More on my Excellent Equestrian Adventure….

10942439_10204748004912909_525643683611177381_nSo I’ve been at this obsession of bouncing around on the back of the occasionally pig-headed but ultimately sweet mare, Mabel, recapturing my youth or whatever the hell you want to call it, for the past six months. I’ve dropped over 20 lbs., my mind is clearer, my attitude is actually more pleasant (if you can believe it!) and my incredibly patient instructors finally have me to the point (and very newly so) where I can get Mabel to hold a smooth canter and I do not look like a complete, roach-backed fool jumping crossbars and the lowest of hurdles. Huzzah!

Predictably though, as I am not the brightest bulb in the marquee, I picked a hell of a time to start this whole thing being that it was a deceptively mild October with little hint towards the cold and snowbound hell to come. It’s pathetic how easily we forget what comes each year… Yes, moron; winter follows fall. And while you’re happily chowing down on turkey and envisioning yourself in some Capra-esque/Norman Rockwell tableau, and later after too much egg-nog, drunkenly trying to figure out exactly how to roast chestnuts over an open fire without setting the rug ablaze (only later to discover that roasted chestnuts in fact taste like whatever’s been living under the rug for the past decade… ptooey!), and then finally capping it all off by watching a live-camera feed of Jenny McCarthy’s impression of a helmet-haired drag queen sandbagging some poor sap in his Marine’s dress blues into snogging beneath the ball in Times Square… meanwhile old man winter has a whole sack-full of special lined up for you that will make you wonder why you were ever born. Every year we forget… and then scramble like lemmings for bread, milk and toilet paper when the piper calls his due.

I take my riding very seriously though. So much so that I want to learn about and be involved with every aspect of what it is that I am doing. Grooming, feeding, health and soundness, breeding, tack, barn maintenance (scoop dat poop!)… I want to know and learn about everything and I want to be in the barn every spare moment, soaking all of this up. So do I let a little snow get in the way? Well…. yes, as a matter of fact I do. Particularly when the otherwise lovely and charming road to the barn becomes an Olympic luge run, and the indoor ring becomes entombed in a monstrous peristyle of bitter, wicked white.  It slows me down, along with the other hardcores who I’ve had the privilege to hang around with this winter… but one indeed, carries on.

Would that the horses have the same attitude, but alas.  Despite being conveniently covered in fur (ok, fine… hair… happy?), horses are not snow bunnies. No, not by a long-shot. Regardless of their being bundled up like the little brother ‘Randy’ in ‘A Christmas Story,’ in sometimes as many as three snow-suit style blankets complete with hoods, it appears to me at least that they would rather be playing canasta than be forced to do anything other than doze, eat, poop, go outside occasionally and basically just wait for the whole thing to be over. And to a horse it seems (horses not really being on average the brightest of critters, but then again humans are just as stupid and forgetful about the whole thing as well) the whole idea of snow, despite their having been through a few of these seasons at least, seems to leave them completely baffled as to “what the hell happened to the earth and what’s with all of this white shit all over the place?” Between the bitter cold (indoor ring or not… it is still freaking cold!) and grey skied miasma of shortened days and long nights which obviously irritate a horse (as humans) to no end, combined with little surprises such as the intermittent, malevolent rumble of the accumulated snow sliding from the roof and crashing down the sides of the barn and where a horse would normally just spook and get over it, these combined conditions produce a reaction of “I”LL CUT-A-MOTHERF**KER!” level of crazy in a horse that anyone who thinks equestrian sport is just “sitting,” I defy to hold their mud while doing.

Good luck… Chuck.

Two sweaters, three sweaters, three sweaters and a windbreaker, thermals under my breeches and chem-pack toe warmers in my boots, running into the tack room and ripping off my gloves to hold them in front of a space heater to get the feeling back, or holding my seat while the lovely Miss Mabel determines that the guy that she spys outside through the window shoveling snow is going to rip her face off and make a sandwich, or sliding down the driveway like some Winter Olympic long jumper trying to get to the barn after having left my car at the top thinking “oh, walking will be so much safer,” or watching the more experienced riders in the barn stoically handle themselves with an inhuman level of calm and consistency while their horse throws the only temper tantrum and puts a hoof through a wall… and thus realizing just how much I don’t know… and the mountain of that which I must… and I cannot imagine myself doing anything else with the slivers of time my goofy life allows.

I am told that I will be competing this coming season. Not asked, mind you… told. I have learned to respect the hierarchy within the barn where I ride… and do what I am told.  I will let you know how this all works out.

 

The Ballad of Mabel & The Man Who Wouldn’t Grow Up

Midlife CrisisAs you may or may not know, or could for that matter care less, I have found a new focus in line with my ongoing mid-life crisis. Actually I don’t see how it can be considered a mid-life crisis as I have always strictly maintained the perspective of a 12 year old in all things, but regardless… the point is I have decided to get back on a horse.

While some men of a certain age buy a red Porsche or a motorcycle, some slather themselves with Rogain or snort Viagara and take up snowboarding, or even some go so far as to trade in long suffering wives for newer models, convincing themselves that it’s for love and love alone, while Trophy Wife #Whatever plugs an industrial grade vacuum cleaner into their wallet… a man’s brooding sense of  panic over his inevitable and progressive decline can take many forms.

Me? I get on a horse.

