Reporting, Recording and Relaying - But Always Telling It As I See It

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Elephant Eyed Me As I Drank My Beer

I like any bar with a hand-written sign on the door that says, “Smoking Permitted.” To me, it is an emphatic statement that the owner of the establishment is much more concerned with someone’s inalienable right to smoke than their right to eat, since in Pennsylvania, it is perfectly fine to feed your patrons fried cheese stick wrapped chicken wings with extra trans-fat laden dipping sauce, but not allow them to smoke. Or, the owner always hated cooking.

So after a day of antique browsing and a devilishly good dinner, my wife and I walked into Joe’s in bucolic Ligonier, PA. You can notice many things when walking into a bar; the neatly arranged liquor bottles, the jukebox, the clientele. We noticed the giraffe and polar bear, before we noticed the elephant’s head hanging from the ceiling.

Seems that Joe (whose wife Marcy has actually owned the bar for fifty years) had a penchant for safari’s - and hunting. I don’t mean to understate this. When I say penchant, I mean it like congressmen have a penchant for spending money – which is to say, wildly and without prejudice. Imagine killing, and subsequently stuffing, every animal you have ever seen. This is the idea.

The display had more horned animals than a sales convention in Orlando. Besides the above mentioned giraffe, polar bear and elephant, there was a rhinoceros, alligator, lion, tiger and literally about one hundred more animals. All were displayed in museum like cases that took up the back room and the entire second floor. Except for the elephant, whose head was suspended in between floors sand whose legs were made into chairs – really.

The friendly bartender informed us that all the meat from the kills was given to the local people. Imagine the delight in backwoods Kenya when an American rolls into the village with a giraffe slung over his Land Rover, “Giraffe tartar! Gather round kids!”

But hey, after spending an afternoon looking at white porcelain tea sets and cases of watches that, according to one antique dealer I heard say, “None of ‘em work,” I happily shared my Yuengling with a stuffed baboon.

(Like the Grand Canyon, pictures do not do this place justice, I highly recommend a visit to this place.  You really have to see it to get a true handle on this wonderful piece of Americana.)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Male Complex with your Black Cohash?

I’m not above a few supplements, but while the debate rages over whether or not marijuana should be legalized (except in California where the debate rages over whether it should be sold in ounces or grams at Wal-Mart) I think the Feds may be overlooking a very curious phenomena taking place in local grocery stores.

While picking up some Myoplex this morning I was stopped by the large display of “herbs”, “roots”, “flowers” and apparently “candy” that is sold in the health section of my local grocery store. Neatly arranged alphabetically is row after row of pills that seem to be able to cure, fix, minimize, maximize, accentuate, relieve and cleanse any possible malady (real or imagined) that besets you.

The first one that caught my attention was “Male Complex”. I can only speak for myself, but I have enough problems without having more of a complex. Or so I thought. Upon closer examination (which is almost as embarrassing as perusing condoms) Male Complex “Promotes Sexual Health.” I guess that explains why right below that is “Dong Quai Root”.

Another interestingly named supplement is “Bladderwrack.” Is it me or does that name sound ominous? Who wants their bladder “wracked”? I mean, having the name “Fuck-Up-Your –Bladder” seems to imply the same thing.

If you want candy but not the hassle of tasting it, you can get Licorice tablets. You can also buy Black Cohash which I swear I saw an undercover cop buy on TV one time. “You got any Black Cohash?” Doesn’t it seem like you could get arrested for carrying that?

If anyone has access to empty pill capsules I plan on harvesting my yearly crop of Dandelions in my yard to sell alongside Horsetail Grass. Both of which are available in pill form…one of which sports another bad name…Horsetail Grass.

Could it be that people are so gullible there is an effort being put forth to grind up anything that grows and market it as a supplement? I’m thinking – yes. I’m also thinking that the crab grass in my yard can significantly help prevent pain, inflammation, goiter, kidney stones, hernias, ingrown toenails, impotence, hangovers, nail biting, bed wetting and is a significant source of vitamins A, B, C, D, E, F and G.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Wanna Bet? Leave It To Paddy Power.

If you are a drug addled celebrity, there is a good chance you will end up on someone’s death pool at the office. If you are an endangered species, you may find yourself on at 4/5 odds of becoming the next animal to become extinct. If you know anything about betting, 4/5 makes you the heavy, heavy favorite (basically, a five dollar bet wins you four). Such is the fate of the Kemp’s Ridley Turtle.

The Ridley is one of three turtle species listed in the site (Leatherback at 8/1 and the Loggerhead at 12/1).

More interestingly, Elkhorn Coral (20/1) is also present on the list. Coral is an animal? Plant – okay, but animal? Who knew? Kind of like how a tomato is actually a fruit and not a vegetable – you accept it is true but still can’t wrap your head around it. Its the same way I feel about reading about Supreme Court decisions or the fact that Sarah Palin actually ran for Vice President.

