Thursday, May 30, 2013

Odd Bits - The Witch is Dead Edition

I know this post is late and I apologize… I just got back from an Orioles game.  But since the show must go on, lets’s check out some news from the week so far.

Ding Dong
Right Wing-nut Michelle Bachmann announced she wouldn’t seek re-election next year.  She takes great pains to clarify that it’s NOT because of any investigation into her campaign finances, and it’s NOT because she’s getting as stale as month-old bread and afraid of losing.

I believe her, but I have my own theory.  I call it the Palin Theory, which states that it’s a lot easier and more lucrative not to have to actually DO anything, like… govern.  With no bills to author or pass, meetings to attend, or constituent issues to resolve, she’ll have all the time in the world to sit on the sidelines and tell everyone what she thinks is wrong.  (Short answer: Whatever is wrong, it’s Obama’s fault.)

I think you’ll see her sign on with Fox “News” or some other media outlet, “write” a book, and rake in the bucks on the corporate lecture circuit… because I’m sure that’s what Jesus would want her to do.

“Screw helping the people that elected me… Mama gotta see some Benjamins!”

Scout’s Honor
As expected, in the wake of the Boy Scouts’ decision to allow gay Scouts, a number of churches are ending their sponsorships of local troops.  Because, you know, Jesus was always shunning people for the way they were born…  In fact, I won’t be surprised to see some group come out with a new Bible version that includes Jesus “healing” the gays right along with the lepers.

I know not all churches are following this path, but reports like this provide a public service: it identifies where the idiots are. It’s like, “Will all the intolerant, fundamentalist, pricks out there raise their hands?”

It just makes my job of making fun of them that much easier.  And speaking of making fun of revered institutions, this whole issue reminds me of an old favorite song from 50s satirist Tom Lehrer, called “Be Prepared.”  (And you know it has “cool” points because the Dennis Hopper villain character in “Speed” quoted the 1st line to Keanu Reeves, down in the subway.)

“Be prepared! That’s the Boy Scout’s marching song.
Be prepared!  As through life, you march along.
Be prepared to hold your liquor, pretty well.
Don’t write naughty words on walls if you can’t spell.

Be prepared, to hide that pack of cigarettes,
Don’t make “book,” if you cannot cover bets.
Keep those reefers hidden, where you’re sure that it will not be found.
And be careful not to smoke them when the Scoutmaster’s around,
For he only will insist that it be shared!  Be prepared!

Be prepared!  That’s the Boy Scout’s solemn creed.
Be prepared!  And be clean in word and deed.
Don’t solicit for your sister; that’s not nice,
Unless you get a good percentage of her price!

Be prepared, and be careful not to do
your good deeds… if there’s no one watching you!
If you’re looking for adventure of a new and different kind,
And you come across a Girl Scout, who is similarly inclined,
Don’t be nervous, don’t be flustered, don’t be scared!
Be prepared!”

I was only going to excerpt it, but it’s all too good.  Besides, I've waited almost 40 years for the Boy Scouts to make news, just so I could bring up that song…

Adam and Heave
Another story that was blowing up my Yahoo News page yesterday was about how “The Voice” judge Adam Levine hates America.  It’s one of those stories that sounds bad at first, but then you see what’s going on and think, “This is a news story??”

For the uninitiated, The Voice is a singing contest show, where amateurs get chosen by celebrity coaches, who work with them to face off against each other, with America voting contestant off until a winner is crowned.

Adam Levine, singer for the group Maroon 5, is one of the judges.  This week, in an apparent upset, 2 of his very talented singers were voted off.  As the result was announced, under his breath, Levine muttered, “I hate this country.

Now, I’m not a regular viewer of this show.  The few times I've watched it, all I really remember about it is how smokin' hot (fellow judge this season) Shakira is. 

Yowza!  (Source)

She’s like a cross between Cat Deeley and Sophia Vergara.  Apparently she sings and dances too, but don’t quote me on that.

Also, I wouldn’t give you a dime for Adam Levine’s music.  I heard his group play at the Super Bowl once and couldn’t believe they let such weenie-assed music appear before our nation’s annual sporting extravaganza.

But seriously, give the dude a break!  He just saw all his hard work with a couple of very talented musicians, go right down the shitter, having been deposited there by “this country.”  If I were him, I would have said something similar.  In fact, I have, except my scope was slightly more narrowed.  (Like when the Penguins play in Philly, or the Steelers play in Baltimore.)

While it probably wasn’t the smartest thing to say on national television, it wasn’t like he was siding with the Taliban or anything.  It was an in-the-moment thing.  Anyone trying to whip it up into something broader is merely pandering to the Offended By Everything contingent of “this country.”

He might have been better off just to quote this comic strip sage:

Like “Jackass” Needs More Ammunition
I saw today that there is a move afoot to bring over one of the world’s most popular alcohol options.  Chinese “baijiu” is a pungent 110-proof white liquor, made from sorghum, wheat or rice.  Over 11 billion liters of it were consumed last year in China, despite it tasting like paint thinner.  I guess that’s what it takes to wipe away the realization that you live in China.

Why anyone would want to bring that stuff over here is beyond me.  In fact, I’m sure it’s an invitation to disaster, or at least a whole new vein of tragic “Hey watch this” videos.

Also, as long as we still have Bacardi 151 Rum available, who needs baijiu?

I still have bad, albeit hazy, memories of drinking 151 (proof) rum back in my college days.  To this day, I still get the shiver-snivers from the mere smell of rum.  Ruined me on rum and cokes for the rest of my days.

