Wednesday, April 29, 2009

OK, Tooth Fairy, Here They Come

If there were a hall of fame for dental patients, I'd be Babe Tooth. If archaeologists of the future unearth my mouth, they'll call me King Toothankhamun. The amount of damage I've done to my own dentifrice over the years qualifies me as John Wilkes Tooth. I'm the main course of a dentist's dinner: Teeth Wellington.

My teeth suck. They only suck half as much as they used to, though. That’s because I had half of them removed about 7 years ago. Tomorrow, I’m having most of the remaining ones removed.

Before you get too weepy about that, let me tell you that I’m not weepy at all. As a matter of fact, I’m looking forward to it. Not that I’m some sort of masochist who likes having teeth yanked out of his head, but I know what a marvelous job my dentists did on the uppers. I’m looking forward to just as marvelous an outcome for the lowers.

I’ve told stories about the types of procedures I’ll be undergoing. If you like grody tales, go HERE. That’s the beginning of a four-part opus concerning what I went through to have my uppers done. There are also a few stories included concerning why I had such rotten teeth to begin with. Condensed version? Bad genes combined with awesome neglect.

The first thing that happens, tomorrow, is the removal of most of the lowers. I’ll still have two remaining, those being used to hook a temporary denture onto. A few months later, when the gums have healed, I’ll have the more radical part of the procedure (more radical than removing half your teeth – isn’t that something?) which is slicing open the gums, drilling into the bone, placing implants, and having a permanent prosthetic dental device attached to the implants.

Really, I’m looking forward to it. Of course, rumor has it that Custer was looking forward to Little Big Horn.

So, this is the last entry here until next Monday. I’ll try to remember to get some before and after shots, although the difference probably won’t be as startling as these pre-and-post shots of the uppers.

If I had the extra cash, I'd get two temporary dentures made. One would be your standard-issue run-of-the-mill nice-looking set, and the other would be a set with great big gruesome fangs. I'd wear the fangs when I play softball, just to freak out the other team. Oh, well. You can't have everything.

Soon, with more better teeth.


Oh, Hell's Bells. My teeth have fucked me up one last time while they still had the chance.

I just got a call from the dentist's office. My appointment for tomorrow is canceled because the doctor has to attend a funeral. I'm being re-scheduled for a week from today, next Wednesday at 1pm. I made no contingency plans for this space, so I'm publishing what I wrote as is. Next Wednesday, read this again. And if any of you said prayers for me, and you mentioned a specific date in them, please give God an addendum. I'd hate for Him to look down at my dentist's office at 8am tomorrow, go "What the...? Where's Suldog? That bastard!" and then give me some sort of smoting.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Yeah, I Wrote It, But Your Guess Is As Good As Mine Concerning What In Hell It All Adds Up To

... 3:46am here in Boston, and that concludes tonight's broadcast of Red Sox baseball. The final score, Red Sox - 25, Yankees - 16, in 29 innings. We now join The Jim Sullivan Show, already in progress.

[Bark! Bark! [Sizzle] Yip! Bark! Bark! [Sizzle] Yip!]


Let’s hear it again for Michelle, The Flaming Poodle Juggler! Thank you, Michelle!


And now, we’ve come to that portion of the program wherein I dip into the mailbag and read letters from our viewers!

(Music: "We Get Letters")

Our first letter comes to us all the way from Port Orford, Oregon!

(Audience: "Oooooooooh!")

Well, I don’t know if we can expect much of anything from a place whose official tourism site has nothing on it, but here's the letter, anyway. It says, "I’ve tagged you for an award over at my place". Well, we all know what that means!

("If I Only Had A Brain" is played by studio orchestra. A huge Wheel-Of-Fortune-type device descends to the stage. Audience applauds.)

That’s right! It’s time to spin The Wheel Of Gratuitous Insults! And here we go!

(Spins wheel, while studio orchestra plays mid-section of "The Saber Dance". Music slows gradually, as does wheel.)

OK, the wheel is slowing down. Let's see what category of insults we come up with tonight!

The wheel is still spinning... it's going past You’re So Stupid, I... You Come From WHERE???..... What Did You Possibly Eat To Get So Fat?....... A Priest, A Rabbi, And YOU Walk Into A Bar......... Yo Mama........... You Call That A Baby?.............. I Haven't Smelled Anything That Bad Since.................. It looks like it’s going to land on The Last Time That Was Funny Was When Hooded Sheets Were A Fashion Accessory In Certain Parts Of Mississippi!...................... Aaaaaaaaaand..... No! The wheel has stopped on What In Hell Does THAT Mean?"

(Audience: BOO!)

Hey! Did you pay to get in here? I know it’s been a long time since the wheel landed on Quips Worthy Of Oscar Wilde And Dorothy Parker, but that’s the luck of the draw, folks. Now, let’s get on with it.

This award comes from SixtyFiveWhatNow! Huh? Come Again? What in Hell does THAT mean? And the award is called Palabras Como Rosas. What in Hell does THAT mean? Palabras? Friend of Brassieres?

(Audience starts throwing things)

Sit down, ingrates! You knew when you came in here I’d make a cheesy sex joke out of something sooner or later. Anyway, what about "Como"? What in Hell does THAT mean? Is it Perry Como, the old-timey crooner?

(Audience throws bigger, deadlier things)

OK, OK, I know this sucks so far, but wait for the payoff. "Rosas"? I bet that means just what it sounds like, a bunch of flowers. So, the whole thing taken together means Chum Of Over-The-Shoulder Boulder Holders And A Singer With Some Roses. What in Hell does THAT mean?

(Studio audience leaves, and I can’t say that I blame them)

OK, so the home audience is still here, right? Hello? I guess I'll have to continue on faith that you are.

I don’t know what to do with these awards anymore, folks. I can be as vicious as the next guy, assuming the next guy isn't Genghis Khan, but I’m trying to build up good karma for my dental surgery, so I don’t want to insult the giver of the award too greatly. She seems like a nice sort, anyway. I’m sure the award was given with all good intentions, but so are most cases of the clap. I’ll tack it onto the sidebar, as usual, and, insofar as entertainment goes, you can only hope that nobody gives me another award while I’m feeling so disgustingly mellow.

Actually, I did get another one, kinda sorta.

See, Angie Ledbetter, otherwise known as Gumbo Writer, gave me The Zombie Chicken Award.

What’s that you say? I already got this award, and just two weeks ago at that? Yeah, it’s true. Angie decided to throw a monkey wrench into my happy gears. When I got the award originally, she was one of the poor souls to whom I handed it off. Well, she decided to give it back.

I’ve got to tell you the truth. I don’t know what in hell to do now. I’ve never had this happen before. I always figured once you handed one of these odious things off to some other sucker, you were done with it. I guess not.

I’m going to take the coward’s way out, which should come as no surprise to any of you who know me well. I’m going to give the award to somebody else and then invoke the "no return tags" rule.

(If you don’t remember what that is, it’s from when you were a kid and you played a game of tag. When you were tagged and became "it", you could easily just tag the person who had tagged you and make them "it" again, right? And then they’d tag you again, and then you’d tag them again, and then sooner-or-later one of you hauled off and punched the other guy. In order to avoid such things, the “no return tag” rule came into being. Once you were tagged, you could only tag someone other than the person who tagged you. Because of that rule, I think I may still be "it" from the last game of tag I was ever involved in. However, I digress, and you certainly don't deserve that.)

(We had been smoking angel dust and playing the game by whacking each other over the head with 2x4s, as I recall. What I remember with clarity is getting conked on the noggin, and the next thing I knew I woke up in some bushes and my wallet was gone. I never saw those guys again. Come to think of it, I'm not entirely sure I had ever met them before that time, and maybe I was just mugged. Yeah, that would explain why my pants were missing, too, I guess. Huh.)

