Monday, August 31, 2009

Fan Mail, Part 1

First of all, I got the sweetest fortune ever in my fortune cookie: "Soothing your body are the name of the game today." This would be more apropos for Siamese twins, but I still thought it quite humorous.

Anyway, down to business: I got my first fan mail the other day from someone I don't even know. They will remain unnamed as some might find their letter a bit, well, downright funny. I don't because it uncovers the lies behind the truth. All I will tell you is that it's from a fan in Missouri. Here's their letter, verbatim; it came to me handwritten. Every sentence needs a (sic) after it but I thought that would take away from the wonderful flow that the letter has. My response follows.


Thought you might like this info on 2 books.

"INTO THE LIGHT" BY WM. CAMPBELL DOUGLAS II; a 4th generation Dr. and his son is a 5th generation doctor-- see enclosed order form. We developed "ultra violet light" in the US in the 20's as a medical treatment. 7,000 cases have been treated-- no side effects. IN AERICA ONE HAD AIDS SO BAD HE COULDNT GO TO WORK-- 20 TREATMENTS LATER HE WENT TO WORK!!

IN THE USA ONE WAS GIVEN 70 TREATMENTS and he is free of aids.

Usually one treatment is enough. IT TURNS YOUR BODY ON SO IT HEALS ITSELF.

Used widely in Russia-- no money for pills.



Think you will enjoy this immensley!

Sincerely yours,



Dear fan,

I am glad to hear that you are enjoying the blog. I think it's really funny and you should too. I appreciate your interest in holistic medicine; this Dr. Douglass sounds like a real treat! I am not sure how they bypassed his literature in medical school. It is probably because I went to a state-funded medical school and they don't want "insubordinate" medical topics taught, but that's because our medical schools are funded by the CIA and big pharma. If it's good enough for Russia, it must be good enough for me!

I do have one question, how can he be a fourth generation doctor when his name says he is "William Campbell Douglass II"? Isn't that an oxymoron? And one other question, if UV light usually only requires one treatment, why did one guy require seventy just to get rid of the AIDS? There are medicine men in Africa that can cure it just with some herbs and stuff.

But seriously, this guy seems to be on to something. I have always thought that AIDS was developed by the American government or some other shadowy organization. His book "AIDS and Biological Warfare: What They Are Not Telling You!" could have saved millions if they had just shipped the book to Africa in the mid-80's and told everyone to read it while they were bottle-feeding their starving children. I mean, that is, if HIV does in fact even cause AIDS! Haha!

There are a couple other books of his I find interesting. "Eat Your Cholesterol! How to Live off the Fat of the Land and Feel Great" is really relieving for me, since I am currently eating three slices of bacon, four ounces of chorizo sausage, two eggs friend in chorizo and bacon grease, and two grease-fried tortillas with eight slices of cheddar on top. I am going to lick the grease off the plate to celebrate the health benefits of this tasty and healthful meal!

But my personal favorite book on his reading list is: "The Smoker's Paradox: Health Benefits of Tobacco." YES. Finally I can start smoking those wonderful cigarettes and not worry about rare but troublesome issues like small cell lung cancer and emphysema. Is chewing tobacco as good for you as smoking cigarettes? Cause I could do both if Dr. Douglass thinks it would have health benefits. I have always thought that the so-called "smoker's cough" was actually a GOOD thing, because when babies are born and they cough that is a good sign; why would it be any different in middle-aged or elderly people? And I had always thought that a slight reduction in pancreatic cancer was about the ONLY benefit of smoking, how silly! You can get all the benefits of smoking for only $200 a month, and we prescribe prescription pills that can poison you and cost the same! I am just going to write scripts for cigarettes from now on. The government has clearly been demonizing tobacco just to divert money to big pharma and make money from their conspiracy-driven lawsuits against the tobacco companies.

Anyway faithful blog reader, fight on. I am ready to have my mind BLOWN by "Into the Light" and other hidden classics by Dr. Douglass. I can't find that much information on the web about him though, and alot of it is filed under the topics "quack". What does this mean? It must be a title of respect like "chief" or "hallowed physician/genius". I can't wait to read his rebuttal of global warming theories as well!

