Thursday, November 20, 2008

An Optimist's take on our Current Financial Situation

If you're anything like me, you don't have any money. While, for a long time that has been considered by some a bad thing, now is our time to shine. Our numbers are growing, and our strength is gaining. Broke people, take heart, for soon our day will come, and we will still be broke, but being broke maybe won't suck so bad as it does now, I don't know. Here's how I see it. Life is like a big game of "Sorry," but instead of four pieces to move from "start" to "home" we each just get one. You have to draw that certain special card to get out, which I think would be a particularly positive way to look at what may be a disastrous, unwanted pregnancy. Looking at life in terms of "Sorry" makes this seem much less traumatic.

If you're like me you can walk past all the news programs and headlines warning of the "FINANCIAL MELTDOWN," whistling a happy tune. You're still out on the board. It's those other suckers who thought they had made it most of the way around with their "investments" and their "retirement plans" who are now drawing the 4's, or worse yet, being sent all the way back to start.

Some people may call us poor. I prefer to call it frugal. Why, we would never spend $12.oo on a pitcher of beer, when we could just bring our own cans of Natural Ice in our pockets. Room-temperature, "pocket beer" builds character. Any more "bear markets" (whatever the hell that means), and we'll all be drinking pocket beer. The only difference is, those sissy boys with the now-worthless trust funds have gotten used to their "cold beer" and won't be able to enjoy the subtleties of pocket beer the way you and I, now connoisseurs of pocket beer, can.

Another advantage you and I have over the "middle class" is that we know which cardboard works best for shoe-sole repair. We also already know how to treat the frostbite we get from walking through the snow with nothing but the cardboard from our pocket beer boxes under our feet.

So take heart, we soon will be laughing together at those smug bastards throwing around their 5-dollar bills like they grow on trees. I've seen a 5-dollar bill, and I didn't really care for it all that much - way too Lincoln-y. At this rate though, we'll all be able to have five-dollar bills, and when we've stocked up enough of them in our mattresses, we'll be able to maybe shop at Jewel, and get us some milk that hasn't passed the date printed on the carton or some meat, meat that hasn't been put on clearance.

This day is coming, and when it does we can all crack open a warm one and celebrate!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Obama's Doing It

I have to admit: I did NOT watch Barack Obama's speech last night. I was out on the town having a good time with some friends. I meant to tivo it, but I forgot. Since I missed the speech itself, I've been looking into reactions. I haven't read the speech, because I want to hear it delivered. I want to hear the crowd reactions. I want to hear what words are emphasized, and where Obama gets on a roll.

From what I've seen, it looks like Obama gave a speech for the ages. I'm not one for hyperbole. It usually seems desperate to me, but from what I've seen, this speech was nothing short of amazing. For Bill Kristol and Pat Buchanan to say the things they said about the speech, for Alex Castellanos to make the comment he made at the end of this clip, it must have been a truly remarkable speech.

Andrew Sullivan, a conservative I admire - not a talk-radio windbag, not a conservative who invokes the name "Hussein" to scare people who believe that it simply must indicate some level of terrorist tendencies - said something that I found inspirational in its own right. He's a small-government conservative who talks about issues instead of Britney Spears' set designer. I would encourage you to check out his site, but more specifically what he had to say about last night's speech:

Look: I'm biased at this point. I'm one of those people, deeply distressed at what has happened to America, deeply ashamed of my own misjudgments, who has shifted out of my ideological comfort zone because this man seems different to me, and this moment in history seems different to me. I'm not sure we have many more chances to get off the addiction to foreign oil, to prevent a calamitous terrorist attack, to restore constitutional balance in the hurricane of a terror war.

I've said it before - months and months ago. I should say it again tonight. This is a remarkable man at a vital moment. America would be crazy to throw this opportunity away. America must not throw this opportunity away.

Love Obama or hate him, I think that should be enough to encourage those of us who haven't heard the speech to at least check it out.

I'm not going to say anything else. I don't feel like I need to, but I will add a song to my Desert Island Jukebox. I think I will add "Please Forgive Me" by David Gray. It's a mellow counterpart to the more lively song I added yesterday. I'll need a relaxing evening song to enjoy by the beach while sipping on margaritas from the Desert Island Margarita Machine that came as a free gift with the Desert Island Jukebox.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Press Release 8-28-08

In the spirit of full disclosure, in order to maintain an air of openness and transparency in my campaign, I feel it important for you to know that I own exactly zero homes. After some research into the matter, with some help from my closest staffers, I came up with this figure. It is the most current figure and has remained unchanged since I was born.

