Mountain Sicknesses

First a shout out to my people in Brazil. Now I have people from all over the world who read this blog, Qatar and Cambodia included, but for some unknown reason I have more readership in Brazil than all of the other countries of the world combined.

Buy my book. It’s like 99 cents for God’s sake…

Bang Your Head Here

Bang Your Head Here…Some More

A couple of thoughts, you people in Brazil, at least as has been reported in our mostly fake news, are virtually out of drinkable water yet hundreds, yes hundreds are a lot to me, of you take time to read my nonsense. My thought is that, as bad as it is to be on the threshold of death, you read my vitriol to remind yourselves that it could be worse. You could live in America with people like me. You would rather dehydrate yourselves to death than live here. I get that.

The other possibility is that there are Americans who have moved to Brazil for whatever reason and frequent my blog to remind themselves that they have made the right decision to leave. Regardless, thanks for taking the time.

The Top 5 Hillbilly Illnesses

For twenty years I helped run our family manufacturing business. My grandfather started it in 1952 when he moved to Cleveland from West Virginia. I am frequently thankful that he had the gumption and the fortitude to uproot his family and move up north to make something of himself. No offense to those of you from West Virginny but I wouldn’t have made a very good mountain man. I don’t like dirt and I like my food to come in a box with a label on it and not from the woods or a river. I don’t think I could shoot a “varmint” and I hate the taste of fish. I am a decent shot though, I think it’s just in my blood. I don’t want to “take vittles.” Hell, I don’t even know where the word vittles comes from, I just know that I don’t want any.

I love the movie “Deliverance” but I am afraid that, in real life, I am the fat, sissy character, Bobby and not the rugged woodsman, Louis. Bobby was the character played by Ned Beatty and also the one anally raped by the mountain cracker. I, however, draw the line at the hillbilly anal rape thing in my comparison of myself to Bobby.

I like paying too much for a cup of coffee, I don’t hunt or fish and if something needs fixing around the house, my best skill is writing a check. Not to imply that everybody, just because they are from the hills is an expert in home repair, I was just trying to make the point that I am not handy and am quite soft when it comes to what the mountains would describe as a real man.

In spite of the racist stereotype people from hills have, my grandfather was an equal opportunity employer. As long as you came from the hills, he didn’t care what color you were, gay or straight, man or woman. You could be an African-American, cross-dressing lesbian and as long as you’re from “downhome” he’d give you a shot. “You say you’re a machinist from Brooklyn? Sorry, never been there I don’t trust people who come from the city.”

People from the hills are passionately and fiercely loyal. You had to be a serious fuck-up to get fired and neither do you quit. I’ve fired my share of people in my time as the kingpin of our hillbilly manufacturing conglomerate and rarely ran into objections and excuses as most people knew when they had taken the whole “downhome” loyalty thing too far. The excuses upon firing almost made the whole firing process worth the heartache of it all as some of them were comedic genius. “Thursday night’s my night to get drunk,” was always one of my favorites and also the most frequently used. As if that makes the whole thing about not showing up for work for eight straight days just a part of business.

My absolute favorites though were the hillbilly street names for the myriad of common maladies people came down with that caused them to miss work. This, therefor, is the Top 5 Names of Hillbilly Illnesses. It wasn’t until the advent of the Internet that I could actually do a little research into the hidden meaning of these terms.

Cold in your eye

Now every cold that I’ve ever had was a respiratory kind of thing. Runny nose, sneezing, fever, cough, the whole shmear but unbeknownst to me, you can also, apparently, get this in your eye.

Upon further investigation, an eye cold, is also called conjunctivitis and / or pink eye but taken up a few degrees. It seems that eye colds are caused by the same virus’ that cause mumps, measles and herpes. Herpes? In your eye? Holy shit! Had I known that the person sitting in front of me, pleading for their job, had a rampant case of highly infectious and contagious case of eye herpes I would have gladly dismissed them and told them to take as much time as they needed. Gross!

Apparently, eye colds are untreatable with anti-viral medication and you are told to put compresses on the infected area for treatment. Any time they tell you to put a wet towel on some kind of injury or malady, it pretty much means that means they have nothing else. “Yeah, that shit looks like it hurts. Best if you just put a cold compress on it till it clears up.”

“So I have the herpes in my eye and you think the best plan of action is to slap a wet towel on it? Oh really? Thanks! People get this on their genitals and it lasts a fucking lifetime but you’re saying that a wet towel will solve my problem. Wonderful.”

The Gleet

As long as we’re on the subject of herpes I figured this would be a good place to introduce you to The Gleet. This was not a common excuse for missing work but I heard it at least a dozen times in my twenty years of service. The Gleet is a hillbilly name for gonorrhea and involves a nasty smelling discharge weeping from ones urethra. Kind of gross, right?

I have always believed that there is no better excuse for missing work than to just say that you have diarrhea. No one wants to hear you talk about it and they certainly don’t want anyone around who has it. Diarrhea is something that we all get once in a while and can certainly be understood as something that would keep one home from work. I cannot commiserate with The Gleet and even if I had it and had to miss work because of it, I would not admit it.

Falling sickness

Also commonly known as epilepsy. We had a guy, Moses, who had epilepsy. Everybody from West Virginia has a given name and a name they go by. Moses’ real name was Carroll but his dad was friends with the mailman, Moses, so yada, yada, yada, Carroll became Moses. It seems that when he was a teenager his drunk pappy put him on the back of his motorcycle, drove through an intersection and both were subsequently hit by a city bus. Of course, the drunk, was unscathed but Moses was dragged under the bus till it could come to a stop, and in the process tore off half of his flesh and did enough damage to his brain to give him epilepsy. The fact that this guy lived through let alone continued to work fifty hours a week, is a testament to the, “Dare to keep me down? Fuck you” mentality of the people of West Virginia.

Once in a while Moses would disappear for a week and we knew that he had a case of the falling sickness but that he would be back as soon as he was able. Worst part was that Moses lived alone and when a spell of the falling sickness would hit, he would lay there all by himself till he could get his legs.

The Grip (Grippe)

This was the most common of all of the absenteeism excuses I received. I mean people were falling victim to The Grip like the Black Plague in medieval Europe. There are two different Grip disorders meaning two very different things but because I couldn’t understand a lot of what they were saying and because I didn’t know what either of them were, I would just ask if they felt good enough to work and move them on their way.

First, The Grip, is a hills infirmity that keeps on from grabbing things. The Grip would cover your arthritis, strokes, any kind of paralysis or nerve damage. Hard to believe that somebody would miss a Friday of work because they were paralyzed but stranger things have happened.

More than likely they were afflicted with the more common Grippe, still pronounced just like the previously mentioned Grip. This version of the Grippe is simply the common flu. I know, not as cool but all of the names in this Top 5 list, the one I can see myself incorporating into my occasional flu life.

Jerry, a man twice my age, was continually afflicted with the grippe and would get angry if I ever asked what exactly this grippe thing was. “Look, I had the grippe, alright?!?! People with the grippe are very sensitive.

Puking fever

This would be, you would think, the easiest of the group to figure out. Puking fever should be exactly what it says it is. “I was throwing up and had a fever.” Bingo! Easy. “You feel good enough to go back to work?” “Would I be here if I wasn’t?”

You would be wrong if you assumed that any infirmity of the mountain people would be that simple. Puking fever also goes by the pseudonym Milk Sickness or The Sloes. Milk sickness is also called tremetol vomiting or the trembles and is a kind of poisoning that brings with it trembling, vomiting and severe intestinal pain. All pretty standard features of the average stomach flu except that The Trembles comes from ingesting milk or meat from a cow that fed on the white snakeroot plant. Cows, during a drought, will go into the woods in search of water where they find the snakeroot plant. Snakeroot? Some I am to believe that you went home for the weekend to the hills and drank some milk from a poisonous cow?

Do you know the astronomical odds of ever encountering even one person afflicted with Milk Sickness? You need a cow, a drought, snakeroot, white snakeroot at that, and you need to drink the cow’s milk like right off the udder. Like you basically had to be suckling the cow to come down with this. Yet I have seen dozens of people live through this terrible disease.

