Monday, April 30, 2007

Friday, April 27, 2007

Arrested Development

As promised many moons ago, here is a tale of youthful indiscretion. I grew up as a city kid. Decent neighborhood, close to the train tracks, and pretty sure but not too smug that I was on the correct side of 'em. Our house was where all the friends gathered, because my mom didn't mind the noise and bustle of lots of high-energy younglings, and loved to feed us whatever was in the fridge. "A block of Velveeta? No? How about some 3-week old pea soup? C'mon, have a Twinkie." She would always (eventually) manage to serve something. In the summer of my 13th birthday, my country-boy friend Dan came for a weekend sleepover. We hung out at school, and I'd been to his house where he showed off his closet full of camouflage clothing, a large collection of knives, and stacks of some kind of military/ boy scout magazines. His fondest dream would be to attend military boarding school. He was militia material before it was popular. He came over, dropped his duffel bag, and reached in to retrieve a Crossman lever-action BB gun. He had a little milk carton full of BB's, and filled the chamber. We immediately set out into suburbia looking for targets. It was a midsummer night, which in West Michigan is characterized by late sunsets - it can remain bright until after 10PM - and beautiful warm weather. We stalked the ubiquitous pigeons, but they proved too wily for shooters of our caliber. We tried shooting at each other, and after we each got pinged in the ankle, that lost its appeal. Walking down the street, Dan hit on a brilliant idea: Car hubcaps. They make a satisfying clank like a muted railroad crossing bell, and did no damage. At least, not the kind that would be visible enough to get us in trouble. We strolled the neighborhood as the sun set, turning the blue sky a bright cobalt color, yellow streetlights humming to life. Plink! Thud! Plank! Goink! We were getting pretty good at hitting the mark. We decided to graduate to moving cars. What could possibly go wrong? There was a church across the street from my house, and on the other side of the church there was a fairly busy road. The large, orange brick modern-gothic building had a row of dense juniper bushes a comfortable distance from the wall, and we crawled in and hid ourselves. We took turns plinking at cars, listening for the sound of a bullseye. It was Dan's turn to shoot, while I amused myself tormenting a June bug in the dirt. He shot. I heard tires squeal. "Oh shit oh shit oh shit!" I heard him breathe. I couldn't see what the problem was, but I could tell it was bad, for there were voices emerging from the car. Voices belonging to 5 large young men, who were clearly agitated over something. My view was obstructed, but I was pretty sure they stopped because of something Dan did. Dan argued that we should run for it, they were occupied looking at the damage. I firmly refused, for we were well hidden and would never be found. Just then I found myself levitating, miraculously several feet off the ground. We cleared the bushes and nearly bumped heads as I realized one extremely strong guy had both Dan and me by our belts, weighing us like so much produce. I immediately burst out with "I'm sorry! I'm sorry! Don't kill us!" while Dan was trying to pin the blame on the guy who was walking down the opposite sidewalk. In an extreme twist of good fortune, one of his buddies came running out of a neighbor's house yelling, "Don't beat 'em up! I just called the cops!" Moments later, two of Grand Rapids' finest rolled up and we were saved. Sort of. In handcuffs, in the back seat, the interrogation began. I said I didn't even know what happened. The officer trained his searchlight on the back window of the car. The entire window had shattered like teevee snow, because of one tiny BB lodged in the lower right corner. Oopsie. The cops wrote up a report, saying they'd have to bring us in and hope we each had someone to come and get us or it would be a long night. I pleaded with Officer Friendly to bring us home, right across the street practically. He was having none of that. On the way downtown, we were presented with a number of scenarios involving little old ladies dying from fright and mean, angry men who don't mind punching children. Very solemn stuff. At the jail, we were deposited in the drunk tank. It was vacant on our side, but there was a bona fide smelly and ragged drunk man in the next cell. I nonchalantly asked, "What are you in for?" He grunted, farted, and fell over. Dan's mother came to get him first. She was extremely vocal. And loud. Dan hunched his shoulders and tried to discretely protect his ears as he slunk out a few feet behind her. An hour later, my dad arrived. That was the longest ride of my life, going the 25 minutes home in stony silence, except for this: "What on earth possessed you to do that?" We each got cited for Misdemeanor Malicious Destruction of Property and $250 restitution, which ate my entire summer's worth of paper route profits. You would think I would have learned my lesson.

