Saturday, April 30, 2005

Self Loathing

I visit the Drudge Report at least once a day. I can’t help it. I'm sick, I tell you, SICK!

Again with my “breaking news” addiction. I cannot even make it to the fun steps in the 12 step program. Step Nine is my favorite step: the tracking down and apologizing for hurting people while in the ravages of addiction. This gives one a great excuse to look up people who thought they’ve put you out of their lives forever. When you show up with apologies, these folks are nearly obligated to forgive you – even though it’s all about your needs and likely they couldn’t give a rat’s ass for you or your stupid choices. Choices… like being an addict is a choice. Who would choose the life of Drudgery? I’ll skip back from my second tangent to the first tangent with this simple warning: you cannot use Step Nine as an defense against breaking a restraining order. Enough about that.

Back to the main point: news addiction is a frustrating mess. And why o why do I look at a site with a conservative (or at least a liberal-bashing) bias? Ditto FoxNews.

I'm not a total leftist but I certainly lean away from the current Republican agenda. While I have nothing against religion per se, I am frightened that the next civil war in this country will be between the Evangelical Christians and everyone else. I don’t see the Republican party goose-stepping down Pennsylvania Avenue but I certainly can imagine Ann Coulter whispering in the ear of a frustrated artist “Psst – Adolf, these liberals are the cause of all of your woes. They must be stopped at all costs. Perhaps they need to be taken to retreats where they are forced to concentrate on the evils of liberalism – we’ll call them Concentration Camps!”

And yet I find myself drawn toward looking at the websites which she advocates, and not only to keep an eye on the enemy.

Say what you will about the Republicans screwing with our civil rights, letting big companies poison our air and water, and waging war under tenuous pretenses at best; they have a much more efficient machine than the Democrats. They have much more charismatic leaders. To simplify: they give a good speech and they make the trains run on time.

If the Pope can have been a Nazi Youth because it was impossible for him to avoid such things, then I must admit to viewing Drudge, Fox, Coulter, O’Reilly, and the rest of the gang because I simply cannot avoid them. God help me. God help us all.

Friday, April 29, 2005



A couple of friends who are new readers of my blog have commented “who is that XTX guy who comments on your blog once in a while?” This is usually followed by “those are some fucked up teeth.”

Funny thing: I don’t actually know. If you read her blog (and I highly recommend it) you’ll find out that her name is Tracy, she is not black (see the brilliant “Grammaz” post I’ve linked earlier), she claims to be from/living in Kyrgyzstan, and she claims to be a crab fisherman. I have no idea whether or not she needs orthodontia but I doubt it.

The great thing about blogs is that you can sneak a peek into someone’s head. You have no idea who that person really is, only what they say about themselves. Often truth blends into fiction somewhere along the way but if you are a thorough reader (or a crazy stalker) you can figure out a few true details here and there. Some folks put some amazing stuff on their sites which has to be true. I love this.

My blog might some days be an exercise in “look how smart I am that I had this thought.” Not that I'm the smartest guy (although I’ll claim to be if you should ask me), but I'm not shy about thinking out loud.

My blog post on other days might be something intensely personal. I like that too. I love the work of Spaulding Gray, David Sedaris, David Rakoff, and the earlier spoken word of Henry Rollins for the fact that all these guys tell funny and poignant stories that usually follow the theme of “I thought I was so smart and then I screwed up so badly that I have this little story to tell.” When I was younger I was ashamed of my feet of clay. Now I almost revel in them. Flaws are so much more interesting than perfections. I'm not out there hoping for more, but the ones I have make me different from you. If you are reading this then I am indebted to you and probably either like you or would like you if I knew you, but I don’t want to be like you. I want to know about your clay feet.

But I digress.

Who is the mysterious XTX or the other commentators on my blog (thank you individually and collectively)? NFI. [ NFI stands for either “No Further Info” or “No Freaking Idea”]

XTX is a girl with a gift for writing and a sense of humor whose blog I enjoy reading. She could be anywhere in the world and she could actually be a he (I doubt that too, but it’s possible). The cool thing: It doesn’t matter. She reads my blog, seems to enjoy it, and is nice enough to say so. How fun is that?

But if the teeth question keeps coming up I think I'm going to start a “XTX Extreme Orthodontic Make-Over Fund.” Cash preferred but if you insist, make the checks out to Eric Anderson. I’ll make sure that scary black guy gets the help he needs. And if it turns out that they don’t have dentists in Kyrgyzstan, then I’ll buy that new computer I’ve been looking at.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Grandma at Providence hospital recovering from the Ebola virus. She's looking great for someone who had foul foul symptoms for the last week. Hopefully she'll be going home soon.
Posted by Hello

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Silly but fun

My pirate name is:

Mad Tom Bonney

Every pirate is a little bit crazy. You, though, are more than just a little bit. You can be a little bit unpredictable, but a pirate's life is far from full of certainties, so that fits in pretty well. Arr!

Get your own pirate name from

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

The Buddy System

When my wife was recently in the hospital after bariatric surgery, I learned that one should have an advocate with them while in the hospital. As a patient you are often drugged to the gills and therefore unable to properly assess your own situation, let alone articulate it to the staff. Even with me as her advocate, we had problems until I figured out the way things worked. She would have had a much rougher time had her mother and I not been there pretty much the entire time.

Recently it has come to my attention that most people should take a buddy to their doctor’s office also. Granted, if you are going to the doctor for erectile dysfunction you might not choose your mother as your buddy (or even your buddy as your buddy). Perhaps your partner would be a good choice.

Most of us, especially if we happen to be ill, will either not ask all the appropriate questions or, equally as important, will not retain all of the information a typical doctor gives us. And should we have an illness which is not responding to treatment or are given only a vague diagnosis then we are even less able to keep the perspective that one needs when dealing with these issues.

I’d recommend two things:
A) Pick a doctor you trust and with whom you have a good relationship. If you lie to your doc or if your doc treats you like you are a big fat waste of his time, then why bother going?
B) Bring a friend to go with if this isn’t a routine visit. Your friend can ask questions you had not thought of and remember things later that you forget.

If you have go alone, take notes. Be proactive; your doctor has good days and bad days like anyone else – stuff gets missed and stuff gets misdiagnosed.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Caveat Emptor

Kelli read my blog entry about pornstar Jenna Jameson’s reality television show difficulties (with my predicable and, frankly quite silly, double entendres) with shock and dismay.

“I told MY MOM to read your blog! What were you thinking? She’s really quite conservative.”

I suggested that, while Kelli was undergoing surgery, her mother and I had a good natured discussion about the positive aspects of pornography and our similar likes and dislikes.

Kelli did not even nibble at this poisoned apple. “You are lying, my mother would never carry on such a discussion.”

She, of course, is quite correct. While Dianne shared a particularly amusing story about a creepy therapist (which I would, of course, love to tell but am reluctant to do so without permission), she and I did not discuss sex or sexual media for even a moment.

