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Inspirational Reads

In Which Our Hero Falls. Hard.

March 31, 2010

The warmer weather has come to the Carolinas. While this reminds me of two things that I don't like about this area--lack of sidewalks and the need to mow the lawn in April--it also means that I can bust out the grill earlier.

And so it was last night. Pork chops were the carnal delight of the day, and as I fired up the clean-burning, even-heating propane, the gourmand in me was positively aquiver with excitement over the notion of sinking my teeth into some delicious chops.

As the meat was slowly processing through its Maillard reaction, I looked at the basketball goal standing next to the building where I was cooking.

"Come to me," it called.

This might qualify as 'exercise', I thought.

So, I picked up the ball and began shooting hoops. I was firing them in from five, ten, twenty, even thirty feet away. I stepped to the line--or what serves as a free-throw stripe in my back yard--and did the three bounces, spin, shoot. I hit the first two shots, then went back to firing from all over the back yard once more.

Now, the back edge of my property is hemmed in by a line of demarcation known as "the stream." As it burbles and bubbles and murmurs along, it does so along a stretch of my yard that is much higher than the level of the water. It's also a bit of a problem if you badly miss a shot with the basketball, as the ball will careen toward that part of the yard and, if one is not quick enough, one finds his ball in the water.

Such was the case when I stepped back to the free throw line last night. The ball hit the back of the rim in such a way that it flew off to the left. I immediately began running after it, but I wasn't quick enough and, just as I tried to reach for it, the ball went into the stream.

Sonuvabitch, I huffed and puffed internally. Now I'm going to have to get that fucker out of there.

For some strange reason, my kids are fascinated with sweeping the back yard. They take my push broom and sweep the grass. They're young, I'll grant them that, but still. Fucking weirdos. Anyway, the push broom was left in the back yard--it's 100% plastic (Fuck you, Planet!), so leaving it out isn't a problem in my book--so i went over to get it, thinking I could fish the ball out of the stream with the broom and then leave the ball to dry and I'd finish cooking.

As I was trying to matriculate the ball up the side of the bank--which, at the point where the ball fell into the water was nearly seven feet high and a sheer, straight cliff bank--things were not going swimmingly. I then decided that I should try and bat the ball upstream to a place where the bank comes in at a much more shallow angle. So, begin pushing and popping the ball toward such a place. As I was moving along, picking my route carefully, part of the bank crumbled beneath me.

And down goes Frazier.

With a mighty splash, I land in the stream. Fortunately, the waters had receded enough from the previous day's rains that I was in no danger of drowning or any such fate. Unfortunately, I was still soaked from the waist down and on my right side, which landed in the water.

Muttering curse words, I stood up, collected my broom, collected my ball, and started toward the ford, which was still a decent distance upstream. I climbed out, rolled the ball toward my basketball "court", dropped the broom, and squelched my way to the back door.

My shoes, which are two years old and on the cusp of ruination, anyway, were left on the back porch. I went into the house, going straight to the laundry room where I stripped down to my unders. My unders were wet, so I grabbed another pair out of the dryer and headed upstairs where I could wash up and find new clothes.

Upon entry into my bedroom, where my wife was sitting, watching a television show on her computer, I was greeted by stifled laughter.

"Why are you naked? And wet?" she asks.

"Why aren't you?" I wanted to retort. Instead, I went by my old standby: "I don't wanna talk about it."

"No, what happened?" she implored.

"I don't wanna talk about it."

"Tell me!"

I told the story.

More stifled laughter.

Dignity destroyed, I pulled on a pair of sweat pants, my brown shoes, and a t-shirt. I picked up a book and went back outside.

The worst part? The chops were a little overdone on one side. They were still fucking delicious, but not as moist and juicy as I had once envisioned.

When they were finally done, I took them inside, went back upstairs to tell the wife that the chops were done, and then I stripped again. I decided I wanted to shower before I ate my dinner and while the wife was fixing the rice and making a salad.

Because I got done at the same time as the rice, I ate naked.

The next time the ball goes into the stream--and there will be a next time--I'm going straight for the landing net hanging in the building beside the basketball court. This, sadly, was a solution that occurred to me as I was walking to get the broom.

"You know," I mused aloud, "I should just go get the landing net."

Hind-sight. She's 20/20. And apparently not soaking wet. Nor nearly as sore the next day.

And sore I am, too. Anyone wanna give me a massage?

Tales of the Bookstore, Chapter 2

March 29, 2010

I had trouble falling asleep last night. It could have been the late-night coffee, it could have been the late-night caffeinated intake of Diet Dr. Pepper, or it could have just been that we were getting some awesome thunderstorms with impressive, rolling thunder, but I just couldn't sleep.

You'd think that I would be able to write a blogpost last night and have it set up for posting this morning, right? Well, you could think that, but it didn't happen.

So, here I am, tapping out the second installment of the year of my life I spent as an assistant manager at a bookstore between graduating from college and heading off to graduate school. The first chapter can be found here.

As difficult as it might be to believe, when I first showed up at the bookstore, I was pretty quiet and reserved. I didn't talk too much with my co-workers as I wasn't sure exactly what the hell I was doing behind the counter at a bookstore--both from a job performance view as well as a "what the fuck happened to my career" view.

I started in the middle of June, which meant that summer was in full-swing. This meant that girls were wearing shorts and tank tops and, while I had finally decided to make that commitment to the Ex- that we were going to spend eternity together, I still enjoyed looking. It's like, even if you've eaten your fill at the buffet, you're still going to at least look at the dessert options, right?

So it was one day when this tall, beautiful blonde girl came wandering into the store. I was behind the counter, admiring her from afar. I had yet to truly befriend Shane (mentioned in chapter one), and I was taken aback when he came up front carrying a bunch of books. He stopped at the counter, saw where my eyes were affixed, and turned to take a look, too.

He then turned back to the counter, rolled his tongue out of his mouth, and started panting. Then he looked up and said, "I need to go to the back for a moment." And left.

He came back after she had left the store. In his defense, he was busy shelving books in the interim, but he also liked to go to the back and talk with the lady who did receiving and the other lady who did the non-book merchandising for the store. When he returned up front, he looked around for the tall, blonde girl.

"Is she gone?" he asked.

"Unfortunately, yeah," I responded. "We've had some more action, but nothing like her."

"Well, you need to page me if she ever comes back into the store."

"Will do," I said. And then I added, "She was a dirty one."

"What?" Shane asked. "Dirty?"

I then proceeded to explain to him that a friend of mine--Will's little brother, Pat--was in a band and he one time sang who he liked a "dirty girl", one that was so hot she was dirty, that you'd want to do everything to.

"She wasn't just hot," Shane added at the end. "She was fucking filthy."

And so that was our code-word for hot girls in the store: filthy.

Fast forward a few months to the following spring. We had had a somewhat regular patron come into the store who was...well, I don't know if she was a hippy, just enjoyed the lifestyle, or was lazy. Or a bit of all three. But she was the kind of hippy who really has an aversion to soap, shampoo and razor blades.

I see her come into the store in her tie-dyed shirt, cut-off shorts, and green cloud of funk hovering around her like an aura. She passes by the front counter and, because I'm so fucking customer-service-oriented, I smile, nod, and say, "Good afternoon. Is there anything I can help you find?"

She declines my offer for help, for which I was secretly--silently!--thankful. She wanders over into the general fiction section and peruses the titles therein.

Along comes Shane a few moments later, bipping his way up to the front of the store.

"A real filthy one over in fiction," I tell him.

His eyes light up and he gets that goofy Shane grin on his face and he does an immediate 45 degree turn to port, making a bee-line for the girl who, if she ever washed or took any sort of pride in her appearance, probably would have been quite fetching. Instead, she's, well, stinking up the joint.