She's Back

Trina, of Meanderings In Hickville, is back among the living. She got drunk and fell off a train bridge or something, and has been unable to blog for a while due to injuries. Go show some love! DO IT!!!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Triple Dipper

Wordnerd just got around to answering HER 5 questions, thus beginning the cycle of interviewing and intervieweeing all over again. It's like the Line Ride at the Cow Days Festival in South Park, Colorado. "I wanna go again! I wanna go again!" I can't even come close to the breadth and quality of her preamble, but it reminded me of a parking lot carnival in Grand Rapids one weekend around my 12th birthday. I had a buncha friends overnight, and we partied into the wee hours. There were pillowfights and pizza, cheetos and broken teeth, an unbelievable amount of Orange Crush, and a potion made of Tobasco, Scope, pickle juice, and shaving cream for the poor schmuck who fell asleep first. Oddly enough, we all fell asleep at the same time. Early the next morning, we took our bikes up to the carnival and rode the rides. We climbed aboard the swing-thing, and it raised us up as it began its rotation. These rides are amusing, especially to a pile of kids who are trying to twist around backwards and kick each other while hurtling through space 20 feet off the ground. After a while, we'd had our fill of fun. However, the classic leather-skinned mono-toothed greasy-haired vulgar-tatooed ride operator was working his romantic magic on a pasty local Dutch girl and left us hanging. Quite literally. For about 12 minutes (which, according to This Reporter's research, is at least 4x longer than the regulation ride length). There is a reason certain rides are called 'the spin-and-puke' variety. Not a one of us were unaffected, and we showed our appreciation for the generous helping of centrifugal amusement by decorating the parking lot in shades of orange. I told you it wouldn't be as good. On to the Questions - Ms. Nerd gets fiery red for questions, my answers are in basic black. 1. I’m going to be in your area next Friday night, and as luck would have it, you’re free! What will we do? First, I check the weather. Crap, cloudy and not warm. In that case, we head downtown and visit the BOB (Big Old Building) - a warehouse converted into restaurants and brewpubs and a comedy club. If we get sick of talking, eating, drinking and shooting pool, there are lots of other places with live music or quiet cafes within walking distance. That'd be one proper use of a Friday night. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Chicken. I can prove it. What scares you? Besides bears? Spiders landing on me. And my own capacity for bad behavior. Where do you see yourself in five years? Incredibly fit, financially secure, and deliriously happy. Geography doesn't matter. It's your last meal, and you can have anything you want. What'll it be? Depends on the circumstances of said last meal. If it's because I'm on death row to be punished for my fully justified but still illegal killing of someone who needed killin,' I'd have stuffed cabbage rolls. If it were because of an unseen defect in my bungee cord just before leaping off the Victoria Falls Bridge, it would have been hot dogs and rice. I try to eat stuff that doesn't suck so I wouldn't regret my choice in case THIS meal is my last. Lean Cuisine Panini for lunch today.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Yesterday, spring sprung in Michigan. All the trees shed their pollen on cue, and then a gentle rain turned it into sheetpaste on my freshly washed car. I don't mind, for the apple blossoms are in bloom and it's short sleeve weather finally. I still need to wear layers to work. The whiny-ass pansies in back (near the hi-temp copiers) (Hello, Dan!) think it's too hot and stuffy and crank up the air, converting my end of the room into an icebox of antarctic proportions. I've been enjoying the springiness by walking aboot (as they say in Canadania) and riding my bike for longer and longer distances. I'm still not in riding trim - not even close - but I can go far enough to walk funny when I'm done. I don't have a scale at the apartment (shoulda known, it's not an upscale place), so I'm not sure how my Shrinking Piggy stats are shaping up. But, if I eat less, drink less, and exercise, it should continue to work. Or I could get a virus or amoeba and lose 10 lbs in a week like our dear friend TracyLynn. On 2nd thought... Naaah. ********************** As I was leaving my night gig (measuring lumber for a new deck), I was driving through a residential neighborhood in the city. A sedan slowed to a near-stop in front of me, and I saw kids crowd to the left side of the car, sticking arms and wispy hair out the window. I followed their gaze to a goat in a back yard. In the city. It was running back and forth along the fence, wagging its little stubby tail, and jumping up for attention like a golden retriever. It made me grin. For a while, a friend and I were looking at buying a goat to share. We'd have joint custody, and every week one of us would keep the goat in the yard. Why, you may ask? No mowing. Plus, if your lawnmower ever breaks, you can't roast it up on the grill and make pitas with grilled onions and tangy dressing. Never happened, but I'm kinda thinking it'd still be fun...

