Thursday, March 30, 2006

More stuff I like

Some people post "101 Things About Me." I occasionally pick out a topic and ramble on incessantly. You tell me which is more entertaining. Probably the former, but this is my space so tough shit for you.

Here in Hartford, "Connecticut's Rising Star", (which is something I suspect that Hartford just came up with and Connecticut had no say in), we are haveing the first really nice day of spring. High 60's, little bit of a breeze, bright and sunny. Naturally I'm inside at a computer but I'm getting out of her early. And I'm pretty sure I can get sick tomorrow. This really tells me that spring has arrived, and with it one of my favorite things:

Sex outside.

I meant baseball. Baseball! I swear. (More on that other topic in the summer). I love baseball. I like to play it even though I'm not very good at it. I couldn't hit a curveball with a snowshoe. I like to coach it on the Little League level, even if most of the time my advice boils down to "look, just get your finger out of your nose and try not to hurt yourself". Although at age 7, that's a fairly tall order. I like to watch it on TV, and most importantly, I like to go to games. I will sit in a stadium for hours, (except Fenway, which has the most uncomfrtable goddamn seats anywhere), and watch games. And drink beer. And eat crappy foods that immediately declare war on my arteries and waistline but fuck that I don't care because it's 80 degrees and sunny out and I'm watching baseball!! So shut up arteries and take that third hot dog on like a man, (male artery? whatever), and sit back and watch the game. No other sport compares for the simple joy of sitting outside on a nice day and watching a game. It can't be beat. You're outside. It's nice out. You have a beer. You're with friends. What more could you ask for? OK, fine, sex outside, but I told you that's another post.

Last year I decided my son was old enough to expereince the mecca of baseball, and therefore all sports, and I tossed him in the car and took a three hour ride to....

Yankee Stadium.

That's right. I root for the Yankees. Fuck you if you don't like it. Yes we do win all the time. Yes it is like rooting for Microsoft. I DON'T CARE!!! I love the Yankees. And just so we're clear, I started rooting for them in 1976. And I kept rooting for them through the 80's and early 90's, when rooting for them was slightly less fun that getting a root canal. And I know because I had one of those in the 80's and it really was like watching Ken Clay pitch.

Anyway, prior to his exposure to the Bronx, my son had been to a number of minor league games. We have two really nice stadiums in CT, one in New Britain and one in Norwich. But none in the Rising Star. One of my all time favorite memories will always be the look on his face when I took him up the ramp out in right field, and we came out of the tunnel and into the sunlight and WHAM!!! right in his 7 year old face is a huge stadium with green grass and a blue sky and the New York Yankees warming up right in front of him. That is the first time I have ever seen someone's jaw just drop.

So I love baseball and the New York Yankees and I think Barry Bonds may very well be the Antichrist.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

I Am Evil

My office overlooks the smoking area outside our building. I just saw a woman attempt to leap up butt first onto a the wall around the porch and fall over. I am still laughing.

I Can Too Compromise

There was a short article in today's paper, (in reality they're all short. My paper doesn't really "do" news and is more concerned with human interest crap, but they have a good comics section and I'm a weak person), about the state of South Carolina considering a law to expand the death penalty to people convicted of multiple child rapes. You get convicted twice of raping a kid under 11, you ride the lightning.

I am against the death penalty. Not becuase I'm squeamish or because I worry about society stooping to the same level as the murderer. I am more than willing to stoop to that level to get at someone who's harmed me or mine, and in fact I'm willing to go even lower than they will if that's what it takes. ButI am concerend about killing wrongfully convicted people. I can't see myself imposing the death penalty on someone who hasn't admitted fault. Even then, it takes forever and costs a fortune to actually kill them. Connecticut recently took about two decades to kill a guy, (Michael Ross), who admitted raping and killing 8 girls and asked to be put to death. I just think it's easier and cheaper to throw the bastards in a cell, feed them oatmeal and baloney sandwiches for every meal, and keep them away from the rest of us for the rest of their miserable little lives.

That said, go South Carolina! And I hope they don't get too hung up on finding a "humane" way to do the execution. In my book, drawing and quartering is seriously underutilized anyway.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Now That's What I Call Drinking

This week's News Of The Weird reports that a distillery in Scotland is preparing to make a whiskey with 92% alcohol. That would be 184 proof. The recommended dose is two spoonfuls. The manager of the distillery, (Bruichladdich, which probably stands for "knee-walking snot-slinging drunk" in Gaelic), is quoted as saying "I'm just hoping the distillery doesn't explode." Now that's a marketing campaign.

