Sunday, July 30, 2006

The Skunk on an Anniversary

Ol' Skunk was ready to respond to a prod from a reader to revisit political philosophy, Skunk-style. But he's already been over that (if you want an idea of the Skunk's notions there, visit my July 2005 blog archive for a July 22 post on the subject).

Instead, I'm going to do something else: remember an anniversary. Not one I was around for, but it might well have impacted me and my siblings. Perhaps it did in the bigger picture, but I digress.

Today -- July 30, 2006 -- is the 55th aniversary of an event in the life of a then-19 year old United States Marine, in a war zone that for a long time thereafter was referred to disparagingly as "the forgotten war".

With a shooting war going on 55 years later that more than a few wish could become a forgotten and given-up war as well, it seems worthy of remembering this. If for no other reason than to remember that freedom isn't free, and the world we live in is forever a tightwire we humans imperfectly balance our continued collective existence upon. A wire that is easily upset by the lowest common denominator of human primal notions, despite the fervent wish by so many for a universal peace that's beyond our collective wisdom to have, unless we're willing to fight to achieve it, and when necessary, defend it. Whatever your personal philosophy on the subject, the truth of human nature is what it is, like it or not.

For those of you who have already read the linked account, feel free to skip or pass over this one. For those of you who haven't, I'd be obliged if you'd visit this link. I originally penned this in July, 2001. Five years later, there's not a syllable of it I'd change, as I mean today what I meant to say then.

'Nuff said.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

It's A Really Mad World

And I don't refer to the 1963 star-studded movie.

I haven't weighed in with a political opinion of late; I'm not going for now, since I tend to run askance in my philosophy to some of my regularly-visited bloggers. But I am going to say that the current cycle of violence in the Middle East is having far-reaching, ripple effects beyond just our world.

The animals have taken note.

Not that animals weren't well versed on the cycle of violence, long before the old king of predators (Tyrannosaurus Rex and like critters) gave way to another predator of even more innovative stripe (homo sapien). Predators of all species have existed for millennia, having taken (and continuing to in many cases) their respective tolls on the preyed-upon in Nature's vast buffet line of evolution and consumption. All that evolving predators and prey lacked was the ability to develop, produce and deploy, vastly more sophisticated methods of attack and defense.

No more. Thanks to cable and satellite TV, not only do our nation's enemies know what we're doing and thinking; so now do the animals. No doubt fueled by PETA and other animal rights groups, a new arms race is underway.

Photos can speak volumes*. 'Nuff said.

* photos from, and taken no doubt at great personal risk, by human photographers risking all to tell it like it is or maybe isn't (with CNN and the NYT, who knows anymore); no footnotes (or other body parts) were provided to indicate that photos were posed, or if bribery with sufficient trail mix/bird seed/kangaroo stuff was required to keep the animo-terrorists from firing instead of posing.

Friday, July 21, 2006


Disclaimer: the following story is based in fact. The way it is The names of the participants have not been changed, since in most cases, they ain't their real names anyway. In such cases as the real name is used, tough noogies: since they plaster their real name all over the 'Net on a blog, it figures they WANT to be known. The locations, times, characterizations, summations, impressions, temperature readouts, barometric pressures and last proctological exam results are not all necessarily agreed to by those who attended, witnessed, or complained about the noise level therein/from, tho' the location and times are hard to deny, even for a misconstrued politician. If any of them want to publish their last proctological exam results, that's their business...ack. The author of this hyar blog is not responsible for assumptions, opinions, interpretations, potholes, audible flatulence, stupid voters, bird droppings, Tex-Mex gone gastrically postal, pet badgers, wayward Katushya rockets or any other single/married/divorced/married-n-cheating opinions that digress from his own, if such is in fact at odds with that expressed herein heretofore or anytime up to midnight-thirty. Hiring a lawyer to understand this disclaimer is discretionary, and personally considered to be a waste of time and dinero. Beyond that, whoever fed the mogwi after midnight is responsible for Gizmo's ca-ca. Call them, not moi.

