Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Nine iron over the starboard side

I consider myself to be somewhat athletic. I try and go running at least two or three times a week, I've played on several slow-pitch softball teams over the years, I've bowled my share of 200+ games, etc. I enjoy sports, whether watching or participating. And I feel that with time and practice I've been able to become at least decent at every sport I've tried.

Every sport that is, except one.

An old joke says, "Golf is a four-letter word." Another says, "Golf can best be described as an endless series of tragedies obscured by the occasional miracle."

Truer words have never been spoken. I took up golf several years ago and found it to be by far the most difficult sport I've ever tried to learn. It has, in a sense, become my white whale.

When I was golfing, I measured my progress less by scorecard and more by the number of balls I lost per round. When I began, losing six balls a round in the water, woods, or across the street in someone's front yard was commonplace. By the time I stopped playing, I was finishing most rounds with all my balls present and accounted for.

I haven't been golfing in six or seven years. My clubs, of which I never broke a single one, sit in one corner of my office. Some days they seem to taunt me, reminding me that I never conquered this game.

Also, for some odd reason, I've had an abnormal number of dreams about golf over the years. Even though I was never very good, and never even played that much, I would dream about it. And I would wake up wanting to go golfing. Why? I suck at it. So why do I enjoy it so much? What is the allure of golf?

I may not be able to answer that question, but the simple fact is that for whatever reason, men love golf. Golf and cars. Think about when man walked on the moon. What are two of the things you remember most about that? They hit a golf ball and they drove around in that little car.

I have a feeling the golf thing wasn't even approved by NASA. It probably went something like this:

Buzz: "Dude, you're bringing golf clubs on the space capsule?"
Neil: "Yeah, you know, in case we get bored. Have you seen those moon pictures? It's so barren and gray. Don't mention this to anyone, but honestly, it looks kinda lame."

And that US flag they brought? That wasn't some stake of claim. That was a flagstick so Neil would know where the hole was.

(Yes, I'm aware Alan Shepard is the astronaut who golfed on the moon, but I workshopped this using Alan. Not as funny as Buzz and Neil.)

So this past weekend, I loaded my harpoons in the back of the Pequod and went to the driving range in pursuit yet again of my white whale. After spending roughly an hour spraying a bucketful of dimpled projectiles in a variety of directions and distances, one thing became crystal clear. I suck.

But also, I've got the fever again. I'm back on the wagon, or golf cart, as the case may be. And no water hazard is safe.

Standing there after I shanked my first shot off the tee Sunday, those immortal words from 38 years ago wafted through my mind. Slightly altered, of course.

One small swing for man, one giant slice for Bone.

"Swing, swing, swing, from the tangles of, my heart is crushed by a former love. Can you help me find a way to carry on again?"

Saturday, July 28, 2007

The voice of a not-so-new generation

According to Wikipedia, my personal source for all things relevant and otherwise, Generation X refers to persons born between the years 1961 and 1981.

I've never cared for the term myself. For years, I didn't even know what it was supposed to mean. When I finally looked it up, I did not feel it described me well at all. Much like my high school code of conduct, I do not think it applies to me. So I set out to redefine, and rename, my generation.

It is a generation who purchased cassette singles and understood the emotional value of a mix tape; who generally have a great appreciation and longing for 80's music, television, and movies; who went to arcades to play video games; who know that Alf is from Melmac and Mork is from Ork; and who can scarcely remember a time when Vanna White was not on TV.

It saddens me to think the next generation will never know the utter joy of purchasing a cassette single. They'll never know the experience of listening to the B-side and hearing either a totally crap song, or a song you wind up liking better than the A-side. Heck, they may not even know what an A-side is.

Sure, spending $3.49 for one or two songs rather than $8.99 for the entire album might seem impractical. But with artists like Deon Estus, Sheriff, and Right Said Fred, you typically didn't want the whole album.

Also, when you were only making $3.85 an hour stocking shelves and collecting buggies at the grocery store, you knew that extra five bucks meant a meal at Taco Bell and two dollars gas to get you home.

