Friday, December 21, 2012

It's time to get the pole out of the crawlspace!

No, that title is not a euphemism.  Although I suppose it could be... Uh, let's not even speculate.

It is, rather, one of the traditions of that grand and most under-celebrated holiday of all: A Festivus for the rest of us!

Tonight is my annual Festivus At Bone's party/gathering/communal dinner/spontaneous relationship intervention.  What, you thought surely I wouldn't still be celebrating a fake holiday from an episode of a TV show that aired fifteen years ago?

Well, you thoroughly underestimated me.  Or is it overestimated?

This will be the ninth year for me to host a Festivus celebration.  Or eighth, I'm not entirely sure.  It really doesn't matter, for as you'll see in a moment I've taken the liberty of tabbing this the "umpteenth" one anyway.

What?  History gets rewritten as time passes.  You think George Washington was really the first President?  He was probably like the third or something and the other two guys just had bad PR.

By the time I'm done I figure this story will have morphed into me being the inventor of Festivus, who served as a consultant for the episode on Seinfeld to ensure the integrity of the holiday was not compromised, in the process becoming a comic hero of Larry David and someone he secretly considered funnier than himself... and who was romantically linked at various times in my life to Sandra Bullock, Kate Beckinsale, and possibly John Cusack.  (What? We were in Serendipity together.  I was having confusing feelings.)

But for now, I'll have to settle for being known as the guy hung up on some TV show from the '90s who held Festivus gatherings for entirely too many years in a row.  Or in other words, the guy who saved Festivus.

As a special treat to you this holiday season, I now present this year's official Festivus Evite (sent out earlier this week so as to discourage :

Bone's Umpteenth Annual Festivus
Host: Bone
When: Friday, December 21, at 6:30 PM
Where: Bone's Humble Abode (That's abode, not adobe. Although adobe would be kinda cool.) 
Address redacted so as to discourage paparazzi.

You are one of the few souls who have been generously invited to Bone's Umpteenth Annual "Festivus For The Rest Of Us."  I mean, think about it: Our of nearly 7 billion people in the world, you're one of 15 or 20 (but probably closer to 15) who have been selected.  The chosen few.  You have better odds of winning the lottery than being invited to Festivus!  And the lottery would probably be a LOT more fun. 

Nevertheless, come one, come several.  I don't know if there'll be snow, but there'll be pizza.  And probably several little kids.  (Did that sound weird?  Probably should take that part out.) 

We'll gather round the Festivus (read: coffee) table to watch the Seinfeld Festivus episode.  That'll be followed by the always contentious, yet lengthy Airing Of Grievances, then the singing of "Silver Pole."  And of course, the night will wind down with the Feats Of Strength, which this year will consist of someone trying to beat Bone at Words With Friends.  (Nearly impossible.)  Or someone trying to win an arm wrestling match with Lil' Booty.  (Less impossible.)  Or most likely, a game of Taboo.

And who knows, if the Mayans are correct, the world might actually end DURING Festivus.  Talk about a Festivus miracle!

Who wants to have some fun?

Reply options:
I wanna have some fun! (Yes)
Lalalaaaaa... I don't knoooooow. (Maybe)
I'm outta the contest!  (No)

As always, you are all invited.  Evite asks you to set a limit on the number of guests, so I put 400.  I figure that keeps anyone from feeling excluded while at the same time sufficiently violating the fire code.

And I'm still open to doing an online Airing Of Grievances this weekend if anyone is up for it.  Renee?  Ed Abbey?  Anyone???............  Uncle Leo?

As for tonight, if the world were to end mid-Festivus, I'm not sure if that would make this the best Festivus ever, or the worst.  Hmm.  I'll get back to you on that.

Or, I won't.  You know, if...  well, obviously.

"Then it's time for Feats of Strength / It's Frank Costanza's big scene / Festivus won't be o'er 'til someone's pinned / 'Neath the silver pole / Silver pole / It's Festivus in the city..."

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


There are no words.  And yet here I sit trying to come up with some.  The heartsickness, pain, anger, and utter disgust I have felt cannot be described, for they have never been felt before, not to this degree.  Wordsmiths surely never thought they'd have to come up with words for something such as this.

Every child I see reminds me of these twenty.  These who will never see their hopes realized, who never even got to dream their dreams, much less set out to chase them.

I find myself staring at their pictures and sobbing, apologizing that we failed them horribly.  Because that is how I feel.  I agree with the President.  We let those precious children down.  And it must not happen again.  Not without us doing everything within our power to prevent it.

Some will say you can never stop that kind of violence.  And while that is true, does that mean we simply accept it and do nothing?  And why does it keep happening so much more frequently here?

Have you seen the statistics?  America, by far, has the highest number of gun-related deaths per capita among developed nations -- 36 TIMES MORE than Australia, France, England, and Israel.

How does one reconcile that?  Surely reasonable people can agree it's not simply some bizarre coincidence.  And yet even as I type that I know that for many the answer will only be to buy more guns.  It never ends.

Somewhere along the way we have gone horribly off track.  We have cultivated such a culture of guns and violence.  And I never thought I'd be the one saying this -- heaven knows I've watched more than my share of Forensic Files, NCIS, and Law & Order -- but you can't discount the effect of the violent nature of so many movies, TV shows, and video games.

Are you gonna tell me this kid sat and came up with this plan having watched nothing but sports and I Love Lucy reruns on TV?

And now reality shows basically glorify these people who are "prepping" for some sort of doomsday by stockpiling all kinds of guns.  I hope to God the people on these shows are the very fanatical fringe of our society, but I'm not so sure anymore. 

Why on Earth does a United States civilian need a machine gun?  It's a rhetorical question.  Nothing anyone could ever say will convince me they do.  To protect against your government attacking you?  I've got news for you, if the government sets its mind to attack you, no amount of firearms you can amass is going to protect you (see Ruby Ridge, Waco, etc.).

And I know the mental health aspect of it is a part of the problem, too. The lack of funding.  My friend, Pia, has complained (rightly) about this for years.  We had a large mental health facility near here which closed its doors several years ago, and it sure wasn't for lack of patients.  What happened to those people?  I believe addressing this must be a part of the solution, as well. 

We are so obsessed with what is going on in the four corners of the world, yet we can't protect our own innocent, precious, dependent-on-us-for-everything children. 

Meanwhile, there have been 86 deadly school shootings in the United States in the past twenty years.  Did that number stagger you?  Because it sure did me.  It's gotten to the point where if only 2 or 3 people die in them, I feel like they barely register anymore on a national scale.

Do we just accept that this is the status quo now?  That this is how things are going to be and we can't do anything about it?  Is this just the price of freedom?

You can answer for yourself.  For me, the answer is no.  A million times, no.  It's not a political issue to me.  It's a moral issue.  A matter of life and death.

As long as this world lasts, there will always be evil in it.  No law or restriction or increased security or amount of mental health funding will completely put an end to it.  Maybe we won't make all the right decisions.  Maybe we'll go too far at first.  But if taking certain measures can reduce the number of these tragedies -- by half, or more, or any at all -- aren't we obligated to at least try?

All of this is coming from me --  a self-admitted poster child for apathy, not wanting to discuss politics, and not feeling like anything I could do would matter anyway.  Me, who just wrote not that long ago on this very blog about why must we bring up politics and issues so quickly after a tragedy, why can't we just mourn.

Well I was wrong.

Change must happen now, while the images of these slaughtered little ones are piercing our hearts and fresh in our minds.

"Did you turn off that violent old movie you're watching and turn on I Love Lucy reruns?"

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Are you down with HSP?

Contributing to my recent two fortnight absence was Hurricane Sandy.  Though it was nowhere near here, immediately my geoblography kicked in and I began to worry and wonder about my blog friends.  There was Cooper in Maryland, Sherri in Virginia, Lucy in New York, Brooke in New Jersey, and Carnealian, Actonbell, and Susan in Pennsylvania.  (If this isn't where you live, just go with it.  It's where you live in my mind.)

Through blogs, Twitter, and my most common method of communicating -- the playing of Words With Friends moves -- within two or three days, I learned everyone was OK.

But the footage of those who hadn't been so fortunate wouldn't leave me.  I felt like "how can I post when so many are suffering, displaced, have no power, have lost property, pets, and loved ones?"  Who wants to read about the delicious remoulade I made last week or how ear hair maintenance has become a daily chore for me when something that devastating is going on.

Then I think that I let things like this affect me way too much.  Immediately that is followed by a rebuttal, "but how can I not?"

It was during this line of thinking when I remembered an article my blog friend Sherri (in Virginia, or Maryland, or some adjacent state) had linked to awhile back.  It was a Psychology Today article on Highly Sensitive Persons.

I remember thinking at the time that it fit me pretty well.  So I went back and reread it and was even more convinced: I am an HSP.

It's an excellent article and there is so much I want to share from it.  For the sake of time and space, I'll refrain.  But if there were only one line I could pull out of the article it would be this one:  ""It's like feeling something with 50 fingers as opposed to 10."