Now that the legal mumbo-jumbo is out of the way...

I'm the last to weigh in on this, but won't go so far as to suggest the best was saved for last. A blogger assemblage was recently held in Denver, CO. It took place on Saturday, July 15, at what was formerly a well-known, long-established eat-n-drinkery in the 'LoDo' part of downtown Denver. Having been that night redesignated the 'Wyncompoop' by Karen, it perhaps contributes to what happened with the tab later on, but I digress.

In attendance: Gunsmoke & friend; FTS; Karen; Houla Doula & friend; Kira; Genuine & keeper; Mile High Diva & friend; and yours truly. Herb, Abby Normal, and Monica were invited but wound up as unable-to-show co-conspirators, which explains why the talk of swinging from the unswung-from chandeliers remained just talk; "The Good One" wasn't there to lead the charge.

Gunsmoke -- improbably named for a street and/or TV-western, and vaguely resembling Chester from that series, without talking like him -- haled from Scotland. He professed no acquaintance with Mr. Scott, but a love of adventure, travels, run-ins with US border yahoos and dark, frothy brews that made Coors resemble panther piss. More or less.

FTS -- an engineer-turned competitive ballroom dancer-turned hair dressing instructor to the estrogen based life forms of the 3rd rock from the Sun, because he can't make up his mind what he wants to do when he grows up -- was a refugee, having fled the meteorological persecution and stupid recruiting of the dark-sided Jerry Jones Empire in the former sovereign Republic of Tejas. Having endured all that mortal Man can stand -- summers in Dallas and having to cross that eyesore of the Midwest, Kansas -- he wallows in the sheer delight of 0% humidity in Denver, and dreams of building a John Denver shrine in Aspen, while casting Rolos to the delicate, easily bribed masses of estrogen life forms who crave a perm, frost and a blow-dry.

For their hair.

Karen -- having momentarily forsaken the Land of Marital Insanity (a man with multiple wives? Now THAT'S insanity) and Large Bodies Of Really Briny Aqua -- was in the company of the Hula Doula duet, who discoursed at length on recent travels through Mittel Europa, and the havoc they intended for Colorado Springs the next day. It didn't matter that NORAD was alerted. These were forces beyond the realm of your average NORAD mind and defenses to grasp.

Kira -- newlywed, lover of her young lads and writer of all things that somehow bind the universe to those things young laddish -- was engaged in conversations of unknown breadth and scope, between Houla Doula and the limitless-patienced Mrs. Genuine.

Meantime, Mr. Genuine -- into things like insurance, blogs, and maintenance (at least this evening) of his Wyncompoop pharmaceutical prescription on the rocks -- revealed to one and all that before long, he'd be adding optometry to his diverse resume. Either that, or he was working on landing a part in Pirates of the Caribbean III -- ARGH!, as he kept covering one eye during conversation. Guess it helped him see what he was saying as the evening wore on...

And there was Mile High Diva and friend. A personable, pleasant and very feminine sort, one would never have guessed that MHD had once been a USMC MP. When this was revealed, a moment of skepticism swept the table, which was quickly squelched when MHD jumped up, and in classic Parris Island DI fashion, belted out a terse "alright you goat smelling egg sucking pissants, DROP AND GIVE ME TWENTY!"

Even the bartenders in the next room complied with the urgency of a thoroughly cowed recruit.

I suspect that this might have led to the Wyncompoop staff closing our side room door; either that, or when FTS chose to make use of the alcohol reclamation facilities on property, he decided to demonstrate the 'Rolo Effect': he took a handful of Rolos from his pocket, and in a sweeping motion, scattered them throughout the bar. Every estrogen-based life form in the bar deftly caught them in mid-flight, and resumed whatever they'd been engaged in, while their testosteronal-based dates sat and stared in slack-jawed amazement.

