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Saturday, April 10, 2010

On the Move…

     The sun is out! Mr. Winter is running scared. Goodbye you old miserable man! I know he will come back, far to soon, with a vengence.  He is leaving not from the sun chasing him away as much as from the crazies. The crazies come out in the sun like turtles on a log in the river. (I know you have seen this on any river). I know you probably have run across a couple in your travels. Most of them are harmless. Some are not. The sun crazies are out and "On the move." YOU  have been WARNED!!!!
     Just for a minute, reserve your judgment, and do not lump me into the group in which I am discussing, I am my own patented brand of crazy and I know I am not all there. I can live with this fact. My crazy factor is what makes me so much fun. My crazy is independent of the sun, the moon, or any other external factor.
      I was stopping by Smitty’s in Easttown to get some quaffable liquid imbibaries to finish off the week. Celebrating as much as possible is my new reality. There is always cause for a celebration, whether it is a day above ground up-right and taking nourishment (courtesy of GWC), the end of a grueling work week, or the loss of a loved one, celebrating is the right thing to do. Grief is fine, and necessary, but the life shared, not the death, should be cause for a celebration. As you know Browndog only drank Molson, so I had to get a few to celebrate his life. However I digress. Where was I? Oh yeah, sun crazies…
     As I walked up the sidewalk from the parking lot to Smitty’s I noticed one of the many sun crazies that I saw on this sunny day. This particular individual was walking down the side walk mumbling about some thing. I avoided the urge to strike up a conversation or smile. Anyone that has worked a Home Show with me knows that I am a crazies magnet. They are drawn to me like Cindy Crysby to the crease on a hockey rink. (The hated Cindy would not be nearly the goal scorer he is he had to shoot the puck from more than two feet.)
      Driving is one of my favorite times to admire or admonish the sun crazies. Many people complain about the lack of operating skill of the typical non-drivers on the road during the winter. However, the crazies’ factor is in full bloom in the sunny days as well. It is as if the sun crazies are like some kind of reverse vampire. They are drawn to the sun. They wander down the boulevards, streets and highways in some kind of sun induced stupor. It is really bad when the sun comes out right after a blizzard. You know what I am talking about. That particular anomoly is double jeapardy...
     I am sure that the sun crazies do not all have a pair of HD sunglasses, as seen on TV, like I have, or maybe they would be able to deal with the sunshine, instead of becoming sun crazies. You, like me, have seen these light induced lycanthropes making a left turn, driving thru a parking lot, or toddling down the e-way in slow motion on any sunny day. The conversation in the operator’s cockpit is as such, “Geez, Margie look at all that sun!” to which Margie replies, “Yes, Harry, it is glorious! Why don’t you slow down a bit to take it in all it’s glory.” To which I reply, “JEEZUS F-ING CREE-IST, F-ING SPEED IT UP OR GET THE F OFF THE PLANET!!!”
     These same sunlight lycanthropic crazies wonder up and down the block, thru the parking lot, and all over hell’s half acre on foot. The sun blinds them to the cross walk signs, the other vehicles, and the any other life threatening event that they come across. They are so mercifully free of the ravages of intelligence, they blissfully bee-bop thru the same dimension as the rest of the world, impervious to frantic hand gestures and tongue-lashings.
     These sun crazies are not to be confused with the sun zombies. They are different breed entirely. The sun zombie will not move, but lie in the sun, like the sun baked road kill they are. Some of these sun zombies of the feminine persuasion will bath sans top. Do not get caught with the video camera taking liberties of the scenery by your wife. It is much better to give the camera to your 10 year old son. Then it will be cute, curious and funny. Not so much cute, curious, or funny for a middle-aged father. Jus’ sayin’.
     The sun zombies also are the reason for the escalating rise in skin cancer. They live on the beach and have the same leathery look of an iguana. Thankfully, thru the natural order of things, they are becoming extinct. The Speedo industry is in a marketing swoon. Too bad. Better get a Speedo now before they also become extinct.
     Way back when I was younger and more insane, I used to sell Tee-shirts at art festivals. The sun was out most of the time, and so where the crazies. There was one show in particular that drew more than its fair share of sun crazies, the Ann Arbor Art Fair. (The A²)
     Ah yes, the A². We had a ton of fun selling the shirts. We were pranksters. We tied a hot dog to a stick and hit people in the head with the hotdog as we yelled, “Hot dog on a stick!!!” We wrote “See the Monkey on a mirror, and then showed the mirror to people as we said “SEEEEE THE MONKEY!!!” I was always amazed that so many people did not get the joke. “I don’t see your monkey.” Duh! You are the Monkey….” We also sold the shirts right off our backs, sweat and all, and it was a badge of honor to do this. Some of you may say that we were sun crazies as well...I scoff at the idea. We were just young and full of fun...
     The A² had lots of sun crazies, but none more famous than Shakin’ Jake. He only came out in the sun. It rained rarely during the A². When it did rain the sun crazies disappeared like hot dogs on a skinny Japanese guy’s plate in a hot dog eating contest…
     Shakin’ Jake was “On the move.” He wandered up and down the street, with his guitar slung over his shoulder, zig-zagging thru the crowd. Occasionally he would have the guitar in playing position, and strumming as he walked. It was rarely in tune. most imes it was missing a few strings. He would tell everyone that would listen, what his particular girl trouble was on that particular day. He had a ton of girl trouble. All the time, but hey he was a man, so nothing more really needs to be said.
     He was a local icon during the fair. “On the move! Gotta take care of that woman! She wants…mumbling and I think cursing…” I did the A² Fair 13 years, and walked it a couple other years, he was ALWAYS there. On the move. Always bitching about that woman, women, whatever... 
     There are several rumors and ideas of where and what Shakin’ Jake actually did for a living. Some said he was just a homeless guy that was more visible during the A², but that is kind of boring. I had heard that he was a local barber that closed his shop for the fair and adopted the persona of Shakin’ Jake. My personal favorite was that he was a wealthy man that lived in Ypsilanti. He came out during the fair to do the Shakin’ Jake thing. You can be REALLY eccentric if you are wealthy.
     A few years back, at the A² the sun crazies were out in force, and I happened to come across Shakin’ Jake as usual, he was, "On the move"...It had been years since I had done the fair and years since I had seen him.I bought his disc. It was not very good. It was pretty bad. So what? He lived as all sun crazies do. He lived the sun crazies dream. Coming out to be crazy while the sun reigned.
     Who really knows who Shakin’ Jake really was? And really what does it matter? He enjoyed the sun and was crazy. I do not know if he is still "On the move." He came out to do his thing, and was there every year, long before I started doing the fair and long after. I drink this, Browndog’s favorite beer, Molson in Shakin’ Jakes honor, and celebrate his life.

