The Blogging Affairs Desk

When It’s Good, It’s Good, When It’s BAD, It’s Better…

Best of The BAD: Bullet Shortage

I’m transitioning into a new gig at my job and because of this things have been and will continue to be pretty hectic for me.  So, as a service to you, the readers, I’ve pulled some of what I consider to be my best article from the past year, and I’m re-running them for a little while.

I will be running new content once a week over at IRdC, as soon as my editors send me some topics.

But yeah, in the meantime, enjoy these re-runs.  This 3000 word article ran back last summer;  it was a report on not only a nation-wide ammunition shortage, but the intricacies of a local gun show.  NPR, eat your heart out.

I hope you enjoy it.

***

I think it would be easier to find a red headed virgin in Rosalita, Mexico who wasn’t suffering from Swine Flu before I’ll ever find 9mm bullets in Southern Maine.

At least, this is what I was lead to believe last Sunday morning while traveling over fifty miles on a motorcycle when temperatures hit 83 degrees before I even left the house.

I made the tactical error of putting on a shit-ton of personal protective equipment – more than necessary, which includes UnderArmor, thick gloves, Kevlar jacket liner, etc – before ever walking out the door of my mother’s house.  By the time I got to my bike, one street over at my father’s house, I was pretty much covered in a thin sheen of sweat.

My objective was simple, though pulling it off would be a beast of a completely different temperament:  I had to find bullets for the new Glock pistol I bought the day before at the local Biddeford Gun Show, a gun show that was once the flagship gun collector’s exhibition in Southern Maine, but since the winding down of the Bush Administration, has somewhat become a shell of it’s former glory.  Gone now are the giant booths with tactical webbing-based vests and shoulder harnesses.  Displays of military-grade firepower that only Level Three Licensees can legal own, gone as well.  Even the old guy with the snow-white beard to his belt buckle, pushing a hand truck with an old Browning air-cooled .30 cal mounted machine gun was absent from the proceedings.  No, all that seemed to remain were a few logie-looking booths and venders with various instruments of death and destruction, marked up by at least 15% to as high as 50% depending on whom you were dealing with, and how exotic the piece was.

But what had returned were the crowds.  In recent years the Biddeford Gun Show’s attendance has somewhat fallen off, which in turn, diminished the level of prestige of the participating venders.  The surge in populace this year seems to stem from the current Democratic Presidential Administration, and the fears that a black Democratic President will “any day now” pass legislation abolishing the Second Amendment and send federal law enforcement officers into the homes of every Red Blooded American who owns firearms to forcibly strip the weapons from their owners, and possibly march them to a cattle car to be shipped into the wilderness in the dead of night.

This and other mythoi were being exchanged amongst the crowd of surly late-middle-aged panic-mongers in attendance at the gun show.  As I weaved through the crowd examining table after table of weaponry I overheard a number of what some could consider outlandish accusations, rumors and innuendo from those who paid seven dollars to get their hand stamped at the door.

“Any day now, Obama’s going to raid our homes and take our guns away,” grumbled one gun owner in farm-chic clothing.  Another:  “We’re only as safe as we make ourselves, no one’s going to take that away from me!”

The crowd of about one thousand constantly seemed to be teetering on the edge of full blown riot, with tensions flowing with every disgruntled half-truth that was being uttered as (mostly) men fingered cheap Spanish-imports of cloned 1911-A1 .45 ACPs and grease-packed AK47s.  Overall the mood was dark, and if you tried to inject another point of view, shed of optimism if you will, you were seen at best as a simpleton, and at worst, a spy.

I found this out when I stupidly tried to bring to the attention of one show goer who I was 90% convinced was a member of either the Klu Klux Klan or the Hell’s Angels that Mr. Obama has a little too much on his plate to deal with the issue of Second Amendment Rights at the moment, especially concerning the economy, filling out the rest of his cabinet, partisan politics, and that whole “Middle East Thing.”  I tried to assure the barbarian that if the issue was ever going to be approached, that number one, it wouldn’t be at least until the far side of two years from now, and number two, there’s far too much support against anti-firearms legislation in the country to make a significant impact on the individual gun owner.  Similar to anti-abortion, -gay rights, and -marijuana legislation, the laws enacted would be far too controversial, and no elected official would dare disenfranchise at least half of his electoral base.

“What are you?  One of those statistic-spewing faggots?”  Said the Klansman-Biker, who then worked up enough phlegm in his throat to convince me he was going to hock it into my face if I didn’t get enough room between me and him very quickly.

For the rest of the gun show I kept a very low profile.

Purchasing a firearm is still incredibly easy, despite what gun-owners in attendance would like the layperson to think.  Aside from the fact I was standing in the middle of a 100,000 square-foot converted ice arena, surrounded by tables and tables of guns with only one police officer standing duty by the front door, procuring a pistol, rifle, shotgun, authentic Nazi memorabilia from World War 2, or whatever you fancy is a matter of spending a few moments filling out a simple page of generic government paperwork (“no, I’m not a convicted felon,” and “no, I’m not addicted to any controlled substance, including marijuana” are actual questions with YES/NO boxes next to them.), submitting to a Federal Background Check through the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and handing over a credit card to the federally licensed gun dealer to whom you’re giving your business to.

After haggling over the price of my Sig Sauer P230 .380 that I wanted to trade up to a Glock 19 9mm, as well as buying a new Remington 870 12 gauge shotgun (my father is moving to a trailer park in Florida later this summer, and asked if he could have my old Mossberg 500 for home defense), I tried to get the dealer to give me a “sweetheart deal” on an DPMS/Panther AR15 that he had listed for 1100 dollars.  I explained to him that being that the DPMS was a “flat top” receiver with no sights, I would have to go out and buy a sighting system at a cost of about 200-300 dollars.  I also brought up the point that I was already buying two guns off of him and if he wanted to move the products, he should cut me a deal.

He gave it some thought and came back with an offer of 950, a considerable mark down, but I figured he could do better.  On average, an AR15, which three years ago would have retailed for about 600 bucks, were going for between 975-1300 dollars at this gun show.  Getting him even below those numbers was a good deal, but I figured I had this guy on the ropes and he could go lower.

And I was right because he came down as low as 850 after a few more minutes of my complaining.  I then told him I didn’t want it and that I’d take just the pistol and shotgun, which seemed to piss him off a little (there were probably a dozen other customers standing right next to me who heard his generous offer of 850, who no doubt would sweep in on that deal after I walked away).  I realized that I had no real practical use for a high powered rifle in a dilapidated apartment complex, and that the likelihood of me shooting through our walls and into the apartment of one of the neighbors, although enticing, could cause greater legal ramifications for me down the line.

So I sat down in a metal folding chair and filled out the proper paper work.  And even though I accidentally omitted my social security number on the federal gun buyers form (I honestly usually put it down, as I’m inclined to believe that by not, if gives the BATF an excuse to deny my background request, even though it’s marked in bold letters that providing that information is completely OPTIONIONAL), less than five minutes after I put ass to chair, I was handing my credit card over to the dealer, and walking away with two highly lethal weapons that I could virtually do anything I wanted.

I just had to load them first.

I walked around the floor of the gun show a little longer and came to a booth that was selling re-loaded-at-home rounds and hefted a box of 9mms.  When the booth’s vendor told me that the box of 50-count bullets was going to cost me 25 dollars (usually a box – or “square” as it’s called in certain gun-circles – of 9mms goes for about 15-20 bucks, reloads less, obviously) I dropped the box along with my jaw and walked away.  The vender called after me, telling me that he had already sold two cases (roughly twenty boxes per case, and the case I plucked that one box out of was about down to three squares left) and would probably be sold out by tomorrow.

What he didn’t tell me was that there’s virtually no ammunition in Southern Maine at all.

