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   The State of My Fat Ass                                        June 2003


June 30, 2003

What I did on my summer vacation...

No long-winded declarations today about the many life-altering experiences I had on our just-ended trip to West Virginia, and the awesome power of returning to one's beginnings and having the opportunity to take a sober look at Life So Far from that unique perspective. No, I'm not smart enough for epiphanies or deep understandings, not to mention sobriety, so I'll just tell you about some of the stuff we did, and show you a few vacation photos. Sorry, but I'm more like your Uncle Ernie than Ernest Hemingway. (If I had a slide projector right now, I'd show you some slides.) I'm afraid this is as good as it's going to get, people. And you can't sue a man for shallowness.

-- We almost burned our house down the night before we left. We have an old gas grill that was a wedding present in 1993, and it's wore completely out from the endless parade of beef hunks we've insisted it prepare for our consumption over the years. Last summer it stopped lighting on its own and we had to start turning on the gas, lighting a match, flinging it in, and running for cover. This would usually cause a large oxygen-sucking ball of fire to roll from the depths of the grill and would sometimes scare the neighborhood children. Also, the outside of the thing has gradually changed from black to white (?!?), and the shelves routinely collapse into the fire. But we kept using it, because we didn't want to spend $150 for a new one. Hey, we're not made of money.

We won't be using it again.

We were cooking up some chicken breasts on Saturday evening, and packing (check out the masterful job) and getting ready to leave the next morning. Toney puts these big chicken torsos into plastic bags full of marinade and lets them lay around in the refrigerator for an entire day. Then we cook 'em up on the grill and they're frickin' great. So the tasty carcasses had been on the fire for a good length of time, and I figured it was time to turn them over. And when I went out onto the deck I saw flames shooting out of the bottom of the grill, right into the top of the canister of compressed gas underneath. Holy crap!

I briefly considered calling Toney out to turn it off while I hid behind a lawn chair, but decided to throw caution to the wind and attempt to take care of the situation myself. I lunged at the six o'clock news story waiting to happen, and began spinning the knobs that controlled the flow of propane. The one on the right just went round and round and didn't seem to control anything (junk!), but the death flames eventually subsided, and we were able to avert tragedy. If I'd decided to go upstairs for more underwear or something, and hadn't checked the grill for another five minutes, deck lumber and chicken parts would've probably rained down on our neighborhood, following a massive explosion. Scary.

-- We drove on Sunday and it seemed to take forever. The trip to my parent's house, according to MapQuest, is 515 miles. But for some reason it took us almost eleven hours to get there. I can't explain it. We stopped at Cracker Barrel for breakfast, and again at a park in Maryland, but we weren't delayed that much. It sucked mightily, and I was bitching up a storm. Also, the temperature just kept going up up up, as we continued southward. By the time we got there every pore on my body would swing wide open every time I stepped outside the frosty Chevy air conditioning. I hate hot. Toney complains about the weather all winter, and I do the same all summer. We're perfect book-ends of whine.

Along the way we talked at length about the origins of the term "sucks." She says it came into popular use during the early eighties, and I say it predates that. I'm thinking about calling someone at the University of Scranton to settle the argument.

-- One of my uncles told us about five men who moved into a house across the street from him, and how they're always outside planting flowers and putting up decorations, and this and that. He said they're all a little dainty and he thinks he saw a couple of them carrying wigs into the house. One day they were obviously getting ready for a party, rolling in hand-trucks of beer and liquor and stuff, and one of them went outside and placed two bowling balls with one upright bowling pin in between, on the front lawn. This was apparently a subtle indicator to the guests as to where the party house was located. Later that night my uncle saw "things happening on that porch that no person should ever see." I wish I had the whole story on tape.

-- On Tuesday we went to Hillbilly Hot Dogs -- the site of a shocking betrayal by my entire family. It's located outside of Huntington, in a town called LeSage, and we had some trouble finding it. We were all packed inside my parent's car, reading cryptic directions I'd received from a member of my vast network of spies and backstabbers. It was suggested at least twice that we abandon the search and just get some pizza or something. It was pissing me off, this disinterest in Hillbilly Hot Dogs. And when we finally found the place, all of my traveling companions began protesting and hollering that they were NOT going to eat there. Toney, my own wife, said, "I'm not going into that shit hole." It was a hotdog betrayal of epic proportions. I couldn't believe it. Screw it, I said, I'm having lunch at Hillbilly Hot Dogs and y'all can just fend for yourselves. Get it to go, my Dad yelled as I climbed out of the car. Incredible. The atmosphere was great, and so was the food. Way better, I might add, than the horrible pseudo-Italian fast food swill everyone else ate a few minutes later. Here's a Pulitzer-caliber photo essay of my visit there. The whole thing just makes me sad in my soul.

-- After the hot dog betrayal we went into Kentucky to look at travel trailers, and found a perfect pop-up for $5900. The thing looked brand new and had air conditioning and everything. One of these days we'll bite the bullet and buy one of those ridiculous contraptions, but right now I'm still too nervous to fork over that kind of money. Especially since we need to buy a new chicken cooker and everything. Here's a couple of campers that really intrigued us.

-- I realized again during this visit that I don't know the counties of West Virginia, like I'm apparently supposed to. People are always talking about things happening in Roane County or Lincoln County, and I have no idea what any of it means. It was the same when I lived there. How did I not learn this info, when everyone else seemingly did? I also don't know what the terms "up the river" and "down the river" mean, and have a little trouble with north, south, east, and west. My dad knows all this stuff; I think he's part Indian. He says things like, "Go up the river on 35, then head east on Old Dog Balls Road towards Wirt County, blah blah blah..." and I'm utterly confused before he even gets started. It's pretty demoralizing.

-- Another uncle told me that all white cars are lemons, it's well-known. How am I so far out of the loop on all this stuff?!

-- One day Toney and I snuck off to see Bruce Almighty. We rarely go to movies, but almost always go when we're in West Virginia. Who knows why? We've been to the Corridor G theaters outside of Charleston way more than any of the ones around here. When we were in line to buy popcorn there was a big beefy guy in front of us who ordered one of everything, I believe. He got popcorn, various candies, soda, nachos (the hell?), and possibly some kind of meat. I was bitching to Toney about the amount of time Mr. Beef was sucking up, and told her his bill would probably be $27.00. Then, I swear on a stack of original Elvis Costello vinyl, the zitster behind the counter rang it all up and it totaled $27.00. How freaky is that? And who buys almost thirty bucks worth of snacks at a movie?! To be fair, he had a couple of ugly kids with him, but still. It was like a cartoon. The movie was pretty good. Here's a picture I took of it. For some reason the other patrons in the theater seemed to get irritated whenever my camera flash went off. Some people are just so uptight.