Soooooooooo, I’m giving the award to Magazine Man. Not only is he The Best Writer On The Internet (it says so on my sidebar, so it must be true) but he also will probably ignore the damn thing completely and that will be the end of that.

Boy, this wasn’t good, not even a tiny little bit. Hey! I’m having almost all of my remaining teeth out on Thursday! Did I mention that? Cut me some slack.

And that’s The Jim Sullivan Show for today. Be sure to stay tuned for The National Oyster Shucking Championship coming up next on many of these fine stations.

(sound of crickets)

Stuff, Better, More With, Soon.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Scrimmage #2

I have other things to write about – a couple of blog awards I’ve received; my impending dental surgery; the Celtics or Bruins or Red Sox – but I’m tired. I just played the second fast-pitch softball scrimmage of the year.

(After my Earth Day rant, this will seem mighty tame. Don't worry. If you want obscenity, just give me a few days to build my steam back up. I've never been able to completely keep my cool for more than a couple of weeks.)

I played seven or eight innings in the field. It was 73 or 75 degrees, and I broke a good sweat for the first time. It felt good, but I’m tired. So, I’ll tell you a little about the scrimmage and then I’m going to have some lunch and enjoy the Celtics game.

I met some of my new teammates this week, and a few more of the old good ones showed up for the first time. I think we’ve got a 17-man roster, so I won’t expect to play more than one game a week (out of the two we play each Sunday) unless we’re extremely shorthanded.

I felt pretty good playing first base, so maybe I can add some value to the team as another possible body to throw out in the field rather than just being a DH all year. I’ve lost a step, but I’m smarter than a lot of guys. What I mean is I’ve had a whole bunch of experience, so I can sometimes help to pull off a play I’ve got no business pulling off.

Example: There was a situation where the other team had first and third, two outs. Joey Baszkiewicz, our catcher, made a snap throw down to Big Jay Atton at third, in an attempt to pick off a runner. He didn’t get him, but I saw my guy on first taking a big lead when Joey made that throw. I figure he’s not going to expect a snap to first immediately after the unsuccessful one to third. He’s ripe for the picking. Problem is, I hadn’t worked out any signs with Joey to alert him for an attempted pick off. So, here’s what I did.

Joey Baszkiewicz, as I say, was the catcher. Jack Atton was our pitcher. You know how infield chatter goes, with guys saying, "Come on, so-and-so, here we go" and stuff like that? Usually, it’s directed at the pitcher. Well, I figure the guys on the other team aren’t so familiar with us that they’ll know I’m NOT talking to the pitcher if I say, "Here we go, Joey!" And I figure if I say his name, Joey will perk up and get the idea to snap it to me. So, I yell out, "Here we go, Joey!" and Joey did pick up on it, snapped it to me, and we got the pickoff, end of inning. A less-cerebral first baseman – not to mention catcher - does not get that job done, so that was satisfying.

I fielded my position well, as I said, but my hitting wasn’t great. I wasn’t too far off, though. I found myself lunging for a couple of pitches and got too much air under them. I was just overanxious. If I stay in my stance, don’t lean to reach those pitches, I either have a couple of vicious shots into right center or at least another ball in the count each time (we had no umpires for the scrimmage, so...) I’ll correct that easily enough.

Good to see guys like Joey and Big Jason. Jason is the guy I gave my glove to after my "retirement", and I like to remind him of that fact every time I see him. He still has the glove, still with my signature on it, and I keep telling him to protect that signature because he’ll be able to get three dollars and twenty-seven cents for it someday on E-Bay.

In reality, it’s kind of cool to know my glove will still be playing after I’m really and truly retired following this year.

Yeah, that’s the plan. I’m feeling good enough to give it one more shot this year and then call it a day. One more shot at a championship, which I’ve never gotten at any level in my 45 years of ball. One more shot.

It feels good.

Some of the guys were saying I only show up in order to have material for my blog. I told them I wasn’t sure if I would publish softball stuff every Monday this year. That brought about general moans and groans, since they like to read about themselves. I should qualify that. They like to read about themselves if they DO WELL. Hey, so do I. I don’t blame them.

I’ll write about it as the spirit hits me. I expect it will be most Mondays following our games, but maybe not all of them.

Well, the Celtics are coming on. I’ll be back tomorrow with something about those blog awards I got, then Wednesday with something about my bottom teeth. I’m having all of my bottom teeth, except two, out on Thursday, and I’ll be fitted for a temporary denture at that time. We’re supposed to start the season next Sunday, three days after my teeth are out. I'll be ready to play.

No other blog entries, following Wednesday, until next Monday. If you’re the type, I’d appreciate a prayer concerning the dental stuff. If you’re not the type, I’d STILL appreciate a prayer, you heathen. What the hell! It’s for me! I’m a nice guy, so get down on your knees!

Soon, with more better stuff.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Earth Day Can Blow Me

In order to truly appreciate what follows, you need to understand that MY WIFE has very sensitive hands. They are particularly sensitive to changes in temperature, and especially to extreme heat. Got that? OK.

So, MY WIFE goes into her favorite coffee shop. It is her favorite not because they serve great coffee, but because it is close to where she works. She'll come out of the subway, grab a cup of coffee, and then head to her office. Convenience counts.

She orders her coffee. It is given to her in a cardboard cup. She requests a second cardboard cup. She will place the first cardboard cup, the one holding the coffee, inside of this second cardboard cup. That is because the first cardboard cup, being full of hot coffee, has itself become extremely hot, especially so to a woman with very sensitive hands.

The server offers her one of those slip-on things that slide over the outside of the cardboard cup. MY WIFE politely tells him that the slip-on thing doesn't really do the job well enough, as she has very sensitive hands. She again requests a second cardboard cup.

The server says that he'll give her one, but he'd really rather not. MY WIFE asks "Why?"

The server says, "Because I'd like my grandchildren to have trees."

(Slight pause here for those who reacted as I did upon hearing this story, and who have a similar need to pick their jaws up off of the floor.)

MY WIFE really isn't a confrontational person. She took the proffered cup, placed her first cup inside of it, and left. What she truly wanted to do was throw the steaming hot coffee back into the smug asshole's face. Personally, I think that would have been an entirely reasonable reaction.

I wish I had been there. I wouldn't have become violent. I would have reasoned with him calmly, in language he'd understand, like so...

"You want your grandchildren to have trees? How much do you want your grandchildren to actually be born, motherfucker? You're lucky I don't jump over the counter and cut off your nuts, you sanctimonious piece of shit. How dare you speak to MY WIFE that way?

If you're so concerned about the fucking environment, Johnny Appleseed, then convince your employer to serve everyone in ceramic mugs. That way, you won't have to worry about trees at all. Better yet, why don't you quit your job - since the performance of it obviously pains your conscience- go live in the fucking rain forest, and throw yourself in front of the next tractor that comes along? It probably won't actually save any trees for your grandchildren - about whom, by the way, I don't give a flying fuck, if they're from your shallow gene pool - but it will immediately make the entire world a nicer place when you die. And then, when I shit on your grave, I'm sure your progeny will be appreciative of the effect the natural fertilizer will have on the grass.

I assume you wipe your ass with your hand and blow your nose on your shirt, right? Do you let your girlfriend use store-bought tampons, or do you make her stuff a sheep into her drawers every 28 days? Hey! There's a squirrel eating an acorn! Shoot the little tree-aborting fuck!

You insignificant little pissant, with your high-and-mighty "I'm saving the planet!" speech. You know what? I'm going to leave here, right now, and uproot a tree just because you suck. And I'm also going to come back in here every day for the next year, order a coffee, and ask for THREE extra cardboard cups with every one. You know why? Because it will piss you off. And, if you then say anything to me concerning your grandchildren and trees, I'll go tear another sapling out of the ground for every single word you utter, Mister Green Jeans."