In this day of the 24-hour news cycle and the blogoshpere, I know that had I not produced this figure myself, at this time, I would have been lampooned for making an errant estimation. While, in my day to day affairs, it is sometimes easy to lose track of my nonexistent properties, I assure you that I am in touch with the American voter, as I have never been able to afford more than zero homes, and I will remain in this financial stratum for the foreseeable future.

There were those in my high school band who accused me of being out of touch, because my trumpet was silver. My friends, let me assure you that that was a gift that counted for both Christmas and birthday that year. And, if you'll allow me, when you're good, you're good.

Rest assured, I remain firmly in the middle class. And, if I ever do win the lotery, I will not forget the plight of the rest of you suckers.


There's this music snob show on NPR called "Sound Opinions." During the show one of the hosts always gets to add a song to their "Desert Island Jukebox." I'm going to copy this idea, because I like it and so the first song that goes on my Desert Island Jukebox is Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes, by Paul Simon. I'm not saying this is the best song in the history of songs, but it does feature two of my favorite musical artists in one song (Ladysmith Black Mambazo & Simon), it is upbeat (if I'm only getting one song to start with), and I could probably kill a good number of hours making up a great dance to the horn break.

I'd like to hear your recommendations too. I'll add to my jukebox next time I post.

Thanks for humoring me.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Travelogue: Beantown

Greetings from Boston. The spirit of true patriotism has captured my heart yet again, as I've spent the evening walking the same cobblestone streets once trodden by such American heroes as Patrick Henry, Samuel Adams, and Paul Revere's horse, just to name a few. I didn't get to spend much time downtown yet, as I'm spending most of my days in class at Boston University, alma mater of the right reverend Nathan Robinson, yet another true American hero in my book.

I haven't yet been able to enjoy the dulcet tones of the New England accent, as I spent two consecutive hours with my head a mere 16 inches from a live jet engine. I've heard that these engines produce about 140 decibels at a distance of 100'. Now I'm no acoustical scientist, but I'm guessing that since my head was a mere foot-and-a-half from said jet engine, and, given the nominal amount of sound insulation in the wall of the fuselage, I was probably subjected to about 10,000 db of continuous noise (rounding down). I also was forced to watch an episode of "The Wire" (S4E5), to distract myself from my discomfort with the notion that I'm in a 20 ton tube of steel that uses "lift" to get itself and its passengers (more on that later) about 7.5 miles from the ground. Given my proximity to the engine and the fact that I can't understand a word the black characters on "The Wire" say, I was forced to listen to it at full volume. I would assume that this added another 1,300 or so decibels to the equation, but only for 1 of the two hours. For those of you following along at home, that's 11,300 decibels for a full hour and another hour at 10,000. To put this into perspective, according to most sources I've found, permanent hearing loss is probable at a sustained 90-95 decibels. I may never get to hear anyone say "che-owdah."

I do have to commend the airplane that brought me here. I would say that it had to work about 15-20% harder than other planes its size, given the enormity of many of its passengers. My flight left Chicago at 8:45am, and I got to the gate around 7:30. In the hour that I sat and waited a 20-something couple arrived, with a combined weight of about 550-600 lbs. Upon arrival the husband (I saw rings of gold) consumed two Starbucks muffins. "Hmm... eating healthy," I thought to myself. That is, until I wandered off, only to come back with a couple Egg McMuffins. (If you think I'm kidding, I will punch you next time I see you.) In the course of about 45 minutes, I would estimate that this man consumed about 1200 calories. UGH! Let me be clear: I am NOT making fun of fat people. I'm not the slimmest dude myself. But I am commenting on the sheer number of obese people that were on my flight. One lady had to take about three wind-up attempts before completing a stand-up out of her seat. So congratulations are in order for American Airlines flight 1718 from O'Hare to Boston Aug. 3rd. You really did an excellent job lifting us off of the earth.

Note: I did bring my camera, and I DO have some pictures, but I don't have the proper cable-age to transfer my pics to my sweet Apple iBook. So patience will certainly pay off when you do finlly get to see my travel photos.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Summer Evening (a modern poem for modern readers)

Mother Nature has given me
two of her furloughed sentries,
standing proud a mere nine feet apart
with branches and roots akimbo
for me to climb if I so choose

I say, "No thanks, Big Momma
I'll take a pass this time.
See, I have this bunch of interlaced twine,
and when I tie it between your soldiers
it will suspend my grateful gluts."

