Monday, July 31, 2006

Because, Well, Why Not?

Due to overwhelming popular demand, Dead Honkey now has it's own website. Surprisingly enough, it is called

The strip is there. A blog is coming. Occasionally, each will bear my initials, but usually they will bear Dave's

The Dead Honkey research department is also working on a way to bring you the world's biggest game of dots.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

James Blonde

"Hi, I'm Plenty."
"But, of course you are."
"Plenty O'Toole."
"Named after your father perhaps?"

Let us begin where we all can agree. Sean Connery. If you don't think that Sean Connery was THE best James Bond, then, well, I have to worry about you. Perhaps your mother smoked crack while you were a fetus. Maybe Jesus hates you.

Most folks will also say that Pierce Brosnan was a close second. Sure, we waited long enough for him to terminate his Remington Steele commitment. And sure, he only gave us four outings as 007, but we liked it, and we wanted more.

Roger Moore was an embarrassment. Timothy Dalton was a snooze-fest, and I don't think anyone ever watched the one George Lazenby affair.

Pierce has walked away from the series to focus on his more-serious acting career. So, now we have Daniel Craig. And what is the response of the masses??

"He's Blonde!"

That's it. That's all the fans can think about. The color of his hair. Daniel may be a great Bond, or maybe Casino Royale will suck ass. I'll tell you one thing, though, that conclusion will have nothing to do with the color of Craig's hair.

It will, however, have everything to do with what sort of mood Barbara Broccoli is currently in. For you see, the wicked grit and style of Sean and Pierce; the smarmy cheesy greasy geriatric awkwardness of Roger; the insignificance of George; and the siesta fiesta of Timothy was ALL the result of the whims of the producers, Albert "Cubby" Broccoli and his daughter, Barbara Broccoli.

Albert Broccoli allowed the progressive comic cheesiness of Roger to feed on itself, escalating toward near disaster. Then, under Barbara's influence, they finally gave us a younger and more viral Bond, complete with a cleft chin. Unfortunately, the limited sensibilities of the Broccoli family turned Ian Fleming's debonair assassin into a politically correct world policeman.

Don't blame Timothy for being dull, they wrote him that way. Fortunately, with Pierce, they let the character return to the somewhat sadistic, stylistically-menacing, well-heeled hitman he was always supposed to be.

So now, we have Mr. Craig. He sounds smart. He looks menacing. The Broccolis are stripping the character down to its essentials. They are bringing him back to the old-school Ian Fleming-inspired low-tech, smooth and cool government killer that we first read about in Casino Royale.

While there will be no exploding ball-point pens or pocket helicopters, there will be fast cars, martinis, Bond babes, and a Walther PPK. I do not truly expect the color of his hair to matter much by the end of the opening credits.

Reading for Comprehension
1. Who remembers the Goldeneye fiasco at Tigard Cinema?
2. Before he dies, perhaps Sean Connery could return as a Bond Villain.
3. Do you ever cringe when Roger sticks his tongue in the mouth of a girl less-than-half his age?

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Geek Out

I have been at a loss, in a bit of a quandary. See, in case you were not aware, I'm a geek, and geeks need something to geek-out over. Unfortunately:

The Lord of the Rings has gone into the west.

Star Wars has become one with the Force.

The Matrix has fallen down the rabbit hole.

Star Trek has beamed up. (Yes, I know about the JJ Abrams abomination...)

The Harry Potter actors will be 30 before JK finished book 7.

Spiderman, Batman, Superman movies are only vaguely marginal.

There is nothing left to look forward to! There is nothing left to anticipate. I mean, I suppose I still have Battlestar Galactica. Fantastic as it is, though, it doesn't generate the hype or longing that a major geek-oriented motion picture does. So, gazing into the celluloid void, only one star is visible on the distant horizon.

Only one slightly-hazy, yet familiar, object of geek desire looms beyond reach. The question is, will anyone care? Will I care? Will it be worthy of a full-blown geek out?

Take a look at the video below. This will be tomorrow's blog topic:

No Reading for Comprehension questions today.

Today's post is merely preparatory for tomorrow's post. Think of it as homework.

Very good. You get a gold star.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Power Paragraph

I like pale-skinned, redheaded, natural-breasted dirty slutty strippers for two reasons. First, they are pretty. I like things that are pretty. Second, they make my lap feel funny. I like things that make my lap feel funny.