I can’t believe it’s still available.  I thought for sure some Concerned Citizen would have lobbied to take it off the market after their Little Angel drank some and was delivered home in a wheel barrow.  The only point of making liquor that’s 75% alcohol is to Eff People Up.  Quickly.

See that logo?  That represents your soul escaping your body… to soon be followed by whatever you've eaten in the last 12 hours.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

How to Become a Master Baiter

I was trying to think of something to blog about tonight that might be more interesting than the tour of the places I've sat in Camden Yards.  (Yes I know; the space is wide open.)

Because next month’s trip to see my buddies out in Farmville is looming, I was hoping we might do a little pond fishing, and I recalled a story I don’t think I've told you.

A while back, the guys and I were stationed in various spots around a large pond and were having a go at fishing.  The fish were biting, but were quite adept at stealing my bait.  Before long, I ran out of worms.  Just before I dug into my buddy’s tackle box for a lure, I spotted a cottonmouth snake with a frog in his mouth.

Frogs are good bass bait.  So knowing the snake couldn't bite me with a frog in his mouth, I grabbed him right behind the head, took the frog, and put it in my bait can.

The dilemma was how to let go of the snake without getting bitten.  So I grabbed my hip flask of Jack Daniels and poured a little whiskey in his mouth.  His eyes rolled over, he went limp, and I released him into the pond, without incident.  I carried on fishing, using the frog for bait.

A little while later, I felt a nudge on my foot. 

It was the same snake… and he had two more frogs.


I have my Dad to thank for sending me that joke last summer.  I've been saving it for just the right occasion, like when I can't think of jack-all to write about.

If you couldn't tell that was a joke, you must not know me very well.  Do you think there’s any reality in which I pick up a poisonous snake, full mouth or not?  Not without a long-ass pair of tongs and some iron gloves, I don’t.  More likely, I’m making like Usain Bolt and high-kicking it around to the other side of the pond. 

Yeah, I’m gonna pick this up… No freakin’ way.  Nothing says, “possessed,” like a snake with clouded-over eyes.  (Source)

All in all, it makes me wish I had some Jack Daniels in the house.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Please Be Seated

It’s such a pretty day out today, I immediately thought I might like to go to an Orioles game.  Unfortunately, that would be a pretty good hike, because they’re playing in Toronto today.

Instead I started wondering about my seating habits when I go to the games at Camden Yards.  And the only way to do that thoroughly is to analyze the data.  To do so, I decided to create a map of everywhere I've sat.

This really wasn’t that hard to do, given that I keep a spreadsheet of my sport-going whereabouts, including section/row/seat.  Between that and some photoshop, it was pretty easy.  I’ve been to 82 games at Camden Yards since I moved here in 1997, so I thought it would make a pretty solid visual representation.  The red dots are the places I’ve sat.

So this is how it turned out.

Click the pic to "embiggen."

Yeah, I was underwhelmed too.  On one hand, I could have made the dots bigger, to be more visible, but on the other hand, I tend to sit in the same areas so often, the dots would be all over each other.  (Even with the small dots, I have the same problem.)

If you look, you can see several 4 tight groupings:

Section 34, behind home plate.  Those are seats that Sitcom Kelly’s mom’s company has, so I've seen 5 games with her.  While the dots may look slightly dispersed, those were all in 1 or 2 seats.

Section 54, behind 3rd base.  Those are the company seats that my company used to have.  I've seen 8 games from there, and again, the dots may look dispersed, but they were all located among four seats.  Free tickets are the best!

Section 74, by left field pole.  Sitcom Kelly and I sit there with some frequency.  Also, some years ago, my brother-in-law had company seats there.  At $30, they’re a pretty good value and you can often get up in the first couple of rows.  It’s a great spot for getting on TV.

Section 92, centerfield bleachers.  AKA, The Cheap Seats.  I used to sit there a lot when I first moved to town and had much less disposable income.  They’re narrower than the other seats, and don’t have armrests of cup holders.  You have to be prepared to sit cheek to cheek with your fellow man.

Aside from these clusters, you can see that there’s a pretty good distribution throughout lower left field.  I usually look for whatever outfield section gets me closest to the outfield wall.  Most often, that’s section 74, but sometimes there’s room further down the wall.

When it’s a special game, or I feel like treating myself, you can see I like the seats in sections 10-14, where you can also get close to the field.  That lower dot in Section 10?  That’s the seat I got burned trying to upgrade in April, that possibly sent my heart out of rhythm.  I kept the dot because I did catch 2 innings there.  And the dot that’s behind the first one?  That’s where I was when I caught my first and only foul ball.  (On the bounce… I’m no hero.)

I tend not to get upper deck seats very often.  I end up there most often when I go to the game with a group, or the seats were give-aways.  They’re not bad seats though, especially if you can stay low in a section that’s around the infield.

That second section, starting with 9 and wrapping around until 87, are located under the upper decks.  Those are nice for hot summer day-games, because they’re in the shade.  The last place you want to be on a hot Sunday afternoon is out there baking in the outfield.

Recently, I’ve come to appreciate the club sections… those are the 200-level seats between the lower bowl and the upper deck.  They run pricey, but if you get the ones in the left field corner, they’re no more than my regular left field seats.  True, they’re farther away from the field and you have a miniscule chance of getting a foul ball or home run, but they’re shaded and have recourse from the rain.  The way my ballgame luck it running this year, that’s a necessary resource.

Well, since this “map” isn’t quite as visually impressive as I’d like it, I’m going to have to keep adding to it game by game.  Looks like I’ll have one more thing to track now, besides my spreadsheet. 

