Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Nintendo Cartoon Hour

Stick with this one. It gets pretty funny.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Santa Visits

Santa Claus came to our home this morning, and--thanks largely to Mrs. Claus--the fat guy was more than generous.

Santa had an especially hard time figuring out exactly what Mark (age 5) wanted most because, when asked what he wanted, Mark always replied, "Everything."

When Mark woke up this morning, I looked him in the eyes and said, "Santa's been here, buddy!"

I could see the excitement begin to fester behind his eyes, so I added, "But he didn't bring you everything, just some things."

"Yeah," he replied, "that's probably because I was bad a few times this year."

Monday, December 22, 2008

Now Natalie Responds

Remember, you can't break a Christmas promise!

Christmas Wishes Amended

In her post, Natalie wished that everyone's Christmas wishes come true. I would like to disagree.

If your Christmas wishes are good, then that is fine. However, if your Christmas wish is for something bad, like war or government intervention into the economy and/or personal liberties, then I say screw you.

Who in the heck would make such an awful Christmas wish? How about Barack Obama (I wish for everyone's money to be under my control), Dick "Dick" Chaney (If you wage war; I will come), Adolf Hitler (the Final Solution), or Fred Savage (If you have a sub-literate script, I will act in it)?

Natalie Posts

Hi, I'm Natalie, and I posted this. My dad is right here because he won't let me post on my own.

Some of you might have heard about how well I did on my Iowa test. I scored in the 95th percentile. My dad keeps wondering how I was able to score in the 99th percentile in language usage and social studies. I told him it's because that's all that he talks about most of the time.

This was really important to me because maybe it will help me get a scholarship to college. I want to go to college at Hillsdale because that's where my parents went.

My dad just said to mention to Surrealist that he needs his DVDs of the Flight of the Conchords.

Merry Christmas, everyone. May all of your wishes come true, especially mine.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Mark the Philosopher

My father-in-law recently had to renew his tabs at the Secretary of State. However, due to the heavy snow that morning, he was afraid to drive in his little Ford Ranger. He called to ask if I'd take him because I have a 4WD SUV.

Mark and I were out running errands when the call came in, so I said that we would by over within 30 minutes.

On the ride over to my father-in-law's house, Mark asked why we needed to pick up Opa, so I decided to teach an impromptu civics lesson.

I told Mark that the government was forcing Opa to give them money, otherwise--if he tried to drive his car--they would arrest him and hurt him by either taking more money or throwing him in jail. (Please note that this is pretty much exactly what goes on every time you renew your tabs).

Mark said that if the government ever does that to him, then he will call the police on the government.

When I told him that his plan was flawed because the police actually work for the government, he became exasperated.

"You mean the police are evil?" he asked.

"No," I said, "what I mean is that the police work for the government."

"Yeah, but if the government steals from people, then it is evil; and if the police work for the government then they have an evil boss, so the police are evil too." He fired back.

I was impressed by his ability to reason via hypothetical syllogisms. However, I explained that most policemen are good people whose job it is to help people in trouble.

"And kill bad guys," he added.

Win-Win

What's better (but in the same category) than renting a really cool game for your XBox 360?

Renting that game for your son and getting all the credit for being an awesome dad.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Second Shoer

You've probably seen the video of the WMD deployed recently against president Bush.

What most people don't consider is the possibility of a second-shoe-thrower. While there's no footage of the grassy knoll, such a vantage point would have been an excellent place for a Nike marksman to take his best shot at the president. It goes without mention that Woody Harrelson's dad wears shoes everyday.

This Muntader al-Zaidi is nothing but a patsy, folks. Get with it. This was an attack orchestrated by the CIA.

(Which probably explains why no shoes managed to hit the president)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Contradictions

There cannot logically be proof in the contradictions, but so many exist that there must be something to them.

We rely upon nature such that we call her mother. However, today she battered me with winds and damn near froze me to death while looking for the perfect Christmas tree to display in our home as a symbol that in some way must at least tip the hat to the beauty and generosity of nature.

P.S. I wrote this on a whim in about 35 seconds. I will most likely regret not thinking more about it before writing it--just as I now regret doing karaoke at my work Christmas party after a few too many rum and diet Cokes.

I've always been "the loud guy."

Now I'm "the loud guy who sings way the hell out of key."

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Yes We Can (protect liberty)

What is a patriot to do when the country has gone wrong? Under such circumstances, the patriot actually opposes his country.

Many will therefore look upon the patriot as unpatriotic, but what is the truth?

Before July 4, 1776, a true patriot supplicated to the King of Great Britain.

At this point in America's history, if a patriot is defined as one in favor of limited government and maximum liberty, then a true patriot must oppose this government.

Of course there's always the important question: can individuals concerned about personal liberties make a difference if they speak up and work together (e.g. by subverting the current nonsensical "two-party system"), the ironic answer is "Yes we can!"

We can accomplish this by never again voting for republicans or democrats. Every incumbent, save for Ron Paul, should be thrown out and replaced by someone who can quote (or at least paraphrase) Article I, Section 8 and Article II, Sections 2 and 3 of the United States Constitution.

Any man or woman who can quote or paraphrase these parts of the Constitution must recognize that this government that we have today is an abomination.

A Rather Awkward Moment

Before you read this post, you must watch this clip.



If NBC has killed the clip from youtube, then go to www.nbc.com by clicking here.

I, biobandit, and bar all thought that this sketch was hilarious. A mutual friend, let's call him "Marc" (because that's his name) has a similar sense of humor, and he is known to watch SNL. Knowing this, I planned to do my best Andy Samburg "Jizz in my pants" impression when we shook hands for salutations at this evening's company Christmas party.

I just knew that Marc would laugh his butt off when, while shaking his hand, I curled my lips up and shook at the waist.

However, it turned out that Marc hadn't seen the sketch. Therefore, he looked at me as if I was mentally incompetent at best.

It soon occurred to me that he had no idea as to what I was referring. I quickly explained what it was all about, but, in the end, I nonetheless ended up looking like a perverted idiot.

In case you missed it, here's the link again.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

My Recent Rants Explained

I saw BAR the other day, an he noted that I've been pretty down on Obama's campaign slogan/chant, "Yes we can!"

This I acknowledged but explained my reasons.

For one, it's purely a psychological/crowd pandering tool. It's like the "wave" at a football game.

Also, it's too general. We can what?

Let's push the clock back seventy years and head on over to Germany. Imagine Hitler asking his pumped-up crowd: "Und can vee solve der problem mit der Juden?" (This is my half-German, half-phonetically English-with-a-German-accent way of saying, "And can we solve the Jewish problem?"

Or Osama bin Laden asks his Al-Qaeda lieutenants, "Can we hurt the Americans?"

Both the Nazi masses and Islamo-fascists would respond, "Yes we can."

This is not to say that Obama supporters are Nazis or Islamo-fascists. It's to say that Obama's slogan is as useful to the evil as it is to the good.

I've never liked simple slogans. What if I lived according to Nike's "Just do it"? I'd have a dozen sexual harassment suits against me; I'd be in jail for punching out several jerks; and more likely than not I'd have shoplifting charges against me.

When the founding fathers waged war against the British empire, many chose the slogan "Don't tread on me."

This is a great slogan, for it cannot be misconstrued. Simply put, it means that the bearers of the slogan are not to be trampled upon. They are free men who will exercise and defend their liberties.

Patrick Henry created the motto, "Liberty or death." Again, this is short but chaste. It cannot be chanted sincerely by evil men.

"Yes we can," however is, at its essence, the motto of every tyrant who ever lived. Tyrants are also called dictators, from the Latin dictare, the infinitive of the verb "say." Whatever a dictator says is what goes. Therefore, if a tyrant/dictator says, "Yes we can," then damn it he intends that it will be done, no matter how many bodies need to fall in his wake.

When Obama has his minions chant, "Yes we can!" the real questions being asked are as follows:

1.) Can we utilize government's coercive powers beyond their constitutional limits?

(Yes we can!)

2.) Can we end the system of property rights as we know it?

(Yes we can!)

3.) Can we turn what was once a simple republic into a socialist republic?

(Yes we can!)

4.) Can we take steps to make things worse and, at the same time, make the masses excited about it?

(Yes we can!)

Thursday, December 04, 2008

No More Bail Outs!

Yes, there's an element of sincere "too bad" for the unskilled who must suffer at the demise of the Big 3.

However, while those in Detroit plead for money, who really thinks of from where this money comes?

Is it right that carpenters or street sweepers or basic freaking clerks in places as fare away from Detroit as Honolulu to Key West should have to forfeit their property to "bail out" the people of metro Detroit?

Should I have to lose because my next-door neighbor lost his job and is in foreclosure? If not, then the proposed "loans" to the Big 3 are wrong. If so, then you have no concept whatsoever of individual or property rights and should, according to T.S. Eliot, pay you respects to either Hitler or Stalin.

Yes, if the Big 3 fail, then many people will be without jobs. However, this is how economies improve. Imagine if the telegraph industry was propped up by the government. Would you utilize it, or would you say, "Why in the Hell are you even in business?"

When the fields dried up, the Okies moved away. Should they have stayed and grown scant crops on ruined soil?

You know the answer, Sentiment alone is what keeps you from admitting the solution.

More Johnny Cash ('Cause He's So Darn Good)

Sure, this isn't the first post with Johnny Cash videos--and some may be repeats--but listen again and feel his pain, feel his faith, feel his faith and talent.

















This isn't the original--but it's cool!


This song makes me decide to attend mass.

Obama/Lincoln

Much has been said as to Obama's wisdom in appointing a "cabinet of rivals" similar in nature to that of Lincoln's.

Most seem to think that this is a good thing.

I remind these optimists that Lincoln waged war against what he considered his own country, and left 3/4 of a million dead, and many more permanently injured and/or destitute.

