Friday, June 30, 2006

XXX-Tra Room for Cream

I was just a bit tight on time this morning. I had many mundane tasks to accomplish. Having safely deposited the monkey at her monkey-care facility, I weaved my way back to work.

I was tired though, and I struggled to summon the stamina to weather the waning work week. One day more. The weekend at last, but first, I must fight through Friday. Not only that, but I had to be productive in the mix, billing at least 8 of those 8 hours.

It was doable, but it required coffee.

Starbucks, with its long line of pretentious prats, concocting convoluted menu combinations, and woefully inadequate parking options seemed so very far away. I found myself in a fix, a quandary, even.

Nearer, I approached my place of business and the prospect of one more cup of cheap office coffee that tasted vaguely of dirt and cardboard. I needed a cup of decent joe.

Then, at the very last minute, there it was. Small, white, shaped like a log-cabin Photomat, it was the local coffee hut. I had forgotten all about it.

Essentially, it lay across the street, kitty-corner to my office, but in two years, I had never gotten coffee there. Why? Well, mostly because it is in the parking lot of an enormous adult department store.

Yes, the Castle, the Walmart-like super-store of porn shops, is walking distance from my job. Have I been there? Hell yes, and I've been there with many of you who are reading this right now. The only thing is, it just seems like the wrong place for a coffee hut. I have no problem pulling into the parking lot to buy some cinnamon-flavored nipple clamps and a half-off anal gang-bang DVD, but Coffee?? No way. That has just always seemed dirty...

Desperate times call for desperate measures though, and I pulled in. The warm and bubbly grandmother who worked the window was friendly and enthusiastic. Her coffee was surprisingly good, and the prices were low. She wished me a good day, and I believe she actually meant it.

I even got a free punch card out of the deal. Four more purchases, and I get a free medium coffee. I'm going to shoot for a freebee by the end of next week...

Reading for Comprehension
1. Have you been to the Castle with me?
2. Have you been to the Castle without me?
3. Other than coffee, what's the strangest thing you've ever purchased from a porn shop?

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Grunting, Slapping, and Utterances Unto the Lord

The sound of sex is unmistakable. Well, usually...

I have heard roommates having sex. It is usually the egregiously depraved performance sex that you have when you know other freaks are listening. It is elevated moaning, punctuated ass-slapping, mysterious bumps against the wall.

I have heard my own parents having sex. Silent, stealthy, but unable to avoid the tell-tale rhythm of the squeaky bed frame. It was cool though. I knew, at the very least, that they weren't headed for an immediate divorce.

I've heard friends having sex. I've heard it in my house. I've heard it in the next room. I've even walked in on it. Hearing friends have sex is creepier than hearing your parents.

I've heard strangers having sex in a hotel. Hotel sex, it seems, is always a bit more aerobic and vocal than other forms. Certainly, though, it ALWAYS involves thrusting the full body weight of at least two naked and sweaty full-grown adults toward the rickety hotel headboard. To the well-trained ear, hotel sex may always be identified by the the percussive clapping of the headboard against the wall.

Hearing hotel sex never bothers me. It's like sport. I root for the visiting team.

What has disturbed me, though, is neighbor sex.

It was 1990, or thereabouts. I was walking home from work in the middle evening. It was dark, but not too late. The California night sky was warm and smelled of sage.

It was a pleasant walk, so I took the long way home. As I neared my house, I heard a noise that caused me concern. It sounded like a small animal was in a great deal of distress. It howled and screeched. It cried and whined. It whimpered and hissed.

I came closer. It seemed to be coming from the hedge around my neighbor's house. I got closer and the commotion got louder. The passionate cry reached a higher pitch and grew in volume. I was sure to find a cat caught in a traumatic trap. It was perhaps a raccoon pinned under a pile of bricks.

I came to stand just outside my neighbors open window. The agonizing beast was squealing now, and it was obviously coming from inside my neighbor's house. I was perplexed and horrified for just a split second, with my mind racing through a menu of emergency options to deal with the zoological crisis unfolding in my neighbor's house. Just then, all of a sudden, the suffering animal let out a gasp and screamed, "Oh fuck, oh God, yes, oh fuck!"

