Tuesday, December 30, 2008

My First EVER Product Review

There I was, in the men's toiletries area of my local grocery store, and I grabbed some generic shaving gel (as I had recently decided to resign from the ZZ Top Fan Club). Then, out of the corner of my eye, I caught a glimpse of the new Barbasol Ultra Shaving Cream (With Extra Conditioning Action)!

"Whoa!" I thought to myself. "This is $.38 cheaper than what I was going to buy!"

For those readers in Manhattan with money enough to not concern themselves with $.38, well, you save that 10 times, you got yourself a somewhat overpriced 22 20 oz. beer at a neighborhood pub. Put in that perspective, I'm sure you can understand how such bargains are definitely on the radar.

So I went with it. "How different could a cream be than a gel? And should I use 'from' rather than 'than' when I write My First EVER Product Review?" I pondered.

Without further ado, My First EVER Product Review, of Barbasol Ultra Shaving Cream (With Extra Conditioning Action):


1) It kinda sucks. Cream just really isn't as good as gel. My face was fairly dry by the time I got to my neck.

2) Can graphics weren't as cool - and this is against a f*$king generic.

3) Music playing as I shaved was sort of ho-hum, whereas, when shaving with gel, things seem to RAWK! Granted, this could be unrelated to the cream itself.


1) WAY awesome shaving cream snowman making ability. Gel doesn't even come close.

Conclusion: While I truly would enjoy that overpriced 22 20 oz. beer a tad more after accumulating the savings of 10 cans, I think I'll stick with the gel. Unless Barbasol buys the rights to use Jane Fonda's image as "Barbarella" on its cans. Then I'm in.

[Full Disclosure: I am not employed by any company related to the shaving industry; nor do I shave nearly often enough, according to numerous stupid* girls that I've known.]

* "Stupid", in this context, refers to said girls' behavior in coming close enough to me to know that I don't shave nearly often enough, and not said girls' intelligence in general.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Thoughts From The Shallow End Of The Pool

[NOTE: This post may be updated without notice during the hours of 7 and 10 midnight MST on Sunday evening. I may be in a rambling mood.]

A lot of the time we look toward music, or paintings, or stories, anything to find something to identify with, when we’re feeling a little lost. Most of the time, I think, we can find something that comes pretty close to help. For me, it’s mostly lyrics, as it is for some close friends as well.

Some songwriters just know how to string words together; but more importantly, how to leave a little wiggle-room so that we distraught poor sonsabitches can make it fit our lives, no matter what he or she (the songwriter) was thinking when they wrote them. I wonder what those people think when listeners tell them that they must have been writing about them, when maybe it was the most private thing in the songwriter's heart? Dunno. Must be a little weird.

On the other hand (okay, there's not really a first hand there, but I'm trying to make my edits explanatory rather than simple deletions. And no, that's not explanatory, it just doesn't make sense, but SHUT UP.), I'm a believer in the world as influencing us pretty strongly, rather than each human being an independent agent making every choice balancing all history intelligently without bias.

Well, duh.

So maybe some of us choose to make our lives fit into the songs (or paintings, or stories) that we like. We see a storyline that we see as romantic, in the classical sense, and choose (however subconsciously) to emulate it. I've read dissertations on stupider theories than that.

[UPDATE 7:36] ZOMG!!111! Wait! What if, even if the world truly was deterministic, and we really had no self-determination, we believed that we did? That would explain this evolutionary dealy that came along that we call "consciousness" (as it's quite evolutionarily advantageous, you know, trying to survive because hey, damnit! I'm different! (yes, I know this doesn't really fit in the theory of evolution, but I'm just trying to see if I can nest parentheses)).


But maybe what really matters is that we believe we have the ability to shape our future, not whether we really do or not. How the hell did I get here from thinking about song lyrics? WTF?

[7:55]: I'm not sure that true empathy exists. I mean truly feeling what another person feels. But now I'm thinking that song lyrics are the opposite end of the spectrum - someone writing something (without even knowing that you exist), but that you think simply must be about you and the way you feel, vs. someone actually speaking to you trying to say something about the way you might feel, but not really doing a good job of it. I guess that's why they make the big bucks ... you know, driving in buses all day and playing in Meridian to a crowd of 1000, as one of the best songwriters of the age.

Life ain't fair, apparently. Good thing there's more of it left.
I'm a world-weary man, and I'm ready to lie down
Time to shuffle off this moldy mortal coil

And I lived ok I guess, heaven's even odds at best
but I'm ready, if I could only see you smile
I ain't see you really happy in a while ...

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Ooh! Ooh! I Wanna Play!

Quote Of The Week (because all of the cool blogs are doing it):

"You don't have to drink it if you don't want to ..."

- The Live Acorn's mom, making a late surge for Mother Of The Year by not forcing the 13-year-old Live Acorn to drink champagne on Christmas.

Monday, December 22, 2008

I'll Say Goodbye To Love ...

Dang it.

The doctor just called and said he'd like to speak with me about my cholesterol levels. I fear this means the end of my love affair with bacon. Sweet, sweet, bacon.

For some reason, I've always wanted to stay under 200 lbs. It's an arbitrary weight, I realize, but it's a nice round number (ha!), and slightly under that seems okay for me. I've often flirted with 200 lbs (and occasionally done more than flirt - and believe me, staying under 200 lbs isn't always a good thing! Thank you! Thank you! I'll be here all week!), but have managed to avoid going over. So during the pre-fight weigh-in last week at the doctor:

Nurse (asking me to get on the scale): Okay ... 201.

Me: Umm, well, these jeans and shoes weigh at least a couple of pounds. I'd say 199.

Nurse: Well, I have to put down what the scale indicates.

Me: Oh. Well, let's see. I think the Colt .45 in my sock weighs at LEAST two pounds. ONE. NINETY. NINE.

Nurse: Y-y-yessir.

Tom Waits - Heart Attack And Vine (I thought about going with something by The Strokes for some cholesterol-related music, but TW wins out.)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Oh Tannen Bomb

How to build the best Christmas tree EVAH:

Step 1: Get a branch like this:

Step 2: Make the obligatory "we should make a giant slingshot next summer and launch water balloons at the Dang's and Sweeney's houses!" comment.

Step 3: Get some sticks. And a bad dog, if you don't already have one.

Step 4: Have the dog chew the sticks to the appropriate lengths while you have a well-deserved beer.

Step 5: Tie the sticks on. Gouge the dog's eyes out and replace with glowing devil marbles.

Step 6: Put lights on. The more, the better. And use the blinky ones. If you're looking for something not gawdy, you're reading the wrong website, sissy. Go talk to Martha.

Step 7: Garland first ...

Step 8: Then the pink flamingo lights ...

Step 9: Oh jeez, this poor bastard lost his head ...

Step 10: And then the bird's nest birdhouse, the rest of the ornaments, and the tinsel. Don't be shy about adding more things as the days go by. Yes, beer cans are fine.

There you go! Remember, Jeebus knows how much thought you put into celebrating his birthday, and believe you me, HE will remember.

[UPDATE: An astute and eagle-eyed reader in Qatar asks about the art on the wall that can be seen in steps 5 & 10. Why, yes, that is the album cover from the Kiss multi-platinum classic Rock And Roll Over! Good catch, fellow Kiss Army soldier! And yes, that is an Idaho State Bengal helmet serving as the angel. Many thanks to Cha Cha for the contribution.]

Could I Just Take A Quick Look At Your Diploma, Doctor?

So I went to the doctor this morning for a checkup. He was asking about lifestyle habits and such things, which I tried to be relatively honest about.

Doctor: "Well, I think you should probably try to cut back on the alcohol intake. In addition to potential damage to several organs, it can lead to stress and irritability."


I then drove up Broadway to Jim's Alibi.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Who Am I, George Bailey?

I’ve noticed for quite some time that people in other cars tend to not see me when I’m driving. It seems that I can’t make even the shortest trip without someone pulling out in front of me (and I’m telling you people, the brakes aren’t in any better shape than the rest of the car, so wake up!). It’s as if I’m not there, like I don’t exist – people just stare through me as if my life on this earth is without meaning or value.

It’s as if I’d never been born.

