Friday, August 19, 2005


This is some great shit.

There’s a Sheriff in Arizona by the name of Joe Arpaio who’s a real ball breaker. Just the kind of guy the law enforcement community needs. And thanks to his no-nonsense approach to corrections, he’s been re-elected over and over again by the justice-minded folks of the Grand Canyon State. You may have heard about him already. I only recently did, so I dug around a bit to verify he was the real deal. Oh - he's real alright. Check this out.

Sheriff Joe’s methods may sound a little unorthodox – but they’ve made him the most popular guy around. Well, except for at the Maricopa County Jail. That’s Joe's turf. And it’s there that Joe created something called “tent city” – an outdoor jail where inmates sleep on cots in tents, and wear PINK shorts and socks. He said inmates were stealing his prison-issued underwear, so he dyed them pink. It must really soften these folks up around the edges.

Sheriff Joe decided to feed his convicts bologna sandwiches to knock jail meals down to 40 cents a serving. An independent source actually estimates the meals cost just 20 cents. That saves the taxpayers in his state a lot of money. He also cut off all coffee because he says it has zero nutritional value. Joe is a certified dietician, too. Okay - maybe not...but it's still his fucking prison.

America's toughest sheriff also put an end to cigarettes and pornography. Because smoking stinks, and porn is a privilege. He also took away their weights. He must figure his inmates will be less of a menace to society if they’re not all built like linebackers when they get out. He cut off all but G-rated movies because everybody knows how movies can glorify violent behavior. So the only "Babe" HIS jailbirds get to feast their eyes on is the precocious pig.

That’ll do, Joe. That’ll do.

He then started chain gangs so inmates could provide free labor for county and city projects. After that he started up chain gangs for women (so he wouldn’t get sued for discrimination). He tried to take away cable TV, but a federal court later ordered there be cable TV access for all jails. So he hooked up the cable TV again, but only let in the Disney Channel and the Weather Channel. When asked why he allowed in The Weather Channel, he said it was so his inmates would “know how hot it’s gonna to be while they’re working on my chain gangs.”

When the inmates complained, Joe told them, “This isn't the Ritz-Carlton. If you don't like it, don't come back.”

But Joe didn’t stop there. He bought Newt Gingrich’s lecture series on videotape so he could pipe it into the jails. Unusually cruel if you ask me.

With temperatures climbing to 116 degrees, the AP recently reported that about 2,000 of his inmates living in “tent city” were given permission to strip down to their pink boxer shorts. Many were also draped in wet, pink towels as they perspired in the desert sun.

"It feels like we are in a furnace," said one inmate who'd been living in the tents for 1 1/2 years. "It's inhumane."

Joe Arpaio doesn't give a shit about comfort. He says that he told all of his inmates: "It's 120 degrees in Iraq and our soldiers are living in tents, too, and they have to wear full battle gear, but they didn't commit any crimes, so shut your damned mouths!"

You go, Joe.

Some people think if all prisons were like this one, there would be a lot less crime - or, at least a lot fewer repeat offenders. I don't know how true that is - but I do like Joe's approach. Jail is supposed to be punishment...not a place to relax, eat for free, watch television, and work out. Joe's inmates can't get too comfortable behind bars because Joe won't let them. And not because he doesn't care about people. He also created something called the School of Hard Knocks to help inmates get their high school diplomas. And his drug rehab program is a reported success. So Joe's doing something right - wouldn't you say?

You can read up on the mass e-mail that’s been going around here:

Or get more right from the horse’s mouth:


Mass murderer and all-purpose freak, Dennis Rader, began serving a life sentence today for the “BTK” sex-murders that terrorized the heartland for 17 years. For his heinous crimes, Dennis the Menace was sentenced to 10 consecutive life terms…with no chance of parole for 175 years. I don’t know why they bother mentioning that he becomes eligible for parole in 175 years – he would have to live to be 235. I’m sure it’s just a formality, but it’s beside the point. Allow me to simplify his sentence by reporting that Denny’s last gasp will be behind bars. And that’s all you need to know about that.

