of colors, except that most of them are on polo shirts or maybe a tuxedo.  The point of it is that every day you run into people whose main job is to wait on other people, like you and I, hand and foot for just a tick over minimum wage.  And they hate every minute of it.
     Oh yeah.  I've worked there.  Lots of people I know work in that industry.  And it's hell.  When you go into a restaurant or a shoe store or an H&R Block, and the people are really nice to you, they are just doing that because they have to.  It's written in their contract or whatever.  They are being nice to you because that's THEIR JOB, because that's what they get paid to do.  You want to know a secret?  Those people rip you to shreds the you step out of the door.  Oh yeah.  Have you ever been in the break room at a Best Buy?  Oh man.  All they do is talk about how hilarious that guy who was looking for a VCR was.  They rip into the lady who was asking about if the iPod takes discs.  Oh yeah, it's true.  Want more examples?  I will give you more examples.  Have you ever gone to the Instant Oil Change place and had them find out that your front tires are pumped up to 50 psi but your back ones are at 21 psi and your transmission is leaking from like sixteen different places?  Oh yeah, they take care of you good but then as soon as that garage door closes behind you the knife is in your back, and it's being twisted.  
     But don't take it personally, please.  I don't.  It's really the only way for those people whose lives are devoted, as least until they blow this pop stand.  If the service industry didn't have somewhere off the floor, or away from the counter, or that old-style shade that the bank tellers used to pull down across their window that allowed them to blow off steam they would most certainly explode, all over you and your friends in a very unproductive and public sort of way.  Think of it like a volcano.  Thousands of people live safely on the Big Island of Hawai'i, even though it is an active volcano spewing forth.  But it sort of sits and spews a little bit of steam and a little bit of lava at a time.  A small amount but very frequently, and so it's stable enough for them to live in its shadow.  Now you know what happens when a volcano can't blow off it's steam little by little, when it builds up over years and years?  Ask the people who were living on the slopes of Mt. St. Helens in 1980.  It's not pretty.  If the customer service people can't blow off their frustrations in the break room for 15 minutes every two hours plus a half hour lunch, then pretty soon that weird guy Burt from Sbarro in the food court is going to be standing on top of the fountain in the middle of the mall picking off tweens with that .22 he just stole from Dick's.  Hahaha, I just said "Dick."  Anyway, the customer service in America is better because of it, and it's not that they hate you anyway, it's just more that they hate all customers.
     So like I said, don't take it personally.  They even do it to one another.  Oh yeah.  People who work at ice cream stands will cut down people who work down at BK as soon as they take the first lick out of the cone.  Then, those ice cream stand people will get the knife plunged into their back when they are done at the bank.  It's okay.  You shouldn't get upset about it.  Those assholes down in the cocktail lounge getting hammered off your room tab don't.  Because they know that it's no big deal, and that there is no way to combat it anyway.  The best way to do it is to go into any situation and be polite, as well informed as you can be, and to leave an appropriate tip if there's a tip cup.  Then they simply won't remember you.  Unless you are a regular and then they will just not despise you.  That's just the way it is.
     Now I know that some of you are going to get a little freaked out about this.  Please don't.  I am not trying to spook you into staying inside your house for the rest of your life.  I am just trying to give you the heads up about how things work when you are pulling away from the drive through window.  That nice guy behind the counter does not hate you personally.  He just is sick and tired of waiting on people, 90% of whom are jerks.  You are not a jerk, but there are enough rotten apples in the proverbial bunch to make them all seem a little smooshy.  Just remember to be nice to the people who are helping you, because on the whole they probably don't want to.  Even if they've been your butler or personal assistant for the last 30 years, they are still sick of it.  That's just the way it is.  I am sorry.  Now got on downstairs you three, and don't forget your wallets.  And you'd better leave a big old tip for the bartender.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Contraceptives for Gerbils and The Unluckiest Japanese

