Saturday, May 29, 2010

Saddle Sore 1,000 -- T-Minus 13 Days!

It's not long now before I ride the Iron Butt Association's Saddle Sore 1,000, so it's best I come up with a checklist and make sure I have everything I need.

1. Motorcycle -- check!
2. Route -- check!
3. Brains -- I say check, but my father says "Not enough."
4. Bottle of Tylenol -- will buy before leaving.
5. Camera -- will borrow from family member.
6. Chain inspected -- oops, I guess I'll put the bike in the shop on Tuesday. Would hate to break a chain somewhere out in the boonies!
7. Renew Honda Rider membership -- will do that online next week. Would hate to break a chain somewhere out in the boonies and be stranded because I'm no longer a member of "The Club."
8. Saddle -- Gosh, sure would like to get it reupholstered before I go because it's embarrassing to have a cracked seat.
9. Leather jacket -- check!
10. Chaps -- nope, but maybe I can find some online at

Oh, man! There's still a lot more I need to do before I go on this ride. Better move my butt before I can't!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Women are from Bloomingdales, Men are from Sears

It doesn’t take a government-funded study to tell us that men and women are different. A blind man could tell. But just in case you’re not blind and you need proof, let’s examine the one place in every house where the differences are the most obvious – the bathroom.

(For argument’s sake, we’ll assume men and women have their own bathrooms, and neither one goes into the other’s. Granted, that’s totally unrealistic, but so is this story.)

First off, a woman’s bathroom is always so darn cheerful and bright. Why? Because they make sure all their light bulbs are working. Entering a guy’s bathroom is like entering a cave a mile underground. If one light bulb is working, then why bother with the others?

The next difference has to do with smell. A woman’s bathroom smells fresh and soothing, with the fragrance of potpourri and vanilla waltzing together inside a person’s nasal passages. Guys, on the other hand, forbid dancing inside their honkers. That’s why a man’s bathroom smells like Old Spice on a dead cow.

Let’s now move to the bathroom counter, a useful surface where women place a thousand bottles of lotion, face cream, and fingernail polish, all within easy reach. The bottles look a jumble, but they each have their own unique place in the universe, and to move even one would jeopardize life (generally a man’s) as we know it. In contrast, the only items found on a man’s countertop are a tube of toothpaste, deodorant and a comb. A man’s needs are simple, and being simple-minded is proof enough of our differences.

What’s underneath the sink? Well, in a woman’s bathroom there are cleaners, brushes, and detergents – things to make the bathroom sparkle like new, with nary a trace of germs or grime. Under a guy’s sink is nothing but a Sears Mastercraft Adjustable Wrench, a plunger, and a phonebook. The plunger for unstopping nasty clogs, the wrench to take apart pipes that refuse to be unclogged, and the phonebook for calling a plumber – just in case – to put everything back together again.

Next, hanging from the towel rack in a woman’s bathroom are face towels, hand towels, hair towels, body towels, and maybe even feet towels – most of them frilly and pink, with flowers. And how many towels are on a guy’s towel rack? Two. One commemorative Dallas Cowboy 1994 Super Bowl Championship Towel, the other a NASCAR Dale Earnhardt, Rest In Peace, Memorial Towel. Any more than two towels is just not guy-ish.

Toilet paper is the next big difference between the sexes. Women actually keep their toilet paper on the toilet paper holder, ready to be used in a moment’s notice. Toilet paper in a guy’s bathroom is either on the floor or in some other part of the house. (WARNING: When using a guy’s bathroom, it’s best to first find the TP before it’s actually needed.)

In regards to laundry: Not one article of dirty clothing will ever be found on the floor of a woman’s bathroom. They’ll be gently tossed in the dirty clothes hamper, waiting patiently to be washed. But in a guy’s bathroom, dirty clothes are all over the floor. In fact, they ARE the floor. These clothes, too, are waiting to be washed, but their patience is wearing thin.

And finally, everybody knows that the bathroom, for both men and women, is one of the best reading spots in the house. But what’s available to read makes it clear whose bathroom you’re in.

