Thursday, August 31, 2006

Amusement Park Malaise II

So, since there was a part I, there should be a part II. Shouldn't there?

I'll take your nasty little smirk as a resounding "Yes, please!". Yes, Foo, I'm talking to you.

So, anyway, let's go back in history and review the Park of Doom (actually, the marketing name they promote is The Lagoon).

My dad was not an optimist. He was pretty much sure that we would kill ourselves. As it turned out, none of us so much as broke a bone while under his pessimistic care. I bring dad up because he would have viewed The Lagoon as almost the worst possible scenario. Here's the rundown as he would have seen it (I admit that he has changed and mellowed. He just may even enjoy this place now. Nah. He wouldn't).

1). Expensive. This place cost me more for two adults and three kids than almost any one of the cars I rode in as a kid. No ^(&%#W@! (Sorry, Foo, I'm not as good at fake cursing as you and the Old Man). My dad had a strict upper limit of $500 as the total purchase price of the vehicles I was squired around in as a kid. And that had better include tax, title and doc fees.

2). LOTS of icky people. Lots of people just in general, but more than its share of people with bad teeth, fanny packs, cheap jewelry and tatoos. This is not good. These people steal little kids (I was the oldest of six, so why the heck did it matter?)

3). Dangerous looking stuff. More on this in a minute.

4). Expensive food and drinks. Enough said for now.

5). Lots of opportunities for the kids to say, "Hey Dad, can I try to guess the Bearded Woman's breast size so I can win a jumbo sized Mickey Mouse to take home? It only costs $5.00 for one try. Pleeeaase?"

6). Long lines everywhere.

So, that's what would have puckered my dad all up.

I am an optimist. I start every day assuming that it will be full of wonder, adventure and excitement. I was completely bouyant on the short trip from our hotel.

We got there and discovered that not only were these pirates planning to financially rape me for admission, they also planned to nick me for a $7 bill to park. Anyway, I got all girded up and hauled out my credit card.

If I gave you a blow by blow account of the whole day, you'd get so bored that you'd fall asleep...hey! Come on, Foo.

Let me just say that I hated the ride called "Wild Mouse". Yeah, I know it sounds like a sort of little kid's ride. Well, it scared the dill puckery out of me. You'd come around, it would fling you headlong toward an impossibly sharp corner, whiplash you around after convincing you that you were going to launch out into the suburbs of Salt Lake City. I screamed a few very un-Mormon words, I think.

That wasn't even close to being the scariest ride. It was definitely the scariest one I tried. The scariest one was something called "The Iron Sky Wrist Rocket of Terrified Death". Basically, the victim sits in this steel cage ball and gets strapped down. I didn't get real close, but I'm pretty sure they'll sell you up to 5 shots of bourbon (at $9.00 apiece, naturally) before you get in. Once you are sufficiently unable to meaningfully protest, they crank this ball-o'-death waaay back on some kind of steel cable between two uprights at least 200 feet high (almost no hyperbole here). Then, ignoring your shrieks of panic, the ride operator laughs maniacally and yanks the lever. I watched this from the vantage point of the Wild Mouse and nearly lost my free buffet breakfast for that poor slob in there. Like a good slingshot should, this ride flings the victim heavenward. If the victim doesn't die and go to hell (I mean, where else would an unrepentant amusement park-goer end up?), then he will crash around and puke for awhile until the #$@ thing finally slows down enough for him to fall out on his knees and pray to God and promise never, ever again to waste precious life again.

I think that's enough for now.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

I Live With A Killer

She doesn’t look dangerous, only five feet tall, with large blue eyes. But inside that small frame beats the heart of a heartless…waaaaaait a minute. That’s impossible! Well, okay, she has a heart, but it’s cold and unfeeling. I’m talking about my wife, Beth, and this past Sunday, she killed another living creature by ramming into it with our car…and then driving away. Yes, readers, it was a hit-and-run.

We were on our way to church, when a squirrel came skittering onto the road. There was a sickening “thump” and suddenly the squirrel’s hopes of becoming President were cut short. My wife turned to me and wailed, “I just killed a squirrel!”