Understand that this is not an out-of-the-blue, new found passion as I formerly competed in a variety of equitation events when I was much younger… much, much younger. But that of course was way back when horses were steam powered and a bear claw would buy you a spot by the fire and hot bowl of mud.   Much in equitation, particularly jumping, has changed since then … the primary being of course, my body.

First thing I have learned is that I am no longer made of rubber. I can no longer bounce off of things, like the ground for example, with the same level of grace if not outright glamour that I once possessed. I can now actually, really hurt myself. I could also die if push came to shove, which of course would ironically and quite pathetically undermine the whole point of this latest manifestation of my fantasy battle against time. So a certain amount of caution is in order where there previously was none.

This change of circumstance and condition was made clear to me upon my first visit to my local riding academy, where once the truly wonderful staff got over their initial shock at the idea of me being there in the first place, took great pains to keep me out of harm’s way. For example… by not letting me get anywhere near a horse. Bloody brilliant! I loved this place immediately! And this very well intentioned safety protocol worked quite well on my first day as I sat in the tack room, far from danger, staring at the walls of assorted saddelry as my brand spanking new breeches, boots and helmet glowed in their recency.  Eventually however I began to sense a bit of a lack of accomplishment and so I got a little pushy (as I am known to do, just ask anyone who says “no” to me… it rarely goes well, regrettably) as to how long I would be required to drink well meaning coffee and admire the inspiring framed photos of other riders, captured in the midst of heroic leaps… and I asked when I might be able to actually meet a horse. It was then that I was introduced to “Mabel,” a 24 year-old paint, dray mare who was also lovingly referred to around the stables as “Princess Comatose.”

It was love at first sight. At 16 hands, she was also as wide as a bloody barn, but I was fortunate in that she appeared to have no withers whatsoever due to her basically being an oil tank with legs. This was a real plus in light of my anatomical difference from the female riders in the barn and thus outfitted with the proper Crosby saddle (favored by men, I am told) I felt no particular need to spend all of my time riding constantly in a half seat.  We were off to a great start!

My “romance” with Mabel was a whirlwind. I soon found myself thoroughly charmed at her coquettish habit of backing up from the mounting block just as I prepared to insert my foot into the stirrup. Over and over, and over again we would play this little game. Back and forth, back and forth. What joy!  Such laughs!  Her uncanny ability to drift directly towards a random cavaletti lying to the side of my path the split microsecond I’d position myself to begin a trot… I found this utterly charming. And her adorable way of spooking and completely bugging out at alarming distractions… such as say dirt, or sunshine… Tellement Amusant!   After a week or so of this, I was ready to shoot her and then myself. I began to see a similarity between my riding this rolling refrigerator and the poor sap who was being cleaned out by the blonde Marie Besnard with implants that he’d left his wife for. Guys are dumb. Mable knew this.

Regardless, I was determined. I was good at this… albeit years ago. I was told back then that I showed promise. “I am not dead yet – I can do this – I don’t like red cars,” I told myself. So I focused in on the training patiently dolled out by my tortured, yet saintly instructor. And lo and behold, once I had figured out that I needed to use the other outside rein (in other words, tug with the other left hand, idiot), and that my legs should probably not be sticking out in front of me as though I were planted in a Barcalounger doing a History Channel binge, I began indeed to sense some progress.

But it wasn’t just a ‘sense’ of achievement.  I was told I was making progress. While encouraged by my instructor and praised or chided accordingly, I was flat-out told I was making progress… by Mable, herself.  She began to respond to my commands.  Of course she still loved our little “Okay. Get on me… come on. I won’t back up again. I promise!  No, I really mean it this time. I love you.  I’m not lying.  BWAHAHAHA!” game, but she began to do what can only be described as placing her trust in me.  She began to offer me respect.  A respect I had to earn, but given with trust when due.  ‘Click,’ we turn. ‘Click,’ we trot. ‘Click‘… we focus and fly.

I am one month into this. I am having the time of my life. I have no delusions of grandeur only in that I consider myself so damned fortunate to not be that guy at the gas pump with the bad hairpiece and the red Carrera. I will keep you apprised.

 

 

I Don’t Need A List To Remind Me To Breathe… Yet.

It’s come time for me to make lists. It is not necessarily an age thing, though I could easily use that as an excuse in that I find myself occasionally doing things like forgetting where I put the butter knife when I am holding the damned thing right there in my hand. But in that I’ve been doing things like that all of my life I cannot lay the entire blame on my bio-clock’s inevitable cellular decay. It’s more a motivational thing. It’s almost as if making the list in and of itself is an achievement. I’ll layout a column of things like “Schedule Dentist, Get Oil Changed, Dog to Vet, Call Lawyer, Call Agent, Call Lawyer (again, because I’ve forgotten that I’ d called him earlier, but he doesn’t care because it’s billable) Order Bass Strings, etc…” and then once the list is complete, I will feel an overwhelming sense of accomplishment and self-sastifaction, and decide to take a nap.

Making lists is also for me of late a way to cut through the noise. Not to go too far down the curmudgeonly “Get the fuck off my lawn” path, but part of the problem is the incessant amount of information of varying degrees of usefulness that competes for my attention. On any given day, thanks to the information superhighway/sewage-pipe’s exponential ability to put a bullhorn to my inner ear and scream “Hey fuck-head, pay attention to this hammock sale at Lowes,” or, “Wowza! Kim Kardashian’s ass has never looked so amazing!” or “Yo! Kittens! You want to look at some kittens? What the hell is wrong with you that you don’t like kittens? They’re adorable! You’re an insensitive jerk, you know that?”; I just don’t seem to have the filter to be able to determine in the required nano-second what is critical and what is useless in the tsunami of stuff that is blasted at me it seems from every direction.