So who WAS this horrible butcher?

A.) An ex-rodeo clown and grenade enthusiast
B.) A former marine and comic book aficionado
C.) A mysterious transient with an I.Q. of 157
D.) A former church congregation president and Boy Scout leader

Sorry - did I make it too obvious? What gave it away, the church president or the Boy Scout leader?

If you’re wondering about his nickname, BTK…well, he gave it to himself. It stands for “bind, torture and kill.” Please don't confuse this maniac with the “BK killer,” otherwise known as the Double Whopper with Cheese – a gluttonous fast food offering that packs a heart-stopping 1060 calories. The BK killer doesn’t torture – it just binds and kills. Slowly. Pleasantly. It's an execution in good taste, really. The BK Killer satisfies you for years before delivering its surprise death blow. Taking a bite out of crime has never been so delicious!


Grammy-winning rapper Eminem canceled his European tour this week, citing exhaustion. He is reportedly to undergo treatment for a sleeping pill problem. Many critics suggest he is not taking enough of them.

Thursday, August 18, 2005


Here's an aerial view of Pieter DeHond's cow pasture in Canandaigua, N.Y. The divorced father of two planted this wishful message out of corn back in May.

If any single ladies are interested in this pop agriculturalist, he's all ears.

No stalkers please.


You don't have to be a Philadelphia Eagles fan to appreciate this one. Another starving multi-million dollar athlete holds out for more money...

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


According to a new sex study, the most common sexual position for married couples is a doggie style.

Specifically, the husband sits up and begs...while the wife rolls over and plays dead. 


I’ve been having one of those days.

One of those days you just don’t feel yourself. One of those days that makes you want to bury your head in the sand. I don’t quite understand it. I got plenty of sleep last night. I’m not hungover. I even shit twice today. On any other day I’d be celebrating the daily double with a ticker tape parade. Not today. Today I feel out of it for no good reason. I just woke up in a haze that’s followed me around like that dizzying brown dust cloud that shadows Pigpen in the Peanuts comic strip.

Maybe my circadian rhythms are off.
Maybe I need some chocolate.
Maybe I need some really good news.
Maybe I just need a hug.

Maybe it’s just my birthday.

Yes, another full run around the sun complete. The years certainly do fly by the older you get. When I was a kid, summer camp seemed like it lasted forever. Now it feels like summer’s coming to an end before it ever began. Life is getting faster, and I don’t know that I like that. I want everything to slow down so I can appreciate more. So I can take my time doing the things I enjoy. So I can catch my breath. So I can enjoy the wonderful company of the person I call me.

What’s the deal with time? And what's the big rush? Where’s everybody running to? Why is tomorrow so important when all we really ever have is right now?

There is nothing tangible in tomorrow. I can’t smell tomorrow. I can’t taste it. I can’t feel it. I can only imagine tomorrow.

Right now, on the other hand, I can smell, taste, and feel.
Right now is always and forever.
Right now everything is slowing down.
Right now I feel ageless.

Now THIS is a happy birthday.

Go me...


Attended my annual “rafting” trip in Wisconsin a couple of weekends ago. I attach quotation marks to “rafting” because it’s really more of a drinking trip, on which there is some rafting. It’s an adventure I embark upon once a year – a chance to see people I only see once a year, to test the stowage capacity of my liver, and to challenge a curious fear of running water. Yeah – it’s bad. You should see me in the shower. On second thought, better that you not.

Anyhow, this year’s trip was another screaming success. And I wasn’t the only one doing the screaming. A lot of people fell out of their inflatable two-man rafts on the ride down the Wolf River, which was as low and slow as I’ve seen it in over 15 years. Fortunately, no one was seriously injured. Except for Steve, who managed to twist his knee on the final descent – a harrowing drop over Big Smokey Falls. The jury is still out as to what was more responsible for his injury – the falls, or the alcohols. Plural intentional.

