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  #65: Pissing in the Middle
  #78: Losing My Faith
  #85: Goodbye, Teeth
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  #98: Nothing But Putrid
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Charlie/Male/31-35. Lives in United States/Massachusetts/Watertown, speaks English. Eye color is hazel.
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Where the Hell Was I? has moved!

Please visit my new home at:
http://www.wherethehellwasi.com

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Saturday, August 09, 2003
 
Fenway -- It's No Walk in the Park, You Know

Oh beautiful, for spacious skies, for amber waves of blog...

My wife and I are going to a baseball game tomorrow. I'll try not to bore you with the details of who the Red Sox are playing, and the importance of the game, and our left-handed hitters' batting average in day games at home when the temperature is under eighty degrees. You know, just in case you're one of those sorry, uninspired sorts of folks who think that baseball games are 'boring' or 'long' or 'a good nap spoiled'. What those people are thinking, I'll never know. Baseball's got drama, beer, intrigue, peanuts, subtlety, hot dogs, nuance, beer, strategy, suntanning, action, and beer. Did I mention beer? Sure, they're eight dollar beers, but when else do you drink with thirty thousand of your closest friends and neighbors on a Sunday afternoon? Really, unless you're getting invited to the Kennedy cookouts at the Vineyard, then never. And I'm not invited. Most decidedly not.

(And even the posh Kennedy events have a downside, of course. Think about it -- anything hosted by a family with even one politico in the bunch is going to be a fundraiser. Parties, galas, debutante balls, bar mitzvahs, christenings, pet burials -- you name it, you gotta pay to be there. And the Kennedys -- well, just about every damned one of them's in 'the business'. So, their bashes cost some serious scratch to attend. Which means, of course, that if you want to get your cash-per-drink ratio under eight dollars a beer, then you've got to pull out all the stops at these things. You've got to booze early, often, and in between. (Not to mention stuff some shrimp and toast points in your pockets to recoup some of your dough.) Why do you think Ted Kennedy got to be such a booze hound? It's not his fault; he was just being polite and trying to keep up with his party guests all those years. Who can really blame him?)

And so, my beering and cheering is done at Fenway Park. For those of you unfamiliar with the structure, it's a baseball shrine. A Mecca, if you will. Fenway and Wrigley in Chicago are the elder statesmen of baseball parks, and I've had the good fortune to attend games at both. Having done so, I can tell you that the stadium in ChiTown is in much better shape, I'm afraid. Oh, Fenway's fine -- it's not going to crumble any time soon, or start dropping rafters on patrons' heads; I'm sure it's in superb structural condition. But, frankly, it's not the best place in the world in which to watch a game. I'll give you a few reasons why:

1.) Size / cost

Okay, so that's two reasons in one, I suppose, but they're closely related. Fenway Park is built on this tiny little piece of land, roughly the size of a living room. Or a large Toyota, maybe. Even when it was built, it's dimensions were relatively small, so they compensated by building an enormous hulking wall in left field. The thought was that if they couldn't put the fence any further back, at least they could make it forty feet tall, so it would still be just as hard to hit a ball over it. It's sort of the 'it doesn't have to be long, as long as it's plenty thick' argument. Um, I mean 'tall'. Did I say 'thick'? Sorry. That's a completely different argument altogether.

So, anyway, because the stadium's not very big, and because there are busy streets on each side of it, Fenway has a rather limited capacity, and little hope for expansion. Officially, the park holds 34,218 people, which I'm pretty sure is lowest in the major leagues. (That's capacity, boys and girls. The Expos may not actually see 35,000 fans in a year, but if they all showed up on the same day, their park would hold 'em all, and then some.) Correspondingly, the ticket prices and concession costs at Fenway Park are the highest in all of baseball, and have been for several years. Less asses in the grandstands means more gouging at the hot dog stands, you see. It's supply and demand, I'm afraid, not to mention a bit of the greed that comes from having a captive audience for your half-cooked tepid weiners. (That's the hot dogs, folks, not the team. I'm afraid I can't really speak personally about the weiners on the team, though some of my female friends assure me that several of them are sizzling hot and still smoking. But you'd have to ask them just what the hell that means.)

2.) Sight lines

Or rather, lack thereof. In most modern parks, the upper stadium decks are fastened at the back, and jut out over the lower decks without the aid of any further concrete or steel. Fenway, of course, was built way back before concrete and steel were quite as strong (though several years after my house was built, which often keeps me awake at night). So the upper deck at Fenway is held up by steel beams that sit among the aisles in the lower deck. These supports are great for the folks in the upper tier, because they keep those people from plummeting several dozen feet onto the lower deck and quite possibly falling to their grisly, untimely deaths. So, that's nice for them. However, for the people in the rear thirty or so rows of the lower deck -- in other words, the only affordable seats in the whole building -- these beams represent a veritable visual obstacle course that must be run continuously throughout the game. Want to see home plate? Lean to the left. The pitcher's mound? Lean to the right. How about the Jumbotron scoreboard? Scootch down in your seat, lean forward, and crane your neck sideways. If you're lucky, you may just be able to glimpse the number of outs in the inning. Or the current batter's neck, in his mug shot on the screen. And that's if you're lucky. If you're less fortunate, you'll get nothing more than a stiff neck and nice whiff of the ass of the person sitting in front of you. And is that really worth it for the trouble?

3.) Convenience

Okay, so this is a bit of a sore spot for me. In general, Fenway Park is not convenient to get to. There's a tiny parking structure under the stadium, and I know exactly zero people who have actually used it. None. Maybe it's just for the players and wives; I really don't know. There are a couple of exorbitantly-priced parking lots nearby, where you can park for roughly the same amount you paid for your car three years ago, but those are usually full, as well, and therefore of little use.

If you live close enough to Boston, you can use the subway to get to the stadium. Which sounds like a good idea, of course. Save the environment, convenient and safe, et cetera. And if you're smart about it, it can be a useful way to get to the game. But if you're smart about it, you'll hit the subway station approximately seven hours before the game is actually scheduled to begin. Any later than that, and the three stops on either side of Kenmore Station -- where Fenway Park is located -- will be packed full of angry, sweaty, drunken, farty people trying to catch the same train to the same place you're going. And they'll all -- and I do mean all -- be quite happy to hop onto the train with you, and ride it the rest of the way like a bunch of coed tools who've stuffed themselves into a phone booth.

(Or a Volkswagen Beetle, which for some reason is the moron-stuffing-into car of choice the world over. They should use that in their ad campaigns. 'If you think breaking your fricking femur and ramming the stick shift up your ass while sixteen of your friends pile on top of you in our car is fun... just wait until your leg heals well enough to drive it!' Jackasses.)

Ok, where was I? Oh, convenience. Right.