I know that there is probably a perfectly rational explanation for this. The car is grey, fairly small, and I don’t have 3 gazillion high-intensity super-nova spotlights mounted all over the thing, but still … it doesn’t help with my self-esteem issues.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

And No Religion, Too ...

We had a multi-area holiday Christmas pot-luck today at work. For readers unfamiliar with my employment, let’s just say I work for the Government. While it’s not the United States Federal Government, it is a government that establishes separation of church and state (Idaho Constitution, art. 9, § 5). So when the sign-up sheet came around, with the potentially offensive title “Christmas Party Signup Sheet”, I lightheartedly, though with the more serious intention of perhaps alerting the organizers to their (most certainly unintentional) insensitivity, wrote in “Channukah”, “Kwanzaa”, “Solstice”, and “Ramadan” above the word “Christmas”*. I had hoped for at least an acknowledgement that there are non-christianists in the office.

Yeah, right.

Anyway, it was quite a spread. There were no less than 4 different types of pork products, and feeling awash in the state-sponsered spirit of the Virgin Birth, I chose to send a hearty “Screw you, Jews!” by foregoing salads, rolls, and vegetables, instead gorging solely on various hams, hickory Spam (yes, Hickory Spam!), and pork’n’seeds.

In case anyone has issues with this, please be aware that I will be telling one Jesus joke per day as I plug in each bulb on my desktop menorah (no candles in the workplace … thanks, OSHA):

Day 1:
Q: “What did Jesus say as they took him down from the cross?”
A: (falling forward) “FEET FIRST! FEET FIRST!”

Day 2:
Q: “Did you hear about the girl who started going to church ‘cause she heard there was a guy hung like this (arms spread out like Jesus on the cross)?”

And so on …

Say, is that thunder I hear?

* No, I didn’t include Boxing Day. Fuck the Canucks.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Maybe She Doesn't Know My New Phone Number ...

This "six degrees of separation" theory is crap. If it was true, then surely Juliana Hatfield would know of, and have responded to, my marriage proposal by now. She must be the one person on the planet who I don't have some obscure communication path to. I mean, it's been 12 years, and I'm still waiting.

Universal Heartbeat (from Only Everything):

I'll wait forever, Juliana, but it would be nice to be able to tell Kate Pierson one way or the other.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Neil Sedaka Is SO Wrong

Remember, today is the start of Breakup Season (1st Friday in Dec – Feb 15th). In these times of economic turmoil, we all look for ways to cut back a little on our excess spending. That, my friends, is what the season is all about. Think of the savings – no Christmas presents, no expensive New Year’s Eve extravaganza, no Valentine’s Day* gifts! And that’s just the monetary aspect – we’ve all experienced the emotional strain of buying gifts, wondering if it’s just right (is it too much? not enough? Oh god what if he/she doesn’t like Dom Pérignon?). One slightly uncomfortable conversation, however, and you’ll feel the weight being lifted from your shoulders.

Don’t go overboard, of course. You’ll need to really be able to sell the “I’ve missed you so much” line come the ides of February. The tried and true “I never really knew what I had until I lost it” approach is classic, but there are many alternatives, and there’s really no right or wrong way to make up. Try to avoid allowing your significant other to set conditions, particularly ones that are objective and measurable, however. The goal is to get back to where you were December 4th, not “improve” your “outlook” and “behavior” for the “sake” of the “relationship”.

So break it off, kids! We’re over a week into Drinking Season, so you’ve had plenty of time to make it easy for him/her to accept it, or better yet, preempt it! See you in 72 days!

Well I got a bad liver and a broken heart,
Yeah, I drunk me a river since you tore me apart
And I don't have a drinking problem, 'cept when I can't
get a drink
And I wish you'd a-known her, we were quite a pair,
She was sharp as a razor and soft as a prayer

Tom Waits, Bad Liver And A Broken Heart

* Not actually having a girlfriend does not preclude you from telling the Victoria’s Secret salesperson that she’s the same size as your girlfriend and asking her to try that little lilac lace number on.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Just In Case Anyone's Feeling Too Cheery Right Now

Here's a light little ditty by James McMurtry, recorded live in the WNKU studio:

Ruby And Carlos (from Just Us Kids) - and a short little interview at the end.

Her body still could rock all nigh
But her heart was closed and locked up tight
Holding back the flood
Just don’t do no good
You can’t unclench your teeth
To howl the way you should
So you curl your lips around
The taste of tears and a hollow sound
That no one owns but you
No one owns but you

Thanks a lot, McMurtry. Would it kill you to sing about flowers and rainbows? Just once?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Water, Water, Everywhere ...

Those of you who’ve been to my house at times other than when I’m expecting a few or more people may have noticed that I sometimes shy away from doing dishes in a timely fashion. You may also have attributed this to sheer laziness, an attribution not altogether unsupported by some of my other behaviors (or lack thereof).

It’s not so.

I have never … never … done the dishes without ending up drenched from my belly to my knees. Usually, it happens while washing a bowl – the thing’s half full of soapy water, my thumb slips, and KERSPLASH! a tsunami-like wave of suds (Palmolive – now with microbeads!) is sent over the edge of the sink, cresting just past the counter, and crashing down upon my midriff in a manner not unlike scenes from The Poseidon Adventure or The Perfect Storm.

Square Tupperware containers are worse. Somehow the corners can generate a lot of extra force, and the impact has, at times, left bruises. I’ve taken to just throwing them away after one use.

I came close to success once. I had done the dishes the night before (and had dried myself and the floor), and had nothing but a cereal bowl on the counter. I carefully filled the sink (just a quarter full – you don’t give your enemy extra ammunition during battle), put on slip-resistant rubber gloves, then ever-so-slowly immersed the bowl. I held it against the bottom of the sink to minimize the chance that an errant muscle twitch would unleash some aquatic fury, and ever-so-gently, washed, then rinsed, and finally, oh sweet jesus, finally set the bowl down in the rack to dry. I looked down, and not a drop had touched me. I breathed a sigh of relief, knowing that I had finally won, and reached for the spoon ...

I don’t know a damn thing about non-linear fluid dynamics. I do know, however, that a tablespoon can launch a shitload of water.

So please – rather than judge me on what might appear to be pure sloth, keep in mind that it’s something of a hassle to get in and out of a wetsuit.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Into The Wild

Well, I left my regular backpack over at a friend’s on Thanksgiving. It’s just right for riding to work – it fits a change of clothes and my lock, has a little cell-phone pocket on the shoulder strap, and is pink with Hello Kitty on the back.

So this morning, it’s either the man-purse fanny-pack manly waist-mounted equipment transport system, or my backpacking pack (yes, I actually have a real backpacking pack, and no, it’s never been used by me. I loaned it to a friend once.) This thing’s got about 500 straps and pull thingies and all kinds of stretch cords and a hydration system. And no Hello Kitty on the back.

I laid out all my supplies as if I were heading into the Sawtooths for a week-long solo trip and went over my checklist:

* Pants
* Shirt
* Belt
* Banana
* Apple
* Lock
* Phone

And by god, off I went into the wilderness, Sir Edmund Hillary on a bicycle, for my 15 minute, 3 ½ mile survival trek.

I’ve never felt so alive.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Rock And The Roll, The Hip And The Hop

The Live Acorn downloaded some songs on iTunes the other day – most of them say “Explicit Lyrics” next to the title. I assume that means one of two things – either it’s an indication that the artists take great care to enunciate properly so that the words can easily be understood, or the message of the song is very clear and not too obscurely veiled in symbolism. Either way, I think it’s very considerate of the musicians.

I like living in a world where there are songs with such titles as "You Know What They Do to Guys Like Us in Prison", "Kill All Your Friends (B-Side)", and "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)". I have a bit of a soft spot for kiddie punk, I guess.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

No More Rehearsing, Or Nursing The Part

Time to get yer gear on. The bait is cut, and it's time to fish.

Drinking Season starts today.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Holiday Classic

I remember Thanksgivings growing up in Pocatello. We’d always have a pretty good meal – a good sized Butterball and all of the traditional dishes. Well, one year, we decided that we’d try a fresh turkey the next time. We drove out to American Falls to a turkey farm in early December and got ourselves a little baby turkey, the plan being that we’d raise it and have the best turkey EVAH the next year.

