Thursday, June 29, 2006

cat scratch fever

The cat and I have a ritual. Each night as I do a final walk through the house turning off lamps, locking doors, straightening the portrait of Charles Nelson Reilly and executing all the other activities associated with securing the perimeter of Casa Camino, the cat follows closely behind. He stealthily darts from chair to couch waiting for his perfect opportunity to strike. I like to think that he's playing, but he isn't. He is simply toying with me. He is patient. He knows full well that the day he finds me incapacitated on the floor with eventually come, and sweet victory will then be his.
Bear in mind that I feed and water the little bastard. I've even cleaned out the litter box a couple of times, and the task of stuffing his long fifteen pound frame into the crate and taking him to the vet for his yearly check up generally falls to me. Countless generations before me have spent millennia domesticating and caring for the beasts, and still they cannot pass up an opportunity to stalk and then jump us as if we were all slow-witted wildebeests.
Perhaps we are.
Anyway, I usually win these battles because I am larger and because I have thumbs. However, I don't have large thumbs...I just now noticed that...Huh...That's odd.
Well, what I mean to say is that the varmint got a good scratch on my forearm the other night. He had been waiting patiently under the coffee table for me to retrieve my shoes. I promptly cursed him and hosed him with a nearby water bottle, but any independent review of the fight would call him the winner.
Has the son surpassed the father? Am I getting slow, and has time dulled my quick reflexes?
Probably, but the bastard went right back to purring and demanding food the very next morning, and I couldn't help but detect a bit more confidence in his strut. However, I'm still the one with the thumbs.
By the way, one of them is actually larger than the other, and I never really noticed that before either.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

going out like the dinosaur?

You may want to make this next week a special one.
Feel free to swim with the dolphins, see the pyramids, or simply punch that guy at work who slaps on way too much aftershave and always walks around with one of those earpiece cell phone things that you just pray is giving him a brain tumor. Take up smoking again and eat all the ice cream you want. You can even make it the full fat good stuff with the four-digit calorie count. Forget about hygiene. Max the credit cards. Lose every shred of social restraint you've been showing for your long and quiet life.
What I'm saying is that you need to go utterly batshit crazy and then make peace with a God of your own choosing.
I don't mean to be an alarmist here, but a huge asteroid is slated to "make an exceptionally close approach to our planet early on Monday, July 3".
So go ahead and shoot off all those fireworks while you're at it.

Monday, June 26, 2006

fetch another big ass shoe box

It is getting to the point that one should regard the "world's oldest turtle" with the same detachment normally reserved for matadors with poor depth perception and "gangsta" rappers.
Yes, I mean to say that "Harriet" has passed away after having only held the title a few short months since the death of "Addwaitya". Sorry for just coming out with it like that, but there is never an easy way to break these things.
By the way, creationists may take notice of the line in the obituary about Darwin having originally mistaken Harriet for a male turtle and somehow use that to tarnish his controversial theories. However, in Charlie's defense, turtles are quite protective of their naughty bits.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

prepare to unleash your inner Queequeg

It appears that the ban on whale hunting may soon be a thing of the past, and I for one am encouraged. The fat bastards have pranced about without fear of consequence for far too long, and this has only led to laziness and over-population. The herds must be thinned, people. Too often have I found myself swerving to avoid a darting whale on a dark country road late at night or flipped on the porch light only to find them nibbling in my flower beds, garden, or plankton pond.

They may be cute, yes, but the absence of a predator only does more harm to any given animal in the long run. We can all agree that whales have it too easy, and that they need more of a challenge in life than the occasional school of herring putting up a respectable flatulence defense (which just so happens to be the very same defense preferred by my fattened spaniel).

Did it ever occur to you that whales beach themselves out of utter boredom? Of course it didn’t. You’re one of those who presume to know what is best for the whale, and I’ve never cared much for that tendency in you. Neither has the whale, frankly. Don’t get me wrong, your heart is in the right place and all your other traits make you a wonderful person to be around, but you are simply being naïve on this point. Trust me, you insult this magnificent creature.

I tell you this because I care about you like I care for a nice rare whale steak with a side of Caribbean rice and a dry but slightly chilled Riesling.

Afterward we’ll retire to the plankton pond for brandy and smokes and conversation that focuses mainly on second hand stories of Tom T. Hall and how whale meat didn’t quite taste like we expected.

So it is that I welcome this return to the natural order of things and eagerly await the first time I pull up next to a camouflaged pick-up truck with a freshly slain whale strapped to the hood or visit one of my hunting enthusiast uncles and spy an expertly taxidermied whale’s head peaking at me from over the fireplace.