     I had no idea whatsoever as to what to write for you crazy kids today, so I was doing what I always do when I am in this situation: I was surfing all the newspapers and news services on the Web in order to find a little inspiration. I was striking out like Pedro Cerrano facing a curveball. Until I came to one of my most trusted sources for ridiculous things happening in the world around us: The BBC.
     Oh I love the BBC. For those of you who aren't aware of this fantastic entity, it is the British Broadcasting Corporation and they do British-government subsidized programming on the TV AND the radio. But they also put together this dynamite website and it's a really great place to get a more balanced and judicious look at things that are going on around the world. And there are usually tons of strange and freaky things going on somewhere in the world at any given minute. So I get to there, and suddenly I am confronted with two stores that I really, really want to comment on, but I can't decide on which to focus. So let us compare and contrast these two articles.
     Both come from Asia, from two countries that have historically hated the hell out of one another. First from Japan, the Japanese government has certified a 93-year-old man as the only living survivor of both the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima AND the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki. Then, right next to that headline I see that the Chinese are giving contraceptives to their gerbils. That was when my head exploded.
First let's discuss Tsutomu Yamaguchi. He is 93. He's Japanese. And apparently he really pissed off my grandparents' generation because they dropped two atomic bombs on top of his head. I am not kidding you. Mr. Yamaguchi (no relation to Kristi as far as we know) was a on a business trip to Hiroshima (chosen as a bombing target partially because of its large amount of industry) back in 1945 when the Enola Gay opened its bomb bay doors and unleashed hell on the city. Yamaguchi suffered severe burns and spent a night there recuperating before returning home to Nagasaki. Bad move, home slice.
     So you can imagine what was going through Tsutomu's mind when he heard the Bock's Car droning overhead and the little parachute falling down through the sky three days later. It's very cartoonish in my mind, despite the fact that it was far from that on the ground I am sure. It was actually a double twist of fate acting against Mr. Yamaguchi as Nagasaki was not the original target intended for the second bomb. It was a secondary target chosen because of bad weather over the primary. Wow. I am a big believer in karma, and I can't help but wonder what Tsutomu did that he had to get slapped down THAT hard. Although, he DID live to be 93, so maybe he was pre-paying. I don't know, but I do feel really, really bad for this guy.
I also feel pretty bad that it too the government 64 years to figure out he had survived both bombings. I mean, I understand that the bureaucracy can move at a snail's pace sometimes, but that is downright unacceptable. The government in Japan certifies people who survived the blasts as a hibakusha, which means "radiation survivor" because then they qualify for special health care and funeral subsidies, which is kind of cool. Unfortunately the fact that he survived both bombings isn't going to get him any extra yen for his casket. But it does make him pretty distinct in our world. One of a lot. And he looks pretty good for 93. So good for him.
     Unfortunately I could not find Tsutomu Yamaguchi's opinion on the Chinese giving their wild gerbils contraceptives, which is a shame because I would have liked to know what he thought. I can't imagine he would have much cared, though. Because once you have not one, but two, atomic bombs dropped on you nothing really gets to you no matter how absurd it is. And it is absurd. I don't know that you read that correctly or believed it if you did, but the Chinese, always the model of sanity and consistency, are feeding their wild gerbils contraceptives.
     China has some problems. And unfortunately two of them are on a collision course that will lead to catastrophe. First of all, they can't stop humping. There are over a billion people in China and more keep showing up. They even throw all the baby girls down abandoned wells and yet their population still continues to grow. But they also have another very serious problem. China is running out of water. Oh yeah. Every day more and more of it is turning into a desert. Yet, they don't seem to care about this at all. Instead, they are trying desperately to save the deserts they already have in the northwest part of the country, an area that nobody lives and only about six people care about, from the most destructive thing in the history of the Chinese civilization: the gerbil.
      Yeah, the gerbil. That stupid little fuzzy animal that you bought your four-year-old at the pet store for 56 cents last August that died seven months later is apparently running wild in China and ruining it. And not the good part of China like the opium dens or the Great Wall, it's ruining the shitty desert part. That's like me saying that the suns rays are ruining the paint job on the abandoned 1972 Ford Maverick that has been sinking into my grandfather's farm field for the last twenty years. It just doesn't make any sense. Anyway, the Chinese are trying to control the wild gerbil population in the Gurbantunggut Desert because forestry officials say that their burrows are causing the few plants that actually survive there to lose their roots. So basically, the forestry officials are worried about the desert becoming more of a desert. That sound you are hearing is my mind being blown, and not in the fun way.
     So anyway, the Chinese government installed all around this desert perches for eagles and owls, which are the natural predators for these gerbils. That's a good idea. Help the hunters hunt the prey. But that, apparently, didn't work. You know why? BECAUSE GERBILS DO IT UNDERGROUND! And owls and eagles eat gerbils, and I would guess that if they flew up on two stupid gerbils going at it they probably wouldn't be hungry anymore. So now what the Chinese government has taken to doing is dropping handfuls of contraceptives disguised as bran feed next to the burrows of these gerbils. The contraceptives keep females from getting pregnant AND they cause abortions in females that are already pregnant. And apparently it's working.
      Actually, I kind of like this approach. Because they pretty much do whatever they want whenever they want, I would expect the Chinese government to basically drop rat poison pellets or Chinese baby milk down the holes that would kill anything that came around looking for a snack. But they have used this contraceptive instead and it apparently has no effect on other animals. Or basically no effect. That being said, I am really surprised the PETA isn't piping up about this one. Strange how the losers at PETA won't say a peep about aborting gerbil fetuses in a country that will lock them up and make them disappear for no reason, isn't it? But oh, in the West where they can't get in trouble for saying stupid stuff and throwing paint on furs they just won't go away. Stupid PETA.
      So anyway, yeah. How was I supposed to choose between those two fantastic articles? It can't be done. I mean, you see how I started to get worked up about PETA and the Chinese, but I just couldn't turn away from Tsutomu Yamaguchi, either. So you had to settle for both. And I had to settle for both. Now, if I could just get Tsutomu to talk to me about those gerbils...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The A-ha Moment

     I don't know if any of you have been watching any television lately, but I certainly have.  And one of the things that I noticed was a commercial from the 100-year old insurance and investment giant Mutual of Omaha.  In this commercial they proclaimed to be the "Official Sponsor of the A-ha Moment."  Ummm...okay.  Well, lucky for us, Company, they offered us an example of the A-ha Moment, and it didn't even involve a music video with a real person becoming a drawing and running away from motorcycle racers who chased them with wrenches.  If you didn't get that reference, don't worry.  I got lost halfway through it too.  Just click here to get the idea.  Anyway, the A-ha Moment apparently came thanks to a little kid who has an exceptional awareness of the world.  As he was about to turn six this kid asked his mom if he could ask the people coming to his birthday party to bring donations for homeless animals instead of gifts.  Oh my.
     At first I was not sure how to take this.  As you might expect, my first instinct was to rip this kid to shreds.  Well, not so much the kid, as that's not really cool of one to do, but the parents mostly.  Because I don't know if you've noticed but I am a little bit bitter and jaded at times, so immediately I started think of parents who are steering this kid in a direction that was going to make him a smug, conceited uppity prick.  Like, I imagined the parents taking little Reed, that was the kid's name - Reed - to the friendly local animal shelter to pick out a puppy and totally draining the fun and joy out of the whole experience.  Like, instead of letting Reed (Bradley B's brother is named Reed and I always called him Weed because I thought that was hilarious even if Bradley B did not) run around the Humane Society trying to decide if he wanted a beagle or a fluffy lab-collie mix or that cuddly rottweiler growling in the cage all by it's lonesome, the douchebag parents were leading him by the hand from cage to cage, explaining to him that the pets here were like homeless dogs and cats and that if you didn't pick one they would all be euthanized.  Oh yeah, that's what I was envisioning.  Little Reed crying while terrified to pick the wrong kitten to take home lest the other ones be put to death for not being good enough.  I can also see his parents teaching him on the ride home that the homeless guinea pigs could be saved if people would give donations to make the world a better place.  That is what was going through my head: parents destroying Reed's childhood in order turn him into a haughty elitist.  But the mom didn't quite fit the bill as she was sitting on my TV screen, so I, being a progressive Twenty-first Century kind of person, decided I would do a little research before I made up my mind.
     So I looked into it a little bit more.  And by a little bit I mean that I watched the commercial again.  And I looked up the website for The A-ha Moment.  And what I am thinking now is that I hit the nail not on the head but with a sort of glancing blow.  You know, like when you are shooting pool and you don't quite hit the balls straight on like you wanted to but you sort of hit them off to the side a little bit and they go skittering off in every direction.  That's what I think I did.  Because mommy-dearest certainly looks the part and that is still the gut feeling that I get about her.  But the way she talks, and the little blurb she writes about her kid and her family sort of makes me think that she's more everyday normal.  Here's the scoop:
     Mommy and little Reed were watching a show about stray animals, and then the next day, all by his lonesome, he popped the question.  Pretty cool kid if you ask me.  I sort of think though that it was one of those perfect storm-type scenarios.  Like, if the show had been about starving kids in Ethiopia I am not sure that the kid would have been so into it.  I think that he dug it because kids like puppies and kitties and pheasants and rhinoceri.  So I think that kept his attention and made him think about it, and then the next day his little brain was probably replaying the scenes of fluffy kittens named Snookums rolling around in a Bombay gutter and he popped the question.  But here is the reason I say that I was only partly wrong about the parents setting the kid up to be a smug d-bag someday.  See, what kind of parent makes their kid watch a show about homeless animals?  That's depressing.  You want to know how I know she made the kid watch that?  Because I am a grown up and can make my own decisions and I know that anyone who can make their own decisions doesn't decide to watch that.  Because it makes you sad.  So the parents had to have a hand in that.  And the parents had to be drilling stuff like that into the kid because 100% of the 5-year olds that I know have no idea of the concept of the donation.  Do you see what I mean here?  The parents somewhere along the way had to have given Reed the basis for coming up with an idea like that.  Kindergartners aren't learning that kind of stuff on the streets.
     So where does that leave us?  How have we come to here?  Right when I am starting to lean on the parents as raising a uppity kid the mom snaps me back to center.  Because what she did was not prattle on about how people should change the world by being like her kid, she made a very realistic and cogent point.  She notes "We're not going to be able to change the world, just the three of us in our family, but we can make a difference.  It doesn't have to be this grand thing.  You can just make a decision that you're going to change the lives of people or animals in any way that you can."  DING, DING, DING!  We have a winner.  She gets it.  That's the idea behind things like The Bump Experiment.  It's almost impossible for one person to change the world; all you can do is change the world and the lives directly around you.  And that's what Reed did.  He made the family change things a little bit and that makes the world a better place.  Reed's family now holds a birthday party every year in which all the attendees bring donations for some charity.  And mom and dad, who share the same birthday, don't give each other presents.  They just give a donation to some charitable organization.  It's not a lot but it makes a difference.  And she understands that, so I just don't know how to feel about the parents.
     So I guess the jury is out on Reed and the A-ha Moment parents.  Or at least my jury is.  So I remain conflicted, and I probably will until the commercials stop appearing on my TV.  Until then I will watch every one of the commercials with Reed or any of the other people on the A-ha Moment website with a raised eyebrow like I am questioning everything, or with my ears perked up like I am a dog who is confused as hell.  I probably never will figure it out, either, but I think it's okay.  Even if the parents are raising their little kid to be a snobbish prick, then there is at least some hope because they get it.  Or at least they have some false modesty, which is a good start.  So let The A-ha Moment live and maybe the world will get to be a little better place, one degree at a time.  Even if the whole thing IS sponsored by Mutual of Omaha.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

