Friday Fives – Potpourri edition

What would you tell people you did for a living if you won the lottery?

Mercilessly mocked the lottery, and the losers who play it.  BUT THAT’S NOT ALL.  You know what happens when you get crazy fucking rich?  People “you changed, man’.  You used to be cool!”  In full anticipation of that, I have already begun changing.  I am already standoffish, and act to those around me in a petty and condescending tone.  Just in case.

Don’t believe me?  I wrote this almost ten years ago.

Invariably, you hear this from lottery winners.  “People around me started changing.  We are still the same people we have been.”

You here that a lot.  All of the sudden, people changed.  I couldn’t trust people, and didn’t know if they were interested in me or the money.

Right.  I am going to head that off, if I win.  I am going to change like a motherfucker.  Standoffish?   You bet!  Mistrusting?  for sure!  In fact, I am going to start practicing being a reclusive dick right now… just in case I win.

Let me tell you, if I win ten million, I will be a VERY changed man.  You will think I have become more remote, more distant, a bit of of a dick, and out of touch with the working class.  I will not just be ‘more guarded’ emotionally, I will physically be guarded by Suge Knight at all times.  You will say I have changed, and you will be right.  In fact, that is first on my lottery winning to do checklist right there.

 Either I anticipated winning the lottery 8 years ago… or I at least anticipated this stupid question.   Apparently, I wrote this during the 2 to 3 week window that Suge Knight was not in jail for something or other.

What are your best ways to shut down a conversation?

    looks down at phone.  “oh my god.  OH MY GOD!  I am sorry, I have to go!”

keep it brief.  No details.  and yes, it gets awkward.when they see you only move 7 feet away to talk to someone else.  That is why you really gotta sell it!

What is a feature on a newer car that you never realized you were missing out on because you didn’t have it before?

Holy moley, I just got a new truck, a 2018.  My last truck was a 2007.  Boy has technology changed!  This new truck has remote start, bumper sensors, satellite radio, GPS based emergency tow service (ironic, since I work for AAA.  But, its an American truck… prolly union made… and will probably need my AAA tows AND my Dodge tows) and an app on my phone that can unlock or even start the truck.

But wait… there’s more!  It has a cold weather sensor (extremely valuable as we head into Colorado weather at 6,200 feet).  When the weather is colder than 40 degrees outside, I can remote start the truck from the kitchen.  It turns on not just the truck, but the defroster thingies, and the seat heater and the steering wheel heater.  Yes, I have a steering wheel heater.  I thought it was dumb, and unnecessary.  In conversation, though, people told me it was amazing.  We have already had snow, and it IS amazing.  I guess that is the long ass way to answer your question.  Heated steering wheels!  God Bless America!

What is a cruel name to pick for your children?


I think Jason Lee wins with ‘Pilot Inspektor’.  However, Penn Jillette is a very close second naming his daughter ‘Moxy Crimefighter’.  These are true, I swear.  Google it!

 I love both of these guys… especially since Jason Lee renounced Scientology.  We can only assume his poor choice was influenced by severe lord Xenu, and so is forgiven (since he left the church.  I can not stress this enough.  If you leave Scientology, you are totally forgiven and highly respectedBeck… I am looking in your direction!)

What is the worst gift you’ve ever received?

When I was way young… single digits, my wonderful and amazing and awesome grampa gave us stock for Christmas every year.  Yes, partial ownership in large companies.  I still have these, and am seriously and eternally grateful and appreciative.  However, at age 7… that gift pretty much sucked ass.  Hey Billy, you got a bike?  AWESOME!  Me?  I got… um… fiscal responsibility.

I am glad I was wrong.  Go figure.

Friday Fives – how the man keeps you down!


Are you a good worker?

How do you mean?  Like… am I good at what I do?  Am I as productive as I could be?  I’ll answer both, but I remain suspicious of your motives.  The answers are yes, and no.

Ok, since you brought this up, I have a whole rant that has been building in my head for years.  I wanted it to be its own piece, but it ended up being boring and preachy.  Here is said rant >

The right/Republicans/conservatives (call them whatever you want) have this mythological fantasy of the working class.  They say that Americans WANT to work.  They said all these great masses of hard American workers needs only thing – the Govt off their back.  The philosophy of the right is to get government out of the way of the great proletariat working class so they can succeed on their own.

I have worked long enough to tell you I don’t think there really is this huge hulking mass of people eager to be successful on their own terms but can’t because of government interference.  It’s a great idea, and I just love it.  Unfortunately, human nature kicks in.  People are working, very simply, because they have to.  It doesn’t mean we don’t work hard, and it doesn’t mean we don’t take pride in our work.  If American productivity is suffering, it is because of human nature – laziness and sloth and self interest.  This isn’t even an American problem… it is simply human nature.

