Monday, November 30, 2009

The Inedible Pasty

For those of you who have never had the joy of spending time in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, let explain to you what a pasty is. It is a Cornish meat pie, consisting of meat (preferably chopped steak but often hamburger) potatoes, onions, and rutabaga in a durable yet flaky crust. Now, was with any type of food there is always a lot of creativity and variation so that there are chicken and vegetarian pasties that one can procure. But the basic has meat, potato, onion, and rutabaga, although the rutabaga is often optional. Yoopers, as the locals are called, eat their pasties with ketchup, which is fine for them but which I can't do. I eat mine dry (rarely because they are really dry to me) or with gravy, which is how they know I am an outsider. I do however, always choose them with rutabaga so that they know I sort of belong.
So that's a pasty. And they are delicious, stick-to-your-ribs, warm-you-up-on-a-cold-day, sort of filling comfort food. So when David Nathaniel and Chevy Orange offered to give me one or two or seven of them the other day, I was happy to oblige. Until, that is, they explained to me that they were inedible pasties and I shouldn't bother. See, pasties are like any food, everyone makes them differently, and always, always, ALWAYS, mom or grandma makes them the best. Usually, restaurants and chain places do the worst. There are, however, some good restaurants and the locals will always be able to tell you where to go to go a good pasty. When I lived there we always got the from the Women's Auxiliary in a small town. That's the best, because it's a bunch of moms and grandmas making them the way they are supposed to be made. And of course, they spoiled up. So we have sort of impossibly high standards. Still, I couldn't believe that the pasties that the kids were selling from a friendly local restaurant, which I have eaten at before and it was fine, would be inedible. So I ran my mouth off and said I would eat it. I believe that the actual phrase out of my mouth was "There is nothing that the right amount of gravy can't make edible."
Well, the inedible pasty is in the oven right now, and it's not going well. Not at all. I tool the roughly seventy pound brick out of my freezer this morning and placed it in the fridge to thaw. It was wrapped in tinfoil with just a little rip so I could see the crust. No big deal. About an hour before I wanted to eat I removed it from the fridge and set it on a pan to finish thawing. When I came back there was a very, very thin slick of grease starting to form. This was the grease that David Nathaniel and Chevy Orange were talking about. My, however, in my pride, declared that it was just some of the water thawing. Yeah, not so much. More on that later.
The first problem that I had was that the pasty had never been cooked in any way. Well, it seemed that the innards had been but the crust - not so much. And, in it's thawed and flawed state it took to a nasty habit of sticking to the tinfoil wrapping. I couldn't get it to release, so Mike-a-licious advised to bake it in the tinfoil for a bit and it would release. No. That did not work at all. When the timer went off fifteen minutes later and I took the cookie sheet out of the oven, what I found was a rapidly rising lake of extremely thin grease, partially cooked dough that was sticking and burning to the tinfoil, and delicious innards exposed for all the world to see. Uncool.
So I drained off the grease. That's the first time I have ever had to do that with a pasty, probably because that is not something that you should have to do with a pasty ever. Pasties are made by Finnish grandmas in a wood stove, and even though they might use a pound of lard in order to make the crust there should never, EVER be a situation where you have to drain off anything, okay? That is just wrong and scary and disgusting. But I did it, for my health. And I did something else. I abandoned the failing crust. I salvaged what I could and plopped it into a baking dish. Some of the crust went with, but most of it stayed with the fat and the tinfoil into the garbage can. Not good. At least most of the grease was gone. I figured out that most of the grease was coming from the crust, for at last check my innards were mostly grease free. So that's a good sign right?
I also tasted what there was to be tasted, and it wasn't bad. From the way David Nathaniel made it out to be it would be like a mixture of all the Harry Potter Jelly Bellies with a side of cardboard thrown in. Not so. It wasn't great, and it was a little odd as pasties go, but it wasn't bad. It certainly wasn't inedible. It is still a little greasy for certain, and will be better with gravy. But I think it's going to be alright. We will have to wait and see, there are still five minutes left on the timer.

* * *

So I am sitting here now and I can't get enough milk. It's cold and delicious and it's absolutely the right texture. I just can't get enough at this moment, which is bad because tomorrow there will be none left for breakfast. Anyway, I am done eating the inedible pasty. You have already figured out that it was not inedible then. That is true, it was certainly edible. But it was not very good.
Crust issues aside, two things sort of stick out at me. Poor quality meat and extreme saltiness. Now, I know that you are out there, sitting in your kitchen or den or coffee house and saying "Pfft...you said you were going to douse that thing in gravy, and I am sure that the cheap ass canned gravy that you were using was just loaded with salt. So there is no way that you can impartially or accurately judge the saltiness of the inedible pasty. And you are right. We will get back to that in a minute. First off, when did you become such an inedible pasty supporter? When did you become so rampantly devoted to the inedible pasty that you must defend it against my preceived slights? Huh? When did that take place? You should look in the mirror and see what is going on with that business. That being said, you are right. I did pour a bunch of salty gravy over the inedible pasty.
The reason that I know it is salty is because I taste tested it long before the gravy was ever added, and it was still the same. It was salty when it went into the oven, it was salty when it came out, and it was salty when it disappeared down my throat. That's just the way it is. In the end the inedible was certainly edible, although I wouldn't choose to eat it if I had the option, you know? I would never buy one again either. But at least I tried it. And at least I ate it. So it wasn't so inedible at all. I told you David Nathaniel. I told you Chevy Orange.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

"Turkey's Away"

Thanksgiving Day

Well Company, it's Thanksgiving Day and all is quiet here at the Worldwide Headquarters. The Big Dave and Company Podcast Thanksgiving Special is up and available for public consumption. The Unpaid Interns have been released into the care of their families and are probably feverishly writing police reports and restraining order request forms. It is lightly snowing outside and it is cold, gray and dim inside. The Worldwide Headquarters is shutting down for the Thanksgiving holiday as all of us head home for the holidays. So, for everyone traveling this Thanksgiving we here at Big Dave and Company wish you and yours safe travels. And we wish you all the happiest of holidays. We will be back with you on Monday.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

D.B. Cooper

Yesterday was D.B. Cooper day. Well, it's not so much that it is a day to commemorate him, but more of just the day that he did what he did. And if you don't remember what he did then maybe you should sit down, get comfortable, and keep reading.

On November 24, 1971 a man using the name Dan Cooper boarded a Northwest Orient Airlines (now Northwest Airlines which is actually owned by Delta) Boeing 727 in Portland, Oregon and took seat 18C. As Flight 305 ascended and made its way towards Seattle Cooper, who has been described as in his mid-40s and about 5'11" tall, and who was wearing a black raincoat, loafers, a dark suit, a white collared shirt very meticulously pressed, a black tie, mother of pearl tie pin, and black sunglasses, handed flight attendant Florence Schaffner a note. She thought it was his phone number (how presumptuous, she must have been hit on a lot back then) and slipped it into her pocket unopened. What the note actually said was "I have a bomb in my briefcase. I will use it if necessary. I want you to sit next to me. You are being hijacked." Well, that was not all it said. It also demanded $200,000 in unmarked bills, two sets of parachutes with both main back chutes and secondary chest chutes, and it gave instructions for delivering all his demands once the place had landed at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

In short order the pilot was notified, the Seattle Police, FBI, FAA, and Northwest Orient president Donald Nyrop were contacted. Nyrop instructed everyone to cooperate with Cooper. Pilot William Scott instructed Schaffner to try and ascertain if the bomb was real; and Cooper opened it enough for her to do so, instructing her to tell the pilot not to land until all of the materials he demanded were waiting at the airport.

Meanwhile on the ground, the FBI was getting the money together and while they were supplying unmarked bills they did give him mostly similar bills, and they ran every bill through a machine that took a picture of each and put it on microfilm. Genius! So once the demands were met, the plane landed and taxied to a remote part of the airport where the lights were dimmed. A single Northwest Orient employee was chosen to deliver the demands unaccompanied, which they did, handing the materials to flight attendant Tina Mucklow, who was the person who spent the most time with Cooper and who described him as "rather nice" and "thoughtful." Stockholm syndrome, anyone? Anyway, with the demands met Cooper released all 36 passengers and Ms. Schaffner, the flight attendant whom he originally gave the note to. The rest of the flight crew was not permitted off the plane at that time.

Things got tense while the plane sat on the tarmac. The FBI couldn't figure out what Cooper had planned. While he was still taking pains to ensure the comfort of the flight crew, even making sure they were brought meals, he became agitated when an FAA official asked to board the plane. The official wanted to explain the consequences of air piracy but Cooper would not allow him on the plane. Also, a vapor lock in the refueling truck caused the refueling to take longer than normal, a situation which led to Cooper's threatening to blow up the plane.

