Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Waxing Poetic on New Year's Resolutions

This year I am going to mail a birthday card to all my best friends and family.  It is something that will be easy to do.  I can buy a bunch of cards at one time and keep in my man-purse (or murse), set my computer calendar to pop up a reminder (complete with the lucky birthday person's address) a few days ahead of said birthday, and keep a roll of stamps with me in the previously mentioned murse.  How simple!  Plus, it will bring a bit of happiness to all my favorite people!

The above was my 2010 resolution, made in late December 2009.

Number of cards sent:  0.

The good thing about end of year resolution making is that, if you do it right, you really contemplate your life and the direction that it is currently drifting.  You can analyze things and determine any deficiencies or excesses in your life.  Perhaps, after close examination, you find that you have an exercise deficiency and an excess of poundage on your frame.  Naturally, your resolution would be then to get in shape and lose anywhere from 10 to 250 pounds, depending on your frame and the excessiveness of the poundage.  It is a scientific fact that 98% of all Americans make this their resolution each and every year.  One thing you should probably also know when reading this blog is that any sentence starting with the words "It is a scientific fact" is completely made up by me.  It helps prove my points.

You can contemplate deeper, more spiritual things as well.  Perhaps you will find you need to lessen a spiritual void in the new year by trying something new or you will determine that you have a really boring existence and need to cut loose and let down your hair in the coming months.  Maybe you will discover that you are very fortunate and would like to help others who are not so fortunate.  On the other hand, maybe you determine that you are not fortunate at all, and that this coming year is the time to take charge and change your circumstances and start heading to fortunateville.

Really, during these final days of the year, the world is your oyster.  What you don't like about yourself, you can vow to change in just a few days.  What you love about yourself, you can vow to share it with a few people or with the world.

I am not going to talk about how these resolutions will end.  It isn't pretty.  It is a scientific fact that 94.7% of all resolutions are broken within one month of being sworn, and 91% of those are entirely forgotten by Easter.  I don't pretend to know how to prevent this, or even to think that I can keep any of my own resolutions.  But the great thing is that at least I stopped for a few minutes and contemplated how my life was currently rolling.  At least I acknowledged what was working and what was not working, and what I really pictured my ideal life to be.

Who cares if the resolutions don't come true when January hits us with its harsh, bitter reality.  We have these final days of hope.  Hope for a new year that will be better, will make us better, and will make the world better.

I am going to contemplate that before making my 2011 resolutions, and I hope you do too.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Suck It 2010!

The final days of 2010 are here, and I, for one, am thrilled!  Each year brings both good and bad times to everyone, but for some reason 2010 seems to have just flat out sucked for a lot of people.  Untimely and unexpected deaths have affected more of my friends this year than any I can remember, including my immediate family.  I am not the only person I know who lost his/her job in 2010, and I am still an unpublished author while both Sarah Palin and George W. Bush have bestsellers.  I will say it again, 2010 sucked.

Now I know that there were probably an equal number of good things that happened this year.  I have friends and family who got married, had babies, got job promotions, and lost weight.  But you see, none of these things happened to me, so back to my original statement, 2010 sucked.  If you fall into any of the "2010 was great" categories, congratulations, but get your own blog and toot about it there, in this blog if Keith ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.

However, the point of this post is not to whine and moan about my crappy year.  It is to say farewell to it and helllooooo to 2011.  According to my place mat at a local restaurant, 2011 is the Chinese Year of the Rabbit (surprisingly, this was not a Chinese restaurant, don't you just love southeastern Kentucky).  How could the year of the rabbit go badly?  Rabbits are cute and soft and cuddly and always make people happy, they fornicate a lot, and their feet are said to bring good luck.  If I can have a year of being cute and cuddly with a lot of fornication and good luck thrown in, I will be one happy camper!  By the way, 2010 was the Chinese Year of the Tiger.  Stupid tiger.

I always think really hard about my resolutions for each new year.  I ponder for days on how I will improve my life.  I concentrate on it so long and so hard I finally convince myself that I am going to make the change I have resolved myself to do.  I will live as Oprah tells me to do.  I will read only "literature."  I will fully abide by "The Secret."  I will eat only healthy, organic foods.  I will lose 184 pounds.  All of this while helping build a water line for a small village in west Africa on my "charity vacation."

These resolutions usually wear thin around January 4th, and by mid-March, I am gorging myself on buffalo wings and beer, watching basketball on television, being my old sarcastic and jaded self, and not even thinking about that village in west Africa that I mentally adopted in December, let alone considering actually going there.

So this year, I am really going to work at hard at finding some ways to change for the better in 2011.  It has to be something attainable and realistic.  Flying to west Africa and building a water line is one thing, but not reading trashy novels and only eating healthy foods?  Yeah, good luck with that.

I will let you know what my resolutions are in the next few days.  Any suggestions are more than welcome!  Please let me know what your resolving to do in 2011 as well!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Big Announcement!

I have news for all of those people who say that stalking is bad.  You are wrong.  For all of you who call it "creepy" or "weird" to obsess over a red-headed, golden-voiced singing angel, pphhhllltttttt!

That is right, kids, I am writing yet another blog on Wynonna.  This will be a short one, but very exciting for me to post.  You see, my dedication and love for Wynonner has paid dividends.

I have been named...get ready...are you ready...OK, here it comes...


I know, I was just as floored and shocked as you are right now when I first read the email naming me the FOTM!  For those people who say that it is enough just to be nominated, they can suck it.  Winning is everything!  You can quote me on that if you want, because I am THE DECEMBER FAN OF THE MONTH ON WYNONNA.COM!

I feel that in honor of this event, I should give an acceptance speech:

I would like to thank my mother and sister who first introduced me the power of Wynonna.  They had seen the Judds open a concert for the Oak Ridge Ridge Boys at Tombstone Junction Park, and bought me a cassette tape of them, thus starting this great journey. 

To Andy, for all the hours he has spent with me speculating things like what Wynonna was doing at that very moment, what she had eaten for dinner that night, if she liked all the drag queen's impersonating her, and if Naomi and Ashley didn't sometimes get on her nerves, too.

To my friend David Spiggle, who shares with me a deep, unabashed love for the Judd family.  Our plans to become Judd boys are coming true, and I share this award with you (I mean "share" only figuratively, this is mine and only mine).

And finally, to Wynonner's staff, who have either finally realized what a good asset I would be to Team Wy, or more than likely, who are sick of me posting my blog and notes on the message boards on  Either way, thank you!

I sent in my picture and the answers to the interview questions this evening (yes!  there was a picture and an interview), and the website should have the December Fan of the Month (ME) posted the first week of January on  If you forget, I will be sure and remind everyone!

Until next time, I am always,

Monday, December 6, 2010

My Letter To A Fellow Juddhead

Dear Older Gentleman,

I want to express my deepest apologies to you for having the unfortunate luck of sitting in Section 3, Row L, Seat 18 last Friday evening at the Judds: The Final Encore Tour concert in Louisville, Kentucky.  It was unfortunate because I was sitting directly behind you in Section 3, Row M, Seat 18.  My fellow Juddhead, I am truly sorry for singing every single word of every single song, almost at the volume of Wynonna herself. 

