Monkey Punchers.

So one day the weenjammer and I came up with a term for idiots with computers. We called them "monkeypunchers" because these are the kind of people who are stupid enough to click on the dumb flash ads that are on every webpage you see. You know, the ones where there are buttons for choices, but they don't actually do anything but take you to the same lame web page, no matter which one you click on?

These types of people have computers that are generally so full of spyware, adware and viruses, that even though the computer is a 3.2 gigahertz pentium 4, it has all the speed of my grandfather in the bathroom after thanksgiving dinner. They think a firewall is when you pack bricks between the studs of interior walls before you put the sheetrock up. They think a virus scanner is another name for their family doctor. You get the idea. They are, in a word, clueless.

At any rate, these ads for the stupid piss me off. Currently, I have two daily irritations. The first is this ad:

Are they a match? First, does anyone but them actually give a shit? Second, of course they're not a match. Semi-hot asian chicks in their late twenties do not go out with teenagers on the high school football team. Unless, of course, she's his english teacher or something. Then it's allowed, I think.

The other one currently bugging the piss out of me is this one:

How stupid do these people think you are? To call this an "IQ Question" is an insult to 4-year-olds everywhere. Don't they teach you vowels practically as soon as you can read three-letter words? Are people this stupid actually out there using computers? Because if this tickles your brain, there is something seriously effed up in there.

Anyway, that's all I have today. I hope you all have a safe and happy new year. Drive carefully, and if you drink, don't drive, because I don't want your drunk ass crossing over into my lane. And watch out for Sarah. I hear she's kissing everyone this year.


Spring cleaning

So we're moving from one floor in our building to another, and as a result, we've had a few company-sponsored "cleanup" days toward the end of the year. I missed most of these days, and now I've been trying to fit 5 or 6 years worth of useless shit into a 12" x 16" garbage can, a little at a time, over the past two weeks. I think the cleaning lady hates me, mostly because sixty-pound chunks of old computer gear is probably not supposed to go in the little "non-recyclables" bucket. I am also pretty sure she's wiping boogers on my chair.

I don't care. At least when I am finally forced to move, I won't have to haul anything but a few pictures and my laptop.

I did find some interesting things though. Here's a look at today's inventory, from a single desk drawer and overhead bin:

Item: A Palm III, with modem. Never has there been a more useless piece of shit, even when it wasn't completely obsolete. The thing eats batteries like Rosie O'Donell eats Big Macs and/or Kelli Carpenter. I never could get the hang of that shitty handwriting code either. Status: Chucked.

Item: A bottle of cough medicine with codeine, expired 2001. I took a sniff, and it didn't smell too bad, but I don't know what kind of poison codeine turns into after 5 years. I knew I probably shouldn't take the taste test, especially since I don't have a cough right now. On the other hand, when you are hacking up your lungs at work, there's nothing like a little codeine to put the drool on the desk. Status: Saved for a rainy day. I figured it might not kill me, and if I was coughing bad enough to need it, I might prefer to die anyway.

Item: 4 tightly-swollen packages of generic mayonnaise from the cafeteria, circa 2002. These scared me. I didn't think that could happen to pre-packaged condiments. I was tempted to open one up, but was afraid that if it came out black I would puke. Status: Carefully wrapped in old newspaper and gently placed in the non-recyclable bin in someone else's cube.

Item: 400 pounds of 6-year-old documentation for a software product we don't use anymore. I can honestly say that not a single volume of this immense row of books, this standing monument to our national forests, has ever moved in the 6 years it has taken up space in my overhead file cabinet. Status: Untouched. This will remain behind when I move, for whomever inherits this cube. It is my gift to them.

Item(s): A box of hot cinnamon candy from the dawn of time, a yo-yo, a spiderman pop-up book, a foam rock, a HotWheels parking garage, a Simpsons Nuclear reactor with talking Bart and Homer, a package of expired Immodium AD, approximately 357 non-working pens, a Mennen speed stick with rug marks in it, folders with papers that contain my handwriting --the contents of which I have no recollection of ever having written, $237.50 in nickels and pennies, a pile of business cards, all of which belong to people and/or companies that are dead or out of business, And lastly, sixteen pounds of unwashed silverware from the cafeteria. Status: Chucked. Well, except for the foam rock and the talking Simpsons thing. Those were gifts.