Can you say “Too much spare time?”

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Search for Reality - Part 4

With all the bad news running rampant around these parts, I believe it’s time to break out some first class goofy shit I've been saving up for you.

I’ve always gotten some pretty weird searches that have led people to this site, so I've taken to writing down the good ones as they crop up.  Today is the day to empty them out.  (It’s got to be more entertaining than writing about tornadoes and scandals.)

It took me quite a while to save these up.  I think it’s partly because my hits counter is not able to provide me with as much information any more.  Now, when you’re logged into Google and do a search, the search criteria are suppressed from appearing on trackers.

Anyway, here is how some people ended up here at Darwinfish2:

“If farting were taxed, I’d be in serious trouble” – Belgrade, Serbia.
I wonder if the serial farter at the Social Security Administration transferred in from Serbia.  This search turned up last year… maybe he was scouting for a new home.

“What happens when you leave a tampon in your ass” – Washington DC.
It came as no surprise that this search came from DC, as so many people that work there have large, uncomfortable objects lodged up there.

“German beard shaping deer” – USA
WTF??  I don’t even know where to go with this one.  First off, you can read it two ways… does the guy want a German deer that shapes beards, or a regular deer who shapes German beards. 

Can deer even be German, and if so, do they have identifying characteristics?  I’m picturing a herd of deer prancing around in lederhosen, waving giant mugs of ale.

Or maybe I’m over-thinking it.

“Bodybuilding womansex” – Torrance CA
Sounds like a search from a cellardwelling nerdburger.

“Diagram of little chick” – Miami FL
I have no idea if he’s looking for this, that I did post:

Or this, which I didn't.

“Haley MF pic” – Pontypridd, Rhondda Cynon Taff, UK
Simple search for one of the Modern Family daughters, but holy hell, did you get a look at where that search came from?? 

Where do the English come up with these names?  It looks like a bunch of random letters thrown together all willy-nilly.  It’s as if everyone got liquored up after a soccer game and tossed darts at some letters taped to a dartboard.

Or maybe it really should be something completely different… maybe when they were laying out and naming the towns, some drunkard wandered in and said, “Want the pint of brown of mine on tap,” but his accent was so strong, they wrote down what they thought they heard.

“MILF with huge boobs Orioles teasing” – Portugal
This seems to have two entirely different things going on.  A “MILF with huge boobs,” obviously I can see why he’s searching on that (although not why he’d land here). 

“Orioles teasing?”  Is that about the Orioles’ brief playoff run last year, or a bird that keeps pecking at his window?  And where does the MILF fit in?  Maybe he means “areolas teasing,” which would certainly tie in with the huge MILF boobs.

“Small backyard urinal ideas” – Chicago IL
Why in God’s name would anyone put a urinal outside?  When you’re a guy, the whole world can be your urinal.  Dude is seriously over-thinking it.  All you really need is some kind of barrier or partition, to keep you away from prying eyes. 

Or if you really feel the need for plumbing fixtures, just go back in the house, for cryin’ out loud.  Hey Carpetbagger… these are your peeps… what the hell?

“2000 lbs of sluts” - Mission Viejo, CA
It sounds like this guy wants to order them by the ton.  What I want to know is whether he’s looking for twenty 100-lb sluts, or more like four 500-lb sluts.  There’s probably a lot less paperwork involved with the latter, so he’d get a better price.

Or maybe it was Jeff Reed, looking for stories about himself.

“Baltimore amateur bar slut” – Catonsville MD
Maybe his regular bar slut turned pro… You gotta hate when that happens.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A Force of Nature

We throw around that phrase around a lot, but yesterday we were shown what a real Force of Nature is.  The tornado that hit Moore, Oklahoma, is the stuff of nightmares, and I should know.  “Tornado” is the Returning Champion of my night-time terrors.  I've probably had the Can’t-Get-Away-From-the-Tornado dream every year or so since I was a kid. 
A scene from my nightmares, which in this case happens to be from the F5 tornado that hit Moore in 1999. (source)

I heard about this one while at work, but it seemed like just another twister.  They've been popping up like crazy this month.  But later when I got home and flipped on the TV, I quickly saw that this one was anything but ordinary.  Holy shit!

It wasn't that the footage of this tornado was scarier than any other.  I couldn't get over the vastness of the destruction.  I've never seen a tornado that left such a wide “footprint.”  I mean, 5 blocks wide and 17 miles long??  There’s just nothing left.
Everything… just… gone. (source)

Pictures you see online and on TV look like shots from Syria, or Libya, or Afghanistan.  Our “Shock and Awe” campaigns of the Iraq and Afghan Wars didn't do this kind of damage.

This thing spent 40 minutes on the ground.  I can’t imagine the horror felt by the people that encountered it.  Most tornadoes do a lot of hopping around and spend a total of about 10 minutes on the ground.  This one was 40 minutes of uninterrupted devastation.

I sat looking around my apartment, wondering, “What would happen if all this was just [poof] gone?”  One minute you have food and plates and furniture and electronics and you’re wondering about your team’s chances in the playoffs, and the next minute you’re trying not to get sucked out of your bathtub and into an airborne buzz-saw   Then you crawl out of what’s left of your house and you have nothing.  No clothes, no car, no mementos, no documents… your life has contracted to the clothes on your back.  If you’re lucky, you were wearing shoes.

What’s worse, there is little infrastructure left to get you back on your feet.  The Home Depot is gone too, as is the grocery store, gas station and pizza shop.  You, my metaphorical friend, are all kinds of “fucked.”

