Memphis Drivers
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Loonies On The Path - Part X - ARGH!

It was cold and rainy all weekend. Everyone was trapped indoors. Everyone was going stir crazy. In traffic today it sure showed. On Trinity, once again near Lesbian Elvis' apartment, a jackass in a Volkswagen Rabbit-looking thing decided that the 4-way stop wasn't big enough to have 3 lanes all going the same way, so he/she/asshole intentionally moved over into 2 lanes at once in order to prevent anyone else from going. Someone was between me and the jackass or I would have squeezed on in there anyway.

After Jackass' turn to go came he/she/asshole stayed in 2 lanes, driving all the way down to Sanga that way. Where are the cops?!

Asshole's behavior was just an indication of how everyone was feeling after the dark shut-in weekend. The remainder of the drive home consisted of the truck in front of me tailgating the truck in front of him tailgating the truck in front of him and so on up until the passive/aggressive who let out their aggression by holding the entire line of trucks up. Behind me was tailgating, except I wasn't paying attention because I was too busy gluing myself to the bumper in front of me.


Yep, I was fully aware of the mood of traffic. I was nearly hit 3 times before I got out of Cordova. I figured my chances of making it home in one piece were slim. But somehow I managed.

As soon as I got home I was reminded of how my day had begun. The paper deliveryredneck had, once again, thrown the paper as far up under my car as he could get it. I left it there this morning because I can't crawl in the wet and the oil in my work clothes to get it.

I call and complain each time. They say they'll put a stop to it. It stops for a week, maybe two. Then he starts throwing it up under my truck or the car parked in front of the truck every single day. Yes, every single day. I'm fairly sure if they would give me his name I would recognize it, but they won't.

At some point they are either going to fire him or I am going to demand a refund on every paper thrown up under there where I can't get it before work. I don't pay to have someone come by my house and aggravate me. That comes free in My Little Redneck Town and I see no need to pay money for more of it.

But the middle part of the day was fine, just in case you were thinking, "man, what a cranky ass you are!" I had class all day at work. I sat in a classroom with Impossibly-Proportioned-Comic-Book-Fantasy-Art-Looking-Woman while emailing Texas-Cheerleader-Woman back and forth and learning a vital new skill which I need for my profession, all at the same time. Everything was great so long as I didn't leave that room.
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Loonies On The Path - part IX - Sideswiped

Friday afternoon and it was raining and cold and nasty. Worst of all it was my birthday.

So many bad things have happened to me on my birthday.

The Space Shuttle Columbia blew up. I found out as I was driving home from college exams completely stressed out and feeling like I'd failed.

Someone stole my Manx cat just after I had been laid off and dumped by my fiancee.

I was "let go" by the Giant Memphis Autoparts Retailer for my birthday 2 years ago.

Anyway, I managed to make it through this day without getting "let go," losing a cat, or having a space shuttle explode. No one at work acknowledged my birthday, no lunch dates or anything like that, but no one called me into a conference room and told me I was being cut either. So I was pretty paranoid by the time I was supposed to drive home in the cold rain. I knew something was bound to happen.

In traffic people were aggressive, but not in a tailgating, run the stop sign kind of way. Well, OK, one person did run the stop sign on Trinity and nearly hit me, but that happens every Friday. And someone did tailgait me all down Walnut, but I flicked the mirror to the side and ignored them. And someone ...

OK, people were obnoxious in a tailgating, run the stop sign kind of way. But I was paranoid and it was Friday and cold and raining. I was expecting it.

When I got to My Little Redneck Town there is a section of road that was recently widened, giving us 2 lanes going in each direction for a ways. But it is a recent thing and despite the bright white dashed lines showing 2 lanes some people just can't figure out how to stay in their own lane. Today was such a day.

A white Chevy van was driving mostly in the left lane and somewhat in the right lane. I was in the right lane passing him by. He saw me but didn't worry about getting out of my lane. Usually when people are driving partly in the other lane on this road they'll at least get back in their own lane when another car is passing by. This person didn't feel the need.

Have I mentioned that you can hit me and I don't give a damn?

I ignored him and continued passing him. He came over even more and sideswiped me. It was just a little scrape, enough that I could hear the metal on metal, but not feel anything significant jolting up my spine. As I said before, it was cold and raining and my birthday. You want to drive in my lane and hit me on my birthday? Fine. You stop and get out in the rain. I'm going home. It's Friday.

I kept driving. He was now behind me. At the 4-way-stop which we eventually came to I went straight. He turned left and took off. When I got home I glanced at my truck and didn't notice anything significant. The fender and door were still attached. I had all my bumpers. Everything looked straight. I was relieved. I had made it all the way home without having any major disasters striking me. My cats were both there, I was still employed, no one died, my wife was glad to see me, and basically everything was fine.

One more birthday down. I made it. Now to take the phone off the hook and go to bed.
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Stupid Look On My Face

I’m cold here in my cubical. And my harddrive is whining, which is a bad thing, in case you didn’t know. I’ve spent the entire morning fighting other people’s problems, which is one of the things they pay me for. And I’ve spent the afternoon freezing here in my cube as I watch the error logs and try to track down a possible problem which turns out is not even my problem. Meanwhile I’ve emailed 2 remarkably beautiful women here at work, one of whom I described before as having impossible comic book-like proportions and the other whom I have never mentioned. She is very pretty in a ‘could-have-been-a-model’ and 'was-probably-a-popular-high-school-cheerleader or homecoming-queen' sort of way.

The comic book fantasy-looking woman replied with the answers I needed and politely broke off conversation, as I am sure many guys have tried to waste a lot of her time in pointless conversations. I would no doubt have ended up doing the same had she been too friendly and chatty in her responses.

To even suggest that she might not have a clue as to my feelings about her appearance would be a joke. Every time I see her my brain dumps a shitload of dopamine into my receptors and I get this stupid look on my face. It makes her laugh.

Some women I have known, they did not laugh at all. They didn’t like it. I myself have never seen exactly what this look I get looks like, so I have no idea how I’d react, but it must be pretty goofy. It always gets a reaction, rarely the one I’d prefer. I need to get a picture of it somehow so I can see it.

The cheerleader woman, she is really nice. Everyone likes her. She’s got the blonde hair and blue eyes and well-developed physical features that make movie stars and supermodels. And she’s got the personality of a high-school’s ‘most popular’ that makes her easy to talk to.

I don’t know if I get ‘the look’ when I see her. I don’t know what sets it off exactly because she is very beautiful. But somehow the other woman sets it off every single time. I wonder if whatever causes it gets weaker over time or if I’ll be an old man one day still getting this goofy look on my face when beautiful young girls pass by? That would suck.

It’s time for me to go home. I had several blogs in my head today, but never got the chance to write them down. Oh well, it doesn’t matter. Blogs never end. Lose one and another will come along to take its’ place eventually.
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More Rambling About Money - Travelzoo

It appears that my sorrow over having been forced to sell my Travelzoo stock, which I got for free years and years ago when they were giving it away on the internet, was misplaced emotion. I should have been glad.

First of all, I put the limit under Travelzoo because it's Price to Earnings ratio had flown up over 200 and this bothered me. Even if the world seemed content to keep buying it I felt that there might just be a bit of a bubble here. This, and the fact that I had noticed it seemed to keep sliding backwards at the end of each week even after days in which it would shoot up 10 points, made me think that perhaps the party was over and I should go home.

But, as usual, there is even more to the story.

Travelzoo sold a buttload of stock to hedge funds at a discount some time ago. Those shares have just become eligible for sale. And sell they will. 750,000 of them are set to go "flush" today and tomorrow. And that means the stock will DIVE DIVE DIVE!!!

After that, the founder himself is scheduled to sell 750,000 shares of his own.

What was once a stock with few shares on the market, and thus a favorite toy of day traders, is now about to become as common as dog poo. The day traders will no longer be able to jack the price as easily and so it might actually have to trade on some of its' own merits.

I didn't know that the ridiculously high-flying price was the direct result of day traders, although the way the price kept jumping around gave me a strong suspicion that someone might be on crack. Now that I know, and now that 1.5 million new shares are about to saturate the market, I think that I am glad I set the limit on this stock and was forced to sell it before it landed at the bottom of the sea.

I can't complain when a free stock flies higher than the clouds and then dives like a duck that has just been shot out of the sky. I was lucky to get as much as I did for it. I'm just crying because I could have sold it 30 points higher and made even more. And that's just a waste of good tears.

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Queen New World Order
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New World Order

My blog has been blocked by my employer. I can't view it. For the time being, though, I can still post to it.

Everyone else's blog is still viewable for now, but I can't read or post comments. That is blocked now, too.

I can't view photos on the blog. They're all blocked. Pretty soon everything in any way associated with the blogs will be blocked.

