Thursday, September 30, 2010

That Stinks

As I walked into the men’s restroom at work I was greeted by one of the most fowl smells that has ever taken the journey up into my nasal cavity. It was as if an evil mad scientist birthed a retched stench in a test tube, put it in a box and poked it with a stick for many years to get it nice and angry only to let it loose in our men’s room. I actually heard hundreds of my nose hairs suddenly cry out in terror and were silenced before they fell like rain onto the sticky bathroom tile. Who would leave such a trap?

Spock... use... Lysol!
This, of course, got me thinking about how smell works. Vaporized odor molecules float from the object giving off the smell, travel up your nose and dissolve into the mucus, or as they call it in the ear, nose and throat business… snot. Under all that snot mucus is receptor cells that detect the odor molecules and then send the information off to the brain.

Or as I like to call it... the nose.
Pause for a moment and take a deep breath. Feel the cool air travel through your noise, down the back of your throat and even into your mouth. The air fills the whole nasal and parts of your oral cavity. I love fresh air.

Here is how my parents let me get some fresh air when I was young.
Now let’s think about this more carefully. If you can feel the fresh air filling your nasal cavity and traveling down your throat and even into parts of your mouth and when you smell something you are actually detecting tiny molecules from that object then whatever you smell is actually going up your nose, into your mouth and into your lungs.

Go head, Chief... Pull my finger.
So basically when you walk into a stinky bathroom vaporized parts of the fecal matter and urine that are floating in the air are being sucked into your nose and are being deposited into your nose, lungs and even your mouth. Speaking of mouths, I think I just threw up a little in mine.
This is an actual lung of a bathroom attendant after just one year of employment.
So next time you are sitting next to that smelly guy on the plane remember that his body sweat has just sucked up your nose and has made a home in your mouth. Or that elderly woman who sits in the pew in front of you can’t hold in that gas (they don’t call it a pew for nothing) just remember that you are inhaling what actual particles that, just moments ago, exited her backside.

God bless the malodorously challenged.
I hope I have educated all those out there on what really occurs when you smell a distasteful odor. As for myself I knew instantly as I exited the bathroom and saw a workmate with a huge grin on his face that had soiled the men’s room. I shook my fist in his direction, “Curse you and your broken digestive system!”

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Worst Generation

They lived through the worst depression this country has ever known and still managed to survive. When the world called upon them to defend freedom they gladly volunteered themselves and took up arms. The men lined up around the corner at places to get a chance to serve their country as soon as they heard they were needed. The women went to work, many for the first time ever, and made the millions of tanks, planes, and bombs that would be needed to bring peace to the world. They those men returned home they were greeted with parades and treated like heroes. They truly were the Greatest Generation. Then they had kids. Dear God… What happened?

You have to love Rosie!
The Baby Boomers were born into a country of prosperity and peace. Television consisted of Leave it to Beaver and I Love Lucy. They grew up going to sock hops, drag raced their cars and drank chocolate malts with two straws as they starred dreamily into their best girl’s eyes. Then they became adults and all hell broke loose.

"Ward, don't you think you were a little hard on the Beav?"
Their country called for their assistance to fight for freedom and democracy so in response they protested, burned their draft cards and flocked to Canada like Canadian Geese flying north for the winter. Women burned their bras and stopped shaving because apparently being saggy and hairy made people take you more seriously. Huge groups gathered to get high and protest that their country went to “kill babies and burn down huts” in a jungle as their own soldiers were dying trying to defend freedom in a far off land. When these soldiers came home were greeted with a lonely airport terminal and the yells of, “Baby killer!”

Here is the Baby Boomer's version of Rosie the Riveter.
The Greatest Generation had a strong sense of right and wrong. They knew that Germany, Japan and Italy were wrong when they waged war on other nations in their desire to build their empires. Their morals led them to take up arms and defend those who could not defend themselves.

Remember when we believed in something so much we would die for it?
As the Baby Boomers gradually took charge of our nation they would preach that anything goes and that everything is acceptable. There is no right and wrong. There are no absolute morals. If you believe that it is your right to invade a country who are we to say that you are wrong. How can a government ask someone who has no absolute morals and despises their government to go off and defend freedom? It isn’t going to happen.