Magazines in a woman’s bathroom are neatly stacked in a wicker basket and contain the newest editions of Cosmopolitan, Woman’s Day and Redbook. The magazines are arranged in alphabetical order, by size, and not one page is bent or dog-eared.

The magazines in a guy’s bathroom are scattered all over the floor and are about fishing, NASCAR, plumbing and hunting. Some of the magazines don’t have covers. Some have been in the same spot for years. And if you want to see a prime example of a man’s ability to multi-task, just watch him sitting on the toilet while reading an article about field dressing a deer. (On second thought, let’s don’t.)

And with that lovely mental picture in mind, I now leave you to ponder the differences between the sexes on your own. May you make wonderfully fantastic discoveries, and may you live long enough to tell about it.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Saddle Sore 1,000 -- T-minus 22 Days

I probably should do a little more "working out" before I tackle my first long-distance motorcycle endurance ride, but seeing that I'll be sitting all the time, does it really make a difference?

I may not be totally prepared for the distance, but I know my Honda Shadow will be.

Down The Road
I bought my motorcycle during the summer of 2004 and I currently have almost 59,000 miles on it. Every time I take it in for maintenance, the Honda guys are just dumbfounded that I could actually put that many miles on a bike in so little amount of time.

Whereas most bikers you see out on the road are just fair-weather riders, I ride my bike constantly. Rain, shine, hot summers, cold winters. To me, my bike is my transportation, and I don't let it sit in the driveway for long amounts of time.

For the Saddle Sore 1,000, I'll be taking very few things along. Some food to snack on, several bottles of cold water, and a bottle of aspirin. Oh, and maps. I'd hate to get lost.

Other than that, I'll be taking along a journal to write down my mileage, a ziplock bag to store my receipts, and a camera to record anything I might want to take a photo of -- maybe the state signs as I enter each state.

I've told a few people about my little one-day adventure, and several of them blabbed that I was out of my mind. One specifically said, "You're crazy."

Well, I believe the crazy ones are the ones who sit on their couches and naysay those who go out looking for adventure. The sole purpose of these naysayers is to make you see the "error of your ways" so you'll stay on the couch, too.

I see these people as sad, frustrated individuals who would go on adventures if they didn't have to miss "The Wheel of Fortune," but they can't, so they don't.

I don't listen to those people. I listen to my butt, and my butt says, "Get off me and go do something worthwhile. You wanna be a big lazy ass for the rest of your life?

So, me and my butt (excuse me, my butt and I) are heading down the road in a week or two. You can tag along on Twitter if you like. Or not. I'd hate to interrupt your "Wheel" watching.

Monday, May 17, 2010

All this drama deserves a musical

I know this is going to sound crazy, but I think I’m going to write a musical about the recent bombing attempt in New York City. I’m talking songs, dancing, skimpy costumes, a chorus line, and I’ll call it, “The Broadway Bomber – A Musical.”

Now, just thinking out loud, the orchestra will start off playing something Middle Eastern. Militaristic, but exotic. It’s disturbing because we hear snippets of American songs – like “Yankee Doodle,” and “Born to be Wild” – until right before the curtain rises, when the orchestra plays “The Star Spangled Banner.”

(Kind of a cheesy way to get the audience up on their feet, but it’ll work.)

As the curtain goes up, we see a typical family, in a typical New York apartment, singing a not-so-typical opening song – something modern, maybe rock ‘n roll-ish, with lyrics like, “I’m glad to be in America / watch some TV in America / everyone’s free in America / order some pizza America.” Okay, so it sounds a bit like “West Side Story,” but you get the picture.

The crowd goes wild at the end of the first song, and then we’re transported to some Middle Eastern desert country where we see a group of men in foreign outfits. They’re making plans about something, and singing a variation of the opening song which goes something like this: “Getting recruits from America / building a bomb in America / black SUV in America / blow up Times Square in America.”

Anyways, we head back to the typical American family, but now something’s wrong. Maybe the husband lost his job, maybe he wasn’t happy about paying taxes, maybe he missed the latest episode of “Lost.” Who knows? But it’s a great time for an angst-filled tearjerker kind of song. Maybe something like, “I got a ticket, and now I can’t afford the rent.”

