Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Fight

It was my second day of 8th grade, and I was 13 years old by less than a month. Yet, in the final minutes of the school day, I would accomplish a feat that would solidify my reputation.

I lived 1.8 miles from school, which meant that I did not qualify for the school bus--the minimum distance being two miles. The nearest bus stop from home was half a mile. That was better than 1.8 miles, so I took the bus on days that I did not bring my tenor saxophone home (my mom usually picked me up when I brought the sax home)

So it's the end of my second day at Tyee Middle School in Bellevue, Washington, and I'm not bringing my sax home, so I get on the bus.

I seated myself next to beautiful Michelle. I probably didn't have a shot with her (and she probably rolled her eyes when I sat down), but I was sitting next to her nonetheless.

Everything was great. If she rolled her eyes, I didn't notice, and we had the beginnings of a perfectly delightful conversation.

That's when Woodsy showed up.

We called him Woodsy, but that wasn't his name. If it gives you any idea as to how big of a loser this kid was, I don't even remember his name--and I remember some pretty obscure stuff.

Woodsy was the fat kid who nobody liked. When I say the fat kid, I don't mean chubby. I mean grotesquely fat. 5' 9" and 300 pounds fat. When our gym class had the swimming unit, this kid was allowed to wear his t-shirt so that the rest of us wouldn't have to see his gigantic man-breasts. There is honestly no image that I can provide to help you really understand how enormous the kid was. He was taller than most and fatter than all.

And he walked right up to me and Michelle and ordered me to move.

"This is my seat," he said with the arrogant tone of a man who thinks that he's talking to a pipsqueak. I was about 5'6" and exactly 152 lbs--I know this because 155 lbs. was the maximum weight for my football league, and I had just weighed in.

I looked at him, and I looked at Michelle. I instantly knew that no good would come of this.

I'm a pretty clever man, and I was a pretty clever boy. So when he said, "You're in my seat," I replied with the cleverest thing that I could think of at the time.

Something like, "I don't see your name on it."

"Move it, or I'll make you," he threatened; and I could see that he truly meant it.

This kid had been teased for the majority of his life, and I was going to be the object of his vengeance. He had picked his victim carefully, for I was not one with a reputation for toughness (remember, I was in the band).

Once he'd told me that he'd make me move, everything slowed down. I was able to think clearly, but it seemed as though time was nonexistent. In the absence of space-time, I thought long and hard about my response. If I moved, I'd look like a wussy to Michelle. On top of that, it would surely be the talk of the school that I( had backed down to Woodsy.

I did not fancy the outcome of compliance, so I answered his threat defiantly with, "I'd like to see you try," and then something about his mother.

Like I said, time had come to a halt, so I remember everything with crystal clarity.

After I'd refused his command and insulted his mother, a look of pure rage came across Woodsy's face. He'd thought that for once someone else would be the victim of ridicule, but once again it was him. If a clock had been ticking in the background, each second would have counted ten in real time.

I knew that I was going to have to fight, but I was not prepared for what happened next. Instead of punching me--for which I was ready--he turned and sat on me. All 300+ lbs. of him came down on my lap.

I was not ready for this, but my adrenaline was pumping--and he was a bit off balance--so I threw him off of me and back into the bus aisle.

Remember how I said that time had nearly stopped? At this point it sped forward to make up for its lost seconds.

I jumped into the aisle to face him with my back against the back of the bus (I was about half-way between the front and the back of the bus).

He lunged forward with both hands outstretched, as if to choke me. I stepped back with my right foot and then leaned forward with my left and delivered a right hand punch to the top of his left eye socket.

He recoiled instantly, spewing forth a shower of spit and screeching in pain as his head snapped back.

I took a step back, waiting for him to recover. He shook his head like a bull and (like a bull) charged me. I back-peddled to the end of the bus, keeping him narrowly at bay with both of my arms outstretched.

I pushed back as he pushed forward, but I was stuck with my back pinned to the rear of the bus. I still remember the furious glare of his eye--the other one, the one I had hit, was swollen shut.

In only a few seconds, the bus driver was there, yelling for us to stop. Since I was not a bad kid, never before had I been in such serious trouble, I dropped my hands in submission.

Woodsy did not.

Instead, he reached out, snatched my glasses right off of my face, and crushed them between his hands.