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Since I have no time for a proper post today, I'll play along in the Drive By Post Games. ================ A sweet grandmother telephoned St.Joseph's Hospital. She timidly asked, "Is it possible to speak to someone who can tell me how a patient is doing?" The operator said "I'll be glad to help, Dear. What's the name and room number?" The grandmother in her weak tremulous voice said, "Norma Findlay, Room 302." The Operator replied, "Let me place you on hold while I check with her nurse." After a few minutes the Operator returned to the phone. "Oh, Good news. Her nurse has told me that Norma is doing very well. Her blood pressure is fine; her blood work just came back as normal and her Physician, Dr. Cohen, has scheduled her to be discharged Tuesday." The Grandmother said, "Thank you. That's wonderful! I was so worried! God bless you for the good news." The operator replied, "You're more than welcome. Is Norma your daughter?" The Grandmother said, "No, I'm Norma Findlay in 302. No one tells me shit around here."

Friday, April 20, 2007

Phantom A** Syndrome

Note: This is a link-laden post. Follow them! This morning I awoke in the hours between total dark and mostly dark. I blearily looked at the clock, and while the exact time didn't register, I knew it was too early to be up. In my state of semi-consciousness, I realized something was amiss. I went to sleep with a right arm, but now where was it? No tingle, no movement, no reply at all. I began to sit up and heard a *thwump* over to my side. I think it was my arm. Did.not.feel.a.thing. I decided now was not the time to panic, I'd wait a cuppa two tree minutes before commencing to little-girl-finding-a-monster-under-her-bed screaming. I reached over with my functioning left hand and felt a cold, hairy limb in bed with me. I picked it up and laid it across my belly, massaging life back into it. I muzzily wondered if the circulation had been cut off too long and it'd have to be lopped off at the elbow or neck or something. Fortunately, sensation returned quickly so I could go back to sleep. =================== My routine has been thrown off track in the last weeks. In fact, it's off the track, down the hill, and drifting waterlogged in a large inland lake. My early-riser routine accounted for exercise, healthy breakfasts, and substantive posts. My Shrinking Piggies results have taken a hit, and my goal for next week is to actually get up when the alarm rings (after the first snooze, of course. But only one snooze). I had reached a 10-year low in weight, and have put 3 lbs. back on, which is unacceptable. Pass the biking shorts. =================== As has been repeated like the reports of a woodpecker on the trail of some woodmunching bugs, I like to play along. That interview thingie was so much fun, I volunteered to do it again. This time, the brilliant questions are supplied by Renn, who credits a coworker with assistance. Renn gets black letters, because that's how she rolls. My answers are in a fabulous periwinkle. 1. What is your Super Power? Flight. And an incredible capacity for beer. 2. Christmas has Santa, Easter has the Easter Bunny, and Thanksgiving has a Turkey. Create a "mascot" for Labor Day, Arbor Day or the Vernal Equinox. What does (s)he do, and what gifts will we receive? Hmm, tough question. The Labor Day Donkey? Nah, that's taken. The Arbor Day Woodpecker? Ummm, no. How about the Vernal Equinox Chicken? It's said that you can stand an egg on end at noon (as yet unproven by This Reporter). Since it's the longest day, you could continue your celebrations into the late evening on the Weber with your happily exhausted mascot. It's a win-wi... oh, wait. Nevermind. 3. How much money would someone have to pay you to shave off your eyebrows? $354.00 4. How do you quiet the voices in your head? What are they saying right now? They get angry when I try to shush them. I create new voices so they can talk amongst themselves and keep entertained. Trouble happens when they form committees and reach consensus. They're currently saying they wish I hadn't created the Cheney voice, because he's always telling the rest to go fark themselves. 5. If you were in a Big Hair rock band, what would it be called? What would your hit song be? I was in a BHRB called Dreams. We had the hair, the volume, and the rawk, but not the audiences. It died an appropriate death in the stoner guitarist's basement. If I were in one now, it'd be called Wombat. Our hit song would be a power ballad cover of Heywood Banks' Toast.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Doing Things