Remember, I’m just thinking out loud, but during this song, I envision an interpretive dance number between the man and his wife. Choreography. Lots of choreography.

The dance leads the family to the airport where the man, wife and children (cute kids, voices like angels), ready themselves to leave America. But before they do, they, and the chorus line, break out in song. (The chorus line is made up of fellow passengers waiting to board the plane.) Clearly, the wife and kids are unhappy to leave their home, but the man has his plans.

We end act one with the man arriving in the desert, surrounded by the men in foreign clothes, and we have a reprise of the opening song accompanied with wild, foreign dance moves. It is quite apparent the group is teaching the man how to build a bomb.

After intermission, the curtain rises and we find the man back in America – alone. He buys an SUV, purchases some fireworks, goes to Home Depot and buys some fertilizer, and stuffs everything in his vehicle – just like he was trained to do.

I think this would be a great time for a street vendor song. Something catchy about all the weird people who come to New York. Maybe something like, “76 old men fight for taxi cabs / while 110 strange girls work the streets / and now I must sit right here selling T-shirts, hats and beer / to the tourist or anyone I meet.” Okay, it’s sort of from the “Music Man,” but it works, doesn’t it?

And now for a bit of downright hilarity. The man parks his SUV, runs away after lighting the bomb, but it doesn’t go off because he bought the wrong kind of fireworks and fertilizer. Not only that, but he leaves his keys in the would-be car bomb, which means he can’t get into his get-away car. Before you know it, he’s caught and confesses.

Back in the desert, the men in foreign clothes hear about the failed bombing attempt, have a good laugh at the expense of their bumbling bomber recruit, then barely escape as the Feds close in to capture them. Great dance action and more choreography sets up a finale that will knock your socks off.

I really think this has the potential to be a knock ‘em dead musical. But if it bombs, I have another idea: “Oil Spill Story.” A modern-day Romeo and Juliet musical set aboard an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico. I think it could be a blast!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Saddle Sore 1,000 - T-minus 29 Days

Okay, I've finally decided which Saddle Sore 1,000 route I'm going to take.

I thought about going south to Corpus Christi, head over to Galveston to eat a sandwich at Captain Jack's on the beach, and then head back north to home. Then I thought I'd go out toward Marfa and El Paso, ride through west Texas, spend the night, then head home the next day if my heart and butt would allow.

But, I've decided on an even more thrilling ride!

I'm going to head southeast to Shreveport, then east to Jackson, Mississippi. From there, I'm going to head north to Memphis, Tennessee, hook a left and ride to Little Rock, Arkansas, then northwest to Fort Smith. Finally, I'll cross into Oklahoma, head toward Paris, Texas via Hugo, then another 78 miles straight to the house, a hot bath and a soft bed.

Total No. of Miles: 1,057
Total No. of Gas Fillups: 11
Total States Traveled through: 6
Total Bottles of Tylenol: 1, if I'm lucky.

And that's the plan. Make sure to follow along as I make regular status updates on Twitter.

Friday, May 14, 2010

The life and times of your friendly neighborhood Wolf Spider

It is with great pleasure that I hereby present to you my scientific treatise on the roaming habits, reproductive cycle and life span of a North American Wolf Spider (Rabidosa rabida) that was living behind my bookshelf last Tuesday – until it met its untimely demise.

Frosty Morning Web
According to Wikipedia (the only website discriminating scientists choose to trust), Wolf Spiders wander from place to place, all alone, preferring not to keep a permanent home due to the high cost of upkeep as well as the possibility of foreclosure. Some build burrows complete with trap doors, but those are the across-town “rich” cousins who can send all 800 of their offspring to private school without blinking any of their eight eyes.

Wolf Spiders are said to be “robust and agile hunters,” preferring to roam in pastures and fields, pouncing on harmful insects, eating them piece by piece, and just making a party out of the whole shebang.

I have no qualms about them being out in those fields eating little nasty insects. They are doing a job we Americans (and even illegal aliens) wouldn’t stoop to do – and I say, “God bless them, each and every one.”