Can we destroy this country?

"Yes we can! Yes we can! Yes we can!"--Barack Obama.

Pirates!

In the United States' infant stages, piracy in the Mediterranean was a huge problem. Pirates based along the Barbary Coast in cities like Tripoli and Tunis attacked American merchant ships, seized cargo and held Americans for ransom.

For many years, the US government chose to pay these pirates tribute in exchange for the promise of safe passage.

However, everyone knows an extortioner/blackmailer's next step...

The Barbary Pirates began to up the amount of money for tribute. It took awhile until finally the third president, Thomas Jefferson, decided that enough was enough. He ordered the infant United States Navy and Marines to sail into the Mediterranean and, in the words of Commodore Stephen Decatur, "offer them liberal and enlightened terms, dictated at the mouths of our cannons."

The "negotiations" worked. After Decatur's bold exploits, the United States payed no more ransoms at all.

Similarly, when I was in 6th grade, an 8th grader named Mike, used to pick on me at the bus stop. He was relentless, and his friends used to laugh when he'd call me names and shove me around before the bus picked us up and after it dropped us off.

Finally, I snapped--not unlike Ralphie against Scott Fargas in A Christmas Story. We had just been dropped off, and Mike was at it again. I remember that he said something, but I just kept walking home. This seemed a decent plan since our homes were not in the same direction.

But he followed me, no doubt egged-on by his buddies.

After a dozen or so steps, he shoved me from behind. However, I was ready for it.

He pushed me, but I turned to the left at the exact moment that his hand touched my back. This caused him to fall forward a bit, such that he was utterly defenseless when I threw a fast right-hand punch into his left ear (sources later told me that Mike's ear rang for two days).

He went down, and I jumped on top of him. First, I pounded the back of his head. He rolled to his side, but I stayed atop of him and began to punch his face over and over.

He screamed. He cried. He begged me to stop.

I did not stop. I beat the hell out of him until someone's mother pulled me off and called me a "foul little rat."

As the mother lent forward to Mike and asked if he was all right, I noticed the blood pouring from his nose and lips. My first instinct was to yell something like, "See what it will getcha?" But instead I ran home.

Once home, I figured that Mike's mother would call mine, so I decided to tell my own mother exactly what had happened.

After the story was over, she simply asked "Did you really make him bleed?"

"Yeah," I confessed.

"Good," she said. "I'll bet you anything he won't be a problem from now on."


So I ask rhetorically: What shall we do with the Pirates off the eastern African coast?

Fight them and destroy them all AND everything that they're holding for ransom. That will send a message.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Aloha?

My daughter just asked me if I knew how to say "Hello" and "Goodbye" in Polynesian.

I told her yes, and that it was the same word. Next, I asked her if she knew that word.

She affirmed by saying, "Aloha."

Overall, this was a rather unimpressive exchange, other than it got me thinking how stupid that Beatles song "Hello Goodbye" must sound when translated into Polynesian.

Are there times when it says, "You say hello, and I say hello?" or "You say goodbye, and I say goodbye"?

Four Legs Good!/Yes We Can!

"Four legs good! Two legs bad!" = "Yes we can! Yes we can!"

Warning: The pigs will not save the farm!

Have you seen the little piggies
Crawling in the dirt
And for all the little piggies
Life is getting worse
Always having dirt to play around in.

Have you seen the bigger piggies
In their starched white shirts
You will find the bigger piggies
Stirring up the dirt
Always have clean shirts to play around in.

In their styes with all their backing
They don't care around
In their eyes there's something lacking
What they need's a damn good whacking.

Everywhere there's lots of piggies
Living piggy lives
You can see them out for dinner
With their piggy wives
Clutching forks and knives to eat their bacon.

--George Harrison and John Lennon, recorded by The Beatles.

Notice in the last line what the pigs are eating!

"It's people!"
--Charlton Heston in Soylent Green

Monday, December 01, 2008

A Poem

"A Learned Man Came to Me Once"
By Stephen Crane

A learned man came to me once.
He said, "I know the way, -- come."
And I was overjoyed at this.
Together we hastened.
Soon, too soon, were we
Where my eyes were useless,
And I knew not the ways of my feet.
I clung to the hand of my friend;
But at last he cried, "I am lost."


Am I the only one who sees how like Obama is to this "learned man"?

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Same Ol' Same Ol'

A lot of credence is given to climate models. However, climate models--at least as far as I understand them--assume to know (or at least approximate) all variables.

Based upon what happened then, compared to what's happening now, this will happen next.

A height model of me, with data taken from ages two through eight and another from eight through 16, would project me as much taller than I am today (since I stopped growing at age 16--the fault of my mother's vertically challenged genes).

A model projection of casualties in the Civil War, taken after 1st Bull Run, Ft. Henry, and Ft. Donelson could never have foreseen the catastrophic losses of life at Shiloh, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Chickamauga, the Wilderness, Spotsylvania Courthouse, or Cold Harbor.

The reason why these model projections would fail is because they do not account for unexpected changes and because they do not assess enough.

Climate is supposed to be about long-term weather/temperature patterns, and we have scientists talking about the last fifty years.

In the life-span of a human, fifty years is admittedly long-term. However, in the life-span of the Earth, it's not even a drop in the bucket.

I've said this many times, but I'll say it again. The most likely culprit for the most recent trend of warming is the same culprit for the warming that brought us out of the last Ice Age. Since that culprit could not have been man, this culprit cannot be man.

This truth sucks only for those who wish to coerce others into living their lives according to a strict "green religion" doctrine that will one day label me a heretic. Fortunately, they will not burn me at the stake, for I will certainly emit many "greenhouse gasses."

By the way, if methane is a greenhouse gas, then I just contributed to global warming.

Oops, I did it again.

And again.

And--damn, I've got to take a shower and change my shorts now.

Silver Lining

There is some hope in what Obama has thus far pledged to do. My wife dislikes my following line of argument because she finds it "just plain cynical." I say "cynics of the world unite! You have nothing to lose but your cynicism!"

Here's why Obama's economic policy may bring hope.

What Obama has thus far suggested will lead to a further decline in the dollar's value. This will be coupled with an increase in taxes.

A decline in the dollar's value hurts people because it reduces their money's purchasing power.

Increased taxes hurt people because it reduces their overall supply of money.

As things get worse, Obama will order massive public works projects in order to employ people (this will be similar to the CCC of FDR's New Deal). This will add to the tax burden on the people or the debt burden on the government.

As the government continues to spend money that it doesn't have, the value of US currency and the marketability of US bonds will decline.

Here's where the hope comes in.

Since the democrats control both houses of congress and the presidency, all the blame should fall in their laps--just as blame for what's going on now is rightfully leveled against republicans (for republicans are wrong about the economy et al. as well).

One of two things must come from this. Either things get even worse--and we'll need to rent Mad Max for educational purposes--or people might actually consider that none of this government-intervention crap has worked in the past, it isn't working now, and it won't work in the future.

Sometimes it takes a case of cancer to make a smoker quit.

My wife dislikes that I seem to be actually rooting for things to get worse. However, I don't want things to get worse. I just think that they will, and I think that the worse times may become a catalyst for real change.

And now a question for Obama and his supporters:

Can you really screw up this country worse than it already is?

And they answer:

"Yes we can! Yes we can! Yes we can!"

Friday, November 28, 2008

To Be A Man

It has been said that the primary difference between humans and other animals is intelligence. By far, human beings are more intelligent than other animals--yes, even dolphins (who haven't the wits to avoid tuna nets).

According to this logic, then, the more intelligent the man, the more human he is.

Hogwash.

While intelligence is a huge difference between humans and other animals, it is not the only thing--or even the most important thing--that sets them apart.

Human beings know the difference between good and evil. Blame it on Adam and Eve (especially Eve) if you like, but we've eaten from that tree, and we know.

When a bear kills a man in the woods and eats him, that bear should be considered dangerous, but no one calls the bear a murderer. When a man kills another man in the woods and eats him, that man is considered more than dangerous. He is a murderer--and even worse (what with having eaten his victim and all).

This is why ignorance is bliss. If you don't know the difference between right and wrong, then you are not accountable for your actions (or at least not as accountable).

Combined with the intelligence factor, we come to this. The more intelligent the human, the more good or evil he may be depending upon to what he sets his mind.

No one whom I know questions the intelligence of Barack Obama. However, its what he plans to do with his intelligence that will define him as a man.

For that matter, I tremble.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Civics Quiz

Bob Murphy posted a link to this Civics Quiz on his blog, Free Advice.

He notes from another source that elected officials who have taken the quiz average a mere 44%.

That's shocking, but it's not really surprising.

I scored 32/33 correct.

I missed the last one.

But I don't really understand why my answer was wrong.

Take the quiz and post your scores as comments.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Irony

People seem to be content to concede power over the economy to the same people who planned the war in Iraq.


Why not set up Michael Jackson with an all-boys Junior High?

Mark's Question

My five year old son, Mark, asked yesterday, "Dad, how come alcohol doesn't kill grown ups?"

He asked this because I had just finished making rum and cokes (rum and Diet Coke for me--down 30 pounds in about 50 days)for some dinner guests.

I told him that alcohol can indeed kill grown ups, but since they're bigger it takes a lot more to do so.

"Well," he asked, "then how old do you have to be to drink whisky without dying?"

I told him that 21 is the legal drinking age.

"Is that how old you are when you grow hair around your penis?" he replied.

I nearly wet myself--hair and all.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Oswald: Guilty

At msn.com, the newest big question is who killed JFK.

The answer is unsatisfactorily simple. Lee Harvey Oswald killed JFK. Gerald Posner argues this well and impeachibly in Case Closed..

The only problem with admitting that Oswald assassinated the president is that to do so admits that a nobody, a nothing-to-society, can nonetheless have a profound impact on history.

