Thursday, August 27, 2009

Songs To Stop The Madness - Part 1

Fish, Jennifer, and Zombie are on musical crack. Here to cleanse the palate, is Rick, before and after:

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Monday, August 24, 2009

Black Is Black

Certain things I can buy without hesitation. Cereal. Books. Cars.

Other things, I can't pull the trigger. Entrées. Towels. And, as I discovered tonight, dishwashers.

"How many places are we going?" asked my oldest son.

"I don't know," I said grimly. We'd already been to Sears, Best Buy, Sears, Home Depot, Lowe's, Best Buy, and Home Depot. "I think there was a floor model at Lowe's we should look at again."

"What's wrong with you?" he asked.

"I hate spending money on stuff like this."

"Do you think anyone likes buying a dishwasher?" he asked, reasonably enough.

"I hate it more than most people."

"You hate most things more than most people."

Again, a reasonable point.

"What did you think of that Bosch?" I asked him.

"If you buy it, I'll never talk to you again."

"Why not?"

"You could buy me a car instead."

"Yes, but I won't buy you a car anyway."

"It's stupid to spend that much on a dishwasher. Our family is just going to break it anyway," he pointed out. "We break everything."

"We're horrible," I mused out loud.

"Yeah. That's why I'm moving to Australia as soon as I can," he said.

"Can I come?"

"No. Just buy a dishwasher and let's go home."

We made another stop at Lowe's and then Home Depot again, where I swallowed hard and picked out the model I'd first looked at five hours earlier.

"What color would you like?" asked the saleswoman.

I called the Lovely Bride. "Do you want to spend an extra $100 for stainless steel or should we go with black?"

"I don't want any more white appliances," she said.

"Neither do I," I replied. "That's why I said stainless steel or black."

"I don't know," she said. "I thought it was either stainless steel or white. I haven't factored in these other variables."

I scanned the store for ways to kill myself. There were a lot.

"You decide," she said, hanging up.

"You decide," I told the oldest.

"You're going to let your son decide?" asked the saleswoman.

"He's the only one in the family with any common sense," I said. He shrugged in resignation.

"Black," he said.

"Black it is," I told her.

Black it shall be.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


"Will you take your niece fishing?" asked my mother.

"What?" I mumbled distractedly. We were at my kitchen table where I was trying to update and clean her computer.

"Your niece would like to go fishing. Will you take her?"

"I guess. Yeah. Sure."

"She'd enjoy that. She loves to watch the fishermen when we walk around the lake near your sister's house. She especially likes the baby catfish."

I looked up from the computer. "Those are bullheads, for God's sake."

"Really? Well, whatever they are, she thinks they're adorable."

"I've never heard a bullhead called adorable before," I said. "I'll get her one as a birthday present. Her parents can keep it in the tub."

"I don't think your sister would find that amusing," said my mother.

"Which is why I would," I said.

"How does my computer look?" she asked, changing the subject.

"Great, if this was the Bronze Age. Have you been watching Asian pornography on it?"

My oldest was at the table with us. He snickered.

"What a ridiculous question," she said.

"I don't know how else you got this much junk on it," I told her.

"I'm careful about opening email," she said defensively.

"Really?" I asked. "Then how did you get suckered into that Nigerian banking scam?"

"I did no such thing."

"Only because you couldn't figure out how to reply to the message," I said.

"I know how to use a computer," she said.

"Which is why I'm sitting at my kitchen table fixing it," I pointed out.

"I thought you liked doing that sort of thing," she said.

"I like it better than dealing with people," I acknowledged.

"So why are you complaining?"

"I like most things better than dealing with people."

"What a terrible way to go through life," she said.

"That's hardly the worst of it."

"For someone so fortunate, you certainly spend a lot of time feeling sorry for yourself," she said.

"The Lovely Bride barely tolerates me, I have three kids, and the Worst Dog Ever is right over there," I said, pointing at the kennel in our entryway.

"For reasons not entirely clear to me, the Lovely Bride does indeed tolerate you. And you are the fortunate father of three charming sons," said my mother.

"Don't forget the Worst Dog Ever," I repeated.

My mother shrugged. "The Lovely Bride told you not to go to the pound."

"What's that supposed to mean?" I asked.

"You were certain you knew what was best," she said.

"Are you saying I'm stubborn?" I asked.

"Let's call it bullheaded," she replied.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Share My Pain


a. For any suit or claim for damages, the date of the occurrence is deemed to be as follows:

(1) For claims for bodily injury or property damage, the date of the occurrence is the date on which the bodily injury or property damage first took place or is alleged to have taken place.