At first, I tried to console her by attempting to convince her that the squirrel had been leading a miserable life and decided to commit suicide by leaping in front of our car. This explanation soon became tiresome, however, and the fifth time she turned to me and wailed, “I hit a squirrel,” I said,

“Yes, you did. And it was a cruel, heartless thing to do.”

It hasn’t ended yet. Since the incident, we’ll be sitting around the house, walking through the store, or driving somewhere, and she’ll suddenly whip around toward me at random moments and wail, “I killed a squirrel!”

I only hope that, when the summons from the lawyer representing the squirrel’s family arrives, the court will recognize that I was an innocent by-sitter, and had nothing to do with the taking of an innocent life. Hey, I tried to get her to stop! I distinctly remember saying,

“Honey, stop the car! We might be able to save him!”

I was more than prepared to give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, a blood transfusion, or even a liver transplant…but, no! Afraid of the consequences, my wife continued to drive on! I’m sure, however, that the guilt she has been experiencing has been punishment enough. Justice will always prevail in the end.

Speaking of killing things, I don’t know what it is with birds lately. I’ve been driving around in my truck and I’ve probably killed three birds this week alone. If they would just fly high enough, they’d be perfectly safe, but instead they choose to swoop over the roadway, as if they’re pretending to be Japanese torpedo planes attacking the Yorktown.

Hold on just a minute, my wife is calling to me…

“What’s that? Yes, dear, I’m sure the squirrel had life insurance…well, if he didn’t, we’ll help out his family with a monthly supply of nuts. We’ll just send him to one of your family reunions. He’ll find plenty there. Yes, dear, go back to sleep. Did you take your pill? Good.”

*sigh* It’s been such a traumatic experience. Heaven help us if she ever runs over an armadillo. I’ll never hear the end of it.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Interview With The Old Man

FooDaddy: Welcome to the show, sir! It's a pleasure to have you on. If I may begin by--

The Old Man: Begin my kneecap! I ain't tellin' you and your fancy suit nuthin' til I get some crackers.

FD: I suppose that could be arranged. We don't normally--

OM: Saltines!

FD: Right. (waves hand in a dismissive gesture) I'll see right to it.

OM: 'Nuffa the dismissery, son.

FD: Very perceptive. Now, it's been obvious to our regular viewer that you've become something of a celebrity here on the Blog of Stupid. You've made headway into the rough-and-tumble world of cotton and stoneware. What has that done to your everyday life?

OM: Er, um. Whut're you on about now? What's this about bone wear? I ain't got osteoporosis! That's a complete bag'a cat burps! (waves cane at host, who shields himself with a copy of the Old Man's autobiography)

FD: I meant, sir, that you're appearing on mugs and T-shirts!

OM: First I heard 'bout it. Rotten buncha... (he trails off and begins rummaging in the front pocket of his sweatshirt) Whur's my mints? Tricky devils.

FD: (coughs politely) Yes, well, that's what my research department told me, and most of them actually wear your shirts on Fridays. It seems you've made quite a splash.

OM: Lies! All lies! I may be older'n you, Chuckles, but I still gots control a my facilities!

FD: Your... Your what? I mean, um. (pause before dawning comprehension) Oh. Oh! No, that's not what I meant! That was just an attempt at mildly offensive potty humor.

OM: Just like your generation, too. And by the way, you can't have nunna these mints. They's mine.

FD: (blank stare)

OM: What's that bitta bum-scrubbery you got there, fatty? (gestures with his chin at the book the host still clutches)

FD: This? (holds book up to camera) This is your autobiography! I'm told that you wrote it in order to pass on your wisdom to the, and now I read from the back cover, "hedonistic little whelps whut's always loud and could use a proper whompin'."

OM: They could!

FD: With your permission, I'd like to read the introduction, sir. We've got a few minutes before we have to go to commercial.

OM: (snoring)

FD: (carrying on valiantly) From the Old Man's autobiography, titled (camera zooms in on cover) I've Had Enough Of This Dill Puckery!

collard greens
ear medsin
grapefruit peels
banana waftins
canned goat
wool swabs...

Uh, wait. (flips through book rapidly) This whole book's nothing but shopping lists!

