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

2003

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A bowl of corn, motherfuckers.

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Is that an erection I smell?

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

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   The State of My Fat Ass                                          May 2004

May 28, 2004

-- Well, perhaps I was wrong about the police monitoring our driving speed from the air? I seriously thought it was all a myth, created to play on the fears of society's gullible wieners and wienerettes. I thought the entire campaign consisted only of the making and posting of signs. I just didn't believe there were actual cops flying around in airplanes waiting for us to drive wrong. (Aren't they always bitching about being under-funded??) But I received about twenty-five emails yesterday from people relating horror stories about being nabbed by the proverbial Eye In The Sky. Interesting. I can't really recall being wrong before... But I'm OK with it. Even DiMaggio couldn't keep it going forever. I'll just start a new streak today. No biggie. In fact, I feel relieved. The pressures of always being right were considerable, believe me. And now I'm free! Thank you!!

-- I'm concerned that I'm on the verge of right hand cancer. After the apple-eater departed our little broom closet office at work, I made a few changes. I moved my desk into a more satisfactory spot inside the closet, and rearranged my computer crapola. Now it's all situated so that when I use the mouse, my right hand is pressed up against the side of my laptop. And I can feel prickly energy of some sort coming out of the thing, and being absorbed by my flesh. It's not just heat, it goes to the bone. I'm worried that it's radiation and, over time, it'll be wrist, tumor, and fingers. I thought about moving things again, but it would take me at least ten minutes. And I just don't want to get myself involved in such a large project, at the present time. I'll just hope for the best and if my shit starts changing shape, I'll invest in a lead glove And maybe enroll in a right hand cancer support group.

-- I'm listening to the Doors for some unknown reason. Strange Days, to be precise. It's probably been fifteen years since I've heard this stuff. That Morrison fellow was a bit of a pretentious fuck, wasn't he? Holy mackerel. It never really occurred to me before, but that man needed to be brought down a few notches.

-- We're only hours away from the kick-off of another beloved three-day weekend. If the rain goes away I'm gonna mow the grass tonight, so it's not hanging around my neck. Then we'll just relax and decompress on the deck, drink beer and eat large quantities of charred meat. The John Candy Workout. It's quite effective.

We thought about taking our camper out for a short getaway, but figured everywhere would be so crowded it would be counter-productive. So we'll just stay home.

Last weekend we checked out a couple of campgrounds nearby. We need someplace close where we can escape on short notice, but I don't think we've found it yet. There's a really nice state park six or seven miles away, where I sometimes impersonate a fisherman, but I'm a little scared of their campground. It only costs fifteen bucks a night, which isn't nearly high enough to keep out the riff-raff. We drove through there on Sunday, and I have no doubt we were amongst felons, ex and current.

In one site there was a minivan, beat all to hell and faded, with a tired looking woman in the passenger seat whispering into a cell phone. And ten feet away was a bloated and heavily tattooed man, asleep in the dirt. This was their camp. The thought of being in the woods after dark with these sportsmen was not exactly inviting. The phrase "drug deal gone bad" kept rolling through my mind.

On another site, up the road, was a camp constructed entirely of rope, blankets, plastic Wal-Mart bags, and sheets of what may or may not have been cured human skin. I'm almost certain one of them had a belly-button in the middle of it, but I could be wrong.

I hate to be a snob, but I think we're going to pass. 

The other place we checked out was the shithole where Sunshine & Mumbles camped last summer. We'd heard the new owners were making a lot of improvements, but we couldn't really see any. Same Dwight D. Eisenhower concussion-maker playground equipment, same parasite petting zoo swimming pool, same overgrown Blair Witch grounds...

And so, the search for sanctuary continues. In the meantime our deck will have to do. Pass the beer nuts.

-- Buck and Randi are on assignment this week, so I'll just wish you folks a nice holiday weekend, and say see ya.

More on Tuesday.


May 27, 2004

-- Do you ever notice those signs along the interstate that say Speed Checked By Aircraft? Could that possibly be true? Somehow I doubt it. I believe it's an attempt to frighten the more gullible among us into believing we're always being watched. It's the grown-up version of the grade school teacher's claim of having eyes in the back of her head. They're just fucking with us. What is this aircraft, anyway? I've never seen a police department hot air balloon hovering over a highway, and I've yet to witness an officer parachuting from the sky with a ticket book in his hand and a disappointed look on his face.

I don't believe any speed is being checked by any aircraft. I think it's a load of crap. But I have no doubt the signs work. I know people who, I am quite certain, believe a black glider will swoop down from the clouds if they allow their vehicle to hit the 56 mph mark. The state could erect signs saying that invisible men with cameras are on patrol, and a significant portion of the population would never move their hands from the ten and two o'clock positions on the steering wheel. And they'd pick their noses inside a locked bathroom, with a towel stuffed under the door. Just in case.

For the record, I also know folks who back into parking spaces (for safety), don't trust direct-deposit (they wanna see their money), and are afraid to buy things over the internet (too risky). And I know a man who irons his jeans, and undoubtedly keeps his underwear on hangers. 

I find these people to be highly amusing.

-- Speaking of underwear and driving, what's the deal with that old yuk yuk joke about mothers telling their kids to put on a clean pair, in case they're in an auto accident? I never understood that. Do a lot of people wear dirty underwear? Do they get up in the morning, eat breakfast, shower, then plunge their arm into the hamper, fishing for last Tuesday's balled-up and nasty old draws? Is it really necessary to remind people to put on clean underwear? Am I completely out of step with the culture here?? Plus, if you crash your car into the back of a semi, or whatever, there's a good chance your undies will no longer be clean by the time the paramedics show up. Ya know? Who started that "joke," and how has it survived for so long? It's stupid.

-- I watched a show about Hitler's health secrets the other night on one of those obscure Discovery Channels, way the fuck up the dial. Apparently he was a methamphetamine junkie, and suffered from Parkinson's Disease. The conclusion seemed to be that if he wasn't jacked up on speed all the time he probably could've won the war. The meth made him careless and prone to poor judgment, they said. Huh. They also explored a strange relationship he had with a woman who reportedly crapped and pissed on the Furher, for his sexual gratification. She was eventually found murdered, under suspicious circumstances. I imagine that she was given orders to make her turds more exciting, to dress-up her feces, and wasn't able to come through in the, uh, pinch. Whatever. It was an interesting show. I need to spend more time up there in the hundreds. I probably doubled their viewership for the night, and had a good time in the process. My only complaint: nothing about the uni-ball.

-- Throughout the 1980's I subscribed to Rolling Stone magazine and I believe that in every single issue The Clash were mentioned at least once. It became a sort of hobby of mine, to find a Clash mention in every new issue. (It was a particularly sad period of my life.) And they were there, always. I think the same thing is true with Adolph Hitler and cable television. At any time of the day or night, I believe it is possible to find film footage of that freak, somewhere on the dial. Why don't they just get it over with, and start a Hitler Channel? They could have a little moustache in the bottom corner of the screen and everything. Of course, it might be a little difficult to sell advertising... It would probably be hard to convince Coca-Cola to purchase a block of ads on The Hitler Network. Know what I'm saying?

-- Yesterday I received word of two new Smoking Fish sightings, near a couple of the world's tallest structures. Here he is beside the largest smokestack on the planet, in Ontario, Canada. And here is again inside and outside Seattle's Space Needle. Very cool. As always, I appreciate you folks keeping your eyes open. The Fish, he gets around.

See ya tomorrow.

May 26, 2004

-- How do you train a dog to walk on a leash? Our neurotic border collie Andy has no idea how this is supposed to happen, and turns a leisurely evening stroll into a jerk 'n' curse jamboree. He pulls with all his might from the second I attach the leash to his collar, and doesn't let up until we're back in our living room. It's just continuous, unrelenting tugging, as if he's enrolled in one of those Alaskan sledding races. He huffs and puffs and snorts and coughs...