Shane runs into her wall of funk and I immediately hear him gasp. I look over and, from a different aisle, he's looking back to the front of the store, glowering at me, shaking his head, and making a throat-slash gesture.

It's all too much and I start laughing.

Finally, he returns to the front of the store.

"If you ever do something like that again, I'll slit your fucking throat," he threatened.

Barely able to contain my mirth, I responded. "Hey," I fired back, "I told you she was filthy."

[NOTE:] Blogger is apparently having issues with pictures right now. So...I'll fix it later.

Friday Morning Latin Lesson, Vol. LXIV

March 26, 2010

So, you all know that the historic buildings and lovely gardens weren't the only sights I was checking out while in Charleston, right?

It started out simple and innocent enough. I was sitting in the church before the ceremony, trying to entertain a hungry five-year-old who was getting squirrely. The inside of the church was lovely, filled with beautiful stained glass, a very intricate fan-vaulted ceiling, and some nice decorative splashes here and there throughout the church.

I was beginning to get a little disappointed that the only younger people attending the wedding were my wife's brother and sister and their families, and my wife's cousins.

And then my wife's cousin's...uh...wife' friends started to show up. I looked up and noticed this girl in a green dress come and sit down in the pew opposite me. Well, I didn't notice her so much as I noticed that she was threatening to voluptuously spill out of her dress. I was suddenly like, "I'm sorry, is there a wedding going on around your breasts? Let me clear that away for them." it cold in here, or did my wife just read that?

Anyway, I was distracted by her for the rest of the afternoon and well into the evening. While she was the most impressive of the host of my wife's cousin's wife's friends (that's becoming a mouthful to say...), there were a number of attractive lasses in attendance. There was another redheaded girl who paled in comparison to my lovely wife, and there was a girl with some strange...felt...velvet...flower her hair. And then there was a friend of my wife's from high school, who looked like Katie Holmes...but taller, hotter and a lot less crazy.

Damn, it is getting cold in here...

There was another woman who had a very nice body, and she was wearing a black lace doily with a nude-colored slip underneath it. As she was dancing, she lost track of how the slip was folded up under her body, and I looked over once and I was like "Whoa...I can see your butt..." And, she wandered around, blissfully unaware of the show she was giving us, and she walked past me and I wanted to say something. However, I didn't know how to approach someone I didn't know in order to tell her that her ass was exposed to the rest of the world. In the end, I felt like not getting slapped and let her go on her blissful way.

So, anyway, thanks to the wonderful sights of Charleston, I was thinking this little phrase time and time again:

Mammae in Carolopole magnificae sunt.

Pronounced: "Mah-my in Car-oh-loh-poh-lay mahg-nee-fee-kie soont."

Sumptuous translation in the hovertext.

On Sunday, as we were walking around, my wife and I passed an antique store that had a display of door knockers in the window. My wife spun around and, with wonder in her voice, loudly implored "Look at those knockers!"

As soon as the words came out of her mouth, I had a shit-eating grin on my face. Again, she spun and, waving a finger threateningly in my face, said, "Not a word out of you."

Ignoring her, I said, "I've been looking at knockers since yesterday afternoon."

At first, she cocked an eyebrow, and I responded with "The girl in the green dress was really impressive." She shook her head, sighed and turned back look at those knockers.

And for those concerned, "Carolopolis" is the "official" Latin translation for Charleston, at least as far as the Charleston Preservation Society is concerned. And this site, too.


March 25, 2010

I had never been to Charleston, SC before this past weekend, but everyone who goes there raves about their experience. So, I was looking forward to seeing the city, mostly because it was before the summer, with the high humidity and the sticky heat. Though it wasn't going to be hot and humid, the weather was still going to be warm, sunny, and generally pleasant.

With that in mind, we got up Saturday morning and began the five-hour drive down to the city, a ride which was highlighted by a stop in Lumberton, NC to pee. Did you know that Lumberton, NC smells like shit? Neither did we. And that was before we went to the bathroom.

The second highlight of the trip was finding a Sonic in Manning, SC (which I referred to as "Peyton's Place", because I'm fucking clever). With the juicy deliciousness of a Super Sonic and tater tots in our bellies, we set out again on the road with Charleston in our sights.

Perhaps the most enjoyable part of the drive, however, were the groan-worthy road signs for this theme-park-ish place called "South of the Border", which is literally just south of the North Carolina border. The entire way down I-95, the route is littered with large, black billboards featuring this characture of a Mexican guy named "Pedro" and bad, bad, terrible puns. The place looked as corny and as bad as the billboards promised. Silently, I vowed to ruin a weekend in my children's future by taking them to Pedro's South of the Border.

Anyway, we get to the hotel, get checked in, take brief power naps, and then get dressed and ready to go. We have a rehearsal at four and the wedding is at six. So, we drive down into downtown Charleston where my wife's parents are staying. There, the kids change, I watch five minutes of basketball, and then we're heading down to the lobby and the bar area, where my wife's family is congregating before heading over to the church.

Now, my wife's family is very huggy. Time to greet one another? Hugs! Time to say good-bye? Hugs! You just ripped a big fart and a look of complete bliss is covering your features? HUGS!

With that in mind, as we're standing down in the lobby, I see my wife's aunt come wandering toward the bar area. I look and say to myself, "Oh, my wife's aunt got her hair done. How nice. Well, might as well get this over with." And, as she approaches, I throw my arm around her to give her a hug.

About halfway through the embrace, I suddenly realize, Oh fuck, this isn't my wife's aunt. Instead, I hugged my wife's aunt's sister, who was very confused and who shunned me for the rest of the weekend. I guess I shouldn't have grabbed some ass while in the hug.

Thankfully--blissfully--it was time to walk over to the church. "It's only a couple of blocks away!" I hear. This will become a theme. Apparently, in Charleston, "blocks" means "time zones", and the walk seems even longer when you have dress shoes on that don't really fit all that well.

So, after wandering to almost the Georgia border, we finally find the church, which is a lovely old complex--probably as old as, or as close to as old as, the city itself--where we have the rehearsal. The problem is, my son and I aren't in the rehearsal, and he's bored and, well, frankly, so was I. So we went for a walk and eventually found our way into an old graveyard. It was magnificent, looking at all those old graves, but I worry that Charleston might have a vampire problem, based on the number of broken graves I found.

Finally, it was time for the wedding, which was short and lovely...kinda like my wife. Hi-yo! Anyway, after pictures, it was time to--guess what!--walk to the reception. "It's just over a block and down three!" someone said. And so, away we went.

And went.

And went.

And went some more.

It seemed to take forever, but there we were, in the Exchange building, where there were seats and food and drinks. Except, the alcohol was beer and wine. That's cool and all, and the bar was an open bar, but I needed something to drink and with my inability to drink beer, that wasn't an option. Also, since my taste in wine tends toward the "alcoholic kool-aid" side of the spectrum, that was kind of out, too.

But, man, did I drink a lot of free Sprite.

The food was excellent. I went back twice for Shrimp 'n Grits alone, and the roast beef was melt-in-your-mouth tender and delicious. Yes, please, I'll have another. And, as the food line finally began dying down, the dancing revved up.

And the scene was stolen by my five-year-old son. He took to the dance floor like no one I've seen before...and the sad thing was, he danced really well. I guess that's what happens when you're completely uninhibited. He would dance, and then he would come and eat some pretzels and color, and then he would dance some more.

And, Gwen...he came up to me and said, "I want someone to show me how to do the Electric Slide." I think you owe him five bucks.

I mostly stayed around the fringes, reading some of the historical notes about the city and such and talking with family members. My wife's cousin, the one who got married? His new wife is an old family friend. Her father is the president of the University of Louisiana-Monroe. And, he's also, possibly, one of the nicest men I've ever met. Friendly, gregarious, tall and with a solid handshake, I took an instant liking to him. I liked him so much, I didn't even hit him with the "Why are you trying to ruin the NCAA tournament?"

