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You don't understand. I'm a mysterious loner, not lonely.









A bowl of corn, motherfuckers.



Do I smell wiener?



I'm loaded with tumors darling, and I don't even know it.



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   The State of My Fat Ass                                         April 2005

April 29, 2005

-- This is gonna have to be super-quick... Toney's in a full-on frenzy upstairs, running around and getting ready for the trip. She's not gonna let me sit in front of this computer for too long. So, if the update ends in mid-sentence, you'll know what happened; she will have come in here with one of those big hooks they use in cartoons to pull bad performers off a stage, and yanked my sorry ass out of this chair. So I'd better get to it.

-- We're out of here tomorrow morning. We have reservations at a place near Richmond for Saturday night, where it is scheduled to rain all friggin' day. So, we'll most likely be setting up our camp ankle-deep in slop, and will probably have moist and sandy Wendy's burgers for dinner, all four of us and a dog packed inside our ridiculous rolling box of beds.

But after tomorrow the forecast looks pretty good. Mid-70s, not much rain predicted... I can dig it.

On Sunday, if all goes well, we'll arrive in Myrtle Beach, at one of their massive "camping resorts" that are almost literally the size of my hometown. I have money set aside for a week's rental of a golf cart, Toney hand-picked our site with location of bath house in mind, and my parents will be there in their big-ass Shania Twain tour bus. All the ingredients of a really nice week are in place. 

Wish us luck.

Of course I'll take plenty of pictures, and keep detailed notes about our adventures in my new fancy-pants adventures notebook, and will tell you all about it when I get back. If you're not already tired of hearing about Myrtle Beach, SC, you will be soon. Mark my words.

One day near the end of the week we may ask my parents to watch the Secrets, so Toney and I can take a day trip to Charleston. We used to go there a lot when we lived in Atlanta, but haven't been back in years. It's one of our favorite places. The plan is to spend a few hours kicking around the city, then free-falling into chairs here, and eating ourselves right up to the cusp of a blackout. Hopefully it'll all work out.

I may also cast into the sea a few Surf Report-themed messages in bottles. There won't be any shortage of bottles around our camp, believe me, and I've always wanted to do something like that. What should I put on the notes? What should I say to our friends in Russia, or China, or wherever?

And remember, I now have the special internet hotline in place, TheWVSR red phone, so don't be shy about using it. You folks are going to have to be my eyes and ears while I'm cut off from society next week. Keep me updated at thewvsr(at) I'll try to check it every evening. And I'll be especially interested in your thoughts about the LA Times piece on Sunday. 

...Yikes. Why does my sphincter flex every time I think about that?

-- I guess we're going to go back to Lowe's in a little while and buy that stupid clothes dryer. Toney called them yesterday and they have them back in stock. Don't bother busting my balls about it, because I'm already doing that myself. My inner-bastard is telling me to never go there again. But what options do we have, really? We could go to Sears, I guess, but that place rubs me the wrong way too. I don't like salesmen who work on commission, and I don't like salesmen who don't work on commission. Go figure.

A few people left smirking comments the other day about us doing business with large corporations. But what would you have us do, fashion a new dryer out of hemp? I don't want to spend the money it costs even at one of these big discount stores, I sure as hell don't want to fork over an extra hundred bucks for the privilege of shopping at Big Bob's Appliance and Hoagie Stand out on Highway 14.

Screw it. We'll just return to the sprawling temple of indifference and get this unpleasantness behind us. Just another day in paradise...

-- A mathematics instructor at a large university here in the greatish state of Pennsylvania is reportedly going to use our Deadwood fuck-count today in a statistics class. At least that's what he tells me. Can this possibly be true? I asked him to get the class together at the end, and have them pose with the Smoking Fish. I sure hope that happens. Stay tuned.

-- And speaking of the Smoking Fish, he's been spotted once again. This time at a radio station in Denver! Check it out.

-- And that'll just about do it, I guess. If you need something to read while I'm away, please allow me to suggest Krista Garcia. Back in the day Krista published one of the best zines around, The Scaredy Cat Stalker. She's a hell of a writer, and really funny, and has been quietly maintaining her online journal since 1998(!). In fact, it's what gave me the idea to start this very site; I began reading her back in late 1999, and thought, "Hmmm... maybe I could do that?" So if you're

April 28, 2005

-- Last night I watched the Eels (or is it just Eels?) on the Tonight Show, from Tuesday. Sounded really good, but what I saw was a little baffling. He did an acoustic song and had about twenty people on stage with him. I'm not sure what they were all doing there, because E was just strumming a guitar and crooning. 

I think he may have brought a bunch of his friends along, just for laughs. I have a feeling that if we could somehow zoom in on those folks in the background we'd learn that they weren't really shaking exotic percussion instruments, or singing cross-harmonies, or anything like that. I believe we'd see that they were holding stuff from around the offices there at NBC, like staplers or fried fruit pies or wingtip shoes. 

I believe E had a few pints one night, and told everyone at the bar that he'd get them on Leno. I really do.

In any case, I can't recommend the new album highly enough. Ya gotta get it. It's not exactly rockin' but it's really really good. Entertainment Weekly says it's an "absolute stone masterpiece," and I think they're right on the money this time.

If/when E brings his gang of stapler shakers to Philadelphia this summer, I'll be there with a belly full of beer, singing along and embarrassing myself. It's become a tradition.

-- My vacation starts tomorrow. We're not leaving town until Saturday, but I decided to take Friday off to get ready. I'm really bad about not getting my shit together until the last possible second, and end up running around like a mental patient on the morning we're supposed to leave. So, on paper, I have all day tomorrow to get packed, and all my proverbial ducks in a row.

The goal is to be able to get out of bed Saturday morning, have a shower and a couple of leisurely cups of coffee, walk out to the Surf Report company car, and just go. That's what we're shooting for, a stress-free departure for a change.

My big challenge is going to be in the packing of my clothes and stuff. I bought a big duffle bag over the winter and made a public vow to only take along what can fit inside the thing. I'm notorious for packing way too much. Toney's forever saying things like, "Do you really think you're going to need a rack of neckties at the beach? And what are you going to do with all those baseball caps, have a scrimmage?" But I like to be prepared. Ya know?

And, by the way... The campground where we'll be staying reportedly has several internet kiosks in their lobby. Toney won't let me take along the laptop, but I have a feeling I'll be sneaking off to their nerd-stations whenever I get the chance. So, if anything extra-crazy happens, as it seems to do quite often these days, let me know.

I've set up a special gmail account for the occasion: thewvsr(at) My main address is now so clogged with spam it's all but impenetrable. So use this new hotline and it'll save me from having to wade through all the garbage from people wanting to refinance my erection, or whatever. In fact, I probably won't even look at the regular mailbox while I'm away. So keep me in the loop, folks, over at gmail! I'm gonna be cut off from society and need your help. I appreciate it.

Oh, and if you read the LA Times article on Sunday and have an opinion on it, I'm all ears (eyes). I need all the reassuring I can get on that front. I'm hoping I won't need to leave the country, I really am. I've grown quite fond of America.

-- On a semi-related note, a reader named Sid sends along a very interesting item. It's reportedly an autograph from Ian McShane, Deadwood's scary-ass, but lovable, Al Swearingen -- on a print-out of our fuck page. Check it out. Very cool!

-- And here's something I really enjoyed, by yet another Ian: dead baby-themed humor from Ed's own Phil Stubbs! Excellent.

-- And now I'm gonna turn it over to the able hands of our good friend Buck, and get this one last day of work behind me.

See ya tomorrow.

April 27, 2005

-- It's overcast and gray here today, with just a touch of misting rain. Perfect! All my life I've loved days like these. Maybe there was a mix-up at the hospital with the Addams Family when I was born (I am the same body-type as Pugsley), I don't know. But the grayness and the overcastness just puts me in a good mood. I've even broken out one of my favorite gray day albums: Paul McCartney's London Town. Ahh, life is good today in the bunker. Real good.

-- I'm getting a lot of questions about my weekend movie choices, and I apologize for not following up on this important issue. I'm sad to report that I didn't get as much done as I'd hoped; I only watched one movie, all weekend. And that was Clerks. I'd seen it once before, years ago. But the beauty of being slightly brain-damaged is that you can watch the same things over and over again, and it's always like the first time. I loved it, as I remember loving it the first time 'round.

But I still have a bunch of films stacking up in the DVR, and not many of them are being digested. Last night I free-fell into the chair with my outsize bowl of salted peanuts in the shell, bent on watching It Came From Outer Space. I got to the part where the monster made an exact replica of the Professor from Gilligan's Island, and that's all I remember. I woke up around midnight with my neck wrenched to the side, and my lap covered in shells.

I've returned to my old schedule of getting up every day at 5 am, and it's kicking my ass again. The problem, you see, is that I don't really adjust things on the other end. I'm nocturnal by nature, and the thought of going to bed at 9:30 or 10:00 seems crazy to me. It feels like mid-afternoon. So I'm just shaving an hour or so per day from my already minimal sleep allotments. And so it goes...

-- Something somebody said to me yesterday reminded me of an episode from one of my previous lives. And it's something that still bugs me a little. Maybe you folks can help?

Back when I was but an ugly youngster in West Virginia, I responded to an ad in the newspaper for some outfit known as Magnet Bank. They were hiring tellers, they claimed, for their planned invasion of our area with their new style of banks. I'm still not clear on what their concept was exactly, but I think they were trying to be hip and cool. Their branches would be in malls and places like that, and they'd be "fun" and not stodgy like most banks.

I was probably nineteen or twenty at the time, and thought such a gig wouldn't be too bad. Heck, I could count money and force myself to be respectable for eight hours. I was sure of it. And it would certainly beat the hell out of stocking the feminine napkin aisle at Fas-Chek market. So I called the number, and they scheduled an interview.

