Shots Across the Bow

A Reality Based Blog

 
Thursday, March 03, 2005

Scooped by the Main Stream Media

Alrighty boys, you got us licked. I'm gonna throw in the towel. Y'all were right all along. We pajama clad bloggers wouldn't know a real story if it jumped up and bit us on our Barcalounger shaped behinds. BUt you guys, you professional journalists, you really know how to go out and get a story, don't you.

Yeah, while we're out here sitting in the comfort of our own homes, spouting off quickly researched and linked commentary, you're out there in the trenches, getting the real story.
Updated: 4:39 p.m. ET March 2, 2005

MIAMI - A former topless dancer who was famously cleared of battering a Florida nightclub patron with her ďcrazy bigĒ breasts has shed her oversized silicone implants and put one of them up for auction on eBay.


Now that's a reporter with a nose for news. Well, maybe not a nose, but some bodily appendage. Yep, Reuters certainly does some fine reporting.

Of course, the fun doesn't end there. After carefully reading the article, I found this amusing disclaimer at the bottom:
Copyright 2005 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters.

Whyu is that amusing? Because it appears directly above a link to print a copy of the story, and another link to e-mail it to a friend.

Is a permalink "written permission?"

Now then, now that I know how the big guys get their stories, I think I'm going to get into investigative journalism myself, and head down to the local "Gentleman's Club", and conduct some field research.

Posted by Rich
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Friday, February 18, 2005

More Dating Tips for Dummies

My last column of dating tips inspired such a large response (2 emails and 2 comments is a large response? It is here.) that I figured I should mimic Hollywood, and do a sequel. Only unlike Hollywood, I'm going to change it up a bit. Instead of focusing on the guys, I'm going to broaden the appeal by including tips that work for either sex, because women make just as many mistakes as we do when it comes to first dates.

Believe me they do.

So here are a few more tips that apply to either sex, and probably to those in-betweeners as well.

  1. When asked out on a date, there are only two correct answers: "Yes" or "No." Polite evasions or attempts to spare the other party's feelings are like pulling a Band Aid off slowly. In an attempt to minimize the pain, you actually make it hurt more and last longer.
  2. When asked for a second date, Rule 1 still applies. If you would rather dive into a swimming pool filled with hungry piranha than go out with this person again, say so. Don't be that blunt about it, but be honest and direct. It's better to be stabbed through the heart than drawn and quartered.
  3. If you happen to be going out with someone who violates rule 1 or 2, run. If by some chance your perseverance is rewarded with an actual relationship, this type of passive-aggressive behavior will slowly reduce you to a quivering lump of grade school cafeteria tapioca. Heed the warning signs and leave with your dignity and spine intact.
  4. Remember, this is a first date. The C word and the M word (Commitment and Marriage to you rookies.)are to be avoided at all costs. Talking about them is a sure sign of either increasing desperation or unresolved emotional baggage and is a sure fire ticket back to singing "Alone Again, Naturally."
  5. Asking what your date does for a living is fine; asking how much they make at it is not. It is amazing how many miss this subtle distinction. The only possible response to a question this rude is to answer with a lie. Tell 'em you made a mint in software design and got out before it crashed. Then take 'em home to your doublewide and see how quickly they remember another engagement they have to go to. If you don't have a doublewide, let me know; I'll hook you up.
  6. As a rule, fibbing is permitted but lying is not. For example, it's OK to tell your date that you think her dress looks nice on her when in truth it resembles a gunny sack after a particularly brutal potato sack race. It's not OK to tell her that you love her just to get into her panties. Which by the way is a severe behavioral disorder; men wear boxers or briefs, never panties.
  7. I'll finish up this section with a twin bill: Never settle, but give everyone a chance. The one you overlook or blow off just might be the one you needed. Look at it this way; if the majority of your dates end badly, and you keep choosing the same type of person to date, well then, like the man said, the simplest definition of insanity is to repeat the same steps over and over but expect different results. On the other hand, if you've been out a few times, and things are nice, but not what you're looking for, don't stick with it out of fear of being alone. Don't settle for less than you need.


Blind dates have their own special set of rules. First, you have to realize that if you're out on a blind date, it means that you have been unable to find an acceptable date on your own, for whatever reason, and now have to resort to friends, the internet, newspaper ads or telephone chat lines to find someone willing to go out with you. This sounds harsh, and it is, but it's also true. It could be that you simply don't have the time to look for a companion and so have to rely on somebody else to do it for you. You might be a single parent, or work 60 hours a week, or something similar, or you just might not now where to meet people. In any event, the important thing to remember is that whoever you hook up with is in the same boat.

So be nice.

  1. Be extra polite and considerate of your date's feelings. The normal tension of a first date is quadrupled in a blind date, and an off-the-cuff remark may cause your date to break out into tears. If he does, just realize he's under a great deal of stress, and isn't totally himself.
  2. Plan an activity that you will enjoy, regardless of the company. This has a triple benefit. First, if you are enjoying yourself, you'll feel less tension, and will be more likeable. Second, you find out if your date is in to something you're in to, and finally, why be miserable just because your date is?
  3. Don't mistake desperation for attraction. You don't want just anybody; you want somebody. If the only reason you're going out with someone is because it's better than being alone, then you're wasting your time going out with the wrong person. Find the right one.
  4. On a related note, and this applies to more than just blind dates, "Love the One you're With" is great as a lyric but rarely works as a lifestyle. Leaving aside the attendant problems (pregnancy, disease, AIDS, palimony, and boiled bunny rabbits), it can really interfere with attempts to form a real relationship.


Now then, let's assume you've been dating for awhile and you've become intimate; you're not out of the woods yet my friend. There are still plenty of pitfalls waiting to trip you up and gore your vitals with sharp pointy sticks smeared with rat feces.

I may have pushed that analogy a bit too far but I'll press on with a few tips for the steady dater:
  1. 3-6 dates. You've been going out for a couple of weeks to a month. You are now officially an item. You're in that touchy area where dating around is starting to morph into cheating. While there may have been no explicit discussions of monogamy, you know it's on the table in the near future. How do you navigate this minefield? Rule of thumb: If you feel the need to hide it, don't do it. And I mean that both ways: don't do what you're thinking about hiding and don't hide what you're thinking about doing. Openness and honesty are the keys to surviving this crucial time.
  2. 6-10 dates. That loose feeling in your stomach is the realization that you are now in a relationship. Her toothbrush is in your bathroom or his socks are under your bed. Domesticity isn't knocking on the door selling encyclopedias for the kids just yet, but it's in the neighborhood and headed your way. Do not panic. You wanted this, remember? Those lonely nights sitting in the living room in your underwear listening to the Carpenters sing "Yesterday Once More" (I'm sharing too much again, aren't I?)drove you here. The mild panic is just a reflex; your inner child is afraid of change. Ride it out; you'll feel much better in about a week.
  3. 10+ dates. You are no longer dating; you are a couple, and you just go out. You're settling into a comfortable zone. THIS IS A DISASTER WAITING TO HAPPEN!!! As soon as you get comfortable, you begin to take things for granted, and I guarantee your partner will do something to make you a bit less comfortable if you're not careful. Something like using your dirty laundry to potty train a diarhettic St. Bernard. And you don't even have a dog; your partner had to go to the pound to find one.

