Sunday, September 14, 2014

The great omission of Tom Wopat

On September 9th, 2014, small screen legend Thomas Steven "Tom" Wopat celebrated his 63rd birthday.  Yet in his hometown of Lodi, Wisconsin, there was no celebration.  Not so much as a mention of what surely should be its favorite son.  For in Lodi, there is no roadside marker, no memorial bridge, no sign whatsoever designating it as Wopat's hometown.  In fact, a cursory check of the city's website instead proudly proclaims Lodi as the "Home of Susie the Duck."

Barely esteemed, yet erratic, blogger Bone set out to investigate this, one of the great injustices of our time.  He (almost) contacted Lodi, Wisconsin, Mayor (name redacted).  Their conversation (had it occurred) could have been as follows (but most likely would have gone nothing like this at all).

Judge for yourself.

Mayor: "Mayor (redacted).  May I help you?"

Bone: "So you say."

M: "Excuse me?"

B: "I'm going to ask you a couple of questions to prove that you are indeed the Mayor of Lodi."

M: "....OK?"

B: "Where do the Packers play?"

M: "Lambeau Field."

B: "Wrong.  We were looking for the frozen tundra.  We also would have accepted Green Bay.  Or, Earth. Question two, foreign policy: What is the capital of Uzbekistan?"

M: "Tashkent."

B: "Wow.  I have no idea, but that sounded like you really knew."

B: "Is it or is it not true that Adele works in your office?"  (According to the Lodi website, the City Clerk is Adele "Van Ness.")

M: "...Yes.  But how do you know Ms. Van Ness?"

B: "Van Ness?  I thought her last name was Blue.  Or Violet.  Or something."

M: "Van Ness is her married name."

B: "Adele is married?!?!"

M: "I'm not sure we're talking about the same person."

B:  "Does she sing?"

M: "I hear her singing sometimes when she's in the restroom."

B: "Are you admitting you have surveillance equipment in your employee restrooms?  I believe this violates Code of the Wisconsin Statute of Limitations.  I can also cite the legal precedent set in the case of Tommy Lasorda v. the state of California."

M: "My secretary said you were with the IRS."

B: "Wow.  Really?  She bought that?"

M: "Excuse me?"

B: "Oh, uh, Mister (redacted), if that really IS your name, is it true that you hate Tom Wopat?"

M: "Why would you say that?"

B: "How else do you explain the fact that there is no historical marker, roadside sign, or other apparatus designating Lodi as the birthplace of Mister Wopat?"

M: "I guess it's just never come up."

B: "Oh, it's never come up, you say?  Yet what HAS come up is a huge-ass sign designating your fair city as the home of Susie.  The duck."

M: "People love Susie."

B: "That's not even a duck name.  Donald.  Daffy.  Howard.  Huey, Dewey, Louie.  These are duck names."

M: "Those are all fictional characters."

B: "Your momma's a fictional character!!!"

M: "Are we about done?"

B: "What about Daisy?"

M: "Daisy?"

B: "Yeah.  Daisy Duck.  Has a nice ring to it."

M: "I don't think so."

B: "Do you even know who Tom Wopat is?"

M: "Of course."

B: "Well allow me to refresh your memory.  According to IMDB, Tom Wopat is, and I quote, a virile, blue-eyed, dark-haired, plaid-shirted rascal on the rough-and-tumble bucolic 80s series 'The Dukes of Hazzard.'  Unquote!  Kinda reminds me of myself, actually."


B: "What is it, Mayor (redacted)?  Is it a North-South thing?  Is there still a Civil War raging in your mind?"

M: "That's ludicrous!"

B: "And is it true that you are such a huge John Schneider fan that you have every episode of 'Smallville' recorded on VHS and always preferred Bo to Luke Duke?  Is it? Is it?!?!"

M: ".......Maybe."

B: "Ah-HAAAA!"

M: "Well, Bo did always drive.  And that hood slide was awesome."

B: "Luke could have driven that General Lee just as well as Bo!  OK, maybe not just as well, but he could've gotten them to the Boar's Nest.  Or Cooter's garage.  Or Capitol City.  Wherever they needed to go.  Eventually."

M: "I suppose."

B: "You suppose?  YOU suppose?  Well, look everybody, Mister Big Shot Mayor supposes!  Do you SUPPOSE any of this would be happening if Denver Pyle were still alive???  Do you?  Do you???"

M: "I don't see how that would have affected anything."

