Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Monday, October 30, 2006

Law enforcement quote of the week: Halloween Edition


"Kill the brain and you kill the ghoul."

"Beat 'em or burn 'em. They go up pretty easy."

"Yeah, they're dead, they're all messed up."

-Sheriff McClelland, unknown county in rural Pennsylvania, commenting on an outbreak of zombie attacks.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Five Things You Don't Know About MizBubs




1) I am not a girl-genius.

2) In 1979, I rode on Ozzy Osborne's tour bus. Unfortunately, I didn't know who he was at the time.

3) I used to teach Sunday School at our church.

4) I once used paper towels and strapping tape to bandage a drill injury on my hand. I subsequently received 7 stitches.

5) An ancestor, Abraham Clark of New Jersey, signed the Declaration of Independence.

After the party


I learned a valuable lesson after the party last night. That lesson is, don't apply liquid latex close to your hairline, or on your sideburns. It will hurt coming off.

On a brighter note, I now have a couple of truly disgusting flaps of bloody latex, complete with fake beard hairs stuck to them, in a plastic bag.

Looks like some lucky coworker is going to get a surprise on his desk in the next couple of days.

Hubbub


There was plenty of that today. Running around, all three of the Bubs girls sewing like crazy to get ready for the big Halloween party tonight. This is what our dining room looked like late Friday night. It looked even woolier by Saturday afternoon.

A friend of ours throws a really great Halloween party every year. We have three big social occasions every year, and this friend throws two of them--Halloween and New Year. We do 4th of July. Anyway, MizBubs ended up cancelling her trip to Iowa this weekend and we were able to go to the party together!! YAY!

More to follow.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

The dangers of pole dancing, Part II

In this lesson we learn about gravity:

The dangers of pole dancing

After reading about the Peekaboo Pole Dancing Set controversy, I wondered if we, as a society, were facing an epidemic of pole-dancing danger. So I took on the task of googling pole-dancing and its variants. After hours and hours of looking at pictures of pole dancers, and watching countless videos of pole dancing, I am now ready to make my report.

Put briefly, pole dancing is indeed dangerous, especially for the untrained, young and possibly alcohol-impaired. Popular Science has an interesting illustration of the physics behind a pole dancing mishap. A young woman narrowly escapes serious side-boob exposure only to learn, the hard way, what a fulcrum is:

After Pat's Birthday -- A letter from Kevin Tillman

For those of you who don't remember, Pat Tillman was a safety with the Arizona Cardinals. After September 11, he walked away from his $3.9 million contract and joined the United States Army, along with his brother Kevin (himself a major league baseball prospect.) Both brothers became US Army Rangers and served in Afghanistan, where Pat was killed in 2004. It turned out that Pat was killed by friendly fire, and the Pentagon kept the truth from his family and the public until well after his memorial service.

His brother Kevin left the Army in 2005, and has now spoken out as a fierce critic of the war in Iraq and of the current administration. You can find the original letter here. I've reprinted Kevin's letter in its entirety:

It is Pat’s birthday on November 6, and elections are the day after. It gets me thinking about a conversation I had with Pat before we joined the military. He spoke about the risks with signing the papers. How once we committed, we were at the mercy of the American leadership and the American people. How we could be thrown in a direction not of our volition. How fighting as a soldier would leave us without a voice… until we got out.

Much has happened since we handed over our voice:

Somehow we were sent to invade a nation because it was a direct threat to the American people, or to the world, or harbored terrorists, or was involved in the September 11 attacks, or received weapons-grade uranium from Niger, or had mobile weapons labs, or WMD, or had a need to be liberated, or we needed to establish a democracy, or stop an insurgency, or stop a civil war we created that can’t be called a civil war even though it is. Something like that.

Somehow our elected leaders were subverting international law and humanity by setting up secret prisons around the world, secretly kidnapping people, secretly holding them indefinitely, secretly not charging them with anything, secretly torturing them. Somehow that overt policy of torture became the fault of a few “bad apples” in the military.

Somehow back at home, support for the soldiers meant having a five-year-old kindergartener scribble a picture with crayons and send it overseas, or slapping stickers on cars, or lobbying Congress for an extra pad in a helmet. It’s interesting that a soldier on his third or fourth tour should care about a drawing from a five-year-old; or a faded sticker on a car as his friends die around him; or an extra pad in a helmet, as if it will protect him when an IED throws his vehicle 50 feet into the air as his body comes apart and his skin melts to the seat.

Somehow the more soldiers that die, the more legitimate the illegal invasion becomes.

Somehow American leadership, whose only credit is lying to its people and illegally invading a nation, has been allowed to steal the courage, virtue and honor of its soldiers on the ground.

Somehow those afraid to fight an illegal invasion decades ago are allowed to send soldiers to die for an illegal invasion they started.

Somehow faking character, virtue and strength is tolerated.

Somehow profiting from tragedy and horror is tolerated.

Somehow the death of tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people is tolerated.

Somehow subversion of the Bill of Rights and The Constitution is tolerated.

Somehow suspension of Habeas Corpus is supposed to keep this country safe.

Somehow torture is tolerated.

Somehow lying is tolerated.

Somehow reason is being discarded for faith, dogma, and nonsense.

Somehow American leadership managed to create a more dangerous world.

Somehow a narrative is more important than reality.

Somehow America has become a country that projects everything that it is not and condemns everything that it is.

Somehow the most reasonable, trusted and respected country in the world has become one of the most irrational, belligerent, feared, and distrusted countries in the world.

Somehow being politically informed, diligent, and skeptical has been replaced by apathy through active ignorance.

Somehow the same incompetent, narcissistic, virtueless, vacuous, malicious criminals are still in charge of this country.

Somehow this is tolerated.

Somehow nobody is accountable for this.

In a democracy, the policy of the leaders is the policy of the people. So don’t be shocked when our grandkids bury much of this generation as traitors to the nation, to the world and to humanity. Most likely, they will come to know that “somehow” was nurtured by fear, insecurity and indifference, leaving the country vulnerable to unchecked, unchallenged parasites.