Due to the fear and panic in Southern Maine, which is more “red state” than the rest of the traditionally “blue Maine” people have been buying and stockpiling ammunition in bulk at alarming and albeit, unsettling rates.  I had no clue that the case was so severe until later that afternoon, after leaving the gun show with two firearms and no ammo (making them two of the most expensive paper weights I’ve ever purchased) I headed over to the local Wal Mart, where previously I’ve bought ammo on the cheap, which is exactly what I told the ammo vender at the gun show.

Blinded by ignorance, I walked into the Wal Mart and headed back towards the Sporting Goods section.  The inside of the Wal Mart looked third-world: gutted, stripped of any semblance of that cheery yellow-smiley face conglomerate that once dominated Biddeford Crossing for the last fifteen or so years.  No, the monolith with her ever expanding parking lot seemed frail and decayed, shelving bare, what I imagine a Wal Mart in some remote part of Serbia would look like on a good day.

When I got to the Sporting Goods section I ran into another red-stater, dressed in a typical aggressively patriotic t shirt featuring wording about “colors” and “running” and a picture of a soaring eagle or something to that effect, buying a hunting license of some sort.

I don’t hunt, so I have no idea what game season is in vogue right now, but being that summer’s coming up, and Maine tends to get overpopulated with tourists during this time, something about a bald, big-eared, mouth breathing caveman buying a hunting license didn’t sit well with me.

As the clerk behind the counter diddled the register to print out the hunting license I wandered around the section looking for the display of bullets.  When I found the display, a large locked glass case, I stopped suddenly with confusion.  I turned to see if anyone was watching me, any employee that could help me, but I was alone.  So I went back to the clerk at the register and inquired with him as he finished up the total on the red-stater’s order.

“Excuse me, but are you guys like,” and I trailed off for a second.  The Budweiser-swilling tradesman was barking at his collection of children, aged 6-11, about five or six of them, and his gutturally sharp chunks of words took me off balance for a second.

“That’s strike one!” he snapped at one of his brood, who were horsing around by the register.  “One more strike and you’re not getting ice cream!”

I wanted to clear my throat and correct him, in front of his children, that you technically get three strikes, (based off of baseball or Family Feud rules) but I kept my mouth shut and went back to the clerk.

“Are you guys, like, renovating or something?  Because your ammo case back there is empty and I…” and the clerk cut me off.

“We can’t keep that shit in stock for more than a day.  We put out orders for handgun ammo, rifle ammo, you name it, at least once a week, and by the time it comes in, we have so much of the stuff on back order, that it’s all sold by the time the truck pulls up.”  Jesus, I thought, they’re hording all the goddamn bullets!

The red-stater decided to inject his opinion on the matter as well:

“It’s a real pain in the balls,” he started, his voice phlegmy and choked, as if he was speaking from underneath a boot across his windpipe.  “I’ve been buying online, you can’t get bullets anywhere, not the Wal Mart in Scarborough, the Cabelas, LL Beans, Dicks,” he went on.

I was shell shocked, in utter disbelief.  There had to be someplace I could readily buy bullets today, right now.  What if there was an emergency, and I needed to shoot someone TONIGHT!  Nothing is worse than an unloaded gun sitting by itself at home when you go out to a family restaurant with your wife and mother and spend the entire night alternating your field of view between the Red Sox/Yankees game on the tv over your head and the front door of the establishment, waiting for some barbarian to come barreling in to kill everyone on Margarita Two-fer Night.

The next morning I got up early-ish and took off on my motorcycle, with messenger bag slung around my shoulders, to try every conceivable store that would be selling ammunition.

The thought had occurred to me that I could just go back to the gun show and try my luck there.  I just didn’t want to pay out the nose for cheaply “remanufactured” bullets, given the price of admission is seven dollars, and the mark up on the ammo is about 100%.

So all morning I rode up and down US Rt 1, looking for a place that sold bullets.  I first pulled into the local Cabela’s monstrosity and found that they wouldn’t open until 10 am, which by then would be too late for me, as my mother committed me to helping my tacky aunt and uncle move “unwanted” furniture from my father’s place to their place.  So up the road I traveled still, finding myself at the Scarborough Wal Mart.

Mind you, I’m on a motorcycle, dressed in a black Kevlar jacket, black “murder” bandana around my neck, black messenger bag, black boots, black Oakley Flak Jacket HJXs, and my throat is all weird from the ride.  I stride into the Wal Mart and try to find the Sporting Goods section, but if you’ve ever been into a different Wal Mart than what you’re used to, you know that their store is SLIGHTLY laid out differently.

So after walking around a bit, I find the section and come across similar results.  I’m pretty dejected, but on my way out I find a stock girl- young, petite, blonde – with a clipboard, doing some sort of inventory.  I walk up to her and get her attention.  Immediately she’s intimidated by me; it’s all but written on her face in magic marker, so I lift my shades to my forehead so she can see I’m no threat.

“Hey, you got any ammunition out back?”  I ask.  Unbeknownst to me ahead of time, my voice comes out as if I’m Dirty Harry and I just found out my dog has rabies.  Her eyes develop a sheen of wetness and her lip trembles.  Her voice small, tinny:

“No, we’re all out,” I figured for this based on the evidence and snarl a little to myself.

“Mm, what about the Dick’s up the road?  Know anything about them?”  I unintentionally growl.

“No…” it’s like a stalking lion talking to a church mouse.

“Don’t worry,” I try to ease her obvious fear of this big biker looming over her, asking about affordable munitions.  “I’m not mad, I’m not going to kill anyone,” she lets a nervous smile slip out.  “…because I don’t have any bullets.”  Her smile fades quickly and I leave the store, watching my back on the road for the next few miles for police cars looking for a homicide-crazed lunatic on a motorbike.

I have similar results at the next few places I try, either they’re sold out or not open this early on a Sunday, and after running out of time, I head back to my mother’s house to help move furniture, which is like eating a big plate of glass shards for breakfast.

Later in the day I called what was going to be my “last resort” before being forced to pay for rounds at the gun show.  I used to work for the Kittery Trading Post, an Outdoor Outfitter in Southern Maine that I’m somewhat persona-non-grata with due to an incident in their parking lot that involved myself, a stalker, and the Kittery Police Department over two years ago.  They have a huge firearms selection, dedicating their entire second floor to just guns.  If they didn’t have ammunition I could buy, no one in Southern Maine would.

I called and after being batted around from associate to associate for ten minutes, I finally got a hold of someone on the gun floor.

“Hey, I’m trying to find 9mms, you guys got any in stock?”

“No, all we got on hand right now are .41 magnums and .22s, we can’t keep anything in stock for more than a day,” the associate said into the phone.  “Once word gets out, we get nailed.  We had a shipment of ammo on Friday and we were just about sold out last night.  You’re best bet is online,”

In the end, I went back to the gun show and bought an overpriced box of 9mms, but only because I didn’t want to travel without a loaded gun.  And to add another element of horror to my story, I thought the ammo-epidemic was contained in Maine and other-like minded ignorant locales.  No.  It’s not.

When I we finally got back to The Hook, I logged on to a few different sites that specialize in “hunting accessories” to see if I could purchase ammunition in bulk, only falling into my fellow statesmen’s hysteria half way, more concerned that the ammo crunch will continue to make getting rounds in the future difficult.  Three of the four sites I visited had handgun ammo on backorder, and another had some available, but it wasn’t anything special, just Full Metal Jacketed bullets at 115 grain.

So in the end, what does this mean?  It means I’m going to call Charles Schwab later today and buy stock in Winchester, American Federal, and UCM.

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February 11, 2010 Posted by | Around The Office, Living in an Insane Asylum, Those Crazy Politicians, World Wide Events | , , | Leave a comment

Burning Down the House

We have a fireplace.

It’s the first place I’ve ever lived in with a fireplace as an adult.  When I was a kid, living in New Hampshire, we had this enormous fireplace where my father threatened to toss my toys into if I didn’t pick up after myself.  I remember many winter nights with a roaring fire, mom and dad on the couch with a drink each, and me on the rug in front of the fire with my plastic green army men that my father would in turn step on the next morning, cursing and pitching each one into the fireplace to meet a melty-end.