If Oswald had killed Joe Blow, no one would hypothesize about gunmen on the grassy knoll.

However, Oswald killed the president.

That's the only reason why there's a controversy.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Why I Haven't Posted

I haven't posted in awhile, and some might wonder why. The answer is simple. There are only so many ways that I can say that the federal government caused this economic situation, and the government's policies to get us out of it will only make things worse.

How many times must I say that while we do indeed need change, Obama's brand of "change" isn't what we want or need? Hitler was a change for Germany. Enough said about "change" insofar as people think that it is intrinsically good.

If I were to post something now, it would be mean, nasty, and borderline seditious. Ergo, I defer.

How awful must it have been for the Russians to have to wish for the Soviet regime to fail? It's sad when patriots must actually oppose their country.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Make War More Eco-Friendly!

Wind-powered electricity for testicular torture!

Obama's Victory: The Aftermath

Grizzly Man


I recently rented the film Grizzly Man. It's a documentary about a man, Timothy Treadwell, who--in my estimation--was desperate to find meaning in his otherwise meaningless life.

In his attempt to matter, Treadwell turned to Alaskan grizzly bears. Without a doubt, Treadwell was passionate for bears--in both protecting and understanding them. And all critics, myself included, must confess that he had an uncanny ability to socialize with them. That is until one of them killed and devoured much of him and his girlfriend.

The film consits mostly of footage shot by Treadwell himself, but this footage is intermixed with interviews of friends, family, associates, and wildlife experts.



Even before I saw the film, I had a feeling that it would be yet another chapter in the lengthy anthology of stories that depict naive environmentalist/wildlife enthusiasts who think of mother nature as kind, and man as the sole source of violence/problems in this world.

For proof that he was, at best, naive:



It made me recall Christopher McCandless , who renamed himself "Alexander Supertramp" and made his way into the Alaskan wilderness in order abandon the corruptions of society and to commune with nature. Hunters found his decomposing body months later.

Grizzly Man is definately worth watching. While I was not surprised that Treadwell died at the hands of the bears whom he loved, I was rather amazed at how long it took for it to happen. He lived with bears every summer for over a decade. He watched them. He named them. He interacted with them--even going so far as to touch them.

In the end, however, the lesson is clear. This romanticized view of nature is a fictional product of urbanization and especially sub-urbanization.

Enjoy this (you might remember it). Between me and the drummer from Def Leopard--three thumbs up!

Friday, November 07, 2008

The Will of the People!

I was never happy about this election. However, the people spoke overwhelmingly, so it must be good, right? Let's read this article from the New York Times and toast to the will of the majority.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Change?

I cannot be the only person who looks at the current economic situation and notices that the proposed "solutions" are little other than more--a lot more--of the same.

Chronic alcoholism has serious symptoms in people. The solution is not increased alcohol consumption.

The government's influence in the economy has been and currently is the problem. And yet, they're grasping for even more power.

What kind of person calls for more power, however undeserved? A tyrant. That's who.

Ever since the Panics of the late 1830s, ignorant people have called for more government in economic matters. History proves that this does not work. At best, the government seems to be able to create a very temporary "bubble" that inevitably "bursts," and ends up leaving things worse than before.

Isn't it about time we tried something else? Less government in the economy would be nice, but let's try no government in the economy. This hasn't been tried in the United States. Not ever.

However, the wealth in the United States correlates to the fact that, for the most part, people have had relative freedom in matters of trade. This means that the key to economic prosperity is less government involvement. Why not try the least government involvement? If it doesn't work, then we can always change.

By the way, "change" means--in verb form-- "do something different." In noun form, "change" means "something that is different." However, to most people who vote, it seems that "change" means to "do the same thing but more earnestly."

You can't change things by doing the same things, and you cannot vote for change by voting for the same lying bastards from the same lying parties who have been doing the same BS for decades.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

My Leader?

In reference to Barack Obama, one of my local news programs just posted a promo asking what people from our state want from our new leader.

Let me make this clear. Barack Obama is not legally our leader. According to the Constitution, he is the head of the executive branch.

That's it.

He's a well-publicized cop, whose job is to enforce the laws passed by congress.

If you think that Obama is this country's leader, then you need to change your party affiliation to (M)--for monarchist.

For freaking sake, read Article II of the United States Constitution. That includes you, "aconservativeteacher," who has lent his pragmatic support to a candidate who does not value the constitutional limitations of a president (just look at what the guy said that he'd do as "president".)

Even if the president can be considered a leader, can he be considered my leader? I didn't vote for him! If government exists by the consent of the governed, then I don't have a freaking government because I don't freaking consent to it.

If you think that Obama is my leader nonetheless, then you must think of me as a slave who has no say in who his master is.

I decline to be a slave, and if you insist that I must be one, then I challenge you to a private meeting in a dark, out of the way place. I will defend my freedom, and you will know the meaning of the motto "Sic semper tyrannis."

This is not a boast. I dare you to try to make me a slave.

See what happens.

What's your defense--that he won the election? As if tyrants have never been elected! Check German political history. See that Adolf Hitler was ELECTED to the chancellorship.

Seriously, meet me in that dark, out of the way place. As far as I am concerned, it will mean one less tyrant for this world. My conscience can live with that.

Brutus was not a traitor. He was a hero.

This world didn't need a Caesar then, and it doesn't need a Caesear now. And if he looked at me and said, "Et tu, brute?" I would answer "Etiam!"

Nemo me impune lacessit.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Don't Vote!!!

Although most of my readers will probably get this message after the fact, I am now nonetheless compelled by conscience to post it.

You don't have to vote for President.

If you don't like McCain or Obama--and you know, having read the Constitution, that neither one is philosophically qualified for the job--then you don't have to vote for one of them. You don't have to vote at all.

My friend, BAR, argues that you should in the least vote for someone else (e.g. Bob Barr or Ralph Nader) in order to demonstrate clearly that you vote but will not vote for the republican or democratic candidates.

I see his point.

You might abstain from voting as a form of protest over the absolutely repulsive choice of candidates, but that is not clear to others. You might not have voted simply because you were too lazy to get to the polls or because you figured that your one vote didn't count in the end.

The truth is, however, it's not important what the country thinks of your non-vote. What's important is that you did not support something bad. As Thoreau stated (and I quote it from memory--so it's probably more of a paraphrase) "It is not a man's duty to devote himself to the elimination of evil, but it is his duty to wash his hands of it."

Don't play a part in this farce. Don't vote for president if no man running fulfills the guidelines stated in Article II of the Constitution. (You'll find that both McCain and Obama can be elected constitutionally, but you'll also find--based upon what they've said that they're going to do if elected--that neither will be a constitutional president.

As Thoreau pointed out, the government has no right over you and your property excepting what you concede to it (another paraphrase/quote). If you vote, then you concede.

So I say don't vote for president.

And next time, when a candidate like Ron Paul comes around--a man who knows and respects the Constitution--for God's sakes lend him your support!

How sick is this country that so many laughed at and chided the man who based his platform upon the constitution?

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Entitlements

If you don't grow, raise, or hunt your own food for a living, then you had better do something that can be traded for these things or exchanged for something that those who grow, raise or hunt food want.

Similarly, if you cannot or will not build your own home, then you had better do something that can be traded for the building of a home or exchanged for something that those who build homes want.

In the same way, if you are not a doctor, then you had better do something that can be traded...

This is only right. However, there are countless numbers of people who think that they are entitled to the goods and services of others without due compensation.

The last time in American history when a group of people thought that they were entitled to work without paying for that work, we were a nation of slaveholders.

Socialism is slavery. Obama has not come to set you free. He has come to tighten your chains.

McCain is no different, he just talks a gentler version of the same story.

I Know What the "F" in "FDA" Stands For

Somehow, the FDA claims to exist because it and only it can protect people from bad medicine (but not your love). This suggests the following: if the FDA disapproves, then it's bad. If the FDA approves, then it's OK.

Then why can't people sue the FDA for approving bad medicine?

The answer is simple. The FDA doesn't exist to protect the people. If that were the reason why it existed, then it would be accountable when it didn't.

If the FDA was a mere mall security company and it allowed burglers* to enter and exit with large amounts of merchandise, then that company would be held accountable. In the very least, it would be fired and replaced with a new company.

This is not true with the FDA or any government organization for that matter. When government organizations fail, we give them more money and power.

*In my original post, I left out the "r." It seems when I make typos, they're always ridiculous. Nice catch, Bob.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Change Is Coming--Be afraid. Be very afraid

If only this didn't turn out to be an ad for Ralph Nader, it would be freaking perfect.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Double Standard?

I just read that a Catholic priest in India was beaten to death by Hindu extremists.

It goes without saying that if a Hindu priest in the United States had been beaten to death by Catholics, this would have been front page news.

Monday, October 27, 2008

31 Years After His Death, Elvis Makes More Money in 12 Months Than You'll Make In a Lifetime (especially if you keep voting Republican or Democrat)

How awesome is/was Elvis Presley?

The guy has been dead for 31 years, but he still earned 12 million more than Madonna and 8 million more than Justin Timberlake did this year.













Goddamn, was he cool or what?

The Gipsy Kings--Hotel California

Well, if I'm going to post one Spanish language song (see below post), then I have to post my favorite.

You'll recognize it as a cover of the Eagles' "Hotel California."

You'll also notice that it's better.

Way better.

Antonio Banderas and Los Lobos - Cancion del Mariachi

Terrible movie, no matter how hot Salma Hayek is in it. However, this song almost redeems the whole thing.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

College Sports

I played football from 4th grade through 12th grade, and I'm now on my 10th year as a coach (9 for pay+my first year as a volunteer). I have two fantasy football teams, and every Sunday (all day) and Monday (night) I am either glued to the television or at least close enough that I can hear what's going on in the NFL.

