Friday, September 30, 2005

13. Loser billboards.

The governor of our fair state, Utah that is, is really rich. I don’t tell you this for the ‘gee-whiz’ of it; I tell you because he has a “rich wife.” You know the type—she looks just like the rest of us, just with bigger hair, more make up and shoulder pads in her gold dresses.

Anyway, said governor’s “rich wife” has a string of billboards that she has posted all over the state that say words like “loser” and “big-haired” and “rich wife” and stuff like that. I’ve only seen one of the billboards, and the only reason I even noticed it is because it replaced the billboard with my wife Limpy’s picture on it. It says loser (the billboard, not my wife.) They highlighted the campaign on the news and told us all how brilliant the governor’s trophy wife is. I know there are other signs, I just don’t know where they are or what they say.

Suffice it to say that there are billboards around town with derogatory words on them. The problem with the billboards is they only convey one message. That is, they only say one word on them and then they don’t have any additional information. No website. No information about The Foundation for the Betterment of Utah, “the backward state.” No nothing—just a derogatory word.

The news report said some people felt “uncomfortable” with the signs, which is exactly what Mrs. “Rich Wife” wanted people to feel. Unfortunately, the campaign was poorly conceived.

Most of the time people we call “advertisers” want us to perform an action after we have finished looking at their ad. For example McDonalds usually puts a brilliant picture of a hamburger on the billboard, wants you to feel hungry, and THEN GIVES YOU ADDITIONAL INFORMATION so you can act on your new found urge.

Gold’s Gym usually posts the picture of the extremely attractive body, to either make you want to own a body like that or to date one. THEN THEY GIVE YOU DETAILS about gym locations or a phone number of the model or something. Without the additional information, however, the ‘burger’ is just an advocacy for food in general, and the ‘body’ is just soft porn.

Memo to the governor’s wife: Hire an ad agency or ME for that matter. Maybe hire SOMEBODY. ANYBODY. Otherwise, you are just the ‘soft porn’ of wordsmiths.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

12. Plane Stoopid.

Today my travels took me on a three-leg trip across the country. I normally don’t mind long trips, unless I have to wake up early and am surrounded by foolishness. Both factors were in effect today.

I have a hard time sleeping on airplanes. Maybe it’s the head-flopping; maybe it’s the fact that you are practically leaning forward the whole time. Perhaps I am too much of a self-monitor to feel free to lean on my neighbor. Whatever the case, I have a very hard time sleeping upright—especially in a moving vehicle.

Imagine my unmitigated delight at finding myself dozing of to the strains of Conga (Gloria Estefan circa:1980)(Yeah, it’s old.) I leaned my seat gently back so I was marginally comfortable, closed my eyes and proceeded to dream of my wife Limpy running on the beach.

“I want to rub my hands in your hair,” she says.

“Really?” I say.

“Yes and kiss you in the warm tropical rain,” her eyes hint.

“Hmmm….” my dream-state self thinks to himself.

Then she says, “Sir, can you put your seat forward.”

“What?” I say

“Your seat—I need you to put it forward so this gentleman can get out.”

I open my eyes to find a foul-breathed, make-up laden woman with her flight-attendant face uncomfortably close to my face. She’s urging me to put my seat forward. ‘We must be landing,’ I think to my self.

Not so. Apparently the woman seated directly behind me was asleep in the aisle seat. The man in the window seat needed to get up and wander around but he couldn’t get over the sleeping woman. So instead of waking the woman directly behind me so the man could exit his seat, I was the one who they woke. As the man climbed gently over the sleeping woman, he woke her up anyway.

It angers me that I was taken away from my Limpy dream so a man could try to avoid waking a person whom he woke anyway. Like my friend Miss Nemesis, I should write a disgruntled letter explaining my dissatisfaction to the offending airline. But, as I believe I have mentioned before, I am a colossal pansy and I will not be writing any such letter. Maybe it’s because I like people. Maybe it’s because I am afraid of losing all my skymiles. Maybe it’s just because I am a pansy.

All I know is that it’s going to be a great day. Yeah, just ducky.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

11. The Incredible Delete-able Mandible

I mentioned a couple of days ago that my brother, Chewy, was on the business end of a scalpel on account o’ they had to shorten his jaw.

His surgery is now seven days old and he is remarkably cheery** given that they CUT THROUGH HIS BONE AND SUBTRACTED SOME OF IT. In fact, he was going to take his young son to a football game on Saturday, but he wasn’t quite ready for that kind of emotional let-down. He sent ME instead.