It's a fine April day in Meechigan, the sun is shining with nary a cloud to block it, and a cool breeze in the 58-degree weather makes a long-sleeve shirt very cozy. I have a night gig, carpentering with a friend to help pay the bills. It's kept me busy into the late this week, and I haven't the energy (desire) to get up so early lately. Therefore, I'm not a-posting today, at least anything of much import. Instead, I'm offering these photos which have been clearly labeled (by someone other than me) to show even the most myopic of us that these are, indeed, redneck creations.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

It's A Major Award

Thanks to my drinkin' buddy* Sarch for tagging me with this. I sincerely appreciate the honor of having any readers at all, let alone being nominated for something nice like this. Especially at a time of scandal, intrigue, assassination attempts and an onslaught of telemarketers in the highest offices of Spiffytown. In the spirit of carrying on, I'll finally get 'round to it. Unfortunately, due to extended/ sporadic hiatusing, some of my prime candidates have already received this award. If you would be so kind as to peruse the blogroll you see at Right (-->) you will find the bloggers I read as regularly as I can, in order. They're there because they make me think, laugh, and enjoy their company. And, they can spell. Nothing chases me off faster'n rotten grammar and rottener spelling. None of 'em are fillers or simply there for politeness' sake. Without further adoo, here are my humble nominations. JC at What Can't Be Looked For She's a writer alright. Painting pictures that evoke emotions and memories, she can switch between hilarity, warmth, and touching depth with grace and biting wit. Stew at Get Stewed He's a conservative with compassion. And hella funny. Vote for him, dammit. Hyperion Duh. Thinking is his first, middle, and final name. While I have reason to doubt he would deign to participate because of a reported dislike of all things memey, he deserves the tag. I'm counting him as an alternate, in case he doesn't play along. Blitz Krieg A regular haunt of mine, he's engaging and fun, a real guy with a large music library and a penchant for snotty comments. Tracy Lynn Kaply Don't go there today, unless you're OK with the graphic awfulness sometimes associated with being human. Her style is brief and acerbic, but smart as honk. And, lest she think I'm stalking her with multiple tags, Rennratt rounds out the list. Rare insight even when reporting the mundane. Do NOT get in an insult war with this woman. ****************

The participation rules of the award are simple:
1) If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think
2) Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme.
3) Optional: Proudly display the 'Thinking Blogger Award' with a link to the post that you wrote.
*Contrary to the term 'drinkin' buddy,' Sarch did not, in fact, get plastered and fall off his bar stool. He did almost start a brawl, however. We escaped with our lives.