Luckily this country is still a democracy. People still have a voice. People still can take action. It can start after Pat’s birthday.

Brother and Friend of Pat Tillman,

Kevin Tillman

Friday, October 27, 2006

5 things you don't know about me


1) I used to have a pretty good singing voice before the Army.

2) I have a horrible raging temper (but it's gotten better.)

3) I cry easily at movies.

4) I used to have a friendly relationship with a black rhinoceros, and she'd let me pet her on her prehensile upper lip nearly every afternoon.

5) I never proposed to MizBubs.

Friday Random Ten: October 27

It's that time of the week again. On your marks, get set...shuffle:

1) Astro Zombie – The Misfits

2) Hold the Fort – IWW Rebel Voices

3) Bukowski – Modest Mouse

4) I’d Tell You But – Anti Flag

5) Temple of Love – Sisters of Mercy

6) It Coulda Been Me – Social Distortion

7) Grand Coulee Dam – Woody Guthrie

8) Autonomy – The Buzzcocks

9) Fall of Because – Killing Joke

10) Poison Pen – Bauhaus

Post your list on American Idle and see what the rest of the hep world is doing on a Friday morning.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Just in time for the holidays

Ah, the spectacle of the declining imperial power that is Great Britain.

Evidently our exports of MTV and Jerry Springer must've really triggered something dark and horrible in the British psyche. How do I know this? Because British store chain Tesco is advertising this toy:

Peekaboo Pole Dancing Set.

Sure, it says "adults only" on the website. But you find it by searching under "toys and games." Karen Gallimore, righteously indignant British consumer, is pissed off.

Maybe Lulu can find a way to work this into her unique school fundraiser idea.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

New Orleans Horror Story


This is a photo of 28-year old Zackery Bowen and 30-year old Addie Hall of New Orleans. They met during Hurricane Katrina, fell in love, and over the next year engaged in a volatile love affair.

On Wednesday, October 18th, Bowen jumped to his death from the Omni Royal Orleans hotel in the French Quarter. In his pocket was a suicide note; the note also directed officers to go to his apartment on Rampart Street, above the New Orleans Voodoo Spiritual Temple.

There police found the remains of Addie Hall. Bowen had strangled her on October 5th, had sex with the corpse, then dismembered and cooked her remains.


...


I have always loved southern Louisiana, and especially New Orleans, from my first visit there in 1998. I love the premium that New Orleans residents place on hospitality and having a good time, but what really fascinates me is that just beneath all that laissez les bon temps rouler is a deep undercurrent of decay, madness and horror.

This story has it all: a good-looking but dissipated young couple, thrown together during a devastating hurricane, both drifters (he moved from Los Angeles in 1996, she from Pennsylvania) who ended up in New Orleans working in the hospitality industry (he as a grocery delivery man for Matassa'’s and bartender at Buffa's, she as a bartender at one of my favorite clubs, the Spotted Cat.) This being a New Orleans story, there are drugs, guns, booze, sex, and voodoo.

Addie Hall told friends she had been abused as a child. Zackery Bowen claimed he served in the Army in Bosnia and Iraq, and, when drinking, would mutter darkly about the government "“messing him over." No one has been able to confirm his military service yet, and my bet is that, if he even served at all, he got bounced out during training. The couple stayed in the French Quarter after Katrina, refusing to evacuate, and became local celebrities. Hall ensured extra police presence around their apartment by flashing her breasts at passing police cars.

They both look familiar to me; I can'’t decide if it's because I actually ran into them during our travels, or that they just look like so many other young people you run into in the French Quarter or Faubourg Marigny.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune has complete coverage, including background, photos and video, here.




Tuesday, October 24, 2006

More fun with google

A frighteningly accurate portrait of my interests and hobbies emerges from the most recent batch of google searches leading to the compound. I can only hope that visitors from Korea and Germany now have a more complete understanding of the glory that is my America.

Wisconsin lawsuits venereal disease

biggest bubs


emu (in Korea, Sprawling Ramshackle Compound is a leading source of information on emus)

Chicago marathon winner slip video


Germans want to know "have you ever"

hurrican katrina alligator attacks

"licking the flesh"

educators

hypnotizing lizards

Halloween is coming...


This is what the front of the compound looked like in the rain the other night. I hope we have a few more nights like this before Halloween...

Thanks for the costume ideas. Right now I'm trying to decide between two easy ones:

Dead cowboy--I already have the clothes and zombie makeup; MizBubs suggested I go with a noose around my neck as a dead rustler.

George Hamilton--I go and get spray-tanned to a dapper yet ridiculous dark brown, dye the hair black and wear a white terrycloth robe.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Blue Monday


Lord I'm in a funk this morning, and for no good reason. Part of it is that I have to spend the afternoon and evening interviewing applicants for an open detective position, and I'm not looking forward to it. Also, MizBubs is going out of town next weekend, which--aside from the obvious loss of consortium I'll be suffering--means that I have to come up with a new costume idea for the Halloween party. We were going to go as Lizzie Borden and her father, and I got some really, really good gore makeup planned, but alas, it is not to be.

I should at least feel satisfied that I finished the fence repair this weekend, and the damaged tree is down. MizBubs, girl genius, rigged a climbing harness and some improvised safety headgear for me and held the lines steady so I could get to the high limbs safely, scampering to and fro like a lemur with a chainsaw. Then she applied ice, soothing words and beverages as needed.

Here are the before and after pics. The main section of replaced fence is just above and to the right of the stump in the "after" photo.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

OK, so I'm "it"

I don't post here often, as you know. Bubs "tagged" me to complete this questionnaire, so here it is.

1) Would you bungee jump?
I would jump off a perfectly good bridge why?!!!

