Tuesday, December 19, 2006


As you all know: roomate Christmas is just around the corner and I want everyone to know that I specifically DID NOT get any of you a pony despite a certain unnamed roommate's constant request for one (Matt).

While the shock of that initial disappointment settles in, let me say this: I have something unique and wonderful for each one of you (except Seth whose present got backordered and won't be in until Tuesday), but the most unique and wonderful thing I have for you this year is: me.

You get to have spent an entire year living with - me. Doesn't it feel nice?

So, as you unwrap your tins of cocoa, sacks of oranges, cans of brazil nuts, fruit-of-the-loom whites, fruitcake slices, and target-brand t-shirts under the tree on Sunday: enjoy them in good health, but try to remember that the point of this Christmas is: me. Its not you, and its especially not Emily Jones (even though she is our mascot).

We'll be gathering at the DUDE RANCH at 7PM to venture out to Fellini's or similar (I'm accepting suggestions from DUDE RANCH members ONLY. LESLIE - NO, WE'RE NOT GOING TO ROASTERS for dinner). Afterwards, we will be returning to the DUDE RANCH to open gifts before heading down to Meehan's for some light post-paroxysms-of-greed refreshment (and possibly a game of darts).

Also: $20 goes to the person who can successfully sneak a portion of seafood into Emily's dinner. She'll be blowing bubbles in the toilet inside of 30 minutes and it would really make my Christmas special.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

I Fought the Law

Sometime between 7:30 and 9:30PM on Saturday night I rolled over onto my back in a briar thicket and thought “So, this is what its like to be a criminal.” I didn't think it very loudly though - the Game Warden was far too close for any sort of loud thinking.

I arrived at the deercamp this weekend to find it in uproar and disarray. After several abortive attempts at storytelling I left Seth to find My Uncle John and get it straight. It turns out: the GAME WARDEN had crossed over onto our property late that afternoon and had mistakenly identified a neighboring hunter’s encroachment on our property line with “bait” as an illegal activity on the part of our club members.

Now I don’t need to tell you, gentle reader, that we would never associate ourselves with individuals of such inauspicious character as the sort to “bait” for deer. However, GERALD PARSONS(478.955.0222) when questioned by the GAME WARDEN on the situation merely replied “Oh, I don’t know. It must be that tall brown-headed boy from Atlanta.”

Apparently that sort of thing passes for “humor” in his neighborhood.

The four-wheeler noises started at approximately 6:01PM. By approximately 6:14PM the four-wheeler noises were accompanied by a distant dirt-bike noise. By approximately 6:14:15PM I was pasted to the side of my clip-on deerstand shaking so hard the tree I was in was whipping like it was in my own personal windstorm.

Now, I'm not typically afraid of four-wheelers as a rule. I got on one with Watson Moulton once and ended up violently terrified of that particular four-wheeler, but other than that isolated pants-wetting I've had fairly good experiences with four-wheelers in general. What bothered me in this instance was the knowledge that Mr. GAME WARDEN often traveled accompanied by a female Ms. GAME WARDEN on a dirt bike.

Putting two and two together, I realized: “I don’t have my license with me. It is in the truck - so the GAME WARDEN is going to write me a ticket for hunting without a license. Then, GON is going to put me in the HALL OF SHAME files in their magazine. Then, someone is going to mistake MY name for DAD’s name and the Governor is going to personally fire DAD for unethical hunting practices. By the time it’s all sorted out; it’ll be too late - somebody else will be in Dad’s job. So, to summarize: if I get caught out here without a license I’m going to get a ticket and my Dad is going to get fired and it’s all going to be Gerald Parson’s fault.”

The game was afoot.

After determining that the noises I was hearing were indeed the GAME WARDEN and his assistant the GAME WARDENATRIX; I took stock of myself.

After a short while I realized my stock was “not too good” about the same time the four-wheeler noises shut themselves off in the vicinity of my pickup. My truck has an Atlanta tag – identifying me to the GAME WARDEN as “Atlanta Boy: known violator. Recently sold downriver by a member of his own crew.”

Now, if there is anything worse than a four-wheeler GAME WARDEN noise it’s a four-wheeler GAME WARDEN noise that has just stopped nearby; because then you know there’s a GAME WARDEN nearby, but suddenly he could be anywhere – the tops of the trees, sneaking through the thicket, riding a horse, in an airplane: ANYWHERE.

Is that a squirrel? No, it must be the GAME WARDEN. Is that a dog barking? No, it must be the GAME WARDEN alerting his GAME WARDENATRIX partner. Is that a woodfire I smell? No, it must be the GAME WARDEN smoke-signaling my location to the GAME WARDENATRIX.

During my stock-taking I identified my deerstand as a potential source of metal-on-metal noise: a sure path to the GAME WARDEN stockade for yours truly. The metal ladder makes noise when one shifts weight on it, so I knew I must sit perfectly still for as long as it took – all night if need be. Dad’s income depended on it.

Then, a deer walked up and bedded down directly underneath my stand and began to gently lick itself. It looked up directly into my eyes. I blinked and it jerked its head up into the wind. I knew if I spooked the deer – the deer would alert the GAME WARDEN creating a new path for me straight to the stockade.

So, I closed my eyes.

After approximately 1.5 hours the GAME WARDEN cranked his four-wheeler back up and continued to ease around my location; stopping every 150 yards or so and shutting off his four-wheeler to listen for sounds of me attempting to escape.

I opened my eyes. The deer was gone. I didn’t realize it because my eyes were closed. It was very dark. I couldn’t see. I still had my safety belt clipped on. I couldn’t find my rifle. I dropped my Outdoor Life magazine. It made noise. I panicked. The four-wheeler started again.

Suddenly, as quick as thought, I leapt from my stand; unsnapping my safety harness in mid-air as I slid as far down the ladder as I could: stopping mere inches from certain metal-on-metal noise, incarceration for me, and poverty for Dad.

I breathed a sigh of relief. The four-wheeler started again and I took one last tentative step down the ladder…SKKKRREEEEEEEEETTT!!!! METAL NOISE! CURSES!

The four-wheeler stopped and I began tabulating my fine.

After several breathless minutes of cringing at every sound I slowly picked up my BudFannyPack and began slowly creeping through the moonlit thicket. I tiptoed across country for 2 hours, stopping only to bury my .17HMR armadillo-shooting pistol, flashlight, and empty shell-casing to avoid suspicion of illegal activities.

2 hours later I emerged near my truck, jumped in it and drove away: wallet and license held high for all to see.

I went back the next day to look for GAME WARDEN tracks. There weren’t any.

Turns out - the GAME WARDEN was really just the guy across the creek riding around on his four-wheeler to check on his cows.

Now, if only I could find where I buried that pistol....

I fought the law...I thought....

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Thumbs Up for EAW

I want everyone to remember that my friend and fellow EAW-goer (thats El Azteca Wednesday for the uninitiated) Paula Igou is very sensitive about her *little thumbs*. Her condition is your average run-of-the-mill deformity and it cannot (I repeat CANNOT) be "caught" as I so callously lead you all to believe last week. In short: Paula's *little thumb* deformity is not contagious and you should not be afraid to eat with her, shake her hand, ride in the car with her, look at her, talk to her on the phone, or breathe her air as I originally indicated.

I am sorry for the confusion surrounding Paula's crazily-deformed, wacky-looking, almost freakishly tiny, midget, *little thumbs* and I want to make sure that you all know how terribly sorry I am for ever making fun of how incredibly weird and truncated her *little thumbs* appear to outsiders. I am doubly sorry for bringing her insanely disturbing deformity to the attention of people who were not already aware of it.

In my effort to make sure everyone is sensitive to Paula for her horrific and embarrassing defect I am including in this EAW invitation a description of ordinary thumb deformities and their treatment. Please see my checklist below:


undergrowth of digits
Underdeveloped fingers or thumbs are associated with many congenital hand deformities. Surgical treatment is not always required to correct these deformities. Underdeveloped fingers may include the following:
1. the digit is small (oh definitely. You might even say it is "nubbin-like")

2. muscles are missing (definitely Paula here too)

3. bones are underdeveloped or missing (I think so, yes, but without an autopsy it is hard to know for sure.)

4. there is absence of a digit (no, not this one).
Treatment may include:
A. limb manipulation and stretching (oh my - yes. We should try to stretch out those weird little suckers. That’s the ticket.)

B. splinting of the affected limbs (no - I'm concerned that splinting her minidigit against her normal digit would only serve to retard the normal digit)

C. tendon transfers (I'm short on tendons, but I have 2 strips of raw bacon and a microwave. I bet if we concentrate we can just wrap her little porkers in more bacon and fry up those *little thumbs* for more stable movement).

D. external appliances to help realign misshapen digits or hands (we at the DudeRanch were hard at work building an appropriate *little thumb* replacement, but progress was halted by a shortage of popsicle sticks).

E. physical therapy to help increase the strength and function of the hand (we feel that Paula's very healthy middle finger will compensate sufficiently to render physical therapy unnecessary, but, yes we agree she should be in therapy).

F. skin grafts - involves replacing or attaching skin to a part of the hand that is missing skin or has been removed during a procedure.(oh my. Indeed, but we'll need more bacon).

G. prosthetics - may be used when surgery is not an option, or in addition to surgical correction. (again, pending discovery of another Ziploc bag of popsicle sticks DudeRanch Prosthetics Inc. should have a working model available in 2007).

So, dear friends support your friends with *little thumb* disorders. After all; they're people too.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Lobes of Love

I recently made the classic mistake of taking my lovely girlfriend, Meredith, deer hunting. She is a very good sport. I knew that and I appreciate it. A lot.

What I failed to realize or appreciate is that she (despite being an extremely good sport), entertains a severe allergic reaction to mosquito bites. Ahh, would that I had known that before choosing a deerstand location near a swamp.

About an hour into our hunt several deer walked into sight. Before being completely engrossed in the scene in front of me I gave the strictest of orders "not to move" and indicated that multiple deer were within range.