Now that I’m an adult, I’ve craved a fireplace.  There’s something awesome about a giant flame in your living room that you can watch.  Put on any tv show, any at all, and it won’t compare to a good, well-built fire in your fireplace.  Hell, I can’t even put the tv on and have a fire at the same time.  I think it’s disrespectful to the fire gods.

So last night I had a fire going.  Ang suggested it actually, because it’s been bitterly cold around here lately.  I had some wood and some materials to burn, so fuck it, let’s have a fire.

Ang was in the kitchen making a stew and I started to load up the fireplace.  If you’ve never built a fire in a fireplace, let me break it down for you:  You need to start a base of crumpled newspapers.  Take one sheet of old newspaper and crumple into into a loose ball.  You can’t crumple it into a tight ball because oxygen won’t get inside the material and allow it to burn fully.  Instead you’ll just get little burning balls of material that won’t spread the fire.

So after you’ve crumpled up a dozen or so balls of newspaper you then set up your wood base.  Small pieces of scrap wood work best, because they’ll catch easier than say a whole log.  A log requires a lot of heat to burn through, otherwise the fire will patter out long before the log is fully engulfed and have a chance to provide you with a lasting fire.  Scrap wood will burn quick and through, generating that log heat.

After you get a good small fire going, with lots of red and orange flames, add one log at a time.  A log should be about 12 to 16 inches in length, maybe 4 to 6 inches in diameter.  Wait til the first log catches and add another.  With two logs burning, you should have enough flame to last you about an hour.  Add logs as appropriate, never letting the fire burn down to just embers.

Oh, and an important tip: make sure your flume is open BEFORE you do any of this.

But it wasn’t the flume I forgot to open last night as I started my fire.  It was the materials I was burning.

It’s somewhat bad practice to burn anything other than wood and paper in the fireplace, however I’ve burnt boxes from Xmas and last night a shoe box that was taking up room in my closet.  I had built up my fire with too much material to begin with, starting with that newspaper base and then some chunked up portions of plywood that we had once used to stiffen up our bed when we couldn’t fit the boxspring in our old apartment.  I had used three sections of this chopped up plywood to make a small A-frame in the fireplace, with the paper underneath everything and the shoebox under the two pieces making the “roof” of the A-frame.

Obviously everything caught, and burnt fast.  Before I knew it, flames were licking out of the metal screen and onto the hearth.  Thankfully we don’t have a mantle.

Ang, becoming concerned with the amount of smoke and brightness of the fire took one look at the fireplace and immediately bailed out of the house.  The smoke detector started to go off which led the dog to freak out.  Meanwhile, I started to fill up the smallest fucking measuring cup we own with water to help knock down the flames.

After about five attempts with the measuring cup and a scorched finger later, the materials in the fireplace were soaking in about an inch of water, crackling, pitching embers out of the flume.  I waved the smoke away from the smoke detector and Ang came back in.

If I could see through the smoke, I’m sure I would’ve seen Ang giving me that look that every wife spends hours a day perfecting; that “you know you fucked up, right?” look.

I cleared my throat, eyes burning a bit, finger tip throbbing.  “Uh, I’m gonna go do those dishes…”

February 6, 2010 Posted by | Blogging Couple, Gay Shit I Know Too Much About, Getting Older, The Great Indoors | , , | 1 Comment

Why Being Late for a Wedding Can be a Good Thing

There was that air of tension for a brief second where I knew, before she even said it, that we were going to have to turn around.

My wife Ang and I were on our way to my Cousin Jaime’s wedding in Maine this past weekend.  I’d been at a training school for work all week and on Friday after school we took off to Maine.  Everything was fine.

But sometime during the night, when the temperatures in Southern Maine dropped down below zero, Ang’s Prius decided to do what any wild beast would do in those temperatures a have a fucking stroke.  The next morning, the (thankfully) less expensive of the two Prius’s batteries had shit the bed.  We found this out half-way to the wedding.

First off, a compliant:  Who the hell has a late-morning wedding?  When I woke up that morning, obviously not knowing what time the wedding was, I called Jaime’s father Uncle John (she probably refers to him as “dad” but…) to ask what time the wedding was.  I was shocked that at 9 in the morning he told me it was at “eleven, but you might want to get there at 1030ish”.  Damnit!

So we rushed, got showered and dressed at my mom’s house a few towns over and took off.  We were halfway there when I realized I didn’t have any dashboard read out.

If you’ve never piloted a Prius before, it’s all digital read outs on the dash.  No dials.  At first I thought I had the little dimmer switch turned down for some reason, but that wasn’t it.  Then I thought it might’ve been an optical illusion produced by my polarized sunglasses and the sun or something, and when I pulled my shades down, all I saw was black.

The car was still running though, and we pulled over to the side of Main Street to see if it was something we could fix if we just turned the car off and back on again.  I pushed the ignition button and got no response.  Queue panic from my wife.

God bless her, but if anything happens to her car she wigs out.  So now it’s all tense, we need to be at this wedding, very little time to spare and Ang says “turn back to your mother’s.”

Fuck!

We get back and, knowing nothing about cars, let alone Hybrids, I start googling “Prius + Problems + Cold Weather” and get a bunch of Toyota forums about people in high altitude/cold weather areas having significant ignition and battery problems with their Priuses(i?)

Ang takes the more direct approach and calls the dealership from where she bought the car directly.  After a few minutes of on-the-phone diagnostics, we discover that one of the two batteries the Prius runs on is likely dead or close to it.  We need to get to a dealership, stat, to replace said battery.

So about ten minutes going the opposite direction, we get to a dealership and all is taken care of.  By the time we’re back on the road, the ceremony is definitely over.  We can still make the reception, which I guess is at the same place as the wedding.

At this point, I should tell you about the funny feeling I get when I have to deal with my extended family.

Things have always been a little awkward with my dad’s side of the family, even from when I was a kid.  I don’t really understand why this is, and I simply accept it.  The family is large and I hardly know any of my relatives except the “cool ones” who have achieved this status either by showing some signs of kindness towards me or just by giving me butt-loads of cash during the holidays.  Whenever I come around, I feel like I have nothing to say, and things suddenly become very awkward.  Instantly, the tough-talking, ass-kicking, moderately successful man with the swagger of a guy who gets paid to knock people out is diminished to that clumsy, mush-mouthed 13 year old from fifteen years ago any time my Aunt Peggy comes around.  I can’t explain it.

We pull up to the reception hall and I’m instantly relieved that I listened to my wife’s advice and didn’t wear my three piece suit to this thing, and instead opted for a cashmere sweater and slacks: nearly everyone was in denim and sweatshirts, save a few adults who managed to put on some business-casual button-down shirts.  The only ties were being worn by members of the groom’s wedding party; they were dressed in rental black and red three pieces and looked more Ska band than Groomsmen.

Likewise, bridesmaids were dressed in some sort of Katy Perry-like tube dresses and black lace fingerless gloves with red lace accents.  My cousin did look gorgeous in her white wedding gown, complete with a pair of black and white Ray-Ban Wayfarers.

Oh yeah, and everyone was shitfaced.

As soon as we walked in, I was greeted by the bulk of my extended family.  Hugs were had all around, our gift was taken from us, and slowly, like a spreading pool of blood, the awkwardness set in.

First I had to apologize about a million times for being late.  Next I had to explain why I was wearing hiking boots and not decent shoes (I had forgot to pack them) when nearly everyone else was in loafers at best, gym shoes at worst.  To compound things, the inevitably and albeit obligatory questions about my mother and father started to surface:

“Is your mom going to make it?”

“How’s your father?”

“What’s going on with them?”

These weren’t the usual questions asked out of absenteeism.  No, they knew exactly what’s going on with my mother and father and the nasty separation/divorce.  The know all about my father’s self-exile to some remote campground out in NH and my mother’s slipping sanity.  They just wanted the gossip.