But a scientific treatise is no place for quoting Tiny Tim. So let’s continue.

Again, according to Wikipedia (that bastion of arachnid information), Wolf Spiders carry their eggs in sacs under their belly, and continue to hunt without ever complaining of morning sickness or back pains. When the spiderlings emerge from their egg sac, they climb up their mother’s legs to her abdomen where they hang on for dear life, which gives me the willies just thinking about it. When old enough, the spiderlings disperse through the air – scattering hither and thither – to start their own lives.

The Wolf Spider that inhabited my home was fairly intelligent due to the fact it chose to hide behind a bookcase full of volumes written by Poe, Dickens, and Twain. Why it decided to venture across open floor to the bookcase which held Barry, Benchley and Carlin, we may never know. But it did, and in so doing, risked being seen, which it was.

A Wolf Spider can move about its environment quite stealthily, but when it is discovered, they are very easy to track – especially if you follow the high-pitched screaming of little voices yelling things like, “It's over here, kill it,” and “I'm not going to kill it, YOU kill it,” and “Daddy! Don’t just look at it! Kill it NOW!”

The spider I encountered could be described as brown in color, looking apprehensive in a McGyver (I’m gonna get out of here using this toothpick and dental floss) sort of way, and big enough to evoke an “Oh My Word! It's a Monster! Run over it with the car” kind of scream from “the women folk.”

Which brings us to our next question: What is the average lifespan of a Wolf Spider?

No one really knows how long a Wolf Spider can live in its natural environment, but the average lifespan of any Wolf Spider hiding behind a bookcase in MY house is in direct correlation with the amount of perceived threat us humans believe we are in. I, myself, did not perceive a threat from this fine specimen of spider. I did, however, perceive abundant threats from the women folk, declaring they would inflict bodily damage to my person if I didn’t “squash that beast to pieces!”

Reverting to survival instincts, I took careful aim, begged forgiveness for what I was about to do, and slammed my 10-inch steel-toed work boot upon its cephalothorax (head) and opisthosoma (guts).

I must say, the spider splattered quite nicely.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

J-Walk reviews "Never Trust a Goat"

Holy Cow! Somebody other than my mother actually downloaded my "Never Trust a Goat" e-book and read enough of it to actually write a review!

And the reviewer? None other than John Walkenbach of The J-Walk Blog!

Okay, so let's cut to the chase and see what J-Walk thought of my little book:

"Just a bunch of humorous essays. I got it because a few of the essays mention banjo. But, as it turns out, he plays a 4-string banjo. I'm pretty sure I could write a book like this."

Plus, out of Five Stars, he gave me a Three! I mean, that's like a "C+" -- just enough to pass the class and not have to go to summer school! Hot Diggedy!

So, how about I review the review? I mean, just in case you're not used to reading reviews it might be best for me to point out some "between the lines" sort of stuff. Okay, here we go:

"Just a bunch of humorous essays."  First off, the word "just" implies that something "unremarkable" is about to happen, and when associated with "a bunch," that means there's going to be a lot of it! And what kind of essays are there going to be a lot of? Unremarkable but HUMOROUS essays! Score one for ME!

Next: "I got it because a few of the essays mention banjo." And indeed they do! The title of the e-book was just the title of the first essay -- you know, to grab a person's attention to make them want to at least THINK about downloading the book. The book is not totally about goats! But to find that out, you've got to read ALL of the book's description before you download it -- which obviously Mr. Walkenbach did! And since he found something that might interest him -- the possibility of there being banjo stories -- he downloaded it! Score TWO for me!

Let's continue: "But, as it turns out, he plays a 4-string banjo." Oh well, I knew it had to happen someday. You mention you play the banjo and people automatically assume it's the five-string type. A bluegrass banjo. I guess I could have made that a little clearer (I play the four-string banjo, which is used in jazz and Dixieland), but I didn't. I guess one of these days I'm going to have to learn how to play the five-string so as to not disappoint the masses. Score one for J-Walk.