(How I feel when dancing)
I did not mean to continually bump into the back of your chair, it is just that sometimes my dancing gets a little rambunctious and body parts go places I don't think they necessarily will go.  This problem was also accentuated by my adding a few extra pounds to my frame since the last time I really danced and I was a little unsure of my body's boundaries.
I do feel just terrible about spilling drops, some quite large, of beer down your back and shoulder.  I was just overly excited and really should have been drinking from a sippie-cup.  No, it was not possible to put the beer down as for much of the concert it served as my microphone.

(ABBA, not the Judds)
Most importantly, please believe me when I tell you that I had NO IDEA that I had somehow turned music on my iPhone and played Abba Gold - The Greatest Hits on a repeat loop for the entire concert in your ear.  I do hope you like Australian Supergroups.

If you really think about it, though, fellow Juddhead, your discomfort is a little bit your own fault.  Had you stood up for even one moment of the concert, any and all of the above grievances could have been avoided.  I have never understood people who can attend concerts and then just sit and quietly watch as if they are watching a movie.  Perhaps I am unsophisticated or just plain red behind the collar, but when live music is played in front of me, I like to show my appreciation by whooping and hollering, clapping my hands, and occasionally dancing.  This is also why I have been asked to not renew my season tickets to the Lexington Philharmonic.

Also, Mr. Row L Seat 18, if I had not completely lost my mind and had an out of body experience when Wynonna started sang "Born to be Blue," your forehead would have never made the jumbo-tron as the camera captured my and Andy's most awesome dance moves to one of my all-time favorite songs.  I was happy to share the moment with you, even if to the entire crowd at the Yum! Center I looked like a true, crazed Juddhead and you just looked bored.  Again, that is your own fault.

In conclusion, Mr. Row L Seat 18, I think you should re-evaluate your level of devotion to the Judds.  I know that Mama Judd was off-the-hook-crazy and looked like she was not only drugged but also injected, botoxed, and stretched to the point of no return.  Wynonna, however, was so much more self-confident with her mother beside her that her performance was amazing.  Her country twang was in full-force, but she also sang "Ave Maria" in Latin for heaven's sake!  What more could you want in a concert, Mr. Man?!

Nothing, I tell you.  It was perfection.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Eat. Pray. Love. Weight Watchers.

My feelings toward Weight Watchers has always closely resembled my feelings to most hate groups or cults: disgust.  Just like those quitter Alcoholic Anonymous people who "let go and let God" or "take it one day at a time," Weight Watchers teach/force people to stop having fun and live a healthy life.  Now, I am really good at very few things, and eating and drinking happen to be two of them.  If Weight Watchers took that away from me, what would I have left?  You may as well look for me in the local airport handing out flowers and praying like a Hare-Krishna or going door to door recruiting new Moonie commune members.  So how, then, did I find myself sitting in the Technology Room at the Leslie County High School surrounded by some very pleasant over-eaters at a Weight Watchers meeting?

The answer is the persistence and relentless determination of a skinny, energetic lady named Mollie Sizemore.  Mollie is the local Weight Watcher instructor, and I made the mistake of expressing interest in losing weight and attending WW back in June, but other than that, had done nothing about it.  Mollie, however, did not forget.  She stopped by the pharmacy weekly, usually on WW meeting day, just to say hi and remind that class was that night.  I managed to shake her all summer and remain fat and sassy.  However, when she told me that this week Weight Watchers would change their program for the first time in 13 years, that was apparently the straw that broke my fatback.  I gave in and agreed to attend.

As I sat in the room along with the others, the anticipation was growing and growing about the changes in the Weight Watchers plan.  "What could it be?"  "How could it be improved upon?"  These were common things overheard while waiting for Mollie to unveil the plan.  I personally hoped that the fine people at WW had discovered that butter was actually good for you or that pickled bologna helped burned fat, but deep down I knew that wasn't happening.  Finally, class started!  The big reveal was...

FRUIT HAS NO POINTS!  EAT ALL THE FRUIT YOU WANT!  Huh?  THAT is it?!  What the heck?!  Sure, there were some other changes too, and it makes the plan very doable and even more healthy, but the BIG news to the people in my class was the go-ahead to eat some fruit.  There were several questions to clarify the issue, "So if I ate a banana AND an apple in the same day, that would be zero points?"  "Yes," Mollie replied.  "What if I had peaches at breakfast and some grapes for a snack during TV hour?"  "Zero points," Mollie answered.  People giggled uncontrollably.  Heads were nodding in disbelief.  If women chest-bumped, there would have been some chest-bumping going on in the Technology Room.  I wanted to say if that if Weight Watchers added Chili-Cheese Frito's or Snickers to the zero point list, I would share in the excitement, but I (a) didn't want to bring down the fruit-induced high of the room and (b) was afraid of most of the woman in the class.

After Mollie regained control of the room, and finished explaining the plan, even I was impressed and excited about it.  It seems like a plan that even Mr. Fat and Sassy can follow.  So here I go, into the land of Weight Watchers.  I have joined the cult. 

(Not really my body, yet)
I have drunk the Kool-Aid, and it is sugar-free, my friends.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Using Body Hair As A Weapon

Tonight, I just have a quick note on a current event that has been in the news this week.  I am a caring blogger who wishes to not only entertain you, but also to inform you!

The Man Who Was Forced To Eat His Beard
Have you seen this?!  When I first saw it, I actually thought I was being punked.  Surely, this was some new show on television that pretended to be a newscast but actually was a comedy.  But, no, there was the news anchor trying with all his might and professionalism to keep a straight face and not burst out laughing as he read the story.

(ZZ Top, not pre-cut Harvey)
If you haven't heard or read about this, a feller named Harvey down in Lawrenceburg was trying to sell his lawnmower to his friends (I use the term friends loosely because friends don't make friends eat beards) James and Troy.  The negotiations were apparently heated and the good ol' boys started arguing.  Harvey said, "one thing led to another, and before I knew it, there were knives and guns and everything just went haywire."  By "haywire," Harvey means that James and Troy cut off his beard, which I am guessing must have been long and flowing a la ZZ Top, and then stuffed it into his mouth and forced him to eat.

Now I ask you, WHO DOES THIS?!  What kind of mind has the thought that making someone eat his own body hair is a good fight tactic?  I could understand if you were negotiating the price of a lawnmower and the haggling turned into a fight with the biblical Samson that cutting his hair off may be a good move.  Really, that is the only instance I can think of that would call for cutting off someone's hair.  From the picture, Harvey looks like a pretty stout feller, so I am also thinking that either Jason and Troy used a stun gun or a taser before chopping off his manly locks and forcing them down his throat.

(Back hair as an option
or the tail of a mullett?)
Further, let's just say, for the sake of arguement, that I did decide to cut off someone's hair and make him eat it in a fight, would beard hair be the best choice?  I think if you are fighting with someone and you are at the point of making him eat his own body hair that pubic hair is the logical choice for eating.  Pubic hair has everything you need when making someone eat body hair in a fight.  It adds a layer of disgust that beard hair can not deliver while basically having the same texture as and difficulty in swallowing that facial hair offers.  Back hair could also be a viable option, but probably too hard to harvest in the heat of battle.  Then, I am speaking hypothetically.  Jason and Troy may have used both pubic and back hair in their previous fights and found that beard hair is the best option.  Who am I to mess with that?

