Everything I Never Wanted, Speak English, and elysianhunter’s Wide World of Sports

Ok, I am not a sports fan.  Even Dad, unlike the other 99% of heterosexual American males, does not care for sports- unless the word “motor” is in front of it.  Even then, Dad is picky about which motorsports he indulges in or bothers to watch.  NASCAR is too boring for him and I can understand this.  I don’t have the attention span nor the ability to consume vast quantities of alcohol that is required to enjoy NASCAR.  He likes the off road stuff with trucks or rally racing- the kind of motorsports that actually look like they’d be fun to do.  We all like playing with VW dune buggies and such.  But my very limited non-motor sports education consisted mostly of 1. what I learned in gym class before I was permanently excused from gym class due to heart valve damage from rheumatic fever, and 2. what I gleaned from watching my sisters play sports, and from going to high school football games to try to (very unsuccessfully) pick up guys.    Jerry had to explain to me that when the ref in football does that funky dance move- rolling his arms one around the other -it means “false start” (WTF?) rather than “travelling” like it does in basketball.  The only reason I know what it means in basketball is that my sister played basketball, and a basketball game actually moves quickly enough to hold my attention at least to some degree. Travelling is when you just run with the ball and fail to dribble it.  Personally I think just running with the ball is challenge enough, but I don’t make the rules.  Nobody would want me to make the rules.  I indulge in physical activity for its calorie-burning/aerobic exercise value, and then only because I have to.  Let’s not make it overly complicated for the chronically uncoordinated. 

I did not grow up in a normal American household where the males of the species can’t miss a single __________(enter sports team name here) game.  This was quite a foreign concept to me until I met Jerry and discovered that a good part of his life and energy are devoted to watching Ohio State football.   Barring Ohio State football he will watch any two teams play football, whether it be NFL or college or Canadian cross-dressers.  At first I resented his football jones, but now I see a 4 hour long football game much in the same way that a mother sees dropping off her toddler at Grandma’s for the afternoon.  Football is a lovely babysitter.  Especially when I can watch TruTV or Discovery Channel in the other room.  There must be something about drinking beer that makes football interesting because in my sobriety I find it incredibly slow moving and boring.  The minute things get interesting they stop the game, and there’s about 40 bazillion cryptic rules that one can break without realizing it.  Then there’s the funky little dances the refs do to tell everyone someone broke a rule.  I play hell trying to decipher that stuff.  I do know there’s an “unnecessary roughness” call which doesn’t make any sense to me at all.  As far as I’m concerned you can avoid roughness altogether by not playing football.   It’s as if there is an “unnecessary wetness” call in swimming.  Getting wet is just part of being in the pool, right?

Swimming is one sport I can say I enjoy- not in the competitive sense of course, but to me it’s the least offensive form of exercise.  Despite my extreme lack of coordination on land I am a strong swimmer and a fair diver- but I very seldom have access to a pool.  To be a regular swimmer here in Ohio you need access to an indoor pool, and I can’t afford the “Y” membership anymore, which sucks.  If I could afford one of those “endless pools” or indoor spas, I would find it delightful to get my daily exercise in rather than finding it a boring (albeit necessary) chore.  Of course I don’t see that happening unless I end up being on the receiving end of some kind of inheritance from rich relatives that I’m pretty sure I don’t have.   Of course, Bill Gates can always put me in his will, or maybe just spare me a million or two because he feels sorry for a pathetic old uncoordinated cougar like me.  This is not likely.  I can dream though, and the endless pool thing would be kick ass.

As far as sports go it seems some of them have more entertainment value than others.  I can’t for the life of me see how anyone would bother watching golf.  I can’t hit that damned dinky ball with a golf club even if I keep on swinging at it.  Granted it must take some talent to golf (which I readily admit I don’t possess) but it’s still boring to watch.  I may be a bit biased too from working at the Infiniti dealership and having to deal with travelling golfers. Every year during the Memorial Tournament I was stuck having to deal with all the pompous asses from Muirfield who would want their ill or poorly maintained Infinitis fixed NOW.  The Memorial Tournament always brought to my service department a rash of presumptious nouveau riche douche bags who claimed to be more important than the next guy because they have Connections.  Yeah, we know you golf.  We can tell by the bad pants and Hair Club for Men hair.  I really don’t give a rat’s ass you’re stranded and from Chicago.  In my humble opinion, you hould have scheduled your maintenance and had a safety inspection BEFORE you made an ill advised 500 mile road trip and ended up in my service department with bald tires and a busted radiator hose.   By the way, half of the world knows the owner of the joint, so don’t try that one to get ahead of the guy who scheduled his appointment a month ago.  Claiming a blood-brother relationship with the owner of the dealership (who likely doesn’t know you from Adam’s housecat in the first place), and a $1.49 will get you a Diet Dr. Pepper at BP.   Not everyone who golfs  is a pompous ass who hasn’t a clue about proper vehicle maintenance, but annoying individuals of that stripe seem to be overly represented among golfers.   So golf really isn’t my favorite sport.  Golf spelled backward is “flog.”  Watching someone (deserving of it of course) get flogged might be entertaining.  Watching golf is sort of like being a turd in the punchbowl, watching paint dry.

Baseball I really can’t say anything too bad about.  I actually enjoyed going to Clippers games.  Before I got rheumatic fever I played softball (the rec leagues where anyone who buys the T-shirt is allowed on the team) so I understand baseball rules relatively well.  Baseball is one of the very few games that is more interesting to watch than to play.  I understand it is really boring standing around way, way out in left field for half the game and warming the bench for the other half, but I royally sucked at softball and it was only fair that the girls who could actually play got to.

Hockey is another sport I don’t really understand but find vaguely intriguing.  There’s lots of fights.  It’s done on ice skates which puts the hazard factor right up there.  I’ve not been on skates (roller or ice) for a number of years which is too bad, because at one time I could skate at least with some proficiency, but I’m afraid of breaking stuff at my age.  I broke an arm just falling on the back porch last year and I really don’t want to repeat that one.

For the life of me though I don’t get it how so many people get into sports so heavily that their whole world revolves around what ______player or _______team is doing.  I’m just not that much of a voyeur. 