That's the Sound of Growing Up

"One of the things about being a grown-up is learning how to act right even when you feel wrong."
- Sean Stewart

     I know that you are going to think this is horseshit, Company, but over the course of my life there are not a whole lot of things that I have found to be remarkable about myself. One of the few things that have always filled me with wonder and excitement about me though, is that I have never really made it to the point in my life when I have realized that I am an adult. I love this about me. I have always sort of felt the same way that I felt when I was 22, which isn't too far away from the way that I felt when I was 18, which, could I remember all the way back then, probably isn't too far from how I felt when I was 13. I am not sure why I have always felt this way, I just sort of have. It is almost like the major mileposts of my life have gone by without much in the way of celebration or fanfare. I shouldn't say that. Let's rephrase. It's almost like the major mileposts of my life have gone by without effecting major change. That's probably a better way of putting it. I have entered high school, got my drivers license, turned 18, graduated high school, gone off to college, turned 21, graduated college, passed my golden birthday, and nothing seems different to me. Well, it seems different, and I know that I am not the same person I was as I stood quaking on the podium giving the speech at my high school graduation, it just seems to me that I have always just sort of been me. Maybe it's because you tend not to see the changes when you are so close to them, you can only see the scenery changing up on the banks until suddenly you become very aware of the fact that you are in a different place. And it has always seemed with me: I can see all the stuff around me changing and moving and becoming new and different, but I never quite realized that I was part of that picture until just recently. One day I looked around me and realized that Holy Shit, I'm an adult.
     When the hell did that happen? And why wasn't I made aware sooner? I am not kidding you, I just figured this out just now. In my mind I have always been surrounded by adults and I have just sort of been some punk kid. But I am not. I am a living, breathing, adult male. I am not sure when or how this happened. I certainly did not approve this change, did somebody run this by me in writing? Anyway, this new found adulthood scares the living hell out of me. It really does. Like, I caught myself carrying around a planner the other day, and even writing thing in it! I have discovered myself making responsible, thought-out decisions on important matters as opposed to snap decisions based on how I am feeling at this very moment. I find myself annoyed with the 18-year old kids being loud and having a good time in the apartment next door. I used to be that kid. I don't just go with the flow and do what I do anymore. I plan and worry and fret about the future. I am scared as hell about this.
     Granted, my planner is carried around in a bright blue backpack as opposed to a briefcase. And I still make those snap decisions all the time about daily stuff. And those kids don't so much annoy me as much as they just make me feel a little jealous. I mean, come one, just this past summer I was on my deck getting sprayed by Duke with the shower head out the bathroom window while Dingo screamed with laughter and Guy H almost died wheezing. That was me less than a year ago. But now I am a grown up. I am tempted to say "No, no. I refuse. I will not partake in this business." But there comes a time when you simply can't do that anymore. So I am going to take a more cautious, middle-of the road kind of approach to things. I am going to a grown up that's still a kid at heart. Because that means I am responsible but still endearing and that I don't take myself too seriously. Because that's the whole point, isn't it? Not to take one's self too seriously? So I am not going to, that's the bottom line. Kids, have your fun. Enjoy your being loud and drinking shitty beer that your buddy who is creepy and you just hand around with because he's old enough to buy beer and who pays for everything because he's a loser and has some cash on hand bought you. That's fine. I am not going to infringe upon your fun. I was there once, and just desperately want to get back again, which we all know is not going to happen. The river only flows one direction. Time only goes one way.           Someday those kiddos are going wake up and realize that they are all grown up and the same terrible thoughts are going to be racing through their heads. That is just the way it works. The hilarious Dane Cook got it all wrong when he described the sound of growing up. It is not an electronic-sounding noise that raises in pitch at intervals that sounds like something only Kit would make in a Knight Rider episode. Oh no. The sound of growing up is the sound of a 27-year old freaking out because he's not as fun as he used to be and lives in a shitty apartment and drives a shitty car. That's the real sound of growing up.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Welcome to the Wheel World