No, I'm not that insane. I don't want to see the entire world become an arid and lifeless desert. Both MY WIFE and I recycle stuff. I'm not saying we're Mr. & Mrs. Ewell Gibbons, but we try to do our part. Her more so than me, admittedly, which is why this is so infuriating. She's a nice woman, who does more than most when it comes to recycling. And then she's confronted with such terrific gall from Super Barista? It makes me want to throw in the paper towel altogether. Jerkwad.

This blog is actually entirely green, by the way, since the steam generated by me during this rant, had it been captured and converted into electricity, would have powered a 60-watt fluorescent bulb for three hours.

Soon, with more better stuff.

(Due to the title alone, if not the content, this piece will no doubt be picked up by a variety of blog aggregators. I will be visited by all sorts of whackjobs who will want to leave insulting comments. Here's what I have to say to them: If you truly care about saving the planet, shut off your fucking computer. I don't give a furry rat's ass what you have to say. And, if you still insist on getting up on a soapbox to give me a pious speech, I will personally buy a case of Pampers, throw them away without using them, and help to create bigger landfills.)

(Today's lesson, by the way, is in both political science and reading comprehension. Whole bunches of gooheads will not read this paragraph, wherein I say that I'm mostly kidding and that I love trees, and that nearly everything in the next paragraph is a joke. Also, you catch more flies with honey than you do vinegar, so if catching flies is your idea of big fun, now you know what to do. In other words, all kidding aside, if you want people to come over to your side of an issue, you don't give them the snark. Case in point: Do any of you think I've made any friends here with this? No, of course not. Neither did Juan Valdez with his off-the-cuff lecture about arbors and genetics.)

(Now, please excuse me. I'm going to go have a smoke, toss the lit butt into a forest, step on a few honeybees, spit on some flowers, drive to the convenience store a half-block away in my SUV, buy a few newspapers to throw in the gutter, and then piss in the reservoir. If I knew where I could get my hands on any whales, I'd force feed them spotted owls.)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

One More Kick At The Cat (Part Two)

(Part One Here.)

12:05pm, Sunday - I'm home. And I feel pretty good.

When I first got to the field, I was the only one there. That wasn't unusual. I'm almost always the first guy to the field, no matter what league I'm in. I'm usually so psyched to play I beat every other player by twenty minutes. In this case, I wanted to warm up, in private, before anyone else could critique my creaky-kneed runs around the bases.

It was a cold morning. The wind was blowing hard, it was about 45 degrees, and my first thought was, "What in hell am I doing here? I could be home having a nice hot breakfast with MY WIFE, instead of torturing myself."

I ran up-and-down the first base line, feeling a bit looser each time. My knees were stiff and hurt a bit, but the pain wasn't increasing. That was a good sign. I became fractionally warmer, but it still was not pleasant. After that, I exhausted all possible forms of entertainment available via stretching. I then sat down on one of the benches, lit a smoke, and waited for someone - anyone else - to show.

Finally, somebody came walking through the fence from the parking lot, but it wasn't one of my teammates. It was the manager of another team from the league - almost as deranged as I am, thus his being there so early in the morning, too - who was there to meet his team for a practice session. We exchanged small talk for a minute, then Jack Atton, my manager, appeared, along with Billy Botting, a 20-year-old (20-YEAR-OLD!) teammate from last year.

(Billy is a tremendous hitter. He'll be 21 before the end of the season, so I promised him a free drink for every 5 points he hits over last year's average. Heck, he hit something like .625 last year, so I don't expect to have to buy him too many, but if I end up having to get him absolutely plastered, that'll mean good things probably happened for the team, so I hope that's how it works out.)

Other guys showed up every couple of minutes, some from the Flames (my former weekday team.) Pete Mittell, the manager of that team, was first to show for them. Pete is a true gentleman and one of the nicest guys ever to step foot on a ballfield. Notwithstanding that, I think his first words to me were, "Is that you, Sully? I didn't recognize you. You got real old."

The banter often runs towards insults, and some of them can be much rougher than what Pete said (as well as filthier) but it's all taken in stride and you're expected to either match the obscenity level or come up with something funny as a topper. The best thing about playing ball, at my age, is that you get to be 12 or 13 again. You can make all sorts of hideously immature jokes, and hear whole bunches of them, too, which is even better! There just aren't that many places left in the world where you can say something about your dick being the size of a 36-ounce baseball bat while knowing with utter certainty that nobody will be offended or take you even the slightest bit seriously. Or ask you to prove it, Thank God.

After warming up, I truly didn't feel bad at all. I fielded a few hard grounders at first during BP; dove at a couple and didn't get them, but just being able to throw myself on the dirt and not break anything was promising; and the laughs came free and easy for all of us.

During the actual scrimmage, the first pitcher we faced was throwing with a decent bit of speed. He also had a good change-up and a pretty fair knuckler. Not bad. And we were playing the game with four outfielders, as we'll be doing in the actual league for the first time ever. Therefore, what was needed, at least from me, was decent bat speed and keeping the ball down, on a line or on the ground.

I had three at-bats. I singled sharply to right-center the first time up, driving in a run. In my second at-bat, I grounded out, but I drove in another run while doing so. And, in my final at-bat, I hit a hard sinking liner that short-hopped the second baseman, but somehow hit his glove and bounced up into the air, coming down exactly where the shortstop could grab it, step on second forcing the man who had been on first base, and then relay to first in an attempt to get the DP, making me run full tilt for the first time all day. I felt surprisingly decent after actually running like that - AND I beat the throw.

All in all, I think I did a good job hitting. In the field, I didn't face any hard chances, so no problem there.

I feel I've earned myself a return ticket to the field for the final scrimmage next week, and if I do as well as I did today, I'll feel like I deserve a spot on the team. I won't expect to play every inning, but I think I'll be able to contribute some value.

So all of my self-flagellating seems to have been an over-reaction. Gee, what a surprise, me, over-reacting. Who could have imagined such a thing?

The best part of the day, as mentioned before, was seeing all of the guys again. That's why I truly love being part of a team, even if all I do is keep stats or something.

I've played ball with Ron Johnson, on this same team, for 16 years now. He and I are the only original members left. My very good buddy, Fred Goodman - that's him, on the left, in the photo up top - has been my teammate for even longer, going back to when we both played for a company team in South Boston starting in 1986 or thereabouts. He wasn't on this current team the very first year of its existence, but he's been here since the year after, making this his 15th season. Both great guys.

Jack Atton, the manager, is a good friend. I was the manager before him, and I chose him personally to be my successor. That's because I knew he cared deeply about winning and losing, but not so much that he'd be psychotic about it. He's got just the right attitude - try your hardest to win, but the world isn't going to end if you don't, so have fun. He's been my teammate for about 11 or 12 years now, I guess, going back to some time spent in the M Street league, one of the toughest fast-pitch leagues in the city.

Jack's nephew, Jason, is the one I gave my glove to when I first "retired". That's how highly I think of him. He wasn't there this week, but I expect he will be next week and I'm looking forward to seeing him again. Huge kid (6'7" or so) with a great sense of humor and as much raw talent as anyone on the team. Love having him for a teammate. Great RBI guy.

I could go on and give everybody some props, but that would get boring real fast. I love them all.

And now, I'm looking forward to playing again, rather than fearing it. I guess that's the best I could ask, isn't it? Yes, it is.

Soon, with more better stuff.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

One More Kick At The Cat (Part One)

6:50am, Sunday – Today I’m going to play softball. I’ve played some form of ball (baseball, softball) every year since 1964. For all of those years, I looked forward to playing. This year I fear it.

