Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Top or Bottom 5 Humbugs

It's the most wonderful time of year. Christmastime.

Between being brought figgy pudding and waiting for someone to give me nine ladies dancing, I have come up with a handful of Holiday Horrors. These things give me a royally rashed rear round this time of year. Enjoy.

5. Leading with ailments. This may very well be the only time of year I see certain members of my or my wife's family. That's okay--that's natural--a part of life. But then again, aging is a part of life also. I don't get why at a certain age you lead with ailments when talking to someone you haven't seen in a year. For example, allow me to recall a conversation with a family member from a year ago:

"So, how's everything going?"
"Well, I've got a goiter in my crotch and the gout's flaring up in my neck again. I don't know when the last time was I watched Wheel of Fortune without having to hack up something. And now its starting to burn when I urinate."

Holy Moses. Can't you just fake a "fine" and be done with it!?
4. Doing things for the sake of tradition. I love traditions--trimming the tree, filling the stockings, having a big breakfast on Christmas morn, etc. But there are certain traditions we do because they are traditions. Often these are justified with "well that's the way we've always done it." You might as well sneak a firecracker into my brain--because I just don't get it. Do what you do--but know why you do it.

3. White Elephants. Growing up we always had a white elephant exchange with extended family. I always assumed it was because the cousins of mine that we married (to each other) couldn't bring anything to the table other than the spare toilet parts. Every year. Every stinking year. But as a child I was enamored by the white elephant exchange. It's quite fun--drawing numbers, stealing gifts, etc. Not anymore. I promise you it seems like you could play a full game of Monopoly before all of the nonsense stops. Now if I am invited to the white elephant exchange I go with one purpose--to take home what I brought.
2. Christmas Wish on the radio. There are two stations in the DFW area that grant a Christmas Wish to many needy folks throughout the holiday season. Here's the deal--someone nominates someone less fortunate and the station, along with its advertisers, do something very nice for the less fortunate family. For example, perhaps a man has just lost his arms and legs in a terrible accident. Some car dealer would come in and pay to have moving sidewalks for the man's limbless body to move throughout his house. Okay--that was an unnecessary shot. Here's the deal, I think that the Christmas Wish is such a good thing. We should always look for ways to help those that are needy or less fortunate. My problem is that we have found another way to make our generosity into a bigger spectacle than the generosity itself. It's all about marketing and aligning yourself as a company that cares whether you care or not.

1. Christmas Cards. This is very controversial at my house. I can't stand the Christmas card. Even moreso the Christmas letter. I just don't see the point. I think its very nice to reach out to those that you love and wish them a special season. I'm all for well-wishing. But again, we have made the Christmas card more important than the thought behind it. It's truly a measure of self-importance: "Look at where we went this year." "Look at us--we are smiling and nothing's wrong in our lives." "WooHoo--we escaped the IRS again!"

This flaunting of self-worth would be tolerable for me if it weren't for the costs as well. That's a racket in and of itself. Stamps are $.41. You better consider yourself DANG lucky if you received a card in the mail from the McCord family--because I skim that dat gum Christmas card list and if I believe I can email to you without offending you--I'm not going to waste $.41 on you. Then again, if you did receive a card from us in the mail--well, you are probably so fragile that we didn't want to break your spirit.

This year's card is posted above. Please note that 1) the snow IS real... photo taken in Sweetwater over Thanksgiving and 2) the card was designed by your's truly.

Happy Holidays.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Sing us a Song, Piano Man

I had the chance to take in one of the all-time greats the other night as William Joseph Martin Joel (Billy Joel, that is) played at AAC. I have to be honest-despite his liking the drink to the point of ruining a marriage to Christie Brinkley... the guy's got something.

Highlights of the night included a performance of "An Innocent Man," which you can take in below. Be sure to notice that William Joel is the best snapper ever. Ever.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Is your house on fire, Clark?

"No, Aunt Bethany, it's the Christmas lights."

And with those words wife and I celebrate the dawning of a new day in our lives. Today we hung Christmas lights.

And, because I long to become more and more like Chevy Chase with age, I used my shopping time on black Friday to purchase a puffy vest, like the one that Clark wears while putting up his infamous lights.

We did happen to see one of our neighbors while outside. I was in position to deliver the line about where I was going to put a tree that size... but we didn't have a tree and we seldom, if ever, exchange anything more than a glossed-hidey-ho look with one another.

Anyhow, enjoy the pics. And Happy Holidays... may your yule glow like Soul Glo. Peace.

Friday, November 02, 2007

O Happy Day (and a new Top Five Bottom Five)

I care to present to you a new Top Five, Bottom Five. Our topic: Larry's.

Bottom Five:

5. Larry King. I'm not exactly sure what it is about Larry King that bothers me. I support his use of support (suspenders). He's got sustainability and some (some) pizazz. I think its that I think he should be dead and gone now. I'm just kind of over the whole Larry King thing... and the fact that he's still blowing and going just kind of gets to me. Not to mention, he's kind of a donkey. I mean he knows he's lived thrice as long as most of his guests... so he holds that over their heads.

4. Senator Larry Craig. This guy was almost placed in the Top Five for his tomfoolery... namely his quote, when referring to then President Bill Clinton as a "nasty, bad and naughty boy." Senator Craig did something suspect, admitted to it and has since indian-gave his admission. Weird. Funny. His indecisiveness and bizarre anti-admission rant place him firmly in the Bottom Five.

