Friday, July 24, 2009

Where There's a Will...

"The only thing you ever have to do is die. Everything else is optional, as long as you can deal with the consequences."

-- Me

Every summer I get laid off from my job for about nine weeks, and it always makes me think about death.

I blame my wife, primarily. Whenever I'm home when she wakes up, she has to detail the nightmare she just had, which usually has something to do with losing the child, forgetting the child somewhere, or having the child taken away.

This is one of the hundreds of things that make her a better parent than I am. I still dream about trying to get through my day without any pants on. I don't know why my subconscious self doesn't just go home and put on some pants, but apparently it's not an option.

If dreams mean anything, I'm more concerned about people observing my inadequate physique from the waist down than I am about my own daughter's safety.

Anywho, I've decided to make out a will.

(Why do you "make out" a will, not just "make" a will? I've never understood this. It's creepy.)

Having a will gives you enormous posthumous power. Have you ever noticed that people will go to great lenghts to honor the wishes of the deceased?

If you want to be buried vertically in a giant Hefty bag full of Oreo cookie filling, somehow it will be accommodated, or your loved ones will forever carry the guilt of having not honored your dying wishes. Then you can haunt the living crap out of them.

I can't miss out on such an opportunity. I'm off to, because, if anything's worth doing, it's worth doing in 15 minutes or less.

First, I must make sure that, in the event of my unexpected demise, I'll be wearing pants at the funeral.

Second, I want the theme song from "Mr. Roger's Neighborhood" to play continuously at my gravesite for a year.

Plus, I need to make sure something evil happens to the chickens.

You know, I never thought I'd hear myself type this, but chickens are becoming fashionable.

More and more people are keeping domestic fowl, according to an article I read someplace.

The trend has even invaded my own home, despite my best efforts.

My wife and four-year-old daughter wanted to buy some of the fuzzy chicks at the local hardware store. I pointed out that chickens require food, housing, heat, and a place to run around that isn't the street. They poop everywhere. We won't even get any eggs for months, I said, and we don't even eat many eggs to begin with.

But they were cute and furry, and so I should not have been surprised when my two favorite females came home with six of them, and immediately enlisted my help concocting a place for them to live.

That was ten weeks ago. Now, the birds are no longer cute. You can't mince around our front yard without stepping in bird droppings.

I renovated a toddler play house to serve as temporary quarters for the birds, but I don't know what we'll do with them when snow flies. I don't have time to build a chicken coop, and I don't have hundreds of dollars to spend on one, either.

So, in the will, the chickens get nothing. You hear me? NOTHING!

Unless they're willing to help out with the Oreos.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Uncle Henry's vs Craigslist: The Final Battle

Which do you prefer? Uncle Henry's or Craigslist?

First, let's establish that we're not talking about the print version of Uncle Henry's, which is a horrendous waste of time.

Let's say you're looking for, oh, I don't know, a gently used chicken coop with attached run. Sure, you could sift through 400 ads (this week's edition alone) for various farm fowl and other bits of livestock and accessories, before you finally realize you also have to check “Farm and Garden” and “Free for the Taking.”

Eventually, you'll have to decide whether or not to venture into the “Swap/Trade” section to see if one of the 17-dozen hillbillies trying to trade his gun for an ATV just came down with a case of West Athens Boredom and used up all his ammo on the chickens.

Good luck plowing through the ads that list 16 unrelated things -- “willing to barter my airbrush skills for web design, motorcycle, boat, ATV, camper, pot of corn chowder, three-legged German Shepherd, 1983 Datsun pickup, reusable hemp diapers...” -- hoping you see “chicken wire” somewhere in there.

I can't figure out why the print version still exists.

Now then, which is better,, or Uncle Henry'

The advantage of Craigslist, of course, is that it is entirely free. Uncle Henry's requires you to buy “credits” to post ads, and if you don't have a “subscription,” it won't let you see all the ads in your search.

On the other hand, Uncle Henry's lets you narrow your search to within a certain distance of your home. It can filter out the ad from Madawaska if you're not willing to drive three hours for that airbrush appointment.