In solidarity,
Comrade RetiredJK

PS-- Can I borrow your UV light? Cure for AIDS.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Phil and me

Usually one's interest in a particular song or artist wanes as times goes on. Maybe it's due to changing personal musical tastes, shifts in the genre, or the effects of aging. For me, the Beatles really fall into this category, as does the band Poison. But some things get better with age. For me, some of these things were steak, wine, and tomatoes. And musically, Phil Collins is better than steak, wine, and tomatoes all put together.

What is it about "Another Day in Paradise" that just makes me crazy? Or when Phil jumps in on the drums toward the end of "In the Air Tonight"? And who could ever forget "Sussudio" after hearing it just once?

I will tell you a secret too, Joe Rogan. In my dreams, whenever I die it is in a hail of bullets with the song "I Wish It Would Rain Down" playing as loud as possible. And, oh yes, it is raining hard. Hundred dollar bills are flying around in a penguin tornado also.

In searching for a picture of Phil Collins to put on this very blog, I also discovered that Phil Collins was recently ranked #5 on an list of music for the terminally uncool. Visit the article by Bill Lamb, writer, at: To give you an idea of this guy's credibility, guess #10 (Bon Jovi) and #4 (Neil Diamond). Who's #1 on my list of bad writers? You, Bill Lamb.
I'll bet you didn't know that Phil has crossed over into hip-hop. According to Wikipedia's article on Phil, "The hip-hop group Bone Thugs-N-Harmony recorded a remake of the song "Take Me Home" titled "Home" on their album Thug World Order. The song features verses by the group, with the chorus sung by Collins. Though the BTNH-Collins collaboration was criticized in the United States (for example, VH1 rated it #9 on its "top 20 least hip-hop moments in history), it received so much positive reception in the UK that Bone Thugs decided to name Collins an honorary member under the moniker "Chrome Bone".

I also found a tournament underway at Entertainment Weekly for top musical guilty pleasures, and Phil Collins is seeded 11th in the East Regional. He takes on George Michael and Wham in the first round. See the tourney at While this may sell a couple magazines, I do not believe that Phil belongs on the guilty pleasures list. I mean, I never feel guilty when I listen to Phil. I only feel pleasure. OK I feel a little guilty when I hear that song from the Tarzan soundtrack.
What brought the idea of this blog on me was a Chinese buffet at which I ate on Tuesday. They were playing those cheesy piano and wind instrumental versions of American pop songs. Right after "Auld Lang Syne" they played a completely butchered version of "In the Air Tonight." They also had those very gossamer Chinese restaurant pictures, usually featuring a dolphin, waterfall, full moon and clouds. They served "Macaroni and Cheese" at the buffet which was actually pasta alfredo. Their wasabi was reconstituted from powder. And for reasons I still don't comprehend, the lady at the register had to put the credit card in a plastic bag before she swiped it. It was sooooooooooo authentic.
I'm going to go listen to Enya.

Monday, August 24, 2009

JK get sexually assaulted.

Alrrrrright friends, usually this blog is more lighthearted and whimsical, but today's entry is anything but family-friendly. Earmuffs for children or leaving the room would be desirable. Because we're here today to talk about sexual assault, a crime of which I recently became a victim.

I was sitting on a bar stool at William' Tavern in uptown Denver. The place is kind of a dive, I would post a picture but I can't figure out how to download pictures on a Macintosh. There is no right mouse button and it infuriates me!!! I was sitting on the left end of the bar with a very attractive woman sitting to my right. To her right was a fairly suspicious looking, goateed and lonely guy with a beer and a shot in front of him. Here's a security camera video of the lineup (this is actual footage from Williams Tavern):

I was talking to the attractive girl when a woman on my left interrupted us and commented that we were a very cute couple. I flatly denied this accusation and asked for a more manly title on our relationship. She laughed and asked if she could buy us drinks. At that point my resistance faded and I realized that being a cute couple could be really lucrative. I turned to the other half of the couple:

RetiredJK: "I didn't really think we were that cute."
Woman: "We're not."
RJK: "We should try to be cute more often."

And the night wore on. I played my favorite combo on the jukebox, a combo of Phil Collins' "In The Air Tonight" and Lady Gaga's "Poker Face." There was quite a bit of dancing.