Listen, I like drinking as much as the next person, but if your drink of choice is 184 proof, you may as well punch a hole in yur own abdomen, rip out your liver, tear off a chunk with your teeth, stomp up and down on the remainder for a few minutes, and then put it back in and krazy glue the hole shut. Because your liver is going to work the same either way.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Drugging the Children

I was reading in the paper today that some anti-hyperactivity drugs for kids have some small side-effects, like headaches, nausea, dizziness, and really really frightening hallucinations of things like snakes and bugs crawling up their little arms and legs. The article mentioned some names like Ritalin and Adderall and some others I can't remember. Because of my own former use of anti-hyperactivity medication I'm sure.

How hyper does your kid have to be before you say to yourself, "well, this might cause Jr. to gouge out his own eyes with a dull spoon after he sees winged demons coming for his soul, but on the other hand, it will slow him down."? As I recall my own childhood, my parents had their own anti-hyperactivity drug. It was called "Quit that crashing around and GO PLAY OUTSIDE!!!" And the weather didn't matter either. Raining? Tough. Snowing? Here's a sled. Hot? Put on a hat. If we were lucky we got bug spray. And then we'd go outside and run around until the point of exhaustion, come staggering in for dinner and fall asleep face first in a plate of mashed potatoes. And I don't ever remember hallucinating about winged demons, except that one time in 5th grade, but that was Sister Sebalda's fault. Gotta love parochial school.

Now, I am not someone like Tom Cruise, who runs around and says no one needs medication and anyone on it is going to die and by the way, look at me, look at me, I knocked up my girlfriend, everyone look at me, I had sex, lookie, lookie lookie!" Xenu knows, there are plently of kids who probably do need some sort of medication to get through the day without causing some kind of grade-school riot. You know how you can tell which kids really need the medication.

They're the ones whose parents won't put them on it.

We have one pair of friends, who for obvious reasons shall remain nameless. Let's call them Tom and Katie for fun though. They have a child. This child, as far as I can tell, never stops moving. Or screaming. Not in pain, just yelling whatever point he's trying to communicate. When he sits he squirms. When he doesn't sit he runs. When he watches a movie on TV he bounces. One time we were at their house and the kid is running around, with a bat, (plastic), chasing my son. I have given my son standing permission to hit this kid if he won't listen, becuase the kid doesn't listen to anyone, including his parents, and short of a quick shot to the jaw, won't take no for an answer. Anyway, Ritalin Boy is running around the yard going "eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee" and we're talking and suggesting that maybe we could get the bat away from him and ("eeeeeeeeeeeee") his mother is talking about what a handful he is and how the school ("eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee"), recently called and suggested that they might want to ("eeeeeeeeeeeeeee"), (hey, they had a small yard and he kept coming back), consider medication to allow the rest of the kids to ("eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee") actually learn. But his parents didn't think this was necessary because he really ("EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE") was a good boy and just had a lot of energy.

First, he isn't particularly good, as I noted above. We won't let the kids play with him unless we're watching. Second, saying he had a lot of energy is like saying John Holmes had a lot of sex. And third, if he's as disruptive in school as he seems to be in the backyard, it's not really fair to all the other kids that are trying to do what they should in school. So for those kids, I say the hell with the risks, shoot their little butts up with Thorazine and get on with it. But the rest of the kids should be given sleds or bicycles and sent outside.

Let's save the hallucinating for the adults. Pass the peyote.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Random Question Of No Earthly Significance

Isn't the Lifetime network for women? If that's the case, why is it that every time I accidentally flip to it, (it's only one channel away from the ESPN universe on our cable system), I see Judith Light, Tiffany Amber Thiessen, Tori Spelling or some combination of the three being a) held capitve, b) beaten, c) raped, d) set on fire, f) stuffed into the trunk of a car, or g) all of the above? Shouldn't this be called the Misogynist's Network? I don't see the appeal of this channel to any women, except whatever demographic it is that enjoys seeing just how hard Judith Light hit the wall after "Who's the Boss" left the airwaves.

