Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Year In Review

The googletoobz are bursting with "Best Of" lists, and I'm certainly not one to break from the herd. And so ...

The Dead Acorn's List of Stuff For 2009

Drinking Fountains

2) Expo Idaho (Western Idaho State Fair), South end. A strong stream, tooth-numbingly cold.

1) Albertsons (17th and State). Simply one of the best drinking fountains I’ve ever encountered. Its output trajectory is substantial, but not overpowering. The primary:secondary stream ratio is unmatched in the valley. One may have issues with Albertsons as a grocery store, but when it comes to drinking fountains, their flagship location is second to none.


2) Beer (in the shower; multiple occasions). Hot water on the outside, cold beer on the inside. Good stuff.

1) Mimosas (front lawn, late summer). Champagne and holding hands for breakfast. Sublime.

Relationship Fuckups

2) Tiger Woods. Wow. That guy doesn’t do anything half-assed.

1) Me. Colossal. Tiger could have avoided all of the media attention by saying “you think I fucked up? You should talk to The Dead Acorn.”


2) 5-year, purchased through Capital One Banking. Averaged over 3% interest in 2009; a solid investment and a relatively safe haven in these tumultuous economic times.

1) Townes (Steve Earle). Dang good ... some of his best work.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

With Friends Like These ...

I traveled to Salt Lake City over the Christmas weekend to visit family and some friends I haven’t seen in a long time. One of my friends recently became engaged, and I hadn’t met his fiancé yet, so we all went out to dinner. An actual snippet of the conversation:

Dead Acorn: Wow, New Fiancé, it’s very nice to meet you! Friend To Whom You Are Engaged is certainly dating up!

New Fiancé: Well, thank you! It’s nice to meet you too … I’ve sure heard a lot about you.

Other Friend 1: Doesn’t he look like that homeless guy
that hangs out on State and 400 North?

NF: Oh yeah … that guy’s hair isn’t as messy as The Dead Acorn’s, though.

Other Friend 2: The homeless guy dresses better than him, too.

DA: WTF? Shut up! You went out with me for 2 years!

Other Friend 2: Didn't you think it odd that all the gifts I bought you were clothes, and that I would dress you before we went out?

All except DA: (derisive laughter)

How I've avoided therapy thus far, I do not know.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Campy Little Post

I remember very little from Grout Camp.

I guess I should qualify that … I remember very little about grouting from Grout Camp. I don’t think it was the fault of the counselors or the camp’s methods/teaching philosophy; on the contrary, several of my campmates flourished in that environment and have gone on to be quite successful in the tiling world (Georgie Hammacher, for example, revolutionized the industry with his development of a 2-part polymer glaze with a substantially longer cure time than had previously existed, allowing rooms of up to 300 sq. feet to be completed with a single mixing. As I recall, Georgie excelled in all of the camp competitions, and eventually won the coveted title of “Sir Amic.” Yeah, cheesy, I know, but hell, it was Grout Camp. We were 12, ok?).

No, I think the cause of my lack of tilic knowledge retention was twofold: First, even at that tender age, I had already developed the foundations of what has since become a paranoia-driven second-guessing of the motives of others. I mean, who sends their kid to Grout Camp? Parents who are privy to the results of those IQ tests they give in 6th grade, and who are anxious to have their child gain blue-collar, physical-labor skills, knowing that any career path requiring mental capacities beyond those of a house plant* was not to be ventured down by THAT low-functioning idiot-sans-savant, that’s who. I may have been a little preoccupied with that during the sessions. As it turns out, they were just a little late in getting the Summer Activities calendar, and all of the other camps were full. So yes, my suspicions proved wrong, as they always do, but still, this is indicative of less-than-fully-dedicated parenting, and I blame them for the aforementioned paranoia-driven second-guessing that has strained and eventually shattered every relationship in which I’ve been involved.

The second reason is the early development of Dixie Deetmeyer. I mean, those things were massive (from the perspective of a 12-year-old), and Dixie, also blessed with an underdeveloped sense of modesty, would occasionally display her … developments, let’s say … behind the boathouse. I don’t know exactly what the memory capacity of the human brain is at that age, but I’m pretty sure that The Dixies took up most of it, leaving little room for considerations of the effect of relative humidity on the lifespan of tinted Portland cement. (In retrospect, it makes sense that Georgie Hammacher seemed immune to Dixie’s distractions. He was one of the biggest donors to the “No On Prop Hate” campaign in California last year, and Georgie, if you’re reading this, I’ll be down there knocking on doors when there’s another opportunity to end the inequality. Fuck the haters.)

Anyway, I relate all of this because I attempted some grouting last night for the first time since those glorious days at Camp Mix-A-Morta. Some things did come flooding back to me … for example, I remembered the hard’n’fast rule that groutin’ music has to be twangy, and with the help of Dwight Yoakam, I seemed to get quite a bit done without screwing it up too much. I didn’t get as much accomplished as I had hoped, though, as trying to track down Dixie Deetmeyer on the googlewebs turned out to be way more time consuming than I would have thought.

* This is not to say that professions that require physical labor are less mentally demanding than those that don't; it's just that my parents thought me dumber'n a fence post, and it was a long time ago, when such misperceptions were more common.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

You And Me Both, Admiral Stockdale ...

Here we are, winding down another year, making that tough decision about which calendar theme to select for the cubicle wall in 2010 (mine’s been on August 2007 for over 2 years … it’s a nice picture of the Sawtooths), and, for some, taking the time to assess our place in the universe.

Though it strikes me as a somewhat arbitrary time to step back and think about what you’ve done, mister!, if asked to select a good time to check one’s bearings, make course corrections, set new goals, etc., I guess the dead of winter would be as appropriate as any. Other than being crushed under the pressure of the holidays, what else have you got going on? Huh? Nothing, that’s what.

And so I find myself pondering the meaning of all existence and my place in it, along with why my metric spanner set didn’t come with a 12 mm wrench (that’s bugged me for a number of years – yeah, the ½” SAE wrench works okay, but that is NOT THE POINT, DAMNIT!).

I’ve come to the conclusion that my main role in this life is to feed the hell-hound who’s been crashing at my house for the last 4 or 5 years (but who is maddeningly difficult to find when the mortgage payment is due). What should be a crazy-ass, hell-bent, hey-let’s-light-that-candle-in-the-middle-too bachelor lifestyle is instead consumed by ensuring that the dog’s weight doesn’t dip below a level indicating malnourishment (while the veterinarian seems to think that she should trim down to about 60 lbs, we’ve largely* ignored his advice and seemed to have settled on somewhere around 350 lbs as her “ideal” tonnage).

“Wait just a gol-darned minute,” I sense my readers thinking. “Bachelor? Dead Acorn, you’re 45 years old, you’re divorced, and, in all honesty, you’re something of a schlub. I don’t think ‘bachelor’ is really the descriptor to use here.” A fair enough point, to be sure, but let’s just take a look at the definitions we find on the gizoogletubes:

bach•elor (bach′ə lər, bach′lər)
1. a man who has not married

Ok, advantage reader. But let’s search on:

3a: an unmarried man
2: a person who has received what is usually the lowest degree conferred by a 4-year college, university, or professional school ;

Hmm … a bit vague concerning the meaning of “unmarried.” Does unmarried mean “having never married,” or simply "currently not married?” Tough call. We’ll give a ½ point to me, and throw in another ½ point for having “earned” a BS degree at the highly esteemed Idaho State University (while this has nothing directly to do with being married or not, there are certain aspects of the ISU lifestyle that are conducive to not being married. The ½ point stays).

All tied up … hmm, I wonder if there are any other definitions?

3b : a male animal without a mate during breeding time (as a fur seal).

Woah, Nellie! Game, set, and match! This is, admittedly, something of a bittersweet victory ... I was a little surprised that they didn’t have my picture next to that one. Dang.

I am SO giving up self-reflection for the New Year.

* Ha ha!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

'Tis The Season For Something, Alright ...

I had made a commitment to myself to not be so grumpy this holiday season. I’m not sure why I get my panties all in a bunch this time of year in the first place – I’m not religious, but it certainly doesn’t bother me that the Christians usurped the pagan celebration of the sun god Mithra throw a birthday bash on some arbitrary day, nor do I really care that the Jews had some hash oil that was so strong they stayed high for eight days (or something ... my knowledge of theology may be a bit lacking … it might have been me that was wasted for eight days).

Whatever the reasons, I know two things:

1) Part of it has to do with traffic, and
2) I’m not going to meet that commitment this year.

I was working on a little something out in the garage last night (not a euphemism), and my band saw blade broke. This happened, of course, while I had all kinds of guides and jigs set up to make certain cuts, which I had to remove to get the broken blade out, and which I’ll never get set up the same way again, so I’ll basically have to start over. Since, years ago, I made the decision to buy a band saw from Harbor Freight, meaning that it takes some freak-sized blade that only they sell, I had to drive out Fairview avenue in the middle of the afternoon.

The Fairview avenue that has stoplights approximately a mile apart. The Fairview avenue that’s bumper-to-bumper traffic, each driver cheerfully exuding that “piss-on-you-jack-I-got-mine” holiday attitude in between text messages. The Fairview avenue on to which I needed to turn left. THAT Fairview avenue.