And what do you do with your feelings?  There’s no one to blame for your misery, and there’s nothing Americans like to do more than blame others for their own misfortune.  But this time there are no terrorists, no warring country, no “socialist” government or giant corporation … there’s nowhere to direct your anger.  It’s Nature’s way; shit just happens.  Turns out, the bumper sticker is right. 

It’s tough for us to accept mankind’s limitations.  As a people, we’re so used to getting what we want, it’s hard to stomach not being able to avoid this kind of destruction.

A tornado is ruthless, pitiless, remorseless, unforgiving and resolute; moving ever onward for as long as it cares to, regardless of what you do, like it’s Nature’s own personal Terminator. 

George Carlin once made the point in one of his HBO specials, about the inherent arrogance of our thinking we have to save the planet.  He said, “The planet is fine… it’s not going anywhere… WE ARE!”

It’s like every so often, the earth needs to remind us who’s really in charge.  Suffice to say, it’s not us. 

While tornadoes scare the hell out of me, I still find them fascinating to look at.  I tell you, when they made the movie “Twister,” it was with dudes like me in mind.  I mean, I hate the things, but I can’t look away either.  My stomach does flips but I keep watching anyway.

I couldn't watch too much of this tornado coverage though.  Schools, hospitals, shopping centers, rows and rows of homes, all obliterated.  I just couldn't deal.  To cheer up, I put in the new DVD for Season 7 of “Dexter,” instead.

It’s sad when a show about a fictional serial killer represents a step up from the real world.

Fundraising drives to aid the people of Moore have already been started.  I recommend that we find one we trust and make a donation. 

One of them ought to be called, “Fund for the Fucked.”  I smell a telethon…  Conan O’Brien can host.

Saturday, May 18, 2013


It’s not like I feel younger, but I could swear it’s 1997 again. 

Congressional Republicans are hamstringing another 2nd term Democratic president with an endless series of whipped up scandals and hearings.  Last time, they basically created their “scandal” out of thin air, until the Executive Hummer fell into their laps.  This time, I’m sad to say they have a little more material to work with.  Not much, but enough to run out the clock until 2016.

It’s all they have, really.  The Dow is at record levels, unemployment is decreasing, and the economy is recovering… all things that the GOP said Obama’s policies would prevent.  So rather than admit they were wrong and attempt to further help the American people, they jumped back on the Scandal Bandwagon, to help their own political fortunes in the next mid-term and presidential elections.

The so-called Liberal Media” has been showing how much of a myth that term is by leading with this stuff for weeks, so I’m not going to go into all the details about the three “scandals” going on.  I’m just going to let you know what I think.

This is the oldest of the three faux-scandals; the one the Republicans bring out every so often like a favorite binky.  This one was 100% bullshit when it first came out and it’s still 100% bullshit.  It’s merely a way to tie up the Obama presidency and at the same time, throw some stink on Hillary Clinton, whom they are afraid will run in 2016.  Here’s how you can tell:

In other words, it’s only a problem if it happens under Obama.  I’m willing to bet you’ve barely even heard about any of those other embassy and consulate attacks.  I know I haven’t, and I’m a news junkie.  If they really cared about lives lost on “American Soil,” it would have been an issue under the Bush administration.  It wasn’t… not even close.

Also note how they never own up to their own culpability in cutting the embassy budgets.  Where’s the investigation into that?  Yes, it’s a tragedy that good lives were lost at Benghazi.  But the lengths the GOP is going to tar the President with it are ridiculous.  This is a grade-A case of “Clean out your own closet first.”

And to make matters worse, it has now come out that the Republicans were providing doctored email transcripts to network news reporters, that casted the Administration in a negative light.  So when the Administration released the full emails and the GOP selective editing was revealed, they were made to look like the partisan hacks they are.  Can there be any doubt about the lengths they will go to make this president (and possibly the next) look bad?

IRS Scrutinizing the Tea Party
At first, I was like, “It’s about freakin’ time!  Why the hell should a party spending money hand over fist trying to cut their own taxes be given tax-free status?

But yes, I agree that all such filings should be handled with consistency.  It’s un-American not to do so, unless, of course, the Republicans are doing it.

Remember what happened in Bush’s Justice Department?  They had directives (from the top) to pursue election fraud cases, but only where they implicated Democrats.  This was a case of using a government agency to hinder political opponents.  How is that not exactly the same principle as in the IRS case?

There are a couple key differences though… In the Justice case, that was part of an entire re-fitting of the department, where Republicans were brought in exclusively to populate key positions, in what is supposed to be an apolitical organization.  Their orders came from the White House.

With the IRS case, it appears that the extra Tea Party attention started from the bottom, up, in a field office in Cincinnati.  That’s what makes it a stretch to try to tag the President with it.  Sure, he has technical responsibility, given his position at the top, but he had no practical information.

What if I decided that when I go back to work on Monday, I was going to start breaking some kind of banking or financial law?  Technically, the President of our company, with his lavish offices in New York, is responsible, because it’s his company.  But does he realistically have any sway in what I do?  Of course not, that would be crazy. 

But you can’t tell that to the GOP, as long as Obama is in office.  To them, if it happened during Obama’s term, it’s Obama’s fault.  And if it happened under Bush’s term, it’s Clinton’s fault.

(And don’t even start with the Democrats blaming the economy on Bush.  It’s entirely too obvious that the economy was Bush’s fault because it was in the tank before Obama was even elected.  The worst the Republicans can say is that he didn’t overcome GOP obstructionism to fix their mess fast enough.)

Even with all this, the President came out firmly against that these IRS agents were doing.  People got fired and I suspect there will be more to come. 

