Thursday, March 31, 2005

To Catch a Thief
An odd bit of trivia: The Scout leader accused of possessing child pornography was head of the Youth Protection Task Force. It's funny, but when I worked for the Scouts, we used to say that Youth Protection should really be called "Leader Protection", since it seemed to be more about how to protect yourself from accusations of wrongdoing, and less about not molesting kids. Of course, what healthy person needs to be told not to molest kids?

I do want to point out though, that the Youth Protection guidelines had some good ideas. For instance, if a kid needed to talk about a sensitive issue, you're encouraged to create a "private space in a public area", like a picnic table that's in plain sight, but far enough away from other people that you can talk privately.

I'm seriously ambivalent about the Boy Scouts. Some of the best experiences of my life have come via the Boy Scouts, and the values I learned as a Scout have shaped my life. But there's a slightly better than 50/50 chance that, when Christie and I have kids, they'll be daughters, and shouldn't they have access to those same experiences? And what if we have a son, but he's gay?

A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent. Scouting is for straight males only. I can't get those two to match up.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Apartment Therapy Discovers Pryde's Old Westport. I mean, yeah, Pryde's is the bee's knees, but I never expected a New York blog to say such nice things about them.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Well, Christie's sister had her baby (a beautiful baby girl), so of course the grandmothers have descended on Columbia. Christie's Mom got here Friday afternoon, and is staying with us until Tuesday. Although, when I say "us", I really mean "me", since Christie left yesterday for a work thing in St. Louis. On the one hand, I've lost my video game partner, but on the other, my ironing is taken care of.

Oh, and according to the Swift Report, The Brad and Jen divorced because they disagreed about Social Security reform. Sez they:

Says a source close to the actress: "She just really feels that people should have the freedom to invest their own money, that we don't need a nanny government making those choices for us. That was really the straw that broke the camel's back."

Uh huh.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

My mom just asked for my blog address after listening to a story about bloggers on NPR. Christie's mom already reads the blog. That makes this an opportune time to remind all of my readers that I am an inveterate liar who not only fictionalizes events from his own life (Christie claims that I change all of our conversations to give myself the best lines, and would like to point out that she has always known that St. Patrick's day is on the 17th), but frequently makes up things completely.

Oddly enough, considering that I always give myself the best lines, the stuff I make up completely tends to make me look pretty bad. In fact, if you read anything on this blog that makes you think any less of me, it's probably one of the things I made up. In actuality, I have never done anything stupid, reckless, or heart-breakingly selfish. Anyone who says differently is a damn liar, and that includes me.

Also, Christie and I never had sex before we got married. In fact, we waited until we got the official copy of the marriage license back from the county clerk, just to be on the safe side.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Many, many years ago, I'm sitting at the corner table of Ol' Zan's Place, a bar in Colorado City (which consists of said bar, a convenience store, a doctor's office, and nothing else), about an hour southwest of Pueblo City, Colorado. Why? Because it's only 40 minutes' drive from the Scout Camp where I'm working this summer. And it's my night off.

On this particular night out, it's a small crowd. It's just Matt, who runs the mountain man outpost program, John, the program director (i.e. my boss), and a handful of cowboys. John's haranguing me about the weekend before, when damn near everybody from camp went to a party over in Gunnison, while I drove down south into New Mexico.

"To what? Go to a play? Dude! This party was. Insane. Free beer. Great weed. Hot chicks. What were you thinking?"

John had been on this track for 20 minutes, and I was getting sick of it. I tried deflection. "Why are you hassling me? What about Matt? He didn't go, either. What did you do this weekend, Matt? Work on the cabin?"

Matt grinned at me through his Sam Elliot mustache, now flecked with beer foam, and shrugged. John's focus flickered over to him, and finding no purchase, locked back on me.

"Seriously, man, what were you thinking? A six hour drive? For what?"

What could I say? That it was True West, the best play written in English? That a decent dinner was well worth a six-hour drive after a summer of camp food and stoner cuisine? That a six hour drive was itself a worthwhile opportunity to roll down the windows and let the wind and mountains and silence blow the chaff out from between me ears? And what about the girl? We'd had an on and off thing last year, when I was busy scraping my heart off some girl's shoe, and I'd been so out of my head that I treated her like...well, like I don't treat women. That she'd helped me find my feet, and I showed her the door? That she used me right back, and I was still trying to figure out how I felt about that? That this weekend was a chance to see if we were missing out on something, and we both decided we weren't?

