Archive for the Mundane Events Category


Posted in Mundane Events, Whose Spouse? My Spouse! on December 25, 2010 by butthorn

I’m gonna try to do an end of year blog post with my wife.  I don’t really know if it’ll work out or not.  If she knows I’m writing down everything she says, it might make her less inclined to say anything at all.  On the other hand, the resultant self-consciousness might make her even funnier than usual.  At any rate, Freddy is loudly voicing protest re: going to bed in the other room so it’s a moot point right now anyway.  I have to wait until she works her magic to get him to calm down and rehit the hay.  It shouldn’t take too long.  Annie is very good at child soothing.  I can get him wound up no problem, but I have a tough time convincing him to lie prone, still, and silent on a comfortable surface until unconsciousness overtakes him.  I just know that were he to ask “why should I go to sleep?”, my only honest answer is “because I’m exhausted from catering to your every need, and I want to briefly warp back to a time when a random snap decision on my part wouldn’t necessarily harm or kill an adorable, defenseless human being that happens to share my DNA; also, I want to lie on the couch and finish watching ‘9 to 5’ “, and frankly I don’t think that’s a very good reason to make someone turn in for the night, even less so for the mid-afternoon.  There’s also the whole “you need sleep because if you don’t you’ll go crazy and eventually die”, but being that an awareness of his fate blissfully eludes him at this stage in the game, that too becomes irrelevant.

And with that, he seems to have stopped crying for the moment, and my wife is back here with me, seated on the floor in the living room, playing “Fable 3”, an Xbox game wherein you run around the woods, slaying fantastical creatures and digging up treasures that a canine companion tracks down for you.  It’s a good video game for people who aren’t very good at video games, and we’ve both spent a lot of our newly less-than-boundless spare time commanding an untrue-to-life animated representation of ourselves to flay the digitized flesh of “Balverines” and “Hobbes” via a none-too-precise chain of jabbed colorful buttons and growled profanities.  Let me see if I can engage her in a stilted, unenlightening back-and-forth.

So how do you think this year went in general?



I mean, what did I do most of it?  I sat with Freddy.  I sat pregnant with Freddy, then I sat with newborn Freddy.  Now I sit with infant Freddy.  A lot of sitting.

If you could do this year over again, would you try to sit less?

See, that’s a hard question.  If I wanted to sit less, it would be standing with Freddy, right?  I did plenty of that.  I can’t believe you’re typing this.  This is not…is there a troll in here?

I think so.

Do you remember where?

I think you’re right near it.

You’ve moved on to typing other things, right?

What do you think the next thing we need to do with Freddy is?

With Freddy?

Yeah.  Like now that we’ve sat with him a lot, what now?

Some form of locomotion.  I don’t know.  Now that I know what you’re doing, I can’t speak normally.

Yeah, I was afraid this might happen.  So was the year boring, or…?

No.  It was uneventful, but not boring.  Well, uneventful other than childbirth.  That part was eventful.  But…you know what I mean.  You can make it sound like I know what I mean, right?

Do you think your sister having a baby next month will affect how you deal with Freddy next year?

Like change my parenting?  No.

Or maybe how you look at him or perceive him?

What?  No, don’t type that!  What were you asking?

I’m probably not wording it well.

I think it’ll be another dimension of how I interact with Lorrie.  That doesn’t have anything to do with anything, right?  What is your blog about?  The whole thing isn’t you asking me questions, is it?

What are you looking forward to most about Lorrie having a baby?

Being an aunt.  Freddy having a cousin.

Are you going to be with her when she actually gives birth?

I don’t know if we could work that out.  Since, you know, it’s a five hour drive, although I’m sure her labor will be much longer than that.  It may not be possible.

Do you hope that it is?

I think so.  Be interesting to be, you know, present for labor and not in it.

I know that if men could give birth, and my brother were pregnant, I wouldn’t want to be in the same room as that event, but I don’t know if that’s a guy thing or a reflection of our relationship, or of your relationship with Lorrie.

Maybe all of those things.


But I’m sure men giving birth would be a lot more horrific

(We both laugh.)

I wouldn’t want to watch Justin’s penis explode.

But you’re okay with watching Lorrie’s vagina explode?

It won’t explode.  If she’s doing it right.

No, but it’ll be in the room, and it’ll be front and center, and going through some stuff.

Well, I don’t have to be at the receiving end of the birth, you know?  I’ll be on the other end, you know, keeping her on task, or something.

I think it’s probably less of a big deal for sisters to see each other naked than for brothers, and maybe also sisters are more capable of helping each other through something painful.

Well, maybe the latter part.  I’m not thrilled at seeing Lorrie naked, as I’m sure she doesn’t really care to see me naked.

But you can get over that possibility to the point where you’d go right into the delivery room no questions asked.  I would be nowhere near the delivery room if my brother were giving birth.

Because he’s naked?  That’d be the reason you wouldn’t go in if your brother wanted you there?  I’m not necessarily going in because I’m desperate to see a baby squeeze out.  I wanna be there because she wants me there.

See, I didn’t even consider the idea that he might actually want me in there.  I’m assuming he wouldn’t request my presence.  If he came right out and asked me to be there, that’d probably be different.

Yeah, Lorrie asked.  It’s not like she got pregnant and I was like “Ooh, can I be there?”  That’s not my cup of tea.  I’m trying to jump the fence!  Patience, dick!  I can’t vault the fence!  Jesus!  What’s so funny?

Your difficulty with the fence.

Oh, why are you typing that?  Jeremy, stop!

Do you still think the baby’s gonna be a girl?

Yes.  Mostly.  I mostly think it’s gonna be a girl, I don’t think it’s mostly gonna be a girl.  Don’t type that.  Don’t type that part.

Do you want it to be a girl?

Yeah, I think so.

Just for variety’s sake, or…?

I’m not answering that.  No, don’t type that!  Get rid of the question!  I’m not gonna talk anymore.  Ooooh!


The bridges are new!  I brought a carpenter to Driftwood.

Why don’t you want to elaborate on wanting it to be a girl?

Don’t…no…Jeremy!  I’ve told you before and I don’t think however hundred people read your blog need to hear it.  Jeremy, seriously.  No, really, get rid of it.


I don’t want you to type it.  It’s stupid reasoning.  Are you getting rid of it?