Does anyone remember Bush doing anything about the misdoings of the Justice Department?  [crickets


The AP Scandal
As a former journalism student, this didn't sit right with me until I dug around a little more.  I certainly believe in freedom of the press; it’s the thing that separates us from every grubby dictatorship and authoritarian state.  But then I saw how the AP’s reporting had basically cost us an agent we had on the inside with al Qaeda. 

They never published the guy’s name, but described what he had done to prevent an attack.  From there, it’s not hard for even the most ass-backward radical terrorist fuck to figure out who the mole is.

That’s not reporting, that’s potentially costing American lives.  If that particular terrorist cell successfully gets one of their guys on a plane, which could have been stopped if we still had our guy in place, the following death and destruction is on the AP.

There are some things that should not be sacrificed for our “right to know.”  There are plenty of things that can be reported that will make a difference.  Exposing our counter-terrorist efforts is not one of them.

So I don’t blame the Administration for trying to ferret out who’s leaking national security secrets to the press. 

And the funny thing is, if they hadn't taken action and the GOP found out about it, they’d be holding hearings on why Obama is weak on terrorism.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Double the Fun

First, please let me apologize for not posting last night.  As you’ll see, I didn’t get home until late.  But on the bright side, you've had an extra day to savor the richness of Friday’s post about farts.

I’m kind of jammed up this week.  I had 2 baseball games in addition to the next round of Penguins playoff hockey starting.

All this started with my ticket-buying jamboree back in January.  One of the Orioles games I picked to attend was the one last night, against the San Diego Padres.  I like seeing the interleague games, and I’ve only seen the Padres once in my life (according to my tracking spreadsheet) so it seemed like a good choice.  Naturally, it turned out that the Penguins also played Game 1 of their 2nd round playoff series on the same night.  Hello DVR!

In a separate story line, my old boss, Don, and I have wanted to go to an afternoon Orioles game together ever since I joined the department in 2006.  After a couple of false starts in previous years, we took a look at this year’s schedule and saw that they only play 3 afternoon games at home all year.  One was in April, one is in June, and the other is today.  We picked today, so that in case anything goes wrong, we still have another shot in June.  That’s how I ended up going to back-to-back, day/night baseball games.

So, I went to the game last night with Sitcom Kelly.  We met up at our usual pre-game spot, a bar called The Bullpen (right across from Camden Yards).  I always get some food from the street vendors before a game, so I got myself a nice giant hot dog, probably to make up for missing out on The Big Wahoo last week.  That was all I really needed… I was trying to cut down… but then I saw the cheeseburgers and they just looked so good, I couldn’t help myself.

Sitcom Kelly joined me as I was eating them at the bar.  As she saw what I was eating, she asked if I was still going to help her with the cheese pizza she always got.

Oops.  I forgot about that.  I definitely shouldn’t have gotten the cheeseburger.  But I couldn’t let that stop me from helping a friend in need.  But trust me; I paid for that transgression this morning with an urgent, unscheduled intestinal event.  (As in, “Everybody OUT!”)  What kind of world do we live in, that you can’t trust food cooked outdoors by people you wouldn’t let wash your car?

Anyway, we tried something new with our seats this time.  We found that you could get outfield club level seats for the same price as the ones in the lower left field bowl (where we usually sit).  We’re farther from the field with the club seats, but they still have their advantages.

First, you have a better perspective on the game, by sitting up a little higher.  But more importantly, you don’t have to mix with the riffraff from the cheap seats!  They won’t even let you onto that level unless you have the correct ticket.  Hah!

Anyway, this was the view from our “exclusive” club seats.

There weren't many people in our section, only about 10 at most.  That’s Sitcom Kelly there in orange in the 3rd row.  My seat was on the aisle.

All day long, I kept checking the hourly weather report on  All day long it said, “0% chance of rain.”  So naturally, it began raining around the 2nd inning.  It wasn't much, but enough for me to go, “WTF?  Zero percent?  How the hell does it rain when there’s ZERO PERCENT chance of rain?

It stopped and started, and didn't really amount to much, until around the 7th inning.

If you follow me on Twitter, (and why on earth wouldn't you?), you might have seen the tweet I took 10 minutes to laboriously pick out on my “dumb-phone.” 

Because the game was lightly attended, we just moved back to the last row, so that we stayed dry under the overhang.  But all game long, I kept looking up, saying to Sitcom Kelly: “Zero percent?  Zero fucking percent??” 

I was not amused.  In fact, I want a personal explanation from Jim Cantore.
Just for that, I expect you to keep the hurricanes away from my parents for at least another two years.

The camera guy knew it was going to rain. 

I wonder where he got his information.  We were right behind him, so it was kind of cool to watch him work.  The monitor on the right is what he sees; the one on the left is what the TV is showing at the moment.  At least that’s how I remember it from my college TV Production class.

As for the game, it went by pretty quickly.  The O’s took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the 8th, then their Closer blew his first save since last July, and the Padres scored 2 in the 9th, to win 3-2.  I was just happy the game didn't go to extra innings, because I was antsy to get home and watch the Pens game.  I mean, I would have left anyway, but I was glad I didn't have to.

It was the 2nd time this year that I wore my new Manny Machado jersey and white-front cartoon bird hat, where the Orioles lost, so I won’t be sporting that combo again anytime soon.

I was able to watch the entire Pens game in an hour and a half, thanks to the DVR and being able to fast-forward through both intermissions, every commercial break and stop in the action.  (Whoo Hoo!  Pens win 4-1!)