Eventually the crew was instructed to take the plane back into the air and fly to Mexico at a low speed and altitude with a very specific set of flap and landing gear positions, and with the cabin unpressurized. When the crew informed Cooper that the plane would only be able to fly approximately 1000 miles in that condition, Cooper and the crew discussed possible landing sites and routes before settling on Reno, Nevada, where the plane was to refuel. It didn't matter, however, because shortly after Mucklow was told to go to the cockpit and stay there, an indicator light showed that the aft stairway which stuck out from below the tail of the 727 had been opened, ears popped as cabin pressure equalized with the outside pressure, and Cooper, two of the parachutes, and the money were gone. They disappeared into a heavy rainstorm somewhere over southwest Washington state at around 8:13 pm local time, never to be seen again. Or were they?

The FBI found the tie, the tie pin, and one of the sets of parachutes when the plane landed in Reno 2.5 hours later. And no trace of D.B. Cooper. The F-106 fighter jets that had been tailing the plane saw nothing through the rainstorm, and estimates as to where the landing site was varied widely, with the FBI settling on an area southeast of Ariel, Washington near the shores of Lake Merwin. It, however, has never been accurately ascertained. Anyway, despite aerial and ground searched of the 28 square mile supposed drop zone in both 1971 and 1972, no trace was even found until Brian Ingram went swimming in 1980.

Okay, that's a lie, but the line sounded so good I couldn't help but stick it in there. The first trace actually came two years before Brian came onto the scene, when a hunter walking in the woods near the drop zone found a placard containing instruction on how to open the rear stairway on a Boeing 727. This placard was eventually found to have come from Northwest Orient Flight 305, but nothing farther would come of it. No is were Brian Ingram comes into the picture.

While on a picnic with his family on February 10, 1980, eight-year-old Brian found 294 decaying $20 bills (that's a total of $5880 for you math majors out there) still bound in rubber bands 40 ft from the bank of the Columbia River, only two inches below the ground. The site was approximately five miles northwest of Vancouver, Washington, which is right across the river from Portland, Oregon. It determined in quick order that the bills were from the D.B. Cooper ransom, but it was much more difficult to determine how or when they got to that Columbia River riverbank. The scientific community to this day remains divided about how the money got there, some think that came to be on that riverbank as a result of Army Corps of Engineers dredging in 1974, some feel that had no part and that the money was brought there naturally by the Columbia and its many tributaries, many of which run through the suspected landing zone.
Since in 1971 it was much easier to buy a plane ticket and get on a flight using an alias than it is today, we will never know if Dan Cooper was in fact Dan Cooper's real name. One of the men that the FBI interviewed in the immediate aftermath of the hijacking was a D.B. Cooper of Portland, who was never really a suspect but you know was going to get interviewed just because of his name. It was a mix-up in the media that led to Dan Cooper, the man on the plane, being known as D.B. Cooper. There have been several other suspects over time, and a couple of sort of copycat hijackings, but all the suspects have been acquitted or died before they could be found out and all of the subsequent hijackings have been solved or wrapped up in some way. Only D.B. Cooper has managed to evade capture. Only D.B. Cooper has been able to sort of live in infamy. And it all happened 38 years ago today. Well, not today. Yesterday. Pretty neat, huh?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Numb3rs

Numb3rs. That's the name of a show. It's the name of a good show actually. A show that I like. A show with the former Dr. Joel Fleischman in it. And Judd Hirsch. The problem though, is not with the show itself. It's with the name. It's a stupid name because they've put a 3 where the letter "e" should be because it sort of looks like a backward "E" and the retards at CBS thought they were being creative and cool. Well, they were not. They were just being fucking stupid.
Company, I cannot even begin to describe to you how much I hate it when people use numbers to replace letters or word, either because they sound like the word or they look vaguely like the letter. It is so unbelievably lame. There is no reason to ever do it, ever. None. It does not make you seem cool. It does not make you seem creative. It makes you seem a little bit lazy. It makes you seem like you should be wearing a helmet out in public. Or it makes you seem like a mega, raging-hard douchebag. Unless, of course you are one of those incompetent helmet people.
Like the movie Se7en? What the fuck does it have to do anything? I understand that is the word seven, I don't need the number dropped in there because it sort of looks like a "v" that was blown over and wrenched open by an Oklahoma tornado, okay? I would venture to guess that if I have mastered the complicated series of letters that makes up the word "seven" I would be at least casually familiar with the numeral.
2 Fast 2 Furious? Blow me. First of all, all the movies in that trilogy were terrible. I mean that. Truly awful in every way except that there were cars driving fast and a bunch of hot girls. Fine. But to name it that too seem cool? No, you seem lazy an illiterate. First you seem lazy because you have replaced two three-letter, one syllable words with numerals, which, by the way, aren't letters and don't count as words. There is a reason that every numeral has a spelled word to go with it. That's because numbers don't really belong in things like movie titles. Or words. The reason that it makes you seem like you are illiterate is because One.) You obviously have chosen numbers over simple words and Two.) I suspect you have done it because you were too stupid to choose between to, two, and too. Even now I bet you can't figure it out even though I have used all three CORRECTLY in the last sentence before listing them. We call those contextual clues.
Now, I am not talking about the many titles in which they use numerals to take the place of actual numbers. Gone in 60 Seconds? That's fine. 9 to 5? That's fine. 50 First Dates? Cool. Those are numbers actually replacing numbers. That is what they were designed to do, so that's okay. I wanted to do the numbers trick so you could see just how abhorrent it really is, but I couldn't bring myself to do it. How do you feel about that? 1t'5 n1c3 2 s33 13tt3r5 wh3r3 13tt3r5 6310ng.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Just Another Saturday

I don't know if you are aware of this, or if you remember this, Company, but I once officiated a wedding. Big Dave and Company was in its infancy then, and I wrote all about it. You can read that here. And here. Well, this past Saturday I was supposed to officiate another one. I got all ready to do so. I had my suit cleaned. I wrote some words in a book. I even made a call to a friendly local county clerk regarding the marriage license. I know, I am impressed with my grown-up-ness and level of preparation too. I was just determined that if something went awry it wouldn't be because of me. I don't want to ruin wedding day.
Unfortunately the wedding was canceled, and in an instant Wedding Day became Just Another Saturday. Well, I am sure that it wasn't just another Saturday for the poor families and people who were involved, I am sure it was a very different kind of Saturday for them. I am not going to go into the circumstances that led to the cancellation, even though I REALLY want to and I know that it would be golden, but regardless I just sort of can't imagine what those people are going through on this what was supposed to be a special day. (Editor's Note: I know that many of you know the circumstances behind the cancellation, Company, but out of respect if you try to tell the reasons in the comment it will be erased so don't bother.) I am sure that it wasn't just a great day.
For me though, the suddenly out of work even though I wasn't getting paid minister, it became just another Saturday, it was suddenly and unexpectedly and sort of happily free and wide open. And I have to admit, it was an awesome feeling. I love it. That sort of feeling that there are no obligations and all you have to do it whatever you want to do. It's neat. It's fun. It's liberating. I had a great day doing whatever I wanted to do. I would highly recommend it if you get the chance. And I would advise you to not waste it. Don't spend it doing chores. Don't spend it writing your thesis paper. You had that time budgeted for something and now it's just a blank slate, waiting to be created upon. It's like an unprecedented opportunity. So have at it. Enjoy. Do something for yourself. I mean, it's just another Saturday, right? Oh no, it's so much more.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Normally It's Bad When Your Daughter Ends Up On The Pole

