Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Deck the Halls

    I read a lot of newspapers - or at least their online equivalents - and one theme that I constantly notice is this unfound overreaction to just about everything.  For instance, someone nails a sign to a post that says "road closed" even though the road is clearly open, and the authorities jump down on them with two feet.  Pretty soon the prankster is in court and then jail or a stiff fine.  That kind of stuff.  Or like out in Portland where those kids got in hot water for selling lemonade from some government types before sanity prevailed.  Well up in Boston there is a little bit of a situation that is going on that had the potential to become the same thing, but ended up the way it should have.
    I am going to lay this out for you in a little bit of an awkward way today, Company, because I think it merits it.  Usually I would give you the story and then some thoughts, but I want to sort of reveal my thoughts to you as they came to me as I read this article which originated in the Boston Globe.  I first read the headline "Christmas message at Boston subway stop makes riders smile, but transit bosses not amused" and I groaned out loud.  Immediately upon seeing that I went to this thought: I bet someone saw a Christmas message on the subway and got all bent out of shape because there is a separation of church and state and that violates it and someone will be offended because they don't celebrate Christmas and choose to celebrate some other holiday and how could the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority allow such a thing and only choose to promote one religion over another and I need to raise a big stink about this RIGHT NOW!
     So that is why I was groaning, because from reading that headline it seemed to me that this situation was ripe for overreaction.  Either some rider on the subway would flip out or the higher ups at the Transportation Authority would overreact because someone might take offense, even if most of the riders seemed to like it.  In fact, a paragraph or two in said that officials with the Transportation Authority had initially said that the dispatcher who programmed an electronic message board to display the lyrics of the song "Deck the Halls" could be severely punished.  And he could have been.  And, unfortunately in a lot of instances he would have been because people tend to get a little crazy when things like this happen.
      But fortunately this was not like a lot of instances.  On December 27, Massachusetts State Transportation Secretary Richard Davey told the Globe that any punishment would be light, possible even as light as a reminder that signs must only be used for their intended purpose.  He went on to say that the purpetrator is good employee and has worked for the Transit Authority for a long time, and that he meant well.  Usually those sorts of things don't really matter in an issue like this, but they should.  And in this case it seems they did.
     The guy who did this will get a slap on the wrist, as well he should, because it was essentially a victimless prank.  Unless of course the victim is the fact that the No. 7 train is running 4 mins late.  It is really refreshing to me to see a situation where the authorities have responded with the appropriate amount of reaction for the situation.  It really is a magical season, isn't it?

Monday, December 26, 2011

Black Friday Reduex

     I know that it is not Friday, Company.  I understand that.  I can see very plainly on the calendar that it is Monday, and a little earlier today it was Monday morning.  But now it is afternoon.  Anyway, the reason that it matters that it is Monday as opposed to Friday is because today really should be a Friday, because right now it is Black Friday all over again at all sorts of stores.
     Sort of.  It is missing all the hype that the Black Friday that is right after Thanksgiving gets, and all the stores aren't opening at some unGodly time of the morning.  But the deals are all there, and in some cases there are deals that eclipse what was going on about a month ago or so.  And all the craziness is there too, believe me.
This is what today is becoming all about.
     There are people out there in the world who - despite being Western Christians - have not celebrated Christmas yet.  They have not done it because the members of the family are scattered across the country.  They have not done it because they have an old calendar.  They have not done it because they are waiting until the after Christmas sales in order to save a lot of money on Christmas presents.  And no, I am not joking.
     So as you can see the craziness is out there in full bloom with this particular shopping phenomenon, despite the fact that the reasons for the event are far different.  In November, the stores are all trying to make a buck in advance of the holiday season, and give people are reason to go outside when it is really cloudy and no one wants to leave the house.  But the day after Christmas is a totally different ball of wax.  Remember all that shit that the stores brought in for you to buy on Black Friday?  Well they had to buy it, and you didn't buy all of what they forked over for, so today they are trying to get rid of it all while simultaneously squeezing every available penny out of your pocketbook.  They also know that you just got a check for $50 from your grandmother for the holidays.
     So go out and spend it, because in this case everybody wins.  You get great deals on some shit that you didn't really want in the first place because otherwise you would have bought it sometime in the last month, and they get rid of their surplus inventory that is stacking up in the back.  They make a little extra money and you suddenly have an ice scraper in your garage even though you live in southern Missouri and the ice usually melts the next day.  In this case you get stuff you don't need, instead of on Black Friday when you bought stuff for other people.  But it is just as bad.  'Tis the season.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

     Well it is Christmas morning and we just want to wish you and yours a Merry Christmas.  If you don't celebrate Christmas well then that is just fine.  In that case, please go ahead and disregard the previous salutation and happy whatever it is you celebrate.  All of us here at the Worldwide Headquarters (and that isn't many of us, since this is one of the few holidays in which we let the Unpaid Interns out to see their families or contact the authorities) hope that you are in the process of having a wonderful holiday.  We are just getting ready to sit down to a large, multi-course Christmas feast under the mistletoe and right next to the tree, so we will see you again tomorrow. Happy Holidays everyone!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Movies They Should Have Made

     So I am lying here on the couch watching a movie titled Santa Claus Conquers the Martians and it be blunt...terrible.  No wait, super terrible.  But it has sort of inspired me to think of some other awesome Christmas movies that should have been made:

Santa Claus vs. the Devil - Santa fights the Devil with the help of some earnest young children, thereby saving Christmas and putting everyone on his "nice" list.

KISS Saves Santa - This is the movie that Peter Griffin loves to watch in Family Guy, in which KISS saves Santa from some sort of dinosaur.  I sort of wish they would actually make this movie some day.

KISS Saves Santa and the Martians from the Devil - Sort of a hybrid of the three movies that we have already talked about.  Santa has expanded his toy-giving mission to the children of Mars, except he has cleverly chosen for their Christmas Day to fall in late June.  He is there delivering his presents when a terrible race of dinosaurs - angry about being beamed to Mars from Earth by the Martians million of years ago just to be places in zoos - erupts from Olympus Mons and begins to terrorize the whole planet.  KISS comes to the rescue and is able to defeat the evil dinosaurs with nothing more than the power of Gene Simmons' tongue.  They then send in the KISS Army to help rebuild Santa's workshop and manufacture all the toys for the Martian Christmas in one night.

Rush Hour 4: Christmas Rush - Santa teams up with Chris Tucker to defeat the Russian mafia, who are holding Jackie Chan hostage on a monestary island in Kowloon Harbor.  Unlike Tucker, Santa can perfectly understand the words that are coming out of Jackie Chan's mouth.  Tucker shoots people, Jackie Chan uses martial arts, and Santa throws toy soldiers through peoples faces.  He also chokes a guy with the zip cord on his toy sack.

Indiana Jones and the Tomb of the Gods - Set in the late 1930s, Indiana Jones discovers that the body of Christ has been preserved for all eternity deep under a pyramid that rises from a plain in India, which is also Santa's original workshop.  It is being guarded by Nazis intent on exploiting the body by using Jesus' DNA to help purify the Nordic German race.  Tired of years of working at the North Pole, Santa teams up with Indiana Jones to defeat the Nazis by tricking them into not covering their ears when God speaks so their heads explode.  He then gives coal to all of their children.

Field of Dreams 2 - Children build a football field in the middle of a Christmas tree farm because some narrator from upon high has told them that if they build a giant stadium the NFL will award their city the Super Bowl in 2016.  Once they build the basic field, football players from the past begin to emerge from the trees to take part in some sort of ghostly game.  Right before game time Santa arrives in his sleigh to play quaterback for the home team.  He throws for 426 yards, 3 touchdown, and 1 interception, but still needs a last minute drive to win.  Barry Sanders scores the winning touchdown for the home team and when he spikes the ball all the thousands of Christmas trees in the farm around the field instantly become lit with Christmas lights. 