It’s not simply limited to the web and it is not easily explainable by my obvious and chronic addiction to FaceBook. It is everywhere. Recently I cut off cable TV to my house. I have only a high-speed ISP, a Roku and a cell phone. That’s it for connectivity to the outside world. But like a microscopic flaw in a window jam that will allow an arctic blast into your home and drive you into a rage of carpet-chewing madness trying to trace it, even that limited amount of access from the shit-storm of media does nothing to stop the noise. And unfortunately I’m as easily distracted as a cat by a laser pointer.

Be it the radio in my car, where when I finally find a station that isn’t melting the tectonal membranes of my ears with some overly-compressed, bro-country /pop-tart diarrhea, it interrupts it’s dulcet offerings with a screaming advert for an auto sale which if I don’t act upon immediately will result in the murder of a million puppies… or be it in print, where for example while sorting the mail I will determine that the envelope marked “Urgent” from the laboratory where the biopsy of that weird mole I had removed was sent is far less important than the flier for a tire sale or spider vein treatments (even though I have no immediate need for either)… I for the life of me am finding it harder and harder to tell the important shit from the inane.

My step-father has recently been diagnosed with beta-amyloid formations in the brain. This is not Alzheimers thank goodness, but it is a form of mental short-circuitry that results in notable and progressive cognitive difficulty. He will forget words, will confuse timelines, forget people’s names (no huge thing there, I’m a champion in that), what day it is, etc., and he has basically lost the ability to add a tip and calculate a restaurant tab. He is 84. And he couldn’t care less. He actually finds it funny. In the midst of a story he will completely forget what he was talking about, launch into a non-sequiter, then stop mid-sentence, look around the table at everyone and say “…wow!” and proceed to belly-laugh at himself. It’s both heartbreaking and endearing for me, as everyone else, but ultimately I cannot help but applaud him. As to the noise that drives me to distraction, he could care less. It’s as though he’s wearing a raincoat in a hurricane, and he laughs at me when I go off on a tirade about it all.  I don’t know whether to envy him, pity him or punch him in the mouth…. for getting sick and directing my attention to the fact that I will eventually lose him. I don’t need to put that on a list. I am aware of that. Ultimately I thank him for helping me determine what is important… and what is not.

The Elements of Style & Tonic

Doug Howard

3/28/14 (Originally published November, 2005)

Recently I was quite surprised to find that I am, in some warped circles apparently now considered a writer. This in spite of the fact that I have two horrid little novels that actually speak to me in the middle of the night, just prior to my falling asleep… and plead with me not to finish them. They cannot seem to take it any longer and I do not blame them.

Now while I may be a songwriter (of sorts having written virtually nothing for the past decade or so), I am not a novelist, or a journalist for that matter, but rather it would now appear that I am considered a “web pundit,” an editorial satirist, a social commentator. And all this time I was under the impression that I was simply a functional alcoholic who had found in his laptop an acceptable substitute for making late night drunk calls to ex-wives and former employers. Who would have imagined? Amazing!

Now if this declaration seems presumptuous of me, I honestly could not agree with you more were it not for the ever-increasing amount of mail that I receive from readers. Outside of the occasional death threat from people writing in capital letters things like “Allahu Akbar,” or ‘Jesus Hates You”, which of course do not count as I have been receiving those since my very first album which I recorded with Charles Baudelaire in 1863 (loads of laughs… good times!), I have of late been receiving notes from people who actually think I know what I am doing. This I find hilarious of course, but once I get over it and wipe the tears from my eyes, a sense of deep concern washes over me when I find that some people are actually asking me for advice on how to become a writer. How deeply disturbing.

Well, far be it for me to let anyone down. And while under any normal circumstances I charge significant amounts of money to preach happy horse-shit to people who are silly enough to think that I actually know what I am talking about at an given time, I shall attempt to impart upon those who have been asking… some of the secrets of my success.

Firstly, try to write good. Don’t write bad. People don’t like that and it makes the baby Jesus cry.  If you are currently writing bad… try to write more good.

As well, and I paraphrase my good friend Tara in sharing with you that all writers for the most part simply want to smoke, drink and copulate and they find that writing as a career facilitates that well. So try to get in touch with your own personal vices. Know them well. There is method here… and in saying that I would ask the reader at this time to pause in review and mosey on down to the local Liquor Locker, and pick up a gallon of the least expensive vodka on the shelf. But something that sounds vaguely Russian of course and comes in plastic. I personally recommend Popov or Chernobyl.

I’ll wait.

Back? Dandy!

Now, get yourself a large glass and some ice, place the bottle near your chair and we shall proceed.

Oh, sorry… forgot. Do you have any cigarettes? Well, even if you don’t smoke, get some and start. Excellent! Now, where were we?

Good research is imperative when writing. A good writer always does his or her best to back up their assertions and premises with solid research. And this is where proper use of the web has become essential to good writing. By way of example, when researching an article on evolution and you wish to quote from “The Origins of Species” by Charles Darwin, I would recommend opening your browser and typing in “co-ed bondage hi-jinx” or “lathered suburban housewives” in your search. This may be considered by some to be the long way around to finding what it is you are looking for, but once you get the results back you probably won’t care.