So, generally, the options for getting to Fenway are not good. Nor are they any better for getting out of Fenway. The subways are just as crowded, not to mention drunker (and therefore fartier), the parking lots are jam-packed, and the surrounding streets are gridlocked. Honestly, I'd say that it's best to just duck into a nearby bar and wait an hour or two, but then again, you wouldn't think I'm the only one to have that idea, now would you? No. No, everyone and their flighty old grandmama does the same, so you can't get a beer within six blocks of the stadium without fighting through a sea of humanity -- and grannies -- to get your order in. And sitting down to enjoy your hard-won hops? Fuggedaboutit. So, for most people, the 'Fenway Experience' has its pitfalls.

Which is why it's a sore spot for me, personally. See, until we bought our house a few months ago, my wife and I could walk to Fenway Park. That's right, walk. Hoof it the hell there, and mosey the hell home. It wasn't down the block, mind you -- it was probably close to a mile's travel. But it was doable, and it beat the hell out of the other options I just laid forth. We went to six or eight games a year, and nearly always did it with our own two feet. Sure, we had to sidestep the pikers and pukers and such within a block or so of the park each way, but walking is the way to go. It was beautiful. And not only that, but our route back home took us past several bars outside the Fenway Zone, so we actually could sit down with a Guinness to celebrate the victory or curse the loss. The places would fill up around us, as the rest of Red Sox Nation poured forth, but we'd already have our spots at the bar, and drinks in our hands, so what did we care? (And does that tell you anything about the subway after a game that we were able to walk eight blocks or so to the bar before the first trainload of people caught up to us? You so don't want to go there. Trust me.)

So, that's Fenway for you. This is our first trip back since the move, and I think we're going to mimic our old system. We'll drive over to our old neighborhood -- though hopefully a bit closer -- and walk the rest of the way there. It really is the only way. And I think our seats this time are close to the field, so we won't have to worry about doing neck aerobics in order to see what the hell's happening on the field. And hey, come to think of it, the tickets were free, thanks to my friend Mike's most gracious generosity (thanks, Mike -- I owe you a beer!). So other than the eight dollar beers and the twelve-fifty hot dogs, we're in the clear money-wise, too. It'll be like a real game, in a real park. Yay!

And that's as good as it can get with Fenway Park, I'm afraid. Don't get me wrong; it really is a treasure. There's history there, and legend, too. Triumph and heartbreak and wondrous feats. I feel really lucky to have watched baseball there. It's just that... now that I have, I think it might be time for a change. They should keep Fenway, of course -- maybe make it a museum, or a theme park of some kind. That sort of thing. But when it comes to actually playing baseball in this overpriced postage stamp of a park? Well, it's quaint and all, but I'm afraid that I'd really prefer being able to see the field, and put my beer in a cupholder, and sit in a chair that's actually wider than my ass, if only slightly. Call me crazy, but I think it's time to drag Boston baseball screaming into the 1980's, at least, and build a place with some modern amenities. Just make sure that you make time to see Fenway before they mothball it, though -- it really is magical the first time around.

Oh, and by the way, as you're building the new stadium, I have a teeny request. If it's not too much trouble, could you plop it down somewhere in Watertown, or really close by? You know, somewhere we can walk to. I really miss that. As long as it's no problem for you, you understand. I'd be ever so grateful. Thanks.




Friday, August 08, 2003
 
If Fingers Were Wishes, I'd Still Find a Way to Screw Myself

If at first you don't succeed, blog, blog again.

I often wonder what I'd do with a monkey's paw.

Okay, maybe I should rephrase that.

I often run out of real material for this blog, and am forced to think up ridiculous crap to talk about. Today, The Monkey's Paw popped into my head, probably because earlier this week I saw a rerun of the the Simpsons Halloween special with an adaptation of the story. And so here we are.

(See, there are times when 'truth in advertising' really just isn't worth the effort. Bleh.)

So, anyway, if you haven't read the story, well, I've just linked to it three frickin' times, so get crackin', Bobo. It's not very long, and it's a pretty cool story, so have a read. I'll still be here when you get back. Really, what better have I got to do than sit around waiting for you people? (Don't answer that. It's depressing.)

<!-- time passes while you read the story... -->

<!-- more time passes... hurry up, would you? Just because I have all day to spend sitting here waiting doesn't mean I want to! -->

So, I'm sure that all of you took the hint, and actually read the story. No, I'm positive, really. But just in case you're a stubborn cuss, or you aren't much in the reading comprehension department (and really, if you're reading my crap, who could be expected to understand it?), I'll quickly summarize for you:

Creepy military guy drops off mummified monkey's paw at old friend's house. He tells his friend that the paw can grant three wishes, but warns him not to use it. And leaves it with him, anyway. Of course. So, the friend wishes for money, at his son's suggestion. Unspeakable horrors unsue. The end.

The moral of the story: Don't screw around with fate, or you'll get bitch-slapped into next week. Metaphorically, that is.

Still, if you read the story, you can't help but wonder what you'd do if you were in the guy's place. He really wasn't greedy, even, and he still got smacked down. Rather forcefully, at that. But the old military coot got his wishes out of it, and he seemed to come out of it okay. So maybe it's possible to finagle the wording just right, and get the good stuff without any hair-raising repercussions. (For the record, Homer almost got a perfect turkey sandwich. But the meat was a little dry. 'A little dry! ... What demon from the depths of hell created thee?!')

But I think I'd be a chicken, rather than a turkey, in this case. Given the legends, I think I'd be too scared to try my hand at the paw. If this story and the old genie-in-the-lamp legends have taught us norhing else, it's that you can't make a wish without loopholes. These magical wishbringers are the sleazy lawyers of the fairy tale world. Forget one phrase, and you get crushed under the mountain of cash that you wanted. Slip up on the wording, and you're a movie star, all right. In zombie flicks, sans makeup. A disfigured -- though rich and famous -- freak of nature.

You've got to be careful, too -- the punishment doesn't always fit the 'crime' in these cases. In the story, the poor sap just wants to pay off his mortgage, and ends up with a mangled son. Now, my situation's a little different, of course. For one thing, I don't have a kid to worry about. On the other hand, though, you could run a small country with the money I owe on my mortgage, so I'd have to ask for a lot more cash. And therefore more trouble. Probably not worth the risk.

I could ask for something really small, I suppose, but I've got to imagine that the paw would be a couple of steps ahead. It's been at this game for a lot longer, after all. For instance, I could wish that my dog's head would stop smelling like a skunk's ass. Seems simple, doesn't it? And reasonable, too, I would think. But the paw would find a way to make it worse, of course. Instead of polecat juice, her head would get funkier somehow. Maybe it'd start smelling like Tom Arnold's dirty undies. Or New Jersey. Something vile like that.