I didn't even think about my next move. I just grabbed him by the collar, pulled him toward me and turned him around toward the back window. I remember looking at him, and I remember the surprised look on his face. Then I drew my right arm back and let loose with a furious jab that landed squarely on his nose. His head could not snap back this time because it hit the window, and I recall the popping sound as his nose broke. He squealed again, and this time blood flew from his mouth and peppered my face. He slowly slid down the back of the bus with his hands over his face and making the unmistakable sounds of a 13 year old in excruciating pain (half-way between a stuck pig and a sobbing toddler). Try to imagine how beat up the kid was. Four years later, a different guy backed down from a confrontation with me because a mutual friend of ours reminded him that I was a good fighter--and that was a direct reference to this fight.

The bus driver grabbed me by the shoulder and yanked me between her and Woodsy. I did not resist. I was shaking. I was scared. I'd never done anything like this before. She also grabbed Woodsy, and as she pushed me from behind, she pulled him down the aisle.

As I exited the bus, I saw my mother. She had come to pick me up with my sax. Instead, she'd spent the last minute terrified as kids told her that I was fighting. When she heard people yell, "Gross, blood!" like any mother she had feared that it was me. Instead, I passed her unscathed with just enough time to say, "He broke my glasses!" At that moment, she saw Woodsy being pulled from the bus, with his one eye swollen shut and his nose spewing blood. "Oh Jesus!" she said--and I have to admit that I was pretty proud of that. Take what you want from that admission, you Freudian creeps.

On the way to the main office, it occurred to me that I was in big trouble. I knew that I'd broken Woodsy's nose. There was no mistaking that sound--it was like a champagne bottle. I, on the other hand, was completely unhurt.

I still remember sitting in the Assistant Principle's office and explaining to Mr. Giadrone that I had never intended to fight and that I only hit the kid because he'd gone after me.

I was lucky. Since I'd never been in any real trouble before, I got away with only a one day in-school suspension. I managed this by being sufficiently contrite and convincing Mr. G that I actually hoped that Woodsy and I could become friends.

I still remember the look on Woodsy's face when I suggested that we might be cool. He had no friends at all, so this was like a birthday and Christmas present rolled in one. If he played his cards right, then he'd end up with a buddy.

Unfortunately for him, I had no intention of being friends. I'd only said it because I knew that it was what Mr. G wanted to hear.

Woodsy was absent for two days., and he spent his first day back in in-school suspension. I had already served my in-school suspension, and the outcome of the fight had bolstered my reputation to the point that one of my football friends, who went to another middle school, had even heard of the altercation. These were glory days for me.

So here I was, basking in glory during lunch recess, when Woodsy approached. He was wearing sunglasses, but anyone could still see the black and blue eye and the tape meant to straighten his broken nose. He'd looked like a loser before, but now he looked even worse.

I scarcely remembered suggesting that the two of us could be friends, and when I'd said it, I'd said it only to get out of trouble. However, to him it had been an answered prayer.

I stood there amongst several friends as he approached. I saw them look at me as he neared. Woodsy smiled, waved, and said, "Hi buddy!"

I knew how important it had been for me to beat the kid up, and I also knew that I could not be his "buddy" and retain the increased status that I had achieved by beating the holy hell out of him. And it was in this epiphany that I chose to do the one thing that I regretted from the whole thing.

I cocked my fist and glared at him. I told him to get his fat ass away from me or that I'd beat him again.

My friends laughed as Woodsy's smile sank. What I'd just said had hurt him more than my fists had three days ago. I'd convinced the kid that I was willing to be his friend, and for three days he had reveled in the idea of having at least one buddy. Instead, I tore that dream to shreds, and for what? To make me look cool to some other 13 year olds, none of whom do I even talk to today?

I don't regret cracking his left eye socket. He'd lunged forward as if to choke me.

I don't regret breaking his nose. When my guard was down, he swiped off and crushed my glasses.

But I do regret saying what I said three days after it had happened. When I'd hit him, it was honest to goodness self-defense. But when I said what I said, it was just mean.

Besides, in the end, Michelle never even went out with me.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Quick Afterthoughts

But governments feed the poor...

