Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Come And Get Me, Coppa ...

In my spare time, I go to “work” at a “job,” which involves, among other things, analyzing data used to forecast offender population levels within a governmental correctional system. I realize that the fact that I have a “job” may cause some confusion in my readers, as one might naturally assume that the princely income that I receive for “writing” this blog-thingy must certainly be sufficient to provide an extremely lavish lifestyle. One would be correct, of course, but once one factors in all of the spare time that I would have if I didn’t have something to occupy me for eight hours each day (each of these little ramblings takes about 8-10 minutes/2-3 beers), along with the far-from-negligible cost of my various vices, one can easily imagine the dire financial straits I would soon be in if it weren't for my employment.

Well, tomorrow I'll be involved in a day-long meeting that will include such attendees as sheriffs, a state Supreme Court justice, a district judge, a number of legislators, the entire Board of Correction, representatives of the Parole Commission, several grudge-holding ex-girlfriends, and a contingent from the State Police. It has the air of one of those sting operations in which police send “You’ve won a new boat!” messages to people with warrants, then arrest them when they actually show up, only in reverse.

As far as I know, all of my priors are closed cases, I’ve ensured that I have no detainers issued by neighboring states, and it's my understanding that we still have no extradition treaty with Nauru. Still, there’s something not quite right about this whole thing … there’s something fishy going on … something’s going down … there’s something rotten in the state of Denmark. Ok, that’s enough.

So if this site goes dark (I’m fairly certain that InterPol is already monitering me, and as cunning as I’ve been so far, I know that it’s only a matter of time before they crack my code), you’ll at least have an idea of what happened.

To anyone who has the inclination to send me a cake with a file in it, would you please use the Pillsbury Funfetti mix? That always makes me smile.

Friday, July 23, 2010

There's A Sucker Born Every Minute

I’m long overdue for my sesquidectennial ass-whoopin’. Almost 10 years overdue, if memory serves correctly. And though I’m often referred to, perhaps not incorrectly, as “naïve” or “a bit slow,” I am under no misprehension that somehow my advanced years will preclude me from receiving said ass-whoopin’ eventually, nor do I believe that last night’s near miss lessens its inevitability. Still, though, it was interesting.

There I was, enjoying a nice cold beverage and a Charms Blow Pop at the Navajo Room, minding my own business. I hadn’t really paid attention to any of the other patrons, as it’s a dimly lit establishment, and I was busy poring over the text of the recently passed financial reform legislation. Soon, though, I noticed that the conversation between a couple of rough-looking characters at the end of the bar was growing in volume, and I began to pick up little snippets such as “bet it’s a goddamned Watermelon one …” and “I bet his mama likes the Grape ones.”

It was obvious that their remarks were aimed at me, and normally, I’d have ignored them, but earlier, when I said “enjoying a nice cold beverage,” I actually meant “enjoying my fourteenth nice cold beverage.” As a result, rather than quietly exiting, I said to the larger of the two “It’s Sour fucking Apple, bucksnort … you got something to say, you say it to me.”

Not surprisingly (in retrospect), he accepted my invitation:

Bucksnort: This here’s a Cherry-only bar, buddy. If you ain’t suckin’ cherry, maybe you oughta find somewhere else to enjoy your beer and lollipop.

Dead Acorn: WTF? I think you’ve been watching too many westerns, Hoss.

Bucksnort-Hoss: Double you tee eff?

DA: It stands for “what the fuck?” It’s a common phrase meant to express disbelief or astonishment.

BH: ummm … right … anyway, we like Cherry around here. Cherry’s what my daddy liked, and his daddy afore him.

DA: Well, I have no problem with Cherry, and in fact, it was found to be the most preferred flavor in the Princeton study.

BH: WT … wait, what was it again? WTF?

DA: Yep, WTF. So, yeah, there was a study done at Princeton a few years back in which subjects were asked to rate the taste of the five original flavors of Charms Blow Pops on a scale of one to 10.

BH: The fuck you say.

