Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Miracles Abound

A few days shy of Christmas I was out with my family, doing the last minute shopping. (All my shopping to be more accurate.) My daughter, in true two-year-old fashion timed her tantrum perfectly. She waited till we were on the top floor of Mervyn's in the middle of the crowd waiting to check out. Nearing the registers we were surrounded on all sides by no less than two hundred antsy shoppers. (If this had been an English soccer match at least fifty people would have been trampled.) Just as we were nearing the epicenter of the retail experience my daughter was possessed by the Devil himself and endowed, from below, with the insatiable desire to drink. "I NEED A DRINK!!" she shrieked. Drink what? It didn't matter. She needed liquid and she needed it NOW! I was hundreds of miles from the nearest ocean yet still she squirmed and arched like a newly landed marlin who knew it was fight or die. It took all of both my physical and mental capacity to keep her from flying free of my bear-hug like grip. All four limbs became lethal weapons acting autonomous of the other three. Knees and feet pummeled my torso and crotch. Elbows and hands battered my head and face like a crazed diabetic Mexican trying to shatter a sugar filled piñata. I tried to anticipate the blows by clenching my eyes tightly for fear one of her little fingers should pierce an eyeball, stab my frontal lobe, and drop me like a sack of flour. One man, certain she was having a violent seizure, attempted to insert his wallet into her mouth lest she bite down on, and sever her own tongue. I left my wife and son behind and pressed to the edge of the mob trying to restrain her and minimize the collateral damage upon innocent onlookers. It was my intention to first, remove the danger from the crowd, and second, retreat to more private environs where I could give her the beating she deserved out from under the watchful eyes of children's rights activists. When I broke the perimeter I felt a rush of cool air, breathed deep, and lengthened my stride.

It's an interesting thing about the toddler tantrum; it can subside as quickly as it arises. Not 10 seconds from the crowd her red little eyes spied a shopping cart with a child's seat. She gasped, fell silent, and in the blink of an eye changed from demon to angel. Her face went soft, her limbs hung peacefully, and the horns receded. I set her down and as she approached the cart she whispered, "Oh my darling. Oh my adorable."
I asked her if she wanted to ride in the cart and in a sweetness that even Shirley Temple could not have mustered she clasped her hands together, batted her eyes, and softly said, "Oh yes."
Upon observing this astonishing change, I didn't have the heart to deliver the aforementioned beating but instead lifted her inside the cart and pushed her away certain I had just witnessed a genuine Christmas miracle.

God bless us, everyone.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Favorite Things About The Holiday Season

Everyone gets good at acting like they enjoy crap that they hate the rest of the year… like ballet.

Extremely outdated animation

The chance to sit around with the old folks listening to them breath through their noses so loud you think Lord Vader is in the room.

The superior feeling of Christian exclusivity

A chance to kiss women, who are out of your league, because they unwittingly stepped under the mistletoe.

A chance to grope women, who are out of your league, because they unwittingly walked too close to the poinsettia. (family tradition)

Late night Christmas Eve toy construction when it's o.k. to swear

Christmas MURDER! (Because the rest of the year it’s just plain murder.)

Midgets get to walk freely among normal people.

Conifer Genocide!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Memories In A Flash

The advent of the digital camera has infused our generation with a new kind of nostalgia; a nostalgia of the immediate past. Never mind the bygone days when things were simpler, all children loved and revered their parents, and mom-and-pop shops had yet to be snuffed out by the super store. No, never mind all that. We long for the immediate past. Despite the fact that we were just there OR are even still there, we want to relive those precious moments that we’ve just had. That is why everything you buy these days “is also a camera”; your phone, your computer, your camera. Need I say more?

Because of this phenomenon my children are part of the most photographed generation in history. And it’s not because they are cuter, and therefore more deserving of lens time. (Well, mine are. But I’m certain yours aren’t.) It’s because cameras are small, compact, cheap, and part of every other piece of technology. It’s getting to the point where it’s unreasonable to not have one.

Recent studies show that 96% of Generation X Americans have only seen one pre-marriage picture of their grandfather[s]. And it’s probably the one of him in overalls (nothing else) in front of a small schoolhouse with a small group of other children who look like orphans or chain-gangers.
94% of the same group saw an average of four pre-marriage photos of their father. And each time were embarrassed by both his goofy haircut and the girth of his glasses. The same percentage of Generation X has one photograph from every school year attended, along with some random pictures from various family vacations.

My children, Generation Z, are a totally different story. Their lives are an experience in intrusive documentary. If my kids were celebrities my wife would be the most vicious of paparazzi. (The kind that, while their child is on a tricycle, runs beside them with a camera, trying to capture a moment of them in real life, despite the fact that their child is trying to escape in a panic and crashes into a tunnel entrance wall and kills everyone on board including her Muslim lover.) (Too soon?) I say “my wife” because technology alone is not responsible for this ever-growing photo frenzy. Moms are the other half of the equation. Most dads on the other hand are convinced that simply experiencing a moment in time will suffice. But women half to catch it, and then relive it immediately just in case they missed some nuance of the fleeting moment.

While visiting the in-laws over Thanksgiving, my wife, our two kids, a few of the in-laws, and I went to The Aquarium of The Pacific to enjoy some nature just as God intended; in captivity. To support my thesis I would like to include an actual conversation, between my wife and I, that took place there.

Her: “Set the kids against the glass there.”

I comply because that’s what a dad does. He’s ever posing the kids so to convince all her friends that her children are in a constant state of “cuteness.”

Me: “Like this?”

Her: “No! So that Maggie’s arm is around Cash’s shoulder! Make it natural.”

Me: “Sorry.”

I fix the arm. Maggie understands what’s happening and fights it. Cash falls over. I hurry and stand him up because I know I’m blowing it.

Her: “Just get out of the way.”

Me: “Right. Sorry.”

She snaps the picture and immediately changes the function to “view.”

Her: “Oh my gosh mom, look how cute!”

Her mom excitedly hurries to her side. This gets her sisters attention and soon all three women are huddled around a tiny LCD screen, making the noises women make whilst viewing pictures of children (even if the kid has a face like Mr. Ed). But that’s not enough.

Her: “Honey, come look at this.”

Me: “That’s OK, I know what it looks like.”

Her: “Whadaya mean, ‘you know what it looks like’?”

Me: “I was there. You just took it. I was looking at the same scene you just photographed. The image is fresh in my brain, and I love it. No picture could improve that moment for me. It was magical. But you should know, after you took the picture, while you were pouring over it with maternal enthusiasm, you missed out on a bunch of other cute crap our kids did. Cash did a little tap dance for passers by, and earned over $10 in change, and Maggie struck up a conversation about the pros and cons of Affirmative Action with an elderly black man. It was adorable. I’m sorry you missed it.”

Her: “Why don’t you love our children?”

Despite what my wife may think, I do love my children and I do appreciate pictures of them when more than three seconds have past.

Here is a very small fraction of the pictures taken in the recent past.

Cash at his first swim lesson. (We did not stage this. He climbed in there of his own accord. My wife just left him in there long enough to photograph... and get something to drink.)

My kids spend 95% of their waking hours sitting around in nature in cute clothes, smiling.

Maggie's first pair of slutty boots.

A day at the aquarium.

The three most important people in the world.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving. Do You Have A Reservation?

Dear Diary,
This afternoon, while playing on the beach with some of my siblings, I saw three ships, with banners waving, coming my way. Flags of their homeland told of whence they came, and my curiosity got the best of me so I went out to meet them. A bunch of white guys rowed smaller boats to shore and I greeted them with nervous anticipation. They seemed friendly enough at first; that is, until they started raping and pillaging. But I’m not one to hold a grudge. Live and let live, right?

Dear Diary,
Some time has passed since my first encounter with the white guys. I’m trying to be non-judgmental so I decided to forgive and forget. Some friends and I showed the crackers how to plant native crops, catch fish, and hunt for wild game. To their own surprise a handful of them survived the first year. They wanted to celebrate by having a big feast and said we could come if we brought the food. We said “why not?” and brought a butt load of tasty vittles. They called it “Thanksgiving”, and we called it “Your-welcome-giving.”

Dear Diary,
As it turns out our white acquaintances have a lot of relatives AND they invited them all over. They asked if we wouldn’t mind pulling up stakes and giving them a little more space. To help us feel better about the move they gave us a delicious drink that helps you forget you’ve just been ripped off and a bunch of blankets made of this lovely European wool. They called them “Small Pock Comforters” and they were cozy. We didn’t want to seem unaccommodating sooooo, ok.

Dear Diary,
Our white neighbors got in a big fight. I heard that Johnny Reb is mad at Billy Yank because apparently Johnny wants to keep his Negroes and his autonomy but Billy is a control freak and said “no way.” Ironically, while Billy's army is fighting for our black cousins some of his army is out here giving us trouble, but for the most part their guns are pointed at each other, so it gives us a little reprieve. Maybe they’ll all kill each other and we can split the land with the Negroes.

Dear Diary
We found out that there’s gold on our land today. Talk about your bad luck. No time to write, as I have to get packing before my wife and children are murdered.

Dear Diary,
Well, we’ve settled on some God-forsaken worthless toiletbowl-of-the-Earth. No tatonka, no trees, no water, nothin’. Not even the Mexicans would want it.

