Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Riding the Blue Bus

It was the second time I had ever been to Phoenix. The first time was when I flew in to town to interview with the law firm that had hired me three weeks before. Today, they had flown me into town to attend a meeting with the firms biggest client. I was nervous. I was excited.

The plane landed and I impatiently waited for the rows in front of me to clear out before clambering into the narrow walkway, grabbing my bag from the overhead compartment and heading for the jetway. It was November 12. The Phoenix heat had dissipated and it was immediately apparent that it had been a perfect day. Here it was 9:00p.m. on November evening and I was leaving the icy temperatures of Iowa and getting off a plane in 70 degree temperatures. I thought I was in heaven.

After hitting the baggage claim area for one bag too big to fit into the overhead, the next stop was the Hertz desk for my rental car.

"Did you have a reservation?" the youngish woman behind the counter asked.

"Yes, for Smith." I responded.

She pulled the reservation documents and began to flip through the papers while giving me instructions. "I am just going to need your driver's license and a credit card," she said with syrupy politeness. I gave her both.

A few more minutes of shuffling, some typing on the keyboard in front of her and then this. "I'm sorry, we aren't going to be able to give you a car this evening."


"Why not? Is something wrong?"

"I'm afraid your driver's license has expired."

My birthday was a few days earlier and the expiration date on my license was on my birthday. That's just the way they do things in Iowa.

"Well, technically I guess that's true," I implored, "but in Iowa we have a window of 30 days before and 30 days after the expiration date to renew it. It's still good."

"I'm afraid we can't give you a car if your license has expired." Her syrupy sweetness now turning less sweet. "In fact, none of the other companies are going to rent to you either."


After some pleading and additional arguing, I accepted my fate and headed out to grab a cab. Not quite as convenient in Phoenix, but it would have to do. So out the door and to the curb I went, bags in tow. Now it was around 9:30 and still gorgeous. I couldn't believe how nice it was and thought to myself that I would just make the best of the situation. No cabs in sight. I walked further down the curb. No cabs. Hmmm.

But there, at the end of the sidewalk was a Super Shuttle stop...and a blue bus glimmering in the moonlight just waiting for me. It crossed my mind that it was probably cheaper than a cab, too. The firm would surely appreciate the fact that I was about to save them a couple of bucks. I climbed into the blue van.

The manly female driver turned around and asked "Where are you headed this evening?"

"The Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak" I mumbled as I read it from the printout I had in my hand. I was unusually organized during this trip thanks to some very good assistance from my future administrative assistant. Although, I did have to continually reference my itinerary due to the fact that everything was still new and strange.

"Great!" she said, "We have to hit just one more stop and we'll head out."

She closed the van door and we pulled away from the curb. Phoenix Sky Harbor airport is a spread out, bird's nest of roadways, twists and turns. I was completely turned around in a matter of seconds. Lost, dazed and confused but I had this knowledgeable driver to shuttle me. Maybe it was a good thing I didn't get a car. I might drive around this airport for days. She'll probably have me at the hotel in no time.

I was also starving having been on a plane for a very long time including through the dinner hours. I couldn't wait to get to the hotel.

After roughly 10 minutes of driving in what seemed to be circles around the airport we pulled into the next shuttle stop. Another passenger was waiting there, with a sky captain lending assistance. He was old. Damn was he old. And a big fella. Probably 280. He had two canes that were immediately visible and I would later notice (when he was a little closer) that he also had two hearing aids.

The driver stepped down from the van, conducted a brief conversation with the sky captain the two of them set about loading up this large, old and somewhat physically challenged man. I could tell it was going to be a process, so I moved to the rear bench seat to give him the forward bench and then watched. After much effort and strain on everyone - except me - which lasted nearly 10 minutes, he was loaded. Now 10 minutes doesn't sound like a long time, but trust me, when it is for the sole purpose of getting into a vehicle, THAT is a long time. Watching was exhausting enough and a little irritating since I really did want to get to the hotel, but what the hell. I kicked back and relaxed because I knew we were headed out that way now.

"Where do you live?" the driver asked Mr. Old Big Guy. No response.

"Where do you live?" she said, louder this time. No response from Mr. Old Big Guy.

"Where do you live?" she shouted in her manly woman voice.

"thwenty two thwirty nine thwirty ninth street," he finally responded with an accent so thick you couldn't tell whether he was saying 2229 or 3239 and you couldn't tell whether he said twenty ninth street or thirty ninth street. So she asked again. Same unintelligible response.

I could see the analysis going on in her face after this last answer. She was looking at him and I could tell exactly what she was thinking. There were really only four possible combinations here. I could also tell that she had selected what she thought was the most likely response and she turned around to face the front, put the van in gear and we pulled out. I was just happy to be finally moving again, knowing that I was closer by the second to getting to my room and getting some food.

Phoenix is a big, spread out city. We finally got to 2229 39th Street. It was an apartment building. The driver turned around and asked, "Is this where you live?" in her loud manly female voice.

"No," was the response. "It is a 32 unit complex, U-shaped" he said clearly this time.

The driver put the van in gear and drove to the next best answer - 3239 39th street. After a bit of a drive, many lights and some mildly questionable neighborhood areas, we arrived...at an empty field. So she asked again, "Do you live near here?"