2007 was supposed to be my last year. I knew I was at the end of the line. I was 50 years old, my skills were declining, and I had made a conscious decision to give it everything I had, one last time, and then go out with my head held high. And so I did. I had a pretty good year. And I fully intended that my last game that year would be my last game ever.

I told everybody that I was retiring. I wrote about it, keeping a diary of that season and publishing it here. You can find a link on the sidebar that will take you to every installment of that diary. Some of it is good writing even if you wouldn’t know a baseball bat from a shillelagh. Some of it is self-indulgent crap (much as this may be, although it's hard for me to tell from such a short distance.)

After my final game, I gave my glove to a good friend and teammate. I tossed my raggedy old uniform pants in the trash. I was done. I was OK with the decision. I knew I was doing the right thing. I mean, look at this picture of me from after that final game.

As someone, perhaps my uncle, said, "You look old enough to have invented the sport!" Someone else described me as looking as though I had been rode hard and put up wet.

So, what happened? Why am I going out this morning to play?

In 2008, I was going to be a base coach for my Sunday team. I still liked the camaraderie of being on a field and interacting with the guys who had been my friends for many years. I figured I could still keep the book, coach third base, maybe impart a bit of the wisdom I’d garnered by playing the game for close to 45 years. I told the coach of that team, as well as the coach of my weekday evening team, that I would do them a favor and play if - and only if - they were absolutely desperate and needed a ninth player to avoid forfeiting a game.

That was a serious mistake.

I knew damn well, in my heart of hearts, that a full season wouldn’t go by without there being at least one game where not enough guys would show up. I knew there’d be at least one occasion wherein I’d be asked to put on a uniform and play again. I was an ego-driven dope. I consciously put myself into the only position wherein I would feel justified in breaking my promise to not play again. I would be some sort of softball superhero, coming to the rescue at age 51.


So, I got a call to play from my weekday manager. He truly needed someone one night, so I played. I caught two innings for him before a replacement showed up. I had one at-bat. I drew a walk. I made no errors. Not bad. I could still hold my head high.

Then I was needed on a Sunday. It was a rainy sort of day. Lots of guys assumed that the games would be cancelled. I caught one game, played first base in the other. In the first game, I got a key hit in the final inning, and scored the winning run. It was a seriously nice feeling to have my coach and teammates crowd around me after scoring that run, offering congratulations and patting me on the back, saying things about how swell I was and how I shouldn’t have retired and this was the proof, etc.

I played most of the rest of the Sunday season following that moment of glory, but I didn't play exceedingly well. I found myself unable to field my position to any degree of satisfaction. My reflexes were slow, something I knew when I had "retired". As a hitter, I was mediocre. I was still smart enough to keep a decent on-base percentage, via walks and hitting to the weaknesses in the opposing defense, but I couldn’t run worth a shit and it would have taken some sort of minor miracle for me to get any hits other than singles.

I’m not just being hard on myself. We made the playoffs. I didn’t play a single inning in the two games we lost, the only two games we played. If I truly had anything left to offer the coach would have given me at least one chance to swing a bat. I had no complaints about not playing. How could I? I was seriously washed up.

And here I am, going out to play in a scrimmage, trying to prove, to that same coach, that I’m good enough to do some playing for him this year. I’m 52, and two seasons past when I left the game voluntarily with a good taste in my mouth.

The problem is that last year left me feeling bad. Two years ago, I left of my own accord. I had a decent year and rode off into the sunset feeling good about myself. I could have lived on that feeling, knowing that I was not only a decent ballplayer but also a smart one, having got out with a good year when I knew I was declining rapidly. Instead, I finished last year with the knowledge that I had been a self-centered dope to offer my services as a player, even if I clothed that offer in self-sacrifice.

So, now, I have to try and leave with the good taste again. I have to play in order to redeem that last year. I want to go out with self-respect. I want to hit decently, play smart ball, be a good teammate, and leave with the knowledge that I’m the one who’s doing the deciding about leaving. I don’t want to leave with the knowledge that I’m a detriment to my team. If I play like a clown in these pre-season scrimmages, I won't press the matter. I'll give it up with as much grace as possible.

The shame of it is that I know damned well I shouldn’t play. My skills are shot. I haven’t miraculously regained the great reflexes of my youth. I’m not going to hit the ball any harder. I still can’t run. The probability is that I’m going to embarrass myself in some way.

But I have to do this. My Sunday team is scrimmaging against my former weekday team, both teams getting tuned up for the season starting in two weeks. I’ve dropped 10 pounds, I’ve got new glasses, I’ll go put on a uniform now, drive to the field, have a good time seeing the guys again, and then hope that God grants me a one-season reprieve from aging and a bit of luck.

For certain, I’m not a pro, but I have the same obsession. I have to try. I couldn’t live with myself, if I didn’t, even more than if I stink up the field completely.

7:30am – And here I go...

Monday, April 20, 2009

Someday Soon, Avaroo Will Be Able To Read This, At Which Time She'll Know She Saved My Life

Every so often, I get depressed about the modern world. I have become an old fart, and that’s what old farts do. They bemoan how things aren’t what they once were.

Now, I’m not so dense that I can’t see that some things are better than they used to be. And I’m also not so dense as to miss the fact that I’m using one of those things right now. I’m blogging, for goodness’ sakes. The term itself was unknown just a short while back. However, there’s a difference between what I’m doing and what is becoming the norm. As someone wiser than me pointed out – on their blog, last week, and I’m too lazy to backtrack and find out who, so this loses some of it’s power by that admission, but at least I’m honest – Bloggers write, while Twitterers just keep saying "Me! Me! Me!" in 240 character bursts.

I see people walking down the street (or, worse, driving down the street) with cell phones glued to their ears, and I become depressed. Or texting. That depresses me even more. It’s as though an entire generation has been raised to be deathly afraid of ever being alone. They don’t know how to deal with silence, and they very rarely stop gabbing long enough to actually think. Obviously, it’s a nice thing if people want to communicate, but it’s easy to see, from the way many of those communications take place, that communicating something of importance isn’t the point. If they truly wanted to communicate something of importance, they’d learn to spell (not to mention the fact that they wouldn’t get all bent out of shape when someone else actually uses more than two sentences when relaying their thoughts or more than two minutes to tell them whatever earth-shattering news couldn’t wait until they got home from the supermarket. It’s more like these people have gigantic long-distance umbilical cords.)

Just last week, someone asked me my opinion on...

(Well, no, that’s a lie. Nobody asked me concerning the opinion I’m about to spout off. I just offered it up, out of the blue, so, yeah, I’m no better than some of the folks I’m castigating. That’s OK. They’re too busy running their thumbs over tiny little keyboards to give a shit if I’m a hypocrite.)

Anyway, I proudly proclaimed myself a Luddite. I said that I had never owned a cell phone and that I never want to own a cell phone. I averred that I was usually pissed about receiving phone calls on my archaic landline, let alone a cell phone. Usually, the call is an unwanted interruption to whatever I’m doing when the phone rang. Why in hell would I want to carry around a portable interrupting device? However, I use a computer, watch TV, and listen to radio, so I’m something of a reformed Luddite.

(Yes, yes, yes. If someone whom I love has called me, then I’m generally glad they did. But that’s getting to be a shorter list every day. And most of the calls I receive are trying to sell me health insurance - I'm an old fart, remember? – or, worse yet, trying to get me to switch phone carriers and also buy a cell phone. Grrrrrrrrrrr.)

This could well turn into a rant of epic proportion, but the point of telling you all of the above, aside from general pissiness, was as set-up for a reason why I have hope.

You’ll perhaps recall my niece, Ava. Or, as she once named herself and which I still like to call her, Avaroo. She has started going to pre-school, and what she did there has given me a brief glimmer of hope. I received the following report from my sister-in-law, Ava’s mother.

"Ava informed me yesterday that, while she is at school, she does not play, does not go to the bathroom, and does not eat."

