Photo Fun Friday: Richard Simmons

I don’t know what I want to do with Flashback Friday. In some ways, I feel as though that particular part of the lair has run its course. Not sure. Still hashing it out.

Photo Fun Friday, though, is something I still enjoy doing. And I’ve been having these weird ideas for photo mash-ups that combine celebrities with similar names. Kind of like what I did with Dylan McDermot Mulroney or Steven Tyler Moore. Oh, or Tawny Kattan. I still get a kick out of that one.

Then there’s Richard Simmons. This bolt of lightning hit me during my commute this morning.

richard-simmons

Photo Fun Friday: Dylan McDermot Mulroney

I’m struggling to find the time and the motivation for posting lately, but this was another one of those “inspired-by-true-events” misspoken names, a la the now infamous Tawny Kattan photo (which is still probably less traumatic than Steven Tyler Moore), that turned into an “I have to make that happen” PhotoShop moment.

Without any further explanation or any further ado, I give you…Dylan McDermot Mulroney. You are, of course, very welcome.

Dylan McDermott Mulroney

Putting Away Childish Things

You might have noticed that I haven’t been around the lair all that much lately. It’s not for lack of desire, denizens. I’d love nothing more than to come hang out at with you all with the same frequency I used to. It’s for lack of other things…lack of time, mostly. But also lack of motivation. Lack of inspiration. Lack of give-a-damnedness.

There’s been a lot going on IRL: good things, great things, frustrating things, worrying things. It’s a Damoclean life, the professional one I lead, and presidential election years only make it that much worse. Plus, the state of things is so depressing that for a while I simply lost my will and way.

Mainly, it’s because I am so tired of and sickened and disheartened by the continuing devolution of the “of, by, and for” part of the equation: We The People.

Plainly put, We The PeopleTM kind of suck, and it’s time we started to fix that. It has to start with us because, if all those sacred and holy documents are to be believed anymore (if ever), we’re supposed to be the lynchpins of Mr. Toad’s Wild Government Ride. We’re supposed to be the ones steering this ship; the politicians are supposed to be the ones reporting to us. Yet, somewhere along the way, the politicians mutinied, started changing the rules when we weren’t paying attention. Wasn’t that difficult to do, really…for a “highly evolved species” or “greatest nation in the world” or whatever other self-awarded accolades we like to tout, we’re not exactly the brightest crayons in the box. We’re kind of like the Pakleds of the planet.

For you non-nerds, this is not a compliment.

Now here we sit, a divided, divisive muddle of easily distracted dolts, unable to see the forest because we have to stop and piss hate-filled comments onto every tree. Corruption continues to run amok while we stand in line to buy a fried chicken sandwich. Because that fried chicken sandwich represents the protection of our freedom of speech!

To paraphrase Inigo Montoya for a moment, “You keep using that phrase, but I do not think it means what you think it means.” Seriously, look up “Freedom of Speech” and learn what it really means. That’s a really good place to start.

Now, the title of this post is sort of a tip of the paw to a recent episode of Dan Carlin’s Common Sense, which he called “Put Up or Shut Up.” I used to love listening to Common Sense, mainly because Carlin’s viewpoints on so many things match my own viewpoints. Everyone likes to listen to people who
agree with them, right?

However, I stopped listening a while ago because, quite frankly, I was tired of listening to reinforcement of how I felt, but no suggestions for how to change things…how to make things better…how to reroute the abysmal direction of this country.

Seems like Carlin felt the same way. In “Put Up or Shut Up” he basically stated that even he was tired of listening to himself go on and on about these things without providing a plan for how to fix it. And he called on himself and listeners to…put up or shut up.

So this is me putting up. It’s time to start turning things around before we really do end up plummeting off into the abyss. Our government is corrupt and unresponsive, why? Because we let it become so. All of us. Not just the Republicans. Not just the Democrats. All of us. Somewhere along the way, we lost our ability to reason and debate and problemsolve and now we spend most of our time and energy attacking each other, either in person or via the vitriol of online comments where anonymity apparently bleeds us dry of any empathy or compassion.

What do I propose as part of the solution to this mess? It’s time to grow up, America. Time to start behaving like the “evolved intellects” we liken ourselves to be. Because whether you believe we’re 2,000 or 2 million years old or more, we’re old enough to know better.

