Friday, October 31, 2008

If you're coming to my place...

Head north on Dale Mabry, take a right on Hillsborough, left on Himes, look for "Classy"...and keep going. Because:

Why yes! That IS a pair of children's underpants hanging from a decoration on my neighbor's patio.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

How you can help the Bloomingdale victim...

Soon, the 18-year-old woman who was raped and beaten in April at the Bloomingdale Regional Public Library is expected to leave the rehabilitation center where she has been receiving treatment.
The house where her family lives and where she will reside needs extensive renovations to accommodate her medical needs when she returns home.

Thankfully, people have been stepping up to offer assistance.

If you would like to offer assistance, there are a number of ways to do so:

  • Pink and red latex bracelets with the inscription, "Everyone's Daughter, Everyone's Friend," are available at the Ruskin Chamber of Commerce for a $5 donation. The bracelets will be available at the chamber, 315 S. Tamiami Trail, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and at the office of Child Protection Education of America, 3439 Brook Crossing Drive, Brandon, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
  • Bloomingdale High School's PTSA is hosting a 5-kilometer run/walk fundraiser November 1st at Bloomingdale High School. Registration is at 9 a.m. and the event starts at 10 a.m.
  • Also on November 1st, the International Independent Showmen's Association, 6915 Riverview Drive, Riverview, is presenting a fundraising entertainment extravaganza beginning at 12 p.m. Tickets are $25 and will be sold at the door. The outdoor concert is being organized by St. Petersburg resident Jim Brady, and will feature doo-wop, country and Latin entertainers. Bring your own chairs and blanket. Food and drinks will be available for sale.
  • Aaron Fredricks, proprietor of East Coast Pizza in Ruskin is planning two events in cooperation with the Ruskin Chamber of Commerce. The first is a barbecue on November 22nd and the second is a golf outing on December 5th. These events are still in the planning stages, so if you'd like more information, or would like to offer your services, please contact Mr. Fredricks at (813) 234-1700 or

And if you'd like even more info, here are some additional resources:

Tour De Taco

Thanks to Jason Bartlett, America was treated to free tacos from Taco Bell yesterday. Well, one free taco each...unless you visited multiple Taco Bell restaurants. Like this:
The promotion occurs between 2pm and 6pm. I have a good four hours to maximize my taco take. My goal; 10 free and delicious tacos.
  1. 5318 E Fowler Ave - Mmmm, outstanding! But unsatisfying. I need another one quickly.
  2. 1701 E Fowler Ave - I don't know whose idea it was to put two Taco Bells so close together but whoever it is, is a genius.
  3. 2031 E Bearss Ave - This is the northernmost Taco Bell in Tampa. My route is designed to finish as close to home as possible. The third taco goes down well, albeit a tad slower than the first two.
  4. 2921 E Busch Blvd - Moving south now, this completes the North Tampa/Temple Terrace quadrant. This Taco Bell is right outside Busch Gardens and I blame the difficulty downing this one on trying to do so while watching people take the 90 degree plunge on SheiKra.
  5. 2016 N 50th St - This one is off the beaten path so it has the longest drive to and from. I'm kind of glad to have the breaks at this point. Can't believe I'm only half done. Where is that incessant buzzing noise coming from?
  6. 3802 S Dale Mabry Hwy - South Tampa likes to act all hoity toity but their Taco Bell is just like all the others, I think to myself as I kind of half stagger out. I am dizzy and my tongue feels like it is wearing a wool sweater.
  7. 4661 W Kennedy Blvd - This is becoming a struggle. All I can smell is Taco Bell (which, yes, has it's very own individual scent, which is kind of like one part bleach and two parts extremely mild picante sauce and one part off-brand corn chips), whether I'm in one or not, although being in one, the smell is so strong it makes my knees buckle.
  8. 7620 W Hillsborough Ave - I can no longer feel my fingers and I'm having angry conversations with an imaginary half-man/half-taco creature who is following and taunting me. It would be so easy to just go home now but I...must...persevere. I can't let the bastard win.
  9. 7325 W Waters Ave - Oh god, this one is too close to the last one. I don't think I even finished swallowing the last bite from the one on Hillsborough before I'm pulling into the one on Waters. What kind of asshole puts two of the same restaurant so close to one another? My hands shake uncontrollably as I close my car door and trudge inside.
  10. 11105 N Dale Mabry Hwy - Finally, the last one. I did it! I'd stand with my arms raised triumphantly over my head like a bruised-but-not-beaten Rocky Balboa except that it's physically impossible to do so. I'm convinced that an explosion not unlike the one that created the universe billions of years ago is building in my lower intestine which is functioning more like a witch's cauldron than a digestive organ right now. I hate Jason Bartlett right now and wish with all my might that it had been Jimmie Rollins or another member of the Phillies that had stolen the first base in the World Series. The only person I hate more at this point is the 911 operator who tells me that she will not dispatch an ambulance to follow me home.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A short conversation about usefullness

"I want you tell me exactly what happened on that island."

"Well sir, once the cruise ship sank and those of us who survived washed up on shore, we assessed our prospects for rescue and looked at how much food and supplies we had and how many of us there were. It was pretty obvious that there wasn't nearly enough to sustain us all for any extended length of time."

"Go on."

