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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Take THAT!

I was skimming the news and came across an article about a man who had been arrested for assault after throwing an order of McDonald's french fries at his step-daughter.

Apparently, the man was arguing with his wife in the front seat of the car after receiving their food from the fast food joint and the ten year old girl in the back seat tried to intercede, presumably so she could enjoy her Chicken McNuggets in peace. The man, now agitated and clearly at his wit's end, chucked his order of fries at the girl, striking her in the face and chest.

The article did not say if the girl thanked him for the extra food, but I assume she gobbled the fries up with gusto, so there would be none left for Mr. Anger Management when they arrived home. That would have taught him a clear lesson and he could think about it for awhile, as he ate his cheesebuger with no fries. It would have served him right and he would think twice before throwing his fast-food at the youngster.

Instead, upon arrival at the house, he fled on a motorcycle and his wife called the law. The article didn't say if he took his food with him, but I like to think that the ladies shared his burger and shake in a delightful serendipitous turn of fortune. The man was apprehended a short time later and charged with felony assault, because the fries were hot and greasy.

And delicious...

I suppose there will be justice, although I feel that if a man is torqued enough to throw a perfectly good serving of fries at his daughter, the loss of the food is punishment enough. A simple "Sorry about that - you can have those," would have probably satisfied the little girl and I am relatively certain it wasn't her idea to call the police after her deep-fried windfall. There was most likely more to the story than the food-fight and Mom probably had her own reasons for following up with a call to the local precinct. There is a good chance he also had more reason to flee on a motorbike than the wasting of his side order. He might have been an asshole, or his wife a shrew - who knows? Time will tell...

But that's not why I'm writing.

I was thinking about this and I believe that it would be a sound strategy to annoy dining companions so that they throw food at me. I am definitely annoying enough to make this happen and I could be judicious in my use of what could become a source of fun and tasty treats. For instance, If someone was enjoying a plate of flapjacks slathered in butter and maple syrup, I would pass. Too messy, too difficult for the annoyee to throw with any accuracy. That said, if I happened to be hanging out with someone who was opening a Twinky or a Ding-Dong, let the games begin. These items would be easy to hurl and I could probably catch them on the fly with my mouth. The same could be said about chocolate bars in general, Nestles Crunch in particular, hard-boiled eggs and most fruit. The french fries would be a solid choice, as would onion rings, jalapeno poppers, potato skins and most other sports bar finger food. The sports bar would also provide an excellent opportunity to provoke action, as patrons would most likely be drunk and easy to agitate.

I encourage everyone to give this a try and let me know how it works out and if we are ever together at a happy hour, please feel free to throw your delectible tidbits at me with abandon. I promise I will not call the police.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Christians Against Evolution - Enough, already!

Let's have a big hand for the Eternity Christian Acadamy in Westlake, Louisiana. In their curricula, a science class will be taught that insists that the Loch Ness Monster is alive and well and thus proves that evolution is nothing more than an elaborate hoax.


Okay, forget for a moment that the legendary photo of The Loch Ness Monster - and, coincidentally, the only real photographic evidence of the beast - was debunked and proven to be a child's pull-toy being dragged through the shallows. Let's pretend that there is still some doubt and that the air around the Scottish lake still swirls with intrigue...

Even if there was a puncher's chance that a giant, prehistoric dinosuar-fish-thing still patrolled the the frigid Scottish waters, I would still not buy into the theory that evolution was therefore fiction. If a T-Rex showed up at my front door and ate my children, I would still be unable to connect the dots on that one. I would miss my kids, of course, but I would in no way associate their death-by-dinosaur with the fact that this made Charles Darwin a charlatan mountebank.

The Eternity Christian Acadamy also teaches exactly what God created, by hand, on each of the first six days, while evolution is not taught. I added the "by hand" part. I figure if the school poo-poohs evolution, they most likely do not embrace the idea that God used power tools or the wheel or a good, strong lever while putting the Earth in order. And I hope they listed sources - I want to know who scribed that work schedule. The principal says they do not teach evolution because the school wants to stay away from things that "might confuse the children". This is probably for the best - there will be enough confusion when the kids are released from the Christian Academy Bubble into the world. Evolution will most likely be the last thing on their delicate little Louisianian minds.