Another thing, besides the insane popularity of watching other people play sports, that I fail to understand, is why do other people think I need crap that I never expressed any desire of wanting, needing or even having room for?  Mom has the best of intentions but sometimes she buys just plain goofy little things I have no use for and no desire to possess.  For instance, buying a diabetic a set of cookie cutters is a tad bit sadistic, no?  I used to enjoy baking cookies and cakes and pies and pastries- when I could eat them too.  Might as well just spring for the cake decorating tips, candy thermometer and double boiler while you’re at it.  I’ll get right on fulfilling your pastry, cookie and other sugary snacky desires.  (insert sarcasm here)

Speaking of sarcasm, or should I truly be speaking of sadism, Jerry has found a new hobby in the evenings and is pursuing it with a veracity that I did not realize he could possess.  It seems ever since I switched the home phone over to Time Warner from AT&T some foreign jackoff keeps calling every single farking night to try to convince me to switch the phone back to AT&T.  Now it already pisses me off that they didn’t want to offer me the primo pricing until after I’d already switched to TW, instead of making the good offer one of the many times when I’d threatened to do it but didn’t.  It pisses me off even more that they want my business (?) but can’t seem to spring for sales help who speak English intelligibly and preferably as a first language.  I know plenty of college kids who speak at least intelligible English who would be willing to work for relatively cheap for a few hours a week.  (dammit Steve-o…get a freaking job…)  I don’t like to torment foreigners.  I prefer to ignore telemarketing calls altogether.  As far as I’m concerned, if I don’t recognize the number on the caller ID then I don’t bother picking it up.  Jerry on the other hand, takes great delight in messing with AT&T’s outsourced help.  Last night he answers the phone:

“Yes, this is Peggy.”

“I am selling Girl Scout Cookies.”

“Why am I talking to you if you aren’t buying any Girl Scout Cookies?”

I’m sure that Ringadingasumupoo (aka “My name is John”) has absolutely no idea what the fark a Girl Scout cookie is.  But Jerry will carry on this conversation to its frustrating conclusion.  The only thing I hope that AT&T might gather from this recorded phone call is that maybe outsourcing isn’t such a good idea, especially if Midwestern rednecks are utilizing their foreign help as cheap entertainment.  Personally I find torturing foreigners to be a bit sadistic.  They can’t help it they were born in places that aren’t fit for human habitation and they can’t help it that (most of the time) their grasp of the English language is tenuous at best.  It doesn’t reflect well on the parent companies who exploit these people to save a buck though.   Hire the poor college kids right here in this country.  I would almost think about answering telemarketing calls if I were guaranteed an intelligible voice (preferably complete with the Central Ohio Newscaster Accent that I find so easy to understand, or maybe even an nice, sexy Texas drawl… gotta love the Texans) on the other end of the line.

Embrace the Inner Cougar, More Holiday Humor, and So Behind the Times

Ask not for whom the bell tolls…ahh, Metallica- I have to admit to being a bit of a metal head still.  Of course Metallica didn’t write the original poem nor do their lyrics mirror the original penned by John Donne as a meditation on death. Both are cool though.

John Donne
Meditation 17
Devotions upon Emergent Occasions

“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were. Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee…” 

Metallica- “For Whom the Bell Tolls”

“Make his fight on the hill in the early day
Constant chill deep inside
Shouting gun, on they run through the endless gray
On they fight, for they are right, yes, but who’s to say?
For a hill, men would kill. Why? They do not know
Stiffend wounds test their pride
Men of five, still alive through the raging glow
Gone insane from the pain that they surely know

For whom the bell tolls
Time marches on
For whom the bell tolls

Take a look to the sky just before you die
It’s the last time you will
Blackened roar, massive roar, fills the crumbling sky
Shattered goal fills his soul with a ruthless cry
Stranger now are his eyes to this mystery
He hears the silence so loud
Crack of dawn, all is gone except the will to be
Now they see what will be, blinded eyes to see

For whom the bell tolls
Time marches on
For whom the bell tolls”

Well aren’t I macabre today.  And here all I was really wanting to do today is explain why I’ve finally changed my avatar pic from the one I took four years ago.  I might as well face it- I had to stop wearing contacts a couple of years ago for three basic reasons- one they are too expensive,  two, they never really corrected my astigmatism completely, and three, while I’m not quite ready for bi-focals, I started to have a hard time seeing close up with my contacts in.   I never liked wearing glasses, especially back in the day when the lenses were actually made of glass and therefore were as thick and likely as heavy as coke bottle bottoms.  I tolerate wearing glasses now for two reasons apart from the obvious, which is, I am blind as a bat without some form of vision correction-one, the plastic lenses used today are lighter and the thickness can only really be seen from the sides, and two, I actually have better distance vision with glasses than I can get with contacts because my astigmatism as well as my myopia can be corrected.   And I can just take my glasses off when I want to do close-up work or read fine print and it all works out.  Just don’t ask me to go up or down a flight of stairs or do anything else that requires being able to see more than two feet in front of my face without glasses, because I can’t.

Laser surgery is out of the question for me also, one, because if I can’t afford contacts I sure as hell can’t afford laser surgery, and two, even if I could afford it, I have scars on my left cornea where I had metal shavings removed from my eye.  Those scars are in a place which makes the laser surgery impossible on my left eye.    Presumably I could have my right eye corrected via laser surgery but what would be the point?  I am so terribly nearsighted it would probably make me sick to try to see with one eye at 20/20 or better and the other at 20/400.  Then there’s the issue of the astigmatism that as far as I know can’t be fixed with laser surgery.  The way I see it, I can see now – 20/15 with glasses- so why not just leave it at that?  If something were to go wrong with laser surgery, I would be the Murphy’s Law case.   No thanks.  I like to be able to drive.

 Vanity aside- and I did enjoy being able to have bright blue eyes with contacts- I have to consider the practical applications.  I can’t afford contacts any more and I see better with glasses anyway.  It’s just hard to go back to glasses in one sense as I go back to my childhood and early teens and remember my thick, heavy glasses as just one more hindrance to my ability to fit in with the rest of humanity- or at least to avoid mockery.  Contacts opened up a new world for me in some ways, but they never made me beautiful and they never made me popular.  They did make my pictures a little less frumpy and made night driving a lot easier (at least until the plastic lenses with less glare came out) for a long time.  But at 41 it’s a bit easier for me to embrace the inner cougar and just deal with glasses.  I’ve already accepted the fact that sleeveless shirts and hipster pants are verboten for the cougar set (that doesn’t break my heart much) so I might as well come to terms with glasses and hope that I don’t end up with tri-focals like Dad.