I felt dirty and a little embarrassed, and I walk away.

Reading for comprehension:
1. You liked this one, didn't you? Dirty perv...
2. So, was the story just a cover for me eavesdropping on my lusty neighbor?
3. What barn-yard animal do you most sound like when you're doin it?

Monday, June 26, 2006


Tragedy struck over the weekend. My golden mystery snail has died. I hadn't ever seen the true face of a snail until he (or she) joined the marine menagerie in my office tank. You could say that it was almost cute.

It was a brave and mighty little snail, and quite a voracious eater. Unfortunately, the new tank didn't offer the same volume of algae that the old tank offered. I tried to feed it algae pellets, but it simply never got the hang of it.

He was closed up in his shell for about a week, which isn't peculiar. However, upon staggering into my office this afternoon, I discovered that his meat was out of his shell, and was entangled in one of the fake plastic aquarium plants.

I called time of death: 3:07 pm, June 26, 2006.

Reading for comprehension:
1. Are snails gender-specific?
2. What is wrong with the French for them to believe that snails are food??
3. Have you ever gotten your own meat stuck in a fake plastic plant?

Friday, June 23, 2006

Full Trucker Effect

It is no secret that I am a serious bitch for Sirius satellite service. The massive array of always-available news, sports, music, talk and entertainment, streaming uninterrupted from outer space down to my dashboard is luxurious in its scope, convenience and value.

$12 per month. That's it. For LESS than the cost of sponsoring two children in Guatemala, you too can have commercial-free music and FCC-free Howard Stern in your home, office or automobile.

Howard and his crew have been on total freaking fire since moving to Sirius in January. However, the wickedness has reached a fever pitch in the last few days, nearly causing me to swerve off the road in fits of laughter.

It's not just Howard, though. No, it's also Bubba. Bubba: The Love Sponge. Florida-native body-builder buddy of Hulk Hogan, NASCAR driver, trucker fetishist, shock-happy sadistic Thrillbilly. Bubba was once fined heavier than Howard, and fired from his southeastern regional radio network. In an attempt to fill his two satellite stations, Howard gave Bubba the east coast drive-time show on Howard 101 (leaving mere scraps for the west coast).

Bubba now has a nationwide audience, and his show has exploded. It's genius. Even I, while being the furthest distance from his demographic, am hooked. The bulk of his audience, though, seem to be truckers. Bubba celebrates the niceties of trucker culture, which he refers to as the "Full Trucker Effect." It's even the title of his theme song.

Sirius is ideal for truckers if you think about it. The seamless streaming signal is everywhere. It follows them where they need to be. There is no longer any need to search for stations as they cross from state to state.

It was, therefore, no surprise when I found, while surfing the higher-end spectrum of Sirius stations, that there is an all-trucker station: Sirius 147, Road Dog.

All trucker, all the time: trucker music, trucker news, trucker talk. Nationwide weather and traffic. Truck-centric product sponsors.

This is a perfect marriage. Truckers have always been synonymous with radio. They were pioneers in the development and use of CB. However, they were not the only ones...

I was 8 years old, and on a camping trip with my grandparents and my great grandmother. My Grandfather's rig was the vanguard. He always lead the train, followed my his cadre of camping buddies from the church. His CB was strapped to the dashboard, and he would san the channels for road conditions. Occasionally, he would quietly issue orders into the mic, and the caravan of campers would follow his lead.

I, on the other hand, used the CB to read jokes from my joke books to the masses. I was 8, so you can imagine...

We eventually found ourselves stopped in front of the Ranger station, and my grandparents were outside, futzing with their reservations. My doddering great grandmother snored in the back seat. The radio was on, and the mic lay in my lap.

"Breaker Breaker, blah blah blah..." came the voice of a gravely road pilot through the radio. There were others too. They were having an interstate conversation.

Now, I knew from my joke book experience that pushing the button opened the mic, and jammed the frequency. So, obviously, I pushed and held the button for several seconds. Then I released it, and listened for the immanent response.

"Who the fuck is leaving their mic open??" My great grandmother stirred in the back seat. That seemed to get their attention. So, I pushed it again, longer this time.