Church of Santatology - Santa and Samuel L. Jackson work together to infiltrate the Church of Scientology and teach all of the celebrities the true meaning of Christmas.  The epic scene occurs at the end when Santa has to defeat the embalmed zombie body of L. Ron Hubbard using nothing but hand-to-hand combat.  He ultimately defeats the zombie Hubbard by stuffing his Santa hat down the zombie's throat then stabbing him with the sharpened femur of zombie Joseph Smith, who has been killed in a vicious knife fight with Samuel L. Jackson.  This film will have to rated R.  For ridiculous.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Lite

     So, Company, I got a phone call from one Officer Butt Hansen the other day, and he acutely informed me that he hadn't heard from any of us here at the Worldwide Headquarters for some time.  A quick check of the facts showed us all that he was - as always - totally correct.  It has been exactly two weeks since we have taken the time out of our busy schedules to sit down and write a little bit of something to you.  And that is just wrong. (This sounds a lot like us apologizing to you two weeks ago, doesn't it?)  Anyway, we were out of commission because of some renovations in the WWHQ, but now we are back, and getting ready for the Christmas season.
       And I am a little worried about the Christmas season, Company.  I really am.  This is going to sound really confused and sort of warped because I have spent so much time railing against Christmas and its commercialization, but this year it seems that people have taken a step back from the overwhelming nature of Christmas, and it is sort of creeping me out.
     I know, I know, I know.  "That's messed up" you are saying, because I am always bitching about Christmas.  But this is one of those situations where I am sort of glad something is missing but it unnerves me.  For instance: Let's just say that since you bought your home your neighbor has had a 1984 Chevrolet Camaro Berlinetta sitting up on blocks half covered with a sheet on the side of his house.  And over time he has been piling shit on top of it, and you hate it.  It is ugly, it is an eyesore, and you seriously doubt that he is ever going to get it running again because he is too busy drinking Coors Light and watching the NFL Network while eating Buffalo Wings.  So it goes.  Then, one day you came back from a long weekend in the Poconos and it is gone.  You are glad to have it out of your life, but it is a little disconcerting because over the years it sort of became a part of the landscape.  So it's gone and you are happy but it's just a little strange.  Well that is how I am feeling today because there are some usual parts of Christmas that are just sort of missing.
     First of all is the music.  I flipped on the friendly local radio station today that normally is in full Christmas music mode by this time of the year, and they were playing...not Christmas music.  unless you consider "San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in your Hair)" Christmas music, which I guess I really don't.  Then I sort of thought about it and I realized that while I was shopping the other day I didn't hear a whole lot in the way of Christmas music either.  I was wandering around Kohl's and they were playing their usual strange pup music.  Nothing Christmas-y at all, and to be honest there wasn't a lot of Christmas stuff represented in the store at all beyond the tons and tons of employees working checkouts and the wrapping paper display in the middle of an isle.
Unfortunately this type of display seems to be rare this
year - thank God.
     The other thing that seems to me to be missing are Christmas lights.  Yeah, Christmas lights.  Our town put up its usual Christmas lights display back around Halloween time, and some of the other smaller towns have their decorations up on the light and flag poles.  But there seems to be a real dearth of Christmas lights on normal, everyday homes.  I understand that every year there are a fair number of homes that have no decoration or anything, and there are still many homes with trees lit up in their windows, but I am sort of used to seeing a few homes with an obnoxoius amount of Christmas lights up and then a lot of homes with small but tasteful displays.  Maybe just a string or two run along the eaves.  Those types of displays are conspicuously absent from the scene this year and I am not sure why.  Especially since we had a rather mild November in this part of the world.
      So what is the deal with all of that?  I know it sounds like I am but I am really not complaining.  Christmas hasn't been oppressive this year like it often is, and it is sort of refreshing.  But it is noticable in its lack of ridiculousness.  I don't know if the state of affairs have people out of the Christmas spirit, or maybe if it just became too much to bear.  I just don't know.  But it is almost like Christmas lite out there, and I kind of like it.  And I hope that you do too.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

The Sound of Music

      Hello there, Company.  I know that it has been a criminally long time and for that I apologize, but I haven't forgotten about you.  I am here today to talk about musicals.  You know musicals, those plays in which everyone busts out into song at random times.  I always thought that plays were supposed to be about real life situations, but I don't know many real life situations in which people walking around downtown or in a giant office full of cubicles just spontaniously bust into song for no reason.  It is not like the office is going to break into a song-and-dance routine because Becky just went into the office with Mr. Harrison and they closed the doors.  Gossip and heresay is done with whispers, not songs - everybody knows that.
     And then there's Cats.  Thank God that piece of crap isn't around anymore.  That was a musical, right?  And that is super unrealistic too.  I know cats, there are cats in my home, and I can tell you that they don't sing at all.  The one is mostly silent and the other one walks around making sounds like someone plucking a rusty banjo.  Either that or she sort of sounds like the sound board from Super Mario Brothers or something.  But whatever cats sound like, I can assure you that they do not sound like singing and dancing, okay?
     But on to the point.  The point today is that I heard an ad on the radio this morning on my way into the Worldwide Headquarters for A Christmas Story: The Musical and I thought to myself...they will turn anything into a musical these days, won't they?
     Really?  A Christmas Story?  What is with that?  How is that going to work?  How do you sing a song when your tongue is frozen to a flagpole?  That just doesn't work - the word will come out all mumbled and jumbled up.  It is ridiculous.  And the actors will get all sweaty wearing all those winter coats under those hot stage lights.  And how are you going to light the entire stage with just that one leg lamp?  There are all sorts of logistical issues with this.  And I know that lots of people love that movie and that it is a holiday classic, but that is because you can sit bundled up in your house on a cold winter day and watch it on continuous loop on TBS while drinking cocoa.  I am not sure that it would have the same charm if you have to bundle up, scrape the car, drive downtown, go into the theater, be packed in like sardines, pay an arm and a leg, etc. etc. in order to see it.  Some things are loved as classics because they haven't changed in years, and A Christmas Story is one of those things.  At least in my opinion it is.
     One of the friendly local high schools around here did a musical version of the movie Dirty, Rotten Scoundrels and that sort of threw me for a loop.  Out of all the movies made since about 1980 that I had on my list as potential musicals, that was pretty far down there right near Uncle Buck and Schindler's List and Biodome and anything with a Wayans brother in it.  But there it was, with all the characters spelled out and a list of high school kids who were going to be in it (Marilla and Lindsey L and Linsdey M and Heidi and Brittany and Morgan and Cheyenne and Kayla and Rainee and Keedra and Dylan) plain out there for everyone to see.  I almost went to see it just out of sheer morbid curiosity, not so much because I thought it would be good.
      So there it is, apparently somewhere along the way everything went up for grabs and can now be turned into a musical.  Next weekend I am going to see A&P: The Musial about a grocery store and all the foods found there, and Tuesday premiers House: The Musical based on the hit show on Fox.  I bet you didn't even know High Laurie could sing, did you?  And he has to dance with that cane.  Listen, Company and world, here is the deal: Just because Disney and now Fox has successfully turned high school into a series of musicals, doesn't mean everything works.  Or maybe it does.  Rocky: The Musical comes out next month. 

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

The Annviersary of the Bombing of Pearl Harbor

     Today is the 70th Anniversary of the Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor, which was THE defining event of that generation.  For those of you who are a little younger and reading this, it would be to them what 9/11 has become for us.  The folks who were stationed in that tropical paradise in the early morning hours of December 7, 1941 had no idea the hell that was about to descend upon them, and even when the invading planes were picked up on radar they failed to identify them for what they really were.  And even as the first bombs began to drop, I am sure that on one in the immediate vicinity realized where the events of that day would lead the nation.
     What was born of that day, that place, and that event, aside from the ravages of World War II, were countless and unbelieveable acts of heroism and selflessness, many that have been documented over the years, and many that were known only to those involved.  And so even though every year the group that gathers to remember on at the memorial that is perched on top of the USS Arizona gets a little smaller and a little older, the significance of the event does not and should not ever fade.  Take a moment today to reflect on what it must have been like, and to honor those who gave their lives in that very first of the battles of one of the greatest wars of all time.  Happy Anniversary to Pearl Harbor, and thank you to all those who were there.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Day Under Attack