These schools also use "Bible-Based Math Books" - which apparently teach that imaginary sea monsters and an outdated book of timely fairy tales equals "No Evolution". I applaud them, however, for sticking with what they believe is right. By all means, teach what you believe in - you want to teach the bible, please do so. But this kind of one-sided teaching-by-omission cannot possibly be doing these children any favors. Please - Louisiana already has one of the lowest math and science rankings in the country - this will not help, that much I am willing to guarantee.

Hasn't Louisiana been the butt of enough ass-backward, hillbilly jokes over the years? Do they really need this one teed up for disbelieving heathens like myself? Probably not - well done, Eternity Christian Acadamy... What time are we burning "To Kill A Mockingbird" this evening? I want to make sure I bring stuff for S'mores.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

"No, please - you first..." Golf Etiquette

Golfed yesterday in Phoenix. It was a hundred-ten degrees and a test of will. No breeze, unforgiving greens and unreliable hardware made things even worse. To top this off, we had a very slow, apparently inexperienced threesome ahead of us the entire day that kept us waiting at every turn.

Now, I am not one to mind the occasional wait and usually take the opportunity to enjoy the view of the beautiful green strips of grass laced through the hellish desert. Until, that is, the impatient foursome behind us started firing shots into our delightful tour around the links.

"What the hell," I said, the first time a ball landed softly, twenty yards behind me. "That seems close..." I was golfing with Taggart, who is my age and of equal disposition for the most part, save for his explosive temper and tendency to punish his clubs for their wrong-doing, and two younger lads, both in their early thirties, one mostly quiet and even-keeled, the other an inked-up, pseudo-Apache thrill-seeker.Excellent golf companions all.

We ordered beer - personally, I prefer the Bud-Light lime-flavored variety, which gives me the illusion that I am somewhere more promising and festive than the next hole, which will most likely leave me disappointed disillusioned and disheartened - just like the last hole. Jae, the Apache, also ordered the Lime-Bud and Taggart his usual Miller Lite. Eric, the sensible quarter of our foursome, chose to abstain from the alcohol and to instead concentrate on maintaining his hydration.

I am not completely certain that alcohol consumption has a greater effect when the alcohol is consumed in a golf cart under blistering heat conditions, but I am relatively positive that this is fact. When the next ball plopped to a finish - in the rough, off to the right; a devilish slice - not fifteen yards behind us, I suggested that we allow the Impatients to play through at the next opportunity. My thinking was that they could then mortar-blast the inexperienced threesome rather than us - good sound logic in my opinion. Obviously, their crowding was affecting my concentration - my game had gone off the rails and this was the best excuse at-hand.

"There's no reason to let them play through," Taggart said, pointing a nine-iron at the dawdling threesome, who were in the middle of the fairway ahead of us, performing what looked like a barn-dance, well within our driving range. "I know there's no reason," I sighed. "Letting them play through would allow them to see that we are not lollygagging and they can shoot at those guys while they doe-si-doe in the fairway..."

"Fuck those guys," Taggart said. We played on, as soon as the threesome had packed up their caravan and moved toward the green, one cart breaking hard to the left, the other to the right, as if they were flanking a Nazi bunker. We teed up and let loose just as the Impatients pulled up behind us. They were made up of a group of 50-somethings, one, an enormous fat guy wearing a shirt so pink it burned the retina of my left eye, which was not as quick to close as the wily right eye. "Hey," I shouted. "You know that we're playing as quickly as we can, right?" All four gave me a thumbs-up gesture and we moved along. I waited for my companions to thank me for settling down the skittish Impatients, but the thanks were not forthcoming. That's okay, though - I will be rewarded in heaven, I thought, popping the top of another delightful lime-ish beverage.

On most days, with most foursomes, that would have been the end of our story. Etiquette is a funny thing and nowhere is etiquette more esteemed than on the golf course. The entire game is based on sportsmanship and doing the right thing. Hitting into the foursome in front of you has been frowned upon since the days of the mashie and the niblick, so a gentle reminder that we were doing our best to set a solid, jaunty pace should have been enough to stop the bombing.

But today, this was not the case.

A couple of holes later, while I was still relishing my ambassador-like handling of the situation, a ball - this one a clear duck-hook - rattled in the desert behind us. Jae, who had consumed his share of the Lime-Bud, had apparently had enough. He waited for the foursome to wander into hailing distance and called out to them. "HEY!" Jae shouted. "WHY DON'T YOU GUYS STOP BEING ASSHOLES!" We giggled just a bit and I said, "That would be a lifestyle change and I don't think it's fair to ask on the 14th hole of a golf course..." "True," Jae said. We prepared to go off in search of our balls when one of the men - the fat guy wearing the pink shirt - saw fit to shout back.