For this reason, many people are surprised to hear that I hate college football.

However, if you consider the fact that most of the people playing football on the top college teams probably don't even qualify for college, then you might understand why.

I don't care that college football brings a lot of money into the system. College is about higher learning.

Were it the case that colleges could only play students who actually qualified for their schools according to academic standards, then I would acquiesce on this point. However, listen to any post-game interview for the major universities, and you'll get my point.

The same is true for basketball, though I don't really follow the NBA.

Colleges that wish to excel in sports should have players equal to the colleges' reputations. That's why I don't follow the University of Michigan's sports teams. The UM passes itself off as a great learning institution, but its athletes do not usually reflect that.

If You Have Nothing Nice to Say...

According to professor William Schenck-Hamlin, "The use of negative political ads has increased dramatically over the last 25 years."

Many people have noticed that this election has an awful lot of negative advertising.

Allow me to submit a reason: the candidates suck.

In social situations, if you haven't anything nice to say then the rule is to say nothing at all. However, in politics, if there's nothing nice to say about yourself, then you need to say something bad about your opponent.

Essentially, each candidate is saying that if even if you think of him as bad, the other guy is worse, and bad is preferable to worse.

Hmm. Any wonder why we end up with so many bad presidents?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Strangers Assessment

In a word, The Strangers was, at best, decent.

It offered nothing truly original. In many ways it wasn't much different than the movie Vacant, which appeared in theaters a year earlier.

At least it did not rely upon gore.

We'll see about that when the inevitable sequel comes about.

It started out good with a fine conflict, but there is something lacking to make the resolution important. Mostly, it just wasn't original enough.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Strangers

I'm sitting down now to watch The Strangers. It's of the horror/suspense genre, of which I am quite affectionate.

If it is good or not, I will report.

Rob Lowe is (partially) Deaf? OMG!

I just read in a blurb-ish article posted at msn.com that actor Rob Lowe is deaf in one ear, possibly by the mumps, which he suffered from as a child (being born three years after the vaccine was invented).

People must care about this ridiculous "factoid," otherwise msn.com wouldn't have posted it on its homepage.

That's why people aren't terribly impressive.

Beethoven was deaf in both ears, and despite his miserable childhood and tragic adulthood managed to compose the single most beautiful and inspiring masterpiece of all time: his Ninth Symphony--specifically the "Ode to Joy" chorus.

Now that's impressive--that a completely deaf man can compose the finest music ever in the history of mankind.

Who in the hell cares that a man can act (badly) while being only partially deaf?

Ooh, I know! The same morons who will vote either for Barack Obama or John McCain.



Be honest--wasn't that an awesome turn of point?

Funny story:

When I was in high school, I worked at a video store. One day, a gruffly, bearded man walked in, picked out a movie, and approached me at the counter for the rental.

He gave me his membership card, and it came up as under a woman's name. I asked him for his name, and he said, "Rob." I looked at the screen and saw that "Rob" had permission to rent on the account, so I took his money and gave him the movie.

As he left, I looked to my right, and our assistant manager--I'll call her "Carrie" since that was her name--was reeling back and patting her chest. As "Rob" left the building, I asked "Carrie" what was wrong.

"Do you know who that was?" she said.

"Uh, Rob, I guess," I answered.

"Yeah, Rob Lowe," she fired back.

"No way," I said--though I quickly brought up the account, only to find that "Rob" was a permitted renter for a woman (whose first name I cannot recall) had the last name of Lowe.

"Holy *expletive*," I said.

And that's the story.

I never said it was interesting.

I also rented movies to Randy Johnson, Nate McMillan, James Doohan, and this guy named Karl who always rented porn.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Heresy

A Christian who acts outside of biblical axioms is a heretic.

An American who acts outside of constitutional axioms is a republican or a democrat.

Listen, folks. We don't need to burn them at the stake. We just need to form a new party to stop them.

Know that men such as McCain and Obama can cite scripture for their own purpose (as Shakespeare said of the Devil in The Merchant of Venice).

Listen to what both men said in their debates. Can you doubt that they would rather rule in Hell than serve in Heaven?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Economic Stimulus

If congress can actually improve the economy with a stimulus package, then why shouldn't it pass a stimulus package every year, month, week, or day?

The answer, of course, is that congress cannot actually improve the economy unless it stands out of the way.

That's right. The best stimulus package is no stimulus package and an unwillingness to meddle in economic matters.

It seems counter-intuitive that doing nothing is in fact doing something, but consider if everything that you do is wrong, then doing nothing is a good idea.

End the Two-Party Madness

The fact that "Joe the Plumber" and "Joe Six-Pack" are issues in this election just goes to show why our system is sick. Indeed, the false two-party system is so sick that it needs to expire. Let both parties die, asphyxiated by their own crap.

What should replace them? If not a party dedicated to the principles of the Constitution, then nothing at all.

I'm sick of being told that if I don't support X, then I support Y. That's a ridiculous and baseless conclusion. Of course if I don't support X then I might support Y, but I might also support Z or A or B or any single or combination of letters ad infinitum.

What bugs me most is that people won't just let go. I am unwilling to bind others to my beliefs, but so many others are willing to use violence against me if I do not step to their time.

Listen to what the republican and democratic candidates for president say they are going to do, and compare it to what the president is actually supposed to do according to the Constitution.

These men are not running for president. They are running for king or for emperor, and if you vote for one of them then you are a traitor who must never say the part of the pledge of allegiance "and to the Republic for which it stands."

Does it not bother anyone else that the founding fathers would look upon our current system with the utmost disdain?

Who put us here? The answer is twofold: 1) The republicans and democrats; 2) The people who elect republicans and democrats.

Alas, how like a classical Greek tragedy is this country?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Link to Article on the "Choice" this November

I found the link to this article on the "choice" between Obama and McCain at Free Advice.

I'm not trying to copy your stuff, Bob, but it's too good for me not to post.

Choices Schmoices

As a reply to a comment made on a previous post, I was very crass in my treatment of an argument made by someone calling himself "aconservativeteacher."

At the time, I thought that aconservativeteacher was my good friend, bar, who was commenting under another name. I believed that bar was trying to get my goat by making an argument that he knows irritates me.

Bar has since denied having made the comment, and that left me wondering who it was and realizing that it was probably sincere--which would cast my reply in a bad light (you see, I thought that I was being toyed around with).

Thinking about it, I'm pretty sure that I know who aconservativeteacher is, and I am also pretty sure that he was sincere. This leaves me with some explaining to do.

The question should not be Will A be a better president than B? The question should be Will A make a good president?

If A will make a good president, then A should be president.

Another way to look at it is this:

If A will not make a good president, then A should not be president.

Let's allow A to represent John McCain.

If John McCain will not make a good president, then John McCain should not be president.
John McCain will not make a good president.
Therefore, John McCain should not be president.

What aconservativeteacher has offered us is a false dilemma. A dilemma is an argument pitting an A against a B in an either-or proposition.

Something like "Either John McCain or Barack Obama can be president. Whoever is better should be president. McCain is better. Therefore, McCain should be president."

The reason this dilemma is false is because there are other candidates running for the same office. Someone else can be elected. Of course there is a historical likelihood that either McCain or Obama will be president, but that' s only because so many people--like aconservativeteacher--are convinced that the two-party system is somehow carved in stone.

It's not coarved in stone. It's a myth, and a highly destructive one at that, for it has saddled us with poor policies and poor leadership for well over a century. aconservativeteacher argues that Obama is the equivalent to Hitler. Now I don't like Obama at all, but that comparison is quite ludicrous. However, I'll use aconservativeteacher's own exaggeration to reduce his argument to absurdity.

A vote for John McCain is a vote for Benito Mussolini.

OK, aconservativeteacher, it's your turn. You know well that both Hitler and Mussolini were tyrants. However, according to your implied position, you're going to vote for Mussolini because he's less of a tyrant than Hitler.

The thing is, we don't merely have to choose between German National Socialism and Italian Fascism. There are other options. Even if there were no other options, could you really lend your moral support to the fascists?

For my part, I will support neither Hitler nor Mussolini. If it means that I am boarded up in my moral castle, then from there I will make my stand. At least I will have no blood on my hands. I am responsible to my conscience, so I must preserve it at all costs, no matter how un-pragmatic that may be on a political level.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Mark LaRusso

Only two hours ago, I was sitting comfortably in my family room, reclining on one of our new-used chairs, and thoroughly engrossed in Casino Royale. Suddenly--just after Bond destroyed an embassy in Madagascar--Natalie (age 8) came bursting through the front door to tell me that Mark (age 5) had just kicked a neighbor boy, Michael (also age 5), and Michael was crying.

Oh Jeez, I thought to myself. Perhaps the Karate lessons weren't such a good idea.



I quickly went out side, and across the street two houses down. There sat Mark on the lawn, surrounded by several other neighbor children. He looked upset (like a boy who knew he was in trouble should look). Michael was nearby, clutching his left humerus and wearing a painful look.

I told Mark to go home and wait for me on the living room couch. He looked scared, but he obeyed. Next, I asked Michael if he was OK. Michael said that he was OK, but that Mark had kicked him in the arm and in the face. I told Michael that I was very sorry and that I would take care of it.

Before going home, I asked the eldest two of the kids present if they'd come with me for a minute. I asked both what had happened, and who had started it.

Both answered that Michael had taken Mark's hat, tackled, and hit Mark when he (Mark) had tried to recover his hat. That's when Mark kicked Michael once in the arm and once in the face.

I went inside and asked Mark what happened, and he told the same story.

Having the story confirmed as such, I did not think that any punishment was due to Mark beyond having him stay inside for the rest of the evening. Anyone who disagrees must think that Daniel san should have just let Johnny and the rest of the Cobra Kai have their way.

