Bottles & Cans: A tribute to inanimate objects

This blog promises to be the poorest excuse for a blog that was ever blogged. It will be the stuff of mediocre wet dreams that feature women that are in some way distantly related to you. It will be a daily train wreck that no one can stop but all will enjoy, except of course the passengers of the daily train. I don't know what all this means, but it will take shape over time. Or not.

Location: North Carolina, United States

I raise killer dogs and bees in a caring and nurturing environment. I like children and old people, but not their smells. I alternate between sitting, moving, and sleeping. My dreams are to be successful at something I love without having to work very hard, marry a wonderful woman, have children, grow old and watch them blossom into morons, retire, and somewhere along the way cultivate a deep interest in some insignificant hobby - let's say model trains.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Sickness - Day II: The Deathening

I was complaining to a buddy last night that I wasn't going to be able to meet my deadlines at work because I was home sick with a monster fever. Delirious. "I won't be able to write anything that's not crap." said delirious. "Not that I don't usually write crap, but this crap will have snot and death on it. 'Death Crap: A novel in three parts.'"

"Arrrrr, 'tis not the truth," he shot back. "I'd bet - nay - twice bet my arse that the folly brought on by yer fever will give you writing better than e'er you thought thinkable." (My friend is a retarded pirate)

So yeah, guess what this is? Proof. Proof that I was right and that my pirate friend was wrong. For the rest of the day I'll write down every delirious thought I have and I'll show you and the pirate just how much snotty writing can snot.

12:26 p.m. / Temp: 102.1
My dog howls at the yard all day. There's nothing out there exciting, that I can see anyway. But all day it's ear splitting coon dog howling. I wonder if it's always like this when I'm away at work. I bet my neighbors want to take down my dog. It has to drive them nuts. One day a little kid from the neighborhood walked by while I was outside. "Man, you're dog CRAZY!" he informed me. I nodded.

I've always enjoyed the howls, honestly. They're so awkward and ignorant and loudly wrong. Sometimes they remind me of myself. No, strike that. They remind me of the President.

2:53 p.m. / Temp: 101.6
Chicken breaded in potato chips? Has to be good.

3:34 p.m. / Temp: 101.8
It was. Delicious.

4:12 p.m. / Temp: 101.5
If one more person tells me to go heavy on the fluids I'm going fluid all over their couch. I mean, it's instinctive. When sick, you get very dehydrated. You become compelled to drink. It is known as "thirst." I would like to meet the idiot who would sit around saying, "I have a fever and I'm sweaty and I'm really really thirsty and I would like nothing more than some water. But you know what, my friend? I'm gonna give the nay-no to this urge. I think I know my body better than my body knows my body." When I meet him we will exchange business cards and I will manage his famous horse who can recite the tax code in stomps. I will make 15 points on personal appearances and 20 points on all television or theatrical performances. In big time Hollywood horse managing it's always about the points.

After the horse's owner dies of complications surrounding dehydration brought on by the flu, I will inherit the horse and turn it into a successful chain of family-style restaurants called "Li'l Stampy's Glue and Cheesecake Factory." Stampy, of course, will work the register and keep the books.

So, to answer your question, yes I am making sure to stay properly hydrated. I'm downing water and O.J. like there's no tomorrow. If people wanted to give me good advice maybe they could tell me not to put whisky in the water or vodka in the O.J. (Which I am not. I'm putting vodka in the whisky)

4:50 p.m. / Temp: 101.1
Puppetry is an under-appreciated art. I've been walking the Mexican marionette, Senor Pantalones, around the house. I've introduced him to the dog, the television, and the cactus. He befowled the dog, shot the T.V. and had relations with the cactus. He really brings a room to life through his fake acts of perverseness. Plus he always has free tacos. I love puppetry.

5:04 p.m. / Temp: 100.7
Christmas made me sick! I knew it was acting suspicious this year.

5:11 p.m. / Temp: 100.6
Socialism is a good idea in theory, but when faced with the innate greed and laziness of humans, it is doomed to fail in practice. Plus McDonald's french fries.

6:11 p.m. / Temp: 102.4
Freezing. Burning. Hot. Cold. Pass out on rug. Drive blindly to the store. The problem with illness is its instability. If it would just stick to one constant, even misery we might actually be able to adjust to it and enjoy the time off. Why, God, whhyyyy?! Why can't "contagious" be as sexy as it sounds!?! [Note to self, invent something that makes people get naked and call it "Contagious."] Anyway... I just read what's here so far and it is pretty silly and lame. I think I've proven my point, and now I'm stopping. This idea was retarded - which reminds me of a pirate I know.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

The Gift of Liquor

It’s that time of year. Jingle bells. Santa Clause. Mistletoe. Fights in toy stores. And last, but should be first, and then last again, and then some more at the after-party - lots and lots of condoned social drinking. Am I right, or am I right? Or am I right? (high five)

Well, I just looked at my watch… and I’m right. It’s Christmas. This is the one time of year (besides of course St. Patrick’s Day, Halloween, Birthdays, National Talk Like a Pirate Day and Fridays) that adults find it socially acceptable to exchange the best gift of all gifts. The gift that one person gifts to another in hopes of receiving a gift of equal or greater proof – the gift of liquor.

