Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Letter to my Senators

After reading this, I wrote the following letter to our two US Senators from Colorado, Mark Udall and Michael Bennet.

Hello Mark, I've not typically been the type to write his local politicians for anything. I tend to be a speak-with-my-vote kind of guy. But as one of the millions of solidly middle-class citizens bearing the brunt of our fragile economy every day, I feel beleaguered, even defeated, when I read this from the Washington Post Online: "At rescued banks, perks keep rolling." (entire article linked below). We threw $700 BILLION to Wall Street with little more than a note that said, "Happy birthday! Go buy yourself something just for you." And as my wife and I are struggling to decide whether or not we let the bank foreclose on a rental property that's been sucking us dry for the past six years, Kenneth Lewis, Jeffrey Peek, Ralph Babb and Alvaro de Molina are showing off what they spent on their shopping spree. What I need from you, and from Michael Bennet, and from every single person who claims to represent "the people of this great nation," as politicians are so fond of labeling us, is to feel the outrage and betrayal that we feel and get this figured out. Today. Because this country is boiling, man, and people are ready to lose it. You see it in the schools, in the malls, on the highways, in the workplaces... Rage. Not anger, not hurt. Rage. It's a frightening time. I'm originally from Michigan. Lived there for 27 years before moving to Colorado in '97. I was in Detroit last month for the first time in years. Have you seen Detroit lately? It looks like a movie set for Blade Runner II. That's today's America. That's what $700 BILLION to Wall Street gets us. So change it, Mark. Just... change it. You can, you know. Find out who's with you -- who are the real Americans up on Capitol Hill -- and grab them and start beating the crap out of any poser up there who doesn't think this is the most important issue facing our country today. We need you.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Tragedy of Detroit

The above image is from a stunning photo montage by Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre, called simply The Ruins of Detroit.

Detroit has been the convenient butt of jokes for a number of years. Crime rates. Corrupt government. Corrupt unions. Greedy, irresponsible industry. We can argue until we've lost our voices over what Detroit has fallen into ruin, but one fact remains undeniable: This is one of the great tragedies in our country's history.

As Marchand and Meffre state on their website, "Nowadays, (Detroit's) splendid decaying monuments are, no less than the Pyramids of Egypt, the Coliseum of Rome, or the Acropolis in Athens, remnants of the passing of a great civilization."

I admit I am not an objective observer. I'm from Michigan, and grew up going to Detroit to Tigers games, the Henry Ford Museum, Greek Town and the Fox Theater. I have family who live(d) there and work(ed) there. I'm from a family of automotive workers. There was once great pride in that, by the way.

The Detroit of the early 1900s was, in large part, responsible for the creation of this country's middle class. We were manufacturing actual things. Things people wanted to buy and use. No more. What do we manufacture in this country now? Electronic transactions. Fake money. Intellectual property. That's just about it. So bye bye Detroit.

Again, I'm not here to argue about who or what is at fault. Anyone who thinks there's a simple answer to that is a simple person. I care about the people. Lost homes, lost jobs, lost families, lost lives. No matter who you are or what your political beliefs, these are fellow Americans. Not to be confused with a bunch of book-cooking crooks who were bailed out by our inglorious government to the tune of 700-something BILLION dollars, mind you. These are my relatives.

Go click the link above and look at the pictures. The one of United Artists Theater literally made me cry. Cry for what has been permanently lost.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Of Milk and America.

Last night we finally got around to watching Milk. I'd had a copy of the movie since it was still in theaters (one of the perks of having a SAG card -- DVD screeners!), had even loaded it onto our Apple TV so that I could just push buttons to have it play rather than going through the hassle of standing up, taking the DVD out of the case, opening the DVD tray... good god, I'm exhausted just thinking about it. But, when the occasion would come that wifey and I could watch something we wanted vs. the Wiggles or the Wiggles, we'd inevitably choose something else. Milk is definitely one of those movies you gotta be in the right mood for. And finally, last night, we were.