Certainly, those aren’t reasons to celebrate. Let’s continue, though.

"I thought I should check on this, with her teacher, and she said that Ava does play (after some coaxing) and she does go to the bathroom, but she has refused all food since she started."

That could be somewhat alarming, especially with a little girl. It sounds like the beginning of a serious eating disorder. However, again, let us continue listening to Ava’s mother.

"Yesterday, the teacher was trying to encourage her to try something (meals are included in the fee, and I say, ‘The more free meals, the better!’)

Ava said, ‘I’m not here for the food. I want to learn to read.’

I can’t decide if that was rude or not..."

"I’m not here for the food. I want to learn to read."

God bless her. She has given me the strength to continue for another day without hanging myself.

Soon, with more better stuff.

(Addendum: Credit where credit is due. Chris Mauger points out to me that The Essential Bastard came up with the line about Bloggers versus Twitterers.)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Depending Upon How Your Boss And Co-Workers Feel Concerning Sausage, This May Not Be Safe For Work

MY WIFE and I like to do fun little things to make our lives more interesting. I've told you about some of them - Quirky Shopping Lists, Pizza Races, and Jimmy Fund Shopping, for instance. We like diversions from the humdrum.

One of the things we do, which I don't believe I've gone into detail about, is matching our meals to what we'll be viewing on TV.

I've lived with MY WIFE for such a long time that I truly don't know if that sounds insane. In any case, it's perfectly normal behavior for us. If we're planning on watching, say, a Jack Lemmon movie, then we'll try to make our entire dinner have something to do with lemons. We'll have lemonade to drink. We'll have lemon veal piccata for our main dish. For dessert, we'll have lemon meringue pie. You get the idea.

Sometimes, this sort of thing is more easily accomplished than others. Take the Super Bowl. Every year, we try to have regional dishes from the cities represented. When the Chicago Bears were in it a few years back, we made our own Chicago-style hot dogs. That was easy enough, but Indianapolis was in that same Super Bowl. Can you come up with a food associated with Indianapolis? We couldn't. It was a serious stumper. We asked around, and finally were told of something called a sugar cream pie. I found a recipe and made it. Damned good it was, too, and went surprisingly well with frankfurters covered in peppers, tomatoes, celery salt, onions, mustard, relish, and pickles. Well... on the intake, anyway.

As I say, sometimes easier sometimes, somewhat harder others. Rashoman or Seven Samurai? Well, DUH! Sushi! The season-ending episode of House? Easy choice, but not so easy to find around here: Blood Pudding!

So, that's what we sometimes do, match the food to the occasion.

Sometimes, a visual presentation is the most important thing.

A couple of days ago, we watched The Aristocrats.

You're probably assuming we had spotted dick for dessert, but we felt that would have been redundant. We had whoopie pies.

Soon, with less wurst stuff.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Finally! An Award I Deserve!

Ah, yes, indeed. I have been given another award. Unlike some of the previous awards I have been given - this, this, this, this, this, and this come immediately to mind - I will accept this one with a minimum of virtual dopeslapping.

This sudden attack of benevolence is not due to the award itself, although the award itself is mighty snazzy. No, the major reason is the awarder herself. This award was given to me by the lovely-yet-entirely-whacked-out Lime.

I've actually met this person. I've broken bread with her. We didn't mean to break the bread; it was just a bit of over-exuberance on our part. Nevertheless, we had some fun and parted ways amicably. It was my treat for dinner, so I don't want to screw myself out of a chance to get one back by calling her all sorts of nasty names.

I know, I know. You've probably given me an award in the past, and now you're saying, "This bastard tore me a gaping new one and she gets away with giving him an award just because he's afraid he won't get some shoo-fly pie at some unspecified later date? WTF?"

Well, if you spoke in full words, instead of initials, you'd make a better case for yourself, but I agree on the main point, which is that I'm a slug. Thus, I'm afraid this will not get any better for you, so to make this trip here at least worth a little bit of your while, here's a funny cat.

Here are the rules associated with this award:

The blogger who receives this award believes in the Tao of the zombie chicken - excellence, grace and persistence in all situations, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. These amazing bloggers regularly produce content so remarkable that their readers would brave a raving pack of zombie chickens just to be able to read their inspiring words. As a recipient of this world-renowned award, you now have the task of passing it on to at least 5 other worthy bloggers. Do not risk the wrath of the zombie chickens by choosing unwisely or not choosing at all!

Those are the kind of rules I could possibly live with, excluding the first four sentences. Oops! There are only four sentences! Well, I like the spirit of the thing, anyway. At least, I like the mental picture of all of you running like hell through a barnyard crammed full of zombie chickens in order to get to my stuff. I think I'd like the mental picture even more if some of you were naked. Let me see.

(short pause to visualize you naked)

Yes, it was pretty good - except when Buck, Stu, and Chris Mauger entered the picture. Just for that, they're the first three who'll get this award when I'm handing it out at the end. That means there are still two of you who should be very afraid, despite how good you look naked, unless you send me actual photos of you naked, but that hasn't gotten me too many naked photos in the past, so why should I expect anything different now?

The real reason I deserve this award is because I know how to survive a Zombie Chicken apocalypse. The answer to Zombie Chickens is Zombie Cats!

Of course, then we'll have to get rid of the Zombie Cats. And the answer to Zombie Cats is... Zombie Dogs!

... even if he seems to have mistaken cupcakes for brains.

Of course, once the Zombie Dogs have eaten all of our cupcakes, we'll have no choice but to call in the Zombie Eagles!!!

Well, OK, I guess that's just a cartoon buzzard. He'll have to do. Then, in order to get rid of him, we'll call in that world famous transvestite, Bugs Bunny.

And, in order to get rid of Bugs, we get this.

I bet you thought I'd show you a can of Raid, but instead I went for the slightly more esoteric "hare remover" joke. That's why I get Zombie Chicken awards, bub.

And now, let's end this pitiful excuse for entertainment by naming the poor souls I'm foisting this award upon.

Buck, Stu, and Chris Mauger, for ruining my barnyard porno fantasy. That's not my only reason for picking them, though. I picked Buck because that's the sound Zombie Chickens make. I picked Stu because that's the only good way to cook a Zombie Chicken. And I picked Chris Mauger because he's a Yankees fan, which has nothing whatsoever to do with Zombie Chickens. He's just a Yankees fan.

The other two people who now have to cope with this thing are Gumbo Writer, because, well, DUH, Gumbo! And, ummmmmmmm... oh, how about Brinkbeest? She's got horses and stuff, so a few Zombie Chickens running around the yard probably won't make a big difference.

And there you have it, whatever it was.

Soon, with more better stuffing.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Hello! Welcome To My Place! Let's Go Someplace Else!

As you know by now, I am a great admirer of the late Fred Rogers. I've gone into great detail, in the past, concerning that admiration, so no need to do so again today. I mention my admiration, though, as preface to a general displeasure voiced by my niece, Alyssa, when she was perhaps 7-years-old.

Alyssa said that Mister Rogers seemed nice, but as soon as you got to his place, and felt comfortable being there, he wanted you to go someplace else with him, and she found this to be exceedingly rude, especially since you had no choice but to go wherever he wished to take you. It might have been a visit to a museum, or to a friend of his who played a musical instrument, or to find out what was happening in The Neighborhood Of Make-Believe, but it was always someplace else. She rather liked his house and, no matter how nice the someplace else might turn out to be, she felt it was bad manners to expect your guest to accompany you there when she had just made herself at home.

She was right, of course, and now I find myself doing the same to you.

Some of you are aware of the fact that I've begun another blog. It is called The Talkback Button and I am writing it for my place of business, Marketing Messages. You may also be aware that it is a family-friendly sort of blog, unlike here where you've encountered the random "fuck" or "son of a bitch" for no particular reason other than the fact that it refreshes my spirit to say them every once in a while.