I was caught off guard by this customary practice of one adult giving another adult the gift of libations. I was used to it in college.


“Yo Rooster, I know it’s not your birthday or Pirate Day or nothin, and it’s only like… oh man, can’t read my Timex. Looks like… hmmm… 37 gla’clock. That can’t be right. That's neither a time, nor a measurement of time… But hey, that don’t matter cus’ it’s beer o’clock on this meridian, jerk, and I got you a present. Know what I’m sayin’? (high five)”

[end flashback]

But in the professional world I expected Christmas exchanges to consist of day planners and slide rulers and junk like that. Wasn’t I pleasantly surprised to open my coworker’s Secret Santa present and find an array of miniature bottles of liquor? Wasn’t I? Well? Wasn't I?? Yes I was!

It seems booze is a mainstay of mature gift giving. And I’ve got to say, it’s one that I whole-heartedly support. The corporate world has got this one right. They missed the boat on business casual Fridays. That just shows us how comfortable it would feel to work in a less restrictive environment, and how Big-Debbie in payroll looks in a halter top (lumpy). And profit sharing… give me a break. I see what’s going down around “work.” It’s more like profit tearing. HAHAHAHAHA… tearing. I am a card. But seriously, encouraging the gift of liquor, that shit’s a stroke of genius.

What says I care about you *strictly as a coworker* more than giving the magical liquid that allows one to forget about their job, entirely? It truly is the perfect stocking stuffer. Think about it.

A) It comes pre-wrapped in a beautiful brown paper bag that tells the world, “Get out of my way. I’m drinking out of a paper bag!”

B) There is a liquor for every personality: Whiskey, for the men. Scotch, for the discerning man/rich drunk. Vodka, for the ladies. Tequila, for crazy Mexicans. And gin, for... gin sucks.

C) It’s the gift that keeps on giving. Depending on the volume of the bottle and the proof, liquor can last from three to one hours. But the stories. Oh, the stories last an eternity. "Man, that one time when you got wasted an grabbed that girl's ass and then she maced your ass and then you were like throwing punches blindly and hit that ass cop and he arrested our ass. That was great. I’ll never forget that ass. (high five)"

This being said, if you haven’t finished your last minute shopping, walk yourself down to the liquor store and pick up a few bottles of the cheap stuff. Then poor that into empty bottles of the good stuff, slap a bow on that bad boy and let the good times flow! Laissez le bon urinez du temps, mon gant ivre de four. But don’t drive there. You’re drunk.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Chad S. Brice Tells Tales Out of School... er... work.

Today we have a very special treat for you all (as long as you think stories about inner-office inside jokes that you don’t fully get are special treats). B&C staff writer and reigning poet laureate, Chad S. Brice, has deviated from his normal tome of mediocre lyrical verse to bring us a true story of an office miracle.

“What miracle?” you may ask. Well I’m glad you asked. It is the miracle of making fun of sweet, confused old ladies. This is a story as old as time, and as new as last week. This is a story of the impudence of youth versus the bewilderment of age. This time I think I’m pulling for the old lady to kick Chad S. Brice’s wise-ass white ass. But we will see who wins in heaven.

So without further ado… here is the enthralling and edifying story of youthful indiscretion. (HaHa… Chad’s impudent)

Old mother Dumberd
By chad S. Brice

Office jokes often grow into an elaborate conglomerate of coincidences that result in an extremely funny prank at someone’s expense. The following story is how comedy can be a product of genius as well as stupidity. I wanted to lighten the mood of the blog since it had taken on a self-loathing tone. I know that all involved in its production are capable of similar greatness. Unlike most comedy productions, we here at Bottles and Cans do recommend that you try these things at home or work or school or in public (preferably drunk).

This story begins with a very menial task given to a group of new hires at a psychiatric research center. The group of three was instructed to find pictures of children making different expressions to be used in therapy sessions. We will call our heroes Suzie, Donnie and me. Magazines and scissors were provided for the task, but these recent college grads turned to a much stronger tool. They knew the power of GOOOOOGLE!!!! During their search, many strange pictures were found. One that was debated, both for its appropriateness for a surprised face and for its humor, was saved.