The Sloes are basically milk sickness mixed with a dose of small pox. I didn’t get a lot of claims of the sloes. “So you were off on Friday because you had milk sickness induced small pox but you’re okay today?”

Bonus – Straining your milk

A common caution verbalized by women to other women working in our plant was not to lift too much or you’d likely run the risk of “straining your milk.” I can’t imagine this warning applying to anybody but women who are nursing a child but after all of the sloes, grips and gleets who the hell knows.

What exactly happens when one “strains their milk?” Does it come out with blood like if you got kicked really hard in the nuts or does it just dry up? Can anything be done to de-strain your milk?

A Real Solution to Illegal Immigration and Disgusting Imported Food

A Real Solution to Illegal Immigration and Disgusting Imported Food

I can’t even turn on the effing news anymore without being lambasted with stories of illegal immigration. Muslims invading Europe. Mexicans overtaking the United States. God forbid some poor soul from a war-torn or impoverished country would want to come here to give his family a decent shot at not dying from drinking untreated, fecal-infested water or having a bomb dropping on their roof. What an asshole.

I know I’m probably in the minority here but I can’t help thinking that are we going to need bodies to help pay the pretty hefty Social Security tab for our aging population? Just a thought. I think I have a solution to the problem but first, my complaints.

What’s irritating me mostly now are these strange fruits and vegetables that weasel their way into the produce department of my local grocery store. I remember when I was a teenager and my mother came home with these strange, brown and fuzzy pieces of difficult to eat fruit later to become known to me as kiwi. To this day, I am still not sure how to eat a kiwi. No doubt they are delicious but how are you supposed to get the most of this tiny piece of fruit? I cut the ends off then peel, taking as little of the actual fruit off as possible. Is there a better way? Either way, it’s a lot of work and the laborious nature of consuming foreign fruit seems to be a fairly common complaint. Maybe they have more time to fuck around with their meals in other parts of the world. Here in the United States, I work all day and help raise my granddaughter. I don’t have time to soak beans or de-seed a pomegranate, I’m busy and even if I didn’t have a damn thing to do at all, I would not waste my time.

Plants that are indigenous to the United States or that I grew up eating are, for the most part, pretty easy to get access to. If I want an apple, I wash it and eat it. Same with most of your berry products. Oranges and grapefruit are a little more work but you aren’t risking throwing half of it away during the peeling process like you would with a Kiwi. Banana? Peel and eat.

There are exceptions to the rule, for instance, okra is from here, as far as I know, but I don’t eat it because it’s gross. I find it’s slimy consistency intolerable. Plus I only ever see it offered as fried. I could fry the bottom of my shoe, give it a splash of hot sauce and people would eat it. That is not a rousing endorsement for okra. Just saying.

Cilantro would be a veggie that has made inroads much the same as the kiwi into the American diet. However, I believe that any traction gained by this leaf has been on the coattails of salsa. Where would cilantro be without salsa? Cilantro is a bitter tasting leaf that has a nasty habit of finding ways of sticking to your front teeth and humiliating you when you smile. I wont smile after I eat salsa until I have a chance to inspect my mouth. I don’t care for smiling much anyway so this is not much of a problem.

Why do they sell coconuts at the grocery store? Seriously, what am I supposed to do with this thing? I don’t want any food that I have to beat mercilessly with a hammer to eat. Coconuts should come with an electric drill so you can get the milk out before you have to destroy it causing it to spill all over the place. Isn’t it enough that you can buy the coconut milk and the actual coconut fruit in other aisles in the same grocery store? Have we become so obsessed with hipster level freshness that we are resorting to buying non-prepared foods that require power tools just to indulge them?

What the hell is jicama anyway? I once had Jicama Slaw and found it to be quite tasty. Based on that, I bought one at the store and soon sorely regretted it. The thing is so full of watery juice that by the time I was done grating it, it had turned into a disgusting, cold pile of slop, as if it had melted or something. Around here, we use cabbage in our slaw and it has served us well for some time now. There really is no need for a replacement at this time. Please check back if ever you hear of a devastating cabbage blight. Plus, I’m not sure if this jicama stuff provides any extra nutritional value but if it’s laying in a puddle of it’s own filth on my kitchen counter, I fail to see how it really matters as I wont be eating it anyway. Besides, there are a whole bunch of vegetables in line in front of you, jicama, that I need to sample before I move onto other countries bounties. Take the turnip for instance. I’ve never had one, probably never will, but I will be damn sure to try a turnip long before I have another bite of jicama. Turnips are from here and I feel like I owe them some loyalty. Parsnips and rutabagas, whatever they are, would also fall into this category.

So there are three root veggies blocking the progress of this jicama tsunami and as I hate vegetables to begin with, the chances of jicama getting off the bench into a starting role are slim to none. I don’t even know if this jicama is a root, it just has the look of it. In any case, count me out.

I am a big Pinterest fan. I love it for the recipes mostly and I have been told that I may be the only straight guy with an account. Sorry but I guess that I am comfortable enough with my own masculinity to embrace Pinterest. Lately, I have been seeing a disturbing number of ideas for how to cook with jackfruit. What the hell is jackfruit? There are videos of people shredding this jackfruit stuff and using it as a replacement for meat. Like jackfruit with BBQ sauce. Yuck! They say stuff like, “you’ll never know that you’re not eating pork.” Okay, right. But my pulled pork sandwich doesn’t have seeds and a pit. I’m not fooled. Peddle your jackfruit elsewhere.

People tried to tell me to make a pizza crust out of cauliflower. Let me state, for the record, I hate cauliflower. It has a certain acerbic taste that does little more than invoke a strong gag reflex in me. I did just as the recipe said. I beat the crap out of it in the food processor and added all the spices just like the directions said. I formed it into a remedial crust and I put on all of my pizza toppings including sauce, cheese and veggies that I do like. Took one bite and spit it out on the plate. Why? All I could taste was acrid cauliflower. Yuck!

Wikipedia says that jackfruit is “widely cultivated and popular food item throughout the tropical regions of the world.” Let me translate for you, “widely cultivated and popular food item throughout regions where there is nothing better to eat.”

I tried star fruit once. Are you supposed to peel this thing? I couldn’t get any skin off of it and got sick of fucking around with it and just took a bite, after thoroughly washing it with soap first, of course. It tasted like diluted orange juice. It was useless. Why, if we have full-tasting oranges, do we need to airlift star fruit from Cambodia or where ever the hell it comes from? I can just add a whole bunch of water to my orange juice if ever I should want to experience the whole star fruit extravaganza again.

Really, outside of the kiwi, the world can take the rest of their weird and bad tasting fruit and stick it up their collective asses. I suppose a reasonable compromise would be that if we are going to willy-nilly import another countries native foods then we should allow their people to emigrate here as well. That way we will have people who know how to cook things like dragon fruit and plantains and they will have a job cooking said foods thus funding my Social Security. Problem solved.

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JP Shaver Says… Bang Your Head Here

JP Shaver Says…Bang Your Head Here…Some More

Random Thoughts on wasting your time exercising

Exercise is a Gigantic Waste of Time

The same fat guy walks by my house every morning and again every evening. He wears the same orange, foil spacesuit workout kind of garb every day; the thing must smell like bloody hell. Can you put clothes made of foil in the washer? In the last few months his wife has started to join in on the festivities though I only see her in the morning. They drag a mangy dog along with them on their walks. He doesn’t have a spacesuit but looks like he’s seen better days.

I noticed the other day that this guy, for all of his efforts, has been wearing the same orange NASA suit since he came to my attention more than a year ago. My point being that this guy has not lost a freaking ounce since he started all of this exercise frivolity. He’s still gasping for air. Still has the knees that bend in like fat people get. Still dragging around the same mangy dog. The wife is still there and I think she may be even bigger. What is the point of all of this?

I see a lot of fat people running around my neighborhood and they don’t ever get any smaller and then after a while I don’t see them anymore. A new round of rotund people replaces them. I suppose there is the possibility that the dropouts died but I don’t think so. My personal feeling is that they just woke the eff up and quit spending what little time they have to themselves and went back to the couch, television and junk food that made them so happy for all those years. Back to where they should have stayed in the first place.