He's on the board that is looking into expanding the tournament next season from 65 teams to 96. I have a bad feeling that, had I asked him about it, he would have convinced me that it's a really, really good thing. He seemed eloquently persuasive like that.

Finally, we were calling it a night. Tank had danced himself out and my feet hurt so badly I wanted to cry like there was a snake in my kitchen or something. So...we walked back to the hotel. Except...we didn't know where we were going, so we kind of went for a little ways and then turned and walked longer and longer and longer and, finally, we found Meeting street (one of the main thoroughfares) and worked our way back to the hotel from there. Fortunately, we didn't meet any sketchy characters (nor vampires), and we sat in the hotel bar for a while and had a generally nice time until the kids complained that they were "tired" and that "their feet hurt" and they wanted "to go to bed." So, we got in the car, drove back to our hotel, and crashed.

We were up again before the sun and made our way downtown again for brunch. Goddamn, I love grits. We then decided to wander the streets a little bit and explore the city and eventually we'd eat lunch, say our good-byes and drive home.

Now, this is where I truly saw Charleston, and the residential part of the city is as-advertised. The gardens probably weren't at their peak yet, but what I saw was certainly beautiful. I'm sure it's even more lovely with the leaves on the trees and such, but the buildings and the architecture and the gates and ironwork were magnificent. We walked down to the Battery, which overlooked part of the harbor and you could see Fort Sumter in the distance. We saw some dolphins, we saw big, replica cannon and statues of naked Greek soldiers (I don't know either).

And we saw rain. Falling on our heads as we made our way back to the market area for lunch. And we saw more rain. And, eventually, we saw a downpour as we were just a little bit away from our lunching destination, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Having just tortured myself watched Forrest Gump a couple of weeks ago, this was kind of cool. I knew it was one of those over-priced chains established with the sole purpose of luring in tourists to part them with their money, but it was a place that was easily found and could seat a large group (I think there were fourteen of us). So, there you have it.

I opted for the shrimp 'n grits again, because it was affordable. It wasn't nearly as good as that offered at the reception the night before, but it was still acceptable (though the ham had been heat-lamped to a stringy, rubbery, inedible mass). We ate, walked back to the hotel, got in the car and took one last turn down by the water and the enormous cruise ship that was in port because it was afflicted with norovirus, and then we came home. Fortunately, Bubba Gump and brunch sated us enough that we didn't need to stop to eat on the way home and we all came in, fell into bed, and slept.

Except for one of us, who battled fever and the desire to puke and a lot of rumblies in his tummy. But that's a story for another day. That day being yesterday.

MJenks versus the Wyrm

March 24, 2010

Sorry, everyone. I've been sick the past couple of days. I'm not sure if it was the dreaded norovirus, too much shrimp 'n grits, or walking several miles in a downpour on Sunday. Or a combination of all three. Anyway, I've been down the past couple of days, and by "down" I mean in my bed fantasizing about you naked resting.

Except on Sunday night and into Monday morning, when I had been up most of the night, trembling under the guileful hand of fever and doing my best not to puke, because, shrimp 'n grits? Good going down. I'm guessing monsterously unpleasant coming back up.

So, that was the fall out from my weekend in Charleston: two days of recovery from the plague. Or shrimp 'n grits. I'm not sure which.

Today, I was able to rest and recover, which was nice. I helped get the kids out the door this morning, wrote an email to my boss saying I was staying home, and went back to bed. Monday, I wasn't nearly so lucky.

My mother-in-law was coming Monday night to visit and to take the kids with her back to South Bend for two weeks while they are on vacation. My wife, as per usual, had to work the butt-ass-early shift on Monday, which left me to get the kids on the bus. My plan was then to rest some more and clean the house up since my mother-in-law was coming for a visit.

Peculiar thing about when my mother-in-law visits. It seems that, a day or so before she shows up, we get an unwanted visitor. A couple of times it's been mice. Once or twice we've had Palmetto bugs, which are like roaches from fucking Krypton, in case you've never had the pleasure of making their acquaintance. And believe me, you don't want to make their acquaintance. A roach big enough to set off a mouse trap and survive? Fuck that shit.

Once we even had a lice scare, but it turns out it was just dandruff. We still scrubbed and sprayed and cleaned the bedding like you wouldn't believe.

So, I was just waiting. What would it be this time? More mice? Some houseflies? Perhaps more Palmetto bugs?

My answer came Monday morning when I was preparing breakfast for my son while my daughter was getting ready to shower. I was walking across the kitchen floor when I glanced down and said to myself, "Hmmm. Look there. One of Cookie's (my daughter) brown hair rubber bands. Oh, huh. It's broken. And it's all curled up on itself. And it has eyes."

And then my brain registered: "HOLY FUCKSHIT!!! THAT'S A SNAKE!!!"

Like all red-blooded, true American males, I have an unhealthy, crippling fear of snakes. I reacted in kind, by shrieking and running around the house thinking that the end of the world was here upon us.

Actually--and I'm being quite honest here--I have recurring nightmares about motherfucking snakes in my motherfucking house. And, here was my nightmare playing out, right in front of me, on my kitchen floor, with my mother-in-law only a scant five hours away.

So, I strapped on my spear and magic helmet, and went to work on the snake.

First, I called my son, Tank, over to take a look. Figuring all small boys love snakes, he'd be fascinated. Instead he ran screaming up the stairs. My daughter, however, came and looked.

I sent one of the children to fetch me the the trashcan from their bathroom, which had high, plastic walls, high enough that this reptilian fiend would find it difficult to scale on his own if I kept the trashcan upright. Once it was brought to me, I put it before the snake, thinking to urge the sinuous demon into the opened, plastic maw.

The snake, cold-blooded and cruel trickster that it was, had other intentions. It lashed its head to side, clearly in an attempt to disarm me, or at the very least to drink my blood. I took a new phone book that had arrived but days earlier (thanks, Verizon!) and tapped the snake on the backside. It was unamused and spun on me, hissing violently, its soulless, reptilian eyes fixed on me, preparing itself for the final attack. It coiled its body, the length of its sinuous, ribbon-like form tensed and ready for battle.

While it was preparing itself, I scooped it into the trashcan with the phone book. It landed with an audible thunk on the bottom of the can. I looked down at the bottom of the can and the snake lay there, defeated and ashamed. Once again, the mammalian brain emerged triumphant!

And let me tell you, ladies...I am 100% ma-male.

Victorious, I showed off my prize to my children before admonishing one of them to get into the shower and the other to finish his jelly toast. I then took the trashcan to the front door and, in one fluid motion, heaved the beast into the front lawn. I watched as all four inches of it slithered away to places unknown...places unknown which didn't happen to be the middle of my kitchen floor.

Like a panoply of heroes before me--Perseus, Apollo, Sigurd, St. George, Neville Flynn--I had disposed of the serpent and now I sought my reward in the form of a maiden fair. So, I called my wife.

"Do you want the bad news first, or the good news?"

"Good news, I guess." She claims she wanted the bad news, but I ignored her because this response was funnier than just informing her that we had a snake in the kitchen and that oh holy hell, what was a fucking snake doing in our kitchen in the first goddamned place thought she said "good news".

"I threw the snake out in the front lawn?"

Cold silence. Then, "Uh, what?"

"I threw the snake out in the front lawn. The bad news is, we had a snake in the kitchen."

*insert keening scream here*

"What the hell was a snake doing in the house?"

"Visiting, probably. I'm guessing he came in on our shoes last night when we walked through the yard."

Long pause. "Okay. But it's gone. That's good. Everything else alright?"

"Yeah. I'm sick. But, the kids are getting ready for school."

"Alright, I'll talk to you later."

I hung up, got my kids ready, drove them to school (after waiting fifteen minutes at the bus stop), and then returned home where a quick inspection showed the kitchen was still blissfully devoid of serpentine intruders.