Another random observation. If television waves and travel infinitely through space, do you realize that someday an alien race is going to be judging us by "Who's the Boss" reruns? I can hardly blame them for destroying us when that happens.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

I Prove My Worth As A Hunter/Gatherer

This morning I'm on my way to work and bagged a robin. My weapon of choice was a Honda Accord, operated at some70-75 mph. While I would like to think that my inherent skill at hunting robins with a car led to the kill, I have to say I was helped enormously by the robin's determination to fly directly into the path of the car.

While the loud thunk and big spray of feathers were gratifying, I was not able to stop and pick up my trophy. Besides which the robin is Connecticut's state bird and I'm pretty sure I've committed a felony.

Jesus what a depressing way to start the day.

Monday, March 20, 2006

My Approach to Home Repairs

When I first bought a house, some 8 years ago, it needed a lot of work. A lot. It was built in the late 40's, and apparently nothing had been done since. Let me tell you, my testosterone was flowing. I was going to gut the kitchen, put a new coat of paint on the entire house, replace the windows, redo both bathrooms, and Xenu knows what else.

Since I was new at this, I asked my father, who had owned at least 4-5 houses in my lifetime, what the best way was to fix the kitchen. His reply: "Open the yellow pages and look under K."

Ha! I laughed. I could do it. After all, I have opposable thumbs. I can hold hammers, saws, drills, and just about any other tool known to mankind. I was going to do it myself, with maybe an assist from some friends.


It turns out that while my opposable thumbs allow me to hold all sorts of tools, (yeah, yeah, including my own), that's all they do. I can't use tools to save my life, although apparently I can use them to endanger the lives of others. Although I still think that gas line should have been better marked. I am simply the worst home improvement person on the face of the earth, with one important saving grace: I know I suck. Therefore, my approach to home imporvement is to pay someone else to do it. You know what hapens when you do that?

It gets done. The first time. And it stays done too. Yep, unlike that screen door I put up myself one afternoon. That one got ripped off the house in a big wind and blown into the yard. The one I paid someone else to do? Still there. Looks good too. Much less crooked than the first one. And it gets done in less time than it would take a tree sloth to complete a marathon, which never happens when I'm trying to do anything more complicated that Legos.

So eight years later, we have a new kitchen, new bathrooms, new basement, new attic and half of the windows are replaced. I can proudly say that other than the initial demolition work, (which I'm really good at, whether I want to be or not), and the sort of work that a trained chimpanzee could do without supervision, (I had supervision when I put in the insulation), I did nothing except sign checks. And I don't feel bad about that at all.

Some of us were put here to create works of beauty, either with wood, or paint or anything else that requires patience, skilled hands and a trained eye.

I was put here to pay those other people.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Why You Shouldn't See Mission Impossible 3

Well, the most obvious reason is that the last one really sucked, and the first one wasn't all that much better. Generally speaking, trilogies don't get better as they age, so I can't think the latest edition will do much better.

But the better reason is that Tom Cruise is going to make a butt load of money off of it, and he's the biggest crybaby on the planet. As we all know, Tom has lately had some, well, issues with his public image. I'm sure we don't need to walk through those again. Can you say "over-compensating for something"? I knew you could.

But his latest stunt is threatening not to do any publicity for MI3 unless Viacom promises not to show the South Park episode about Tom Cruise being in the closet. For thos eof you who haven't seen it, for some reasons the Scientologists decide that Stan, (or Kyle, I can never tell them apart), is the second coming of L. Ron Hubbard and they start to worship him. Cruise, a well-known Scientologist, shows up and asks the new messiah if he likes his acting. Stan/Kyle says he guesses he's OK but that he think Leon DiCaprio is better. Tom cries, runs into the kid's closet and refuses to come out. The rest of the episode involves various people asking Tom to come out of the closet. And a whole bunch of pot shots at Scientology. I'm not a big fan of South Park, but that episode was hilarious.

As an aside, I generally try to avoid picking on people's religions, but if your religion had a lot to do with the Travolta movie "Battleship Earth", well, all bets are off.