Just another day in paradise

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The last Boyscout

     Way back at the turn of the century, the pundits, talking heads, and the glittering ridicularity that pontificate their particular platitudes, thought the sky was falling. Really not the sky, but the world was going to end. The computer could not deal with the two digits to four digits year thingamabob, or some such similar nonsense. All I know it that they had me convinced that something bad would happen. I mean REALLY bad. Bad enough to call on all my training as a boy scout. 
     At this point in time we lived in Cedar Springs, MI and had a basement with a wood stove. In one of my paranoid delusions we needed the wood stove. Hey, the world was gonna end, baby, and we needed to be ready. When Consumer’s Energy could not deliver the goods, we could burn junk mail and 2x4 scrap, until the chimney caught on fire and burned the house down. We would be warm. I mean REALLY warm until we left the blaze, or died from smoke inhalation.
     We needed all those propane tanks. And I have moved 5 of them 4 times since the Millennium crisis. They come in handy for Chillin’ and Grillin’. They are always empty, except for the one attached to the grill. However, once empty they would have helped when the zombies created by the computer glitch attacked the house, since I could throw the empty tanks at the zombies.
     We had a special closet filled with supplies for when the deliveries were late. It became known as the Millennium Closet. In the fifties people built bomb shelters. And fallout shelters, in the 90’s I had a Millennium Closet. There were canned items of many varieties. We had a few gallons of water, some pasta, pasta sauce, duct-tape, and some Jiffy Mixes. (Aside from the fifty or so boxes in the kitchen cupboards) we also had a couple of pellet guns as they too could help when the chaos started.
     The closet had about enough food and water for us to live without a new shipment of groceries to the local Piggly Wiggly, for our family of four. How long is truly debatable. From my sketchy recollections, I had calculated enough to last about fifteen minutes after Armageddon ensued. (feeding your anxiety)  Maybe a day if we could cook up all the aforementioned Jiffy Mixes. Maybe more if I used the duct tape.
     People mocked my Millennium Closet. They found it humorous. But they did not believe. Little did they know, I was ahead of my time. I was prepared. I was the Last Boy Scout. Not that I ever did anything when I was in the BSofA, except hide form the troop and smoke snakegrass. however, I remembered the be prepared thing.
     I awoke early on December 31st as the eastern part of the world had already rolled over to the new millennium. I was perched at the edge of my seat, watching the carnage. Sitting as close to the edge as you possibly can while fully reclined in my micro-fiber Laz-E-Boy. I may have had a bucket of popcorn as well.
     Nothing happened. No glitches, no riots, no burning down the establishment, and no chaos. Except for the particular brand of chaos ensues every New Years Eve. We had not had the clock strike midnight in the USA yet so there was still hope. Planes still could fall from the sky!
     However, I could not sit in the chair all day. There was work to be done. The Millennium Closet needed to be checked and checked again! There was wood to cut and stack, water jugs to fill, and all those damn 5 gallon buckets to facilitate flushing the toilet. No flush toilet would mean total disaster for those of us in the modern world.  (BTW I never filled them for some odd reason. Probably because I started drinking early. Hey it was 5:00 some where. You know ya gotta party like its 1999…Because it was!!!)
     A little more than a year and a half later, the World Ttrade Center was destroyed in a gutless act of lunacy. The idiots that orchestrated that chaos changed very little about the core of their enemies. There chickenshit action howver added a new group of idiots to the mix in the TSA. It caused a bit of discomfort for a while. America is resilient. We moved forward. We persevered. We again travelled by plane and had  only to worry about that fat guy coming down the aisle. (Please, Please don't sit next to me!!) Or if you had a window seat.
     Before all the moving forward, many people were scared. The government, in its infinite wisdom issued some guidelines, and suggestions for the post-911 era. They had suggestions for “emergency preparedness”. Such as duct taping the windows in the case of a bio-threat.  They had a list of must have items. Items included duct tape, water, and canned food. Again I was a head of the curve. The last Boy Scout.
     I read their pamphlet, and was not impressed. I walked  down to the basement, and opened the door. The Millennium Closet was still stocked as if the world was still perched on the brink. Ready, willing and able.
Just another day in paradise  