Dear Diary,
Well I was wrong. They wanted our craphole too. Not to worry though. Our white friends have assured us that they have reserved, on our behalf, some land that they can find absolutely no use for. Just to be sure we asked them to have one more look around just to make sure they couldn’t squeeze an Indian head penny out of the area. They tried and they couldn’t, so it’s ours. To celebrate, me and some of the guys passed around the pipe. No tobacco of coarse, but plenty of broken treaties for everybody to smoke.

Dear Diary
While standing, on break, near the entrance of my casino I saw three cars, with campers trailing, driving my way. License plates of their homeland told from whence they came…

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Would you like some egg with your face?

Once, at the beginning of a blind date, my date asked if I would come into her apartment and quickly help her move a couch. In an effort to make a good impression I kindly obliged. With her and all her roommates in the front room I carelessly picked up the couch and let my pecks flex unrestrained. Well, as those of you who know me can probably guess, my rippling pecks, shoulders, and arms ruptured my shirt like Mt Saint Helens leaving it torn asunder and hanging useless from my belt. I don’t know who was more shocked, them or me. I just stood there, couch in hand, with my gorgeous, Herculean muscles on display for all the girls to ogle; the very archetype of masculinity trapped in a hot-den of rabid femininity. Well, naturally they started swooning and shrieking with pleasure and breathing heavy and heaving their bosoms with passionate rapture; so much so that I thought some of the poor creatures were going to hyperventilate and/or bosoms were going to fly free from their lacy, cupped restraints. That was only the beginning. The breathing and heaving was soon followed by the fighting which broke out over who had the right to love me up and bare my children. You could have cut the angst filled fertility with a knife. There was screaming, clawing, hair pulling, gouging, punching, kicking, back biting, and all kinds of slanderous gossiping. And all the while I’m just standing there awkwardly with my date's couch over my head.
I was SO embarrassed.

I now want to hear your embarrassing date stories. (Thanks for the idea Anjie.) Please submit them by way of comments. Prizes will be awarded for the best stories. Mind you, the stories have to be true like mine. No artistic liberty should be taken. The grand prizewinner will win a cruise for two to Beautiful Island Place of Happiness.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A Latte of Deep Thinking

One of the reasons I chose to teach high school, as apposed to jr. high, is because I wanted the students to be at a higher level of reasoning. I knew that with higher reasoning skills came more opportunities for deep and meaningful discussions about the various subjects we would be studying. They would not only have the chance to learn the mere facts of history but they would also be able to explore their deeper meanings; the philosophical and cultural ramifications of those facts. Today’s deep conversation was no exception.

Student: Mr. Quinn. Do you know what the weather is going to be like on Sunday?

Me: It’s supposed to be sunny with a 100% chance of rain with a cold front from the west and some snow flurries then a blizzard with freezing temperatures and a heat wave with possible drought bringing in a tropical storm with 175 mile an hour winds which should spur a typhoon followed by ship wreck and 30 days of night and rivers of blood, locusts, plague, pestilence, rabies, murder, male pattern balding, and…

Student: So you don’t know?

Me: No. Why?

Student: Because my mom is taking me for coffee on Sunday and I’ve really been craving a latte.

Me: OK.

Student: Well, I’m hoping it’s cloudy so I can get a latte.

Me: They only sell lattes on cloudy days?

Student: No. It’s just that I only like to get them if it’s cloudy.

Me: Well sure. That makes sense.

Student: If it’s cloudy I like to get a latte and if it’s sunny I like to get an iced coffee. Don’t you drink latte?

(There’s a long pause while I stare at her and contemplate not only the generational, but also the intellectual gap.)

Me: No.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Awesome Power of Pasta

We had some family over for dinner the other night. We were eating spaghetti. As I was dishing up a plateful I wanted to show my appreciation and said, “This looks awesome,” to which my sister-in-law replied, “Eating spaghetti is awesome.” I was immediately intrigued by the notion that ones social aptitude or level of “coolness” could be gauged by the quantity of spaghetti one consumed. Convinced that this must be a true principle, (partly because my sister-in-law is staunchly honest and partly because it just felt right), I decided to perform an experiment and put it to the test. I ate as much spaghetti as I could without vomiting. The following is a log of the first day’s trial.

6:55 am
I got up, went into the kitchen, and pointedly declined the waffles, sausage, and eggs my wife had prepared stating “those food items would only stifle my awesomeness,” and promptly pushed my plate onto the floor. As the plate shattered, sending glass and food in all directions, my wife and I looked at each other in shock. It seems my faith was baring fruit, as I was already acting more awesome. No one could deny that tossing my food on the floor like an angst-filled teen was anything if not awesome. “Hell yes” I said, “I’m havin’ BU-SKETY for B-Fast YO! Make some!” My wife walked out in tears obviously unable to handle my high level of awesome. I wanted to comfort her but restrained myself when I reasoned that the only thing that could help her now was more spaghetti.

7:21 am
After eating leftover spaghetti I split (left) for work. On the way I tuned the radio to a rap station, which I felt spoke to me on a profoundly awesome level. I was in the middle of busting a tight rhyme when some uptight cracker cut me off. Typically, I would have taken it like a spineless Nancy, but now that I was awesome I scooted to the center of the car, rolled down the windows, steered with my knee, and sped past the offending cracker with both hands extended out either side of the car flipping the biggest, most awesome birds I have ever flipped. I was on top of the world.

9:10 am
Five minutes into my second class I’m still sitting in my chair with my feet on my desk. I’m already tired of teaching for the day. The students’ just stare at me. Then one asks, “Mr. Quinn? Are we going to learn any history today?” I just looked at him for a minute contemplating what I might say. And then I spoke. “History schmistory.”
The students all laughed.

10:42 am
It was time to refuel so I leave school early to take an extended lunch and decide to cruise down to Olive Garden. “I’ll have the all you can eat spaghetti platter.”
“We don’t have an all you can eat spaghetti platter.” The waitress explained.
“What did you say?”
“We don’t have an all you can eat spaghetti platter.” She repeated with deliberation.
“What did YOU SAY?!”
“I said we DO NOT have an all you can eat spaghetti platter!”
“Sir, I’m sorry. We don’t offer an all you can eat platter. Can I get you something else?”
“I’ll talk to the kitchen and see what I can do.”
I got the all you can eat spaghetti platter. My powers of persuasion are becoming increasingly proficient. Awesome.

2:45 pm
Upon my return to school I am informed I have been fired for sloughing. “I thought you could only get detention for sloughing” I protested.
“If you’re a student you get detention. If you’re a teacher you get fired.” They informed me.
“That’s a double standard.”
“Well, we hold teachers to a higher standard than students.”
“That’s what she said.” Point, set, match. No one recovers from a “that’s what she said.” My principal was probably reeling from the retort.
“What?” she asked.
“Never mind.”
“No, I want to understand you. That’s what who said about what?”
“I said never mind.”
“Just tell me what you meant.” She persisted.
“Just forget it. It’s been too long now so it won’t even be funny.”
We just stared at each other for a minute. Then I walked up to within one inch of my principal. I grabbed her face and kissed her long and hard. “Am I fired now?”
“Yes. And I’m calling the police.”
“Your mom’s calling the police.”
“Oh geez. Never mind.”

3:15 pm
I’ve cleared my stuff from my classroom but can’t go home yet lest my wife catch wise to my new employment status. But now that I’m awesome and not a teacher I want my car to reflect that fact so I stop into a car accessories shop to purchase some stickers of Calvin, from Calvin and Hobbes, peeing on stuff. I hit the jackpot. I bought one of Calvin peeing on the Chevrolet logo but since I wasn’t sure what car company built my car I also bought one of him peeing on the Ford logo. I got one of Calvin peeing on George Bush, Osama bin Laden, the Taliban, Hillary Clinton, Hollywood, Irish Dancing, Mexico, Mac Computers, Lindsey Lohan, Smokers, Ex-Wife, Ex-Boyfriend, My Step Kids, Al Gore, Polar Bears, Global Warming, Michael Moore, Socialism, and France. I bought some of him peeing on acronyms like NRA, PETA, MADD, and NAACP. I even bought some that didn’t really make sense but still looked awesome like Calvin peeing on Polio, Kermit the Frog (a dead, limp looking version), Orphans, Caribou, a human fetus, Spina Bifida, and a sticker that had two Calvins peeing on each other. Needless to say I stuck all these on the back window of my car to show my high level of awesome.

4:25 pm
I’m on the road heading home with the window down, arm hanging out, spitting occasionally just for the H of it. I feel as light as the ether now that I’m free from the bonds of slave labor. I decide to open up the ol’ Prizm all the way and push it up to 60. Just then I notice the fuzz on my tail. I decide to pull over and play it awesome. He approaches my window.
“Do you know why I pulled you over?”
“I ain’t sayin’ nothin’.”
“What?” asked the cop.
“I ain’t sayin’ nothin’.”
“I pulled you over because it’s illegal to completely obstruct the view through your back window with decals or anything else for that matter. It’s not safe.”
“You got a warrant copper?” I ask. And the look on his face when he realizes I know law stuff is priceless.
“I don’t need a warrant to pull you over. Can I see your license and registration please?”
“Where’s my lawyer?" I push.
“I don’t have clue where your lawyer is.”
“Well I know my rights so you can stick it pork chop.”
“Watch the insults!” Says the cop.
“Is this some kind of screw job? I’ve been framed.”
“What are you talking about?”