I am particularly proud that (a) these good ol' boys have brought such pride to our state and that (b) when the television crew came for the interview Harvey decided it best to wear his "Southern Style" ball cap which is covered with the Confederate flag.  I do not know why stereotypes exist.  Just because the only news story from Kentucky that has made national news this week was about a man in a Confederate flag hat who had gotten in an arguement with his friends over a lawnmover and had his beard cut off and was forced to eat it doesn't really mean anything. 

(Notice everyone is bald (except me) and clean shaven!
But, just in case it does, and I get into a fight with some of my friends, Andy, Glenn, Doug, and Jeff better be happy they are bald and clean-shaven.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Stop Playing With Your Partial Or You Will Go Blind

Thank you to all of you who have responded to my last blog with support.  I really appreciate it, and it means a lot to be able to share that experience and know that there are people out there who care.

As a result of my bashing, I had to have extensive dental work, and it took months before I was able to get the implants I have now for my two front teeth.  In the interim, the dentist gave me a partial that was, by far, the ugliest set of false teeth ever made.  The only teeth I had ended up actually losing were the front two, so the partial was a full plastic piece that fit into the top of my mouth with two front teeth attached to it.  It always reminded me of a cartoon rabbit's teeth.

I soon realized why older people with dentures "click" their false teeth.  It is both fun and addictive.  By using my tongue, I could snap the piece in and out of place in my mouth.  I don't pretend to have the answer to why this is fun to someone with dentures, but it is, and I did it a lot.  Too much actually.

During this period of time, I was teaching college accounting classes at Sullivan University in Lexington.  Having to go stand in front of a group of 25 students while wearing my new false teeth was tough enough, but my new lisp that I felt I had with the falsies and my addiction to playing with my partial had me on edge beyond belief.  Before going to class, I would slather the plastic with Fix-O-Dent, a glue substance that adheres dentures to your mouth.  Although the directions only called for a drop or two, I would cover the piece completely.  I would not have my front teeth go flying out of my mouth while explaining debits and credits.

This system worked well during the term, and my partial never moved.  What I did not realize I was doing, however, was still trying to use my tongue to play with the partial.  It had become an addiction and I was doing it subconsciously.

The evening classes at Sullivan are 3.5 hours long and meet one time per week.  In these classes, it is common to lecture, give a quiz, and return and review homework all in one night.  In one particular class I was giving a quiz after my lecture, then returning mid-term exams.  While I was waiting for the students to complete the quiz, I was bored and started playing with my partial.  I felt a funny snap, and immediately ran my tongue over the piece.  It appeared that everything was intact, so I didn't worry.  After I returned the mid-term exams, I allowed let anyone who made a C or higher leave class early, and gave the option to the rest of the class to stay and review the test and take another quiz to help them earn enough points to at least pass the mid-term (yes, I like to think I am a cool, hip accounting prof). 

Fifteen students remained with me as I started working the problems from the exam on the board.  I was trying to be very specific and very clear how to do the work, when suddenly I felt a tuft of wind.  I felt the tuft of wind blowing through a gap in my mouth.  It was then I noticed that one of my false front teeth had snapped out of partial and had somehow lodged itself on my sweater.  That had been the snap noise I had heard!  My tongue had pushed out one of the teeth!  I still thank my guardian angel for the mere fact that I was writing on the board at the time and my back was turned to the class.  I had an instant panic attack, and stopped talking in mid sentence.  As my Uncle Ed used to say, I didn't know if I should shit or go blind.  I stood still, hoping that if I didn't move or make a sound the students would think class was over and get up leave, but seeing as how we were on problem #1 from the exam, that was not likely.  Eventually, one of the students said, "Um, Mr. Stewart, are you OK?"  I did the only thing I could do.  I picked my tooth off my sweater, put my hand over my mouth, and ran out the door. 

I ran down the hallway to the restroom to assess the damage.  After calming myself down, I could see that it had been a clean break.  The false tooth had cleanly broken from the plastic.  Damn my addiction to playing with my partial!  I finally decided that I could try to glue it back with the Fix-O-Dent.  The only problem was that my Fix-O-Dent was in my bag in the back in the classroom.  There was really no choice, I ran back down the hall, ran back into the room, grabbed a large tube from my bag, and ran back out, ignoring the questions of the students.  As I headed out the door, I did hear one of them say to another, "That looked like a tube of hemorrhoid cream."

Back in the bathroom, I successfully Fix-O-Dented my tooth back to the plastic.  How long it would hold, I had no idea.  I just wanted to get the heck out of there.  I went back to class and told that the students that I did not, in fact, have hemorrhoids, but I was having dental issues.  That confused them even more and led to more questions.  Finally, to make them shut up and leave I told them to take their tests, rework the missed questions, and I would give them a passing grade.  I just wanted out before the minty fresh hold wore off. 

I finally got home that evening with my both teeth in tact.  I had made it!  The kitchen smelled wonderful, and I asked Andy what he was making for dinner.  I don't remember anything after he said, "Corn on the cob."

Saturday, November 13, 2010

My Meeting With Hate

I was thinking this morning about what I would blog about today, and I remembered a pretty darn funny story to share with you.  However, in order for that story to make sense, I would need to share a very unfunny, unpleasant event with you.  It is something that I have not shared with many people outside my family and circle of friends in Lexington, but it is has become such a turning point in my life, I decided that I should just share it.  Hopefully by doing so, some people will become more aware of the hate and issues that gay and lesbian people face each day. 

On February 17, 2008, I was gay-bashed in downtown Lexington.  We are talking about losing consciousness, 911, ambulance, hospital, the works. 

Until the beating, the evening had been great.  Andy and I, along with our friends Glenn and Doug, had been to dinner at A La Lucie, a great bistro in downtown Lexington.  Lexington had just recently been named as one of the top 10 cities in the nation for GLBT people to live, and we were completely happy and proud to be a part of that.  We all four had a very trying work week, one in which Glenn had actually totalled my car (which is actually another blog story!), and we were relaxing in an open atmosphere full of people who did not judge us at all.  The memory of that night is so vivid I still remember that I had a delicious fish stew for my entree.

After dinner, we all four went to the Lexington Opera House for a production of Evita.  The show was fantastic and after it ended, none of us wanted the evening to end.  There was a charity event for AVOL, Aids Volunteers of Lexington, at a local gay bar that was a few blocks from the Opera House.  We decided that we would stop by and see how it was going.

The event was a great success and the bar was packed with all types of people, both straight and gay, who had come out to support the charity.  We ended up chatting with old friends and making new ones.  We stayed until quite late, and because Andy and I had both had cocktails at the bar, we decided to take a taxi cab home.  I told Andy that I would walk to the car and grab our garage door opener and anything valuable in the car that we were leaving parked on the street downtown.

As I walked out of the bar, I turned the corner into an empty lot which served as the bar's parking lot.  Our car was parked on the street at the far end of the empty lot.  As soon as I had taken a few steps out of the lighted sidewalk and onto the darkened lot, two guys stopped me.  They seemed to have come out of nowhere.  One of the men, who was wearing an orange hoodie, said, "Hey, Faggot."  Then the hits came.  It all happened in just a matter of seconds, too fast for me to react, to fight back.  The next thing I remember, I was lying flat on the ground with Andy standing over me frantically trying to wake me up as he called 911 and screamed for help.