As long as I still have access to posting on my blog I thought I might go ahead and post the following. I just blatantly stole it from Stacy.

James Lipton asks the following ten questions at the end of the TV show Inside the Actor's Studio. These questions originally came from a French series, "Bouillon de Culture" hosted by Bernard Pivot.

1. What is your favorite word? Yes – as in, did I win the lottery so I can retire and buy my own island? ‘Yes!’ That would be nice. Also, repeated several times in sequence, like this: "YES YES YES!" That pretty well speaks for itself.

2. What is your least favorite word? Castrate – as in, “What is Hillary Clinton going to do when she becomes president in 2008? Castrate America.”

3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? Heather Graham naked. That’s all I need. That's all I need. Heather Graham naked. And this chair. Heather Graham naked and this chair. That's all I need. And this ashtray. Heather Graham naked, this chair and this ashtray .... Sorry, I was just thinking back to Steve Martin in 'The Jerk.' Really Heather Graham naked turns me on creatively, spiritually, emotionally and in so many other ways, too. She has more charisma and sex appeal than anyone I've ever seen. Forget the chair and the ashtray. I was just being stupid.

4. What turns you off? Arrogant narcissistic sociopaths with great power

5. What is your favorite curse word? I say pretty much all of them way too often. Yes, even THE curse word no one should ever say. Remember, I work with computers for a living and I work on my own cars on weekends. It just goes with the territory.

6. What sound or noise do you love? The waves crashing on the beach with the seagulls chirping overhead. Well, not DIRECTLY overhead. And young bikini women talking nearby while little kids are screaming as the cold waves catch them. Everything that I hear while I'm sitting on the beach relaxing in the warm sun.

7. What sound or noise do you hate? The phone ringing at home after work.

8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Real Estate Developer. Build a house? Hell no. Build the whole neighborhood - houses, apartment complex, ministorage, and strip mall next door. Let's think big.

9. What profession would you not like to do? Microbiologist in charge of researching the bacteria in chicken shit. Yes, this is an actual job. Microbiology is a very difficult field, and yet they reward those who master it with jobs like this. Go figure.

10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? Come on in. I’m glad to see you.

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Money and Stuff

I know it's boring when I blog about money, but this is mostly just for my benefit so Too Bad So Sad (TBSS).

After I bought Ebay the funniest thing happened. There was snow and a big arctic blast up in the Northeast.

"Ah, a snowstorm in the Northeast. I see. ..... So what?"

Well, that's what I would have thought, too. But it relates, believe it or not. For almost my entire life I have heard that when gas goes up it is because OPEC raised the price of oil. And we'd all say, "Damn those sandy bastards!"

As it turns out, commodities traders can jack up the price of oil by getting their panties in a wad over a few snowflakes in New York City and going apeshit over oil futures. They start buying it up like a Crack Ho getting a fix, and the next thing you know we're all paying more for a gallon of gas.

"What, no OPEC?"

Nope, just a bunch of suits in New York trying to make a fast buck.

"OK, so what does this have to do with Ebay?"

Well, this past year because of OPEC jacking us on oil people have become much more sensitive to the price of it. Also, because the market is somewhat shaky and uncertain, with a weak U.S. Dollar, people are jumpy. Add to this the prediction of a wicked cold winter in the U.S. along with the war in Iraq and you get a market sensitivity to oil.

Ebay had solid earnings. It should have gone up. But the market prophets predicted that Ebay would make even more than it actually did, so they were mad when it didn't happen. They threw a fit and tossed shares away. But as other companies' earnings came out they were almost all profitable, too, Yahoo and Travelzoo included. The market had gone down because of Ebay. It started to go up again after I bought more Ebay at what I considered a good price. And then a cold blast of arctic Canadian air came down the pipe and Nashville got some snow.

"AUGH, it's a new ice age! Buy oil! Buy oil!"

So the price of oil shot up as traders dumped stocks, including Ebay and Yahoo, to move their money over into commodities. Hey, they have more money than I do. I'm sure they're getting rich doing all of this jumping around. But I can't do that. I just have to try to focus on a few things and make a dollar wherever I can.

Today everyone seems to be back at the stock market again, jacking up Ebay and Travelzoo in pre-market trading, and giving the impression that today is going to be a banner day. I say 'today', but in reality I just mean this morning. The real trading takes place in the afternoon, after the less emotional investors have had their coffee, read the Wall Street Journal or Investors Business Daily, watched some news reports, and actually thought a bit about what they want to do. Then they invest based on rare things such as logic and reason and a little speculation. That's why you'll notice the trading up until just after noon goes one way, and then from about 1 until market close shifts and does something else on most days.

Just a bit of trivia, in case someone ever makes a Wall Street Trivial Pursuit game.

Loonies on the Path - brief interlude - quit flashing me

What is the deal with people randomly tapping their brakes as they're driving along in steady traffic? I got behind a woman yesterday who would just randomly flash her brakelights, with nothing in front of her and nothing going on. It was like she had Parkinsons and her foot was just shaking from peddle to peddle.

And this morning, with the sun shining and the weather warming, people were more obnoxious and aggressive than the whole previous week. What's the deal?

Maybe people are mad at those crazy commodities traders who jacked us on the price of oil and made gas go up, so they're just taking out their frustrations in traffic? Sure, that must be it. Damn commodities traders!

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The Fabulous Ford Family - Part II

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - State Sen. John Ford testified in a juvenile court hearing that he keeps two homes, living with two different women whose children he fathered.

Ford's testimony was part of his defense in a child support case. The Memphis Democrat heads a Senate committee that guides the state's child welfare policies, and for the past year he's tried to make use of a law he authored that keeps court-ordered support lower when a father is financially responsible for other children.

In a Juvenile Court hearing last year that is set for a follow-up hearing on Tuesday, Ford said he lives some days with ex-wife Tamara Mitchell-Ford and the three children they had together. On others, he stays with his longtime girlfriend, Connie Mathews, and their two children.

Ford and Mitchell-Ford went through a bitter divorce in 2002 that led to Mitchell-Ford's jailing after she plowed her car through Mathews' Collierville home.

Ford said he pays nearly all bills for both families. They stay in houses he owns and where he also lives, though neither home is in his South Memphis Senate district.

"You have two homes?" Referee Felicia Hogan asks during the tape recorded hearing from November. "Well, that's unusual."

"Not necessarily," Ford shot back. "I know people who got five."

Hogan responded: "For child support purposes that's unusual, let me put it that way then."

Ford is battling a suit by a third woman, Dana Smith, who is trying to increase his court-ordered support of a 10-year-old girl he fathered. Smith, a former employee under Ford when he was General Sessions Clerk, won a 1996 sexual harassment verdict against him.

Ford contends that any increase for Smith should be tempered by his financial obligations to his other five minor children. None of those children is subject to child support orders.

In the hearing, Ford argued all five children live in his household — a household that encompasses two homes — and because of that he is exempt from rules requiring strict proof of his financial support of them.

Hogan rejected Ford's request, saying he must produce evidence of bills paid if he wants credit to lessen any modification of Smith's child support.

Mitchell-Ford told The Commercial Appeal newspaper last week said she can verify at least some of Ford's contentions. She said she is six months pregnant, and the father, she said, is John Ford, now 62.

"John is over here every single day, if not staying here," she said.

Ford did not respond to messages left at his Nashville and Memphis offices. Mathews could not be reached.

Ford's comments were part of a hearing more than two years after Smith first petitioned Juvenile Court to increase the senator's $500-a-month support.

Ford's income has risen dramatically in recent years. Evidence presented in the hearing showed Ford's gross income reached $356,899 in 2003 and $255,752 in 2002.

Ford said most of that comes from his private insurance and real estate consulting business, though specific sources remain a secret. At Ford's request, Hogan ordered state's attorney Joseph Little to keep confidential receipts and documented expenses Ford was ordered to hand over.

Disclosure "would expose all of my business interests and everything. It would put me in imminent danger of a lot of different things I don't want to explain in here," Ford told the court.


Information from: The Commercial Appeal,

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Friends Getting Together

Tonight the people I like most in the world are all getting together at The Corner to hear Lisa and Donny sing and play. They will most likely get wild and intoxicated and have way more fun than I had today, working on my truck in the cold, cold driveway. I had wanted more than anything to join them, but it is 200 miles away and I just couldn't make the trip this time.

I'm counting on them to fill me in on all the wild things I've just missed. I hope they don't drink too much and can't remember. Even better would be photos. Or video.

Or a live reenactment.

Along this path, sort of, I'm thinking I want to trade in my cell phone for a camera phone. I'd like to be able to snap quick pics anytime. I heard the government was going to force the manufacturers to install flashes that go off every single time a photo is taken. I hate that. I don't want that. I mean, I understand the reason for it, having had an obnoxious gay guy at work photograph me in the shower in the company gym. But even so I don't want a phone that flashes if I didn't need a flash. It just seems like making the camera malfunction because the government wants it to. That's dumb.