So this thing lived in our back yard, and I’m sure you can imagine what happened. Of course we named him (Tom), and we’d play with him, and pretty soon he was sleeping inside, and would hop up on our beds, and he’d get so excited when we came home from school. Tom really was one of the family.

Well, come holiday time, there was just no way that we could do the deed. He’d come to mean so much to all of us, and to even consider following through on the plan was unthinkable.

So we ate the dog.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Voice Of Reason

Johnny Drunk And Gone gives a clinic on the fine art of ranting:

Another thing, these are the same girls that will watch sports because they want to make there guy happy. They have no real input on anything athletic other than maybe they fucked a softball team in an abandoned hospital. But they root along like they have a clue, "Off sides!" They'll yell out, to bad we're watching baseball sweetheart.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

There's No Business Like Snow Business

The Weather Bureau has predicted it’s going to snow 3 ½ feet tonight a 20% chance of snow tonight in the valley. Actually, the Idaho Statesman reported that the National Weather Service “predicted a 20% precipitation”, as there are apparently no copy editors at the Statesman for the weather writers, at least in the online version.

I love the snow. Not just for the skiing, not just for the joy of making snow angels (Hey! Why does mine have a pitchfork?), not just to marvel at my dog’s awesome ability to write her name in a snowbank, not even for the beautiful blanket of white with which it covers the world.

Actually, that last one is related. It’s not the beauty of the snow covering everything, however; it’s the fact that it covers up the ugliness around us, even if only for a while, here in the lowlands. As beautiful as the trees are at the height of their technicolor splendor, that beauty is fleeting, and soon all that remains at Casa de Acorn is a soggy brown mold factory smothering what can only laughingly be called a yard. Autumn also brings as many grey skies as blue, and the irony is not lost in the realization that the color scheme of the grey ghost (the remains of paint and dark rust) coordinates with this, the saddest of seasons.

But then the snow falls. Not a dusting, as we might get tonight, but a good 3-6” covering, with big-ass flakes falling in a breezeless night. Enough to watch drivers who didn’t grow up in snow slide into curbs. Enough that moms are watching TV for school closures. And then … gone are the rotting leaves, gone is the oil-stained driveway. The skies are still grey, but now seem perfect as a surreal background as one stares up into the falling flakes. For at least a while, things aren’t as ugly as they were.

Of course, here in the valley, the snow never lasts. That’s okay. You can still see it in the mountains, you know that it will come again, and the memory of looking up with your tongue out and letting the flakes sting your eyes can sometimes be enough.


Saturday, November 15, 2008


Longtime readers of this blog (and really, don’t you both have something better to do?) know that I have a somewhat adversarial relationship with the dog who lives with me. We generally match up pretty well – she’s got a few IQ points on me; I have opposable thumbs. We each have our days.

So I was raking leaves this morning, and she was on the rope, chewing on a stick. It was actually kind of nice – a brief respite, akin to the Christmas Truce of WWI. I almost broke down in a moment of sentimentality and scratched her behind her ears.

She’s attached to the rope by a caribiner, and she’s gotten off of it a couple times before. I saw it happen once, and I’m pretty sure she was just scratching with her hind leg and happened to pop the ‘biner off her collar. Random. No big deal.

Well, this morning, I walked into the house to get some coffee, and when I came back out, she was free. It was 30 seconds. THIRTY. FUCKING. SECONDS. I know that she’s opportunistic – she knows when I get in the shower that she’s got 10 minutes to wreak havoc. I’ve conceded that battle in our little war. But getting off her goddamned rope in 30 seconds … sweet pickled popcorn, I fear the worst.

So I ask this of you: if I should meet an untimely demise, please … PLEASE … don’t let the coroner brush off the dog as a ridiculous suspect. She’s wily, and she’ll make it look like I tripped over a beer bottle or had an unfortunate accident while eating toast in the bathtub. Don’t be fooled.

It's Probably Good That I Don't Write Jokes For A Living ...

Growing up, I always feared the concept of the self-fulfilling prophecy. Now I scoff at it.

Yeah, yeah, I know. I'm working on it. Shut up ... at least I'm trying.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Reining In My Heart

The skies are charcoal grey
It's a dreary downtown day
But at the end of my 30 foot leash
Is my little dog Quiche
Quiche the poodle!

It was a little wet this morning – I really need to get one of those spray guard thingies for my rear wheel. I felt like the cat that Pepe Le Pew is always chasing around. Only, you know, my stripe was water, not white paint, and I’m a human being, not a cartoon cat, and there wasn’t a skunk bounding after me telling me that I could run, but I could not hide. So I guess I didn’t feel like that cat at all.

Ahhh, cartoons … the last safe haven for stalking/sexual predation/cross-species-skunk-on-cat-goodness humor.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Little Of This, A Little Of That ...

Well, I’ve been called out as being a "blog slacker." This will not stand. Sure, posts have been a bit sparse as of late; I guess there just hasn’t been much to say. Either that, or the things on my mind are of such a deep and personal nature and so profound that were they posted on the internet, the emotional impact alone would cause readers to burst into endless tears of despair. I tend to think the first reason is the more likely of the two.

So just a few quick items:

* I remember, as I picked up my dog from the pound a few years ago, telling her that "I haven’t the means to provide to you the standard of living to which you have become accustomed." That’s when she jumped out the car window and tried to run back to the shelter. It’s been a battle of wills ever since, and alas, I fear that I’m losing.

* I set a new personal best last night with 9 tacos. I considered making this an installment in the ongoing lecture series "How To Stay Single," but as no one was there to actually witness it and have therefore been repulsed to the point where any potential possibility of future romantic commitment was snuffed out, I’ll just mention it here.

* Bears vs. Packers this Sunday. The cheese-grater hat will be making an appearance.

* Who the hell is going to cook prime rib this Thanksgiving? Damn! We’re in a tight spot here!

* When things seem bad, try to remember the Happiness Fairy:

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Saturday Morning Music

Aimee Mann - Red Vines

From the near-perfect "Bachelor No. 2"

Friday, November 7, 2008

Sofa, So Good

I have a bad habit of falling asleep on the couch with the TV on, then waking up sometime between 1 am and 3:30 am to go to bed. It definitely has something to do with needing some sound going on to keep my mind distracted. I mean, really ... to get up off the sofa, turn off the set, and lie in bed alone in a quiet dark house? That way lies madness, my friends. That way lies madness.

Changing habits like that can be difficult. In the grand scheme of things, it really makes no difference whatsoever, and there’s certainly no one keeping a tally of couch/bed vs. bed-only nights. Still, it’s one of those things that creeps into your routine by stealth, like when a family goes from eating together and conversing at the dinner table, to eating together with the TV on, to eating in the living room on the coffee table watching TV, to not noticing that the family doesn’t really eat together at all anymore, until finally there is no more family, and you find yourself eating cold Spaghettios out of the can* standing in the kitchen in your underwear wondering how the hell you came to be leading such a pathetic excuse for a life.

So I think I’ll try to change that. I’ve got a good book and a new teddy bear to snuggle, and I can always put on some music to fall asleep to. The rational side of me knows that when I do go to bed and read, I’m usually out within 10 minutes anyway, so maybe Rational Dead Acorn needs to be given a bit more voice in the Dead Acorn Internal Community. God knows we’ve heard enough from Cross-Dressing Dead Acorn bitching about Halloween being only once a year.

And another thing ... I’m really going to keep up on studying this semester. Really! I mean it this time!

* I actually love cold Spaghettios out of the can. Now, you might be saying "Love is kind of a strong word, Dead Acorn - using it so nonchalantly may lessen its emotive force in other, more appropriate contexts!" But you see, it IS appropriate here. I really and truly love cold Spaghettios out of the can. Not in some weird sexual way, though.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A Good Day

So today, a woman whose father was a slave voted for an African American for president. Also today, lots of 18-year-olds voted for that same guy, who will be only the 4th president of their lives. The Live Acorn made phone calls for the 3rd campaign of her life, and she's now trying to stay awake at 12:30 to see how the House race winds up. I'm sorta proud of her.