3. Larry Flynt. Born in 1942, this man has lived a hard 65 years. Through his personal struggles and addictions he managed to weave pornography into the fabric of our subculture. Way to go, Larry! Larry Flynt has even at one point appeared in a court of law wearing a diaper... made from an American flag. He wins the "Not such a good American, buddy" lifetime un-achievement award for his failed effort at positively contributing.

2. Larry Appleton. Perhaps you know him better as Cousin Larry from the 80s sitcom Perfect Strangers. Cousin Larry constantly oppressed Balky. I would even argue that he slowed Balky's acclimation to America and thus prevented Balky from being truly happy... except when they combined to do the happy dance. Furthermore, Cousin Larry is charged with blatant crimes against fashion... including neon colors, turtlenecks and possibly something designed by Ocean Pacific.

1. Larry the Cable Guy. Can I tell you that I would rather loan my crotch to ESPN's "The Contender" to use as a punching bag than have to hear this spare spare ever again. Some things you can call a 'flash in the pan.' Larry the Cable Guy is more like someone burning their waste in a pan. Gross. Git Er' Done.

Now, for something a little more Topish.

Top Five:

5. Larry Johnson. Three syllables: Gran-Ma-Ma.

4. Larry Fine. Larry. Probably the original Larry. And comic genius to boot. As one of "The Three Stooges," Fine has impacted the lives of millions. Not bad, Larry. Not bad at all.

3. Larry Page. This Larry has an estimated net worth of more than $18 billion. Why? Because he helped invent google.

2. Larry David. When I grow up I want to be just like this Larry. He's nonchalant and neurotic, and double-awkward. And easily the 2nd most genius comedic mind named Larry (behind Larry Fine, above). Besides starring in HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm, Larry David co-created/produced/wrote Seinfeld... which means I have spent many, many hours studying his handiwork.

1. Larry Joe Bird. The pride of French Lick, Indiana, is the all-time best Larry. He won three NBA Titles (81, 84, 86), two NBA Finals MVPs and three regular season MVPs. Because of the quaff-like hairstyle that I share with Bird, my first basketball coach made a comment of commonality between us two... forever linking our fates and intertwining me into a world of rooting for the Boston Celtics. That was around 1988.

Which brings me to the reason that today is just a joyous day. Tonight the Celtics opened their 2007-08 NBA season. I can't begin to describe how much I have looked forward to this day. It has been 5 years since there was this much anticipation for a Boston team (the 2002 team went to the Eastern Conference Finals), and longer, much longer since the team has had a significant chance at raising a 17th Championship Banner. But this year there is hope.

And hope lives in a two bedroom apartment next to the TD Banknorth Garden. We're pen pals.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

Wife and I went to Quick's Haunted event tonight in costume. In due part to my recent obsession, Wife was Miss Piggy and yours truly was Kermit.

And, as you can see from the costume choice, it ain't easy being green. (Sorry. Had to).

Monday, October 29, 2007

Top Five, Bottom Five Jim Henson Style

Something has been weighing heavily on my mind as of late... The Muppets.

I have always been enamored by Jim Henson's creation. As I have grown older, The Muppets have taken on an even more special meaning in my puppet heart.

So, without further adieu, allow me to provide a biased and opinionated ranking on the Top-Five, Bottom-Five Muppets.

Bottom Five:

5. Beauregard. It's appropriate for Beau to be a janitor on the Muppet Show because he's just plain poo poo. Beauregard's best asset was his amazing janitor strength, but that doesn't help me get past his slow-wittedness and the fact that he kind of looks like a turd. Gross.

4. Annie Sue. In all of my days watching the tele and the tele program--I can't tell you one time that I liked it when an actor appears as a character that is stark opposite of their main character... like Urkel vs Stephan, or Bugs Bunny in drag. That's my principle reason for not liking Annie Sue. It's very unimaginative. And unimaginative is not a word I use with my Muppets.

3. Link Hogthrob. I don't mean to pick on the piggies... but come on, everything about Link screams cocky. This swine reeks of Chris-Chris... like you'd expect him to have a blue-tooth and be attempting to pick up some hot porkers at Martini Ranch on the weekends. Even his name annoys me.

2. Sam the Eagle. Sam's scowl has always bothered me. And he lectures to no end. There's nothing wrong with sharing one's opinion (Sam, a patriot, should be well aware of any rights from the First Amendment), but nobody likes to be lectured.

And the number 1 in my Bottom Five Muppets... and the most over-rated Muppet of all time..............................................................................

1. Fozzie Bear. There is literally nothing funny about a bad comedian. And Fozzie makes his living by telling terrible jokes and following them with a not-so-witty catch phrase, "Wocka Wocka Wocka." It is because of this that I support bear rugs, bear hunting and bare-back riding.

Now for the Top Five.

5. Dr Teeth and Electric Mayhem. You can't separate this crew. Dr. Teeth, Janice, Sgt. Floyd Pepper, Zoot and Animal rock the house for the Muppets. The greatness of this crew can be summed up by Dr. Teeth's very confusing line from The Muppet Movie, "Golden teeth and golden tones, welcome to my presence."

