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Rated: 18+ · Book · Biographical · #1391383
Groovy Blog v 2.0
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Thanks, vivacious , for my groovy blog header!

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March 30, 2013 at 1:12pm
March 30, 2013 at 1:12pm
Well, I have successfully completed yet another annual Good Friday hike. It’s a little hard for me to believe that this was the 28th consecutive year I’ve made this exact same hike on Good Friday. Is that even possible? Life’s brakes clearly aren’t built for the long haul. The mountain itself has changed very little in that time, but the man making the journey has somewhat.

Back when this all started, I was just a toddler with no worries, no gray hairs, no kids, fresher legs, and a wardrobe full of white K-Mart briefs held up with their patented hefty two-inch elastic waistband that left lifetime scar indentations, and white knee-high tube socks featuring an assortment of attractive colored stripes around the top. The burdens of life had yet to leech onto my wrinkle-free body. Nothing mattered and what if it did? I had just unloaded 5,000 shares of some under-performing stock called Microsoft 1 and had dreams of the presidency, or an assistant manager position at Pizza Hut, whichever came first.

Looking back, it’s a bit of a miracle I’ve been able to continue this journey every single year, what with all of life’s changes. Marriage, kids, different jobs, and the exciting transition to colored underwear, to name a few. I know it has to end someday, but I’ll keep the streak going as long as I can.

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The good stuff.

Sometimes in life, wisdom tags along with age, and this is one of those times. I’ve graduated from granola bars to steak. I like steak. Despite the misleading pics, there was still quite a bit of deep snow up high, but it’s melting fast and there were plenty of pockets of soggy, clear land. I only saw one set of footprints that were probably a couple days old, but yesterday I had the entire place to myself.

“Loneliness? No, that’s called solitude.” (I ripped that off from a cowboy tune.)

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The good stuff #2

Get it? #2??? I didn’t see much moose poop, but what I did find was sublime. Sheer perfection in size, shape and texture. With properly patient curing, this could be a stellar crop, but you never really know until you light one up. Diet means everything to a moose nugget’s aroma and for all I know this moose had just wolfed down a couple bags of bbq pork rinds that morning, so we’ll see.

Happy Easter to all and to all a good ham. And scalloped potatoes. May your baskets be overflowing with Reese’s peanut butter eggs - yet another of God’s great Easter gifts for all mankind.

1  bald-faced lie

March 26, 2013 at 10:31am
March 26, 2013 at 10:31am
Buying an iPhone 5 might seem like an expensive writing prompt, but, as Scarlett suggested in a notebook scribble, it deserves a blog entry. I mean, this is a big event in the history of a lifetime non-Apple user. Besides, vivacious asked me to write more entries because she’s been having trouble sleeping lately.

I got the phone early Friday afternoon and I don't think it's a coincidence that I've had a nagging headache ever since. Question to all current iPhone users: How long does it take for Apple to fully scan your brain? Does the pain go away soon after? Is all valuable brain data erased, like birthdays, favorite spouse, and who won the 1981 Westchester Golf Open?

I really have had a headache since Friday. I’m frightened, but it’s possibly just Droid withdrawal symptoms, similar to the headaches you get when giving up coffee or oxygen, cold turkey. And one of the Droid features I hated giving up was that little flashing green light that lets you know you’ve received a text or e-mail. It always felt a little like Christmas when that tiny beacon would start blinking. The fact that my “gift” was usually something like an e-mail ad for half-price Viagra - which is a little like the socks Grandma sent for Christmas each year wrapped in faded gift paper from 1942 - is irrelevant. Never look a gift horse in the crotch, Grandma used to say. She said that about Grandpa, too. Anyway, I do miss that little light. I keep expecting to see it on my new brain-sapping iPhone that hates Christmas.

However, I do love the speed. I’m not sure if that’s so much an iPhone thing or simply the fact that my 3-year-old (92 in smartphone years) Droid had fossilized to the point where the 3G icon was replaced with one showing two cans and a piece of string. And it’s not like I’d bogged it down with apps, either. I only had a few of the basics that most people have - flashlight, Twitter, how to see people naked, etc. But, it had become the old geezer, crawling to the finish line of his final marathon. Now I have the young thoroughbred, full of energy and rocketing out of the starting gate. Sure, in a few years it’ll be the old nag ready for slaughter out back of the Taco Bell factory, but I’ll ride it as long as I can.

Overall, it’s definitely an upgrade and I even have an extra G to prove it. I think I’m happy. But that might just be what Apple programmed me to say when they scanned my brain.

March 22, 2013 at 10:24am
March 22, 2013 at 10:24am
WDC tells me it’s been 18 days since my last blog entry, but that’s a lie. I swear it was, like…18 minutes ago. That last riveting entry on the history of the Porknose must have worn me out more than I thought.

As the cobwebs collect dust in the corners of my silent blog, it’s funny how I feel this pressure to write something…anything. I wonder why that is. Nobody cares. And I wonder what these cobs are that make all these webs. I have yet to see one.

So, yeah…this is one of THOSE entries. The kind without a point. Written only to make me feel better about my life for at least another 18 days.

Let’s see, March Madness opened yesterday and the hometown Griz embarrassed themselves against Syracuse with an embarrassment for the ages, losing by more points than any team seeded the same or higher has in the history of the tournament. So we’ve got that going for us. Which is nice. However, I was able to gain a little revenge by giving some classless New Yorkers a thorough beatdown on the ESPN message boards this morning. They were no match for me.

Last Sunday, my family and I made the 200-mile drive west to Spokane, WA, for a day of shopping and food. For me it was all about the food. I was the one who planned this trip, and the main focus was to try as many different food sources as we could that we don’t have access to here in my section of Montana. Other shopping was permitted, however. There are no Long John Silver’s in Montana and I’d been craving it…bad. That was our first stop and I was more than satisfied.

Some people dream big in this life. Money, careers, etc. I dream of fast food deep-fried fish. I am rarely disappointed in achieving my lofty goals.

Other than that, the only other “new” foods I got to try was Cinnabon and Olive Garden. I expected better from Cinnabon, and if not for the unlimited salad and breadsticks, Olive Garden falls into the dreaded “small food, big price” category. I prefer “big food, small price”, of course, and will even accept “big food, big price”, but that first option is not an option. As we walked out of the restaurant, I noticed a Panda Express next door (which I affectionately call “Kung Fu Panda”), which was another of my hopeful destinations, but there was just no more room in the tank to store anything and I had to let it go. However, I was pleasantly surprised when a trip 120 miles north to Kalispell, MT, the following day found me looking face-to-face with a brand new Kung Fu Panda! We had to stop and it was yummy.

Anyway, the food shopping/shopping trip was a hoot. We covered a lot of ground and I have to say that pretty much ALL of the people who waited on us in the retail and restaurant businesses we visited were super friendly on Sunday. We gave them cash and prizes in appreciation.

And, finally, as some of you may remember, I was once in love with Brittany Murphy, but then she died and left me all alone with no one. Well, except for a beautiful loving wife and family, but other than that…all alone. It’s been over three years and I think I’ve finally moved on. There’s someone else. I’ve been seeing her now since last summer (she doesn’t see me…these relationships are always so darn one-sided) and I think it’s serious.