**Footnote: When I say he is remarkably cheery, I mean that he says phrases like, “Look away; I’m hideous,” and “Do I look like a Troll?” I want to say back to him phrases like, “Why the long face,” and “You’re not just whistling ‘Dixie’,” but I am a colossal pansy (as I believe I have referenced in the past) and I don’t want to anger him.

So, my brother Chewy’s jaw was too long. Apparently that was giving him problems that are pretty serious and eventually they were going to have to amputate. Unless! Unless they got to cut his face open and take out a portion of his jaw. You would think they would just cut through it with a bone saw and paste the ends back together, but it was a little more complicated.

Now, having a jaw that is too long is not like other common maladies. I mean, if your intestines are too long, they can cut some out and you can use the excess to make sausage. Similarly if your spine is too long, you have a tail, and they can cut that off quite easily. Long kneecaps double as shin guards.

A long jaw is different. To shorten your jaw, they use a drill and saw to cut in a zig-zag pattern so they can take length off and then slide the bone together in a way that the bone has plenty contact with the other piece of bone. It’s stronger that way. Then they run a couple of screws through the overlap. It’s really quite fascinating. Unfortunately, now my brother has his jaws sealed shut while the bones fuse back together. I hope he does well. I know he is very self conscious about his speech now that he can’t move his jaw.

I wonder what our fore-fathers did with all their long jaws. I know I had braces and retainers and headgear for six aggravating years, which will probably ensure that I don’t have to have my jaw cut, but what did our forefathers do? Maybe they just had to be tough—what with all the absurd language they used back then—Forsooth! (or ‘Forshoosh as it were.)

Anyway, that’s why I call my brother Chewy—because they installed some bionic chompers while they were in there. I bet He’ll be able to bite through his chains in no time. In fact, I bet he’ll be president one day. Or not.

Probably not.

Good luck, Chewy.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

10. Dog Barf

I was reading Cicada's post called "Oh Brother..." yadda yadda. I was reminded of ditching my wife and our weekeng plans:

Yesterday was pretty eventful. I had spent the week going up the canyon daily to be with workmates at our annual retreat. Because the leaves are changing colors, I thought it would be a good opportunity to for my wife (we'll call her Limpy) and me to go up the canyon and enjoy the scenery.

Halfway up the canyon, my brother Chewy calls and says he has two tickets to the football game later in the afternoon. Chewy is the brother that has just had jaw surgery on account o' his mandible is too long. ( I will write details of that story later.) My nephew really wanted to go to the game--as did I--so Chewy asked me to take him. Also, my brother is 4 days out of surgery and isn't feeling as well as he had hoped. I told him to give me five minutes and I would call him back.

Can you see my dilemma? I have been telling Limpy all week about the pretty scenery and now I have an opportunity to totally ditch her and go to the game.

So I hung up the phone with my brother and told Limpy the situation. I said dutifully, "I don't really want to go; what should I tell Chewy?"

"I think you should go."

WOW. I've got a free pass to ditch Limpy and go to the game for FREE. With permission. From Limpy.

Not that I wanted to ditch her, but I really like football.

So I call Chewy back and tell him that I would be happy to take his son to the game, but that he will have to bring the son to me and take Limpy home so I can still spend the remaining hours with Limpy up the canyon instead of driving back to Chewy's house to get the Nephew. Chewy agrees to deliver the boy and we arrange a meeting place. Then Limpy and I went up the canyon and enjoyed about two hours of breathtaking scenery.

"So what does this story have to do with DOG BARF??" you say.

And I say, "hold your horses; I'm getting to it."

Well, when my nephew was delivered at the meeting place, he was carsick. He looked positively green in the face and it was clear he was going to need a minute. As a child I was a very carsick little boy. [BOO! Hiss! get to the dog barf!] [Wait for it.] I know how it feels to be completely miserable and just waiting for the car to stop so I could walk on my own two feet.

After a moment, my nephew assured me he was feeling well and that we could go. I distrustfully asked if he was sure, and he told me he was fine. So I fired up the car and we took off. I was fearful that in the stop and go traffic jam toward the game that he was going to blow, and I wondered what I would do if he did. [This is where you may not want to finish reading if you are pregnant and/or weak-stomached.]

Then I remembered the dog barf. [Finally the dog barf. Hooray!]