So, I could see that in advance, right? I could wish for her head to smell better than it does now, or even good. So, then, of course, she'd become a damned neighborhood air freshener, scented with so much lilac or lemon or vanilla that you could sniff her from the next county. Think it would work to wish her head to smell 'like it used to, before she got skunked'? Nah. I'd wind up with a dog scented with canine fetus head. Or some-other-dog's-ass scent. Really, I'm not sure it's worth the hypothetical effort.

I guess I'll just continue to trudge along, doing the best I can with a spirit-crushing mortgage and a stanky-nosed dog. What choice do I have? And if someone offers me wishes, I'll just say, 'No, thanks!' and bid them a hearty 'Good day, sir!' I know when I'm being set up. I can get into plenty of trouble as it is, without any paranormal muckety-muck further screwing up my life.

So, that's that. Don't any of you freaks out there be sending me any monkey's paws, all right? Or, for that matter, any other dismembered animal parts. Unless it's cow-derived and has Omaha Steaks stamped on the package.

No, that doesn't mean written in crayon by you, either. It means from the real Omaha Steaks place.

No, no, don't have them put dismembered cow snouts or horns or bull testicles in there, either. That's not what I meant.

Dammit, no, don't send me steaks that you've ordered, and then had sitting out for a month. Gross!

All right, just forget it. Bunch of loophole-crazed assholes. I swear to God, you people are worse than that damned paw!




Thursday, August 07, 2003
 
Read One, Get Three Free!

When a blogger meets a blogger, comin' through the rye.

Hey, kids. I'm in a particularly skittish mood today, so I think I'll regale you this time with a short series of mini-posts. Here goes:


Arnold Schwarzenegger and Gary Coleman are running for Governor of California. Did I hear this right? And what color pill do I have to take to go back to my 'normal' world? This is like a friggin' Simpsons episode. I fully expect to see Apu next time I go to the store, hawking Squishies and deadpanning, 'Thank you. Come again.'

Put me back in the matrix, goddamnit!


So, TiVo.

Those of you who've previously visited this here asylum may know that I'm getting TiVo. As a matter of fact, it was installed yesterday.

Only, it wasn't.

Oh, it was scheduled to be hooked up yesterday, but the DirecTV dude couldn't find the house. Which means he can't read a friggin' map, because we don't live at the end of some unmarked street. This isn't the cul-de-sac on Lost Souls Lane, here, folks. It's dreadfully easy to find our house. A child could navigate its way to our door, and what's more, the last DirecTV guy had no problem in getting here.

So, obviously, the bumblefuck wasn't trying very hard. (Oh, and if you happen to be the local DirecTV installer, and you're reading this, please know that I mean 'bumblefuck' in the nicest way possible. Really. It's still not good, ya lousy non-navigating asswipe, but it's as nice as 'bumblefuck' can be.)

Oh, and then the guy had the wrong number for us, so when he called, he got a big bunch of not-me. And so now I have a big bunch of not-installed TiVo. And I'm back in the queue, and rescheduled for Monday. I gave them the nearest cross street and the right phone number, so I can't decide what the hell's going to stop him on Monday, but I'm sure he'll think of something. He'll probably get struck by lightning on the way over, or have a heart attack, or something. Inconsiderate jackass.


I got two pieces of mail from the state of Massachusetts today. Well, not directly from the state itself, but you know what I mean. Massachusetts -- or L'il Mass, as she likes to be called -- and I don't really communicate directly that much any more, you see, what with the restraning order she took out after our recent unpleasantness. (I swear, there really was a big giant bug on her shirt. Really! I was just trying to brush it off. Mass, if you're out there, call me, would you? I know we can work this out. Vermont believes me, and so does Rhode Island. Listen to your friends!)

Okay, I don't know what the hell that was. You should probably just ignore that last part.

So, anyway, I got two letters from the state government today, both related to my current unemployedness. The first was a 'Benefit Determination' document. Apparently, the purpose of it is to show me how much money I've made in each of the past four quarters, and how much -- or little, rather -- I'll receive from the gub'ment until I find a job. Fine.

But in looking at the amount I earned in the past year, I noticed something freaky. Now, I don't want to embarrass myself by telling you just how little money that I've been willing to work for, so let's just call what I made in the first quarter '100'. Arbitrary number, no significance, okay? Now, you'd expect the numbers for the other three quarters to be 100 as well, wouldn't you? Or maybe just a little more, if I'd gotten a raise in there somewhere. Right? Right. Here's approximately what the record showed:

3rd Quarter 2002: 100
4th Quarter 2002: 80
1st Quarter 2003: 115
2nd Quarter 2003: 85

Now, I ask you: What the fuck?!

I know we only got raises once a year, and no cash bonus to speak of. I also know that my actual earnings check-to-check didn't ping-pong around like the freakin' Dow Jones average. Additionally, I know that I got paid every two weeks, like clockwork, and that I wasn't laid off until the third quarter of 2003. So any blips that may have occurred as a result of my departure shouldn't be on this document at all.

So again, I posit: What the fuck?!

I can only conclude that the braintrust of the State of Massachusetts, or perhaps the pencil-pushers at my old company, are horribly mistaken somewhere along the line. I only hope that when they make their next error -- and, apparently, they will -- that it's in my favor, is absolutely fucking enormous, and that I can convert it to unmarked bills in a foreign account before they can detect the miscalculation.

So if I post a message here to come see my new blog with a Jamaican domain, you'll know what happened. Or, more likely, if I have to start writing from the Northeastern US Penal System network, then you'll know that they were quicker than I thought in tracking me down. Oh sure, that they'd actually be good at! Bastards.


So, the other piece of mail that I got from our fine feather-brained friends in the Massachusetts government was my very first unemployment check. Which is, of course, a Good Thing™, as it's just that much more beer money that I have to entertain myself with. But even here, there's a slight issue. I'm not actually sure that I'll be able to cash said check. Let me tell you why; I'm sure you're dying to know.

There's a very thin green bar along the top of the check. Inside the bar, in dark green lettering (I know, green on green; who are these people?) is written:

THIS MULTI-TONE AREA OF THE DOCUMENT CHANGES COLOR GRADUALLY AND EVENLY FROM DARK TO LIGHT WITH DARKER AREAS BOTH TOP AND BOTTOM.

Now, first of all, that's a friggin' mouthful. And you know that the state shelled out many thousands of dollars to fund a study and a panel of experts to get the wording just right, when a much simpler statement would have sufficed. Something like, I don't know, maybe:

FANCY-ASS PATTERN FADES TOWARD THE MIDDLE

But that's not the real problem I have with the check. That's just semantics, or grammar, or governmental gobbledygook double-speak. If they want to say 'changes color gradually and evenly from dark to light with darker areas both top and bottom,' then that's fine. I can live with that.

No, the real problem is that it doesn't. Which is to say, the 'multi-tone area of the document,' as far as I can tell, just frickin' sits there being multit-tone, and makes not even the merest hint of an attempt to 'change color,' gradually, evenly, or otherwise.

