Thursday, December 29, 2005

Dear office cleaning lady:

I am curious to know how a recent Honduran immigrant as yourself is able to ascertain my bodily functions at a subconscious level that you always position yourself in the men's bathroom when I need to use the facility. This technique of yours to skillfully block the men's room door with your cart of cleaning supplies at the precise moment that my bladder reaches an uncomfortable level is mindboggling.

What I can't understand is how flexible you can be in your cleaning schedule. Now, as far as I can reckon, each cleaning service personnel is required to clean various sections of each floor of our building at specific times. Except, apparently, the 10th floor men's bathroom. 9:45am? You're there, cleaning away. 11:46am for that pre-lunch pee? You're knee-deep in the stalls. 1:12pm for a post-lunch cleaning? You're refilling the paper towels. 3:20pm - let me check. I'll be dammned - you're scrubbing out a sink.

How long does it take to clean a damned three stall bathroom with a bunch of military officers and contractors? We're as clean as men get - I've never seen a stray puddle, so I don't know why you treat it like an EPA Superfund site.

I've timed you. 25 minutes to replace three rolls of toilet paper? 31 minutes, 18 seconds, to wash three sinks? I'll go buy you some Scrubbing Bubbles if you'd just hurry the hell up. When a man has to pee, extra seconds, let alone minutes, are critical.

It's even more amazing that you can synchronize your cleaning schedule with my urine, but, apparently, you can do it with my coworker Will, too.

We've been polite; allowing you your privacy in our privy without being accosted by penises. But the gloves are off - today, YOU USED ONE OF THE COMMODES!!! What were you thinking? The women's room is right next door - how could you not think "Hmm... I should use the women's room." Especially when it was empty, and there were guys already IN the Men's room.

In 2006, I'm whipping mine out.

- me

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The Producers - Reviewed by the Five Paragraph Bitter Film Critic

First off - this needs to be addressed - Nathan Lane as a ladykiller? Who in the HELL did that casting? That'd be like making Carson Kressley the star of the next "Terminator" film. "Terminator 4 - Rise of the Colour-Coordinating Machines." Nathan Lane trying to act like a straight guy is as uncomfortable as a vegan at a BBQ joint. That has to be the most ironic casting decision since Cedric the Entertainer was cast as the Jackie Gleason character in this summer's lousy "The Honeymooners." Or, at least since the dude who cast "Fatal Attraction" decided we needed to see Glenn Close's withered old milkbags instead of Anne Archer's.

Anyway, to the movie - What a fun time! This movie is done like an old-time musical featuring Ginger Rogers than the newer musicals like Chicago. Basically, they made the Broadway version of the movie bigger, but the acting is very similar to the stage version.

So, while the acting is all-top notch, it *IS* somewhat disconcerting to see people acting stage-style (bigger expressions, facial movements, vocal affectations) in a movie, where the camera, lighting and editing can really set a mood independent of the actor.

Ferris Bueller is quite the dancer, Uma is hot, and Will Ferrell is a hoot. He's perfect for anything related to Mel Brooks' style of comedy. The sets were wonderful, the singing and dancing was great, and the movie is a lot of fun. It's not for everybody, and, frankly, the musical is simply not as laugh-out-loud funny as the original, except when Will Ferrell is on screen. Some people went to the movie expecting a regular musical, and others expected a musical version of the original film. It's neither - just good entertainment.

Still, not a bad way to spend 9 bucks and a good date movie. And, you'll love Adolph, the Nazi Pigeon. I'd get a stuffed animal of Adolph, the Nazi Pigeon, but, I want all my Jewish friends who don't watch musicals to still like me.

5 out of 7 Whammies! Two Whammies were deducted because stage acting on a movie screen is disconcerting. Another two Whammies were taken away because I got a parking ticket. However, those two Whammies were replaced because I got a ton of homemade tequila with a great bartender and a better dining companion.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

I usually don't do Quotes of the Day

but this from's Page 2 is possibly my favorite sports broadcasting moment since, well, ever.

"Wells Fargo will contribute $5,000 to the 49ers Foundation to help undeserved youth in the Bay Area for every 49er touchdown scored this season. (Pause) There's going to be a lot of sad kids." -- Joe Starkey, 49ers radio broadcaster

Friday, December 16, 2005

e-Mudslinging in MD

Earlier in 2005, a scandal broke out in Maryland politics. Over the course of a few months, an aide to Republican Governor Robert Ehrlich was caught discussing rumours about Democratic Mayor of Baltimore Martin O'Malley's alleged extramarital affairs. Since these two political heavyweights appear to be the front-runners for the next Governor's election, no amount of mudslinging would be too small or too soon in such a battle.

The scandal was that this Republican aide, Joe Steffen, was contacted on the public discussion boards and private messages of and discussed the allegations about O'Malley and a female TV reporter in Baltimore, Sade Baderinwa. The rumour was that O'Malley o'impregnated her, and she mysteriously ended up in a New York City station. You may recall that she was hit by a car while reporting a story on flooding in New Jersey in 2004. Same woman...

Now, as a former radio/tv guy, the part about Baderinwa moving to New York City from Baltimore makles sense - as a reporter, there is no beat quite as prestigious in local broadcast news than working in US market #1, New York City. Some people work their whole broadcasting career just for a shot in NYC, where the visibility, money and pace are pretty much unmatched. It simply makes sense to move from market #18, Baltimore, to New York City.

What doesn't make sense to me is how this rumour still has legs. Mayor O'Malley is a Cool Guy. He's smart. Emotional. Muscular. Plays in an Irish rock band. He seems to be quite a hit with the ladies. I Believe I unknowingly drank a pint of a particular stout with the man - when I first moved back to Baltimore in 2000, I couldn't pick the Mayor out of a lineup of midget porn stars. As we sat next to each other at Mick O'Shea's, I asked his name, and he said "Martin. I'm in the band O'Malley's March. We're playing tonight." took me a little while to figure out that the two Baltimore City police officers outside weren't there to just check IDs.

But, to that effect, when you need a pickup volleyball game in Baltimore County, then-US Representative Bob Ehrlich is no slouch, either. A former two-sport athlete at Princeton, The Gov can spike like a beast. He's a Republican version of O'Malley, but without the guitar. Both men care about their jurisdictions, and both men tend to speak clearly before thinking like a politician - a surprisingly refreshing trait in an elected leader. Neither one is afraid of calling a reporter to task about a story or even allowing an emotional outburst on something they feel strongly about.

That's what makes the whole original scandal so strange - neither O'Malley or Ehrlich shy away from a good fight, so the back-channel subterfuge seemed so out-of-place. Why would a relatively-anonymous Ehrlich aide slander the handsome young mayor almost two years before the election? But, that's exactly what Steffen did. In his posts and messages with the user "MD4BUSH," he revealed the rumours and the potential strategy of the Republican's against O'Malley. The posts then go public, revealed by MD4BUSH, the firestorm develops, and Ehrlich fires Steffen.

However, along comes this story from WBAL in Baltimore. Here's a snip.

"According to a source familiar with the MD4Bush postings, the e-mail address used in October 2004 to open the MD4Bush account is:

Sources said that e-mail address was later changed to, then changed for a third time to That third e-mail address remains as the address registered on the Free Republic account, which remains open."

Take a look at that second address - - and here's what the article has to say about that.

"The address is the same address listed to Ryan O'Doherty, who used to work for the Maryland Democratic Party."

Interesting. Could it be that the Dems began hanging out at the known conservative site trying to bait somebody? Sure looks like it on first blush.

What's sad is that this storm might taint the upcoming election towards the other powerful Democratic challenge, Montgomery County executive Doug Duncan. There is no denying that Baltimore is a better city since O'Malley came to office. There's also no denying that Maryland is better off since Ehrlich came to office. Both are young, active, engaging Catholics in a rather Catholic state, but neither have a hotline to the Vatican. These two guys, who have a lot more in common than the respective R and D after their names on the television captions, could have engaged in some great "Balmer" dialcet while arguing about who's better - the Ravens or the Colts.

Hmmm...the plot thickens...

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Dude with Mommy Issues

I mean, my mom is cool and all, but I've never, you know, asked her out or nuthin'...

from the AP and posted on:

Friday December 9, 2005

By Grace Green

MARSEILLES, France -- Skirt-chasing playboy Daniel Anceneaux spent weeks talking with a sensual woman on the Internet before arranging a romantic rendezvous at a remote beach -- and discovering that his on-line sweetie of six months was his own mother!

"I walked out on that dark beach thinking I was going to hook up with the girl of my dreams," the rattled bachelor later admitted. "And there she was, wearing white shorts and a pink tank top, just like she'd said she would.

"But when I got close, she turned around -- and we both got the shock of our lives. I mean, I didn't know what to say. All I could think was, 'Oh my God! it's Mama!' "

But the worst was yet to come. Just as the mortified mother and son realized the error of their ways, a patrolman passed by and cited them for visiting a restricted beach after dark.

"Danny and I were so flustered, we blurted out the whole story to the cop," recalled matronly mom Nicole, 52. "The policeman wrote a report, a local TV station got hold of it -- and the next thing we knew, our picture and our story was all over the 6 o'clock news. "People started pointing and laughing at us on the street -- and they haven't stopped laughing since."

The girl-crazy X-ray technician said he began flirting with normally straitlaced Nicole -- who lives six miles away in a Marseilles suburb -- while scouring the Internet for young ladies to put a little pizzazz in his life.

"Mom called herself Sweet Juliette and I called myself The Prince of Pleasure, and unfortunately, neither one of us had any idea who the other was," said flabbergasted Daniel.

"The conversations even got a little racy a couple of times.

"But I really started to fall for her, because there seemed to be a sensitive side that you don't see in many girls.

"She sent me poems she had written and told me about her dreams and desires, and it was really very romantic.

"The truth is, I got to see a side of my mom I'd never seen before. I'm grateful for that."

When starry-eyed Daniel asked Sweet Juliette to send him a picture, Nicole e-mailed him a photo of a curvy, half-clad cutie she'd scanned from a men's magazine.

"The girl in the picture was so beautiful, I begged Juliette to meet me on the beach -- and Mom said yes," he recalled. "Mom says she was falling for me, too, and she just wanted to meet me, even though she knew I'd be disappointed when I saw her.

"As for me, I figured I was going to find the girl of my dreams.

"I guess that's about as wrong as I've ever been."

Daniel admits he and his mother could do little but stammer and stutter around each other for days after their cyberspace exploits came to light. And his father Paul -- Nicole's husband of 27 years -- wasn't too happy when the story hit the news and his beer-drinking buddies made him the butt of their jokes.