2) If you could do anything in the world for a living what would it be?
I'd be a reclusive archaeologist somewhere accessible only by pack animal, and then only during the dry season. Maybe I'd be queen of the world, if I could be a remote and distant queen...

3) Your favorite fictional animal?
The selkie. I think I understand them.

4) One person who never fails to make you laugh?
My daughter Hannah. And my daughter Nora, too, when we say the same thing at the same moment, which is often.

5) When you were 12 years old what did you want to be when you grew up?
A reclusive archaeologist somewhere accessible only by pack animal, and then only during the dry season. Or Yoko Ono's replacement.

6) What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?
I put my right hand on top of Bub's.

7) Have you ever gone to therapy?
Yes, but not for long. I know what's wrong with me better than anyone. And if I can't remember it, I don't want to know...

8) If you could have one super power what would it be?
Solving everyone's problems, so I wouldn't have to worry about them.

9) Your favorite cartoon character?
Bugs Bunny, but I feel more like Elmer Fudd.

10) Do you go to church?
Bubs said "Not as often as I should. But I mean well." I agree. I think about God a lot, and I think we have an understanding.

11) What is your best childhood memory?
Summertime, walking to the train station with my Poppy (grandfather) to watch the 10 pm train, then get a chocolate-dipped Dairy Queen cone.

12) Do you think marriage is an outdated ritual?
Oh no. Marriage is truly sacred, and a backbone of western society. Like Bubs, I think gays, lesbians, and all people should have the benefits and responsibilities contained in marriage.

13) Do you own a gun?
Well, I claim Bubs old revolver, a Smith and Wesson .357. I do enjoy that weapon!

14) Have you ever hit someone of the opposite sex.
I tried to hit Bubs once before we married, but he was too quick for me. He did deserve it, though!

15) Have you ever sung in front of a large group of people?
Yes, and I'm sure I will again. It's not pretty, though.

16) What is the first thing you notice about the opposite sex?
Eyes. Definitely eyes.

17) What is your biggest mistake?
The jury is still out on my biggest mistake. Let's just say there are lots of contenders!

18) Say something totally random about yourself.
I love glam rock.

19) Has anyone ever said that you look like a celebrity?
When I was young, I got lots of free drinks in gay bars for looking like Judy Garland.

20) What is the most romantic thing someone of the opposite sex has done for you?
Some guy whisked me off to Memphis for my 40th birthday, and then my sister and her husband met us there for the weekend. That was awesome!!!

21) Do you actually read these when other people fill them out?
Oh, totally!

22) Is it wrong not to tag anyone?
I don't know. I'm still learning the etiquette.

So, I don't know if this was particularly edifying, but I had fun!

Domestic Bliss

Sunday afternoon on a lovely day. MizBubs was busy with our youngest daughter, working on a rag doll costume for Halloween. Abba Gold was playing in the background, and after cleaning the kitchen I was cooking up a pan of apple brown betty. Then I noticed Duffy, my terrier mutt, intently working on something. That something turned out to be a field mouse, in his death throes. Duffy dropped it, briefly, and Jack (our rat terrier) darted in and grabbed the struggling rodent away from Duffy. Jack proceeded to do a few victory laps around the house until I could open the back door and let them both out with their shared kill.

I will now, forever, have "Take a Chance on Me" in my head as the soundtrack for mouse killing and Sunday baking.

I'm not running the marathon

Not this year, anyway. And I'm depressed because I'm not.

This year was going to be my third Chicago Marathon. I ran in 1999 and 2004, and I was really looking forward to running again this year. I was going to be lighter and faster than the other two times. Unfortunately a visit to the emergency room and a surprise surgery kind of put the kibosh on my training this summer. Right now I'm just taking pleasure in the knowledge that I don't have to be out of bed in 4 hours and standing in the 40 degree rain, waiting to run 26.2 miles. Matter of fact, by the time I drag my bourbon-soaked ass out of bed, the race will be finished.

Just wait till next year.

ADDED AT 12:12 PM:

Congratulations to Robert Cheruiyot of Kenya, this years Chicago Marathon winner with a finishing time of 2 hours, 7 minutes, 35 seconds. Hope his head feels better.

At 12:12 there's still thousands of runners crossing the finish line, and they'll continue crossing until 2:00 pm. Good luck to all of them--to finish is to win!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Educators, take note

Bill Crozier is an Oklahoma Republican running for state superintendent of education, and he has an idea.

He proposes putting old, thick, textbooks under the desk of each student in every school. Why? So that the used, thick textbooks could be used to defend students against gunfire in the event of a school shooting. To demonstrate the merit of this idea, he produced a poorly-filmed, rambling unedited bit of video showing him and some friends shooting an AK-47 and some handguns at a variety of old textbooks.

You can read about him by clicking that first sentence, or watch his entire video here.

There's some more innovative thinking going on just south of Mr. Crozier, in Burleson, Texas. The Burleson school district has enlisted the services of British Army Major Robin Browne's company, Response Options, to provide training to its faculty and students. Students and teachers are being taught that "getting under desks and praying for rescue from professionals is not a recipe for success". Instead of cowering, students and teachers should immediately go on the offensive, swarming and attacking the school shooter. And maybe braining him with a thick, used textbook.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Friday Random Ten: October 20

It's that time again. Thanks to Dale for turning me on to this little diversion. You can also check out the results, and post your own lists, at American Idle. Without further ado, here's today's playlist:

1) Hog Maw Stomp – Fats Waller

2) Babalu – Ima Sumac

3) All the Way Down – Voltaire

4) Rush and a push and the land is ours – The Smiths

5) Son of a Gun – Nirvana

6) Nine While Nine – Sisters of Mercy

7) Victoria’s Escape – Corpse Bride soundtrack

8) I’m a Man You Don’t Meet Everyday – The Pogues

9) Please Don’t Tease – The Donnas

10) 100 Ways – Rob Zombie




What is it?


More like, WTF is it?