Not a Rolo hit the floor.

Granted, all was not sweetness and light: FTS bemoaned the fact that while he was pleased to be reveling in humidity-free Colorado, his brought-along supply of true Tex-Mex hot sauce was rapidly depleting. He'd counted on The Good One to deliver him a resupply.

He can still contact Buckley AFB and see about some residual napalm, as a filler.

Bottom line, a reasonably good time was had by all. The Wyncompoop -- apart from the impromptu rechristening -- survived in relative tact. No one was arrested, even when Genuine went on an impromptu boob symposium toward evenings' end, one eye and all. News reports (and the lack thereof) indicate that all have resumed their normal lives.

Perhaps because The Good One wasn't there to do the chandelier.

And that's the way it was, July 15, 2006. Cross my tail and hope to spray. And with a name like Skunkfeathers, you know that some part of this account actually happened.

For anything else, see opening Disclaimer.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Chicken Wine

In view of the overwhelming demand that I explain the referenced "rubber chicken" in the previous post (from all four of you), I will, with pseudo reluctance, accede to your demands.

I don't generally blog about my workplace, but meeting this demand makes it necessary this once*.

The manager of the Security/Surveillance Department at work is retiring after 28 years; his wife, also a manager of another department there, is likewise retiring. Leaving the big city, they have a small acreage spread in SW Colorado, near a place called Mancos. Thereon their little spread, they plan to pursue activities of some leisure. Including fostering domestic animals, to include raising chickens. For eggs.

Something my manager's wife has expressed some trepidation over, never having done so before. *TOING*

Not mention, according to colleagues who've known my manager longer than I, he -- in his friskier days -- oft-times referred to making a resisting suspect of dubious antecedence and worse judgement "do the chicken". *TOING*

As their official retirement announcements made the rounds at work, his #2 and I discussed ideas for retirement party gifts. It was obvious his #2 -- a friend and colleague of his for over 20 years -- had some good notions about what would be well-appreciated by "the boss": fine wine and liquor. Apparently, the boss is a real wine connosouir ... connisour ... coneswe..ah, screw it: he knows quality wine.

So with that taken care of, #2 asked me if I could come up with any novelty "gag" gift ideas.

*TOING*: be careful what you wish for, #2.

The easy angle was, in fact, the rubber chicken: both as a reminder of our manager's "wilder" days, and as a "how NOT to raise the fowl" guide for his omelet-minded spouse (under the guise of "If your chicken winds up like THIS, go back to the hatching board..").

But that was too easy. Too predictable. So leave it to moi to go after something else: our manager's love of fine adult beverages. Namely, fine wine.

I went and picked up four of the cheapest bottles of wine I could find (two of them the $1.99 'Ripple' variety, vintage being that the screw-on caps were being secured as I walked in the door). Then I began "remaking" the wines into something more unique.

Well, at least their labels; there was no saving the contents.

For example, A bottle of $1.99 Zugspitz (And Often) became Mogun Billy Bob Buford Premium cheap Wine (Samonella Wineries, Molesto, CA). Another bottle of Ripple was born anew as His 'n Hers Premium Violations Of Nature Twice-Stomped Wine, with the following inscription: guaranteed to make this (photos of a male/female couple of dubious physical appearance) look like this* (photos of Johnny Depp and Paris Hilton) with the * saying if not completely satisfied, keep'll happen eventually. And there was bottle #3, converted from Generic House Wine (or some such) to Horse Piss Wine (using part of the label from a Kentucky-brewed beer of the same name), Produced Somewhere Covert in 2004; Whatever Else It Isn't, It Cost More Than The Other Two Bottles.

Finally, the pastry resistance as they say in France, the boss was talking the other day about his fine wine collection, and about a particular wine called Opus which goes for more than $160/bottle. *TOING* That resulted in the label (pictured top right) that now adorns the fourth and final bottle.