-- Wednesday night (I think) I met my friend Bill for a few beers at a place called Nancy's Sports Bar. I'd love to see the number of beers we've drank in each other's company over the years, I have a feeling the collection of bottles and cans could be seen by the naked eye from the moon. Unfortunately, though, we haven't had the chance to spend much time together lately. We live in different states, and are both busy, and that old familiar sad story. But two or three seconds into it we were off and running. It was like old times. We sat at the end of the bar and "critiqued" everyone in the house. "Look at that guy, his head's shaped like a quarter moon..." "Check out that fat pervert over there trying to talk that couple into a threesome..." "There's a chronic masturbator in the next room trying to sing Nirvana karoake..." It went on and on for seven or eight beers, then we called it a night. It was great. On our way out the door Quarter Moon said to us, inexplicably, "I'm sorry." I have no idea what that was all about, but he seemed sincere. I gave Bill the 12-pack of Yuengling I brought him, snapped this photo of Nancy's mesmerizing signage, and said goodbye again. We really need to make an effort to drink together more often. Before long it'll be too late, and it'll be just like that Harry Chapin song, "Drunks in the Cradle" or whatever.

I didn't want to do this, but I'm gonna have to finish this up later. I'll try to do it tomorrow, but don't hold me to that -- I'm a very lazy man.

In the meantime, here's Chris's latest Florida adventure. This one could be made into a movie. Sex, violence, fucked-upness... it's all there.

Have a great day.


June 19, 2003

-- This is my last update before we bolt the Compound gates and make our way to West Virginia for a few days of sanity, air conditioning, and good ol' Mom food. The bunker will be dark all next week and, in fact, I'm going to attempt to stay away from the Internet altogether; I'm leaving my laptop (my safety net) at home. I need a rest. At the risk of sounding like a complete pussy, I'm feeling a little burned out on life at the moment, and just want to sit around and read, watch TV, and let my batteries re-charge. No cable news either... only TV Land and Seinfeld re-runs. My goal is a self-created Appalachian cocoon - with sanity, air conditioning and good ol' Mom food. Wish me luck. Insulating oneself from additional information isn't as easy as it used to be. These days you've got to work at ignorance, but I firmly believe I'm up to the task, goddammit.

-- I've been watching a British sitcom called Coupling. A friend recommended it, and it's pretty funny. I just finished the first season on DVD. You should check it out, if you get the chance. I think they show it on BBC America, but we don't get that channel so I could be wrong. Anyway, the show is a direct rip-off of Friends (with some Seinfeld sprinkled in), but the writing and acting are really good, and I'm more than willing to overlook their minor offenses. However... I just saw a commercial this morning for an American version of the show. The music is the same and everything. What the hell, man? What we have now is a rip-off of a rip-off. It's like a band playing in tribute to a tribute band. Nobody looks or sounds as close to the real Pyromania, the Ultimate Def Leppard Experience! Nobody!! Are there no original ideas anymore? Seriously. The commercial showed a scene that looked to be lifted straight from the British show, where a guy is trying to break up with his girlfriend, but she won't accept the break-up. She says she should have a say in it, and doesn't currently feel like breaking up, thank you very much. Are they using the same scripts?! Pitiful. And to think that Hollywood turned their collective noses up at the brilliant Lords of Claremont concept Mark and I presented to them, via sandwich boards and yelling. Hey, their loss. I'm doing just fine here in Scranton. Just fine.

-- There's something in the air that's fucking my shit up. I'm sneezing and wheezing, and clear watery liquid is dripping from my nose almost continuously. I keep hoping that Toney won't ask me about all the spots on the pages of this week's Entertainment Weekly. It would
be a hard thing to explain; people tend to think the worst when it comes to random stains. Yesterday I launched into a sneezing jag that I was afraid would never end. It was one after the other for five solid minutes. I was having trouble catching my breath, because it was all out and no in. I considered calling 911. I can't stop sneezing! Please help me!! I really need to start going through the Penny Saver and looking for a used astronaut suit in a husky, long.

-- Speaking of Entertainment Weekly, if they ever stop publishing that magazine I might not ever be able to crap again. It would just build up until I had to be air-lifted to the hospital for an emergency C-Section. I know I've mentioned this before, but it's a little nerve-wracking knowing the well-being of your bowels is completely tied to the business success of a periodical. I find myself researching their ad revenues online. ...How did I get here?

-- A few days ago I received an email from a reader who feels that I may be responsible for bringing a formerly filth-laden fast food chain to its senses. Here's his note:

Jeff, I'm a big fan of the site and never miss a new update... I've never thought to drop you a line of thanks, that is until I heard the recent Hardee's campaign on the radio. I immediately thought that someone in their marketing department had been reading your fast-food reviews. The new ad campaign revolves completely around the simple concept of, "Hey! We are Hardee's and boy has our restaurant been shit for the last decade or so! We're surprised that you could restrain your gag-reflex long enough to even drive by, much less stop in and order something. Well, we're finally getting around to not sucking by removing 40 items from the menu and trying to make sure that the help doesn't knife you when you walk in the door. Now we hope that instead of being the last place you would ever go for a burger, we can be the first." I have attached an article from Ad Age magazine as proof that I'm not bullshitting you. I truly believe that you may be almost single handedly responsible for turning around a shitty fast food restaurant.

Thanks again for the site.

-Chip

Well Chip, I don't know. I suspect this sudden change of heart has more to do with desperation brought on by the Hardee's slice of the corporate pie getting smaller and smaller, due to years of manifest shittiness. But, I will admit that a lot of the problems they're addressing in their new ad campaign seem to be the same ones I brought up in my review. So, at the very least, I will concede that The West Virginia Surf Report is now shaping our culture and influencing the way the world sees itself. I don't want to be too arrogant, but I think we're changing everything. Ahem.