I did, however, explain that it would have been better for him to have come home and gotten me rather than duke it out. However, part of me wanted to tell him "Good job" because, man, I hate bullies--and I love when they get their due.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Not a Reason to Vote

How about that pro-Obama commercial in which people say why their going to vote?

There's the one where the person says something like, "I'm registering to vote because I make less than two gallons of gas an hour." Another says something like, "I'm registering because it cost more to fill up my tank than my mom makes in a day."

My question: What in the heck does the president have to do with this?

You're going to vote simply because a candidate promises you more money? That's essentially what this advertisement suggests that you should do.

Using the coercive powers of government to line your pockets (which won't happen anyway) is the same as pointing a gun at a stranger in the alley and saying, "Your money or your life."

My Vote 2008

I have decided not to vote for president. My reason is simple and just: no one running is good for the job--and yes, I've looked at third party candidates.

Bob Barr sounds pretty good, but I cannot forget things that he's said and done in the past.

On the bright side, I can honestly tell people that I have no part whatsoever in the crap to come.

On the darker side, there are millions of people who are more than willing to saddle me with their crappy president.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Patrick Henry on the Current Coup by the Federal Government (Sorta)

Newton's law--Every action as an equal and opposite reaction.

Right?

Now reason: For every power granted to or assumed by the state, the people are less that same amount of liberty.

And now a few words from Patrick Henry:

"[I]t is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it. I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past."

Now consider how much power the federal government has assumed, but not just since the Civil War, New Deal, or Great Society. I mean in the past eight years. Hell, try the past four weeks.

Patrick Henry:

"In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation. There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free-- if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending--if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained--we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight!"

It's not the time for a physical fight, and God willing it won't come to that. However, there are other meanings to the word.

Patrick Henry:

"They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed. . . . Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave."

If you ask me, it's getting pretty near the time either to learn the goose step, hide in an attic, or prepare for le resistance.

Why the French? It's simple. We've surrendered our republic to the national socialists.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

I'm Agitated

All this talk of the bailout bill granting new powers to the Executive Branch has me really upset. Why am I the only one pointing out that a simple bill from Congress cannot create new executive powers.

Only a constitutional amendment can do this.

This usurpation of authority is the stuff of which rebellions are born. I mean, it's really getting on my nerves--to the extent that my thoughts nowadays aren't so much about how the government must be changed, but how it must be brought down. I don't just wish to see certain men defeated in elections. I want them brought up on charges of tyranny and treason.

The thing is, I don't wish to be the kind of guy who wants to "bring it all down." I want peace. I want a constitutionally limited government that is true to its charter: to protect the life, liberty, and property of each and every citizen.

I curse the men who have brought us here, and I despise the voters who have put those men in power.

It's time to be angry. It's time to be afraid.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain

Once they start jamming the chorus, check out the long-haired dude on the left. Cobain?



Sunday, September 28, 2008

Not A Christmas Story

The following tale is true, mostly. I'll leave it to you to figure out what fictions have been added to enhance the story. Just know that the sad truth is that very little of it is fiction...

It was a mild Seattle area's Christmas Day in the year 1995, and while this reminiscence begins on Christmas Day, it is not a Christmas story. Good God, no it isn't.


Part I
December 25, 1996:

My college girlfriend was flying in to spend a couple of weeks with me and my family. Mother Nature contested her arrival with a heavy fog that seemed to descend upon the Sea-Tac airport and the airport alone, delaying her flight by hours and striking me with acute (though only temporary) hypertension.

I barked angrily into the telephone to a Northwest Airlines receptionist that a fog-delay and rerouting a flight to Portland, Oregon, was perfectly reasonable in the event of fog, but from where I looked out the window on that cool but mild Christmas morning, there was no fog to be seen.

"Calm down, sir," she insisted. "It's Christmas after all."

"Yeah, it is Christmas," I shot back, "and you guys don't seem to care that you've sent someone very important to me to the wrong freaking state!"

"Sir, as soon as the fog lifts, we will make arrangements for her prompt arrival. We are sorry for your inconvenience, and--if there's nothing else--a Merry Christmas to you," she stated in a tone that indicated the end of the discussion.

"Yeah, to you too," I replied, though it had all the tone of a "Bah! Humbug!"

While her arrival was indeed delayed, nothing could keep her from my arms. She was, as the saying goes, the only one for me: beautiful, intelligent, patient, kind, responsible, and--after dating for a year--she had yet to seek a restraining order against me.

Yep, it was true love. I was only 19 years old, but I knew that I wanted to marry this girl and build a family. I was pretty sure that she wanted the same, and I was more than willing to assist in the conception of her children. I was 19 years old after all, an age when it is easy for one to imagine the conceiving of children without thought of having to raise them. Hell, I'm 32 now, and my wife's tubes are tied, but I'm still more than willing to...well, never mind.

Now I said that this wasn't a Christmas story, and I meant it. Sure, we spent Christmas Day together--what was left of Christmas Day, that is--, and it was lovely, but It's what happened after Christmas but before New Year's that really gets the ball rolling here, so let's proceed.

We were out and about, taking in the downtown Bellevue scene--you know, window shopping and the like--when we came to a jewelry store.

"You wanna go in and look?" I asked. As if a woman will ever say no to a jewelry store.

"Why not?" she replied rhetorically, as if the answer that "It'll cost me" was inane.

So we went in.

Have you ever really watched a woman in a jewelry store? It's quite revealing. There may be no male equivalent, but if there was one, it would be something like a day in which the Superbowl, World Series, Stanley Cup, NBA Finals, and Swedish Bikini Team Strip Show were all on television simultaneously. It's one, solid 15-30 minutes of, "Ooh, look at that," "Wow, that's beautiful," and "Oh my God, do you see that?"

But for every male who's surfing the channels, there's always that one show that pops up, and it says, "Watch me, baby. Watch me all night long." And about 20 minutes into our Jewelry store jaunt, the female equivalent to a hot double-D mud-wrestling marathon appeared.

It was, of course, an engagement ring; and Lord Almighty it was beautiful--so beautiful, in fact, that even I momentarily stopped thinking about how awesome it would be if there was a hot double-D mud-wrestling marathon on ESPN.

"Look at that one," she said.

"Which one?" I asked, for she was pointing at a ring surrounded by at least a dozen other rings.

"That one," she insisted, "the perfect one"--as if that was a help.

"The one with the square..."

"No, that one! The one with the marquis."

"Huh?"

"Three down, two across!"

"Oh, yeah, that one. Wow, it's gorgeous!."

"Can I try it on?" she asked, as if I would say anything other than yes.

"Why not?" I replied, as if I could say anything other than yes.

So she tried it on, and it was a bit tight. She looked a bit dismayed, as if she'd expected to be like Cinderella with the perfectly fitted glass slipper.

She seemed, according to the salesman, to be about one or maybe even just a half-size off.

"Well, then can you measure her?" I asked, hoping that my intentions did not seem too obvious.

"Boot oof course we ken," he replied in a classless faux-French accent that made me think that he might have been born and raised in Queens but forced as a young man to watch Gerard Deperdieu movies.

Sure enough, she was a size too big."But eet eez oof no problam to feex eet" said the salesman, confirming two things in one statement:

1) I was going to buy this ring and propose to her.

2) He was a giant douchbag.

My only problem was the money, so enter mother.

When I told my mother that I planned on proposing to my wife and that I had already found the ring for the occasion, she was elated. When I told her the price of the ring, she was only slightly less elated.

I told her that I would need her help. After all, I was only employed part-time at the college cafeteria and my wages were then well below what is now the federal minimum wage.

"Of course I'll help you, honey," she said (much to my relief). "I'll cosign for the financing, and you can pay me back later." (It goes without saying that, even with all of her faults--and everyone has faults, so don't construe that statement as anything against my mom; I'll put my mom against your mom any day and leave you to weep over how pathetic yours is in comparison--my mom is awesome).

So over the next couple of days we arranged to purchase the ring and have it altered to fit properly--like a glass slipper should.


Part II
January 4, 1996:

I arranged for my mom and dad to be out of the house for the evening. My plan was a romantic dinner for two, candlelit and prepared by yours truly. Whilst we dined, a hefty fire in the living room (about 90 feet from the dining room) would combine with the music such as Ravel's "Bolero" to create just the right ambiance for a marriage proposal.

After dinner, I led her to the living room to sit in front of the fire. With orchestral music from the Romantic period softly playing, I knelt before her and presented her with the ring.

"Jennifer, you are everything that I dared to imagine and more than I imagined to deserve. Will you marry me?" I asked.

The look on her face was that of someone who knows that she should be surprised but isn't at all. Still, she got all flustered and began to fan her face as she said, "Yes, yes, I will marry you."

Actually, that's not exactly what she said.

What she said exactly was "Yes, yes, I will marry you, but..."

Now there are times when I like "buts." In fact, you might say that I like big butts, and I cannot lie...

However, I was somewhat taken aback by this particular "but." I wanted to blurt out, "But what?" but I figured that there was a perfectly reasonable "but" in hand, and that I best just play it smooth--so I let her finish (which is more than she has allowed me ever since!)

"I will marry you," she restated very clearly, "but" (there's that damn word again) "there's a tradition in my family that the suitor asks the father for his daughter's hand. My dad asked my opa, and my opa asked my urgro├čvater, and so forth. No matter what, I'm going to marry you; but you should ask my dad for permission before we make it official."

This was a weight off of my shoulders, for her dad was (and still is--especially if he's reading this now) a pretty cool guy. I knew I liked him a lot when he took me golfing for the first time. Throughout the round, he cursed so much that I couldn't help but think that this was a guy with whom I could connect.

"No problem," I assured her.

We then embraced, and this narration will now move forward from this moment because this blog is intended for use of people of all ages...

