Blog Post of a Wimpy Kid

I experienced my childhood in the 80’s and my high school years in the early 90’s. There were lots of great things about growing up during that period and these things have been documented ad nauseam in multiple popular nostalgia shows. But there was one thing I remember about growing up at that time that was decidedly ungreat. That was the many physical beatings I endured. In those days, there was no internet to type mean things about people. That seems to be the way to torment your childhood peers today. No, if you wanted to hurt someone’s feelings back then, you called them a mean name to their face and then punched them to really drive home the humiliating point. I know this because I was on the receiving end of this exchange many times.

I suppose it didn’t help that I happened to be comprised of two ingredients that tend to

skinny me

Skinny Brad, circa 1986. If you look real hard, you might see my arms and legs.

lead to merciless beatings: a smart mouth and a feeble body. Of course “smart” mouth might not be the best description, for if it was so smart, it might have realized that it was what was continually responsible for the beatings. Sometimes I said things to defend other victims. Sometimes I said things to humiliate someone who I thought was a bad person. And sometimes I just said things that I thought were funny, but happened to piss off someone who happened to be listening. It was almost always my mouth, though.

Another factor that led to frequent opportunities for physical humiliation was that I was an army brat; which means I moved around a lot. And everywhere I went, I, at some point, attracted some large, angry person who saw me as a shiny new punching bag. You would think that with so many opportunities to learn from my mistakes or to reinvent myself, that I’d eventually avoid fights or bullies. But no. Everywhere I went, it was the same:
(Me arriving at the admissions office): “Hi. I’m Brad. May I have my class schedule, please. Yes, thank you. Oh, and do you have a designated bully assigned to me yet? Oh good, thanks. Let’s see… Bubba-Butch McWimp Killer? Sounds charming. Thanks again. Oh, and could you please tell the nurse that I’ll be visiting her later. Yes, you have a nice day too.”
Anyway, allow me to share with you the stories of all of the fights and bullies I can remember from my youth:

 

Ebony and Ivory Live Together in Perfect Harmony

My earliest memory of words leading to pain is from 3rd grade. Our family had just moved back to the states from Germany, and we were temporarily living with my grandpa in Illinois. This was in 1983, and at that time the Illinois school system was bussing kids all over the place in order to racially integrate schools. I had a long bus ride to Taylor Elementary School and I was oblivious to problems of race at that time and really didn’t treat anybody differently. Being an army brat in Germany, it was a very integrated mix of people from different races and backgrounds. I remember playing with Joe Gonzales, perfecting our movie western fake punches and falls (swinging in a wild, wide arc with an accompanying sound of “PSH!” when punching; and spinning with arms out to the sides and falling dramatically when punched). I remember the 4-year old and 7-year old black brothers (biological brothers.. not “brothers”… never mind) in the building next door who snuck down to the basement and tried to get me to smoke with them. I remember John Murphy… nope, that kid was whiter than white. Anyway, I’m not saying that there wasn’t racism. Of course there was. I heard the “n-word” a lot in white circles, but I didn’t really know what it meant at that time. I wasn’t prepared for what true racial tension felt like when I went to Taylor.

school bus

The Brad on the bus goes “Let me out! Let me out! Let me out!!!”

It happened when I was on the list to call roll one day. I was still quite new at the school and I remember being pretty nervous about getting up in front of the class. The teacher left the class while I was calling roll, and this afforded me the opportunity for, what I perceived to be, some lightly antagonistic teasing with the use of mild profanity. I came to the name Bradley Dickenson. But when I called his name, I called “Bradley DICK..enson”. I got a chuckle from the class. And I got a piercing glare from Bradley Dickenson, who happened to be a much larger black boy. Later that day, Bradley happened to find me in the bathroom and he said threatening things to me, picked me up, and slammed me against the wall and pinned me there while my feet dangled. It was a very successful way to intimidate me. I wasn’t at that school for very long, but I do remember running for my life on a couple of occasions from Bradley and one or two of his friends, who were also much bigger and blacker than me. I remember telling my mother about this and she confided that she actually had bullies from that same Dickenson family when she was a kid. When she was in school, there was clearly racial tension that contributed to many of the problems she had. And while I pretty much asked for my problem with Bradley Dickenson by stupidly teasing him about his name, I think there was a thing to me being the skinny new white kid being bussed into a predominantly black neighborhood to go to school and then popping off at the mouth like it was no thing. I was too stupid to see it then, though, which may have been a good thing, as the incident did not make me racist. It did help develop my running speed, though.

 

O-Oh Here She Comes, Watch Out Boy She’ll Chew You Up

Fourth grade was pretty terrible. For the first half of 4th grade, still in Illinois, my family moved to a small place we still affectionately call “The Little Yellow House”. A big change from being bussed to Taylor, I was now walking to and from Center Elementary School every day. One day, while walking to school, one of the kids I recognized from Center joined me. Along the way, we came across a group of three other kids who were clearly a couple of years older than us. The kid I had been walking with seemed to know them and they got to talking. Now, I don’t remember what exactly they were saying, but I do remember that something they said prompted me to remark that they were stupid. My big mouth. The one who was clearly the leader of the trio stepped closer to me and started threatening me with many profane words. It took me a minute before I realized that this person was not a boy. She had a very deep voice, and she was as big as the two boys who were her companions, but this was a girl. A tomboy. She had dark brown hair that was chopped just shy of her shoulders and a gap between her two front top teeth. And she was mean. I escaped that initial encounter with just the threats, but one day soon after, that trio lie in wait for me when I was about halfway home from school. I don’t remember exactly how long the walk was

joey ramone

This bully actually resembled Joey Ramone. A mean, female Joey Ramone who wanted to sedate me with her fists.

(everything is bigger and further at that age), but I do remember that at the halfway point, I was too far from school and too far from home to make it safely to either. That first time, they just pushed me around roughly, knocking me to the ground several times. I hadn’t really experienced anything like that before, so I don’t know if I really knew what to expect afterward. I think I thought that that was that. But no. They started waiting for me everyday at that spot and the roughness escalated. It became flat out beatings- punching, kicking, pinning me down… it was actually pretty terrible. Each beating further damaged my psyche. I mean, further “built character”. At some point, I told my mom about it and she got really upset. Unfortunately, an enlisted military career doesn’t allow for a life of luxury, and my folks could only afford an old beat up car that would never start. So driving me to and from school was out. She went to the school and reported it, and one day a teacher slowly drove along side me in the road while I walked home. Of course, the bullies didn’t show up that day, and the teacher couldn’t do that for me every day. So the beatings resumed soon thereafter. One winter day, during a particularly brutal beating, the kids took turns plunging my face down into the snow and holding my head under while I struggled to breathe. It’s hard to describe what happened then. After several times getting my face slammed down into the snow, I basically “hulked out”. I felt the freezing cold against my numbing face. I heard the laughter of the kids as I struggled to bring my face up. I felt the awful feeling of oxygen deprivation. And all of these sensations just swirled together at once in my mind and transformed me into a skinny little kid who snapped. I became someone I had never been before. Somehow I found the strength to pull my arms free and flail them about wildly so that I could bring my head up. Then I became like the cartoon Tasmanian devil, spinning and swinging my arms like a crazy boy. And during this sudden display of self-preservation, I remember what I repeatedly yelled to those three bigger kids as they retreated. And I know that it was these words.. the ferocious way I yelled them.. the terrible anger in my face, probably beet red from repeated smashings in the snow… I screamed, “I’LL KILL YOU ALL, I’LL KILL YOU ALL, I’LL KILL YOU ALL!!!!!”…. It’s still pretty crazy for me to think about. I know I must have looked insane, because the three bigger kids ran across the street with genuine fear on their faces. And they never messed with me again.

 

I Want to Ride My Bicycle. I Want to Ride My Bike.

Halfway through 4th grade, we moved to Lawton, Oklahoma where Fort Sill is located. During this half year in 4th grade, we lived in two different places. We started off in a rather large apartment complex that housed civilians, as well as army families. There were two main events I’ll discuss from those apartments. The first one has to do with what was probably my favorite possession at the time. My badass, shiny red BMX bike. As I mentioned before, my folks didn’t have a lot of money, but during that last year in Germany, they surprised me with this bike that I had seen somewhere and was just fawning over. It was a red dirt bike with cool pads and hand brakes. My parents saved up over 100 Deutsche Marks for that bike and I loved it. During our time in the apartments, I befriended a boy named Jason. I honestly can’t remember what it was that bonded us, but we hung out a lot and I genuinely liked and trusted him. One day my red BMX bike was missing. After searching for it for quite a long while, it became apparent that someone had probably stolen it. I don’t remember too much about the search, but after some time, some of the neighborhood girls (three or four of them?) gave a detailed account of someone taking the bike. After some more time, what was left of my bike was discovered somewhere across the street. A bunch of the parts were missing and what was left was unridable. Eventually, it was discovered that the girls completely fabricated the story about the person who had taken the bike and I found out that Jason had taken it. I confronted him. We were near a common hangout area within the middle of the red brick apartment buildings. I’m pretty sure the girls had gathered at the area, but this detail is fuzzy. What I do remember is that I felt betrayed by my friend and I was initially sad and confused about it. I expressed this in whatever way a kid that age expresses that. Instead of being at all remorseful, Jason was pretty much a dick about the whole thing. I became angry and actually shoved him. I wasn’t really intimidated by him because we had been friends and he wasn’t that much bigger than me. It became a wrestling match. I don’t remember how long it lasted, but I do remember how it ended. At one point, I had Jason in a headlock with his head tucked under my arm facing behind me. I knew that the brick wall was behind me and I backed up hard into it, slamming his head into the brick. He fell immediately to the ground and started crying pretty hard. I remember struggling between the feelings of satisfaction over having won the fight and the feelings of guilt and regret over having hurt someone. Especially someone I had liked. Of all of the fights I’ve been in, it’s the only one I can remember technically winning (excepting some I’ve had with my

red brick

Take my pretty red BMX bike, I give you pretty red brick wall.

brother who is 3 1/2 years younger than me). Our friendship was over, of course. I do remember those girls screwing with me for awhile afterward, but nothing worse than I had endured from ol’ Joey Ramone back in Illinois. Jason and the girls were all black, but I never felt like this case had anything to do with race. I think it was just a case of bike envy gone awry. It was a bunch of low-income families  and I had a fancy red bike. Nice things get taken in them parts, friendships be damned.