We were down at the Obama party at 9:00, and they called California and its 55 electoral votes immediately, which put him over 270. It got a little dusty in there.

Pretty god-damned good day.

Although ...

Looks like Prop Hate is going to pass in CA. Way to go, homophobes. I hope the decent mormons feel good about their tithings funding hatred, fear, and intolerance.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Importance Of Historical Documentation

So I was doing a little cleaning this afternoon - going through stacks of papers that should have just been thrown away in the first place (hey look! It's my receipt for the furnace filters that I bought in 2006! Thank god I kept that!) - and I found some chicken scratch that I jotted down when I went camping last summer:

"Lots of big-ass campers and fat people. Two tasks: 1) Don't get beat up, and 2) Address self - am I weightist?"

"Am regretting my decision of buying only one bottle of tonic water."

"Why would a bee want to drink my gin? It's fucking Gilbey's, for god's sake!"

There was some other stuff about Duke the wandering camp dog and my pride over having started a fire, but it was mostly illegible.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Got Subtle?*

Screen capture from the McCain ad that ran after Obama's 30 minute ad last night:

Anything in the text jump out at you? Stay classy, John.

* Apologies to N*88 for the use of the Dairy Council thing.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Vote Early, Vote Often!

Well, I just voted for Obama.

It's not that I'm not racist, it's just that I really REALLY hate old people.


Monday, October 27, 2008

I Don't Care If I Never Get Back

We’ve suffered enormously since the events of 9/11. Certainly none more than the families and loved ones of those who perished in the attacks, but as a nation, we have seen ourselves divided and have allowed ourselves to be brought to live in fear fueled by the lies, propaganda, and outright illegal acts of a tyrannical regime. Thousands of brave soldiers have lost their lives fighting unnecessary wars, and hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians have lost theirs as well. We have accepted torture of our enemies and domestic spying as needed practices.

Some of the wounds will never heal. Nothing will bring back lost lives, and the abhorrent acts of that day should never, and will never, be forgotten. But we’ve made many mistakes since then, and many are in our power to resolve.

It is my sincere belief that in 8 days, the world will breathe a sigh of relief (though not quite unclenching its collective teeth until 1/20/2009), and we will begin a slow process of rebuilding our stature in the world as a beacon of hope and an example of how a nation can treat its most unfortunate with dignity and respect.

This will not be a quick recovery, and evidence of progress will not be immediate. There is, however, one thing that can be done right now, that virtually every American will rejoice over. There was one knee-jerk reaction to 9/11 that may have seemed right, and even patriotic, at the time, but can only be looked back upon with horrible revulsion. It is a shame upon us all that it persists to this day. And yet, it will take the action of only one man to remedy it – one man making a decision, one phone call, one email … it’s really that simple. He can restore lost dignity to something that is universally acknowledged to be the embodiment of America itself, rivaled perhaps only by apple pie and the love we have for our mothers.

So I beg of you, sir, with every fiber of my soul, with my very essence … please, PLEASE, for all that is good and right and just, for this generation and all that follow: Mr. Selig, PLEASE STOP THEM FROM SINGING “GOD BLESS AMERICA” DURING THE STRETCH. Please, sir ... please ... make it stop. We've suffered enough.

Just … just … just buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks. Please.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Joe The Senator

Here's an interview by Barbara West of WFTV (Fl) with Joe Biden. Comedy gold. Biden seems to actually think it's a joke about halfway through:


Monday, October 20, 2008

What Were You Eating Under There?

I stopped at Target after work today and got some new boxers, among other things. A couple of tips concerning underwear:

1) Always buy at least one set of duplicates.

2) Make sure that your significant other knows that you have identical pairs.

This establishes, when you don't change them for 3 weeks, plausible deniability. "Well, of course these are clean, silly sweet-cheeks sugarplum! I did laundry two days ago! The ones I was wearing yesterday were my OTHER pair!"

This has been the latest installment in my ongoing lecture series "How To Stay Single."

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Saturday Afternoon Music Club

Some good tunes for a lazy Saturday afternoon ...

The Dresden Dolls - Coin Operated Boy

Friday, October 17, 2008

Oh, The Tangled Weblogs We Weave

As we all know, the main purpose of a blog is to provide a vehicle for the spewing of venom and hatred. Sure, we may try to mask it by predominantly posting about our take on current events, or using it to alert others to something we find amusing, or to let distant loved ones know how our lives are progressing. It’s all a grand misdirection, however … an e-sleight-of-hand, if you will. The brutal truth is that we all just want to hurt others that have hurt us, to scream out and let them know the suffering they’ve caused, but social norms and general guidelines of decency (and the occasional restraining order) keep us from doing so directly. And so we keep these things bottled up inside, simmering, building pressure, until eventually, something has to give.

Enter: the blog.

I find it somewhat akin to a diary, but not just one in which you write your innermost secrets and then stuff back under the mattress. That may delay your eventual meltdown, but ultimately, you’ve just transferred your frustrations to the physical world; on paper, tangible, outside your psyche … but still only yours. No, a blog is like a diary that you know your stupid sister* knows about, but doesn’t know that you know that she knows. Think about it … you can write anything – anything – about her, knowing that she’ll read it, knowing that the words will hurt, knowing that you’re inflicting wounds that may never heal. The best part? It’s her fault for reading it. My god, it’s ... it's perfect.

Hypothetically, for example, if someone like, say, oh, I don’t know, Susie McGraw was reading this, I could write something like “she thought she was so cool in 10th grade, even though she wasn’t really all that hot, and that stuff I said in that note I didn’t really mean, and I didn’t really have a crush on her, I was just trying to make her feel better, and even though she was a cheerleader, she was still fat. And ugly. And stupid. With a stupid laugh, even when she was laughing at a joke her stupid boyfriend told and not at other people who might have feelings. Oh, and BTW, Bart cheated on her with her best friend Jenny Stevenson one time like right before homecoming.” I mean, I know that would devastate her, but hey, I didn’t ask her to come read this blog. It’s her own damn fault if her life is now in shambles. Right? Right. Stupid Susie McGraw.

Oh, and to my distant loved ones: things are going well!

* Neither of my sisters are stupid. They're way WAY smarter than me, which makes it rather obvious how they found that stupid diary and how they knew that I knew that they knew. Also, they would know to use the singular "is" rather than the plural "are."

Friday, October 10, 2008

Weather Or Not ...

The Live Acorn told me it was going to snow today, and I told her she was crazy. Because, you know, she is. But the Weather Bureau National Weather Service seems to back her up on this:

I guess the NWS is the go-to authority on such things, so I'll be waxing my boards tonight (no, that is NOT a euphamism ...), but I think Tom Waits nails it as well:

And a line of thunderstorms was developing in the early morning
ahead of a slow moving coldfront, cold blooded
with tornado watches issued shortly before noon Sunday
for the areas including the western region of my mental health
and the northern portions of my ability to deal rationally
with my disconcerted precarious emotional situation

It's cold out there

Colder than a ticket taker's smile at the Ivar Theatre, on a Saturday night

Flash flood watches covered the southern portion of my disposition, yeah
There was no severe weather well into the afternoon
except for kind of a lone gust of wind in the bedroom

A high pressure zone covering the eastern portion of a small
suburban community with a 1034 millibar high pressure zone
and a weak pressure ridge extending from my eyes down to my cheeks
cause since you left me baby and put the vice grips on my mental health
well, the extended outlook for an indefinite period of time
until you come back to me, baby, is high tonight, low tomorrow
and precipitation is expected

I'd like to see Tom Waits, Steve Earle, and Aimee Mann play at President Obama's inauguration ball.

Surely that's not too much to ask.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

It's Funny 'Cause It's True!

Ah, what better way to start the day than by waking up with the significant other of your dreams and sharing a mimosa on the deck, marveling at the splendor of the sunrise? While this is obviously a rhetorical question, for those of you who don’t cotton much to the rhetorical, the answer is “There isn’t one, Dead Acorn. There simply isn’t one.”

As not everyone is so fortunate as to wake to such heavenly bliss, I’d like to suggest a somewhat more realizable eye-opener: the funnies. My favorite currently drawn comic strip is Pearls Before Swine, though I never leave the house without also reading Frazz and Get Fuzzy (links to all three over there on the right side of the page).