It saddens me that the next generation may never know the thrill of having a numeric-only pager. There were no ringtones. Your only two options were tone or vibrate. And unlimited paging was $9.95 per month, also known as, the price of cool.

How will they survive never knowing what 143 means? Not to mention the life skills learned when you got a page followed by "911" and had to drive around and find a payphone to call the person back. I would venture a guess that a significant percentage of the population today have never even used a payphone. What a frightening thought.

It saddens me to think the next generation never got to enjoy Must See TV, the pinnacle of prime time television. To them, Cliff Huxtable, Alex P. Keaton, and Sam Malone are just characters dressed in out-of-style clothes that they might occasionally flip past on TVLand or Nick At Nite. They probably think Reality TV is good TV. Danny Tanner getting caught kissing DJ's teacher at school. That's good TV.

The Cosby Show, Newhart, Cheers, Growing Pains, Family Ties, The Hogan Family, Silver Spoons, Perfect Strangers, Who's The Boss, Head Of The Class, Charles In Charge, Night Court, and on and on--the 80's was the sitcom decade.

Wait a second... I think that's it!

Yes. That's it.

I, Bone, in front of God, bloggers everywhere, and bitter ex-girlfriends who lurk on my blog, do hereby coin the phrase, The Sitcom Generation.

We may be forced to watch reality TV, but that doesn't mean we have to like it. You can kill the sitcom, but you cannot kill us. Why? Because we learned how to obtain infinite lives on Super Mario Brothers.

Now if you'll excuse me, I believe VH-1 is about to replay the most recent episode of Scott Baio Is 45 & Single.

143 all.

"When did reality become TV? Whatever happened to sitcoms, game shows? And on the radio Springsteen, Madonna. Way before Nirvana, there was U2, and Blondie,
and music still on MTV..."

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

3WW #45

Welcome to Three Word Wednesday. Each week, I will post three (or more) random words. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write something using all of those words. It can be a few lines, a story, a poem, anything. I'll also attempt to write something using the same three words.

Leave a comment if you participate. Many fun and interesting people might visit your blog.

This week's words are:

Dyersville Tax Service & Travel Agency is located in a tiny office in the rear of the local dry cleaners. Perhaps that should have been my first sign. Peering thru the window before I entered, I saw a counter. Beyond that sat a man with his head resting on a desk.

As I opened the door, a bell dinged, and the man raised his head and looked in my direction. He was middle-aged, with dark, curly hair.

"M-may I help you, s-sir?" he asked, trying to appear as if he had not been asleep.

"I'm looking to book a vacation," I paused, as I had to move over to the side so that the door would have room to close. "To Hawaii." I said it almost inquisitively, as if I wasn't sure if he'd ever heard of the state.

"A wonderful choice, sir," he responded, appearing to become more awake with each passing second. "And you can leave your lava lamps at home."

He looked at me with a goofy teeth-baring grin and paused, as if waiting for a reaction. When none came, he continued, "Uh, please have a seat, won't you."

I looked around to find only a single metal stool. As I planted myself there, the man turned towards his computer. That's when I heard the old, familiar sounds of dial-up internet.

You've got to be kidding me, I thought to myself. Already I was beginning to question my decision to come here. It had seemed like such a noble gesture in theory, going out of my way to support a small business.

Finally, the screeching of the connection process was over. I tried to relax. Maybe this won't be so bad, I thought. Besides, isn't this one of the reasons I had moved to a small town, for the slower pace?

"Never booked a trip to Hawaii before," he said it almost excitedly, as if he were the traveler instead of me.

What was I thinking? I should have booked this trip online. I began to think of ways to get out of this. I wasn't bold enough to just walk out and say I'd changed my mind. No, there had to be a good excuse. Besides, how many trips a year could this guy possibly book? Ten, twelve, tops? I felt sorry for him, and somehow obligated now.

I know. Whatever price he quotes, I'll just say it's too expensive. That's easy enough, right? But what if it's really cheap?