And finally: "I'm pretty sure I could write a book like this." Well, of course you could. I just threw some stories together, wrapped them up in an e-book cover, and just put it out there. Anybody could do it! Of course, I just thought my mother would be the only person to read it, but I was wrong. Even SHE hasn't read it. Score TWO for J-Walk.

To sum up my review of J-Walk's review, I think he hit the nail right on the head. The book IS unremarkable. Anybody could write one just like it. There's really no excuse to even have something like that offered on the internet. I mean, it's no Thurber; it's no Benchley; and it's no Barry. It's Farr, and that in itself speaks volumes!

Anyways, thank you J-Walk for taking the time to at least look at the book. I am sincerely appreciative. I promise that my next book will be super-duper remarkable -- or in the trash!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Rogue Satellite Might Crash Internet

High above the planet Earth, a communications satellite is adrift which could wreak havoc with the Internet. Of course, sources "in the know" or not actually saying it could disrupt the web, but what they're NOT saying is just as important as what they ARE saying.

The satellite, Galaxy 15, which is owned and operated by a communications company called Intelsat, went "silent" when a possible solar flare knocked out its systems. This happened in April -- a full month ago. Why the delay in telling us? Why are they just now saying there could be problems? Why are they singling out cable TV as the only thing that will be affected and not including the Department of Defense or the Internet?

It's because they don't want us to know the truth.

If  a satellite can careen across space and disrupt MTV and Fox, then it surely has the power to shut down the Internet, and we all know what that means -- no email, no Facebook, no Twitter, no YouTube, no Google, no iJustine, no...

What? No iJustine? Holy Cow! Without iJustine, there's no reason to have the internet at all. In fact, the whole planet is DOOMED! Did you hear me? I said DOOMED!

 We might as well pack up our toys and go home -- or maybe to Mars.

iJustine invented the Internet. She is the sole reason I even care about it!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

"Never Trust a Goat"

Monday was an auspicious day for my e-book "Never Trust a Goat." No, it wasn't picked up by a New York publisher; no, it's not going to be made into a movie; no, Mattel isn't going to make goat action figures based on it.

On Monday, somebody downloaded "Never Trust a Goat", bringing my total to a whopping 200 downloads.

I know, big deal. But it IS a big deal for me because that means I successfully conned 200 people to download the e-book -- or maybe just one person downloaded it 200 times (thanks Mom).

And who cares if it was free -- it has been downloaded 200 times and that means....

Holy Cow. That means absolutely nothing.

Okay, for my e-book to mean something -- even if it's just a little something -- I think I've earned the right to charge for it. Not much. Just 99 cents. And then if 200 more people decide to download (or Mom 200 times), then maybe I can buy my goats some better goat feed.

So, how's about it? Want to spend a buck for "Never Trust a Goat'? It sure would make my goats happy.

Monday, May 10, 2010

I think there’s a critter in my yard

The other day I saw a wild hog at the end of my driveway. A wild hog – in my neighborhood. By golly, you won’t see one of THOSE in the big city.

All they have in the big city are squirrels. But they’re not real squirrels; they’re more like sissified urban squirrels that aren’t scared of men carrying big shotguns, because men in the big city don’t carry shotguns – they carry briefcases.

City squirrels come right up to you, begging for a handout, not knowing that their country cousins taste great in stew. It’s a good thing, too, because if they did, they’d probably mount some kind of demonstration, complete with little squirrel placards and signs, in an effort to save their country brethren.

But back to the hog. It was at the end of my driveway, in the street, and it was just sauntering down the road like it was trying to decide if this neighborhood was good enough in which to raise its offspring. Is this a safe neighborhood? How are the schools? Any drainage issues I should know about? Does cable come out this way?

I think hogs would believe those to be important questions to ask before uprooting their families and moving to new neighborhoods. I don’t know why I think that, but I do.

Anyways, I was heading down the driveway when my headlights shone on the hog, and I was astounded that he was even there. He was astounded too, because he started running down the road. I followed him thinking, “I wonder if I have enough room in the freezer for you, buddy?” He must have sensed my intentions because at about that time he jumped into the woods and was gone.

