I found out last week that Delta is Swedish for, "Just give us your money and get on a damn plane."

If you've ever flown with Delta and were even mildly coherent, you know that they've got this boarding system. It's quite ingenious, actually. They board the plane in groups, but each group is made up of people from different parts of the plane. A few people sitting in front, a few people sitting in the back and a few people sitting in the middle. So the guy in the back can lift his bag into the overhead compartment without knocking some little old lady into an armrest, knocking her out and breaking her hearing aid, which then slowly leaks battery acid into her brain for the next six weeks [I swear, it was an accident].

But the system is only ingenious if you use it. They didn’t. Not once. Four flights. They’d board the first two groups, which are just the people with kids or old people and the folks in first class, and just let everybody else on at once. It’s stupid. It’s like genetically engineering an elephant to eat shoes and then giving him an uzi. I’m not sure how, but it’s just like that.

And it’s the reason I’ll never fly Delta again. That and the other thing with the old lady.


Dear Diary,

I talked to the press today. I'm not sure if they believe me. But everything I said was the truth. I mean, why would I have any reason to be depressed? I make boatloads of cash for running around and playing ball. Who cares if all my former teammates, coaches, trainers and elementary school teachers hate me? That's just because I'm so talented. And I live alone because I want to. I could have any girl I wanted, any time. You can't tie me down. Yeah, I've been plagued by injury, but I'll heal up just fine. And that thing with that guy who came up to me on the street and spit in my face while his daughter pointed at me and cried? That didn't bother me at all. I'm as happy as can be.*

Love and kisses,

* Please click the link. The joke is so much better if you click the link. Click the link. Please click it. I'm so lonely.


Customs and Border Protection Policy
if the danger to national security were related to my experience trying to register items for travel abroad.

1. Declare that the danger exists.
2. Emphasize the danger.
3. Write about the danger on your website.
4. Include on your website vague instructions on dealing with the danger.
5. Instruct the public to contact their local Customs and Border Protection offices when dealing with the danger.
6. When the public calls, deny that the danger exists.
7. If the caller persists, acknowledge the existence of the danger, but tell the caller that the local office doesn't deal with the danger.
8. Avoid passing work to other offices by telling the caller that only one office in the nation deals with the danger.
9. Give in and pass on instructions on how to deal with the danger through the local office.
10. When the citizen arrives, repeat steps 6 through 8.
11. Say that they've come to the right place, but that - since no officials are present - the danger cannot be dealt with at the moment.
12. Reluctantly agree to acknowledge the danger, but instruct the citizen not to tell anyone about it.



The agency made me go to Florida. I woke up at 4 am last Wednesday to make my flight to Ft. Lauderdale and didn't sleep any later than that for the duration of the trip. I tried to post a warning, but blogger was having issues on Tuesday. And I didn't have internet access during the trip. Writing resumes tomorrow.

The Shameful Past

For decades, middle Americans have placed with pride the small ornaments in their lawns and gardens. The pointy, and often red, hats stood out among daffodils and dandelions, offering a grin and impish rosy cheeks. Onlookers took note of their jaunty stance and humble attitude, finding humor in the tiny fellows and their mischievous ways.

Few homeowners understand the garden gnome tradition, figuring these clay figurines to be nothing more than decoration. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In days of yore, the gnomes roamed the countryside, free to do all the gnome things with all the other gnomes. Eventually, humans encroached on their habitat, building homes in the suburban countryside where the gnomes were known to roam. As the expanse began to shrink, the gnomes closed ranks. They watched as the suburbs spread over the hillsides. They retreated until they could retreat no more. Overcrowded, they soon over-grazed. They were forced to look for food. So they turned to the human communities, venturing within their bounds only at night. They raided the gardens while the people slept, gorging themselves on radishes and entire heads of lettuce.

Of course, the humans did not take very kindly to the lawn buffet the gnomes has created. They soon developed traps. They caught the gnomes in droves, using them for soup and glue. Many had their first catch stuffed and mounted, leaving the embalmed corpse in the garden to serve double duty as a trophy and a warning to other hungry gnomes.

But those times have come and gone. The gnomes have moved to the wintry north of Canada. They no longer even enjoy produce, subsisting only on Canadian beer. They pose no threat to anyone. And yet, Americans all over Nebraska continue to display the grisly reminders of real estate development gone horribly. We cannot change the past, but let us not honor the senseless violence against innocent gnomes any longer. Take a stand. Steal your neighbor's gnome tonight.

Jet passenger tries to open door in midair

Who hasn't? I mean, what's more fun than watching those oxygen bags drop from the ceiling? You know, besides filling your ear hole with fire ants...