And there in the gentle twilight breeze
I lie slowly swinging
birds and bugs winging,
singing and zinging
their soothing songs putting me more and more at ease

Then, as I descend ever lower
who fires up his damned lawn mower
but my next door neighbor Arne Marsh
and I don't want to come across harsh,
but this guy has a way of making
even the best days a little worse

His eyes are too close and so very little
when he talks it's too loud
and it always involves spittle
He let my kid taste beer
without ever even asking
I've seen him do the unthinkable
but am too kind to go into detail

Then, as I'm about to go inside
I hear a strange noise and Arne's muffled cry
It looks like just below his right knee
old Arne's been cropped
and I'd get up to help...
if the mower hadn't stopped

I hear birds again, and the peepers were calling
the peace and the quiet were nearly appalling
that is if old Arne would quit bellyaching
but I'm in my hammock and I can't be bothered

I'm drifting off to sleep now and Arne seems to be too
his whimpering stopped within a minute or two
he's probably fine but I'll find out when I wake
if I'm feeling real nice I'll help him with the rake
and figure out some way to fashion the handle
into a peg leg or something

Thursday, July 17, 2008

You Can't Make This Up (Sorry to get a little serious here)

This is an actual editorial from the Ironton Tribune:

Public shouldn’t fall for Obama’s rhetoric

Wednesday, July 16, 2008 11:36 AM EDT
The political correctness thought police won’t tolerate what you’re about to read.

I’m throwing the “bogus” flag upon the presidential bid of Marxist-Socialist turned Democrat Senator from Illinois, Barack Hussein Obama.

Somewhere around 75 or so years ago, from out of nowhere a stealth politician arose.

He too sought the nomination for his nation’s highest office; refreshingly different from other politicians of the era. This Austrian born wallpaper hanger’s background is too much like our Illinois lawyer’s. Both reared in single parent households; neither brought much of a resume on the campaign trail. The one hung wallpaper the other hung “present” votes. Neither has an authentic performance record for which the electorate might judge the candidate.

Our lawyer turned Senator keeps some odd company — maybe we should pay more attention to the “community” Mr. Obama keeps as a “Community Activist.” Because the company the paper hanger kept, unfortunately, wasn’t important to the inspired masses of three-quarters of a century ago. This clean and articulate new politician was active in a community of Marx inspired Socialists.

The paper hanger, just as the lawyer, delivered wonderful, inspirational public speeches. Both spoke of the “change” and “hope” their election might bring if people would “believe in” their country. Steeped in a similar class warfare rhetoric; their speeches emphasize the rich were keeping the poor people down.

Meanwhile, energy prices were raging out of control. If the streetcar was late, you’d miss a bank deposit; so now you’ll get more warmth from burning your wheelbarrow full of bank notes than from the coal you’d purchase by the bill’s face value. “Change” would improve the transportation infrastructure.

And in both cases “change” means free health care for everyone, increased equal rights, a retirement income, guaranteed wages, unemployment benefits, free child care, and more gun control. Trains and streetcars would run on time only if their party was elected. The list went on and on. The candidate gave people “hope.” It was the kind of “change” people might “believe in.”

Unfortunately, for both cases, the mass media is mesmerized by the candidate’s rhetoric and oratory style, instead of questioning the unknown candidate’s background extensively.

Without a track record to judge the man by, people simply fall for the rhetoric. The German people had to “believe.” They wanted “change.” And through “hope,” they only had to “believe” what Adolph Hitler and the Nazis said; without questioning what Hitler and his Marxist-Socialists pals had really designed behind the scenes.

Certainly, it was “change.” Did Germany “believe” this might happen? Was this the kind of “change” everybody would “hope” for and “believe in?” These are “just words,” as Senator Obama says. Relativism, whatever anyone wants the “words” to mean.

According to a Daniel Flynn expose titled Obama’s Boys of Summer, ( the lawyer’s community is the Who’s Who of the 1968 Democratic Convention Marxist-Socialist inspired Students for a Democratic Society and the Weather Underground movements.

Michael Klonsky, Carl Davidson, Bob Pardun, Paul Buhle, Tom Hayden, Todd Gitlin, plus Mickey and Dick Flacks. Yes, we ought to know more about this “community” of Marx inspired Socialists our lawyer Barry is “active” in.

The Nazis always knew what their version of Adolph’s “words” meant to them. To the public these “words” were vague platitudes which could be interpreted in any feel good way. Nobody cared to ask what Mr. Hitler’s “words” meant. And too little was known about the National Socialist community he actively kept.

Later, in the spirit of “fairness,” the opposition press was silenced. Guns were controlled, religion was suppressed; and the world again experienced what a Marxist-Socialist actually means by “change.”

Joseph Benning is a U.S. veteran who is originally from Illinois but now calls Lawrence County home. He and his wife have an agribusiness in Lawrence Township. Benning can be reached at

That's it. I didn't make that up. I couldn't have made that up. In case you missed it, Benning is comparing Obama to Hitler. Let's be clear: Both Obama and Hitler have/had a reputation for inspirational oratory. In my mind that's really where the comparison ends.