As with any diagnosis or grouping of people, not every characteristic in the article applied to me.  I don't walk around on the verge of tears at any moment.  But while reading, I definitely found myself saying "Yes!" and "That's me!" much more so than not.

I hear the slightest noises in the night, noises that would even register with most people.   For years, I slept with the TV on at a low drone so other noises wouldn't keep me awake.  Recently, I started sleeping with ear plugs.

I'm super-sensitive to smells -- perfumes and lotions and colognes -- to the point that a girl has had to stop wearing a certain kind of body lotion (Marshmallow Fluff, blech!) because it bothered me so much.

At the dentist, I've always required two or three times the amount of Novocaine as a normal patient.  I've even joked that it wasn't a low threshold for pain, but rather a superhero-like sensitivity to stimuli.  Never did I dream that might actually be the case.  Along the same lines, pain pills never seem to dull my senses in their prescribed dosage.

There is an amplified feeling of everything, good and bad.  It's life to the nth degree.

Even the briefest unpleasant conversation or hint of discord or strife can leave me feeling uneasy and bothered for two days.  Many times I'll have a gnawing in my stomach that something is wrong, yet I can't put my finger on what has caused it.  It leaves me to wonder if nothing happened at all or if it seemed so insignificant at the time that I can't remember it.

Of course, it's not all bad.  It works the same for life's positive emotions and sensations, too.  For example, the beauty of nature often affects me immensely.  And now that I think about it, I can recall several less-than-enthusiastic responses from others when I've remarked at how gorgeous or awe-inspiring something is.  Although even now, it's hard for me to accept that not everyone feels and senses these things the same.

I think maybe this is a big reason why I rarely watch the news.  Maybe it's something I've done as a defense/survival mechanism.  I can't just watch the news and move on.  The stories stay with me.  My sensory volume is on fifteen, and I can't simply mute it or turn it down.  It's not that I don't care.  But I think I'd be in a continual state of depression if I watched the news every day.

I'm not sure what my point is in sharing all this, other than I've sort of learned/realized something new about myself, and also the article estimates as much as 20% of the population may be HSP's, so maybe some of you are the same way.  And if not, then certainly someone you know could be.

And if I get a little misty-eyed while watching Andre Agassi's retirement speech, Mister Holland's Opus, or Linus explaining to Charlie Brown what Christmas is all about, well now you know why:  I'm one (highly) sensitive guy.

I imagine there may be a couple of females in existence who would disagree with that last statement.  Others would (and have) encourage(d) me to delve further into my psychological, um, uniquities.

"All mornin' I'd been thinkin' my life's so hard / And they wore everything they owned, livin' in a car / I wanted to tell them it would be OK / But I got just got in my Suburban and I drove away..."

Thursday, November 22, 2012

High, and (still) dry

When anon I realized I hath not blogged in a span of nearly twain fortnights, I didst recall yon erstwhile days wherein my nimble fingers wouldest blog daily.  Erelong didst I question why I had just useth "fortnight" to describeth time.  But in nowise finding any answer, and whereby I am unable or unwilling to continue in my present manner of writing, do I ashamedly present the following scantily clad entry.

The election has come to an end.  The Electoral College has spoken.  I call for all Americans to now come together and enjoy a few weeks with no political ads, because one thing's for certain: Campaigning for 2016 will begin all too soon, if it hasn't already. 

In case you somehow managed to miss the election results, allow me to fill you in.  We here in Boneville USA voted for the status quo.  That is, to remain a "dry" municipality.  (Do people in the rest of the country even know what a dry city/county is?)

Chant with me.  Four... more... years... four... more... years... of no legal alcohol sales within the city limits.  More chanting.  No... we... can't!   I read somewhere we are the largest "dry" city in the state.  Kind of a quirky claim to fame, er, something, wouldn't you say?

But all is not lost.  For my state is one of several to have a petition started for us to secede from the Union.  That's right, ye Scallywags, tonight we're gonna party like it's 1861!

Oy.  That really is the facepalm of all facepalms.

But ere ye think we've all gone mad down here and have Sean Hannity piped into our homes 24/7 (was that redundant?), there comes this bit of news: Nick Saban received dozens of write-in votes for President in the state of Alabama.  (I said "in" not "of.")  Twenty-two votes in one county alone.  And suddenly everything is set back in order.

His wife even received a write-in vote for circuit clerk in one county.  And no, it wasn't my county.  Although I can't promise it won't be next time.  Let us raise a toast... Uh... on second thought, it's like a seven-minute drive to the nearest beer store.  So scratch that.  We'll have to settle for a virtual fistbump.  *makes explosion sound with mouth*

Speaking of football, I am sure some of you were concerned about me following Bama's first loss of the season.  Let me just say that your concern is appreciated, and very much warranted.  The past three weeks have been an emotional seesaw.

After the LSU game, I was on a three-day high.  Or what I imagine a high to be.  I've never really been high, at least not in the drug-induced-brain-altering sense.  Once I got a splitting headache from being around a guy who had obviously been smoking pot, but I don't think that counts.  Anyway, had you tested the levels of dopamine in my brain following that game, I would surely have been stripped of all my Tour de France titles on the spot, assuming I had won any, or owned a bike whose tires were not perpetually both flat.

It seems almost not possible that the football season has passed so quickly.  I guess time flies when you're in a near-constant state of anxiety interspersed with brief moments of relief.

And if ever I need to get away from the stress of it all, an afternoon walk with Nephew Bone does the trick.

As autumn wanes, we talk about things like why Uncle Bone can't crack just one pecan by itself, where does this road go, the importance of finding just the right stick, and "Ooo, look!  A helicopter!"  You know, the important stuff.

These moments are among my favorite.

I wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving.  And on that note, I'll leave you with four-and-a-half minutes of not-entirely-politically-correct classic sitcom gold.

"Educated in a small town / Taught to fear Jesus in a small town / Used to daydream in that small town / Another boring romantic, that's me..."

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Road Trip: Knoxville

The third Saturday in October.

To any football fan around these parts, that phrase means one thing: Alabama versus Tennessee.

To any non-football fan around these parts, it means you do not schedule your wedding on this day if you have any family or friends and would like for them to attend.  Actually, in some parts of Alabama, especially near my house, that last rule applies to any Saturday between the months of August and December.  But I suppose that's neither here nor yonder.  Also, no one was getting married Saturday.  I just threw that in as a helpful tip.

Axl and I decided to make the drive up to Knoxville to watch our beloved Crimson Tide (hopefully) roll over the Volunteers this past weekend.  Now, for those not familiar with Axl, here's everything you need to know: He self-tans, sings in a community chorus, and once lost the heel off his boot as we were leaving a Bama basketball game in some sort of real-life Mentos commercial gone horribly wrong.

(Hmm, I wonder if I should check with him before revealing the self-tanning thing?  Oh well, no time.)

He also has near-constant road rage.  So naturally, he drove.

Now I was a bit nervous about the trip, not because of Axl.  Well, not entirely because of Axl.  But because this was my first true trip into enemy territory.  I'd been to a couple of games at Vanderbilt, but that doesn't really count.  Football at Vanderbilt is kinda like going to a t-ball game.  It's fun.  You chat with your friends in the stands.  It's cute to see the kids out there missing the ball and falling down.  But no one really expects much.

But Tennessee?  That's a whole different story.  It's the definition of a rivalry.  It's Roll Tide versus Rocky Top.  The Bear versus General Neyland.  A vibrant, gorgeous sea of crimson clashing against that hideous, nausea-inducing orange.  We may have been on the same side in the Civil War.  But not since.

However, I must say all the Tennessee fans I encountered were as friendly as could be expected.  A couple of them were so nice, in fact, it makes me almost feel bad about the nausea comment.  Almost.

It also helped that the crowd was probably 40 to 45% Bama fans.  (Yes, I can guesstimate within five percent.  It's one of my many useless talents.)  I had a crimson-clad compadre sitting next to me and two more directly behind me.  Every time I would start to high-five the blonde sitting behind me, she'd full-frontal hug me instead.  And far be it from me to infringe on other fans' rights to celebrate touchdowns however they so choose.

The football stadium sits on the bank of the Tennessee River.  And while the stadium itself is a bit of a rathole and looks like it may not have been renovated since the Nixon administration, the area around it is quite scenic.  The World's Fair Park is a pretty area right near the stadium, as well. The World's Fair was held in Knoxville in 1982.

(FYI, it's taken every ounce of what little self-restraint I have not to refer to it as Knox-vegas this entire post.  You're welcome.)

Something else you need to be warned of should you ever attend a Tennessee Vol game:  You will hear "Rocky Top" roughly 127 times.  Before the game, during the game, after the game.  Even when there are 30 seconds left in the game and your team is annihilating Tennessee 44 to 13, the band will strike it up.  They have ruined what truly was one of the most venerable bluegrass songs of all-time.  Some sporadic eardrum bleeding is normal.

As the final few minutes wound down in the game, most of the Tennessee fans had long since passed through the exits, leaving the stands covered in crimson.  Such a sweet sight.