I pushed it fast. I pushed it slow. Dots. Dashes. Rhythms. Pulses. All the while the venom and anger was spittering and sputtering through the transmission breaks. Foul evil language, the type of words you only heard on playgrounds. I never expected adults to know such words.

I felt powerful. I felt sneaky. My great grandmother slowly roused herself to semi-wakefulness.

"What in tarnation is this gibbering all about? Oh my! What language! You, you, you shouldn't be hearing this. I can't believe such filth is allowed on the radio!"

I grinned, passively to myself. I was the cause in fact of the commotion. I took private pleasure in the vitriolic responsive transmissions.

The next hour was filled by my grandmother being lectured by her mother about the devilishly inappropriate radio show they left on while they stepped out. (She didn't quite grasp the CB concept.) I simply stared quietly out the window at the passing truckers, wondering whether we would pass the purple faced jackass that let an 8-year old get his goat.

(Sirius is offering a three-day free-trial of it's online service. This service now includes live streaming feeds of Howard 100 and Howard 101)

Reading for Comprehension.
1. That was one long-ass blog post, did you read the whole goddamn thing, or did you just skip to the end?
2. Have you, or anyone that you know, ever had sex in the sleeper cab of a big rig?
3. Bubba uses the phrase "shock the balls," what does this phrase mean to you?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Summertime, and the Livin's Easy

Generally speaking, I hate Summer. I dislike bright sun light, and I can't stand the heat. Mild as the summers are here in the Pacific Northwest, I stand to lose a substantial sum of personal mass in sweat alone over the next few months. Not that I can't bear to lose a few pounds, but I just hate to sweat. Unfortunately, I sweat easier than a ham under a heat lamp.

So, my front door faces North, and for just a few weeks, this time every year, the sun peaks around the corner of the porch in the late evening, and casts brilliant shards of light through the beveled glass. The entryway explodes with color and light for just a few minutes, before the sun settles behind the hill. Tonight, of course, was the brightest, and the light show will slowly fade over the next few days until it returns for next year's solstice.

I sat down to write this post around 10:30 p.m. At that point, there was still a glow of light visible in the night sky. This is it. The longest day of the northern hemisphere's year. While technically the first day of summer, the days only get shorter from here. Remember, only 180 days (give or take) until Christmas.

In another lifetime, before the neckties and business suits, before daycare and mortgages, there was pizza. There were many years of delivering pizza, and there are many stories yet to tell from that time. Tonight, though, there is only one pizza story to tell.

It was June 21, sometime in the early 90s. I was paying for school by delivering pizza at night. The hours were late, but the tips were good. Of course, some nights were better for tips than others. While New Years and the 4th of July were blockbusters, Solstice night was historically crappy. The day dragged on forever, and folks lost touch with their digestive rhythms. They would forget to eat. So, it was always a slow night.

The crew was thin, but we worked hard to get the store closed quickly. Still, it was well past midnight by the time we finished. Four of us walked outside, waiting for the manager to set the alarm. The A.M. breeze was afternoon-warm. We shuffled around a bit, feeling not quite done with the night. Proposals were made, and plans were laid. There appeared to be drinking in our future.

We reconvened in my backyard, down by the creek. Cold beer was handed out and a pipe, or two, was passed around. I sat there that night with three other guys, whose names I can't remember. We were friends in a co-worker sort of way, but with whom I had nothing in common. We drank and we smoked and we talked. We watched the stars, and waxed philosophic, in a limited beer-hazed, small-town yokel sort of way...

Now, being situated on the 45th parallel, as we were, not only was the solstice sunset late, but the sunrise was unexpectedly early. I finished off yet another can of PBR (The King of cheap beer!) when a pink glow began to cut through the trees. I had just settled in with a comfortable nocturnal buzz, when all of a sudden I was confronted by dawn.

We all sat stunned. It was only 4:30. We had anticipated, somehow, having several more hours of darkness to cover our pagan rites. Silently, we each took stock of the situation, glancing forlornly at the cooler full of unopened beer. By unspoken assent, we all agreed that though the sun was shining, it was still the middle of the night. The fully-illuminated early morning sky would not prevent us from finishing our task.