The address they gave me was in some out-of-the-way section of Charleston, not far from the original Fazio's Restaurant. It was mostly industrial, warehouse-type places over there, and it seemed kind of odd to me. But I had it right, and eventually found the place.

It was crawling with other ugly prospective tellers, and had a slight feel of a cattle call. It was inside one of the warehouses and they had us all fill out applications and whatnot, then wait for our name to be called.

When I was finally allowed to approach the throne, I was led behind a temporary partition and introduced to a woman who looked a little like Velma from Scooby Doo. (So much for hip.) She told me to sit down, and explained that the "interview" would consist of but one question, and the way each of us answered that question would determine if we were Magnet material.

Then she said, "What would you do if I gave you an elephant?"

I didn't get the job, and it's something that's kind of nagged at me ever since. What is the correct way to answer such a stupid-ass question, and what does it have to do with banks anyway?? Please help me with this, people; I need closure.

-- A reader sent me this article yesterday, about a boy vacationing in Italy, and trying to "hold it" until he returns home to his familiar toilet. I'm unclear on why he thought I might relate to such a tale, but there you go...

-- I received a CARE package yesterday from my buddy Brad, in Greensboro, and it contained a DVD copy of this. Yes! I've attempted to rent that thing at least twice, and there's never a copy to be found. Now it's a part of the permanent Surf Report library. Thanks, Bradley. I see a Surf Report Shirt 2.0 in your future, my friend.

-- Finally, here's another excellent offering from Metten, to close out the category.

And that'll do it for today, folks. It looks like some fog is starting to roll in outside, and I couldn't be happier about it. London Town is over, and now I've got Billie Holiday playing. It's a veritable festival of gloominess around here!

See ya tomorrow.

April 26, 2005

-- I gave our dog Andy a bath over the weekend. If he's going to be riding with us in a confined space all the way to South Carolina, then, by god, he needs to smell a little less doggy. Yeah, he thinks we're picking on him, but it's something that's expected of the whole family.

Of course it's required by the dog union that he make a huge deal about this little twenty minute slice of his life. After he hears the water running in the tub upstairs, the site of past shampoo-based crimes, he has to shake like Hepburn out ice-fishing, hide under the dining room table, and slink around the house with his eyes darting here and there. To do otherwise would be a violation of his vows.

And this time he added something new to his performance: he snapped at me. When I reached down to grab him, he gave me a little half-assed snarl and clacked his teeth together in the vicinity of my hand. He's pushing his luck with that crap. I'm the person who keeps him in spaghetti, after all. Do you think Toney would ever cook him up a special pasta supper, complete with breadstick? Ha! Now he's going to bite me? He goes down that road too often and I'll put his ass on eBay, and start the bidding at $15.

I had a hell of a time getting him into the bathroom, because he was spreading his feet out in all directions to make it difficult to pass through doorways. And when we finally reached the bathroom proper, he made one last attempt to wriggle and shape-shift from my arms. At one point he was attempting to claw his way up the linen closet door. Next time I should probably wear a beekeeper suit, for personal protection. When he gets those Freddie Krueger claws to-goin' I imagine things could turn real bad real quick.

But I finally got him in the tub, and he stood there like a statue as I scrubbed his funky, tangy ass. He just stared straight ahead and blinked a lot as I put him through the horrible, horrible ordeal. Then I rinsed him with my trusty Fat Tuesday's dog-rinsing cup, dried him a little, and set him free.

He rocketed from the bathroom with the power of something spring-loaded. He ripped from room to room, up and down steps, rolled around on his back, did that crazy dog-shake thing a few times, rubbed his body against furniture... It was insanity for a little while, and I was concerned about our safety.

And for the rest of the day, and on into Monday, he wouldn't have anything to do with me. I'd call his name and he'd pretend not to hear me, just kept looking off in the opposite direction. A few times he actually shot me dirty looks over his doggy shoulder, as he defiantly exited the room.

Who came up with the idea of keeping animals in the house, anyway? Sometimes it seems insane to me. What am I, an asshole here, washing dogs and shit?

-- But it was another item scratched off our Myrtle Beach Preparedness List, and that's a good thing. Later today I'm going to buy a new travel notebook, for the 2005 season. The new edition of my complaints and whining journal. I love buying notebooks, it's one of my things. They represent possibilities, if you can dig it. I'm gonna get myself a good one this year. A real good one. It's time to add to the travelogue.

-- Finally, it appears that the Smoking Fish is now out of Tennessee, and has been spending some time in Ohio. Here's your proof.

And I promise to do better tomorrow. Sweet Jesus. This is what happens when you get no sleep.

See ya.

April 25, 2005

-- We've just about reached the end of the line with our busted clothes dryer.

Over the weekend Toney washed a load of towels and used the solar drying system (a length of fucking rope), and it was a most unsatisfactory experience. I grabbed one of those brittle pieces of crap before I went into the shower yesterday morning, and it was still in the shape of a towel hanging over a clothesline. It was like one of those yellow "Caution Wet Floor" signs they put out in fast food joints, so you can't sue after you slip and blow a hole in your neck. I'm not joking, you could've sat this thing up in the middle of the family room; it was just a solid upside-down V. And when I "dried" my face with it, it felt like I was rubbing an onion sack across my skin. Imagine patting your ass down with a giant saltine, and you're in the right neighborhood.

And yesterday afternoon I had to go to the laundromat. Toney took the Secrets to their swimming class, so I washed up some stuff and hauled it to the coin laundry. To be honest, it wasn't that bad, but it brought back quite a few unpleasant memories.

I took along a book and tried to read, but my underwear was tumbling and rolling as if it were on a giant 45-inch plasma screen. I mean, there were college girls in there; couldn't they make the glass a little smaller? Shit. I think I read the same paragraph fifteen times.

And there was some guy there who smelled like frozen pizza, and just couldn't sit still. He kept monkeying with his stuff, opening and closing the dryer doors. He'd plop down in a chair, sit there for ten seconds and bounce his knee up and down, then jump up and start screwing around with his crap again. God, how that frozen pizza man got on my nerves... Sit still ya freakin' freak.

When Toney got home from the pool we had a talk about our dryer situation (my contribution: "This is bullshit!"), and decided to go to Lowe's and just buy a new one with one of our trusty credit cards. We said we weren't going to do that, we were going to wait until we got back from our trip and try to pay cash for one, but enough is enough. I'm drying my ass with a cracker here!

Unfortunately, it was not to be. At least not right away.

Lowe's was a madhouse and we couldn't get anyone to help us or answer our questions. We picked out a machine that would suit our needs, and wasn't too expensive, but nobody would give us the time of day in there. I was in one of my "moods" and wasn't inclined to put up with much nonsense. Toney asked some old guy to help us and he almost literally turned his back on her. I couldn't believe it. I started looking around for the hammer department.

We were finally successful in grabbing the attention of an actual Lowe's employee, and he said, "Oh, do you folks have another question?" Another? We hadn't had a chance to ask the first one yet. 

I wasn't very nice to the man, I must admit. We got off on the wrong foot, and it didn't go very well. Within seconds we were trying to stare each other down, like sumo wrestlers before full-engagement begins. He didn't have any of those dryers in stock, he said, try back on Thursday. Then he shot me another dirty look, and that was that.

After I hollered, "Oh, forget it, pal. Sears is right up the street!" and walked off in a huff, he did manage to write down the model number for Toney, and cut some kind of tentative deal with her. Apparently we're going to check back before we leave for the beach, and have the thing delivered as soon as we return. And all this was done with me halfway up the doorknob aisle, muttering obscenities and waving my arms around.

We had to stop at the customer service desk for something or other, and they wouldn't help us either. There were two or three butch women working on computers back there, and they kept looking up at us, then going back to work. Just incredible. I took out my cell phone and called the store, and told the person who answered that the family standing at the friggin' customer service desk needed some help. Butchette Number Two, who reluctantly helped us, shot me some of the same looks as I was receiving back in appliances.

Yes, I made a lot of friends yesterday. But there's no excuse for half that stuff. And, as incredible as it seems, I think Home Depot is even worse. You're almost literally on your own in those places. I'm getting irritated just thinking about it...

-- Too bad Toney's grandfather isn't still alive. He was reportedly a gangster, an honest to goodness wise guy, and could've hooked us up with a new dryer the same way he did for Toney's mother back in the day. She was young, with two little kids, and was complaining (hard to believe, but apparently it was true) about having to do her laundry at laundromats. Her dad overheard this, and the next day a couple of his men showed up at her apartment with a really nice washer and dryer combination. The only problem: the dryer still had somebody else's clothes in it. ...Is that a great story, or what?

-- On Friday I received an email from a writer with the Los Angeles Times, who said he wanted to talk to me about the Deadwood fuck page. Holy crapballs! We hooked up on Saturday afternoon by phone, and had a short conversation. Apparently there will be a "brief' about this whole crazy ordeal appearing in next Sunday's Arts & Entertainment section -- of the Los Angeles Times! I'm generally not very good in interview-type situations, I seem to think much clearer if I'm, say, locked in a tiny underground room all by myself, nakend and sobbing. But I think it went OK, under the circumstances. We'll see on Sunday. Hopefully I won't need to leave the country.

-- And speaking of Deadwood, last night's episode was fairly routine: 83 fucks in 51 minutes. Here's a full breakdown of the numbers.

-- And that'll do it for today, folks. I'll leave you now with a selection from a new recording artist I'm very excited about. ...Ladies and gentlemen, the smooth song stylings of Mr. John Daker.

See ya tomorrow.

