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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Traffic Brings Out the Crazies

My wife stopped at a red light.

While she waited, she answered a text from our son. She noticed someone waving. The lady in the van next to her was giving the universal sign for "roll down the window". Only it seemed more like "roll down the window, bitch."


"That's illegal!" Veins  bulged in her neck. "I've got your license number, I'm reporting you!"

This goes on. And on. My wife, too stunned to respond, rolls up the window. The lady's eyes begin to pop out of her face that's about to catch fire. Fortunately, they went different directions. And the texting police never showed up.

Traffic brings out the crazies.



Case in point. High school. Three of us are catching a ride home with two high school seniors. They yell at a car in front of them. Apparently, it contains a Marine that has decided to show these high school punks some respect. Some honor.

(I don't know if he was a Marine, but you get the picture.)

We pull over in a neighborhood. Marine saunters over. The seniors -- well-versed in fighting -- meet him halfway. Then they clown this guy. Bad. They take his keys and throw them over a house. We pull away while he stands in someone's front yard watching.

Here he was going to improve the lives of some whipper-snapping punks with some tough love. Now he was touching his lip and looking at the blood on his finger.

Yeah, you never know who's in traffic.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Nature is Dirty

First, roll on deodorant. Then Joe Camel.

Now this.


Nature has a sense of humor.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Humans Rule

Squirrels are rodents. Fact.

These bushy tailed rats have been gangbanging the bird feeder for the last two months. It started out innocent enough, every once in awhile one would hang upside down from a branch shoveling seed into its pointy mouth. Thing would eyeball me while I watched from the kitchen. What you going to do about it, son?

So I put hot sauce on the branch, see if they like a few Scovilles with their seeds. But my daughter didn't like it. Their lips would burn. Besides, they were cute. Who wants to hurt cute animals? She'll eat hamburger because cows are dumb and ugly, but not deer. Too cute. And rabbit? That's like eating our dog.


The hot sauce trick didn't work. I think they liked it. I took canes from the Alphonse Karr bamboo growing in our backyard, made a three-pole teepee and hung the birdfeeder in the center. Took about half a day for one of those bushy tailed bastards to shimmy up one of the poles and start shoveling, eyeballing while he did it.


So I greased the poles with globs of engine grease. Next morning, I stood in the kitchen drinking coffee as one of those furry pigs made the climb. When he reached the top, he began to slide. He was probably squeezing that pole with everything he had, but he went down with a stupid look on his face. He saw me in the kitchen, eyeballing him all the way to the bottom. I could see defeat in his eyes. It was over.

Humans rule.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Chinese Doppleganger: T. Bertone Chomsky

A Chinese delegation came to Trident Technical College last spring.

I was asked to join the group at Jim 'n Nick's BBQ. Oh, and bring the Chinese translation of your landscape design textbook. There were 12 of us. Four spoke English. I did a lot of vacant nodding.



The delegates were university presidents and vice presidents. Educational elite. At some point, I was introduced and asked to tell them about our horticulture program and, of course, the book. I whipped out the textbook, and they ooh. They ahh. One gentleman was from an agricultural school. He flipped through the pages with purpose while the translator transformed my words into Chinese.

Five minutes later, the agriculture man passed me a pen and then motioned with his hand. He wanted me to sign it. He wanted my signature on the textbook. Why would I give him the only Chinese-translated book I possess without signing it? That would be stupid.

So I signed it. I gave away the coolest coffee table book in my house.



Later, he spoke to me and I nodded, repeating over and over, "I don't understand. I don't understand." I thought he wanted to go outside for a smoke. So I went, what the hell. Instead, we went out to Jim 'n Nick's parking lot for a picture. While someone pointed a camera and counted to three in Chinese, he put his arm around my shoulders and displayed my signed textbook. We took two pictures because he wanted more of Tanger Outlet in the background.

And then he left with my Chinese textbook.

When I got my March royalty check, I noticed an additional line item. The publisher sold 2000 copies of my Chinese translation last fall. And my name had been translated.

T. Bertone Chomsky.

Winner, winner. Chicken dinner.