I seriously worry that he's going to crush his trachea doing that crap. And my arm stays straight-out the entire time, the little strings in my shoulder being tested for their holding power. I feel like a weather vane in a windstorm, never being allowed to change posture but abruptly changing directions a dozen times a minute. Toney jokes that I should stand on a skateboard and let him pull me around the circle, but he'd have us traveling at such a clip I'd probably experience G-Force. Yes, it's those kinds of bright ideas that eventually lands a man on America's Funniest Home Videos and/or in the rehabilitation center, being taught how to walk again.

How can I break the hound of his constant pulling? He doesn't get as many walks as he probably should, because it's no fun for anyone involved. If he'd act like he had an ounce of sense he'd have many more doggie adventures. I like walking, but I'm not a huge fan of having my arm ripped from its socket. Any tips would be appreciated.

-- When we were "walking" last night we came upon a neighbor's dog who is roughly the size of a Shetland pony. I ain't shittin' ya. You could saddle up this beast and let kids take rides around the neighborhood. Sometimes she walks up to our house and looks right in the front window, without getting on her hind legs; the normal elevation of her head is higher than the standard window. But she's gentle and Andy loves to play with her. They're the same age and they routinely wrestle in the yard and have a big time. Andy apparently doesn't realize that he's about the size of one of her paws, and the pony doesn't rub it in.

Anyway, this giant dog came loping over to us, and she and Andy began their wrasslin' routine. And thirty seconds later the dog's owner came running out to retrieve her. And he didn't say a word to us. I joked that he had a nice lap-dog there, but I got no response. Toney made a remark about how the two dogs like to play, and it was like a Daffy Duck cartoon: nothing but the sound of crickets.

I mean, what the hell? When we lived in Atlanta we'd get irritated that everyone seemed to want to talk. Go into a grocery store there and you're liable to learn the cashier's life story, from the time she had to drop out of nail school, to her ugly second divorce from a man who couldn't let go of his Momma. But that's preferable to full-on assholism.

We have no connection with any of our neighbors here. I might know some of them if I saw them outside the neighborhood, but probably not. The people across the street are nice, but they're older and richer, and we don't have much in common. Beyond that, nothing. We can all be out in our yards, mowing or whatever, and nobody even offers up a half-assed wave. It's bizarre to me.

In California we lived on a cul-de-sac and it was practically communal. Everybody talked and borrowed things, and was all up in each other's business. I don't even know the neighbors' names here, and that's no lie.

Sometimes I forget where I'm at, and make a little friendly gesture. But I always come away feeling like an idiot, after the other person just stares at me and says nothing. So, fuck 'em. If they want cold, they'll get cold. And if they push it I'll stop mowing the grass, paint my house orange, and rent out our basement to a ska band as rehearsal space. These snobby slack-wearin' golf-practicin' pricks can kiss my zitty ass. East and west of the Mississippi.

-- I got a lot of response from yesterday's update, concerning the Iraq war and whatnot. Most of it was positive, but some of it was just the opposite. Here's a little taste of one such message:

You flag waving fat retards from the boonies are morons.

And that was from my mother!  No wait, that's not correct. It was from somebody I've never heard of before, a drive-by. 

Flag-waving?? Because I'm not cynical and angry and bitter, and eager to believe any kooky conspiracy theory, exaggeration, or lie about this country? That makes me a flag-waver? Well, I'll try to be cooler in the future, I really will. I'll try to believe the worst about America, since that's the hip thing to do. I apologize if I've slipped a little. No blood for oil! There, I feel smarter already. Later I'll search the internet for other cool things to say and think. Then maybe we could hang out?

-- Speaking of conspiracy theories, do you think Time magazine made a conscious decision to give Bush a set of devil horns here?

-- And before I get myself into any more trouble, I'll turn it over to Jason now, who just returned from a road trip to the land of Yuengling. Take it away, my friend.

I'll be back tomorrow.

May 25, 2004

-- I bought something really cool off eBay last week, and it arrived in the mail yesterday. It's a CD of mp3 files comprising an entire CBS Radio broadcast day in June 1944, the day of the Normandy Invasion. It's everything, from the moment they signed on the air at 2:30 in the morning, until they signed off late that night. Programs are frequently interrupted with further news of the allies' progress in France, and Edward R. Murrow's periodic reports from London. The current time is given as Eastern War Time, and listeners are urged to help the effort by purchasing War Bonds. The whole country was seemingly focused on winning the war.

I love this kind of stuff. You can't really get a feel for the era with little snippets of news, but you sure can with twenty hours of continuous broadcast. It'll take me a month to listen to it all, but I will. Last night I played the first hour and it was a little strange to hear positive news, and reporters who didn't have a political axe to grind. It was hard to tell, but they may have actually wanted America to succeed. I know, it's hard to fathom, but it may have been true.

Today, of course, there would be a lot of hand-wringing about our troops being too rough with the Nazis, about their excessive cruelty during fire-fights with Hitler's army. And the number of American casualties would be highlighted continuously, and rammed down our throats as evidence of some implied moral crime. It would be Roosevelt's "controversial" war, even though it would only be controversial inside the reporters' own newsrooms, and amongst their kooky old college professors.

There would be endless debate about the fact that we're at war with Germany, when it was Japan who attacked us at Pearl Harbor. There would be human-interest stories about a baker in Switzerland, or a housewife in Sweden, who view the United States as bullies, and pray continuously for Roosevelt to come to his senses and end his illegal war.

You think I'm wrong?

I sincerely believe that if this current generation had been alive during World War II, we'd all be speaking German today. Or Russian. Because we're a bunch of spoiled bitches who can't stomach the ugly side of what is being asked of us. We don't have the heart to defend our way of life, and would rather blame ourselves than admit that there are a bunch of evil freaks out there, bent on killing us all. If it's our fault, you see, it would be wrong to do anything about it. We should change our ways, and leave those poor people alone. Since we drove them to it.

Instead of the Normandy Invasion we'd come up with some cockeyed pseudo-intellectual reason for not doing a damn thing.

In sixty years some guy in this town might watch an entire broadcast day, purchased off eBay (you know they'll still be around in 2064), from the Iraqi War era. He'll sit down with some Funyuns and Faygo, and see Peter Jennings fretting and fussing. And he'll watch a nation in anguish because terrorists and murderers were made to stand on a box, or hold a banana in a photograph. And he'll shake his head and mutter, "pussies."

At least I hope so. Our new leaders may outlaw Funyuns and Faygo, and television. And American eyes, and American fingers. We may be "cleansed" from the Earth by then, with a little help from our progressive and feeling selves.

Have a nice day.

May 24, 2004

-- It's disgustingly humid, and there's something in the air that's making me sneeze and generate an abundance of clear watery snot. I'm dripping like a faucet here, and feel like my entire body has been doused with Pam cooking spray. When I got out of bed this morning I launched into a sneezing jag that lasted for minutes. I'd barely get finished with a choo! before the next ah! would kick in. I could barely breathe, and had to make an effort not to panic. Right now I can feel mucus accumulating on the rim of my right nostril, building and building, on its way to becoming a full-on trickle. I can just sit still in a chair and science happens, from head to toe. And I don't like that.

-- I mowed the grass yesterday afternoon, in this suffocating humidity, and afterwards looked in the mirror and audibly gasped. Like in the movies. I was wearing a gray t-shirt and there were two quarter-moon shaped sweat stains, beneath my man-tits. It was horrifying. When you reach a point where your hooters are so large they begin affecting sweat patterns, something needs to be done. Good god, I was walking around in our yard with fat man's sweat on my shirt! It's a pivotal time in a man's life when that happens, believe me. A person would be flat-out foolish not to heed the warning of the tit moon.