B: "....Yeah, OK, probably not.  You do realize 'The Dukes of Hazzard' is not the only thing Tom Wopat has done, right?  He does those AutoTrader commercials.  He was the voice of Wilkins Brother #2 on 'Phineas & Ferb.'  And, AND, he was in the made-for-TV thriller 'Taking Chance' with Kevin Bacon.  That's ONE degree of Kevin Bacon if you're having trouble counting there, Mister Mayor.  So stick that feather in your cheesehead hat and call it macaroni!"

M: "Listen closely.  I'm going to report you to the authorities and...."

B: "What are your thoughts on Coy & Vance?"

M: "If you ever call this office again..."

B: "Thanks for your time!"

M: "You will be incarcerated."

B: "Tell Adele I love her!!!"

"Things got bad and things got worse.  I guess you know the tune.  Oh Lord, stuck in Lodi again..."

Monday, September 08, 2014

Doctor-patient confidential

Setting: Examination room in a doctor's office, aka the smaller waiting room after the first waiting room.  Planet: Earth, most likely.  Date: Circa 21st Century in the year of our Lord.

A child in a man's body sits on the butcher paper, awaiting his fate, admiring the walls...

This is a nice color.  Sort of a Kelly green.  Pleasant.  Non-jarring.  Very well-painted, too.  Absolutely no bleed-over onto the door frame.  Clearly done by a professional.  No one like me could've painted this.  Oh God, is this what home ownership does to a person?  The doctor will be here soon.  Should I take off my pants, or do I wait for him to tell me?  I can't remember.  I better take 'em off, just to be safe.  No wait, that's at the masseuse where you take off your...

"Oh, hi doc."

"How are ya?"  Why are this guy's pants unbuckled?  Every day it's weirdos around here.  I should've just done like my mother wanted, and been a classical pianist.

"Doing OK."  Pretty sure I'm dying.  Please help me.  Please.

"So what seems to be the problem?"  Yeah, pianist.  For Elise versus examining someone's goiter.  What the hell was I thinking?

I just told the lady that brought me in here.  Did she not tell you?  What was that all for?  Wait a second, does she even work here???

"Well, let's have a look."  I'll stick this thing in his ear, use my trusty stethoscope, and maybe bang on his knee with this little hammer I got down at the Walgreens so he'll think I know what I'm talking about. Ankle bone's connected to the shin bone, shin bone's connected to the knee bone, the knee bone's connected to the... hmm... now what was the knee bone connected to?  I always forget that one!  "Well, that all looks fine. How long has this been bothering you?"

"Four or five days, I guess."  STILL with the stethoscope???  They were using those on Little House on the Prairie.  Have we not advanced beyond this?  And what's he doing on that laptop?  Probably on WebMD or something.

"Let me just make some notes here."  Double-you, double-you, double-you, dot, web-emm-dee, dot com....  Symptom checker, click... Hmm... Oh man, this doesn't look good.  Holy $*#&! I've never even heard of that.  Phew, am I glad I'm not this guy!

"So, uh, am I gonna be OK?"  Is it West Nile?  Mad Cow?  I thought they eradicated that!!!!  Rabies?  Is it rabies???  NoCatheterNoCatheterNoCatheterNoCatheterNoCath...

"Well, we're gonna run some tests, just to rule out anything serious."  Do you believe in miracles?

"OK.  Thanks, doc."  Somehow I'm never quite sure I get my eighty bucks worth here.

"She'll be in here in a few minutes to take some blood.  You can, uh, probably go ahead and buckle up."  Good God, they don't pay me enough to deal with this crap every day.

"Doctor my eyes / Tell me what is wrong / Was I unwise to leave them open for so long..."

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

"Hey son's" and hugs

(My Dad's birthday was Monday.  So I decided I would finish this story I'd started a couple of years ago....)

It was the last and only cold day of spring.  Temps had started out in the mid-60s that April morning, but a cold front had sent them plunging into the 50's by early afternoon.  Throw in a stiff wind and it was downright chilly.

Turning off the almost-two-lane country road, I saw him standing in the driveway in his fishing hat, straightening out some line.  There was something about that moment, seeing my dad already outside getting things ready, that made me smile, and does even now.

As I got out of the car I was greeted with that familiar, drawly "Heyyy, suh-uhn."

My sister was along with Nephew Bone soon and we headed down the long, hardly-one-lane dirt driveway and across a small field to the pond.  I took notice of Nephew Bone imitating Dad -- Peepaw as he calls him -- several times that day.  And imagined myself doing the same thirty years before.

We weren't long for fishing that day.  The weather was not our friend, and no one had dressed quite warm enough for it.  So after about an hour we packed up our poles and tackle and snacks and headed back to the house.

