Thursday, November 29, 2007

Mr. Gin & Tonic: The Playboy Interview

Anyone who has taken a crap in my downstairs bathroom knows that is where I keep my magazines. Shutterbug, Popular Photography, National Geographic, Playboy. Yes, Playboy. While the articles are generally pretty good, I admit, I really read it for the pictures...

And so it was, as I sat tonight, thumbing through the current issue, passing various celebrity interviews, it dawned on me that I've never been the subject of one. No one has posed 20 questions to me. I have never even been deposed...

And I have to wonder... what would it be like?

Playboy: So, Mr. G&T, tell us, where did you come from?

Mr. G&T: [smiles warmly] Humble beginnings, my friend. My mother was a fish monger, and we lived on the shore of a cold Canadian lake. My father was the inventor of the Betamax. He is a bitter bitter old man.

Playboy: Would you say you had a difficult childhood?

Mr. G&T: Looking back in hindsight, I suppose, but when all you know is nightly penitent flagellation and snake handling, you don't realize that you're unhappy...

Playboy: So, are the rumors true about your wild college years?

Mr. G&T: Well... [smirking] I mean everyone experiments a little... Look, all of the animals consented, none of the photographs survived, the various rashes and infestations cleared up, the scarring is almost undetectable, the charges were dropped, the restraining orders have long since been lifted, and I met some of my best life-long friends in rehab. So, no harm no foul, as they say...

Playboy: OK, but, what's this Conquistador thing we keep hearing about?

Mr. G&T: Oh that... [rolls his dark eyes] I think that story has developed a life of its own. Really, it was nothing. Nothing at all.

OK, look, I was on vacation with a few close friends on a small island in the South Pacific. It was real rustic, thatch-roofed huts, topless serving girls, you know what I'm saying... Anyway, I don't know whether it was sun stroke or the peyote, but I started to lose my grasp on certain small things like, my name and what century I lived in...

Basically, for a short time, I thought that I was Vasco DeGama. I went around with a pot lid and a spatula trying to "colonize" the other huts in the resort. Really, someone should have kicked my ass, but instead, it started a new island tradition...

Playboy: Fascinating! And, what's this we hear about you starting your own religion?

Mr. G&T: No, no, no! I think this is the most misunderstood thing about me. I don't want to start a new religion. What I've said was, I think I am the next incarnation of the Dalai Lama. I keep trying to get the word out, but no one wants to listen... I mean, I'm not really Buddhist, so I guess I've got that working against me... You know if the whole Lama thing doesn't pan out, I may just look for work in the televangelist industry instead.

Playboy: We're concerned about the drinking. Is it just a persona, or do you really get drunk every day?

Mr. G&T: Oh, no, no, not every day. Just on days that end in the letter "Y."

Playboy: Can you tell us your proudest moment?

Mr. G&T: You know, the birth of each of my children (the ginlettes) were amazing events, emotional, indescribable. However, my proudest moment was probably just a couple of months ago when the Lounge hit 300 individual visitors in one day.

Playboy: Yes, the Lounge. Why do you blog?

Mr. G&T: I try hard, you know, to bring some spark of excitement to what would otherwise be all of my friends' dreary days. A little laugh, a little spark, a little titillation. I like to test the frontier of free speech. I like to create an open forum for radical self-expression.

But really, what it comes down to, is me.
Me and, well, my narcissistic obsession.

Playboy: Any regrets?

Mr. G&T: I regret that I didn't buy a bigger bottle of gin at the liquor store yesterday. Oh well, time to switch to Scotch...

Mustard

Mustard is, in all reality, the best condiment.

Ketchup is retarded, and salsa? Well, salsa is mostly just a dip. Mayonnaise is OK, but really has little-to-no flavor.

Is butter a condiment? I don't think so.

No, really, mustard is the best condiment. Yellow. Brown. Hot. Honey. Dijon. It's good on burgers, sandwiches, sausages, fries and dogs. It adds depth to chili, and a zing to salad dressing.

