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   The State of My Fat Ass
                                       March 2002

March 28, 2002

Nothing earth-shattering today, just some odds and ends, as they say. But really, what are ends? I have no idea, but I've often wondered. I'm not clear if I serve up more odds or ends here, or if it's more evenly distributed. If I were to guess though, I'd say this stuff skews more towards odds, with only a smattering of ends. Of course I'd have to learn a little more about the quality of ends to make an informed judgment, but that's how it looks right now. ...Shit, what am I doing? I'm like George Carlin's retarded son now. Let's move on, shall we?

-- Somebody stole my flag. I can't believe it. I had a tasteful, understated magnetic American flag on the rear of my truck, and somebody lifted it! All that's left is a rectangular clean spot on the tailgate. Who steals flags? It's like pocketing money from a church collection plate, or forcing Christopher Reeve to watch Riverdance. It's just not right. The low-down dirty scoundrel can now display the flag and reap goodwill and kinship from other unsuspecting citizens; he's stolen respectability, and how fucked-up is that?

-- A few days ago I washed a load of my work clothes, then forgot about them. They remained plastered to the walls of the drum for a couple of days. Like the dumbass that I am, I just shrugged and hurled them into the dryer. It never occurred to me that they'd stink like a baboon ass. I was ironing one of the shirts yesterday and the heat unlocked a godawful funk that caused my head to whip back in the classic Zapruder style. Shit, and it was on my hands! What in the honey-roasted hell?! I had to go to work in just a few minutes and I smelled like an old ass-scrubbing washcloth that'd been buried in the bottom of a hamper for a week. And the funk was everywhere! It was a nightmare. I had to take a second shower, and wear stupid forgotten clothes from way back in the closet. Last night I re-washed everything twice. I could still smell it after the first go-round. Holy crap, I'll never let that happen again.

-- Check it out. My latest acquisition. The WVSR Bunker Collection will soon be the envy of every art snob on the east coast.

-- Milton Berle died yesterday. Far be it for me to speak ill of the dead, but he always gave me the creeps. I liked a lot of the entertainers from that era, like Jack Benny and Bob Hope and Bing Crosby, but Uncle Miltie frightened me. There seemed to be something more going on there than met the eye. I can't put my finger on it, but I think he was at least a little evil. Now I'm not glad he's dead or anything, but I might sleep a little easier if you want to know the truth. You know, he supposedly had a freakishly large sex organ? Maybe that's what scared me, I don't know.  But here's a quote I found by doing a Google search for "Milton Berle's cock" this morning.

As Pat McCormack (writer for Carson) once said at a roast, "Milton's cock is so big, when he goes out he has to put a shoe on it."

Evil.

-- Dudley Moore also died yesterday, but I don't really have an opinion of him one way or the other. I'm not going to ravage any more freshly dead people at this time. But they always die in threes, my friends. Some other celebrity will bite the dust this weekend, just watch. By Monday another will fall. Why am I humming the Love Story theme?

-- And that reminds me, I worked in a bookstore in Atlanta years ago and whenever a celebrity would kick off, the manager would solemnly collect several books about him or her, and place them on little stands beside the cash register. It was a ritual which I found to be mildly distasteful -- not that I really gave a shit, it was more amusing than anything. But one night I hung a hand-lettered sign on the inside of the register stand (that only the employees could see) which said, "Attention! This space reserved for the exploitation of the recently deceased." It didn't win me any points with the manager, but I instantly became a minor folk hero to the staff.

-- I hate caller ID. My brother and some of my other relatives have it, and it rubs me the wrong way. Forgive me, but it seems arrogant. It's like you feel you're so important and your time is so valuable that you require an elaborate network of electronic screening devices to weed out the riff-raff. In most cases I have no doubt these people are just sitting in their living rooms eating Funyuns and watching The Golden Girls, not meeting with financial planners or writing the great American novel. And when you call and nobody answers, you're convinced they've screened your ass out -- which only breeds hostility. It's all bad news in my opinion. When I ask people about it they always repeat some variation of "I refuse to be a slave to my phone." Well, la-di-fucking-da! Let's all play the grahnd piahno! Toney and I have an unorthodox way of dealing with the phone: if it rings we answer it. It's admittedly crazy, but it's somehow worked for a hundred years. And I don't want to speak for my wife, but I don't believe either of us feels like Kunte Kinte standing on the auction block.

-- I'm psyched. Krispy Kreme is coming to the hood! If I hadn't already ingested so many of their glazed wheels of heaven it would be within walking distance of our house! It's going to be exciting watching this holy temple of fried dough sprout from the Earth, bloom and ripen. I want to share the experience with you, so I'm planning to snap a photo every weekend from the same spot on the sidewalk, so you can see the progress. Stay tuned. This Pulitzer-caliber series will begin next week!

-- I called Toney a few days ago from my truck, and the voice mail kicked in. She was on the phone, which apparently irritated me. Somehow I failed to end the call, and the next five minutes or so were digitally recorded without my knowledge. Toney saved the long-ass message for me. You can hear me bitching: "Goddammit... always on the phone... ALWAYS on the phone!..." Then Cheap Trick is heard blaring so loud it's little more than distortion, for a long, long time. I wish I knew how to upload it to the site. It's hilarious.

-- Yesterday I received an email from a reader in Charlotte that made me laugh out loud. She said she found this site by doing a search for "Plankton," the miniature villain that's constantly trying to steal the secret formula for Krabby Patties on Spongebob, and now, she says, she's hooked. Excellent. I like the sounds of that. Lure them in with innocent cartoon characters, then corrupt them with the bad stuff. Anyway, here's her excellent account of a recent visit to K-Mart. Thanks for sending it in, Erica! Well-done.

And that'll do it for today, folks. This will be the last update for a while. We're going to West Virginia tomorrow and won't be back until the middle of next week. The bunker is going dark for a few days. I'll try to update next Wednesday, but definitely by Thursday. Have a great Easter ...oh, I'm sorry, spring holiday everyone.  (I hope I didn't violate anyone's civil rights there.) See ya soon.


March 25, 2002

A few things:

-- I tried to crank out an Assay on Friday, but something went wrong. I got up when the alarm started whining at 5AM, set a pot of coffee to poppin' and hissin', took a quick shower, flopped down in front of the computer, and -- nothing. My brain locked up like a 1989 Hyundai full of Mexican gardeners. It was very unsettling. I sat there for two hours trying to shake something loose, but it was no good; I was in the grip of a severe case of mental constipation that no amount of coffee would soften. Even worse, by the end it felt like I was trying to squeeze out one last glob of toothpaste from a curled-up, emaciated tube. Scary. This is the second time this has happened in the past month or so, and I'm starting to get concerned. Now I'm not arrogant enough to believe that this site actually means anything in the grand scheme of things, I'm comfortable in the knowledge that I'll never be David Sedaris, but it means something to me. I'm sorry, but this is strictly a selfish concern. If everything dries up on me and I can no longer maintain this site, Lord only knows what I'll replace it with. I don't need any more voids to fill, thank you very much. As my brother the genealogy freak could attest, we don't exactly have the blood of kings coursing through our veins. I'm picturing myself stripped to the waist in a local pub, being carried around on shoulders because of my unparalleled achievements in the field of urine-retention. This is what I have to defend against, folks. Nature.