There's always a kinship one experiences when one encounters other Bama fans.  I would guess that is true for fans of most sports teams.  But when you're in enemy territory, that bond feels ten times stronger.  It was neat to experience that for the first time.

The drive home was magnificent.  Fall had come to Chattanooga.  I've always thought it a picturesque city anyway, such immediate and drastic contrast between the bluffs and rock faces of Lookout Mountain and the river meandering through the city below. The colors just amplified its, uh, picturesque-ness.

At one point on the trip, Axl and I found ourselves singing along in our best falsettos to Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive."  Which may seem odd to some.  Or, most.  I've forgotten my point.  Oh yes, I remember now.  It was good to have a testosterone-filled guys weekend away.

I suppose there are more stories I could share from Road Trip: Knoxville.  There was the Tennessee fan in front of us who I dubbed "Eighty Proof," because he was openly drinking his Crown from the bottle.  (Alcohol is "not allowed" in SEC stadiums.)  There was Axl and I arguing like an old married couple over the thermostat in our hotel room.  He sleeps with it on 50!  Fif. Tee!  And there was the waitress at the Waffle House who seemed to have no qualms showing us her chest tattoo -- both halves. 

But you know what they say: What happens in Knox-veg... Well, you know.

"Give me an 80-proof bottle of tear-stopper / And I'll start feeling I forgot her / Get a little loose and lose her memory..."

Monday, October 15, 2012

Music Monday: All those pretty people

Fall always seems to arrive in an instant.  Even though I know by the calendar it has to be near, that first chill of the season still catches me a bit by surprise.  But it's a good surprise, like an unexpected visit from a cherished old friend.  It leaves me smiling.

For the first time in several years, or so it seems, we've actually had about three solid weeks of what I would consider fall weather.  Temps mostly in the 70's during the day and 40's or 50's at night.  We decided to take in some of the fall colors this weekend, knowing the leaves won't be much longer.

At one of the scenic overlooks, someone spotted a couple of hawks across the valley.  Watching intently, I soon noticed a few others.  And then, even more.  At one point, I counted more than twenty of the majestic creatures circling overhead.

It was stunning.

As they glided effortlessly and without a sound, I stood and watched for several minutes, feeling small, and in complete awe.

Getting closer to nature and a little father from everything else always serves to ground me a bit.  And I'm left to wonder why I don't do it more often...

For some unbeknownst reason, I had this particular song stuck in my head the whole day, to the apparent dismay of some in my party. (I'm amazed at how effortlessly I can sometimes conjure up dismay.  It's a gift, really.)  Anyhow, Kenny Chesney recently brought this song into the pop-country mainstream.  But I'm kinda partial to Charlie Robison's original version.  It's a little grittier.

So what are you listening to lately?

"Did you hear the ocean singing? Baby, did you sing along, as you danced over the water to some old forgotten song? Or were you even here at all?"

Thursday, September 27, 2012


If you had told me two months ago that I could be even less productive than I already was, I'd have said you were crazy.  And not like in a joking, slap-you-on-the-back "Aw, you're crazy" sort of way.  But in a jumping-up-and-down-on-Oprah's-couch certifiable way.

I simply did not think it possible.

And then, I met my new best friend: the iPhone.

And now, huge chunks of my day are just gone, completely eaten up.

How much of my day?  To answer that question, I've prepared this helpful pie chart:

It's probably the best graph I've ever done.  It represents how I spend my non-working hours. (And if we're being completely honest, some of my working hours.) I think it's pretty self-explanatory. "Lost" represents those times during the day when I sit down and it's 3:15, then before I know it, it's 4:30 and I haven't really done anything at all, just kinda spaced out for awhile. Where did that time go? I don't know. But it happens quite often.

"Bone, you went a little overboard with the apps."

That statement was made to me by a seven-year-old, as he played with my new iPhone a few weeks ago.  By the way, the same kid also commented while listening to me yell at the TV as Alabama was dismantling Michigan on the opening weekend of college football, "I think you're a little obsessed with the TV.  Maybe you shouldn't watch TV tomorrow."  Out of the mouths of babes...

You know how those iPhone owners are always like, "If you ever try an iPhone, you'll never own anything else."   Like they're sooo special and in a completely higher class in the smartphone feudal system than the rest of us.

Well... they were right.

And now, I'm one of them.  I have been baptized into the cult.  And we're talking full immersion, not just sprinkling.  I have been given the name Tania!

We are a devoted sect.  A peculiar people, if you will, forever bound to our cellular messiah, Steven Paul Jobs.  We search the iTunes Store daily to see whether any of these apps be free.

As you may know, I didn't grow up in an iPhone family.  My parents raised me as a strict Nokia-ite.  But I felt there had to be something more out there.  Eventually I struck out on my own and after dabbling in several operating systems, I discovered the Blackberryists.  They suited my needs at the time.  But, lo, I had no idea what untold riches and glory did await my wretched soul in the Tabernacle of Apple.

After my Blackberry died back in July, for six days and six nights I wandered around in a cellular-less wilderness, with nothing but the manna of instant messaging to sustain my techno-starved soul.  Then, one glorious Tuesday afternoon, I experienced a road-to-Damascus-like miracle, as a customer-service-Moses at the AT&T store did shewest me the promised land.

That's right, dearly beloved.  I'm here to tell you there's something else: the Apple world.  It's a world of never-ending happiness, where you can always shop the iTunes store, day or night.  And they need no Kindle there, neither light of Nook, for the preponderance of apps doth taketh up their day.

Now I shalt go into all the virtual world, and preach the good news of the iPhone to every nation.  He that believeth and downloadeth (apps) shall enjoy eternal smartphone happiness.  He that believeth not shall be condemned to a life of frequent battery pulls, and possibly lots of unnecessary productivity.

And who would want that?

I would like to close today by paraphrasing a quote by the sage old bard, Thomas T. Hall: "Ain't but three things in this world that's worth a solitary dime: old dogs, children, and this iPhone of mine."

Now, if you'll excuse me, I must attend to my Tiny Tower.  It appears the Glass Studio on the 26th floor needs to be restocked.

Can I get an "amen?"

"Then I saw her face / Now I'm a believer / Not a trace / Of doubt in my mind / I'm in love / I'm a believer / I couldn't leave her if I tried..."

Friday, September 14, 2012

A penthouse in Port Charles to a pineapple under the sea

News like that isn't shared lightly, but you know you have to.  I thought it better to get it over with quickly.

First, I texted LJ.  Yes, texted.  Because, well, if there was a chance either of us were going to become emotional, I didn't want it happening on the phone.  That would be the most uncomfortable moment in both of our lives.

"You see where Steve Burton is leaving GH?"

His reply was quick, pain-drenched, and expected: "Nooooooo! It's the first day of college football season and you had to go and ruin it." (Actually, he texted "football reason" instead of season, but as he only recently got his first-ever cell phone, I let it slide.)

We commiserated briefly.

Next, I texted Wolfgang.

His reply?  "Cool."

I immediately unfriended him.  Not on Facebook, in real life.  I can't surround myself with such callous, uncaring energy.

And so, as August gave way to the first tinge of fall in the air, I was already feeling the cold, cruel winds of winter.  For the day I had feared, dreaded, and hoped I'd never live to see, had arrived: Steve Burton, the actor who has played Jason Morgan on General Hospital for the great majority of my post-pubescent life, was leaving the show.

For so long, Jason has been one of my heroes, right up there with Mike Seaver, Luke Duke, and obviously, the Karate Kid.  I can't count the times I've compared myself to Jason Morgan.  He was often the voice of reason in Port Charles.  Somewhat remarkable considering he's in the mob -- er, coffee importing business.  And now?  He's leaving.

How will I cope without one of my heroes?  By bottling my feelings up inside, of course, in true Jason Morgan fashion.  Also by following Steve Burton on Twitter.  I don't know that it helps.  (Yes, it does.)

By the way, all this occurred over Labor Day weekend.  And yes, I'm just now getting around to writing about it, in true Bone fashion.  Apparently, posting five times in August left me scribically exhausted.

So I played laser tag later that weekend.  What, I was clearly disillusioned.  I've been trying to figure out how to smoothly transition between topics, but there's just no connection between Jason Morgan and laser tag.

Or is there? (Duh duh duuuuuuuuh!)

It was my first time to ever play laser tag.  And how shall I put this?  Well... I was dominating the dojo.

Did I mention I was mostly facing children?  What?  Most of them had obviously played before! 

Now I may have fudged on the rules a little.  They say "no running."  But I figured if things escalated to a physical confrontation I could take either of the three teenaged female game masters.  Or at least, outrun them.  And I did wind up shooting my own team members a few times, but thankfully that doesn't count against you.

At the end of the match, or battle, or recital, or whatever it's called, you push a little button on your electronic thingie and it tells you what your game name is so that you can find your score.

I finished 2nd!  And no, that wasn't out out of three.  There were actually thirteen of us playing, although I'm pretty sure a couple of the kids were too small to actually make their gun fire. 

My game name?


And suddenly, a new hero is born.


Well, we gotta do something, because Frisco Jones isn't walking through that door.