-- Sunshine and Mumbles are leaving tomorrow. They're shutting down Camp Resentment and moving it southward to Nancy and Nostrils' neck of the woods. This is a beautiful thing. Sometimes she can be kinda fun, her hysterical rants have a certain entertainment value, but this stay hasn't really worked. As Iggy might put it: no fun. I have a feeling they'll be just as happy to be rid of us as we are of them. There just didn't seem to be any bitterness chemistry this time. Who knows why? These things can't be predicted. But it's all over now, at least temporarily. Apparently the whole gang, including Nancy, Nostrilla, the two translucents, and probably the shit-drizzling dog-like mongrel, will be back up here at the end of July. I'm thinking about writing CBS and proposing an idea... Survivor 8: Jeff Kay's House. You think the Amazon was tough? Ha! That was a fucking cakewalk, Junior.

-- Through my vast network of spies and backstabbers I've been able to obtain a promotional copy of the new Steely Dan CD. I like Steely Dan, and if I had more energy I'd explain why at length. It has something to do with a career built around sweet-sounding pop songs, with creepy lyrics that can make one feel the need to take a shower. Most people don't listen to the words very closely, apparently, and Becker and Fagen have managed to build a Trojan Horse of fucked-upness that yuppies happily welcome into their homes. You've simply got to admire that. Anyway, the new record sounds great so far. I haven't really had a chance to devote much time to it, but it will be in heavy rotation on our drive to WV. One thing though... the picture on the inside of the CD... Good god, those men are ugly. Before you click this link you might want to make sure there's not a bookshelf or something hard behind your head, because you will probably recoil in horror. What has happened to Walter Becker's chin? It seems to have collapsed completely into his neck. And what's with Fagen's shininess? He appears to have been shellacked. He also looks a lot like that crying litter Indian now. What happened?

-- Hey, I need pictures of people sporting our luxurious new TheWVSR t-shirts in unusual places. Are you in a band? Send me a photo of you wearing the shirt on stage, and I'll share it with all 47 (highly influential) readers of this site. Or if you had mugshots taken in it, or whatever, send them in! Share the love, dammit.

-- While we're in West Virginia I plan to find this place, and partake of one or two of their exotic dogs. I have my heart set on the one with scrambled eggs and salsa. Mmmm. I might also see if they have a CD of that "We Got The Weenies!" song that plays on their website. I don't think I've ever heard pseudo-hip hop with a strong southern accent before. Good stuff. After polishing off a seafood gumbo dog, or whatever, I plan to then head to Huntington for some Coldstone's Ice Cream. Being in Scranton, we haven't yet had the pleasure of Coldstone's. But that will soon be coming to an end, bucko. We're going to have good food in the cocoon, it goes without saying. We're like senior citizens now, and plan our trips largely around restaurants.

-- Speaking of West Virginia, have you heard of this new movie called Wrong Turn? Apparently it's causing some controversy in my home state. It's a slasher flick about a group of teens getting lost in the woods of WV, and being antagonized by a group of "cannibalistic mountain men grossly disfigured through generations of in-breeding." We West Virginians are extremely sensitive about the way our inbred freaks are portrayed by Hollywood, and this movie apparently crosses the line. I can't wait to see it!

-- This article has nothing at all to do with West Virginia, other than the fact that I used to dream of being just like this guy while growing up there. The smug bastard.

-- Finally, here's this week's update from "Buck." This is a good one, my favorite so far. So, get to it.

And that's it folks, until Monday, June 30. Have fun. If you need something to read while I'm away, I suggest you pay Krista Garcia a visit. She has one of the best and longest-running online journals there is -- with an emphasis on best. If I weren't married and lazy I'd stalk the woman.

See ya. 

June 16, 2003

-- We went to Knoebels amusement park on Saturday and I thought we had a great time, until the ride home when Sunshine informed us that it sucked. She said it was too old, and was no Disneyland or Santa Monica Pier. Apparently she thinks Knoebels, located in Dog Balls, Pennsylvania, is in direct competition with the Disney Corporation for America's vacation dollar. Of course she bitched the whole time we were there (God, it's hot. I can't walk anymore... I need oxygen! These corndogs taste like shit -- shit and mustard.) but, like when I was a kid growing up twenty feet from a railroad track, after a while you don't really hear it anymore. I'm not sure why, but I was mildly surprised at her assessment of the day. I had a blast.

Knoebels is old, but that's part of its charm. I'd estimate that a lot of their rides date back to the 1950's. They're all well-maintained, though, and seem safe and clean. There's no seediness or carny atmosphere; none of the workers flicked their tongues at Toney or anything like that. And I love places where you get the feeling you've passed through a portal and have somehow stepped into the past. There are many pockets of the park where that happens, with authority. I went into an ice cream shop there, for instance, and you just know similar-looking local teenagers have been dipping cones in that room continuously since before the second world war. I love that.

The bumper cars, also, are incredibly kick-ass. It's straight out of the Eisenhower era, all the way down to the surly old man with two tomato-sized growths on his left elbow, screaming into a huge Sinatra microphone on a thick black cord: "Turn the wheel! TURN THE WHEEL!!" And I'd be willing to bet that today's newly manufactured bumper cars aren't quite so brutal and rough as this one. Shit. When they say bump, they mean it; those 50s greasers didn't mess around. A ten year old kid with a maniacal look in his eye nearly punctured one of my vital organs. I was in actual pain when I walked off that thing, worrying about internal bleeding.

There's a sign by the entrance of the ride that says it was named best bumper cars in America, by USA Today. I don't have an abundance of authority on the subject, but I wouldn't want to argue the point. Sometimes it's great fun to be scared for your life.

The people-watching, too, was prime, and that's one of my favorite hobbies. There was a lot of trash milling around in there, which always translates into fun. Cigarettes, protruding foreheads, catastrophic defects, homemade tattoos, muscle shirts, obesity, painful thinness... It looked like a Wal-Mart had exploded and its contents had rained down on a sea of traditional suburban families. It was quite a stew.

The first ride we got on was some kind of huge pirate ship that swings back and forth, and the woman sitting across from us had three or four teeth on top, and a couple of those were triangles -- with the point at the top. I'm not sure how one achieves such teeth, but she had 'em. I listened to her talk to her husband, and I'd put their IQs somewhere in the low to mid-80s. I felt like I was at the zoo of the semi-retarded, watching exotic creatures frolic in their natural habitat. I couldn't take my eyes off of them... and you ain't lived until you've seen a woman with triangle teeth under the influence of G-Force.

Speaking of retarded, the day before we arrived a differently-abled man apparently plunged from the ski-lift, after having some kind of fit up there, and fell twenty-five feet to the ground. He reportedly hit the gravel somewhere near The Whip. I shit you not. Here's a politically correct article about it, which doesn't mention that the man arrived at the park in a short bus.