    If you've already screwed up and gotten to this point, take immediate action to correct the problem. Buy jewelry for women or power tools for men. Men, if you are the one who lapsed, apologize abjectly. If your partner is the one who goofed, you still apologize abjectly. This is known as Hailey's Law of Non-Reciprocity, which states that the only offense more grievous than being wrong in an argument with your spouse is being right.


OK, enough with the tips. Feel free to add your own in the comments, or disagree with the ones I've posted. Share a dating horror story or two; we've all got 'em, that's for sure. As for me, I'm headed out to a hockey game tonight.

Nope, not a date, just an evening out with family.

Posted by Rich
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Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Christmas Shopping

Today is December 22nd and I just started my Christmas shopping. And finished it.

Mostly finished, that is. There are still a couple of details I have to take care of tomorrow, but for the most part, Iíve finished shopping for 6 kids, my mom, my brother and sister, my in-laws, and assorted friends, relatives, and acquaintances.

I've got a system.

See, Christmas is a holiday for folks who thrive on a challenge, who live for the pressure that high stakes and looming deadlines bring. If you arenít a pressure junkie, you might want to stick to easier holidays like Arbor Day, and leave Christmas to the professionals.

Thereís no thrill like going out on December 23rd with nothing but a list and attitude, looking for the perfect gifts for everyone on your list. It challenges your initiative, your flexibility, your creativity, and your stamina. The last Xbox sold yesterday? No worries, substitute with a DVD player and the complete Monty Pythonís Flying Circus and all will be well.


It all starts with the list. If you donít have a list, your kids are liable to get snorkels and sand buckets in December, which makes for an unhappy Christmas for you and expensive therapy bills for them later in life.

Now the kids donít make putting the list together very easy. There are two kinds of kids; type one kids will submit the FAO Schwarz catalog with every item circled. (Would you believe they sell a gold plated Slinky? Believe it! And they recommend that they be given to kids 5 years old and up! Hereís the scariest part; theyíre sold out of Ďem!) Yeah, that list is really going to help narrow things down. My kids are type two kids; when I ask them what they want for Christmas, they say ďI donít know.Ē Or they ask for very strange things. One of my sons asked for new brake rotors for his car.

That just screams Yuletide spirit now, doesnít it?

Iím sorry, car parts simply donít cut it as Christmas gifts. Christmas is for things you want, not things you need.

Anyway, since the kids never tell me what they want, I have to be a little devious; I listen to them when they talk to me. They never expect that one.

Throughout the year, I pay attention to the things they like, and keep track of things that keep their interest more than a week or so. Then, as December approaches, I lay these out in a grid bounded on one side by order of preference as determined by a combination of the child's statements and my own evaluation (Is it noisy? Does it need batteries? Does it require a litter box or frequent walks?); bounded on the second side by expense, and bounded on the third by availability, resulting in a 3 dimensional matrix of choices, each ranked according to three criteria. This matrix is then folded through space-time, resulting in a unidimensional array, AKA a shopping list.

I knew Iíd use that high school physics one day!

I repeat this process for each child, finishing up with six comprehensive yet organized lists, subdivided by the destination of the presents (Tree or Stocking). Armed with these lists, I head to the local shopping mall, and prepare to do battle. Online shopping is for rich lawyers, those with weak hearts, and agoraphobics. Those of us who truly love the season want to be down in the trenches, going elbow to elbow in the quest for the last Tickle Me Elmo. Itís what Christmas is all about, you know.

Speaking of Tickle Me Elmo, Iím going to let you in on a little piece of shopping strategy. Now this is advanced stuff you wonít get in Combat Shopping 101, so use it wisely. The big ďtoy of the yearĒ can make or break your Christmas. Usually, whatever it is, itís over hyped while the supply is kept low to artificially create a huge demand. While people are screaming and yelling, fighting to get the latest version of the Cabbage Patch kids todays before Christmas, 2 days after Christmas, those dolls will wind up broken and abandoned on the floor with the rest of the toys, while the kids play in a fort they built out of empty boxes and torn up wrapping paper.

Donít waste your time and money on the trendy stuff. If your kid absolutely has to have it, pick it up half price at an after Christmas sale. Now that's all pretty basic stuff, but hereís the advanced part. If you happen to get your mitts on one of these high demand items, it's like winning the lottery. Youíre not going to give it to the kid, that's a rookie move; instead, wait until Christmas Eve, then head to the parking lot of your local Toys R Us, and scalp it. That one $49.95 investment can pay for your entire Christmas with a little left over for next year if you play the deal right.

A word to the wise, eh?

So anyway, now Iím at the mall with my carefully sorted lists, and itís time to go on the attack. Hereís where the real fun begins. Shoppers on the 23rd are usually exhausted from the ordeal of weeks of shopping, and are easy pickings for a refreshed seasoned professional like myself. I move quickly from store to store, checking off item after item, filling my hands with bags and boxes of gifts, each carefully considered yet quickly chosen thanks to the extensive preparation of the lists. I almost feel sorry for those less prepared, and thatís one of the reasons I write this piece now, to give some hope and help to those less organized.

Once the shopping is done, itís time to head home and begin wrapping the gifts. Itís kind of an ironic trade off. When the kids were younger, and Santa did all the gifts, I didnít have to wrap anything, but I spent many a Christmas Eve up until the wee hours assembling bicycles, train sets, and slot car tracks, or putting 1.73 million stickers on a ďReal Western Play Set,Ē complete with 8 town buildings, all of which need the stickers applied. I dreamed of the day when this would no longer be necessary, and now that that day has arrived, Iím up until the wee hours wrapping the presents instead of putting them together.

And Iím not very good at it. How can scissors, paper, ribbon and tape be so difficult to manage? And can somebody please tell me how you wrap a football? I guess you could just roll the thing up in paper and tie off the ends with ribbon, but that would kind of spoil the surprise wouldnít it? It took me several years of wrapping before I realized that you could buy boxes to wrap odd things in. Even so, Iím too cheap (I prefer Ďfrugalí but itís just us here. I can be honest with you.) to buy them as often as I should. Instead I try to improvise. One year, I built a framework out of leftover straws to try and disguise a baseball bat.

It will come as no great surprise to all of you that that particular plan failed miserably.