CHANTILLY, Virginia (AP) -- A man wearing military fatigues and throwing punches into the air tried to open the exit door of a jet during a cross-country flight on Tuesday night, airline officials and passengers said.

I'm still trying to figure out why the lead in this story isn't just, "A flippin' loon tried to open a plane door DURING THE FLIGHT."

United Airlines Flight 890 from Los Angeles landed as scheduled at Washington Dulles International Airport at 8:35 p.m., said Amy Kudwa, a Transportation Security Administration spokeswoman. No one was injured.

Physically. No one was injured physically.

Ken Wolfenberger, of Whittier, California, who was on the flight, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview that he helped subdue the unruly passenger. The man wore patches on his fatigues with special forces and jujitsu champion logos, Wolfenberger said.

Clearly, the patches were fake. Our elite military personnel can be subdued by no man. Just ask Charlie Sheen.

The man had been acting strangely for about 20 minutes, then sat up, wrapped belts around his hands and threw punches into the air, Wolfenberger said.

Normal behavior: getting up and punching a flight attendant because they won't bring you anything more than two ounces of water at a time.

Wolfenberger said he heard a flight attendant yell for help and tell the man, "Sir, get your hand off the handle."

"Any time you hear a flight attendant shout 'please help,' you worry that something pretty bad is going to happen," he said.


Wolfenberger said the man was held down and punched by other passengers as he grabbed the man's leg. Air marshals then came and took custody of the man.

"Everyone else was punching the guy who tried to kill us all. I was just holding his leg. And telling them to stop. I definitely remember telling the others to stop pummeling him."

There were 138 passengers and six crew members on board, McCarthy said.

Heroes. Every single one of 'em. Well, except that one dude.

Baby sharks eat each other. And I'm fine with it.

Mourners are taking revenge on stingrays following the death of Steve Irwin. And although these heroes sacrifice life and limb to crush the stringray revolution, the ghost of Steve Irwin will still hunt them down and slaughter them.

Referee counts ballboy goal. I give the ref thirty-six hours to live.

Ugly goldfish gets surgery. But still struggles with self-esteem.

Fish kills a spear-fisherman. Retaliation for the stingrays. And the giant spear in its back.

Alligator star of Bond film to be stuffed. Along with every member of the cast after the ghost of Steve Irwin hunts them down and slaughters them.


It plays out in my head like I saw it in a movie.

I stepped out the door into the sunlight and closed my eyes for a moment. Though its windows faced the rising run, the dorm room had been dark, thanks to thick curtains and my roommate’s comforter, hung with nails from the wall above his window. I shuffled to the right as my eyes adjusted and pushed open the door to the stairwell, welcoming the darkness provided by the concrete cave. I moved through the common and out onto the mall, heading towards the cafeteria for breakfast. It was September in the desert, and odds are good that temperatures reached the nineties that day, but my memory tells me that I shivered slightly under the blinding sun.

The student union was nearly empty save for the two coeds walking before me. Half-past seven is early in university terms. The girls were talking, and as I caught up to them, I couldn’t help myself from eavesdropping.

Girl1: My mom called this morning and said that a plane crashed in New York.
Girl2: Like, in the city?
Girl1: I don’t know. Maybe. Probably not. Probably the state. You know my mom.

I don’t know her mom, but she’s not exactly setting the standard for familial communication.

Reruns of the planes’ impacts were running on the cafeteria TVs. I watched planes one and two strike the towers over and over. I coughed as smoke billowed from the buildings on the screen. The eggs got cold on the buffet as the lonely forks and spoons sat unused near the plates. I saw the presidential address from Florida and the aftermath of the strike on the Pentagon. As the south tower fell, I hoped that Larry King would come on and say, “Hey! Just kidding, everybody. Everything’s fine.” And Larry King and I could laugh at his joke and I would say, “Oh, Larry King, you sick, old, wrinkly bastard. You're a kidder! Here’s a punch in the groin for your psychotic sense of humor.” And I would punch old Larry in his old, wrinkly groin and I would smile and laugh and be on my way to class.

But Larry didn’t come on. Instead, they moved to coverage of the crash in Pennsylvania and speculation about why it went down and what had been its target. The White House? The Pentagon? Congress?

A classmate shook me on the shoulder. She’s been sent to summon me, and others, to class. No, it hadn’t been cancelled. I walked to class surrounded by the sounds and speculation of my classmates, too nervous and scared to stay silent. Our assignment, in the midst of falling ash and fire, was a press release on the animal shelter’s struggle to provide homes for puppies.

Aimee was in the cafeteria when I got back, too overcome by the images to remain composed. She cried on my shoulder as CNN played images of tiny dots falling from the windows before the collapse.