 

Shooting at the Walls of Heartache. Bang, Bang.
In that same apartment complex, I had another experience that I did not come out the victor in. But of all of the reasons I have been bullied, this one was probably the most humorous… In retrospect. I got to hanging around this group of about 4-5 boys, who I befriended when I happened to hear them listening to Van Halen in that common play area. They were listening to Panama and were singing along. I knew the words and joined in. It came to that part where it slows down and David Lee Roth gets all nasty and starts deeply sighing between all of the sentences:
“Yeah, we’re runnin’ a little bit hot tonight… (deep sigh)… I can barely see the road from the heat comin’ off of it… (deep sigh)… Ah, reach down.. between my legs.. and ease the seat back…”

Anyway, we all did this part together and then started cracking up together afterward,

david lee roth

The catalyst for male bonding?

even though none of us even knew what it meant. Well… I didn’t know, anyway. We started hanging out regularly and discovered other things that we had in common. One of those things was the love for a movie called The Warriors. And like the lyrics to that Van Halen song, it was probably a movie that we shouldn’t have had any business knowing about, as it was a pretty brutally violent movie about gangs. But we all knew it and loved it. Two of the fellas were brothers and I’m fairly certain their names were Steve and Doug. Steve was the older brother and was taller, but Doug was solidly built. Steve was pretty much the leader of the boys and he had the idea one day for us to start a gang. We all
thought it was a cool idea and so we started doing gang things. Like collecting weapons (sharp sticks, rocks, bottles and generally dangerous-looking things, like jagged metal or whatever); like wearing common clothing; and like coming up with rules. In the movie, a rival gang member famously taunted The Warriors by calling them out:

For some reason, we turned that into a rallying cry. I also remember that when we were forming this gang, that song The Warrior by Patty Smyth was huge and we would go around singing that later line:
“I am the warrior!
Yes, I am the warrior!
And victory is miiiine!!”
the warriors

I recently rewatched parts of this. It doesn’t hold up super great.

Our gang was cool (well, maybe except for that song), but it still needed rules. So we made up some and wrote them down. Somewhere along the way, Steve decided we needed a gang sign. Nope, not a sign to do with our hands. Like, a sign to hang up with our gang name on it, so people would know when they were entering our domain. He took it upon himself to make the sign. And then I saw it. He had misspelled Warriors. And not by a little. He had spelled it The Woryers (or something like that- there was definitely a Y in there). I pointed out his mistake. He, at first, argued with me about the spelling. When I eventually convinced him he was wrong about the spelling, he then told me it didn’t matter how it was spelled. I argued that having a big sign spelled incorrectly greatly diminished our credibility as a gang. He argued that the weapons were what made us credible. I said that the sign looked like it might sound like we were The Worriers… a decidedly unintimidating  name for a gang. At some point, I said that the sign looked stupid. That word again. Stupid. Bullies really hate that word. Especially stupid ones. I was immediately banished from the gang. At first, I wasn’t too bothered by it. Thug life apparently wasn’t for me. But then I realized I had pissed off four boys who had a cache of weapons and no rivals to compete with, therefore nobody to unleash all of their gangliness upon. Except for the stupid, wimpy little boy who had recently insulted them. So I, a founding member of The Woryers, found myself being quite harassed by that very gang. I basically found myself in my own one man gang. And I would have called it The Worriers.

The boys were pretty rough with me. I remember getting rocks thrown at me. And I remember getting shoved into the brick walls at times. But one incident still clearly sticks with me to this day. The two brothers, Steve and Doug, came upon me one evening at a bend in the building. It was dusk, and I remember the artificial light from a building lamp casting a yellow tint over the boys as they walked slowly toward me, backing me up to the brick wall. I happened to be holding a Nerf football at that moment. It wasn’t one of those fresh, soft Nerf footballs; no, this one was very used with a history of multiple previous water-loggings. It was hard and crusty. I instinctively became Dan Marino, displaying a lightning fast release of the football, throwing it at the general direction of Steve’s head. They were only about 8-10 feet away from me and I scored a hit. It hit Steve on the left side of his head and he immediately cupped his hand over his left ear and started howling in pain. I started running for my life. Soon after, I heard the terrifying sound of the brothers’ running foot steps behind me. I was fast, but they eventually caught up to me. They roughed me up pretty good, but the only part of the beating I remember was the kick Doug gave me. While I was still standing,

nerf football

Hard, crusty, and trusty.

he kicked me square in the gut so hard that I’m pretty sure the tread of his shoe can still be seen on some of my internal organs. I was gasping for air for a while after that one. I honestly don’t remember how long that whole thing went on, but thankfully, we moved away from those apartments after a short while. We moved into a little house on Cherry Road. But I apparently wasn’t done pissing people off and asking for trouble…

 

You’re the Best! Around! Nothing’s Gonna Ever Keep You Down!

This is a much shorter story about how I somehow managed to piss off a kid who was apparently a psychotic karate monster. I played with a couple of different kids while at the house on Cherry Road; one lived right next door, and the other was just across the (residential) street. I can’t remember their names, but I do remember playing wrestling. We were all fans of the WWF (what it was called back before the World Wildlife Fund bought the initials and the World Wrestling Federation became the WWE). We would get together in one another’s backyards and emulate our favorite wrestling stars. As usual, I was the smallest, so I would typically play the part of one of the quick, high-flyer types; attacking with drop kicks and jumping off of lawn furniture. The other boys were bigger and would play the parts of more powerful, slower guys that would pick me and body slam me, suplex me, and pile drive me. When I wrestled alone against my brother, I got to play the part of the big guy, so I actually got to play the part of all wrestlers! Anyway, I had gotten quite friendly with one of the boys (the one across the street), to the point where his dad was taking us out to dinners and movies and things. We got along pretty well, I thought. Well, one day he became really cold towards me. He wouldn’t tell me what he was upset about, but he was obviously angry. He stopped playing with me and every time I saw him he glared at me. This anger apparently festered. And this kid was apparently trained at the Cobra Kai dojo. I’ll never forget the day that I heard these loud sounds accompanied by the yell of the boy. I went out front to find out what the commotion was about, and I saw him standing just outside of his front door. He was dressed in a white karate outfit with his front door open and he was striking the door hard with straight punches. Over and over. With each strike, there was a loud wood-stricken sound, and he yelled out “YAA!” And the whole time he was doing this, he was looking directly at me with a ferocious snarl upon his face. The dude straight up loathed me, and I had no friggin’ clue why. Now, thankfully we moved before the kid ever had a chance to kick the shit out of me, but it always bothered me that I never discovered the actual reason why he began suddenly hating me. There was only one thing I could think of, and it didn’t seem to warrant that level of hatred; but then, who’s to say what might set off a 10-year old Johnny Lawrence. The only thing I could think of was that one day I had let the other friend over to my house to watch the Thriller video on VHS. My folks had it recorded and he hadn’t seen it in a long time and really wanted to. But my folks were not home at the time and I was under strict orders to not let anybody in while they

untitled

Dang, he actually did look a lot like this. Same hair. Same snarl.

were gone. I wasn’t much of a rule breaker, so when I finally relented and let the kid in, (who was really pushing the issue and offered me five bucks to see it), I was super nervous the entire time. I mean, it’s a really long video, and I kept worrying that my folks would pull up in the driveway at any minute. The kid didn’t even pay me because I fast-forwarded through some parts, I was so nervous. Well, the kid across the street found out about the video and also wanted to watch it on another day. I remembered how freaked out I had been the first time, so I said no…. that’s the only thing I can think of that might have pissed him off so much. I showed it to the other kid, but not to him. And so he wanted to destroy me…. It’s not exactly the same as stealing Elizabeth Shue from you, but hey, whatever makes you homicidal!

 

And I live in a small town. Prob’ly die in a small town.