"All I need / Is just a little more time / To be sure what I feel / Is it all in my mind / 'Cause it seems so hard to believe..."

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Last Walk-In

 A nearly two-year streak came to an end this past weekend. 

Maybe you were too busy watching Here Comes Honey Boo Boo to notice.  But for the first time since 2010, I, Bone, went to see a movie. In a theater.

I know what you're saying. "People still go to the movies?"  Well, judging by the twelve souls who were in the same theater we were Saturday night, I'd say the answer to that question is a big ole resounding... "not really."

Tired of all the bizarre they-must-be-entirely-out-of-ideas movies lately, such as Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Slayer and the talking Teddy Ruxpin (is that redundant?), we opted for an imperceptibly more practical flick: The Odd Life Of Tom Green.

What?  Oh.  Timothy Green.  Sorry.  Or as I kept referring to it: Honey I Grew A Kid In The Garden.

You may be asking, "What might possibly have possessed you to go see that, Bone?"  Well, as the title of one of my seven future autobiographies will state, I did it for a girl.  (There's also Unfortunately I Was There For Almost The Whole Thing.  And the groundbreaking On-bay: Y-may Entire-way Ife-lay En-nay Ig-pay Atin-lay.  The other four are TBD.)

Some will say the movie theater is dying, that Redbox, On-Demand, and poor writing have killed what once was a staple of American weekends.  They will say why put on clothes and go to a theater when you can lie on the couch in your underwear and pop in a DVD.

To them I would say only.... hmm... OK, actually they have a decent point there.  Where was I going with this?  Oh right.  It's not just about watching some crappy movie.  It's about the entire movie-going experience:  the sticky seats, covered by years of who-knows-what; the almost-expected projector malfunction; the previews of even worse movies than the one you're about to see.  

Plus, where else are you gonna get six-dollar soft drinks and nine-dollar popcorn?  An airport?  A ballgame?  A concert?

OK, those are all good answers.

Ah, but here's the kicker:  Where else can you go and pay to be annoyed by the small children of complete strangers for two hours straight?

OK, maybe an airplane.

Anyway, getting back to the movie. What was it called again? Hark, Who Grows There?  Jack Is The Beanstalk?  I must say, once you got past the almost-laughable unbelievability of the premise (which I never really did) it wasn't too awful, albeit predictable.  And I might have to take issue with the guy sitting behind us.  This cinephile could be overheard as we were exiting the octoplex saying in a steep Southern drawl, "That feeyum awwtuh win uh Ah-uhscur."

I'm guessing the Academy might go in another direction on this one, Siskel.

Still, it did have Jennifer Garner in it.  So there was that.  And the guy who played Peter on Office Space also had a small part.

Ah, Office Space.  Now there's a movie.  I actually watched it one afternoon last week. 

From my couch.

In my underwear.

You know, at this point I can't help but think it might be tough to fill seven autobiographies.

"Don't hang around and let your problems surround you /  There are movie shows / Downtown..."

Monday, August 20, 2012

The single shutting and reopening of one's eye

Sometimes it meant camping out.  I know some of the names changed from time to time, but for some reason thinking back on it now, I can only remember the four of us -- Me, Allan, Hollywood, and Mouse.  That was the core group.

Gazing up at the stars, talking about girls you'd dated and ones you almost had, singing any song that came to mind until eventually one of the other guys told you to shut up or threw something at you -- usually the latter, knowing you didn't have to go home until morning.  It felt like freedom.

And there was always a fire -- a big one.  As we gathered every stick and pine needle within a fifty yard radius, it was usually more bonfire than campfire.  I would say I was surprised no one ever called the fire department on us, but for that one time someone did.

Even so, once the fire died down, it seems like we always wound up chilled to the bone or soaking wet.  Sometimes both.  It probably didn't rain as much as I seem to remember it did, but those are the nights that stand out.  I can still vividly see Mouse, who weighed all of 120 pounds soaking wet, sitting there shivering, telling us how he was never doing this again.  But he always did.

I remember one night Hollywood and I rode Allan's tandem bike into town about 1 AM to go to the Walmart, for no reason whatsoever other than it was something to do.  It was about four miles one way, and long before we had a 24-hour Walmart, so we pooled our change and bought a couple of Mountain Dews from the vending machine out front, then rode back.

It feels like there should be more to this story, like we got pulled over by the police or ran into a mailbox or were shot at on our way back or something, but there isn't.  Just me, riding a bicycle-built-for-two, with another guy, at 1 o'clock in the morning.  That is all.

Sometimes it meant tapping on my future (now ex-) roommate's bedroom window late at night -- the universal signal that a game of spades was about to commence.  He'd let us in through the carport door and we'd play for an hour or two.  One night we were a person short, so he went and got his sister to play.  His sister was one of the great crushes of my adolescence.  I spent a good solid four years, I'd say, finding any excuse I could to hang out with her.  So from then on, I always tried to make sure we were a person short.

Sometimes it meant sneaking into the basement door of the Baptist church and playing ping-pong, or cards.  Axl and his parents attended there so he knew where they hid the key.  He said no one would mind, and who were we to argue.  We ended up holding our fantasy baseball draft that year in the classroom for the 5 & 6-year-olds, amidst some Noah's ark memorabilia which I may or may not have played with a little.

Sometimes it meant picking a road we'd never been down and seeing where it led.  Pick A Road, we called it.  The name has a certain understated stupidity to it, don't you think?

Flying through the countryside with the top off my old Jeep sated a bit of wanderlust, I suppose.  As we lamented the lack of anything better to do, all the while pondering life and wishing we had one.

And the radio.  There was always the radio, or some worn out cassette.  Turned up wide.  Letting the songs affect me too much.

I still remember a couple of those roads, and any time I pass by I can feel a smile start to begin.

Such were my late teens and early twenties: One long continuous quest for something to do, some place to be, never wanting the night to end.  There seemed to be time to burn.  So burn it we did.

When I think back on those times now, they're not some faded, distant memory.  Rather, they're clear.  Vivid.  Almost close enough to touch.  Like if I could somehow turn back one single page, there they would be, as real as the day I lived them.  But when I reach out to grasp them I unclench my fists to find my hands still empty.  And it blows my mind to think, and it just does not seem possible, that twenty years have passed.... just... like... that.

I suppose that's how the brain's files work.  Twenty years ago can seem as close as twenty minutes ago.

And just as far away.

"And the sound the king of spades made / In the spokes of my old Schwinn / I was racing Richie Culver / For a Grape Nehi / Yeah, lately I've been thinking / 'Bout Route 5, Box 109..."

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Anyone wanna venture a guess as to what this week is?

National Breastfeeding Week?  No, that was last week.  National Scrabble Week?  Actually, yes it IS National Scrabble Week!  But while that surely deserves its own post, that's not what we're talking about today.

No, today we are talking about a week you probably thought you'd forgotten about.  A week as fundamental to your being as International Whistlers Week, or Bread Pudding Recipe Exchange Week.  A week that has ruined you for all other weeks.

It's NaBloSoFroDraWe!!!!!!!!!!

That's, uh, National Blog Something From Draft Week for you newbies, or those of you who don't have photographic recollection of a made-up blog holiday you might have read about once or twice, long ago.  (I'm thinking about shortening the name to make it easier to remember, since even I have trouble keeping the abbreviation straight.  NaBlo and FroDra are my two best ideas thusfar.  What do you think?)

The brainchild of wannabe-seminal-blogger Bone back in 2008, NaBloSoFroDraWe is the perfect cure for what ails ye bloggers during these dog (and often blog-less) days of summer.  Don't have any ideas for a post?  No worries!  Just reach back into your drafts, pull something out, then copy and paste for all the world to read.

Perhaps it's something you started but never finished.  Now you don't have to finish it!  Just click and post.  Maybe it's a personal post you're afraid could cause a schism between you and a family member.  Well, chances are you're gonna have a falling out someday anyway, so why prolong the inevitable?  Just. Hit. Publish.

In previous years, it has been brought to my attention that some bloggers don't have anything in draft.  As someone who has 111 things in draft, that seems like a foreign concept to me, but I can respect it.

This holiday is for the rest of us.  Those of us who thought we were ready to post something but once we stepped up to the blog urinal and saw all those people standing around, we got a little stage fright and couldn't quite pull the trigger.  It happens.  But today is the day to shed those blog inhibitions and just let it go.

(You had to know someday I would manage to work in a writing/urinal analogy.  I'm only surprised it took me this long.)

Still, some will say, and even I have said, posts that are in draft are in draft for a reason.  Well, as the always eloquent Biz Markie once pontificated, "Don't give me that.  Don't even give me that."

Besides, remember our slogan: "Someday we'll look back on this and cringe."

For those who might be interested, I dug into my drafts and posted something over at Poetry Wrecks.  You know, since it somewhat resembles a poem.  And also because I haven't posted over there since early spring.

Later, we may analyze why suddenly my blog has become all about obscure holidays and asking questions which I pretend someone else is answering.  Or... we may not.

And hopefully I won't have any more brainchildren, at least not for awhile.