"No," was the answer and then Mr. Big Old Guy repeated his address again. Off we went to 2229 29th Street. Nothing. Then to 3229 29th Street - which as it turned out was behind some old abandoned shopping center in what, in my Iowa mentality, did not seem like a safe place to be. I actually witnessed two thugs throwing cinder blocks over a fence onto a parked car at this stop, but did not witness a 3229 29th Street. The driver, assuming Mr. Big Old Guy was mistaken about his residence when we were at the first apartment building went back to the very first address and took another shot at it.

"Do you live here" she asked again in a shout.

"No." and he again described his lovely 32 unit U-shaped apartment complex adding this time that it had a courtyard in the middle.

We had now been driving around for an hour. It was after 10:30 and I was growing more and more hungry and now my impatience was beginning to catch up to my hunger.

In a moment of coherence Mr. Big Old Guy suddenly shouts out for the world to hear, "JUST TAKE ME TO A MOTEL 6!" He repeated that two or three more times with growing excitement in his voice.

She looked back at me and said "I don't know what else to do. I am going to take him to a Motel 6." She pulled over, proceeded to look up the nearest Motel 6 and off we headed in yet another direction.

When we finally arrived at a Motel 6 - which was in what I considered a VERY dicey area - she jumped down from the van and announced that she wanted to make certain they had a room for him before she unloaded him. I thought to myself that it seemed like a pretty good idea. She went in, leaving me in the blue van with Mr. Big Old Guy. I felt bad for him. How could we leave him at a Motel 6 so helpless like this? How could we leave him in this neighborhood.

I fished around in my carry-on bag and found a pad of paper. More fishing resulted in a pen. Taking said pen in hand, I wrote on the pad of paper, "DO YOU LIVE NEAR HERE?"

To which he responded, "Hell no, I live in Madison, Wisconsin. I am here on vacation and just want to go to the Motel 6."

It was at that point that it hit me.

The manly woman van driver returned to the van right then. I began laughing with near hysteria as I said to her, "I have good news and bad news. The good news is that I found out where he lives. The bad news is that we are going to have to drive to Madison, Wisconsin."

She had, after all, asked him for his address...and he had given it to her.

She was not as amused as I was.

Too Much Stuff - Too Little Time

The news of my death has been greatly exaggerated. Between trips to the airport, family events, trips to the emergency room and work (stupid work), my time has just be absolutely eaten up like that turkey carcass. Sleeping has also become optional. I will be happy to hit January.

This morning I noticed this article:
Canadians Vote to Throw Out Government

As you may know, I mistrust Canadians - they look just like us, they talk mostly like us, but they are from an entirely different country. Clearly they are up to something.

From time to time, I have taunted them. On one comment left somewhere out there in the greater Blogosphere, I left a message for PDD stating, "Canada has a government?!?! When did we let that happen?"

As soon as I found out that they had a government, I took immediate steps to change that. Among those things I described above (family, yadda, yadda, yadda..) I also spent some time bringing down the Canadian government. It really wasn't very hard, I just offered a couple of folks some slabs of back bacon and a couple of Molson's and they were more than happy to do anything that I asked of them.

It is now our opportunity to annex Canada to the United States. I suggest we rename it Even Norther Dakota.

I welcome your thoughts on what we can do with Canada. The most creative use offered up for Canada will be named Governor of Even Norther Dakota. I wish you all good luck.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Thanksgiving Eve

I came home from work relatively early this evening to prepare for Thanksgiving. It is almost here, the most American of American holidays. The day when we really and truly flaunt our gluttony even more than our typcial gluttonous day.

By nature, I am not a serious or political person. I have strong opinions and I am not afraid to share them, but I am not an activist. But this year I can't help it. Maybe it is my advancing age, but whatever it is I have this to offer today: Tomorrow when we belly up to the table, let's think about what our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan (yes, we do still have many, many soldiers in Afghanistan) are doing on Thanksgiving. Think about what the Iraqi Johnson family (the average Iraqi family without explosives strapped to their bodies) are having for dinner on this day. Think about the people who remain without homes due to Katrina, etc.

And for once in your fucking life, be truly thankful for what you have. You can pout and whine about it not being as good as what they guy next door has for the rest of the year. But for one day, put it in perspective. The poorest working Americans - even without healthcare - have it so much better than 3/4 of the planet. We need to stop pissing and moaning about what we don't have for one day, and be deeply grateful for what has been handed to each of us solely because we were the product of a lucky sperm that swam upstream into the womb of an American parent. You did nothing to deserve your station on this planet except that. If your beginnings had been an Iraqi sperm, no matter how hard you have worked in your life, tomorrow your day would be shit.

So put it in perspective today and you can run out Friday and hit those great sales at Wal-Mart.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Blogs of Note

Please note that Blogs of Note has gone through its second transition.

Crusher is dead...or so we have been led to believe. My mourning period has passed and his link has been retired. I compare this to throwing his ashes into the sea (or at least flushing them). For me, this is closure.

Good bye also to Hairy Prison Guard. Let's face it, Hairy. You never updated and you were boycotting me. Did you think the keeper of Blogs of Note would stand for such treatment? No - your parole has been revoked.

Blue Guitar guy...you amused me briefly. That time has passed and you are now history.

Let this be a lesson to all of you. You had better post and you had better post something good or you will be dealt with severely and swiftly.

On the bubble: Storm (yes I just added her, but let's recall it was in violation of my personal rules and I admitted at the time that it was for a limited reason). Unless I see something other than poetry and song lyrics, Storm faces elimination from Blogs of Note.

Also on the bubble: Badgod - dude, I love your stuff, but you just don't post enough to keep my appetite sated.