By they way, you should require some more ice at this point, but if you are doing this at all properly then the ice, and very likely the glass itself for that matter will have become completely irrelevant… so go ahead and feel free to just start swilling it directly from the bottle at your feet.

Now would also be a good time to light up a few more cigarettes. So let’s take a break shall we, and have a smoke. It also would be appropriate at this time to take out a firearm or two and go out on your deck and blow off a few rounds. See if you can manage to take out the bird feeder or hit that wasp’s nest that your wife has been asking you to take care of since last May.

All done? Fantastic! Now let’s get back to it.

Continuity and flow are extremely important in both engaging the reader and giving you as the writer a clear line of sight as to where you would like to go. Thus you should begin every new effort by starting with the words “The End” on your very first page. Place this page to the side so that you can quickly grab it and slap it on the back of whatever you have put down when you get to the point where you just can’t stand the idea of having to write another word, or when you become so blind drunk that you have to hold your hand over one eye in order to find the letters on your keyboard.

Now then, spelling, proper grammar and punctuation always count. While artistic license is most certainly granted in creative writing, using acronyms such as LOL, ROFLMAO, or posting Smiley’s at the end of your sentences will likely make you appear completely retarded to any serious readers over the age of 9.

But then again …what the hell.  Do whatever you want. Who cares? It’s amazing how this paint thinner gets better tasting after the first 12 blasts, isn’t it? Next time we should try running it through a Britta water filter. I hear that works pretty well actually.

What was it we were doing anyway? Oh, right. An article on “Pipe Organs and Cat Feces” by My Favorite Martian… and a fine article it will be. So let’s refill our glass (or just suck back another pull), light up another ciggy and finally get down to it! Huzzah! Thus far we have done our research, begun our first page, and emptied half of the bottle… and it isn’t even 10 o’clock in the morning. 

Excellent! Well done! You are most certainly on your way!

Now in my experience, at this point in time there could possibly be a loud banging going on at your front door. This is either the fire department responding to the flames shooting out from your windows likely caused when you started putting your cigarettes out on the drapes… or you missed shooting the bird feeder entirely and the SWAT team has come to call.  

Write to me soon and let me know how this all works out for you.

Thanks for stopping by.

You Will Take A Long Journey With a Tall Dark Stranger

Doug Howard

3/28/14 (originally published March 2009)

Psychics fascinate me.

Not because I am fascinated by their abilities. I am simply fascinated at how they get away with it all in the first place. Now I do try to keep my mind open to the idea that all that surrounds us is not all that there is to see. And I will go one step further in accommodating the possibility that some people may be more sensitive in perceiving that which eludes the rest of us dweebs… sort of like an allergy to cat hair, or the ability to bend one’s thumb back to one’s wrist. A gift or an affliction. But in the everyday, I still don’t get how people constantly fall for half of this ooogly-boogly, happy horse-shit like backwoods suckers at a traveling freak show.

Let’s take John Edwards. No, not the one time presidential candidate… though I hear his Vegas magic act is pretty good. I am referring to the former ballroom dance instructor, turned psychic with the daytime television show for the shut-in set, who claims that ever since he was hit in the head as a small child, he can talk to dead people. Now if you have ever watched this show you will see this sensitive, metro-sexual type (hmmm, come think of it, I have never seen the two John Edwards in the same room together) with a Long Island accent walk out in front of an audience, who it would appear couldn’t get tickets to Oprah that day, and say something like “I’m hearing the name Peter.” On cue and without fail some hand wringing, Xanax addicted, frump in the crowd will respond with a, “Oh! Oh, my! Yes! Here… over here! Peter was my cleaning lady’s cousin’s wire-haired terrier twice removed! How did you know that?”

Now hold on. Let’s think about this for a minute. If you or I walked out in front of the same audience we could probably mention the name “Herbert” and you could be assured that someone in that audience had a Herbert in their lives somewhere. “Oh! Oh my! Yes! Here… over here! Herbert Hoover was once the President of the United States of America! And I’m an American! How did you know that?”

So once Edwards has some poor sap in his cross-hairs he proceeds to roll his eyes around in his head like the wheels in a slot machine, press his temples dramatically and work the poor, bereaved moron like a five dollar consort at a plumber’s convention with leading statements like “Peter is pointing at a car” or “He’s trying to say something that begins with the letter “R.” At this point the hysterical sucker will start to make all sorts of associations like “Oh! Yes! Peter drove a Rambler!” or “Peter worked as a Re-po man,” or “Peter was a robot!” By this point the audience is enraptured, tearfully cooing “Ooooh’s” and “Ahhhh’s” as though they are watching star shells exploding in the sky. Then Edwards goes in for the kill, saying something like “Peter wants me to tell you that his death wasn’t painful, he’s happy where he is and he just wanted to say that he loves you, and that he’s sorry he dragged his sphincter across  your rug.” At this point the sad clown in the audience keels over into the aisle in an apoplectic fit of reverie, believing dear, sweet, deader-than-disco Peter has reached out to her from beyond the grave. And for this sort of dog and pony show, Mr. Edwards apparently rakes in some mighty serious cake. Holy hell on a cracker… what a sweet racket!

And I… want… in!