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As Charlie Brown’s sister Sally would say, “Isn’t she just the cutest thing?”, though she was talking about Linus. Linus was totally under-appreciated and should have won numerous “Best Cartoon Actor in a Supporting Role” awards. Ahead of his time, he was. Anyway, yes, I have major heart flutters and happy nerve tingling sensations for Amanda Seyfried. Though no one can ever compare to adorable Brittany, she’s pretty adorable too. My daughter-in-law says Amanda looks “funny”, but what does she know, she’s a girl. Wish us luck.

March 4, 2013 at 12:21pm
March 4, 2013 at 12:21pm
It seems everyone I know has been taking the full twenty-yard running kick to the crotch (the maximum allowable by law) from the IRS this tax season. Folks who are used to getting a refund are having to pay, so I expected the same and have been mentally and physically preparing for the blow by stuffing things in my pants I normally don’t. You know, Cosmo magazines and bagels…whatever I can find. But, the tax lady called the other day and informed us that we once again were able to sideswipe the running crotch kick, and even deliver a kick of our own to the IRS’s fat greedy buttocks as they whizzed by.

However, my son and daughter-in-law were not so lucky. They had a complete reversal from the year before and took the full brunt of the kick. I’m thinking we should probably do the parental thing and use our refund to pay their tax debt. That way, our crotch kick would meet the IRS’s crotch kick head on. A break-even deal; nobody wins. In short, if a crotch is kicked in the forest, does anyone feel it?

If I were to be selfish, however, there are things I want. If you don’t have an iPhone, you don’t have an iPhone, and I don’t have an iPhone. My tired old Droid is struggling to stay alive and doesn’t respond when I touch it anymore. It thinks it’s my wife! I also need new hiking boots, new trail-runners, and four or five new fly fishing rods since in recent years I’ve acquired a bad habit of breaking them on 42-pound logs trout. Some essentials, like the robotic hamster, glow-in-the-dark unicycle, inflatable boulders, and gasoline-powered afro maker will probably have to wait another year.

But the footwear is a necessity. Summer hiking season is coming up fast. The other night I was looking through some of my old USGS maps and was once again intrigued by the names of certain peaks, creeks and lakes. Some are quite bizarre, and those that aren’t named, my brother and I take the liberty of naming ourselves. We’ve got dozens of them. For example, can you tell why we call this very remote pair of unnamed lakes “Porknose Lakes”? The map provides the one and only obvious clue available to mankind. Between the lakes???

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What the Porknose looks like in real life. I’ve searched and there is no pork on the porknose, only a few huckleberries from time to time.

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Looking back up at the high point from where the previous pic was taken, just west of the Porknose and beer. I learned the importance of unnecessary labeling from the original 1966 Batman movie where everything the Dynamic Duo needed to use in their part-time superhero job was labeled in large generic black and white signs. “Bat Phone”, “Bat Cave via Bat Pole”, “Batmobile”, “Shark Repellent”, "Bat Ladder", and my personal favorite, “Super Molecular Dust Separator”. When they were ordinary citizens, Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson, nothing was labeled for them. No "Toaster" or "Clock" or "Toilet", so obviously The Dynamic Duo experienced a sudden lack of basic comprehension skills when they strapped on the tights.

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What the beer looks like in real life. Last summer, a 12-pack of Blue Moon was packed many rugged miles up into Porknose for what is believed to be the first time in the history of the world. We actually left one can up there, buried under a rock and about five feet of snow right now. It should be aged nicely by this summer. We drank responsibly and had a designated hiker. This pic was sent to the Blue Moon folks, in hopes that they would love it and love us enough to give us free Blue Moon until we die and beyond, and possibly have it helicoptered in to Porknose every summer, but they simply wrote back and said, “Cool”, or something unappreciative like that. Selfish bastards. Maybe they don't like labels.

February 28, 2013 at 11:14am
February 28, 2013 at 11:14am
As I was hiking to the top of Mount Sentinel the other day, I was suddenly hit with a flashback from over twenty years ago of a hike with my brother and best friend. On that day, I was following them up a very steep section of broken moss-covered rock when I looked up just in time to see a rock the size of a very large rock flying by my ear. I yelled an obscenity, they glanced back with little concern, and that was that.

But I was thinking, if that jagged boulder had come down about six inches to the left, while my looks would have improved, my blog entries would be something like, “Phsoijuosiuh….heh…..*drool*….I like the color 12 because it reminds me of the time I went fishing in Antarctica with General Custer and he ate my sandwich….pshhh.s..stkskjoijjllsll……*slobber*….cheese…..yrysoo….cute little puppies….shnoajilijsh…..”

Okay, maybe not much of a change.

Other than the flashback, I’ve noticed a familiar change in the Montana atmosphere on my recent hikes. To the untrained eye it’s probably unnoticeable, but for someone like me who spends the winter counting the milliseconds until the arrival of March, my favorite month, it’s perfectly clear. I love Montana winters and I get outside and enjoy them, but I also love the sun and I’ve long speculated that between the months of November and February here, you’d be hard-pressed to find even ten days that you could officially classify as sunny days.

And it’s not just a lack of sun. The Montana winter sky is usually a monotonous sea of gray, void of any character or even different shades of gray. I’d put on a sundress and do the Harlem Shake for fifty shades of gray, or even two. And there’s no movement up there, just a heavy stagnant blanket of gray impossible to get out from under. The gray sky blends into the gray hills that blend into the gray valleys that blend into my gray shoes and on up into my gray soul. I know, the simple solution is to just buy colorful shoes or underwear to try to block the spread of gray into my system, but it would just find a different entry point eventually, possibly through the ears or nasal region, so why fight it? Besides, I like to blend in with my surroundings.

But, it’s changing. The skies are still gray for the most part, but it’s a different gray. The clouds have shape and contrast again. And they move! The sky is brighter. The blanket is unraveling and if you look closely enough, you’ll even find small holes in the fabric that reveal a strange but vaguely familiar blue background beyond. When I spot these pockets of blue, my eyes search the landscape for the patch of earth that was lucky enough to receive the few rays of sun that finally made it through. Even from a distance it warms my gray bell-bottom briefs and washes a little of that gray from my soul.

Yes, I prefer "gray" over "grey" because I'm an American. By golly.

The first buttercups are probably only a week or so away. Upon their arrival, I am one with the hippies. That is, until we get off the mountain and they see me get in my truck featuring the "Extremely Rightwing" bumper sticker that my daughter-in-law so kindly gave me, and then all hippie hell breaks loose. But for a brief moment in time, wildflowers bring us together. Politicians could use the unifying power of buttercups.

However, it’s snowing as I type this, so…back to the old routine. Think I’ll stay inside…psiioolissshhs…and play Yahtzee…*slobber*…with my buddy Abe Lincoln…ehhehsohohsssl…I like raw toast when it’s first picked off the vine…um..hshhls…Abe lets me win and doesn’t hog my sandwich...ospsplajjl…

February 24, 2013 at 1:13pm
February 24, 2013 at 1:13pm
The Academy Awards are tonight. I don’t watch Hollywood award shows anymore for reasons given in a recent entry, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like movies. Who doesn’t, right?

