2008 and prior

Blackbird singin’ in the dead of night….

KA-BLAM!

Ain’t singing no more, you nocturnal, piece of shitake, you.

When I lived in Onion, the local developer, upon completing his mission of replacing all available trees with houses, came around and planted one Bradford Flowering Pear tree on everyone’s front lawn. At first I thought, ‘well, a developer does something environmentally good, how out of character’. But, like most things in New Jersey, it was a facade, a smoke screen, a backhanded crack to the chops.

How so, you ask? Well, after several years of suffering through annual, debilitating allergy attacks that left me bed ridden for two days at a time, I figured out that it was the detested Bradford Flowering Pear tree that was causing my auto-immune system to freak out. Keep in mind that the Bradford Flowering Pear is a hybrid. It does not occur naturally in nature and thus, its pollen is not something my body can easily adjust to.

That in of itself was enough to set me off. But I didn’t put two and two together on that issue until after I moved away from the Onion County area, years later.

The more immediate problem would be the bird, camped out in the Bradford Flowering Pollen tree that was fooled by the glaring street light, also right outside my window. So bright was this artificial illuminating globe, that it caused this *&$#@!! bird to cycle through its repertoire of 27 different and distinct calls, (yes, I counted them) over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over, throughout the night.

Maddening, I tell you.

At some point, I had enough. If there was anyone else bothered by that bird, they would have been entertained at 3:30 am by one Birdwell, clad only in his Fruit-of-the- Looms, taking aim with his pellet pistol and dropping the final curtain on that bird’s performance. I quite literally hit the ‘crtl-break’ key sequence to its endless loop of chirps, whistles and cat-calls. Permanently.

If I wasn’t so tired, I would have pro’ly gone off on my own endless loop of stomping the offending carcass into the lawn.

Snakewell

To the best of my recollection I will recount an incident that happened on or about August 15, 1999.

Dingo and I were performing some general pond maintenance around the Tarn, where he was living at the time. I, of course, had my wristrocket at the ready and was hurling marbles at whatever seemed like it needed a marble hurled at it. Dingo noticed that the outflow for the discharge pond was clogged and proceeded to pull sticks and crap away from the pipe. I was somewhat uninterested and busy scanning the surrounding area for movement.

Then, I thought I saw something in the torrent of water that ensued in the tailrace from Dingo’s efforts. At first glance it looked like something swimming against the current. Couldn’t be, thought I. But, just in case…

Now, you need to know that when you score a good hit on flesh with the slingshot, it makes a peculiar sound. Easily identifiable the initiated. I heard that sound. Off like a shot, I jumped into the tailrace and waded downstream (I was barefoot, as usual). I went to the area where I thought the marble had impacted and then began thinking twice. What if it was a snake, and it wasn’t quite dead yet? It might clamp on my big toe, much like happened to Boof’s nose that time. Before I could retreat, however, I saw the unmistakable form of a snake wavering in the current. Quickly, I shot it, although it may not have been necessary. I say may not, because I was not sure if I had killed the snake on the first shot (it’s head was mangled) or broke its back on the second shot (in the water). It had appeared to be clinging to some reeds, but it may just have been hung up on a stick or something.

Either way, I snatched up my victim, holding it behind the head most firmly. If it wasn’t already dead, surely it suffocated in short order. It turned out to be a 3 foot water snake that had been unceremoniously flushed from it’s hidey-hole and consequently into the sights of the ever vigilant and well armed Birdwell. My first shot had indeed connected and bashed its forked tongued, beady eyed, slimy serpentine head in.

 

I hate lawn ornaments.

What is with these gazing ball things that are sprouting up on peoples front lawns? You’ve seen these things, they look like a giant cement chess piece, the pawn, only the ball is some fascinating shiny color that doesn’t match a thing around it. When I was a wee lad I would happen upon these things. I was entranced by their metallic shine, as metallic paint was not fully exploited as of yet. Most of all, I couldn’t figure out their function. Things should have a function. Most things do. Not the gazing ball. Come to think of it, neither does the plastic pink flamingo, the caricature of the bent over farmer’s ass or the farmer’s wife’s ass, the bear, sheep or deer, the silhouette of the Marlboro man or any of the many other plastic and concrete molded schlock that folks choose to adorn their front yards with. There was a lull after my youthful years, but now they are sproinking up again. Want to gaze at some balls? I have a couple that aren’t on my lawn that I am real proud of.

Why the hell can’t they just plant a few bushes? Or trees, how about trees? There’s a novel idear.

I learned the hard way that it is far easier to maintain a patch of grass than it is any other growing medium, such as islands, shrubbery or flower beds. Invasive weeds make it drudgery. And maintaining a lawn is made even easier without an obstacle course of cement forest animals, polyethylene birds or insipid gazing balls. And don’t forget; you will have to trim around all of it at some point. And trimming takes just as long as cutting, effectively doubling your lawn upkeep time and reducing by half your beer swilling, hammock lounging, down time.

Despite its obvious functionality, even the birdbath is not needed adorning the front lawn. You want to host a bird washing station, put it in your backyard. It’s just going to collect acid rain, black soot and tree fruits, freeze into a rotten, pock marked puck in the winter and breed parasites and algae in the spring. And birds are going to bathe in that? You call yourself animal friendly?