Next came the bystanders staring, the paramedics, the ambulance ride, the doctors, the nurses, the dentists, the x-rays, and the cat scans.  I think I was in shock as I tried to talk to the policemen in the hospital emergency room.  I am so thankful for Glenn, Doug, Andy, and my friend Donna who were all there with me that night/morning.

The end result physically was that I had a lot of bruises, a black eye, a couple of fractures in my jaw, and the loss of my two front teeth.  The end result emotionally ran much deeper than any fracture or bone loss.  The end result financially was literally tens of thousands of dollars for hospital, doctor, tests, dental implants, therapy.

The men who bashed me were never found by the police.  I really only saw the first man, and he had his orange hood over his head, so I was not much help to the police.  The newspaper ran an article about it, WKYT-TV aired a story on the news.  No one mentioned my name in either, and at the time, I was happy about that.  I was petrified that people would somehow look at me as if I had done this to myself, that I somehow deserved what happened to me.  I did make the mistake of reading an online article about it, and then reading the viewer comments that were posted after the story.  Many comments said exactly what I feared people would say, that God was punishing me, that I got what I deserved, etc. 

Two and half years later, things are much different for me.  I had been out of the closet for years before I was bashed, but after that event in my life I became more determined to live my life as my true self.  I also became more involved in hate-crime and bullying issues.  I used to agree with people who say that all crimes are hate crimes, but now I know different.  The only reason I was beaten was because I had come outside of a gay bar.  I had a wallet in my pocket that had hundreds of dollars in it and my car keys in my hand.  Nothing was taken.  The only thing these men wanted was to hurt me because of who I am.  THAT is a hate crime, and it IS different.

It took a lot of time and work to dig myself out of the place that I went after that night, but I did it with the help of Andy and my friends and family.  I am hoping this blog posting will help anyone who has faced a backlash because they were different, whether that backlash be physical or emotional.  I want them to know that it does get better and you can overcome it because I am no different than them.  He or she can be what I am.

I am a survivor.

Links to some some anti-hate groups:

Friday, November 12, 2010

Airing Our Dirty Laundry

OK, so a year or so ago, someone told me about this website called Topix.  I think at this point we all know what Topix is, but for those of you who "don't know," I will explain.  It is a website that allows people to post items and messages about their local community based on zipcode.  For people who live in larger cities, you may very well not know about this.  Be thankful.  It seems to be, for all practical purposes, the newest way to gossip, spread untruths, and talk about people.  Of course, I have never been to the Lexington community page.  It is too big, I don't know anyone.  I went straight for my hometown page of Hyden where everyone knows everyone else.  I was mesmerized by it at first at all the posts.  Then I became amazed at all the ignorance.  Now, I am just completely blown away by the number of people in my hometown who have access to the internet and are still so dumb.

I have all but stopped going to this site unless someone tells me that I have to log on to read a funny post.  That is what I did today because someone had posted negative comments about our pharmacy.  As I read the names of the other posts, I started laughing out loud, and thought I would share some of my favorites with you.  I have taken these directly from the Hyden Topix threads.  Enjoy along with my commentary:

Chicken For Sale
(Ah yes, thankfully I can now find a chicken for sale online)

Who Is The Drunkest Man In LC?
(Wow, really?  I am sure that I would have had that title on some particular night in my life.  I have a lot of friends who would be interested in having a contest to see who would win the title.)

Bullcreek Lying Bitches
(Oooh, those lying bitches on Bullcreek make me s'mad!)

You Might Be Emo If...
(If you are emo, you probably know.  So does everyone else.)

Bust Up Beech Bottom
(Was there a police bust at a place called Beech Bottom?  Did someone named Beech bust up his or her bottom?)

Scrape Scrape What's That Sound
(Probably a scraper.  Scraping something)

Vote No Gay Officials in Hyden
(Yes, here in multi-cultural Hyden, KY, there are several openly gay candidates running for elected office.  It is the San Fransisco of the South. WTH?!)

Hyden Low-Lifes
(Watch out.  They will get you.)

Trailors For Sale??
(Um, YEAH.)

Attention Womerns!!
(The mating call of Topix Men)

My Pee Is Clear
(Glad the infection cleared up.)

Popbelly Stove
(Hmm, would like you to post a picture of that.)

Trade Your Vote For A Fish Dinner
(A fish dinner would have been greatly appreciated instead of Rand Paul.)

WSGS Has Went All To Hell
(Just all to hell.  All to hell.)

Looking For A Police Man!!
(Maybe you should look at city hall or the police station, not Topix.)

Everybody Think For A Minute
(Now if we did that, we would not be on the Topix website.)

And my favorite:

People Who Sticky Their Nose Up Other People Azzes Dam I Hate That
(Damn, I hate that too.)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Meeting My Idol Part Deux

Although my ultimate life goal after college was to meet Wynonna and become her new BFF, I pretended to have interest in other things in my life, such as career, relationships, and family.

I always keep a close eye on what was happening with Wynonner, being surprised how much our lives mirrored each others. Wy and I are close in age, so we sort of grew up together. We both made the same coming of age mistakes. I could be awkward and gumpy and say the wrong things, so could she.  I got married and divorced, for obvious reasons (gay). She got married and divorced, for obvious country music star reasons (he dated an under-age girl). Then this happened to Wynonna:
When she was arrested for DUI, I thought about how lucky I am to have never been arrested for some of the idiotic things I have done.  Plus, as if I needed even more reasons to love this woman, look at her mug shot!  She is smiling and arching her eyebrows as if she is saying, "Yeah, I'm bad.  You caught me this time, Po-Po, but you won't catch me again."

As the years went by, I went to every concert I could go to but was never able to get front-row or backstage.  All that changed on Friday, September 24, 2010.  Andy and I had tickets to see Wynonner, and he was happily pretending to be just as excited about it as I was.  We were having a pre-concert cocktail waiting for our friend Doug to join us when the phone call came.  Doug called to say he was running late, but he had a surprise.  His partner Glenn had pulled some strings and gotten us not only backstage, but also on the list for the MEET AND GREET!  The next 10 minutes or so of my life is completely blank.  I think I blacked out.  I know I hyper-ventilated.  It was finally going to happen!  Glenn then phoned, and when I answered, the first words out of his mouth were, "Do NOT embarrass me."  I assured him that I wouldn't, and that I did, indeed, know exactly what songs Wynonna actually sang (please see the Bernadette Peters post in this blog for explanation).

We connected with Doug at the theatre, and were ushered backstage.  As we stood in the room waiting for my Wynonna to arrive, I was a nervous wreck.  I was babbling and extremely worried about what I would say to her.  I'd had no time to prepare, and I always like to have something prepared when meeting a celebrity (again, see the Bernadette Peters story for further explanation).  Andy finally told me that if I did not immediately calm down, he was going to perform a full-on-straight-out-of-a-movie slap in the face.  The tone of his voice and look on his face told me he was serious, so I started using my inside voice and tried to focus on breathing normally and not laughing hysterically.

