Austin is full of bats. This is something I know, but not something that I have to deal with very often, since I'm an infrequent spelunker (fact check: bats live in spelunking country, do they not?). I bring all of this up because this evening, I was mere centimeters away from having my eyes pecked out by bats. You think I'm joking? I repeat: eyes pecked out.
Here's the story. I drive a convertible. A convertible automobile? No, it's actually a go cart; it's just a little self esteem boost to refer it as a convertible than as my lil' rascal. Anyway, I had the top down this evening and I was tooling about town with a comrade. We neared an intersection and, as I am likely to do, I announced, "Something smells like caca around here." My comrade knew the lay of the land; he was a real nature man. He told me, "That's because there are bats under that bridge." Bats? Ha ha. Right, bats, sure thing, Count Dracula. But then I looked a little closer and I did note many twirpy, swirling birds. To quote Raoul Duke, we were in bat country.
The top down and the bridge was in front of us, but I wasn't scared because the bridge was very tall. I had a bat buffer zone, as I figured out. When we drove under, I tittered and made the appropriate boogety-boogety noises, but I was far from wetting myself. We continued on the road, and the smell began to grow stronger.
"More bats?" I asked. Perhaps I made some fangs using my fingers, I don't exactly remember.
My companion just pointed at another upcoming bridge. This one was much, much, much closer to the ground. Not only that, but it was curvy, so you had to take it slow. Low bridge + curvy + bats should equal me leaving the area, but unfortunately, I drive faster than I think. We drove under the bridge.
It's been about an hour since then, and I've just regained my ability to speak. Good Lord, it was terrifying. Under the bridge, I could only hear chirping and flapping. Perhaps it was a hallucination, but I think I actually felt fluttering on my neck. During all of this, all I could do was form a list of what kind of vampire I'd like to turn into, after the bats had their way with me.
1. Count Chocula
2. The Count from Sesame Street
3. Count Basie
After we went through it, I crept back and looked at the height marker on the bridge: 9 feet, 7 inches. Friends, that 115 inches was nothing but my car, myself, and a crapload of bats. Yeeeeeeeeeeeek. If I appear sleepy tomorrow morning, it's because I stayed up all night looking for punctures and trying to concoct a homeopathic rabies cure.
Well, this past weekend marked my first as a temporarily-swingin' bachelor. Not only that, but it was one of those weekends of the magical, three-day kind. How do you celebrate something like that? Well, I'm no expert. In fact, I'm not even a professional; I'm more like one of those confused old ladies at the bingo parlor who can't bring themselves to ante up for multiple cards. Nevertheless, I had a pretty good idea of how to spend the past three days.
Step 1. Find a one stop-light town dangerously close to last year's Memorial Day Nightmare.
Step 2. Find a party in this town with large amounts of crawfish, gin, and fireants.
Step 3. Declare war on all three.
The results? I have one appendage that's swelled up like Andre the Giant's club foot, a pair of kidneys that will need replacing a week sooner than previously thought, and bits and pieces of crawfish that I'll be flossing away for the next 18 months. And, of course, it was all completely phenomenal.
The town was Sour Lake, Texas, and the setting was a party thrown by my uncle's friend, Eldon. I was fortunate enough to be joined by one half of my legal team, Barrister Dean Zyvarb. It's helpful to attend parties with a lawyer in tow. Not only are they all notorious lushes, but they're useful for answering questions like, "Could the host legally imprison me for what I'm about to do?" Also, if some little kid happens to take your seat or eat the last piece of cake, you can have a writ issued to him very quickly. (You can tell I soaked up some of the legal talk too, by my use of the word writ. Prior to last weekend, I thought a writ was a Persian donkey blanket.)
Anyway, Dean and I had a very large time with my uncle and all of his friends at the partay. Should you see a gentlemen in Sour Lake next Memorial Day with a fat, scary, ant-bitten foot and a lawyer in tow, it may be me. Then again, it may also be a doppelganger. The only way to tell will be to break out a jar of cottage cheese.
For reasons I don't completely understand, some people have a hard time remembering cliches. Here's a list of popular misinterpretations.
If you can't beat 'em, ...
... try harder to beat them.
... make them sandwiches. (Psst... poisoned sandwiches.)
... write sternly-worded letters to their parents.
... wet your pants.
... wet their pants.
... wet their parents' pants.
... hide out at the zoo.
... hire Tony Danza as your personal boyguard. Grease him down and point him in their direction.
... eat so much mayonnaise that the slightest bit of personal damage will cause you to spray forth half-digested mayonnaise, like Mt. Vesuvius with condiments instead of lava.