I used to run. I used to run fifty plus miles a week. Of course this was twenty years ago but still, I used to be a runner. I could run like nobody’s business. Like Forrest Gump. On Saturdays I would do ten miles plus with ease. But I hated every second of it and quitting it took more gumption than getting off smokes. Trust me, I’ve quit smoking at least a thousand times. I know what it takes. It’s an addiction and what’s worse, I gained a ton of weight over my time as a jogger.

So if none of these people are losing any weight and I actually gained weight, why bother? I can’t get hurt sitting on the couch watching television but people who work out are tearing themselves apart for what?

I looked up freakish sports related injuries and a few of them stand out to me as some of the worst things that could ever happen to someone on a self-induced basis. For instance, Men’s Fitness says that a torn pectoral muscle is one of the Top 5 worst things you could ever do to yourself. It is literally your chest muscle ripping itself off of the connecting muscle in your arm as a result of lifting too much weight. The fine people at Men’s Fitness do offer advice on how to prevent such a catastrophe, and I quote, “only work with a load you can control.” Oh, thanks. Sounds like advice better saved for woman in a sex advice column in Cosmopolitan.

Plantar Fasciitis, also known as jogger’s heel, is another gem where the tendons in your foot actually start to rip to shreds. Charming. I had plantar fasciitis a few years ago but mine was brought on by being twenty-five pounds overweight not from running around the neighborhood like a hipster douche, beard blowing in the wind and hell bent on proving he’s better than everybody else because he runs. I basically did nothing but sit and eat to get this disorder. Meanwhile some dumbass tortured himself for his share of the fasciitis. Who’s smarter? In case you’re stumped, the answer is me by a longshot.

Over the course of a normal day of eating, exercise is virtually meaningless. Take a look at some of these comparisons.

I base these hopeless activities on thirty minute increments as anyone who has an hour to devote to straight exercise is a giant douche and probably needs to start a family or drive for Uber. I’m also going with a standard 180 pound human being for my example as well. The first case is walking three miles per hour for thirty minutes. This gigantic waste of time burns a grand total of 135 calories. Wow! Let me tell you what else equals 135 calories. One decent beer, one. Half of a glazed donut. A half a donut has 130 calories. I guess you could go nuts and eat the whole thing but then you’d have to walk around like a jackass for another thirty minutes. You could eat two of those tiny Snickers things and that would add up to 130 or so calories. Is eating two of those stupid things worth punishing yourself for a half an hour? The answer is a resounding, no.

On the flipside, you could eat two heads of iceberg lettuce and stay under 135 calories. Yum. Vegetables are the worst things ever created. I have a theory that there weren’t vegetables until Adam and Eve sinned, they are a part of God’s curse on man.

Of course there are other calorie burning activities which carry much more bang for the buck. Tai Chi burns upwards of 170 calories per half hour but there is the added cost of looking like a total asshole while you do it. My friend’s neighbor used to do his tai chi routine on his front lawn every morning and could not have looked like a bigger dick. This guy was pretty well built but he lived with his tobacco spitting mom and they would yell at each other the whole time he was getting his chi on. To me tai chi is a mental art as well as physical one but the whole thing is kind of ruined when your toothless mom is shaming you for looking like a total nad in front of the neighbors.

I looked on the list for an activity that I might be able to embrace. Bird watching actually burns a hundred calories per 30 minutes invested. Pretty sure that means that I burn one hundred calories just by sitting down so I’m into that one. Gutter cleaning cuts two hundred calories per 30 minutes. I’m required to perform this task, no choice, so I guess I’m in for gutter cleaning. Only problem is I only do it once a year so I’ll probably need to fill in around the edges a bit. Taking out the trash burns 120 calories but I don’t think I could stretch this activity out for an actual thirty minutes unless I was an actual garbage man. No, I think I’ll just sit in my chair.

Pushing a kid around in a stroller burns 120 calories but pushing a plane, like a real airplane, burns 250. Who sat down and figured out the calorie burn of moving an airplane anyway? Who is pushing an airplane anyway? This is an activity usually reserved for a guy like Superman. Doesn’t it seem like pushing an airplane should burn just a few more calories than shoving around crib midget in a stroller? Just sayin’.

Take a look at this poor sap. I despise motivational memes. I especially dislike the wines memes but the ones used for motivation are pathetic.


“We need encouragers?” No, what we need is somebody to tell this poor bastard that he or she is seriously wasting their time. Since cycling at a modest rate of 10 MPH, and let’s face it, this lump is going to be lucky to break the speed necessary to just stay up, at 10 MPH a person will burn about 200 calories. What are the odds that taking 200 calories off the top of what this person ingests in an average day is going to put even a scratch into that frame? Zilch.

I didn’t realize until the other day that my iPhone has an app built into called, “Health.” What’s more, I didn’t realize that it was “on.” Astoundingly, when I opened the app I found that I am actually walking over a mile and a half on average every day! Now, I don’t walk. I don’t run. I sit at work all day and sit when I get home in the evening. All of this is a prelude to getting into bed and sleeping for 8 hours. Where is this mile and a half coming from? Like almost 3000 steps a day? Most of it on the weekdays. And then it dawned on me. I smoke, and all of this activity is coming from walking back and forth to the smoking pit in back of the building at work and firing up a heater every hour and a half. At home on the weekends I don’t have to do anything but go out on the deck to throw down some heat. Quitting smoking would single-handedly strip me of the only activity this body has. And here I was thinking of quitting for the 1001st time.

Random Thoughts on Dieting Once Again

Dieting Again

I have previously mentioned my struggles with diets how I have tried every one of them known to man, The Atkins Diet, The Cabbage Soup Diet, The Paleo Diet and even flirted with Veganism for six months or so. I know diets. You need info, you come to me. I never stick with them long enough to know if they actually work but I can tell you the intimate details of every last one of them. I even had the thought of creating my own dieting system called The Self-Loathing Diet. The whole thing is based on a severe sense of self-hatred resulting in weight loss gained from denying yourself life’s pleasures.

I made the mistake of sharing the idea of The Self-Loathing Diet to my friend Wenus. Not sure if that’s how you spell Wenus, we never checked, but it’s the nickname we gave him, not his real name. Wenus has large elbow skin. It’s gross to tell you the truth and he is aware of it’s indecency as well. Playing golf with him is an atrocity as, first, you kind of have to wear a short sleeved shirt to play golf properly and, second, his elbow flesh flaps in a good wind. In a typical round I spend four hours gagging. It’s really inhuman. His hatred for his rather generous allotment of elbow dermis may explain why he was so drawn to my idea of dieting based on hating yourself. My mistake came when I underestimated the amount of pleasure Wenus would derive from dieting on denial. He texted me one early afternoon to tell me that he actually developed an erection while loading up at the salad bar at work instead of going for the usual burger and fries. With each scoop of broccoli, Wenus was becoming more and more aroused. He had become a contorted mix of a vegan and some guy who likes women to walk in high heels on his balls. He’s thinner now but is in dire need of aggressive therapy. True story.

I am susceptible to influence from documentaries too. I know this and actually avoid watching them as I know, going in, that it will be a life changing event for me. I was bored a few weeks back and decided that I should watch the documentary, Fed Up. If you haven’t seen it, it’s about how the sugar industry is slowly killing all of us with their poison. Apparently, corn syrup is the new anthrax. Terrorists will be sending packages of this stuff to their local congressman as their next acts of war. “You will release my brothers from Guantanamo or I swear to Allah that I will make you cupcakes from high fructose corn syrup and in five to ten years when you develop diabetes you will remember these words.” Probably not the most politically correct fictional quote but I simply couldn’t resist. Anywho, within the first five minutes of watching, I knew my next dieting adventure was about to begin.

I’m not really motivated to lose weight anymore just so I can look good, I’m past that sort of vanity. I don’t want sculpted abs. I have abs, I think, somewhere in the abdominal region. I’m just not inclined to put in the work it would require to procure them or bring them to the surface. Besides, 95% of the women that I would be interested in, if I wasn’t married, that is, would find me repulsive because I am old, I will be fifty in a few weeks, and because I don’t like to go out for anything but movies and dinner. Younger women like to do things, things I hate. What in the world would we talk about? I would ask questions like, “Who is this Selena Gomez character anyway?” or “Why do I need Instagram when I already have Facebook?” She would ask me things like, “So there was really a time before cable?” or “Can we, just once, go out to dinner after 7:30?”