"Dad was ticked for a while and he forbid Mom to talk to anybody on the Internet ever again," said embarrassed Daniel.


OK, internet dating on can suck, but I never knew it doubled as a family reunion site outside of West Virginia.

Did they NOT ask for pictures???? I mean, jeez....that's one of the first things you do!

Can you imagine the Christmas dinner this year.
MOM - So, uh, honey, have you met a nice girl lately?
SON - Other than you?
DAD - %#$@!%$! YOU BOTH!!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

light topic of the day - the Death Penalty

The recent execution of Tookie Williams has had me thinking about my own thoughts on the death penalty. I am against the practice only because it has proven to be completely ineffective in preventing crime, but I also think some people have forgone their basic human rights through terrible actions. It's certainly not a civilized way of dealing with crime, but it does give a certain amount of revenge. Revenge may be a dish best served cold, but is also a dish you don't want to screw up.

The threat of the death penalty does not enter a young man's mind when he robs a liquor store. "Oh, I better not shoot this innocent Korean shopkkeper because in twenty years, I might get electrocuted by the State." A deranged psychopath doesn't think "I might get the needle if I shoot up this bus of nuns." A depressed mother doesn't think "I might spend the rest of my life in prison if I kill my babies in this lake." The death penalty is only effective in one way - it pretty much 100% eliminates any chance of that person from committing a crime again.

Take a look at Saudi Arabia. They are notorious for chopping off the hands and arms of those who would shoplift. That's a pretty gruesome outcome and it's to be expected in that country. Yet, people STILL shoplift in Saudi Arabia. The known corporal punishment of losing a limb doesn't prevent the crime from still occuring.

Now, this is taken from Wikipedia, so let the stats be debated as to their authenticity. However, they seem close to other primary sources I've seen. Here is a list of countries with death penalties, and how many people they killed in 2004.

Country - Executions - Executions per 100 million residents
1 Kuwait 9 400
2 China 3,400+ 260
3 Iran 159+ 230
4 Singapore 6+ 140
5 Saudi Arabia 33+ 130
6 Vietnam 64+ 77
7 Belarus 5+ 48
8 Yemen 6+ 30
9 USA 59 20
10 Pakistan 15+ 9
11 Egypt 6+ 8
12 Bangladesh 7+ 5

Not exactly a list of happy places to visit, is it?

Given most Western countries' high recidivism rates, especially in America, where upwards of 60% of those released from prison are charged with a felony crime within three years, it appears that jail time and prison in their current forms simply don't work. Politicians talk about getting tough on criminals, and enacting "three strikes" rules...and people STILL committ serious crimes and STILL go to jail. They can get as tough as they want, but it doesn't prevent career criminals from going back to jail.

Therefore, it's logical to assume that there's either something inborn or bred in some people to continually break the law, or that there's something comforting about jail and prison that makes it attractive.

(Or...there's something REALLY bad about outside life... )

In any case, every society and culture in the world's history has had a punishment system for crimes. Death has been a common form of punishment, from Joan of Arc to Jesus to Mussolini to Marie Antoinette to scores of others. Some of their crimes were serious; some were kinda tame by today's standards. I mean, after all, do we REALLY want to start burning witches again, or stoning adulterers?

But once in a while, a crime comes along that's so unimaginable, so horrible, so beyond our ability to comprehend it that the only conclusion is for that person to simply not live. By acting in the most inhuman ways possible, this criminal has essentially given up their basic human rights.

While I would have trouble judging somebody to life or death, there are certain people whom I would have no problem killing, were I in the situation. If I could have swapped spots with Eva Braun, or even as a random person in a Nazi rally, I would have done everything possible to end Hitler's life. Same thing with Pol Pot. Saddam Hussien. Osama Bin Laden comes to mind. Stalin. Ted Bundy. Jeffery Dahlmer. Timothy McVeigh. Mass murderers are a lock. Serial killers are a lock, too. Jack the Ripper, definitely. Fritz Haarman, too. Can somebody like John Christie be allowed to live, too? He killed at least 8 women to have sex with their corpses. He's not going to be rehabbed, period.

There people deserve death, and don't deserve the luxury of a trial. Cold, brutal justice, delivered with the same brutality that they delivered on people. I have no problem with public executions by the public for the public. Think the previously mentioned Benito Mussolini - now THAT's what I'm talkin' about! Public stoning. Straight outta the Old Testament!

But for the more run-of-the-mill criminal, since these are obviously extreme examples, rather than arguing for or against the death penalty, the better argument is "Why do some people DO this?" - what causes somebody to murder one person let alone 5000, is beyond me - and figure out steps to either prevent this illness, mental instability, or minimize it as soon as possible.

And, let's come up with better form of punishments. It's obvious we need a better system of jail and in-prison treatments.

Strange...I'm pro-execution but anti-death penalty.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Thanksgiving Past with The Animals

Not the Eric Burdon Animals, mind you.

When my mom and stepdad married, we had all of the new family together at our place in Edgewater, Maryland. This would have been in November of 1984, I guess.

Ed and Rob, my two stepbrothers, sat next to each other, next to them were their girlfriends, then my stepdad, my mom, and then me. My stepdad's two cats were sitting outside the door, not too happy to be shut out from the turkey-gorging fun.

When the door was opened, and the cats walked around our feet. It was all in good fun, and the cats weren't *technically* begging for food, we let them stay.

Until the younger cat, Spooky, ran out of the door with his tail straight in the air. Then out ran the older cat.

And then we started to cry. Initially, Rob blamed Ed for farting. Then Ed blamed Rob. Both then blamed their dad. But this was no ordinary human fart - this was a stink roughly akin to rotting fish marinating in raw sewage. Ed was the first to leave, with my mom, stepdad and the girlfriends exiting the room. Rob and I, though, were determined to hold out through the funk.

After a minute or so, we saw a little paw reach up on the table, trying to reach the turkey.

At that moment, I realized cats were capable of strategy and gas warfare. They are a capable enemy not to be taken lightly.

I mention this because my roommate has two cats, Mork and Mindy. Mork and Mindy are ordinarily nice enough felines, however, they have discovered that I am a sucker for a cute pet. And, sure enough, Mork and Mindy can sure get cute when it comes to dinner time.

The Twins have also learned that I like to cook, and I'm willing to give a small sample of my culinary exploits. So far, they're big fans of the red meat. Chicken is a welcome treat, too.

Two nights ago, Mork took a crap in his litter box that rivaled Spooky and Sam's from 21 years earlier. My roommate thinks he's sick, but I know better.

He and Mindy are planning an ASSault.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

ALERT: Family Television Awards Prove They're Stupid

from :

'Lost' takes top family-friendly honors
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — ABC's Lost and CBS's King of Queens took top family-friendly honors Wednesday at the seventh annual Family Television Awards.

Lost was named best drama and King of Queens won for best comedy.

CBS's Amazing Race won for best reality program and UPN's Everybody Hates Chris won for best new series.

Best movie honors went to the TNT film, The Wool Cap. The WB's long-running family series 7th Heaven took home a lifetime achievement award.

Two leading players on ABC also were recognized. Ty Pennington was named best reality host for his work on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, and Jim Belushi, star of According to Jim, won best actor.

Reba McEntire, star of the Reba series on the WB, was named best actress. McEntire also hosted the hourlong awards program at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, which is scheduled to air Dec. 11 on the WB.

Presenters included Felicity Huffman (Desperate Housewives ), Jane Seymour (Modern Men ), Freddie Prinze, Jr. (Freddie ) and Frankie Muniz (Malcolm in the Middle ).

Winners of Family Television Awards are chosen by members of the Association of National Advertisers — major corporate marketers — to honor outstanding programming for family viewing.

The Family Friendly Programming Forum, which includes advertisers representing 45 companies, created the awards to promote the development and airing of family-oriented programs during television's prime viewing hours, from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Kaki Hinton, co-chairwoman of the Family Friendly Programming Forum, said such programs "have cross-generational appeal, depict real-life situations and handle those issues very responsibly."


REAL LIFE SITUATIONS!? FROM LOST?! Excuse me, Family Friendly Programming Forum, but have you ever WATCHED an episode of this show?

So far, in about a season and a half, we've seen:

1) a plane get ripped apart and thrown from the sky, killing a countless amount of people
2) torture
3) kidnapping
4) more gun play than a 50 Cent video
5) premarital sex
6) heroin abuse
7) murder murder murder
8) bank robbery
9) a suicide attempt during a terrorist attack
10) dude getting blown up with a stick of dynamite

THIS is family-friendly????

Comment Spam and Eggs

Lately, my poor widdle blog has been getting hit with comment spam. For some reason, a post I wrote many months ago, Under the Moon and Over the Influence, about seeing the Trashcan Sinatras, the finest pop export to come out of Scotland since, well, ever, has been the target of spammers. Spammers who apprently aren't too familiar with English. A sample note:

"While reading over the internets, I discover your site and wrote Great Blog! You make goods point. While Under the Moon and Over the Influence is not what I was looking for, click here for great mortgages rating!"

Yeah, I can totally see how schlepping around nightclubs from Austin, DC and Annapolis to track my favorite band on a rare US tour has SO MUCH to do with mortgages. I was thinking, as I was flying back from Austin "Wow, I wish I could buy a place closer to the middle of Austin and DC so I wouldn't have to fly so far to see my favorite band."

That night, I checked out real estate in Memphis online. But I couldn't get a mortgage. Shame I didn't get this spam 8 months ago.

Other comment spams I've received have been from windsurfing places, ceramic tiles and offshore prescription drug outlets - none of these topics have I ever blogged about. Maybe they were just trying to help me find new topics of conversation?

In any event, I have changed the settings of this blog to be limited to registered Blogger members. Hopefully this will cut down on some of this crappy spam. I would apologize for any inconvenience this might cause, but, honestly, my peace of mind is certainly worth the 30 seconds of your time it takes to register.

Monday, November 28, 2005

the Secret to Kyle "Footsteps" Boller's success

It took me danged near three years to figure it out, but, I shall pass on my eagle-eye observation, free of charge, to the Ravens' coaching staff:

-- Let him go up against prevent defenses!!! --

When the Bengals were playing a tight cover/2, m2m or split zone, Footsteps completed 6 passes out of 15 attempts for 37 yards, but two of them were completed to Bengals. He also lost a fumble.

But, after 2 and a half quarters, once the Bengals were up 34-0, and the Bengals went into a prevent defense, Footsteps went 14 of 17, 174 yards, and three touchdowns.