I sat back, basking in my victory, my spear soiled with the blood of the serpent, my helmet aquiver with magic, thinking about how I managed to face my fears and rid my motherfucking house of that motherfucking snake.

And then I went upstairs and cried myself to sleep.

Friday Morning Latin Lesson, Vol. LXIII

March 19, 2010

Oh, what a week. This is my favorite time of the year, despite the fact that Indiana didn't make it to the tournament and Notre Dame--as per usual--sucked ass. Good job, Irish! Thumbs up, all the way. Fuckers.

Speaking of the Irish, did you know Wednesday was St. Patrick's Day? Hope you remembered to wear green.

As you might have heard, the Romans did have some contact with the Irish. Roman ships actually went far enough afield (asea?) in order to see ice in the northern Atlantic Ocean and its various arms. They were familiar with most of the people living in and around Europe, but some people, like many of the Germans, were too difficult to keep under tabs and to securely conquer. Others, like the Irish, were difficult to fight, but they also had nothing that the Romans necessarily wanted. The Irish, before Patricius started founding monasteries and such, had very little in the way of an organized civilization as we know it; they had no cities, no well-defined system of roads and aqueducts and, to be honest, they had no real ruling hierarchy. On top of that, aside from cattle (which the Romans could trade for) and slaves (which the Romans could, again, trade for), Ireland didn't have much in the way of resources that Rome wanted enough to conquer. All of these things were foreign to the Romans, and so that made the Irish unsavory and, frankly (pun), unwanted.

The Romans much preferred themselves, or at least the people that they had conquered previously. They pretty readily accepted and absorbed facets of all the various cultures they conquered (Latins, Etruscans, Egyptians), but none moreso than the Greeks. Law, words from their language, architecture, letters of the alphabet were all absorbed into the Roman way of life. Even the famous Roman toga, both the garment and the name, have Greek influence. The Romans identified themselves by the toga, referring to Roman citizenry as gens togata (ghenz toh-gah-tah) which means "the people wearing togas". By comparison, the Greeks were genz palliata (ghenz pah-lee-ah-tah), meaning "the people wearing palliums".

In a bit of an ironic twist, the Pope--the Bishop of Rome--wears a pallium over his vestments. It's that colored cloak he wears over his robes. I don't think it's the same shape as the ancient Greek pallium, which came down only to about the knees.

So, what did the Romans call the Irish? Hibernii, and the island of Ireland was Hibernia. It is related to the Latin word for winter, hibernus. But, if the Romans named the Irish by one of their identifying traits, I imagine they might be this:

gens potandum

Pronounced: "ghenz poh-tahn-doom"

Drunken translation in the hovertext

And, what would St. Patrick's Day be without way too much drink. And, where there is too much drink, there's assholes trying to get laid, emboldened by the liquid courage they've just imbibed. So, maybe practice this one for next St. Patrick's Day. Or, when you've drunk yourself Irish.

Heus, Lauta! Habesne genus quis oritur de Hibernia?

Pronounced: "Hay-oos, Lao-tah! Hob-aze-nay gay-noose kweese or-ee-toor de Hi-bair-nee-ah?"

Salient translation in the hovertext

And, because I feel the need to give the ladies some defense against these smooth-talking Latin motherfuckers...if someone should stagger up to you and fire off that lousy pick-up line, just retort in this manner:

Habes probabiliter mentulam nymphae Hiberniae, cogito.

Pronounced: "Hob-ace pro-bah-bee-lee-tare men-too-lahm nim-fy Hi-bare-nee-eye, co-ghee-toh."

Really, I just needed an excuse to post this picture. Hovertext for translation.

So, it's a couple of days late. That gives you plenty of time to work on the pronunciations. Also, hopefully, this week has sated your need for scantily-clad women round this joint.

Have a good weekend and enjoy the tournament. I'm heading down to Charleston, SC for a wedding Saturday night. What? Charleston during Spring Break, on a weekend where the weather is supposed to be beautiful? Oh, twist my arm and whip the wild horses into a fury!

TMI Thursday: And Then She Did the Dishes

March 18, 2010

As far as TMI Thursdays go, this one is fairly innocuous. If my salient tales about the sex don't sate your need for inappropriate stories, try LiLu's place, which is the home of TMI Thursdays!

A couple of weeks ago, the wife and I had a fight. Not a real big fight, but we were kind of snippy with one another. I don't even remember what it was about; probably just a mixture of cabin fever, the kids driving us nuts and one of us (her) having gas.

Or...maybe it was one of those fights that couples have just so they can get to the make-up sex. See, the Ex- told me that sometimes girls pick fights just so they can get to the make-up sex with their men, that way everything is cathartic and more awesome than normal. And, God knows (as do our neighbors) that the wife and I have had many a night of anger followed by many a night of passionate, loud moaning.

So, anyway, we were at the point where we weren't speaking on a Wednesday night, and then the next night there was some talking. And we went to bed, where my wife rolled over and turned the light off and all that. I was still lying in bed, reading, and when I finished up, I cozied up next to her. Awww, how cute, right?

And then the urge began to hit me.

"Are you asleep?" I asked.

"Yes," she replied, "leave me alone."

So, I slicked down my pants and underwear. I started rubbing myself up against her from behind. She still pretended she was asleep. I kept rubbing myself up against her. Then, to make things even better, I started pulling down her pants and rubbing myself on her bare ass. This is my go-to move, the pressing-my-erect-penis-into-her-ass maneuver. Much like Colt 45, it works every time.

Finally, she's pushing back against me, and I'm matriculating myself down to where I'm coming at her from behind. I can get just a little of me into her, and she's digging it, but I'm frankly not satisfied. You don't bury your treasure with half of it sticking out. So, after I had gotten her good and worked up, and I was raging hard now, I decided it was time to take what I wanted.

I extricated myself and decided that I was going to throw her on her back and give her a jolly rogering. The only problem was, the lights were off, it was dark, and I couldn't exactly see what I was doing.

As I went to grab her shoulder and throw her back onto the bed, she began to sit up and roll over and pull her pants the rest of the way off. So, when my hand went flying to grasp ahold of trajectory was all wrong and my hand punched her right in the eye.

Down she went, the reverberations of the meaty smack of my hand meeting her eye still echoing in the darkness of the bedroom.

And then the giggling commenced. From both parties. I did ask if she was alright, and then we giggled some more.

And then we fucked like hounds.

And, to top it off, we giggled some more.

Sated, we went to sleep.

The following morning, we were in the kitchen getting ready for the day, and she was feeling the tender flesh around the orbit of her eye. It wasn't bruised...badly...but it was a little puffy and a little bit darker than it should be. I felt bad, but not enough that I didn't start giggling again.

Because that's the kind of guy I am: punch 'em in the face, fuck 'em hard, laugh about it in the morning. Yep, I'm a keeper.

And for good measure...while the kids were eating breakfast...she unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher.

Happy Saint Patrick's Day (Part the Third)

March 17, 2010

In case you missed the previous two parts in this scintillating series, here is Part the First and Part the Second.

Saints and begorrah! Is it Saint Patrick's Day already? Hard to believe that this is the first time I've dipped into the hagiography this year, but maybe it just means that I'm actually putting thought and foresight into my posts and not just "Let's see what obscure Catholic saint I can poke fun at today". I might as well confess (see what I did there?): The Saints post are to me what Jay and Silent Bob are to Kevin Smith.

However, I would argue that, after Jesus' parents, Saint Patrick is the most famous Saint "recognized" in America. And he's only recognized because he's a convenient excuse to drink, which is silly because Saint Arnold is considered the patron saint of brewers (his patronage is on July 8, just so you know). Saint Martin (feast day November 11) is considered the Patron Saint of "drunks", in that he's the Saint you invoke in an attempt to sober your friends up.