The more I think about it, the more I know I'm right.

Fine, look, Tabasco is good too. Damn good, even on things where mustard can't go, like pizza and wings, but in the end, Tabasco is too much, too overpowering with peppery goodness.

Mustard is smooth, heated with suppressed rage. It is flexible. It is reliable.

Mustard is the best condiment, and with that, I can finally shut down the computer and go to bed.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Wicked Cold

I clipped the Christmas lights to the rain gutter, orderly, well-spaced, jutting rigidly outward in a festive multi-color array.

The process is simple, and has been reduced over the years to a memorized pattern. I know where to place the ladder. I know where to run the extension cable. I know exactly how many strands are needed to span the face of my house.

I can put them up blind-folded and half drunk if necessary, and I usually do...

This year, though, the going grew slow, as my fingers were seized by the biting cold.

Now, anyone that knows me, knows that I'm not one to shy from dipping temperatures, but goddamn it was cold out! As I was reaching overhead to clip the lights to the lip, I relied upon tactile touch to guide my efforts. My frosty blue-tipped phalanges, however, were lost behind the veil of hypothermic numbness.

The cold has continued, and just this morning I was forced to face an onslaught of small talk about the workplace, which resulted in the utterance of the inevitable and unfortunate phrase: "Colder than a witch's tit."

Which, obviously, has caused me to ponder

Just what in THE hell does that mean??

Witch's tits are cold?? Why is that? Is it from spending too much time in the lap Satan? Does performing mystical fellatio on Beelzebub's boner cause a decrease in breast tissue temperature? Is that in the bible? I don't remember it being in the bible, and believe me, I've read most of it...

Further, I doubt there being any scientific studies on the matter either.

Literarily, how many cold-tittied witches have there been? Sure, there was the Wicked Witch of the West, but she had more of a penchant for melting than freezing... And Glenda the Good Witch, well, she was all warm sunshine and smiles. I couldn't imagine there being even a slight dip in degrees about her bosom.

Then there is Willow. Good Willow. Gay Willow. Evil Willow. You cannot convince me that there is a single thermodynamic deficiency in her lovely and perky sweater puppies. Damn you! don't even try.


And Samantha Stevens? Derwood didn't appear to have any complaints. Not one. Neither of them.
And so, I am left to ponder the origin of the conversational cliche. Sure, the vast cerebral breadth of the information super highway could perhaps answer my mostly-rhetorical inquiry, but alas, I am tired and now bored with this post.

Helluva Sphyncter

Irregular

AP is reporting that Vice President Dick Cheney was diagnosed with and treated for an irregular heart beat on Monday.
(That's it, really, no punch line. There's just no sport in shooting fish in a barrel.)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Blessed are the Cheese Makers

The entire city of Tillamook smells like cow shit.

This, however, is not necessarily a bad thing.

Friday, and the sun was shining. I cruised in relaxed fashion down highway 101, south from our sleepy little holiday resort village. Sure, there was a grocery store there, but Larry's market was a little on the pricey side and short on selection.

I needed taco fixings for dinner and a few other tidbits. I figured a 15 minute drive to the nearest Fred Meyer (Kroger, for you east coast readers) could save me about $100. So, off I drove in search of ground beef, garlic and avocados.

I drove through the tiny sea-side town of Garibaldi, and recalled the day, many years ago, that the missus and I stumbled, unaware, into the middle of Garibaldi Days, a quaint civic celebration of the town's founding that seemed to center on yard sales, halter tops and a pervasive fish odor.

Garibaldi Days provided a surprise hillbilly adventure, and I got out with both of my kidneys intact, but this time around, I didn't feel like lingering.

I passed the Jetty Fishery, and recalled the accident photos that I reviewed oh-so-many years ago. I don't actually recall whether I was suing them or defending them. I just remembered that some drunken sailor slipped on some slippery seagull guano and broke his leg or something. Maybe I'm thinking of another case. Anyway, the sign still looked the same as it did in those old Polaroids.