It's depressing that this is the only absolute that people accept today.
The Boomers remind me of a group of teenagers. As we all know teens want nothing more than to do and say the exact opposite of their parents. If their parents have morals the teen doesn’t like them. If the parents think it is important go off and defend freedom the teen will protest such an idea. The biggest problem here is that teens eventually grow up… what happened to the Boomers?

Now we all know you cannot group an entire generation into one group and not everyone born during these years did and believed these things, but unfortunately for those who did not follow the rest of the lemmings off the cliff they often get lumped in with the rest and lost in history. Many of the wisest and most patriotic people I know are from this generation and they are not happy with what the most vocal of their cohort did. It must be depressing for them to be lumped into this crowd.

It would be funnier if it wasn't so true.
What I find particularly saddening is that in one generation we went from the United States “Saviors of the World” to the United States “Land of Mediocrity.” How many generations will it take to fix what just one generation broke?

Friday, September 24, 2010

What If We Have It All Wrong

As I was sitting on the toilet this morning contemplating the ways of the universe, as I do most mornings, I wondered if north was really north and south was really south. What if God was looking down upon us yelling, “No! No! You have it all wrong! That pole is north and that pole is south! You’re upside down!” This got me thinking on what else we might have wrong.

Speaking of having it wrong: This is not how you Facebook buddy.
Lets take a look at some of the multitude of things scientists have told us to be fact and then later we find out to be completely untrue. I will skip the first few thousand years of science, you know the earth is flat and the Earth is the center of the universe stuff, and move straight to the past hundred years.

DNA was discovered in 1869 but it wasn’t until 1952 that scientists finally discovered that it held the blueprints of life. What did science teach about DNA for the first 83 years? DNA was just another of the many molecules found in the nucleus of a cell that may or may not have something to do with heredity. You see back in the old days they believed that the cell was just a big blob of protoplasmic goo with a nucleus filled with different goo. Go science!

Basically a cell full of green snot.  Someone pass me my spoon.
For all intense and purposes John Dalton discovered what we know today as the atom around 1803 and science taught that it was the smallest particle there was and nothing was smaller (hence the term atom means the smallest particle of matter that cannot be broken down any more). Of course about a hundred years later they found out that the atom was made up of the electron, proton and neutron and just like that we have a new winner in the “I’m the smallest in the universe” contest and a new scientific fact was put into the high school science school books. To everyone's surprise someone found that there are even smaller particles called quarks.  Now science has promised that the quarks are the smallest particle in the universe so we need to trust them. They promise. Really.  At this point I would trust the boy who cried wolf over these clowns.

I would trust this guy over many scientists.
The Brontosaurus was discovered in 1874 and has been one of the most beloved dinosaurs ever since. Well, until they determined that the scientist who dug it up couldn't find the head so he just put another head he found a few hundred yards away in its place and poof... brontosaurus. Oops! Recently, in the news, we learned that the Triceratops never actually existed either. What they thought to be a Triceratops was actually just a younger version of the Torosaurus who, apparently, looks just like a Triceratops but bigger. You mean to tell me that in the over 120 years since the discovery of the two not one paleontologist could figure out that the smaller one might be the baby of the big one?  The five year old neighbor boy could have saw that one and he has glasses the size of coke bottles. So if we put a puppy and an adult dog together are they going to tell us that these are two different species? Apparently in paleontology they do.

Speaking of dinosaurs...
When I was a youngster learning how to multiply and divide the most important rule was that you could not divide by zero. If you did apparently the whole universe would collapse around your pencil and your mother would cry as you were sucked into the very black hole you created. I half expect them to tell me, any day now, that this is now possible and that they were wrong all along.  They will probably tell is that the Tyrannosaurus was dividing by zero and that's what wiped out the dinosaurs.

This guy divided by zero and look what happened to him.
His mother is now in a nursing home crying her little eyes out.
I have noticed that the longer I live the more I see how science is not the huge rock of facts that we are all taught it is. Science, as it stands today, is just a group of people in white coats that like a particular theory and then teach the rest of the population that that theory is fact. If you mention that said fact is just a theory and should not be taught as fact you are obviously not as intelligent as they are and should be publicly flogged in the town square with an organic carrot.