My cat, Little Girl, ripped a bird apart today. My Wife seems to think that she feels that we are mad at her and so she made a special point of catching something and bringing it to us. She had just eaten and clearly wasn't hungry at all, so she just ripped its' feathers off and then played with it. Later that afternoon I ran across the bird, still alive and suffering, over by the woodpile. The temperature was rapidly dropping and I knew the bird was probably not going to make it through the night, but even so I picked it up and put it in a space under the wood that would at least get the bird out of the cold wind and away from the cats. He stayed where I put him so I suppose he was satisfied with it. I'll have to check tomorrow to see if he's around. He certainly can't fly away.

I just now heard from my friends that there was snow in Nashville. Because of that and a few other complications most of my friends didn't make it to Lisa's show. So I guess I'm glad I didn't make the long drive down there, although I'm always glad to see Lisa, even if no one else can come.

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I Was Wrong and I Was Right

Yesterday I advised that because I had purchased more shares of Ebay that it would plunge today. I was wrong about that. Sorry.

Yesterday I theorized that people were overreacting to Ebay missing Wall Streets' expectations for its' earnings by 1 penny. I bought more shares because I thought the plunging price was cheaper than dirt for this stock. I advised anyone who wants to make money to buy it quick because it is going to correct itself once the emotional crowd turns off the Lifetime Network and pulls their head out. I was right about that and sooner than I expected. Look at the chart above. It has leaped back up again, giving me a nice profit in less than 24 hours time.

So, I still think it's cheap enough to be worth buying today, too. If you don't agree and you would like something else to consider take a look at Yahoo. Their earnings report came out right before Ebay's and they did great. But the Ebay Earnings Flush took all the internet stocks down with it, so Yahoo went down instead of up even though it is kicking ass and taking names. Today it is still being largely ignored. Buy it and sit on it for awhile. I don't think you'll regret it.

On another note, mostly just for my own benefit, I have been studying REITs for a long time, considering investing, but never making the leap. A prominent REIT manager has indicated his belief that REITs are currently peaking and priced a bit high, perhaps even due for a decline somewhat soon. If this is correct then I have hesitated way too long. I'll keep watching even so because I'm less familiar with REITs and need to get a feel for how this market moves. Real Estate is definitely a direction I intend to move into, but exactly when and through what avenue is still up in the air.

Alexanders Inc (ALX) is a great example of a REIT to watch. It has gone up nearly 100 points over the past 52 weeks, but it appears to be leveling at the moment. Each day it goes up approximately 1 point. This can't continue indefinitely. The question is, is this ride over or is it still worth getting in on for the long term? The Wall Street Journal has been excited about this particular REIT. But if it is leveling out then it may be in for a decline. I see no earnings so how far down it could go is anyone's guess. If it is a solid investment but likely to be cheaper soon then why not get it then? Either way, it requires an educated guess and I haven't made one yet.

Get in, Hold on, Shut up

I'm seeing a lot of articles indicating that almost everyone is conflicted about which way they think things are most likely to move this coming year. Some say this is the tail end of a bull market and a bear market of perhaps 1 to 1 1/2 years is imminent. Others say this year will be just like last year, with everyone fat and happy. They say oil will not drop below $40 per barrel all year long. They say increasing refinery capacity will drop oil steadily in price. They say gold will hit $700 per ounce. They say gold will drop to $400 per ounce. The say the dollar will continue to fall. They say it just went up unexpectedly. They say the steady rise of the small cap stocks is over. They said that last year and they were oh so very wrong. They say the housing market is overheated, but commercial real estate is still hot, thus ALX is climbing like King Kong on the Empire State Building. They say an increasing number of mutual fund managers are holding onto piles of cash, not investing in anything until they get a clearer reading on the market.

Are you confused yet? So am I. Glad to meet you.

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Leading Economic Indicators

Leading Economic Indicators Show Economy Is Expanding

This is fabulous, really. And it relates to me in so many ways. My leading indicators show that I am expanding, too. I blame this on the protein mix I take after lifting weights each week, but I'm sure there is more to it than this. Our ugly ass couch and the TV are probably a big part of it. Not to mention the unbelievable amount of useless horsecrap that I get in the mail each and every day and have to spend my evenings sorting through. I swear an entire forest is lost each month just to produce the junkmail that is sent to my house and thrown straight into the trash. Someone should create a weatherproof battery-powered shredder than can be placed outside next to the mailbox. I would buy it. And I'd wear that sucker out, too.

Ebay was my baby. It made me a lot of money over the past year. It looked good the other day, albeit overpriced. Accumulate, that's what the 'experts' all said, so I bought more after reading up on all the reasons that everyone just knew that they would continue to increase their earnings forever. Then their earnings came out. They just missed expectations by 1 cent.

Everyone freaked. Especially the 'experts' who quickly, and way too damned late, changed their recommendations to Hold. Yes, you bastards went nuts and just dumped this stock like it was AOL or something. And now it's down over 18% in one day. In fact, and this just bugs the hell out of me, yesterday after their report came out, which was AFTER TRADING HOURS, certain clients were allowed to sell, so that today the stock opened already way down.

Who are these shitheads who get to sell stock when the market is closed and why can't we shoot them? Eliot Ness Spitzer has charged everyone from Martha Stewart to Santa Clause with insider trading, but if you want to alter the price of a stock after hours, well that is just fine and dandy, apparently, as long as you are already filthy rich and powerful.

Anyway, I think people are overreacting, so I bought more Ebay today while it is experiencing a Wal*Mart fire sale.


Over the next few months I'll find out if I gauged this right. But be warned, every stock I have ever bought went straight down immediately after I took possession of it so chances are you can buy Ebay cheaper tomorrow than I got it today. It's a curse I have. I should charge money for me to buy stocks just so other people can come in afterwards and get good deals. Alternately, I should find a company I hate and buy just a few shares every day until the price goes down to zero and they are bankrupted. It would be expensive, but it might be fun just to do it once.

As I type this and now one full hour after the market has closed (ignore the posting time - that's when I first started writing) I see that Ebay has gone down further. I'm sure I already know how this works, but I can't remember the reasons at the moment so it is just pissing me off.

Yesterday, as if to warn me that today would be CRAZY CRAZY CRAZY, I read in the Wall Street Journal that oil was going to keep going up because refineries can't keep up with demand and there aren't enough new refineries being built. Later that same night I read on Reuters that oil is going down and supplies from refineries are exceeding demand.

The Earth is flat, I tell you.

One thing I know for sure, and I keep forgetting this over and over because I'm an idiot and you shouldn't ever take advice from this blog about stocks, but whatever the 'experts' say about a stock, whether it is 'buy' or 'hold' or whatever, this means absolutely nothing. It means, 3 months ago when they put out a report last things looked sort of OK. But as for today you might as well pull out your magic 8 ball and ask it if you should buy or sell.

Signs say No.

Anyway, I'm just telling you that I bought Ebay and it went down about 100 points, so I bought more and it went down again after hours. I'd buy even more tomorrow after it drops another 100 points if I had any money left, but I don't. So you go out there and get as many shares as you can while it's still reeling from the 'Steve bought this stock' effect and get rich. It'll go right back up after I stop buying and start rebalancing my IRA anyway.

That is, unless their CEO made some speech about how all their profits are going to be dedicated on the altar of socialism and crap, like Steve Case did at AOL, and I just haven't heard about it yet. If that is the case please let me know. I'll need to dump some stock right quick.

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Before and After
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MLK and Fantastic Sam's

For Martin Luther King Junior's birthday I decided to get rid of the mullet that has been slowly appearing on my head. I no longer own a Trans Am and thus don't need to be walking around wearing any mullet. I attempted to go to a reputable hair place in My Little Redneck Town just outside of Memphis. Unfortunately for me all the good places were closed.

This keeps happening to me. Somehow the days most convenient for me to get a haircut are the days no one is open.

And so it was that I was forced to go back to the same place I have gone for the past 3 or 4 haircuts, the infamous Fantastic Sam's.

The last 3 times I have gone to this place I have gotten the same woman. I didn't ask for her and would rather not ever see her again. I think she must be slightly crazy.

When this woman cuts my hair she holds her comb and scissors in the same hand at the same time. When she switches from comb to scissors she makes a point of whacking the shit out of my face with the comb. She does this about 1000 times over the course of a single haircut, leaving me bruised and wide awake.

Did I do something to you, lady? Do I even know you? Why are you whacking the shit out of me? Don't I tip? I know I do.

She has never once gotten my bangs straight. One side is always cut way higher than the other, as if her eyes are not level with one another and so she can't see level. I always have to adjust them at home with my own scissors, and without the comb-whacking of my face.