Yes, the ceiling will probably have to be raised a bit.

Anyway, the whale face will no doubt be smiling a blubbery smile of appreciation for having been let back into the natural order of things, and the hunter will feel the pride that only comes from outsmarting an animal that subsists on flatulent fish.
It is the circle of life.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

whatever happened to corey haim?

Which is of course referring to the song by the Thrills and not the actual Corey Haim, though this least remembered of the Coreys does occasionally enter my thoughts. I hope he is well, of course, and that those successful young chaps in the Thrills have seen fit to compensate him for the use of his name despite no legal requirement to do so. The song would make no sense had our Mr. Haim chosen to shun Hollywood for a quiet set of teenage years back home in Canada, and they should recognize this.
Nevermind. I'm becoming increasingly uncertain about the relationship between Mr. Haim and the song that bears his name.
Anyway, He was always the thinking man's Corey, and I would like to think that he has thus far avoided reality television out of self-respect and a strong resolve to maintain all that the Coreys stood for. Whatever that was.
But I digress.
What I meant to say was that it is a damn good summer song. Couple it with "Tell Me Something I Don't Know" and you have a formidable tandem with that magical power to make one drive ninety or so miles an hour without knowing it.
However, when he comes around the corner on I-24 to suddenly encounter the morning gridlock traffic he will know it.
Summer songs are best left to the drive home.

Monday, June 19, 2006

ways in which i would not like to die

My list of “Ways In Which I Would Not Like To Die” is quite long, encompassing pretty much everything from a slow, painful and unspeakably horrible demise to being snuggled to death by puppies and kittens*. In fact, there is no list of “Ways In Which I Would Prefer To Perish From This Earth”. Yes, I know that some ways to die are better than others, but my preference of being undead over being dead always gets in the way of that list’s composition.

I was thinking about this on Saturday when I read of the unfortunate Bonaroovian who wandered into the path of Ricky Skaggs’ tour bus. It seemed quite an odd and senseless tragedy, but the thing that stuck with me was this quote from Carrie Anne, a Skaggs fan approached by The Tennessean for quoting purposes among the Bonaroo crowd:
"There are worse ways to go than to be hit by Ricky Skaggs' tour bus."
I’ll be honest here; I really haven’t considered “being hit by Ricky Skaggs’ tour bus” at any time while reviewing or revising my “Ways In Which I Would Not Like To Die” list. I’m sure there are indeed worse ways to go, but being hit by a bus would still fall rather highly on the list. I would like to even say that being hit by the tour bus of Ricky Skaggs would be preferable to being vanquished by the tour bus of Tim McGraw, but it wouldn’t. You are still being hit by an effing bus, and buses are composed of things that, if hurling towards you at a good fifty or sixty miles an hour, never fail to prove victorious over mere flesh and bone.
Therefore, until such time as buses are either made of foam or cotton candy I’ll remain firmly in the camp that believes that being hit by a bus is a damn shitty way to go, regardless of who happens to be occupying said bus at the time.

That’s just how I roll.

* I’m afraid that this is as specific as I can be on my list of “Ways In Which I Would Not Like To Die”, as the list itself falls rather highly on my list of “Things Mine Enemies Must Never Learn About Me”.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

see no evil

My eyeglasses, having perhaps grown tired of life, chose Monday morning to spontaneously disassemble themselves in a manner that would preclude any sort of reassembling, and this was a bitch. I liked those glasses. I generally hate my glasses, but those weren’t too bad as far as eyeglasses go.

Anyway, I could see well enough without them to get by on, but the next two days were still spent stumbling about with a sort of Eastwood squint before I was able to drop in on the optometrist who then insisted on an eye exam before making a new pair available.

Answer me this: Why do they have you read a line on the chart with one eye and then read the same damn line with the other eye? I know what the effing line is. I’m not going to tell you “O, F, L, C, T, C” and then feign an “O…uh…F, maybe…L, I’m guessing…and…uh…handicap sign…hangman…handicap sign, maybe.” I’m going to damn well say “O, F, L, C, T, effingC” because I just read it with my good eye and I know what the mothergrubbing line is, bastard.

Mothergrubbing bastard doctor with all your bastarding big time book learnin'.
...aaaand so forth.
Anyway, one can see how this could taint the results of an eye exam.

I thought this was the reason behind my new glasses making everything appear some eight inches to the right of where it actually was. I’m told that new prescriptions can give everything a shifty appearance, and the optometrist did in fact give me a weaker prescription, as he found my old ones to power me be above 20/20 and thus enable me to see the very darkness in men’s souls, especially taxidermy school drop outs who settled for optometry, but the depth perception challenges brought on by this newfound shiftiness seemed at first out of the ordinary and a cause for alarm.