A number of Pearls Before Swine strips have poked fun at the phenomenon of blogging that’s exploded over the last couple of years. It is a sublime exemplar of irony that no one will ever see these strips by reading them here:

And while mimosas are perhaps not the most fitting drink for sitting in front of the computer at 6:30 a.m. in your underwear catching up on the antics of Pig, Rat, and Goat, it's not at all unreasonable to go ahead and take a slug off that warm half-full Schlitz tallboy you left on the coffee table last night. Go on ... live a little!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Now THAT'S Italian!

Well, no major home projects were initiated tonight. I did walk into a wall, and some drywall may have been compromised. That happens sometimes. Instead, I opted to make my famous spaghetti sauce:


2 lbs Italian sausage
8 28 oz cans tomato sauce
4 14 oz cans tomato paste
4 packages generic spaghetti sauce mix
2 onions
2 red peppers
2 green peppers
1 stalk celery
1 bunch green onions
1 clove garlic
Italian seasoning
1 75 pound bad dog


1. Brown sausage in large saucepan.
2. Drain fat, place ½ of the sausage in 10 qt. pan.
3. Add half of sauce and half of paste, mix in 2 packages of mix.
4. Chop each vegetable, saving ½ of each in large salad bowl (remaining ½ of sausage can be place in bowl as well).
5. Add spices as desired; simmer for 1-2 hours.
6. Spend time in yard or garage, or become wrapped up in presidential debate on television, instilling sense of inattention in dog.
7. Repeat steps 2-5 using other half of ingredients after dog jumps up and pulls full pan of sauce off of stove. Do not repeat step 6.

Conversation I had with myself during sauce-making:

Dead Acorn: (This is nice … like making a meal for a big Italian family.)

Dead Acorn Internal Antagonist: (Yeah. Nice. Except that you’ll eat your big Italian family meal one meal at a time, all by yourself, loser.)

Dead Acorn: “Why do you always gotta be such an asshole?”

Dead Acorn Internal Antagonist: (Dude, you said that out loud, and there’s no one here.)

Dead Acorn: (Yeah … thanks. I kind of need to watch that. There have been some stares at the bar.)

Dead Acorn Internal Antagonist: (No problem … I got your back. Hey – you should ride to the bar! You don’t smell like garlic and onions at all!)

Dead Acorn: (You’re such a dick.)

Dead Acron Internal Antagonist: (Let’s ride.)

A Hole In My Life Wall

I think I’m going to cut a hole in one of my walls tonight. The wall is between the living room and the kitchen, and a window will open things up a bit and ease some of the crushing isolation that being alone in the kitchen can induce allow more interaction between people in the two rooms. Plus, a little destruction can be therapeutic … a Skil saw, a load-bearing wall, some Courtney Love blasting on the stereo … ahhhh, feel the anger melt away. My doctor says I swallow a lot of aggression … that, and a lot of pizzas!

Another plus is that I’ll add to the list of half-assed, half-completed projects that have come to exemplify my existence. Torn out walls in the future master bathroom? Check. Bedroom painted but trim not replaced? Check. Picture frames glued but not sanded and stained? Check. Gaping hole in the middle of the house? Soon …

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Season Of Romance

The eastern sky was pretty spectacular this morning. It was just before the sun came up, and the clouds were an amazing mixture of pinks and purples. The trees are turning, too, and I’m reminded that there are few things as romantic as walking hand-in-hand in the foothills, surrounded by the indescribably brilliant reds, oranges, and yellows of nature’s autumnal masterpiece.

I wonder if the cheap hookers call girls escorts temp agencies have special rates for just holding hands.

Maybe I’ll ride home through Garden City …

Friday, October 3, 2008

AC Come, AC Go ...

I’ve always found the circumstances surrounding the death of Bon Scott a little curious. I find it hard to believe that someone can actually drown in their own vomit. My skepticism is based, in part, on the sheer number of cases I’m personally familiar with in which an extremely inebriated person woke up just fine, albeit usually sporting a dandy headache. I know that the absence of cases in my personal circle of acquaintances doesn’t preclude it actually happening to someone somewhere, but still, if it really does happen, odds are that I’d have known at least one victim.

It was nice, then, to receive an email finally providing a logical explanation. A friend forwarded on one of those “Miss So-And-So said something bad about jeebus and OMG SHE CAUGHT THE BLACK PLAGUE AND GOT BIT BY A BROWN RECKLESS SPIDER AND DRANK SPOILED MILK AND DIED 24 HOURS LATER!!11!!1ELEVENTY!!!1” messages. You know the ones – a list of famous people who dissed the G-man and subsequently came to an early death (my friend wasn’t implying that there is any truth to the alleged causal relationship of diss:death; she was forwarding it as an example of the intelligence level of her coworkers). Included in the list was the aforementioned Bon Scott:

Bon Scott (Singer)

The ex-vocalist of the AC/DC. On one of his 1979 songs he sang:

'Don't stop me; I'm going down all the way, down the highway to hell'.

On the 19th of February 1980, Bon Scott was found dead, he had been choked by his own vomit.

Well, of course! Choked by his own vomit! I can picture it so clearly – him lying unconscious on the carpet, still clenching the bottle of Jack Daniels, his hair drenched from lying in the pool of his own regurgitation … but still alive. As we all know, however, shag carpet acts as a battery for static electricity. I suspect that Mr. Scott twitched a bit in his sleep, thereby producing a spark that, not unlike the random lightning strike billions of years ago that brought life to the primordial ooze, brought life to the vomital ooze in which he lay.

Slowly, almost imperceptibly, the foul soup must have begun to ripple, then splash, as it brought itself together, first extending upward from the carpet, forming itself into a trunk-like column, then extending two crude appendages, grotesque arms which then became more defined, eventually sprouting hideous fingers, freakish digits that found their way to the throat of Satan’s own vocalist, fingers that squeezed, tighter and tighter, until finally, his lungs burning for air, the blasphemous Bon Scott must have woken to realize that yea, as ye sow, so shall ye reap, just as his black demon heart beat its last.

The God of our fathers is a vengeful god.

So take heart, all you drunken lushes ... drink, drink, and then drink some more, and concern yourselves not with such a fate ... but for the love of God, put on an Amy Grant CD first.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Amazing Invisible Sky Fairy

I don't really much believe that there's a god, but if there is, and I get a chance for a quick "howdy" before I head downstairs, I'm going to tell him that he can be something of a prick.

Because, you know, he can be.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Fox News

So there I was, riding my bike down the green belt this morning, when lo and behold, out jumps Br'er Fox, right in front of me! It was at a point on the path where the fences on both sides are close for a good stretch, along with a bridge, so he didn't really have any way out. Sly as a fox, my ass ... what kind of incompetent buffoon gets himself into that type of situation without a rational, well-planned exit strategy?

Anyway, he trotted along, about 10-15 feet in front of me, for about 200 yards. It was kind of cool at first, but those who know me know that I live to work, and he was slowing me down. Those numbers ain't gonna crunch themselves, you know. So I sped up, pulled off my frame pump, and whacked him on the back of the head. One less threat to the henhouse, the way I see it.

Note to PETA: The last 4 sentences are not true. Please do not throw blood on me or blow up my car (or is it the ELF people who blow up cars?).

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Lowman On The Totem Pole

Well, the camping plans of last week (cancelled by rain – thanks, weather bunny …) finally took place Friday. The network was down at work, so I told my boss I was out. A quick pack-up of the grey ghost, a beer for the road at Le Pub, and I hit the trail. It’s nice to get out of town, away from people, grab a little precious solitude … so of course, the first thing I did after setting up the tent was to ride down 4 miles of washboard, ride up 4 miles of highway 21, sit my ass down and have a beer with Marla.

Marla and her husband built the Haven Hot Springs establishment (restaurant, motel rooms, private hot pools) in 1993. No one else was in there, so we watched some of a Hitchcock movie (starring Paul Newman … wow … RIP, Paul. I suppose Slapshot won’t be available at Blockbuster) and talked about her grandkids and how she drew for a moose this year. A very enjoyable afternoon.