4. and 3. Statler and Waldorf. If they weren't ancillary characters, these two might find their way higher. Smart-alecky and very easily amused by themselves, these two brilliant old men heckle everything in sight from their balcony seats. And, to make matters better, one of their favorite targets for heckling was Fozzie Bear.

2. Gonzo. Also known as The Great Gonzo or Gonzo the Great, Gonzo was often portrayed as a stunt man or daredevil. He's also the only main character muppet that was not an anthropomorphic animal... so he's got that going for him. In addition, Gonzo isn't afraid to break barriers by dating someone outside of his species (Weirdo). That's right, his hot little chic is Camila, a Chicken.

And..................... drumroll................. the number one muppet.... the tops... the best... the greatest................................................

1. Kermit the Frog. Pure genius. Kermit had it all. He had the lady (Miss Piggy), he had the voice (sang "It ain't easy being green", "Rainbow Connection" and others) and the job (leading man). Kermit even co-hosted The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson in 1979 and hosted Larry King Live as an April Fools' Day joke in 1994.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

A Conversation with Chewbacca

Approximately three hours ago, in a galaxy located far far away (Plano, that is), the rebel alliance came to life in a new form.

Ahem... yours truly went to Star Wars Fan Days. That's a-uh, Star Wars Convention.

(please reserve pre-conceived judgments until I truly set up the joke, because there is a joke, or multiple jokes about to be had)

How do I begin to tell you how this went down...

Well, let me just say that I have never in my life actually seen so many people try so hard to replicate fictional characters. And all of these fictional fictional characters (the patrons, mind you) flock together as birds of Star Wars feathers from convention to convention.

I saw many an elaborate outfit. Some are in the photos you see in my slide show. Others I will regretfully take with me to the grave.

The highlight of the experience was getting to meet Kenny Baker & Peter Mayhew.

Kenny Baker is a midget (as is his wife, which you can see in the photo). So he already gets a point. Baker was the person that operated R2D2. Point-Baker. And finally, because Baker (and his wife are British), they had unbelievable accents (not to mention really small hands). Point. Point. Point. Oh, and I kind of hugged them in the picture--which may explain why R2 has a midget-deer-in-the-headlights look on his face.

Peter Mayhew stands 7'3". Prior to being cast as the most infamous Wookie (and only Wookie) in the history of film, Mayhew was a hospital orderly in his native England. (Side note--you think that would freak you out to have such a large and beastly man ask you to take your blood pressure?) Mayhew was featured in a local paper because of the size of his feet (insert joke "you know what they say about a wookie/orderly with large feet?" now), which fell on the desk of George Lucas, who cast him to bring Chewbacca to life.

It costs $20 to ttake your photo with Mayhew--so I opted for just taking a picture OF him. Then I approached and tried to captivate the attention of the man in a way only my inner Larry David could:

ME: Long Day?
(hand extended, his freak wookie hand envelops it and we shake)

MAYHEW: You have no f****** idea.

ME: Huh. So, umm, how many weekends a year do you do this?

MAYHEW: At last count, 35-40. But it feeds the f****** animals and pays the electric bill.

ME: Yes, I assume it does. There must be tons of people that get their photos made with you.

MAYHEW: Ah, yes.

ME: So what's your least and most favorite part?

MAYHEW: Least favorite? The f****** airports.

ME: I assume a man of your stature wouldn't enjoy plane rides.

MAYHEW: No, man, it's the f****** airport security. Those blokes don't know what the f*** they're doing. I mean, they tell you to get there 2 hours early and for what? To spend a f****** hour in one f****** line?

ME: Well, sir, it was a pleasure to meet you.

MAYHEW: You too.

ME: Fly safe.

I turn and leave. And as I leave, my head full of expletive laced gravy, I think to myself, "Self--I always wondered what it would be like to have a conversation with Chewbacca. Who knew it would be about airport security and include so many f-bombs."

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Crescent City

The wife and I took a trip to New Orleans over the past weekend. We were there in efforts to help with hurricane cleanup from Katrina, which hit the area more than two years ago.

I can't fully describe what I saw or the feelings it brought to mind. There is destruction. There is hope. There is fear. There is comfort. There is spirituality. There is alienation. It's a city that survives on the dichotomy of life.

Here are a few images of the trip:

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Kicking Some Grass

We have officially been homeowners for almost 5 months. That's enough time to have assimilated into the culture of high utility bills and any discussions, ergo arguments, that can happen as a result thereof.

Homeownership is a grand, grand thing. There is this satisfaction each time one of us pulls into our garage that this place is ours, or will be ours in 350 some-odd more payments.

Within the confines of homeownership, we have found one area in which I, as the principle, or CEO of this franchise (family, that is), can express my competitive juices.


Men and competition have a rich history. Heck, some say the first pissing contest between two men goes all th way back to Cain & Abel in Biblical times. Spoiler alert--Cain won.

As I mull through the downside of my 20's and closer towards 30sdom, its increasingly apparent to me that I must find ways to compete.

While others my age are competing in their various forums:

- Eli Manning, Quarterback of NY Giants
- Jason Richardson, Charlotte Bobcats
- Elijah Wood, Actor, Musician & Notable Hobbit
- Paris Hilton, Heiress & Socialite

I have found my forum for this chapter of my life, and it's the yard.