When I was in the Boy Scouts, my scoutmaster was taking a group of us to the farm so we could see a real dairy. He also insisted we take the dog with us. The smelly mutt the scoutmaster owned (yes I said owned) was annoying anyway, but I am allergic to dogs AND I tend to get carsick--so the dog was a special annoyance that day. The dog kept climbing on my lap during the ride and I kept pushing the dog back on the floor where it belonged.

After repeatedly forcing the dog back to the floor, the scoutmaster decided to teach the dog a lesson and slammed on his brakes. The dog fell, as planned, but as it fell it barfed on my lap. Dog-food barf. Brown/gray, warm, smelly dog-food barf. My buddies in the car were laughing at me until they caught the odor of the maliferous, bilious liquid, then they almost lost it too.

As an awkward teen, I was mortified and was sure the story would have gossiped its way through school in the next few days. To my surprise, nobody mentioned it again. The flashback to dog barf ended and I was pleased to be thinking, "If I can get through dog barf, I can get through anything." I was sure I was man enough to handle the situation if my nephew got sick again.

My nephew perked right up, never felt sick again, I got to spend the time with Limpy, my nephew and I enjoyed the game immensely and now I have a fond memory with a horrible memory imbedded in it. Yes, dog barf will remind me of my nephew from now on.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

9. How to blog and remain anonymous. By: Harold Bates

I am a semi-private individual--meaning, I like putting intimate details of my sorry life on the internet. What I don't want is for anyone who doesn't already know me to be able to figure out who I am. Therefore it's very difficult to insert very many details without the potential of losing my anonymity.

So, with that in mind, please read my next column, but only after filling out the Mad-Lib blanks at the beginning. Get out a piece of paper, number it from 1-29, then let the fun begin.

1 Noun
2 Noun
3 Person of Authority
4 Plural noun
5 Verb [infinitive]
6 Adverb
7 State of being
8 State of being
9 Plural noun
10 Societal unit
11 Adjective
12 Disorder
13 Adverb
14 Verb
15 Authority figure (plural)
16 State of being
17 Noun
18 Plural noun
19 Verb (with ing at the end)
20 Plural noun
21 Adverb
22 Musical style
23 Adjective
24 Noun
25 Noun
26 Plural noun
27 A distance
28 An Exclamation
29 Noun

Today, [1] was a real [2.] For some reason the [3] thought it would be a good idea to let the [4] sing and [5] to the congregation. I was [6] [7.]

At first I though I would be [8] to see all the little [9] sing about [10.] I even thought it would be [11] to see all the [12] children squirm [13] as they tried [14] to their parents despite their [15] asking them to be [16.]

My [17] was unfounded. Sure, there were many [18] who were squirmy and decided to [19] to their [20,] but the [21] majority found it within themselves to sing loudly and [22.]

I know I am [23;] I may even be a [24,] but don't they have a [25] who can decide which [26] to put [27] from the microphone? I mean, [28!] This is a growing problem in our [29]--one that should be remedied as soon as possible.

Feel free to post any funny gems you get into the comments section.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

8. False Profit

So, I bet you are dying to hear the story of the false prophet I mentioned in the last post. I mean, BOTH of you have probably been sitting on the edge of your seat all day and night.

I am on the road, meaning: when I am not working, I look for cheap clean entertainment. Near the hotel there was a high school with all the lights on. I heard the "Star Spangled Banner" and thought "football" and made a beeline for the field. Cheap clean fun.

It WAS a football game, but not the kind of football I was hoping for--high school boys soccer.

Fast forward to the first half where the score was still 0-0.

An older man standing next to the grandstands (4 rows) strikes up a conversation:

"See this scar? I had three vertebrae removed and they put in one solid piece in stead of the three neck bones they took out. I have them in a mason jar. At home. Where I live. Alone."

"Is that so?"

"Yeah, it's not something I like to tell people but it happened and I can't change that."

"That's what I was thinking."

LATER: 25 mins left in the second half. Oh and we have been talking this whole time.

"Are you religious?"

"A little."

"Do you want to hear something that will blow your mind?"

"OOOOOOH, YES!"

"How many children did God have?"

"You mean like All of us?"

"No I mean literal offspring."

"Oh. One?"

"Nope, Two."

He then related a string of scriptures to me that prove that God had another son. (I'm not going to quote the references, because he might search the internet for the references and find this blog and put a curse on me later.) The scriptures say, in effect, "Person X, thou art my firstborn." Person X had also been a bad person and then repented and then died and gone to heaven and then been cast out of heaven. And blah blah blah.