Here is where it gets sinister.  In the guise of helping the ‘poor and struggling working class’, the conservatives want to strip away govt regulation of everything.  If not to benefit the working class, then who is it for?  So corporations can run amok with pollution, and no regard for labor laws.  This movement means that not only is the government not looking out for you, but they are making it easier for your boss to screw you.  They have an answer to this, too.

It’s known as ‘trickle down economics’.  By letting your boss only pay you minimum wage, and skirt all matter of regulations, he gets to make much more money.  With all that money, he can employ more people, right?  And he can afford to go to the movies, which is good for the local economy at the movie theater.  And he can afford to do out to nice dinners, which is good for the restaurant economy, and the parking valet economy.  And he can afford to pay you more, so that you can do all those nice things that also help the economy.  A rising tide lifts all boats, right?  Except… it doesn’t work.  We have learned that the rich just pocket the net difference and don’t do shit for those below them.  This is why while the rich keep getting richer, the wages for middle class working Americans haven’t moved in 40 years.

All these shortcuts for business owners DOES help the business owners, that is true.  However, the business owners are, by definition, not the working class.  They are the bourgeois (pronounced boozh-wah), which means ‘the owners of the means of production’.  The actual worker bees… doing the actual work… they are the ‘proletariat’.  Of course, this is a simplified explanation of a very complex issue.  Just know that odds are, you are probably getting screwed.  The conservatives not only aren’t helping you, they are actively working against you.   Even worse?  They are so good at messaging and manipulating that they get people to vote against their own self interest.

If the right really wanted to do something for the working class… how about getting rid of the onerous effective 45% tax on overtime?  What good is making time and a half when the government takes half?

Let’s say you make $10 an hour.  You have a chance to pick up another 8 hour shift.  Great!  You will be making $15 an hour!  Not so much.  After taxes, you are only making $8.25 an hour.  It’s explained better here, but the net result is why bother working OT?  Why kill yourself and what little free time you have to make LESS than your regular hourly rate.  THAT is someone could make a real difference in American productively and American quality of life.  Make working overtime actually worth it.

Know what else ‘they’ do?  They tax unemployment.   Every job you have ever legally worked at, you pay into unemployment.  Your employer matches it.  Both of you have no choice, and that is a good thing.  The idea is this is a safety net in case you lose your job through no fault of your own.  I have been laid off a couple of times, and I have received unemployment benefits.  It truly is a blessing and a lifeline.  I sure was pissed, though, when I found it being taxed.  Why are you taking a chunk of my money now?  When I need it so bad?  It is only half of what I was getting paid to work, and I paid into this my whole life… with my earnings… and the Fed gets a cut?  That is how you kick a man while he is down.

I can’t tell you the Democrats are going to save you.  All evidence proves they are just as corrupt.  However, if we have any chance it is with them.  Yes, the Dems put lots of rules in place.  Too many.  However, they are the ones who make sure your rivers don’t catch on fire, and that you can breathe good air and have drinking water.  They are the ones that make sure you get vacation, sick time, leave time, days off.  Like unions, most Dems in power have become as corrupt as the powers they are fighting.  However… they/we remain on the right side of history.

*** whew.  that came out of nowhere!  It is also why it took me an extra day to get these out.  Once I started that rant above, I just kept going and going.  Obviously this is stuff I am passionate about.

 What do you carry?

Always?  A leatherman, my keys, and my cell phone.  I don’t even leave to get the mail without a leatherman.  Let me add this – I firmly believe you have never have enough lights and knives.  Know what else is super cool about the Leatherman?  It’s an American company.   Even better?  It is their name!  The company was started in 1983 by Tim Leatherman.  With a name like that, dude was bound for greatness!  or… gay porn.  Still, what a cool story.  Now, you will see zillions of ‘multi-tools’, as the industry calls them.  Like kleenex and band aids and jello before him… we simply call them all ‘leatheman’ now.  Btw, mine is a real Leatherman, comrade.  Thanks, Tim!

Do you know your neighbors?

Know them?  I LOVE them.  I have gotten very close with our neighbors in the last few years.  They are all wonderful and amazing people, and I am thankful.  I live way out of town, down a dirt road.  No stop lights or streetlights or anything.  Not even city water.  So, we are a bit isolated.  This means are neighbors are even more valuable.  Also, having such wonderful neighbors when you live out in the country is wildly practical.  To go drinking in town is just too far, and then certainly unsafe to drive home.   So, instead, we save our money and drink at each others houses.  Here is what I mean by remote; let’s say I am going two houses over… we drive.