Now for today’s game, Don said he always wanted to go sit in the sun in the outfield for a weekday game, and enjoy a hot dog and a couple of beers.  You know, “Ferris Bueller” it.  So last week I got tickets in my usual spot, 2nd row behind the left field wall.  Rather than schlep another jersey into work, I just went with the Traffic Cone Orange Orioles polo shirt.  The weather was not supposed to be an issue, with not much sun but temps expected to be in the low 80s.

The crowd was weirdly arranged. 
The view from our seats.

When do you ever see the upper deck full with the lower bowl half empty?  This is what happens when it’s “Field Trip Day” at the ballpark.  The upper deck was crammed with school children, which was excellent, considering I was in the lower deck.

Naturally, with over 32,000 on hand to see some beautiful daytime baseball, it rained.  Not hard, mind you, but just enough to piss me off, like nature was showing me who’s boss.

It would sputter and drizzle from time to time, even while the sun was shining.  But then in the 4th inning, we saw the grounds crew come pouring out of their nest and line up behind the field tarp.  One of them unfastened the covering at the end.  It looked like they were expecting something harsh and were preparing to roll out the tarp at a moment’s notice.

I said to Don, as soon as it starts raining again, lets move back into the concourse.  No sense getting soaked, right?  So it starts raining and we retreat, but we don’t go to the concourse, we grabbed some seats under the overhang.  A few minutes later we looked and there was no one out at the tarp anymore, and it was all buttoned up.  WTF???  We went back to our original seats at the next inning break.

Just goes to show, whatever decision I make this year turns out to be the wrong one.  Suddenly I’m the walking, talking, blogging personification of Murphy’s Law.

It was funny around 2:30, half of the upper deck seemed to disappear.  We learned that a lot of the kids had to be back at their schools by 3, so they could catch their bus home.
Is the upper deck half full, or half empty?

Anyway, we had a decent enough time, watching the Orioles lose again, this time by a score of 8-4.  San Diego racked up 17 hits on the day.  We certainly got our money’s worth of baseball action.  But I tell you, I've been to 3 O’s games this year and they've lost all 3 times.

I think they should start paying me to stay home.  My presence is NOT helping the team.

Or maybe I just haven’t found the right jersey and cap combination yet.
Just in case you ever wanted a good look at a ball field’s grass and warning track…

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Farting Around

Apparently this story has been out since December but it must have blown right by me.  While I was on vacation, my mom showed me this news clip from New York Times Magazine.  It seems a claims adjuster, for the Social Security Administration here in Maryland, received an official reprimand for alleged serial flatulence in his cubicle.

A manager cataloged 60 incidents over 17 days (by date and time), noting the ‘unpleasant odor’ and claiming the offender was creating a ‘hostile work environment.’  The complaint was quickly rescinded once the higher-ups caught wind of it.”

You can read a more robust account of the situation by clicking here. 

First of all… Ahhhhhhhh HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAA!  Yes, farts are still funny and they’re even funnier at work.  Well, someone else’s work, anyway.  (And if you don’t agree, you’re probably not going to like the rest of this post.)

Secondly, I feel sorry for the poor guy.  (And was there ever any doubt it’s a guy?)  The cubicle walls over at Social Security must be really low, because like 100% of mankind, I have to pass a little gas at work sometimes too, and it’s never caused a commotion.  And I've never noticed anything drifting over from other cubes except the occasional spicy lunch.

So he’s got this intestinal problem and his boss is busting his ass about it.  Can there be anything more mortifying to go in your personnel record?  Maybe getting caught surfing midget porn, but the competition is limited.

I want to know about the boss.  Is this her dance, or is she reacting to staff complaints?  Who would actually take the time to chronicle the date and time of each “disturbance?”  It makes me wonder if she had a “smell” rating as well.

It had a strong, eggy bouquet with a hang-time of around 10 minutes.  I give it a 9.”

I’m assuming the manager is a “she.”  No self-respecting dude would write another guy up for farting, unless he was strolling into someone else’s cube and dropping one on her head.  And even then, he’d probably give the guy a high-five first for the sheer audacity.

The manager here suggested the guy take care of his gassy business by going to the rest room.  Seriously.

That sounds like a Dilbert-esque management suggestion if I ever heard one.  First of all, if the guy is the serial farter they suggest he is, that’s going to be an awful lot of trips to the can.  Plus, when you have one in the chamber, it’s not terribly easy to go walking around.  You end up looking like an extra from March of the Penguins.  And chances are, if you do make it all the way to the bathroom, your “bullet in the chamber” has already gone back the way it came, to nestle in your innards until it decides to re-emerge at a much more embarrassing time..

This guy needs to work on his strategy a bit.  There are ways of off-loading a little methane without napalming your co-workers.  The first option is to try a little “crop-dusting.”  That’s when you walk through an unpopulated area of the floor and release your payload bit by bit.  But you have to be careful… you have to stop and linger every so often, or else your exhaust will follow you back to your desk.

I had an incident happen to me once, but I managed to get out of it unscathed.  I was having an epic gas attack (before I started keeping Gas-X in my desk).  I went to go crop-dusting, but I failed to linger anywhere.  So as I was walking back to my desk, I got stopped in the aisle by one of our office gabbers.  As he was getting into another pointless story about his cat, he caught wind of my vapor trail.  He was like, “and then he was licking his… Hey, do you smell that?

I was all deer-in-the-headlights, until he said, “Oh, that must be Mary’s baby.  Now why couldn't she change him in the restroom?” 

When he threw me that lifeline, I’m not ashamed to say that I grabbed it.  Thank goodness one of our managers had her baby in the office that day… it totally took the heat off me.  That’s an underrated quality of pets and children… blame receptacles for passed gas.