It’s almost time for Tacky Christmas again- when I go around and take pictures of the most ridiculous and Griswoldian Christmas decorations I can find.  Usually the west end of Marion is a treasure trove of tackiness, and I will be sure to return there for this year’s foray.  Last year was sort of disappointing except for the Mooning-Homer Simpson-as-Santa.  Any holiday decoration that involves the act of mooning is noteworthy to me.    I have yet to see a repeat of what I consider to be the Holy Grail of  Tacky Christmas- some redneck in the west end of Marion took an old Budweiser drive-thru display with some bimbo in a bikini on it and wrapped lights and beer cans around it.   I didn’t have a digital camera at the time and therefore missed the pic of a lifetime.  The best Tacky Christmas picture I actually have is this one:

It looks like Santa just kicked Frosty’s butt and is giving him the one-finger salute, but if you look closely it’s an optical illusion.  A hilarious illusion, but an illusion just the same.  2008 was actually my best Tacky Christmas collection.   Last year my heart really wasn’t in it, having lost Grandma two weeks before Christmas.  I just couldn’t get into tacky displays when I had to deal with funerary things and with helping Mom and Dad with going through Grandma’s stuff. Necessary though it was,  this was not a good time.  This year I hope to have more enthusiasm for finding some really tacky stuff. It’s more fun when Steve-o drives so I can take the pics.  Maybe he will go this year if we take Hannah with us.  I just have way too much fun with this. 

I’m behind the times.  I freely admit it. It’s refreshing to refrain from being beholden to the latest trend.  I make my own trends.  If anyone doesn’t like it, screw ’em.  My opinion only matters to me anyway.  But I certainly would like to find the Bud Light cans with Cardboard Bimbo display again, just to show how funny tacky can be.

In-Laws, Outlaws, Tacky Christmas, and It’s That Time of Year

Ah, the holidays.  Actually I shouldn’t be overly critical as there is not a whole lot between me and the hollers and/or trailer park, but it’s that time of year when I remember why I only visit the in-laws and even certain obnoxious blood relatives when it’s absolutely necessary. 

Every Thanksgiving it’s the same routine.  Before I make the obligatory road trip to Cincinnati to my oldest sister’s house so that I can eat a really big piece of Humble Pie- on fine china no less, I have to make the tribute visit to the in-laws, where I will sit on the floor and eat a small slice of white meat turkey (nobody in his family touches the white meat, which is fortuitous for me) off of a Dixie plate with a plastic fork while his sisters’ assorted kids attempt to throttle each other.   It’s culture shock on both ends of the spectrum.  Going to my sister’s reminds me who is one small step above white trash dumpster diver and who is driving a BMW, vacationing in Switzerland every year, eating off matching dishes ,and who doesn’t have to shop for both clothing and kitchen utensils at garage sales and thrift stores.  Frankly when I go to my in-laws I feel like I am going to be a drive-by victim down in the ‘hood, and when I go to my sister’s they might as well paint a big bright sign across the side of my lowly Yaris that reads: ATTENTION- TURD ENTERING THE PUNCHBOWL.

Everyone has family members who inspire mixed emotions.  Fortunately for me the most creepy of my relatives are departed- most notably Uncle Bob, who was my twin great-aunt’s husband and therefore not a blood relative.  Uncle Bob wasn’t really a bad guy but he really liked nudies.  His entire garage where Mom’s side of the family held their big reunions was covered in 1940’s nudie pinups.  This was shocking to a five year old who is being raised in a household where nudity was strictly limited to going to the bathroom and taking a bath.  Worse yet, Uncle Bob liked to drink beer.  Alcohol in any form was strictly forbidden in Mom and Dad’s house.  I think my Dad just about went through the ceiling when he looked over and there was my sister- who was maybe seven at the time- chugging a Budweiser.  How was she supposed to know that she wasn’t supposed to drink the Budweiser?  Especially since Uncle Bob gave it to her?

Then there was Aunt Frances.  Aunt Frances was the stereotypical Cat Lady.  She weighed about 400# and had at least thirty cats at any given time wandering in and out of her house.  I have no problem with cats, but if you’re going to have them, do something about their incessant breeding.  When she broke a hip and ended up in the nursing home she would complain and whine that nobody visited her, but when you did visit her she gave you hell about everything from pierced ears to perms (I shudder to think about the commentary she would give me on the subject of hair color) to “foreign” cars.  Never mind that my Dad made his living working on ‘foreign” cars.   I remember all too well going to pick her up for my sister’s graduation party.  She took one look at my Subaru and refused to even try to get in it, even though I had carted around many of my large friends in it without incident.  I had to go back home and get my Mom’s Ford (a 1977 LTD II, what a lovely ride…) to cart her large carcass in. 

I miss the relatives that are dead but were cool, especially my grandparents, and my great-grandmother.   The holidays now are just a reminder of how pathetic I am compared to my sister, how much I miss my grandparents, and how much I really want to try to avoid my in-laws.

The Thankfulness of Lists, I Buy Premium Cable for This? Timing is Everything

I know, I’m writing about lists of things to be thankful for and I begin by waxing cynical.  I’m thankful that God has a sense of humor and I sincerely hope that He understands where I get mine.  Comedy is the flipside of tragedy, and there is certainly no shortage of tragedy in this world.  So why not laugh at what you can?  One need only try a little bit to find something worthy of a giggle, and if you have a particularly fertile imagination, the whole world is chock full of comedic fodder.

I’m thankful for stupidity.

It sounds weird to give thanks for the stupid, but we lose sight of the humor in stupidity simply because stupidity is so abundant.  I’ve said it often- the two most common elements in the universe are shit and stupidity. This being said, if you could harness these two ignoble elements and transform them into energy, there would never be a need for petroleum fuels or coal or anything else used to generate power or fuel combustion.

1. Stupid People.

I’m thankful for stupid people for one reason.  They make me look smarter.  It’s sort of the same logic that is behind choosing fat, ugly friends.  If all of my friends are fat and ugly, by comparison I look thin and pretty even though at my very best I am plain and frumpy.  I’m not the brightest light bulb in the hallway, but compared to 95% of the population I might as well be a rocket scientist.  It’s scary, but it makes me glad my parents were two of the very few who didn’t do drugs back in the ’60’s.  Another thing to be thankful for!