... sneak into their rooms at night with a grizzly bear, then slap the bear on the butt, close the door, and run home.
... plant explosives in their toilets.
... call the Parks and Wildlife Department, and tell a forest ranger that you know of a group who delights in killing bald eagles. Then fill their yards full of bald eagle carcasses.
Take the bull by the ...
... bull handles (aka genitalia).
Okay, I could do more, but it's Laura's last night in town so I'm going to rock the social scene with her.
First, can I reverse jinx a team or what? I'm tempted to copy that entry continuously for the rest of the Mavs playoff run, but I know it'd result in a contra-reverse jinx, in which the original jinx which I tried to avoid is actually magnified several times. Contra-reverse jinx? I don't think so, sir!
Have I mentioned yet that I'm going to be in bachelor land for the next several weeks? Laura is going up to NY to crash with my sister at her dorm/senior citizens home/psychiatric hospital (my mother's words). While they're getting chased through Chinatown by a group of furious Orthodox Jews, I'll be holding down the Manor. In layman's terms, that means I'll be strutting around the back yard in my underwear, taking frequent slurps from a holstered can of whipped cream. By the time she gets back, the place will be covered in rodents, varmints, hobos, squatters, and gravy stains, and I'll probably have scurvy. Bachelor Land ain't like Disney Land, fools.
Do I have anything else of note? No, I do not. I am planning on savings the goods that would ordinarily go into the post on revamping the About page on this site, for it was hardly vamped in the first place. Since I have so little for you, here's a pointer to one of my favorite posts on Jason Looney's site, and something that surely wrote itself.
I only really root for 3 sports teams (Texas Rangers, Dallas Cowboys, and the Dallas Mavericks), and I have absolutely no faith in any of them. This might be a Dallas sports thing. I don't know what it is about the city, but unqualified wins are unpossible. The Cowboys during the 90s? They won a lot, but many of the players were completely terrifying; if Deon Sanders and Michael Irvin showed up at my house in 1994, I would've hidden the steak knives and locked myself in the garage. The Texas Rangers? They've always had good guys, but they're usually a terrible team. On the rare occasion they make the playoffs, Derek Jeter probably sends Steinbrenner a note reading "Let's talk pay raise," before the series even starts.
That leaves the Mavericks, the team I support the most. For many, many, many years, they were dreadful. You could've replaced the early 90s Mavericks with that team the Globetrotters beats the hell out of each night, and absolutely no one would've noticed. In the years since, they've gotten a new owner and better players, and as a result, they win much, much more frequently. For the past several years, they've been right at the top of the NBA. It's been amazing; not only are their players great, but so is the coach and the owner. They would truly be a success, if it weren't for the fact that all of this progress has yet to manifest itself in anything resembling a championship.
Let me be perfectly clear here: I firmly believe there's not a single championship in the world that the Mavericks could win. You could match them up against my 5th grade basketball team for the Arlington, TX YMCA trophy, and we'd find a way to block Dirk Nowitzki's last second shot for the win. You could even transport this team to something entirely different from basketball, like playing Scrabble. You could give them the best set of Scrabbler coaches in the universe. They could practice for years. I don't care what kind of preparation it is, whoever is playing them would whip out 'cognoscente' for the win.
I bring all of this up because tonight, the Mavericks are trying to add a new item to their list of astonishingly agonizing ways to frustrate their fans. After taking a 3-1 lead in their best-of-7 series against their archrival San Antonio Spurs, the Mavs will now attempt to blow the lead in spectacular fashion. In the past two games, they've had potential game-winning shots and both times, the player threw up an airball. I'm almost excited to see what they'll do in their attempt to blow Game 7; a simple airball won't do. I'm expecting something along the lines of a last-second missed dunk that hits Dirk Nowitzki in the groin and ruptures his testicles on court.
I won't watch the game this evening. I'm taping it so I can fast forward through it late tonight. Then, when the clock hits 0 and the Mavericks are eliminated, I can point to Octopussy and say, "I knew this would happen." She will lick herself, and the world will go on. Go Mavs.
Dear New Yorkers,
In the very near future, my sister will be joining you for the summer. Now, New York is a dangerous place. "How can it be dangerous? It's the Big Apple!" you may protest. Well, here's a bit of trivia: it was originally named the Big Poisonous Apple, but New Yorkers got so furious about that they vowed to kill each and every person in America until we all agreed to drop the poisonous part. Like I said, dangerous.
Now, New Yorkers, I ask you to be on your best behavior this summer while my sister is around. I created a brief, incomplete list of the typical New Yorker things you shouldn't do to her.