"Shake it out, shake it out / Shake it out, shake it out, oh whoa /  And it's hard to dance with a devil on your back / So shake him off..."

Friday, August 10, 2012

Interpretive blogging?

In honor of Duran Duran Appreciation Day today -- no, seriously, it's an actual day -- I have decided to finally do something I've had in mind to do for a long time.  Start my own band?  No, but now that you mention it...  Profess my love for Simon Le Bon?  Surely I must have already done that somewhere along the way.  Do a Duran Duran: Where Are They Now post?  Sadly, no.  (By the way, those were all really good guesses!  I'm impressed.)

Some time ago I had the idea for a new blog feature where I would give my interpretation of the lyrics to a popular song.  The idea was born one day when I started thinking about the number of songs I liked, but had not the faintest idea what they were talking about.  It would be called -- wait for it -- Song Interp Sunday.

Of course, today being Friday, it kind of loses a little zing.  But I felt it more important to observe Duran Duran Appreciation Day than to post something on Sunday that has "Sunday" in its title. Apparently.

Because I, for one, appreciate Duran Duran.  How much?  Let's put it this way, if blogs had been around in 1985, my blog name probably would have been Bone Bone.  Also, Arena was my first cassette.  (I wanted that or Word Up, and I guess Mom was preferential to the band whose members were not wearing codpieces.) 

And that's pretty much the extent of my appreciation.  Well, besides this post.  I mean, I'm tearing myself away from SongPop and Google Kayaking for this!

Now for the first time in the history of the blogosphere -- and let's be honest, there's a decent shot it's for the very last time, as well -- I proudly present Song Interp Sunday.  On Friday.  Only here, my friends.  Only here.

Today I attempt to interpret the song "Wild Boys," by the aforementioned Duran Duran.

"The wild boys are calling, on their way back from the fire"

First lines are so very important.  Here, we can deduce the so-called Wild Boys are either fire fighters, or perhaps, arsonists.  Also note they are "calling."  From a cell phone?  Fairly advanced for 1985, I would say.  So they must be top secret government agents.  Or Zack Morris.

"An August moon surrender to a dust cloud on the rise."

It's summer.  And night.  Or is it?  It has been my experience the moon sometimes comes out during the day.  But the sun never comes out at night.  Weird how that happens.  Also, the subject-verb disagreement really bugs me.  Like I want so bad to correct it.  Just.  Have.  To.  Move.  On.

"Wild boys fallen far from glory, reckless and so hungered on the razors that you trail."

Hungered on the razors?  Double-you-tee-eff!  So they haven't eaten in awhile, are not the greatest drivers in the world, and someone is just tossing out Gillettes like they're candy?!?!  Do those happen to be Mach 3's?

"Because there's murder by the roadside, in a sore afraid new world."

Fire.  Murder.  Perhaps this is a musical take on Fahrenheit 451!  Yes!  I think that's it!

"They tried to break us. Looks like they'll try again."

I don't know who "they"" are, but apparently they're quite persistent.

"Wild boys never lose it.  Wild boys never chose this way."

What is "it?"  Who are "they?"  I'm so confused!  Don't lose faith, Bone.  This will probably be like Sixth Sense and I'll get to the end and realize Bruce Willis was alive the whole time.

"Wild boys never close your eyes.  Wild boys always shine."

Is this first sentence a command, advice, or a symptom of insomnia?  Always shine?  What does that mean?  Is there radioactive material involved?  I'm starting to think Duran Duran is working on a whole other level here.  I mean, Hungry Like The Wolf?  Would it have been the same if, say, the title had been Hungry Like A Water Moccasin?  I think not.  And what if The Reflex had instead been called The Response To Stimuli?  Let's face it, these guys were geniuses. 

"You got sirens for a welcome.  There's bloodstain for your pain."

Second verse starts with another apparent fire fighter or Fahrenheit 451 reference.

"And your telephone been ringing while you're dancing in the rain."

It's the fire department calling!  Run, Montag!  Run to Farber's house!  He'll know what to do.  But watch out for the mechanical dog!

"Wild boys wonder where is glory?  Where is all you angels?"

I have this exact thought near the end of every 10K I've ever run, just as I'm on the verge of retching.  Except replace "glory" with "water."

"Now the figureheads have fell.  And lovers war with arrows over secrets they could tell."

Does this have anything to do with Cupid?

"They tried to tame you.  Looks like they'll try again."

Again with the persistence.  I gotta be honest, Wild Boys, I would have given up long before now.  Kudos to you.

And there you have it!  Blog history has been made.  Obviously, this song is a musical account of a literary classic with undertones of a bit of a murky (and quite violent) love story.  That, or a heavily veiled tribute to Bruce Willis and Zack Morris.

Either way, I feel all but confident in saying each of us now have a clearer understanding of this somewhat ambiguous but catchy tune, which peaked at #2 on Casey's Top 40 in 1984.  I hope you have a meaningful Duran Duran Appreciation Day.  And as Casey would say, "Keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars."

That, I understood.

"It gets worse once we get to her room / As she stops and she sings / Doot do do doot do do doot do / I claim New Religion is my song / Ah, she doesn't get it / It's all before she was born..."

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Today's hurdles, tomorrow's "goals"

So what does Bone do all day?

Perhaps this is a question you've found yourself asking before.  Perhaps it is even a question I have found myself asking before, when several hours seemed to have disappeared with not a trace of anything tangible to show for them.

Today, we begin to answer that question. For today, Google unveiled it's latest interactive doodle: the hurdles.  Go ahead, click over and play for an hour or so.  This post will still be right here when you get back.  It's not like I'm gonna blog again tomorrow or anything.

So I played Google hurdles today.  And -- and this is an important "and," for without it this post would be over now -- I tweeted about it.  (Don't worry, I'm still watching the Olympics, but occasionally I need a break.  I mean, there's only so many hours of Greco-Roman Wrestling a man can watch.)

I believe my day can most accurately and succinctly be summed up in these 140-characters-or-less bits of social media goodness.  Therefore, with apologies to J. Adamthwaite and anyone else who follows me on the Twitter and may have already had the misfortune of reading these once, I present today's tweets:

/begin Twitter log
Oh I'm gonna be doing this Google hurdle thing all day now.

Just shaved 3 seconds off my hurdles time! That's gotta be virtually unheard of in Google-ympics, right?

I don't wanna work. I just wanna play Google hurdles all day.

Someone should video me playing this. Teeth clenched, face in some sort of odd contortion. Don't tell me this isn't a real sport.

My guy is slow! Where's the option to select the Princess from Super Mario 2? She could float right over these hurdles.

I kept getting tripped up by the first hurdle for the longest! That'll ruin your whole day. I mean, race. (I meant day.)

11.3 seconds! They need some Easter Eggs on here, like hurdle invincibility, or "break twelve seconds and unlock the Usain Bolt character."

Amazing stat: Every 2.5 seconds today, someone has tweeted about #GoogleDoodle... And that someone is me.

Remember the Laff-A-Lympics?  I loved that!  The something Yogis, the Really Rottens, and... can't remember the other team.

FYI, I'm using both index fingers to run, and my left pinkie to jump. Requires extraordinary index-pinkie coordination.

Get your arms up! You run like you're about to do the vault.

I think I would do better if there were music playing like they have in gymnastics.  Maybe "St. Elmo's Fire." Or "Ride Like The Wind."

11.9. Crap! And why isn't Google showing the Olympic and world records in the bottom left corner while I run?

Oh!  The Scooby Doobies!  Duh.  #LaffALympics

Could one say that I am easily entertained? I think at this point it's at least conceivable.

Why do people keep walking in?!! You think Missy Franklin's boss keeps coming into the pool place every five minutes while she's practicing?

This requires like twelve seconds of absolute concentration and focus. Which is the longest I've focused on any one thing in five years.

11.3! BOOM! #GoogleDoodle OK, my hand is cramping. Seriously. #athleteproblems

Tomorrow on the Keyboard Olympics: Modern Pentathlon. YESSSSS!!! I'd better do some finger limbering exercises tonight.

11.0! OK, I think I'm done. Thanks to all of you who did not unfollow me. Today, and always.
/end Twitter log

And that's what Bone does all day.  At least for today.  And no, I'm not gonna spend all day tomorrow again playing the hurdles. Don't be silly.  Give me a little credit, would you?

There's a new doodle tomorrow: Basketball!

I'm gonna spend all day playing that.

"It is the night / My body's weak / I'm on the run / No time for sleep / I've to ride / Ride like the wind / To be free again..."

Sunday, July 29, 2012


I have spent the past fifty-plus hours in an Olympicoma, defined by Bone-a-pedia as "an extended state of lethargy induced by four channels of nearly non-stop Olympic programming."

But it's a good lethargy.

Whilst watching Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser, my hair idol, dispose of another opponent this afternoon in men's beach volleyball, I began to ponder my own Olympic dreams.  Sure, my greatest athletic accomplishments have been documented.  (Note: That becomes a better read the more bored you are.)  But much like most areas of my life, I've always felt there was something missing.