This picture did not make the cut for being used in the therapy boxes, but it was exhibited in one female research assistant’s office for a short time. When questioned, Suzie claimed that the picture was of her and Donnie’s office lovechild. This is the part where I sing the old Motown song, “Lovechild.” This joke ran for a while until the picture was taken down for its inappropriateness. It often resurfaced on website and newspaper ad prototypes as filler where other unattained photos should go. The lovechild eventually became known to an enclave of the center revolving around a certain anxiety study.

Months passed and the lovechild remained unseen for many of them. In December, the entire center (including those who were unfamiliar with the lovechild) gathered for the annual work Christmas party. There was a “White Elephant” gift exchange and a big covered dish luncheon. I ran the gift exchange and made sure that people played by the rules. I got a bottle of wine, Donnie got a toy and an Abraham Lincoln tree ornament and Suzie got a stuffed snowman holding a picture frame. This is when the lovechild resurfaced. Donnie suggested that the lovechild be honored in the frame in Suzie’s office once again. The image was enlarged to fit the frame and all who saw it were struck with laughter.

This is where the story takes a turn. My office had been in close proximity to the sweet, backstabbing older lady who loves nothing more than a baby or a puppy. She has collected dozens of pictures of the children and dogs of office employees. She spends many of her work hours adoring them. She often will draw attention to pictures that have been there for years and that she has pointed out already at least a dozen times. She also often sends presents and tattle-tale emails. She is perplexingly sweet and evil and is not to be trusted. Let’s call her Vendetta.

I felt it unfair to hoard the lovechild and not to share his joy with the rest of the office building. I had another copy printed of the little guy. I found a spot on her door that was void of pictures, right between a newborn and my dog with a small child. This spot happened to be in the dead center of the door. Within the next ten minutes of the picture being posted, the following email was sent to the entire building.

A picture of a very cute little baby appeared on my door while I was out. Who would like to claim this little cutie? Reason I ask is, so many people ask who's who when they look at my door.




I immediately received emails and phone calls, because everyone knew that Vendetta and I were on thin ice to begin with and I was obviously the culprit. Instead of being angry, I received applause and suggestions for follow-up. Many believed that the email should go untouched, but others believed that the identity of the child as Donnie and Suzie’s would send Vendetta into shock. I would like advice from the group on how to optimize an already funny situation.

[Editor’s Note] B&C does not condone sending old ladies into moral shock. We do condone “love children.” We also condone Abraham Lincoln ornaments, Taco Bell fire sauce on breakfast biscuits, Odor Eaters Insoles, and mocking small children. As for advice for Chad’s situation, we condone Vendetta kicking his ass.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

The Word of God

Today finds me theological. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s the Sabbath. Maybe it’s the fact that today, on the Sabbath, I went to church for the first time in a long time. Maybe it’s the fact that after church I talked theology over lunch with the preacher. Or maybe it’s the fact that I’m wearing a sweater and a scarf, and people who wear sweaters and scarves are supposed to think about stuff like God and politics - and not about things like “Why does my dog always fart in the car?”

So today on B&C I am going to tackle the issue of God. I know what you’re thinking... “What is he thinking!?” but bear with me and let’s see if this doesn’t do us both some good. This won’t come down heavy handed. I promise to keep it light and breezy and even a little bit sleazy. It’ll be a blast. After all, it is the religious time of year. ‘Tis the season to ponder bigger issues than simply, “What in the world am I gonna get your girlfriend for Christmas that she doesn’t already have and still actually needs?” Or, “Why am I buying presents for your girlfriend?”

I think I’ll start this off with a personal story. Kind of like a sermon… just like a sermon. This is a sermon. Excuse me while I climb the steps to my pulpit. Step-step-step-step-step-step-step-step (it’s one of those tall pulpits) -step-step-step-step Twelve steps. HaHa. I couldn’t resist. OK, let us bow our heads.

About two years ago, on another foray into church, I had an epiphany. No, I’m not a prophet, so don’t go trying to touch my robes and sandals. I can’t cure your acne. I just had a sort of moment of clarity. In one instance I thought I had it pretty much figured out.

With the thought fresh in my mind, I grabbed a piece of paper from the attendance slip holder on the back of the pew – slips of paper that I formerly used for making paper airplanes and drawing crude likenesses of placid beaches, complete with man eating sharks. Which, I guess, makes them not so placid beaches, but none the less a nice place to take a picnic. But I digress. I jotted down the essence of my moment’s clarity as best I could. Then I put this slip of paper into my pocket so I could take it home and keep it in a safe place. I have since lost the paper. But I still remember the essence of its essence.

In essence, I realized that we each come to an understanding of God in our own way. This seems like a no-brainer to the more thoughtful of us. But for the less thoughtful, like Southern Baptists and others who only allow themselves to consider religious texts - like The Bible - in a strict, literal sense, this is a big and blasphemous step. What I mean by my assertion is simple. We all think differently, viewing reality in distinct ways, and we must use our own realities to explain the unexplainable. OK, maybe it’s not very simple. Maybe I would benefit from the use of parables. That’s a time tested method of success.