Sunday, April 15, 2007


This happens to me often. I'm schlepping along, minding my own business, when something shiny catches my attention. I stop. I look. I read and absorb, enthralled. I fail to notice the tendrils of a carnivorous plant slinking around my ankles, executing its ingenious plan to suck me in and make me participate in its nefarious pursuits. That's how memes get me... usually. This one I had to volunteer for. So, while doing some casual reading at Tracy Lynn's site, I got zapped with this Interview/ 5 Questions thing. Since I'm a joiner, I jumped up and down to be included in the games. Here goes (her questions are in fashionable green): 1)Where exactly IS Spiffytown? It's not a place, but a state of mind. BWAAAAAAAH!!! heh heh... naw, I can't leave it like that. Pretentious drivel is something I'm only a little good at. Spiffytown is wherever I happen to be at any moment. In fact, it doesn't have to be a moment that now exists - truly, do moments ever exist? Once you notice it, it becomes the past and therefore no longer exists as this moment. I have no problem tripping around in time and space to find nuggets of nonsense that entertain and interest me. And, I like sharing nonsense, thus this place was created. So, Spiffytown is loosely Michigan based, but can pick up and move around easier than a pack mule in a catapult. 2)If you could be rich and stupid or poor and smart, which would you choose and why? I like my life generally. It's already the latter more than the former, and there are far too many stupid people in all socio-economic strata. So I'll take smart and see if I can turn a buck with my wits. And a bit of rope. 3)When I say JUMP, what do you say? 'MMkay. 4)What's the weirdest food that's ever been offered to you? I'm not a big seafood fan, so the first things I thought of were squid and mussels. But it's not that weird to some people. Soybeans got me though. People were at a party munching on soybeans in pods, and said they were tasty. I tried one. It was gross. Then, an hour later, I noticed someone putting the empty husk of a used soybean pod into a bowl. The way you enjoy soybeans is pinch the beans from the pod with your teeth, like skittles from a sleeve. I drew from the discard pile, so to speak. Much alcohol was warranted to make me unremember that and get the taste out... The fresh ones, from the 'fresh one' bowl, were noticeably better. 5)Name your five favorite movies of ALL TIME. 1. Braveheart. Most moving story, and best philosophy on serving something greater than oneself that I've ever witnessed. Makes me want to be a hero. 2. Monty Python In Search of the Holy Grail. Not that strong by itself, but watched repeatedly during my geeky formative years with great friends, it is the most quotable and absurd amusement movie ever. 3. Star Wars, Episodes 4-6. I put the whole trilogy in because it's my list, dangitt, and it deserves its iconic status. Great story, groundbreaking visuals, and all the things my demographic at the time was wired to eat right up. 4. Princess Bride. Again, chock-full of quotable lines, real comedy, a grand story, and terrific imagery. 5. The Matrix. Allegorical, stunning, inspiring, dark and adventurous. Here's how it works - you too can play! In order to be tagged, do this:

  1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."
  2. I will respond by asking you five questions. I get to pick the questions.
  3. You will update your weblog with the answers to the questions.
  4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
  5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Deja Vous?

It's spring again. Seems like we just had it days ago... The deep green grass is poking up through the snow, and it was a gloriously blue sky and a crescent (toenail) moon. Snow was vaporizing through the orchards in the sunrise. That's all the time I have; it's my duty to go do stuff for other people now. And you thought you were coming here to be entertained.... heh heh heh And, as requested:

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Old Thunderfart

I hung out with my good friend Bob last night. Drove to the other end of the county in the kind of slush that likes to lurk in the gutters and reach out to pull your tires into its cold, slimy bosom. Marlon Blando, my Buick, stayed on the straight and narrow and we arrived in good time. Bob has a new website, built from scratch. He's working out the bugs; it works best on Explorer. He's the co-author of the now famous Frog Haiku, a world-class musician, hardcore tornado chaser, and all-around good guy. He has recently gotten into home brewing, and shared with me a bracing pint of barley wine he lovingly calls Old Thunderfart. Sadly, there isn't a label. It would become a collector's item, I'm sure. It was wonderful, so rich I needed crackers to wash it down. Still snowing outside. They say it'll be 40 today, so this will all turn to flooding mud soon and back to normal some time after that. Tomorrow, Friday the 13th, is Boy's first crew meet - on the water - and not a moment too soon. Our dart-flinging weathergirl says it should be in the upper 40's and dry. Perfect weather for riding in a boat skinnier than me on a dark and swollen river with 8 other teenage boys. Nothing could possibly go wrong. This morning Girl is being fitted with a shiny new cast. It'll be her 3rd. This one is for a broken ankle in gym class yesterday. If the pattern holds, next summer she'll get one on the other ankle, and have a complete set. Have a great day!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


One day. It matches my spirit today, the weather. Cold and blowing. Snow violently billowing across the roads, depositing treacherous slush and dangerous drifts in my path. Low visibility. One day there will be sunshine.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Dark Day

There is much to be happy about in life. There is also much that sucks. I'm having the latter in spades. ================= By popular demand (Rick and Kenju), here is the site I found that's full of animated gifs - some of these are just wrong, most made me laugh out loud. I wish I'd never seen David Hasselhof this way though. I don't know if this guy is the creator or just a collector of these things, many of which I had the pleasure of witnessing at Fark for various photoshop contests and comment threads.