Part III
January 6, 1996:

My newly anointed fiance left for Michigan a full day before me, and I spent the day tinkering around but not doing much. That evening, after my mother and father had gone to bed, I sat in my old bedroom with little to do but watch the last 30 minutes or the Tonight Show. I don't remember who the guests were on that date, but they were obviously poor enough that I chose to turn off the television.

However, I wasn't tired, and I didn't feel like playing my Sega Genesis.

Not one bit.

Instead, I began to consider that asking for Jennie's hand in marriage would be, perhaps, the most important speech of my life--therefore, it ought to be good; ergo I ought to plan for it.

So I began to envision my asking. Something like:

"Mr. Zuzga, I love your daughter with all of my heart, and I intend to care for and provide for her every need for as long as I live. All I ask of you, sir, is for your consent to take her hand in marriage."

Whilst I pondered the many ways that I could ask a doting father if he would approve of my marrying his daughter, I began to notice that the room seemed very warm.

Indeed, I was sweating.

I also noticed an uneasiness in my stomach, and this uneasiness grew and matured until the point that I realized that I was about to vomit.

Now my parents house was rather large, and the closest bathroom was a couple dozen yards away, so I ran.

I ran faster that I've ever run before, even in comparison to football tryouts.

I had to run past my sister's door, past the den door, down the hall, make a sharp right, and past two sinks before I was anywhere near the porcelain god.

About five yards before the sharp right turn, I realized that I wasn't going to make it. My dinner was about to come up, and I was a full fifty-feet from the toilet.

Something deep inside allowed me to hold in what could not be held in, and I made the corner to the bathroom.

Knowing that reaching the toilet in time was impossible, I went straight for the first sink.

What came up was not indescribable, but I will forego description for your sake. All I'll say is that at that moment I learned that I need to chew my food better before swallowing.

It was awful. I felt my stomach clench, my bowels nearly (but thankfully not) give out, and I collapsed on the floor in a sweat.

The sound of my retching woke my mother up, and I could hear her a room away as she frantically put on her robe while asking, "What happened?"

"I just puked," I admitted pathetically.

"Have you been drinking?" she asked--making me feel even worse, as though my mother just assumed that I was a young, troubled drunk.

"No," I asserted--and I felt that nasty "puke line" that forms between ones upper and lower lip after such a vomiting episode.

When she arrived at the bathroom door, she took one look at me doubled-over on the floor, and a quick sidelong glance at the sink.

"You threw up in the sink?" she asked--but it was more of a statement than a question.

"Yeah," I said, "I couldn't make it to the toilet."

"But that sink doesn't drain!" she shouted in a way that expected me to know so even though I hadn't lived in the house for over four months.

She quickly got a hold of herself and realized that her son was in a rather bad condition, and she helped me to my feet.

"You have a fever," she observed after touching my forehead in that universally motherly way; and then she escorted me to bed, brought be a glass of water, and (God bless her) told me that she'd take care of the mess.

She said something else that bothered me.

"If you're sick, then you can't fly tomorrow."

Oh shit, you're right--I thought to myself, and so I slept.

I slept deeply and gloriously. No dreams; no worries; nothing but rest.

Part IV
January 7, 1996:

When I awoke, I was fever-free and hungry.

Nope, there's nothing wrong with me, I thought. I must have just had a bit of food-poisoning.

And so the day passed. I packed my bags, said my goodbyes. Before I knew it, I was on Interstated 405, headed to the airport.

My dad was driving, so I suggested a pit-stop.

You see, there's a fast-food restaurant in the Seattle area that is not in the Mid-West. It's called Taco Time, and it serves (among other things) crispy--that is deep-fried--beef burritos that are so good that even a pacifist realizes that some things are worth killing for.

I ordered two crispy beef burritos, some "mexi-fries" (i.e. overly salted tater-tots), and a large Coke. I don't remember what my dad ordered--if he ordered anything at all--, but I remember how good that meal tasted.

My flight was (and still is) called a "red-eye." This means that you're going to be freaking tired the next day because it leaves Seattle between 11:30 P.M. and 12:30 A.M. and arrives in Detroit between 5:30 A.M. and 6:30 A.M.

This means, essentially, that you're going to spend the next day tired as Hell--even if you sleep through the entire flight, which I did not.

This all took place back in the good old days when friends and/or family were allowed to escort you all the way to the gate--as opposed to now, when they frisk, fondle, and harass even the most honest ticket-paying consumer. Seriously, if I have to explain one more time that the giant bulge in my pants is merely a genetic "gift" and not a poorly concealed weapon, I just might have to wake up from one of my wife's dreams...

But I digress.

Seriously, my dad was able to sit with me in the seating area until I actually had to bid farewell and board the plane.

All was well. If I was lucky, I'd get some sleep. The worst-case scenario was that I would not sleep at all and be horribly tired the next day. As far as worst-case scenarios go, that didn't seem too bad.

The only problem was that not getting sleep was only a worser-case scenario. As it turned out, it was nowhere near the worst-case scenario.

As far as air travel is concerned, the "red-eye" is a pretty low-key affair. Rarely are there small children aboard, and everyone just assumes that he or she will spend the next four hours in a less-than-comfortable slumber.

My seat was at a window, with the middle seat empty and the aisle seat occupied by a man very obviously of southeast Asian descent--maybe Vietnam, perhaps Laos or Cambodia. Either way, as I listened to him try desperately to get a point across to a stewardess, this man was in no way fluent in English.

All the better, I figured, to give me extreme boredom as an added incentive to sleep. This was, after all, the time before hand-held DVD players or even more advanced digital movie devices. What with the dim-to-non-existent lighting available on such a flight, reading scarcely seemed an option. Sleep would be my only recourse.

But I couldn't sleep, even though Phan-Duc-To had slipped quickly into dreamland.

So I sat there, essentially alone and bored out of my mind.

Part V
January 8, 1996:

Anyone who knows me well can tell you that unless I am asleep or on the verge of sleep, my mind is never idle, so I sat in my seat thinking about things until I realized that it was time for me to establish clearly what I needed to say to Jennie's dad:

"Mr. Zuzga, I truly love your daughter, and I promise to care and provide for her every need for as long as I live. All I ask of you, sir, is for your consent to take her hand in marriage."

As I pondered the efficacy of these words, I couldn't help but notice that the atmosphere seemed rather warm and stifling.

I felt a little uneasiness in my stomach, and it was then that I realized the cause of the previous day's acute illness. I was nervous.

Luckily, I came to this epiphany before it was too late. I managed to calm myself and, with a great deal of will-power, force myself to sleep.

Now think of how random your dreams are. There's no saying, "I'm going to dream of this"--otherwise I would sleep more--just me and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Michael Who? Yeah, I don't know either...

I've dreamed of everything from fighting pirates with swords to running from giant bird-monsters that wanted to eat me to going to work "under-dressed." There is simply no logic to how I dream.

However, the psychologists would have had a field day with me on that night, for--in the few moments that I managed for sleep--I dreamed of asking Mr. Zuzga for his daughter's hand in marriage.

I jolted upright as I awoke and proceeded to make two actions.

First, my right hand sprang forward for the vomit bag tucked cozily away in the rear flap of the forward seat. At the same time, my left hand went up, index finger extended, to the button that alerted the stewardess of my need for assistance.

In retrospect, I should have used both hands to secure the vomit bag. After pressing the alert button, my left hand descended with such force that instead of assisting the right in opening the bag, it knocked it to the floor. At that very moment, I began to heave.

No adjectives or adverbs, no matter how extreme and vaulted, could be accused of being hyperbolic in the description of this episode.

The vomit poured. It rushed. It spewed forth as a mighty deluge of partially digested crispy beef burritos and mexi-fries (with a side of stomach acid to boot). The force with which it flowed would have extinguished an active Hawaiian volcano.

I remember watching it in slow motion as it shot from my gaping mouth and succumbed to Newton's law of gravity. The center of my lap (just in front of the aforementioned "bulge") became ground zero. From there, the splash-back sent particles of puke to all corners of the aisle.

Hiroshima was closely followed by Nagasaki, and the devastation expanded to include my shirt and shoes.

Jimmy Wah woke with a start and began to scream in repulsed terror. He kept trying to get out of his seat, but while his legs flailed about he was unable to unlatch his safety belt.

At this point, I had a stream of barf from my lips to the floor, but there was no time to be grossed out or to wipe it off, for the orders to drop Fat Boy and Little Man soon followed.

The hurling continued, and I could feel my stomach twisting in all directions as it evacuated its contents. I'm pretty sure that I tasted some yams on their way out, even though I hadn't eaten any in years. On the other hand, maybe yams just taste like puke, which explains why I hadn't eaten them in so long.

By the time that Ho Chi Minh had freed himself and barreled down the aisle toward the rear of the plane, I was finished. I just sat there, covered in nastiness, sweat dripping from my brow and emisis dripping from my lips, my chin, my shirt, my legs, my shoes--you get the picture.

I could hear people all around me talking in urgent whispers, and one particularly rude woman stating quite audibly "They need to get that man off of this plane"--a very sensible request at cruising altitude.

The stewardess arrived, finally. And taking quick stock of the situation asked, "Are you all right, sir?"

I have to admit that she asked it in a most sensitive and sympathetic manner, but looking back I have to wonder what in the hell she meant.

"No," I blurted before adding the obvious, "I just puked."

"Oh dear," she said--again in the kindest manner possible--"let's get you out of this seat and into the bathroom."

I paused for a moment, trying to build up some energy, before I said "OK."

I reached down to unbuckle my safety-belt, only to find it so covered in vomit that I actually had to brush particles of food away as I pulled the latch to release the clip.

"This is disgusting," I said as I let the belt drop to both sides and tried to stand up without touching anything--after all, my hands (and everything else) were a haz-mat case.