-- Speaking of nature, sometime last week the first day of spring came and went. It's been a warm winter up here in the great northeast, but now that spring's arrived it's like we're walking around on the surface of Saturn or something. It's been frickin' cold. I came out of work one evening, after dark, and it was snowing horizontally. The wind was blowing and blowing, continuously -- no gusts, just non-stop blowing. And it was snowing like a mofo. This is apparently called a squall, and I don't remember ever having to deal with anything like it growing up in West Virginia. Oh, we got a lot of snow back then, but it generally came, you know, down. It's a bitch: you can't see very well, and it's hard to even breathe. By the time I got to my truck, which was parked roughly four miles from my desk, my right ear was packed full of snow and I was morbidly cold.  Half of my face was under a layer of frost. Luckily I had my digital camera, so I was able to snap this photo  after I made it to safety.

-- Last Tuesday the California lottery got up to something like 85 million dollars, and a bunch of my co-workers in LA pooled their funds and bought a shitload of tickets. They asked if I wanted to be in on the action and, of course, I did. I'm not about to be the only one left chained to his desk, if the numbers come in. So they put me down for five bucks, and I saved the email confirming it, so nobody could pull any crap later. But, of course, we didn't win, and I deleted the email. And the next day I had to mail them my money. I generally feel like an asshole playing the lottery anyway, but nothing beats buying five of yesterday's losing tickets. That's a treat like no other. Hell, I'm so hooked on the feeling I'm thinking about ordering one of these later in the day.

-- To meet my contractual obligation of being a pseudo-weblog, following are some links of interest -- to me anyway.

Proving once again that you can find anything on the Internet, here's the complete text of the 1911 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica(!?!).

And here's some spam mail... set to music.

And here are some fucked-up greeting cards from days gone by.

Yes, these are all great links, but nothing compared to this baby. Punch in your birthdate, and up pops the Playboy centerfold from that month! Good God, it's a wonderful time to be alive! If this were available when I was fourteen I would've probably ended up being hospitalized. In case you care, here's my Playmate, from the days before the introduction of nipples and pubic hair.

-- Last week we watched the first episode of the new Andy Richter sitcom, which looked to be pretty funny on the commercials. Unfortunately, the commercials are better than the show itself. I like Richter, but found his show to be irritating and unfunny. There's almost constant voiceover narration, which gets old real quick, and nearly every scene is presented twice -- once showing how Andy would've liked for it to have happened, and then again showing how it really went down. Gimmicky. I guess some of it could be overlooked if there were some laughs to be found, but it was all pretty lame.  I don't think I even cracked a smile. Luckily I had my digital camera, and Toney was able to snap this photo of me watching the show.

-- We received our tax refund on Friday, so we went shopping this weekend. I know it's a case of over-taxation, but it feels like found-money when they finally get around to giving a little of it back.  (It's better to just not think about it.) I bought some new tennis shoes, a frame for my Carl Reiner picture, a jacket, and some other shit I can't now remember. Oh yeah, I also got this awesome CD. I recommend it, without hesitation. It's fun buying stuff; I could get used to it. I like stuff. Stuff rocks.

-- After our shopping spree we kicked back last night and watched the Academy Awards. It's pretty much the only awards show I still like to watch. I gave up on the Grammys around 1979, when Elvis Costello was beaten out as Best New Artist -- by A Taste of Honey. But the Oscars are still pretty cool. Here are a few random observations...

I didn't see much of the Joan Rivers abomination beforehand, which really ticked me off. That's almost the best part of the show. She's completely batshit crazy, and her haggy horse-faced daughter has the charisma of iceberg lettuce. That kind of entertainment is simply hard to come by. I was spewing obscenities when I realized I'd missed most of it.

What's with Owen ("Rushmore," "Royal Tenenbaums") Wilson's voice? He was all over the network pre-show show and I scared our dog Andy trying to imitate the nasally, whiny sounds coming out of the man's mouth. The poor dog bolted from the room with his tail tucked between his legs, and Toney grimaced and told me to keep it down. I pointed at the screen and told her it was his fault, not mine.

From the meandering, unfocused Tom Cruise intro speech onward, the show was dull, dull, dull. Whoopi sucks the big one, obviously, and except for a few bright spots here and there, I didn't think it was much fun to watch. I thought Steve Martin was hilarious last year, but apparently he didn't go over too well. What do I know? If I thought it sucked it'll undoubtedly prove to be critically acclaimed. Just wait and see.

The Woody Allen appearance was cool. I know he's a pervert and all, but he's still a genius. His little standup routine was a real highlight.

And it was great to see my man Randy Newman finally win, after being nominated fifty times or so. Randy is also a genius, although I don't care too much about his soundtrack work. I just like him and want to see him recognized for his ample talents -- and it doesn't hurt to see Sting lose either. I'd like to have a video compilation of Sting losing, so I could watch it over and over again.

A couple of days ago I read an article about Ryan O'Neal only having twenty-four hours to live, or something like that. Apparently he has leukemia, but he presented an award with the chick from Love Story last night and he looked fine to me. I don't know. He might be near death but he still looks better than Paul McCartney.  McCartney looks like he died in his sleep around March 11.

Halle Berry: can't stand her. Hey Halle...

Sidney Poitier's cool. A class act. Some people (like Halle Berry and Russell Crowe) should take notice.

What the hell happened to Robert Redford? He looks like a wallet now. His face is like hand-tooled saddle leather. When I was a kid this guy was a sex symbol. Does he live near the nuclear testing grounds in Nevada or something? Holy crap.

The show was friggin' long. I threw in the towel at 12:20, and most of the major awards hadn't even been presented yet. I just couldn't take it anymore. I wish I could've seen Opie win, but I ran out of steam. Holy shit, it was like a long car trip -- with no Stuckey's. Bring back Steve Martin next year, or Billy Crystal at least. The shit's excruciating.

And that's all I have to say on the subject.  Good God, what am I doing here?  Bring back Billy Crystal?!  I'm freaking myself out.  Better go.

March 20, 2002

After I saw that The Eels would be playing in Philadelphia next month I popped in their Beautiful Freak CD for the first time in years, and was instantly transported back in time to the surreal period of my life when the album was released. I think only music and smells will do that to ya, but what the hell do I know?

Toney and I had a nice house in the suburbs of Atlanta, we worked together in the "music biz", and were playing at being yuppie scum -- without the money needed to pull it off. Life was good though. We had couple friends that we met at various bars after work a few nights a week, we spent weekends shopping and making an attempt to eat meals in every cool restaurant in the city, and my ass was still a size that could be contained by normal people pants. Our job got us into pretty much any concert or industry party we cared about, and I brought home CDs by the wheelbarrow-load. For a few years it was nearly perfection -- without the money needed to pull it off.

Then right about the time we started craving something else, I received a phone call.

I stumbled into work, hungover as I recall, and the operations manager met me at the door, excited and antsy as all hell. His nose was twitching, which was never a good sign. He drug me into his office, asked me to close the door (oh shit, I thought), and proceeded to tell me I'd be receiving an important phone call that afternoon, but that's all he could say about it. Then he sent me on my way. The fuck?! Why would you do that to a person? Why was that little meeting even necessary, except to torment me? I spent the the rest of the morning imagining the mystery phone call, who it might be from, and what it might be about. I wondered if it had anything to do with taxes, or perhaps I was adopted?