I would also like to see more from Omar. I can't cut you, Omar. After all, you came up with Cracker Thieved my Melons. But I really need more Omar. A steady diet of Omar would keep my Purvis lovin' belly full.

I think somebody gave me a couple of suggestions. I don't recall what they were - but you are welcome to suggest away again. I need to be entertained. I am too ADD to just sit here and work all day!!!

AUSTRALIAN PINK FLOYD WAS AWESOME, by the way. If they come to your city, go see them. I couldn't help but sit there and think that if they didn't perform this wonderful music live, we might never hear it performed live again during our lifetime. The real Floyd has gone their separate ways. I still retain hope that they will re-group and tour one more time before I die. Clearly they are no Warrant, Nowheregirl, but they are still pretty damn good.

Take some time SOON and sit down with a beer or a glass of wine and listen to the entire album Dark Side of the Moon from beginning to end. It is beautiful. It contains heavy jazz influences, psychadelic rock, classical influences and even some operatic components. It really is genius and it explains why this has been on the album charts longer than any other album in history (I believe that is true although you may want to google it before you quote me). Anyway, do it.

Monday, November 21, 2005

What is it with you people and celery?

It took only one bite to tell him everything he needed to know about the sandwich. Someone had put celery in the tunafish. Mother fuckers. He turned instead to the potato chips. They were safe. There was no visible evidence of celery in the chips.

He had long suspected that someone was subversively inserting celery into his food; this was one more instance in many. He noted that thus far someone had found a way to put celery into his egg salad, his potato salad, his soup and his stuffing. Now it was in his tuna fish.

His eyes moved around the restaurant. It was more of a cafe than just an ordinary restaurant. The counter was lined with vinyl and stainless steel stools spaced evenly. Behind the counter was an open "window" looking into the kitchen allowing the Mexican cooks working furiously in the food prep area to pass meals through to the servers. Was it the cooks that had infiltrated his sandwich with celery? He watched them for a few moments. None of them looked his way or even ackowledged his existence. He let that theory go.

The middle aged, heavy-set, bleach blonde waitress came by. She had on way too much makeup; it looked as if she was trying to pull off that teenage, semi-goth look but without the pretty features to pull it all together. On her, it simply looked like shit. "How is everything?" she asked as she picked up his Coke for a refill.

"Everything is fine" he lied. He didn't want to complain. He knew a complaint would result in only further celery infusion - or worse - if worse was possible. He watched her for few moments as she laboriously performed her duties. She bussed tables, set tables, took orders, picked up food at the window and served it. Only very minimal food prep responsibility took place under her watch. It wasn't her.

While eating the chips and mumbling quietly to himself about this latest celery invasion, his analysis led him to the conclusion that it could not have been anyone in this cafe alone responsible for the recent culinary events. After all, the soup had been from a can. No one in this restaurant was responsible for preparing that soup. Accordingly, the conspiracy must go much deeper than Jimmy's American Cafe.

He was convinced that the conspiracy went far beyond the walls of this cafe. What he wasn't sure of was what to do about it. He was rapidly coming to the point where he feared meals. This lunch alone would cause an enormous setback for him. He would not likely venture out for a meal for another month - or more. Additionally, half of the food items resulting in celery detection were purchased at his grocery store. He could no longer trust those people either.

It wasn't the flavor that bothered him. It wasn't really the texture either. It was either a combination of those two things or it was neither; it was the concept. That shit really doesn't have any flavor. It does have a little unsettling crunch about it. But what is the purpose? What is the point of the celery. There had to be some reason that they were putting it into his food. Was it laced? Did it provide them with some way to monitor his movements? Was it some sort of a test?

He didn't know. He did know that he didn't like it or trust it.

Just two weeks ago, he had ordered a buffalo chicken sandwich at a local sports bar. The first bite was safe. The chicken was tender, the sauce left a warmth in his mouth that was thoroughly enjoyable.

The second bite was devastating. There it was. On his chicken sandwich - strips of celery. What the fuck. He had to pull the strips, half chewed out of his mouth. Then he had to tear his sandwich apart to pull off the other remnants. But it was no good. The meal was ruined.

Now this one was ruined too.

He asked for the bill and insisted everything was fine when the waitress asked insistently if everything was ok. He couldn't and wouldn't complain just in case she was part of the conspiracy. He thought it best to just pay the bill and go. He did.

His car was parked on the side of the restaurant. As he left the front door of the cafe, he paid careful attention to the cars passing on the street. Did that car just slow down? Was the driver watching him? It was a relatively non-descript dark blue sedan. The only thing intersting about it was the dark tint on the windows. Why did they need such dark tint on those windows? Is there someone in there trying to avoid his searching eyes and active mind?

Quickly, he walked to his car and got in, checked the mirrors, put on his seat belt, started the car and backed out of his space. He signaled and pulled onto the street passing in front of the restaurant. As he passed in front of the restaurant, he noticed that the waitress was looking out the front window at something. Was it him? What the hell was she doing?

He gunned it a little and headed in the direction of home. The level of anxiety quickly and frantically rising in his chest. His heart was pounding to the point where he could literally feel it thrumming in his ears.

Then he saw the car. The non-descript dark blue sedan. It pulled up next to him at a stop light. Nervously he looked ahead and then at the dark blue car. Then ahead. Then at the car. The light was still red. He couldn't catch his breath. Hyperventalating. C'mon light, c'mon, turn green.