"THERE'S NO NEED FOR YOU TO USE THAT KIND OF LANGUAGE!" Pink Shirt reprimanded. The entire exchange was taking place from forty yards - the shouting echoed over the course.


"WE'RE NOT CURSING!" Pink Shirt reminded us, as if we were breaching another well-known etiquette and they were now up 40-love.

"FUCK YOU GUYS!" Jae announced to all in attendance. I went through a mental check list of the clubs in my bag and which I could afford to lose in a fracas. I settled on the hybrid - I had never hit it well. It didn't suit my stance, somehow.

We finished the day and by the time we reached the eighteenth green, I had decided that there was not a single club in my bag that I would not be willing to sacrifice in a brouhaha. Apparently, none of them suited my stance and they could all be wrapped around the neck of aggressive golfers, if the occasion arose. I was almost disappointed that the foursome behind us never came within a hundred yards for the rest of the day, at one point preferring to sit on a hill in the sun rather than venturing down into the tee-box area where we were parked. They were probably afraid that we would bury them in another carpet bomb of expletives.

The round finally came to a merciful end and I asked the attendant if I could drive my clubs to the car, as I had earlier broken the carrying handle and had to carry the bag like a groom carrying his bride over the threshold. I normally wouldn't mind coddling the bag in such an intimate fashion, but at this point was not in love with the clubs; in fact, didn't even like them and would have preferred to leave them in the cart and walk away altogether. "No," the kid shrugged.

"But my handle is broken," I explained. "I have to carry them out like Oswald carrying his 'curtain rods' and my back is dealing me fits."

"Only employees can drive the carts into the parking lot," he patiently explained.

"So there is a way..." I observed.

"But you're not an employee," he stated.

"Then you do it," I said.

Again the shrug. "Can't..." he said.

I thought for a moment about pulling out the hybrid and giving it the stylish send-off it deserved. Instead, I unbuckled the bag from the cart and gathered it up like a huge, ungainly infant and began tromping off toward the car. "Fuck you guys," I muttered.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Glass is Half-Full

The trip across the country to retrieve Logan and her goods was as innocuous as was possible for a 3200 mile journey undertaken in 72 hours. Then again, I am Machine - plus, I had a co-pilot.

That said, when the second car in the caravan showed up at the door with three kittens and two hedgehogs - yes, hedgehogs - things became a bit less innocuous. I am not a cat-person; never have been. This is well-known and the entire story is documented in my semi-autobiography "A Bunny Screaming", available on or (shameless plug). Anyhow, I told the kids that the animals could stay, amending the statement with the proclamation that I would drown them and their menagerie and take my lumps on CNN if the kitchen wasn't kept clean.

The picture above is of the kitten "Mer", which means "sea" in French - at least that's what Logan says. After watching the animal, I am beginning to think it means "Short-Bus". Watching the kitten sit still, his head slightly swaying back and forth as the others frolicked about gave me the first inkling that all was not Einsteinian in the Feline Kingdom. "That one's fucked up," I said, pointing at the swaying grey animal. "What?" Logan said. "You think so?" Just then, the cat toppled onto its side, apparently suddenly quite sleepy. I shrugged. "Might be narcolepsy, but something is not right with that little shit."

Logan frowned. "But look at it this way," I said, shrugging. "At least he's not required to operate a bulldozer, or write a treatise on world peace. He just needs to know where his food is and where to take a shit." Logan nodded; I continued. "He's probably not the one who will be performing your lasik surgery or splitting the isotope, or whatever the fuck those scientists are doing in their little laboratories... He's just a cat. He can bumble around a little bit and things will still work out fine..." Logan smiled - the girls like it when I say "fuck" or "shit" around them; it makes them feel like real adults. Which is cool by me, until they abandon a conversation in favor of a rerun of "Dexter's Lab" that they've only seen a half-dozen times on the Cartoon Network. "In fact," I said, "I don't think cats even give a damn..." We watched Mer, who curled up on the carpet and went to sleep as the others cavorted to the mysterious area behind the refrigerator. "I'll bet," I said, giving the child/woman a kiss on the top of her head, "that he could be the president of the kitty United States, if he put his little simple mind to it..."

