Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Probably Shouldn't Surprise Anyone, Really . . .

I found this here.

You are a

Social Liberal
(81% permissive)

and an...

Economic Liberal
(25% permissive)

You are best described as a:

Strong Democrat

Link: The Politics Test on OkCupid Free Online Dating
Also: The OkCupid Dating Persona Test

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Lessons Learned - Summer Edition

As the year enters the final stretch, I thought I would share with you some nuggets of acquired wisdom:

  1. Five guys buying one-way plane tickets at the last minute is deemed suspicious; who knew?
  2. However, those TSA folks down in South Carolina? Very nice and professional -- he didn't even look like he wanted to die when he opened my bag and the toxic cloud from three days worth of clothing over a three-day drinking binge wafted over the area.
  3. Southern Comfort brings no comfort. None whatsoever.
  4. 80-lb. Boxer + my crotch = much pain
  5. My girlfriend may be better than me at Scrabble; my ego is protesting this call, but numbers are numbers.
  6. Yesterday, I figured out that Jaws 3 may be the worst film ever made -- then Jaws: The Revenge stared.
  7. Volcano came on next, totally killing theory.
  8. I've seen more bad movies than any human being should, and God help me -- I like some of them.
  9. At the ballpark, everything is better in the field-level seats.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Passive Aggression

I don't mind having my picture taken, but usually I ask that the photographer introduces himself before snapping away.

So I was kind of curious why this short balding man with a prune face and thinning hair stood in front of his house taking pictures of Trudy and I walking down the street. Normally, I ask that you give me a chance to hide the bag of dog crap before stealing my soul, so I took a more peaceful route.

"New camera?" I asked.

"Something like that," he replied, and walked back in the house.

Now I knew what he was doing. Several times when walking the dog, he just happened to appear on his front porch when we make it by his house. I'm always friendly; he always growls. It's fun.

Yep -- George Freakin' Smiley was scoping me, afraid that Trudy was using his lawn as a toilet. And she does from time to time, but that's why I carry bags around - so I can clean it up. However, my neighborhood is full of the zealous guardians who delight in nothing more than catching a wayward cur crapping in their front yards. I guess the benefit of the doubt is something that we're no longer entitled to these days.

So last Saturday, I return home and take the dog out around 11:30. I'm tired and ready for some sleep. And I nearly jumped out of my skin when I saw him standing less than two feet behind me, glaring at Trudy like she's Satan herself.

"How you doing?" I asked.

"Uhhnnn," he said.

"Can I help you?"


I'd like to point out here that Trudy was sniffing and doing nothing more.

"You know, if you're worried about her going in your yard, that's why I always carry these," and I pulled a bag out of my pocket.

"People don't clean up after their dogs," he said.

"I know, but I do."

"Whatever." And he retreated to his house.

His foul mood bothered me for awhile. I'm tired of the glares, the stares and the general suspicion I seem to arouse -- especially considering the stray dogs, stray teenagers and rampant nightclubbers on weekends.

So I left the poop bag on his front porch. That'll show him. Next time, I'll bring a match to light it.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Home Front

Growing up, I think we were each others' worst enemies. Playing Batman when I was four (he was two) - he cracked my skull open with a wooden block. Six stitches later, we were friends again.

Wiffle ball bats made great torpedos while in the pool. Those air/water-powered rockets sure could fly fast, and a few of those "accidental" hits with the wiffle ball bats to the head weren't as accidental as the injurer made it seem.

But like all brothers, we stood by each other. I wouldn't let older kids pick on him (we both wound up getting our asses kicked), and I felt genuine pity for him the day he slid down the gravel-covered street on his back after falling off his skateboard (he was wearing a muscle shirt at the time) - so I didn't smack him in the back . . .even though we'd been beating the crap out of each other the day before.

Age brings maturity --- err, maybe a willingness to put stupid squabbles behind you. We nearly torched the house with fireworks one steamy July night - dousing the smoldering bushes with the garden hose and hoping mom wouldn't inspect them too closely, and we both tried getting kicked out of the go-cart course in what turned into a combination go-cart race/roller derby. Stupid? Slightly psychotic? Sure, but what's life without a little life-and-death struggle at 20 mph?

We drifted apart a little in college -- 800 miles will do that, but we still kept in touch. We even worked together tending bar one summer - screwing over the boss while drinking free booze was a pleasant way to spend an evening.

And despite wanting nothing more than to smack him upside the head when we were kids, I always look forward to seeing him - the good-natured jabs, the quick sense of humor and the shit-eating grin are all infectious, and you can't help but laugh when he's around. It's easy to see why small children and dogs flock to him.

Now he's packed; his body armor sits in a corner - kevlar helmet resting on top of it. It all hides a backpack stuffed with belongings. More stuff is riding on a ship or in a plane, where it will meet him in the desert.

In two months, my brother Michael will be in Iraq. While visiting with him this weekend, it hit me -- Monday could be the last time I ever see my little brother again, and that's a hard thought to swallow.

He's a doctor; he won't be kicking in doors or patrolling the streets -- he'll be treating pilots and wounded soldiers back at the base, so odds are he'll be safe and not vulnerable to wayward explosive devices.

At least I hope so.

Ultimately, there's nothing I can do to affect what happens to him. I could be hit by a bus tomorrow; David could be knifed in a poker room brawl (that's the most likely of the three scenarios I just outlined). All I can do is hope and pray that he'll return to us in a year, safe and unhurt, and in the meantime, I'll be sending care packages and e-mails whenever possible.

I've made no secret of my disdain for this war. I thought it was bullshit when it started, and I think it's bullshit now. But I've never said anything disparaging about the troops over there - they're just fighting to stay alive and sane in a place where death and insanity seems to hold sway.

Keep your head down, Mike, and come home safe.