"So we sat down in a circle and tried to figure out who among us was truly essential to keep around for the sake of the group's survival and who would just be a useless drain on precious resources. In the cases of the doctor and the carpenter, that was pretty easy to determine."

"Yes, I understand."

"But as we went around the circle, people pleading their cases made some really interesting points. A policeman pointed out that he was needed because someone should be there to enforce order. A grocery store clerk said that his skills in inventory management would be beneficial. A used car salesman pointed out that his excellent communication skills and smoothly persuasive manner would come in handy if we were to encounter hostile people at some point. Even an unemployed musician made a compelling argument that the entertainment he could provide could soothe people's nerves and help reduce the stress level among the group. It was kind of surprising that so many different people with a such a wide variety of individual skills were able to present valid, legitimate points about serving a purpose in our combined effort to survive."

"And is that when you cooked and ate the NFL sideline reporter?"

"Oh no, we did that before we even started talking about any of this."

Monday, October 27, 2008

The World Series, so far 4 2/3

After the suspension of game 5 (to be resumed tomorrow, hopefully)...

Why you should be happy if you're a Rays fan:

  • The score is tied!
  • Longoria and Pena are hitting!
  • Cole Hamels probably won't be on the mound when play resumes.
  • It ain't over ("It" now referring to game 5 as well as the series itself)...

Why you should be nervous if you're a Rays fan:

  • Don't worry about it. Once you're teetering at the brink, there's no pressure. Play ball!

Random observations:

  • What will be remembered after this series is over is that the umpiring has been mind-bogglingly bad. I'm not making excuses; the Rays are not in the position they're in because of umpires and the bad calls are pretty evenly distributed among both teams. It's just that the overall level of incompetency is embarrassing for baseball. They're averaging one huge screw-up per game. That's unacceptable during a championship.
  • On a related note, I can not believe they played as long as they did in those conditions tonight. Usually once the infield is so saturated that it begins to "shine", it's time to pull tarp. That was an absolute quagmire. I've played in rec softball leagues that wouldn't have played on that field.
  • Ok, 'Zooks (among others), the slump isn't completely busted but the tide has turned and things are looking up. So here's your treat:

If we win this game, whenever it's finished, I promise I'll give you something...juicier.
Good lord, I'm such a whore.

The World Series, so far IV

After four games...

Why you should be happy if you're a Rays fan:

  • Um....well...
  • The Rays have won three in a row 15 times this year and the Phillies have lost three in a row six times this year.
  • It ain't over...

Why you should be nervous if you're a Rays fan:

  • Duh.

Random observations:

  • Phillies pitchers pwn Evan Longoria.
  • All the things that have gotten the Rays this far, solid defense, good pitching and clutch hitting have disappeared.
  • The umpiring in this series has been brutal for both sides.
  • I still think we have a shot to win this thing. We've beaten better teams than this.
  • When leaping from the Sunshine Skyway, too many people just jump blindly. This is what would be known as a rookie mistake. It's possible to survive that kind of plunge if you hit open water. The trick is to aim for one of the cement pilings below. That's the high percentage shot.
  • Here's today's gratuitous beefcake shot for 'Zooks (among others):

That, ladies, is Don Zimmer fulfilling the role of slumpbuster. Sorry, but it had to be done. These are desperate times.

A food mystery

Here's a weird one for you.
I found a box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese in my pantry the other day. I don't remember buying it, but what the hell. I don't have particular memories of purchasing any of the stuff in my pantry. Easy and delicious, I decided to whip it up for dinner.
I boiled the macaroni for 12 minutes. No problem.
I snipped open the foil packet of cheese. Problem.
What oozed out was pulpy, orange and disturbingly solid in texture. It looked like something you might scoop out of a pumpkin. It just sat there in a blob on top of the boiling hot macaroni, not even attempting to melt. It didn't really smell bad but it sure looked awful and I decided right away not to eat it. I checked the box and sure enough, there was an expiration date on it: June 3, 2003.
I know what you're thinking; "that's no mystery, that's just gross (and I'm not sure I'm entirely convinced that you didn't eat it)". You're right (but I swear I didn't). There's nothing mysterious about a food item being rendered inedible by the passage of half a decade, although it's at least curious that there are enough natural ingredients in Kraft Macaroni & Cheese to warrant an expiration date. I would have guessed the only thing that could outperform it as bomb shelter food might be a potted meat product from the fine folks at the Prairie Belt company. No, the mystery arises from the fact that I've been in this apartment for less than three years. That means it actually expired two years before I moved here. Not knowing what the shelf life was originally, there's no way to determine that I didn't buy it during the Clinton administration. And yet I obviously made a point of packing it and bringing it with me for some reason. Did it have sentimental value? Did I think I wouldn't be able to get macaroni & cheese in my new home, five miles away? Am I just the world's dumbest human? Hmmm....

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The World Series, so far Part Deux (or Trois)

After three games...

Why you should be happy if you're a Rays fan:

  • The Phillies still need to win two of the next four games. A win tonight and it's a three game series, two of which would be played at the Trop.
  • The Phillies are still terrible at driving in runners. The winning run was scored last night without a ball being hit out of the infield.
  • Longo and Pena have to wake up eventually. Right?
  • It ain't over...