1. Mug her
2. Get her addicted to cocaine
3. Sell her a load of junk bonds
4. Scream at her, "Whassa matta you?!" from the window of your pizza restaurant
5. Steal all of her possessions right after she leaves the airport (I've seen The Freshman, and I know how you people do it)
6. Request her involvement in any mafioso assassinations
7. Convince her to start wearing suspenders and slicking her hair back
8. Encouage her to give up her burgeoning career so she can become an abstract expressionist or performance artist
9. Introduce her to Jimmy Fallon
10. Run her over with your taxi cab.
I will be coming to visit in June, and you may save all of that for me.
The Pun-Off is here in Austin this week. Here is my humble contribution, guaranteed to lower your estimation of me by many, many notches.
Will I be entering?
No, I plan to attend, but I will not be entering. Instead, I will watch while eating fruit.
What kind of fruit?
One cake is enough for you?
Oh no, there will also be punnel cake.
Will you be joined by any former Chicago Cubs players?
Shawon Punston will make an appearance, I hear. He's planning on coming to my house afterwards to watch a movie.
Punston Checks In. Afterwards, we will read Thucydides to each other.
Thucydides? Which book?
History of the Pelepunnesian War, probably.
If he starts tossing around Shakespeare quotes, what'll you tell him?
Get thee to a punnery, Shawon Dunston.
What's the piece of clothing that you'd be most likely to give him, at the end of the day?
A pair of man-punties. If I know him as well as I think do, man-punties all the way.
When a lady accompanies me to a softball game on the evening of her birthday, she is in for a show. I don't know what got into me; it's like I was convinced that my gift of a macaroni necklace wasn't enough. I was a hitting, catching, throwing son of a gun out there last night, putting forth a performance that will certainly go on my posthumous Cody Powell Sportscentury episode. (Notice in that list, I didn't include running. In a span of three pitches, I narrowly missed getting pegged in the face while running to first, collided with the second basewoman, and then ran over our third base coach. I halfway expected my pants to split apart when I crossed home, but no luck there.) Somehow, we played so well that we actually had to invoke the mercy rule on the other team, as we were up by 15 runs. I can't help but think I inspired the whole team. They saw me and thought, "If that goofy bastard can do it, then we can all do it."
Okay, no one cares about softball. And perhaps no one cares about the NBA either, but I'd like to say that my beloved Dallas Mavericks are currently on a date with destiny, and destiny just pulled out the wine coolers and edible underwear. Right now, they're locked in a playoff series against the San Antonio Spurs, who've consistently beat the crap out of the Mavs over the past several years. This was particularly brutal for me to watch; I lived in San Antonio for a lot of that time. People there are absolute fanatics about that team; you could force most people there to choose between their firstborn or a sleepover with Ginobli, and they'd be rolling out the sleeping bags before could finish the sentence. To be surrounded by the enemy galled me, and what made it all the worse was how the Spurs would always, always pound the crap out of the Mavs.
Fast forward to 2006 and suddenly, things are a little different. By a little different, I mean that the Mavs are up 3-1 in their 7-game series with the Spurs, meaning they hold approximately a 0.75% chance of victory. I'd like to get cockier, but it's the Spurs. If I could make a prediction, it'd be that sometime in game 5, the people of San Antonio storm the court, decapitate Dirk Nowitzki, take Avery Johnson hostage, and give Tim Duncan some robot legs. That's a momentum shifter, you can't deny.
The Mavs will probably blow it; after following them for many years, they'd disappoint me a little if they didn't. If they do lose, then for the love of God, tell me the robot legs had something to do with it.
Heyyy, I know I've been remiss lately in my posting duties as Goulash commandant, but it's not changing today. Tonight's Laura's birthday, plus we have a softball game. And in case you're wondering why I'm begging for female companionship in tomorrow's entry, it's because Laura's spending her birthday evening at our softball game. (In truth, she volunteered. Only after I began crying, but it was still volunteering.)
Frito brought up a great point in yesterday's comment, one that I've been meaning to touch on for a few weeks now. Carlos Jacott, Goulash's favorite character, is now gracing the screens of America on HBO's Big Love, along with Bill Paxton's butt cheeks and the swimming girl from Cabin Boy. Since he's now been on Big Love and Curb Your Enthusiasm, here's hoping that HBO starts giving him guest spots on all of their shows, starting with Cathouse.