April 22, 2005

-- My heart's not really in this today. Please know that up front. I want this week to be in the bank; I want it behind me, where it's not a danger anymore. I want it to be Friday night. I want to be sunk deep in a couch with a pint of the golden elixir within arms reach, a movie from the DVR playing before me and the knowledge of two full days-off dancing in my head.

Thursdays can play tricks on a man. They're so very close to the end that I sometimes convince myself that I've made it to the finish line, then wake up on Friday and realize that there's one more day to go. And that's one cruel kick to the luggage, I'm here to tell you. Thursdays are real crafty bitches, with their Friday-like shapeshifting and whatnot. Real bitches.

I'm this close to breaking out with Loverboy's "Working For The Weekend," people.

-- Which movie should I choose for tonight? Below is a list of what's stacked up on the DVR over the past couple of months. I haven't been able to watch them at the normal clip, so there's quite a lot of them on there. And since we complained so much about the cheap-ass machines the cable company kept giving us, we now have the gold-standard HD model of DVR, with a recording capacity of something in the neighborhood of 10,000 hours. I think that's right... Anyway, here are the flicks I have to choose from:

Clerks, Kill Bill v.2, The Hustler, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, The Sting, Picnic, Blue Velvet, They Shoot Horses, Don't They?, Flight of the Phoenix, Master and Commander, A Bronx Tale, Bull Durham, Compulsion, It Came From Outer Space, and Top Gun.

And before you start mocking me for recording Top Gun, please allow me to explain... I've never seen the movie. Apparently it came out when I was between girlfriends, because it got past me. Or maybe it was released when I was dating Sharon, who wouldn't have gone to such a film even if someone put a fucking pistol to her head. She would've said, "Well, after considering my two options, just go ahead and pull the trigger." I don't know, but I've never seen it, and people are always making references to it. Like comedians, and smart-asses at work. And I'd just like to know what they're talking about. ...You believe me, don't you?

-- I had a useless conversation with Earthlink yesterday, on the matter of the Neti Pot fiasco. My point person, who gave me hope last week, is off until Sunday, and I didn't get very far with the person who answered my call. I think it's admirable that companies are hiring the mentally retarded, I really do, but is it prudent to put them on a help desk? It's a question worth asking, I believe. I got nowhere, and there's been no credit issued to my account. So I don't know what that means. I'm not getting a warm and fuzzy feeling, though.

In any case, I appreciate all the donations you guys have made to the Relief Fund. Almost five hundred bucks has been received, and I think that's simply kick-ass. One person even auctioned off one of the old Surf Report t-shirts on eBay, and raised $26. Pretty cool. So, thanks folks, sincerely. Seven hundred bucks is a lot of money to me, especially when it's to pay for the privilege of 20,000 strangers to watch a woman stick a teapot in her nose. Know what I'm saying? Thanks!

-- Speaking of t-shirts, can the person who recommended a screen printing place in Tunkhannock please drop me an email with more info? I'd appreciate it. Tunkhannock is far enough away that I could maintain my local anonymity, but still pick them up in person and avoid shipping charges. Let me know. I want to get the ball rolling on WVSR Shirt 2.0 as soon as we return from the beach. And yes, I will be replacing, free of charge, the auctioned shirt. I mean, what am I, a complete prick?

-- I heard a crackpot on the radio yesterday who is convinced, simply convinced, that all the big state-sponsored lotteries are fixed. The secret, he says, is in the thirty minutes between the cut-off time when they stop selling tickets, and the drawing itself. During that time, according to the nut, they take a look at all the number combinations that have been purchased, then act accordingly. Every once in a while, to maintain interest and excitement, they allow the big prize to escalate to a very high number. For several weeks in a row they don't let anyone win. And how do they do that? Oh, it's very simple. During the thirty minute lag-time they paint some of the balls with a special metallic coating. And that big Lotto machine on TV is equipped with a powerful magnet, you see, and it SUCKS the desired numbers from its belly. The guy also hinted that many of the "winners" are really actors, and swears he has evidence that some of them have popped up in two or three different states. Don't you just love that kind of stuff? I know I do.

-- Every once in a while I check to make sure this site is still up. It's one of the very first, and also one of my favorite, Further Evidence links. It simply doesn't get much better. Long live the Falcon! 

And I think I'll stop right there. I was going to tell you how much I'm loving my Phil Hendrie Show subscription, and how it's keeping me from completely losing my shit, but I've talked about it all before. 

So, have a great weekend, folks. I'll see ya on Monday.

April 21, 2005

-- There's a big parking lot in our town that's for sale. It used to be where rich folks would park their luxury cars before entering the expensive restaurant next door, for a pleasant evening of wine-swirling and lips-pursing and general assholery. But the restaurant has moved, and I believe the Walgreen's Corporation has purchased the plot of land. So it's almost time for the wreckin' ball, and the dispensing of a thousand ascot-wearing ghosts with unreasonable demands.

Now there's a sizable parking lot just sitting there, with no purpose. The owners have a sign stretched between two trees, making it clear that it's all for sale. And I find this to be heart-breaking.

Have we really reached the point in our society where we're willing, without even a hint of pause, to sacrifice beautiful, rolling asphalt, for the sake of a few more dollars? Is that truly what it's come to? Call me an idealist, but I refuse to believe it's true.

When I first moved here I would sometimes cut across this lot, for a late-night Burrito Supreme or outsize sack of Chalupas at the Taco Bell down the way, and feel I became friends with many of its inhabitants. Well hello there, No Loitering Sign, I would sometimes sing. And, isn't it a pleasant evening, Mr. Concrete Parking Barrier? What's going to happen to all my pals now? What will become of them once their home is sold off in a shameless frenzy of greed?

Well, I, for one, will not stand by and watch it happen without a fight. No way. So stay tuned, my friends. Just stay the fuck tuned...

-- Speaking of Taco Bell, a guy at my office has a stack of their napkins in his desk drawer, and uses them to blow his nose. They're that brownish natural color, and when he bunches one up to his face and commences to snorting, the paper becomes darkened by his nasty-ass expulsions. Grosses me out every time. Generally speaking, I'm not a big fan of people blasting semi-liquids from their face holes, but when you actually see the discoloration... Yeah, I try not to look, but I'm not that strong. The pull is simply too great.

-- I'm getting really irritated with all the Braves games being blacked-out here on television. When they play the Phillies, forget about it. The Mets? Can't see it. And now it's spread to that new Washington team. What the hell, man? I just want to watch a few innings to unwind in the evenings. I want to sink into the couch with a bowl of salted peanuts in the shell, and enjoy some baseball. It's not a case of me having dinner after work, rubbing my chin, and saying, "Y'know, I think I'll drive three hours to Washington D.C. and maybe catch the final out of that Braves game. ...Oh wait, it's on television? Well, screw it, then." Believe me, there's no revenue lost if I'm allowed to watch the third and fourth innings of a Washington Nationals game on a stinkin' Wednesday night; nobody's bottom line is going to be harmed. Grrrr.... After I finish saving that parking lot, I may have to address this as well.

-- Obviously the Smoking Fish has been spending a lot of time in Tennessee, because he's been spotted there once again. Check it out. Pretty darn cool. Thanks for continuing to keep your eyes open, folks. Because our logo, he gets around.

-- And I don't usually link to news stories (this ain't a blog, goddammit), but I'm going to make an exception in this case. I'm not ashamed to admit that I got a little emotional while reading it. I know it sounds so simple, but it's true: all you need is love.

-- Finally, I'm gonna turn it over to our old friend Buck, and call it a day. Buck?

See ya.

April 20, 2005

-- More than 760,000 hits on Monday, and several independent sources reporting that Rush Limbaugh mentioned the FPMs on his show yesterday... It's starting to get a little frightening. I was kind of surprised that the new Pope didn't talk about "the ratio" in his statement Tuesday morning. It wouldn't have surprised me; I'm seeing wild shit happening almost hour to hour. Crazy, man. Just crazy. It almost makes me want to take to the streets and repeatedly scream, "San Francisco cocksuckah!"

-- Have you noticed how I've been casually working links to old Surf Report favorites into my daily updates, now that the readership is temporarily bloated? Like, I might slide in a mention of the Gargoyle Letters, just in casual conversation, or perhaps the Fast Food Reviews or Rules of Thumb? Yeah, that's all being done on purpose. Pretty slick, huh?

-- In the physical world, nothing much is going on. I'm just biding my time, trying not to get into any serious trouble before we hitch up the rolling box of beds and head south. A week from Saturday, boyee! The Jelly Bellys and Tom Petty's Greatest Hits are already in position.

-- Oh, and our clothes dryer shit the bed over the weekend. It might just be the starter switch, I'm not sure, but it won't, you know, start. You push the button and nothing happens; it's deader than Kelsey's nuts. Toney and I have been having "discussions" about this, and seem to be "disagreeing."

I want to call somebody to come out and look at it. Hell, it might just be a ten dollar part. But she's leaning more towards scrapping the whole deal, and buying a new one. It is pretty old, we bought it when we moved into our first house in 1993. And she doesn't want to pay the $65 service fee (or whatever it might be), when new dryers are fairly cheap. But fairly can be a very tricky word.

In any case, I'm trying not to think about it. I hate paying out money just to get back to where we were yesterday. I have no problem spending cash to improve things, but this kind of thing really chaps my ass. One thing is certain, though: we're not doing anything about it until we get back from the beach. If the gods of ass-chapping think we're dipping into our vacation funds to get a dryer fixed, they're sadly mistaken.

Toney mentioned all this to Nancy on Sunday, and she said we need a "solar clothes dryer," like they have. From what I can gather, she's talking about a clothesline (who talks that way??). And that might be the route we take. This weekend I might fill up our backyard with ropes full of my big ol' draws. I can see them out there right now, waving majestically in the wind.

