Friday, December 5, 2008

That stupid unfinished Christmas story

Many years ago, I started writing a Christmas story featuring some of the characters and situations that Raddmann Gee and I had created back in High School. Originally, I would write about a page and send out a part every few days.

Well, I didn't finish it by Christmas. I tried to finish it the NEXT Christmas, but that didn't happen either. That was like 8 years ago. One of these days, maybe I will actually finish it.
If you have been a regular reader of this lazy blog in the past, you may recognize a part that has been previously published. One section involves my late friend Wayne and one of his creations. You'll know when you get there.

Book 1,225: A Christmas Thingy

As the sun rose over the glistening snow covered hill, Lewis opened his
eyes. He rolled over in his warm bed and looked at the clock. It was
6:30! Christmas Morning! Instantly, he leaped out of bed with a
childlike sense of excitement!
Unfortunately, he also had childlike reflexes at the time and promptly
fell and hit his head on the dresser.
"Ow," said Lewis, not wanting to wake the rice pudding.
His wife, George, heard the commotion and woke up.
"Dear," she said, "what the heck are you doing?"
Lewis jumped up and hopped into his electric bunny slippers and went
running around the room looking for his favorite pair of pants.
"George! Get up!" he exclaimed as the water pik came loose from it's
wire cage and began attacking the cat with all the viciousness of fruit
salad. "It's Christmas morning! We have to go open our presents!"
"Oh good heavens," rounded George, "you're right!" George sprang from
the bed and threw her robe on, hardly noticing that Elwood the moose was
now naked and cold in the corner.
Lewis and George raced each other down the stairs. Realizing he was
losing, he flung himself over the banister and crash landed into the entry
hall weasel with a sickening "Meow" sound.
Unfazed, he ran into the living room.
George hurried after him. She turned the corner from the hallway into
the living room and saw Lewis standing in the entrance with a look of
utter disbelief on his face.
"But Lewis, that's where we get milk from," explained Hiney Perusgate.
"Lewis? What's wrong?" George asked as she got to the living room. She
turned to see what he was staring at and saw.... nothing. Absolutely
Well, not actually nothing. That is, there was something. I mean if
there was nothing then you wouldn't have anything to stare at and nobody
would be interested in it anyway. Plus, it's hard to describe in print.
George and Lewis stared at their living room. Sure there was furniture,
the old red chair that Lewis had made out of recycled aluminum, the sofa
that didn't quite sound right, the TV with fifty two knobs that all made
George Clooney look yellow, and the floor lamp that wouldn't stop doing
the Cha-cha.
But it wasn't what was in the living room that bothered them, it was
what WASN'T in the living room that bothered them.
There was no Christmas tree, no presents, no candles that smelled like
the back of a pick-up truck, no candy canes, no inflatable Santas that
doubled as a microwave oven. Not a bit of tinsel, not a single
nutcracker, no garland, hippos, wreaths, lights, stockings, trash
compactor salesmen, or shiny objects made of fine pewter.
No sounds of jingle bells, crackling fires, gargling pigeons, barking
dogs, or Metallica's Warm & Fuzzy Christmas favorites.
No egg nog, turkey, pumpkin pie, sugar plums, beef jerky, candy, or
minced cow spleens.
There was not a bit of Christmas in the house.
George and Lewis turned to look at each other in that oh-so-dramatic way
that let's the audience know they are thinking the obvious but are going
to say it out loud anyway, for lack of better writing.
Moments later, the phone rang the doorbell. Lewis went to the door and
opened it.
"Hey! Are you Lewis?" asked the phone.
"Yes," answered Lewis with painful amusement.
"You have a phone call." The telephone took off it's.. er.. head/receiver
thingy and handed it to Lewis. Lewis put the phone to his ear.
"LEWIS! It's me... Larry! Dude, we got problems. There ain't no
Christmas over here!"
"Yeah, I know, no Christmas over here either," concurred Lewis.
"No Christmas anywhere. Christmas didn't come! Look, I'll be right over.
It's up to us to find out what happened to Christmas."
Lewis sighed. "Why do we have to find Christmas?"
"Because," responded Larry, "we're the main characters. We could let the
rocking chair do it, but supporting characters tend to get killed or
maimed or inducted into the Showtune Hall of Fame or some other
"Well, I can't argue with logic like that," said Lewis, "we'll just have
to find Christmas."
With that, Lewis handed the phone back it's head. "Thanks for the call."
"Don't mention it," responded the cheerful telephone in a voice so