First on the agenda? Stop playing the Blame Game. Blaming everyone else for your problems is what little kids do. Also? Doesn’t fix a damn thing, does it? No. So stop it. Stop pointing fingers and saying that it’s _______’s fault that things are the way they are. It’s lazy and ignorant. It’s also how the politicians keep us from ever coming together to fix the problems we have…because they know that part of the fix will mean stopping their free run of the place. Divide and conquer…who knew it worked, eh? George Orwell, actually. I always fall back on one particular passage of his book 1984, which once again speaks relevance to our current state of affairs:

Heavy physical work, the care of home and children, petty quarrels with neighbours, films, football, beer, and above all, gambling, filled up the horizon of their minds. To keep them in control was not difficult. A few agents of the Thought Police moved always among them, spreading false rumours and marking down and eliminating the few individuals who were judged capable of becoming dangerous; but no attempt was made to indoctrinate them with the ideology of the Party.

It was not desirable that the proles should have strong political feelings. All that was required of them was a primitive patriotism which could be appealed to whenever it was necessary to make them accept longer working-hours or shorter rations. And even when they became discontented, as they sometimes did, their discontent led nowhere, because being without general ideas, they could only focus it on petty specific grievances. The larger evils invariably escaped their notice.

Primitive patriotism. “You’re either with us or against us.” Sound familiar? Aren’t you tired of it all as well, denizens? Aren’t you tired of bloviators telling us who’s to blame and riling up this primitive patriotism as a means of blocking true progress, true change, true hope? We are capable of so much more, so much better.

So stop playing games. First, stop your own part in the Blame Game. I’m just as guilty of this game as anyone else. I’m in no way proud of how I have readily bought into various notions that it was X group’s fault that things were the way they were. I was negative, bitter, and resentful. It didn’t solve anything and it just served to make me feel even worse about everything and about myself. Even more? It wasn’t true and it wasn’t fair.

You cannot blame all the problems that ail us right now on one group of people. You also cannot broad-brush an entire sect of the population based on interactions you’ve had with limited members of that sect. In true scientific method of inquiry, it’s a matter of case-by-case analysis that will continuously test, form, and modify ideas and opinions. We’re “individuals” for a reason. Is it easy? HELL NO! Why do you think so few people do it? Is it what needs to be done?

Yes. Yes, it is. It’s called logic. Spock it to me.

Second, call people out for their part in the Blame Game. If you find yourself surrounded by people who just want to spew this kind of negative passive bullshit, call them on it.

Hold on. Don’t go out and start screaming at strangers. Start at home. Not with the screaming though. That doesn’t go over well at all. Be respectful, but point out that blame doesn’t solve anything. Also? Constant complaining is actually antithetical to problemsolving.

So, combat negativity and complaining and blaming with proactive responses. “Okay, what can we do to fix the problem? How can we improve things?” Start seeking solutions! And if you find that there are people who simply refuse to change…well, then leave them be. That’s right…leave them be. Some people would rather throw themselves the mother of all pity parties than try to come up with solutions. You don’t have to stick around and help them celebrate.

See, right now, the United States of America looks like a hard drive that hasn’t been defragmented since it was purchased…all the way back in 1776. And there has been a whole long line of fragmentation ever since. It’s time we activated the national defrag program and leave those “unmovable files” right where they are. They won’t be able to stop the rest of us from rejoining and working together efficiently, if we want to. They’ll just stay where they are, inevitably being as useless to the improvement of this country as all those groups they like to hate on so much. Karma, betches. Look into it.

We live in a country of extraordinary freedoms. It’s one of the many reasons I am, indeed, thankful that I live in America. But I am not proud of who we have let ourselves become as Americans. We have allowed the politicians to take total control, to divide us with incendiary wedges designed to blind us to the solving of true issues and the striving toward true progress. We bicker and blame like children, and we gain nothing by doing so. We simply harm ourselves while the politicians continue to drag us further downward toward a drop we might not survive.

It has to stop. I’m willing to try. Are you?

Mind All Traffic Signals…

…even the ones you can’t see.

I want you to just look at this photo for a moment or two, denizens. Ponder it:

Do you notice anything off about the positioning of the crosswalk signs? Want a closer look?

Yeah. Pretty awesome, right? The one sign is positioned RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE OTHER ONE. Result? Total visual blockage.