-- One of the Drudge-era newbies has already spotted our Smoking Fish, in Nashville again. Check it out. Thanks for that, dude! Another sent in this photo, but I'm not fully confident that it's real. What do you guys think?

-- I can't remember if I've ever linked to this, but it's worth a second look, anyway. If you've never seen the two Jesco White documentaries, do yourself a big favor and track them down. Dancing Outlaw is the one to start with. Great great stuff. 

-- And that's gonna do it for me, folks. I'll pass the baton to Metten now, and wish y'all a lovely Wednesday.

See ya tomorrow.

April 19, 2005

-- Well, that was fun. The Drudge link disappeared sometime yesterday evening. But it was up for more than twenty-four hours and brought several months worth of traffic to my site in a little over a day. And the coolest part of all? I have it on good authority that Boortz talked about it on the air yesterday, at length. The audio stream of his show is blocked at my job (national security reasons), so I had to live vicariously through my friend Tim, who gave me a play-by-play via email. As I said yesterday, Boortz is the man, and his involvement is the coolest part of all this. For me, anyway.

Here are a couple of the fancy-pants graphs that come with my Earthlink hosting account. This deal under-reports quite significantly, I believe, but it does have some nifty features. For instance, it's very good at cataloging the phrases that people key into search engines, before being led here. It's what I use to update this page. And their graphs are sure purty. These two only take into account Sunday's traffic, Monday was much bigger, but you can see the crazy increase in activity.

And it's funny, in the wake of the Drudge extravaganza, the Deadwood page is now linked by a thousand other websites. A lot of people claim to never read Drudge, but everybody does, I think. Including our good friends over at Collegehumor dotcom -- the same folks who made it necessary to create the Neti Pot Relief Fund. And damn, those people can sure drive some traffic. In fact, a quick look at the site's stats this morning shows that we're still operating in the red zone. So, that's cool. I'm growing quite fond of the red zone, if you want to know the truth.

-- But enough of that crap, let's talk about my toenails... I think I got a little overzealous this weekend in my clipping. I believe I may have gone over the line, because both of my nasty-ass big toes have been throbbing ever since. Especially the right one; the right one is singing. You know, there's that white part (or in my case, corn chip yellow) which is fair game, but I think I may have gone into the pink area farther back. They were quite long and Toney had been screaming at me to bring them into line "before somebody gets killed,"
so I sat down with the clippers and went to town. I always like shearing off those big toe nails, it's quite dramatic, and I think I was trying to make it as large as possible for theatrical reasons. And I hurt myself. Should I be concerned about this? This isn't going to lead to amputation, is it? I'm not sure I could even walk without my big toes; I have a feeling I might just tumble over. And I sure as hell don't want to have to order a pair of rubberized prosthetic toes from some toe catalog either. Dear God, what have I done to myself??

-- On Saturday I watched the Dinosaur Jr. reunion performance, on the show that comes on after Letterman. The Mike Douglas Show? I'm not sure. In any case, they sounded really good. They played "The Lung," off You're Living All Over Me, and it was one rockin' affair. All three original members: Mascis, Barlow, and Murph. I thought those guys hated each other? Huh. Maybe they have one of those $40,000 per month Metallica-counselors, to help them with their feelings? Yeah, right.

Despite the fact that J. Mascis, a most unsightly man, made me almost literally recoil in horror, the show inspired me to go out and buy the newly-remastered You're Living All Over Me CD, to replace my old battered vinyl copy.

I went to the little hipster record store not too far from our house. It's a pretty cool place, like a trip back in time. It smells like incense, and everything. Every time I go in there they have some godawful racket blasting over the loudspeaker, sounding like somebody screaming in pain while attempting to puree a bucket of railroad rocks in a blender. And just like the good old days, all the employees are terrific snobs. They have that "you may approach the throne" attitude, and don't hesitate to make sneering, chuckling commentary on your music purchases.

But a funny thing happened on Saturday. I handed the guy my Dinosaur CD, he glanced at it (from atop his slightly elevated hipster-riser), then back at me. Then he begrudgingly nodded and grunted his approval. "Great choice," he mumbled. 

I have to say, it made me feel pretty good... Like when Carson used to give the OK sign to comics.

-- And that'll do it for today, boys and girls. I'll leave you now with a birth announcement of a kid that's gonna have a great time in Junior High.

See ya tomorrow.

April 18, 2005

-- Yesterday afternoon I clicked over to Sitemeter to have a look at the stats for TheWVSR, and was surprised to see that there were hundreds (thousands?) of people on there. In fact, the thing was pegged; there were so many visitors all the information couldn't be displayed. The shit had exceeded its design limitations.

What in the honeybaked hell??

I jumped over to referrals to see who was sending all the traffic, and it said drudgereport dotcom, over and over and over again. Just one big towering column of drudgereports. Holy crap! Drudge!! The start page of every computer in Washington DC, and around the world. As a friend said later in the day, nobody is more popular than Drudge, except maybe Google. And that's people Googling Drudge!

They linked to my Deadwood page, with the headline: HBO SERIES USES WORD 'F@CK' 1406 TIMES. As I type this it's still up, in the right-hand column about halfway down. And Sitemeter is still operating in the red zone. Crazy, man.

For whatever reason, I always panic when something like this happens. Back in the early days of the site's existence I came into possession of a scan of one of Mike Piazza's paychecks. After I posted it, Fark and a thousand Fark-imitators linked to it, and I was convinced Janet Reno was going to dispatch troopers to my house and kick my front door off its hinges. I don't think Janet Reno was even in office at the time, but I was still scared of her. I mean, who wouldn't be?

Now it's happening all over again. Times ten. And judging from the email I'm receiving, some folks seem to think I'm making a political statement here. Like I'm counting the fucks for righteousness, or something. Ha! Here's one of the heartwarming messages that was waiting in my inbox this morning:

Read your piece on the number of fucks and cocksuckers in Deadwood -- so fucking what? They're only words. and that's pretty much the language of the day. If you don't like it, don't fucking watch it, cocksucker!

Yes, this is my most important political proclamation since I watched the donut shop go up, or the snowpile go down. I have so many important things to say!

Last night I tuned in to Drudge's radio show and, sure enough, he mentioned our modest little exercise here. To his credit, he seemed to understand that it's just goofy fun, and didn't try to make too much of it. But on his site he pairs the Deadwood link with an article about decency in broadcasting. So that's concerning.

I love Deadwood, and sure as shit don't want congressmen meddling with the scripts. Government Out of Swearengen's Piss Pot Now! How's that for a statement? Do you think that'll get me booked on Hannity?

Anyway... it's been a crazy eighteen hours. This morning, I'm told, the Fuck Count was discussed on the Bob and Tom radio show. And Neal Boortz mentions it on his website, as well. (An honor -- Boortz is the man!) And since radio hosts everywhere use the Drudge site as their program notes, I have a feeling it's not going to let up anytime soon. 

Later today I'm going to scour the stats for visitations. Karl Rove is probably on there right now.

Of course, the bandwidth is once again being eaten up like Kit Kat bars at a comic book convention. So it's been nice knowing you folks. I predict we'll be off the air by mid-afternoon.

And for the record, last night's episode added another 113 fucks to the official tally. Please make a note of it.

See ya.

April 15, 2005

-- Just two short weeks, my friends. That's all that's left of our wait, before we hitch up the rolling box of beds and head south. To say I'm excited would be an understatement. Not only am I psyched about where we're going, but also what we'll be leaving behind. Work is pretty stressful these days, and I don't like that.

It'll be the world's greatest luxury to be able to turn my brain off to all that crap for six or seven days. And I can't wait.

-- Toney's sick. She apparently has something going on with her tonsils. When she talks it sounds like a Wendy's drive-thru speaker; it's really freaky, man. The doctor called her in a prescription for antibiotics without even seeing her. I'm not a big fan of that sort of thing. Toney described the symptoms, and the doc said there was no need to come into the office. That seems to be her answer every time. She does all of her doctoring by phone. I can understand if a person is, say, prone to sinus infections, and can recognize them without a doubt. In those circumstances I can see a doctor just calling in a prescription. But Toney's never had this weirdness before. Who knows what it is?? She's in obvious distress, and has that strange "would you like hot or mild sauce with that?" thing going on. I think we need to change doctors. This shit is like calling the Dell Help Desk.

-- I'm trying to convince the Secrets that we really have two dogs. They're identical twins, I say, who've been trained to never be in the same room together. One is Andy, of course, and the other is named Cliff. When somebody addresses Andy by name I sometimes say, "Um, that one is Cliff." But nobody's buying it. I live in a house full of skeptics, I tell ya.

-- In yesterday's comments somebody quoted from some sort of formal-sounding history of Prontos, and I wanted to find out more about that deal. And check it out, it's a friggin' term paper on the subject!

Long before 1989, the idea of a multigrain chip began to form at Frito-Lay. Consumers in the 1970s were looking for nutritious snack choices which led to Frito-Lay introducing Prontos. After four years in the market, it was withdrawn due to poor sales and manufacturing problems...

Was this done at a special high school for the morbidly obese or something? I've never heard of snack-themed term papers before. But hey.

-- And speaking of that, when I was in Junior High one of our teachers was a drunk, and we knew he graded our papers based solely on what he thought about each of us. It was widely suspected that he never actually read any of our work, because we always got the same grade no matter how much effort we put forth. So one time, as sort of an experiment, I turned in a book report of a book called Elvis Costello: Man or Myth? by Mark Twain. And I got a B! I swear it's true. I have witnesses, if you should require them.

-- On the t-shirt front, you guys have convinced me not to have them done locally. This note left in yesterday's comments (by "Al") gave me a friggin' full-body shiver:

Hey Jeff, I'm a lifetime local. My advice is to remain very, very anonymous.