I did good last year though. I bought my son a drum kit, and so he wouldnít know, I left the drums in the garage and wrapped the drumsticks. Then I put them in a durdur and wrapped that. (A durdur is the cardboard tube that paper towels are wrapped around, so named because thatís the sound you make when you use an empty one to pretend youíre trumpeting the arrival of the King: dur dur de durÖdu dur!) Then I put the durdur into a poster tube and wrapped that. Then I put the poster tube in an old TV box filled with a cement block and lots of foam popcorn.

Now you might think I was going to too much trouble, but son #1, who the drums were for, has an uncanny knack for guessing his presents beforehand. He can pick up a wrapped box, shake it briefly, weigh it, listen to it, maybe sniff it twice, and tell you whatís in there. One year, he guessed that he was getting a sweater, named the color, and told us it was too small.

And he was right.

I got him last year though. He thought it was a brick instead of a concrete block.

Anyway, wrapping is the last stage and I get through that with a minimum of fuss, and Christmas is ready to go.

Thatís not so tough, now, is it?

This is one of Richís kids. Donít believe a word of what he wrote. He goes and gets us gift certificates and leaves those under the tree. Thatís how he gets it done so easily. Not that Iím complaining. When he used to really shop for us, well, letís just say it wasnít pretty.

Posted by Rich
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Monday, December 20, 2004

First Rule of the Beauty Parlor…Nobody Talks About the Beauty Parlor

Guys, this column is for you in particular, as I have just had a major revelation.

I have a talent. (No, that's not the revelation.)

I can be invisible.

Not literally of course, but I can almost drop completely off the human radar screens. I am something of a social chameleon, and can blend into almost any group. In fact, if I concentrate, I can actually blend into the background; it almost becomes like I'm not there at all. While this ability is something of a drag when at a party or going clubbing, it's perfect for a chronicler of the human condition. It's a talent that came in handy for Sir Richard Burton on his Pilgramage to Mecca, and came in doubly so for me as I ventured deep into forbidden territory to bring you this column.

Sometimes, I have to fight and strain to bring you the latest news and information on our twisted human existence; other times, like today, these stories just fall into my lap like hair from the barber's shears. Which brings me to the beauty parlor, a realm heretofore unpenetrable by men.

Oh sure, you can go there and get your hair cut, but as any woman will confirm, the actual haircutting is the smallest part of what goes on inside those hallowed walls. Similar to the afternoon golf game, or the business lunch, male rituals we are all familiar with, going to the beauty parlor is the place where women can let their hair down while they, er, let their hair down. I mean, come on, you guys didn't think that your ladies really need to get their hair professionally washed, cut, dried, combed, and curled once a week, did you? After all, they've been doing it themselves for most of their lives, right?

Nope, the big attraction is that they can get together and talk about us and all of our shortcomings in excruciating detail. It's very similar to the "going to the bathroom in pairs" phenomena that's left countless men staring off into space, waiting for their dates to return. Now this isn't really a well kept secret, having been discovered and reported to us two decades ago by Martin Wilson of Bethchester MA. (May his poor soul rest in peace.) The true secret is the one I inadvertantly discovered last week.

The circumstances were somewhat harrowing, and it is with fear and trepidation that I've decided to relay it to you now. I also note in passing that I have no plans of suicide, taking up any dangerous hobbies, or going on long trips in the near future.

Just in case I disappear, I want the truth to be known.

Now, normally, I get my hair cut by a local lady who cuts hair for our whole extended family, but she was busy last week so I got an appointment at a salon in Sevierville. Yes, a salon; it's too hard to find an honest to goodness barber shop anymore. In fact, the only one I know of is up in Erwin, and I don't plan on making that drive again ever. I made the 3 hour round trip 5 times a week for almost 4 years and brother, I don't care if I never see those roads again.

Anyway, I went to Chez Gertrudina's for a quick haircut so I'd be reasonably presentable for the Christmas pictures later this week. (That's another important tip for you daters, by the way. Most men make the mistake of getting a haircut the day of the date. They think they can impress the girl by showing her that they went to great lengths to look good for the date. But the smarter dater gets his hair cut a week before the date. He impresses his date by showing her that he always looks this good.)

For a man, there's something vaguely intimidating about a salon. When you first walk in, something just tells you that you really don't belong, and that if you aren't on your best behavior, dreadful things may happen to your hair. Most people don't know this, but the mullet was invented as a punishment for Billy Bob Hoedecker who loudly passed gas while in the salon.

Twice.

Sadly, this was one case where the plan backfired. Who knew that he and his redneck buddies would actually like looking like the north end of a southbound mule?

I don't know what it is that makes the place so forbidding; maybe it's the smell of the chemicals, or the pictures of androgynous models on the walls with impossibly perfect hair. Maybe it's just an instinctive respone, brought on by centuries of evolution; when a man walks into a woman's salon, he's on enemy ground, and he knows it.

When I walked into the place, I was pleased that it was just two stylists and me. Ginni took me back to begin the cutting, and I leaned back in the seat, and just tried to blend in. I succeeded, because after a few minutes, Ginni and Bunni (Ever noticed that stylists names always end in a vowel, and it's usually "i"? A trait they share in common with exotic dancers, I do believe. Hmmm. I just may have found the seed for another column. The things I do for you people...) began talking as if I wasn't even there. Apparently, Ginni was having a hard time dealing with her son, who was getting out of hand. She tallied up his offenses, which were long and mostly minor, but the sheer volume was incredible. Bunni allowed that her youngster was a bit of a rapscallion as well, and that she was having to take harsh actions to reign in her hellion.

They went back and forth for a bit, sharing their sad tales when Bunni suddenly spoke with real venom.

"You know what the worst part of the whole thing was? Frank said I was going too easy on the kid and he was right! I hate that!"

Ginni echoed her, saying that her husband had also said the same thing, and now that they were following his plan, her kid was straightening up. Ginni said she was mad at her husband for three weeks simply because he was right.

"Men are right," she spat, "and that sucks!"

Well folks, truths like this don't come without a heavy price, and I don't mind telling you I was a bit nervous, because it was about that time in the conversation that Ginni, who was trimming my eyebrows with some very sharp scissors, realized that there was a man in the room, and they'd just revealed more than they should've.

An oppressive silence descended over the room, as Ginni continued to move the scissors ever closer to my eye, trimming my eye brows.

"Listen buster, and listen good. What's said in the Beaty Parlor stays in the Beauty Parlor, got it? If I find out you blab any of this to anyone, well, let's just say that your next haircut will be your last. And don't think I can't make it happen, bubba. I have connections in salons and barber shops from here to the California coast. Cross me and there'll be no place for you to hide! Sooner or later, you'll need a haircut, and when you do..."