Finally, it did. As soon as the light turned green, the dark blue sedan took a sudden right turn in front of him, cutting him off and pinning him against the curb. He slammed on his brakes and stopped with a quick chirp. Now terrified as thoughts of escape raced through his head but without form or identifiable plan. The doors of the sedan flew open and he was quickly surrounded by men in identical dark uniforms. They approached his car in a rapid swarm and one of the uniformed men pulled open his door.

"What is it with you people and celery?!" he cried out as the uniformed men pulled him from behind the wheel.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Sunday Evening Blues

Sunday evening. The house is quiet. My sister-in-law is in town and that means that my wife, daughter, sister-in-law and Marquez the pool boy are all out shopping. My son and I spent the afternoon and evening home together.

Being together with my 19 (soon to be 20) year old son consists of (a) hearing the bass of songs that I can't recognize through his closed bedroom door and (b) seeing him intermittently for 15 minutes when he comes out to cook up a bowl of roasted chicken flavored ramen noodles. We did watch "Curb Your Enthusiasm" together - but other than that, I have generally been alone.

There is nothing wrong with being alone. Sometimes I enjoy it. Today was such a day.

But a part of me feels guilty for hanging out in my pajamas all day. Tomorrow I head back to the office and a part of me thinks I wasted this day. But then again, this is what I needed. Just a day to do NOTHING but watch football and nap intermittently. I got them Sunday evening blues.

By the way, Drea - that is a picture of my family. That's Gary.

Friday, November 18, 2005

New Blog of Note

I violated one of my cardinal rules by adding Storm to my Blogs of Note. I generally do not condone nor do I read blogs containing poetry or song lyrics. Storm's blog, however, had something that gave her automatic admission into Blogs of Note...

Storm took a vacation for the primary purpose of "standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona." If I wasn't already married and if Storm wasn't already married (or so it seems based on her postings) and if I wasn't completely repugnant and lacking in social graces and if I had the ability to be sensitive and empathetic, I would marry her. We are clerly soul mates - except, of course, with respect to the poetry and song lyrics and the fact that she appears to have ordinary sensibilities. But other than those items, we are clearly soul mates.

In any event, she has very kindly indented the poetry and whatnot so you can scan your way down to the meat of the blog. By the way, we also very nearly share the same birthday. Maybe that whole astrological sign bullshit is why we have so much in common...well one thing anyway.

I once drove three+ hours from Phoenix for the sole purpose of standing on that same corner. My daughter went with me and took my picture there. Thank god my daughter got a few of my genes.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Spewing Bile

I have been thinking a lot about you lately. There are a few things that I think we need to discuss about your behavior. It has really gone on long enough and I can't take any more of it without saying something. While each of my issues is something that you should have learned when you were in fucking kindergarten, it isn't too late to learn it now. In fact, it is about time that you did learn a few basic manners so that you can conduct yourself like an educated adult human when you go out in public.

The other night you sat in the row behind me at the movie theater. It was stadium seating, for Christ's sake, but somehow you still managed to kick the back of my chair. That alone would have been annoying enough but you also brought your small child to the movie and spent the entire movie chasing and attempting to control the little brat...until you were distracted by your cell phone. It really isn't appropriate to bring you small child to a movie other than one designed for small children (aka Disney movies). It also isn't appropriate to make bothersome noises while other people are trying to watch the movie. You see, the point is that everyone in the theater paid $9.00 to see the movie. They did not pay $9.00 to listen to you, your cell phone conversation and your spoiled child.

On Saturday, I saw you at the grocery store. I was standing third in line in the ONE line they had open. When they opened another checkout register, you raced ass over to the open register - even though you had just arrived at the BACK of the line. Why did you think that your time was so much more valuable than mine? I had been waiting there for several minutes already. But you didn't even offer me the opportunity to go next (I probably would have declined, by the way, but you didn't even offer). I was very offended by your lack of regard for everyone else that had stood in that line longer than you.

When I finally paid for my groceries, I pushed my cart outside and began loading my groceries into the back of my car. I noticed you across the parking lot. I saw you finish putting your groceries in the car and then I saw you leave the cart right in the middle of a parking space. No more than thirty feet away, there was a cart corral. Couldn't you have walked that 30 feet to put the cart in it? That way, the next customer could have used that parking space for the purpose it was intended; parking.

I pulled out onto the street behind you. You swerved into my lane on several occasions making me nearly have a heart attack and almost causing several accidents. When you are driving on a public street, focus on your driving. I saw you trying to dial your cell phone while, at the same time, trying to operate your car. It looks to me like you can't really handle both of those things at the same time. That's bad enough, but, as I mentioned, it impacted me - and nearly injured me. It pisses me off to think that you have so little regard for my safety.

On Sunday, I went out for dinner with my family. It was a lovely early dinner. My wife, my kids and I sat at a table in the middle of the dining room and began having a lovely conversation about school, work, our interests and the other events of the week. Then you and your family came in. You let your family - specifically that same small child that you took to the movie theater - ruin our dinner and our conversation by using the restaurant as a playground. Look, I realize that having small children can be difficult, I used to have two. But I either hired a babysitter or I made my children stay seated (it can be done with a firm hand and some steady discipline). The time to start teaching your child to sit in his chair at dinner time is in your home. Sure, you think your kid is cute. In any other environment, I might agree with you. When I am dropping $100 to spend some time with my family, I really resent it when you let your family ruin our time together.

I really hope you take all of this in the spirit it was intended. Anger was not the goal. All I ask is that you try to understand that other people are impacted by your behavior and make every effort to conduct yourself accordingly. There will always be times when we get in each other's way - but limiting the intentional run-ins would certainly help everyone get along just a little bit better. Now fuck off

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Tough Day At the Office

I wasn't at the office today - which explains why you didn't hear much from me today. Instead, I attended what is commonly referred to in my industry as "Continuing Legal Education."