-- I've also been having a lot of dreams lately involving water. What does that mean? Toney says it's from feeling overwhelmed. I don't know. But every night I dream that I'm standing on the side of a lake, or partially submerged, watching somebody swim around. Last week, as reported, it was Franklin Roosevelt(!?). Generally speaking, I don't dream much. I think it has to do with my brain being all burned-up. But lately I've been watching people swim around in lakes all night long. I tried to look it up on the internet, on a few of those dream interpretation sites, but wasn't able to cut through the cosmic horseshit and get to the heart of the matter. If anyone can help with this, I'd appreciate it.

-- Who the hell is Van Helsing? I thought it was a shirt-maker, but I keep reading and hearing references to him (or it), in conjunction with Frankenstein or some shit. I heard a gang of kids talking about it in Target yesterday, and realized that I am now officially out of it. I feel that a large portion of the American society now knows things that I don't. And it didn't used to be this way. As I tried to explain to Toney yesterday, at length, in the rug aisle, it's not that I necessarily want to know about this Van Helsing. It's just the fact that others know, and I don't. That's the part that bothers me. How did they find out? What are their sources of information? They don't look particularly intelligent, these Van Helsing experts. In fact, a couple of the ones in Target yesterday looked as if they are frequently transported via the short-bus. How are they more hip than I? I don't think my wife fully grasped the import of this issue, because she said, after about five minutes, "Do you ever stop talking about stupid shit?" Yes, it's vital for a person to have a strong support network.

-- I have Google pop-up blocker on my computer, and it works really well -- 5452 blocked to date! But somehow one made it through on Friday, like a tiny sperm swimming upstream through a uterean sea. I saved it because of its tenacity and ability to beat the odds. Google's pop-up spermicide spells doom for 99.999% of the thousands of little swimmers blasted my way every day. But this little guy is hardier than most, and deserves some recognition.

-- And speaking of swimmers, here's part of an email I received last week:

The following mail can't be sent to senator@kennedy.senate.gov:

From: info@thewvsr.com
To: senator@kennedy.senate.gov
Subject: look,my beautiful girl friend
The attachment is the original mail


What in the hot-buttered fuck??

-- The Judd Nelson soundboard.

-- Last night's episode of The Sopranos almost sent me into cardiac arrest. It was easily the best episode of the season; it felt like old times. The suspense was ratcheted way up, and my heart was pounding inside my chest. Holy cannoli. I won't spoil anything, in case you haven't seen it yet, but the shit was good. Real good. I wish they could manage to pull that sort of thing off more often. It's why we all became obsessed with the show in the first place.

-- Deadwood also cranked things up last night, and unleashed an awe-inspiring number of fucks in a short 54 minutes. Easily the highest number all year -- and Calamity Jane wasn't even there! Here are the details.

And that'll do it for today, folks. I have more, but it'll keep. See ya tomorrow.

              
May 21, 2004

-- They didn't even give Scrote a dinner? What's that all about? The man had a long and distinguished career of busting into rooms with his weapon drawn, then smirking and making sarcastic remarks about all the gore they discovered. And they don't even give him a dinner when he retires? It's disrespectful, at best. I mean, that job has turned him into a human scrotum! They could at least sit down and have a little pasta with the man. Jeez.

Detective Briscoe's final Law & Order episode was a little odd, I thought. It was completely devoid of over-the-top emotion, which is almost unheard-of on a television program. He told his partner halfway through the show that he was "putting in his papers," then they went on to solve the crime. And at the end he cleaned out his desk (or "deks" if you're in Atlanta), shook a few hands, and left. That's it. No fuzzy-focus flashbacks, no tears, no hugging. He just picked up his box of shit, and walked out the door. It felt a little abrupt.

I was wondering, why would a person leave a show like that? Especially after so many years? It's still in the top ten, I think, and at this point they must just palletize his money and deliver it to him via forklift. He'll always be Scrote, for the rest of his life, so why fight it? He's not going to be the next Batman, or host Blue's Clues, or dance around on Broadway in sequins. Ya know? He'll forever be Detective Lenny "The Scrotum" Briscoe, NYPD.

But, just this morning I learned that he's getting his own spin-off show. A reader sent me this link. I had no idea. Another Law & Order?! Cool. I watch 'em all, except that weird one with the guy who cocks his head like a dog hearing a UPS truck off in the distance. Law & Order CPA? Yeah, that guy makes me uncomfortable. But I'll certainly watch ScroteTV. In fact, I can't wait. He's a pouch-like institution.

I just hope he's not too bitter about not getting a dinner. Something like that could affect job performance.

-- I know this is fairly abbreviated today, but I'm gonna turn it over to Randi now, and call it a week. I have an early meeting this morning, in which I plan to place my foot across somebody's neck. Figuratively speaking, of course. Randi?

More on Monday.

May 20, 2004

-- Y'know, we're already taking it for granted, but the Internet is an amazing thing.

Yesterday at work I began the day by purchasing a two-pack of soft cookies (softened by science!) from the vending machine, and a shot glass of acid coffee, as my computer shucked and jived its way to life.

Once the gestation period was over, I turned on the Neal Boortz show from Atlanta, and perused the headlines on the New York Times, USA Today, and other communist periodicals. Then I read messages sent to me from friends scattered all around the country, and sent them back smart-ass answers that they could read within seconds.

After Boortz I listened to some 80's alternative music on a channel that allows me to filter out Tori Amos, Depeche Mode, and any other artist who might make me want to slug myself in the genitalia. When that got old I tuned into Rush for a few minutes and heard him talking like John Kerry, so loud my little speakers began to cut out.

Once my marathon conference calls mercifully ended, I decided I was in the mood for some old-time radio. So, I selected a Bing Crosby program from 1934, and cranked it up. Then I took in an exciting episode of Casey, Crime Photographer from the mid-1940's -- sponsored by Anchor-Hocking glass, of Ohio.

In between all this I monitored the day's news headlines in real-time, checked the status of our company stock, read the weather forecast, and laughed at a German couple who apparently didn't know that babies come from sex.

The day's festivities ended as they always end: while listening to Clive Bull's "late night talk-back show" from London. In the past I've sent him emails, from my broom closet in Pennsylvania, and he's read them on the air five minutes later. In frikkin' London.

And... in addition to all this, I did a fairly decent job at performing my professional duties -- mostly via the Internet. My colleagues (as Nancy says) are in Burbank, but they may as well be in the next office.

It's all pretty amazing. It feels like the whole universe, past and present, can be accessed with just a few keystrokes.

Not to sound like an old man piled in a barber shop chair, but back in my day... news came from thirty minutes of Walter Cronkite, The Charleston Daily Mail, and maybe Time magazine if we were feeling especially worldly. Radio was Top 40 music, my Dad's shitkicker jamboree, and Cincinnati Reds games.

I think we get more information before breakfast today than we did in an entire week back then. Apparently we didn't know jack in those days? Huh, we sure thought we did...

Anyway, I'm glad I've gotten to experience both worlds, so I can appreciate the advancements. Good God, the year I graduated from high school looks like Ozzie and Harriet from this perspective. We used big heavy phones with (hahaha) cords attached. And we yucked it up when we heard about CNN. What's next, we said, a 24-hour sports channel (yuck yuck)? Round the clock weather (yuckity yuck)?? Oh, the comedy was just a-flowin' in those days.

Yes, it's all changed, in a short period of time. I feel like I've lived in both the Flintstones and the Jetsons. And it's pretty darn cool.

-- And before I completely disappear into my own asshole, I'll hand it over to Buck now, who'll man the ship from here. Buck Ahoy

(Did I actually just type those words??)