“Oh, I see your mother all the time at the Shaw’s” one of my aunt’s said.  “Awesome?”  I say in return.  I mean, what else can I say?   Then Jaime finally made her way over.

Blitzed, she punched me in the chest and with thick tongue said “you missed the wedding, ass.”  I felt about >< this tall.

To make matters worse, her younger brother Josh, whom I haven’t seen in YEARS swings by and gives me a hug.  I don’t recognize him and it’s not until later that Ang points him out to me.  Again, I feel about as tall as my boot laces.

We eventually sit with a pair of watered down beers at a table away from my family.  Joining us is a remote friend of Jaime’s whom she used to work with, and her husband Greg.  The woman (I can’t remember her name) came across like Sarah Palin (she disclosed that she went as Palin for Halloween this past year) only drunk.  Both couples had a lot in common and I could see Ang and I becoming this couple in roughly five years.  I kinda wish now I had gotten their contact info.  They were cool.

After nursing our one beer each (we had no cash for tipping at the open bar, and I felt like a shitheel for not tipping on the two watered down Natty-Ice’s) and eating some finger food, we left, promising we’d see everyone at the “after-party.”  Obviously, we didn’t intend to be at the after party.

The more distance I put us between my family the better I felt.  I knew the night before this wedding wasn’t something I wanted to really be a part of, but out of love for my cousin, who I treat more like a distant sister, I manned up.  For forty minutes.

In the end, being late for the wedding should’ve come across as some sort of omen; being late should’ve told us to phone it in, send out the gift via certified first class mail and send a heart-felt apology letter.  It would’ve been easier on my psyche.

January 31, 2010 Posted by | Gonzo Journalism, Living in an Insane Asylum, Out and About, People I Hate, People I Love, Shameless Self Promotion, Those Crazy Politicians | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Good Out of the Bad

Last night I posted this on my Facebook wall:

“I know I’ll catch shit for this: that earthquake was the best thing that could happen to Haiti.  There, I said it.”

On it’s surface the comment reads somewhat callously.  White guy in New England who’s never experienced an earthquake of any kind, let alone in the middle of a third-world country, making a snide remark about how likely the event IMPROVED the infrastructure of the tiny shared island nation.

However, I assure you, Glen Beck I am not.

No, what I wanted to do was set a trap; a trap I knew that my highly reactionary wife would step right into and spring, which would lead me to writing this article.

Within a few hours of me posting my comment, she fired back with some CNN.com article describing the death and destruction in Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capitol.  I’m sure she sat there, on our tattered couch, laptop on pillow on lap, in smug satisfaction as she clicked “send” thinking to herself “I’ll show him.”

Ah, huh.

No, obviously even without an Act of God Haiti is a tragedy.  A country run by General Who-Knows as he’s known to the local population, and Who-Cares by anyone living outside of it.  It’s a nation who shares an island with the Dominican Republic, which if you’ve ever had to live next door to Dominicans, you should know how dreadful a situations that is anyway.

The infrastructure of Haiti is piece-meal at best.  Is it any wonder that when an earthquake a whole point higher on the Richter Scale hits San Francisco, everyone in the Bay Area shrugs it off with a chuckle, but when an earthquake of slightly minor proportions hits Haiti, there’s a triple digit deathtoll (now quad-digit as of pub-time -ed)?

That’s because Haiti is literally being held together with corrugated steel, mud and straw bricks and chicken wire.  These poor people live in the minimalist of conditions, and I’m not talking about exposed brick and white space.  They have NOTHING.  They have our thrown away clothing on their backs and wobbly tables with nails sticking out of it to eat off of.  Their literacy rate hovers around the same numbers as my body fat percentage.  Of course we shouldn’t be surprised when there’s a significant loss of life in Haiti as the result of a natural disaster.

Why is this “good for Haiti” then?

Because when was the last time you even THOUGHT of Haiti before this earthquake hit?  As an American, sitting at home on the world wide web that you take for granted, reading blogs about the battle between Conan O’Brien and NBC, until yesterday you didn’t give two shits about Haiti or it’s people.

Don’t worry though, it doesn’t necessarily make you a bad person, but it does tend to put things into perspective.  These people, who would lose their homes even on a gusty day, have real problems.  You know what the biggest problem in my life is right now?  Fucking Comcast.  A cable company who I feel is screwing me over around every corner.  In Haiti, they don’t even have cable!  Over half the population doesn’t even have electricity or running water, for chrissakes!

Now, because of this earthquake, developed nations like the US, Canada, etc are going to be flooding Haiti with supplies like food and fresh water, electrical generators, man power to remove rubble and debris, medics and doctors to treat the sick and wounded.  We have fucking firefighters flying out from California, the closest thing we have to a third-world-like government, to help the Haitians.

So yeah, I’m sorry that it took an act of God to get Americans, let alone the rest of the world, to lift their heads out of their asses long enough to pay attention to a backwards country, but I tend to be an optimist.

January 13, 2010 Posted by | Shameless Self Promotion, World Wide Events | , , , | 2 Comments

Sins of a Dog Owner

It’s Xmas morning when the following takes place:

It was roughly like 0930 and the wife and I had opened all our gifts, put coffee on, and were in this post-Xmas morning glow.  That kinda awe when you realize that the other person got you way too much awesome shit.  It was during this period when I decided it would be a good idea to take the dog for a quick walk.

The schedule we keep Ivy, our yellow lab, is in two parts:  She’ll get me up between 0600 and 0700 to be let out to pee and eat breakfast.  While this is going on, I’ll feed the ferrets and get my bearings.  I’ll work for a bit, either in my office or in front of the tv and usually by 0900-1000 she’ll want to go outside again to take a big shit.

Since living at our last place, I’ve neglected to put Ivy on a leash.  I hate leashes, I think they’re a pain in the ass.  Ivy isn’t the type of dog that ‘walks you’ instead of you walking her, but she does tend to dawdle at every piss-soaked piece of sidewalk between here and where ever we’re going, which sucks when it’s below 30 degrees outside.  Without the leash, I can keep walking forward (and keep warm) and she’ll usually catch up once I’ve gone maybe fifty feet ahead.

This is also ideal for when Ang and I go hiking.  Ivy can sniff whatever she wants and we can keep up our pace.  We seldom run into other dogs on the trails, but if we do, usually they’re unleashed too, and never does anything negative or “bad” happen.

So where we moved to, we’re a bit out of the way in a sleepy neighborhood at the end of a cul de sac.  We have a front yard and a long dirt driveway and 4/5s the time, Ivy’s really good about staying within those confines.  But lately, she’s taking her liberty too far.

I would let her out but stand by the door “just in case” she decided to follow a scent too far into the woods around our house.  Many times I’ve been putting on a sweater and slipping into my boat shoes after waiting for up to ten minutes by the door (which is my self-imposed time limit) to hear her jingling collar coming up the driveway through the darkness.  Where she went, who knows, but at least she came back.  This is definitely problematic.

So back to what I was talking about on Xmas morning.  I again, forgo a leash because I figure we’re gonna go out, come back, all within like ten minutes.  None of the few neighbors I have would likely be out and Ivy can run around in the snow drifts, do her dirty business, and we can get back to play with all the shit I got for Xmas within those ten minutes.

Of course when we get to the end of the driveway, the old miserable lonely cunt next door is out there with her 400 lb German Shepherd, a dog that needs to be groomed worse than Joaquin Phoenix’s face.

Obviously I don’t like the woman.  I’ve had minor interactions with her before and she’s awkward and annoying.  She’s preachy like an old spinster would be.  She keeps her equally long driveway entrance blocked by parking her Buick right at the end of it.  Her giant Shep is aggressive, but leashed.

So as we come around the bend in our driveway, of course Ivy see’s him.

She doesn’t have issues with other dogs, usually.  Usually she just ignores them.  But this other dog starts yanking on his leash and barking.  And being that I have Ivy off of a leash, I kinda trot up along side her to grab her collar in case she decides to go bluddy loony tunes all of a sudden.