This means that I got to spend an entire day sitting in a conference room at the Hilton in downtown Phoenix while listening to "experts" making a presentation on condominium owner's associations. Oh, how they regaled us with ribald tales of different events involving condominium developers and planned community developments. We sat there in our chairs riveted, wanting more, more, more!!!

Oh, and I almost died getting there. Took the bike, some jackass stopped in front of me for no apparent reason. I was following a safe distance, so I was able to come to a stop, but I had to lock up my tires and slide sideways to stop in time. But he waved at me, so that made it OK.

I really have nothing to say. I have lost feeling in my brain. It is numb.

Monday, November 14, 2005

TV Milfs

Here is my the top ten Television Mothers I'd Like to F:

10. Carol Brady - cute 70s hair and bod - would have scored higher but a little uptight.

9. June Cleaver - pearl necklace; 'nuff said.

8. Ann Romano - loved that little red head and her smokin' hot daughter, Barbara.

7. Carol Foster - (Suzanne Sommers) is Step by Step-a-licious.

6. Shirley Partridge - c'mon get happy; c'mon get lucky!!

5. Betty Rubble - It would be easy to resort to some Flintstone's platitude like "I'd like to make her Bedrock" but I have far too much respect for this dark haired, dark eyed beauty.

4. Weezy Jefferson - you know she could get her freak on.

3. Samantha Stevens - I'd like to perform some magic and make that nose twitch!

2. Elyse Keaton - I'd Family Tie her up and...

AND NOW FOR THE NUMBER 1 Television Sitcom MILF!!!!!

1. Jane Jetson - I have been spanking it to Jane for 30 years and will probably do so until Spacely Space Sprockets goes out of business.

Marquez - our new pool boy

This is Marquez - our new pool boy. He has been "working" for us for about the last 6 weeks. I'm not certain exactly what his duties are since we do not have a pool.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

FLMNG1 - The Birth

This motorcycle joined my family in November of 2002 and this is the story of FLMNG1 and the Pink Flamingos Motorcycle Club.


Beginning right away in November of 2002, I began to ride - a lot. Every available chance, I hit the road. I rode on Saturdays, Sundays and, of course, I rode every day to work. Every work day I would reach the turn into my office parking lot and fight the calling of the road. The urge to keep going straight instead of making that turn was almost unbearable on certain days. I loved riding.

Several months after I purchased my bike, my cousin Scott, purchased a 2004 Harley Davidson Electriglide Standard. We began riding together.

If you ride, you will be able to confirm that there are a lot of motorcycle clubs out there. Every biker bar, bike rally or event will be just full of people wearing their biker costume. I call them biker costumes because, let's face it, come Monday morning these dudes wearing chaps and vests hang them up and put on their work clothes and go to their jobs as accountants, lawyers, doctors, stock brokers, etc. The average Harley costs north of $25,000 (once you get some of the chrome options and a couple of bells and whistles). It isn't easy for the average working guy to afford one of these machines. I bought a Honda primarily for that reason.

I found the culture and the costumes comical. How can chaps be anything but comical?

Joining clubs has never been a strongsuit. Even after attending and enjoying several Jimmy Buffett concerts, the thought of being a Parrothead repulses me. It seems silly and contrite. It seemed silly and contrite to join a club to ride a motorcycle.

The crossed-wiring within my brain twisted this comical, silly, contrite situation into my personal send-up of the motorcycle club; the Pink Flamingo Motorcycle Club was born.

At this point, there were arguably two members of the Pink Flamingos Motorcycle Club. Most of the argument came from my cousin, Scott. "I'm not a member of the Pink Flamingos. We are going to get our asses kicked!" he would implore.

My response - what motorcycle club is going to want to mess with a group of riders rolling down the highway wearing pink and singing showtunes? First, if you beat them up, you have beat up a group of guys wearing pink and singing showtunes. Alternatively, if they beat you up, you just got beat up by a bunch of guys wearing pink and singing showtunes. Clearly any other motorcycle club would fear the Flamingos.


Once the Pink Flamingo Motorcycle Club was born, I christened my bike Flamingo 1 (sort of like Airforce One...get it?!). Since I developed the concept and built the infrastructure, I deemed myself the president of the Pink Flamingos Motorcycle Club and thus thought the president should ride Flamingo 1.

As it turns out, personalized license plates for motorcycles do not hold enough characters for "FLAMINGO1"...so, naturally, you just take out the vowels. That's what most people do when they get their little message personalized on their license plates. I did. When you take out the vowels, you get FLMNG1 - That fits on the license plate!

Thus, FLMNG1 was born. I never actually bought the personalized license plate, but I still laugh at the concept. The pictures show the front left lapel and the back of our shirts...and yes, I do wear them when I ride. I recently rode in a poker run - a ride of about 300 miles - and proudly wore my colors the entire time. Nobody messed with me even though I really don't know the words to any showtunes.

Friday, November 11, 2005

This is FLMNG1 - my Honda Shadow 1100 ACE. Tomorrow, I ride. I ride almost every day, but tomorrow I ride for me.