I failed to notice Meredith's desperate attemps at blinked distress signals until several minutes later. Finally she hissed "SOMETHING IS BITING ME!!!" Naturally, I again gently encouraged her "not to move" and shifted my eyes towards her just enough to see a look of intense pain and concentration come over her face. I then shifted my attention back to the deer.

After approximately 20 more minutes the deer relocated and I again shifted my vision towards Meredith. There had been no change. She appeared frozen in place with a look of intense consternation pasted across her furiously-clenched brow and tightly-clamped eyelids.

I waited a few more minutes for my own private enjoyment, then nudged her and indicated that it was ok to move about again. She immediately began clawing rabidly at her right ear and kicking me viciously in the knee.

After the furious melee, we continued to enjoy our time together and I quickly forgot about the incident. Several days later I noticed that she had taken to wearing her hair down over her ear. Curious, I lightly brushed aside her chocolatey brown locks only to find that the top of her right ear had swollen to twice its normal size and had taken on a decidedly "pointy" appearance - not at all unlike Mr. Spock from Star Trek. When I say a "pointy appearance" I mean "freakishly pointy" "pointy to the point of public humiliation" or even "embarassingly pointy."

The ear? It was pointy; there is no denying that, but pointing that out sure was a huge mistake.

Recently (and to my great dismay) there has been some discussion of Meredith removing a significant portion of her hair and donating it to "locks of love."

I suggested donating a portion of her ear to "Lobes of Love" instead.

She was not amused.

Meredith: may your ear live long and prosper.

Friday, November 03, 2006

A Lot Cleaner Than I Really Am

Dear Watershed Services:

I just opened up a $502.47 water bill representing 66CCF of usage over a 27-day period. Looking back at my bill history I have used an average of approximately 10-15 CCF per billing period for the last several years. That is a 340% increase in water consumption at my house in a 27-day period with no other changes in my home or residents - roughly 6 months of normal water usage. All bathrooms in my house are currently being used, so a constantly running toilet would attract attention. I checked each bathroom for toilet leaks and found none.

I immediately considered the possibility of an underground leak in my yard. So, I checked the yard for pooling water and/or waterlogged areas and found none. I also checked to make sure all water inside the house was shut off, then checked the meter in the front yard to see if it was spinning - it was not. Based on that observation it appears that there are no leaks between my house and the meter, which makes sense because that much water would (literally) flood my entire front yard. I would be the only floating house on River Springs Court.

Given that 1CCF = 748 gallons of water; my usage this month is 40,392 gallons higher than normal. My yard is .54-acres and slopes back-to-front. 40,392 gallons of water (even coming from a source 18" underground) absolutely MUST surface in my yard. Needless to say, here is no such water to be found. Especially given the rain conditions over the last few weeks - that water has to flow somewhere and, given the slope, it would have to run out into the street almost immediately!

Assuming that showers in my house approximate the national average for shower output of 2.7GPM: that means a shower would have to run (full-bore) 249 hours in order to put out 40,392 gallons of water. I'm not nearly concerned enough about hygeine to shower for 249 hours, even on a bad day.

A 27-day billing period only has 648hrs in it, so that means over my last billing period I would have had to run a shower, full-blast, 24hrs each day for 10.4 days. I assure you that has not been the case. I think maybe the City of Atlanta thinks I'm much cleaner than I really am.

In the case of a leaky toilet [assuming it leaks at .5GPM, which is high] - a leaky toilet would have to run 1,346hrs to leak that volume of water. That’s roughly double the hours in my 27-day billing period. In other words - the laws of this universe dictate that a leaky toilet does not have time in 27 days to leak that much water.

Graphically: 40,392 gallons of water would fill a 10' x 10' pool 74 feet deep.

Either there must be an error with my bill or my roomate, Matt, has done a better job hiding his 5-story hot tub on the premises than he did hiding his last box of twinkies. I spotted those right off.

Also - call it arrogance, but I like to think that my powers of observation are such that I'd immediately notice construction of a 74-foot water tower in my yard fairly quickly and think to myself: "Wait. Something is not right."

Based on my analysis it appears physically impossible that I have used an additional 40,392 gallons of water in the last 27-days. Could you please help me with this?


Jimmy Ewing

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Whereupon I Realize I Can Blog From My Deerstand

I'm in a deerstand. The wind is blowing. It is pouring down rain. My rump is wet and beginning to itch. There are no deer. Everyone else is at the camp. It is dry there. Their rumps are not wet and they do not itch.

That is all.

Sometime later:
You know that somebody-just-spilled-beer-on-me feeling? I've got that except without the beer. Or the people. Or the loud music. Or the bad date that you can't wait to lose, but have to be nice to because Mom's best friend asked you to take her out claiming that "her wooden leg isn't really that noticeable" and you homeschooled so you're really not that great a catch either.

Sometime after that:

I take that back. There is a deer. Hallelujah. He looks very good-natured and very stupid. I think he is grinning at me. I say he looks stupid, but I'm the one sitting in a steel box 30 feet off the ground under a lone pinetree in the middle of an otherwise empty field...in a thunderstorm…..

No make that a hurricane: pieces of the titanic just floated by.

I'm going to have to tell Kate Winslet to gimme some more room on the dang floating door here in a second. I'm gonna need to paddle us out of here.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

90 Things Mom Taught Me.

1. When someone is being very rude to you in conversation; imagine them naked in public wearing clown shoes. Then mentally shrink them down until their voices get very, very high and they're 3 feet tall. Its tough to be angry at a publicly naked midget clown.

2. When in the buffet line at a wedding - eat two items while in line and put one on your plate.

3. Always touch the last biscuit before asking if anyone wants it. You're asking because YOU want it, remember?

4. Avoid strict schedules. They're too confining.

5. If you're terrible at something get good enough at it to squeak by, then move on to something else.

6. Avoid television.

7. Experiment.

8. Wear your seatbelt, its sitting right there anyway.

9. Brush your teeth frequently. Why not? It doesn't take long.

10. Keep M&M's handy.

11. Never be afraid to throw away a food item someone gives you if its terrible. Tell them you loved it. That’s a white lie, not a black one like when you lied about eating all the M&Ms.

12. If you circle the table while eating, the calories and your exertion cancel each other out.

13. Maybe you can't help how you feel, but you're the only one who can control how you act.

14. Catharsis is rarely worth it.

15. Closure is overrated.

16. They're not family, so don't worry about it.

17. Try food you've never liked before once and while. Sometimes you change your mind.

18. If your time invested doesn’t line up with what you think are your priorities, something is wrong.

19. People know when you don't mean it. They're not stupid either.

20. If somebody says something, and you think maybe they meant something else - you're probably right.

21. The people are more important than the meal or the event.

22. You rarely lose by giving someone the benefit of the doubt.

23. Chances are good they meant it. Chances are also good that if you ignore it, it'll eventually go away.

24. If you're not passionate about something - you're boring.

25. You are like your friends whether you like them or not.

26. Don't be stupid.

27. Be nice to nerds because:
A. Somebody out there thinks YOU are one, and
B. You're going to end up working for one eventually.

28. Don't waste time. Either be doing something, or be asleep.

29. Don't take sports too seriously. That’s boring.

30. If you do watch television, at least don't yell back at it.

31. Until you find someone you can't stand NOT to be married to, please don't get married.

32. Do not comment about newborn babies. Period. If you must speak say, "that is a beautiful baby."

33. R.S.V.P.

34. If you're feeling lonely at a party; check the nearest corner. There is someone there lonelier than you. Talk to them, then go check the other corners. Pretty soon the party is in your corner.

35. Chasing the cool crowd puts you…..right behind the cool crowd. They're chasing a cooler crowd. Leave it alone and go find the nerds.

36. Strategize.

37. No, you're right. She did it on purpose to manipulate you and she does it a lot. You normally don't notice, but you better!

38. Make the most of it, but don't worry too much about how you look. You're stuck with it.

39. Always have a casserole handy.

40. There is no such thing as an unwanted guest...as far as they know.

41. You can't play fair if there aren't any rules. Either make rules, or don't worry about playing fair.

42. A big task is lots of small tasks. Do one small task everyday even if you can't complete it right away. Then one day you'll be shocked to realize you finished the whole thing. Its like finding money in the dryer.

43. Most people probably shouldn't sing out loud.

44. If they put something on the table you just can't stomach; you better eat it anyway.

45. You can't fake modesty.

46. Don't fight with your sister.

47. Most of the time its not worth it to be right.

48. You can find a way to pay for it.

49. You can always put it on a zero-interest credit card and figure it out later.

50. Might as well buy the best one if you're going to spend all that money anyway.

51. The rule about doing what adults tell you to do does not apply to your uncles. They're like children.

52. Do NOT get on the four-wheeler with your Uncle Robert.

53. You're not "insensitive"; you were just born without a key emotional component that most women have.

54. Sometimes telling her the whole truth really isn't the nice thing to do. Put her on a "need to know" basis and get out of there.

55. Lying and omission of the truth are identical. The "whole truth" and a "white lie" are somewhere in-between.

56. Cornbread is much harder to get right than most people realize.

57. Using more than one type of pre-mixed ingredient packet means its from scratch.

58. If you win at any cost you're usually the one who pays for it.

59. Losing gracefully is much easier if you really don't care.

60. Lets buy the $15 shirt from target instead of the $40 shirt from the GAP and spend the $25 on icecream for everybody.

61. If you go for the check; get the whole thing.

62. If you really wanted to get the check you wouldn't have asked; you'd have snuck your credit card to the waiter when nobody was looking. People subconsciously realize that. Don't be cheap.

63. There is nothing worse than cheap people.

64. Let yourself be taken advantage of for money, time, food, or work and count on God to take care of you. If He doesn't its his fault, not yours. Either way it becomes somebody else's problem and you don't have to worry about it.