No, governments steal from the productive to feed the unproductive. Don't give me any trash about morality. It's moral and charitable for someone who has a surplus to give freely to those in need. Forcing people to fork over money is not the same as the people giving money. It's robbery. If you have guns and you force others to surrender their money, then you are a robber or the government--essentially the same thing.

But governments sign free trade agreements...

No, "free trade agreements" like "NAFTA" are hundreds to thousands of pages long. "Free trade" is only two words long.

But governments sign peace treaties...

No, a peace treaty is only necessary after one has waged a war.

But governments prevent racism from being a factor in employment, housing, etc.

That's it. We free market people must always endure the argument that we have a naive view of human nature.

Who's really naive?

Is it naive to assume that people will act in what they believe is their own interest? Of course it isn't. It's not naive. It's obvious.

People get what they want or need by providing it themselves or trading with others, so it follows that people who have the most freedom to get what they want or need will do it better. Anything that gets in their way (e.g. government) is, therefore, bad.

This concludes my rant for today. CSI was awesome.

A Very Minor Rant

I was talking with some teenagers today about basic economic principles, and the topic was Comparative Advantage. I argued that certain jobs were being outsourced because the United States simply no longer has the comparative advantage in the production of goods. Think about it. If the something can be produced elsewhere at an extremely reduced cost, then only a fool would produce that thing here.

So I asked, "What is America's comparative advantage?" I was thinking services and ideas--ready to cite the example that the iPod was conceived of and designed in California, even if it was assembled in China.

Instead, one of them shrugged and said, "Uh, government?"

Alas, they've been hoodwinked by the political-industrial complex before their 13th birthdays.

The only things that governments produce are wars, recessions, tyranny, and misery. When a people are at peace, doing well economically, free, and happy, it's not because of what the government is doing. It's because of what the government is not doing.

Governments don't wage peace. They wage wars.

Government policies don't create prosperity. They create poverty. It's the lack of government policies that allows free markets to create prosperity.

Governments don't create freedom. They create tyranny. The feds didn't have jack squat to do with our being free. We're born free with independent minds, and we'd stay free if only governments would get the heck out of the way.

Governments don't enhance happiness. They reduce it. They don't even ensure the pursuit of happiness, unless you mean that they leave people alone to pursue happiness as they see fit. That's not doing something. That is not doing something.

It seems counterintuitive to many, but governments do good only when they do nothing.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Religious Conflict

I was cautioned by someone that suggesting that Mohammad was not God's prophet is extremely insulting to Muslims.


By that rationale, can I not counter that suggesting that Mohammed is God's prophet is extremely insulting to Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddists, Athiests, Agnostics, etc.?

Obviously I must think that Mohammad was either crazy or a liar. Otherwise, I'd be Muslim. If I'm wrong, then Allah will punish me.

The difference is that I will not kill or in any way harm someone who suggests that Jesus was not God's Son. I might think that such a person will burn in Hell, but that's not my decision or my doing.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Ahmadinejad Speaks

During a speech at Columbia University, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad fended off assaults on his view of the Holocaust. Ahmadinejad has, in the past, denied the Holocaust as an actual event, implying that it is part of a Zionist conspiracy to claim Palestine. However, he seemed to backtrack a bit, granting the possibility that it might have happened, but again asserting that it did not justify Zionism.

Still, in reference to the historical record of the Holocaust, he replied “There’s nothing known as absolute."

I just wish that someone would have then pointed out that there is far more absolute evidence for the Holocaust than even a shred of possible likelihood that Mohammad is God's prophet.

The historical record of Mohammad being God's prophet consists in his saying that he was, and that his followers in centuries hence have been willing to murder anyone who denies or even questions it.

Put that in your Kool-Aid and drink it, Ahmadinejad.

Friday, September 21, 2007

To Golf Guy

Dear Golf Guy:

I miss your comments. Where are you?

Ron Paul, People!!!!

I maintain a certain thesis that the average person is a moron.

The fact that tyrants and scumbags such as Rudy, Hillary, Barack, and Fred capture the public eye more than Ron Paul is exhibit number one.

Go to Ron's website:, and dare to refute one of his positions on this blog.

Hell, I triple dog dare you!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Connotations (A Lesson for Backstreet's Back)

Words matter, and words that have somewhat similar meanings can and do carry vastly different connotations.