The picture is taken in sienna mode on my camera. I didn't know I had a sienna mode on my camera, but all I really need to do to find out that I had a sienna mode on my digital camera was to hand it to my 14 year old daughter. As you can see, I did that. Then, when said 14 year old daughter abandons me to go to the mall and leaves me with the camera set on sienna mode, I spend 15 minutes setting up a picture of something - such as my motorcycle - only to discover that the camera has a sienna mode and that the camera is in said sienna mode. Since the 14 year old daughter is now hanging out at Abercrombie and Fitch (although as she read this over my shoulder, she claims she now goes to Hollister), she isn't available to take the camera OFF sienna mode or even explain how she got it on sienna mode in the first place. The result is a picture of FLMNG1 in sienna mode.


Riding is very liberating. It brings a sense of freedom that can be obtained from only a handful of sources of which I am aware. In truth, the only other thing that I can think of that offers this sense is sailing. I am from Iowa and now live in Arizona; I have never sailed. Not one single time. But I can imagine how wonderful it must be to escape from the confines of land, the noise and hustle and bustle of traffic and slip off the coast running under the power of only the wind. It is exhilirating to consider what it must be like to climb onto a sailboat and have the entire planet open for exploration for the price of a breeze. I subscribe to three sailing magazines but have never sailed. Yet I have dreamed of the day when I will.

For now, the open road is the surrogate. It serves as my sea and provides me with the same endless expanse of imagination and of places unexplored. A turn of the key, a twist of the wrist and the rumbling engine sends me sailing away on an adventure to somewhere. I'll decide where when I arrive.

I once read that "a truly contented man can enjoy the scenery along a detour." Some of the best times on FLMNG1 have been those detours; it isn't the destination that even matters. The ride is the point. The destination is simply one of infinite options; a point on an infinite line. I know that it is at those detours that take me to a place I couldn't possibly plan to see...yet there I am. I am, at that moment, content.

Ride. You can do it. Certainly it can be dangerous - I cannot deny that. I have had several near brushes with the underside of a soccer mom's Suburban when she, without notice and while using her cell phone, absentmindedly decided to change lanes going from the one she was using to the one I was using. But I'll leave you with the same advice I give my children when they are afraid to do something and that is the following: "A ship is safe in the harbor, but that isn't what ships were made for."


Thursday, November 10, 2005

HNT - Oh, yeah...come and get some

Sometimes, late in the evening, I will have a glass of good red wine (preferably a syrah or a cab), I'll kick back and take off all of my work clothes except for these. It is those times when I feel most vulnerable yet most alive. I tingle with excitement as I run my hand down my leg to pull them up around my thick, hard calves. It is still warm in the fall here in Arizona, so I don't feel the need to cover up for warmth - and yet I am warm. Oh, so very warm. So, I lean back in my big, soft brown leather chair and put my feet up on the ottoman. The leather feels nice against my skin and I don't get the vinyl bondage issues that you suffer from naugahyde. I melt into the cushions and gently, so softly and so gently work the buttons of my remote control as if it is my lover...it is. I rhythmically break wind with a velvet softness that produces a sound mildly muted by the leather cushion; the only barrier between me and the rest of the world. It rises in waves in a mixture smelling of rich leather and gaseous effervesence. I sigh. And then I drift gently into unconsciousness with my hand clutching the remote as Everybody Loves Raymond lulls me into joyous oblivion.

A Big Ad

Big Ad

This is great. An Advertising Agency's tongue in cheek send up of their own industry - resulting in a great commercial. I am now going to buy a Carlton. I am a whore to The Man.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

These Are Not the Droids You Are Looking For...

Oil Profits

How stupid do they think we are? How stupid are we?


I have tickets for this on November 19...

Australian Pink Floyd

I hope they play the full 11 1/2 minutes of Shine On You Crazy Diamond.

I am so easily entertained...I have been to Wayne Newton, Meatloaf, Barry Manilow, Sedona's Jazz on the Rocks (great Jazz, by the way) and the McDowell Mountain Music Fest (sort of a variety of music including, on one occasion, Little Feat).

I regret never having seen:
The Doors
Guns N' Roses
Led Zepplin
The Eagles
The Who

The only act that you could NOT get me to attend would be Celine Dion. I would rather have my testicals ripped off in an industrial accident (safe bet since I work in a bank!!!).

Hey, Crall - have you ever been up to Dante's in Portland? A. They had one of the hottest bartenders ever there (Storm from Storm and the Balls - I am still in love) and B. They had Karaoke From Hell - Karaoke in front of a live band. I did not sing, but I did have a blast!!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Draconian Measures, Dinner and Why I Like Flamingos


I am not a nice guy.

I am a dickhead. I have learned to live with this fact of life. Accordingly, I have adjusted Blogs of Note with a draconian hand. Now that we have that behind us, let us move on to more important things...


I had a good night tonight. We had a "family dinner." That is probably too white suburban asshole for many of you, but I am a white suburban asshole and I have to say I loved it. A very large part of the dinner hour was re-telling tales of embarrasing fart and poop stories. God I love my family.

Much of the discussion involved where one can and cannot poop. I cannot drop the kids off at the pool in any public forum in which I might be recognized...including by my shoes. If the doors go all the way to the floor and I can be completely anonymous, I am fine. Otherwise, I can hold it like a dromedary in the desert.

My son is apparently the same way. So much so that he related the story of when he was in high school and had to have my wife come pick him up so that he could go home and do his business. No pooping at school.

There were also several stories involving public farts. There are very few joys in life better than ripping one in public, say in an aisle in the grocery store, and then walking away to leave the impact for complete strangers to enjoy. The payoff is when you hear the subsequent visitor comment on your work - "Holy shit, what is that?" That will keep us chuckling for YEARS.