2. Stupid procedures, processes, ideologies, etc.

I hate redundancy.  Fewer things piss me off more than having to repeat myself.  I am reasonably skilled at the use of the English language, and the last time I checked, I don’t stutter.  So if I’m taking the time to explain something, pay freaking attention.  Take notes if you must.

I really hate it when I have to fabricate detailed and completely inane explanations for others who aren’t going to be doing what I have to do anyway.  I have a philosophy about that.  If you want me to do something, tell me what you want.  Give me the authority to do the task at hand and the necessary tools to carry it out, then leave me alone and let me get it done. Explaining it to a non-participant is a waste of time since the one requesting me to do the task isn’t the one doing it anyway, and frankly, incessant micromanagement gets on my nerves.  I care about results.  The process of getting results is negotiable as long as it is efficient, legal, ethical, moral and cost-effective.

I like being the only person with certain abilities. It makes me feel important, wanted, loved, valuable, etc.  It makes me all the more thankful for being blessed with the ability to suck up oxygen, and convinces me that I might just have been created for some purpose above and beyond respiration, mastication and defecation.   Having cryptic wisdom or unique abilities can be a double edged sword, however, especially when I seem to be the only one who can reset the cable box at 12 midnight or when I am the only one capable of coherent speech and rational thought.  Sometimes it would be pleasant to hold intelligent conversation with members of my own species.  It happens, but hasn’t for a very long time.

Which brings me to the crowning glory of stupid, which is Drunk and Stupid.

I am not a tee-totaler by nature and don’t really have a problem with social drinking.  I have a problem with shitfaced drinking, but I am thankful that shitfaced drunks have the potential to be funny, at least when I’m not cleaning up after them.  Again, comedy is the flipside of tragedy, as the following true story will illustrate.

A few years ago, Jerry got a fifth of Wild Turkey as a gift from the aluminum scrap guy.  We had brought him plenty of nice loads of clean aluminum scrap from the body shop, and in his gracious spate of Christmas giving the scrap guy was passing out fifths of Wild Turkey.  Jerry is a stupid enough drunk when he gets drunk on beer, but when liquor is involved the stupidity factor increases exponentially with each sip.

Jerry had taken the fifth of Wild Turkey as a challenge, as in “how fast can I down this fifth?”  By the time he had polished it off he was “Weekend at Bernie’s” drunk- flopping all over the house and pissing all over the bathroom floor, toilet seat, sink, etc. and by rights should have passed out, but he just wouldn’t shut up and pass out.  This really sucked.

When Jerry’s drunk he doesn’t just get happy and sleepy like a normal drunk.  He gets hyper and usually along with the hyperness comes an inexplicable urge to embark on pointless home improvement projects which he will completely screw up and that I will have to clean up later. (which reminds me I still have to clean up the bathroom from his attempt to re-glue the tiles last night…arrgh!)  This unfortunate Wild Turkey bender had awakened in him an inexplicable urge to light a fire in the fireplace- with a log, a square of toilet paper (???) and a Bic.  Usually Jerry is scared shitless of all things fire-related and won’t let me use the fireplace (which pisses me off, because I like a nice roaring fire in the winter) so this really boggled my mind that he would even be near the fireplace.

Anyone who knows anything about lighting a fire in a fireplace (and I do, because my parents have had a working fireplace in their house for years, and I’ve built many fires in it) knows that you aren’t going to do jack without some tinder (i.e. pine needles, small sticks and newspaper, etc.) under the grate and some kindling (a little bit larger sticks) strategically placed under the big logs.

So Jerry’s efforts at fire starting were not terribly effective.  In a flash of whiskey-powered enlightenment he decides that the log will ignite should he pour a little gasoline on it.  Then, somehow, through the Wild Turkey fog, he remembers there is still gasoline for the lawnmower out in the garage!  He starts bellowing for me to go and get the gas can.  I was sober at the time and had rather horrific visions of the entire house going up in a blaze of glory, should I honor that request, so I replied that if he wanted to get the gas can he would have to do it himself.   I went back to bed and prayed he would pass out soon.

Usually telling Jerry to do anything himself means it won’t get done, but  I should have known- drunk and stupid trumps “lazy” every time.  About five minutes later I hear what sounds to be a sonic boom followed by mooing noises coming from the living room.  Jerry apparently has never played with VW carbureators and has never experienced the lovely phenomenon known as “flashback.”  Flashback occurs when accumulated fuel vapors in a small space ignite, such as when one is spraying ether down a carbureator and the engine backfires, causing the little bit of vapor present in the carb barrel to go “poof.”   Back in 1980-whatever I once lost a few inches of big hair and (alas, temporarily) both eyebrows, trying to help adjust the carb on my sister’s ’68 Bug.  (Another reason why I love fuel injection.)   It is a very brief but hot fire that generally will not burn skin but is really efficient at removing body hair.

Jerry lost about two inches of hair off the top of his head, most of both eyebrows and pretty much all of his nose hair.  He also smelled like upholstery that’s been in a car fire which is a most distinct, and quite unpleasant smell.  The only other collateral damage was one of the Wise Men from my Nativity that was on the mantle- he fell and shattered.  Of course I always wondered about the three wise men thing to begin with.  Finding three wise men to begin with is hard enough without trying to get them together all in the same place.  So my Nativity only has two Wise Men now which probably makes it more realistic.

The moral of the story?  If someone gives Jerry a fifth of whiskey or any other hard liquor for Christmas it’s getting regifted with the quickness.  He’s enough of an asshole with a 12 pack of Natties.

I’m thankful for Late Night TV. Sometimes.

One of the reasons I spring for premium cable is that I am an occasional insomniac.  The logic goes like this.  If I wake up at 2:30 AM and can’t go back to sleep, then I want to watch something interesting.  Sometimes it happens that there’s something good on, like underwater exploration, a historical documentary, anything featuring Mike Rowe, or the investigative forensic shows I like to watch.  Other times it seems like there’s nothing on but those damned infomercials- but even those can have some comic value depending on the pathetic product being hawked.