      I was talking on the phone yesterday to to Guy H, of Sand River, MI and he said "Nobody cares about Thanksgiving anymore" and to be honest I had a really hard time refuting that.  In fact, my only response was that I still cared about Thanksgiving, and he made note that there were now three people he knew that cared about the holiday.  I thought about that for a long time yesterday while I was painting, and I thought about it more in the evening, and then I slept on it all night long and thought about it more this morning while I desperately searched for a broadcast TV channel that wasn't showing the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and the more I think about it and the harder I try, I just still can't refute it.  As far as I can see, there are a myriad of reasons for this, and I am going to lay them out for you right here, right now, on Thanksgiving Day, 2011.
     I want to start with the NFL.  The NFL has done a part of the killing of Thanksgiving by adding another football game to the spate.  I know, this sounds stupid, but it is very representative of one of the reasons why the holiday is being slowly pounded into the Earth.  The NFL had for years had two games on Thanksgiving Day - one in Detroit featuring the Detroit Lions and one in Dallas featuring the Dallas Cowboys.  This has produced a number of memorable games, from the Lions sacking Bart Starr fourteen times and destroying the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers' unbeaten season in 1968 at Tigers Stadium, or Dallas and Miami playing 18 years ago in the snow in Dallas when they had to keep coming out and shoveling off the yard lines so the game could go on.  But somewhere along the way the No Fun League started its own TV network, and the realized that there was a lot of money in having those games in Detroit and Dallas on Thanksgiving Day, so they just took a slice out of tradition by scheduling a third game - in the evening - in a random city every year, to be aired on their own network in order to get a piece of the Thanksgiving football windfall pie.  That chipping the away of the tradition was the first chink in the armor that was protecting Thanksgiving.
     And Thanksgiving always had a sort of weak leg to stand on anyway.  It was built around some very important things - thankfullness and turkey and family - and the football was always an important part of the tradition, but there were still a lot of things that sort of worked against it.  First was that it is on a Thursday, and many businesses don't give their employees Friday off, so they either have to take time off to go travel or they just don't travel at all.  So sometimes it gets just brushed aside.  Second, at least where I come from, Thanksgiving often gets run over by deer hunting season.  Legions of men and women and teenagers and pre-teens are away at hunting camp, and often times the are there on Thanksgiving.  Or they go out after dinner up at grandma's and try to bag a deer up there.  And so on and so forth.  So there have always been some things that have been working against the holiday.  But they always lived in a sort of stasis with the family and the turkey and whatnot.  But now the forces against it are piling up.
     The biggest reason is that Christmas has taken it over, like the suburbs of a major American city swallowing up a small farming town as they march every progressively outward.  Thanksgiving is almost gone.  Somewhere along the way Thanksgiving became not a day to give thanks for things that we have and the people that we know, it became the starting gun for Christmas.  KA-BOOM! and we are off.  Just think about it.  Tomorrow radio stations across the nation will begin to play nothing but Christmas music.  Many people across the nation have a long weekend - just like I do - and if they haven't traveled to grandma's house for the holiday (which, don't get me started - but I live in a small town where lots of people retire, and so there are lots and lots of grandmas, which means this weekend my town is full of suburbanites in SUV's toting very disinterested teenagers and clogging up the streets and stores and just generally making me very, very annoyed) then there is a pretty good chance that they are going to be spending the day putting up Christmas decorations - which is something I refuse to do.  And, of course, it is the day when shopping starts in earnest.
I think these people are idiots who are destroying Thanksgiving.
      Oh the shopping.  That is the second reason that Thanksgiving is gone.  In fact, the stores and retail businesses of the nation are what is killing Thanksgiving, they are like the grim reaper coming to slash the holiday to bits with a 57" LCD flat-screen TV for $419 between 5 am and 10 am Friday morning, limit one per customer, only three per location available.  I can remember somewhere back in the day when Black Friday was the day that the stock market crashed in 1929 that kicked off the Great Depression.  Oh there were still good deals on Fridays, but somewhere along the way the stores got wind of this and turned it into a monster of consumerism - something that became the poster child for why the rest of the world hates America.  They rechristened it Black Friday (which Yahoo! this week proclaimed had stretched into Black Week) and hit the ground running.  Now the commericals and news articles begin sometime around November first, talking not about Thanksgiving but the day after, when people are going to get up at hours of the morning that they haven't seen since a Saturday night in college to go buy things that we don't really want or need.
     This year, the stores have decided to put the nail in the proverbial coffin of Thanksgiving by actually starting the gross orgy of consumerism on that day itself.  Toys-R-Us is leading the charge by opening at 9 pm on Thanksgiving night, with some other stores like Wal-Mart, which is sort of an exception because they are mostly open 24 hours anyway, coming right behind at 10.  Then a spate of them open at midnight, and so on and so forth through the night they tumble open like dominoes until it is Black Friday morning and things are in full swing.  They have had the Christmas decorations up and the Christmas music playing for weeks now, and this year they just went ahead and caved.  In the process, however, they have neglected to realize that they have destroyed the specialness of Thanksgiving for thousands and thousands of their employees who now have to work or sleep to prepare for work on Thanksgiving night.  That is just one more open spot at the Thanksgiving table.
Next year, the football players will play in the pilgrim costumes.
     Because of their aggressive demolition of and blatant disregard for the Thanksgiving holiday, the stores have become the battle ground for those wishing to save the holiday.  It began with Nordstroms, who came out as the Black Friday ads began, and announced that they were not going to do Christmas until December.  Wow.  I believe that the only people who saw that coming were those people in the Board Room at Nordstroms headquarters.  I don't care about their reasons for doing this, okay?  Nope.  I don't care if they did it because they knew that it was going to get them a ton of press, and because they thought they would be able to corner a nitche market of people rebelling against Christmas but still wishing to participate in it, or if it was just a principled decision that things should be a certain way and that making a pile of money and bleeding everyone for what they were worth at holiday time - I just don't care.  It does not matter why they defected, it matters that they did, and for once we have one of them on our side.  It is great.  No one followed, of course, but one store did the right thing.  It was awesome.
      The other prong of the attack is the employees themselves.  You may have heard about the petition against Target by people which is led by some of their employees who were angry that Target opening at midnight would deprive them of much of their holiday.  They still care, Guy.  The petition signers still care.  There are hundreds of thousands of them out there who were willing to put their mark down in order to save a little bit of Thanksgiving from the forces that are quickly destroying it.  Very quickly destroying it.  But the resistance had begun in earnest, and I hope that it puts up the good fight, even thought I know that it will ultimately lose.  So on behalf of myself, all of us here at the Worldwide Headquarters, Guy H, and the other person who still cares about Thanksgiving, I would just ask that this year if you can, otherwise next year for sure, to please put Thanksgiving back in its rightful place.  Wait until December to put up your Christmas decorations.  I can understand if you want to do some Black Friday shopping, but wait until Friday morning.  Spend Thanksgiving with your family - make the plans and pains to travel if you can.  get Friday off if you can.  Remember to be thankful for what and who you have.  Join us and care about Thanksgiving again.  Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Parents Who Should Ride the Short Bus

