Friday Fives – fan boys and Macholes

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What’s a huge waste of money that people are still paying for in 2019?

Apple products

What’s something only assholes buy?

Apple products

(tee hee hee, this is fun).  See, when my Macbook died, I wanted to replace it.  $2,000.  Instead, I bought a Chrome book that does the same stuff… for $200.

3. What’s something someone could do or say in the US that scream “I’m from Europe”?

Can I have some mayo for my fries crisps?

4. Who was the dumbest person you ever met? How did you know?

umm… pass.  can we come back to that one?

5. What’s a dumb rule or law in your city or at your work?

That pot companies can’t use banks.  It is BEYOND terrible.  First off, the pot stores aren’t going to declare and pay taxes on what they make.  Also, those folks have to leave each night with a duffel bag full of cash they can’t put in a bank.  Where do you put that money if you can’t put it in a bank?  Aren’t you just waiting to get home invaded?  The pot business is now a legal billion dollar business, and its all run in cash like the 1930s.  I don’t smoke pot, and don’t care about it one way or the other.  Since we legalized it, though, it should be bank friend.  ALL this does is drive further the underground and black market.  All the people in the Fed who have kept pot a schedule 1 narcotic should be set on fire.  They are aggressively working against the interest of humans, and I don’t get why.  Maybe the Christian Right is funding this?

I should go ask them, they are just down the way in the Springs.  I don’t know if they still run America, but they sure did when Bush Jr was president.  They were handpicking his appointees and even SCOTUS choices.


Friday Fives – maybe Oswald killed the 60s

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Is there a particular historical period or event, anywhere in the world, that fascinates you?

Oh yeah, the Kennedy shooting Dallas.  Am endlessly fascinated by that, as are many.  We even went to the site, Daley Plaza. I was in Dallas for something else… but was going to make sure I was there.  It was much smaller than I imagined. Except for the sniper building, everything was smaller than i imagined, just like Stonehenge.  You could throw a tennis ball from behind the fence to the spot where Kennedy was shot. Dudes could have thrown rocks!

Would you like to visit that time, or live in it permanently, or does the whole idea make you want to run screaming?

The latter.  As for a time and a place… a period… give me San Francisco in 66 or 67.  Not 1969. It was a meth addled shit show by then, sadly.

What’s the best piece of historical writing, nonfiction or fiction, you’ve ever read?

A Ladies Life in the Rockies – Isabella J Bird (written in the 1890s, an English woman crossing the Rockies alone on a horse.  I can not say enough good things about this book, this story, the author, or the terrific history insight.  She was a Forrest Gump of Colorado in 1896.

What’s the worst?

Our president

Is there a historical site you would love to visit?

The Alamo.  Just kidding.  No interest in that.  I wouldn’t even go if I was there.  But seriously, didn’t we just ask and answer this question above?  I suspect we did. In fact, I suspect you are reworking the same questions to see if I trip up in my answers.  Classic interrogation technique. You ain’t never gonna catch me, coppers!

  • Note, I am in hour three of a Dateline binge and… hopped up on pain meds


Friday Fives – careful with that dart, Eugene

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What is the funniest movie of all time?

Spinal Tap, being an aspiring and occasional musician that I am.  Especially when you consider the entire movie was ad libbed as they shot.  As are all of the Christopher Guest movies.  I have written many gushing pages about Spinal Tap here over the years.  If you are curious, just type Spinal Tap into that handy search engine thingy up there.  Aw heck, I went and did it for you anyway.   This search will only catch where I specifically added the term ‘spinal tap’ into a column tag.  If you do the search up there, though… it will catch any time I used those two words together.

What’s the funniest book you’ve ever read?

Interesting question.  I go through a lot of books, but rarely read for funny.  Odds are, it was a Chelsea Handler book.  Not the super recent one, though.  That one was kind of downer.  More on that here.  The most I laughed out loud was probably reading Chelsea’s ‘lies that Chelsea Handler told me‘.   It is roughly a decade of cruel and hilarious pranks and cons Chelsea has pulled on staff and friends over the years… told by them.