And while I think we all agreed a couple years ago that my best shot was in curling, I've yet to actually throw a stone.  Or even attend a curling game.  So at this point we have to realistically ask: What if curling doesn't work out?

Therefore, I've been scouting these 2012 games for a sport in which I could excel.  At first I thought maybe archery.  After all, I really like the hats.  Then they said it takes fifty pounds of pressure to pull back the bow.  On every shot!?  Good heavens, I can barely do fifty push ups.  Wait, is it barely, or hardly?

So I've decided it would be better to suggest some new events that might be added to the games, any one of which would in all likelihood allow me to realize my Olympic dream.

Co-Ed Water Polo (In Shallow Water) ~ I specify co-ed because I would feel more than a little uncomfortable in a pool having physical contact with fourteen guys all wearing our Speedos.  But throw a few girls in there and I might be OK.  And shallow water because, look, we all know how to swim, no one needs to prove anything.  Plus, it would be much less tiring.  So, either shallow water or we all wear arm floaties.  I'm fine with either.

Words With Friends ~ Since purchasing an iPhone a few weeks ago, I'm like 40-2 in Words With Friends!  Plus, this would make for great TV.  Imagine the drama, as players sat across the table from one another and played on their phones: "Oh no, Jim.  It looks like the Montenegro contestant has lost service!"  "I think you're right, Rowdy.  My Montenegrin is a little spotty, but I believe he just cursed his cell provider.  And quite colorfully, I might add."

NFL Two-Minute Drill ~ This is a football toss game they have at our Chuck E. Cheese.  I can always achieve the Hall Of Fame bonus, which is like fifty tokens.  It also makes an alarm go off, which was a little embarrassing the first few times, what with a couple of kids standing around and their parents already giving me the stink-eye because I'm hogging the game.  But I got over it.

Nerf Free Throw Shooting ~ I once made 42 free throws in a row on my Nerf goal.  And that's without even practicing very much.  I have no idea how that stacks up with the world's greatest Nerf free throw shooters.  And therein lies the tragedy.

Competitive Napping ~ Granted, this wouldn't make for great television.  But are you gonna tell me the steeplechase is winning its time slot every night?  (FYI steeplechasers, the water is in the same place every lap . Go around it to save time.)  I see competitive napping as a program of four or five events, similar to gymnastics.  You would have couch napping, desk napping, the power nap, napping with noise.  Competitors would be judged on length and soundness of nap, speed in getting to sleep, ability to sleep through an alarm, volume of drool, etc.

Wiffle Ball Field Hockey ~ As I assume none of you know what this is, let me explain.  My sister and I would play this using Wiffle ball bats and a tennis ball.  You just hit the ball with your bat and try to get it past your opponent's goal line (which for me was an invisible line running in both directions from the basketball goal in our backyard), all the while trying to keep your opponent from getting the ball past your goal.  I dominated!  Of course, I was like fourteen and my sister was seven.  (What?  I let her win, occasionally.  Had to, or she wouldn't play anymore.)

Paper Football ~ I once scored 128 points in a paper football game against my friend, Archie, during 10th grade biology class.  I might've scored even more, but Mister Whitmore caught us playing and threw our football in the trash.

Scene-It Seinfeld ~ Since getting this for Christmas a few years ago, I'm undefeated.  I'm sure you're surprised.  No one will play me anymore.  I'm not even kidding.  Actually, I'm not entirely undefeated.  That's because sometimes -- and I've never revealed this to anyone before now -- I play against myself.  It's pretty intense.  A lot like that scene in War Games when Matthew Broderick makes the computer play tic-tac-toe against itself.  Except the DEFCON level remains unaffected.

Are you listening IOC?  And if none of those work, I have others:  Putt-putt.  Air hockey.  Boggle, obviously.  Rock-Paper-Scissors.

Just imagine, sitting in your living room, watching a still-good-looking-as-ever Bob Costas covering the 2016 Games in Rio.  And you hear him refer to Bone as the "Michael Phelps of Co-Ed Water Polo - Shallow Water Division."

I think that's a dream we all have.

"There's nothing I know of in Rio / But it's something to do with the night / It's only a whimsical notion / To fly down to Rio tonight / And I probably won't fly down to Rio / But then again, I just might..."

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Has the whole world gone crazy, or is it just me?

I'm not one to follow the news too closely.  Watching NBC Nightly News about once every three months is usually plenty to keep me depressed for a year.

But it's nearly impossible to have not seen something about Penn State and Aurora, Colorado, the past few days.

One channel was showing some Penn State students yesterday as they reacted to the sanctions being levied against the school by the NCAA.  Their faces were aghast.  I couldn't help but wonder had they been as heartsick about the horrific allegations (and eventually conviction on 45 counts) of child sex abuse by assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.  And were they bothered at all that their beloved head football coach, Joe Paterno, was implicated in concealing the allegations for years?  I hope so.

Twitter was overrun yesterday with the same thing:  How dare the NCAA punish Penn State!  What does this mean for the Penn State football program?  Those poor football players!  One deeply disturbed person (immediately unfollowed by me) was already making jokes about the situation. 

But I think the moment that stands out most to me came last week when throngs of people gathered around Paterno's statue to show their support for the coach and voice their opposition to the possibility of the statue being taken down.


Look, I get it.  No one is a more rabid football fan than I.  Few things are more important to me than football.  But the few that are, are pretty damn important.

KIDS. WERE. MOLESTED.  And you're out there staging an all-night vigil -- NOT for the victims, mind you -- but for some statue?

I was glad they eventually decided to remove the statue, because all I could think about was the victims and their families turning on the TV every day, and the slap-in-the-face it must have been seeing those people out there demonstrating.

Then there's the Colorado shooting.  And again, I use Twitter for my example.  One of the people I follow has posted no fewer than four pro-gun messages in the wake of this tragedy.

I'm sure you know the ones I'm talking about:  "Guns don't kill people. People kill people."  And "If the people in that theater had all been armed, this wouldn't have happened."  Like I'm sure a hundred people all firing guns in a dark theater would have turned out real well.

And look, I know there are just as many anti-gun messages out there.  This is not at all intended to support one side of the issue or the other. 

It's just... people died.  And the initial reaction of some is to use the occasion to push their personal agenda?  I just want to ask them, what if that was your son or daughter, or brother or sister?  Would you still be rushing to turn this into a political issue?

When did the world become so desensitized?  Or maybe it's always been that way, and the internet just gives those people a voice now.  Or maybe it's just me.  Am I the one that's crazy?

I just feel like the victims in both of these tragedies-too-terrible-for-words almost become an afterthought sometimes. 

Whatever happened to mourning the dead?

Can't we simply be sad for awhile?  Is that still OK?

"How I wanna hear the anchor man talk about a county fair / And how we cleaned up the air / How everybody learned to care..."

Monday, July 16, 2012

In and out of the doghouse

The Free Dictionary defines the phrase "in the doghouse" as an idiom meaning "in great disfavor or trouble."

Ah, yes. We've all been there.  Some of us more than others.  A lot of times we're not even sure how we got there. But this much is for certain:  Every man since the dawn of time who has ever purported to be in a relationship with a woman has found himself in the proverbial doghouse.

To wit, I don't think the following scenario is very far-fetched:

Adam: "Um, honey.  Uhh, I'm not sure how to tell you this."
Eve: "Spit it out, Adam."
Adam: "Cain shot Abel today."
Eve: "WHAT???  YOU were supposed to be watching them!"
Adam: "Yeah, um, I, uh, dozed off under the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and, uh.... I'll just get my staff and go sleep with the animals tonight."
Eve: "Yeah you will!"
Adam (mumbling): "I want my rib back."
Eve: "What was that?!"
Adam: "Nothing, dear."

Today as I was googling "how to get out of the doghouse" (What?  Today is National Get Out Of The Doghouse Day.) I came across this article.  It's the Top 7 Ways To Get Out Of The Doghouse, from  So I thought I would go down the list, one by one, and share my thoughts on each.  You know, because I can't imagine that not being intellectually valuable.

7. Encourage A Conversation - I like that "courage" is the root word of encourage, because it takes a lot of courage for a man to do this.  Is courage the right word?  Bone's advice: Skip on to number six.

6. Make Her Laugh - Ah, yes, a Bone specialty.  If this one fails for me, I pretty much know I'm up Radiation Creek without a hazmat suit.  Bone's advice: This is probably OK for the small stuff, like running over her cat.  Accidentally, of course.  Not sure it works so well on the bigger stuff, like making out with her best friend.  (And FYI, that cat always hated me!) 

5. Buy Her Flowers - Clearly,, as well as most major holidays, is sponsored by Big Floral. Bone's advice: Flowers alone aren't going to cut it.  There will have to be a "talk" involved at some point.  You know it.  I know it.  Just try and have a ballgame going in the background on the TV when said talk occurs, and power through. 