squeaky that the women reading this story right now are swooning. "It's
my job." The telephone turned and ran away to parts unknown, never to be
heard from again.
Lewis closed the door and walked back to the living room where George
was currently reupholstering the cat.
"SIT STILL!" shouted George as she looked up and saw Lewis. "Oh! Who was
that at the door, Hon?"
"Just a mysterious wandering telephone. I talked to Larry. He's coming
over. Apparently Christmas hasn't shown up anywhere. We're gonna go look
for it."
"Oh, well, okay. But before you go, can you clean out the garage? You've
been promising to do it for months."
"But dear," whined Lewis, "it's Christmas!"
"No it isn't..."
"Oh... yeah... sorry."
*insert peppy music segue here. Just play something for a second. We'll
Lewis was busy repacking his pants collection and stacking it neatly in
the corner next to his car (which had magically reappeared moments before)
when Larry came walking up the driveway.
"Hey... what the heck are you doing?" asked Larry while he straightened
his Shanghai Ferns baseball cap between his freshly polished horns.
Larry might be a cow, but he's a stylin' cow.
"George wants me to clean out the garage before we go find Christmas,"
said Lewis as he dropped another large empty box onto the ground in
exactly the same spot he had picked it up.
"Hmmmmm.... okay. Well, while you're finishing up, let's discuss what we
know about the situation."
"Well, I wanted to hang all the gardening tools from that wall over
there, but then I realized that I couldn't because then I couldn't use
the bathroom. But if I managed to squeeze in my mom's hideous old purse
collection over there by the stack of random parts that fell off of
cars, I figure...."
"NO, you pinhead! I meant Christmas! What do we know about Christmas!"
"Ummm... it's not here?" queried Lewis.
"Yesss," said Larry with growing impatience, "but what else?"
Lewis scratched the back of his head for a moment and looked confused, a
not entirely uncommon state of mind for Lewis. "Nothing I guess. We need
some clues. Where do we start looking?"
Larry looked ponderous for a moment then said, "I think I have an
idea... I gotta make a few phone calls."
Larry went into the living room and sat down on the couch.
"Ppppbbblllttt!" went the sofa as the bovine sat down.
"I see you still haven't gotten this sofa tuned. It still doesn't sound
quite right," said Larry.
"Yeah.... I think one of the cushions is flat. I've been meaning to get
that fixed," replied a most periwinkle Lewis.
Larry picked up the phone and dialed.
"Who are you calling?" asked Lewis.
"The big man himself."
"Ricardo Montalban?"
"Noooo.... Santa. He's the head cheese of Christmas. Maybe he knows
what's up." Larry made a face like a bemused sheep. "Hello? Santa?"
*in order for the reader to not be left in the dark and so nosy people
like my sister, who absolutely MUST know whatever the person on the
other end of the phone is saying, we will now include the character of
Santa. Please note that Santa is NOT in Lewis' living room, although it
would appear that he is talking to Larry, he is actually in the North
Pole, far away from Larry. Don't get lost. I'm not going to explain this
"Larry? Is that you? Ho Ho Ho!" exclaimed a right jolly ol' Santa.
*the part of Santa is being played today by Cuba Gooding Jr.*
"Yeah, Santa, it's Larry. Hey boss, what's up with this Christmas thing?
It isn't here!"
"You know, I was wondering that myself. I was all set to deliver gifts
last night, but I never got the signal from Christmas! I can't go until
I get the signal. Ever since I got confused and accidentally delivered
toys to half the good little children in Indochina in the middle of
April, Christmas and I have had this signal thing going. Ho Ho Ho!"
"Really... what's the signal?"
"Richard Simmons goes streaking past my window. Ho Ho Ho!"
"Ugh! Okay, so anyway, you don't know what's going on either huh? No
clues, no nothing? C'mon Santa you know if I've been bad or good but you
don't know where Christmas is?"
"Hey, I'm not omnipotent. And the only reason I know what everybody is
doing is because I'm connected to numerous spy satellites and mail order
catalogs! Ho Ho Ho! Christmas is different. I can't watch Christmas...
Christmas is kind of my boss. I don't want to get fired! I'll lose my
pension if I don't work at least 453 more years! I don't have any other
skills... I make toys. That's all... well I guess I'm pretty good at
eating cookies... Oh and I can drink anybody under the table! And then
there’s my budding soft porn career that..."
"Okay! Whoa! Look at the time. Thanks for your help Santa... Lewis and
I have to go find Christmas. See ya!" Larry hung up the phone and let
out a long deep breath. "Man. Did you catch all that Lewis?"