What sport would be the funniest to add a mandatory amount of alcohol to?

Darts!  And… the dart board should move… like on a pendulum.  Yes, good times.  This reminds me of a strange and true story I am sure I have never told.  Long long ago, and I am talking being in the single digits here, we were throwing darts at Chris’s house.  Not going to give you the last name, because the family turned out to be litigious nutjob psycho aholes… so I don’t want this post coming up randomly in a google name search ten years down the road.  I mean… fuck these guys, I can’t say enough bad things about this family (killing dogs, stealing bikes… )

Anyhoo… we were at Chris’s house throwing darts.  Where, exactly?  Well, in the driveway… throwing them at the front door, of course.  Why?  Well, we were like 8.  Plus, they had HUGE beautiful thick wooden doors.  Wait, it gets WAY stranger.  For some reason, one of the doors was open.  As we are hucking darts at the door from a considerable distance, his sister walks by.  Not walking outside, mind you… just walking from one room to another.  Well, one of us (I don’t remember who, so let’s assume it was Chris) hucks a dark and missed the door.  In the time it takes for it to leave his hand… she walks by.  Long story short, she gets a dart in the neck.  Yes, its funny now… in retrospect.  I am also happy to report that when we were 7… it was even funnier.

Did you know darts is such a thing in most countries that they watch it on television?  Like, a whispery guy discusses the plan, and the dart throwing guys all have sponsors and such.  Of course, I may have seen a selective and obscure program.  I imagine the limey bastards come here to visit and then report back that we watch bowling on TV.   Well… they may put it on TV, but I don’t think anyone is ‘watching’ it.

Who is your favorite stand up comic?

John Mulaney

Friday Fives – foolin & skoolin

April is nearly over and we are tumbling toward May and soon it will be the season of graduating. It seems like every class has a graduation now, so how about you

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Did you enjoy your senior year of high school?

Oh yes. Too much, in fact. So much so that a couple of our crew didn’t even graduate. Too busy having fun. Especially since we all turned 18 that year. Once you did that, you could get your parents to sign a form saying you were allowed to call yourself out from school. Too many parents signed that, including mine. It’s fine, I graduated and got into college. I would, however, STRONGLY advise parents not to give their 18 year olds the power to ditch school at will with no consequence.

wait, aren’t I supposed to say what all of us celebrities say about high school?  “I was a total dweeb.  I didn’t have any friends, and I was ugly.  I spent my time playing dungeons and dragons with Darryl and Darryl.  I didn’t have any social skills, it was a nightmare.”

not true for me.  I was decently popular, had some wonderful friends, and just a perfect life.  Plus, I had long hair… so I was cool.  At least, that is the story I am telling.  Jamie, I do not need you to pipe in here.  I wasn’t good looking jock class president, but you can see I didn’t not aspire to be those things.  I did play football, have always loved football.  I was too scrawny to play proper.  So, we played at lunch on the football field every day.  Tackle, of course!

Did you have a senior trip (high school) and were you able to go on it.

No. Not to my knowledge, at least. It’s a bummer. I would have LOVED to do one of those exchange student things. Go live in France for a semester and live with a family. I got to do that in college in Mexico, and it was amazing.

Was graduating (from either high school or college/university) a big thing with your family or just another day?

I am very proud to say it was just another day. My parents put a premium on education, and my mom was a teacher. Both my parents are college grads, and everyone of their children (my two brothers and I) graduated college. There is I, the youngest, and then Scotty and Johnny.

What were you looking forward to the most after graduating from either high school or college/university?

Being able to choose my education, and class times. For example, I signed up for algebra my freshman year, at 7:45 am. This was a big mistake on SO many levels. I learned it is impractical for me to take any class before 10 am. Especially since I was not living on campus my first year.  Getting to choose my own classes was HUGE.   I guess they have ‘electives’ in high school now, but they didn’t 30 years ago.

