Posts Tagged ‘Miscellany’

Since they don’t ask high school seniors to write essays titled “What I Did This Summer” I thought I would take the liberty — sans petitioning for “permission” — of whipping up a quick account of my son’s recent trip north of Hell (that would be Phoenix, AZ, for the unititiated).

Chayce at Lake PowellA couple weeks ago he trekked up into Utah with his mother and her friends’ family. On the way up they stopped at Lake Powell, a place I’ve never been, but you can see him here taking in one of nature’s wonders — although I’m really pretty sure he’s wondering when they’re going to be back on the road.

In Utah, Salt Lake City to be precise, they were at a mall or something one day. I got an MMS message from him with a picture attached. Be mindful that the first place I saw this image was on the small screen of my Blackberry, and initially I thought it was him edited into some image — the text of his message read “Check out this coin bank.”

I'm saving for a blowjob! But I'll settle for a hamburger.

The way to save in Utah

Imagine my impulse to recoil initially, given that my brain tried to convince me it was my son on the label. It took a couple seconds to realize it was not him. What I find most humorous about this is that he found it in Salt Lake City of all places, a formidable bastion of Mormonism. I was also told they have another bank declaring “I’m saving for some weed.” Say what you will about those Mormons, they’re alright in my book!

In case you can’t make out the text on the label it says “I’m saving for a blowjob!” and below that, in smaller text, “But I’ll settle for a hamburger.”

His last two days he got to stay in Vegas. Allow me to give you an abridged synopsis of my trips to Vegas as a kid.

My paternal grandparents lived in Boulder City, a small town between Hoover Dam and Vegas. During our trips to see them we would often go into Henderson or Las Vegas to eat cheap or so the adults could partake in some bingo or other various gambling delights. Nevada law mandates that children under the age of 21 are not allowed on the casino floor, so we couldn’t very well stand there and watch them gamble, wouldn’t want to give the wrong impression to young minds, right? Certainly not! All the flashing lights, neon, huge signs along the strip, clinking of coins and ringing of slot bells, those were all designed as distractions — not that we would ever encode all the glitzy imagery in our developing brains.

Sure. Whatever.

When the adults gambled we got corralled in the arcade; it could have been a closet with a Pong game, but it wasn’t on the casino floor, so it passed muster. The folks and grandparents would wander in occasionally to grease bribe assuage their guilt gift us with a roll of quarters. This sufficed for the time it took to dump them into video game machines, devices with appetites like a whore that just made bail. When we ran out we might venture as far as we dared without getting busted by casino security. Looking back we should have been a little more aggressive — what would they do, toss us outside?

So we got quarters and cheap meals; I certainly have an appreciation for the former and deep respect for the latter, and have tried to impress upon my son the virtues of what Vegas (and Henderson) used to be like. “If you paid $1.99 for breakfast somewhere it was almost considered legal mugging” I told him. “For under a buck you could get the whole shootin’ match for breakfast back then” I added, remembering wistfully.

Big buffets for some ridiculously low fee. Remember those? Those days are long gone . . . as if he cared.

Neither mom, dad, nor the grandparents ever hooked me up like he got this summer:

Chayce with Vegas showgirls

All I got was a stupid roll of quarters!

Look at that grin, will ya! He won’t be telling his kids about cheap food. No sir!

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Food Sex EsteemSex and hunger go hand-in-hand, right? Let’s not forget thirst. Before you get red-faced or develop that feeling of awkwardness allow me to clarify: I allude to the diminishment of life sustaining resources . . . you pervs. Must it always be something sexual with you?

I was doing a little research on historical reference dating when I happened upon this word: malthusian. It has a certain solidity to it, an eloquence arising from some ethereal sort of mysticism — and honestly, I didn’t know its meaning.

of or pertaining to the theories of T. R. Malthus, which state that population tends to increase faster, at a geometrical ratio, than the means of subsistence, which increases at an arithmetical ratio, and that this will result in an inadequate supply of the goods supporting life unless war, famine, or disease reduces the population or the increase of population is checked.

For those of you who like an crisp summary without all the meaningful detail this word should be one of your immediate favorites because it says so much in 10 letters—basically, keep your libido in check or we shall all assuredly starve. That goes double for those of you at the shallow end of the gene pool or in backwoods trailer parks; you know the ones, just past the hollar, down by the crick.

If I’ve lost you already then it may be time to cradle that beer in one hand and fixate on NASCAR. Oh! That reminds me of a classic riddle — Do you know why rednecks prefer doggystyle?

Give up?

Because that way they both can watch NASCAR.

I told you it was a classic.