Let's not let facts get in the way of a little celebration! We're here to talk about Patrick!

As I mentioned Monday, Saint Patrick was born in the province of Brittania, some time around A.D. 387. This would make him a Roman citizen. He grew up on the western shores of Great Britain, probably in the modern county of Cumbria. Around sixteen, he was captured by those nefarious raiding neighbors to the west, the Irish (or, the Hibernii, as they would have been called in Roman lands). This started his life as a slave.

One of the major occurrences that happened prior to Patrick being born was Emperor Constantine's edict that Christians were no longer to be lion food in any of the great hippodromes around the empire. This began making Christianity not only tolerable in the empire, but also a bit of a fad. If it's good for the Emperor, it's good for us, too. Constantine himself didn't convert to Christianity until he was lying on his deathbed, which would have been sometime in spring of 337--putting it off, it seems, to maximize that whole "one baptism for the forgiveness of sins" deal.

This is important because the citizenry of the empire were, for the most part, Christian by the time Patricius (his given, Roman name) was born, whereas the dastardly Hibernians still worships the Badb and the Dagda. So, while Patricius was tending his captors' flocks as a shepherd, he prayed, because if you're a slave sitting alone on the hillside with a bunch of sheep, might as well talk to God. Am I right, folks?

After six or seven years as a slave, Patricius decided it was enough of this sterco and ran away. Somehow, he talked his way onto a merchant ship bound for the mainland (some say it was divine intervention) and then went to Rouen (which was known as Rotomagus under Roman rule, or roughly "magic turn"), which had a monastery. Here, Patrick studied the Gospel before returning home to his family in western Britain.

However, when he got home, he didn't feel at home. Bah, kids! So, he decided to go back to Ireland in order to spread the Word of God. As you might have heard, he did just that, making him, possibly, one of the very first Christian missionaries in the world. At the time, there wasn't much call for the people of the church to go out and try and convert the pagans...probably because the pagans were more interested in destroying what was left of the Roman Empire, raping and pillaging along the way.

So, what drove Patrick to return to the island where he was a slave for so many years, where one would think he would not want to be? We might be able to figure out just why he went back to Ireland, if we read his Confession (or Confessio): women.

Saints be praised! Patricius had him a soft spot (or a hard one) for the fine lasses of Ireland. We know this because, in his Confession, Patrick references the beauty of several of the women that he baptizes...which we can also assume was done by means of full immersion. Oh, Patrick, you devil! And while there's no record that Patrick ever took a wife (aside from his writings--saved by the Irish while they were rescuing civilization!--there's really not much record of Patrick at all), there's no reason why he couldn't have been married. From what we can tease out of his writings, Patrick had quite an eye for the ladies.

Now, this cat T.F. O'Rahilly postulated back in the 40s that Patrick was really another saint, Saint Palladius, who was the first bishop of Ireland. Palladius might have been the first bishop of Ireland, but in order for there to be Christians there, someone would have had to have brought the word of Christ to the Irish. As most bishops and priests were more worried about lying upon their horde of gold stashed in the back of their churches, this someone was most likely Patrick.

Eventually, all good things must end, and as such, so did Patrick. He died, reportedly, on March 17th (hey! that's today!) in 460 A.D., though some accounts have him dying as late as 533. This, you might deduce, was probably a different Patrick, or maybe a different saint altogether.

Therefore, while you're out enjoying your green beer today, think of Ireland's most famous Patron Saint, who wasn't Irish at all (unlike Brigid and Comcille, who are both Patron Saints of Ireland and who were actually Irish). This makes complete sense, as most people who celebrate St Patrick's Day aren't Irish, either!

So, let's tip our glasses to St. Patrick today as we don our green, head out to the bars, and wait for that first drunk asshole to stumble up to us and, in his worst, sloppy drunken accent ask "Pardon me, lass, but do you have any Irish in you?" And then, before you can answer, he screams "Would you like some?"

Also...I can't drink beer anymore. So, please, if you're headed out to the bar tonight, drink one down for your old buddy Jenks, who is there with you in spirit. And, if you really want to feel like I'm out drinking with you, grope yourself clumsily and then offer up apologies for the rest of the evening.

Saints and begorrah, indeed.

A Tale of Love and Desire

March 16, 2010

I wanted you the moment I first laid eyes on you.

When I saw you across the bar, the way the light shone off you sleek, curving lines, I knew I had to have you. I would stop at nothing to get my hands on you, to feel you against my lips, to have you near me, to taste you, to smell you, to be everything to you.

I remember the tumult of curly blond goodness cascading from your head, how your curves stood enticingly beneath them, the darkness of your body. It was enough to take my breath away.

Boldly, I crossed the bar, wrapping my hands around you. You were cool to the touch at first, but then you warmed ever so slightly. Your essence danced beneath me; I breathed deeply, inhaling the very aroma of your soul. I needed you then.

Without hesitation, I laid my lips next to that gorgeous blond head of yours. You backed away slowly, cautiously at first. Seconds later, you flowed into me, meeting my lips with your own aggression. My eyes were closed; I reacted on instinct alone. You were so great, so wonderful, I needed more. Time and time again I returned, needing the feeling of you pressed against my lips. You filled me like no other had before, and I was left breathless.

And then, you were gone.

Where you had been before was now just an empty space. My heart broke. I looked about for you, searched desperately all around. You were nowhere to be found. Dejected, I returned to the bar.

And that's when I found your sister.

Her curves were every bit as enticing as yours. Her blond head tossed about in the same desirous manner. And she came to my lips without hesitation, practically pulling me into her. Quickly, you were forgotten while I returned to my table with your sister accompanying me.

With her, I took my time, got her to warm to me, so that I could experience everything she had to offer. And she gave it gladly. She filled me in ways that you didn't or couldn't.

As the night grew late, I sat back in my booth, my eyes focused on her. They say you never forget your first, and while I will never forget you, I will always remember your sister, too. She might not have been my first, but she was as good. We finished and, sated, I said my good-byes to her.

But, I knew that I would be back. And your sister would always be there, calling to me, luring me in to her bold and earthy clutches.

It's true what they say: You never forget your first Guinness.

Oh, Thank God, It's the Irish!

March 15, 2010

Look over just to the right of the main body of my blog. No, lower. Yeah, right in there, in the section where I've listed the books I've read in 2010. Notice anything?

Yeah, I finally finished reading How the Irish Saved Civilization! And, well...yeah.

I honestly don't know why it took me so long to read this book, other than the fact that it fell behind my bed and I didn't think about it for six months and then it got shuffled down in my pile of stuff to read. Apparently, in my world, Neil Gaiman & Shakespeare > Irish. And, well, probably pretty much every one else's world, too.

Being that it's the Monday before St. Patrick's day, I thought I'd write up a little review of the book right here.

So, I think this book would have been better titled How the Irish Saved Western Civilization's Writings from the Ravages of Bands of Barbarians Hellbent on Sacking and Destroying the Roman Empire Mostly by Being on the Fringes and the Forgotten Edges of Europe. However, that doesn't flow so well, or it would just be really difficult to get onto the cover of a book and still be eye-catching.

Anyway, that alternate title pretty much sums it up.

Thomas Cahill, the author, starts out by painting a picture of the final days of the Roman Empire. Because Rome had been the sterling standard for civilization for eleven centuries, everyone wanted in because, once in Rome, it was easier to become a citizen than it was to be evicted (unless you count death as an eviction). There were lots of other problems cropping up in Rome that led to the ultimate downfall of the empire, but when the Germans began pouring over the Rhine in the early parts of the fifth century, it pretty much spelled the end for Rome's power.