Sunshine doesn't know what she's talking about. Knoebels rocks.

-- But I have to give credit where credit is due. On Saturday morning Toney's mother was coming into our house at the same time our mailman arrived. He, of course, is deathly afraid of our dog Andy, who looks like a stuffed animal and has never bitten anyone in his life. When she opened our front door the hippie-dippie mailman completely lost his shit and began flailing his arms and yelling for her not to let the dog out. He was completely hysterical and was acting like he'd suddenly got caught up in a swarm of hornets. Sunshine laughed and told him that Andy wouldn't hurt anyone. He just kept screaming, with veins bulging, to keep the dog away from him. He was absolutely wild. We've seen this display many times, but it was a first for Sunshine. And she said, right to him, "Oh, you're crazy. You're crazier than hell." At this point his face changed colors many times in a couple of seconds, and apparently began speaking in tongues or some unrecognizable language. And Sunshine slammed the door in his face.

-- Speaking of Andy, Toney felt bad about him being locked up all day on Saturday, while we were at Knoebels, so she went out and bought him a rawhide bone to work on. He generally loves those things, and can spend hours gnawing and chewing one down to nothing. But when we got home Saturday night this is what we found. I'm not sure if he was trying to keep it fresh, or was pissed off at us. Any ideas?

-- On Sunday we went to the park again, and I did some more fishing with Mumbles. I caught two fish, including this huge trout (or whatever). As you can see, it bit one of Mumbles' fingers off at the first knuckle. It was scary. There isn't much else to report about the day, other than it wasn't nearly as fun as last weekend. The magic was partially gone, probably because it was kinda hot and buggy out there. I don't like bugs spelunking up my nose, generally speaking. I think I'd enjoy outdoor activities a lot more if I owned an air-conditioned astronaut suit. Maybe I should look into purchasing one? Think they have any in the Penny Saver?

Again I was a little concerned I'd be busted by the park rangers for fishing without a license, but I came up with a great way to fool them. Everybody wears their licenses attached to their baseball caps, and the ranger just drives past in his little truck, apparently too goddamned lazy to get off his ass and properly check on things. So, I pinned a napkin to my hat. Pretty slick, huh? Now if I can just avoid an ass-kicking by the other fishermen, I should be home free.

Before we left I was able to snap a few representative photos of life around the lake, using my exciting new photographic system, Kay-O-Vision. It's a secret method, so don't bother asking me how I did it. As soon as the patent is in place, I might reveal some of the details, but until then just enjoy the amazing photographs it's providing us. And get ready for more.

-- Since I'm being especially cruel today, here's some wallpaper I made from a Happy Father's Day picture that appeared in yesterday's Scranton Times. I'm not sure what's going on here, but I'd recommend not looking into that right eye for very long. Seriously, I will not be held responsible if you fail to heed this warning.

-- Finally, here's this week's offering from Chris In Boone. In this episode he gets stabbed during a grilled cheese confrontation. Enjoy.

And that's all. See you on Thursday.

June 12, 2003

-- One of my contact lenses slipped out of the saddle yesterday afternoon, and worked its way deep into my skull. It's not an unusual occurrence, this slipping from the saddle, but the distance it traveled on my eyeball was shocking. When I peeled back my eyelid in front of the bathroom mirror I couldn't even see the thing. It was way up in there. And the fact that it didn't hurt made me wonder if it had popped out, and was now mashed into the tread of one of my shoes? I have to wear expensive hard lenses, because of the clinical fucked-upness of my vision, and losing one is no small thing. It's been known to make me attempt handsprings and say bad words in illogical combinations.

But I could feel its presence somewhere, I guessed, near where the eye cables attach to the brain. It was inching its way deeper and deeper into my head. Hot buttered fuck, what am I going to do?! Could it slip into my bloodstream somehow, and make my heart blow up? I repeatedly pulled my lid almost over the top of my head, and couldn't locate the defiant lens.

I must've been prodding and pulling for a full ten minutes. Should I go to the emergency room? I tried to stick a Q-Tip up there, but that plan didn't bear any fruit at all. Again, I began to panic. What's happening to me? I haven't panicked this often since they instituted mandatory showers after gym in eighth grade. I looked around the bathroom for something flat I could slip into my eye socket. I wondered if a butter knife might do the trick. Shit. I decided to drive to the optometrist's office before I blinded myself, and throw myself on the mercy of the twelve year old girl at the front desk. I hoped I wouldn't start crying.

But then I had an unexpected breakthrough. Without thinking (there was no thinking... only wild flailing) I closed my eyes and rubbed hard with my fists. And when I opened up, there was the contact sitting there, acting all innocent. It was like when our dog Andy takes off after a squirrel, and returns ten minutes later smiling and wagging, while I'm out tripping through people's backyards looking for the shithead. I was glad to see it, but I wanted to put my foot in its ass. I know it's a dime-sized piece of plastic, but I wanted to kick its ass.

I'm losing my grip, aren't I?

-- Have you seen the new commercials for Blue Cross insurance (I think), that features dancing victims of catastrophic medical disasters? The first I saw showed a woman with huge horse teeth gyrating clumsily and telling us she's suffering from breast cancer. But she's apparently so comfortable with her situation -- because of her excellent insurance -- she's able to dance on television like a fool. It freaked me the fuck out. The second has two paunchy men jerking and writhing and sharing their terrifying tale of a fast-moving fire that melted the flesh off their bodies. The Skin Graft Dancers. It made me want to bury my head in the couch, or go to church or something. I'm trying to imagine the meeting where they finally decided to green-light this ad campaign, and just can't. Who in the hell would think this is a good idea? I'm no expert, but I don't think commercials for health insurance should be nightmare generators, and scar an entire generation. Has David Lynch become an advertising exec? Did I miss that article in Entertainment Weekly? Shit.

-- I saw this joke in my latest free issue of Maxim (did you know there's an abundance of tits in that magazine?!), and I thought it was funny enough to steal:

Q: How many kids with ADD does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Wanna go bike riding?

Good stuff.

-- I'm almost positive I saw Larry David driving a forklift in the warehouse yesterday at work. I went down there to grab a Hershey bar with almonds from the machine, and the co-creator of Seinfeld went buzzing past me hauling a load of drywall. I'm really excited. I stayed up late last night putting together a comedy portfolio, and plan to present it to him today, during the late-morning break. This could be the big one, folks. Wish me luck.