Her words trailed off in an evil sounding laugh, accompanied by her drawing the business end of a comb across my throat.

I quickly began to assure her that I'd fallen asleep and hadn't heard a thing she had said, and further that if I had heard anything, which I hadn't, then it obviously fell under stylist/client privilege, and even further, that even if it wasn't privileged, which it was, and if I had heard something, which I hadn't, that I was totally taken by her beauty, grace, charm, and capacity for violence, and I wouldn't think of crossing her.

My sincerity and obvious fear must have convinced her, because she let me go with my remaining eyebrow. If she'd have known about this blog, I don't think I would have made it out of there a whole man. I left a big tip on my way out and have spent the last week, deciding whether or not to share this story with my fellow man. At long last, I decided that this knowledge was too important, that no matter what the personal cost, I had to come forward and share what I know.

So fellows, if you come home to your wife, girlfriend, or significant other, and she seems pissed for no discernible reason, rest assured, she's just coping with the agonizing realization that, once again, you were right.

And if you see me coming down the street with a ragged haircut and only one eyebrow, just realize that cutting my own hair for the rest of my life is a small price to pay for your peace of mind.

Anybody know where I can find a FlowBee?

Posted by Rich
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Thursday, December 16, 2004

Happy Holidays!

There's a lot of stress surrounding Christmas, and I think it's time we did something to dial it down a notch. I read the other day that more people die of heart attacks or natural causes during the holidays. The bright boys who did the survey suggested it was because folks having the heart attacks were having too much fun partying to go to the hospital. I've seen 3 people having heart attacks; one at the horse track during the Preakness, one out on Ft Loudon Lake while boating, and one trying to make a flight in Atlanta's airport. None of them looked to be having much fun, and each appeared grateful for the trip to the ambulance.

No, I'm pretty sure it's the stress of the holidays that gets 'em. After all, from Thanksgiving through New Years it's almost all one big blur of celebrations, vacations, and parties. Productivity in the office goes to hell, except for the poor schlub in cubicle 24 who has no social life and winds up carrying the entire office for 5 weeks while everyone else exists in a fog of calories, alcohol, and the never ending orgy of rampant consumerism. Christmas means six weeks of trying to maintain good cheer 24/7 and as if that wasn't hard enough, the stores are working overtime to extend the season.

When I was a kid, Christmas started the day after Thanksgiving. Now, there are Christmas decorations up 2 weeks before Halloween. What's up with that? In October, I'm thinking vampires, skeletons, and witches, not Kris Kringle and snow angels. So now, the holiday season extends almost 9 weeks and therein lies the problem.

The shopping, the traffic jams around the mall, the wads of cash that evaporate during the month of December, dealing with other harried parents with desperation on their faces as they square off over the last Cabbage Patch Kid, or Sponge Bob Electric Door Guardian on the shelf (And no, Patrick is not an acceptable substitute; darling little Annalisa simply must have Sponge Bob! Get it for her Phillip!*) none of that really causes trouble. We're used to dealing with that kind of stuff every day of our lives.

What makes us crazy, and drives poor old Uncle Elmer to a heart attack is the unrelenting pressure on us, forcing us to enjoy all this madness! On any given day, you have a little bit of that pressure. "Have a nice day!" Every clerk, waitress, shopkeeper, even the perky weatherwoman on TV who just informed you that a blizzard is on the way that will bury your car in an eight foot snow drift as well as raise your electric bill to roughly the size of the National Debt of a third world country just prior to a military coup will urge you to have a nice day, burdening you with the obligation to try and fulfill their wish. After all, weíre Americans, that's what we do, try and give people what they want. But that's OK, we all deal with that, and we know that despite our best intentions or their best wishes, into every life a crappy day will fall, and it's no big deal.

But now it's Christmas, and they order us to "Have a Happy Holiday" and the holiday is now 9 flipping weeks long! There isn't that much happiness on the planet, folks, and we're trying to hog it all for Christmas! So I decided that this year, I wasn't going to be responsible for a happiness shortage in Budapest just because the night clerk at the mini-mart wished me "Happy Holidays." I refused to take more than my fair share of happiness.

But that left me with a quandary. I know how to work at being happy; how do you work at being unhappy? It usually came so naturally to me that having to work at it proved to be a bit of a mystery. I tried hanging out at funeral homes, and that kinda worked, until I was arrested for trespassing. Incarceration was a bit more unhappiness than I was prepared to deal with. After all, while I didnít want to hoard happiness, I didnít want to run a delight deficit either. Finally, I decided the best way to moderate my misery was to watch the UT Notre Dame game once a week until Thanksgiving. The frustration I felt watching Rick Clausen throw that pass costing us the game nicely countered all the cherry wishes of the minions of mercantilism. (Iím in an alliterative mood tonight!) Fortunately, November 25th eventually arrived, and I was free to be the happy camper you all have come to expect without feeling guilty for hovering happiness. (That was the last one. I promise.)

Now, yíall donít have to go to the extremes I did; just realize that you donít have to be happy all the time, and youíll cut holiday stress in half, which paradoxically makes it more lkely that youíll actually be happy.


*Iíve always felt sorry for the cartoon sidekicks; while it is nearly impossible to find anything with Sponge Bob on it right now, there's shelf after shelf of Patrick merchandise gathering dust and destined for that mysterious warehouse where unwanted toys are left to decay away in a sad silence.

Posted by Rich
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Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Dating Tips

Katie Granju posted recently about how dating sucks and listed some of the offenses committed by some of her recent dates. Reading through the list, it's pretty clear that there are a lot of guys out there who could use some dating advice. Now I'm not the greatest at dating; in fact, I wasn't very good at it in high school, and my skills haven't improved after 10 years of neglect during my marriage. (Which, come to think of it, might have something to do with why I'm no longer married, but I digress.)

But there are a few things I'm clear on and I guess I need to share them with those of you who are worse off than I am, and you know who you are. And so, here's a quick list of first date tips for those returning to the dating scene after a long absense, or those who just haven't gotten the hang of it yet.

  1. A pre-date shower is not optional; it's required. Yes, manly men engaged in manly pursuits like playing football and fixing cars do sweat, and there are women who like to see a bare chested sweaty man, but only if it's Mel Gibson or Tom Cruise. And I can guarantee you aren't either of them, because you wouldn't need this advice if you were. A woman wants a man who smells like a man, not a draft horse.

    Clean it up, fellas. While you're at it, brush your teeth, comb your hair, and wear clean underwear. Oh, and check your fingernails as well. Chewing them off on the way to pick her up is not good enough. Trim those bad boys.