Just look at those beautiful blades of St. Augustine that line that sweet gray sidewalk. It's a thing of Turffy Love.

Mowing isn't a chore--it's an event.

I dawn my uniform (usually a Live Free or Die Hard 'beater', pair of athletic sho
rts, fake crocs, trucker hat turned back), apply eye-black, set the Ipod to something that get's the adrenaline pumping (like Journey's Don't Stop Believing on repeat) and slowly apply OFF to prevent the onslaught of mosquitos.

As I roll my machine out to the starting point, I imagine a PA Announcer with a booming voice: "At 5'8", 165, hailing from the hallows of sweet- sweet-Sweetwater, TX... out of Baylor University... your mower, edger, blower, sweeper, and currently ranked 3rd in the Associated Press Under-30 World Yardwork Power Rankings..."

Then I fire it up. And with a gleam in my eye and a snarl on my lips, I mow. With the care of an artist creating a masterpiece, I weave back and forth.

Then, with passion and calm determination, I edge. Then the blower comes out. And I clean my work area. It's a matter of pride.

And when its done and my tools are in their rightful place, I sigh, wipe my brow (typically rip one since its my yard and I do what I want in it) and nod.

"It is good," I proclaim with arms stretched, normally evoking some sort of jibberish from my older Asian neighbor.

I understand a few things about this. I understand that while I am currently ranked 3rd in the AP U30WYPR, there are only 5 competitors registered. But I'm still 3rd, and closing on #2. Soon--with the help of some HGH (Hallowed Grass Helper), also known as fertilizer, I will reach the top spot.

I also know that this adds a cool 15 years to my social life. Others in their mid-20s are hitting the local night scene... attending concerts and getting 'inked.' To that I say, I'm married, I like jazz music, I have a Letterman sense of humor and I enjoy tweed coats--I have no 'real' social life.

And finally, I know the pressure this early success adds to my very young professional Landscapial career. Anytime a player or coach comes onto the scene with the mastery of a grizzled champion there is pressure. I take it one mow at a time--never looking ahead to next spring or summer (vaguely spoken like a true professional, no?).

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

today's MAMOMY

Most Awkward Moment Of My daY

It happens every day. Each and every single one. Some days its more awkward than others. And please, please remember that I feed on MAMOMYs. I love them. I nurture them. I like to create them because I know I can cartoonishly backward tip-toe out of them while others are left to savage what this social hurricane just brought.


And today, well, today was no different.

You see, I work in corporate America. The land of the stapler, the ergonomic chair, the out-of-office message, and the ever popular coffee that tastes like poopoo. It's the amber waves of grain across a sea of cubicles. I love it.

MAMOMYs sprout like dandilions in this realm. There are so many people from different backgrounds, all coming together, working on eggshells trying to get through the day while not divulging too much of themselves personally... it's the ingredients of a masterpiece.

Without further adieu, I give you Episode CMXI, "You got a prescription for that?"

Our main character in this play isn't someone I have day-to-day interaction with... no, in fact, I try to keep to myself. I have my scene. It's a scene that I operate very well in, and I enjoy the others who exist in my scene. However, there are those around us that are in Ven Diagram Scenes... and we have to acknowledge them in the least.

Clyde, our main character, is quite a number. Clothes are just a little too tight for my comfort. No, Clyde's wardrobe is not my business. But if his wardobe leaves little to imagine what and where his business is... he makes his business the business of those around us, no?

Clyde is normally a little off the wall. You can hear him. He's like an attention-starved tigger... most of the time I am processes his bouncing off of the walls by imaging what a stun-gun might do to our tightly-clothed, orange and black striped wonderful-ting-about-Clyde-is-that-Clyde-is-a-wonderful thing.

Clyde was a little off today. No bouncing. No singing. No gallivanting. No imitating Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music. Clyde seemed more of a Eeyore than Tigger.

Someone happened to approach Clyde about this very thing.

That's the thing about this wild world of workdom... you are forced to show compassion for these people. You care--because that's the hand you are dealt.

So imagine this... bustling office... faxes, clicking, phones ringing, mumbled conversation about fall tv lineups, etc. There's Clyde--standing--dazed.

"Clyde--is everything alright? You seem kind of down today?"

Then it was like slow motion... I could see Clyde's mouth moving, but everything was registering lowly as he sprang-forth his response:

"I'm sorry you guys. Things have been rough lately and I've been taking a lot of Xanax today. Maybe I could get a break?"

(DEAD silence)
(Soooo silent)
(Like silent enough to hear a worm fart three blocks down)
(Seconds... minutes... I dunno it could have been days that passed by... no one said a word)

{Side note--for anyone unfamiliar with Xanax... says that Xanax is in a group of drugs called benzodiazepines (ben-zoe-dye-AZE-eh-peens). Xanax affects chemicals in the brain that may become unbalanced and cause anxiety. Xanax is used to treat anxiety disorders, panic disorders, and anxiety caused by depression. }

Slowly, everyone turned, went to the closest pile of papers. Rustle. Straighten. Apply paper clips. Just do something. No sudden movements. No facial expressions. Just act... like... every... thing... is... normal...

Zoom the camera to me. Business me. Office me. I throw my hands in the air and I mouth MAMOMY.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Unwrap it.

