22 December 2005

Outlawed Kilts

Those of you that know me, know that I have a very strong sense of my Scottish heritage. Today, I found a news article here that tells a tale of a young man that was blocked from going to a High School dance because he was wearing a kilt. The following is a e-mail I sent to the principle of that High School. His e-mail address is rmcclard@jackson.k12.mo.us if you want to let Mr. McClard know what you think of his actions. There is also an on line petition if you wish to register your displeasure with his action. When they knock at my front door, they can pry my kilt out of my cold dead hands.

Dear Mr. McClard,

When I read the news article regarding your decision to block Nathan Warmack from attending a school dance in a kilt, I was shocked. I have a healthy respect for policies and procedures in any organization. I understand the school district has a dress code that you are honor bound to uphold. However, this is not a matter of fashion. This is a matter of cultural heritage. A heritage that, you Mr. McClard, should be aware of. Your family name comes from the Clan McLeod, from the Isle of Lewis. Your family motto is Hold Fast. I find that ironic in this situation. You sir, have forgotten the face of your fathers. I myself am American by birth, but hold to my Scottish heritage. My line comes from Clan Kinnaird in Perthshire and my heritage is something I hold very dear to me.
To insinuate that the wearing of a kilt makes one look clownish further shames your ancestors. At Bannockburn, Culloden Moor, on Normandy Beach, the blood of Scotsmen has flowed into those kilts in the name of freedom. This same unique concept of freedom and individual rights that Robert the Bruce outlined in the Declaration of Aborath, under which influenced our own Declaration of Independence. The same kilt that watches over servicemen, firefighters, and police officers as they are laid to rest while bagpipes play Amazing Grace. Clownish indeed.
I am sure that you would have been equally as insensitive to other cultural dress, since you have no regard for your own heritage. IÂ’m sure a student in an Oyokoman kente cloth, or a Samoan Saipo would have been treated with equal distain. Tragic. In a society that is now dedicated to cultural diversity and the open exchange of ideas, your actions are puzzling. Should your High School have a Heritage Day, would you block students wearing any of these cultural signifiers from attending class?
I close with the request that at very least you make a written public apology to Nathan Warmack and to all Scottish-Americans. Mr. McClard, it is the right an honorable thing to do in light of the situation.

Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam Spam

I am indebted to all those spammers out there that enrich my life with offers for Viagra, Johnson enlargements, and stock options for gold mines in Zimbabwe. As homage to all those farmers of e-mail addresses, hucksters of miracle products, and services the government doesn’t want you to know about; I’ve composed a list of some of my favorite spam subject lines designed to get around my e-mail blockers.

A rain on December shipping
Abrupt; its magnesium chess
Arrgh! Horseflesh of sterno and gauze
Caviar cock
Charisma it’s a crater
Cheerful, lignum and bureaucracy
Disperse a Brent!
Go eat a dwarf
Have cough no excesses
He watches the peninsula
Lustful died an indulgent
On begin he conundrum vaginal
Or teach my putty roundelay
Psychopath the Margery and age
Rowdy in bronze industry
Scratchy may yuck may bordello
Squeak it's a bottle loam mixture council
Storms reawaken you
Swastika, see Armenian threesome

17 December 2005

Canned Memories

     So the thought of Tales Never Told has given me yet another inspiration.  Since the Everyday Conspiracies post went over like a lead balloon for a monthly topic… Let’s try again shall we?  Your part of the barging is coming up with a title of a tale.  I in turn will take some of the tale titles and create a real life event to fit the title.  No past events will count, only a future event that I will weave into my life to fit the title.  If I lived in New York or LA, I think this would be called performance art.  Since I’m from the South, we’ll just call it a hootenanny.
     There has to be rules.  If Candy Land has rules, so can my blog and the things that go on here.  They are simple and to the point.  I get to choose which titles and how I live them out.  Easy enough.  Since I’m the one doing the deeds, it’s my game.    
    Here’s a good example of how this might work.  Some wise acre might chime in with “Donkey stinky doodles aren’t for breakfast anymore”.  The obvious solution to this is to decline on sanitary grounds.  However, maybe I go to a petting zoo with a Baby Ruth in my pocket and pull a Caddyshack.  (If you don’t get the reference, you may never ever return to this site again.  The Internet is a wonderful thing and I have written HTML code that will figure out if you got that and if not, boot you from the site the next time you try to return.) Title given, story created and executed, exploit written about on the blog and high jinks ensue.  Think hard folks, and give me something to work with.