When I was young, if we wanted to attract females, we unbuttoned our shirts, flashed some chest hair and slathered ourselves in a half a bottle of Drakkar. No one cared if you cooked and cleaned, in fact, it was perceived as a character flaw if you did. We were men and if we were looking for female companionship, we went out and actually talked our way into it. We didn’t need toys like Tinder, we were Tinder.

I was never a big club guy but I cannot imagine the horror of dating a younger women and having to go clubbing today. I hate loud noises and clubs permeate with loud, awful music. There isn’t anything to do there but drink and dance. I don’t drink and dancing is dumb. One of my favorite lines from Seinfeld is:

Jerry – I can’t believe that we’re going dancing!

Jerry’s girlfriend (I don’t remember her name and do not care to look it up) – Why because it’s so much fun?

Jerry – No, because it’s so stupid.

No, I am not vain but I am as cheap as the day is long and I aspire to be even more frugal someday. I plopped down, and when I say plopped I mean collapsed, on a picnic blanket at a recent outdoor Steely Dan concert and the side of my pants ripped, I assume because I am apparently becoming larger, sort of like if you dropped an overly laden water balloon on the driveway. My first thought was not that I was fat but rather, “dammit, now I have to buy new pants!”

I have always been a floater weight-wise, bouncing in between 205 and 220 for the last ten years and that basically coincides with the fitment of my pants. Once I get to the limits of dungaree comfortability, most of the time on the high side, in fact, I can’t think of having to ever gain weight to fit my clothes, I know that it’s time to start watching what I eat. It really is the only reason I opt to be slimmer. I don’t have to look at myself, other people do and that’s their problem. If I happen to catch a quick glimpse of myself in the mirror, I immediately turn away and start thinking about baseball statistics until the shame passes. The same kind of technique one would use to prolong their sexual stamina. By the way, just in case you care, that never works.

I get the feeling that it’s time to lose weight again when my belt starts to cut into my spinal cord. My tighter belts are shaped like question marks because they are contorted by the vast amount of pressure my burgeoning abdomen puts on them. They fit right against the flat of my back but the leather has to make some dramatic and dangerous turns in order to navigate my lumpy front. It’s not a pretty job being my belt. Only the best need apply.

Speaking of being fifty, I’m really not having any emotional or mental issues when it comes to hitting the “Big 5-0”. I don’t long for a sports car, a hair weave and a twenty year old hanging on my arm. I think I’m safe from the mid-life crisis. Plus, I look at the pictures of myself when I was in high school and, to be frank, I was a giant dork. I was always a snappy dresser. I am now and would have been then, a member of the Sock of the Month Club and if that doesn’t scream snazzy, I don’t know what does, but my hair and glasses were socially debilitating, and I barely spoke to anyone. Ugh. I must say that, I think, I look better now than ever. I’ve kept most of my hair and it has a nice touch of gray to it brought on by big gains in wisdom. I wouldn’t trade wisdom for youth for anything in the world.

So this Fed Up thing has me living without sugar now. According to FU, I will appropriately call it FU from now on, sugar is not just in your donuts, cakes, pies and everything else considered delicious, no, apparently, a slice of white bread has more sugar, once broken down in your body, than a Snickers candy bar. Oh, and sugar, raises your insulin levels exponentially resulting in diabetes, obesity and all other kinds of debilitating maladies. When I heard the word, obesity, I thought, could this possibly be my next foray into dieting? I told you, when I watch a documentary, I watch that effing thing, man.

I made lists. I love making lists. I jotted down every food that is permissible on a low glycemic diet. Your meats, cheeses, veggies and fruits basically. Given that I can tolerate about three vegetables, that list is a short one. I made the grocery list and went in full bore.

One week update –

So I’ve been riding the no sugar wave now for a total of one week and I have been watching the progress on the scale every morning, does anyone else weigh themselves while on a diet hoping to have not lost weight so you can say that the whole thing is total bullshit and go back to eating the food you love? I do. Every morning.

I was half disappointed to find that I had lost eleven pounds. I mean, I’ll take the eleven pound loss but would have been just as happy to see that FU had lied to me and I could stop at Dunkin donuts on my way to work.

Now I’m stuck on this thing until the weight loss comes to a grinding halt, until I watch another documentary or if someone were to offer me a thick slab of apple crumb pie.

Random Thoughts on Dreams and My Eye

Random Thoughts


I don’t have any recollection of my dreams. Some days I wake up and my mood is set by whatever was going on in my head while I was sleeping but I have no idea why. I can wake up sad, glad or mad and in the cases of sad and mad, I would like to know what the effing deal is so I can move on.

Have you ever written a song in a dream? It’s like the most amazing sounding thing ever, so good that Jesus is playing a mean lead guitar and singing back-up but when you wake up you can’t remember a damn thing.

My inability to remember my somnambulative adventures is so weak that I can only recall a handful of dreams I’ve ever had in my entire life.

About thirty years ago I had a dream that I was walking around a foggy version of the neighborhood that I grew up in. This, first off, is clearly a dream as I don’t walk anywhere. Why would I pay for a car and then go for a walk? Exercise? C’mon. Anyway, I walk by my mom’s friend’s Judy’s house, and she invites me in for a coffee. When I was a kid Judy used to give me a cup of those International Foods flavored coffees which made me think I was a pretty big deal, drinking coffee and all, like an adult. So she sits me down at the dining room table, gives me my coffee and proceeds to tell me that she’s going away and won’t see me anymore.

Pretty standard dream I guess until I get to work the next morning and my mom calls and tells me, “Judy died in her sleep last night.” She wasn’t ill and was in her early fifties. Weird. How did this happen? Why can’t this happen more? I mean, not the Judy dying part but the cognitive ability to tap into this kind of information. Like I wouldn’t mind knowing who’s going to win in the third at Belmont tomorrow or which team to throw a large amount of money on in the next Superbowl. It was nice and all of Judy to come tell me goodbye but, all I’m saying is, maybe she could have dropped a little financially beneficial knowledge on me on my way out the door. Like, “Oh, hey, Jonathan, by the way, you might want to lay a little cash down on this company that’s going to have an IPO in a few years, remember the name Apple.” Would that have been so hard?

I think I was in the third grade? Maybe fourth? Somewhere in that eight or nine year old wheelhouse. I was playing intermural hockey and was a blue line right winger. Blue line being second team kind of thing. So one Saturday morning game I go crazy and score three goals in my limited playing time. As I remember it, two of the goals I scored went down because the goalie was actually picking his nose when I blew a meteoric slap shot right past his non-existent defense but the coach didn’t notice the nose picking and thought I really had some skills. Life is not always about being good, moist of the time it’s about somebody else not paying attention. I was immediately promoted to the red line. Red line being a starter for those of you from Akron.

In my mind, I was the next Gordie Howe. Gordie Howe being one of the all-time great professional hockey players but probably a non-entity to anyone under the age of forty. Kind of like my grandmothers favorite actor was some guy named Tom Mix. Who the hell is Tom Mix?

This was also, in my mind, the time to start worrying about the next game. If I was to keep this goal scoring frenzy up, I would need some kind of goal scoring plan and I was not sure if I could count on the next goalie to be struggling with a sinus issue.

The night before “the big game” which is stupid anyway because I was eight and nothing should be that serious at eight, I had a horrifying dream that I remember as vividly today as if it just happened last night. I was skating around the ice warming up for the game when I realized that I had forgotten my hockey pants. This wasn’t one of those “forgot my pants but still had my underwear on” kind of frustration dreams, I had nothing on but my sweater and skates. As I continued to glide around the ice, I suddenly became aware that no one had noticed. That’s when I noticed my grandmother in the stands cheering me on. I mean, if my grandmother hadn’t noticed then I was pretty confident that I could probably play this whole game half naked, score a ton of goals off of some snot eating goalie, get carried triumphantly off the ice on the shoulders of my teammates then quickly run to the locker room to throw on some pants. My fans would be so enthralled with my greatness that they would be blind to my nakedness, sort of like the statue of David.