Then, I saw the slight rise of the small bridge that would deliver me into the cheese capitol of Oregon. At this point, my mind seized up as it was overcome by two strongly competing memories.

First, there is an unusually-designed and ridiculously dangerous traffic triangle at the north point of the bridge, which "helps" filter traffic to and from Highway 101 into a sleepy little residential neighborhood nestled in the surrounding shrubbery. Certain events that occurred at that traffic triangle were the source of a particularly gruesome police report, and a subsequent Court of Appeals case.

Second, it called back long-suppressed memories of teenage indignation. Having been abducted from friends, a girlfriend, my freshly minted driving privileges, and hauled off to Canada with my entire family in a van, I was less-than-enthusiastic, and entirely aghast to learn that we were mere minutes from touring a cheese factory... Good Lord! So long ago...

And so, once again, I crossed the bridge, and entered the coastal farming community of Tillamook, Oregon. Tillamook is famous for two things: dairy products, and the cows that make them. And once you cross the bridge, you can smell the cows.

The cheese factory is ginormous. It is 100% cornball, but if you live in Oregon, you must go there (like the sea lion caves) at least once.

I have now been 3 or 4 times. The free samples are yummy, and watching the little men in white jumpsuits down on the factory floor, stirring curd and chopping chunks of cheddar is mesmerizing.

However, I was not there for the cheese (well, actually, I did need cheese for the tacos), and I drove past the factory. Fred Meyer was only a few blocks away.

Stepping out of my car, I noticed two things. First, the smell of cow shit was suddenly stronger. Second, there was a pile of Legos laying on the ground at my feet, obviously dropped and abandoned by some sticky dim-witted kid, who didn't have enough appreciation for his Legos to take care of them.

I stooped and scooped them up because, hey, free Legos!

I took it as a sort of omen. I was on vacation. The sky was blue. I was going to make tacos for dinner. You don't just find Legos like that out in nature. Surely, somebody was smiling upon me.

I stored my new lucky Legos in my daughter's Dora backpack for safe keeping, and went inside. However, as I toured the produce department, picking ripe limes, cloves of fresh garlic and sweet yellow onions, something hit me. It was the cow shit again. I could smell it in the store!

Without that smell, however, there would be no cows. There would be no cheese factory or even the town. Without the cow shit, there would be no grocery store there for me to go to, and I would have never found my lucky Legos.

So, there it is, the moral to the story. At least I think so... I mean, I have been drinking, so...

OK, maybe it's like this, when on the road of life, you find yourself surrounded by a cloud of cow shit, turn it into yummy cheese. Oh, and, keep your eyes out for Legos.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Wirelessless

Happy thanksgiving from the Oregon coast! The view from my window is great but I seem to be staying in the eighteenth century. Our hotel has no wireless internet. I am starting to experience withdrawls. I may pack up the notebook and go look for some wi-fi.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

We here at the Lounge wish all of you a safe, sober and culturally sensitive holiday.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Jihad

She stood there, in her ass-hugging hipster art pants. Black faux-denim, to match her heart. Her over-calculated under-prepped appearance created an aura of social superiority. Her lifeless eyes spoke of disdain.

She huffed, and rolled her eyes at me, standing there in my basic white dress shirt, dorky haircut and matching brown-leather accessories.

It was workday morning. We were in a coffee shop located in the heart of the business district downtown.

I chanced a smile, and said, "Good morning!"

She responded with slumped shoulders and a grimace, slowing disappearing behind drawing drapes of raven hair.

Perhaps it was my lack of tattoos. Perhaps it was my pre-1980 birth date. I certainly wasn't staring at her heavily-tattooed tits, and I tip well!

I was hoping to get a medium coffee and a breakfast pastry. Instead, I got an insult.

