Thoughts on Moving

Item #1

It’s about 9:17am on a Saturday morning in late May.

I’m looking through the kitchen passage to the front room where the sun streams through the windows onto a preternaturally large pile of clothes, hangers, peelers, pots and pans, forks and knives, a black and white tutu, and more and more.

These are the things I’ve surrounded myself with for the last three years. Staring at it, I imagine it floating off the ground. I imagine everything I own picking itself up and swirling into a conical mass above my head.

Item #2

Driving in my car, I am wrapped in clothes, wrapped in a warped hunk of self-propelled steel riding down the road. I add this all to the pile and let it sit and marinate and float and think of my pile, this conical structure of material objects massed above me. And I look at my neighbors and think about their swirling masses (hmm… that sounds awkward).

Moving is a horrible practice that puts this whole being human deal in perspective. I’ve never gone through a move where I’ve said to myself, “Say self, it’s too bad you don’t have more crap.”

No, every time I have moved it has been about paring things down, getting rid of things, slimming down. And when I look at my pile for the cross-country journey, I realize I don’t really even have that much.

Item #3

But even so, my car will be brimming with things, pieces of this earth artfully arranged and mounded up around me, piled up in the pile of earth that is my car.

I always admired my German neighbor who managed to live an extremely spartan lifestyle. Why do I need another jacket? I have one. Two pairs of shoes is fine.

As I get ready to move to Germany, I’m scanning available rentals and realizing I have no choice but to slim down. Given the size of spaces available, there’s no room for extraneous material. So on that note, anyone wanna’ buy a great car (link to my site for my Subaru Forester for sale)?!?!

cockfights, Holy crap, Uncategorized

News in Review

International Headquarters of the Mayville News

I’m straightening things up and prepping for a big move. Today I’m cleaning off the fridge. On one side I found my collection of favorite quotes from the Mayville News (nee Dodge County Pionier), my hometown newspaper.

Each week, editors at the paper scour old newpapers dating back to the 1800’s looking for interesting tidbits to include in the News in Review section. I think it was Hemingway who did that whole spiel about efficient storytelling and in many of the bits I cut out, you can find entire worlds crashing in fewer than 50 words.

I’m not going to take these clips with me on my journey, so I’m posting some of my favorites here. Most of them are missing the dates, but all are from earlier than 1940. Dates will be noted where available.

  • February 9, 1909 – One of the Hungarians at the Iron Mountain mine was severely slashed in a stabbing battle.
  • Lawrence and Clark have 1,000 bushels of onions which they would like to give away. If you would like them, go and get them.
  • Arthur Schellpfeffer, Town LeRoy, was taken to Chicago for the Pasteur treatment after he was bitten by a cow that was found to have hydrophobia.
  • February 14, 1889 – The body of a young man who had taken his own life was found on the grave of his bride of only a few months in the local cemetery. The young man had come to Mayville about a year ago, and since his wife’s death he had been morose.
  • Some 150 people attended the Cub Scout pet show in which 50 pets were entered. Wilmer Hundertmark’s cat “Nigger” won the prize as best of show. Everything from clams to chickens were entered.
  • During the past winter, David Bernit, Town Hoerman farmer, de-horned 1,300 cattle.
  • Franz Muche of Town Williamstown has purchased a four-year-old fox from John Schraufnagel in Town LeRoy for $55.
  • Walter “Shorty” Buschkopf, our jovial chief of police appeared on our street on his trusty motorcycle.
  • The City Council granted permission for C.W. Doctor to operate his popcorn stand and popper along either side of Main St. between Buchanan and Horicon Streets.
  • April 24, 1929 – A band of gypsies in high-powered cars visited our town on Thursday, but Police Chief Shorty Buschkopf soon had them on their way out of town.
  • Bonus Entry: The amazing LeRoy Meats Butcher Shop has the best catch phrase I have ever seen in any ad, “We would like to meat you!”

The Santa Fe Chip, Part II

I have referred to the Santa Fe Chip in previous entries (Enter the Santa Fe Chip and Stereotypes Collide in Santa Fe), the somewhat unidentifable chip on the shoulder of folks here. Their hatred for bikers, their love/hate relationship with tourists, the internal simmering that often results in a delicious anger-filled casserole. I was reminded of another run-in with the Santa Fe Chip when I saw this article, “Male breast op numbers ‘growing fastest’.”

One sunny day, I was out for a run with my lovely ladyfriend. We were sauntering down the Alameda when we heard a ruckus behind us. A low-riding Chevy Suburban with tight tires and wide rims was cruising down the road and throwing firecrackers at pedestrians – not an exceedingly friendly thing to do.

Man Tits

As they passed us, a firecracker landed at our feet. She shouted, “Real mature guys,” or something to that effect. I shouted, “Nice man tits, bitches!” It was a true statement, the truck was filled with healthy eaters. But in this situation, it was not a wise thing to say.