As I continued thinking, my gaze shifted upward to where an old two-blade ceiling fan twisted slowly, looking as if it might stop at any moment. Maybe it will fall and land on him. Then I'll leap over the counter to save his life, and any thoughts about some Hawaii trip would be completely forgotten. Problem solved.

I watched the fan, hoping against hope. Maybe I can will it to fall, like those mind over matter people. If they can move inanimate objects, why can't I? I just have to concentrate, that's all.

As I focused on the ceiling fan, my impromptu session of What Would Criss Angel Do was ended by an electronic beeping sound. Jolted back to reality, I looked down to see the man fiddling with something on his side.

What's that? A pager? And a neon green one at that. No. It can't possibly be! A pager and dial-up internet? I've got to get out of here. I'll just leave. Yes, that's it. I'll stand up, and I won't say anything, and I'll walk out the door, and I'll never see him again, and that'll be that.



Come on! Go!

But my body wasn't moving.

"It won't be long now," he said as he shot a reassuring smile my way before returning his attention to what I was certain was an Apple IIe.

If only I could control-open-apple-reset my day.

"Now the court square's just a set of streets that the people go around but they seldom think, about the little man that built this town before the big money shut 'em down..."

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The next "first thing to go"

I am 34 years old. I wear glasses or contacts. My vision started going when I was in high school. My first pair of glasses were bright yellow gold and ugly, so I only wore them for a few months, then they broke. Accidentally, of course.

In college, my vision problems resurfaced. Anytime we had to copy notes off the board, I'd be forced to move from my typical seat near the back of the classroom to a chair near the front where I could see. In one class, there was a girl who always had to do the same thing, which made me feel better. I almost asked her out because I figured we shared some kind of warped cornea bond.

The thing about worsening vision is that it's typically so gradual, you don't realize it's happening. For the longest time, I just thought the blackboard looked blurry to everyone.

Zoom forward to 2007.

I was watching TV with a friend recently. The volume was so low that I could only understand like every sixth or seventh word. And only then if I strained. I kept waiting for my friend to turn up the volume, but it never happened. After a couple of minutes of unintelligible TV viewing, it hit me.

"Can you hear that?" I asked.

"Yeah. It's a little low, but I can hear it. Can you not?"


And there it was, in black and white. Or more accurately, in mumbling and white noise. I guess this is what comes from wearing earphones for much of the past seventeen years. I'm losing my hearing.

Well that's just great!

First my vision. Then my memory. Then my knees started aching occasionally when I went running. And now this. I'm only 34 years old, for crying out loud. Kenny Rogers has wives older than me.

What's next? Crow's feet? My butt disappears? Enlarged prostate? I tell you one thing, if I start experiencing weak stream or incomplete emptying, I may be googling Kevorkian. Or at the very least, Wilfred Brimley.

In the meantime, maybe I should stop so thoughtlessly discarding those mail-outs I keep getting from the Scooter Store.

"What's the matter girl, well don't you think I'm bright enough? This old man had a hard time getting here. You can leave your number at the door..."

Friday, July 20, 2007

An ode to Mike D

So am I the only one excited about this Scott Baio Is 45 & Single show?

*crickets chirp*

OK, well so maybe I am. But I think his life and mine share several parallels. We're both single. Neither of us have landed a prominent acting role in the past fifteen years. And while we're at it, whatever happened to Buddy Limbeck?

The first time I remember hearing the Beastie Boys, I was in eighth grade. And while "You Gotta Fight For Your Right" was about as rebellious as I was to get, it was their other songs that got me hooked on the Beastie's catchy rhymes and def beats.

Lyrics like "we went to White Castle and we got thrown out" or "he recognized my girlie from the back of her head" seemed to speak directly to my 13-year-old soul.

I recall sitting in my eighth grade English class rapping back and forth to "Paul Revere" with Axl, as Tabitha Aldridge, a cute cheerleader in our class, listened intently. She was smiling and obviously amazed by the sheer magniture of our Beastie-ness. When I got to the wiffle ball bat line, I knew by the look on her face that girls loved rappers.