Where do you like to go for a day trip?

If I have the time?  Into the mountains.  Luckily, being in Denver, we are just about an hour drive from being deep into the woods of the Rocky Mountains.  It’s pretty great here.

What is at your feet?

dogs.  Weird thing, though… it’s your dogs.  please come get them.  We have enough, already.

friday fives


Would you ever go “under the knife” (or laser, or dental pick) for cosmetic purposes?

Don’t really see the need.  Am lucky I’m a dude, though.  Society appreciates an older guy.  We age better.

Describe your dream home, including location, design, and who/what’s in there with you.

Have it now, am in it.  Whose there?  Wifey and I, 2 cats, 3 dogs, and 3 horses.  ei, ei, o.

You have one month to travel the world, all expenses paid. Where do you go and what do you do once you arrive?

Would like to go back and do more Asia.  Got to do Thailand and Cambodia and South Korea, but would totally do more.  Didn’t get to check out china or Vietnam, but want to.

What scares the bloody heck out of you? Would you face it down if someone paid you? What’s your price?

Spiders.  Kill them ALL.  I deal with them daily.  Btw, don’t give me that shit about how spiders are good for nature.  If you really believe that, I will bring you all of mine.

You’re stranded on an island. What five simple items do you have with you? How do you survive?

a Leatherman.  In fact, that is all i need.  There is nothing in life better than a Leatherman.  I don’t leave the house without one.  If you do not have one, you simply aren’t living.  it’s not 5 tools, it’s a trillion tools.  screwdriver (flathead and phillips), needlenose pliers, wirecutters, scissors, ‘buck’ knife, file, small saw, bottle opener, ruler… and that is all in the $40 one.  Seriously, how do you not have one?  i keep one in the truck, one in the wife’s car, and one on me at all times.

Best part of this story?  Leatherman is the dude’s NAME.  Was he not bound for greatness with that name?  They are made in America, in Oregon!

Friday Fives – the age of fire edition


Do you consider yourself young, old or middle aged?

Middle aged.  Mentally, I feel young.  Not ‘young at heart’, just young  curious, easily amused, quick with a complement and a stupid story (Spinach pie, anyone?) and always wanting to understand more.  Enjoy being wrong, if it leads to more or better knowledge.  Body-wise… middle aged for sure.  It’s a piece of this, this body. I shouldn’t say that, I am blessed with all my senses and gifted in other areas.  BUT… my back and knees are that of an 80 year old ex marathon runner.  Trust me, there are MUCH bigger struggles in the world than a middle class white who has an ouchie back.  My problems are admittedly first world, white person problems.

Like everyone on earth, what I wouldn’t give to have my knowledge and capabilities and compassion but into a 20 year old body.   What’s that amazing Bob Seger line?  “Wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then“.

When you think of your parents at your current age, did you consider them older than dirt?

 Oh, of course.  I assumed they were omniscient… not just in ways or money and knowledge, but in insight.  Mom’s pretty much know everything.  ANY time you feel you got one over on your mom… I can assure you that you did not.  I used to sneak out at night to do this dumb stuff.   I could go right out my window to get out, and not have to walk through the house.  years and years and later, my mom finally told me she knew all this stuff.  Every Friday night about 6 beers, a pack of shitty ciggies, and a roll of toilet paper would disappear.  I thought I was so clever!

On that note, she found ciggies in one of my jackets when I was a teen.  I gave her the old ‘not mine, holding it for a friend’.  She lectured me on smoking and said it was stupid and deadly and no way to go through life.  She wasn’t being a hypocrit, either.  At the time, she was a smoker, too.  Her feedback was genuine and well founded.  A few months later she came in and woke me up and asked me for a ciggie.  I gave the the same line “how could I?  I told you I don’t smoke.  Those were Joe Rockwell’s.  She said “listen you little shit, I do all the laundry and cleaning and I know you smoke.  We’ll talk about this later, but right now please give me a cigarette, since you stole all my packs!”  Can’t argue with that, so I did.

What were you really into when you were a kid?