What's more, in the few esoteric sets of conditions I can contrive to try to convince myself that maybe the color changes just a bit, it's crystal clear that the color is not darker 'both top and bottom'. If the color does anything -- and I mean anything, using a black-bulbed flashlight at dusk, or backlighting it with a UV heat lamp at one hundred percent humidity, in a desperate attempt to see something -- then it fades from darker to lighter, top to bottom. End of story. No dark area on the bottom. No obvious effect whatsoever. And, most likely, no money and a hefty jail term for me when I try to cash it in. Bitches!

These are the people running our state government? The same ones who can't print out a check to meet the nonsensically verbose description they've invented for it? Fan-fucking-tastic. Ooh, ooh. Can I please pay more taxes now? Oh, pretty please?


So, that's it for me today. I hope you've enjoyed it. In other blog news of note, the 100 Things About Me are coming along, slowly but surely. I'm almost one-quarter done with writing the mini-posts to accompany each thing. I only hope they make more sense than the blenderized crap above. Until next time, as my Venezuelan amigos like to say: 'Vaya con blogos'

Ay, chihuahua!




Wednesday, August 06, 2003
 
You Better Laugh, Bee-yatch, Or I'll Sit On Yo' Head!

If you read it more than twice, you're just playing with it.

Man, I needed that. It's been a long time since a stand-up comedian has reduced me to snorty giggles. Too long.

And, no, kiddies, I'm not talking about last night's Last Comic Standing finale. Not by half.

(Oh, what the hell, though, as long as I'm already here. Here's my two cents on the whole affair:

For one thing, two hours to whittle five morons down to one is not necessary. Shuffle the loser bitches out the door and get it over with, already!

For another, 'Slick' Jay Mohr is neither as funny, nor as cool, as he seems to think he is. Especially as cool as he seems to think he is in this picture. Dude, that's a giraffe on your arm. You ain't no hog rider. Get over it.

Oh, and back to the un-funny bit -- that monologue joke about Braille on the drivethrough ATMs? Jay, please. How old is that joke? I think I heard Bill Cosby doing that material when I was, oh, I don't know, in the frickin' womb. Find some original material, Slick.

As for the contestants, I'm not gonna go through 'em all, and bitch and pick about every little thing. They did a fine job of that themselves, in the process of making the show nearly unwatchable. 'Ooh! A show about standups! I thought three months ago. 'They'll be doing their acts and being funny, and it'll be a laugh riot!' (Yes, I actually thought the words 'laugh riot'. So sue me, okay, asswipe?

Anyway, when it devolved into a series of pissing contests, I lost interest. I tried to catch the final -- read: funny -- ten minutes of each show, but often forgot, or got distracted by shiny objects, and missed several of the shows altogether. In short, I was highly disappointed that it was more 'reality show' than 'funny people making me laugh'. There's way too much of the former, and not nearly enough of the latter, on television as it is.

So, I'll only say these two things. First, it wouldn't surprise me if the cowboy dude shaved his head for the reunion show and said that he'd had a relapse just to mindfuck the other people on stage. He was the first one booted, not well-liked at all, and wouldn't play any of their reindeer games at the house. He seemed to still be stinging over it a bit, and I wouldn't be shocked if he was getting in one last vicious jab. Or maybe he really is taking chemo. If so, then best of luck to you, dude. What the fuck do I know?

Secondly, I was a bit surprised that Dat Phan won the thing, 'largely' (heh, you'll get it in just a second) beause of who he was up against. (See, wasn't that funny? Largely. Whee.) Namely, Ralphie 'Two Tons o' Fun' May. I think the general feeling is that Dat got the 'sympathy vote', since Ralphie and the other goons were apparently pretty much dicks to him from day one. And, to his credit, DP played the 'why is everybody always picking on me?' and 'look at me, I'm a funny foreigner!' cards pretty much to perfection.

But I think the contest was Marshmallow May's to lose, and he did so with a gross miscalculation. See, fat people are funny. They just are. Scientific studies have proven it. John Candy's career verifies it, and the success of those lame-ass Nutty Professor movies seals the deal. So Ralphie had an immediate advantage -- as soon as he went waddling up toward the stage, the audience would giggle. Who needs an opening act to soften up the crowd when you're your own walking whoopee cushion?

But Rotund Ralph took the wrong angle. He went from funny fat white boy from 'da hood' to heart-attack-waiting-to-happen angry obese dude ranting about war and oil and the price of gas. I think he was fishing for the 'pissed-off proud flag-wavers' vote, but he got it all wrong. What our poor bumpkin Butterball failed to realize is this important distinction:

Fast-talkin' fattie in gangsta clothes telling jokes about food == funny

Foamin'-at-the-mouth big fella working himself into an angry lather == downright scary

People want to laugh at these events, but they won't think it's very funny if there's a big cheeseburger-totin' behemoth who's gonna sit on them and squash them into next week. That's why Belushi and Farley and their ilk were smart enough to do movies, or at least SNL, where the audience is safely tucked away up in the rafters. Angry fat guys don't typically do standup. It scares the children, not to mention everyone in the first three rows near the stage. You want a fat guy who does standup? I give you Louie Anderson. (Take him, please!) He's not funny, but he's not threatening, either. He sticks to his whines and his lame jokes about McDonalds, and so he's tolerated on stage.

So, really, when you think about it, Big Ralphie made the right choice. He frightened some folks, and sneered just enough throughout the show to hand the grand prize to Dat Phan. Fine. Second place is no picnic, but it beats the screaming hell out of being known as the next 'Louie Anderson'. By a mile.)

All right, what was I talking about? Oh, right, an actual funny comedian on television. Right.

So, I'm talking about Lewis Black. And honestly, I don't know why I think he's so funny. I mean, he's funny, but I don't usually laugh out loud at the television, unless I'm watching that dumbass Christian Science channel.

('No, no, carbon dating is wrong, and evil, and the Earth is not billions of years old. It's only six thousand years old, and this here divining rod proves it. Let's watch...'

Fucking deluded dickwipes. 'Christian Science' is an oxymoron to begin with, people. You have faith, or you don't. You objectively analyze the world around you, or you don't. Is it so fucking difficult to realize that the two are mutually exclusive?)

Anyway, if you described Lewis Black to me, I'd say that he's a bit too political for my tastes, and a tad old for me to relate to very well, and that all the hand-waving and jerking around he does is probably a gimmick he uses because his material's not that good. So, I won't try describing him to you. Apparently, something gets lost in the translation. Meanwhile, I've seen two of his Comedy Central shows, and have found myself rolling on the floor holding my sides both times. I don't know why, exactly, but I have. I can't explain it.