65. Do not tolerate people you love being taken advantage of.

66. People will always take advantage of you. If you get rid of everybody that hurts you you're going to get lonely.

67. There is nothing wrong with sneaking out the back if you find it more convenient.

68. Get there late and leave before people are ready for you to. That way they're always ready for you to come back.

69. The center of attention can be alot of fun depending on the type of attention.

70. Driving 80mph in a 70mph zone when you're only going 80 miles to begin with saves you 11.66 minutes. The last ticket you got cost you $200. Thats $17.15 per minute or roughly $1,029 per hour. Your time isn't worth that much: slow down.

71. There is always somebody smarter, tougher, faster, more successful, better looking, or richer than you. Knowing that doesn't make you feel better when you lose, but at least you're not surprised.

72. In relationships: fish or cut bait.

73. If you get a weird feeling about something - get out of there.

74. If its not on the table already - don't ask for it.

75. If you wait to develop wholly pure motives before you do something nice for someone; you're going to be waiting a long time. Go ahead and do it and don't worry about why. So you're motives weren't pure? Big deal. At least you did something nice.

76. You don't miss the money you give away.

77. Its better to have friends with a boat than to have the boat yourself.

78. If somebody you know talks too much and one day they betray your confidence; its your fault. You knew they were a blabbermouth to begin with, dummy.

79. Granddad always said that if somebody borrows $10 from you and never pays you back; it only cost you $10 to find out he's a crook and a liar. Thats good information - cheap.

80. Do your own thing.

81. If you stay up late - you can always sleep late to make up for it. Thats the nice thing about nighttime.

82. There is nothing wrong with doing two things at once if you can get them both done.

83. Be nice to Grandma. She let you spill stuff all over her house when you were little and didn't complain.

84. You'd be amazed if you knew how many people thought the exact same thing about you.

85. Hopefully people don't think the same thing about you.

86. Its amazing what you can get away with if you try it with a smile.

87. Rework your criteria for picking causes.

88. Eating it doesn't really help the people starving in Africa, but it does help put your life in perspective.

89. Its good to be the boss, but its also good not to be the boss too.

90. Don't make too many decisions based on what other people will think. Chances are good they're not really thinking about you anyway.

91. There is nothing wrong with a mild Christmas present obsession.

92. There is no excuse for being rude.

93. Doodling is healthy.

Monday, October 02, 2006

My Apologies, But Could You Hand Me My Eye?

It seems that I have damaged my left eye. If one did not know better one might think that Satan was attempting to enter the world through my left eyeball. It is that red. Think "fires of hell" red. You're close. So, by "damaged" I mean that the ordinarily-white part of my eye has turned a particularly virulent red. I can only assume that it has begun formally addressing everyone who walks by because they don't speak back at it, but they do stop and stare; a facet of humanity that I have always found somewhat rude.

If you're going to stop and stare at part of my body you could at least direct towards it some sort of appropriate question. Even a quick "well hellooo" under your breath would be fine so long as I can see your lips moving.

I wouldn't suggest it if I didn't do it myself. This morning is a great example. I simply said:

"Hellooo strangely-formed, wide, somewhat oblong, wrinkled rump standing before me on the escalator! How are you today?"

It gave me a pleasant waggle in greeting and I went on about my business.

For now all I will say is that the accident involved me, twelve hundred (1,200) acres of pine trees, one (1) pickup truck, one (1) machete, one (1) bottle of water, one (1) leather glove, and 1 (one) chunk of pine tree traveling at mach 947.

I went into work this morning for a little show-n-tell with the injury. Ultimately my boss (after attempting to exorcise my demons) encouraged me to run down the street for a quick visit with the eye doctor. Its been years since I've been to an Optometrist, but I took his advice.

When I arrived the good doctor dumped a squirt of eye-opener in my eye holes. He then attempted to plug me into a large metal contraption with a shiny tip on it that was entirely too close to my left peeper. Naturally, I asked him what he was going to do. His response was "I'm going to poke you right in the eye with this little metal piece."

Well alright.

But why am I naked?


Mom's Memorial Ride

Over the last few weeks my family has been the object of more love and affection than I would have thought possible. Our friends, family members, and, in some cases, people we don’t even know have ministered to us. In spite of their own feelings of grief and personal loss; they have lifted us up in prayer and comforted us.

For that I thank you.

Clearly the intent of this event is to celebrate Mom, and I can think of no better way to do that than to share with her family and friends this place that she loved so much.

I wish I could condense her experience on the Silver Comet Trail into one paragraph, but I’m afraid I can’t. She saw so much beauty on this trail. She saw snakes and birds. She followed deer and foxes. She made a new friend here every day.

Mom experienced creation on a Cannondale.

I never fully realized this at the time, but the two most important things Mom found in this place were beauty and community. I can think of no better place to experience community than in the presence of beauty.

She expressed to us on many occasions how much she loved cycling and how much she enjoyed the people she met here every day.

On her behalf, my family thanks the cycling community and the hundreds of people who brought joy and adventure to her life through this sport.

From my family to yours: it is our hope that this tragedy will not cause you to change your lifestyles and habits out of a spirit of fear. Mom was acutely aware of danger, but that awareness empowered her. She was attentive to the perils in life, but she refused to allow a spirit of fear to temper her willingness to embrace beauty.

Mom lived an intelligent life. She knew that the greatest danger in existence is not a nameless evil lurking in the shadows. The greatest danger in life is allowing fear to prevent you from pursuing your dreams.

My family’s belief is that Mom’s death saved a life; maybe one of yours. So, since she cannot be here to enjoy it; I encourage you to enjoy it for her. I urge you to go out from here in a spirit of joy with the knowledge that you have a clear trail ahead of you, but most of all I pray that you will remember my mother in this place.


Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Covered in Glory

As an addendum to our little talk about ants yesterday: you know, the thing I had forgotten is that fire ant-bites turn into little pustules for some reason. I wonder if "necrotic tissue" is the right term to use here? Regardless, I'm currently the proud owner of small areas of necrosis all over my lower legs.

At one point during the hunt I was standing in the field, gun laying in the dirt, doves circling my head like a Hitchcock thriller, furiously slapping my legs, arms, and chest, until finally; I sighed, my shoulders slumped, and I started taking it right on the chin like a man.

Blam! BLAM! Bird goes down.
Wince! WINCE! Two ants bite me.
And so on.

I just let them do their work. That appears to have been the right move because I eventually got used to it. My experience with ant-bites developed my sensitivity to the process to such a degree that I could sense when an ant was going to light into me. My vision is slightly blurry from the venom, but I have evolved a powerful kinship with my enemy.

He'd be moving along, moving along, down, down, down, down, my leg - toodley doo, toodley doo. "Don't mind me Mr. Man, I'm just tiptoeing along minding my own business. Yep, I'm just shuffling along down this-here pants leg looking for something to drag back home."

Then, all of a sudden, he'd do a little pause, shuffle, ant-dance, right, left, two-step, approach, waggle, address, and tear into my leg like a 6-legged soldier demon with a glandular problem and abusive parents. When I got home there were dead ants all in the tops of my socks and the cuffs of my pants.

Several brave ants appeared to have died attempting to erect a tiny ant-flag on the crest of my left boot.

They died covering themselves in insect glory.


Sunday, September 10, 2006

Taking it All Off

Some of you have been taught (in error) that there are four seasons to every trip around the sun. That’s simply inaccurate.

There are actually two seasons each year: summer, and hunting season. Hunting season is my favorite of the two, by far. So, it is with great pleasure that I report to you the official start of my favorite season of the year: HUNTING SEASON. Yeah, its on.

This weekend my travels led me to Griffin, followed by Columbus, Cusseta, Sylvester, Macon, Bolingbroke, and Smarr; none of which you're likely to find on a map with great ease (except Griffin - that one's pretty easy).

Saturday marked the start of archery season which I've been looking forward to with great alacrity for approximately 12 months. However, due to a scheduling conflict I ended up shooting dove all weekend instead of deer.

You'll not hear me complain.

The field we shot was a recently-cutover cornfield that was absolutely full of birds. I knew about that part ahead of time. It was also absolutely full of ants. I found out about the ants a great while after finding out about the birds - much to my dismay.

At some point during the furious melee of hot lead and feathers I managed to gently lay my body down and roll myself in a red-hot ant village; teeming with furious ant citizens.

Like many other of life's little mistakes; I didn't realize it at the time.

The interesting thing about ants is that they are quite small; whereas I am quite large. Another interesting thing about ants is that they seem to maintain a deep attachment to their dirt villages. From what I can tell they greatly resent any sort of booted intrusion; but they go about retribution with a certain amount of conniving coordination and delay that’s quite admirable. As a testament to their stealth and ingenuity; I had ants (literally) in my pants for a solid hour or so before realizing something was amiss.

So, approximately one hour after my unwitting intrusion; after I had tromped a half mile out across the open field to pick up a downed bird, some ant Chairman of Homeland Offense gave the order and the troops lit into me as if my freckled skin were an insect Western Front. The infantry threw all it had at me in the initial salvo; then called in reinforcements hidden in my boot socks. The attack mounted in ferocity starting with the lower thigh and running all the way down into my boots. With a secondary attack underway on the delicate skin of my underarm and snipers beginning to colonize my right cheeck, I surrendered the beach and attempted to retreat. A brief moment of clarity seared its way through the pain and, in flash of total calm, I realized: "I am about to be naked."

You might think the sight of a screaming naked person writhing across an open cornfield with a loaded shotgun would draw a crowd, but it doesn't.

I know.


Thursday, September 07, 2006

Counting to 20

Sometimes in life one comes across individuals in the course of business that just ain't right...in the head. I've had the good fortune to cross paths with more than my fair share of such individuals, and the following is an email from one of my favorites. I think it might also serve as a solid portrait of the automotive experiences one might encounter while living as a young, blonde, 20something in Atlanta.

I would love to be sitting at home watching one of the numerous Judge shows, but instead its Monday, my head hurts, and I'm at work. Plus, I had a flat tire this morning. Well, really the alarm on my Beamer went off last night on the way home from training. To be honest - I couldn't tell which tire it was that was flat according to the alarm.

They all look so small to me.

So anyhow, I went to the gas station this morning; (yes, I drove my car with a flat tire) and proceeded to fill all of the tires with air. No, I didn't use a gauge - I counted to 20 for each and figured that was enough air to get me to work and not enough to cause the tire to pop.