I know that Sally will give me hell, and possibly disown me for this, but we need to talk about Miley Cyrus this week, Company. This past weekend I did some traveling and had the opportunity to see come magazines and TV shows that dealt with the entertainment industry. You know, those publications that have glossy photos of celebrities and those shows that get all up in arms when somebody like throws out an aluminum can instead of recycling it and all the sudden the world is coming to an end and that person is a communist who hates the environment and should never work in town again. So I was leafing through an admittedly older copy of one of those magazines and they were all up in arms about Billy Ray Cyrus and his sixteen-year-old daughter Miley, and the stuff she has been pulling.
Hmmm...how did we come so far from Disney World. The two things that everyone has been getting their leopard-print, thong-style underwear in a bundle over was her performance of her song "Party in the U.S.A." at the Teen Choice Awards, and her appearance on the beach with some guy.
Let's start with the beach, shall we? She was on some unidentified beach (I am sure that it was identified, I just didn't hear that part) with some guy and they were kissing. Okay, not so much kissing but making out. Playing tonsil hockey. Sharing bubble gum. Whatever you want to call it. It wasn't like trashy; they weren't groping each other in inappropriate ways or whatnot out in public. In fact, I don't even thing their hands were making a whole lot of contact with one another. If I am not mistaken the only point at which their bodies were touching was their mouths, like some sort of weird and unwieldy conjoined twins. The reason the TV people showing the video was that the anchorwoman or "reporter," and I use that term loosely, was able to count 1...2...3...4...5...6...7...8...9 during the time that the two crazy kids were making out. So I saw that and processed it through my brain and dwelled upon it for a minute longer and I thought..."What's the big deal about that?"
I mean, all sorts of kids make out. Hell, even I was making out at sixteen. It's not like they were groping, it's not like they were grinding on one another, it's not like there was heavy petting, it's not like they were trying to be exhibitionists...they were just kissing. I hate to break it to you Company, world, parents, whomever, but kissing is fun. It feels good. People like to do it, and last I checked teenagers were people too somewhere down beneath the attitude and excessive drama. So it stands to reason, as I check my logic textbook, that they would like it too. It seems to me that it was a case of two teenagers on the beach who kissed one another and liked it so they kept it up until one of them ran out of oxygen. No big deal. If this would have been a non-Miley Cyrus person it wouldn't have even registered on anyone's radar except for his, hers, and that creepy old guy who is always fully clothed on the beach just sort of looking around. That's it. The bottom line is that teenagers make out ALL THE TIME, in fact they spend 64% of their day doing it. I have a pie chart to prove it. So let's just settle down, she's just a teenager making out with her boyfriend. Please disburse, there is nothing to see here.
"No, no, no. She's obviously a whore. Did you see that performance she gave on the Teen Choice Awards? Have you seen that video" She shaking her hips around and there is a pole." Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know, just settle down. First of all Baby Boomer, Elvis shook his hips too and the world survived that just fine. I mean all that hip shaking ended up with him dead on a toilet in a sparkly onesie but that happens sometimes. As for Miley, yes, she has a "provocative" performance at the Teen Choice Awards that for about 16.4 seconds involved a pole that began at the floor and just sort of ended about ten feet above the stage. But your imaginations are running away from you, it wasn't that bad.
First of all, she didn't use the pole very much. Second of all, she didn't use the pole all that well. Now, I know this might astonish you, Company, and you might think less of me but I have been to the titty bar and I have seen what a properly trained and creative girl can do with a pole, and Miley wasn't doing any of that. She actually just sort of seemed to be holding on to it for balance. She certainly wasn't doing anything provocative with it. If anything that was one of the tamer moments of the dance. The dance that wasn't all that dangerous to begin with. Okay, okay. She was up there in a tight, skimpy outfit wiggling around. I don't know if you've been living under a rock, or if maybe you just don't want to be a part of your teenager's life, but that' how teenagers dance these days people. That's how they dress. That's just how it is.
I don't want to seem like the old fuddy duddy prude, but high school kids today are wearing things and doing things that they weren't doing when I was in high school, and that wasn't all that long ago. Wander down to any friendly local high school dance and take a peek at what you see going on. If you were surprised by Miley's dance you will be astonished, okay? If you feel creepy hanging out at a high school dance, go down to the friendly local high school basketball game and check out the routines that the dance team and/or cheerleaders perform at halftime. I would bet that their routine would make Miley's look like a nun doing the foxtrot. That is just how the world works: teens are provocative in the way they dress and the way they dance. And they aren't learning it from Miley.
No, she wasn't the first one. There was the same uproar when Britney did it at age 18, and then her little buddy X-tina did it like six months later. So now that Miley is 16, and dressing and dancing like a 16-year-old she is but happens to be doing it on stage on television we are going to run her up for it? We are going to question the ability and attitude of her parents? I mean, it seems to me she is doing alright. She passed a pretty good message generally with all her Hannah Montana stuff, about honesty and family and making a pile of cash, although that WAS all under the direction of the ghost of Walt Disney. But still, she's not pregnant and she's never been arrested, and those are two things that we can't say these days about a lot of 16-year-olds. I know that you are going to trot out the old argument that she is giving young and impressionable girls the wrong message, but Miley Cyrus isn't going to make your daughters wear short shorts and bear their midrifts and shake their ass, okay? MTV will take care of that (yes, I know, Miley is on MTV but bear with me). The mall will make her do that. Cosmo will make her do that.
The bottom line here Company is that everyone is all riled up about Miley Cyrus but she isn't the tip of the iceberg, she is firmly entrenched in the middle of it. She is not setting the trend she is just going along with it, oh, and making a pile of money and fame while not getting in a whole lot of trouble to boot. So settle. You don't blame one specific locust when everything gets destroyed, you blame the swarm. So let's not get all up on Miley, let's place the blame where it belongs: the culture. If we don't want our 16-year-olds shaking their hips and using strategically places poles to keep from balancing over while doing so and making out with boys at the beach, we need to stop making it cool. We need to stop making it okay. We have to replace every pole in the world with a pommel horse or something. We need to stop singing Summer Love, because that was about getting lucky at the beach. It's not here, it's us. So let's just settle down.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Fifteenth Annual John Madden Football Coaching Camp

Last weekend, I went to the fifteenth annual John Madden football coaching camp. Here, in honor of Adrianne, are eight things I learned:

1.) "You see, when the ball is set on the right hash mark, the part of the the field to the right of the ball is shorter than the part to the left. That's why they call that the short side of the field."

2.) "When you have a defensive player that is making tackles in the backfield, then the offense is probably going to lose yards on that play."

3.) "After the game, when you look at how your team did on fourth down, that will tell you how many times you turned the ball over on downs."

4.) "See, when you are scoring a lot more points than the other guys, your defense has to give up less points than you are scoring. That's how you win football games."

5.) "Oh yeah, it's great. It's like your normal turkey, except it's got seven legs. See, you've got a leg here, here, here, and here, and a leg here, here, and here."

6.) "The running back has to run in the hole, not here or here, because that's where the defenders are and you have to run away from the defenders."

7.) "Brett Favre."

8.) "Sometimes, when you can't tell if it's a first down or not, you have bring out a measurement. That's what Ed Hocchuli is doing right now."

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Girl in the Picture

I can't find the picture, and it makes me sad. The picture came out, prominently displayed on the front page of the newspaper website, and it was there for like two days. And since I check that particular website like, oh, I don't know, forty-six times a day, I saw it a lot. And so I thought about it a lot, and I am kicking myself right now, and I mean I am kicking myself hard, as if I were on the bottom of a European soccer riot, because I didn't write this while the picture was up or even have the good sense to get the picture for my own personal gain. I have searched for it; in fact I have spent many weeks searching for it with no success.
Anyway, the picture was of a girl in a winter coat loading a white trash bag into the back of a pickup truck with a capper. In the background there was an apartment building on which a couple of windows are busted with with that characteristic black smoke residue. The caption tells you that she is a college student moving her things out of her apartment building after it burned in the middle of the night. It goes on to explain that all of the smoke detectors in the building were working properly and that everyone inside was able to escape safely. That's the good news. The bad news is, however, that the building burned and several of the apartments were heavily damaged by smoke, water, and well fire.
Anyway, as I looked at that picture a half a dozen dozen times, I couldn't help but think about that girl in the picture, not so much for what she was doing when the shutters snapped on the camera but for what she had just gone through. The picture doesn't show that, the captions don't tell you what she had just experienced the night before, but that's okay, because my imagination is doing an awfully good job of filling in those moments. I mean, imagine it, okay? That young woman in the picture, picking up the pieces of her young life in a very ordinary sort of way (I don't think her apartment was one of the heavily damaged ones, it seemed like she had a lot of salvageable things left) when just the night before she was probably scared senseless. Imagine it, I am. In fact I can't stop. I see her being woken up in the middle of the night by the smoke detector. I can see the confusion as she shakes off the cobwebs and tries to figure out what is going on. I imagine her trying to make her way down a dark, smoke-filled hallway at 3 am while all around her scared and confused people are shouting and screaming and crying. I see her standing on the lawn, with scores of emergency vehicles parked out on the street, shivering as she watches the flames lick out the windows of her building. I see it all so vividly yet I can't seem to adequately put it into words.
I am no photographer or artist but I am pretty sure that would be classified as a pretty good picture, no? I mean, it was a simple picture of a girl loading bags into a truck, but look at all the images that came flooding to my mind. That's the power of a photograph. And a caption I guess; they kind of tag teamed me. So that was pretty cool. I wish that I could find the picture to see what would happen if you saw it but I am afraid that it is gone forever. That is bad because it was a powerful thing. It was powerful to me. And I am sure the event was powerful to her.