Reading for Comprehension:
1. 1-2-3-2-3. The power paragraph. Can you believe this passed for leading-edge learning theory in 1978?
2. Portland really seems to be the ideal place for pale-skinned, redheaded, natural-breasted dirty slutty strippers.
3. Can you write your own power paragraph?

Sunday, July 23, 2006


Shaved ice in a flimsy conical cup, it's a classic concoction and a simple summer treat. The regular readers here in the Lounge, know that I have a hankering for the simpler pleasures in life. Nothing could be more simple than a snow cone.

My atomic-clock/remote-weather-station showed a balmy 105 outside in the shade this afternoon. However, the little town I call home was holding its own old-timey fair down in the park by the river. We go every year, and every year it's the same. Princess pageants, Lyons Club Lyon Paws, bad big-band music and sticky children.

At least there are snow cones to be had.

We packed up the kids (human girl, canine boy) and trundled off into the withering heat. The boy can be excitable in crowds, so we don't usually bring him. However, the police department was raising funds for a dog of their own, and were washing dogs to raise money. Please believe, in this heat, the fur-ball needed a bath.

We were not there very long before the boy went running after some sexy spaniel. I tried to lock his leash with my right thumb brake-button while grabbing the the thin nylon tether with my left hand. That move cost me a few ounces of flesh, which was filleted from my finger. Not a laceration, mind you. No, just a patch of skin, down to the fascia, that no longer exists.

Having self-administered first aid, employing an all-too-big bandage for the occasion, the Gin-and-Tonic family sought out a shady seat for lunch. As I sat, tying the boy's leash to the table, the missus stood next to me deciding where to fetch food. All at once, a gaggle of drunken yokels swarmed down upon our table. With the exception of the 24 square inches staked by my ass, they and their youngins consumed the whole of the picnic table, edging us out of what was rightfully ours. First in time, first in right. I mean, I was utterly shocked out of my wits. I was stunned. It was a fair foul of the highest order.

The boy eventually got washed, which left the washing-cops covered in dog hair, but they did a good job.

The missus had her own mishap. She went to find the fair food of her choice, but was told they were out. Further distractions then prevented her from ever actually eating.

Then, as things dwindled down, we let the girl splash around in the wading pond. She sat on the edge and kicked her feet in the water. We were both close, but not hovering over her as the water was only 6 inches deep. As I sat watching, some drunken shirtless jackass, decided to walk backward though the kiddy swimming area so he could flex his tanned pecs at his fake-tittied whore of a girlfriend.

He, of course, walked backward right into the girl and sent her sprawling across the pavement. Sure, he was very apologetic, and sure, his busty whore gave him no end of shit for being a goddamned idiot douchebag. But still, BUT STILL...

The dog did nothing, by the way. Not even a growl.

The temperature continued to climb higher. My shirt was soaked with sweat. My fleshless finger began to throb. The girl's lip was bleeding. The boy was bathed, and the wife was hungry. So, we decided to pack it in and call it good.

As we proceeded politely out of the parking lot, I looked to my left and saw the multi-colored flashing sign. It was then that I realized that I never got my snowcone.

Reading for Comprehension:
1. Cherry, Lime, Grape, Lemon, Bubblegum, or Rainbow?
2. It seems to me that I may have deepening issues concerning large crowds and seating.
3. We'll probably go again next year. Wanna come?

Friday, July 21, 2006

World Cup

99 degrees. 6 straw super highway of gin. Score is 0 to 0.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Map Quest

So, this thing isn't working as well as I wished.

Still and all, click the button, have some fun, tell us who your are.

(Lisa from Wales gets the blame for this one. I ripped it off from her blog months ago...)

Free Guestmap from Bravenet

Reading for Comprehension
1. Yes, my last couple of entries of been half-assed and dinky. The Muse appears to be on vacation this week. Anyone have the number for a Muse-Temp service?
2. Are you actually thinking about not pinning yourself? C'mon you can still play annonymous on the map.
3. No, I do not have herpes. Stop asking.

Toothpick II

Big Daddy Bar-B-Q on Hawthorne is an A-frame eatery with flames painted on the sidewalls, and a spread of homemade sauces on every table. The meat is smoked. The coleslaw is made with peanut sauce.

If you live near Portland, this is a must-eat.

Watch out for the toothpicks though. They'll get you...

