Today is the day that my new TV arrives. The deliveryman is supposed to be here between 11-3 which got me thinking, what are the odds that he'll be her at 11:00? Really, has anyone in the history of time ever seen a service call or delivery show up at the beginning of the time window? Doesn't 11-3 actually mean 1-3? I paid for the front-door delivery. It's an extra $100 to actually bring it inside and another $100 to un-pack it. However, I'm convinced that a 20-dollar bill will get the TV into my living room. I'm also convinced that there will be problems with the TV since anything I'm ever excited about has problems right out of the box (it's a curse, really).
I got back from Houston yesterday after three days of playing poker. I didn't do well but managed to limit my losses to money already won earlier this year. This is what we poker players call, "rationalization," as if it's okay that you lost $3000 as long as you made $3000 earlier. Like that $3000 in your pocket was in some sort of Schrodinger's Cat-like state, neither here nor there until the end of the year. (Kudo's to me for working quantum physics into a post... look it up)
"Mensa" keeps sending me emails wanting me to come take the Mensa test. We genius's don't need confirmation of our awesome brain power, thank you very much. Truth is, I'm convinced that I'm getting dumber by the day and I prefer to just believe that I'm still a genius rather than take the test and confirm that I'm one step away from Tara Reid.
I was actually supposed to come home from Houston today, but I bumped my flight up a day for several reasons, not the least of which is that I missed my family. I'm officially family-whipped I guess. You know you're in trouble when you spend $130 to fly home early on a flight that originally cost $75. Hold on baby, Daddy's coming!
As most of you know, one of my defining characteristics is the time and effort that I put into making a big purchase. Next to my James Bond-like ability to seduce women, it's probably my most telling feature. In fact, if you see a man at Best Buy spending two hours taking notes on big-screen TV's, who then convinces the salesgirl at the camera counter to blow him behind the X-Box display..... it's me.
Today I made a huge purchase, a Samsung HL-R6178. Basically, it's a HDTV the size of a life raft. I did my normal amount of extensive research before finally just buying the thing because it was a great deal. It's a little larger than we need but I'm sure the picture will look great if we sit in the neighbors yard and watch it through the window.
It should be delivered early next week, just in time for my return from Houston where I hope to win enough at poker to pay for the damn thing. If I lose at poker and return home to a TV that I paid way too much for, the depression will be crushing.
"I'm not gonna get a yearbook."
"I never get one, they cost like, $65."
"Well, years from now you'll want to have it just so you can look back at those four years of your life or, in your case, six years."
"I bought him a new bowling ball for the 10-pin."
"Yeah, for picking up the 10-pin."
"He has a ball just for hitting the 10-pin?"
"How many balls does he need for the rest of 'em?"
Approaching the counter at Waldenbooks today, the clerk asked, "Did you find everything you were looking for?"
"Just this "Elmo" book," I said.
"And did you find anything for the baby?"
I was standing in the garage talking to Nelson when I remembered that there was a wasp nest in one of the bushes in front of the house. Nelson is allergic to wasps and has a passion for killing them that is unequaled. So, I grabbed a can of wasp killer out of the cabinet, handed it to Nelson and said, "Do me a favor, go kill the wasp nest that's in that bush."
Sunday we went to "Cracker Barrel" for breakfast. Usually we go to "Perkins," but this week we threw caution to the wind, got a wild hair up our ass, grabbed our bag of metaphors and headed to the "Cracker Barrel." Life is short. Grab breakfast by the balls. That's what I say.
(Sidenote - Yes, I know that my baby is cute. Yes, I appreciate you fawning over her but you know what I would really appreciate? I'd appreciate it if you would go get the fucking high chair so I can sit this heavy-ass child down before my arm snaps off at the elbow! I'm a man... I don't have hips on which to rest this poop machine! Get me a chair you hump!)
So there we were, sittin' in the "Cracker Barrel," (you start to say things like "sittin'" and "fixin' to" whenever you are at the "Cracker Barrel") and the ladies at the table next to us were admiring Sam. Finally, one of them asks how old she is and then says to Bobbi, "I can tell you work with her."
First of all, let me make it clear that we don't "work with her." Typically, she spends her day in front of the TV with a box of sugar and a power saw. She's self-taught. Second, Bobbi made the mistake of starting her reply with... well, I don't remember what she said but it wasn't, "My husband, Booray, is the one who takes care of her." So, naturally, I jumped in and took credit for the genius that is my child who at that moment was taking the golf tees out of the little game they have on the table at "Cracker Barrel" and shoving them up her nose.
So, the lady turns to me, the care-giver and says, "Well, then I can tell you work with her."
I smiled, tried to look modest in an aw-shucks "Cracker Barrel" sort of way and said: "Most of the time I just keep her tied to a stake in the front yard."
Yesterday I was sitting at the drive-thru bank teller and I decided to open a package. I had caught the mailman just as I was leaving and had a big box sitting on the seat next to me. I soon realized that I didn't have a knife to open the box with. It seems to me that I should have a knife in the car. You never know when you are going to need a knife. What if you were trapped in an accident and had to cut off your own leg to escape? What if you wanted to kill a hobo? Boy, you'd sure be sorry you didn't pack a knife in the glovebox then.