     So, I spent a small part of my weekend watching my dad and his fiancée bowling, along with dozens of other people, most of whom I did not know.  That's not the point.  As I walked into the bowling alley, which was called "Mountain Bay Lanes" despite the fact that there are no mountains anywhere nearby and the nearest bay of any consequence is like 40 miles away, I noticed something that sort of struck a chord with me.I watched as about a half dozen people walked through the parking lot towards the entrance towing their bowling bags.  Yeah, towing their bowling bags, not carrying them.  They all had little wheels and extend-o handles so everyone looked like they were a tourist pulling their luggage through an airport food court.  And that's when it hit me: Holy shit, everything has wheels now!
     Jesus Christ, it took us long enough.  Archaeologists and historians got together outside of a water cooler at New Mexico State University one time and decided that we can't really tell who invented the wheel or exactly when.  The archaeologists though do know that the earliest example of a wheel that they found was about 5500 years old.  Yeah, 5500 years.  If you want a little perspective on how long that is, the United States is only a scant 240 years old-ish.  So think about that while you brush your teeth.  Anyway, the wheel has been around for at least that long, and most likely way longer than that, and we are just NOW getting around to putting wheels on everything?  I mean, come on.  That means that for 5500 years we have been carrying shit around that we could have been pulling?  There is no excuse for that.
     I am not terribly mechanically inclined, but I know that a wheel with an axle shoved through it isn't necessarily the most difficult concept to master, especially when it doesn't have to turn or drive anything on its own.  So why isn't everything wheeled?  I mean, our chairs are, which leads to countless hours of fun.  We just recently began putting wheels on our luggage within the last, say, 10 years.  Before then we were carrying heavy bags around with us.  That's crazy.  I don't know why those hockey players with those gigantic bags they haul around are still carrying them.  Those things should have wheels too, or maybe little skates because they are hockey players.  But whatever.  My bed even has wheels on it, which I find a little odd and a lot frustrating.  I used to have a couch with wheels on it.  We even jack up buildings and put wheels under them and move them around from place to place.  So we have even managed to stick wheels on our stationary objects.  
     Would somebody tell me why all those soldiers are toting 90 lb. packs around foreign countries?  That shouldn't be.  Those packs should have big wheels with huge treads on them and the soldiers should be pulling them around like pack mules.  In fact, with the military slated to spend $515.4 BILLION those things should be motorized and the soldiers should be riding them around like military-grade Segways.  I mean seriously, am I the only one thinking here?  Isn't there someone at The Pentagon who has thought of this?  I mean, there are thousands of employees there and no one could come up with tricked-out, off-road, severely weaponized Segway scooters for all the troops instead of those APCs and Hummers that keep getting blown to smithereens?
     So we have wheels on our houses, cars, and food but only when in a shopping cart or on the back of the Chinese Food Delivery Guy's bike.  So what is left?  Where do we go from here, Company?  Well, I think we go to ourselves.  Yeah, that's right.  Why are we still walking around?  Shouldn't we have wheels by now?  I mean, it's been FIVE THOUSAND freaking years, shouldn't have evolution taken care of us by now?  I guess that Darwin was a liar.  I mean, we have tried.  There was the roller skate and roller blades and those long things with wheels that cross-country skiers use to train during the summertime.  "But Big Dave, those things are all impractical" I can hear all you naysayers out there naysaying.  Don't you think I have thought of that, Company?  Don't you think the scientists have already tackled that problem?  Because they have.  I understand that strapping roller skates to your feet on a permanent basis is fine until you try to walk down stairs or climb a mountain or play hopscotch.  But it is super handy if you happen to be marooned in a roller skating rink during a snowstorm, now isn't it?  Anyway, everyone knows that it is impractical to have wheels on our feet at all times, which is why science invented those rolly-shoes like Tommy Tutone used to have.  Oh, they're great.  They look like regular sneakers, but then when you've got somewhere to go these little panels on the bottom pop out and you can put little wheels in and skate around.  They are delightful as Dr. J would say.  Really, seriously though, they are fantastic.  You can roll from your front door right to your kung fu class.  And I can't see how we have been living without that in our lives.
     So come on Darwin, get into the game.  We have managed to put wheels on just about everything to make our lives easier, it's about time you put some wheels on us.  Although, I am sure there are all sorts of things we have missed.  But I am plumb out of ideas.  If you come up with an idea though, let me know so I can steal it and patent it and get rich off of it so that someone can teach me how to roller skate so I can survive in the future.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Puddle Jumpers Nightmare

     Spring arrived a couple of days ago wherever you live, unless of course you live in the Southern Hemisphere in which case autumn arrived.  In any care, around here it was largely ceremonial because it was warm before the Vernal Equinox, when it was still supposedly winter, and it snowed two inches the day after the Equinox, so go figure.  But one can tell that spring is hanging around.  The sun angle is higher and the days are getting noticeably longer, the sun is stronger, and every once in a while one can catch a whif of that spring sort of smell of things being uncovered and being exposed to the sun and the fresh air.  Here and there one can see the beginnings of green now that most of the snow is gone.  This is the single biggest sign of spring in the Great White North: the melting.  And as would be expected, all the snowmelt creates big puddles everywhere.
     This excites me very much.  If you didn't know, Company, now is the time for you to find out.  I am a notorious puddle jumper.  Oh yeah.  I seek them out and run through them at high speed with my car, bicycle, moped, whatever I happen to be driving.  Whenever I see a big puddle my eyes get huge.  Ask Dingo about it.  I get a raging, mega-hard boner every time I see the truly gigantic puddle that forms every spring outside her apartment, which used to be my apartment, so as you could imagine I used to see it a lot.  Anyway, I love puddle jumping so usually this is a joyous time of year for me.  It really is.  I can't emphasise this enough.  Do not walk on the sidewalk near big puddles because me and my trusty DykeSedan will seek them out and make them my bitch.  But not this spring.  This spring I am living the puddle jumpers worst nightmare. 
     Well, the second-worst nightmare maybe.  If you hadn't heard, here is the deal: my car is currently not blessed with windshield wipers.  The motor broke and there have been some issues in terms of finding the right replacement.  No big deal.  You might be saying "Big Dave, you silly bitch, your car has windshield wipers they just are not working."  Well, in response to you I say first of all let's not be such a stickler for technicality.  It's unattractive and it gets one nowhere unless you want to be a lawyer who pisses everyone off.  Second of all, you are wrong.  The motor, the blades, the little arms that connect the wiper blades to the rest of the car, they are all gone.  So no, my car really does not have windshield wipers.  This is not so bad, really.  I just can't go anywhere when it's precipitating, or when the roads might be wet.  But this also means that I can't go puddle jumping.
     See, when one drives at high speed through a gigantic puddle, the water from said puddle has a nasty tendency to go everywhere.  Like, if your window is open you will get wet.  And a big wave will wash over your windshield.  Do you see the problem developing here?  I can't drive through puddles because I have to way to wipe the water away and still see where I am going.  This is soul-crushing to me.  Imagine if your favorite thing to do was to have campfires in your backyard but it was really dry and there was a burn ban imposed.  You would be lost.  Sure you could probably still have a fire and get away with it if you were careful and made sure to take good control of it, but you still know you shouldn't.  Same with me.  I am missing one of the simple joyous things in my life.  I mean, sure, I could still plow through puddles at Mach 1 and be okay as long as I knew there was no one in front of me, or I could stick my head out the window until the water ran off or dried or whatever.  I could even help the situation by applying an industrial-sized coat of Rain-X to my car, but that's not the point.  It still just wouldn't be right.  
     I discovered that there was no way to incorporate my joyful puddle jumping into my current situation earlier this month.  I gave it the old college try, even though I am not in college anymore, and it had disastrous results.  Not so much disastrous but certainly deeply embarrassing.  I was tooling along the highway in the right lane and I saw a big puddle.  Immediately my tail started wagging.  So I go for it, not thinking about the consequences.  And it was glorious.  It was a long, deep puddle stretching along the iced up curb.  And the wave of water was something to behold.  I did behold it in fact, as it splattered across all but about five square inches of my windshield.  I continued to behold the remnants of the spray for the next half-mile until I could find somewhere to turn off.  It was dangerous and it certainly was scary, at least for me.  I was lucky to get off the highway into a safe place.  I then had the sad task of getting out of my car, going back to the trunk, pulling out my disconnected windshield wiper, and manually use it to wipe away the remaining water.  It was humiliating.  I was glad that no one was around to see it.  I seriously considered driving my car into a bridge abutment; only the fact that there are no overpasses within about 50 miles of the Worldwide Headquarters put a crimp on those plans. 
     That would have been a bad idea for sure, but it would have certainly been less painful.  Because I go about my life and see all these puddles and my mouth waters.  Please excuse the pun.  But it does.  I want to badly to just fly through them come hell or high water.  That pun was intentional.  But the bottom line is this situation has been depriving me of an awful lot of cheap joy lately and it's pissing me off, which is like a double whammy.  Because not only do I not get the joy but I get angry because of it.  I am surprised that I had to explain that to you, Company.  Anyway, if I know me I know that my wipers will be fixed just about the same time that the puddles are no longer available and I will have to wait another year.  Or just for the next super severe rainstorm.  But either way I am stuck here, high and dry (another intentional pun) and without the ability to jump a single puddle unless I want to stomp my foot in it.  Isn't that just terrible?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Air Emergency and You