I still can’t believe it – a hog checking out our neighborhood. It still gives me the shivers, but not as much as the fox.

I have yet to see the fox, or foxes, that live in the woods by our house. Other members of my family have seen the fox, but not me. But I’ve heard the fox, and if you’ve ever heard a fox when it screams in the middle of night, sounding like the screams of a human woman being bludgeoned to death – well, you’ll never forget it.

I had a ‘possum on my porch a few weeks ago. I grabbed a flashlight, rushed out onto the porch, and ran him off. A couple of nights later, I heard the fox. It sounded like it was right outside my kitchen window. I did NOT grab the flashlight. I did NOT rush out onto the porch. In fact, I tiptoed to the front door and locked it.

I was thinking about getting some chickens, putting them in a pen in the hopes of getting some fresh eggs. But with this fox hanging around, probably just waiting for me to get chickens so HE can have some chickens, I’ve been thinking maybe I’ll just stick with goats – or maybe get a cow.

Speaking of cows, I saw something the other day that I thought I’d never see out in the country: a man chasing some loose cows down the road in his minivan. I would have thought pickups and four-wheelers would have been better suited for doing something like that, but there he was, in his minivan.

But I guess I can’t be too judgmental. When I bought my goats, I didn’t have a truck to haul them in. The only thing I had was a minivan. Of course, I didn’t tell my wife that I was planning on moving goats in the minivan – I waited until the deed was done and was thankful they hadn’t “relieved” themselves on the carpet.

I’ve learned a lot about goats over the last couple of years. First off, they would rather eat YOUR grass than my grass. Second, they don’t like cat food or coleslaw, but they’ll scarf down bananas and spaghetti. Third, they get depressed and lethargic when they can’t figure out how to escape their pen. To make them happy, you sometimes have to open the gate and “look the other way” to make them believe they’re escaping. Then they start to liven up, dance around, and look for new oats to sow.

I’d much rather have goats in my yard than wild hogs, but I do love bacon. If that hog ever comes back, I’ll be ready.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Saddle Sore 1,000 - T-minus 36 Days

I'm counting down the days, the minutes are flying by fast, and before you know it, I'll be attempting something that few people even dare to think about -- I'll be heading out on my motorcycle to ride a thousand miles in under 24 hours.

The Shadow
I'll be participating in The Saddle Sore 1,000 -- a motorcycle endurance ride sponsored by The Iron Butt Association.

My friends and neighbors think I'm crazy to even think about doing it, but I shall attempt it, and whatever comes will come and...

Wait a minute!

I'm not just going to ATTEMPT the ride, I'm going to DO IT!

Yessirree! Think positive; best foot forward; a thousand miles in a day is child's play; a monkey could do it; I could probably do it blindfold, but that's stupid and dangerous -- but I could.

So what if I'm never able to feel my butt again; so what if I'm never able to lift my arms to take another drink again; so what if every bug on the planet will be splattered across my faceshield (I wear a helmet. I ain't completely stupid); so what if every biker babe in Texas wants my name, number and Twitter ID!

Holy cow! This could be fun!

Could be? No, it IS going to be fun. And don't deny that you're jealous.

(BTW -- it's

Friday, May 7, 2010

Cleaning up the Gulf -- the simple way!

When a pesky, little problem arises, it is just human nature to want to solve it, fix it, or repair it in the most inexpensive way possible. And if we can't repair it, just throw it in the trash and start all over again.

Break a pencil, throw it in the trash. Simple.

Car won't start, haul it to a mechanic, have HIM fix it. Simple.

An oil rig blows up, spewing gallons of petroleum into the Gulf -- well, not so simple.

Unfortunately, it's also human nature to want to fix massive problems in the most elaborate and expensive ways we can imagine. At least, that's the thinking of the guys and gals at British Petroleum.

But they're wrong!

Here, with my infinite knowledge of oil and drilling (which amounts to absolutely zero, nada, zilch), here are my two solutions for cleaning up the Gulf, and an idea for making sure it never happens again:

1.  To clean up all the oil, why not use an industrial-strength Shop-Vac. I mean, it works in garages, so why not in the Gulf? Suck up the oil, spew it into the hold of some oil tanker, then separate the oil from the water -- and viola! Problem all solved.