Pax Americana

In recent weeks, Hassan Nasrallah, Secretary General of Hezbollah, and his sponsor, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, have made repeated references to "fighting for the Islamic Nation."

Something tells me these guys are not talking about a geographic state defined by western political borders...

Reading for Comprehension:
1. Who's ready for WWIII!
2. Is it too late to bring Saddam back to re-stabilize the region?
3. Now, if North Korea would only attack Japan.

Bonus Question #4!

4. How long until China takes Taiwan?

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Plum Line

Barbie was perched precariously from the gnarled branch of the giant plum tree. Her come-hither high-heels dangled daringly from her pink-nailed toe tips. Her long blonde hair was drawn back in a sensible pony tail. She tried desperately to recall how she found herself in such a predicament. She dared only to dream of rescue.

Back at base camp on the ground, between the man-sized tree roots erupting from the grass, Joe and Steve plotted their ascent. Joe was proportionally larger than Steve, and more rugged. Both men had military training, Joe in the infantry, Steve in the Air Force (later with NASA). Joe had a Kung Fu grip. Steve was bionic. They both had gear. They were both eager to climb.

They made their way up, slowly at times. They used alternately brute strength and daring finesse. The ancient fruit tree was fortunately cris-crossed with rope bridges, rappel lines and swinging vines. Steve made the direct approach, out on a limb. Joe attempted a monkey-like flanking maneuver. They both reached Barbie at the same time.

Bitch that she was, Barbie danced a jig on a twig just to prove that she wasn't helpless.


Barbie belonged to Wenda. GI Joe belonged to David (different David). Steve Austin, the Six Million Dollar Man, belonged to me. Mission accomplished, the three seven-year-olds sat in the plum tree in my front yard, lazily picking fresh ripe Satsuma plums off the tree, biting into the sweet tart red flesh.

We would pick and eat at will, the fruit traveling mere seconds from tree to mouth. The plums were sun-warmed and swollen with juice. There is nothing in the world like the flavor and aroma of fresh ripe warm plums. There are few pleasures that measure up to lying in a plum tree with your friends, sticky with nectar, giggling like idiots on a summer afternoon.

I now wait each year for the summer fruit to arrive at the local grocery store. Anticipation and hope mount each plum season for the first arrivals. Each year, I hope that this will be the year. Each year my hopes are dashed.

Pumped up with chemicals and genetically manipulated, today's store-bought plums are a beauty to behold. Perfect smooth skin, blemish free. Deep reds, blues and purples, shining under the special produce-department halogens. They lure me in with thoughts of summer vacation, playing in the sprinklers and climbing trees.

Then, I get home. Unable to wait until the groceries are stowed, I search the sacks for the pile of plums. I bite deep, and inevitably, I spit the whole into the trash. No plum juice. No plum smell. No flavor whatsoever.

Hopes dashed again. Maybe next year.

Reading for Comprehension:
1. GI Joe Vs. Steve Austin?
2. Why don't they make shows about cyborg-astronauts fighting Sasquatch anymore?
3. What fruit disappoints you the most? (No, the answer is not "Brian.")

525,600 Minutes

525,600 minutes, 525,000 moments so dear.
525,600 minutes - how do you measure a year?
In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee.
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife.
In 525,600 minutes - how do you measure a year in the life?

525,600 Minutes. This is the approximate amount of time that "Rent," that insipid over-indulgent whiny preachy self-absorbed Indulg-O-Rama musical, seemed to last. Sure I caught the theatrical version on DVD this weekend, but holy christ, it went nowhere and it never ended.

After the first interminable act, which covered approximately 7 days, it looked like the little tale was at an end. Oh, but no. We still had an entire YEAR of La Boheme left to endure.

Look, I'm all about Beauty Truth and Love. Hurray for the bohemian ideal. Be and let be. Down with rampant homogeneity. But let's be realistic. Let's get the facts straight.

1. If you simply must quit your $3,000 per week job at a network news service because you absolutely MUST finish your shitty home movie about your dysfunctional friends, I simply will not have sympathy for you when you get evicted for not paying your rent.

2. The guy who grows up and gets a job, is not the bad guy.

3. Yes, HIV is a horrible disease, but it does not infect 7 out of every 8 people. Also, if you really want to fight it, you're going to need a few highly-funded corporate research facilities to do the work. Oh, and that's going to require more people with real jobs. Just sayin...