I think that Hitler's name and legacy are really thrown around a little lightly. Let's not forget what this man did. I would be willing to stake anything that Obama will do NOTHING of the sort if he is to win the presidency. Obama's track record may be short, too short for many, but I would point out that Obama has a degree in Foreign Policy, and he was a CONSTITUTIONAL LAW professor at the University of Chicago (which is actually quite conservative as far as prestigious American universities go).

Obama's qualifications are many. Not the least of which is the fact that he grew up in a predominantly Muslim nation. So many people are afraid that he is a closet Muslim, but in my way of thinking, this only shows me that he has a deeper understanding of Islam, and, possibly, what it is that could be the stimulus for the terrorist organizations. The overuse of Obama's middle name is an indication of xenophobia and racism that I got sick of a long time ago.

I could go on about this, literally, for hours, but I want to keep this brief, just to bring this to your attention. I'm sure there are as many unfair and unfounded things being said about John McCain, and they're no less-wrong than this. I've sent this to a lot of you already, but there is a good interview by Fareed Zakaria, who is the international affairs editor for Newsweek, on Here's the link. I'd highly recommend it, and as always thanks for reading.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

First Serial Post: Communication Revolution (or "Why Cell Phones are the Best Thing EVAR!!!"

From the dawn of time, man has felt the need to keep in touch with friends and family. Instantaneous communication over long distances began with Adam and Eve throwing different colored fruits into the air over the garden of Eden to send messages.

Lengthy research has given us clues as to what the different airborne fruits communicated. When flung above the garden's canopy, a red apple meant, "Hello. How are you." A green apple typically meant, "I'm fine, a little chilly (I'm naked), but I'm fine." A green banana meant, "Look busy, God is coming." A yellow banana meant, "Can you give me a ride to the store?" A peeled banana meant, "Watch your step when you come over here."

Since that time, many advances have revolutionized long-distance communications. Smoke signals, the Pony Express, and the invention of the telephone have all made profound changes in the way we keep in touch. It wasn't long after Bell's first phone call, that people were yearning for more freedom. They longed to cut the wires that bound them to their land-line telephones, and before you could say, "self-important," the cell phone was vibrating in every yuppie's fanny pack.

The beauty of the cell phone was that you could be reached at any time, no matter where you were. Out of town? No problem. At the movies? In class? Church? Surgery? None of these places can keep you out of the loop. You'll find out the minute your friend sees a three-legged dog precariously squatting to relieve itself. You'll know immediately when your buddy's a little drunk and has decided to scroll through his contacts.

I haven't even touched on all of the wonderful implications of mobile phone technology. I would be remiss to overlook text messaging. Friends and families can now send each other short, typed messages, 160 characters at a time, to make conversations that could have happened in a matter of seconds last for a glorious 10 minutes of thumb-blistering button tapping. The best part of all this, is that you can do it all in the car, even driving in rush-hour traffic. Give yourself a break from minding the hazards of the road and looking for bicyclists to text a buddy about your dinner plans. That's the beauty of the cell phone.

For all of its benefits, the cell phone revolution has brought about some negative societal norms. I'll be discussing those in part II of this series "Vibrate Mode Totally Sucks,"(due out within a week).

Thanks again for reading. I know you're just bored at work, but pretend you could had LOTS of other things to do and that this is becoming a needed distraction

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Happy Fourth of July

There are more posts on the way, but in the meantime all of us here at Josh by Himself would like to wish you and your family a fun and "safe" holiday.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

One month of blogging, and I got nothing?

Writer's block can be a real bitch. I've only been doing this for a month, and I feel like I'm tapped. I've started a few posts, but they were even less entertaining than "Super Troopers." That's saying a LOT. I know I could take some heat for this, but that movie is horrible.
My life has just been really uneventful recently. There is something in the works for next summer though. My friend, Jim and I were brainstorming something "big" to do while we're still young, and given the astronomical prices of international travel, we decided to do something stateside. We decided, given that we are both real rugged outdoorsmen, that we would canoe a significant length of the Allegheny River. The kicker is that neither of us has a canoe or really any significant canoeing experience.
The good news is that we have almost a full year to prepare. We're looking at next May. It will still be cool in Pennsylvania then, and the water will be frigid, but we're determined. If you've got any advice, warnings, etc, please don't hesitate to share.
Also, Jim told me about Enneagram, and we came to the conclusion that I'm a pretty strong 4, but it turns out I'm also a pretty heavy 7 with some 3 and 5 mixed in, and just a dash of 9. I don't know what to make of all that stuff, but it's fun, and it can help make you at least feel better that there are other people who have the same hesitations and fears and whatnot.
I'm also planning on recording a CD this summer, but I have to get some things together. More on that later, and I apologize if you were looking for a funny post or something, but this is what I got now.