What is it? is the title of a new film by Crispin Hellion Glover. This is the plot, according to Mr. Glover:

"Being the adventures of a young man whose principal interests are snails, salt, a pipe, and how to get home, as tormented by a hubristic fascist inner psyche."

The cast is largely composed of actors with Downs Syndrome. You can click here to watch the trailer.

Crispin is showing the film at a few choice venues around the country, including the Music Box here in Chicago on November 17 and 18. It's being billed as "An Evening With Crispin Hellion Glover" and includes a Q&A, the "Big Slide Show" and concludes with a screening of Werner Herzog's Even Dwarves Started Small.

I can't wait.

It's National "Character Counts" Week


It's National Character Counts week! The POTUS made a stirring proclamation declaring it so on Friday the 13th, and promptly set himself to walking the walk, and not just talking the talk. How did the POTUS do that, you might ask?

According to this piece in the Washington Post, he did it by campaigning for the man you see pictured above, Pennsylvania congressman Don Sherwood. The POTUS said Don Sherwood "has got a record of accomplishment." His most recent accomplishment was settling a $5.5 million lawsuit filed by his 30+ years younger mistress, who alleged that the congressman tried to beat and strangle her. You can read about it here, or here, or here.

So, wrapping up "Character Counts" week:

-The Foley/page scandal is still unfolding, with congressional hearings continuing

-Republican congressman Bob Ney pleads guilty (but hasn't left office yet)

-The FBI raids associates of Republican congressman Curt Weldon (also from Pennsylvania--what's the deal with that?)

-Republican congressional candidate Tan Nguyen is asked to withdraw by his own party, after his campaign got caught trying to suppress the Latino vote.

Wow.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Best search phrase yet

The wonders of Sitemeter.

This is, so far, my favorite phrase that a reader has used to find a way to the compound:

"photographs of leola mcconnell as a dominatrix"

I saw this and my first thought was, who the f*ck is Leola McConnell? My second thought was, how did that possibly lead someone to the compound?

Leola McConnell is running for governor of Nevada, as a Democrat, and claims to have been William "Book of Virtues" Bennett's personal dominatrix from 1998-2003, and I totally forgot that I wrote about her back in July.

I'm strong...I can kick...

As it turns out, Crispin was probably in character as Rubin from the (at the time, unreleased) movie Rubin and Ed. Here it is:

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Easy Way Out

That's what I'm taking by putting up this educational film instead of writing something meaningful.

Right from the start of this movie you know drugs are bad, because of all the synthesizers and bongo drums. It's very disorienting. If you take drugs, you might end up like the chicks on the red tray.

Celebrity News


Today is celebrity news day.

According to well-placed sources, Madonna and Angelina Jolie have agreed on a plan to divide up Africa's Children.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

My new favorite website

AV Geeks - Have 18,000 films. Will Travel.

These people have a massive library of educational films and PSA's. Even better, they've got about 80 of them on YouTube.


I am so happy.

Sex and drugs week at the Compound will resume shortly.

Journey to the center of Jackie Gleason's mind

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, I'd really like to see Jackie Gleason tripping on LSD, with his trip visions populated by Mickey Rooney, Groucho Marx, Peter Lawford, Caesar Romero and Carol Channing.

Well, it's your lucky day. This little gem is courtesy of Bill.

VD Attack Plan, Part II

Let's not forget syphilis, or, as VD Attack refers to it "Attack Force S"

Monday, October 16, 2006

VD Attack Plan, Part 1

So I was sitting around, belting back my last Wild Turkey of the night and celebrating the Bears win, when I had a thought. And that thought was, gee, I should put up a helpful venereal disease educational film on my blog.

And so I am.

This comes to us courtesy, once again, of Bawb the Revelator. Bawb runs the Dream City bureau here at the Compound, keeping me up to date on all things west coast. Bawb is about the smartest person I know, although his dizzying segues from psych jargon to 40's Hollywood fake Chinese hipster sometimes leave me confused.

It turns out that Disney made a venereal disease educational film back in 1973. You can read about it here. It was narrated by Keenan (Colonel Guano) Wynn, which makes it even more awesome. Enjoy:

Mmmmm...creampuffs

Ukranian baker Valentyn Shtefano made this wedding dress for his fiance. It is made of 1,500 cream puffs and weighs 20 pounds.


Somewhere, I know, there's a hillbilly version made out of Krispy Kreme donuts, or maybe even biscuits, with a sash made of bacon.

I shake you warmly by the hand

Armed thug for the rich and fabulous

That's me.

I took a break from representing the armed might of the state this past Friday night, and decided to make some extra money as a private bodyguard. My assignment: escort a model wearing about $1.25 million in jewelry to a charity event, stand by discretely for a few hours, and then escort the jewels back to a safe place. Very pleasant. I finished off the evening by driving through Logan Square and checking out the crowd my eldest was biking around Chicago with.

And, as of Saturday night, we got tickets to see the Raconteurs at the Riviera in December. Our first holiday event to look forward to!

Stay tuned this week. I have some choice freakery to lay on you all.

R.I.P. CBGB

BBC NEWS Entertainment Legendary punk club CBGB closes

Sad news today, but the spirit lives on. As Patti Smith says in this NY Times article:

"Kids, they'll find some other club," Ms. Smith insisted during her set. "You just got a place, just some crappy place, that nobody wants, and you got one guy who believes in you, and you just do your thing. And anybody can do that, anywhere in the world, any time."

Friday, October 13, 2006

Friday Random Ten (Happy Friday 13th!)

It's that time again. Set those mp3 players to random (or, like on our i-tunes, "party shuffle") and list the first ten tunes that appear. You can post the results over at American Idle. You can also find links at Just A Cool Cat, Splink, Bliss and Bile , My head is a box filled with nothing, Heavy Lift With Caution.