Honestly, I'm surprised I don't have rats.

I did find one other book. This book was an unintentional gift from my favorite female boss of the past 10 years. She was a really great person, and a blast to work for. We had the same sense of humor, which made work almost fun. When her job was eliminated, I was told to go get anything useful from her cube. As I glanced around, I noticed her garbage can. Here's what I saw:

Dammit, I still miss her.


False Advertising

I stopped in today and absolutely nobody was kissing balls.

I guess the 24th was the last day.


Ho Ho Holy Shit, it's Zombie Claus!

I've been driving by this big bastard for a month now and knew something about him was really wrong, but couldn't put my finger on it.

Until today.

Today, I realized it was his evil, bottomless eye-sockets and the demon lights shining deep within them that was freaking me out.

Don't stare into his eyes for too long. He'll devour your soul.

Merry Christmas, everyone!


I was a teenage wolfman

My wife recently redecorated our downstairs bathroom. This involved lots of paint, a new shower curtain, new towels, a crapload of hardware, various light fixtures and me in the shop building this:

It came out OK for slapping it together. In addition to all this new stuff, there is also something old. It's a large, soft, furry pad. You might think it sits outside the tub, so when you get out of the shower, you step on it to avoid getting water all over the floor. You would be wrong, because the furry pad of which I speak is the one on the inside of the tub. You know, the one that prevents the water from draining. The one that looks like a single, adventurous dread that has somehow escaped from Bob Marley's entombed head, traveled across the country stuck in the tire tread of an 18 wheeler, and has finally taken up residence in your tub drain.

Every day, I get out of the shower and every day, the last thing I do is clean the hair out of this drain. For a while, I blamed my wife. She has fairly long hair, and I figured even 5 or 6 hairs of that length would weave a pretty inpenetrable mat. Then she informed me that she's been taking showers upstairs for weeks. That leaves me with few alternatives. Either the hair fairy is sneaking into my bathroom at night, or it's all me, baby.

It must run in the family. When I was a kid, I would get so pissed off at my brother Houdini. He was a hairy little bastard, and he would never clean his hair out of the drain. Invariably I would be late for school, and I'd jump in the shower without looking at the drain first. After a while, something that felt like a cold, dead hamster would brush gently against my calf, and I would realize I was standing almost knee deep in my own filth. This is because his drain-hair plugs would work in teams -- one would plug the drain, and the other one would come after you. If you weren't paying attention, it was entirely conceivable that you could fish the one out of the way with your big toe, and be so relieved to see the water actually start moving that you would not even notice the other hairy beast stuck to the back of your leg.

When I was about 17, I got tired of it. I started collecting his drain hair. I didn't actually touch it -- It grossed me out. I would grab it with my mother's tweezers, and drop it into a tissue, and drop the tissue into a box. Then, after about 8 months of daily drain scoopings, I wrapped them up with a bow and gave them to him for christmas. My mother was extremely pleased. I think she may have puked when I suggested knitting him a sweater.

Where does this hair come from you ask? Well, you may not ask, but I ask, because that's what I do, and ostensibly, it is my hair. I've read that most people lose between 50 and 100 hairs a day. That, my hairy friends, is a buttload. At first I thought perhaps that particular area could be where all this hair in my drain was coming from, but it's a tough place to check out yourself while you're standing in the shower.

Why do humans have hair anyway? We certainly don't need it. Yeah, it looks cool and all, but really - what a major pain in the ass. And to think that a small, evolutionary adjustment could have spared us all from the embarrassment of the 80s.

Not that I'm saying it wouldn't bother me if I lost mine, but that's only because everyone else would still have theirs. Think about it. If everyone else was hairless, and you had hair, I have to believe that would be a worse situation, because I am pretty sure that other humans would hunt you down and kill you because you freaked them right the hell out.

So anyway, near as I can tell, while I can't deny that the hair in the shower drain comes from me, I can confidently say that it isn't coming from my pre-existing hair, because I don't seem to be missing any.

