Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The power of Christ compelled him?

Ladies and Gentlemen!

In the red corner, weighing 3 Egg McMuffins and a pack of beef jerky, we have Colorado state representative-elect Douglas Bruce, who is evidently cranky because, first of all, he almost had to get up at 5 a.m., secondly, he was forced to fight Denver traffic, and last, because even his friends seem to be against him at the moment. Bruce comes into this bout with years of political experience and a desire to push back his swearing a few days to take advantage of a loophole in state term limits that would allow him to serve eight more years instead of six.

In the black and blue corner, weighing one compact flash and 2 Red Bulls, we have Javier Manzano, a news photographer for the Rocky Mountain News who came to the state house this morning as part of a host of reporters who have been tasked with following Bruce around all morning.

As the bell sounds, it's stick and move, stick and move...Bruce is cordial, laughing and smiling with reporters, his temperament bringing Manzano closer, camera at the ready. But then Manzano makes a foolish move, dropping his guard. As it comes time for the morning prayer to open the day, the reps bowing their heads, Manzano lifts his camera, snapping a photograph of Bruce as he presumably spoke with the Lord.

Just then, Bruce raises his head and opens his eyes, angrily bringing his foot down on top of his opponent's knee. The photographer crashes to the canvas, holding his leg in obvious pain.

As the photographer lies there awaiting his ten count, Bruce, in his best Ivan Drago persona, stands over the fallen reporter and mutters, "Don't do that again."

Here's the full story. I'm curious as to if he will be elevated to hero status.

Colorado Lawmaker Kicks Photographer

Friday, January 11, 2008

Dust in the Wind

Yay or nay, best song ever is "Dust in the Wind" by Kansas. If you say nay, you are an idiot. This isn't speculation, it's fact. Live with it.

Seriously, though, if this song came out today it would likely be an Indie hit, but not commercially successful. Without a disco back beat and some chick slathering herself up with honey in some stupid video, or without some effeminate Emo kid with half of his face covered in hair, it couldn't possibly work. Wait, I forget about that incessantly annoying "What you do to me" song that still plagues the airwaves. Every time I hear it, I come this much closer to climbing up in some tower with a sniper rifle. You know, to do everyone with ears a favor.

Yeah, but that song lacks substance and, basically, it sucks. Not only is "Dust in the Wind" beautiful, it's thought-provoking.

Maybe this link will work for you:


Take a moment to listen to --and watch if you can -- true musical genius. Disregard the sheer amount of, um, hair. Lot of hair in that video, indeed, but an aural treat nonetheless.

On a similar note....

Using whatever music download service you use (and don't deny that you d0) find and download a song called "Michael Picasso" by Ian Hunter. Make SURE you find the live version. I won't go into details about the song, but I will say it was in dedication to a musician friend of his who passed away. It is deeply stirring and very poignant. I looked on Youtube for it and found A live version, but not THE live version. I will continue to look for it and post directions to get to it. It's a song that Eddie Vedder claimed was the most beautiful song he had ever heard and it is very tear-inducing.

Oh, and since I am on a music kick, this song you CAN find on youtube if you are at work or something, or simply are unable to find an mp3. Silversun Pickups "Kissing Families" has one of the best crescendos I have heard in a while. Sure, there are comparisons to the Smashing Pumpkins, but I truly believe they have a sound of their own.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008


I have been away so very long, so crazy busy writing vanilla articles at CFP, while at the same time doing my thing at MSU. I love the teaching aspect of it, yes, but not so much the research. This is my conundrum: I have chosen as a thesis something I have not as of yet been able to fully embrace. My heart is not in it, so to speak. My first question to anyone who has attended graduate school: does it need to be? Or should I simply consider this another stepping stone to greater things?

My Spanish is weak, at best, yet I am required to sift through literally thousands of 16th and 17th century hand-written documents from the Inquisition. I am, without a doubt, petrified. I will jump into this, head first, in a matter of weeks, perhaps days. I can't sleep at night. There's no way I can be proficient in a foreign language in a matter of months, never mind on the continual basis necessary to make the progress I will need to be making.

Also, I don't picture myself living in America for more than just a few more years, not because I hate my country, but because I want to experience more than what I am offered here. Plus, like many Westerners, I seek a simplicity no longer afforded by a society driven by the need for shiny trinkets. Therefore, should I not study someplace I may intend on residing? As it stands, I am studying Spanish Jamaica, a place which no longer exists. I don't see myself moving to Jamaica, despite its beauty.

