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.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Do You Know This Woman?

While driving from a Chamber of Commerce event, I figured I'd stop and look for the home of someone I am needing to visit in the near future. I had an address, so I drove to the neighborhood and started looking at house numbers. Once I spotted it, I made the block to double-check my work.

Well, this woman was walking her dog down the very same street, saw me double-back and proceeded to yell "FAGGOT!" as I drove by. So, of course I stop, roll down my window, give her the universal gesture for "what the hell?!" and ask her not to yell expletives when I drive by. I used those words exactly!

Nevertheless, she proceeds to tell me that there are no prostitutes in that neighborhood, and that I need a new haircut.

So, I told her, that because she welcomed me to the neighborhood so gracefully, that I would take her picture and post it it on my blog.

Here, for your viewing enjoyment, is an insane woman showing me her arse and her other arse.

P.S. if you know this dingbat, tell her to lay off the espresso.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Cleek at it again

Well, it appears the same wackjob who went after the OTC professor for using an ill-timed joke (but then later dropped charges after he realized how idiotic the charges were) is now going after a teacher and her husband for using a ping pong paddle to swat their kid's behind, and then forcing that child to hammer nails as a punishment.

If the story is to be taken at face value, my opinion is up in the air as to whether or not is constitutes "abuse." This is a touchy subject, corporal punishment, and like abortion, I doubt you can sway people from their opinions. I don't have small children, so my opinion doesn't matter at this point.

But I have to ask: Both parents have been charged with "inflicting cruel and unusual punishment." Was it the paddle or the hammering of the nails? Since when is hammering punishment? I used to steal my dad's hammer and drive nails into anything I could get my hands on. When he found out I nailed a couple into his truck tire, I got more than just a ping pong paddle.

My doubts rest with this prosecutor and his take on the law. He seems to believe that he has his finger on the pulse of Christian County. Instead, he comes off as a member of the morality police, and his belief systems have severely clouded his judgment.

But what do I know?

Here's the article: Local Paper

Monday, May 7, 2007

Советских Социалистических Республик?

So, occasionally I peruse contests, only entering those I would actually use if I were to win. Sometimes, I enter contests that promise to fly me to some far away location where I will be given front row seats to some no-talent performer (usually a former American Idol winner) who will no doubt ruin some of my favorite classics. With these contests, I usually enter anyway, with the the plan being that if I were to win, I would simply take the flight but never show up at the venue.

Anyway, I came across this site, Lucky Contest, and got a quick history lesson. Enter it yourself, and when you get to the scroll menu, scroll down to the countries that begin with the letter "U."

I guess glasnost is still underway?!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Everybody was blog-fu fighting...

I understand blogs are a place for people to knock heads, but the venom often spit back and forth between people of differing political views is not only uncomfortable to read, it paints a picture of a group of people who are filled with nothing but hatred and spite (and a warped sense of agendized entitlement, if you ask me).

I offer, for example, the rhetoric between DocLarry and JackeM in a fairly recent post in DocLarry's blog titled "Hypocrite."

Now, don't get me wrong, I have no point of view as far as who is "right" and who is "wrong," and I haven't taken the time to peruse either journal to see just what makes these two people tick. Heck, one or the other may be a wackjob, for all I know.

Yet, it seems to me that to say "Fuck Off" to a person voicing an opinion in your journal is the blog equivalent of the sniveling kid losing in kickball, who then snatches the ball away from the other players (because it's his ball) in order to end the game.

And then there's the cheering section, encouraging the continued humilitation of the poster. Are you people so full of hatred that you get off ridiculing and berating each other? Is that how you enjoy spending your time?

These are not rhetorical questions, by the way, and this isn't a defense of anyone, either. I'm sure everyone who takes the time to make a blog is a big boy or girl.

I'm just curious as to what makes you people tick.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Say what you want! (As long as it doesn't offend anyone)

So, I'm following this story about the Ozarks Technical Community College instructor who was fired because of his attempts to lighten up his class before a test.

His crime? Walking into the class with his briefcase in hand, slamming it down on a desk and saying, "I'm a suicide bomber." This upset some of the students so much that they then went and complained to campus officials.

Evidently, these students (who have been in his class since the middle of January) felt that their instructor had been abducted à la “Along Came a Spider,” with his kidnapper wearing a look-alike mask and assuming his identity. Why else would they feel distressed?

Did they not know that he truly was not a suicide bomber? Were they genuinely fearful, running out the door, jumping out of windows, or huddling under desks?

No. They were “offended," we can speculate, in light of recent events at VTU.

OTC director of public relations and communications Joel Doepker sums up the university’s take on free speech:

“In light of what happened Monday at Virginia Tech, people are just more serious about comments that are made," Doepker said.

"We are still reeling from that news. But even without the Virginia Tech situation, (the instructor's comments) still would have been cause for termination."

What happened to college campuses being a center for free speech, to be able to say what you want, regardless of how asinine, ridiculous, or distasteful it may be? We don’t always like what is taught/said. I, like many people, have had professors who were so left wing, Marx would have been like, “Whoa, slow down, Comrade.”