I first really learned about Harvey Milk when I was a senior in high school. My high school football coach was also my government teacher. On the football field he was a predictably gruff old bastard, but in the classroom he was dynamic, open-minded and incredibly engaging. One day he showed us a documentary on Milk and Moscone. I remember the classroom being utterly silent for a few minutes after the film ended, until some moron who thought he was being funny said "fags." Coach moved faster than I thought humanly possible, grabbed the kid by the shirt collar and literally dragged him out of the classroom. That's always stuck with me. The documentary, and Coach's response to the same bigotry that contributed to Milk's assassination.

I was pissed when Mickey Rourke didn't win best actor last year. His turn in the Wrestler was so damn good. But now I get it. Sean Penn was just plain eerie as Milk. I found myself a few times remembering, that's Jeff Spicoli! So yeah, the Academy made the right choice. The movie as a whole was really, really good. Great supporting cast, great pacing. But without Penn in that role it's easily forgettable.

The movie brought back memories of the documentary. Of how emotionally draining I'd found it when I was 17. I was sad and angry back then, for the simple fact that I couldn't comprehend the kind of hatred and bigotry that could poison a person's soul.

Last night I was once again sad and angry. But this time it wasn't only because of the inhumanity of it. It was a sober reminder of the vast amount of citizens of this country who would piss all over our Declaration of Independence. And not just in the late 70s, but today. Last year -- 30 years after the California battle over Prop 6 -- was deja vu all over again with Prop 8, only this time the bigots won.

If you would not afford a fellow citizen of these United States the same exact freedoms and liberties that you would expect for yourself, simply on the basis of that person's skin color, religion or sexual orientation, you are not worthy of those freedoms that our forefathers gave you. And if you profess to be a Christian as you fight to restrict the rights of others, you are not worthy of the sacrifice your Christ made for you.

We've made remarkable progress in this country in the past 30 years with regard to government-supported bigotry. Harvey Milk had a lot to do with that progress as it pertains to homosexuals, and activists continue to fight the hatred and discrimination. But then there's Prop 8 and all the other efforts throughout the country to restrict our fellow citizens' rights. The progress we've made isn't nearly enough. We cannot allow the course of this country to continue to be dictated by the anti-American bigots who desire not freedom for all, but religious totalitarianism (though they don't know that because, come on, look at how long the word "totalitarianism" is). A reminder:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Miss me?

First of all, don't expect me to be writing in this thing daily. But it's been a long, long time since I've written a blog of any sort, and I've kinda been missing it. I was going to start writing in Startling Stories again (the blog I had after I took Boiled Dinner down), but I missed Boiled Dinner. It was more me, I guess. So I'm back here. Plus I think I can tie this to my Facebook page, so maybe that will be cool.

See you soon.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Sorry, one final thought.

This is what's important.

Turn out the lights. Lock it up.

It's been a fun ride, friends, but Boiled Dinner is closing its doors.

I've recently watched a number of folks whose blogs I read either hang it up entirely or cut back dramatically, and I selfishly got pissed at them. I enjoyed their stuff; how dare they take that away from me!

But at the same time, I started facing the fact that I just wasn't enjoying it nearly as much as I used to. And that's for no other reason than blog friendships gone bad.

Not mine, so much. I've managed to live my blog life much like my real life -- being a peacekeeper, and a horder of a huge variety of friends.

But friendships between friends of mine went bad, and the fallout from that, and the ramifications of where I comment and who comments at Boiled Dinner, have flushed the enjoyment I used to get from blogging right down the shitter.

This is not an indictment of anyone. I admit, I've been pissed about it, and the last straw was my mom getting chastised for doing a guest post at someone's blog, and someone else coming to her defense, and someone else getting brought into it, and other people... All because PJ did a guest post, and a hell of a great guest post at that. I can't imagine anyone who knows me would be surprised that I'll stand with my mom when I don't agree with her, let alone when she's getting pummeled because of where she decides to do a post. That was complete and utter bullshit, no matter how you spin it.