There used to be a place on the highway that sold all sorts of lawn ornaments. There was an orchard of gazing balls, families of deer, a villa of Japanese pagodas, lawn jockeys and the Marlboro men, among others. It was basically a life-sized chess game. Although, you needed to make a call to the local teamsters union to make a move.

And what kind of novelty is the lawn jockey, anyway? A stone (not stoned) dude standing there, a wire run up his ass, holding a dimly lit lantern. Just the thing to complete the motif for the main portal to your home. In my opinion, that is just asking for abuse.

Just a thought here, but do you think the folks that purvey the headstones and monuments for the recently deceased have something going on with the lawn ornament folks? Seems that some of the shapes repeat themselves. Then again, I never saw a gazing ball or a concrete elk as a headstone.

In my teenage years, there was a concrete elephant on this guy’s lawn on the way back from the local park where we all hung out. On the way home, I was known on occasion to stray off of the sidewalk and kick it over. Once I think I relieved myself on it. I don’t know why. It might have something to do with, or manifested itself into, the first sentence of this rant. This went on for, I can’t remember, a few weeks, until one night the guy ambushed me. But I was too drunk to care, so his tirade fell on deaf ears. A couple of times after that, I would see him peeking out of his front window, waiting to bushwhack me again. I never gave him the chance. I had sufficiently intrigued others, who took up the fight. Eventually the elephant was moved.

Damned pachyderms.
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My zeal to hit animals crossing the road has at times nearly gotten me killed. I specifically remember one night, traveling down Rt. 652 in freaky Hopewell Twsp., when a raccoon came out of the woods on the right, making a bee-line for the golf course on the left, presumably to play the back nine. It was far enough ahead of me that I had to swerve across the double yellow and gun it, but it must have detected danger and hurridly climbed the embankment. Not to be out done, I too tried to make it up the embankment, nearly clipping a tree and almost rolling my truck in the process.

(Alcohol may have been a factor)
The raccoon made its tee time.

Then there was the time that Dollar and I were headed out to the Pines for a weekend of eating, drinking, firearms and debauchery. We had loaded the truck to the gills with supplies and were racing down the Beaver Dam Road in Warren Grove, when, up ahead, a raccoon crossed from left to right. Hot Damn! With some raucous heavy metal tune blasting and the two of us whooping it up, I landed on the accelerator and beared down on our intended victim. We’re going to squish it flat and cut off its farcking head! (to be proudly displayed in camp, of course.) The sumbitch climbed up on the sand bank on the side of the road, but I had seen that trick before. I cranked my truck up onto the sand, crashing through the pines, certain, by the position of critter and headlights (and the resultant thump) that I had scored. Elated, we jumped out, prepared to mount that bitch on the hood, and cut off its farcking head later. But all we found were tire tracks going over a raccoon shaped hole in the sand. It would seem that we had indeed ran over the varmint, but the soft sand had created a sort of buffer, from which that bastard was able to extract itself from and run off to cross the road another day.

Despite hunting hard, drinking even harder and eating like pigs for the remainder of the weekend we couldn’t seem to get over our deprived feelings. Again, alcohol may have been a factor.

Loon Mt., New Hampshire. On a week long ski trip where my skills so vastly improved that I was able to cut my round trip time from 20 minutes to less than 10, I had the good (mis) fortune to encounter a red squirrel in middle of the run, not far from the lift exit. A couple of times of this and I could see that this misguided creature was digging for nuts. Problem # 1 was the depth of the snow – may have been 3 feet. Problem # 2: The Birdwell.

As I mentioned, my skills were improving quite a bit and being just off of the lift, was well rested. As I rounded the turn, there he was, engrossed in burrowing down for some hidden goodie. I increased my speed and bore down as silently as possible. Once again, some force of nature alerted the red squirrel to imminent danger. It looked up to see the Birdwell about 10 feet away and closing fast! He ran left, I cut left, he ran right, I cut right. Now I was nearly on top on him, so confident was I that I was going to bury him next to his nuts that I let out a cry of excitement. Mere inches from the tips of my skis, he cut left once again, more out of panic and desperation than good planning, I am sure. But it turned my premature victory cry into a yelp of anguish as I tried to cut left, caught an edge and dumped onto the hardened ice and snow. The garage sale that was my equipment and clothing strewn across the mountainside only added to the pain of several grapefruit sized bruises I sustained on my elbows, hips and ass. Alcohol was not a factor, but it is worth mentioning that I was drunk every night prior to this day and every night after.

Damned red squirrels.

Another example of the ghost of critters past still capable of extracting a measure of revenge will be the time I noticed a rag hanging from the exhaust pipe under my truck. I had just picked it up from the mechanic and thought he may have left something there by mistake. Fire hazard, I thought, as I reached under and grabbed for the material. My hand closed around what can only be described as a well worn leather dishrag. It wasn’t a cloth after all. It was the weather beaten and hairless skin of something I ran over that had gotten hung up on a bolt and dragged around for who knows how long.
Subject: Skunk vs. Car

Today I will discuss the lowly skunk, or as I like to call them, skonk.

Now, I understand all about the smell, but what I have noticed in the past few years is that, when a skonk gets hit on the road, it doesn’t just get bonked and rolled off to the side, like it’s unfortunate counter-critters the deer, squirrel, raccoon and woodchuck (also know as the groundhog). No, it gets spattered. I have seen many more skonk since moving to Hunterdon County, most of them dead, and almost every one is blasted open, guts and stench strewn to the breeze.