Why you should be nervous if you're a Rays fan:

  • The Rays need to win three out of four. We have to win at least one in Philadelphia to get the series back to the Trop at all.
  • The Phillies are winning games despite being terrible at driving in runners. The winning run was scored last night without a ball being hit out of the infield.
  • Rollins and Howard woke up.
  • It will be dangerously close to over if we don't get something going tonight.

Random observations:

  • Rain delays suck.
  • A strong enough pejorative has not been invented to describe rain delays that precede games your team eventually loses at 1:30 in the morning when you have to be at work by 7.
  • Good news for 'Zooks (among others); now that the bad weather has passed, one way or another, this series is over after October 30th at the very latest. And I don't care enough about football to blog about it.
  • Playing the "Fishy Fishy Fishy" song during the Rays introductions was kind of tacky for a World Series game. Of course, this is Philadelphia, the place where Santa Claus was booed and where fans felt it appropriate to heckle Buccaneers receiver Joe Jurevicius about his newborn son's Sialidosis, a condition that eventually resulted in the baby's death a few weeks later (one of those stories is considered something of a myth, the other is 100% true; I'll leave it to you to figure out which is which and be suitably appalled).
  • There was an awful lot of gratuitous pluggery for Fox's NFL games. A friend wondered if the World Series would get equal treatment during the NFL games the next day (answer: no).
  • The goofy duck hunting hat worn by Joe Maddon is not feeding my man crush. I'm kind of glad about that, actually.
  • More good news for 'Zooks (among others); a wholesome picture of some ballplayer in "Dude, Where's My Shirt?"

I am nothing if not attentive to the demands needs of my readers.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The World Series, so far

After two games...
Why you should be happy if you're a Rays fan:
  • The Phillies are not producing with men in scoring position.
  • We won game 2, the pivotal game in a seven game series. Teams that win game 2 go on to win the series about 80% of the time (I heard one of the talking heads on TBS throw that out there during the ALCS).
  • Cole Hamels can't pitch every game for the Phillies.
  • Philadelphia's ballpark is a launching pad for home run hitters.

Why you should be nervous if you're a Rays fan:

  • It's probably not a good idea to believe that the Phillies will continue to strand runners. Hope, yes. Believe, not yet.
  • We lost game 1, which gives home field advantage to Philadelphia. Splitting those first two games is exactly what they had hoped to accomplish.
  • Crappy weather in Philadelphia could push the games back, giving Cole Hamels more rest.
  • Philadelphia fans are ruthless. That ballpark is not going to be a friendly place.

Random observations:

  • The Philles got screwed twice by the home plate umpire in game 2. Oddly enough, I'm okay with it.
  • Normally, I'm not someone who puts a lot of credence into announcers rooting for one team over another, but the coverage so far has been very Rays-friendly. Unlike the ALCS, where it was all Boston, all the time. So much so, that it was obvious that Buck Martinez (who I think usually does a very good job) was totally unprepared to say anything good about the Rays as evidenced by his near total silence after they rallied and eventually won. Either he thought the Red Sox were going to win that game and prepared accordingly (albeit, incorrectly) or he just hoped they would.
  • I'm disappointed that there aren't any creative tv commercials. I know no event draws as many viewers as the Superbowl, but nobody could find a little something in their ad budget to come up with something more clever than the freeze-tag ads that Budweiser is running?
  • Tim McCarver says "Mmmm" a lot. I wonder if he's eating soup between pitches.
  • Joe Buck can at times be almost as insufferably smug as Bob Costas but he seems to be keeping a lid on it so far.
  • In the battle of the pre-game lineup introductions, it was Mike Schmidt vs the Rays batting order in game 1. Schmidt is a hall of famer, but he's not a very dynamic personality. In game 2, it was Dallas Green vs Jon Gruden. Dallas Green hasn't been relevant in years but Chucky has the Bucs contending and has been vocal and visible in supporting the Rays, which is awesome. Rays win both of those.
  • However, in the battle of the anthem singers, I'm positive we're going to get our asses whipped. We had the Backstreet Boys, whose Nick Carter is from the area...sort of..., in game 1 and Los Lonely Boys, who aren't even from here at all, in game 2. I don't know who's slated to do the games in Philadelphia, but that's a city with a roster of musical legends deeper than Santa's naughty list. The closest thing we have to a musical heritage is that Ray Charles lived briefly in Tampa, during the most miserable period of his life. This bout is over before it starts.
  • I'm not sure I entirely understand the concept of what a "man crush" is, but I think I have one on Joe Maddon.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I'll admit it; I'm a food racist

Maybe "traditionalist" is more accurate, but using the word "racist" gets far more Google hits.
Anyway, I'm kind of particular when it comes to ethnic foods as far as who prepares and serves it. I have approximately 800 Cuban restaurants and bodegas within walking distance of my home. Therefor, I have no need to order what they call a Cuban sandwich from any restaurant not owned and predominately staffed by Cuban people. Same goes for the Asian people at the mall who offer me free samples of authentic Louisiana style bourbon chicken. No thank you. It might be the same ingredients prepared in exactly the same manner but I'll know that it's just not...right.
So I was considerably dismayed to learn during Game 1 of the World Series that Greg Creed, the president of Taco Bell, is British! By the way, yes, thanks to baseball, we all get a free taco on Tuesday, October 28th. Now I understand that Taco Bell is far from authentic Mexican cuisine. But still, since there are millions of Mexicans in this country at any given time, why did we have to go to the United Kingdom to find someone to run Taco Bell? That's just not...right.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The First Annual Awesomenicity Award!