5:15 pm
After I was arrested and put in jail I started to get hungry.
“Hey piggy!” I yelled to the nearest cop. “When’s chow?”
He started to walk closer and explained that they don’t provide meals, and that I could eat when someone came and bailed me out. Then I noticed his nametag read “Fabrezio” and got excited.
“Hey Guido, do you think you could score me some spaghetti?!” I asked.
“What did you call me?” He said as he walked toward my cell.
“No need to get bent out of shape Corleon. I’m with you, so get me some spaghetti.”
“I already told you we don’t serve meals.”
I could tell this situation was going to call for higher powers of persuasion.

7:40 am (the next morning)
“Hey Ben. Ben, wake up.”
From a sleepy stupor I wake to the prodding sound of my wife’s voice. My eyelids flutter and I notice I’m lying in a small pool of my own blood. “What time is it?” I ask.
“It’s seven forty.”
It’s amazing how soundly you can sleep when you’ve been Billy-clubbed to the face. My wife informs me that I’ve behaved like certain parts of the body, which are found below the waist, and then bails me out. At the booking window I collect my things and bid farewell to all the law dogs.
“So long coppers. See you next time.”
“I hope there’s not a next time.” says one of the cops behind the counter.
“That’s what your mom said.” I said wryly.
A bunch of cops laughed.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Book of Real History, Chap. 1

So I got that teaching job I said I was looking for back in March (The Burden of an Education). For a poverty level paycheck I still can’t believe how demanding teaching high school can be. (That’s right, high school. I was also offered teaching positions at two different junior high schools, but I decided early adolescents was someplace that, psychologically speaking, I could not venture.) I spend my extra time trying to stay one day ahead of the students as we are covering 20th Century history this year and my exposure to said field was cursory at best. And so I feel like I am just as much a student as I am a teacher. Since August I have been on the edge of my seat with shock and awe as I have investigated the past like some kind of explorer.

Assuming that most American high school graduates left school with the same sheltered/half-truth education that I did, I feel it a duty as an educator to shine the light of truth where there has previously been darkness, especially on the lesser known tidbits from our collective pasts. Let this be the first of those entries.

Did you know that the most famous duel in history is laced with irony? The duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr really had nothing to do with politics or slander. What most history books fail to mention is that while the two statesmen were heavily involved in American politics they were also in a bluegrass band together and they both played the banjo. It was called “The Burilton Mountain Pickers” and they enjoyed traveling around the colonies playing family parties, barn dances, and various church functions. One of their most popular tunes was a little ditty they wrote together called “Competing Banjos.” The song was written to be an equal opportunity for the two virtuosos to display their picking prowess but Hamilton, who was kind of a showboat, insisted on taking an extended solo to end the song. Burr tried to express his frustration but was stymied by his band-mate’s pompous indifference when Hamilton told him to “Blow it out your butt.” Burr, at wits end from the constant upstaging by his musical compatriot, held his rage in until their next performance when right at the climax of Hamilton’s final solo, at the end of “Competing Banjos”, Burr bludgeoned Hamilton over the head with his banjo fatally wounding Alex and putting an end to “The Burilton Mountain Pickers.” Coincidentally, the name of the song was later changed to “Dueling Banjos” which only helped perpetuate the myth that an actual “duel” took place.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Life Lesson #62

When calling a friend, make sure it’s him that answers before responding, “Hey numb-nuts!” just in case he decided to go on vacation and leave his cell phone with his mother.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Failed marketing slogans for the “Segway”

And you thought you were fat before.

Paving the way to a more obese future.

Just (Let Someone Else) Do It!

Remember when people walked for leisure? Ha ha ha.

The Atrophiezer

When you fall over it’s not as hard to pick up as one of those motorcycle things.

The Vertical Geriatric

Best Chick Repellent Since B.O.


Wednesday, September 5, 2007


In Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol” Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by his old business partner Jacob Marley who warns Ebenezer that his life of selfishness will lead to sad ends. “…no space of regret can make amends for one life’s opportunities misused! Yet such was I! Oh! Such was I!” Scrooge attempts to defend Jacob’s life. “But you were always a good man of business, Jacob” to which Marley replies, “Business! Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!”

Over the years I have often been surprised at how liberally my dad gave others of his personal time, money, and love. When he died on August 10, 2007 at the young age of 56, I began to think on how he spent his time and have come to realize that he lived like a man who knew his days were numbered. One of the few comforts I have had since his passing was the knowledge that my dad knew what his business was, and was expert in his field. Sometimes when I’m missing him to the point where my chest tightens and my eyes begin to brim with tears, I wonder how different our lives, our relationships, and the world might be if we all lived in such a way. Before I go on, please know that what I say about my father is said without hyperbole, undue bias, or the typical heroification that usually accompanies the post-partum memoirs written on behalf of deceased parental figures. Since his death I have developed the theory that there are many ways to be a good father, but significantly fewer ways to be a great one. I want to write about some of those ways.

Through personal observation and speaking with friends I learned early on that my dad was different. If at the home of a friend, I knew I could usually come and go without having a single run in, let alone an actual dialogue with that friend’s father. And to be honest, that was fine with me since other dad’s usually seemed gruff, authoritative, and pretty much unapproachable. If I were to have a friend, male or female, over to my house I knew there was little chance of me getting that friend out the door without first being accosted by my father. He wanted to know everything. How’s the family, school, dating, (then to both of us) what are you doing, where are you going, with who, what else, when will you be back, remember who you are and what you stand for, (then to me) I love you. Honestly, his seemingly unnatural level of attention/interrogation sometimes embarrassed me; but my friends never seemed to mind. Now I like to think that they might have been a little envious of the zealous style with which he approached fatherhood. I’m going to miss his zealousness.

I am amazed at how often he found or created opportunities to teach us, his sons, something he felt was important. Sometimes the lessons seemed untimely but he was of the opinion that if children learn important lessons early, and establish a strong foundation, major issues never become major issues.
“There was a story on the news I wanted to talk to you guys about.” He said to me and my brothers one night.
“A young teenage girl got high on crack and dove headfirst into an empty pool and died. Do you guys know how scary drugs are? How much they hurt not just the people who abuse them but also their loved ones? You four boys mean everything to mom and me. Do you know that?”
“I hope you have the courage to stand up for what’s right when it comes time to decide.”
(Pause for effect)
“Dad, I’m only six years old. I don’t even know where to get cigarettes let alone crack cocaine.”
(I didn’t say that last part. But if I could go back in time and enter my six-year-old head, I would have.)

I loved the way he valued our sense of adventure and need to do things that weren’t always part of the mainstream. His willingness to risk financial security to do something unusual with the family had become a source of criticism from friends more than once. But whether we wanted to sell it all and move to Nauvoo, or Jackson Hole, or anywhere else, he was in, as long as the family was doing it together. Even after suffering major financial loss at the hands of dishonest partners, or due to poor personal business execution, my dad maintained a surprisingly positive outlook, regrouped, and was willing to try something else. When most fathers would try to sober their sons with dream defeating reality my dad praised our ideas and hoped they included the group being together. He knew where his priorities lie. Daily he worked to lay up treasures in heaven and hoped the earthly treasures lasted long enough to do so comfortably.

Though he spent much of his life on the road he somehow always managed to be there when it was important. If someone was moving, had car trouble, was performing on stage, had a game, needed advice, wanted someone to play golf with, dad was there. “Just don’t tell mom. She’s at work while I’m out here with you.”

Speaking of mom, I learned how to treat women from the example he set with my mother. I’m going to miss the way he talked about my mom. In front of her and in private he loved to tell us how lucky he was, and how lucky we were for having her as our mother. He was the first to admit that he married above himself. He would hug her tight, kiss her, and say, “Your mom is one in a million.”

I will sorely miss his liberal showing of affection; the random calls where he would just call to say hi, what’s up, I love you. I talked to my dad on the phone two days before he passed; a long stretch by our standards. The conversation was insignificant. We talked about my family getting back to Utah, and getting moved into our new place. I hadn’t seen him for about two months due to a summer job I had taken and he expressed how much he missed us and how excited he was to see my wife Kathryn and my kids Maggie, and Cash (who he called Jack). He had to get back to work but he wanted me to know he loved me and was thinking of me. The last words that passed between us were “I love you.” If I’d known it was going to be the last time we spoke I would have slowed down, told him I still needed him, that I would miss our private conversations, that it breaks my heart to think of my young mother going to bed at night and seeing only space where her dearest confidant used to lie, that the real tragedy is that my children and many of my brother’s children will have no memory of him, that I wished I were there so I could hug him and kiss his cheek, that I wished I could have looked into his eyes when I said my last “I love you, dad.”

There may be some, surface associates, that thought that Martin Quinn’s business was picture framing. But sales and frames “were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of [his] business;” a necessary evil to create free time for his real job. His business was family and man, and he was expert at it. Now that he’s gone it is my intention to take up the family business. I hope I can make him proud.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Let US Pray

Good news Muslim high-schoolers. You can now pray it up in school. Despite attempts on the part of a few vehement atheists to stifle your religiosity many states are holding up your right to get all churchy during school hours. Personally, I really can’t say I blame you for putting up a holy stink. If a few prayers meant I could get out of class 5 or 10 extra minutes every day, then give me a rug and call me Ishmael, because I’m in.