I grew up firmly believing the doctrine of Frank Zappa (and I am paraphrasing): One may indulge in vulgar language and explicit sexual written imagery without fear of spending eternity next to a man with horns and a pitchfork. There is a place for reasoned, carefully worded, formal argument; and there is a place for including a light-hearted reference to sex with poodles as lyrics accompanying the most happy-go-lucky melody.

To quote another great thinker, George Carlin, “dirty words are fun!”

If Dianne, whom I have the highest regard and respect for, reads one of my blog entries and is made uncomfortable by its imagery or irreverence then she can skip to the next entry.

I stand by what I write. It’s what I'm thinking about at that precise moment. Some of what I ponder has been kicking around for years and has been polished and honed to make a sharp point. Other stuff is just crap that managed to sneak past the filters in my head and come out of my fingers onto the page – all lumpy and ill smelling and completely ‘without redeeming social value’ (to quote an infamous figure from my youth, Senator Jesse Helms).

There are lots of other things I am thinking about this week.

My grandmother is lingering somewhere in the realm between mostly ill and quite ill.

My mother was very nearly killed by a man who ran a red light this Saturday. While her injuries were relatively minor, the event reminded me how random events can change a carefully planned life.

Kelli is still in the recovery and reprogramming mode after her surgery. Every day she is at least a little sick and uncomfortable and there’s nothing I can do to alleviate her discomfort. Watching the person I love suffer, even a little bit, is frustrating.

Worst of all, I am doing just fine throughout all of this. I say ‘worst of all’ because I have a certain sense of guilt – survivor’s guilt maybe – about being approximately the same while pieces of my family are in turmoil.

It’s not severe turmoil and to suggest otherwise is being dramatic. All of my people are in a state of flux around me and I have the honor, duty, pleasure, responsibility of being a rock right now. At least it gives me something to do. Watching all of this or hear about it from afar then it would be more frustrating. Active participation is much more satisfying (to be selfish about it).

Writing blog entries is my form of escape, of catharsis, and of focusing my thoughts.

This little piece was not intended as an apology to Kelli or as a warning to Dianne. Neither needs that anyway. This is just what the title bar advertises: what’s rattling around in my brain right now. It’s generally a pretty light place (a little breezy at times) but there are some shadows in there too.

Life’s not all about porn and television after all. Well okay, maybe in California it is.

Jenna Doesn't Love Judith

Jenna Jameson wants her own reality show and A & E is willing to pay for it.

Sure, why not? Anna Nicole Smith and Farrah Fawcett have shows, Jenna’s cannot possibly be worse. A porn star wanting more mainstream exposure is not necessarily a bad thing. It could be fascinating or it could be simply the same reality show crap we have been fed for years now.

But we may not get to see this particular train wreck. It’s no surprise that it’s all about money. Jenna’s been the best porn star at marketing herself. She makes more money on her website in one year than she made in her entire career of making movies. Her book is a bestseller. And there’s the rub.

Judith Regan at Harper Collins wants her “slice of the pie” (so to speak) since the book agreement included any reality show as the result of the book. Jenna claims the A & E deal was made prior to the ReganMedia deal.

Ladies, can’t we just get along? Probably not. Can we get a hot girl-on-girl court battle broadcast on CourtTV? Probably not. Will this change anything about the quality of television? Definitely not. We will likely never get to see if, in head to head competition, Jenna can lick all of her competitors.

Oh well, my wife probably wouldn't let me watch it anyway.

Jargon vol. 2

Jargon continued:

Lead Aspirin A bullet to the head. What child molesters and rapists need.

Blue Enema Sending lots of cops to a situation. Not necessarily in an "officer needs assistance" way but to especially scary areas

canine roadkill, from Dead Dog Lying In Road. See also Flat Cat.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Quickies in a hotel

All true, I was there.

From the hotel job:

Two of my coworkers were talking to each other about their favorite soap opera. One said to the other: “Well I just knew Melinda wasn’t really Victor’s daughter, they don’t even look alike!”

I worked with an otherwise knowledgeable and intelligent woman who believed thunder was the sound of two clouds colliding in the sky.

I worked with a woman who believed mice had no bones (which explained how they could get into tight spaces).

I worked with a man who used the word “spost” in a written document. For example: “You are spost to call home later.”

When Spectravision was installed in the hotel there was one television that allowed members of the athletic club to view the movies for free, in the library of their private restaurant. One night the security guards caught a dishwasher from the silver room up in the library watching that half-porn garbage and polishing... well, more than the silver. The guard, who was a straight-laced Tongan man of incredible bulk, said "You - you - stop that!" The dishwasher's only response was a meek "I can't." After finishing his self abuse, the dishwasher was fired.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Funny every time

Some things make me smile every time I see/hear/say/do them.

Whenever someone in the dispatch center yells “I need someone to call me a cab,” all the hipsters yell back “You’re a cab!”

During the holiday season I can usually get a couple of my coworkers to believe that my father is dyslexic and that half of my childhood Christmas presents were from Satan.

My personal plate is: PANIC

My wife is from Alabama and she has the sweetest way of saying “expecially” or “excape.” On anyone else I’d think “what a maroon” but on her it’s so damn cute.

Callers who wish to remain “unanimous.”

People who claim that someone is using them as their “escape goat.”

Asking for assistance by saying “While you are up, can you….” to someone who is seated comfortably.

Saying “Bless You” to someone who has coughed, burped, or farted. I think we are going to teach this to our children.

When someone says something (anything really) wheel toward them and say "Are you calling me fat?" Oh it's hilarious with strangers and extremely hilarious if you happen to be (as in my case) actually fat. People are HORRIFIED and have no response.

Must have been how you were raised

My wife finds the way I eat hilarious. When eating at home (or when my guard is down) I will usually pick apart all layered foods (sandwiches, lasagna, etc) and eat about half of it as individual ingredients and the other half as one unit (after putting it back together). This would drive my father crazy when I was a kid. Perhaps that's why I still feel compelled to do it.

Although I have not witnessed this, my mother in law swears that my father in law spins his plate as he eats. Bite of meat, spin to the corn, bite of the corn, spin to the bread, bite of bread, etc. So often does this happen that she is afraid he’ll wear a groove in their wooden dining table.

My wife has cheese issues. She will not eat eggs and cheese together, chicken and cheese together, fish and cheese together. She likes cheese, fish, chicken, and eggs individually. On a sandwich, mayonnaise can touch the cheese, the cheese can touch the meat, but the mustard has to be on the meat side – well away from cheese.

A coworker who shall remain nameless (Lilly Pasta) has a brother who refuses to eat the place on a sandwich where his fingers rest. He will leave these little fingertip sized portions of sandwich on his plate when he is finished. He refers to these as “sandwich handles.”

My late uncle Charlie would mix all of his food together on the plate before eating it, citing that it would all end up in the same place anyway.

My wife’s father will leave one bite of food on his plate after a meal as if he’s leaving a gift for the Food Faerie. Never two, never zero, always one.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Question of Cosmic Importance

If Oral Roberts got divorced, would his former wife be unfortunately known as Oral's Ex ?

That would suck!
I bet she would change that lickety-split.