The Long War

Okay Company, this might be a little bit of a surprise to you, but I absolutely LOVE those Japanese guys who held out on little islands all throughout the Pacific fighting World War Two for years and years and years after the war actually ended.
Oh, you have no idea what I am talking about? Well let me give you a little background information, to bring you up to speed. See, the Pacific Ocean, although the world's largest, is dotted through most of its mid and western sections with thousands of tiny islands. Since the Pacific is so large (even today planes don't fly straight across it, they go around the edges or stop in places like Hawai'i, Samoa, or the like) these islands have always been of strategic importance. This became even more so during the Second World War as the United States and Japan fought on the Pacific front. The Japanese knew that these little islands held the key for the Americans to attack their homeland, and they also knew that they couldn't compete with the resources and weaponry of the Americans. So what they did was flood these tiny, remote, islands with superbly loyal soldiers and told them to fight and wait until replacements arrived or until they received other orders. The idea was that once it became clear which islands the Americans intended to use they could redeploy their resources in a more appropriate manner.
Good plan, Japan. Hey, that rhymed. Anyway, the problem was that the Japanese sort of forgot some of their soldiers on these islands. Well, maybe forgot isn't the appropriate word. Many of them, through many different sets of circumstances, were isolated on these islands for long periods of time. Now, most of them fought to the death, died of natural causes, or eventually were brought back home. But a few of them lasted for years, even decades, without knowing or acknowledging that the war was over.
Oh yeah. There were groups of people who lived for years, hidden and fighting in the dense Pacific jungles. There was one commune that lasted like twelve years by hunting, fishing, making coconut wine, building huts, etc. The best was one man who lasted for thirty years, long after the war ended, long after the Americans and Japanese had dropped leaflets advertising the end of the war onto his island, long after his parents had come to the island looking for him, long after the Japanese government declared him dead. Now that's a guy who is committed to the cause. At one point they knew he was there because the groups searching for him and trying to convince him to come out and stop fighting were leaving him gifts and he was leaving thank you notes. In the end, a Japanese student had to bring the soldiers former commanding officer to the island to order him to "surrender." To his own people. His army unit wasn't even in existence anymore, and his former commander was now a bookkeeper. Yeah, it took a bookkeeper to bring Gilligan in from the wild. When he came back he simply stated that he was ashamed to have come back alive.
I absolutely love these guys though, I can't get enough of them. I mean, I am not going to go out to the Pacific and root around for any surviving Japanese soldiers, but this truly fascinates me. I understand that a peculiar, at least to Western brains, idea of honor was deeply rooted in Japanese culture, but it seems to me that at one point your common sense sort of has to take over. When a Japanese man and woman in Bermuda shorts, glasses, and big hat carrying a Nikkon on a strap and wearing sandals is telling you that the war you are fighting, and your parents are standing there throwing out leaflets about the end of the war, that maybe would be a clue that something wasn't right here. But that's just me. They were told to fight until they heard otherwise. So that is what they kept doing. For years. After about two weeks of not hearing anything I would have been like "Fuck this shit, there are no chicks here and the food sucks." and I would have walked down to the beach to see what I could see. That is deep commitment.
In a way I am sort of in awe of these men and women - yes, there were women who did this too - because I am not sure I could be committed to that kind of thing for as long or as deeply as they were. Just look at the statements in the last paragraph. And they were showing like classic examples of a person in denial. Everything that was sent their way in order to convince them to give themselves up, that their battle was over, was met with some sort of skepticism. The leaflets that the thirty years guy's parents left for him had minor typographical errors. He decided that was a code form his parents that the leaflets were a hoax and he should stay in hiding. That's delusional behavior. That's the same logic that I use when I don't want to go to an event.
The stories are fascinating, and there is a little bit for everyone: The geographer, the historian, the sociologist, the archaeologist, the psychologist. The survivalist too I suppose. I can't give these guys enough respect and admiration for what they have done, but at the same time I just can't seem to shake my head at them quite enough. It's a strange dichotomy, I know. And somewhere on a idyllic tropical Pacific island I would like to think that there is a Japanese army soldier from World War Two who is not a successful businessman who owns a ferry or something, sitting with his feet in the sand and sipping a coconut-based drink, still loyal to the cause, still fighting the war. But doing so very covertly so as not to be discovered.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Common Cold in a Swine Flu World

Okay, Company, you know just how I feel about the swine flu these days. Yeah, that's right, I think it is ridiculous and blown out of proportion. So as one would imagine, I am not buying into the whole deal and I am most definitely NOT worrying about it. Not at all. Unfortunately, everyone else seem to be. Therefore, you can imagine just how things have been going for me in this swine flu - yes, I am calling it swing flu, I say fuck this H1N1 horseshit - crazed world since I have managed to catch my yearly common cold.
And it is a common cold. I have had no fever, not even a terrible amount of congestion in my nasal cavities or anything. I will admit that when I first caught this cold I totally misdiagnosed myself, and in fact I called it 100% wrong. I was fine when I woke up on whatever morning it was except for sinuses that were packed like someone was trying to put a weekend's worth of clothes in a half-day pack and I had this wicked sore throat, which was a direct consequence of the shit from my sinuses draining down into my belly all night long. So I got up and I went to work and did my thing; suffering through a sinus headache and even sore eyes as a result. No big deal, I am a trooper. The whole time people were asking about whether or not I had the flu, particularly the swine flu, and they all were like on high alert. They were all like a dog who has thought that they might have heard something out in the yard so they are like lying there with their ears cocked? They aren't sure but just in case they are listening extra intently. That is what all the people around me were like. They weren't sure that there was swine flu imminent, but God damn it there was somebody around who was a little stuffed up. I assuaged them by continually noting how I was only stuffed up in the sinuses and I was just fine because the rest of me felt alright.
That worked okay for about two days. Two days later my sinuses felt fine, but I was still noticeably stuffed up and now, there was a cough. Not the nastiest of coughs but it was there and it was unable to be missed. So now that it wasn't in my sinuses the alarm bells were going off among the germaphobes. Oh yeah. Especially since the people on the radio were talking about how the vast majority of swine flu victims didn't even know they had the swine flu because their body fought most of it off and so most of them thought they just had the common cold. And of course, like the moron that I am, I went around spreading that in an effort to put the swine flu panic to bed. Bold strategy, Big Dave, how'd that work out for you? Bad, it totally backfired, because when it became very apparent that I had the common cold, with no trace whatsoever of a fever or any aches, I might as well have been a leper.
That is what I felt like: a leper. Now, I can't really fault anyone, okay? I understand that nobody wants to get sick. Nobody wants to have the swine flu, and I don't want anyone to get the swine flu. I totally understand that maybe they would appreciate it if I didn't like lick their stuff or talk on their phones or breathe in their faces or drink out of their coffee cup. So yeah, that's common knowledge and common courtesy. That's fine. I understand that much. And I also understand that I need and deserve to take as much IF NOT MORE good natured teasing as I give out, and believe me I give out a lot. So that is fine, if they want to mess around with me in my ill state, I totally deserve that. 100% totally. I understand that too. So I am guessing that is what is going on. But sometimes...I wonder. I actually sort of think that they might have been serious. Like, I was half expecting them to pin me down and staple a mask to my face. I was fully expecting them to send me home.
I really don't know. I have a cold and everyone is freaking out because they think I have the swine flu. I sort of fell like the mole hill that everyone is making into a mountain. Maybe I am blowing this all out of proportion. Or maybe I am going to get them all back by licking all the doorknobs. No, I won't do that. And hopefully things will sort of settle down too once they all get their seasonal colds (which they will, everyone gets a cold somewhere along the way, right?). It all remains to be seen. Until then I will just keep on keeping on with my common cold in this swine flu world.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Checking In

Well Company, it's been awhile, so let's check in as to what is going on with some of our favorite friends of Big Dave and Company, shall we?

ChesseConey.com - Jessica has CheeseConey.com up and looking good. And I do mean good. Every time I visit her site I get hungry for a big plate of 5-way or a super messy chili cheese dog, which I will most likely be banned for calling it. Anyway, if there is something happening in the world of Cincinnati chili, or any of the things upon which it can be heaped, Jessica will be on it. Keep up the good work, Jessica!

Tard-blog.com - Now, I know that Tard-blog does not seem like it is a cool and politically correct thing to endorse, but I can't help it because it is hilarious. Unfortunately, the original writer for Tard-blog, the incomparable Riti Sped, has moved on in her life and the blog is still sort of spinning its wheels and looking for a new writer. The old stuff is still golden though, so check it out!

The Coach Blog - There has been nothing posted on The Coach Blog since November 30, 2007.

Living in Limbo...I. Go. Wild. - Not a lot coming from Banking Planes since she has gotten settled in with her new job in her new city. Good for her. All of us here at Big Dave and Company wish her nothing but the best!

The Bump Experiment - The week of the Bump Experiment has come and gone, and I noted it. Unfortunately the folks at The Bump Experiment did not. And still haven't. That can't be good. And I can't imagine that if the one who came up with it didn't have the time to note it, not many other people did either. I hope it was a success though; it was a good idea. Oh well. Maybe the folks at The Bump Experiment will let us know how it turned out sometime in the near future.

