Monday, July 31, 2006

Thoughts On Our Recent Trip To Hell And Back

Friday plane - airport was a zoo. Lady in front of us actually started smoking on the plane. Attendant told her to stop. Lady asked what exactly would happen if she didn't stop. "We are going to Hell," she pointed out. Smokers came out of the woodwork after that. Rough landing due to tires melting on touchdown.

Accommodations were as advertised, hot, pointy, red, but somehow I was hoping for more. Brochure showed lava flowing through the rooms, but lava was mostly confined to the lobby. Also, no HBO.

Locals were not terribly friendly. Tolls to cross every river or bridge. Everyone is damned. Everyone is hopeless. Very hard to get them to smile for photos. Nearly impossible to get them to take photo of us and the kids.

Food was sub-par. I was ready for hot, spicy, melt your insides and make you beg for mercy, like Indian times a hundred. But for the most part, everything was just charred. Like, black. Is it meat, vegetable, other? Who knew. Very tough. No flavor. Zero points for presentation. I won't even start about the ice cream.

Scenery was initially impressive, but then it like, okay, I've seen the pits of souls, the flaming seas. Hell, there's pointy rocks in Utah! There's just really not much variety. You could certainly see it in a day. Even a long layover would give you the flavor.

Did see a small patch of snow. Took lots of pictures. Locals were not impressed. Asked why they were not more amazed to see the place frozen over. Apparently it happens all the time, contrary to popular belief. Deleted most of the photos. In retrospect, snow is snow.

The Devil. Wow, what a wait. And honestly, kind of felt like a tourist trap. Yes, he has the horns and the tail, and even that little beard thing, but five hours in line? When I wait five hours in line, you better deliver Mickey Mouse or some sort of trained animal that can balance something on something else while riding another thing. He was polite, though. Told the kids they'd be welcome back anytime. I suggested he'd need some HBO and better cell coverage if he wanted my kids to see Hell again.

Celebrity sightings - sure, a few. I mean, they're all about if you look, but it really wasn't that impressive. Hell seems to be rough on your looks.

Flight back got stuck in Limbo. Very boring. Around our thrity fifth hour in the terminal I decided we're definitely sacking the travel agent.

Would I go back? Doubtful. If I need a lake of fire, I'll head to Cleveland and get a place with some HBO. Not that we're going to Heaven next year either. I've heard customs there is a bitch. Sea World probably.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Results of Poor Partner Selection On 100,000 Dollar Pyramid


The ocean, the universe...
Things that taste like Cinnamon?
A mountain, a jumbo jet...
Things you would say to an umpire?
The universe! A sperm whale!
Sperm? Now, I'm totally confused.

A cloud, a baby blanket, a teddy bear...
Things you scream at.
What? No! Kittens, fresh pillows, marshmallows...
And you're sure it's not things you scream at?

OK. Slurpees, Big Gulps, hot dogs.
Things you shouldn't put lotion on.
Dear Lord.
Ways you start letters to the editor.
No, that wasn't a clue, I'm just-
Things that aren't clues.


Ok. You'd find these at the place I went when I was ten.
Also at the place I went when I was eleven.
Also when I was twelve.
I have no idea.
I was ten.
Yes I heard that part.
Also eleven.
Can we pass?
It's so easy. I was ten.
Just pass.
It was things you find at summer camp. I can't believe you didn't get that.

Allright. Here we go. Um.... Tom Cruise.
People you see in a movie theatre.
No. Tom Cruise.
Things in a blockbuster.
No, no, no. Like, think about Tom Cruise.
People who are famous. Things you find in a cult.
No. Man, I'm having trouble thinking of anything better than Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise, Tom Cruise, Tom Cruise, what do you think of?
People who are handsome. People who dance in their underwear.
This is getting us nowhere. It's things with sharp teeth. You've never noticed that about his teeth? They seem really sharp. Almost like an alligator or a shark or something.