That is when ASU really cheesed me off.  Sorry to swear, but I am passionate.  I quickly discovered a love for psychology.  Psychology is amazing.  perhaps you are thinking of therapy when you think of studying psychology.  No sir.  Psychology is in every single interaction in your life.  It affects your relationships, your job, your well being.  It is super fascinating.  ASU wouldn’t let me take any classes beyond the 101 and 102.  I had to be a declared Psych major to take more classes.  I am, as you will see, still pissed about this.   So, you have classes available?  and there is room in the classroom right now?  and I pay you guys all this money?  and I just want to show up and learn… and that isn’t an option?  Well… fuck you, buddy!  I left ASU after my freshman year and moved up to Flagstaff.

I wish I could tell you I graduated with my psych degree at NAU.  I didn’t.  I chickened out, thinking “what would I do with that?”  I mean, I know it is wickedly valuable as a human to understand humans… but how would that pay the bills?  I certainly didn’t want to be a therapist.  I need a practical degree that will get me rollin in the Benjamins… er… Hamiltons.   So… um… I got a literature degree.  I had no, and still have no, intention of teaching.  that’s ok, I don’t know if any of my friends or associates who are working in the field that they majored in.

Teachers in AZ for the public schools make about $16 an hour.   Even better?  They expect you to get a masters at the very least.

Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your graduating self?

Learn a trade. A skill. If you have a trade (something physical: plumber, electrician…) you can work anywhere. You can’t get outsourced to the Philippines, which I have been several times being in telecom for 22 years. My pops was totally against the concept of physical labor for a living. He thought that was beneath him. He didn’t fix things, he hired people to fix things. I think he was quite proud of this. My dad’s philosophy was ‘work smart, not hard’. I like Mike Rowe’s philosophy, which is work smart AND hard. There is nothing wrong with hard work and being handy. I am now pretty handy, and I am super proud of that. I didn’t grow up restoring the old Jeep Willis with my pops in the garage.

It’s possible he didn’t know the difference between a flathead screwdriver and a Philips. Here is an example. He had 3 perfectly healthy boys. And we had a big ass hard. He hired Mexicans to mow the lawn. That is SO silly. We should have been mowing the lawns. Again, he felt that was beneath us. I am not mad or sad, because his intentions were awesome. Just not at all practical. Especially now that I am a homeowner. I am still learning how to fix stuff. It isn’t pretty. Generally, when I am ‘fixing’ something, I initially break it worse. But then, I know what I am going. Here is a practical example – first time I replaced and installed a garbage disposal under the sink… took me 3 hours. Second time I did one, it took me 30 minutes.

Friday Fives – things I can’t do edition

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What normal thing can’t you do?

Ok, so we are just going to get right into this, huh?  No handshake or small talk?  Ok, iron a dress shirt!  I wear one every day, and I pay to have them dry cleaned.  Whenever I iron a dress shirt, it just puts creases in different places.  I can only iron maybe a handkerchief.  Small and round and square – just like you!

I am not proud of the fact I dry clean my shirts, but it is a ‘time is money’ sort of thing.  Just like changing the oil on my truck.  I can do it.  BUT… the time it would take me to do it would be hours. I  have to take off all the skid plates and such.  Whereas a garage has a lift and an impact wrench and he can do it in 15 minutes.  That is worth $50 to me.  It is something I truly believe as I get older (47)… time is money.  In every sense.  and in every sense I have more money than time.  As the late Mitch Hedburg joked “I am set for LIFE.  If someone shoots me tomorrow.”

What do you personally hate the smell of?

Fritos corn chips.  Am lucky the wife doesn’t like them.  Don’t even want them in my house.  I wish I had a great or funny story about fritos broke up my parents marriage or something.  I don’t.

People who make their bed in the morning every day, what are the rest of us missing out on?

Don’t know, as I am not one of those who make the bed every day.  You knew that, though, didn’t you?  What are you doing in my bedroom?  And since you are clearly there spying, you might as well make the bed for me.

What is the most pointless thing that actually exists?

A month ago I would have told you the treadmill.  You need a $5K machine to fucking walk?  You sicken me!  BUT… I have been using the one at the office and it is glorious.  Though it is April, it is still winter in Colorado.  We just had another blizzard 2 days ago.  Our second blizzard (not snow storm, mind you… but blizzard) in a month.  I walk the treadmill and read and I am smitten.