My father, for example, is very mathematically minded and analytical. He is in good company in his assertion that the basis of all the universe can be explained by mathematic theory. He looks at the order of things, and the sheer odds that patterns crop up so often out of seeming chaos, as an indication of a larger design. And then, in the instances where patterns and physical laws can not explain the Universal order of things, we find the indeterminate space where a outside force is at work. In a drastic simplification of his views, he believes that God exists in the unseen crevices of black holes and in between the particles of particles of atomic parts and particles.

I, on the other hand, suck at math. I like words. When faced with the daunting task of passing at least one college level math class I chose to take symbolic logic. This is the study of sound arguments, using letters and words instead of numbers. (I made one of my only A’s, woo hoo!) It is out of this study, along with thousands of dollars worth of other rhetoric and wordicious classes, that my scribblings on the back of the church attendance slip emerged.

I came to see God as a writer. I don’t mean he penned the book of the Mormons. That stuff’s crazy. I think he writes in much more broad strokes. So, here’s my argument just like I jotted it.

Premise A: We are animals capable of symbolic communication. (We associate complex ideas with simple symbols: Letters are symbols that represent sounds. Words are symbols for ideas. That raggedy old t-shirt with the pit stains that you insist on wearing every time your team plays another team is a symbol of your devotion to certain set of players’ ability to put a ball in a hole [which is an act that seems symbolic of something else entirely – told you I’d get sleazy])

Premise B: God created us in his own image. (Admittedly, this is the weak part of the argument, but humor me. I’m getting at something)

Premise C: A+B=C - God is a being capable of communicating through symbols. (All the stratified tenants of religion that we get bogged down in and argue over are simply the symbols of God. They're written in every conceivable form of language, but saying the same thing.)

If you accept that, then believing in something gets a lot simpler. No longer do you have to believe that the facts surrounding a bunch really old stories are truths not to be disputed. You just have to acknowledge that these stories represent something. You can take faith from the fact that the things you hear and see that seem to hold power are a symbols of a bigger idea. Jesus, Buddha, Allah, Vishnu, and Ganesh all start to point to the same thing.

There’s a communication going on. From some outside source, ideas are getting put out there that are bigger than us all… God’s sending a pretty simple message written with a big sharpie marker that says “Man, something’s up.” And for right now, that’s good enough for me.

-Post script: OK… It might not be nearly that simple. Moments of clarity blur the more you look at them. It’s sort of like those weird Magic Eye pictures at the mall. You stare and stare until you see it, but then when you point at it you look silly. And hey, I’m no theologian. Just go scarf up your sweater and think about it on your own

Post Post Script: Jrock has taken the time and liberty to express my thoughts in diagram form. It's a well known fact that diagrams rock. And this one has like a 5 minute drum solo and a driving bass line. I think you've really captured my message Jrock. You are truly touched... in the junk.
Jrock's Theological Diagram

Friday, December 17, 2004

Wagging the War Against Raccoons

Late yesterday afternoon I received a phone call from a very disturbed friend. When I say he’s disturbed I mean the boy ain’t right. But also, not coincidentally, he was disturbed in the sense that he was frantic in nature and in need of my help.

The first words out of his mouth were, “Hey man, so last night I whipped my dick out in front of an old Turkish woman.” To which I replied with true journalistic curiosity, “What?” From there the story blossomed into a rose of pure hilarium. A story that I will present to you here in a format new to B&C: The Big Time Hard Hitting Investigatory Report.

As a side note, my friend has asked to remain anonymous, so that he might preserve his good name. Accordingly, in the following Big Time Hard Hitting Investigatory Report he has been given a pseudonym. This is in adherence to #6 on our journalistic rules of integrity: Grant any person’s wish to remain anonymous by changing their name by simply mixing up the elements of their real name such that anyone who knows them can easily decipher their identity. He will henceforth be called Millid C. Davsaps.

******Investigatory Report******

RALEIGH, NC – Last night at 9:25 p.m., the Raleigh Police Department received a call from a furious Douglas Kocabas, reporting an incident of indecent exposure. When police arrived on the scene at 213 Shepherd Lane they encountered a distraught Kocabas and his bewildered mother, Shrilla Kocabas, 62.

Reports show that Mrs. Kocabas, a Turkish woman who speaks no English and who is visiting her son over the holidays, was greeting her son with an embrace when she caught a glimpse of neighbor, Millid C. Davsaps. Mr. Davsaps was standing a mere ten feet away. According to police he was completely exposed and relieving himself beside his residence.

Douglas Kocabas told B&C that upon being noticed, Mr. Davsaps retreated from the scene as Shrilla shrieked in horror.