If you're gonna post a comment, why don't you take a free enneagram test online (there are probably hundreds) and post what type you are. Could be fun. Also, when you tell someone to do something like I just did, do you end that with a question mark?

Thanks for reading. I mean it.

Follow up: I'm up late, because I can't sleep. Lots weighing on my mind so I figured I'd let you in on a little secret from my night while I'm still up: I went to the movie in swim trunks. That was a different kind of adventure for me. I found the lightness of the fabric and the liner-in-lieu of standard GI undies allowed for comfort and breathe-ability. Plus, if there were a water park on the way home, I would have been set. "Get Smart" was definitely a summer fun movie. Not a whole lot of substance really, but it certainly was entertaining.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Guest blogger: Glenn Mumford, Bidet salesman

Have you taken a good look at your anus lately? Would you believe me if I told you that there are bacteria living in there? Shocking, I know. Most people I stop on the street look at me funny when I ask them about their BM cleanup, but here's the long and short of it, that paper you're using just ain't getting the job done. Toilet paper is old technology, and it stinks, even before you use it.
The real problem with TP is consistency in consistency. With the struggling economy, Americans are cutting back on luxuries. Gourmet coffee, Cold Stone, and Quilted Northern are the first to go, and your underwear and swim wear are getting a bum deal. 1 ply ain't gonna get the job done, and you know it.
Aren't you ready to say goodbye to dingle berries and skid marks? I've got models that range from the simple, a single spigot aimed up from the bottom of the basin to wash your inner-buttock with a simple splash of cold water, to the simply obscene, with water softeners, filters, soap applicators, massaging spigot heads, and air dryers that give the feeling of hundreds of little fairies gently blowing the water from your backside. No matter your price range, I've got a fit for your fecal cleanup needs.
Don't forget the environmental impact of not only eliminating all that waste paper, but the numerous other uses for a bidet:
  • use it as a foot wash to help eliminate foot fungus.
  • why fill up that whole bath tub when you can wash baby in the small basin of the bidet?
  • Stressed? Use the slow trickle of the bidet's tap as a serenity fountain while you relax in the bath.
The Mumford line of Bidets, started by my grandfather, Lucius Mumford, is the Rolls Royce of Bidets. Recognized as the industry leader, your Mumford bidet, will be the last bidet you ever buy.* So, call me today, and we'll get you clean between those cheeks, and you'll feel like a king (or queen) next time you leave the little boys' (or girls') room.

Customer testimonial:
"I bought a Mumford bidet AW-50, three years ago, and I've had a squeaky clean anus ever since." -Kathy B., Halifax Nova Scotia

"Since I got my Mumford AW-700 series hand-held bidet, I've been completely unafraid of sharting. I can squeeze one out for a laugh anytime without the fear of ruining another pair of underoos." -Will M., Chicago, IL

*Unless you move.

For today: If you're going to post a comment, you need to do two things first:
1) go to and click on the random article link. This is your band's name.
2) go to and use up to eight of the first words of the second quote on the page. This is the title of your debut album.

All comment posts must include a band name and a debut album title, or they WILL be deleted. And, don't cheat, the randomness is the fun.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

With Friends Like These...

I'm not sure how to feel about your comments on yesterday's post. Of the five people that felt compelled to publish their comments for the world to see, three of them, that's about 95%, saw fit to ridicule me or my idea. One of them didn't even have the heart to leave his original comment up. Who knows what that one said? I don't even want to guess.
You know, I'm not doing this for my own good.* I'm coming up with real life solutions to real life problems. To the one person who left an off-topic but non-disparaging comment, I say, "Thank you." Thank you for having the decency to not ravage my dream like a new inmate. Thank you for tacitly allowing me to aim high, and not be restrained by the chains of "possibility" or "physics" or "laws of nature."
To the three of you who lampooned my idea and questioned the originality of my work: One of you gets a pass, you're an ex-girlfriend, and you probably feel like you have to do that stuff. But to the other two, I would like you to think about the impact you're having on the world. Do you think Thomas Edison surrounded himself with people like you? Do you think Martin Luther's friends were all like, "No. You can't change the most powerful political and religious entity ever on the earth?" No way. Real movers and shakers ignore the nay-sayers and achieve that which they set out to do.
Given my penchant for both prose and verse, I would like to call to your attention something written by a contemporary of mine. Langston, or LH, as I call him wrote me this in an encouraging note after he saw the ways you people bashed my dreams into the dirt:

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over --
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load

Or does it explode?