Holy crap! That's frightening. Perhaps I'll just go the Sri Lankan sweatshop route? I don't want to put myself in a position where I'm required to wear fake moustaches and wigs to Target. Ya know? I've learned from experience that novelty clip-on facial hair doesn't really work in my case. I think it's the shape of my head or something. 

And that's all I have for today, kiddies. Have yourselves a great weekend. If I can make it to 6:30 or so, without curling up in the floor and sobbing uncontrollably, I'll join you. 

See ya on Monday.

April 14, 2005

-- So, basically what I'm hearing is that you guys want a Surf Report t-shirt very similar to the first one, front-only this time, and in more sizes? Is that the general consensus here? I can do it. How's sometime in May sound?

I'll get the ball rolling... I think I'm gonna risk my (diminishing) local anonymity, and talk to a man here in town who owns a company that prints up a myriad of promotional items for corporations and the like. I've met him a few times and he seems like a nice enough fellow. He's not some button-down asshole with a tree branch rammed up his butt, as is so often the case. So I think we can work together. I might give him a call today.

My only hesitation is that he'll run his mouth and everybody in town will be logging on here every morning. Including people I ridicule and call doucheketeers. And I'm not sure I need that... So that's something I'm gonna have to think about.

In any case, I'll move ahead with this thing. Thanks for giving a crap, and for your input.

-- Do any of you folks remember a snack item called Prontos? It was in the potato chip family, but was more along the lines of Sun Chips or something like that. They sold them in West Virginia when I was in Junior High, which would've been the late '70's, but only for about a year or so. And I loved 'em. Every day I'd walk my Jiffy-Pop hair across the street to Bowen's Pharmacy and buy a sack of those things, and probably a Dr. Pepper or something, and inhale that shit right on the street. Then they disappeared from the shelves, and I was beset by sadness.

I really hate when that happens. You come across a product that you enjoy, and then it goes away. Just recently Bennigan's yanked their kick-ass club salad off their menu, and I was forced to relive my Prontos anguish. Yeah, I know it's not exactly the flashbacks of war, but, dammit, it's painful nonetheless.

When I was in Atlanta companies would periodically test-market their crackpot products there, to see how they'd go over before rolling them out nationally. You'd go to the store and see a giant display of really bizarre shit, like Green Onion Coke or whatever, and we'd be the guinea pigs for the world. I think they tested those novelty-colored ketchups down there, and apparently we liked 'em. And who wouldn't, really? What sane person could resist blue ketchup? ...Or is it catsup?

I'm not sure if Prontos were a test-market item, but I tried to find information about them online the other day and it's as if they never existed. I came up completely empty. Toney thinks I dreamed them. And while I'm not beyond conjuring up new snack items in my sleep, these babies were real. In fact, I can taste them right now, and mmmm.... In the back of my mind I thought (hoped) I might even find an obscure supplier somewhere who still sells the things. Like in "the islands" or maybe Wisconsin, or something. But there was nothing.

If you remember Prontos, please let me know. Maybe we can reminisce together, or start a Yahoo group or something?

-- Speaking of ketchup/catsup, why do they have to qualify it with the word "tomato" in front of it? Do they sell pumpkin ketchup somewhere, or olive catsup, or something like that? I'm not aware of any such products. No, I, for one, don't believe the word tomato is necessary. I think, at this point in our history, it's generally understood that ketchup/catsup is, indeed, made from tomatoes. ...Hello? Is this thing on?

-- I was reading a Q&A column in the latest issue of Esquire a few days ago, and one of the questions was about watch ads. The person wanted to know why watches are always set to 10:10 in magazine ads, and on television and so forth. 

The man thought it had something to do with Abraham Lincoln's time of death, if you can believe it. This person had been told that, in tribute to the late president, all watch manufacturers had agreed to commemorate him by always showing clocks set at 10:10 pm. Hilarious. Not to mention fucking bizarre. The answer wasn't very satisfactory, but they did make fun of the question-writer for believing such a ludicrous story, so that was good. They claimed that 10:10 is the perfect place to have the hands of a clock or a watch, where the manufacturer's name is not obscured, and which -- get this -- it resembles a smile. 

Anyway... I'd never noticed that they're all set at the same time, and I've been looking out for it. And it's true! Even at Target, all the clocks are set to 10:10. Really strange. How does something like that become standard, across many companies and countries? We can't agree on shit, but we can agree on 10:10? It makes my brain hurt a little.

-- And that's about all I can muster today, I'm afraid. I'll leave you now with this really cool Smoking Fish sighting, this time in the great state of Tennessee. Our logo, man, he gets around.

See ya tomorrow.

April 13, 2005

A few very quick things:

-- I'm now attempting to wear Earthlink down with whining. I've taken to calling them several times per day and pleading for some kind of settlement, some compromise, on that ridiculous Neti Pot debt. It appears that they're considering a fifty percent credit, but nothing has been finalized. Yesterday I gave them a hundred bucks from the Relief Fund, to keep the site from being taken off the air. That'll buy us some time, until they make their final decision. Supposedly my case is now in an "elevated" status, which doesn't mean much to me, but I'm being told is a good thing. A few days ago it was "closed." So, I'll keep you updated as things progress.

-- Toney talked to a person yesterday who is reportedly going to take away the ENTIRE cluster-fucked wood mess from our backyard. They supposedly have a coal furnace in their house, or some such thing, and need lots of wood to keep it going. Whatever. I thought this was 2005, but I'm not going to argue about it. I'm unclear on when they're coming to get it, perhaps after the butter gets churned and the north wall of the new barn gets raised, but they're apparently psyched. And so am I.

-- Last night I was lying in bed reading, when I got a really good idea for a topic to write about here. It was tailor-made for TheWVSR and I was surprised to realize I'd never written about it before. I thought about getting up and going down to the bunker to scribble it in my notebook, but figured there was NO WAY I could forget it. And today I have no idea what it was. It had something to do with the Dunbar Toll Bridge, but it wasn't something that actually happened there. It was an event from the era in which I worked as an ugly toll collector. It's driving me insane. I seriously can't remember what it was. I really need to invest 99 cents in a little pad of paper to keep in my nightstand drawer. I have one in my truck, and keep one in my backpack as well, but the raised dormancy platform is a problem for me. Once I'm atop that thing, I just can't climb down; it paralyzes me with its snuggliness. And I should really know better than to try to rely on my memory at this point. I mean seriously, Dick Yuengling and his family have seen to that. But I keep forgetting that I can't remember. Y'know?

-- I'm getting a lot of requests for a second-generation Surf Report t-shirt, and I'm considering it. After we get back from the beach in May, I think I'm going to look into having a few dozen printed up. If any of you artistic-types have a design in mind, please, by all means, forward it to me. I need all the help I can get here. But keep it simple, OK? I don't like my shirts all complicated and retina-searing. This ain't NASCAR, goddammit. Also, if you could take a second to tell me what size you'd theoretically order, I'd appreciate it. Last time I got my balls kicked relentlessly, because I was only offering XL and XXL. Apparently there are people reading this right now with their feet resting on custom-made wooden risers, who require tiny tiny clothing. Maybe it stems from decades of being encased in an outsize flesh parka, but the idea of a size medium t-shirt just seems incredible to me, like a mermaid or an optimistic liberal. Maybe for a third-grader, but a full-grown adult? How could it be? But apparently it's true, because I got the emails about it. So, help me out, folks. I'm operating at a disadvantage here, from deep within the meat coat.

-- Here's a short video clip you might find interesting. It's weird, though... Both I times I played it yesterday the phone rang immediately afterward, and it was somebody mumbling about seven days, or some crap. And the caller ID said "HELL." Baffling.

-- Here's another really cool Smoking Fish sighting, this time in the City of Brotherly Love and Really Large Beef Sandwiches. Awesome! Thanks for that.

-- And now I'm gonna turn it over to the able hands of Metten, grab myself a Posies CD, and head off to work for another day of happiness and joy.

See ya tomorrow, my friends.

April 12, 2005

-- Exactly nine years ago today, in the suburbs of Atlanta, I was sporting a ludicrous get-up of doctor scrubs, hairnet, Michael Jackson surgery mask, and slick-ass elasticized shoe coverings, watching two men surgically extract a baby (a baby!?) from the belly of my wife.

We'd found out that Toney was pregnant almost literally on our way to see the Jayhawks and Wilco at the 40 Watt Club in Athens. Oh, we had our suspicions, but neither of us wanted to take the extra step to verify. It was just too scary a prospect. But, for whatever reason, we decided it was time, and stopped at a Kroger store on our way home from work and bought a multi-pack of the pissing sticks. Needless to say, I don't remember much about about the show.

We went on to Athens, but my heart was racing, I was feeling a little vomitous, and I couldn't hear the music because of the voices in my head screaming, "Oh shit oh shit oh shit...." There was a guy there I knew, from Wilco's record label, and he bought me a couple of beers, but I don't think I had much to say to him. I'm almost certain I was just staring straight ahead with a stupid expression frozen on my face, like some oversized ventriloquist dummy. Eventually he moved on.

We told our parents, but nobody else. We were superstitious, and worried that we'd jinx ourselves if we started going around talking about it to people too soon. After twelve weeks, we decided, we could allow ourselves to become obnoxious. At that point, I was told, the dangers of complications drop dramatically. So, already we had a Secret.

One night we went to a drive-in movie (The Flintstones, if you can believe it) with a couple we used to bar-hop with, and there were lots of questions because Toney wasn't drinking. This was a crazy place where people set up friggin' gas grills and full-on campsites before watching terrible movies, and it's just MADE for alcohol consumption. But Toney was abstaining, and our friends were looking at us funny, and conjuring up all kinds of conspiracies inside their heads.