It's a brilliant strategy! Let the opposing team *THINK* they've won, that they've sewed up this game, that they can start looking ahead to next week's opponent, and then we turn Footsteps loose!

Here's the catch, though - I'm only SLIGHTLY joking.

It's obvious that this kid is so overcoached right now, he can't think straight. The coaching staff has put so many voices in this kid's head that he can't think straight. Once the pressure is off (read that as : the Ravens are so far behind everything he does from this point on is gravy), he can relax and play.

He's been in the league three years, but plays like a rookie. I know he's been hurt, but stop treating him like a rookie and he might start playing like a three-year veteran.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Jokes Write Themselves

Here's a tip to all the wanna-be comedians and people who want to get paid by writing down funny stuff:


To wit: from by way of the AP...

Ex-FEMA head starts disaster planning firm
DENVER (AP) — Former FEMA Director Michael Brown, heavily criticized for his agency's slow response to Hurricane Katrina, is starting a disaster preparedness consulting firm to help clients avoid the sort of errors that cost him his job.
"If I can help people focus on preparedness, how to be better prepared in their homes and better prepared in their businesses — because that goes straight to the bottom line — then I hope I can help the country in some way," Brown told the Rocky Mountain News for its Thursday editions.

Brown said officials need to "take inventory" of what's going on in a disaster to be able to answer questions to avoid appearing unaware of how serious a situation is.

In the aftermath of the hurricane, critics complained about Brown's lack of formal emergency management experience and e-mails that later surfaced showed him as out of touch with the extent of the devastation.

The lawyer admits that while he was head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency mistakes were made in the response to Katrina. He also said he had been planning to quit before the hurricane hit.

"Hurricane Katrina showed how bad disasters can be, and there's an incredible need for individuals and businesses to understand how important preparedness is," he said.

Brown said companies already have expressed interested in his consulting business, Michael D. Brown LLC. He plans to run it from the Boulder area, where he lived before joining the Bush administration in 2001.

"I'm doing a lot of good work with some great clients," Brown said. "My wife, children and my grandchild still love me. My parents are still proud of me."


Can you imagine their advertising?

1) We'll Show You What Not To Do
2) The Company You Turn To When You Hate Poor Minorities
3) We Do A Heck of a Job
4) Sprained Horse Ankle? I Got Your Back. If It's a Flood, You're F*cked
5) When You Absolutely, Positively Need To Drown Tonight
6) Many Satisfied Client.
7) Hey, It Wasn't My Idea to Make A City UNDER SEA LEVEL! Come On, Cut Me Some Damned Slack!
8) I Can Help If It's Easy
9) Providing Conceptual Support to Evil Corporate Overlords Like in James Bond Movies
10) Infamous Since 2005

Besides the obvious punchlines, and, of which there are many, what I want to know, in all seriousness, is ... what kind of a syncophantic world does this guy live in where he thinks this business venture is even a sliver of a good idea? He must surround himself with folks with more of a brown-nose than a blind midget in a nudist colony.

It's galling to me that a man who many people feel was not interested in saving New Orleans' residents during the flood would think that this is a good time to start this venture. His name has become synonymous (typo corrected 11/28/05) with "aloof" and "failure" - and his e-mail legacy at FEMA is not exactly indicative of somebody with a heart of gold.

This is akin to Russell Crowe teaching anger management classes, O.J. being a murder investigator, or Paris Hilton teaching spelling.

Still, this is America, where people get second, third, fourth and even fifth acts.

Just ask Robert Downey Jr., Steve Howe and Darryl Strawberry.

((Notice how two of them were New York Yankees?))

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Me Likey Bill Simmons

Bill Simmons is "The Sports Guy" on, ESPN the Magazine, and one of the original writers on the Jimmy Kimmel Show. He's a die-hard Boston fan, and his passion for all things Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics and Bruins is really admirable. His writing on sports is almost "Family Guy"-like - many cultural references, great topical points, and is prone to inducing laughter on a Ferrellian scale.

His column today on the positives of the Red Sox recent trade for Josh Beckett really struck a chord with me. Because he brought up all of the "can't miss" prospects the Red Sox have had, who, well, missed.

Gabe and I have been doing this FOR YEARS with Baltimore Orioles. The game is simple - don't repeat a failed Oriole, and say the name with as much drama as possible. A sample dialogue:

GABE: Leo...Gomez.
RAY: Pete Stanicek, baby.
GABE: I see your Pete Stanicek and raise you a Chris Smith.
RAY: Chris Smith, eh? How about I rub some Manny Alexander in your eye?
GABE: Why you gotta bring Manny into this when I can smack you with some Jay Bell?
RAY: Ouch, Jay Bell! At least he's no Dave Gallagher.
GABE: That bum, he couldn't even hold Dickie Noles' jock.

Then, the stakes get raised...tensions mount. Who will be the first to crack?

RAY: Mickey Weston
GABE: Ron Washington
RAY: Jamie Quirk
GABE: Yorkis Perez
RAY: Oswaldo Peraza

The obscurer, the betterer.

I wrote Herr Simmons a letter expressing my thoughts on the matter:

"In today's column on the Josh Beckett trade, the statement from Terry Crowley-by-way-of-Peter Gammonds about Tim Naehring should be framed and hung in the Museum of Unfortunate Quotes. And since there isn't a Museum of Unfortunate Quotes, let's make one. Various wings of the Museum could include:

Politicians: "No New Taxes" - George H. Bush and "That depends on what your definition of is is" - Bill Clinton)

Inventions - "640K ought to be enough for anybody." - Bill Gates and "Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value" - Marshall Ferdinand Foch

Hollywood - "You like me, you really like me" - Sally Field and "Sure, replace Kimmel and Carolla with Rogan and Stanhope; they'll be great" - some fired Comedy Central executive)

Sports : So many good choices, but my favorite would be Tim McCarver in the Blue Jays/Phillies' World Series, as he describes a player's defensive skills "He uses his mitt like a glove.

A special section could be built in this wing for hype bestowed on prospects that just didn't make it. For every Jeff Everett and Rick Asadoorian in Boston, there's a Rick Elder and a Beau Hale for my beloved Baltimore Orioles. Hell, you could have a seperate museum centered around the Orioles' fabulously lousy drafts of the last twenty years.

I won't even mention the e numerous stories about "5-tool, can't miss prospects" like Curtis Goodwin, Alex Ochoa and Keith Reed, or the pitching powress of Beau Hale, Richard Stahl and *shudder* Ben McDonald.

Nor their desire to have every 1985 first rounder on the team at least once (BJ Surhoff, Will Clark, Pete Incaviglia and Rafael Palmeiro).

Needless to say, this could be a big musuem complex, a Meadowlands of Failure.

Anyway, I'll end with a fanboy line of "I love your writing" and I hope you and your staff have a nice holiday. "

I am such a nerd.

- Eat Turkey, y'all

Monday, November 21, 2005

the Dumbing Down of America

Now, I can not take credit for this theory, as it was posited to me by somebody else here in the DC/Baltimore universe. But it's a damned good theory. Whomever came up with this, please step forward and take a bow.

The idea is this - smart, well-to-do, educated people aren't having many kids. Many couples who have the financial means and emotional stability to have kids aren't. And, when they do, they have one, maybe two.

Why is this a problem? Because dumb and poor people keep rutting, and they expand their brood exponentially. Statistics bear out that poverty generally begats more poverty. As is painfully evident on America's Funniest Home Videos and Cops each week, stupidity begats stupidity.

It's generally pretty hard for a stupid, poor kid to go to college. You pretty much need college in order to get a good job. Therefore, lots of dumb people will be put into smart people's jobs because there's not enough smart people to go around.

Countries where education is sacred and work ethic is revered will either export their smart people here, or the smart people jobs will go overseas.

Therefore, those of us in our late 20s, 30s and 40s represent North America's last chance at fending off a massive wave of stupidity in the year 2040. Our children have a fighting chance at fighting off the Stupid Boom by being smart, thoughtful, emotionally-capable people fully functional in the workplace.

So go out and make a baby today! Lots of `em! If Woodsy the Owl or Smokey the Bear or Sexual Harassment Panda or even Gary the No Trash Cougar can say "Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires," then Humpy the Pregnant Placenta can say "Only You Can Prevent Stupidity!"

Go do it for Humpy! Do it for America! Be a Pregnant Patriot!

(except, don't ask me to do it. I hate kids)

Thursday, November 17, 2005

The secret of Lost

It just dawned on me.

The first clue was when Carol Vessey showed up as Jack's wife back in the States.

Last night, Dr. Mike Burton showed up as one of the Tailies.

The island is mysteriously in Stuckeyville, Ohio, and Warren Cheswick is running the whole show.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Am I glad I don't listen to Celiene Dion anymore!

from : The USAToday

Sony BMG's move late Monday to recall nearly 5 million of its controversial copy-protected CDs did little to quiet backlash from consumers, tech-security experts and privacy advocates. The CDs, with XCP copy-protection software from British firm First 4 Internet, are vulnerable to computer viruses. USA TODAY's Jefferson Graham answers some of the many consumer questions that have arisen about the discs.

Q: Just how restrictive are these XCP CDs?

A: The CDs can be played safely in most conventional CD players. But in computers, they can be played only by accepting a software download of a special media player from Sony BMG. Researchers discovered that the software contained a hidden file — called a "rootkit" — that made computers vulnerable to viruses. Microsoft and anti-spyware companies are working on solutions to find and remove the files.

But tech-security researchers say even tech-savvy individuals who try to uninstall the XCP files on their own could be asking for trouble. Rob Enderle, an independent technology analyst, says the only way to get your computer back to normal is to reformat the hard drive and re-install the operating system. "A rootkit changes the operating system and is incredibly insidious," he says. "If you leave it on your machine, it will become one of those things that drive you insane with intermittent crashes and instability."

Q: What's the worst thing that can happen to my computer?

A: Spyware writers have developed programs that can piggyback on the hidden files, potentially wreaking havoc.

But tech-security researchers say even tech-savvy individuals who try to uninstall the XCP files on their own could be asking for trouble. Rob Enderle, an independent technology analyst, says the only way to get your computer back to normal is to reformat the hard drive and re-install the operating system. "A rootkit changes the operating system and is incredibly insidious," he says. "If you leave it on your machine, it will become one of those things that drive you insane with intermittent crashes and instability."


So, Sony installs a copy-protection software program that essentially installs itself into the root of the computer, hides the file names that it installs, and opens the machine up to a host of viruses, trojans, and other security issues, just in order to prevent the illegal copying of CDs.