After Oklahoma, we moved to upstate New York. I spent the first half of 5th grade in Clifton Park, New York. I have many good memories from Clifton Park, but I can’t recall any fights or bullies. In 1986, we moved to a little village a ways southwest of Clifton Park called Morris. I spent the second half of 5th grade through the first half of 8th grade there at Morris Central School; the longest I had spent anywhere, to this point. Morris was a pretty major environmental departure from anywhere else I had lived. It was very small. It had one stop light. There was one school for all grades and the classes were about thirty students large.. I don’t mean that there were that many students in a classroom.. I mean the graduating class size each year was about thirty students. And many of these kids were bussed in from various homes from the surrounding woods. Including me. I lived up on Harris Hill Road and you darn near needed a telescope to see our nearest neighbors. I could probably write a book about my years in Morris, as I have many wonderful memories from there, and there were many interesting quirks about the people there; but this post is about fights and bullies, so I’ll try to stay focused on that. Because Morris was such a small village, I think that adults who move there were perhaps viewed skeptically (even if they’re

MCS

Morris Central School. Not the clock tower from Back to the Future.

smiling big and welcoming you- you’re still an outsider for a long time). But when a new kid moves to Morris, the other kids see you as the shiny new thing and it’s pretty exciting! Having lived mostly in places where all the other kids were also continually moving, this was a new experience for me. I wasn’t used to so much attention or scrutiny. There were good and bad things about this. The good thing was that it kind of brought me out of my shell. I’ve always been a bit of a socially awkward person, and the positive attention toward me gave me some confidence. The bad thing about it was that it gave me some confidence. I talked too much and I thought I knew it all just because I had seen a lot of things these other kids hadn’t. I probably thought that I was impressing somebody, but I suspect I was just annoying folks before long.

Anyway, this was about the time that I learned how to utilize my sense of humor. I noticed that I could make people laugh at things I said or things I did. And it felt awesome. They say that good humor often comes from a place of pain or as compensation for short comings. And I guess this was true of me. It felt so good to make people laugh, that I found myself harming myself just to get that high. I would say that I was only average in the “wit” category, but I had pretty good timing, could make excellent goofy faces and voices, and was quite good at pratfalls and physical comedy. I found myself applying the things I had learned. The speed and quickness I learned at Taylor being chased by Bradley Dickensen and his friends came in handy in evading would-be abusers at Morris. The wrestling practice came in handy, as I remember a period when I allowed the bigger boys to take turns body slamming me for fun. I had learned from the movie Dragon Slayer that feeding the dragon an occasional virgin can keep the dragon from destroying the town- I guess the body slams were my version of that. Jerry, Casey, and Steve were some dragons that come to mind. I was the town in this analogy.. not the virgin. The body slams were the virgins. Ahem.. yeah. Digressing further, I remember times when we boys would get together to wrestle for real. This was an eye opener for me, because it revealed how wimpy I really was. The “wrestling ring” was a circle of the boys or a tent, and whenever I would be in line to face off against boys about my size (Andy or Shawn), I would think that I had a chance. But Andy had excellent balance and was good on his feet (he went on to be a stuntman), and while Shawn, the class sophisticate,  was not especially athletic, he was deceptively strong. I always lost.

Anyway, the humor. The humor was an excellent tool for defusing some situations. I remember an incident where I somehow pissed off Steve. Probably my smart mouth, because Steve was a pretty cool dude. Whatever I said or did facilitated the experience of me being lifted up by Steve and slammed back against the lockers. He held me there for a few seconds, thereby demonstrating his strength (it was all very reminiscent of Dickensen in the bathroom just two years prior); and then he dropped me. I fell to a kneel at his feet and was looking down at his shoes. There were quite a few people observing this, and I was very aware of that when I quickly untied his shoe and made some silly comment in a silly voice. It made some of the observers laugh and Steve just chuckled and gave me a dismissive wave of his hand. It was a powerful moment. It was almost worth it to me to get a little roughed up if it provided an opportunity to make others laugh. A little nugget of giddiness to allay some of my insecurities about being wimpy and awkward. There were several incidents like this one. Each laugh I got empowered and emboldened me. It went to my head. It wasn’t until my last year there when I realized that I had become a bit of an asshole. I was still making people laugh, but instead of using it defensively, I had started attacking people with humor. And I often targeted the guys who I knew could kick my ass. I had developed a bit of a prejudice against boys who were big and acted tough, and there were those that I targeted that I thought I could make look stupid with my words. It was like I dared them to beat me because I figured out that if the big boy beat little ol’ me up, it made him look bad. Especially if I was verbally jabbing him with comments that made observers laugh. It was pretty twisted and, frankly, I deserved more beatings than I got. Allow me to share two stories from Morris in which my arrogance led to fights:

 

The Doggone Girl is Mine

Having survived that second half of 5th grade, I came into 6th grade feeling pretty good about my place at this school. To this point, I had lived in 23 different homes and gone to 8 different schools, so I was feeling pretty established here after a half year. At some point in 6th grade, my humor attracted a girl. Or maybe it was my discovery of Aqua Net hairspray. Either way, be it silliness or stiff, styled hair, I received a note that was secretly passed around to me while sitting in Mrs. Perkins’ class one day. It read something to the effect of “Will you go out with me?” or “Will you go steady with me?” or “Will you be my boyfriend?”, followed by two boxes with a “yes” by one and a “no” by the other. It was signed by Jennifer. I looked across the room and saw Jennifer smiling shyly back at me, likely confirming its authenticity. Three questions quickly raced through my mind. One: How could I possibly check “no” when a girl is smiling all cute and expectantly like that? Two: What do I even do if I become a “boyfriend”? And Three: How does my hair look?! I sincerely didn’t have the first clue about how to act around girls. My most intimate relationship to this point with a girl was with ol’ Joey Ramone girl in Illinois who used to

go-out-with-me

Something like this, except I don’t remember a “maybe” choice. Only absolutes with Jennifer.

provide daily beatings with her sidekick thugs. This thought process was pretty quick, as I checked the “yes” box, fearing the look of disappointment or the consequence of icy disdain from Jennifer, should I have chosen “no”. And so with that, Jennifer officially became my first ever girlfriend. I didn’t realize at the time that this responsibility would come with so much drama. And it didn’t come from Jennifer.

 

It turns out that one of my close friends, Jeremy, had been a previous “boyfriend” of Jennifer’s. And judging by the way he acted, it had not been his decision to cease being Jennifer’s boyfriend. My relationship with Jeremy became… strained? It was a pretty weird rivalry. We got into a couple of physical fights over it, but I could tell he didn’t really want to hurt me and that he still pretty much liked me as a friend. I was the skinniest kid in the class (as usual), but Jeremy wasn’t too much bigger than me, so it was a pretty even fight. One of our fights happened during a huge field trip. It was a Safety Patrol-sponsored field trip down to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and then to Washington D.C. We took a nice commuter bus and it was a very long bus ride. While on that bus, tensions rose between Jeremy and I. I remember him repeatedly punching me in the abdomen, but me just laughing about it, because his punches were so wimpy. Of course, he was purposefully punching me lightly so as to not hurt me. I know this because he was kind of smiling the whole time in a way that suggested that he was doing what he thought he was scripted to do in this circumstance, but that he didn’t really want to hurt me because he liked me. And I was laughing at him like a dick. It made him look weak, and so the next time it got a little more rough.

At this little village in Morris in the 1980’s, they required that you go to church lessons every week (at least for some period of time). So, once a week, we would go from school down the road to the church and receive our spiritual lesson. I want to say that it was a Methodist church, but I can’t remember for sure. On these church days, we were supposed to look nice. Well, it was just before one of these trips to the church that Jeremy and I got into a fight. This fight broke out on the lawn outside of Mrs. Perkins’ class, and it involved a great deal of grappling on the grass. We were tossing each other around and rolling around and giving and receiving cute little rabbit kicks and punches. I remember that the intensity of the fight alternated between looks of seriousness and bouts of laughter, as we seemed at least partially cognizant as to the absurdity of the whole thing. By the time the fight was done, we looked absolutely ridiculous. Okay, we looked absolutely ridiculous during the duration of the fight also, but following the fight, our hair was in complete disarray and we had grass stains ALL OVER our clothes and skin. We went right into that church looking that way, and I think that was the day that our friendship truly rekindled. It was such a silly thing to experience together, and I think we knew that we weren’t ever gonna stop liking each other. So I broke up with Jennifer. I can’t say that I recall ever having done anything that really qualified me to be her boyfriend, aside from checking a box and then maybe holding her hand a time or two; but Jennifer was not happy about it. It’s funny- I

grass stains

I’m ready for church!

remember Jeremy trying hard to get Jennifer back as his girlfriend after that. I remember he and I discussing this at a school dance later. He wanted to dedicate a song to her and I talked him into it. He chose the song Got My Mind Set on You by George Harrison… not one of George’s best works, but it was quite popular at the time. I remember Jeremy spinning and dancing to the song with a pretty embarrassed look on his face after they announced his dedication… funny, the memories that stick. I don’t remember if he ever won back Jennifer’s affection.

 

My next fight story from Morris is shorter, but left me with regret that would serve as a lifelong lesson.

 

Tommy, Can You Hear Me? Can You Feel Me Near You?

So I mentioned earlier that I started to use my sense of humor in malevolent ways. This is the instance of that that has stuck with me for years.