Now, I am not here to determine why the skonk and critters et al cross the road in the first place. I could care less. If the edge dwelling phylum of NJ have not figured out that the long strip of black rock is frequented by the fast-moving-shiny-thing-that-kills, that’s their own evolutionary tough luck. They all survived the glaciation period just fine. What, things are moving too fast now? Besides, I find immense enjoyment playing the reality game of critter vs. internal combustion vehicle. Must be a throw back to the video game era, or something like that.

But why, oh why, do they get ripped open, tumbled and splattered. Seems to me that a critter as offensive as a skonk would just get run over, pitched off to the shoulder and left to decompose like the others. Ashes to ashes, road-dust to road-dust and all that. That, however, is not the case. Is the skonk somehow built to inferior standards? Why is it that you don’t see groundhog/woodchucks in the same state of discombobulation after they get whacked by Detroit steel? Better overall musculoskeletal design, I guess. I would think that a kinder, gentler God would construct the offensive beast more like the armadillo. How many of those bitches do you see shattered on the side of the road? Hit an armadillo with anything short of a Mack truck and damage is to the vehicle. Or, they just curl up into a ball and roll out of the way.

So, was God playing another one of His/Her grand schemes on us all? Much the same as the mosquito?(another story, another time).

And thus, we are giveth the skonk
(((rolling thunder)))

Of no nutritional, ornamental or sentimental value
Clearly marked by racing stripes
So man can not make any mistake in identification
(remember the apple?)
Fully equipped with far flinging stench juice
It will be constructed with substandard flesh and bone
So that, when contacted with rolling vehicles
(above the speed of 10 mph)
It will erupt unto the landscape
So as to spread its message of awfulness
To as many in the vicinity as possible

So it is written.

There is a skonk splattered on County Route 625, which I must travel each day to drop off and pick up my daughter. So, I get a blast of skonk stew at 7:30 am and another shortly there after on the return trip to start my day and a parting two shots to end my day. Thank you, kindly. Even the baby gets a sort of odd look on her face.

But I guess I can’t complain all that much. At least I am not the guys building the roadside stone wall in the stench zone. If I was on that crew, the first tub of cement would be dumped directly on top of the skonk carcass, essentially creating a toxic sarcophagus for future generations.

Anywho, its Friday.

BWL
~/~/~
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February 2, 2005

Rodent BASTARD!

It should come as not great surprise to anyone familiar with the Birdwell that I am no fan of rodents. Any rodents. It’s not that I fear them or am grossed out by them. Noooooo. It’s just that they make really good targets and on the list of expendable phylum, ring in quite high.

Members of the family Rodentia include mice, rats, squirrels, rabbits, nutria, muskrats, voles, shrews, moles, gophers, capybara and your friend and mine, groundhogs. (otherwise known as woodchucks, whistle pigs or rockchucks).

That’s right, the groundhog. A subterranean, hole digging, Winter hibernating, buck toothed, shadow seeing Mutha!

Who was it that put this overstuffed, flea infested furbag in charge of the length of Winter?

94. That is how many times this rat bastard has seen his shadow since inception, resulting in 6, count them, six more weeks of Winter.

14, the number of times with no shadow seen.

Now, Winter hasn’t been particularly cruel to me this year. Here in NJ, Winter comes every year. Some more than others. Buy a shovel, get yer boots on enjoy the fact. Hey, kids in Africa don’t have Winter.

But this rodent dependence doesn’t sit well with me. First of all, they need to drag it’s fat carcass out of it’s hidey hole because it’s still sleeping. Ah Ha! Still Sleeping. And let me guess: Most years it’s hole is covered over with snow, right? So these mad hatters drag ass across the frozen commons, dig through the snow and exhume the critter against its will. Then they stand there, holding said varmint high for all to see…Shadow? No shadow?

Note to Punxsutawney Curators: Let rodent sleep = doesn’t see shadow = short Winter.

I hope it bites yer ass.
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When is the last time anyone was required to fit a device with C sized batteries? I can’t think of one application. Seems like the folks that give us updated versions of electronics and software, rendering the current version obsolete, may have been working off an old model. The C battery was a test case.

Try to get a child’s toy working without a fistful of AA. Some of these things take upwards of six or more. I would think that 6 AA would equal at least 2 C size. Or two 9 volt. (the square one with the ill fitting snap connectors) When have you ever seen something take two 9 volt’s? They must not work in series. In fact, the trusty old 9 volt has always had limited functionality, powering only smoke detectors and garage door openers. In a past life, I may have had a transistor radio that accommodated a 9 volt battery. Admittedly, D and C sized batteries are bulky, heavy and cumbersome. So why not phase them out completely? If my digital camera can be outdated in two years (according to the curators of Electronics Expo), then why can’t we remit these dinosaurs of power storage to the electronic dump heap?

And where the hell are the A sized batteries? Or B for that matter? Skipped over to add to the confusion, along with E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L and M.

Which brings me to N. The N size battery is like a AA cut in half. It is for photo equipment and some telephone handsets. Because, as we all know, new equipment requires a new means of power. What, a standard battery to power the new strobe light? Not on your life Mr. Engineer. Design a new power source, different from the rest. Most of all, make it non-compatible with the others. Distribute it in limited numbers and make damn sure they cost more. That’s why you engineers answer to Marketing.