-- I'm personally doing what I can to save the music industry. I bought two more full-priced CDs this week, which brings my year-to-date total up to three or four. I picked up the new Fountains of Wayne and the latest album by Eels. Both are fantastic, and earn the prestigious Surf Report Seal of Approval. I purchased them from a cool little indie record store near our house, the kind of place that's apparently part of a dying breed. I generally don't buy into that whole hand-wringing anti-Capitalist concern that Sam Walton and his clones are killing off the small businessman -- but I do hate to see the funky little record stores go away. I have a soft spot in my heart for incense-flavored shops with The Ramones or The Buzzcocks blasting over the loudspeakers, maybe a small dildo and/or "tobacco products" section in the back, a rack of fucked-up magazines, and a guy behind the counter dressed like a rock star with an attitude bigger than Montana: "You may approach the throne." I've spent a sizable part of my life in places like that, and the CD section at Target just doesn't cut it. So, I do my best to support the local freak shop. That is, of course, unless Best Buy is running a good sale. I'm not a complete dumbass.

-- I'm still listening to British talk radio at work every day, specifically a guy named Clive Bull. Sometimes his politics chap my ass, but he's really good and entertaining. The other day he was discussing a new TV show that's on in England right now, and I guarantee it will be stolen by TLC in the coming months. That network, of course, has cashed in big-time by hijacking the concepts of British TV shows and turning them into Trading Spaces, What Not To Wear, etc. etc. This new show is called something like How Dirty Is Your House? and apparently involves a roving team of smart-asses who show up unannounced at people's front doors and offer cash if their cameras are allowed inside to document the filth. They check the shower and bathtubs, under beds, inside the oven, and so on. Supposedly this is a big ratings hit in England, and it's only a matter of time before we get to start seeing suburban squalor right here in the good ol' USA. Remember, you read it here first.

-- I'm going to have to cut this thing short today, because I had an 8 AM doctor's appointment. I just got home. She wanted me to come in to discuss my blood work and, amazingly, everything came back OK. My cholesterol is actually low. I'm shocked. She also said my prostate is "perfect." No woman has ever told me that before, and I appreciate it. And I also appreciate that she can tell that with only a blood test, and doesn't need to roll it between her fingers or whatever they do. She told me I need to watch my salt, and walk three to five miles per day, and come back to see her "as needed." How kick-ass is that? I worried about this for ten years, and now it's over. I'm not sure how I could possibly be healthy, but apparently it's true. This calls for a Yuengling and corndog celebration!

-- Speaking of celebrations...

-- We're thinking about going to West Virginia in a couple of weeks, to visit my parents. Sunshine and Mumbles are supposed to break camp next Friday, and we need to get away from this place for a while. There are just too many bad vibes lurking; the shit needs to be fumigated by time. Before we go, though, I'm considering having one of these things installed on my Blazer. I like to make an impression when I go home.

-- And since we're talking about West Virginia, here's this week's installment of Chronicles of an Educated Hillbilly. In this episode our hero completely loses his shit. Check it out.

And that's going to have to be it for today, boys and girls. Have a great weekend, as they say, and I'll see ya on Monday.


June 9, 2003

-- People like to say "Have a nice weekend!" all the time. It's one of our accepted conversation enders, along with "Well, thanks for calling" and "Goddammit, I'm trying to eat some pork here!" But somehow, against all odds, I actually managed to have a nice weekend this week. Yes, I'm as shocked as you are. I'm trying to put together a list of all the people who told me to have a good one last week, so I can go back to them today and give them a progress report. I think they'd appreciate it, don't you? Nobody seems to bother with that sort of thing. "Hey, remember last week when you told me to have a nice weekend? Well, I had one!" I'll let you know how it turns out.

-- On Friday Toney called me at work and told me the Bitter Brothers Repair Shop had called and said my lawnmower was ready. "Please pick it up!" was the angry message they left on our machine, as if it had been ready for a couple of weeks instead of a couple of minutes. I called them back and the cost to replace the lasagna noodle blade, and a general refurbishing of everything else that was wrong with it, was a few cents shy of sixty bucks. Great balls of shit! As I've said many times before, I hate paying money to get things back to the way they were yesterday. I don't mind forking it over to improve the situation, but it makes me sick to pay good money just to get back to the starting line. Sixty bucks would buy a lot of used CDs and Travis McGee novels, and those are genuine improvements. Through clenched teeth I asked the guy what time they close, and he said four o'clock, as if it's common knowledge and why am I wasting his valuable mower-repairing time with such idiotic questions? Christ!

I raced over there on my lunch break, since I don't get off until six and we had plans on Saturday. My grass needed tending to that night. I'm almost certain the neighbors called an emergency meeting about us late last week. After all, a lawn isn't supposed to sway in the wind. I paid the guy sixty bucks, dumped the mower in our garage, and sped back to work. I ate two McDonald's hamburgers and a sack of salt fries while careening down the interstate. McDonald's food is the best suited for eating at seventy miles an hour, I've learned. It's a fairly clean lunch.

And I mowed the grass after dinner. It didn't go well. There was a substantial amount of clumping. Loads and loads of moist grass would pile up underneath, and deposit itself at irregular intervals all over the lawn. Every once in a while the mower would just say fuck it, and shut itself off. It actually looked worse than before I started. 

My blood pressure was peaking, and I felt panicked. I decided I'd mow it again, and maybe mulch the shit down. I went against the grain the second time, and it still looked terrible. It may have been my imagination, but I think the neighbors were all out on their porches, watching the spectacle at hand.

All I could do was get out a rake. And so, I was out there until after nine o'clock, like some crazed Amish man tending the fields. I only stopped when it got too dark to see what I was raking. I collected three giant trash bags full of wet grass, from the front yard alone. Each bag weighs roughly 700 lbs. Many things went through my mind as I desperately dragged that stick with the big metal hand on the end of it. Most of them had to do with the lack of Mexicans in Scranton, and the resulting high price of professional lawn care -- and the feasibility of selling our house and moving into an old folk's home. What's the age requirement on something like that? I think I'm ready.

The cool part was that the next morning the front yard looked pretty damn good. It was raining and everything was really green and neat. My muscles ached, but I could see actual results and it made me happy. I think it was that satisfaction of a job well-done I've heard so much about. Ha! I'd always thought that was all bullshit.