But over the last couple days I've thought a lot, and corresponded with a few folks, about this stuff. I'm finally looking at it like I should have long ago; like a divorce. I've got some experience in that department, so that frame of reference helped immensely. When you're the outsider in a divorce, you're all of a sudden put in a position of having to choose. One group of friends becomes two separate groups. Or three. Or four. However many it becomes, it's never one again. And you're angry because it shouldn't be that way. You shouldn't lose friends, you aren't the one getting the divorce. So you try to be friends with both, but you know how that goes. It doesn't.

That's what it's been like around here. And to complicate matters, it's not just one divorce. It's a few. And yet, since I've not been the center of any of it, I've been resentful that when I start hopping around my regular blog check, I have to think, should I comment here? Will I piss off so-and-so if I comment here? It's like walking into a bar with one group of post-divorce friends and seeing the other group. Can I say hi? Can I go have a beer with them? Can I be friends with all of them?

Nope. I may have thought so at one time, but my inner Pollyanna on this topic is dead.

People have been avoiding my blog, not because of me, but because of other people who visit my blog. I've been delinked from blogrolls, not because of what I said, but because of what I didn't say, or what other blogrolls I'm on or other blogs I comment at.

Again, not laying blame or pointing fingers at anyone. Divorce is messy, no two ways about it. When you're caught in the crossfire, you get hit. A bunch.

So I'm doing the only thing that makes sense for me. I'm closing the doors on my blog. I'll still lurk around, popping up here and there in comments a la Teacake, the blogger formerly known as Nobody. And I'll definitely continue to contribute to Film Freaks, which is a way-cool haven for positivity and a shared passion for movies. Someday, perhaps, I'll do as Paula did and start blogging again from scratch. But this will be the last post on Boiled Dinner.

Before I close the doors for good, I want to thank the following for their contributions to this blog, whether major or minor, over the past three years:

Archer, Arleen, Asbestos Dust, Babs, Becky, Brad, Cheezy, DangerDoll, David, Dawn, Don, Eden, Emma, Fez, Fringe, Gekko, Heath, HumanityCritic, Jackson, Jane, Jen, Jenna, JennyJinx, Jodi, Joe the Troll, Keera, Kim, Krissy, LawWench, Looney, Lucy, Mamma, Mark, Nat, Nikki, Ole Blue, O'Tim, Paticus, Paula, PJ, Ravenous, Rob, Roy, Ruth, Sal, Schadenfreude, Social Worker, Sour Grapes, Throckey, Venessa, Wiggy, and Zen.

Because of these people, I've had some incredibly thought-provoking conversations here. As well as some hilarious ones. You may not all like each other, and I may not like all of each of you, but I love some of all of you, and all of many of you. If you get my meaning.

I would like to especially thank everyone who participated in Movie Madness. That was a riot. Look for it again next year at Film Freaks.

I would also like to point out that this post got the most comments of any post on Boiled Dinner -- 74.

Okay, enough stalling. Time to turn out the lights, close the door, lock it, and head out.

Peace, everyone.

See you somewhere else.

ADDENDUM: I just wanted to clarify that this decision was NOT the result of any one event, person or situation. It's a culmination of many things spanning many months. So please, the last thing I want to see is people pointing the finger and blaming others. Also, I really appreciate all the kind words in the comments. I'm pretty overwhelmed, to be honest. One thing: I'm a writer, and an comedian, and an attention hound. What better place to get a fix for those three addictions than a blog? I'll be back.

Friday, August 10, 2007

All This Because He Wanted to Be... a Punter?

Don't know if any of you heard about this, but last year University of Northern Colorado backup punter Mitch Cozad didn't want to be the backup punter. He wanted to be the starter. Problem was, he wasn't good enough. Rafael Mendoza was better, so he was the starter.