Okay, bad puns - but original (as far as I know)

K and the letter 'S'

I have a friend and coworker named C.

C is the best coworker anyone could have: she’s a great sounding board, a perfect person to give me a reality check, and is sure to have my back at all times. She’s also pretty protective about her anonymity so if you don’t know her name, I'm not spelling it all the way out (and in that way, I have her back).

If you read later about a coworker whose name starts with a C, don’t guess that I'm talking about this C. But I digress.

C’s husband K is a very smart guy. C has graced me with a fair amount of K’s wisdom over the years, usually to my amazement and awe. Once, however, I threw the BS flag at a piece of K-nowledge.

C and K have been vacillating for years about whether to get a dog. K grew up with dogs and likes the idea but neither is necessarily able to spend as much time with a pet as is recommended. Much of the other pros and cons have been tossed back and forth but on one point K has always remained firm: the dog has to have a name which begins with the letter ‘S’. It seems that K read or was told somewhere that dogs can hear the letter ‘S’ better than any other letter.

What kind of crap is that? I remember thinking if not actually saying (although I could have very well told C this when she told me of the ‘S’ theory). I think I might have actually gone on and on about how retarded this theory was. This was all probably six months ago.

Fast forward to this afternoon on the way home from the hospital with my grandmother and my mom (my grandmother was dehydrated to the point of nearly collapsing and we had to get her re-inflated). We had stopped at my grandmother’s vet’s office to pick up some medication for my grandmother’s cat and somehow the conversation turned to dog names. My grandmother said something to the effect that she had heard that dogs should be named two-syllable names. Then my mom dropped the ‘S’ theory on us. And it occurred to me:

I had three dogs growing up: Susie, Sasha, and Shaka.

I asked my mom, “is this why our dogs all had S names?”

“Yep, worked out well didn’t it?” was my mom’s response.

Holy crap.

To C and K, I hate to admit it but you were onto something.

Upon further review, the BS penalty has been reversed.
First Down, K.

Told you so

According to the AP, police have arrested the woman who claimed to have found a finger in her bowl of Wendy’s chili.

This would all be pathetic but it begs the question: where did she get the finger?

Also: did she actually put the finger in her mouth or did she do a little sleight of hand? If she put it in her mouth then yick.

She deserves harsh punishment.

This is definitely a NHI incident.

The Blogging Thing Explained

If you have a blog or already know your way around the blogosphere, then this little ditty isn’t for you.

The information provided is certainly not an expert analysis of bloggery; it’s just what I have picked up in the month since I started.

Blogs: short for web-log. Usually an online journal, sometimes an online diary of rants or political speech. I'm not much for politics – or at least commenting daily on them – so mine is a journal of sorts. If you are a constant reader, you’ll know my blog is really all about forcing myself to write a little every day (or more than a little if I am inspired or have the time). If I do it long enough I’ll have a bunch of dispatch stories which I can weave into a book or a play or a screenplay or whatever. Or not. The point is to write.

Where the heck do you find these other blogs? The first few I found by clicking “Next Blog” on the top toolbar of my own blog. After skipping past a bunch of boring teenie-boppers and wannabe pundits, I found This Surreal Life. From there I looked at the blogs she liked. And so on and so on.

How did you know you had been quoted in blogs you had not previously read? Site Meter tells me how many times my blog gets read and by which IP address. It also tells me if someone linked from another page or by searching for something in a search engine (honest to dog, someone got to my site by searching for "tits" on - big disappointment I'm sure). It doesn’t tell me who exactly is reading my stuff, but I can usually figure out a stranger from a relative.

I try to comment on your blog but it appears that one has to be a member of to not comment anonymously. Well, the “other” button should work. Put your name in and comment away. If not, just comment anonymously and add your name in the text. I do love comments. When I read something particularly interesting in someone else’s blog, I try to throw a comment their way. It really is rewarding to get some feedback.

Why do you insist on using the word “really” all the time, and what’s up with the semicolons? “Really” is a bad habit. Semicolons are beautiful so I try to use them correctly; quite often I succeed.

Isn’t all this blogging just a big circle-jerk by pseudo-intellectual navel-gazers who don’t have the talent to actually get published? Probably. Quality navel-gazing can be a career in its own right. See: David Sedaris, Spaulding Gray, Henry Rollins, Dave Barry, Lenny Bruce, et al.

So you want to be a published writer when you grow up? That would be nice. I dream of getting a check for enough money to buy a German luxury sedan for a piece of writing, although I’d probably wet myself with glee if someone gave me a check for enough to buy a one year subscription to “In Bed with Susie Bright” on

Is this the best topic you could come up with today? Yep. It’s 1:15 am so I can always whip something else up if this doesn’t seem adequate.

I’ve used a few semicolons; that in itself makes me smile.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Brilliant work of another

If you enjoy even the occasional rap song, read this:


April 21, 2005

Today is my 36th birthday.

It’s hard to believe that I am probably about middle-aged. Hopefully not quite, but certainly on the way to halftime. What have I accomplished?

I think I make my own tiny sphere of influence a better place. I have certainly matured to the point of trying to shine a little light rather than just create chaos; the latter seems to have been the point of my twenties.

I have learned that I do not, in fact, know it all. I'm pretty sure I was unconvinced of this fact for many years. I am certainly more tolerant of the faults of others. In most cases I have become everything I have ever mocked. I’ll still mock others, but outright scorn is hard to muster these days.

I am still irreverent, often inappropriate, and quite cynical. I do not consider these things to be faults as much as just aspects of my personality.

I am much more comfortable in my own skin than in my twenties. I'm the same short fat guy, but I'm mostly okay with that. I want to lose weight, sure, but really mostly because of health reasons. I'm attractive enough to have attracted the love of my life. While I don’t intend to go completely to seed, she’s seen me naked and is not repulsed. There’s comfort in that. I am learning to look at myself through her eyes and see the positive. The negative aspects of myself I have always seen, but now I'm better able to face them directly. I can only hope it gets easier as I get older.

In a sense I have recently tended toward embracing my faults. The blog is called “the Panic Blog” because I am medicated to eliminate or at least lessen the effects of panic attacks. Freakin’ adrenaline junkie police dispatcher who thrives on reacting to pursuits or to dispatching shootings, etc., but once in a while just freaks out for no reason in the goddamned grocery store. How cruel is that fate? As it turns out, not all that cruel – just a little inconvenient. Some meds are good. I could have easily ended up being a total shut-in freak without them.

I’ve already said over and over in my blog that I consider myself very fortunate. I will probably repeat this in the months and years ahead. One thing my job has taught me is that someone always has it worse than I do. While growing up, I always felt that my family was just plain weird. Now I realize that my family was pretty typical and full of a bunch of darn good folks. I am hard-pressed at this moment to think of a member of my immediate family that I would not choose to be my friend.

Are there many things in my life I would have done differently knowing what I know now? You bet. Would I be the same person had it always made the right choices? Doubtful. I’ve always learned a lot more from my failures than my victories. I would not revisit my past for any amount of money but I am grateful for all the experiences along the way.

