October 2014 Archives

getting maryed

I could hermetically seal myself alone in a sterile biodome in Antarctica for forty years, breathing nothing but bottled oxygen and being fed only Purell, intravenously through a HEPA filter, and some kid's mom would come for a visit, and then I would get sick, and when accused, her answer would still be an indignant "Well I'm not sick, so you must have gotten it somewhere else."

context is everything

On Tuesday, I read this article—okay, I admit, just the first two paragraphs—written by illustrious whackadoodle José Canseco.

Control the People, Not the Guns

By José Canseco

I truly believe, aggressively, that we have the right to bear arms. We should be able to carry guns to protect ourselves. Period.

The funny thing is I don’t own any guns, but I would love to have a few—an Uzi and a street sweeper and a machine gun, maybe. I’d love to be able to carry a 9mm on me in a holster and just walk around. That’d be great. But you can’t in California, the state in which I live. And that’s bogus.

Imagine my surprise when within 24 hours, I see the headline "Jose Canseco tweets pic of hand after blowing off finger while cleaning gun."

You'll have to imagine my surprise, because there was none.


Ahead of their recent visit, d'Andre's wife Pam

We interrupt this sentence so that I might express my supreme annoyance at having to type two apostrophes in a name.
—called me. We chatted about Ohio State's football team, or as we like to call them, "our other common problem." When the call wrapped up, she implored both d'Andre and me to behave around their nine year old girl, Danielle.

"Can you two please curtail the racist crap around my daughter?"

"Sure," d'Andre said.

"Not a problem," I agreed. "We can pretend to be someone else."


I greeted Pam warmly at the door, and then d'Andre less warmly. I turned to Danielle, whom I have not seen since she was a baby.

I nodded and shook her tiny hand. "d'Sheni'qua," I said.

"Jeeeeezus," the kid said, glaring at her mother mid-handshake.

"That's your Uncle Egger," d'Andre said, visibly delighted that I broke character first. "Absolutely no relation."


During my drive to Pittsburgh, I stopped by Minneapolis to visit Dirt and Kiki for a couple days. I hadn't seen their daughter, Ava, since they left Metamuville two years ago. Then seven, this autistic child only spoke the words "iPad," "no," "Nemo," and "blueberries." I often described her as Helen-Keller-kind-of-feral.

When Ava was born, Dirt and Kiki started calling me "Uncle John." As time passed, I became the boogey man. "You don't want to make Uncle John angry," Dirt would say when I wasn't even there. Eventually, I lost that title. Dirt renamed me after the sergeant in Stripes.

When I arrived last month, Ava walked past me on the front porch. "Uncle Hulka," she said blankly. She walked to my car and pointed. "Those are Washington license plates."

Who are you? I thought, amazed at the transformation. Nice to finally meet you.

Then a memory popped into her brain. "iPad?"

There's my girl.

She's far from normal, but she's also far from feral. Civilization and its attendant special education system have been very good for her. Ava still refuses to engage much of the time, but she can opt to engage now, and that's been life-transforming. We actually bicker now. Oh sure, it's not like how Katrina's kid and I can bicker for 127 hours without drawing a breath. Ava doesn't have that sort of focus. This goes for 5 minutes, tops. It's infinitely preferable.

The school has taught her to express her anger instead of biting people, or at least how to go through those motions. And express her anger she does. Any time she doesn't get her way, she screams "AVA IS FEELING ANGRY!!!" louder and louder. The only way to stop the escalations is to capitulate. We were in the back seat of the car when Uncle Hulka thought he would try another tactic.

"Ava is feeling....angry," she said.

"John doesn't care," I replied.



And so it went for about a dozen louder and louder iterations, until she grabbed my hand and chomped. I let her.


"What is that?" I cooed sweetly, tears rolling down my cheek. "Did a butterfly just land on my hand? Because it kind of tickles."

I sent the photo to Katrina's kid, who asked what I'd done to deserve being bit. I replied that I'd told Ava to shut up.

"Yep. That'll do it."

The group with which I've worked for the last four years was just ruthlessly acquired and laid off. They paid me in advance, so I still owe the company some money. A guy with a sleazy reputation just cold-called me about working for him. I cut him off.

"I'm not interested in working with your company any longer."

He was taken aback but not derailed. "But we have a credit balance."

"Yes, you do. I'll write you a check."

Apparently fresh from Management 101, he went straight to flattery. "I really wish you would reconsider. Hal (the executive in charge) really values what your company does and very much wants to continue the relationship."

"Yeah. Well. Considering that he just fired the only remotely competent people you've got, that means slightly less than fuck-all to me."

"Oh. I, um, guess that's it, then."

I guess it is.

young spuds

Oh, how lackluster the Steelers are this season. Virtually every other team in the league looks faster. Smarter. Executes better. Wants to win more.

Wants to win at all.

Yep. I'm delighted to have spent a shitton of money and energy to be here. I'd hoped, failing their being a contender, I would at least get to see the young studs develop something more than neuroses.

missing netflix

I am officially suicidal at the thought going out. So that's the answer to an age-old question: you do get sick of going out for every meal, around the five-week point. Although to be fair, I'm mostly sick of wearing pants.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to Costco to buy chicken breast. I sense a shut-in week or 12 coming.

"What the Fucking Fuck?" awards 

  rob motto

I don't speak for the movement, but I'm pretty sure they'd prefer the support of people who know the meaning of big SAT words like "equal" and "especially."


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