As I drove away that day I made the same promise to myself I always make, and break: to visit more often.

And I was thankful.

Thankful that Dad was happy -- as happy as I can ever remember seeing him.  He seems to have found an ease and a contentment with life that wasn't there for far too long.

Thankful I can still call him, to ask for advice about the house, or my Jeep, or just to hear that familiar "hey son" in a world that seems to go a little crazier every day.

Thankful Nephew Bone gets to spend time he will remember with his Peepaw, and vice-versa.

And thankful there's still a place I can go to, and even though I've never lived there, feel welcomed, and loved, and home. 

Dad and I had a couple of rough patches, as I suppose fathers and sons sometimes do.  But that seems like another lifetime now.  These days, I love you's have replaced simple goodbyes.  And we've long since traded hand shakes for hugs.

That's a trade I'd recommend to anyone.

"I know I can't turn back time / We'll slow it down while we can / I'm going home to see him / While he still knows who I am..."

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Woman sort of looks for owner of lost Father's Day gift

(This is my latest submission for
Just another Sunday turned into anything but for Davenport, Iowa, waitress Jodi Chestnut on Father's Day. 

As Chestnut was picking up her tip from a table at the Davenport Denny's, she noticed a gift bag left behind by her customers.  She knew right away what it was.

"It was a family of four," she told local Fox affiliate KIOA-TV.  "They ordered three Grand Slams and a Cali Jack Turkey Burger with a side of ranch."

When asked by one reporter, "Could you please get to the point, I have to cover the ribbon cutting for the new dog park at 10?" she continued.

"Oh, right!  I saw the son hand the dad a gift card to Home Depot, unwrapped.  That went in his pocket right away.  Then the daughter (who 'looked to be in her early twenties' and was wearing 'this super adorbs top that I'm pretty sure is from the J-Lo line') had gotten him the cutest tie. There was purple in it.  And orange.  And little monkeys on it.  And it was in this gift bag."

Chestnut went on to say the family paid with cash so there was no credit card or check from which to gather an ID. After asking "the couple at table four" if they knew the owners of the gift bag, she says she placed it in the restaurant's lost and found box, thinking surely someone would call about it. 

But no one did.

"I remember the mother saying something about 'let's go, my Hallmark movie starts in half an hour.'  They all got up and started for the door. The dad was the last one at the table.  He dropped a couple of ones for a tip, picked up the gift bag, looked around the restaurant, then he sat the bag back down, sort of over behind our stand-up dessert menu."

Nearly three days after the event, Chestnut was trying to chalk it all up to being "a dad thing."

"You know how dads are.  I'm pretty sure my Dad has lost half the presents I've given him over the years.  I got him a matching wool scarf and hat set for Christmas three years ago.  I've never seen him in it."

Still, the 31-year-old says it's the first time anyone has left behind a Father's Day present in all her four years of waitressing.

"I mean, people have left purses.  Sunglasses.  (They've) even forgotten kids.  But never a Father's Day present.  It's heartbreaking.  This gift represents a daughter's love for her father.  Someone put a lot of thought into that."

A recent survey by the Center for Really Awful Presents (CRAP) said Americans spend, on average, 6-and-a-half minutes selecting their Father's Day gifts.

At press time, the tie was still lying unclaimed in the Denny's lost and found next to a lime green fanny pack and a pocket-sized Gideons New Testament.  However, one of Chestnut's co-workers, a woman named Ruth, had taken the gift bag to use for an upcoming Bar Mitzvah.

UPDATE: The lime green fanny pack belongs to Martha, who works the register on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, day shift.  And turns out the Denny's doesn't even have a lost and found, just "a box where workers sometimes keep things."  This according to "Big Ron," a cook who was taking a smoke break out back.

"Don't call what you're wearing an outfit / Don't ever say your car is broke / Don't worry about losing your accent / A Southern man tells better jokes..."

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The five people you meet when running

The highlight of my year thusfar, running-wise -- well, and pretty much otherwise -- came in a 5K when I finished first in my 40-44 age group, or as I affectionately refer to us, "aspiring Medicare recipients."

That's right, I'm finally competing against the over-40 crowd.  I've been waiting for this for years!  I knew eventually most of the other guys would get fat, lazy, or married -- busy with kids, wives, actually having a social life, or being productive members of society.

Not me!

I know people say, "All that matters is that you finish."


Maybe that's all that matters for your very first race.  But after that, all anyone talks about is PR's and their new GPS watches and "Are you guys doing the color run in June?"  When all I really wanna do is get my free t-shirt, win a trophy in my age group, and call my Mom the next day to see if my name is in the newspaper even though no one reads newspapers anymore anyway... except for my Mom.