It's my sincere belief that the greatest reward any human being could ever receive for doing something awesome is free french fries for life, served upon demand from any restaurant in the whole world that serves french fries. And that is exactly what the winner of my Annual Awesomnicity Award should receive (unfortunately, I don't currently have the authority to actually grant this award, merely to recommend, so that's what I'm doing: Hey restaurants, let's get with it!).

Let's meet this year's winner...

The basic rule of nature when species interact is "If you aren't something to eat, than I am". We as humans have come to believe that this particular rule does not apply to us because we have developed the ability to make and operate machines. Although, if you doubt that the basic rule is still valid, the next time you're cornered by a lion, try defending yourself by demonstrating an inclined plane and see what happens.

Since we choose to ignore this basic rule while the rest of nature does not, many animals simply don't understand the concept of pet ownership, viewing it as literally playing with one's food. Luckily, the other thing we as humans do is use our fists to teach lessons. This, plus love and devotion, is what inspired Greg LeNoir to dive into the water and punch the shit out of a shark that was trying to eat LeNoir's dog Jake. As a result, Jake is going to be just fine, at least one shark is going to think twice before trying to eat someones pet (well, probably not but what are you gonna do?) and a man who is not afraid to punch sharks now walks among us mere mortals.

Congratulations, Mr. LeNoir and enjoy your fries. Feel free to share some of them with Jake, who is a good boy, isn't he? Yes he is! He's a very good boy!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

State of shock

It still hasn't sunk in. The Tampa Bay Rays are going to the World Series. I can honestly say that I never dreamed I'd see this happen and now that it is, I am having difficulty grasping that it's true. It's kind of like seeing a flying dog; you can look right at it and recognize it for what it is, but if you never thought you would see it, you might still have trouble accepting it as reality when you see it.
That's not to say that as a fan I lacked faith and hope that some day, my faith would be rewarded. Quite the contrary. I'm the kind of fan who believes that every single time your team loses, it should come as something of a surprise and it should hurt at least a little bit. It's just that the Rays have hurt me a great deal over the years.
As a fan of the Buccaneers and the Lightning, two franchises that were once the very rock bottom worst in their sports can possibly be that eventually won championships, you'd think I'd be used to this by now. But this really is different. For one thing, the turnaround time of one single year is much, much more rapid than the ascent of the Bucs and Bolts. For another, while those two teams were allowed to toil away in relative anonymity (especially the Lightning), the Rays were the perennial punching bags of two of baseball's most renowned teams, the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. When the Bucs were bad, people were aware of it but when the Rays were bad, David Letterman was using them as monologue material.
That all changed this year. And it changed so suddenly that a team that optimists thought might win half their games at the start of the game was being called a potential failure if they somehow failed to win the American League pennant at the end. The milestones have been passing so fast and furiously, I haven't even had time to savor them. Maybe doing so will grant me the perspective necessary to accept this new reality...

  • The Rays finished with a winning percentage above .500 for the first time in their history.

  • They finished ahead of the Yankees and their legions of obnoxious, smug, self-entitled, know-it-all fans.

  • They finished ahead of the Red Sox and their legions of fans who cashed in the karma they earned by not winning a championship in 86 years to turn themselves into exactly what they say they hate the most: obnoxious, smug, self-entitled, know-it-alls.

  • They beat the White Sox in the playoffs, saving the nation from having to observe the antics of AJ Pierzynski, baseball's worst human.

  • They beat the Red Sox to win the pennant (see bullet point above the last one).

  • They now have a chance to beat the Phillies (something Tampa Bay teams have become quite good at lately, as illustrated here), resulting in no "victory celebrations" in Philadelphia, thereby minimizing the amount of Philadelphia police cars that would be set on fire.

Nope, it still isn't setting in. I think I need something even more shocking to put it all in context. Maybe a photo of the Rays with something REALLY say, a black guy running for president...

Thanks, K!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Another update on the Bloomingdale assault victim's situation

I received a new comment on the blog today regarding the plight of the young woman who was attacked in Bloomingdale. I'm posting it exactly as I received it in a continuing effort to keep the issue in front of people, to publicize efforts to help the victim and her family and to let people who might be interested in getting involved know how they can do so. Whoever you are, "Anonymous", thank you!

"Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Update on the Bloomingdale library assault victim":
Hi I don't know if you are aware of the Ruskind Chamber of Commerces annual event which has two chamber members running for honorary mayor. Each person picks a charity and the one who raises the most becomes honorary mayor. The truth is that it is both fun and a great way to rally people to raise money for some great charities. This year Aaron Fredricks from East Coast pizza on Big Bend Road is raising money for the Bloomingdale library woman who was raped and battered. The family has a long road ahead of them ... their daughter will be returning home and will have multiple needs to care for her. A group is meeting on Wednesday evening to begin to put together a fundraising strategy...that it is hoped will live on past the running for honorary Mayor. Presently there are a few events being planned...a bachelor auction, a golf outing just to name a few...We need as many people from the community as we can get to help this family if you have the time ....please meet us at East Coast Pizza .......we need people from all walks of please consider this invitation Posted by Anonymous to Ridiculously inconsistent trickle of consciousness at 11:28 AM "

I called East Coast Pizza and spoke briefly with Mr. Fredricks. There are still details to be worked out regarding this meeting but I will update this post tomorrow after speaking to him again. In the meantime, here is a link to East Coast Pizza in Ruskin.