Back to Cruise, this is the sort of behavior I can't stand. What, no one can make fun of you? You're too good for satire? After acting like a lunatic in public on a variety of issues for the better part of a year? Come on. Lighten up Francis. Most people probably already think you're nuts, and if you're going to put this much effort into squashing a poorly drawn cartoon that insinuates you might like hangng around in closets, well, I have to wonder why you care that much. Laugh it off, cash your $20 million check, and then disappear to an isolated compound. I hear Neverland is available.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Ghosts of St. Patrick's Days Past

As I may have mentioned in the past, most of my heritage is Irish. My mother's family came over at the turn of the century. My great-grandmother, who I didn't know very well and who usually scared the hell out of me when she was around, allegedly worked for the Vanderbilts as a maid, and one of the Vanderbilts would allegedly pay the maids a penny a kiss. Which leads to the logical question of what they would have paid for other things, but the question tends to break down when we recall that Nana and the truth were never very consistent with each other. My father's people apparently came over in the 1840's probably about the time the potatos stopped growing back in the Old Country. Allegedly they started out as ditch diggers, someone made a fortune in New York City and then someone else lost it, and then my paternal grnadfather ran away from home, completely lost touch with all of his relatives, and may very well have made the whole thing up.

Apparently, in addition to coming from a long line of Irish, I come from a long line of liars. But they were fun people.

Which leads to St. Patrick's Day. As you may not know, it's not a big deal in Ireland. Apparently they go to church over there, but it's otherwise just a day for the tourists, and probably a dull one at that. But as you've no doubt noticed,in America it's alittle different. Everyone's Irish, everything's green, and everyone's shit-faced. Which is why I usually stay in. It's sort of an amateur night for drinkers and the bars are too crowded.

But a few years ago, actually, exactly five since my daughter was just born at the time, the planets aligned and we had to go out. Our day started with a funeral. And everyone knows that the difference between an Irish funeral and an Irsih wedding is one less drunk. After the funeral the family had a party at their house, as they were determined to celebrate their mother's life as she would have wanted. Apparently she wanted a couple of kegs of Guinness, bless her soul. I carried the kegs, (with help), across a muddy backyard in dress shoes and a suit and never thought twice about it.

Eventually we left, along with some friedns, at least one of whom was from out of state and hadn't seen most of us since college. We had a baby-sitter, and we weren't going to miss that opportunity. Off the the local biker bar we went. Within seconds of walking in, my wife has one of the bartenders convinced that she's actually married to one of my friends. We all start playing pool. As my friend Brian and I are lining up shots, (at pool; we were sticking with beer at that point), Brian suddenly looks up at the bar, which was kind of a long horseshoe shaped thing, and says "have you seen your wife?" to me.

I look up. She's on the bar with the really hot bartender, (female), and they seem to be re-enacting scenes from Coyote Ugly. Minus the fire. Brian was alarmed and asked what I wanted to do. I gave him a dollar and told him to keep the show going. The show ended with all of us knowing that my wife was wearing green underwear for the holiday, and the bartender was apparently Scottish and was wearing nae beneath her kilt. Or jeans as the case may be.

Eventually we all got home with no further incidents. The next morning, come to think of it, later that morning, I was up to drive Brian to an airport for a 7 am flight. He made the flight as they warmed up the engines and sat down, reeking of booze, next to some poor woman who moved her seat as soon as the seat belt sign was turned off. He still speaks fondly of that night. His wife speaks less fondly of his return home. I myself returned home to find the wife unconscious and the children conscious, an unfortunate turn of events. Thank the gods for cartoons and infant chairs, because those are the only things that got me through the day.

And St. Patrick's Day is on a Friday this year.

And we have a baby-sitter.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Public Service Message

I have completed my Final Four picks. I have UCLA, Duke, Ohio State University, and UCONN going to the Final Four with Uconn beating Duke for the championship. On the low and extremely ill-informed chance that you are inclined to copy these picks, you should know the following:

Before making my picks, I gather all of the information, ( I glance at the sports page the day I make the picks, and I do tend to watch SportsCenter during breakfats), I carefully consider all of the possibilities, (I flip coins), I consider the strengths and weaknesses of the various conferences, (I will pick the team with the cooler nickname, thereby leading to my only win when the Maryland Terrapins took it all a few years back), I carefully review injury reports to see what otherwise powerful team might be missing an important player, (I heard someone from Villanova lost an eye. Is this true?), I listen to the talk radio hosts to pick up important tips, (I listen to CDs), and I watch the specials on March madness for further advice, (I watch porn).