Along about this time, some kid named Patricius, who lived on the western shores of Britannia, found himself kidnapped and forced into slavery by Irish raiders. This was also about the same time that Constantine was having his crisis of faith and made the conversion to Christianity--basically on his deathbed--despite having become a tad more lenient upon the Christians than some of his predecessors--Diocletian, to name one--for a number of decades. And, well, if Christianity was good enough for the Emperor, then, by golly, it was good enough for the rest of the Roman citizenry.

Because, you know, when in Rome, do as the Emperor does in order to curry favor with him and help keep your guts on the inside of your body or your head firmly attached to your shoulders.

So, Christianity spread through the noble classes because they wanted to be like Mike the Emperor and then it began catching on with the slaves because, when you've got nothing else to look forward to than a life of servitude, Christianity's promise of reward in the afterlife looks pretty good.

This is the world that Patricius lives in. And, since he's now a slave, he begins to pray to this Christian God and eventually he makes the big conversion shortly after being captured and living in Ireland. After about seven years, he escapes, hops a ship to the mainland, studies to become a man of God, and returns to the Ireland, wherein he goes about spreading the word to the Irish. Being that the Irish don't have much in the way of a nobility or a social hierarchy, they latch onto Christianity fast. And, as people are being converted, more and more folks are giving themselves over to the ministry and monasteries are being erected right and left.

In a bit of cultural switcheroo, the mainland, which had thrived under Pax Romana for over a thousand years, now was a war-torn mess, with roving bands of barbarians, bandits and even the last vestiges of the Roman legions fighting all over the place. On Ireland, where the Romans refused to go because of the mad, untamed, war-like people inhabiting the island, a widespread peace spread across the land (Pax Hibernia?) as Patricius did his work. So, as shit was going crazy on the continent, people were unassing the joint right-and-left, but where to go? Why, hell, let's go to this lovely little green island with all it's quaint little people, it's monasteries and it's sexy red-headed bitches.

As people continued to show up on Ireland, seeking refuge from the insanity going on on the mainland, they brought with them their possessions, which included books. And, what do monasteries have in spades? Scribes who love copying shit down from one page to the next! As such, once they were finished copying scriptural texts, they began copying some of the writings from the old Roman Empire and from the Golden Age of Greece and lots of other places. Wherever people showed up, they brought with them books, and those books got copied down and thusly the Irish monks saved countless texts that would have otherwise been burnt or destroyed or sacked during the battles on the mainland.

Eventually, there were enough monasteries and monks that they had to start finding new places to live. So, the monks--with all their writings--began moving into Great Britain, and then into France and eventually made their way down through Switzerland and into Italy--a kind of full-circle for the writings of Rome.

Aaaaaaaand...that's it. That's how the Irish "saved" civilization. Even though the whole thing was started off by a Briton who was a citizen of the Roman Empire who eventually considered himself Irish. Don't get me wrong; Cahill does a great job of writing the book, and the text itself is pretty easy to read. One other thing that Cahill does a good job of is linking these things together, one after another, in a way that's reminiscent of one of my favorite human beings, James Burke. While it's easy to read and the text isn't bogged down by being too full of itself or anything, the premise is pretty thin, though I understand what Cahill was trying to say and all. Without the Irish copying all this stuff down, we wouldn't have copies of the Iliad or the Odyssey. And if we didn't have any of those things, what would Hollywood have to ruin?

So, while we're all sloshing down green beer on Wednesday and remembering how much we love Guinness (you have my full permission to falcon punch anyone who says "they brew better stuff over in Ireland"), raise a glass to Patricius, who helped save "civilization" by bringing Christianity--and peace--to Ireland. Oh, and let's not forget to salute Ireland's abundance of redheaded beauties!

And to the entire book, there was no mention of Lou Holtz or any saucy redheads. More's the pity...

Friday Morning Latin Lesson, Vol LXII

March 12, 2010

In which I get back in the good graces of those insane Twilight fanatics that I've been insulting and ragging on for several months now. You crazy bitches are about to get your day in the sun.

Which, is kind of ironic, given that we're talking Vampires here.

Anyway...I would have prepared this last night, but I sat down to type up a Latin Lesson and then work on my Greek myth novel...I got distracted by watching Angry Video Game Nerd eloquently and succinctly sum up many of the worst games that were ever created for the NES system. I will warn you that, while funny as fuck, the videos feature a lot of not safe for work language.

Here's a funny aside: if you look at his (AVGN's) earliest videos, the 2004-2006 batch, I owned five of those games. I got four of them one year for Christmas. Talk about a fucking disappointing Christmas. But, that's life.

Anyway...three hours after I started watching AVGN, I decided it was time to go to bed, and thus I didn't get a Latin Lesson done and I only got about a page of my current chapter finished. So, I was just going to skip the Latin Lesson.

And's lesson just dropped into my fucking lap. Like that. Awesome.

See, I often refer to Wiktionary to help me remember which declension I need for a noun or which conjugation I need for a verb or any other shit. One of my favorite things to do is to have it give me a random word from a language of my choosing, which in this case (as with most cases) is Latin.

And that's when I got this beauty:


Pronounced "Gay-mo"

Translation in the hovertext!

Okay, I'm sorry Twilight people...I can't just stop there. So, I added a little something to the end here. It might not be as utile in everyday circumstances, but hopefully it's funny.

Gemmasne? Quoniam futuivi, ad Orcum ivi. Et gemmas. Pulcher.

Pronounced: "Gay-moss-nay? Quo-nee-ahm foo-too-ee-wee, ad Or-coom ee-wee. Et gay-moss. Pool-care."

Again, translation in the hovertext.

Gemmo, gemmare is the word from which we get "gem", because gems are sparkly. See how that works?

Have a sparkly good weekend, folks!

TMI Thursday: This Shit Has Got to Stop

March 11, 2010

As far as TMI Thursdays go, this one is pretty mild. If my salient stories about failed phone- and netsex sessions with the Ex- don't sate your need for inappropriate stories, try LiLu's place, which is the home of TMI Thursdays!

So, as I've referenced before, I have an active account on a certain social networking site. I reactivated it last November, after I drove back from Tennessee where I spent time with my wife's family for the holiday.

*glassy-eyed stare*

On my way home, I thought about my friend from Tennessee, and so I decided to netstalk her look her up online. When I got home, I fingered Googled her and found her page. So, I activated my account, sent her a message, we exchanged life update emails, and...well...haven't really spoken too her much since. Hooray for getting reconnected!

So, that initial night, I went through, picked up a handful of friends, and then, because I felt the need to be nice, I added my brother. I'm still not sure why, since we haven't spoken in...I dunno...a long time. We'll just say that.

A few days later, we had our company Christmas party, and on my work's intranet, there were some pictures of my kids sitting on Santa's lap. So, I figured, in order to avoid shooting pictures of the kids around on the emails and unnecessarily sucking up large amounts of bandwidth, I would just load the pictures onto my page and then the wife could also check them out and link to them or whatever the fuck it is that people do on there with pictures.

My brother then apparently showed the pictures to my mom. And here is where the proverbial wheels came off the cart, because this was the catalyst that caused my mother to open an account on the site.

And I've pretty much wanted to put a bullet in my brain ever since.

My mother is the Queen of Non-Sequiturs. She doesn't mean to be, but she is. And she feels the need to comment on every. single. post. I. make. It's enough to bring a man who cries less than Chuck Norris to tears.

She also is painfully unaware of what it is I do for a living. For one, she apparently thinks I went to medical school (I had a minor in biology) so she asks me about all of her health issues. She also is convinced that I work for a company that makes generic pharmaceuticals (we currently have no products on the market), and so she asks when her cholesterol and diabetes drugs will be on the generic markets.

So, you can imagine how all this misinformation of hers plays out well with my status updates and minor posts. Comedy ensues.

To compound this, she suddenly decided that I needed to connect to her through Yahoo!. I'm not even sure what that means, but I knew that I didn't like it. So I blocked her.