Imagine the strains on energy resources, agricultural and ecosystem resources. For some perspective, have you ever been in line at the movie theater concession counter and waited 15 minutes or more only to find out the dick in front of you bought the last box of Raisinets? What if your date loves Raisinets and you come back with something lame like Milk Duds . . . guess who ain’t gettin’ any that night?

Or how about the same scenario at a ballpark. You wait in line, behind a bunch of Yankee or Dodger fans, drunk on their own inflated sense of athletic dysfunction, only to get up to the counter (finally!) and be told “The guy in front of you got the last side of nacho cheese. Sorry, we’re all out.” You return to your cheap seats and your date says “Where’s the nachos?” as you sheepishly hand over the reeking garlic fries — which happen to be very good, by the way!

Think you’re scoring that night? Think again.

See the problem? Overpopulation leads to a distressing amount of competition for food. This affects not only your stomach but also greatly extends your personal ‘drought’.

Can you imagine the sheer societal havoc to be had if overpopulation lead to a shortage of beer or wine? Do you really want to see that in your lifetime? I didn’t think so!

Now go forth and contemplate the potentially brutal dynamics of our very existence as seen through the sobering goggles of T.R. Malthus.

Nobody better lay a finger on my Butterfinger!

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Some folks are breakfast people—some are not. I happen to be one. I like a good all-American breakfast once in a while, you know, with eggs, hash browns, maybe some sourdough toast and crispy bacon.

Mmmmmmmm . . . bacon . . . . .

Imagine yourself, getting up from a night of slumber, eyes trying like hell to blink open and you can’t quit yawning. Maybe you only have time for a bowl of cereal and a slice of toast, washed down with some fresh orange juice, hot tea, or coffee.

What if I told you you could meld two of the all-American breakfast items together and still remain true to your compressed breakfast of cereal and toast?

Feast your eyes on breakfast ingenuity!

Jar of bacon spread

Don't be stingy — slather it on!

This is no joke!

From the site BaconFreak.com:

We make this condiment called bacon jam. you say what? that’s right. We take Niman Ranch bacon and render it down along with onions, balsamic and other spices. we simmer it for a few hours so it is a perfect blend of smoky, tangy, savory, and slightly sweet….basically spreadable bacony goodness! We use it on the skillet burger we serve in Seattle made with grass-fed beef, cambozola, arugula on a brioche roll and our hand-cut french fries. other folks have tried it on baked potatoes, grilled cheese sammys, and even as a base for a vinaigrette.

For a mere $9.99 you can have bacon with your cereal, courtesy of the breakfast platform of choice: toast.

Can you smell it?

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I know half the world has already seen this, but I laugh every time I watch it. Watch his tail in the background . . . he’s all happy, almost excited by the talk of food.

I will admit that it is stupid . . . but it’s friggin’ hilarious!

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Apparition on a staircaseA few nights ago I attended a chat hosted by Pump Up Your Book, a virtual tour company that helps authors get their names and books into the virtual world we all know as the internet—you remember, that thing invented by Al Gore.

Indulge me in a quick Stream-of-Thought Aside: You know what bothers me about that prior statement . . . that, God willing, all this data will survive far into the future—well after all of us have shuffled off to greener pastures—and whatever form of intelligence that is scouring this data may actually take as edict that Gore is the one responsible for the internet. How messed up would lhat be?

Anyhoo, the guest author at this chat was Susan Kronick, who came in to discuss the subject matter central to her novel Sarah, They’re Coming For You—specifically, ghosts.Susan Kronick's novel Sarah, They're Coming For You

Apparitions can be somewhat polarizing—some believe and some don’t. It’s fun to see how people react to someone who is in tune with the spiritual world, as it were. This chat was no different.

Early on, someone asked Susan what her first encounter with the incorporeal was like. She quickly responded that she was very young when it happened; she apparently was lying in bed, surrounded by these entities. So I swiftly asked if she was scared or calm. She had already been typing to finish her prior thought, because she answered my question, it seemed, the instant I hit ‘Send’.

“I was scared sh**less!” she typed.

Understand, if you’ve never attended a chat seesion like this (or chatted at all), things move pretty quick. Lots of side discussions and folks bantering back and forth—that’s ancillary to the actual topic of the moment. Sometimes, no matter how fast you type your continuation of a thread of conversation can get lost in the mix.

Well, based on Susan’s professions of paralytic anxiety I thought perhaps that was a good time to inject a tiny bit of absurdity into the fray, some balance.

“So you’re saying ghosts are a fantastic colonic?” I replied.