"He touched my face" can be worded as "He struck my face," but one is more accurate than the other depending on severity. "She's rather unwell" and "She's dying" can refer to the same thing, but there's a difference between someone who's simply under the weather and someone who's knocking on heaven's door.

Don't say "She's dying" when she has the flu, and don't say "She's rather unwell" when she's flatlining.

Rosie O'Donnell isn't "controversial." She's an attention hog.

Stevie Wonder isn't visually impared. He's blind.

Someone in convulsions from a drug overdose is not merely "buzzed," and someone whose brain is failing is not merely "high."

Put that in your Kool-Aid (sweetened with Splenda), and drink it.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


To rebut a couple of comments made on my Kool-Aid post, go to "Ask a Scientist" at the web site for the Cornell Center for Materials Research.

Perhaps since our bodies convert glucose (i.e. blood sugar) into energy, people just assume that a massive intake of sugar equals a massive boost of energy. Of course, they make this assumption without considering how quickly the body reacts to and reduces increased glucose levels.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Kool Aid

There's way too much sugar in Kool Aid, so I've started buying Splenda in bulk as a substitute. It works extremely well, and I recommend it.

What I do not recommend is forgetting the Splenda. That's what I just did ten minutes ago. Drinking Kool Aid without a sweetener is like drinking dehydrated musk ox urine. Hark my words. There's a reason why it wasn't a competition on Fear Factor. People wouldn't drink it for a mere fifty grand.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Political Quiz

Click on this link and take The World's Smallest Political Quiz to determine where you stand as a political thinker.

Surprise, I scored as a Libertarian!


Suppose that Farmer Joe owns the largest and most popular pumpkin patch on the planet. Customers purchase pumpkins online and are promised prompt delivery. He receives few orders throughout the late Autumn and all of Winter and Summer, so he keeps his staff small.

Now imagine that Farmer Joe does not hire any new hands come September. In late September and throughout October, the orders are pouring in, but Farmer Joe cannot fill the orders on time because he did not anticipate the drastic increase in pumpkin demand.

He apologizes to all of his customers, writing via email that the sheer volume of orders is making it difficult for him and his staff to deliver promptly. He begs for patience and forgiveness.

Many consumers might forgive Farmer Joe, expecting the guy to realize that he needs to expand his workforce when demand for pumpkins peaks. But what if the same thing happens year after year?

The above scenario is dedicated to the fantasy football folks at CBS Sportsline. They can't seem to understand why there is such a heavy amount of traffic on their website on weekends beginning in September and lasting through December.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Buddy Holly the crash site

This video covers the ground upon which, according to Don MacLean, "The Music Died." It's where Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. Richardson (a.k.a. The Big Bopper) crashed in 1959.

The lyrics were written and performed by 50's rocker Eddie Cochran, a close friend of Holly's. Notice how Cochran's voice breaks in the verse about Holly.
Ironically, the song was released after Cochran's own untimely death in a car accident.

The opening and closing verse has been omitted:

"Look up in the sky, up towards the north
There are three new stars, brightly shining forth
They're shining oh-so bright from heaven above
Gee, we're gonna miss you, everybody sends their love"

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Russian Politics

So it's news that Putin fired Russia's Prime Minister.

On the contrary, it's news that Russia even has a Prime Minister.

I use Russia as an example for all of the idiots who think that possession of raw materials is necessary for a country to be wealthy. Japan has few natural resources, but it has wealth. Russia has a great many natural resources, and it's a case-study in misery.

Honestly, I don't understand the Russians. What did Churchill call them, a riddle wrapped in an enigma inside a puzzle? (or something like that). In 1917, they forced the Tsar to abdicate his authority to the Duma, and for the first time ever, Russia was free of tyranny. A few months later, they let the Bolsheviks take control, and they made the Tsars look like puppet monarchists. After decades of communism, the Russians finally stood up for themselves, only once again to slip back into their old habits.

Can the Russian people as a whole have something akin to a societal form of "Battered Women's Syndrome"?

Saturday, September 08, 2007

WNBA et al.

I picked up the newspaper this morning, and I felt violated.

The FRONT PAGE HEADLINE of the news announced that the Detroit Shock had won a game. Granted, it was a playoff-championship game: but the FRONT PAGE HEADLINE?