(In that regard, I am reminded of the late George Carlin. After hearing his recording FM & AM, I rushed out to buy another of his records. Little did I know that all of his previous work had been obscenity-free. While amusing, it was not something that touched my soul. His transformation was from safe to threatening, while mine appears to be going in the reverse direction. I fear his evolution provided a much more satisfying result than mine will, but I suppose I shouldn't prejudice you unduly concerning my new work, so forget I said anything between these parentheses.)

(In a further digression, I find it especially disheartening that most of my heroes have kicked the bucket. Not just Rogers and Carlin, but also Vonnegut, Twain [he kicked before my birth, but still...] and almost every comedy team worth caring about, not to mention three-quarters of The Ramones. Those of my heroes who remain among the living are, for the most part, in a state of artistic decrepitude, revisiting their past glories and pretending that they're something new, bright, and shiny. Iggy Pop would be a prime example. Ah, well. I am not without that same fault, as some of you were no doubt thinking.)

Enough of this jibber-jabber. If you wish further reading material, please go to The Talkback Button. If, like niece Alyssa, you'd rather stay in the place where you were invited to in the first place, you're welcome to stick around here and make yourself comfortable. I ask only that you not leave any wet towels on the floor if you take a bath. I'll be back on Wednesday, so please change the sheets if you have any intimate company.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Super-Duper Amazingly Fantastic Friday, All Sins Forgiven Or Your Money Back

What follows is a repeat from Good Friday of the last few years. I always seriously ponder about putting this out here again. In the end, I always come to the conclusion that I still believe every word in it. Whether I put it out here or not, the sentiments expressed in the piece are still in my heart. So, if God is omnipotent, and likes a joke as well - both of which I believe wholeheartedly - I have nothing to lose and everything to gain by re-publishing.

The only other thing nagging at me is whether or not it's self-serving to publish it again. After all, I just said "I have nothing to lose and everything to gain by re-publishing" and that sure sounds self-serving.

Nah. God knows what's in my heart. I might be misguided, but I have to believe He would find my intentions to be good. And, as everyone knows, the road to heaven is paved with good intentions!

Well, it's something like that. Enough blathering! Enjoy. Or, if you don't enjoy it, be a better Christian than me and say a prayer for my forgiveness.


It is probably Good Friday as you read this. If you're late getting here, it could be Easter. If so, what in hell are you doing reading this crap, you heathen? You couldn't possibly believe that anything I have to say is divinely inspired. Get your ass to church.

OK, now that the easily-guilted holy rollers are gone, let’s get down to business.

(By the way, I wrote this on Thursday night, wise guy; that’s why I’M not in church, OK?)

(Well, all right, it was Maundy Thursday, but my feet were already clean.)

(That’s a Catholic joke. See, Maundy Thursday was when Jesus washed the feet of his disciples, showing them that the way to do His business was to serve others, no matter how high and mighty you might be perceived by those others. In the Catholic Church, some parishioners have their feet washed by the priest at Maundy Thursday services.)

(Except in Boston, the Archbishop refused to wash the feet of some female parishioners a couple of years back. He said something to the effect that Jesus only washed men’s feet, so he wasn’t going to wash women’s feet. That’s why I haven’t been to a Catholic mass in quite some time now, even though I’m most definitely still a Christian.)

(Ugh. I’ve gone from lightly sacrilegious and flippant to deadly serious. Bummer. Let’s see if we can recapture the mood.)

Jesus is hanging on the cross. He looks down and sees Mary Magdelene crying.

Jesus says, “Mary...”

Mary looks up, still crying, and says, “What is it, Lord?”

Jesus says, “Mary...”

Mary again says, “What is it, Lord?”

Jesus says, “Mary, it’s... amazing.”

Mary says, “What, Lord? What is it? What’s amazing?”

“I can see your house from up here!”

Whoa, Pilgrim! Don’t go away mad. You may think it’s just a crummy blasphemous joke, but I can justify almost anything. Nothing up my sleeve... PRESTO!

See, Jesus is closer to heaven and he can see Mary’s house IN HEAVEN. He’s telling her that her faith has saved her and that she will spend eternity in paradise. Hah!

And I guess that’s today’s lesson: It all depends upon your point of view. This is "Good" Friday, right? Why? Why do Christians call this "Good" Friday, when this is the anniversary of the day when their savior was murdered, the day He was nailed to a tree and died a miserable, painful death?

It's because without the cross – without that death - none of us can ever see our house in heaven, no matter how high up we are here on earth.

Hey! That was pretty good! Quick! Are the easily-guilted holy rollers still within shouting distance? Call them back. Maybe this is divinely inspired.

Let’s see if I can wriggle out of another one.

So, see the painting up above, of Jesus on the cross? There’s a plaque nailed to the cross, just above His head. The plaque reads "INRI." Want to know what it means?

I’m Nailed Right In.

Well, what it really means is lightning bolts should be coming any minute now, and I’ll be going to hell immediately, IF God doesn't have a sense of humor. However, I believe that God has an amazing sense of humor. My belief is that, when we die, we’re going to find out that this whole thing was one long and involved joke. And we’ll laugh and laugh and laugh when we hear the punch line.

Or, if you don’t find that terribly convincing, try this on for size. If God doesn’t have a sense of humor, what can we expect in the afterlife? An eternity without laughter? Hey, kill me now and leave me dead. None of that resurrection shit for me, thanks.

Or are some jokes theologically sound and others not? Maybe. We all have subjective senses of humor, I guess. Maybe God does, too. If so, the only way to know for sure is if we can hear God laugh. Then we’d know what He finds funny. Let's try it. Everybody be very quiet for a minute. Here goes.

Two nuns cycling down a cobbled street. The first one says "I've never come this way before."

The second one replies "Must be the cobbles."

So, I don’t hear God laughing. I’m assuming you don’t hear anything, either, right? Well, that's OK, it wasn't a great joke. Maybe we'll try again later.

What it comes down to is having faith. One way or another, you've got to have faith. If you don't, you're screwed. My faith lives in the belief that everything is for the best and that everything will be revealed in the end. Now, if what's revealed in the end is that God has absolutely no sense of humor at all, and He's royally pissed off at me for this, then that's the way it goes; I'm doomed. But, if God has no sense of humor, I've been doomed for a long, long time now. You, too - so at least we'll all fry together.

(The following will seem totally unconnected, but wait for it.)

I remember watching The Mike Douglas Show one day when I was a kid, and he had this comedy troupe on. For the life of me, I can't remember their name. However, the bit they did has stuck with me forever. It was a parody of Moby Dick.

Ahab and Ishmael are standing on the deck of the Pequod. Ahab is looking through a telescope. Suddenly, he sees something and gets all excited.

Ishmael: "What is it? What do you see?"


Ishmael: "Give me a look."

Ahab hands him the telescope. Ishmael puts it up to his eye and looks out at the sea. After a little while, he takes the telescope down from his eye and hands it back to Ahab. He says:

"Eh. It's a good white whale..."

I know why it's called Good Friday. It's because people were saying, "What a horrible day! They've croaked Jesus!" And so it had to be explained, over and over, that this was actually not a bad thing when you consider how it plays out in the end. So, "Good" Friday.

But why not really get the point across? Why not go all the way and call it Great Friday? Or even Super-Duper Amazingly Fantastic Friday, All Sins Forgiven Or Your Money Back? A little salesmanship wouldn't hurt.

Well, that's about it for me. I'm doomed, right? Eternal damnation; fire and brimstone; some guy with horns, in a red union suit, poking me with a pitchfork.