Anyway, we ended up sitting at the same seats at the bar, and the same guy I mentioned earlier was still seated next to her. At one point he interjected something into our conversation but nothing memorable, and my knowledge of him is currently limited to that comment (which I have since forgotten).

When it came time to leave the bar, everyone in our clique was saying goodbyes, hugging, and eating Cheetos. The aforementioned guy at the bar got up and approached me. I like to seem approachable so I didn't think much of it. But all of a sudden the guy said, "It was great getting to know you." I was so taken aback by the comment (since, of course, I hadn't really met him) that I didn't notice his left arm wrapping around me and landing somewhere in the region of my ass. At first, I thought he was going for my wallet, which would have been disastrous since I had all my $1's and$5's for the club later in there. I still didn't really understand what was going on for a few seconds, when I said something like: "Why's your hand still there?"

And then he smiled kind of like Samwell does in the "What What" video and I realized that I was in the process of being assaulted, sexually. I demanded $20 for the cheap feel and my emotional trauma but he just offered to buy me a drink. I really, really wish we could have gotten a picture of the offender and turned this guy in, because I'm pretty sure he is a serial toucher of guys at bars. They need a mascot for anti-grabbing laws at bars, like Smokey the Bear reps for forest fire prevention. I am the poster boy for fighting against unwanted male-on-male grabbing especially if there is no cash transfer involved.

The motto is "No Molestation without Compensation."

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Retrospective 1: Vanilla Ice at the Ice House?

With this blog, I will introduce a new feature to my blog repertoire (or bloggystyle, if you will): the retrospective. Frequently used in movies and poems, retrospectives offer a look back at times gone by, when a computer was either not close at hand or not invented yet. This particular blog takes a look back at a warm night in the summer of '06. It was, indeed, the summer of 2006. Vanilla Ice had not been cool for about fifteen years. Yet long after his rap classic Ice Ice Baby set the world on fire, Vanilla was still making headlines, usually with his bizarre behavior (e.g. holding up a fake jewelery stand or changing to reggae and hard rock). I was sitting at a hockey game in downtown Omaha, watching the now-defunct Omaha Knights with about 140 other fans. I got a text: "Vanilla Ice Omaha tonight." I texted back: "Bull&*(# you &*()#*&()'ng liar." Typical text jargon. I told my guest who also didn't believe it was true.

But we figured it was worth investigating. I called an independent third party, who looked it up on the World Wide Web (praise be to Al Gore as always for inventing this wonderful tool) and confirmed that, indeed, Vanilla Ice would be playing the Big O that very night. The venue? It's almost too good to be true. He was alledgedly playing a sports bar called The Ice House. It was like a made for TV movie at this point.

But this would be no bed of roses, no pleasure cruise. Vanilla didn't command the attention he once did. The ravages of age, jail time, and tattoos resulted in a quite different Ice than the one we remembered. And it almost seems like hair holds have traveled back in time, as he can't seem to keep it up like he used to. I'm talking about his hair, sickos.

I don't know what that means. If it's a metaphor, it's lost on me. The only thing I can think of is that he can rearrange his fingers into an anagram that spells "We won dip" (the extra W comes from the thumbs put together), "Indee Wop", or simply use his left hand and say "peon" (the irony is amazing). I also am pretty sure he borrowed that suit-tie-hemp bracelet combo.

So we traveled to the Ice House, hoping that tickets would be plentiful. At $20 apiece, I could have fed myself at McDonald's for days. But Ice promised more nutrition, lyrically, than all the double cheeseburgers (now McDoubles) in the world could provide. The only exception is when they play those "I'm Lovin' It" commercials because some of those actually have better lyrics than his new stuff.

The show started in the parking lot of a sports bar, which was bad sign number one: they wouldn't even let the performer and his fans into the bar. Jagermeister sponsored his tour and it took place on the back of a semi trailer. Lighting? Forgot about that. Backups dancers? Must have had the night off. Dozens of random black dudes standing on the trailer and doing nothing during the concert? CHECK. They seemed to function as some type of security/legitimacy-lending firm, and I don't know if you had to sign up ahead of time or if you could just jump on the trailer.