Here's my list for today:

1) Crossroads – Tom Waits

2) Deuces Wild – Link Wray

3) Close Range – New Order

4) Take On Me – a- Ha

5) Toxicity – System of a Down

6) Highway 61 Revisited – Bob Dylan

7) Broken Bricks – White Stripes

8) Marian – Sisters of Mercy

9) We’ll Meet Again – Johnny Cash

10) Pearly Lee – Billy Riley

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Great googly moogly, I've been tagged!

I feel like Sally Field blubbering at the Oscars now. Thanks for tagging me Dale. I am somebody!

1) Would you bungee jump?
Maybe. I know they're supposed to discourage drunks from doing stuff like that, but I might slip through the cracks.

2) If you could do anything in the world for a living what would it be?
It's a three way tie: smoke jumper, fighter pilot or celebrity chef.

3) Your favorite fictional animal?
The skunk ape.

4) One person who never fails to make you laugh?
My daughter Hannah.

5) When you were 12 years old what did you want to be when you grew up?
An actor.

6) What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?
Put my left hand on MizBubs' exquisite hip.

7) Have you ever gone to therapy?
Does choir practice count?

8) If you could have one super power what would it be?
Flying. Oh yeah, definitely flying.

9) Your favorite cartoon character?
Pepe Le Pew

10) Do you go to church?
Not as often as I should. But I mean well.

11) What is your best childhood memory?
Riding my bike to the swamp. Or listening to Tom Jones on AM radio in the kitchen, waiting for my dad to get home from work.

12) Do you think marriage is an outdated ritual?
Oh hell no. I love it. And gays ought to have it too.

13) Do you own a gun?
Yep. Several. I view one of my roles in this life to be introducing decent, pacifist-leaning leftists to the shooting sports.

14) Have you ever hit someone of the opposite sex.
Never. That would be a chickenshit thing to do.

15) Have you ever sung in front of a large group of people?
Too many times, but most notably in Leixlip, Ireland, where I performed a rousing rendition of Wreck of the Old 97 in the Wonderful Barn.

16) What is the first thing you notice about the opposite sex?
Eyes.

17) What is your biggest mistake?
Aw jeez. Ask Miz Bubs. I can't remember all of em.

18) Say something totally random about yourself.
I make stuff up.

19) Has anyone ever said that you look like a celebrity?
Yes. I got mistaken for Shane McGowan once at the Vic Theatre. My mom used to think I looked like Jerry Seinfeld, and most recently Anthony Bourdain.

20) What is the most romantic thing someone of the opposite sex has done for you?
Arrange a beautiful picnic indoors. And some stuff that happened in Las Vegas that I can't talk about because I'm a gentleman.

21) Do you actually read these when other people fill them out?
Yes, eagerly.

22) Is it wrong not to tag anyone?
I don't know. I'm still learning the etiquette.

But I'll tag MizBubs, Nora and my sister in law Kate. Kate, you need to mosey over from OD and get yourself a profile.

I got a beef with Costco

Do I ever.

I go into Costco to buy my usual supply of fresh tube socks, popcorn chicken and frozen Chinese dumplings, and what do I see?

CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS
. In October. Two weeks before Halloween even gets here. WTF? Not even a turkey planter or light-up pilgrim. Skip Thanksgiving altogether and no acknowledgement whatsoever of Halloween, other than the usual bigass bags of candy that they carry all year long anyway.

It was profoundly disturbing, and it set off a premature bout of holiday melancholy. And now I'm mad at Costco, which sucks, because those smug bastards at Costco know I'll never go to Sam's Club.

Cops slaughter rogue emu


This just in from Granite City, Illinois:

After days of menacing passing cars, a kill-crazy emu was shot to death by local police.

Illinois is facing a rising wave of emu attacks. In June, police in Carbondale were confronted by the emu version of the Terminator--a bird that fell only after being hit by 5 shotgun blasts and 3 rifle rounds.

The emu incidents aren't limited to Illinois, either. According to this piece on the Forbes website, emus have terrorized children at a school in West Virginia and have fought off attempts to subdue them with police stun guns in Wisconsin.

News from Iowa


Meet Marcy Grant.

According to this story, this cornfed dame from Davenport, Iowa, offered her 4 year old son as payment for a wedding dress. She did not attempt to barter away her 10 year old son, presumably because of the income he brings in working at the local pork mill.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Boors beware

There's a budding movement out there to document accounts of men behaving like assholes in public places like subways, parks and restaurants, and then post them on the internets, along with cellphone-snapped pictures when available.

It's about time, and I hope this idea really takes off. I'm always stunned at horrendous conduct that too many of my fellow men feel entitled to engage in. Some public shame is in order, and long overdue.

There's a new site, HollaBack CHICAGO that's loosely affiliated with a bunch of other sites doing the same thing.

Give them a visit.

Law Enforcement Quote of the Week


There's no f*cking falling over the edge with Sheriff Hoyt. He's a sexually perverted homicidal maniac.

-R. Lee Ermey, describing his role in Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning

You can read the entire interview here at RadarOnline.

Why they call it "dope"

ASU student recovers from 2-story fall

I can imagine this kid, when he's back in the dorm and he sees the prankster who sent him scurrying out a second-story window:

"Dude. That was so not cool."

Man "looking for puppy" really was

Whew. He wasn't trying to abduct little children after all. It seems a man visiting Pearland, Texas, alarmed several local residents after asking if they'd seen his lost puppy. They notified the police, who eventually located the man, and verified that he really was looking for a lost puppy. I wonder if he was dressed as a clown and driving a black van.

This story comes from my friend Dena over at Beauty Convulsion. Visit her and console her about her soggy basement, and ask about her e-bay site. She's got cool stuff.

In other news from Pearland, teenage horseplay at the high school turned ugly when one student repeatedly stabbed another with some scissors.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Bush and Foley discuss measuring


"As a matter of fact, I get a little nervous when I hear people say, well, I don't want to be measured. My attitude is, what are you trying to hide? How can you solve a problem until you measure the problem? How can you make sure a child is achieving what we all want if you don't measure early..."