One Red Paperclip - Since Kyle MacDonald was able to trade his one red paperclip into a house in 2006, he has decided now to trade the house and sort of start again. It's not that he doesn't like or appreciate the house, in fact he seems to have a high reverence for the house and the town in which it sites, Kipling, Saskatchewan. He isn't sure yet what he wants to trade the house for, but he is open to suggestions. If you have something in mind go to his site and let him know. Good luck, Kyle!

Fake Interviews with Real Celebrities
- I should start a blog called "Real Interviews with Fake Celebrities" which is not far from what Big Dave and Company is to be honest. Anyway, Wendy is still plugging away on Twitter and on her other blog on Tumblr and is also probably pretty busy becoming famous. At least once that happens I can still say that I gave her her first award. Or at least close to her first.

Mind Junk - Not a whole lot of quantity coming out of Mink Junk lately, but that's okay. When we do get another list, it is always dead-on awesome. It consistently rates an eight. Out of eight, of course.

Oh, brother - New to our stable of blog friends. Check it out, it's good.

That's it for now. We will keep you updated as our friends keep us updated. Sound like a plan?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Hot Rocks Botox

Have you ever watched the kind of TV shows where they talk a lot about Hollywood celebrities and what they are doing or read those magazines that are on the rack by the checkout of your friendly local grocery store that are dedicated to Hollywood celebrities and everything they do? Well if you do or if you have I am sure that you aware of how Hollywood, with its emphasis on physical appearance and youth is always sort of trying to come up with new ways to stay young and look good, and those things always come around to the rest of the country and world via Paris, Moscow, Tokyo, and New York City. They have that thing where you eat like nothing but maple syrup and Thin Mints and it cleanses your colon and makes you thin, or like you wear this new type of jeans because the cut of the fabric and stitching make you look like you should be force fed a cheeseburger. And then there is of course Botox, which is one of the most moronic procedures in the history of man because you are injecting yourself with a toxin that the canning industry spends millions of dollars each year attempting to avoid injecting into yourself, all in the name of eradicating wrinkles that aren't so bad if you just deal with them in the right way anyway. But it's okay. There is hope out on the horizon. Because out in the canyons of Hollywood and Beverly Hills, behind the closed doors of the super expensive plastic surgeons, they are perfecting a new way to take care of those nasty wrinkles, which would make you look distinguished if you just left them.
It's kind of neat actually, because it allows people to get results that are similar to if Botox were applied but without all that nasty injecting yourself with deadly toxin. I mean, I know it's small amounts but seriously, if they told you that injecting yourself with small doses of the bubonic plague would help stop acne, you'd tell them to get bent, right? Anyway, this new method is just starting to become used in LA by all the posh folks from what I hear, and it involves putting rocks on your face.
Yes, rocks. But not just any rocks. They are this special type of rock called minaltic rock that only form under very specific conditions near areas of volcanic activity. This volcanic activity allow the rocks to be saturated with all types of minerals, and that's the key. Scientists, albeit scientists who have very misguided priorities, discovered that when heated to a very high level, not like to molten, but to high temperatures, those minerals will begin to dissolve and leak from the rocks. Lo and behold, if those minerals leech out of the rocks and onto your forehead or wherever, they have the effect of tightening one's skin and clearing out one's pores.
So this is how you do: you do to the doctor, you pay about eleventy billion dollars, and you go in and lie down in the chair. They take these special rocks, which can be found in different places around the world: there's a place in Idaho that has some, and a couple of places in Russia and Japan around the Ring of Fire where they have them, and they heat them up until they are at a temperature that is like one tick below what would give you a horrible, disfiguring burn. Then, they put them on whatever part you want tightened up and after a couple of minutes they take them off. Withing hours, after your skin has cooled down, you will look younger with less wrinkles and a better complexion. The treatments themselves only last about a half hour from walking in to the rocks being removed, and the effects will last for about a month before you have to go again.
As you can imagine, this treatment is really getting a lot of people excited, because it is a less invasive procedure than Botox but you get the same results, if not better. Apparently putting scalding hot rocks on your face is better than injecting yourself with poison, but I can't imagine it's THAT much better. Anyway, this new procedure is becoming popular and they are actually calling it Hot Rocks Botox. There is, however, one major problem. I totally made the whole thing up. From word one. The rocks. The minerals. The scientists. All of it. You have been reading this whole new thing and it is all a farce, a made up story that I concocted while I typed. See, while I was sitting on my couch earlier today, the phrase "Hot Rocks Botox" popped into my head so I just sort of ran with it. I thought that it was all pretty convincing, and I bet I even had you believing in it for a little bit. But it's all fake, all made up, all a figment of your imagination. Or my imagination to be more exact. Sorry. But you have to admit I got you pretty good.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

I Feel Shocked

In Dodgeball, one of the most ridiculously hilarious movies of all time, Cotton McKnight says "Average Joe's wins in a shocking upset!" to which his broadcast partner Pepper Brooks responds "I feel shocked!" I love that scene. Anyway, you know when I feel shocked? When I zap myself with electricity. Like, for example, when I am removing or installing a battery in my car or a bulldozer or something like that and I accidentally touch the wrench I am using to connect the terminals to the battery to the metal side of the vehicle and it sparks and shocks the hell out of me. That makes me feel shocked. Not that I've done it before, but electricity makes me feels shocked. And so it did to 60% of Brazil and 90% of Paraguay when the power went out last week.
Yeah, it just went out. No big deal, I hear you say. No big deal. Power goes out here all the time when there is a storm or when a squirrel climbs into a transformer or good old Uncle Earl has a couple too many and crashed the Taurus into an electric pole on his way home from the bar. It's no big deal, the power usually comes on in a couple of hours or so unless it's a big snowstorm or something. I can't imagine it was too big a deal.
But it was a big deal. A really big deal. Among the cities that were affected were Rio de Janiero and São Paulo which, oh, by the way, are two of the larges cities and metropolitan areas on the entire planet. You should go take a picture, it's really kind of stunning. There are some completely gorgeous pictures of the beach at Rio, but other than that the pictures are stunning in their silence. The only lights are those produced in white and red by the cars attempting to navigate the streets by headlight.
What is actually the most shocking about this incident is not that it happened, but how it shoved in our faces just how much the developed world relies on electricity. Think about it. When the power went out the subway trains stopped. People had to walk out of pitch-black tunnels to the stations. When the power went out the stoplights went out. Cars were getting into giant traffic jams at intersections. When the power went out the streetlights and phones went out. In Rio especially muggers took advantage, although it has been said that in Rio crime did not rise (doubt it) and in São Paulo crime actually dropped (doubt that too). When the power went out air conditioners stopped working. People flocked out into the streets on the hot spring night. No TV. No radio. No lights. No refrigeration. No cooking. None of it. The scope of just how many crucial things in our lives rely on electricity is never really clear until it is gone. Like it was gone in Brazil and Paraguay.
Now, the other astonishing, sorry, shocking, fact is that a country could have its infrastructure set up in a way that would allow something like this to happen. There should be backups and diversions and other ways of transforming power so that when a heavy rainstorm knocks out all three transmission lines that carry power away from your largest power source, which is what they claim happened in this situation, the grid can stay up and the lights can stay on. Especially when your country is going to host the World Cup in five years and the Summer Olympics in seven. Now granted, I know that something like this happened in the US and Canada in like the early 90s or so, maybe the 80s, but we learned from that and I am sure we weren't holding the results of those lessons back from the Brazilians had they asked about them. That being said, let's not ring them up on this, let's just see where they go from here. And let's thank the heavens and the engineers and the linemen that the power is still on.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday the 13th

So gang, it's Friday the 13th today, coming right on the heels of Halloween and Devil's Night and a very beautiful but very full moon, yet nobody has really mentioned so much as a peep. I am not exactly sure why that is. Normally people would go wild howling at the moon with Friday the 13th looming. I am wondering if maybe the generation that grew up with that movie realized that they have to get up in the morning and take the kids to soccer practice or start their shift down at Pizza and a Half. Perhaps they were just all "horrored" out with all the horror landmarks that have just passed us by. Could it be that they have just worn out their copies of the 80s horror standbys on VHS? Or maybe their Beta players have stopped working? Who knows!? I just know that I am kind of glad that no one is getting all riled up about this. Other wise I might have to go all psycho killer on everyone. Just like it was Friday the 13th.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The NBA Season

So...the National Basketball Association (NBA) season has begun and is in full swing, and I couldn't care less. Seriously. And to prove it, here is a list of things that I care about more than I care about the current NBA season, in no particular order.