I am blabbering on, I know. And because I don't post much, I'm sure very few people will read this. However, if by chance you do, throw in your two cents. I'll be sure to catch it, I promise.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

It seems to me that we are obligated, really, to believe that the person who we are talking with on the Internet is actually honest and forthright regarding his or her emotions.

It's a leap of faith, I suppose.

The reason I bring this up has everything to do with this Internet slang – you know, the initialisms, abbreviations, and acronyms – that simplifies typing while at the same time conveying emotion where otherwise feelings could not be expressed.

Case in point: LOL

“Laughing out loud” is something you inadvertently do. Typing, on the other hand, takes initiative. Spitting your beverage onto the person across from you because you think something’s funny – that’s spontaneous laughter. Repeatedly striking the “L” and “O” key isn’t. In fact, I find very little spontaneity in my right ring finger. It more or less does what I request and nothing more. I’ve never awakened from a deep sleep to find it making an omelet or painting a Picasso. No, it usually does what I tell it to do through synaptic nerve impulses traveling from my head, through my spine, down my arm and, finally, into my hand.

Furthermore, it’s not easy for me to believe that when a person types "LOL" he or she is actually laughing at a decibel level audible enough for others to hear it. Is it how the keys are pressed, then? I hardly think so. (Just to make sure, however, I am listening to the “L” and “O” keys as I depress them. Though they make a sound, I would not consider that sound to be indicative of anything funny.)

Laughing out loud means just that, and I should know something about it. Several years ago, I was perusing a copy of The Onion while at a local library. One article in particular was gut-wrenchingly hilarious so, in response, I “laughed out loud.” Not too fond of my outburst was the librarian, of course. And those patrons unfortunate enough to be sitting in the vicinity had no choice but to stare in perplexed awe at my sudden explosion. It turned into a minor uproar, really. I fully expected to be escorted out of the facility though, thankfully, that never happened.

What about LOLOL?

Am I to believe that I said something so funny that you not only “laughed out loud,” but that you did it continuously for an inordinate amount of time? Should I try my hand at the Laugh Factory? Am I ready for the Def Jam Comedy Tour? Or could it be that it’s just easier to keep depressing the “L” and “O” button over and over for added effect?

Beware; with every added “L” or “O” I’m thinking I’m the next George Carlin.


Prior to the Internet, this was the sound one made when trying to talk with a mouthful of potato chips. Now, it pays homage to a comment or situation so funny that not only are you “laughing out loud,” but that this laughter has caused you to change physical locations. I often wonder how, while on the floor and engrossed in laughter, you still have the ability to type? Do you have one hand that stays on the keyboard at all times? A finger? Your right ring finger?


Wow. Now, not only have you changed physical locations, but you have also displaced a major part of your anatomy. Should I be the lucky recipient of one of your ROFLMAO’s, keep in mind it will be me who is LOLing, LOLOLing, and ROFLing, because, quite frankly, picturing you without a derriere is quite comical.

Monday, July 2, 2007


He wore a mullet like no one’s business, had a car that was one of the loudest and most dirty in town, and he would purposefully fart just to get a negative response.

He was Allen, my cousin.

During my sophomore year, he dropped out of school because he didn’t like the schoolwork.

He lived, by himself, in an old trailer-house just blocks from the schoolhouse. I’d go see him at the end of the day—he’d have some lunch meat in the fridge and I figured I could scam my way into a free second lunch. Often, I had to stop and grab a loaf of bread in order to make this happen.

Short on teeth but not on wit, he had a million stories to tell. Only a handful were true. Yet, I listened all the same because, although he wasn’t but a couple years older than me, in terms of life experience, he was an elder statesman.

His advice was often off-the-cuff, non-substantiated, and, well, looking back, asinine. At the time, however, he was the older brother I didn’t have. My father having passed when I was 15 left a void in the male-role-model department. I guess he was there to fill it.

On Friday nights, he’d fire up his Thunderbird and we’d go “cruising” for girls. Heck, had any responded to our cat calls we never would have known, thanks to the likes of AC/DC and Hank Williams Jr. blaring from his stereo.

He had a girlfriend once. It didn’t last. She moved in and had to do most of the cooking and cleaning. She was looking for a husband. He spent his days looking for work. Neither found what they were looking for.

For one of my birthdays, he gave me a stack of girly magazines. Used. And they weren’t your run-of-the-mill Playboys or Penthouses or even Hustlers. From what I can recall, they had names like Swank and Skin.