Now, the coffee is good and they are conveniently located in my building. However, rude indulgent insolence seems to be the rule. Time and again, the coffee-serving snatches at the Coffee Plant continue to abuse my patronage and patience. And really, when it comes to food service, I can only take so much slack-assed self-importance.

And so, I have declared Jihad. Holy War. I pray to Allah (or whoever) that the Coffee Plant goes under, and the cunty cabal have to go out and find real jobs for real employers who will force them to wear polyester polo shirts with peppy name tags, and teach them to smile warmly at customers far less friendly than me. I pray they seek work at Chillies, Petsmart or Bullwinkle's. I pray for the humiliation that will take their oh-so-mighty coffee-making smirks off their worthless tragically-aloof faces. I pray for plagues, calamity and catastrophe of biblical proportions to befall this Sodom of coffee. I pray for the utter collapse of the Coffee Plant, and yearn for their horror of realization that the world does not, in fact, revolve around their little, and literal, hole in the wall.

Jihad!

Curse them! I will not drink their wretched brew.

On the same note...

Fuck Jack-in-the-Box too!

Really, all I wanted was a spicy chicken combo with a diet coke. I mean, how hard was that? Sure, the two-way intercom ordering system is imperfect, but it belongs to them. If for some reason, the burger-boy cannot make out the final few words of the order, then perhaps he should ask politely: "excuse me, what was that last part of your order?"

What he shouldn't say, especially in a loud condescendingly angry tone, is: "What??"

And! When midget-hooligan Eminem-look-a-like burger punk forgets the fries and drink, and the customer is looking expectantly, waiting patiently for the frosty beverage, the proper response in NOT to cock his head and shrug with an impudent sneer.

So, my level of animosity toward the local J-in-the-B has not risen to the point of protest or boycott. However, they ARE on my list...

Sunday, November 18, 2007

They Should Write Songs About Me

So, my dad was friends with this guy, see? And this guy, well, he was a bit of a hooligan. A well-meaning hooligan, but really, He liked to drink a little too much.

So, one day, after many years of rabble rousing, he decided to settle down, and he built for himself a fairly impressive beer hall. And his joint did quite the business. Seriously, folks from all over the place came to drink his beer. It was the best party every night.

Now, eventually, as these places always do, the beer hall began to attract certain unwelcome characters. But really, there was one young guy in particular who was a complete and total ass hole. Always starting fights, roughing up the crowd. He even started sneaking in at night after close.

Well, my dad's pal tried to keep this guy out, but he kept coming back. He hired security guys, but they were no match. No one would help. Not even the police. So, being young and cocky, I stopped by one night to see what I could do.

Sure enough, this bugger barged in while I was there, and wasted no time going berserk. I took stock of the guy, big, ugly, tended to drool, but I was confident I could take him.

So, we grappled a bit, did some damage, turned over a few tables. In the end though, I broke his arm...

...clean off.

Bleeding and whimpering, the bastard went running home to mama, which was a problem, because she was an even bigger bastard than he was.

And so, she and I had words, but eventually we ended up hittin it... So to speak.

In gratitude, my dad's buddy gave me the bar, which was sweet! Because, well, I like to drink.

Time passed, however, and I grew old. One day, this young, but familiar-looking, jerk off comes tearing into the bar, causing quite a ruckus. I obviously had to do something, and I was quickly reminded of my tussle with the earlier trouble maker. Turns out, though, this punk ass is the son of that old bitch whose other son I beat down. Funny, I thought, as I opened a can of whoop-ass, this guy looked a little like me...

(Oh, by the way, the movie is good, go see it in 3-D if you can...)

Saturday, November 17, 2007

50 Below

It's the weekend before Thanks Giving and no one seems to give a fuck. Thanks to Inog for the sole bikini waxing comment. Readership is drastically down over the last 72 hours, well-under 50 visitors per day. All of my regulars seem to have slipped away for the holiday.

I've been thinking, since no one is around, it seems like a fine time to make a few anonymous confessions. You know, unload a few things that have been weighing heavy on my shoulders.