     When I was a kid, I used to walk to the bus stop to catch the bus every day, like millions and millions and millions of other kids have done since the school bus was invented.  In fact, 26 million or so kids took the bus to school this morning.  But what I saw this morning, and what I see most mornings as I tool around the city and countryside, is starkly different from what I knew not too long ago when I used to ride the bus to school.
     What I see as I ride around in the morning these days is not so much kids as it is cars.  I understand that is was approximately 22° outside, but I think that it is a little moronic that what I saw at almost every stop was parents in cars or trucks or giant SUVs sitting in the car with the car running and watching while the kids got on the bus. Dumb.  First of all, you are at the end of your driveway approximately fifty feet from your door.  I understand that you might be worried that your kids are standing on the side of the highway, and a truck or a stranger or wolf might come along and pick them off, but I am pretty sure that if you are that cold you can stand in your door and see them and they will hear you when you yell at them.  Secondly, I know that you own a long coat and pants, so go ahead and put them on and stand with your kids at the stop if you are so worried.  Thirdly, I am also a little worried because I know that if you were stupid and lazy enough to drive your Suburban to the end of your driveway to watch your kids get on the bus then you probably drove the little bastards down there with you, and I bet you even let them sit in the car until the bus came by.
See?  These kids are getting on the bus just fine with mom
or dad sitting 15 feet away in a running SUV.
     Let me clue you into a little bit of reality and common sense, okay?  That is a bit of overkill.  Maybe I can understand if it is a blizzard or something, or if it is pouring buckets and you don't want the kids out in the rain or whatever, but that is a little much.  I can understand waiting with your kids at the bus stop to keep them safe, I really can.  But at least have the dececy to go out there and stand around with them.  That is the correct way to do it.  You are just lazy.  Or just let them go by themselves and trust that they are smart enough to stand there and get on the bus.  I was left alone at the bus stop with kids ranging from high school to elementary school age, and we got on just fine.  Seven year-old successfully walk ten blocks to school all the time in the city.  In some cities, kids actually have to ride the CITY BUS public transportation to get to class, and they get there just fine most of the time.  They don't have parents holding their hands all along the way.  In rural areas, lots of parents used to build little shelters for their kids to sit in if it was raining or snowing, just to keep them dry and out of the wind.  When they would see the bus coming they would run out and get on it.  It is really simple.  You saw that a lot where there were farms and the such.
      Now I don't want to make an assumption here, but if you have the time to sit out in your giant SUV in your pyjamas and sip coffe while you watch your kids get on the bus, you probably aren't planning on going to work that day.  Maybe you are a housewife or househusband, maybe you work nights or evenings, or maybe you are a landscaper who gets laid off in the wintertime.  But it seems to me that at 7:30 or so AM you have the time to put your stuff on and go out to spend some quality time with the kiddos.  I know that Mike & Mike in the Morning is talking about football today and that you really like that show, but I just don't care very much.  Get out and spend some quality time with your kids, and then maybe they won't be such little untrustable bastards.  How does that sound?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Bad Boys Indeed

   Cops.  Do you remember that show, Company?  It shows on one of the channels that we get here in my new Executive Mansion, and as such my Baby Doll and I have been watching it a lot, and it led to a really interesting dichotomy that I want to share with you.
    See, they must have changed over to re-run the series backward again, because for a while they were showing episodes from the late 80s and early 90s, and now they are starting to show really new episodes, like from within the last couple of years.  And the methods of policing have changed a lot in the last fifteen years, and not necessarily for the better.
     The early episodes are really interesting.  They harken back to the days when police officers drove cars with no air bags or computers, and they all wore mullets and porn star mustaches.  But the way that they went about their business was vastly different from how they do it today.  When they were faced with problems or situations, they would usually attempt to talk it out and with people.  They would also engage in what they like to call "community policing" where they would...oh I don't to people who weren't committing crimes and they would even hand out baseball cards to kids.  It was cool.  It was refreshing.
      Fast forward to the new episodes.  The police are - for the most part - officious pricks who take themselves way too seriously.  They never get out of the car, and they are over authoritarian.  They like to give orders and they like to boss people around.  It is really sad.  They get way more resistence than the old-time police ever did.  Let me give you an example.
     The police get a call that a tow-truck driver is trying to tow a truck that is parked in a handicapped spot, but he can't tow it because the owner has hopped inside and won't get out.  So he calls the police so he can go about his business.  The police show up.  Cops circa 1990 would come out, talk to the driver, then go over and talk to the man in the truck.  They would let him sit in the truck as they listened to his story and talked things over with him.  Eventually they would coax him out of the truck and he would be arrested and the tow truck driver would be able to get on with his business.  Now the new cops, it doesn't work that way.  They get the story from the tow truck driver, then they go around the truck and tell the owner to get out.  When he says that he can't, they reach in and pepper spray him and haul him out through the open truck window.  Then they haul him off in cuffs and throw the book at him.
     So that is the difference.  Now, I can understand a little bit, because things aren't the same as they were back in 1989 or whenever.  Police today face a lot of different threats that most officers couldn't even conceive in 1990.  Not only are there more people, but they seem to be much more virulently anti-police than they ever were before.  So I can understand that they don't have the time or desire to be chit-chatting with people.  They have to take much more drastic measures to ensure their safety.  But sometimes I wish that it were like the days back then, when the cops were a little more friendly.  Like the porn star mustache cops.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

All Pen-t Out of Shape

     I have no idea why this is, Company, but I think I might have a pen fetish.
     I came to realize this as I sat at my desk today mindlessly clicking a pen for absolutely no reason, and I got to thinking about the pen that I was clicking.  It wasn't clicking as it should be, it was sort of sticking and had I knew that it wasn't writing well - that it was running out of ink.  It was a classic Bic click pen, the style that millions and millions of businesses have had their names imprinted on, and this one was no exception.  It had a pretty hideous color scheme: maroon click top and tip with a forest green shaft.  It used to have, in gold, the logo and name and phone number for a friendly local Native American casino.  Since I also have a sort of oral fixation, it is covered with teeth marks from where I have chewed it (it is sticking out of my mouth as I type this, to be truthful) and the logo has long since been flaked off.  It is my pen of choice, and it has been with me for a long, long time.  I am trying to keep it and use it until it is out of ink.
These are the kind of pens that I prefer to write with.  I want to
get my hands on each of these.
     I like to do that - use a pen until it is out of ink before it is discarded, for a couple of reasons I think.  First off because it reaches something deep down inside of me about not being wasteful, something that wants to use every bit of something before throwing it away forever.  That is the part of me that makes me keep wood scraps and the like.  The other reason is because it is so relatively rare that I am able to hang on to a pen long enough for it to be used up.  Usually I lose it or someone walks away with it and before long it is just gone forever.  Sort of like Chap Stick.  I can't ever finish one of those things off because I always lose it or 9 times out of 10 it goes through the dryer and then is useless to all humanity.  But I digress.
     Anyway, I was thinking about this particular pen that I had been using for a long time, and how it started at work then was with my checkbook for a while and then went back to my desk at work, and I was thinking about all the things I had written with it.  That got me to thinking about the pen I used to sign the papers for my house, and how I had specifically picked out that pen to use to sign and maybe I should memorialize it somehow like people do with pens that are used to sign important treaties and legislation and how the governor will sign something with multiple pens and give some of them away to important dignitaries and on and on and on and that is when I realized I had a problem.
I even make my office use these, since
I order supplies and this is all I will order.
     Actually, I realized I had a problem when I picked out a special pen to use to sign.  See if this sounds familiar: It was a classic Bic click pen, the style that millions and millions of businesses have had their names imprinted on, and this one was no exception.  It had a pretty hideous color scheme: kind of a dark sea green click top and tip with a purple shaft.  It had, in white, the logo and name and phone number for a friendly local Native American casino.  It was actually a pen from the casino at which I had used to work, and it was part of an ever-diminishing stash.  These pens had been ordered and provided by the casino a long time ago, and since then all the pens that they had ordered had been either hideously ugly or utter pieces of shit that broke whenever you tried to write with them.  So the old Bic-style pens were in high demand, especially among those of us who wrote a ton while on the job.  David Nathaniel and Tommy Tutone and I used to fight over them, and steal them from one another, and we all had our own stashes of them hidden away.  This was part of my stash, one of the last working ones remaining, and that series remains to this day my favorite, so I wanted to sign these important signatures with them.
     I admit it, I have a problem with pens.  Sort of a sick and probably slightly illegal thing with them.  And I probably always will, especially considering I have my next two pens down the line picked out and waiting to replace the one I am currently clicking away at as soon as it becomes totally inoperable.  That is just the way I am.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Random Thoughts

- I recently purchased a home and along with it came one of those under-cabinet radios that you see sometimes, and I couldn't be happier about that.  My baby sitter when I was a kid had one that was always tuned to country, and I thought that it was just the coolest piece of technology and the smartest idea that there ever way.  I have always wanted one and on more than one occasion I have had one in my hands at the thrift store, but I could never bring myself to pull the trigger.  Not I have one and I have used it approximately four times.  But I just like having it there.

- Earlier this evening I consciously chose to watch a program on PBS as opposed to the football game that was playing.  This is especially astonishing seeing as I love football, and it is rare that it is on a TV channel that I can see.  But the PBS show was called "America in Primetime" or something along those lines and it was talking about the role of the misfit character in modern TV shows.  I found it really intriguing and I chose that rather than listen to Al Michaels and Bob Costas and Cris Collingsworth have orgasms over Tom Brady throwing a five-yard out pass.  I fucking hate football on NBC.