In case you guys missed out on the big Carlos Jacott story here on this site, I will do a little recap. Maybe two years ago or so, I noticed there was no Carlos Jacott web presence whatsoever. I started up a site for him, CarlosJacott.com, but it wasn't your typical fan site stuff, with a bunch of stories about Carlos riding on ponies. Instead, it was kind of an absurd, fictional universe where Carlos was a huge, eccentric celebrity and Eric Stoltz was a crazed drunk who wouldn't leave him alone. I thought it was pretty funny and some others did also, but I think Carlos was just kind of confused. Eventually, I took the site down, lest I have to explain the entire web site in a court of law. I'm sure if you looked at the archives, you'd see the whole, deranged saga.
Here's the question I'd like to pose. Carlos's last big role was as a regular on She Spies, a syndicated series. Now that he's a semi-regular guest star on Big Love, is that a step up? Is it a step more to the side and down a little?
It may be too early to tell. For all I know, Bill Paxton is going to pawn some of his wives off on Carlos in an upcoming episode. All of a sudden, who cares about the Pax-man? We want to know what's going on across the street in the home of Carl Martin! What're the interactions like between the wives? Has he resorted to male sexual enhancements to keep the ladies happy? For the love of God, which of the wives washes his undies?! Polygamy presents many questions. Carlos Jacott, if given the opportunity, will present the answers.
It has come to my attention that over the past 630 entries, a few factual errors have slipped through. Here are the corrections, and apologies to all of those I led astray.
In the entry on June 6, 2003, I stated that William Henry Harrison was the tenth President of the United States. He was actually the ninth.
In the entry on August 15, 2003, I stated that my Uncle Moe formerly managed a Weinerschnitzel drive-through. While he is an enthusiastic and all-consuming love for hot dogs, this was not correct.
In the entry on March 2, 2004, I stated that, on my way home from work, I hit a pot hole. I blamed these pot holes on hookers plying their trade on the streets of Austin. To my knowledge, the city of Austin does not have such a policy.
In the entry on May 31, 2004, I stated that early that morning, Charlie Sheen swung a battle axe at me and impelled me to help him slaughter the Blood Viking. On later reflection, Charlie Sheen and I have never met.
In the entry on July 9, 2004, I stated that I had discovered the true assassin of JFK, and that it was none other than Hillary Duff. Ms. Duff's camp has since informed me that not only was she not alive then, but that she absolutely hates book depositories.
In the entry on January 30, 2005, I stated that a group of shadowy government agents kidnapped me, flew me to Afghanistan, and forced me to sing show tunes to captured Taliban operatives. I have since learned that these weren't government agents, but neighborhood insurance agents.
In the entry on April 15, 2005, I stated that gingivitis makes you gay. Heterosexual dentists have assured me that this is untrue.
In the entry on December 20, 2005, I claimed to live in a hole in a wall with groups such as the Fraggles, Doozers, and Gorgs. I further stated that they called me Trash Heap and referred to me on various spiritual matters. Upon further examination, I realized I had accidentally confused my life with the plot of Fraggle Rock.
I had to go to a baby shower at work today. As I've never been to a baby shower before, I wasn't too sure what was going on. All I knew was that I was supposed to buy something, and then stand in a corner with the rest of the men and shut the hell up Check, and check. The hard part for me was picking the appropriate gift.
I ended up giving money to someone who knew better about this stuff, and buying 1/4 of a little geegaw, bat-around, plastic fun center or something similar. I don't know about this idea, though. In the course of an average life, you're not a baby for very long. Why give someone something that's useful for 3 months when you could give them something that's useful for 80 years or more? Also, I have more experience in buying gifts for adults. I briefly considered following this path, and simply choosing a gift I'd choose for any one of my friends.
Alcohol - I'm not going to waste a single malt on someone who won't be able to drink it for 21 years. No, I'd have to give something cheap and pleniful in order for it not to be wasted, something like a 24 pack of Coors. The mother-to-be could very well misinterpret this gesture.
Bowties - I think bowties are the quirkiest neckwear in the Western world, narrowly beating out the bolo tie. However, if some little baby has years to go before tying her shoe, how many years will it be before she can don the bowtie? It'd just be sitting there, in a glass case on her bookshelf, mocking her. And then, when she finally put it on, she'd say, "Hey, what's the big whoop? Who bought me this? Give me his address, I wish to kill him."
Collected works of Henry Miller - Again, easy to misinterpret, but think of the vocabulary that kid would have.
Nunchuks - Too heavy for a baby. Also, the field of hand-to-hand combat moves too quickly for me to assume these will be effective in 20 years time.
Bob Dylan, "Blonde on Blonde" - Babies hate singer songerwriters.