So, right off the bat, I feel I should admit that I like to wear women's underwear.


This, of course, is a picture of me in my favorite pair, relaxing after a long day at the salt mines. I guess maybe I should have waxed first.

Also, I should admit, I suppose, that I have been actively involved in the "furry" lifestyle for many years. While I have a particular Thing for Warner Brothers cartoon characters, I also appreciate just the basic free-lance rodent costume as well.


And, as long as I'm getting things out in the open, I would also like to admit my long-time obsession with the peppy and groovin sounds of Burt Bacharach.


Wow, this is really great. I'm already starting to feel so much lighter. Like a giant burden has been lifted. And, since no one is reading any of this, it's entirely safe!

OK, I'm on a roll! What next? Oh right, Huffing!


Forget Scotch, give me a paper bag and some White Out.

Oh, and, right, I confess, I don't sort my recycling.

Thank god no one will ever see this!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Bees

It's a fact, the bees are dying.

Millions of them are dying each day. Entire hives. Entire subspecies are swarming to extinction each and every day. Science has done little to quell the catastrophe. Religion has done even less.

Forget global warming. Forget peak oil. Forget the rising tide of Islamic nationalism, killer asteroids or even the bird flu.

No, life as we know it will end, because of the bees.

They are responsible for 65% of all petroleum products on the market today. Bee secretions and hormones are harvested to manufacture nearly all of today's antibiotics and honey has been proven to contain natural derivatives that cure cancer, HIV and male pattern baldness.

Also, bees are necessary for the pollination of every single crop in the world. Science is entirely unable to duplicate what bees do. Without bees, there will be absolutely no food.

Worst of all, without bees, there will be no wax, and without wax, there will be none of this:



Looks like fun huh? I bet you'd like to learn the mystical art of the bikini wax to impress you family and neighbors. Well, here's an extra special bonus, because, well, I'm good like that.

Have fun kids, wax safely:

Thursday, November 15, 2007

37

37 is certainly squarely in "The Late 30s."

"Near 40" is another way to put it.

"Statistically at Death's Door" is perhaps the most accurate.

37 looms in my headlights, about a month away down the highway of time. One thing is for sure, though, no matter how old I may be, or which birthday is to come, Dr. Brian will always get there first.

And today, he turns 37!

Happy birthday little buddy!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Waterfalls

I had no idea.

For years, I have made the drive, nice as it is, eastbound on I-84, on my way to such far-off places as Hermiston, Pendleton, Boise and Ketchum. It is a magnificent drive, mystic, and full of wonder.... Rough-hewn cliffs of black volcanic rock carved and etched not so long ago by a series of mighty ante-ice age deluges.

The Columbia River Gorge, with a broad interstate paved along the river's edge, provides one of the most unique driving experiences you will find anywhere. Yet, in days gone by, the drive was actually much more interesting...

Just off the beaten path, not far from the mighty metropolis of Troutdale, a small side road winds up the cliffs, away from the flat smooth freeway. This is the old Historic Columbia River Highway, and until this weekend, I had no idea that it existed...



Mama had a morning meeting, and I was left on double-tot duty. Itching for adventure, and an alluring destination to distract the kids, I packed up with our pal Fred, and headed out for another camera safari.



Fall, having hit the Pacific Northwest, the weather was moody, the foliage was aflame, and the light was right for photos... Thanks to Fred for the recommendation, we diverted from the freeway, and took the road less traveled. The old highway. The way of the waterfalls...



The girl hunted (not-so-hard) for just the right leaf to bring home to mama. There were about a gajillion to choose from, but still, I think she grabbed the best one of the bunch.



There seemed to be just enough water, leaves, hot chocolate and adventure to fill up the morning. Everyone was happy and took long naps, which made me happy. I didn't even have to sedate them with alcohol...

Bueller? Bueller?