And if you'd like even more info, here are some resources:

Free the dark knight!

Well, he is free, on $250 bail, but Walsh Ian Nichols, who likes to dress up like Batman and hang around clubs in Ybor City was arrested last week.
He was charged with "wearing hood on street" and not having a valid motorcycle license. Wearing a hood in public has been a law on the books in Tampa since 1951, initially designed to thwart members of the Ku Klux Klan from sporting their regalia in public. Similar to Elliott Ness finally nailing Al Capone on tax evasion, Tampa's untouchables defeated racism once and for all by legislating hats. It's still in effect today and is usually used against criminals who wear masks while committing felonies like armed robbery.
As far as Batman goes, Nichols resembles Adam West more than Christian Bale. He just doesn't look like the relentless, grim vigilante who's committed his life to the eradication of evil. But he also doesn't look like a threat to public safety either. Why does Nichols feel the need to dress up like Batman and patrol the streets of Ybor? Who cares. The point is, do we want to live in a city...a world, where there can't be a Batman? There are plenty of warped individuals out there who follow their dark, twisted obsessions intent on doing us harm. Can't we have just one who follows his with the intent of serving the public good, even if that just means high-fiving and posing for photos with tourists?

Friday, October 17, 2008

An election carol

Come they told me, Barack Obama
The Democratic nominee, Barack Obama
The gift of hope you bring, Barack Obama
To change the order of things, Barack Obama, Barack Obama, Barack Obama

They said to vote for you, Barack Obama
When I come

The alternative is John McCain, Barack Obama
Four more years of the same, Barack Obama
His running mate's a hockey mom, Barack Obama
Heartbeat from access to The Bomb, Barack Obama, Barack Obama, Barack Obama

Unemployment through the roof, Barack Obama
Outgoing prez is a goof, Barack Obama
I need a president, Barack Obama
Who helps me pay my rent, Barack Obama, Barack Obama, Barack Obama

Lower the price of gas, Barack Obama
Save my ass

Because of our economy, Barack Obama
Health care's a luxury, Barack Obama
We're trapped in an unwinnable war, Barack Obama
We can not take much more, Barack Obama, Barack Obama, Barack Obama,

You have a lot to do, Barack Obama
If we elect you

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


We are living in an amazing time. A time when women can truly be anything they want. I'm not talking about the year 2008. I'm talking about Halloween.
Want to be a pilot? You can be a sexy pilot.
A firefighter? Go ahead and be a sexy firefighter.
How about a race car driver? Sure, be a sexy race car driver. No, I meant this kind of sexy race car driver.
Would you like to be a doctor? Yes. You can be a sexy nurse.
Believe it or not, some women who choose not to be defined by their sex appeal may find even these roles too limited, restricting and insulting for their tastes. Well good news ladies! If you're looking for something with a little more substance and a lot less sex appeal, I give you...
You'll notice that it's "made of flame resistant fabric". I'm not exactly a theological scholar but if my understanding of The Home Office's policy on liberal interpretations of certain symbols is even close to accurate, that might be really, really important.

(Thank you, K!)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Army Stories: An adventure in baby sitting

This is a story that happened while I was at my first permanent duty station at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, home of the 101st Airborne Division. At the time, I was assigned to a the headquarters company of a transportation battalion as the personal driver for the executive officer. As far as army jobs go, this was about as close to a 9-to-5 as you're liable to find, with a minimum of weekends and late nights.
One Saturday, my roommate, a guy from Chicago named Tobias, and I were hanging around our barracks room when there was a knock on the door. It was a woman we worked with and she was kind of frantic. "Hey you guys. I have some stuff to do. Can you watch my son for a few hours? Thanks!". The whole exchange lasted less than a minute and when it was over, she was gone and we were in charge of a baby. You're probably wondering why she would just show up at our door and leave her child. I was wondering that too. It turns out she had previously asked Tobias and he had said yes and forgotten about it. I told him, "I haven't known you that long but I'm pretty sure that's the dumbest thing you've ever done." He didn't argue.
We put the baby on a bed (after arguing over whose...his, since it was fault...and then only after putting down a heavy layer of additional blankets) and tried to figure out what to do.
"Now what?"
"I don't know. What do you think?"
"We could put on a movie and give it something to eat."
"It's a baby, not a first date."
"Well, it's gonna get hungry and thirsty and start crying. We gotta give it something."
"Then we're in deep shit because we have no food and no beverages without alcohol."
"Well, ideally we just want it to go to sleep for a while..."
"Don't. Just...don't"
"It's not crying yet. Maybe it won't."
"Yes it will."
"What if it poops?"
"She said she'd only be a few hours. It should be able to hold it that long."
"Look at the way it's eyes follow you when you walk around the room. That's so creepy."
"We need milk. I'll go get some"
"No, you can't go."
"Why not?"
"Because I know you won't come back."
"Look, neither of us is equipped to feed this baby if it gets hungry. You know what I mean?"
"Yeah, I know what you mean. I'm not equipped for this situation at all. I'm a 19-year-old single guy living in Clarksville, Tennessee. This should be the greatest time of my life. I didn't have to join the army to get stuck wasting my weekend babysitting."
"Let's just calm down. This is a volatile situation. If it sees us arguing, it's liable to to start crying."
"You're right. We shouldn't fight. For the baby's sake."
Realizing that we were completely in over our heads, we went door to door in our barracks seeking help. the only people who answered their door did so to laugh at us. They were unmoved by the plight of this poor child in peril. Eventually, one person, a woman, agreed to at least consider helping us. "Just because I'm a woman doesn't automatically mean I'm equipped to be a mother", she said. I told her I knew that. We weren't asking for her help because she was a woman, but because nobody else would. I don't think that made her feel good about it but she accepted it. "I'll go get some baby food and some disposable diapers. I won't do the feeding and I won't change any diapers but I will help you do it. This also the only time I will ever enter your room. Fair enough?" We both eagerly agreed and she made us give her money for the supplies. "This will be good training for you guys", she said as she left for the PX.
In the end, with her help and calming influence, we were able to survive the four hour ordeal with a minimum of crying and expulsion of fluids, most of which came from me and Tobias.