Olivia has a mailbox toy that also has a plastic bumble bee collared to it. When you move the bumble bee it goes ‘Sproing! Sproing! Bzzzzz Bzzzz….’ It requires 4 AA just to make two sounds. Wait until Bill Gates hears about this. And just who was the brain-trust that thought to make an oversized bumble bee a plaything for toddlers?

Of course, like most things, as size gets smaller, the number/letter designation gets larger. Case in point; wrist watch and hearing aid batteries. Maybe the designation is longer so that when you attach a label, you can find them easier.

Long, long ago, it behooved the smart Boy Scout to have a spare set of batteries. They weighed about two pounds, but if someone asked if you had any extra batteries, one size fit all. Try that today.

“Bird, got any extra batteries?”

“Sure, what do you need? D for the old flashlight, AA for the diskman, AAA for the remote control, N for the flash on your camera, 3956A-2 for your watch, 342!$%@5BC5 for your hearing aid, 9 volt for your garage door opener or the monster 9 volt dry cell with the springy things coming out of the top for a science project?”

“C, for this old cassette recorder I found in the attic”

“Sorry.”

X = $$ (it all equates to dollars)

~+=~+=~+=~+=~+=~+=~+=

It snowed yesterday. About 1.5 inches where I am. This came as no surprise to anyone. It was predicted by every weather report, news station, aching joint and furry animal in the area. I think the Farmer’s Almanac hit the date precisely. It started snowing around 2:30 pm and kept on going until maybe 9 pm.

Just as predictable was the inaction by the Dept. of Transportation to do anything in the way of snow removal. As a consequence, traffic was backed up on Rt. 287 and Rt. 78., as well as several other major roads, I am sure (but I don’t travel those, so I won’t say for certain.) It took 2+ hours to make my normal 45 minute commute.

I know there was an accident on Rt. 78 near Clinton. I don’t know what the holdup was on 287, although I noticed that neither road was salted. And why not? It started snowing fully three hours before rush hour, plenty of time to make a pass with the salt spreader. That would have been enough to let the cars spread the juice around and remediate the problem. A second pass would have cleared them to blacktop.

This is a regular thing in NJ. No snow is treated until after rush hour, so the roads get jammed – big time – which causes everyone major inconvenience, not to mention accidents, road rage, domestic disputes and hungry children. But you can bet the road crews were on standby, making overtime, DOING NOTHING.

My angst is not directed at the folks who drive the trucks. They answer to a higher authority. But somewhere in that chain of command, someone is saying, ‘don’t spread salt or plow until the commuter traffic has died down.’ And so, we get the all too familiar situation of poor roads, major traffic, elevated blood pressure and the general degradation of quality of life. Welcome to New Jersey. You asked for it, now bend over.

If a person is allowed to file suit against someone who doesn’t maintain their sidewalk, why shouldn’t the same rules apply upwards? I think that whenever someone gets into an accident on a highway that is maintained by the NJDOT due to improper snow removal, they should file a law suit against the state. If you extrapolate that out you would bog the legal system in this state down with so many lawsuits, it would grind to a halt…just like traffic.

Here it is then. NO MAJOR HIGHWAY IN NJ CAN BE CLOSED FOR ANY REASON. NOT EVER. There are too many people trying to get to work or home. If it snows, clear it. If there is an accident, clear it. Immediately. That is what we pay you for. You obviously refuse to do anything to relieve traffic congestion. On top of that, you have to stick it to us a little extra every time it snows.

We pay our taxes dutifully. We put up with unceasing construction. There is enough equipment and manpower to do the job. There is enough room on the shoulder of the road to clear accidents. Get off your asses and stop doing us wrong.

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Could someone explain to me why, when we are occupying an oil producing country, we can’t suck the petrol out of the ground until it’s dry and lower prices here in the States? I say fly over there with a giant straw, peirce the desert skin and drink deep; like a mosquito on a passed out drunkard on a hot, July evening.

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Something I previously bitched about

September 11 approaches and with it the notoriety, sadness, confusion and anxiety that rightfully belongs to this day. American’s are still fighting and dying due to the underlying causes that mark this day as infamous. It is normal to mourn when the anniversary of bitterness rolls around.

But think what it would mean if, instead of an outpouring of grief (and insipid, bulls!t speeches by the high shaking heads of state), we somehow marked this day differently.

Those that brought this brand of horror to our shores revel in watching us grieve. I am certain that they will tune into our television shows, radio broadcasts and publications to gloat over our pain.

We need to turn it around. Celebration is not the proper word. Not even the perpetrators can rejoice on this day. But this day can be marked by defiant remembrance.

Imagine for a moment a juicy glazed ham emerging from the oven after having steeped in its own succulent juices for hours. Hot pork fat sizzling, delicious pork aroma filling the house, slightly browned cherries and pineapples sagging off and falling into the golden broth. Slices of porsk laid down on the plate next to a heaping pile of mashed potatoes and followed with a whomping slice of blueberry pie. (red, white and blue).

Now, (follow me here) if I was an unshaven, sand dwelling, sweat soaked, rag wearing, non-pig-eating militant extremist whose entire existence is justified by hating Americans and every picture I saw of said Americans featured some pork product (or by-product, in the case of Spam, Underwood Deviled Ham and scrapple) I might be somewhat put off. Here I am, dragging my outdated rocket launcher around the freaking hot desert all day long, trying to avoid enemy sniper fire, scorpions and snakes, and the one time I want to see the faces of the people I so despise, their mouths are full to overflowing of the most vile animal I know of.