The signs have been like this for probably three months now. The county had sent a crew out to regrade the sidewalk crossings, and they installed a couple of new crosswalk signs while they were at it. What I want to know is, how did they not realize while they were installing this sign that they were screwing up?

It took me all of five seconds to deduce the DERP of the sign placement. The work crew was there, futzing around with the sidewalk and the signs for more than a week. Did none of them at any point not look up and say, “Hey! Hey, guyz?!!?!11! I think we need to re-evaluate this game plan.”

Or did they all notice it and just not give a damn? Who’s to say. All I know is that I’m very glad that my parents taught me to always look both ways before crossing the street…

Come On, Baby, Light My Fire

Admiral, this one’s for you.

I nearly brought an end to LobaBlanca this weekend, through hot sauce-induced self-immolation.

Okay, that might be a tad bit hyperbolic…but it sure felt like the truth while it was happening.

Allow me to set the scene: To satiate a craving for barbecue that I’ve been fighting for a while, we decided to have lunch at a local barbecue chain that does some pretty decent brisket and pulled pork. As part of my plate, I ordered a side of collard greens. The only way I know how to eat greens is with hot sauce. If you’ve never tried it, you simply don’t know what you’re missing.

Mind you, I love spicy food. I will add hot sauce to practically anything, but I particularly love it on collard greens. Therefore, I didn’t think twice about going over to the condiment shelf and looking for an appropriate hot sauce. Several of the bottles had kitschy labels like “Fart Machine” or “Ass in a Bucket.” I’m sorry, but I couldn’t bring myself to select these options. Kitsch or not, anything pertaining to someone’s posterior is simply not appetizing at all.

Dogs, however, are always the way to hook me in. I’m a sucker for a cute dog cartoon, especially a cute, smiling dog in a chef’s hat…which is what was on the bottle of Mad Dog 357 Magnum that I ended up choosing. Because of the dog on the bottle.

BAD DOG. BAD, BAD DOG.

I opened the bottle, poured what I thought was an appropriate amount of hot sauce over my greens, and stirred it all up to give everything a chance to marry. I’d mostly mixed it, but there was still a nice, shiny dollop of sauce (about the size of a chocolate M&M) right on the top. So I scooped up that section of greens and popped them into my mouth.

Have you ever wondered what it might feel like to carry Satan’s baby inside you? I don’t have to wonder anymore. See, what I learned (regrettably too late) was that the 357 in the name stood for this sauce’s level on the infamous Scoville Scale.

No, not 357 on the scale. More like 357,000.

357,000. You can see it right there, printed on the label. I would have seen it if I’d been paying more attention to the words and less attention to the cute Hell Hound.

I think the highest range to which my preferred spiciness has heretofore reached is maybe…maybe into the 100,000 range on the Scoville Scale. (I do loves me some Thai chili peppers).

The scale range of this hot sauce? I can’t say with absolute certainty since I’ve never actually been stabbed in the stomach, but I think this is as close to such a feeling as I ever want to experience.

AND I NEVER WANT TO EXPERIENCE THIS AGAIN.

It started out okay, slightly hotter than what I was used to, but not too terrible. This is a slow build of the worst kind. Next came the tears, trickling out of my eyes uncontrollably. Next, my lips turned the brightest shade of red they have ever turned. It was like I was spontaneously transforming into Pennywise the Clown. Without the awesome fangs, of course. Then came the myriad trips to the soda fountain, for water refill after water refill after water refill…to the point where I just wanted to shove everyone out of my way, wrap my mouth around the spigot, and flick the switch until the hell fire brewing in my gut melted the entire machine.

Then came the true agony. I struggled through the rest of my lunch (minus the collard greens, which had gone from tasty side dish to cruel and unusual punishment that should be banned by the Geneva Conventions), but when I stood to leave, I was struck by searing pain. My first thought? Oh dear prophets, that hot sauce is eating its way through my stomach! Ironically, my second, third, and many subsequent thoughts were the same.

It was horrible. And unending. And nearly unbearable. As long as I was sitting, I was somewhat fine. Movement, however, made the earlier knife wound analogy seem almost preferable. This was like that creepy “intestines wound around a barbed spool” scene from The Cell. Although honestly? I think having my intestines reeled out of my body onto a barbed spool might have been slightly less painful. This pain took the better part of Saturday evening to finally recede to a point where I could once again stand upright.