Monday, October 13, 2008


It has been suggested that I have a sick, twisted and almost disturbingly unhealthy crush on Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

I have a sick, twisted and almost disturbingly unhealthy crush on Tina Fey.

Ha ha ha. They kind of resemble each other and everybody is talking about it all the time now so I'm just climbing on the bandwagon, right? Wrong, jerks! MY sick, twisted and almost disturbingly unhealthy crush predates Palin's sudden rise to prominence by more than ten years. I first saw Tina Fey in "Paradigm Lost" at The Second City in Chicago in 1997, as part of a cast that also included the remarkably talented Scott Adsit, Kevin Dorff, Jenna Jolovitz, Rachel Dratch and Jim Zulevic. Mmm-mmm, that was one hot, steamy, original comedy revue (or OCRILF).

Tina and I actually have a very unique relationship, at least when compared to similar situations. The way it works is I leave her alone to the point that she is not even aware I exist and in exchange, she is not aware that I exist. This seems to work quite well for both of us, as it eliminates the need for restraining orders and other legal procedures and the stress and hassles that accompany such things. This pleases me a great deal and I'm sure Tina would agree if I asked her (which would nullify the whole agreement so that's going to have to remain an assumption).

Just wanted to clear that up. Thanks.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Talk about painful...

You have to wonder if the Tampa Tribune is going for some sort of world's record in poor decision making. After the week they had, how else would you explain the puff piece Q & A with Buccaneers tight end Jerramy Stevens in Anwar Richardson's "Wide Right" column published on Sunday? Stevens, who has a history of arrests for assault with a deadly weapon, marijuana possession, sexual assault and drunk driving (if you want details, click here, but prepare for a long read...and to be thoroughly sickened) is in his first season with the Buccaneers.

Under the jaw-droppingly poor taste displayed in the headline, "Life Can Be Full Of Painful Lessons", we're treated to Stevens' thoughts on pain as it relates to pop music, pseudo-celebrities William Hung and Paris Hilton, body odor, bad breath and sexy actresses. It reaches a crescendo when he's asked "What is the most painful beating you received from your parents?" and answers "I can remember the worst beating I got. It wasn't painful because of the physical part, but it was painful because of the trauma of the situation. When I was a little, I set these trees on fire by my house and I called the fire department. I was putting it out, and right as I was getting it out, my dad pulled up and that trauma from the look in his eye lasted a lifetime for me." Richardson, who as a reporter who writes frequently about the Buccaneers, one would presume is at least somewhat familiar with what has happened in Stevens' lifetime between the tree incident and now, follows this up with "Did you get the belt or the hand?"
I find it very hard to believe that out of a roster of over 53 players, Anwar Richardson couldn't find someone better to talk to. Personally, I'd rather hear what solid citizens like Derrick Brooks and Warrick Dunn have to say three or four times before listening to a single word from somebody like Jerramy Stevens. Our legal system being what it is, Stevens has the right to walk the streets, sign an NFL contract and be paid to play professional football in our community...currently, although this could change by the time you read this if the past is any indicator of the future. As an American (albeit not a professional athlete) who presumably would benefit from similar treatment under that system (riiiiight), I support his right to do so. But that's it. He doesn't deserve cheers, he doesn't deserve success on the field and he doesn't deserve the spotlight afforded by what is still a major daily newspaper...currently, although that status is another thing that could change by the time you read this if the past is any indicator of the future.
Maybe they're just into pain.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

I honestly don't know what to make of this. I guess on the one hand, it's kind of nice to see a candidate not afraid to raise the ire of his supporters by taking the high road.

On the the other hand, however, it's kind of disturbing that taking the high road is something that raises the ire of the candidate's supporters. After all, there are a lot more of them then there are of him.

Friday, October 10, 2008

What's in a name?