My grandmother had other ideas though. Oddly she was setting up a hot dog kiosk in the stands. Strange, I thought, but even she should be able to financially capitalize on the greatness of her extremely gifted grandson. I mean wouldn’t you rather buy your hot dogs from the grandmother of the greatest hockey player to ever grace the ice? Don’t they taste better that way? However, to my horror, my sweet grandmother started hurling ketchup covered hot dogs, without the bun I might add, at my bare ass. All around the ice there was a trail of steaming hot dogs and ketchup. People were in hysterics and I looked like a chump.

As if the pressure of being the new starting right wing weren’t enough I was now having dreams about my sexual identity? Is this really happening? All the next day, game day, and still to this day, instead of playing the game of my life, I’m sitting there mentally punishing myself with the question, “is my grandmother trying to tell me that I’m a gay right wing?”

My Eyes

In the eighth grade I had to get glasses. I was for all intents and purposes, blind. You could have taken two of those clear glass restaurant ashtrays, wrapped a couple of black pipe cleaners around them and tied them to my face and I might have been able to see correctly. At the eye doctor, of course I opted for the douchiest pair I could find, black, metal rimmed glasses that with gray tinted lenses and made me look like a fourteen year old Russian porn star. You could have taken these glasses of mine outside and burned ants with them the lenses were so thick.

I got braces in the ninth grade to go along with the telescope fastened to my head which pushed me into a dork spiral that I didn’t recover from until I went to college. I still had the glasses in college but at least I had straight teeth. My mom told me that chicks dig straight teeth. Apparently even she knew I was a tard.

When I was 35 or so and had become accustomed to the burden of horrible vision, I came home from work and decided that I would get a little sun before dinner. It was one of those hot and steamy summer days like in the high 90’s and within 30 minutes, I was sick to the point of throwing up. I head inside to take a nap in the air-conditioning and wake up a half an hour later to absolutely perfect vision. I mean better than 20/20 vision like I’m an effing superhero or something. I, of course, am freaked out by the whole affair because I am certain that I have a giant tumor pressing against my optic nerve temporarily giving me this glorious vision. Clearly as the tumor grows, my vision will ebb back to virtual blindness but, by then, I won’t care because by then I will in the throes of death from a cripplingly painful form of eye cancer.

I go and see an eye doctor and tell him the whole scenario. Bear in mind that this guy is old, he has seen every eye issue known to man and probably fitted people with monocles before the advent of dual lens glasses, and he goes, “Hmm, not really sure what happened. Saw it once before but that guy died a few months later.” WTF!!! And I’m paying for this kind of help? It took this idiot twenty minutes of jamming lights and wind into my eyeball before I said, “Look man, be straight with me. This guy, did he die a slow and painful death wasting away to nothing as the cancer ate away at his body? I mean, I need to know what’s going to happen to me so stop fucking around with my eye and finish your stupid story!!”

Let me first say that I don’t think eye doctors are used to being spoken to like this but he literally just told me that the only person he’s ever seen self-heal their eye in his 150 or however many year career died and I was inconsolable. “I mean, how can you be so flippant about this? You just told me I have head cancer and all you keep doing is shoving that pen thing in my eye!”

Looking up from his glasses, he goes, “Who that guy? Oh his wife’s boyfriend ran him over with the car. Dead before he hit the pavement”

Random Thoughts – Is it a Conway Twitty song or a porno movie title?

Conway Twitty Song Or Porno Movie Title?

I’m not sure how many of you are familiar with the musical stylings of, one, Mr. Conway Twitty but he was a pretty big deal in the country music business way back when. You might also recognize the name from the many Family Guy episodes where they headline some of his more popular ballads. I’ve always wondered if they’re making fun of him or if they’re serious fans, can’t tell which.

When I was a kid there was a television program called Hee-Haw, sort of a gritter variety show, and Conway Twitty was a frequent and popular guest. He was gross with some seriously crooked, brown country teeth, which probably explains why he never smiled, but women loved him and men wanted to be him, just like Apollo Creed. I appreciate people with bad teeth who go to the trouble of disguising it from me, mostly by not smiling or by covering their disfigured, brown, little niblits when they laugh. The British don’t care. Their teeth look like a broken bicycle chain and haven’t a thought in the world of covering it up.

My grandparents were country music fans, more specifically bluegrass, and they liked to watch Hee-Haw. I remember being over there one evening, either Saturday or Sunday, can’t remember which night it was on and really didn’t think it was worth the effort to look it up, but Conway was on and I had to be quiet so my grandmother could listen to him croon. Like I said, chicks dug him. I say “dug” him because he’s dead now.

My buddy Scott and I tried to make a run of liking old school country music a few months ago as I already had an affinity for George Jones and Lyle Lovett. I can get into any kind of music as long as it’s good. My theory with regard to music is, good is good no matter what genre it is. It’s a simple theory from a simple man. We settled on starting off with Conway Twitty because I remember him purveying records on television twenty years back and figured that he must be good because of that plus he had an amazing head of hair. We also liked his “eff you” smirk that he used on every album cover. He was clearly implying, “yeah, I know I’m a douche but I get laid every time the wind blows and you’re a big giant loser.”

Our obsession carried into Scott going to some effort to draw Twitty style hair on a few of our friends. This is Shane Murphy sporting Conway’s flowing locks. Shane is normally purposely bald but has the “eff you” look on his face because he’s posing for a picture at work. Work is the worst place smile, no one is happy.

shane twittyconway twotty

We fired up Spotify and just let Conway go at it. I must say, it was just dreadful. It was one of those times where, if it continued much longer, you would just opt for death instead of this.

I also sensed an overpowering feeling of being less of a man in comparison to this titan of country music and I also noticed that I was having a hard time distinguishing his rather graphic song titles from what could be titles of porno movies. Who did this guy think he was!?

So I figured we could play a little game. The challenge is simple, guess whether the title is a Conway Twitty song or the title of a porno movie. The answers will be provided at the end so keep close track of your answers.

“How Much More Can She Stand”

I know, right? You thought this was going to be easy but this guy didn’t sing your typical “down in the dumps because my girl left me and the law found my still” kind of country music. Maybe this is a song describing how his poor wife, Mrs. Conway Twitty, can’t stand his philandering ways any longer because, let’s face it, this guy was probably banging everything that moved. Of course this could also be the title of some underground, gang bang, snuff film.

“You’ve Never Been This Far Before”

Two choices here. Is this one of those porno movies where the girl is barely eighteen and babysitting for some giant creeper? Typically the wife drank too much at the party, collapsed in bed and now he can’t drive the poor girl home because there’s a bad storm outside so he decides to, for all intents and purposes, rape her. Or is it an inspirational Conway Twitty song about the first time he’d ever been out of his two bit coal mining town, Jawharp, Mississippi, breaking the shackles of his abusive pappy and hitchhiking to Nashville to be the music star they told him he couldn’t be? Tough call, right?

“I Can’t Believe She Gives It All To Me”

Are you noticing a theme here? Are we talking about her paycheck, her love or her lady parts? Clearly, a stud like Conway would be interested in all three but a porno would focus only on her lady parts.

“I’d Just Love To Lay You Down”

Now, this one seems a bit easier to discern but let us not forget about that genre of porn made specifically for women and their more romantic side. The kind where the guy is actually good looking instead of some troglodytic retard with nothing more to offer than a giant unit. In chick porn, the hot parts revolve around going shopping, then stopping over at her mom’s for lunch. Once they get home, he cooks dinner and rubs her feet while she tells him why he sucks. Then he cuddles her till she goes to sleep while watching DVR’d episodes of The View. Of course, he’s a billionaire, spends frivolously on her and never talks except to compliment her.

She would like him to be more assertive like Christian in Shades of Grey but every time he opens his mouth she tells him to shut up and wishes he was dead. Sexual bliss!!

“Rest Your Love On Me”

I think this one comes down to exactly what is the definition of the word “love” in this title. Is it a euphemism for some guys junk or is Conway just getting weird here, the existential Conway like after he met Ravi Shankar, or was that The Beatles? How does one rest their love on another person? As if love was an elbow or a head.