I awoke briefly last night, my face lying in a puddle of drool on my desk. I actually fell asleep while blogging.

That was a first.

So, I'll finish that post tonight. In the mean time, click on Ben Stein below to see something interesting!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Purified

Drink water from your own cistern,
And running water from your own well.

-Proverbs 5:15

We had a floater, dead in the water. The bloated body of the transsexual African bobbed beneath the net with dull lifeless eyes.

This was the third body in as many days. Some nefarious agent was at work. Death was run amok.

I retrieved the body from the water and delivered it with care to the toilet down the hall, where I promptly flushed it into ignominious eternity. Fish number three. Third of Four. One was left, and she wasn't looking good.

Whereas, the 20-gallon tank at my house has been home to fish who have lived long past their welcome, years in fact, my 30-gallon tank at the office has been like an aquatic death camp. Scores of fish have now swam from countless clear plastic transport baggies into the spacious confines of lace rock and blue gravel, only to turn belly-up within days of arrival.

The sexually-dimorphic Kenyi were first. Mean-spirited African Cichlids, they are vegetarian, but kill other species for sport. Various attempts were made to balance one yellow male with three or four blue females. None of the attempts succeeded. All of the fish died.

Yet, I continued to buy groups of them. I bought them at expensive fish stores. I bought them at cheap fish stores. I balanced the hardness, temperature and acidity of the water to their liking. I tested and treated for ammonia and nitrite. I tested and treated for chlorine and chloramine. I filtered. I aerated. I patiently waited out a ridiculously long and cloudy nitrate cycle.

Still they died.

I switched species, and went with hardier and far more generic varieties. Still they died.

I bought snails to tidy up the debris. The snails died too.

Nothing seemed to be able to survive for very long in the tank of death. Nothing could live.

Courageously, I have decided to persevere. I have the support of my office mates. I am committed to making the tank work, and I don't care how many fish have to sacrifice their lives for me to do so.

I do, however, have a new plan.

I'm certain, 100 years ago, when my building was first constructed, that the architect spared no cost, and installed only the finest plumbing technology available. Over time, however, even the best pipes can go bad, and upon close inspection, the water coming out of the faucet appears to have a slight brownish discoloration.

Fine, it's the water. However, being several floors up and miles from home, the prospect of carting water in anything greater than 5-gallon volumes proved to be impossible, or, at least, impracticable.

And so, last week, I spoke with a very helpful, yet slightly confused, man named Hector, and placed an order. And today, when I walked in, I was pleasantly pleased to see six 5-gallon plastic bottles of pure filtered clean cool water waiting for me.

And so it has come to this. Each month, my friendly local water delivery man will bring me 10 gallons of clean clear purified water with which, I will fill my tank and keep my fish alive.

how to lose your job

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Blue Flavor

I would cringe every time I heard it.

Mr. N. The Boss. The Owner of the little college-town pizza joint that I occasionally managed would, at times, wander from the closet-like office to help behind the bar.

Being a pizza place in Southern California, we sold great quantities of embarrassingly bad beer. Miller... Bud... Michelob... You get the picture.

When Mr. N. was behind the bar, however, he would always ask, in his own friendly way, "So, what flavor of beer would you like?" Not "What type of beer," or even "Which beer." No, he would ask "What flavor." Which, considering our selection, was limited to varying shades of horse piss.

Likewise, it rubs me the wrong way when someone identifies an artificial flavor by it's color. For instance instead of saying that they would like a grape-flavored sucker, someone might say, I'd like a purple-flavored sucker. And, while most artificially-grape-flavored foods do taste more akin to purple than actual grape, the flavors do possess nominal titles.

This is no less true for Jell-O. Now, first, I have ranted about THIS BEFORE. Second, that is not going to stop me from ranting about it again. And third, I was reminded of all of this, this morning during breakfast.

All but the boy, who still gets the boob, were hungry. I haven't been to the store recently for any type of responsible grocery shopping, and breakfast supplies were low. So, in full family fashion, we packed up and journeyed to Stuffies to gorge ourselves on the cheap breakfast buffet.