     There are roughly 540 commercial airports in the United States, and I would guess that at least 419 of them have televisions somewhere in the public area.  I get about 74 channels on my basic cable package, one of which is the National Geographic Channel.  One of the shows on the National Geographic Channel is called "Air Emergency", it's the show I am watching right now.  If you pour over the figures above you will come up with the conclusion that there is a chance that right now, someone in one of those airports is watching the same episode as I am, an episode that is currently talking about how a mechanical defect in the Boeing 737, one of the most popular and safe airplanes in history, that was unable to be found during routine inspection caused three massive unsurvivable crashes.  That person is probably about to get on a Boeing 737.  How wrong is that?
      Now, before you nervous flyers freak out let us just say this: Flying is amazingly safe.  Everybody knows the statistics about that is less safe than flying: Driving in a car, SCUBA diving, cooking lunch, going outside, living in Gary, Indiana.  Really, the airline industry suffers from a terrible situation.  They spend untold amounts of money to build planes, inspect planes, and maintain planes.  Unfortunately, the media never talks about that.  And no one ever covers the literally millions of successful takeoffs and landings that are performed in the United States alone every year.  We take all those for granted.  The only time the airline industry gets mentioned is when there is a mistake or a catastrophic failure.  So keep in mind that it's one of the safest ways to travel.  Okay?  Also, we have become very good at learning from our aviation mistakes.  The boys and girls at the NTSB almost always figure out what went wrong and this usually leads to sweeping maintenance and change to make things safer and better.  So don't go cancel those tickets for your big vacation to Sioux City, okay?  You have a better chance of not making it if you take the trusty 1993 Ford Escort.
     That being said, how much would it suck to be that guy sitting in the airport watching this show?  Wouldn't you be a little unnerved?  How would you respond?  Would you get on the plane?  Would you chug as many gin and tonics as your could before your departure time?  As I started forming the idea to write this post, I wasn't quite sure what I would do.  But the more I watch and the more I think about it I have sort of come to a very easy decision.  I just wouldn't watch it.  If I came along to a channel while channel surfing at an airport and I saw shaky pictures of two pilots in a cockpit shouting at one another, I wouldn't stop on that channel.  I would go watch Animal Planet or something.  Maybe ESPN.  I certainly wouldn't watch a show called "Air Emergency."  Not on my life.  Sitting here in the Worldwide Headquarters and not planning on going anywhere anytime soon it's fine.  But if I were sitting at George H.W. Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston and this was showing?  No way, no how. 
     The biggest problem with my little plan is that usually one doesn't have the option of changing the channel in most airports.  I hear you muttering that to yourself under your breath.  Don't worry, I've thought about that little wrinkle.  See, you or I or that sweaty guy reading Sports Illustrated might not be able to control the nearest TV but somebody can.  And if it's not the person at the ticket counter I would bet they know who does.  And if you told them that the TV was showing a program called "Air Emergency" that was all about plane crashes, I would guess that they would change it so fast it would make your head spin. Don't you think?  I mean, we laugh at the idea.  In the hilarious movie Airplane they openly mock the idea by having the passengers on the stricken airliner watching an in-flight movie featuring a plane landing out of control with a big fireball behind it.  And we giggle.  Because it is so absurd that an airline would let business happen.  So trust me, if it was on and you asked, they'd change it.  I would bet Peg-a-saurus Rex's entire paycheck on it.
     So...what happens if they won't?  Like, what if the airport worker is related to the guy who worked as a key grip on that show and they are intent on watching it?  Well, the good thing about most airports is that you have plenty of options.  Kansas City International is like a big doughnut, so you can walk around to a different part and keep tabs on your flight on the departure screens.  At Minneapolis/St. Paul you can take a tram to another part of the airport.  At Chicago O'Hare they actually have separate terminal buildings for international or little puddle jumper flights.  Go there since you have four hours to wait around for your connection.  You also have your iPod so put that on and read the trashy romance novel in your backpack.  Or just go on down to the food court and hang out there.  They don't even have a TV at P.F. Chang's.
     The good thing for us, however, is that we are never going to run into this situation.  TVs in airports don't show National Geographic Channel.  They show ESPN or Headline News, which is now called simply HN for some unexplainable reason.  But it is that kind of stuff that shows at airports.  Maybe CBS if there are a lot of old people flying that day.  Whatever.  And CBS doesn't show stuff like that.  ESPN doesn't show stuff like that.  HN does but only if there has just been a plane crash, in which case we are dealing with a whole different animal not covered by this post.  So don't worry, you won't have to worry about this.  But it might be a good job to have a Plan B or a universal remote just in case.