My current theory is that the heat from the shower triggers some sort of recessive lycanthrope gene from my mother's italian side, and it causes me to sprout hair only while I'm in the shower. Since the recessive gene is obviously defective, this quick growing hair has a weak root structure, so it instantly falls out.

It's the only explanation.


This could be a weekly thing, baby.

Sometimes, the humor creates itself. Sitemeter hasn't been letting me down in the google/msn searches that end up hitting my blog, so I've decided that I'm going to try to post the funniest ones on a weekly basis. Without further ado, I present:

Fantastic Google Searches That Somehow Pointed People To My Site

people dump stanky garbage bags on me - See, the problem with this search is that it needs to be qualified. Do you want people to start doing this, or stop doing this? You need to add either "How to stop" or "How to get" to the front of this search in order to really find what you need. Otherwise, you'll end up at my site. Not because I offer either one of these services, although for the right price, it can be arranged. If you're just walking down the street and random strangers keep dumping stanky bags of garbage on you, that is seriously effed up. Maybe it's your attitude. Try smiling more.

bigfoot things for sale - Again, too non-specific. Let's assume that you are looking for bigfoot-related merchandise. That's all well and good. However, are you looking to buy stuff that Sasquatch no longer needs, or are you looking for monster truck parts? Because truthfully, I don't think Sasquatch has much in the way of material possessions. Just a guess.

how to make a cat puke - Oddly enough, they pretty much do this on their own. All the time, in fact. Go look for your cat. In the time it took you to type in this search and get results, I'm sure he's puked somewhere. Check stuff with velcro, or stuff that cost you a lot of money. In my experience, they love to puke on both those things.

why do teenage girls appeal to older men? - Why indeed. First off, this was obviously not typed by an older man. If you're an older man, you already know. I am willing to bet that this was typed by older man's older wife, because older man got caught looking at that nubile young 19- year-old blonde in the shorty tee-shirt and low-rider jeans they passed at the mall on their way to CVS. Now let me share some insights and thoughts on this topic with you, older man's wife. Teenage girls appeal to older men because (1) they're freakin' HOT, and also because (2) they're not you. If you've let yourself go and become twice the woman you were when you got married, you might want to work on that. And stop with the nagging already.

staggering drunk loser husband - This one was also not typed by an older man. Or any man, for that matter. I am assuming here that you already know this about your husband. So, as before, you need to be more specific. Try adding one of the following phrases to the beginning:

(1) how do I kill my
(2) how do I sober up my
(3) how do I get a teenage girl for my

free camel's foot pics - There's two possibilities here. One, you're actually looking for camel toe. Toe. T.O.E. Not foot, for chrissake. The other, somehow scarier possibility is that you knew exactly what you were searching for. If that were the case, I can't even imagine what sort of lame fetishist websites you got with that search. I hope you learned your lesson. Next time don't be so cheap. For high-quality camel foot pics, you need to pay. Don't ask me how I know.

what's all the hype about anal sex? - Call me out of touch, but I was unaware of said hype. This search cracked me up mostly because of the way it's phrased. It sounds like something said in a casual conversation while standing in line at the supermarket. "Marie! Hi! How's Bill? The kids? Jeannie starts college soon, doesn't she? Hey, there's something I've been meaning to ask you. What's all the hype about anal sex?"

Johnny's room of sex - "Ma'am, did you sign in? Great, thanks. Now, just head on down the hall, and when you get to the end, take a left. Just look for the door with the love beads hanging in front of it. That's the one you want. Listen for Lifehouse's CD, No Name Face. The door should be open. Just head right on in. If you hear Barry White, you've gone too far. That room belongs to Special Dark. Take my advice and don't go in there. You'll just end up pregnant. No, seriously. I've heard he doesn't even have to touch you for it to happen. OK, have fun! See you in 5!"

drag addicted people of bangladesh - Ah, those Bangladeshians. Can't get enough of the transvestites. It's a national problem, but I don't think they're going to be able to solve it. That whole "War on Drags" program is a total joke.

no sorry its not peanutbutter jelly time, its nap time and u won't be needing that baseball bat -
The oddest things about this one are: (1) that they typed it in at all, and (2) that my blog is the top hit.


Hey Sarge! Can I borrow your lion for a sec?