So, now I'm checking out his tour dates, and I see that he'll be in Boston in October with Dave Attell. I'm not an enormous fan of that Insomniac show, other than the fact that it seems to encourage women to show off their boobs, but Dave seems like he might be okay on stage. He's got a certain streety, warped fucked-upness that might translate well to standup, so I think I'll give it a try. And Black can only be funnier in person. Comics always are. (Hey, even I'm funny in person. Occasionally.) So that'll be fun. I just hope Attell doesn't get all snarly and decide to jump off the stage. He's kind of a big fat guy, you know, and there's no place for squashing in comedy.

Just ask Ralphie May.




Tuesday, August 05, 2003
 
Hello, Sir, and How Are You? We're Calling Today to Make Your Life a Living Hell!

Blog™ -- for when you have that 'not so fresh' feeling

Ya know, friends, being out of work isn't all sunshine and roses and frisky strippers. No sir.

Sure, I get to spend more time with you -- and I love that, I really do. I don't know what I'd do without you. Please, don't ever change. Say we'll be together always. That sort of thing.

And, at the same time, I'm free of the unreasonable demands of the modern workplace. Finally, I don't have 'the Man' telling me what the hell to do all day, and looking over my shoulder, and rifling through my desk for stolen office supplies. (You know the old saying, 'Suck one dick, and you're a cocksucker for life' ? Well, apparently it's the same sort of thing around the office. Steal one damned industrial-sized, half-ton standup laser printer, and the boss thinks that at any point, you've got pens and Post-It notes stuffed down your pants. And no, it doesn't matter that he's right, dammit. It's the principle of the thing.

(Besides, that frickin' copier never did me any good, anyway. I could never get the Xerox technician to come to my house to service the thing. I think they're the ones who ratted me out, too, the bastards. It's not my fault I couldn't say, 'Can you come and service my machine tonight?' without giggling like a schoolgirl. Try it sometime. If you can keep a straight face, you're better off than I am. And I have a slightly-used office copier that I'll sell you cheap.)

All right, we're off to a rather raunchy start tonight. What the hell was I saying, anyway? Oh, right, being out of work.

So, overall, life's pretty good. I've been looking for work for about three weeks now, and I've still got some time before I panic. My old company is giving me cash for a little while longer, so I'm just keeping my ear to the ground. And my finger on the pulse, and my nose to the grindstone, but mainly my thumb up my ass, since there's not a whole helluva lot to be done just at the moment. My typical day goes something like this:

Get up
Blog for a while
Eat breakfast
Probably shower
Possibly put on pants
Check the web for jobs
Walk the dog (not a euphemism)
Eat lunch
Watch TV (Futurama at two, Family Guy at two-thirty; as of tomorrow, all cool shit all the time, since the TiVo'll be hooked up)
Blog some more
Walk the dog (still not a euphemism)
Have a snack
Do something useful (painting, mowing the lawn, laundry, whatever I can think of to earn my keep)
Freestyle hour! (i.e., blog or watch TV. Oh, the choices, the choices!)
Watch more TV (Simpsons at six-thirty, and again at seven-thirty)
Walk the dog (this time, it's a euphemism. Oh, yeeeeah.)
Greet wife when she comes home
Wash hands, then greet wife when she comes home
Eat dinner
Freestyle hour #2 (I can barely stand the excitement)
Stay up late blogging or web surfing
Go the hell to bed

And scene. Lather, rinse, repeat. You get the idea. Now, occasionally, something will occur to jar me out of this routine. Often, it's something good. Maybe a longer-than-usual walk with the dog (the real one or the euphemistic one; it's all good), or a job interview. Sometimes I'll get visitors, like the UPS guy, or the gravel truck driver, or -- tomorrow, yay! -- the Tivo hooker-upperer.

(Which is not to be confused with hookers on uppers recorded by TiVo. Those are different. Fun, no doubt. A little gamey, perhaps. But different. Quite.)

Anyway, all of these things are welcome interruptions. We're social animals, after all, and though I don't mind a few hours alone (I'm an only child; I'm used to being largely ignored), it's nice to talk to another human from time to time. The delivery people and I always have a good time. They'll say, 'Hi!'

And I'll say, 'Hi there!'

Then, they'll say something like, 'I'm here to deliver a package!', or whatever.

So then, I'll say, 'Hey! Great! Sounds like fun!'

And then they'll say, 'Hey! Where the hell are your pants?'

And then... well, it usually gets sort of snarky after that. No need to repeat such unpleasantness in mixed company. But for a while, it's good to see that the world is still out there, and things are happening, and people are scurrying around like they're supposed to, even when I'm not paying close attention and driving among them telling them what asshole drivers they all are. So that's good.

But what's not good is the other thing that breaks me out of my predetermined, if rather sad, schedule. And that's the flood of calls from telemarketers that come whooshing into our house every damned day. I will be so fricking glad when I have a job again, if only because I'll be able to go back to never answering the goddamned phone before nine o'clock at night.

Actually, I've already stopped answering. Job search be damned, I just can't take it any more. Now, normally, even if I'm home, I don't answer the phone. There are only a handful of people in the world that I give a damn about, anyway, and every last one of them would leave a message if they wanted to talk to me. And most of them would believe that I was walking the dog, or 'walking the dog', or whatever, and unable to come to the phone, even if it's a bald-faced lie. They're cool like that.

But for the past couple of weeks, I've been answering the phone, thinking maybe it's an employment firm, or a company with an invitation to interview, or Ed McFuckingMahon calling to tell me that my worries are over and to start the champagne toasts. But it's never any of those people. Nor long lost friends, nor relatives, nor even wrong number-dialers looking for the Home Depot like they used to.

(The last of which was actually good fun for the first few weeks after we moved into the house. I don't know whether we had the Depot's old number, or it was misprinted, or what, but we got a boatload of calls from people wanting to 'get hold of some wood', or 'lay some pipe', or 'learn a new brush stroke'. As you can imagine, we had some rather colorful conversations before they realized that I wasn't actually talking about anything a home supply store might carry. Though it is hardware. Oh, yes. Yes, it is.)

Shit. Lost my train of thought again. Oh, right, telemarketers. Righty-ho, then.

So, as a rule, I never answer the phone. Despite what I'm sure you're all thinking, I really don't have dozens of friends and adoring fans calling me up every night for chit-chat. So, when my wife's actually home with me, there's about a two percent chance that a ringing phone is going to do me any damned good at all. And so, I just ignore it. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, when the rings stop, there is no message. Which means that it was likely a damned dirty telemarketer, calling to sweetly and politely sell me a bunch of worthless crap I don't need.