In 1980, the Pennsylvania Daily Number was fixed. Masterminded by Nick Perry, the conspirators applied white latex paint to eight of the balls in each machine, making them slightly heavier than the two untouched balls, the four and the six, thus making those two the only likely candidates to get sucked up in the vacuum tube. The winning result that day was 6-6-6. Eventually, the entire scam fell apart and all interested partied went to prison. (A fate I wish would beset Congress.)

I’m not suggesting this should be the fate of the Ridley Turtle, in fact, at 4/5 the risk would not outweigh the reward. The coral though, who really cares? But if you can’t stomach the idea of wiping out a species for financial gain (insert President Bush joke) Paddy Power has a better idea.

If, according to the WWF estimates on December 31, 2011, you can “somehow” figure out a way to get the Polar Bear population “down” to between 25,001 and 30,000, you stand to collect at 5/2. Look at the upside. There are at a minimum 25,001 polar bears left which seems like plenty to me, I’m sure there are some Inuit that would gladly eat the meat, and you could make a killing (bad pun) in the black market fur trade. This shouldn’t be an issue you sick fuck since you already slaughtered polar bears.

If the idea of affecting the survival of a species turns your stomach, you can always bet on the 2012 Presidential election which currently has Obama at 8/11 – and no shit, Paris Hilton at 1000/1 (tied with Laura Bush). All that makes me hungry for a polar bear filet served in a Kemp’s Ridley Turtle shell.

(Paddy Power is a HUGE retail and online bookmaker based in Ireland and is listed on both the Irish and London stock exchanges.  Check out their website for many, MANY more interesting bets.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Because an Ordinary Moment Can Turn Romantic

“For those of you having an erection lasting longer than four hours – you’re welcome.” Stephen Colbert

If my junk mail box serves me correctly, there appears to be a huge market out there for: erectile dysfunction pills, Rolex’s, Doctorate degrees, penis elongation meds and Nigerian finance ministers with boatloads of cash to move.

I would think that in order to pursue any of these emails, you would have to jump a few hurdles that include the very real possibility that these sites are:

1. A scam to take your money.
2. A scam to steal your identity.
3. A scam to take your money and provide a bogus product.
4. A scam to infect your computer with Ebola or some other virus.
5. An opportunity to post your picture on Yahoo’s Home Page as the stupidest person on the net.

Just for fun, let’s assume that you really, really want to beat back this erectile dysfunction once and for all. You have tried all the normal courses of action including cutting back on the meth and staying away from porn for a few days before a big date. (I only heard these are the normal courses of action.)

So one night, when didn’t work (again!) you decide to go for broke and order a supply of Viagra from

Now, let’s assume that the website didn’t suck down your bank account like an overweight trucker sucks down a Slurpee and your computer didn’t catch Mad Cow Disease and that a few weeks later a little box gets delivered to your house addressed to Craven Morehead (because you still haven’t lost your sense of humor). Let’s also assume the packaging of the little blue pills is suspect at best. For instance, maybe they come wrapped in the Lifestyle section of the Istanbul Daily Times.

At this point the little experiment, to me, goes from insane to downright psychotic because now you are left with only two options. One, you can chalk this up to too much Dewar’s and flush them, or, actually ingest the fucking things.

Where are you at in life when you think, as an option to achieve arousal, you are going to take pills received in the mail with the very real possibility that they were produced from dust, chemicals and some blue turpentine? Would this person hold them in their hand and think, “Fuck it, I’m going for it,” and knock them back with a sip of mescal?

Hell, I get nervous when I go to take an Advil and I don’t remember if I took the safety seal off when I opened the box a few weeks back, or if I didn’t and someone has injected the pills with badger urine.

But who am I to judge? I have to go now, my good friend in Nigeria, the Consul General of Timeliness and Monetary Bereavement is waiting for me to wire him five grand so he can send me a third-party out of country check for $58,670,250.00USD.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Lunch With The Horoscope

At the back of the sports page in today’s paper, to the right of the Aces On Bridge column that contains this phrase “You are in the four spades on the lead of the heart queen”, is the Horoscope. While I was finishing lunch today, I decided my Horoscope (or Horrorscope, or Whorescope) was worth a glance.

Before I tracked to Aquarius, I noticed that my wife and boys share the same astrological sign, Taurus. Who knew? And really, who cares? Anyway, the first earthshaking advice I received was, “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.” However, if there was a shred of truth to this line, it would have read, “If it’s broken, you can’t fix it.” This applies to most things around the house. When something isn’t working, my order of action is to check to see if, a) it is plugged in, b) see if a switch is “off” when it should be “on” and c) start swearing.