Anyways, I get to the front tire on the passenger side - and at this point some guy drives up to use the air. I am thinking, "great, just my luck." I feel intimidated when a boy catches me trying to perform boy activities, like filling up a tire.

So anyways, he offered me the use of the gauge and checked the front tire pressure for me. I thought I spotted what might be the culprit causing the loss of air pressure, so I asked his opinion; "does this look like a screw in my tire to you?" And he agreed. It was a screw.

Ding! 1 point for me - I located the problem.

So anyhow, he helped me fill up the tire to get to work and even gave me some anti-bacterial lotion to put on my hands. Unfortunately, anti-bac does not get rid of the nasty, dirty, crud that moved from my tire and rim to into my newly painted nails ("Sweetheart" was the color Kelly picked out on Saturday).

Anyhow, my thumb still has black crud on it and I see a speck on my thumbnail. Guess I won't be giving the thumbs-up sign today.

Update: I just counted. I see dirt on two other fingers and my other thumb. For sure - no thumbs up today.


Part II - The Tire

Here is the much-anticipated ending to my dear friend's tire problems discussed in an earlier post - as told to me.

Friday morning I woke up with every intention of heading over to Firestone first-thing to have that pesky screw removed from my tire. The idea was that I would repair the tire early so Kelly and I could get on the road to Charleston at a decent time. Unfortunately, I was 3/4 of the way through The Devil Wears Prada and didn't feel like getting off the couch to have a stupid tire repaired. Priorities.

I guess it was a little after noon when I finally headed over to Firestone to put in my tire repair request. The hairy little guy immediately asked if I had "run-flat" tires and honestly, I really thought I did. I mean, one of them is flat, but its still running, right?

I maintained that line of reasoning until he explained (in not the nicest voice) that I most definitely did not have run-flat tires.

In an attempt to make him laugh I said, "Hey what do I know? I'm a girl!" He didn't appreciate my attempt at humor and I actually think I might have offended him on some level; whatever level you can offend a man named "Claude" on. We then had a brief exchange regarding my options at which point I asked, "how long I would have to wait for the tire to be repaired?" To which he replied, "over an hour." I thought to myself, "over an hour! Are you kidding me? I have a five-hour drive in front of me!"

Unfortunately, "thinking to myself" and "talking through my mouth" are quite often one and the same.

Mr. Harry Neckline did his best to mimic me and informed me that he was quite serious and that there were "lots of people with nails in their tires before me." I said "thanks!" and started to get in the car. He looked at me shocked and asked, "where I thought I was going?" I told him that there HAD to be another shop that could repair my tire in under an hour.

I wished him a fabulous weekend as I brushed him back with the mirror on my way out.

I called my step-dad and told him that I had a feeling, deep in my gut, that the tire would be okay for the five-hour drive to Charleston. I also called Kelly to tell her I was on my way to get her, and we were going to be driving on the tire with a screw in it. She seemed to have no problem with that proposition which, in retrospect, concerns me for her.

I guess it was about 2:30 pm when we got on the interstate. I would estimate that we made it approximately 43 minutes down the road before that stupid tire alarm went off again.

Are you kidding me?!?!? What about my gut feeling?!?!

We decide to grab a bite to eat and I filled the tire while Kelly sat in the car (complaining). The wall of the tire said something about 51, so I figured that meant I was supposed to fill it to 51, right?

I reset the alarm and we got going again. We were making much better time, so I decided to call my parents. I explained to Mom that I filled the tire to 51 since the wall said 51. Her high pitched "Are you kidding Paula?!!" caused me to wonder if I had, indeed, put too much air in the tire.

"Pull off immediately and let 15 lbs of air out of that tire. Are you crazy? If you hit a bump that tire is going to pop!"

No, I am not crazy, but I do have a schedule to keep and the stupid tire was not helping matters.

Kelly and I pulled off at the next exit whereupon Kelly produced a tire gauge that had apparently been hidden somewhere on her person. I know I certainly don't have one. The air pressure readings in each tire were 50, 30, 40, and 40, respectively. Averaging that out equates to about 40 so I figured we were okay. Kelly briefly perused the owners manual and stated that we "might have overfilled 3 of the 4 tires and OH MAN TURN IT UP PAULA!! TURN IT UP PAULA!! THAT’S THE NEW KEEN SONG!!"

I quickly moved from tire to tire and let the air back out.

While I was in the midst of that delicate manouver a huge 4X4 work truck with a bunch of guys in it pulled over onto the shoulder. Since I was busy working on the tires; I told Kelly that she had to tell the guys we were okay.

When the guys rolled up and asked what was going on, Kelly told them that we "have too much air."

I was about to fall on the ground laughing so I kept my face hidden behind one of the rims and pretended to be studying something complicated in the undercarriage. They really couldn't understand what Kelly was saying through the 110-decibel Keen song and her simultaneous tears and laughter.

She finally mumbled something to the effect that we "really were okay" and they headed on down the road in a cloud of testosterone and illegal emissions.

I am happy to report that we finally made it to Charleston a few hours later with no additional alarms, bells, or whistles of any kind.

My lessons learned during this trip:

1. I really shouldn't have a drivers license.
2. I shouldn't own a motorized conveyance of any kind.
3. My friends trust my judgment way more than they should.
4. My reasoning ability is somewhat more limited than I had anticipated.

Hope to see you on I-85 or 400 soon!


Wednesday, September 06, 2006

A Blue Kayak of Average Quality

Nearly everyone has had a roomate at one point or another. I have too. In fact, I like roomates so much - I have 4 of them. Roomates are great. Anyway, it gets lonely in a house by yourself!! For that reason, if none other, a roomate is a very handy item to keep with you.

Inevitably one's path in life tends to diverge from the paths of those with whom one cohabitates. It is an inescapable truth that I have (unfortunately) been party to on numerous occasions. In fact Alvin, King of the Terrace Level, recently left us for greener pastures.

His blue kayak and antique bedstead stayed.

It didn't take us long to realize that various of Alvin's personal effects were in no immediate danger of moving towards Alvin's new pasture under their own power; and friends: Alvin was nowhere to be found.

It is true that we heard tell of him in the Himalayas. Matt saw his likeness carved into a roadstone in Southern Mozambique. Seth saw him whirling with the dervishes in India. Danny was briefly abducted by pirates in the Tortugas who claimed to have known Alvin passably well, but we knew better. No pirate sallies forth without his trusty, blue kayak!

In order to jog Alvin's memory we sent him the following liquidation announcement:


1 "antique" bed of dubious heritage and quality

1 blue kayak of average quality (without paddle)

8 pounds of manure (horse) inside a blue kayak of average quality

6 spent cigarette butts inside a blue kayak of average quality

19 honeybaked hams of (previously) excellent quality inside a blue kayak of average quality

1 toilet seat gently stapled to a blue kayak of average quality

197 beer cans inside a blue kayak of average quality

If you act now; the dudes of the dude ranch will throw in the manure, cigarette butts, and honeybaked hams totally free of charge with the purchase of your first blue kayak of average quality.

Better hurry - Matt has been wanting to do something to that kayak for weeks and I don’t think I can restrain him much longer. He's just too hairy.

P.S. He just got a new drill.



Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Impending Collision

Last year (on yet another blind date) my willing accomplice mentioned that she had recently invested in a new pair of Seven Jeans (they are, after all, for all mankind). Naturally, I inquired into what sort of return she anticipated on that investment.

She was not amused.

Typically, a good rule of thumb is to gauge the response to a joke, then respond in kind. Instead I laughed quite a lot, and for entirely too long.

My polls took a nosedive.

In a last-ditch attempt to take back the night; I ingeniously followed up the above obvious social gaffe with the rare and legendary impending collision scare on the way home. You know: that’s where your unwitting passenger is absentmindedly taking in the scenery and you (you mischevious little devil) lock up the brakes while simultaneously screaming bloody native heathenism at the top of your lungs.

Friends, you cannot begin to imagine the breadth of response that comes from that clever little conversation starter....In this case we had a very nice conversation about the wisdom of "frightening people who had recently been in major vehicle collisions."

Ohhhhh waiter! Check please?


Friday, August 18, 2006

The Emotional Hijack

One day several years ago I felt it incumbent upon me to gently admonish one of my closest female friends with the following pithy bit of wisdom:

"....And I will warn you that sappyness or hijacking someone else's emotional situation for your own will definitely get you teased...by me.

You know that thing where certain persons crave emotional release so badly that they take on somebody else's junk as their own, then freak out about it just so they can blow off emotional steam?

Thats the legendary emotional hijack. "

The relational aftermath immediately following that conversation could only be described as an emotional steamroller.

The important thing I learned that day was this:

I don't understand.


And its best if I remember that.


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

You're Standing Too Close To My SCORCHED EARTH

I just found out there is a corporate finance vehicle referred to as a "SCORCHED EARTH POLICY." I heard that term and immediately thought, "I dont know what this is, but it sounds AWESOME and I want to be a part of it."

Turns out - thats where the stockholders of a company have a deal in place to financially blast the company away in the event of a hostile takeover. Its really a preventative measure rather than an all-out attack on the aquisitive company, but it still sounds neat.

Who knew there was anything that insanely cool lurking in the dusty confines of your corporate finance textbook? All I remember from that class was something about a "beta" and asymptotic graphs of risk. I also remember how my professor was such a genius that he took his college loans and, instead of paying off his debt to the school, leveraged himself into mineral-rights trading. So, what I came out of that class with was a general sense of dissatisfaction over my inability to make money off mineral rights.

By the time he got out of college he was a millionaire and had property all over the place. When I got out of college I had a 1993 Ford Explorer with all the carpet torn out of the back and no other property of any kind....BUT I now know about SCORCHED EARTH policies, and apparently he doesn't. Clearly I WIN.

I'm going home now, and I'm taking my SCORCHED EARTH POLICY with me.


Sweet, Sweet, Des Moines

The interesting thing about Des Moines is……. The airport. Because as far as I can tell it doesn't have air conditioning and it smells like a hospital would smell if hospitals admitted farm animals.