-- We were planning to go to an amusement park on Saturday, called Knoebel's, but it was raining and the forecast for the rest of the day wasn't very good either. So, instead of roller coasters and corn dogs, it was apparently going to be a day of sitting on couches and watching home movies with Sunshine and Mumbles. They came over early and had many tapes in tow. After a lengthy jag of Sunshine complaining about the weather, Pennsylvania people, and horrible drivers, they popped in a tape.

Everything that came onto the screen prompted a new round of complaints and negativity. Look how nice your Atlanta house was! You'll never have a house like that again. Look how level the yard is! Is that actual sun in the sky?? It went on and on. Finally I cornered Toney in the kitchen and told her I didn't plan on sitting in the house all day, and wallowing in self-pity. I got the hell out of there. I didn't even bother with a lame excuse this time. My heart was racing as I tore ass out of the driveway. I think I'm only a few months away from my first Tony Soprano anxiety attack.

I was perusing a rack of zines at Gallery of Sound, and my cell phone rang. It was my friend Steve. He was in town and wanted to stop by for a few minutes. How about we meet at Borders instead, I suggested. And so we looked around the bookstore for an hour or so, and shot the shit. Somebody said we should go for a drink, and we made our way to the cantina at Don Pablo's. Steve's wife had a margarita, and Steve and I had comically oversized Yuengling lagers. It was pleasant and nice, and not at all negative. I felt the pressure slipping away.

And when I got home (five minutes before dinner) everybody was huddled around the TV pointing out how everything was much better before we moved to Scranton. I saw myself walk across the screen in a huge Hawaiian shirt, looking like a big fat fag. Simply excellent. Luckily, the refrigerator in the basement held many more lagers.

-- I'm not sure who was the culprit, but there was a comma of coal-black shit in the upstairs toilet that night. It was high above the water line, attached to the side wall of the bowl. How in the hell?? I flushed before I did anything, to try to wash away the defecation punctuation, but it only wiggled in the water. It was really attached, and alarmingly dark in color. I tried to blast it away with my urine stream, but it held fast. Later that night it was gone. I don't know what happened to it, and didn't feel comfortable asking around.

-- After S&M left, Toney and I watched back-to-back episodes of Trading Spaces, and tried to make the best of our horrible horrible life here in northeastern PA, as bad drivers drove around outside in the pouring rain.

-- Speaking of Trading Spaces, I was checking out a book about the show at Borders, and Steve had never heard of it. I tried to explain, and he looked at me sideways and said, "So, it's about interior decorating?" I felt ashamed.

-- On Sunday we all went to the park, and I went fishing with Mumbles. Yes, you read that correctly. It turned out to be a lot of fun. Mumbles is a nice guy; I don't have a problem with him at all. It's his "better half" that's the problem. He brought along two fishing poles, and a big ol' tackle box, and we spent the day standing on a pier waiting for something to happen. It never did, but it was quiet and soothing, and we got to do quite a bit of quality people-watching. And I re-learned the art of casting. I probably hadn't been fishing since I was twelve years old, but it all came back.

When we arrived there were two thoroughbred bull dykes standing on the edge of the lake, fly-fishing. They were holding the line with their left hands, and flicking the pole back and forth with authority. They kept pulling big-ass creatures out of the water, and putting them in a bucket. They had their fishing licenses attached to their baseball caps. Professional lesbian fishermen, on a Sunday afternoon. I tried to push aside the obvious jokes that kept popping into my mind.

There was an Asian guy at the end of the pier who also knew what he was doing. He yanked a huge carp out of the lake, and threw it back. He looked at us and said he only keeps bass, then showed us a three-pounder he had in his bucket. A little while later his cell phone rang and he acted all nervous after he heard who was on the other end. After a few seconds of pleasantries he told the person that he was at home packing, and he'd be ready soon. After he hung up he packed up his shit and left in a hurry.

Before he left, though, two men went across the lake in a row boat, and were arguing loudly. Actually it seemed to be a one-sided argument. We could only hear one of them, and he was spewing obscenities. "Fuck you!" he yelled. "Get the fuck out of the boat!!" They were in the middle of the lake and he was telling the other guy to get out of the boat. It went on forever, and everybody on the pier and the shore were watching and laughing. The guy who was supposed to be home packing said, "I think that's Ozzy Osbourne!" and everybody roared with laughter. Then from across the lake a voice could be heard screaming, "You've ruined my fucking day! Suck my dick!!" I hadn't heard that last phrase since I graduated high school, and I gave the man points for appreciating the classics.

Mumbles and I didn't have fishing licenses, so we kept one eye open for the park ranger. But every time he went past in his ranger-mobile, we could hear Bad Company blasting out of the windows, so we didn't take him too seriously. Later we saw him up-close and he looked to be about fourteen, and clearly couldn't give a rat's ass about anything but trolling for young park skank. We were able to fish in peace, and for free, because of his raging horniness. A real break.

Before we left I overheard a group of grizzled old fishermen, who were sprawled out in lawn chairs drinking beer, discussing their wives. One of them said that he doesn't have a wife anymore, but he had plenty of them in the past. And he added, "Every few years you've got to trade them in, to keep things fresh." And they all howled with drunken laughter.

We didn't catch a damn thing, didn't even get a nibble, but I had a blast. I want to do it some more. I might go out and buy my own pole and shit. Fishing amongst characters and the criminally insane sure beats hell out of sitting in chairs and complaining about the weather. Sunshine may actually turn me into an outdoorsman before it's all over, and who could've predicted that? If she sticks around much longer I might be repelling off cliff faces, and jumping out of planes.

-- I'm out of time here (can you tell I'm rushing?), but this is pretty damn funny. It doesn't have anything to do with the weekend, other than I found it in a newsgroup on Saturday. Good stuff. Supposedly it's a real letter received by a real hospital. Enjoy.

-- And, finally, here's another mind-boggling Florida update from Chris. In this episode he gets into a fist-fight with a Major League baseball player. Man, oh man. My life is so dull. I can't believe I just wrote at length about mowing the grass...

See ya Thursday.

June 5, 2003

-- Three years ago I bought a new computer at Circuit City. It was somewhere in the neighborhood of a thousand bucks, a metric shitload of money in my world. But... they offered to knock $400 off the price if I'd agree to a three-year contract with Compuserve. Hmmm, I thought, I have to pay somebody to get on the Internet, why not pay Compuserve and get that big price break? I took the bait, and accepted their dirty money.

It may not have been a deal with the devil -- that would be an exaggeration -- but in retrospect it was clearly a deal with one of the devil's high-ranking helpers.