Nah. See, Jesus died for our sins and that even includes crummy jokes, Thank God. And, if you're an atheist or otherwise not a believer in Christianity, I got you to actually consider this stuff for five minutes. I got you to read the name - Jesus - 12 or 13 times. I figure that's got to count for something.

Have a joyous Easter and I'll see you on Monday - unless I'm struck by lightning.

(Which, by the way, I would consider proof positive that God has a sense of humor, although personally I'd find it much funnier if He did it to one of the producers of Wife Swap.)

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Branching Out - The Talkback Button

A short time ago, I did a piece concerning being asked to do a blog specifically for my place of business. Despite what I thought to be the obvious intelligence of my boss, he insisted I do it anyway. It is now up and running.

If you have a moment or two, please drop by and tell me what you think. As opposed to some of the stuff I put out here, it is very family-friendly. I know that's not a ringing endorsement for some of you perverts, but you can stop thinking your nasty little thoughts for five minutes, can't you?

(I'm not saying that I can, by the way, but you might be able to. I'm able to type clean, but my mind is dirty 24/7.)

The first piece is a re-working of a piece I did here some four years ago. The piece was entitled Vo-Ho when it ran here. That's short for "Vocal Whore". It's not called that at the new place. It's been spiffed up and made shiny and rendered absolutely free of stuff that could reflect badly upon anything but my writing skills.

I expect I'll be updating this new blog once every week or 10 days, always with something utterly free from filth. Despite that promise of less fun, I expect you to stop by every now and again. If it will help your standing in the community, bookmark it and pretend that the new blog is the only place you ever visit me. When someone stumbles across this one and sees something like this, you can feign complete innocence. It probably won't fool anyone, but you can give it the old college try.

Oh, yes, I suppose I should tell you where it is. It is HERE. It is called "The Talkback Button". That's what a producer presses, in the control room, so as to be able to communicate with the talent in the sound booth. If that button isn't pressed, the talent can't hear him, which means, of course, that he's making fun of the talent unmercifully until he presses that button.

I thank you in advance for going - and for NOT leaving any comments that will get me fired, please God.

For your usual ration of uncensored Suldog, see you here, soon, with more better stuff, you misanthropic reprobate.

I mean that in the nicest sense, of course.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Donatello On The Economic Crisis

I love it when my friend, Donatello, writes to me. Mainly, it's because - despite the crusty exterior - he's a really nice guy whom I like a lot. There are other reasons, of course. For one, whenever he writes to me, there's a good possibility he'll be writing for me. Witness his last contribution to these pages. However, even if he didn't give me permission to publish his correspondence, I'd look forward to it for the entertainment value alone.

This is Donatello's take on the economy, with jabs at a few other things thrown in for good measure. Your mileage may vary. If it varies wildly, though, you should have a qualified mechanic check under your hood.


Hey Jim -

Y'wanna know what really chaps my a--? Yeah, I thought so. Well, I'm gonna tell you anyway. Dig this "joke" that a friend forwarded to me yesterday:

Patriotic Retirement

Dear Mr. President:

There are 40 million people over the age of 50 in the workforce. Give them 1 million dollars severance apiece with the following stipulations:

1) They all retire immediately. 40 million job openings. Unemployment fixed.

2) They all buy NEW American cars. 40 million cars ordered. Auto Industry fixed.

3) They all buy a house/pay off their mortgage. Housing crisis fixed.

It can't get any simpler than that.

Now, before I go on, I do realize you're over 50, technically a boomer. And really, some of my best friends are boomers. I'm not into the inter-generational bashing thing. On the other hand, I suspect most of my friends didn't fit in too well with their peers in the first place... exceptions that prove the rule? Or maybe we should just consider the Head-Boomers-In-Charge as a separate class?

On the third hand, I believe that stereotypes, while not universally true, are usually based in some truth. For myself, those relating to the Irish, or so-called GenX, I think are, on the whole, fairly accurate. I mean, it wouldn't be untrue to say I'm a moody drunk with a hair-trigger temper, a stiff middle-finger, a deep skepticism towards big institutions and a tendency to hang on to my cash. Not the entire picture, to be sure, but still...

A digression: At my last physical my doc gave me the standard litany. When she got to "Any depression or anxiety?" I told her "Absolutely, but not so much that I think it's my fault." This seemed to brighten her up.

So, with that said, could anyone but a boomer have come up with this "solution"? Really, now that we've bled the world economy dry, why not give each of us a cool mil, a paid-off house, and a new car? We'll retire at 50 and slink off to a gated community to hide while y'all clean up the mess.

40 million million. That's 40 trillion dollars. 40 trillion dollars represents approximately two-thirds of the gross WORLD product. But that's OK, American Boomers... you're worth it! Gee, your hair smells terrific! 40 trillion from the same folks that always vote down any tax increase to pay for public services.

(whine) "But I don't use the public schools." Translation: I got mine! Now f--- you... oops, and my grandchildren, oh well, too bad. Hey, check out my new Hummer H2!

Now I know, as a card-carrying Libertarian and a small-s socialist, we don't see eye to eye on taxes and government, still, we manage to get along fine. Funny, that. Meanwhile, the Democrats and Republicans, to me heads and tails of the same debased coin, can't even seem to agree on whether the Corporations should be required to use any lube as they sodomize us. As Frank Zappa said: politics is the entertainment branch of industry.

A figure for comparison; do you have any idea how much money 700 billion dollars is? I'm sure you remember the bill that was rushed through in one week to "save the economy". Yeah, that's been working out well.

According to WHO figures, 700 billion dollars is enough money to end hunger.

On Earth.

For a generation.

Or, it could provide bailouts and bonuses for financial execs and their criminal friends on Wall Street. Now there's an obscenity that exceeds even my powers of profanity. Well, as my friend Bill used to say: joke 'em if they can't take a f---!

Thanks fer listenin'. Have a great day. Your swell pal,



As he stated, we're on different ends of the political see-saw at times. However, as he also said, we get along just fine. I told him the reason for that is because we're both working from a base intelligence that so many others lack. We understand that life is basically a crock, so why get red in the face about things? Not that we don't get red in the face on occasion, but, for the most part, we know that the passage of time (and a couple of beers) will solve many of the problems that less philosophical folk might see as insurmountable.

I asked him if he'd mind if I used his screed as material. His reply, as usual, was as entertaining as the original.


Hi Again, Jim -

Once more, help yourself. I would be honored to make another guest appearance on the pages of Suldog. That is, if you think your readers have the stomach for it. I'm sure they, myself included, enjoy your warm, poignant sense of humor, where mine is more akin to watching someone you dislike get kicked in the nuts. As I used to tell my kids at [name of school where Donatello once taught], if I'm not pissing you off, I'm not doing my job. Still, it's your blog, you know best. Though, to flatter us both, it could be a bit like having George Carlin do a set on Prairie Home Companion.

I think, politically, the biggest thing we have in common is that neither of us is represented by the system as it stands. At least for you, the Libertarian label still somewhat represents a certain set of ideas. Though I consider myself a socialist, I rather dislike the term. I use it for lack of a better one but it has no precise meaning anymore.

I mean, I 'm not a Marxist, I'm not an atheist, I don't believe in collectivization or equal distribution of wealth. I do believe, however, that there is such a thing as the public good, that government should exist to promote the general welfare, that high taxes are fine as long as they correspond to a high level of service, that all people have God-given rights, as human beings, including: food, water, shelter, medical care, education and work. I believe that the bottom-line should be much higher and the ceiling not quite so high. In America, anyway, I guess that makes me a socialist.

What I absolutely don't believe is the idea of corporate personhood. A corporation is not, has never been, and should never be accorded the rights of a legal person. It is fundamentally different and should be treated as such. It only exists as a concept, it can command vast resources, it can survive indefinitely, its only appetite and its only need is profit, it is a citizen of everywhere and nowhere and is responsible to almost no one. This is the root cause, I think, of the current state of affairs.