Continue to comment as you wish, but consider the impact of your words.
Also, in an unrelated matter, from what I can tell, readership for Josh by Himself has reached at least (drum roll) 7! That's the good news. The better news is that if you're reading this now, that means you're in on the ground floor. You knew about this as soon as it was cool. It's still underground, and I have no plans of selling out any time soon. Pulitzer first, then selling out.

*Yes I am.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I've solved the oil/energy crisis (shhh!)

I'm going to need you to keep this a secret. I looked into making this a member-only site, but I'm just going to have to trust all of you to not tell anyone about any of this.* I was pondering, as I so often do, many of life's unanswerable questions, "Is there a God?" "What is the meaning of life?" "Why didn't all the monkeys become people?" You know, questions basic to human nature.
One of these questions, one that I've spent many sleepless nights pondering, seemed to be a matter of simple mathematics: "If you dug a hole through the center of the earth (which I've already started**), could you jump through (usually people say, 'to China' here, but that's dumb)?" Here's what I've come up with:
  • If you jumped into the hole on side A, and fell straight through, you would accelerate all the way to the exact center of the earth(R), thanks to gravity (g). Once you passed the center, you would begin to decelerate at a rate that would bring you to a stop on side B, the exact distance from the center from whence you started. The math is really very simple:

Check it. It's all right there. Air-tight. Find an error, and I'll sell you the rights to it.

Here's the great part. Given this, the time to get from one side of the earth to the other is 42 minutes. That's fantastic! 42 minutes instead of what, like 2 days in an airplane? Are you with me? I am going to revolutionize travel! No more petroleum for travel. You want to travel? Find the hole. Find the hole! That's a great slogan.
But I imagine now you're probably saying, Josh, what if I don't want to go to the other side of the world? That's the beauty of "Find the Hole" travel. It can take you anywhere. You want to go to Paris, Find the Hole, and 42 minutes later voila, mon ami, you're in the home of the Eiffel Tower. You want to go to Argentina? Don't cry (for me), Find the Hole, and you'll be revolting in 42 minutos. A straight shot between any two points on the globe, using only gravity will take you just 42 minutes.
I'm going to harness this potential, and use it to revolutionize travel. No more plane crashes.

Warning: Please be sure to grab something once you've reached your destination, or you'll be falling back home in no time, and we're not giving refunds on that one.

*Unless you know some venture capitalists, then talk it up, and I'll see if I can get you a cut of the action. We can be neighbors on Easy Street.

** Do NOT tell my landlord.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Sport of Kings (and hobos)

Sitting at Arlington Park yesterday, I realized that part of the appeal of horse racing is the timelessness of it all. As far as I know, not much has changed, in terms of spectator experience in the sport. An afternoon spent at the racetrack in 2008 probably wouldn't be all that unlike an afternoon spent at the racetrack thirty or forty years ago. Sure, now you can use a computer to place bets with next month's rent money, but you still lose the money, because you still bet on horses based entirely on which ones have the best names*. Sure, there's a big jumbotron in the infield showing live footage of the races and of the paddock between the races, but by in large, the experience probably isn't too much different than it was for my great-uncle Hank "Lefty" Myers.

Young Henry Myers grew up during the Great Depression, and unfortunately lost his entire left arm in a horrific (and quite messy) incident, breaking up a hobo fight in the rail yards of Port Allegany, PA. The details were never really all that clear, but the suspicion is that at some point in the tussle, part of his arm ended up in the filthy mouth of Burton "Filthy Mouth" Bidwell. The infection caused by the bacteria in Filthy Mouth Bidwell's mouth would have posed no threat with modern medicine, but due to a lack of money and running water, Lefty was forced to bathe in Combs Creek, which only served to intensify the infection and Lefty was forced to amputate his own left arm in 1936(luckily he was right handed, or it could have been a real mess).

Lefty was a resourceful young man, and after some years hustling people in pool halls (who would suspect a one-armed pool shark), he met my great-aunt Margaret, who convinced him to give up such a dangerous and underhanded lifestyle. Margaret's family owned a stable, and Lefty immediately took a liking to the family's prized filly, Sound Investment.

Lefty had a unorthodox training style in that he couldn't whip the horse, because he had to use his one hand to hold the reigns. After some training, Lefty entered Sound Investment into some small stakes races at Niagara Falls, and after enjoying some success in the lower class races, Sound investment won her first entry into a qualifying race for the 1941 Belmont Stakes.

The Belmont held more importance than usual in 1941, because Whirlaway, a four year-old stallion had already won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness that year, and would be going for the prized and ever-so-rare Triple Crown of Horse Racing. To make things worse, Sound Investment's jockey had been drafted, and Lefty was forced to use a replacement, Billy Stanhope, on very short notice.