Elevators are another trap.  Obviously you don’t drop one in the elevator when there’s anyone else onboard, unless you’re a sociopath.  But even if you’re alone, it’s best to cork it.  You never know who’s waiting to get on as you’re getting off.  And when you’re the only one on the elevator, there is no one else to blame.

If you must use an elevator, here’s what you do… you wait until you get to your floor and the doors open.  Then, if no one is waiting to get on, hold the doors open, fart for all you’re worth, and then release the car.  It will make for an ugly surprise for the next rider, but you’ll be off scot-free. 

Farts will keep, too.  That’s one of the best things I've learned by writing this blog.  Someone once commented that when she was a kid, she and her brother learned that they could fart in those little plastic bubbles that grocery store coin-op machine prizes come in, and then cap them.  Then even months later, when they opened the plastic bubble, the fart still maintained its original characteristics.

All I can say is that the people in my old neighborhood should thank their lucky stars that my brother and I never discovered that little fact when we were kids.  The next logical step would have been to figure out a way to ignite the gas.  Our neighbors were lucky they never had to witness what would have become known as The Great Flaming Gas Wars of 1975.

My brother was a bomb-dropping maniac back then.  He could clear a room with the best of them.  I swear he was part skunk, because he could use gas as a defense mechanism.  We’d be wrestling around and when I pinned him, he’d fart.  It’s probably an evolutionary mutation meant to compensate for being a younger brother.  It’s no surprise that his younger son does the same thing to his older brother too.

But they’ll never touch The King.  My brother was actually bestowed the title of The Fart King by his buddies.  Back when we took annual trips to Cleveland for the Browns/Steelers games, he would drive out from Baltimore with his friends.  And what happens when you get a bunch of young guys cooped up in a car together for 6 hours?

Farting contest.

Some of the guys even “trained” for the occasion, by loading up on beans and stuff.  All my brother needed to do was pick up some Burger King onion rings and he was good to go. 

One time the contest started while my brother was driving.  When it came to be his turn, he child-locked the windows before opening fire.

As his friends clawed at the windows and screamed for mercy, he said, “Say I’m King.  Admit I’m The King and I’ll open the windows.”

Some Kings have a Coronation.  My brother had a Ventilation.  After that trip, he told me, “There is nothing more satisfying than dropping a bad one and then looking in the rear view mirror and seeing everyone hanging their heads out the windows.”

Now, I know women fart too.  My mom was known for what I dubbed the “Motherly Oops Fart.”  She’d be off in the kitchen while we were in the other room, then we’d hear a 5-second, multi-tonal fart, followed by “Oops.”

My position was than no one gets to say “oops” after a performance like that.  I’m sure there had to be some wild gesticulating involved in order to produce that much sound and fury.  I just can’t see that happening accidentally.

When I was married, Future-Ex would NEVER admit she farted.  Hell, she denied she even had a digestive system.  As far as she was concerned the butthole was for decoration only.

I caught her one time.  We were sitting around the den and she just farted, quite audibly.  She must have forgotten I was there.  Anyway, I looked at her with an expression of shock and amusement.  She looked back at me, eyes as big as saucers, and just shot her arm out to point at the cat.  If only it had been a jungle cat we were keeping instead of a tabby, I might have bought it.

It’s funny how when you’re in a new relationship, you’ll do anything to keep from farting in front of your beloved.  I remember when I was dating my college girlfriend, I’d go over to her house for dinner and we'd end up in their family room, along with her whole family, until late into the evening.  Sometimes I’d have to fart so badly, but I didn't dare.  I’d shift and squirm, but damned if I was going to allow any “escapees.”

At the end of the night, we’d kiss goodnight and I’d go on my way.  Once the door closed, I’d practically skip all the way down to my car on the street, carpet-bombing the walkway as I went.  I’m surprised my feet even touched the ground.

What I didn't know until years later was that on the other side of the door, my girlfriend would be doing the same thing.  She’d slam her back against the front door with her arms outstretched, and bellow to her mom, “Oh thank Christ; I've been saving this up all night!

Wouldn't it be easier on everyone if we all just came to some kind of accommodation?  Trust me, dates and relationships would go smoother and the Social Security Administration would be a much less “hostile environment.”

Look, farts are funny.  Always were, always will be.  My mom taught me that fact when I was but a boy.  One of the first jokes I ever learned was one of hers…

“A man was visiting the royal palace and as he was talking with the King and Queen, he let out a loud fart.”

The King thundered, “How dare you fart before my Queen!

To which the guy responded, “I didn't know it was her turn.”

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Call Me the Breeze

First off, please accept my apologies for going dark since Friday.  I intended to drop a post or two while I was on vacation, but I just never got around to it.  Whattya gonna do?

As you saw from my prior post, we got in just fine.  There were no lost bags, bumped seats, FAA labor shortage delays or terrorist threats.  We hit the ground and walked right into beer and pork chops.  
Porka Choppa ala Geezen

It seems like all we did for 5 days down there was eat and drink!  Not that it was a bad thing… it’s just more than I’m used to.
Not our usual Jack Daniels, but I’m always willing to branch out.

We’d go out for lunch or something, like Friday at the Chinese Buffet.  Normally with a lunch like that, I don’t eat dinner.  But there we were later, eating at the ballgame.  It was a regular “Mangiapalooza.”

Maybe we ate so much because the weather didn't really cooperate.  Normally when we visit in early May, it’s gorgeous out, with highs in the upper 70s and lower 80s.  This time we got rain early in our stay, and high winds for the rest of the time.