Still, I trudged on, thinking all the while that my superpower glasses had perhaps just given me have a decade of seeing all objects eight inches to the left, and now a readjustment to reality was in order.
Indeed. By the end of today they didn’t seem too bad, though there is no guarantee that I didn’t leave a line of unsuspectingly flattened pedestrians in the wake of the Caminomobile on the way home from work.
There never is.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

the mothership

I’m not much of a pork connoisseur. In fact, the only time I really eat the stuff is when my dad makes his salt-cured country ham or honey-glazed Christmas ham or when a local BBQ establishment comes highly recommended.

Even the last of these goes back to my dad.

The men in my family before me have mostly been butchers, and my father always made it a point to frequent the restaurants that bought from his butcher shop. This ranged from the biggest steak house to the smallest hole in the wall sandwich shack and covered the culinary gambit from hamburgers and hotdogs to mountain oysters and chitlins.

I’ve never actually eaten chitlins, but the “Hollywood Inn” on Florence’s west side will provide you with soul food worthy of the New York Times.

Just down the block from there and almost within the shadow of W.C. Handy's preserved childhood home sits a small cinder block building that still houses Bunyan’s BBQ. It is run by a second generation now, and I’ve heard that the quality has slipped a bit, but one of my earliest memories is going there with my dad. He’d park out back by the smoker, exchange hellos with all the older black men tending to it, and then take me in and sit me on the counter while he ordered ribs or pork sandwiches. The pulled meat was topped with a homemade hot slaw, placed on an ordinary white bun, wrapped in waxed paper, and then speared through with one of those toothpicks with the red plastic tassels on top. The grease striped the brown paper bag and filled his truck with a smoked meat aroma that lingered for days.

I hadn’t thought about that place in years but was reminded of it today when a slow day between projects at work allowed me to slip off to Jim the Knucklehead's new BBQ establishment in Berry Hill. The Mothership has received much praise in its first few days of business, and I can now verify that it is all well deserved. I had read the reviews and expected to like it, but I never expected it to be on the level of the BBQ I had while growing up. It is the first local BBQ establishment to do so, and that is saying a lot.

There were only two things I noticed that have yet to make it into a review. Forgive me if any of you have mentioned this already, but that is some damn good coleslaw. I know coleslaw. I love coleslaw. The coleslaw at Mothership is cut a little thicker and serves as a perfect compliment to the much-lauded meat. Get the coleslaw.

Some people do not like even the best of coleslaw, and I know that. Those people can save their coleslaw for me.

The other thing is the wheelchair ramp. I didn’t have occasion to use it for its intended purpose but I did enjoy the smell of freshly cut lumber as I walked in the door.

It was also good to finally meet someone who I had previously only known solely through the blogworld. I got there pretty soon after opening and had a few minutes to lean on the counter and talk to Jim before the next customers showed up. He seems like good people.
Anyway, the man knows what he’s doing with this whole BBQ thing. Most of you who kindly stop by this humble blog on a regular basis have probably already discovered this, but the rest of you should go there now (provided that you are reading this during the posted hours of operation. If not, take a sleeping bag and breathe in the air of freshly cut wheelchair ramp while waiting for him to open).

Monday, June 12, 2006

return of the swamp zombies

This has me mighty afeard.
I generally prefer these sweltering and soupy months of summer, but all the allergens and assorted bloodsucking critters make it difficult a rather difficult time. Maybe it's something I emit or the fact that I tend to sweat a great deal, but mosquitos seem more drawn to me, and no amount or degree of repellent can dissuade them. They are insatiable little bastards, and I can either accept their vampiric desires or dance about in an awkward swatting defense that rarely fills others with admiration.
While living in Knoxville a few summers back I would routinely walk the dog through the woods behind our apartment complex. A stagnant swamp sat in the middle of these woods, and a small collection of hobos fresh from the nearby train tracks could generally be found fishing from it. I gathered from this that hobos either cared very little about mosquito bites or were somehow impervious to them. If it was the latter, I wondered if it was either it due to a lack of hygiene or the fact that these men feasted on radioactive fish that lurked in the runoff from Oak Ridge.
I never bothered to ask.
Anyway, I probably wasn't going to try either route and instead attempted to pass myself off as a dragonfly. A full dragonfly costume, while certainly covering the flesh, would have unfortunately compounded the sweaty factor, so I merely tried out one of those wristwatch-looking devices that emits the sound presumably made by a hungry dragonfly. I strapped the cheap plastic device to my right arm and proceeded down the trail with my eager spaniel and very little faith.
At first I was pleasantly surprised by the lack of mosquitos. I looked back and forth between a happy dog and mosquito free arm at the end of his leash and plunged into deeper into the woods with confidence. It was too easy .
I eventually caught a glance of my left arm, and the soundtrack of my life was suddenly interrupted by a series of stabbing notes from a Bernard Herrmann film score. A number of mosquitos sufficient to carry away an unguarded child or abnormally shaped and thus heavily discounted bowling ball had gathered about this forgotten arm and converted it into a makeshift buffet.
I did my awkward dance and lost the admiration of countless hobos.
Now the little bastards are upon us in greater numbers than usual and in possession of some scary sounding African disease that I have neglected to pay attention to in recent years. I've mistakenly been feigning my interest in this bird flu that was to have killed us all by now.
Then again, I now have an excuse for my inattention to yardwork.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