This is the one. We've got this. You don't turn these on with a switch. They're pretty poor conductors of electricity. They're not radioactive.
Things that are... made of wood?
Close. Um, they're not made of rubber. They don't hibernate. Sometimes they're on fire. Peaches. You don't turn them on with a switch.
I have no idea. I give up.
Come on. Not radioactive. Peaches.
Things... you eat.
Yeah, yeah, close. No hibernation.
Things you eat for breakfast. Things you eat for lunch. Things you eat for dinner.
No, no, no, they're NOT made of rubber.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Things We're Not Going To Do In The New Place


In an effort to make our recent move more than just a change of address, but an entirely fresh start, I'd like to suggest five simple groundrules that I think will allow us to enjoy our new home for some time to come.

1. No cattle.
Do I wish we still had the ranch? Of course I do. In retrospect it was foolish to take the deed with me to that poker game just to show off its nifty font, but what's done is done (it was a swell font though, really), and we all need to move on, and that means no more livestock. Sally, you may have fooled me into thinking you just had a terribly unattractive young friend who always wanted to stay the night at the last house, but I've got my eyes out this time. If you think I'm going to be buying any more bales of hay for your 'slumber parties' you're in for a rude awakening. I know it's hard, but I think we're going to see a marked improvement in overall household odor and a marked decline in stampedes as a result of this rule.

2. No firearms in the dining room or the family room.
Now I know this sounds extreme, but hear me out. Seeing that news report on the so called 'shootout' that took place in our last home after our debate about the proper audience for a certain breakfast cereal (I still maintain there's nothing inherently 'for kids' about Trix) made me realize that our brand of conflict resolution was simply not going to be understood or accepted in 'the burbs'. I know, I know, it sounds crazy, and believe me, I enjoyed yelling 'draw' and reaching for a piece as much as the rest of you, but I just think it's time to adapt. So from now on, each of you will be outfitted with a sword and scabbard. All disputes will be settled with the time honored clash of metal on metal. This should not only satisfy the uptight neighbors, but hopefully result in less damage to things like the walls and the television, which you all know took the brunt of our 'shootouts'. And remember, this only applies to the dining room and the family room. In your own rooms you can fire at will.

3. No more math books.
If there was one thing that ignited more furor than breakfast cereals it was debates about Nascar drivers. But since we're not even going to discuss banning Nascar races, I suggest we leave another instigator of trouble in our lockers from now on. Your mom and I have long since forgotten our algebra and so forth and we simply cannot help you. It doesn't do any of us any good to beat our heads against the wall trying to make sense of this stuff only to eventually end up frustrated and firing wildly into the ceiling (I know enough to count to 2300, and that's what we spent on roof repairs trying to get Billy through that semester of trig). Do your homework where it's supposed to be done, at school. If you have problems, let their roof suffer.

4. No more cowboys and indians.
It was okay when you all played with each other, but roping (literally) unsuspecting citizens into these games just seems to lead to trouble. When I was a kid a good game of cowboys and indians often meant someone went missing for weeks, but people are just a lot more edgy around here. They get worried if family members don't come home EVERY NIGHT. Is that crazy? Maybe, but it's not our place to say. So no more lassos, no more hold ups, no more bandana gagged strangers mumbling in the corner when we're trying to watch a race. Let's see if we can stay on the neighbors' Christmas card lists for a while this time.

5. No more moonshine.
This one will take some adjusting, no doubt, but I think it has to be done. The fumes, explosions, fires, not to mention the uptick in both armed conflict and stampedes when a batch was enjoyed are all clear signs to me that this lovely elixir can simply no longer be a part of our lives. What will we give the baby when she won't sleep? I'm not sure. What will Johnny suck on when we're tending to those gunshot wounds (hopefully just sword wounds now)? Don't ask me. What will we put in our vehicles to make them go? Maybe, just maybe, it's time to start buying gas.

Will any of this be easy? Of course not. But the world is changing all around us. If we want to survive, we're going to have to evolve. Not in some cockamamie ape into man way, but in a bathtubs are for bathing not distilling kind of way. If we work together I think we can make a real go of it here and make some beautiful memories. Will there be anything worth remembering without the guns, cows, bullets, indians, and gin? I honestly don't know. That's something we're just going to have to find out. Together.