While in Iowa a few months ago I also noticed a stunning lack of racial diversity of any kind and an unbelievable number of pregnant women. And twins. Lots of twins. And milk. Everyone drinks milk. I had to convince my waiter at the restaurant that "No, I really do NOT want any milk. No, seriously. I mean it. Get that milk away from me."

I cant quite grasp it, but I'm almost certain that there is a milk/twins/pregnancy link that I haven't quite figured out yet.

I think I heard they're attributing the airport AC shutdown to a cow that got sucked into its air intake. I guess that’s what you get for parking your airport in the middle of a cornfield.



Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Blind Date

I excerpted the below from an old email I sent to a friend evaluating a blind date.

So the date was a success, I think. I'm basing that on the fact that she didn’t ask to leave early.

Other than that I'm totally oblivious to all hints, subliminal signals, and hormonal indicators that most people would identify and interpret to indicate a positive or negative experience.

Nobody cried

Or vomited

And she didn’t hit me


So I guess that went well.

All things considered - not bad for a blind date.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Dead Man Walking

In attempt at tracking the efficacy of my new low carb low calorie low sodium low fat low taste low fun weight-loss program I have decided to post regular results on my blog; displaying my fat American shame to the world. Enjoy.

May 29, 2006 - Day 1: 224.5lbs: I'm a big fat dummy. I have pronounced jowls. I feel like a walking face. Don't look at me, I'm hideous.
Day 7: 218lbs:
I'm starving and I can't feel my legs, but I've lost bodyweight roughly equal to an average-sized newborn.
Day 14: 224lbs:
Whoops. Week at the beach. I swam out too far after what I thought was a floating snack pack and a fisherman tried to harpoon me. It turned out to be seaweed.
Day 18: 218.5lbs:
Back on track and whaling down with an unprecedented 5.5lb loss. I have confirmed visual contact with my toes again, but I'd sell my house for a twinkie right now. A twinkie lite. A snack cracker. Six grains of rice. Anything. Instead I'm having a nice snack of...water.
Day 19: 222lbs: AAACCCCKKK**!!!#$#$$$%CCKKK!!! How in the world am I 3.5lbs HEAVIER today? That is not physically possible. The laws of the universe have finally betrayed me. Whats next? Gravity? If I start losing gravity I'm going to be really upset.
Day 20: 220lbs: So far it would appear that I have lost 15.5lbs over the last 20 days while simultaneously gaining back 13lbs. I'm not certain how that is possible, but the numbers do not lie. Maybe I should get a blood test. That'll fix it. A good blood test'll fix anything. If I go to the doctor and get that cholesterol test done I always feel right as rain when I leave....Even if his printout says I'm technically dead from a cholesterol overdose.
Day 27: 218lbs: Back on track. No clue why I'd show up two pounds lighter because I definitely haven't done anything to precipitate the loss. Maybe I've been snoring harder in my sleep. Thats great exercise AND its low impact. Nobody ever blew out a knee from excessive snoring.
Day 30: 221lbs: So, not great progress for the last couple of weeks, but I went in to workout with my trainer again today anyway. Big mistake. Sometimes I get myself into these situations where I'm doing something; then all of a sudden my brain goes "wait, now remind me - how did I get here?" Today was one of those.
I was stoically plugging away at 100 leg lifts when my all-bones-and-muscle trainer eased a step closer and suddenly hollered, "IS CAESAR NOT MERCIFUL!!!??" right in my ear. Naturally, I fell off the other side of the bench. The chuckle that followed could only be described as "despotic."
And I pay for this.
Day 75: 212lbs: Ok hey, a new all time high low!!! On one hand, that’s a big step in the right direction. On the other hand, its depressing that my fat rump has grown to 212lbs from a svelte 200lbs even.

Lets face it: I was not built for speed.

Also, I'm eating beef jerky like its going out of style. I'm not kidding, it’s the only thing standing between me and the grim reaper. The Pemmican Jerky Company CEO has started sending me holiday greeting cards.

Monday, July 31, 2006

For Mom

Memorial Service
Jennifer S. Ewing
July 31, 2006
James G. Ewing, Jr.

I think my family fought the tendency this week to blame itself for this trouble. Surely a family as strong as mine could have prevented this atrocity with more care for Mom’s safety, more attention to her whereabouts, or more warning on the dangers of riding alone.
What I have realized is this: only things can be made safe. You can hide away your treasures from the world, ensuring that they endure well beyond their use, but you cannot protect a person from the attacks of a ruthless enemy.
Mom was a staunch believer in spiritual warfare. Anytime we felt our family coming under spiritual attack, Mom was quick to remind us that a clever enemy only lashes out against a threat. She always said that, as a Christian, if you’re not under attack, you’re probably on the wrong track.
What we all must realize is that her death took place on the front lines of a battle much older than anyone in range of my voice. The enemy is smart, and Mom was always on the front line.
She was on the front lines of everything - especially anything funny. What can you say about a 54 year-old woman who watched Napoleon Dynamite on a weekly basis and regularly quoted Ferris Bueller’s Day Off at the dinner table?
Mom played her group of seventh-grade Home-school British Literature Students a clip from The Blues Brothers and created a miniature rift in the Home-school parent community.

She was hilarious.

I thumbed through Mom’s library this week and I came across a quote from Elisabeth Elliot’s book “A Lamp for My Feet.” She said:

When we imagine that our problems are so deep, so insoluble, or so unusual that no one really understands us, we delude ourselves…Our story, whatever it is, is an old one, and He who has walked the human road has entered fully into our experiences of sorrow and pain and has overcome them. He has comforted others in our situation, gone with them into the same furnaces and lions’ dens, and has brought them out without smell of fire or mark of tooth.

Hebrews 4:15 and 16 says:

Ours is not a high priest unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who, because of his likeness to us, has been tested in every way, only without sin. Let us therefore boldly approach the throne of our gracious God, where we may receive mercy and in his grace find timely help.

Today I ask for help, but I also bear witness to a life well-lived and a family built strong on Christ; the only foundation that can’t be shaken.

An annual tradition in our family was for Mom to read Truman Capote’s book “A Christmas Memory” as we sat by the tree. The last paragraph details the death of Capote’s dear friend and it’s a reflection of how I feel. Mom never made it through the end without crying, but I’ll try:

And when [she’s gone] that happens, I know it. A message saying so merely confirms a piece of news some secret vein had already received, severing from me an irreplaceable part of myself, letting it loose like a kite on a broken string. That is why, walking across a school campus on this particular December morning, I keep searching the sky. As if I expected to see, rather like hearts, a lost pair of kites hurrying toward heaven.

Today we feel like a thousand kites cut loose from their moorings…..but we’re not. We’re bound tightly to the hand of Jesus; connected to one another in a web of love crafted by my mother.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Hey, Haircut!

Friday night Melissa surprised me with tickets to the Guster / Ray Lamontagne concert at Chastain. As you all know - my polls come out consistently in favor of girfriends who get off their wallets. So, in a very predictable trend - preliminary results have shown a marked rise in Melissa's girlfriend poll from a near-record 97% to an all-time high 99% (with a standard deviation of approximately .9901).

As part of the "Classic Chastain" series, tickets to the event far exceeded my $75 credit limit, not to mention my frugal nature. So I feel like, on the whole, it was possibly the only profitable date I have ever engaged in. Plus, it was my first Classic Chastain Guster concert. Hopefully it was not my last (free) one.

As an added bonus Melissa not only arranged for the event, but she also prepared an entire Chastain-table meal complete with carry-in coolers, tray tables, candles, tablecloth and napkins (matching), wine glasses, champagne flutes, wine, champagne, two kinds of chicken, strawberries, two kinds of salad, cake, and various other eatables that are entirely not on my diet. She even thought to bring the thermacell mosquito repellent. Genius.

To put it mildly: I enjoyed it. A lot.

All I planned to do was show up (late), get in the car, pay for parking, park, complain about the heat, and complain about the walk, eat, drink, enjoy the concert, and then leave. That’s it. The requirements placed on me were entirely within my capabilities.

It was planned to a "T."

Melissa even brought a handheld personal fan with foam blades; powered by two AA batteries to help us beat the formidable heat. What a great idea! A mini fan, just for you! Check out this link to get your own: http://www.alwaysbrilliant.com/aa/aspx-products/1-488/2-50809/3-1/bb/mini_portable_fan,create_your_own_personal_breeze_anywhere!.htm

It's a great little device. You flick the switch, point it at your face, and cool away. Its very refreshing. And no, of COURSE there isn't anything dangerous about a mini fan!!....until you get it too close to your girlfriend's long, blonde hair.


Melissa's piercing screams shattered the peaceful pre-concert night as my portable electronic min-fan quickly and inextricably wrapped a 1/4" thick locke of blonde hair into its tiny mini-axle. Rows C - F looked on in stunned silence as I neatly sliced away 4 inches of her hair along with the offending mini fan.

It only goes to show you: sometimes things in life go as planned and sometimes they don’t; but regardless - it is always a good idea to carry a pocket knife.


Friday, June 23, 2006

The Lightest Brush of Porcelain

I have to admit that I'm not a huge fan of the public restroom concept. Its unpleasant. I just don't like it very much; at least partly because I'm extremely conscious of the potential unsanitary condition created by even the lightest brush of porcelain, plastic, or stainless steel on skin….Any skin.

I don't want to touch the seats, sinks, or door handles. I don't want to brush past the door frames. I don't want to grasp the hot and cold knobs on the sink. I definitely don't want to handle the paper towel dispenser.

Unfortunately it’s a necessary part of life, so I've learned to cope, but mostly I just don't think about it. Today I did, but what grabbed me today wasn't the germ situation; it’s the urinals. In my office restroom there are two. One is three feet lower than the other.

I don't know why.

I have, however, noticed that people, for no clear reason, tend to gravitate towards one or the other. If you wander into your office restroom on day 1 and find Joe standing at righty; chances are good that’s where you can find Joe on any restroom visit in the future. He has committed.