Oh, and enjoy my runner's high, of course.  I do believe the runner's high exists.  I have found that for me, it usually follows the five stages of grief.

There's the this-isn't-gonna-be-so-bad denial, the Oh-my-God-we've-only-run-two-miles anger, the just-don't-puke-just-don't-puke-just-don't-puke bargaining, the how-did-that-seventy-year-old-man-just-pass-me depression, and the I'm-really-going-to-die-right-here-on-this-flippin-road acceptance.

This past Saturday was my hometown 10K run.  It rained throughout the race and I got nipple burn like never before and spent the rest of the weekend walking around with Band-Aided areolas (areolae?).

For those of you who have never experienced it, nipple burn falls just behind being kicked in the privates and a colonoscopy/STD swab/having a catheter inserted on the list of the most intense pains of a man's life.  Just ahead of never winning your father's approval/your favorite ball team losing a big game.

Anyhow, I finished 3rd among the aspiring Medicare recipients.  The two guys ahead of me must have absolutely no life whatsoever!  Seriously, we're talking no kids, rarely go out on weekends, probably have a blog and haven't been inside a movie theater since 2012.

(What's everyone looking at?)

I thought of something Saturday as I was struggling to not refund my breakfast of chocolate chip cookies and a Sun Drop (you amateur runners, don't try that at home). And that is, all the races I've ever run all have certain types of runners -- characters, if you will -- in common.

So with apologies to Mitch Albom, I now present the five people you meet when running a race:

1. Circle-Back Guy

Circle-Back Guy finishes the race in the top five overall, then as the rest of the field is still far from the finish line, they meet Circle-Back Guy jogging the course backwards.  Occasionally, he might offer words of encouragement.  But really, he's just letting you know not only did he beat you, but he's had time to grab a beverage, have his picture made for said antiquated newspaper, and jog a half-mile or more the wrong way to where you are coming to grips that your life is most likely going to end right here on this wretched 10K course.

It's a real life #humblebrag is what it is.

Sometimes I like to pretend CBG locked his keys in his car so he has to jog all the way home from the race.  (Because he can't afford a locksmith and doesn't have any friends or family he can call?)  And if I weren't in the midst of struggling for my final breaths upon this Earth, that would make me smile.

Oh, and just in case you're wondering, I AIN'T no circle-back guy.  Hey-o!

2. The Can't-Pass-Me Kid

The start of a race is like an obstacle course.  You're weaving in and out of people, trying to avoid those putting down a 12-minute mile, occasionally hurdling small children (or elbowing them out of the way, "accidentally" of course).

This is partly because a certain number of the younger kids will start off running as fast as they can.  By the half-mile mark most of them are out of breath.  But inevitably, there is at least one kid who lasts a little longer than the others.  And even though you've been gaining on him (it's almost always a boy) for a while, when he sees you about to pass him, he finds a second wind and goes back ahead of you.

I'm quite sure it is this kid who one day grows up to be the driver who suddenly speeds up just as you're about to pass them.

3. Looks-Like-Tarzan-Runs-Like-Your-Grandma Guy

Or as I like to refer to him, Edwin Poses.  This guy has all the latest gear: $200 running shoes, knee-high compression socks, heart-rate monitor, Garmin GPS Forerunner, maybe even a personal hydration system.  Looks like he came right off the pages of Runner's World magazine.

You see him before the race, you're thinking this guy's gonna be a contender.  Then you pass him around the three-quarter mile mark, huffing and puffing, but still with perfect posture, checking his pace on his Garmin.  Uh yeah, that's a 10:30 mile there, Edwin. With negative splits on the way.

4. The Unwitting Motivator

Alas, this goddess of pavement and polyester normally (and unknowingly) makes herself known to me after the first mile or so.  Once everyone has settled into their pace and all the kids have been shoved out of the way like the parting of the Red Sea, this asphalt angel appears ahead of me, ready to lead me to the promised land.  She becomes my reason, my motivation.  Because I gotta be honest, seeing my name in print in a dying media sometimes isn't enough anymore.

She can be older, younger, or indeterminate.  Really anyone with a ponytail and a sub-9-minute-mile pace will do.  Besides, I find that the girls all start looking like Kate Upton around fainting time.

(Pause to Google-image Kate Upton.......)

Aaaaand we're back.