I ordered a few science books and this is what arrived.
All of this makes me wonder about what else in this universe we “know” today as fact and a few years down the road we will just be told it wasn’t true… like cheeseburgers being bad for you. I’m still waiting on that one to be changed.  Someone needs to get on that one.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Zero to Hero and Back Again

I have experienced many humiliating moments in my lifetime. So much so that not much embarrassment can penetrate the thick, leathery wall that hides what is left of my soul. One especially mortifying experience is feeling the exuberance of being a hero and to have the moment stripped away leaving only the sting of humiliation as you stand in front of the crowd. I liken it to Superman flying through a window of a burning skyscraper to save a baby that a mother on that street has been screaming is left inside. Moments later he reappears smiling and waving at the crowd until everyone realized that the only thing he rescued was a Baby Wets-a-lot doll. Poor Superman.

Speaking of embarrassment.  Poor high school drop outs.
This is the very ordeal that I endured one day when I was working at Disneyland. As many of you know I worked my way through college by working at “The Happiest Place on Earth” and spend many a day walking around the Park making sure everything was going smoothly. If you have ever visited the Park you know that there are parades that run through the center of it at various times during the day in which thousands of excited people line up with their kids to get a good look. It was during this time, as the masses gathered to watch the Hercules parade, which my rise from zero to hero occurred.

It's the Happiest Place on Earth!
I received a call on my radio that there was a fire in a trashcan. This was a common occurrence because smokers often times forget that a cigarette burns and when you place a burning object into a container full of paper it will start on fire. Difficult concept, I know. By the time I arrived at the trashcan smoke was billowing out of it. I quickly opened the side of the trashcan, pulled out the plastic receptacle and through the smoke I put my leg inside and started stomping. After a few moments the smoke stopped and thunderous applause started. Everyone around praised my quick reaction and I heard, “Nice job!” and “My hero!” all around me. I smiled and nodded as if to say, “All in a day’s work.”

And for the sake of my newly polished shoes don't throw them in poopie diapers.
On a side note I learned to not use a fire extinguisher on trashcan fires a few months before. In that case I pulled out the trash receptacle and blasted the smoke with a full tank of fire retardant only to turn around to a fire fighter holding a Dixie cup of water. He shook his head and walked off muttering something about having to refill the extinguisher.

In case of fire hide in this corner.
Anyway, back to the story. As I was nodding and waving to the crowd I took my leg out of the smoldering bin. It was then I heard the cheers turn to laughter. I quickly looked down to see my finely polished shoe, and stuck to my finely shoe was a half burned poopie Snug-Fit Huggies diaper. Yes, when the cigarette fell into the trashcan it ignited a poopie diaper which I quickly stamped out. The crowd, who just moments ago where chanting my praise, was now pointing and laughing as I desperately tried to shake off the surprisingly sticky diaper.

I'm a hero!  Yes!  Wait... what?
It was then, walking back to the locker room with every other step making a squish sound, I realized that my hero status had disappeared quicker than a Krispy Kreme donut in my hand on Sunday morning. I now realize that short of wetting myself in front of hundreds of people there really isn’t much that will embarrass me. This will really come in handy when I drop my future teenagers off in front of their high school while blaring show tunes.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Land of Bad Drivers

I live in the land of inept drivers. I know there are other far off lands where drivers pilot their vehicles with skill and grace because I have seen pictures have seen them on television, but I do not live in one of these places. I reside where drivers either do not ever bother to read and understand the driving manual or these drivers simply do not care about anyone else on the road but themselves.  The truth regarding these drivers may be something completely different.

Bad drivers will strike where you least expect them.
My drive to work is a 30 minute commute that consists mainly of freeway travel with a small fraction of surface streets thrown in.  Needless to say, I see my share of drivers.  Today, moments after I entered the freeway, I encountered one of these drivers that I will call the Pace Car. The Pace Car drives the speed limit in the left lane and will never, I repeat, never drive in the right lane. Now, where I live, all vehicles are to drive in the right lane unless passing. It is the law. This particular person entered the freeway and immediately changed lanes into the left lane, set the cruise control to the speed limit and ignored the approximate half mile traffic jam of people waiting to get by.