Red Neckin’ Love Makin’ Night

I can see the box cover of this porno / album. A giant, ape like hillbilly in a red flannel shirt sporting a sweaty, farm stained John Deere hat, holding some drunken gritter chick, her name is Brittany or Tiffany and she has an illegitimate son named DJ and he has a blond rattail,  under his arm and a beer in the other. He’s hooting and hollering about blowing something up with illegal fireworks, gritters love fireworks, or at his rage at the loss of the Confederate flag and the legalization of gay marriage. In the movie / album, he drives an American pick-up truck with a gun rack, of course, and a bumper sticker that says something like, “If you weren’t born here, get the fuck out!” He has a caricature taped to the inside of his locker down at the mill of Uncle Sam strangling Bernie Sanders. She is surely dressed like Daisy Duke, is as dumb as a stump but loves sex.

Wait, am I talking about porn or Conway Twitty. I feel confused because from the description, I can’t tell. Good luck on that one.

“She’s Got A Single Thing On Her Mind”


This should be a no-brainer as a porno but it could also quite easily be a Conway Twitty ballad about a hillbilly chick out for a night on the town, skulking around the local saloons looking for love. Of course, she’s seven months pregnant but still wearing skin tight sequined clothes, drinks like a fish and smokes like a factory and she and her “old man” have had an on-again / off–again thing going since she was fourteen.

He’s kicked her ass a few times where the law had to get involved. Charges were filed but she always drops them and blames herself. “It’s my fault. Zeke asked for the puffy Cheetos and I bought the crunchy ones. I deserved it. I loves him. He’s a good man who got pushed too far.”

“It Turns Me Inside Out”

Conway Twitty song or BBC porn, and not the British Broadcasting Network for those of you from Akron, shown from the woman’s point of view?

“Something Strange Got Into Her Last Night”

This may be my favorite of the bunch. I mean, even if this is a Conway Twitty ditty how can it possibly be innocent? Maybe Big CT, at last, had his lifelong cuckolding fantasy fulfilled watching the misses get railed then chose to celebrate in song. This could easily be a run of the mill porno as well, though it could serve as both.

“I’m Not Through Loving You Yet”

Conway Twitty tune or a nasty BDSM movie?

“I Vibrate”

How can this possibly be a country music song? Maybe it’s a parody on the Will Smith movie, I Robot? Porn parody is a pretty popular genre covering all kinds of mainstream subjects with sexual spoof.

Some of my favorites are Schindler’s Fist, Ally McFeel, Free Your Willy and Edward Penishands.

“I’ve Already Loved You In My Mind”

Solo girl porno or another classic by Conway? Either way, somebody is clearly masturbating here.

“Long Black Train”

Okay, this is the hardest, all puns aside, on the list. I am going to allow your imaginations to run with this one as my taking the time to lay out the obvious porn scenario is a waste of time and surely country music songsters love to sing about trains. Good luck.

Okay, get your responses ready because I’m about to reveal the much anticipated answers. Drumroll please……

Ha! They’re all Conway Twitty songs. I was just funnin’ with you. This guy was either a serious twisted in the head psychopath or was one of the most naïve people to ever walk the face of the earth. I mean, how he could have written a song titled “Long Black Train” and not thought to himself, “Self, maybe I need a different title to this cut because it sounds a lot like a hardcore porno movie.”

Was anybody who spent any amount of time around this guy like, “Dude, you need to seriously re-think some of these song titles. The one, “I Ain’t Done Loving You Yet” clearly reeks of kidnapping and violent rape.”

“Now I know why I lose chick to guys like you. It’s not just the uniforms, it’s the stories you tell. Lee Harvey! That time when you and your buddies tried to make it with that cow? I want to party with you wild man.”

Random Thoughts – Actors and Politicians Do Not Mix

Random Thoughts on Actors Meddling in Politics

The whole game of politics is a joke to me. Throw a bunch of d-bags into a ring, let them spout off about all the amazing things they’re going to do for us, pick the dog with the least number of fleas and then watch them renege on every last thing they said. I can’t even tell the difference between the parties anymore as no matter who’s elected the deficit still goes up and young people still go and die in useless undefined wars in strange parts of the globe, aka, wherever there happens to be oil.

I used to be a rabid conservative and a devoted student of Ayn Rand’s Objectivism but have since decided that I am not rich enough to call myself a Republican anymore. They only care about corporate welfare and geopolitical undermining. The other side of the political coin doesn’t do much for me either. Leaky national borders and Obama Phones have left me disillusioned. I think what I have become is a humanitarian or whatever you want to call somebody who just wants to see people valued. I see no difference anymore between Republicans and Democrats, I just see money grubbing d-bags hell bent on promising the sheep the world and delivering nothing but their real agenda. “Sure we will do something about this student loan disaster but let me get to it as soon as I finish fucking around and destabilizing Ukraine.”

As I’ve said before, I will not and do not vote as I will not be party to these ridiculous charlatans and therefore not personally responsible when they eff everybody over. Obama, one of the Bush clan of idiots, Rand Paul, Hillary, they’re all just actors on a stage. A stage created to placate us into thinking that government actually gives a rat’s ass about us. Screw em all.

Speaking of actors, I am becoming increasingly incensed by the dalliances of actors into the political foray. This is nothing new as actors have stuck their noses into things that don’t involve them for decades. John Wilkes Booth was an actor and he shot Lincoln, so there is some history here. What annoys me are the George Clooney’s and Leo DiCaprio’s of the world thinking that we should listen to them about which idiot to vote for like they are in the know. Are any of you swayed by these shenanigans? If you are, you’re an idiot. Do any of you watch this circus and say to yourselves, “Leo says to vote for the Democrats because the Republicans suck. I liked The Wolf of Wall Street so I’m going all in on the liberals?”

I would be remiss if I didn’t call out the musicians who think it’s okay to charge me a hundred dollars to go to their show and then spend my valuable time telling me about how they think I should vote for such and such. I never was a really big Pearl Jam to begin with but Eddie Vedder is the biggest violator of such behavior. Yeah, great Ed, so I have to pay a ton of hard earned money to get in here and now I have to listen to you drone on about Darfur and freeing Tibet. Eat shit and start singing you asshole! Please don’t remind me that Pearl Jam has very low ticket prices, I know this already. Even if I got in free, I don’t want to listen to him telling me what he thinks is important. “Oh, Ed, I see you play the guitar and the ukulele? Please tell me how I should feel about the Keystone Pipeline project.”

I think what galls me more than anything is that they actually think we respect them. The self-important cloud they surround themselves with makes me seethe inside.

Writers note:

Surely this tactic of bringing in actors and musicians to back your political scam is a worthwhile tactic and if any of you are, indeed, swayed by this bullcrap, then you’re a fucking idiot and shouldn’t even have the right to vote. Just my opinion for what it’s worth.

Leonardo DiCaprio –

Recently I watched Leo DiCaprio addressing the U.N. on climate control and this guy looked and sounded like he was actually buying into the idea that he was an expert on the subject. I’m not sure where I stand on global warming as I see so many different studies with diametric results but I would hope to God that if there was a real story to tell that it wouldn’t come from a giant conceded douche bag like this guy. I like Leo’s movies. In fact, there are very few bad ones in the bunch and he’s a fine actor but you know what? I hate him now. I will never drop another cent to watch this work. Gilbert Grape can go eff himself. He is dead to me now. One last thing of relative interest, Leo dropped out of high school after three years but eventually got his GED. Cleary not the kind of educational background one would expect from someone addressing the U.N. about climate change. At least I think so. However, he was in a movie with Tom Hanks so…..

George Clooney –

George Clooney has, at this point in his rather lackluster career, made somewhere in the vicinity of, and I’m guessing here, thirty films. In those thirty films, there are exactly none that were any good. He’s the worst and most over-rated actor ever. It’s quite evident that he isn’t acting. He is the same bland and sterile a-hole in every role he plays. Basically, he is being himself. Helen Hunt has the same kind of boorish skills, she can’t act either. In every movie she’s ever been in she’s the same whiny bitch over and over again. How do either of these people keep getting work? George I can see, chicks dig him. Helen is a disaster and needs to just close up shop. So back to George, why is this guy spouting off to the U.N. and being invited to the White House? Is it solely because he’s cute? It certainly isn’t because of the quality of his film work. It seems, at least, unlike his little buddy, Leo, that George did manage to graduate from high school and even dabbled a bit in college but eventually quit to take up acting.

