Monthly Archives: January 2011

Said one dinosaur to the other:

“That bright light in the sky? Seen one asteroid seen ’em all.”

H/T Ed Driscoll


If I was a younger man…

…I would run away and learn to surf.

Great Moments in Branding History

Obama’s latest “Winning the Future” campaign is bringing back fond memories of the Dem’s branding genius of last year.

Um…who’s designing these guys logo’s?








Go figure…

Doing a quick walk around of the place this morning it dawned on me that it had been a couple of years since I rounded up all the unwanted things that somehow accumulate, so I loaded up the pickup and it was off to the local solid waste disposal facility.

When I was a kid, the local solid waste disposal facility was referred to as “The Dump”. Whether it was called “The Dump” in recognition of the observation that this was where everyone dumped their garbage, or whether a spot was picked and it was named in anticipation of this activity, the simple fact was that this is where the majority of everyone’s weekly cast-offs ended up. By today’s standards “The Dump” was not very friendly to the ecology of the particular site it happened to occupy and it stunk to high heaven, but it was far removed from town and had no appreciable impact on the local’s lives. The municipal garbage trucks that picked up the cans in front of the houses would drop their loads here and if on occasion you had a few items that wouldn’t fit in the cans or an old bed, or swing-set, or yard waste or whatever, you were free to bring it on down and toss it in the pile. And by free I mean… it was free. It didn’t cost anything. Hardly the case anymore.

Upon pulling up to the small “attendants station” (“The Dump” didn’t have any “attendants”), a very fat man strolled out and began inspecting the load as if he were looking for illegal contraband or perhaps an undocumented guest worker or two. “Any tires under that stuff” he huffed, the spray of tobacco juice just missing the end of my nose. “Them costs ten bucks a piece.” “A couple…I think” I said, vaguely recalling my last trip through airport security. “OK! Four!” I blurted out as he started to look closer. “I have four tires. Not including the ones presently on the rims of my truck.” The interpretation of sarcasm  apparently not being a requirement in his most recent union contract, he stared at me blankly.  “That comes to seventy five bucks so far. Any TV’s ?” Before I could answer in the affirmative, he told me that they wouldn’t take them and that I had to deliver any in my possession to the primary county recycling site over by the airport. “That would be forty miles from here.” I said dejectedly. “Cost ya forty five bucks each too.” he said with a smile. “Might cost a little less on the rest since they charge by the pound down there.” “Well…fuck” was all I could muster as I pulled out and headed for the airport.

I’ll have you know that I didn’t succumb to my baser instincts and simply dump it all down the end of the first dirt road I came upon. I did my civic duty and wasted almost an entire day and a hundred dollars making sure that each individual scrap of garbage ended up in its proper county approved receptacle. On the drive home I viewed the tires, TV’s, and other flotsam and jetsam strewn on the side of the road in a whole new light however. I used to wonder what kind of scumbag lazy good for nothing would foul their environment with such flagrant littering. I now realize that these days it is simply an economic calculation and that the weekly cast-offs that used to be concentrated in a single fouled and smelly location, far from the eye and nose, are now scattered about for all to see and enjoy. “The Dump” by and large managed to keep the surrounding countryside  trash free due to the fact that it was free, and it was easy. Like all government run enterprises the “Kitsap County Department of Solid Waste Disposal ” somehow assumes that if they make something a pain in the ass for people and then charge them exorbitantly for it, those people won’t simply make other arrangements. Go figure.


My three legged Beagle and I have an interesting arrangement that works like this. I procrastinate putting a latch on the cabinet under the sink and he agrees to up-end and rifle through the garbage can under said sink whenever I have my back turned. It has gotten to the point that he has lost all pretense of shame or regret and will eagerly wait by the can tail wagging while I scrape the dinner plates clean. If I didn’t know better I would say that he was losing respect for my authority. Also when we go out in public he pulls me around with his leash while I follow behind with a plastic bag over my hand picking up his droppings. If on a walk we were to be suddenly confronted by an alien approaching us from his flying saucer requesting “Take me to your leader”, I am convinced that this alien would direct his question to the barking dog and regard me as anyone would someone standing silently behind at the end of a length of rope holding a bag of shit. Somehow the evolution of the man/dog relationship as it was originally intended has been turned inside-out.