What lesson did I learn? READ THE LABEL. Don’t be swayed by the cutesy dog cartoon. The cutesy dog is actually trying to kill you, especially when he appears above the words “MAD DOG.” I also learned that there is a distinct limit to my own personal enjoyment of hot sauce. This surpassed that limit by about a thousand light years.

Here’s a review of Mad Dog 357 Magnum. Please note that I’m one of the doofuses (doofi?), not for want of showing off but for lack of general awareness.

See, Admiral? We all make spicy mistakes 😉

Getting Sacked

While driving home from a weekend stay in the great hate state of North Carolina, we spent a large portion of the journey past Richmond being treated to a view of the back-end of a “dualy”—a dual-wheeled pickup truck—decked out in chrome, including giant chrome-plated side mirrors, running boards…and a chrome-plated scrotum dangling from its chrome-plated trailer hitch.

Yeah, you read that correctly. This dualy had balls.

I’m not going to post a photo. If you must see what I’m referring to, you can visit this site. And, oh look…they’re made in the USA. Could I be any prouder?

I’m actually quite mortified that I live in a country where hanging ersatz balls off the back of a gas-guzzling vehicular atrocity is acceptable behavior. I’m even more mortified by the fact that there are enough people in this country who, upon reading my previous statement, would immediately attack me, call me all variety of unfavorable names, and then invite me to STFU and GTFO!!!111!!111! And you wonder why I keep my comments section locked.

But I digress.

The thing that I can’t help but wonder is that hanging a pair of balls from your truck is supposed to be an indication of what exactly? I know that people say things like “Boy, that took balls” or “he’s got a pair of steel ones” or “That was ballsy” to indicate that someone has done something brave. Something strong. Something manly.

Here’s the thing, though. Aren’t balls kind of…just dangly and there? I mean, I understand the biological function of the scrotum…but beyond that, why do we automatically assume that, when someone has done something gutsy or brave or brazen that they’ve “got balls”?

I’d argue the exact opposite. Balls aren’t brave. They hide when they get too cold. They’re a work hazard if you’re an action hero (Arnie taught me that). They’re shrivelly and dangly and kind of seem like the antithesis of brave to me. You want strong and brave? Look to the part of the anatomy the size of a fist that’s able to stretch to accommodate something the size of a watermelon.

Yeah, try that, Mr. Chrome Sack.

This brings me to my next point of contention: I’d also argue that this fad would be the outcry of the nation if it was women dangling labia from their bumper hitches.

[Loba Tangent: I know that labia aren’t biologically equivalent to balls, but I question whether there are enough people left in this country who would even be able to identify an ovary, especially if it was dangling from the back of a car. Then again…]

This does not mean that I would like to see women getting in on this simple, sanguine mindset. I’d like to think that we’re a little classier (says the one from the same gender as those wacky Kardashian girls…and that Snookie person). I’m just pointing out yet another hypocrisy of our patriarchal country.

Hey, I know! Let’s get a giant pair made, to install at the base of the Washington Monument!

Hilarity would undoubtedly ensue, no?

And You Thought the Comedy Was Only at the Beginning of the Evening…

Gather closer, denizens. Loba has a story to tell you all.

You might have noticed that I’ve done a fair amount of writing here at the lair about driving. I’ve told tales of bizarre fender benders, run-ins with police pettiness…I’ve even told you about how Sammy and I once closed down 95 South (I’ve also explained a little about why I have a car with a name; maybe one day I’ll try to explain why it’s “Sammy”).

Well, here comes another driving tale. Only this time, I was merely a passenger on this particular excursion.

So Saturday evening we had tickets to see Wanda Sykes. This might be the only time when this particular detail will ever be classified as incidental to the main story. We get to the venue a little early, find our way to our seats, and then I wander off in search of coffee. I find a wine bar instead. I’d already been drinking wine that afternoon at another social event (yes, sometimes even the solitary Loba makes exceptions and wanders out for social interaction), so I was still carrying a mellow wine happy inside from that time. I paid for my $8 plastic cup of wine and wandered back to my seat to imbibe whilst waiting for the show to begin. By the end of my cup, I was in an extremely happy mellow zone. The show starts, Wanda’s hilarious, the show ends, we scurry to the parking lot, end up beating most of the traffic trying to get out as well. Bonus.