I don't know why I thought about this today, but for some reason I found myself reminiscing about a job I had a long time ago, where I had two kids that worked for me, twin brothers, whose last name was Fangboner.
That's right.
I know a lot of surnames originate from the trades people did. Paul the smith became Paul Smith. Same thing with names like Baker, Miller, Farmer and others. I'm just finding it difficult to picture a hut in the middle of a village square with a shingle out in front reading FANGBONER. Even more difficult to picture is a line of people queueing up to patronize this merchant:
"Pray tell, what doth bring thee to town upon this fine morning?"
"Sadly, Miller, 'tis truly a visit of unfortunate circumstance, for I am here to have my boner fanged."
"Dude. Bummer."
"Yea, verily."

Maybe that's why the name is so uncommon:
"Son, are you ready to head down to the shop with me this morning?"
"I, um, I don't think so, pop."
"What do you mean? We've got a lot of boners to fang. Let's get going!"
"Pop, we haven't seen a single boner in months. We sit around the shop all day long and nobody even comes in unless they're getting change for the parking meter."
"Times are tough all over. There's no denying that. But we're not going to turn things around by sitting around feeling sorry for ourselves! Now let's get going. Those boners aren't going to fang themselves!"
"Pop, I've been thinking about it and I don't want to fang boners for a living. I...I want to go to art school."
"I can't believe what I'm hearing!"

Younger generations, yearning to express themselves freely, rejected and severed all ties with their once-proud family heritage:
"Dear, your paintings are just lovely!"
"Thanks, mom! It really means a lot to me that you came to my first gallery showing."
"You know your father loves you, but he...well, he just..."
"It's okay, mom. Really."
"One thing I don't understand, though; why didn't you sign your name to any of your portraits?"
"I did, mom. Right there in the lower right corner."
"Your name is not Hitler!"
"I have a grand vision of what the future holds, mom. I can no longer accept the restrictions imposed on me by the ways of the past."

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Rally time!

Today, I am writing about politics. I know that it is virtually impossible to find anybody discussing their opinions on this subject anywhere on the internet, but that's why YOU read THIS BLOG...exciting, cutting edge content the likes of which simply can't be found anywhere else.
Anyway, here are some observations from today's rally for Democratic vice president nominee Sen. Joe Biden at the USF Sun Dome...

  • I get there early and am very excited about voting because I want to get back in line over and over and do it a whole bunch of times. "Yay!", I think, "I'm going to make a president today!"
  • I am disappointed to learn that I was apparently very confused about several aspects of what would be taking place at today's event. However, I don't leave because they have donuts.
  • I'm interested to hear what Mr. Biden has to say about the economy. I find myself eating a lot of meals consisting of Top Ramen Noodles these days and it would be nice to have some water to cook them in once in a while.
  • Spontaneous chants are breaking out in the arena. I don't know what they're saying but it sounds like "Pepsi Can! Pepsi Can!". Must have something to do with recycling.
  • While sitting there waiting for the program to start, I think about how Republican candidates John McCain and Sarah Palin get such a kick out of calling themselves mavericks. Maverick was the name of a family of cattle ranchers in Texas who didn't brand their cattle, letting them range freely and independently across their land. The unbranded cattle were referred to by other ranchers as Mavericks. The term came to characterize people who were similarly unbranded by conformist society. Since McCain and Palin are so proudly and unabashedly branded as Republicans, then by definition they can't be mavericks. Neither can Democrats, for that matter. However, I, as a registered independent, am by definition a true maverick. I guess my question is, whom do I sue?
  • Once things get rolling, we have to stand up twice. Once for an invocation and again for the Pledge of Allegiance. I am surprised that I still remember the words. I'm also surprised that I still can't help but think of invisible witches when we get to the part that says "...for which it stands: one Nation indivisible..."
  • I know this event is taking place on a college campus because Rep. Kathy Castor is on stage asking, "Can we afford four more years of Bush politics in the White House?" and before I can even think about it, everybody else in the whole building hollers out the correct answer ("NO!"). I didn't go to college but I have no doubt that this is exactly what would have happened every single day if I had.
  • More chanting, which now sounds like "Mex-i-can! Mex-i-can!". As a result, I would like tacos for lunch.
  • Signs are handed out to people in the crowd. For some reason, they don't hand them out to anybody in our section. Now I'm worried Joe Biden is going to come out, look around and say, "Hold on a minute; why no signs over there? What the hell is their problem?". An aide will run up and whisper in his ear, "I'm sorry sir, but we watched those people coming in and determined that some of them are just not capable of operating a hand-held sign with no moving parts. It's a public safety issue, sir."
  • They're playing "Think" by Aretha Franklin. White people are figuring out how to clap along. "Oh,'s 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4 and then you clap on the 2's and 4's. I see what they're getting at here! How fun!"
  • Chanting yet again. I think I have it figured out now and join in with chants of "Les-bi-ans! Les-bi-ans!". People around me are looking at me so I stop and sit down.
  • I really want a sign and am jealous of the people who got them. Kevin Beckner, a candidate for the Hillsborough County Commission is walking around greeting people in the crowd. If he gave me a sign, I would hold it up for him. I wonder if he would let me just hold him up. I think that would send some kind of message!
  • A guy dressed like Jack Hanna comes out on the stage and approaches the podium and checks the microphone set-up. I pray that it IS Jack Hannah and he is going to address the crowd: "Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to take a minute to tell you about the very real and very serious threat posed to us by giraffes."
  • Again I am disappointed.
  • Sen. Bill Nelson introduces Jim Piccillo who introduces Joe Biden...sorta. And what happens after that goes like this.
  • You know, the state of Florida has taken a lot of heat nationally for screwing up the last two presidential elections. We've been ridiculed as being nothing more than a haven of senior citizens and idiots who are either disinterested or simply not capable of participating in the process. Well, I'm here to tell you all that there's nothing to worry about this time because...