Also watching were about a hundred eager fans, more prescient than I, who realized that a) the concert would not be worth $20 b) they could stand across the street and watch the concert just as well as paying guests and c) they could drink for free if they used opaque cups. Damn them! The only price they had to pay was when Vanilla chided them for being cheap, although I don't think his exhortation to buy tickets really had any effect except to get fans to ask for their money back.

The concert started as we hoped it would: Ice Ice Baby. In fact, the song was played three times in whole or part. We also got a sample of Ninja Rap from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II soundtrack, one of his lesser-known classics. But he also slogged through some of his newer, heavy-metal stuff, which frustrated people who really just wanted him to play Ice Ice Baby for an hour. One drunken female fan even heaved her drink at him, cup and all. That's how close we were able to get to the legend. It was so empty you could hear every catcall.

One of the things I remember most about the concert was the waste of bottled water. Despite it not being particularly hot outside, he felt the need to shower the crowd with water every couple minutes, between most songs, during the instrumental breaks, and whenever he got booed. I think he went through about twenty bottles during the show.

Toward the end, he handed the mic off to his "homeboy", local rapper Shorty Spice. I'm pretty sure they had never met before, but Vanilla took this opportunity to invite all the "b*itches" in the crowd onstage. They had to pass the seven test, which means that they had to be about a seven a scale of one to ten to get onstage. The aforementioned black dudes seemed to be responsible for selecting them and funneling the hotter ones toward the star and I think they got to keep his cast-offs. Alot of phone numbers were exchanged, probably some kisses, and certainly some drunken vulgarities.

But now we get to the climax of the night. Remembering that he was indeed sponsored by a certain drink company, he had to do something to promote Jager. What better than to give out free alcohol and shout the name it? Now, I've been to plenty of places where alcohol is given away as a promotion, but not quite in this format. He actually started POURING JAGER DIRECTLY INTO FANS' MOUFS. Clearly I had to get in on this, and I used my size to push past several lesser fans so that I could experience this once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon.

I yelled his name (not Rupert Van Winkle, but his stage name). He looked at me. The look seemed to last forever. That dirty haircut. Those wild, coked-out-of-his-skull, I-couldn't-care-less-if-I-never-visited-whatever-this-city-is-again eyes. It seemed to last a lifetime. I shouted again, although I don't know what.

(Key dream sequence)

And then it happened. The Jager bottle moved toward me as if an invisible hand were in control, except the invisible hand became visible and was attached to Vanilla Ice's wrist. The Jager poured like a caramel-colored waterfall toward my shirt. Care not I did. I got some in my mouth finally. But really, I should have just let it rain down like notes from a mandolin on my shirt, my shorts, my socks, and my shoes. I could have sold them on EBay for a fortune, but my fortune was in my mouth, my friends, and I hold on to the thought that, like Caesar's last breath, a few molecules of that icy Jagermeister remain somewhere in my body.

On a final, unrelated note, I also am at the library, and I love that when people approach a strange dog and talk to it in a baby voice, they ask questions to the owner by addressing the dog: "What's your name? What kind of dog are you?" I have yet to see a dog respond to these questions truthfully. It's like the owner is interpreting what the dog might say, if it could think.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Run-in with John Q. Law

Shalom, chosen ones. So I was sitting in the cabin Saturday morning, enjoying my caramel coffee and a meager bowl of cereal when I heard a knock at the front door. It looked to be an officer of the peace, or at least an overweight birthday stripper very convincingly costumed. I put all the illegal stuff away and answered the door.

RetiredJK: "What can I do for you, officer? Donut, perhaps?" (Snickering)
Officer Harris: "Hello, I'm officer Harris. I'm looking for the mad blogger known as RetiredJK."
RJK: "You have found him."
OH: "I'm responding to a complaint from a neighbor that you may have trespassed on her property. Do you know a redacted------ down the road? Did you remove some rocks from the road in front of her yard?"
RJK: "I did indeed, they were a hazard to everyone."
OH: "Well, yes, this lady is a bit-- off-- and I spoke with the Homeowner's Association President and he says you were indeed righteous to do this." (I had never thought of myself as righteous before, so now I can add another positive attribute to my already inflated self-image.)
OH: "But she did accuse you of trespassing on her land, and said you were quite threatening when you removed the rocks from the road. She also said that you introduced yourself as Mohammed Abdul."
RJK: "That is true, but never was I threatening. I think this woman is simply accusing me of threats because she is a racist."
OH: "I'm going to warn you for trespassing, just to get this over with, I'm not even going to write it up. Can I have your full name and birthdate?"
RJK: "I wasn't trespassing on her property, though."
OH: "OK, I'll just let her know that I spoke with you. She's a bit mad." (I assume he meant "mad" in a mad hatter sort of way.)