We swept through like a tot-laden tornado, juice, eggs and yogurt trailing in true Hansel-&-Gretel style behind us. Tray heavy and loaded, the girl tugging at my pant leg, I followed a few steps behind the missus, who was handling the bobbing boy.

There was one final food station to pass. The last outpost of buffet goodness before setting up base camp in a booth. This is where they keep the pudding. This where they chill the fresh fruit. This is where I would find the Jell-O.

Jell-O, I believe, is a perfect food. Well, actually, it's not really food at all, more of an artificially flavored and colored gelatinous farm by-product. By I digress...

I'm a Grade-A #1 sucker for Jell-O. I love it. I love everything about it. However, as with most of these lame food-related blog posts, there are rules. And here they are:

Jell-O Rule #1: The only reasonable colors for Jell-O are Red and Green. Not yellow, orange, pink, or purple. Most certainly, by god, Jell-O should never be blue, or any shade thereof whatsoever.

Caveat to Rule #1: The red Jell-O must be artificial cherry flavored. Green must be artificial lime. No exceptions. These are the only two acceptable forms of Jell-O.

Jell-O Rule #2: Do not put shit in the Jell-O. No grapes, no pineapple, no carrots, and in the name of all things holy, no cottage cheese.

And so we approached the Jell-O station at Stuffies, the missus running point just a few paces ahead. She knew that I was apprehensive of the Jell-O. She knows the thing I have about it. She sensed the tension and darted forward ahead of me, turning quickly with a concerned look...

"No, It's no good." She warned, turning herself bravely between me and the Jell-o.

I stopped, disheartened. "What, then?" I asked, fearing the answer.

"Don't look," she warned, "It will only make you mad."

"It's not..."

"Yes," she confirmed, "The Jell-O, it's blue."

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Harvest Moon

It was dark as I drove out of the daycare driveway. I am usually last, as it is, to pick up the kids, but the changing season and busy work schedule brought me to the pick up point well after the Sun had set.

It wasn't late, but it felt that way. I was tired, but felt good. It had been a good day. Hell, a good October...

I had a sort of strange confidence, more than usual, and a spring in my step. My handshakes were firmer. My jokes drew more laughs. Arbitrators were were seeing things my way, and well, the blog was really pretty good. (Good, at least, by Lounge standards)

The kids and I rushed down the interstate, singing songs and laughing, the dark silhouette of the tree line skimming silently by. And then, like a burst, it emerged, like a blazing orange cookie on the horizon. The Harvest Moon.

The sky lit up, like someone turned on a spot light above the freeway. Even the girl, wrapped up in the final "fee fie fiddly ei-oh" verse of I've Been Working on the Railroad exclaimed: "Daddy, the MOON!!"

It had been waxing for weeks, and was a brilliant behemoth in the inky night.

Time passes, though, and October has been chased away by the goblins and ghouls of All Hallows Eve. The November chill has set in, and the trees are finally giving up their last grasp of color.

The moon is but a sliver-like crescent today. Hollow. Frail.

I, too, seem to be moving a little slower, less likely to take a confrontational phone call, and feeling a little fat. Words are not coming quickly enough, and my mind is becoming soft and dull. Even my once witty quips have been falling flat.

Ebb and flow, I suppose. Waxing and waning. Cycles or circles, or whatever your chosen metaphor may be. I'm not worried, though, because the mojo will return. It always does. For now, I guess, I will sip scotch and sit by the fire to keep me warm under the moon-less night sky.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Tithe 10 %, But Tip 15...

The Ranch. Blaisedell Ranch. The obnoxiously-opulent conspicuously-consumptive north end of the small college town of Claremont. Mrs. G&T went to school there. Dr. B currently drills teeth there. I, however, delivered pizza there, oh so many years ago, to pay for my state college education.