At this point, I reached in to my wallet and pulled out my laminated copy of Chart 1 from the study:

Above: Taxpayer-funded research at its finest.
BH: See? Just like I said. You want the first one to the face or to the gut?

DA: Easy there, Skippy. First, check out what happens with older Blow Pops. Watermelon actually improves with age, to where it’s more flavorful than Cherry. Further, in a follow-up study, it was found that the gum on the inside of Cherry ranks 3rd, even behind Strawberry, and that there are strong cross-cultural differences in ratings.

BHS: Hmm. Was them double-blind studies?

DA: Umm … it’s a study in the field of gustatory perception. The whole point is that subjects could consciously differentiate the tastes. Single blind, though, yeah.

BHS: You know, I’m a little embarrassed by being so close-minded all these years. I’ll still always love my Cherry, but I recognize now that life isn’t always so cut and dried, and that maybe I need to be a little more cognizant of the likes of others and embrace the differences between us, rather than live in isolated fear of the unknown.

DA: Attaboy. Let me buy you a Blow Pop … Sour Blue Razz ok?

BHS: Don’t push it.

So once again, I confirmed to myself that I can change peoples’ attitudes and beliefs just by drinking a lot of beer and speaking to them rationally and presenting objective evidence at a bar.

I lead a charmed life.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Next, She'll Want Me To Rent "The Godfather" For Her

The beast with whom I share Casa de Acorn is extremely opportunistic. She knows that when I get in the shower, she’s got a 10-15 minute window during which she’s free to wreak whatever havoc she chooses to upon the house, and she does not often let it pass without event. I’m certain that in her neurologically mis-wired "brain," she rationalizes her actions with some twisted logic about how she’s the victim because I enable her by not locking the garbage can inside the safe in the office (which she can probably open anyway).

Anyway, usually it’s the garbage, but recently, she’s taken to licking certain plates clean that I’ve left on the bar counter, where I generally eat. Not all plates, mind you … I haven’t changed anything in the configuration of my house, so she’s always been able to hop up on the couch, which is located on the opposite side of the wall from the barstools, and access whatever remains I’ve left there. But for some reason or another, she hasn’t really taken advantage of the configuration. Chicken burger? Not interested. Deli-type sammich? Meh.

No, the plates that are invariably cleaned up are the ones with the balsamic vinegar and olive oil that I’ve been mixing lately and using to dip Italian bread into. Seriously … it’s as if she thinks she’s Sicilian and she’s finally back in the Old Country. I’ve detected a bit of an Italian accent in her barks lately (and it’s really pathetic, and quite insulting, as it’s really just the worst of stereotypes that she picked up from watching the restaurateur on The Simpons – “barka barka barka BARKA!” she’ll say, to the cadence of “That’s-a spicy spicy meat-a-ball!” It’s really embarrassing.

Worse yet, she seems to have developed a taste for the finer oils … a generic virgin won’t do. I was a bit terrified the other day when I was unloading the groceries and she began snarling and biting my calf. It took a while to figure out what she wanted, but once I went back and got some Pompeian Extra Virgin, she seemed fine. These things have a way of progressing, however, and I’m a bit afraid that soon she’ll demand Lambda or Manni, like some crazed addict for whom yesterday’s fix isn't enough today. Quello è uno stupido cane.

Sweet jeebus, I hope she can’t read that. The last thing I need is the Muttfia after my ass ... can you break somebody's kneecaps without opposible thumbs?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Play Ball! (Or Whatever It Is That The Tribe Is Doing)

Well, here we are, more than halfway through the Major League Baseball season, and I’ve written very little about it, because, frankly, “playing baseball” is not what the Cleveland Indians have been doing to date. At a miserable 34-54, they’re 15.5 games behind the Chicago White Sox, and 5 games behind next-to-last Kansas freakin' City. On the plus side, they have no good players to trade away, so we fans are at least spared that little knife-twist.