-  I watched a guy drive past today towing a boat like four times.  I am not exactly sure where you were going, guy, with your boat that you had to go past my house so many times, but I hope that you eventually got there.  You seemed like you were really mixed up and maybe could have used some directions.

-  I have been breaking out the last few days and I am not exactly sure why.  I mean, I am like a teenager on the morning before prom.  I don't know what is going on, I don't like it, and I am really a little bit angry about it.  I wonder if there is like a Clearix-for-adults section in the pharmacy that is way back behind where no one can see you shopping for your zit cream.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy Veterans Day

   So yesterday we talked about the founding of the US Marine Corps, which was a fitting segway into our post today about Veteran's Day.  I know that it seems trite because we talk about it every year once or twice a year and we should all really be thanking and honoring the Veterans every day, but alas this is one of the times when we all seem to pick up our heads and take notice.  So that is that.  Happy Veterans Day to everyone who has or is serving in the armed forces.  It doesn't matter if you sat a desk at Ft. Leonard Wood and answered phones, or if you were flying a helicopter around Vietnam, or if you were storming caves in Afghanistan, if you served you were an integral part in the complicated machine that allows our country to remain the way it is, and that allows us to spread our ideals around the world - even if it is somewhat forably at times.  So thank you.  We here at Big Dave and Company may not always like the wars (or the military actions) but we will always be a big fan of the troops.  You guys do an amazing job of getting done what is asked of you, and you deserve every benefit that you get for it.  And you deserve the admiration and respect of every American.  I know that you have mine.  Here is to you.  Happy Veterans Day!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Birthday and An Anniversary

    Okay, I lied.  The title of today's post is "A Birthday and An Anniversary" and really I suppose that it should be "Two Anniversaries" but whatever.  What I just want to touch on today are two siginificant anniversaries that are ocurring today.
     First is that today is the anniversary of the day that the United States Marine Corps was founded and became active, all the way back in 1775.  That makes it 236 years old and it will looks pretty good.  I mean, have you seen all those commercials with the sharp looking young men doing the routine with the swords?  Those guys are badass and super cool.  Really super cool.  They do amazing things when they are in the trenches, or wherever they operate, and so we should just give some creedence to this branch of the military.  So this would be the birthday as far as I am concerned, even though some people would say that it would just be the anniversary of the founding.
     Second, it is the anniversary of the day when the Edmund Fitzgerald sank in Lake Superior, and as such all your Gordon Lightfoot fans out there will get to hear him a thousand times on the radio today.  I know that it was a special ship, and that it was a big deal, but no one would know the name Edmund Fitzgerald if it hadn't been for that song.  I mean, no one really knows that name Eastland, right?  And a lot more people died on that boat.  But anyway, the bell in the museum in Detroit will be ringing 29 times today to commemorate the 29 men who went down with that ship 36 years ago in a fierce autumn storm on Lake Superior.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Power Metro

Notice the resemblence?
     My Baby Doll and I call them shopping carts, and we make endless fun of them.  They are those little usually Japanese cars onto which teenagers and stupid people in their early 20s hot glue giant fins, poorly fitted body kits, and all manner of aftermarket grills and lights and accessories, so that they look like something out of The Fast and the Furious.  The problem is that - at least around here - most of them do not have the performance mods under the hood or wherever to make them fierce street machines.  All they have is a resonator on the tailpipe to make their straight stock rice grinder engines sound really loud, which of course just makes them sound stupid.  So, that is what we call shopping carts, because their three-foot tall and utterly useless rear spoilers sort of look like a shopping cart handle.  Oh, and because that is about how much horsepower they pack.
     And we mock them, just like we mock people for having giant trucks that are all jacked up and whatnot, or like we mock people for driving giant and expensive SUVs that never go off the pavement, or like other people mock us for doing the things that we do.  No big deal, right?  That is just how life goes.  You mock and you get mocked.  But anyway, the point of all this is that today on the way to the Worldwide Headquarters I saw the most daft automotive modification that I have ever seen since the first time I saw this thing.  It was a 2000-ish Chevrolet Metro sedan- which is just a rebadged Suzuki - with a giant hood scoop on it.
     It was ridiculous.  Hood scoops became all the rage in the 60s and 70s on the big V-8 American muscle cars because in order to create obscene amounts of horsepower one of the things that they needed was what author Eric Peters described as "huge gulps of cool air" in his book Automotive Atrocities: The Cars We Love to Hate.  It was some sort of plastic add-on, and it was I would assume Krazy Glued on way up on the top of the hood near the windshield, with the non-functional scoop facing forward.  So at least he got that part right, because then it is actually scooping air.

The car looked like this but it was a stately forest green.
      The problems here are numerous.  First, I have a hard time believeing that the hood scoop is scooping any air.  I think it was just nailed on there because someone was trying to look cool, and if you are going to do something absurd you might as well do absurd things to the entire car, like covering it in fur or maybe just rolling it around in a kiddie pool full of sparkles every Wednesday or something.  Second, if the hood scoop is scooping air, I can't think of any real good reason why it should be needed.  It is not like throwing a bunch more air into a 1.3L fuel injected 90 hp engine is going to give it a big boost.  It is still going to suck piss like a girl in an R-Kelly video.  The only reason I can see that a hood scoop might be needed on a 2001 Chevrolet Metro sedan is because you were having problems with the engine overheating, and you wanted to get a little more air flowing across it to help cool it down.  Well, if that is the case, then we have an even bigger problem.  In that case you have major engine problems, and in addition you are a fucking idiot.  That is not an appropriate solution to your major engine trouble in any way, shape or form, because it is going to backfire on you and eventually you are going to spend more money than the car is worth getting your head gasket replaced and your engine block milled.
      But there it was, in all of its nonsensical glory, flying northbound to some sort of destination.  I can only assume that it is a camp for special people who put hood scoops on Chevy Metros.  And probably Geo Metros too, since they are the same car.  And of course for those who mod the Suzuki version, although I suspect that they have their own wing of the building.  In all truthfulness I didn't know where it was going, and I didn't know who was driving it, and I don't want to know.  I can tell you one thing, however, and that is that I couldn't bring myself to truthfully and adequately mock the vehicle because it was just kind of sad, and because I was just a little bit stunned.  I can't wait to see if I see it when I get home.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

The Burger King Executive Chef

      Holy shit, there is an executive chef at Burger King?  How the hell does that work?
      I as watching TV the other day and a commercial came on that was touting this new Burger King burger that was created by their "executive chef."  I was just a little astonished to find out that they have an executive chef, since last time I went into Burger King it was a fast food restaurant.  Yes, their burgers are flame broiled, which gives them a unique taste and texture and consistency and that also means that there are lots and lots of flames in their commercials: all good things.  I am, however, still pretty sure that they come in a big truck to a freezer somewhere back behind the deep fryer before they get flame broiled.  The bottom line that I am telling you here is that there can't be a whole lot of leeway when it comes to developing new food for Burger King.
Wow, I see that you work in chicken as well!
     So what does the executive chef do all day?  Quality control?  I mean, for real?  There aren't a whole lot of ways that you can alter that basic Burger King burger patty.  So I can basically assume that your basic job as executive chef is to just make up different concoctions of stuff to put on top of the burger patty.  Things like avocado or Gorgonzola cheese or maybe something like Brussels sprouts or whatever.  Just sit around all day long working burgers in all sorts of different fashions like you work at Subway or something.  Maybe you slap an exotic sauce or two on there or something like that, or use garlic butter on the bun.  I don't know.  But that is about all I can figure out.
      One question for you, and I know that you make more than I ever will, and that you are for more accomplished in your field than I will ever be, and that Burger King is probably a Fortune 500 company, and on and on and on, but my question is this: Do all the other chefs in the chef world make fun of you?  I mean, like all the time?  Sort of like photographers make fun of the guy who works at Sears Portrait studio and calls himself a photographer?  Because he is accomplished in his field, makes a comfortable living I am sure, and works for a major national corporation.  I mean, there are HOUSES sold be Sears from a catalog in many, many American cities.  You don't get a whole lot bigger than that.  Yet I am pretty sure that the photographer taking pictures for National Geographic in the Amazon is making fun of the Sears guy.  Just like I am thinking that the chef at the high end steakhouse in Manhattan is making fun of you every time he sees the commercial.
       But get down with your bad self, Burger King executive chef.  Get down.  Because that guy with free range in the steakhouse, or the sushi chef in Los Angeles or whatever, he can do whatever he wants with no restraints.  It is easy to make up new things when you have no rules to follow.  But you, Burger King guy, you have some pretty limiting constraints, so for you to come up with new and exciting ideas it actually takes a pretty good knowledge of tastes and a ton of creativity.  So be proud (not that you weren't already) of your bad self.  Besides, even when it is in just plain classic Whopper form, you make one tasty burger my friend.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