When I'm 72 I hope to read this and think “Christ, what a melodramatic guy you were back then. You’ve come a long way.”

Re-reading this at 36 years old I know I’ve already come quite a way. The future is deliciously unpredictable.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Common Sense Rules from 911

Rule #1: Doors
Keep yours closed and locked if there is a bad guy outside… especially if it’s a bad guy you know.
People don’t understand this rule. It’s really easy.
You = inside with a phone that can call the po-po.
Bad Guy = outside where he can’t get you (easily at least).

Rule #2: Criminals are unpredictable.
Resist road-rage. The guy you flip off after he cuts you off can easily be the guy who has a gun in his car. If not a gun, see also: baseball bat, crossbow, tire iron, and 2X4. Also the bad guy is sometimes a bad girl or a bad kid. Teens and drunks are notoriously volatile.

Rule #3: The Chase
If you catch someone committing a crime and they run when they see you – LET THEM GO. What are you going to do if you catch them? Really think about rule #2. If there has not been a homicide and you are just a citizen, then get a good description of the bad guy while you let him run off. If he has a gun or a knife, trust me on this, you are not prepared to handle that. Go to a safe place and see rule #1.

Rule #4: Violence Hurts
Seems simple but it’s true. If you get into a fight you are liable to get hurt. There is no “winning” if you break tiny bones in your hand striking someone’s face. There is no “winning” if you end up in cuffs. And there is no winning if you, in the heat of anger or the adrenaline of pursuit, overreact and kill someone who has damaged only your property.

A dozen or so years ago a furniture store owner by the name of Jim Lowe shot and killed a high-school student who, while participating in a yearly unsanctioned scavenger hunt, had climbed onto the roof his Lowe’s store to steal a giant advertisement blimp. Lowe claimed to have been firing warning shots at the four teens as he chased them off of his roof but when the teens climbed into their expensive pickup to make good their escape and discovered that a bullet had entered the back of one of the boys, the hunt was over. Later that night, so was the life of the victim and the future of Mr. Lowe. The law says you cannot use deadly force to defend only your property. There was a crime being committed against Mr. Lowe that night but no one deserved a death sentence over it. Had he simply called the police, then he could have righteous outrage on his side and even get some media attention which might sell a few extra sofas that year. As it turned out, he served time for manslaughter and lost his business. It’s hard to have sympathy when everyone involved did the wrong thing.

Rule #5: The phone is mightier than the sword
Cops have guns and are trained when and how to use them. Likely you are not. Cops have reinforcements if things really go bad. Likely you do not. Your trustiest tool in an emergency is your phone. Call 911. Answer the questions and follow the directions of the person who answers that call. She is not wrapped up in your emotions, she does not have that massive rush of adrenaline clouding her judgment. She is highly unlikely to steer you wrong.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Stick around, make yourself comfortable...

“Tragedy is if I cut my finger,
comedy is if you walk into an open sewer and die.”

– Mel Brooks

Yesterday’s countdown of my “favorite” suicides demonstrates that I live by this quote. There are few things so tragic that we cannot find some humor in them. I firmly believe that.

When tragedy happens to YOU, then you have a choice to make. It’s either laugh at yourself or wallow in misery at every tiny cut. Existentially, life is what you make it.

One can work day-labor and live in a shelter and still have a wonderful existence. One could have huge amounts of money and be miserable. Everyone I know lives life somewhere in the middle.

I don’t find a lot of nobility in suffering. I do admire survival. I’ve been extremely fortunate in my life but I trust that I will survive whatever awaits me. There is no other choice.

My beliefs are a crazy-quilt combination of “each of us have the opportunity to change the world for the better; to not try is a waste” and “there is no heaven, no eternal reward for good deeds or punishment for bad ones.” I live a life of “do unto others…” mixed with “shit happens.” My life is an open book which is none of your business.

I cannot kill myself. If I lose my job, my wife, my family (God forbid ptooey, ptooey) - I will still be required to live, if only to spread the word of the joy they have brought me. Or maybe just to be bitter about it and therefore be a cautionary tale to others. Anything less tragic would be a stupid reason to kill myself.

I believe in the right to death. If someone else chooses to check-out, then that’s their business. If they inconvenience others, then they are selfish bastards. If you are a pedophile or some other threat to others then by all means – end it. One can make the world a better place that way.

On the other hand, there are plenty of reasons to be depressed, there are plenty of reasons to be angry, there are plenty of reasons to lose hope, lose faith, or lose one’s way in the world. There are also usually plenty of ways to climb out of your predicament. You’ll never know if you don’t keep trying.

I'm not sure why my thoughts took this ponderous turn, but that’s what you get today.

Keep trying. No matter what. If you succeed then wahoo, let me know all about it. If you fail, then pick yourself up and tell me all about it.

Life is all about the stories. Stick around and tell me one.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Check-Out Time

Warning: Gross-out material ahead. None of this is particularly funny, just perversely morbid.

I’ve dealt with a lot of suicides in my 9 years as a police dispatcher and 911 calltaker.

The general rule is that callers who threaten suicide are not likely to actually do it. There are plenty of ways to kill yourself and if you are intent on actually going through with it then there is no reason to call anyone. I wouldn’t say that I look forward to talking to suicidal folks but I like helping people so suicidal callers serve that purpose. Over the years it’s gotten easier to pick things for people to live for.

I also believe suicide is the most selfish act possible. The victim’s “ending the agony” is often their family’s burden to deal with and feel guilty about for the rest of their lives. And someone has to clean up the mess – every time. Selfish, selfish, selfish, and cruel on top of it. I have very little time to weep for these folks but I do feel for the families.

All this being said, here are the top three suicides that occurred while I was working (I was there, these are absolutely true):

1. A man in his early 20’s or late teens killed his mother for reasons which now escape me. He left his dead mother and a note in their residence then drove to a popular coastal lookout point. He backed up to a large wooden post and parked. He then cut the seatbelt out of his car. He looped one end of the seatbelt around the post and fed the other end into the drivers side window car and looped it on his head. Then he hit the gas and the car took off. Soon the man’s head was ripped off of his shoulders and rolled into the bushes while his car continued until it hit a tree.

I have this vivid memory of going to a roller rink as a child. The snack bar offered liquid refreshment in the form of soda but also juice and lemonade which were dispensed from glass upside-down fish tank looking things that had a continuous stream of juice or lemonade running down the inside of the clear glass. We’d call this bug-juice. The victim’s car looked much like those bug-juice dispensers because, when the victim’s head came off, the blood sprayed out of his neck, hit the roof, and ran down the inside of all the closed windows.

I am impressed both by the uniqueness of this method and the fact that this guy saved the taxpayers from a lengthy trial and incarceration.

2. A depressed, intoxicated, and possibly homeless woman in her late 20’s went to a floor near the top of a hotel at which I used to work and jumped. While I worked at this hotel we had a few jumpers but this was the first one I had from the other side. What makes this woman special is that she took the plunge from the side of the building were the loading zone was located. She dove 16 stories and landed in a bucket of glue.

I cannot make this up.