In his defense he, on paper, has quite a pedigree for politics as his dad was a game show host and his mom paraded herself around in beauty pageants. And this guy is influencing global agendas? God help us all.

Angelina Jolie –


Stacey Dash –

I would be doing a disservice if I focused my attentions only on your more liberal soap boxers even though they do seem to excel at making jackasses of themselves at a much higher rate than their conservative counterparts. Stacey Dash sits atop my Top 5 Hottest Actress list and also as the biggest blowhard for conservative causes from the ranks of Hollywood. I hesitated to even add her to my hottest list because, what has she really ever done? Playing Dionne in Clueless does not a career make. She had a nice spread in Playboy a few years back which, in her mind, seems to makes her an authority on all things conservative.

Stacey so infuriated the liberals last election with her proselytizing for Bush that she actually was receiving a rather regular flow of death threat Tweets. I follow her on Twitter for some reason, I think in hopes of having the inside track on more nude shots, but have found that all she does is re-post neo-conservative horseshit all the while glorifying whatever current war we happened to have stirred up for ourselves.

Susan Sarandon / Tim Robbins –

Her topless scenes in Pretty Baby and Atlantic City certainly prepared her to, and I’m laying on a heavy dose of sarcasm here, saunter down the halls of the White House during the Clinton administration. And while I would like to say that anybody who played Andy Dufresne in The Shawshank Redemption is a good egg in my book, I simply cannot. What makes these two windbags think they have any words of political wisdom to speak into our lives?

In the end, I guess my hatred for politics and misguided and self-important movie stars have collided. It’s like if you mixed battery acid with vinegar and told me to drink it.

Random Thoughts on Stupidity

Random Thoughts – Are We Becoming Dumber?

Thomas Jefferson once wrote, “If ignorance is bliss, why aren’t more people happy?” A brilliant observation for sure and it shows that stupidity has stood the test of time. He was equally as frustrated in his day as I am today.

In Jefferson’s day, people died of earaches and simple cuts. That doesn’t happen today because we’ve invented antibiotics to fix that problem. It’s amazing to me that today we have advanced medicines, have perfected flight and have even been to the moon and back but I can’t find a waiter who can get my order right the first time. Don’t come to my table and take my order without a pen and paper unless you plan on getting my order damn straight. I hate that and always want to say, “Will you please write this down? We will both be happier later when I don’t have to be a dick to you.” I hate a drive-thru too. Is it the bad communication device you’re using or please tell me why I have to say McChicken 17 times before you hear me properly?

Have you ever spoken to someone at Time Warner Cable? It makes me lose faith in humanity.

I read the other day that the collective IQ of western civilization is actually 14 points lower than that of 100 years ago. The theory is based on the work of Dr. Jan te Nijenhuis, professor of work and organizational psychology at the University of Amsterdam.

“The study examined results of 14 intelligence studies conducted between 1884 to 2004 that measured participants’ so-called visual reaction times. The test asked the participant to push a button after seeing a stimulus. In the 19th century, the average speed was 194 milliseconds, in 2004, 275 milliseconds.”

My understanding of a person’s IQ score is that is has little to do with knowing your state capitals or the genus of the bullfrog as those things are learned. IQ has more to do with your brains innate ability to reason and, hence, becomes a test that you cannot study for. I’m not a scientist, like Leonardo DiCaprio seems to think he is with all of his bullshit dalliances into climate change, but this “reaction time” test seems to fit the bill as something that would tap into our minds raw ability to reason and offer a proper IQ score.

My reaction to this story was, “duh.” Like, really? People are more stupid than ever? No way! Shocking! Like the other day when I gave the cashier $10.38 for cigarettes that cost $9.38 because I didn’t want a pocket full of change in return for a straight ten dollar bill. She gave me a blank, idiotic stare and said, “Uh, that’s too much.” Or when I sit behind some dumbass at a red light waiting for them to turn right and they just sit there? How did you pass your driver’s test you blowhole? They changed that law like 30 years ago, you can turn now!! How does this idiot even remember how to get to work? How do they even hold a job in the first place?

Have you ever watched the YouTube videos of people being asked simple junior high school history class questions? Stuff like, how many states are in the US or find Ethiopia on a map. As you listen to the answers and you laugh at first but then develop an uncontrollable urge to shove an ice pick into your skull just to put yourself out of your misery. I don’t want to co-exist with people who think we have 64 states or that Ethiopia is a colony on the moon.

I once had a conversation with a lady at the height of the ozone layer controversy, back in the late 80’s. She insisted that the Space Shuttle was responsible for the hole in our Earth’s protective layer and that the space program needed to be brought to an immediate halt before we all died of a hyper-sunburn. Like what do you think you retard, that the earth is surrounded by some protective Saran wrap being pilloried with NASA holes?! That was 30 years ago and I remember it like it just happened. Do you think she has ever looked back and thought, “God what an idiot that guy was?” I can assure you, no. She has blissfully lived as a complete moron since and will die one. I on the other hand think of it regularly as a testament to how I was created to suffer.

The median IQ in the United States is an embarrassing 98. 80 is considered mentally challenged which, broken down, means that half the people you encounter on a daily basis are literally hovering barely above being able to tie their own shoes. I did a little Googling and found that a dogs are assumed to have the human equivalent of an IQ falling someplace in the area of the mid to high 50’s. High 50’s?!?! The average human IQ is 98 and a dog is near 60? Am I in the Twilight Zone? Hell, perhaps?

They say that whales and dolphins have bigger brains than humans and are, therefore, smarter. That they have created their own languages and live in happy families. Well guess what? So have we. We have lots of different languages and families too. And guess what else? We have houses and cars, hospitals and governments. We win. I wonder, though, are there stupid dolphins? Are there Sperm Whales that can’t give proper change? Do dumb Killer Whales spend their time fascinated with the celebrity of Shamu like we do with Kim and Kanye? Do they ignore whale cops murdering whale citizens and walk, or swim as the case may be here, around completely blind to aquatic corruption?

Think about this, you’re accused of a crime you didn’t commit. All of the smart people know how to finagle the system and get out of jury duty. You’re left with your life hanging on a thread based on the reasoning skills of mindless troglodytic morons and angry, old people with an axe to grind. The thought of this keeps me up at night.

Writers note:

I have found the way to get out of jury duty, don’t vote. I haven’t voted since the second Reagan administration because I will not be made a fool of and have never been called to serve. Do you really think that “those truly in power” would dare give us a presidential candidate that they didn’t have in their back pocket? With trillions of dollars on the line would I, if I were one of “them,” risk going into an election not having full control of Jeb Bush or Hilary Clinton? Not a chance. It’s a sucker’s bet and I refuse to play.

When I read this study, you would think that my reaction would be more in the arena of, “aww, that’s terrible. People are suffering in ignorance.” But no, I jumped up out of my chair and screamed, “I KNEW IT!!” I’m the one who’s been suffering all along, not them!

I believe I have the answer to Jefferson’s conundrum. I postulate that when you’re stupid, you’re too dumb to know it. The opposite of intelligence isn’t happy, it’s numb.

“If his momma named him Cassius, then I’m gonna call him Cassius.”

Random Thoughts on Pest Control and Phil

Random Thought

Pest Control

Our deck is sinking. At first it was only an inch or two but now it’s over a foot deep and it has ripped away from the house. This is not good as my big beautiful deck now looks like a bowl shaped skateboard park. Apparently, carpenter ants are eating my house and it was time to call in a professional pest control company to take care of this as I will soon be living in a hole in the ground in the chewed up remains of what was once my home.

I like to give my business to companies that pride themselves on good customer service. When I call, I want a moderately fast response. Like, I don’t call my refrigerator repairman to check in on how things are going in his world, my damned refrigerator is broken and my five dollar pint of Ben and Jerry’s is melting all over the floor. I take into account that these people have more customers than myself to service and as long as they can come out to the house by the next day, I’m fine with it.