4. A couple of songs with non-rhyming lyrics is edgy and avant garde. Two entire musical acts without any rhyming lyrics is irritating and leads to a head ache.

5. Not all black female lawyers are lesbians. Also, not all women who break up with cute protagonist boys are lesbians either. Cliche isn't the same as art.

6. Men at strip clubs do not hoot, holler, cat-call, or waive their arms in the air like baboons, no matter how strong the pop media cliche is.

7. If you did not pay last year's rent, have not paid this year's rent, and declare publicly that you will not pay next year's rent, you will get evicted. Period. End of Story. (well, I wish it was the end of the story, but holy hell...)

8. Long hair, leather jacket and a guitar do not make you a rock star. If you haven't been able to write a song in two years, I'm guessing you're probably not even a musician. Really, it's time to get a job.

What worries me most about all of this is that Rent has been one of the biggest Broadway shows of my generation. I mean, WHO buys into this?? Someone (many someones) have watched this show and thought to themselves, "Ya, this really speaks to me. I really get it. I need to see this again." It just makes me sad.

Oh god, that was 2 1/2 hours of my life that I'll never get back.

Reading for Comprehension:
1. Have you ever told a panhandler to "get a job?"
2. Do you believe in Beauty, Truth and Love?
3. Do you hoot like a baboon in strip clubs?

Friday, July 14, 2006

Current Events



Wait! Wave, don't breathe!


OK, quick, breathe.

My head popped up above the white-foamed crest. I saw the next one coming. Or rather, I was heading toward it. Quick glance over my shoulder. The wife was somehow still in the goddamned Kayak. She was safe, though paddleless. I didn't have to worry...



What did that tanned and blonde pretty-boy river guide say? Relax... Feet out in front.... Let the current take you... Oh Shit, I forgot to breathe!



My hat was gone. My paddle was gone. The air was shocked by force and cold out of my lungs. The kayak and the rafts were still too far behind.

All had been well. We punched through a hole and came out the other side, but a rogue wave scooped me by surprise from the left. There was nothing to hold on to. The kayak was gone. I was taken by the water.

The third stretch of rapids began. I was still in the water. I was just a wee-bit concerned about striking a rock. I was a tad-bit more concerned about mis-timing gasps of air. The blinding slap of waves in my face also caused mounting awareness of the total fucking unpleasantness of a potential eddy or hole in my path. Fucking Kayak. I didn't want to try out the kayak. I should have stayed in the raft.

The icy current worked its way with me, pushing me up and pulling me down. It swept me forward at its own pace. My free will, and the exercise thereof, was worthless. I suppose there's a metaphor for life in there, but I'm not in a metaphore place tonight.

I backstroked toward the calm-looking border current to my left. I saw the nearest raft, crewed by my coworkers, rowing like Vikings, in hot pursuit. I also spied the fourth run of white waves looming all too near.

"There's his hat!" cried a voice from the raft.

"To hell with that cheap-ass ill-fitting hat..." I thought to myself.

"The hat is sinking!!" cried another.

"FUCK THE HAT!" I screamed silently to myself, as I suggested in an audible but bedraggled voice, "If you could manage to get me out before the next rapids, I would appreciate it..."

Which, they did, to my great appreciation. They also retrieved the wayward kayak paddle and my wife, pilot of the paddleless kayak. We were both aboard, and I took up my starboard bow rowing station. I felt numb. I felt empty. And then, a small voice squealed behind me, "The hat floated back to the surface!"

Yep. There it was, an oar's reach away.

Reading for Comprehension:
1. Ever been to Maupin?
2. If you are a 6'4" 23-year-old tanned shirtless river guide, with six-pack abs, white teeth and curly sun-bleached blonde hair, just how much sex do you get?
3. Anyone want a hat?

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


I sat back in my chair, and drowned-out the droning of the teacher. It was Fifth grade. I was bored.

I should have transferred to the smart school with Dr. Brian, Dave and the others. Instead, I stayed at the dumb school. I, therefore, found myself frequently bored, like I was on this particular day.

I stared at the ceiling and the rows of aluminum fluorescent light fixtures. I stared at the acoustic tiles, and at the random-appearing dots in those tiles.

I discovered patterns in the dots, and realized that they were not so random. They were exact, machine cut. Each tile was identical to the next. I hypothesized that by calculating the approximate sum of all dots on single tile, I could extrapolate the sum of all dots in the classroom.