Lewis was squinting at the screen. "Hold on, I've only read to the part
where Santa's talking about his pension..." Lewis mumbled aloud to
himself and then look startled. "Geez! Santa's kind of disgusting! And
even worse, we still don't know where Christmas is." Lewis looked
downtrodden for a moment and then brightened, thanks to the 75 watt bulb
now hovering over his head. "Hey... I wonder if the Grinch is up to his
old tricks?"
"You might have something there," said Larry, "Let's call him."
Larry picked up the phone and dialed. Moments later, the Grinch answered.
"Hello?" answered the Grinch.
"Hey, Grinch. Larry. Listen, you didn't steal Christmas again did you.
It hasn't shown up yet and frankly, we're worried.."
"Oh hey Larry... no, I don't do that stuff anymore, remember? I changed.
I found the joy of Christmas... made my heart grow insanely big."
"Yeah, say how's that heart thing working out?"
"Well, it crushed one of my kidneys and is currently forcing my stomach
to poke out of my right hip. I've got six broken ribs that are still
mending and the extra weight has given me a double hernia. The doctors
have had to remove 16 vital organs to make room for this thing. I'll
tell ya, if I wasn't so full of Christmas joy all the time, I'd be in
tremendous pain!"
"Ouch... bummer Grinch. So if it wasn't you, what happened to
"Don't know man... but if I wasn't bedridden, I'd help you look. Since I
have no other hobbies than enjoying Christmas... and tying antlers onto
smaller creatures... I'm kinda bummed out since Christmas didn't show.
Plus, I'm running out of morphine and those ribs are killing me."
"Well, okay. Thanks for your help. Hope you feel better soon Grinch."
"Thanks, Larry. Oh, and could you start calling me by my first name?
'Grinch' has such a negative connotation."
"Okay," responded Larry, "what is your first name?"
"Ooooookay... Melvin... I'll talk to you later."
"Later Larry."
Larry again hung up the phone and looked at Lewis. Lewis shook his head
and looked at the floor. “How are we going to find Christmas... we don't
even have any leads."
"Well, we gotta start somewhere. I guess we should start checking out
all the places Christmas hangs out during the rest of the year. I think
we should start looking at...."
"The what?!!?!" exclaimed Lewis.
"You heard me... the Great Whale Tree of Skagawa, Iowa. Seems that
Christmas likes to go there every year for the annual Whale Ripening
festival." explained Larry.
"Well that doesn't make any sense," said Lewis as he slowly spun around
on one foot while scratching a framed photo of Peter Graves. "I mean,
what the hell is a whale tree? Whales come from the ocean and certain
convienance stores in the south... not from trees."
"Lewis, this tree is what makes new breeds of whales. Every year the
Great Whale Tree lets forth it's bountiful harvest of whales which are
then trucked out to the ocean."
"Whales do not grow on trees... they are not vegetation... SHEEP are
vegetation, not whales," said Mr. Know-It-All Lewis.
"Sheep are not vegetation Lewis... we've been over this before. Sheep
are animals that... Oh for crying out loud! Why am I having this stupid
argument with you anyway! C'mon!"
Larry grabbed Lewis by the arm and flung him into the passenger seat of
Larry's Magnudarian Roadster, which conveniently had been parked in
Lewis' living room. He started the engine and drove off, only stopping
by the kitchen on the way out for a six pack of beer and a salt lick.
And so our heroes trekked across countless deserts (3 of them) and
innumerable mountain ranges (12) and an endless string of coffee shops
(they really are endless... damn coffee shops) until they reached the
outskirts of the meteor crater where Skagawa was located. Carefully, so
as not to disturb the finely tuned road gravel, they drove into downtown
Skagawa which consisted of a restaurant and a Military school.
"... and over there is the restaurant and the Military School,"
explained Larry as he began and ended his detailed tour of scenic
*A note to the readers: there weren't no Christmas 'round Skagawa
"USUALLY," continued Larry, in large enough print that the author
realized Larry wasn't happy about being interrupted, "this place is
packed with people. Strange. The people to land ratio is generally 16
people square foot. I wonder where everybody is." Larry parked the car
next to the restaurant and the two intrepid detectives removed
themselves from their vehicle. They moseyed over to the Great Whale Tree
where they saw a young man standing motionless near, but not directly
under the tree.
"Lewis, that's one of the military students. They keep watch over the
tree so that nobody steals it and uses it for evil." Larry walked up to
the guard and extended a hoof in greeting. "Hi! I'm Larry and this is
"Hi... my name is 'Wayne'" responded the guard.