Umm, hi.

It's me.

Yeah, I know... it's... well it's been a while. Are you mad at me?

It wasn't that I wasn't thinking about you... I was... I swear.

It's just, well, I've had a lot going. No no no no no... It's not that you don't mean as much to me as that other stuff.

I promise, things are going to change. I'll change.


Are you there?

Good. I thought maybe you had given up on me.

I have something for you. Yes, a gift. Actually, a couple. Here's the first... and I'll give you the others soon. I promise.

Unwrap it.

It's a time of nude beginnings for the wife and I. Oops, I meant new beginnings. New beginnings. New house. New job. New joys in life (who knew the power that a weedeater brings). So let's start there.

New house. First house. And you'll learn about the house soon... but first, the process.

Let's flash back to February of 2007... Beyonce's "Irreplaceable" was number 1 on the Billboard Top 100 chart. The national average for a gallon of gas was $3.06. Peyton Manning led the Colts to a SuperBowl victory. Times were different then.

That's when we began our search.

We had no idea what would happen. Over the course of two months, we saw approximately 37 houses... including the greatness of the infamous "Chinaman House."

As our Realtor, Ronaldo (name changed to protect the innocent), stopped in front of the house near Coit & Park in Plano, I thought, Huh, this looks nice. An encouraging note considering some of the lemons Joanna and I had driven by before.

Sidenote-if you are selling your house, please make it look nice. If you put a tuxedo on a turd some people might not realize it's a turd and want to waltz with it... so if you want to get rid of your turd, clean it up.

Sidenote Sidenote - this does NOT mean you should use photoshop to paint your turd of a house in a good light for a picture online. There was nothing more frustrating to me than having to look online at photos of what I thought was a great house, only to drive by it and think I just drove in to a converted RV Park.

Back to our Chinaman House. We approached the door. All seemed to be in good order. Ronaldo, however, couldn't find the magic realtor box where all realtors can use their electronic spell to provide access to the house... it was no where in sight. So we knock. We wait. Ronaldo calls and finds the owner. He explains he had an appt.

Suddenly, the door opens (insert Gong noise) and a frail Chinamen stands before us.

"Relcome roo my Reautiful home." He grandly bows, presents the living room.

My eyes get HUGE. I look at Ronaldo, thinking surely there's a mistake and we can't possibly be going in.

But by this point Ronaldo is already inside, beginning to take notes in his magic realtor file. And believe-you-me, I can't tell you how many notes there were to take.

Before we proceed, let me provide a disclaimer. I am merely a professional observer, here to observe observations. Any potential stereotypes or likenesses involved are purely coincedental.

Let's start with the smell. It smelled like garlic basted dirty underwear. My eyes began watering the second I crossed the threshold. Not only that, but this poor-man's Miyagi was offering us a guided tour.

"Dis is de rormal rining roo." Yes, I know it reads like Scooby Doo was saying it, but I assure you, this could not have been less clear.

"Dis is rain riving rarea. You like? You like?"

"It's amazing. It's pretty much the most amazing riving rarea I've ever seen."

"Oh res, res. Dis ray, dis ray."

I look at Ronaldo. He's gone to another room to laugh. I look at the wife. She's chip-munking on me, trying to hold laughing in, like a certain Asian Hot Dog Competitor at the end of today's contest... unsuccessfully.

So I am on my own. It's just me, my sanity, my irreverent sense of humor and the fake Kim Jong Il walking me through his reautiful rome.

"Dis is masta redroom."

I see a room covered in tapestries and jars filled with things like looks like pearl onions or eye balls... dealer's choice.

"Dis is my daughter's room. She at unirersity."

"Education is very important" is what I said.

"Lord, if you have to take me in my youth, do it now" is what I was thinking.

The tour concluded with a walk-through what he called a "wok area"... which I am pretty sure was a work area.

We didn't end up buying that house. And I'm okay with that. But you see, that's not the point. There may not be a point... but there is a proclaimation. I have a gift. I can walk in to an empty room and take it for more than it's face value. I can see what something can be... it's potential. I don't see what it is.

But believe me, when I entered mini Hong Kong for a guided tour, much like riding "It's a Small World" at Disneyland, my gift was no where in sight. Things were coming at me from all angles, and I was so disoriented, disgusted and disenchanted by why my trip on "It's a Small World" stalled in Asia, that I couldn't see, hear, taste or feel anything.

I could smell. Remember? Garlic basted dirty underwear. With a hint of old pot-stickers. And I can't imagine living with that smell all around me, all the time.

So, as we celebrate this Independence Day, let us thank America for her beauty, Her grace, and Her ability to let freedom rind, even if it means gross-smelling Asia houses for sell.


Monday, April 09, 2007

Big Bad Radio Me

The revolution will not be televised, but you can hear snippits of it on the radio.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Too Soon?

How do you know when an action is too soon?

For instance—a wounded and dumped soul getting back into the dating game—how soon?

Or a joke about a controversial topic? Anna Nicole, anyone?

It goes beyond that. This was the dilemma surrounding Flight 93, the movie about September 11th.

I believe that we don’t know how soon is too soon.

And today I face that challenge.

My mind is wrecked. My spirit disheveled. My stomach is swirling in a pool of acidic angst (or maybe its coffee) as I ponder a decision I made today:

Fraternity Cuff links.