I made the calculations. That was a god damn lot of dots.

At recess, I made a quick count of all the classroom-sized rooms in the school. The only odd exception was the caffatorium (cafeteria + Auditorium = Caffatorium).

I made independent calculations at lunch. Ignoring my fishsticks, I calculated the number of dots on each tile. These were larger, for some reason, than the classroom tiles. Next, I calculated for the number of tiles, making adjustments for various hallways, backrooms, and the foyer.

By the end of the day, I had calculated the sum total of all ceiling dots in the school. I took my calculations to the teacher. She told me to stop wasting time and get back to the busy work.

Free thinking was discouraged.

I've attempted to make similar calculations as an adult to determine just exactly how many bare breasts I've seen, either in print, film, online, or in person, over the course of my life.

It's a much softer math set with wildly imprecise extrapolation.

The number, however, is similar in size to the fifth grade dot calculation.

Reading for Comprehension:
1. I apologize if you attended the same dumb elementary school as me. I didn't mean to imply that you're more stupid than you really are.
2. What sort of things do you like to count?
3. My wife would like to get Joss Whedon's input on yesterday's blog topic. Does anyone have his email address?

Monday, July 10, 2006

Dinnertime Conversation

Over turkey, pastrami and avocado sandwiches, we kept half an eye on the reruns of Dark Angel playing on the SciFi channel. As is common at the Gin & Tonic geek-heavy headquaters, the following conversation ensued...

"So, who wins if Sidney Bristow (Alias) has to fight Max (Dark Angel)?"

"Well Max, obviously, she's genetically altered, but that's not the fight you want to see."

"I don't?"


"Oh, I want to see Max fight Six from BSG."

"No. Well, Max takes that one too, but no."

"Who then?"


"Max fight River Tam (Firefly)? Yesss.... I see the truth of it."

"It's a close one though, they're both altered. They're both conditioned to kill."

"Yes, but Max escaped at an earlier age. She had less training."

"River has the strength, tactics and strategy. River can also turn off her morality, like a switch."

"River then."

"Yes, River."

[Silence, as we weigh our collective geek-shame. We look at the baby. She has developed the new skill of spearing her Cheerios with tiny ears of baby corn.]

I propose: "Buffy (Vampire Slayer) could take River."

[surprisingly, while my wife bears an unhealthy obsession for all things Buffy, she actually doubts this.]

"Buffy doesn't have the training, and she's burdened with morality."

"It does get in the way, but Buffy is endowed by ancient spirits to throw down with vampires, demons, and minor deities."

"I don't know, River is smarter. She has superior strategic skills."



"No, she was defeated by Oz."

"No, that was vampire-Willow. I mean evil-witch Willow."

"Worse, she was defeated by Xander."


[We look back at the Monkey.]

"There's really no hope for our daughter is there?"

"Nope. She's doomed."

Reading for Comprehension:
1. What do you spear your Cherrios with?
2. Hmmm... River vs. Chuck Norris...
3. I still think Buffy could take River

Ahoy There

Seriously what's with all the pirates these days? Everyone is throwing pirate parties and wearing pirate costumes. There are pirate jokes and pirate movies. Everyone is growling and rolling their RRRRssss....
OK, it was clever and a little punk rock, like, two years ago. Now, you can buy pirate clothes at Target. Joke's over, matey. It's time to walk the plank.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Intercontinental Mixology

I have been asked to bartend for a friend's party Saturday night. The theme of the party is a progressive around-the-world tour. 20 people, or so, will start the evening at my friend's house, whose national theme is Germany, then will move on to other culturally-themed houses.

I will be serving German beer, Jaeger shots, and things made with Peach Schnapps.

I did not design the drink list.

As I will be working in "Germany," I plan to dress as an SS officer. Or, perhaps, Gestapo. Ich mus deine Papiere sehen, bevor du etwas trinken kannst. Papiere! Schnell!

I may also be working the Mexico house as well. Corona, tequila, and margaritas. Yo quiero mas cervesa, por favor. Mi lapiz azul es muy grande!

A request for the kilt has been made, but seeing how the third house is Ireland, I figured it could cause a tussle...

Reading for comprehension
1. I can mix drinks and legally marry people. Add a DJ table, and I could be an-all-in-one wedding service.
2. Why, when Germany is supposed to be the beer capital of the world, is it so hard to find German beer?
3. What do you suppose Ireland, Belgium and Oregon have to say about Germany being a beer-capital?