Hello, 'Wayne'," said Lewis, "Have you seen Christmas? It doesn't seem
to have shown up this year."
"Wayne" simply stared at them and then began chasing his hair. "Damn
Germans!" he exclaimed suddenly, "Damn Germans and their chocolate! Der
Chocolate is Verboten!" At this point, "Wayne" managed to catch his hair
and began chewing it vigorously, all the time staring at Lewis.
"Um, yes, I see... but we're looking for Christmas and any help you co-"
"DER CHOCOLATE IS VERBOTEN!!!!!!!!" yelled "Wayne".
Larry grabbed Lewis by the arm and dragged him back to the car as he
yelled to "Wayne", "Thanks! We appreciate your help!"
Larry once again flung Lewis into the Roadster and then immersed himself
in the driver's seat.
"Larry, that guy was nuts! He had no useful information! We've wasted
our time and we have no further information on the whereabouts of
Christmas!" moistened Lewis.
"On the contrary," designated Larry, "He gave us a very big clue.
Obviously, Christmas is involved with the German's somehow. That also
explains where all the people went and why he was a raving loony. The
German's have been here and have enslaved everyone by getting them
addicted to their fine chocolates! Then, with no one left to resist,
the Germans will simply take over the world and force everyone to watch
David Hasselhoff television programs!"
"Egads," exclaimed a most horrified Lewis, "a fate worse than death! Can
their chocolate be that good?"
"Oh yes... absolutely divine. No finer chocolate has ever been produced.
But, it's highly addictive and people will do nearly anything to get it.
I can only hope that they don't intend on using Christmas as their means
of distributing their fiendish sweets to the world. No one will be
safe... every stocking will be filled with doom!"
Larry and Lewis decided it would be best if they drove to Germany to see
if they could find out anything. Little did they know that Germany was
already on it's way to meet them!
As they drove, Larry and Lewis sang Christmas Carols in order to try and
get filled with the holiday spirit, possibly helping them to home in on
the source, being Christmas. Unfortunately, the only thing that was
filled was the car with bad singing.
" and Grandpa, we belieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeive!" sang (screeched)
Lewis. "So, what happens when we get to Germany?"
"Well, I figure that we'll go find us a candy maker and pump him for
information. Most German chocolate makers are part of a secret guild of
confectioners. Chances are, one of them will be weak and we'll be able
to learn something. Maybe we'll even learn where they've taken
After that they drove in silence for a while, mostly because I got bored
of writing dialogue. So instead, I decided to make them hum the drum
part of Bach's Stairway to Heaven Concerto in A minor. That managed to
take up a good bit of time, as I'm sure you can imagine.
It was when they stopped to get gas and pocket fisherman when something
terrible happened. Lewis had just finished using the little boys room
and Larry was finishing up in the little cows room when a huge land mass
burst through the front door of the Phillip's 666 food mart.
"Alright!" it announced, "Where are da heroes? De ones dey call Lewis
und Larry?"
Lewis, in usual fashion, stuffed himself into a bag of circus peanuts in
order to hide. Larry, who chose the absolutely wrong moment to exit the
restroom, came face to face with Germany.
"YOU! You are the do-gooder cow that all the villains hate! You will
come with me now!"
"Why where are we going? And why do you think I'll go with you?"
responded Larry with defiance in his voice and lint in his belly button.
"Because we have much to discuss! We must go to the Waffle HAAAUUUS!
There, we will eat waffles and discuss many important things that I
think will be of great importance in your quest to find the German
Chocolate makers."
Larry, thinking it was probably a trap but realizing there was little
else he could do, particularly since his intended destination had sought
him out and met him at this gas station, agreed. Forgetting all about
Lewis, Larry and Germany left the food mart and drove off on Germany's
Meanwhile, Lewis, now realizing that Germany was gone and that he could
no longer stand to be in close proximity with circus peanuts, withdrew
himself from the bag. He instantly noticed that Larry was nowhere to be
found. He walked up to the cashiers booth and asked, "Did you see what
happened to the cow I came in here with?"
The gas station attendant, whose name was Peanut, responded, "Yep... he
left with that foreign fella... said they wuz goin' to the Waffle House
or some such nonsense."
"Hmmm... It's not like Larry to leave with foreign land masses without
telling me... well, there was that time with Australia... and