Parked into the loading zone was a contractor’s pickup which had tools and a five gallon bucket of glue in the bed. The victim landed half on the bucket, spraying glue 15 feet up the side of the hotel, and half on the side rail of the bed, creating a nice u-shaped dent.

This woman gets points, even from the East German judge, for artistic merit.

3. This one is worthy of a Stephen King story and much more sad than the other two.

We got a call from the manager of a McDonald’s restaurant who wanted to report one of his employees as missing and possibly suicidal. The worker in question suffered from some sort of developmental disability and had been having a rough time. Before leaving on his lunch break he mentioned that maybe he should just kill himself. His coworkers did not think much of this statement, indeed did not mention it to the manager, until the victim failed to return from lunch.

We broadcast a locate message to all units in the area and soon dispatched officers to the restaurant to contact the manager and make the report. Before officers arrived we received a call from the manager who stated the employee was dead.

The employee had not left the premises during his lunch break but instead climbed into the industrial trash compacter located at the rear of the restaurant. There he waited. There was no way to operate the “compact” function from inside the compacter. This poor troubled soul sat in a stinky, dark, metal container listening to the echoes of his breathing and the beating of his heart and waited for a coworker to push the “compact” button. Shortly after the manager called us, another employee pushed that button. The second employee heard the screams and looked to see the victim’s legs in the compacter.

Three things immediately struck me about this call (it was definite an “oh shit” moment in the room):

a) imagine being the victim inside the compactor just before the button was pushed

b) imagine being the employee who has to live with pushing the button

c) imagine the shock of crime scene team officers who were processing the scene while the drive-thru was STILL OPEN AND SERVING CUSTOMERS.


Sunday, April 17, 2005

Wet Clean-up on Aisle Three

Humor comes in the oddest places. Take your local supermarket or department store cash register, for example. Okay don’t actually take the cash register, but pay attention to the display the next time you are in line getting your items scanned.

I bought a rake and a pair of yard gloves from Wal-Mart yesterday. On the display (and the receipt) it showed: RAKE $12.49 (see, I told you I was not going to buy an expensive one), followed by: DYED COW $9.99.

Maybe it’s just me, but that made me smile. What if my wife was looking through receipts and demanded to know why I bought a dyed cow?

A better example of this was brought to my attention by my brother Jason. At Fred Meyer there is a brand of soup called “Harvest International.” When you buy a can of their vegetable soup it rings up on the display as: HIV SOUP.

I’m sorry, I’m putting back the HIV SOUP every time.


Saturday, April 16, 2005

Hot Underage Asian Midget Girl on Girl Action

I hate spam. Granted it’s partly my fault for not being more vigilant about keeping my main email address private, but I still hate spam and spammers.

I do not want a larger penis. Really. My wife, who knows ‘the small truth,’ is not complaining so I’m plenty happy.

I do not want discount Viagra. If I wanted Viagra, I would go to my doctor and ask for some. It seems like buying discount Viagra would be as smart as buying a discount parachute (Like New! Used only once! Slightly stained).

Ditto discount Xanax, Paxil, Prozac, and all other prescription drugs. I know I’ve said that drug prices are high and that something needs to be done. Buying drugs from some scammer spammer on the internet is not that thing.

While I clean our my "junk" folder, here's a little
“Spam I Am” for your enjoyment:

I do not want to refinance my home,
I do not want ringtones for my cellphone,
I would not, could not, win a free iPod
I shall not look at barely-legal bods,
I don’t want fake pics of Britney’s tits
I do not like this spam one bit

Stool Sample

This recollection was inspired by a thought on disasterous randomness on:

Ride My Pimp

(not for kiddies, that blog)

True Story (I was answering 911 the day it happened):

A woman in her mid-twenties needed to get something off of a high shelf; she was of medium build and pure of heart. She made only one mistake, and it’s something we’ve all done: she climbs up on a chair to reach the object. The chair was one of those ubiquitous cheapo wooden bar stools that they sell at your local Wal-Mart. It has wooden pegs along the foot rest area near the bottom and is light enough to easily pick up with one hand.

She climbs aboard this rickety piece of furniture and while reaching up high, the chair breaks to pieces beneath her. The woman falls and is impaled vaginally on one of the stool legs. V-A-G-I-N-A-L-L-Y.

Luckily she does not die, but did I mention she was impaled vaginally? Sure, we joked about it. But none of us at work (especially those with vaginas) will ever pass one of those stools without cringing.

Sometimes you’re the windshield, sometimes you’re the bug.


Friday, April 15, 2005

Spreading the word...

Tooting my own horn alert.

Check out:

Yours truly quoted by Rogier van Bakel, a Dutch writer and magazine editor.

Isn’t the internet amazing?

He is a gifted writer and his blog is well worth reading, so check it out at:

I'm going to go bask in the glow of semi-fame (and delusions of grandeur).


Thursday, April 14, 2005

VoIP - Danger, Danger

Voice over Internet Protocol = using the internet as your phone carrier.

You have probably already heard of VoIP; if not, you will. The technology behind this has improved greatly so the phone call will sound fine. While I'm a sucker for new gadgets and bleeding edge stuff, I advise anyone reading this to resist being an early adopter of this particular technology.

The reason for using VoIP is that it is usually much cheaper than paying your long distance carrier. I'm all for that. But: Danger Will Robinson!!

Nearly every place in the United States has Enhanced 911 (or E911). This means that when you call 911 the nearest dispatch center will a) answer and b) have the phone number you call in on and usually the address as well. You fall-down-go-boom or are in a fight or if your meth lab explodes, someone like me will answer and send help to you. If you are unable to give your address due to being incapacitated, I can still send help due to the E911 information.

VoIP is not always compatible with E911. Calls from VoIP phones can be lost or misrouted. Some VoIP phones will give someone a prerecorded message saying “you cannot reach 911 on this phone.” This is not a message I want to hear when I am home alone and think I'm having a heart attack.

Even if you know this and accept this responsibility - think about any guests to your home. Say you have a heart attack (or your Viagra use results in a four hour erection) and your new girlfriend/boyfriend/hookup springs to action and grabs your phone and dials 911, expecting a normal response. Well, they are going to become disgusted, angry, frightened, and will probably re-think the whole relationship when they can’t get through.

Ditto using a cell phone instead of a landline at home. If you can’t talk, don’t guess that 911 will know where you are. Even if you own the newest spiffy models with GPS chips in them, it’s up to the local government how up to date the dispatch center’s computers are. Plus, the FCC has mandated the cell providers to make their networks Phase 2 ready (giving GPS coordinates as E911 information) several years down the road. Today, don’t count on it.

Spend a few extra bucks, get a local phone line installed at your home, and keep safe.


Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Voices In My Head

At work I talk to a lot of folks with schizophrenia and other mental health issues. While emergency calls often require abrupt, controlling, and sometimes pretty rude behavior from me, I do my best to treat everyone as I would like my family to be treated. Mental health consumers can and do often have real problems, not just imagined ones.

Something odd occurred to me a couple of years ago and I don’t know if this is an original idea or maybe something a comedian came up – but it’s true.