I had to call up Earthlink and cancel my service, which was hard because I was one of their original customers, and I really liked them. I'd been with those California dope-smokers since I bought my first computer in Atlanta, and now I'd betrayed them for cheap whore money. It might seem silly, but I actually felt sad about it. Then I popped in the Compuserve disc, and started feeling really sad.

Shit didn't work right, and there was always something clicking and gyrating in the background. Pop-ups were everywhere, and there was no way to change your start page from the horrible Compuserve website -- which routinely offered the latest news about Britney Spears and advice on how to become a better word-search puzzler. Links in e-mails had to be copied and pasted, you couldn't just click on them, and Yahoo mail wouldn't work at all. And did I mention all the clicking and gyrating? The shit was noisy, and really slow.

Dear God, what have I done??

But I adapted (I'm very good at adapting) and learned to work around all the irritating stuff. For three years I shared my life with Compuserve, and we somehow figured out a way to peacefully co-exist. I became intimately acquainted with the alt, control, and delete buttons, but I made it work.

It's all over now, though. My contract has been fulfilled, and I feel not an ounce of loyalty towards those evil link butchers. They're out of here, like yesterday's Swanson dinner. The guy on the phone asked why I'd decided to cancel, and I said, "Because ya suck!"

On Tuesday I returned home, to Earthlink, and I couldn't be happier. It's quiet and normal and solid, the pop-ups are blocked, the e-mail makes sense... I feel like I've been cured of some mild handicap, and have consistent use of my index fingers again.

I considered DSL or some high-speed service, but I'm cheap. Remember? That's how I got myself into Compuserve purgatory to begin with. My computer is now three years old, the rough equivalent of Bob Hope's age in computer years. Plugging DSL into this thing would be like dropping a Corvette motor into a 1973 Plymouth Scamp. So, until I upgrade I'll just use Earthlink dial-up again. Good ol' dope-smoke hippie Earthlink. Ya gotta love 'em.

And how many of you can say you love your ISP?

-- I'm dealing with a new guy at work. He's in California, and has only been with the company for a few weeks. Seems nice enough, but he's afraid to curse. Every once in a while he gets right to edge of letting one rip, but pulls himself back at the last second. This irritates me for some reason; it doesn't seem natural. I've tried to give him permission, by peppering my own speech with a litany of fucks and goddamns, but so far it hasn't worked. Usually if you break the fuck ice, it clears the air and everybody's happy, but not with this guy. A couple of days ago I called him with news of the latest operational emergency and he said, "Son... Of... A... Beekeeper!" What the hell is that? I obviously still have some more work to do.

-- I haven't spoken to Mark about this, but last night I came up with yet another project for the two of us to plan and never get around to working on. I was thinking it might be interesting to make a short film about the Brady Bunch characters before they became the Brady Bunch. It would deal specifically with the period when the kids were losing their real parents. It would be really dark and bleak and completely devoid of humor; it would have the feel of a foreign art film -- loaded with inexplicable shots of pigeons flying and beheaded statues and shit. It would be in black and white, of course, and would include extended hospital scenes, funerals, and quite a bit of hysterical sobbing. I think it could be fabulous. Mark, give me a call on this when you get the chance.

-- I don't know anything about this restaurant, but I do know they're my kind of people.

-- I still don't have my lawnmower back from Bitter Brothers Lawnmower Repair Shop, or whatever it's called. Our grass is so high it looks like we're living in an abandoned house. I called yesterday to get a progress report and the guy acted like I'd requested permission to plunge my hands down his wife's pants. I was trying to figure out who he reminds me of, and yesterday it came to me. You know that guy on Everybody Loves Raymond -- Robert's Italian girlfriend's scary-ass father? Well, this lawnmower repairman looks and acts just like him. He's absolutely terrifying. I might just leave my mower there, and go buy a new one.

-- What do dogs do for entertainment? I can't get Andy interested in any of the movies I watch, and he seems frightened when I attempt to slip my stereo headphones on him. I feel bad because he doesn't do much that's fun. He mostly just lays around and licks and gnaws his genitalia. Does Playstation have any games that are mailman themed?

-- Did I dream this, or did I recently read somewhere that Whitney Houston is trying to become a Jew? Can that possibly be true, or should I cut down on the taco salads?

-- You know what sounds really good in the shower? Midnight Oil's "Beds Are Burning." I sing it in there almost every day. The acoustics make my voice sound just like that bald Australian giant. I like to talk real loud like an old black man in the shower as well. It sounds cool.

-- It's Thursday, so that means it's time for another installment of Chronicles of an Educated Hillbilly by "Buck." In this episode we meet the town drunk, and laugh at him. Here 'tis.

-- And finally, here are a few links I found enjoyable this week:

At this site you can build your own customized Freaky Frank. Be sure to toss in a few Barbie heads. Tasty.

If this article were true, Stinky Ukraine would be on the cover of People magazine as the world's sexiest man -- instead of sitting in a lawn chair in Scranton eating kielbasa and scratching his nuts.

And this guy has issued a warning that we're in the midst of A Crisis In Pubic Hair! We're very near the end, people. You know that, right?

Have a great weekend, while you still can.

                              

June 2, 2003

-- It poured down rain here all weekend (goddamn Bush administration...), and there was a lot of flooding and such. Sunshine and Mumbles' travel trailer was nearly washed out to sea. Or so we were led to believe. They fled their campground in a flurry of high drama early Sunday morning, and used our house like a Red Cross shelter. To hear Sunshine tell it, they barely escaped with their lives. It sounded like a scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark, with a giant wall of water chasing them through the woods.

Of course, the net result was that they hung around our house all day and compared everything to their previous life in Reno. In Reno it doesn't rain like this. In Reno we never have flooding. In Reno the volume on a television will go much higher. And I kept glancing at the clock, mentally coaxing the hands to a position where society doesn't judge a person as harshly if he has a cocktail or two.

But it'll all be over soon. That's what I keep telling myself. June 18 is the day they're breaking camp, and taking their Caravan of Bitterness back to North Carolina. I may parade through the streets with a Chinese dragon on that day. West Virginia boys don't generally have an abundance of experience with Oriental paper dragons, but I'm willing to give it a go.

