Walk Across America -- update

Well, on 18 Oct I started my get healthy, get back in shape "Walk Across America" (with maybe a bit of jogging added on), and I've done a piss-pour job of it.

I've only walked 10 miles. I'm still in Key West. I'll never make it to Fairbanks at this pace. And if I DO get there, It'll probably be in a casket.

Okay, so it's time to pick up the pace. Time to get serious. Time to hit the dirt with my new pair of Nikes and log some mileage.

But first -- breakfast!

Hungry Eaters

Well, this is my last poem for "Scary Poetry Month," and I hope you like it.

Hungry Eaters

By Tracy Farr

Tonight's the night that Hungry Eaters
Pose as little trick or treaters,
Dressed in sheets or pirate suits
To hide their hideous attributes.

Hungry Eaters have three eyes
And yellow teeth as sharp as knives.
Their mouths are three feet wide at least
So they can dine on wildebeests.

Their fur is brown, their eyes are green,
They have no ears that I have seen.
They walk around on leathered paws
That hide their deadly five-inch claws.

Hungry Eaters are quite small,
But that means not a thing at all
For Hungry Eaters eat a lot.
They'll eat ten times what you have got.

So if you're running low on treats
When Hungry Eaters come to feast,
There's just one thing for you to do:
Pray they don't come dine on you!

My World Series Game Three Predictions

Anybody who knows anything about baseball is hot and heavy with spouting off how they think Game Three will end, but for some reason, you don't hear much from those who don't know a thing about the game.

Until now.

1. It's going to be a wonderful night for baseball in Texas. Cool, clear -- the perfect weather for hunting or sipping hot chocolate. Maybe brisk enough to warrant blankets and hand warmers.

2. Two of the best teams in baseball will meet on the field in one of the greatest sporting events of all time.

3. A lot of beer and peanuts will be sold. Oh, and hotdogs.

4. There's going to be a lot of throwing, catching, hitting, running, maybe a few errors, and one team will score more runs than the other.

5. The Yankees will be at home watching the game on Fox rather than playing it.

6. The Rangers will be on the field, playing in Game Three of their first World Series -- their first of many more to come.

Okay, so those are my predictions. Tomorrow we'll see how right or wrong I was.

I've Never Seen a Werewolf

I've Never Seen a Werewolf

By Tracy Farr

I've never seen a werewolf
     howling at the moon at night.
I've never seen Count Dracula
     sucking blood with just one bite.
I've never seen a poltergiest
     slam doors or make things float.
I've never seen an ogre
     suck on bones until he chocked.
I've never seen the scary things
     you read about in verse.
But I saw Dad without a shirt
     and that was ten times worse!

Recap of the World Series so far

It's the jitters. That's what it is.

The Rangers know how to play because it's October and they're still playing. The Rangers know how to win because they've done it plenty. The Rangers know how to turn apathetic lowlifes into Born-Again Ranger fans, because that's what they did for me. But, they have the jitters right now, and it shows.

They're in a new place, a new situation, they're in somebody else's house and don't feel comfortable "making themselves at home," and because of it they're down by two games. Down by two games in the World Series.

THE World Series!

The Rangers are in The World Series!

In my book, the Rangers have already won.



By Tracy Farr

Frankenstein, oh Frankenstein,
Was it just luck or by design
That you did make a monster dance
And scare us so we’d pee our pants?

World Series, Game Two

Okay, so the Rangers lost 11-7 to the Giants in the opening game of the World Series. So what! At least they MADE it to the Series.

Yes, Cliff Lee had a bad night, probably the worst in his career. But so what! The Rangers are soaking in everything about the Fall Classic.

Alright, so they committed four errors and looked like little boys playing against the Big Dogs. So what! At least they're still playing in October, which is more than all the other teams can say.

Sadly, I tried to listen to Game One on an internet radio station since I have no television, but the station I chose didn't actually broadcast the game. Pre-game, yes. Actual game, no. But who cares? The Rangers are in the World Series and I can follow along the best I can and still bask in the joy that our Rangers are doing us proud.

The Rangers are in the World Series, and if they don't win a single game, I'll still be a Born-Again Ranger Fan!

(But guys, it sure would be nice to put one in the win category tonight. Can ya work on that for me? Thanks!)