Of everyone who hears voices in their heads, why don’t some of the voices say “go see a movie,” “wash your car,” “pet a puppy,” or something else positive?

Why is it always “You are the Christ risen; kill your parents!” Is it that we just never hear from the folks with ‘good’ voices?


Currently the voices are telling me to eat candy, but I know they lead me astray so I shall resist… I must resist!


Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Tastes Just Like...

Kelli and I spent last Christmas Day with my in-laws in Wasilla. Dianne and Creig both grew up in the deep south (Alabama and Louisiana) and told some great stories.

I would never have imagined sitting at a table listening to a story which began “I remember the first time I ate possum…” but both Dianne and Creig had possum tales. Those stories were interesting but not nearly as fun as the story of how my mother-in-law learned proper road-kill etiquette.

Dianne grew up in a rural area of Alabama and her family was relatively poor. She remembers that a typical Sunday family outing would consist of her father taking them on a car ride through the dusty winding backroads. On one such occasion their car crested a small rise and encountered a group of their neighbor’s Guinea Hens in the road. Thinking they had accidentally hit one of them, her father stopped and backed up to look for the dead hen. He explained that it was only right to find the dead animal and deliver it to the neighbor with an apology and with the news that the animal was freshly killed so they could at least get a meal out of it. He looked around, saw no obvious sign of road-kill, and they continued on their way. Later they arrived home and piled out of the car only to find the hen stuck in the grill of the car. Being far away from the scene of the accident, Dianne’s family took advantage and ate the hen for dinner.

Dianne remembered this incident years later when she was driving by herself and hit a chicken (apparently they do not always cross the road, no matter why). She knew the chicken belonged to a black family who was even poorer than her family and she felt duty bound to take the chicken to them. She approached the door to the family’s house and knocked. There was no answer and she found a note saying “Gone to the Sto.” Assuming this meant they were shopping, she left the dead chicken on their porch and hoped they would understand this was part of the rules of road-kill.

A little later in the day, and after she’d gotten home, Dianne had a startling thought. A lot of black families in the southern Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana area still believed in Voodoo. What if the family in question had come home to find the dead chicken on their porch and interpreted it as a curse being cast upon them? They might very well simply move from their house as a result of this. This one incident could change their whole lives.

To this day, Dianne has no idea what became of the family in question. She has not left a dead chicken on anyone else’s porch either.

Monday, April 11, 2005

This Surreal Life

This Surreal Life

A review of my blog on her blog! How cool is that?

Make sure you check out her blog too, it's pretty great.

And this is my first use of the "blog this" button too.


A Sad Day

Today we got a call from a husband who woke up to find his 29 year old wife lying in their bed not breathing and blue. The medic dispatcher gave the man CPR instructions over the phone while the police and the paramedics drove lights and sirens toward their residence. The arriving paramedics were able to drug-induce some cardiac electricity but she was still not breathing on her own. She is going to die.

The officer relayed this message to us: The female had lots of health complications and post-partum depression. They have a four month old baby. She had not been taking her own medications because she couldn’t afford to get them refilled.

This is just another example of the appalling state of our health care system. The woman died likely because she had no health insurance. Dead at twenty nine is sad. Motherless at four months old is tragic.

Something has to be done. We live in a country with the best quality of health care possible. We must get the money from somewhere to allow everyone access to this care. Nationalized healthcare is not the only answer. Restructuring Medicare and Medicaid might work.

The nation as a whole (or at least the politicians) are so worried about paying more taxes. If a few bucks more in taxes would have enabled this child to have a mother who could read to her, care for her, attend her graduation, etc., then it’s worth it.

But that’s just me.


Sunday, April 10, 2005

Community Property State

One of my favorite dispatch stories goes like this:

Once upon a time, many years ago, our dispatch center was much as it is today: a room full of type-A strong personalities who see each other more than they see their families (at least on work-days) and are therefore likely to speak their mind.

On this particular day a senior dispatcher (let’s call her Eve) strolls into the room, looks around purposefully, and says, “Who is in my chair?” The other dispatchers sit unmoving and look at Eve with contempt. One pipes up to say, “Eve, no one has assigned chairs,” followed by a heavy sigh.

Eve replies, “Well, I usually sit in the same chair every day because when I laugh I sometimes pee just a little bit.”

Immediately there was a whoosh of air generated by every dispatcher in the room simultaneously standing up.

Eve never had a problem getting “her chair” again.



Saturday, April 09, 2005

It's All About Me

I just finished reading “On Writing” by Stephen King, one of my favorite writers.

Okay, so actually I just got done listening to it unabridged on audio (Steve said it counts!). I don’t read books very much these days. I love to read magazines, internet articles, and newspapers but I don’t seem to have the patience to sit and read book-books anymore. ADD ? Maybe, but likely just lazy. I love the language though, and I think a good audiobook is as good as a written book for observing language.

And I do like to write. I don’t know if I'm especially good at it, but I know I like doing it and I like when folks tell me I do it well. Needy? Oh yeah.

Steve’s book gives me hope that I can hone my skills with enough practice to at least be a competent writer. I don’t even know if I have loftier goals than that. I think everyone says “someday I’ll write a book,” at one point or another in their life. Some folks actually do it. Few actually get published. Don’t misunderstand me; if I write a book then I damn well want folks to read it. I’d also like a few of them to tell me how great it is. They don’t even have to be telling the truth so long as they stick to their story. See “needy” above.

This blog serves the purpose of doing what Steve-o tells writers to do: write.

I don’t pretend that folks all over the world will want to read my blog (although I guess I’d be terribly flattered if they did). I don’t have all that much to say usually, but I'm writing every day and it’s something I intend to do as long as I can. Journals are fine but I can’t see myself keeping one. “Dear Diary, work sucks, I love my wife, and the dogs crapped on the carpet again.” I don’t want to re-read that later. I know all that. What I might like to remember is the jargon I hear or a news item I read or a movie I saw or a book I listened to that made me think. And what it made me think.

And I hear so many great stories that it would be nice if I could jot a couple of them down. It might make me a better writer or a better storyteller or a better human being. Or maybe not, that’s fine too.

While I'm not writing 3000 words a day, I’m writing daily. That’s the point, that’s the purpose, that’s the plan. If anyone other than me gets something out of it: bonus. I'm in this for me.


Friday, April 08, 2005

That's a Big Ten-Four

Here is a heaping spoonful of my favorite fun and commonly used police dispatcher jargon. This is not approved by, nor even necessarily known, by my police department or any of its command staff.

DWHUA Driving With Head Up Ass

NHI No Humans Involved. Criminals victimizing other criminals. See: Driveby Shooting.

Weenie Wagger Male committing indecent exposure. Also, rude.

ABW's The sanitizing wipes we use to clean our stations between operators. The containers look like baby wipes except for the big baby sticker with a red circle around it and a red slash through it. I take credit for coining this one. Who knew it would catch on?

to Jack someone UP When a police officer stops a subject who looks suspicious or who is likely involved in criminal activity but not actually committing a crime at the time: a known prostitute, a known drug dealer, a group of teens out late acting like idiots, etc. It's proactive policing intended to have these subjects go straight, go home, or just go away.