The process of turning right, switching lanes, getting into the middle turn lane, pulling into a parking lot, and pulling back out to complete my virtual left turn took approximately 4 ½ days. Hence the failed commitment. I will be grumpy, my heart will not grow three sizes this or any other day, and I will not have the strength of ten Grinches plus two.

Ultimately, of course, I blame the person on whose gift I was working. Oh, I’ll finish it, and give it to them, but I just hope they know that my dog got an extra Kwanzmasakkuhstice beat-down because of them.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Juuuuust A Bit Outside ...

I was asked last night how many days there were until pitchers and catchers reported to spring training. To my great and everlasting embarrassment, I did not know. Thanks to the all-powerful gizooglewebs, however, the information crisis has passed, and we now know that the answer is 72. Cleveland plays their first spring training game on March 5th, so there are only 87 days until the real action starts (by “real action,” of course, I mean Jake Westbrook re-injuring his arm).

Perhaps an even greater baseball-related embarrassment is that while I can’t even buy a date in this town, Bob Uecker has a stalker with a restraining order against her! This guy is a lifetime .200 hitter whose approach to catching a knuckleball was to wait until it stopped moving, then to walk over and pick it up. I know, I know … that’s just the ugly voice of jealousy blogging. The really weird thing, though, is that apparently the woman wasn’t even aware of his major league career until recently – according to the court order, she became obsessed with him over his Emmy-winning role on Mr. Belvedere. I can’t act, I can’t hit the curveball … no wonder he’s got all the crazy hotties wrapped up.

The winter meetings are on, and though no blockbuster transactions have yet been announced (I’m sure the Indians will acquire some minor league utility infielder for 25 lbs. of catfish and a bag of fungo balls), it’s good to have news of baseball to warm my heart during these frigid months.

You know, since Uecker has all the girls.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Leaf Britney Me Alone!

Well, this morning marked the last day of leaf pickup in our glorious City Of Trees (Boise, Idaho, USA, for my sub-Saharan readers). This is a program in which the city will pick up leaves in biodegradable bags (they’ll pick up the bags that you buy and fill … they won’t actually come out and pick up the leaves, though how cool would THAT be? If we didn’t have these damn anti-tax zealots bitching and moaning all the time, I'll bet we could fund that …) during a brief (two weeks or so) window.

Not being the procrastinating type, I began the bagging process last night, rather than put it off until today. I was very self-congratulatory re: my gung-ho-iness, and looked forward to laughing at all the poor saps (sap? Get it? It’s tree-related humor!) out there scrambling at 5:30 am, begging the drivers to wait just another minute as they finished that last pile. I apparently chose a poor route by which to get to work, for alas, I saw no such sight. Dang.

Last year, it took about 20 bags to clear the yard, so I did a quick year-over-year analysis to predict the number of bags I’d need this year:

(# of Trees This Year/# of Trees Last Year) * # of Bags Used Last Year =
Expected # of Bags Required This Year

which resulted in a value of 20.*

I began to question my calculations when I was filling bag number 15, with 2 ½ piles bagged and 4 to go. “Dead Acorn, you idiot!”, you might be thinking. “Trees GROW over time (dead acorns notwithstanding), and will therefore produce more leaves!” I did, in fact, take this into account, but also recognized that I had pruned some of the lower branches last spring, theoretically negating the growth factor. So shut up, Mr. Smarty-Tree.

By the end of the night, I had made 3 additional trips to the store to get more bags, and wound up with 35 curbside and a pile and a half still left in the yard. I can’t think of anything to explain the disparity in leafosity between this and yesteryear, except that the guy across the street, the lazy-ass with the riding mower/leaf raker for a yard smaller than mine, did his leaves suspiciously early this year, and I never saw any bags.

That sunovabitch is going DOWN.

* This is why math is important, kids … stay in school!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Expanding The Lexicon

[UPDATE:] I have one more blog* to add to my blogroll (see below for initial additions) ... I was going to save it for its own special post, as it's deserving of such treatment, but go check out Tall Tales: The Perspective Of A Dragon. These are writers teaching the writers of tomorrow.

Just some odds 'n' ends today:

So I was riding to work this morning, testing out the new lights on my bike (when I tell myself the future will be brighter, goddamn it, I go out and do something to make it happen!), and as I’m riding under the bridges around Main St., I hear some rustling off to the right. I’ll be damned if it wasn’t a huge bull moose standing just on the other side of the handrail! I feel okay saying that, as I’m already damned, but in all honesty, it was just a small deer. Still, it was kinda cool … at first, it looked like she was going to bolt, but then she caught a glimpse of my new lights, and froze like a … like a … wow, I am REALLY bad at analogies.

I believe I’ve coined a new term:

Trifailia (n): The simultaneous breakage of body, mind, and heart.
“I’ve been betting pretty hard lately, and I finally hit the trifailia.”

You throw in a car breaking down and a dog dying, and you’ve hit the Quinoucha.

I’m finally updating my blogroll, over on the right side of the page (no, I don’t feel silly at all referring to my “blogroll” at my advanced age, thankyewverymuch). New additions are:

  • The Bloggess – this woman is nuts. I would be scared to have a beer with her (in Teh Funny).

  • Treasured Valley – a Treasure Valley, Idaho-based website that features daily collections of links about local news, politics, food and drink, and blogs, information about local goings-on, and has increasingly been featuring well-written original content. It’s indispensable to any valleyphile, and will become even more so (yeah, I know, if it's already indispensable, it can't become more so ... shut up ...) (in Local).

  • Bike Snob NYC – wry and well-written insights and observations on the world of cycling, though it’s sort of only about cycling the way The Sandlot is only about baseball (in Teh Funny).

  • Texts From Last Night – just damn funny (in Teh Funny).

  • And sadly, we say goodbye to Cautious Optimism … it’s been defunct for a while now, so I guess it’s time to take the link down. Hopefully, she’s grown less cautious, not less optimistic.

* I have more than one, but don't have the link here. Guitar Man will be here soon.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Time To Get Started

It was the best of Thanksgivings, it was the worst of Thanksgivings.

It was the best because of the good friends, good food, and good times. There were about 10 people or so, 3 big-ass dogs, a deep-fried turkey, corned beef, ham, various strudels and side dishes, and the Live Acorn made apple pie.

It was the worst for reasons probably best not blogged about.

Anyway, I think I’m going to try to be a little more productive with all the time I have. The asbestos linoleum is coming up today, mesothelioma be damned. Maybe I’ll even get to start laying some tile so I can get on to refinishing the floors. I want this house to be nice when it becomes a home.

I’ve got some other projects I need to get going on as well. I may try to figure out what those fucking voices are saying instead of keeping them all liquored up ‘n’ lacquered down. I also need to memorize the tachometer-to-speed conversions for all five gears so that when the speedometer cable snaps this winter, I’ll have some idea of how fast I’m going. There’s one huge-ass project that I really have no idea about how to get done, but I’m gonna give it a shot anyway. There’s no asbestos involved, as far as I know, but I’ll have to dig around and see what I need to do to shore up the foundation.

It’s kind of drizzling outside, and the sky is a dreary grey. Perfect.

I guess I’d better get started.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Don't Get Optimistic Quite Yet

This will probably come as a surprise to most readers, but one of my dirty little secrets is that I occasionally enjoy a frosty cold beer. Of course, I also enjoy the 90 degree Schlitz that I occasionally discover in my golf bag from two years ago, but that’s not really germane to this particular discussion. But “occasionally” in this case means last night.

I went out to watch the much-touted Tennessee Titans/Houston Whatever-Their-Team-Is-Called-Now football game (for my European friends, I mean American football, of course … there is a single game played on Monday nights that is responsible for a considerable lack of productivity Tuesday mornings). Anyway, the local pub was abuzz with talk of power tools and other such more-beer-prompting topics, and I ended up having thousands more than I should have.

I, of course, did the responsible thing and didn’t show up to work hammered, instead opting to sleep in for an extra hour or so, so that my head would be clear, my wits sharp, and my unbridled lust for my career … umm, unbridled, I guess. I happen to work for a government agency (I won’t say for what government, or for what agency, as my blog-psuedonymity is of the utmost importance to me, and, dare I say, the security of the nation). Unfortunately, the fact that today was our quarterly all-staff meeting had slipped my mind, so when I rolled in 10 minutes late, a bit concerned that my coworkers might become somewhat inebriated by simple proximity to me, I secured a wall in the back of the room to lean against, away from prying eyes and oversensitive noses.

That's where things went south.

One of the segments of the meeting is announcing various awards, such as 5, 10, and 15 year employees, Employee of the Quarter, things like that.

“… and I’m pleased to announce that the Employee of the Quarter is …” says the Director …

At that point, I was debating whether to have more coffee, pop some more Everlasting Gobstoppers, or go to the bathroom and throw up.

“… The Dead Acorn!”

I’ve never said a more disheartened “Aww, crap …” to myself in my life.

I had to go up and get some certificate thingy and a gift card, so I took a deep breath and held it the entire time, determined to not breathe on anyone. I still have a job, so I guess it worked. For now.