Thus began my phase of composing three-part color-coded rap lyrics for Axl, Hollywood, and myself. I used the classic four-color blue-barrelled Bic pen to compose my def jams. Most were written during Home Economics, in between knitting Jam shorts and baking peanut butter cookies. I was hardcore.

The words juice, jammy, and girlie dominated my vocabulary in 1987 and 1988. But as time passed, the Beasties changed, and so did I. Cargo shorts and flip-flops have replaced my Jams and British Knights. And I now prefer the single-colored Bic Cristal Classic ball point pen, or the charcoal-barrelled black felt tip pen with the yellow-ended cap.

The Beasties became involved with various causes and charities. They organized and performed at the New Yorkers Against Violence Concert in October 2001. Their music has continued to evolve as well, yet the one constant remains their fresh, clever rhymes. After all these years, the Beastie Boys have managed to remain chill.

So here's to Mike D, MCA, King Ad-Rock, and doing whatever it takes to impress the girlies. Some things never go out of style.

"Well, now, don't you tell me to smile. You stick around I'll make it worth your while. Got numbers beyond what you can dial. Maybe it's because I'm so versatile..."

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Welcome to Three Word Wednesday. Each week, I will post three (or more) random words. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write something using all of those words. It can be a few lines, a story, a poem, anything. I'll also attempt to write something using the same three words.

Leave a comment if you participate. Many fun and interesting people might visit your blog.

This week's words are:

tepid hands tremble
heart pounds in head
eyes glazed over
refuse every tear

faucet turned on
noise needed
weakness revealed
my deepest fear

mirror cracked
still reflecting
glaring, ashamed
i cannot cope

fingers clench
muscles tighten
a single stick
in place of hope

"We're all looking for love and meaning in our lives. We follow the roads that lead us, to drugs or Jesus..."

Monday, July 16, 2007

Panama City '07

Is it just me, or does the beach seem empty without Bone?

If you read Friday's post carefully, you realize I never mentioned exactly where I was going. Sorry to be so secretive, but I'm sure most of you know how annoying the blog paparazzi can be.

Wolfgang, Little Joe, and I left early Friday morning. We stayed at the Boardwalk Beach Resort in Panama City, Florida. I'd driven over from Destin to Panama City before, but this was my first time to stay there.

After this trip, I can say without a doubt that I prefer Destin to Panama City. The hotel was excellent for the money. However, the crowd seemed more heavily teenaged and college-aged, and the water was quite seaweedy. I may or may not have just invented that word. Just go with it.

Nevertheless, it's the beach. Much time was spent swimming, floating, throwing frisbee and football, and lying in the sun. A fun time was had by all. But that's not to say there weren't a few minor mishaps along the way. I mean, with the Darryls, anything less would be disappointing.

The first misadventure of the weekend occurred Friday afternoon. Wolfgang had just gotten in the ocean when a wave crashed over my near-sighted, swimming-impaired friend, knocking off his glasses. He never found them, and spent the rest of the weekend trying to squint his way down to like 20/60 vision.

Our second misadventure occurred Friday night. As we drove around looking for something to eat, Wolfgang kept mentioning someplace called the All American Diner that he had eaten at before. Though it didn't sound extremely appetizing, I went with his suggestion, since this was the first time in two trips to the beach that either of them had come close to making a decision.

I was figuring the AAD would be like a Johnny Rockets, or maybe Al's Diner from Happy Days. Well, I never ate at Al's, but I don't remember the Fonz ever heaving in the "office."

A few minutes after we got back in the car, Wolfgang began complaining that his stomach was hurting. Mine was, too. Though I deserved it for violating my never-eat-cole-slaw-at-a-place-with-diner-in-its-name rule. As he groaned from the backseat, Wolfgang remarked, "Well, that's the second bad experience I've had there." Um, excuse me? Then why in the world did you recommend it?!