Though the morning rolled on, as none of us had gone to sleep, in our minds it was still night. Eventually, the evening came to a close (around brunch), and I went to bed. Of all of the "longest days," I suppose that was technically the longest. So, happy solstice to you, and here's to an easy Summer... Just watch out for those early sunrises.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Sweet Home Alabama

In the course of three days this weekend, we heard Sweet Home Alabama four times. The funny thing was we were nowhere near Alabama. It was one of those bizarre coincidences. It started to get creepy, like a dream, or a bad David Lynch movie.

The lawyer-conference thingy went fine. I learned some things. I met some people. I drank a lot of beer.

I played some disc golf. I read a book. I took a lot of naps.

On Friday, or maybe it was Saturday, I got the call. I had just returned from four hours of mind-numbing lecture, and my bowels needed to be exercised (as in casting out demons).

Sparing the details, I sat on the throne when the cell phone rang. It was Tom, so I answered. As I wallowed in my own stench, I got the news that Spawn-of-Tom had born. Healthy baby girl, regrettably not named "Brian." Labor was something like 84 hours. She was an astonishing 14 pounds, 11 ounces; full set of teeth, and a tattoo.

Congratulations to Tom and Mrs. Tom! And welcome Spawn-of-Tom to our universe.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

But For the Trees

Disc golf in Bend. Trees. So many trees!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Scotch in the wood

Our trek across the mountain was successful. Dinner with a mob of lawyers was surprisingly pleasant. Saw a woman who i recognized but couldn't recall her name. An hour ago the warm high desert night called us out into the woods. Hearing music through the trees we followed the sound to a small tavern where we now sit listening to a solo version of sweet home alabama.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

List Update

It's another official list update!! If for no other reason, it's an opportunity to post more eye candy.

As you may recall, the last official list, as of October 2005, was as follows:

1) Nicole Kidman
2) Christina Ricci
3) Kirsten Dunst
4) Alyson Hannigan
5) Lauren Ambrose
In case you don't know, these are the rules to the game: by staking my claim in advance, if I were to meet any of these attractive ladies in person, the missus would not object to one night of depraved debauchery. Likewise, she has her own list...

Please recall, back in February, Dita Von Teese began to edge her way up to the very cusp of the list. Now, however, I think it is time to officially update the the whole thing.

1) Nicole Kidman

2) Christina Ricci

3) Alyson Hannigan

4) Dita Von Teese

5) Molly Parker

Monday, June 12, 2006

Peanuts, Tomatoes, and English Catholic Royalists

It must have been hard to be a Huguenot. To live each day as a radically-political protestant in a land of cranky Catholics. Ironically, it must have been very much like being a Jacobite, a crown-minded catholic in the land of perturbed protestants.

Their relative experiences must have been really quite similar, yet they would each be unable to find commonality with the other, as they were spiritually-bound mortal enemies.

Have you ever felt this isolation? Have you ever been the tall blonde Caucasian in the Mexican taqueria? (Yes, Carl, yes... We know...) This question is mostly for those of you who have not wandered the the crap-strewn alleys of Manila at night. For Carl, this should mostly remain a rhetorical question...

Perhaps, however, the measure of belonging can be fluid.

I was sitting on a hard plastic bench this afternoon, wolfing down a Whopper for lunch. Yes, normally I avoid fast food, but I was short on time, and needed my food to be, well, uh, FAST. The Whopper, for those of you who do not know, is a burger. It is not particularly good, nor is it particularly bad.

The pressed burger patty has the diameter of a CD, and the thickness of a pencil. The sesame seed bun is steamed, and it is garnished with mayonnaise, lettuce, pickles and tomato.

The tomatoes are never good. Though, as a point of fact, I don't believe tomatoes are ever good in anything. However, today, as I scanned the front page of the Oregonian, I peeled open my Whopper without thinking to remove the offending fruit, when I discovered to my surprise that the two tomato slices were fresh and firm and red and juicy.