What is your best use of an item or object that clearly was not made for such use?

Qtips for the ears.  I know the ONE thing they tell you about Qtips is to not stick them in my ears.  I do it every day, you crackers!  I tell you that to tell you this – what else are they for?  I truly have no idea.  They seem to be marketed to women.  So, is it a makeup removal thingy?  Please do tell in the comments.  Do be sure to write it down, I can’t hear a damn thing these days.

Friday Fives – Spring into slumber

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What is your least favorite part of Spring?

There is absolutely no downside I can think of.  Well, cleaning.  But, I don’t mind cleaning.  Long as I can work by myself and at my own pace.  Last weekend, we cleaned out the office and the garage and it’s a pretty great feeling.

What is your most favorite part of Spring? 

There are two, and only, months where everything will be green.  April and May.  By June, everything is dead and brown and sad.  I live out East of things.  Our climate and terrain is more Kansas plains than Rocky Mountains.  Yes, tornado country.  This means there is wild grasses everywhere, and by June its all died up and brown.  This means fire season.  April is the joyous and brief period of total beauty.

What is the latest good book you’ve read?

Glad you asked.  I track them all here.  This is every book I have read in the last 10 years or so.  I think the biggest mind blowing book experience I have had was ‘A Ladies Life in the Rockies’.  It is the best and most unique writing I have read in years.  Isabella Bird is a breathe of fresh air, even though her writing is 130 years old.  She has several other books about her travels in the ‘Orient’.

I was SO looking forward to them, until I found none of them on audiobook.  For me to read a proper book book, it takes a few years.  Seriously, I have SO little time to sit and read.  And, I am too big a spaz to be able to relax and read.  ADD.  With audiobooks, though, I go through a book about every three weeks.  All that time driving and sitting in traffic?  I put it to work to learn and be entertained.  So should you.  100% of my book reading is now done via audiobooks.  Around the house, I am reading magazines or interesting articles from these folks.  and these folks.  If I am feeling really righteous*** and thinky, I’ll also hit up these good folks.

*** do you have any idea how hard that word is to spell?  I was so far off my first few attempts that even spellcheck was all ‘wtf, bro?’  That word, like the word yacht, tells phonetics to go f itself, and then kicks phonetics in the balls.  Those two words hang out at schools that teach English as a second language and remind these poor immigrants that they will never understand English.

What are your plans for this weekend?

Work.  If it is warm again, I’ll start working around the property.  Last weekend was the first warm weekend since Nov.  It has snowed every single weekend since Christmas.  Once the warm weather hits, it’s time to work on the property and all the stuff we have joyously neglected all Winter.  Fixing horse fencing, and other country song lyrics.

How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck would chuck wood?


Friday Fives – Shakespearean shit-talking edition

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Who surprises you the most at the fact that they are still alive?

Willie Nelson.  Not just because he is old, or maybe lived a storied and hard life.  I am amazed because the life of an itinerant musician is a lousy one.  This is eating weird catering every single day… for 50 years.  Never getting a good night’s sleep… for 50 years.  It’s like what William S Burroughs said about being a junkie.  He said junkies don’t live long, but not because of the drugs.  It is the lifestyle you live because of the drugs… that is what kills you.

We can assume he has a great rhythm, and probably the best dietitians and doctors available.. but that life is hard work.  Interesting, he has a big beautiful mansion back in Texas.  When he is home, though, he stays in his tour bus.  It makes sense.  He says that is his home and his rhythm and his kitchen… etc.

Which words sound perfectly normal, but look really dumb spelt out?

I’ll go with this word, because I love it so.  Also, because it apparently does not have an English equivalent.  It can be explained in English, but there is no single word in our language that can be used.   Schadenfreude.  Man, those Germans do not suffer fools.  Btw, never forget they have twice tried to take over the Earth recently (WW1 & WW2).  These are not good people, and this was not so long ago.  Don’t buy German shit.  Mercedes Benz, Hugo Boss?  All monsters who helped Hitler eradicate the Jews.   Sure, technically we are allies now.  That doesn’t carry much water with me.  Dylan addressed this issue beautifully right here.