Monday, April 9, 2007

A Tribute To Tracy Lynn

I discovered this repository of animation the other week (can you tell?) and when I saw this, I immediately thought of my poor afflicted friend, Kaply. Enjoy.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

No, It's Not OK With Me

I've been on hold for 28 minutes now with the Priority Club Rewards people. They have a neither-nor named Pat with a squealy, nasal voice whine-asking if it would be okay to put me on hold again. This is my 5th person/ computer I've had to talk to on this call. The reason? I redeemed some points last month for a free stay in Chicago. I was charged $146.57 for my free stay. The bastards.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Because, That's Why

Sorry about the width, I can't seem to make 'em fit. Clicking on the cartoons will take you to the source, and you can see the whole thing. You can do it!! Cyanide and Happiness, a daily webcomic Cyanide & Happiness @ Cyanide and Happiness, a daily webcomic Cyanide & Happiness @ Cyanide and Happiness, a daily webcomic Cyanide & Happiness @

Tuesday, April 3, 2007


And ye olde Thirde Installment is found herein. The cold and sleet came true. Frickin' Michigan. I think we've joined forces with Canada, where they manufacture cold. And beer. ================== Frogs full of evil. Although they look so harmless, do not turn your back Licking certain toads can give you an acid high. Who first thought of this? Peace frogs on bumpers and t-shirts flash the peace sign. But do they mean it? Frogs in the bathroom holding toothbrushes and soap. They’re watching me shave Too many to count swarming out from the roiling Nile—the second plague Like tapioca, yet so unlike: frog eggs. Would you care for seconds? Death frogs on the march: boing, boing, boing. I attack with pogo stick of doom. Full moon. My skin turns green—the werefrog stalks! Tremble in fear, foolish folk To this night’s regrets, add one crystal tear: Once frog. Now smudge on sidewalk.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Haiku, Part Deux

One...Two...Three... Spring Over!! West Michigan is enjoying 2-3 inches of rain today ("Flood watches are in effect for the entire listening area"), with hail and thunderstorms tonight. Snow tomorrow through Saturday. Perfect weather. If you're a frog. ================ Witches stir their brew, need eye of newt and frog hair. They pay me with cash Up late pondering: Is a frog's ass watertight? How would I find out? Frog. Steam roller. Need I say more? Now kindly hand me the spatula. A world in itself, this pond. I would swim its depths, but frog poop abounds. Open frog mouth and apply to drain: frog plunger. Cleans clogged pipes fast. Painted in tribal colors, warrior frogs march on helpless village. Right. Frogarang, Frog Cave, Frogmobile . . . image problem. Try again, Bruce Wayne. You’ve never heard of the terrible “Frogs of War.” It’s still top secret


Hi my friends, I'm still on hiatus, thanks to all who expressed care and concern. And, thanks Sarch for the tag - I appreciate it a ton and will make good on it in the near future. I'd like to think I'll be back at it soon. Meanwhile, I saw an old friend last week. Way back around 7 years, we amused ourselves for a period of weeks writing Frog Haiku. Why, you ask? I already told you in the last sentence. Pay attention, yo! In 3 installments I will provide more haiku than you thought you'd want Without more stalling let me present unto you some froggy haiku (I'm out of practice. Sorry for the crummy intro. Half of these are mine, other half are my friend's. Enjoy! Submit your entries in the comments - there's never enough frog haiku!) Orb-eyed fen-dweller sits by moose-dung fly fest. Ah! But is he happy? "Just thinking of your diet gags me," says princess. No French kisses here. Princess kisses frog. Frog remains frog. What on earth else would you expect? Halfway down snake’s mouth, frog stays the stoic course. Does nothing bug this guy? Her tongue stuck to that of cursed prince, princess says, “Dang! What was I thinking?” Two slices of bread. Frog. Mayonnaise. Pickle. You can’t be serious. “Kermit the Frog here interviewing Godzilla.” Sadly, short meeting. Green and red, whirling Frog innards, toenails, and skin. I wreck mom's blender