For most college athletes, that would be motivation to work harder. Get better. Try to beat out the starter and earn the spot.

Or, you could just stab the guy in the leg. Which is what Cozad apparently did.

The trial just concluded and Cozad was found guilty of second-degree assault.

He'd had an alibi -- his then, now ex-, girlfriend. Bummer for him that she got a conscience 15 minutes after lying for him and told the truth: Cozad had left for a while in the middle of the night.

The prosecution actually brought two charges against Cozad: second-degree assault and first-degree attempted murder. I don't get the second charge, of which the jury found Cozad not guilty. Mendoza was stabbed in the leg (I think it was actually the ass cheek), then the attacker ran off. Would prosecution bring a charge like this in hopes of getting the defendant to cop a plea? Can any of you smart law folks out there enlighten me?

Anyway, Mendoza's back punting for the team and Cozad's going to jail.

Where I suspect he'll be turned into a wide receiver.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


Dad/kid camping trip Saturday night: Rained Out.

Now before you pseudo-psycho "I drink my own pee when I camp" outdoorsmen get all fuckity with me, understand that we six dads had 16 boys and girls ranging from age 5 to age 13, and it rained so hard that all of the paths turned into rivers flowing directly into the tents. Everything and everyone was soaked, inside and out. So the decision to pack it in was a pretty easy one to make, because while "sticking it out" might sound fun and adventurous in spirit, dealing with cold, wet, miserable children all night when you could have avoided it is just plain stupid.

As one of the other dads and I were on breakfast duty, we did have everyone over to my house in the morning for the breakfast burritos we were planning to make in the mountains. We even cooked all the stuff outside with our camping gear, just to get in the spirit. Yep. That's the guys we are.

Then went back into the mountains with the family for a vacation, except that I only got to go for one day because I had to drive back down Monday and hop on a plane to Cincinnati for a work thing. Family stayed in the mountains until today. Work thing went well, but yeah, I'd have rather stayed on vacation.

Okay, I better get going. I just knew you were missing me, so I thought I'd drop you a quick line to let you know I'm back.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Lates, peeps.

Got a Dad/Kid campin' trip, then to the mountains with the extended family, then to Cincinnati for a big work presentation. Back Thursday.

No parties. Lights out by 11.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Me and...

Stop it. Stop talking like that. You are an adult and you sound like a child when you say "me and..."

It's never me and... NEVER.

It's either _________ and I, or _______ and me.

If you say "Alicia and I" and you should have said "Alicia and me," I'll forgive that. You should certainly take it upon yourself to know when to say "I" and when to say "me," (the cheat is to drop all other people from the sentence but you, and then say it and see which one you need) but you're not completely embarrassing yourself.

When you say, "Me and Alicia were going to work on that," that's embarrassing.

No matter how talented and how intelligent you are, you're going to have a major blockade in front of you until you correct that shit. I'm never going to put you in an important client presentation, because I don't want them to think we have little kids working on their account.

Oh, on a related topic, all those "likes" you put in every sentence? Unless you want me to keep treating you as a sixth grader, cut that shit out too.

ADDENDUM: Some residents of Smartassia have left comments referencing the "me and..." structure used in song lyrics, such as "Me and My Shadow," "Me and Bobby McGee," and "Me and You and a Dog Named Boo." Obviously I was talking about everyday speaking, particularly within a business setting, but I tell you what: If you can sing like Janis, you get a pass on my "me and" rant. Of course, only when you're singing. And rhyming.

ADDENDUM 2: Just listened to "Me and You and a Dog Named Boo" for the first time in decades. That's a horrible song, Jodi. Almost makes me revoke my Janis pass. Fucking Kent Lavoie.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

I'm brave, daring, just and loyal.

I'm mindbogglingly busy at work lately, so no time for my usual brilliance. I did, however, swipe this from Eden.

Your Score: Gryffinpuff!

You scored 28% Slytherin, 12% Ravenclaw, 48% Gryffindor, and 44% Hufflepuff!