I’m thankful that I know no matter how many skin care systems, exercise machines and other self improvement type products there are, none of them will make me look like Cindy Crawford.  Of course I have no way of knowing how many other plain and frumpy aging cougars out there will fall for the line and buy that crap, but at least I know that “three easy payments of $79.95” will only serve to thin out my wallet.   Mom has bought an entire gym’s worth of that crap on QVC and I can attest she hasn’t lost an ounce.  I don’t think Dad has the heart to tell her that in order for exercise equipment to work you have to a.) assemble it and b.) use it.

The absolute worst infomercial out there is for a device that for lack of a better term appears to be a pecker pump.  Worse yet, it’s being marketed toward impotent old geezers, and apparently they can be reimbursed by Medicare.  Our tax dollars at work.  No wonder the government is going broke.

There is a certain angst that I get from all the infomercials on TV, even late at night.  I pay big money for premium cable.  I should be able to watch the good stuff 24/7.  But then again, I have to admit I did really laugh it up on the pump commercial.  It used to be the only place one would see such devices advertised were in porno mags.  You gotta love the power of creative marketing.

I guess timing is everything.

Well, spelling counts too.

Diarrhea of the Non-Metaphorical Kind, aka “The Lost Brown Weekend,” and Dog Pack Dynamics

The above pic is for the benefit of friends who often accuse me of being too graphic and earthy when describing things scatological.  I will gladly provide a friendly disclaimer. I can attest that my past three day affair with the porcelain throne has not been as antiseptic and aesthetically pleasing as the above pic would imply.  Not by a long shot.  I do like the pink toilet seat cover, and if I ever become the weird old lady who lives alone and screams at kids for stealing snow, I will consider this bathroom decor.  Of course if I ever have the opportunity and the budget to pursue my own preferences in interior decor I can guarantee I will be the only one who likes it.  If I ever do live alone and have opportunity to pursue my own preferences in interior decor, my reply to others’ dislike of my incessant use of pink, bright colors, bold patterns, funky old ad art, and eclectic mixes of just plain different stuff will be, “screw you.”  I never claimed to be Martha Stewart.  As long as I like it and the dogs are comfortable, that’s all I really care about.

So after missing a day and a half at work, my church retreat which I had been looking forward to for some time, and plowing through a ghastly amount of toilet paper, (my apologies to the trees) I think I may remotely be back among the living.  Maybe.

Ok, so any excuse to post a pic of a pile of TP is a good one.  I don’t think I had to use quite this much but you get the picture.  Montezuma has been having a lot of fun with me since Thursday afternoon.  Thursday morning I thought it was just a headache until the headache moved south and then you can use your imagination from there.  So much for the Lost Brown Weekend.  The first person who makes any comment about me calling off on a Friday can kiss my rosy red ass.  I would much rather have been at work Friday than crapping my guts out all day, believe that.  I am glad that if I had to get this crud that I wasn’t already at the church retreat, 75 miles from home and at some points along the way more than an hour away from the nearest toilet.   It would have been most embarrassing to shart myself in public regardless- but I don’t want to ruin the upholstery in the car or worse, infect others with this contagion.

It would be easier for me in the battles of intestinal distress if I could puke.  It is very rare for me to be able to puke.  Sometimes I wish I could just puke so I could get the misery over with, but for me usually it all has to work its long and torturous way south on the brown agony train.

No matter how good the quality of the toilet paper is, when one has a long battle with Montezuma it gets to the point where you might as well be roto-rootering the One Brown Eye with a scrub brush, sort of like this:

I know, I should refrain from redneck jokes, out of consideration for my in-laws and for the fact that my Dad’s middle name is LeRoy.  Yeah, spelled just like that.  I don’t know what Grandma was thinking, but I’m glad she had a sense of humor.  Still, the idea of someone wiping with a toilet brush is funny.

The dogs are learning how to get along together better.  Sheena is young and stubborn which is a bit of a challenge, but she is learning the routine and proper etiquette.  Getting her to be a bit more polite at mealtimes is taking some work as well as keeping her from trash-digging.  I just hope Sheena doesn’t get in heat before her spay appointment.


She’s Back…Three Dogs Again After All, and Looking Forward to a Get Away (Sort Of)

I should have not spoken so soon.  In a way I am pleasantly surprised, but I still scratch my head.  Sheena’s back.  It seems her potential new owner was scared off- after taking her to a vet for evaluation, heartworm test, shots, etc. because it’s likely Sheena has hip dysplasia.  I am not surprised by that as HD is extremely common in GSDs and many other large breeds (Lilo has HD and gets along quite fine) but she had difficulty navigating stairs.  In a split-level house that’s a concern, although I think in time she would have been acclimated to stairs soon enough.  Our dogs seldom have to navigate stairs, and we don’t want them in the basement cat area anyway. She has no problem getting on our beds and even up on the coffee table, but this is neither here nor there.  I don’t think she has any serious mobility issues but even mentioning possible HD can scare off some people.   In our household of misfits and basket cases HD has proven to be manageable (Heidi had HD also, and Kayla may have too- Clara is the only dog of ours so far that has good hips) as long as you don’t expect the dog to do agility or schutzhund and you keep the dog’s weight down.   We told the guy that if for any reason he didn’t want Sheena to bring her back to us, no questions asked.  He didn’t even want his $124 in vet expenses back which again was surprising, but at least he had some integrity about it.  There are still some good people out there, and I would be remiss if I didn’t admit the help there was much appreciated.

Other than postulating that Sheena likely has hip dysplasia, this particular vet estimated Sheena’s age at 18 months-3 years.  I had guessed 3-5 and still think the 3 year or so age range is accurate.  I was spot on at guessing her weight at 70#.  She weighed in at 70.5 although I think this vet is nuts in saying she’s 5# underweight.  I think her body condition is a healthy lean and with possible HD I will try to keep it that way.  At least we know Sheena doesn’t have heartworm  and she now has a rabies tag.  Two weeks from today she has her spay appointment at the spay clinic.  Our vet is scheduling surgeries in January and I really don’t want to wait that long because it would be my luck she would get in heat and I really don’t want to deal with heat.  I don’t want to try to keep every intact male dog in the greater Central Ohio area from descending upon our home.  I don’t want to deal with blood stained everything either. Sheena has had pups in the past but an HD dog should NEVER be bred regardless of lineage, and she’s a crossbreed anyway, that should NEVER be bred- so spay is the only way.   At least the spay clinic is close by so it will be easy to drop her off and pick her up even though I am nervous as hell about anyone other than our regular vet doing surgery on our dogs.