Morris had a surprisingly diverse group, considering the tiny size of the town; but, naturally it had its share of good ol’ country boys. Two of the boys in the class were quite similar in many ways. Ray and Tommy were both tall, strong, with dark hair parted on the side, and country to their cores. Ray was very calm. The strong, silent type. It took a lot to get him riled, but if you did, Ray made sure you understood not to make that mistake again. We were band buddies, as we played trumpet next to each other and shared lots of laughs. He’s the guy you want your daughter to marry. Tommy was physically very similar to Ray, but Tommy was a hothead. Tommy had a short fuse and it was easy to spark it. I don’t remember what it was about Tommy that made me single him out during this particular time, but I was pretty relentless. He didn’t possess my wit, and I remember successfully ridiculing him with verbal jabs one day. I was feeding off of the crowd, and I definitely got the vibe that Tommy was an easy target for ridicule. Again, I guess my prejudice of big, angry boys got the better of me, and I pushed him too far. I’ll never forget the fight that resulted from my assholery. I was still ripping on Tommy while onlookers laughed, when I eventually realized that I was slowly being backed up to the brick wall of the school by an increasingly angry Tommy. As my verbal barbs continued, he eventually shoved me back to the wall. Now.. I don’t know what on earth possessed me to do this (perhaps the pressure of onlookers and the lack of escape routes), but I somehow found the guts and the inclination to bring a wild right hook up to Tommy’s face. It was the first punch I had ever thrown at someone’s face in a real fight. My right fist connected and his face turned abruptly to his right… and then it slowly turned back toward me. All my puny fist served to do was to push Tommy’s crazy button. Tommy’s face turned bright red, his eyes grew wide, and he started breathing in big deep breaths- his cheeks puffing in and out with each furious respiration. It looked almost exactly like Hulk Hogan looked when somebody hit him with a meaningless strike that only served to make him more invincible. Tommy looked scary and I was in deep shit. Tommy replied to my right hook with one of his own. His punch actually spun me around 180 degrees into the brick wall. The next thing I knew, my head was being squeezed in a vice grip headlock,

hulking out

This is very similar to the face I saw on Tommy before he walloped me.

and I was pretty sure it was going to pop. Soon, we both found ourselves being carried under each of Principal Hess’ arms to his office. I don’t remember what discipline came out of all of that, but I do remember what happened later. Soon after the fight (later that day, or within the next day or two), I found myself again poking a stick at the bear that was Tommy. We were in the boys’ locker room, and I was specifically targeting Tommy’s propensity for anger with my verbal assault. I guess I thought I couldn’t lose, as I would either elicit laughter from others with my acerbic wit, or I would elicit actionable anger on Tommy’s part, validating my words. Tommy, through a fit of anger and sadness, expressed that he was having trouble at home with his dad. I believe he said his dad was ill and Tommy was having a hard time with the whole ordeal. At this point, I was on too much of a roll to relent. I kept going until I realized that the other boys were looking at me like I was a complete jerk. Because I was. Tommy was an angry boy because Tommy was dealing with shit that a 6th grader shouldn’t have to deal with. I’ve never stopped feeling guilty for behaving that way, and I only wish that Tommy had gotten a few more punches in, because I deserved them.

I left Morris halfway through 8th grade, but I came back to visit during the summer of 1992, when I was 17. One of the things I remember the most about that return visit to Morris was seeing Tommy. I saw him at the county fair and he came right up to me, with his full mustache and big cowboy hat, looking every bit the part of the upstate country hick I had previously perceived him to be, and he gave me the biggest, most sincere smile and hug. He was genuinely very happy to see me. I’ll never forget the relief I felt that this guy, who had every reason to hold a grudge against me, was one of the nicest guys to me when I returned. He accepted the apology I never gave, and I’ve never forgotten the lesson I learned from that. I had actually been the bully. I never again relentlessly teased another person just to get laughs. Thanks, Tommy. And I’m sorry.

 

I didn’t realize how long this would be, when I set out to do it- but I probably should have, considering how many fights/bullies I’ve had. I left New York halfway through 8th grade and headed back to Germany. I’ll describe my life as a punching bag through junior high and high school in the next post.

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Golden Country Your Face is so Orange

trump

 

Golden country your face is so orange

With all of your talking that splinters and scorns

Can you hear the sounds of his followers’ laughter

And have you thought about what will come after

 

Well some of you are hiding, but the rest are concerned

And he keeps on chiding, it doesn’t look like we’ve learned

How could we allow this type of thought to return

 

The time has come for you my friend

To all this ugliness, we must put an end

Before we leave we must make a stand, Oh

 

Rational people, come out of your homes

We must confront this madness wherever it roams

Be the voice against him, have something to say

We can’t let this country get led so astray

 

Well our country’s dividing, won’t you look and discern

The hate he’s inciting and reason being spurned

We need to start uniting and get this thing overturned

 

And the time has come for you my friend

To all this ugliness, we must put an end

Before we leave we must make a stand, Oh yeah

 

Golden country your face is so orange

It’s time for you to take your bully by his horns

Those who oppose him, they need to move faster

Before we’re all bowing to this puppet master

 

Well some of you are hiding, but the rest are concerned

And he keeps on chiding, it doesn’t look like we’ve learned

How could we allow this type of thought to return

 

Yes the time has come for you my friend

To all this ugliness, we must put an end

Before we leave we must make a stand, Oh yeah

 

Golden Country by REO Speedwagon

 

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Star Wars: The Blog Awakens

It lie dormant for years. Unreadable post after unreadable post gentled the beast and sent it into a deep hibernation. But now something stirs it from its slumber. A topic that has reignited the inspiration to write more unfunny, uninteresting posts on a pointless blog. The movie that has restored excitement and a new hope to the world wide geekery. And now I must write about it…

It has been a long absence for me from this blog, but I’ve been itching to write again, and what better topic to kick off my blog rebirth than with one I’ve already spoken so much about in the past. Star Wars. I feel like I can officially talk about the movie now that my dad and brother have finally watched it. There are multiple spoilers, so if you intend to watch the movie and don’t want spoilers, please stop reading… you already did, didn’t you? Oh well, I’m gonna talk about it anyway.

Let me start by mentioning that I liked the movie. I liked it much more the second time, though, because the first time I saw it my brain spent too much time critiquing the film. Also, I was sick and spending too much energy and concentration stifling coughs so the people around me wouldn’t be grossed out by my sick nastiness (it was a reserved seat and I didn’t know I’d be sick… I wasn’t gonna NOT go!). But why was I critiquing the film? It’s Star-frickin-Wars! Why couldn’t I just enjoy it and shut up the annoying voices in my head?! The answer is because I am too much like Spock. My human side was just giddily grinning ear to ear and taking in all the fantastic sights and sounds and characters that I love so much. But my Vulcan side found so many things about the movie highly illogical….. wait, was that a Star Trek reference?! Hmm. J.J. Abrams’ sic-fi infidelity has me all screwed up.

spock

“Live long and prosper… in a galaxy far, far away.”

In sharing my criticisms, I’ll start with my general thoughts and then hit some specific silly things that probably never should have crossed my weird mind.

Like many fans, I was thrilled to see familiar elements, themes, characters, and settings from the original trilogy. It quickly erased the dirty taste that the prequel trilogy left in my mouth. In saying that, it really started to feel like it was dipping into that nostalgia well way too much. It started with a large Imperial.. er, First Order Star Destroyer launching ships for an attack on rebels.. er, resistance fighters. Realizing capture was imminent, important plans were loaded into a droid and the droid was sent away to safety. A sky-gazing youth on a desert planet gets swept up into the Resistance fight and discovers she has strength in the Force. Familiar lines were uttered. Familiar chase scenes occurred. A bar with shady aliens peering at our heroes was there. A bigger Death Star. A bigger Death Star gun/threat. A bigger plan to destroy it. A bigger explosion when the heroes succeeded. All good, but very, very familiar.

George Lucas

“Wait, didn’t I already make this movie?”

Now I’ll get into more specific quibbles. And since I was talking nostalgia, I’ll continue with some of the older elements infused into this movie that bothered my stupid brain.

 

The Millennium Falcon and Its Crew

I know, how could I? Perhaps the most beloved make believe spacecraft in history. And my human side loved seeing it. But then my Vulcan side asked questions. For one, how does a ship that is so regularly considered a “piece of junk” take such a massive beating and keep on flying? Honestly, that ship has been hit with so much laser fire; smashed into so many constructs and land masses; and suffered so many mechanical failings, that it makes no sense that it hasn’t fallen to pieces, or at least stopped working. Also, it makes no sense whatsoever that the cockpit of the ship is located clear on one side of the ship, leaving the entirety of the width of the ship to manage. Every obstacle you must negotiate has to be approached with the idea in mind that 95% of your ship is to your left. No wonder everybody smashes into everything!

As for the crew, it was a delight to see Han and Chewie board the Falcon, but even they did not escape my critical mind. I thought Harrison Ford brought Han back to life wonderfully (….. unintended play on words). But when he grabbed Chewbacca’s crossbow laser and was blasting baddies away, he was impressed by the gun. Chewie has been his shipmate for decades and he’s never fired the crossbow gun before?! Come on.