world cup news

I'm afraid I've some bad news for the Vol Abroad.

Brazil? Yeah, I'm sure that one really taxed the ol' alien communication powers.
Take it with a stiff upper lip, dear VA, and remember that hooliganism is never the answer (note how I comfort you in your time of disappointment by refraining from any snide, though easily crafted UT football/hooliganism remarks).

Saturday, June 10, 2006

unsolicited support

Unsolicited Support
Originally uploaded by timmorgan.
Mrs. Camino suggested for the longest time that I sell t-shirts and associated materials to go along with the humble blog 'o doom, but I honestly never thought there would be much interest. I was incorrect and wish to offer a big gracias to the few of you who validated her suggestion.

Some politically astute individuals have bought the "Rex for Senate t-shirts (modeled here by by the unsolicited Mr. Tim Morgan), and I'm sure that special lady in your life keeps dropping hints for the "Rex for Ladies" shirt, but there may be some of you who plan to vote for a real candidate who discusses actual issues and promises to do more in Washington than hang out at this Smithsonian all day abusing his senatorial status as he does so by insisting on wearing Lincoln's stovepipe hat. You feel that feigning support for me will take precious votes away from your candidate, and there may even be a fear of my candidacy somewhere within your heart.

I understand. For you, there is a front and back designed non-political t-shirt available in various styles.

And remember that anyone seen sporting merchandise of doom in any form or fashion will certainly not be counted among the non-believers when I do finally assume my rightful place on the throne get elected to something.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

a fruitless trip into the heart of fan fair

I loathe modern country music. This week's CMA Music Festival, with its glorification of tone deafness and mind-numbing lyrics, could serve as my ideal hell. One would therefore expect me to avoid it like the plague that it is.
One must have forgotten how much I enjoy the talking of smack.
Having all these grossly overpaid country "artists" gathered in one place is simply too much of an opportunity to pass up, and so it was that I slipped on my heckling pants and headed to up to downtown Nashville for an afternoon of obnoxious musical criticism.
However, the lines were far too long, and my resolve waned and then died a slow and ugly death as I stood there behind Edgar and Maude Sixpack from Hoboscrotum, Oklahoma in their matching rhinestone encrusted denim outfits accentuated by fanny packs so proudly earned through Marlboro miles.
Sadly, the only line short enough to accommodate my impatience was the one to get your picture taken with the free-floating and disembodied beard of Charlie Daniels:
precious cma memories
But even then the bastard wouldn't shut up long enough for me to get a word in.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

...or is it simply an excuse to make "days of thunder 2"?

Will this lead to these being sported on trucks, SUVs, and modified Chevy Monte Carlos throughout NASCARdom?

One can only hope.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

well, as long as there's no nudity...

Have a gander at my profile pic and tell me if I could pass for a thin female smoker.

Bear in mind that I'm willing to lose the 'stache if necessary.

you decide

Either the Lord occasionally chooses to answer prayer with irony or lightning is simply attracted to bright neon clothes.

Monday, June 05, 2006

sunday in the park with carl

There was a moment yesterday afternoon while walking the dog that I found myself in the unfortunate predicament of having a small bee come between me and my flip-flop. I addressed the situation by teaching some nearby children a few new words and phrases while irrationally swatting at the bottom of my flip flop and thus leaving the bee no other choice than to drive its stinger further into the soft flesh of my arch. The dog merely sat and watched. He recognized these words from the many times I've hit myself in the head with things or crashed into more stationary things with various parts of my person, and he wanted no part of it. This was a battle that I would either win or lose on my own.