Clara and Lilo didn’t seem to be too rattled on Sheena’s return.  Sheena was rather worn out and seemed to be happy to be back with us.  She slept like a big white rock.  Now if I can just convince Fanny and Fluffy-Butt that it’s cool to come up from the basement.

Apparently Sheena is meant to be with us.  I told Jerry we aren’t going to subject her to any more interviews or potential alternative placements.  She’s had enough trauma and at this point she needs stability and routine if she’s going to become a stable and mentally healthy dog. 

This weekend I am going on the retreat with the church ladies which will definitely be fun.  I am speculating though that I may leave Saturday evening instead of Sunday morning so that I can get back home in time to give Jerry a break from having to play dog mom while I’m gone.  Clara and Lilo by themselves are easy but with Sheena in the mix it gets a bit more complicated.  Oh, well.  Some forms of complexity are better than others.


One of my pet peeves are people who are never available and don’t seem to know anything but are in high positions of control and make more money in a week than I’ll see in a lifetime.  I experienced this a lot in dealerships, especially ones in which the owner’s offspring were foisted off into management positions that they couldn’t pronounce let alone perform.   Nepotism sucks unless you have well connected relatives.   I guess one has to be a.) born into influence and affluence, and b.) too stupid to be able to do any actual work.  Sounds like our government, the school systems, etc. 

Why couldn’t Bill Gates have adopted me or something?

Just When You Think You Called It Right, Not-So-Innocuous Kids’ Ditties, and “Normal” is a Relative Term

I dare to show my ever advancing age here.  I graduated from high school (1986) and college (1989) long, long before Columbine.  When I was in elementary school- back in the dark ages when the apex of technology was the Atari Pong game, and people thought we were “rich” because Dad was one of the first in town to insist upon having the wonderful thirteen channels of Cable instead of endeavoring like everyone else to get the three Columbus channels that were almost impossible to get even with an antenna- we used to sing a nice little ditty in honor of teachers we disliked:

(To the tune of Battle Hymn of the Republic):

Glory, glory, hallelujah, teacher hit me with a ruler  / Came in the door with a loaded .44, now teacher ain’t teachin’ no more

I really can’t imagine any kid belting out this little song today unless they really want to be sent to the school psychologist,  suspended , expelled or all three.  Kids get sent home for having plastic Army men with guns on them.  What are the Army men supposed to have?  Earrings and tinklebells?  I shudder to think of the ongoing wussification of the young, but then again, kids today take statements such as “came in the door with a loaded .44” a lot more literally these days.  Back then no one would have actually thought about shooting a teacher- it was merely a humorous visual like the stuff we would see on Tom and Jerry cartoons. 

Now I am all about identifying truly psychotic and homicidal rug rats early on, but singing a funny little song is not quite the same thing as displaying elements of the homicidal triad, which are: 1. Bedwetting, 2. Fire starting, and 3. Torturing animals.   Usually the schools aren’t in the position to observe those signs, unless the kid sets a fire in the school.  We did have a couple of fire bugs when I was in school who set fires in the trash cans so they could get out of school on a fire drill.  I think the principal beat one of them within an inch of his life, and the kid’s Dad whaled on him again when he got home.  I don’t think he set any more fires.   From what I’ve seen of the school system mentality they are so paranoid about a replay of Columbine that the kid who forgets he has his pocket knife in his pants,  or a kid who brings an Army man with his harmless tiny miniature plastic M16 to school is subject to extreme prejudice, but from what I see the little psychos go undetected.  

Another lovely little song we enjoyed singing that would raise eyebrows today went as followed:

Comet, it makes your mouth turn green / Comet, it tastes like gasoline / Comet, it makes you vomit/ So try some Comet and vomit today!

I can just imagine some little dumb ass trying this one.  The lawsuits…

Of course we were not politically correct, either.  Few kids got more teasing than the fat kids.   Granted back in the day everyone was poor so there were a lot fewer Really Fat Kids.  Today there’s a lot more kids in the “fatty fatty two by four” category, so there probably isn’t a lot of fat harassment.  The skinny kids, being in the minority, likely get the shit now.

Who doesn’t remember taunting the Fat Kid with:

Fatty, fatty two by four/ Couldn’t get through the bathroom door / So he did it on the floor / Licked it up and did some more/ Fatty, fatty two by four

I usually left the Fat Kids alone though, because being the Biggest Nerd in School who got beaten up everyday and whose wardrobe looked like there had been an explosion at the thrift store, was even worse than being a Fat Kid.  Besides, I was very tiny for my age in elementary school, and I was very frail for a long time after I had rheumatic fever.   I didn’t want any of the Fat Kids to pin me down and sit on me. 

Normal is definitely a relative term.  What is normal for me is most certainly abnormal for the rest of humanity, which is fine- I am used to my own parameters and I learned at an early age that the only opinion that really matters to me is my own. 

Our household has returned to some semblance of normal since last night.  I didn’t think Jerry could bear to let Sheena go, but we were really surprised when someone contacted us from the Craig’s List ad (and yes I am extremely cynical of using Craig’s List for anything) wanting to take a look at Sheena.  Come to find out the guy is former military and had experience with military dogs, which is why he wanted a GSD.  To make a long story much shorter, we interviewed him pretty heavily.  He brought his dog to come and visit and see if he (the dog) and Sheena would get along.  I think it will be a perfect fit for her as they have a good sized home and lot up in Delaware County and he has promised to keep in contact with us.  He is taking Sheena to the Vet today to get the ball rolling on her vacs, determing health status and hopefully to schedule her spay surgery.  He and his kid and their other dog seemed delighted with her and I feel good about the placement.  I don’t mind just having two dogs.  Clara and Lilo are used to each other and we’ve already gotten past the high-maintenance phase with them.  Of course if this guy changes his mind about Sheena we will gladly take her back, but at this place and time I think this is the best thing both for her and for us.   We can care for her well enough but this guy is equipped to do even better for her than we can.  Fluffy-Butt and Fanny have finally come back up from being in hiding in the basement.  It was nice to actually see and interact with all three cats this morning.  Isabel isn’t phased by dogs one way or the other, but the other two cats really only tolerate Clara and Lilo.  In a way I will miss Sheena- and she is a lovely dog- but I don’t miss playing food referee or going through the attention and territory wars that are inevitable when you add a dog.  Heidi was easy because she was old and only really concerned about meals, comfortable napping spots and an occasional roll in the warm grass.   I missed the judgment call on that one- I didn’t think Jerry had it in him to let her go- but I really believe Sheena will do as well if not even a bit better in her new home.  It will certainly be a damn sight better than scavenging around the campground all winter or being confined in a small pen and left to gnaw on cage bars, which is what would have happened to her had we left her there, or even worse.  We may not be the Ritz-Carlton but our home is very dog-friendly.  Clara and Lilo are not lacking anything, and I think they prefer their close knit little sorority of two.  They complement each other, and they got their fighting and competition out long ago.