Mind you, I haven’t always been in favor of special consideration for minority groups. Let me illustrate with an example from my past. I am a member of a church that enjoys a relatively high Polynesian membership, for the lower 48 at least. And without fail, anytime one of them gets up to the pulpit they yell “Aloha!” Not only that, but everyone in the audience is expected to yell “aloha” back in response. (I guess it’s the islander’s version of the Southern Baptist’s, “Hallelujah!”) If the congregation doesn’t yell it loud enough, which they never do the first time, the screaming Polynesian repeats his greeting louder than before in an effort to prod the sleepy assembly in a kind of “come-on-crackers-you-can-do-better-than-that” sort of way. And the process repeats until the islander is satisfied, which can take some time. I’ve seen this go on for 20 minutes before. This practice has always seemed strange to me since I’m quite satisfied with just a single greeting from a friend or group of people, despite the decibel level.

When I first witnessed this I was still in my youth and believed that one should never shout in church. Pious indignation spurred me to my feet upon the pew and I attempted to subdue the seemingly hypnotized congregation. With hands raised like Moses to the Israelites I entreated all with a loud voice, “No my people! Do not blaspheme in the house of God! Be still. Peace be unto you. Be not easily swayed by the wicked enticement of one man. Be as a rock, a rock upon which we can build some homes, or maybe some condos for the lower income families! Yea verily - ”
My father jerked me from the pew mid soap box sermon by my tie, told me I’m not Moses, and later informed me that the man was Polynesian and is allowed to scream in church. Not only that but he was also expected to eat an inordinate amount of Spam.

“Can I yell in church?” I asked.
“No.” said my father.
“Why not.” I persisted.
“Because you’re white.” He explained.
“What does my color have to do with it?” I queried.
“You're so young.” he laughed.

Needless to say, I learned a profound lesson that day. Part of that lesson is that there are still some exceptions that cannot be made, especially if we are talking about mainstream America. At the same time high school Muslims were receiving legislative support for their right to pray to their God in their way, everyone else was further reminded that God has no place in our educational system. (Luckily He already knows everything and has no need of a preparatory education.) Several districts, in places like Texas and elsewhere in the United States had, up til recently, been allowed to practice what they called a “moment of silence” exercise where students could pray, reflect, think about the hot chick in class, or just pick their noses without other students witnessing it. Whether they were doing it in classes, at the beginning of sports games, or before the schools human sacrifice ritual I don’t know. The fact of the matter is, is that these “moments of silence” were being practiced in the presence of atheist students, whose parents found out and were immediately gripped by the fear that some of these religious thoughts might rub off on their child and influence them to buy a gun and vote another redneck into the Whitehouse. Justifiably they rallied, and by the authority of the Constitution of the United States of America, (which we all know was written by religion hating atheists), they, along with the ACLU, the harbingers of all that is good and right, put an end to this evil “moment of silence.”

Some of the ACLU’s social scientists have determined that the intellectual casualties were significant and they were lucky that they put an end to the “moment” when they did.
So pray on Muslims, because you too will soon be part of the mainstream and an eligible target of the protectors of Trooth, Rite, and the Amerikan Way.

God bless. (Just not at school.)

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Salt of The Earth

I love small town folks. I recently met three in Missouri when I took my laptop into one of those 24-hour diners where the waitresses call you “Honey” and they only play pre 1965 music from an old fashioned jukebox. I thought I should write about the encounters since I’ve never before had three such conversations in such a short amount of time. The ages are approximations and the conversations are as close as I can remember.

I first met Warren (age 48)

Warren: “You gittin’ internet in here?”

Me: “No. I’m just working on some other things.”

Warren: “Really? You looked like you was gittin’ Wi-Fi.”

(This was the first time I’d heard “gittin’” and “Wi-Fi” in the same sentence.”

Me: “Nope. I wish.”

Warren: “You should go down ta Burger King. You can git Wi-Fi there.”

Me: “Is that right?”

Warren: “Ya, just go in and turn down that narrow hall there (he says, assuming I know the layout of the Burger King) and there’s a big table in the back. You can plug in and git Wi-Fi all day back there.”

Me: “Thank you. That’s good to know.”

Warren: “Yep.”

Later I met Jacob (age 14)

Jacob: “Is that your computer?” (He says while approaching me with a burger in one hand and a drink in the other)

Me: “Yes, it is.”

Jacob: “What are you doing with it?”

Me: (Remaining vague in case he’s computer savvy enough to speak at length on any computer related prompt.) “I’m just typing.”

Jacob: “What kind is it?”

Me: “It’s a Mac.”

Jacob: “How much did it cost?”

Me: “About a thousand dollars.” (It was more, but I’m still being vague.)

Jacob: “Wow, that’s a lot! (coughs a second) What if computers like that grew on trees? That would be cool.”

Me: “That would be pretty cool.”

Jacob: “Ya, you could go out and just pick as many as wanted.”
(Long pause as we both smile at the prospect of computer trees.)
“Well, I gotta go.”

(He sets his burger on my table so he can shake my hand which, despite my grease-a-phobia, I shake because Jacob seems like a nice kid.)

Me: “It was nice to meet you Jacob.”

Jacob: “See you later.”

Last I met Paul (age 65) who was sitting at the counter eavesdropping on mine and Jacob’s conversation.

Paul: “So what kind of program does that have?”

Me: “Whats that? Oh, it has all kinds of different programs.”

Paul: “You a computer guy or some kind of programmer?”

Me: “Me? No. I can barely use the basic programs.”

Paul: “You have one of them new iPod’s you can talk on?”

Me: “You mean the iPhone?”

Paul: “Ya. One of them you can talk on and play music.”

Me: “No, I don’t have one of those.”

Paul: “They cost a lot?”

Me: “I understand they cost quite a bit for a phone.”

Paul: “What the Hell people need all that s@#% for anyway?”

Me: (shrugging) “I think they’re just lonely. So they try to bury the memory of past failed relationships and lost loved ones by investing a gratuitous amount of money on the latest gadget, naively convinced that the burgeoning tech industry and the developments of the future will help take their minds off the pains of the past.”

Paul: “What?”

Me: “I don’t know why people need all that stuff.”

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Room 116

My curiosity got the best of me and now I’ll probably be dead before the sun rises. I’m writing this in a motel room in Missouri. I have been here on business the past few days and am without wife or child and get reasonably lonely in the evenings and so I thought I might take myself to dinner and a show. Why not, I said to me. I’m good company and have been meaning to get to know me a bit better.

Skipping forward in time; so there I was, appetite satiated, standing before the box office of one of Springfield’s picture-show houses.

“One for 1408.” I naively said to the box office employee.

As it turns out 1408 is Stephen King’s new movie about a haunted hotel room that no one makes it out of alive. Now, when I bought the ticket I forgot to consider two major factors. 1) I scare easier than a six-year-old girl. (The sequel to Wizard of Oz still has me terrified of monkeys AND roller-blades, and especially monkeys ON roller-blades.) AND 2) After the movie I would have to go back to my motel room… alone.

Right when I return to the room and walk in I know something is wrong. Evil is here. And because I’m crap-myself scared right now and can’t sleep, I decided to write all night just in case I wake up dead. That way my loved ones will know what happened to me.

11:35 pm
The air conditioner sounds like ghost howling. I try to shut it off but to know avail. It’s stuck on full fan.

The evil air conditioner won’t let me sleep so I turn on the TV to distract me but it clicks several times before coming on. Not mechanical clicks you might hear when turning on an old tube TV that needs to warm up before use, but a poltergeist or maybe a possessed-midget-who-is-stuck-inside-and-trying-to-get-out kind of click. M.A.S.H. is on but the sound isn’t coming from the TV like it’s supposed to. Instead it’s coming from my own brain. It’s like that dream I have where I’m on stage singing “Welcome to the Jungle” and I know all the words. I’m freaking out because I’ve never watched more than a few minutes of M.A.S.H. due to the fact that it’s not nearly as funny as people born before 1975 claim it is.

12:27 am
I started to drift off to sleep but was startled back to full consciousness by the sound of a baby crying. I can’t tell where it’s coming from, but it’s unnerving. I hate it when the Devil uses children against us.

I’ve put tissue in my ears in an attempt to drown out the baby and the AC unit. But now the TV has come back on and the only thing on is the same episode of M.A.S.H. that was on before. I turn the channel and realize it’s on every channel and now the TV won’t shut off.

All three noises climb to an unbearable climax so I try again to shut off the AC unit. No luck. I’m writhing from the auditory assault and in a fit of desperation I grab the desk lamp and smash the AC unit to pieces.

The AC unit is quieter now though it is still clinging to life with a pitch-fluctuating whirring sound. The crying of the baby is on the brink of making my ears bleed. I bang on the walls and scream “FEED THAT BABY!” The crying doesn’t stop but now there is someone behind every wall banging and screaming “FEED THAT BABY!”

I’m lying at the end of the bed, ear to the mattress with a pillow pressed firmly against my other ear. Something catches my eye. The handle on the bureau drawer moved ever so slightly. Hesitantly I move toward the drawer to investigate. I pull it out in one quick yank and without warning an angry piglet leaps from the drawer and hooves me to the ground with one powerful blow to the chest. He lands on me with all the fury of a Christmas ham, beating me mercilessly about the face and head with his fore hooves.

I must have blacked out because I just woke on the floor in a pool of blood I can only assume came from my nose and mouth. I crane my neck quickly in anticipation of another attack from Beelzepig. It is nowhere to be seen but I lay there a minute to be sure.

Just when I’m about to get up I hear a blood curdling squeal and look up to see the swine flying over the bed toward my face. This time I react by spinning to the side while reaching for the animal as it flies past. I snagged one of its rear legs. I keep spinning so to use the centrifugal force to keep his teeth away from my kill zones. When I don’t think I can spin any faster I release and watch the un-kosher terror fly headfirst into the T.V. thus ending his life and M.A.S.H. with one big electrical crash.