Friday, March 20, 2009

One Good Turn Deserved Another

     Something happened the other day that, let's be honest, every one of us has wanted to happen. You may not admit to it, you may not even know it, but somewhere along the way you have either said, thought, or agreed with the following statement, especially if you are a guy: "It would be so awesome if someone who just robbed a store totally got robbed when they were leaving the store." At least I have thought about it. I have thought about it many, many, many, times. Many times. No, I mean seriously. Like, I imagine it several times a day. You know how Dane Cook always wants to see a man get hit by a car? Well I always want to see some thieves get thieved right outside of the place they just thieved from. Well that just happened. And I'm going to tell you all about it.
     So these two dudes came up with the big idea that it would be good to rob a jewelry store. Bold decision. So Frick and Frack go into a Milwaukee jewelry store, and one of the them as a gun, let's say it's Frack and he is carrying a glock. Okay? So they stroll in an proceed to liberate the jewelry store of its money and I would assume much of its jewelry. No big deal. Shit happens. But what happened next is magical.
As the two left the store shortly before eleven in the morning on Wednesday, they were approached by a group of four men who proceeded to rob them of everything the had just robbed from the jewelry store. How awesome is that? I love this. Isn't this like the ultimate slap in the face from karma for these guys? Seriously? It's basically like Earl getting hit by the car right after he wins the lottery. You steal from someone and four thugs are going to steal it all right back from you. Take that, douchebags. I can only imagine the two guys, bolting out of the store and nervously and excitedly looking around for the cops, not seeing any, and then thinking they got off scott free and then WHAM-O! four guys come up and start the beat down.
     Actually, this ramped up and turned into a real guy-pleaser. Not only did you have the robbery, which I assume involved ski masks and the gun we talked about before, but then the subsequent robbery of the robbers out on the sidewalk. But then the two groups fought. Oh yeah. They were wailing on each other right out in plain view in the public. Maybe it spilled out into traffic, who knows? I like to imagine that at least one of the them, or maybe two of them, probably the two who were the original robbers and were fighting against the four who were the second wave of robbers, were ninjas, and they were doing all sorts of crazy kicks against the other ones while standing back to back. I am sure it was glorious. When I was reading about all this tomfoolery, I didn't think that it could get any better. But then the whole group, all the thieves, they kicked it up a notch. They got in a car chase.
     Oh yeah. And it wasn't just your typical bullshit LAPD super lame-o California car chase with the cops chasing some moron in a Honda. Oh no. Not only were they chasing each other, but the cops were chasing the whole lot of them. So let's recap: robbers rob the store, robbers rob robbers, robbers chase robbers, and then the cops bring up the rear. This is about the most wonderful that it could ever be. If you were standing on the street corner, which I do on a regular basis, I would guess that it would look like this: first, a car would go by. It would be a mid-80s Impala or something, one color, rust-free, with four dudes in masks driving. Then, right behind them, would be two guys on motorcycles dressed as ninjas shouting in Japanese. Then, about 12 seconds later, a group of six or so squad cars would go screaming by, hopefully in the same direction. This of course, was not what it was really like at all.
     First of all, I highly doubt that in reality anyone was a ninja, and I am sure none of them spoke Japanese. Of the six, the police were able to arrest four: the two original robbers and two the second wave. The original two were aged 31 and 40, and the other two were 22 and 27, and all of them hailed from Illinois. None of this really supports my ninja theory. True to form, the police have yet to have a description of the other two, or a value of how much was taken. So we will probably know in the next couple of days here. But I still have to give these guys some credit because, quite frankly, they made one of my many dreams come true. And that's neat. And I hope karma goes easy on these guys. Especially the first two. Because they already got bitch-slapped for pulling off a robbery by being robbed themselves, and they DID all manage to put on a pretty spectacular show for everyone, what with the fighting and chase scenes. People pay $10 to watch that stiff at the movies, and on Wednesday they got it for free. So maybe they've repaid their karma, who knows? All I know is I wish I had been there to see it.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Smallest Little Thing

     I once wrote about sweating the small stuff. I came out against it, but sometimes you cannot help it. Let me give you an example. A short time ago Dingo said something to me that has been rattling around my head since she said it. It was a rather insignificant thing, but there was one word, one little, tiny, seemingly innocuous word that caused that sentence to lodge deeply in a very prominent part of my noggin. It's been in there, rolling around like a little chickpea and sounding like a rattle every time I move. Except the rattle echos, and before you know it, by the time it hits my eardrum, it's more like a roar. I am not really sweating it as such, I am not getting all riled up about it. It has just struck me how big of an influence one little word can be.
     I am sure you've experienced it too. Somebody says something to you that contains one little word bomb that sets everything off inside your life. Sometimes it's meant to be a word bomb. For instance, if you were really close with someone but then you accidentally left the front door open and they are really mad and so when you go meet their college friends they say "Oh, this is Allison. She was my best friend." Amazing how substituting that "was" for the usual "is" can really drive a point home, isn't it? So on and so forth. Maybe it isn't that deliberate. Let's say that your boss always introduced you to people like this: "This is Allison, she is our new sales assistant." Then, all the sudden it becomes "This is Allison, our sales assistant." Hmmm...sounds like you aren't new anymore. It wasn't intended by the boss to be such a big thing, but all the sudden the honeymoon and the grace period are over. Mistakes aren't tolerated anymore. The learning period is over and you are on your own. See what I mean? Do you see the power of that one little ommission?
     Now I am not suggesting that we all need to ratchet up the personal censorship and submit everything we intend to say to a focus group of our peers in writing for analysis before we say it. That's a bit extreme. I am simply preaching public awareness. It has happened in the past and it will happen in the future, so be ready for it. There is going to be a point where you are standing at the bus stop thinking "He said 'artist!' He thinks I am an artist! I'm not just a painter anymore!" or whatever. That one small difference, that one small set of syllables has put you up on cloud nine and brought with it all sorts of weight and connotation. And now there you stand, attempting to rectify these new changes withing the big picture. And it's scary and it's hard. But it is going to happen. Just like puberty or the flood, it is going to come and you are going to be totally unprepared for it and it's going to radically alter your world, at least for a time. It's okay to let it effect you, but don't sweat it. That's not healthy. Consider it, let it percolate in the back of your mind, but please do not sweat it. Let it rattle around but don't let it rattle you. That's not healthy. Just sort of take it for what it is and remember that Dingo didn't mean to set you spinning like that.
     Now, if you will excuse me, all I can hear is that word rattling around in my head and it's driving me crazy!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