The end result is that, with the Maryland exception noted above, I end up towards the bottom of most pools, sort of like Natalie Wood. I would therefore like to apologize in advance to the fans of Duke, (although most of them are a bunch of dicks), UCLA and Ohio State University for the upcoming tragic upsets to your teams. I didn't mean it, and I try not to use my powers for evil. I can't apologize to the UCONN fans because I went there, I'm a fan, and while I know that they're probably going to choke in the third round, I picked them anyway. We're all in the same boat here. Leave me alone.

Good luck with your picks.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

I Got Nothing

But that doesn't mean I'm going to let you get away without reading some mindless drivel here. No poker tonight and the wife left me for bed hours ago. So I watched TV. Some thoughts.

I know it was Sunday, but I think the Sopranos could have done a lot better than that comeback episode. And if anyone thinks Tony is dead you're insane. Not happening. And did we need to see a guy hang and twitch and jerk for what seemed like a solid minute? I didn't.

The Shield was a great show. Until this week. I think it's about to jump. Still like CCH Pounder, but they've lost the threads on the IAD investigation and this ex-wife swapping thing is stupid. At least on TV anyway. I've got some friends who I wouldn't...never mind.

I watched the new HBO show Big Love. Liked it. I think it's got some promise. Any show that has Chloe Sevigny and Jeanne Tripplehorn fully clothed for an hour and I'm still paying attention must be doing something right. Still, I hope they don't make a habit of that.

Enough. Off to bed.

Monday, March 13, 2006

This Can't Be Right

Our office, like most offices, has a strict policy against sexual harrassment. Even though the only person who ever had a complaint made against them got a huge promotion, and the person who brought the complaint got a huge promotion and a month's paid vacation. Which most of us thought was their goal the entire time anyway. In the wreckage of that fiasco, our office went through all sorts of lectures and reformations, (and promotoions for some), one of which involved taking down the curtains that previously covered all the glass doors to the offices. Guess who has the only solid wood door in the entire place? I'll give you a hint: You're reading him right now.

At any rate, in addition to promotions and office remodeling, we posted prominent posters about why harrassin people is bad and why you'll go to hell if you do it. Most of them are in our kitchen, where most people go every day if only because that's where the water cooler is. Right next to them is the menu from the local Chinese take-out place. It contains a series of listings for the Chinese zodiac. I notice that I was born in the year of The Cock. Most calendars say rooster, but not this one. Nope, accroding to this one, I'm a Cock. Also, for my apparent opposite, the rabbit, it contains this line: "The cock will bring you trouble."

So true, and yet so probably against all of our harrassment guidelines.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Thus Bringing The "Douchebag of the Year" Contest to an Early End

Today's paper brings with it the news that a fine, upstanding man, (and I use that term loosely), named Matthew Dubay, 25, of Saginaw, MI, has brought a countersuit against a young, (I'm assuming that, she could be 68 for all I know), woman in order to avoid any fall out from her happening to bear his child. It seems they had sex, she got pregnant, and she sued for child support. Now he's brought a counter-suit, seeking to avoid any legal, emotional or financial reponsibilities inherent to having a child. The article goes on to say that Dubay, (again, Matthew Dubay, 25, Saginaw, MI), has become the public face of a "men's rights movement." Well, with the fame of becoming a public face goes the noteriety, so to you, Matthew Dubay, 25, of Saginaw, MI, I say, with great relish, please fuck off. And kindly stop referring to yourself as a man, because you're giving the rest of us a bad name.

As I understand the article, the men's rights movement in this particualr case is seeking to give men the same right as women in deciding to have children or not have children. Since no one can force anyone to have an abortion, that means that these men, (again, using the term loosely), seek to get the right to say to the woman that if she decides to have the child that they created, she is on her own and will get no support from them. From a strictly legal point of view, I suppose this is fair. We're all adults here, we all know that when Rod A goes into Slot B and then moves back and forth in a vigorous thrusting motion, occasionally this produces Goo C which interacts with Egg D and next thing you know the population gets a little bit bigger. If a woman gets pregnant that way she should be prepared to take the responsibility for that. Right? right.