But you didn’t give any reasoning.

It’s cause you’re still typing.

Well, it’s not like you’d be disappointed if it was a boy.


Do you just see her with a girl?

Oh, I can get this now!  Oh yesssss!  Where did it go?  I have no idea what hitting that did.

Maybe it affected something elsewhere on the island?

It must have. Oh!  Oh!  I don’t wanna accidentally kill the dog.  Where’d it go?

It’s weird that it just keeps moving around.

Well, that was the third thing I did.  I did a shoot, then a sword, then a magic.  I don’t know what to do for the next thing.

So when we have another kid, would you be pulling for a girl?

No.  I’ll be happy either way.  Again, I see us more with boys, but it’d be kinda cool to have a girl.

So it’s more that you want Lorrie to have one, or hope that she does, at least somewhat?  I don’t think it’s bad, I just think it’s interesting.

If I remind you of why it was, will you delete the line of questioning?

If I did, pretty much 2/3 of the blog entry would be gone.

2/3 of the blog is you trying to ask me just why I want Lorrie to have a girl?  Stop!  Jeremy!

What?  This was gonna be about how our year went, but when I asked you that you just said “sitting”, so it ended up being about this.

Well, I didn’t know that.  If I had realized your intent was to make your blog our conversation…I thought you were just asking “By the way Annie, how was your year?”   So I tried to be succinct.

Have you always said “succinct”?

I don’t not say “succinct”.  I don’t know that I use it regularly.

Do you think Lorrie will freak out a lot throughout the infancy or do you think she’ll be pretty calm?

It’ll be a mix of the two.  Now that I know she reads this, I’m not gonna answer.

Yeah, that’s a good point.  Is this the last thing you have to decide on for the game?

Yeah, I’m on the last day.  I have one other thing to decide on before this.

Do you have anything else you want to add about 2010?  Make it good.

(Groans exasperatedly several times.)  It was…good?

I guess you made it good.

What?  What’d you say?  You guess what?  What?  Jeremy, stop typing and tell me what you said!  (Groans exasperatedly.)  Seriously, what’d you say?

I told you before you said anything to make it good, and you said the year was good, and then I said I guess you made it good.  Because you said “good”.



My wife then went on to beat “Fable 3”, in an exciting display of might and magic.  At one point she did a barrel roll between a guy’s legs and then turned around and shot him point blank in the asshole.  It doesn’t get much more exciting than that.  Happy holidays, everyone!  Let’s try to get something done this year!  We’ve all been coasting for long enough, am I right?



Posted in Marvy Movies, Mundane Events on October 5, 2010 by butthorn

I am doing some laundry, making a very small dent in a self-replicating pile of regurgitated-formula-encrusted tee-shirts, pungent undies (“Ladies and Gentlemen, The Pungent Undies!”), socks that have given up all hope, jeans that no longer conform to the lower halves of anyone currently residing here, and a shirt advertising some type of annual event that takes place in Millinocket and involves softball and Jagermeister.  I don’t mind doing the laundry too much once I get going, nor washing the dishes, nor removing objects from surfaces where they look bad and relocating them to surfaces where they look bad out of eyeshot.  Cleaning doesn’t use up a lot of brain space, leaving one free to go to ones happy place, and no matter how half-assed a job you do, there is always a result.  It’s a little better when things are clean.

We have never been clean people.  Over to the right there if you click on “Thursday Night Squalor” under Categories, you’ll see that I once devoted each Thursday night to taking photographs of designated areas of the house, for the purposes of monitoring how the detritus changed from week to week, and for making funnies about how we’re pigs.  I had to stop after awhile because it was getting depressing, and rather than impelling me to maybe pick up once in awhile given that I was essentially showing everyone in the world I was gross on a weekly basis, it just made me sad, which made me tired, and thus more messy.  It really worked out excellently.

I guarantee you that crock pot to the left was positively caked with moldy corn chowder, and likely remained in that condition for upwards of a fortnight, if not considerably longer.  I remember one time taking the crock pot out of the fridge after it had been in there for at least a month and a half, then smelled the contents, I guess to be “funny”, then began involuntarily shouting “WAH!  OH NO!  OH WAAAAAAH!  WAAAAAAAAAAH!”.  I then put it back in the fridge.  It has since been cleansed, and is used sparingly.

Adding a child to an environment of pre-established disarray and filth is a terribly counterproductive plan.  It’s like wiping your butt with a poop.  As much garbage and clutter and smelliness that my wife and I are capable of creating simply by going through the motions of an average day, Freddy can triple our combined output without even possessing the capability to walk, or to prepare food, or to purchase six books at Border’s because they were on sale and then leave them on the kitchen table in an unruly pile atop a coffee-stained cardigan, four pay stubs, a Devil Dog wrapper, and a mysterious remote that doesn’t seem to control anything we own.  So when we’re not funneling pablum or decimated legumes down his little throat, pulling down his pants to verify the presence of urine and/or feces, or pleading with him to stop squalling like a banshee with a bladder infection for no discernible reason, we’re frantically tidying up, racing to combat the encroaching landmass of sticky bottles, foul bibs, piss-plumped Pampers, socks so tiny they look like sight gags, clunky and barely acknowledged playthings, cloudy “suck-sucks”, cloth “wipeys” in varying stages of damp stinkiness…all manner of once-foreign-now-commonplace paraphernalia.  And this on top of our own mainstay contributions of unwatched bargain bin $5 Walmart DVDs, well-worn PJ pants, thrift store paperback adaptations of dumb 80’s movies, self-burned but unlabeled CDs, grocery store receipts, controllers to outmoded video game systems, bills both paid and less so, sticky bottles of our own, take-out menus, etc.  Where we once lied around and let crap accumulate, we now clean constantly to maintain roughly the same level of perceived accumulated crap.  It’s a constant process and the place never looks anywhere near as good as I want it to or envision it will.

My dream is to take a weekend during which I will evaluate every single object in our home, giving everything fair and equal consideration, from the tiniest screw to the most dependable appliance, and make a decision as to whether or not to keep or discard it.  It’s something I’ve only done while in the act of moving to another location (something we unfortunately do fairly often and will need to do yet again in about another year, unless David Blaine stops by and magically pulls a house out of my ass before then), but it would certainly help us to better appreciate and utilize our limited space.  Why, just think of how many useful objects I could cram in the space once reserved for a VHS copy of “Freebie and the Bean”!