You might belong in Gryffindor,

Where dwell the brave at heart,

Their daring, nerve, and chivalry

Set Gryffindors apart.

You might belong in Hufflepuff,

Where they are just and loyal

These patient Hufflepuffs are true

And unafraid of toil.

In this instance, it would be prudent for you to make your own decision between the two! After all, as wise Albus Dumbledore says, "It is our choices . . . that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities."

Link: The Sorting Hat Test written by leeannslytherin on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test

Monday, July 23, 2007


I'm typically not a jargon or buzzword guy. Matter of fact, I typically go out of my way to not use them at all. But something about this word I really like.


It perfectly describes the parameters people put on their willingness to act in a "green" manner.

Recycling has become, at least in larger cities, incredibly convenient. Here in Denver we have big purple trash cans on wheels. We put all our recyclables in that big, wheel it out to the curb with the trash every other week, and the city picks it up. No sorting whatsoever. Due to the incredibly high level of greenvenience, recycling has gone up 40% in our city since they initiated the big purple bins.

For the majority of Americans, that's the level of greenvenience they need to make it worth their while. The more involved I have to get, the more it's going to slow me down, the less likely I am to do it.

So how about you? What's your greenvenient threshhold?

Are you like Asbestos Dust, who dumps the old motor oil from his 1972 Ford 3/4-ton into the wetlands behind his house? Or are you like Venessa, who uses Aster leaves for toilet paper?

Do you use paper towels, or do you clean with sponges and rags?

Do you recycle every single thing you can, including all forms of paper, or do you sometimes throw things in the trash because it's just easier?

Do you buy milk and juice and other beverages in recyclable containers only, or do you buy them in non-recyclable wax-coated paper cartons, maybe because of price or maybe because of brand preference?

Do you carpool?

Do you drive to lunch?

Do you use compact fluorescent bulbs at home, or do you prefer regular bulbs because you don't like the color that comes from compact fluorescent?

Do you make sure bottles and cans always get put in recycling, or do you toss them in the trash if that's what's closest and easiest?

What else?

In the spirit of full disclosure, I've done every single one of the "non-green" things listed above. Well, except the oil thing.

I had a 1984 Ford Bronco.

Friday, July 20, 2007

All Your Bottles Are Belong to Earth

Are you a bottled water drinker? Some food for thought:

  • The picture above, found at whatisleft.org and created by David Coale of Acterra, is a representation of the amount of oil required to ship a bottle of water from its source to the Bay Area of California.

  • Roughly 1.5 million tons of plastic are expended in the bottling of 89 billion liters of water each year.*

  • The United States is the world’s leading consumer of bottled water, with Americans drinking 26 billion liters in 2004, or approximately one 8-ounce glass per person every day.** This in spite of the fact that the U.S. has some of the world's safest tap water.

  • The most commonly used plastic for making water bottles is polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which is derived from crude oil. Making bottles to meet Americans’ demand for bottled water requires more than 1.5 million barrels of oil annually, enough to fuel some 100,000 U.S. cars for a year. Worldwide, some 2.7 million tons of plastic are used to bottle water each year.**

  • According to the Container Recycling Institute, 86 percent of plastic water bottles used in the United States become garbage or litter. Incinerating used bottles produces toxic byproducts such as chlorine gas and ash containing heavy metals. Buried water bottles can take up to 1,000 years to biodegrade. Almost 40 percent of the PET bottles that were deposited for recycling in the United States in 2004 were actually exported, sometimes to as far away as China—adding to the resources used by this product.**

  • We're moving 1 billion bottles of water around a week in ships, trains, and trucks in the United States alone. That's a weekly convoy equivalent to 37,800 18-wheelers delivering water. (Water weighs 81/3 pounds a gallon. It's so heavy you can't fill an 18-wheeler with bottled water--you have to leave empty space.)***

  • In Fiji, a state-of-the-art factory spins out more than a million bottles a day of the hippest bottled water on the U.S. market today, while more than half the people in Fiji do not have safe, reliable drinking water.***

  • Bottled water is much less regulated than tap water. As a matter of fact, most bottled water is tap water. Some has been filtered for purity, some has simply had minerals added for taste, and others are straight from the tap.