Upon a Scottish Moor

Upon a Scottish Moor

By Tracy Farr

A thousand years, or so, ago
There lived a creature, so I'm told,
Who lived upon a Scottish moor and screamed into the night.

The village folk did hear its din,
But no one dared to search within
The moor to find the wretched beast that gave them such a fright.

At dark all doors were double locked
And when it prowled nobody talked
But listened as the beast did scratch and paw its way around.

And every fortnight it did take
A chicken, pig, or heaven's sake,
A child left unattended, and it never made a sound.

Some said the beast was just a dog
While others joked a monster frog
But that was when the sun was up and courage did run high.

But soon as light turned into shade,
The courage lapsed, did fade away,
And every soul did quake to hear the screaming in the night.

A thousand years, or so, ago
A monster lived, and now I'm told,
It still is heard on dreary nights upon a Scottish moor.

But since I live across the sea,
And doubt the beast will dine on me,
Who cares? It's just a story, but I liked it. Any more?

World Series, Game One

Game One of the World Series and I'm at home without a television.

When analog TV went digital, I was one of the millions of folks that was left without a signal. I tried the converter boxes, but because of where I live, it didn't work. Cable wasn't an option because it isn't available out in the boonies, and I didn't feel like paying for satellite, especially when I USED to get TV reception for free.

But now I'm thinking satellite TV might be worth the money.

I asked my wife this morning if she thought Dish Network could have us up and running before the game started if I called them before noon, and she just laughed. I mean, she laughed hard.

Anyways, thanks to Internet Radio, I'm kicked back, plugged in, and ready for the game. The only thing I'll miss is instant replay and having a stranger spill beer on me.

Ya gotta love baseball!

Beware of Goblins

Beware of Goblins

By Tracy Farr

I thought I heard a Goblin in my closet Monday night.
It scratched and bumped against the door and gave me such a fright.
My mother said, "It's just a mouse. Now go to sleep. Good night."

On Tuesday I do swear I saw the doorknob turn around.
It moved about two inches and it never made a sound.
My father checked the closet, "See, there's nothing to be found."

Wednesday night my closet door creaked open really wide.
Thursday night I saw red eyes a gleaming from inside.
"You're crazy, you just dreamed it," said my sister with a sigh.

Friday night the Goblins came and dragged me out of bed.
They pulled me down a hole and tied me up, and then they said,
"On Saturday you'll be right tasty with our loaf of bread."

The moral of this story is that Goblins like to hide,
Behind the closet door, your children see them, they don't lie.
Beware of Goblins on the hunt, they will not be denied.

I'm a Texas Ranger fan

I'm a born again Texas Ranger fan, which proves I'm a shallow human being that only jumps on the sports bandwagon when a winner is in town.

Sad, I know, but you're the same way, too, and don't even try to deny it. Of course, if you ARE a true blue Ranger fan, then I guess you CAN deny it, but I won't respect you in the morning.

Anyways, it takes a mature mind to appreciate a game like baseball. It's not for those who are channel switchers, or people who need constant oral or visual stimulation. I'm sure Wall Street financiers hate baseball.

No, it takes a mature mind to sit and watch practically nothing for hours and then get excited at extra innings where you can sit and watch a little more of practically nothing.

But I got excited about the Rangers winning the pennant for the first time, even though I have no idea what a pennant is, or how you're supposed to wear one.

And now they're off to the World Series, and even if they lose, they have still accomplished something that my grandpa would say is "a foolish waste of time enjoyed by rich boys who have no idea what it's like to milk cows, or eat potatoes for a week because that's all you got, or mow yards just to bring in a little money to provide food and shelter for the ones you love. It's just a game."

Yes, grandpa -- but oh what a game.

The Bats

The Bats

By Tracy Farr

Little Jenny saw a bat
It landed on her brother's hat.
Soon she saw a hundred more,
And then her brother was no more.

I'd Like to be a Giant

I'd Like to be a Giant

By Tracy Farr

I'd like to be a giant,
But I think I'm not compliant
With the regulations that require
You be three stories tall.

That's 50 feet, to say the least,
And then you must have hairy feet
And smell like you have never heard
Of taking baths at all.

A giant eats a bunch of things,
But mostly bones and things with wings
And belches so profusely that
You'd say he was a jerk.