One person caught it (I think perhaps the only person) and said “Great question J.W.!”, followed about ten seconds later by “Oh, it was a joke. DUH!”

I don’t care who you are, that’s funny right there!

The session went on with lots of questions about how someone can see ghosts, their reason for being here, do they select only certain people to approach, and so forth. I resisted the urge to wax nostalgic about Casper, but was demonically tempted to ask if she ever pulled the mask off a ghost only to find out it was Avery, the town sheriff who said “I would have got away with it too if it hadn’t been for you meddling kids!”

No, I didn’t do it.

We get to the end and the moderator tells us all that Susan has agreed to provide each of the chat participants an eBook copy of Sarah. Pretty cool, I thought. “But, there’s a catch . . .” she adds.

My fingers flew over the keys. “A catch?” I asked. “Do I have to watch Gigli?” I quickly added.

“Yes,” was Susan’s answer.

Myself and another guy in the ‘room’ sent simultaneously “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”

Some ghosts are best left alone.

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This is kinda cool . . . and best of all free! It’s called a Google Search Story and you can build your own in a few minutes. I’m not entirely certain of its value as a marketing tool but it’s one more arrow in a writers quiver.

At :35 long you can take the time to check it out and still catch your favorite reality show!

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Postman delivers a letter to a woman at the front door

"They tell me it's a letter. Is that pie I smell?"

“Damn!” I exclaimed out of the blue as my son and I returned home from his practice.

“What?” he asked.

“We took care of that early so we wouldn’t forget and I just remembered,” I began. Understandably, he looked confused. “First theng, when we get home, you need to address that envelope so I can mail it tomorrow morning.” He nodded, and I felt better for having remembered.

As evenings go for most people, one of the most necessary events is getting dinner ready. We arrived home and no sooner do we hit the door (which enters directly into the kitchen) then I begin thinking about what to make for dinner. We both greeted the dog because she’s always there waiting for us to give her a treat or something. He went and got cleaned up while I began making dinner. We got to talking about this and that, then ate dinner, and afterward I helped him with an English paper.

Next morning I’m up and eating a bowl of cereal when simply staring at the counter and its wide, empty space, reminds me that we forgot—again—to take care of the envelope. He came out and started making his breakfast and I pounced on the poor kid. “You need to address that envelope before you leave this morning.”

And this, dear readers, is what made my brain feel like it skipped a cog; he says “I don’t remember how to address it.”

I stared at him, frozen in place. I couldn’t grasp the concept. “I have the address” I say.

“No, I mean I don’t remember how to do it.”

“What? You don’t remember how to address an —”

That’s what I said” he smarts back. It’s early, he hasn’t eaten breakfast, and he’s a teenager. I cut him some slack, but I still feel mortally dumbfounded. It isn’t until I began to mentally massage the numbness from my brain that I even considered why he wouldn’t remember.

I don’t recall addressing lots of envelopes growing up, but I know for certain I did enough to remember the format. Didn’t hurt that both my parents worked for the post office, either. It is, without argument, an almost mindless task, something we do without much thought, a sort of correspondence auto-pilot, if you will. But you don’t need to stretch your mind too far to see the writing on the virtual wall: the advent of, and ease of access to, electronic means of communication has radically changed the way which we communicate. Many of us reading this post, I’d bet, have a degree of affinity for the ‘old way’ of doing things. Getting an actual handwritten letter is rare anymore. I’m as guilty as anyone. I type so much faster than I can write, and my penmanship stinks on ice. But I remember the distinction between ‘printing’ your name and ‘writing’ your name in cursive. Yay for me, huh?

So I grabbed the address and walked him through it again. I’m sure it won’t be the last time. But this wee episode made me wonder — what else might we consign to oblivion?

How about personal phone calls? Seems the growing (and disturbing) trend is toward texting on the very phones we could use to call the other person on.

Knowing how to wrap a gift? Seems an idiotic notion, doesn’t it? Next time you’re in almost any store look at all the gift cards available. I’m not ready to believe that wrapping presents is going the way of the dodo, but do your kids know how to wrap them? My son used to know, but I’m not sure if he remembers. I ask him and he says (predictably) “Nope.”

Are these earmarked for extinction too?:
• Changing the tire on a bicycle?
• Making a “mix tape” . . . remember those?
• Playing board or card games? Chutes and Ladders, Candy Land, Monopoly, Concentration, Checkers, Chess. Most of these can now be found electronically, for your phone, iPad, or PC.
• God forbid we should ever forget how to read an actual book!

Well, he got it addressed properly—but I put the stamp on. I’m not sure if he has any idea what a stamp is, but I’m sure his smartphone could tell him.

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