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Ballet of the Fire Dancers

Sticky pancakes on paper plates in the park, we simmered in the morning sunshine with J&K and their progeny. This is our annual outing. This is the way that Independence Day gets underway.

Tacky hats and municipal minstrels, the long line feeds itself into the white sea of butcher-paper-covered picnic tables, garnished in turn with a congregation of red, white, and blue blazoned gentry. The aging and dwindling Lyons Club line-marshals and breakfast chefs herd the masses into the cordoned coral. Beverages are all-you-can drink.

Welcome to Suburbia. Welcome to America.

Carbo-loaded and laden with link sausage, the middle of the day called for work. So, I spread Shredded Cedar in the planter beds in front of the house. The labor was light, but I faced it as a festive celebration of my property rights. Burdened as it is by ordinance and regulation, this small patch of dirt is mine, and I am it's steward.

At 4:00, with the Monkey's ubiquitous pigtails in place, the Gin-and-Tonic family sailed swiftly southward toward Salem. Carl's meat, and Ryan's parade were waiting. As I passed the Woodburn outlet mall, I realized that it had been far too long since my last visit.

Things had changed since my last cruise through the capital city. I felt a bit like the prodigal son. All apprehension vanished though, as I pulled up and found all of my old friends right where I had left them.

The parade was first. Children on bikes, babies in strollers, my wife rode on a float. This was an ad hoc neighborhood venture, Ryan's own creation. He was the instigator and the grand marshal. Ryan led the way, patriotic fight songs from the boombox in one hand, bobbing broom baton in the other. He led, we followed. Others joined along the way. Younger neighbors came out of their houses to march with the masses. Older neighbors came out to gaze in wonder.

Am I kidding? No. Was it hokey? Absolutely. Would I do it again? In a heart beat.

This sort of spectacle just doesn't happen anymore. Neighbors don't talk to each other, let alone march around the block waving flags and following a broom-waving maniac. I give Ryan credit for this. He is a sort of Savant. A single minded festive fanatic savant, but a genius to be sure. Ryan leads. The neighbors follow.

Then the food. There was your typical spread of salad selections. Some were good. some weren't. There were no less than five varieties of potato salad. I tried all of them. However, the great unifying theme was meat.

I observed an obnoxious orgy of carnivorous gluttony. Beyond the bevy of burgers and dogs, there was chicken; fried chicken, bar-b-qued chicken, chicken pieces and chicken bits. But the the chick was a mere warm up for the real meat. Carl's Meat. Brisket and ribs. Smoked for something like 72 hours, or some such. The Brisket was awash with it own juice and literally melted on the tongue. I kept picking. Picking. Picking...

The evening dipped to dusk, and the anticipation became palpable. White bags bursting with explosive trinkets and baubles began to emerge from their secreted storage. Bag after bag. Box after box. A growing mound emerged, most of which was not nearly legal to even possess in this state. The sun was not down, but was barely blocked by the peak of the roof across the street.

Dark enough, it was time to the match fire to fuses. Soo many fuses... We worked in teams, toting stockpiles of crackling flashing boom-makers to the street. One visitor from Japan, who had never witnessed the thunder-lust of Americans on this day was disturbed, visibly. Her safety was warranted by her host, but in her mind it was not much of a leap for the fire crew to reenact Hiroshima.

There was a point, just after dark, when the combustible cacophony reached a war-like pitch. A never-ending array of mortar shells made their way from the garage with assembly-line efficiency. Launch tubes were lined down the street and the deep chest-pounding Fump-Boom cycles overlapped and repeated. I was lost in the smoky swirl of discharge and fire, clouded by constant concussive shock waves of light and sound. I was in the center of the fire zone, but also far from it. It was a perfect moment. I was one with the spirit of the holiday.

Then it was over. There were shells left to launch, but something in the air said we were done. All that was left was the fire dance. Swirling sticks of flame and spark, we danced over a spouting fountain. I spun in to the wind, and sparks singed my eyebrow.

And then it was dark.

Reading for comprehension
1. Do you know a good way to get the smell of gun powder out of your hair?
2. Seriously, do you even now your neighbor's names?
3. If more of the world could witness our July 4 celebrations, do you think Iran and South Korea would keep fucking around with us so much?