I stopped, stunned. Regardless, I removed them from my sandwich, and placed them aside, but continued to ponder them nonetheless. I don't dislike tomatoes. In fact, I rather like them. They make great sauce, and they go well with fresh Mozzerella and basil. The problem is, in something like a sandwich, or even a salad, they just become a big fruity watery distraction. In my mind, they do not belong.

Upon returning to the office, I found myself in need of a late-afternoon snack. Depositing my two-bits (six bits, actually...) into the cardboard cash box, I reached for a Snickers. However, my gaze and my grasp were directly diverted by the site of a Milkyway. The difference?

The Peanuts. Snickers has them. Milkyway doesn't.

I love peanuts. I eat them by the handful. However, like tomatoes, they simply don't belong.

But everyone has their own criteria for what belongs, or not. Some folks are offended by pickles; others by olives. I know one person who is offended by both. There is even one regular reader who picks out (or around) strawberries, of all things...

Most surprising to me in recent months, I must say, is the Monkey's aversion to cheese. Mama and Daddy are freaky cheese bitches, but the baby will have none of it.

This was demonstrated effectively over the weekend, when I presented the tot with a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch. This was an experiment on my part, as she is not completely comfortable with whole sandwiches. She went right to it, to be sure, but really only the grilled bread. In fact, she ate all of the bread, top and bottom, right around the orange-cheese mass in the middle, leaving little more than buttery crumbs and a slightly congealed cheese wafer resting on her plate. To her, the cheese, simply did not belong.

To me, on the other hand, it was CHEESE! So, I ate it.

Reading for comprehension
1. What are the odds that we'll get a dazzling tale of international wandering from Carl?
2. How retarded do you have to be to not like strawberries?
3. Yes, I referred to my wife (and myself) as a "freaky cheese bitch." I'm sure she would be the first to admit it...

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Wait, What Was I Saying?

I sat, stuffing my mouth with dressing-slathered salad and steaming spoonfuls of soup. It was noon on Sunday, and the Gin-and-Tonic family was brunching at the local soup and salad bar buffet. Admittedly, a step down from breakfast at the Benson, Stuffy's (as we call it) is an ideal dining diversion for a cranky baby.

Returning to the table from my second go at the Jello and fruit bar, I glanced around at this swelling congregation of post-church east-siders. They milled about like cattle, blank-faced, fresh from the pews. They wore ill-fitting, poorly pressed business attire, because that apparently pleaseth the Lord.

I was dressed, shall we say, less formally. Proudly broadcasting the fact that I was most definitely not coming from church. It could only have been more clear if I were smoking a cigarette and mixing vodka in with my orange juice.

I felt bad for these poor people who chose to wake up early on Sunday, and put on uncomfortable clothes to go give money and sing songs in a big sterile building because they chose to believe that an invisible man in the clouds wanted them to. It really made me sad.

But then, in an instant, it dawned on me. There are the peasants. These are the followers. These are the people who will believe anything you tell them. These are the workers who will cook my food and put gas in my car. These are the people who kept Bush in The White House.

It's OK to manipulate these folks, it the reason they exist. All you have to do is put on a good show. Tell them you like to watch Nascar and that you go to church every Sunday. Waive the flag and use the word patriotism now and then.. They are sure to put you into office.

And that, I think, is what Carl touched on in his Machiavelli blog a few weeks back. Carl's point, I think, was that The Prince is not about the ends justifying the means (as most cliff-notes-reading folks will tell you.) No, The Prince is about a way of life.

The path to power is not a series of decisions. No, it is a way of being, living free from the strictures of arbitrary morality. It is about manipulating the stupid and the wise alike. Be all things to all people as circumstances and needs dictate. Forget Sun Tzu. Don't bother with Tony Robbins. Pick up The Prince, and be the man.

Reading for comprehension

1. Jesus Christ, what a complete load of drivel. This one got completely away from me. Can you figure out where?
2. Can you even figure out what this entry was originally going to be about?
3. Would you be surprised to learn that this was originally going to be about the second season of Deadwood? I need to remind myself, no blogging when you haven't slept enough...

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Errors and Omissions


Every story about every person in every place that has been printed can be read at Google News. Read tomorrow's newspaper stories today.