Some personal Party trivia:

First movie I ever saw in a theater: Heck, I don’t know. I have vague memories of watching “Kelly’s Heroes” in the theater as a young boy. Maybe that was it.
Most recent movie: “Safe Haven”, about a week ago. And why didn’t any of you tell me Julianne Hough was so HOT??? Oh, excuse me, Gypsy…HAWT!
Only movie I ever walked out on: “Soggy Bottom, USA”. Don’t ask.
Only movie I ever fell asleep while watching (we’re talking theaters here, not at home on the couch which happens all the time): “They All Laughed”. This was actually a pretty good movie, I was just tired.

A few more trivial tidbits: I googled the Academy Awards and there has never been a year where I’ve seen every Best Picture nominee. And, the last Best Picture winner I’ve seen was “Gladiator” in 2000. Wow, even I was surprised at the length of that drought. I checked tonight’s nominees and I haven’t seen a single one, but I’m pulling for Daniel Day-Lewis and Jennifer Lawrence anyway, simply because I love their past work.

There’s a reason I haven’t seen a Best Picture winner in 13 years, and have actually only seen a handful of all the nominees since then. The Academy isn’t any fun anymore! Back in the day, movies like “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and “Star Wars” were nominated regularly. Not anymore. Going to the movies is still kind of a special, almost-magical thing to me, just like when I was a kid. Maybe that’s because I don’t go very often in my old age. Part of that is because, to complete the experience, I have to have the $27 bag of popcorn and the $14 Diet Coke to fully enjoy myself. That whole credit check and loan process at the concession stand takes time, but if you’re going to go to the movies, you have to do it right.

So, for those few times I DO go to the theater, I want to be entertained. I have to be picky, and what I call entertainment, Hollywood doesn’t anymore. That’s why I’ve been out of the Academy’s loop the past decade or so. I’m sure they’ve missed me!

Which brings us to the “You Should Be Ashamed Of Yourself” award, where the nominees are all those films you’re embarrassed to say you’ve never seen before. These are the movies that, when friends or acquaintances find out you’ve never watched them, their jaws drop to their condescending, judgmental knees and their searing gaze burns a hole through your face like you’re the most worthless person ever to inhabit the planet. This award is also known as the “Incredulous Stare Award”.

My nominees: Any of the “Godfather” films. Any of the “Lord of the Rings” films. “The Shawshank Redemption.” “Braveheart.” “The Hangover” (not Academy material, but apparently I’m a worthless idiot for never having seen it).

Finally, the “Go-To Film Award”. You know, that one movie above all other favorite movies that you’re allowed to have with you on that mythical desert island everyone gets stranded on. The island that features a solar-powered dvd player, and hopefully a solar-powered popcorn maker and Diet Coke dispenser. Mine would be “Never Cry Wolf”. I want to hear other “go-to” favorites. Maybe I’ll find another good film to fall asleep to.

February 21, 2013 at 11:24am
February 21, 2013 at 11:24am
Apparently, the appropriate five-year anniversary gift is wood. I don't feel comfortable saying, "Give me some wood." Maybe if I was more specific and named a particular lumber product. Give me some quarter-inch plywood. How's that?

On this day five years ago, I was born again! Hallelujah! This is the five-year anniversary of my second coming to WDC. It boggles my elbows that it’s been that long, since my first blog here didn’t even make it to the two-year mark before it violently exploded, causing mayhem featuring death and destruction. That first blog had around 175 entries in a little over a year and a half, while this one only has 162 in five years. Clearly, I’m pacing myself for the long haul.

That comes out to about one entry every eleven days, or, to put it into easier to understand numbers, one every 974,400 seconds. I think if I can maintain that “one entry every million seconds” pace, my body will be able to sustain the rigorous wear and tear of blogging and I won’t need reconstructive surgery at some point in the future.

For years and years I thought I started my first account here back in November of 2001, when the place was stories.com. I was sure of it! But, now I’m not so sure. After joining that November, I immediately wrote a short semi-autobiographical Christmas story and posted it. I remember AJ wants U 2 meet The CanMan! giving me a nice review and an awardicon which I thought was very nice, and it inspired me to keep at it here. But, I just used my special airborne tactical battalion CSI/FBI/NCIS/BR549 skills (which consisted of me strategically hovering my mouse over AJ’s folder icon to reveal her start date), and I see her life here began in February of 2002. That probably means she was still in the StoryMistress’s womb in November, 2001 and I wasn’t even a lustful stirring in the StoryMaster’s loins because he hadn’t yet spiked her morning coffee with some of them African-disiacs. So, that first story and review most likely occurred in November of 2002, not 2001 like my previous brain believed.

Dang it, I hate it when I lose entire years! Like with my son - apparently he’s married now, but I thought he was only seven. Yes, my brain is decaying, but I’m hoping this one-every-million-seconds thing will help slow the process. In the meantime, thanks for coming to my five-year party. Come on in and mingle. Have some grape Kool-aid and help yourself to some complimentary light bulbs and a pair of “A Party Every 974,400 Seconds” embroidered underwear before you go.

February 14, 2013 at 12:44pm
February 14, 2013 at 12:44pm
About fifty or sixty years ago when the twins were born, I had to give up my writing room. My modest desk and typewriter gave way to a crib and diaper pail, but I’m a patient man and knew one day it would be mine again. Okay, actually, I’m not a patient man at all, but in this case I had no choice. I did my time as a father and waited it out.

Well, that day has finally come. My youngest son recently moved out on his own, taking his crib and diaper pail with him, but before I could so much as think about where my Twilight posters would go, my wife swooped in and confiscated the room for her new office and immediately Pinterested the crap out of it, just to make sure I’d never set foot there again, other than to maybe bring her a fresh cup of coffee.

I’m okay with this, I guess. After all, she does have a thriving Avon business and I only sit down to write about once every seven or eight years, so it makes sense. Last weekend I helped her paint the existing paneling in hideously ugly alternating colors because someone “pinned” it, or whatever it is that happens over there, and she had to have it. I should probably google this before suggesting it because it probably already exists, but if not, there needs to be a “Manterest” site. A place where guys pin (though, using a knife or arrow or hatchet would be better) manly ideas, like how to make insulated beer cozies out of worn-out elastic briefs, or creative ways to make a truck seat cover out of that dead elk hide that’s been laying in the yard all winter. There’s a need.

Anyway, the room formerly known as my former writing room, is pretty much ready. It looks like an office with ugly walls, but fully functional, except for the printer which is possessed as most are. I think the fact that we’ve never spent more than $4.95 on a printer might have something to do with the fact that we’ve never had one that obeys. Next time, we’ll open up the checkbook and maybe go all the way up to $9.95 and see if that helps, or better yet, go 3-D.

3-D printers are real, by the way. Like, REAL 3-D, not something you print and wear goofy glasses to enjoy. Digital scans create real three-dimensional printed objects that are exact replicas of the original in shape. Apparently, medical science is also onto this, and by using cell duplication, will one day be able to create the body part you need. I’ll skip the obvious joke of printing enlargements. Okay, I guess I didn’t skip it.