And that's the story. It's one I didn't have time to tell to the shoe gals. It's the same one I'll probably be telling in the unemployment line after next weekend...

* the names & places have been omitted; the names of the real wines used have been omitted; my complete lack of wine knowledge, while not openly stated, was strongly hinted at; anything else requiring a disclaimer is disclaimed. The author accepts no responsibility for anything said, suggested, inferred, opined, belched or farted. In the case of the last, the author trusts you won't know, either way. If you did it.

Friday, July 14, 2006


Personally, I hate shopping. For anything. But sometimes, ya just gotta. When I'm forced to do any shopping beyond a quick sortie to the grocery store, I suffer from SnAADD*, which can sometimes provide me with blog material when the second 'A' kicks in. So earlier today, I went to the mall on what turned out to be a five-pronged mission:

1. Get a new watch (the previous one RIP).

2. Get some lens cleaning stuff for my glasses.

3. Get a rubber chicken (long story).

4. Get a new pair of shoes.

4a. Write about the last.

I hate when this happens (shopping that requires more than one or two stops). So I share the misery (more on that presently), under the theory that missouri loves kansas. I'm not sure who's theory that is, but I'm not much for detailed research into it and I digress.

I went to the nearby Colorado Mills Mall (it'll become a 'Maul' during the Xmas shopping season, but I digress again), wherein all that I needed for this arduous task was present: Target, Lens Crafters, Spencers, and Famous Footwear. I wasn't sure where I'd begin to "share the misery/missouri" of shopping, but knew it was only a matter of time.

Pun intended.

First stop, Target, where I sought a cheap watch to replace the cheap watch what's time had come**. I found it; then needed to find a child to remove the child-proof apparatus holding the watch inside the box it was in. I found her in a store employee, though she appeared to be an octogenarian who admitted that she was still a child at heart, which she proved by adroitly stripping the watch from the bracket I had been unable to budge.

Then to Lens Crafters to buy cleaning tissues and solution. When the clerk asked if there was anything else I needed, I responded with "that's quite a list; how long do you have?" She was unamused, though I did draw a *chuckle* from a customer waiting off to the side.

I could feel the inner restraints slipping.

Then to Spencers, where the clerk was more than happy to find me a rubber chicken, and even quicker to remark that once I'd paid for it, I could choke my own chicken.

I shoulda got her phone number. Then again, if I wanted someone to tell me to choke my own chicken, I coulda called up my ex-fiancee.

Another long story.

Finally, I found myself at Famous Footwear. And it was time for misery/missouri to love sharing:

Clerk (a quiet, pleasant late teenster female with enough visible piercings to imitate flatulence under water, if she were): Can I help you?

Moi: I'm told I'm beyond that, but thanks for asking.

Clerk (with a confused look): Uh...can I help you find something?

Moi: Oh, yes. Any idea where I can find some shoes?

Clerk (now with a *duck hit over the head look*): Uh...what kind of shoes?

Moi: The kind that go on the feet.

Clerk: (first hint she was dealing with "one of those"): (yes, she said it) what kind of shoes did you have in mind for your feet?

Moi: The kind that fit.

Clerk (first hint that an urge to beat me over the head with anything was creeping in): is there, like (TOING) a brand of shoe you're interested in?

Moi: Yes.

Clerk (after about 10 seconds of waiting): sir, what brand?

I cut her some slack after that 'un, and she led me to the particular shoe brand I had in mind. Expecting me to take my time and try them on, I looked at the size on the box, opened it, said "yawp", and headed for the register.

Clerk: Sir, aren't you going to try them?

Moi: Nah. That takes so long. First there's the arrest, booking, they get a lawyer and won't admit to anything, then there's the arraignment....this saves time.

About now, her older colleague (probably the shift manager), who'd been listening in, comes to her rescue, and offers to ring me up.

Moi (to her colleague): am I cheaper than the shoes?