Clearly, the Internet is aflame with discussion of Crude Oil House vs. Solid Gold House. I'm having a hard time making up my mind.
Pro Solid Gold
I really like the image Danza presented, of chipping off a chunk of your porch and using it to buy beer. And as far as the oil house being like a giant, cubed waterbed... well, I don't know if that's such a good thing. What if you're a skinny little lady and you live with a big fatso? Every time Fatty McGoobersmooch took a step on a floor where you happened to be standing, you'd shoot up towards the ceiling. It wouldn't hurt that much to whang your head since it's just a big bag of oil that you'd hit, but still, it doesn't sound fun. Strike that; it only sounds fun for a little while. Finally, what about the smell? Imagine living in Texas in the summer, and being surrounded by hot, bubbling crude oil. Blargh-up (international vomit sound).
Pro Crude Oil
Like another comment said, what if you tripped and fell on your gold floor? That would hurt, especially if you're an old person or a little baby. You'd have to tell all of your hemophiliac friends to stay out in the yard. Also, in a post-apocalyptic situation, I think the crude oil would be more useful (think Waterworld and sand). I'd have no idea how to refine it or process it, but at least you'd have a shot. Finally, what about looters? With a house of gold, you'd be under contest attack. With a house made of packed bags of unknown stuff, people would definitely leave you. It could be feces or human heads or anything!
Final decision: gold narrowly wins. I just couldn't handle the smell of the oil. I think a house of peanut brittle would be the best of them all, though. You could eat it with no preparations, it's not enough valuable to loot, and little chunks of it would make fine weapons.
Here's a question for everybody. Given the high price of gasoline right now, would you rather have a house made of solid gold, or one made of crude oil?
Here are the ground rules.
1. Assume it's a 2 story house, 2200 sq feet.
2. When I say the house is made of this stuff, I mean it. The walls, ceilings, floors, everything are constructed solely of that one material. For the crude oil, it'd probably be packed very tightly into several big bladders.
3. All of the appliances and furniture do not have to be made of this stuff. So, you could have a Kenmore refrigerator and a wooden kitchen table in your crude oil kitchen.
4. You'd be up Poop Creek if a wall or ceiling fell on you, no matter which you chose.
5. Assume the oil bladders are bulletproof. We have to agree on this, otherwise people could shoot at your house and siphon your walls.
6. You can sell the house whenever you want.
7. One cubic foot of gold weighs 1204 pounds (how great is the internet?). I couldn't find how much a cubic foot of oil weighs, but it does equal 5487 cubic feet of natural gas. That certainly helps me.
8. You're not allowed to install carpet or any wall decorations.
9. You can have regular doors or beaded curtains, your choice.
This is a toughie, and I'm not going to weigh in until later. I'm curious to hear what others have to say.
Western civilization is full of wonders. One example is edible underwear, and another, that I just experienced this weekend, is the booze cruise. For those of you who aren't in the know, a booze cruise is when you board a huge boat and putter around a lake for a few hours, drinking all the while. My first reaction when I heard about it was, "They let you do that?!" (In this case, 'they' refers to the boat owner, crew, various maritime officials, and the President.) It sounds like something only rich, crazy people can pull off. Well friends, I'm not rich and I'm only a little crazy, and guess where I spent Friday evening.
What is it that makes the whole thing so fun? I think it's the boat. Alcohol on dry land is pretty good, but most of the time, you're immobile. On a booze cruise, you're sailing by a bunch of rich people, watching them eat dinner through their dining room windows. It's good, creepy fun. Another interesting part about the boat is that somewhere around you, there's a stash of flare guns and harpoons. They don't let you play around with them, but it's something that stayed in my mind. "What if, just what if, we had the best captain ever? He would probably allow us to shoot at the paddle boats." Just food for thought.
What beverages do I suggest for a booze cruise? Here, I encourage everyone to think like a pirate. Rum is good, because rum is what pirates drink (see various movies, songs, and Long John Silver placemats for reference). Also, I would recommend anything that comes in a single serving bottle because it's a good feeling to stand on a boat, hoist a bottle, and yell something incomprehensible; this may have something to do with pirates also. However, I'd stay away from the fancy drinks. Imagine your boat gets boarded by river bandits or killer manatees. Ideally, you want them to take a look at your drink and know that you mean business; this is why sailors don't drink cosmos and appletinis.
In conclusion, the booze cruise was great. Many thanks to Danza for arranging the whole thing, and to Kristin for arranging a birthday around then. It only magnified my desire to buy a house boat and become a crazy dock person.