The CDs afflicted with this software:
Van Zant, Get Right with the Man (who?)
Sarah McLachlan, Bloom Remix Album (I used to love her, then I grew balls.)Celine Dion, On Ne Change Pas (go back to Vegas, Frenchie)
Neil Diamond, 12 Songs (as long as none of them are "Heartlight," we're cool)
Natasha Bedingfield, Unwritten (uh...who? And then who the hell wrote your songs?)

Chris Botti, To Love Again (not sure this guy is in the target CD-copying demo...or, even who he is)
Pete Seeger, The Essential Pete Seeger (how is he still alive?)

Cyndi Lauper, The Body Acoustic (this would be hot in 1985)
Burt Bacharach, At This Time (amazing how an Austin Powers cameo can make him seem hip again...10 years ago...)
Ricky Martin, Life (go back to the bathhouse with George Michael, Ricky.)

All-Star Tribute to Luther Vandross, So Amazing (I'd love to hear Smashmouth cover him.)

In any event, Sony is now on the same level as those scammers who install adware/spyware, autodialers, redirects, Java bombs, etc... all in the name of file protection.

To protect their musical rights to Celine Dion???

Obviously they knew what they were getting into mucking around with the root and registry values, and they are now rightly getting smacked down on all the tech blogs and forums.

I love how the record companies are SO concerned over copy-protection. Now that their efforts to manipulate our computers are shot, maybe Sony can beg/manipulate the U.N. to invade China's mass reproduction facilities?

Monday, November 14, 2005

Make the madness stop. Please.

Dear Baltimore Ravens:

I have witnessed the horror of the 2005 season with the same kind of morbid curiousity with which a bystander watches a trainwreck. I am glued to each week's games, and, even though they've been full of horror, I can not turn away.

Right when I thought the team hit rock bottom in allowing the lowly Detroit Lions win, with a near-record setting amount of penalties, the abyss only went deeper with a horrible loss to the even-lowlier Chicago Bears.

Then, the bottom REALLY dropped out in a 30-3 smackdown from the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Now, I could simply wring my hands, gnash my teeth, and swear I'll never go to another game. I'm not one of those fans, and we all know that such threats are made in the passion of the moment. They don't come from a logical part of the brain, but from the part that makes us overindulge in donuts or gambling, and promise we'll never do it again.

Until we see the Krispy Kreme Kasino or the Tom Horton's Room at the Bellagio.

This season has been an unmitigated disaster. Some players have scored more touchdowns than the entire Ravens team. The defense is looking older, slower, and definitely exhausted. The offensive line has more holes than a Tom Clancy plot.

So, I can merely make the following suggestions to make the season a little bit more fun.

1) Change the players' names and numbers to confuse the other team, and the play-by-play dudes. Let Matt Stover give up his wimpy kicker number 3 and give him a bonafide Ray Lewis 52. Make him feel like a real football player. Conversely, give Ray Lewis Kyle Boller's jersey. Maybe that way the defense can get an interception.

Plus, who wouldn't want to hear something like "Ogden's back to pass...say, when did he become white?"

2) Let Anthony Mason call the offensive plays. Apparently he's the only one who knows what a real offense is.

3) Bench Jamal Lewis. Let Chester Taylor and Musa Smith play. By the way...where in the hell has Chester Taylor been, anyway? He's actually pretty good, and received exactly ZERO carries on sunday. Good game plan, coaching staff.

4) Call Orlando Brown "Charlie." I'm sure that won't piss him off.

5) Bring in the only quarterback who's ever played well at the Ravens' football stadium. No, not Trent Dilfer.

Shane "Footsteps" Falco from The Replacements.

If that's not possible, can we at least call Kyle Boller "Footsteps?"

6) Buy a nice house in Reisterstown for Reggie Bush or Matt Leinart, whichever will be the first round draft pick. If it's Leinart, start prepping the cheerleaders now. Shorter skirts, more cleave, less morals.

7) Sign Sammy Sosa and Rafael Palmeiro. They're not doing anything else.

8) Is that fat kid from "Varsity Blues" still around? The Ravens could use the help on the O-line.

9) Call me crazy, but I'm thinking it's time to start the Brian St. Pierre era in Baltimore.


10) Some of those rioting French kids look like they have pretty good arms...

In any event, dear Ravens, it's not too late to salvage this season. If not for the playoffs, but for draft placement. We can get the number one pick...anyway we can throw the game against the equally-hapless Houston Texans?

Love always,


PS - I'm never going to another Ravens' game ever if Kyle isn't nicknamed Footsteps.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Football versus football versus football

So, Gatorade has the commercial about football, and football, and football. The voiceover guy describes how three different sports (US football, soccer and Aussie rules football) are all called Football.

Now, I'll be the first to admit that US football is misnamed, because players don't use their feet to kick the ball as their hands to hold it and throw it. But, as I'm an American, and to minimize confusion, US football is football, Euro football is soccer, and Oz football is rugby.

A young man dubbed Stu in Portland, Oregon, is originally from England. He finds America's most popular team sports, football and baseball, are too slow compared to his beloved soccer, what he dubs "proper football."

Oh, yeah, proper football - the sport where guys run around for 90 minutes, have the refs stop the play and issue penalties with little-to-no-explanation, no real accurate clock is kept because of mysterious "penalty time" and players get traded between countries and leagues so that only 10 teams in 14 countries have any real chance of winning? AC Milan, Man U, Arsenal, Real Madrid and... there's not many after that.

If an American football player fumbles the ball in the end zone, he gets benched. If a Columbian proper football player accidentally puts the ball in the wrong goal, he gets killed.

If there's a bad call in American football, the refs can look it over on instant replay. If there's a bad call in European proper football, there's a riot.

I spent two years in college watching Dutch, Italian and English Premiere League soccer because I was fairly convinced I'd be assigned to a European broadcast office. I concluded after two years of dedicated watching and various articles on the subject that soccer is in definite need of reinventing itself or it will self-destruct - much like the NHL did, and what US Baseball is in danger of as well.

Why? Here's a few reasons:

1) European Leagues are filling up with non-Europeans. I had a joke at an NHL game a couple of weeks ago, referring to the Washington Capitals and the Tampa Bay Lightning - "Our Russians are better than your Canadians!" All 68 people in attendance laughed, and I think I saw Alexander Ovechkin nod in approval.

All sports with an international following become more expensive and harder for the average fan to root for when they can't connect with the players on the court, culturally and ethnically. Canada and the NHL worked because the sport is part of the culture, and Canadian culture is part of the sport. Once Europeans, specifically Russians, became part of the mix in the `80s, NHL teams were forced to compete with each other for attracting top talent moreso than developing their own in the minors. As a result, there was a disconnect between the top players and the fans who supported them.

This is the same thing happening in soccer. The top African and Arab players are being bought by the rich European clubs. Occasionally a lesser European player or aging South American star will be signed by an American club, but it's really the Euro teams buying top foreign talent...often at the expense of European players. And, as is painfully evident in France the past couple of weeks, there's still a disconnect between ethnic Europeans and immigrant Europeans.

2)The rich get richer... When Beckham was traded this past year, it was from one wealthy club to another. The disparity in player payrolls from one club to another is amazing. In England, for instance, how can Birmingham possibly compete financially with Manchester? Arsenal? Liverpool? They can't. Sure, they might win a game from time to time, but, year in, year out, the teams that get promoted to Premiere League status face a hell of challenge staying there. Smaller clubs simply can't spend the cash of the big boys.

The NHL allowed teams from smaller Canadian towns to move to Sun Belt US Cities in an effort to gain more revenue, and attract new fans. All that did was alienate the base group of the league. Seat prices skyrocketed, historic teams suddenly became marketing ideas, and the league expanded, thinking more teams would equal more revenue.

Overexpansion diluted the level of play, and keep high-revenue teams like the Colorado Avalanche and Dallas Stars - two former Northern teams from Quebec and Minnesota - successful at the expense of the smaller Calgary Flames and Columbus Blue Jackets.

The NHL instituted a salary cap this year, and suddenly, the playing field is a lot more even and wildly unpredictable. Of course, the NHL had to lose a season and gawd-knows-how many fans in order to learn its lesson.

3) Lack of instant replay ignores the technological advances made in the world. American football has used technology well, from camera placement to protective gear to medical science. Instant replay became a logical solution to many of the problems of plays simply being too close to call with the naked eye. The NHL learned the same things - using high-tech materials to make more durable sticks, better helmets, and cameras to ensure proper call of goals.


Sure, shin guards might be a bit better, but the game is judged exactly like US baseball - using the naked eye. And, as evidenced in the playoffs and World Series this year - humans make mistakes.

Knowing the emotional capital the average soccer fan puts into the sport, what if a World Cup match gets decided by a mistaken goal call?

That there's already pushback against the Adidas soccer ball with a microchip to prevent mistakes doesn't bode well for introducing technology in the sport.

4) American sports are designed to be enjoyed and savored. Baseball breaks between innings to allow for bathroom breaks, hot dogs, beers. Football is the same way. Soccer doesn't allow itself to take breaks. While that's cool in one respect, that doesn't allow for fans to take a break, or let drama build in silence. Think of every great play or movie...the heaviest drama occurs during lulls, when emotional weight is heightened.

Soccer fans start chanting before the game, and often are worn out by minute 90.

Instead of two 45 minute halves (which never last 45 minutes anyway), soccer should go to 3 30 minute periods. Allows for more commercial breaks for tv, more bathroom and food breaks for fans, and gives the riot police more time to get into position.

Rugby learned to make itself much more TV and fan-friendly over the years.

Why else should they break up the game? Well, honestly, soccer is the most over-advertised sport in the world. The players wear advertising on the field. I'm not talking a small Reebok symbol on the shoe or Nike on the jersey, but BIG FRICKIN' LETTERS "Vodaphone" or "Motorola" or "Carlsburg." How in the world can you root for an advertisement? I hate the damned New York Yankees, but their jerseys say "Yankees," not "Sirius Satellite Radio."

"Hey, way to go, Watney's Red Barrels!"

Puh-lease. When I put on a jersey, it's because a fan of a team or a player, not because I happen to particularly associate with a brand of cheese or cell phone. Americans like uniforms with team names on them, or, at least the name of the town. We don't need to advertise for some credit card on our jerseys.

The exception to this is NASCAR. Granted, car racing is more about the car than athletics, but those dudes dress up like walking billboards. Half of them could be tagged with graffiti and you wouldn't be able to notice.

And NASCAR fans LOVE their sponsors. Hell, for years, Ricky Rudd was sponsored by Tide. Millions of Southerners bought Tide t-shirts, Tide hats, Tide flags, and Tide blankets. They loved Ricky and they loved Tide. The fact that most of them looked like they never used Tide detergent one time in their dirty little lives is secondary.