     Well, Company, you know that I have never been the first to jump on the old technology bandwagon.  I was among the last people I knew to get a cell phone.  I didn't have a color TV until 1985.  My car does not have and probably never will have satellite radio.  And so on and so forth.  But one area that I have decided I need to embrace is Twitter.  And oh man is it cool.
     You know how I always seem to have this raging, mega-hard boner for random thoughts?  You also know how I have the attention span of a sand gnat?  Well, when these two facts collide it causes a problem for me in my life because I have all these ridiculous and exciting random thoughts that I can't remember long enough to bring them to you.  Well no more.  Twitter will let me bring these thoughts to you when they come to me, and that is super exciting.  At least for me.  Because now all these wonderful ideas won't just disappear into the eather.  They will be brought to you directly.
      So how do I go about getting involved in this, Big Dave?  Well, you can follow along at my Twitter homepage or you can actually be a follower if you have a Twitter account.  It's super exciting I guess.  You can even respond to the things I write and all that fun jazz.
     But for those of you who maybe aren't into having yet ANOTHER online account to go with your six e-mails, Kohl's, Wet Seal, REI, Amazon, and Roasted Nut of the Month Club online memberships that's okay.  You don't have to sign up for anything whatsoever.  Through the magic of electricity and computers the good people at Twitter have linked up with the good people at Blogger to make it so you can read all my tweets right here at Big Dave and Company!  Tweets, by the way, are what they call the little posts that Twitter creates.  It's also the same sound that my smoke alarm was making.  But anyway, you can follow along right where it says "Happening right now:" on the upper left.  I replaced the "something to be happy about" with this because this is way more fun.  So it's on.  And I am on Twitter.  Let the fun begin.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

St. Patrick's Day

     As would be expected today, we are going to talk about St. Patrick's Day. More specifically, we are going to talk about St. Patrick himself, because quite frankly there isn't a lot that can be said about the day that hasn't been said already. Like all holidays the myths and stories that surround it have been exaggerated somewhat, and we all know the traditions: drinking green beer, wearing green, fighting with gays about being in the parade, and passing out with no pants on in an alley by 11:30 AM. That's what goes on on St. Patrick's Day. But you knew all that. The reason we are going to talk about St. Patrick himself is because I would be willing to bet that you don't know shit about him.
     First of all, St. Patrick (Naomh Pádraig if you are Irish and happen to speak Gaelic) might be one of the patron saints of Ireland, but he wasn't even Irish. Yeah, that's right. He was born in Roman England (Britannia if you are a Roman Senator or something) but was actually of Welsh ancestry. Yeah, so the patron saint of Ireland was Welsh, which is fine and not nearly as inciting as if he was English. Could you even imagine that business? So anyway, the man whose name is synonymous with Ireland wasn't even Irish. Could you imagine if Ghandi wasn't Indian? Or George Washington wasn't American? Okay, that's not a good example. But you get the point.
     Ireland, however, was not nice to St. Patrick the first time around. As a teenager he was captured by Irish raiders and taken back to the Emerald Isle where he was a slave for over six years before escaping back to Great Britain. Wow. I am not sure how this works. Perhaps it is like those women who always seem to flock to the guys who treat them the worst, you know, those ones you always see on Maury Povich going "I know he threw me out of a moving car and left me stranded at a rest area in the middle of the Everglades, but he just did me that because he loves me and wanted to teach me a lesson." What lesson, sweetheart? Don't sneeze in the car? I just don't get it. What a lesson for the young St. Patrick: stay the hell out of Ireland. Apparently he didn't listen.
     Patrick, not yet sainted, went back to Ireland to work as a missionary for almost twenty years, during which time he was an abject failure. But Dave, he went on to become the patron saint OF THE WHOLE COUNTRY! Yeah, okay, but who hasn't become the patron saint of some country. I am the patron saint of Mongolia and you don't see me trumpeting it from the mountaintops. Just kidding. But seriously, Saint Patrick wasn't a terribly good missionary. Let us look at the facts, shall we? Over twenty years he went around the north and west sides of the island trying to convert the Celts to Christianity. While the west of Ireland is devoutly Catholic, and the northeast is devoutly Protestant, the fabled Irish monetary system did not develop until well after St. Patrick's time, and the Irish church never evoked any of the models for church structure that St. Patrick promotes during his teachings. So what, exactly, did he do to earn patron sainthood?
     I can tell you what he didn't do. He didn't chase ANY snakes out of Ireland, because science has determined that after the glaciers left, Ireland didn't have any snakes. And unless St. Patrick brought the glaciers to Ireland that made all the snakes away and then made the glaciers go away again he didn't do shit. Some people think that the snakes are representative of the "serpent" non-Christians but no one seems to know. The best thing that St. Patrick seemed to do was let other people assign stories to him. Many of the stories attributed to St. Patrick seem to be referring to the work of Palladius, who was the first Bishop of Ireland. So basically St. Patrick is like that kid in high school in the 1950s who didn't quite win the game of chicken with the tough greaser for the prom queen's heart but who let the whole school think he did.
     But in the end he was anointed and therefore got himself a feast day and a country to be patron saint of, so he must have been doing something right. It's these two things that bring us to today, when we celebrate him by eating corned beef and cabbage (which they never ate in Ireland) and drink green beer (which they most likely do in Ireland) and chase snakes around (which they never had in Ireland). And that's okay. Because it's a reason to celebrate, and let's be honest here, everyone loves a good story. So maybe it's best that we let sleeping dogs lie when it comes to St. Patrick. So hoist a pint of the finest green beer that your local pub has to offer and sing an Tu-ra-lu-ra-lu-ra until you fall down. Enjoy the day. Wear green, get kissed, the whole nine yards. Everyone can be Irish on St. Patrick's Day. St. Patrick would have wanted it that way anyhow. Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone!

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Discarded Bouquet

     Sunday was warm and beautiful: the sun was out and it was strong when compared to what we've had to aid us all winter long.  The ice and snow were quickly melting off and the air smelled "springy...like dirt and leaves" as BankingPlanes put it.  So naturally I was out and about, and I happened to drive by a house.  Well, I drove by a lot of houses but this particular one had a bouquet of flowers lying discarded at the end of the driveway.  It was an odd but totally unsurprising sight.  It sort of had that kind of look like some photographer should be coming around to take a picture of it at any minute to put up at an art fair or something that would have made everyone wonder about what the symbolism of the whole thing was.  The scene had that sort of quality about it.  But as you probably know, bouquets don't generally belong at the end of a sand-covered concrete driveway on a melty early spring day.  So it sort of got me wondering exactly how that simple little bouquet of flowers got there, and why no one seemed to be interested in it other than me.  Even now I sort of wish I had picked it up and given it a nice home, and I hope someone had.  But, to make an already long story not too much longer I let the imagination run wild as to how those flowers ended up in that driveway.  Here are some suggestions:

1.)  A young man has been throwing pebbles at the window of the love of his life for the last 25 minutes.  He's got a pretty solid if not old-school plan: Throw pebbled, then when she comes to the window there he is with some flowers.  She will inevitably sneak out and they can spend some time together, romance growing, so on and so forth.  One problem.  She's spending her Spring Break working with the disadvantaged kids who come up from the city to Camp Tall Pines out in Minnesota.  You can see why he's got the hots for her now, can't you?  Well, he's not the brightest and he doesn't remember she's gone so he keeps trying: he's persistent at least.  But you know, fathers can hear pebbles being thrown at their daughters' window, it's bred into them instinctively, and so guess who appeared in the window that night?  Pulse raises, flowers drop to the ground, legs and arms go into motion and the young man sprints off into the night.  Maybe next time he will write down her schedule.