Scientists say this is only ten to fifteen years away, but some things will never change, and I can envision a day when you cut yourself bad shaving your ear hair so you scan it into your personal 3-D Body-Matic printer to make a replacement, but get the “error communicating with the printer” message, so you pound the print button about twenty-seven more times in frustration before giving up. The next day when you slam your toe in the refrigerator door and try to scan and print a new one, twenty-seven ears come out before your new toe and then it jams. Toe jam. Probably a good idea to pay a little more for the body printer as I’m sure the paper and ink are expensive.

February 6, 2013 at 11:03am
February 6, 2013 at 11:03am
We almost made it to the end of a morning of running errands the other day when my wife said, “Oh, I need to stop at the bank quick.” I winced and recognized the familiar feeling of expanding pressure in my veins before asking if it could wait. “Why?” she asked. “We’re already out.”

Teller time is no fun with my wife. Maybe if I could lay on the floor of the back seat behind the cover of tinted windows and anything else I could find, but when you’re driving, it’s brutal. I feel so exposed. See, my wife thinks that just because she once worked as a teller many moons ago that there’s this unspoken bond that goes on between all tellers, past and present. Kind of like the bond between military servicemen and women, only nowhere near the same and actually completely different. She believes that all tellers know what each of their kinship is thinking with no explanation required, so she’ll hand me an envelope stuffed with checks, bills and coin, plus a deposit slip that's filled out with numbers that don't match the cash enclosed, and confidently say, “Oh, they’ll know what to do” while I give her a familiar “I hate my life with you at the bank” look before cramming it in the tube.

I’m the one on the front lines here. The first person the confused teller sees when they open this mess is me. At least when I face them, I can use facial pleading and eye pointing to explain it wasn’t my fault without my wife noticing. And on this visit, as is often the case, the teller had to call in reinforcements. “See? You confused her,” I said. “How could they not be? I always am.”

Three...two…one: “That’s because you weren’t a teller for fourteen years like I was.”

But that was back in the stone ages when we had wood-burning tellers who knew how to add. Today’s tellers all look about 12-years-old, which means they went through school very recently after math classes were replaced with courses like “Understanding the Greatness of the Great Obama and How it Benefits You.” And even if they did know how to add, they’re no match for my wife. Eventually the child-teller called out with the familiar, “Ma’am…um….what the hell?” kind of comment before sending the confusing mess back out for us to sort out.

When we finally got it all figured out and were driving away, my wife noticed she was given an extra dollar and wanted to turn around and give it back. “We tellers have to balance to the penny each night!” she exclaimed. We tellers? The kid probably wasn’t even alive when my wife slung her last tube through the steam-powered drive-up tubes of her day! I assured her the poor child would gladly pay the dollar out of her own pocket to avoid being subjected to any more retro tellerkinetic bamboozlement.

Get it? “TELLERkinetic”? *Rolleyes*

The last stop was the hardware store and since I used to work in a hardware store back in my college days, you’d think I’d have the same special powers my wife has with tellers. You would be wrong. I was a terrible handyman (then and now) and a horrible fit for a hardware store, and I’m sure this probably affected my powers. And, while tellers keep getting younger, hardware clerks get older. I mean really old. I think I worked with some of these guys 25 years ago when they were only around 84. There must be very little turnover in the hardware store workforce. Occasionally someone probably dies out and has to be replaced with a 70-year-old youngster.

Typically, hardware clerks are already good at telekinesis simply because they’ve been around since before hardware stores were invented and know everything.

“Can I help you?”

“Yeah, I’m looking for a….”

“#14 or #16? Beveled or inverted?”

“Uh…you tell me.”

“Aisle 4, bottom shelf on the right. Only have 3 left.”

Still, I did my best to use my so-called powers and squinted my brain in front of him really hard to see if he would send me to the dryer venting I needed.

“Uh, the bathroom’s along the back wall.”

They always see right through me. Even back in my prehistoric hardware days, I never could tell the difference between a hammer and a tube of caulk.

February 1, 2013 at 2:37pm
February 1, 2013 at 2:37pm
It’s hard on the brain to spend too much time thinking of how certain events eventually lead us one way or the other in life, but every once in a while it’s fun. Last night my brother, Jeff, and I spent the evening up in the snowy mountain canyon of our youth, as we often do, just hanging out in the quiet darkness of the forest, enjoying a cigar or twelve, and the subject of fate came up.

Jeff’s wife knows a lot of “important” people in this town from her years of fundraising work for a local hospital. The two of them attend quiet a few social functions and were recently invited to one of the prominent townspeople’s 97th birthday party celebration. Ty, the guest of honor, had told a story that Jeff shared with me last night. He said that night’s get-together was one of his most cherished, but his most memorable had to be his 46th, back in 1962.

He said it was on a Friday that year and he had to make a quick business trip (Ty was a lawyer) to Helena, the state’s capital, which is about a two-hour drive away. His secretary told him he needed to be back by the afternoon because they had a lot of paperwork that needed to be dealt with before the weekend. He assured her he’d leave early, get his business done, and be back by early afternoon.

While in Helena that morning, he ran into Donald Nutter, the Governor of Montana at the time, who was an acquaintance of Ty’s. The Governor had a speaking engagement in Cut Bank, Montana, in the northern part of the state later that night and invited Ty to join him. He was honored by the offer and called his secretary to let her know he wouldn’t be back that day after all. There was silence on the other end until she finally replied in a serious and urgent tone that he had to come back. The work left was simply too important. Ty said he understood, but it wasn’t every day the Governor personally asked you to join him at one of his functions and he was going to do it.

His secretary paused again and then handed the phone to his partner in the firm who told Ty he hated to ruin the surprise, but they had a big birthday bash planned at the Florence Hotel in town that night and 60 guests were coming. After hearing that, Ty agreed he’d come back that afternoon.

While at his birthday party that night at the hotel, he received the news that the Governor’s plane went down in a blizzard on the way to Cut Bank and all six on board were killed. It must be strange to think your life might have lasted less than half as long and all those people listening to your story would have been off doing something else, completely oblivious to your existence.

In a far less deadly or dramatic fashion, I thought of how one teeny tiny simple otherwise forgettable event near the end of my senior year of high school altered the course of my life forever, and, of course, I didn’t know it at the time. I changed schools senior year, which really sucked. I went through that year never really knowing anyone or having those close bonds kids develop through years of daily contact.

Around the start of the final quarter that year, Helen, the French girl who sat in front of me in first period English class – and to whom I hadn’t spoken a word to all year – got in a little spat with her good friend who sat just in front of her. Homework papers were graded in class by swapping with someone close by and then having the teacher read the answers. This was a horrible system, by the way, ripe for corruption, but that’s how it was done. That day, since the two girls in front of me weren’t speaking to each other, Helen turned around and asked if I’d like to swap homework. I said sure, and as those final days and weeks of senior year dragged by, we began exchanging homework more often and chatting in and out of class. Before we knew it, we were going to the year-end prom together and beginning a relationship that would last over three years.