Soccer players dress like NASCAR drivers with teeth.

5) "Anybody can play soccer" is a routine comment to support soccer's Everyman status. And while it's true that anybody with legs and a ball (arms optional) can play the game, doesn't that somewhat lessen the status of these players? Many American men played football growing up; few played it beyond high school. Why? Because the average NFL player is a physical specimen - fast, strong, massive. It is very hard to be 6'4", 275 pounds and able to run 40 yards in less than 5 seconds. In fact, it's hard to be 5'9", 195 pounds and run 40 yards in less than 5 seconds. NFL players do it routinely.

Baseball players have to be able to react to a 90 mile-per-hour pitch from less than 70 feet away. This means a hitter has to react to a baseball 1/10th the size of a soccer ball and whip a bat around at 100 miles-per-hour to even have a chance of hitting the ball. They then need to run 90 feet in less than 5 seconds to even have a chance of getting to first base. The two hardest things to do in sports is to hit a baseball well and the Tour De France. A close third would be to hold on to a football after getting pummelled by a 265 pound linebacker like Ray Lewis or LeVar Arrington.

Soccer...well, let's have to be able to run and kick a ball.

I'm not minimizing the athletic ability of soccer players as much as I'm saying "it ain't that damned hard." The players are fast runners, and they have strong legs. They can kick a ball. Goalies have to have lightning fast reflexes. But running and kicking a ball is basic. Freddy Adu is hardly old enough to drive a car but is already a pro soccer player (then again, if you think Freddy Adu is 16 you need to have your sanity checked). He (allegedly) was 14 and a pro. A 14 year old baseball player is simply not going to get his bat around on a Roger Clemens' fastball, or a Billy Wagner slider. He's not going to be able to play 162 games in a summer. A 14 year old football player would be killed, if not made permanently retarded, if he got hit by Brian Urlacher or Sean Taylor.

He'd be destroyed in Australia on simple general principle. Those guys are the roughest people in the world. They make hockey players seem genteel. A rugby scrum is not the place for a new teenager. Hell, I'd imagine Superman would come out with some bruises against rugby players. At least a black eye and a cleat to the groin.

In America and Australia, size matters.

Soccer players writhe around on the ground after getting kicked in the leg. Football players take a play or two off after getting a concussion. Rugby players drink a beer with a dislocated shoulder.


Soccer players need to get bigger, or tougher, or less whiny. Something. They just look ridiculous rolling on the ground. I don't want to get all Jim Rome-esque on this, but he's so damn right. "Stop rolling, Euro! You look like a pansy. You just got kicked in the leg, time to flop. At least Nancy Kerrigan got hit with a pipe, and she's a girl, yet she sacked up more than you, Euro soccer boy. Here's Bill in Pasadena, welcome to the Jungle, what is up?"

((that's really funny in my Jim Rome impersonation voice, too. Great job.))

6) Way too many frickin' tournaments. The World Cup I can deal with. The European Cup I can deal with. But there are so many qualifiers for the World Cup, the UEFA Cup, the Pan-American Cup, CONCACAF, The Saharan Cup, the Protective Cup, The Dixie Cup. They might as well join the Breeder's, Davis and America's Cups while they're at it.

Do they win the Stanley Cup next?

I'm sure these tourneys are all very important, but they disrupt the flow of the regular season. Injuries occur in these tournaments, and suddenly, valuable players are out of their professional jobs. If David Beckham breaks his foot playing for England in the UEFA, don't you figure Real Madrid would be PISSED?

This is exactly why I hate professional athletes in the Olympics. For years, the Americans put out amateur baseball, hockey and basketball players, and always did well. Maybe not always the Gold, but certainly Silvers and Bronze Medals. Watching the US Olympics in 1980, watching that hockey game STILL gives me the shivers 25 years later. Those kids WANTED that was the biggest moment of their lives. Such a big moment, it was immortalized in a movie, Miracle.

Pros play to not get hurt. And that's why the so-called Dream Teams were utterly boring. Wow, you mean Michael Jordan is a better player than some dude from Greece? SHOCKER!!

I'm all for getting the best players together, but do it on a level playing field. Suspend all league play for a half-year, and make the World Cup Qualifiers and Finals a six month event. Have the best US players play the best Mexican players, have the best English play the best Germans, and then culminate the end of the year with the World Cup itself. This way, the best players don't have to worry about their pro teams and leagues, and can concentrate on playing the best soccer for their respective countries.

More drama. Better quality of play. Less chance of a key injury ruining a professional team's chances of winning because Christoph Metzelder got turf toe in the middle of his pro season at an exhibition game for the EUFA Cup.

(He plays for Germany, for the record. Don't ask me his pro team, but his jersey probably has a cell phone on it.)

Baseball is talking about a World Cup themselves. Not a horrible idea, but this should take place before Spring Training, after the Super Bowl. A month-long tournament before the season featuring each country's best players makes more sense than breaking up the season in the middle.

7) Eliminate ties as much as possible. Ties suck. There aren't ties in war. There aren't ties in poker. The NHL has taken every step possible to eliminate ties now, and, you know what - the games' a bit better now. It means more during the game itself, because no team wants to put its goalie in a must-win situation.

8) Leave the goal posts alone.

Some people say Americans need more scoring in the game to make it more interesting to us. I don't buy that. Lots of Americans love a well-pitched baseball game that ends 1-0. A good defensive football match can be 9-6. Sure we'd like a touchdown, but sometimes that's just not in the cards. Hey, I'm a Baltimore Ravens' fan - I know a well-played football game can end without touchdowns, because the purple-and-black don't score too many!

In soccer, a good offensive game can be 2-1. A blowout is 4 - nil. Those are viable baseball or hockey scores. Nothing wrong with that. But the bastardized version of soccer that is available in this country, indoor soccer, is ridiculous. It resembles real soccer the way Arena football resembles real football - it doesn't! I don't need to see a 15-12 indoor soccer game, where each goal is celebrated by cheerleaders shooting t-shirts into the stands.

In fact, I think the only reason why indoor soccer and arena football exist in America is for people to get an opportunity to grab a free t-shirt. People go apeshit over free t-shirts. Guys will elbow little kids and chicks will show boob just to win a t-shirt.


Those are just a few suggestions about how to improve soccer, or at least keep it Real.

To summarize:

1) Reconnect with your fans with identifiable players
2) Get a salary cap
3) Embrace some technology
4) Make it more TV and fan-friendly
5) Get a real team name, Frenchy
6) Stop being so damned wimpy
7) Rearrange your tournaments to make sense
8) Ties suck
9) Keep the game dimensions the same

And, #10...

Give out free t-shirts so chicks will show boob.

War random rants about Euro sports!

Telecomedian, out.

Monday, November 07, 2005

2, 4, 6, 8, when can we consummate? Go Panthers


Carolina Panther cheerleaders Angela Keathley and Renee Thomas were arrested early Sunday morning at a Tampa Bay area bar after a bathroom fight. According to the police report, witnesses say the two Top Cat cheerleaders were having sex in a stall at Banana Joe's, when other female bar patrons waiting to use the bathroom started shouting at them. After leaving the stall Thomas allegedly punched one of the other female customers in the face, and when arrested used a false identity. Keathley was said to be so drunk she was barely able to stand.

-------------------------------------------- ### -----------------------------------------

I'm not sure, but I think this is hilarious. Not because two women made out in a Tampa bar. That happens all the time. Nothing shocking there.

I think it's hilarious because two women were having sex with each other at a place called Banana Joe's. Banana Joe's sounds like the name of a bad tiki bar in Omaha. Big loud-mouthed deejays talking about "1/2 priced margaritas for all the ladies ALL NIGHT LONG at Banana Joe's!"

A quick Google scan of Banana Joe's in Tampa pulled up a link to Tampa Mojo and tales of hotties in the back room of Banana Joe's. The pictures on this website show lots of women hugging and dancing with each other, which quickly makes me figure that:

1) there aren't any men in Tampa
2) there are lots of hot lesbians in Tampa
3) lots of cute girls in Tampa try to lure sucker men into their clutches with provocative dancing and suggestive hugging of other women. Guys think "Hot potential lesbian 3 ways and stuff! Buy them shots, quick!"

I'm going with #3.

As Bill Maher says "that's just chum in the water," and damn he's right. Why are guys so damned predictable about hot girl-girl action? It ain't gonna happen with average girls, like a bank teller from Topeka and a payroll administrator from Ames. In the bar, sure they'll playfully tug each others' hair and grab their butts, but at the end of the night, they like the cock.

For hot girl-girl action in public, you gotta find two hot NFL cheerleaders.

Adventures in Renting...

At 4:04pm, Friday, November 4, 2005, I received a phone call from my roommate that means something entirely different now than what she intended:

"The apartment is flooding."

I live in bumpy Arlington, Virginia, above sea level, and on the side of a steep hill that many well-conditioned cyclists can't climb without a dismount-and-stroll to the top. But, logic failing, I nonetheless imagined New Orleans-style flooding, with Jayme chopping through her bedroom ceiling with an axe (and probably scaring the piss out of the folks who live above us) to avoid the advancing tide.

However, it was merely a broken or a blocked pipe - the plumber couldn't tell - and it overflowed water out from a joint and through the drywall over our dining room's ceiling. Messy and wet - good things in sex; bad for a dining room.

Here's what kills me. Obviously, a pipe is broken/blocked somewhere. The ceiling is dripping, and you just don't see that everyday. However, the plumber isn't allowed to fix the pipe because our property management company "didn't give him permission to" chop out the bad pipe and the ruined drywall.

How in the HELL else do you propose fixing the pipe, slim? Tearing through the bedroom from above? Knocking out my next-door neighbors' walls and repairing it from the side. Oompa-Loompas?

Besides...the drywall is already dripping water. There's a hole in it already. Another hole ain't gonna ruin it anymore than it already is.

Asshats. Every single last one of them.

Monday, October 31, 2005

The Penile Chronicles, Chapter Two

October 30, 2005

I just woke up to find myself in a pair of woman's shorts.

Normally, I'd find that to be an exciting way to start a Sunday morning, wondering how I could find myself in such a situation. However, just as the air from that first crisp autumn morning hits you in the face and makes you realize the dreams of the summer have passed, I had a similar wave of reality when I recognized that just outside of the woman's shorts was a hard canvas couch.

I looked around and found myself in the familiar settings of Ray's friend Scott's apartment. Two blankets were placed over the rest of Ray's body, and, other than being incredibly confused, I suspected everything had gone according to plan. But how in the hell did I end up in women's clothing...especially at Scott's place, which has proven to be akin to the House of Usher to members of the Fairer Sex?