OK. Read this and try not to laugh:

ABC's Jake Tapper on November 14 offered a long report on two Iraqi men who said they were beaten, tortured and sexually humiliated by American forces. But CNN's Tom Foreman, in a story on the same two men shown the next night on Anderson Cooper 360, found a number of "strange" elements to their story, including claims by one of the men that American soldiers tormented him with lions.

Yes, you read that right.

Tormented Him With Lions.

Seriously, shoddy media research methods aside, who taught these guys how to lie? They're obviously not very good at it.

On the other hand, I do have to admit that when I really want to intimidate someone into sharing some good intel, I reach for a lion every time.

Sometimes it's the only thing that will do the trick.


Space....the final front-bumper

So I'm driving home today, and something occurs to me. As I am wont to do, I explore this thought for the hour or so I am in the car. The thought process that led to this revelation went something like this:

"Get off my ass, dickhead."

and then, two seconds later:

"Jesus, buddy. Pick up the pace, will ya? People have places to be for god’s sake."

It was then that this particular vehicular theory occurred to me. It seems that all this time, I have had a “zone” around my car. We'll call this the JV zone, or JVZ for short.

The JVZ extends a certain distance to the front of my car, to both sides, and also to the rear. The JVZ expands and contracts to a great extent based upon many different criteria -- including speed, weather conditions, traffic level, my mood, and the relative stupidity and/or assholishness of surrounding drivers.

So assume that on the way home today I was doing 75-80 mph. Yes, I know this is over the speed limit, but unless I want to be brutally corn-holed by an 18 wheeler, this is the speed at which I am forced to travel if I want to be in either of the outer two lanes. I could stay in the far right lane, but then I have to contend with 3-wheeled solar vehicles, funky-lookin' slow ass hybrids, dump trucks, rustbucket '71 Winnebagos with 17 bikes strapped to the back, and all those pesky exits and the various people wanting to get to them.

So anyway, assuming that I approach this insane speed on a dry, smooth highway, the JVZ extends roughly 2 car lengths to the front and back of my car. I realize that this is not even close to the amount of space necessary to allow me to avoid a collision if some catastrophic event occurs -- for example, if the driver in front of me sees an accident on the other side of the highway, gets a cell phone call or hates that shitty Celine Dion song, but that's what I work with, because nobody will respect my wishes for a larger JVZ.

Also assuming that I'm not the only one with a Zone, we run into a very serious problem. I call this problem Zone Overlap.

Consider this: You’re driving along, respecting your zone when suddenly, you nearly drive up the ass of some numbnut going 55 in the fast lane. You immediately encroach on his zone. You can’t help it, because he is abusing his driving privileges, and his zone. BUT -- you are still thinking of it as your zone, and this tortoise-driving mofo is in your way. He is compressing your zone, pushing it back into your face. You are not thinking of it as his zone – it is yours.

Now think about this. Out of necessity, you slow down. You shout obscenities, you wave fingers, you yell at this clueless nutsack through multiple layers of safety glass and an 80 mph air gap. What you don’t immediately realize is that simultaneously, something else happens, and that something else is this:

The guy behind you begins compacting your rear zone directly into your anus.

This is because he is thinking of it as his zone, and you are inconsiderately pushing it into back into his face. You can see the problems this causes. Anger, harsh words, more finger gestures. And, if you’re in California, quite possibly gunfire.

The other situation that routinely occurs is that you are driving along – again, respecting your zone – when some jerkoff decides he wants to be in between you and the guy in front of you, even though your zone spacing clearly dictates that there isn’t enough room for him to be there. He cuts in, and your zone is instantly full of his annoying ass. Not only did he just steal most of your front zone, he also just stole most of the rear zone of the guy in front of you. He is soundly bombarded by profanity from both directions. Most of the time, he doesn’t give a shit. He is, for lack of a better term, a Bozone. He respects nothing. He obviously deserves a long, painful death, because he does not understand the zen of zone.

Your safest bet at this point is to increase your zone spacing, extract your own zone from deep within your nasal cavities, push the zone of the guy behind you out of your anal cavities, and continue driving, all the while wishing a serious and immediate telephone pole wrapping on the penis-head who just completely raped your carefully prepped and maintained zone.