-- I had to take my lawnmower in for repairs on Saturday. Friday night I fired it up and there was a loud clacking sound, like a mental patient pounding his forehead against aluminum siding. I didn't think it sounded quite right, but hoped it would go away if I just ignored it. I pushed the laboring machine onto the grass and it quickly ate a large groove in the sod and shut down in a rolling ball of smoke. What in the pan-fried hell?! I turned the mower up on its side and the blades were all fucked up, and resembled cooked lasagna noodles. It was like something off a cartoon. How it happened, I'm not exactly sure.

The next morning I took the mower to a repair shop a few miles from our house. I had previous experience with these guys, and friendly is not a word that jumps immediately to mind. They seem to have a disdain for their customers (or is it just me?!), and shoot dirty looks at everyone who passes through their doors. Large-mouth resentment seems to be the catch of the day. They also say "Christ!" a lot.

An old fart who didn't appear to be busy at all let me stand there for a few minutes, just to establish who was in control. Finally he ambled over and grunted an order at me to tell him the problem. I was in a friendly mood and started to tell him the whole semi-humorous tale about how the mower had collapsed and I'd apparently done some damage underneath, but he cut me off. "What's the problem?!" he wanted to know -- no amateur comedy, just get to the point, fatty. "The blade," I mumbled. He tilted it over and said, "Christ!"

It'll be at least a week before I can pick it up, according to Old Man Happy, and I was too terrified to ask him for a cost. My yard looks like a prairie now, and needs a good mowing or two, but I wasn't about to push him on the completion date. And I'll gladly pay whatever price they choose to charge me. Oh, those guys are about to blow, and I don't want to be around when they start lopping off heads with a Toro S-17 Sta-Sharp. Whatever they say is fine by me. Just don't hurt me with a length of sharpened metal.

I'm starting to sense a bit of a morale issue here in Scranton. Seriously. When I'm the pie-in-the-sky optimist, son, there's a problem. These people make me look like an I'm OK, You're OK hippie freak. I may as well be dancing around with daisies and unkempt facial hair.

-- I was flipping through the new Entertainment Weekly while taking a power dump this weekend, and saw something that disturbs me. They have a full-page ranking of all TV shows from the 2002-2003 season, and I've never even heard of the number one show. CSI. What is that? Does it have something to do with accounting? I'm not trying to be goofy, I've seriously never heard of it. And five of the other top ten spots are "reality" shows. I haven't seen one minute of any one of them. I'd rather work a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle of a cat face than watch Joe Millionaire. But at least I've heard of it, and made a conscious decision to stay away.

Friends, Law & Order, and Everybody Loves Raymond are comfortable. Those I can live with. I'm kinda shocked people are still watching ER -- wasn't it originally on against The Jeffersons?? But, whatever. It's kinda depressing. I used to be all about popular culture, and now I've obviously lost my edge completely. I've never heard of, or have a clue about, the most popular television show in America. How did this happen, at such a young age?

Can somebody tell me about this CSI? It doesn't have anything to do with Canada, does it? That C makes me nervous.

-- I actually bought a new CD yesterday. I picked up the new White Stripes album for $9.99 at Best Buy. Nobody asked me, but I think music sales would increase dramatically if the prices were all ten bucks or less. I'd sure buy a lot more stuff. When I was a youngster with a paper route, and just getting into music, LPs were $5.99. You could take a twenty dollar bill to the record store and go crazy. Nowadays you get one thing -- and you better not make a mistake bucko. With the music industry in the shitter, and the Internet kicking its flabby ass, it's time to get back to the good old days.

Maybe I'm a relic of a previous era, but I'd still rather buy a CD than download a bunch of stuff and burn it to a Memorex disc. But I ain't paying mall prices, goddammit; I'm not a complete idiot. Whenever I walk into one of those FYE stores I feel sleazy and sad. I think their motto is: we will charge whatever price we want, and there are people out there who will pay it. Hahahaha!! It's the same feeling I get when one of my co-workers start trying to sell me on the incredible benefits of Amway.

-- Sunday was our dog Andy's birthday. He's two, or fourteen, depending on how you look at it. Andy (aka Black Lips Houlihan) and I have forged a special bond over the past twenty or so months, built largely on potato chips and spaghetti with meat sauce. He's one of the good guys. I hope you'll all join me today in hoisting a large plastic container of tap water in his honor... Salut!

-- Where does dust come from? I cleaned up the bunker on Sunday, and everything was really dusty in here. My Beavis and Butthead dolls required a vigorous slapping together. Toney says that dust is made up largely of dry skin. Can that be true? Do fat people have dustier houses than their flesh-challenged skinny brethren? Is my large fleshy back right now spewing dust particles like a snow maker at a ski resort? It's kind of creepy to think that my computer screen is covered in a thin layer of human skin. If I let it go long enough will it start growing hair? That just doesn't seem right to me. I'd rather believe it's just filth. I'm at peace with filth.

-- I'm starting to get really tired of this Laci Peterson story. I mean, I'm sorry that she was killed and her body washed up in hunks in San Francisco, but I think they're going a little overboard (so to speak) with the news coverage. For unknown reasons I watched about fifteen minutes of Larry King the other night, and he had people on there spouting some of the most crazy-ass speculation I've ever heard. "Well Larry, let's not forget that if the dead baby had been wrapped in heavy brown paper and spent some time on a UPS truck, that could explain the piece of tape around its neck..." "You know Larry, the Fritos bag that was sucked up against Laci's neck stump is a clear indicator that we're dealing with devil worshipers..." It's out of control. Here's a little unsolicited speculation from a non-expert: The husband killed her and hurled her body into the sea. Thank you. I'm available for TV appearances, weeknights, five to ten eastern. Please contact my agent, Ms. Kay Toney.

-- Speaking of large fleshy backs, they're building a Cracker Barrel in Wilkes-Barre. Soon I will be within comfortable driving distance to thick... smoky... bacon... Mmmm.

-- Here are the movies I've watched over the past ten days or so: Adaptation, Blind Side, Two Weeks Notice, Spirit of '76 (starring David Cassidy, the two guys from Redd Kross, Devo, and Leif Garrett!), and Final Destination 2. All were at least mildly entertaining.

-- I saw a woman in Wal-Mart on Saturday who had eyes on the side of her head, and (I shit you not) grooves in her neck that resembled gills. I wanted to pull her husband aside and warn him to keep her out of the fishing department. "Don't look at the lures, honey! Dear god, look away from the shiny things!!"

-- Finally, here's another excellent installment of Chris's Sin and Sun in Sarasota, for your Monday enjoyment.

Have a great week, folks.

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Copyright 2003 by Jeffrey S. Kay.  All rights reserved.