In that I have been trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up for the past 50 (cough… or so) years, I imagined there would be no harm in my trying my own hand in what appears to be a pretty great business. I spew oogly, boogly…. and people pay me. Nothing wrong there! And not too different than what I do now come to think of it! So in preparation for my transition from an obscure rock and roll has-been into a world-renowned psychic, to add credibility this morning I went into the garage and hit myself repeatedly in the head with a shovel. Yes, it did hurt. But I believe that one must suffer for one’s craft and viewed it as simply the paying of my dues… as all great artists must certainly do. Having accomplished the head injury portion of my “So You Want To Be A Psychic And Get Paid Like John Edwards.” – checklist, I showered, shaved, dug out my suede sports jacket, slipped into a pair of Cole Hahn loafers, doused myself with cologne and imagined myself preparing to greet my audience before I amaze and baffle them with my own brand of hoodoo. I felt a renewed sense of purpose and excitement at the prospect of fulfilling my dream of becoming a conduit through which those who have departed from this world may speak, and thereby provide a sense of comfort to their loved one’s left behind… and who would then of course gratefully line my pockets with their hard earned cash-o-la-la-la.  I proceeded to sit quietly on my deck, slowing my heart rate, calming my mind while one by one I pushed all temporal thoughts from my mind in my attempt to tune into the great beyond and open the potential Pandora’s box of the eternal… and fell dead asleep in about three minutes. Vodka and a few Valium can’t hold a candle to tuning into the spirit world!

After I had wiped the drool from the side of my mouth, I elected to forego another round of smacking myself in the head with a shovel having determined that I had indeed paid my dues in full earlier. Instead I decided to practice rolling my eyes around in my head and pressing my fingers to my temples in order to refine my posture and determine my best camera angles for when I eventually would take center stage. And it was then that the visions came to me. The here and now seemed to melt away, replaced by vivid images of the future. A panoply from beyond. My third eye had apparently locked onto an anomaly in the fabric of the space-time continuum that allowed me to foresee events in the near and distant future. Yowza! Huzzah! Ka-cha-cha-cha-ching!!!

I scribbled them down on the back of a pack of Camels, so forgive any inconsistencies in logic, principles, reason, coherence, sanity or grammar. We professional and bona fied psychics simply calls ’em as we sees ’em. And the future as it was revealed to me by my Indian spirit guide, Chief Kawabungabingabunga is both terrifying and spectacular and this is just some of what I saw…

In the very near future, scientists will discover that copious amounts of cigarettes, alcohol and gratuitous sex will serve to lengthen the human life cycle by an average of 500 years. In turn, they will discover that it was the act of using forks and spoons that was killing us prematurely. However the benefit of this discovery will be rendered moot as most people will become completely nauseated at the idea of having sex with anyone that old, though eating with one’s hands will become very fashionable with the trendy set.

But, by the year 2019 people will rarely if ever leave their homes any longer as political correctness lawsuits will have established significant precedence wherein people who appear to be alive could be considered offensive to those who are dead.  As well, all public parking lots will be required to designate special parking areas for all customers who are in fact deceased. The deceased will be required to hang a special tag on their rear view mirror, depicting a blue smiley face with X’s for eyes in order to legally make use of these spaces. Eventually though, as necessity is indeed the mother of adaptation, as a counter measure to avoid having to pay out hefty lawsuit settlements, people will take to wearing chicken suits in public, thus declaring themselves to be poultry and thereby not subject to any litigation involving humans.

In the year 2026 Barbara Streisand will embark on her final, final, ” I really fucking mean it this time” farewell tour. She will share the bill with KISS. Ticket sales will be sketchy. 

In 2042 Nathan Lane will reprise his role (for the 37th time) as Max Bialystock in The Producers starring opposite a broom.  No one will notice.

In 2061 Rocky 39 “The Putrification!” will be released to mixed reviews.

In the year 2085, genetic engineers will be able to combine the DNA of plants with humans, thereby creating men who are shrubbery. Women everywhere will rejoice, as they will always know where men are since men will no longer be able to run about, and they will remain “upright” regardless of how much of beer they drink.

 Finally,(and after an inestimable amount of lawsuits) in the year 2116 science advancements will allow for the dead to be brought back to life.  However this development will come under intense fire from the public, as it will allow for the return of people like Hitler, Stalin and Benny Hill.  The final tipping point will be the public complaints about the dead taking up all of the good parking spaces.  This will force the government to limit reanimation and create a lottery wherein the dead can buy tickets to win a chance to come back to life. The proceeds will be used to underwrite public education.

By the year 2117, the US public school system will declare bankruptcy.  

Microsoft, having assumed the management of the United States in 2187 after the Second Dark Ages (a period so named as a result of a descendant of the Bush family being elected to the presidency via a contest very similar to American Idol), will release it’s new operating system entitled “WallEye 37.0, ” which unfortunately due to a few minor glitches will wreak havoc on end user systems, causing massive worldwide power outages, transportation failures and cause frogs to rain from the sky in Toledo (which of course will go largely unnoticed).

There were more, but unfortunately I neglected to take the other pack of Camels out of the pocket of my trousers before they were tossed into the wash (hey, this psychic thing is tricky sometimes).  I am writing this to you as I await the final rinse cycle to complete and hopefully more windows on the future will be available after the final spin.  Till then, I remain yours in the light of the great cosmic light of the revered and most holy Baba Rum Raisin.  May his blessed spittle rain down upon you…. A-bloogah,bloogha,bloogha!