What the fuck am I thinking?  I can’t get rid of “Freebie and the Bean”!  That’s top shelf buddy cop!  Did you watch the whole thing?  You didn’t, obviously, it’s over six minutes long.  Go back and finish it!  They run over a marching band at one point!  Such gleeful racism (in the title of the film, no less)!  Such unforced banter!  Stuntmen and extras all in clear peril!  James Caan back when he had that funny high-pitched voice (“Dirty bastard!  Dirty bastard!”)!  Alan Arkin doing anything at all!  I love “Freebie and the Bean”.  You can get it on a weird bootleggish DVD from the Warner Archive (along with tons of other old hard-to-find stuff, including a lot of great grimy 70’s TV movies like “Bad Ronald” and “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” , both of which I want you to buy me for Christmas, please), but in the end I much prefer to have the hefty old videocassette in the shiny, smooth, outsized Warner Brothers snapcase.  Because the poorer the quality, the cozier I feel.

Speaking of “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark”, it stars Kim Darby, whom you very well may not recognize by name.  I knew her as the spunky little girl in “True Grit”…

…but I was unaccountably thrilled to discover that she also, much later, played the delightful weirdo mom in “Better Off Dead”!

File that under Exciting Exclusively to Me, if you like, but I thought I’d share my newfound wealth of Kim Darby knowledge.

So to sum up, cleaning is hard, “Freebie and the Bean” is good, and Kim Darby plays the mother in “Better Off Dead”.  I think I touched on everything here, and the clothes have just finished drying besides!  Another successful evening for winner me!  Mail me a fiver!


Posted in Mundane Events on August 22, 2010 by butthorn

Okay, so we stick him in the car seat cause it’s time to go.  The night before he puked on one of the seat straps but I’ve wiped it with one of his wipes and examined and smelled it and it seems fine.  Fred does well in his car seat and he sleeps much better in it than he does in either his bassinet or crib.  At home if he’s not on one of us, he’s probably in his car seat sleeping.  I’m always scared I’m somehow going to click his penis off when buckling him into the seat.  Most likely impossible but bad odds never calm me down as much as they should.

This is his car seat:

Lugging him out to the car is a viable bicep workout.  He is getting heavy.  I open the door to our new Hyundai, a car we like very much due to the fact that the engine starts when you stick a key in the ignition and turn it.   I lower his seat into the base until I hear and feel it lock into place, then take a seat beside him.  I’ve become accustomed to sitting in the back seat with him.  It’s both comfortable and comforting.  I was never in any hurry to call “shotgun” in high school and college because the backseat is roomier and you can relax with your thoughts.  I like being crammed back there with him.  Realistically he probably doesn’t require a great deal of supervision in the car at this point.  He’s either going to fall asleep or look out the back window with an expression of intense concentration on his face.  Or he might look at a crinkly frog toy attached to the handle of his car seat that he seems to have mixed feelings about.  I don’t need to be back there but it’s become part of the routine.  I fear many things, but tight, enclosed spaces are not among them.

The drive to Lincolnville is a pleasant one, through towns like Searsport and Belfast that have a lot of colorful buildings full of overpriced non-essentials.

A lot of antique places and flea markets, establishments I have a weakness for, but with a baby the phenomenon known as the side trip becomes a thing of the past, or at any rate gets put on hold indefinitely.  This does cut down on my shopping/browsing satisfaction but it also aids immeasurably in preserving our household budget, so in my case having a baby is probably saving us money, preventing me from purchasing more things like this:

That was five measly dollars at Target.  I’m not made of stone.  I haven’t watched any of them yet, though I did see “Black Belt Jones” in high school at some point but I don’t remember a frame of it.  “Black Samson” looks to be about a cool black man who owns a lion, “Three the Hard Way” is Jim Brown, Fred Williamson, and Jim Kelly kicking and shooting anyone unwise enough to approach them, and as for “Hot Potato”, well, God only knows, but the mind positively reels with wonder and excitement.  The following short collection of clips of Jim Kelly rapidly pretending to harm people is culled from “Hot Potato”.

So Joel and Kate and their family rent a camp in Lincolnville every year, and we go hang out with them at it every summer, a fledgling annual tradition that we look forward to and one that previously did not include offspring of ours.  This being a Maine camp, to reach it you have to drive directly into the woods on a narrow, single-lane dirt road on which head-on collisions seems all but unavoidable, yet somehow never occur.  The camp is nice without being too nice.  It still feels like a camp.  There’s a very agreeable beach and the lake is somehow always the perfect temperature to swim or wade around in.  I can’t really swim at all, but I love wading.  Walking around in shallow water picking up weird rocks and sticks and trying to find gross plants to threaten to touch people with is a favored and all-too-rare summertime activity of mine.

Dammit, I did it again!  And I wasn’t even talking about Erin Gray!  I’m still not done and nowhere near the  heart-pounding, edge-of-your seat conclusion!  I need to attend a blogging seminar.  Well, more to come!


Posted in It's Alive!, Mundane Events on August 22, 2010 by butthorn

Man, that feels great!  My very own piece of the Internet!  No blogging site name tagged onto the end of the address making me look all bush league!  No third-rate imposters or spam sites co-opting my blog name!  I still can’t think of a fucking thing to write about!  YEAH!

Boy, this is horrible!  I feel like I really have to come through now that typing “vaguelyunpleasant” with a .com after it brings up something I type into for everybody to potentially see and evaluate.  Brad Pitt could be looking at this right now.  How embarrassing is that?!  He’d be like, “What’s this garbage?” and then go back to monitoring his stocks or maybe working on his Farmville.  God, that would kill me!  My big chance to get in good with Brad Pitt, and I blow it by forgetting how to be interesting thanks to one little spontaneous late-night domain registration.