As I said, this is the safest bet. However, this is not normally what happens. Normally, what happens is that you push your zone so far up the ass of the jerk that cut you off that your zone is actually completely eclipsing his zone, and quite possibly started well up the anus of the guy in front of him. I am in no way recommending this, but I can tell you that it happens, and it happens frequently, so stay alert. All of this is the stuff that 20 car pile-ups are made of.

I’m not even going to get into discussing the side zones, and the people who insist upon finding your blind spot and then suctioning themselves there like a lamprey eel on the side of a great white.

I’m really not sure how to wrap this up, other than to say this:

Respect my fucking zone. For everyone’s sake.


Christmas Wishes

Anyone who knows me knows that I just love to hear what the people in Hollywood have to say on every topic from politics to world hunger. In fact, I wouldn't know what to do or how to act if it wasn't for the opinions of my favorite stars. With that in mind, here are a few things I would love to hear my close friends in the movie and music industries say this holiday season:

The Dixie Chicks - "You know what, you guys? We finally, like, understand how the first amendment actually works. Linda Ronstadt explained it to us. You're not going to believe this, but it doesn't actually mean we can say anything we want without fear of repercussions or consequences. It just means that we can say anything we want without fear of repercussions or consequences from the government. Yeah, I know! Linda didn't know either at first."

George Clooney - "Hey guys, I'm just an actor. What the hell do I really know about politics anyway? Think about it -- my job is to memorize and parrot back words written by other people. How mentally taxing can that really be? In another time, we'd all be jesters and jugglers."

Sean Penn & Bono -
Penn: "We talked it over, and we just would like to say that we're sorry we act like total douchebags most of the time. We realize we have this messiah-complex thing going on, but we'll try harder in the coming year."

Bono: "Seriously, I am God. It's not a complex."

Penn [clears throat]: "Like I said, we'll try, but no promises. I have anger management issues. No! Jesus, Bono! Get the hell away from my microphone! No, I'm not done yet - You are such a DICK. You know, I should kick your ass for that, you pretentious, one-named asshole."

Bono: "Do not make me smite thee."

Penn: "Come get some."

[fighting sounds erupt]
Michael Moore - "I think this year I will make an actual documentary. One that doesn't use misleading edits to distort the facts and push my simple-minded agenda. I think I will also cut down to one box of doughnuts a day. No, really. That should be easy. A piece of cake. Hey, did someone mention cake?"

Rosie O'Donnell - "Yes, I realize that some people think I'm a fat, abrasive, loudmouth lesbian with an opinion on everything, regardless of whether I actually know something about it or not. In the coming year, I will try harder to be a fat, abrasive, loudmouth lesbian who keeps my mouth shut if I have no effing idea what I'm talking about."

Barbara Streisand - "This is the year I move to Europe. I promise. Really. I'm going. I swear. Jeeves, bring my mobile pooper around and take me to the airport."

Ben Affleck - "This year, I will make a really good movie. I will never again make another really bad movie just for the money. I will also be very careful to not date any women with names that could be easily joined to "Ben" by the tabloids, because that's just plain annoying for everyone."

Tom Cruise - "I renounce that crazy-assed religion I belonged to, and challenge Travolta to a duel -- to the death."

I'm not holding my breath here, but one can hope, right?


It's time to play "Name That Granular Substance!"

Study this closely:

OK, time's up. Is this unnamed substance:

1. That nasty smelling shit they use to soak up puke in schools and amusement parks.

2. Clumping cat litter.

3. Something you throw on icy sidewalks to provide traction.

4. Diazinon Grub Killer.

5. Quadro-Triticale

6. Some sort of really expensive, stone-ground, 7-grain hot cereal that my wife mail-orders from some place in East Bumfuck, Central USA.

Yeah, you guessed it. It smells like a pot of boiling popsicle sticks when it's cooking.


Now you see him....

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - The trial of Saddam Hussein, held up on Wednesday when the ousted Iraqi president refused to appear, was about to resume around 1:45 p.m. (1045 GMT), court officials indicated.

They told reporters covering the trial to take up their seats in the court after a delay of several hours.

"Refused to appear?" How is this even possible? Does he suddenly have the power of invisibility or something?