This country, as we all know, is suffering through some difficult times. Some recent events, however, might lead some to believe that we’re in a process of recovery, and that we’ve seen the worst and put it behind us. I guess my purpose in relating this little story is to let you know that if we're still in a time in which I can be a governmental Employee of the Quarter, we are still fucked.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

My Hero, Zero

Life seems to be pretty much a zero-sum game. Obviously, in the grand scheme, you’re born, and you die. That’s about as zero-summy as you can get. But even on a smaller scale, there often seems to be a “good thing happening/bad thing happening” coupling that occurs outside the likelihood predicted by chance (referred to within the scientific community as the “2-GL phenomenon” for the oft-encountered “get-laid-get-lice” co-occurrence).

Lest my karmaphilic readers become all up in arms about how bad things happen because of bad deeds perpetrated, let me state that I’m referring to NKEs (Non Karmic Events). I don’t really have a stance on karma, though I sort of hope it’s a myth, as I’ve done far more bad than good in this world, particularly as of late, and I’m due for a karmic ass-whoopin’ any time now if it’s not. If you deny the existence of NKEs, well, you can just head back over to

As an example, I recently bought a new sled, and had to get the proper Q-Clips for the roof racks. (For those of you who own box vans, and therefore transport bikes/skis/rotting corpses of dead hookers inside your vehicles, Q-Clips are a car-specific attachment for the Yakima Q-Tower rack system.) The Yakima rack system is not cheap, and a set of 4 Q-Clips is generally about $70. As it turns out, the Q-Clips for a 1992 Suzuki Sidekick are no longer made (this may or may not be a karmic event). Without them, I would be looking at the Yakima “Landing Pad” system, which would be upwards of $300. (I don’t know the cost of a Thule system, as Thule racks are for squares … the only other acceptable rack system is a set of 40-year-old Barrecrafters.)

Though it's clearly a bit late to make a long story short, I fortuitously found what must be the last 4 appropriate Q-Clips in existence on eBay, and was able to purchase them for a mere $30. At least that was the financial cost … as anyone even remotely familiar with 2-GL would predict, something bad was bound to happen. Sure enough, with days of receiving the goods, the People Of Walmart website was blocked at work. A high price to pay, to be sure ... go take a look, if you don't work for some oppressive government agency. I think if I had a chance to change things, I’d even buy a set of Thules.

A zero-sum game indeed. As the Beatles so eloquently put it in an early draft of their final verse:

And in the end,
The racks with which you carry the boards on which you ski …
Are equal* to
The number of white-trash fat people in tiger striped lycra pants you see …

* It has long been theorized that by "equal," Lennon meant "perfectly and inversely correlated." George Harrison's influence is responsible for the far more karmic and infinitely more gag-inducing version that made the album.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Out With The Old, In With The New Less Old

Jane F’Honda is dead, and I’m glad.

It’s clear to me now what she was, but as in all relationships, one’s viewpoint is not always as objective as one might think. In retrospect, it seems so clear … I mean, I had such a long and beautiful relationship with the Grey Ghost. We spent upwards of 10 glorious years together, through frigid winters and brutally hot summers, across mountains and desert, with only the occasional lover’s quarrel. Even then, the drives after we’d gotten her fixed back up were always extra special. She saw me through a number of girlfriends, with nary a sign of jealousy (save that mysterious “leak” on Veronica McAllister’s driveway, and she turned out to be something of a bitch, anyway).

All things must come to an end, though, and eventually she up and left me. I drank a toast purchased with the $50 check from the junkyard, and I’d be hard-pressed to recall a more bittersweet moment than that last Bud Light we shared together (even though she was miles away, and presumably a 2'x2'x2' block of crushed steel by that time).

I handled our parting the way many do … I went out on the internet and found a cheap whore. “$500 OBO,” the ad read. My god, I don’t know what I was thinking. It hadn’t even been a week, and I was looking lustily at anything that moved. And there was Jane F’Honda, all old ‘n’ smokin’, with her come-hither valve tapping and her half-exposed timing belt. I know now that I was subconsciously longing for the Ghost – I mean, really … another mid 80s wagon from Japan? Gosh, what a coincidence!

Friend of Dead Acorn: Hey, Dead Acorn – your new girlfriend seems nice.

Dead Acorn: Thanks!

FODA: You, uh, don’t think she looks a bit like Darla, do you?

DA: Darla’s gone, okay? I don’t know what you’re talking about. This one has slightly greener eyes, and her name’s Marla, and she’s like two months younger, so they’re not even close to the same.

FODA: Whatever, dude. I’m happy you’re happy.

(3 months later)

DA: Hey … how come you never said anything about Marla being just a cheap substitute for Darla?

FODA: Dude, you were in love. Or drunk. Or something. You needed to figure it out by yourself.

DA: You’re a good friend, FODA.

Anyway, it’s over, she’s dead, and I’m glad. For some sick reason, she’s still hanging out in my driveway, where I look at her with alternating scorn and pity, but as soon as I pull that stereo, she’s gone.

So I had my rebound fling, which I guess was necessary as part of the healing process, but now I’m really in love again. A 1992 Suzuki Sidekick* JX … what a sweet-ass ride. Not really like the Ghost at all – she’s boxier and higher off the ground, like an SUV (but with good gas mileage), and there’s not as much room behind the seats as a station wagon. Still, though, I’ll be able put the Yakimas up top to carry stuff.

Taller, smaller rear end, same spectacular rack. Oh HELLZ yeah.

Not everything’s perfect, of course. The Zukester (you didn’t think I was going to call her Suzy, did you?) is the first car I’ve owned made after the 1980s, so I feel as though I’ve lost a bit of my youth. Plus, my long-time dream of dating someone younger than my car has just gone from “laughably improbable” to “felonious.” But all in all, I know these cars are good, because an ex-girlfriend of mine had one just like it. Same year, same color, same …

Aw, crap ...

* I've always wanted a Sidekick. Now I kind of feel like a superhero:
"Gee, Bob, we've got all this beer to drink! I don't think we can do it!" "Don't worry, Fred, here comes The Dead Acorn, and his trusty sidekick, Zukester!"

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Razor's Edge

I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about growing old. I don’t mean that in the “wow, it’s gonna suck getting old” sense, because I AM old (given my familial history, I should be having a ¾ life crisis right now). It could be that worrying about growing old is based on some sort of unfavorable internal comparison between your distant past and your present (or perceived future). I don’t think that’s the reason why I don’t worry too much, though, as my memory has long been shot to hell - I really have no past on which to base judgments. Maybe it’s just that I’m having a pretty good time right now and don’t have time to think about it.

That said, however, there are certain things associated with being younger that happen less and less as the years go by, and I must admit to appreciating them more and more when they do as time marches on. Getting carded for beer at 45 years of age should bring a smile to anyone’s face. Imagine my delight, then, when I was reprimanded at work today for my shoddy personal appearance!

That hasn’t happened in at least 10 years. I’m not counting the ever-present comment on my reviews that lists stores that sell combs (subtle!) … I’m talking about a “come in, close the door” discussion. The last time it happened had something to do with red Chuck Taylors not “projecting professionalism” to customers. (Yeah, whatever, boss … neither does your FAT ASS!) The current concern seemed to be spurred by facial hair and my lack of attention to its growth (I’m pretty sure I have a gender-based discrimination case here, if any lawyer types are looking for a project). In any case, I had coincidentally decided to shave this morning (and it was only about 3 or 4 days’ growth, fergawdsake), so at least I’m spared the appearance of having buckled under to the demands of The Man. (I do, however, now have an internal conflict between my work life (boss telling me to use a razor) and my personal life (friends and family not allowing me to have sharp objects). Maybe I’ll call EAP with that.)

You can bet your sweet bippy, though, that my next pair of Chucks will be red.

Above: Also persecuted for wearing facial hair, or something like that.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Another Seedy Post

As I was traipsing through the grocery store the other day (I was shopping without a list, as I am wont to do, so I made a conscious effort to traipse, rather than meander, as that would be shopping listlessly, rather than merely shopping without a list), I came upon a stand in the produce aisle that made my heart soar and my mouth water. At last, at long, long last, the pomegranates were here.

While others spend late summer in anticipation of the turning of the leaves, I spend most of my waking hours yearning for the arrival of my beloved pomegranates. I cannot relate the happenings of my sleeping hours, as more sensitive readers would surely turn as red as the sweet, sweet fruit around which my dreams revolve. Such was my joy at my discovery in the store that I couldn’t help but cry out “O Pomegranates! At long last, you are finally here, even as I felt I could survive no longer without you!” and embrace the startled woman standing nearby. Fortunately, her initial shock turned rather quickly to amusement (unlike the burly guy on whom I planted a kiss, and who apparently does not share my passion for pomegranates).

Pomegranates are not for the lazy. They require a bit of work before they'll surrender their succulent seeds, but the reward is well worth it (much like, after pestering Cyndy Lou Wannamaker for a year and a half in high school, finally getting to hear her siren voice utter the words “Jesus Christ … if I go out with you once, will you promise to leave me the fuck alone FOREVER?”). Further, it is of great import that one not wear white during pomegranatercourse, for though god’s forgiveness may cleanse your blood-stained hands, he’s pretty much useless when it comes to pomegranate stains. If you’re wearing white after Labor Day, however, you are not of the social standing to be eating pomegranates, anyway. It’s sort of like eating guacamole after Arbor Day.