All right, well, let me tell you about my day.  Our friends Joel and Kate have four children, and all six of these people had yet to meet our child, so we all figured that was something that should change.  I got up at 5:15 because Freddy had urinated in his undergarment and was bleating monosyllabically about it.  It usually takes a minute or so upon awakening in this fashion for me to remember that A) I have a child and B) He doesn’t know how to use the toilet or make breakfast.  Given that I’ve only recently “mastered” these procedures myself, it can often prove something of a challenge to perform them in a satisfactory matter for another human being, particularly one as loud and uncooperative as my son.  But I get up and I do the things I gotta do, though not before resting my nose atop his groin (a handy olfactory test that probably won’t fly once he’s in school; I suppose I’ll just have to take him at his word at that point) and inhaling deeply to verify the presence of urine and/or feces.  Cause if it doesn’t smell like anything, it’s snooze button city.  But it always smells like something.  My child has a smelly groin, Mr. Pitt; what can I tell you?

I hoist Freddy out of bed, and he responds per usual by throwing his head back and jutting his bottom out in a small and weird but mighty and effective-seeming stretch.  He usually stops crying when you pick him up, which is nice because his crying is ear-splitting and mood-dampening, complexly so.  It surprises you (well, I guess “startles” would really be a more accurate term…), then angers you, then makes you feel bad for getting angry, then makes you sad because you remember he can’t do anything and really needs your help, and you’re a dick, what the hell is the matter with you anyway, he’s just a baby, though I suppose in a way you’re not much more than a baby yourself, other than being able to take care of basic needs you’re every bit as helpless as he is, and why are you still sitting here giving yourself a complete psychiatric evaluation when your child needs food, what kind of selfish asshole puts their own mental wellness ahead of their baby’s hunger, you must really have a problem, maybe you should actually go to a doctor, oh yay my wife is taking care of the baby, back to Xbox!  So in summation, yes, picking up the baby will stop the crying most of the time.

I take my soiled, ravenous son into “his” room, which is basically the room where we keep his changing table, my collection of RCA Selectavision videodiscs, and the printer/scanner that I don’t remember how to hook back up to the computer.  I plop him down on the changing table, where he begins to make cute, spitty/grunty noises while kicking my arms and the wipes container.  My son has enjoyed kicking me and things for as long as I can remember, which is to say last Thursday.  He does not, however, enjoy having his clothing changed, although in the past couple weeks he’s gotten better about it, or maybe I’m just being more conscientious about not wrenching his head and limbs into the surprisingly unforgiving onesie holes.  He doesn’t cry every time we change him now, and that’s good, because lately he’s been throwing up on himself with alarming frequency, so we’re spending more than our fair share of time at the changing table these days.  But we’ve tried to make it comfy for him with blankets and a welcoming array of small stuffed animals, of which a frog is his clear favorite.  Unfortunately said frog also makes a tinny “boy-oy-oy-yoing” noise that is no more pleasing to the ear than crying, but you have to punch it pretty hard in the ass to activate this sound effect, so it’s not really a prob.

The changing of the diaper is not a very difficult affair.  Once the load in question has been sufficiently grimaced at and commented upon, you can typically wipe everything up as slick as you please and then go about your merry, newly shitless way.  Certainly when you’re dealing with a male infant you’re constantly aware of the very real possibility of taking a searing shot of stinging, stinking liquid waste directly in the eye or mouth, but this heightened awareness mainly serves to speed the entire process up, so you’re done before you know it.  Baby is clean and happy, and you look like a good daddy even though you’re an incompetent idiot who shouldn’t be entrusted with the well-being of a hamster.  As it happens, I find that Frederick and myself enjoy each other’s company more during the diaper/clothing changing process than at most any other part of the day.  He’s fresh and frisky, and I have a captive and reasonably receptive audience for my amateur beatboxing side-career.  It’s symbiosis, and it’s all right in my book.

Then I grab a bottle, which my wife has been kind enough to prepare and place on the kitchen table before face-planting back into bed, and manage to make my way to the couch without dropping anything or anyone.  I then negotiate a Boppy around my ever-increasing girth, nestle Freddy into the cushion, and present him with the nipple of his bottle, which he wastes no time in muckling onto.  Suckling ensues.  I try to remain awake during the feeding, but unfortunately a baby sucking a bottle is both uninteresting and lulling, not ideal qualities for events that take place before six AM.  I fall asleep and he finishes his bottle, letting it drop into my lap or onto the floor before falling back asleep himself, where we remain until his mother wakes us up by crossly taking me to task for falling asleep mid-feed, an action I defend valiantly by immediately falling asleep again.

Mama showers.  This would ordinarily be my cue to fire up the Netflix instant viewing on the aforementioned Xbox and queue up an episode of “Buck Rogers”, but due to a problem involving wires and God hating me the modem and the Xbox are not communicating.  Prior to bathing, Mama has saved us by sticking a Futurama DVD into the player at my groggy behest, so we have something colorful and fun to keep us awake while I await my turn to have my morning toilet.  Though like so many things it suffers from a lack of Erin Gray, “Futurama” is an excellent substitute for “Buck Rogers” as it essentially shares the same plot, the difference being that one laughs with “Futurama” and at “Buck Rogers”.  But I don’t come here to malign Buck and his crew.  Theirs is a very comforting hour of entertainment and I will be very sad when I have finished watching the few episodes that exist, even the ones with the retarded bird guy.

All right, here’s another picture of Erin Gray without Mr. Bird.  Let’s cleanse our palettes.

Jeez, that picture is huge.  I am going to have to wrap up this post for tonight, and I never even got past 6 AM in describing our day today!  In the space taken up by that massive picture of Erin Gray, I could have easily fit three detailed paragraphs dedicated to Freddy’s car seat.  Man, I gotta learn how to get to the point.  This is just sad.

I promise to do a better job tomorrow!  To be continued!