I remember taking my first walk of shame that early morning, down the aisle to the rear of the plane. People seemed to have an uncontrollable urge to look at me and an equally irresistible need to look away immediately.

My soaked shirt and pants clung to my skin and the inner soles of my shoes squish-squashed as I walked in that awkward, locked-joint manner, like a toddler who has just soiled himself.

As I neared the rear bathroom, I could see and hear Nguyen. He was facing a stewardess, waving his hands and rambling about in his native tongue, sounding a bit like John Lennon's gibberish at the end of "A Day in the Life." To her credit, she seemed to be listening attentively, even nodding her head upon occasion. As I approached, she glanced at me over Le Duan's shoulder. Something in her eyes made him turn around. What I saw in his eyes was more fear than hate. To him, I was a monster: "The Thing" from 16A. For every step that I took forward, he took a step in reverse--until he backed into the galley. His eyes grew wider as if I was coming for him.

Now to make this story more interesting, I could have fictionalized a complication by having both bathrooms occupied; and in subsequent retellings, perhaps I will make it so.

For now, however, we'll have to settle for the truth: both bathrooms were unoccupied, so I didn't have to wait. A stewardess opened the door to the starboard bathroom, and I entered.

Part VI

If the mirror had been full-length, I may have screamed aloud. The mere sight of my face was enough to give me a start. At some point, I must have wiped my mouth with my right hand, for a light-brown smear ran from the right of a my mouth to my right sideburn (hell yes, I had sideburns--and they were awesome, so just shut-up about it).

My eyes were bloodshot and my lids sagged. I also must have run my fingers through my sweat-drenched hair, for it was messy, nappy, and--to put it mildly--offensively unsterilized.

But still, this was nothing that a few (maybe twenty or thirty) splashes of water wouldn't solve. It was my clothes that posed the biggest problem. Carrie White's prom dress had nothing on me.

The shirt simply had to go, and while I was removing it I heard a knock on the door.

"Just a second," I grunted as I tried to pull the shirt over my head without touching my face or hair.

I cracked open the door and innocently asked, "Yes?"

It was the stewardess who had escorted me from my seat, and she looked excited, as if she had found the perfect solution to my dilemma.

"I brought you some club soda to treat those stains," she said in her bubbly way. The only way that it could have been more stereotypically blond would have been if she had ended with something like, "You silly goose!"

"Uh, OK, thanks," I said, as I opened the door slightly wider to receive my club soda.

She handed me a can. One stinking can. 12 flipping fluid ounces of club soda, which was great--seeing as how I was covered in no less than 72 fluid ounces of vomit.

"Just pour that on your clothes and it might prevent any stains from becoming permanent [you silly goose!]" she said, and I ungratefully closed the door without further comment.

Even though I was now shirtless, I had barely begun to disrobe.

Next came the shoes, my nice, leather Clarks Men's Falcon Oxfords. I thought briefly of salvaging them with my precious can of club soda, but while I might be able to clean the outside, the inner-sole was unsalvagable with just a mere 12 oz of club soda--or even napalm, for that matter--, so I just splashed some water from the sink on them and laid them on the floor next to my shirt.

The socks were similarly contaminated, so I removed them to the ever-growing "discard" pile and began working on my belt.

The belt was one of those woven from brown, leather straps. You guessed it, there was biological material on, in-between, and (as it turned out) under much of it. I would have tried some club soda on it as well, but I knew fully well that I wouldn't be wearing any pants once I left the bathroom, so just rinsed it with water and dropped it on my shoes.

Unbuttoning my pants, I finally realized that I wasn't going to be able to wear anything. I was going to sit in a seat, possibly next to someone, clad in nothing but epidermus. On the bright side, I was still in good physical condition (pecs, almost-abs, and such), but--given my recent misfortune--I wasn't going to lay claim to any new fans.

How wonderful it was when, upon slipping out of my pants, I realized that my boxer shorts were, for the most part, unscathed.

So there I stood. Naked except for my boxer shorts--a dark green/darker green plaid with a Bugs Bunny picture on the left, upper thigh. While these afforded some tiny degree of modesty, they were also the kind of boxers with no button to secure the flap that is typical amongst men's undergarments. Still, it was better than nothing.

I used the club soda on my chest, abdomen, and legs. I figured that might help get the smell off of me. I rinsed my face with water over, and over, and over again. And I stood there, in my partially-revealing Bugs Bunny boxers, contemplating my next move.

At that moment, I had an epiphony: a blanket. I could ask for one of those cheap, felt airline blankets; and I could wrap it around my waist like a towel, or at least a white-trash kilt.

So I opened the door ajar and whispered, "Excuse me," hoping that my doting stewardess would respond.

Instead, I met a new stewardess: Karl. And let me tell you, Karl was very happy to be of, as he would say, "athistance." From the moment that I first met Karl, I knew that he would "Tumble 4 Me."

"Yeth?" he said.

There was, I'll admit, a brief moment when I felt uncomfortable talking to Karl. I was, afterall, in my underwear; and he was, after all, very happy to be of "athistance." But reason took hold of me and I got right to the point:

"Hi, uh, Karl, " I said. "I need two favors."

"Go right ahead," he said--and I think that he might very well have added "you silly goose!" as well.

"First, I need a garbage bag for these clothes," I admitted. "Second, I'm gonna need something like a blanket to wrap around be because I'm kinda standing here in my underwear."

"No problem," he assured. "I'll be right back [you silly goose!]."

So I closed the door and waited.

If Karl was anything, he was gay--as gay as they come; a living, breathing stereotype. The kind that makes less effeminate gays upset because Karl was so gay. If he was anything else, he was fast--and I mean by his work, not by anything else.

In no time at all, he was knocking at the door with a garbage bag (check), a blanket (check), and my carry-on luggage (bonus check!), which he told me would be waiting just outside once I was ready to emerge from my hideout.

I shoved my shirt, my pants, and my shoes into the bag--knowing that I would never again wear them. I kept the belt out of the bag--wrapping it around my left wrist--for it was still wearable, and I tied the blue, one-layer felt blanket around my waist like a beach towel.

Still embarrassing, I thought, but at least presentable. After all, I could still bench-press 250 lbs, so if all people saw were my pecs, then big-damn deal.

I opened the bathroom door and stepped out, garbage bag (and brown, slightly wet leather belt braclet) in hand.

"Ok, good, I've taken the liberty of getting you a new stheat!" Karl exclaimed as I exited the bathroom.

"Uh, where?" I asked as I bent over--nearly losing my blanket--to pick up my carry-on bag.

"Right here, next to the bathroom!" he informed me, in a tone that betrayed his belief that he had solved a terribly difficult equation that held all the secrets to life.

So I took about three steps to my row, placed my garbage bag-o'-sickness underneath the forward-window seat, my carry-on underneath the forward-middle seat, and myself in the aisle seat. All was quiet, so I had a few moments to think.

Part VII

First and foremost in my thoughts was how I was going to explain my wardrobe and ruined clothes to my fiance. Just because honesty is the best policy didn't mean that it was my only (or even most preferable) option. However, I was at a loss as to any alternative versions to my recent history.

On top of this, I was scheduled to land in Detroit sometime before 6:30 AM. Detroit in January--not a good time to be mostly naked, So I also needed to figure out some way to secure my body from the elements.

A partial answer to my dilemma looked me right in the face: an airphone. They aren't around anymore, but there was once a time when you could make a telephone call from an airplane. The phones were installed in the back of the forward-seat, about eye level. All you needed was a credit card and a good reason to make one hell of an expensive phone call.

I had both.

My credit card was, of course, in my wallet; and my wallet was, of course, in my pants. My pants, you will remember were covered in vomit and stashed in a garbage bag filled with even more vomit covered clothes.

I didn't even try to open the bag right there. I simply grabbed it and went into my fortress of solitude.

Now it had been nasty wearing those clothes, and pretty much just as nasty taking them off. However, neither compared to the sheer foulness of opening that garbage bag, getting hit by the smell, and then rooting through them until I extracted my wallet.

I retied the bag, vigorously washed my hands with a thoroughness that would have impressed even Howie Mandel, exited the bathroom, and returned to my seat.

Once seated, I glanced over to my left, and there, sitting alone in the opposite row, was Ngoc Minh. For the first time since we'd met--what seemed like ages ago--he looked me in the eyes.

"You-ah no moh sick?" He grunted (who knew that he was semi-bilingual?).

"No, man," I said. "I'm OK now."

He uttered something quite incomprehensible and turned away. We had always been an odd-couple, what with me always vomiting and him always not; and this exchange was our last. If I really cared, I'd wonder what he's up to now-a-days, and maybe give him a call: "Say, Lua Xan, what have you been up to? Remember that time when I puked all over the place, and you screamed like a banshee? Yeah, me too. Man, what happens to the time?"

But since I don't really care, I haven't ever wondered what he's up to, so I haven't called.

However, a phone call was in order, so I removed the airphone and swiped my credit card. There may have been more to it than that, but that's all I can remember. Next, I dialed my fiance's number and prayed that she--rather than her parents--would answer the call that was coming it at, oh, around 3:30 AM their time.

There's something about the ringing when you're waiting for someone to answer that makes you want to shout, "Jesus Christ, just pick up the phone already!" But I'd hoarded my share of the attention on this flight, so I just listened and hoped that she would pick up soon.

Then, suddenly, a tired voice:

"Hello?"

I've always wondered why people answer the phone with "hello?" There's an inflection in it so as to make the word a question, but "hello" isn't a damn question. It's a salutation, for God's sake. Still, this particular "Hello?" was from the mouth of an angel--my beloved--so I declined to ask why she had converted a salutary declarative into an interrogative.

I just got down to the point.

"Hi, sweetie," I whispered. "It's me."