So these ants didn’t just start destroying my house last month. I figure this has been going on for a few years at the very least given the amount of damage they’ve so waiting a day or two was of little consequence so I thought it a bit odd that Pest Control Guy, henceforth referred to as PCG, was almost literally at my house before I put the phone on. I immediately suspected shenanigans and man was I right.

Me, “I was hoping you could come out and take a look at what I think is either a termite or carpenter ant situation at my house?” PCG, sounding very much like he was scanning thru his thoroughly booked calendar, “let’s see, I guess I could meet you at your home in like, ten minutes?” Me, “uh, excuse me, did you say ten minutes?” Where is this guy, in my effing driveway? PCG, “yes sir, ten minutes.” I’m a bit freaked at this point. I was starting to get a sense that this PCG guy may have, in fact, planted these voracious ants on my property and was camping in the woods behind my house just waiting for my call but then I remembered that I actually saw this scam go down on an episode of Ren and Stimpy.

We agreed on 5 o’clock. It’s 87 humid degrees, ants are eating my house, I had to leave a rather frustrating day at work an hour early and had to drive home with a screaming baby in the back seat as I picked up my granddaughter from day care on my way, so I was already pissed. Enter Phil, the PCG.

Phil is so fat that he actually had to do a twist to get in my front door. Like so fat that I can’t even guestimate his weight as I have nothing to compare him to. Maybe like that giant guy on TLC except in this case the show would be titled “My 600 Pound PCG.” We have an eight pound dog who literally goes into a barking frenzy to the point of giving herself an asthma attack when someone knocks on the door, but one look at Phil pirouetting in the front door and even she knew that scaring this poor bastard could only bring bad and obsequiously backed up into the bedroom.

Phil is sweating, profusely. Yes, it’s 87 degrees but he just got out of an air conditioned truck and had to walk all of about thirty feet to the door. The bill of his hat is soaked to the core and is actually dripping leaving a wet spot about the size of a garbage can lid on his rotund belly. I am worried about Phil. In fact, my first words to him are not to introduce myself or to say hello but, “Dude, are you alright?” This guy then proceeds to tell me that he has been, in between appointments, sampling chili at various local eateries in order to find the best brew. Seriously? It’s 87 degrees, he weighs an unfathomable number of pounds and he’s driving around eating bowl after bowl of chili? Who eats chili when its 87 degrees for fuck sake? At this point, I decide that there is no way this guy is living through this appointment and all I can think about is how am I going to get rid of these ants?

Fearing that I had little time left with PCG, I roll him out the kitchen doors straight onto the bowl shaped deck. I ask Phil to be careful as the deck is, as I stated earlier, at least a foot below where it used to be. Phil warns me that he isn’t in the best of shape, no shit, and hangs there for longer than what it took for it to become uncomfortable for the both of us. He embarrassed and me just praying for him to not die in my yard. I have repairmen coming two days from now to start fixing the deck and there is no way they can work around this whale. I become obsessed with trying to figure out how they would get him out of here if he did die and can think of nothing but my fence having to be cut down so they can get a backhoe to hoist him out.

My obsessing pays off as I design a scenario in my head where insurance picks up the tab for this whole project when I blame the bowl shape of my deck on Phil falling and crushing it into the ground. I am calm now.

This is the part where things start to go bad and I start taking the frustrations of my day out on poor Philly Phil.

It’s Phil’s fault. He bends down and trust me, this is no easy task, and starts picking up those brown pipe cleaner looking things that fall off of the oak trees every spring and proceeds to tell me that they are ant frass. First of all, frass? Is he supposed to use the word frass because it sound more dignified than shit? And secondly, what kind of special idiot does this guy think I am? Is he honestly thinking that I will believe that a four inch long piece of an oak tree dropping came out of an ant’s ass? Fuck!!

I realize at this point that this is not going to be as simple as me writing Phil a check and turning him lose on my ants. Something besides Phil stinks and I now feel like I’m being sold a timeshare. I tell Phil, “Dude, that’s oak tree sperm not ant shit and you don’t need the hard sales pitch with the scare tactics. I would have signed up twenty minutes ago. I just want you to kill the ants!”

Meanwhile my granddaughter is inside screaming for me because she has finished her dinner. I tell Phil, “can I just pay you now, I have to go in, my granddaughter is hungry and alone. At this point I notice that PCG is studying just how he is supposed to get back in the house as he is not a good foot and a half below the entrance to our kitchen. He starts heading toward the gate out to the driveway as his only option but I, instead, grab his sweaty hand and yank him up into the house fearing that if he took the long way I would find him dead in my wisteria garden.

It was at this point that I really understood just how fat this guy really was. Now, I’m no 98 pound weakling myself, I’m 5’ 10” and weigh in, depending on how well I’ve eaten in any given week, at around 210 but even at that, there is no budging Phil. I, next to Phil, looked like one of those little fish you see swimming around a sharks mouth picking at scraps on flesh off their teeth but we eventually succeed in rolling him back thru the kitchen door where Phil tells me that he doesn’t consider it a successful day unless he’s had a good meal. Well no kidding, fat ass. I kinda figured that out on my own when I tore a back muscle shoving you back into the house.

Where am I? The Twilight Zone? Is this some kind of a sick joke? Is there a hidden camera on this guy and is Alan Funt about to come out and tell me how stupid I looked fucking around with this behemoth?

Phil heads back to the truck to work up my quote, he actually has to turn sideways in order to properly lumber down our front steps. Twenty minutes later, no sign of Phil. I open the front door and there’s Phil, rummaging thru our bushes holding this ridiculous looking tool. It straps to his shoulder and has a long metal tube attached to a black squishy ball that Phil is furiously pumping on. It looks a lot like the ghost detecting apparatus Peter Venkman used in Ghostbusters.

Me, fed up with this bullcrap routine, “Phil, what the hell is that thing?” Phil, “I’m looking for signs of formic acid.” Me, “Really? I thought we were going to dispose of the sales pitch and just kill some ants? Phil, I know I have ants. You don’t need to build a fucking case! Will you please come back in the house so I can pay you?” Phil, “do you know there are ants on your fence?” Me thinking, “I would kill you if I could dig a hole big enough to hide your body.”

Phil, back in the house, is clearly weary from his ant hunting and is looking for a place to take a load off. I am hesitant to offer him a seat at the dining room table unsure of whether our chairs can support his more than ample girth. I can just see the chair splintering to smithereens beneath him and him going into another sales pitch about treating our furniture. In the end, he plops down between my granddaughter, now eating Oreos to keep her quiet and she only likes the cream inside, and myself and kicks the used car salesmen routine into fifth gear.

He tells me that the bug genocide price is based on the square footage of our house which he has overestimated by more than one thousand feet. This is clearly another ploy at getting me to sign up as the price at the adjusted area is one hundred dollars less per quarter. As I begin to lay into Phil about this bullshit sales crap, I refuse to break eye contact with him. I am burning a hole in his brain right now as I remind him that I would have signed his stupid agreement over an hour ago and am seriously pissed off right now. Phil has other more pressing matters on his mind at this point as I notice that while he is aware of my ranting, he is clearly torn between placating me and Leila’s Oreos which he cannot take his eyes off of.

Me, “I think this hard press to get me to sign up for a year’s worth of bug killing is bad business. You come in here with these stupid tools, you purposely over estimate the size of my house…..Phil? Phil? Dammit, do you want a fucking Oreo!?!?” Phil, “No, no, I’m trying to cut back. But if she isn’t going to eat the cookie part maybe I could just help her out a bit” He proceeds to eat three Oreos worth of cookie only parts and then polishes off the remaining two cookies in the pack.

Phil and I did finally come to an agreement and I think the ant problem is on its way to being fixed but I am now stuck with this guy for a year. Should it really take a year to kill ants? Something tells me that most of what they are doing is just feeding these intruders out in the yard so they stay away from the house then when my contract runs out Phil comes back to renegotiate.

I’m a learner and into gaining wisdom. This is what I take away from this life experience, everything and everybody is out to fuck you over, especially Phil.

Name the movie this line is from:

“Why are we in the parking lot across from my church?”

“You go to church?”