Back on the main road, we retrace our path, find the exit that we need to get back onto the Beltway and…discover that the exits on both sides of the road for north-bound 495 are closed. Why, you might ask? Oh…we’ll get to that in a moment. We hang a U-bie (something that should be a part of the driving test for all new drivers learning how to navigate traffic in this area) and take the south-bound exit, content to simply get off at the next exit, loop around and get back on the north side that way.

First problem: The next exit is going to take us into the heart of the beast itself…the Springfield Mixing Bowl.

And now, a bit of a tangent. The State of Virginia is actually not a state. It likes to call itself the Commonwealth of Virginia. Fine. Whatever. What they then should do is give another name to its northern half: The Clusterfuckery of Northern Virginia. I hate Northern Virginia. I’m convinced that it’s the only tangible proof I have ever discovered that there might actually be a place called Hell and this is its infrastructure. The Springfield Mixing Bowl is a huge part of this horror. It’s like a monstrous earth-trapped Cthulhu, its tentacles stretched across the landscape in on-ramps, off-ramps, flyover ramps, damp ramps, camp ramps, vamp ramps….whatever kind of ramp you can imagine, it’s there. Simply put, it’s a hot rampy mess.

I will say this: Now that the nearly decade-long reconstruction is finished, the Springfield Interchange is much more navigable than it once was. It can still be confusing as hell, though, if you’re either not used to it or you’re slightly wine mellow. Yes, meet the players in your now rapidly unfolding comedy of errors: “Not Used To It,” who shall henceforth be referred to as “NUTI,” and “Wine Mellow.” Needless to say, NUTI and Wine Mellow end up taking the wrong flyover. Looking back in hindsight, I know precisely what error we made; it’s an error that I’ve nearly made several times before when completely sober, so no wonder I didn’t catch it on this night with about half a bottle of wine rolling around in my system.

Oh, by the way, note to hindsight: You’re about as useful as tits on a snake. Thanks.

We head in the wrong direction for about 5 miles before Wine Mellow starts to realize that the exits are for roads we shouldn’t be passing. Enter another off-ramp/loop around maneuver and we’re once more back onto the right side of the Beltway, heading in the right direction. Zipping along at a nice steady pace and all is once more right with the world. Quick check of the clock and we see that we’ve only lost about 20 minutes of time from when we first hit the Beltway.

You know what’s the worst possible thing you can see at 11 on a Saturday night on the Beltway? The red glare of a million taillights. Now, I’m not talking about a few slowed cars. I’m talking a glowing red snake of brake lights stretching as far as the horizon will allow us to see. Behind us? Headlights are quickly multiplying. Traffic is worse than weekday rush hour. We’re at a solid stand-still with no sign of relief.

Know what’s worse than sitting in totally stopped traffic at 11 on a Saturday night? Looking down at your console and realizing that your temperature gauge is on the rise. Oh, yes, denizens, we’re talking a notch every 10 seconds and closing in quickly on the red danger zone. We’re talking console lights are starting to flicker and the engine is beginning to shudder and make unhappy noises. We’re talking ohshitpullovernowandturnthisfuckeroffbeforeweexplode.

Okay, maybe not that dramatic, but still highly unnerving. We pull over and turn off the car. Maybe letting it cool down while we wait for traffic to break and move will be the answer?

Second problem: There is no break in traffic. Cars just keep idling in place. Headlights keep multiplying behind us. Taillights keep glaring their furious red stare back toward us. After about 10 minutes, we start the car and see what happens anyway. Not even 5 minutes later the temperature gauge is once more on the shift, this time faster than before. Lights start to flicker and dim and the shuddering seems more pronounced. And now there’s a slight chemical smell seeping through the vents. Mmm, tasty. Leaves me thinking there might be something going on with the coolant system, but I’m not a mechanic and it’s now close to midnight and I’m getting sleepy and I’m still riding the waves of that happy wine mellow. NUTI is definitely not a mechanic. She is, however, a masterful number dialer. Out comes the AAA card. We’ll get a tow.

Third problem: We’re stuck in an area with which neither of us is at all familiar, at the apex of two bits of highway coming together to form this particular stretch of the Beltway. There’s a road to our right, which we can’t see because there’s a Jersey wall right next to us. There’s a flyover ramp to our left, barrels all around us, traffic at a stand-still, and we can’t see any mile markers to help the AAA dispatcher pinpoint our location.