I, for one, have opted not to make that important commitment just yet. I'm concentrating on ferreting out the pros and cons of both righty and lefty before making the call.

I'm also a little thrown by the melamine stall dividers. I mean, seriously, take it on down to the floor - you know? Why leave the shoe-identification gap at the bottom? Was that one additional foot really enough to blow the construction budget? I'd love to listen in on that conversation.

"Well, almost done. Just have to put the walls up on this here stall."
"Walls? Don’t you mean 'dividers'?"
"No, you know - a wall. All the way to the floor. I mean, it’s a bathroom. You need privacy."
"I'm sorry. That’s just not in our budget. Leave it just high enough off the floor for shoes to poke through."

There are probably only a few times in life that I really, really mind having my space invaded by feet. That’s one of them. Next time some guy's docsider cheats off into my side - he's going to get a solid stomp right in the toe.

Also - if that weren't bad enough, I think stall walls are shrinking. I walked into one restroom recently where you could easily slide an average-size dictionary through the gaps around the door. I guess it does help reduce the tendency for unwanted stall-handle rattlers.

I don't need a dictionary to tell you what I think about handle rattlers.


Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Wherefore Art Thou?

It has recently come to my attention that I am sadly lacking in the poetry-writing department. Furthermore, my most recent relationship user poll has indicated that I should begin to consider developing my talents in that arena and start putting some serious thought into directing those efforts towards a certain someone.

I'm fairly well-educated. I went to college. Studied the great thinkers. Read some Shakespeare, Faust, Goethe, maybe a little Sappho. So sure, I understand poetry. I like Robert Service quite alot and Service was a great poet! He tended to stay within the comfortable confines of man-talk. I can appreciate that, but somehow I doubt any young lady I know would appreciate the appelation "claw fingered" or "wanton." See below:

Dance-Hall Girls
~ A Poem by Robert Service ~

Where are the dames I used to know
In Dawson in the days of yore?
Alas, it's fifty years ago,
And most, I guess, have "gone before."
The swinging scythe is swift to mow
Alike the gallant and the fair;
And even I, with gouty toe,
Am glad to fill a rocking chair.

Ah me, I fear each gaysome girl
Who in champagne I used to toast,
or cozen in the waltz's whirl,
Is now alas, a wistful ghost.
Oh where is Touch The Button Nell?
Or Minnie Dale or Rosa Lee,
Or Lorna Doone or Daisy Bell?
And where is Montreal Maree?

Fair ladies of my lusty youth,
I fear that you are dead and gone:
Where's Gertie of the Diamond Tooth,
And where the Mare of Oregon?
What's come of Violet de Vere,
Claw-fingered Kate and Gumboot Sue?
They've crossed the Great Divide, I fear;
Remembered now by just a few.

A few who like myself can see
Through half a century of haze
A heap of goodness in their glee
And kindness in their wanton ways.
Alas, my sourdough days are dead,
Yet let me toss a tankard down . . .
Here's hoping that you wed and bred,
And lives of circumspection led,
Gay dance-hall girls o Dawson Town!

Now, wasn't that nice? Lusty youths? Claw-fingered Kate? Thats good poetry. I'm sure I could probably whip up some pithy, over-the-moon, wherefore-art-thou talk, but certainly not in the daylight, and definitely not during deer season. I just don't have the strength.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Bad Carbitude

Monday is a fitting day to begin any sort of torturous endeavor, so I figured - why not start a low-carb diet this Monday? I'm starting my whale-down workshop today so watch out Krispy Kreme - your profit margin just dropped about 2%.

Diets always sounds like a great idea while happily satiated and sitting around the remains of Sunday lunch, but when confronted with the glorious offerings of Rosa's pizza, I tend to inwardly curse my well-intended post-lunch declarations. Of course, then I'm like "well I might as well workout today too (at 6AM) if I'm going to eat healthy." I think you can see the downward spiral from there.

You know you're relatively overweight when your family becomes so accustomed to your porkosity that they feel comfortable remarking on it. "Well, you know how round your face gets..." is not on my top ten list of things I'd expect to hear from a conscientious support group.

The end result of my well-intended new diet is that I'm not only starving, but I'm really sore - sometimes in specific places, but mostly just all over. Plus, my little pinkie toe appears to be sprained. A man ought not ever to be made aware of his pinkie toe.

There is nothing so discomfiting as an acute awareness of one's pinkie toe. It is hard to feel masculine and powerful if you're forced to consider a pinkie toe because an internal undercurrent of pinkie-toe awareness is very distracting. They are perhaps the most unmanly and powerless human appendages ever devised so I prefer to ignore them altogether. When I can't ignore them - it’s a problem.

Dating has taught me that many women seem to feel much better after a nice long conversation about their most recent painful life event. Having talked about my pinkie toe issue, now I think I feel a great deal worse. I can only conclude, then, that despite my pinkie toe awareness - I am not a woman. Thats good news.

Also, I just got a Krispy Kreme mailer with a 10% discount. I've got that going for me. Monday might not be so bad after all.


Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Used, Dented, Damaged, Slightly Scratched Car Parts for Sale

It turns out that a 2006 Honda Accord hood costs $1,200 to replace. I know this because I bought one.

Not a Honda Accord - a Honda Accord hood.

I bought one because I backed into my girlfriend's Honda Accord parked in my driveway on Monday morning. It gave up the ghost with a very pleasing"Crunch."

My insistence that the large bumper-shaped dent in her hood "wasn't that bad" has done very little for my love life. As a concession I offered to buy her a used dirt bike for $1,200. I figured we could share the new dirt bike and just leave the dented hood alone. Hoods really aren't that useful if you ask me. I'd just as soon see down into the engine guts on my car. That way you can see right off if anything is amiss.

My kind suggestion didn't help me much and from the looks of things I won't be enjoying the blazing speed of a Kawasaki 250cc dirt bike anytime soon either.

So now I have no dirt bike, no money, and a dented Honda Accord hood. I also just got a property tax bill in the mail. Oh, and one of these days I'm probably going to die.

From the looks of things I'd say a Honda Accord might be involved.


Friday, May 26, 2006

Beauty Fades

This week my hotel manager put me in a handicap-accessible room; ostensibly to take advantage of the king bed. I had to kneel down to access the thermostat, the clothes bar in the closet was so low that my pants all dragged the floor, and I managed to break the shower chair neatly in half while trying to work the faucet.

Next time I'll take the two doubles.

Last week I spent two nights in a bridal suite (bride not included) because there were no other rooms. I hung my clothes on the shower rod to steam the wrinkles out and overspray soaked my suit jacket just before dinner.

I showed up to an attorney's office the next morning in slacks and a polo shirt only to find myself surrounded by black suits and red ties. On the way home I shoved a binder into my attache case and accidentally crushed a Chic-fil-a honey mustard packet that had snuck into one of the pockets - leaking honey mustard all over my wallet and keys.

Its hard to know what to do when one finds oneself apprehended by one's boss in the restroom while scrubbing a yellow gummy substance out of one's wallet and keys. I find the best approach is to shrug and grin like an amiable dolt while wildly gesturing in an incomprehensible manner. People don't normally stick around for much of that.

On the way back, after I approached the airline ticket agent with my credit card; I discovered that my assistant had erroneously booked me on another flight....the one that had just taken off.

I was upgraded to first class on the flight home - a potential indicator that my travel luck might be changing....Until I realized that I had been upgraded, but my 4 bosses weren't. Ridicule heaped high upon me as the majority of the upper-level Mergers and Acquisitions Consulting group filed past traveler Ewing in seat 1A on their way to the back of the plane.

When I finally found my truck in the airport parking deck I found that someone had smeared axle grease all over the passenger-side door, and honestly, I don't know why.  I guess they just don't like silver pickups.

Finally, I returned to my office from traveling and promptly dumped Sprite all over myself in the kitchen in front of our managing partner.

So it turns out - as I have gotten older many aspects of my life have changed, but I'm definitely still clumsy. Thats the one constant.

Beauty fades, but clumsy is forever.


Friday, April 21, 2006

Philthie McNastie's

There is something magical about Toronto in the Springtime.

Unfortunately, its not Springtime in Toronto right now. Its quite cold. Cold enough for an American unfamiliar with the meteorological vagueries of Canadian weather to find himself quite chilly and in need of a coat and wooly hat of some sort.

I didn't find a hat or wooly coat, but I did find a Canadian Hockey bar aptly named"Philthie McNastie's" complete with approximately 14 alcohol-laden Canadians of approximately middle age and intellect.

If you haven't been to a "hockey" bar in celebration of a team called the "Maple Leafs" you simply haven't lived. For some reason I can never forget that we're talking about a team of full-grown men named after a leaf. Might as well be the "Toronto Dandelions" if you ask me. Good thing they didn't or my ordinary inability to hold my peace might have gotten me in a tight spot.

Actually, thats probably not true. My (very American) boss kept yelling "I JUST WANT TO PLAY HAACKEY" and nobody seemed to mind. I guess they just thought he was Candian.

So hockey is great I guess. Its sort of cold and slippery, but from what I can tell - most things in Canada are.

Toronto is very pleasant and metropolitan except for the unusually high number of smokers. Torontonians exhibit, based on my meager observation, a commendable dedication to cigarettes. Apparently the recent literature on tobacco hazards hasn't quite made its way north of the great lakes.

BUT the point is - the GREAT thing about Canada is the karaoke. I happened to be positioned on the front row at a long bar table with my friends and we were joined by 4 very young-ish little Candian Hams all rosy-cheecked over their impending performances. After the DJ finished waggling his ridiculous pelvis all around to Britney Spears' latest hit - the fun began.

We were all tense with anticipation over watching the first little Canadian girl try and belt out something totally unrecognizable. The DJ announced his excitement that a contestant had chosen some classic Canadian rock (whatever that is) and our little piglet made her way to the front. When she opened her mouth to sing for all of Canada - Alannah Myles' Black Velvet came pouring out in a torrent of power ballad fury the like of which I've never experienced.