Pittsburgh... oh and Pakistan... but usually..."
At this point, a flash of light appeared before Lewis and a short man
dressed like an elf appeared.
"Hey, who are you and why are you dressed like an elf?" asked Lewis.
"I'm Gerzandermaus and I am an elf you dimwit. Listen, Santa thought you
guys might need some help so he sent me to help you find Christmas."
"Cool! What special skills do you have?"
"Well, I've read 342 issues of Detective Comics and I once found a
needle in a haystack, although I wasn't really looking for it. And, I’ve
got a bottle of 12 year old Scotch for the celebration later."
"Sounds like you're more than qualified!" exclaimed a very enthusiastic
Peanut looked up from his Ladies Home Journal of Medicine and said,
"Look, you boys gonna buy somethin'? cuz if'n ya ain't, I'm a gonna haff
ta ask ya ta leave."
Lewis bought a package of Fruit Flavored Gorilla Spit and Gerzandermaus
purchased the holiday issue of Playelf. The new partners traveled out to
the parking lot and stood next to Larry's car.
"Can you drive this thing?" asked Gerzandermaus.
"Oh yeah, no prob... it's just like my car at home except that it has an
engine." The two got into the car and began driving.
"... so Germany and Larry are on their way to the Waffle House." said
Lewis as he recounted the story up to this sentence.
"Hmmm... I see. This is probably not good. I say that because I'm trying
to create some drama and tension so that the readers don't become bored
and go watch "It's A Wonderful Life" for the 987th time this year."
"Well, I think you did a good job."
It was about that time, that the duo came upon the Waffle House.
As Lewis and Gerzandermaus pulled into a parking spot, they could see Larry and Germany having an animated conversation with the cartoon character that happened to be their waitress. From what they could tell, Larry seemed not in the least reluctant to be there talking to Germany. Lewis, being polite, held the door open for Gerzandermaus and in they went.
"Hello!" exclaimed a very cheerful looking woman on roller skates. "I'm Elizabeth-a-ding-dong and I'm the hostess here at Waffle House. Table for two?"
"Oh, actually we're meeting some friends here... the cow and the land mass back in the corner booth," responded Lewis in perfect monotone.
"Well, alright then... if you will follow me, I'll take you over there."
She turned, picked up two menus, and rolled down the aisle towards the back booth. Gerzandermaus and Lewis followed.
"Lewis, this girl is gorgeous! Think she might go for a short guy that makes toys for a living?"
"Gerzandermaus! We've got a job to do!"
After what seemed like seconds, because it was, Elizabeth-a-ding-dong stopped next to the booth where Larry and Germany were seated. "Here is your table! Can I get your drink orders?"
"Cranberry-mashed potato spritzer," ordered Lewis.
"You got Vodka?" asked Gerzandermaus.
"Would you like regular or diet?"
"Diet... and a slice of artificial turf please."
"It'll be right up."
The waitress, who was the hostess just a second ago, turned and walked away, leaving the four of them to do something without her.
"Alright!" yelled Gerzandermaus as he grabbed Germany's lapels (which were near Bonn), "What's tha big idea of kidnapping the cow!?!"
"I did not kidnap da cow! I came to help him!"
"He's right," said Larry, "Germany has been telling me all about the German's and their evil plot to enslave everybody with their highly addictive chocolate products! As Lewis and I suspected, they intend to get everyone addicted to their candy and then take over the world."
"So why is Germany telling us this?" asked Lewis in his usual state of bewilderment.
"I wanted to tell you how to stop them! I have a bad rep from all da other bad things dat have gone on because of the people who live in me. But I'm a nice guy! I like long walks on the beach, poetry, cute little puppies, and I'm pals with France! We play tricks on Spain!"
"Uh-huh," said Lewis. "So, what does this have to do with Christmas?
"Apparently, the Evil Candy Makers want to force Christmas to endorse their chocolate, eventually making it tradition that no one can stop even if they wanted to, like eggnog or Kathie Lee Gifford! It would be fairly easy since Christmas has sold out and gone all commercial on us. Why, ever since George Lucas gave Christmas the part of the Lumpy the hyperactive wookie in that weird ass Star Wars Holiday Special, all Christmas thinks about is image." explained Larry
"But image is nothing. Haven't we learned anything from Sprite commercials?" said Lewis philosophically. They others at the table pondered this for a moment and then said something else.
"Fortunately," continued Larry, "They haven't found Christmas yet. This of course brings us back to out original problem, being, where the heck IS Christmas?"
*to be continued... maybe*