It was from a big-shot at the home office in LA, who I only knew as an intimidating name on memos; it never really occurred to me that he was a real person and all. He wanted to know if I'd be interested in flying out there and interviewing with him for a job. "In Los Angeles?!" I blurted like the hillbilly I am. "Yeah," he said, "and bring your wife. You guys can look around, and see how you like the area."

Completely 100% out of the blue los angeles CALIFORNIA HOLY GODDAMN FUCK!!

They put us up in the Universal Hilton and wined and dined us like VIPs. We went to dinner at restaurants with prices that could very easily make you swallow your tongue. We watched the sun set from the Santa Monica pier. We toured movie studios and were nearly run over by Drew Carey in a black convertible Porsche. Jay Leno pulled up beside us at a stoplight in Burbank, driving a Model T Ford or some shit. He looked over and nodded, and I was convinced that someone had slipped an hallucinogenic into my iced tea. It was all very intoxicating, but I had serious misgivings about leaving Atlanta and moving to Los Angeles Fucking California(!?) Holy shit! Whenever I'd see the words Los Angeles or Hollywood on a road sign I'd nearly soil myself.

Then my competitiveness kicked in, and completely tipped the scales. They'd flown another guy out there at the same time, with his wife, and we'd see them in the lobby of the hotel and stuff. It was extremely awkward; he was from Philadelphia and I sorta knew him. When we'd bump into each other we wouldn't even make eye contact, we'd just grunt "hey" in each other's general direction. There was no way I was going to allow him to beat me out of this job, even if I didn't really want it. No fucking way.

I had my interview, without even really realizing it was an interview, and we returned to Atlanta to wait. I'd told the mythical memo man that I really wanted this opportunity and generally did everything I needed to do under the circumstances. Toney was less convinced I'd told him the truth than even I was, but it was pretty much out of our control by that point. If it was meant to be, it was meant to be, we kept telling ourselves.

Of course I got the job. He called and offered me roughly fifteen grand more than I was making in Atlanta. I was such a dumbass I didn't even negotiate with him, I just discussed it with Toney and we started making arrangements to move to Southern California.

It was all very strange, putting in my notice at work, telling our family and friends, and contacting realtors about selling our house. Toney went along with it all, but I could tell she was skeptical. She'd been in Atlanta for a lot longer than I had, and probably liked it more. Self-doubts started kicking in. Were we doing this for the right reasons? Was it just for the money? Was it to stick it to the Philadelphia guy? What if Toney hates it? What if I can't handle the job and we end up living under an interstate exit ramp with Jan-Michael Vincent?

But we went through with it. They wanted me out there for weeks at a time, while we tied up loose ends in Georgia. So Toney would stay in Atlanta, getting our shit together, and I'd be in Burbank meeting people and getting myself "trained." Once I signed on the dotted line the fancy-pants Hilton went out the window though, and they stuck my ass in the Safari Inn -- an old 50s hotel that's been used in a thousand movies, including True Romance. It was a glorified dump, but kinda cool. At night I'd force myself to go drinking with strangers from the office, wanting to get myself established there, following long phone conversations with a tearful Toney back home. It was horrible; I felt like the biggest bastard that'd ever walked the earth.

At some point they didn't want me going back and forth anymore, and said it was time for me to be a California boy full-time. Our house in Atlanta hadn't sold yet, and there was other stuff left to be done, so I said a difficult goodbye and we started a long-distance relationship. I was as sad as I'd ever been, but everywhere I went people were congratulating me. Fuckin' surreal.

When I got off the plane at LAX there was a guy standing there holding a sign that said "KAY." They'd sent a limo! This is the kind of thing they do, in lieu of, you know, a sensible salary. I remember sitting in the back of that ridiculous vehicle, coming over the hill and seeing the San Fernando Valley stretched out before me, and knowing I should be excited. I wondered what the hell was wrong with me.

The driver was hilarious. He kept telling me about all the "fine" women in Southern California. Fine, he emphatically insisted, even though I wasn't arguing with him. He added that it was a real shame that I was married, considering all the fineness I was about to encounter. Then he told me he only drove limos as a sideline, he was really an actor. He asked if I'd seen the House Party movies, "you know, with Kid 'n' Play?" I didn't want to hurt his feelings, so I said I had. "Remember the scene in House Party 2," he said, "where the guy's boning his bitch, and a head pops up in the window? That was me!" He had me laughing my ass off by the time we passed through the gates of my new living quarters -- Oakwood Corporate Housing, in Burbank.

The place was like a Disney version of every California cliche. There were beautiful people everywhere, pools around every corner, and lush green gardens as far as the eye could see. A sign on the exit gate read, "Smile, it's show time!" In my room was a chilled bottle of champagne, and a teetering fruit basket. Holy fuck, I thought. I've bitten off way more than I can chew here. They're gonna expect me to be a friggin' executive! In true Jeff Kay fashion, I saw doom and humiliation in every orange in that basket. And I felt guilty and creepy experiencing it all without Toney. Shit, she was probably home scrubbing the shower!

This arrangement lasted for a couple of months, and the weekends were the worst part. I had too much time on my hands on Saturdays and Sundays, and I sat around thinking about stuff. Occasionally I'd take my rental car out and drive around Burbank, but I was afraid I'd get lost and didn't venture too far. The place is incredibly dead on weekends, lots of cool people work there, but they certainly don't live there. Old people live there. Lots and lots of old people. So I mostly just hung around my room and drank like a young Larry Hagman.

And it was on one of those dreary weekend days that I worked up enough courage to drive the five miles to Virgin Megastore in Burbank, and purchased Beautiful Freak. Six years later the damn thing still puts butterflies and big-ass barn owls in my stomach.

I don't listen to it much.

March 18, 2002

Random notes:

-- I flipped through the local freebie entertainment newspaper over the weekend, and there are several upcoming concerts that I'm going to casually consider attending, until the date of the show, then smoothly transition into feeling guilty and pathetic for having missed. Among the much-admired artists that'll be performing in Philly while I lay on my couch: Shane MacGowan and the Popes, The Eels, Paul McCartney, Ryan Adams, and Billy Bragg. I'm psyched. Music is my life.

-- Baseball is also my life (hey, it's possible to have several things be your life) and it's almost time to make another set of plans to cancel at the last minute for a visit to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Shit, it's going to be a busy spring. I better think about, and never quite get around to, marking a calendar with some of this stuff.

-- In the same newspaper where all those shows are listed, so callously and with such blatant disregard for the feelings of the formerly cool, I came across this astonishing ad for a bar in Scranton and their Penny Till U Pee night! Quite a concept, I've gotta admit, but I have a few questions. First, how is this enforced? I assume everybody in the house participates in a forced urination two or three minutes before the bell rings, pays their penny, then are allowed to continue pouring draft beer down their necks until something gives -- be it a tearful dash back to the can, or the shutting down of some vital internal organ? Do they have people posted by the bathroom doors, stamping the hands of pissers? I imagine a bunch of bleary-eyed college students sitting in IHOP, later that night, sporting their big red "I PISSED" stamps, as travelers look on in confusion. And I bet you get heckled and booed in this bar if you're one of the first ones to pee. Ya know? I'm envisioning a roomful of drunks engaging in an array of fucked-up Viking-style anti-urination chants. Talk about your uncomfortable situations. I don't know. It's all very interesting, but I think I'll pass. Suppressing normal bodily functions in exchange for alcohol discounts is a little much, even for me. If the Old Country Buffet were to offer something like this, I might consider it, but not for booze.