But, Loba, don’t you have a GPS? Yes, I do. Fourth problem: While trying to get us back on track when we were tumbling around the Mixing Bowl, I pulled out my handy little GPS, which was saving the day quite nicely…until it died. The battery just doesn’t hold its charge anymore. I do have a car charger for it. But that was in Sammy. Back at home. Parked in his spot. Dreaming happy Sammy dreams. Not really much help. So rather than having a GPS, at this point I had a lovely shiny doorstop.

The dispatcher finally gets enough information out of us that she thinks she’s pinpointed us. She sends a tow truck our way, but because traffic is as it is, she says rather apologetically that he might not get there for an hour. Okay, fine, we understand. So we sit. And sit. And sit. All the while, I’m trying to ignore the fact that my wine mellow is slowly turning into wine-induced bladder discomfort. However, I’m not going to lie to you, denizens. I was beginning to seriously entertain several different ways to set up a privacy barrier if it came down to it.

After about an hour, NUTI points out the window and says, “Hey, isn’t that a tow truck from the company they said was coming to get us?” Why, yes. Yes, it is. And it’s all the way in the far left lane. And there it goes.

We quickly call AAA back and explain that we think we just saw the truck pass us. They confirm that, yes, the truck did pass us, didn’t see us, will turn around at the next off-ramp and come back.

Almost another hour later, he makes it back. He loads the Jetta of Shame onto his flatbed, we all climb into his cab, and we’re off.

Okay, here’s another tangent. Dear Volkswagen, your NAFTA-built VWs are shit. You should be ashamed. I’d make a Hitler joke here…but you do that every time one of these abominations rolls off the assembly line. Congratulations for your holistic suckage.

It’s now close to 1 in the morning and we’re about 30 miles away from the dealership where NUTI wants the Jetta of Shame delivered, another 10 miles after that from home. Traffic, mind you, still isn’t moving much. And things are starting to get uglier. People are cutting people off. Others are refusing to let anyone merge in front of them. Horns are blaring. Tempers are flaring. Language couldn’t be bluer.

The bright spot? We’re in a flatbed tow truck. No one cuts off a flatbed tow truck.Our new BFF, Mr. Tow, barrels his way across four lanes of traffic and slips into the far left lane again (we learned at this point that he was over there the first time because it was the only lane moving, and he was under the impression that we were further up the Beltway than we actually were).

It still takes us another 30 minutes to make our way through the Clusterfuckery of Northern Virginia. We’re given a great view of what’s actually taking place: Construction crews have closed off all but one lane on the northbound side of 495. (Remember how this adventure all kicked off? With the northbound exits being closed? This was why.) Why were these lanes all closed? I’m still not sure. Nothing was going on. There were no construction crews in sight, minus one group who was setting up a flood light. Other than that, though? I really saw no reason to have decided to shut down three-quarters of this side of the Beltway for about 5 miles on a Saturday night. You know, beyond the fact that Virginia is apparently bat-shit crazy.

We finally get beyond the construction, all lanes open back up, we shift into the center left lane and once more approach a decent cruising speed. Mr. Tow is actually quite amiable, especially considering the fact that his company is located in a part of Virginia that’s about an hour south of where he picked us up and he’s now heading even further north. He’s pretty much not going to get back home until close to 3. If everything goes well.

You see where this is going already, don’t you?

First, an interlude. So we’re clipping along at about 65 MPH, chatting and listening to music and enjoying the fact that we’re moving and inside a vehicle with heat, when Mr. Tow realizes that the Mazda 3 in the lane in front of us is suddenly braking for no reason. He switches to the far left lane to pass the Mazda; as we’re going by, I look down and see that the driver is a young man, in his early 20s, and he’s behaving in a slightly odd manner. He’s laughing, looks like he’s in the car alone, and kind of slumping forward onto his steering wheel. Oookay. We get back into the center left lane once we’re past him and continue on.

About 5 minutes later, we see the Mazda 3 whiz past us in the far left lane, now doing at least 80 MPH. The car then begins to list to the left. Just as I ask, “What’s that car doing,” the Mazda drifts right into the Jersey wall that separates the Inner Loop and the Outer Loop. We all sit and watch in complete silence as the Mazda grinds against the barrier for a good 300 feet before ricocheting off and back into the far left lane. The driver straightens the car out for a moment but then does the exact same thing a few seconds later. We watch as the car grinds and bounces one more time after that before suddenly accelerating to at least 100 MPH and rocketing off down the Beltway.