  • Bottled water companies are not required to reveal their filtration and/or purification processes on the label. So you simply don't know what's in that water. And just because it says "Spring Water" doesn't mean it's clean spring water.

  • Ounce for ounce, bottled water costs more than gasoline. Depending on the brand, it costs 250 to 10,000 times more than tap water.****

  • If you bought and drank a bottle of Evian, which costs about $1.35, you could refill that bottle once a day for 10 years, 5 months, and 21 days with tap water before that water would cost $1.35.***

About eight months ago we put faucet-mounted filtration systems in our kitchen, and upstairs near the bedrooms. The systems cost about $30 each. We replace the filters, which cost about $10 each, every two to three months downstairs and every three to four months upstairs.

We've saved a shitload of money. We now have filtered water for everything we consume -- not just drinking, but cooking too. We're not lugging cased of bottled water from the store anymore. Our house isn't cluttered with plastic bottled anymore. And we're no longer contributing to all the waste and pollution caused by the bottles.

*According to a 2001 report of the World Wide Fund for Nature.
**From the article "Bottled Water: Pouring Resources Down the Drain," published by the Earth Policy Institute.
***From the Fast Company article "Message in a Bottle".
****From the NYT article "Bad to the Last Drop," by Tom Standage.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Wanted: Democrats With Balls

Okay, at the risk of getting the ire up of some of my more right-leaning friends, nothing would make me happier than to have those yella Democrats in Congress actually grow spines and bring articles of impeachment against Bush. And then Cheney.

It is mindboggling to me that we as a nation sat through the impeachment of Bill Clinton for lying to Congress about... wait for it... S-E-X... and this Congress won't impeach Bush and Cheney.

In the book Articles of Impeachment Against George W. Bush, the Center for Constitutional Rights set out legal arguments for impeachment on four separate charges that could be brought against this administration with abundant evidence (note that the book was published before the whole Valerie Plame incident):

1. Warrantless surveillance.
2. Misleading Congress on the reasons for the Iraq war.
3. Violating laws against torture.
4. Subverting the Constitution’s separation of powers.

Who cares if the Senate wouldn't vote to convict? They didn't vote to convict Clinton, either, but that Congress had to "send a message." If ever a White House needed a message, it's this one. Not that I'd expect them to get the message, but at least American public would be sent the message that the Rule of Law is greater than this or any other administration.

I'll never forget Bush, after accepting the Republican nomination about seven years ago, saying that he would bring honor and integrity back to the White House.

Um, yeah, you failed, W. You seriously, pitifully failed.

You know, the thing that bugged me the most about Clinton was the guy's arrogance. He truly believed himself to be greater than the office he held, to be above reproach, and to be exempt from accountability.

Multiply each of those things by 1,000 and you've got Bush and Cheney. Nixon was a fucking choirboy compared to these two. And yet no one has the stones to give them the bitch-slapping they deserve.

Making the all those big-talking Democrats controlling the legislature up there no better than the Right they keep criticizing.

*Dumbfuck Mountain poster found through a Google search that led me here.

Monday, July 16, 2007


If I may be allowed a Grumpy Old Man moment, there are too many damn greeting options these days. I work in a building with about 500 people, and every time I walk down the hallway I have a panic attack because I know I'm going to pass five to 10 people and I'm going to have to greet each of them. That would be fine if there was one standard greeting:


That would be super simple. Even something a little more involved, but consistent, would be cool by me:

"Good day to you, sir or ma'am."

Spanish speakers have it super easy: "Hola." Sure, they may get more formal with the Buenos días/Buenas tardes/Buenas noches triple threat, but those are easy because they depend on the time of day.