The bee was soon defeated, and I awkwardly limped the half-mile back to the Rexmobile at the end of an excited Spaniel's leash. I was willing to call the whole encounter a draw until this afternoon when my wound began to itch like a squirrel having just unearthed a poorly hidden stash behind a crackhouse.

It is not the sweet taste of victory.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

one of the reasons for which i will beat down tony danza, part 2: a reason not to beat down robert guillaume boogaloo

Benson actually has an enjoyable theme song. I hadn't heard it in years, but thanks to TV Land's current Benson marathon it has now replaced the dreaded Who's the Boss? theme within the confines of my rather large skull.
It is all a matter of taste, but methinks the key to having a good theme song is to keep it instrumental.
Consider the bothersome themes like Who's the Boss? that tend to stick in the mind and do their slow neurological damage: From personal experience, I will cite The Facts of Life, Family Ties, Growing Pains, and Charles in Charge to name a few (there are others, like The Greatest American Hero or Moonlighting that are sometimes a nuisance but occasionally fall into a middle category of not always being unwelcomed, depending on the situation). Each of these attempted to do a small part in setting up or reinforcing the main characters. As a child, I assumed that Mrs. Garrett sang the Facts of Life theme, the respective parents on Family Ties and Growing Pains lent vocals to their songs, and Nicole Eggert's character wanted Charles in charge of her and told us as much in song.
This was all a lie implanted successfully into our collective subconsciousness.
By contrast, I never thought that Jack Lord or Tom Selleck played guitar on their respective Hawaiian themed television programs. It never occurred to me that the Incredible Hulk could've played his sad piano theme or that Matlock was responsible for his theme's trombone or clarinet.
However, I did think that Andy Griffith whistled the theme to the Andy Griffith Show and that Ricky Ricardo's band did the theme to I Love Lucy.
Also, I thought that Kitt was responsible for the Knight Rider theme with all its early eighties techno goodness.
Anyway, the thing that all these themes have in common is that they set the mood instrumentally and do not assume to speak for the character. This is how themes should be done.
The best example of this would have to be Angelo Badalamenti's tremolo laden baritone guitar arrangement for Twin Peaks. It sounds like a mystery in a remote mountain town should sound, and I dare say that a set of generic lyrics presumably sung from Agent Cooper's point of view would have lessened the show's viewership.
The X-Files is another good one. Part of me fears the alien anal probe each time the ambient notes filter though my television speakers.
The absence of a theme song is also effective. Lost, if I recall correctly, just has a subtle sound effect somewhat akin to air being released from a manhole cover. It's mysterious and it works.
This, as I said at the onset, could all be a matter of personal preference. However, I think the theory holds true.

Friday, June 02, 2006

one of the reasons for which i will beat down tony danza

I have had the theme song to Who's the Boss? stuck in my head for two days now, and it has, at times, left me a walking shell of a man with little more to live for than the thin wisp of a hope that I may someday meet Tony Danza and tell him all about it just before I smite him. I have managed to keep it at bay and even briefly dispatch it by listening to Cuban jazz to and from work, but even now it lurks faintly behind the hum of computers and low office chatter around me, and I fear it.

Believe it or not, it took four people to write this wretched piece of music that makes even the lyrics belted out by Tim McGraw seem almost semi-literate by comparison.

Well, perhaps that is a bit harsh.

Still, I only hope that each of the four responsible dies slowly and unloved.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

the lure of women voters

Women's suffrage has taught us two things:

1. Susan B. Anthony was triumphant in demanding the right to vote, but she was far less successful as a coin designer. Her dollars were too close in appearance to quarters and were therefore never accepted into the general coin using population.

Also, strippers prefer paper dollars.

2. Women are strong, beautiful and intelligent creatures whose votes count just as much as a man’s. They are all that Helen Reddy said they were and more, and I consider myself lucky just to be in the presence of those walking goddesses who have yet to file a restraining order against me.

Fact: There are actually more women in existence than men. Ergo, women potentially have much more voting power than men.

As you can see, I would be a fool to ignore the chick vote in my write in candidacy for the US senate. One viable strategy could even consist of directing all my energy towards pandering to women in the hopes of solidifying the female Tennessean vote. However, my inability to sweet talk the ladies would no doubt prove a formidable obstacle along such a path.

Therefore, I shall explore a route that allows me to say very little about actual issues concerning womenfolk and relies instead on simple, seemingly meaningless propaganda that will hopefully get the message out subliminally. Then it will hopefully work its way into the consciousness and sway the ladies.

How will I do that?

Simple. I will make shirts, unmentionables, tote bags, and trucker hats available to them.