-- Against my wishes, Toney and I went to Wal-Mart Sunday afternoon to buy some groceries. The place was teeming with retards and bottom-feeders, as usual. It was your garden-variety descent into hell, but at one point things got a little scarier than normal. I was almost trampled by a herd of mouth-breathers, apparently in the grip of some kind of snack frenzy! I'm not shitting ya, for a few desperate seconds I feared for my safety. I was near the end of the chip aisle, and without warning was surrounded by a large fast-moving crowd, bumping and shoving, and I was nearly knocked to the ground. Visions of The Who concert in Cincinnati flashed through my brain. Except I was fully aware that it wouldn't be anywhere near as cool as The Who thing, being crushed to death in a Doritos 3-D stampede or whatever, at Wal-Mart. Yeah, it would be just my luck to go out as a Fark link, and have assholes in cubicles laugh at me the world 'round. I'm not real clear what triggered this mini-melee, it was over as quickly as it started, but it shook me up a little. It was a nightmare of fingerless gloves, Brut, and Member's Only jackets. Absolutely chilling.

-- Check it out. I'm Mr. Ceiling Fan Remover, and my balls are large! Soon I will rule the world!!

-- I'm not sure why I think this is so funny, but Toney knows some people with a newborn baby -- named Carl. A baby named Carl. Now that's some hilarious shit.

-- Last week at work some women were talking about "cute" things their kids have said and it reminded me of a question I asked my parents when I was but a tiny tricycle motor. It was something like, "If girls don't have wieners how do they know when they have to pee?" I remember it vividly, because my Mom and Dad laughed uproariously in my face, for an extended period of time. You just don't forget shit like that. I'm still waiting on my answer though.

-- This is starting to get a little out of hand, but I rented a couple more movies this weekend: Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and Bottle Rocket. I enjoyed them both. Please check back often for more insightful film reviews.

-- And on a related note, I found this in the Blockbuster parking lot.

-- Dinner with Stinky wasn't too excruciating, in fact it was fairly pleasant. As is usual with me, the dreading of the event was far worse than the event itself. There were no uncomfortable gaps in conversation that I can remember, everybody seemed to be at ease, the food was good, and nothing was funking. What more can you ask? I was offered a beautiful, sexy Yuengling lager when we first arrived, which it hurt me to my soul to refuse. Instead I was left with some crap called Pepsi One, which tasted like wasp spray. Great Christ almighty, that stuff's nasty. And Stinky and his wife entertained us by constantly hollering at each other from different rooms, and arguing about every little thing. They're screamers, in the classic Philadelphia style, and their kids are obviously being trained to carry on the family tradition (especially that Ahchoo!). At times the volume was simply amazing; Toney and I kept locking eyes in astonishment. But it was OK. I need to chill out a little and quit being so goddamned critical. It's not really fair to go into every situation on high-alert for shit to make fun of later, behind people's backs. This website is making me such a prick. Oh, wait a minute, it started in elementary school. Never mind.

That'll do it for today folks. It snowed last night, if you can believe it, so I've gotta go clean off my truck and drag my sorry ass back to work. See ya soon.

March 15, 2002

A few quick things:

-- Toney's got us roped into dinner at Stinky Ukraine's house on Sunday. It goes without saying that I don't want to go, but the way it all went down has left little wiggle room and, despite much contemplation, I can't see any clean way out of it. Plus, she won't admit it, but I don't think Toney even wants to get out of it. Yes, there's big differences between me and my wife, folks. For instance, she likes having friends. Local friends. I filled my friend-quota sometime around 1988 I think, while living in Greensboro, and haven't felt the need to do any new recruiting in ages. In fact, when Mark and I started our campaign of ridiculousness in California a few years ago, I had to kick one of my old friends to the curb to make room for him. I didn't want to do it, but I explained everything to him and I think he finally understood. Sure, there were some tears and a few awkward hugs, but there was just no other way around it. It was time for him to go. I'm joking, of course, but I think you get my point. Toney keeps making friends...I make none. And now we're going to have to eat ham at Stinky Ukraine's dining room table. Whose strategy makes more sense today, hmm?

I have nothing against Stinky and his wife, I just don't know them. He apparently hails from some obscure Ukrainian country where the idea of washing your goddamn armpits hasn't fully infiltrated the culture, but somehow has a New Jersey accent(?!). They tell everyone he's a sports reporter for a local newspaper but I've never seen his byline. Not once. Who the fuck knows? I don't really care enough to investigate, if you want to know the truth. His wife, Toney's buddy, is loud and boisterous, and they have two wild (I mean wild) kids, one of whom is named Ah-choo! or something. Their house always looks like the mob recently made a sweep -- where are the diamonds?! -- but she's always commenting on how exhausted she is from cleaning all day.

I don't know. I'm sure I seem like an insufferable bastard here, and maybe I am, but I'm extremely uncomfortable in situations where I'm forced to make small-talk with strangers -- for hours on end. And I get the feeling there's an expectation that Stinky and I will form some kind of bond(!!). I guess it's possible that I'm picking them apart, and making them worse than they really are, in hopes that we'll write them off and I'll never have to endure another of these festivals of discomfort again. Perhaps it's my problem, and not theirs? Not likely, but I guess anything's possible.

All I know is, this sobriety bullshit is going to get a test this weekend.

-- I watched two more movies this week: Heist and The Prime Gig. Both were time well spent. Heist stars one of my favorite actors, Gene Hackman, and is another of those complicated crime stories (like Ocean's Eleven) where nothing is as it seems and everyone's double-crossing, and triple-crossing, each other. But it's well-done and highly entertaining. The dialog is stellar: "Cute plan you've cooked up here." "As cute as a Chinese baby!" The Prime Gig is more arty, and obviously had a much smaller budget than Heist. It's one of these kinds of films. A small-time telemarketing loser gets himself involved in a high-stakes scam involving a bogus gold mine. It's not exactly the feel-good hit of the year, but I get the feeling it accomplishes everything it set out to accomplish -- except maybe to make a little box-office cash. Both flicks have earned the prestigious West Virginia Surf Report seal of approval.

-- Some questions:

How did people shit before Entertainment Weekly came along?

Does Elton John do anything these days except show up at other people's concerts wearing a fez, and hug everyone?

When did The Simpsons get good again? The two or three episodes I saw last year were about as funny as open mic night at the hospice dance. This season they seem to be back.

-- Proving that he's not as smart as we first thought, our dog Andy again snatched food off my dinner plate this week. It was Mexican night here at The Compound and Andy slithered into a position that allowed him to strike at a second's notice, and he did just that when I got up to go to the kitchen for something. He's like a cobra with fur. Before I knew what was happening I saw the mongrel running through the house with a goddamn wedge of quesadilla in his mouth. Will he never learn? I screamed for two or three solid minutes, as usual, and he hunkered down like I was about to slug him, but he'll do it again. I know he will.

