Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Life’s a beach and then you fry (because it’s hot)

The continuation of my misadventures while in America for two weeks.

As soon as I arrived in the US, I enjoyed the opportunity to visit one of my best friends and drunkenly hi-jack his wedding in California (as recounted in a previous Eighty-Four Glyde). But the west coast left a bad taste in my mouth, and made me feel dirty. To clean myself up, (figuratively speaking) I decided to hit the world-famous Delaware beaches (Motto: Delaware, we’re still here!) with my friends and their friends and other hangers-on.

My friend Fred decided to go to Craigslist to find a beach house, (a quick word about Criagslist, I’ve only used it a few times, but I have to say that it has yet to fail me. I know that Craigslist is simply oozing with rapists/killers and transsexual sheep humpers who want you to shit on their heads, but I have yet to find any of those people. I have instead found a good friend –shout out to John, the director of Glyde and Eighty-Four- and a kick ass beach house.) that we rented for the weekend. It had three bedrooms, but since I know my luck, I was sure that I would end up sleeping on the couch. And, being the Nostradamus of the 21st Century, I was absolutely correct. It wasn’t an uncomfortable couch, but the broken leg didn’t help things, (more about that later.)

There were seven of us, I think. We were supposed to be joined by another couple, but they decided that they would rather fake on their friends and spend the weekend together arguing about inconsequential things while their relationship crumbled around them (ohh that’s harsh, I’m naughty.) But we didn’t need them; we had a damn good time without ‘em. Better even! You hear that? It was the best time of any of our lives! You’ll never know what you missed! Jive turkeys.

Anywho. The beach. What can I say about it? It’s the summer destination. When I think of the summer, I only think of two places: the beach and summer camp, (which was always located in some poison ivy- and foot-long mosquito-infested woods that resembled the forest moon of Endor). Everybody loves the beach; the sand, the sun, the waves, the umbrellas, the sunburn, the really fat and hairy people who wear completely inappropriate bathing suits because they’re in total denial of how hideous they are, (but, because you’re wearing sunglasses, you can’t help but stare anyway) and the food.

Some people go to the beach to swim. They enjoy the ebb and flow of the waves and go surfing, boogie boarding or body surfing, (or they just like going to the bathroom in the ocean.) Some people go to get a nice tan. They slather on the SPF 500 lotion and just lay out in the sun, cooking in the heat. It gets so hot you could walk up to somebody lying on their stomach and fry a few pieces of bacon on their back, if you were so inclined. The fun part is watching the women turn over with their tops undone, hoping to sneak a peek at some side boob, or maybe a nipple or two, (but not two nipples on one boob, that’d just be weird!)

Some people go there just to catch up on their reading, bringing along the latest crap from James Patterson, Mary Higgins Clark, Lillian Jackson Braun or Jane Evanovich, (that’s right, I went there) and stare intently at their books, ignoring the world around them. Getting up only to go to pee or buy a hot dog. Some people, like my mom, go just to absorb the beach experience. They wear their bathing suits but never go further into the water than their ankles. I think most people fall into this category.

Some people go just to look sexy and bathe in the envy of all other beach-goers. What with their taut bodies and smooth skin. Jerks. Even the hot chicks piss me off, cause I’m never going to get one of them and they just strut up and down the beach as if to say “go ahead and take a gander at my luscious butt cheeks, because that’s as close as you’ll ever get!” Makes me want to bury my head in the sand.

I wanted to enjoy the ocean myself, but unfortunately, I somehow managed to break my leg the night before we went to the beach, (don’t ask me how, I plead the fifth) and couldn’t do much. When I attempted to enter the water all I could do was stagger around on one foot like I was drunk, doing the hokey-pokey with the surf. The hard part was trying to get out of the water. I would stumble a few feet forward but get pulled back with the tide. I found that the best way to get out of the water was to shakily drag myself out a few inches at a time. I looked like a paraplegic who had been knocked out his wheelchair.

My crippling injury didn’t stop anybody else from having a good time though. Everybody I went with had fun at the beach. They laughed, they drank, they found buried treasure and generally enjoyed themselves greatly. I sat there, unable to move, getting sand kicked into my face by delighted children, toddling off to play with their buckets and stuff.

Next year we plan on going to one of the Carolinas. To maintain some kind of tradition, I expect to break my collar bone.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Hot sheets: Why waste money on repairs? And you thought you had a drinking problem!

The hot sheets are back friends, here to keep you informed as to the real news that matters.

Our first story is from the great state of Wisconsin! (Motto: Do we really like cheese that much?) Starring my new hero: 56 year-old Keith Walendowski.

On Friday, the Associated Press reported that the Milwaukee man was angry because he couldn’t start his Lawn Boy lawn mower Wednesday morning. So, he did what any sensible man would do, and something most of us have always wanted to do: he got his shotgun, or rifle (how could the cops not tell which one it is? Isn’t that kind of their job?) and shot the shit out of his lawn mower. Yeah! Take that you stupid machine! That’s what you get. And if you don’t shape up toaster, you’re next! And don’t think I don’t have my eye on you dryer. One more damp load after 50 minutes and I’m dropping you off the roof!