13 December 2005

Tales Never Told; Part 1

Note to self… Do not tell these stories to your son until he turns 18; or until the statue of limitations runs out.

10 things I’ve done in a Krystal drive-thru
A closed bar and a bottle of Scotch
A diabetic cop walks into a club on Beale Street
A man, a teddy bear and a dialogue.
All strippers take Monday night off.
And the judge said, “You have been fined $62.50”
Big Spiked Hammer and other song requests
Come on, she drives a bus…
Contributions to the National Foundation for the Deaf
Did I just get shushed?
Drunks and junkies love to hang out in bathrooms
Fung Shue is the art of the sleeping bear.
Hello, is anyone in there?
Hey Operator, can you help me find out where the hell I’m at?
Hey there Fat Bastard
Hi, I’m Bob Wolfy.
Honking etiquette 101
How much is that doggie in the doorway?
I’d like to ask you a few questions for my thesis
It’s mid-July, do you know where your neighbor is?
Janet Reno goes hot tubbin’
Never take a picture of a diva eating a sandwich on her tour bus
Not all cap drivers are named Abdullah
Sears delivers a surprise
Shamoo likes to shoplift
So that’s how they make pressed ham
Stop, drop and roll, Knoxville style.
Taco Bell bag blues
Tales of a green couch
The hoods of police cars are sturdier than they look
Where does split pea soup come from?
White shirts are not designed to be inserted in one’s bum.
Why did it rain on the Governor’s parking space last night?
Why is your beer glass warm?
You have a stain on the back of your pants.

12 December 2005

A Mighty Hero Falls

The word processing has fallen silent here at Fort Donelson in recent weeks. The rush of Thanksgiving, a birthday, and trying to play the shell game of keeping everyone happy had kept my random thoughts stifled. Not to mention the depression. Oh my droogies, I'm not talking about the post turkey day Tryptophan induced malaise that sets in waiting for Christmas. I’m talking about the kind of things fallen hero stories are made of. Sit right back and you’ll hear a tale of a fateful quest…

On 24 Nov 05 at 11:45 CST it happened while I was at work. I was doing all the things a man must do when he leads others into the war on the battlefield known as the retail sales floor. Inspiring the loyal troops, kicking the duffs of those less loyal to the cause, and praying all the while I would lose none under my command. In my morning briefing, I had ordered that no prisoners be taken that day. The daily mission dictated that we travel light, and we had no room for excess baggage. 

I made one fatal mistake that cool November morning. An overview of the battle and a few minutes of respite was all I wanted when I went into the Command Post. That’s all. My doctrine dictates that I should stay in the trenches with the troops. Shoulder to shoulder with those dog faced retail warriors I should have stood. But I needed time to regroup, time to establish a plan for the afternoon push. I should never have left the men.

That’s when it happened. The lure of copping a squat in a warm office felled me. My bottom had no sooner touched naugahyde than wafting over the PA system was my mortal enemy. Yes it was Burl Ives. Curse his eyes and his Holly Jolly Christmas. I had paused in the action enough that my conscious mind was able to latch on to Burl’s one “contribution” to Western Civilization.

Now some call this getting hit with the Golden BB. You know the one that has your name on it. The old timers say you never see it coming. I sure didn’t. Struck down in the prime of the Holiday Season, I could do no more. He had beaten me for another year.
Since then, the sky has turned a little grayer. There is no spring in my step. What little hair I have seems to be thinning more. I have to listen very hard to hear birds chirping. Needless to say, I’ve taken it hard. 

Oh I have had my moment of clarity. I’ve slowly crawled out of the tub of Egg Nog Ice Cream. It hit me when I tried to keep a pint in my pants pocket. You know for the tough times throughout the day. In my sugar induced madness I had forgotten that I had no way to keep it frozen. By the time I had come to my senses, I looked like I had lost control of all my bodily functions. That will wake any man up.