I'm hoping to get an official copy of the incident report, I will post this online if I am able to. I couldn't get a picture with the sheriff, though, to celebrate this proud moment of homeowner civil disobedience.

On I ventured to Denver for the weekend, meeting a couple friends from high school for dinner and drinks. One of my friends' friends showed up, and they were named "Parker" and "Collins," tying them for whitest-named people along with "Dax," "Logan," and "Colby"....

I took a cab to Flamingo Court in Denver to meet with my other friends, and there we engaged in several "round"-style songs: first, "What What" by Samwell, best known for Butters' rendition of the song on South Park: "I said what what, in the butt... you wanna do me in the butt? OK." I can't remember what the second song was, but needless to say, our round-singing skills are a bit rough since we finished third grade almost twenty years ago.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The last few days

Hello all! It's been a couple days since I last blogged. Trying to get outdoors and do some hiking, biking, and... I can't think of anything else to rhyme with that except diking, which is not really a word and may be offensive to some. Anyway, work has kept me busy the last two days. Monday, I had such a treat. Many of you probably know that Sturgis recently occured, if for no other reason than news of Stephen Tyler's unfortunate injury. So I was working at the bar, serving a round of beers to the parents and their friends (this was the third time in my life I have seen my dad drink anything other than pink wine), when a group of big, burly Harley riders entered the bar. Sensing trouble, my mom did what she usually does in this situation: strike up an awkward conversation.

By communicating with them, we learned that they were in the bar neither to rob me, nor to beat each other with pool cues as might be suspected. In fact, they were from Finland (!) for Sturgis, continuing their vacation with a ride through southeast Wyoming on to Denver. I figured they would want some shots, or at least a decent beer; instead, all but one of them ordered either coffee or Budweiser bottles. The other's order was a Bud Light, and he was clearly the rebel of the group. One ordered cheesecake. I informed them that Abba was the closest thing to Finnish music we had on the jukebox (I don't think they found the humor in it) and that Sigur Ros and Ace of Base weren't available. They told me that, like most Harley riders, they would prefer Sabbath or Slayer. We settled on Led Zeppelin after I offered to play some Prince (When Doves Cry) on the jukebox.

I learned several things from them. One is that Finns are not good tippers, and in fact studies show that no one tips quite as well as Americans. I also learned that Nokia comprises only 7% of Finland's GDP when I had estimated 15%. Of course, all of them had Nokia phones.

The next day was yesterday. I had the idea to climb a small mountain (more like a rocky hill) near our home in the Snowy Range. On our way up to the trail, we passed an area known for moose. There were four cars pulled over at a stop, so we figured there must be a moose that they were photographing. Much to our surprise, there were not one or two meese, but FIVE. Five male moose, eating and traveling together sounded strange to me; most males of any large mammal species travel alone or in heterogenous packs. But this was like a lone moose who had added several wingmen. My mom theorized that perhaps they were a pack of gay meese. Have you ever heard something so absurd?! I managed to snap some pictures of the moose grazing on grass and wading into the shallow lake. I can't wait to publish them, more later.

Yesterday at work passed uneventfully, but afterwards I had some humorous moments. First of all, I saw a commercial for Monster Ballads, which includes Warrant's Heaven Isn't Too Far Away, Extreme's More Than Words, and of course, Whitesnake's classic ballad Here I Go Again. I immediately felt the urge to buy it. Figuring that I could buy it later, I shelved the idea, but saved the number in my phone as first name: Ballads, last name: Monster. I also wondered under the stars (and a beautiful meteor shower) what linked an old song type mostly utilized in the time of bards with 80's hair metal. You just don't hear ballads made like they used to make them.