Then he said, "And just before you leave tonight I'm going to tell you how I know this."

"Kinda like the payoff or epilogue?" OK so I didn't really say this, but I wanted to.

So, like the curious fellow I am, I was waiting with bated breath and on the edge of my seat to find out how he knew such a fact.

LATER: 05 secs left in the game. Visiting team ahead 3-2.

"So, do you want to know how I know?"

"Absolutely."

"Because he's me. I was sent back to straighten up and try again."

ICK! "So you are saying you are the BEGOTTEN son of God?"

"I'm the ELDER begotten son of God."

"OK then, I have to go. Drive home safe."

"Oh I BETTER be safe, I'm the visiting school bus driver."

Yeah, I'm a-calling the school district tomorrow.

Note to GUY: Real prophets inspire you to do something with your new knowledge. They make you want to be a better person. They do NOT wait until it's time to part company and then tell you they are a prophet just for the gee-whiz value. They don't tell you they are a prophet usually, they just are and they make you want something more. Just so you know.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

7. More random funnies from the road

#1 Real talk radio commercial:

*bark, bark*

"Pets need love JUST LIKE CHILDREN. Tying a pet up in the yard is damaging to them socially and makes them feel inferior.

"If YOU see a pet tied up in someone's yard all day with no one to play with, call the humane society. It's possible that pet needs a better home."

I don't remember the exact words, but I promise I did NOT embellish the message which is: "if you love animals more than people, and you are not in a mental institution, tell on your neighbors."

#2 Taking directions from locals in upstate [name your favorite rural state]:

"Can you direct me to [place X]?"

"Are you familiar with these here hills?"

"No I'm from [name another state]."

"OK. You'll head down 95 until you cross the river,"

"(easy enough)"

"then count four roads on the right. But don't take that right."

*intent staring and nodding* "(here we go....)"

"Take the third left; it's right after a gigantic pine tree. You can't miss it."

"(Oh can't I?)"

"On the left you'll see Bill Parker's farm. You know Bill?"

"No, I'm from...."

"Doesn't matter, Bills a great guy...got four daugters that if I was 40 years younger..."

*interupts* "So is [place X] by the farm?"

"No you have to keep going on county road JX until you get to the dirt road. Just keep going straight. If you keep going north on county road JX it'll be on the west side about 6 miles up. But if you miss it and come back heading south, It'll be out there on the east side."

"(Did he just say it changes from the west side to the east if you switch directions? I better ask.)So if I travel north it's on the WEST, bot if I travel south, it's on the EAST?"

"Yes."

"Thank you SO MUCH for your help."

"Have a good day young feller."

"You too."

#3 I met a false prophet today, but I'll have to dedicate a whole separate post to that since this little story is a 'pearl of great price.' Stay tuned...WAIT for it!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

6. Random funnies:

While I was inside a high school today, I heard the announcement: “Today the 7th/8th grade boys and girls soccer teams will take on ‘Christ the King.’ Everyone come out and support them.” By the way the school's mascot is 'The Phantom.'

Young ladies, here’s a good rule of thumb for miniskirts. Lay your miniskirt out on the bed before you put it on. If the width of the skirt is greater than the length, the skirt is a belt and therefore is too short. Please follow this rule.

I heard on the radio today that the terrorist named Al Zarkowi has proclaimed the hurricane was the wrath of God on the infidels. So, following his logic, doesn’t living in the most formidable desert on the planet make him an infidel also?. Yeah, the logic doesn’t add up if he considers himself on the right hand side.

I know this doesn’t count as a real blog, but these are some things that gave me thought today.

5. Lair Conditioning

Last night my hotel room was a balmy 80 degrees inside.

After turning the air conditioning down to 50 with no result, I called the front desk. they came up to my evil lair and proceeded to tell me that sometimes you have to take the cover off the unit and open one of the valves.

OH!, I SEE!

Why said valve was not open in the first place, I'll never know. And as a former mechanic, I'd like to think I have a good handle on mechanical stuff. Despite this, however, I should have gone further than just changing the thermostat.

4. Hayseed in the Hizzouse!

Well, it was actually more like “Polygamist in the Plizzane,” but I don’t think he was very polygamist, he just had that—how you say—“gamey” flavor to him.

I was on a cross country flight to Detroit the other day. An older man came walking down the aisle of my super sonic DC 9 carrying a Gott cooler—size 24. (I do NOT know this by rote; it said so on the cooler.) For those of you who don’t know what size a Gott 24 cooler is, it is approximately the size of a VW Cabriolet Convertible.