Or even valuable crap that I do need -- I still don't care. I disagree with the way they go about their business, and so I'm taking mine elsewhere. If you call me without asking, you've already lost. I don't care if you are the only company out there selling oversized foam hands with extended middle fingers. Or cell phones that play the Monty Python theme music as the ring tone. (Mine already does, anyway. So, nyah.) Or replacement bladders for inflatable sheep. As much as I need these things, I'm simply not going to buy them from you, now that you've called me up and disturbed me. So it's better for us both that I ignore you, and you slink away without leaving a message, like the vermin Hellspawn scum that you are.

But, of course, now that I'm looking for a job, my hope springs eternal. And so, I've been answering every fourth call or so. I'd like to believe in the inherent goodness of mankind, really. I don't, but I'd like to. I want to get calls from people I'm interested in talking to, or at least that are selling shit that's relevant to me, or at the very fucking minimum, that are not selling shit that I don't want, and that I've already turned down three times this week!

(Do you fucking hear me, Boston Globe? No? Gonna call me again, for the fourth damned time? Maybe not if I go all Dr. Seuss on your ass. Hear this, asswipes:

I will not read the Boston Globe
I will not read it in my robe
I will not read it in my boxers
I do not think your paper r0x0rs.

Please do not call me again
To cluck out your offer like a hen
Update your fucking database
Before I break-a you your face

I will not read it on the sofa
I will not read it in my loafers
I do not want to hear your pitch
Get off my phone, you fucking bitch!

Your rag used to come to my front door
On Sundays, for six months or more
But I rarely found the time to read it
So this time I find I do not need it

I will not read it while I sit
Or use it for my doggy's shit
I will not read it on the can
I will not read it, paper man

I hate to be a diatriber
But I will not be a Globe subscriber
Find the bitch who calls and promptly fire her
Or I'll take up reading the Enquirer

I will not read your inky daily
I will not read your Beetle Bailey
Nor Dilbert, nor Prince Val-i-ant
I won't, I don't, I can't, I shan't!

So I hope you get me, loud and clear
I will not read your paper, hear?
And if you call me just once more
I'll hang right up, you paper whore!


Thank you, thank you. I call that one, 'Invitation to Get My Ass Sued, in Eight Stanzas'. Yes, thank you. I'll be signing autographs in the hall after the show.)

Awright. Where the hell was I? Telemarketers? That sounds about right.

Okay, so, anyway, I've stopped answering the phone. This is after three weeks of hearing about credit cards, and storm windows, and carpet cleaners, and chimney sweeps, and, of course, subscribing to the damned Boston Globe.

(Which, to be fair, I really don't have anything against, the vitriol above notwithstanding. It's a fine paper. I just don't want to be asked every ten frickin' minutes whether I want it delivered to my door, so it can sit there for a week until I throw it away. Even unemployed, I don't have the time to read that shit every day. You saw my schedule above -- I ain't giving up a freestyle hour to read the damn newspaper! Fuck that, man!)

So, I may have gone a bit overboard here tonight. I suppose things were a little frisky from the get-go, and it all went downhill from there. Eh, what're ya gonna do? You get what you pay for, right, folks? And I think I made my point. Which is simply that I can't be bothered to answer the damned phone any more. The signal-to-noise ratio is way too low, and I just don't have the patience to sit through another pointless, boring spiel from yet another know-nothing windbag.

Which, um, is probably exactly what you're thinking right now. Sorry about that. I do tend to get carried away sometimes. So now I'll let you get back to whatever it was you were doing. I don't want to take up too much of your valuable time today. But just remember, if this shit starts getting old -- you called me, dude. Not the other way around. And that makes all the difference in the world.




Monday, August 04, 2003
 
Anatomy of a Monday

Take me out to the blog game; take me out with the clowns!

Today was Monday. A dingy, stinkin' Monday. And I don't need a damned calendar to tell me that, either. Here are a few lowlights of my day today, with some relevant details and a Miserable Monday Quotient rating for each event. The MMQ scale is from 1 to 10, with 10 being the quintessential, what-the-hell-did-I-ever-do-to-you, really-getting-pissed-on Monday doozie. Think 'flat tire in a hurricane', or 'getting caught on camera with your pants down in the copy room', or 'watching the Maury Povich show'. You know, the really, truly horrifying stuff like that.

Anyway, here's what my day was like today. I can only hope yours was better.

09:04am: Waking Up

Ambient temperature: about 148 degrees Fahrenheit.
Approximate number of aching body parts: 8, including a bruised right cheek from a hard-hit bad-hopping softball the day before.
First waking sensation: Faint skunk aroma, left over from dog's 'Dances With Polecats' adventure over the weekend.
Bladder status: 85% full, and rising.
Number of times saying 'Ow' or 'Dammit' from bedroom to bathroom: 11, including twice when stubbing toe against fan in bathroom doorway, where it was busily blowing skunk funk out of the room.
Effectiveness of fan in removing skunky putrescence: around 12%.
Miserable Monday Quotient: 6.8

09:35am: Breakfast

Breakfast components: one untoasted strawberry-flavored frosted Pop-Tart. One small glass of milk.
Number of aching body parts: 9; the original 8 plus the now-stubbed toe.
Attire: Next-to-last pair of clean boxers, semi-clean T shirt.
Miserable Monday Quotient: 3.9 (though the 'Lonely Pathetic Bachelor Meal Score' is off the chart...)

09:51am: Shower Time

Shower location: still-skunky bathroom.
Added olfactory bonus: vaguely skunky dog lying on bath mat, floating occasional air biscuits over the shower curtain and into my airspace.
Number of times bruised eye checked in mirror to see if it was blackened enough to warrant a good fighting story: 7.
Chance that anyone would believe I was in a fight and only got a black eye: 3%.
Number of itchy mosquito bites irritated in shower: 4.
Miserable Monday Quotient: 4.3

11:18am: Skunk, Revisited

Length of trip to dog grooming / boarding center: 19 minutes.
Amount of time spent negotiating with store employee who would actually wash dog in de-skunking shampoo: 12 minutes.
Person who ended up washing dog, contrary to personal preference: Me.
Amount of time spent rubbing shampoo onto dog's head: 8 minutes.
Amount of time spent letting shampoo soak on dog's head: 10 minutes.
Number of dirty looks from dog during process: 381.
Amount of skunk smell left on dog after process: approximately 82%.
Dog's look when I left her at 'day care' for the day after such vile mistreatment: utter joy.
Length of trip from grooming center to home: 34 minutes.
Percentage of traffic lights that were red on trip home: Just over 110% (I got one green, but sat at a couple of others through two cycles trying to make left turns).
Miserable Monday Quotient: 7.6 for me; 9.2 for the dog)

12:37pm: Lunch

Lunch components: two cold ham and cheese sandwiches with mustard, potato chips, large glass of lemonade.
Lunchtime entertainment: SportsCenter rerun.
Number of mustard stains smooshed onto shirt: 1.
Amount of salt from potato chips wiped into shirt around stain: about 300 grams, give or take a grain or two.
Volume of water rubbed into shirt in an attempt to remove salty mustard stain: approximately a gallon.
Amount of mustard left on shirt: somewhere around 65%.
Approximate time needed for shirt to dry: 2.5 hours.
Miserable Monday Quotient: 6.6