Public flatulence-what a gas!

By the way, we had pork chops tonight...and yes, I couldn't help but wonder...


Psychic Dumb Dumb and Drea were curious as to why I like pink flamingos. It is actually somewhat of a long and complicated explanation, but here it is:

A few years ago I lived in a quaint little midwestern town in Iowa called Cedar Rapids. It is a city of about 120,000 people. Cedar Rapids is a quiet little blue collar town dominated by Quaker Oats processing and Rockwell Collins manufacturing. I worked as an attorney at a large national life insurance company.

In that quaint little town there is a chain of pharmacies (similar to Walgreens or Longs Drug) called "Drug Town." I've always been amused by that name, but that's the god's honest truth - Drug Town! Not only do they have a pharmacy in Drug Town, but most of them also have a postal substation.

While on my way home from work late one afternoon, I had the need to mail a couple of items; most likely bills. So, I pulled into the Drug Town that was about two miles from my home and went inside. It was fall and there were pumpkin displays, bales of hay and bound shocks of corn creating a pre-halloween display at the front of the store. I made my way past the garden utensils and Halloween decorations and down the aisle past the hair care products toward the back of the store where the postal substation was located. Of course they put it at the back corner of the store so you had to go all the way through the store past their entire stock of goods to get a fucking stamp. So I did.

I reached the back of the store to find one person in line. I took my place in line, fidgeting impatiently while looking at a display of walking canes and other osteopathic aides located near the substation. While browsing, I noticed a little, hunched-over older lady wearing a long overcoat shuffle into line behind me.

At this time, stamps were thirty-two cents each. I had three envelopes to mail. While not a mathematical genius, I did the math and realized that I would need precisely (no more, no less) ninety-six cents. While waiting for the prior customer to finish up, I reached into my pocket and found....EXACTLY ninety-six cents. I had exact change. You can probably imagine how elated that made me feel. I'm sure that you've been there...having exact change is delightful. You can pay for your item without waiting for change AND unload that pocketful of jangly crap you have been toting around all day. EXACT CHANGE!! Hooray. Three quarters, one dime, one nickel and six pennies...ninety-six cents!

Pretty soon, the prior customer finished up their irritating little transaction and moved along. I was up. I placed my envelopes on the counter and the postal clerk asked, "How can I help you?"

To which I proudly replied, "I need three stamps, please." I am always that polite. I think it is because of my solid midwest upbringing.

The postal clerk, having math skills equal to my own, quickly came to the conclusion that, "That will be ninety-six cents, please."

I reached back into my pocket and pulled out all my change, knowing that there was EXACTLY ninety-six cents there. As I pulled the ninety-six cents from my pocket one of the six pennies that I had in my pocket slipped through my fingers, fell to the floor, hit the floor, bounced twice and then began rolling...and rolling....and rolling. That little fucker rolled past my feet, past the little old lady in the overcoat and toward the walking cane display. It rolled in ever-tightening circles in front of the walking cane display until it came to a stop right there on the floor.

By this point, I had turned to watch the penny roll and began walking in the direction it appeared to be headed. The little old lady had turned with me, with the precision timing of the Blue Angels. She, one step in front of me.

Accordingly, she reached the penny one step ahead of me. I really didn't want to make this lovely woman bend down to pick up my penny, but she had position. So I really had no choice. Stiffly, she bent down to pick up that penny, lying right there in front of the walking cane display while I politely smiled and began to extend my hand to accept the penny. I couldn't help but think that this was such a kind gesture by this woman. The midwest is truly a wonderful place to live; the people are very polite and generally kind to each other.

I smiled at her and extended my hand and began to form the words "Thank you very much!" when she took that penny and placed it into her pocket.

Now, I stood there with my mouth agape and my hand extended with no hope of that penny ever coming back to its rightful owner. My brain raced. "That's my penny" then, "Let it go, it's just a penny" and then..."but you had EXACT change!" I must have run through this progression three times in that instant. I was aghast. I was shocked. I was appalled.

I turned around to the clerk and took out a dollar bill, placed the stamps on my envelopes and dropped them in the box.

You gotta pick your battles.

That's the way I roll.

Monday, November 07, 2005

VEGANS - Especially Kristen from MA

On Thursday, November 3, 2005 one of my favorite Bloggers, Erin O'Brien (Erin O'Brien) wrote a very comical and entertaining entry regarding 22 pounds of ham and the subsequent meals it provided. I think almost everyone reading that entry had a similar experience at one time or another and thus could relate to it. That's why it was funny. I have always been a meat eater and loved the way Erin spun the tale of the downward spiral of over-indulgence into what was probably a very delicious ham.

But then there was a comment from Kristen from MA that started me thinking.

This is what Kristen from MA said: "i cringed when reading this entry. yes, i'm a vegetarian. adult pigs have the mentality of THREE-YEAR OLD CHILDREN. meat is bad, bad, bad."

As I am inclined to do as the result of my interenal defense mechanisms, I deflected this comment using mean-spirited sarcasm. But deep down, Kristen from MA had me thinking.

I used to enjoy a good ham, a pork chop, some bacon or sausage without even a moments thought...but not since reading Kristen's comment. Kristen, I owe it to you! You really made me think after leaving your comment as well as your follow up response to my mean-spirited retort.

Now everytime I eat pork products, I can't help but think to myself, "I wonder if a three year old child would taste this good?"

Saturday, November 05, 2005

On Being a Major Buzzkill

Just kidding, ~Mike, I am not going to write an entire post defaming you - I have important stuff to accomplish here.