So back at the campsite, I was the only one there. I fired up the grill, cooked a few ears of corn and a couple of steaks, and realized I hadn’t brought a plate. It’s always nice to have options for dinner, and I got to choose between eating right off the picnic table or on some newspapers. The newspaper, while offering a barrier between my meal and the remnants of god knows what had ever happened on that table, tended to shred under the knife and become embroiled in the actual food. While paper does offer some dietary fiber, the fact remains that you’re still EATING GODDAMNED NEWSPAPER. So picnic table it was.

I also didn’t take a flashlight, so when it was time to go to bed, it was an all-in proposition. Once I turned that propane lantern off, I knew there was no way in hell my drunk ass could light that thing again in the middle of the night. But damnit! I’m a grown man! So I administered some animal repellant, which consists of me playing guitar and singing (bears have a very eerie roar of pain – with the first chord, I heard a howl of displeasure that seemed to rapidly fade into the distance), and headed to bed. I’m not really afraid of large animals per se, but some of them are assholes. I know that there’s very little chance that a moose would steal my distributor cap twice in one lifetime, but I do carry a spare now. Fool me once, you know. I hope Marla plugs that moose. Bastard.

The cold wasn’t too bad … mid 30s, probably. There was frost on the propane tanks – a bit of advice: don’t try to thaw them by putting them by the fire. Eyebrows grow back, don’t they?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Twinkie Power

Ok, this will be simple. We've got the White Sox at 86-71 and the Twins at 86-72, 1/2 game back. After Minnesota finishes the sweep today, all that has to happen is for the Twins and the Indians to win a total of 4 of their last 6 games (3 each). That happens, and the Sox don't even get to play their make-up game.

Piece o' cake.

Note To Self:

No more listening to Steve Earle's Lonelier Than This by yourself in the dark.

It doesn't get any lonelier than this
I believe my heart'll break
Tonight I prayed I'd die before I wake
With every breath I'm tastin' your kiss
And it's sweet upon my tongue
Until the bitter tears fall one by one

It doesn't get any lonelier than this
I'm as blue as blue can be
Just an empty place where your love should be
I'm sick and tired of walkin' round like this
With my heart outside my skin
Scared to death we'll never touch again

Sweet grazing gumballs, put on some Mungo Jerry, for gawd's sake.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Quit Yer Bitchin' ... It'll Grow Back.

Well, as the Indians are mathematically eliminated from post-season play, I guess it’s time for my semi-annual haircut. But what cut to choose? The ‘fro? The fauxhawk? Maybe a big ole pompadour. I have an inkling that the mullet will be making a comeback, and lord knows I don’t want to be caught sleeping when THAT trend comes a-stormin' back through town. Gotta keep ahead of the game, you know. On the other hand, I haven’t had a good high’n’tight since about 3rd grade*.

This brings to mind a conversation I had during a haircut when I was in Salt Lake City:

Haircut Girl: How would like it cut today?

Me: Oh, just kind of shorter … top of the ears, short up top ..

Haircut Girl: How ‘bout a number 4 on the side?

Me: Well, that’s very generous, but I’m married.

Haircut Girl: You’re an idiot.

I think that, all in all, the most important thing about getting a new ‘do is that the place is next door to the bar. No matter what happens, I’ll come out okay.

* That's a style of haircut, you sick bastards.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Most Important Baseball Series EVAH!

Today, as fate would have it, is not only International Talk Like A Pirate Day, it’s also the start of the all-important final 3-game series between the Cleveland Indians and the Detroit Tigers. For those who only read the financials, N*88 and I have a bet on the season series between these two perennial AL powerhouses non-cellar-dwellers (thanks, KC!). Of course, a wager of passion such as this cannot be simply for cash, nor for mere acknowledgement of superiority, nor for fine spices or silks. No, the only truly appropriate currency in situations such as these is beer. Lots of it. Fifteen and a half gallons, to be precise. One keg. The ole half-barrel. One hundred and twenty four tasty ones.

Currently, the series stands at Tribe 8, Tigers 7. Detroit needs to sweep to win outright, while Cleveland needs to take 2 to do the same. In case of a tie, the bet goes to the team that scored the most runs; currently, Cleveland is up by 5 (93-88). If Cleveland wins 1 game, by 1 run, Detroit would need to win the other 2 games by a combined margin of 7 runs to take it. Unfortunately, Cy Young Cliff Lee isn’t scheduled to pitch any of the games. Damn.

There isn’t really a second tiebreaker set up, so I’d like to suggest that if it does end 9-9, with both teams scoring the same number of runs, all of the people who will end up helping with the keg anyway chip in and buy it instead. Seems only fair.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Does A Beer Schmidt In The Woods?

I wonder if, by “3-season sleeping bag,” they mean that it’s appropriate for spring, summer, and fall, or that it’s good for 3 summers before it falls apart? It’s supposed to get down to about 36 °F (275 °K) Saturday night in Lowman. I will, of course, be adhering to the camping code of “1 beer per degree Farenheit per day*,” though it remains a matter of debate** as to whether the proper index is low, high or median temperature.

* Children under 12 are allowed to use the Celsius scale. People named Jason may use the Kelvin scale.
** Feel free to say to yourself "and he IS a master debater! Ha ha!" The classics never get old.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Bad Poetry

The moon sinks low in the early hours
Nearly full, a grapefruit hanging over the horizon
There is some solace in the thought
That you may be staring too
And that if I look hard enough
I'll see the reflection of your eyes

Yeah, right ... like your lazy ass is going to be up at 6 am. Who writes this crap?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Fear And Loathing In My House

I’ve lived in constant fear for over a week now.

One of our species’ most beneficial evolutionary tools is our tendency to ignore the innumerable horrifying aspects of the world we live in. Imagine an existence where every moment was spent contemplating the very real monstrosities that surround us – flesh eating bacteria, the ebola virus, Natural Light beer … no, don’t imagine that. That way lies madness. Thankfully, we seem to have the ability to push those things deep down into the dark recesses of our subconscious and make our way through our lives blissfully unaware of the vile hellishness that surrounds us.

Every once in a while, though, we’re reminded of what lies beneath. And so it was last week when I saw, in my kitchen … an earwig. Lest we forget the pure evil that is the earwig:
These insects are quite insidious, the fertilized female will attach herself to hair, clothing and/or skin, and under the cover of darkness wend her way into the ear canal, burrowing then through the middle and inner ear to the brain. Upon reaching the brain, the earwig first severs the cranial nerve, which serves as both a blessing and a curse to the victim. Whereas the victim suffers no pain thereafter, the victim is also unaware of the progressive degeneration of cerebral tissue.

Over the course of several days, the female burrows a network of tunnels through the temporal and frontal lobes of the brain, implanting her eggs as she digs along. After she has deposited her entire brood of approximately 1000 eggs, she emerges in the sinus cavity where she expires. The eggs hatch after about 4 days of incubation. Immediately after they pass through the pupae stage, about 2 days later, each larva burrows further into the brain, shredding brain tissues and consuming it for nourishment. The victim will usually die a horrible and debilitating death about a week later as the larvae reach maturity.

This is truly Satan’s insect. Trust me, it’s no fun wearing earplugs 24/7, and my feet hurt from wearing my cowboy boots all the time (in case I need to kill one in a corner.) I don’t know how much longer I can go on.

Somebody hold me …

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Holidays Are Nearly Upon Us

Just a friendly reminder … we’re creeping up on Breakup Season (December 5 – February 15!) Keep in mind that it’s not a real breakup if you’ve only been seeing each other a week or two, and I know a lot of us have been caught in the past putting off finding a significant other until it’s too late. So get on it, people! Find that sweetie now and get a few months of togetherness in so that you’ve got something of substance to talk about on that first Friday in December. Leave the last-minute shopping for Christmas/Channukah/Kwanzaa/Solstice presents for your family. To paraphrase Bob Dylan, when you got nobody, you got nobody to lose.

Also, Drinking Season, as we all know, runs from Thanksgiving Eve through January 2nd, so you should be well into your pre-season training.

Monday, September 8, 2008


And then ... depression set in.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

True Grit

Self awareness is a strange thing. I would argue that in the strictest sense, it’s simply a construct, and not something that anyone ever truly attains. However, by and large, most of us have a sense of what kind of people we are, and our observable behaviors generally correlate with our internal self-image.