5. The Social Runner

The last person on our list of the five people you meet when running a race is likely one of the first persons you will encounter on race day.  This social butterfly makes the rounds before the race, introducing herself and making small talk with anyone and everyone.

It's 7 o'clock in the morning and she's just a little too happy to see everybody.  WTF?  Did she load her personal hydration system up with Red Bull?  Are they giving pre-race B-12 shots over in the medical tent?

Sometimes, she's even social during the race, especially the first couple of minutes.  And it always makes me wish I'd worn my "Back off, effer!  I don't like people." button.

I mean, if I had such a button.

I would like to close today with a PSA brought to you by NURPLED, which stands for Nippular Understanding Regarding Pain which Leads to Eventual Discharge:

Thank you.

Also, my apologies for some of the language in this post.  Horse hockey, effer, and flippin' are not words I use in everyday dialogue.  However, I felt they were necessary to convey the true feeling of various aspects of this story.

*** Readers who enjoyed this post also enjoyed the 2010 near-classic, Thursdays With Bone.  And be watching for The First Text You Get From Your Mom, the next post in my anthology of Mitch Albom tributes.

Is tributes the right word?

"Few times I've been around that track / So it's not just gonna happen like that / 'Cause I ain't no hollaback girl..."

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Sweet Home

Sweet home
Red state
My boy ain't gay
Wasn't raised that way
Don't care what you say

It's not black and white
Most times it's gray
But we were way
Too black and white
For too many days

School door's closed
Church bombs blow
Marchin' on for right and fair
Some still choose
To close their eyes
But I wish I
Could have been there

Would I have
Hidden in
Safety of my home
Would I have
Had courage to
Join in that glorious throng

Sweet home
Red state
But some of us
Are blue

Judge not
Lest ye
Grew up
In Dixie

Let us bow our heads
And pray for all
'Cause I believe God is love
And heaven is gonna be

Monday, May 12, 2014

Music Monday: The one where I mention all of you

It feels like it's been about three days since my last post.


It's been eleven.

It's mid-May and I've posted exactly four new blog entries this year.  Good heavens, the Rolling Stones put out more new material than I do.

It appears getting back into blogging is going to be more difficult than I imagined.  This must be how Mister Kotter felt when he returned to Brooklyn, "4th Largest City in America."  He gave his first test, then didn't grade it for like ten days.  (That was one of the lost episodes, I'm sure.)

Anyway, that's how I feel.  I'm Gabe Kaplan, and you guys are my Sweathogs.  Sage, you can be Washington.  Ed, you're Epstein.  Umm... Jill, you wanna be Barbarino?  I think we all agree John Travolta was as pretty as a woman anyway, am I right?

OK, scratch that.  I'm gonna need a lot more male readers for this Welcome Back, Kotter analogy to work.

How about this?  You're all Charlie's Angels, and I'm the Tom-Bosley-looking guy who played on the show.


Alright, I got it.  It's Three's Company!  TC, you're Janet.  Heidi, you're Suzanne Somers, always off writing your poetry.  I'm John Ritter, naturally.  Sage, you're Mister Furley.  MarkD, you can be Larry or Mister Roper, your choice.  Um, Cindy you can be Cindy, because obviously.  Hilary, you can be the other girl who came after Suzanne Somers. I think she was a nurse, and we can just pretend she's from Canada.

No, wait, wait, wait!  It's "Happy Days!"  I'm Scott Baio, and I've just returned from a few months away at... mechanic's school.   Sherri B, I need you to play the dual role of Joanie and Mrs. C.  Who wants to be Tom Bosley in this one?  Oh my God, why is Tom Bosley suddenly such a huge part of my life????

OK, I really got it now!  It's Facts of Life.  OKChick, you're Blair.  Cami, you can be Tootie.  Renee, you're Mrs. Garrett.  Um, Actonbell, you can be Jo, always off in the corner playing Scrabble or.... working on cars.  Pia, you're Phoebe.  J. Adamthwaite, you're Rachel.  Xinh, you can be Monica.  And I'll be George Clooney-slash-Ross... and Joey.

Am I leaving anyone out?  Oh, Jocelyn!  Alright, new show -- 90210.  You're Brenda Walsh, because she was from Minnesota.  I'm Brandon because I always wanted to be Brandon.  Blondie you're Kelly Taylor, because blonde and California.  (I like how suddenly mid-post I need to have reasons to validate the character assignments.)  And Susan, you can be Donna, since I'm pretty sure you graduated.

OK, I think that's everyone who might possibly read my blog.  It's a good thing, too.  My only other ideas were T.J. Hooker or the Harlem Globetrotters Visit Gilligan's Island (starring me as The Professor and Meadowlark Lemon).