I kid you not: this 5' 90lb Maple Leafs fan had to have been singing Black Velvet into a bar of soap for three years because I swear she put Alannah Myles to shame. She was followed by a veritable torrent of karaoke attempts - all of which were preceeded by the DJ claiming "more great Canadian music" which turned out to be 100% American top 40 hits. It just goes to show you - Canada is a grea big cold suburb of the US after all.

I wanted a taste of Canada and all I got was this Philthie T-shirt.


Tuesday, March 28, 2006


Friendly Reader:

The tricky thing about Spring in Atlanta is that you're never really sure that it IS Spring in Atlanta. Take yesterday for instance - 30 degrees. Three days before that it was hot pollen and heatstroke. They were selling boiled exotic fish outside the new aquarium. Its like the Weatherman has gone schizophrenic*.

Actually, I know our weatherman personally and he isn't schizophrenic at all. He's a golfer.

I was there when the Weatherman's son wrecked his Porsche. In fact, I provided the buffing compound to attempt scratch removal at 3AM. George held the light for us in the driveway. It was a team effort Porsche-wrecking. We failed in the buffing and thus ended those halcyon days of us in the weatherman's Porsche. I liked my 1978 Bronco better anyway (when it ran). Which was approximately...never. So I guess I showed you, Weatherman!

As I write this I find myself absentmindedly biting my fingernails.

Why do I do that? I know it isn't good for me. Sometimes I think to myself:
"I know it ruins my fingers, people notice, fingernails are dirtier than roaches, and what do you do when you bite it off? Swallow it? Spit it out? Either way somebody in the room is offended and then do I feel bad? What then? Am I self-conscious about it? Should I be? Maybe I should quit."

What it boils down to is this: I really like doing it and I've invested so much effort into it at this point that I think I'm going to keep it up.

Nobody likes a quitter.


*If you find yourself reading this, think "HEY I'm schizophrenic and you're making fun of me!!!", and contemplate taking some sort of retaliatory action; first ask yourself and yourself what to do about it and if you two can agree on a plan of action - let me know. Until then don't bother me with it. I'm insensitive. There, I said it.

Monday, March 13, 2006


So, Mom and Margaret love to ride their bicycles down the Silver Comet Trail. Apparently its relaxing.

I have to admit strapping myself to a metal frame and hurtling down a long concrete ribbon at 20mph sounds about as fun to me as an accidental branding, but hey - whatever.

The point is: they love it.

I guess I can't blame them. It’s a legitimate opportunity to wear spandex in public and not get laughed at, so I'm all for it. I think spandex is the funniest manufactured material in the history of the world. Spandex - a garment that instantly clings to every crevice on your body. Who in the world thought that was a great idea?

"Hey, look at this - if I stretch it 'real tight over my buns you can see the little dimples right through the material!! We'll make millions!"

If I'd have been standing there - all my business partner would have gotten is a stinging smack to the back of the head and a chuckle...And we'd both still be broke. Chalk one up to visionary intellect I guess.

Anyway, the real point is this:

On Tuesday while riding her bike down the trail, Margaret (in spandex) ran over a squirrel….and KILLED IT with her bike. THATHUMP. SQUEEK! She maintains that the squirrel "ran into her bike." I think you all know the truth.

Now THAT is one unlucky squirrel. To be killed by the least dangerous human conveyance in the history of the world has to be some sort of bad squirrel karma. I say he deserved it. Sort of makes all that ridiculous nut storing they do seem sort of pointless, doesn't it? I mean, if you're just going to go out and get killed by a 100lb girl on a Schwinn you definitely don't need to be filling up a hollow tree with acorns.

Anyway, that’s just my thought on it.

Beware anything thats in Spandex and wearing a helmet.


Monday, March 06, 2006

Small Town Practicality

I recently had lunch with a friend of mine at a little cafe in a small, South Georgia town. We had a wonderful lunch and had a great time catching up before I headed back to work. Our return route took us past the turnoff to her house and as we approached the turn she mentioned that her husband often went home for lunch in the middle of the day.

As we rounded the bend her husband's truck came barrelling across the road out of their driveway and he swung off onto the shoulder as we went by. She waved excitedly and honked her horn as we flew past him.

After we passed, I turned to her and said (facetiously), "Who was that beautiful young blonde sitting on the passenger side of your husband's truck?"

She looked at me and exclaimed, "I don't know, but I sure hope she cleaned my house!!!"


Observance of the Birthday Month


In observance of my birthday month I will be accepting gifts throughout March beginning at noon March 1 and extending through midnight on March 31.

Just FYI to aid you in your gift-giving budgeting and preparation for my birthday month - I prefer useful man toys such as anything with a blade, anything that explodes, anything that you put gasoline in, anything that requires a pump or motor, anything that you shoot, anything camoflauge (mossy oak), or any sort of tool (over $65).

I specifically do not request:

1. a pony
2. anything with a ruffle
3. a cute basket of any kind
4. a poodle
5. curtains
6. socks
7. a scarf
8. anything from banana republic
9. a manicure
10. hair gel
11. a Honda civic
12. a book on relationships
13. those little square sushi plates
14. a large, neon Pabst Blue Ribbon sign (matt)
15. a live tiger
16. a small knapsack
17. any musical score performed by Jewel, Sarah Mclachlan, Barbara Streisand, Dionne Warwick, or John Mayer.
18. anything from the Hello Kitty store
19. The Rent soundtrack on cassette

Please also note that anything less than $65 I consider "card wadding" and should be considered appropriate only when accompanied by a gift over $65.


Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The Rare and Legendary Kiss-Me-Not

(from earlier in the year)


Lets hear it for pleasant surprises!

It turns out this "training facility" is actually one of the top rated golf course resorts in the US.

Apparently the spa is top-notch as well.

Am I a "heated-stone-shiatsu-massage" kind of guy or an "herbal-mudwrap-defoliating-seaweed-body-massage" kind of guy? These are the important questions I find myself pondering today. Have no fear - I am going to transition into some harder emotional problems later in the week. My plan is to attack the deep-seated childhood issues on Thursday like, "Do I prefer to tee off before breakfast or after dinner?" and "Is 6th street in Austin really the best live music scene in the lower 48?"

Stay tuned for my thoughts on "Chocolate-triple-extra-truffle cake vs. Double-overhead-negative-white-chocolate-explosion-torte." I get emotional just thinking about it.

So far the only major negative is that our team facilitator lady bears a frightening resemblance to Danny Devito which I find oddly unsettling.

Also, my all-male training team just lost scattegories because we couldn't name a flower that starts with a "K." (Hey, I'm a guy. I know "rose" and "honeysuckle" and I think you take somebody camelias when they die. Or is that chrisanthemums? And can they be red? I don't know). Anyway, one of the other teams said "Kiss-me-nots" as a flower type and got a point from our bonehead teacher; costing my team the squishy logo ball and a $5 gift certificate to Starbucks. Now, I'm no botanist, but that CAN'T be right. To whom might one give a "kiss-me-not?" They must be the least profitable flora in the universe.

Now that I think about it - they're not such a bad idea. A "Kiss-me-not": the perfect breakup flower. "Heyyyy!!! What a lovely bouquet of…WAIT ARE THOSE KISS-ME-NOTS??? MONTY YOU WOULDN’T!!!"

"That’s right Bertha. We're through."

Kiss me not.


Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Hotel Lounging

(from earlier last year)

Dear Friends:

I'm sitting in a hotel lounge in Vancouver on a wireless LAN for a quick email-check before I head up to bed. Just moments ago a lady walked straight through the lounge to the bar and asked the bartender (in a very annoyed tone) "WHERE is the hotel lounge?" as if he, personally, were responsible for misplacing the hotel lounge. I couldn't see his face from across the room, but I'd give all the crazy Canadian money in my wallet for a better seat to that show.

Now, I'm not a smart man, but I know a hotel lounge when I see one. You'll know it too when you're there. It’s a magical place. You will hear early-80s-vintage bar music. You will see a very large blonde woman in a business suit. There will be too many candles. Shrimp will be referred to as "prawns." Massive windows will look out upon a deserted pool. Garish houseplants will be in abundance. A rather shortish man in his late 30s will approach you and say, "welcome to the hotel lounge at the Hilton." Then, this man will call you "sir."* Only THEN, my friends - if the sign out front, the bartender, the maitre'd, the baggage drop, the elevator, the valet, and the patrons were no indication to you….THEN! You will know you're in a hotel lounge.

I don't know how you feel about it, but if I ever ask a question that dumb in public it should be an indication to you that I am never going to be useful again. If that happens and you are my friend; you will immediately take me out back and beat me until I either come to my senses or scream, "UNCLE!!!" - whichever comes first...

All the best from Canada.


Friday, February 24, 2006

Malaria Vs.

I think I am specifically not going to attempt any heavy dating topics in this little blog. Not because I'm immature, not because I lack the depth to understand why I act the way I do, not because I am hardheaded. Not because I am bitter, or confused, or angry with women. I am none of these things (except hardheaded).

Because its boring.

My new years' resolution is to quit dating and start smoking. Every time I feel like going on a date I'm going to light a cigarette, take $100 out of my wallet, and put it in the bank. In two years I'm going to take all that money out and go hunt lions in Africa with a bow in a malarial swamp.

It will be much safer than dating.

Heres a fun game. I call it "Malaria vs." You decide which you'd choose given the scenario "Malaria vs." Here is an example and my personal responses:

Malaria vs. accidental pregnancy? Malaria. I'm afraid of babies.

Malaria vs. crying at the dinner table? Malaria. I don't carry a hanky.

Malaria vs. $300 shoes? Malaria for obvious reasons.

Malaria vs. public displays of affection? Double Malaria.

Go on, draft your own answers and give it a try. Stay tuned for my newest game "Beartrap vs."


The Reason for it All

Funny - the things that end up standing out in your mind as defining moments in life. I wish I could predict it, prepare, and appreciate it when it happens, but it rarely happens on the days you anticipate.