As anyone who has attempted to learn a foreign language will attest, the competent speaking of another tongue has many nuances and can take years to master. Some people are naturally gifted in the area of learning and speaking a language other than their own and some are not. My wife is not one of these people. It’s not that she is trying to be mocking or cruel when attempting to speak an unfamiliar language, she genuinely believes that she is being accommodating and polite, she just isn’t at all good at it. To listen to her butcher attempts at the simplest greetings or salutations is to hear something akin to what you might witness on one of those cop shows featuring severely inebriated folks trying to explain to the police when asked for their identification that they always speak like they have a fist sized wad of plumbers putty in their mouths. When on occasion alcohol is added to the scenario it becomes a comic spectacle of shouted mis-pronunciations and hastily created words and phrases combining two or more languages that invariably leaves the subject of her communication attempts desperately searching for an exit, and anyone else observing either choking with laughter or cringing in embarrassment. Such was the case on a late night stop at a well-known road side chain restaurant on our recent trip to California.

Being stuck in the car for nearly twelve hours with our two teenage boys, when we sat down to order she wasted no time in getting the bartender busy in providing a few tasty beverages to take the edge off.  About half way through the meal, her edge now very much dulled, it dawned on her that our waiter was of Hispanic decent and in the interests of being polite decided that it was her obligation to communicate with him in Spanish. That she doesn’t speak Spanish other than a phrase or two she has picked up by overhearing a few episodes of The George Lopez Show when the kids are watching, and undeterred by the fact that up until this point our waiter had been speaking perfectly serviceable English and as far as we know had never been in a Latin American country, she launched into her best approximation of casual Spanish conversation. “Buenos Dias!” she loudly and cheerfully answered the waiter when he inquired if we would like some more water. “Good evening” he subtly corrected her while filling the glasses. Wracking her brain for something along the lines of “how are you”, the best she could do was to grinningly exclaim “Hola amigo!” “Hello to you” he volleyed after a pregnant pause . “Can I bring you anything else?” he said in impeccable English. To most this lack of even a mildly recognizable regional accent would indicate that he probably had as limited a knowledge of Spanish as she did but somehow this realization was not forthcoming and she pressed onward. The rum and cokes now performing fully as intended, she blurted out a slurred inquiry that came out near as I can remember as “Come slay my Llama?” After another long pause I heard our waiter answer, “My name is Steve and I am from Canada so could you please stop speaking to me in Mexican. Now…can I get you anything else?” Our two boys, until now content to occupy themselves with their food and their I-pods, looked at each other in horror and departed for the car. As anyone who has been married to the same person for a lengthy period of time will confirm, a spouse can often know what the other is going to say before the thought has even formed in their mates head. Anticipating an embarrassing attempt to order another beverage in broken Spanglish with maybe an “eh” or an “aboot” tossed in for good measure, I cut in and performed a preemptive disengagement by saying “No thank you. Just the bill please”. “Quanto questo!” she chimed in half heartedly, not yet willing to concede the point that Steve was indeed from the other country to share a border with us.  Observing that we had some uneaten food still on our plates, she searched her very limited Spanish data base one last time to request a doggie bag of some sort and in a final flourish loud enough for those in the kitchen to hear shouted in homage to the Spanish and Canadian languages, “Andale’…….BOX!!” before dissolving into a fit of  rum fueled giggles. I smiled at him and shrugged my shoulders as he dropped the tab on the table, silently grateful that this incident hadn’t occurred in a less genteel establishment than a roadside chain restaurant. As soon as he disappeared from view I paid up and hurried my wife out of the restaurant and back to the car, leaving double the usual tip for exemplary service. Placing her in the passenger seat, by the time I rounded the front of the car and climbed into the drivers side she was fast asleep and wearing a satisfied smile. The kids had reconnected to their I-pods and for all intents and purposes became invisible. Pulling back onto the interstate, I turned the radio dial to a local country/western station and listening to the whine of tires on blacktop and everyday tales of trials and tribulation, pressed on.

Stupid is as stupid…well, I’ll let you decide.

As a young man I did some stupid things. I once attempted to stealthily “borrow” without permission gasoline from an outboard motor can located in the driveway of a Louisiana Cajun with four very aggressive adult sons, each it turns out possessing a very keen sense of hearing. I have bungee jumped in Mexico. I chased a bottle of bourbon one night with a large handful of psychedelic mushrooms while on 24 hour call as an oilfield diver, only to find myself in a helicopter sixty minutes later and underwater in ninety performing an emergency pipeline riser inspection on an offshore rig. The abundance of phosphorescent plankton in the dark water made for a very memorable evening though one that I would not care to ever repeat. On our country’s 200th birthday I found my self at Yellowstone’s Old Faithful Inn and on a dare pissed in its namesake geyser between eruptions. My drinking buddies were thoroughly impressed and amused although the park rangers, aware of the geysers unfaithful nature regarding time between eruptions, didn’t appreciate my daring do and we were all hastily escorted from the park.

While some may interpret these acts of youthful adventure as immature or perhaps even approaching the level of amateur stupidity, these guys are real pros.