“He didn’t say a word. Just zipped up and darted for the door. I was dumbfounded myself. I mean this is my mom, and this is how she is welcomed to America?” Kocabas stated. “My father has been dead for twelve years. She hasn’t seen one of those things in some time, and I think it just scared her.”

Reports further show that Mr. Davsaps re-emerged from his residence moments later. He was apologetic in nature. However, the language barrier only confused matters. His advance was misinterpreted by Mrs. Kocabas, who thought he was attacking in malice, intent on continuing to wag his genitals at her. This is considered offensive behavior in her native Turkey.

Mr. Davsaps, eager to clear his name, spoke today with B&C. He claimed not to see Kocabas until it was too late.

“I’ve been in the habit of pissing outside my house lately,” he stated. “I really didn’t mean to show her my junk. But she saw my thing and man, she looked fright at me. It was just a happy accident. Wait, did I say happy? I meant horrible. Please just don’t print this.”

When asked exactly why he was in the practice of urinating outside of his house, Mr. Davsaps replied simply, “We’ve had a raccoon problem lately. I thought it would help.”

After some consoling by police and verbal promises on the part of Mr. Davsaps, the matter was settled without an arrest. Davsaps has, however, signed a document stating that in the future he will only micturate within his own dwelling and, if necessary, will deposit the resulting waste outside manually.

As for Mr. Davsaps’ claim of ongoing issues with raccoons, B&C was thwarted in further investigation by a very clandestine raccoon community. A representative from Raccoons of Greater Raleigh refused to comment. However, the eternal battle of man verses raccoon is long standing and well documented. Additionally, reliable scientific testing has shown that human urine, and genital wagging in general, is a good defense against these nocturnal miscreants.

It seems that in this case the raccoons have won.

-B&C staff writer

******Post Script******

In case you’re wondering, all of the physical details of this story are factual. All names and many of the quotes are fake, and the matter was resolved without the involvement of authorities. But the words, "We've had a raccoon problem lately. I thought it would help," were said and they are very funny.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Moron Mornings and the Golden Glisten of Dulled Pane

This morning I did one of the dumbest things I’ve done in… well, probably in hours, but let’s say weeks. I walked out of the house to leave for work and noticed that my car window was thick with frost. “Oh, shit. Frost. I’m gonna be late,” I thought to myself. “Oh, shit. Frost. I’m gonna be late,” I said out loud, because really what’s the good of cussing if you’re not going to let it free?

With frost and time as my new enemies, I frantically start thinking of ways to outwit them both. The average person would start scraping, which is the frost removal method recommended by the Department of Motor Vehicles, God, and the Windshield Scraper Manufacturers of America. But I was feeling unconventional and lazy. Plus I had taken a personal vow to never, NEVER support the scraper industry. (They think they’re so smart.) So, in need of a creative solution to my frost problem, the brainstorming process began.

The initial thought popped into my head with the force of ten thoughts. It appeared in big red letters, and it read “HOT WATER.” Now, seeing as I do have a small amount of common sense and a 5th grader’s understanding of physics, the hot water thought was quickly pushed back out of my head with the force of eleven choirboys singing “That will crack the windshield, yoouuu stu-pid mor-rooon.” So I was back to square one, and 10 valuable seconds had already passed. Time was winning. Thinking that I might as well do something productive while I figured this out, I switched the windshield wipers on full speed. At least they could chisel away at the problem until I came up with an ultimate solution.

I felt like I was on the right track with the hot water. Some sort of liquid had to be the answer. It just couldn’t be hot. So what could this super solvent be? Then the idea hit me. Actually, I guess it didn’t hit me so much as creep up on me quietly while I wasn’t paying attention. From somewhere in my vast 24 years of accumulated wisdom and knowledge, I drug up the vague memory of an old household tip. Coke makes a great window cleaner.

“That’s right. Perfect. I have half a can on Pepsi in the cup holder. Pepsi will work just as well as Coke. All those sodas have like magical abilities and stuff. I’ve read this somewhere. This will work. Oh you clever dog!” I thought. Actually, there probably wasn’t that much thought. More likely it went, “Coke cut grime. Pepsi work. Let’s do this!” So without giving it any further thought... SPLASH. And in a single instance three things happened:

1) Instant Slushy. In my haste I hadn’t recognized the sheer stupidity of my logic. Soda is great for removing bug guts, but sub-freezing frost has very different physical properties. Namely, it is sub-freezing. Cold window + cold Pepsi = brown ice. Delicious brown ice.

2) Flying Slushy. Having failed to turn off the windshield wipers before dumping the Pepsi, the resulting slush immediately took flight. The blade’s trajectory, coupled with my unfortunate positioning conspired to create a direct hit straight back at me. Face, shirt, jacket, car door… all Pepsinated.