I pulled myself together and started sizing up bunch of yahoos that were in the group with us.  I needed to be Wy's favorite person in this meet and greet.  I needed to be memorable in order to win her over and become her best friend.  Most of the group were sadly ordinary and I was sure I could outshine them.  It was at this point that I noticed an adult man who was mentally-challenged standing in the room.  Apparently, he was just as excited as I was to be here meeting Wynonna.  He was going to be a problem.  The advantage he had over me was evident.  He had no filter on his giddiness.  He was screaming "Wynonna!" to anyone who would look at him, and hugging strangers because he was getting to meet Wy.  Was anyone in his group threatening a full-on-straight-out-of-a-movie slap in the face to him?  Nooo.  He was free to express himself .  He was acting exactly the way I wanted to act.  It was just unfair.

The handlers then lined us up in the order we would meet Wynonna.  I was vying for a good position, and my last second decision was to go last.  By being last, she would not feel so rushed, and I would have some extra time to spend chatting with her.  I was sure that after hearing my witty opening line she would be enamoured and would be thinking to herself, "I love this guy!  I hope he tells me another story!"  The handler asked if we minded if she placed someone in front of us in line.  We said that of course we didn't mind.  I had not noticed that the exuberant man was still wondering around outside of the line yelling, "Wynonna!"  She then explained that right before it was our turn, we would need to let him in line first.  I was horrified.  How could I compete with an exuberant mentally-challenged adult male who was a big fan?!  Panic set in immediately.  I was sweating profusely.

Then it happened. WYNONNA walked in the room!!  I gasped at the sight.  Then, the man who was to go in front of me in line started jumping and screaming and yelling, "Wynonna!!! Wynonna!!!"  He then broke all the rules and ran over to her and gave her a big bear hug.  Her bodyguards started to leap into action, but Wynonna was so gracious and unfettered.  She waved off the guards saying, "It's OK, it's OK."  She then talked to him and was so very gracious.  My heart just melted.  He then pulled out a drawing he had made for Wynonna.  I know at this point I should be saying "awww" like everyone else in the room, but all I could think was, "Aw, Hell, I should have drawn her a picture.  Now, he was going to be the most memorable person in the group."  Shit.  I regrouped and decided I would not let this deter me from making a good impression.

Suddenly, it was Andy's turn to meet her!  He had given this meeting no thought whatsoever.  I was just hoping he didn't mess up and call her Naomi.  He was, of course, charming and said proper things.  He told her what a tiny thing she is (very true, petite) and then hugged her.  Wy already had her microphone pack strapped on and it was placed on her lower back under her shirt.  When Andy felt it, he asked her if she was packing heat.  She just giggled and was quite delightful.

Our friend Doug was next to go.  I have no memory of what he said to her because I was busy trying to not faint and making sure I had no food stuck between my teeth.

The moment had arrived!  Over 20 years of wanting and waiting led up to this moment!  I walked over to her and hugged her.  Tears came to my eyes, then nothing.  Nothing was in my head.  I could think of nothing to say.  Maybe I was mesmerized by her wonderful eyes or transfixed by her body glitter.  Finally, I stammered out at the speed of ninety words per second, "Oh Wynonna, I have waited all my life to meet you so that I could say something witty to you and you would love me and want to be my best friend and have me come to your house and have supper with you but now that I am finally here and you are finally here I can't think of a thing to say to you."  She just hugged me again and sweetly said that as soon as I left this room she was sure that I would remember everything that I had planned to say.  And just like that, it was over.

I felt more of a sense of relief afterward.  Although I was out-shined by the other guy, I had finally met her.  We may not have become friends tonight, but I was sure I would visit with her again.  It was just a step on our journey together, me and Wynonner, and after seeing the compassion, grace, humility, and genuine friendliness she showed during this meet and greet made me sure that I had, indeed, chosen the right person to be my hero.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Meeting My Idol

I have never hidden my love for Wynonna Judd.  I have flown my Wy Flag for the world to see since I was mere boy.  Her voice is unmistakable, incomparable, and just downright big.  Hers is the type of voice that really needs no microphone.  It could fill an arena with its pure and distinct sound with no help from electronics.  I remember hearing  "Had A Dream (for the Heart)"  on the radio in the mid-80's and thinking that I really digged that voice.  By the time "Mama He's Crazy" was released, I was.  I was crazy in love with a red-headed woman named Wynonna.

While in college at Transylvania, I will be the first to admit that I did try to minimize my quirkiness in a youth-driven need to be accepted and fit in with kids from larger cities.  I was willing to conform in most every way, except for my love of country music, in particular Wyonner (my pet name for her, I'm sure she'd like it).  To my surprise, my high-falutin' Transy friends also loved Wynonna!  Well, maybe love is a strong word, but they at least put up with my border-line obsession with her.  Thankfully, I found a fraternity brother who harbored an unhealthy fascination with Wynonner's sister, Ashley Judd.  Together, we were able to sit in our dorm rooms and plot elaborate plans on how best to meet and become best friends with the Judd girls.  Sometimes, we would drive across town to the campus of the University of Kentucky in hopes of catching Ashley, who was attending UK at the time, walking to class or sitting outside her sorority house.  Other times, we would just plan out what we would say during the dinner party that was an inevitable part of our collective future, each taking turns being Wynonna and Ashley in the conversations.

It was for Wy that I slept outside of Rupp Arena on a bitterly cold winter night along with my friends Elizabeth Wilkinson, David Spiggle, and Kelly Martin.  These were pre-internet days, and in order to get the very best seats at a concert, sleeping outside and waiting for the ticket window to open was your best shot at being up close and personal for a show.  We were rewarded with seats very close to the stage.  This was the Judds Farewell Tour, and I was already very emotional.  David and I waited for just the right moment, during a lull in the noise and while Wynonna was facing us, we stood up and yelled in unison, "WE LOVE YOU, WYNONNA!!"  She smiled and pointed at us.  At the sight of Wynonna acknowledging us, we both fell back into our seats hugging each other and crying like little girls.  It was by far the #1 Wynonna Moment in my life, and one of my more embarrassing moments during my Transy years.

As I graduated college, like most everyone else, I set goals for myself and planned my future.  My number one goal to meet Wynonna, thus becoming best friends and probably living with her.  As it turned out, it took longer than my original five year plan, but the seed had been planted.  Nothing would stop me!

Because she has been such a part of my life, I am making her blog entry a two-parter.  Tune in tomorrow for the conclusion of Meeting My Idol!

Also, if you have lived under a rock for the past 25 years and have never heard Wynonna, or need a refresher of why she is a legend, here are a couple of You Tube videos:

Saturday, November 6, 2010


OK, I am still in exile in Hyden, and the thing I dislike the most is the lack of a cell phone signal here in the mountains.  Apparently, Appalachia is smack dab in the middle of the 3% of Americans who are not covered by AT & T wireless.  As Mary Katherine Gallager might say, perhaps my feelings can best be expressed in song.  I have rewritten Lady Gaga's "Telephone" to better give you a feeling of my desperation.

First, here is the song itself.  Please play the song and and sing along using the new words below the YouTube box:

Hello, hello, baby you called? I can’t hear a thing,

I have got no service here in Hyden you see, you see,
Wha-wha-what did you say, huh? You’re breaking up on me,
Sorry, I wish I could hear you, I’m bored and lonely.

B-bored and lonely,
B-bored and lonely,
Sorry, I cannot hear you
‘Cause I am bored and loney.

You know how addicted I am to my phone, eh?
And I cannot text or call for days and days and days,
How was I to know Hyden ain’t served by ATT,
And now I can’t call and tell anybody.

