Monday, November 29, 2010

Crispy Critter

Good: Thanksgiving Holiday with my wife's family. Good people, good times.

Good: Firing up the oven to make dinner for the kids the evening after a long, long, drive home.

Bad: Discovering that a mouse crawled inside the oven to die.

Good: I've used the phrase 'crispy critter' before but I have never-ever been able to use it in a literal sense. 

And now I have.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

If Conan were around today . . .

Mongol: Conan! What is best in life?

Conan: Theraflu.

Mongol: ...

Conan: It is great stuff, my friend.

It is!  A bottle of that stuff, a laptop with wireless, hulu and you are set for a sick day in bed.

Monday, November 15, 2010

This is not Mick Jagger

And it is a pity

Keith likes to talk a lot about his getting clean from heroin. It is not correspondingly apprehended that he replaced the heroin comprehensively with liquor. Given a choice I select the slurring alcoholic over the comatose junkie as a lifelong professional partner, and I say this with some knowledge of the two alternatives. But neither is strictly desirable.

Later, one grows older and becomes more informed about such things, and I saw I was supposed to have held an elaborate ceremony called an "intervention." Society could have effectively halted the upheavals of the 1960s simply by requiring all of us to "intervene" with one another. In any event, considering half our circle was on heroin and the rest were coke fiends, I think it wouldn't have efficacious in our circumstances.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Breaking up a dreary drive

I am nine, staying with my grandparents. Grandpa driving to town, I'm along for funs and grins. Grandpa asks if I want to see a short cut and so we drive off the highway and around and up and up a butte and onto the top. Park. Stroll to the edge. Grandpa points to the horizon.

'There's your shortcut - straight down.'

He laughs and we drive down the road and into town.

I come from a long line of men who only think we're funny, it's true.

The week of Thanksgiving myself and three boys are going to park our butts in a car and drive, man, for about sixteen hours to grandma's house.

A side trip on the way to my mother-in-law's is planned, no time for other dilly-dally on the outbound leg.

Our over the river and through the woods coming home will take us roughly D.C. - Hagerstown - Morgantown - Wheeling - Columbus - Indianapolis - Chicago - Home.

Is there anything to see on that route?

  • Not far off the road.
  • Can be seen in less than an hour.
  • Free.
  • Bonus if I can break open a lame pun or joke.

Anyone can drive for sixteen hours and see nothing but dreary rest stops, fast food joints and asphalt. How often can you give a kid a memory like the one grandpa gave to me?

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

41 years old? What the ...

Terminal Lance: All That Salt.

Check this out: a herd of 18 and 19 year old brand new Marines are being introduced to their platoon sergeant at Infantry Training School (ITS).  Like Max's fictional Gunner Quigley the man looked old.  Wrinkled, leathery skin, grizzled hair, shot through with grey.  Dude looked weathered, man.

I am Staff Sergeant Mason.  I am twenty-eight years old. I have spent the last ten years in the Fleet.  You all will look like me in a decade.

Mason was a darn good boss.  Knew his stuff, knew how to lead [1].  Didn't believe in head games: Charlie (Kickback Charlie, thank-you-very-much) Company got base liberty when we were in garrison.  By contrast, Weapons company upstairs got to spend their nights cleaning their area over .. and over .. and over again.

Still ... dude looked old the first time we met him, ya know?

[1] Also, Staff Sergeant Mason was responsible for my first nickname that didn't include the words 'shit head'.  Humping out to the range early one morning I found myself near the head of the column, stepping out lively [2].  He said, 'Hey, you, Dunbar, look at you steppin' out like a big ol' damn bird.  We gonna call you Big Bird.'

[2] Marines on the march scoot along at a clip most of us would describe as 'running'.  You want to idle along, see the sights, join the Boy Scouts.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Poo. Take a dump. Etc.

When the school year ends, Evan is going to return to Shanghai.

One of the first things, I imagine, his parents will do is sit him down and ask him 'What did you learn in America?'

And he will reply 'I learned American slang for 'poop'.

Don't imagine his parents will be exactly pleased, but that genie is plumb out of the bottle, now.