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Godless Satan Worshipping Phillies: 1, Jesus Rays 0

Well, some idiot Christians whined for years about Tampa Bay being the "Devil Rays" because, despite it being the name of a largely benign sea creature, "devil" was in the name. And like devil's food cake, deviled ham, and the Devil went down to Georgia, the Major League baseball club from Tampa Bay was obviously an instrument of the prince of darkness and thus despised by God Almighty.
So, Tampa Bay has sucked at baseball all these years because God has purposefully willed them to not win because the "Devil" was in the details.

(See: "World Series: Has God played a role in Rays' heavenly season?" by Rachel Zoll)

So, since the Rays dropped the diabolical descriptive from their official name and then proceeded to achieve their first winning season AND a trip to the World Series, some [moronic evangelicals] have suggested that God was rewarding them from removing the unholiness from their moniker.
And yet, much like praying for that cure for cancer, in the end, God simply toyed with Tampa Bay and it's fans.
The Philadelphia Phillies, from a city so ironically nicknamed the "City of Brotherly Love", beat the Rays 4 games to 1. Either God liked being a jerk or the Evangelicals are once again showing how unbelievably foolish their Puritanical belief system really is.

This is a Devil Ray:As one can see, this FISH has these little horn thingies on the front that help them eat Plankton or something. It also has a tail. Horns & tails... why, the Devil has those! It reminds people of the devil! Let's call it a Devil Ray, even though it's scientific name is Manta!

Fish, as far as anybody can determine, have no religious affiliation. Further, we have no idea what they name themselves or if the even have a self-awareness about them to identify what they are. So, "devil ray" is simply a name created by humans to describe a weird looking fish. The fish itself has no connection to God or Satan (as far as we know).

So, it seems pretty freakin ridiculous for anybody to get their jockstrap in a bunch about naming a baseball team after a fish. Yes, the word "Devil" was in the name. So what? Do you really think that your God finds that offensive? How petty and stupid is your God? People suffer all over the world each and every day for a variety of reasons. Is this because God is too busy agonizing over the nickname of a baseball team located in Florida? Holy Priorities!

The New Jersey Devils have won Stanley Cups. Manchester United (scum of the Earth they may be) are one of the most dominant professional clubs in any sport over the last 15 years and they're called the "Red Devils." Meanwhile, The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (hmmm... "The Angels Angels" you'd think they'd fix that), a decidedly heavenly team, lost to the Red Sox. Sox seem pretty non-denominational and secular... angels are supposed to be God's personal army. How odd.
And then there's the New Orleans Saints... man, what's God got against them?

I was actually kind of leaning towards wanting to see Tampa Bay win the series... you know... the feel good story.... the crappy team who turned it around. Then I saw the crap about God and the Devil Rays. I knew they had dropped "Devil", and I knew that some of the Christan Atheletes and Evangelicals had asked to drop the name, but I hadn't paid much attention. Until somebody had to go and bring God's sports favoritism into things. Just as I find it pathetic and hilarious when I see some simpleton athelete thank God for helping him win, I decided that it would be more fun to see a team as boring as the Phillies from a city as crummy as Philly, beat the team of divine providence.

The actual reasons for the name change vary. The official spiel is that they were just trying to start fresh and erase 10 season of lousy baseball. Apparently, "Rays" no longer refers to a fish, but some goofy beam of light that brightens up Tampa or some nonsense. And I though the Oklahoma City Thunder was an idiotic name.
Whether or not the club actually caved in to irrational Jesus lovers or they wanted to start fresh by instilling the club with a name that might as well have been expelled by a bottle of Fabreeze, I don't know.
Personally, if they are going to go by just "Rays" then I say they should hire all the no-longer A-list celebs named Ray to hang out at the club, drive mini-cars in between innings, fight with the San Diego Chicken, and dance like organ grinder monkeys for drunk peanut wielding fans. Ray Romano, Ray Liotta, Ray Stevens... these are but a few. Ray Liotta is far more intimidating that a beam of light.

So anyway, God apparently was only pleased enough with the name change that he allowed the Rays players and fans a brief taste of success before ripping their hearts out and smiting their hopes and dreams.

Better luck next year.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Almost moderately not completely unknown

So, they other day, I sent out an email to some friends of mine alerting them to the snarky comedic goodness that is The Comics Curmudgeon, a daily blog hopelessly devoted to mocking ridiculous newspaper comic strips (like Mary Worth and the Family Circus and that awful thing called Pluggers). Among the people I sent this to was one Robert Philpot, entertainment/television critic type guy (and former radio columnist) for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Rob and I have had an informal sort of friendship from back in the days when I was a DJ on KTCU and he was desperate for any radio news. I figured Rob might like it. Apparently he did as he proceeded to give it (and me and this blog) a little write up in the Startlegram's online Pop Cultural District blog. Wasn't expecting that. I don't know if it will actually increase traffic to this thing, but maybe I should start posting regularly now...

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Derailed again...

Seems like every time I think things are going to calm down and I can really start working on my own personal projects (like this stupid blog), life gets in the way.

Or, in this case, death.