May 19, 2004

-- We watched the season finale of Law and Order BTO last night, and it was forkin' great. I like BTO better than the original L&O, with Scrote, because it takes the entire hour to solve the crime. I don't like it as much when the lawyers take over. They're wank. Anyway, this episode started with a tiny video camera being discovered inside a toilet in the ladies room of a Starbucks coffee house.

They quickly traced it back to a jittery pervert with a urine fetish, and when they raided his apartment they found lots of excellent stuff. Like a stash of dozens of DVDs, one with the title "Ur-Ine Luck!" And, of course, they uncovered his privately-produced collection of "films," along with a meticulously maintained logbook with entries like "8:07 AM, March 21, restroom at the park, duration of stream: 33 seconds, color: marigold yellow..."

It was the inclusion of the word "marigold" that got me. I was sitting in our family room clapping my hands like a seal at Sea World. It's the little details that make all the difference.

-- I used the term "season finale" above, but I did so under protest. I don't think I like it much. It's kinda pretentious, finale. Who says that? It's not a word often used, except in conjunction with a preceding "season." Ya know? When there's only one dinner roll left, do we say, "Is anyone gonna eat this roll finale?" I think not. I considered using "final episode" instead, but it implies that it's the final episode ever, and the show will presumably be back next season. So, I went with the accepted term. I feel a little ill at ease about it though, as if I just ordered the Rooty Tooty Big And Fruity breakfast at Denny's. Please accept my apologies.

-- The final episode of the season of Law and Order BTO kicked the flabby ass of the most recent Sopranos, which made me yell profanities at inanimate objects. I know extended dream sequences must be mighty attractive to scriptwriters, because they can go wild and do all kinds of crazy shit, but they don't do much for the viewers. That bullshit on Sunday didn't move the story forward, as far as I can tell, and it wasn't even entertaining. Only three episodes left and they waste it on that crap? Oh, I was pissed.

-- But, speaking of dreams... I had one earlier this week in which I was standing on the ladder of a swimming pool, with my legs partially in the water. It had a ladder like a pool, but it was somehow a lake... I was just standing there when the water agitated and a head popped up. It was a man with a monocle in his eye, and a cigarette holder in his mouth. He looked at me and said, "I'm Franklin Delano Roosevelt." Then he disappeared beneath the surface again, and the dream was over. The fuck?

-- A friend sent me a photo last night that made me laugh. He works at a newspaper and the pic came over the Associated Press wire. Here's the caption: Japan's crown Prince Naruhito listens to an unidentified historian, left, with the help of a translator while visiting Lisbon's 16th century Belem tower on the bank of the Tagus river, Monday, May 17 2004. Naruhito is on a five-day visit to Portugal. (AP Photo/Armando Franca) And here's the picture.

-- I'm gonna ask you folks not to post anything to this, but here's a discussion on a polka newsgroup about our Pennsylvania Polka reviews. My instincts are telling me that they enjoyed the hell out of our writings, and now feel bad about it. They're experiencing polka guilt, and are lashing out. It's a very common emotional reaction. In any case, please don't screw with these folks. They're entitled to their opinions. Plus, I don't need my house surrounded by torches and accordions. I really don't.

-- We'll wrap things up today with another visit from our Southern correspondent, Jason.

And I'll see ya again tomorrow, bright and early.

May 18, 2004

-- I was in a grocery store over the weekend and one of those really irritating families was there, with their passel of wild, hollering kids. You know the types, mother and father shopping together (why??), taking up an entire aisle with two ridiculously elongated novelty carts shaped like a car, and the kids screaming and throwing shit, and knocking boxes off the shelves? Ya know? The kind who believe it's our job to adjust to them?

Yeah. As usual, the so-called parents were doing nothing. Nothing to stop the incessant shrieking, or the hurling of water cress wafers, or the throwing of punches and the monster-voice, "You're a BAD MOMMY!!" Oh, no. To make the little brats straighten up and act like civilized human beings would be to stifle their emotions. Which, I assume, might eventually turn them into unlikable and miserable little shits? I'm just not clear on it.

The volume was so elevated I couldn't even hear the Muzak version of "Afternoon Delight" over the loudspeakers. And I like that song. Heads were turning all around, but I don't know why we continue to be surprised. It's as common a scene as giant pink sweatpants in the Slim-Fast aisle. There seems to be a growing number of people out there whose harshest parental discipline is to say, in an even voice, "You're starting to make me angry." This is the nuclear option, and it usually only comes if the blood of a stranger has been drawn, or a person is set afire.

I stood and watched this Barnum & Bailey performance as I waited in line to pay for my steak sauce, and fought the urge to step in. I wanted to walk over there and do some hardcore emotion stifling, right on the spot. I could've had those little hooligans quieted down and well-mannered within seconds. I know this to be a fact. And as long as they didn't cross any additional lines, as dictated by good common sense, everybody could have a nice day.

But, of course, I was another person who did nothing. I just stood and watched the parents scamper around like fools, picking crap up off the floor, and making threats that everybody inside the tri-state area knew were utter bullshit -- especially the kids. I shook my head and guessed they had an old Volvo in the parking lot, with a John Kerry sticker on the back.

But then I remembered there are no John Kerry stickers. Nobody's for John Kerry, they're only against Bush. Kerry inspires about as much enthusiasm as linoleum samples at a keg party.

He'd be their type of leader, though. Empty threats, worrying about the self-esteem of murderers and terrorists, making excuses, fretting, hand-wringing, wanting to be everybody's friend... Now Osama, what you did to those big buildings in New York was bad. America's very disappointed in your actions. ...Not with you, only your actions. Can you tell Daddy why you're so angry? It's all starting to make sense now.

Me? I prefer someone who'll jerk the little shits from their metaphorical novelty cart, and drag them to the parking lot for a "consultation." Because it'll only happen once or twice, then they'll get the idea and we can all have a nice day.

But people are different, I guess. I don't understand why, but they are.

And all this went through my head while standing in line at the grocery store on Sunday afternoon. Steak sauce politics is what I call it. You might call it something else. Because people are different.

May 17, 2004

-- We experienced my favorite weather phenomenon this weekend.

Saturday was hot and muggy, and we were stewing in our own natural juices. It was one of those days where even the smallest movement causes a million pores to swing wide open; a quick scratch of the nose was enough to trigger an explosion of perspiration. It was grotesque.

But as much as I was tempted to just sit on couches, I was also determined not to allow the dreading of chores to define my two days off. Oh, I'd been there too many times before. So, I knocked them all out before dinner on Saturday, in a highly unusual burst of energy. I mowed the grass and was slicker than a goddamn seal before it was over. Then I took the storm glass out of the doors, and replaced it with screens. And I dragged our two big Soviet air conditioners up from the basement, and installed them in the appropriate windows. It was insanity on parade.

Then came the payoff. It was if somebody were watching over me, and decided I needed to be rewarded for my hard work...

Late in the afternoon the skies turned dark, the wind began blowing, and the hammer of the gods came down. There was lightning and thunder and horizontal rain, and all manner of carrying on. And within an hour the temperature dropped twenty degrees, and the humidity went away. It was enough to bring tears to your eyes. If I'd known where a church was located, I may have driven there and given thanks. But I just popped open a Yuengling instead.

On Sunday we went out and bought some thick-ass steaks, I made a tossed salad that was a thing of beauty and featured good ol' Vidalia onions from Georgia. We cooked corn on the cob and the steaks on the grill, as Toney and I enjoyed chilled lager on the deck from discreet plastic Atlanta Super Bowl cups. It was nothing short of awesome. It was sunny and cool, and we were drinking beer beside great-smelling food while overlooking a freshly mowed lawn. It was a weekend that actually paid off on its weeklong promise, and that's a rare thing indeed.

It'll keep us going for months, now that we know it's possible. It's like when they allow you to win every once in a while at casinos. Recapturing that feeling will become our mission.