I think I would propose the following solution:

Dear Mr. President:

Compile the wish-lists of Wall Street, the big banks, the big insurance companies, and the major corporations. Now, do the exact opposite.

It would be a good start, anyway.

You remember the t-shirt about the Air Force having a bake-sale to buy a bomber? Not too long ago, I actually attended a bake-sale to help buy Kevlar vests for soldiers. Meanwhile, Halliburton/KBR is charging, I believe, around $100 for a G.I. pizza. I'm pretty sure this isn't what the t-shirt makers had in mind.

Have a great day. Your swell pal,



I may disagree with some of what he says, but I'd fight to the death for Donatello's right to say it. I know he'd do the same for me. And, to be sure, that's more than Congress is willing to do for any of us.

Soon, with more better stuff.

(The image came from A Cool Friday, a great creatively visual site.)

Monday, April 06, 2009

OK, Granny, Let's Compare What We Twiddle

You all know how I feel about receiving blog awards, right?

(If not, read this or this or this or even this. You'll get the idea quickly, I'm sure.)

I feel pretty much the same way about being tagged to complete some dreadful meme. Sure, let me list 20 things I like to fantasize about while masturbating. I've got nothing better to do, other than the actual masturbating.

Here's the truth. I rather like being given the tools with which to write a relatively easy blog post. Awards and memes certainly provide me with that. I can hold them aside until I'm bereft of actual ideas and then trot them out to do a dirty little dance accompanied by my semi-obscene commentary. Swell, so far. And, perhaps it's something in my natural makeup, but I find it rather simple to insult the hell out of someone or some thing. To be sure, I always tell the person who gives me the award - at their place, in the comments - that I'm going to insult both the award and him/her. It seems that my reputation is such that it's now expected, so the awarding party takes some sort of perverse pride in being dragged through my verbal slime. All well and good. I get to let off some steam, you get a few laughs, and nobody's feelings are truly hurt.

Today, though, I have to do a beastly thing. I was given a meme by Granny On The Web. I've done what I usually do - told her that I'd be ripping her a new one - but, damn, she's a nice little old granny. Seriously. She's a churchgoing lady with 7 kids and a scad of grandchildren and she lists one of her interests as "caring". I kid you not. It's a lovely sentiment, she seems to be a lovely person, and I don't know if there's any way I can pull this off without looking like a complete turd.

I'm going to give it my best shot.

First off, I'm only assuming she's a granny. Actually, she's probably some 15-year-old pimply git sitting in his mom's council house in Shepherd's Bush, his similarly spotty mates gathered around the computer getting their jollies from some wanker in the states having bought it. But, let's work on that assumption that she really is a granny. The woman says she likes the Bee-Gees, Barbara Streisand, The Carpenters, and ABBA. What sort of a Motorhead, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, and Ramones fan would I be if I didn't give her a couple of well-aimed kicks with my steel-toed Doc Martens?

Here's the meme she wishes me to complete, in it's entirety from her blog:

I have been tagged by Willow Tree to write seven quirky things about Moi.

Do I have seven?......

... or even one quirky thing in my make-up à propos mi persona?

Surely not, OK wait a minute then I'll ask Hubby...

1. I pretend I can speak French/ Spanish/Chinese ( I can, a bit) and he says I still pretend I can speak English.

2. I day-dream. Constantly! ( Really?)

3. I don't like meat. (So! I am not alone in that!)

4. I twiddle my thumbs. ( So what! at least I am not sat idly doing nothing)

5. I'm stubborn ( What!!! Oh all right then Yes I am)

6. I eat too quickly ( Burp, Excuse me. Oh, Ok then I do)

7. I am too shy. (Ah, is that a quirk? Could be.....(perhaps a tiny one))

Those are pretty quirky things. Mine will seem rather mundane by comparison. And, just so you can see how mundane, let's compare them, first hers and then mine.

Granny - I pretend I can speak French/Spanish/Chinese.

Suldog – I pretend my underwear is made out of Jell-O.

Granny - I daydream. Constantly!

Suldog – I never dream. As a matter of fact, I never sleep. I have nightmares when I’m awake, though. As a matter of fact, you're part of one right now.

Granny - I don't like meat.

Suldog – I eat nothing but aardvark noses.

Granny - I twiddle my thumbs.

Suldog – I twiddle my testicles.

Granny - I'm stubborn.

Suldog – I’m not stubborn, but I will refuse to admit that you’re right. If you want to argue that they’re the same thing, refer to the sentence previous to this one.

Granny - I eat too quickly.

Suldog – I’m still working on a breakfast burrito from 1985.

Granny - I am too shy.

Suldog – Oh, yeah? Well, I’m three shy. We’re talking about a full deck here, right?

Yup, she sure has me beat.

So, now I’m supposed to tag seven other poor suckers. OK. I tag Barrack Obama, The Dalai Lama, Charles Manson, Richard Branson, Andy Dick, Grace Slick, and Mister Ed.

Soon, with more better stuff. Not too tough of a promise today.

Friday, April 03, 2009


OK. We were at Emon's place yesterday. You'll want to head back over there for PART TWO. Before you go, though, I need to tell you about the song you'll hear.

You may have heard it before as a piece entitled Hellbop. It is now called Chopped, and here's why.

When I originally let you hear the preliminary mix, I asked for suggestions. I got some. Surprisingly, none of them told me to shove it up my wazoo. The suggestions were almost uniformly well-intended, and some were even helpful. Stu, in particular, tried to give me some heartfelt direction, but much of what he suggested was beyond the scope of the facilities and equipment I had to work with, as well as beyond my talent, but I wasn't willing to admit that.

The person who deserves the most credit (or blame) for the finished product is Green Jello. Her commentary said, "Sounds like a motorcycle traveling somewhere kind of song." She was right. The song suggested movement, so I incorporated some FX and it is now called Chopped. That's a term connected with motorcycles. It's also appropriate because of what I had to do to some of the parts I recorded in order to make them fit.

Anyway, if you listen to Hellbop, and then listen to Chopped over at Emon's place, it's interesting to hear how a song evolves from conception to fairly-finished product. I want to be sure, though, that you understand this is still only what I would put together to show some bandmates what my ideas were concerning a song. It would still evolve from this point.

Enough explanation. Please go and read PART TWO, listen to the song, and I hope you enjoy it all, whatever it is.

Soon, with more better stuff.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

We're Going To Emon's Again!

(If you want to skip the nonsense that follows, GO HERE. Of course, if you wanted to skip the nonsense, you wouldn't have me bookmarked.)

Did you pack your jammies? Got your teddy bear? You didn't forget your bathing suit, did you? Good. We're going on a trip, and we're staying overnight. I hope you remembered to bring extra underwear. You're likely to need it after you find out where we're going.

You may, despite the stunning ability of the brain to block out horrific memories, remember the interview Emon Hassan did with me several weeks back. If you successfully blocked it out, but for some reason you wish to relive the carnage, here's Part One and (sequentially enough) Part Two.

At that time, he promised (or threatened, depending upon your ability to absorb punishment) to continue the interview at a later date, with the third and fourth portions of it concerned with what laughingly passes for a musical career in my delusionally grandiose memories.

Well, the time has come to pay the piper (an apt turn of phrase considering the subject matter, don't you think?)

Go HERE. Now!

Don't give me that look! Uncle Emon's gone to all this trouble for you, and if you don't show a little appreciation... well, you will, if you know what's good for you! Don't cry, or I'll give you something to cry about! And eat everything on your plate at dinner, you little brat! It's bad manners to tell your host you don't like creamed spinach! And if you have to fart, hold it in until you get home!

If you don't stop pouting right now, I swear I'll turn this blog around, and...

Oh, for goodness' sakes, just go.