- growing asparagus

- Chinese checkers

- the population of Amsterdam

- fried chicken

- my cholesterol

- how Funyons are made

- what happened to you today at work

- the square root of 491

- how to type accent marks on a PC

- Pink Floyd

- Daylight Savings Time in Australia

- how to break open a coconut

- The Hills

- fireworks

- Bill Clinton

- the price of a can of pears

- if the posters in my room are level

- Darfur

- Nicole Kidman

- 2009 third quarter profit for International Harvester

- paper jams in the copier

And that's just a small sampling of the things that I care about more than the 2009-2010 NBA season, or any season really except for 2000-2001. That one was pretty cool. Other then that, I don't care a whole lot. I actually care more about the nutritional value of broccoli. How do you feel about that, David Stern?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans Day

And so here we are, Company, and I don't have a lot to say today, I am sorry. There is not a lot to be said. I just want to say Happy Veterans Day to all of those amazing men and women in the Armed Forces all around the world. I can't even begin to describe the sacrafices they make or the feats that they manage on a daily basis. So thank you from the bottom of my heart to all those who are serving, who have served, and the families of those people. They go through unfathomable things as well while their loved ones are away. So, with our boys and our girls still on the job in Iraq, Afghanistan, and a hundred other places around the world, ensuring the safety and freedom of you and I, it is only appropriate that we take a moment or twelve to reflect on that they have done and what they continue to do. There is not a word in the English language that would allow me to adequately express the gratitude I feel for you and your sacrifice. So thank you for serving. And thank you to your families. Happy Vereran's Day. Here's to you!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald

34 years ago today, on the cold blue waters of Lake Superior, the Edmund Fitzgerald sank for disputed reasons to the very bottom in a ferocious November storm. On board were 29 sailors, boyfriends and sons and fathers and brothers and friends, etc. This was a shocking development to all of the people who sailed the lakes, worked hand in hand with the lakes, and lived around the lakes. The Edmund Fitzgerald, having been afloat for only 17 years, was the largest and most respected of the ships that plied the North American Great Lakes. Its sinking was similar in impact to that of the Titanic, except that no one has made a crappy movie about it.
There are differing accounts as to how the great ship went down; there are no survivors and no one actually witnessed the sinking. A nearby ship was in contact with the stricken Fitz as they made their way towards safety in Whitefish Bay at the far eastern end of the lake, and was even tracking it on its radar. When the blip disappeared there was nothing but silence. Of the many theories of how the boat was sunk, including the one that the Coast Guard eventually subscribed to. I've read the entire Coast Guard report on the sinking, it's long and dry and boring. But basically what they decided was that leaking hatch covers that were improperly latched down caused the boat to take on excess water in the 30+ ft seas that were occurring that night. The added weight of the water and the added weight of the now water-logged Minnesota iron ore pellets in its hold eventually drug the ship to the bottom, taking all those men with it.
The thing about the Edmund Fitzgerald and its sinking is that it is by far the most publicised of all the ships that have sunk on the Great Lakes, and believe me there are a lot. There are tons and tons of wrecks littering the bottom of the lakes; you can actually take tours and see them. There are lots of books written about them. Many, many men and women have lost their lives at the hands of these dangerous but beautiful and vital waterways. So while we remember those 29 souls as the bell from the Fitz rings 29 times in the Maritime Museum in Detroit, we should also take time to remember the other men and women who have sunk to a similar watery grave in similar or worse circumstances. Men and women, who like the crew of the Edmund Fitzgerald, gave their in service of creating a bigger and better society for us all. Take a moment of silence for it all please.

Monday, November 09, 2009

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

I think that it is important to note that today is the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. I know that the most famous pictures are those showing people hacking at the concrete barrier that separated East and West Berlin with sledge hammers and pick axes, but that is not how it all really went down. Basically, a Communist spokesman for the East German government only glanced at an official edict that he was to announce to the world, and when he was questioned on its meaning by members of the media in attendance at the press conference, he basically said that the gates were open to the West. When thousands and thousands of and thousands more East German citizens approached the gates, the soldiers guarding them simply opened them. They could have driven the people off, but they just decided to let them through. That says that it was time, that the two sides were ready to become one. And so it happened. It was like putting a hole in a dyke; pretty soon it was a flood. And once East German fell, the rest of the European communist world fell like dominoes behind it. So it was a pretty remarkable and important historical event. And it all went down exactly twenty years ago today. So happy anniversary reunited Germany!

Oil Change, Skinny Jeans, and Gas Cap

Let's take a minute to talk about Ford, shall we Company? I have to give a some props to the good old Ford Motor Company, as they are the only American auto maker who actually went ahead and cleaned up their own act and got their own house in order without having to be bailed out by the federal government like the gang was bailed out by Linus' mom in Ocean's Twelve. So they've been doing well, they are making a profit again mostly because they made a killing with the Cash for Clunkers deal, and all is happy in Dearborn. Great. Despite all of this rosy news at Ford however, there is a major problem still lingering with the company. And that problem is with their current commercials.
In the rare event that someone far out into the future is reading this, or maybe someone is reading this who does not watch TV, let me explain what these commercials are all about. They feature inevitably young and attractive people talking about their favorite features of their Ford vehicles. Pretty good in concept I would say. The problem, however, is that they have chosen the stupidest people that they could find I think, and quite frankly it just makes me half laugh and half want to stab the people in the spots.
First there is the girl, pitching her Ford Escape. She is wearing pink, and she appears to be about, oh...say 22 or so. Now, admittedly I may be biased, and I may be operating with some pre-existing prejudices and stereotypes, but I had this chick pegged the minute I saw this commercial. I am thinking "mommy and daddy bought their little Princess a new SUV before she went off to college." The reason I say this is because her first favorite thing out of her mouth is "I don't know when my oil needs to be changed." Hmmm...yeah, that's not good sweetheart. First of all, it has pretty much been beat into all of us that you should get your oil changed every 3000 miles. I mean, it's all over you really have to just sort of not paying attention in order to miss that one. Second, if you took the time to read your owners manual, which I am about 99.968% sure the girl in question did not do, it usually gives you a service schedule, including oil changes. I mean, I own a Ford and my owners manual tells me when to service and what to do. You know what else tells me when to change my oil? The little sticker up in the corner of my window that the oil change place puts up there, which I am sure your oil change place does as well because I know that you aren't changing your oil on your own. Yeah, you don't really deserve to drive a car that new, especially not one that will run a vehicle diagnostic on itself and send it to your e-mail or your phone. It's sad that is how you know when to change your oil. If it's that hard to figure out you should probably be riding the bus.
Oh, it gets better though. The girl, in her second commercial, talks about how her friends, who I would guess are equally stupid and annoying, love that she can change the color of her interior lighting, which she usually leaves as pink. Of course. I am not even going to touch that one because we all know how retarded that it. Especially since she wouldn't be able to tell you how many cylinders her little car has if you held a gun to her head and threatened to take away her phone.
Fast forward to the next commercial where a guy who spends way too much effort on his lame hair is going on about his Ford Flex crossover vehicle, which we all know is just a tarted up station wagon. Now, if you want to purchase a dumb car like that that is fine. But this commercial, like the ill-fated last one we just looked at, starts with the person in question saying something mind-numbingly stupid. "When I first bought this car, I didn't realize it had this keyless entry." Really? Honestly? I find that hard to believe, and sad once I start to believe it. Okay, how could one not know that? Maybe I am naive, maybe I am unusual, but I generally make sure that I know about the features of a car I am buying. In fact, when I recently purchased a new automobile I spent quite a lot of time comparing the options of the vehicles I was considering, and I knew exactly what options my car had when I first sat down to test drive it, so it is inconceivable to me that one could not know about the keyless entry feature. I mean, come on, on the Ford Flex it is a set of numbered keys right on the driver's door, right in front of your face EVERY SINGLE TIME YOU GET INTO THE CAR!
I would guess, however, that he did not notice the little buttons on the outside of his car door because he was too busy worrying about what he could wear. He notes that the keyless entry in neat because if you were wearing skinny jeans and you didn't have space in your pocket for your keys that was okay. Wow. Never mind about not losing your keys because you could leave them in your car, never mind about having your hands full or one of a million other reasons, you went with skinny jeans. I briefly considered that maybe you were talking about your girlfriend, or maybe trying to market your car to chicks, but then I came to the conclusion that no, no, you are just the type of guy who wears skinny jeans out and about. And that's okay if that is what you are into. But I wouldn't go on national worldwide television and talk about that. And I certainly wouldn't give that as my number one reason for liking my keyless entry that I didn't even really know I had.
So yeah, Ford, you've got problems with your commercials. Couple those two gems above with the one where the guy is all gushing over his lack of a gas cap (which, by the way, I don't know if you know this Ford, but as I recall, some places have emissions testing, and from what I recall of it the first thing they do at your emissions test is take your gas cap off, plug it into the bottom of a big hose, and test to make sure it seals. So how do you plan to get around that one? "Oh, we only sell that kind of car in places without emissions testing." Bold strategy, Ford, how's that one working out for you?) because that means he doesn't have to touch anything and his hands don't smell like gasoline. I was not aware that this was a big problem facing drivers today. Seems to me that gasoline evaporates pretty quickly and that one doesn't generally smell it on one's hands after filling up unless you like pour it straight out of the pump onto your hands for an extended period of time. But that's just me. So anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, between Oil Change, Skinny Jeans, and Gas Cap you have got some truly maddening and ridiculous commercials. I mean, you get an A for concept but not so much for the execution. I want to say F- but at least they make me giggle when I don't want to blow my face off. And at least I got a blog post out of them, right? Okay, D+ then for your commercials Ford.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Someone Get These Guys A Calendar