3) Stupid Stink. The odor of stupidity filled my nostrils, making me think, “Hold on, did I really expect this would work. I’m actually more retarded than I thought. Maybe I shouldn’t be allowed to operate moving vehicles.”

Swallowing my inner retard, I scraped, scrubbed, and hit the road. I swung onto I-40 east totally flying. Really late. Making the turn into the low morning sun I realized the Pepsi challenge was not yet over. This beverage might be my ultimate downfall. The sun turned my entire windshield into a brilliant, glistening sheet of amber. All I could make out were vague shapes, brake lights, and the cold, exposed middle fingers of drivers as I sailed blindly, yet, undaunted into swerving oblivion.

It was about this time that the Pepsi slush on the inside of the door started to melt and drip onto the leg of my pants. And these aren’t just any pants. These are my 3-days-a-week pants. You know what I’m talking about. The pair you wear Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and think nobody notices the repetition or smell. So, now I have to actually clean them. Damnit.

That was the last straw. Defeat became me. I wept openly. Sticky tears of stupidity streamed down my face. I reached up a clinched fist and hollered, “You win this round world. But I’ll be back. And next I’m covering YOU with soda.”

So, onward I drove, blind with Pepsi and rage, considering my revenge on the world and enjoying what turned out to be a pretty tasty slushy.

Monday, December 13, 2004

To be Funny or a Fool

There is a fine line between being funny and being foolish. I feel like I've taken advantage of this line throughout my life, pulling it one way or another, using it, abusing it, stretching it to conceal an undeniable fact: I am a fool.

People tell me I'm funny. I know that I am. So many times have I been told I'm funny that I no longer push it off modestly. I embrace it. To do any less would be to deny one of my only redeeming values. After all, it's been my saving grace and I owe it for much that I have. I try to spread funny over me to protect me from my weaknesses, to make me stronger, to make me appear dynamic. I take those moments that I've chosen painfully idiotic paths and cast them in another light. I paint them over with the armor of self-deprecating humor. If nothing is serious nothing serious has gone amiss. But in the times when being funny fails to win the day I'm left as the fool. I have made myself a joke.

So here I am, genuflect in your presence, admitting the folly of my life. I'm not feeling very funny right now. My folly has been folly itself. It's an archetypical truth that foolishness is a dangerous trait. The Shakespearean fool is not a sought after role. To be one in life leaves one open to all the slings and arrows, pains and curses that life has at its disposal. They rain upon the fool. The rain is made up of all the unpleasant instances that no amount of little jokes, puns, and fart noises can stave off. When the storm hits it cuts through the barrier and things get really sad really quickly.

But this is part of life. These are the moments that are necessary to give humor it's value. After all, what good is the glee of a joke without knowing its more biting counterpart, sorrow. My goal is to reach a balance where I leave the foolishness behind and go forward as a person who can guard against a stumble's moment of weakness without quips and giggles - as one who has more to offer than just a quick laugh. But still as a person who feels driven to make people smile.

And in the mean time, part of the beauty of humor is its amazing resilience. That sucker bounces back like last months bad check to the Winston-Salem Utilities Department. (I know that's not very funny, but at least I'm trying) Soon I'll make you laugh again, I promise. I'm feeling funnier already. Anybody know a good fart joke?

(now that's kind of funny)

My Very First Retraction

I was surprised I was able to make it this far without having to publish a retraction. When you consider the fact that almost none of these musings are based on fact, and that together they form a beautiful gleaming castle built of lies and exaggerations, you would think retractions would be a daily occurrence. But no, this will be my premier retraction. I’m so nervous. I hope I don’t puke on my shoes.

As a special surprise, I’m bringing back an old friend to help me through this hard admittance of truth. Someone to shift the blame from falling squarely on my shoulders, someone who isn’t ashamed to get dirty, someone with absolutely no class and no mass: “The Editorial WE!”

*****Editorial Retraction*****

We here at B&C hold journalistic truthitude as a top-10 priority. It falls somewhere behind #7, always keep a drawer well stocked with condiment packages, napkins, and jerky in case of emergency picnics. And # 5, North Meck High School football rules!! Telling the truth does, however, come in right before #10, Lie whenever the opportunity presents itself. So, in keeping with these arbitrary rules that we just in fact made up, and which are in fact lies, we’re publishing this retraction to get the story straight and give credit where credit is due.

In this case we feel that credit is due to G. B. Stoves. Stoves recently brought a fact to our attention. Then he brought a hammer to our attention and proceeded to explain what one had to do with the other. Ouch. The fact: He was the original proclaimer of Reaching Day.

On Tuesday December 7, 2004, in an article titled, “Reaching Day: Just as good as Boxing Day,” The following line appeared: “This remarkable deed of utter slothfulness caused me to proclaim, ‘I proclaim today, Reaching Day!’”

