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!