-- This sign appeared last week, only a few blocks from our house. We'd heard rumors, but I didn't really believe them. Waffle House, in northern Pennsylvania?! Please. We're on the cusp of New England up here, the land of John Kerry fancy-lads and finger sandwiches. These people don't know from scattered, smothered, chunked, and covered. They think barbecue is a verb, for god's sake. How can you just drop a Waffle House into the middle of this? The culture-shock would simply be too great. But apparently it's true.

I wonder if they're gonna have to import the waitresses from Georgia or Alabama? Oh, they have plenty of heavy-set women here with a half-dozen ex-husbands and a history of prescription pill abuse, but they're not friendly. They're mean, and scary. They don't call you "honey" or "baby," and act motherly. A Waffle House waitress is supposed to be like a whorehouse madam with a heart of gold. I have a feeling our local eggs will be served by the disciples of Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme instead. It'll be an adjustment, if you want the truth.

-- I received word of an unusual Smoking Fish sighting this morning, from the banks of Lake Sutton in West Virginia. Yo, check it out.

-- And I thought a new world record was about to be set on last night's Deadwood, but they came up a few fucks short. The nearly fuck-free fifth segment sank the ship, but even with that misstep they still managed to maintain an impressive FPM. Here are the details.

-- Several people have written me recently and inquired about the progress of my "novel." They ask to see it, and I've decided to oblige them. Here is everything I've written so far. Please keep in mind that it's a first-draft, and requires some polishing. Let me know what you think, and please be gentle.

-- Finally, we have a special visitor this week. An old friend has stopped by to say hey, and be angry. And I'll let him take it from here, as I've done so many times before. Welcome home, Chris!

More tomorrow.

May 14, 2004

-- This is my 500th written update to TheWVSR, if you can believe it. How I've stuck with it this long, I'm not exactly sure. It surprises even me. After all, I have a rich multi-pronged history of half-assery. But, for whatever reason, this ridiculousness has become mighty important to me. I still get a charge from it, and feel out of rhythm if I miss a day. It's a part of me now, and I have no intentions of ever stopping. (Don't tell Toney.)

On Monday I'll start the second batch of 500 updates, and just keep on chuggin'. But I wanna thank you folks today. I sincerely appreciate all the support you've provided over the years, and the friendships and comments and tips and advice, and on and on. No sarcasm for once. You people kick the proverbial ass, and I raise a sweaty pint of Yuengling Lager in your honor.

To our shabby little fraternity of fucked-upness... cheers! Thanks for everything, folks.

-- Now, about my hillbilly superstitions...

I was walking through the warehouse at work this week when I spotted a bird flying around. A chill shot up my spine. When I was a kid somebody told me that if a bird gets in your house there will be a death in the family. I'm not sure if that extends to warehouses, but any bird indoors makes me uncomfortable. Yes, even at the age of forty-one.

But let me tell you a little story. 

I worked at a bookstore in Atlanta years ago, and was doing the evening shift one particular night with a high school girl. She was telling me about how her father and uncle were making a big production out of painting the exterior of their house. Her mother wanted them to just hire someone, but her Dad wouldn't hear of it. She was laughing about how the two of them had constructed a rickety scaffold out of scrap wood and such, and were really proud of themselves for avoiding the high cost of hiring a professional.

As she was telling me all of this a customer came through the door -- along with a bird! The thing just flew right in, above the shopper's head. My bowels secretly loosened, and we spent the next half-hour trying to chase the thing out with brooms. We were unsuccessful in that pursuit, and it was still inside when we locked up at eleven.

And you can probably guess the news I heard the next day? Yes, that's correct. The scaffolding collapsed and the girl's father broke his neck and died on the ground. I swear on a stack of Elvis Costello virgin vinyl that it's true. It was both horrible and horrifying. I felt awful for my co-worker and her family. And the brutal confirmation of the so-called bird superstition scared the living shit out of me.

So give me a break, OK?

I'm not overly superstitious, it doesn't rule my life or anything. But I'm aware of things. If a cat runs across my path, for instance, I do an instant analysis of its color. If there's the slightest bit of white in its coat, I'm off the hook. And if I'm trying to make a decision about something and notice the number thirteen somewhere, I take it as a sign to say no. Like, should I go to the store tonight, or tomorrow? Oh, it's 7:13... Better go tomorrow. I'm convinced I would've perished many times over if I hadn't heeded the warning of the digital clock. I've also been known to knock on wood. I know it's all crazy, but why take chances?

When I was a small Jiffy Pop-haired youngster I was a huge Cincinnati Reds fan. Somewhere along the line I convinced myself that if my team was in a tight situation, and I uttered the phrase "come on!" the Reds would fail. And to this day I try to make myself refrain from saying those words in a tense situation. It's a homemade hand-crafted superstition.

Please feel free to make of this what you want. I need to get to work. Maybe today I'll learn whose grandfather perished in a hot water tank explosion, or whatever? Oh, I know something like that happened, I just haven't heard about it yet. I have no doubts. I saw the bird.

See ya Monday.

May 13, 2004

-- Andy's fat. At least that's what the vet told us. What do you think? He said our dog has gained an alarming nine pounds in the eighteen months since he last saw him, and we need to do something. He's reportedly "flabby beneath his fur." (Andy, not the vet.) We were lectured about feeding him table food, and were told that we should only give him a cup and a half of dog food every day.

Poor Andy. Dog food. He's been raised on spaghetti dinners and barbecued chicken breasts. He tap-dances on the kitchen floor when pasta is being prepared. And he locks a stare onto a hunk of turkey, like a laser beam, and attempts to will the tasty morsel into his snout by using mind control. Now this. I fear it may send him spiraling into depression and chronic confusion. I'm afraid he may go crazy and crash through the picture window, in a meat sauce-induced frenzy.

The doctor also said Andy has an abundance of tartar, and needs to chew on a commercially-available bone-style chew product. I hate to break it to him, but that's not tarter. It's Oreo cream. Mr. Opinionated needs to get his facts straight.

-- Speaking of Andy, he made a really strange noise last night, at 3:30 in the morning. It sounded like a cow mooing, and it was really loud. It woke us both up from a deep sleep. And we said, at the exact same time: "What in the hell?!" Wonder what that's all about, a dog mooing in the night? It wasn't a howl, Andy's not a coyote, it was something else. I think he was yawning, but I'm not sure. Any ideas? I'm not going to start milking him every morning, I want that to be known up-front. If he turns into a dairy cow, he's on his own.

-- I saw a commercial for Long John Silver's a few nights ago, about their new line of deep-fried salads. No, wait... I mean their new salads, covered in their "famous" crunchies. It's a big platter of fresh lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, etc, piled high with the drippings off their grease baskets. Mmmm. It's the best food idea since Waffle House came out with their grill-scrapings pita pocket. I can't wait to dig into one of them babies.

-- Nancy's already back-pedaling on her Washington DC SUV adventure. Earlier this week she was begrudgingly admitting that they fucking loved that monstrous machine, but the story has now been tweaked. At this point they were "mortified" by the experience, and are even more convinced that such vehicles should be banned by the government. The part about them being intoxicated by luxury, power, and size has been excised from the entire account. And history has been revised. Once again. <sigh>

-- Does this man look innocent to you? Sweet sainted mother of Shirley Booth.

-- I received an email yesterday from a business concern offering to sell me an all-natural herbal pill that would reportedly provide me with a 36-hour erection (aka "e~rection"). I considered the offer, but finally decided to pass on it. At the end of the day, I have no real need for such a thing. And, in fact, I have a suspicion that the novelty would wear off pretty quickly. Oh, you might have a few yucks around the house by hanging hats on it and such, but it would get old fast. The year I was fourteen I had an e~rection for most of the month of March, and it was no walk in the park, believe me.