How the hell someone that drunk was allowed anywhere near a car still baffles me. How he made it that far without encountering any cops baffles me even more. Shouldn’t they be all over the Beltway on a Saturday night/Sunday morning? All I can say is I hope he made it to wherever he was going. And I hope he wasn’t driving someone else’s car…because if he didn’t kill himself that night, they surely killed him the next morning.

We finally make it to the dealer service area. It’s now after 2 in the morning. NUTI and I are both well beyond tired. It’s been years since we were out this late, my wine mellow is now full-on “If I don’t pee soon, I might spring a leak,” but the good news is we’re so very close to being home and done with this entire debacle.

Remember what I said earlier about “if all goes well”? Strap in, kiddies.

So Mr. Tow hops up onto the flatbed to start disengaging the Jetta of Shame. NUTI heads over to where she’s got to fill out an envelope with what’s wrong, stick in the key, seal it, and slip it into the drop box for the service crew to retrieve when they next open. She does this and we head back to Mr. Tow. Who asks for the key so that he can finish unloading the Jetta of Shame.

Fifth problem: Do I even need to say anything here? No? Okay then.

Mr. Tow was actually quite calm about this…hiccup. He re-hooked everything, reset the flatbed, we all climbed back into his truck and headed off for the 10-mile drive to get the spare key. Bonus? I finally got to pee. All was once more right in that little corner of my world at least. We then headed back to the dealership where Mr. Tow finally unloaded the Jetta of Shame and very kindly drove us back home. He really was very easy-going and took the entire evening in stride. Thank the prophets for that, at least.

When all was said and done, it was almost 3:30 in the morning. I think I remembered to brush my teeth before going completely offline.

So…how was your weekend?

Bajoran Down!

As some of you might have heard, we had a bit of a rumble in our area today. Okay, so not so much a “bit.” It was enough that my work building jiggled like a Jell-O mold for the better part of a minute. Fun for Jell-O. Not so fun for brick, steel, and glass, I can assure you. To be on the safe side, building maintenance evacuated us to the streets, where we stood about like disconnected drones for 20 minutes, holding our cell phones skyward, as though bringing our gizmo gods that much closer to their mother signal would somehow miraculously make them work. Then we went back in and carried on with our day.

No harm, no foul.

Until I got home. And found the body.

Poor Colonel Kira. Apparently, things rattled enough in our house that she took a tumble from my action figure shelf, her weapon nearly lost to the detritus of the shredder basket. I have to admit, I had a bit of a CSI moment when I pulled out my digital camera and started to “photo-document the scene.” I felt like I needed those numbered evidence markers to lay out, or at the very least some latex gloves.

And then there was Xena…

Rather than flipping over the edge and following Kira, she slipped backward…into Captain Picard’s crotch. While Dr. Crusher watched. Not the wisest decision made by the Warrior Princess, to be sure. She does, however, have many skills. Perhaps eluding a territorial CMO with a hypo full of poison is one them. Or maybe she’s convinced Batwoman to have her back. I doubt Ro would come to her rescue; she looks quite apathetic to the whole thing.

And there you go. Obviously, all is once more stable in the lair (or as stable as possible for me). I’m geeking as normal. Maybe even hyper-geeking: I would like to point out that in one short post, I have mentioned Trek, CSI, Xena, and Batwoman. All I need to do is point out that you can see Wonder Woman’s shield in the corner of the Xena pic and Starbuck’s flight helmet near Xena’s feet and I’m set with most of my major fandoms.

Xena’s not the only one with many skills…

AWTFY

To Whom It May Concern (You Will Soon Know Who You Are):

Thank you.

Thank you to all the politicians who have, for years been dedicated to the cause of digging us deeper and deeper into a national deficit of vulgar proportions through your uniform and bipartisan complacency in your roles as the supposed Watchmen of the “American WayTM.” Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Apparently, no one.

Thank you for the years you have spent bending the American people over a barrel in deference to the demands of corporations that own you like the cheap dockside hookers you are. Oh, and a special thank you to the Supreme Court tools who last year ruled that corporations could be considered “people.” Who knew free speech was reserved for those with the most money to buy it?