I greet the woman with a hearty “merry xmas” and she says nothing.  Her dog is barking and freaking the fuck out.  I bring Ivy close so they can sniff each other in the hopes the dog relaxes and we can all move on.  Instead of saying “merry xmas” back or even “good morning” she says in this bitchy tone:  “Don’t you have a leash.”

Notice no “?”.  She spoke it like a comment or an order.  I try to play the role of a plaintive dog owner and instead of going into a big long thing about my personal belief’s regarding leashes, I just say “ah, yeah, but I couldn’t find it and she had to go,” and to this the woman says “you know, ___________ (our town) has leash laws, you could get fined and your dog could get taken away by animal control.”

That last bit, to me, sounded like a fucking threat.  I smile, wish her a merry xmas again, and pull Ivy away up the street so she can do her business, literally putting this miserable woman behind us.

The next thing is that Ivy typically doesn’t just shit “anywhere.”  She goes out of her way to find someplace where people typically won’t walk.  Although this might be on someone else’s property, it’s practically never on their front lawn or driveway, but more along the sides of the property, in a tree line or in some bushes.  I have no personal hang ups about this at all.

So as Ivy bounded into someone’s yard to sniff out a patch to poop on, this woman comes around the corner with her shepherd.  She’s looking at me, and then looks over at Ivy, who’s in a squatting position, right on this neighbor’s front lawn.  She couldn’t have picked a worse time to deviate from her normal pooping procedures.

I smile some dumb smile, shrugging my shoulders as if to say “what can you do” and fully prepare myself to get a tongue-lashing from this woman at best, and and at worse, the cops called on me.

“That’s not right,” she says to me.  I have to agree.  Ivy finishes, shakes, and comes trotting back to me.  We leave.

“You’re not going to pick it up?!”  She calls after us.

My number one sin as a dog owner is that I’m not a poop picker-upper.  We don’t live in a built up area, Ivy doesn’t shit where people would normally walk.  Even though this particular time she shat right in someone’s front lawn, there was snow covering every thing and the shit would be gone within 24 hours, I’m sure.  I’m not one of those people who carry little baggies with them where ever they go just to bend over and carry dog shit with them until they find a receptacle.  Sorry, I won’t do it.

If that makes me a bad dog owner, then fine, whatever.  But I’m not mistreating my dog, I’m mistreating the people who live around us, there’s a difference.  As someone once said: the more time I spend with my dog, the less I like people.

Or something like that.

December 29, 2009 Posted by | Out and About, People I Hate, Puppy Tales | , , , , , | 1 Comment

TidBits: Media Over-Hype Edition

Gate Crashers:

By now you’ve heard the story about The Salahis, the eager-to-be-famous gate crashers that seemingly waltzed into President Obama’s first “State Dinner” (quotes are for the fact it wasn’t ‘really’ a State Dinner.  State Dinner’s are characterized as being with other heads of state, and this dinner was attended by India’s Prime Minister, who is the head of India’s Government, but not the head of the country) uninvited.

The obvious twist in the panties comes from the (lack of) security that was breached by two witless faux-celebrity wannabes.  Pictures of the couple appeared shortly after the ceremony on their Facebook page, which begs to ask the question: What is a couple roughly my boss’s age doing with a Facebook page?  Do they stalk their high school-aged kids?

But the real head scratcher in all of this is why people, the media and politicians especially, are getting mad at the Salahis’ and not that government entity called THE SECRET SERVICE?

Since writing this, three Secret Service agents have been placed on administrative leave until findings in the lapse in security can be properly investigated, but law makers, who love a good sturdy soap box to stand on and yell into the hills from, want to place blame on both The Salahis and the president’s Social Events Secretary.

That’s like blaming the bank teller for a robbery when the security guard is fast asleep on his stool.

Hey Washington DC, yeah it’s fucked up that these two spray tanners were able to get inside the holy of holies with little more than a clever anecdote and cleavage, but don’t blame them, and don’t call for the head of some la-di-da department secretary whose sole purpose is to plan meet and greets for Mrs. Obama and the kids.  Blame the people responsible, the guys with the ear pieces, guns and black suits, whose job is to ensure fame seeking whack jobs don’t get pictures with the President and post them all over the goddamn Facebook.

Tiger Woods:

Please leave this poor multi-national bastard alone.

I don’t condone what he’s apparently done; I would never cheat on my super model wife.  Men do stupid things and though I could come up with many reasons on why he probably did what he did, I won’t.  It’s just bad voodoo and an inevitable argument with my wife when she reads this.

But let’s not forget that Tiger is a person.  Up until now he was a very private person who wasn’t the type of celebrity athlete that shows up in the pages of People or US magazine.  He’s a winner and he’s human, fucking A.

He did break the boundaries of privacy when he crashed his SUV into a tree in front of their house, obviously fleeing a psychotic wife wielding one of his golf clubs that probably costs more than my yearly salary.  He brought that shit on himself, but damn, can’t you give him a break?

Stop demonizing him, I ask.  Plenty of celebrity athletes have done dumber shit and we’ve all gone on to pretty much forget about it, unless of course you’re Pete Rose (better luck next year, coach!).  Stop playing it up like Tiger will never be the same guy ever again, or his career will suffer.  Gatorade and fucking Nike have both stated they were going to stick by Tiger no matter what, and AT&T (whom I wasn’t aware sponsored him…) has released a ‘no comment’ comment.

I can see GM pulling out under obvious reasons, though.

Adam Lambert:

If you were like the rest of America, you missed the American Music Awards, the also-ran of musical award shows that places somewhere distant behind the VMAs, Grammys, and Country Music Awards.

Though, if you had passed by while flipping from reruns of ‘The Office’ and that shitty sitcom with that guy from ‘Everyone Loves Raymond’ … you know, the guy, the tall guy?  I think he was a cop?  That guy.  Anyway, if you were like most Americans, you had no idea who Adam Lambert was until the morning after the AMAs.

Adam Lambert was a RUNNER UP in American Idol like, last year.  He’s also come out and said he’s real gay, which is not surprising in the least.  He recently released an album which could easily be confused with a Sheila Eastan LP from 1991.

The controversy started when during the AMA’s, Lambert mocked fellatio with a fellow band mate, who happened to be of the same sex (a dude), while making out with another band mate of the same sex (…also a dude) while tromping around the stage like an awesomely flamboyant peacock.  This got him tossed from the next morning’s Good Morning America appearance, where he was scheduled to sing to school kids on an outside stage, while no one wondered why these kids weren’t in school.

Mr. Lambert likes to claim that he’s being ostracized because he’s gay, and as a gay guy he’s not entitled to performing the same lewd semi-sexual acts that straight musicians are afforded while performing.  He’s quick to point out that many famous acts have been allowed to simulate straight (see also: chick-on-dude) fellatio, but as soon as a gay dude does it, it’s ‘disgusting.’

Elton John is rolling over in his still warm grave….

Adam Lambert, you miss the point: People aren’t outraged that you thrust your crotch into another dude’s face in front of a live audience which was broadcasted into dozens of homes, no, that’s not the controversy.  If you want to flaunt how gay you are, and make it seem like it’s cooler than the next Harold and Kumar movie, that’s fine, because gay people have been doing that shit since the early 1980s.

What we’re really pissed about is your lack of talent.  Dude, you suck.  Your voice sucks, your music sucks, your production sucks, you suck, suck, suck.  The irony that you think people are upset at you for ‘sucking’ is enough to make me pop a stitch.

The next time you tour, please bring along that monotone celestial that sings the Ricky Martin songs.  You know the guy, he’s released two more albums than you?

December 7, 2009 Posted by | Corporate America Hates You, Gay Shit I Know Too Much About, People I Hate, Why Am I Watching This?, World Wide Events | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ms. Heather Ellis: On Race and Queuing Up

Heather Ellis:  Lemme recap this for you in case you haven’t heard:  Three years ago, this young woman was at a Wal Mart of all places, when she decided to jump from a slower moving check out lane to a faster one, one which her cousin was already in queue.