Don’t even get me started on my laptop. No death is good enough for that piece of crap.

According to the article, “a woman who lives at Walendowski’s house reported the incident. She said he was intoxicated.” Isn’t that always the way? A guy is trying to have a little fun, take out his frustration in a constructive manner, and some broad wants to put an end to all that. She’s a jerk! And what kind of description is “a woman who lives at Walendowski’s house”? Is she some random lady who pays rent? Is she related to him? His wife? This AP article isn’t very well written.

So, because Mrs. Wet Blanket called the cops on Keith, my hero was charged with felony possession of a weapon and misdemeanor disorderly conduct while armed.
My main man Keith’s response to the police about the situation was both rational and well thought out.

“I can do that. It’s my lawn mower and my yard so I can shoot it if I want,” he said.

If I’m not mistaken, that’s the very basis of this country’s foundation. Sadly, the fascist pigs didn’t see it that way and arrested the guy. He could face a $11,000 fine and six years in prison if convicted.

Next time, I suggest using a knife, Keith. Go for the quiet kill.


The next story comes from Providence, Rhode Island. On Tuesday an unnamed man, (though I’d like to think that his name has got to be something like Man McManlyman, Dirk Kill Liver or Chuck Norris) was arrested after driving into a highway message board on Interstate 95.

When the cops made him do a breathalyzer, they all shit bricks and instantly bowed down to worship him as their new god, because his Blood Alcohol Content registered as a .491!

Think about that for a moment. His BAC was almost 50% alcohol. Legally .08 is the legal limit in R.I. and almost every other state. A BAC of .3 is classified as “stupor,” .4 is “comatose,” and .5 is DEAD!

This guy shouldn’t have been able to breathe, let alone fight off a contingent of police trying to haul him off to jail. But he did both. He might not have been fully coherent, but he was living! And probably invincible if he’s anything like me when I’ve been drinking.

The cops took him to Rhode Island Hospital where he was put in detox and sedated, (though with that much booze in his system he’d be plenty sedated in a few hours anyway.)

"Our only assumption could be that the person has a serious alcohol problem," Maj. Steven O'Donnell (cop spokesperson, I guess) said. "The person's lucky they survived. There's no doubt he would have gotten killed or killed someone if he had continued on the route he was taking."

I think they’re just jealous. At least they stopped him before he drunk dialed. We all know how embarrassing that can be.

That’s it for this week’s Eighty-Four Glyde hot sheets. Join me next week when I find more ridiculous stories about how people live. What an amazing world we inhabit, no?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Love and Marriage

I was off on vacation recently. Decided to get away from it all here in the Middle East and just head on out to the west coast. Which shows how much this war has messed with my brain, because I’ve always stayed away from the west coast like fat people stay away from treadmills.

But I had a good reason to go to California. Sacramento in fact. (Interesting fact: The Governator once called Sacramento “Death,” which is probably why he commutes every day from LA.) Because one of my best friends was gettin’ hitched.

My boy Dan moved out to the west coast at the turn of the century to do some tree work in northern California. While out there he met the lovely LeeAnn and they fell madly and deeply in love, (as the story goes.)

One thing leads to another and in September of last year Dan called me to let me know that the nuptials were being planned for the summer of 2008 and he wanted me to be the best man, (actually he just wanted me in the wedding party, I think I volunteered to be his best man.)

Sadly, the army reared its ugly head a few months later and I had to inform Dan that I’d be unable to attend his wedding (and bang all those drunk brides’ maids) due to being somewhere in Iraq getting shot at. He was saddened, but understood how these things go. I was saddened as well because, along with all those summer movies, this was just one of several weddings I was going to miss.

Fast forward to early this summer, when I discovered that it looked as though all the planets were going to align in such a way that I would actually be able to make it out to Dan’s wedding.

So I purchased my ticket, packed my bag and after 36 hours of flying (though it was technically in a 24-hour period. I time traveled!) I arrived at the Vegas airport, sat at a bar and watched all the people losing money in the slot machines. Suddenly, my phone rang. It was one of my other best friends, Tres. Tres is a superbroke mofo, but he scrimped, saved and sold his body on the street to get enough money for the plane ticket and rental car.

He was sitting with Dan, drinking beer and enjoying the day and wanted to know where I was. I told him that I was but a scant few hours away in scenic Las Vegas, Nevada. Everybody (including myself) was overjoyed that I had traveled 11 or so time zones to make the wedding. Though I smelled pretty rank at that point.

The next day was the wedding, and what an event that was! It was up in the smoke-covered mountains of northern California. Dan and his bride-to-be had rented out a lodge in the mountains that used to be a brothel, (which you could tell because there were about 3 dozen really tiny rooms. That's cause you don’t really need that much space to make the whoopee) for the wedding.

The ceremony was slated to begin at 2:30, but people could be found around the lodge bar by noon, (a sight that brought joy to my heart.) It was an outdoor ceremony in the 5 million degree heat. I lost about ten pounds out there, but it was worth it because the ceremony was on a cliff, hundreds of feet up, with a bunch of mountains and trees and shit in the background. Very picturesque.