On our first anniversary, my wife gave me a nice set of cuff links that were of the seal of Kappa Sigma, the fraternity I was in at college.

They are really nice. And, frankly, pretty classy.

But I haven’t worn them… once… until today.

I’ve been scared.

I’m afraid its too soon… too soon since I have been involved in Fraternity.

I am at a point in my life where I don’t know what to think about my past involvement in fraternal matters.

I loved it. I lived it—breathed it—I took in as much as I could from my time in a fraternity at college. Yes, that meant things like parties, and wearing silly t-shirts with greek letters, and plenty of dances, and paying dues, and paying for the dances, and paying for the t-shirts.

And, yes, where I come from it almost meant nights of a gym filled with 80 guys practicing choreography, only to slap on costumes and heavy make-up to sing and dance competitively. Not gay. I promise.

But it also meant meeting some of the most incredible people and entertaining some scenarios/events that have shaped who I am. Fraternity, along with many other factors, have formed me.

So don’t read this and think I don’t think fondly of my time with Fraternity… because I do.

This May will mark my 4th anniversary of my emergence from the bowels of Baylor as an undergraduate, at which point I began to distance from Fraternity.

I was even at the ol’ BU for another year—but kept Fraternity at more than an arm’s reach.

I didn’t, and still don’t, want to be one of those guys that ‘can’t let it go.’ Instead, I acted as if I turned the page. Ended the chapter. Moved on.

But I contend that there is a point in which is it appropriate, even classy, to look back at those old chapters. Maybe embrace them. Maybe even support them with apparel/accessories.

Am I at that point? I don’t know.

Part of me thinks that you have to be gray-headed. Part of me thinks it depends on how successful you are at distancing.

I, for example, am probably the best Distancer I know.

Want examples? I cringe at the site of Ninfa’s. I won’t come near Roxy Grove. I only talk to a few people that shared Fraternity with me—and I tend to avoid being in the same public venue as those I don’t talk to (I have, on occasion, walked the long way around a restaurant to avoid people).

But I wore the cufflinks today.

It feels a little unnatural, like I’m in 8th grade on the same couch as a friend who’s making out with some chick. But, like watching a friend make-out, part of me accepts it, and coyly I crack a knowing smile.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Drivers' Ed

Driver’s Education may be one of the most undervalued educational ‘seminars’ that a person ever attends.

After all, its based on the completion of this course, at the ripe old age of 15’ish, that you are given permission to operate a combustible piece of machinery that uses fuel & fire to move from point a to point b.

Driver’s Ed experiences come in all shapes and sizes.

Some, like Corey Haim’s, include a militant Carl Winslow & cup of coffee (greatness of License to Drive).

Others, like my precious wife’s, include a sequel. (Scoreboard me for passing it the first time.)

My own Driver’s Ed experience is, well, unforgettable.

In Sweetwater (the center of the universe), Driver’s Ed is taught in school—as a separate course. I took it when I was 15. My instructor was the GREAT Dennis Mosely.

Mr. Mosely was the Geometry teacher, known for his paper football (equilateral triangle) tournaments, his western wit (“I was born under a mesquite bush at mile marker 501 in Pecos, TX”) and his EXTREMELY sweaty armpits (rhombus-like yellow stains that we presumed were caused by staring at hot high schoolers all day).

The Mosely was definitely a fan favorite. Me being the fan of course.

When I think back over my time with Mosely, three things stand out:

1) The 6:00 AM shift. After taking the written test, we were sent out with Mosely on to the streets. I, being the morning person I am, signed up for the first shift—the 6:00am shift. I suppose this time is normally spent practicing parallel parking, 10 and 2 and the use of the blinker. Not me. Mosely & I grabbed some donuts (from Doris’ Sweet Shop) and then went out to his land so that I could feed his cow, Norman. One cow. Norman. I named it (City Slickers is brilliant). The thing about was… well… I wasn’t driving. Sure, I drove out South of town where Norman resided. And yes, I drove around many cow chips to get to Norman. But then, for a couple of hours, I just hung out with Norman… and Mosely.

2) The fight. Our Driver’s Ed class was a Who’s Who for our high school. You had athletes (the GREAT Robert Reed, aka short Manute Bol), cheerleaders (hey now), brains (Curtis Cecil) and guys like myself, who mostly identified with, well, David Spade (as previously noted). With all of these personalities, some had to clash. And two did. That’s when I witnessed the one of the top three fights of all time. This one is actually number 2 on my list. Curtis Cecil and the effeminately named Courtney (dude).

Curtis Cecil ran in my crew. He was a brain. He was an athlete. He was a choir boy. He was a Renaissance Man, which is why he ran in my crew.

His challenger is this fight was Courtney, the she-named. Courtney was as bland as they come… Kind of hung out with the skaters, only because of a dysfunctional family tie to them.

Three years prior, Curtis Cecil broke it off with a lady he was seeing at the time. Courtney was said lady’s rebound. There had been animosity between the two since (that was 1995). Since we all shared a Driver’s Ed room together, it all came to a head.

They met at the creek—a location between their homes. Curtis Cecil had plenty of support from our crew, and Ven Diagram friends to assist in the event that Courtney’s skater bunch intervened.