-- I've got a lot of work to do this weekend. I need to take the glass out of the doors and replace it with screens. I need to put the ridiculous Soviet air conditioners into the windows. And I have to mow the grass and do some hardcore weed-whacking. If I were my Dad I'd be looking forward to it, as if it were Christmas morning. Me? I'm near tears. Maybe it skips every third generation or something? I don't know, but I'm near tears.

-- Nothing from Buck this week. As they say in Big Media, when one of their correspondents lay out for a day to eat Cheetohs and watch Maury: he's on assignment.

More of this golden material tomorrow. See ya.

May 12, 2004

-- God, this is good... It's a situation straight out of a situation comedy. Oh, how I wish I could've been there to see the expressions and hear the words.

Nancy and Nostrils and their brood of li'l translucents recently attended one of those shadowy events that college professors frequent, called "conferences." As best as I can tell, they're an excuse for a bunch of them to get together in a large suburban hotel and show off for each other. It's their chance to shine, and prove to their colleagues how enlightened and accomplished they are, over cocktails. Just thinking about it makes my sphincter wink...

Anyway, it was in Washington DC, and their school allowed them to rent a car for the trip. They reserved a Toyota Camry, but when they got to the rental place all the Camrys were gone. The clerk told them that, under the circumstances, they'd be happy to upgrade them to -- get this -- an SUV! And not some wimpy little SUV either, a big-ass GMC Envoy, with a grill the size of New Hampshire!

I wish I had the resulting conversation on tape, as Nancy and Nostrils weighed their options. It was the only vehicle they had available, in which all five of them could fit. They sure didn't want to miss their chance to showboat, but, my God, a sport utility vehicle!? They're worse than Hitler. Or pleasant-tasting food.

These are people, remember, who used to keep a galvanized steel tub in the floor of their shower so they could stand in it while bathing, then recycle what was captured. After they were finished with their shower they'd transfer the ass-water to the washing machine and do a load of clothes in it, thus preserving a tiny part of Mother Earth's precious resources. So, you can see their dilemma. They were at the crossroads.

Under distress they finally took the devil's deal, and climbed inside the focus of all modern evil and rolled up the highway in it. I have visions of them wearing expressions like they smelled fresh-cut turds, not wanting to touch anything inside. And I see them driving around the hotel in DC with Nancy hiding in the floorboards, so none of her colleagues could see her. And I imagine Nostrils wearing a disguise of novelty glasses, with the fake nose snapped off, since it only covered the very tip of his real nose. I bet they parked two miles away.

Sadly, as is the case with all such transactions, there eventually comes a time when payment is due. Their satanic settlement: a horrifying realization that they fucking loved that SUV! Within miles a funny feeling began overtaking them, and they realized they were digging it. The power, the roominess, the luxury, the goddamn height... Oh God, how could this happen?! Nooooo!!!

They're now in seclusion and are not taking visitors or phone calls. It's not an easy time for the Nostril family, but I have a feeling they'll bounce back and be just fine. I'll keep you folks updated.

-- Now it's time for the latest from Jason, who's been spending more time at Georgia flea markets. Take it away, my friend.

And I'll see you folks again tomorrow.

                      

May 11, 2004

Some things that are getting on my nerves:

-- Low carb. I'm really tired of this phrase. Walk through any store and it's affixed to everything not nailed down, including the man working on the ice cream freezer. Low carb salad dressing, low carb beer, low carb pasta, Low Carb magazine: for the low carb aficionado... It pisses me off that I actually bought into this fad, for two miserable weeks. I'm usually immune to such ridiculous crazes. We'll all be shitting our pants in laughter about it in twenty years, of course, while watching a VH1 retrospective about the early 2000s. "How could we be so stupid?!" we'll howl, as we're deep into yet another retarded mania that hasn't been invented yet. It makes me sad. At this point I've adopted a high carb diet, just for spite. I'm eating spaghetti and bread 'round the clock. Fuck 'em. Pass the Donettes. It's punk.

-- Similarly, the movie Shrek 2 is being cross-promoted way beyond the point of saturation. You can get Shrek shampoo, Shrek macaroni and cheese, Shrek toaster strudel, Shrek beef stew, Shrek deodorant, and Shrek hi-flo pantyliners. If you don't believe me, walk around a grocery store. That big green bulbous head and buck-toothed donkey are looking at you from every angle. It's quite disconcerting, really. I'm going to build up such a hatred for those two animated interlopers, I'll never see the movie. Just for spite. Enough already; it's too much. I never go to Home Depot if I can help it, but I have no doubt a person can purchase there a sack of Shrek 2 Low Carb gutter nails. How much you wanna bet?

-- When I started my new job in 2000 I found myself in a rare position of power, and was able to negotiate a really kick-ass perk. I don't want to get too specific, but for the past four years I've been receiving monthly UPS packages of home office-sanctioned goodies that would bring tears to a grown man's eyes. Now I'm apparently at the end of the line. Somebody way up the ladder reportedly blew a gasket about all the freebies going out to various people around the country, and has ordered a "review" of the mailing list. I don't like the sound of that, not one bit. When mailing lists are reviewed, only bad things can result. And it gets on my nerves. The perks made it all tolerable, and at this point I have about as much power as Bob Dole's unmedicated wiener.

-- And this should earn me a few "informational" emails, but I'm getting tired of hearing about the so-called torture photos taken in Iraqi prisons. It's called torture, but the pictures are of men wearing hoods, being forced to hold up their shirts, and standing on boxes. In that country calling such actions torture would be like us labeling Winger death-metal. I bet they're laughing at us, wringing our hands and puking into buckets over photographs of men being barked at by dogs. Stupid ball-baby Americans! I wish the soldiers involved had acted more professional, this ain't spring break fergodsake, but I just can't understand how the photos are so sickening and stomach-churning. A homoerotic pile of asses? Doesn't really faze me -- I've had the internet since 1996. I wish none of it had happened, and I certainly am not condoning it, but I think it's being blown WAY out of proportion. This is war, remember, and those people want us all dead. If they're made to stand on an occasional box, well, I'm not gonna roll up in a fetal ball over it. I'm sorry, but Shrek has me more upset.

And on that note... see ya tomorrow.


May 10, 2004

-- It's been crazy, man. My job is getting curiouser and curiouser. I worked more hours last week than most Europeans log in an entire month. A vice president from Burbank using the desk abandoned by the apple-eater, three feet from mine, SWAT officers from Los Angeles, meals eaten from vending machines, marathon hours... At this point I feel kinda disembodied; I don't really feel like me, if you know what I mean. I have a primal, urgent need to get myself anchored, and surrounded by familiar things again. I wish I still had a pair of my old Land of the Giants pajamas. Wonder if I could still squeeze into them?

Presumably this week will be better, but there are never any guarantees. The wheels can fly off the shitbuggy at any time, and I'm riding in the sidecar.

The sad part? By the end of summer our new fancy-pants facility in Tennessee will be open, and all this crazy crap will be happening down there. And, as insane as it's been, I'll be jealous when I'm not involved. As much as it sucked, I want it to be me at the center of it, not one of my counterparts. By fall I predict I'll be experiencing powerful cluster-fuck envy, and nostalgia for corporate shit-eating. Screwy, I know.

-- Perhaps because of my craving for familiarity, I've had my car radio tuned to a classic rock station for the past week or so. I never listen to that stuff anymore. I mean, seriously. They've all had the exact same playlist since about 1980, and the exact same disc jockeys with the exact same voices, all around the country. I'd love to be a program director at one of those stations: Yeah, just keep playing the same hundred songs we've been playing for the past quarter-century. ...And I'm going to lunch. But I'll be damned if it doesn't sound really good again. Maybe that ten-year break purged me? Queen, Tom Petty, Foreigner, Bob Seger... It's like Mom's pot roast at this point.