 

Finn

The stormtrooper known as FN-2187 was experiencing his first ever action on Jakku. Storming the Resistance settlement, this particular trooper found himself questioning their aggression. When a fellow trooper left the red hand of Saruman upon his helmet, FN-2187, now clearly identified, realized he was not built for this. And when the stormtroopers were ordered to kill everyone, he stood there without firing his weapon. This was all very good. But how did this one stormtrooper end up being the only one to question the ethics of… stormtroopering? Did he not know that the First Order was malevolent? Did he not hear the music that accompanied them?! Do none of them?! Also, I thought his character was awfully inconsistent in that he would go from being a cowardly buffoon to a courageous badass at different swings throughout the movie. Poorly trained, this FN-2187. Or poorly “conditioned”, as they say in the movie.

bloody stormtrooper

Identified by the brand of Saruman’s red hand, the dreaded Uruk-hai in stormtrooper armor is Mordor’s most formidable beast.

 

BB-8

This is an adorable ball of droid that is apparently the only one of its kind in the galaxy. Weird. Apparently Abrams felt the need for new blood.. er, new metal in the droid department. It is cute, but this one really gets my Vulcan mind in a tizzy. I can tell you why this droid is one of a kind. Because it doesn’t make any design sense! A round, metal ball rolling over all manner of terrain. There are a couple things wrong with this. One is that if you attempted to accelerate a metal ball on many surfaces in the movie (sand of Jakku, metal of the Falcon interior, mud of Takodana), the ball would slip, and in some cases, just kick up sand or mud. At the very least, it would use excessive energy just to get started and to stop. I haven’t looked up the exact coefficients of friction for all of these surfaces to determine exactly how inefficient this mode of propulsion would be, but it just seems to make sense that it wouldn’t work great.

bb8

Engineered for cuteness. Not for practical functionality.

Also (and this is even more crazy to me), how in the world does a rolling ball packed with gadgets efficiently access those gadgets when it needs to? It just rolled all over the place and then it pops out what it needs in that slot in the front? What if that item is now oriented at its bottom or in the back now because it just rolled it around?! Is there another ball inside that holds the gadgets and just suspends inside while the exterior rolls?…. Actually that might make sense. But no, because the slots that open for gadget access would need to be all over the place. It doesn’t make sense!.. but it is cute.

 

Kylo Ren and Rey

I’m combining these two because my gripes mostly concern their interplay, but I’ll start with a couple of Kylo Ren-exclusive gripes. Now, I suspect that sometime in the next movie we’ll get a glimpse into how Ben Solo was corrupted and turned to the dark side and reborn as Kylo Ren. But the motivation that was partially revealed to us was the desire to be as evil as his grandfather, Darth Vader. This was revealed when Ren was speaking to the burned helmet of Vader and seeking inspiration to ward off the light; and it was revealed when Rey read his mind and discovered that he feared being less badass than Vader. I couldn’t help but wonder two things when I considered this. One, does Kylo Ren not know that Darth Vader was redeemed? He found the light and the good in him rescued his son from the evil Emperor Palpatine. He joined the spectres of Yoda and Obi Wan at the celebration on Endor when the rebels destroyed the Empire. Yes, he did commit many heinous atrocities, including Sand People genocide, youth Jedi-in-training murders, attempted murder of his mentor and best friend, abandonment of his pregnant wife who died of a broken heart, persistent harassment and ordered murder of his own daughter, murdering of his former mentor and best friend, carbon-freezing his daughter’s boyfriend, multiple choke-kills of high-ranking Imperial officers, dismembering his son’s hand, and trying to kill his son to impress the Emperor. Oh yeah, and the obliteration of his daughter’s ENTIRE PLANET AND EVERYONE ON IT!! But, hey… he saved his son and it was all good again. He found the light and Kylo Ren seems to be

burned vader mask

Or maybe it was a hood ornament on the Millennium Falcon?

forgetting that. Vader should not be his inspiration to ward off the call to the light, as Vader ultimately lost that battle. The second question I had about this was.. where did he get the Vader mask?! Did he have to go to Endor and search old campfire sites? Did he steal it from a museum? Did Han and Leia keep it in a trophy cabinet? Did Luke keep it so he could put it on once in awhile to see how it would have felt to turn bad? Will I never find out this unimportant detail?!

Now as far as the Ren and Rey interplay, I have one major gripe. I really like both characters, but I can’t help but wonder how it was that someone who had apparently been training with the force for years basically got his ass handed to him by someone who just discovered the force. I mean, one second she’s getting frozen and knocked out by the wave of Kylo Ren’s hand and then having her thoughts sucked out of her brain while restrained; the next second she’s sucking Ren’s thoughts, mind-controlling stormtroopers, and wielding a lightsaber as if she’s been training with it for years. And she didn’t even have Obi Wan guiding her with his creepy ethereal voice! I know Ren was injured when he fought Rey, so he has that excuse going for him, but she straight up paddled his ass with the lightsaber! I’m all for girl power, but it seemed a little silly… until I thought about her possible origins.

Kylo Ren, we discover, was a child born to Han and Leia. Leia, as we know, was one of two twins conceived by the powerful Anakin Skywalker (Darth Vader). Leia’s mother, Padme, was seemingly not especially strong with the force, Anakin was legendarily powerful. Ben Solo clearly inherited that power. But where does Rey come from? That’s one of the movie’s fun mysteries, and it becomes all the more juicy when you consider her apparently raw, amazing power with the force. We have established that Kylo Ren= Han + Leia= powerful with the force. And we know that Rey= ? + ?= MORE powerful with the force. This leads me to believe that Luke Skywalker may be Rey’s father. He’s super powerful. But even he needed time to train with Yoda to learn how to hone this power and become a Jedi. Rey looks well on her way to being a Jedi now. So who might Rey’s mother be in order to make her so powerful with the force? I’ll just leave you this picture to explain my theory:

luke and leia

Leia and Luke lovin’ like Lannisters? Might’ve made for powerful baby Rey.

I know, gross. But how else will they top “[Luke].. I am your father”?… How about with “Rey… we are your mother and father… and aunt and uncle!”

 

Cowardly Jedi Masters

If you are like me, your might have thought Yoda was a complete badass in the prequel movies. One of the few highlights. And if you are like me, you might have wondered why he tucked his tail and ran after his fight with Palpatine. By my eye, it was a close draw. And even if Yoda felt he was defeated in that battle, why would he exile himself to Dagobah forever and allow Palpatine and the evil Empire to flourish?

The plot of this new movie revolved around the search for Luke Skywalker. Not because he was captured by bad guys. Not because he accidentally piloted into a mysterious wormhole. Nope. He’s missing because he exiled himself to some remote planet because he felt bad that one of his students turned to the dark side. Ok, yes, it was his sister’s and best friend’s son, which might have added to the shame and guilt. But he ran away and allowed the Supreme Leader Snoke and The First Order to flourish. How can we respect

yoda and luke

“Yes.. feel the force flow through you. And get used to running. That’s what we do.”

these Jedi masters when they run away forever every time things go wrong? Did Palpatine and Vader whine and run away when the rebels blew up their Death Star in Episode IV? No. They bucked up and got right back to work building a new Death Star. Now that’s a lesson I can get on board with. Plus I would look awesome in a dented helmet and a cape. Sign me up for the Dark Side!

 

Sun-sucking Death Star

The new massive weapon in this movie is basically a planetary Death Star. The First Order was wise to spare the time and expense of building a massive steel construct that would eventually just get blown to smithereens by the good guys. This time they just decided to retrofit an actual planet and build a big gun into it. This is cool. My issue with it is that the big gun is charged by a star. It sucks a sun’s nuclear energy dry in order to dispel a massive sun beam that is able to level multiple planets in one gigantic shot. The base is actually called Star Killer. But if you suck the solar system’s source of solarness dry, then do you really need to blow those planets up? I mean, it might actually be way crueler to watch the planets all freeze and starve. Less dramatic, yes. But way darker.

 

Anyway, I did love the movie. It was really fun and I really like the new characters. It was kind of obvious that they were going to have Han killed by his son, but I liked the way they did it. It didn’t escape me that Abrams smartly set up characters that can carry on Solo’s presence. It was sorely missing in the prequels. You have Han’s cocky, great piloting and smartass comments in Poe Dameron. You have Han’s capable heir to the Millennium Falcon and Chewbacca’s companionship in Rey. And you have Han’s propensity for occasional humorous incompetence in Finn. His spirit will live on.

HanSoloCantina

You’ll still miss me.

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Six years after the Bears got Jay Cutler I am… sad.

We’re stuck with Jay Cutler rap

I was driving home from work one day when I heard the crazy news.
At first I was confused,
Thinking it was just some sort of ruse.
When the truth became apparent, I became increasingly enthused.
Hearing the Super Bowl Shuffle, I put on my dancing shoes.

It was six years ago, and I was feeling so excited.
Passion reignited.
After an endless number of bum QBs, the offense had been righted.

The Bears got Jay Cutler in a trade.
An instant upgrade.
Living in Colorado, I had seen how he had played.

Throwing hard for lots of yards, his Bronco talent was immense.
But that team had no defense.
Losing high-scoring events.
Now he was on a team who could stop others from scoring.
There was nothing that could stop them, we fans would all be roaring……

…….

At least that’s what we believed.

We were deceived.

Let’s review his body of work and see what he’s achieved:

Forty-nine wins and forty-seven losses.
Ninety-three times “to the other team” tosses.
Only two playoff games and several fired bosses…

And of those playoff games.
One was such a shame.
Against the hated Packers, he went limping off all lame.
Most players to exit such a game would have to be near maimed.
A chance to beat your rival and go to “The Bowl” and achieve eternal fame.