Expiration Dates, Fascination With the Macabre, and Sheena of the Jungle

I hesitated to say anything about Sheena for a number of reasons, one, that Jerry insisted that we were only taking Sheena home to *find a new home for her.*  Famous last words.  He said that about Isabel (our very tiny but domineering black cat) 12 1/2 years ago too, but once I had her spayed and declawed and all that, suddenly “three cats aren’t that many.”  At certain times we have had four cats at one time. Now we are at three cats and I’m cool with that.   For most of the past 5 years we have also had three dogs.  We have three dogs again now.

Sheena, like every other dog that has crossed our threshold, is a basket case.  She is a very lovely GSD/Husky mix, about 70# of unsocialized, attention-starved dog. 

Her story is yet another that inspires the misanthropist in me though.  She came from near the campground, from a nasty little trash pile that I shudder to think was a habitation for scavengers, let alone humans, but there were people living there in a derelict house trailer with various car parts, disassembled appliances, a PortoJohn, and piles of filth and trash.  This poor dog was a refugee from this disaster hole when the human denizens disappeared a few weeks ago.  She had been scavenging around the campground and accepting food from anyone who would give it to her.   Sheena was more fortunate than the min-pins they had locked in cages behind this cesspool- they were still alive but half starved. We left them food and called the Humane Society.  The Humane Society picked the min-pins up.

The main thing that breaks my heart about Sheena is that she lived most of her live in a small pen.  Because of this she became a cage biter- gnawing on the metal bars of the pen until she wore her incisors down to the gums and her canine teeth are little stubs.  She also appears to have had multiple litters of pups from the look of her belly.  I just hope she’s not preggers now, and that she doesn’t come into heat before we can get her spayed. 

Some people just plain suck.  Sheena is adapting well to life with the crazy dogs (Clara and Lilo) but nothing can fix her dental issues.  For the rest of her life she will have to either eat wet food or dry food stuck together with wet food or gravy, because the only teeth she has that are intact and functional are the molars in the back.  I have heard of military and police dogs getting dental implants and/or protective crowns, but short of us coming into some sort of fantastic and overwhelming financial windfall, I can’t see us being able to come up with thousands of dollars for poor Sheena to be fitted with crowns – an expensive endeavor which is only nominally successful in dogs anyway.  Since her gums don’t appear to be inflamed or infected I really don’t think her existing tooth roots/stubbies need to be removed or that her dental issues are going to impact her health or quality of life too adversely.  That will be another question for the Vet.

I find it amazing that everything from car wax to Cheetos has an expiration date stamped on it.  If modern packaging is supposed to halt the inevitability of decay for an inordinate amount of time, who sets the arbitrary limits?  Who is to say that an unopened bag of Cheetos is good until December 15?  Does this mean you can’t eat them on December 16 or even February 4 for that matter?  Is there research behind this and if so, why was I not stamped with an expiration date?  That would be an interesting tattoo- not that I am into tats nor do I ever anticipate getting one- but for the sake of the argument, let’s say the tat could say, “Fresh until July 14, 2041” or something like that.  It would be a conversation starter if nothing else.  Obama could get an expiration date tat too: “Discard Immediately: 1-20-13.”

So Now What, Creative Ideas for Avoiding Confronting My Past, and Other Inevitabilities

I had one of these. An 83 GTI just like the one pictured, with the cool wheels and the funky red trim. Too bad my dumb ass sold it because the A/C didn’t work and I damn near gave myself a concussion every time I tried to get Steve-o in and out of his car seat.  People with kids prefer four door cars for a reason.  It’s been awhile, but trying to manage those damned car seats is hard enough without having to do calesthenics just to get in the back seat to screw with them.  Now that the powers that be are requiring kids to be in car seats until they are old enough to vote, I say screw that.  Give me four doors because it makes it easier to get the dogs in and out, and if I had to deal with carting rug rats around these days the rear seat DVD player sounds like a plan too.

Being a motorhead I have had many cars in my lifetime.  Some magic, some tragic, some forgettable.  A few of them, I wish I could have kept.  The 1972 Super Beetle was one of them.  The GTI of course, the 1994 Toyota truck, the 2000 Celica would have all remained in my possession if not for one thing: poverty.

Then again you can’t take it with you, and what’s the point of becoming a hoarder?  Need what you use and use what you need and move forward from there.

Of course getting rid of emotional baggage is a lot harder than getting rid of stuff.  I know sometimes Mom means well but I don’t need Grandma’s entire wardrobe or her entire collection of cooking utensils to remember her by.  A few keepsakes are fine but I really have no use for 50 year old stockings or all that cheap crap she bought from various mail order joints.  Some things I just threw away.  I shouldn’t guilt trip over that.  Part of living and moving on means getting rid of the things that hold us back.

Perhaps at my age I should be thinking more along the lines of the bucket list.  One of those things (and I need to stop putting it off) is to get back in contact with old friends, sooner rather than later if for no other reason than I am honor-bound and will regret my neglect if I continue to put it off.  I’m rather tired of being bereft of virtually all human contact.  I need to hold an intelligent conversation with someone for a change.  Dirty jokes and politics can only go so far.