I’ll assume we are basically talking single digits:  soccer.  I LOVED playing soccer, and played it every day for years and years.  Now, I don’t even watch.  Also, bicycles.  I loved my bike, it was total freedom.  I could go to the school, the fort, the library, Alaska.  That is what I told my mom, anyway.  Mostly, me and a pal just hung out at our super cool fort we build in the corner of an abandoned lot.  It was every cliché you know of regarding boys forts.;  Constructed with found wood and sticks, made water proof by large palm fronts, and then just enough junk around it to make it look either abandoned, or a serial killer hop stop.   We would steal and drink my moms’ shitty cigarettes (Virginia Slims.  Gross! And steal and drink her shitty beer (Hams, mostly)

Also, fire.  I loved fire when I was a kid.  Total pyro.  Me and a pal, who we will call ‘Sean’ pioneered a simple manner for spontaneous combustion.  Seriously!  See, if you take a teaspoon of redacted and add it to a teaspoon of redacted… then you just wait.  Nothing happens initially.  After almost exactly 20 minutes, a small flame would emerge.  You only needed a beer bottle cap’s worth.  We would take this bottle cap with the mixture and set it in a mailbox late at night.  Then, you get out of site and wait.  Have a good view, and an exit point well planned out that took you discreetly away from the scene.  Since every street in Phx has an alley, that would be out escape.  This compound is so frighteningly easy and cheap to make that I won’t publish it here, ever.  You’ll shoot you eye out, kid.

After about 20 minutes, a small flame emerges about the size of a big lighter.  With the cherry bomb wick sitting just an inch above, mailbox goes BOOM.  No one gets hurt, mind you.  When you make the mailbox go boom, you now have about 20 houses looking out their windows for these little hoodlums, but we were nowhere to be found.  We were slowly backing out of alleys, and back in out fort long before cops showed up.

LISTEN!  I am not proud of this, and would never do it now.  If you take a steel tennis ball can (don’t use a soda can, the aluminum just melts)… well you take now about a cup of redacted and a cup of redacted (same ingredients) it makes a flame about 6 feet high.  We didn’t build bombs with this, EVER.  We never put the contents under pressure.  That is how you lose a hand.  You can easily find these two ingredients anywhere, and the purchase of them raises no eyebrows.  Yeah, we had fun.  Again, I am not proud of these things, but I was just being a boy

Lastly, on that note, a science text book taught us how to make gunpowder.  It was easy.  If I remember correctly (and I am not googling here, just working off memory) it was saltpeter, sulfur, and charcoal.  How does a ten year old get pure sulfur?  I will tell you this, since it had nothing to do with the compound mentioned above.  You go to a garden store and buy stump remover.  Stump remover is (or was 30 years ago) 95% pure sulfur.  Again, never made a bomb (which would mean sealing both ends… you could do this with $1 worth of PVC.  Nope, never hurt anyone.  Just stupid kid stuff that I wisely and thankfully outgrew, just like drugs.  I’m over it, and hope you are, too.

Who was your best friend in elementary school?

Brian S.  Won’t say his last name out of respect for the family.  We were extremely close at all times, when we were kids.  One week his family went on vacation out of state.  A horrible, horrible accident happened and he was killed on a small motor scooter.  He was about 8, maybe.  His family rented everyone scooters.  They all kept safe to the right shoulder.  At some point, Brian got ahead of his family and went to turn around.  Since he was on the shoulder, we couldn’t turn right.  So, he turned left, which put him into traffic.  The driver had no time to react and accidentally hit him on the scooter.  Worst part of all of that is their huge family watched all this happened in front of them.

How did I find out?  Our psycho neighbors had horrible kids.  HORRIBLE.  Not things like blowing up mailboxes, but lighting cats on fire type of psycho.  I was biking home and one of their daughters, let’s call her the cunt who ruined my childhood, yelled at me that day after school as I was riding by “hey, your best friend is dead.  Got killed by a car”  I didn’t think much of it, but was a little shaken.  I got home and asked my parents and they had already been informed.  They sat me down and told me what happened.  Do you see why I called that gal a ‘cunt’?  Go ahead and google my site.  See if I have EVER used that word, ever.  I haven’t, and I shan’t.  I have too much love for women and people in general.  That girl, though, was a raging cunt and all my life I only waited for her to die.  Who tells someone something like that?  Especially just in passing?  That Hohn bitch, that’s who!  Sorry you had to see that, but his death I have never recovered from.

Man, for someone who claims to be full of joy and peace and love, I sure complain a lot.  Is this the overbearing liberal rage people hate about us libs?  Well, at least our complaints and concerns are very real.  On the right, I don’t value their outrage, because it feels manufactured.  I swear, I am nice and mostly very happy.  i don’t plan or write these questions, I just give honest feedback.  My answers are written immediately and in real time.  It’s not like I read the questions over and then think on it.  I could, but I am too lazy.  Plus, I like my writing to be conversational.  When you read me, I want it to feel like you are on the porch with me chatting.

What do you bring with you everywhere you go?

A Leatherman***, first and foremost.  Literally don’t leave the house without one.  Second, assuming I have my truck with me, is a rubber mallet.  People will tell you the most important think you can have is a heart, or smarts, or a loving family.  Those are nice, and I have those things, but a good rubber mallet is invaluable.  Especially with 5 acres to manage.