And if I left anyone out, well, at my age that was bound to happen.  Also please don't be offended by your assignments.  Remember there are no small roles, only small actors.  It's going to take a concerted effort to pull this off, people.

Speaking of concerts.... (Sorry, that was the best I could do.  If you have any better ideas for transitioning from Meadowlark Lemon to a concert, PM me and I'll do some post-production editing.)

2014 has been the year of the concert for me.  I've been to three so far (George Strait, Randy Rogers Band, Jason Isbell) and there have been about eight more that I really wanted to see but couldn't justify financially (Springsteen, Billy Joel, Rob Thomas, to name a few).

Now if only The Hold Steady would come within a 300-mile radius.

Saturday night, we saw Jason Isbell.  I figured that would make a good Music Monday post (though I must admit I never foresaw the four-thousand-word intro about sitcoms coming).

He turned out to be much better live than on CD.  And I liked him on CD.  You know what I mean by CD right?  It just seems so odd to say MP3.  Anyhow, here is some footage I did not shoot of a performance I was not at (but I do love the song)...

"The AC hasn't worked in twenty years /  Probably never made a single person cold / But I can't say the same for me / I've done it many times..."

Thursday, May 01, 2014

The '14 Comeback Special

I'm not sure I remember how to do this.

This must be how Elvis felt during the '68 comeback special.  Come to think of it, I have put on a few extra pounds.  Do me a favor, if e'er I should be honored with a postage stamp -- posthumously or humously(???) -- please vote for Young (skinny) Bone.

Actually, some people called me Elvis in 9th grade.  And by some people, I mean, my entire class.  It's a funny story, really.  And by funny story, I mean I still cringe whenever I think about that year.

It was 1988.  The "Elvis & Me" made-for-TV movie was coming out.  My hairstylist uncle had given me a haircut, which turned out to be more of a hairdo.  One which evidently resembled that of Graceland's most famous owner.  I also curled my lip when I smiled.  I'm not really sure why I did that.  Like if I'd always done it, or if the hairdo brought it out magically.  Either way, no one was happier to see 10th grade (and return to my usual 68-year-old barber) than me.

Anyhow, getting back to the gist of why I haven't blogged in nearly three months.  Here it is: I've been busy.

Oh sure, Bone, we're all busy.  (That was you talking. You follow?)

But you don't understand.  I have the time management skills (and possibly the attention span)  of a two-year-old.  I'd been so un-busy for so long that whatever modest time management skills I may have once possessed had long ago atrophied.

So when I picked back up the second job I had last summer doing web updates for a non-profit, in addition to the freelance writing gig I still have, my regular full-time job, and mowing, well, Bone as you knew him ceased to exist.

Golfing Bone.  Making-up-Fake-Onion-stories Bone.  Napping-more-frequently-than-a-Kindergartner Bone.  That Bone is dying.  God, I hate to see him go.  But he had a good run.

Well, OK, a run.

I was hoping to not do any lawns this year since I already had a second and third job.  But one of my clients from last year texted to see if I was going to mow again.  Not wanting to disappoint anyone (except girlfriends, I'm used to that) because everyone has to like me, I said I would.

Oh, also there was a little matter of fearing I was going to be evicted, followed by my own personal version of Property Virgins, making an offer on two houses literally hours after they'd sold, then pulling an offer on a third before everything finally worked out on house number 4.

So yeah, I finally lost my virginity.  I'm a homeowner.  Or, will be in 359 more easy monthly installments.

The year hasn't been without its share of tragedy, though.  First, I got a speeding ticket on the way to mow the yard I hoped I wouldn't have to mow for (allegedly) doing 45 in a 30mph zone.  I'm such a danger to society!  Sleep well, America, knowing that your hard-earned tax dollars are going to protect the streets from people driving 45mph.

And most devastatingly, I saw a 24-game Words With Friends winning streak come to an end.  Lost to an ex-girlfriend.  And not even the smart one.  This is why you shouldn't maintain contact with your exes.

But it hasn't all been disappointment.  I mean, we found out that Ted and Robin did wind up together in the end.  (Suck it, Barney!)  And I landed a side gig playing the Easter Bunny at a children's store.

Yes, that's an Easter Bunny selfie.  It's entirely possible my life has reached its pinnacle.

I suppose that's all for now.  I'm off to the Jungle Room.  OK, I don't really have a Jungle Room.  But we did paint the guest bathroom a color called "gentle pasture."  I spend quite a bit of time in there.

I like to think of it as my own little meditation garden.