2.  To clean up all the oil that's just sitting on top of the water waiting to make landfall, why not use sponges? Maybe like one massive one. Soak all the oil up at one time, wring it out into an oil tanker, separate the oil from the water -- and Tada! Problem all solved.

And now for a sure-fire way for this to never happen again.

Turn all petroleum-consuming devices into electrical ones (electric cars, trains, planes, boats); go back to bottling everything in glass (and letting us make 5 to 10 cents on their return); and immediately stop the manufacture of polyester (from now on we wear nothing but cotton or buckskin)  -- and Shazam! Problem is solved!

That's what I'd do, yessiree!

But of course, I'm not in charge. I'm just a banjo player!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Don't worry -- it's just an oil spill

Oil Leak from Damaged Well in Gulf of Mexico [Detail with Description]
I love the words spill and leak.

Spill and leak are words that can have a variety of different meanings, depending on what you’re talking about or who you’re talking to.

For instance, if I accidentally hit my coffee mug, sending coffee flying across my desk, I’ll say, “I wasn’t watching what I was doing, I hit the mug with my elbow, and spilled it all over the place. Don’t worry about it, I’ll have it wiped up in a jiffy.”

Spill – a small word that implies there’s nothing to worry about, it’s just a little annoyance.

The word leak is another small word that I might use when it rains and the skylight doesn’t keep out all the moisture. If you walk through my kitchen and see water on the floor, I’ll say, “Yep, I’ve got a leak in my skylight. One of these days I’ll get up there and fix it. For now, we just wipe it up.”

Leak – a small word that again implies there’s nothing to worry about, it’s just a little annoyance.

Of course, spill and leak are also good to use if you’re trying to downplay the fact that you’ve made a huge error in judgment, one which will affect the lives of millions of people, kill countless numbers of wildlife, and ruin the natural balance of a fragile ecosystem for years to come.

For instance, if an oil platform were to blow up in the Gulf of Mexico and start hemorrhaging millions of gallons of oil into the ocean, you might say, “We weren't watching what we were doing, we lost the platform, thus causing an oil leak. But don’t worry – we’ll have the spill wiped up in a jiffy.”

You would never in your right mind use words like gush, flood, torrent, flow, surge, eruption, spew, or vomit to describe a pesky little spill or an irritating little leak. It would just give “the wrong impression.”

Spill and leak – small words that imply there’s nothing to worry about, everything will be O.K.

I don't know about you, but I'm thinking it’s time for a change in vocabulary.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

You Ain't Been Blue

Oh, how I wish I could have pizza delivered to my house. How nice it would be to just call, wait 30 minutes, pay the delivery person (maybe even give a tip), and then sit down and enjoy.


We live too far out in the "wilderness" for pizza to be delivered.

You Ain't Been Blue
Sung to the music of Mood Indigo by Duke Ellington

You ain't been blue; Oh, no, no.
Until you've,
Ordered pizza and they won't deliver it.
Because you live so far away, like I do.
You ain't been blue; Oh, no, no

All I want is a pizza supreme,
Maybe with some extra cheese.
But they won't deliver to me,
Even if I'm down on my knees, begging pretty please.
I'm just so hungry I think I might die,
And all I want is a hot pizza pie,
But no, they refuse; Oh, no, no

Monday, May 3, 2010

Sometimes you just need to call in sick

Last Friday, I called in to work sick. The sad thing is I really was.

I’m a firm believer that sometimes you have to get out of the office, grab a fishing pole and head out to the nearest lake under the pretense that you’re just not feeling well. And the sudden “24-hour flu” is a lot easier to explain than the need to do something spontaneous.

But to have to take a day off because you actually feel like your head’s about to explode – well, it’s just a waste of a perfectly good sick day, if you ask me.

I do a variety of things in order to keep the Farr Family Coffers filled with spare change. I’m a teacher, a school bus driver, I write a few stories, take a few photographs, sometimes teach guitar lessons, and at the end of each 11-hour work day, I’m tired. Just like I know you are. So I see nothing wrong with taking an unplanned vacation, every now and then, veiled in head-exploding sinus infections, in order to “clear the cobwebs” from my stressed-out life.