4. Cook For Her - This, I can do.  You may even find you enjoy cooking.  In fact, many of the great chefs of our time are men:  Emeril.  Guy what's-his-name from the TGIFridays commercials.  Chef, from South Park.  Mel, from Mel's Diner on Alice.  I think my point is made.  Bone's advice:  Don't tell her what you're cooking.  That way when she asks, "What is this? Mutton?" you can just nod yes, even if it's not.

3. Listen To Her - I'm seriously beginning to wonder if AskMen actually asked any men at all for this article.  Because this sounds an awful lot like they only asked women.  Bone's advice:  See if you can just cook twice and skip this one. 

2. Leave - Oh no.  This doesn't work.  The idea, according to them, is to give her space.  It has been my experience that giving her too much space is often what got me into this situation in the first place.  Bone's advice:  Replace this one with "Pretend Nothing Is Wrong."  That's pretty much how I live my entire life anyway.  After a few days, you can even turn things around on her with a carefully placed, "Why have you been so grouchy lately?"  Women love that.

1. Say I'm Sorry - As I understand it, to put it in golf terms, this is like yelling "Fore!" after you hit a bad shot.  You raise your arm, say the magic word, and all is forgiven.  Now the article says to specify what exactly it is you're sorry about.  Well I don't know about you, but half the time, I don't have the slightest clue what I'm apologizing for anyway.  Bone's advice: Stick to two words: I'm Sorry.  Popular addendums like "I'm sorry your entire family is crazy" or "I'm sorry you can't stand for me to be happy even for one day" may seem like good ideas at first, but I have found they don't always translate so well.

There you have it.  Some of the very secrets that I have employed which have helped to keep me unmarried, lo, these many years.  May they produce even better results for you.

I can pretty much guarantee each will get you out of the doghouse, one way or the other -- either back into good graces, or perhaps more likely, out of the relationship altogether.

In closing, I would just say that I feel the doghouse has gotten a bad rap.   Therefore, I like to refer to it as the Canine Castle, or even better, hanging with Snoopy Dog. Whatever basement/garage/shed serves as your doghouse, spruce it up a bit, try and have a big screen TV out there.  Enjoy a day or two of space.

And for crying out loud, spring for some flowers, say I'm sorry, whatever you gotta do.  Because, let's be honest, no one else is gonna put up with you.

"This doghouse here is mighty small / But it's better than no house at all / So ease it on over / Drag it on over / Move over old dog 'cause a new dog's movin' in..."

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Blackberry cleanse

Day four...

I feel almost completely disconnected from society now.  Even more so than normal, I mean.  Friends I once had daily contact with, I haven't heard from in weeks.... or, days.  Last night, I managed to scrounge up some mushrooms for dinner.  (And fish and rice.)  Were they poisonous?  Who knows.  (OK, probably not, as I got them at the grocery store.)

Such is life with no cell phone.

My Blackberry bit the dust on Wednesday.  Died on the 4th of July, someone should make a movie.  Since then I have withdrawn further and further into an isolated, text-less, cell-phone-less existence.

When something you have relied on so heavily is taken away, you can't help but start to ponder things.  Things like, I never realized how texting has almost entirely replaced instant messaging in my life.  I used to have like 186 friends on AIM.  Now, there are five people signed into my Gchat.  And four of those are orange.

I still have a landline, but no one calls.  Or if they do, I don't know it, because they would be calling my Blackberry, which isn't working. And I can't call anyone, because years of reliance on cell phone directories have erased my memory of virtually all phone numbers except immediate family members.  And/or it's long distance.

I suppose I could email someone and ask them to call me.  But I'm not that desperate.  Yet.  Also, sometimes people act like they never got your email, even though it's clearly in your "sent mail" folder and there was never an issue with them getting any of your emails before when they complained because you're still Rickrolling them once a week, but as soon as you send one asking if they want to hang out, all of a sudden they're having Gmail issues!  I mean... I've heard.... that happens.... to other people.

Spending all this time alone, thinking about all the calls and texts I'm missing... it can, uh, make a man crazy.  How bad has it gotten?  Today I almost struck up a conversation with a telemarketer.  Almost.

What's next?  Speaking to someone face-to-face?  I shudder at the thought.

I'm sure some of you might be asking, "Bone, why in the world do you still have a landline?

What can I say?  I have trouble letting go.  Of course, I also have trouble committing, which is kind of a rare combination.  It's not easy being me, OK?

Still others of you may be wondering, "Bone, why don't you just get a new phone?"

Well, that would be the easy thing to do, wouldn't it?  It's just that I dread going to the phone store.  It's like we Blackberry customers have become anathema now.  When I bought mine, the guy was doing everything he could to talk me into another phone, any other phone.  And that was 18 months ago.  I can only imagine he and his good-time iPhone buddies laughing it up after I leave this time.

Also, it's been a welcome break for my Texter's Thumb.  *flexing thumbs*  I can really tell a difference already.

Besides, this has now mutated into some sort of masochistic exercise in self-deprivation.  You see, there comes a time in a man's life when he needs to strike out on his own, remove himself from society for a few days, and see if he can survive without all the modern-day amenities. 

So for the past four days, it's just been me and the bare necessities: my laptop and my TV. 

How long can a person live like this?

As my number of Gchat friends online has now dropped to three, I'm guessing not much longer.

"Open your eyes, you might see / If our lives were that simple, we'd live in the past / If the phone doesn't ring, it's me..."

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Dipping a toe in the metrosexual pool

I suppose it all started about six weeks ago.  That's when I glanced down and noticed I had a big potato chip crumb caught in my chest hair.

As I nibbled on said crumb (What?  They were Munchos.  Plus, I shower. At least six days a week.) I began to ponder life.  More specifically, my life.  And most specifically, my chest.  Was it growing where I wanted it to grow, or was it out of control?  Did I need to make drastic chest changes?  Was this a sign from above,or simply a result of sloppy eating and rather poor posture?

Who can really say?  It's nebulous.

I'm fully aware it was only last year that I took a vow of shaving abstinence.  But seriously people, food was getting stuck.  And so, with the shirtless summer season upon us, I took the plunge into the metrosexual pool.

I trimmed my chest.   

Just a little!  It was like mowing the lawn down there.  Not even really a full mow, just evening it out a little.  More like hedge trimming.

OK, so maybe I only stuck my toe in the metrosexual pool.

Anyway, now that it's done, I gotta say I kinda like it.  Sure, a few more crumbs may end up on the floor, but I probably needed to vacuum anyway.  I find myself looking down my shirt at random times throughout the day, just checking it out. Which can be a little awkward when someone walks in at work.

Also, as long as I was, uh, in the neighborhood, I went ahead and trimmed my underarm hair, too.  I'm sorry, but it was a bird's nest under there.

Which brings me to my next point.  Or maybe my only point.  And that is, I get tired of all this maintenance.

Ear hair, nose hair, chest hair, underarm hair.  Now I'm sitting here looking at my toe hair.  I guess I'm gonna have to trim that, too. Where does it end?  What is it all for?  Women?

I've seen cavemen on TV.  They get women, and they're not shaving.  Granted, in most of the footage I've seen they hit the woman over the head with their club then drag her back to the cave.  I'm not sure if courts today would view that favorably, but surely there must be another way.

I was watching an old Police Story last night, and David Groh took off his shirt so they could put a wire on him.  It was like a bearskin rug under there.  Man, I would have rocked the seventies!  Chest hair, lava lamps, nobody looking at you funny when you're singing along falsetto to "Stayin' Alive."  I really wouldn't have to change that much.

OK, I've strayed off my topic a bit.  What was my topic again?  Oh, right, how hard it is being a man.

But alas, even as I gripe and wax defiant, I do so having already acquiesced to a degree.

I just hope my chest hair heroes -- the two Tom's, Selleck and Wopat -- aren't too disappointed.

"Well, you can tell by the way I use my walk / I'm a woman's man / No time to talk..."

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The cemetery trees

It's nothing grandiose.  Sitting on the littlest of hills, surrounded by a chain-link fence, just far enough away from everything so that you can barely hear the cars from the nearest paved road.  A few trees watch over irregular rows of hewn stones, and the bones of those dearly departed.

I have come here at times alone -- to think, and to talk.  To my grandma (mamaw), or maybe just to the wind.  But I have not been here in a long while.  Too long.  Usually it is quiet.  I find a peacefulness here.  But not today.

Today is Decoration Day at the cemetery where most of my mom's family is buried.  It's a day for socializing.  I speak to relatives.  Most I know and recognize.  Some I remember after they introduce themselves.  A couple I pretend to know and wait until I can grab the arm of an aunt or uncle later to ask who that was.

"There's fewer of us every year."

My youngest aunt says this to me, perhaps verbalizing what others are only thinking.  I give a resigned nod.  Though I'm not certain about every year, I definitely notice it this year.  Of twenty-nine first cousins, I only count ten of us there, including me.  Five of my mom's seven living brothers and sisters are there.  This is often the only time of the year I see my one uncle and aunt.  They have a grandson that looks to be twelve or thirteen that I probably haven't seen since he was a baby. 