The results of the incident depend on who you ask.  Local law enforcement, Wal Mart employees, including their paid security officers, and customers all allege that Ms. Ellis shoved her way to the front of the line, pushed people’s items off the conveyor belt, and when confronted, became violently belligerent.

Ms. Ellis states that she did in fact jump lines, but only became offensive when she was shoved by a “white woman” from behind, whom she cut.  Ms. Ellis also claims that people around her, including customers, employees and eventually the police, all used racially sensitive language against her.  She then claims, as she was being escorted from the property, that the local cops roughed her up.

Wanna know what happened?  I’ll tell you what happened, exactly as it happened, because I’ve actually been in this situation before.

This may come across a little racist, however I’ve been around young black women who’ve been put into this scenario; I lived two out of the three years I spent in NYC in Brooklyn, home of the arrogant self-entitled young black woman.

Ms. Ellis, who was with her cousin decided to cut some people who had been waiting in line.  First off, we’re a nation of incredibly selfish and impatient people; white people have especially low tolerances for waiting in line.  We’re too high strung for that shit, we can’t stand it.  So when someone cuts us, we get bullshit real quick.

Cut me in line during the holidays, and see which of your parts I cut in return.

But we’re not quick to confrontation (with the above omitted), especially towards someone of a different race, especially if that race is African American.  This is because African Americans tend to pull the race card any time they’re confronted by white people.

If you think I’m wrong, you’ve never hung around black folk.  I’m sorry, but it’s true.

I was also a cop for a number of years, so I know how people tend to react when they feel threatened by an unruly mob.  I also know how people tend to think the police use inappropriate and excessive force techniques while they’re actively resisting arrest.  I believe this to be the case with Ms. Ellis.

So yeah, Ms. Ellis cuts a bunch of people, and my guess is that she probably moved people’s shit out of the way in doing so.  The woman behind her, this white lady, probably was wrapping up a long bad day, and she wasn’t going to take this shit.  No, getting cut in line at the Wal Mart by some young black lady who didn’t even acknowledge her when she did it, was the last straw.

So she said some shit.

True story:  A girl I had been dating for a long time while living in NYC, she got cut in line at the Metro Card kiosk TWICE by the SAME black girl.  She was trying to get a Metro Card to get on the train so she could come to Maine and visit me.  She had a ton of luggage with her and she was stressed out because she was JUST going to make her train.  So when she got cut for the second time, she said some shit like “next time you cut, why don’t you figure out what the hell you’re supposed to be doing” because the black girl was taking forever and needed assistance from the guy in the booth to operate the machine.

The black girl turned and attacked my girlfriend, leaving a huge gash over her left eye.  No one helped the poor girl, but a lot of people watched that shit go down.  That’s NYC for you.

So yeah, there was a confrontation at the Wal Mart check out line, for sure.

So the white woman confronts the black woman, and attitudes come out.  The white woman, unless she was a hardcore Klansman’s wife, likely didn’t even get racial on Ms. Ellis.  She probably called her a “bitch” or a “stupid fat pig” or something.  But likely, Ms. Ellis heard “Stupid fucking nigger.”

I’m just saying, folks.  Relax.

The cashier, who’s not going to risk getting stabbed in the inevitable knife fight that’s brewing in front of him for his 8 dollar an hour job that provides nothing in the way of health insurance, tries to defuse the situation by telling the offending Ms. Ellis that she cut, and she needs to either leave the store or go to the back of the line.  Feeling ganged up upon, Ms. Ellis starts becoming even more belligerent.

Security gets called.

Now it’s a big fucking scene and everyone’s just trying to get this obnoxious bitch out of the store.  She’s refusing to leave, because she probably spent over an hour in the huge superstore looking for shit.  She demands to pay for her goods.  Security’s like: “No, you need to leave,” and given that it’s hired private security guards with an educational background consisting of a GED, I’m sure they used a few not-so-friendly words, like “fuck” and “bitch.”

Now the situation has gone volcanic.  I’m sure someone behind the white woman leaned into her ear and said “why didn’t you just let her cut you?”

The cops arrive, because things are now out of hand.

Now, again, I was a cop, I know the procedure of dealing with an uncooperative subject that I’m sure Ms. Ellis had already become.  You have what they call a “force continuum” where the level of forces escalate where the situation deems it appropriate.  Seeing that Ms. Ellis was refusing to leave the property and was becoming increasingly erratic, they likely gave her verbal commands to the effect of “ma’am, please leave the store, or we’ll be forced to escort you out by force if necessary.”

By now, the rational part of Ms. Ellis’s brain kicks in, and she understands that she’s about to be arrested.  However, she doesn’t want to loose face.  I’ve seen this situation develop a million times on Flatbush Ave.  If they simply walk away, it appears in the minds of most African Americans that they’ve lost.  The “bigger man” in this case is usually the one who stands his/her ground the longest.  To confirm this, I have an actual quote from a black guy I work with, who backs up my observation.

“Yeah, you can’t back down, you’ll look like a bitch,” said Rog when I called him earlier to comment on this story.

And as a cop, I’ve seen this behavior as well.  The very first foot chase I was ever involved in as a law enforcement officer involved me chasing down this 18 year old black kid who started a fight in our little downtown square.  I chased him for about two blocks, and when we were far enough out from the crowds of downtown, he gave up.

Later on I asked him why he ran- he knew he was going to get caught.  He stated “I had to, people were watching.  I couldn’t just give up there.”

So back to Wal Mart:  Ms. Ellis is slowly backing out of the store, without her things, and still talking a bunch of shit.  The cops are slowly following her outside, making sure she doesn’t come back in.  Likely, she’ll get a warning for trespassing and disorderly conduct, providing she doesn’t get too belligerent.

Once outside, instead of being rational and just getting into her car and leaving, she makes a threat towards one of the officers, which probably went something like “fucking touch me pig, and I’ll kill you,” which unfortunately the cops can’t ignore.  They inform her that she’s now under arrest for disorderly conduct and making criminal threats against a law enforcement officer.  They gotta take her in.

She doesn’t want to go.

The officers go to affect the arrest and naturally, Ms. Ellis puts up a fight.  She swings and connects with one of the officer’s lips, kicks another in the shin.  All parties go to the deck and once restraints are placed on Ms. Ellis, she’s put up against her car or the cruiser and frisked incident to arrest.  She’s then transported to the local PD or booking facility, and processed.

Her claims of police brutality are largely unfounded.  While affecting an arrest, an officer, at his discretion, can use whatever amount of force, including lethal force, warranted in apprehending a subject.

I’m sure Ms. Ellis got a little roughed up, but she also asked for it when her fight or flight condition took over and she decided on the former.

Now, three years later Ms. Ellis reached a plea deal, after stating that she would never take a plea deal because that would be, to her, an admission of guilt.  She was sentenced to take mandatory anger management classes, do a weekend stint in the clink, pay damages, and serve two years of unsupervised probation.

Not a bad deal, considering what she was likely charged with would’ve probably put her in the booty house for 6 months with a host of fines and a longer probationary period complete with monthly check-ins and piss tests.

Let this be a lesson to everyone this holiday season:  rather than wait in line, do your shopping online.

November 25, 2009 Posted by | Corporate America Hates You, Gay Shit I Know Too Much About, Shameless Self Promotion | , , , , | 1 Comment

My Driving Doesn’t Suck, You’re Just a Shitty Passenger.

My wife tends to think that my driving is the product of a one night stand where the devil failed to pull out of a 1980 El Camino, which he was slapping while fucking doggystyle.

Now that you’ve surely digested that bit of mental imagery, I’m here to say that my driving doesn’t suck; I’m actually a very good, well-trained coxswain of the highway.