This is just to say

I found
some pizza in the fridge
behind the juice
and next to some
old Chinese.

It was cheesy
and delicious
still warm
and calling
for me.

were probably
saving it
for lunch tomorrow
or dinner tonight.

ate it.
I am not sorry.
I won't confess
when you ask tomorrow.


Yes, it’s true. This weekend, Steve Irwin left for the final expedition . The safari in the sky. Took a trip to the big alligator farm way up north. If you know what I mean.

Yup. Steve’s dead.

When I first read the news, I thought it was a joke. Seriously. I thought for sure that Irwin was immortal. But I guess not. And once I’d come to grips with the fact that Steve’s death was a possibility, I guessed that he might have died while attempting his biggest stunt ever. Maybe the simultaneous capture of seventeen of the world’s largest crocodiles. Possibly a blindfolded face-off with twenty king cobras. Or standing between Star Jones and a plate of fried chicken.

Turns out that he was swimming. Alright, alright. Scuba diving. But still. The guy went mano-a-mano with ferocious alligators, venomous snakes, hungry lions and rabid wildebeests. All that just to be taken down by a stingray.

If you ask me, this is the stingray’s way of asserting its dominance in the food chain. Stingrays all over the globe are fed up with the stereotypes. With the death of the Crocodile Hunter, it’s clear that they’re no longer satisfied with the happy-go-lucky, sunshine-and-roses, cuddly-huggable image. They’re making their move for world domination. Those stingrays are some badass pancake-fish-hybrid-creatures. You better recognize. If one of them can single-handedly murder the guy who used to cuddle with nature’s only animal with no natural predators, we should be leaving wet spots on the sidewalk just thinking about them.

I, for one, welcome our new aquatic overlords. It’s no secret that the stingray is the most ferocious animal in the sea. Or land. Or both. Combined. The most ferocious animal on the planet. And handsome.


Well, I'm back from Austin1. My three-day visit turned into a two-week internment camp2. But by the grace of God and with the help of an unholy mixture of pizza, sweet tea and fecal-coliform-infested lake water3, I made it through. I worked a lot. I slept very little. But I did have some fun in between. Thanks to my little brother Jim for putting me up in his apartment and letting me hang out with him. Being seen with me was a major sacrifice for him. You could actually watch his popularity levels fall as the days went by4. By the time I left, bums were spitting on him in the street5.

I missed a lot of big news. Work kept me too busy to do much writing here, but I was cringing practically every day at the thought of all the stuff I missed commenting on:
The nerds went wild. First, one of them won some huge award for work that made him lose faith in mathematics6. Then they deep-sixed Pluto's planetary status7. A bunch of the outdoorsy nerds, the Boy Scouts, saved a little girl from drowning8. Somebody dropped a pocket protector and, while trying to pick it up, accidentally elbowed the big red button at a bomb recycling plant in Louisiana. During the Emmys, they got their tightie-whities in a bunch about a plane crash sketch that didn't even show a plane crashing. A CNN anchor went to the bathroom with her mic on and called another woman 'baby'. And in a story equally as compelling but not about nerds, police in Lake Havasu are looking for a real-life Hamburglar9.

And I missed it all. It's like the whole world is conspiring against me10. As soon as I'm a little pressed for time, there's a ton of great stuff to write about. Stupid world.

And, just to make sure you've got to do an exceptionally annoying amount of scrolling going back and forth between the superscript and the footer, here's a link to a little short I put together. Click the picture of Jim to see it.

1 Land of a thousand weirdos. Maybe Kinky Friedman is the perfect choice.
2 What's that, boss? No, that's totally a joke. I love having that much work to do. It's invigorating.
3 This should probably be a link to an article about fecal coliform and Austin's creatively named Town Lake. But I'm sleepy.
4 Seriously. He's got a little gauge on his bicep. And I'm terrible to be around in public. Things come flying out of my mouth like pellets from a shotgun at a redneck wedding. That is: randomly, with little control, sometimes aimed at small woodland creatures and often without any need for the lack of inhibitions brought on by the consumption of alcohol.
5 I heard his roommates talking about kicking him out and keeping his dog.
6 I lost faith in mathematics when my folks tried to teach me about counting by limiting my cookie intake.
7 Heads will roll for this one. The United States Association of Planetarium Workers is not pleased. And bad things happen when you defy the union.
8 This development makes me want to hire a local troop to protect my little girl. From me. It's a miracle i haven't accidentally hurt her already.
9 I wish I knew who the guy was so I could shake that man's hand. And learn his secrets.
10 I know what you're thinking, but it's not paranoia if it's true.

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