Don’t stop callin’, stop callin’ don’t stop calling anymore,
I miss my calls, texts, apps and more.
Don’t stop callin’, stop callin’ don’t stop calling anymore,
I miss my calls, texts, apps and more.

Eh, eh eh, eh, eh, eh,
Eh, eh, eh
Telephone me!

Eh, eh, eh, eh, eh, eh
Eh, eh, eh
I’m lonely!

Eh, eh eh, eh, eh, eh,
Eh, eh, eh
Telephone me!

Eh, eh, eh, eh, eh, eh
Eh, eh, eh
I’m lonely!

Call all you want, but there’s no signal,
And you’re not gonna reach my telephone,
‘Cause I’m off the map and I ain’t go no app,
And you’re not gonna reach my telephone.

Call all you want, but there’s no signal,
And you’re not gonna reach my telephone,
‘Cause I’m off the map and I ain’t go no app,
And you’re not gonna reach my telephone.

The way I’m blowin’ up my phone,
Won’t make no signal faster,
Won’t make no tower faster,
Won’t give me 3G faster.

I should’ve gone with Appalach Cell,
‘Cause this is a disaster,
Callin’ like a collector,
Sorry, I cannot answer.

Not that I don’t like it here, I just live in Lex-y,
And I am sick and tired of my phone not r-r-inging,
Sometimes I wish that I lived in Grand Central Station,
‘Cause I would not miss a single text or conversation.

Text or conversation,
Text or conversation,
Cause I would not miss a single
Text or conversation.

Don’t stop callin’, stop callin’ don’t stop calling anymore,
I miss my calls, texts, apps and more.
Don’t stop callin’, stop callin’ don’t stop calling anymore,
I miss my calls, texts, apps and more.

Don’t stop callin’, stop callin’ don’t stop calling anymore,
I miss my calls, texts, apps and more.
Don’t stop callin’, stop callin’ don’t stop calling anymore,
I miss my calls, texts, apps and more.

Eh, eh eh, eh, eh, eh,
Eh, eh, eh
Telephone me!

Eh, eh, eh, eh, eh, eh
Eh, eh, eh
I’m lonely!

Eh, eh eh, eh, eh, eh,
Eh, eh, eh
Telephone me!

Eh, eh, eh, eh, eh, eh
Eh, eh, eh
I’m lonely!

Call all you want, but there’s no signal,
And you’re not gonna reach my telephone,
‘Cause I’m off the map and I ain’t go no app,
And you’re not gonna reach my telephone.

Call all you want, but there’s no signal,
And you’re not gonna reach my telephone,
‘Cause I’m off the map and I ain’t go no app,
And you’re not gonna reach my telephone.

My telephone, m-m-my telephone,
‘Cause I’m off the map,
And I ain’t got no app,
And you’re not gonna reach my telephone.

My telephone, m-m-my telephone,
‘Cause I’m off the map,
And I ain’t got no app,
And you’re not gonna reach my telephone.

We’re sorry the number you have reached is not in service at this time,
Please check the number,
Or try your call again.

P.S. If anyone personally knows Lady Gaga, please don't tell her about this.  I would hate her to feel bad about my rewriting her song.

Here is the actual video if you are interested:

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Brother-In-Law Effect

My brother-in-law Ritchie

Today I sit in a hospital room in Hazard, Kentucky. The gloomy rain outside matches the somber mood inside. Up and down the hallways, patients in different states of illness lie in the beds of their rooms waiting for doctors to examine them, nurses to dispense pills, and families to visit. I am sitting with my brother-in-law, giving my sister a break so she can go home and see her children, shower, and rest. With the pain medication that is being dispensed to Ritchie, I am mostly sitting here in silence, watching old reruns of I Dream of Jeannie, Bewitched, and Cheers.

Humor is my “go to” emotion. If I am uncomfortable, nervous or the slightest bit bothered, I often crack a joke. I suppose I am a true believer that laughter is great medicine. That being said, as I watch Ritchie in his medicated-induced sleep, my mind drifts back to the funny times I have shared with my brother-in-law over the past 23 years.

Ritchie’s introduction into my sister’s life was rocky from the beginning. Sis’ long-time companion, her dog Brandi, a white Peek-a-Poo, was as spoiled as any lap dog has ever been. My sister took her along with her every where she went. Brandi lived a charmed and glamorous life with my sister, and did not want any changes made to it at all. When it became obvious that this human male named Ritchie had moved in on Brandi’s territory, Brandi decided to strike back. At bedtime, when Ritchie climbed into bed, lying in Brandi’s usual sleeping spot, he was promptly met by a 15-pound fur ball showing sharp teeth and a growl that could make a Great Dane back down. What Ritchie did not understand, however, was that Brandi was not all bark. She played for keeps. She tried to bite and nip and gnaw any part she could in order to get him out of the bed. When it became obvious that my sister would side with Ritchie in this fight, Brandi switched tactics. She slept between my sister and her husband, with her back to Ritchie. After that, on more than one occasion Ritchie would wake up in the middle of the night wet from dog urine somewhere on his body. Brandi was finally banished from the bed, but after a few months of co-habitation, she and Ritchie not only called a truce, but also became good friends.

When the Taco Bell in Hazard was built in the early 1990’s, we all were, of course, excited to have this new exotic food source so readily available to us. My sister and Ritchie took a particular liking to the puesdo-mexican fast food. For the following six months after the Bell opened, if anyone in the family went to Hazard for anything, my sister would always say, “Bring back some tacos for Ritchie. Ritchie likes tacos.” This request was repeated so frequently by her that the entire family started automatically saying “Ritchie like tacos” every time we passed a Taco Bell. To this very day, not only do I and my family, but many of my friends will say to me, “Ritchie likes tacos,” anytime Mexican food or a Taco Bell is mentioned. In fact, I am pretty sure that Ritchie does NOT like tacos as much as we like to say, “Ritchie likes tacos.”

Ritchie has always been the first to offer to help me out with whatever project I needed help completing. He has moved me to and from different states and many sorted apartments and houses. He also always volunteers to be a delivery man on Valentine’s Day for Andy’s Incredibly Edible Delites store. Valentine’s Day is the busiest day of the year for that business so Ritchie usually takes the day off and helps distribute fruitflowers to lucky men and woman all over central Kentucky. Since he is not familiar with the city streets in Lexington, we usually ask him to take the out of town deliveries, to towns such as Georgetown, Versailles, and Winchester. On one particular Valentine’s Day, Ritchie had several problems with his deliveries in Georgetown, and ended up spending most of his day lost and angry somewhere in Scott County. The following year, we were getting ready for our Valentine’s Day deliveries the night before V-Day. I did not realize that Ritchie was on a medication at the time that specifically stated it should not be mixed with alcohol. I had the stack of hundreds of deliveries that needed to be made and was trying to sort into reasonable routes. I decided a cocktail would help me in this process, and made one for Ritchie. He accepted, downed it, and asked for another. Being an amateur bartender, I was happy he enjoyed my mixture and happily made a second round. It was at that point, I noticed that Ritchie’s eyes were glazed over and he had a goofy grin on his face. “Are you sending me back to Georgetown this year?” he slurred. “Probably not, unless you want to go,” I said. “To Hell with Georgetown!” he yelled, “To Hell with Georgetown!” He repeated this mantra over and over, sprinkling in some laughter every now and then like a lunatic. I realized something was wrong, and was finally able to grab his glass, and send him to bed. “To Hell with Georgetown!” I could hear coming from his bedroom door as I went back to my routing. I decided he was right, to Hell with it, and I gave him the Georgetown route the next day, which he happily did.