Thanks for stopping by

When I Grow Up…

3/25/14 

I have decided what I want to be when I grow up. For the uninformed, I am indeed older than dirt, but “growing up” has never seemed to have made it to my top ten of things to do in the time that I have been taking up space on the planet; that is, until today. I believe I have finally made up my mind. I have decided to become a game show host. What a great fucking job. Really! I’d get to work for perhaps four hours a day, tops… dress nice, get my teeth fixed for free, keep my hair in a box and mutter bon mots and non-sequiturs to walking bean bags as they spin the wheel, or guess the door, or pull the lever, or just yell shit at me until the get close to whatever the answer is that wins them whatever piece of expensive crap that they don’t need. I could go to work bombed out of my mind every day and no one would notice. How do people get those jobs? Is there a school? I don’t recall Phoenix University ever mentioning that course along with Lawn Mower Repair, Gun Smithing, Private Detection, or Taxidermy on their commercials for the International Correspondence School For Cretins That Failed Locker in Junior High.  Anyway… it’s either that or a US Congressman, either job I could do shit-faced all of the time… Actually, I haven’t completely decided if the truth be told.

Of course deciding what I want to be when I grow up is a luxury not necessarily afforded everyone. Actually it is afforded to no one at all, myself included. It is a myth, an apologue, a folk tale, a steaming pile of ass muffins. Because in reality, we have absolutely no choice in the matter whatsoever. You see, while everyone’s parents told them that they could be anything they wanted to be when they grew up, the plain fact of the matter is that phrase has always been an adult ruse to get children to eat the putrid slop that their parents have set before them to keep social services from taking them away and thereby losing the tax benefits. We are all warned that if we don’t eat all of our vegetables, we will never grow up to be smart enough to be President, but of course our parents all lied like rugs being the disingenuous, two faced, bottom feeding, scum-sucking low-lives that they in reality are. Do you honestly think that anyone actually says to themselves upon graduation from school that they want to be a flatulence analyst, or crime scene cleaner or high school guidance counselor?

Of course not, and yet they do.

And that is because all of this is decided early on in one’s social development… very early on. I happen to know for a fact that one’s entire professional path is settled by committee at the age of about five. In reality it is determined as early as pre-school when the school administrator pulls out a crisp, new manila folder, embosses one’s name upon the tab and creates…

“Your Permanent Record.”

And “Your Permanent Record” has much more to do with your life path than simply determining if you get into Yale as opposed to Ramapo Community College. Oh you betcha. Yessir! A whole lot more.

You see, when little Johnny or Muriel leave for their first day of school, after Mommy-boo and Daddy-kins have strapped their Spiderman and Hello Kitty backpacks on, taken a bunch of pictures, gotten all choked up and given reassuring hugs and kisses and sent them on their tender way… at the very moment adorable little Johnny or heart achingly sweet little Muriel take their first steps across the hallowed threshold of their kindergarten classroom and are greeted by the smiling visage of their teacher, as they shed their parkas and jam them adorably into their cubbys, and cautiously take their places at their cute little mini-people desks … at that time a plethora of high tech cameras and scanners are activated and begin combing their entire physical profiles, determining height, weight, bone density, brain size, etc., etc., to determine if Johnny or Muriel fall into either the Eloi or Morlock categories. You see H. G. Wells was not merely a writer of fiction, he was in fact a cryptic whistle blower.

The cameras take a blizzard of photos of their facial features, which are then instantly run through a secret government database to search for matches against known criminals, terrorists, thieves, casino cheats, cheese eaters and ne’er-do-wells. Once the children are determined not to pose an immediate threat to “the system,” (the one’s that are disappear for a few hours and come back as robots… their parents are all in on it of course), further tests are run over the subsequent first few days to categorize each child according to social skills, aptitude, physical comportment and coordination, attractiveness (or appalling lack thereof), potential for undercover work for the DEA and/or for space exploration. At the same time DNA samples are collected and analyzed and an extensive background check is run on each child’s criminal history, credit rating, known associates, social affiliations (five year olds who are Freemasons, Communists or suspected members of La Cosa Nostra are flagged at this point for further review), political party, places of assembly, and possible aliases. This task is arduous and often times sub-contracted to companies such as Playskool, Mattel, Scholastic or the publishers of The Weekly Reader, which of course are all fronts for the CIA and Interpol.

Look… every one knows this. Just because YOU don’t does not give you license to stare at this page like a mouth breathing imbecile.   Now snap out of it and read on. 

Anyway, once a profile of each child is assembled, a committee meets, or I should say “The Committee” meets… in secret of course… and determines whether Johnny of Muriel are suited for future positions such as super models, politicians, prostitutes, circus performers, junkies, drag queens, clergy members, career criminals, or the person that screws the caps on the toothpaste tubes, etc., etc. The really vanilla ones, the ones with about as much charisma as a garden hose… those are selected to work in high finance and law.

Now this process has in fact been going on for years. I would mention that aliens invented it, but you wouldn’t believe me…. even though it is true. And while it serves to determine the usefulness of society’s future members and their proper place in same, it also serves a dual purpose of determining exactly how much potential for legal liability your child imposes upon the school system during their educational term. Yes, this too is determined from day one. After all…. All time is money. Thus a battery of lawyers from Gerber spends days and nights analyzing the potential for students to be the cause of lawsuits and insurance claims. And ever diligent, they are always looking for was to improve on statistics and to find ways not to have to pay out claims because some parent decided to sue the shit out of the school system because their little Eggbert began a sentence with… “Hey, watch this!”