But perhaps the most important link here was her twin brother, Mike, who I grew to become very good friends with. We played guitar together, fished together, and when I wasn’t with Helen, or the two of them together, I was off with Mike doing something. Helen and I didn’t last and as things were dying off between us in that final year of our relationship, Mike talked me into joining him in moving to Bozeman, Montana, 200 miles away, to attend music school.

We both secured part-time jobs at a new restaurant in Bozeman, and the very first day I walked through its doors, the first person I laid eyes on was a gorgeous young woman who also worked there, sitting at one of the tables, eating a salad during her lunch break. She looked up and our eyes met and I thought….wow. That beautiful woman has been my amazing wife for the past 92 years, and it blows me away to think that if Helen and her friend hadn’t had their little spat (which only lasted a day, by the way), I most likely never would have spoken to her that school year and never would have become friends with her brother. I never would have moved to Bozeman.

And my kids would have been a lot uglier.

Oh, and another amazing thing? If I hadn’t received that home beer-making kit for Christmas, I wouldn’t have made beer!!! Doesn’t that just blow you away?!? Heh. It looks like I’ll have a good batch of Octoberfest Vienna Lager for the Super Bowl on Sunday, but the fermenting process can be finicky. Sometimes it takes a week, sometimes up to three. They recommend drawing some from the tap to taste and check the progress. They should add the tip, “If after drinking a few glasses, you feel a strong desire to wear lampshades on your head, pee in the corner of the living room, and hit on your boss’s wife during the office Christmas party, your beer is ready. If not, leave it a few more days and try again.”

I can’t stand either team, but…Go Ravens. I guess. I hate them slightly less,
January 24, 2013 at 3:11pm
January 24, 2013 at 3:11pm
This is probably my least favorite time of year. Not because it’s winter. I love winter, but there’s this annoying little deepest, deadest chunk of it that runs from about the second half of January into early February where all of my senses are on suicide watch. And not suicide in the literal sense, but where my brain and body get so dulled that I’m liable to do something stupid, like go dancing or rent a Diane Keaton movie. Fortunately this period is short and I’m already almost halfway through it. The deeper into February we get, the more those senses start to come out of hibernation and my movie rentals once again revolve around Bruce Willis and explosives.

Fenderbergs help me get through this dull stretch and fortunately it’s been a good year for them. Just in case you’ve always lived down south and don’t know, a fenderberg is the glacial deposit of snow and ice that builds up behind each tire on your car during the snowy months. I can’t pass one by without kicking it off. It’s like picking a scab, minus the fun of blood and pus. Or eating peanut butter cups, without blood or pus. Once I start, I just can’t stop.

Steel-toed boots are recommended if you plan to do this professionally. Some fenderbergs get quite massive and refuse to obey. I try to park close to any store I shop so I can avoid the temptation to kick while crossing the parking lot, otherwise I’d never get in the store. As is the case with most things, kicking fenderbergs ain’t what it used to be. Back in the day, cars were made of steel. Now they’re made of plastic and the possibility of half the car coming off with the berg is great. Throw in car alarms that go off when you so much as pee on their “Hillary 2016” bumper sticker and, yeah…not the best of times to be a berg-kicker.

Sometimes I wonder if man was even invented to live in winter. I realized that you never see any family photos of cavemen in winter. No shots of skiing or ice skating. They always look so warm and comfortable, lounging around the fire grilling bronto steaks or whatever, arms and legs exposed to the heat of the sun. Your life was forever summer if you were a caveman. So, obviously that’s how man was designed to live until God got mad when New Jersey changed their hockey team to the Devils and made everyone north of Jersey cold. So not fair.

Bigfoot is not so lucky, and was spotted in 40-below temps right here in Montana just two years ago. The BFRO website (Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization) lists that as the most recent Class A sighting in Montana. Class A means it’s for reals! Class B and below means there’s room for doubt. Apparently, a tow truck driver responding to a vehicle-elk collision watched the creature haul off the dead elk as he hooked up the damaged car. Bigfoot likes roadkill. They don't look very agile, so I guess that makes sense. The best part of the investigative report was where the tow truck driver said, “A state trooper helped me pull the young bull elk (3x3) off the road before driving the car owners into town”.

A 3x3 bull elk! That’s a Montanan for you. NEVER let an opportunity go to waste without getting some hunting talk in! That would be the same as saying, “The damaged vehicle had a gray interior with heated seats and a Neil Sedaka CD in the glove compartment.” Totally irrelevant, but detailed elk talk is totally appreciated by any men who may have read the report, of which I’m sure there were at least four. It’ll give them a starting point for next hunting season.

I just heard the blockbuster news last week that Megan Fox believes in bigfoot. And leprechauns…and pretty much everything else. I now respect her even more than I did before and that was a lot!

January 18, 2013 at 1:32pm
January 18, 2013 at 1:32pm
It’s been a bad week for inspirational sports heroes. First, Lance finally admits to doping then the bizarre Manti Te’o story. I’m sure everyone’s heard about it by now, and if you haven’t, you’ll be tired of it soon enough. Our media is stupid that way. They can’t be bothered to lift a finger for the Benghazi cover-up, but by gosh they’ll spare no expense in getting to the bottom of this important fake dead girlfriend story!

Just in case you haven’t heard, Te-o, a star linebacker for Notre Dame’s football team, inspired the sports world and beyond last September when it was learned that both his beloved grandmother and his girlfriend had passed away within hours of each other. His girlfriend had finally lost her battle with leukemia. Manti used her battle and death as inspiration for what turned into a magical season for him, and his team. The story dominated the college football headlines as the Irish rose in the rankings each week. Manti nearly won the Heisman Trophy, finishing second, and Notre Dame played above and beyond what anyone expected, going undefeated all the way into the national title game.

Great story, and one even Notre Dame haters (like me) embraced. How could anyone not be inspired by such a thing? Only it wasn’t real. A story broke a few days ago revealing that Manti’s girlfriend never even existed. She was the product of an elaborate hoax, but Manti and Notre Dame’s Athletic Director adamantly claim Te’o is the victim here. Both say this was a completely online relationship and that Manti was fooled like everyone else. I want to believe that, I truly do, but…I don’t. There are just way too many unanswered questions and inconsistencies. I think Manti was willingly involved in the hoax.

Of course, it’s possible he’s telling the truth. Especially if it truly was an online-only relationship. Some of you old-timers may remember my entry several years ago about my close friend who was badly deceived by an online “love”. And I know I’ve been burned a few times by online relationships; once very recently, and it leaves you wondering who you can and can’t trust or why anyone would even want to do that to another in the first place. And why it keeps happening to me! Haha. I must be an easy target.

Manti’s got some ‘splainin’ to do in the coming weeks, and the jokes are already flying fast and furious around the internet, but I think it’s important to show some respect here and not lose sight of the fact that a beautiful young fake girl is still dead. Heh.

The thought of creating a fake online soulmate is a little enticing. Kind of like eHarmony and Weird Science rolled together. My Dad’s refrigerator magnet pretty much describes my perfect mate. “I prefer long walks on the beach, romantic dinners, and poking dead things with a stick.” Of course, anyone I’d create would be exactly like my wife! Hi, honey! Heh heh…just in case.