I guess OTC (of which I am a graduate) has decided that their campus is more like a day care for adults than a place where adults voice their concerns or opinions over an issue. What a nice milquetoast atmosphere.

This was a satellite campus, mind you, with a makeup of students than can best be classified as “non-traditional.” What you have is a classroom full of grown adults who have not the fortitude to speak up against something they found distasteful. Instead, the only recourse they can come up with is to get the guy fired. Way to go!

I'm sure the guy's wife and kids love that you're "feelings" have unemployed their father.

Bunch of lilywhite zealots. I hope you are enjoying your feeble-minded lives.

Here’s the News-Leader link:
Remark Gets Teacher Fired.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Fight the Power!

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (AP) - A small radio station intends to run the "Best of Imus" next week in defiance of Don Imus' firing.

Fred Lundgren, chairman of 1,400-watt KCAA (1050 AM), said the station would start the series Monday with the program that wound up getting Imus cashiered.

"I'm not going to let networks dictate to me who I run on my station," said Lundgren.

The station, which has broadcast the shock jock's morning show since 2003, also plans to air mostly supportive listener mail and e-mail reacting to the controversy.

The station can be heard in communities east and south of Los Angeles. The Imus material also will be available on the station's Web site at Monday.

Calls late Thursday to Westwood One Inc. (WON), which syndicated Imus' morning program, were not immediately returned.

Lundgren said the motive for broadcasting the Imus reruns is in part financial.

"I hate to say it, but without Imus, we're pretty much toast," said Lundgren, adding: "What Imus did was deplorable, inexcusable, but it shouldn't end the career of a man who has done so much good. This is an overreaction beyond anything I've ever seen in radio."

Shaun Powell's column in Newsday:

Shaun Powell

It's more than just Imus
April 12, 2007

In retrospect, outraged people shouldn't have united and screamed "blank you" to Don Imus the last few days. No, instead, we should've stuck out our hand and said, "Thank you."

We should feel indebted to a shriveled, unfunny, insensitive frog for being so ignorant that he actually did us all a favor. He woke society the hell up. He grabbed it by the throat, shook hard and ordered us to take a long, critical look at ourselves and the mess we've made and ignored for much too long. He made us examine the culture and the characters we've created for ourselves, our impressionable young people and our future.

Had Imus not called a bunch of proud and innocent young women "nappy-headed hos," would we be as ashamed of what we see as we are today?

Or, to quote Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer: "Have we really lost our moral fiber?"

And our minds as well?

I'm not sure if the last few days will serve as a watershed moment for this MTV, middle-finger, screw-you generation. Probably not, according to my hunch. A short time from now, the hysteria will turn to vapor, folks will settle back into their routines, somebody will pump up the volume on the latest poison produced by hip-hop while Al Sharpton and the other racial ambulance chasers will find other guilt-ridden white folks to shake for fame and cash. In five minutes, the entire episode of Imus and his strange idea of humor will be older than his hairstyle. Lessons learned will be lessons forgotten.

I wish I were wrong about that last part. But I doubt it, because any minute now, black people will resume calling themselves bitches and hos and the N-word and in the ultimate sign of hypocrisy, neither Rutgers nor anyone else will call a news conference about that.

Because when we really get to the root of the problem, this isn't about Imus. This is about a culture we -- meaning black folks -- created and condoned and packaged for white power brokers to sell and shock jocks like Imus to exploit. Can we talk?

Tell me: Where did an old white guy like Imus learn the word "ho"?

Was that always part of his vocabulary? Or did he borrow it from Jay-Z and Dave Chappelle and Snoop Dogg?

What really disappointed me about that exhausting Rutgers news conference, which was slyly used as a recruiting pitch by Stringer, was the absence of the truth and the lack of backbone and courage. Black women had the perfect opportunity to lash out at their most dangerous oppressors -- black men -- and yet they kept the focus on a white guy.

It was a tremendous letdown for me, personally and professionally. I wanted Stringer, and especially her players, many of whom listen to rap and hip-hop, to take Nelly to task. Or BET. Or MTV. Or the gangsta culture that is suffocating our kids. They had the ear and eye of the nation trained upon them, and yet these women didn't get to the point and the root of the matter. They danced around it, and I guess I should've known better, because black people still refuse to lash out against those black people who are doing harm to us all.

Honestly, I wasn't holding my breath for Sharpton or Jesse Jackson, a pair of phony and self-appointed leaders, because they have their agendas and financial stakes. I was hoping 10 young women, who have nothing on the line, who are members of a young culture, would train their attention to within the race, name names and say enough is enough. But they didn't, and I was crushed.

You should walk around the playground and the elementary and high schools today and listen to how young black people speak to each other, treat each other and tease each other. You'd be ashamed. Next, sample some of their CDs and look at the video games they're playing. And while you're at it, blame yourself for funding this garbage, for allowing your kids to support these companies and for not taking a stand against it or the so-called artists making it happen.