Other than the ocean itself--the breeze, the sand, the waves, yada yada yada--my favorite thing about going to the beach is delighting my palate with delicious seafood. Needless to say, I picked where we ate for the rest of the weekend.

We ate Saturday evening at Pineapple Willy's, a little place located right on the beach where I finally got my seafood fix. The food and service were outstanding. Then Sunday before we left, we drove over towards Destin and had breakfast at my beloved Donut Hole. I brought home some key lime donuts.

In order to eliminate last year's issue of how to get sunscreen on my back, I came equipped this year with some SPF 10 spray-on sunblock, along with some SPF 8 and SPF 15 lotion. Still somehow my shoulders, chest, and stomach wound up the color of Revlon Cozy Rosy lipstick. On the good side, it gives me an excuse to cover myself liberally in aloe at least three times a day, which is never a bad thing.

With the sunscreen problem of a year ago alleviated, the most pressing issue facing the three virile amigos this year was where to sleep. While the hotel was right on the beach and fine otherwise, it only included two beds which were barely twin-sized, if that.

So we decided to play Xbox Friday night to decide who would get a bed to himself. Because that just seemed like the logical thing to do. And playing video games in the hotel room is what everyone does when they're at the beach, right? (We also made two trips to Wal-Mart, but I'm not sure any of you are ready for that much excitement yet.)

Well, Little Joe won at Xbox, which left Wolfgang and I to share a bed, or so I thought. I was planning on using towels and spare pillows to construct a hetero barrier down the center of the bed so as to avoid any awkward incidental touching during the night. But then out of the blue, Wolfgang volunteered to sleep on the floor, saying he wouldn't feel right about sharing a bed with me.

Saturday night, we played miniature golf to determine who got a bed to himself. I won, and I'm fully expecting Wolfgang or Little Joe to sleep on the floor. But no, they both sleep in the other bed. So Wolfgang isn't comfortable sleeping in the same bed with me, but he's fine sleeping with Little Joe? I wasn't sure whether to be offended or... very afraid. I'm still not.

The only other misadventure from the weekend that comes to mind is LJ's fashion "choices." Friday, he wore a hot pink Jesse Owens Memorial Run t-shirt from like 1995. Saturday, he sported a bright yellow Bowling For Kids Junior Achievement t-shirt. And Sunday, he selected a George Strait concert tee, circa 1998, which featured a large picture of King George himself on the front. All, of course, perfectly accented by his solid white Reeboks.

And this is my wingman?

"Now I've gotta say that the wind and the waves and the moon winking down at me, eases my mind..."

Friday, July 13, 2007

Larry, Darryl, & Darryl go to the beach

No, it's not a Newhart reunion movie, unfortunately. I'm off to the land of sun, sand, and waves with Wolfgang and Little Joe for the weekend. Hopefully, I shall return with many fun tales, and a tan.

Have a fabulous weekend!

"I took off for a weekend last month, just to try and recall the whole year. All of the faces and all of the places, wondering where they all disappeared..."

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Three Word Wednesday #43

After a one-week hiatus, the blogosphere's twelfth most popular writing exercise is back!

Each week, I will post three (or more) random words. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write something using all of those words. It can be a few lines, a story, a poem, anything. I'll also attempt to write something using the same three words.

Leave a comment if you participate. Many fun and interesting people might visit your blog.

This week's words are:

It was a quarter to nine and the laundromat was completely empty, save for the cashier, a burly dark-skinned man with a ring of unkempt black hair around the perimeter of his head, who more times than not appeared to be asleep.

There was an island of washing machines in the middle of the room. The dryers were along the back wall. At the far end of the building opposite the cashier stood a snack machine, a drink machine, and a Galaga game. Jason and Lacey were at the last washing machine nearest the snack machine.

Jason had figured this would be the perfect place to confront her. No phones, no television, no distractions. She wouldn't be able to leave until the clothes were finished. He waited until she had finished putting the first load into the washer and closed the lid.