According to G. B., this is not how it happened. We at B&C have no memory at all of the original Reaching Day, in fact we would doubt its existence all together except for the fact that the phrase, “I proclaim it Reaching Day,” was repeated ad nauseum throughout the following months. But for us to claim to be the original profit and announcer of Reaching Day, was unacceptable to G. Brent, and after he cried some and ran around the room waving the hammer, we agreed to write this retraction.

So now you know the truth. We for one think the whole thing is stupid as hell. Who really cares! It’s a made up holiday based on arm-span. But if G. B. wants to be a baby about it, we’ll print the stupid retraction. But, we didn’t mean it and in our hearts we hold an abiding belief that everything we write is as good as truth and that G. B. Stoves is a whining toddler in man-sized clothes. We’ve never wanted to punch a toddler so bad.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Office Christmas Party Rules of Play

It's that time of year again. You've been dreading it since Halloween and now it's upon us, riding us for all it's worth. Office Christmas Party Season. Like NFL football and yearly prostate exams, it seems like Christmas Party Season comes earlier and earlier every go round. For some of us... for me of us, this is the rookie year of Christmas Party Season. I for one could have used some preseason prepping, but now it's too late. My first big-time, big boy, big ballroom shindig is over and done with. It's in the history books, and unlike my college history books, these get looked at.

What do I mean? What do you mean, what do I mean? Think man... this stuff is important. Consider this: As a member of a company, you are an investment... or maybe more accurately, a bet. Your bosses have put $20 on Daddy's Striped Tie in the third. And where is the finish line? The Office Christmas Party. This is the time of year that all the horses, and in some cases dogs, gather into the winner circle to get the big check. So, don't think they're not looking for broken legs and saddle soars as you come down the final strecth.

Some people like to compare Office Christmas Party Season to politics. I obviously see it as sport. So, now that we've established what's at stake - your job - let me give you some pages from the playbook. I think if we all study the plays really hard we can beat Farmer's Polytechnic this year. I - Hate - Them - So - Much! So let's begin. GOOOOO Beavers!!! (We play for the beavers)

1) Always look behind you before you say anything about anybody. Even good things. ESPECIALLY bad things. Failure to do so can mean automatic rejection.

2) Despite the fact that there is an open, and very inviting bar, keep drinking to a minimum. This is a big one. Maybe the biggest one. I'm not saying, "Don't drink." That would be antisocial, and honestly impossible. Just keep it in check. A good rule is to have a drink an hour, or one drink per rotation of the Boss Boss around the room (adjust appropriately for room size). Remember the broken legs I was talking about earlier? Yeah. Alcoholism is a broken leg.

3) Dress 20% better than your average work attire. Unless you work at a strip club, in which case dress 100% better. Well, actually maybe they dress down for parties too. I bet they do... Hmmmm, interesting mental pictures. Oh no, not Santa. NOOOOOO. Great, now I'm scarred. But you get the point. Don't be hackin' it out on the field. Look like you give a shit.

4) Be in a personable mood. No one wants to be there, but everyone has to. So at least make the effort to interact in conversations. This counts doubly with higher ups. Let them know you can string some words together. Keep the talk civil. Don't mention your court mandated ankle beacon. MMMMMMM beacon. Do mention how great the job is, how nice the ass is that you're kissing, and how much you hope profits for big tobacco or fire arms, or whatever you work for, continue to rise. Repeat names when introduced. Show up ready to play.

5) Enjoy the party for what it has to offer. Remember, there are free shrimp and cheese. You don't have this at home. Eat them politely but veraciously. Let the boss know you appreciate what they're doing here. It makes them feel big. Just don't take a pocketbook full of finger foods home with you. Leave it all out on the field.

6) Plan bathroom and smoke breaks to coincide with the Christmas caroling. You're just going to sit there and make wise cracks during the whole thing if you stick around. There are some things that you just can't beat. You being a smart ass is one of them. The best offense is a good defense.

7) Plan your escape carefully. Try to stay just long enough to get the after-dinner coffee. Don't be tempted by the bar once you've made it this far. Have some caffeine to wake you up, because by now you're bored as hell. Use that energy to give everybody that matters a short, sweet, and seemingly sober goodbye. Leave. Don't look back at the ones that fell behind. It's too sad. Celebrate the victory back in the locker room. Don't dump the Gatorade cooler on your boss. Remember this is just an analogy.

8) Finally, if at all possible... JUST DON'T GO. Look at it as a first round by. You're too good for this stuff. You can show off in the finals at the company picnic. I mean, no top shelf liquor!?! What is this, little league? I'm thinking of going free agent. Salary cap my ass. Stupid owners in their skyboxes. Oops, sorry. Yeah, best if you sit this one out.