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The jackass factor

     I was driving today. I was listening to the replacement for the Jim Rome show. While the idiot is on vacation he had Petros and Money as the fill in show. As you may know, from other blogs, Jim Rome is an idiot. These guys are worse. I used to think everyone has a right to the facts. Even the jackassery. And so the idea is born. A new blog for my fans.

     I was losing weight. It had been hours since my last meal. I went to get lunch at Mr. Burger. No fat in their food, (riiight) and since I am not on a diet, I figured this was as good a place as any to quell my hunger. By the way it was!!!

     In the parking lot, I saw a pickup truck with a Dallas Cowboys window sticker. You know, one of those that take up the whole of the rear window. Instantly, I thought what a jackass. This is Lions country. (I know they suck and all that, but…) and so the Jackass factor is born. I do not need any facts to support an opinion.

     You may say that the truck could have been from Texas, however, the plate was from Michigan. The truck was parked at an angle. It took up two spaces right by the door. Granted it was not a busy time, but seriously, do you need to take up two spaces. Right by the door? If you want to do that jackass move park out in the boonies.

     Fine. You’re a Cowboy fan. I don’t really know why. You live in Michigan. The economy here sucks. Probably did not move here for a job. I can understand not having a Lions sticker. They do suck. But the cowboys? Yuck! Having a sticker for a non-home team put you automatically in the jackass category. Have none then. Do not call out your jackassery.

      Spin doctoring 101: The math is simple a + b = c. Let a= A cowboys fan. Let b= I hate the cowboys. Hence c= That guy is a jackass. This formula works for anyone that wants to form an opinion. You can try this at home yourself.

       Another thing that makes you a jackass is a bumper sticker touting you child’s academic status. I do not care if your kid is a dull normal window licker or a future rocket scientist. I do not need you to peacock that crap.

     You may say that that is a blanket statement. Yup, it is. So what? My blog, my opinion. (MBMO) I can write anything I want. You can choose to stop reading. (You WILL miss out on something that you will agree with.) I am full of blanket statements today. I blame that cowboy fan.

     A bumper sticker from the school does not make the kid any better or worse than the rest of the world. We live, we love, we work, we pay taxes, we have good days and bad, we lose those close to us and we die. We are all equal, in time and mortality.

                There is a scientific law that mandates:
                   1. A bumper sticker MUST be funny...
                 2. It must come from a cool far away place or event.

      I do not remember who hypothesized or postulated that law, and maybe it is just an opinion, but I do know my parents did not tout my academic status with some stupid bumper sticker. (Hell, they were just happy that I went to school and that I graduated.) Oh and just so you know I don’t want to look at pictures of your kids while I am talking to you at a party. Nor do I want to see pictures of your grand children in their soccer uniforms, or pictures of your pets. Jus sayin’.