And they’re asking for seconds!

My religion demands that I run around in the hot sun, wearing enough burlap to upholster a Davenport, I can’t shave this maddening growth off my face and every time I look at a picture of Britney Spears selling a soft drink, the mujedien comes around and beats the crap out of me with piece of rubber garden hose.

Meanwhile, my exhalant leaders are sitting on their fat asses in the mosque, talking sh!t, getting tanked on the sacred wine, growing fat on the MRE’s the Air Force dropped last year and telling me I’m next on the list for voluntary suicide missions.

Maybe that would wise them up a bit.

Just a thought.

God Bless America and protect the men and women of the 150th and 350th (Hunterdon Cty., NJ)

““““““““““““““““““““
How goes the jihad?

So, I was tinkering around in the garage last night and came up with this new weapon against terrorism. I call it the Spam Cannon (mainly because it rhymes).

It is loosely based on the potato cannon. This is a device that is pro’ly very familiar to most men, but not to many females. This will once again underscore one of the many biological and sociological differences in our collective upbringing. Where women most likely wouldn’t have a use for a potato cannon, much less the inclination to build/load/fire/reload/fire one, boys have elevated the construction to a fine art.

(note to self: twinkies may work also)

Anywho, the potato cannon, in general terms, is a tube, open at the business end, closed at the other, in which a small hole is pierced. This is where the propellant is injected. Propellant in my day was lighter fluid. But as I said, this has been raised to an art form and propellant my vary from region to region.

Into the business end is placed the projectile of choice. Originally it was potatoes, but I have seen tennis balls, snow balls, wads of cloth, green tomatoes, eggplant, peppers and barbie dolls (don’t ask) used effectively. Afterwhich, the propellant is lighted and VAVOOM! off we go.

But I digress. So you say, how then can we use this crude mechanism in the war against terror? I say we use my friend and yours, the detested swine as a projectile. Methinks the small can of Spam is just the right size, weight and specific gravity. Un-can that bitch, lock and load and fire away at the first sign of an militant extremist or gathering anti American crowd.

Splat!

Ok, ok, so you’re this rabble rousing douche_bag who hates the swine as much as you hate Americans. All of the sudden, just as you are about to torch Old Glory in the midst of a gathering of your unclean, bedraggled friends, a gelatinous glob of the pig clocks you square in the gourd. You stand there in disgust, not sure of how (of if you can) cleanse yourself, when you realize that you dropped the match you were going to use to light the flag onto your tattered burlap poncho. Suddenly, when you need them most, your band of followers are running for the hills like they just saw an armada of helicopter gun ships. Your aging loincloth erupts in flames, burning all of the greasy hair off of your face and leaving you in a smoldering heap on the hot tarmac.

Meanwhile, five American landscapers stop at the local Quiky Mart and scoff down a deck of pork roll and cheese sandwiches.

Yeah, the jihad is going well.

~+~+~+~+~+~~+~+~+~~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+

email to Sys, circa March 2004

When should one be more considerate of one’s cube mate? I have stopped putting on cologne because I had a cube mate who over used his favorite eu de toilet and I found it most ‘gag’, if you will. I have a cube mate and try to be considerate of her. However, I was pondering the eating of lunch in the cube, which we both do. Although she doesn’t eat anything particularly offensive, I have, on occasion, (like today), enjoyed an odiferous tuna sangweej. Being that my cube mate is from mainland China, I doubt she is well versed in the all American lunchbox standby.

As we all know, fresh made tuna salad has an expiration date, a half life which begins the moment the mayo is blended in. With each passing hour the tuna salad comes closer and closer to the trash can. One can easily tell at which stage of decay the tuna is in by its smell. And we all know that day old tuna is no joy. I would think even a drunk or stoned mutant teenager, pulling on his nose ring, eyebrow barbell and lip ring, rooting through the ice box to quell late night munchies, would hesitate to fork up 24 hour old tuna. Especially if it has not been wrapped proper. Now, splat a scoopful of tuna between two slices of white bread and let that proliferate in the fridge for a day and you have a whole new realm to deal with…soggy, day old tuna salad soaked bread emitting day old tuna smell. Talk about a buzz kill. It’s a good thing my lunch is already in my belly.

Conspicuously absent from this communiqué would be any mention of tuna that has exceeded the 24 hour mark. This is weapons grade food stuff, not to be handled by the uninitiated. When disposing of older than 24 hour old tuna salad, (what else would you do with it?), one must use disposal techniques reserved for chicken/turkey carcasses left over from dinner, over filled diapers and vomit. I.e., put into trash bag with plenty of other trash present (to buffer the waves of odor) and immediately take to the outside trash can…or burned. Along with the tuna can. Let us not forget that the metal the tuna can is made out of has been soaking in tuna solution. It holds onto the tuna scent, and indeed decays into an appetite killing vessel long before even the tuna salad. Proper disposal must include washing the vessel with soap and water, lest other meals be ruined by the presence, seen or unseen, of the used tuna can.

And please remember, my Sys! You can tune a piano, but you can’t tuna fish.

¡Hasta la Vista!