I believe that’s when most of us started having doubts.
When we saw the way he pouts.
Now when I see it I wanna gouge his eyes right out.

The guy just doesn’t look like he’s playing with any heart.
Yeah, he suffered Martz,
But I think that Urlacher had the right of it when he called him ‘girl parts’.

He was partial to Brandon Marshal,
So the Bears went out and got ‘im.
Cutler often didn’t spot ‘im.
Throwing to the other colored jersey,
You’d think the other team had bought ‘im.

He’s a scourge, like Jeff George,
Costing so many people their jobs.
Quarterback coaches, head coaches, stage coaches, life coaches,
General managers, offensive coordinators, offensive linemen, all taking blame.
Piling up in a bonfire
Of those that have been fired
So Cutler’s ego could remain unscathed.

Now John Fox, Adam Gase and Ryan Pace
Are next in line to get pie in their face.
And what does the Fox say?
“Ring-a-ding-ding-ding-ding-a-ding trade ‘im!
He gives the ball away and all the fans hate ‘im!
I am not the one who went ahead and paid ‘im!
I’m not gonna be the next to bend over and serenade ‘im!”

Foxy doesn’t care how good a guy can throw.
We’re talking about a guy who won in spite of Delhomme and Tebow.
That’s it! Like Timmy, we need a prayer!
That Cutler will not be a Bear!
Maybe then I will stop losing all my hair!

They did make an effort… more like a plea.
A crazy trade offer that looked like RG3’s.
With the Tennessee Titans to try and get young Mariota.
Was there interest?.. Not one iota.
Cutler was a part of the deal and they wouldn’t take him for a can o’ soda.

When he first became a Bear I was manic
And now I’m panicked.
Knowing that we’re stuck with him and all his bad mechanics.

So sick of his post game conferences,
Listening to him always say, “I gotta learn from this.”
“I gotta learn from this.”
“I gotta learn from this.”
“I gotta-gotta-gotta-gotta-gotta learn from this.”
How many times did we all get burned by this?

The only thing he learned is how to cash checks.
Showing no respect.
Making all his millions from the organization that he wrecks.

He finally had one decent year and altered his appraisal.
Got a big fat pay raisel.
Then he reverted back to making all of us go crazel.
Go ahead and ask me if the McKaskeys
Knew what they were gettin’.
Paying this chump their millions, you know they’re prob’ly spittin’.

That was then and this is now.
When I look back, I can’t help but wonder how
The Bears would allow
Themselves to become Cutler’s personal cash cow.

For six long years now we’ve been trying to “Bear Down”-
More like bear it and grin.
We never win.
Paying this fool millions of dollars truly was a sin.
We got him in a trade.
We were handed a grenade.
The Broncos pulled the pin
And watched the carnage with a grin.

His millions got him married to Cavallari,
See him smirk, like a jerk?
I wonder if his pouty, blonde-haired children will one day fail when they’re at work?

Now here we are with another sub-par
Quarterback who can throw really far.
Another dose of Grossman,
But with a much worse contract.
Sometimes I wish he’d get sacked
Really, really hard.

But let’s end things on an optimistic note.
With a little hope.
Fox is excited to be reunited with Clausen.
Likes the way he’s tossin’.

No, it wasn’t fine-a when they were first in Carolina,
But maybe some of those problems have since been cured.
Clausen’s more matured.
We fans are willing to give him a shot after what we have endured.

So look over your shoulder, Jay.
It will soon be a new day.
As far as I’m concerned you can ride the bench, enjoying all your pay.
At the end of the year, I’ll crack a beer,
And all us Bears everywhere will share a raucous cheer.
Waving goodbye to your pouty face when you finally go away.

Go Bears.

jay pouty

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When the Bears first got Jay Cutler I was…. happy.

The following is something I wrote shortly after the Bears acquired Jay Cutler in a trade. I am posting this, because my perspective on this matter has changed dramatically in the years since, so I am currently writing an updated opinion on this trade. This is how I felt back then….

On April 2, 2009, the Chicago Bears completed a trade with the Denver Broncos for quarterback Jay Cutler.
Having had a day now to reflect on this, I give my opinion now. In song.

‘The Bears Got Jay Cutler’ rap

How did we get here? Let us fly a mile high to find out why
A new young coach got pie in his eye.

Coach Josh McDaniels- creatin’ scandals.
Given a job he immediately mishandles.
Stepped into the shadow of a coaching legend,
And in a blink of an eye, he left the team in shambles.

He tried to fix what wasn’t broke- to be the king of the Cassel.
But Cassel is a Chief- Good grief! Cutler was left hurtin’, stunned, in disbelief.

And where’s Pat Bowlen?- prob’ly holdin’ his head.
He had The Man in Shanahan, but went with the newbie instead.
Had something to prove- made a bad move, and his probowl quarterback upped and fled.

What of this QB who couldn’t swallow his pride? In the end he decides-
That the chemistry died- a betrayal he felt he just couldn’t let slide.
Homes now for sale where his family did reside.

Now he’s trading a mile-high city, for one that’s windy- blue and orange for orange and blue.
A place that he cheered for while his arm and his ego grew- as a child. Bears fans are goin’ wild.

Who cares if he whines “I wanna” like a prima donna? We Bears fans have suffered, now we’ve found nirvana.
It’s not like we built statues of Shane Mathews-
Or Grossman- or Orton- yeah, his time was shortened. But I don’t think he’s complainin’ with the new offense he’s sportin’.

For years, the Bears QBs couldn’t be lamer- while the Rams made a Hall-of-Famer-
Out of a grocery bagger with some swagger. Made me wanna pierce my heart with a dagger.

Brothers named Manning had their cities chanting- their names. Winning games.
Putting rings on their fingers- we just counted the names while the pain lingered.

Seventeen years of watching Favre, while we starved.
Racking up numbers for the hated Packers- while our slackers racked up the laughs. With their gaffes. We found ‘em in free agency, other leagues, and drafts.

Now we took a chance on a romance with the Ego from the West. But he’s the best-
Thing we’ve had since Jim McMahon.
Remember him? Some called him a “punk”. Some said he had “spunk”.
Sound familiar? Let ‘em call you what they wanna- just get us outta this funk!

Thank you Pat Bowlen- we stole ‘im.
Yeah, we gave up some number ones. And the last time we did that, we had egg on our face-
A total disgrace. I still remember the time and the place.

February eighteenth, nineteen-ninety seven. It wasn’t heaven.
We gave our number one to the ‘Hawks for Mirer. Desperation so dire. Of course, Wanstedt was put in the fryer. And I became a man-cryer.

But here we are now. It’s a new day. I see a parting in the clouds of gray.
Scoring more points than any Bear, he wore six- his name was Butler- enter Cutler- to rewrite the book. I think we stole this guy like a dirty crook.

I’m not worried about his diabetes. He eats his Wheaties.
I’d take him if he had AIDS, we’re so quarterback-needy.
I’ll take the insolence and the insulin- to be able to claim that we finally can win-
With a quarterback’s arm. I can just see my grin.

And what do you think, John Madden?
“He’s got a cannon!
He’s the best Bears QB since they had Sid Luckman!
The Bears will be good, while the Broncos will be suckin.
Now leave me alone boy, and pass the turducken!”

Maybe time will find- that I was blind.
And Jay will become that for which the Bears are defined.
Just another corpse in a quarterback wasteland.

But I don’t think so.

I’ve got my shufflin’ shoes on.

And Cutler is my new guy!

Go Bears!!!

Good Jay
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Boobs of Terror

** Warning: There are pictures of boobs below.  They are not meant to be gratuitous; they are presented to make a point.  If you are offended by images of boobs, then please do not look at the pictures below.  If you are offended by images of boobs, then I would like you to continue reading, however, because you are the person I do not understand.  If you are a man, then you are not reading any of this now, because you have already quickly scrolled down to look at boobs.  You others have been politely warned.**

In movies, our future is often depicted as bleak.  There is a popular movie out right now based on a book called The Hunger Games in which teenagers set in a dystopian future are forced to battle each other to the death on television.  In a similar plot, The Running Man, based on a Stephen King short story, showed a future in which convicts could gain freedom, if they can survive being hunted on television.  In the movie Jason X, the future has a large, hockey-masked, slow-walking, indestructible person stalking through a spaceship in the 25thcentury and killing people in unlikely ways…. I’m ashamed to admit that I actually watched that one.  As bleak as these futures are, however, none of them are what we

"Hey, Number One... why does the new engineer have a machete?"

should fear.  Clearly, the biggest threat to our future as a civilized society is boobs.