I did get moderately good news at the Dr.’s Monday.  I don’t have hepatitis or any other Really Serious Illness- just a bit of bizarre liver chemistry that is caused by diabetes.  As long as I can keep my sugar down this condition should (in theory) right itself.  Famous last words.  Nothing about my health is routine, simple or uncomplicated.  I try to starve and eat healthy when I do eat, get the 30 minutes a day of mind numbingly boring exercise in and all that and still my health sucks and I’m still working on losing that 30 or so lbs.  Then you get people like Jerry who maintain just fine, all lean and mean, no diabetes, no sucking down blood pressure meds, on the Bacon-n-Natties diet, which puts me in mind of Gustavson’s Dad in Grumpier Old Men.  Jerry will be like those Russian dudes who live to be 115 on vodka and cigars.  I’ll probably drop dead before I’m 50 of something.  While I’m at it  with the bucket list I need to check into the urban legend that OSU will give one $250 if you donate your cadaver to them when you die.  Sounds like a sorry bargain to me, but hey, a lot of medical students have gotten some lessons in unusual anatomy off of my living carcass.  I bet my autopsy would be a real education in Murphy’s Law and what can go wrong with the human body.  Too bad I won’t be able to observe my autopsy, should one be done, or even to request that Dr. G gets to do it.  I’d love to hear her commentary on my abnormalities.  But if someone will give me $250 so med students can have a Mutter Museum type learning aid, where do I sign up?

I just answered my own question really quickly.  OSU does accept donated bodies but they don’t pay anything for them.  I should do the donation thing since I was planning on getting cremated anyway.  Might as well let someone learn something or at least see stuff they don’t see everyday.

I don’t know why I’ve been in such a morbid state of mind lately.  So now what?  Just keep on getting ready to take that “dirt nap?”

Creative artwork.  I need some whiteout and a red marker to make the fangs look more real.  I can’t die yet- right now this country needs as many conservative Republican voters as it can get!

The Wisdom of Reagan, Auspicious Ohio?, and Use Your Leverage Wisely

Yes, yesterday’s election results are (though not really a surprise) quite pleasant, but I will temper my glee with a few caveats.  First of all, if you want to ACT like the Republican you profess to be, look no further than the wisdom of the Gipper.  We the people voted for people who are going to act like Republicans, NOT suckupedy RINOs.  We the people said a loud and clear NO to Obama’s lackeys.  Think Nancy Pelosi and you will see what I mean.   Almost everyone Obama campaigned for went down in a blaze of shame. His endorsement should be considered the political equivalent to the kiss of death.    I think the only close Obama lackey to survive yesterday’s housecleaning was Harry Reid, and I have to wonder if that’s only because Nevada allows people to vote until they’ve been dead for a hundred years.  We all know how dead people, homeless winos bribed with cartons of smokes, and convicted felons prefer Democrats.

During the 20th century there was a political axiom that stated, “As Ohio goes, so does the nation.”  We can only hope so, if yesterday was any indicator.  Taxin’ Ted is out – and I believe Obama did Kasich a really big favor by campaigning for Strickland so much.  I just wish that if Obama feels he has to come to Ohio that he would have the balls to go to Cincinnati, or if he’s not quite ballsy enough, he might think about visiting some of the rural locales in Central Ohio such as Marion County or Morrow County.  That would be a learning experience for him.  All of Obama’s pandering in the union mob cesspool that is Cuyahoga County (and to a lesser degree, his pandering to the small island of wannabe elitist class-pandering, pro-homosexual liberals here in Franklin County, arrgh!!) helped people to equate Strickland with Obama.  Even though in Strickland’s defense (?) Strickland  is more “center left”- mildly delusioned and fiscally irresponsible- than “I’m-shithouse-rat-crazy ultra far left,” i.e. Karl Marx is my hero – like Obama is.  If one would remember the 2008 primaries, Strickland came out heavily for Hillary and only embraced Obama after he got the nomination.   Compared to Obama, Hillary (who we know is no friend to the cause of conservatism) is a moderate. One nice thing I will say about Taxin’ Ted is he didn’t shy away from the executions like our last wussy assed Democrat governor (Dick Celeste- what a nut job) did.  Ohio is a death penalty state, as it should rightfully remain. Other than that I wasn’t terribly impressed with Strickland.  He really pissed me off with the raising motor vehicle fees and gas taxes, and spending all that time and taxpayer money pursuing his great union-boss payback scheme to build the crazy train.   The unions owned Strickland as they do virtually every other Democrat and let’s face it, union boss control is a large part of why Ohio has bloated and inefficient government, abysmal schools, exorbitant taxes, and it’s a large part of why private sector business avoids Ohio like the plague. 

Unions are the elephant in the room that nobody wants to discuss but they are hugely responsible for the economic decline of Ohio.  Strickland was trying to keep feeding the union alligator like his predecessors for the past 60 years instead of confronting them…because they bought and paid for him to keep the gravy train pork projects and cushy redundant government and school system jobs rolling in.  It would be different if the train was something that would bring true economic development to Ohio, or even something that people would actually use, (and if non-union construction companies could actually bid on the contracts…) but  the crazy train isn’t practical.  I am really going to use a train that travels 40 miles an hour to go from Columbus to Cleveland and then be stuck in Cleveland for an inordinate amount of time with no car.  I might as well go to the nearest Crack Town wearing a t-shirt that says “Rape and Rob Me, Steal My ATM Card, I Have No Get Away Vehicle!”   I really don’t have any dire compulsion to go to Cleveland for any reason, and if I did, I would want to have  my car so I could get out as soon as I got my necessary business done.

All I can say about the recent GOP victories: Use our leverage wisely.  Remember the Gipper.

I have a theory about the next two years of enduring Obama (too bad we didn’t take the Senate too, so we could seriously consider investigating Obama’s eligibility to hold office and/or pursue impeachment.)  Obama is NOT going to be conciliatory.  He is far too arrogant and delusioned to think that the Emperor Could Be Wrong.   He is going to cling to the bat-shit crazy left wing  of the Democrat party with a tenacity and a delusional conviction that the world hasn’t seen since Johnny Cochran argued OJ must be innocent because the glove didn’t fit. 

The Emperor is naked.  Everybody knows it now.  The Emperor is Wrong.  The Emperor has just now effectively been rendered a lame duck.  His spell over the drooling masses has been broken, and his dive into delusion and vitriolic anger in the next 26 months will almost be funny to watch.  The Emperor is going to be GONE.  1-20-13.