(2) For any other claim for damages, the date of the occurrence is the date on which the wrongful act giving rise to the claim for damages took place or is alleged to have taken place. If the damages are alleged to have arisen from a series of wrongful acts, the date of the occurrence is deemed to be the date when the first such wrongful act took place or is alleged to have taken place.

If both (1) and (2) apply to claims for damages arising from a single occurrence, the date of the occurrence is the earlier of the dates defined by (1) and (2), respectively.

(3) For any suit alleging a wrongful act and not claiming damages, the date of the occurrence is the date on which the wrongful act took place or is alleged to have taken place. If a series of wrongful acts is alleged, the date of the occurrence is deemed to be the date when the first such wrongful act took place or is alleged to have taken place.

I'll be back eventually. Or I'll die.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

What Am I?

I used to teach a little on the side and one of my former students, M., called and asked if I'd have lunch with a student she's now mentoring. Time flies.

"Me?" I asked. "Do you think that's a good idea?"

"Why not?" asked M.

"Remember the time one of your classmates asked about careers and I almost started crying?"

"Everybody remembers that. It was one of the highlights of grad school. You like the job you have now, though."

"The last student I mentored dropped out and moved away," I reminded her.

"It could happen to anyone," she said.

"That's not what the dean said."

"You'll be fine," she told me.

So her mentoree got in touch and I offered to buy lunch.

"How about this deli near your school?" I suggested in my email. "I can stock up on chopped liver for the weekend that way."

After a noticeable delay she replied. "Whether you were joking or not, you are the first person I've ever had tell me they were going to stock up on chopped liver for the weekend."

So tomorrow we'll have lunch and I'll tell her what I know about careers. Which is this.

Work with people you like. Better yet, people you like and respect. Try to have fun. Find a job that doesn't embarrass you. Leave time for friends and family. Don't work too hard to buy expensive things to help you forget you're working too hard.

We'll see what the dean thinks this time.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Pipe Dreams

I wish I lived in a shire.

I would eat pudding and count lice.

I would use ripe tubers for currency, a bagel as my loincloth.

When I gargled, it would be as a free man.

All would hear my triumphant yowl as I cornered and established dominion over stoats and nails and other prey.

Filth would be my medium, the muses shrieking ideas as I wandered from yurt to yurt, begging here for a battery, there for a small pail of grout.

I would be happy, content to frolic and gibber the day away.

I wish I lived in a shire.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


"According to the vet, Lucy is special," said the Lovely Bride.

The Worst Dog Ever™ had her checkup today. Two hundred fifty six dollars. So much for retirement.

"She's not special, she's horrible," I said.

Lucy responded by gumming my arm.

"You're horrible," my youngest told me.

"Big talk for someone who's basically a human tick," I replied.

"Why would you say something like that?" asked the Lovely Bride.

"He latched onto us at birth and won't let go until we're dead or out of money," I said. "Maybe I should smear him with Vaseline."

"Can I go golfing?" he asked, changing the subject.

"That would require money and friends. You don't have either."

"I'll call some of the guys from the baseball team."

"They're not going to give you money," I said.

"No, I'm going to ask them if they want to go golfing with me."

"Then you still won't have any money."

"You can give me some," he said in a tone that clearly wondered how I could miss such an obvious solution.

"Why would I pay for you to go golfing?" I asked him.

"Because you bought me new clubs last week," he answered.

Which I had, because he'd outgrown his old set and a nearby golf store was having a going out of business sale. Needless to say, the purchase had sent his two older brothers into a rage.

"So, because I spent money on you, now I have to spend more money on you?"

"Right," he said.

"How does that make sense?"

"It's a waste of money to buy golf clubs and not use them."

"That would be true if they were idle capital equipment and there was a market for what they could produce," I said.

He stared blankly at me for a minute. "Does that mean you'll give me some money?" he finally asked.

"What have you done to earn it?" I asked.

"I went to the vet with mom," he said.

"That must have been a big help," I said. The Lovely Bride rolled her eyes behind his back.

"It was," said the boy.

"I suppose having you there gave the vet something for comparison when she checked for parasites," I smirked.

"Shut up," he said. "Lucy was glad I was there." Lucy wagged her tail and gummed his arm.

"If I let him go golfing, will you stop destroying everything we own?" I asked her. She let go of his arm and grabbed mine.

"So can I?" he asked.

"I can't reach my wallet when she's chewing on me," I said.

"Come here, Lucy," he said. For the first time in her life, she obeyed a command, dropping my arm and going to him.

"What a horrible animal," I said.

Sunday, August 2, 2009