See without Tab A, Egg D doesn't meet Goo C, and the whole process gets short-circuited. Unless you're Melissa Etheridge and David Crosby, but I don't even want to think about that because frankly, that's gross. And who in their right mind thinks "I need a good gene pool for my kids. Hey, David Crosby!!"? Don't get me wrong, Melissa can sing, but if I need any important advice on life-altering decisions I'm looking elsewhere.

That aside, there's more to being a man that having a cock, and young Matthew Dubay, (25, Saginaw MI), needs to learn that. Being a man means accepting the consequences of your actions. You fucked her, one or both of you missed the boat on the old birth control, and like it or not, you're gonna be a Daddy. So quit being such a douchebag and man up. And I don't just mean spend child support. That's not even half the battle. Be there for the kid. Raise him or her. Support them. Love them.

And for fuck's sake, teach them to be a better person than you.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Losing Is Nature's Way of Saying "You Suck"

I picked up that title from a book called "Blue Latitudes" by a guy named Tony Horowitz. Go buy it, or better yet, grab a seat in Borders and just read the whole thing there on their dime. Then put the book back and walk out. They love it when people do that.

But the line does have a connection with this thought, which is about the kids who got caught burning churches in Alabama. Now, this may shock you, but I am not a religious man. No, no, it's OK, I'll pause for a moment while you catch your breath. Need a beer? No? OK, we press on.

I am not a fan of Alabama either, and a part of me wishes that the damn stars would hurry up and fall on that state, especially the strip mall section of Brimingham, to which I was confined for work related seminars for a week or so last summer. Thereby prejudicing me against an entire state that probably deserves better but isn't going to get it because I like making snap judgments based on small amounts of information and then refusing to budge from my ill-advised positions. Much like a typical Bush voter.

Sorry, I couldn't resist that.

But even with my disdain for organized religion and ill-supported but possibly correct disdain for Alabama in general, I was somewhat taken aback to learn the source of all the church fires in that there state. Seems three college students set the first four as part of a prank "that got out of hand", then set the next five to cover their tracks. Which is ironic since apparently their tire tracks at the scenes got them busted.

Now, when I was in college, I was one of the chief pranksters in my dorm. Water balloon attacks, sodding the bathroom floor, running sex dolls up the flag pole, all sorts of immature humor that makes college great. But I can't remember even one instance when my friends and I were sitting around, gazing at the empty containers of our alcohol sources, and anyone said, "Y'know what would be great? Torching a church!" No one came up with that idea. And I'm glad. Because it's not funny. It's arson. People die in fires. No one dies because there's an inflatable sheep on the flag pole or a freshly laid bed of sod in the men's room.

Actually, they really should have kept that around. It felt good to sit on the throne with the morning paper and run your toes through the grass. But nooooooo.

To sum up, college pranks that involve burning down churches are not funny and you're a dipshit if you do that and you deserve to get your dumb ass caught and thrown in jail if you do.

Unless it's Fred Phelps's church, in which case I'll not only drive, but I'll bring the matches, the gasoline and pay to change the tires afterwards. Fuck you Fred.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Just An Observation

I like to use the "next blog" button up there to the right, (no, the other right), to cruise through the blogosphere, (I just learned that word), and see what's happening in other strange portions of the web. One thing I've noticed, however, is that about every fourth blog seems to be advertising ways that I can enlarge my penis. And this leads to the obvious question: How do they know?

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

More Child Abuse

When I got home last night my son's eyes looked horrible. Two bright red crescent patches curving under each eye, at least twice as big as they were that morning. Fortunately, after hydrocortisone was applied, (with much protesting: "But it doesn't hurt!!!!!"), he looked ten times better this morning. If I find out what they used at the face painting I'll pass it along. I'm thinking acid at this point.

But that wasn't all the abuse last night at the Limpy household. It turns out that while they were at the Fun Fair, in addition to getting skin poisoning, the kids won a family game pack in a raffle. They picked it up yesterday, and I walked home to find every pervert's favorite game, Twister, laid out in the living room. I personally have always found Twister to be more fun in theory than practice, since when adults play someone always gets the wrong ass in their face and the mood is killed forthwith. But since the kids wanted to play I figured "what the hell", and tried playing it for the first time while fully clothed and not under the influence of alcohol.