None of that is to say that baseball is not enjoyable to watch, especially at the ballpark, and I’ve been lucky enough to see four games involving the Class A (short season) Boise Hawks. There’s something so heartwarming about hearing a parent explain the rules to a child at their first game, especially when the parent screws up the infield fly rule and you get to turn around, correct and berate him, and make him look like an idiot in front of his kid. Awesome!

There was a nice episode the other night – a couple of friends and I were involved in a gambling game in which a person throws a dollar into a hat and guesses the outcome for the current batter. If he’s wrong, the dollar stays in and the next person adds a buck and guesses on the next batter. This continues until someone guesses correctly and wins the pot, at which point the whole process starts over. Well, naturally, we were sitting behind an attractive mom and her daughter, who appeared to be about 5 years old. After a while, we began including the daughter in the game (one of us would throw a dollar in for her), and eventually she won a pot of about $20. Really … what’s more American than getting all beered up, hitting on some stranger, and getting her kid addicted to gambling? U-S-A! U-S-A!

Last night, I was invited by some other friends to sit in the luxury box seats ... front row, right next to the visitors dugout. I was a bit thrown by the ushers calling me “sir,” but I dealt with it. It was prime heckling territory, but alas, I have no gift for the ego-shattering stinging barb - fortunately, a sharp-witted gentleman next to us was there to suggest to every Spokane player that his shoes were untied, or else the Hawks would have lost by a far greater margin than the 9-4 score that they ended up with.

Peanuts, bratwurst, beer … the only way baseball could get any better is if they handed out vuvuzelas at the gate.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

But Who's Gonna Pour My Beer?

It’s heartbreaking to watch a dream die.

Imagine a young boy growing up in the heartland, watching the work-worn faces of the downtrodden bar patrons slowly lose their tension, seeing some semblance of happiness creep back into their otherwise dreary lives, and thinking “what grander calling could there be than to bring such joy to so many, night after night?”

And so while his friends spoke of becoming astronauts and firemen and spokesmodels, P77 knew in his heart of hearts that he would never be happy until it was he himself pouring those beers, helping the regulars wash away the bitterness, the loneliness, the emptiness of their meaningless existence. “Parents have it so difficult!” P77 would explain to his young pals. “When I grow up, I want to serve as a de facto babysitter for unruly hellions so that the put-upon mothers and fathers can have a few hours every night to ignore their offspring and relax!”

For several years, he lived the dream. He would stand behind the bar, beaming, as tireless youngsters ever-so-adorably bounced pool balls onto the slate, as drunken denizens told and retold stories in incoherent gibberish and slurringly demanded refills. He had it all.

Dreams do die, though, and for whatever reason, P77 lost his love for that life. I don’t know what finally did it, but last night was his final shift at the pub. I suppose that he’ll at least pretend to be passionate about what he’s going to do next, which is to concentrate on his cycle courier business and to spend as much time as possible with his son Liam. Perhaps his 2nd place showing in the “Things” category of the Boise Weekly Black & White Photography contest can provide some solace now that he won’t be pouring beer.

Click on over to his site, check out his amazing pics, and wish him well with some comment love. If you're in the Boise area, maybe you can throw some business Northstar's way.

Thanks for the beers, dude.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

... And The Shape Shall Be That Of A Pear.

It is said that our bodies are temples (1 Corinthians 6 – my computer crashes every time I try to link to a bible verse, so you’ll have to look it up yourselves).

That being the case, I think mine is more of an ancient ruin, and likely not built by one of the great past religions, but by the equivalent of something like the Scientologists of the time, who did not enlist their finest masons in its construction, but instead put the task to the lowest of the drunken sots among them, as many parts seem to be ill-made, out of place, and quite useless.

In other words, I gotta get my ass in shape.

I’ve been doing interval training on my road bike … intervals are an extremely effective training method, and generally involve alternating episodes of intense exertion and rest, e.g., a 5-minute sprint followed by 5 minutes of light pedaling. I’ve been experimenting with a 24-hour schedule that involves a 10-minute all-out burst, followed by 8 hours of sitting at a computer (often interrupted by an unhealthy meal at midday), which is then followed by another 10-minute all-out burst, followed by rambling about Casa de Acorn drinking light beer. (For the life of me, I can’t understand why having increased my intake of light beer hasn’t resulted in a corresponding loss of weight, an occurrence which is strongly implied by the Anhauser-Busch advertisements.)