Oh, and the word phonetic.  It is amusing that the word that means sounding things out slowly and intuitively is spelled in a super non-phonetic manner.

What is surprisingly NOT illegal in your country?

Assault weapons.  Listen, I know they are really really fun.  I have shot them, it is fantastic.  However, you do not need them to protect your home from the British, or to hunt.  It is an advanced weapon.  As a result, you should have to have training before you are allowed to use or carry one.  Just like a driver’s license.

Without swearing, what is your favorite insult?

Dunk.  It is an amalgam of bad words that I cannot say in polite company.  Mostly, it is an expletive I shout at, and in, traffic.  Dunk!  It’s like 4 mean swear words jammed into one.  You are welcome to use it, free.

A dad used to tell his children that the noise produced from the fan above the stove came from a creature named Kitchen Willy who lived in the walls; what ridiculous creatures or ghosts did your parents convince you that you were living amongst?

 I don’t have a story like that.  But that isn’t what is important right now.  What is important is talking about this story and your parents.  Let’s not say ‘a dad…’  you coward.  How about ‘my dad used to tell…’.  Your father is a monster!

What the fuck, buddy?  Your parents were either super high, or might be hobbits.  Get thee to a nunnery, stat! ‘Swounds!

tangent alarm.  I just went down a rabbit hole here.  A good editor would delete everything below.  I do not have one of those, though. It an aside on historical curse words.

Yeah, I just threw some Shakespearean f bombs at you.  300 years ago, ‘swounds!’ was ‘what the fucking fuck?”.   It is short for ‘God’s Wounds’.  As for ‘get thee to a nunnery’, that is Shakespearean speak for “you are a goddamn whore!  You are going to die soon and alone and probably with all the festering venereal diseases from all your whoring.  If you get yourself to a convent (and so back in God’s good graces) maybe you can escape hell.  If you somehow manage to live through your whoring, maybe the nuns can put your soul back together.”

Saying either one of these things 300 years ago would get you killed.

ok, actually that weird ‘Kitchen Willy’ story is awesome.  I don’t have kids.  If we did, I would totally fill their heads with that kind of nonsense.  Being left handed, I can come up with weird stuff like that all the time in real time.  It is something I would also not remember even ten minutes later having said.

In editing over this, I realize I come across all angry.  Odd.  not my style.  But I ain’t taking any of it down.  I am in a pretty good mood today, it’s my birthday!  You may now sing me ‘happy birthday’, as that song JUST became public domain in the last couple of years.  This is why when you go to hacky restaurants and the staff comes to the next table and sings a creepy and upbeat birthday related song…  that is why they never just sing ‘happy birthday to you’.  These restaurants would have had to pay to license that song to sing it at your table.    For some reason, these homemade birthday songs involve a ton of clapping.  Like… these places have stock in clapping, and need a write off.

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Think of it like this, because this is very interesting stuff.  You could not rent out the Pepsi Center, and sell tickets to play Elton John songs.  Like, imagine you made up a play that revolves around Elton John songs, and wanted to put it on for people.  You might charge them $10 each, for your troubles.  You know you can’t do that, of course.  Elton owns the music.  You would have to get permission from him, AND pay him.  Per music copyright laws, it is the exact same thing if you plug in your iPod and play tunes at the bar from your Bluetooth speaker.

OR… they have a piano there, at this bar.  You have some beers, and you hop up and play an Elton John song.  Just for your friends at the bar.  Maybe you go to an open mic and do a couple John Prine songs.  If that bar doesn’t have a license with Ascap & BMI... it is no different than you trying to sell tickets to your Elton John song.  Ok. apologies.

Imagine you recorded your own version of ‘Your Song’ from Elton John.  Same words and chords and melody.  Imagine you then sold that recording and kept all the money.  Legally, to music publishers, this is no different from you playing ‘Your Song’ off your cell phone and a blue tooth speaker on the porch at Illegal Pete’s.

When I said this was interesting, I should have clarified.  It is interesting to me.