OM: (waking) Son-of-a--!

FD: (tossing book over shoulder) That's all the time we've got today, folks! When we return, the--

OM: (glaring at host) You're still here? Whut? Hey! I oughta! Whur's my crackers?

fade to black

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Amusement Park Malaise

My fellow bloggers are sufficiently youthful enough to lack a small army of miniature people who scream "DADDDYYYY!" in the most hair raising fashion for no reason at all.

I am most definitely stupid. Not because I have three children (although, that has definitely suggested itself to my mind a few times). No, my stupidity manifested itself this year in the form of a promise.

I made this promise at a time of near maximum vulnerability and confusion--no, Foo Daddy, NOT maximum...I have very happily made and later just as happily kept promises that were extracted from me while THAT sort of thing was happening. Why did you have to go there anyway?

No, this promise was made on a dreary February Sunday afternoon. I was lying on the couch in a semi carbohydrate coma watching the endish part of a football game. My kids were not taking a nap--which is a violation of some international treaty or other--and were energetically blasting in and out of my pleasantly numb consciousness.

A particularly horrifying shreik brought me dizzily to the upright on the couch. I sort of whacked at the adrenalized hairs on the back of my neck with a hand still tingling from being trapped under a buttock for 2 1/2 hours (no, Foo, NOT someone else's buttock. My own, you prevert!).

"Daddy," the shrieker said, "When it's summer will you take us to the Lagoon, pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease, pleeeeeeeease? It's really cool and my friends went therelastyearandtheyplayedinthewaterandrodelotsofridesandate hot dogs and drankpopandthrewupontheferriswheel. Please?"

I am quite certain that some of the most heinous dictators of the last 100 years have used small children as their final weapon of torture and persuasion. I can hear Mussolini say, "If the small child method doesn't work, then garrote him and boil him in wine of the upper Tuscany valleys. He is incorrigible".

Well, I was very corrigible as it turned out. I must have mumbled something like, "uh, yeah...uh, sure, honey, that sounds like lots of fun."

The preceding is a lengthy way of saying that I apparently promised to take my whole battalion to a place of wonder, adventure and excitement called The Lagoon. I am a man who keeps his word--not, perhaps without reviewing the contract for any possible loopholes and maybe even trying to reneg with a piteous, slobbering whine.

So, we loaded up last week and drove down to a place of wonder, advent...oh, I already did the advertisement, didn't this spot down in Utah called Ogden. If you lived in the northwest part of the US and hadn't filed/paid your taxes for awhile, you would know that Ogden has a really big IRS center. As far as I can see, that's about all they have. For example, I couldn't locate a Starbucks to save my soul. Must be such a small market for coffee vendors due to the nearly 100% Mormon population that they don't even bother.

I've spent so much time talking about my promise that I will save the notes on my actual sojourn at the Lagoon for a Part II.

Until then, I'm going to go lubricate my sunburn.

The Old Man and the Newspaper

Gasping with exertion, The Old Man wallowed into the house and, after pitching two of his great-grandchildren from the depths of his easy chair, collapsed into the soft leather with a moan and a curse.

“Tough day, Gramps?”

The Old Man glared at his twenty-three-year-old grandson with disdain. “Nah,” he said, sarcasm dripping like drool from his sneering lip. “I jist groan, grunt, and complain fer the heck of it.”

“I know,” the grandson muttered. “That’s why I had to ask.”


“Nothing, Gramps.”

“Don’t make me git gimlety with ya’, boy. I tain’t in the best o’spirits.”

“But…all you did was go to the front porch for the newspaper.”

“At my age, boy, gettin’ the paper is risky bid’ness. Open fer volunteers only.” The Old Man rattled the newspaper open and began tossing ads and entire sections over the arms of the huge easy chair. Soon, the floor surrounding the recliner was a sea of discarded newsprint. “Tarnation!” The Old Man emitted a shriek of rage that brought the rest of his visiting family scurrying into the living room.

“What is it, Dad?” His oldest daughter crossed to him, the light of concern in her eyes plainly visible.