    Improper bumper stickers make you a jackass, but so do those stupid Grateful Dead Bears and giant Pot Leaves. Yup, that is why they call it dope. Never, under any circumstances draw attention from the policing authorities. That is just asking for an invite to the Graybar Hotel. Hop heads beware, the advertising of you proclivities is enough for a random “just cause” red and blue light rendezvous.

      Another bumper sticker that makes you a jackass is a bumper sticker that says don’t blame me I voted for the other….(guy). Jus sayin’….That sentiment does not make you smarter than the average bear. It makes your ignorance as plain as the bump on your face that the smart people of this world call a nose. You cannot prove your point through revisionist history before the historic event takes place. You know all those stickers go on right after their pick loses (and in most cases before the final results are in.)

      The jackass factor plays in all parts of the day. You run into all kinds of jackasses in almost every social setting. Many people think I am a jackass. I know it is hard to believe that anyone could find a reason to not like me, but everyone has the right to an opinion. Even if it is wrong, and not supported by fact, a + b =c, right?

       Just so you know, if you live in Michigan and have a confederate flag in your back window of your car or truck (most likely a truck) you are a jackass. Michigan was a Union State. Last time I checked Michigan is north of the Mason/Dixon line. Currently, we are all part of the United States. All 50 of them. If you move to a state that has 10 months of winter from the south, where they have 2-3 days of winter, well, you figure it out. If you live in the south, I guess it is fine. Well, not fine, but not a jackass factor. I do not need any facts to support an opinion.

    The REAL jackasses are in the media. Anyone can see THIS fact. What happened to responsible reporting? What happened to news? I blame Nixon. That was the first media circus I remember. And Watergate hearings pre-empted the Bugs Bunny show. Damn them Watergates anyway because didn’t hold back the media circus flood gates.

     I blame the information age. How can a society that is so in touch with so much information be so uninformed? Simple, we have only eleven or so Mega-corporations that control all of the media and in this glorious state of ridicularity we easily find opinions that support our facts. (Spin doctoring 101: The math is simple a + b = c.) We have the technology, we can…BE STUPID!! It is like a telephone game on a global stage, but nobody is putting the cup to their ear, they are just filling it with their particular preference of Kool-aid, and taking a few gulps. Then repeating what ever nonsense seems to pop into their silly cerebellum.

      I blame O.J. That was even a bigger media circus on a bigger stage. Come to think of it Jim Rome is from So Cal as well, so I will blame him, too. While I am at it I can blame the Cowboys and Jerry Jones as well. So much jackassery, so little time.

     Anyone that is above average looking that is not afraid to be an idiot in front of a camera can tell us what constitutes as news. We have become a society that gets its news from an over stimulated, Opinionflashing misinformed menagerie of talking head media. Or quite simply opinionflashers.

     For example, how many times have you seen a reporter in the howling wind reporting on the latest hurricane? The opinionflasher is standing in front of a bunch of palm trees that are bending in the 60 mph gusts. “Opinionflash” “I am here in front or the wharf, and as you can see, the wind is quite strong.” Seriously? The local law enforcement agency suggested that the locals should evacuate immediately if they have not done so already.” But Mickey Mediawhore is standing there stoic and brave; endangering life and limb “opinionating” the news, so we all know what HE thinks is really going on.

     And then when something happens on Wall Street or Any Street, USA the Opinionaters are there to tell us the opinions. There are so few facts in the news that society just forms opinions based on opinions. Kind of like when we were kids and we believed what our parents are believed, because we lacked the skill and knowledge to investigate or formulate our own opinions.

     I do not watch any of the “popular” opinionaters that clog the cable networks. I would rather watch golf, and you know how much I hate golf. However, depending on your political POV, the amount of a jackassery is directly proportionate to the Political bent of the opinionater in question. You can form your own opinion, on which of the talking heads are cool in your book. In my opinion they all suck. And blow.

     I want a news flash that is really news. I want some substance. I want some facts. I am sick of spin doctoring 101. I am tired of political bent ranting and raving of the right and left. I want reporting to have some kind of research. Some basis in fact. Some actual journalistic integrity.

     I do not care if you think O.J. did it. My opinion is he did. I don’t care if Obama does not have or does have a birth certificate. My opinion is it does not affect me either way. (I voted for the other guy…. (NO, NOT REALLY) I don’t want to hear opinionaters spout opinions as facts. Give me some proof. Give me some evidence. Why should the Jackass factor even be mentioned in the same sentence as the media? If I want the news, the spin doctoring opinionaters do not know where to get it. So, the opinionaters will make it up. That is not news. That is not reporting. The math is simple a + b = c. That is not news. That is a blog.

Just another day in paradise