"So... who's Alex?" he asked as nonchalantly as possible, which wasn't very.

Lacey, who had been walking towards a chair, stopped and spun to face Jason, who was leaned against the washing machine.

"Where did you hear that name?" she asked, almost angrily.

"It doesn't matter where. Who is he?" Jason shot back quickly, not backing down.

"Where did you get that name from?!" Lacey demanded, her voice now raised to a level that could surely be heard by the cashier.

"From your phone," Jason admitted, calmly.

"From my phone?! What were you doing going thru my phone?!" She was getting more agitated by the minute.

"Come on, Lacey. Your phone is always ringing. You never tell me who it is. You never volunteer any information at all. You're so closed off and private." Even as he spoke, Jason felt as if he had suddenly crossed a line.

"Did it ever cross your tiny, self-centered brain that maybe there's a reason I'm that way. That maybe, just possibly, there are some things you don't need to know, and wouldn't want to know about me?"

"You're just avoiding the question, Lacey," Jason accused.

"And you're a jealous jerk who up until five minutes ago I thought trusted me!"

Tears had begun to stream down her face. But even as he watched them fall, Jason couldn't help wondering if they were real or merely tears of convenience. Lacey picked up her purse and marched towards the door.

"Where are you going?" Jason's question went unanswered.

When the door closed, Jason glanced up towards the counter where the burly cashier had apparently taken an interest in the scene that had just played out.

"Never seen one leave that fast before," the cashier spoke as if talking to himself, barely shaking his head. "Didn't even make it to the rinse cycle."

"No I would not sleep in this bed of lies, so toss me out and turn in. And there'll be no rest for these tired eyes. I'm marking it down to learning..."

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Remembering Pablo...

We are here today to celebrate the life of Pablo Picasso, the famed Betta fish. Pablo died Monday, July 9, 2007, of unknown causes. His age was at least twenty-six months. He will be mourned by many.

Though Pablo's exact origins are unknown, his owner liked to claim he was born near the equator, in the tropical waters around Borneo. Mistakenly named after the famed Spanish painter Pablo Picasso, due to his lack of any visible ears, the little blue Betta was destined for greatness.

The first known recorded sighting of Pablo was in the Fish Bowl region of Wal-Mart, where he spent many mostly boring days. After escaping from there with most of his youth still intact, Pablo moved into an apartment in May of 2005. A few short months later, he moved again, this time into the two-bedroom-one-bath bachelor paradise where he would spend the rest of his days.

Originally intended to be nothing more than a Mother's Day present, Pablo used his charm to convince his owner to keep him. Hopelessly attached to the little feller after only a few hours, Pablo's owner would go out and buy another Betta and another aquarium to be given for the Mother's Day gift.

Often lauded by his owner as the "most handsome fish in the world," Pablo developed many talents, such as being able to hear footsteps on the stairs, and looking irresistibly cute.

Pablo was a fun-loving fish whose preferred pasttimes included swimming, eating, and napping. He also seemed fascinated by the television and watching his owner dance. Pablo did not appear to be a fan of car rides or cameras. Some of his favorite things were Betta Gold pellets and distilled water, and he was known to occasionally nibble on a Fruity Pebble.

Pablo was a friend and a companion. A pet in a place where no pets were allowed. He brought life, warmth, and laughter to his home. His passing leaves a huge void. And he will be missed always.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Friends don't let friends...

Several months ago I was at dinner with some friends when one asked if I was still talking to a particular ex-girlfriend. I informed her that I was not, and she replied with "That's probably a good thing."

I was aghast. How could everyone not be completely enamored with any female I might choose to date?

Hard as it was to believe, apparently it was true. Further conversation revealed a couple of other friends held a not-so-favorable opinion of this girl, as well. It was a real eye-opener for me. Like a cool, fresh bar of Coast in a morning shower.

I asked my friend why she had never said anything about this before. She responded that I never seemed all that serious about the relationship and she figured it would pass. It did.

But what if it hadn't? Would she have said anything? Would I have listened?