     Well Company, I want to wish each and every one of you a Happy Halloween.  Since society and overbearing parents have sucked just about all the true fun out of the holiday, I can safely assume that you and your children aren't out having any fun anymore because it is dark now, and as such I will say that I hope you had a good time and  got a lot of candy.  I am not sure what you all dressed up as, but I will tell you that I went to a party and there were some pretty good costumes.  Not necessarily high end costumes, but thoughtful ones for the most part.
      First of all, my Baby Doll and I dressed as Mexican wrestlers, and I have to say that I was resplendent in my red tights, although I was initially very concerned when her first thought when I put on my tights was "You should have shaved your legs."  That being said, all went well until it was judging time for the costume contest.
      To begin with, all through the night everyone was loving out costumes, and as I went around people were all goofing around with me and fake wrestling and all that jazz.  Cool, right?  I thought I was a shoo in for the whole thing, as I was getting a lot of attention from all sorts of people.  There were of course some girls who had tight and skimpy kinds of costumes on that were garnering some attention but that is to be expected.  I really thought things were going to go well.
      So it is costume time, and they announce that they are going to have separate contests for the kids and the adults, so now I am feeling especially confident.  Way especially confident, because last year that is what got us - they combined the contests and we got beat out by a five-year-old in a ladybug outfit.  So once I heard there were separate contests I thought we were golden to win top prize.
We got beat by this guy.
     That is, until the start of the judging.  They were doing it with a panel of three judges and they were doing it by applause.  As they went through the list of people and it was out turn, we got a shockingly small amount of applause, especially considering how much positive feedback we were getting earlier.  But cooler heads prevailed from the judges and we went on to the final round of five.
      And that was it.  I was stunned.  First place went to a guy dressed as Groucho Marx, and I can't say I really have a problem with it.  He might not have had the most elaborate costume, but he was a fan favorite and he really knew how to work the crowd and ham it up.  He was a showman, and that is half the battle.  So he won, and that was cool.  Third place went to the woman who was the featured speaker of the night, so I suppose that I am not surprised.  There is a certain obligation to reward the girl who had some so far to be the special guest.  So fine.  But the second place guy sort of made me mad.
And this guy.  Here he shows off his prize-winning form to his grandma.
      He was "dressed" as a Juggalo, which is a fan of the band the Insane Clown Posse.  I say dressed in quotation marks because he really didn't have to do much beyond wearing the same dumbass clothes that he probably wears all the time anyway, and put on a distinctive style of facial makeup.  Now, I am going to be real honest and say that he did a good job with his face makeup, and I am sure that part was time consuming.  I am also sure that he did the best with what he had.  But come on.  COME ON!  Juggalo?  We got beat by that?  No way.  Shouldn't have happened.  But it did.  And it was sad.  But there will be other contests and other times.  And I have 365 days to think of something truly spectacular.  Happy Halloween everyone!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Man in Tights

      Tomorrow, as a part of my costume for a Halloween party, I am going to put on a pair of bright, fire-engine red tights.  I tried them on tonight and it is an awfully tight fit.  And so needless to say, I am worried.
      First of all, I have never worn tights before in my life, at least not that I remember.  And as such, I am not familiar with the protocol for wearing them around.  I had to ask my Baby Doll what to wear under them, because I was worried about...I don't know how to say this delicately...I was worried about how my junk would show.  I was worried that you would be able to see through the fabric or maybe it would just be ultra-tight and I just didn't know.  I was extra worried when she told me that you don't wear anything under the tights, and I actually modified my costume in order to keep some unfortunate individuals from seeing some very unfortunate sights.
      So yeah...tights.  It is going to happen.  And no, I am not going to give you any pictures.  I am not even going to give you one of those artists' renderings like they do when they don't allow cameras in the courtroom.  Nothing for you.  You don't want to see it anyway, okay?  Just trust me.  But I am going to do it.  I am nervous, but not scared of the tights.  I will defeat them, or at least go down swinging.  Although, with those tights being as tight as they are, I doubt anything will be swinging anywhere.  But I digress.  I hope that everyone has a happy and healthy and safe Halloween, whatever you are doing.  And please remember to make your kids say "Trick or Treat" when they ring a doorbell.  I don't want to have to go off on you like I did last year.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Flight Jerks

     I cannot even begin to tell you how pissed off I am at the airlines.  They should all probably be put in jail because they are generally raping the American - and all other national - publics with their bullshit.  Seriously, we should have the folks from Law & Order: SVU on tracking down the executives to question them about their crimes.  I mean, first of all the fare for flying out of anything other than JFK, LAX, Chicago, or Atlanta is just ridiculous, secondly they are ending service to all the sorts of places that need it the most (small towns that are located far from big city airports) because they aren't profitable enough destinations, and third they pack you in like sardines and there are no more movies or meal service on most flights, and fourth they charge you for everything and pass all the fee costs of doing business on to you.  It is a bullshit racket and they have people by the crotch because there are cheaper ways to get places, but in general we only get so many days of vacation a year and I can't spend four days on a train to get to Seattle.  That kind of shit might work in Europe where everything is generally pretty close and where they get like 8 weeks of vacation a year, even for new employees, but I just don't have time.  And don't even get me started on the securtiy bullshit at the airports.
     As you can see, I am generally unhappy with the airlines, but I noticed a little something going on today that really set me off.  Now the object of my ire today is going to be Frontier Airlines, and I have nothing specifically against Frontier Airlines, okay?  I find them just as good or bad as any other airline, but they happen to the be one involved with this situation I am blogging about today.  So, nothing personal, Frontier, you just happen to be today's subject.  I am sure that American or Delta or whomever would do the exact same thing.

This is coming to Denver.  And yet it will effect American
as well.
      The article that I read in the friendly local newspaper was about a snowstorm in Denver - which is Frontier's hub - possibly affecting flights in other parts of the nation.  So since the airlines have learned in the last couple of years that being proactive works really well in these situations in order to keep people happy and prevent two hundred thousand people from having to live in airports for days and probably also to keep costs down, the following line appeared in the article: "Frontier Airlines said that people who have travel plans which would take them through Denver on Wednesday may make one itinerary change without a change fee, if they follow particular rules listed on their web site."  I added the emphasis because that is the part that makes me so spectacularly angry this morning.  These ass hole pricks (again, nothing personal Frontier) are going to allow you to do something that will help them out immensely - because they have to cancel less flights, it is good public relations, and you are still flying with them and not possible going with another carrier - so they aren't going to charge you, but because it might also be beneficial to you in some way shape or form, you have to abide by their certain conditions.  That is fucking bullshit.  So let's see what the rules are, shall we?
      First of all, verbatim from Frontier's website: "Customers currently enroute who would like to adjust a return trip may make one itinerary change, rules, and restrictions regarding standard change fees, advance purchase, day or time applications, blackouts, and minimum or maximum stay requirements have been waived.  Origin and destination cities must remain the same.  Changes must be made by midnight, October 26, 2011 and travel completed by November 9, 2011."  Well, that is not so bad I suppose.  Still, some parts of it make me a little angry.  First of all, that all those things are waived that means a.) they have change fees, which I am sure are not insignificant and that pisses me off, b.) there are requirements for advance purchase to get the best rates, which really makes me angry because they just fuck over anyone who walks up and needs to fly TODAY, which makes no sense to be because they MAKE MORE MONEY FLYING WITH A FULL PLANE  so they should really be happy selling a seat that they wouldn't have otherwise sold, and therefore increasing their profit margin, but they would rather charge you for not knowing ahead of time that your mom who lives in Baltimore would need that emergency gall bladder surgery, c.) the airline blacks out certain fares from certain dates, so if you have the audacity to try and fly at the same time of the year when everyone else does, then you are going to have to pay up, asshole.  How dare you try to go home for Thankgiving or Christmas, d.) for some reason they want to force you to stay in certain places for certain amounts of time, which is fine if you are forced the spend a week in San Diego, but is a totally different story if you are being forced to stay in Omaha or something, not that Omaha is without its charms.   So I am glad that we don't have to deal with all that shit, but it sort of makes me violently angry that we have to meet all those restrictions in the first place.