Ah…. But there’s the rub. Because in their quest for lowering risks and cultivating ever more perfect members of society, they have in fact now pulled back the curtain to reveal their grand system to all who would merely take the time to look.

You think I’m fucking kidding?

You… think… I’m… joking?

Check this shit out….

From the Attleboro Sun Chronicle in 2006 (and this was only the beginning):

Tagged out
BY SUSAN LaHOUD SUN CHRONICLE STAFF
Monday, October 16, 2006 11:29 PM CDT

Tag is now out during recess at Willett Elementary School in Attleboro.

So is (sic) touch football and any other unsupervised “chasing” games that are deemed to pose the risk of injury as well as liability to the school.

“It’s a time when accidents can happen,” said Principal Gaylene Heppe, in her second year at the helm of Willett.

Heppe included the new rule as part of a standardized set of playground rules that were not in play upon her arrival.

In doing so, she joined in a growing movement against traditional games played by young children in school gymnasiums and playgrounds. A few years ago, school administrators in the area, as well as around the country, took aim at dodgeball, saying it was an exclusionary and dangerous game. Modified versions now include softer balls and ways for children to re-enter the action.

While no district-wide policies banning contact sports at recess appear to have been put in place locally, many principals are making up new rules in an atmosphere reflecting society’s increasingly cautious and litigious nature. Elementary schools in Cheyenne, Wyo. and Spokane, Wash. banned tag at recess this year. So, too, did a suburban Charleston, S.C. school, outlawing all unsupervised contact sports. Reasons cited by school administrators largely focused on safety; kids would get too rough or run into each other, giving rise to parent complaints and threats of lawsuits. Another reason cited was that in a free-for-all activity at recess, such as tag, some children would become unsuspecting, and unwilling, participants in the game.

_________________________________________

So go ahead… call me nuts.

Thanks for stopping by.

Getting Tagged (or how to waste an entire aftenoon on nothing)

Okay…. I got tagged.

(Originally posted on February 19, 2009 on FB)

So when one is tagged, the deal is … at least amongst compulsive bloggers… is that you must answer 101 questions about yourself… being honest, but also not putting the reader to sleep or cause them to become nauseous over your self indulgent, sappy musings.  I have likely utterly failed already on both counts as I am a poor liar and a total bore…. regardless, here it be. Find a bucket.

1. Men are…
…. usually underestimated these days. But then again, any man with any brains finds it to his advantage to keep it that way.

2. How do you like your coffee?
Two sugars, dark.

3. I’d describe my sense of humor as…
…my life raft.

4. What’s your magic word?
“Contingency!” or “Non-recoupable” depending upon who is in the room.

5. Love is great, but I’d also marry for…
…food.

6. I feel naked without my…
clothes on.

7. Complete this sentence: Life is like a box of…
…subsequent boxes.

8. When I was little, I used to believe that…
…the moon was laughing.

9. I’d be totally screwed without…
…ears.

10. I feel most powerful when…
…the check clears.

11. I like people who are…
… clean.

12. I wish I were a character in…
… a Frank Capra movie.

13. Waffles are…
… highly overrated.

14. When the aliens arrive, I hope they bring…
… their own doughnuts.

15. Women are…
… like a gift of a Swiss Army knife to a 10 year old. Of course you’ll cut yourself, but who cares?

16. You have the right to remain…
… as ill informed as you sound.

17. Who would you want to be with on a desert island?
My wife, my kids and my dogs. Everybody else can apply for visas.

18. I miss…
… personal accountability.

19. I’m allergic to…
… authority.

20. What makes you homesick?
Not being home.

21. What’s the closest you’ve come to death?
Being shot at.

22. A little bit country or a little bit rock and roll?
Nothing little about it.

23. In 100 years, my generation will be remembered for…
Bongs. Squandered opportunity. Great music.

24. Burn Out or Fade Away?
Already at that crossroads apparently.

25. What’s your favorite song lyric?
“Ronald is so happy with a sandwich in his shoe.” …at least that’s it sounded like what Dylan said the last time I heard him live.

26. Bury me with my…
….hand in someone else’s pocket.

27. I love the scent of…
… horses. Not kidding.

28. Who do you take after? Mom or Dad?
Mom. She was one tough customer with a universally disarming smile.

29. What’s the dumbest excuse you’ve used to break up with someone?
Never had a dumb excuse. I’d usually wait until I was thinking about calling the police and that was usually a pretty solid clue that they needed to go.

30. When was the last time you gave your parents a call?
That would be a little difficult in that they checked out of this hotel awhile back.

31. If I could control my dreams, I’d dream about…
I wouldn’t do that. That would ruin the suspense.

32. The answer to the ultimate question is…
It doesn’t come in your size.

33. God is…
… a definite, but looks nothing like Charlton Heston. Atheists are anachronistic in light of today’s science and they are pitiable in their hubris.

34. My first word was probably…
Not probably. It was “chicken noodle soup.” I saved my debut for a good one and I had witnesses.