(a ditty, to the tuna of ‘TV Dinners’ by ZZ Top)

Tuna, tuna……it comes in little can

Tuna, tuna……its taste is kinda bland

I dump it in a bowl and splat the mayo down
Mix it up together ’till all is nice and brown Oh yeah!

{{insert lead guitar riff here}}

Tuna, tuna……don’t ya let it sit too long

Tuna, tuna……the smell is pretty strong

You know you will regret it after just one day
Your house will start to smell like a salty bay Oh yeah!

~+~+~+~+~+~~+~+~+~~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+

Cheers, mate

Of the many changing moods of the Birdwell, one of the most notable would be my revolving drink preference. For reasons unknown even to myself, I don’t stick with any one libation for too long. Go figure, I guess I just get bored with whatever and seek something new, improved, whiter, brighter. A cleaner burning fuel, if you will.

As no amount of retroactive thought will be able to accurately detail past dalliance, I will attempt, from this point onward to list at the very top of the splash page, above the pic, my current modus alcoholi.

Something new on the scene, since 05-05-05, have been actively consuming margaritas. On the rocks, no salt. Not that I dislike frozen or salt, only that since my Sys turned me onto the rocks/no salt version, I have taken well to it. (That and I consume enough extra water and salt in my daily nutritional intake.) Seems to be a challenge for some bartenders, though. Can’t figure out why. It’s just as easy to spin off as a pina colada, strawbarb daiquiri or screwdriver. The slop is in the third canister from the left. Put in the requiem amount of ice – overflowing the glass – add a splash of Jose Cuervo (keep that lesser shit away from me) and pour the alien green mixture in. It would be nice if you could give it a shake or two, but I don’t kid myself into thinking many a bar keep goes to this extra step.

At the nest, where all manner of conveniences make themselves available, a properly spun margarita would proliferate itself as follows:

Procure one stainless steel cocktail shaker (in good working order)
Add about…mmmm, that much Jose Cuervo, and a splash extra
Top off with Jose Cuervo Margarita mixture
Squeeze in one half of a nice lime
Drop in spent lime rind
one glug of triple sec
Cover, shake quite well
Pour into rock glass over ice
Flag with lime slice
Sample fresh cocktail for accuracy
Drink deeply of fresh cocktail and top off with remainder from shaker (that way, you get a couple of good belts in ya’ and still have a full glass…wink wink)
Repeat as necessary.

One thing I feel I must mention is the shape of the ice cubes. Those friggin 1/3 round pieces of crap that come out of the home refrig just piss me off. They are not conducive to proper beverage consumption. They interrupt the flow of libation causing you to suck, sip and slurp your drink when you should be glug, chug and pouring. Where the hell are the square ice cubes? Oh, they’re at the bar. Problem is, you get too damned many of them there. Yeah, thanks for my drink that I had to pony up $4.50 or more for, half of which is ice. At least I won’t dehydrate, you bozak.

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This will be for the bozak this morning who felt compelled to cut me off at elevated speed while I was trying to exit the highway. 7/27/2005

Congratulations! You succeeded in getting in front of me. You clearly are better than I. Still, I don’t see what the point was, when I was trying to get off of the highway, which would have given you an opportunity to enter. No matter, the 20 feet you traveled before screeching to a halt in bumper to bumper traffic was well worth it. At least for the few seconds you were there. Of course, being superior to myself, you weren’t about to let someone like me flip you the finger, call you an asshole and get away with it. So you did what any self respecting bozak would do. You chased me, off the highway and pulled up next to me at the light.

Here now, I will answer the questions and statements you made, yet failed to wait for a reply.

What is my problem – I have several. First and foremost would be my chemical imbalance. Most people term this insanity, craziness, incorrigibility or ill tempered. But I know different. If it wasn’t for the weekly electroshock sessions, I may well be in an asylum. After that my inability to fear other humans runs a close second. Next, pro’ly my certainty that the bulk of society, yourself included, are a bunch of mindless sheep following whatever wooden Jesus on television you pray to.

What am I a tough guy? – Actually, yes. Proof? How about oral surgery without Novocain? Scraped to the bone without any pain killer. How about every crown in my mouth, no less than ten, without Novocain? Please don’t try to tell me that doesn’t count for something. I don’t know of anyone, not one farking person, who has dental work done without Novocain, let alone oral surgery. No? Ten broken fingers, Strep throat nearly to the point of Scarlet fever, two molars knocked out by a misguided kick in karate class, survived a car wreck that totaled my van and took out an exit sign on the Parkway?

You’ll kick my ass – No, you won’t. We both know that. You are a skinny, glasses wearing twerp who, like most people, felt oh so protected in your vehicle. So protected that you didn’t even get out of your car when you clearly had the jump on me. You are, and will always be, a pussy.

Fark you – Fark me? No, no, no. Fark you. No, wait. Eat me.

Discretion is the better part of valor, not that I needed to discern much about you. I quickly sized you up and found no reason to fear. You are a good 50 lbs. lighter than I and I didn’t see evidence that you exercise much. You could be a quadruple black belt in Tae Kwon Long Duck Do and I still would have gone at you without thinking twice.

Lastly, the next time you state that you are going to harm someone, especially me, please do remember to pull over and get out of your vehicle, as I was doing. Driving away when the light turns green only shows your true colors, yellow. You no doubt noticed I did not waste precious time following you, although you could only proceed in one direction, there are no side streets and the next town was about 5 miles away. High level thinking there, Sir Bozak.