In the past few years, Ritchie has played the role of Mr. Mom. In the beginning, this was not the smoothest process. In the morning rush to get the twins, Stewart and Haley, dressed, ready, and out the door for school, he threw their lunch together as quickly as possible. A few hours later, the kid’s third grade teacher, Mrs. Wilson, called to ask if there was any particular reason that Stewart and Haley each had been sent with a can of Milwaukee’s Best beer for their afternoon snack drink? Of course, Ritchie immediately went to the school to explain the mistake and that he thought it was a can of G2 or Juicy Juice. I suspect he also secretly hoped to get back his beer. Living in a town the size of Hyden, however, the damage was already done by the time he arrived at the school. Word spread among the teachers and other parents like fire spreads through a forest floor of dry pine needles. He was reminded of this parenting error for months from everyone who knew about it. The only person who really did not think it was that funny was my sister, who was in a complete dither about the entire situation. His nickname quickly went from Mr. Mom to Snack Dad among the PTA parents.  But Ritchie, instead of being really embarrassed by the fact that he sent beer to school with two 8-year olds, has always been more humiliated by the fact that the beer was Milwaukee’s Best and not a better brand. “If it had even been a Bud Light, it wouldn’t have been as bad,” he still says.

So, back to today and the hospital. Hopefully, these medications and treatments will quickly do their job and allow Ritchie to feel better and heal his body so we can get him home and continue to relentlessly poke fun at him. With another child so close to school age, who knows what he will send in her lunch bag!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Answer is blowing in the Wind

It has been a week or so since my last "questionable" subject, aka grey pubes.  I figure that was long enough between subjects that may offend others.  If anyone knows me at all, they know that the subjects that fascinate me the most are the ones that are often taboo.  I absolutely love to see someone doing something out of the ordinary or to discuss something that causes most of society to cringe.  Call it a quirk, call it crazy, but just make sure to call me before you talk about it.

If I have said it once, I have said it a million times, a well placed whoopie cushion can provide an endless supply of laughter at other people's expense, which really, is the best kind of laughter.  There is a song from the Broadway muscial Avenue Q called "Schadenfreude."  Schadenfruede is gloating at somebody else's bad luck,  or malicious and smug pleasure taken in somebody else's misfortune.  Now, don't get me wrong, I do not condone laughing at and making fun of truly bad things, for instance murder or any other serious crime, bankruptcy, or true misfortune, but seeing someone pitch down the sidewalk from a good trip or possibly fall down a small flight of stairs, that is funny stuff.

The only thing better than laughing at people punked by a whoopie cushion is laughing at people who are actually caught letting the "air flow" naturally.  I, myself, have never been a public pooter.  I know  many men who let it rip whenever the urge strikes.  I have heard horror stories of fathers who, on family trips, would lock all the windows in a car, let his air flow, and nearly choke his wife and children to death from the fumes.  In college, I had fraternity brothers who would have contests for the smelliest, loudest, or wettest versions.  These types of gas passes are not as funny as the one's that happen to people when they are unwanted or unexpected, such as these.

As I said, I have never been a public pooter.  If I am in public, I will excuse myself to the restroom to do whatever business I need to do.  Even at home, if there is anyone else around, I will not relieve myself in the presence of others, including my dogs, Duke and Dudley.  Although, neither Duke nor Dudley appreciate this or return the favor.  As long as I am conscious, I am very proper and gasless.  However, from reports I have been given by the person who shares a bed with me, once my eyes close, my Ambien kicks in, and my dreams begin, the first thing my anus does is send a message out to the rest of my body that says, "Release the Kracken!"  just like Zeus in the movie Clash of the Titans.  In my case, I suppose it would be Cracken.  Alledgedly, I can put on quite a symphony, with my poots covering the entire musical scale.  I say alledgedly because the only time this happens is when I am fast asleep and totally and completely unconscious.  I was originally appalled by this revelation, but aside from living the life of a hermit, what else could I do about it?  I forced myself to suck it up and let it flow.  If I am loved, my partner will have to live through it.  I have suggested he get a C-Pap machine that covers his face and provides fresh oxgyen throughout the night.  I am very thoughtful that way.

My friend Louise knows someone named John who owned and operated a general store in Hyden.  One day, an older lady came in to buy some fabric for her sewing.  She told John she needed three feet of the fabric.  As he measured out the fabric, a strong urge overcame him.  His gaseous breakfast was knock, knock, knocking on heavens door.  He absolutely could not wait a second longer.  He decided that when he jerked the fabric across the ribbed ruler that would cut the fabric from the bolt, he would let his gas fly hoping that the sound of the tearing fabric would cover the natural sound he was about to make.  He badly miscalculated the ferocity of his need, and the sound emanating from his back side roared over the sound of the ripping fabric.  Embarrassed, John looked at the elderly lady not quite knowing what to say.  She simply smiled and said, "Lord, John, that fabric sounded awfully stout, you better rip me another yard of that."

One of my crazy cousins started off her new year living up to her resolution to work out regularly and stay in shape.  She started going to the gym every day and working out on the cardio machines.  One of her Christmas gifts that year was a brand new iPod, so she loaded it up with great, fast beat music to help her walk briskly and keep her heart rate up.  On the Monday of her second week of working out at the gym, she found the only open treadmill was in the center of the treadmill isle.  She hopped on, turned on her tunes, and started walking.  With her headphones on, she could only hear her music, she could not hear any outside noises.  She didn't hear the other machines beside her, the televisions playing, the grunts and moans from the people being punished by personal trainers.  In that cocoon, she forgot that it was all one-sided, although she could not hear anything from anyone else, everyone else could hear her.  Having forgotten this, the brisk walking apparently worked up (or down) some of the gas that was a result of her new healthy, fiber rich diet.  Since, she thought, no one could hear her, she let herself toot away.  It was after her third release that she noticed the horror on the faces of her treadmill neighbors.  In fact, several had gotten off their machines and left completely.  Realizing her mistake, she went ahead and finished her five miles as if nothing had happened, got off the machine, left the building and drove to the next closest gym and signed up for a new membership there.

I have one more instance of Gas Gone Wild but involves my mother, and she has strictly forbidden me from sharing on the blog.  Because I am currently visiting her in her home, eating dinners she makes for me, I will abstain from sharing it with you now, but as soon as I am back home in Lexington and can work in into another story, all bets are off!

So here is to the people who fight the urge, but lose.  Rest assured, there are people like me around just waiting to hear that sound, to see that look on your face, and laugh hysterically at you!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Summer of 2010: Surviving the Parents

(picture of me tonight)
I apologize in advance for any mistakes in this post.  As I try to type it, my three-year old niece is hanging on one of my shoulders and is in the middle of what is apparently "ask Uncle Keith one hundred questions in a row."  In addition, I made the mistake of playing a game with her last week in which we pretended the couch was a swimming pool.  So, she is also practicing her diving skills by jumping into the "pool" that I am currently sitting in/on.