The rest of the afternoon and evening was spent at the lodge drinking, eating and singing karaoke very badly, (Mack the Knife, I can’t help myself.) We hit on the bartenders, we hit on the brides’ maids, near the end of the night we hit on the coat racks. Good times. I know I had fun because I discovered myself in my bed the next morning and I had no idea how I got there.

Dan’s wedding marks the continuation of a disturbing trend though. He’s the first of four friends getting married this summer, (though he’s the only one to send me an official invitation.) With the number of friends I have combined with the rate of marriages that are planned, I’ve figured out that by the end of 2009 me and my boy Tres will probably be the only bachelors in our circle of friends, (but we won’t be bachelors together, get that thought out of your head right now!)

It makes us wonder, are we at the age where we’re supposed to be getting married? Or is this some kind of lemming thing/domino effect where everybody is getting married because everybody else is getting married? It’s a question that keeps me up at night, cause I wonder, am I supposed to be responsible enough to get married? Is my own manly biological clock ticking?

But on the other hand, I say funk that, because I’m pretty sure that while all my friends are getting married in the next two years, that in five years from now, the majority of them will be divorced, miserable and broke. While I’ll still be single and full of all types of kick ass communicable diseases.

Are those wedding bells I hear?

Friday, July 04, 2008

Josh’s Guide to being a Contrarian

It’s wayyyy too easy to be a sheep. When everybody likes something, it’s no skin off your back to like that same thing. It helps you to fit in, promotes friendships and gives you something to talk about around the water cooler in the morning. And there’s nothing people like better than to go with the flow and to be told what to like and how to think.

But where’s the fun in that?

I like to go my own way. Some people call it following the beat of a different drummer, being a free spirit or being a dumbass. And in a way, those people are right. It’s not fun or easy to go with a group of people to the movies and they all want to see Adam Sandler Slobs His Own Knob IV and you want to see Esoteric Movie. But in the end, it’s worth it to define who you are as a person, what you like and how people should shop for you on your birthday and all major (and minor) holidays.

I’m here to teach you (not you actually, the person reading just behind your right shoulder. BOO!*) how to be a contrarian. When everybody goes right, you’ll go left. When all your friends jump off a cliff, you’ll be the person hanging out at the bottom to rifle through their pockets when their bodies hit the ground.

Being a contrarian isn’t as hard as people think. In fact, we’ve all got a little bit of contrarian inside of us already, but we often go with the crowd because it’s what all the cool kids are doing. You might all be having a conversation about, say, how great and responsible it is to “go green.” Spouting sentences with words like “carbon footprint” “hydrocarbons” bio-diesel’ and “global warming.” Meanwhile, in your head, you’re saying this conversation is both lame and tiresome, I can’t wait until I can get out of here and fart up a storm. Methane be damned! Or something along those lines. That’s already one step toward being a contrarian. The next step is simply to voice your opinion.

You’re probably saying to yourself “but I can’t voice an opinion that goes again the majority, Josh! I’ll set myself apart as a pariah!” (unless you’re vocabulary isn’t as good, in which case you’ll probably use a simpler word, like loser.) To fix that, simply give your opinion with a hint of humor. Perhaps tell it in joke form.

Bob: Hey Deacon, I’m about to go to the rally in front of that gas-spewing factory down the road. Join me and we can make a difference and bring joy and happiness to the lives of countless small woodland creatures! It’s great karma.

Deacon: Would love to join you Bob, but I have to go suffocate on the gas fumes of my environmental-friendly car in the garage. Toodles!

See? Now Bob knows how Deacon feels and they both get to enjoy a good chuckle before going off to do whatever it is fictional people do.
But you don’t have to be so dramatic with your opinions. Start simple. Just take current pop culture and go in the opposite direction. Here are some topics to be a contrarian about.

Reality Television
Michael Jackson
The price of oil
Leg hair on women
Eating pets
Legalizing marriages for people under the age of 14
Calling Asian people “Orientals”
Drinking during pregnancies
Shooting the homeless for fun or sport
How terrible Eighty-Four Glyde is

I put those topics in increasing order of contrarianism. The last one was just to see if you were paying attention, (Eighty-Four Glyde isn’t terrible in the slightest). Some things are just too easy to be a contrarian about. In fact, in some areas, it’s in vogue to go against the flow with such topics as the government, the war, Bush, Tila Tequila, religion, legalizing weed and same sex marriages. Stay away from those topics!

With the simple tips I gave you, (or forgot to give you, whichever it is) you can go out and enjoy a new world of freedom in voicing your opinion, regardless of the topic. Become a contrarian jerk around all your friends! They’ll like you better for it, trust me.

Remember, the key to being a contrarian is to state your own opinion, regardless of how different it is from those around you. In fact, especially if it's different from those around you. Who knows? You may be seen as a free spirit or a dumbass, but you'll definitely be seen as unique.
Ain't nothin' wrong with that.

*Now that’s what I call scary writing!