And after the storm was over, with the timing of a Johnny Carson in his prime, Toney said, "I guess he's a south of the border collie."

All that was missing was a rimshot.

-- Speaking of cobras, on Animal Planet or one of those fifty or so Discovery channels nobody watches, I stumbled on a show about some scary-ass snakes the other day. Like flying snakes. Snakes that fucking fly through the air! And others that make themselves into a sort of hula-hoop and roll at their victims. I swear to God, if I ever saw a snake swooping out of the sky, or rolling down a pathway at me, I'd die right where I stood, in a pile of my waste material. Ho-ly fuck.

-- I've received late word from a reader that there are indeed black Wendy's restaurants scattered throughout the southern part of the country. From what I'm being told, they're exactly like any other Wendy's, except the little girl on the logo looks like Ella Fitzgerald or something. This blows my mind. If anyone can provide me with a copy of the logo, or a picture or anything, I'd be much obliged. I'm also going to write Wendy's corporate and see if they'll tell me about it. Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with it (what do I care?), I'm just intrigued. It seems so bizarre. Stay tuned.

That'll do it for today, folks. Have a great weekend. Lord knows I will.  I hope the smell doesn't seep into my clothing.

March 12, 2002

More stuff:

-- Toney gave me a reprieve on the ceiling fan. I'm not sure what's going on, but she told me not to worry about taking it down "just yet." Careful not to say or do anything that might tip the scales and jeopardize my jackpot of good luck, I muttered OK and quietly backed out of the room on tip-toes. Some situations just need to be left alone, so they can breathe. I was out of there.

-- We went to Sam's over the weekend and I bought five shirts. I hadn't planned on buying five shirts at a wholesale warehouse club best known for snow tires and boxes of Rice Krispies the size of a microwave oven, I hardly even knew they sold clothes. But it was a friggin' deal. They had a gigantic table of dress shirts, the kind I wear to work everyday (IZOD even), and they were $7.91 each! Shit, I thought, somebody made a big mistake here. Heads are gonna roll. So I rifled through the piles and found an armload in my husky-boy size and headed for the checkout before the shouting began. But they all rang up at $7.91, and the cashier didn't holler "Code Seven!!" into the PA system or anything. Incredible. I'm not kidding, these are really nice shirts; they'd be forty or fifty bucks at the mall. I basically got five for the price of one! Now if I can just find some cheap pants at the drug store or the oil-change place, I'll be set for another year or so.

-- Before we happened onto the bounty of eight-dollar shirts, we strolled around Sam's Club, casually looking at TVs and computers and stuff. I want to get a 36-inch TV, but until the prices come down that dream falls somewhere on the list very near "playing centerfield for the Cincinnati Reds." But looking's free, so we looked. And we tried samples of pound cake (fuckin' yum!), cream puffs (!!), and some kind of sausage that kept getting bigger the longer I chewed (nasty). The only sample we declined was what appeared to be shot glasses full of vegetable oil (??). And we were tailed throughout the entire store by a flatulent obese woman in a wheelchair with legs like loaves of french bread. Everywhere we turned she'd be there, surrounded by a cloud of handicap gas. Just another day in Scranton.

-- As I was flipping through the channels on our anemic little 27-inch TV Sunday afternoon, I stopped for a few minutes on what appeared to be a Bobby Vinton concert from Branson, Missouri. I couldn't believe my eyes. It was so bad I was initially convinced it was a joke of some sort, but apparently it was real. The audience looked like the backyard of that Georgia crematorium that's been in the news, and Vinton himself looked pissed-off and agitated for having to honor this particular contractual obligation. There were dancing girls waving feathers around and a bank of background singers doing all the moves and everything, and Vinton was out-front singing the kind of cheesy ballads that went out of style the day the Beatles set foot on American soil. And after he began each new song he'd gesture desperately for the crowd to applaud in recognition. I'm no expert but isn't that supposed to be a spontaneous reaction? He's a bully. A mean little afro-sporting "Blue on Blue" -singing Polish man bullying senior citizens -- on PBS. It's good to actually see my tax dollars at work!

-- Check it out: a new addition to the world-renowned TheWVSR Bunker Collection. This baby's gonna hang right beside the picture of my boyhood barber. It's like the flippin' Smithsonian in here!

-- A friend forwarded me this troubling excerpt from the latest issue of our hometown newsletter, The Scoop. This is a direct and complete quote...

"The devious actions by the individual or individuals who vandalized the bus stop on Dunbar Avenue in the East end of Dunbar are a disgrace to the entire town! We used colonial posts, spindles and caps to enhance the beauty of the shelter; in fact, it was one of the most attractive and one of the most expensive for us to build. Yet it seems it was not appreciated nor admired by some, as spindles have been kicked out, the caps destroyed, etc. Perhaps those of you who are guilty for such destructive actions are unaware of just how difficult it is to stand for hours preparing and selling hot dogs at concession booths to make enough money to provide benches and attractive dry shelters for children who wait for school buses or those waiting for city buses. If you are unhappy living in a town where volunteers are spending hours to make improvements and attempting to provide special needs for the people, perhaps a passport to the barren, ugly, desolate lands of Afghanistan would comfort you."

Apparently the stress-level associated with serving on the Dunbar Beautification League has claimed yet another victim. It's sad to see them fall so quickly. Let's just hope she never sees this brazen act of vandalism, goes completely over the edge, and drives up to Pennsylvania clutching a sharpened spindle.

-- In casual conversation the other day Toney told me there are a couple of "black" Wendy's restaurants in Atlanta. She says they're exactly like every other Wendy's, except the little red-haired girl on their logo has a black face. This can't be true, can it? And how could we be together for ten years before she mentioned this to me? She knows me better than anyone, and she knows I live and die for this kind of thing. I'm very suspicious. I think she may be pulling my leg. She swears she was in one though, and witnessed it with her own two eyes. Can somebody help me out here? I did some Google searches, but came up with nothing. Why do I feel like Toney's somewhere right now laughing her ass off?

-- We watched the 9/11 special Sunday night, like everyone else, and I thought it was really good. Everybody and their imaginary friends are commenting on it, so I won't bore you with my "expert" analysis. However, I do have a few random thoughts...

Hearing the word "fuck" spoken repeatedly on network television in prime time was pretty cool. It felt like I was getting away with something. It was like I was a kid again, checking out some hot native tit-action in National Geographic.

The high-pressure puking scene was also very satisfying.

I don't know if anyone else saw it, but during some of the footage of people running through the streets, with expressions of pure terror, some guy walked past the camera eating a sandwich! I'm not lying. Skyscrapers were collapsing, an apocalyptic wall of black dust was bearing down, and some guy was walking around eating what appeared to be a ham hoagie!

Seriously though, the program was extremely intense. I don't want to make light of it. I doubt that anyone who saw it will ever forget the footage of the firefighters standing in the lobby, as the sound of bodies could be heard crashing to the ground outside. Over and over again -- violent, horrifying crashing sounds. It was one of the freakiest things I've ever seen.