It's much easier that way. But, and all parents should take note of this, if your weight exceeds 200 lb., as is the case for yours truly, (I swear it's solid muscle!! I'm a rock I tell you, a frigging rock!! Sigh. ), you want to avoid positions where you are looming over your children like an enormous and unstable bridge. Especially when your kids have learned to play by your wife's rules and aren't above taking shots at your knees to make you fall over and lose. Because otherwise you may very well lose your balance, (and dignity), and topple over elbows first onto the fingers of your offspring.

Fortunately, recovery was quick and the game continued for another hour. The kids even squeezed in another game before the bus arrived this morning. Today I am feeling the effects of stretching in ways no one is intended to stretch. Left foot red my ass.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Child Abuse And Related Confessions

This weekend my kids were toted off to one of those school "Fun Fairs" that are anything but. Since my wife, when she's not busy taking naked pictures of her friends, is apprantly plotting some sort of bloodless coup of the PTA, she had to go. I opted instead to clean out the basement and make dump runs, because that was a better option. A few hours later the kids come home, and apparently one of the options there was face painting. My daughter has an adorable little ladybug on her face that she was saddened to learn was not permanent. My son had blue dye under and over both eyes and down his nose. He looked like a midget Celtic warrior. Given our ancestry I suppose that's an option, although I notice everyone claims that there ancestors were warrior or kkings, and no one wants to own up to being the descendant of the guy who got thrown out of the village for buggering sheep. Well, neither do I, so as far as you're concerned, my kid was right on with the blue war paint, and we are descended from the ancient Irish kings. Pogue mahon if you don't like it. 10 points to those who know what that means. Points are not negotiable and have no cash value. Void in Illinois, Guam and where prohibited by law.

Where was I?

Ah, yes. Today we prepare the little tykes for school, which involves the foricible eviction of #1 son from his bed. After getting dressed and coming downstairs, I notice both his eyes are swollen. It looks like we've been slapping him silly. It turns out that the dye they used is causing an allergic reaction on his face, and the previously blue design is now outlined in red, puffy tissue. Naturally, we laughed.

The situation reminded me of a time years ago, pre-children, when my wife and I were up very late in our bedroom doing the sorts of things that two people who love each other very much and are committed as a couple do. Other people do not and should not be allowed to do these things. So the lights are out and it's pitch dark and the wife heads for the bathroom and WHAM!! headfirst into the door. For the next week, until the bruise faded, if someone asked her what happened she would look fearfully at me and say "I walked into the door." I still can't believe no one kicked my ass.

But the best, or worst of those situations, happened to my friends "Mike" and "Julie". (Note that I've used their real names on the theory that no one will ever track them down that way since no one will believe that I would use their real names.) "Julie" played rugby in college, apparently head first, and broke her nose at least once. By the time she got to law school she couldn't really breathe that well, and unlike my son she apparently didn't want a blue face. So about two weeks after she starts dating "Mike", "Julie", (shhh, they'll never know), has surgery to correct her deviated sinus something-or-other. What she didn't tell anyone was that this involved rebreaking her nose and then resetting it correctly. So she comes back with two ENORMOUS black eyes and a splint on her nose. "Mike" took one look at her and said they were breaking up for the next 2-4 weeks. Which was totally uncalled for because no one who knew them would believe for a minute that he would have one a fight with her if she closed her eyes and spotted him two jabs and a hook.

So I was thinking of that while I waitied for a call from the cops to come home and explain my son's face, but that never happened and the school told us to use hydrocortisone and he'll be fine. Assuming of course, that I don't bruise him while holding him down to get the hydrocortisone on his face in the first place.

Friday, March 03, 2006

An Open Letter

Dear Person Who Cut Me Off:

I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for the opportunity you gave me to test my reflexes this morning. Truly, your unanticipated, nay, even reckless, disregard for all that is holy, to say nothing of most traffic laws known to mankind, provided me with a chance to demonstrate driving skills I didn't know I had. When you pulled out from that side street, despite my bearing down on you at nearly 40 mph, as though you could not even see my car from less than 100 yards away, you had my attention. But to do that knowing full well that the roads were covered with last night's snow and slush, well sir, you had my admiration. It takes a near total disregard for one's own safety, to say nothing of the safety of those around you, to make a move like that. I was in awe, and I'd like to think that you took my shouted exclamations at that point in the appreciative manner that I meant them, rather than in the disparaging manner that they could perhaps have been interpreted.