I looked around my living space to see if there was any indication that I'd been used the night before, and I saw nothing. Andy, the twins and I were clean as a whistle.

What could have happened last night to encase me in women's gym shorts?

I started talking to the Other Head, and see if he had any insight into the events of the previous evening. Now, normally, he and I don't often see eye-to-eye on things - it seems we often have two seperate agendas when it comes to women. But, seeing as how I was ensconced in a strange woman's garments miles away from a woman, I was definitely curious. I knew he knew the answer. The trick was getting him to tell the tale.

He was surprisingly gabby, at first. The Other Head told me about the Halloween party the night before in Columbia. Now, if there's one thing Other Head and I agree with is our mutual dislike of Columbia. He gets lost easily there - curved roads, subdivisions, poor signage, stupid street names - and the only girls' Ray's ever dated there were just not it. I remember this one girl who swore up and down that she was really cool, and she showed up on the date wearing - I'm not making this up - a prom dress. Poofy shoulders, ruffles. See, that'd be cool if we were in high school and it was actually a prom, but we were 30 and in Annapolis and eating crabcakes. Not exactly a prom setting. She wasn't wearing it ironically, either. She said she'd never been to Annapolis before and wanted to dress up...*yawn*

Anyway, where was I? Gawd, I'm so easily distracted sometimes. So, I was talking to the Other Head, and he mentioned the Halloween Party, and how we got dressed up. That's when I remembered the pain.

See, Ray and the Other Head got the brilliant idea of dressing up as Ben Stiller's character White Goodman in "Dodgeball." Funny movie - hell, I laughed at it, and am ALWAYS a fan of Mrs. Ben Stiller, Christine Taylor. So, I wasn't mad when Ray suggested the costume idea - wearing the body armour outfits they wore in the Dodgeball tournament itself. Ray carefully constructed the costume using purple Under Armour and used rollerblading pads to simulate the shoulder pads.
It was a good theory...until it came time for the pants.

Ray's about 5'9", and usually weighs 200 pounds. He's a solidly built dude. I spend most of my days looking at his thighs, and they appear to be a rather muscular set. My neighbor in the back, Andy, has two huge yards which seem to garner more attention than they deserve, IMHO. I mean, they're buttcheeks, people. Two huge wads of flesh and muscle that poop comes out the middle of. *I'm* the one who does all the real work, people! *I* should be the star, not some, some ASS...

Anyway, he bought a pair of XL football tights to complete the costume. We had some difficulty getting them over the thighs and rump, but, once on, I was cramped, but comfortable. Ray trotted out the ensemble at the party on Saturday night.

First off - it was a little colder than we expected, and the thin Under Armour simply wasn't enough to keep Ray's upper body warm. The football pants were doing their job for the most part, though the legs were complaining about a lack of warm blood going to the feet. I figure they were just being wimpy.

The party itself was fun. One dude dressed as a mad scientist, and gave Ray a couple of shots of Belvedere vodka. Lots of women seemed enamoured over Andy's turf in the black tights, but I'm sure I caught my share of glances, too. The football pants, while tight, did give me a certain profile, that's for sure.

However, towards the end of the night, I started feeling lousy. It could have been the alcohol, or perhaps it was an overdose of sweet foods at the party (we LOVED Leilani's apple pie), but I started feeling dizzy. The legs - the knees especially - which had been griping for hours, were being joined in the complaints by the stomach, the feet and, soon, even life-of-the-party Andy. What was going on...?

All I remember was wanting to sleep...

And then waking up.

I asked the Other Head if he was hung over - a charge he vigourously denied. I asked other parts of Ray's body what their status was. The knees told me they were shot, and the thighs were in poor shape. The stomach was ready to revolt, but not because of too much alcohol. Surely something was amiss.

It was when I glanced a look at Ray's costume that all things became clear. The Under Armour was an Adult Medium - a little tight, but not too bad. However, the label on the pants stuck out to me like a beacon in a storm. The size said "XL" alright... CHILDREN'S XL!!! Ray had bought and worn clothes that were literally made for somebody 100 pounds lighter!

Excited by the news, I stood up and looked at my friends. I wanted to shout out the news that Ray was bad at shopping, contrary to all that we had held to be true. Ray and the rest of his body had gone back to sleep, but the red dent in Ray's stomach proved to me that my guess was right.

Hopefully Ray won't get the brilliant idea of wearing Underroos next year. I gotta make it thought this life, you know?

The shorts were from our friend Leilani, who apparently took pity on our situation and donated the shorts so Ray wouldn't have to fall asleep in pain. How sweet! Nice pie AND a good heart. What more do you need? A good friend indeed.

In all, no harm done, other than Lefty has a seam mark where his...uh...what...I guess where his hair would be. I got over the lingering soreness, though I'm not sure why Ray'd put me in such a situation. I thought he and I were friends. I'll get over it, though.

Stomach still hates Ray, and Andy...well, that's just Andy being Andy.

Still...Children's XL...what a dick!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The Penile Chronicles, Chapter One

January, 2003

FOR A TIME, the hardest parts of my existence were the nightmares. They came, like clockwork, every night at approximately 1:30 AM. At least, I think it was 1:30 AM; it was hard to see the dim glow of the clock radio from under the blankets and boxer shorts. But, on those rare occasions when I could tell the time, I think it was 1:30 AM.

I would be walking down the street - Anystreet, U.S.A. - with Ray smiling from above. I was free of the bounds of the oppressive underwear, and was hanging with my clean-shaven friends Righty and Lefty. We were the Three Stooges, or, like three little Elvis's, more accurately, with Ray serving as our Colonel Tom Parker. We were probably coming from some adventure, like a Beatles' movie, gently poking fun at the Establishment. All was right in our world.

But then, the scenery would change. Like a bad wipe in Star Wars, the scene would change from peaceful Endor to a harsh desert scene of Tatooine. Suddenly, we were sweating, and the heat coming from the sand below was definitely having an effect on my head. I strained to look at my surroundings - everything was barren. Dry. Dead.

The noise came from our side. It was a monster - some sort of lizard with brown hair and scaly skin. We started running away, and the monster followed. It reached out after us with these long arms and these, these...paws...that wanted to rip our warm flesh from ourselves. Righty, Lefty and I could only hope that Ray's legs were strong enough to keep us from harm's way.

Then we fell. I didn't see the fall happen - I was too busy looking at Lefty and Righty curl into their hiding spot, leaving me on my own. I did see what we all tripped on - a Playskool kitchen set, of all things - and the sand was replaced by a rough carpet, and the desert was actually a living room in Pikesville, Maryland. As the blood rushed to the knee and shins, I blacked out. Hard to do in a dream, I'll grant you that, but when I came to, I looked up to see the monster had 30-weight sandpaper and was about to use it on my delicate sides.

I'd snap myself awake, begging for comfort, but unable to find any. The nightmare was so real, so tangible, it couldn't be imagination only, could it? Surely something was causing my mental anguish. I tired to start a conversation with Righty - he's the sensitive one of the twins - but he was sleeping solidly. What I wouldn't give for rest like that...

These nightmares became more real with the passing nights. I dreaded sleep. I'd pester Ray to stay awake. "Just one more website, Ray!" or "Come on, let's play XBox! I'll let you win, dammit!" or "What's on cable, ole' pal?" but when Ray would hit the mattress, I knew I had no more begging for the night.

The restlessness took a toll on relations with my neighbors. Lefty and Righty stopped talking to me, and Andy, the ass who lives behind us, started talking too much. Loud mouth, and the worst breath. Still, not being able to talk to Righty hurt. I always counted on him. He was my rock, and, he was ignoring me.

I started talking to a doctor. She told me I wasn't getting enough exercise, and I could see her point. However, she pointed out that I couldn't work out in her gym, and that nobody works out in her gym. Hmph. She didn't need to be so snobby about it. I don't need to hang out at the most popular club in town, but not sure if I want to go to a club with nobody dancing.

I met a friendly waitress in Annapolis, and while she wasn't able to exorcise the demons, it was nice hearing kind words. She suggested, rather sweetly, that I needed help. With nowhere else to turn, and still being shunned by Righty, I went into therapy.

Through group therapy, I was told I'd never function if I couldn't get these dreams out of my mind. One solution was proposed to me as initially ridiculous, but it seemed like it might be effective. I was told to remember as much I could about a harrowing experience. The idea was that these dreams were being triggered by some sort of trauma, or, even a near-death experience.

After a deep-tissue massage, I went into a quiet, reflective mood, and my mind recalled the events of the evening these nightmares started.

We all had been out dancing with our friend John Enoch, a young, recently-divorced writer from Baltimore. We'd been out at Rascal's, a nightclub in Towson, Maryland. I remember being attracted to a cute blonde, but she was more interested in the emotionally-fragile Enoch. I tucked my pride into my foreskin vest and played the part of the wingman, as once again I was the Goose to Enoch's Maverick. The blonde's friend wasn't awful on first glance, though an awful highlighting job on a lousy haircut firmly rooted the young lady into a swamp of mediocrity. The hair would have worked on an Adam Ant impersonator - I may be a dick, but I have standards. I wasn't interested, but, duty calls, and I knew John needed me if he would have a successful mission. Ray danced with the friend. Ray was polite, Ray was sociable. I wasn't interested, though. I can't emphasize this enough. I didn't show one throb of interest. She didn't even know I had a pulse.

So, back to Pikesville we went, the whole lot of us, to the townhome of the woman with the lousy hair. We watched a movie in the living room, and as I was plopped down into a comfy chair, a TinkerToy poked Andy pretty hard. He's an ass, but the TinkerToy didn't need to be so rude. I quickly summized that this woman had kids, though I could hear none of the tell-tale whining indicative of children.

John and the cute young blonde went downstairs - to do what, I could only imagine. At that point, the friend looked at Ray and Ray's Pants, so I could safely assume she was looking for a piece of me, too. I was SO not into this right now - I really just wanted to go home. I didn't want to work out for anybody, especially one with a hair cut and highlights that resembled wing tip shoes.

She sauntered over to the comfy chair (I could see this through a strategic opening in the boxer shorts and the light allowed through the pant zipper's teeth) and started rubbing Ray's shoulders. According to the internal memo I got from the shoulders, she had the grip of a Teamster. She kissed the back of his neck, and, according to the me-mail I got, her lips were dry. Based on the information I was being provided, my services would not be needed, and I couldn't have been happier.