So here I sit try to get better. They said at my meetings that doing something you use to do would help get me through the tough times. So I sit and write and dream. Next year you’re all mine old man. You’re all mine.

20 November 2005

Everyday Conspiracies

     Anyone that knows me has realized that I’m somewhat of a conspiracy monger.  My mind works in polar opposite to Occam’s Razor.  Take for example the recent civil unrest and looting after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.  The simplest solution to why these events were happening is that during desperate times and in lawless conditions, people act in uncharacteristic ways.  My mind automatically blossomed to an outside influence having a hand in the events that transpired.  Someone was trying to keep the Federal Government and aide workers out of NOLA after the storm.  (I’ll do an article on this at some point.  The examples of shootouts with National Guard Units that lasted for hours on end denote organization from the aggressors.  Street punks do not last long when facing disciplined soldiers.)  Given the amount of cash, negotiable securities, precious gems and metals, data, and narcotics alone that was left in the city is staggering.  There had to be someone scooping up the loot.  The longer lawlessness held sway, the more loot the professionals had to grab.  To make a long story short, this is how my mind meanders from problems to solutions.
     Since I have gotten off into the briar patch, I thought it would be fun to have a monthly topic on the blog.  A topic where the 5 or 6 people that read this blog could contribute.  It might be fun, but here goes….  I think the topic until the end of the year should be everyday conspiracies.  We all are dragged into a quagmire of espionage and intrigue everyday if we realize it or not.  Within our work, family or social groups plots are hatched, schemes evolve and intelligence is gathered.  Our everyday world is permeated with cabals of our own making.  
     Here are the rules.  I’ve opened up the comment section to the blog for anyone to post.  Since it’s my blog, I reserve the right to delete any comments I feel inappropriate or rats me out on some conspiracy I’ve been a part of.  Please remember that should anything you have to say begins with, “I think the statue of limitations has run out on this so…” you might want to keep that one to yourself.  And finally, since a good conspiracy should always remain secret, don’t rat yourself out.  Be discreet and stay cool Daddy-O.  It will be interesting to see what anyone out there listening has to say.  \

18 November 2005

From the Peanut Gallery

Thanks to Laura and Jen for digging up this photo of me and Burl before the fall out...

14 November 2005

The 42 Days of Holly Jolly Christmas

This year will mark the 17th holiday season I have spent in the retail industry. 17 years of watching the frantic masses scurry about like little squirrels gathering presents, like acorns, to be placed under the Christmas tree. The stories I could tell of the hatred and avarice that rises in the hearts of men and women over the holidays would make most burn their Christmas tree in their front yard. With the exception of the recent Paris riots, atrocities during the Crusades, and Mai Lai; the demonic tendencies that overtake otherwise normal human beings during the holidays is unique. While I could present anecdotal evidence all day, I shall cut to the chase.

There is one constant I have been able to track in every instance is the presence of Christmas music. Just about every store, restaurant, and cat house in North America plays Christmas music from the first part of November on till New Years. Are there subliminal messages hidden in Barbara Mandrel’s Christmas at Our House? If you play Rocking Around the Christmas Tree backwards do you get a sinister message? Or is it simply the bombardment of Holiday music slowly driving the masses mad?

Well this article has absolutely nothing to do with any of that. Not really. Since I’m writing on this blog about my personal experiences, I could give a flip about what drives people to beat the hell out of someone for the last can of chick peas on aisle 3. I stopped trying to fix the ills of the world in 1989. Oddly enough that was the same year I discontinued my use of hair dryers.

This article is really about my own personal music Holiday quest. I can’t pin point the year I started doing this, but it was sometime in the early 90’s. There is one song I attempt to avoid having to listen to every year. I have had to listen to Christmas music day in and day out at work for these 17 years. Yes it’s true that I have reached a point in my life I could do without it. There is one particular song that kills me every time. A song dripping with so much Holiday goodness and cheer it almost gives me a physical reaction. Burl Ives Holly Jolly Christmas is the culprit.