And this time, the coupe de grace, while cutting my bangs crooked I noticed she was awfully low on my forehead, using the clippers, and dropping lots of hair into my eyes. What is up with this?

After I got home I found out what was up with that. She had placed the comb over my eyebrows and shaved them.

Oh, there is still some eyebrow left, but not much. And who the hell shaves eyebrows with a haircut? Is this some new thing they only do at Fantastic Sam's? Was there a sign warning about this that I simply missed?

Warning: At Fantastic Sam's we whack your face and shave your eyebrows!

Is this woman menopausal or otherwise mentally insane? Who the hell gets their eyebrows shaved and why would anyone assume I wanted this? I'm not Boy George. I'm not going to be drawing on new eyebrows with a pencil. The whole point of getting rid of the mullet was to escape from the '80s, not return dressed as a gay transvestite heroin addict who has to rename himself 'Boy' so people will know which gender he actually is.

As I was leaving Jaqueline-the-Ripper said to me, "have a nice day and God bless you."

I said, "thanks, you too" and then fled the scene.

I have apparently paid this crazed woman to cut my hair crooked, whack me in the face with a comb and shave my eyebrows. And I tipped her, too. Then I had to go home and try to straighten it all out with my Wal*Mart haircutting set. What a perfect sucker I am.

Next time a decent place isn't open I'm just going to cut my own bangs crooked and shave my own eyebrows to save the money. Everyone will just assume I went to Fantastic Sam's.

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Thoughts About God

In the book of Matthew, chapter 25, we're given an example of how God views us and or lives.

He gives some of his money to 3 men, each receiving an amount in accordance to his ability. One receives 5, one receives 2, and one poor unblessed and untalented guy receives only 1. God then leaves, saying He'll be back at some unspecified time in the future.

The servant who receives 5 talents, presumably because he's got the most ability of the 3 men, invests it and makes 5 more.

The servant who receives 2 talents invests it and makes 2 more.

The servant who has only 1 talent is afraid and buries the talent, making nothing and losing nothing.

When the master, metaphorically God, returns from his trip he asks for his money back. The most talented servant gives God his 5 talents and says "and I have invested it and made 5 more, which I also give to you."

The servant who received 2 talents returns them plus the 2 he made.

The servant who received only the 1 small talent returns his and says, "I was afraid and so I buried it to make sure it wasn't lost. Here it is."

God gets mad at the servant with only the 1 talent. He takes the talent and gives it to the servant previously entrusted with 5 talents.

OK, so what to make of this? God blessed the guy with 5 talents more than anyone else. Right off the bat this guy had an advantage. He used what God gave him and made double his money. God liked that.

God blessed the 2nd guy a lot less, but he liked what that guy did with what he had, although He didn't reward the guy for it at all.

God hadn't blessed the 3rd guy much, didn't trust him with much, and then punished him.

So basically I look at it like this: the guy God loved the most piled onto a good stock and made a lot of money. The middle guy invested in mutual funds and did well, too. The guy God loved least kept his money in cash, probably a money market account, and made nothing. But he also lost nothing. He risked nothing.

My question is this: what if the guy God loved the most had invested in AOL? What if the year was 1999 and it seemed like a really great investment at the time? And then, after putting all of God's money into AOL, Steve Case made his infamous speech declaring his view that the purpose of AOL's corporate profit was to spread evangelical Socialism throughout the world. Evangelical socialism being the religion which Mr. Case had adopted following Hillary Clinton's crusade against the capitalist white male, Bill Gates, who had refused to convert when told to do so directly by Mrs. Clinton.

And then Mr. Case brought in evangelical Marxists Gerald Levin and Ted Turner (Ted Turner being promptly screwed over and thrown to the lions.) Together Mr. Case and Mr. Levin then drove the previously successful company down and down into the toilet, where it has remained to the present day.

This unforseeable disaster would then have turned God's servant-invested 5 talents into 1 talent (actually even less than 1.)

What would God's reaction have been to this situation?

Everything is the same except that the servant with 5 talents took a chance and it went sour, as so often happens. What then? Would he still be God's favorite? Would God punish him, too, taking his remaining talent and giving it to the guy who had 2 talents? Would God have said, "Man, I wish you had just buried it like the 3rd guy did?"

Was God rewarding the results of their efforts or was He rewarding their willingness to let it all hang out, taking a risk and making the most of the opportunities around them even if that meant possibly losing the money entrusted to them? Was it the willingness to take a risk or the results that God loved? Or was it both, the willingness to take a risk coupled with success?

This parable was for a long time the basis for Protestant Christianity, the primary belief system of the Founding Fathers of the United States, who took the view that God requires us all to work hard and will sometimes bless our efforts if we are faithful, and sometimes not even though we gave it all we had. It was a very logical and unemotional religion very unlike the charismatic and emotion-centered protestantism increasingly popular today.

But my question remains unanswered for me. Was God rewarding their efforts or only their results? Or was it even more complex than that?

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A Comment That Turned Into A Blog

How does this happen? I was just reading Stacy's Blog and posting my comments when I found myself writing a novel. It occurred to me that I should just put it on my own blog instead of hogging all her space. So here it is, slightly edited to make more sense.

"First, I am very sorry to hear that you lost the baby and haven't been able to get pregnant for 10 years since.

Second, I can't tell you how much it bothers me that you haven't been able to get pregnant for 10 years since. My wife has been putting off our first baby forever and ever, always acting as if she can just get pregnant whenever she feels ready with no problem. Perhaps this is part of the 'something is building inside and I'm cracking up' that I mentioned? I don't know.

Third, if you smoke I can get you cigarettes cheaper than any store. I sometimes sell Marlboro lights here at work for $20 a carton. I can hook you up, not that I'm encouraging you to smoke or anything.

Key lime pie is my wife's big weakness, too. I suspect a lot of women wake up craving that. I don't know why. I sometimes wake up craving a lot of women, but never key lime pie. Maybe that's just me though?

Weight gain is a funny thing (not Ha Ha funny, but you know what I mean.) I gain weight and then it moves around. It starts right out front, like I'm a pregnant man. Then it tries to shift around to my sides, as if I can't lose it if I can't find it. I swear it moves all the way around to the back, trying to give me that plumber's "crack in the butt" physique that we all aspire to. My jeans don't fit right, but when I look in the mirror I look OK. Then I turn sideways and "Ah HA! There it is!"

Anyway, my own attempts at weight loss are constantly frustrated by the need to eat lunch with my coworkers and boss in order to maintain a good relationship. Eating out is definitely not a good way to lose weight. And I can't afford a personal trainer, but I sure could use one. The guys seem to love eating Mexican (No, I'm not talking about Salma Hayek.) And let me tell you, Mexican food is the anti-Atkins diet from hell.

Sometimes My Former Team Lead comes, too, as he did today. He has the connections and the info that we all need to stay alive here. Sometimes other high level managers come, sharing information we could not get any other way.

Sometimes My Attractive Female Coworker comes along, bringing her own special contribution to the conversation. She has connections all the way to the top. If there is an "old boy network" then they very much like her and bring her on board. And since it isn't "boys" I don't know what you'd call it. It's just people who climbed the ladder and intend to stay up there, I guess. But that certainly isn't as catchy to say, is it?

Know what? I am just blabbing away. I think I might just put this on my own blog with a hyperlink to yours. How would that be?

Meanwhile, I hope a miracle occurs and you lose all the weight you want, get pregnant, and give up smoking without the slightest craving. I just want you to be happy."

Well anyway, Stacy mentioned key lime pie. Tonight is Friday and I should be taking My Wife out to eat. I'm betting she'll have key lime pie for dessert. It never occurred to me that the way to a woman's heart is key lime pie. But now that I know I'm telling the whole world.

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Blowing a Gasket

I am so very tired and so very stressed and I can't pinpoint exactly why. I signed up for a class at the local community college, only to be registered for the very same material in a class at work. So I have just dropped the community college class online (let's see if it actually worked - their website hasn't been the best) after talking to a professional friend who advised me that the work class is more valuable to me for various reasons I won't bother to blog.

Oh hell, yes I will. These are my own thoughts anyway, right?

It shows that I am valuable if my own employer thinks highly enough of me to send me to this training rather than for me to have to take it on my own time and pay for it, too. Plus, I can put it on my resume since I did it at work. Bonus.

And all I really want is to work with this skill. I am not dying to leap out of this company and go to another Memphis corporation. Although, our retirement plan sucks and our health benefits are dogshit. But that is increasingly universal, or so they tell me (ignoring the fact that my 401k which I left at my previous employer is still making tons of money for me even without any additional contributions for the past 2 years whereas my 401k here sucks alcohol-soaked tampons.)

Here is some of my stress:

Should I just drop the class and be done with it or try to get into another class, less vital to my career, but still useful? I have to decide RIGHT NOW before the deadline.