And for desert he sucks on rocks
And cactus plants, I kid you not,
With slurping sounds that some do say
Can drive a man beserk.

A giant would be nice to be.

Too bad I'm only five foot three. 

Walk Across America -- sort of

In an effort to improve my health and get in shape, I am now on a mission to Walk Across America -- sort of!

Here's the plan: Every week I will walk around my neighborhood, or at the track, and jot down the mileage. At the end of the week, I will add up my distance and plot it on a map AS IF I was actually walking across America.
I began 13 Oct in Key West, Florida, at the Earnest Hemingway Home & Museum, and as of today I have walked 4 miles. (Not a lot, but hey, I'm just getting started).

My "Finish Line" is Fairbanks, Alaska -- and at the rate I'm going, I'll get there 27 days after I'm dead.

Wish me luck, and here's to another week of....

Walking Across America!

A new story? Why not!

Okay, so there I was, trying to get my life back in order, trying to focus on the things and people who really deserve my undivided attention, when a little squirrel jumped out in front of my school bus, couldn't make up his mind whether to run left or right, and ended up being vulture food.

Squirrel in a Tree
"Poor little thing," I first thought, and then, "I wish I could stop, bag and tag it, and put it in the fridge for lunch."

(Not really. Just kidding. Sort of.)

So that got me thinking about the universe and our place in it. Is time real? Is gravity an illusion? Do squirrels believe in heaven? (I have my deepest thoughts while driving a school bus through the "Scary Woods" or washing dishes in the "Scary Kitchen.")

Then I started thinking about Gliese 581g, that new planet scientists think they've discovered. It's 20 light years away, it possibly has water, and if it has water, and a temperate climate (which they say it probably has), then there could be life. And if there is life, then there are probably alien squirrels running around trying to make up their minds whether to run right or left when confronted with alien school buses...

And all that got me thinking about how I should really pay more attention to getting these kids to school instead of daydreaming about Mr. and Mrs. Sshderts, out there on some distant planet, who just waved goodbye to their little Blessaty, who is 5 years old, riding to school by herself for the very first time, and they put her on the school bus because they needed a little bit of "together time" before they headed off to THEIR jobs!

It's amazing MY riders ever get to school at all.

Hmmmm. I forgot what my point was. Oh well, it'll come to me later.

Something's Out in the Forest

I wrote these song lyrics a long, long time ago and scared a bunch of kids with it. (I included scary howling in pee-in-your-pants places, which did the trick). Those kids are now college students, and this song is the only thing they remember about me.

I'm okay with that!

Something's Out in the Forest

by Tracy Farr

Something's out in the forest,
Something howls in the night,
It only comes out when it's hungry,
And oooh, it's a horrible sight.

I saw it one night in the forest
Running from tree to tree,
Moving faster than lightning
And it stopped when it saw me.

So don't...you...go to sleep
It might...be...behind those trees,
Be still...and...don't even breathe,
It's out to get you!

It's eyes glowed like burning embers.
It's hair all dirty and brown.
A hideous scream did it cry out,
That I ran all the way to town.

So don't...you...go to sleep
It might...be...behind those trees,
Be still...and...don't even breathe,
It's out to get you!

There's Something in my Wall

There's Something in my Wall

By Tracy Farr

I find it hard to sleep in my own bed,
For scratching sounds I hear inside my wall.
“I think it’s just a mouse,” my daddy said.
But I think not, it’s not a mouse at all.
It’s probably the ghost of some poor boy
Who died one night alone in this same room.
His parents were not sad, but overjoyed,
And chose to make the wall his final tomb.
And now he scratches softly through the night,
Forever searching for eternal rest.
I hide my eyes beneath the sheets in fright,
My heart is pounding, pounding in my chest.
I hope my daddy’s right, it’s just a mouse.
If not, I'm living in a haunted house.

I Have a New Lease on Life

Having your appendix taken out is easy. First you get sick. Then you see a doctor. The doctor takes out his little Swiss Army Knife, and in 15 minutes or less, you’re right as rain, able to go bowling with “the boys” on Saturday. At least that’s what the brochure says.

But let me tell ya’, the hardest part about having your appendix out is the recovery time. For days and days after I got home, I felt good some hours, and then the rest of the time I felt like I’d been hit by a steam roller. I hobbled around like an old man, moaning and groaning with every step, and I just knew I was going to feel this way until the day I died.