35 stories about the mayoral election in the city of Tilli, in East Timor.
124 stories about Battlestar Galactica's Emmy prospects.
345 stories about about how Dick Cheney ass raped the Constitution, just today alone.
1,267 stories about the coming of the Jolie-Pitt messiah.

There is no excuse for being ill-informed any longer. It will only be easier to access news when Fox starts to download it into your cerebral cortex while you sleep. The news is there, like a drunken cheerleader in a hot tub, waiting for you to take it.

However, despite this Orwellian-scope of information accessibility and the instant point-and-click data-whore gratification buzzing with anticipation at our finger tips, there remains certain facts, particular details that seem to elude my ever-seeing eye.

For instance, what word is there of the gestating spawn of Tom's loins? Due she is, this month by my reckoning. Yet, nary a word trickles North. Hope, I still hold, that she shall bear my name. "Brian," that is. Not that heathenistic hybrid of gender-bending nomenclature, "Brianna." Brianna isn't a name; it's an abomination. Oh, but I digress...

Not a word. Not one. Not a solitary utterance from Tom or Mrs. Tom. Not an update. Not a clue. I fear, perhaps, that they are reluctant to deliver ill tidings. Burdened, she may be, that bundle of baby goodness, with a lesser name. Ill-advised and ashamed, the parents may be, in foregoing the singular opportunity to name her "Brian." That curse, as it may be, is on their heads.

A birth announcement would be warmly received nonetheless.

Reading for Comprehension

1. In which Emmy categories should Battlestar be nominated?
2. Is your name "Brianna?" If so, do you hate yourself as much as we hate you?
3. Does the phrase "Tom's loins" creep you out as much as it does me?

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Edgar, the Field Mouse

As the evening wound down around the old Gin-& Tonic homestead, the missus and I sat in the dark, discussing the day's events. As most of our routine lives lead one day to the next without much variation or excitement, we were inevitably left little to say.

Bored with my own dullness, I offered to tell a tale of my own original devise, and sat for a moment generating the protagonist of the plot. Once materialized in my mind, I began to unfold an unfortunate story, which I shall now share with you.

Edgar, the Field Mouse


Mr. Gin and Tonic

There once was a brown field mouse, named Edgar Throckmorton, who lived in a meadow near a babbling brook. It was a lovely meadow with clumps of tall grass and forests of dandelions.

Edgar's home was an old tin can. The lid of the can was still attached, and Edgar propped it up with twigs to fashion a handsome porch, under which to sit. And sit he did, each and every day, in his little mouse chair in the shade of his tin lid porch.

Edgar's field was at the edge of old Farmer Darling's property, and many animals crossed by his door on their way to the clear cold water of the brook. Every morning, after foraging for his breakfast of plentiful nubble-nuts and hoople-berries, Edgar would take his station on his porch and greet each and every animal visitor that wandered down the path.

Donny the deer would wander by, and Edgar would "Eep eep" his greeting. He would "Eep" to Sally the snail, and "Eep eep" to Roger the robin. All of the Meadow creatures knew Edgar and welcomed his daily greetings.

What all of the animal neighbors never realized was that Edgar had suffered, since childhood, from rodent-form Tourettes syndrome, and all of his friendly Eep-eeping was actually just him saying: "F#%k you, motherf&%ker! You c@cksucker! You dirty C#^t-licker! Piece of S#!t Turd-Jockey! Get off my motherf#%king property, you s#!t-eating, j!%z-guzzling, Donkey Feltcher!! Etc..."

No, all that the deer, and the rabbits, and the squirrels, and the robins heard everyday was the happy "eep eep eep" of the friendly little field mouse in the little tin house.

Then, one day, old farmer Darling decide to subdivide and build condos. As he mowed over the meadow with his thresher, the angry little field mouse swore angrily and defiantly at the giant green tractor heading toward his tin can. "Eat My S#!t!!" he eeped as the machine shredded him into a thousand mouse bits.

The End

Reading for Comprehension:

1. When Brian lays around the house at night, playing the third Brother Grimm, does he wear pants?
2. Do all cute animal protagonists in Brian's stories inevitably meet a bloody end?
3. Don't you wish Bambi actually ended this way?