But if I did create such a person, he’d have to fish. Yeah, I’d go for the guy because I want to have fun and can’t waste my time with maintenance. *Laugh* I need someone who can handle a fly rod and bushwhack the riverbanks from sunrise till sunset and not be gay. That’s only so he won’t flirt with me, but focuses only on the fish. No distractions, just fishing. His name would be Clint or Max or Bubba and not Lars or Ashton. Okay, he can be gay or straight; I don’t care, but either way he needs to remember that the reason he was created was to fish and not to create non-fishing drama or to chase the skirt of his choice. Fishing drama is acceptable.

Women complain that their men don’t last long enough and leave them unsatisfied. That is how I feel when I fish with a woman. She doesn’t do it long enough or hard enough and always tries to wrap things up and leave way before I’m fulfilled. Premature Evacuation is a big problem for men who fish with women. Bubba would solve this. And if things don’t work out, I’ll just claim I was the victim of an elaborate fishing hoax.

January 16, 2013 at 10:09am
January 16, 2013 at 10:09am
I have a mean streak and I’m not real proud of it. If you knew me in day-to-day life, you’d never know it. I truly am a nice guy. Very easygoing, and I handle pretty much everything that comes my way with a smile and a smart-ass remark of some kind. I rarely take anything seriously.

Unless I’m attacked. When I am verbally (or any other way) assaulted for something I believe strongly in, a switch is flipped and I become a very different person. I think that’s true for most people to a point, but I can get really really nasty. I’m nearly unrecognizable. And I don’t particularly like that about myself.

This transformation doesn’t take place simply because someone disagrees with me. I always enjoy a good, civil discussion with the enemy. Ha. No, this Hulk thing only happens when I’m attacked in a vicious, ignorant or condescending way because of my beliefs, and, yes, this usually only occurs regarding my faith in God and my conservative political stance. It’s good to hold strong and stand up for what you believe in, but it’s not so good the way I do it sometimes.

I follow Roma Downey (of ‘Touched By An Angel’ fame) on Twitter and she is one of my heroes. She’s a woman of faith and is always so very kind and loving in her social media interaction. I’ve read numerous tweets from her through the years where she’ll send a short uplifting message to certain celebrities who I’ve seen use their stature to mock God and Christians. “Have a blessed day. Thinking of you” or “Happy Birthday, Dear lady”, stuff like that. I wish I could be like that. But that is my greatest weakness – showing kindness to those who are anything but kind to me.

Jesus taught us to ‘turn the other cheek’, but He was not the passive Savior many love to claim He was. He didn’t put up with any crap and stood strong in the face of much opposition, but He handled it peacefully and without calling anyone an s.o.b. If I had been one of Jesus’ disciples, I’d have been the one to tell the Pharisees, “How would you like to feel my sandal up that pompous ass of yours?!?” before Jesus would gently touch my arm and remind me that’s not how we do things around here. Now, if they’d been making fun of our hometown Nazareth Fighting Camels football team and telling us they had a snowball’s chance in Jerusalem of making it to Holy Bowl XLVII, then everything would have been calm and good-natured. But hatefully mock my faith and politics? It’s war, and Jesus does not approve. Not of my retaliation methods, anyway.

This is something I want to work on in 2013. I doubt I’ll succeed, though. I’m old and you know what they say about new tricks and all that. We are a deeply divided nation and I swear I go through each day trying my best to avoid confrontation. But it always seems to find me. That’s bound to happen when the division is so great and you’re passionately on one side or the other (and you live in a very liberal community). Sometimes the thought of running away far up into the mountains away from everything sounds really good. Safely hidden from anyone or anything that might set me off. I’m tired of being set off. I just want to Wang Chung tonight.

January 13, 2013 at 12:47pm
January 13, 2013 at 12:47pm
Raise your hand if you miss Bert Parks! Okay, raise your hand if you’ve even heard of Bert Parks.

The 92nd Miss America Pageant was last night. I didn’t watch because there was football on (and about 47 other things I’d rather watch), but despite my lack of interest, the pageant is something I’d like to see continue and return to its glory years of popularity. Why? I don’t know. But I’m fond of long-running American traditions, even if they are a little bizarre, and the Miss America pageant’s as American as medical marijuana and welfare.

Miss Montana didn’t win again, keeping our state’s 92-year winless streak alive. In fact, 19 states have never produced a winner. Back in the day that wasn’t such a travesty since there were only about 4 states. Frontier woman Henrietta Oakley ran away with the first pageant after crushing the talent competition with her speed-quilting skills, then wowing the judges with her colored bloomers and passionate response to the question of how best to deal with loneliness during the long months heading west on the Oregon Trail.

But after 92 years, we should have more winning states, by gosh. We totally need to redistribute the pageant wealth. And though Miss Montana didn’t win the real thing, I read that she did win a People’s Choice online version , “garnering the most votes of the 53 contestants.” 53? What happened to the other 4 states??? I also read that when the pageant was first televised in 1954, it had around 27 million viewers. Recent pageants get about 7 or 8 million. Experts believe the lack of online porn in 1954 is to blame.

For the pageant to continue its comeback, they need to find a really good host who will stick around and provide stability and a face that people recognize. Since Bert Parks’ long run, they’ve gone through a series of forgettable hosts. I suggest Bill Clinton because I guarantee he’ll stick around, till death do he part! He’s still well-liked and with his…um…history, he’d add the perfect bit of spice and controversy to increase ratings. I’m only half joking here.

And, on pure cuteness alone, I think Miss Montana easily beats winner Miss New York! But I’m a guy and we are shallow that way. Well, I am anyway.

Speaking of which, time for another day of playoff football. Go Dolphins! Yeah, I’m still in denial.

January 12, 2013 at 4:17am
January 12, 2013 at 4:17am
I found myself up late the other night, surfing through channels, and ‘Jerry Maguire’ wound up winning the honor of lulling me to sleep as the best of what was available. I’d seen it before several times, but found myself laughing more than I’d remembered. And Renee Zellweger was at her familiar cutest/sexiest. It’s been all downhill since Maguire for Renee in the cute department. Anyway, there was a line where a drunk Jerry embarrasses himself by kissing and fondling her unexpectedly, then realizes she wasn’t that receptive and stands up and says, “I’m not embarrassed. But I’m getting a glimpse of tomorrow’s embarrassment.”

That’s how I feel right now. Slightly buzzed on Rocky Tops (google it) and not completely of sound mind but possibly around 62%, so I apologize in advance for the content to come, as well as any buzzed typos. But, I got paid today and decided to treat myself to an upgraded membership and the accompanying blogging abilities. Plus, Tor threatened me with profanity and violence.