Honestly, I don't care about the WNBA, and I don't know anyone who does. But still, the media tries to cram it in our faces that the WNBA exists. It's a form of journalistic rape. We've said, "NO!," but they keep pressing us, trying to make us interested in it.

It's like with soccer. Apparently, we're all screwed up in this country because we don't enjoy watching soccer. They love it in Europe, so we need to love it over here.

Hey newsmen, here's some (apparently) news for you.

The WNBA is lame. We don't care about it. Give us real front page stories.

Soccer is lame. We don't care about it. Tell David Beckham that he can take a hike.

All of this forcing WNBA and soccer down our throats is equivalent to prison sodomy (well, then I guess forcing it "down our throats" was incorrect phraseology). We don't want it, and just because the media has the power to force it on us doesn't mean that they should. Let me do my time peacefully, thank you very much.

And 3:10 to Yuma is a great film, reminiscent of the great Westerns of old.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Another Kid in Pre-School

My eldest son started pre-school this week. I asked him if he was ready to start school, and he said "No, I'm not going to schoo."

"But you have to go to school," I said. "Besides, you'll make lots of friends!"

"I will kick their butts," he replied.

"Not if you don't want to get in very big trouble," I warned.

To which he again asserted, "I'm not going to schoo!"

Well the day arrived, and my wife and I were a bit worried over how he'd do. However, he went, and he had a good time.

"How was school?" I asked.

"Good," he said with a smile. "I didn't kick any butts!"

I remember setting the bar much higher for his sister, but for now, we'll go with this for him because if he does decide to kick some butts, he'll really beat the hell out of those other kids. He's the toughest little guy that I've ever seen.

P.S. I think that he acquired the idea of going to school and kicking butts from a Spongebob Squarepants episode (the one in which Flats, the flounder, warns Spongebob that he's going to kick Spongebob's butt).


I never tire of listening to Croce. If this song means nothing to you now, then it will some day.

Bush Hears Voices

Bush Vs. Zombies

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Football Season Approaches!

The best part about this year's American/real football season is that we can finally stop hearing about David Beckham and how he's supposed to make us Americans forget that soccer is lame.

Elvis Presley Sings Nirvana come as you are

I believe that this guy is an Irishman. Whatever the case, he's an outstanding Elvis impersonator. I also admire the idea of taking a modern song and imagining how Elvis would have sang it.

Lawdy Miss Clawdy

Pay attention to this one.

This is a clip from Elvis's 1968 Comeback Special--even today it's still one of the top rated television programs in history.

Does the setting remind you of anything? How about MTV Unplugged?--except cooler, yes, even better than Nirvana's Unplugged album, and that was awesome.

Elvis Presley - Jailhouse Rock (Music Video)

The King of Rock; the King of Cool.

Hey kids, this clip from the motion picture "Jailhouse Rock" is considered by many to be one of the first "music videos." I believe the Ricky Nelson also did what you might call "music videos" while on "Ozzie and Harriet," but I haven't got the dates for those, and they weren't this stinking awesome.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Johnny Cash

There simply aren't many who can top Cash. I was negative seventeen when this aired, but Golf Guy was probably six.

The Astronaut Farmer--See It

It's not the best picture of the year, but it's something that you ought to see nonetheless.

The Astronaut Farmer, starring Billy Bob Thorton is awesome.

Perhaps there are some of you who think that Michael Moore is able to throw out a massive middle fingered FU to president Bush.

Well I am here to tell you that the producers of The Astronaut Farmer sent out a giant FU not only to the US Government (in the form of the FAA) but to all governments that serve only to hold men (and women--lest I choose to anger a loyal reader twice in a week) below his or her full potential. My favorite part was when the head of the FAA announced that Billy Bob's character had not (when in fact he had) launched into orbit. Then again, that's what government's do. They lie.

That's why my second favorite part was when the federal inquisition asked "How do we know that you're not building a WMD?" And Billy Bob answered, "Because if I was building a WMB, then you wouldn't find it" (or words to that effect).

Critics who wish to disregard the value of The Astronaut Farmer because it is fictional must be willing to reject any other fictional story (like the one how Lincoln freed the slaves--you do realize that the Emancipation Proclamation freed only those slaves held in rebel territory, and that slaves held in union--i.e. Lincoln territory remained slaves).

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Bill of Rights