I am basing this assumption on the reactions I often read about or have seen on TV whenever a boob-related catastrophe occurs.  There have been many examples.  The one that initially inspired me to want to write about this was when I read about a year ago that a lady in a museum started pounding on a 80-million dollar Gauguin painting and trying to remove it from the wall because it was ‘evil’.  It was a painting called Two Tahitian Women in which their breasts are exposed.  After her arrest, the lady said, “I feel that Gauguin is evil. He has nudity and is bad for the children. He has two women in the painting and it’s very homosexual. I was trying to remove it. I think it should be burned”.  She also went on to say, “I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you”…. I bring this example up because I think that it strangely echoes the sentiments of many people in this country.  The, um.. the part about nudity

An oil painting from 1899... OF EVIL!!

being evil.  Less so, the part about radios in heads.  For whatever reason, of all the things we can tolerate and subject ourselves to viewing, naked breasts are ridiculously taboo.  The lady in the above example was clearly loon balls, but she isn’t the only one who thinks that boobs are evil.  And why go all the way to the museum to see filthy smut, when you need to go no further than your TV?

Powerful forces are at work to ensure that evil images of boobs are not defiling our children on the silver screen.  Entertainer Nicki Minaj has discovered this, as she has been the subject of complaints on multiple occasions for her show of breasts.  During a recent performance on American Idol, she realized that one of her boobs was bouncing out of her low top and quickly turned away to tuck it back in.  She was quick to apologize afterward, as she probably wanted to avoid the backlash that she received last summer when one of her nipples was briefly exposed during a morning show performance.  Because if a boob is evil, then a nipple is the Eye of Malevolence, apparently.  Nothing draws the ire of terrified, conservative, “family values” people like an errant nipple.  We know this because Nick Minaj is but the student of “wardrobe malfunctions”.  The master did her show in 2004.

Janet Jackson, of course, is the one who brought “nip slips” into the mainstream during her Super Bowl halftime show.  Although, it wasn’t so much a nip slip as it was a strangely-accessorized breast thrown in our faces.  This seminal event inspired a firestorm of complaints led by the PTC (Parents Television Council)… the aforementioned “family values” watchdogs.  Hundreds of thousands of calls were placed, leading to stricter censorship standards on TV and years of old classic rockers performing Super Bowl

"Maybe this was a bad idea"

halftime shows.  Without exposing their breasts.  The strange thing about this moment igniting the “decency” flame, is that it occurred during an entertainment break of an event that glorifies large, helmeted men trying to violently maim each other.  Parents and their children can watch this and be perfectly content, but then a boob pops out and it’s, “OH MY GOD!!  JOHNNY, CLOSE YOUR EYES!  LOOK AWAY FROM THE SCREEN!!  I can’t believe they let that filth on my TV!  Poor Johnny’s sweet innocence…. sigh… now, Johnny, go run along and play your video games.  You know, the one where you shoot people in the face.  Good boy.”

After her wardrobe malfunction, Janet Jackson's PR team had its hands full.

That halftime show was the notorious moment in our country’s timeline of boob exposure that began the age of hypersensitivity to… boob… exposure.  Since then, there has been a shameful and tyrannical witch hunt for all things boob, with angry mobs throwing boobs in water to see if they float, for if they do, then surely they must be burned for the witches they are!  But why?!  As I alluded to above, we seem perfectly okay with allowing violent entertainment to pervade our culture.  Sure, some people fight against violence, but that fight has been much less audible or successful than the fight against boobs.  There is research to support wanting to shield our society from violent entertainment.  Some studies suggest that exposure to violent entertainment increases aggression in children.

I bet Clinton would have brokered more successful peace talks at a nudey bar.

There are no studies that I’m aware of that indicate that exposure to a boob adversely affects children.  And I’m fairly certain that it would not increase aggression.  If anything, exposure to a boob would probably pacify a person!

. . . . .

Now… allow me to come clean about something.  For I am only a man.  I once had a dream, true story, in which I was lying on a beach and saw a 50-foot nude woman running my way, when she tripped and fell, breasts-first onto me, crushing me dead.  I remember opening my eyes instantly from the dream when I died and trying to figure out if it was a bad dream or a good dream…  I admit that it may be difficult for me to be objective about what is and isn’t considered decent when it comes to boobs, as I am susceptible to their charms.  I have spent some time trying to analyze what

Attack me.

it is about boobs that makes them so interesting, and I just can’t figure it out.  Superficially, they are simply concentrated flesh-bags of fat located in the pectoral region of a woman’s body.  That sure doesn’t sound sexy.  Concentrated fat in other regions doesn’t seem to be considered so tantalizing.  Is it the nipple that makes it appealing?  I wonder, because exposed nipples really increase the terror level of the conservative folks.  But men have nipples.  And it seems perfectly fine for men to expose their nipples.  But mens’ nipples don’t make me lose my concentration.  When I consider why boobs are so appealing, I like to think that I’m more than a simple bag of hormones bird-dancing at the whim of Darwinian sexual selection…. but then my penis usually tells me to shut up and quit killing the mood.

Even seductively working a sub sandwich, I am not attracted to his boobs.

Another thing I should explain is that I’m not advocating for public pornography.  I have three children, including two daughters, and I do have a standard of decency that I expect my children to adhere to.  I’m just saying that if I happen to be watching TV with my children and Justin Timberlake happens to rip Janet Jackson’s boob leather off, my reaction would probably be, “Whoa, that’s a boob.  Girls, don’t show your boobs to everybody like that, ok?”… I wouldn’t call for the destruction of the TV network, the NFL, Justin Timberlake, Janet Jackson, and worldwide boobs.  Simple perspective is all I’m asking for.  Seeing a boob won’t destroy my children.  And it won’t destroy yours either.

And it didn’t destroy me.  I remember my first experience being attacked by unexpected, explicit rogue media boobage.  I think I was about ten years old, and I was watching the movie Sixteen Candles with my mom on HBO.  The movie was rated PG. There was a scene in which the female protagonist, Samantha Baker, was scoping out her competition for the affections of her high school crush, Jake Ryan.  The movie cut to a sudden view of his current girlfriend’s naked body in the girls’ locker room shower.  My mom flipped out.  While I was trying to hear Sam’s expressions of angst at the perfection that was Caroline Mulford, my mom was ranting about how a PG-rated movie could contain such filthy smut.

According to Wikipedia, PG movies suggest the following guidelines: Parental Guidance Suggested – Some Material May Not Be Suitable For Children. These films are generally

This topless scene made my mom blow her top.

appropriate for children age 9 and older and may contain milder swear words, brief smoking, crude or suggestive humor, short and infrequent horror moments and/or mild violence. Usually no drug use is acceptable in this category. Topless men may be present but topless women are not usually acceptable unless in an educational or scientific context or if the nudity is only shown briefly. A few racial insults may also be heard.

Now, let’s quickly review these criteria and see where this scene might fall.  I don’t think it’s a short horror moment.  Unless you count my mom’s reaction.  I don’t think it’s mild violence.  Unless you think that water is too hot or is hitting her naked body too hard.  I’m pretty sure that is not a topless man, so that’s ruled out.  So, either this scene was considered educational/scientific, or brief enough not to elicit some sort of harm to the viewer.  It wasn’t brief, as I seem to recall them showing a close up of the boobs, initially, then lingering on the shower scene while Sam and her friend talked about the girl’s body and Sam’s unlikely odds to steal Jake Ryan’s notice… I’ve watched this movie a couple times.  So clearly, this scene qualified as educational/scientific.  Indeed, the scene is a practice in researchers scientifically studying a remarkable specimen.  And I was educated in how angry movie boobs make my mother.  And it’s nice to know that since I was older than 9, it was finally okay for me to hear racial insults.

So, what made my mom so angry?  I have mentioned in a previous post that my mother is a bit of a feminist, and therefore resents and deplores the objectification of women.  That’s cool.  But this was an educational scene.  It only served to show that this more physically attractive, yet vapid character was not interesting enough for the brooding, vapid Jake Ryan.  My mother should have seen the important message I was learning, instead of reacting to a superficial shower scene.  I mean, the hot, naked girl lost, right?!  She got stuck with the geek!…. hmm.  Perhaps I didn’t learn anything, afterall.  And perhaps I just figured out why I have an unrealistic sense of worth.

Anyway, now that I’ve cleared those things up, let’s get back to modern boobs.  I want to talk about a couple of other recent examples brought to light by famous breasts.  Jessica Simpson recently posed nude on the cover of Elle magazine, ticking off people and prompting store owners to place tacky cardboard signs over the majority of the cover.  I thought this was a

A clearly tacky magazine display.

silly reaction because Jessica Simpson is covering up her privates with her hands more than many bathing suits I’ve seen out there manage to do… and because Jessica Simpson is very pregnant in the picture.  I can’t fathom what could possibly be considered threatening about a pregnant naked lady covering up her parts.  A part of me has wondered if the general outrage against boobs was being spearheaded by insecure women who simply felt threatened by perceived sexual aggressiveness on the part of women who expose their boobs.  But if so, a married, pregnant woman should not qualify.  Even if it is Jessica Simpson and her large, baby-ready mammaries.

Thank you. Much less tacky.

“Baby-ready mammaries” brings me to the most infuriating point about our nation’s irrational breast terror.  And that’s the issue of public breast-feeding.  Beyonce became somewhat of a hero of mine recently when she made a point of performing this very natural act in a restaurant when her baby was wanting.  This, of course, rankled the feathers of some people; but also, thankfully, inspired many others.  I can’t express how absolutely crazy it makes me to read about some poor mother being harassed, or fired, or discriminated against for simply wanting to nourish her child in the most natural and healthy way, without having to first seek cover somewhere isolated from the eyes of people who may be uncomfortable with it.  Again, these are people who probably have no problem watching violence, but can’t handle breast feeding.  And I could be taking a leap in the wrong direction here, but it seems that many of the people who are so protective against boobs are religious folks who trumpet modesty.  I would be willing to bet that a mother feeding her baby in the manner that He intended exceeds modesty on God’s list of importance.  I don’t remember reading “Thou shalt not exposeth thine breast”….