Weddings are big events I guess, but they don't usually move me unless they happen on a Saturday in October or November; in which case I'm moved to helpless fury that I have to sit in church in a tie when I could be hunting. Send me pictures, call me from Maui, save me one of the little baggies with birdseed in it, Lord save me - I'll even watch your ridiculous slideshow, but don't make me play dress-up on a Saturday in the Fall.

I don't go to funerals. Nobody has ever invited me to a bar-mitzvah.

I'm a huge fan of birthdays, but mostly for gift-related reasons. Christmas is another big red circle on my calendar - also gift related. I like Fathers Day, Mother's Day, the Fourth of July, Easter, and Labor Day - but none of these days may reliably be expected to provide a truly defining moment. They might. Then again they might not.

So, I'll tell you what really moved me this week: my taxidermist called me at work.

Put simply: I have a taxidermist, and he calls me at work.

I am officially an Outdoorsman.

So, to Jerry Mosely at Buckmaster Taxidermy all I can say is this: you complete me.

That is all.


Thursday, February 23, 2006

Growing the Family

So, it turns out: I'm an accountant.

I'm not really sure how that happened, but I'm certain of its veracity. Why else would I have so many red pencils and binder clips? I know, red pencils do not an accountant make, but they are definitely a warning sign. Sometimes in life you have to knuckle down and admit to your faults. I, am an accountant.

And thats just if I start with the "a"'s.

Even in the face of the recent unpleasantness mentioned above, I am quite pleased to announce the arrival of two very important new members to my family. Thats right: cowboy boots. Two of them. Chippewas. They're crunchy. And I dig 'em.

That is all.


Important Warning


It has begun.

I'd like everyone to carefully note that Deer Season typically begins Saturday the 3rd weekend in October and runs until January 1 in the Northern half of the state. It extends into mid-January in the Southern half of the state. Many of you are unfamiliar with the crucial importance of these dates, so please take the time to familiarize yourself with them. Please also note that the Latin name of the Whitetail Deer is Odecoilus Virginianus, the Cherokee name of my favorite rifle is Blasteronimo, and as you've always feared: there IS a monster under your bed, but its a very small one.

To celebrate the upcoming season: I just built myself a hunting stuff closet. Thats right, a closet devoted entirely to hunting stuff. It smells strangely reminiscent of acorns and deer stinkum. I really like it.

Now, I know many of you like to watch The Foosball on Saturdays during the fall. The Foosball isn't really that interesting, especially when UGA almost loses to Arkansas in what was supposed to be a blowout. Who needs that? That guy breaking his leg during the game the other day was sort of neat, but I mean really - how often do you see that? Mostly its just up-and-down-the-field, cut to cheerleaders, yea!, whoops there goes the ball, look out, whammo, ouch!, and kick. Afterwards you've spent all day at a sporting event and didn't get a single chigger bite, tick, or mosquito. Never once did you fall off anything high while sleeping, cut your finger, fall in a creek, drop your $2,000 rifle barrel-first into the dirt, spray animal gland secretions all over you, put a deer in the back of your mom's minivan, back over your rifle with your truck tire, or get lost in a thicket.

My recommendation is this: turn The Foosball off, buy a gun, and lets shoot some stuff.


Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The Flying TurkeyRat

Dear Friends:

I was preparing to retire last night when I heard the distinct sound of a squirrel chewing on something in the attic over my bedroom. Ordinarily I object to wildlife taking up quarters in my immediate vicinity, so I went to investigate.

My original plan was to enlist Matt's help and pretend to carry on a conversation in the den to avoid suspicion, while simultaneously sneaking outside to have Matt flush the squirrel out onto the roof whereupon I would pick him off with my trusty pellet gun. The plan looked great drawn out in crayon. Matt, however, was unable to assist due to the sudden surprise appeareance of Rick Flair on the Monday Night WWE Wrestlemania Smackdown. The sound of the melee was so profound that I was forced to exit the den and forge ahead on my own.

So, quite alone, clad only in bravado and boxer shorts, toting my trusty Benjamin Pump rifle I made my way to the attic in search of adventure.

I stuck my head up through the drop-down stairs and panned my excessively-large flashlight around. Nothing. Back around (mimicing a searchlight). Nothing. Back around again and I spotted red eyes glowing at my from a startlingly close distance. There sat a huge norway rat on a beam about 8 feet away eyeballing me like I owed him money*. This critter had actually climbed up on a beam to get a better look at me. He was sizing me up and sported a really indignant look on his face, as if I had interrupting something important with all my clattering around. I looked to my left and realized the entire attic is now tiled in large, dark-hued feathers. All I could think was "How did this thing drag a flock of turkeys into my attic without the neighbors noticing?"

Then it came to me - this furry little beast had EATEN ALL of my turkey fans (I've been storing them to mount in a shadow box) from my last 3 years of turkey hunting. He ate the base off the feathers, the beards, the legs, AND the spurs. It looks like a flock of kamikazee turkeys exploded in my attic. Solid turkey feathers from end to end. Everywhere. In impossible places. Destined to remain for all time. We will come to be known as the "turkey house" on River Springs Court.

I hefted my old Benjamin Pump, lined up the sights, and let him have it. Before I had time to reload the miniature carnivore roared like a tiny lion and CHARGED me! Fortunately it was a perfect heart shot so he ran out of steam before I was mauled.

I'd estimate him at about .25lbs with a 5" tail and 1" tusks. A wallhanger. Once we get him back from the taxidermist I'll have everyone over.

In the meantime - beware the flying turkeyrat.


*"like I owed him money" borrowed from Robert Ruark's writings on Cape Buffalo in Africa. Thanks Robert.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

'Twas the Night Before Thursday

My sincerest apologies to Clement Clarke Moore for his wonderful poem 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, and the poetic butchery to follow:

'Twas the night before Thursday when all through the house,
not a roomate was stirring, not even Matt's louse.
The gym socks were slung on the floors everywhere,
In hopes that the maid would just clean and not care.
I walked in real' late and got ready for bed,
then I thought to myself "no, go downstairs instead."
"I have washing to do and its not such a blast,
But I'll run to the basement and dump clothes in fast."
I grabbed hold of my wash and shouldered it up,
"no whites with the darks" and soap less than a cup!
I walked down the stairwell and what did I see?
A river of sewage rushing straight up at me.
I swore oh-so-loud at the miserable sight,
and woke up my brother to clean up all night.
We plunged and we roto-ed and we rooter-ed around,
but by 2AM the problem couldn't be found.
So to the plumber I went and I hugged him real' tight,
he just backed away quickly and said "its alright."
"I'll take all your money and dig up your yard,
with this great big bulldozer it really ain't hard."
"I'll kill all your shrubs and your trees just for fun,
to get me to finish you'll need a big gun."
I say all this now, but know when I'm through,
when its a plumber you need - no one else will do.
So on plungers! On rakes! On cleaners and spools!
On buddies with trucks and big racks full of tools!
On door locks! On rat bait! On old ceiling tiles!
On Pergo! On slate! On rails with no stiles!
On drip pans! On French drains! On sagging brick walls!
On wall lights! On mildew! On too-narrow halls!
On Mark Andy and Matt! On Bud (when awake)!
On Mom George and Dad who helped clean up the lake!
To the top of the roof! To the end of the hall!
Now dash away, dash away, dash away all!
We've braved unimaginable strain and cleaned many a mess,
so you all have my thanks - I could wish you no less!
The house is still standing and we all still live there,
The thought of it dark and cold gives me a scare,
But when I turn in the driveway I am greeted by light*!
So I say - Merry Basement to all, and to all a good night!


*turn it off. it costs me money.

Acrylic Goeth Before a Fall


It is with mixed emotions that I report to you my constant battle with the basement has taken a turn for the worst.

As many of you know; my experiences as a homeowner have ranged in effect from dangerous (even disasterous) to quite pleasant at times. Sure, we have had some good parties, a few laughs, more than just a few quirky mishaps, and perhaps an occasional slip with the beard trimmer (resulting in a rakishly cut eyebrow or sideburn). I have fallen off a few things, dropped some heavy stuff on some fragile stuff, slammed my fingers a few times, bumped my 'ol head hard enough to knock myself out in the driveway (twice), punched some holes in some drywall, dug up things that ought not be dug up, buried things that ought not be buried, and improperly installed a whole host of gadgetry, but it is only recently that I have turned my deft hand-of-disaster towards fumes.

And I do mean fumes.

Perhaps it is not until you have found yourself in an enclosed space clad solely in boxer shorts, black socks, goggles, and a WWII gas mask; standing in a puddle of rapidly-curing acrylic exterior concrete sealer that you will appreciate my meaning.

Sure, the indications on the jug loudly advertise such (clearly) alarmist suggestions as "outdoor use only" and "proper ventilation required", but in today's litigous society can one rely solely on the indications lithographed on a metal container as a source of proper direction? What about expertise and real world experience? To what extent might conditions and weather dictate usage?

In a world where coffee must be clearly marked as "hot," wet floors must be designated "slippery," and forklifts "beep" in both forward and reverse; is it safe to assume fumes might cause drowsiness, dizziness, unontrollable vomiting, blurred vision, asthma, shingles, central nervous system disorder, rickets, vitamin C deficiency, shortness of breath, angina, and death? Am I really concerned that I might drown in this five-gallon pail? Will my head even fit in there? What is "adequate ventilation" anyway? Adequate for me might well be inadequte for the average homeowner, mightn't it?

These are the questions that plauge a mind not to be troubled with direction books, instructional videos, and cleverly-printed pamphlets designed to ward off misuse by lesser men. It is a question of ethos. Do I really need Big Brother to dictate my application of household products? Ha! I scoff at the mere suggestion.

MY will shall never bend under the onerous burden of product liability. I will blaze my trail of personal responsibility and reliance on individual wisdom and ingenuity. I will throw away directional booklets and remove safety valves. I will mix Clorox and Lysol. I will store shaving cream above 78 degrees…I will be getting out of the emergency room on Monday.

Memorial services for Seth, Matt, and Andrew J. Waters will be held Wednesday afternoon in front of Home Depot.

Devil, Thy Name is Basement.