50 Years Later

No poet has ever expounded upon the virtue of a committee. They are not delicate lovely things. They are not joyous, or pleasures to behold. They are not efficacious. They are not conducive to immediate or certain action.

Surprisingly, the world-altering document discussed in last night's blog was written by just such a body. While Thomas Jefferson did most of the heavy lifting in its drafting, he was joined by John Adams, Ben Franklin, and a couple of other guys...

For his hard work, Jefferson was rewarded with the Presidency, but only after his co-drafter and political rival, John Adams, had it first. Adams had been instrumental in making the argument for its ratification, and was eventually elected as the second President, after Washington.

After the Declaration had been ratified, Adams wrote to his wife, saying: "I believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival... It ought to be celebrated by pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other..."

Then, on July 4, 1826, 50 years to the day, John Adams died. His final words were: "Thomas Jefferson still survives..." What the Dying Adams didn't know was that Thomas Jefferson had also just died two hours earlier, hundreds of miles away.


Reading for Comprehension
1. Guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations: I feel sorry for the Salem Police Department.
2. There have been three presidents who have died on July 4, who was the third, and when?
3. Can you write a poem about the loveliness of a committee?? Perhaps a haiku?

Sunday, July 02, 2006

When, in the Course of Human Events...

Knotts Berry Farm (the poor-man's Disneyland) in Southern California has a life-size replica of Independence Hall. Absent Disney-like animatronics, visitors gaze through glass into the empty chamber where Jefferson, Adams, Franklin, and the others hammered out the well-worded middle finger to George III of England.

Patrons picture in their minds the painting by Trumbull; periwigged men in pantaloons, standing silently around the divisive document on July 4, 1776, golden light cascading down from heaven. All of that is mostly bullshit of course.

It was a miserably muggy summer, stiflingly so. The cranky, sticky, sweaty, stinking delegates trudged through the piles of rancid horse shit along the streets of Philadelphia. This was the big day, and they were mostly glad to be done.

Inside, where there was no insulation and poor ventilation, the temperature was unbearable. The white wigs itched. Franklin smelled like hookers and booze.

It came time to sign the long length of parchment. This was the copy going to the King. If the plan didn't work, the King would surely hunt down and hang every man whose name was signed below. They looked at each other. Then, John Hancock, President of the Congress, said, "Oh, Hell with it!" He then took the quill, and scrawled his infamously over-sized signature. Fortunately for him, the plan worked.

Surprisingly, this act did NOT occur on July 4. Rather, the signing of the Declaration of Independence took place on August 2, 1776. That signing is not what Independence Day is about.

The final form of the document was only ratified on July 4. However, that really isn't what independence day is about either.

And before you start burning the Union Jack, it's not about beating the Brits.

You see, the guys who thought this whole thing up, the "founding fathers," were a group of over-privileged, hyper-educated erudite cranks. Think of the scene in Good Will Hunting, when Will out-wits the Harvard jerk-offs in the bar to impress Mini Driver. Jefferson and his lot were those guys in the bar.

They had nothing better to do with their time than load up on Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau. These firebrands of political thought had suggested the outrageous concept that political power was not a divine right. Rather, Freedom was given by God, and governments were propped up by the people to protect those freedoms.

By ratifying the Declaration on that hot July day, the Second Continental Congress said to the world: "We shall engage in the empirical application of the liberal political theorem..."

Or, as Elvis put it, two centuries later: "A little less conversation, a little more action."

OK, look, this is what the document itself says:

"All Men are created equal, [and] they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable Rights...

That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government..."

That's it. That's the point. We are all born equal, with equal rights. We create government to protect those rights. That is why government must have limitations. When Government turns on us, and acts to take away those rights, the government must go.

It's a scary concept if you think about it, but that is what America is. That's the great experiment. That is what Independence Day is all about.

In celebration of the great experiment, and in exercise of my God-given freedoms, I will join Ryan and Carl on Tuesday to eat charred animal flesh, wear tacky flag-colored clothing, and blow the living hell out of some good Chinese-made, completely-illegal-in-Oregon, fireworks.

God (or the divine power of your choice) Bless America!

Reading for Comprehension
1. Are you still confused? Here's the Simple Version
2. Do you now begin to understand my dissatisfaction with Dick and George?
3. At the risk of inciting sedition, does the Oregon prohibition on projectile fireworks justify the overthrow of the Oregon Legislature?