Speaking of days, I have no problem with certain things having celebratory days designated for them. Things like "Talking Like A Pirate" and Being A Veteran are, of course, in this category. For other things, however, a day just won’t do, and I’ll take this opportunity to remind my readers that November is National Pomegranate Month.

I must admit to some apprehension concerning pomegranates. They are native to Iran, with whom our relationship is currently tenuous at best; the Spanish word for them is Grenada, who we invaded (sure, it was during finals so all their soldiers were taking tests, but still … U-S-A! U-S-A! WOOOOO!); and the French word for them is, ironically, grenade. It sure seems that anywhere there are pomegranates, there’s blood. I don’t think that was an apple, Eve.

I dunno … I guess if biting into a pomegranate means losing my innocence and being banished from paradise, well, so be it. Losing my innocence after getting Cyndy Lou Wannamaker hammered on vodka pomegranatinis wasn’t such a bad deal, in retrospect.

Above: What better way to get drunk and seedy?

[Update:] Faithful Reader HRC recalls that, after the Waco debacle, President Clinton tried to lift the spirits of Attorney General Reno by playfully singing "Don't go cry to your mama, Janet ... just have yourself a pomegranate!"

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sure, It's Awful Poetry, But At Least It's Short ...

Ascend the ladder! Our lifelong task
though far more oft, I cede the rungs

For with the dawn I join the flask
and ‘fore the noon I speak in tongues.

Words rhyme?


About drinking?


Suck it, Keats!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Boise Is Not A State ... That Makes No Sense

I don’t usually post too much about sports, what with my lack of knowledge rivaling the vacuum of deep space and all. Boise being a “college” “football” “town”, however, it’s difficult to escape the senseless rantings of the fans of the local eleven. Yesterday’s game against the University of Tulsa (home of supergroup Hanson) was really a win for everybody … the local worshippers get to maintain their hopes of an undefeated season and possible BCS Bowl bid, and for the rest of us, the certifiable loons who insist that BSU should have a shot at Florida (or the Insane Clown Posse, as I like to refer to those poor deluded souls) might actually shut the hell up after the somewhat pedestrian performance.

Also looming on the horizon is the matchup between Boise State (fan motto: “No, this jersey isn’t brand new. I’ve had it for like, you know, five years or so. You know, ever since they started winning …”) and the University of Idaho (fan motto: “we produce lawyers to move to Boise and run the state from a distance so fuck you hahahaha …”), who are a somewhat surprising 5-1. Should be a good game.

Having said that, we need to address the Tyrannosaurus Rex in the room, which is the issue of Strength Of Schedule (SOS). It goes without saying that any college team could beat, oh, say, The Helen Keller Institute For Sensory Deprived Quadriplegics. Having established that SOS is the only real measure of a football team’s greatness, let’s now take a look at the state’s three big football programs, as measured by winning percentage of opponents:

Boise State University: 44% (Opponent's record: 15-19)
University of Idaho: 45% (Opponent's record: 15-18)
Idaho State University: 65% (Opponent's record: 22-12)

I think we can all see who the real team in this state is. Now shut your pie holes.

[UPDATE:] In another bold scheduling move, Idaho State has lined up the University of Georgia Bulldogs for the 2010 season. Based on the 2009 schedule, which had ISU playing Oklahoma and BSU playing Tulsa Toddler’s Preschool University of Tulsa, I fully expect the Broncos to announce their big matchup with Atlanta's Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts any time now.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

What Is This, Some Kind Of Emo Blog?

I have a bad habit of looking at a beautiful sky every once in a while and … I don’t know … noticing a cloud that doesn’t exist. It never lasts too long, and I kind of kick myself for forgetting that I’m about the luckiest man on the planet.

So as I sit here and type this in my red and yellow Sugar Daddy jammies, waiting for my pizza to cool and listening to Tom Waits sing “Young At Heart,” my wish is that everyone could be as lucky as me, and that everyone takes a minute to acknowledge the beautiful things in their lives.

Above: Good side of the sexiest guy whose name is on the water bill for this particular address. Now THOSE are some damn jammies. Shakira who now?

I don't know if there's writer's block for people who aren't writers. Maybe I'll try to find out some day.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I'm Being Stalked By A Stripper, But Not That Kind ...

I’m not sure what I’ve done to deserve the ire of Stephan Pastis, but his attacks seem to be continuing. If you’ll recall, he belittled me personally in his comic strip Pearls Before Swine*, alleging that those who choose to exercise their first amendment rights via bumper stickers are “whack jobs.” I don’t know why he hates America.

Well, as my legions of readers know, the Grey Ghost is no more, so yeah, Pastis, I’m sure you’re happy that this constitution-loving whack-job’s vehicle is off the road. But apparently that’s not enough for you, is it? Hmm?

It’s quite obvious that he’s an on-line stalker … how else would he know about Jane F’Honda and my legendary ineptitude in matters of amore? In any case, today’s strip leaves no doubt whatsoever that I am the object of some sort of sick obsession:

Above: Introduction of an acorn character would be only slightly less subtle.

Even more disturbing is his knowledge of my fondness for sudoku. I don’t believe I’ve mentioned it here, which can only mean that he’s tracked me down at the local pub, where I’ll occasionally screw one up within minutes ponder over one, or even scarier, that he knows where I live and that I enjoy spending my weekend mornings with mimosas and the Statesman puzzles. Creepy.

Get help, Pastis. Seriously.

* As always, I would ask that you contact your local paper if they don’t run Pearls Before Swine, and ask them to start. The Statesman runs it through the week, but not on Sundays, so give some thought to an email requesting it. Best strip going … if you doubt it, check out the brilliance here.

Monday, October 5, 2009

A Little Trip To Heaven

Well, I've had another successful jaunt across the state to Pocatello. By “successful,” of course, when referring to jaunts to Pocatello, I mean “non-lethal.” There was very little law enforcement involved, which is somewhat surprising, but welcome nevertheless. The person with whom I went had never done spent time there, and the fact that it was Idaho State’s Homecoming was a bit frightening. I feel somewhat bad, because taking someone to Pocatello is like introducing them to meth … it might be fun while it’s happening, but ultimately, no good can come of it. But I did get to visit with a few people I hadn’t seen in a long time, and got to partake of the Office Bar's delightful breakfast fare, so no regrets. Quote of the trip: “The first puke in the morning wasn’t too bad … it was just water and Twizzlers. The second one was worse … that Bloody Mary was pretty spicy.”

I did discover on the way back that I had left the oil cap off when I checked it before leaving Boise. I’m pretty sure ole Jane F’Honda ran dry for a bit. It started up this morning, though, and I’ve got a new PN 710 on there, so maybe it’s just already as damaged as it’s ever going to get.

In other news, the regular season wrapped up yesterday, with Cleveland finishing tied with Kansas City:

Above: Middle of the pack is for CHUMPS.

I haven’t read of when the tie-breaker is scheduled yet. This is a little odd, because there’s no scheduling conflict with a football game, as there is in Minnesota, where the other tie-breaker is being played. Odd indeed.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

And Wagons, HO!

Well, I'm taking down my poll. Truth be told, I'm not happy with the polling capacity of Blogger overall ... as far as I can figure out, you can only put a poll on the whole blog (and make it appear at the top or bottom), and not be part of of individual post. Oh well. You get what you pay for.

The poll I posted, however, seemed to have some unintended consequences. It is gone. I'm not a big fan of pulling stuff that I've put on this blog, but this does seem to have something to do with the rest of my life. So I will say:

1) I regularly drive by the property in question, I have for years, and have thought that was goofy shit from day 1.

2) I researched (though admittedly my research involved the testimony of a single person, but whom I trust without question) the original ownership of the entire property, and nothing in my post was based on later individual development of any particular dwelling. The original title of my post used the word "planned" specifically for this reason.

3) To anyone who may have used my post to fan any flames: Fuck you. Seriously.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Dead Acorn Has The Floor

I made a little more progress yesterday on my never ending kitchen project (though if a timeline is infinite, how does one categorize activity as “progress?” Sure, something has gotten done that wasn’t done the day before, but who’s to say the final goal hasn’t surreptitiously moved even farther out, so that the net result, in terms of percent of project completed, isn’t actually a step backwards?).

In any case, I bought ceramic tile for the floor. During one of my brief, though numerous, daily on-line shopping trips through the aisles of Craigslist a couple of days ago, I stumbled upon an ad for 400 sq. feet of the stuff, for a shockingly low $.50 a tile! “Holy CARP!” I said to myself, taking a moment to chuckle at my verbal dylsexia. “I’d be a fool to sit here talking to myself about my good fortune rather than calling the phone number shown on the monitor! A DAMN fool, in fact!” So I called up, asked if I could take one piece just to make sure the color was okay (though at that price, it would pretty much have to be neon green with the NY Yankees logo etched in it to not be okay), called back that evening, and sealed the deal.