And then one day, like magic, I was well. I felt new again, whole again. I felt like an 80-year-old invalid who had just been told, “We’re giving you another chance at being young again, and you better not muck it up!”

So now that I have this new life just raring to be spent, I’ve been making some plans on how to spend it. And this is what I’ve come up with:

1. I shall never again eat refried beans from a can. Yes, it takes time to make the beans – bash ‘em and smash ‘em, season them, and then cook them – but, oh, they’re so much better than the canned Taco Bell Fat Free Refried Beans with the “How To Make The Ultimate 7-Layer Dip” recipe right on the label. No siree! No more easy beans for me!

2. I shall never let the cat in or out of the house just because he wants in or out of the house. I am king of my castle. I shall not be jumping out of my comfy easy chair just to satisfy the whims of a crazy, can’t-make-up-it’s-mind cat, no matter how much he howls.

3. If my spouse asks me to let out the cat, I’ll say “Yes Dear” and hop to it.

4. I lost 10 pounds coming out of the hospital (I had no idea an appendix weighed that much). I shall now endeavor to not only keep that weight off, but I shall lose more tonnage until I’m able to look in the mirror without closing my eyes and needing Aspirin. And then I shall buff up to where the next time I’m laid out on an operating table, the doctor will say, “What a fine specimen of tone and muscle for a man his age. I just hate to cut into him and mess it all up.”

5. With this new life I feel the need to go out and do things, go places, see the natural wonders of the world…but I can’t because of debt. I therefore shall endeavor to get rid of all my debt in a timely fashion (preferably before I’m dead), so I can enjoy all the things this world has to offer. Sorry family, I’m only giving out rocks for Christmas. Pretty ones, but still just rocks.

6. I’ve always wanted a llama. I think it’s high time I got one.

7. I’ve been pretty bad about paying the lady who throws my newspaper. I know that I should pay on the first of the month when the bill comes due, but I don’t. I wait until I’m so late she starts putting “gentle reminders” in my mailbox, calling me, sending out National Guard helicopters to hover over my house at all times of day and night. But no more. I intend to put my bill in the mail when it’s due, and give that poor woman a break from having to track down another deadbeat newspaper subscriber. At least that’s my plan.

8. And finally, I intend to grill more. Nothing would be worse than lying on my death bed, wishing that I had taken more time to marinate, baste and grill all the good things that just taste better being marinated, basted and grilled outside.

Yes friends and neighbors, it’s good to have my life to live over again. I plan to live it well this time, and make every day count. In fact, I suggest that you go see your doctor right now and tell him to take out your appendix so you, too, can feel young and new again just like me. You’ll be glad you did – eventually.


P.S. This will be my last "Weekly Column" for awhile. I'm taking a break in order to get my life back on track. Adios, mis amigos!

I'd Rather Be a Monster

I'd Rather Be a Monster

By Tracy Farr

I’d rather be a monster than a doctor or a nurse,
Or a teacher in a classroom, really, nothing could be worse
Than sitting at a desk all day, grading papers by the score.
I’d rather be a monster than a bore.

Monsters are such creepy things, so ugly and so scary.
Some are short and some are tall and some are mighty hairier than
Uncle Joe, my mother’s brother, he’s just downright dumb.
I’d rather be a monster than a bum.

If I were a monster I would roam around all night,
I’d sneak inside your home to wake you up and with delight
I’d listen to your horrid screams until you passed out on the floor.
For that is what a monster’s truly for.

But I am not a monster; I’m a kid who’s just like you.
I run around and play all day and ride bicycles, too, across the
Street and down the alley even though they say I can’t.
I’d rather be a monster, but I ain’t.

A month of scary poems

Hey, this is October -- the month of Halloween, witches, vampires, ghosts and goblins, monsters, and all things creepy and spooky that wake you up in the middle of the night.

In honor of the month, I shall endeavor to present you with a spooky, scary, creepy poem each and every Tuesday and Thursday. So let's get after it with a poem I wrote back in July, but will be a perfect way to start off "Scary Poetry Month."