Someone get some sweaters for these poor anmials, it is going to snow.
       They require that the origin and destination cities must remain the same, which sort of angers me because I understand that if you are flying from Charlotte to San Francisco, a snowstorm in Denver should not allow you to suddenly fly to New Orleans as your final desination or something.  I get that.  But if you live in Omaha and flew out of Denver on Monday, and you could just as easily fly into Chicago o Wednesday on your return trip and rent a car to get home, and that would help keep people out of DIA, then they should let you do that without penalty.  Because that would be helpful to them, and it probably isn't going to make your life easier.  Now if you were going to try and change your desitnation in a way that still made you fly through Denver that shouldn't be allowed either.  The date restrictions I have no problem with, unless of course you were flying out through Denver today and weren't originally planning on being back until Thanksgiving because you are going to Amsterdam or something.
      Now let's look at the rules for those who have not yet begun to travel.  They "May make one change to travel plans without a change fee by October 26, 2011.  All recheduled travel may be subject to higher fares if it does not meet original rule or booking class."  What the fuck does that mean?  So if I am flying from Miami to Denver with a layover in Milwaukee, and I decide instead to fly from Miami to Cheyenne, Wyoming with a layover in Milwaukee, I might have to pay extra because I got on a regional jet in Milwaukee instead of an Airbus?  Just because Cheyenne is smaller?  Now I have to pay extra because I helped you out by not being on a cancelled flight?  That is horseshit.  Fucking horseshit, especially since there was a pretty good chance I was going to get diverted there anyway once things started piling up in Denver.  And another thing: How the hell are we supposed to know what the original rules and booking classes are?  Last time I took a poll, a majority of Americans do not work for Frontier.  Just to let you know, jerkbags.
      I just don't get it.  I serously don't get it.  It is this sort of arrogance that just makes me wild, and for some reason they airlines have it.  They act like they are providing up some sort of essential service to the people - which they are - but they act like they are doing it out of the goodness of their heart.  Well, no they are not, they are doing it to make a butt-pile of money, and it is not my fault that all the sudden jet fuel prices have gone up, the FAA has cracked down on your maintenance, and people are hijacking planes left and right so you lose a first class seat on every flight to an air marshal.  That doesn't mean you have to be an asshole every time Harry Smith wants to take his family to Universal Studios.  It just doesn't.  Maybe you should just stop paying your executives $4,000,000 a year.  How does that sound?
     I will say this to the folks at Frontier, because I have been picking on them today: At least they are going something to help alleviate the situation.  I know that it helps them out too but they could have been super pricks about it and still charged they shit out of everyone.  And they are doing it for a moderate snow event (as they call it) whereas most airlines would probably only do it for a major dumping.  I am sure that the timing of things has something to do with it, as 2-8 inches of snow usually wouldn't make Denver blink, but this is the first of the year and things always tend to be shaky with the first one, just like when you piss first thing in the morning sometimes you have to prop your hand against the wall for extra balance.  Shit happens.  And, as an added bonus, they are pretty user friendly about getting the information out and kind of cool about the way that they are telling people.  Again, verbatim from their website:

Not so bad, but still an airline nonetheless.
 With the treat of moderate snowfall (forecasts calling for from 2 to 8 inches) in our Denver hub Tuesday night through Wednesday, October 25 and 26, we want to do everything we can to safely get our guests to their final destination.  Forecasts are forecasts and always subject to change, but we want you to know you have options if you choose to change your travel plans.  We are currently planning to fly our regular, full schedule on Wednesday; however it is likely that several flights could be delayed due to the weather conditions in Denver.  As the length of these delays are often very fluid, we ask that you make sure to check the status of your flight below.

That is done in pretty plain language, and they are offering similar options for people travelling to Mexico because of Hurricane Rina, which is spinning somewhere out in Caribbean.  So good for them.  But in the end, they are an airline, and they act mostly like all the other airlines do. And that is like oppressive dicks.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Three Name Pony

    Unless your family is extremely devoutly Catholic (in which case you'd have like fifteen names), then I would guess that you are a lot like me and have three names - a first, a last, and a middle.  Sometimes people call them things like your Christian name, your given name, or whatever.  Sometimes if you are a lady your maiden name becomes your middle name.  And sometimes you go down to the courthouse and change your middle name to a letter so you can be named World B. Free.
     Despite having these three names, most of us just use two and maybe the first letter of the middle one, like Arthur P. Goodcock or John Q. Public.  That is what most of us would call the "norm."  There is even a subset of the population that must not like their first name and use their middle one in everyday use, like if your name is Francis Jason McMurdo and you have everyone call you Jason.  That I guess I understand, and some people actually stick the first letter of their first name on the front because they want to sort of be similar to the rest of us, but it just comes off as sort of being pretentious - F. Dallas Taint for example.  Or P. Allen Smith the gardening guy.
     But then there are those people who for some reason use all three of their names, and I ask, what the hell is up with that?  I know one very good friend of mine who does it because she absolutely hates her first name, but when you combine it with her middle name it makes a name is also used a lot like a first name.  For example, if you first name was Jo and your middle name was Ann you might go a Jo Ann because it sounds like Joanne, ya dig?  But what is up with people like Haley Joel Osment?  Or Jonathan Taylor Thomas?  Or Sarah Michelle Gellar?  What is the deal with those famous actor types?  Or what about the girl on the Sunday morning children's educational show that I was watching the other day?  Why would she use three names?  Aside from the example that I laid out above - which I totally understand - but I don't know that Jonathan Taylor is a normal sounding first name.  So why do it?  It bugs me, and it just makes you seem like a jerkwad.  I expect the guy sitting on the campus green playing a guitar in a sportcoat with leather patches on the sleeves in order to get chicks would be the kind of person to use all three of his names for no reason, and everyone hates that guy.  At least all of the dudes do.
      So let's not be like that.  Let us use our normal conventional first and last names, with maybe the middle initial for credit card applications and signatures and the deed to your house, and let's leave the full middle name out of the whole deal.  And while we are at it let's cut out that first initial, middle name bullshit too.  I am just not all about it.  Sound like a plan?  Thanks.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Cheesecake Dream

    I just wanted to take a few minutes this evening to tell you, Company, about how much I would like to have a piece of cheesecake right now.  I want it bad.
     I am not exactly sure why I want to have some cheesecake so bad right at this moment, but I just do.  The good kind too, not the cheater kind that I can make at my own house with vanilla pudding mix and some whipped cream and one of those pre-made pie crusts that is made of graham crackers or crushed up Oreos or something.  Nope, I want the real thing that you have to get from a store or a restaurant, that they serve cold and it is so dense and rich that you can barely stand it.
      And I don't want one that is too involved or fancy-pants.  Nope.  I want the regular kind with just some chocolate drizzled across the top of it and on the plate and a strawberry for a garnish.  That is what I am jonzing for, and I don't have any in the house.  I also lack the money or ambition to go out and get any from the store or a friendly local restaurant, which is sad because I am wanting it SO BAD right now.
      It is seriously all that is running through my mind right now.  I can actually taste it on my tongue and  feel the texture in my mouth.  I am actually salivating as I type this.  That is how bad I have it.  If a Girl Scout showed up at my door asking for donations and she happened to have a piece of delectable cheesecake with her, I would pull a gun on her in order to obtain it.  I would stomp on the foot of a man recently released from prison if it got me that piece of cheesecake without me having to get up off this couch.  If that "What Would You Do For a Klondike Bar" guy showed up as part of a new cheesecake gig, they would have a whole series of new commercials to put on the TV.
      But alas, I am pretty sure that I am not going to get my cheesecake, at least not anytime soon.  I will get it eventually though, that I can assure you.  For now I guess I will have to just keep dreaming...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