Despite lacking a knife in the car I do have two other possible car emergency's covered. If I'm ever trapped underwater in the car I can break the window with the handy window breaking tool that is in the center console. It also has a special blade for cutting the seatbelt (but not usable for opening a package or stabbing Paris Hilton). So I'm safe from water-born disaster.
The other emergency I have in the bag is the "trapped in the snow on a deserted road" disaster. Not exactly the sort of thing that happens all the time here in Florida but I'm prepared nonetheless. Although I lack any blankets for warmth, I'm convinced that I could live for days on the food that is in the bottom of Samantha's car seat. Seriously, I've seen breakfast buffets at "Shoney's" with less protein. The sugar rush off the Fruit Loops and Teddy Grahams might even be enough to enable me to hike out to safety.
This morning, Sam and I listened to some music while we ate breakfast. Actually, we always listen to music in the morning but this morning we listened to music that wasn't about "Elmo's Goldfish" or "The Big Red Car."
Listening to some tunes it occurred to me how much visual storytelling has affected popular music. Obviously, MTV had a profound effect on making songs popular when it first launched since a good video could make a bad song popular.
However, I was thinking more along the lines of movies and TV shows.
I've mentioned earlier how a song on the TV can now be tracked down on Google and bought in minutes. I did that with an Amy Mann song that I heard on "ED," and it has since become a favorite. However, it takes a really good show to make a song you already know... better. But that's exactly what happened with an episode of "The West Wing" called "Somebody's going to emergency, somebody's going to jail." The show title is taken from a Don Henley lyric:
Lying here in the darkness
I hear the sirens wail
Somebody going to emergency
Somebody's going to jail
If you find somebody to love in this world you better hold on tooth and nail
The wolf is always at the door
The show opens with the song and although I knew the song, I never really paid much attention to it until I heard it on the air. Basically, the "video" that was the opening of "The West Wing" made me really listen to the song for the first time. It's a great song, check it out:
My neighbor, Nelson, just finished putting up a new fence. The old fence was torn down on one side of his yard so he could install a swimming pool. he decided to replace the entire fence because, well, for no reason I can figure out, actually. He doesn't have any pets, his new pool takes up almost his entire yard and his children will never leave the pool enclosure ( why should they? ). The fence that separated us was still intact so my dogs couldn't get in his yard but he decided to replace the entire thing anyway. In truth, he just wanted a better-looking fence.
To save money, he stopped the fence at his back wall instead of running it between the house's. However, he left the gates up at the front of the house's so my dogs can't get out. What this means is that the side yard between our houses is now fence-free, so my dogs can roam in that area.
This is a long explanation, I know, but stay with me...
Yesterday, the first day the fence was completed, I looked out the side window and noticed that Nelson's garden hose was laying on the ground and there were a couple of lawn chairs stacked there as well. I decided to have a little fun with Nelson, so I called him up:
"Nelson," I said, "We need to talk about this new fence."
"What about it?"
"Listen, when I agreed to taking the fence down between our houses, I wasn't agreeing to having to stare at some "Puerto Rican Yard Sale" every day. (It's not racist if you accuse a Puerto Rican of having a "Puerto Rican Yard Sale") You've got your hose all sprawled out on the yard and lawn chairs laying around. Us "white folks" like to take a little pride in our yard!"
"Well, it's funny that you should mention that," He said, "Because when I took down the fence I knew that Boodreaux was going to be free to take a shit on the stretch of property between our houses but what I didn't realize was that he would take a shit ON MY GARDEN HOSE!
"That's right. I went out about 20 minutes ago to roll up the hose and came away with shit on my hands!" (This was the point when I started laughing hysterically)
"I'll tell you what I'm gonna do," I said, "I'm gonna let you use my hose to rinse the dog shit off your hose."
"What a neighbor."
"Quick honey, grab the camera and shoot a picture of the baby feeding me at breakfast!"
This is a great picture of the people sitting in the booth behind us..
"Okay, when I toss the baby, you snap a picture of her in mid-air!"
"Hello, HRS...... I was reading a blog today and I want to report a case of child abuse..."
Let me just state for the record that in the above picture, I am not throwing the baby on her head. I threw her on her stomach. She bounced on her head. I'm a good Dad.
Last week, NBC News did a short piece on Carnival Cruise Lines and how much they're charging the government to use three of their ships to house evacuees and first responders in New Orleans and Houston. Then, a couple of nights ago, Lewis Black did a bit on The Daily Show about it as well. Both pointed out that Carnival is charging more than the average ticket price to sit at the dock and be a hotel for FEMA. In fact, it's four times as much.
Those bastards! Ripping off the government in a time of national crisis! Four times as much as the normal rate! That's sooo wrong!
What's that? You say that the government rented out the entire boat put has only filled it to half capacity? Oh, so really they are charging twice as much per person (if it's full). That'S still a rip-off! Yes, I know that it's stupid for FEMA to rent an entire ship and only fill it half-way and I know that's not Carnival's fault but they are still charging twice as much per person over the normal ticket price. They should be taken out and shot!