My senior year, he decided to go back to school. And play football. He almost made it through his first and only practice. One of the assistant coaches became worried when he started vomiting during one of the drills. Turns out he had chewing tobacco in his mouth the whole time and had swallowed it. Yet, he still showed up to the game on Friday. In uniform.

I graduated and went into the Navy. Just before shipping out, I went to see him for a visit. “Find you some hot foreign chick so that you can bag them and not have to worry about seeing them after” was his best parting advice.

That was 15 years ago, the last time I would ever speak to him.

Just this morning, I learned that Allen had recently passed away from heart failure. He was 33, grossly obese, and diabetic. In a rather unintentionally cavalier manner, one of my relatives laid it down for me: He could barely move from the couch. Ate himself to death, willingly. Refused to help himself.

So, here I am, compelled to reflect on his life and legacy and what, if anything, this chauvinistic, base, unkempt, and foolhardy person has left to me, and what I have used and what I still may use.

My first thought goes back to the darkest autumn of my life.

You see, when my father was killed, well-wishers came and went. Most meant well, but few understood what it meant for a teenaged boy to lose his old man in that manner. When everyone else had all but forgotten about the whole incident, there I was, still reeling, still in pain.

Yet, there was Allen, all the while, by my side, at the funeral and for months after. He never lost that look in his eyes that said, “I’m here to take up some of the slack.”

I once found a stack of love letters he had written to a girl we both knew. The words were basic, the prose unsophisticated, but his words held gems of his true self. Allen, like most of us, wanted to love and be loved. When I confronted him about it, he just shrugged them off. “No use getting your hopes up,” he said, “just to have them bashed.” He then took the letters from me and ripped them into pieces.

I can’t help but recall those Friday nights cruising the streets of Morrilton and Russellville, drinking Strawberry Hill and watching in disgust as he spit into an empty Dr. Pepper bottle. It was an uncomplicated existence, made possible by an uncomplicated accomplice.

I can’t help but recollect the times he’d come around and my other friends would all of a sudden have to be somewhere else; how others wouldn’t be seen with him in public; how on Christmas day you could find him home, alone, asleep.

I can’t deny that I never had the opportunity to get to know his mother and father, my uncle and aunt. The two had divorced when Allen was young. His mother, I can’t recall meeting, his father was a raging drunk who used to beat Allen when he was a child.

I couldn’t help but just read his obituary in the local paper. Turns out he was married with a daughter named Abigail and the three of them lived in the same trailer by the school.

I can’t help but feel enormous guilt because I, like so many others, abandoned him.

And for that, I may never forgive myself.

Monday, June 25, 2007


Our house is filled with spiders of every sort. In the corners you'll find those who prefer webs. In the cracks and crevices you'll find those who don't. It's an ongoing battle with these eight-legged critters. It seems that whenever I get rid of one, another is along to takes its place.

I don't kill them, for the most part. I usually wad up some toilet paper and grab each spider, releasing it outside. Every once in a while I squeeze too hard. For that, I feel guilty.

Once, I found a spider on my leg. I noticed him as he was facing me, his primary legs aimed at me in the defensive position. Here was this spider, one-millionth my size, sitting ON me, yet in battle position. I admired his/her bravery and gently flicked it on to the floor before releasing it outside.

The other day, I was in the bathroom and I noticed something next to the toilet that looked like a piece of lint. Upon closer inspection, I discovered it was a spider with but two legs. Perplexed as I was, I picked up the injured arachnid and held it in my hands for closer inspection. It just flailed and flopped, unable to do much with but a fourth of it's normal leg-load. It reminded me of someone having convulsions. It was completely helpless. After a few moments, it stopped flailing about and just stared at me.

What happened to it? I wondered. It seems to me that if it had became entangled with a predator, it would have been eaten. Ants would have picked it apart, not left it there with two legs. Why just two legs left?

It continued to stare at me with sadness and helplessness in its many eyes. More eyes than legs.

I suddenly felt enormous sympathy for this creature, knowing it was destined to either die a slow miserable death on my bathroom floor or be eaten by a bigger bug. I was at a loss as to what to do. Should I end its life quickly? I couldn't release it outside, which would spell instant death. I'm not good at the whole ending-it-quickly thing.

In the end, I took the coward's way out, though I am still reeling over my decision.

I simply dumped the little fellow into the toilet and flushed.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Go Cardinals!

I know this picture isn't anything new, but still.

Purportedly, this is this guy's view on your average immigrant coming to the U.S.