Billy came from a long line of Jockey - a diminutive family of moderate fame given the popularity of horse racing in those days. For brevity's sake, suffice it to say, Billy and Lefty did not see eye to eye on the no-whipping policy, but Lefty was forced to use Billy in the race. He would have ridden Sound Investment himself, but he was too big.

Sure enough, Sound Investment was leading the Belmont Stakes from the wire to the home stretch, but for some reason, Billy Stanhope started whipping her, and she freaked out. Spooked by the whipping, she bucked and threw Billy to the dirt. Whirlaway made it around Sound Investment, and the now airborne Billy, but Four Left Feet, the next horse, trying to avoid running over Billy after he had landed ran into Sound Investment and broke her leg. She had to be shot on the track, and Lefty killed Billy in the Jockey's locker room after the race. Rumor has it he missed twice because of Billy's small stature, but the third shot caught Billy in his miniature heart, and he was dead before the authorities could arrive.

Uncle Lefty spent the rest of his days in prison and in relative obscurity. I never got to meet him, but I've heard plenty of stories about him from my grandfather, and from what I know, he would have been proud of the $0.40 I won yesterday in the fifth race on a $2.00 bet. I know he's up in heaven with Sound Investment, smiling down on me, and laughing at Billy Stanhope, who is seated far below us, either weeping or gnashing teeth as we speak.

*Ohbeegeewhyen and Your Worst Night 'mare', you cost me an $18 exacta bet in the fourth race yesterday. Enjoy your trips to the glue factory.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

In light of the upcoming holiday

Some of my good friends know that I frequent a website called It's nothing more than a news aggregator site. The MO of the site and it's proud members is primarily to lampoon the 24-hour news cycle and the schlock that has come to pass for new since its inception. Members submit "news" items found on other websites and create their own headline for it (sometimes funny, other times not), and then the discussions begin.
I don't know how many users there are, but I'm sure it's over 50,000. [citation needed]. Anyway, when you have this many people commenting on events and non-events, you really do get a taste of different perspectives. This site really honestly has made me consider my own views.
All this, but the beauty of the site is the funny stuff. I had something else in mind for today's post, but I read something on fark that made me laugh, and I just wanted to share it with you. Now, from what I can tell the person who wrote this is not making stuff up. He is speaking from experience. This is from a discussion thread about fireworks laws, posted by "Yetti"

Several things you should absolutely know about good fireworks activities.

1. If you're going to shoot rockets out of your mouth, hold your head parallel to the ground and cover the side of your face with your hand.

2. You CAN shoot mortar tubes off your thigh, stomach and head. If you use your head, you want your neck and spine to be straight. Kick's about as much as a 20 gauge. Think about the women of National Geographic who carry the bowls of water on the head and you're doing it right.

3. Bottle rockets out of the hand is fun, just wear some glasses.

4. Bottle rockets in your friends pockets are also fun.

5. Bic lighters suck, fingers get raw pretty quick. Torch, punk or kitchen lighter is the business.

6. Here's how to get the good deals on stuff. Walk into a fireworks store, ask to see the manager, tell them you are going shopping with your friend and need someone to push the third cart. Don't be afraid to ask for deals and freebies, especially if it's at least two weeks before the 4th.

7. Duct taping a mortar reload to a larger rocket is a good idea, but tough to time the wicks accordingly. If you must do it, cut the wicks off of a test reload, and test rocket, and time them. Then throw the still good testers in the bonfire. Ta da.

This is the kind of stuff just sitting on the internet waiting to make your life better. This guy has given us a glimpse into his wealth of knowledge, presumably for our own safety. The good citizenship this guy is displaying is what makes me proud to be an American.
If we can't share our "cheating-death-by-fireworks" stories on the internet, then the terrorists have truly won. I should also add that Yetti posted this while I was writing:

"8. I forgot to mention. Mortar rounds do not do much damage to billboards."

Not a lot of substance today. Sorry. Stick with me, the best is still ahead of us.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Guest blogger: Benjamin Franklin

Dear Reader-
I have cometh to ye in the ftead of my good friend, Jofhua. He hath requefted that I act af a gueft "blogger" fo that he may reft and enjoy a fabbath for hif leifure, and fo that he may alfo make hafte in finding a worthy mother to continue the Myerf line.

Given that I waf a founding father of thif great nation, and given that I waf quite fucceffful* with the ladief, I have feen fit to give Jofhua fome inftruction to follow whilft he fearcheth for a mate:

1) Fearch the countryfide hi and low for a woman of ample bofom fo that fhe may feed your fon and let not hif stomach hunger for the milk of hif mother'f breaft.

2) You muft firft, feek the approval of the young miaden'f father. Without hif approval, ye will be forced to elope, and if that be the cafe, you can fay "Good Morrow" to your dowery.