Black folks, for whatever reason, can be their own worst enemy. The last several days, the media had us believe it was Don Imus. But deep down, we know better.

Thursday, April 12, 2007


We are losing icons left and right, Vonnegut being one of that bunch. In twenty, fifty, years are we going to be left only to mourn the likes of Paris Hilton and Snoop Dogg?!

Nothing against Snoop, personally. It's just that..I dunno..the relatively recent passings of James Brown, Johnny Hart, Peter Boyle (good lord, there are too many to think of right now): these were people who shaped and molded society, the arts.

Crap. I suppose in our postmodern world, the likes of Hilton and Dogg (?) are helping form the future.

Dammit, Vonnegut, why did you have to die now? The world NEEDS you!

An Icon, Gone

This morning, I recalled a 2006 interview of Kurt Vonnegut by Doug Brinkley of the Rolling Stone. I went through some things, and here is an excerpt from it:

...Vonnegut starts coughing, clearing his throat of phlegm, grasping for a half-smoked pack of Pall Malls lying on a coffee table. He quickly lights up. His wheezing ceases. I ask him whether he worries that cigarettes are killing him.

"Oh, yes," he answers, in what is clearly a set-piece gag.

"I've been smoking Pall Mall unfiltered cigarettes since I was twelve or fourteen. So I'm going to sue the Brown & Williamson Tobacco Company, who manufactured them. And do you know why?"

"Lung cancer?" I offer.

"No. No. Because I'm eighty-three years old. The lying bastards! On the package Brown & Williamson promised to kill me. Instead, their cigarettes didn't work. Now I'm forced to suffer leaders with names like Bush and Dick and, up until recently, 'Colon.'"....

Vonnegut's view on politics and politicians was as throwback as his sense of humor, and in this day and age of partisanship-till-you-die, he was truly one of the last of a dying breed.

God bless his ability to have been his own person.

Like many people, I read "Slaughterhouse Five" in high school. In the years that followed, I was fortunate enough to read many of his other works: "Cat's Cradle," "Breakfast of Champions," "Galapagos," and "A Man Without a Country" come to mind. I wrote a paper on him in college, as then he was one of the world's "greatest living authors." The fact that he is no longer a member of that club makes me feel vulnerable and small.

Vonnegut is quoted as writing and saying many things, but what drew me to him as a person was his labyrinthine view on the simplicity of life: that happiness can be obtained just as easy by laughing at the bullsh*t than trying to fix it.

As a throwback kind of guy myself, my favorite quote of his would have to be one featured in, of all things, Playboy, back in 1973:

“Human beings will be happier - not when they cure cancer or get to Mars or eliminate racial prejudice or flush Lake Erie - but when they find ways to inhabit primitive communities again. That's my utopia.”

One more thing: Vonnegut, when typed into a MS Word document, still shows up as misspelled. I struggle with the notion of labeling this ironic, or not.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Imus, the "n" word, and freedom of speech

Imus did it. The radio personality said a word that people who are devoid of color should never say.

No, not that 'N' word, but another.

"Nappy" is one of those words that originally had a meaning devoid of race. Of course, this is no longer the case. Nappy now signifies only the hair of a black, or more specifically, African-American person.

I point to the literally hundreds of rap and hip-hop songs that reference “nappy hair,” “nappy-headed,” and even, yes, believe it or not, “nappy-headed hos.”

Let’s be realistic here. The fact that he insulted a whole basketball team is secondary to the fact that the phrase referenced a hair texture common in (but not exclusively common in, mind you) black people.

And the fact that he called them “hos?” Poor taste, indeed. An ill-timed joke, yes. But then again, perhaps Imus was doing nothing more than simply using a phrase that is, in every sense of the word, a pop-cultural reference?

Who didn’t walk around in the 90’s spouting “Word” in jest? Or how about you women who incessantly said to one another, “Hey, Girlfriend!” What about "player hater?"

Nappy-head ho. Sure, it’s an insult. Imus was right to apologize.

But is he racist, or was the insult meant in a racist way?

I don’t believe so.

Suppose it had been a black sports jock who had called the team that. Would it be OK? Not as bad?

Would it be OK simply because he shares the same skin color?

I’m not asking these questions in jest. I want real answers here. In my opinion, it’s either wrong both ways, or not at all.

And then we have Al Sharpton calling Imus racist. Ha! Here’s a rat that only pops its head out when an opportunity arises to garner attention. The sooner he and Jesse Jackson leave the planet, the sooner we will all finally “get along.”

Imus, what you said was insensitive. I blame not the Rutgers team for taking offense to your remarks.

But, to everyone else still sitting around in disbelief at what he said, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for chipping away at my, and everyone else’s, freedom to say what we want so say. Because you have been heavily indoctrinated into the world of sensitivity and political correctness, I have no doubt that, if we were to have it your way, there will come a day when any and all insults (real and insinuated) result in immediate jail time.

What a wonderful world that will be!

Monday, April 9, 2007

First Post



More to come, of course.