Once, I took the day off and just sat and read books in the local library where it was peaceful and quiet. Once, I rode my motorcycle around the countryside, just to see what the countryside looked like when I was at work. Once, I rented an armful of videos and watched every one of them while I lounged on the couch in my pajamas. But not this time. This time I really didn’t feel well.

One of my college professors once said that the best way to kick a sickness was to take the day off, attack it with everything you had, and then get back to work as soon as possible. Three days on the couch floating on a cloud of antihistamines would just about do the trick. But if you pressed on, working while you were “under the weather,” then you’d feel bad for a longer period of time, you wouldn’t be able to do your best at work, and in the end you’d probably develop walking pneumonia and end up in the hospital.

He was a very smart man, and very rarely missed a day of work. He’s dead now, but I learned a lot from him – especially how to work hard, be honest, do your best, and adapt for every situation.

With that in mind, I’ve developed a philosophy that embraces impulsiveness and spontaneity in the face of feeling like a rat in a maze. Of course it’s best to only be spontaneous once or twice a year, because more than that would most definitely raise eyebrows, and raised eyebrows lead to the unemployment line and soup kitchens.

If you’re feeling like a hamster stuck on a wheel, then a cane pole and a fishing hole may just be the right thing to rest your weary mind. One day of sitting on the bank of a stock pond, waiting for that bobber to bob, should be just enough relaxation to get you through another six months of wheel turning.

If you feel you can no longer take the sound of your co-worker’s voice as she gives the boss every excuse in the book for not doing what she was supposed to be doing, then a day of quiet in the local library should cleanse the squeaking and squawking from your ears.

If you’re stuck all day in a windowless cubicle or office, the florescent lights doing their best to suck the life out of you, then it behooves you to get behind the wheel, let the top down, and follow the road wherever it may lead. A day on the backroads, letting the wind blow through your hair, is enough to remind you that there is indeed life beyond those walls of commerce.

And when they ask how you are and where you were, just say, “I was sick, but I feel a whole lot better now.”

Unless of course you were sick, like I was. No fishing pond. No library. No wind blowing through my hair (or should I say, over my scalp). Just sick. Laying on the couch, meds every four hours, lots of liquids and tissue, asleep most of the time, sick.

What a waste of a perfectly good day.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Saddle Sore 1,000 - T-minus 43 Days

I'm counting down the days until I attempt the Saddle Sore 1,000, and wondering how many hours it will take after I finish the motorcycle ride before I'll be able to feel my butt again.

Not that I go around feeling it, mind ya', but....well, you know what I'm talking about.

I drove a lonely road
A thousand miles in 24 hours is a daunting task, and if I'm not in shape for it, it could be a very painful task. So, to make sure that I'll be fit enough to finish, I have put together an exercise regime that includes pushups, sit-ups, walking, jogging, eating right, maybe some deep-knee bends and some weight lifting.

I'm not sure when I'll actually put this "regime" into action, but I've put it on my list of things to do, and that's saying a lot -- at least for me.

CLARIFICATION: I will not be jogging with a pistol in my pants just in case I run into some vicious creature that just so happens to look in my direction. I'll leave that to Rick Perry, star of "The Shooting of Wily Coyote."

Let’s continue…

I also haven't decided which route to take. I'm either going to ride toward San Antonio, down to Corpus Christi and over to Galveston -- where I'll stop and have a sandwich and Pina Colada at Captain Jack's tiki bar on the beach -- and then finish off the ride well before midnight.


Head down to San Antonio, out to Marfa and then on to El Paso -- where I could spend a night in an old friend's garage (because my snoring would just be too much for sleeping inside with polite company who let me crash for the night), and then head out the next morning to Ft. Worth, giving me 1,500 miles in less than two days -- making me the happy recipient of a Burns Burner 1,500 certificate. If I make it.

Anyways, that's a lot of decisions to make, but I WILL make them.

Maybe tomorrow.