It's called:

El Chupacabra, The Goat Sucker

A Sonnet by Tracy Farr

Down in Texas there lives an ugly beast
With no hair but fangs as sharp as knife points.
He stalks the back woods for his nightly feasts
Of goat blood and gnawed animal leg joints.
It hunts its prey by the light of the moon,
Keeping to shadows from hedges and barns.
Its spine-chilling howl can make old men swoon,
Like man-eating wolves did in ancient yarns.
Very few have glimpsed the beast on its hunt,
And those who have pray to never again.
For its eyes glow red as the blood it sucks,
Its eyes shake the knees of the bravest men.
Down in Texas where Chupacabra roams,
The locals lock doors, and stay in their homes.

Let’s create a hit television show

My Digital Signal
Today, friends and neighbors, you and I are going to sit down and sketch out an idea for a television show that will make us rich and famous, because that’s what we all truly want to be – rich, famous and the creator of a popular TV show.

What? That’s not what YOU want? Oh well, I’ll sketch out the show, and if you change your mind, just let me know.

In order to create a hit show, we have to copy what’s already out there. Sure, it would be nice to create something new and evocative, but that’s not how it works. TV shows that have a chance of making it are patterned after other popular shows because the people holding the purse strings get nervous with “new and evocative.”

Need proof? “The Anna Nicole Show;” “The Osbournes;” “Hogan Knows Best;” “Brooke Knows Best;” “The Bachelor;” “The Bachelorette;” “CSI;” “CSI: New York;” CSI: Miami;” Do I need to continue?

Now, the first thing we have to do is decide what show we want to imitate, and I believe, to give it our best shot, the best solution is to imitate them all. A little bit of “Survivor,” a little love and jealousy, someone gets kicked off the show, a lot of backbiting, I think it’s best nobody gets a rose, but there have to be challenges and audience voting to whittle down the biggest losers until we find our champion.

So, I’m thinking the show needs bullfrogs. Not those little bitty ones that jump out of the way of your car, but those big bloated 20-pound monsters that reek of slime, warts and toadstools.

Each contestant must take care of their bullfrog as if it was a baby, and if the bullfrog dies or is lost, that contestant is immediately eliminated from the show. And, oh what fun it will be to catch people trying to sabotage their fellow contestant’s bullfrogs.

Next are the challenges. There have to be races and daring events, and icky things to face that will prove you deserve to be named winner. Maybe lots of mud, an obstacle course, vacuuming up cat barf without barfing yourself – all the while taking care of your personal bullfrog who only wants to escape or dribble bullfrog poo on your hands.

Yes, I think we’ve got a good start on our show.

Of course, the best shows have a little bit of love and romance and jealousy entwined throughout each episode, and I see no reason why our show can’t have the same. I can envision some young hunk falling head over heels in love with some young hunkette who talks baby talk to her little bullfrog. Maybe their hands touch during a challenge. Maybe he offers to hold her bullfrog while she pins back her sweaty hair. Maybe their love blossoms as they figure out a way to “get rid of” another contestant’s bullfrog, and they utter words of devotion that they would never, ever do that to each other – until the final challenge. I can see it, can’t you?

In regards to audience voting, I believe the standards have to be willy-nilly and non-existent. Who cares if Monica won this week’s race while never waking her snoozing bullfrog? Hidden cameras caught her picking her nose, and that’s enough to get the boot. Of course when Monica, the nose-picking contestant, is eliminated, there will be a lot of shocked looks from the other contestants, disbelief that they weren’t kicked off instead, lots of hugging and crying and more hugging, and then the tearful goodbye waves as Monica and her bullfrog are escorted off the set to appear later that night on “Jimmy Kimmel.”

JIMMY KIMMEL: I was shocked that you were the one eliminated tonight, especially after such a great race.
MONICA: I know, it was like a total surprise, but I hold no ill will against the other contestants. We were all best friends.
JIMMY KIMMEL: Oh, c’mon now. You were best friends with Claudia, the backstabbing witch of Ohio?
(Audience laughter)
MONICA: No comment.

And finally, after all the other challengers have been eliminated, the soon-to-be-crowned winner must complete one final despicable act before they can win the moola, drive off in the new car, and fly off to their luxury all-expense paid vacation in the Bahamas. They must roast and eat their bullfrog.

Oh yes, ladies and gentlemen. I think we have a prime-time winner!