35. What’s the sexiest thing a member of the opposite sex can wear?
Jewelry and shoes. Nothing else is necessary.

36. I wonder about…
… what’s going to happen when the Fed runs out of green ink and paper.

37. Nothing beats…
…sleep.

38. Early riser or night owl?
Insomniac.

39. Fame or Fortune?
Both, and the brains to handle them responsibly.

40. I wish I had never seen…
… anything with Vin Diesel or Will Ferrell in it. I want that part of my brain back, please.

41. Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall?
Spring.

42. Who is are your hero(s)?
My kids.

43. Politics are…
… the best entertainment value around.

44. What was the best advice you ever received?
Look them in the eye and keep smiling.

45. What was your most cherished memory from the past year?
In hindsight, when I stopped asking for permission to do things and simply bought the company.

46. I want my last meal to be…
… high in cholesterol and salt.

47. My philosophy is…
When they tell you “no,” ask them who gave them any authority in the matter in the first place.

48. There’s more to life than…
… cable news. Shoot your television.

49. Quick! Write the last sentence of your autobiography.
“However, the charges were eventually dropped for lack of evidence and credible witnesses.”

50. Everything is negotiable in a relationship, except…
… everything else.

51. George W. Bush is…
… last week’s one liner. Time to move on. There are more important things to attend to at the moment.

52. I’ve never…
… hmmmmm. Let me get back to you on that one.

53. Which side is your good side?
The one that I’m lying on at the time.

54. Late at night, I like to eat…
Valium and Cocoa Crispies.

55. What did you have for lunch yesterday?
Sausage & Peppers.

56. Pardon my…
… finger.

57. Quick! What’s a creative way to recycle an empty toilet paper tube?
Give it to the dogs. They love them for some reason and love you for giving one to them.

58. If you were invisible for a day, what would you do?
Go to the bank.

59. Girls are sugar and spice and everything…
… that you used to own.

60. What was the first thing you bought when you got your first credit card?
A round.

61. If I had to spend twenty bucks in the next twenty minutes, I would…
…. likely run on down to the music store and find something that I already have two of.

62. Which sport is the best to watch?
Hurling. Thirty Irishmen on a field with axe shaped sticks and a rock. Now that’s entertainment!

63. How many licks does it take to get to the center of a marble?
Why don’t you call me when you figure that one out, Slappy. I can’t wait.

64. What is/was your imaginary friend’s name?
Sam. He was an empty Maxwell House coffee can and I was two or three. How pathetic is that?

65. People make fun of my…
… snoring.

66. My comfort food is…
… cigarettes.

67. What’s your favorite type of cheese?
Slightly soft parmesan. That, some sopresata, bread and oil, glass of wine. Bang! Lunch! Wow!

68. What was (or will be) your wedding song?
Idiot Wind – Bob Dylan

69. I’m back in the…
…studio. Don’t knock.

70. Do you play any instruments?
With varying degrees of sincerity depending upon the size of the check.

71. Would you shave your head for a worthy charity?
Certainly. But who is so bad off that they would eat my hair?

72. What’s the worst that could happen?
Anything that hurts my kids. God won’t even help you.

73. How often do you go without underpants?
Depends upon what’s on the agenda.

74. I’m the best at…
…. holding my tongue around morons or the painfully lazy. Seriously, you have absolutely no idea.

75. What music should they play at your funeral? (example: Get On Up)
Someone should stand in the corner with a Theremin. That should properly freak the place up.

76. Milk chocolate, dark chocolate, or white chocolate?
Dark. No contest.

77. Bill or Hillary?
Monica.

78. What album could you listen to every day for the rest of your life?
Puccini: Madam Butterfly; Callas. But even that, everyday? The rest of my life?

79. When you get stressed, what are you most likely to throw out the window?
Body parts.

80. What’s the fastest you’ve ever driven?
135…. ish. No ticket. Figures…. when your trying…!

81. When faced with a problem, I…
… solve it. Let me ask you a question, did you write these questions all by yourself or did you have some help. Because if someone helped you, you should take away their crayons.

82. A recent poll shows a fifth of Americans cannot locate the US on a world map. Why do you think this is?
Hahahahahahaha! Why do “I’ think this is? Hahahahahahaha!

83. For my first wish, I wish…
… for a few moments with my attorney.

84. I’d like to be captain on a manned mission to…
Los Angeles.

85. What was your worst fashion mistake?
Allowing that stylist to have ever set foot on the set of the music videos for Stun Leer.

86. How old were you when you had your first date?
Seven. Got lucky too… for seven.

87. Are you a cat or a dog person?
I like both, but dogs rule.

88. Define yourself in 3 words…
On the phone.

89. Where do you want to travel next?
To the end of my driveway.

90. What is your favorite food?
Pretty much anything that wouldn’t necessarily eat me if given the chance.

91. What is your favorite place?
Bed.

92. If you could have one super human power what would you choose?
I thought we covered this. I’d be invisible and then hit the bank.

93. Have you had a beer in the last week?
Ya think?

94. Flip flops or sandles?
Boots. Even in the pool.

95. What do you do on fridays?
I practice spelling. You might consider it too. Weekday names are traditionally capitalized.

96. What is your favorite song of all time?
Hells Bells

97. Do you like bananas?
Actually no. I know they are good for you, but they make my nose feel funny.

98. Do you own any pets, and if so what do you have?
My God, you really are an idiot aren’t you?

99. When do you plan on getting married?
So when do you plan on just killing yourself? Honestly! You get paid for this?

100. Get the number or give the number?
email.

101. Romance or Kinky?
Please explain the difference.