Clerk 2 (with an amused smirk): Should I answer that?

Moi: Nawp...just ring up the shoes and spare my ego.

While the younger clerk is standing off to the side, looking at me like I have two heads, I slowly realize that I do, sorta: the rubber chicken's head is hanging out of the other bag I'm carrying. I'm about to 'splain that one, but know in my present frame of mind it can only go down hill and off a precipice if I do. So I ignore it.

After a moment, I further realize that Clerk 2 is having issues with the computerized register:

Clerk 2: I'm sorry, sir, we're having server problems.

Moi: That's why I gave up tennis.

Clerk 2: (quiet smirk, while Clerk 1 rolls her eyes)...yes...and how will you be paying?

Moi: Now, or in the hereafter?

Before she can come up with a snappy reply, I hand over my debit card.

A few minutes later, with a server slower than molasses running uphill in January, I sign the slip and get my receipt.

Clerk 2: Thank you, and I'm sorry for the wait.

Moi (patting my stomach): Eh, it isn't your fault....too many cheeseburgers...

Not only do I hate shopping...I think those who serve hate me shopping, too.

* Shopping Attention 'n Attitude Deficit Disorder

** Ignoring boos and ducking throwd expendables...

Sunday, July 9, 2006

Oh Whoops

My normal route to work is along US 6 in Clear Creek Canyon to the CO 119 junction (which I take to Central City, where I work). This particular stretch runs between Golden, CO and I-70 just short of Idaho Springs, CO.

It's a slow route (speed limit 40 mph) and a scenic route, in the classic mountain canyon road style. Towering rock faces on both sides, with a fast-running creek (Clear Creek) cutting the canyon along side US 6. In places, the creek runs 50-plus feet below the road. It's a magnet for rock climbers, hikers, and fishermen.

Last summer, a "slope failure" -- CDOT lingo for a monster rockslide -- closed the road from early June until September. I had driven the road in the rain just 8 hours' prior, and was due to traverse the route three hours later, when it came crashing down around 11am on that June day.

Oh whoops.

When it rains or snows, it's a route warily travelled, demanding constant attention to things that like to go *bonk*, aka rocks.

Some of them pretty danged BIG.

The one pictured at right (photo by KUSA 9News, Denver), is not the norm: nor was its' aim.


I'm not a great mathematician, but even from my limited geometry/physics, a falling 4 ton rock vs a two ton parked car = scrap metal.

The two occupants of the car weren't occupants when the rock came down, Saturday morning, July 8, around 11 am or so: they were nearby, rock-climbing. When they finished, they meandered back to their car, only to find it was the secondary center of attention.

The center of attention was on top of it.

Oh whoops.

If Seymour were here, he'd be giving a thumbs' up. To the rock.

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

Far East Fun with Seymour and Jane IV

For spending a summer on an island in the Inland Sea of Japan, Seymour and Jane are getting around and "acculturated" far moreso than I would have expected. From doing a pilgrimmage on Shiraishi Island or watching World Cup soccer, they are putting in a full schedule, or so it seems. Even to the point that Jane -- after getting screwed -- has adopted a "tribal" look, probably encouraged by her host. And she even poses proudly amongst her budding brood, in the Nursery Oi Gyaaaa!, on Shiraishi Island.

I noted that Seymour was conspicuously absent from that shot.

Seems that Seymour is experiencing some trepidation about his pending fatherhood. OR, about Jane's new, liberated look. OR, about Jane's giving up her seed for half the planet.

Before they went overseas, I told Seymour that world travel brought with it new exposures, new cultures, new ideas. Seems he's only now coming to grasp the impact of some of it.

Meantime, what am I gonna do with a cornfused rock, screwed, liberated and tribal earette of corn, a host of Iowa-born/Japanese bred munchkin ears, and no universal translator or cable Soccer Channel, when they get back?

Seymour ain't the only one with a problem or two hyar...