*** did you know Leatherman isn’t just the name of a tool, but the name of the guy who invented it.  Tim Leatherman, and they are still made in the US.  I mean, with a name like ‘Leatherman’, how was that guy not bound for greatness?  Do don’t buy those aftermarket copies, like Gerber.  Get your shit well made, in the US, my a family business.

Really, you need one.  I have 3.  One on my at all times, one in my truck, and one if the wifey’s car.  You can see all this online, but here is what mine has, to give you an idea how awesome they are:

  • scissors
  • belt clip (that is just before I open it)
  • needle-nose pliers
  • wire cutters
  • phillips screwdriver
  • flathead screwdriver
  • can opener
  • bottle opener
  • pocket knife w.serrated base.
  • file

mine is called the Wingman, and it was $40 at wally world.

Leatherman is a brand of multitools and knives made by Leatherman Tool Group of Portland, Oregon, US. The company was founded in July 1983 by Timothy S. Leatherman

Friday Fives – a very random mix

2. What one sentence would you say during a job interview to completely bomb it?*

Can I bring my friend in?  Someone asked me that once.  Oh, and another kid wore a baseball cap.  Oh… and what about me?  The question was about me.  Well, I interviewed for Avis… or some rental car company.  I don’t even remember who they were, just that they weren’t Hertz.  See, during the interview, I said ‘Hertz’ three different times.  Not comparing them to Hertz… but saying things like “Hertz is a great organization, and I would be a great addition to the team.  Hertz is where I belong.”  It went on like that for sometime.

What is kinda silly and sad is aside from that, I nailed the interview.  I was likable and engaging and charismatic and articulate.  I just kept referencing the wrong company.  That is some freudian shit, there, bubba.

3. When is the worst time to say/think “Eh, I’m sure it’ll be fine.”

low on gas driving through New Mexico.  We drive through New Mexico a LOT.  Our fam is in Az, so we have to get through New Mexico to get there.  There are stretches of high desert where there is no people or towns or gas stations for 3 hour stretches.  So, it feels desolate and just waiting for vultures.  On top of that, it is an incredibly poor state.  Just depressing and sad and hot and poor.  So, if we did break down, and there was a person nearby, I fear they would be there to rape and murder us.  Yes, that is my feelings on New Mexico.

On the up side, and to be nicer; if you are traveling at a high rate of speed in a very safe car, through New Mexico, it is a beautiful state.  The geography is just stunning, like everything in the South West.  Just don’t stop, or you will be eaten by a homeless hobo.  Now, is that to say everyone in New Mexico is homeless hobo?  Yeah.  Pretty much.

4. What’s the most useful thing you own that costs under $10?

knives.  I have tons of knives.  At all times, I usually have at least 2 knives on me (keychain and leatherman).  They are just incredibly useful.  Also, this thing.  I think it is for bread, or maybe pie crust… but I use this thing every night when I am cooking.  If you cook at all, do yourself a favor and get one of these things.  It took me a LONG time to google this.  scoopy thing?  bread dough cutter?

5. Who do you think is the best songwriter who’s currently alive?

Paul Simon.  I know this is cheating, I am referencing myself again.  I wrote this for Blogcritics back in 2007.  Now, this is tough because Paul McCartney is still alive.

1. Have you ever met a stranger, who you never saw again, that you still think about on occasion?

yes.  I was at a Grateful Dead show long long ago.  Probably 20 years ago.  I was in quite a state of euphoria, confusion, apprehension.  I was just a bundle of nerves, like most of the other people at the show, it being a Dead show.  Read between the lines here*, people.  Anyhow, I saw this guy about 20 feet away.  It was a big black guy with dreads.  He looked so peaceful and dialed in.  Whatever he took is most definitely not whatever I took.  he exuded peace and serenity.  I so badly wanted to connect with that guy.  Just to get in his head and be in the peaceful space he was in.  He saw this, and somehow picked up on this.  He smiled and walked over.  He put his hand on my shoulder, just in passing.  He seemed to gesture to me with that pat on the shoulder ‘it’s alright man.  don’t worry so much. everything will be fine.  Just breathe and relax, man.’  Anyhow, that was my take away, and it worked.  After that, I was all better.  It was likely all in my head.

Still though, that guy picked up on my need for a connection and granted it.  I am super appreciative of that nice stranger at the Dead show.  Probably wouldn’t be tough to track down.  Even though there were 60,000 people there (they only played football stadiums, and sold every one of them out), that guy was likely the only black guy for miles.