-- Yesterday afternoon we pulled our camper out of the garage and cleaned it up. It was full of sand, and still had some garbage in it from our beach trip. The big section of Astroturf that we use as an outdoor rug was completely loaded with dirt and sand, and it left a trail as I carried it across the driveway. The thing had half of South Carolina clinging to it! We swept and vacuumed and wiped everything down with stuff that smells like oranges, and Toney fixed a problem with one of the curtains. Now it's good as new, and we're aching to go somewhere with it again. I think a cycle is starting to develop, and that's fine by me. It beats the hell out of walking around Sam's Wholesale Club, for sport. Say what you will...

-- We're going to North Carolina in June, to visit Toney's psychotic family. Hopefully we'll be able to work in a quick weekend trip somewhere else first, but probably not. Time is clicking by. I don't foresee it being much fun dealing with Nostrils and the translucents, and Sunshine and all her sunshiney ways, but I am looking forward to being in the South again. I feel at home there. As soon as we hit the Powerball, we're moving back. There's just something about it.

-- Is it just me, or did the Friends final episode seem a bit strange? It felt a tad off to me. Y'know?

-- I'm typing this on my big new Overstock dotcom monitor, and it kicks the proverbial ass. Seventeen big inches, baby, and no flickering rhombus. It's probably pumping large amounts of radioactivity directly into my eye sockets (you should see the size of this thing!), but the colors are just so frickin' vibrant! I love it. Nothing comes easy around here, but I think I'm finally at about 1999, or so. It's very exciting.

-- Here's the latest Iraqi prison photo, and I think it may be the most disturbing yet. Proceed with caution, my friends.

-- Last night's episode of Deadwood took things to the next level. Check it out. Ninety-two fucks in fifty-five minutes! It's almost inconceivable. This unprecedented torrent of television cussing managed to drive the overall average to more than one fuck per minute, across eight episodes. One per minute! It's like sitting in the stands at a Phillies game!

And I think that'll do it for today, boys and girls. More tomorrow. You can count on it.

May 7, 2004

-- I have no time this morning. I have to go into work early, to start a crazy-ass project that includes ex-SWAT officers from the LAPD serving as security personnel. And I ain't shittin' ya. We have actual snipers from SWAT in our building, keeping an eye on things. For the weekend, everybody's been assigned a color-coded access pass, and it dictates where you're allowed to walk inside the building. It's like a Tom Clancy novel, and it makes me laugh. But whatever. As long as they don't declare the vending machines a "red zone" I'll be happy. 

I'm gonna have to let Randi do all the talking today, and here she is. I'll see you folks on Monday, unless my heart is pierced by a marksman's bullet, on my way to the pisshouse. Have a great weekend.

May 6, 2004

-- I'm relieved to report that the escaped mental patient with a violent history, who was wandering around loose amongst us oblivious sausage-eaters, has been captured and returned to the cuckoo's nest. He was having a plate of eggs at a greasy spoon in Scranton yesterday, when somebody recognized him and called the 1-800-LUNATIC tip line. An entire community breathed a sigh of relief, and ordered a few sausages to celebrate. No report on how many impossibly pretty camping teenagers he hacked up in varied and imaginative ways during his time out. But I'm sure all that information will be forthcoming.

-- Remember the $350 problem I had with the brake lights on my Blazer, the day we were supposed to leave for Myrtle Beach? Well, it's all apparently going to have a happy ending, thanks to an alert and knowledgeable reader of this website.

I mentioned (whined) in one of my previous updates that I had to replace something called the multi-function switch, and it cost me the same as a Dell computer, or whatever. And the next day I received an email from a man named John, who informed me there'd been a recall on 2000 and 2001 Blazers, for that very issue!

I immediately called General Motors who confirmed the recall, and also verified the problem had never been corrected on my vehicle. About twenty more phone calls on the subject took place, most with the dealer who sold me the car. And, long story short, they're supposedly gonna reimburse me for the repair. GM is cutting me a check for the full amount(!?) How cool is that?

The weird part is, they seemed almost eager to make me happy. Wonder what that's all about? I'm very suspicious. It's been my experience that customer service consists mainly of snotty zitmonkeys saying no, over and over. But these folks acted nervous about the whole deal, and were extremely helpful. Hmmm... Maybe I should've contacted one of the lawyers from the back cover of the phone book?

In any case, thanks John. You saved me the price of a Dell computer, or whatever. And you verified, once again, that TheWVSR has the best readers on the internet. Cheers!

-- Toney bought a big box of Fudgesicle knock-offs at Sam's this week, and they're a bit strange. The stick is riding way too high in the fudge, and only a nub pokes out at the bottom. Check it out. They're low-riders, and are surprisingly hard to eat. The center of gravity is way off, and they have a tendency to flop around a lot.

Oh, they're tasty, but difficult to handle. How does something like that happen, I wonder? Is the stick calibration off at the fudge plant? Did an overly-cautious trainee make our batch? I'd like to know; I need closure. It's not easy eating a low-rider dairy snack, and it's extremely disconcerting. You get stick with the very first bite, because it's so high up in the fudge, and you have to re-train yourself to compensate for the weight differential. It makes you question everything you think you know.

Wonder if General Motors would reimburse me the purchase price? I have a feeling they would, if I said the magic words. Did you say multi-function switch?? Um, just mail us the receipt for your Fudgesicles, Mr. Kay, and we'll issue you a check. Would you care for a complimentary satellite navigational system today?

-- Ya gotta take a look at this. And I complained about the apple-eater?! I believe somebody is due an old-fashioned 360-degree ass-kicking. Hmmm?

-- And that's it for today, folks. Visitors from The Coast will be at my office the rest of the week, so I'd better get my flabby ass over there. I'll turn it over to Buck now, and see ya tomorrow.

May 5, 2004

-- I know this sounds like a premise for a teen slasher flick, but there's an actual escaped lunatic wandering around somewhere outside the Compound. He slipped away from the State Hospital (aka the Nut House) a couple of days ago, and the men in white suits still haven't managed to get their nets over him. He's reportedly dangerous(!) and should not be approached. The schools are in lock-down: no outside recess, no student walks home. Helicopters are flying low over our neighborhood, shining bright lights. It's kinda cool... in a 1980's midnight movie sort of way.

We live four or five miles from this so-called hospital, and it's one creepy-ass place. It looks like it dates back to the late 1800's, and is quite gothic. I have no doubt hundreds of lobotomies were performed there, and thousands of shock treatments. Every time I drive by I expect a wild-haired man to leap from the bushes onto the hood of my car. It could happen, you know; people are escaping from that place all the time.

For reasons I can't fathom, there are about ten soccer fields right next door, where the kids in our town play effeminate European games on the weekends. I imagine various "patients" inside the facility with their faces pressed against the glass, seeing a field of fully-dressed Sunday hams running around, like on cartoons. 

I try to steer clear of the place, if I can help it.

Last night I was in the front yard letting Andy burn up more of our lawn with his powerful ammonia piss, and I started hearing things. I was sure somebody was rustling around inside one of the bushes. Was it him?! Was it the murderous nut?? My bowels dropped. I had visions of a crazed and shirtless freak leaping from the hedge, and lunging at me with a blood-smeared meat cleaver. But I guess it was just the wind.

Before I went to bed I made sure all the windows and doors were locked. I don't need to take a call from a police detective in a few days, saying, "The calls! They're coming from inside your house!!" I'd prefer to avoid such a scenario, if at all possible.

-- I went on an internet shopping spree yesterday, against my better judgment.

I bought the latest novel by Tom Perrotta, from Amazon. Can't wait to get into that one. He's almost exactly the writer I always wanted to be. He both amazes me, and makes me want to throw myself off a fucking cliff. Strangely, it's an appealing combination.