Oh, one more thing…white Honda Accord, plate # EID – 33U. The Internet is a vast and many faceted place. Another time, Highlander. I will find you.

And I hope you have a dog.

Sleep well.

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Chuckle-head.

Is there anyone out there who doesn’t know that this phrase is a derogatory comment? Even if you never heard it before, its not likely that you can mistake it for anything else.

Chuckle-head.

Even if you try to use it in a noble fashion, it comes off drippingly sarcastic,

“…And now, I present to you, our esteemed colleague, winner of the Nobel Prize for Economics and a Chuckle-head…”

It just doesn’t work. Chuckle-head.

And exactly what defines a Chuckle-head? Does it have something to do with intelligence or the lack thereof? Misguided deeds or the application of same? Mis-spoken words or the butchered rendering of the linguistic element?

What are you, some kind of a Chuckle-head?

And why Chuckles? Does the candy Chuckles represent some kind of narrow minded dalliance? Was the inventor trying for something more, but ended up with Chuckles? Maybe his rival invented Chiclets, but this poor schmo was relinquished to Chuckles. Or could it be that Chuckles are the answer to Chiclets?

“In response to the launching of Chiclets by the Wrigley Company, we are counter-launching Chuckles. The juxtaposition of the candy coated gum in cute, fun square shapes will be in direct eye sight of the rainbow colored blocks of sugar coated square jellies. And we will be sure to put the black ones in the middle so you don’t have to eat them first to get to the ones you really want.”

Chuckle-heads.

Was it that Chuckle is a funny sounding word? What about chortle? Chortle is a funny sounding word. How about Chortle-head?

Ok, there Chortle-head…

Or does it have something to do with the specific mass of the chuckle. If one is a chuckle-head, is it to imply that one’s head is the general consistency and make up of a chuckle? That being, of course, a soft, pliable jell coated with coarse grains of sugar. And if so, which color? I’m guessing that isn’t an issue, because no one ever referred to anyone as a ‘orange chuckle-head’ or a ‘green chuckle-head’. No. Chuckle-head is enough.

Chuckle-head

How then, does the Chuckle differ from, say, a spice drop, gum drop, candied mint leaf, orange slice, or a Mason Dot? Or that crap inside the cheap mints you find in the dish on the way out of a diner? I never heard anyone referring to anyone as a Candied-Orange-Slice-Head. Pro’ly because it has too many syllables.

Note to self: Mason dots make great sling-shot ammo. Especially frozen ones.

Chuckle-head

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Here we are in the depth of Winter, pissed off that the flea infested rodent had to come out on one of the sunny days of the season and alternately hoping that either a) the mud will freeze or b) global warming will increase for just a couple of weeks and dry things out.

Looming on the horizon is the month of March, with Spring far off. Oh, don’t be fooled by the whole Equinox thing. Spring doesn’t make itself prevalent until April. And don’t start cracking wise about the first day of Spring being on March 22, this is tongue in cheek rhetoric I’m writing here, not a text book.

March is like adding insult to injury. It’s a crummy month, wet, cold, nasty, snowy, blowy, icy. The whole ‘in like a lion’ thing. About the only good thing about March is St. Patrick’s Day (and your birthday, Mom).

April, on the other hand, is a happy month. The first Spring flowers, Easter, warmer temps and at the tail end …May!

So why not just delete the month of March all together? That way Spring can arrive when we all think it arrives and with luck, we can deal Old Man Winter and his lapdog rodent groundhog a sound waffling. Slap ten days on the ends of September, October and April. Kinder, gentler months. Add the last day onto the end of May, so we can have a really decent weekend holiday.

When you think about it, the only thing holding us to this ’30 days has September, etc.’ bullshit is the fact that a bunch of high shaking Roman heads got together and named months after themselves. And what the fuck did they know? Lounging around in the warm Tuscan sun, snacking on olives, drinking wine and throwing toga parties. Hell of a way to make a living, I say. How many times do you think they had to shovel the chariot out of a snow bank, squish across the lawn to retrieve a waterlogged newscroll or sit in traffic along Hadrian’s Wall because the lazy ass DOT-R (Department of Transportation-Roma) couldn’t salt the viaduct? Damned few.

When you think about some of the other mind exercising variances we put up with (Daylight Savings Time, Leap Year, meat/no meat?), what diff would it make to have a 40 day April, September and October? So someone would have to make up a new rhyme. Maybe I’ll do it…

Thirty days has November,
but not April or October
and not September
Winter sucks,
and March does too
So we moved things up more close to June

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Please raise your hand if you are not aware that morning traffic in NJ sucks.

OK, leave your hands up…

I’m going to go out on a limb (arm or leg) here and say that most everyone is well aware that there are vastly too many cars on the roadways in NJ, especially in the morning when we are all trying to get to work on time.

So why in the name of Great Ceasar’s Ghost would someone choose to move a boat, on a tractor-trailer, during this time of day? OK, just to be clear – I think the driver, the company he works for, his boss AND the owner of said Ocean going vessel are @ssholes. Also, I can’t understand why you are going North on Rt. 287 with a yacht when the nearest marina is South.

What’s that you say? Storage for the Winter? That was why it was shrink wrapped with enough plastic to kill a pod of Gray whales? I see.