“The sports section! Idiot paper boy fergot ta’ include the only part o’ the paper I read!” He hoisted himself out of the chair and began stomping about the room, his utter fatigue of a moment before apparently forgotten. “Durn fool kid! Guess he won’t be gettin’ a tip this month! I’ve never seen such a…”

“Gramps,” one of his granddaughters interrupted, “don’t get so upset! It’s not good for you!”

“Not good fer me?” The Old Man stopped his pacing and rounded on the young woman. The motion disoriented him and he swayed for a moment before continuing. “Not good fer me? Listen, you silly female, life ain’t good fer me! But can I do anythin’ about that? Eh? No! I come in here ta’ read th’ paper in peace and what happens? Can’t find the turd of a sports section!” Weary from his tirade, The Old Man dropped back into the recliner.

“Would you like for me to go to the store and get you a new paper, Gramps?” his grandson asked kindly.

“Can’t read it from here, can I?” The Old Man shook his head, obviously disgusted by the ignorance of the younger generation. “I don’t ask fer much,” he said, “but a man gits tired o’ havin’ to spell out everythin’ he wants! And as if that twern’t bad enough,” he continued, “I’m 85 and have family hangin’ around all the time, shovin' med’sin down my throat and actin’ like I’m some sort o’ feeblin'!” He paused and snorted. “No sports section, the weather sucks, I’m surrounded by do-gooders, and on top o’ that, my loins is killin’ me! I’m havin’ a bad day, so tread lightly, people. Tread lightly!”

His daughter patted his shoulder. “Anything I can do to make your day go a little better, Dad? A glass of iced tea, perhaps?”

“I hate iced tea! But, if it’ll keep ya’ from naggin’ me, I’ll have a glass or two.”

His daughter turned to go, hiding a smirk behind her hand. The Old Man didn’t notice and yelled after her,

“An’ put plenty o’ sugar in it!”

Friday, August 18, 2006

The Old Man and the Large Body of Water

It has come to my attention that there is an imposter Old Man out there. This one appeared in the title of a book I saw at work: The Old Man and the Sea by Hemingway. I grant you that this was only the title, and it could have been figurative or metaphorical, or some other thing that authors do to make their work seem “deep”.

I’ll also grant you that this book was first published in 1952, and thus predates the Blog’s Old Man by a good fifty-four years, but that’s not the point.

What is the point, you oily little twit?

This is The Blog of Stupid, sir. There really isn’t a—

Yer doin' it again.

Doing what?

Being criminally rotten. Gimme my story ‘afore I pass out on account a yer horse smackery!

Coming right up.

The Old Man and the Large Body of Water

The Old Man shuffled into his living room and kicked ill temperedly at his Ottoman. He wished he had some children around to give horrible advice to. He had once found some kids behind a fence, and yelled at them for a while. They were crawling all over brightly painted steel pipes and ropes and wooden things, and the Old Man found this, especially their laughter, distasteful in the extreme.

Hey! You sticky little duck nuggets! Yeah, I’m tawkin’ t’you! Quit all that tomfoolery and get back to work! Sew some shoes! Go plow something! Whuzzat? Arithmetic, huh? Sounds like summa yer modern Satanry to me. Get away from me. I got man’s work t’do!”

But today he was bored. He’d awakened at his normal 5 AM sharp and commenced to yell at the sparrows.

“Horrid little featherbags,” he said under his breath. He slid his window up and pressed his face into the screen. “Cork up that infernal twittery, lest I biff the livin’ fluff out’n yer!”

That kept him busy for twenty minutes or so, until the neighbors started making phone calls. Road work on the corner of Cornwonk and Humblebum had forced traffic to be routed around the Old Man’s house. He’d already taken his air rifle to the television repair shop and shuffled and yelled until the man agreed to fix it. He’d get another chance to be petulant when he picked it up tomorrow, this time about the price.

It was now 11 in the morning, and his day was only half over. He booted his Ottoman again and strewed himself into his armchair. The Old Man picked up his cordless phone.

“Lousy thing’s got fitty-million buttons on it, and ain’t a single VHF knob in sight. How’s a genn’lman s’posed t’get his Wheel of Thingummy if’n he can’t git his honk-blasted TV-vision to make with the movin’ pictures? Gimme a reliable ol’ Kinetoscope anyday,” he muttered at the phone and began pressing buttons. Presently, he had a man from Kentucky on the line who politely helped him find his television remote control.