2:15pm: Checking Email

Number of 'Site cannot be found' browser messages waiting on my computer: 1
Success rate of reasonable-sounding solutions to reconnect to network: 0%.
Number of applications closed to prepare for computer reboot: 13.
Network status after reboot: just damned peachy.
Reason why reboot should have been necessary: indeterminate.
Alternate theory for reboot need: Bill Gates is a big fat weenie.
Total time elapsed: 13 minutes.
Number of email messages waiting after reboot: 0.
Miserable Monday Quotient: 8.2

4:12pm: Afternoon Entertainment

Number of minutes missed of 'Princess Bride' before accidently channel-surfing to it: 12.
Number of minutes left in movie: about 90.
Approximate movie end time: 6:00pm, or the exact time that I needed to leave to retrieve the dog.
Number of minutes watched before satellite station broke up because of impending huge rainstorm: 6.
Miserable Monday Quotient: 7.8

6:03pm: Bringing Home the Dog

Time that enormous, pelting rainstorm started: 6:02pm.
Time spent on front porch, waiting for rain to ease: 8 minutes.
Approximate relative strength of rain after waiting period: 250% peltier.
Volume of rain soaked into clothes while running from porch down front stairs and into car: about 38 gallons.
Approximate time for shirt to dry: N/A. I'll let you know if it ever happens.
Amount of time rain continued after I'd reached the car: approximately 2 minutes.
Conditions in car: around 130 degrees Fahrenheit, with 99% humidity.
Air conditioner level used during ride to groomers: highest.
Temperature in car 10 minutes into drive: 38 degrees Fahrenheit.
Chance that I'll catch pneumonia in next 48 hours: 82%.
Miserable Monday Quotient: 9.6

7:46pm: The Dirty Cleaners

Number of minutes alloted for round trip to dog groomers, in order to return in time for 7:00pm appointment at home: 57 minutes.
Actual time elapsed while collecting dog: 44 minutes.
Amount of postponement asked for by furniture cleaners during phone conversation at 6:58pm: 30 minutes.
Actual postponement time until cleaner's arrival: 46 minutes.
Number of couches cleaned: 0.
Reason for failure to clean couches: Wife must be home to see cleaner demonstration, in order to receive free couch cleaning.
Approximate arrival time of wife to house: 9:30pm.
Amount of time cleaner spent in house: 3 minutes.
Amount of water I really needed to get drenched with in order to keep useless appointment: not one damned ounce.
Miserable Monday Quotient: 8.4

9:31pm: The Light at the End of the Tunnel

Number of pizzas arriving at door: 1.
Number of wives returning home: 1.
Number of preseason NFL football games found on TV: 1.
Number of things suddenly right in the world: All.
Miserable Monday Quotient: 0.00

So, that's it, folks. Sometimes Mondays last just a few minutes, and sometimes they can last a week or more. This time, my Monday was exactly twelve hours and twenty-seven minutes long. I don't give a damn what my clock says. This Monday is over. Tuesday's already in full swing. So that's it. Nothing else to see here until tomorrow. I just pray it's not Monday all over again. I think I've had my fill for a while.




Sunday, August 03, 2003
 
Have I Mentioned That I Have a Dog to Give Away?

Hell hath no fury like a blog scorned.

I love my dog. Not in that way, you filthy pervert, but I still love her. Really. I'll be sad to see her go, but clearly, she has to go.

Have I mentioned that my dog got 'skunked' last night?

Now, I used to think that skunkings were a suburban phenomenon. Something that happened way out there, in the hills and hollers. I was rather forcefully corrected last night, when my poor wife and poorer dog came clambering up our front steps after a run-in with one of the foul-smelling striped critters. Luckily -- for my wife -- our dog Susie was off-leash, and therefore my wife wasn't in danger of getting struck directly by rodent ass juice. Susie, however, was just about as unlucky, and unhappy, as a dog can get.

Have I mentioned that the skunk sprayed our dog in the mouth?

So, when I ran downstairs to answer the door, I was greeted by a harried, worried wife, and a miserable, panicked, frothing-at-the-mouth dog trying to expel her tongue from her body so she wouldn't have to taste anything ever again. Oh, and of course, there was a third, um, presence at the door, as well. I call it 'Goddamn, make it stop! For the love of Christmas, make it stop now!' Except that it smelled worse than that. Much worse. I'd be more specific, but the smilie hasn't been invented to approximate the face I made when I caught the first whiff of foul skunky-butt raunch. Clearly, something had to be done, and fast. So, of course, we hustled the dog to the bathtub. Which is inside, through the front hallway, and up the stairs. Leaving us plenty of territory to infect with the foul-smelling filth along the way.

Have I mentioned that we weren't thinking very clearly at this point?

At that point, my wife and I cleared our heads a bit and each assumed a role. She became 'Hold the Dog in the Tub Woman', while I morphed into 'Run Around Like an Idiot Trying to Help Man'. Whose battle cry, if you're not familiar with it, is, 'Whaddaya need? Whaddaya need? Whaddaya need?' That was my contribution for the first three minutes of the ordeal, until we got our heads screwed on straight. Then, I was put to good use. I fetched dog shampoo, and paper towels, and people towels (which is to say: old, ratty, bottom-of-the-pile, disposable people towels), our seldom-used doggie toothbrush and poultry-flavored toothpaste (why the hell don't we humans get to use that? I'd brush with chicken paste. Wouldn't you?), and a bag of jerky treats. For the dog. Or to stuff up our noses. I didn't really have a definite plan at that point.

While I was gone on my quest, pandemonium ensued. The shower rod came tumbling down. The half-wet dog got half out of the tub, but was coaxed back in. Rampant, unfettered splashing followed. My wife's T shirt got wet. Hey, every situation has a silver lining, right? But I digress. Back to the action.

Have I mentioned that my dog despises baths over all else in the world?
(Well, probably next to having a small animal shoot ass water into her mouth, at this point, but until last night, baths were the primary bane of her existence.)

So, I got back with the shampoo and towels and such, and we went to work scrubbing the poor dog down. Whenever she could, she'd lift a wavering paw to the lip of the tub, trying to sneak enough leverage to lunge past us. But we were watchful sentinels, and thankfully kept her in position. We started out with my wife washing, and me doing the holding and treat-offering. None of the treats were taken, of course. Our dog has a policy, which goes a little something like this:

'When I'm miserable, I'm only going to be miserable, so don't go trying to cheer me up with any treats or praise or petting nonsense. I hate you until you get me out of whatever stupid mess I'm in, and only afterwards can you go about making it up to me. But not a moment sooner.'