  2. Go easy on the cologne. Yes, most women like it when you smell nice, but they don't want to smell you from 3 blocks away. If she opens the door and tears come to her eyes, chances are that she's not weeping with joy at your mere presence; you went overboard on the Brut. Speaking of Brut, find a scent that works for you. Old Spice and English Leather may have worked for your dad, but unless you want to date your mom, you might want to invest in something a little more current. Your best bet is to have a female friend help you find a scent that suits you. Your other option is to ask the clerk at the store, but be careful with that; try to find a clerk in the same age range as the women you'll be dating. What smells good to a 20 year old youngster may not smell good to a 35 year old woman. Remember too, a good cologne reacts with your body chemistry; it smells different on you than it does coming out of the bottle.

    Once you've found the right cologne, put it on early, 30 minutes before the date. That gives it time to blend with your skin, and lets the excess evaporate. Less is more; if she likes the way you smell, and has to be closer to you to appreciate it, why, that's good for everybody, right?

  3. Wear clothing appropriate for the date. Attending a symphony in ragged jeans and a tye dyed tee doesn't make you a rebel; it makes you look ridiculous.

  4. Clean out your car! No old McDonalds bags on the floor, dried up french fries in the ash tray, or melted crayons on the seat. She's not going to see your house on a first date, so her only impression of how you live will be your car. It doesn't have to be fancy, just clean.

  5. Flowers are nice, but optional. If you do bring flowers, skip the roses and go with a seasonal arrangement; roses are for later. Tell the person at the flower shop (not Wal Mart) that you want a small bouquet for a first date, and they'll set you up. Mums, daisies, or wild flowers work well. Forget the chocolates until the second date. Too many women are weight conscious, and will not react well to box of empty calories. After the first date, you should know her well enough to know whether chocolates are a good thing, or on the forbidden list.

OK, that's enough for the prelims. Let's move on to the date itself. You've picked her up; you're on your way to dinner or lunch.
  1. Forget fast food. On later dates, it may fit in with your plans, but you don't want her to think you're cheap. You don't have to go to the Regas, but choose a nice place where you can sit and talk for awhile, and get to know each other. The last thing you want her to associate you with is screaming kids and a manic depressive clown.

  2. Remember the manners your momma taught you. Open doors for her, take her coat, seat her first, treat her like the lady she is. Even if she happens to be an "exotic dancer" at Th' Katch, there's no excuse for bad manners. Now, this may cause a problem if she's a radical feminist, but chances are, if she's going out on a date with you, she isn't. And if she is, it's good to find this out early on in the date.

    Eat using the proper utensils. Mashed potatoes is not a finger food. Use your napkin. If you have a moustache or beard, keep them food free. Calling your moustache a "flavor saver" may have been funny to the fellows when you were out at sea, but you're on dry land now, sailor. Keep it clean.

  3. You're buying. Now this rule is negotiable, because some women feel pressured unless they pay their own way. If you are dating one of these women, then when she raises the issue, accept her wishes gracefully. An exception to this rule is if she asks you out. Rule of thumb is whoever asks, pays, unless you discuss other arrangements.

  4. Talk to her. This doesn't mean going into your last hernia operation in gory detail, including photographs and an exploration of the scarred area. That can wait until the third date.

    Find interests you have in common and explore them. After all, you're there to get to know more about each other; talking about the last UT game may interest you, but she won't know anything more about you.

  5. Listen to her. Let her talk to you. Encourage her to talk about her interests, and actually pay attention. Show her that you're interested and ask questions. After all, if you aren't really interested in her, why are you there? (For all you smart aleks who instantly answered "To get laid", email me for directions to Hillary's House of Hillbilly Love (and Bait Shop). You'll find what you're looking for there.) Leave the ladies alone.

  6. Pick an activity that encourages communication and closeness. Dancing is great, but if you or your date have two left feet, a movie works as well. Even though you spend two hours not talking to each other, you have a built in topic of conversation afterwards. What's most important is to pick something that interests you, and share that interest with her.

OK, now the date is winding down. You've had dinner, gone dancing, to a concert, or a show, maybe had a cup of coffee or a drink to wind down, and you're taking her home. How do you end the date successfully, i.e. goodnight kiss or hug?
I'm going to say that 99% of the time, if you've followed the tips above, a good night kiss will be welcomed; after all, we aren't in high school anymore. But you must watch her signals throughout the date. If she's affectionate, if you are both touching frequently, if you share space comfortably, then go for the kiss. On the other hand, if she's tense or standoffish, or if she's been very shy, forcing the issue won't work. Settle for hug, and go on your way.

If all she'll do is shake hands, well, there probably was no chemistry between you, and it's time to move on.

The tricky part is the middle ground, where you've had a good time, but don't know if she kisses on the first date. In this case, your best bet is to give her a hug, then pull back slightly and look at her. If she meets your eyes, go for the kiss. If she's looking away, that's a sign that she feels like you're invading her space. End the hug and say goodnight. If you go for a kiss and she turns her head, you misread the signals, but she's giving you a graceful way out. Don't force her to use the head bump to stop your overly amorous intentions. Just kiss her on the cheek and say goodnight.

If you do get the kiss, now is not the time for tonsil hockey, Pedro; unless of course she initiates it, in which case, participate with enthusiasm and hopefully skill. Here, as in cologne, less can be more.

If she invites you inside, well, I hope you can take it from there, because this is a family blog, after all.


Now the date is over. What next? What do you do to see her again, or let her know you don't want to see her again?
Call her within a couple of days (3 at the most), whether you want to see her again or not. Thank her for the date, let her know you had a good time, and if you want to see her again, ask her out. If not, let her know that while you had fun, you aren't interested in going any further. Be polite, but firm. (This is the area I have the most trouble with. I hate making people feel bad.)

If you do get a second date, now would be a good time to send a gift. At this point, roses are still a bit much, but depending on how the first date went, they can be appropriate. Make sure to have them sent to her home, not her place of work. Surprising her at work is a romantic gesture, but could get her into trouble. On the other hand, if she happens to be maried, sending them to her home might also get her into trouble.

Try and be a little creative on the gift thing. A box of chocolates is nice, but kind of boring. How about Godiva chocolate ice cream and two spoons? Or a trip to the Marble Slab Creamery instead? Put some thought into it; it'll pay off later.