Logan looked up at me with doubt in her eyes. Allie and Seth chimed in from the background: "No way..." "No fucking way..." I shrugged and waited for the tears.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

I Am Machine - Part 3 (Final Preparations)

Final preparations are underway for tonight's departure from Phoenix on a road-trip to Dubuque. That's in Iowa - approximately 1650 miles as a spastic crow flies and 24 hours worth of driving.

The preparations include the following:
  • Picking up a rental car, so there is room to stow all my daughter's things to bring back to Phoenix. I have also found that it is much less stressful to put these kind of hard miles on someone else's vehicle and that I don't feel as bad about it when I drive it into a ditch, tree or deer.
  • Putting the following items in a DOP kit: toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant and six condoms (just in case of truckstop floozy action - better to have them and not use them than, well, you know...).
  • Putting the following in a plastic bag from Safeway: a spare tee-shirt (in case I spill beer on the one I leave the house wearing), a pair of spare drawers (of the off-chance that I come across some bad Taco Bell and foul the ones I leave the house wearing) and six more condoms (in case I lose the DOP kit - can't be too safe along these lines.
  • Having a sensible meal - something that won't give me the trots and force an early use of the spare drawers.
  • Taking a shower - might as well scrub up, it could be awhile before I see another bar of soap (unless I get arrested for lewd behavior with a truckstop floozy, in which case, it will be jail-soap, which should be avoided whenever possible).
  • Picking up Mike Taggart for the trip.
  • Spending an hour arguing with him, trying to explain why there won't be room for him to bring three suitcases and a banjo.
  • Searching the one bag I do allow him to bring for contraband (anything that could get me arrested, thus incarcerated and inevitably another run in with jail-soap, which should be avoided whenever possible).
After these items have been checked off the list, I will point the car north and hit the gas. Hilarity ensues.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

I Am Machine - Part 3 (The Co-Pilot)

I am once again beginning to get my thoughts in order for a third trip across country to drag one of my daughters' belongings one way or the other. I have done it alone, with a daughter, who manned the i-pod and kept us inundated with The Beatles, Rick Springfield and Great Big Sea and I have done it accompanied by the ugliest dog in the world. I will now do it with Mike Taggart.

Or at least I will attempt to do so.

 I am a seasoned professional at making these treks. With nothing more than a meager stock of bananas, Monster Drinks, sunflower seeds and beef jerkey, I have strapped in, pointed the car due east, north or west and hit the gas. I have written songs. blogs, short stories, plays and novels while steering the automobile down the road, cruise control set five miles over the legal speed limit, keeping it between the lines.

Now I have Taggart signed on as my co-pilot. I have known Mike since we were youngsters in high-school; we have a long-lasting, love-hate relationship that has carried on through the years. We have traveled together before; it is nothing new. We will throw in a book tape or listen to Howard Stern on satellite radio. The travel time will be cut considerably because we will take turns napping and driving. It will all be good.

I hope.

I will carry along a legal pad on which I will note my thoughts of the trip as it unfolds. I will draw pictures and sketch landscapes and perhaps draw up a last will and testament in case one of us drives into a concrete piling along the way. This is just sound thinking. The plan is to drive to Dubuque, Iowa, pick up Logan's stuff, turn around and drive back - kind of a sedentary iron-man feat.

I will count on Mike to bring his A-Game and some interesting conversation to the table - this is after all, a free trip (albeit brutal and not enjoyable) and I will have no problem with stranding his boring ass in the middle of Nebraska if he tells me yet another version of one of the same stories I've heard since 1982. For God's sake, read a book and give me a new outlook on something - like my fucking attitude - cheer me up, or something. In exchange, I promise, on my part, to not be a grumpy dick for more than three hours in any given stretch. This seems fair.

And no flatulence. Fair warning and a window-down is mandatory and a sneak attack will find somebody carrying his McDonald's soft serve to an empty parking space at the gas station along the Iowa turnpike. This I swear.

I also promise that I will set Mike on fire at a rest stop and drive away without a second thought if he talks about work. I won't even kick dirt on his smoldering carcass - in fact, I will leave a sign warning others off doing so, claiming to be hiding in the bushes. Thinking of work is not an option on a trip with The Machine - we have focus to maintain.

This all said, I look forward to writing about a safe, enjoyable trip back and forth across the country this time next week, while listening to my daughters argue in the next room.

Stay tuned...