I set a lower limit on my Travelzoo stock, which appears to be overpriced and in a steady prolonged decline. It hit that limit lickitty split and sold all my shares. It was easy money, but knowing my history with the stock market chances are that because I sold it will now skyrocket. In fact, the best way for me to predict the future in regard to the stock market is to buy or sell something. If I buy then it drops 10 points within a week. If I sell it does the opposite. (I should do puts and calls based on this and get some money out of it.)

Well, often when I sell it is headed to the toilet and continues to flush, but I am just waiting to see this damn thing fly because I didn't want to sell it, I just set this limit as a precaution based on my own observations and it hit it and sold automatically. I guess if I look at the last time I sold from a limit I can't say my selling is a problem. Redhat was a turd then and it is a turd now. But even so I am stressed because I sold my Travelzoo stock.

Our company merger is almost done and the uncertainty of future job situations continually hangs overhead.

The entire market and economy is all up in the air, with no clear indicators of what the hell it is likely to do. So how do I plan? This isn't roulette. I'm not just going to throw money out there and hope it hits red 13. I need some clear indicators before I invest. This is not a game.

My workouts are just going OK, but I reinjured my wrist, which is a huge obstacle that has repeatedly plagued my progress for the past 15 years or more. My gym membership is up for renewal and 3 new gyms are opening in My Little Redneck Town. But My Former Team Lead owns my current gym. Leaving might not be a good career move if it makes him mad.

Also, My Little Redneck Town has a history of lemmingitus, whose advanced symptoms include bankruptcy. This is to say, every time someone opens a new and original business in this town, like the only gym for example, 50 more open up just like it and then they all go bust. When we first moved out here it was antique shops. Next it was hair and nail salons. Then ministorages. Now gyms.

The predictions were that My Little Redneck Town was going to explode populationwise. Well, it did grow substantially, but that growth has really pretty much stopped and all these excess businesses keep finding this out the hard way. Add to this the lunatic Mayor of Memphis and his latest Louis XIV-style games and you get people flooding out to Fayette County and down to Mississippi. So this town is probably going to shrink in population soon, not grow.

All of this means, if I leave My Former Team Lead's gym and join a new gym who is to say if that gym is going to make it or go bust? The gym I'm in now is solid. No frills, but it has what I need. I just wish it were closer to my house.

Next stress is My Wife. Her job is not good. A crazy menopausal woman is somewhere up in the ranks above her boss and micromanaging the living crap out of them all. So she comes home upset every day and pours it out on me. And I can't do anything about it except help her find a new job. But when I do she doesn't move on it. She is discouraged to the point of just sitting down and giving up, which I fully understand, but it doesn't help the situation.

I helped My Wife get a job here. So when lunchtime comes I am torn between eating with her and eating with My New Team Lead and My Coworker. It is vital that I maintain all of these relationships so skipping out on lunch with my own team is a bad thing if I do it too often. But My Wife ends up eating alone if I don't eat with her. So every day I don't know which of them I am eating with. My Wife can't plan and I can't plan. Yesterday she and I agreed we'd eat out for lunch today, but just now My New Team Lead invited me to eat with him and My Coworker. I need to go so I had to cancel with My Wife. She is very hungry and has been waiting for my answer for an hour. This is bad and eventually I'm going to suffer from it one way or another.

I am backup support for a large and complex application. Actually I am backup support for several large and complex applications, but for one that is particularly important the lead support guy left the country for 2 weeks, leaving me to handle it alone. He just upgraded and changed the entire system so most of what I learned no longer applies. I have my notes, but if something in my notes turns out to be wrong there is no way to reach him. This could be very, very bad.

I feel like crap today. I can't get up and going. It doesn't matter how much coffee I drink and pee out, I am just dying. I don't know why.

Something I can't pinpoint is just building up inside me. I don't know what exactly it is so I don't know what exactly I can do about it. I am just stressing and stressing. Nothing seems right.

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Why can't you concentrate on your work?
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Bitching about Work

I have bitched too much about work, I think, and now Stacy is depressed. I apologize, Stacy. Today I don't need to bitch about work. It's just stressful. I'm handling several applications at once and I keep getting phone calls and questions.

Meanwhile, Davy has picked up hot chicks in the Monkeemobile!

I mean, meanwhile, I have registered for a class I don't really need just because I can't take the advanced class until I've taken the boring waste-of-my-time-and-money prerequisite class. I'm thinking about dropping it and getting my money back because I am also taking this same class at work and not even paying for it. Why take it twice if I don't have to?

Anyway, I've contacted the training person here at work and left a message asking if they offer the advanced class or if this is all there is. If I can get the advanced training at work, which is where I'd be using it anyway, then I'm getting my $500 back and dropping the Community College class. And they can take their stupid, overpiced book back, too.

Yes, yes, that would mean I won't get to sit in a classroom with hot 19 year old girls for 3 months, but somehow I suspect that they will be less than interested in me and I will simply be distracted and frustrated by them.

Just a hunch.

Also, I will be taking this class at work with the woman I work with who looks like one of those impossible science fantasy/comic book women. So that should charge my hormones for quite awhile. And I have applied to transfer into the group she is in, which uses these skills exclusively. If I get the transfer I will work with her every day and gain valuable job experience. Plus, I will be working back in the field I am trained for, which would be nice.

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Who What Where How?
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Ass Rider Boy - Am I Insane?

I have written all about Ass Rider Boy and his Green Chevy Blazer with the yellow ribbon magnet on the back. I recall part of his tag information as being a 'U' above an 'N', which I thought was odd, and then 302x with me not remembering the last digit (not actual tag info here.) I wasn't really paying that much attention.

I said I was keeping an eye out for Ass Rider Boy, as he is so entertaining to all of us who have to share the road with him.

Today I saw something that made me think I must be insane. I saw a Gold Ford Explorer, with a camouflage ribbon on the back, and tag number 'D' above a 'U' followed by 3002 (again, this is not the real tag number.) I kept looking at this truck and thinking, this can't be just a coincidence can it? Surely I couldn't remember something I stared at for so many miles so completely wrong, could I? Is this Ass Rider Boy?

I pulled next to him at the 4 way stop on Trinity. I tried to see him through his windows, but they are dark tinted. As I looked over at him he bolted.

Just for the heck of it I sped after him, just to see if he was just a fast driver impatient at the stop sign or if he was actually running from me. I caught up to him at the next intersection as we both came speeding up to a Memphis cop waiting at the red light. I looked the SUV over and over. It had all the identifying marks, from the ribbon to the odd license tag, yet the details are not at all what I remember from my 2nd encounter with the Ass Boy.

I could do a search on this tag and see if it is the same guy except for one thing, his paperwork is not going to say, "Mr. Ass Rider Boy." It's just going to have some name I don't recognize anyway. What good is that?

No wonder eye witnesses are considered so useless. When I first wrote about the initial encounter with Ass Rider, I had remembered it as a gold SUV and wrote it that way. When I encountered him next I looked at this green Chevy Blazer and didn't recognize him as being the same person. Everyone has a ribbon on the back of their SUV. It's his tag that is so unique (and his driving.) I changed my original blog from a gold SUV to a green Chevy because I thought I had remembered the first encounter wrong, but now I think I had it right initially.

So, does Ass Rider Boy have a gold Ford Explorer or a Green Chevy Blazer?

Are there two different Ass Rider Boys? If so, why did the guy in the second encounter act like such a complete jackass? Or does he have 2 SUVs, one belonging to his momma and the other his own?

How could I look right at his truck and get the color and manufacturer so wrong? Or did I?

Is Cordova just packed full of nuts? You know, this third encounter took place right in front of the apartments where I first encountered Lesbian Elvis. Maybe that is not an apartment complex at all. Maybe it is an insane asylum.
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The End
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Loonies On The Path - part VIII - It's Only Me

I got up this morning tired and sore from last night's workout. My Wife had already left by the time I got out of the shower. When it came time to throw the cats out I could only find one, the Little Girl. So out she went, jingling as she shot through the door. I looked everywhere and couldn't find The Boy.

Pretty soon Little Girl realized she was outside all alone and was back at the door begging to come in again. I went through the house again and again searching for that cat. No cat. Where is he hiding? I even checked the garage to see if he'd slipped in there when My Wife left. No cat.

At the last minute I saw both cats at the back door wanting in. Ah, My Wife must have let him out and didn't tell me. Now I'm agitated and a little later for work than I'd meant to be.

In traffic there was only one person driving like a lunatic. Yes, it was definitely me. I passed a slow SUV near the High School where the road is 4 lanes.

Later I passed a guy in a Saturn who was determined to beat me from the light and block me out before the 4-lanes became only 2 again. Why he cared if I passed I couldn't say, but I kicked his Saturn-slow ass regardless.