As I suspected, my touch with advance tickets has not improved.  I could have picked any day to go see the Double A league Pensacola Blue Wahoos, but I picked Friday.  This is what Friday looked like, as we approached the ballpark.

And this was what was on the horizon:

We knew there was a big rainstorm coming from the west, but the TV news assured us that it wouldn't be there until around 9:00.  I think they were in cahoots with the ball club and trying to coax some butts into the seats on a crappy night.  There was a constant drizzle, like a hard mist, that fell almost the entire night.  It really put a damper on things.  It was a shame, because we had some good seats; first row on the third base line, in the outfield.
This was the view from our seats.

Those two little dots are my parents, waiting for Pinky and me to come back from our pre-game mosey.

Last year, we took a walk around the ballpark when there wasn't anything going on.  It was then that I discovered they had a hot dog called “The Big Wahoo.”  Now after our big Chinese Buffet lunch, I didn't really need to eat, but I did want a look at a Big Wahoo.  So when Dad went up to get snacks, I told him Pinky and I would split one. 

Unfortunately, there was some kind of mix-up at the concession stand.  Not only did it take 20 minutes for them to hand over a hot dog and a grilled chicken sandwich, they said the Big Wahoo was a fish sandwich… the very blue wahoo for which the team is named. 

Since we’d already spent over 4-times the amount of time it should take after ordering, we just ate the fish sandwich.  But it bugged the crap out of me that they denied the existence of the Big Wahoo hot dog.  In fact, as we walked back to our seats, we went right by the stand where it claimed the Big Wahoo was “the largest hot dog you've ever seen!”  But like I said, we didn't want to fight about it.

Once the game started, the drizzle never stopped, so we left after two innings.  (We had DVRed the Penguins playoff game, so we had that to go back to.)  But the night wasn't a total loss… I got another baseball!

Well, I should say my dad saw a batting practice ball lying on the ground in the stands, so he picked it up and gave it to me.  Isn't that what you’re supposed to do?  A guy gets a ball and he gives it to his son.  OK, maybe the Statute of Limitations for us has run out.  But it was also Blue Wahoo “Snap Koozie” Night, so I came home with a pretty nice haul.
My Southern League trophy ball, with collectible Blue Wahoos beer cup.  See?  The ball came with its own cup holder.

Blue Wahoo Snap Koozies.  (In other words, foam strips with metal bands embedded inside.  They wrap around your bottle or can, to keep it cold.  Also, “The Snap Koozies” would make a great band name.

Saturday was Kentucky Derby Day, so we stuck close to home.  It was sunny out, but there was a steady 15-20 mph wind blowing, so it wasn't terribly conducive to sunning or swimming.  So Dad and I had iPad class, where I showed him some handy keyboard tricks and other useful things, and together we figured out how to iMessage and use FaceTime video conferencing.  (It’s easier to figure out when the two users are in the same room.)

In return for my services, Dad showed me the Bubble Explosion iPad game he plays, which then occupied about 75% of the rest of my stay.  I don’t know why, but there must be something innately satisfying about popping brightly colored bubbles, because it sure is addicting.

On Sunday, we ventured down to the beach for a little sightseeing before dinner.  They recently put up a giant Ferris wheel, so we thought we’d take it for a spin.
I know there is no scale, but it’s a big one… about 20 stories tall.

It certainly provided a nice view of the beach area.
Left side: Pensacola Sound.  Right side: Gulf of Mexico.

What cracked me up was the warning sticker on the inside of each car.  I don’t know what the hell they were warning me about… I could only guess.

Sunday started with the Penguins playoff came coming on at 11:00 AM.  You gotta love Central Time.  Afterwards, we went back to the beach, but it was still too windy to go in the water.  They had the yellow flags out, which were starched, most of the time.

They have a nice, long fishing pier, which makes for a nice walk.

You can’t really see it, but this guy just landed a fish, which is vigorously flapping around in front of the blue cooler.

What is it with Pensacola and their “Rules” signs?

Dammit!  There’s nothing I like better than getting drunk, naked and catching "Jaws"… followed immediately by defacing this sign and jumping off the pier.

After our stroll, we had lunch at a place called “Flounder’s.”  It was a pretty interesting place to look around. 
TGI Fridays called and said the place was too “busy.” 

By the way, that’s a replica of a 980-lb blue marlin that was caught nearby in 1985, which remains a Florida state record.  Also note the row of outboard motors that ring the ceilings.  If that restaurant ever sinks, they can just fire up those motors and putter along to the next location.

I should have taken a picture of the key lime pie, which was too much for even 3 of us to share; not that we didn't try.  But instead, I got this shot of a giant clam.
That’s one way to make your kids behave in the restaurant… threaten to feed them to the giant clam.

In order to work off all the meals, I have a very strenuous exercise regimen... I crush cans.  OK, I cheat by using a can crusher.  But it's one of my favorite parts of the trip.  As soon as I have my own house, I'm totally getting one.
 Step 1: Dimple the can and place it in The Crusher.

Step 2: Pull down the lever to reduce the can to a little itty-bitty thing.  Nothing like doing my part for The Environment!

Finally, on Tuesday, we had some glorious weather, which is predicted to stay around all week.
Even the Weather Stick was glad to see a nice day.

Unfortunately, we had an 8:30 AM flight out of town, so we got to enjoy exactly none of it.  But it’s nice to know it’s there.

I’m glad I took Wednesday off though.  As relaxing as vacationing with my folks is, I also need a day to recover. 

And also to get used to going a couple hours without a meal…