Another quite funny story, which reminded me of a scene in Dr. Strangelove (Or How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Bomb), occurred when I went to visit a friend at his home after work. Evidently fairly intoxicated, he told me several fish stories, and we looked for pictures of these big fish (in these parts you really learn why they're called fish stories) but only found pictures of his baby niece and nephew. While looking at these (obviously, I was thrilled to look through his family album with him) he mentioned something strange. The conversation follows, and I am certain Peter Sellers lovers will recognize it easily:

Dude (all of a sudden): "You know what I want more than anything? I want a woman who I can love. Someone who... I can pass on... I mean, I have certain features, features that I want to share with someone. But I have standards, and my essence... there are good things that I want to pass on, you know, my essence, do you understand what I mean?"

Me: "I think I understand. The essence, it's essential, and there have to be certain standards for passing on your features."
I felt much like Captain Mandrake, when it hit me that this guy was really talking about Purity of Essence. Peace on Earth. Purity of Essence. Essential. Meteor Showers. Gay moose. It all fit together finally. I went outside and wrote everything down (in anagram-code format, no less) lest I forget this moment in which I realized what was important, and what was not.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

I taste like Jager Bomb

After a three hour nap yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending the 2nd Annual Billig Beer Fest at the Century Bar and Grill in Centennial, Wyoming. "Billig," I am told, means cheap in German. Hence, the fest lived up to its name; it featured a lineup of Lost Lake, Lost Lake Ice, Lost Lake Light, Milwaukee's Best and its Light version, Natural Ice, Schafer Light, Old Milwaukee, and Coors Extra Gold, each just $1 a can. There were reviews posted from the World Wide Web, and I'm pretty sure most attendees sampled most of the beers. They ranged from poor to extremely poor, and being the beer snob that I am, I only made it through five of them before I moved on to a very tasty local beer.

The event took place under a sail (yes, a sail from a sailboat, or schooner if you will) outside the bar. It was nestled in a very picturesque grove of aspen. Hot dogs and burgers were served. Evidently they forgot the veggie burgers, probably because there are no vegetarians between here and Fort Collins, Colorado. Four bands played, including one that featured a washboard bass played by a guy in a pink flannel shirt. Dogs were abundant, as were shoeless hippies. Luckily, I didn't get a haircut this week, because I would have stuck out like a sore thumb.

As the night went on, it cooled (as it often does at night) and we moved inside, where two friends and I pretty much split a bottle of Jameson. I started drinking water around eight PM, anticipating a long night. At ten or eleven, we moved to the Beartree to watch blues guitarist Carl Weathersby, who was excellent. We stood outside watching stars for awhile, and there is no place to stargaze than Centennial, Wyoming.

As the night wore on, the band ceased and people filtered out of the bar. At this point, we all decided that a Jager Bomb would be most appropriate. For those of you that don't know, a Jager bomb is a standard-size shot (1.5 fl. oz.) of Jagermeister dropped (hence the bomb) into 2.25 ounces of Red Bull or other similar energy drink. The drink was immortalized in the 2006 YouTube video, "My New Haircut," which I very strongly encourage you to watch if you haven't already. You can purchase a Jager Bomb for only $15 at most bars in NYC.
Anyway, I am pretty sure if an alien were to land in Wyoming and eat me right now, I would taste like Jager Bomb. My blood would run out in that brownish-yellowish-reddish color that would be named Jager Bomb if it were released as a Crayola crayon. And the alien would probably be pretty wasted. And now that I think of it, it wouldn't matter if it were an alien, a bear, or another person like in the movie Alive; I would still taste like Jager Bomb. I just had a great idea, which is putting a stick in Jager Bomb, freezing it, and selling it as a Jager Bomb pop.

In other matters, the preseason schedule of the NFL starts today, ending a drought of 2 months without either of my favorite sports.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Meet the parents!

Today's a special day, because it's the day you're going to meet my parents. They're pretty great. First, my dad (both parents will remain unnamed). He is a retired Air Force major, and we currently share the same occupation: nothing. He is much more detail-oriented and thrifty than I am. Here's a picture of him, on the right (the student I used to mentor is on the left):

OK, that's actually Tom Osborne, best football coach ever. He's pretty good too. Look at how excited he is! Here's a real picture of my dad (it's been a few years; check the shades on the guy on the left! He was part of the band Winger once upon a time.) This was back when the Chicago Bulls were good, the first time Jordan played for them.