"You can't drive through Talladega on a weekend in October / Head up north to Jacksonville / Cut around and over / Watch your speed in Boiling Springs / They ain't got a thing to do / They'll get you every time / Somebody take me home / Through those Alabama pines..."

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

The Snow & The South

Snowpocalypse.  Snowtastrophe.  Snow-anu Reeves.  Whatever you want to call it, the latest winter disaster has come and gone.  And while we only got a few flakes here in Boneville, parts south and east of here were left paralyzed beneath two inches of snow and ice.

Personally, I prefer to call it Snownado, if only because I would hope to get Ian Ziering to star in the documentary.  In fact, I would like to copyright "snownado" at this time, as much as it is possible to copyright a thing by writing it in a blog.

Some have even chosen to use the occasion to poke fun at the South.  Oh sure, first we lose the Civil War, allegedly, and now this.  That's piling on a bit, don't you think?

I wonder if any of these union sympathizers are aware that a human being can drown in less than two inches of water.  And we all know where snow comes from, right?  Hang on, let me Wikipedia this....  Ah, just as I thought: frozen water! 

To understand snow in the South, you must first understand that actual snow and the possibility of snow are two very different things.

The possibility of snow is the more common occurrence.  Far more common.

Several times per winter -- I'd guesstimate twelve to fifteen -- our trusty local weathermen will call for a chance of snow.  This despite the fact we only get one or two measurable snows in a good year.  Is trusty the right word?

This forecast of snow sets in motion a semi-chaotic, yet selfsame response akin to kicking an ant hill, wherein thousands of people flock to their local supermarket to purchase two items:


And bread.

For reasons I've yet to fully understand, this seems to be the number one key to surviving a Snowmageddon in the South.  Salt trucks, portable heaters, generators -- those things are nice.  But you first must have your milk and your bread or you will find yourself in an unspeakable state of... something... terrible.  I guess.

And if it's supposed to snow on Friday, don't wait until Thursday night to try and purchase your milk and your bread.  For then, my friend, you will have found yourself a real life character in one of Aesop's fabled... well, fables.

You will be the grasshopper, left with no bread and a pint of half and half, if you're lucky.  While the rest of the ants who prepared for the winter (storm) will be drinking their gallons of 1% and eating Sunbeam for days! 

Now once the possibility of snow is put forth by those prognosticators of nature, as you might guess that becomes the main topic of conversation anywhere you go.  "Do you think it's gonna snow?"  "Are y'all ready for the snow?"  "Man, I hope it snows!"  And of course, "Have you got your milk and bread yet?"

Another occurrence that has become popular in recent years is delaying or canceling schools at the mere mention of snow.  A few weeks ago, several school systems announced on Friday that they would be delaying school by two hours on Monday morning because there was a chance of snow on Sunday.  Which for some reason just makes me want to tell someone I'd gladly pay them Tuesday for a hamburger today.

I think just maybe we're paying a little too much credence to these extended forecasts.  As my friend (as I'm sure he would be if we had ever met) and Super Bowl commercial star Jerry Seinfeld once said, "If the five-day forecast were accurate, we'd only need to watch the weather every five days."

Now let's talk about that rare and wonderful phenomenon known as actual snow, as it pertains to the Deep South.

Actual snow dominates the conversation even more than the possibility of snow.  "It's snowing!!!"  "Is it snowing there yet?"  "Have ya'll been out to play in it?"  And of course, "Thank goodness I got my milk and bread yesterday."

If there is snow on the roads, even as much as a quarter of an inch, businesses close, schools close for days!  No one goes anywhere.  Quite simply, everything shuts down.  And we're fine with that.

We don't have some Joe Road Grader coming by every ten minutes to clear our roads.  You wanna know what we use to clear our roads if it snows?  Only a little ball of burning gases known as the sun.  Perhaps you've heard of it.

So without trivial things such as work, school, or driving to contend with, we are free to enjoy the snow as I believe it was intended:  As the central ingredient of snow cream.  That's basically some parts snow, some parts milk, some parts sugar, and a touch of vanilla.  Good thing we bought that milk.

We make snowmen, and snow angels. We go sledding, even though we have little to no sledding experience.  This sometimes leads to injuries and trips to the ER.  And we're fine with that.

But we don't drive.

That's what made last week's snownado aftermath so perplexing at first.  And yet, once I really thought about it, it made perfect sense.

We were driving.  ("We" meaning Southerners.)  It started snowing.  So we stopped our cars in the middle of the interstate, said "Eff this crap," and waited for somebody on an ATV to come and get us.  Fortunately, based on some raw data I accumulated by driving down a back road the other day and looking in people's yards, like 87% of Southerners own an ATV.