So yesterday, I drove Jane F’Honda (my new/used car, an ’85 Honda Civic, that is, like her namesake, old and smokin’) up the bench to pick the rest of it up. The seller was a woman about 5’4”, maybe 100 lbs., who looked at my ride with a sad shake of her head, climbed into her giant-ass diesel Ford 950 (or something) to move it, and told me to back into the garage to load ‘er up. That tile is dang heavy, and I figured out pretty quickly that it was going to take two trips. The loading got done pretty quickly, though, what with me lifting one and then taking a break while she carried four at once.

She also had a saddle in the garage. I’m not quite sure that that’s relevant, but somehow it seemed important, so I’ve included it here.

I guess I’ve got my weekend project now … ripping out the old floor. That seems like a fairly straightforward task, and shouldn’t take more than an hour, right? And while I haven’t actually done any tiling before, I have read several websites that have had conflicting information, so I’m pretty sure that whatever I end up doing, I’ll be able to put it up here as a “DIY How-To” post, and someone will take it as sound advice.

Finally, if there’s any question about why the hell I feel that this vacuous rambling is deserving of a post in the first place … the anti-inflammatory/muscle relaxant combo that I take for my aching back (after doing something like unloading two thousand lbs of tile) makes me a little loopy until at least noon the next day.

Seriously ... I’m wasted.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Maybe If They Called Themselves The BenGUYS Instead Of The BenGALS ...

Overheard on the line of scrimmage during the Idaho State-Oklahoma football game last Saturday:

345 lb Ok. lineman: “We’re gonna fucking crush you. Fuck your Fiesta Bowl.”

238 lb ISU lineman: “Uh, dude, that wasn’t us. That was Boise State. We're Idaho State.”

OK lineman: “I’m gonna shove your fucking face into the turf so you can see what color grass is supposed to be!”

ISU lineman: “Seriously, dude, that’s Boise State … that’s not us.”

ISU lineman (to the teammate next to him): “Is this guy serious? Are they that stupid?”

(ball snaps)

ISU lineman (suddenly 3 yards back from where he was): “Unnnngggh … holy crap.”

OK lineman: “Reparations, blue boy!”

ISU lineman:DUDE! THAT! WASN’T! US! Look! Our uniforms are ORANGE! Plus, I don’t think ‘reparations’ means what you think it means. Maybe ‘Vengeance is OURS!’ or, if you want to go less biblical and more street-cred-y, ‘Payback, BEYOTCHES!’ would work better in this context.

OK lineman: “You know, I think you’re right. I should know that, too, as I just finished a term paper on the potential repercussions of acknowledgement by the Turks of the Armenian Genocide of 1915. I hope I didn’t tarnish the game by allowing such a lapse in lexical judgement. It’s just that I’m distracted by the fact that you used all those trick plays to beat us.”

ISU lineman (to himself): “Sweet Jeebus, I’ve never missed Pocatello more.”

ISU lineman (to OK lineman): “Wait’ll you see the Globe Of Death.”

In the end, bad officiating (ISU lost all five official reviews in the first half … home cookin’ much?) allowed the Sooners to squeak by, 64-0. The true essence of the game, however, is symbolized by Oklahoma’s inability to penetrate the Bengals’ defense on the opening drive, where they failed to score on 1st-and-one at the goal line. Moral victory, baby.

Moral victory.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Them Propane Tanks Ain't Gonna Blow ThemSELVES Up!

I’ve been something of a camping wuss this year. A (hypothetical) reader could replace the phrase “this year” with “this life” and not really diminish the veracity of that statement. In fact, one could delete both “camping” and “this year” and still have a generally accurate statement about me. Wholesale lifelong wussiness notwithstanding, however, if we focus solely on camping and consider a shorter term comparison (i.e., 2009 vs. 2008), then this year, indeed, has been one of relative wussocity.

One time? That’s all I could muster up? Why, I might as well turn in my L.L. Bean card! It certainly appears that my spring purchase of six cases of bear repellant, while admirably optimistic, may have been made in haste. Not to worry, though … that stuff can provide hours of entertainment at holiday parties:

Smokin' hot 6'2" slightly tipsy blonde: Hey Dead Acoooooorrrrrnnnn ... look who's under the mistletoe ... (erotically running her tongue across her upper teeth and growling seductively)

Dead Acorn (leaning in ever-so-slowly with just a hint of a suggestive half-smile, then blasting her in the face with bear spray moments before the impending kiss): HAHAHA WOO MERRY CHRISTMAS!! HAHA!

SH62STB (running blindly around the room smashing into walls): AAAGGHHH!!! IT BURNS!!! AAAAAUUUUGGGGHHHH!!!

I guess there’s a bit of time left before the more valid excuse of “Are you out of your fucking mind? It’s fucking FREEZING!” replaces mere wussitude as my primary reason for not heading into the woods. Maybe explicitly stating the goal of going camping on Oct. 2nd will light a fire under my ass to actually go, well, light a fire next to my ass (I have a process by which I determine my minimum allowed proximity to a fire based in large part on number of beers consumed. The actual formula is a bit beyond the scope of this post, but suffice it to say that I haven’t caught fire in some time). On the other hand, to think of posting said goal on this blog as “explicitly stating” it seems to fall into that realm of the “tree falling in the forest with no one to hear it” philosophical thingy. (By the way, the answer is "yes." Yes, it does make a sound, since sound is merely a vibration propagating through some medium. There’s no perception of that sound if there’s no one there to hear it. It’s kind of a stupid question. Damn philosophers.)

We’ll see what happens. Maybe I’ll even take the hell-hound, though I’ll probably get busted for hunting without a license when she brings down a wolf (I'm sure there's another charge for the more likely scenario in which she befriends one and insists that we bring it home so that she can have a playmate). If I end up not going, though, I’m getting a label maker and changing all my propane equipment from Coleman to Colewuss.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Just Take A Fall, Kid ...

Ah, sweet Autumn, and the joys it brings. The uncertainty as to how cold it can get before one's new used car won’t start. The very real and horrific possibility of a goddamned Yankees/goddamned Dodgers World Series. The now pre-dawn ride to work combined with the awareness that the greenbelt will soon be covered with slick, wet, fallen leaves, upon which a front tire will slide sideways as smoothly as an egg on Teflon*, leaving one whimpering in pain on the cold, hard asphalt, bleeding and aching in the dark; alone, so very alone …

Boy, some people just ain’t happy ‘less they’re bitchin’ …

* This has been another installment in my long-running series, "World's Worst Analogies."

Friday, September 4, 2009

In It To Win It

I had a chance to speak with U.S. Rep. Walt Minnick (R D, ID-1) a couple of weeks ago at a house-party fundraiser. While it was a relatively small group and an informal atmosphere, I knew that I wouldn’t have much time to converse, so I weighed my options with regard to topics carefully. The viability of wind turbines in Idaho? Nah, that’s more of a 2nd District issue. Construction of a new nuclear plant in SW Idaho? Nope … I occasionally lean toward the “nucular” after a beer or two, and, well, this wasn’t exactly a dry fundraiser.

“Hey!” I said to myself. “What about this whole ‘health care reform’ thingy? Seems like I’ve seen something on the news about that!”

At this point, the goings on were in the back yard, and I was in the front yard talking to the EMDAMOTLA and another friend who happens to be doing a bit of work for Minnick. Well, he came walking out front, chatting amicably with some folks, and I asked if he had a moment for a question. I’m telling you, Marion Jones had NOTHING on the speed at which those two sprinted to the backyard.

Anyway, the conversation went something like this*:

Dead Acorn: I was wondering if you could explain your opposition to a public option for health insurance, when it would provide some much needed competition to the private health care industry, which, by its very profit-driven nature, finds it advantageous to deny as many claims as possible?

Walt Minnick: (obviously noting that I was wearing cycling cleats and standing a few feet away from my bike) Well, it’s something like a bike shop, where there is healthy competition between private businesses …

At this point, my thoughts were “What the FUCK? Am I talking to Pat Paulson here, with his 'two cows' theories?"**

DA: I find that a bit insulting and condescending for you to compare the health care industry to a bike shop. I agree that it’s great that when I need a new tire I can shop around. But health care is something that deals in large part with extremely low probability, yet extremely catastrophic incidents. This is exactly the type of thing that should be treated as a society. Plus, in many, if not most, areas, the health insurance industry is essentially monopolistic.

Walt Minnick: Well, I disagree with that …

At this point, his aide/driver/handler had, with remarkable deftness, even for a young healthy-looking guy, approached and informed me that the Congressman needed to leave.

I did ask Minnick about where he stood on portability, denial based on preexisting conditions, and recission, and he did answer favorably, to his credit. (“Favorably” in this case means you’re not a total dick and want to deny someone cancer treatment because they went to a dermatologist for acne once and didn’t report it.)

His a/d/h took my email address and told me that he’d send me a message explaining Minnick’s stance. I haven’t received anything, so I guess that makes him … disingenuous. Yeah, I’ll go with disingenuous.

To the point:

It is with a “meh – no one else is going to step up” attitude great pleasure that I announce my candidacy for the Democratic Party Nomination for the U.S. House of Representatives (ID-1).