But not here. No, we English speakers are drowning in greeting options, from the verbal to the physical gesture.

Hey. How's it going? What's up? S'up? How you doin'? Yo. Dude. Mornin'. Cool shirt. Wave. Point. Smile. Head-up nod. Head-down nod. Wink. Look away. Handshake. High five. Knuckle tap. Say their name. Say their nickname. Make up a nickname. Say an obscure reference to something silly they said or did in a meeting once.

Don't get me wrong, I like variety as much as the next guy, but things have gotten out of hand. Just today I strained the muscles in my neck when I got caught between a head-up nod and a head-down nod. I've had it.

From now on, I'm just gonna say, "Didn't do it," and keep walking.

Let them figure it out.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

I Peed for 92 Seconds

Yesterday afternoon I had a meeting with the Big Boss. My review with my immediate supervisor had gone extremely well last week, so I thought it would be a good idea to get some face time with the BB.

While walking to his office, I realized I was in that purgatorial moment where you kinda have to pee, but not bad enough yet to bother you. Were I sitting at my desk, I'd not get up and go yet. Were I walking directly past the restroom without needing to be somewhere within the next minute, I'd go in. In this instance, however, I was in neither position. I was on my way to the BB's office, and would be right on time without any delays.

"It's only a half an hour," I thought to myself. "It won't get too bad."

Fifteen minutes into the meeting I realized I'd made a mistake. A really big mistake. My water bottle is a cool old canteen that holds about one liter, and I was on my third canteen since 1:00 (it was now 3:20). The meeting was going really, really well, with the topic of my eventual promotion being the focus, so I couldn't very well cut it short and say, "Thanks, BB, gotta pee!"

I stole a glance at the clock on his wall. Only 10 more minutes, I thought. I can do this.

Forty minutes later the BB looked at the clock and said, "Wow, the time flew. I gotta pee."

After sitting there for 45 minutes, sweating, cringing, crippled from the pain, I stood up, managed a smile, and said, "Thanks BB. Me too." He led and I followed, hobbling along with the familiar I've-had-to-pee-for-an-hour stride.

Once in the men's room, he took the left urinal and I took the right, leaving the center urinal vacant, as guys do. The relief was more than I could bear. I started to cry.

Yes, I literally had tears in my eyes. When the BB finished, flushed and went to wash his hands, I was merely a third of the way finished. I stood there, tears rolling down my cheeks, counting off seconds. Sixty-five. Sixty-six. Sixty-seven.

"Talk to you later, Jeff," the BB said as he walked out.

A choked "yep" is all I managed in reply. Seventy-seven. Seventy-eight.

After a full 92 seconds, I was finished. A minute and a half of peeing. While washing my hands, I looked at my face in the mirror. My eyes were bloodshot and wet. My face was flushed. I started laughing at myself. While walking out, a co-worker walked in and saw me.

"You okay?" he asked.

"Yeah," I said. "That was just really awesome."

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

8 Things

I got tagged a while back for this 8 Things thing and am finally getting around to it. In a nutshell, I'm supposed to list 8 things you don't know about me, then tag 8 people to do it. It's much like the Friday Confessions I do every so often, but this is just 8. I'm just going to write it and say, if you wanna do it, do it!

1. I ran through a sliding glass door when I was seven years old, and have massive scars on my left leg (as well as a few random ones elsewhere on my body) to show for it.

2. I started wearing glasses in 7th grade. Started wearing contacts in 10th grade. Stopped wearing them both in 2001 (got Lasik!).

3. I drink lots and lots of water while at work -- probably somewhere around three liters.

4. I own every album (real vinyl album) KISS ever put out -- when they were wearing make-up. Yes, that includes the solo albums.

5. I'm in a Furniture Row commercial that's running right now. If you see a guy in a blue cap, khakis and a red Hawaiian shirt say, "Sometimes you gotta go forth and save," that's me. I didn't write it. I just got paid to be in it.