Finally, a list of dating dont's.
  • DON'T talk about your last relationship. She will ask, because she wants to make sure that you have dated before (this let's her know you aren't a complete jerk) and that it's over. A 30 minute rant about how the %$&^*$! ruined your life will result in an early end to your evening. Just mention that you broke up, grew apart, went your separate ways, or some other generic comment to let her know that it is over, and that you are no longer obssessed with hunting the %@*&! down and killing her.
  • DON'T tell an endless stream of dirty/racist/sexist jokes. Unless of course, you met via a Klan dating service, in which case, you deserve each other.
  • DON'T fart out loud. Again, unless you met at a Klan meeting, since that's liable to be the most intelligent conversation the two of you will share all evening.
  • DON'T expect sex on the first date. Yes, you're both adults, and chances are both of you have 'done it' before, but tonight ain't necessarily the night. And if it is, then let it be a surprise to you. This has probably been the biggest surprise in my return to dating. What used to take weeks, and tremendous amount of pleading and persuasion now may occur within a few dates. Just don't expect it. Treat her like a lady, and she'll let you know if she's amenable.
  • DON'T discuss religion unless it is primary to your life, and you absolutely must (or absolutely will not) date a Catholic/Jew/Muslim/Mormon/Zorastrian Buddhist or whatever. Same with politics. After all, if Carville and Matelin can make their marriage work, why let politics get in the way of a first date?
  • DON'T get drunk. Don't even get tipsy. In fact, try not to let her drink too much either. You don't want to be tomorrow's regret. Even if the date is totally miserable, you have nothing in common, and you'd rather be getting a root canal without anesthetic than spend another moment with your date, don't do it. Only bad things can come of it. Either you'll tell her the truth, leading to an ugly scene, or the beer goggles may kick in and you'll wake up the next morning in bed with her. And married.

    Yikes.

  • DON'T eat ribs on a first date. There's no way to eat ribs and maintain any kind of cool, so avoid it at all costs. Spaghetti is another good one to avoid.
  • Finally, DON'T ask if her breasts are real! (I'm amazed I even have to say this.) A real man knows without asking, and a gentleman will find out for himself in the fullness of time.


And there you have it. Some of these should be common sense, but after talking to some of the women I've dated, it's painfully clear that sense isn't as common as it used to be.

Ladies, feel free to add to this list, make comments, corrections, or clarifications where needed. Part of the burden of having a good first date falls on you as well. Most of us guys out here want you to have a good time with us; we're just not always certain how to accomplish that.

Posted by Rich
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Friday, December 03, 2004

Why Do They Wear Shoes?

Here at Shots, I try to deal with all of the burning issues of the day, including the classical dilemma's that have puzzled mankind for centuries, like "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?"

I worked on that particular question for weeks, querying evolutionary biologists, paleontologists, archeologists, and even a couple of Creationists, gathering as many facts as possible in order to unriddle this conundrum. Eventually, after a long night of contemplation while watching a Family Bonds marathon on HBO, I heard the sound of one eye blinking and achieved a Zen-like state of satori and the answer came:

It was the rooster.

Having solved that one, I moved on to one that was even more puzzling. Why do strippers wear shoes?

I mean, they're getting naked and dancing on a stage, leaping and whirling around on poles, gyrating and crawling on all fours. Why do they need to wear 4 inch heels? Is it a law? Is there some requirement that they must keep on one article of clothing to avoid a charge of lewd conduct? I can tell you from experience that many of these women could be

Now I've sampled the swankiest gentlemen's clubs and sleaziest nudie bars in 11 states and 6 countries; this is not something I'm proud of, but I must establish my credentials, you know. After all, I am a serious journalist. Just like it took the TBI and local law enforcement tens of thousands of dollars and 3 years worth of visits to discover that massage parlors in East Tennessee were actually fronts for prostitution (gasp!), so too it took me years of study and untold numbers of dollar bills to acquire a basic familiarity with the ecdysiast in her usual habitat.

But I'm willing to make any sacrifice, no matter how painful, in order to seek out the truth and bring it back to you. No, you don't have to thank me; it's all part of the job.

So, in search of the truth, I went out to The Katch, the classiest local strip club, to conduct some field research. I observed the dancers for a couple of hours, only in order to verify that each and every dancer did in fact maintain her shoes on at all times. In some instances, I observed from a very close range, so close that one might even call it intimate. However, the close range observations were hampered due to the fact that the dancer's position relative to my sight line combined with her natural...er...talents, kept her feet totally out of focus. I was forced to repeat my observations several times, but with no success.

Darn the luck.

However, I bravely pressed on with observations from a more conducive distance and did manage to ascertain that the girls do always wear shoes. Having nailed down the facts of the matter (and having blown through my supply of singles) I moved to the next phase of my investigation, the personal interview. In order to determine why they wore shoes, it was necessary to ask them. The scientific method demanded it. Who am I to go against the dictates of science?

I chose a lovely little blonde named Bambi for my first interview. (It never ceases to amaze me how many parents name their daughters Bambi, Autumn, Mercedes, and the like. How did they know so early on that their daughters would choose to strip for a living? Maybe that's the next issue I'll investigate. Volunteers to assist in this research may apply by email. The requirements are simple; a ready supply of dollar bills and no jealous wife who'll berate me for corrupting their husbands.)

I asked Bambi why it was that the girls always wore shoes when they danced naked. Her answer incorporated advanced thermodynamics, nuclear physics, basic meteorology, and a smattering of chaos theory. She must have noticed the dull glaze in my eyes and took pity on me, simplifying her answer so that I could follow. According to her, they wear shoes for temperature control. Similar to the old saying, "Cover your head to keep your feet warm," she said that since dancers were mostly bare, they kept their feet covered to keep their heads warm.

It made sense to me at the time.

As we were discussing the issue, a brunette named Diamond eased by. Overhearing our conversation, she said "Huh! And I thought we wore them to make our asses look better!" and walked on in search of her next tip.

Nonchalantly, Bambi said "Well that's another good reason!" and proceeded to hit me up for a couch dance. Having accomplished my mission, (and blown all my cash) I regretfully declined and headed for home.

So there you have it folks, two explanations for the price of one. Which is ironically appropriate when you think abou tit.

Posted by Rich
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Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Texas Politics

From my email

A Letter From Texas:

[Please note that Texas is the only state with a legal right to secede from the Union. (Reference the Texas-American Annexation Treaty of 1848.)
We Texans love y'all, but we'll have to take action if Kerry wins over Bush. We'll miss you too. Texas has given all those complainers plenty of time to get used to the results of the last election. After seeing the whiners along the campaign route, the folks from Texas are considering taking matters into their own hands. Here is what will happen:
  1. If John Kerry becomes President of the United States, Texas will immediately secede from the Union.
  2. George W. Bush will become the President of the Republic of Texas.