Posted in Decent Folk, Mundane Events on August 20, 2009 by butthorn

My new downstairs neighbor has evidently just purchased himself a new stereo, and judging from the booming bass notes currently jabbing their way through our floor and funkily fisting us, he appears eager to inform everyone within a 12 mile radius of this uninteresting fact.  This would be more aggravating if he were blaring, say…I don’t know.  I don’t know what loud bands are currently in vogue.  Wow, I have no idea.  I was going to say Slipknot.  I believe Slipknot have not been anywhere near anything approaching a limelight since 1997.  Is loud music still being recorded?  Korn, anyone?  No?  Anyway, in the past hour or so he has treated us to deafening broadcasts of “A Horse With No Name”, “Time After Time”, and “Say You Say Me”.  I don’t know whether to laugh or relocate.  Guy knows how to party.   Right now I find his otherwise benign presence just aggravating enough that I sense that I may soon be mentally thanking him for acting as the impetus to leave the arguable comforts/inarguable thrift of this unremarkable little apartment for at least somewhat greener pastures, perhaps a modest-sized house in a quiet town that smells less like boiled dinner, and that we can afford without having to sell all of our beloved electronics or fellate retired millworkers for pocket change.  I love this cheap little dump, but like the man said, we need a place for our stuff.  At any rate, our new neighbor’s only real missives thus far are smoking smellily outside of our window, blaring the soft hits of the 70’s 80’s and today, and having loud, incomprehensible conversations with friends and passerby, which are kind of fun to eavesdrop on but surprisingly difficult to follow along with.  It doesn’t help that the neighbors he replaced were kind enough to rarely be home, so his constant vocal and olfactory presence suffers mightily by comparison.

As is often the case, I have nothing pressing to share with anyone; just felt like it had been awhile.  It’s extremely hot in this neck of the woods of late, which renders yours truly even more listless than normal.  Now that it no longer heralds a three-month period of blissful if sweltering inactivity, I have very little use for summer and look forward to the three quadrants of the year that don’t find me sprawled in front of an inadequate fan, sun-stunned and sopping with unearned perspiration.  Is there anywhere that’s autumn all the time?  I get as sick of people complaining about the weather as the next guy, so that’s more than enough of this nonsense, but I’m hotter than a hoot n’poot is all I’m trying to get across.  Thank the good Lawd for pink lemonade.  I am busily funneling it into every pore and orifice in the hopes of eventually being able to subsist entirely on fruity sweat.  I’m tired of having to exchange money for flavorful drinks.  It’s time to live off the fat of the land, or, failing that, it’s time to suckle an off-putting amalgam of artificial citrus and dissolved chlorides out of my forearm.

Anything else I can bitch fruitlessly and entertainmentlessly about?  I think that’s all I got.  Shoot, I got a new John Prine DVD to watch, a fresh paycheck trembling in my bank account just itching to be blown on what my father would call “riotous living”, and a nearly full 2-liter bottle of pink lemonade to deplete, not to mention a darling spouse on the couch opposite who allows me the luxury of championing all that is boring and frivilous in the world and a relatively new pair of sweat shorts that can proudly lay claim to being the finest summertime pajamas it has ever been my pleasure to clad my genitals and buttocks with.  I got it made in the shade, were there in fact shade.  I got it made in the ceaseless stultifying radiation.  I got it beat in the heat; how’s that, then?  I can’t carp too much, or oughtn’t.

If you like vodka and you don’t mind and perhaps welcome a quick-to-judge cashier thinking you’re Liberace in a pink tutu and a George Michael tee-shirt with a penis in your ass, you should try Smirnoff Passion Fruit flavored vodka, or perhaps a more expensive and well-made variation thereof put out by a more reputable company if you’re one of them uppity money-havers.  I for one was surprised, as I have long turned to the Smirnoff line of vodkas on the numerous occasions where I have not wanted or been able to cough up for Ketel One but can’t bring myself to stoop (literally) to Popov or Five O’Clock or any number of brands of substandard, medicinally delicious swill, but I’ve never been one to cry “Merciful heavens, this Smirnoff is at once ambrosial and thirst-quenching!  Pour all of it into my mouth at once!”  Smirnoff is decent bee-minus hooch; will neither rock your world nor ruin your evening; the Mary Higgins Clark of vodka.  Wanting to drink a few nights ago but not wanting the usual, I opted for the unknown and risked a foofy fifth of Smirnoff Passion Fruit vodka, came home and half-and-halfed it with my old friend pink lemonade, and was more than pleased at the agreeable fusion.  If you like pink lemonade and unmanly tipsiness, you’ll find the above concoction to be time and money well spent.  I’m finding that to be the case this very minute, as a fatter of mact!  Hic!  Working on a second-rate Foster Brooks routine; how ya likin’ it so far?


– Who he is.

– He gave up drinking in 1964 to win a ten-dollar bet.

– He did not become famous until the age of 57, living (well, dead actually) proof that one needn’t hurry anything.

Speaking of Foster Brooks and others of his era and ilk, we’ve been deriving a considerable amount of enjoyment these days watching episodes of “The Dean Martin Show”, which my wife was smart enough to purchase directly from Guthy-Renker in commemoration of our 2nd anniversary.  Low-rent comedy has fast, through no conscious planning or intent on our part, become a staple of our anniversary rituals.  For our first anniversary we went to see “Step Brothers” in the theater; for our second we got “Cops and Robbersons” from our local library and viewed it at home.  Wow, seeing that in print makes it seem a lot sadder.  Anyway!  Now we have ten DVDs chockablock with slapdash skits, woozily crooned numbers fresh from the mothballs, and more harmlessly rambunctious yuksters from a bygone era than you can shake a stick at.  Such timeworn icons as Jimmy Stewart, Bob Newhart, Dom Deluise, Lucille Ball, Orson Welles, Victor Borge, Ruth Buzzi…the list goes on and on.  Furthermore, it would seem that every couple of months we’ll get a new one in the mail, which we can keep or send back or more likely misplace or forget we have it and buy it whether we like it or not, just like the good old days of BMG and Columbia House.  It’s a throwback from several angles, that much is certain.  As is to be expected and hoped for, there’s plenty of Rat Pack action on display.  Just watch these natty professionals swing on this snappy tune!

Ring a ding dang barnacle doodilybop jubblycats!  That’s how you do it!  I love this clip and these guys.  Snappin’ away in their suits, with the good-natured ribbing and spot-on harmonies most of us couldn’t find with a floodlight but they can belt out in their sleep.  I know you’re always hearing about how cool Frank and Dean and those guys were, but dammit!  Look at them!  So relaxed, effortless, funny, eager to entertain but not letting you see them sweat.