It made me pissed off all over again. Not that I ever stopped being pissed off, but this show ratcheted it back up to its original levels. I don't want to go on at length about it, because it's not very funny, but many more asses need to be kicked for the bullshit that happened that day. Many more. How anyone could criticize the war effort, like the pussies I see almost every night on Fox News and MSNBC (usually college professors from California), is beyond me. And there's nothing more infuriating than hearing people imply that we had it coming. But I don't want to go down that road... My blood pressure's peaking just thinking about it. Motherfuckin' motherfuckers.

-- On a much lighter note, I watched The Little Rascals over the weekend and I'd like to start a campaign to get people to start saying "And how!" again. I like the sound of it; it's superior to "Don't go there" in every way. So do me a favor and whenever anyone says something you agree with, exclaim with enthusiasm, "And how!" You might want to throw in a jaunty little swing of the fist too. We'll have the phrase back in circulation in no time. What do you say? Will you help? Together we can make this happen, people.

Have a great day, folks.

March 11, 2002

I took Friday off from work. I'm determined to take my vacation days this year -- a little at a time, so nobody notices. Drip, drip, drip. A Friday here, a Monday there; it's not perfect, but it's better than forfeiting weeks of corporate-sanctioned fuck-off time like I did last year. (I'm still a little bitter about that, in case you're wondering.) There's always a reason why I can't take big chunks of days all at once -- I think they have a memo full of "reasons" posted by every director's phone -- so I'll nickel and dime 'em to death. Adapt or die is my new motto. You wanna know the sad part though? I feel a twinge of triumph the night before an approved day off, but spend the actual day feeling guilty about it. So who's really winning here? Who's the douchebag?

But in the grand nickel-and-dime scheme of things, Friday was a definite dime. The weather was perfect, sunny and warm, and for some unknown reason I was optimistic and happy all day. I think Toney was a little skeptical, but it was a genuine state of euphoria. I spent the morning casually writing my update, trolling the Internet for filth, and drinking enough coffee to drop a woolly mammoth. And we walked around the park in the afternoon.

We watched kids climbing all over the giant metal monstrosities that've been erected there for them (I theorized that the dental association donated them, as an investment in future business), watched a fat little teenaged fuck show off for everyone by repeatedly jumping into the thawed ice skating rink (ex-treme!), then took a long stroll by the creek, across covered bridges and everything. It was like the friggin' Hallmark Hall of Fame. I'm almost embarrassed, thinking back on it. But it was nearly perfect; I was happy as an idiot all day, just to be alive.

Christ, I'm about to puke on my own keyboard here...

But now I'm all fired up to get myself some more of it. Friday was the model for an ideal life, and I want more. I need to finish my little novel, allow Ron Howard to buy the movie rights (after a lengthy bidding war, of course), and spend the rest of my days living Perfect Fridays. I want to get up early every day, write until noon or one, then putter around until bedtime. There's joy in puttering. I don't want to worry about promotions and salaries and mortgages and crap like that anymore. I want to watch fat fucks make fools of themselves and read books and go to lunch with my wife. And I want to work my ass off on something I have a real passion for, just like everyone else.

Yes, Perfect Fridays will undoubtedly be my undoing -- or my salvation. I guess we'll just have to wait and see which way it goes.

And in the meantime I must go to work. On the bright side, by this time tomorrow I'll be angry and bitter and funny again.

Perhaps I should be careful what I wish for?

[This episode of Mid-Life Crisis Man was brought to you by... your local Camaro dealer.]


March 8, 2002

A few more things:

-- I have to take a ceiling fan down today. It's a big one, in the kitchen, and Toney hates it and wants me to rip it out of there. I don't dread doing it because I'm lazy (although that doesn't help), but because I have no idea where to start. I talked to my Dad about it and, after he and my Mom made fun of my general uselessness for three or four minutes via long-distance phone service, he described the process to me. It's simple, he said, it'll take you fifteen or twenty minutes. Yeah, right. It'd take him fifteen or twenty minutes. It'll take me all weekend. And I'll get frustrated and embarrassed and bitchy and defensive along the way. Toney and I will argue at length and there's a real possibility a tool box will be flung into the front yard. It doesn't help matters that Toney watches Trading Spaces all the time. In every episode I've ever seen of that show the first thing the decorator says is, "OK, let's get that ceiling fan down!" And the husband invariably snaps off a crisp little salute and bounds up the ladder, obviously bubbling over with knowledge and know-how. God, how I hate those arrogant fuckers. "I'm Mr. Ceiling Fan Remover, and my balls are large! Soon I will rule the world!!" Shit. I've been emasculated, in the eyes of my family, because of basic cable. I'm starting to see the wisdom of places like China and Cuba only allowing their citizens to watch black & white footage of men digging holes, or whatever, on television. The gross abundance of information is making me look bad. I'm pessimistic about the whole project, but I'll let you know how it turns out, on Monday. Hopefully I won't suffer an electrical shock, end up like Christopher Reeve, and have to write my next update with a special "typing stick" strapped to my chin. Fuck.

-- Earlier in the week I printed an email I'd received from a reader about one of his "Nancy"-like relatives going off the deep-end and moving into a school bus, bicycling through Cambodia, and making their teenaged kids wear diapers. Now here are some pics of their house! Very cool. Yes, I can picture "Nancy" and Banana Nostrils sitting out on that, um, bus porch, snacking on not-dogs and discussing 17th century Caribbean history while staring dreamily into each other's eyes. If I'm perfectly still I can almost hear the gentle rustling of the wind in their armpit hair. Ah, beautiful.

-- Earlier this week I went to Wendy's for lunch, like I do on most days, and it was like the Pope was in there having a chicken sandwich or something. I mean, the place was packed. I don't know what was going on, but I was having none of it. After standing in line for a minute or two I left in a huff, and drove across the street to McDonald's. I hate McDonald's, I'd rather eat garbage, but I was trying to teach Wendy's a lesson. I was hoping the manager would see me defecting to the other side, and realize the error of his ways for not moving me to the front of the line. Frequent fliers get moved to the front of the line at airports, right? If I'm not a goddamn VIP in the Dunmore Wendy's, nobody is. But I don't think I taught anybody anything by storming off; I think I just roped myself into a terrible lunch. You love to see me smile, McDonald's? Close.

-- I've been seeing a bunch of stuff on the Internet lately about a doctor in Kansas who claims to be treating Elvis Presley for migraines. At first I wrote him off as just another nutjob, but now these pictures have surfaced and frankly I don't know what to think anymore. Spooky.

-- Speaking of the Internet, the dotcom meltdown continues to claim its victims, folks. Things just keep getting sadder and sadder.

-- Luckily though, some great weblogs continue to flourish.

-- And there also seems to be an unusually high concentration of great music out right now, to take our minds off the pain. Here's what I'm listening to...

Grandpaboy, Mono  Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson from the late, great Replacements, finally reunited. Solid songs, loud chunky guitars, and Paul and Tommy. It's enough to bring a lump to any aging hipster's throat.

Wilco, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot  Although my old record weasel contacts are drying up faster than Cher's cooter, I was still able to secure an advance copy of this baby. This album hasn't even come out yet and it's already legendary. Somebody at Wilco's old label rejected it as "unlistenable," so the band bought back the rights and shopped it around. Now it's set to finally be released on April 23, and I have a feeling some heads are gonna roll over at the old label.