This is a not uncommon predicament in life. As long as we are single or have friends who are single, there will be situations like this. More times than not, I've found myself on the opposite side of the fence, wondering if I should say something to a friend whose significant other, well, had significant issues.

Inevitably, I wind up asking myself the same questions. What do I say? Do I say anything? How long should I wait before saying it? Is it really any of my business? Should I keep my mouth shut and just hope for the best? And even if I do say something, will it do any good?

Well, my friends, allow me to answer all of the above questions for you with one simple sentence: I have no idea.

At this point in my life, I tend to stay out of other people's business. I figure relationships are difficult enough without outside interference. And undoubtedly friendships have been damaged, some completely destroyed, because one friend decided to say something.

On the other hand, love is blind. And I would venture to say that lust is, too. As in my situation, the person in the relationship is usually the last one to see the signs that are so obvious to everyone else.

Do we not owe it to our friends to warn them if we think they are heading down a road strewn with certain pitfalls and probable STD's? After all, certainly there have been times in our dating history when most of us could have used a stiff smack to the forehead and someone questioning, "What are you thinking?!"

Good friends know us better than most anyone. They don't usually have ulterior motives. So if a good friend does voice an opinion, listen. Or don't. But don't let it ruin the friendship. More times than not, friends will be around long after the non-platonic relationship is gone.

And if several friends you've known for five, ten years or longer have a problem with someone you're dating, that should probably send up a few red flags. Then again, looking thru rose-colored glasses, red flags appear to be white.

There used to be a popular ad campaign which used the slogan, "Friends don't let friends drive drunk." But what about relationships? How far does a friend's responsibility go when it comes to dating under the influence?

"What would Brian Boitano do if he were here right now? He'd make a plan and follow through. That's what Brian Boitano'd do..."

Friday, July 06, 2007

Banned in the USA?

I hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July. As I'm sure many of you surmised, I took the holiday off from 3WW. It will return next week.

These are the dog days of summer. No, they really are, literally. At least for those of us in the northern hemisphere, here on planet Earth.

I did enjoy the day off of work on Wednesday. Three day weekends are nice, but I think I could really get used to a four-day work week with every Wednesday off. Think about it. You'd work two days, be off one, work two days, be off two. It breaks up the monotony quite nicely. Monday would feel like Thursday. It's almost like not working at all. Let's see about getting that instituted.

This morning, I took my car to a trusted mechanic just to have it checked out. I have a few road trips upcoming, including the beach in eight days and Bama football games this fall. He said everything looked fine. So it wound up being $40. Forty dollars for peace of mind. If only I could bottle that up.

I spent much of Tuesday night and Wednesday at my sister's. She had two cookouts. The festivities included seeing my Dad get into a swimming pool for the first time in probably twenty years or more. That was both kinda cool and a bit odd.

Meanwhile, with no regard for my virgin skin, the summer sun turned my milky white back to bright shades of pinkish red. This happened after I decided to experiment with some SPF 4 sunscreen, as opposed to my usual SPF 15. I guess those numbers really do mean something after all.

As we were eating Wednesday, a phone started ringing. It sounded like a landline rather than a cell ringtone to me. It rang about five times, yet no one moved. Finally I looked around the table and asked suspiciously, "Am I the only one who hears that?"

Turns out it was my sister's husband's cell phone. He was outside at the time. It just had a bit of a deceptive ring, and apparently everyone knew it but me.

I didn't go to any fireworks shows this year, nor did I shoot any. There was a ban on certain fireworks around here due to the lack of rain. Not wanting to risk committing another felony, I decided to spend my money on Sun Drops and barbecue fried pork skins.

But really, a ban on fireworks? Isn't this America, land of the free, home of the M-80's? Next thing you know, they'll be trying to stop high-ranking government officials from doling out pardons left and right to friends who have been convicted of committing high crimes.

Please. Not in my country.