But you weren't done there, were you sir? No, not you. While others would have been satisfied at having suddenly accelerated into the path of oncoming traffic, causing them to slam on their brakes and fight their vehicle's natural urge to fishtail into oncoming traffic, averting a chain reaction collision more by luck than anything else, you weren't done yet. And that's what spearates you from the amateurs. Once you had accelrated and caused my own and the two vehicles behind me to hit our brakes and skid through slush and snow, your next move, ah, sir, your next move was c'est magnifique. You slowed down. Truly, those of us behind your car knew, knew, we were dealing with a master. It's one thing to cut someone off and make them skid, but to then slow you car down to the point that a Kenyan runner could zip by on the uphill portion of a marathon, that sir, takes nerves of steel and a presence of mind that few of can ever hope to attain.

As you slowed down to turn into the supermarket a mere 30 seconds from your sudden emergence from the side street, I was able to pass your car on the left. In observing your apparent age, I was left with the distinct impression that you chose to drive as you do because you are in a hurry to get wherever it you're going as fast as possible, because you're fast running out of time to get anywhere at all regardless of speed. I can only appreciate such zest for life and overwhelming detrmination not to be hampered by the rules of the road or basic common courtesy, and I hope you took my horn signal and raised finger in the manner in which it was intended. You are indeed number 1 in my eyes.

In closing, may I again extend my compliments in the manner I extended them this morning, in saying "GET THE FUCK OFF THE ROAD YOU STUPID FUCKING PRICK!!!"

I remain your humble servant.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

A Monumental Post of Earthshaking Importance

I learned to read at a fairly early age, or so I'm told. The earliest I recall doing it was kindergarten, which just seems like my teacher was doing her job. (Incidentally, my kindergarten teacher, on my last report card that year, wrote "He will take life easy of he is not pushed." I have saved that card for 31 years, as it is so, so true.) At any rate, one of the things that I think got me to read was newspaper comics. Every Sunday we would go to my grandparents house after church. My grandfather would open up the (full color!!) Sunday comics and read them to me. Eventually I started to read along.

To this day I love newspaper comics. My family knows to leave me alone Sunday morning until I've read the comics. I subscribe to a newspaper that doesn't seem to know much about what's going on, but has the best comics section around. I fear, however, that the comics are on a serious downturn. In fact, with very few exceptions, they suck.

I thought of this over the last few days after spending far too much money on the complete Calvin & Hobbes collection. It comes in three volumes. It weighs more than 20 lb. It contains every single Calvin & Hobbes strip ever published, and a few extra things as well. As I think I've already remarked, I consider C & H the best strip ever. I've gotten my 7 year-old son completely addicted to the old strips, even though I fully realize the dangers of encouraging a child to emulate the actions of a hyperactive six-year old with an imagination permanently in overdrive, especially one who is two-dimensional and therefore immune to injuries. But screw it, all kids should get to act like Calvin once in awhile.

Today there is nothing close to Calvin & Hobbes, and I doubt there ever will be. Instead, we have strips like Cathy, Blondie, Beetle Bailey and The Wizard of Id that have been around for years and have about 5 different jokes that they cycle through on a regular basis. Dagwood, for instance, has been late for work twice a week for the last 70 years. Although I totally want to have sex with his daughter Cookie, even if she is about 59 right now. Hagar the Horrible has been drinking in the same tavern and bitching about Helga for two decades. So do I, but you don't see me in a comic strip.

There are a couple of good strips out there, but overall I think that we've lost something when the comics aren't as original as they used to be, and when newspapers reprint the same thing over and over, I think that comics as an art just start to die off. Just like Charles Schulz, whose strip Peanuts still appears in many, many papers, even though Schulz hasn't drawn a breath, let alone a strip, in a couple of years. The man's dead, stop putting the strip in the daily paper. Let someone else have a shot.

As I said in the title, this post is clearly of earthshaking importance. But this has been bugging me since I bought the Calvin & Hobbes collection and realized what we've all been missing since 1995. I would recommend the collection incidentally, but it's not cheap. Although it does get considerably cheaper when you return it and then buy it back three days later using the coupon they gave you when you bought it the first time. Not that I would do that.