Have I mentioned that our dog really knows how to lay a guilt trip?

Anyway, my wife soaped Susie up, while I tried to simultaneously hold her and pet her at the same time. Um, the dog, that is, not my wife. Which is not to say that I don't try the same trick on my wife. But it seemed like the wrong time for that sort of thing, so I concentrated for the moment on trying to comfort the dog. Which failed more or less completely, and I found myself stuck squarely in her mournful, pleading gaze. 'Kill me if you must, but please, oh please, if you have any feelings at all for me, stop bathing me now!' Cleraly, things were not going well, and the dog wasn't smelling much better, either.

That's when my wife had a Bright Idea™, which was to apply an old home remedy that we've all heard is helpful in this situation. Namely, the tomato juice treatment. Apparently, the acid in the tomatoes counteracts the skunk ass smell, and leaves your pet smelling fresh, tangy, and ready to be poured into a glass and garnished with celery. I'm usually a bit skeptical of these 'folk remedy' sorts of things, but I decided to go along with it. Nothing else was working; why not roll the dice? So my wife went down to the kitchen to find the tomato juice.

Have I mentioned that we didn't actually have tomato juice in the house, ever?

What we did have, however, was a couple of cans of some chunky, herbed stewed tomato concoction, way back behind the soup and black beans. I don't know why the hell we had it, or what the hell it's supposed to be used for. What I do know is that my wife brought up the contents of one can in a plastic bowl, and spooned it onto the dog's back for us to rub in until the skunk funk was subdued.

Now, folks, a more pitiful, heartwrenching dog you have never seen in your life. I don't care what you think has tugged your heart stringsin the past. Greyhounds in need of adoption, or little Fifi getting her shots at the vet, or grimy homeless beasts delivered to the shelter's back door. None of these -- none -- could possibly look more heart-achingly pathetic than our poor Susie, dripping wet, with a snootful of skunk juice, and with pasta sauce plastered all over her head. It's simply not possible. Unless, of course, it was me, a few seconds after that sorry sight. Because there's one thing I may not have told you yet.

Have I mentioned that when Susie -- like most dogs -- gets wet, she shakes her whole body violently, in a feeble canine attempt to get dry?

So, of course, that's what she did. And, of course, that's why we then had tomato chunks -- and tasty green pepper parts! -- all over the shower, and the sink, and the walls of the bathroom. Not to mention all over my face, and my shirt, and in my hair, seeing as how I was approximately four inches from her when she shook, and shook, and shook, and shook some more. I may have eaten more of the sauce from her back than we actually rubbed into her fur. And I wasn't hungry. Trust me.

But we did the best we could. We concentrated on her head and neck, and when we ran out of tomato crap, we rinsed the dog clean. Or cleaner, at least. The entire bathroom smelled like skunk junk at that point, so we couldn't be certain how much was Susie, and how much was us, and how much was the tomato-covered walls. So we cleaned the puppy up, and got some towels to dry her with, and finally let her out of the tub. That seemed to lift her spirits, and -- as per her policy -- she was happy to gobble down all of the treats that we would feed her. We weren't done, though. Not by a longshot.

Have I mentioned that while I was drying the dog after her bath, she burped in my face?

Folks, if there's anything at all in the world more heinous than skunk funk, it's skunk funk mixed with gnarly dog breath. And I had a front-row seat for a nice big blast of just such a concoction. Please, whatever you do, don't try this at home. I'm a professional, after all.

It was just about that time -- right fucking after it, actually -- that we pulled out the poultry paste and the finger puppet posing as a toothbrush. Now, I don't know how much good we did, frankly. Susie licked all the toothpaste off the thing as soon as I got it near her mouth, and I wasn't about to stick my schnozz next to hers to check our progress. Suffice to say that several globs of chicken-flavored goo were ingested by the dog, and that a bristly brush-on-a-finger thingy was sloshed around in her mouth a few times, and that we all had a good laugh. Did it help? Who the hell knows? Am I ever doing it again? Probably not. So there you go.

Meanwhile, have I mentioned that the dog's head still smelled like sweet, sweet skunky lovin'?

Well, it did. The rest of the pooch was fairly tame by then, or at least as fragrant as a dog is likely to get. But her head -- her head! Good lord and butter, her head! Not cool, people. Not cool at all. But we'd been washing the poor pup for over an hour, and we didn't really have anything better to wash her with, so we let her off the hook. We kept her in the bathroom while we showered, and cleaned the foodstuff off the walls, but then we let her out. We just didn't know what else to do. We kept her in one room for the rest of the night, and away from any furniture. We turned on every fan we own, all blowing outward, to suck the stench out of the house. And we sprayed Lysol like we were painting graffiti on the walls. The shit simply couldn't come out of the bottle fast enough. Eventually, we made things tolerable enough to allow us to sleep. And we hoped that the lingering offending odors would dissipate by morning.

Have I mentioned that it just doesn't work that way?

Well, it doesn't. I woke up this morning, yawned, and lazily scratched my cheek. When I did, the evil, hateful stank on my hand snapped me fully awake. The whole sordid ordeal came flooding back to me. I checked the other hand -- it reeked of nasty-ass funk stank, too! It had gotten me. I was tainted, skunked by proxy. I stumbled into the bathroom, and found that the smell there had lessened overnight. It was now only barely overpoweringly putrid. And the dog's head? No better. It's like a big candle of crappiness, with flames of awful nastiness licking at the noses of all who come near. Or even not so near. It's just that nasty.

So, I don't know what the hell we'll end up doing. My wife tried to de-funkify the dog again today, with a product of some sort that she found at the grocery store. Skunk Away, or Scent Be Gone, something useful-sounding like that. Only it didn't work. Now our dog smells French, or Belgian, perhaps. She's got a strong perfumy scent, but with an underlying foulness that turns the stomach and makes you wish you could stick your head in the nearest bidet for relief. It's better, in a way, but still a sin against all that is holy and good.

And that's where we're at. We've made it through a full day with our funky-faced dog, and we're hoping it's the last. I'm taking her to a dog groomer tomorrow, and I'm praying that they'll be able to help us out. Maybe they'll bathe her in tomatoes, or Simonize her coat, or shave her completely. I really don't care. As long as they can make her smell like a dog again, nasty though it may be.

Otherwise, we're just gonna have to leave her on a street somewhere, maybe with a twenty dollar bill tied to her for enticement's sake. Surely someone will take her in, and give her a good home. Or at least a breath mint, for Chrissakes. Damn! Anyway, if it comes to that, I'll just be sure to tie the bill to her tail, and not around her neck. Ain't nobody getting near that dog's head for a while. Double damn with whipped cream on the side! Yikes!

Have I mentioned that my dog's head smells like a skunk?!? Well, have I?!?




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