My Relativity Diet hasn’t seemed to work either. This approach is based on Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, which asserts that as an object’s velocity approaches the speed of light, its mass increases. Conversely, of course, as an object slows down, its mass decreases. Therefore, if one were to sit extremely still, say, in a La-Z-Boy in front of a television, one would lose weight. Based on my observed results, Einstein was full of shit.

I’m not sure what I’ll do … I’m not quite to the point where I’ll start paying attention to scam artists like “doctors” or “nutritionists,” who claim that a pound of bacon a day is somehow “unhealthy.” I’m very intrigued by the notion that the caloric count of extremely cold gin may be less than the calories required to bring the liquid up to body temperature after drinking it. It certainly sounds like a promising idea that clearly merits further research.

[UPDAET:] exeprimnt foing oka y shofar. will trry to u pdt l8r hahahha “l8r’ lik in txtn. ahahaa im like 12.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

A Melon-choly Post

I was having a discussion the other day on the merits of watermelon as a breakfast food. Specifically, it is my belief that watermelon ranks very high on the list of Things That Are Desirable To Wake Up To, and my ill-informed friend had the audacity to differ:

Dead Acorn: Holy mackerel … there are few things that I enjoy eating upon waking more than watermelon.

Ill-Informed Friend: What are you talking about? It’s just water.

DA: Umm, well, no … it’s actually only 92% water by weight. Its ideal ratio of water and sugar, combined with the fact that it’s a good source of vitamin C, makes it just the ticket for clearing the cobwebs induced by the previous night’s tequila-fest.

IIF: You know, most people don’t wake up with a hangover every day.


DA: Yeah, well, I’m gonna have to call bullshit on that. And since you’ve already established your wanton disregard for facts and a propensity for simply making things up, unless you can provide empirical evidence supporting your postulation re: hangover ubiquity (or lack thereof), I believe this conversation is over.

IIF (under breath): jesusfuckingchristyouaresuchadork

DA: Care for a little slice o' heaven?

As the day passed, I continued to ponder the near-perfection of the watermelon, and eventually came to consider the destructive efforts of botanical scientists in creating the seedless variety. I cannot fathom how someone would even come up with such an idea, much less follow it to fruition. Imagine human geneticists sitting around the breakroom:

Geneticist Bob: Say, Carl … wouldn’t it be cool to alter human beings so that they couldn’t reproduce?

Geneticist Carl: Uh, Bob … our species would disappear after the first generation.

Geneticist Bob: I see your point. Let’s stick to the chimpanzee/human hybrid project.

Geneticist Carl: I want my monkey man!

Luckily, the botanist bastards seem to have failed in their attempts to extinctify the watermelon, as underground rebel melons continue to resist the “cleansing” and refuse to stop producing seeds. Fight on, fruity patriots!

On a somewhat disturbing note, upon doing some internet-based watermelon research, I discovered that the watermelon isn’t a true melon at all, as it’s not in the genus cucumis. I will admit to being thrown a bit by this, but I’ve learned (or am learning) that just because something turns out to be something other than you initially believed, it needn’t mean that you care less for it or think differently about it. (Ask my buddy Dorgan about the 6’2” stunningly beautiful model he met a couple of years ago, who turned out to be not at all what he thought. BTW, congrats, Dorgan & Pat/Patricia, on your two (so far) great years!)

Anyway, so now some idiot comedian can do a routine that includes “So the watermelon .. it's neither water, nor a melon! What’s up with that?” Let him. Whatever. I don’t care. All I know is that when I lay my head down at night, I fall asleep with a wispy smile and awash in anticipation of the morning, knowing that that heavenly taste awaits my lips when I rise; that the kiss of a goddess comes with the dawn.

Sweet, sweet watermelon ... the yin to tequila's yang.