Company, I want you to go ahead and take a good look at the date that this post was posted, okay? Look at it, register it, and keep it in mind as you go ahead and read this post, please. I can't emphasise that enough.
Okay, now that that is over I can tell you my story. Yesterday, as I went about my business on an absolutely gorgeous Saturday, fully immersed in Indian Summer, I was making my way back into town and I approached a local park. It is a nice park, situated on the river with a pavilion and band shell and tennis courts and the whole nine yards. Unfortunately it is also rarely used, except by a group of stupid local teenagers who think they are super cool when they park their cars at the park and sit around acting like morons. Anyway, it is rarely used, especially at this time of the year, so when I saw a couple of cars parked there with doors and trunks and hatches open it naturally drew my eye.
"I wonder what is going on at the park today?" I thought to myself. The Worldwide Headquarters is located in a town that makes its living from tourism dollars, so there are lots and lots of festivals that occur here, and it is pretty normal for them to sneak up on me because, quite frankly, I do not pay attention. So I sort of thought there was some sort of festival going on at the park. As I got a little closer though I saw that it was a group of people erecting the towns Christmas decorations.
I cannot begin to tell you all the things that are wrong with this. First of all, it was like 62 degrees outside at the time, and since this is not the South or Hawai'i putting up Christmas decorations while wearing a T-shirt and sandals is just flat wrong. I am sorry, but it feels like sacrilege. There should be at least a chill in the air and preferably some snow on the ground before any decorations go up ANYWHERE.
Secondly, I hate to say this about my adopted hometown, but the Christmas decorations are a little bit gaudy in my mind. I mean, they are the usual stuff, Santa's workshop and reindeer and some candy canes, which are all well and good, but there are too many decorations and they sort of make the park look like one of those suburban front lawns where the father gets just a little bit too into setting up for the holiday. Not quite like Chevy Chase in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation but sort of trending in that direction. I mean, it would be okay if there was some thought and organization to the whole thing, but I don't really see how there is. The scene lies right along a major highway through town and the snowmobile trail and while it is okay like for the couple of weeks leading up to Christmas, it is just too much the rest of the time.
That leads me into my last point, and that is where all that remembering the date comes in. Ummm...it's fucking November 8, okay? And I saw them putting those decorations up YESTERDAY! That's just not right. A lot of towns do this and a lot of people do and every store does, but Christmas should not start on November 7. That's all there is to it. There is still a major American holiday coming up between now and Christmas that we should be focusing on. I know I have said this before here, in fact I am sure I have but I am just too lazy to go searching for it, but Christmas should not start until December 1. I can tolerate the day after Thanksgiving, that is fine. But on November 7 you can take your Christmas decorations and shove them up your ass. And the other thing, is that my town is really bad about taking them down. I mean, they shut the lights off in January, but the decorations stay up in the park until the snow starts to melt, which is ridiculous. That means that this year the Christmas decorations in town will be up for roughly five months. Now you can see how utterly stupid this really is. I will be the first one to wish you a Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays, but not until December 1.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Sifting Through the DVR

I came home from work today and decided to take a Wildcat day and just relax and watch Tv tonight. Since there was absolutely nothing appetizing on any of the eleventy billion or so channels that we got, so I turned to my DVR. Here is what I had to choose from:

Seconds From Disaster: Alpine Tsunami A strange pileup of coincidences creates a once-in-a-lifetime avalanche that buries an Austrian town in 1999, including a large part that scientists had declared safe. There was lots of footage and some cool interviews and even a miraculous survival that brought hope to everyone. This was the first thing that I watched.

Seconds From Disaster: 1972 Olympic Hostage Crisis Same series as above, this one featured a limping American man getting help reading German to determine what went wrong when the Germans tried and failed to rescue nine Israeli Olympic athletes taken hostage at the 1972 Summer Olympic Games in Munich by members of the Palestinian radical group Black September. He figured it out, and there were A LOT of things that went wrong with the whole operation. It was intensely interesting and I am sorry that I erased it when I was done because it will probably never come back around again.

The Universe: Science Fiction, Science Fact Astronomists and physicists and other scientists bitch about how Hollywood movies and science fiction books aren't realistic compared to what actually goes on in space. But they also get raging, mega-hard boners thinking about what it would be like if that stuff could really happen. And yeah, I totally watched it from start to finish.

The Universe: Strangest Things The same scientists from above examine the strangest phenomena in the universe, which is full of weird stuff. So this is like the proverbial cream of the crop. I didn't watch it but I will eventually. They talk about the same beer clouds that I did. Pretty cool, hey? Where is my Doctorate?

Top Gear Yeah, this is my favorite show. I am a slave to this show. I have a man crush on it, except that I get physically excited when it comes on so maybe it's more of a creepy obsession that I should get checked out by a professional. It does have a cult following around the world and while this episode it not one of my favorites I will still watch it when I want to. And I will want to.

Good Eats: The Once and Future Fish Alton Brown messes around with farm-grown trout. And then he probably cooks one or two. I love Good Eats because Alton doesn't just do stuff, he tells you why you have to do things. Having that deeper understanding, if you like take notes or have a good memory or watch time and time again, helps you be an infinitely better cook all around. That is because you learn the concepts behind it all. And you are entertained while doing it. Now that's good eats. Sorry Alton, I ripped off your catch phrase. I haven't watched this yet but I will eventually.

The League LOVE IT! This is the first episode of this new series on FX and I actually watched it a couple of days ago but saved it because it was THAT GOOD. Okay, it's wasn't that good overall, but it was perfect for a guy like me. Unfortunately, there aren't a lot of guys like me so I am sure it will go off the air in like sixty-four seconds. I am going to have to keep this thing saved for future re-consumption.

MacGyver: Phoenix Under Seige Ahhh...MacGyver. If you read this blog on even a semi-regular basis you know how I love MacGyver. In fact, season one of this show is the only season of any show that I own on DVD. So yeah, this is pretty serious. The Pheonix Foundation is under seige by someone. MacGyver saves the day. That is all you need to know. This hasn't been watched yet but will be eventually I assure you.

Tenacious D in: The Pick of Destiny Yeah, I really like Tenacious D but even this movie goes a bit far for my tastes sometimes. That being said, I did record it and I will watch it, I just have trouble committing two hours to lie in my bed while doing anything other than sleeping or, well, you know. So I haven't watched it yet. But pretty soon the mood will strike me and I will give it a go and laugh and feel bad but I will still laugh some more when I am done. I mean, it's Tenacious D, right?

So that is my DVR as of last night, which is pretty light I know. Usually there is more waiting for me to see but I have been doing a pretty good job of keeping it pared down so I have space to record other things that I might need to. I mean, that's what the DVR is all about, right? That and making sure I never miss any curling. HAHAHAHA! Happy viewing!