I’m really upset now because I’m usually pretty good with animals and only like to kill them for food… or sport… or as punishment to a neighbor who has wronged me.

I gather my wits and go to the bathroom to wash the bacon grease and blood from my hands. I scrub and scrub and never feel clean. When I dry my hands I realize that the cheap motel soap has made my eczema flare up. I’m in Hell!

I search high and low for some kind of ointment or lotion to sooth my dry itching hands but nothing.

I punch the bathroom mirror in frustration and shatter it. Now my hand is throbbing and bleeding heavily. I curse my stupidity but fail to learn from my mistakes and illustrate this by punching a pile of broken glass with my other hand. Crap.

My brain cracks and I loose it. I’ve never taken any martial arts classes but my rage doesn’t care. I kick and smash and do some major Jean-Claude Van Damage. I even pull the pig from the TV and use it as a club to beat the room to pieces.

Everything is destroyed, including the pig.

The guy I’m traveling with knocks on my door. Shaking from nerve wrecked hysteria and exhaustion I answer. He notices the blood on the walls, the smashed furniture and AC unit, the pig, and asks what happened.

I check out at the front desk and lodge a serious complaint with the manager.

Manager hands me certificate for “1 Free Nights Stay” at any Hampton Inn in the country.

I forgive the Hampton Inn and am looking forward to my next stay.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Apple And The Tree

Enjoying a little "Father/Son" time.

It's easy when you have so much in common.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Paris Is Not Free! All Hope Is Lost! (at least for 37 more days)

This post is a follow up to my last post, “Paris Is Free!!!”, and will make better sense if you read that one first.

In my ongoing revelry and celebration I failed to notice the updates of Paris Hilton’s legal situation. Her unjustified abuse continues as she has been re-sentenced to serve the rest of her 45 day prison sentence. Just when my tender heart had regained a speck of hope, that hope was dashed to pieces by the malicious gavel of a vindictive judge. Shame on you your honor. And shame on us all for allowing it.

Despite the heavy amounts of injustice continually pressed upon her, Paris continues to inspire all with her courage, fortitude, and selflessness. Of her plight she has said, “I would hope going forward that the public and the media will focus on more important things, like my movies, TV shows, and other hot stuff I do.” Gratefully we have been assured that “A guard is monitoring her at all times to ensure there isn't anything harmful done to herself by herself." The statement is reassuring but the effort unnecessary as Paris would never bring harm to herself since she has been taught since birth of her important role in society and has learned to put her safety, wellbeing, and happiness above all others.

My heart is low this day and I have not the strength to write further.

Thursday, June 7, 2007


Never has this headline meant so much. Not even when it was used to herald the liberation of Paris, France in August of 1944, or all the other times France was saved by some foreign nation.

I know this column is a little late, but you’ll have to excuse me. One of the reasons I have not posted anything as of late is because I have been so tied up in the goings on and recent release of Paris Hilton.

It is hard for me to express in words how important this event is but let me say that just when I thought the moral sun was permanently setting on the horizon of our collective ethos, the American judicial system has given us a shining sliver of hope. For a time I was convinced our great country was on the brink of godless anarchy. When a pillar of our extended community and archetype of goodness like Paris Hilton is convicted of something as trivial as driving under the influence or driving with a suspended license or shooting a homeless person I can’t help but feel that we are a society very nearly beyond Thunder Dome.

When, might I ask, did government get so big, bureaucracy laden, and audaciously pompous as to think they could torment one of our Founding Sisters, especially for something as trivial as driving with a suspended license? (If you are unfamiliar with the Founding Sisters let me mention a few prominent members; Lindsey Lohan, Nicole Ritchie, Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, and Britney Spears, just to name a few.) Also, who, I’d like to know, doesn’t drive under the influence or on a suspended license? I’ve personally killed 27 homeless persons while driving under the influence on a suspended license. I don’t remember the last time I did drive sober or with a license. Sober driving, hmmph. Boooooooriiiing. I digress.

Though I was shocked at the close-mindedness of Paris Hilton’s judge, I was most saddened to hear in the news that she was being used by the system to make an example. What some people in our judicial system don’t understand is that there are those in society who have achieved a level of entitlement that is not afforded to others, or “normies” as I like to call them. You see, Paris Hilton is no mere citizen of America, bound by the same laws, restrictions, tax codes, and social proprieties that you and I are bound by. She is America damnit! She’s the Trend Setter; the sleeveless, rib exposing, pattern dress wearing guru of what is HOT and what is NOT! Aside from her enormous contributions made in politics, the sciences, and humanitarian aid, she has done more for modern TV and movie entertainment than any other actor, ever. A snippet of her biography should illustrate my point: The Simple Life, Bottoms Up, House of Wax, The Hillz, Wonderland, Nine Lives. (And those were just some of the movies she knew she was acting in.) She’s not in the media. She is the media! And they treated her like some common, poor, non-white girl who wasn't an heiress to a hotel chain fortune.

Let me conclude by saying that just because she was released early does not excuse the fact that she was ever troubled, let alone convicted, in the first place. Together we can stop the moral slippage of our time by remembering Paris and the hardships she has endured and making sure that it never happens again.

Welcome back Ms. Hilton. Please except our most sincere apologies.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Noteworthy Encounter

Recently, while on the road performing and promoting my band at a convention, I was checking into a Motel 6 for the night. Unwittingly, I forgot to remove a name badge I was wearing that, along with my name, included some other info. Included in that info was the word "comedy." The following exchange I had with Kevin, the desk clerk, is true and as accurate as I can remember.

Kevin: "So you're a comedian?"

(Note: I consider myself more of a musician than a comedian. But to avoid having to explain my nametag I said;)
Me: "Well, sort of."

Kevin: "You know what’s awesome about comedians? They get their material from real life experiences."

Me: (Smiling politely at his astute observation) "I guess so."

Kevin: "They can even get material from lame encounters and stupid conversations."

That said, I'd like to dedicate this blog to Kevin.

Friday, May 25, 2007

No P.C. in Munchkin Land

Even though I’ll be middle aged (30) in one month I still find it a real treat to see a midget in public. For me it holds the same kind of novelty as going to the circus as a youngster, or spotting a leprechaun in the wild. (The latter especially since the leprechaun, Midgetous Gaelicious, is a close cousin to our native breed, the Midgetous Americana.) I have to admit, however, that as their numbers multiply and more and more of them are becoming comfortable moving about in regular society that the novelty is wearing off. Pretty soon a midget eyewitness encounter will be as commonplace as seeing pigeons in a park. In fact, I predict that within 30 to 50 years, they will be living and working right along side regular people with the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. And all their amazing intrigue and uniqueness will be forgotten and left by the wayside, like the luck dragon. They will be counted as just another casualty of the war waged under the banner of “Political Correctness.”

There is a contingent among us that is attempting to quail all that is special and beautiful and funny to look at. They, the PC Brigade, will not be happy till all is the same; a pasty blandness that sits on the observational palette tasteless and to be swallowed in one dry, vapid lump. Shame on them for attempting to strip midgets of their midget-ness. One can only assume that the Brigade is jealous of this uniqueness. They must be so ordinary that everywhere they witness the extraordinary, they work to remove the “extra” as to not feel inadequate. So what if you can save thousands by shopping at Baby Gap, or order off the kids menu, or play in the ball pool at Chucky Cheese, or chase rodents down small holes for sport. If you can’t do those things then you just have to find what does make you special and capitalize on them.

I decided to write this piece because I recently heard that the PC Brigade has even gone as far as to try and strip midgets of their name. They are now pushing to make them known as “little people.” I hope you are as shocked as I was. I’m confused. (No surprise, since mass confusion is often the goal of such immoral paradigm shift attempts.) We used to call children “little people.” Pretty soon they’ll be saying “brilliant child” is the proper term for midgets.
“I’d like you to meet my friend Jeff, he’s a brilliant child. That’s him over there with some other children. He’s the brilliant one… with the big head.”

I’m here to argue that this movement can only end badly. Have we learned nothing from history? We tried to assimilate the American Indian and we’re still paying for that mistake. I say free the American Midget. Reintroduce it into the wild, it’s native habitat, and pray that our attempt to juice-style blend all of Gods creatures into one homogeneous population hasn’t left irreversible damage on it.

United we stand… some taller than others.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Signs Your Wife Is Jealous Of Your Guitar

She wears earrings that look like tuning keys.

On your kitchen table you find an invoice from a private investigator and a manila folder full of black and white pictures of you and the guitar.

She likes to suggest hobby alternatives like drugs or alcohol.

In an effort to regain your attention she buys a G-string and an E, B, D, and A string to wear as lingerie.

She knows what every pawnshop in town is willing to give for it.

She spends an inordinate amount of time in an internet chat room conversing with a guy named “Mr. Banjo.”

She ends heated arguments with a crude gesture and the order to “STRUM THIS!”

When your high school girlfriend called to catch up, she took the kids outside to give you some alone time.

She refers to it as “The One Legged Whore.”