Worthless modern frogwash,” he mumbled and poked a finger at the keypad. The television came to life with a hollow thump and a crackle, causing the Old Man to hurl one of his slippers at the screen. It was the Weather Channel, and the meteorologist was talking about oceans.

“Back in my day, we didn’t need yer fancy oceans, sonny,” the Old Man snorted at the smiling TV man. “We had us the crick what fer crawdad huntin’, and we was happy!” The weather man was saying something about hurricanes and behind him was a large satellite image of the Atlantic Ocean. The Old Man’s temper flared, and he threw his other slipper at his television.

“That about does it!” he hooted, and reached for his phone and dialed Information. Presently his television switched channels and his VCR spit out a tape.

“Worthless modern bog-dunkery,” he mumbled. “Gimme an aero-plane!” he cawed into the receiver.

A day and a half saw the Old Man on the continent’s east coast. It was a glorious sunrise over the sharp blue of the Atlantic, and the air had a cool crispness to it. He stood there on the beach and glared at the water.

“Ocean, huh? Durn thing’s plain ol’ blue! Jes’ like th’ lakes what gots the trouts in ‘em back home.” He kicked some sand into the breeze with his slipper. “Don’t see what’s so great about this.” He turned to a young couple farther down the beach, sitting together and watching the sun come up.

I’ve had enough’a this dill-puckery!” he announced. “And this confounded salt tang’s makin’ me all itchy. I hope the sand crabs getcha!”

He shook his cane at the ocean one last time and shuffled back to his rental car.

Thus, the Old Man won his battle with The Sea. Braving air travel and untold amounts of guff from the flight staff, he took his fight to the enemy and prevailed. His display of fortitude shall forever—

Why dontcha quit yer jawin’ and fetch me up summat cold ‘n’ fizzy to put in m’head? Some kinda sody pop?

I’ll get right on that.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Hatred Makes the World Go 'Round

I don’t consider myself a particularly hateful person, perhaps others disagree. Regardless, there are things I hate and I have decided to use this Blog for the rather selfish purpose of airing these grievances. I hate…

1. Computer tech support. Not long ago, I was having major computer difficulties, the worst ever. You can imagine how bad they were by the mere fact that I actually called tech support. I am one of those people who, if possible, go out of their way to avoid reading instructions. I would much prefer to use the old trial-and-error method, referring to the manual only after I have rendered the item entirely useless. The actual experience of talking to support wasn’t too bad, but finding the number was. My computer was apparently undergoing an identity crisis and had assumed many of the characteristics exhibited by the average boat anchor. Not only wouldn’t it operate properly, it wouldn’t even turn on. So, you can imagine my irritation when I read the literature supplied with the machine, in search of a valid telephone number, and found the following:

“In the unlikely event that you experience a software malfunction, please visit our online help service at”

I can’t access my own computer, much less the internet, you ninnies!

2. People who pull out in front of me, causing me to slam on the brakes. This is especially annoying when I look in my rearview mirror and see that there isn’t another car in sight. Why couldn’t this person have waited one more second until I had passed? Then they could have pulled onto the road in complete safety!

3. People who, when they find out I pretend to be a writer, say, “Oh, I’ve often thought about writing a book. I would, too, if only I had the time.” First of all, there is no such thing as “having the time.” Secondly, I resent the implication that it’s easy. I’ve spent years working on my craft and am still working on it. The idea that someone, whose main writing experience consists of a journal entry every few weeks, is going to sit down one weekend and rip out a bestseller is ludicrous.

4. People who tell me that a certain movie is the funniest/scariest/saddest they’ve ever seen and that I would absolutely looooooooooove it! Then they proceed to tell me the entire plot. By the time they’re done, there is no need to see the movie, because I already know the characters personally.

5. DVDs that play until the last five minutes and then skip and freeze.

Well, there you go, readers. This is by no means an exhaustive list, since the internet is not yet large enough to contain all the things that annoy me, but perhaps you all have complaints to add.