--President George W. Bush, at an October 5th press conference. The above quote is taken directly from the official White House web site.

I found the photo over here at Salon.com, under this caption:

Maf54 (8:08:31 PM): Get a ruler and measure it for me

Finding the compound

I've seen Dale and Lulu write entertainingly about how people find their blogs. It sent me searching through Site Meter to see who was stumbling into the compound, and why. I was somewhat disappointed that, in spite of my best efforts to provide a cavalcade of freakery, the searches revealed by the Site Meter were pretty mundane:

"shadow of the bear" payton

KISS Tribute

sprawling ramshackle compound (which is nearly as likely to send you to Cup of Coffey, Passion of the Dale or the Armed Forces Journal)

stumbleupon

Inthewrongplaceness

This last search surprised me. I wrote about a goofy performance art piece (featuring a naked Kira O'Reilly cradling a dead pig for several hours) back on September 1st. Since then Kira must have gotten some coverage, because I got a few Canadians and Germans googling "Intthewrongplaceness."

robert friedlander, U of Miami employee

Derailed

If well-laid plans were like trains, then my plans for this weekend would be the Old 97. Wait, that’s not quite right. If weekends were like songs about trains, then this weekend would’ve been the Wreck of the Old 97. Except I wasn’t scalded to death by the steam; I only suffered minor injuries, and the nagging sense that I’m not nearly as clever or effective as I think I am when I’m drinking and making big plans. On the other hand, we are pretty adaptable, and ultimately we did get a lot of stuff done this weekend—just not anything I actually planned on getting done.

I’d been looking forward to this set of days off for a few weeks now. I envisioned these five days (Friday through Tuesday) as the perfect opportunity to get some BIG THINGS accomplished. MizBubs was starting to worry that our household was coming unglued; the clutter was piling up, and while my lovely and talented daughters were doing well in school, they were apparently losing their ability to clean up after themselves.

Between my side business and a three year losing union organizing campaign, I have generated a frightening array of clutter in the form of documents, transcripts, catalogs and publications that take up big chunks of our dining room and bedroom. Our garage needs to be cleaned out and reorganized; an organized garage would give us a place to store the little canoe that could over the winter. Our basement had reached a point where stacks of ill-defined stuff threatened to close off access to the washer and dryer.

I was going to step in, clean like a maniac and set things right. I’d start with routine stuff on Friday, transition into the big two-person jobs on Saturday and Sunday with Miz, and then finish up on Monday and Tuesday

Here was my original plan:

Friday: catch up on laundry and generally clean the house.

Saturday: Clean out the garage. Create a safe place for the little canoe that could.

Sunday: Clean out the basement.

Monday: Clean and reorganize our bedroom, including the closet.

Tuesday: Clean out and reorganize my files and shit-can anything useless.

Two things ended up affecting my grand plan: the storm that brought half a tree down in my backyard, crashing my neighbor’s fence in the process, and a 14 hour workday on Wednesday night that included a 7 hour defensive tactics/ground fighting training session.

Here’s how my plan worked out in real life:

Friday: Slept late, and then drank coffee until almost noon. Remembered that I had half a tree down in my backyard, and some in the neighbor’s yard too. Spent the rest of the day cleaning up the backyard, and then went to Homeowner Hell to buy lumber to repair the neighbor’s fence.

Saturday: Slept late. Took the whole family to a big garage sale at Maryville, and bought a funny-looking toy monster for my office. Then we went to a resale shop where long-suffering but plucky MizBubs bought herself a chest of drawers for $29. (Our laundry situation has been badly aggravated by the lack of drawer space for MizBubs. She purchased a small chest at IKEA that literally fell apart, and we’ve been looking, for months, for a replacement. I hear guys at work beefing all the time about their wives spending money, and I get lucky enough to have a bride who works her ass off and does stuff like buy old furniture and refinish it.) Got home and finished planting the front garden. Started cleaning out and reorganizing our bedroom. Then went next door and drank with the neighbor and her friends.

Sunday: Slept late. Skipped church, prayed for forgiveness. I went down to the basement to do some laundry, and made a fascinating discovery. The concrete floor all around the washer/dryer and slop sink was covered in an invisible film of detergent, rendering the floor just slippery as anything. I discovered this by stepping onto the detergent slick while carrying a basket of laundry. This caused my left foot to slide quickly forward toward the washer, while my right foot stayed in place and my upper body twisted to the right. A large metal pipe stopped my falling forward onto my face, and I was able to push back from it, using the laundry basket as a bumper. I finally stopped sliding and stood shakily upright. Well, not completely upright, because some damaged muscles in my thigh, groin and lower back would not let me. I thought maybe I put the goocher on myself by writing about the Iron Crotch. I am not an athlete, and I am not a particularly agile or flexible person. I am not suited for this type of scenario.

What I think happened is that the vibrations of the dryer caused the detergent bottle to slide off the top of the dryer and hit the floor, cracking the cap, giving the detergent time to cover a 4’x4’ area. You want good times? Try standing barefoot, groin and back throbbing, on detergent-slick concrete, and then clean it. This made me mad at the basement, so I started cleaning it. And then MizBubs charged in and started, and we got about halfway done. And then I iced myself, muttering darkly and folding laundry, gobbling ibuprofen and Wild Turkey.

But today is a new day, and today, by God, today we’re getting back on track.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Smells I like

I just started dinner a few minutes ago. I'm making a pasta recipe that I haven't made in a few years, and as I started cooking I was overwhelmed with a very pleasant smell memory. The recipe starts with olive oil and chopped onions; after the onions softened I added chopped smoked bacon and garlic. It was heavenly, and the instant I caught the aroma I wondered why I hadn't cooked it in so long. I popped open a couple of beers for me and Miz Bubs (who did a splendid job preparing the front garden and decorating for Halloween) and started thinking about my favorite smells. Smells that make me feel really good, or instantly transport me to another time or place. Tonight's smell of olive oil, onions garlic and bacon is one; a smell that holds the promise of rich meals in a warm home as the days get shorter and the nights get colder. A bunch of my favorite smells are kitchens smells.