Occasionally, though, there are times when we do something that we never believed we would have done. The resulting dissonance can be extremely disturbing, even life changing. It can be extremely traumatic to recognize that we aren’t who we thought we were, that the way we see ourselves is not the way we actually are.

And so I found myself in the driveway this morning, cutting a tabletop out of the boards I’d glued together using my new biscuit joiner, and getting ready to sand it.

The belt sander is one of my favorite tools. It is built solely for turning wood into sawdust. It has no allusions of being a finishing tool, no aspirations of doing final detail work. It makes no apologies. And while I’m far from an accomplished woodworker, I have partnered with the belt sander enough to appreciate and respect its place in the universe.

Imagine, then, the shock that hit me when I discovered that the only belts I had were 120 grit. 120 grit? That’s basically velvet. How did they get into my garage in the first place? I know that I’m usually inebriated when I go to the hardware store, but how drunk must I have been to buy 120 grit? Even 80 grit is a bit of a sheila belt, so with nothing but 120, I felt like I should be wearing a dress. (Speaking of which, as an aside, if anyone knows why I was wearing panty hose and missing my left pinky toe this morning, please let me know.)

So that’s it. There I was, the job waiting, the project prepped, and I had failed myself. I’ve occasionally run out of beer in the fridge before, but there has always been a spare in the golf bag or the glove compartment to tide me over on the ride down to the store. This was different. It’s not like I had some 30 grit stashed in my fanny pack man-purse rugged, manly, waist-mounted pack. How could this have happened? I can’t remember when I’d let myself down to this degree before. How could I have strayed so far from the path upon which I believed I was traveling? It’s like my whole carpentry life has been a lie.

There was no overt breakdown. Just a sigh, and some time sitting on the steps with a beer and some melancholy music; an hour or two of introspection. A true sense of relief that the only person I'd let down was myself. But what are we to do when we’re forced to accept that we’re not who we thought we were? Who’s to say? I guess the best we can do is to recognize our failures and try to change ourselves for the better.

As god as my witness, I will never be without 60 grit again.

I've received several emails from members of BSA (Belt Sanders of America) claiming that my statements about the belt sander portrayed the tool as something of a bully and an overpowering asshole of the shop. I regret the implication. The belt sander truly appreciates the roles that the other sanders play - the random orbit, the oscillating drum, all of them. It has a special fondness for the disc sander, who can, from time to time, bring a real challenge, especially when working with metal. My sincere apologies go out to all.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The World Serious

Well, since I outlined what needed to be done in order for the Tribe to win the World Series, a few ball games have been played:

Cleveland: 8-3 (including a 3 game sweep of Detroit and a victory over Chicago)
Chicago: 4-6
Minnesota: 5-6

Who knew that Eric Wedge reads this blog? I love it when a plan comes together ...

Monday, September 1, 2008

How To Remain Single, Pt. MCCIX

"One of my favorite things about you is watching you walk away ..."

And THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is why they call me Smooooooooooov T ...

Saturday, August 30, 2008

... With An Onion Tied To My Belt, As Was The Fashion In Those Days ...

I was sautéing onions the other night. I can’t recall quite what for; perhaps a burger, or some barbeque chicken … at that time of night, who really knows? Well, it so happened that I had a small piece of white onion, and the onion I had just purchased was of the yellow variety. Not being much of a cook, much less a connoisseur of onions, I didn’t give it much thought when I put a slice of one in with the other. I had them all pulled apart, since you want to maximize the exposed surface area during sautéing, and keep things moving around.

Needless to say, I was a bit surprised when a ring of the yellow onion fell into, with an almost perfect fit, a ring of the white onion. It was as if they had grown together, yet without ever knowing that one another existed. I, of course, immediately separated them with my fork, for after all, this was my meal! Nothing shall get in the way of my perfectly sautéed onions!

I shuffled between the grill outdoors, saying hi to the dog, and prepping the other food, but every time I came back to the stove, the yellow onion and white onion had found each other again. “Damn them!” I thought to myself. I just wanted some god-damned sautéed onions.

After about 20 minutes of this, I became obsessed. Whatever I would do, they would find each other. Why would they not stay apart? Why would they continue to seek each other out, thinking they fit together, when they were so many worlds removed? Finally, it hit me … what if this was life, or god, or just their own damn will, saying this was how it was meant to be? What if all my analytical notions about the absurdity of finding the one right person onion on a planet of billions were wrong? Could it be that this one yellow onion ring was destined to find its place with this one white onion ring, in this cheap-ass sauce pan in my humble kitchen? Was I witnessing the awesome power of destiny right on my stove?

I paused, and I looked to the ceiling, and I cried out. I turned and threw the fork against the wall and fell to my knees … who was I to keep them apart? I wept. I wept for the past, for who was I to know, still, if the past must have been? I wept for the future, with tears of joy, for what may come. I wept for others, with tears of both sorrow and joy, for friends who have known past sadness, but whose future must certainly hold the promise of brighter tomorrows.

As I slumped down, unable to stop sobbing, shivering in the cold evening air; spent, but warmed from the release of emotion that I never knew I held, I asked myself – “has this really happened? Have I really discovered something new and beautiful? Will I see life through eyes opened in a way never before opened? Can this really change everything?”

“No,” I said to myself. “It’s just a fucking onion.”

Lawn Boy Roulette

I mowed my lawn today for what I believe is the third time all summer. Some may attribute that to sheer laziness, which, I admit, is a theory with much anecdotal evidence provided by my past tendencies. I believe, however, that I’m subconsciously engaging in risk-taking behavior brought on by chronic boredom. It’s not just a whimsical urge, either … I believe that I set the stage for days such as these months in advance. Read on, if you will, and delve into the complex workings of a self-destructive mind.

Though I’m not much into the whole J. Christ thing, I do appreciate the mood that seems to set in among most around Christmas (pagan readers should feel free to educate the jeebus folks on the history of winter festivals in comments.) Rather than get a recently murdered fir tree, however (What Species Would Jesus Cut Down?,) I’ve got a big sling-shot shaped branch that stands in a corner of my living room with a birdhouse hanging from it 11 months out of the year. Come December, though, I trek through the foothills and gather fallen branches to tie to it in a haphazard fashion, and string lights, tinsel, garland, and kitchen utensils in the guadiest way I can. It’s quite festive.

Anyway, sometime after the holidays (generally around February … see “laziness theory” mentioned above,) I take the branches off and throw them in a pile in the yard. Eventually, I wind up throwing them for my stupid dog, who leaves them lying in random spots in the grass.

So ultimately, I find myself on a day such as today … wearing my Kerrys (flip-flops, for the non-political), shorts, and no sunglasses, pushing a blade spinning at 2500 RPM through the deep grass that hides splintering landmines, planted half a year earlier by none other than myself.

I guess as far as self-destructive risk-taking behavior goes, I should be thankful that I’ve never really been proficient at convincing strangers to have unprotected sex in dark alleys (with me, that is ... oddly, when I talk to strangers in bars, they seem quite willing, even desperate, to find some other stranger to spend time with.)

Also, I think the entire world owes me a gesture of gratitude for not going into clinical psychology. A beer will suffice.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Breakfast Of Champions

I don't believe that there's a better breakfast food than popsicles.

I'm rather fond of them.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

How To Give A Speech

I love this guy.

I also love that his walk-in music is "Love Rollercoaster." Knowing who his wife is makes me wonder how the hell this guy is not president ('cause she's got, like, an MA in international relations, not 'cause she's like, 6'9", English, and has a tongue piercing. Jesus, you shallow bastards.)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

So I'm clicking around them interwebs, and I run across a site ranking the least intelligent dogs:

1. Afghan Hound
2. Basenji
3. Bulldog
4. Chow Chow
5. Indy
6. Bloodhound
7. Pekinese
8. Mastiff
9. Beagle
10. Bassett

WTF? They actually listed my specific dog at number 5? Those BASTARDS. I mean, yeah, she jumped out the car window on the way home from the pound when I first got her, and yeah, she's hit the knobs on the stove a couple of times and filled the house with gas, and yeah, she's fallen off the bed once or thrice, and yeah, she has a propensity to get her front leg through her bandana so she has to hop around on her other three, but seriously ... Whisky. Tango. Foxtrot. That's just over the line.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

On To The Series!