Tango We cannot say "thank you" on the radio because it is a waste of precious airtime. Nonetheless, folks insist on thanking each other by saying "tango" (the phonetic word for the letter "t"). Note that "thank you" and "tango" take up the same amount of airtime.

Tango Uniform Tits Up. Dead. Usually used for computers or vehicles.

The following are medic terms brought brought to us by the lovely Lilly Pasta from her former life as a paramedic and which have been folded into the meringue of dispatch jargon (and also make a great dessert topping):

DJF Doin' Just Fine. What you are if you are not yet a patient

CTD Circling The Drain. When a patient's condition is worsening, likely to the point of...

FTD Fixin' To Die When a patient will not escape the drain and is therefore just about to be...

DRT Dead Right There. A-beedeebeedeebeedee That's All Folks!

I'm sure there will be more added to this list later.


Thursday, April 07, 2005

Is Nothing Sacred?

Political correctness has gone too far.

According to the Associated Press

Cookie Monster is cutting back on his cookie consumption. The idea is that most kids these days in America are fat and the folks at Sesame Street want to set a good example for the little tykes.

News Flash: The 3 to 7 year old set doesn’t get a lot of say in a family’s eating habits. Mom and Dad (or just Mom or just Dad or both Dads or both Moms) make those choices.

This Just In: Moms and Dads should probably tell their little tykes not to take a whole lot of advice from SOCKS!

Simple rule: If you don’t have a hand sticking up your backside making you talk, then you can’t eat as many cookies as your favorite sock does. And if you do have someone’s hand sticking up your backside making you talk, it’s time to leave the Neverland Ranch.

Or so it seems to me,


Wednesday, April 06, 2005

picture for Terri
Posted by Hello

Different Day

Today I spent two hours in my backyard raking slushy dog shit, leaves, soggy cardboard toilet paper cores, and dog toys into several large piles. Another time I might sweeten my language but when you’ve been raking shit for hours it’s not poop or feces or doo or crap; it’s shit. And it is foul.

Cleaning it up is a loathsome job.

Every year I tell myself that I will keep up with the dog waste patrol during the winter. I intend to, every week without fail, go out and clean up each individual dung deposit and place it into a little garbage bag which I will then tie up tightly and include with the rest of our household garbage in the weekly pick-up by Tony Soprano… er, I mean Waste Management.

Every year I kid myself. Heck, I can barely keep up with yard work in the summer. I’d gladly let the grass grow for a month before mowing if we had a better mower. In a neighborhood full of renters, an unkempt lawn is the least of the sins. But in the winter there is just no way to get the job done. News flash (and I have to re-learn it every year): when it is cold and snowy, the shit just lays there. There is no motivation to clean it up; there is no shit-scooping muse.

And physics works against the shit scoopers in the winter. Poop is created at dog-temperature which melts the snow it falls into which freezes into ice which becomes a part of the landscape until it thaws. Joyce, a fellow dispatcher, tells the tale of her sister-in-law who follows her own dog around in the backyard when she lets it outside to poop. The sister-in-law then not only scoops up the poop while it is fresh but (and Joyce swears she is not making this up) wipes the dog’s ass. I can hardly be bothered to get dressed when letting my little treasures outside to do their business. Many a time our neighbors have had the opportunity to see me through my sliding glass door to the backyard wearing nothing but flip-flips and jockey shorts. At 3 am on a work day there is no shame.

Consequently, each year at break-up I must clean up the backyard with a marathon raking. Most years, with this year being no exception, I break my cheap Home Depot rake in the process. Wet leaves and ice are heavy; rakes are not made to shovel. I never learn. I will always go buy another cheap Home Depot rake. I cannot justify spending a large amount of money on a rake. Computer gadgets or electronics, yes. Landscaping equipment, no. Penny wise and pound foolish, maybe.

The yard muck is now in several piles not because I lacked the will to finish the job. The contractor bag I filled with the first pile of debris weighs at least 50 pounds and there are probably four more bags I could fill. And the rake is broken. So I’ll let them be and see if they dry on their own and weigh less in a couple of weeks. Likely the winds will kick up and blow the leaves all over the yard again and the remaining mounds of crap will fester and never get completely dry due to April showers. We’ll see.

When I became an adult I marveled at how my parents were able to restrain themselves from killing me and my brothers because we invariably broke anything of value in the house sooner or later. In my yard today I had an epiphany. They kept us around to rake the shit come break-up. I guess they were pretty wily after all.


Tuesday, April 05, 2005

It's the End of the World As We Know It

The apocalypse may be upon us.

Tom Brokaw, NBC anchorman, writer of the best seller “The Greatest Generation,” and probably best known for his inability to pronounce the letter “L,” is no longer the NBC news anchor. At least he got to leave on his own terms.

Dan Rather, CBS anchorman, antagonizer of President Richard Nixon, famed reporter, and probably best known for being a raving lunatic (exactly what was Kenneth’s frequency anyway?) has stepped down amid a scandal.

Peter Jennings, ABC anchorman, Canadian, and not really known for much of anything weird, has lung cancer. He may return to the nightly news. But he may not. I wish him a speedy recovery either way.

No news anchors. TV nightly news is dying.

But that’s not all, merely one portent of doom. Read on, if you dare.

While getting ready for a magazine cover shoot for Vanity Fair, the cast members of the best new show on network television “Desperate Housewives” had a big hissing cat fight. Some are not talking to others. Imagine: five divas in the cast and someone has her panties in a bunch? Say it isn’t so.

Monaco’s Prince Rainier came in third in my Dead Pool. Died today at 81 years of age.

“Sopranos” actor Vincent Pastore allegedly assaulted his girlfriend over the weekend. “Big Pussy” is in big trouble.

American troops are still dying nearly every day in Iraq.

The death of arguably the most noteworthy Pope in centuries has bumped alleged sicko Michael Jackson out of the news for only about three days.

And the final omen, the rider on the pale horse, is the announcement that UPN has signed a deal with Britney Spears and her husband to show their wedding videos and assorted footage to substantiate the validity of her marriage. Upwards of five episodes of Britney TV.

To quote the poet Charlie Brown:



The Phrase That Pays

I love words.

I like big words, certainly, but most thoughts can be expressed in easy to understand, commonly used terms and I appreciated writers whose voice is of the common man instead of some pompous phonics junkie.

What I savor are those great little phrases which may have started out of a joke but ended up being used in everyday conversation, at least by a small group.

I offer the following examples:

“Spin Dry” My friend Connie introduced me to this term (she has been the bearer of many language gifts). In the professional aviation industry this refers to the rehab a pilot is sent to after coming to work drunk. Where someone with a normal job would not even consider coming to work drunk, commercial pilots often have fairly quick turn-arounds, spend many a night in hotels in cities far from home, and those who might be inclined to hang out in bars have plenty of opportunity. After “Spin Dry,” one will either refer to this experience as “the help I needed after an error in judgment” or “that crappy place where the company sent me to justify my later firing – because management are a bunch of assholes – I don’t have a problem – I can stop anytime I want – I’ll have another scotch and make it a double.” Or so it seems to me.