How’s everyone’s new year going? Mine’s going well, but I'm only 12/365ths into it.. But so far so good.. 2012 was…okay. Not great, not bad. I climbed more mountains than I thought I would and didn’t die, which partially explains why I’m here now. As the year wound down, I got used, abused and abandoned by someone I trusted, and that coupled with the disastrous presidential election left me in a funk for a while, but fortunately I got a beer-making kit for Christmas to help deal with this. I’m on my second batch already. And, as He always does, God informed me that He and only He is in control, and my family and I were blessed in some groovy ways over Christmas. I had the most relaxed holiday I’ve had in years. For the first time in….forever, family from all over the country descended on us for the holidays, and my oldest brother was treated to his first-ever emergency Christmas Colonoscopy and got to spend Christmas Eve in the hospital. But the results were good so we all did the right thing and had a good time at his expense. Oh, and my Dad’s septic tank overflowed with all the extra input, which made him happy. He feels a sense of pride and self-worth in septic emergencies so we were all glad we could fill his septic tank and his Christmas with cheer,

I’m really looking forward to 2013. Other than the usual annual excitement of anticipating the latest advancements in underwear style and function, I have more mountaineering goals. I want to be the first to climb Everest in a day without oxygen or pants. This would cause major shrinkage but it would only be visible by Sherpas and I can deal with that. And I want to beat my son’s high score on the Top Gun Ultimate Trivia Quiz. I struggled, but it’s his favorite movie from childhood and he didn’t even ace it! Sheesh. I told him if he found me a Monty Python and the Holy Grail Ultimate Quiz, I’d ace it. He did and I did…30 for 30. These quizzes are multiple choice and I did love the one that asked, “How did Maverick come to terms with Goose’s death?” Choice A, “He had sex with Goose’s wife”, was my favorite.

In addition to the brewing equipment, I got some groovy Khatoona ice cleats for Christmas. They’re like mini crampons for the local icy trails and they’re awesome! I feel like Spiderman without the tights. They hug the trail like a liberal hugs a tree/spotted owl/fracking zone! I was able to get up the mountain faster than a liberal to an organic produce store on food stamp day! So, yeah, they’re cool. I was surprised to find the DVD set for the 70’s mini-series “Centennial” so I got it for my wife. I absolutely loved this mini-series as a youngster, but hadn’t seen it in 30 years and wondered how it would play now. My greatest fears were comically intrusive music and liberal undertones not comprehended as a boy. I’ve watched episodes on ‘The Waltons’ in recent years, a show I liked as a kid, and was shocked at the liberal message. You don’t notice these things as kids; you just think Mary Ellen and Erin are kind of cute in a Depression era barnyard kind of way.

Anyway, I’m happy to report that the politicizing is absent, other than the usual ridiculous “the Indian is right about all moral standards and everything else in life simply because he was here first” message. But the music! My word, every time someone so much as went down to the creek to wash out their soiled buffalo briefs, dramatic orchestral arrangements told us this was no ordinary washing! These were most likely sacred briefs. Plus, the abundance of white Indians. Broken Thumb, Chief of the Cheyennes, was whiter than a church full of Republicans going to election! Was it really that hard to find an actor with just a little bit of color? Or a can of brown spray paint?

Speaking of acting, I see the Academy Awards listed their nominations this week. I no longer watch the Oscars since it’s yet another institution destroyed by liberals. Years ago it was fun to watch, but now it’s a corrupt inside job where the best films are often excluded since they don’t toe the standard Hollywood line. Now, it’s just three wasted hours of watching Hollywood elites pat each other on the back while getting in random slams of conservatism. I think I should hold a raffle. Guess the total number of anti-conservative remarks by the host, presenters and award winners and win a free gun! Your prize will come in handy for defending yourself against those wishing to do you or your family harm, or assisting in taking down tyrannical dictatorships, whichever comes first. Besides, how can you take a movie awards show seriously that doesn’t even nominate ‘Twilight, Part 12”??? I mean…whatever.

In closing, I just want to say that Frank’s Red Hot sauce makes refrigerated Little Seizure’s pizza come alive. Even at 1:27 a.m. I should probably go to bed. It’s currently 5 degrees outside. I’m starting to get that glimpse. I’ll catch up with old friends tomorrow. Or today, I guess I should say.
August 10, 2012 at 3:19pm
August 10, 2012 at 3:19pm
My blog desperately needs nourishment, but unfortunately I have none to provide. Must be the heat. Both blog and brain have dried up. So here goes another of those dreaded ‘random thoughts’ entries just to give my poor blog a few drops of life.

First off, I smelled really good yesterday and I’m sorry you all missed it. I usually don’t have any noticeable positive scent, but yesterday it was a pleasure to be around myself. I guess I had the perfect blend of manmade chemicals and natural emollients, or maybe there really is something to this showering thing after all. Either way, I’ll never be able to duplicate it but my nose will carry the memory always.

I finally decided that I’m going to stop pretending that I like sun tea. I just don’t. It’s a wonderful concept and all – natural tea leaves in natural water brewed naturally by the heat of the sun. But it’s just not that good. I will no longer feel bad that I want my tea engineered chemically by underage Chinese workers and sold in jars the way it should be, not created by something as unreliable as the sun.

Did I mention it’s hot? Well, hot for Montanans anyway. With no wind. Every time I climb to the top of Mt. Sentinel, the windsock at the mountaintop hangs as limp as an 85-year-old man addicted to steroids and the only way to create any airflow is to go faster, which is impossible when you’re drowning in sweat.

I tried to make it to the end, but I think I’m officially ready for the Olympics to be over. And I even missed the first four days. It seems unpatriotic not to watch, but this is one marathon I can’t finish. I enjoyed the track and field and I want to go on record as saying I take back everything I said about the Olympics not being viewer friendly for men. I like fast women who are gorgeous. But I think all the good Olympic stuff is pretty much over and we’re down to ‘Synchronized Remote Control Channel Changing’ (the Japanese own that event) and ‘Guess How Many Pennies In The Jar - Five Gallon Division’. It’s been kind of fun, but I’m out.

Part of the reason I like Twitter is it’s short and to the point, like me. Okay, I’m not short, but I don’t like a lot of wasted words. With Twitter, everyone is forced to get to their point in 160 characters or less. This is a good thing. What I absolutely can’t stand, however, is how the ubiquitous #hashtag has taken over the non-Twitter universe where it has no meaning. Heck, I can’t even stand how it’s abused within Twitter. Basically a tweet within a tweet, with everyone trying to be clever by explaining in their hashtag what they really meant with their tweet. “I burned dinner bad and there’s nothing to eat! #McDonalds”, “My husband totally forgot our anniversary. #Doghouse”, etc., etc.

It’ll flame out eventually, like all these things do, and we’ll be on to the next big stupid thing. #zombies #angrybirds #twilight Oh, for the good ol’ days when things were simple. #smokesignals #telegraph #aol But, that’s all I have to say about that. #blogfiller

And, finally, my wife is a crafty kind of person, always making things out of sticks or leaves or rocks or dead animals…common non-household forest products. She says this is a star, but I’m concerned.

** Images For Use By Upgraded+ Only **

Am I the only one who sees a Blair Witch resemblance here?

** Images For Use By Upgraded+ Only **

You decide. #IthinkIsleepwithawitch

August 3, 2012 at 12:40pm
August 3, 2012 at 12:40pm
1. My dearly departed coffee maker was white. My brand new coffee maker is black. Never let it be said that I’m not an equal opportunity brewer.