6. I love food. All of it. I am the least picky eater ever created. Gimme food and I'll love it. Except for anything made from avocado, including guac. Even then, it makes me sad that I don't like avocado so I try it at least once a year. Because I love food.

7. I can't sleep without some sort of white noise, preferably a fan. The fan soaks up all the random noises that would otherwise keep me awake.

8. I alphabetize things. CDs. DVDs. Books. I shoulda been a librarian.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Wrong Number for the New Millennium

Anyone getting wrong-number texts these days? I've gotten a fair amount. It's such an interesting phenomenon. Back when we used to actually call and speak to people, we were instantly informed of our mis-dialing.

"Sorry, wrong number."

With texting, however, the sender assumes the text was received by the right person unless you, the unintended recipient, lets the sender know.

You've gone from the immediate and effortless response, "Sorry, wrong number," to a series of choices:

1. Respond via text message.
2. Respond via phone call.
3. Ignore.

Last week, my ten-year-old daughter received a wrong-number text that said, "What? You want to suck my dick when?"

She showed it to Mom, who showed it to me, who was faced with the three choices.

I quickly eliminated #3. Couldn't let it go. So I opted for #2 and called the dude. Oh, I called him after I used the Internets to get his name. He was maybe 15 or 16. I scared the shit out of him, so that was fun.

The other day I got a wrong-number text that was full of entertainment. Here's what it said (written exactly as it appears on my phone):

"Chris hit a shot fir at bat to rite 7 0 us 4th Hes in rite"

Again, I ruled out #3. But this time, I opted for #1. Thought long and hard about it, then replied:

"Tell Chris 2 stop dragging dick Wish I was dere Score more 7 0 not enuf Drink Ovaltine"

I didn't get a response.

Man, I love modern technology

Friday, July 06, 2007

Sad? Angry? Bored? Shoot Someone!

In one of those ironic life moments you just can't script, I was sitting here with my iPod on shuffle when Johnny Cash's "Hardin Wouldn't Run" came on. What an awesome tune. It starts off with telling a story about John Wesley Hardin losing his money shooting dice in a saloon, then pulling a gun and demanding his money back. As I was enjoying Mr. Cash's sad song, I pulled up the Rocky Mountain News on my 'puter and saw this headline:

Lone gunman opens fire in Vegas casino; 3 wounded

My first thought (well, second thought after, "How ironic") was how amazing it was that no one was killed. What a failure that guy was!

In all seriousness, how exactly did it become fashionable to get a gun and shoot at random people because you're not happy with your life? I just can't fathom it. I can grasp wanting to take out someone who had a direct impact on your life. I can grasp getting so distraught that you decide to take your own life. (though, of course, I neither condone nor recommend either of those things) But I can't for the life of me grasp the desire to take out completely anonymous strangers.

What is it about the world... about the United States... that poisons people so much? Yes, this happens in other places, but nothing like here. It's akin to terrorism, of course, but it's not the same. Terrorists are part of a larger machine; they believe that what they're doing is serving some greater purpose. For all intents and purposes, they've been brainwashed.

These shooters here are loners. There may be a couple working together, like the Columbine kids, but they're not part of anything. They're on the outside looking in. And at some point, their hatred of those on the inside grows so great, their whole view turns red with blood.

And then they start shooting.

Kids. Adults. Upper-class. Middle-class. Lower-class. Educated. Uneducated. Family men. Drifters.

That's a pretty wide range there. About the only constants are that they're men, and they're pissed.

I gotta tell you, while I'm certainly conscious of the threat of terrorism, I'm not nearly as fearful of it directly affecting my life as I am one of these psychopaths opening fire somewhere my family happens to be.

Shit, whether you agree with the policies and methodologies or not, there are at least governments out there trying to keep terrorists from attacking us. There are lots and lots of people studying and planning and counter-planning, all to end the threat of terrorism.

Who's studying and planning and counter-planning to end the threat of the angry fucker with a gun?