Chris Isaak, Always Got Tonight  Yeah I know, he keeps releasing the same album over and over. But, dammit, it's a good album. This is comfort food.

Nuggets II  The sequel to Rhino's classic box set of American 60's garage rock, this time with foreign bands. Four big discs! And with the exception of a single tune, it's all new to me. Great, great stuff. These bands were getting by on enthusiasm and passion, not well-honed talent. Inspiring, especially for people lacking well-honed talent. I personally love it.

-- And finally, here's a frightening note I received from NJGirl, in reaction to the guy in dress socks having a jelly jar extracted from his ass...

Since I was unable to share this story on the message board (and it will probably be very old news by the time it's up and running) I decided to torture you with it instead.

In reference to the jar up the ass pics you posted..

I had to say it they brought back some fond memories of my days in the radiology dept. On the rare occasion it was slow some of the techs including myself, would pass the time by popping some of our sickest x-ray films up on the light board and swapping stories. We'd actually make copies of the really classic ones and had contests. My collection consisted of a man who shoved a Heineken bottle up his ass.. Various items like screwdrivers, vibrators etc. But the award winning X-ray film was of a man affectionately known as "Ken". Ken was convalescing in our psych ward and complained of abdominal pain. A CT scan revealed numerous foreign objects in his rectum and abdomen. Turns out the sick fuck used to swallow Barbie doll heads because, and I quote, "I like to whack off while I'm shitting them out." I wish I had taken those films with me when I quit just to show you how funny it looked to see a little tiny Barbie head silhouette shoved up a man's ass.

I'm speechless.

March 5, 2002

A few things:

-- I saw a commercial over the weekend that blew my mind. It was from The Church of the Latter Day Saints, I think, and as far as I could tell it was promoting the idea of letting kids do any damn thing they please, then celebrating their destructiveness as something wonderful. The church may not describe it with those exact words, but that's it in a nutshell. In the first scene a devil-child is shown viciously grinding crayons into the wall of a formal dining room, when in walks the mother, catching her little hooligan red-handed. Before you can see the mother's reaction though, they cut away to some other crazed brat tearing shit out of something else down the hall. While all of this is going on there’s a wise, soothing voice talking over the action about the virtues of patience and tolerance. And in a final incredible scene the family is shown having dinner together, all smiles and laughter and good-natured joshing, and the camera pans over to the wall the first kid had previously vandalized, and there’s a picture frame around the mess! The freaks had proclaimed it art, apparently to avoid an ugly scene and to prop up the kid's precious self-esteem! I couldn’t believe my eyes. What is this, some hippie church where anything goes? Damn.  What point were they trying to make, exactly? It was incredibly frustrating and unsatisfying. I would've felt much better if the dad had come home, brooded silently about the destruction of his house, had himself a few belts, flew off the handle, and chased everyone around the living room with a car antennae. It could've been a very effective commercial, warning kids they'd better keep their noses clean if they know what's good for them. But instead it degenerated into wishy-washy feel-good horseshit. A baffling waste of an opportunity.

-- Speaking of flying off the handle, I was ready to murder our dog Andy on Sunday. I was kicked back on the couch, watching TV, and Andy was running from room to room acting like he was shitting a razor blade or something. I guess it's the pup in him, but he runs and runs and barks and yelps and does goddamn backflips. It can wear on your nerves, believe me. Anyway, I was sitting there minding my own business when Andy barreled into the room, became airborne in my general vicinity, and used my face as a springboard to change the direction of his flight. The little bastard opened up a gash on my chin (each of his paws are like Swiss Army Knives), and I came off the couch roaring like a full-blown lunatic. I chased him all through the house screaming every profanity I could dredge up, many linked in an illogical manner, and then moved on to racial slurs. I think I actually called our dog a chink(?!). Toney came out of the kitchen and was like, the hell? It was quite a scene; it would've made a good church commercial. And Andy spent the next couple of hours cowering under the dining room table, which was probably in his best interest.

-- In an attempt to fill a massive void, I watched two more movies over the weekend. Ocean's Eleven is good stuff, fun and exciting -- better than the original Rat Pack version. The Dead Pool, the final Dirty Harry flick, is what's known to Hollywood insiders as shit. Remote control cars filled with high explosives, hump-backed karate experts, harpoons, non-stop gunfire... I'll never get those two hours of my life back, and I don't have as many to spare as I once did. Thieving bastards. So, there you go. Who needs Harry Knowles?

-- I had the displeasure of reading a little of the latest Time magazine this weekend, while waiting to get a haircut. Hey Bono...

-- When Rocky sent me the Critter Dinner stuff last week he inadvertently mixed a floppy-disc from his job in with the ones containing the pictures. When I opened it and started reading the spreadsheet that popped up, I just busted out laughing. Rocky works in a state mental hospital, and the disc appears to contain "incident" reports. Here are the juicy parts. Sounds a hell of lot more interesting than my job. I've wanted to throw hot grease on people before, but I never actually went through with it. It's a thin line between crazy and passionate.

-- Saw an incredible new episode of Spongebob Friday night, called "Idiot Box." I'm not kidding, I was sitting there laughing my riffled ass off. (Children's programming, remember.) Hell, I'm smiling like an idiot right now, just thinking about it. That show continues to thrive. No sharks have been jumped by Spongebob Squarepants, boyee. The wood for the ramps hasn't even been ordered. And check this out, he's coming to DVD! Ten big episodes (including "F.U.N"!) and a bunch of behind-the-scenes stuff on a single disc. It's a great time to be alive!

-- Sunday afternoon we went to a few more open-houses, and I'm beginning to notice a pattern. It seems that I generally like the more expensive houses the best. I can't really explain it, but that's how it's shaking down. For instance, we checked out a place that's listed for $389,000, and I found that I much preferred it to another house that was $128,000. Interesting.

We ran into a little problem at one stop, when a bitchy realtor bitch asked us to take off our shoes before entering the house. Toney slipped hers off, but I refused. I turned around and walked out. Toney was in an awkward position, so she went ahead and checked out the house, but I stood outside and waited for her. I mean, I'll be damned. While Toney was inside, the realtor asked if I was coming in, and I said, "No, I don't really like houses," and continued to stare straight ahead. Afterwards Toney accused me of acting like her mother, which I thought was a low-blow. I just have a real problem with somebody telling me I have to remove articles of my clothing in order to cross their precious threshold. They can go fuck themselves.

When we were across town, looking at another place (a dump that looked like The Buffalo Springfield had once held LSD parties there, and nothing had been updated since), some old guy yelled across a room, "Hi there, Jeff!" And since I had no idea who he was, I just muttered an unsure "hey" back at him. When we were leaving the hideous shag-carpet opium den shack I asked Toney who the hell the guy was who knew me in there, then realized too late that he was sitting in a car a few feet away with his window rolled down! Shit. I still don't know who he is, but I have a feeling he won't be as glad to see me next time.

At one high-dollar place, we noticed there was almost no furniture. The house was listed at $309,000, but the people who lived there barely had it furnished. They had mattresses on the floors, and some entire rooms were empty. It was bizarre. I didn't get the feeling they were in the process of moving either, I just think they didn't have much furniture. For some reason it felt a little creepy. And then we went into the basement and were hit by a godawful funk, and Toney pointed to a collection of jarred grossness sitting beside a wall, while pulling her shirt up over her nose. I snapped a quick picture, and we high-tailed it out of there. I'm pretty sure it was human body parts and shit.