When I think back on that period it seems like we were living in some kind of altered state; it was all so surreal and strange. It felt like we were watching ourselves living our lives, from the sky somehow.

Eventually we started telling people, and before long Toney began to look pregnant. We signed up for some classes at the hospital, where they try to prepare first time parents for the drama that lay ahead. The class was one night per week, and lasted for a couple of months, I think. Over time we became friendly with a few of the other couples there, all of whom were living through very similar stuff. We practiced breathing exercises together, and rolled around in the floor with each other. We laughed a lot and vowed we'd all get back together in a year, to see how our lives were progressing.

Of course, we never saw any of them again.

One Saturday we took a tour of the hospital's birthing headquarters (or whatever they call it), and for some reason I was wandering around in there by myself for a while. I think I'd dropped Toney off at the front door, and had gone to park the car. And as I was catching up to her I happened upon a massively swollen woman walking down the hall and screaming, just screaming, in pain. And I'm not exaggerating, I very nearly went down. I didn't even know the woman, and I almost passed out. I had serious concerns (that I kept to myself), about the whole deal. If I ever saw Toney hollering like that, I just knew I'd hit the linoleum. And hard.

But there was no hollering in our case. We went well past the due date, and the doctors finally recommended a C-section. Hell yeah! We were both relieved that we were going to be spared all the hysterics and the flesh-ripping and the flying cottage cheese, and whatever else happens in those scary rooms. We just wanted everything to work out OK, how we got there was less important. But, I'm here to tell you, I was far from disappointed. And I know Toney felt the same way.

We scheduled it for April 12, at 7:30 in the morning, and that whole day was observed from the sky again.

They took Toney into some kind of prep room, or whatever, and told me I was welcome to stay with her. I really wanted to be out in the waiting room pacing with a pocketful of cigars, like God intended, but I went with her. There was another father-to-be in there (possibly Sean "Puffy" Combs), but I think he'd been through it all before. He didn't seem too concerned and, in fact, was eating a big Waffle House breakfast from a cardboard box. When they announced that it was "time," Puff lifted a glistening fork at me, and said, "Good luck, man."

They suited me up in my hazmat gear and led me down a hallway. Along the way Sunshine and Mumbles, and my parents, and it seemed like the entire cast of The Ten Commandments, emerged from behind a wall wearing big ridiculous Jack-O-Lantern grins and snapping pictures like a gang of mental patients. I put my hand up, like some kind of low-rent Sean Penn, and pushed past them. Jeez.

I was led to an operating room, and almost immediately stepped on an empty water bottle and twisted my ankle. What the hell? What kind of hospital is this?? There's trash on the floor of the surgery?

During the procedure, the two doctors set up a golf game for that Saturday, and gave each other a few stock tips and whatever, and possibly as an afterthought, delivered our son. And he was as close to perfect as they come. I may have gotten a little emotional at that point.

The pediatrician pressured me into cutting the cord (he called me a wimp), and it felt like I was trying to scissor through a raw pork chop. But I didn't care. The baby was fine, Toney was fine, and I was still standing upright. It couldn't have gone any better. I kicked some more garbage out of the way and watched the nurses clean him up, and I just couldn't believe it. Could not fucking believe it.

Later that day a news producer from one of the local channels came to Toney's room and asked if one of their reporters could interview us. They were doing a report on how hospitals go the extra mile in preparing new parents, and wanted to talk to us about it. We agreed, and our boy appeared on television a few hours after he was born. Needless to say, I took it as a sign.

The last thing I remember about that surreal day was a nurse, closely resembling Florida Evans, wrinkling up her nose at our baby at one point, and exclaiming at high volume, "Ooooh mercy, I think he wearin' something!" Then, with kindness and good humor, she taught me how to change my first diaper.

And before he left for school this morning, I reminded that same "baby," that in just a few years he might get the chance to return the favor. I believe his expression was very similar to mine, exactly nine years ago today.

April 11, 2005

-- Whoa, it's late. Apparently Mondays are going to be the new traditional Day of Shittiness here at The West Virginia Surf Report. It's becoming more and more difficult for me to kick it into gear, following a weekend. I'm getting old and bitter, I'm afraid. But I'll do what I can with the time I have, and we'll get down to full-on bidness tomorrow. 'Kay?

-- The weekend was as nice, weather-wise, as the "experts" predicted. Both days were fairly spectacular and sunny.

We worked our butt cheeks down to a smoldering nub on Saturday. Toney prodded me with her pointer finger early in the morning, and forced me out of bed. And I took my Blazer to a local garage to have that inspection done. I tried last weekend, but nobody could do it. They kept asking if I had an appointment, and weren't real friendly about it. I had no idea I needed reservations (what is this a tire store or a steakhouse?), so I put it off another week. I had to stay away from the post office, so that cop didn't catch me again and haul me off to a federal pound-me-in-the-ass prison. But that wasn't too great of a sacrifice; I'm sure I'll find the time to catch up on my Wal-Mart circulars and Maxim magazines in the coming days.

After I dropped my truck off, I hoofed it down the street to Waffle House, where Toney and the Secrets met me for a big greasy breakfast. I went with the scrambled eggs, sausage, hashbrowns scattered & smothered, and sweet tea (their coffee could be used to remove mortar off Victorian bricks), and it was all-good. While we were there somebody played a Waffle House birthday song on the jukebox, and it was one scary-ass affair; it sounded like it was being sung by some gas-huffing hillbilly with voices inside his head.

Then, to continue with the theme, we went to Wal-Mart. There I bought the Secrets new fishing poles, myself a fishing license (hold the trout stamp) and a pocket knife. As the guy was preparing my license, people were hollering over the loudspeakers and it sounded like they had the telephone receiver lodged partway down their esophagus. I asked the sporting goods guy if he could understand what they were saying, wondering if it takes a trained ear or something, and he said he just tunes it out. And he added that there's no need to scream that way, since the system itself provides amplification. I thought that was pretty funny.

As I was trying to decide on a pocket knife, my cell phone rang. It was the garage calling about my inspection. "Heeeere we go!" I hollered. I'm gonna need a new transmission, a new motor, and a complete overhaul of the main Tayback Unit, I bet. But they found nothing wrong. I couldn't believe it. I may have pooped a little, standing right there beside the plastic ducks.

The rest of the day was spent stacking wood, raking the front yard, washing the cars, and taking Andy for a long tree-snorkeling walk. Then I got into the beer supply and cooked us up some kick-ass burgers on the grill.

By the time the sun went down I was fucking spent. I watched the Metallica documentary on VH1, downed a few more containers of the golden elixir, and became one with the couch.

-- We had big plans for Sunday, but both of us woke up feeling like we'd been beaten with pillowcases full of oranges, so we scaled things back a bit. We pushed the camper out of the garage, and opened it up. And I'm excited to report that we found no mud lodge full of hedgehogs packed up underneath the dining room table. There were no varmints whatsoever -- another surprising triumph.

We opened all the windows and let the thing air out for an hour or so. And Andy and I climbed onto one of the beds and promptly conked out. Next thing I know an hour or so has passed, and a gang of teenage girls are snickering at the fat man sleeping with his mouth open inside some kind of ludicrous screened apparatus. The smartasses.

We loaded in the various odds and ends we'd collected over the winter (this was my personal contribution to the cause), folded it up, and called it a day. 

And we did little else. Last night I could barely stay awake long enough to count the fucks, but I worked through the pain and persevered.

-- You're pretty much up to date now. Once again I appreciate all your contributions to the Neti Pot Relief Fund. Every morning I'll post the amount collected, beneath the PayPal button on the second page, until the matter is resolved. I wish I knew how to rig up a real-time ticker of some sort, but I can barely figure out instant messenger. So we'll just have to make-do with a single morning update, I'm afraid. But thanks, folks. You guys kick much ass.

-- And now I'll leave you with a bit of ridiculousness my buddy Brad alerted me to over the weekend. For some reason I find it to be really hilarious. Make of that what you will.

See ya tomorrow.

April 8, 2005

-- Thanks to everyone who participated in our informal poll yesterday, about how you originally found TheWVSR, and how long you've been visiting, and so on. Great reading as I knew it would be. One of my favorites was from Dorothy, a seventy year old retired pharmacist who visited cyber cafes in South America in order to keep up with things here. Is that not excellent? I submit that it is. Thanks to all y'all, as we used to say back home; I really appreciate you coming here every day, and your twisted senses of humor and intelligence. Somehow we've fashioned ourselves a nice little community of ridiculousness, and I couldn't be happier about it.

-- I also want to thank everyone who sent in donations to a Neti Pot Relief Fund, which sprang up yesterday morning -- without my involvement. I don't really like that sort of thing, internet tip jars and the like (this ain't Subway, goddammit), but this is kind of an unusual circumstance. So thanks. I've added a little button to the top of the second page where you can donate a buck or two. But please don't feel obligated, 'cause I'm the dumbass that got myself into this situation, not you. And if you do donate, make it a small amount. Those two-figure contributions make me feel really guilty. The way I see it, there are roughly 2800-3000 unique visitors here every day, and if one-fourth sent in a dollar each, the Neti Pot Nightmare would be neutralized. In any case, thanks for your efforts. I really appreciate it.

-- The Pope's funeral is underway as I type this. I watched a few minutes of it as I transitioned into a conscious state, after yet another night of insect-like dormancy atop the raised platform. A very formal and traditional affair... But what's the deal with the casket? It looks like a shipping crate, something used to box up machinery or whatever. Is that by design, a comment of some sort? It feels like it should be a tad more ornate, but what do I know about it? It's probably just the American in me talking.

It got me to thinking, though, about how I'd like to go out. I'm not too thrilled with the idea of being lowered into a hole in the ground, while people stand around crying in the mud, before going home and eating pie. That whole tradition kinda gives me the creeps. I mean, it's a hole. People try to dress it up by calling it a grave or a resting place, but at the end of the day: hole. I don't think I'm comfortable with that.