So, follow these simple plays, plus a lot of other ones that unfortunately Chunks, the office linebacker, ate with a creamy Caesar dressing during the first course, and you should kick some serious ass during Office Christmas Party Season.

PS... There is an entire subset on Office Party Romantic Encounters. But let's just say that you're not playing at that level yet.

Reaching Day: Just as good as Boxing Day

This past Friday, December the 3th, as the vast majority of you went unknowingly about your normal routine, a small pocket of America was celebrating a very important, very real, very new holiday. Reaching Day. Admittedly, this small pocket of celebrators was congregated in a dive bar in Chapel Hill, NC, but this should not detract from the magic and the realness that is... Reaching Day.

“What is this Reaching Day, and how can I celebrate it?” is a question that you are no doubt asking of anyone sitting nearby. Well, quite down, you sound crazy. Allow me to enlighten and edify you as to the details of this most ambitious of days. Reaching Day is an ancient and sacred day of remembrance. Remembrance of an event that changed the shape of everything. Remembrance of an act that can only be described as a miracle. Remembrance of a day that will never be forgotten. The exact date of this event has been forgotten, however leading datematicians have selected December the 3st as the day of commemoration, due largely to astrological charts and adherence to one of the principal rules of economics that holds that you should always locate something closest to it’s major competition. While the date of Reaching Day is a little squirrelly, the lore of its origin is as vivid as 4 years ago.

Reaching Day has its beginnings in an act performed by the Patron Saint of Reaching Day, G. B. Stoves. In a feat that defied both physics and the bounds of modern laziness, G. B. reached 7 feet from the top bunk of the dorm room to the remote on the ugly couch. That’s right, 7 feet. Without touching the ground. Without the aid of a stick. All reach, all day. This remarkable deed of utter slothfulness caused me to proclaim, “I proclaim today, Reaching Day!” And then the bells of the village rang and the Earth shook.

Well, that’s pretty much how it happened. But that, believe it or not, is not where the magic of Reaching Day lay… lie? lies? lays? The magic is in you. It’s in all of us. It’s in you and all of us. On every December 3st we celebrate by simply reaching. You can reach for anything. Reach for a beer. Reach for a dollar on the floor. Reach for a fraternal high-five after something good happens in sports. Reach for a lady. Reach your potential. Reach between the cushions and find that cracker. Just Reach It, and when you do, exclaim, “Reaching Day”

Reaching day should teach us all a valuable lesson. If you are really lazy and don’t want to get out of bed, you can still reach a lot of things in a small dorm room. Also don’t reach for other people’s stuff. That’s theft and it’s still illegal. Cops don’t celebrate Reaching Day.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Analogue to Another Age

I was struck last night by the irony in the way I use technology. I have the beefiest, brawniest, most cutting edgiest computer on the market. I have access to a bandwidth so broad that the U.S. Army would literally have killed for this kind of information potential 30 years ago. I have access to an entire invisible world of modern digital communication and the transfer of nonspoken, visual ideas. And how am I utilizing this modern wealth of resources? I download and listen to old radio programs.

That's right, I sit in my den with a fire going and stare blankly into static nothing, caring about only one sense... hearing. I'm using the best in home computing to recreate the entertainment past time of a century prior. The radio story. Isn't that odd? My computer has allowed me to become all Norman Rockwelly.

But it doesn't end there. Besides listening to the talkies, I'm watching 25-year-old PBS documentaries, Hitchcock, Fellini, decade old sketch comedy. I'm completely rejecting today's media with the help of an almost futuristic medium. I mean, look at this blog. It's just a blown out of proportion journal. A diary. I've never kept a journal in my life. It seemed so old fashion. But here, thanks to my computer, I've taken to the centuries old practice of writing down my daily thoughts. Why?

And today I came across a gadget, really I guess a toy, that allows you to take worthless CDs, like those countless free AOL updates that are normally only noticed on the short trip between the mailbox to the trash can, and record on them. I mean record the like Edison meant record. Nothing digital about it. With a sewing needle, a little motor and a megaphone you can put your voice onto a CD, sans ones or zeros. Direct connect. The sound quality admittedly sucks, but the second I saw it, I needed it. I thought to myself, "finally, I've got a use for AOL." This is the tangable example of this whole personal trend I'm talking about. Using the newest tech to replicate the out of date mech.

I don't think it's just me, however. There seems to be a gravitation in invention to replicate old ideas. We don't necessarily use technology to do all new things, just the same old ones faster and better. Like solitaire without shuffling. The line between my digital world and my analog world is becoming increasingly blurred. Anyway, I cant wait until I can try out my new record player. It's called a Gramophone and it's on its way from Japan as we speak.. I speak.. type... as I type. See the confusion? I'll let you know how it works...

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