I have plans to install these this fall.
Is the Pace Car somehow unaware of the law and so oblivious that they missed the two signs they drove by stating said law or do they just not care about anyone else on the road, thus requiring anyone traveling at a higher speed to go around them in the right lane? I believe the answer to this question is none of the above. The answer lies in the second driver I encountered today.

A woman I came across the other day.
After I honked and yelled out the window she finally moved over.
Halfway through my commute I came upon some construction that required traffic to merge into one lane. Where I live the vast majority of people start to merge as soon as they see the “Left Lane Ends” sign. These people will start to merge into the other lane upwards to a mile ahead of the actual lane ending. In California, where I have spent most of my adult life, cars merged when the lanes merged. These two ideologies create conflict among some drivers. These drivers I will call “Hall Monitors.”

I will have no merry-making in this hallway. None!
The self-appointed position of the Hall Monitor makes it their duty to ensure everyone merges a mile up the road as they did. This driver will steer his car so it straddles both lanes of traffic so that no one will be able to pass him unless they drive off the road and therefore they will be forced to merge behind the Hall Monitor. I have seen variations of the Hall Monitor strategy by different drivers over the years. At times I will witness the Pace Car strategy being implemented by the Hall Monitor who will pull out into the lane that is to merge over and drive at the same pace as the other cars thus cutting off the entire lane forcing a "virtual merge". The most dangerous of the strategies used by the Hall Monitors is to swerve into passing cars to scare any other vehicle into not passing him. This is what I call the “I’m going to show my dominance by humping your lane” strategy.  These drivers would rather put the safety of every driver around them in jeopardy in order to make others submit.

Yes, I AM the self appointed ruler of everyone.  Why?
I believe that these two drivers, the Pace Car and the Hall Monitor, feel such a need to follow the laws that they suppose it's their duty to make sure everyone else follows them as well.  Now don’t get me wrong I am always a fan of following the rules, I drive the speed limit and in the right lane, but I do not feel the need to force everyone else to submit to the same rules I follow as if I was Kruschev ruling over the fast lane with an iron fist.

Of course some rule with a tiny iron fist.
These are not the kind of people you want in any kind of authoritative position. Let’s imagine a leader that feels an overwhelming conviction and forces everyone submit to them. Nazis anyone? Both the Christians and the Muslims felt the need to do this very thing between the 600s and the 1200s.  Well, the Muslims leaders still feel the need to make their subjects submit in the Middle Eastern countries.

...said the woman who will be stoned if she says otherwise.
Telling others about your convictions is a great thing. Forcing your convictions on others is a great tragedy. Today's lesson:  Do not be a Hall Monitor and cram your convictions down other's throats as if you are trying to force feed medication to a dog.  No matter how much ground beef you put it in people are still going to spit it out.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

It's a Crying Shame

Whether it is snakes, carnies or even old people, everyone has something in life that gives them the hebegebes. We have a janitor that works in our building that is terrified of spiders. He made me squish a spider that was standing between him and the bathroom he wanted to clean one night. I’m pretty sure he had been standing there waiting for someone to save him for at least 10 minutes. Well as for me I have a few things that freak me out but the one I will discuss today is tears.

That's an eye full of nasty right there.
Yes, you read correctly… tears. Tears are one of the most disgusting things that come out of our bodies. Let me explain. Urine is primarily made up of water but the next most prevalent ingredient is urea. That potent smell of urine, for those of you who do not drink enough water, is caused by the asphyxiating ammonia that is produced by the breaking down of urea. Guess what is in tears. Yep, urea. So basically every time you cry you are peeing on your face.

"Did you just pee on your own face?!?"
This has become an issue over the years with my wife as she is on the emotional side of the scale and I am on the logical side. My wife’s side involves a lot of tears. Tears at the weddings, sad stories, disagreements, movies, television… she has cried at a movie preview more than once. The worst part about the tears is when they run down her face and gets close to her mouth her tongue slowly makes an appearance and captures the tear as it passes by like some kind of reptile licking her eyeballs to keep them moist. My look of disgust, of course, does nothing to help the situation either.