See, last month, I finished my final essays for Grad School and then had my last class, a three week course on Library Collection Development of Graphic Novel Collections (i.e. comic books). My final assignment was due June 22. While writing this paper in the heat (the A/C at our house was broken that day so it was 86 degrees in the house), I got a call that my Mom had fallen in the bathroom and they had to take her to the hospital. Everybody told me to finish my paper and get there as soon as I could (well, except for one of Mom's neighbors who tried to lay a guilt trip on me because I wouldn't drop everything and rush to the hospital to wait in the waiting room). Somehow, I finished and I went to the hospital.
My Sister and my Uncle and Aunt (Mom's brother and sister-in-law) were there and we waited for a bit. The doctor came out and said my sister and I could see Mom, finally. She was in ICU, but she was awake and lucid. She was dehydrated and tired, but we were able to talk some. We talked about some dumb stuff (like how she was going to miss that night's episode of Army Wives) and some important stuff. My Sister and I stayed for a little while, but it was becoming obvious that she was getting tired so we said we should leave so she could rest. I kissed her goodbye and told her I come up the next day to check on her. On my way out, I told her to "behave herself" and she kind of laughed.
We'd been through stuff like this before. Mom was diagnosed with Stage 3 Ovarian Cancer back in June of 2001. Originally, the doctors said 6 months, maybe a year or maybe even 3. She blew that out of the water. Granted, the cancer kept coming back and she had more surgeries and chemo, but she kept fighting. But then, in early June of this year, we got the news that her kidneys were failing and the doctors couldn't really do much else. She had maybe 3 or 4 months left.
We didn't even get 2 weeks.
On June 23rd, Monday morning, about 9 hours after I left her in ICU, I got a call from the hospital saying we needed to get there ASAP. My Sister got there the same time I did and we rushed up to ICU. It looked like the whole emergency staff was in her room. They were putting in a breathing tube. She was unconscious. The doctor started asking about living wills and what her wishes were. I couldn't make that decision yet... I needed other people... my uncle... my wife... somebody. The doctors said we had a little time to decide.
The rest of the family arrived shortly and we waited. I made phone calls letting people know things were looking bleak. The doctor came in and said we needed to decide because they were about to have to try and resuscitate. We all knew Mom wouldn't want to be kept alive on machines, so I said "let her go."
After the staff had removed most of the machines (just the ventilator was there), they let us go in to be with her. My Sister and I held her hands and shortly the nurse came in to let us know that she was not really breathing on her own anymore and it was time to take out the tube and let it end.
For about 5 minutes after the tube came out, my sister and I stood on each side of her, held her hands, and listened as her breaths became shorter and shorter until... nothing. The nurse came in and said she was gone. We said our goodbyes and left the room.
After that, it was a whirlwind of phone calls, emails, funeral plans, flowers, family, food.... just all sorts of busy. We buried Mom, next to Dad, on Friday, June 27th, 1 day after what would have been their 38th anniversary and 1 month after my 33rd birthday.
I'm really not sure how this post ended up with all of this. I logged in to just make a quick post saying life was hectic, but I'm still around. Instead, it's turned into another post about someone close to me who died. It's almost the second anniversary of the death of one of the most interesting people I ever knew, Wayne Erickson. 2 years later, and I still can't bear to read what I wrote after his death (I've moved the original Yahoo blog post from 7/19/06 to this blog).
It's not like Mom's death was a complete shock. Granted, we knew it was unlikely that she'd make it to Thanksgiving, but I really thought I'd have more time with her. I had just ordered a copy of one of our favorite movies (What's Up, Doc? with Barbra Streisand and Ryan O'Neil) so we could watch it one Saturday afternoon. In fact, I had just quit my Saturday part-time job at the library so I could have more time with Mom... arranging things, discussing the estate, getting her to tell stories of her life to my video camera, just hanging out... but I didn't get to do any of that.
Now, I don't have any of those "I never told her I loved her!" regrets... I know she loved me and she knew I loved her. But I do feel a little bit robbed. It's like I started the last chapter of a book, all set to find out how it neatly wraps everything up, and somebody snatched it away before I could finish it.
I really thought I could handle this... I mean, 7 years of fighting cancer is a long time and you know that you probably aren't going to be on the winning side. The chemo hadn't been working for awhile and I could just tell that things were heading downhill. And I tried to steel myself up... to be numb... to somehow disassociate from the loss that I knew was coming.
But I couldn't...
I'm getting along mostly okay... I still become sad for no reason and tears start falling if I think about Mom too long. As long as I stay busy, it helps. But the fact is, the world feels different now. It sounds overly dramatic, but it really feels like part of me is missing and I'm kind of having trouble focusing. Things that should make me happy don't make me as happy. I'm bored almost everything.
I know this is just part of the process and it takes time. I really just wish I could take a month away from it all, but that's not an option right now. I also wish I could just explode into a million tiny pieces and then slowly rebuild myself and fix the broken parts. But that isn't possible either.
I won't go into it too much here, because this post isn't about religion, but I cringe every time somebody brings up Jesus/Christians/God/Heaven. Mom knew I wasn't Christian. I don't know if she knew that I'm an atheist or if she just thought I was agnostic. At any rate, we didn't discuss religion much. She had her beliefs and I had mine, and that was fine. But for whatever reason, and I know it's largely just people trying to make me (and themselves) feel better, I find little comfort from people's comments about Mom being "in heaven with the Lord" or that people are praying for me. See, this compassionate deity they all rave about saw fit to give Mom cancer in the first place. They can rationalize it all they want, like, "god gave her cancer and the strength to fight so that other people can be inspired!" That's idiotic. It really is. If god is such a benevolent dude, why not just get rid of cancer instead of inflicting the pain of cancer on his true believers to make a point about inspiration and faith to other people? Why make friends and family go through the pain and anguish of watching a loved one slowly die? And as for people praying for me... what good does that do? By praying, is god going to make me feel better that he took my Mom from me? Screw god and screw the prayers. I don't need the prayers. The damage is done and I'll heal in time, but not through the spiritual prozac that believers think god will provide. If god didn't want me to suffer, he shouldn't have taken my mom. And if god DID want me to suffer, what kind of an asshole tortures and kills someone else to make their target suffer?
Okay... I'll get off that... it just makes me angry.
This post is not my final goodbye to my Mom. I refuse to say a final goodbye to my Mom. Because a final goodbye means I stop thinking about her and I stop remembering her and I start removing her from my life. She may not be here anymore and I may not be able to hear her voice or see her face or hug her anymore, but she's still with me.
And you don't say goodbye to someone who is with you.