Yeah. I blocked my mother. Wanna make something of it?

My mother--like with so many other things in life--thinks that she's an expert in computer usage.

Allow me to dispel this notion.

Remember ICQ? A happy little chat program that was kind of big during the late 90s before AIM pretty much dominated until the rise of Twitter? It was invaluable for someone whose girlfriend lived hours away.

It was also a convenient way for my mom to chat with my bed-ridden aunt, because my aunt lived in Fort Wayne and we lived in podunk little Markle. This meant that, in order for my mom to chat with my aunt, she had to dial long distance. This was before digital phones, so long distance charges could get costly.

Being that I was a good son, I set my mom up with an ICQ account. I also set her up with her own email account. Neither of which she would use. She would use my accounts because she was be bothered with learning how to log someone else out of a program and log herself in.

She would also check my email for me. And since she was...too bother to learn how to pronounce anyone's last name, she would garble them, badly. You can imagine what she did with things like "Grzegorek" (Grez-gore-eck) or "Jarowicz" (Jar-o-witz). Once, much to my horror, she informed me that I had an email from e-moaning. When I looked, it was from my friend, one Mr. E. Moening.

With all this in night, during my college years, I was home. I was upstairs, probably rotting my mind with video games or *gasp* reading or something. My mom was downstairs on the computer, chatting with my aunt. All is well with the world.

And then the Ex logs in and sees that "I'm" on ICQ. So, she messages "me." She hits "me" with this doozie:

"So, you gonna stick that big old cock of yours into me, or am I going to have to get down on my knees and beg for it?"*

Now, remember...the Ex and I were very sexually active. But, since we spent a lot of time apart, we had to resort to phone- and cybersexing. And, this mostly worked while we were apart, and then in those rare times when we'd be together (before she moved to the greater Fort Wayne area after we were both out of college) we'd fuck like hounds.

My mother, of course, was completely fucking oblivious to our fucking. It was fucking great. Fucking.

Therefore, a highly sexually-charged introductory message in a chat session was pretty much par for the course between us.

However...I wasn't the one receiving the message.

So, my mother responded to her, in very unflattering terms, that it was not me using the computer right now and that she did not appreciate such language. I'm pretty sure she called my girlfriend a whore, and probably a slut. And any number of unkind terms implying that she was loose in the knickers.

Later, when I finally was able to use the computer, I got a message from the Ex.

The Ex: Is this you?

Me: Uh, yeah.


Me: Excuse me?

The Ex then related the story to me. I about pissed my pants myself laughing (I took them off when I got on the computer, anticipating the cybering). Fortunately, since this was just internet chatting, she couldn't hear me laughing. I explained to her about my technologically-challenged mother and her refusal to use the accounts I set up for her.

The Ex: So...

The Ex: What are you going to do about this?

Me: I think I'm going to make you beg.

The Ex: ???

Me: Instead of sticking my big old cock in you, I'm going to make you beg. I like it when you're a dirty little girl and need some punishment.

Me: Get down on your knees.

Me: And fucking beg for it, bitch.

The Ex: You're a fucking pig.

Me: And that makes you a pig fucker.

The Ex: You know, I WAS horny earlier.

Me: Before or after talking to my mom?

Me: Oh...oh God...was it during?

The Ex: Okay, seriously, fuck you.

Me: Isn't that what you were trying to get earlier?

The Ex: You're such an asshole! [log off]

For years, my mother brought this story up at every family gathering in some weak attempt to embarrass me. I just always kind of shrugged it off, and threw back in her face, "It wouldn't have been a problem if you had ever bothered to learn how to access your own account."

"But, Son, I wouldn't be able to embarrass you so if it hadn't."

I guess she was right; I was embarrassed for her. I'd roll my eyes and just let her keep going in her own happy little world.

Just to steer this ship back onto the TMI Thursday track, the Ex came back fifteen minutes later and we had the cybersex. I think twice. I mean, I had my pants off already and everything. Never let a good boner go to waste.

And now that I think back...I mercilessly abused myself autoerotically in the same chair my mom sat in when she dinked around on the computer. Revenge is a dish best served naked...and musky...and possibly with traces of semen on it. And a few ass hairs and pubes for good measure.


* This all happened fourteen years ago, so I'm paraphrasing here. Just go with it.

Trouble in Paradise

March 10, 2010

This is the most wonderful time of the year.

Well...normally, that is. It's the most wonderful time of the year if your favorite basketball team doesn't suck. In situations such as the past two seasons, I guess I can always claim to be a fan of Butler, right? *shifty-eyed*

Anyway, I've got some trouble around these here parts.

Basketball-related trouble.

I've raised my daughter right. She loves basketball. She might not be the voracious connoisseur that I am (what's this? Siena versus Fairfield? Sign me up!), but she has an appreciation for watching the game. And that makes me smile.

However, she's also decided that she's going to root for one of the local teams. And by local, I mean local. My daughter is a self-proclaimed Duke fan.

*chokes down bile*

My son, who is only 5 and doesn't know any better, and who wants desperately to have something in common with his older sister, aside from 50% of his DNA and a passion for Legos, is also a Duke fan.

In order to focus on the silver lining in light of this new-found catastrophe, I keep chanting to myself "At least it's not least it's not State..."

I mean, I guess it makes sense, given where we live and all. I do drive past the campus every day--twice!--and my first "real" job was at a biotech company that was, essentially, a glorified research lab backed by a professor at Duke.

Saturday evening, when UNC decided not to even bother showing up to play visited Duke, I was a good father and let her stay up to watch the first half of the game. She sat on my bed and cheered for Duke and celebrated as they built a 30-point lead before halftime.

And then she said the most brilliant--and inadvertently the most ironically hilarious--thing I've ever heard her say:

"Wow. Duke doesn't get called for travels very often."

She also loves playing basketball, and though my backyard isn't the greatest place to shoot hoops, it beats not having anywhere to play at all.

The past two nights, it's been nice enough to go outside and shoot some hoops together. I've been trying to improve her shot a lot over the past couple of days. She's gotten stronger, so now she doesn't just shoot bunnies, but actually is developing a mid-range jumper. However, I'm trying to get her to put some more arc on the ball, and give her some good shooting form. You know, shoulders square to the basket, hips firmly underneath you, bend your knees, keep your toes pointed toward the basket, keep your feet apart.

It's this last part that she doesn't want to do most often. So, I keep telling her "Pull your legs apart", "Spread your legs", "Feet apart".

The irony of what I am saying is not lost on me.

As her game continues to grow farther and farther away from the hoop, she's been getting a bit she's consistently knocking down shots from farther out. She wanted to know where the 3-point line would be, so I stepped off approximately 19 feet for her.

"Wow! That's really far away." Then she paused. "You couldn't hit that shot."

Never one to back down from the challenge of an 8-year-old girl, I said, "Give me the ball."

In what could possibly be the highlight of my basketball career, I turned and buried the shot. Nothing but net. It was, easily (and sadly) the most badass thing I've done with a basketball in the past ten years.

Because I'm not above gloating over an 8-year-old girl, I cupped my hand behind my ear and repeatedly asked, "What did you say?"

"I didn't say anything," she responded. Clearly, she was awed.

"What did you say?"

"I didn't say anything!" she insisted. Still awed, naturally.

"I think I heard you say something."

"I think dinner's ready," she responded.

All in all is all we are, I think it was a pretty constructive session. Not only have I helped her develop a bit of range to her game, but I've also taught her to ignore trash-talking assholes on the court.

And knowing is half the battle.

Friday Morning Latin Lesson, Vol LXI

March 5, 2010

The other day, as I was flipping through the radio dial doing my damnedest to avoid commercials (I'm such an asshole...I listen to free radio, but not the commercials), I settled for a moment on the talk radio dial because I wanted to listen to the news for the day. Naturally, there was a little bit of discussion prior to the news and the host and his guest were discussing the stimulus package that had been passed last year. Except, they didn't refer to it as the "stimulus" package, they called it the "porculus" package.