Here’s another one I like from the Dean Martin Show with Jimmy Stewart showcasing his cache of piss-poor impersonations:

Well, now that you got me posting videos here, let’s end it on a horribly depressing note with this clip of Jimmy S. reading a poem about his late dog, Beau, on the “Tonight Show” with good ol’ Johnny Carson.  It’s something you may have seen on a clip show or talk show retrospective of some sort on the Biography channel or whatever, but it’s worth revisiting.  Stewart’s poetry is as aw-shucks simplistic as you would imagine, with subject matter and a rhyme scheme that wouldn’t be out of place in a third grade classroom, but it’s remarkable how the air in the room changes as the poem progresses.  At the outset, it’s clear that the audience believes it’s being treated to a humorous little poem a la Shel Silverstein or Ogden Nash, but right around the 2:12 mark things start to get heavy.  An old man reading a poem about his dog…why yes, I’ve cried at this…

You’re unlikely to encounter this sort of thing on television anymore without the effect being marred by pretension or irony.  Say what you will about the Internet, but it’s keeping a lot of the good stuff alive.

Fare thee well.


Posted in Buying Things, Mundane Events on June 13, 2009 by butthorn

Is the condition of truly not giving a shit the pinnacle or the nadir of human existence?  Is it the ultimate in aspiration, or a true sign of failing beyond any likelihood of redemption?

For no reason I can presently conjure, I was thinking about “The Matrix” at work the other day.  Maybe someone referenced it offhandedly in conversation.  I don’t remember exactly.  “The Matrix” isn’t a very hip or now thing to talk about these days, and one wonders if it will ever become cool to talk about it again, but at the end of the first movie (which is the only one I saw, so I don’t know how much this concept was expanded upon in later installments) handsome man and multifaceted performer Keanu Reeves only hits his superpowers stride when he seemingly stops paying attention and just stands there like a doof, flopping his arms around and obliterating everyone without putting any thought or effort into it.  The movie is really little more than an excuse to check out some cool special effects and some interesting fights between people who in reality could fight no one under even the least demanding of circumstances, and I find it hard to believe that the Wiggywoggy Brothers meant it as anything other than that, but I do like the idea that after all that money spent and ponderous pontification flung, the end message of this megabudget late ’90s filmic footnote-to-be is “Stop trying”.

There are a number of ways to take that.  “Stop trying”.  Okay!  I’ll stop going to work and lie around watching cartoons all day.  End result is my landlord kicks me out if I don’t starve to death first.  My wife leaves me, if she’s smart, and at this point my parents would probably be kind enough to take me in and shovel food in my mouth until I die of old age or bedsores, if that’s possible, or they put me in some kind of home, which would be expensive, so that would probably only last so long.  Then I end up outside, a homeless person.  One of those people I pass briskly on the street while pretending to be intent on reaching a landmark in the near distance, clenching my sphincter and tensing my jaw all the while, my stomach ready to ache at the inevitable “hey buddy”.  But if I truly am not trying here, then rather than galumphing around town I would simply lie down in the driveway of the hospice I’ve been booted from until someone, probably an orderly or a policeman, forcibly drags me away, or takes me to prison.  The thing is, how long are people going to carry you if you refuse to move?  If I stopped moving, where would I end up?  Is that exciting or horrible or what?

Either that or “stop trying” means “don’t worry about it”.  Go through your day and do your thing, giving little thought to how others are processing your words and actions.  I think this probably defines “success”, or at any rate could certainly serve as a viable path to same.  Sometimes I feel like I’ve spent my entire life alternately seeking and repelling the approval of others, working mightily to get people interested while working even harder to make it appear as though I could take them or leave them.  Butting heads with a far less productive incarnation of myself, and all in the interest of people who have their own problems and aren’t terribly affected by my doings either way.  I hate everything I’m writing here but the fact remains that every day I fuck myself over in some small way, and where you’re all human like me you’re all doing the same thing from time to time.  If I took anything valuable away from my time spent flipping languidly through the Bible, it’s that we’re all made of the same shit.  (I believe that’s a direct quote from Leviticus).  We can buy different shirts at different stores and base our hairdos on different magazine shots but deep down we’re all manic depressive redneck movie star genius baby angel rapists, and, until a flaming boulder falls out of space and incinerates us all, we have to deal with ourselves, and much of the time we don’t seem to be properly equipped to do all that fantastic a job of it.

I don’t want this to come across as complaining.  I’ve been making a conscious effort to cut back on the bitching.  It can be an enjoyable, cathartic, and shamefully addictive pastime, but at best it’s the verbal equivalent of walking on a treadmill set to the lowest speed: It’s repetitive, uninteresting, accomplishes nothing, and it makes you look pathetic and stupid.  I do, however, feel that complaining in groups is, to some extent, a positive activity.  It can bring people together, and it can bring realizations to light that might take the edge off whatever’s getting everybody’s goat.  But someone just sitting around, sadly spouting or typing grievances and utterances of hopelessness is somehow more pathetic than, say, hitting yourself in the head with a rock until you die.  At least the guy hitting himself in the head with a rock is doing something about it.  Good form, guy hitting himself in the head with a rock.  That’s a bona fide means to an end, by cracky.

If you’re gonna complain, at the very least be funny about it.  For frequent good examples of this, please click on the “Devil May Care” link to the right of this entry.  My old friend Joe never laments a folly without somehow forming it into a ludicrous yuk.  A good portion of my time with Joe over the years was spent crying into our googolplex-proof drinks over one damn thing or another.  I bet if we were treated to a videotaped montage of these conversations, we’d start puking and crying and beating the shit out of each other.  This would end very badly for me; Joe is in much better physical condition than I am, and is good at fighting.  In any event, take a look at his blog if you haven’t already been doing so.  There’s a lot to look at.  You’re not doing anything right now anyway.

Does anyone in their thirties ever think that coming of age during the early nineties was a nice lesson in devaluing and underestimating yourself, others, and practically everything around you?  If blame can truly be placed on anything when it comes to quality of life, it feels to me like environment is a reasonable enough culprit, if not infallible.  The early 90s culture was rooted in not caring.  But not the potentially productive “like it or lump it” type of not caring.  The “nothing matters and everyone hates me so I’m locking myself in my room and listening to Alice in Chains all weekend” type of not caring.  I like Alice in Chains as much as the next guy (who I’m told likes them pretty well but has to be in the mood for them), I’m just co-opting them to make a point about the early 90’s seeming cool at the time but actually probably being pretty destructive for a lot of kids stuck in them.  It all seems to revolve around the music.  Does the country’s collective youth personality always have to be dictated by whatever songs by whatever bands have managed to fight their way into our radios, TVs, and computers?  I’m sure it’s not this way with all countries.  What shapes the kids of the countries who don’t live and die by bands and singers?  I hate the music I grew up with as much as I like it.  What else can I say that about?  McDonald’s.  Alcohol.  TV.  All very mood-altering things.  Being controlled is both liberating and stifling, opposing forces that can make you feel like nothing is happening and you’re that nothing.  The best course of action at that point is to watch “The Last Boy Scout” and take from that excellent film the best advice you’ll ever get from anyone: dance a jig!