Thank you to the slew of Republican presidents from Nixon to Bush II, all preaching the fairytale gospel of “fiscal conservatism,” who helped to increase the national debt by a combined total of nearly 62 percent, including golden boy Dubya. In his final term in office, he helped increase it by 20.7 percent with all his decidering and warmaking. Way to go, Georgie! Not only did you beat your dad’s one-term record of 13 percent, you beat in one term alone the two-term combined record of 20.6 percent racked up by that great GOP scion himself, Ronald Reagan. That was really awesome of you.

Thank you to the Democrats of the Bush II era who stood around with their heads shoved so far up their asses that they could lick their own ileums. It was AWESOME, the discordant, infighting mess you all were at the time. It made it that much easier for the GOP Machine to grind you up and spit you into little impotent messes as they and King Dub not only goose-stepped their way through the $236.2 billion budget surplus that Bill Clinton had left us, but then gifted us with a $412.7 billion deficit by the end of the Dubya reign. Guess now we know why red is the GOP color of choice.

Thank you to the TEA Baggers who helped elect/re-elect to Congress several GOP members who are even now stalling the progress of more willing, more rational (for them, at least) politicians to come to an agreement on raising the debt ceiling and tackling our deficit, with demands for indiscriminate budget cuts to those programs deemed “unnecessary” by you.

You know, I get it, TEA baggers. It’s not like you’re racist or the modern-day equivalent of the Klan or anything. You just don’t want to have to cover the costs of programs designed to help out all those lazy poor people. You work hard for your money while they just lay about, right? It’s not like anything has occurred in this country that has led to the decimation of job prospects in hundreds of areas all across the United States. You know, something catastrophic to the working class like, I don’t know, shipping off all the manufacturing jobs to places like China, where indentured servitude is still so very en vogue.

So, yeah, who needs social welfare programs anyway? It’s not like they have any kind of positive impact on society. They’re just more ways this country is wasting money it doesn’t have. So, thank you for your vigilance. And, from the thousands of government employees, contract workers, grant officers, project coordinators, organizers, and various other workers all across this country who will be losing their jobs because of your fiscal “vigilance,” again I say thank you. Thank you for cutting “worthless” programs that had been providing, among other things, job stability to thousands who will soon be getting in line to help raise the United States’ unemployment levels even higher.

Thank you for fighting so hard for the politicians who will fight for more reckless budget hacking rather than something horrible like tax increases. After all, you’re Taxed Enough Already! Am I right? Am I right?! It’s not like the United States has one of the lowest tax rates of any industrialized country or anything. That’s why Dubya gave us all those awesome tax cuts while he played Stratego: The Middle East Edition. And look what that got us! (See paragraph 4.) And, really, we need more people who are willing to fight for the protection of corporate loopholes and the assets of the filthy rich.

[Let me pause here briefly to extend a special and sincere thank you to the originators of the TEA Party Movement who first started calling themselves “TEA Baggers” before they realized that they were in no way as fun as an actual tea bagger. No, really, thank you. It’s the only thing from your existence that I find even remotely amusing.]

Oh, and thank you, TEA Baggers, for fighting to return this country to the moral, Christian ways of life that existed at the time of our Founding Fathers. I don’t know about the rest of you American women, but I sure can’t wait to have all my rights rescinded and my status reset to “Voiceless Breeding Stock.” Who needs things like voting rights or an education anyway. Hell, Michele Bachmann can’t even figure out where the Revolutionary War began and she’s a GOP presidential candidate*!

*This will, of course, be rescinded as well since we all know that the Founding Fathers would never approve of a filthy uterine bearer being in any position other than a horizontal one.

And finally, thank you to the American people themselves. Thank you for being so easily distracted by red herring topics like gay marriage or abortion rights that you helped vote into office the politicians who have gotten us into this hot mess in the first place. Turns out it wasn’t the queers or the baby killers who were going to fuck you after all, was it? I’d like to say you’ve brought this all onto yourselves, but the unfortunate truth is that you’ve brought this on to all of us. Cheers.

And to end this heart-felt thank you note, I leave you with the explanation of this post’s title: It’s an acronym for the traditional salute of one of my favorite ImagiFriendsTM: And With That, Fuck You.

Sincerely,
Loba B