However, that particular method provides a place where loved-ones can visit and maybe feel a connection, and that sort of thing. So that's good. And, of course, there's the headstone, which might remain for a couple of hundred years or more, until some smart-ass that hasn't even been born yet gets drunk and kicks it over in some kind of hormonal frenzy. (The little prick.) I do like the headstone aspect, and the tangible proof that it provides that I was indeed here for a while, but on balance I'm not completely sold.

At this point I'm kind of leaning towards asking to be burned up (is that the correct term?). Unless I contract some kind of disease that causes me to waste away, there would be one hell of a fire, with quite a bit of popping and splattering, I imagine, but I'm not too concerned about it. Those people get paid to perform a service, they need to quit their bitching. I reserve the right to change my mind, but right now I think I prefer the burning-up method.

But... I don't really like the idea of my ashes sitting around in some sort of decorative crockery, making everyone feel all uncomfortable and creepy. Toney helped a friend move years ago, and she picked up a box labeled "Kitchen utensils, table cloths, Dad." I mean, seriously... No, I'd have to have my ashes sprinkled somewhere, or maybe mixed into a gallon of paint and spread across a living room wall or something. Perhaps I could even go this route? I wouldn't mind being turned into a pair of earrings, or a nice necklace or something. I might be down wit dat. At least I could continue going to restaurants.

I don't know. Hopefully I've got a little time to think about it some more. There's just so much to consider...

-- It's supposed to be really nice this weekend, so we're planning to spend Saturday cleaning up the goddamn mess in our backyard, left by those bitter tree removal people. It's all been covered by snow until about a week ago, but now we can see it again. Grrr.... We're gonna pull out the pieces we want to keep, for firewood when camping, and give the rest away. Hopefully we can find some people who will drag it away for us. It's good wood, but we have no use for it.

And on Sunday we're gonna pull the camper out, open it up, and make sure no mice or squirrels turned into a home over the winter. It's inside the garage, but I'm still paranoid about it. I've heard too many horror stories about varmints ruining parked RVs. 

Just the other day my Dad told me about a man he knows, who parked his big motorhome for several months because of a family illness. When they finally took it out again, the thing wouldn't go worth a damn. It was acting all sluggish and bogged down, so he took it to a garage. And when they checked the engine they saw that mice had built a friggin' compound in there. Supposedly it was quite an affair, with multiple rooms, a second floor, and a nice covered patio and whatnot. The mice were all gone, but they'd left a hell of a pile of straw and grass and stuff under there, and the mechanic was amazed that the whole motorhome hadn't gone up in flames. 

So we're gonna do a quick inspection on Sunday; we don't need any surprises when we get to Myrtle Beach in a few weeks. I suspect that a mud lodge full of hedgehogs packed up underneath the dining room table might very well ruin a family vacation. Ya know?

Have a good one folks. I'll see you on Monday.

April 7, 2005

-- Man, spring is upon us up here. The weather is just beautiful. Yesterday came very close to the eighty degree mark, it was sunny and bright, and just a few days ago I was caught up in that crazy snowstorm traffic jam. Hell, tomorrow it might snow again; it certainly wouldn't surprise me. But yesterday was as close to perfect as days come, and today's starting out the same way. I do a lot of bitching about this place, but the changes of season are nothing short of spectacular. 

Last night we took Andy (Blacklips Houlihan) for a long walk around the neighborhood, and people had emerged from their winter hovels with gardening tools in hands, They were all out in their yards raking and snipping and bagging, and actually being friendly. Highly unusual, but there were smiles all around. And we even saw a couple of old people out trying to ride bikes, which may have been overreaching a bit, since the woman kept falling over. And I mean over. We saw her head literally bounce off the concrete. And thirty seconds later she went over again. Hard, real hard. Apparently she's not familiar with the concept of putting your hands out to break your fall. But, in any case, it was a beautiful day in the neighborhood. I'm ready to fire up that grill, and scorch up some cow!

-- While we were out walking I saw this, and it made me laugh for some reason. So I went back with a camera. I don't think that newspaper was ever even opened. Why is it funny?

-- And here's something Toney cut out of today's paper for us. A few of you accused me of being taken in by an April Fool's joke when I told you about the ad I heard on the radio about a Helen Keller Fashion Show. Does it look like a joke to you? Or is that insensitive to say look? Frickin' bizarre.

-- I owe Earthlink $667 because of that stupid-ass Neti Pot video I posted a couple of months back. Remember that? It was an instructional clip about a ludicrous teapot-like device that you stuff into your nostrils, and pour water through your sinuses. Here's a little information on it, if you should care, and if the pictures at the bottom of the page don't cause you to laugh and make sarcastic remarks, then, son, you're probably dead inside.

Anyway, I came across this video showing a woman cleaning her nasal passages, I laughed, and posted it. Just another day in the bunker... But then Dave Barry linked to it, which brought a sizable increase in traffic to our modest little site. And since the video was about three minutes long, bandwidth was being gobbled up like Kit Kats at a comic book convention. But I was monitoring it, and thought everything was going to be OK.

Then over a weekend, when I was away from the computer a lot, a site called collegehumor dotcom also linked to it, and all hell broke loose. On that Saturday the clip was downloaded more than twenty thousand times! Before I was able to react I went WAY over my transfer limit, and Earthlink fined me ten cents per megabyte, equaling $667 and some change.

For two months I've been arguing with them about it. I won't bore you with the details, but I believe I have a grievance. So we've been going round and round. Until yesterday. Yesterday we came to the end of the line, and they told me the matter is closed and I owe them the money. 

And you folks know what a cheap bastard I am, and how this just kills me, deep deep in my soul. Also, Toney and I argued about it for one full evening. She's pissed that we're going to have to pay the purchase price of a very nice television, or whatever, for an internet nasal cleaning video. I can see her point, but I'm not happy about it either. Apparently she thinks I'm excited, and am pumping my fist in the air over the "accomplishment."

Anyway, it's a pretty shitty turn of events, and it won't happen again. I'm not posting anymore lengthy video clips, and I've got the site set to go off the air if I ever reach the bandwidth limit again. Fuck it.

-- And I know this isn't the greatest of updates, but I've got to cut it short. I will ask you one favor though, in celebration of our 700th anniversary yesterday. I'd appreciate it if you could each tell me how you originally found out about TheWVSR, and how long you've been visiting the site. Just post it in the comments below. I think that'll be an interesting exercise. I know some of you have been around since the very early days, but I suspect others may have just jumped aboard because of the Gargoyle Letters, or even the Deadwood stuff. Let me know. And thanks for stopping by! I appreciate it, sincerely.

I'll try to be more focused tomorrow. But I've gotta get to work now. ...These balls aren't going to crush themselves, y'know. See ya later.

April 6, 2005

-- We have a new Chinese restaurant in our neighborhood, and I'm pretty excited about it. Well, it's not actually new, it's always been there, but it's under new management and has a new name and everything. I only went to the original place once, and that was enough. I called in a takeout order for lunch when I first moved here, and what they handed me was a sack containing several white boxes of glop. Everything tasted the same, whether you were eating a piece of chicken or a goddamn snow pea. It didn't matter, it was all dominated by some kind of brown glop sauce.

I don't pretend to be a globe-trotting Chinese food expert, but I've eaten quite a lot of it, in several U.S. cities, and I have my opinions. And I don't like the glop. I prefer that each item in the entree taste like itself, stand on its own merits, and compliment its pals in the mix. When it comes to food and politics, I value the individual over the group. I've never really been too fond of the groups.

No, I expect it all to be fresh and crisp and distinctive, with only a hint of the brown sauce, or, um, government. In many of the dumpier (and scarier) places, the vegetables are all drooping and sagging and oppressed, and if you happen to have a few buckets and plastic shovels handy, you could build a friggin' sandcastle with your meal. And I don't like that.

Also, when the glop factor is high, I'm always fearful that I'm going to find a human toenail in there somewhere...

But this "new" place is on the right track. I'd rate their glop factor at a solid four. Still a tad high, but not bad for Scranton. The previous owners came in around eight, and that's simply not acceptable. Call me a snob, but I ain't eating no eights.

There's a buffet in a neighboring town that's usually in the five to six category, and we've been there a few times. But it's such a hushed and formal atmosphere, I just can't accept them into our regular lineup. It's like a funeral parlor in there, a funeral parlor with all-you-can-eat sesame chicken. They need to play some Frankie Valli or something. Shit.

Another buffet, close to my job, offered up a consistent five, but they got into trouble with the health department, and I won't go there anymore. They were reportedly "re-using" food. Supposedly, when someone would leave a full shrimp, or whatever, on their plate, the owners would just flick it back onto the buffet table. That was the rumor anyway, and I'm not taking any chances.

It sounds crazy, I know, but the best Chinese food I've come across here is at a grocery store called Wegman's. It's one of those insanely massive places where you walk in the front door and see the curvature of the Earth off in the direction of the meat department. They have a full-blown food court inside the store, complete with patio seating. Only it's not Taco Bell and Sbarro they're peddling, it's stuff that they prepare themselves. They have great pizza, a kick-ass sub shop, and a Chinese buffet that is really good. But it's just too damn expensive. They weigh your plate and charge you X amount per ounce, and my meal always comes to about eight bucks. And that's just crazy-talk. What am I, a Vanderbilt?

So it's been slim pickings on the Chinese food front for the past five years or so. Toney and I have considered asking Frontier Wok in Burbank to overnight us a couple of full orders of their amazing orange chicken, but haven't actually done it. And we've even talked about flying out there for a long weekend sometime, just to partake of a few meals at Gourmet 88 and Toluca Garden. Again, crazy talk. Just crazy talk.