It would be easy to throw up one’s hands and say “14 ½ out with 38 games to go? Preposterous! Ain’t gonna happen! No way, no how! Say, barkeep, can I get another beer, please?” Actually, it would be very difficult to throw up one’s hands, since that would, by definition, require that one first eat one’s hands, a daunting task indeed, and completely unrelated to baseball (Mordecai “Three Finger” Brown notwithstanding.)

If we actually look at the numbers, however, the post-season is easily within Cleveland's reach. If we assume that they sweep the remaining games against Chicago, Detroit, and Minnesota (6, 6, and 3, respectively), the standings look like this:

Team W L % GB
Minnesota 71 57 .555 0
Chicago 72 59 .550 .5
Cleveland 72 67 .518 4.5
Detroit 62 72 .463 12

If we further assume that Chicago, Detroit, and Minnesota all go .500 in their non-Cleveland games, the final standings for those teams are as such:

Team W L % GB
Minnesota 88 74 .543 0
Chicago 88 74 .543 0
Detroit 76 86 .469 12

This means that the Tribe need only go 17-6 in their remaining non-divisional games (I include Kansas City in this category, since they really shouldn’t be in the major leagues in the first place.) Given that the best predictor of future performance is past performance, and given that the Indians have gone 8-3 in their last 11 games, it is completely reasonable to expect the wigwammers to finish 89-73*, alone atop the AL Central. Having reached the post-season, they simply need to win their last game to capture their first World Series title since 1948. All the little chicks with their crimson lips go "Cleveland rocks! Cleveland rocks!"

I expect a call from Baseball Prospectus any time now with that analyst job offer.

* This assumes Cliff Lee pitches all 23 games, with no bullpen involvement.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Biscuits And Gravy

For some time now, I’ve felt as if something has been missing from my life. It’s just seemed like there’s some void that needs to be filled, a gaping chasm of nothingness threatening to swallow up my very existence. My Yin ain't got no Yang, if you will.

A lot of things have been happening lately that have caused to me to question exactly what it is that I’m doing here. Where am I now? Where do I want to be? How do I find the path that will lead me there? Questions we all ask ourselves at some point or another, often during gin-fueled benders during which the thin veneer of self-deception is stripped away, even if only for a few fleeting moments.

Not everyone can find answers to these questions. Not everyone even cares to try. I consider myself extremely fortunate, then, to have finally realized what my life is truly lacking:

Ayup, a sweet-ass biscuit joiner. Not top of the line or anything like that, but it basically functions as intended and tries not to cause trouble. No more homemade jigs for dowel holes, no more time-consuming mortise and tenons, no more tongue and groove. When I'm connecting two boards at their edges, it’s all biscuits, all the time, from here on out. Biscuits ‘n’ gravy, baby, biscuits 'n' gravy. You can color me happy.

Ok, I’m not eliminating the tongue and groove completely. Just from the wood shop …

Saturday, August 9, 2008

True Stories

This really happened:

(Two bears walk into my campspot)

Me: “Holy crap! You guys gotta go about, what, 400, 450 lbs?”

Bear 1: “Uh, well, yeah, I got 425, Earl here is more like 525.”

Me: “Sweet onion chutney! I’m guessing you guys are O-line, right? So, I know you guys do your job no matter what, and always play hard, but seriously … do you block a little harder for Sexy Rexy than Orton? ‘Cause I’m kinda seeing that.”

(Earl looks at Bear 1)

Earl: “Uh, Bob? I think this guy thinks we’re Chicago Bears.”

Bob: “No fucking way. Nobody’s that stupid.”

Earl: “Check out all the beer cans! This guy’s a mess!”

Bob: “Well, shit. Whaddya think?”

(Earl comes closer, sniffing around my head)

Earl: “I don’t know … something don’t smell right. Could be he’s got the brain-rot.”

Bob: “Well, I don’t wanna risk it … let’s just head down the trail a bit. Jesus, the things they’ll let into the forest these days …”

Exercising Demons

Not exorcising, exercising. The voices have been quiet lately; in fact, I’ve actually strung together a couple of good nights of sleep. It worries me when the boys don’t have their A-game going, sort of like when your dog is sick. You try to get her to play, throwing the ball, setting up the chess board, that sort of thing, but she just lays there. So it is with the demons … it makes me sad, as if it’s somehow my fault. And anyway, exorcism’s for those mackerel-snapping Catholics and potential Republican vice-presidential running mates. From the inestimable Tom Waits:

If I exorcise my devils
Well my angels may leave too
When they leave they're so hard to find

So I said to Mr. Z (who’s not really the leader, as the boys are fiercely independent, but more like a spokesman or liaison), I got me a plan.

I bought a bottle of gin, two cases of beer, and went camping alone. No music, no one to talk to, just me in the woods. They seemed to enjoy the workout, and I’m sure they’ll be much perkier in the future. Exercise, along with a healthy diet, is very important.

Needless to say, the boys are back in town.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Saturday, August 2, 2008

The moon, in June, makes me swoon ...

Believe it or not, Idaho is occasionally described as something of a "cultural backwater." The aristocrats of our society may seem friendly enough when they fly in to Sun Valley, don their thousand-dollar pre-worn pearl-inlaid cowboy boots, and try to pass themselves off as locals at the Casino, but don't be fooled. They're laughing on the way in, and they're laughing on the way out, and they're not laughing with us. "Those backwood redneck hillbillies!" they say. "Why, they wouldn't know the difference between Ossetra and Sevruga, much less whether to put the period inside or outside the quotation marks at the end of a sentence! Ha ha!"

Sadly, there are those among us who, after hearing such belittlement their entire lives, begin to buy into this absurd characterization. It is for those that this is intended. Read on, and never again doubt that you are, without question, at the Cultural Center Of The Universe.

Poetry, at its best, can break the hardest of hearts. It can tear away the steely facade that we put forward to the world and leave us weeping unabashedly in front of all. It can make us see our true selves. At its worst, it involves a man from Nantucket, and even then, it's pretty damn good.

So for your reading pleasure, I bring you the following: Two collaborative efforts, composed on bar napkins, through a process in which the napkin is passed around the table, with each successive drunken idiot poet writing a line while having access only to the previous line, and from Nick, what can only be described as a cowboy classic.

Enjoy ...

The corner of night is a fence
PBR is a balloon in a peacock
To ride that taurus is a cosmic bucking bull of cherries
A hint of blackberries and
A strong sense of tanning means there is
Anise in the air
Frolicking through the flowers finds feelings only felt functionally fantastic
Get gone.

The morning is here, like an unwanted guest
The dead acorn, his applesauce, a dove
Aaaah … the essence of love juice
Sweet release of tightened noose
I found myself unstuck in time in a palouse
Or so it goes
I walked into the forest,
Finally able to ignore the trees.


Feel a passion drenched fantasy
As your genitals are taken by a lawnmower
So the blades of life
Can trim the hair of your soul
Like pubic hair, like morning glories
The strange girl threw up in her mouth
Enough to make her think he’s handsome
Not enough to think he’s rich
But happy with the beer in his hand
He drinks and fights the desire to stand
My boss just quit the job,
Says he’s gonna find blind spots
And he’ll do it
Pathetic? Perhaps. I choose not.
A hymn to life, as Jimmy said
The tables fall away, and jackpot.


Have you ever pictured rednecks in love
As beautiful as the sunrise
And wholesome as the dove

He smiled a toothless smile
And dropped a beer can in the sink
Rubbed himself a little, and gives a wink

The make the trailer rock
And the sofa lounger sway
They’ll do it in the dirt,
But prefer it in the hay

She thought he was the most
Handsome thing she’d ever saw
And pulled a gnat from an armpit
And shot it through a straw.

He remembered his eye vetoed
The first time they met
And her tube top clinging to her breasts
From summer’s sweet sweat

Since that moment on,
He never left her side
Rented a little plot
And bought a single-wide.

It’s a day they’ll always cherish
And think of while they’re spooning
The day destiny stepped in
At that family reunion.

Next week ... Sestinas!