Ever since the very first Fourth of July celebration in 1777, Americans have been shooting fireworks. Although I'm not sure exactly what fireworks they had back then. Probably just some snap and pops. Oh, and I'm sure they had Ben Franklin come and do his little kite trick. But that probably got old after thirty or forty times.

Fireworks should never be banned in America. Every child should get to experience the thrill of holding a bottle rocket as it launches, or having a firecracker go off in their hand. The burning. The pain. The numbness. The ringing in your ear. The temporary uncertainty of what just happened.

I'm sorry, but you just can't simulate those feelings with some Tony Danza-hosted fireworks spectacular on television. Well, except for maybe the numbness. But I think that had more to do with Tony Danza than anything else.

"Oh let's go, let's strike a light. We're gonna blow like dynamite. I don't care if it takes all night, gonna set this town alight..."

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

What's my age again?

Happy birthday, LiLo!

Recently, a blogger friend of mine inherited something worth far more than rubies or pearls. She received an Xbox. So as she relayed to me the joys of playing Tiger Woods Golf and beating the likes of Stuart Appleby and Stewart Cink, I began to get the fever.

I considered renting Tiger Woods Golf, but then the thought of a 34-year-old man renting a video game crossed my mind, and I decided that's just not the public image I want to present.

So instead, I hooked up my old Nintendo. That's the original NES, with the familiar, classic two-button pad controller. And I began playing Tecmo Super Bowl.

So far I'm 13-0 in the 1991 NFL Season playing with the Dallas Cowboys. Emmitt Smith was kicking tail, leading the league in rushing until he got injured two weeks ago. Hopefully, he'll make it back soon. If not, that could really put a damper on our run to Super Bowl XXVI. Alonzo Highsmith is just not getting it done as his backup.

Anyway, these past couple of days (yes, you can play 13 games in two days, relatively easily) has brought back some great memories. Sore thumbs, 8-bit graphics, and having to blow on the game cartridge repeatedly when it blue screens. I never really understood how that worked, but it always does.

I feel like I'm 13 again. And in a sense, I probably am.

"No one should take themselves so seriously. With many years ahead to fall in love, why would you wish that on me? I never want to act my age. Whats my age again..."

Sunday, July 01, 2007


We said goodbye to an old friend today.

Sam has been part of our family for many years. We got him a couple of years before I moved away from home. Since I wasn't allowed to have pets where I moved, Sam remained at Dad's until my sister got married three years ago, when he went to live with her.

My sister called me today crying, telling me she thought Sam was dying. Since I had to work, I called Dad to see if he would go over there and check on the dog and my sister.

I won't go into details, but Dad said he thought Sam had a stroke. He took him to the vet, and Sam was put down this afternoon.

I went over to my sister's this evening, figuring she could use some company. I got there after 9:00, and her eyes were still puffy and swollen. We sat out by the pool and talked for an hour and a half, a little about Sam, but mostly about anything else, to try and keep her mind off of it. She took good care of Sam, and I told her that.

By all familial accounts, Sam was fourteen. I last saw him a couple of weeks ago. He was moving slowly and sleeping a lot, but he let me brush him for a few minutes. I prefer to remember his younger years.

One of his favorite games was getting out of the yard and wandering thru the neighborhood, marking his territory and "talking" to the other dogs. Almost everytime, my sister or I would have to go literally pick him up and carry him home.

Then there was his idiosyncratic two-week kibbles-only phase, where he'd pick every single kibble out of his bowl, leaving only the bits. We were about to try changing to another brand of dog food when Sam suddenly went back to eating normally again.

Dogs are a true joy. They're always excited to see you and loyal beyond compare. They become like part of the family. Losing one is tough.

I had a friend whose dog got run over several years ago. I'd never seen this guy show the slightest hint of emotion, ever. But when I asked about his dog, he was unable to speak about it.

Sam always seemed to be terrified of fireworks. He would whine and go hide in his house anytime anyone was shooting them. I suppose it's good he won't have to endure another 4th of July.

I'll miss you, ol' buddy. And thank God for dogs.