Just knock him over and drag him into the courtroom by his leg irons if you have to. Jesus.


Another childhood memory - destroyed.

I walked over to the soda machine today, and on the counter next to the machine was a small stash of leftover Halloween candy. One of the candies caught my eye because it was orange. Since I'm a Reese's peanut butter cup whore, I checked it out. No such luck. However, buried under these sour candies that tasted exactly like bathroom cleaning chemicals smell (yes, I tried one) I found a small piece of my childhood. When I moved the pile of misleading orange crap out of the way, I found these:

I couldn't believe my eyes. I had no idea they even still made them. I quickly snagged the two packages that were left, and felt like I just won the lottery. Who can forget First it's Candy, Then it's Gum! This was going to be great.

I got them back to my desk and examined my stash more closely. These were the tiny little Halloween packs, so I was disappointed to see that each pack held exactly two Razzles. I quickly opened one and popped two in my mouth, and was instantly transported back to the days of my -- no. Sweet Jesus. What is this? This was not the delicious, heaven sent joy of my youth. This was a bullet train to Gag Central Station.

Clearly, something was wrong with these Razzles. Not only did they have the taste and chalk-like consistency of fruit-flavored Tums, they seemed to be made entirely of sugar.

They crumbled in my mouth, and a battle of my oral reflexes erupted. First it's Candy, Then it's Gum! The problem here is that once you chew them and they disintegrate in your mouth, you have all you can do to not swallow them. I kept trying to think about the "then it's gum!" part, but it was too difficult. I had a mouthful of sugary spit, and my tongue was doing a mad dance trying to identify and separate each little piece of chalky remnant from the sweet puddle. What I really needed to do was spit this mouthful of shit into a coffee filter. That was the only way I was getting any gum out of this.

I stopped struggling against my body's natural instincts and just swallowed it.

The drawback to doing this, of course, is that it becomes gum in a place you really can't thoroughly enjoy gum.

Hmmm. Now I was sick to my stomach. This whole Razzle experience, while extremely unpleasant, warranted further exploration. Luckily, I had a second pack. The scientific method has never failed me. I would get to the bottom of this, but it would have to wait.

When I got home, I took the remaining two Razzles out of their package, and examined them closely. As you can see here, they haven't changed at all over the years:

These two happened to be blue, and I believe this signifies that they were the flavor "Blue" which is a favorite of kids all over the world.

I flipped them over, and could see from the stress cracks and chips that they had the consistency of dried plaster. Using a microscope, I was able to identify and isolate the major ingredients:

That's right. 99.97% pure blue sugar, and just .03% actual gum molecules. It's no wonder the magical transformation was so difficult to accomplish.

I was determined, however. As God is my witness, I would turn this candy into gum. I am nothing if not a modern-day alchemist.

I swallowed a bunch of times, used a paper towel to soak up any excess moisture in my mouth, and I popped them in. I chewed quickly, breathing through my nose. They were indeed blue flavor. One of my favorites.

Once they were properly masticated, I allowed a small amount of saliva to enter the chamber (yes, I have that kind of control. I'm a scientist, after all) and Eureka!

I had gum.

Granted, it was completely devoid of flavor, and it had the texture and consistency of candle wax, but it was gum -- A massive quantity of gum:

From my experiments, I have determined that you would have to eat about 40 Razzles at once to get the equivalent of a single piece of bubble gum. By that time, you would be in a sugar coma, and blue dye would be leaching through your cheek skin.

So needless to say, Razzles are no longer on my "Best Candies of My Childhood" list. I cannot believe I used to eat these disgusting chunks of sugar-chalk. Seriously, Tums taste better. I also spent the better part of a half hour spitting out little tiny pieces of something that looked like blue plastic.

Be sure to tune in next week, when we determine exactly what you are ingesting when you eat wax lips.

I don't know how this is even allowed by law, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it might be actual wax.


The sort of Christmas catalogs I get.

Holy crap.

Seriously, what happens if you're naughty?

"Tell you what, Timmy. Since you were good that one day last summer, I'll give you a head start."


Caterpillar Roulette

“Push it, I dare ya,” Markie said.

“No way. You push it,” The Snitch replied. “Besides, what if it starts?”