Then I was behind another slow SUV. When I came to a legal passing zone there were other slow SUVs in front of that one so I didn't bother. No one today is really interested in getting to work except me. And I couldn't tell you why.

I got to work to find some problems that might not be problems. Then I couldn't get in touch with the people who could verify the big work issues one way or the other so I left messages. Internet Explorer crashed on me and aggravated me in the middle of all this. I found spyware on my computer. Microsoft is warning of another flaw in Windows and I had to download updates. I sent myself some email from home last night. The system quarantined it. WTF?

I arrived at work with something specific I wanted to write here. Now, after jumping through hoops with work problems I can't remember what it was. God? The President? Weird hot girls at the community college where I registered for a class yesterday? The outrageous cost of a used textbook on a topic that is better presented in a cheaper book from Microsoft?

Ah, now I remember.

Why is everyone so seemingly HAPPY about the apparent break-up of Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston? I keep hearing it everywhere and not one person is saying, "Oh, how sad. That is terrible. They were such a great couple."

Everyone is just so excited and thrilled with this news, especially the people in the media. It's a great story in a time of no great stories. But how can you celebrate a broken marriage? Neither one is being accused of cheating or anything. They're just splitting. It's tragic, not entertaining. And people are jumping up and down with glee. What is wrong with people these days? Everything wrong is right and black is white. We are so fucked up. We can't even define marriage anymore.

Hell, we can't even define is.

So that's it. That's what I wanted to say.
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A Message From Her

My favorite syndicated columnist in the entire world has written me asking where I've been and wishing me a good Christmas! I am giddy to the point of dizzy euphoria. Then again, I just lifted weights, so maybe there's a lack of oxygen issue here.

Anyway ...

Kathleen Parker, writer extraordinaire, has sent me another letter!

Hey, you worship Britney Spears if you want to and I'll worship my own icons.

Not that I wouldn't do Britney if I had the chance, of course. I'm not stupid.

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Tiny Truck
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The Drawbacks of Being Tiny

Being in a minitruck is no fun. Not in regular traffic anyway. In fact, it's dangerous as hell. Here is some of the fun I've had:

1) In rush hour traffic on I-240 we all came to a dead stop. The woman in the Dodge Neon directly behind me didn't see this in time. She rear-ended me like a cue ball smacking into the 8 ball, transferring every pound of her momentum into my truck. My truck is too light to absorb much impact so the leftover gets transferred into my body. My spine felt every bit of it, as if I'd been kicked into a wall by Bruce Lee. The little Dodge and my minitruck were both undamaged. I was hurt for a long time.

2) People in traffic looking for a place to break into a line will always, ALWAYS pick me. It doesn't matter if I lock my bumper onto the trailer hitch of the giant diesel dually ahead of me, they'll try to push their way in anyway. It doesn't matter if I am the last car in the line and there are miles and miles of empty space behind me, either. They'll focus on me, never even considering getting behind me, and try to shove me off the road. Ass Rider Boy is a fine example.

3) The ride is rougher than a Datsun B210 on gravel. Does anyone remember these little cars? When I was younger they were everywhere. And they had a ride like a kid's little red wagon. So does my truck.

4) The truck has very little power, but somehow it never has any trouble spinning the tires whenever I need to pull out into traffic. It never fails. I've had this truck for 10 years and I've worked the clutch and the gas every way I know, but still the truck will slip and slide at the worst possible times.

5) There is not enough room for all the stuff I carry.

6) Rednecks in full-sized 4x4s like to mess with minitrucks just for fun, especially while drunk. They forget that their new trucks have chromed foam bumpers and crumple zones and wrongly assume that they would be fine if they actually hit me. But some of the more intelligent rednecks threw their foam bumpers in the garbage (after smashing them on someone) and replaced them with heavy tube steel and push bars. Those are the most dangerous ones of all. I was hit by one of those once. It was ugly. On the plus side, though, I got to drive a full-sized brand-new Chevy truck for 2 weeks while the bodyshop pieced my minitruck back together.

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The Benefits of Being Tiny

It's raining and nasty today and the Memphis roads are filled with potholes, courtesy of our recent ice storm. The potholes are a kind of lottery around here. There is the hope that whomever wins the bid for the repaving job will be good. And then there is the risk that the contract will be awarded to Mayor Herenton's brother-in-law again, or some other crooked and incompetent loser/campaign contributor, who will then make the road worse than it was before, as did in fact occur on the backside of Shelby Farms at Trinity and again in front of the fire station on Sanga Road. Yes, the road was rough, but not half as rough as it was after they repaved it. Ah nepotism.

And now, the benefits of being tiny

1) I watched the Lexus in front of me desperately trying to dodge the potholes in the rain this morning, but no matter how he swerved it never failed that at least one of his wheels fell in somewhere. Me, being in a tiny minitruck, seemed to be the perfect size to manuver right between them all. And the ironic part is, my tires are going to need replacing soon anyway and when that time comes I'm swapping out my wheels too. So it wouldn't really matter if I busted one in a hole. The Mercedes, Cadillacs and 7 series BMWs were similarly frustrated in their attempts to dodge the Memphis holes, being the perfect size to hit them all.

2) Some of my coworkers are exceedingly lousy drivers. This being the case it should come as no surprise that they are likewise exceedingly lousy parkers. They frequently park half in one space and half in another, usually crooked. When I come in to work I find excellent spaces that no one has dared squeeze their lovely cars into due to the lack of room and fear of door dings. I don't worry about it. I just squeeze right on in. As long as I can fit all 4 of my tires between the lines I'll gladly take the space. My truck is so small that it generally isn't a problem for either of us. Sure, sometimes the lousiest of drivers will get mad and nail my truck with their door, just for spite. But with the lack of room they can never get enough momentum up to do much damage. And in case it isn't clear by now, I really don't care either way. The truck had door dings when I bought it. I'm not going to cry.

3) I don't have electric windows, but I can lean over and roll down the passenger window or unlock the passenger door without having to unbuckle my seatbelt. In fact, there is virtually no space inside the truck that I can't reach from the driver's seat.

4) I don't need a thumpin' stereo. The speakers in the doors are so close to my ears they're practically headphones.

5) I get a zillion miles per gallon.

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Drive it like you stole it

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Loonies On the Path - Part VII

Weather: Very cold, raining, and dark all day long.

Driving to work was almost uneventful. Someone in a 4 door SUV/pickup ugly Chevy thing tailgated me even though I was going fast and the roads were soaking. But he passed me at the red light where the road temporarilly becomes 4-lanes. It was no big deal. And then, of course, he didn't go any faster than I had been going and I was right behind him all the way to work.

It didn't much matter either way. If he hadn't passed me then he would have ridden my ass all the way into work and it would have annoyed me. But I thought it was funny him passing me in such a rush and never getting far enough ahead of me for even one car to come between us. Beyond this, nothing happened.

And now for the drive home.

It's Friday night and raining and cold and dark. Right away I get stuck behind a car with a Mississippi tag that is virtually stopped dead in the road. They begin moving at about 10 mph. Then they come to a utility truck with yellow flashing lights, which is parked on the other side of the road, and they stop again. There is a city worker with a flag making huge exagerrated motions for them to GO. They sit there like a Terri Schiavo in a coma. The man yells at them, "GO!"

Slowly they crawl by and then put on their blinker. There is nowhere to turn for well over 100 yards. Eventually they turn it off again. Then we come to the actual turn and they turn their blinker on again, start to turn, and stop. I nearly hit them because they are moving so slowly and then suddenly stopping for no reason.

On again we go, 10 mph eventually leading up to 25 mph. After what seems like years we come to a place in the road that becomes 5 lanes. I wait to see which of our 2 lanes they choose. They hedge their bets and take both. The right lane is double-wide.

Don't ask me why. This is Cordova and they do weird shit with the roads here.

So I see plenty of room in the right lane for me despite Mississippi being in both lanes at once. I take the right lane. As I move past them they swerve at me to hit me. I sit right next to them, not honking and just staring at them in shock. When they see that I am not going to move and that they will indeed have to hit me they stop and just float where they are. I drive on past.

Once I think about it for a second I realize they weren't necessarily trying to hit me by accident. It just seemed too intentional. So I stop in front of them. Let's have a talk.

They see me stop and swerve into the first parking lot, which they cross in a hurry.

Hmm, what is up with that? Why were they so slow and now racing across the parking lot and why in the hell would they try to hit me?

Oh well, I'm not going to worry about it. I drive on, wondering if maybe this is going to be one of those odd weather days when everyone is nuts. Maybe I did something to set those Retarded Assholes From Mississippi off or something. Who knows?

At the 4-way-stop on Trinity, near Lesbian Elvis' apartment, everything seems smooth. We are all moving through when our turn comes. But just as I'm going a guy in a white BMW decides he doesn't have to wait for his turn like all the rest of the white people, so he just guns it and pushes through, nearly hitting me.