Spending most of the summer in Hyden living with my parents is proving to be an eye-opening experience.  I have already posted a blog regarding their odd television habits.  As an update on that, I think Dad is still secretly disappointed that the Logo channel is not showing re-runs of RuPaul's Drag Race. 

I noticed a new symptom of my folks aging this week.

My parents are both retired and have been so for a few years now.  They are quite settled into the non-scheduled lifestyle.  Obviously, when this happens to people, any sense of urgency that may have possessed that person is instantly swept away.    For instance, when my parents now get into a car to drive, they do not instantly put the key in the ignition and start the car.  They sit down in the seat, take a few cleansing breaths, stare out the window for a second, look around to make sure nothing has changed on the console since they were last in the vehicle, then make the conscious decision to, indeed, start the car.  Meanwhile, I am sitting in the passenger seat of a 200-degree car, sweating profusely and cussing under my breath.

(not really Mom)
Once the car is started, my parents are very different.  My mother has turned into the little older lady you meet on the Daniel Boone Parkway who is puttering along at 50 miles per hour listening to public radio, while a line of eight cars struggle with road rage behind her, wanting so badly to pass her they look like a line of Nascar stock cars following the lap car waiting for the green flag to start racing.

My father, on the other hand, after taking his sweet, precious time starting the car turns into a mad man, frantic to get to where ever it is he is going.  He puts on either bluegrass or traditional country music, sticks a cigar in his mouth, places one hand on the wheel, and guns it.

(not really Dad)
This happened tonight, and I thought it may be my last night on Earth.  Dad drove my Mom and me to Hazard to visit someone in the hospital.  While we were inside the hospital, an afternoon thunderstorm came and went leaving the roads wet and slick.  Afternoon rain and high humidity and heat lead to extreme fog in the mountains.  The fog was so thick and hanging on the mountains, it made for perfect scenery for a Twilight Saga movie.  As Dad drove us on the slick road at speeds hovering around 75 mph, my mother finally yelled from the backseat, "Eugene, if you don't stop swarping around, I am going to be sick at my stomach!"  Dad yelled back, "Dammit!  I am not swarping around, this is the way people drive!"  I sat still, held my breath, and held on to the "scaredy-cat handle" for all that it was worth.  He passed other cars in no passing zones, and had no fear of the possibility of a speeding ticket, or jail time for that matter.  We finally rolled back into Subway in Hyden where I had left my car.  Instead of pulling into the parking lot, Dad pulled onto the sidewalk, slowed the car down, and looked at me.  I hopped out of the moving vehicle, as he peeled out, back on to Main Street.

My survival list for this summer now includes Xanax, Valium, and a motion-sickness patch.  I may check out local elderly homes while I am here as well.  Just in case.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Don't You Throw That Mojo On Me

The next few days of our Las Vegas vacation were pretty much repeats of the first, with the exception of being hit on by prostitutes.  Thankfully, that only happened on the first day.  Our luck did not get any better.  I could not even win a free turn on a slot machine, my cousins were busting on the blackjack table, and Andy's new friend Agnes, from the Red Hat Society Club of Topeka, Kansas, had cut him loose and ended their friendship because she thought he was bad luck.

On the final afternoon in town, Andy and I decided the safest thing to do would be to nap.  You can not lose money napping.  We were just settling in for a midday rest when the hotel room telephone rang.  I answered and it was one of the crazy cousins, JoAnn.  She told me to meet her and my other cousin Delores in the main lobby immediately.  I told Andy I would be back shortly and headed out to the lobby.  Once there, I was handed a bloody mary and whisked into a waiting taxi cab.  We sat in the back seat of the car, and the driver waited for instructions.  "Uh, Buddy," said JoAnn to the driver, "we need to get off this damn strip and go somewhere we can win a little."  Our driver, who did not have one vowel in his entire name, spoke very little English, and when that English was mixed with a southern Appalachian accent, was clueless as to what was being said.  He started driving around aimlessly.

JoAnn, Delores and I sipped our cocktails and discussed our situation.  We had all three lost way more money that we had intended to lose, and WAY WAY more money than our spouses knew.  We determined that it all boiled down to one thing:  we had lost our mojo.  We were not sure what the cause of this mojo loss was, but we were pretty sure it had something to do with the other people who had come on this trip with us (our partners).  All that we could do at this point was try and not blame them and to regain our mojo and salvage the trip.

Our grandfather's brother, our great uncle Henry, lived and worked in Las Vegas for many years.  In fact, he had even worked at a casino during his residence there.  The problem was none of us knew which casino.  It was decided that we should call someone to ask the name of the casino that had employed him.  By going to that casino, the family connection would restore our mojo and we would be on our way to redemption.  For some reason, the cousins thought mother would be the best person to call.  I was not about to call her slightly buzzed from the back seat of a taxi in Las Vegas, so Delores finally agreed to do it.  She couldn't resist starting the conversation by saying, "Ronnie Carol, we are here in Las Vegas and have lost all our money.  Will you send us enough to get home?"  Click.  Mother hung up on us.  Delores called back and finally asked the question, but of course, mom had no idea where Uncle Henry had worked, but was sure it was not a good idea for the three of us to be off the main strip and in some less desirable part of Las Vegas.  As mom demanded Deleros to hand the phone to Ackml, the driver, so she could tell him to take us back to our hotel, Delores said the connection was bad and hung up.

JoAnn again yelled at Ackml in the front seat, "Listen Brother, we have lost our mojo and we need to get it back.  Take us to some casino that we can get our mojo back right now!"  A few blocks later, we pushed out of the taxi in front of a fairly nice looking casino.  We wandered in and started playing the slots, getting the "lay of the land."  Finally Delores asked JoAnn and me if we noticed anything about the other patrons.  We did not, so she told us to look again.  It then became clear that we were the only non-Asian people in the casino.  Not only were they all Asian, but they were all extremely short.  We towered over these people.  I am not sure what Ackml thought mojo was, but I think he thought he came from the Far East.

Towering above everyone else in the casino empowered us; we were braver and more confident than normal.  The casino also served much stronger drinks than those on the strip so we decided to stay.  We also thought that since we were so much bigger than everyone else, we could possibly stage a holdup if we got desperate for money.  Because we were feeling invincible, we decided to play the dice game craps.  The other patrons seemed to be very polite and quiet and kept to themselves.  We, on the other hand, were not.  Before anyone rolled the dice on the table, Delores insisted on chanting, "ROLL-ER ROLL-ER HE'S OUR MAN, IF HE CAN'T DO IT, NOBODY CAN."  Our accents were in full force and we were talking and laughing and having a good time.  Anytime someone asked where we were from we would reply, "De-Troit."  The person would look oddly confused and smile and walk away.

Eventually, the pit boss, who was a Taiwanese man standing about 4'8'' started giving us the eye.  We decided it was time to go, much to the relief of the short Asians.  We had indeed regained our mojo and had won back some of our losses.  We called a cab and headed back to the Strip.

We did not realize we had been gone from the hotel for 5 hours or we would have called someone to let them know we were OK.  But as soon as our spouses all started trying to ask questions, we told them that we did what we had to do in order get our mojo back and that they should be grateful since it was their fault that we lost it in the first place.

Although I can't imagine Uncle Henry working in an all-Asian casino in a rougher section of Las Vegas for 20 years, I guess there is that chance, and as long as there is that chance, I am going with it.  It IS Vegas after all.  Stranger things have happened there!