2.)  Have you ever seen those crazy people who like extreme sports?  You know, they jump off bridges with ropes attached to their feet, they ski places where people aren't meant to ski, etc.  Well, two of them met at a meeting of the skydiving club, and there was conveniently a judge who was in the same club.  So they had it all planned.  The reception would be outdoors, they would get married while plummeting towards the ground from 20,000 ft, the first kiss would be right before they pull the ripcords, and then the reception would begin as soon as they landed right in the middle of it.  Grand plan, except for one thing: The Bridesmaid dropped her bouquet.  Oh well.  Good thing there wasn't a car parked in that driveway today.

3.)  What the authorities don't know is that the friendly local flower shop is really just a front for the friendly local loan shark.  So, as often happens with loan sharks shit went down.  Let's just say that one wrong person messed with the next wrong person and before you know three guys in ski masks are breaking down the front door of the flower shop, hustling into the back room, and grabbing the old man by the shirt collar and throwing him into the flower shop delivery van which is just being loaded with the flowers for the skydiving wedding.  The van peels out and the loan shark/flower seller's goon chase after.  The chase winds through the streets, around corner after corner, from the downtown business district into the residential areas.  As the van careens around a corner the flower shop guy makes his break for it.  Punches on kidnapper in the stomach, elbows the other one in the face, throws open the door and tucks and rolls.  He timed it pretty  well because he hit the grass where it was soft with the spring melt, rolled three times and then hopped to his feet as the van came to a screeching halt.  He was oblivious to the bouquet that got stuck in his rolled-up shirtsleeve when he jumped and so of course he didn't notice it when he sprang away through the backyards as the van took off down the next street looking for him.  And with all the hubub no one else in town noticed the bouquet either, so there it lay.  I am sure the cops will pick it up eventually as part of their investigation.

4.)  Something is horribly wrong here.  Kelsey is distraught since her cousin was hit by a car since walking home.  She had been really close to her cousin but two months ago he had moved far away to a new town.  So now she is here, wondering why there isn't more of a memorial to him at the site where he was tragically killed.  He aunt said she had put a cross.  But Kelsey was never good with geography, and she could never really remember the name of the town where he had moved to.  So I guess it's understandable that, driving up in the middle of the night and being so distraught that she would throw a bouquet of flowers into a driveway in the next town over from where her cousin lived.

Okay, so who knows?  It's probably much simpler than that but a lot less fun.  So I am going to assume that it was one of the above scenarios that led to me seeing those flowers there.  But I can't be sure.  How do you think it happened?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Selection Sunday

     Well Company, I have been in high heaven the last week or so because it is the most exciting time of the year in one of my favorite sports: college basketball.  Now, I am a relatively big sports nut, but I do my best to refrain from talking about it with you because I know you, Company.  I know you like the back of my hand.  And I know that many, many of you don't like sports at all.  Not one bit.  So I try to spare you having to listen to me prattle on and on and on.  Isn't that nice of me?  Aren't I the greatest.  Oh stop now.  You are making me blush.  But seriously, I am so excited about this time of year that I am going to make you read all about it.  Or at least I am going to make you surf to another part of the web while I talk about it. 
     Look, I am so excited thinking about it that I can't even put together a coherent thought, let along a paragraph that makes sense.  Did you read that first paragraph?  Terrible.  But I am so amped up about March Madness that I don't know what to do with myself.  I am like a kid with ADD who traded his daily Ritalin for a Caramello bar and a Mr. Pibb, and now I am bouncing off the wall like a racquetball or something.  Anyway, the reason I am all excited is because it is March, and that means that college basketball is right smack in the middle of its most exciting period.  Over the last two, maybe two-and-a-half weeks, each individual conference has been holding tournaments to decide who will have a chance to play in the big tournament for the NCAA championship.  Each conference winner gets a bid to the big tournament, and then there are like 30 or so at-large teams that are invited.
       That's right.  Today is Selection Sunday.  Today is the day when a group of God-knows how many people in a room in Indianapolis pick which teams are going to get the 30 or so at-large bids and they give each of the 65 teams invited (Yeah, 65.  Not 64.  It's lame, I know.  Don't get me started.) a seed and a bracket.  Oh man, it gets my blood boiling.  By the time the night is over, I am going to be up to my neck with brackets filled out with my predictions.  My eyes will have crusted over from watching to much TV analysis and from staring at my computer reading about matchups and potential matchups for 17-straight hours.  I will be sitting down and figuring out how many sick and personal hours I have available to take off Thursdays and Fridays for the next two weeks.  It's like I have a fever or something.  Really.  Seriously.  Something is seriously wrong with me and I should probably seek professional help.
     The reason that I love this time of year with this particular sport is because it is the greatest drama with the smallest margins of error in sport.  Well, okay.  But in major sports at least.  It's made for giant upsets, anybody can beat anybody at any time, and there is usually four games going on at once which just adds to the frenzy.  One guy who's in The Zone from a tiny little school in rural Pennsylvania can bring down the school that Michael Jordan went to, with all of its National Championship aspirations.  It's amazing.  David can slay Goliath like six times in the course of one weekend.  It's fantastic.  You have to be on your game night after night after night or you are done.  None of this five-game-series horseshit.  One game.  One neutral site.  Win and go on.  Lose and go home.  Drama.  Spectacle.  Heroes.  Villains.  The whole package will be opened for all the world to see over the next three weeks.  And most of these guys aren't even old enough to drink yet.
     By the time this all wraps up in April I assure you that I will be a wreck of my former self.  I will not have shaved in over a month.  I may have showered if you are lucky.  My employer will have long since considered me missing and presumed dead.  The cable company will be out of business and the landlord will be taking out a second mortgage to pay the electricity bill because my TV will not have been turned off for like a month and a half.  There will be pizza boxes filled with stale crusts and empty two-liters of Diet Dr. Pepper strewn about The Worldwide Headquarters.  I will twice have fought off the friendly local fire department when they appeared outside my living room window with their ladder truck just to make sure that I was alive and to determine what that smell in the downtown area was.  Plus, the state patrol will be a little upset about the giant cable that I have running from Jimmy James' house to my bedroom TV which is set up in my living room right next to my other TV so I can watch TWO different games at once.  And if I can get my hands on a third TV (which I can) there might be a cable running down from Mikey's too.  Because if one game is good, then three is enough to make me pass out.
     So the morale of the story is that I ask you to please excuse me if I am a little preoccupied and smelly and acting strange in the coming month.  Because it is March Madness, it's warm enough for me to open the windows so I won't notice my own stench, and I have to be within 13 feet of a TV hooked up to CBS or a satellite package at all times or I just might lose it.  And it all starts today.  Selection Sunday.  Oh man I am so psyched.