The Ranch. Shopping mall-sized bungalows squeezed onto postage-stamp-sized lots. $3.5 million for a bay window view into your next door neighbor's garage. It lies along the foothills with just enough elevation to be above the smog layer on cool days.

The Ranch. It reeked of new money. Loose money. Money without class. Hillbilly money. Convenience store empire money. Professional sports money. TV money.

Oh, but not just TV. No. I'm talking Jesus TV. C'mon, you know who I'm talking about. I'm talking about JESUS TV! I'm talking TBN!!

Can I get an Amen??

Yes, they lived there. All of them. The entire cast. Paul and Jan. The faith healers. The rock singers. The Sunday preachers. All of them. Living fat on the tithes of the poor. And goddamn, did they like pizza. Lot's of pizza. Thick crust, extra cheese and loaded with toppings.

Fortunately for me, they also liked to tip well.

None, however, ordered nearly as much pizza as the Popoff household...

It started innocently enough, one Saturday afternoon lunch delivery. The name sounded familiar enough, but I didn't put it together until later.

The house was huge. Long ivory columns guarded the the expansive veranda out front. The tasteful Spanish stucco contrasted with the south-Asian fixtures and French garden. I balanced the single steaming pie with my right hand as I pushed the Call button on the security panel.

A girl came to the door, cute, with curly blond hair. She was probably a few years younger, but had a sparkling cherubic smile. She wore a half shirt with her tight tanned belly flashing beneath. The thin tight pajama pants draped deliciously down from her low back.

She was Popoff's daughter. The preachers kid.

She also, apparently, like pizza, and began to order, in relatively short-order, pizza every day. She tipped well, and was cute, so I would surreptitiously scope out the Popoff order and take it myself.

Funny thing though, and it could happen to anyone, but an every-day pizza habit can lead to unfortunate weight gain, and soon the sprightly little cherub became a lumbering Ganesha, tipping the scales and stretching those now-unfortunate PJs...

She continued to tip though, so, I kept the pies coming...

Thing is, her dad was a famous TV preacher. Famous, that is, for being a mastermind manipulator. In case you don't recall, Popoff was the one exposed for selling "blessed socks" to the faithful. That's right, for your low low cash donation to God (checks payable to Peter Popoff) he would pray over a pair of socks and send them to you via first class mail. That way, uh, you could walk around on the cushy arch-support of the Holy Spirit... or something...

Anyway...

Being a tad bit religious myself at the time, I felt conflicted about taking the money, and the generous tips, from such an evil man, but decided in the long run, "fuck it." After all, it was his sin, not mine, AND his precious Chubby little bunny was still pretty cute...

Now, all this all came back to me, just this last Sunday, after my daughter woke me up at some unholy pre-sun hour. Bleary-eyed and cranky, I wandered out to the living room whereupon I came across a host, a veritable bevvy, of Sunday morning religious broadcasts. One worse than the other. Mostly faith-healing snake handlers, but the Catholics were on too, as were the Mormons.

And there he was, bigger than life, the long-lost evangelist and worker of miracles. Peter Popoff, healing the sick, and preaching a gospel of wealth and prosperity. He was slapping the Devil out of people's foreheads and admonishing the poor to give their last dollar to God, C/O the Popoff Ministries, as always.

But now... Now!! Oh boy, he's onto something new. No more blessed socks. No miracle mittens. No Jehovah jumpsuit.

No, now, for a low low donation of at least $25, he will send you a plastic sippy-tube of miracle spring water.

Miracle Spring Water.

(Let that sink in...)

Don't believe me?

HERE LOOK FOR YOURSELF

Where this stuff used to make me blind with rage, I am now really quite impressed. The breadth and scope of his wanton depravity is a wonder to behold. I am taken aback. I am inspired. Sure, I take joy in encouraging bad behavior in others, but really, I am an insect compared to this mammoth devil.

Hmm... I'm getting kinda thirsty. I wonder whether the miracle water is cold.