Then riddle me this, Yachtman: What was the harm in leaving it at the marina, at least until the weekend? Why did you have the overwhelming need to move your vessel during MORNING RUSH HOUR TRAFFIC? And why in the name of stinking diesel fuel couldn’t your truck driver get the hell out of the left lane?

I hope your boat develops a hard list to port.
Dick.

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Planting Dogs

I don’t know if I mentioned this before, but I have cycled through 5 dogs in my lifetime. I fully expect to go through a couple more, God willing.

With dog ownership comes a certain expectation that, at some point, you will have to face the aspect of expiration and carcass disposal. You see, with lesser pets; fish, birds, hamsters, even cats, disposal is a simple matter of introducing said carcass to either the toilet (burial at sea) or the trash bin. No one is going to be the wiser nor give you any flack about offing your used pet into those receptacles. I have even disposed of butchered deer this way, head and all. If you’re one of these ‘my pet is a member of my family types’ {barf} you can have a service come and pick up your expired family member and do away with it for you (the ol’ Soilent Green method).

Me, I prefer the ‘back to the Earth from whence you came’ method. I figure, if the critter meant so much to me when it was breathing, the least I can be afforded is the right to plant it in the ground.

I haven’t had many an opportunity to do much sowing of dog. (notice that’s sowing, not sewing. I will sew, as in stitch up, my hounds as needed. Blood loss tends to slow down a dog. Not a good thing on a long day of Ruffed Grouse seeking). But, to my credit, I have planted two. The Val-mommy and my brother-in-law’s hound, Maggie.

Maggie was an older dog and fortunately for all involved, expired in the night. We planted her behind the raspbarb orchard on a rainy day in April. Most fitting. I slipped on the mud and fell on my ass when we put her in. That may not have been a good sign.

The Val-mommy expired under more uncertain conditions. Dad thinks she had a heart attack from being left out in the scorching August New Jersey Sun. I think she was snake bit. Doesn’t matter. One day I get a phone call from the ol’ man stating he came home and found the Val-mommy face down, black tongued and hardened in her kennel, with the Kell-hound gnawing on her back foot. (OK, I made that part up). Can I come over after work and help plant her ass? What the hey, I need the exercise.

The next day is one of those baking hot, been dry for weeks, dustbowl, August, glaring Sun days. Yeah, exercise. The ol’ man prepared well for the occasion. He handed me a beer, a pickaxe and led me out to the spot in the yard he had picked out. I dug deep, occasionally probed with ‘do you think its deep enough?’ knowing full well I wouldn’t stop digging until it was deep enough.

About three beers later I began to scrape bedrock and that was where I called it quits. I helped carry the stiffened carcass to the hole and gently…gently…placed her in. Then I had to stand there while prayers were said and atonement made. Then I plowed her under. Despite the mound that formed, today you wouldn’t be the wiser that you were standing over the remains of hound past unless you were told so, as I often do the uninitiated.

The Val-mommy. She was a good dog.

Now, hounds expiring on their own is one thing. But putting a hound down while it is still very much alive is quite another. Like Chuggs. Or Boof. They were tough. They were my first and second dogs, respectively and both fell victim to hip displaysia. No fun and not funny. Onward.

The I-dog, however, was quite another matter. She lived to the ripe old age of damn near 17. That’s 16,282 to you and me.

Anywho, as Ivy approached and surpassed the 15 year mark, she was a mere skeleton of her former self. As Lisa is fond of saying, you could run your finger up and down her ribs like a xylophone. Of course, by the time Lisa met Ivy, she was pretty much skin and bones, arthritic, mostly blind, almost totally deaf, didn’t eat much and took to standing in front of the kitchen cabinets for long periods of time staring at the woodwork. I used to call just to ask if she’d kicked off yet. The answer was invariably ‘no’. Lisa even saved Ivy from drowning once, when her legs went out from under her and she splashed head first into her water dish. Being that her legs didn’t work so good, she couldn’t regain. Almost lost her there. Almost.

Another thing about Ivy that drove my Mom bonkers was her incessant pacing in the middle of the night. She would be up all hours of the evening, pacing around the kitchen’s tile floor, her long, old, dog nails clackity-clacking the whole time. Eventually Mom would go down and throw her into the laundry room, which was small and had an linoleum floor.

Another peculiar activity she had was that she would go off on these long, drag ass walks around the property. My parents owned about 5 acres of lawn at the time and sometimes it seemed like Ivy would go off on an elliptical orbit so vast, her very existence was doubted. By me, at least. You could mark time by what part of the yard she was in. Seemed that she moved with the Sun. Somehow she always seemed to make it back.

I used to say to the ol’ man, ‘you ought to dig a hole out there and when she goes on one of her walks, sneak up behind her (it wouldn’t be hard, after all she’s deaf and blind) and when she walks past the hole, bust a cap in the back of her head. If you’re lucky, she’ll fall into the hole and then you won’t even have to pick her up.’ Sounded good in theory, at least.

Dad even revived Ivy once when she locked up in a life ending seizure. I think he did mouth-to-mouth. I still question the reasoning behind going to such lengths on a critter whose age rivaled that of the Dead Sea Scrolls, but such is the love a man has for his dog.

Dad finally had to send her off for roasting. He still has the ashes. I often tell him to add a little water and check to see if they set up, because I am not convinced that its not a can full of Portland cement.

The I-dog.  She was a great dog.
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