“Fire Investigation” This is a little more sinister and the source shall remain anonymous, but the term is equally great. There is a certain type of man who, when in conversation with a woman in the workplace, will not maintain eye contact but will instead stare directly at the woman’s cleavage. Not necessarily in a “hostile workplace” kind of way, but either irritating or flattering depending on the maturity of the woman in question. (Perhaps I'm being a pig myself for suggesting that women who find this flattering are immature. Oh well). Since the person who did this most often (during one period of time in one office in one company) was a Fire Investigator, the women involved started referring to the activity in general as “fire investigation.” Okay, that’s a lot of explaining but the next time you see a guy staring a woman’s breasts while talking to them in any place other than a strip club, think of them not as “pigs” but as “fire investigators.” At least it makes me laugh.

“the B” This refers to the supervisor of our dispatch center at any given time. The “B” seems innocuous enough, it could refer to “the Boss” or “the Queen Bee.” But it doesn’t. It actually refers to a much revered 29 year veteran dispatch supervisor who looked a great deal like Aunt Bea from the Andy Griffith Show. My understanding is that the nickname, which she did not appreciate at all, was used only behind her back. When someone walked into the room looking for the supervisor and not finding one at the supervisor’s desk they might easily say “where’s Bea.” Co-workers in the know quickly covered any possible backlash if this was overheard by calling any supervisor the Queen Bee. Aunt Bea herself may never have known she was the start of a decades-long and enduring trend to refer to any dispatch supervisor as “the B.” The term is used dozens of times per day.

These are only three. I’ll add more as I come across them.


Monday, April 04, 2005

Murder in Room 103

The final chapter is up so the whole story is complete. Did she get away with murder? You make the call.


Pants on Fire

I am listening to the unabridged audiobook autobiography “This Just In,” by CBS News interim anchorman Bob Schieffer and I find it fascinating. Firstly, he has pretty much been Dan Rather’s replacement at every step of his career at CBS. At the time his book was published he had figured that the 6pm news anchor job would be Rather’s for life and he would not get that particular job. Little did he know scandal would bring down Rather even when Kenneth’s frequency could not.

Mr. Schieffer, who has been a reporter for CBS news since 1969, has some fun stories to tell but what I find most interesting is one particular thread that ran through all of his early journalist jobs: He always overstated his experience and abilities to get a job, then he made it his main objective to live up to and surpass the high bar he had set for himself.

Perhaps Mr. Schieffer is just tooting his own horn about how bold he was or how clever he was to pull the wool over the eyes of his perspective employers. I’ll give him that right. It’s his story; he can tell it anyway he wants. And at 68 years old, he’s entitled to give himself credit where he thinks it is due.

But just how common is this? Other than the whole panic attack part of job interviewing, I can do a passable job of stating my worth. I do have an ego. But do most folks, during an interview, tell big fat lies? Having only had two real jobs in my life (one which lasted eight years, the other which is on it’s ninth year and still going), I cannot imagine breezing into an interview and saying, “oh yeah, I've spent a long time in nuclear reactors and I'm certain I'm just the man for the Core Maintenance manager job.” Okay I’ve been in a nuclear reactor exactly once, it was not powered up, and my main impression was “Wow, they use analog instruments because digital ones are not 100% reliable. Cool.”

Maybe a better analogy would be me applying for the directorship of the State’s Office of Emergency Management. Sure, I'm good under pressure. Sure, I'm good at planning for emergencies and training (I'm all about the training). But I don’t think I have the sheer gall to even apply.

Perhaps this is what separates me from the real go-getters. Perhaps the great ones bullshit their way to the bigtime and then shine where others might fail. It intrigues me. Should I take more chances? Apply for that OEM job? See if I can really fix a reactor?

Or maybe I should apply this lesson to other areas. Syndicate my blog even further, convinced that just because I think something is important with a small (i) that it must be Important with a big (I).

Hmmmm. Food for thought.

No carbs tho.


Sunday, April 03, 2005

States Kelli has Visited (in Red)

create your own visited states map

States I've Visited (in Red)

create your own visited states map

More Cowbell

THIS is what the internet was designed for:

The Cowbell Project

Crowded House

I never saw this on the news sights on the web. I guess Terri Schiavo and the Pope eclipse everything else.

Former Crowded House Drummer Found Dead

Give the album Woodface a spin. It's 80's (well, 1991) but it's pretty great.

Reading the Sunday Blogs ( I dont get a paper)

I’ve just read

most of

Rosie O’Donnell’s


She has some


things to say

but writes

mostly in

poetry form,

which I find


I hated Rosie O’Donnell’s show; really, truly hated. There was too much Broadway and flinging Kooshes into the audience and not enough serious or interesting guest interviews. Fine, if you like that kind of thing.

But she got roasted in the press when her magazine publishers sued her. I find myself having some sympathy for her in that regard.

Don’t get me wrong: The woman has more money than God and is “retired” at 43 years old. I'm not offering to trade places with her, but there are more tragic figures in the world.

But check out her blog. At least you’ll learn how she feels about Kirstie Alley and “Fat Actress.”


Friday, April 01, 2005


As I sit and think of what to write today I am drawn to only one thought. How incredibly fortunate I am.

I was going to write that I was blessed, but since I am a confirmed agnostic (which is a little like being a confirmed bisexual, but with less chance of getting a date Friday night) I’ll claim only good fortune.

Kismet, luck, blessings, karma, fortune; call it what you want, I seem to be having a good run lately.

I am very happily married to the sweetest, most caring, cutest girl in the whole wide world and she loves me just as much as I love her. *sigh of contentment*

I have good friends who have remained my friends after I got married, despite the fact that I have much less time or opportunity to just “hang out” like I did when I was single. Or maybe I'm just really really neglectful. Either way, they haven’t written me off entirely yet. For that I am grateful. Most especially Terri, but also the Ruiz clan, fall smack dab into this category. I haven’t been as “present” for them but I still hold their friendship dear to my heart and would do just about anything for them.

I have an outstanding family. My parents are very supportive without being either too judgmental or too snoopy. Plus they are great role models in that they both genuinely like each other after being married for thirty-something years. Oh yeah, and for getting all exercise-crazy in their middle age. Oh and that whole “raising me right” thing. My brothers and I are still pretty close, given distance and the fact that we have all started independent families of our own. And I'm lucky enough to count my grandmother as one of my friends as well as a matriarchal figure. How cool is that?

I even have nice in-laws. Someone call Mr Serling, I’ve entered the Twilight Zone.

Add to this the fact that I am much healthier this year than last year at the same time (albeit still a big fat guy, but working to slowly whittle that down).

So while April 1st will always be considered “It’s Good To Be Drew” Day (thanks to my sister-in-law Jennifer), I can honestly say that on this April 1st it’s pretty good to be Eric.

I do reserve the right to be bitter for no particular reason though. I just wouldn’t be Eric without that.