    Oh shit.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

True Life update: The downstairs apartment

Readers of this blog might wonder exactly how full of crap I really am. The answer is: Quite...but not completely. To wit, I recently wrote about the apartment directly beneath mine being abandoned and unsecured for a long time now and that the people who probably should care, don't. Not all of the story I wrote is completely factual, although enough of it is to still qualify as being true. Here are photos of the actual apartment that I took this afternoon.

Here's the door. No need to ring the doorbell. Just turn the knob and walk right in. I do, whenever I want, like today. It's been unlocked for at least a month now.

Here we are, in the Grand Foyer. NOTE: This apartment is identical to mine, except mine has more, and different stuff in it.
Here's one of the two DVD players I saw when I was in there before. The other one is gone now so somebody else has been in there. What? No, I did not take it. Honestly.
This is the den. That's a computer. I didn't look at it last time but that's what it is. There's no monitor or printer or any other peripherals.

I call this masterpiece "Still life of a kitchen sink with some dishes, Tupperware and an empty Diet Coke bottle". It symbolizes man's eternal-yet-ultimately-futile pursuit of the ultimate truth.
Uh-oh, I don't think that qualifies as normal wear-and tear. Somebody is not getting their deposit back.
They left behind a phone book! Do you know how difficult it is to get one of those? If it weren't for the rain-saturated pallet full of them that has been sitting by the communal mailbox since May, I might have said "moderately".
Luggage. The last time I was in there, the suitcase was sitting upright and was closed. Do you think there were stacks of money in there, like in gangster movies? Yeah, me neither.
That would be a pair of pants.

Past due notices.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Heckle your way to fun!

Maybe you just don't enjoy sports because you haven't found an aspect that interests you personally. Well, have you ever considered making sport and folly of the competitors by ridiculing their home cities and team names? I didn't think so!

Here are some free samples. Once you get started, you'll want to make up your own. Collect 'em! Trade 'em! Hurl 'em in jest and/or anger!

  • Atlanta Braves = Mylanta Barfs - Digestive discomfort is never not funny.
  • Houston Astros = Houston Asstros - Subtle yet so powerful, much like the poetry of Sylvia Plath.
  • Chicago Cubs = Chicago Schlubs - We all know throwing Yiddish around automatically makes everything funnier, but if you're just too darn Presbyterian to pull it off, you can use Chicago Scrubs.
  • Green Bay Packers = Green Bay Quackers - Former Chicago Bears wide receiver Dennis McKinnon invented this one back in 1985.
  • Cleveland Indians = Cleveland Indiots
  • Detroit Pistons = Detroit Pissed-Ons
  • New York Islanders = New York Crylanders
  • New Orleans Saints = New Orleans Aints - A classic. If you're not using this one, you're just not trying.
  • Nashville Predators = Nashville Sexual Predators
  • New England Patriots = New England Pet Rocks - Everybody loves the '70s.
  • Florida Panthers = Shitty City Kitties - Nobody likes Miami.
  • Seattle Mariners = Seattle Morons - I personally heard Tom Paciorek use this term when someone (me) asked him to autograph one of his Mariners baseball cards after he was traded to the White Sox (yes, he gladly signed it).
  • New York Yankees = New York Skankees or New York Yank-Me's - Some people are now using New York Bankees, which alludes to The Evil Empire's tendency to try to solve all their problems by throwing money at them, but it sounds too much like New York Binkies and that's adorable.
  • Philadelphia Phillies, Flyers, Eagles or 76ers = Filthadelphia Phillies, Flyers, Eagles or 76ers - Get it? Their city is dirty. Zing!
  • Buffalo Sabres = Buffalo Slobbers - Gross.
  • Chicago White Sox = Chicago White People - I used to have a roommate who used this one. I asked him what it meant and why he considered it an insult and he said, "because black people dance like this (dances real funky and smooth) and white people dance like this (dances all stiff and dorky)".

Friday, October 03, 2008

The latest Biggest Game In Rays History

The formerly dreadful Tampa Bay Rays played (and won) their first playoff game yesterday. Here are some images...

Game 1 line-ups

Raymond's mohawk

Throngs of media, conferring among themselves about where the heck they actually are right now

Pre-game scoreboard

Freaks on this side!

These are not the blue-haired residents normally associated with the Gulf Coast of Florida

Crowd starting to fill in

This kind of bunting hasn't been seen at Tropicana Field since opening day, 1998

National anthem performed by jazz saxophonist BK Jackson followed by the first pitch from James Shields, as seen from section 110, row Y, seat 1...

And that's strike one!

Governor Charlie Crist...making a beer run?

Justifiably subdued and concerned White Sox fans

Postgame celebratory bubbles!