But now that we have a place almost within walking distance of our front door, serving up big Chinese lunches with a glop factor of four... Baby, we're back in business! And I will do what I can to make sure they're a success. I will stand up and fight for the lowly snow pea!! I know I'm only one man, but remember what happened to the neighborhood beer store when I quit drinking for six months? Something to consider, goddammit.

-- I'm all out of time, but I do have a couple of quick things I wanted to mention... This is my 700th daily update, if you can believe it. Seven hundred days of ridiculousness and stupidity! It boggles my mind. Also, I came to the end of the line yesterday in an extended battle I've been having with the webhost of TheWVSR. I'll tell you all about it tomorrow, but it has to do with the Neti Pot video (remember that?), Dave Barry, a site called collegehumor dotcom, and a bill I received for $667. I warn you though, there are no happy endings to this tale. In fact, I might have to start bussing tables at that new Chinese restaurant; I may be flicking shrimp on the side soon, my friends. I'll give you all the gory details tomorrow.

See ya.

April 5, 2005

-- I bought a Slush Puppy on Saturday. You know, those icy fruit drinks that kids suck down? I probably hadn't had one in a quarter-century, but saw the machine in a candy store at the mall and bought one on a whim. I opted for the blue flavor. I don't know what it was technically, just blue. It was self-serve, and when I went to the counter to pay, the girl said I owed her $2.30. Shit! $2.30?!! I figured it would be about a buck twenty-five. What is this, Starbucks? But whatever. I paid up and prepared to be transported back to childhood, and the 1970s streets of Dunbar, WV. But it didn't really pan out. There was no transporting. The thing tasted like a vat of chemicals, and burned my throat. After I had about a third of it I felt like my mouth had been coated in deck sealant. I tossed that crap in the garbage, and wondered if my cancer-switch had been flipped. Highly unsatisfying.

-- Before I wasted two dollars and thirty cents on more stupid shit, we went into Sears to buy one of the Secrets a new pair of tennis (aka tenna) shoes. I don't know what it is about that store, but I can never find my way out. I have no proof of this, but I think they move the exits around. I've been in there plenty of times, and never fail to get lost. One day I seriously spent thirty minutes trying to escape, and when I finally saw sunlight I went for it -- even though it deposited me onto the parking lot behind the mall, when I was parked out front. I didn't care, I'd just hoof it around the building. I almost dropped to my knees and kissed the asphalt. It's like some kind of crazy hall of mirrors, and I have no doubt it's all by design. One of these days I'm going to catch them sliding the exits around, mark my words. I know they do it, and soon I will have my proof.

-- Does anyone know of a good simple baseball website, where a person can get the basic information a normal human being might desire on said subject? I went to the USA Today baseball page this morning, just to see when the Braves open their season, and my brain almost cracked in half. There's way too much information there. I don't care about 99% of that stuff, and I never did find an answer to my question. I just want to know the standings, and who's playing and pitching today. I'm not concerned with a team's record in night games in which a left-handed pitcher started, but was completed by a righty, on days when Congress is in session. I want to make an attempt at following the new baseball season, but I'm not getting myself all bogged down in that stuff. I have enough stress as it is, thank you very much. If anyone could steer me in a more sane direction, I'd really appreciate it.

-- And that's all I can muster today, boys and girls. I'll leave you with this, and wish you all a wonderful Tuesday.

April 4, 2005

-- We turned our clocks back on Saturday night, but something doesn't feel right. Last night America's Funniest Home Videos came on at five o'clock, instead of seven. In fact, the whole TV schedule is screwed up. What's the story? Is it the new summer lineup or something? I wish they'd warned us. I need to keep up on all the shows, so I can make proper analogies while whining. ...And why's it still dark outside? Global warming?? Holy shit.

-- Speaking of summer, it snowed here almost all day yesterday. Just flurries, but still... It's April. I like winter and all, some of my best friends were born in winter, but it needs to know its place. It's obviously getting a little big for its britches at this point. Somebody really needs to bring winter down a few notches, if you ask me. There's nothing worse than an uppity season.

-- I think I'm going to talk to a lawyer about those lying bastards at Keebler. For far too long they've been allowed to float the ridiculous notion that their products are manufactured by tiny midgets in hollow trees (ha!), and I'm sick of it. There are laws concerning truthfulness in advertising, yet Keebler has been running roughshod over them for decades. It doesn't matter if there's a Democrat or a Republican in the White House,
nobody seems to have the will to confront the issue; it's the proverbial third rail of modern politics. So I guess it's left to me. And I'm here to tell you, Jeff Kay is not afraid of Big Snack. Yeah, I know they're powerful and I might very well be found in a ditch with my mouth packed full of Danish Wedding Cookies. But, dammit, this is America we're talking about! I hope those bastards are ready to fight.

-- The Smoking Fish has been spotted in the skies over Charlotte, NC! Check it out. Wonder if the Department of Homeland Security is aware of this?

-- And we're being discussed in the pages of the San Francisco Chronicle, if you can believe it. No, I can't either. I have a feeling a few people will have some explaining to do, at the next staff meeting.

-- Speaking of San Francisco... apparently the nutcases on the fringe left were feeling a little threatened by all the press coverage the nutcases on the fringe right received down in Florida during the Mylar Balloon Lady case. So, they've stepped to the plate. Isn't batshit craziness fun? I believe I've had my last grapefruit though...

-- Here are the numbers for last night's Deadwood. It started out kinda slow, but by the twenty-minute mark they'd let loose with a veritable Gatling Gun of fucks. One of the highest tallies to date; a remarkable showing.

-- And finally, here's a short scene from the final Star Wars movie. This was leaked over the weekend, and is extremely rare. I believe it illustrates, quite clearly, the new direction George Lucas will be taking us this summer. Really cool.

Yeah, I'm coasting. What of it? See ya tomorrow.

April 1, 2005

A few quick things:

-- I was driving home from work last night and heard a commercial, I shit you not, for a "Helen Keller Day Fashion Show." It sounded serious, not comedy material, yet I found myself laughing out loud. Not often do we hear the words Helen Keller and Fashion in the same sentence. Oh, I've encountered plenty of people who appeared to have been dressed by the deaf and dumb, mostly college professors for some reason, but I've never heard of an actual celebration of such things. It's baffling. I did an internet search (I refuse to use Google as a verb, it falls into the same category as blog and underpants), and came up with nothing. If any of you local yokels out there have more information on this, I'd be much obliged if you could pass it along to me. I just can't imagine what it's all about. Is it a fashion show for blind people? Is everyone dressed in material made for rubbin', such as corduroy? Help me out, folks. I'm confused here. This is craziest thing I've heard on local radio since the speech impediment preacher implored us all to get wight with Chwist.

-- On a related note, why does Helen Keller masturbate with her right hand? Because she moans with her left. Just a little reminder...

-- Apparently the Pope is in bad shape. Depending on who you believe, he may or may not be in a coma as I type this, and on the verge of death. He's been around for a long time; this is the same Pope that was shot, isn't it? Wow, that was a long time ago. I seem to remember, back when I was an ugly teenager, Popes dying off quite regularly. My memory might be off, but for a while there it seemed like they had a Pope of the Month Club going. How does that work, if he dies? Is there a Vice-Pope ready to take the helm? It seems that the selection process for a new Big Guy is quite involved. Don't they barricade themselves inside a building and communicate via smoke? I'm serious, I feel that this is true. I can remember, quite clearly the news media outside some old shack, trying to interpret the smoke coming out of the chimney. Was that just a dream? In any case, you know what they say about famous people dying in threes... The Pope, Mylar, the guy from Foghat... It's not looking good.

-- Here's a picture taken exactly thirty seconds before a savage beating took place.

-- And here's a news story that makes me feel pretty good about myself. I've done a lot of cringe-worthy things in my life, but nothing like this. This pretty much trumps all the stupid shit I've managed to accomplish to date, and that's a gift money can't buy. I may print it out and put it on the refrigerator.

-- I'm almost certain I saw a commercial last night for a made-for-TV movie about the great anguish and epic behind-the-scenes dramas on the set of Mork & Mindy. It showed a man sporting a Robin Williams wig in deep shadow, suffering. It looked like something off the Sundance Channel, only there was, you know, a person wearing rainbow suspenders. What the hell is going on?? Is it possible that the cafeteria lady slipped a little blotter acid into my Jeff Kay Hoagie yesterday? I feel like I've slipped through some kind of portal.

-- And speaking of food, those pricks at Bennigan's changed their menu and discontinued one of my favorite entrees: the club salad. We went there the other day and they handed us big paper menus, and immediately I got a mild feeling of dread. Where were the leather-bound menus we've all grown to know and love? What's the deal with this cheesy insubstantial Denny's crapola?... Oh shit! I ripped it open and checked for the American Burger first. Still there. Whew. Then I checked for the club salad, and it was gone! I may have actually shrieked a little. I love the club salad, masculinity be damned. Why?? Why does The Man insist on screwing around with things? Seriously. I called the manager over and demanded an explanation. She shrugged and said, "Corporate." I'm not clear on what that means exactly, but she could see I was suffering and offered to have a club salad made for me, special. But I don't like that. It would be too Nancy and Nostrils to be ordering stuff not on the menu. I just sent her away and began the mourning process. What else was there to do? I thought about writing a letter to Bennigan himself, but I'm sure it would just be ignored, like all my correspondence with Wendy. Screw it. At least I've still got the American Burger to comfort me in these trying times.

And this is one of the more ridiculous updates I believe I've written to date. I'm going to quit while I'm far, far behind, and wish you folks a great weekend. So have yourselves a great weekend, and I'll see ya on Monday.

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