Ray got out of the chair and mumbled something about getting some water. He went into the kitchen, the whole time using our combined brain to figure a way out of this. His friend was in the basement, hooking up with some much-needed post-divorce lovin', and he was trying to avoid what could easily become a desperate, awkward situation.

He came back with two glasses, and saw that the woman had taken her (admittedly) cute sweater off and was now wearing a camisole. Again, from my vantage point, I saw this and really wished she'd have left the sweater on. Ray saw a spare room, and asked what was in there, trying to avoid from having to go anywhere near the 50% topless woman.

"That's the boys' playroom," she replied.

"Oh," Ray responded. "How many boys do you have?" He saw the PlaySkool kitchen set in the corner.

She sauntered over "Well, my the younger is 6, and the oldest is 12."

"12?" Ray questioned.

"Yeah, I had him when I was young and dumb. I was barely 15 at the time I had him."

Ray gulped. Hopefully the PlaySkool set was for the younger child.

She put his arm around his shoulders. Once again, his shoulders sent me the message that this was definitely not something to be pleased about.

"Where are your boys?" asked Ray.

"With their father, my ex-husband," she said. Wispering, she added "We can be as loud as we want."

Another body shudder confirmed my fear that Ray was stuck in a situation where I must fight my general nature, along with Righty and Lefty, to avoid doing ANYTHING to get into a situation where I could see the light of day, or, in this case, the dark of the boy's play room.

That's when the pain began.

I felt it, and I was a good foot or so away. She touched Ray's hand with her palm, and ran it down the length of his arm. The pain sent a shock through his arm and straight into the spinal cord. It was searing, like being burned unexpectedly on a stove, or getting a shock from a lousy electric outlet. Ray looked down at his arm; it had turned red.

"You're revved up, aren't you?" the woman asked toyingly, thinking that I was somehow getting aroused by pain (which, trust me, I simply ain't into. After growing up getting smacked around by baseballs, bicycle seats, toddlers and bad follow-through on a tennis serve, I don't need more pain). I looked down to see Righty and Lefty retreat to their hiding spot. Andy recoiled in fear.

"Um, uh..." Ray stammered out. His arm was red - his arm was sending me messages like 12 year old girls with cell phones - and I could tell his arm was ready to chew itself off. Like so many times before and since, I had to do the thinking for him, but this time, to AVOID sex, but yet, not blow things for John downstairs.

She grabbed Andy. Good for my neighbor that Ray was wearing thick pants, but those pants were touched with the acid hands. They'd be ritually burned later.

Being as close to the Freudian concept of the id as possible, I looked for Ray's basic needs at the time. He was fed, he had clothes, he had water. He had shelter. What he didn't have was a good job. However, he had been talking to a phone company in Michigan about a job, and dammit, it's all I had to work with!

"I'm not sure if this is a good idea," said Ray, suprising himself.

"Huh?" she asked, grabbing Andy again, and slowly reaching towards me and the twins.

More forcefully, Ray repeated his previous statement, and added "I'm going to Michigan for a job interview on Monday. I'm leaving tomorrow morning, and, if I get the job, I'll be moving there in a couple of weeks. I sure don't want to start something that would have to end so soon."

The woman stopped approaching me with her burning hands, but instead looked up at Ray. "Why Michigan?"

I let Ray's brain catch up on this. "See, I work in a specialized field. Not many places around here need somebody like me, so I've got to go where the jobs are. Right now, they're almost 1000 miles away."

She turned away, and started crying softly on the couch. "Right when I meet a guy who I think I have a future with, he's leaving! What the hell?"

I was stunned by that comment. I mean, I'm a dick, but I've NEVER thought about having a long-term relationship with somebody I just met. Psycho! I felt the need to see if her decomposing mother was dressed up in a rocking chair.

After a few minutes, she said "You really are special, Ray. You could have done me all night and just left without a qualm in the world, but, you didn't. You're a good guy for not leading me on." She kissed Ray's cheek with her dry lips.

John came up a few moments later, with a big grin on his face. He and the blonde had been downstairs for over an hour (note to self, must get a cockring with a clock in it), and had gotten it on twice. Bully for him. The girl came up a second later, and saw her friend on the couch with red eyes, and put her arm around her. She told the blonde "He's a good guy right there, he really is. I can't believe he's moving to Michigan, though."

Ray shot John a quick eye flare to make sure John didn't even question this news, but, when John saw the awful highlights in a better lighting situation than the bar, he figured it out. *I* had done the thinking for both of us, and had done well.

I was a happy dick for coming through in the pinch like that.

As we said our goodbyes, John and Ray decided to go stop at a diner. John asked if the girls wanted to go along, but they remained. The blonde gave John a big hug, and the woman got off the couch and gave John a hug, and squeezed his arm. The blonde gave Ray a hug, too, and the woman gave him a hug and a lingering look.

On the way to the car, John asked Ray "You didn't get a handjob from her, did you? Her hands were rough!" Ray said "I noticed, and no, I didn't. I didn't want her to touch me" and he showed John the red marks on his arm.

As we got to the car, the woman came out of her house and ran toward us. John had left his phone downstairs, and she gave it back to us. As she walked away, I could see her green skirt through my denim and zipper prison. Once I got a good look at it, she had a nice ass...

The Penile Chronicles, Introduction

Inspired by Edward in Los Angeles, who just had his book "The Male Thing Explained" published, I have decided to write a series of stories about My Male Thing - my penis.

Now, for those of you who have heard, my penis has lived a life of ups and downs; he has been in the hottest clubs, and down and out with only a couple of nutty friends and an asshole neighbor. He has had some interesting tales in his 32 years on this planet. Indeed, a hard knock life - used as a glorified door stop for the first 17 years, only to be shown brief episodes of daylight, only to be bound and gagged with a form of a garbage bag tied around his head, shoved into smelly, dark caves, and forced to do push-ups until throwing up, my penis has a very gripping tale to tell.

So, dear Reader, please view these stories for what they are - A Dick's Tale. One Cock's Story. A Percy Who Walks Amongst Us. For some, they will be entertaining; for others, a warning. In the end, it will simply be a way for my penis to get some things off his chest, as it were, and hopefully bring a smile to the readers' collective soul.

Here ends this introduction, and now, on to the tale.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Adieu, mon chat - Squeaky 2001 - 2005

Six weeks ago, my little white cat Squeaky bolted out of my apartment in Virginia and off into the woods nearby. He's been a mostly- outdoor cat, and he was hard to contain in both Baltimore and Edgewater. He'd been doing pretty well in Virginia, but, like his old man, that old scent of wanderlust kicks in, and once you catch a whiff, it's time to go.

So, Squeaky went.

Usually, he'd stay away for a day or two at a time; sometimes he'd be gone for a week. But this is now week number six, and nobody in my neighborhood has seen my little buddy. He's a vocal thing, too, so, I'm sure somebody would have heard him by now.

To make matters worse, there's a small white stray cat in my neighborhood who looks like Squeaky. It's not him, but it looks like him. Everytime I see Fake Squeaky, I get excited, run up to him, and then see his face. It's not Squeaky. I've seen Fake Squeaky four times, and each time, I think it's my cat. Each time, I look away dissapointed.

Damn Fake Squeaky.

I'm not sad for Squeaky, though. I mean, I'd hate for him to be suffering, or to be caught by mean kids, or trapped someplace he can't escape. That would bother me. But he lived his life with spirit and attitude. He did more in his four years with me than most humans, let alone pets.
I met the cat in the spring of 2001. My mother had picked him up from a litter of kittens that were being given away in front of a local shopping center. This cat was to be a gift for my uncle Larry, who had always wanted a white cat with blue eyes. I had been cat-stting Larry's cat Dawg at my rowhome in Baltimore. Dawg, also an outdoor cat, jumped to the top of my backyard fence, nearly seven feet up, and then jumped down the other side. My fence was seven feet on my side, about 20 on the other. Don't think he expected that. Once Dawg landed, he flipped out, freaked out and darted away. I put up fliers for the missing cat, checked the pound, SPCA, but nobody ever found Dawg. Shame, too. Dawg was a good cat.

I guess the pull of the outdoors must be strong for a cat like that. I can't imagine leaving a warm house with food and water to go bolting off into a strange city. Then again, I can't imagine chasing mice and crapping into sand.

Larry did not want the kitten, and, being as how I had the room, and "lost" Dawg, I took in the fuzzball. What a cute little thing, too! Big blue eyes, and walked out of its cardboard box of a cage to check me out. This kitten knew no fear. Five minutes in, and he was giving me the once over, like a drill instructor over a group of fresh-faced recruits.

I remember trying to figure out what to name my new pet. Snowball seemed so common, and I didn't want to give the cat a dumb name. Big blue eyes - maybe Frank is a good name. I work with telecom and networking stuff, and ethernet cable is called Cat Five. So, Five would be a cool name. Then I heard the worst meow in my life. Sounded like a mouse trying to hump a dog's chew toy. Or a child's toy in desperate need of WD-40. The sound came from the little kitten's mouth.

Thus, the feline was dubbed "Squeaky."

Squeaky's first few months were uneventful. Cat Hospital of Towson gave him a checkup, and said "She's a good, healthy little girl." So, I was glad Squeaky was a gender non-specific name. I hadn't stared at my cat's genitals, but trusted that if the vet says it's a girl cat, it's a girl cat. The rest of the time was teaching the kitten to interact with Kramer, the Big Dumb Dog. Squeaky didn't take any gruff from the ever-playful canine, and would bat on his head with a rapid-fire paw combo. That was the only sign of violence from the feline, other than a hatred for the ceiling fans' pullchains.

At night, Squeaky would sleep with her little head on my hand.

One night, in September, a sewer rat was hanging out on S. Port Street in Baltimore, where my happy pet mini-menagerie resided. Kramer was barking his tail off at the vermin intruder across the street, and I figured he'd scare the rat away. So, I opened the door to let Kramer out. Instead, out dashed Squeaky, making a beeline for the rat. I screamed for Squeaky to come back, but it was too late. The kitten was about to be killed by the street-hardened Baltimore sewer rat. I expected the rat to pull a knife on the cat, or pull out a Glock and bust a cap in her ass. I've seen Baltimore city sewer rats rob people. They carry pagers. Not wanting to get between a rat and a cat, I waited for the fight to end with Kramer at my side, inside. I heard the most awful sounds, the sounds of an animal in pain, and then, of an animal dying. I thought of where I'd bury the cat. My neighbors poked their head out their doors to hear the sounds of death.

The cat came back to the door about 30 agonizing seconds later, blood and fur everywhere. Squeaky had had enough. I picked the kitten up with my baseball glove and put the little thing into the tub to clean and disinfect. I was sure I'd be running to the emergency vet clinic in North Baltimore.