An Open Letter to The Jones Brothers

Dear Arthur Jones and Williams Jones,

     You are 24 and 25 years old, respectively, so I guess I expected more from you, and I am deeply disappointed and ANGERED by what you have done.  So I am writing you this open letter in order to YELL AT and publicly BELITTLE you for your crime.  What made you think that cutting up the Covert's Crossing Bridge in Western Pennsylvania with a blowtorch and selling it for scrap was a good idea I will never know, but that just might be the stupidest fucking idea in the long history of stupid fucking ideas.
     Well, okay, maybe not the stupidest - because there have been some wildly stupid ideas - but it is certainly the worst that I have heard in a long, long time.  Let me recap your plan for you, since you had to have been either drunk or high on fumes when you conceived and executed it.  You went to Covert's Crossing - about 60 miles north of Pittsburgh - and cut away a LIVING, WORKING BRIDGE with a blowtorch.  I am amazed that you didn't set yourselves on fire.  Than, you went to a friendly local recycling company and offered up the 15.5 tons of scrap metal and tried to collect $5179 for it.  You told the guy working at the company that you had permission to scrap the bridge, and even showed him cell phone pictures of it, since every legitimate businessman uses cell phone pictures to seal deals.  Then, you were amazed when he figured out your con and called the cops.
You never thought people
would miss this?
      You guys are fucking idiots, okay?  Like serious fucking idiots, and I am surprised that somewhere along the way you haven't managed to run with scissors and stab yourselves to death.  Maybe those who know and love you are forcing you to use only the rounded-tip kidergarten style scissors so that doesn't happen - I don't know.  But how could you believe for one minute that this plan would work?  I know that long ago the bridge was replaced with a new one that would carry Covert Road over the Mahoning River, but you didn't think that someone in the area would notice that it was gone? That never like, crossed your mind, that people who live around there might notice that a GIGANTIC STEEL TRUSS BRIDGE was no longer where it used to be, and that no newspaper or television outlet had bothered to note the removal of a structure that had served the community since 1887!?
          That bridge was actually eligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places, and I am sure that it would have made a really cool centerpiece of like a bicycle or recreation trail, but now it is chopped up in pieces in the back of your Silverado.  And what did you think would happen when you got to the recycling place?  I mean, I know you had those classy photos on your cell phone to show the guy (that is my favorite part of your dumbshit retard plan by the way) but did you really think that he wouldn't ask questions before shelling out more than $5000 to you for something that he obviously doesn't see very often.  I am sure that when he does get bridge parts in as scrap, it is from...oh, let's say a licensed and well-known contractor who has some sort of paper documentation showing it was okay.  I don't think that PennDOT or the Lawrence County, Pennsylvania government generally hire two guys with cell phones and a blow torch to carry out their bridge removal needs.  That just doesn't seem like their style.  So what the hell did you think would happen?  Oh yeah, you thought they would just give you the money and let you walk, because you are OUT OF TOUCH WITH REALITY and you apparently think everyone is as stupid as you are.
     So I am glad that the recycling guy called the cops on you two and got you off the street, because if you didn't hurt yourselves you would have injured someone else I am sure.  Or you would have just held up a liquor store next week and been arrested anyway.  So I guess that I have to give you some credit that you did it with a little pinache.  But that is it.  You are still, really, really, dumb.  Enjoy your time in jail fuckbags.


Big Dave

Sunday, October 16, 2011

An Open Letter to the Women of Minnesota

Dear Women of Minnesota,

     I am a little disappointed with you, Women of Minnesota.  I have been doing a detailed cultural study of your type over the last few days, in your gathering grounds: malls and shopping centers.  I have noticed that apparently you know some things that the rest of us - men, the elderly, and non-Minnesota women - apparently do not, because you are all wearing boots.
     Now, I took some meterological calculations and observations while I was doing this detailed study, and despite some light showers showing on the radar to the south on the last day of the study, it was a beautiful, seasonal weekend.  Temps were in the 60s and the skies were generally clear, and it was a little breezy.  That is why I became deeply disconcerted that everyone of the female persuasion was wearing boots.
     There was nothing to lead me, or any other leading reserchers, to think that there was going to be any sort of inclement weather in the near future.  No flood event or early-season blizzard was expected as far as we know, but apparently you know something more than the rest of us do.  Every single one of you was wearing boots, as if you were all going to have to join a search party to look for hunters stranded in the Montana wilderness.
     There were some discepencies, however, that led me to believe that it was not a flood event.  There were so many different styles of boots that it couldn't be a single event.  There were short boots, tall boots, high heeled boots, flat boots, and even boots made of suede.  So there must be some sort of disagreement among the female set that keeps them from being afraid of the same event.
      I thought it might have something to do with that whole "be prepared" thing, but then I remembered that the whole "be prepared" thing comes from the Boy Scouts, and unless the literally thousands of women I included in my study were all transexuals or something like that, then it couldn't be the "be prepared" scenario.
     So what is it, girls?  What is it, Women of Minnesota?  Why are you all wearing boots?  Because it is nice outside, and I have to admit that you look pretty fucking stupid dressing for bad weather when it is perfectly nice outside.  And since I am sure that you paid approximately eleventy billion dollars for your boots generally without the just sort of look pretentious.  And you also need to tell me about whether or not the boots are connected to the wearing of the black stretch and super skinny super dark blue jeans, because I can't fucking figure that one out for the life of me.  But that will have to wait for another letter I suppose.  For now I just want to know about the boots thing.  Because it makes you awfully sucky.  And the weather is nice outside.

Yours Always,

Big Dave

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Thoughts from the MOA

     So I spent the day today at the Mall of America, Company, and I was struck by a couple of things.  First of all, I was struck by the sheer magnitude of the whole thing.  That is way more mall than anyone ever needs at any time.  When you have a facility that is so large it a.) can contain several roller coasters and b.) has multiple versions of the same store (that's right, kids, there were several stores that were represented more than once in the MOA) then it is too large.  That is a very simple rule I should think.  I am not sure what is so great about the Oakley store or Journeys that they should have to have multiple stores but apparently you need to be able to see them everywhere you turn in the mall.  Oh that and Caribou Coffee stores, they are on every corner there is.
     I also learned that foreign people love the Mall of America, which sort of scares me a little bit.  If people are coming from Europe and the Caribbean all the way to Minnesota in order to go shopping in a place that doesn't tax you on essential items - and if that is the experience and vision of America that they get - then I am troubled.  Because that is not good.  What that means is that our country is about nothing but buying things and selling them in a giant building with no windows that look outward and no clocks on the wall.  Hell, the whole experience and thing is even named after our country, and the more I think about what that says about us to the rest of the world the more I sort of start to squirm in my seat and adjust my necktie, as if it is getting awfully hot in here.  I don't think that the French or Argentines would ever settle to have a worldwide destination mall names after their country.  Even the gigantic one in Canada is just named the West Edmonton mall.
     What really struck me, though, as I walked the giant mall on a weekday afternoon, was the sheer number of Coasties that I saw.  They were everywhere, in all their various forms, and it sort of made me want to vomit.  The term "Coastie" is used on many Midwestern US college campuses to refer to students who come from the east or west coast to study, but at the University of Wisconsin-Madison it has come to refer to "a privilaged East or West Coast transplant often a woman of a certain look: black tights, Ugg boots, oversize sunglasses, and sporting a Starbucks cup" to quote a 2009 article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.  Bingo.  That is the look.  I saw it over and over and over and over and then over again today as I wandered about the mall.  I am not going to get into some of the socio-economic or race and religion-related aspects of the term, I am talking about that specific look, except they were Caribou Coffee cups.  If you expand it to include super dark and super skinny jeans, the numbers really leap off the charts.  I have seen this look before for sure, but I don't think I have ever seen it in such highly concentrated numbers as I did yesterday walking around the MOA.  I think that if someone were doing research on Coasties I would have to call them to let them know that I found a new congregation ground.  Boots and tights?  I just don't get it.  And why the sunglasses inside?
      So those were my thoughts as I viewed the MOA for the first time.  Exciting, no?  Other than that I just sort of thought of it as a giant mall pretty much in line with all the malls that I have seen before.  And it is alright if that is what you are into.