I'm sorry, what is that you're saying? Carnival makes much more at sea than twice the ticket price! What do you mean? Oh, they have "shore excursions" that they book at a huge mark-up (last cruise I took, over $500)... yea, but.... what, oh sure there's liquor sales, souvenirs, photo's, bingo and a little thing called THE CASINO. Hmmm.... maybe you have a point. I suppose it's possible that Carnival makes at least twice the ticket price on all these things when at sea. In fact, that's probably why a cruise is so cheap, they make much more than the ticket price on all the other amenities. What's that? You say that they are also saving some money in port? They don't need casino personal, there's the cost of fuel. Wow, that sure is a lot to consider. You know what we need? We need a person to look at ALL the money Carnival makes when at sea an compare it to what they are charging FEMA. You know, investigate. IT'S TOO BAD A PERSON LIKE THAT DOESN'T EXIST.
From The Washington Post:
To critics, the price is exorbitant. If the ships were at capacity, with 7,116 evacuees, for six months, the price per evacuee would total $1,275 a week, according to calculations by aides to Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.). A seven-day western Caribbean cruise out of Galveston can be had for $599 a person -- and that would include entertainment and the cost of actually making the ship move.
I've been on five cruises and Bobbi has been on over a dozen. You show me a person who has been on a seven-day cruise and only spent $599 and I'll kiss his ass on Main St. $599 includes entertainment!? I suppose that's pssible if you don't drink, don't gamble, don't buy any souvenirs and never leave the ship!
One of the great things about old friends is that, over time, things that have happened or comments made can achieve a sort of legendary status. Quite often, these things are in no way deserving of the recognition they receive but, much like Donald Rumsfield, they get it anyway.
When I was in college, we used to hang out at Gene's because Gene was the only guy we knew who had an apartment. One night, I was standing playing darts with the couch ( who needs a dartboard when the couch will do) and talking to Donny, who was half-asleep and drunk. To be honest, I don't remember the backstory but somebody we knew was fighting with his girlfriend and they had just been at the same place that Donny had been.
With me so far?
So, I'm standing there, playing darts and asking Donny about this couple. I think Gene might have been there too. Anyway, I asked Donny if the couple had been at the party and if they had talked and Donny said, "Well..... you talk...... and you don't talk." Only he said it like he was spouting off some deep philosophical message (I think, therefore I am). I think he even waved his hand a little to make the point that there were two kinds of talking... all this without opening his eyes. At that time, in that place, it was the funniest thing Donny had ever said.
Soon, the statement became a rite of passage for any relationship. We used it to describe any trouble, or hint of trouble, that befell one of our comrades. If you were having trouble with your girl, someone was bound to offer, "You talk......... and you don't talk."
(By the way, it wasn't the only thing Donny said that night. When I asked him why he did something (I don't remember what) he said, "You know me and......... you know me." he was so drunk that he forgot what he was going to say after the "and" so he just repeated the first part. This, like the other saying, would be repeated for years.)
Yesterday, I went to see the Buc's play Detroit at Raymond James Stadium. I took my new camera since it would be a great opportunity to use my 450m lens.
I actually didn't get any really good shots of the game. You have to take a lot of pictures of sports before you get one really good one, unless you are my friend Kevin, the luckiest man alive. I'd been told that Kevin is incredibly lucky (for example, Kevin wins money on the slot machines at the Las Vegas Airport), but I didn't believe it until yesterday.
At every Buc's game thay always have jets from MacDill Air Force Base do a fly-over after the National Anthem. Yesterday, instead of F-16's they had Hurricane Hunters. Well, Kevin happens to know one of the pilots and he managed to score field passes for himself and his son. At halftime he was about to go down to the field and I handed him my camera, saying, "Take a few pictures of your son on the sidelines."
Kevin was still on the sidelines when the 2nd half started and the best play of the whole game occured. Joey Galloway caught a pass and ran 80 yards for the touchdown, then, when he got in the end-zone he dropped the ball and struck a pose right in front of Kevin who was holding my camera.
So, to sum up, I carried my huge camera around all day and the best picture I got was a fuzzy shot of the cheerleaders. Kevin borrows my camera for 15 minutes and gets a picture that looks like it should be on the cover of Sports Illustrated. (At this point I am going to point out that the picture with this story has been photo-shopped a little by me. The depth-of-field was too deep on the original and all the people behind Galloway were in focus. I blurred the background so that Galloway stands out more. It makes for a better picture as well as making me feel better about the fact that I didn't take it. At least I did something!)
Here's the best part: late in the 4th quarter when the game was almost over, I was talking to Kevin, who still had his field pass hanging around his neck. I asked him, "Was that pass only good for halftime?" "No," he said, "It's good for the whole game." Then he paused for a second and it hit him, "HEY! I SHOOD HAVE GIVEN YOU MY PASS SO YOU COULD GO ON THE FIELD AND SHOOT PICTURES!"