There is the obvious issue that I don’t actually live in District 1, but I think I’ve heard that that is not actually a requirement in Idaho. If it is, I may to crash on someone’s couch on the west side of Boise for a bit. In any case, I’ll need someone with election law experience on the campaign. I’ll also certainly need additional attorneys as well, including at least one trial-experienced defense attorney. And if someone knows about all the rules for getting on the ballot, let me know in comments. Do I have to legally change my name to get The Dead Acorn on the ballot, like Pro Life did? The Dead Acorn isn’t really a political statement, so maybe it’ll fly. Also, I should probably actually register as a Democrat.

On the issues:

Fiscal/Budget: I believe in Fiscally Appropriate and Responsible Taxation and Spending. Yes, I’ll be running on FARTS. Minnick, like all others who preach that “when you personally are low on money, you stop spending, right?”, does not understand macroeconomics. Neither do I, but I do know that there’s a difference between that and the microeconomics that affect our day-to-day lives. I will not say “I will not raise taxes,” because I want to see the marginal tax rate bumped back up to the levels of the 1950s, that wonderful time to which conservatives yearn to return. Oh, I’ll take ‘em back, alright. 70% on anything over 10 million, minimum. Plus, I’ll try to explain what “marginal tax rate” means, and why a progressive income tax is a good and moral thing.

Health Care: Single payer, bitches. I will never say that The United States Has The Best Health Care System In The World until it does. I look forward to the debates, during which I will get to say “ummm … by what metrics, Walt?”

Environment: I kind of dig the environment. Well, I occasionally dig the environment in front of my house to get rid of weeds (okay, rarely). But I like having a coolo place like Idaho to hunt/fish/camp/bike and all that. That’s fairly non-controversial, I imagine. But no gold-mining up above the Boise River, ‘kay? I would also like to encourage people to do stupid things that could lead to bodily harm to express their views:

Above: Obviously over-served at Alive After Five. Thanks to The Beanery for having a spare sheet of blank paper and some tape.

Let’s see, what else?

Oh yeah … beer in all the drinking fountains!

* Subject matter is pretty accurate, but this ain't no transcript. I'm pretty sure I used the words "condescending", "insulting", and "catastrophic", though. Without slurring.

** If you get this reference, you're too old to be reading this stupid blog. You should be out enjoying the twilight of your life.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Audacity Of Hope ... lessness

As the college football season rapidly approaches, stress is mounting and nerves are wearing thin, for we are on the verge of potentially the greatest season in Idaho sports history.

I speak, of course, of the one team in the state that has the cajones to schedule a top 5 opponent – our beloved Idaho State Bengals. While regrettably following the recent trend of lining up a “cupcake game” to open the season (ISU travels to Tempe to embarrass the hapless Arizona State Sun Devils on Sept. 5th), they’ll take their 1-0 record to Norman the following week to face perennial powerhouse Oklahoma, with their defending Heisman Trophy winner, Sam Bradford.

To their credit, Oklahoma seems to realize the unavoidability of their own “Appalachian State” game, and has at least made plans to maximize their financial benefit by rescheduling the game for prime time and airing it via pay-per-view. That type of insight is somewhat unexpected, given that they scheduled their opener, against a team from Utah (BYU) … in Texas. I guess that’s what happens when a team whose mascot is an historical reference to cheaters makes plans with a bunch of mormons.

It should be an exciting season. I guarantee you that the controversy in years past concerning non-BCS teams and their Bowl opportunities will seem like Sunday afternoon tea once a I-AA an FCS team decides to crash the party.

A ferocious Bengal tiger against a no-good, gun-jumpin', cheatin’, land-stealin’ homesteader? It is to laugh.

Above: The perfect killing machine.

Above: Sweet Jesus, dude, at least try to salvage a little dignity.

[UPDATE] Just to preemptively stave off any readers who are deluded enough to come here and make absurd claims about any other football team in Idaho, I would suggest that they go research which team has most recently won a National Championship. Don't challenge me on sports, people. Seriously.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Remain Calm! All Is Well!

Outside of a post about a Boise Hawks game, I haven’t really written anything about baseball this season. It’s not that I think there’s not a direct correlation between actions on my part and that of the performance of the Cleveland Indians, it’s just that I have been entertaining the notion that it’s an inverse relationship; that is, writing about them sort of jinxes them, much like blurting out “hey, look, Dead Acorn, your boy’s got a no-hitter going in the 7th!”

Clearly, I’m mistaken, and the reason for last season’s dismal performance was that I wasn’t writing enough. So, to that end, I’ve done a little analysis on what it will take to get the Tribe into the first World Series actually scheduled for November (thanks, WBC and Bud Selig, you jackasses):

First, let’s address their divisional rivals (as is perennially true, we can simply ignore the Kansas City Royals). Cleveland has 6 games remaining against both Detroit and Minnesota, and 3 against Chicago. It think it’s safe to say that we can expect records of 5-1, 5-1, and 2-1, respectively. Nothing controversial there.

That leaves the following number of games:

Cleveland: 24
Detroit: 33
Minnesota: 32
Chicago: 35

None of these teams are atrocious, of course, so let’s assume they’ll play at least .500 ball in those games. My projected records are Cleveland (18-6), Detroit (17-16), Minnesota (21-11), and Chicago (19-16). This will leave us with final standings of:

Cleveland 84-78
Detroit 83-79
Minnesota 83-79
Chicago 83-79

On to the post season!

Plenty of fans might look at a record of 54-69 on August 24th and be a bit pessimistic. With a little rational and reasonable analysis, however, it’s quite evident that the wigwammers will NOT be denied. Ah, the soothing power of data.

Go Tribe!

Above: Totally non-racist stereotypical mascot.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Favre-y Fairy Tale

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful Southern Belle named Bridgette. She was originally raised in a rundown swamp by a woman named Mrs. Ippi, but grew graceful and lovely over time, and eventually had her debutante ball in the big city of Atlantis, which was, of course, the social center of the Old South. After a short while, however, she was courted by a kindly Northern gentleman named Wes Consin, who wooed her with sweet promises and whisked her off to a village in an exciting land that she had never heard of before … a land unlike anything she had ever seen! A land of cold harsh winters and icy hard ground. Bridgette was very excited.

Oh, how she loved Wes, and oh, how Wes loved her. It was truly a match made in heaven. Every Sunday, they would go dancing together, and Bridgette never missed a waltz. Sometimes there were grand post-harvest balls in which couples from the various village consortiums would compete against each other, and Wes and Bridgette got to dance for their consortium many, many times. They even won the Grand Prize once, and were King & Queen of all the land!

But no fairy tale is without its dark side, and not even something so beautiful as the romance between Wes and Bridgette could last forever. Wes still loved her madly, and some say it was the Village Elders (who controlled the coffers) that secretly felt that, even though she was still one of the most wonderful dancers in the world, her beauty was starting to wane. Others blamed Bridgette herself, claiming that she had grown self-centered and demanding. But whatever the reasons, Bridgette, at long last and with fond memories, felt she had to leave the village.

Though somewhat saddened at bidding her past farewell, she was almost giddy with excitement about the adventure that lay before her. It was obvious that she was very confused, for while the color of the ball gown in which she danced remained the same, she traveled to the biggest town she could find – far distant, in every way, from the charming village she had left behind.

Bridgette danced recklessly there – they didn’t use the same steps, and she often became confused. In fact, as often as her feet would touch down lightly and elegantly, drawing gasps of awe from onlookers, she would clumsily end up dancing with gentlemen from other towns! After just a short while in the chaotic environment of the bustling metropolis, Bridgette decided that she no longer had the desire to dance.

Soon, though, she became restless, and knew that she could not continue to deny her passion. She secretly longed to go home to the small village and be with Wes, but knew it could never be. Something she didn’t know, however, was that the big city had changed her. She had grown spiteful and hateful, and deep inside, sought to exact a harsh revenge on the Village Elders by whom she felt betrayed.

She moved back to a different village in the same consortium, just down the road from Wes’ castle. The two villages were bitter rivals, and held two competitive dance festivals each year, with much pride being taken by the victor. Bridgette felt that defeating Wes’ village would be the sweetest revenge of all, but alas, Wes was even more bitter for being spurned, and felt that Bridgette's return was a proverbial slap to his face. At both events, Wes and his new partner Erin tripped the light fantastic with such passion - nay, fury - that Bridgette became very addled and disoriented, and fell to the floor many, many times.

Epilogue: Though Wes had regained his pride, and happiness and joy were rampant in all corners of his village for many months, he knew that the glorious merriment would someday cease. And in the end, though he and Erin danced valiantly in the post-harvest festival, they eventually lost ...

To a troupe of dancing Bears, of all things!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Dog Days Of August

Boise seems to have a lot of bank robberies. It's been a couple of months since I've read of one, but generally, there seem to be three or four a year. It always gives me a little chuckle ... I mean, really, a bank robbery? Who does that? I'm not a big fan of crime, of course, unless I'm absolutely positive I can get away with it, but there just seems to be something romantic about knocking over the local Washington Mutual.

I'm pretty sure I don't actually know any bank robbers ... well, I was pretty sure until today. I got home and walked into the house to say hi to the beast who will occasionally stop biting me in order to let me feed her, and here's what greets me:

Above: Potentially unidentifiable bank robber.