"Where are you?" she asked, sounding a bit more awake (and using an interrogative in its proper context).

"I'm on the plane," I stated. "Listen, I need a favor."

"What?" she asked, about 80% sleepy and 75% confused.

"There was a little problem on the plane--nothing big--but I need you to bring something like a sweatshirt, sweatpants, and maybe some socks and slippers," I blurted in a manner reminiscent of George Costanza.

"Huh?"

"A sweatshirt and sweatpants. Can you bring them?" Once again, think Costanza, only more urgently, like when he would get really frustrated and panicky at the same time (Vandalay Industries!).

"Yeah, I guess," she half-breathed, half-said.

"OK, I'll talk to you later," I said. "I'm hanging up now, so go back to sleep, but don't forget."

"OK."

"Thanks sweetheart. I'll see you soon." And while I intended to close with an I love you, she beat me to the punch.

"Love you too," she said, which was alarming since I hadn't said I love you yet.

"Yeah, I, uh, love you as well. Just remember, right?"

"Right. Goodnight."

"See you soon."

Part VIII

The rest of the flight proceeded just as any other flight, with the exception of my partial nudity and possession of an extra carry-on bag. We landed early--about 20 minutes ahead of schedule--so I just sat in my seat and waited for everyone else to exit.

It's funny how time can be so relative. When all you want to do is get off of the damn plane, there's always those SOB's who take three minutes apiece to retrieve their carry-on luggage from the overhead compartment. You end up just sitting or standing, waiting for the line to begin moving until the next group of SOB's realize that they need to get their crap together before they can exit, so that takes another three minutes. When it's finally your turn, you're annoyed and past ready to get moving on.

Not surprisingly, I was in no hurry to exit the plane. We were twenty minutes early, and my fiance (now my wife) is usually twenty minutes late to everything--unless I'm running a little slow, then she suddenly wants to leave early. I knew that I would be walking off the jetway into an empty terminal. So of course, this one freaking time that I wouldn't mind if it took awhile for everyone else to get moving, they moved like hell.

As I watched the last person turn left and exit the plane, I knew that I had to go. To say that the maintenance men had some cleaning to do would be an understatement. So I grabbed my bags and walked slowly up the aisle. When I reached my initial seat, I didn't know whether to be repulsed or impressed. To be honest, I was repulsed then, but now, in retrospect, my perimeter of destruction was pretty damn impressive.

When I was at the door, about to turn and leave, Karl said, "Thirrr, you can just go ahead and keep the blanket! [You silly goose!]" in his happy/gay/happy-to-be-gay manner.

"Thanks a lot," I replied; but I felt like saying, "Really? Do you think that for one freaking moment I even once considered that you'd take this from me before I left?"

So down the jetway I walked. Sure enough, I entered a virtually abandoned terminal. The few people there were of no interest to me, though I did seem to be something of an interest to them.

I stood alone at the gate for a few minutes before deciding that things couldn't get any more embarrassing for me, so I might as well just head towards baggage. Had I been reading this narrative instead of experiencing it, I would have recognized the ironic foreshadowing.

I walked slowly, deliberately taking as much time as possible. Everyone from my flight had made a beeline for baggage, so I was pretty much alone. Just before I reached the baggage area, my fiance and her mother rounded the corner in my direction.

I stopped about twenty yards from them, wondering to myself why she had to bring her mother, and trying to come up with a spin to my story--one that didn't leave me so ridiculous. I had nothing.

My fiance, who had wondered why she was supposed to bring a sweatshirt and sweatpants, spotted me and started to reel with laughter. So great was her merriment that she actually tripped and fell. Her mother was chuckling too.

I laughed not a whit.

"Did you bring the clothes?" I asked in my most irritated just-shut-the-hell-up manner as I resumed my approach.

Fighting through laughter and still on the ground, she held up a tightly-stuffed, plastic grocery bag and said something like "Here, sweetie." By this time, her mother was patting her chest with her right hand, and her mere chuckles had matured into full-blown guffaws. In that moment, I knew John Merrick's pain, but I spared any apologetic rants ("I am not an animal! I am a human being! I am a man!").

I took the bag of clothes and marched to the restroom that, thankfully, was just ahead.

Inside the restroom, I once again caught a look at myself in the mirror. I wouldn't be able to pass of any kind of indignant refutation of my fiance's and her mother's laughter at my expense. As far as reactions go, theirs was--however unfortunately--appropriate.

I opened the bag and shouted the f-word three times in terrific dismay. When I'd asked her to bring me a sweatshirt, sweatpants, socks, and slippers I had assumed that she would bring something belonging to her dad or maybe her brother. Instead, she'd brought me a set of her own clothes.

Do not for one moment believe that I am exaggerating here. The sweatshirt was so tight that I couldn't properly lift my arms or bend my elbows. The cuffs only went down my forearms about two-thirds of the way, and they were tight enough to restrict the blood flow to my hands. And of course, the bottom scarcely extended below my bellybutton.

The sweatpants were no better. Pulling them on took a great deal of effort--an effort not at all facilitated by the immobilizing qualities of the sweatshirt. Once they were up, they were tight enough for them to pass as a redneck leotard. They extended only about 2/3 down my calves, and up top they barely contained the crack of my ass. These pants pressed against me so tightly that anyone looking could see that I was circumcised.

Added to all of this, the socks didn't fit properly, and the slippers were tighter than an unwarranted simile. For a moment, I honestly considered taking everything off and returning to just my boxers and blanket, but it was January. The way I saw it, I was going to be an embarrassing sight no matter what, so I exited the restroom clad in my fiance's clothes.

Both my fiance and her mother resumed laughing upon my exit, and they continued to do so throughout my truncated and more than slightly modified retelling of the past few hours' events.

While waiting for the baggage to unload, I was again an object of much curiosity. However, by this time, it didn't really even bother me anymore. I looked odd, and I deserved to be pointed out. All I wanted was to get my suitcase, get in the car, take a shower, and get some sleep. That's when it occurred to me that I would soon have a change of clothes at hand. As soon as my suitcase arrived, I could head into the restroom and change.

It seemed that things were looking up for me.

My luggage actually arrived rather swiftly. We who patronize Northwest Airlines know all too well how long it can possibly take to get suitcases off the plane, across the terminal, and onto the carousel. However, I waited a long time to get off the plane, and I walked slowly down the terminal. I took a good several minutes in the bathroom, and another couple on the way to the carousel. Meaning it only seemed like my bags arrived quickly. It was more a case of me arriving slowly.

Part IX
I don't remember the forty minute ride to my fiance's home. I don't think that I slept, but I don't think that we really conversed much.

I do remember laying down in bed after my shower, and my fiance gently knocking on the door.

I bade her enter, and she did. Kneeling down beside the bed, she looked very serious about something.

"You can sleep for a few hours," she whispered, "but, when you wake up, you must speak with my dad. I don't know how, but I think that they suspect something."

"OK," I replied, "right away, after I wake up."

I passed a wonderful four hours of dreamless sleep before my fiance gently shook me awake.

"Honey," she whispered.

"Yeah," I groaned.

"Mom's making brunch, and you really need to talk with my dad."

"Alright, alright," I said as I sat up and rubbed my eyes. "Where's your dad?"

"He's in the basement," she said.

"OK, I'm ready," I concluded. And for the first time in two days, I actually felt ready.

I stopped in the upstairs bathroom to tidy my hair and wash my face before heading downstairs to the basement. Her parents live in a quad-level home: three bedrooms on the top, a living room, kitchen and dining area on the main floor, a family room and extra bed and bath on the lower floor, and a small basement below that. It sounds bigger than it really is, but as I descended the third set of stairs to the basement, it began to feel even bigger.

I had learned from unhappy experience that anticipating this moment was bad for my health, so I did my best to think of nothing as I took each white-tiled step down the basement stairs. Just say it, I told myself; and I was fully prepared just to blurt out my intentions upon the very moment that I addressed him.

I'd been around long enough to know that the basement served three main functions. First, it was the location of the laundry room. Second, it had the computer. It wasn't until I hit the basement floor and turned to my left that I remembered the third function.

The gun safe is in the basement, and anyone familiar with gun ownership knows that you should always clean a gun after firing it, and you should occasionally oil the barrel and stock whether you've fired it recently or not.

Now I had no idea at the time that my fiance's father foresaw the question that I was about to ask, and he had no idea at the time that I had endured a great deal of suffering in anticipation of this moment. That's why he thought it would be funny if he was oiling one of his shotguns when I asked him for his daughter's hand in marriage.

Think Goodfellas: "Funny how? I mean funny like I'm a clown? I amuse you? I make you laugh?"

Yeah, I didn't think it was very funny as my breathing quickened and my heart began to suffer from ventricular fibrillation. Here's an idea, let me kick you in the nuts for fun. Wasn't that hilarious?

He seemed to be glaring at me as I neared, so I just stopped and quickly blurted in a manner that put the Micromachine Man to shame, "Mr. Zuzga, I really love your daughter, and I want to marry her and love her for the rest of my life, and I was hoping for your permission."

He'd been waiting for this moment, and he was happy. So happy, it turns out, that he just had to jump out of his seat. His purpose was to embrace me and say "Yes, of course!". However, I was so scared that I nearly shit my pants. I've admitted enough already, so why not confess to that? I 'm serious, you know how a squirrel pokes its head out of a tree but then pulls it right back in? That's what happened.

However, once smothered in his great, manly bear-hug, I realized that all my angst had been for naught.

"Welcome to the family," he wept joyfully.

"Thanks," I said, and three little birds sang Every little ting is gonna be all right.

"Come on, let's go upstairs," he said while wiping his eyes.

When we got upstairs, all four of us--my fiance, her parents, and I--embraced in a group hug.

I could smell the omletes, so I asked, "Who's hungry?"

Jesus Christ, was I ever hungry!

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