And I cashed in some of my chips at BMG Music Service, and ordered the following CDs:

Drivin n Cryin -- Ultimate Collection
The Jam -- Greatest Hits
Eminem -- Slim Shady LP
Eminem -- Marshall Mathers LP
Jefferson Airplane -- Surrealistic Pillow
Cinderella -- Greatest Hits
Billy Squier -- 16 Strokes
Adam and the Ants -- Antics In The Forbidden Zone
Duran Duran -- Greatest

I'm trying to patch holes in my collection. The next batch will likely include Styx, George Jones, and The New York Dolls. My CD collection is like a never-finished sculpture, in constant need of tweaking and shaping. Ahem.

And the biggest outlay of cash went to Overstock.com. I'd never done business with them before, but I ordered a 17-inch IBM monitor, for $85. Shipping is only $2.95, so ya can't really beat it. (As long as it works...) I need a new monitor bad. I'm typing this on a Word document shaped like an hourglass. It flares out at the top and bottom, and is really skinny in the middle. It's ridiculous. I went to Circuit City and Best Buy over the weekend, and couldn't find anything decent for less than $150. So, hopefully this'll be the ticket. I'll let you know.

Oh, by the way, can Toney and I crash at your place after we're foreclosed upon, because I spent all the mortgage money on bullshit? I'd really appreciate it.

-- Finally, here's the latest from Jason, complete with about a hundred frickin' pictures. I had to take a leave of absence from my job to get his update ready this week, so I hope everyone enjoys it. I really do.

And that'll do it until tomorrow, kiddies. See ya 'round.

May 4, 2004

-- I read a couple of articles recently predicting that, in the near future, popular weblogs will begin generating large amounts of revenue for their owners. They're saying a relative few will emerge as focal points within whatever sliver of the culture they comment on, and the keepers of those blogs will reap big monetary rewards.

I'm generally wary of "experts" who predict the future. I remember environmentalists in the '70's forecasting a new ice age, for instance. Now those same people are saying the Earth is about to go up in flames; they made a 180-degree correction to their doomsday prophecies, as their unkempt facial hair went gray. And the Mets are supposed to win the World Series, year after year, and It's Like, You Know was going to be the new Seinfeld. Ha! I believe it's well-documented that people are full of shit.

But it never hurts to be prepared, just in case.

I don't really do a weblog, and whatever it is, it's not all that popular. But you never know what the future might hold. So, I applied for inclusion in the Google AdSense program. You can't win if you're not in. It's a deal where they "serve" ads to your website, then pay you for click-throughs and purchases and such. I received an email saying they'd review TheWVSR, and let me know.

Wanna guess their final decision? Yes, it's yet another club I'm not welcome in. They said my language was too "profane." The pricks. They apparently don't want their brand associated with such low-brow entertainment. Shit. I feel like the kid from the wrong side of the tracks in a John Hughes movie. And these are the same people who created Google Images, where a person can pull up a photo of woman with a rutabaga in her cooter, with just a few simple keystrokes.

So, my dream of doing this crap for a living when I'm seventy ("I vented my colostomy bag in Penney's yesterday. You should've seen 'em running for the exits!") has met with yet another bump in the road. I feel like going on daytime television in sweatpants, and whining in front of a studio audience.

-- Speaking of not getting paid, I saw the new issue of Utne on Sunday, at Borders. It contains my article "Sleep Is Creepy," on page 96. They changed the title, and edited the living shit out of the piece itself. It reads really choppy now, which I'm not too thrilled about. But whatever; I'm too tired for moral outrage. It's just nice to be included in a mainstream publication for a change. And they did add some really cool accompanying artwork. Now if that check would just arrive...

I'll have Jason's new update tomorrow. I tried to get it ready today, but he sent about a hundred photos to go along with it, and I ran out of time. I'm not kidding, it's like an issue of National Geographic this time, without the pygmy tits and lip-plates. At least I don't remember seeing any...

And that's all the energy I have for today, folks. Can you tell I'm coasting here?  Sorry. I'll try to do better tomorrow. Promise.

See ya.

May 3, 2004

-- The weather was nearly perfect this weekend. Saturday was sunny and warm, and Sunday was gray and overcast. One day of spring, one day of fall: a best seasons box set. Ya gotta love it.

I left work a little early on Friday and knocked out the grass-mowing before dinner, so it wouldn't be hanging around my neck all weekend. The dread of mowing is almost as bad as the mowing itself, I've learned; it's best just to dive right in.

To my surprise, it wasn't too bad. It's still fairly cool here and the wind was blowing, so my body temperature didn't elevate to blast furnace levels, like normal. And at this early date only the hardiest of gnats have emerged from their nasty little gnat nests in the ground or trees, or whatever. As grass-mowing goes, it was the Cadillac. No beet-face, no Vincent Price thundering heartbeat in my brain, no tiny bugs using my nostrils and eyeballs as a theme park... I know it'll all be downhill from here, but it was exceedingly tolerable on Friday. Who could've predicted such a thing?

The joke is that it already could use another cutting. It rained Saturday night and I swear every blade doubled in length within hours. I believe we could've literally sat on the porch and watched the grass grow. Grass! It's my greatest nemesis... It's my own personal Plankton.

-- I couldn't reach my parents this weekend. For the past ten or fifteen years I've called them on Saturday morning, to check in. This Saturday nobody answered at their house, and their answering machine didn't kick in. Odd, I thought. Throughout the day I tried their number at least ten times, and it just rang and rang. What the hell, man? Of course it was possible they were out, but what's the deal with the answering machine?

Visions of the Tate-LaBianca murders flashed through my brain. Was Hillbilly Piggies written across their refrigerator door in blood? Or maybe they went out like Weird Al's folks, kicked back in front of a toasty fire?! I was starting to freak out a little.

I finally called an uncle who promised to go to their house and check things out. At least he can identify the bodies, I told myself.

To my surprise (I have a tendency to get carried away) they were fine. But their phone was deader than Kelsey's nuts, and they didn't even know it. Their service had been out for God knows how long, and they were completely oblivious.

I asked my mother if she wondered why I didn't call that morning, and she said she just assumed I was busy. I miss one Saturday in a decade and a half, and no alarms go off? Hell, it could've been me and Toney butchered by the Mansons! I'm a little offended.

-- I've written before about a friend of Sunshine and Mumbles who supposedly spent seven years in a French prison, in the 1970's, for hashish possession. She's now an eighty year old woman, and she keeps a stockpile of expensive booze and cigarettes in her bedroom, at least a year's worth, in case Martial Law is declared -- or some such craziness.

When S&M were here they were telling us that their friend had apparently burned down an apartment building, and was now in hiding, inside the shadowy Senior Citizen underground, or whatever. (Isn't life just kick-ass?) Nobody knows her whereabouts, and it's assumed she's one of America's Most Wanted at this point. Why she burned down an apartment building is also a complete mystery.

Well, guess who called our house yesterday, looking for Sunshine? Yes, that's correct, everybody's favorite hash-smoking pyromanic geriatric. She wanted Sunshine's cell number. I told her I didn't have it, but I could call her back. She said, "No, I'll call you back." Very mysterious.

Fifteen minutes later she called again, and I gave her the number. Then, before she hung up, she said something like, "The streetcar went up the hill."

Is that a code?? I'm lost. I'm not generally involved in grandma espionage.

Shit.

-- Thanks to the heroic efforts of Mr. Mark Maynard I was able to view the "missing" episode of Deadwood over the weekend, and bring the Fucks page up to date. Check it out. My only regret is that I didn't also track the number of cocksuckers spoken in each episode. Then I could note the weekly cocksucker to fuck ratio, and maybe even create a cocksucker/fuck pie chart. Dammit! So many missed opportunities. Maybe when the DVDs are released?

And that's all I have time for today, kiddies. More tomorrow.

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