How could I capture that bittersweet clarity, the scent and flavor of a last weekend between two people changing from lover to friend? Specifically, how could I communicate it to a guy who had a half-dozen "scrog tapes" on his shelf, labelled "hippie chicks", "sorority girls", "business major", etc., each designed to increase his chances with a particular female stereotype? I flipped through the cards in my mental deck, looking for one that would get John off my back and let me get back to enjoying my beer. Nothing.

Except. In the corner, behind the sofa, dust-covered and smelling of stale beer, there was The Guy Card, never before played (and rarely since).

The waitress brought another pitcher, and John started in, again, as he filled his glass. "I mean, what is there in New Mexico that we don't have here? It's a fucking desert! What can you even do down there?"

I poured myself a glass, then let slip two words before taking a drink: "Got laid."

"Ah! Enough said. So, Matt, how's the cabin coming?"
Jeannie at houseinprogress.net is looking for a reliable water softener installer in Chicago. I don't know one and have no useful suggestions, except for one, and it's not mine:

A few years back, my brother had his house painted. I asked him how he found the guys that did it, since he was so happy with the job they did. "Easy," he said, "I keep a ten-year old copy of the phone book around. I sit down with the old one and the new one, and I figure anyone who's still in business now has got to be good."

Friday, March 18, 2005

Thursday, March 17, 2005

In honor of the day: The Onion's Irish-Heritage timeline

Noteworthy excerpts (in reverse order):

1951 - Irish Spring, the two-deodorant soap, becomes the first soap allowed on Irish soil.

1488 - Luck o' the Irish runs out.

922 - Vikings land in Limerick and meet a buxom young farm girl named Claire.

530-537 - St. Brendan makes a long sea voyage with a group of fellow monks, exploring distant lands to the West and besting Columbus' discovery of American by a millenium. St. Brendan is the patron saint of bullshit.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Christie and I were lying in bed last night trying to figure out when St. Patrick's Day is. Not because we want to be sure to wear green, or want to go out to the bars wearing green mardi gras beads (what is up with that?) and get trashed, or anything like that, but more because we both find the way the holiday is celebrated in America to be vaguely annoying, and we want to know on which day not to wear green, but to instead wear a self-satisfied and annoyed look on our faces. Or maybe wear green because some jerk is sure to pinch us if we don't, but to still be annoyed about it.

C: Is it the 14th?

M: Maybe. But I don't think so. I think the 14th is Valentine's Day.

C: But in February.

M: Well, yeah. But I always think Valentine's Day should be on the 12th. 12 is a much more romantic number than 14.

C: Really.

M: Sure. More couples go into 12 than 14. 2 times 6 and 3 times 4. 14 just has 2 times seven, which isn't romantic at all.

C: What about 7 plus 7?

M: But that's addition, not multiplication. Addition's friendship, not romance.

C: Okay... What about 1 times 14?

M: Not a couple.

C: (Imagining being married to Rainman for the rest of her life.)

I thought about explaining why 3 times 4 is so much more romantic than 2 times 7, but I thought it best to cut my losses.

On a related note, today is Pi Day. I'll be observing one second of silence at 1:59.26, and I may even make a square pie tonight, if I'm feeling motivated.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Why I don't golf.
I've been itching to blog, but about what? I've started a couple of posts, but gave them up when it became clear there was no there there, and that they said their nothing in a boring way. There are a few memes out there tiptoeing through the blogs I read, but they're not a road I want to go down. States I've visited? Been there, done that. States I've lived in? Two. Boring. States I've had sex in? I grew up about ten blocks from the state line, and still I had to tax my brain to come up with six. This is starting to get depressing.

And then there's the latest: Ten Things I’ve Done That You Probably Haven’t. Oh, I am so not gonna go there. For one thing, when left to my own devices, I'm a pretty tame creature. But I have adventurous friends, which means that I have done some crazy things, but I usually have company. So I might list that I've wandered naked through a national park, but I know for a fact that at least one person who reads this blog has done the same. Probably more than one, knowing this crowd. Most of you probably never caught a Dead show, but I'm sure a few of you did. Gotten an arm-wrestling lesson from a former professional? Hmmm, maybe I'm not so boring after all. Supported myself for a year on less than $8,000. Yeah, that was fun. "Repaired" a muffler with baling wire and a tin can? Just once. Chewing tobacco? Let's stop while I still have your respect.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

I have the strangest feeling this is what happens when we're not home.