I did briefly think that pointing out the truth might make them see the light, much like Saul being struck down by God. Maybe they would even park their truck, give up eating junk food and join us for a run. We would light off firecrackers in a responsible manner and enjoy each others’ company. This did not happen.

“What’d you say mother f™£¢er??!?!?” they shouted as the truck slowed down beside us.

My heart began racing. I felt imminent doom riding beside us. I felt like a jerk for putting my ladyfriend in danger. We ran silently pretending that there was not a large truck filled with large people shouting angry words at us.

Fortunately, as we came to the next intersection, the truck of heavy men was in the right turn only lane.

We darted across the road and made our way downtown as the group was forced to turn right through the miracle of road laws. We escaped unscathed, but heartily shaken and fearful of the group finding us on our run home.

I made a promise to never make confrontational comments again to people who could easily kill me, at least not in the presence of people running with me.


To My Faithful Readers

Special announcement! My brother Mitch has started a new blog, Back in Church, and it is awesome. The blog chronicles Mitch’s efforts to explore all of the different church services in his town. Mitch was raised Catholic, much like myself, but then jumped in with the atheist crowd.

So far he’s been Episcopalian for a Day and dabbled with the Assembly of God folks.

Read it.

beefjerky, hell, petpeeve, Uncategorized

Wal-Mart, Banana Republic, Dillard’s… ‘S’all the Same

So this has been bugging me for a bit and in order to form a more perfect union with my perpetual idol, Andy Rooney, I find it necessary to speak my mind.

There’s a Web site out there called ‘People of Wal-mart’ or something or other like that (I’m not going to link to it as I don’t want to push any  more traffic over there than necessary – don’t worry my faithful single reader, you’ll find it).

I’m often first in line to make fun of people when it’ll make me feel better about  myself or provoke a decent guffaw, but for some reason this site just seems mean-spirited.

picture of a guy from this lame site. The site's lame, not the guy.

The plot line involves photos of people found roaming the aisles of Wal-mart. It could be someone like the man in this image to the right, or a Latino with a mullet and MC Hammer pants, or a morbidly obese woman, or you when you’re wearing sweats with a baggy red thong peeking over the top… it could be anyone. And then they paste a snarky little comment alongside and call it a day.

I guess what galls me is that there’s no way for the people in the photo to take part. It’s like shooting someone in the back. And that is the primary shot composition.

I’d love to see a shot of the person taking the picture alongside the person in their photo. The entire site seems to belittle the good folks who shop at Wal-mart, yet the person making the photo is also shopping in Wal-mart.

I think this site could be really interesting if the people taking the pictures would talk to the people they shoot. Find out from whence their inimitable style sprouts or get them to take part willingly and proudly. It could become a sociological study chronicling how humankind has evolved from the good old hunter-gatherer-type to somewhat awkwardly-dressed, aisle-combers.

And you could spread it to other stores. Since we’re picking on Wal-mart, why not go shoot the folks at Banana Republic or some other store selling expensive clothes that were likely produced in the same factory as Wal-mart’s.

That is all. Thank you and good day.

(Disclosure: I used to be a huge fan of the site http://www.fugly.com which used to post crazy photos of people.)

duh, hell, Holy crap, Uncategorized

Problems with Pants at Work, Pt. II

I have a nice pair of Paper Denim jeans.

I like them and they are very comfortable. They feel very good when I wear them. These are strange sentences.

This is what my pants look like.

That being said Paper Denim needs to do a little investigating into button improvement. You may – or may not – remember my entry, “Today My Pants Have Holes,” wherein I chronicled the mysterious appearance of holes in my britches. Well, now I’m at work and I’m having yet more problems with my pants.

This afternoon, while finishing up at the ‘loo,’ the button popped off my pants and plunked down before me gently settling to the bottom of the porcelain bowl.

I stopped, stunned, staring at the slightly yellowed water. I looked around me, as if someone was there to witness this event and then turned my attention back to the toilet. Should I just let it go?

For some reason, Paper Denim decided that their pants would benefit from a button that could be removed. Why, Paper Denim?!?! Why?!?!

I attempted to zip up my pants without the button, but it wouldn’t quite do. Plus, without a button, these pants would be rendered useless. So I did what any resourceful person would do.

I left the restroom and went to the cupboard where we keep the tools. I found a pliers and returned to the restroom. In this short journey, it was necessary to pass by two co-workers, but no one asked why I was returning to the bathroom with a pliers.

I plunged the pliers into the still somewhat bubbly water and fished out the button. I threw everything into the faucet and washed it all with great intensity. More so than I normally wash things.

From now on these shall be called Paper Potty Pants. This is a dumb story.