Now here’s the part where I deflate all the preceding comments by using a lot of exclamation points and pretending to wonder where THAT came from, then showing a picture of a sheep watching CNN!


I am looking within myself for the secret!  I’ll keep you posted!  In other news, we’re probably going to some yard sales tomorrow, if the pickins look good.  I have some pictures of some yard sale trip stuff from a month or two ago that I keep meaning to post, so let’s do that now before it never happens.  Take a gander!


Check it out, we saw a gol’ dahn deer on someone’s lawn while driving away from a yard sale where I bought a book about hobos and a documentary about a retarded guy who really likes football.  This deer didn’t give a rat’s ass about anything.  He was walking through people’s yards without so much as a by your leave.  I learned from our encounter that deer don’t pay attention when you whistle or when you loudly intone the word “deer!” at them.  They probably don’t even know they’re deer.  I did find out, though, that fart noises catch their attention immediately.  You are looking at a picture of a deer trying to figure out who just farted.  This is not a deer that will tolerate crassness.  He may look in its direction with marked interest but he will not join in.  This deer thinks that farts are smelly and disrespectful.  He may have a point.  We’ll leave him to his lichens.


Church rummage sales are currently tickling our fancy moreso than the lowly yard sales.  There’s usually more stuff, the interaction between seller and vendor is way less awkward, reasonably priced baked goods and coffee are virtually guaranteed to be offered, and you get to experience the sure to be intriguing interior of a church you otherwise would never have entered.  It always smells weird and there’s always at least one person walking around that freaks you out.  Church rummage sales are the bee’s knees, the cat’s meow, and the shoat’s lower intestine all rolled into one fascinating animal.


Yeah!  You won’t find this at Target, ladies and gents!  I didn’t want to buy one solitary item on that table, but I did want to take a picture of it.


Just a storage container full of golden tumblers that caught my eye, familiar from the cupboards of older relatives who have passed on.


We bought a jacket (a great one), a Umaine shirt that bears the look and feel of 1983, and a mug that says “Florida” on it in enjoyable colors and fonts (we’re half-assedly collecting mugs from every state).  I think this woman said something funny but it couldn’t have been that great since I can’t remember it at all.  Work on your material, crone!


On to the next one.  It’s amazing how horrible power lines and traffic lights look.  Looks like they just threw a bunch of wires in the air, then all shielded their heads with their arms, hoping against hope that everything would catch on something.  It’s an electrical fire-induced 18-car pile-up waiting to happen.  The precipice of disaster: what better locale for a place of worship?  Anyway, there was stuff to buy in here.  What would it be?


Why, this.  The “Super Max”.  My best guess is this is a blowdryer/comb combo.  Comb combo.  Comb combo.  Whoa.  For women with eighteen pounds of hair who can’t be bothered to split drying and combing into two separate tasks, the Super Max is probably not such a bum deal, but I myself did not care to exchange monies for it.


The general goings-on.  “Rummage” is definitely the word.  Just piles of stuff everywhere.  Root through it and toss it down wherever.  Painted on the wall is a timeline detailing the history of this particular church, which I think is kind of a classy way to keep track of how a building came to be and what it’s had in it.   The idea of the act of painting the timeline of a building on its basement wall is extremely relaxing to me.  It would be nice and cool throughout, you wouldn’t have to concern yourself with creativity or inspiration, and it would be very gratifying to stand back and look at the results when you were done, regardless of how well it came out.


On to another one in Hampden.  There were a lot of home-taped VHS there for purchase, mostly with stuff taped off 1988-era HBO.  I bought several.  I did not buy this one because somewhere I already own these films in other, better-quality formats, but the tape’s content was so solid I had to photograph it.  In the likely event that you can’t read the label, it’s “I’m Gonna Git You Sucka”, “Crocodile Dundee 2”, and “Twins”.  Can’t beat that with a stick.


A piano with a bunch of shoes on it is my kind of commerce.


Not sure what we were thinking when we passed up this four-star deal.  What home would be complete without a scalped mariner nestled in a tiny basket?  I find it hard to believe I did not have enough money to buy this.  My past self enrages me once again.


Well, looks like this little old lady’s going home, and I am as well, home being bed.  Goodnight everybody, and thank you for reading my disjointed blog entry.  I think it’s supposed to be nice out tomorrow.  You should think about buying an ice cream cone.


Posted in Mundane Events on May 25, 2009 by butthorn

“Vicky Cristina Barcelona” is a very uninteresting motion picture; so much so that it’s driving me to actually compose a new blog entry less than 2 weeks after my last one.  That’s some powerful filmmaking. So without further ado, here’s the second half of our Aroostook County trip.  There’s a few more pictures in this one, mostly of old store signs that I found intriguing.  The end of the journal really peters out, as we took a different route home, one that turned out to have even fewer sights of note.  Either that or I was just sick of observing and reporting.  Anyway, don’t rent “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”.

9:13:  On to “Dazed and Confused” soundtrack.  Still enjoying the shoe tree afterglow.  Vacation officially validated by shoe tree.

9:18: Enter Houlton: Where the Action Is.  Woman stumbling around driveway in a Raggedy Ann sweatshirt.  

9:20: Houlton the most civilized community we’ve encountered yet on this trip.  Nearly every house is for sale, though.  Thinking we’ll eat at Elm Tree Diner unless it looks too horrifying.  Hope toilet not too grotesque.

9:23: Find Elm Tree.  Looks fine.  Back in a few.


10:00: Done.  Food perfectly fine.  Each got breakfast specials: eggs, bacon, toast, home fries, coffee for $4.99.  Can’t beat that w/stick.  Got pumpkin cream cheese muffin instead of toast, proved wise decision.  Waitress difficult to read, friendlier at cash register than at table.  Bathroom very clean, however could not seem to poop.  In spite of this, a contraption called a “Niloder” sprayed something at me.  Could not help but take offense.  Certainly worth the $13, all in all.  