He loves flying, Canadian bacon on his pizza, and a well-fitting inexpensive suit (of which he has sixty or more). Sometimes people say we look alike!
Here's my mom: she is a very happy speech language pathologist. She enjoys gardening, helping children, and Christmas sweaters, all year round. She plans to write a children's book someday and has promised to employ me as an editor if I have yet to find gainful employment. At some point in the early decade, she discovered Romaine lettuce, and will no longer eat iceberg (is iceberg even capitalized? Unclassy lettuce!) Here she is, I believe at the Berkshire-Hathaway meeting this year in Borsheim's.
They are really, really, really excited about the prospect of me dating someone, getting engaged, getting married, and having kids (I think the last two could be transposed in their wishes). I believe that right now, at this moment, they are attempting to sell me for the highest dowry (or lowest dower, for that matter) to the woman that meets the following descriptions: Over 20, under 31, no felonies, all teefas remaining, minimal visible tattoo, and some employment prospects.
We also have a cat, and mom and dad widely refer to me as the cat's "brother" indicating that I and my sister are on equal footing with the cat as far as love, money, and last will and testament go. I am pretty sure they assure the cat that it's their favorite child in my absence, kind of like Mini-Me in Austin Powers:International man of Mystery.
So you have the quick intro to the parental unit. Anyway, I must go as I am iron-cheffing right now (I don't cook; I Iron Chef). On the menu: Tri-color rotini with homemade garlic parmesan tomato basil sauce, bruschetta with fresh buffalo mozzarella and Roma tomato, Caesar salad with vinaigrette and shredded mozarrella, a nice imported Chianti, and probably chocolate chip cookies for dessert. Retirement, hey!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

A Neighborly Confrontation

Yesterday I sat at dinner with a neighbor and my parents, discussing neighborhood issues. I have, over the last few years, realized that as one get older and solidify your professional and social relationships and develop a routine (which can be difficult to break), your worries become smaller and smaller issues, and disputes get pettier. This set the background for my confrontation with a neighbor today.

We live in a subdivision outside a small, unincorporated village 30 miles outside Laramie, Wyoming. There is a small gravel road that traverses the subdivision. The road is owned, in places, by the adjacent property's homeowner, while in other places it is owned by the original developer, who still lives in the subdivision. In front of one woman's property, she has placed rocks (some quite large) by the side of the road to "defend" her property-line from the grading machine, which goes around about four times a year to level the gravel. When the road is graded, she parks her cars in front of her property to prevent the grader from impinging on her property and, over time, eroding into her claim.

While I respect her right to prevent dimunition of her property, the rocks in the road could damage cars or the grading machine itself if they were not seen. This is especially a concern in the winter. Furthermore, a car that strayed too far toward the rocks could see its tires or wheel covers damaged.

The local neighbors and neighborhood association have spent hours upon hours debating strategies to prevent this woman from making our subdivision less beautiful. It often seems they are being as passive-aggressive as possible in these strategies, so I took matters into my own hands.

Driving home today, I parked my car in the grass across from her home, exited my car, and proceeded to pick up the rocks in the road and toss them into her yard. I have done this several times over the past few weeks, and she replaces the rocks faithfully. This time she witnessed me moving the rocks, and the following conflict ensued (my smartass rating was an eleven):

Lady: "Hey! Hey! What are you doing?"
RetiredJK: "I'm moving these rocks out of the road, I can't figure out how they got here."
Lady: "I put them in the road!"
RJK: "They must be removed. It's simply unsafe to have large rocks in the road, and it disturbs the natural habitat."
Lady: "I will call the sheriff if you keep moving the rocks."
RJK: "I pledge to keep moving the rocks."
Lady: "What is your name sir?"
RJK: "Mohammed."
RJK: "Abdul."
Lady: "What is your last name?"
RJK: "Mohammed." (again, I kind of look like an Arab with my big bushy black beard.) ( I think she went for it.)
Lady: "Hello.... Mohammed."
(I try to shake her hand unsuccessfully)
Lady: "Do you live here?"
RJK: "No, I trek out here from Laramie just to move the rocks out of the road."
Lady: "I'm calling the sheriff."
RJK: "Please do, again my name is Mohammed Abdul Mohammed, and my phone number is 307-777-7777. Praise be to Allah."
Lady: "I am calling the sheriff."
RJK: "You're nuts."