Probably my favorite kitchen smell of all is the smell of a roux cooking--the combination of flour and oil browning in a stockpot, right at the moment when you add in chopped onions, peppers and celery. It's a perfect smell, and anyone who's ever been to New Orleans would recognize it.

Nothing beats the smell of strong coffee in the morning, or fresh bread out of the oven. Those are gimmes. Here's some of my other favorite smells:

Inis cologne, the way it smells on the small of Miz Bubs' neck.

Campfires.

The way our upstairs hallway smells after Miz Bubs gets out of the shower.

The smell of the air in the country when you first get out of your tent in the morning.

Swanky casino smell--the smell of upscale joints like the Wynn, Mandalay Bay or the Mirage. It's a wonderful combination of scented air (usually in some vaguely tropical scent redolent of coconut and vanilla) combined with cigarette smoke and hundreds of visitor's colognes and perfumes.

The French Quarter. A riot of the best cooking smells in the world, with a nagging undertone of stale booze and garbage.

Hickory-smoked pork barbecue.

The smell from the Blommer Chocolate plant in Chicago, at least before the pencil necks at the EPA started picking on them. You could smell the cocoa for blocks around in the River North neighborhood.

The smell of an outdoor shooting range.

Peat fires. Especially the smell of a peat fire in an Irish pub.

That's it for now.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Saturday morning coffee


OK, first thing I gotta say is, I LOVE MY CHAINSAW! THE CHAINSAW IS THE BEST, MOST ROCKIN-EST TOOL EVER INVENTED BY HUMANKIND! WOOOOOOOOO, YEAH!

Whew. Alright then.

I spent Friday out in the yard, actually yards, ours and our neighbor's, cleaning up the aftermath of the storm. Our tree busted up a couple section's of the neighbor's wood fence, and left a lot of debris in her backyard. Where she's having a party tonight to celebrate her birthday. Lucky for us, she's really nice.

Anyway, I got to do some raking and tied bundles of branches to leave out by the curb. But that was not the main point of cleaning up. The main point of cleaning up was to use my chainsaw, a Poulan Pro Model PP4218AV . And while I didn't have as much manly chainsaw fun as I wanted, it was still a good time. So listen up, any a you need a guy with a chainsaw to cut some stuff up, I'm your man.

This was supposed to be the big clean-out-the-basement, clean-out-the-garage weekend, but thanks to tree removal today is going to be the finish-the-fall-yardwork day. We still have about 150 unplanted bulbs, and a couple trays of prairie grasses. We'll move on to the basement tomorrow, and it looks like the garage will have to wait.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Friday Random Ten

I just heard about this over at Passion of the Dale and it sounded kinda neat. You can also find links at Just A Cool Cat, Splink, Bliss and Bile , My head is a box filled with nothing, Heavy Lift With Caution , and American Idle.

The idea is to set whatever music player you use to random, and list the first ten tracks. Here's mine:

1) Float On- Modest Mouse
2) Just Can't Get Enough- Nouvelle Vague
3) Peepin' Eyes- Charlie Feathers
4) Diddle My Skittle- Peaches
5) Money- The Flying Lizards
6) Nobody's Guy- The Recalls
7) Straight A's- The Dead Kennedys
8) Get Hot or Go Home- John Kerby
9) True Faith- New Order
10)Lucky & Wild- Josie Kreuzer

I can't take credit for Modest Mouse or Peaches, that's youngest and eldest daughter, respectively. And while I like New Order and love the DK's, it was eldest who loaded those into i-tunes.

Happy birthday, Cream of Wheat

This is from Tom Fitzmorris' New Orleans Menu Daily:

Food In History: Cream of Wheat was introduced today in 1893. It was a desperate effort to save a near-bankrupt flour mill in Grand Forks, North Dakota, during the financial panic of that year. Thomas Amidon, the head miller, used the "middlings"--the prime part of wheat grains, also called farina--to make a hot cereal that could be packaged dry and sold in stores. The owners of the mill sent a sample of it to their broker in New York. The broker famously responded, "Never mind shipping us any more of your flour, but send a car of your 'Cream of Wheat'." The original logo, cartoonish black cook, was used because the printer of the label found it in a pile of old plates in his plant. Cream of Wheat is a bigger deal elsewhere than in New Orleans, where we're more likely to fill that space on the menu with grits.

Election Day is almost here



Keep this picture in mind when you head to the polls on Tuesday, November 7th. A political hack, a liar and an online predator:

Mike "you're doing a heck of a job, Brownie" Brown, FEMA director during Hurricane Katrina,

President Bush,

and disgraced Republican Congressman and cybersex enthusiast Mark Foley.

This is an Associated Press file photo from 2004, when this trio was visiting Punta Gorda in the aftermath of Hurricane Charlie.

Good morning. Let's get busy and waste some time


My eldest just told me about a nifty little device that she's installed on our browser. It's called the StumbleUpon button, and it's available if you use Firefox as your browser. You can set it with different keywords or interests, and it allows you to "stumble" onto various random sites. I like the setting under "Society" labeled "bizarre/oddities." If you're on a page that you enjoy, and you hit the Stumble Upon button, it bounces you to a similar page.

I found a tee shirt bearing an image of a weird monkey-baby wearing a fez.

I found a fun game you can play with refrigerator magnets.