OK, now I'm getting concerned. 2 jackasses in an row and I'm still in Cordova. This is not good.

I'm paranoid about looneys now so I'm being careful. I get all the way into My Little Redneck Town. I'm heading past the high school when I come up behind a peeling blue Chevy something. They are going really slow, but I stay behind them because they might be crazy. At the right turn it is clear and we have the green.

They stop.

Both the left lane and the right lane turn right at this intersection. There are even signs up showing that this is so. I take the left lane and turn right, staying in my lane as is required. They decide that now is a good time to turn and do so. But they also decide ... can you see this coming? They also decide that they want to change lanes as they are turning, basically because I am there.

Just a reminder: I drive a dirty old minitruck. Feel free to hit me. If you hit me on purpose and it is easy to prove that you were at fault I will call Cory B. Trotz myself and arrange for you to buy me a new truck. And thank you for being so generous.

Also, I have nowhere to go to avoid them hitting me at this point. Plus, I am ahead of them. They are going to hit me in the side and rear.

At the last second they decide, like the Mississippi Rebel, that they don't really want to hit me after all.

By the time I get home I am mad. I know we are going out tonight, but no way in hell am I driving. My Wife is usually oblivious to this stuff and also drives so slow most of the time that people pass her. But she lets them so it doesn't usually cause problems.

"Let's go out. You're driving. And I'm telling you now that people are nuts out there."

We get to the restaurant with no excitement. It is really crowded and people seem impatient. We eat. We leave.

Driving out of the parking lot across from the Ford Dealer, My Wife takes a left because it is easier to go this way. As she does so I see a man in a Lexus turning left off Poplar onto this road attempt to ram a guy in a Honda, coming the opposite way and turning right off Poplar onto the same road. The guy in the Honda is staying in his lane, which is the right hand lane. If the guy in the Lexus didn't change lanes in the intersection just for the purpose of trying to hit the Honda there would have been no problem. But he wanted to hit him.

The guy in the Lexus blasts his horn and then hits his brakes. The guy in the Honda ignores Dickhead and continues making his turn in his own lane. Dickhead Lexus then gets madder and floors his gas pedal, flying past the Honda in a rage.

My Wife says, "I hear the train."

"No Honey, that was a jerk in a Lexus nearly hitting someone and then honking at them even though it was his fault."

Dickhead Lexus flies past us at this point, with his presumed wife and kids in the car.

My Wife sees him and says, "I hate people like that. I should hit him with my brights."

"No, then we'll be dragged into the fight and we don't want to be."

"Oh yeah, you're right."

So we let Dickhead Lexus fly away home without involving ourselves at all.

But after seeing him I felt relieved. I wasn't the only one getting caught up with crazy idiot drivers tonight and I was glad to know it.
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Tamara Mitchell-Ford
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Tammy Baby

Tamara Mitchell-Ford, Memphis' own walking episode of "Desperate Housewives," is apparently out of prison and pregnant. In case you didn't know, Tamara Mitchell-Ford makes the craziest Hollywood actress you can think of seem sane and normal.

Well, except for possibly Farrah Fawcett.

Or Tawny Kitaen.

Or Brynn Hartman.

OK, but anyway, she's a rolling train wreck. She's crashed her enormous ugly Jaguar into more Americans than anyone in history. She usually hits people doing over 100 mph, and yet she always manages to stagger away relatively unhurt.

Recently she was in the news for crashing her Jag through the living room window of her husband, John Ford's, girlfriend's house in My Little Redneck Town. He bought her the house and was supposedly divorcing Tamara. I guess Tamara couldn't figure out why he was leaving her crazy ass so she drove over to The New Bitch's house to find out. Naturally, being a Memphis politician's wife, she didn't see the need to park her car in the driveway where it might get dirty so she parked it in the woman's living room instead.

She does this all the time.

Before this she hit a guy in Alabama. He was driving a full-sized Chevy truck. She hit him so hard that it flipped his truck through the air, where it landed upside down in a ditch. She was unhurt. The man ended up in the hospital and tried to sue her.

Trying to sue a Memphis politician or his wife is like trying to charge Bill Clinton with sexual harassment. Good luck, sucker.

Prior to this there were countless other exciting car crashes and soap opera-like events involving the often imitated but never duplicated Tamara Mitchell-Ford. She always gets away with it, being both a trial lawyer and the wife of a member of the Ford Political Machine via crazy-ass marriage. You can't sue her and you can't get justice.

Ah, but one time a miracle occurred. She skipped out on her court date here in My Redneck Town. Our residing judge is unaccustomed to her antics and so he put out a warrant. After a long string of craziness she actually wound up in prison.

Shelby County has some mean, nastified women and our prisons are the best place to find them.

Princess Mitchell-Ford wasn't in the pokey for long before some of the grrlz took a disliking to her "don't you know who I am" attitude. They whooped her ass up good. So she went on the news, all swollen and bandaged, crying about how bad she was being treated in her new Memphis home. The news reporters were thrilled. What a story! This was what the whole state of Tennessee had been waiting to see.

Not six months later she is back in the news again, mysteriously out of prison and pregnant. How did she get knocked up? She says her ex-hubby, Johnny Ford, gave her another baby. But she also says they were never really divorced.

Oh Lord, you mean she's got kids?!

Yep, 3 already. Sometimes when she has one of her Smokey and the Bandit car adventures there are kids with her. They must be made out of the same stuff she is because I've never heard any reports of them being hurt either.

You know, Jaguar really should hire her to advertise their cars. Everyone around here is wondering if those Jags are more indestructible than a 1969 Buick because of all the things she's done in them and somehow never been hurt or killed.

So, Tammy is about to have her fourth child. She was on TV last night, dressed like Mama Walton and completely clean and sober. She said she's had some difficulties in the past, but that it is all behind her now. She is a changed woman.

For the sake of her kids I sure hope so. But if not you can bet she'll be on this blog. She's more fun than a barrel of monkeys on crack.

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Why, God, why?!
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OK, I am aware that the incredibly beautiful Heather Locklear has married some nasty-assed rock stars in the past. And then Pamela Anderson did it. Then she got balloon implants for no good reason, seeing as her own natural breasts were perfectly fine. And several gorgeous women said they thought the lead singer of Guns'n'Roses was hot, which never made any sense at all to me. But now a Playboy bunny named Shana Moakler has married a walking tattoo advertisement from blink 182, Travis Barker. I quite simply do not understand this. The man puts the 'na' in nasty, as in "want to have sex with something really nasty?"


What The F---?

In other rambling thoughts from my head ...

I worked out last night. Does working out on an empty stomach lead to puking or getting really dizzy? Or do I have some sort of heart defect that I don't know about? I was almost done when I decided to do some really light squats. I did one set, a warmup. Then my body told me in no uncertain terms that it was about to lay me out in the floor again (yes, again) where I would turn ghostly pale and possibly puke. Last time I must have looked pretty awful because the college guys who work there actually came over and said, "are you dead?"

So anyway, I stopped and drove home. I used to work out for 2 and 3 hours at a time. This never ever happened to me. WTF?

My neck and my wrist are both hurting like I've broken them. This is the 3rd day in a row for my neck. I did nothing to it. At least, not recently. My wrist hasn't bothered me in years. I did bench press last night. So what? Did this set it off or is it today's cold front with drizzling rain? And my ring and pinkey finger knuckles on that same hand hurt as if I'd punched someone with the wrong part of my fist. Except I didn't. In fact, I didn't do anything at all with these two knuckles that I can recall. WTF?

I've had 2 knee surgeries and separated a shoulder. I narrowly avoided surgery for the shoulder. You'd think maybe those would be hurting if this has something to do with the weather. So are they?



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Loonies On The Path - Part VI - Dazed and Confused

It has been cloudy, damp, warm and nasty in Memphis the past few days following our annual ice storm. It's hard to sleep at night. The temperature is never quite right. Yesterday on the way to work I found myself staring at the glass in my windshield more than the road ahead, never really focused on anything.

The radio was playing and I had no idea what I was listening to. Somehow I ended up on AM listening to a preacher. I think I used to know who he is, but lately without sleep I don't know much of anything. He was talking to Reggie White. I thought Reggie White was dead. Maybe this is a tape of an old show?

If Ass Rider Boy made an appearance I sure didn't notice. He could have clipped me and I wouldn't know. I'm tired.

Today I did manage to pass a truck pulling a trailer and hauling a heavy load. It was a 2-lane road and wet, but it was the only legal passing zone on it and I made good use of it. I don't know why the person in the truck stuck directly behind him didn't pass, but that's not my concern. Anyway, I had no trouble getting by him. Yesterday this would have been impossible. I was too tired to even try.