I immediately noticed the man because of his cooler, but his blue “onesey” kept my eyes coming back for more. Technically, they were coveralls, but my wanderin’ eyes couldn’t keep themselves from his cooler ‘n’ coveralls. The wise flight attendant stepped up to the man to see if he needed assistance in proving that he should have luggage-checked the Gott 24 cooler, or left it home. He proclaimed that everything was fine and TURNED THE COOLER ON ITS SIDE to put it under the seat.

I don’t think I have to explain this to you, but turning a cooler on its side is a bad idea. I’m just sayin.’

Well I didn’t know what was in the cooler and I didn’t see anything leaking out of the overturned ice chest, so I watched throughout the flight to see what could be in there. Methought maybe it was a kidney, or a couple of hearts that desperately needed to arrive in Detroit to save Siamese twins (or conjoined twins for those of you who offend easily.) So my question: if indeed the cooler contained hearts or spleens or other unsavory organics, why did they hire the hayseed to deliver the package? As you can probably already see, I had dismissed the idea that the cooler held something important and turned back to my imagination to divine what could possibly be inside a huge cooler carried by a man in dark blue coveralls.

Then my imagination said, “Mmmmmm….Coveralls….”

After I had wrested my brain power back from my imagination, I started wondering why anyone would need to wear coveralls while traveling to Detroit. Is it possible there was a hog auction in Detroit that was near the airport and he was just on a one day out-n-back? Was he going to fix the plane in-flight if necessary? I mean, I WAS flying Northwest Airlines—home of the mechanic strike.

Despite my active imagination, what was inside the cooler was more disgusting than I could possibly have imagined:

Get this: inside the cooler was…lunch. I know, I know: “ANTI-CLIMACTIC!” you are shouting. Well let me describe lunch:

The man pulled out a butter sandwich on wheat and a jar of homemade juice. (“ANTI-CLIMACTIC! ANTI-CLIMACTIC!”) Imagine a half a cube of butter cut into pats and placed evenly on bread. Now imagine another piece of bread—voila! Butter sandwich. The juice was even better. Imagine a liquid the consistency of tomato juice. Now imagine it the color of raspberry jam. Now imagine the purple/red liquid in a mason jar. Now picture the mason jar with a plastic-wrap seal between the lid and the glass. Finally, imagine you can see a wine-colored “spittle-string” stretching from the jar to his lips when he takes a swig.

I think I have made the impression I wanted to make here, except I want to give you one more mental picture of the oddity of the man-in-the-iron-coveralls. Stretch your left arm straight out in front of you, palm up. Now, lightly curl your left-hand fingers and bend your elbow to a 90 degree angle so your forearm is pointing straight up. Finally, with the palm of your right hand, rub the far side of your forearm vigorously from the wrist to the elbow.

At the end of the flight, that’s what the coverall man was doing. Except when he did it, and I am not making this up, his sun-dried, excessively loose skin was shedding layers. To top it all off, said old-timer held his Gott 24 cooler in his lap and on the seat next to him during the landing. “Well, was it on the seat or on his lap?” you ask. Both. He switched from one to the other a number of times. Maybe he didn’t want the hearts to fall out if the pilot screwed up I guess. Now where was that wise flight attendant while he was holding a huge cooler on his lap during the landing? I mean, was she helping someone who fainted in the bathroom or….?

What was HE thinking of ME? I can only imagine.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

3. What am I doing?

So I decide I want to write a blog and I set it all up, but now I have to update it from time to time?

I was not aware that being painfully lazy would make it extrememly difficult to maintain a blog. Nevertheless, I forge on.

Lately I have been noticing how many people are becoming ugly. Not that their natural beauty is different, but that they all are deciding to work less on their dress and appearance. I saw a young lady today who otherwise would have been attractive, but had decided to adopt a Pat-Benetar-is-my-hero look. She was very made up, but didn't look very good at all.

Similarly young men with their long hair and hook noses are trying to look like the Beatles. Let me repeat--they are TRYING TO LOOK LIKE THE BEATLES. Oh well, I guess I'm officially old.

I remember openly criticizing the faded denim jeans that were so popular 5 years ago. Now I can't find any pants when I go shopping that don't look like someone has worn them while riding bareback on a cement mixer.

I am what fashion gurus would call a latecomer when it comes to caving to fashion trends, but at least I know enough to not tuck my plaid, yellowed shirts in to my faded denim jeans.