Love you Mom!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

New Old Time Travelling Posts

Since my Yahoo 360 blog is going to go away, I'm migrating the posts from there to here. So if you missed them the first time, perhaps you'll read them this time.

They'll be posted under the same date they were originally posted.

And I'll put some new crap up at some point.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Dope... and other things that sound like Pope

Dear crummy Catholic Pope Benedict XVI,

Please go away. I don't like you.
First of all, everybody knows sequels suck and after the "pope-nipple" outrage from the Joel Schumacher directed Pope Benedict XV, I was hoping we'd never have to see another one.
Second, "Benedict" has a bad history as a name in this country. Benedict Arnold was a jerk and a traitor and besides, I hate eggs no matter how they are prepared.
Third, you were a Nazi. I don't care if it wasn't by choice, you were still a Nazi.
Fourth, you're a dick. You didn't seem particularly concerned about child molesting priests before so screw you.

What I don't understand is why all the Protestants get all excited about you. People like President Bush get all enamored with meeting you and refer to you as "Your Holiness." Do they not understand where the "Protest" part of "Protestant" came from? Protestants and Catholics, other than claiming to be followers of crazy ol' Jesus and the subsequent ramblings of Paul, pretty much have nothing else in common. In some places, they still kill each other because each side thinks the other is completely wrong.
I could understand it if it was some sort of act like when heads of state pretend to get along because everybody is watching, but these fools act genuinely happy to be within the pope-a-matic bubble of the pontiff's divine light. The very foundation of Protestantism is that these followers of Christ REJECT THE POPE'S AUTHORITY AND EVERYTHING HE DECREES!!!! WTF!!!!??!!?!? Either these Xians are just stupid and ignorant of their own religion or they are hypocrites. If the pope has no authority, what is there to respect? Without authority, he's just a guy in a white robe sponging off other people's money. He's like Paris Hilton without a small dog in a purse.
If I were to come into contact with Pope Benedict and introduced myself as Pope Rotten Arsenal, do you think I would seriously get addressed with any sort of respectful, reverent title? Probably not. I'd probably get condemned for blasphemy by Catholics and Protestants alike. There is a message board devoted to listeners of a local radio show and I was elected by the members of that board as "pope" and given some authority (I have an entire section I get to moderate and I run the Deadpool!), so doesn't that mean I should be given the same respect by other "popes", whether they subscribe to that which I am pope of or not? Sure, some people might say that "it's just a dumb message board for listeners of a radio show... being pope of that is a big joke." Well, guess what, as a non-christian who finds much of what the catholic church does to be pretty sh***y, my view of Benedict is that he's a joke of leader of a dumb religion for followers of a guy with an inflated image who died 2000 years ago. Why are my beliefs less valid?
If Peggy Nadramia, High Priestess of the Church of Satan, or Bobby Henderson, founder of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster were to meet President Bush, would the prez exhibit reverence and respect to them? I doubt it. What's the difference? They are both high profile humans within a religious organization who can claim just as easily as Benedict that their authority is divinely derived.
I really wish I could meet a Catholic Pope one day just so I could treat him like any other douche bag I might meet. No "your holiness" or bowing... maybe a firm handshake and a "how ya doin", but I'll do that for any other human being.

So, enjoy your stay here, enjoy the adoration of all of your sheep, and then get the hell out of here so that my tax dollars aren't supporting the heightened security that no doubt follows you all over the damn place.



Pope Rotten Arsenal

Friday, February 22, 2008