Many people also enjoy occasionally finding those odd or offbeat ads in Uncle Henry's, particularly in “Free for the Taking.”

But Uncle Henry's still can't hold a candle to the “best-of-craigslist” page, where the true breadth and depth of human weirdness and depravity unleashes itself every day.

Here is a small sample, slightly edited:

- “Wanted: Taxidermist who Watches a Lot of Kung Fu. I am looking to hire someone with the means to obtain and stuff animals in fashions I choose, which will be Kung Fu for now.... I understand this is a bizarre request. Serious inquiries only, please...”

- “Girlfriend said she is tired of my Mustang parts and I need to make a craigslist here is it. For sale: 1 nagging dream smashing man hater. Make an offer or look in the free section if she keeps it up and gets kicked to the curb.”

This one, however, takes the cake:

- “I will pay you $1 to sit in my bathtub full of noodles while you wear a one piece bathing suit. I will not be home, nor will anyone else while you do this. I will leave the key for you, and you will sit at your leisure. I will require at least a 5 minute stay. A neighbor will watch the front door from across the street and using a supplied stopwatch, will time your entry and departure. Please supply your own footwear. The noodles will be cooked, and therefore slippery. DO NOT bring any sauce. I will season the pasta after I return home prior to dinner.”

I think we have a winner, folks.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Blaine House = Bland House

Rick Perry, governor of Texas, rejected federal stimulus money, saying Texas could stand on its own. He said his state could secede from the union.

That was just before he complained the feds weren’t doing enough to help him fight swine flu.
Then he fell off a mountain bike and broke his collarbone.

The limousine belonging to Governor Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania was caught careening down the Interstate at 99 mph.

The Las Vegas Sun investigated the work habits of Nevada Governor Les Gibbons, and found that he doesn’t have any. He takes large amounts of vacation time, working a total of five days during a recent nine-week stretch.

Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts and Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana were both caught breaking ethics rules by giving gifts to legislators, not long after they had campaigned against giving gifts to legislators.

Mike Easley of North Carolina, who apparently fell off the political turnip truck about five minutes ago, said it’s the press’s job to “be nice to [him],” and whined that they weren’t doing their job when they exposed failures in the state’s parole system.

And I haven’t even gotten to Blagojevich (sold senate seat), Spitzer (prostitutes), Palin (more wardrobe scandals than brain cells), or Sanford (Venezuelan mistress).

Our governor? He has been AWOL in his Year of Gubernatorial Scandal.

Compared with these people, Baldacci is about as interesting as C-SPAN at 3 AM. I can’t imagine him traveling to Vermont for maple syrup, let alone to Venezuela for an extra-marital tryst.

Can you picture what it must be like at those national governor’s conferences they have every year? You’ve got all these Schwarzeneggers and Palins and other larger-than-life characters, and then over in the corner is Baldacci, looking like a Certified Public Accountant hired for the occasion to make everyone else feel cool and hip.

Never mind Baldacci’s wasteful, pointless education initiatives, his budget bungling, or his inefficient use of federal stimulus money, or his apparent decision to banish the sun.

No, the biggest problem with John Baldacci, and the one thing we can truly fix if we play our cards right, is that he is hideously, remorselessly, painfully

We can do better than this, Maine! In the 2010 election, we can reverse the doldrums that have left us irrelevant, and get ourselves on The Daily Show for once.

We need to change our image.

Some of the early candidates have potential. Start with Les Otten, former part-owner of the Red Sox, whose campaign logo (copied from Obama) and hairstyle (coiffed salt-and-pepper) smack of the slick and sleazy Hollywood politics we can only dream of.

Plus, can you imagine the fun headlines if he ever delivers a first-class scandal? “Guess We Otten-Not Have Voted for The Rich Guy.”

Independent Alex Hammer also has a cool name, one that evokes the power and seductive, quiet confidence of an ‘80s TV detective.

But he looks like a geriatric basset hound, only droopier, and he speaks knowledgeably and in detail about economic issues.

Not good.

Still, he has headline potential (“Hammer to the Slammer”) so let’s all donate $100 to his campaign.

Meanwhile, let’s see if we can get a statewide referendum going on this weather situation.