Friday, November 06, 2009

Wild Thoughts of a Temporary Insomniac

Company, have you ever had one of those nights when you just can't sleep because your brain just won't turn off? Like, your body is tired, your eyes want to be closed and you systems are shutting down and everything says "sleep, sleep, sleep" but your brain just won't turn off - it's going a mile a minute like a gerbil on one of those little exercise wheels who has just been given Red Bull in their bottle instead of water. Well, I was having one of those nights last night and I discovered that it is amazing what goes through one's mind while in that state.
First of all, I probably could have made it into sleep if I had really concentrated on it; the opportunity was there. But it passed and so I turned, rather unexpectedly, to an old way of falling asleep that I haven't tried in a long, long time, probably since before I moved the Worldwide Headquarters not this last time but the time before that. What I did was a time-honored method from my youth. I am going to share it with you now even though I know you will make fun of me later. That's okay, I can handle it. What I always used to do in order to try and fall asleep was to put on my CD player (now, read iPod) and listen to music, and I try to envision in my head what music video I would make for that song. I know, it sounds lame, but it is largely successful because it makes you focus on one thing and sort of lets ones excessive brain energy and creativity be put to work, and usually I would be asleep withing a half hour. Not so tonight, however. I put it on and started with some songs and it only compounded the problem.
See, for me, memories and people and events are often connected to music, and so as I started to envision the music videos for all these songs that were streaming through my headphones, I found myself envisioning all the same music videos that I did all those years and all those places ago. I saw the old places and all the old faces and suddenly I was on this train of thought that began to run away from me and get out of control very, very quickly.
First, I very suddenly and very deeply longed for the places and the things. I saw the beach that we used to go to to swim when I was in high school, which doesn't look the same and is impossibly crowded now, but there it was just like it used to be. Then I saw all my friends around one of our legendary in our own minds bonfires out in the woods to the bars to the football games to this and to that, at a million miles an hour through all the places and all their assorted faces. And I missed it all. So my thoughts turned to home, and how I was going to be there too, and how I wanted to call up my old friends from high school who are in the area and just have a drink or two and catch up.
That is when it struck me very heavily and very finally that I was grown up. That old impulse to go out and do things and make a night of it all wasn't gone, no, it most certainly is not, but it's definitely not lying as close to the surface as it used to be. Now I am here, looking forward to planting myself on a bar stool and drinking a liquor slowly on the rocks while chatting and catching up that five years ago I would have pounded while mixed with cola and trying to score. So sad. That came running though my head and that was it. I had to stop. I gave in, I got up, I turned on a light or two, I just admitted it. It's sad, but that is where my train was leading and I can't even imagine where it would have led next.
That, Company, is the scary thing about the temporary insomnia. It's kind of like Plinko on the Price is Right - you never know what path it is going to take and where you will end up. Tonight I could have ended up on the Mexican War, mentally balancing my checkbook, trying to remember the order of the streets in a town I don't live in anymore, explaining to myself why you should put mayo on a sandwich, or thinking way too much about who to pick in this weekend's NFL games. But no, tonight I was cursed with a sort of version of This Is Your Life, and I liked what I saw but was sad to have been seeing it in that context. Because I want to go back to that stuff so badly but I am old enough to know not to try because I wouldn't be the same. So I guess what I need to do is go ahead and make new memories in a new, sort of grown up way. Wow, I am glad that I have that all figured out. Now, if I could only get some sleep out of this whole deal...

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Susie, Susie Q, Where Are You?: Update

It is funny how these things come around, but I happened to talk to someone who talked to Susie Q the other day and I guess that she is still in Florida and is doing just fine. She even has a gentleman caller. So party on Susie Q! Party on Karma!

Susie, Susie Q, Where Are You?

I have been having a lot of wonderings lately. Like, I have been wondering all sorts of stuff. Most of these sort of random wonderings have been fleeting, like I have them and I do my best to hold on to them and then WHAM! they are gone off to somewhere like a bird that just flew out the window and is now hiding somewhere out in the neighborhood. Well, there has been one that has just sort of stuck around without leaving. It came when I saw a name on a screen at bowling. Then it sort of went away. Then I saw a face at a restaurant today and it came flying back like an out of control paraglider sailing towards a tiki bar at a Costa Rican beach resort. And that wondering was this:

Susie, Susie Q, Where are you?

Yeah, when you read that you should have immediately kicked into the theme music from Scooby Doo. That was intentional. I was thinking it when I typed it into my keyboard. I have been thinking it since I saw that name. I sang it in my head the whole time that I saw that lady's face. But Susie Q, I do wonder where are you. Long, long ago we parted ways as you went off to the sunny sunniness of Florida. Then, a short time later I moved off from the Frozen Tundra to another Frozen Tundra in a different place. Are you in Florida still? Are you in Maryland? I sort of have a feeling you might be living in Maryland or Virginia or California or somewhere ending in Carolina or maybe in Colorado or somewhere like that. I wonder, I just wonder.
What are you doing with yourself? Have you been out on a boat in the ocean? Maybe you parasailed like the the guy in the analogy above. Have you gotten lost in a bad part of town? I can totally imagine that, especially after the railroad track incident. I hope you have made new friends, some people to share your legendary stories with? I just want to know, I am seriously wondering about all these things.
How about your grandchildren. I know that is why you went. How are they? Are they growing up as quickly as I think that they are? I bet they are just little balls of energy and they just wear you out every day. My niece does that to me and I only see her for like a day or two at a time. She is cute though, they all are.
So I wonder about all of these things. I wish I could get some answers, from you, from someone else, from fate, from whomever. Enquiring minds want to know, you know? So send me a sign, Susie Q, as to what you are up to, or else that Scooby Doo song will never get out of my head.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

I Think That I Am Getting Screwed On This Whole Swine Flu Thing

So, I don't know if you have been living under a rock lately or what, Company, but everybody in around the world seems to be all worked up about the Swine Flu. Sorry, H1N1 Virus, which is what we are supposed to call the swine flu these days because calling swine flu I don't know, is offensive to the flu virus or something? I am not sure, but I am going to call it swine flu because I want to and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) probably doesn't even read Big Dave and Company so they are never going to know.
Anyway, the swine flu is big in the news, mainly because everyone who thinks that maybe one person has it in their institution, mainly schools, is freaking out and closing down for days at a time. This school was closed Friday because of flu-like symptoms. That school is closed until next Wednesday because of flu-like symptoms. Two towns over they've locked to doors and won't even let the janitors come in and spray some disinfectant. It's big, and it is spreading everywhere. Just this morning The Weather Channel pasted a big map up on my TV screen informing me that the flu is epidemic in every state except South Carolina, which leads one to maybe think that is the last bastion of common sense in America, but then you realize that it is South Carolina and there is no way that is true.
I am sorry, I keep getting off track. The point here is that lots of schools and day care facilities and prison work camps have been closing because of the ubiquitous "flu-like symptoms" which is a vague enough term that it really doesn't mean shit, that there are all sorts of munchkins who are at home or roaming the streets or whatever because they aren't in school. So I guess my question is this: Where the hell was this swine flu when I was a kid?
Yeah, I mean, we didn't get super long extended weekends for "flu-like symptoms" when I was a little tyke. We just toughed it out and went to class with some extra tissues and whatnot. Or maybe an extra set of mittens so once our first pair were all nasty from wiping away the snot with the back of our hands on the playground we could have a clean set to keep our hands warm. There was none of this "Due to an unusually high number of absences due to flu-like symptoms, and in accordance with the Dingleberry County Department of Health and Public Welfare, the Turdburglar Area Unified School District is closing its schools and offices until Thursday, Novemember 12, 2009. Oh, and by the way, we are forfeiting all of our athletic games, including the state championship game in girls volleyball. Thank you."
No. NO NO NO NO NO! That is messed up. First of all, does anyone know how long it takes for the powers that be to actually confirm a case of the swine flu? It takes weeks. Weeks and weeks, so once we know you had it, it's already gone. Second, was anyone listening when national health officials came on the radio and said that most of us probably had the swine flu but it was so moderate that most of us thought it was just a bad cold? Oh yeah, that happened. They came out and said it right over my car radio, which means that it went into other people's radios too because I would be astonished if I was the only person listening to the particular station at that particular time. So yeah, most of us had it and we came out just fine. So if most of us had it and came out fine, and we won't know we had it for like two months anyway, why is it that we have to close all of our schools when people start to get runny noses and a chest cough? Is it because of the regular seasonal influenza?
Well it better not fucking be because of the regular seasonal influenza, because then I would be pissed off. Like, super pissed off. The reason is that, if I am not mistaken, the regular seasonal influenza has been with us for, oh, say, eleventy billion years, and there was never any reason before now to worry about it. Kids at school got it every year, you just let them stay home sick and soldier on. Maybe you wash your hands a little bit extra here and there, no big deal. You didn't close down the entire school system, all the government offices, most of the downtown businesses, the bus depot, sixteen restaurants, and the sawmill just because some people were sick. No, that just wasn't how it worked? So why is that how it works now? It makes no sense to me at all. If the same stuff we were getting back then is all the sudden bad enough that we have to keep everyone away from everyone else, then I am pretty sure I got screwed out of a lot of "flu-like symptom" days when I was a kid.
Yeah, that is what I am saying. I think the school system and the health department owes be about a weeks worth of days off that I am forced to take against my will. So...let's go. I won't even charge you interest. Since I don't live in the town where I grew up anymore, and I obviously don't attend any of the schools I attended growing up anymore, I suppose then the onus is on the health department to hook me up. So let's get on with it. I am not getting any younger or less relaxed having to sit at my desk here, people. Close my office for the rest of the week, with pay because I want to come in but you just won't let me. That is the only fair response to this problem that I can think of. Because I want to work and you shouldn't be letting me. Just like when I was a kid I didn't want to go to school but you forced me to anyhow.