Monday, April 30, 2007

The Animal Within

Somehow I’m getting cable at my house. I'm not paying for it but it's coming through. The angel inside of me wants to call the cable company and come clean. But the pirate inside of me ran the angel through with his blade. Now, the pirate and I sit back, with feet up, and watch all kinds of nonsense while our bodies atrophy away to a soft pudge. Of all my new-found television interests one of the programs I’ve really learned to enjoy is UFC (Ultimate Fighting Challenge) broadcasts. I think the UFC is entertaining for the same reason programs like WWE, When Animals Attack, and Americas Funniest Videos are entertaining. Because is satisfies a deep seeded blood lust that has been buried under layers of hundreds of years of “civilization.” We may wear a suit and tie and work nine to five and buy our meat pre-wrapped but some ancient part of our nature still wants to hunt, battle, kill, and feel like a predator now and then.

(Side note: I think “Americas Funniest Videos” should be called “Taking it in the Crotch” since every other shot is some poor schmuck getting whacked in the hobbits by his own child or some piece of sports paraphernalia.)

I digress.

I don't know if this feeling is common among men, but as I sit there, bowl of Lucky Charms in hand, milk on my chin, watching these modern day gladiators, I can't help but think, "I could do that." You're probably thinking I'm a naive egomaniac, but bare with me. I figure you've only got to be able to do two things. First, you've got to be able to move fast; speed. This I've got in spades. Sometimes when I'm shadowboxing with myself in the mirror, and my hands start moving with the fury of a class five hurricane, I lose track of them and I almost knock myself out. Also, sometimes when I'm River Dancing, I do an Irish kick so hard that the momentum takes the other leg off the ground and I land on my back. That's the kind of speed I'm talking about. Other than speed you've got to be able to take a hit. This also should not be a problem. And let me tell you why. During my freshman year of high school I once took a flying discus to the temple and walked away without even a concussion. Another time, while riding motorbikes with my brothers, I took a diving header over the handlebars sans helmet. At the end of my flight my cranium head-butted a 20 pound rock. The result; I got six stitches in my crown but the rock got split like a melon. My head is the perfect target for heavy blows.

Now, the physical part of it aside, I do think I would have a hard time with the mental aspect of cage fighting. My whole life I have been more of a lover than a fighter. But to cage fight you have to be willing and able to put the hurt on anyone who steps into the ring with you, and I just don't think I have that mental "kill switch" that you need to survive in there. I have to really dislike a person to put the kybosh on them. So, all although I have all the makings of a killing machine, you will probably just get a nod and a polite hello should we pass on the street. But just a word of warning; should you try and hit me in the head with a discus; oh man, Heaven help you. Because once the "River-Dancer" comes out. There's not much I can do to restrain him.

Monday, April 23, 2007

The Hot Seat

This may come as a surprise to some members of the opposite sex, especially the unmarried demographic, but one of the most enjoyable simple pleasures in a man’s daily life are the few he spends in the bathroom taking care of nature's business. Some, like myself, stretch those experiences to their maximum in an effort to get the most out of one sitting. I can read, play sudoku, play my guitar, or even return phone calls. (If you know me well, we've probably talked more than once while I was on the think tank). And the best part is, I can’t be called on to do anything. That time is my own and I’m beholden to none. No one can tell me to move, and I don't until my legs are conclusively asleep.

This experience, of course, has it’s antithesis; opposition in all things. There is the joy of the domestic restroom experience and the pain of the public restroom experience. Let me give one example to illustrate my point. At home one of the worst things associated with the long sit down is the initial sting of a cold seat, and unless you’re willing to do the Japanese "stand-and-squat" you are forced to endure this inevitable shock of cold. This is only compounded when I unwittingly place my freezing bowl of ice cream on my naked thighs.

In public the opposite is true. Shock occurs when I sit, not on a cold, but on a warm toilet seat. The warm toilet seat means one thing; someone has recently been there and his butt heat is still radiating from the very surface my skin is touching. I hit the seat; feel the heat, my stomach sinks, and my mind races in an attempt to decipher who may have been here last. It doesn’t take long since it was only about 30 seconds ago that I past a fat, hairy Italian on his way out laughing under his breath, and, that explains all the black hairs around the seat when I sat down. Gag reflexes kick in and now the taste of bile accumulates in the back of my mouth. Without recourse I resign myself to this temporary lavatory Hell and set aside my bowl of ice cream, for which I have totally lost my appetite. Maybe if the seat cools sufficiently the next guy can enjoy it. (the ice cream, not the seat)

Every once in a while I accidently leave the door unlocked and Maggie comes in, turns and sits in the mini hammock made by my dropped pants, and then hopes to get a private concert. And though the private moment is lost I can't help but oblige my number one fan.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Free Time

I recently got back from a trip to the Midwest where my brother and I attended a multi day business conference. For lack of funds we drove instead of flew which means we had 1200 miles of sparsely populated desolation to consider through the window at 75 miles per hour. One of the states we drove through was South Dakota and while Tom drove I sat back, quietly singing along to the iPod set to shuffle, and was reminded of western movies that featured the same settings I was witnessing fly by. Movies like Dances with Wolves made me think of the Native Americans that used to live here back before they were “Native Americans” and before they were “Injuns” and were still “Indians.” The vast expanse of rolling hills that roll as far as my wife's eyes can roll, with no signs of civilization but the road in front of us made me wonder about the singularity of purpose of one who may have lived here before Anglos came and made everything complicated. I imagined your average Indian male waking between two buffalo hides, crawling out of his tepee where he meets his friend Shrieking Turtle. He stretches, does a 360-degree look around himself, and plainly inquires, “Well, what the hell are we going to do today?”

Of course, I understand they knew no different, but I’m left to wonder if after sharpening their ten thousandth obsidian arrowhead if they ever looked heavenward and asked, is there anything else? It almost seems that if they weren’t killing an animal or doing a rain dance then their lives were just about the passing of time. I think that is why "hunting and gathering" was so prevalent among the men. It was the only thing to do, and it got them out of the tepee a few days a week. They didn't have to go. I saw the movies. Buffalo used to walk right through their camps. Plus, thanksgiving teaches us that they grew corn and fish in their gardens. They had food sources close to home and when the women realized hunting and gathering was just an excuse for a guy’s weekend away they put a stop to it. And hence, the beginning of horse stealing and squaw-napping. It was all arranged with neighboring tribes to unload domineering wives. They just threw the horses into the mix to make it look indiscriminate.

I don’t want to use the word depressed, but I get a little depressed when I think of their lack of possibilities despite the simplicity they enjoyed.

“Let’s go steal something.”
“Women and horses. What the crap else is there? I’m wearing a loincloth here. Our lives aren’t exactly filled with options.”
“Why don’t we see a movie?”
“A what?”
“I don’t know. I’m just being crazy.”

Anyway, I just really enjoy this iPod. I think I’ll get up and rain dance.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Where To?

Have you ever been in a big city and watched a homeless person walk down the street and wondered to yourself, "Where's he going?"

Saturday, March 31, 2007

The Burden of an Education

My wife and parents can finally put their incessant badgering to rest. I’ve finally broke down and decided to seek a job teaching history to high school students. They, my parents and wife, are members of that ever shrinking demographic who think one should use their degree after it is earned. I can’t help but laugh to myself at the thought of such a preposterous notion. They have not yet clued in to the fact that recently the degree is just societies way of justifying four years (7 for me) of a zero contribution to community or economy. “Sure I’ve sapped government funds for the last four years, but I can do algebra.”

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I don’t appreciate my education because I do. I like the superior feeling it gives me when compared to all the stupids out there. It’s not the degree certificate I don’t appreciate either. I tried to remain humble by leaving it inconspicuously among old school memorabilia, but my mom found it while helping us move and put it behind mat, glass, and frame. Now it hangs above my desk, like a beacon of light and a constant reminder of what I’m not living up too. But, I have always been a person most comfortable while sitting on laurels. So I am not shamed, but rather, contently satisfied.

It reads, "Utah Valley State College bla bla bla something about virtue of authority bla bla bla confers on The UnMighty the degree of Bachelor of Science History Education bla bla bla 2004."

I look at my reflection in the glass, wipe away a smudge with my thumb, and smile. It makes the whole room reek of prestige. So as you can see, I appreciate the degree. What I don’t appreciate is my degree’s long-term relevance and it’s earning power. First let us consider its long-term practicality.

Statistics taken from 2005 showed that the average length of a teacher’s career in the U.S. was 5 years. Many burn out well before their 2-year mark. One may attempt to attribute this to the growing feeling of evil and unruly behavior in today’s youth but a broader look at the American workplace will show that it is partly due to a major cultural paradigm shift; a new and growing philosophy that says, “only stay as long as its novel, then move on and try something else.” The U.S. Department of Labor statistics show that workers between the ages of 18 and 38 change jobs an average of 10 times. That’s a different job every 2 years. Worker longevity is not like it was in the old days. I’m a testament to this truth. I’ve be a waiter, a common laborer, a camp counselor, a snowmobile guide, a ski instructor, a river guide, a farrier, a musician, a guitar teacher, an improv comedy club owner, and most recently, a writer. (And if the four people that read this blog would just recruit 10,000 people each I could make some money here.)

With these stats in mind one may wonder, why specialize? It seems superfluous unless you plan to work in an ultra specialized field like Left Frontal Lobe Brian Surgeon (That is someone who only operates on the left frontal lobe of a guy named Brian. (And you thought I misspelled brane.)) Wouldn’t you be better off just taking whatever variety of classes interests you most? The answer is yes and no. Yes, because you would be better off, and no because there is little chance my spouse would have allowed me to remain outside the work force had my school load been made up of classes like Latin dance, mountaineering, scuba diving, photography, and drum lessons. (These briefly describe the first three years of my college education.)