I really wanted to point out that the first BLOG OF NOTE adjustment took place this evening. Blah, Blah, Blah Harrison hadn't posted for some time and his responses lacked the sort of enthusiasm that I really expect out of each of you. Agree with me, disagree with me, hate me, love me, but for heaven's sake, have a little passion about life once in a while.

Blah, Blah - you are now dead to me.

Badgod is Blah, Blah's replacement. I will note that Crallspace has been visiting Badgod from time to time and failed to point us in his direction. I think it has sort of been Crall's own naughty little secret. Hope I didn't ruin it for you, Crall!



Several of you may be aware that I have recently gone through some serious life changing events. During the course of the last two weeks, I have become a devout Libertarian as well as a Viking (including the adoption of polytheistic Norse religion - Forn Sidr). I guess this sort of thing happens when you reach your mid-life crisis. Especially when you can't afford the obligatory sports car.

My back continues to be a problem - physical therapy twice a week has allowed me to walk erect again, but not without pain. I am praying to Eir for this to pass - however, in addition to the prayers and the physical therapy, I may be required to sacrifice a goat. As a direct result of the back problem, I have not yet had the opportunity to go door-to-door handing out pamphlets so that others can know the wonders of the power of Odin. I look forward to knocking on the door of my first Jehovah's Witness in a major twist of irony.

Until I have the pamphlets and magazines printed, I invite you to visit this site
Forn Sidr. The ability to read Danish would be a significant plus; through true faith and devotion, I will endeavor to persevere. Nevertheless, since I do not speak Danish, I have selected an English title for our publication - The Valhalla Picayune and World Herald - as I believe this will appeal more to the masses that might fall for this sort of thing.

As a Libertarian, I am a strong believer in small government. I intend to become very active in resisting both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party from further expanding the reach of Big Brother and the heavy burden of taxation placed upon the common working man to keep this behemoth moving. The old fashioned Viking approach of raping and pillaging villages and towns will be extremely helpful in accomplishing this Libertarian platform. Look for our longboats in your harbor soon!

As always, I welcome your opinions and insight (except from Mike who will likely leave a comment that will ultimately kill my buzz
and I will have to resort to buying the sports car after all).

Friday, November 04, 2005


If you will look way over to the right, you will see that I have a series of BLOGS OF NOTE that I believe merit your attention from time to time. I have perused several of the BLOGS OF NOTE that are promoted by The Man (aka Google) and have found them lacking in style, taste and entertainment value. Accordingly, I have put together my own list which I believe would hold up against the Google list any day.

From time to time, you will notice changes in this list. Just because you have made the Flamingo1 Blogs of Note list does not mean that you will necessarily remain there. It all depends on whether you keep me amused. If I find your postings amusing, you stay...if you do not post regularly or if your material becomes stale, you are gone.

Whether you know it or admit it, each and every one of you have been placed on this earth for my personal entertainment. Now perform!

A good example is the BLAH, BLAH, BLAH Harrison site
(Blah, Blah, Blah Harrison). Several days ago, I read a post about rodeo clowning that I found amusing...thus I added his blog to the Flamingo1 Blogs of Note list. He hasn't posted in several days and, quite honestly, his responses to comments left on his blog have been lackluster and evidence the possibilty that he doesn't really "get it." I am giving him two more days to rectify this situation or the result will be extermination of his link. I have that kind of power.

Since I also author the Poop On Rosenblatt blog
(Poop On Rosenblatt), obviously that blog will remain a blog of note until I tire of pooping on Rosenblatt. Since Rosenblatt is generally a tool, this will not likely happen within the next calendar year.

I welcome your suggestions. If you happen to stumble across a Blog that contains material which you think might amuse me, please feel free to make a suggestion. I shall be the ultimate arbiter of whether the blog makes the grade, but your opinion matters to me - matters may be a strong term - I find your opinions interesting in an academic or clinical sense and will use my analysis of your opinion to determine whether or not I think you are amusing or just an idiot.

Now get busy entertaining me!


Thursday, November 03, 2005

More Halloween Photos

Garrett and his family stopped by my Halloween party for a while also. Generally, costumes are mandatory, but they didn't make it to Wal-Mart before closing and didn't have any costumes to wear. I gave their son "Johnny Ray Willy Garrett, Jr." a Bud Light and a smoke and let em join the party anyway. Special thanks to Garrett for sharing this family photo from the festivities.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

I don't have any cute pictures of my kids, but here are a few drunken photos from the Halloween party. Sorry you couldn't make it.
Drunken Ogre from Hell!!!

Happy Halloween!

Peter Griffin

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Halloween Picture

So far, this is the only Halloween photo that I have that can be published. The rest can not be published because they are not suitable. There is no nudity or any other content problem with them, other than the fact that they were taken by someone that had too many adult beverages - so you might get a picture of a hand in one photo and someone's left eye in another photo. But do not despair, as I have two disposable cameras that will, hopefully, contain better snapshots of the event.

People, do not drink and photograph. Bad combination.

Anyway, enjoy this photo. When I have more time (I actually do work sometimes) I will regale you with stories of the festivities...including the point in the night when I shouted, "Hey, I'm not wearing any pants!"

I am the one on the right. As you can see, I am approximately 7 feet tall and hairy. I compensate for my shocking appearance with a warm and loving personality.

I had considered wearing two diapers, a bra and carrying a Coors Light can, but was afraid that Erin would sue me for stealing her intellectual property.