2. Summer Olympics are definitely not male viewer friendly. Underage girls, women with bulging manly muscles, and half-naked men with no body hair.

3. You know a relationship is truly over when you don’t even receive late night alcohol-infused texts anymore.

4. It is less disgusting to borrow another’s toothbrush than to have them borrow yours. Cooties are best served fresh and sudsy and are more lethal in that state than lying dormant on a dry brush. As always, it is better to give than to receive.

5. Coupon. Do you say COO-pon or CYOO-pon? The answer reveals a lot about what you’re capable of as a human being.

August 2, 2012 at 11:34am
August 2, 2012 at 11:34am
My coffee pot died unexpectedly at 5:20 this morning. At this time the cause is unknown and no autopsy is scheduled. The other appliances have scheduled a memorial service for 2 p.m. this Saturday. All are welcome to come and share their memories of favorite cups of coffee throughout the years. The microwave will provide popcorn and the toaster will do a 4-slice pop-up salute at the end of the service. No coffee will be served.

My birthday weekend of family camping was fun, despite the mountain lion sightings in the campground. Fish and Wildlife wardens were there all weekend, for our safety I guess. They should have protected us from annoying campers. Car camping is not my favorite, mostly because it’s a LOT of work, but it’s a family tradition once or twice a summer and it’s always fun. You’re generally not alone in an established campground, and sometimes your neighbors are rowdy, as they were Friday night. And they indulged in one of my pet peeves: swearing liberally in front of their young kids. Effing this and effing that…not in anger, just as part of their everyday conversation. I rarely swear, but occasionally I let one slip when I slam the car door on my tongue or something, and I’m certainly no cussing prude. But clean up your act in front of the kids, please. They’ll have plenty of time to swear as adults, if they so choose. Bastards. (I'm a legal age to say that)

My son came up with a great plan for these obnoxious campers. We’d sneak up into the darkness close to their camp, then have one of us fire off 5 or 6 rounds from a .45 into the air while the other shot them with red paintballs. Or perhaps green paint so they question whether they are human or alien.

Well, it took five days but I finally have been able to watch some Olympics action and I’m happy to see the broadcasting homerism is alive and well. It’s an Olympic tradition every bit as strong as drug-testing, spandex, and male athletes with no hair on their bodies. An American can fall off the balance beam and have their head nearly off while the NBC team quietly tells us that if she just gets back up on that beam and holds her head on the best she can, she’ll have a near-perfect score, but when the Romanian misplaces a toe by a quarter-inch it’s, “Oh! Oh! Did you see that?!? THAT’S going to cost her big time!” I’m sure other countries’ broadcasters do the same.

That being said, the first thing I caught was the women’s team gymnastics competition the other night and that’s one of the special things about the Olympics. I’d never heard of any of those five girls when I turned on the t.v. that night, but by the end of the broadcast, I’d adopted every one of them and felt a strong, misty swelling of pride when they collected their gold medals. The Olympics do that to you. But, just as Charlie Brown once said to Linus and his friends who were celebrating a victory – “I wonder how the other team felt.” – there is lots of sadness watching the emotional athletes (just kids!) who came up short under tremendous pressure. I can’t imagine doing what they’re doing at age 16.

I was thinking of all the sweat in the Olympic pool. Guys and girls are swimming 800 meters as fast as they can. They sweat a lot. It’s in the pool. The next swimmers jump into the sweat. The water continues to rise as more swimmers and more sweat accumulate. They’d probably pee in the pool if it weren’t for those underwater cameras picking it up for the world to see.

And I’m pleased to see that the lanky and adorable Kerri Walsh is back on the volleyball sand this year! Isn’t she just the cutest thing?

Okay, I’m off to mow my lawn. My mower’s license was reinstated following the mistrial. I will mow responsibly and watch for livestock.

July 27, 2012 at 2:32pm
July 27, 2012 at 2:32pm
Just a quick note before I head out the door for a pre-birthday weekend of camping fun (hopefully). Would someone mind checking in on my blog while I'm gone? Bring in the mail and newspaper, stuff like that. Maybe water and groom the cat and feed the herbs and special species I have forming in the aquarium. Use the serum next to the tank and make sure to wear the mask and lead apron. Help yourself to some margarine and cottage cheese. Oh, and please don't go rooting through my stuff, but if you do and happen to find some magazines stuffed in the bottom of my sock drawer...they're not mine, I'm just holding them for a friend.

Thanks! Have a fun weekend.
July 23, 2012 at 2:25pm
July 23, 2012 at 2:25pm
Well, the California in-laws are finally on the move again, headed south and back out of my comfort zone. That was a Beach Boys intro there, by the way…beginning my blog with the word ‘well’ just as they began 87% of their songs. “Well, she got her Daddy’s car and she cruised to the hamburger stand now…”, “Well, east coast girls are hip, I really dig those styles they wear…”, “Well, way up north where the air gets cold…”

Please excuse the ‘chicken’ moment there; obviously inspired by the in-laws, who perfected the chicken. And they’ve only gotten more chickeny with age. And slower. They’ve downgraded from Glacial Standard Time to Fossil Daylight Time. So it’s possible they’re not actually out of my comfort zone yet, but we did say goodbye this morning and I can feel my pores and molecules loosening and a general feeling of comfort.

The highlight of their visit was when my father-in-law – who has just started fly fishing again after a 30-year hiatus – asked me to take him up to my favorite fishing stream. It’s higher in the mountains and the water’s brisk and icy, and when I turned back between my own casts to check on him just downstream and saw him falling backwards and tumbling like a barrel downstream with just his head above water, it was worth every chicken-infused fossilized second of the rest of their visit. Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” instantly filled my head.

But he survived and will have something to tell his grandkids one day. No, wait…he did that when we got home.

In other big breaking news, I’ve been cleared of all charges in the baby swallow murder case! As you know, the case had gained huge national attention. The “Macho Mower”, as I came to be known, was charged with the brutal murder of an innocent baby swallow by means of a riding lawnmower. Well (NOT a Beach Boys moment since it’s not the intro), my Dad happens to be a wildlife artist and is an expert on birds. I saved the mowed carcass for him to identify on his return from Alaska and he has informed me that it is NOT a swallow, but a woodpecker. And not only that, he said the woodpecker had been dead for at least three weeks, which is way before I mowed.


The prosecution did not want to accept the word of any expert so closely related to the defendant, but the judge allowed it when Dad promised he hadn’t started drinking yet that day. It feels good to be free again and yes it is true that I’ve received a number of offers to share my story. Several book publishers, Bird World Mag, Cosmo, Men’s Fitness, Popular Mechanics, The Vegetarian Times and others want articles…film companies are calling…the E! Network wants me to co-host a celebrity gossip show with Casey Anthony and Amanda Knox, and one porn company asked if I’d do a film with Octomom.

There will be time to consider all these offers later. For now, I just need to get away with my family somewhere for a while and decompress. It was a tough week, and even though I’ve been cleared, there is still a missing baby swallow out there somewhere and my heart goes out to the parents. But at least we now know he isn’t mulch, and speaking from experience, I can assure you it’s always a comfort to a parent when you learn your child hasn’t been run over by a lawnmower.

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