Let’s look past how I barely passed my MCJA EVOC (Emergency Vehicle Operators Course) with an 80, the lowest passing score, on my second of only two tries.  If those parking cones had really been children, I’m sure most of them would have jumped out of the way.

The car had sirens for a reason, people.

But no, let’s analyze my driving right now:  The faults I have are numerous; however I make up for it by being attuned to what’s going on around me.  My wife will be quick to point out that I miss things while driving, like apparently a giant rock that hit her windshield while we were driving out to Niagara a short while back.

I didn’t even hear this “rock” hit the windshield.  If it was so big, why didn’t I hear it, huh?

She’ll also be quick to point out that I miss other things, like objects on the side of the road.  Mind you, they’re usually on the passenger’s side of the road, and if I noticed them, I likely would miss the toll booths we’d be racing towards at 80 mph and the dithering toll collector crossing between the booths.

My wife’s driving is terrible, far worse than mine, not for lack of skill, but for lack of concentration.  Often she’s fiddling with something, like the car’s AC,

or her phone,

or her phone charger,

or her Altoids,

or her cup of coffee,

or trying to fill out a bank slip long before we’re even at the bank

or glancing at “interesting” shit on the side of the road, and will miss an exit.  This, and the fear of being killed while I’m asleep, means that I stay bolt upright and awake during all of our travels where she drives.

Hence, why 4/5s the time I’m usually the one in the driver’s seat.

Yes I drive “hard”; I speed, tailgate, get agitated with slower moving traffic, and often cuss under my breath at the unbelievable bullshit I see while operating on a motorway.  I see Barbie texting like crazy, while diddling the radio knob.  I see Ken eating a goddamn cheeseburger and steering with his knee.  I see Old Man Smithers jacking it to a yellowed copy of Hustler from 9 years ago.

I said it was unbelievable bullshit.

So what if I check Google Maps from my phone to ensure we’re going the right way (which is what I was doing in the photo from her article)?  So what if I nudge into traffic with the gentleness of a PCP snorting elephant?  So what if I cut through a DO NOT ENTER and travel a quarter mile down a one way street at night with my lights off while fumbling around with a loaded pistol?

I’m not hurting anyone.

I refuse to admit that I’m a ‘bad driver’ only because I try really hard not to text and drive…. It’s only because with an iPhone it’s next to impossible to text and drive and have anything come out that’s remotely coherent.  It’s just easier to make an actual phone call.

And on farting?  I crack the window an inch to create greater suction.  There’s a scientific name for it, but I can’t remember it.  But keep in mind, I’m not going to crank down the windows to air out my shitty smelling farts; no that would only trap the fart in the back of the car with the dog, beating it senseless (the fart), confusing it, not letting it escape until some sort of cellular dispersion occurred and all the shit crystals spread far enough away from each other so you wouldn’t be overpowered by the stench.  No, a small, one inch crack in the window will sufficiently suck the offensive, strict-protein-diet-fueled gasses out and put them on the street with everything else that smells: Trash, Hookers and The Mets.

And while I’m driving the bus, let me tell you this:  My wife farted on me once.  We were in bed, she thought I was fast asleep, she had her legs up over mine, and she let out a little tooter.  Yes, a quiet little “toot” escaped her rear end.  The thing is, I wasn’t fast asleep, I was wide awake with my eyes closed.  So when I opened them to make her face the shame of her crime, she quickly snapped her eyes shut to pretend that she had been sleeping all along.  So I just stared at her until she tried to crack one of her eyes back open to see if I noticed her little fanny burp.

I was staring directly at her, with a cold expression on my face that was something caught between betrayal and hatred.

Yeah, talk some shit about my driving.  See if I don’t put you on blast for being gassy.  That’s how I do.

November 23, 2009 Posted by | Blogging Couple, Out and About, Shameless Self Promotion, Smells Like Children | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Savageness of Business/The Shotgun Accord of 2009

The Realtor called again this afternoon.

To get everyone on the same page, there’s been this slow boiling Cold War between my wife and I, our utterly inept landlord (whom I discovered today, does appear as though she were a human-fish hybrid), and the real estate company she’s trying to sell our apartment through.  All parties despise each other to the point where our front step is something similar to the 38th Parallel.

We’re in the process of moving out of here, because Ang and I are fed up with having to deal with the bullshit that consumes us on a daily basis in our “quaint (see also: small, old, dingy)” apartment on Main St.  From drunken hooligans parading down the thoroughfare throwing glass bottles at houses, to the 7am weed-whacking that we’ve yet to pinpoint a location on, yet hear nearly daily, we long for something quiet, out of the way, and without the bothersome-yet-polite nagging from The Realtor.

As stated she called today, which took me off guard.  Typically phone numbers that come up on my phone’s screen that I don’t readily recognize I tend to send off to vmail; that is after all, why voicemail was invented, to screen calls from undesirables, am I right?  But being that I was driving, I felt compelled to put everyone’s life at risk, mine, my wife’s, other motorists, and answer.

“Hi, is this Jim?”  Came the cheery voice of the cuntbag Realtor.  At first I thought it might’ve been the nurse at the doctor’s office we just left a short while ago; maybe we had left something behind, or there was some missing paperwork, etc.  But she followed up her greeting with “This is ____ (rhymes with ‘spam’) from _______ (rhymes with ‘fuckhole’) Reality, how are you today?”

Fuck!

We were just coming back from a doctor’s visit where Ang had been knocked out so a small camera could be rammed down her throat and pictures could be taken of the small ulcer she’s gone on to name “Squirmy.”  While the photo’s were ‘Sear’s Portrait’ at best, we did get a B-Roll to take home with us.

Regardless, Ang was passed on in the passenger seat and I could tell she was going to be groggy for the next few days.  The very thought of a realtor dragging some so-and-sos through our apartment right now made my asshole itch.  Before I could even answer her initial question of ‘is this Jim’ she was already ramming her commission-earning greed-cock down my gullet and making my eyes bulge and tear.

“I was wondering if it’d be ok to show the apartment this time tomorrow,” we had an agreed upon an armistice after our last interaction, which I can’t remember if I went into or not in the last article I wrote regarding this topic.  In short, after she pinned her calling card on our door while we were out, and I came just short of calling her a miserable bitch from the 9th circle of hell when I called back, we agreed on what I call the “Shotgun Accord” where she would give me a 24 hour heads up before bringing prospective buyers by, and I wouldn’t shove the barrel of my Remington 870 into any “trespasser’s” face.

She was holding up hear end of the bargain, and under normal circumstances I’d be obligated to give her the go-ahead.  But I glanced over at the crumpled form of my wife, passed out in the passenger seat complete with her cute way of snoring like a man, thinking of her inevitable anesthesiologist-induced hangover, and had to pull the wife-card.

“Ugh, ____, it’s not going to happen, look, my wife’s real sick, we’re just coming back from the doctor’s where my wife had an IV rammed into her arm and a camera down her throat.  She’s in no position to have people tromping around where we live.  She needs rest.”

“Oh, that’s too bad.  Well, what I can do is call back the agent and find out if the people are locals or out of towners, and if they’re local, we’ll reschedule for later in the week, and if they’re out of town, we won’t bring them upstairs, how about that?”

The bitch!  Like, everything I just said to her apparently didn’t resonate one bit.  I understand that she’s got a business to run, and time is money, but I just told her that my wife’s bed ridden and sick.

I grip the steering wheel and twist, feeling like I’m going to snap if off the column.  Ang murmurs.

The Realtor doesn’t miss a beat, and it’s hard to miss the smugness in her voice:  “_____ (our landlord, rhymes with ‘Turdface’) tells me you guys found a place, so you don’t need me to give your info to our rental agent?”  When we last spoke, the Realtor told me she had a hook up on some nice rental property down the road from us, and she was going to have an agent contact us ‘very soon.’  That was weeks ago and we hadn’t heard one word from anyone from this agency until now.  I bit my tongue before telling this witch to hop back up on her broom and go fuck herself.