Don't get me wrong, there were still a lot of people there.  Just not as many as I remember.  The sparseness perhaps exacerbated by the presence of two giant barren trees in the midst of the cemetery.  For as long as I can remember, those two trees provided ample shade near most of my family's graves.  They played the songs of the wind.  But something has killed them since the last time I was here.  And as I stand there in the unrelenting sun, I realize like too much of life, I have only come to truly appreciate them in their absence.

One highlight of the day is my 86-year-old great uncle.  He is the last one living of his siblings, the last link to my mamaw's generation.  And he has no kids, so it has been left to my mother and a couple of her siblings to see after him.  On this day, my youngest uncle has gone by to get him and rolled him out to a shady spot.  There he sits in his wheelchair as people walk up and talk to him.

I get into a conversation with an uncle and a cousin about my great grandmother, who was half-Cherokee.  My uncle did some genealogy research a few years ago and tells us that during the Indian Removal my great-grandmother and her family identified themselves as "black Dutch," denying their ancestry in fear of being sent West.  These are the stories I love, and crave.

But it's a hotter-than-normal May morning, and with the lack of much shade, we are not long at the cemetery.  After maybe an hour, several of us head over to fave aunt's for a cookout and more family time.  My great uncle is there, too.  I watch him eating and I wish all his days were this good.  He was recently diagnosed with cancer and decided against treatment.

Later I see that he has just about dozed off.  One of the kids runs by and bumps his chair, jolting him awake.  He smiles at her and nods.  And in that instant -- the kind eyes, the almost sad smile -- I see my mamaw, so clearly it scares me.

Eventually, after everyone has eaten, another uncle sits down at the piano.  My mom and two of my aunts join him to sing, mostly old gospel hymns.  Like so much of the rest of this day, this is a family tradition.

During one of the songs, I start to feel overcome with emotion.  Maybe it's thinking about my aunts and uncles getting older, or maybe it's just the culmination of the entire day.  Whatever it is, it hits me out of nowhere.  I hurry to the bathroom so no one will see, close the door, and I sob.  For thirty seconds.  Then I'm OK again.

I get a moment away from the others to speak to one of my older cousins.  I tell him I wonder what will happen to Decoration Day once our parents' generation is gone.  He says it will be up to us.  I know "us" may only mean a few of us.  But I feel better knowing it matters to him.

Tradition, family, the future -- I ponder these things often the next several days.  And I decide I should see about planting a new tree.

"On the other side / Do you ever see me cry / Do you know how much I miss you / Wish I could have said goodbye..."

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Christmas comes anew

There are several "Christmases" throughout the year enjoyed by the avid college football fan.  Dates, games, and events we all look forward to with near-deranged anticipation.

There's National Signing Day.  There's New Year's Day -- though it has lost a bit of its sacredness in the past several years with the proliferation of the number of bowl games.  And there's the national championship game, if your team is fortunate enough to be in it.  

Then there's the day when the preseason college football magazines hit newsstands.  *rubbing hands together*  (Do they even still have newsstands?  It just flowed so much better than "the day they hit the Kroger shelves," which is where I bought my two.) 

That day was Friday.  The first of June.  At once, I had weekend plans. 

As I hurried out of my friendly hometown grocery store, it was all I could do to keep from giggling.  (There's no way to make that sentence sound manly, is there?)  Anxious to get home and unwrap my new treasures -- the shiny, glossy covers; that "new magazine" smell; and of course, the information!

Four hundred forty-eight pages in all.  Schedules, rosters, rankings, statistics, analysis, predictions.  Because how would I survive without knowing how many returning starters Boise State has (it's nine, if you're curious) or who was rated the 8th best offensive guard in the nation?  You're right, I wouldn't.

I'm giddy as a schoolgirl backstage at a Justin Bieber concert.  And just as vulnerable, by the way.

Hopefully, this will be enough to get me through until the next "Christmas" -- the first Saturday of the college football season, which is exactly 90 days away.

It has been said that football is religion in the South.  I suppose that could be debated.  However, I can testify that our lower-case messiah was once greeted with a not-so-holy kiss.

Mainly, I just try and enjoy each of these special days as they happen.  Because as we all know, Christmas only comes a few times a year.

"So I'm moving to New York / 'Cause I've got issues with my sleep / Looks like Christmas came early / Christmas came early for me..."

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Let them eat cake!

As I was preparing to exfoliate the unnecessary details from my weekend and prepare a tasty little blog casserole for you, it struck me that I attend a high number of toddler birthday parties.  You know, for a man. With no kids.

Anyway, first things first.  Saturday morning, I managed to complete a 10-kilometer run.  Which I now prefer to refer to as ten thousand meters.  It just sounds farther.  (Ooo, one million centimeters!  Even better.)  I've also been singing the "I would walk five hundred miles" song, substituting "have run" for "would walk", "ten thousand" for "five hundred," and "meters" for "miles."  A couple more changes and it'll be completely unrecognizable.

I finished in 51:58, which isn't my best.  But it also isn't my worst, and as is always my #1 goal in these races, I didn't die.  (#2 is getting my name in the local paper.  What?  I need attention.  I come by it honest.)

There was no trophy this year, as I am 39 and at the upper end of my age group.  But next year, when I reach that age-which-shall-not-be-spoken, I'll be the young whippersnapper in my classification.  This year, I was racing against guys with names like Corey, Trey, and Dustin.  But, next year, I'll be going against guys named Dean, Barry, and Stanley -- guys who have lived, guys who have more than likely had at least one prostate exam.  And the way I figure, I'll be like the just-turned-50-year-old who goes out on the Senior PGA Tour for the first time.  I'll be dominating the dojo.  So to speak.

After a nap so short it's an insult to even call it a nap, it was off to Nashville.  Yes, my spring social season is in full swing, and Saturday was my friends' daughter's first birthday party.  As I stated earlier, I've attended quite a few of these, so I know the drill -- cake, presents, seven thousand pictures, and copious amounts of hand sanitizer.

As a matter of fact, I've become such a pro at these things, I could probably hire myself out to attend them.  Actually, now that I think about it -- strange, childless man at a toddler's birthday party -- maybe that's not such a great idea.

Anyway, even a seasoned pro like myself was a bit taken aback by one hiccup that did occur.  This happened when the mom scolded one of the "kids" for trying to eat one of the cupcakes:  "No!  Not yet!  Can't you wait five more minutes?  I have to get a picture of the table first! "

Yes, because that's what the party is all about -- pictures of decorations.  And good heavens, we'd already been there for nearly two hours.  Do you have any idea how hard it is to keep some of these kids entertained for that long?  I know I wasn't there five minutes before I was playing on my phone.

I think I have to side with the kid on this one.  And did she really have to yell?  That kinda hurt my feelings.  I mean... his feelings.

Thankfully, the rest of the party went fairly smoothly.  Well, except for the grill catching ablaze.  But perhaps that will be another ingredient, in another blog casserole.  You know, if you didn't catch it on the local news.

And in case you're wondering, that poor, downtrodden, reprobate kid did finally get his cupcake, as well as an extra Capri-Sun for his trouble. (Actually, he punched a hole clear through the back of his first one.  I could never do those things right!)

"But I would walk five hundred miles / And I would walk five hundred more / Just to be the man who walked a thousand miles to fall down at your door..."

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Announcing "Automatic Email Deletion Notification"

My friend, Axl, works for the government -- well, government contractor.  I'm not exactly sure what he does all day, other than perpetuating a stereotype perhaps.  I mean, I know he wears many hats, but that's literal, not figurative.

Anyhow, the way I figure it, he must work really hard and get really far ahead as he often seems to have an abundance of free time.  Many days, this results in him sending out a seemingly endless stream of emails -- sports articles, YouTube clips, and other links -- which most of the time I am too busy to read.

I'm generally fine with it, but there was one particular day last week where I was inundated with work and he was shooting off emails like fireworks on the 4th with the Boston Pops playing in the background.

So, hoping to put an end to his emails for the day, I composed this little gem:

The email you sent to has been deleted.  It was not read.  It was not opened.  It was deleted before opening.  

If you feel you have received this message in error, rest assured you have not.  Please do not resend.

Automatic Email Deletion Notification is a new service offered by Google exclusively for Gmail members.


The Google team

Now, clearly I was just being a smart-aleck, never once imagining he would think it was real.  I figured, if nothing else, the "rest assured you have not" would give it away.

But then...

Later that evening I get call from him.  He asks, "Did you get an email from me today with blah-blah-blah in the subject line?"

"Hmmm," I pretend to ponder.  "No, I don't think so," I fib.

At that point, he proceeds to tell me about the email he got from Google and how at first he thought it was a joke, but then when I never said anything, he figured it must be legit.  He completely bought it!  And he's in IT!

So if you should see an email like this floating around, advertising Gmail's new automatic Email Deletion Notification service, it's most likely a farce.  And you can say, "I know the guy who started that!"

Who knows, maybe I'll end up on Snopes one day.  It's not Wikipedia or Guinness Book, but it's something.  It's cyber immortality.

Oh by the way, I never told Axl any different.  Was that wrong?

"If you ever get annoyed / Look at me, I'm self-employed / I love to work at nothing all day..."