-- Here's a chunk of a great email I received this weekend...

I might have a pretty good Nancy-like story for you, but am debating on whether to have it posted...I'll let you decide. I have an Aunt who was married to the most successful lawyer in E----, WV. They lived in the largest house overlooking the city, and were generally hated by the whole town. They have three kids, who are mainly the most fucked in the world; one is married to a kleptomaniac Jehovah's Witness and overweight, one completed the program at a prestigious law school, but is now collecting unemployment and racked up $1000 is credit card late fees which she refuses to pay. The other is an "artist" of sorts who has quite the resemblance to Grizzly Adams. Quite an odd situation for kids who went to some pretty good private schools their whole lives. But the beauty of this story is my Aunt....who divorced my Uncle about 2 years ago and has turned into a nut-job-- at least in my opinion. Anyway, the mansion has now been replaced by a fucking school bus....yes, she lives in a school bus on the outskirts of E----. She recently completed a bicycling trip through Cambodia and Vietnam (I thought "Nancy" when I heard that one). And, as a family, they've driven to South America (the kids all wore diapers to save on stops-- and were 12 to 14 years old). But anyway, I'm being forced to make a visit to the bus from hell here soon, and was wondering if you would like some pictures on that, and maybe a few good stories (if you do, what are the chances of your site getting discovered?...haha). If not, I'll keep my eyes open for something print worthy....

Man, you don't even have to ask. Send me more! Diapered teens, bicycle trips through Cambodia... This is what I live for! Classic. If any of the rest of you have stories like this, please share. Think of this site as your clearing house for fucked-upness.

And I think that'll do it for today. I have a few more things to write about, but no time. Bye for now...

                          

March 4, 2002

Like a wallowing hog-pig I overslept this morning, and now I don't have time for a real update. Sorry, folks. But I was very late for work on Friday (thanks to that goddamn Critter Dinner) and I really need to drag my sorry ass in there today. Can't fuck with the job; if I'm not careful I'll be manning the hot basket at Bojangles, and lose my house and wife -- all because I was uploading pictures to the Internet of Rocky fisting a chicken, or whatever. So, let's review, shall we? No Monday update, and no forum. Excellent. Things are going well. It's only a matter of time before the Cool Site of the Day van pulls into the driveway. This is the message at the Bravenet homepage explaining why TheWVSR Forum (and presumably thousands of lesser message boards) has been out of business all weekend. This is the kind of thing that could ultimately threaten my sanity. I absolutely hate when something's not working on this site; Surf Report problems burrow deep into my brain and lay eggs of discontent there. I'm mentally ill, what can I say?  I considered just quickly hooking up with some other provider, and throwing their board up, but decided against it. My Bravenet Forum may not look all that great, but it does exactly what I want it to do (when it's working). I want anybody to be able to post anything, under any name they choose. Forced registration and content restrictions are simply out of the question. And I want the messages to stack on top of each other, instead of being grouped by subject. I like the rhythm that can develop in that setting. So, considering all this, I've decided to ride it out and stick with Bravenet. They've been too good for too long. Hopefully by the time you read this everything will be back to normal anyway, and Ryan Gramercy will be taking credit for hacking the system, to avenge the 3000-poop post, and Sam Gassaway will be telling us about the subtle tones of his morning flatulence.  Then all will be right with the world.

Check back tomorrow for a super-sized update, and I apologize for being so lame. 

Have a great Monday, everyone.

March 1, 2002

I'm gonna give you folks a break, and not write much today. Instead I'll share some stuff that other people wrote, show you some pictures that other people took, and link to coolness on other people's sites. Today I'm a fake editor instead of a fake writer. Hey, I wear many a-giant freak hat on this bulbous, oversized Mongoloid head. Many.

-- Before we start wading into the filth, I do have a little "Nancy" news to pass along. I know some of you may suspect that I exaggerate or make some of this shit up, but I promise you it's all true. If you've been visiting this site long enough to get a feel for Nancy, and think you know her, then it shouldn't be too hard to predict her latest move. How I failed to see it coming, I'll never know. Just stop and think about it for a second... Got it? Yes, that's right, she auditioned for "The Vagina Monologues." I swear it's true; I'm not doing "material" here. The woman's like a sitcom character! When Toney told me about this, I almost swallowed my tongue laughing. Holy crap, she's a classic. In case you're wondering, she didn't get the part. Presumably she wasn't able to adequately connect with the audience as she stood in the spotlight waxing poetic about her heavy-flow days, or whatever. Man, the producers just don't know how big a mistake they made. I would've boarded an airplane to see that performance!

-- On a related note, Toney tells me that Nancy is now online. She's apparently quite fond of Google. Obviously, this disturbs me. If she ever finds this site I'm gonna have some explaining to do. "What exactly do you mean by the term Banana Nostrils?!" Shit. Something else to worry about. This website is eventually going to bite me in the ass. It's only a matter of time.

-- This woman lost her job because of her online journal. Don't try to tell me my day of reckoning isn't coming. I'm going to get my ass kicked by a man with long nostrils, and a radical hedge-pitted woman.

-- I've recently heard two different people use an incredibly annoying phrase that I'd never heard before. It's something along the lines of, "He needs to wait for the clue bird to land." The fuck?! Have you heard this? Please do your part to assure that it doesn't catch on and become the new "Don't go there!" I don't think I can take it. Please?

-- Here's some WV news. File this one under Laughable Pipedream. Chester, WV. I am so sure.

--  Here are some cool Waffle House e-cards to send your friends, complete with wack background music.

-- And at this site you can plug in your telephone number and get every conceivable corresponding word it spells. Pretty nifty.

-- Here you can upload a picture and, if they choose it, they'll "Warholise" it for you. This is the one I sent. Of course I'll post the finished product if it's chosen.

-- If, like me, you occasionally have a hankering to view a series of photos of a potato and a jelly jar being extracted from a man's ass in a clinical setting, then today's your lucky day! Be forewarned though, this is pretty damned disgusting. If you choose to proceed (yeah, like that was ever a question) make sure to look at all the pics, and also check out the guy's socks. I don't know why I find them to be so funny, but I do. The socks are my favorite part.

-- And I think that's a perfect segue into an email I received from my buddy Brad in Greensboro yesterday. He apparently had an interesting time at the mall earlier in the week. Check it out.

-- And finally, the moment you've all been waiting for... Rocky and Bill's Critter Dinner report! Just to set this thing up, here's the actual announcement of the festive annual event, as it appeared in the local newspaper:

Chow down at the Dunbar Critter Dinner

Dunbar officials invite friends and neighbors to the city's recreation center Saturday for the well-known Critter Dinner.

The dinner begins at noon and lasts "until we run out of critters to gnaw on," officials said in a release.

The meal includes bear, deer, alligator, squirrel, turkey, pork and fish as well as side dishes, desserts and drinks.

Entertainment includes bluegrass music and two flat-top guitar picking champions.

Admission is free, but guests are asked to bring a can of food to donate to the Dunbar Food Pantry.

Click here for the report, and some great pics.

Thanks guys. You went above and beyond the call of duty!

Have a great weekend everyone.

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