I was all "like, seriously, dude? You can't even write to make a stickup note, and your vocabulary is fairly limited as well. By the time the teller figured out what you meant by 'Ron't rit re ralarm!' the cops would have taken you out."

This is a dog who's too stupid to eat a treat when it's right in front of her eyes.

Above: Just ... just ... not smart.

Sometimes I don't know why I even try.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Of Cars And Dogs And Sealing Wax

One of the sites that I've got linked over on the side is McSweeney's, which is a mother lode of good writing, the reading of which is considered de rigueur if you're going to hang with the pretentious literary crowd. (I don't hang with the pretentious literary crowd, by the way, I just like reading shit that's funny and well-written.) One of the regular features is "A Convergence of Convergences: A Contest"
, which is described thusly:
Submit your own convergence −an unlikely, striking pair of images, along with a paragraph or three exploring the deeper resonances. The best contributions will be posted on the site, along with responding commentary from Weschler. (For those of you who still aren't quite clear on this "convergence" concept, it's kind of like Celebrity Look-Alikes, except instead of Nick Nolte and Gary Busey, it's a cuneiform tablet and the Chicago city jail, followed by a series of brilliant, spiraling ruminations.

Nothing that I've penned or ever will pen will be published on McSweeney's, of course, since 1) I doubt I'll ever submit anything, and 2) me no write good.

Nevertheless, I have snapped a couple of pictures on my handy-dandy cellphone-cam lately that had a certain familiarity about them, and the other night, in a whisky-induced moment of clarity, I finally realized the images that they evoked.

First, the Demon Hellhound for whom I work the mines, that she may gorge herself on the flesh of infants:

Above: One of her rare docile moments.

And here is Pig, from Pearls Before Swine (also linked over on the side):

Above: The comics page's most lovable character.

The ears suggest a common ancestor no more than four generations back, according to Lehi "Butch" Jensen, Senior Researcher at the LDS Genealogical Society.

Next up: as some of you may know, the Grey Ghost finally, well, gave up the ghost, shall we say. A sad day for all, and certainly a subject of a future post, but for our present purposes, it's sufficient to know that she left a permanant mark on my life:

Above: Major driver in Iraq War.

And from Prince William Sound:

Above: Vehicle of Joe Hazelwood, not a student of the "ride a bike if you're going to be drinking" school of thought.

Unfortunately, while these images are quite striking, and certainly lovely to look at and to compare and contrast, they really offer no insight into the central question concerning my existence:

Is my life a goddamned cartoon or a fucking shipwreck?

And the introspection continues ...

Monday, August 10, 2009

If I Were King Of The Forest

When I’m president, there will be a few changes made. These will not go through congress, they will not be reviewed by the judiciary at any level, and they will be enacted immediately via Executive Order upon my inauguration.

1) A lid standard will be set for the plastic food container industry. There will be a limited number of sizes (6-10, perhaps), and all lids for a particular size will fit all brands of containers. Our nation’s kitchen drawers are overflowing with mismatched pieces from companies that actually change their own lid design every six months in a devious form of planned obsolescence. A lid cracks, and rather than being able to buy just a lid, consumers are forced to buy a whole new set. Bastards! And lest you interpret this as mere frustration on my part, keep in mind that we, as a nation, discard approximately 233,000 tons of plastic containers a year. The reduction in manufacturing alone (as plastic is a petroleum-based product) would decrease our dependence on foreign oil by nearly 90%*. Fewer lids = fewer wars. Peace will be delivered in a handy, airtight, and standardized Tupperware container.

2) The maximum number of blades on a razor will be set at two. Triple Trac? Ta ta. Quattro? Quashed. Fusion? Farewell, fucker. Obviously, there are a lot of razors with more than two blades out there in America’s homes, and ours is not a nation in which the government can force the public to buy a product (usually). Therefore, I will implement a buy-back program which will be known as “Bucks For Blades.” (Since my plastic container edict will unquestionably get me labeled a communist, I might call it “Rubles For Razors,” just to make the wingnuts’ heads asplode.) After a three month transition period, the National Guard will be mobilized to search houses and enforce compliance.

3) The "musical" group The Doors must be “disappeared.” I’m talking full-on Orwellian erasure. All recordings, all media, all cultural references … gone. They will have never existed. This includes any covers, tribute bands, and movies. The Morrison Center will be renamed “The Center.” I’m considering banning actual doors as well, and having everybody just use those hanging bead thingies from the ‘60s. Possesion of a Vox Continental organ will be illegal. Val Kilmer must die.

Day Two: Roy Halladay to the Cleveland Indians; Health Care Reform.

* That's kind of a guess, but it sounds about right, doesn't it?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Let's See ... Spaghetti, Dog Food, Fleeting Moment Of Passion, Lettuce ...

I enjoy going to Winco to shop. I don’t always go there, because it’s a few miles away, and the convenience grocery store a few blocks will usually suffice to provide for my low-volume sustenance. Nevertheless, I do appreciate the no-frills, low-cost approach. Red bell peppers, for example, are usually around $.60 there, while they run a couple of bucks at Albertsons. The corn on the cob is usually about the same price, but the quality seems much higher at Winco. They’ve really got that whole “economies of scale” thing down pretty good.

I also enjoy it when some quite-attractive-couldn’t-be-a-day-over-22 checkout girl cards me for beer, but to be honest, that’s … well, let’s just say that happens only slightly more often than a five run homer.

However, as much as I enjoy the budgetary advantages of shopping there, I think my favorite thing about Winco is the social interplay that takes place between the shoppers as they criss-cross the aisles. It’s far more erotic than it might appear at first – one might be excused for not noticing the coy, sideways glances, the faint, wispy smiles, the quick strokes of fingers through hair, as the bodies stroll past each other, all pretending to be oh-so-interested in the deal of the day. It’s a subtle dance, as you first sense the sultry sexuality of a smokin’ shopress near the cereal*, initiating a reprioritization of your list and a quick calculation of when you need to arrive in dry goods, so that you can pass her again, forgetting any concerns with the efficiency of your trip, only hoping to lock eyes with her, if just for the briefest of moments; for in that moment comes a blissful sort of amnesia, a fleeting yet sweet release from your worldly ties and all that binds you, weighs on you, burdens you as did the heavens burden Atlas, and it’s only you two, if but for a split second, until, with the slightest of blushes and a shy downward glance, the spell is broken, and it’s off to the beer cooler to see if you can slam a quick one without getting busted.

It's definitely an interesting dynamic. Still, though, even without all that, you really can’t beat that deal on red bell peppers.

* The suckiness of my metaphors is rivaled only by that of my attempts at alliteration.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Release The Hounds!

I’ve mentioned before that I’m something of a less-than-stellar house cleaner/maintainer, but this weekend things really went to the dogs. Literally.

The hound with whom I share Casa de Acorn had a few houseguests over – Cooper and Peanut stopped in Thursday night, and Chili showed up Friday afternoon. Cooper is a little bit bigger than Indy, and they play pretty rough together (though all in good fun). So Thursday and Friday, they were gnawing on each other while Peanut watched from the safety of the couch. Then Chili showed up, and they were all “bros before hos,” so Indy was all butthurt a little put out by that. Chili likes the larger gals, however, and Indy certainly knows where the food bowl is, so she was back in the gang after a while.

I let them stay up late on Friday, which may have been a mistake. I think they might have been a little baked, because they were going on about the meaning of life, and Peanut kept telling the joke about the atheist dyslexic flea who denied the existence of a dog over and over, thinking it was the funniest thing since the Three Stooges. At one point, one of them suggested a game of poker, but Cooper muttered something about "being a fucking cliché," so that didn't happen. Later, they got all amped up about starting a band, and Chili thought it would be really hilarious to do a cover of The Rolling Stones’ “Bitch.” Indy didn’t seem amused.

Well, they finally went to sleep, but not before we took the picture for the album cover:

Above: Angsty emo dog rockers The K-10s. (clockwise from lower left): Lead guitarist/pretty boy Chili, bass player/party animal Cooper, drummer/chick magnet Peanut, and lead singer/pit diver Indy.

It's probably for the best that they realized their folly when they woke up.

Bonus dog joke: So this guy walks into a bar with his dog. The bartender says “hey, buddy, no dogs allowed inside.” The guy says “well, this is a very special dog … he can talk!” The bartender is a little skeptical, of course, and asks for proof. The guy says to his dog “Ok, boy, who was the greatest baseball player of all time?” to which the dog barks “Ruth! Ruth!” The bartender looks at him with disgust, and throws them both out into the street. As they’re walking away, the dog says “How was I supposed to know it was a goddamned Red Sox bar?”

Friday, July 31, 2009

Take Me Out To The Ballga ... Oh Jeez, Just Take Me Back Home ...

It being July and all, the Live Acorn and I had a hankering to see some professional baseball being played. In lieu of that, we went out to see the Boise Hawks.

Technically speaking, I concede that these “baseball players” are paid to “play baseball” for a “baseball team” in an allegedly professional “baseball league.” They got uniforms and everything! But sweet Rocky Colavito’s ghost*, what happened last night was a little closer to t-ball than the bigs, to be sure.