12 Angry Men

Our pal, Deuce, is up for jury duty this week. I, myself, have never been called for jury duty, anywhere, ever.

This is unfortunate as I would very much like to serve, from a purely academic point of view. Due to my profession, however, it is unlikely that I would be kept on a jury, but it does happen from time to time.

Most other folks prefer to get out of serving; civic duty not being what it once was. I am frequently asked what the best way is to get out of jury duty. There are really very few, and there are no slam dunks.

On the other hand, I can list many things that WILL NOT get you dismissed.

1) Showing up in a Star Trek costume
2) Being the Chief Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court
3) Being blind
4) Being deaf
5) Being pregnant
6) Being incontinent
7) Having ADHD
8) Not knowing English
9) Wearing a kilt
10) Being a court employee
11) Being a television celebrity
12) being illiterate

Of course, if you really want to get out, you can do what my grandmother once did. During jury selection for a criminal trial, she professed a genuine belief that the police are ALWAYS right. She was obviously dismissed, which disappointed her. She really wanted a chance to send a bad guy to jail.

Reading for Comprehension:

1) How would you feel if Deuce was on your jury?
2) What sort of costume might you wear to actually get dismissed from a jury?
3) How might real jury duty differ from an episode of Law and Order?

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Run for the Border

I think I might have a problem. I think we may have to postpone those piano lessons for something, uh, a little more, um, remedial...

I first immigrated to Oregon back in August, 1994. Having unshipped my cargo, I was eager to explore my new home. In many ways, Salem, the state capitol, was representative of the entire state, and I was shocked to learn two things. First, I was dismayed to discover that the Del Taco fast food empire had not ventured north of the California border. This meant that I had to adjust to life without Del Combo Burritos or Chicken Soft Tacos. While perhaps a boon to my rather fragile physical health, it was a blow to my psyche.

Second, there didn't seem to be any non-Caucasians here.

Ultimately, that second discovery proved to be untrue. However, to be sure, there aren't many. Gas stations are operated by Caucasians. 7-11 stores are run by Caucasians. During a trip to the mall, the only language you will hear is English.

The result of living here is that the monkey will be raised in a somewhat homogeneous culture, and may not have the benefit of multi-cultural diversity that some other larger urban centers have to offer.

fortunately, since 1994, at least one of these two phenomena has been addressed. In the last couple of years, a small handful of Del Taco restaurants have begun to spring up across the region. Unfortunately, here on the southside of Portland, the closest Del Taco is across the Columbia River in Vancouver, Washington.

Yes, I must cross state lines to find me a decent chicken soft taco, which is exactly what the monkey and I did today.

Mama lie sleeping in a Nyquil and Claratin-induced mid-afternoon nap (coma). I was hungry and had time to burn. So, I decided to take the tot for a trek and introduce her to the wonder that is the Del Combo Burrito!

Our senses saturated by Sirius satellite stations, we blazed a trail north on I-5. We dashed through down town, past the twin hypodermic towers of the convention center. We Journeyed past Jantzen Beach.

As we approached the Interstate Bridge that would carry us over the river and across the invisible state line, which ran down the middle, my mind wandered back to Professor Turner and discussions of the Mann Act... We were just going for food, so everything was fine.

We finally arrived, and sat down for a fine feast of tacos, burritos and french fries. As the Monkey mashed salty fries into her mouth, her attention was diverted to something on the other side of the glass door to her left. I looked over, and standing there was a very cute African American girl with a big smile and poofy pigtails. The little girl waived hello. My daughter then pointed back, right at the little girl, and with a loud voice said, "Doggy!"

Now, I know you haven't been exposed to many minorities, but come on baby, "Doggy?" Well, so much for piano lessons, and forget ballet. First class on the list is going to be a bit of sensitivity training....

Reading for comprehension:

1) What is Brian's usual Del Taco Order?
2) Brian avoided using the phrase "hurried through the hood" to describe his north-bound route through NE Portland, why was this?
3) Brian made reference to the Mann Act. Was this inappropriate because it was an inside law joke that will exclude the non-lawyer readers, or was it more inappropriate because his daughter was in the car?