“It's not gonna start.”

“I dunno,” The Snitch replied doubtfully. “The button says START right on it. ‘Sides, we might get in trouble.”

“For doin’ what?” Markie asked. “Who’s gonna know? If it starts, we just take off.”

“He’s not gonna push it,” I said. “He’s chicken.”

“I’m NOT a chicken,” The Snitch said, shooting me a dirty look. “And I don’t see YOU pushin’ any buttons,” he added.

He had a point.

I looked at Markie.

I’ll push it if you do,” he said, then smirked. “But I ain’t goin’ first.”

I took a single, nervous step toward the bulldozer.

I looked around. There was nobody in the woods but us. It was a Sunday, and all the workers were gone. The week before, they had started construction in our woods. They were building a road -- the road that would eventually be lined with new houses. The road that meant the end of our woods, our fields, the big hill, the end of...well....of everything.

“OK. Here goes.” I said, resting my finger on the big red button on the side of the massive diesel engine.

“Do it,” Markie whispered, the excitement in his voice barely contained.

I pressed it slowly, until it clicked home.

The dozer made a sickeningly loud RRRRR-RRRRRR! noise, and lurched. I instantly yanked my hand away from the button, as if I had been burned.

“Holy crap, it moved!” I said, looking at Markie. “Maybe you'd better not. I think it’s in gear.”

“So what?” he said. “A deal’s a deal. I’ll still push it, but Snitch is goin’ after me.” He grinned evilly as another thought occurred to him. “Then we go around again,” he added.

Over Snitch’s loud protestations, he reached out and quickly pushed the button. It made the same Rrrr-Rrrr sound -- only shorter this time -- and lurched forward another foot.

“It’s your turn,” Markie said to The Snitch. “You gonna do it?”

No way,” The Snitch said. “You guys can’t make me.”

We could, and we did. Somewhere between calling him a yellow-bellied chicken-liver, a wimp and any other name we could come up with to indicate the length and width of the yellow stripe going down his spineless back, he caved. In those days, peer pressure was an unstoppable force.

“OK! I’ll do it, just cut it out!” The Snitch yelled at us, his eyes beginning to water. He wouldn’t cry though. He knew if he did, we would never let him live it down.

He wiped his eyes, then stepped toward the dozer. He snapped his arm out and slapped the start button like he was slapping at a mosquito or a fly. The engine made a clicking sound, and the dozer didn’t move at all.

Markie snorted. “Do over. That didn’t count.”

“Do over? No way! I pushed it! You guys saw me!”

“You didn’t barely touch it!” Markie said. “It didn’t count. Do it again.” He looked at me for confirmation.

“Yeah, you hardly touched it,” I agreed reluctantly. “Give it a real push this time. Don’t just smack at it.”

The Snitch reached out and pushed it harder. The engine made the Rrrr-Rrrr-Rrrr sound, lurched forward a good two feet, then backfired. We all jumped, and The Snitch let out a little yelp as a single, dirty puff of black smoke belched out of the stack.

“HOLY JEEZ!” Markie said, wide-eyed. “I think it almost started!” He looked at me expectantly. He was clearly hoping it would actually start. “Your turn,” he said.

I was scared shitless. “I dunno,” I said doubtfully. “It almost started.”

“I know,” he replied, a wild look in his eyes. “Wouldn’t that be sooo cool?”

I had seen that look before. It was the same look he always got right before things went up in flames, exploded, collapsed, disintegrated, or otherwise went south in a major way.

I stood there for a second, doing nothing, deciding my next move. I had two choices – push it or don’t push it. The first choice had two possible outcomes. If it didn’t start, it was Markie’s turn again, and I was off the hook. If it did start, well..it was best not to dwell on that possibility too deeply. The other, much less palatable choice was to do nothing at all. If I refused my turn, I would look like a coward. I was torn.

“What’r you... chicken?” Markie asked.

That was all I needed to hear.

Before I could change my mind, I reached out and slammed the button, holding it in. The bulldozer lurched forward and I took a few steps to keep up with it. The engine clattered, backfired, then roared to life. We stood there, motionless and slack-jawed, as the driver-less bulldozer trundled toward the woods.