Prior to passing the truck I passed an ancient fossilized woman driving a Lincoln Town Car. We were stopped at the brief 4-lane section of road where Ass Rider Boy first passed me long ago. Fossilized Woman sped up leaving the red light to try and stop anyone from getting by. You'd think her 302 could out pull my 4 cylinders, but somehow it must have known it was working for an old lady and so it didn't try all that hard. Or maybe it was just tired like me. Anyway, as expected, she slowed her ass right back down as soon as 3 of us escaped her and the road went back down to 1 lane each way.

What is it about having a long line of cars piled up behind that makes some old ladies feel happy and secure? My Dad is old, but he prefers to let people pass. My Mom is old and she likes to screw them over. She even talks about it out loud as she's doing it. This is how I learned the psychology of passive/aggressive feminists in traffic. If not for Mom's verbalizations with me in the car as a child I might never have suspected how much is truly intentional and malicious.

When I moved to Memphis people joked with me, "how about this Memphis traffic, eh? Heh heh. The worst you've ever seen, right?"

Nope. Not by a long shot. Try driving in my hometown, down where My Mom and all her friends are on the road with you. Then we'll talk about nasty traffic.

In Memphis, most of the really bad screw-jobs I've received have appeared to me, even as suspicious and paranoid/insane as I am, to be the result of total stupidity. Let's face it, Memphis has a large supply of Tremendously Stupid People. They cut you off or ram into you because they are retarded and can barely spell their own name, not because they want to play games and think, "he's only passing me because I'm a WOMAN!"

Yes, My Mom and her friends actually used to say this, "he's only passing me because I'm a WOMAN," out loud as some high school boy passed them in the right hand lane during school traffic. The fact that they were in the passing lane going 25 or 30 mph and tapping their brakes at him in a very conscious effort to fuck with him for absolutely no reason always escaped their logic process. Somehow they just couldn't fathom concepts of cause and effect.

You see, in my hometown, especially in the south end, when someone screws you in traffic it is frequently on purpose. Everyone living there has at least an undergraduate college degree and works in engineering or education. Many have advanced degrees. All work for the U.S. Government. They are not stupid people. Also, there is a game that occurs in my hometown traffic and it usually begins with My Mom or someone like her.

The game goes like this: get in the passing lane and block traffic. Go slow until a man comes up behind you. Then begin tapping your brakes at him to show irritation, as if he's riding your tail unreasonably. When he tries to pass, speed up and get next to a slow moving vehicle in the right lane. Then stay next to that vehicle so The Man cannot pass. Slow down again when he gets back behind you. Tap brakes. Should no slow cars be handy and The Man threaten to successfully pass, speed up as much as is necessary to keep him from getting by. No speed is too great a risk or in any way unreasonable. Repeat entire process as necessary until The Man escapes or (hopefully) is killed.

If The Man escapes, either by passing on a side access road or shoulder or turning lane, by outsmarting you, or simply by refusing to play by slowing down and letting someone else get between the two of you, get angry about it and look for another man to take out your "It's Because I'm A Woman" Conspiracy Theory-fueled anger on. Repeat all the livelong day.

Very important rule to remember: never, ever turn your head to see where The Man is. Always use only your mirrors so as to maintain the illusion of complete innocence.

"I had no idea he was there. He just all of a sudden appeared out of nowhere. He must have been going too fast or something. I know I did nothing wrong."

Adding to the problem is this: after The Man has escaped the trap he is probably angry. Now when he comes upon someone else moving slowly he isn't sure if they are moving slowly to irritate him or simply because they live in a nearby city where sleeping while driving is considered acceptable. He may begin fighting with this new driver out of frustration from the previous insane Nazi driver. So this new driver gets dragged into the game/fight for no good reason.

The new driver now is angry, too. Everyone loses. 5 bonus points are awarded to the Game Initiator.

Repeat this process endlessly and you have traffic in my hometown.

In comparison, Memphis traffic goes like this: Mentally Retarded Memphis Driver wants to pull out of gas station and go left while talking on cell phone. It is rush hour. The traffic is bumper to bumper and at a dead stop all along the gas station. Mentally Retarded Memphis Driver cannot conceive of pulling into the flow going right and then turning around at first safe opportunity. This would apparently require studying Calculus or something. So instead, Mentally Retarded Memphis Driver tries to jam their car into the line of cars and force their way through against the flow of traffic, all the while still talking on their cell phone and honking angrily at any car that does not reverse and make room for them to squeeze in (blocking them just long enough to miss the green light.)

The left turning lane in this traffic jam goes first with the green arrow and so is briefly clear as this is occurring. As that light begins to change a car will inevitably come along driving fast to try to make the light. At about this same time Mentally Retarded Memphis Driver will push through and stick the nose of their car into this turning lane. The coming car crashes into the side of them at high speed, often injuring both drivers.

Worst of all, it interrupts the Mentally Retarded Memphis Driver's cell phone call. Egads!

Mentally Retarded Memphis Driver does not understand what they did wrong. They feel angry because their car is smashed and they are completely at fault. Of course they have no insurance.

Mentally Retarded Memphis Driver calls attorney Corey B. Trotz and sues their victim. Mentally Retarded Memphis Jury sympathizes with Mentally Retarded Memphis Driver because most of them do the same stupid thing in traffic every single day, so they rule in favor of Mentally Retarded Memphis Driver.

Repeat endlessly until every single person in Memphis is driving either a full-sized pickup or SUV in order to protect themselves and their family from the stupidity of the many, many Mentally Retarded Memphis Drivers.

But enough about this. The point is, I am exceedingly tired and driving in a daze. And I am not the only one. Yesterday I saw a man in a Chevy Yukon rear-end a woman in a Cadillac Escalade at a red light. It was a really slow speed wreck, about 2 mph, but because all new trucks have plastic and foam for bumpers it did some damage anyway. Everyone in traffic seemed to be moving slow, including me. And no, yesterday I did not bother to pass a single living soul no matter how slow they went. I was too tired to even care.

In fact, I was so tired that I think I listened to The River on the radio while driving home without realizing it for quite some time. I am so embarrassed.

Today I plan to take my tired ass to the gym after work and try to build some tired muscles. Tired workouts usually don't go spectacularly well, but what can I do? I'm tired and I need to work out. Tough luck. And if everyone really is as tired as I am then very few people will be there. This leaves all the equipment free for me to use. Bonus!
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When Cow Tipping Goes Bad
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My Natasha Writes Back

My favorite Canadian in the whole world has written back to me just this very morning! I am so excited I may wet my pants just for the warmth and excuse to go home.

Patricia confirmed that indeed she did wad her blog and toss it. She has moved and is very busy and thus has little time to blog about. I'll miss her writings, even though I can go buy more of her books now that she has got new ones coming out. I love her sense of humor. She makes me laugh like few people can.

Even though her email made me very happy, it also reminded me that I am perhaps the only person I know who has no kids/is not published/isn't successful/did not make $10 million from Google/is a complete loser.

Yes, I know what you're probably thinking, "But Steve, your blog is such a raging success and your webpage for your Buick Wildcat was in Car Craft. How could you possibly have not invested in Google, you stupid ass?"

Despite all this, I am clearly rotting in outer Memphis hell. I have been told that if I were to divorce my wife and thus be free to move to midtown that I would have a much more fruitful and useful existence. But lacking this I am essentially just wasting oxygen, and probably producing more than my share of methane (my cat certainly thinks so.) And so I should hurl myself off a cliff and be done with it.

Here is the problem: Memphis has no cliffs.

I suppose if I truly wished to die I could drive down to Danny Thomas Boulevard and just stand around for about, oh, say 5 seconds. Some good Samaritan brother would almost certainly come along to assist me in a hasty exit from this world via 9mm. And My Wife could collect my life insurance, which would enable her to pay off the house. She says that paying off the house is the key to her happiness. Therefore it would seem logical to conclude that if I were to make it happen by dying she would be blissful and grateful.

For about 5 minutes.

Then she'd find something else to stress over, some other reason why we can't have kids (besides the fact that I'd now be dead), and then she'd be mad at me again.

As for Google, I shall always remember sitting in my living room and discussing Google's coming IPO with My Wife. She insisted that I not invest in it as we did not yet have $1 million and thus could not afford it. I said to her, "Honey, it's going to hit $200 per share, just like Netscape. And it actually has solid earnings whereas Netscape was mostly hype."

Alas, I could not convince her and did not ignore her conservative wishes. We had already had an enormous and ongoing-for-a-whole-fucking-year-now fight over my purchase of Ebay stock. Despite the fact that Ebay is making plenty of money for us she is still mad about it. This is probably why my most successful friends have secret bank accounts that their wives know nothing about and which they use to invest from. I should look into that.

But enough about tsunamis and money I did not make. My Natasha has emailed me and made me smile. And somehow this is going to be a good day, even if I have to take some sort of drug or otherwise deceive myself in order to make it so.

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