Wait, let me get that tear. Yummy.
On more than one occasion I have had a crying son come running up to me to be comforted only to be stopped at arm’s length as I get a blanket, towel, pillow or whatever is near by to soak up the urine coming out of their eyes. I do believe this may create some sort of bonding issue for the boys that will need to be sorted out with thousands of dollars of counseling in the years to come.

Not even with a ten foot pole.
One of the most memorable moments in anyone’s life is the moment they get engaged. I have to admit that for me it was also the most memorable moments as well, but for an entirely different reason. You see I drove my then girlfriend up the California coast from the greater Los Angeles area to San Francisco to visit my aunt and uncle that lived there. On the way up I made sure and plan our arrival to Pebble Beach (Carmel, CA) just as the sun was setting. Everything was planned out for a wonderful scene on the beach except the fact that it was Sea Lion mating season and from the sounds of it there was going to be a lot of births in a few months.

This is where we got engaged... taken just before "the incident."
Just as the sun set I turned to my lovely girlfriend, got down on one knee and pulled out the ring. Of course she didn’t notice I was down there in front of her so I had to nudge her with the ring box to get her attention. After I popped the question and she said yes she grabbed by face as I was kneeling down and bent over to kiss me. All I remember is… you guessed it… tears dripping on my face. Basically she peed on my face. It was by far one of the most disgusting moments in my life.

"She did what?"
To this day I have no idea how she ended up marrying me.  She puts up with my oddities, that's for sure.  I am the luckiest man alive.  Well... until she cries.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

You Have Talent

What do Lady Gaga, Dolph Lundgren, Katy Perry and you have in common? No, this isn’t the start to a bad joke. They all have some thing specific in common.  Let’s take a look at each of these people and discover what why each of these people are sadly alike.

Apparently this is Lady Gaga as some kind of soggy mirrored gladiator.
To say that Lady Gaga is just a singer/song writer is to say that the Buckingham Palace is just a house. She is the biggest singing sensation to hit the world in quite sometime and if you have not heard of her you most likely have been spending quite a bit of time living in a cave feeding off small rodents. She has been awarded 85 international awards, including Grammys, AMA’s and Teen Choice awards, in the two years she has been in the public eye. Gaga, born with the good Italian name of Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, learned to play the piano at age 4 and wrote her first ballet by the ripe old age of 13. When I was 13 I was still potty training. She was even accepted into Juilliard but instead decided to attend another school that is arguably just as exclusive. Like her music or not, one has to admit that she is extremely talented.

Countless muppets lost their lives in the making of Lady Gaga's outfit.
Let us look at the other side of the celebrity spectrum. Dolph Lundgren is a Swedish born actor/director best known for his role as huge Russian boxer Ivan Drago in Rocky IV. Since then he has gone on to act in 38 other action movies and directed 5 others, many of these movies went straight to video/DVD. Currently his career has been kick started by costarring in the summer hit The Expendables with Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, and Mickey Rourke. What is interesting about Lundgren is not his horrible acting/directing career, because quite frankly he should have retired after Rocky IV. What is interesting is that Lundgren is that he speaks seven languages, holds a 3rd degree black belt in Kyokushin, holds a masters degree in chemical engineering, and even received a Fullbright Scholarship to MIT. For someone who plays a dumb brute in most of his extremely unpopular action movies this man is brilliant.

My body looks like that... under all my fat.
Back on the other side of the celebrity spectrum, we have Katy Perry. This singer/songwriter’s last album sold over 1.2 million copies in the US and went platinum or double platinum in 9 countries and gold in 8. Not to mention she also was voted the hottest woman alive by Maxim magazine, which by the way obviously did not look very hard or they would have picked my wife. I’m not saying that being voted hottest woman alive is a talent, but writing an album that is that successful has to take a little talent.

Ms. Perry playing, what appears to be, a real life Candyland game.
All three of these people have talents that are very apparent but the sad part is that none of them currently use those talents for what they were intended for. According to the book of John in the Bible, “A man can receive only what is given him from heaven.” All of our various talents, whether it is singing, acting, writing or even if you can floss your nose with a small snake, they all came as a gift from God Himself.