My horoscope montage ended with, “don’t rock the boat, be patient, and let nature take its course.” Well, had I taken that advice at about three o’clock this morning, all the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale I drank last night would be cause for a trip to the mattress store. I must admit that I can be quite a procrastinator when I have to use the restroom in the middle of the night, and it never works out. I try to will myself back to sleep, regardless of the bladder pressure, just to avoid crawling out of bed. After ten minutes of discomfort and fitful tossing, I make my way to the bathroom while trying to keep my eyes closed and then pee by sound. Guys have a real knack for the tonal differentiations of urine as it hits water; higher frequency means you are on the shallow side of the bowl. You have to correct to get that deeper, pitch perfect sound that proves you are directly in the middle of the bowl. A plastic sound means you are in the garbage can and no sound indicates you are streaming directly onto the tile wall, in which case you have to go into full body lockdown. But I am off track.

The funniest thing about the Horoscope was that it actually comes with a disclaimer that reads:

“The following astrological forecasts should be read for entertainment value only. These predictions have no reliable basis in scientific fact.”

I am the only one who thinks, “No shit.” I mean, I would love to meet the person who buys into this mumbo-jumbo only to read the disclaimer and think, “Damn! I was going to keep my head out of the clouds!” (Aries)

My advice is to pay more attention to Aces On Bridge. It offered this advice, “The key to this deal (and to so many others) is to combine all your chances.”

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Free and Unsolicited Reproductive Advice

Typical conversation:

Interested Party: “So, do you have kids?”
Me: “Yeah, I have twin boys.”
IP: “Oh. Do twins run in either of your families?”

I can see that question coming like crows to road kill. I almost hesitate to provide the true answer to the question because it confuses these scholars even more. The true answer to their specific question is, “Yes, my sister has twin girls.” However, when I provide that answer they immediately assume that I am the responsible party…because, well you can pass on twins like blue eyes, right? Well, no, jackass, that would be a completely wrong conclusion and apparently you suffer from dwarfism of the brain. So, I have to immediately follow this up with, “but that has nothing to do with it, the woman either releases two eggs or the egg splits, neither of which I have any part of.”

Even funnier is that after I state this, I am met with skepticism and doubt. In fact, sometimes I think people think, a) I am lying, or b) I am wrong.

Next time this happens, I plan to roll out this little example: Imagine in the empty lot next door to your home they are building a duplex. One day, the lumber company shows up with a truck of two by fours. You walk over to the driver of the truck and say, “excuse me, do you build many duplexes?” If he was a kind person (and let’s assume that) he would say, “I just deliver material. One house, two houses – beats me what they do with it. You may want to ask the builder.” Now, apply this example using the male as the driver and the female as the builder.

But maybe I am being too harsh. I can accept that some people may not understand this, or even that most people do not understand this. But what I can’t understand is that when I explain this fairly simple concept, people have the look on their faces like they have handed the map of the human genome. They seem to wonder how this magical fact could have possibly escaped them. Just say “thanks” and move on.

So, maybe this helps you with the above poll – I am definitely a more handsome Brad Pitt. I would “LOL” this but the boys (the same ones that I had nothing to do with regarding the fact that they are twins) have told me that, like Miami Vice, LOL has gone out of style.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Thinking For Yourself Is Fun and Easy!

“Beware of bearded men arriving in sealed trains bearing ideologies.”

I love that. Anita Thompson, Hunter Thompson’s widow, attributed that to the artist Ralph Steadman. According to her, he was referencing Stalin’s return from exile. Ralph remains an interesting artist and contributed many images for Hunter’s work as well as the label designs for Flying Dog Brewery.

Anyway, I thought of that this morning when I started my car. My station had been tuned the night before to 104.7 because I was listening to the Pirates game. Well, the morning drive is handled by local ultra-right-wing mouthpiece Jim Quinn. (I promise I am not going to get all political!) The first thing I remembered about him is that he used to host a morning show with “Banana.” The operatically sung theme was, “Quinn and Banana, Quinn and Banana, on B-94 FMMMM!” So, that would be his credentials. (But to be honest, I have zero credentials. So there’s that.)

I have no problem with Quinn –or Rush or Olberman. I don’t agree with any of them 100% of the time but they can be entertaining as all get up. What is a bit disturbing are some of the callers. They seem to have been sucked into these vortices of vitriol. Brainwashed actually. They become so entranced with these false prophets that they forget how to, seemingly, think for themselves.

Later in the day on another conservative show on the same channel, some caller was talking about how he got into a “Twitter” fight with “one of those liberals” over his service record. And Lord, was he pissed. He should have been pissed that he, as a grown man, was in a Twitter fight.

Like everything, these shows should be consumed in moderation, not used a safe haven to protect yourself from having to think on your own. There is no shame in making up your own mind.

(My day long infatuation with this channel reminded me of the time I was hooked on this religious call in talk show. The in-studio talent would field calls and dole out advice, which usually involved purchasing one of their books. On almost every show some woman would call in and complain, sometimes heartbreakingly, that she caught her husband looking at porn in the internet. The hosts would then console her and try to sell her books. They never asked the important question, “When was the last time your husband came home from work and you gave him a blowjob?” The truthful answer to this question would have saved someone a lot of reading.)

If you are interested in a book recommendation, I highly suggest this one – for anyone who lives in LA, has visited LA or has had the crazy idea of living in LA.