I am driving back to my home now and I plan on removing the other half of the rocks.

Also, I am sitting at the public library listening to Centennial Book Club, and I have realized that book clubs are simply excuses for married women to get together, drink wine, and gossip.

I am Trivia Wizard

Congratulations are in order! Yesterday, I became the grand trivia wizard of Centennial, Wyoming. I was playing one of those interactive video games at the Century Bar and Grill (adjacent to the Friendly Store) in Centennial, Wyoming, when I realized that there was a true master in town; he had answered all 15 questions correctly and quickly to gain an excellent score of 65,000,000. Try as I might, I could not defeat this master of useless knowledge. That is, I could not defeat him until he introduced himself at the bar and I saw what I was up against. Craig-- not the stereotypical trivia guru-- had just informed me of his involvement in a time-share money-making scheme. This did not bode well for his intelligence. But as I watched him play, he slowly gained my confidence.

I took over the machine after he failed to identify Sofia as the capital of Bulgaria. His knowledge of eastern European and Soviet bloc republic capitals was clearly not up to snuff! I failed my first attempt, as I did not know that Americans have not only the highest divorce rate in the world but also the highest marriage rate. America, F yeah! My second round started easily as I identified Enya as the Welsh new age artist of Only Time fame (although my personal favorite Enya tune is Flora's Secret). I went on to identify 25% of the world's population as communist and Kiev as the captial of Ukraine; as said earlier, capitals figure heavily into the game. Ten questions later, it was me vs. machine with only two questions left.

The fourteenth and toughest question was to identify Stephen King's thriller horror book about a posessed automobile; after eliminating "Posessed Car" (that was really a choice) and "Carrie," I luckily guessed "Christine" and was rewarded with 23 million points, putting me at 45 million and in position to wipe out Craig's two-month-old record. The final question? A gimme: "What game did Charles Darrow invent?" As if I hadn't taken enough people for their money in my youth to know the answer was Monopoly. I answered quickly for 46 million points, putting my total score in the stratospheric 91 million range. (Darrow later sold the game to Parker Bros. after many failed attempts to sell it to other game makers failed-- ed.)

I celebrated with a glass of champagne and some peanuts, the remains of which I tossed on the floor as per custom. The former record holder cried into his beer over a game of cribbage with a hippie. I could hardly sleep last night as I strained to contain my excitement; it also did not help that I had napped for four hours during the day. The life of a trivia player is thus fraught with danger and excitement.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Day #1 at the Office

I blog today as a rich man... rich, that is, in the experience of having been a bartender/waiter. Note the slash in the predicative nominative; that's right, my job description expanded to include waiting tables between five and six PM when our waitress drives out from Laramie. But I get ahead of myself. Let me first introduce you to my place of business.

Sorry about the second picture, I found it on the web and it was only available in very small photos. It is, as you may have surmised from the sign above, The Centennial Trading Post. It includes a bar, restaurant, package liquor store (a.k.a. off-sale), dinner theatre, and art gallery. Note that theatre is spelled the British way. It's that damn good.

Anyway, let me tell you about my first day at work. The first cocktail I ever served was a Budweiser, neat. My first tip was a quarter even though I got pretty excited when I thought it was a dollar coin. The gentleman who stopped in really just wanted to use the restroom, but seeing that I hadn't had a customer in two hours, I told him that only paying customers could use the restroom, which earned me a quarter.

Throughout the evening, business remained slow. My total take: $54 in hourly wages (paid biweekly) and $13 in tips over 7 hours. So if you figure out the hourly wage, I'm right on par with my prior career as an internal medicine resident. I'm waiting for some wealthy out-of-towners to stop in and stay all night so I can make some bank on tips.

Anyway, I must go now, as my second day of work calls. The volunteer librarian seems to have sleep apnea, and is falling asleep at the desk and hitting his head every minute or so while ABC news radio plays in the background. More details tomorrow.