Courtney showed up with a D Battery in hand, intended to use it on Curtis Cecil.

That’s not what happened. In fact, what happened was that Curtis Cecil pounded the she-named Courtney so hard with his right hand that he broke a metacarpal. Scoreboard, Curtis Cecil.

3) The Old Man & the trailer. Like I said earlier, I had the 6:00am shift. But I didn’t visit Norman every day. There were times in which other visits had to be made—like the Old Man & the trailer. One morning, Mosely & I were cruising along. He was giving me directions (Left, Right, Right, Right, Left, etc). and I was following suit. I soon noticed that we were in a shady part of the ‘Water. There were houses with no doors… cars with no windshields… and, most importantly, a mysteriously trailer. That’s when Mosely said, “Right about here’s good.” To him that meant “Stop.” So I did. And he got out. I locked the doors as he walked to the front. He pounded on the front door of the trailer. Nothing. I prayed. Nothing. He pounded again. I could see from a car that the small window on the front of the trailer was now cracked. Eyes peered out. Old eyes. Then the window raised a bit more. Very confusingly, an arm stretched out from the window (an old arm) and unlocked a pad lock on THE FRONT of the door. As it opened, I could see the oldest man I had ever laid my eyes on standing in the doorway. He looked like a mummy in an A-shirt and very (VERY) used briefs. Mosely went inside. The door shut. I sat in the car. I don’t know what happened—but it was probably 15 minutes before Mosely emerged. He locked the pad lock (awfully generous) and gave the door a pat. Then he got in the car and we left. He was smiling just as much afterwards as before. I still have no idea what happened in there—or why the mummy chose to lock his door from the outside, seems inefficient-and probably never will.

Like I said—everyone has their own Driver’s Ed story. Yes, mine is a tad bit demented, very curious, and possibly fake. But, then again, that’s how I prefer my soup to be served.

Friday, February 09, 2007

A BIG Decision

Some decisions are more important than others.

When it comes to life decisions, you have to realize and then prioritize those decisions. You must make sure that, when all of the milk has been spilled, you’ve properly made the big ones.

Indeed, life is full of big decisions. College. Marriage. Faith. Those are three of the biggest. But there’s one more—one that may go unnoticed in certain circles.

Like Stevie Wonder getting lasik, I want to shed some light on this subject, because I recently made this BIG decision.


Each of us has dreams—and a number of us believe that we are destined for great things.

Some people think just like my man, the humble one, Eccentric, who said, “I’m going to be blowing up as big as Michael Jackson… maybe bigger.”

Ambition + Drive + Luck + Awesomeness = One day looking back and coyly sneering, “Not Baaaaad.”

Who do you want to represent you in your life story? What celebrity best encompasses your every being?

Let’s allow some room for a disclaimer—there are two
possible answers here. There’s the realistic answer and the lack-of-self-awareness answer.

The lack-of-self-awareness answer belongs to those who really have no idea who they are. They are looking A-list, or demi-god, like a Robert Redford, Paul Newmann or Bono.

Listen, I love me some me, and I’d like to think of myself as a wittier Robert Redford, but come on…

The realistic answer belongs to those who know who they are, where they’re going, and, most important to this subject matter, what celebrity they are most aligned with.

Many factors can lead you to making this decision:

1) Look-Alikes. Everyone looks like someone. Maybe it’s Jon Lovitz. Maybe it’s Ava Gardner. Perhaps it’s Gollum. If you know that you resemble someone, you might take on a bit of their persona.

2) Act-Alikes. It could be that you don’t strongly resemble anyone in-particular, but you might act like someone. I’ve been told that I act like Yoda. Yes, that means that I am full of endless wisdom; Backwards I speak; and I tend to walk with a cane.
3) Want-to-be-Alikes. Some people strongly identify with someone in particular, despite a lack of physical resemblance or resemblance in personality. These people are voted “Most likely to have surgery to look more like their fixation.” Creepy.

Those are just some of the factors that can lead you to your decision.
That leads me to my decision.

When I began this divulge of harmonious harmony, I told you that I had made my own decision as to who would play myself in my own life story.


David Spade.

He’s an undersized (frame, that is) man who makes his money through quick with and understated cynicism.

No, he’s not as versatile as I think myself to be… but he knows what he’s best at and sticks with it.
Oh, and he’s currently seeing Heather Locklear.


So go about your day mulling your decision. Who would it be?

Thursday, February 01, 2007


This guy's my hero.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

No Mulligans Needed

My wife tells me, often, that I need to think before I speak.

My reply normally consists of doing the monkey-face blow back at her. Classic rebuttal.

Do I think before I speak? Most of the time. But when I think, I normally think about 1)how shocking or 2)how self-amusing what I am about to say will be.

Let’s take a look at some fateful moments in my past which I shocked my audience.

1) “You’ve been in a terrible mood lately. It’s probably because you’re pregnant.” Those words came out of my mouth in an impromptu meeting circa 1994. I was in 7th grade. The people attending that meeting were myself, Knucklehead Lance, our school’s Vice Principal and my Special Projects Art teacher, to whom the comment was directed. Still, to this day, I contend that she had it out for me—and I wasn’t the one that knocked her up.