3) Findeth a maiden with a huge dowery, that which can only be challenged in fize by her ample bofom.

4) Fometimef, you may have the approval of the maiden'f father, but fhe may ftill be unwilling to marry you. If the apple of your eye refufef to marry you, confider fathering an illegitimate child with her. Your chencef of gaining her hand in marriage will increafe greatly af her family will want to avoid the humiliation of raifing a baftard child.

5) If all elfe failf, I have heard from Fteve, the town crier that the cat lady who liveth on Archer ftreet if looking for a good fir to marry her and aide her in caring for her catf and changing yon cat litter.

6) Avoid Fyphilif.

Given thif lift of found advice for finding a worthy mother of your children, I thinketh that thif task should not be impoffible. But if ye are fearching for more advice, I will leave you with fome final tipf for finding a lady. I hear the farieft of ladief if unable to refift a kite. Tie a key at the end on the ftring, and tell thine ladie that thif if a "key to thine heart." That fhould really do the trick.

Finally, check out France, I hear the ladief doth put out in France.

*Fexually tranfmitted difeafef are in no way an indicator of fucceff or lack thereof.

Friday, June 6, 2008

It's D-Day BABY!

D-day comes but once a year, and I don't know about you, but I feel like it just totally snuck up on me this year. Did you know that June 6 is also the National Holiday of Sweden? Let me stop right here to express my admiration for Sweden. I've never been there, but just the idea of Sweden gives me the tingles*. Look at this:

In 2005 [June 6] became an official Swedish public holiday, taking that honour from Whit Monday. This change led to fewer days off from work (more working-days) as the 6th of June will periodically fall on the weekend, unlike Whit Monday, which was always celebrated on a Monday. This has in turn led to complaints from some Swedish unions.

This problem has since been solved by giving each worker an extra eight hours of time-off to use when they so choose.

That's from Wikipedia, so I mean a monkey could have typed that with his buttcheeks, but I'm choosing to give this one the benefit of the doubt. Life throws them a herring, and they make it into a delicious pickled sild.

You have to admire the Swedish culture and heritage. They are a tall and beautiful, slender people. That's not to say there aren't short, ugly, fat Swedes, but they keep them well-hidden.

I participated in my first Covenant League softball game last night. That may be the most Swedish thing I've done since that night I was whipped with a twig in the Marriott Sauna in Jefferson City, but that's another story. The Swedes play softball with a rather large ball in the schoolyards of schools named after "famous" Norse explorers. I assume this was some form of militant Swedish protest. I tried to ask, but none of the Swedes could hear me over the sound of their exaggerated cultural pride ringing in their ears. Either that or the ABBA blaring from the parking lot.

I know this is the second post in as many days, but don't get too excited, ladies. I'm sure the frequency of my blog posts will fall off as the novelty of it wears off. I hope to include pictures of of my own taking at some point, but I'm still getting used to this whole thing, so here's one from a few years ago.

I did cut my own cast off as a protest of the current state of the health care system in America.

Anyway, I'm calling Big Brown and that casino horse to win and place at Belmont this weekend, but if you bet that, don't blame me if you lose your shirt.

*See "Doggy Style" in my previous post "We stand at the edge of a new frontier..."

Thursday, June 5, 2008

"We stand at the edge of a new frontier...

... the frontier of unfulfilled hopes and dreams."
I imagine my feelings about this blog are similar to the feelings John Kennedy (he seems so much more accessible without that middle initial) had when he was giving his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles.
That's probably where it ends, though. He goes on to talk about things like "peace and war... ignorance and prejudice... and unanswered questions of poverty and surplus."
I wish I had that kind of spare time.
You may not be aware of how hard it is to not start something like this with the typical lists of favorite bands, restaurants, sexual positions... but I'm determined (doggy style). And I promise, gentle reader, that I will not venture any further into off-color or raunchy filth. Besides, have you ever had a Denver Omelette at Doggy Style on Lincoln? I needed a smoke afterward.*
Anyway, I've been encouraged to blog by more than one person, so I've decided to give it a shot. I hate the word "blogging," but I'm going to set aside my prejudices and go boldly into our new frontier.
My goals for this blog are simple:
1) Entertain me.
2) Entertain you.

I must warn you that these two will not always coincide (see above), but some of the things I've typed so far have made Dr. Pepper spray from my nostrils. If you're not laughing yet, I apologize, but don't give up on me, as I hope that these posts get better as I become a more experienced "blogger."

I'm doing a lot of new things these days, so I've got lots of potential material. I'm sure the well will run dry at some point, but I'll try to get while the gettins' good.

*If your kid is reading this and getting these jokes, it's your fault.