I did see on Twitter one of the Birmingham weathermen was apologizing for badly botching the forecast last week. That might help explain why so many were on the roads as if there were no possibility of snow whatsoever.

Naturally, there is another chance of snow in our forecast for this weekend.  Thereupon, I am reminded of one of Aesop's lesser known tales: 

The weatherman who cried wolf.

"April, all an ocean away / Is this the better way to spend the day / Keeping the winter at bay..."

Monday, January 27, 2014

Music Monday: Whatever happened to Nelly

Thoughts and ruminations while watching the Grammys last night...

There's nothing like watching a few minutes of the Grammys (or listening to Top 40 radio) to make one realize just how out of touch one is with popular music.

What happened to Nelly?  I feel like the last time I was anywhere near knowing what was going on in hip hop Nelly was involved.

I've discovered something about myself while listening to Metallica:  I really prefer songs with words I can understand. 

On that note, I miss Adele.

I have developed an unhealthy disdain for Neil Patrick Harris, ever since he began dating Robin and How I Met Your Mother went down the toilet.  I'm sorry that was crass.  Allow me to rephrase: down the crapper.

You know what would be really cool?  If those robots turned out to be Milli Vanilli.

I wonder if the Grammys will bring back Nickelback in 2024 and let all the current artists say how inspired they were by them.  Yeah, probably not.

And introducing a brand new feature I like to call "Overheard in my living room while watching the Grammys." Or as it is less commonly known, IYROOBTY presents OIMLRWWTG:

"Good grief, what is with all the Band Perry ads during the Grammys?"
"Uh, that's Shakira."

There.  Now you've gotten to experience what it's like to watch the Grammys with Bone.  And this way we didn't even have to have one of those awkward moments where we're sitting on the couch together and our hands touch and we wonder if we should just leave them there and see where it leads, or move them and never speak of it again.

Thank God.

Well, it's a Music Monday, on a Monday no less!  I feel safe in saying you'll never see this song on the Grammys.  And to date, I can't say I've ever actually heard it on the radio.  Boy, I really should be in promotions or marketing or something.

Over the past several years, I've gradually lost interest in much of what gets played on mainstream country radio.  Thankfully, there are still "country" options out there, you just have a dig a little.

I was introduced to the Randy Rogers Band 3 or 4 years ago.  According to Wikipedia, they are classified as "Texas Country," which to me sounds a lot like what used to be simply called country.

They are coming to Marathon Music Works in Nashville next month, and I'm hoping to go.  (After all, I do have a birthday coming up.)  This is my favorite song of theirs, and it always seems to come to mind when the weather turns cold.

"I'm just not same / I walk down these streets / I swear I hear your name / But it's just in my head / Wish you were in my arms instead..."

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Rochester Woman Announces Retirement from Candy Crush

(This is the third article from/for my yet-to-be-established website,

Citing a fractured family life, general malaise, and the fact she doesn't even know the name of The Bachelor this season, Rochester's Anita Lyfe announced her retirement from the popular Facebook game, Candy Crush Saga, on Tuesday.

According to one co-worker, Lyfe had just completed level 417 when she put down her iPhone and said simply, "No mas."

When reached for comment, Lyfe deadpanned, "There's only so much jelly one person can clear." 

Asked later what she planned to do with the ten to twelve hours per day she spent playing Candy Crush Saga, the mother of two said she didn't really have any plans.  "I haven't thought that far ahead, to be honest.  Obviously, I need to catch up on The Bachelor.  And I guess I could try talking to uh, what's his name, my husband.  Or finding out what's going on with my kids in school."

When informed her oldest child had graduated from school last year, Lyfe appeared confused, as if she didn't quite understand the words that were being spoken.  And if only for that instant, some say she became an almost sympathetic figure.

As for a possible comeback, Lyfe didn't completely rule out the notion, saying only, "I mean, you never say never.  But right now, I don't care if I ever see another green Chiclet thingy, grape hexagon, or blue ball in my life!"

Lyfe also revealed she thinks she may have the beginning stages of carpal tunnel syndrome.  "Best I can tell from the WebMD symptom checker, it's either that, shingles, or osteomyelitis, whatever THAT is.  So I'm going with carpal tunnel."

The money they will save from in-app purchases will more than pay for her carpal tunnel treatment, according to Anita's husband, F. M. Lyfe.

"Sugar, ah, honey honey / You are my candy girl / And you got me wanting you..."