To the WW II generation and their baby boomer children a 30-year stint in one profession was commonplace. Learn a trade, or maybe get a liberal degree and go to work 9 to 5 until you retire and your kids take you to Sizzler to celebrate. But that is not the case anymore. A growing sense of wonder-lust combined with the ever-burgeoning tech and service industries have given us the excuse to professionally come and go as we please. These statistics also fuel the question; why specialize? It just doesn’t seem reasonable to spend 4 years preparing for something you’re only going to spend 2 years doing. It is almost as lopsided as the wedding night phenomenon. (You wonder and prepare with jittery anticipation from adolescence only to find yourself lying on your back wide-eyed with confusion two minutes after it started.)

Now let us consider the earning power of a teaching degree. It is no secret that the pay is less than equal to the job. The word “sucks” comes to mind. But to make teachers feel better about their financial situation, people with paying jobs give them magnanimous titles. “Sure the state won’t pay you more, but we can give you a title. How does ‘noble’ sound?” When socializing in a group of mixed incomes they throw around words like “rewarding,” “virtuous,” and “inner satisfaction.” But in my heart of hearts I would happily trade “rewarding” for a car made post 1980. This type of rewarding doesn’t buy the kids birthday gifts and makes parents tell lies like “using your imagination will make you a more interesting person” which we all know isn’t true because poor people aren’t interesting unless they’re in a Charles Dickens book.

That said, my resume is in the hands of over sixty people and if my parents have their way one will call and offer me a job. And one day, years down the road, I will be sitting next to my son, dusting off his char-covered marshmallow and he’ll look up at me with puppy-dog eyes and ask, “Dad, why do we only go on vacation to the KOA?” to which I’ll respond, “Because daddy has inner satisfaction.”

Friday, March 23, 2007

Separate Vacations

Recently my wife expressed the desire to take the kids alone to visit her family or on some other excursion without me. I think the conversation came up during, or immediately following, an argument while her words and actions were still totally dictated by emotion. “It will be more relaxing and fun for me” she said, “I won’t have to constantly be worrying if you are having a good time. I can sit around and talk to my mom all day about babies and glass wares and won’t have to endure your eye rolling. Plus it will be easier to take care of the kids with my family around.”
Well, soon after that conversation we were supposed to be in Northern Utah (five hours away) for the wedding of a family friend. I couldn’t go due to work and told her this was the perfect opportunity to test her theory of a better time without me. (No, we are not experiencing marital problems. No more problems than the average marriage between two headstrong people, that is.) The following are samples of phone conversations that took place between when she drove away to when she got back.

Day 1) She called 3 hrs after leaving.

Me: Hello.
Her: Why did we have children?
Me: It’s not going well?
Her: They’re screaming bloody murder and I got a speeding ticket.
Me: How fast were you going.

Day 2) Day of the wedding.

Me: Hello.
Her: You could have come if you really wanted to.
Me: How’s the wedding?
Her: Your kid has almost been run over four times now!
Me: So do the bride and groom look happy?
Her: How the crap should I know!? I want to tear the hair out of my head!
Me: I’m sorry they’re being difficult. How’s your family?
Her: What’s with the quiz? Did you call just to give me the third degree?
Me: Honey, you called me.
Her: You can't just let things go, can you?

Day 3) Hanging out with family and friends.

Me: Hello.
Her: I hope you’re happy. (hang up)

Day 4) More family and friends.

Me: Hi sweetie.
Her: You can take sweetie and shove it! I’m getting my tubes tied.
Me: Ok, I’ll make the arrangements.
Her: You would.

Day 5) On the way home, six hours after departure.

Me: Hi honey. Where are you?
Her: Where am I!? I’m only HALF WAY HOME!
Me: What’s taking so long?
Her: Your kids! They’ve got bladders like squirrels and stomachs like elephants! It’s a constant feeding, pooping, peeing, screaming, crying frenzy! I WANT TO RAM HOT REBAR INTO MY SKULL!
Me: I’m sorry. I’ll give you a long back rub when you get home.
(long pause)
Her: Get an adoption agency on the phone, and see if anyone is looking for a pair of siblings.

All in all I think she was quite satisfied with her time away and looks forward to doing it again.

Sunday, March 18, 2007


Since the beginning of January I’ve been on this Body For Life diet and have been doing better than I have ever done on a plan that required dietary discipline. But everybody has their breaking point; temptation they can’t resist.

The other day I walked into Smiths grocery store with the usual high-minded intent of slipping in, getting some fruits, vegetables, whole wheat bread, low fat milk, and maybe some lean white meats and then slipping out before my lustful eyes had the opportunity to ogle the unmentionables. I would mention them here but like I said, they're unmentionable.

Unfortunately, as soon as I walked in the front door my senses were assaulted by a giant mountain of sugary cereals. Not a stack, a mountain. The kind Attila would need elephants to conquer. Immediately I went into cold sweats, my legs locked uncontrollably though my heart screamed, “keep walking”, and had it not been for the cart I was leaning on I would have fallen forward and broken my nose. I attempted to prove my stalwart resolve to move on by setting my jaw, and whispering through clenched teeth, “get thee behind me Satan” to which the mountain replied, “no”, a simple but brilliant retort. I quickly concluded I was no match for this mountain in a battle of wits so I decided to just turn my back on it like Lot on Sodom and Gomorrah.

But I am a pillar of salt. I looked back. And when I did my eye caught a newspaper ad that read, “8 for 8 dollars.” Now, had these boxes been regular price there may have been some hope. Reason would have kicked in and screamed “No! You’ll bankrupt your family and ruin your marriage!” But temptation was only intensified exponentially by the incredible bargain. I felt like a chubby ten-year-old, just released from fat camp on Halloween night with an empty sack, a Superman cape, and the perfunctory charge to “stick with it buddy.”

There was nothing I could do. My will was undone. I bought 16 boxes.

When I got home some time later I knew I would have to face my wife. I decided to be forthright and own up to my mistakes. Much to her credit, when she saw me walk in with an armful of boxed diabetes and a heart full of shame she was not critical or even angry. She forgave me and loved me in spite of myself.

I unpacked my grocery bags, put all the cereal on the table and that was when I realized I accidentally got home with two extra boxes. Thinking back now I can’t help but wonder, was it really an accident? It’s like Smiths was telling me “listen, I like you. The first one's free” which we all know are the last words heard by a soon-to-be addict.

Luckily I have Maggie to help shoulder the burden.

You know what they say, misery likes company.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Smallest Talk

Despite the common reaction of most women when they see a baby, they (babies) aren’t usually cute. If it’s their own child, women are deluded. If it’s someone else’s, they’re polite. However, the delusion to their own babies is a good thing. The fact that women are so heavily biased is simple nature, the result of our species evolution, and rightly so. Just think what would have happened to the human race if women were as objective as their male counterparts. Every time an ugly baby was born (a staggering 99% according to experts) they would have turned their backs on the helpless neonate uttering some heartless sentiment like “I’m not letting that mangy hairless ape suck on my crumb catchers.” We’d have never made it past the hunter-gatherer period of history. Mankind would have been wiped out, and the cause: maternal neglect. (NOTE: Crumb Catchers is what my mother-in-law calls breasts. I would have just given the female body it’s due respect and called them such, but I wanted the sentiment to come off as womanly as possible.) Speaking objectively, Babies are more like personified raisons: squirming, grunting, pooping raisons. Of course there are exceptions to this rule. My son Cash is one. My daughter, in infancy, not so much - she fit in the raison category, but Cash is the genuine article. It is not my intension to play favorites. I should say my daughter has developed surprisingly well and at just under two years of age has a wit and charm to rival most young adults. I only say this to illustrate the fact that I can be totally objective and not at all biased. So, although I can appreciate, on a purely phylogenic level, the subjectivity of women toward babies, it has been the cause of many redundantly annoying encounters, which brings me to my point.
Small talk has never been my strong suit, and the older I get the harder time I have hiding that fact. I think it is because small talk is such a surface level, insincere, culturally expected social interaction. That said, when you decide to bring a child into the world you have basically fated yourself to the same line of small talk every time your small child is with you in public.

“Oh my gosh, He is precious!” A passing stranger would say.
“He’s a she.”
“Of course she is. That explains the adorable bow in her hair.” [this is said with a squished up face, a high pitched voice, and a finger on the baby’s nose like she’s trying to get the baby to crap a Pez] “Where did you get it?”
“Well, when a man loves a woman sometimes their passions lead to…”
“I mean the bow.”
“Oh. I don’t know. Bed Bath & Bows. Or Bows Unlimited. I don’t know, my wife gets that stuff.”
“Well she is just precious.” The stranger says again.
“And now that we’ve come full circle I bid you good-bye.”

I should say that small talk is not one of those pet peeves that angers me (unless I’m talking to one of those non-closers who speaks in stream-of-thought like they’re brainstorming for a college term paper) so I don’t want to come off as cold and calloused. I know that it is just the result of nice people trying to show they care enough not to snub you or cross the street when they see you coming. I just wish that our culture had long ago established some way to show kindness without the exchange of meaningless tripe, especially when the tripe is blatant lies like my daughter is the cutest baby in the world. That’s sweet, but impossible. I mean, she has my genes. You can’t blow hot air up my butt and tell me it’s nice weather. Now, what the random passerby failed to notice is that my daughter learned sign language before she was a year old, can de-shell a walnut with her bare hands, and will probably go into zoology since she already knows all the animals and their corresponding sounds. Now that would have made a good conversation.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Public Invitation

WARNING: This entry is rated PG-13. It references public restrooms and a man named Joe. If you are uncomfortable reading about restrooms or Joe please skip to my last blog, which has nothing to do with restrooms or Joe. Thank you.