My favorite so far is Mr. Picassohead. Create your own masterpiece in the style of Picasso! You can see my new masterpiece, "Sad Elvis" by clicking this link.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

IRON CROTCH


This seems like a natural follow-up to yesterday's post. All those years of watching kung-fu movies, and I never learned about the excrutiating "IRON CROTCH" school. This passage is from the official website of Grandmaster Tu Jin-Sheng:

Iron Crotch is the most talked about ancient Chinese practice! Called Jiu Jiu Shen Gong (99 Power Practice) this ancient skill unleashes your untapped potential and allows you to achieve your peak performance! Grandmaster Tu's students have lifted hundreds of pounds with their privates...
You can also read this fascinating article in KungFu Magazine. Evidently the Grandmaster doesn't want to appear totally phallocentric, so he offers this for the gals:

"There is a different method for women. Women can also hang a hundred pounds from their private parts. An egg-shaped piece of jade with a dangling cord is inserted inside them. Not many practice this. I only teach it to couples, not to single women. Actually, there was a lot of opposition in Taiwan for me to teach these skills at all. It was viewed as a skill for prostitutes. Now, thanks to the more open minds of modern science and medicine, people don’t look at me like a criminal for teaching these skills."

A big thank you to my friend Bawb the Revelator, who, if he had a blog, would have the best, smartest and most twisted blog in the world. But he doesn't, so I just have to wait to receive little gems like this in my email.


Wednesday, October 04, 2006

This comes as no surprise to me

Too much testosterone can kill brain cells.

Yer darn tootin.

I got this in an email titled "Can too much testosterone make you dumb?" I asked Miz Bubs what she thought; she paused a moment or two and replied "I really shouldn't even respond to that." What do you think she meant?

Avatar Crisis









I'm sick of looking at my own face, and I'm thinking I need a new avatar. I've already tried out Senor Diablo and Tiki, and I've been thinking of some likely cartoon characters: Wile E Coyote, Foghorn Leghorn, Underdog come to mind, depending on how things are going for me at the moment. These are a few of the avatars I'm considering. Please bear with me while I try em out.

Any other ideas, I'm open to suggestion.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Hypnotizing lizards

Hypnotize lizards and dress them up in little outfits. Yes.

My shopping cart

I've got half a tree down in my backyard, part of which destroyed my neighbor's fence. I was in the backyard surveying the damage with the neighbor when eldest daughter announced, as she stood under the dangling limb that hadn't fallen yet, oblivious to my shouted warning, that she'd locked her keys in the car. Which was parked in the middle of the driveway, blocking it, engine running. Could I help her?

I used to be good with a slim jim, back in the day. Now it's all electronic locks, and I haven't gotten into a locked car in about 6 years. And I didn't get into this one, either. Then I talked to my homeowners insurance, they won't pay for anything since there's no damage to the house. I was able to get hold of a friend who said he could get into the car, and told eldest daughter to wait. Then I took off to Costco to buy a chainsaw, cursing and muttering like Popeye on a Tijuana bender.

Once I got to Costco and started shopping I remembered that I needed to pick up a few groceries while I was there. I looked down into my cart, and here's what it contained:

-A chainsaw

-A double pack of blue 12x16 poly tarps

-A case of beer

Holy shit, I thought, all that's missing is a ski mask and some duct tape. I better get some food in there. So what's the first food I grabbed? Catfish. Great, I have a shopping cart with a chainsaw, tarps, beer and catfish. Too bad Costco doesn't sell shotgun ammo or blasting caps.

Anyway, I finished shopping, I think I've got a tree guy to take down the remaining maple tree, and we got into eldest daughter's car before it ran out of gas. Now I just have to get ready for those high winds and "damaging hail" that the weather folks are promising for tonight.

Law Enforcement Quote of the Week

"That's all the bullets we had, or we would have shot him more."

-Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, explaining why officers shot cop-killer Angilo Freeland 68 times. Here's the story in the Orlando Sentinel.

Angilo Freeland shot a deputy during a traffic stop, and then killed Deputy Matt Williams execution-style after first killing Williams' canine partner. Here's the link to Deputy Williams' memorial page.

It was a dark and stormy night



I love a good cliche. The thing is, it was a dark and stormy night last night. The power stayed on, but the cable--the TV, internet and telephone--went out around 9. And the pictures you see to the right are what the back yard looks like this morning.

We're lucky the tree came down and smashed the neighbor's fence, and not the roof of our house. And our cable service came back on this morning, even though the cable itself is still on the ground, so at least we have contact with the outside world.

Maybe this will be the excuse to buy that honkin' chainsaw I've always wanted. Groovy.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Your most important meal of the day


No, it's not happy hour. It's breakfast! Bacon, eggs fried in bacon grease, grits (NOT the instant kind, real grits) some hot sauce, strong coffee and toast made from homemade bread. Mmm, mmm.

Now the de-whitetrashification of the front yard continues. We have trees, prairie grasses, native flowers and 300 bulbs to plant.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

A Cup of Coffey: The Little Miss Sunshine Online Pageant Is Here!

A Cup of Coffey: The Little Miss Sunshine Online Pageant Is Here!

Listen up readers, do yourselves a favor and click on that link. Beth has hosted this pageant, which (as of 7:20pm CST) has 29 entrants.

You know what? There's not an ugly kid in the bunch. Each one captures some perfect moment in each kid's life. Even if it's the moment with the regrettable haircut, missing teeth, thick glasses or whatever. It's safe to say that it's part of the human condition: every single one of us, except for the sociopaths, thinks we were uglier, dorkier, clumsier and more of a misfit than we probably ever really were.

Communion Girl


This is Miz Bubs at her first communion. Note the ubiquitous 70's panelling.

She was too shy to say anything about herself, so I'll just say I think she's adorable. This is her official entry in the first annual Little Miss Sunshine Online Pageant.

NOTE: I just learned that this photo was not taken in a rec room or basement as I'd originally thought. No. It was taken in the "party" room of a Swedish smorgasbord restaurant somewhere in Chicago's north suburbs after the service at OLPH in Glenview.

3rd grade


Dig my suede vest. I was very groovy. And studious.

This is my entry for the first annual Little Miss Sunshine Online Pageant. You can check out the links to all the other entrants there. Beth has graciously offered to host the pageant, co-sponsored by Dale.