That was actually the scenario that I figured had probably gone down (not the broomstick penetration); that our shitty landlord had, in a surprising and uncharacteristically act of selflessness, contacted The Realtor and told her to back off of us.  We’d be gone in a few weeks, no need to hassle good people.  But I guess I was mistaken.

“Yeah, we found a place,” I conceded.  If she, The Realtor, knew this information, why wouldn’t she just leave us alone and let us move out, and start showing the place in earnest next month, when we’re not there and she doesn’t have to bother anyone?  The Savagery of Business!

I wanted to explain that scenario to her but I’d be wasting my breath.  The longer property sits on the market, the less likely it’ll get sold, that’s Real Estate 101 for you.  She wants as many dipshit buyers in our living space as possible.  I’m actually quite surprised that there hasn’t been an open house while we’re sitting at our kitchen table eating breakfast.

As of press time (which is later in the evening after taking the call) I’ve yet to hear back from this miserable bridge troll that’s in charge of selling this property, which means that sometime tomorrow afternoon, some fucking out-of-state dickbags and this happy-go-lucky machine gun target are going to be making all sorts of ridiculous noise during my wife’s convalescence.

Consider the “Shotgun Accord” to be officially null and void.

November 16, 2009 Posted by | Corporate America Hates You, Living in an Insane Asylum, Out and About, People I Hate | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

TidBits: Coffee, Fantasy Football, and Gun Enthusiasts

TidBits: A new series where I take short, not fully fleshed out ideas and mash them into one article.

These also tend to go all over the road.  Enjoy.

 

On Coffee:

Is it me, or has coffee just gotten bad in the last few years?  It’s harder than hell to find a decent cup of coffee anymore, something that I’d actually savor.

Being that I live in New England, there’s a Dunkin’ Donuts every ten feet.  This is problematic because what I used to think was the best cup of coffee going for under two bucks has become this over saturated conglomerate that sells a bunch of wild shit other than coffee and donuts anymore.  I mean, who the hell wants an egg-white pita bread sandwich?

And it’s not even that good for you!  It’s loaded with carbs, calories and sodium!  Look it up!

What also makes things frustrating with having to deal with Dunks is that in the summer every chain is staffed by some kid from Eastern Europe who looks like he should be starting center for the Dallas Mavericks, and in winter by less-than-enthusiastic Jamaicans whose command of the English language leaves much more to be desired.

“Can I get a medium regular, sugar and skim, please?”

“MEEEDEEUM REGGALA, SHOOGAH EH SKEEM!” the woman bellows.  What the fuck did I just order?  And then inexplicably I’m handed a large ice coffee and a pumpkin spice muffin.

Service aside, the coffee is terrible, and not just at the franchises, but the little mom and pop places on Cape as well.

Each one of these “self serve” little coffee places, from Cumberland Farms convenience stores, to actual coffee shops each have their own little blends of “house brewed” coffee, from regular, stand alone coffee to that flavored bullshit.  Each one of these little containers has a time scribbled down on it to indicate how fresh it is, but it won’t matter, they all taste like burnt dick.

That’s because the little pods of coffee, the plastic kind that do double duty as pumps, never get adequately washed out, causing whatever’s being poured out of it to taste like burnt-to-shit, week old sludge.

I don’t consider myself a huge coffee drinker, as I’ve become less dependent on it over the last few years (I drink between three and four cups a week, maybe) but I know the difference between shit and steak, so to say.  And lately, I’ve been drinking a lot of shit.

What makes matters worse, is that our office’s new boss, who just transferred in, likes Maxwell House, and demands that we keep it in stock on our little mess deck.  Maxwell House?  Did I just move back home with my parents?  Ugh, my dog won’t even touch that shit, and she’s the type of animal that gets her jollies from rolling around in a decaying seagull carcass.

On Fantasy Football:

Men need ways to cling to childhood things like the way women need emotional support when out trying on jeans.  And instead of throwing tantrums in shopping malls when you’re taking too long, ladies, we play fantasy sports.

I know what you’re thinking, and let me be clear; we think it’s fucking ridiculous too.  To sit and fret over million dollar athletes, to spend more time researching some 24 year old’s bad toe than with our kid’s special needs teacher, it’s sickening, yeah, but we do it.

We need it.

It’s a form of non-combative combat amongst friends, and it’s exceedingly becoming a pop culture mainstay.  The cable network FX just picked up a sitcom (conceivably a one-joke sitcom) all about grown adult men and their fantasy football league.  Just accept it.

For us it’s like gambling on sports without the threat of blowing the money we set aside for a house, or risking having our thumbs broken by some guy named “Joey Smalls” who may or may not hang out in the backroom of Lucky’s on Jackson Blvd, and is a very nice guy, whom I will be seeing very soon, just as soon as I scratch together that last little bit of cash to cover the vig, sorry.

On Gun Enthusiasts:

On a serious note, you’ve heard of the massacre at Ft. Hood this last week.  It’s a tragedy, and tragedies like this are starting to become all too familiar.  A guy fucking loses his shit, gets desperate and for whatever reason, picks up a gun and starts shooting.

But don’t get confused and think that everyone who owns a gun is potentially going to go off the deep end like Maj. Nadal Hasan did.

I own a number of guns, and I have all my life.  I’ve also been professionally affiliated with them as well.  My firearms training has been watched over by experts my entire life, and it goes without saying that I’m (probably too) comfortable around guns.

This doesn’t make me crazy, people.

But it’s hard to take my word for it, and I understand that.  It seems that whenever I get into a casual discussion about firearms, some people tend to let their body language change and become standoffish.  I can see it in their faces that they think I’m some sort of fucking nut who spends his free time stomping around some wood, clutching a rifle, hunting something for the shear pleasure of watching it bleed to death.

I know this, because I act the same way when other people whom enjoy my enthusiasm tell me the same stories I tell others.

Briefly I worked at an outdoor outfitter in Southern Maine (not LL Bean), which has a very large firearms section; it pretty much takes up half of the second floor.  The people who worked in that section were all obviously firearms enthusiasts.  Some were former military, myself formerly a police officer, and we all would share our stories about our favorite weapons, often getting into good natured debates about our personal favorites and tastes (for instance, I’m a Glock guy).

But then there would be these guys whom you couldn’t take too seriously, because, well, the way they’d talk about their weaponry.  It was like listening to a randy high school kid talk about a much sought after cheerleader.  You had to step back and be like “whoa, ok, easy,” when they got going.

But I can’t blame them, and yeah, I thought they were a little crazy, but I knew it was that gun fever talking.

That’s what being an “Enthusiast” means.  You’re enthusiastic about something, and you tend to let everyone know.  Have you ever met an enthusiast of anything and not have them talk to you at length about their passion?

So don’t lump gun enthusiasts in with guys like Maj. Hasan, or that weird Korean kid who shot up VA Tech, or any other of these whack jobs with a score to settle with society.  Do the math:  America is populated by 300 million people.  If you say even a fraction of that population has the means to obtain a firearm, say 3 million people, only a fraction of that number have gone on to commit a terrible tragedy like the one at Ft. Hood.

I don’t have the exact numbers, but think of it like this:  In the past five years, there have been probably 25 mass shootings that we’ve heard about, and 100s of other horrific murders committed with a firearm during that period.  That’s still only a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of the total gun-obtaining population.

Don’t let the media hype scare you into thinking every gun owner is some maniac looking to harm you and your family because he got fired from his engineering gig over two years ago.  Try to think of it like this:  If more people carried a firearm on their persons at all times, the people prone to committing mass shootings might A) think twice about it (that guy who shot up that office building in Orlando, maybe?) or B) be stopped as soon as he opened fire (which is likely to have happened at Ft. Hood, but I dare not Monday-Morning that scenario).

Just remember, we’re regular people too.

November 10, 2009 Posted by | Corporate America Hates You, Gay Shit I Know Too Much About, Living in an Insane Asylum | , , , , | Leave a comment