Washing away the blood was easy enough, and I checked out the white fur for any open wounds. Nothing. The rat's claws escaped the cat. I looked for puncture wounds, to see if the rat took a bite. Nope. All the blood and guts belonged to the rat. The cat was spic-and-span.

Squeaky lunged at the rat Wolverine-style - claws drawn out, going right for the face. Squeaky's paws and claws were ripping apart the flesh of the rat before he even had a chance to fight back. That awful noise was the sound of a rat dying, and, one kitten's rage.

Once Squeaky the Girl Kitten proved her mettle against the sewer rat, she was something of a celebrity on S. Port Street. "Is that the kitten who killed that mouse?" asked one new member of the neighborhood. "No, killed the rat" another would correct. Mike, the old-time Balmer, Merlin, resident next door, delighted in telling and retelling the tale of Squeaky and the Sewer Rat at the neighborhood bars. Each time, Squeaky got smaller and the rat got bigger.

By now, that cat probably killed that rat in utero.

Squeaky's next big adventure occured in October. Once proving herself to be a rat killer of renown, she decided that the outdoors was the place to be. There were millions of rats to be killed in Baltimore outside, not so many inside. So, Squeaky, Defender of Port Street, Eliminator of Vermin, would bolt outside whenever possible. Usually I'd snag her within a few seconds (I'm not a teenager anymore, but I am fleet), or sometimes a minute. I secured the back yard and allowed her to walk out there, under supervision, of course. I didn't want to have a bunch of Baltimore city sewer rats pull a gangland beating on Squeaky because she took out a made rat.

The backyard was fine...until she too got to the fence. The same fence Dawg jumped over. I froze for a second as the cat sat perched, looking at me with those big blue eyes. I didn't want to move quickly for fear of startling the kitten, and having Squeaky end up in the same world as Dawg...where ever that was.

Squeaky didn't jump backwards, but forwards, towards me. Her little paw was caught between the cinder blocks of the wall, stuck near the mortar. Her momentum carried her forward, and with the paw jammed, she twisted and torqued wildly to the concrete below. She landed on her hip, and ran into the house. I figured the cat just hurt it's tailbone, a la Deputy Dawg and Muskie.

Except the cat limped all night, and simply rest on the other side of the hip. I stayed with Squeaky all night, giving the little thing aspirin and softly petting her ears. I knew she was in a lot of pain. Her leg just flopped around. Obviously, it was broken, and pretty badly. The emergency vet was 20 miles away, and booked solid. I doubted the cat would tolerate a long car ride, and the clinic around the corner would be open in a few hours. Hopefully the aspirin would hold.

That morning was Squeaky's great rebirth, if you will. I've heard stories of folks who have gone through massive surgeries, from transplants to open heart procedures to sex-change operations, and they call the it a time for a new start, a new beginning. This is what happened at Eastern Vetinary Clinic.

VET TECH - So, what happened to Squeaky here?
ME - Well, she fell pretty awkwardly on her hip last night, and has been limping since.
VET TECH - He's definitely favoring that leg, that's for sure. He seems ok with the pain, though.
ME (noticing shift in gender) - Yeah, I gave HER plenty of aspirin last night, well, at least, what I thought would be appropriate for an eight-pound kitten. Two pills over the eight hours.
VET TECH - That's about right, I'd reckon. (TO CAT) How you feeling lil' fella?
ME - I'd imagine she's feeling pretty crappy. And, why do you keep calling Squeaky with male terms?
VET TECH - I was going to ask why you were doing the same with female terms.
ME - Huh? Squeaky's a girl cat. (RAY NOTE - I think girl cat is the technical term)
VET TECH - Nope. Squeaky's definitely male.
ME - Wha...?

The vet tech pointed out two impossibly small little testicles. They looked like fuzzy white tic-tacs. I had no idea.

VET TECH - See? Boy cat parts, plain as day.
ME - Uh, not very big, are they?
VET TECH - No, not on him. But they're there. You never noticed before?
ME - Well, I never stared much at my cat's privates, to be honest.

So, poor Squeaky the Cat became Squeaky the Cat - thank God I chose a gender non-specific name.

Squeaky's leg was actually a broken hip joint. The bone between a cat's pelvis and it's hind leg actually breaks fairly often. With most cats, a quick surgery clears out the broken bone, and the cat grows a fiberous mass, like a strong ligament/tendon combination in it's place. Femoral Head Obstectomy. I had no idea cats could do such things.

Oh, and Squeaky also got neutered that day. Poor little critter. He spent about 5 hours of his life really being a boy cat. Amazed the lil' bastard never put on a dress around me in spite.

His recovery was pretty easy, and the vet's prediction that he'd be back to his/her old tricks in a matter of weeks proved spot-on. While he always walked with a slight favor on that affected foot, he never seemed in pain and ran as fast, if not faster, than before. Bionic Kitten. The Six Million Dollar Kitten. RoboKitten was my favorite.

RoboKitten became RoboCat in 2002, and I went from overpaid telecom start-up sales engineer to unemployed. I cashed out my 401k, and headed west. A good roadtrip is what I needed to clear my mind. But, I didn't want to kennel Squeaky for 3 weeks or so. Mom wasn't a huge fan of boarding a cat. Squeaky didn't interact well with other cats, so, I couldn't have one of my friends with cats house him.

So, Squeaky went with me.

His first exceedingly long trip in a car went well. He was never bad in a car anyway, and I had trained him with small rides to stores and shops so that he'd be used to longer trips. He'd get a treat - a new toy, pit beef, catnip - and he began to really enjoy rides. He even knew "bye-byes" - the term I used on the dogs to symbolize a ride. Now, Squeaky knew to get excited on a ride.

We left on March 15, 2002, at 6:15pm. We headed west, with all sorts of clothing, food, catnip, litter pan, special destinky litter and camera equipment. We got caught up in road construction in Western MD, and his little ears popped with the change in atmospheric pressure. He slept about 85% of the way, more intent to crap in his litter box or stare at me than the scenery around him. A day later, he got to see my old haunts in Des Moines, Iowa. The day after that, he saw his first blizzard in Nebraska. Later that day, his (and my) first buffalo. That afternoon, his first Rocky Mountain sunset outside of Cheyanne, Wyoming. That night, Denver, and the Eisenhower Tunnel. The next day - the outer rim of the Grand Canyon, and the lights of Las Vegas. We spent three days in Vegas for Doug Stanhope's wedding - an old friend from my stand-up daze - and the debauchery included within. A day after that, and Squeaky was in Los Angeles with me and my lifelong buddy Gabe.

It wasn't until the ride home a few weeks later did Squeaky get it - life on the road and on the run is fun. Somewhere in between Arizona and New Mexico, Squeaky looked out the passenger side window, and stood up on his hind legs. He stuck his head up against the glass, looking out the window. A massive mountain stood between us and the Mexican border, and he just watched it drive by. He looked at the desert around, and I'd like to think that he knew we were driving past something amazing. While I believe dogs are intuitively more responsive to human reaction than cats, I know Squeaky saw something that day - maybe some idea of what living in such an area would be like - all the snakes, desert rats, scorpions - he could tangle with. Maybe he saw the peaceful nature of the emptiness around. Maybe he viewed it as a giant litter box. Who knows? He watched that scene for 10 minutes or so before curling up for another nap, but I think he figured it out - he should have been looking around more often.

Squeaky was always an outdoor cat. He tended to view his inside time as opportunities to eat, dry off, lick his butt, take a crap in a litter pan, and to plot his next outdoor adventure. One time in 2004, his outdoor adventures got him caught in a blizzard. He decided to go outside about 6 hours before Maryland got hit with an icy storm. Not his smartest manuever. He was outside in the snow for a day before I heard a faint meow while out looking for him. I heard the sound coming from a manhole cover. I went to the garage, and got out a big metal pole to remove the manhole cover. After wrestling with that, I climbed into the icy storm drain. With my flashlight, a bit of cat food and the realization that another storm was coming, I aimed the light down a semi-crushed metal pipe. There, I saw a small little cat looking back at me. There was Squeaky, with bits of ice and snow around him. I tried to flush him out with food, and then remembered "I have a 10 foot pipe. I'll force him out. "

The cat moved 11 feet into the pipe. There went that idea.

I threw some food down there for him, and planned on retrieving him the next day. He was obviously too scared to come out now.

That night, another six inches of snow fell, and I woke up to find a snowplow had covered up the storm drain. Squeaky would have been buried! So, I dug out the snow, removed the cover with my big black pole (heheheh) and looked for Squeaky. No sign of him, though.

I figured four days later, after freezing weather and no sign of his paws in the snow that he was gone for good. I knew he was a tough cat, but no house cat survive sub-20 degree weather, right?

I was wrong. Three days after resigning myself to his demise, I saw cat prints coming out of the storm drain. I chased them around the house until I got to the ledge by the basement steps. There was Squeaky. Cold, dirty, but otherwise stable. He went inside, got some water, and killed a field mouse in the basement.

Good kitty!

He liked living the inside/outside life. He was friendly when he needed to be, insistent on getting fed, and delighted to be scratched behind the ears on occasion. Otherwise, he wanted out. Mice, birds, moles, small lizards, frogs, toads - Squeaky killed them all.

I guess coming to Virginia was a bad idea. A few months ago, he'd been in a hell of a fight with another cat in my old neighborhood in Maryland. Mom had been keeping him since she needed a good mouser, and, secretly, the company of the cat. But, this new cat in the neighborhood was stronger and faster than Squeaky. He'd come back inside with scratches on his head, paws, back. When I saw the scratches on his neck, I realized this other cat was trying to kill Squeaky. So, I made the brilliant move of bringing him to Virginia for a couple of weeks. Let him calm down, get healed, get cleaned up, and maybe not want to get into scraps with this other cat.

And he was good for a while. He seemed to enjoy my roommate's cats, which stunned me, and curling up with me in bed, like he did was he was a kitten. All was right in our little world.

Until he meowed loud enough for the entire neighborhood to hear. He wanted out NOW!

That was six weeks ago. Nobody's sen hide nor hair of him since. Other than sightings of the Fake Squeaky, the SPCA and Animal Shelters haven't seen him, and the two calls from folks in my neighborhood were identifying the Fake Squeaky.

So, goodbye, my little friend. You were the best cat I ever owned. That you were only the second cat I ever owned is secondary. You were a good little buddy, and I miss you terribly. I hope you've found a new place to live and you're treated well.

And that you'll remember the mountains.