…. In fact, I think that breast-feeding should not only be spared the indignity of societal shunning, I think it should be celebrated as a nationally televised spectacle!  I dream of a future in which world-renowned mother-contestants face off in packed stadiums, much like the ones that currently display Super Bowls and controversial halftime shows.  The contestants might have clever nicknames like Fran the Feeder, or Nancy the Nourisher, or Milk Maid Mary.  These women would battle to see who could produce the most nourishment for their babies.  The one with the fattest baby wins, but instead of a jeweled championship belt, perhaps she would win a jeweled championship bra.  With an easy-open flap.  And maybe we could call this celebrated spectacle… The Hunger Games.  I have cool ideas.

Contestant "Vitamin D-Licious" was famously disqualified from The Hunger Games when her cleavage ironically swallowed a baby.

 

 

People, I’m just saying please stop thinking boobs are harmful or evil.  Let’s embrace boobs.  Especially me.  Let me embrace boobs.  Thank you.

 

 

 

 

And now a series of silly Janet Jackson boob picture captions!

Oops.. looks like somebody pulled Janet's boob lever!

After tearing her boob flap off, Justin promptly began serenading the boob.

Many were surprised to see Janet Jackson's boob adorned with a cartoon pink star.

"Captain, we're detecting a strange anomaly ahead. It appears to be.... a Star Nipple!!"

Soon after a wardrobe malfunction in a galaxy far, far away... "I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and anger. I fear something terrible has happened."

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One of the few.. The proud.. The Ophiuchi.

I saw the sign.  And it opened up my eyes…

I’ve never really been one to put much stock into hokey beliefs.  Especially ones that use the stars to predict the future.  That’s why I’ve only ever had a vague awareness of astrology- just enough to know what my sign is so that I may answer appropriately, should an attractive potential mate, who actually does put stock into hokey beliefs, ever might ask me.  I have only read my horoscope a few times, usually only when there was absolutely nothing else better to do.  For instance, once when I was seventeen, I was waiting at a gate in the airport for a plane to New York to see some old friends of mine I hadn’t seen in years.  Having read much of the rest of the paper, I looked at the horoscope just for kicks, and it said “A nostalgic journey will bring you in touch with old friends.”  See?  Totally stupid….. actually, that one was eerily dead on… Be that as it may, I have never been swayed to believe in astrology.  But a brilliant new astrological marketing campaign has me thinking differently these days.

Earlier this year, it was announced that the zodiac signs were misaligned and that they have been rearranged.  Not only that, but they’re adding a 13th sign!  As I said, this was announced in January, so it’s old news for some of you- and it turns out it’s very old news for you astrologists in the know, as the celestial alignment that is responsible for this shift apparently happened hundreds of years ago.  Apparently astrology is similar to Catholicism… takes a little while to catch up.  (Sorry, Catholics- I love many of you).. Anyway, as should be expected, this realignment has caused a controversy in Astrologyland, with some disputing it and some supporting it.  Normally, I would have all the interest in this debate as I have when Lucky Charms changes a marshmallow, but it turns out that I receive a major boost in zodiac status with the realignment, and so I side with changing it up.

Pink hearts, yellow moons, orange stars, green clovers, AND blue diamonds… oh, and purple horseshoes, and red balloons, and shooting stars, and leprechaun hats, and rainbows, and hourglasses…. screw it, just throw everything in there!

Until now, I have been a Sagittarius.  Sagittarius is “The Archer” with the torso of a man and the legs of a horse.  And he’s drawing a bow.  Being a centaur has been pretty cool.  Having the lower anatomy of a horse has its advantages…. because walking on hooves is better than walking on feet.  The shoes last longer.  And are luckier.  Like purple horseshoes in Lucky Charms.  Not sure why Lucky Charms keeps popping into this thing.  Anyway, as a Sagittarius I have been “Optimistic and freedom-loving.  Jovial and good-humored.  Honest and straightforward.  Intellectual and philosophical.  Blindly optimistic and careless.  Irresponsible and superficial.  Tactless and restless.”  I know I have been these things because this site said so.  But now, I am none of these things.  Because, thanks to the realignment, I am no longer a Sagittarius.

It turns out that I am now the brand new 13th sign, Ophiuchus!  And it turns out that Ophiuchus is not pronounced o-FYUK-us, as I have been imagining it, but a much less humorous OFF-ee-YOO-kuss… actually that’s pretty humorous too.  Now, I suppose you’re wondering why I would be embracing this sudden and complete change in my identity.  You’re probably wondering how a man could take every trait that has ever defined him and abruptly trade them in for something new and unknown.  Perhaps you’re wondering if you’ve already wasted too much time reading this and if there’s anything good in your pantry to snack on.  Like some Lucky Charms cereal.  Well, loyal reader, (dad), it turns out that my new sign is much cooler.

Oh it has nothing to do with my new traits.  In fact, my new traits are a total downgrade.  Now I am “A seeker of wisdom and knowledge.  A flamboyant dresser who favors bright colors.  Someone who will have a large family and abandon it.  And my lucky number is 12.” per this site.  Certainly nothing to write home about… or a blog post about.  But too late for that!

No, there are three reasons why I like my new sign better.  One is that it’s “The 13th Sign”.  That just sounds cool.  If you’re a dude who struts around proudly with an unlucky #13 branded to your soul, it hyper-elevates your street cred.  Girls like a bad boy, and if you’re number 13, you’re just bad.  People who fear the number 13 have triskaidekaphobia… or Bradaphobia, for short… are you getting how much tougher I am now as an Ophiuchus?….  I know that the #13 isn’t actually all bad.  It’s a baker’s dozen.  It’s Dan Marino.  The 13thSign is a bad horror movie.  Heck, 13 is just one number higher than my new lucky number!  But nobody has to know any of this.  If someone is superstitious enough to ask me what my sign is, then they’re probably superstitious enough to think that 13 is a bad number.  Cool.

Counterclockwise, it’s a sleepy face with drool in the corner of its mouth. Clockwise, it’s a collar bone with nice cleavage. What’s so unlucky about 13?

The second reason I feel upgraded is that Ophiuchus is an especially exclusive sign.  While some astrologers felt the apparent need to add a 13th sign of the zodiac, they did not add a 13th month to the calendar.  At least as far as I know.  Because of this, the signs had to shift to make room for my new sign.  Some of you are no longer the signs that you used to be.  The interesting thing about this realignment is that each sign is not given equal days.  Ophiuchus only has an 18-day window (Nov 30 – Dec 17).  It’s not the most exclusive sign- that distinction belongs to Scorpio now.  They only have 7 days (Nov 23 – Nov 29).  This information really upset my wife, as she has always been a Scorpio (her birthday is Oct 27th), but is now a Virgo.  See the new alignments here.  She thinks my support of the realignment is ridiculous.  I think she’s just mad that I’m gonna leave her and all the kids.  It’s one of my new traits, after all.  Anyway, Ophiuchus is the second most exclusive sign, and I can dig that.

But the main reason I like my new sign is because it’s way more badass looking than my old sign.  This is was my old sign:

The Centaur’s graceful bow form has been known to attract nearby frizzy-haired damsels.

This is my new sign:

The Serpent Holder’s graceful form has been known to attract all women near and far.

I was The Archer.  Now I am The Serpent Holder.  Wielding a bow and arrow is cool.. but wielding a massive serpent from betwixt my legs do be much cooler.  Yes, yes, I know…   Saying that I prefer a sign in which I am holding a massive serpent between my legs does seem a bit sophomoric.  And writing several paragraphs on the topic seems even more so.  But then the whole concept of astrology seems silly to me too, so I may as well have some fun with it, right?  I like to imagine that a classy, pretty lady may come up to me some day, soft-spoken and demure, and ask me what is my sign; to which I will abruptly reply by suddenly stripping off all my clothes, pulling a giant serpent out of my bag, pulling it up between my legs, and saying, “THIS!”… That is something I simply can’t do as a Sagittarius.

“You see, Lucy. Those two stars make the arm, and then you go down and.. oh dear. Look away, Lucy.”

So, if you happen to see me strutting around with a new air of confidence, it’s because I have become a believer in astrology and I’m now a badass Ophiuchus.  I would like to thank my mother for the excellent timing of my conception.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I am going to go read some tea leaves and play with a ouiga board… hang on.  I just read that this realignment will only be applied to those born in or after 2009.  But I thought this all happened hundreds of years ago?… So I’m still just a Sagittarius?  I’m back to being optimistic and freedom-loving?..  Jovial and good-humored?..  I’m no longer a flamboyant dresser who favors bright colors?.. My lucky number is not 12?..

Yeah, this astrology stuff is all crap again.

By the way, my “research” on this topic was very breezy and superficial.  If you do care about this topic, do not take anything you just read as factual.  And if I have to tell you that about any of my blog topics, then you probably shouldn’t read.  Anything.

Jake the Snake Roberts. The original Ophiuchus.

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