My wife, kids, and I drove from Salt Lake City to Jackson Hole Wyoming today and I was obliged to make the usual stops for gas, sustenance, a break from the banshees that are my kids, and, of coarse, the potty break. I say “potty break” not because I’m exploring a softer side of myself but because that’s what you say when you pull into a gas station with kids. “We’ve got ten minutes for a potty break. Everybody out.” And this is only because men know they’ll look like trailer trash if someone hears their kid say “Dad, I’ve got to use the crapper.”(1)

So anyway, there I am, on my own potty break, taking care of business when I realize I’ve failed to bring reading material with me to help pass the pleasant moments. And so I do what any forgetful person in my situation would do, I read the fascinating comments and lines of poetry conceived and left by the great minds that have come and sat here before me. There are lines that tell me what John is or what Carol did or who Steve loves or what I am or what I can sit on and while I spin. To me the bathroom stall is the worlds blank slate, a communal page on which the unknown poets and philosophers lay it all out for the common man to consider and contemplate. They have given us verses to rival those of Hemingway, Thoreau, Emerson, Quinn, and Dickens, to name a few; emotion wrenching verses like: “Here I sit my buns a-flexin’, just gave birth to another Texan.” In fact, to prove the quality of the modern bathroom stall writer I’d like to perform a small test. I’m convinced that unless you earned a degree in literature you will only pass this test by chance. Guess, if you can, which of these three excerpts and authors is not found in and did not write a classic novel.

1) “I celebrate myself, and sing myself, And what I assume you shall assume, For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.”
-Walt Whitman

2) “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a large fortune must be in want of a wife.”
-Jane Austen

3) “Janice Wright is a fat ho-bag!”

(The answer can be found under footnote 2 )

This brings me to the purpose of this post. As good, and as thought provoking as most of the writings are, I am most intrigued and perplexed by the writing of invitations. Without fail someone, let’s say his name is Joe, is offering a good time if the reader will but call Joe and schedule the good time. Upon reading such invitations I’m left to wonder, who is this lonely person who is willing to share his good time with perfect strangers? Has Joe no family, no friends, no associates to whom he can turn in his time of wanton leisure? Is Joe old, young, rich, poor, gainfully employed, dependent on state aid? What type of success has Joe experienced with this type of marketing in the past? I’m really curious to know if Joe has a specific activity in mind or if he’s just open to a plethora of activities. Not everybody likes everything so I would suggest to Joe that he include a menu of possibilities to narrow his search.

Call Joe for a good time. 555-1234
Joe is interested in movies, rollerblading, scenic hikes, baking yummy desserts, and discussing good books.”

This strategy would target Joe’s desired audience while not falsely encouraging other guys looking for a good time who may have a completely different field of interest.
I would call Joe myself to see if our interests align but I only see these invites in towns I am only passing through, and never have enough time for an ice-cream cone and small talk let alone a trip to the local art museum. Since I am without the time to investigate myself I am left to wonder, has Joe found that friend he is looking for or is he still waiting for the right guy to sit down, without a book, and start reading? I guess I’ll never know. So I just want to say to all the “Joe’s” out there, may you find many friends and may they all be as sweet and true as the words left on a bathroom stall.

1. Interesting fact: the expression “the crapper” only became popular after the advent of the flush toilet invented by Thomas Crapper – a blanket apology to all his descendents who share his unfortunate name. You should take comfort in the words of Bill Shakespeare, “What’s in a name, even a crappy name?”
2. Congratulations if you said #3. Either you are well read or you know Janice Wright personally.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Delayed Sting of Cupid's Arrow

In this season of love I am compelled to contemplate the nature of romance – compelled by our society, commercialism, and my wife who insists all household upkeep will cease if I fail to contemplate it to the tune of flowers, candy, and gaudy jewelry. I say gaudy not because of my wife’s taste but because I call anything made of precious metal or jewels that you wear “gaudy.” I’m a simple man with a thin wallet.

This is my first multi-kid Valentine’s Day and as I look back I realize how much our relationship has changed since our first Valentine’s together. And not just because all trips outside the house take military-like preparation, but the very nature of our love changes. It is inevitable. Some would say the change is natural and if embraced will lead to a richer, deeper connection with your spouse. Others (me) say, bull crap. This is a rip-off.

Allow me to illustrate with one of many examples. No matter what the occasion, Valentine’s included, when I go to bed I can expect that within one to thirty minutes one or both of my children will be lying between my wife and I doing one or more of the following: crying, coughing, moaning, sucking, sneezing, tossing, turning, flailing, or Maggie’s personal favorite – lulling herself to sleep by kneading our neck skin between her fingers. (That one may sound weird but it’s true. It’s like we’re being strangled by an injured, but determined, Chucky doll.)

As I lay there sleepless with my daughter’s hands on my neck or feet on my face I think how ironic this is. The very product of our love is now lying between us working to dismantle that love. It is as if by some primal instinct they know what they’re doing. Subconsciously they’ve teamed up and are preventing us from bringing competition for resources into this world – a twisted “survival of the fittest” if you will. And they are winning. Lately, most nights, I’m forced by sheer exhaustion into the guest room in hopes of getting enough sleep to sustain me through the next workday, but just as I get comfortable morning comes and there’s Maggie on top of me whining “Food food” while putting her fingers to her mouth (learned from her sign language video) just in case my ears aren’t fully awake yet. I climb out of bed still half asleep and on the way to the kitchen she throws me a knowing smile, this time unaccompanied by a sign only because the video hasn’t yet taught her how to sign “Maggie: 660, Dad:0 – Only 25 more years to go and Mom’s eggs will be all dried up. Now make me some Cheerios sucka!”

I accept my defeat the same way every morning. In a blurry stupor I go the kitchen to make Maggie some breakfast while my wife lays in bed on her side to feed Cash like a farm animal who roots until he hits the mother-load. (I think that’s where that word comes from). I pour the cereal and watch Maggie grip and work her spoon with all the coordination of an epileptic in full seizure and as she flings more food than she eats I can’t help but think how these mornings are so un-reminiscent of past childless mornings when my wife and I would wake up late, she would rest her head on my arm, and we would talk about the night’s dreams and whatever else might drift into our minds. Then I stop myself lest I be accused of being married to the past, and softly say - Deeper and richer. Our love is growing deeper and richer.

This is my bed Valentine's night. This picture was not staged.
Now that's love!

Monday, February 5, 2007

Did you see the Sequel?

So I’ve been sitting around thinking a lot about Jurassic Park lately. I doubt this is surprising to anyone since, aside from being one of the finest films ever produced by Hollywood, it is also thought provoking on a surprisingly formidable level, and anyone who tries to tell me they haven’t experienced countless sleepless nights staring at the ceiling while contemplating the possibility of dinosaur and man coexisting, whether in harmony or dissonance, is a bald face liar and is probably, as I speak, beating out the flames that were once his pants.

Of all the possibilities, metaphors, and philosophies purported by the movie that could arouse great discussion among great minds, the one that has recently provoked the most contemplation in my own mind is that of motive. Why, I ask myself, did they go back to the island two more times? The first visit (movie) was great and totally believable. However, since the trilogy has come and gone, movie critics and philosophers alike have tried to discern why the producers would dishonor it with the hair-brained sequels that followed?

Why did the characters succumb to such weak motives as were provided by the movies’ writers? Millions of dollars went into these high budget films and the best they could come up with was tripe like, "The dinosaurs are asexual and are breeding with themselves and now they want healthcare!" All I’m saying is give us a believable and interesting reason to go face flesh eating man killers like, "Air Force One crashed into Dino Island and the President and the First Family are hiding in the wreckage while constantly being stalked by predators." Half the country, the good Christian half that is, would be over there faster than you can say Hallelujah, armed to the teeth, drunk on Budweiser, and chomping at the bit to send every last reptile back to Hell where, as the Bible teaches us, they came from. So maybe you’re not republican, so how about this, "The CIA just received pretty reliable intell that there is a good possibility that the dinosaurs might be developing WMD’s." We’d have the military over there before congress could even convene to sanction such an action. (I’m sorry, I forgot. You’re not republican.)

But alas the characters go based on preposterous motives. Never mind that last time twenty guys got eaten by Velociraptors, 5 guys were torn in half by a T-Rex while sitting on the pooper (which only adds to the humiliation), Newman (from Seinfeld) was blinded then eaten by the Umbrellaheadasaurus, and two guys were raped by the Rape-a-saurus (one died from VD and the other is still in counseling). Never mind all that, they go back, and not in stealthy fashion either. They don’t go with an elite strike force using choppers with whisper mode and other high tech gear. They go with loud ground vehicles manned with jittery nameless minorities who try to stay quiet but fail every time they hear a twig snap and scream like a bunch of thirteen-year-old girls at a slumber party.

The endings were generally just as disappointing as the beginnings in these lack luster sequels. From my hazy recollection nobody found any WMD’s but only discovered it was a ploy by “The Man” to kill the dinosaurs so we could harvest the fuels made from their fossils.

That’s two strikes Hollywood. Careful what you write in the future.