We had absolutely no idea what to do -- none of us had actually expected it to take off running. There was no way we could jump on it, and even if we did manage to get on it somehow, we had no idea how to shut it down.

When the bulldozer reached the woods and plowed over a small stand of good-sized saplings, it was like someone flipped a switch in our heads.

Markie yelled, “RUN!!” and instantly bolted for the road. We followed a split second later. I ran faster than I had ever run in my life, before or since. We ran until the bulldozer’s noisy diesel was eclipsed by the sound of our Chuck Taylor All-Stars slapping the ground, our ragged breathing and our pounding hearts. Through the Mohr’s backyard, across the street to Mary Nelson’s house and along the fence to the pond trail, we ran. When we were physically incapable of running any farther, we collapsed on the grassy bank on the far side of the pond, all gulping air and shaking legs. We sat there for few moments to catch our breath and digest what had just happened.

The Snitch spoke first, looking at Markie. “We gotta tell somebody.” he said. You could actually see the normal, almost expected, after-job Snitch-paranoia surfacing. I could never figure out why the hell we even brought him with us, other than the fact that he was my brother, and you had to make certain allowances.

He was clearly beginning to flip out. “Oh jeez. Oh jeez, you guys. What're we gonna do?”

Markie went ballistic. “Do? Are you freakin’ nuts? Nothin’ is what we do. If we even say a word to a grownup, we’ll be in so much trouble you wouldn’t believe. We don’t say nothin, we don’t do nothin." He paused, then leaned closer to The Snitch. “An’ if you tell, you’re dead meat.” He put the period on the end of his sentence by giving The Snitch a knuckle punch in the arm. The Snitch said, "OW! That hurt, you...you....asshole!" He had just learned that one. He looked over at me for back up. Younger brother or not, he wasn’t getting any support along those lines from my corner. The punch was just added insurance.

“Yeah, an’ besides, you pushed it too,” I said. “Twice.” I didn't bring up the fact that I was the one that actually started it. I needed to make it abundantly clear that he was in this as deep as we were. He was a teller, there was no question about that -- but he mostly responded well to logic. All we had to do was get him to see it our way, and after a long session of reason alternating with threats of physical harm, he finally did. He reluctantly agreed that, in this instance anyway, silence and not honesty was probably the best policy.

Sitting there on the grassy bank, looking out over the stagnant, tea-stained water, we made a pact. Markie and I threatened The Snitch with bodily injury one last time - just to make sure - then we all did a pinky swear.

We vowed to Never Speak of This Incident Again.

And as far as I know, none of us ever did.

Well….until now, anyway.

Sorry, you guys. I was out of material.


Another IM conversation with Yort goes horribly wrong.

Yort: It's not looking like i'll be getting an x-box 360 this week.
Me: I didn't know you planned on getting one.
Yort: you never listen anymore.
Me: I thought it was just console lust.
Yort: i'm going to mother's.
Me: take that damn dog with you.
Yort: it's your damn dog.
Me: Hey, I didn't ASK for a dog for Christmas.
Yort: you hinted around hard enough.
Me: Yeah, learn the difference between a German Shepherd and a Pekingese, you stupid bitch.

I don't know why it happens. It just does.

Some other miscellaneous crap while I think of something to post:

1. How ridiculous are those hubcaps that keep spinning after the car stops? I saw a set of those again on the way home. Every time I see them, I want to stop their glittery rotation using the driver's face. Damn, those things annoy me.

2. Speaking of bad ideas, I wished I had my camera with me yesterday. I stopped at the store on the way home, and when I came out there was a giant, 4x4 purple hearse parked next to me. My car was dwarfed by this thing. I have no idea why someone would put actual time and money into doing this. It boggles my mind. It looked exactly like this except it was bright purple.

3. I sent an e-mail to my brother the genius scientist. He got a new job and is moving to Boston, but I thought his last day was the 5th. Apparently not, because I got this auto-reply:

Hi All,

I am no longer with Bristol-Myers Squibb. I enjoyed my time here greatly, and hope you will all keep in contact. I have gone to Boston to pursue RNA interference therapies with Alnylam.


I'm not exactly sure what that means, but I think it may have something to do with a warrior-prince and some sort of epic quest.