So what does Texas have to do to survive as a Republic?
  1. . NASA is just south of Houston, Texas. We will control the space industry.
  2. We refine over 85% of the gasoline in the United States.
  3. Defense Industry-we have over 65% of it. The term "Don't mess with Texas," will take on a whole new meaning.
  4. Oil - we can supply all the oil that the Republic of Texas will need for the next 300 years. Yankee states? Sorry about that.
  5. Natural Gas - again we have all we need and it's too bad about those northern states. John Kerry will figure out a way to keep them warm...
  6. Computer Industry - we currently lead the nation in producing computer chips and communications-small places like Texas Instruments, Dell Computer, EDS, Raytheon, National Semiconductor, Motorola, Intel, AMD, Atmel, Applied Materials, Ball Semiconductor, Dallas Semiconductor, Delphi, Nortel, Alcatel, etc, etc. The list goes on and on.
  7. Medical Care - We have the largest research centers for cancer research, the best burn centers and the top trauma units in the world, as well as other large health centers. Dallas has some of the best hospitals in the United States.
  8. We have enough colleges to keep us going: University of Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Rice, SMU, University of Houston, Baylor, UNT (University of North Texas), Texas Women's University, etc. Ivy grows better in the South anyway
  9. We have a ready supply of workers. We could just open the border when we need some more.
  10. We have essential control of the paper industry, plastics, insurance, etc.
  11. In case of a foreign invasion, we have the Texas National Guard and the Texas Air National Guard. We don't have an Army, but since everybody down here has at least six rifles and a pile of ammo, we can raise an Army in 24 hours if we need one. If the situation really gets bad, we can always call the Department of Public Safety and ask them to send over Chuck Norris and a couple of Texas Rangers.
  12. We are totally self-sufficient in beef, poultry, hogs, and several types of grain, fruit and vegetables, and let's not forget seafood from the Gulf. Also, everybody down here knows how to cook them so that they taste good. Don't need any food.


This just names a few of the items that will keep the Republic of Texas in good shape. There isn't a thing out there that we need and don't have.
Now to the rest of the United States under President Kerry:
Since you won't have the refineries to get gas for your cars, only President Kerry will be able to drive around in his big 9 mpg SUV. The rest of the United States will have to walk or ride bikes.
You won't have any TV as the Space Center in Houston will cut off satellite communications.
You won't have any natural gas to heat your homes, but since Mr. Kerry has predicted global warming, you will not need the gas.


Signed, The People of Texas
P.S. This is not a threatening letter - just a note to give you something to think about...BEFORE YOU VOTE TODAY.

SLEEP WELL TONIGHT

Posted by Rich
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Thursday, October 28, 2004

I Won The Lottery!

Woo Hoo! Powerball is all mine baby!

No, I'm not lying. I matched the Powerball! That's $3 to me, baby!

And he said you can't win. What does an accountant know about money, anyway?

Wait. Strike that.

Of course, the bad news is that now I've used up all my luck and will never win the grand prize since the odds of winning twice (matching 1 and then matching all 6) are 1 in 4,218,436,950.

But who's counting? I won my $3!

Posted by Rich
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Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Heaven’s Clocks

From my email:

A man died and went to heaven. As he stood in front of St. Peter at the Pearly Gates, he saw a huge wall of clocks behind him. He asked, "What are all those clocks?"

St. Peter answered, "Those are Lie-Clocks. Everyone on Earth has a Lie-Clock. Every time you lie the hands on your clock will move."

"Oh," said the man, "whose clock is that?"

"That's Mother Teresa's. The hands have never moved, indicating that she never told a lie."

"Incredible" said the man. "And whose clock is that one?"

St. Peter responded, "That's Abraham Lincoln's clock. The hands have moved twice, telling us that Abe told only two lies in his entire life."

"Where's John Kerry's clock?" asked the man.

"Kerry's clock is in Jesus' office. He's using it as a ceiling fan."

Posted by Rich
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Monday, September 13, 2004

Conspiracy Revealed!

This is an exclusive and Shots Across The Bow must be credited:

I've always aimed to present a level of analysis on this blog higher than that found in the mainstream, and indeed, even in the rest of the blogosphere, but this time, I've outdone myself. Not to blow my own horn or anything, but nobody else has even come close to the penetrating insight I had while sitting on the toilet this morning.

First, we have to consider the known facts:

  • CBS and Dan Rather present a story that's extremely damaging to President Bush. The story relies heavily on previously 'undiscovered' documents.
  • Those documents provide evidence that not only did President Bush not fulfill his duties as a National Guard member, but that there was political influence used to "sugarcoat" his record.
  • The source of these documents has been kept a secret by CBS, although some sources suggest they came from the Kerry campaign.
  • Those documents were easily detected as very crude fakes.
  • Dan Rather, despite all indications, is not a complete idiot.
  • This rather clumsy dirty trick comes after Susan Estrich, a new member of the Kerry team and 'former' Clintonista, announces that the Kerry campaign will begin using dirty tricks to fight the Bush campaign.
  • Terry McAuliffe claims no knowledge of where the memos came from, suggesting that Karl Rove should be questioned.


Okay, there's still more questions than answers at this point, right? Who produced the forgeries, and leaked them to CBS? Why would Dan Rather, who isn't brain dead, trash what's left of his career by going on the air with these obvious fakes? Why would Terry McAuliffe devise such a paranoid theory about the origin of these documents? What did the Democrats hope to gain through this botched operation?

What if it wasn't botched, but planned to occur exactly as it has?

Here are the two key bits of information needed to solve this puzzle:

In August, 1974, President Nixon was forced to resign for campaign dirty tricks and the following coverup.

In Oct. 2002, Bob Torricelli, tainted by scandal and losing his bid for the New Jersey Senate, withdrew, and was replaced by Lautenburg at the last minute. Lautenburg went on to win the election, saving a crucial Democratic seat.

The light begins to dawn, doesn't it my friends.

Kerry is losing this election, and losing it badly, and the Dems know it. They needed a way to get him out of the race, to be replaced by a candidate with a better chance of winning. The problem is there's no way for him to drop out now. Not only would they have to concede that the Democrats are in big trouble, (not a possibility) but there would be major legal obstacles, including problems getting on all the ballots if they replace a candidate following the convention.

And so, a scheme was born. Clumsily forged documents would be released by the Kerry campaign to the media, creating a scandal designed to rebound on Kerry. Dan Rather, already planning his retirement, played the part of the sacrificial lamb in this scenario, giving up a short piece of his career for the good of the Democratic Party. Kerry, more than likely, is completely ignorant of this plan, not realizing that he's about to be replaced on the Democratic ticket. He'll deny any wrongdoing, but will be 'persueded' by party members to step down as candidate. Then, a replacement candidate will be put on the ballot

So, who's the mastermind behind this Machiavellian machination? Do you think it's a coincidence that Clinton staffers have begun to take over the Kerry campaign? Is it a coincidence that James Carville is now an official advisor to the campaign? How long has he been giving unofficial advice? It seems very clear that the only mind subtle enough to be behind this whole shebang is none other than Old Serpent
Head himself. And if he's behind it all, can a Clinton be to far away?

Yes, folks, you heard it here first. This whole RatherGate scandal has been the first stage in Operation Hillary in 04.

Watch as the emphasis shifts from the media to the Kerry campaign.