2) “Where’d you park your Harley, butch?” Ahh, college. My first class in college was volleyball. And my volleyball teacher, well, she was suspect numero uno for tranny-dom. So, one day, under my breath, I said what I said. She was close enough to hear. That’s the story on how I got a B in volleyball.

3) “Let’s be honest, you’re not a real teacher, so you don’t have to have an attitude.” Sophomore year in college. I was the only sophomore in a Freshman level English class (not that I was an idiot, no, in fact I finished with enough English hours for an undeclared English minor). My ‘teacher’ was a grad student. On the second day of class, she said to me (in front of the class, mind you), “Justin, just because you’re the only sophomore in the class doesn’t mean you have to have an attitude.” Boom does the dynamite. She came at me full force. So, as you can see, my reply had to put her in her place. She hated me.

4) “Scott’s got a Zorro fetish.” Want to know an easy way to get a rise out of an executive? Shoot the wheels off of a meeting you’re in with them. I was in a meeting with one of our executives and we were being pitched by a very bad product that focused on movies. When I realized it was a waste of my time, I began trying to see how far I could get the meeting off task and possibly make the executive have to excuse himself. So, when Zorro was brought up… I felt it only natural.

5) “I think Darius Rucker said it best.” This was the opening line of my British Lit final exam. The prompt was to discuss Shakespeare’s Sonnet 73. I knew what the Sonnet was. I still know bits and pieces. It’s about time, that elusive marksman that ages us all. I had a firey case of writer’s block… so I began to quote Hootie & the Blowfish.

That’s it. Those are my top five no-mulligan-necessary moments. Stay tuned—because the day’s not over.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

If Hockey dies, Hockey Dies

My latest escapade is detailed below. All accounts are 100% true. I’m not here to embellish, merely to make myself laugh.

I have, for the last two three years, begged and pleaded with someone to buy me a micro-recorder, mini-disc recorder, or even a talk-boy, so that I can share the life I lead and all of its nonsense with those around me.

My latest victims? The NHL All-Star Game.


First Exploit—An Observation. I hate hockey. It’s stupid. It’s just not my bit. So, as opposed to watching ANY of the 21 combined goals scored in the game, I defaulted to acting how my wife typically acts at sporting events: I watched the people. And believe me… there is people-watching to be had at a hockey game at the AAC. I love the sports-jersey, but I have never liked the hockey jersey. Too much. Too long-sleeved. In most sporting events, there is a clear division of socio-economic status between the jersey wearer and the non-jersey wearer. The more high-falooting you are, the less need you have for a jersey. Not only did I see MANY a jersey at this game, there was also MANY a blazer. Chris-Chris and Cash McMogulson were all over that joint. And it only got worse when I went to an after-party at the Ghost Bar.

Second Exploit-Bumming a Cigar CAN be done. My brother-in-law and I made a stop at the after-party hosted by Versus Network at the Ghost Bar. Seriously not my scene. The place is covered in chrome/silver/fluorescent green. Now, granted, I’m not someone who particularly enjoys the nightlife at a place like this. My version of nightlife is a second glass of port and two episodes of The Sopranos after my wife goes to sleep. So, myself, a wolf, donned sheep’s clothing to appear sheik enough to participate in this… aura. I was on the observation deck, when I noticed a VERY well-to-do gent (like Ben Kingsley in a Hugo Boss suit) smoking a cigar. Shamelessly, I approached him. The conversation went something like this:

Excuse me, do you mind me asking where you picked up the cigar?


I’m sorry?

CUBA (louder, to overcome the sound of Michael Jackson’s GREAT “I Wanna Rock With You.”).

No, did you grab it at the bar or was there a store downstairs?

I got it in Cuba.

I didn’t see that when I walked in—did I miss it?

No, I have a connection in Cuba.

Oh… well, enjoy.

You want one?

No, I couldn’t.

Please (reaches into his coat pocket).

No, well, okay. Wow, thank you… have a great night.

Now, with this exchange, you might expect that I opened the cigar, lit ‘er up, and enjoyed the cubano.

Nope. I put it in my pocket and took it home. Was I concerned that the fake Ben Kingsley would see me and wonder? No, what do I care. I’ve got my cigar—and I’m out.

Third Exploit-Confuse someone for Dolph Lundgren… on purpose. Brian Engblom is an analyst for the Versus Network. He’s been on ABC & ESPN. He’s a former NHL Defensiveman for many teams. And now, he joins the ranks of the select few celebrities who’s wheels I have shot off. While I was at the after party, I noticed one of the guys from the pre-game broadcast that Versus was doing. I didn’t have a clue who he was—but I knew who he wasn’t. He wasn’t Dolph Lundgren. Oh, but, me, well… I wanted to make him think that I thought he was Dolph Lundgren. So I handed my brother-in-law my camera and gave him instructions.

Take a picture for me.

Then I approached Engblom. He was talking to an older suit… so I waited patiently (awkwardly, but patiently). When I felt it appropriate, I interrupted.

Excuse me… could I trouble you for a picture.

Oh, sure. Absolutely.

(My brother-in-law takes the photo you see above)

Great. Thank you so much. I loved you in Masters of the Universe. You’re a great He-Man.

(INCREDIBLE awkwardness. Silence. Staring.)

I continue…

I love you.

(EVEN MORE awkwardness)

Then I turn and walk out. My time here is done. Veni Vidi Vici.