Now I have nothing against Mr. Ives nor his political ideology. I have no idea if there are naked pictures of Burl in Jimmy Page’s photo collection, or if he was kind to stray cats. None of this makes a hoot and a holler worth of difference to me. However, I have a personal boycott against Holly Jolly Christmas. I’m not sure if the royalties are low enough on Burl’s “classic” Christmas tune that makes every piped in music service play it every hour, or some programming director thinks everyone will smile like he does when they hear it; but folks Holly Jolly Christmas is everywhere.

So years ago I took a stance. I would attempt to go through a Holiday season with out hearing it. For those of you out there that recognize the sheer magnitude of this task, I say thank you. For those of you out there that don’t, I challenge you this year. Count how many times you hear this one song from 1 Nov 05 to 31 Dec 05. You’ll see… Now, I have been able to pull this feat off once. I think it was 1997. You might ask how I can be sure I didn’t hear it? Believe me, I know.

The worst year on record was 2004. 30 minutes after Muzak opened the flood gates of Holiday tunes, I got tapped. Burl Ives and all his glory screwing me this early in the season. For the love of all that is holy, it was Veteran’s Day. The day we remember fallen brothers and those that have sacrificed so much so Burl Ives could sing about saying hello to friends you know when you’re walking down the street, I get tapped.
Then there’s the sabotage. My own mother attempted to bait me into hearing it one year. Oh the woman that bore me for low those many months in her womb and swaddled me as a babe, turn coated on me. In 2003, she advancing a CD to my Holiday nemesis and put the player on pause. Then asking me so nicely and sweetly to go over to and hit play. I think she even baited me telling me it was the latest Elvis Costello album she had been listening to. Trusting my own mother, I pressed play. The mental assault was brutal. The song playing, I saw my own mother as Benedict Arnold before me. Low, the fates had been kind to her that year. I had already heard it. No court in America would have convicted me for what I would have done should my own mother have trapped me into hearing that lothful thing.

It’s 14 Nov 05 and Christmas music has been playing at the store since Saturday. I’ve made it this far. I have 42 days left. Every nerve and fiber of my being is wrapped up in avoiding this tune. I have taken precautions with family and friends to stop any sabotage this year. Secret Holly Jolly Christmas countermeasures that will make it difficult at best for friends and family to shoot me down this year have been put into motion. So don’t try it….

As for the rest of the world, the game is afoot. It’s you and me Burl. It’s just you and me now sport.

23 October 2005

The Joys of Fartherhood

This past Friday night I initiated my 4 year old son into a new world, and he may never be the same. Never again will my son pull someone's finger without thinking that a bulbous fart will erupt from someone's toothole. Of course the object lesson here is cause and effect. It's an important lesson for a young tike to learn. Other than the fact I thought he was going to pass out for laughing so hard, I don't think I've done any permanent damage to his little psyche. The time honored father/son ritual made me nostalgic for the night my father shook the very foundations of my faith in humanity. And made me hope I haven't scared my son for life as well.

The fateful night was on 20 Sept 1977. (Though TV episode guides, I have been able to track down the exact day and time this event happened.) I was standing in the den patiently waiting for my mother to finish dinner and Three's Company to come on. As the serene scenes of Southern California began to flood the TV screen, the stream of consciousness is as follows.

Come and knock on our door...
Hey Brian, come over here
We've been waiting for you....
Pull my finger
Where the kisses are her's and her's and ...
Jabbo, a gaseous conflagration that came out of my father's bottom was deafening
My mother runs from the kitchen with a wooden spoon in her hand screaming, "John what did you do. What did you just do to him!!"

Yes folks, cause and effect was taught to me that fateful night. After being chastised by my mother, dad slinks into the Lazyboy to watch Jack Tripper look for a second job. The gas still lingering heavy in the air, Jack's new job with a modeling agency made no dent in my mother's mood. Even the punch line of the episode, Jack having to model naked, did nothing to clear the air that night. As such, I stepped though a doorway that led me a little closer to manhood.

Thanks Dad...

Where all the great idea flow....