Let's see Drudge top this one...

Posted by Rich
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Thursday, July 29, 2004

Unfair?  Sure.  But Funny!

kerrytubby.JPG
Found at ZudFunk via a blogad at Spoons

Posted by Rich
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That’s no moon…!

This is an actual, unretouched photo of one of Saturns moons.

Or is it?

62873main_pia05423-232-232.jpg

Posted by Rich
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Monday, June 28, 2004

Rejection sucks!

I spent Sunday afternoon on the third floor of Patrick Sullivan's Saloon making a fool out of myself.

Not that that's in any way unusual; I often make a complete fool out of myself, but this was one of the rare occasions when it was in public and on purpose.

I was trying out for the Einstein Simplified Comedy Troupe. I've written about them here before, but in case you're just joining me, they are a short form improv group, performing in the vein of Whose Line Is It Anyway? which you may have seen on ABC, or the original version on the BBC. They held an open audition on Sunday, and since I spent most of my formative childhood years being laughed at and verbally abused, I figured I must have some sort of talent for provoking laughter, especially when it's at my expense. So I figured it was time to take advantage of this talent, which should've made me a lock to win a coveted spot on the Einstein roster.

As you can tell from the title of this post, I wasn't.

The audition worked like the reverse of the standard show; we performed for the troupe, playing the same games they play each Tuesday night from 8:30 - 10:00 PM, while they smoked, ate, talked, heckled, and took calls on their cell phones. There were 12 of us trying out, so we rotated through the games, making sure everybody had the chance to make the biggest fool out of themselves they could in the time allotted.

And did we ever! Not always in the way the boys wanted, but hey, anything for a laugh, right? To our addled minds, simple instructions like, "form a square," seemed to be incomprehensible gibberish stuttered in archaic sanskrit. We were told to never ask a question in a skit; instantly that's all we could do. We barked like chickens, talked of 7 foot tall midgets, and depicted death by mop from a porn store.

This was not your normal Sunday afternoon conversation, where you talk about how the lawn looks on account of the rain, or whether Jeff Gordon will win another race, or topics equally sane and boring. This was comedy, or at least a reasonable facsimile.

Going in to the audition, I was afraid I would freeze up, and really stink up the joint. But we did a few warm up exercises, and after the first game, I relaxed, got into the flow, and then proceeded to stink up the joint. Oh, the boys gave me a polite chuckle or two here and there, and I did manage to crack up some of my fellow auditionees, but there were no belly laughs from the guys. Although Wes did take an unnecessary pot shot at my belly.

Hey Wes, that heckler in the back row that's going to throw off your timing for the next month? That'll be me, my friend.

Paybacks are a bitch, buddy.

To be perfectly honest, I knew my chances weren't good since they had mentioned several times over the past couple of weeks that they were really looking for female members, and I don't have the required genetic programming, and the surgical alterations are too expensive and frankly, scary. I mean, I guess I wouldn't mind having a set of boobs of my very own, to play with whenever I want, but the thought of excising Mr. Winky is simply out of the question. However, I did consider taping a couple of large water balloons to my chest in order to augment my chances, but I thought better of it and didn't. In retrospect, I'm glad I chose the high road, although if I had it to do over again---I'd go for the knee-shooters, baby! Heck, I'd look so good I might even start my own website.

But perhaps I'm sharing too much.

A couple of things I learned over the two and a half hour audition:
  • Improv is damned hard work. I was wired on adrenaline as I left the place, but by the time I got home, I was exhausted. You have to keep a high energy level the entire time, concentrating on your fellow performers, trying to read their cues, and give them cues to work with, and hoping to God you don't draw a blank on one of fast paced games.
  • Improv can be painful. The stage floor is not a forgiving surface, and when you're blown up in a bookstore (long story) the impact of your body hitting the floor can be stunning, not to mention frightening to the folks dining below.
  • Improv is not pretty.
    newmainaud.jpg
    Need I say more? Although honesty compels me to state that there were some very attractive auditionees there. There were also some women trying out.
  • Improv is a blast!


It wasn't until after the audition was over that I realized we'd been at it for 2.5 hours. The guys in the troupe, far from being critical and demanding, worked with all of us, and tried to keep the pressure off, allowing everyone to give their best. Laughter was the order of the day, something I've heard isn't found at many auditions.

Was I funny? Well, I'd have to say that while I may not be Adrian Cronauer yet, I'm not Lt. Hauk either. But, good, bad, or totally awful, this was the most fun I've ever had getting utterly rejected, and that's something I have a lot of experience with. In fact, I had so much fun, that I realized that these guys would do the show for free.

And so I think they should.

Henceforth and forthwith, I shall attend the show tip-free, (Except for the wait staff, who work their butts off every night)knowing that the guys in Einstein Simplified all perform for the sheer joy of it.

And for the groupies. Right Paul?

UPDATE: Auditions are a tough thing, particularly among a tight knit group like the Einsteiners and their audience. How do you tell a loyal fan that they don't have what it takes? And as a fan, how do you deal with it? I chose to laugh about it, but it has been brought to my attention that the above piece may be interpreted as a bitter slam at the guys in Einstein Simplified. Such was not my intent, and reflects only on my writing ability, or lack thereof, and possibly a reflection of my very real disappointment at not making the cut. The guys, as I said, made everything as easy for us as possible, and did their best to let us do our best. I had an absolute blast trying out.

And Wes, I won't heckle you. I respect you too much. The fact that you're 3" inches taller than me and could very well reassign my gender without the need for expensive surgery has nothing to do with it.

Posted by Rich
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Monday, June 21, 2004

Building traffic

You know, I've ben neglecting this site lately. Getting laid off and starting a new business has taken up a lot more of my time than I'd anticipated. Plus, I've ben trying to get caught up on about 3 years of household chores I've neglected because of the 3 hour daily drive I used to make.

As a result of this neglect, traffic has fallen off, especially if I discount all the comment spam. So, I need to do something to bring traffic back to my former mediocre levels, and fast.

Now, I could take the high road, and post significant articles, filled with links to heavy research, and then flog those posts unmercifully to the movers and shakers of the blog world.

But that would be, like work, and I'm kinda busy to work, particularly when I have so many more important things to do, and there are much easier ways to build traffic.

I could go off on a massively partisan tear, and just rip the other side for everything from their policies to their haircuts. Of course, there are those who believe that's all I've done here anyway.

Nope, I think this situation calls for a quick dip into the gutter of the internet. Nothing builds traffic faster than pictures of naked women. Heck, even the words "naked women" will build traffic. And so, I'm posting here a picture of the tastiest breasts I've ever seen. It's a cheap tactic I know, but it is also very effective.View image I hope you enjoyed them as much as I did!

Posted by Rich
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