This amused me greatly.

Okay, so I get it. Whoever coined the term "porculus" thought they were being clever because the bill was loaded with pork. What bill moving through congress hasn't been saddled with pork? It's not like this is anything new. This is not the thing that amused me, however.

No, the thing that amused me was that "porculus" is actually a Latin word. It's translation is near and dear to all of our hearts. For, you see, porcus is the Latin word for "pig", and the ending -ulus is used for making the diminutive form. Therefore, porculus means "little pig", or, even better, it means Piglet.

Wait! That seems ready-made for translation of a children's book into Latin!

There are several modern books that have been transliterated into Latin. For instance, Quomodo invidiosulus nomine Grinchus Christi natalem abrogaverit (How the Grinch stole Christmas) or Virent ova! Virent Perna! (Green Eggs and Ham). Oh, and someone might enjoy a copy of Harrius Potter et Philosophi Lapis. Just sayin...

And there's my personal favorite, Winnie Ille Pu.

Ah, brilliant! I can almost hear Porculus telling Pu:

Pu, tuum caput ex orca mellis amoves!

Pronounced: "Pyoo, too-oom cah-poot ex ohr-cah may-leese ah-moh-ways!"

Sweet and sticky translation in the hovertext

And, because I can never leave well enough alone...the Latin word for "jar" is "orca". It means "a container with a wide belly and a narrow neck", and is related to the Old Germanic word from which Tolkien derived the word "Orc". Our word for the killer whale, orca, also comes from this original root, as Orcus was a god of the underworld and a punisher of evil souls, somewhat similar to our modern concept of the devil as a punisher of the wicked. The whole derivation of the term is a bit convoluted, and Tolkien himself denied that there was any connection, but as there are several instances of similarities between Germanic and Norse mythology and that of various Latin deities, it's not too much of a jump to say that "orcus", the punisher of dead and evil souls and "horcus" (or "horkus"), Early Germanic for "imp, devil" come from the same roots. And, in case you were wondering, "ogre" comes from the same roots (via French influence).

Deny it all you want, John Ronald Reuel, but I'm onto you.

TMI Thursday: Mid-Morning Wood

March 4, 2010

This is a story not for the faint-of-heart; those of you with weak constitutions should stay away. For the rest of us, feel free to enjoy the following story. And, if you want more awesome tales of debauchery, check out Lilu's home and read other awesomely bad TMI Thursdays!

Hopping in the Wayback Machine again, we find ourselves landing in my seventh grade science class, circa 1988. It was second semester and, I'm not sure how the seating chart worked out, but I found myself sitting in front of a young lady named Jayne Smith.

No, seriously, that was her name. I also knew a guy at Notre Dame named Jon Smith, so I've actually met and had the privilege of knowing two people who carry the default average plain-Jane names.

But this story is not about that.

Science class was a touch boring, despite the fact that we would occasionally do some interesting things. I blame this mostly on the fact that a) I had read a lot of science books and b) the teacher was terrible. One of the worst I've ever had. Certainly the worst science teacher I'd ever had.

Anyway, this was the first time I had dissected frogs, grasshoppers and worms, the first time I had balanced chemical equations, and the first time I learned what an "occluded sky" was (90% cloudy). So, there were some good things going on in the class, but I was just plain effing bored most of the time. However, we did watch a lot of films and film strips in class, which helped break up the monotony.

Being that I was 6'1" in the seventh grade, I often found myself having to slouch down so others could see the projection screen. Now, Jayne Smith was somewhat on the shorter side, and so, as we prepared to watch our movie for the day, I did the chivalrous thing and assumed the position: slid my ass as far back in the seat as I could, elbows on the desktop, back hunched, chin cupped in hand, glazed look in eye. I was ready for the lights to go out and for the film to begin. Which, thankfully, happened a couple of seconds later.

I don't know if they still do this now, but the desks in my junior high classes all had those wire book racks on the bottom of them, which were REAL convenient for putting your feet up on. As we were all settling in for the movie, Jayne decided to get comfortable, too. As such, she leaned back in her chair and slid her feet into the top of the wire book rack.

However, I had already assumed my position, and so when she went to put her feet into the book rack, the toe of her shoe hit my ass and then I could feel her foot sliding past the firm, taut curve of my ass cheek.

In the seventh grade, as the hormones are taking their toll on a person's body, guys don't have any semblance of "dick control". Feeling Jayne's foot rubbing against my ass caused me to fly into a state of "Insta-Chub". It did not help that, apparently, Jayne was fidgety as hell, and was constantly readjusting her feet. Each time she did it, it would send a blissful charge of hormone-fueled lust up and down my spine.

Mmmm...frotteurism. Or, I guess, reverse frotteurism.

And, of course, it all centered in my tail dick, which caused me to get harder and harder. And, things were getting uncomfortable...not so much because I was pressing against any fabric or anything. It was more because there is a point where my dick gets so hard that it actually hurts. And my balls ache. But, I think is pretty much standard practice for all guys when lust comes knocking on their door. I dunno. I've never really discussed this particular physiological phenomenon with my friends.

Discuss amongst yourselves, if you wish. what point should I perhaps tell you that the zipper on the pair of jeans I was wearing that day was broken? Now? Okay. The jeans I was wearing that day, by luck and happenstance, had a broken zipper. And not just the kind that doesn't zip. It was the kind of broken zipper where you zip up, think everything is fine, and then you casually go about your day. However, as you're walking, the motion of your legs moving the fabric of the jeans back and forth and gravity conspire to pull the zipper down.

And this is what happened to me, prior to science class. So, there I was, hard as granite, with my zipper down.

But wait, there's more.

Apparently, when I had pissed prior to class, I hadn't tucked myself completely back through the front flap of the underwear. Or, perhaps, my dick was just that nimble. Because, as I'm sitting there, raging hard and, well frankly, enjoying Jayne's foot rubbing against my ass and making me hard, I decided to adjust myself to try and not hurt so much.

So, as subtly as I could, I put my hand down in my lap. And that's when the bare flesh of my hand met the bare flesh of the head of my penis. A tightness crushed my chest, my throat swelled shut, my eyes flew wide open, panic set in.

Oh my fucking God, I thought, my dick is sticking out in class!!! Help me, Baby Jesus, help me!!!

"You're on your own, kid," he replied.

I cast my eyes about, trying to see if anyone had noticed (remember, the lights were--blissfully, thankfully--turned off). I immediately sat up, which, with my the flap on my tighty-whiteys and the teeth of my zipper wrapped around the shaft of my penis, nearly severed it. I resisted the urge to cry out or even do the sharp intake of breath that comes with the sudden sensation of pain. I put my other hand in my lap and just sat there for a few seconds, as casually as possible, with small, subtle movements, I tucked myself back into my underwear and then zipped myself back up. For good measure, I remained like that, sliding my ass to the front of the seat and leaning down in my chair so that Jayne could see the final few moments of the film. Heaving a sigh of relief, I began to return to silent flaccidity.

The movie ended, the bell signaling the end of science period sounded, and I immediately got up and did the old "hold my books over my crotch--no one will notice!!!" move as I walked down the hallway. Throughout the rest of the day, I was obsessed with checking my zipper to make sure it was up. And then after the day was done, I never wore those pants to school again.

This severely limited my wardrobe, because my parents refused to buy new clothes for me at any time other than at the beginning of the school year in the fall. Plus, we weren't allowed to wear shorts to school at that time. So, I was down a pair of pants...but it was worth it having that safety and security of mind that my dick wouldn't be making another surprise appearance in the middle of science class.

And, of course, when I got home that afternoon after school, I masturbated furiously while thinking about Jayne. And then immediately felt guilty.