10:09: Get gas.  Fuel prices again approaching cornholing levels.  Annie: “I frigging love maps!”

10:10: Pass “Tourist Information Station”.  Annie’s impersonation of what that might entail: “We got a Sears, ya know!”

10:13: Enter Littleton.  Potato fields becoming apparent and copious.  One in back of cemetary.  Yum, dead body taters.  Now playing a game called “Count the Potato Fields”.  Up to six.  Vacation!

10:15: Pass sign: “Trav & Mel’s Wedding”.

10:17: Spouse inexplicably excited by seated bovines.  “I never get to see cows sit!”

10:18: Mutual decision reached to don sunglasses.  Should write story with protagonist named “Don Sunglasses”.  Wocka x 3.

10:20: Enter Monticello.  13 potato fields so far, give or take.  

10:28: Enter Bridgewater.  Reeeeealllly big potato field almost instantly.  Then another one.  And another.  Tired just looking at them.

10:31: “McCain/Palin” spraypainted on shed.  “Tuesday’s Gone” ideal soundtrack for downtown Bridgewater.

10:34: Now surrounded on all sides by potato field.  Very few trees, feels like Montana almost.

10:36: Enter Blaine.  Didn’t even take him out to dinnah!

10:40: Enter Mars Hill.  Suddenly lots of buildings.  Pretty decent Main St in a rickety, paint-chipped kind of way.  Turning off towards Caribou now.  Now have “Malibu” by Hole stuck in head but “Caribou” instead.  Weird Al, take note.

10:47: What appears to be model of Saturn suspended on pole out of nowhere.

10:52: OK, now we just passed Jupiter.  This is some kind of thing.  Also, entered Presque Isle.

11:00: Main St of Presque Isle bricky and mildly compelling. 

11:02: Brief excitement upon spying “Bonanza” sign, but no dice, it’s a Chinese place now.  Pooey of them to keep the sign up.  

11:08: Massive karate dojo in middle of field.

11:10: Entering Caribou.  Thankfully that’s still legal in Maine.  Fa fa fa!

11:12: Very little in Caribou thus far except a wreath store and a “disc golf” course and a closed restaurant called “Farzi’s”.

11:22: Continuing on Rte 1 w/no agenda.  Beautiful day.

11:38: Enter Cyr Plantation.  Precious little to remark upon. 

11:45: Enter Van Buren.

11:51: Pass restaurant called “Tasty Food”.  Really wish I was even remotely hungry.  Actually looks like several good places to eat in Van Buren.  

12:02: Enter Grand Isle.

12:12: Possibly enter Madawaska.

12:14: Yup.  Madawaska.  Several years ago wrote sappy but well-meaning song about this town but have never been here.  Just liked the name.  Interested to check it out.

12:18: Adorable septuagenarian on tractor spotted.

12:19: Lawnmower store/motel called “Roland’s Rendez-vous”!

12:20: Sign advertising: “BBQ, Onions, Cow Manure”.

12:21: Man asleep in van in front of Madawaska Police Dept.

12:23: Madawaska main drag quite visually appealing.  A lot of signs that look from the ’60s.  Sadly most of this stuff is closed down from the looks of things.  Get out, walk around, take some pictures. 





(I swear I turned this picture right side up on some stupid program or other, but clearly it didn’t take; fart on a cock.)



(Sorry these two are so huge, but they can’t be fully appreciated any smaller.)

12:40: Enter Frenchville.

12:53: Enter Fort Kent.  It’s green, brown + white.

1:04: This seems to be the town proper of Fort Kent.  McD’s, “Jan’s Primitive Treasures”, “Jazz It Up Dance Studio”, “Quigley’s Building Supply”.

1:07: Get out on main drag and walk around.  Decide to get a lite-ish lunch @ “Rock’s Family Diner”.  Choice is between that and “Bee-Jay’s”.




(In hindsight, I sort of regret that we did not patronize “Bee-Jay’s”.  Any testimonials out there?  For the restaurant, please, not the sexual act?)

1:17: Each get hot dogs.  I get footlong.  Ketchup + mustard are under hot dog.  Disapprove of this.  Also, waaaaaay too much K + M in general.  Otherwise good, bun especially.


1:32: Then go to Miller’s.  V. similar to Reny’s.  Annie buys spiral-bound sudoku book.  I buy nothing.

1:43: Happen upon Good Samaritan Thrift Shop.  Two old ladies happily gabbing in French.  I recognize the word “hat” at one point.  I buy 2 VHS: “Switchblade Sisters” and some marital arts revenge chick flick called “Fighting Mad”.  Woman doesn’t know how much they cost.  “Is it too much to ask for a dollar?” No, it is not.


(We kept seeing these guys alongside the road at various points in the Fort Kent area.  They’re recycling bins.  Extremely awesome recycling bins.)

2:04: Back on the road.  Taking Rte 11 in the opposite direction.  Listening to Wood’s Tea Company.  Pleasant Irish music.

2:16: Hilly!

2:21: Enter Eagle Lake.  Lake itself is quite nice.

2:24: Big hand-lettered sign on someone’s porch reads simply “Potato”.

2:45: Zzzz…


2:46: Entered Porter.

2:48: Entered Portage Lake.

2:54: Entered Nashville, surprisingly enough.

3:00: Enter Ashland.  Vividly burping mustard.

3:10: Ashland both vast and dull.

3:11: Entering Masardis.  Sounds oddly promising.  (It isn’t.)

3:29: Entered TWP 9RS.  

3:52: Enter Mt. Chase.  Listening to The Turtles.  Sleepy.

3:54: Bigass hill.

3:55: Enter Patton.  When you put your hand in pile of goo that used to be face etc.

3:59: Patton very rustic.  General store actually looks like it’s made out of dirt.

4:08: Now in Sherman.  Going to get on I-95 in a bit and that will be that for our relaxing day of deserted townships.

So, in essence, we drove four hundred and seventy-six miles to look at a tree covered in shoes and a street of abandoned storefronts, then buy hot dogs and a sudoku book.  Doesn’t look like much on paper, but we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves throughout.    

Get in the car and go somewhere sometime!  Places are cool and fun!