I really feel sorry for the poor snake that now has snot all over him.
Lady Gaga was obviously given a great musical ability and the ability to put on a great show. She even grew up in the Catholic Church. Today she is using her God given abilities to represent everything that is hedonism. Lundgren was given a great intellect for understanding languages and logic. Today he is making B-Rated movies. Katy Perry grew up with a pastor as a father and she even released a Christian album under her real name Katy Hudson. Today she has used her talents to become a pop sensation and a sex symbol for young boys every where. Her dad must be so proud. These three have gained the entire world at the expense of their eternal souls.

Here is Katy Hudson singing as a Christian artist.
In Matthew 25:14-30 Jesus tells a parable of a master that gave three of his servants a gift and left on a journey. When he returned the first two servants came to him and had used their gifts as the master intended, but the last servant took his gift and hid it in the ground so when the master came back from his trip the gift would not have been lost. The master rewarded the first two servants but to the last he took his gift and said, “You wicked, lazy servant!” and sent him away to be punished. God gives us gifts and talents to use for His glory not to bury away or to use for our own good.

Don't be a lazy servant...
Do you have anything in common with these three people? Do you use your God given talents for what God intended it to be used for or do you hide it away in the ground? Maybe you are using what God gave you for your own glory and not what was intended by the gift. Are you the servant that is using his gift as the Master intended or are you the servant who wasting his gift? The Master is returning soon. Examine yourself.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Foot in Mouth Disease

There has been many times in my life where I have put my foot in my mouth.  I cannot remember the first time it happened and and I, quite frankly, expect to do it again someday.  Not that I want to do it.  It is that I cannot help myself.  Here is one of the many stories of my Foot in Mouth disease.

A rather common occurrence.
While in high school I worked at a lovely department store called Shopko. If you are not familiar with this store it is one step above K-Mart and three steps below Target in the low price department store genre. What I remember most about Shopko is the fact that they used to require me to wear a dull orangey-rust colored smock that seriously hampered my ability to show the ladies the old Artie charm. But alas the ugly smock was no match for my acne speckled charm when I licked my index fingers and slicked down my sixteen year old mustache that consisted of exactly 37 hairs.

When puberty kicks in this thing is really going to take off.
While I was employed at Shopko I was a cashier. This was the best place to be because of the male to female ratio that was weighted heavily towards the female side and when a boy is at that age that is a very important fringe benefit. Another benefit of my position is that I would give breaks to different areas around the store that had cash registers. This also gave me a chance to branch out and sprinkle my charm in a larger area.

Pictured above is a perfect example of the male to
female ratio being skewed in the wrong direction.
One day I was walking to give a break to the cute girl in the layaway department when I turned the corner and noticed a line of disgruntled customers at the counter that stretched past the women’s activewear into the lingerie department where a mother was desperately trying to cover the eyes of her nine year old boy. As I neared the front of the queue I inquired about the employee’s whereabouts with the group and they all growled in one accord and pointed through double doors.  So off I went.

No one likes to wait in line.
I finally located the missing girl way in the back loading up tons of boxes for the mass of crabby people waiting for her. Wanting to show her my rapier wit I said, “If we don’t get those boxes down there in a hurry their going to hang us.” Then I flashed my suave and debonair grin.

Who's awesome?  You're awesome baby.
It was at that moment in time I discovered that I may not be as humorous as I think I was. Oh who am I kidding, I still haven’t learned that. Anyway, once I said those fateful words she broke down and started sobbing dropping a case of collectible Star Trek plates on the ground. Of course I did what any young man would do; with an expression of terror I put out one hand and patted her on the shoulder. Then I decided a little more of my flashy humor would be of assistance in this situation and I explained, “It’s okay, no one will get hung while I’m on duty!” She sobbed louder.

What did I say?!?
In between her sobs and her snorting the little bubble of snot that kept making an appearance in her right nostril back up she explained to me that the previous night her best friend had hung himself in his basement and she found him when she came over to visit. Oops.

It was all I could look at.
That day I learned to think before I speak and put extra thought into the words I use. Remember people’s feelings instead of making a flippant joke that could be insensitive or hurtful. Oh who am I kidding? No I didn't. Seriously who would have seen that coming? I mean really?