It started off with promise … the Hawk’s starter (Su-Min Jung) walked 1 in the first, but didn’t give up any hits. No perfect game, but the no-hitter was intact, with only 8 more innings to go! The tension at the park was as heavy as an acid-fueled conversation on the meaning of the universe at a '60s hippie reunion.** No one in the crowd dared speak for fear of jinxing it, and Jung sat alone at the end of the dugout, his teammates showing the proper reverence by avoiding any risk of disrupting the transcendent state he was surely occupying. Unfortunately, he gave up 4 runs on 4 hits in the 2nd, while only recording 1 out, so there went the no-no.

The Vancouver starter fared a bit better in terms of innings pitched (3), but worse in runs allowed (7). All in all, the Hawks used 5 pitchers, none lasting more than 2.1 innings. They were sloppy on the offensive side as well, with a couple of runners getting thrown out at 3rd (including a nice 8-6-2-5 double play – those whacky Canadians with their solid fundamentals and all that). In the bonehead play of the night, a Hawks batter reached 1st on an overthrown ball, rounded the base but lollygagged it back, during which time the Vancouver 1st baseman had retrieved the ball and winged it to the catcher, who was alertly covering 1st, for the put-out.

Final score: Hawks 12, Vancouver 9, thanks to 4 unearned runs on 3 Vancouver errors. Way to earn it, fellas.

Unfortunately (I guess that’s somewhat debatable), I had to pick up a friend’s dogs around 10 pm, so we had to leave in the 5th (2 ½ hours for 5 innings? WTF?). There … I admitted it, damnit. I left a game early. On half-price beer night. My god, what’s happened to me? I'm just a shell of my former self ...

In big league news, Cleveland starts a critical series against Detroit tonight. Not so critical in terms of Cleveland’s long-dashed hopes of post-season play, but critical in the Tribe/Tiger season series, upon which a keg of beer rests. The Indians are down 7-2, and therefore need to win 7 of the remaining 9 just to throw it to the tiebreaker. I’m not optimistic. I’m also not happy with ever uttering the words “ok, I’m not changing underwear until they climb back up to .500.”

Next April is a long time away.

* Rocky Colavito, being alive, doesn't have a ghost in the traditional sense. However, The Curse Of Rocky Colavito, born after Frank Lane traded him to Detroit in 1960, certainly haunts the team to this day. It should be noted that Detroit "fans" never gave Colavito the sweet love he so richly deserved.

** I really, REALLY need to work on my metaphors. Or similes. Whatever, you fucking language nazis.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I've Been Framed!

I’ve been trying to get started back up on some projects that I’ve sort of set aside over time.

To those of you who are familiar with my approach to projects: I apologize for the state of your computer screen and keyboard, which, I would assume, are now drenched with the bourbon you undoubtedly sprayed from your mouth and nose upon reading that.

I tend to get harebrained inspired ideas for things that I could spend time on rather than, oh, say, actually doing something productive with my life. These ideas vary quite widely in terms of scope and ambition – on the grand end, there are such activities as turning an oversized closet into a master bathroom. At the other end of the spectrum, there are smaller-scale things like tying my shoes.

Disirregardless of scale, however, most of these projects share a common attribute: they rarely get finished. Take a look down the next time you see me … there’s a fair chance that one shoelace will be flopping around like a French soccer player. It’s one reason I avoid escalators. In the rare instance I do finish a project, the start-to-finish time is usually best described in units of years, rather than days or weeks.

The current project of interest is the construction of a pair of picture frames. I bought a couple of Will Bullas prints at Art In The Park last year, which have since been kept in a somewhat underviewed location on a desktop beneath a bunch of matte board in my dining room. Now THAT’S a hundred and thirty dollars well-spent! The tragedy of them not being on the wall is all the worse when you consider the brilliance of the art itself:

Above: Baby needs a new pair of shoes!

One of the problems with living alone is that there is often a complete absence of compulsion to maintain a presentable environment. Obviously, this means that I sweep up dog hair and wash dishes with FAR less regularity than common sense (and county health codes, I would think) dictates. Less obvious is that things like hanging art on the wall in an effort to class up the joint rarely happen. But every once in a while, like right after the longest solar eclipse that will occur this millennium, I get a little itch to try to actually make Casa de Acorn a bit more refined.

Hence the frames.

Rather than doing something as sensible as taking the prints to a frame shop and letting the experts do their thing, I stopped in at the Depot* and picked up about 11’ of 1"x2" poplar. It being a Sunday morning, I naturally wasn’t in a state to actually do the math to calculate how much I would need, but that seemed like plenty. That certainly won’t be the last time I’ve been wrong in such matters.

Here, then, is a brief synopsis of the events that transpired over the next two days:

1) Cut the groove for the print/glass on the back side.

2) Realized that I should have rounded the inner edge before cutting the groove, making the router work somewhat freehand and substantially more dangerous (though this fits my general 3B approach to woodworking: Beer, Blades, ‘n’ Blood).

3) Cut a decorative groove on the front side.

4) Measured the pieces using the ruler on the router table, placing one edge of the wood at inch 1, so that all of the pieces were 1” too short.

5) Realized my error after cutting; swore; giggled a bit at my incompetence.

(next day)

6) Went back to the Depot, bought 16’ of 1"x2" poplar, having actually done some math.

7) Did the router part first (yay me!), cut both the backside and frontside grooves.

8) Did the exact same fucking thing with the measuring and cutting, though this time, there was enough wood to finish one frame.

Net result: 27’ of wood gone; 1 21”x15” picture frame finished; lots of kindling in the wood box for camping.

Norm Abram ain’t got nuthin’ on me.

* I know that Home Depot is a right-wing corporate cesspool of an organization, and I do try to go to local hardware stores and lumber yards. Sometimes, though, in my weaker moments, I submit to the foul temptress of convenience.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Goatheads Soup

I got a call yesterday while at work … it was the Live Acorn, wanting to tell me that she got a flat tire on her bicycle.

Deep in my heart, I knew that the day would come. I feared it. I dreaded it. I knew, of course, that she wouldn't be my little baby forever, but I hadn’t meant for it to be like this. Any parent wants their child to be prepared for emergencies and unexpected situations, and we all do our best to give them the tools they need to cope when they find themselves all alone out in this cruel, harsh world. I had shown her, once, I believe, how to fix a flat, but we most certainly hadn't yet reached the stage where she was solo patching (under my watchful eye, of course). I’m sure you understand, then, that my heart leapt into my throat upon hearing the gut-wrenching words “Dad, I got a flat ...”.*

Live Acorn: Dad, I got a flat ...


LA: Dad ... dad ...


LA (under her breath): Jesus H. Christ.

DA: I’m sorry, what?

LA: Umm, nothing. Dad, it’s okay, I patched it.

DA: You ... you ... you what?

LA: Yeah. I’m down in Hyde Park, and I bought a patch kit at the bike shop.

DA (slowing down on the hyperventilating a bit): oh ... okay ... how’d you get the tire off?

LA: Well, I didn’t have any of those plastic thingies, so I used a screwdriver.

(DA goes back in full hyperventilation mode)

LA: Easy there, dad ... I was really careful not to pinch the tube.

(DA’s respiration rate slows back down under 200)

LA: I listened for the leak, but couldn’t find it, so I took it into the pub restroom, filled the sink with water, and found it.

DA (to himself): yeah ... YEAH!

LA: I marked it with a sharpie, sanded the spot around it, and put the glue on.

DA (covering the phone and shouting at work): OH YEAH!

LA: After it dried, I put the patch on, put the tire back on, pumped it up, and put the wheel back on.

(long pause before DA speaks)

DA: Was it ... was it ... the front or the back?

At this point, sweat was pouring down my face, and I was shaking with anticipation. I guess I assumed it was the front, as wrestling with the rear derailleur can be frustrating even for the most grizzled veteran.

LA: It was ... the back.

DA: OH HELLZ YEAH! That's MY girl!

(strutting around the office, doing that "raise the roof" thingy in that lily-white way that he does those things)

Whose daughter? MY daughter!

DA’s boss: What in the fucking name of Elmore J. Goodwin is going on in here? Are you drunk again?

So she did this old bike mechanic’s soul some good and filled his heart with pride. And I guess I learned a little something, too, about realizing that kids are a lot more independent and self-sufficient than you think. It’s bittersweet, to be sure, realizing that she's growing up so fast, but way less bitter than sweet.

Wait, who the fuck am I? Aesop, telling one of his goddamned Fables? Crap on a coaster, Dead Acorn, it doesn’t always have to have some moral, or a lesson, or some cheezy-ass ending.

Next week, we’re building wheels; after that comes cold-setting steel frames and overhauling old-school freewheels.

[UPDATE] I forgot to mention that the guy in the bike shop told her it was still a little low, so he pumped it up some more. Shortly thereafter, the sidewall blew out from overinflation. I swear ... other people's kids, you know?

* If an ellipsis is the last thing inside quotation marks, and is at the end of a sentence, do I put a period there? Normally, the period would go inside the quotation marks**, but then it would just be a four-period ellipsis, which is the elliptical*** bastard second cousin of multiple exclamation points. A little help here from my more pedantically inclined readers, please.
** I think.
*** I don't think "elliptical" is the adjective form**** of "ellipsis" ... is it "ellipsistical"?
**** Does "adjective" have an adjectivical form?