This year I rafted with my girlfriend, Geri. She’d done this kind of thing before…on the far faster and more incommodious Peshtigo River. So she was no rookie. Geri is also a firm believer that rowing should result in a forward movement. Or, at least that rowing should result in movement that is not a 360-degree spin. Unfortunately, in my experience, this isn’t always possible when traversing rocks and branches, other rafters, and a fickle current. Add a little booze to the mix and we started out about as compatible rafting as Mensa and NASCAR. By Wolf’s end, however, we were negotiating the rapids like seasoned veterans. And in spite of finishing off several gallons of mystery spirits during the journey, we both managed to remain in our raft the entire time. That may have been a first for me, actually.

Here is an action photo of me, taken by Geri. It's easy to see what she sees in me. Underneath that rented life jacket is a buff, traveled sportsman!

I remember thinking at one point how life isn’t a whole lot unlike that river. Sometimes it’s cruising along quickly…other times it’s dragging slowly. Sometimes you’re sailing along unimpeded…other times you’re snagged on the rocks and can’t push yourself free. Sometimes you’re fighting the current, struggling to stay afloat…other times you’re lazily drifting about without a care in the world. It was interesting to me – how that familiar river had suddenly become a metaphor for my life. With a little communication and lots of hard work, we navigated our way from launch to drop without a hitch. And that’s life. Sometimes I can’t help but appreciate the perspective afforded by a good metaphor, however overdone.

But let’s get back to the literal world where the Wolf River is just a body of dirty water that winds through a Menominee Indian Reservation. This year we had over 50 people in attendance. That’s a pretty average year. Back in the mid-90’s we actually broke 100 a few times. With everyone getting married and having children, fewer people find the time to make it up. Again, c’est la vie. As their children get older, I suspect former rafters will be back. I’ve already seen it start to happen. Sooner or later, everyone heeds the call of the Wolf. You can only refuse fun so many times before it finally gets pissed and drags you out of the house.

This year, as is customary, everyone took Friday off of work and drove north into east central Wisconsin. We all met in a huge field, pitched our tents, and commenced partying like Nick Nolte. We kicked it Civil War style all day and night, grilling out, playing games, singing songs, and goosing each other in the flickering firelight – all without the threat of a Confederate invasion. It was much better than the Civil War ever was. At least that’s what my past life regression advisor tells me.

Saturday morning we all woke up hung over and started drinking. It was quite a spectacle, actually. Dozens of self-medicated partygoers staggering around like zombies in the white light of morning, vainly trying to recount details from the night before while mindlessly filling up plastic jugs with liquor and ice for a day of unbridled debauchery. Now that’s dedication.

Once we were outfitted for a good float downstream, we piled into our vehicles for a 25-minute drive down to Big Smokey Falls. That’s where we got our first look at the final descent – and panicked imagining our rafts plummeting over its frothing precipice. 15 years of rafting over that falls and I still get a pit in my stomach when I see it – which is silly, actually. I got a dose of perspective this year from my friend’s 11-year-old son who was flipped out of his raft while going over the falls. On the ride back to camp he proudly declared, “Falling out is the best part!” It may be time to acknowledge the very likely possibility that I am a big pussy.

From Big Smokey Falls we boarded an old, beat-up school bus that drove us up river for the leisurely 8-hour float back down. I should note that it’s not all a “float” ride downstream. There are SOME rapids. And people do fall out from time to time. Curiously, it seems the more people have to drink, the more likely they are to fall out of the raft. I wonder if there is a correlation?

That evening, after everyone had successfully traversed the final falls, we all headed back to camp, showered up (this is 21st century camping, people), and fired up our grills for a final feast. I made chorizo tacos that had our campsite smelling like a greasy Mexican spoon. They were fantastic, I must say – just ask anyone who agrees with me.

As darkness fell, Geri and I passed out peacefully in our separate tents under a star-filled sky. Okay – that’s not entirely true. But the sky did have a lot of stars in it. A lot of people don’t care for camping because they find the sleeping arrangements uncomfortable. Not me. I love camping because the sleeping arrangements are uncomfortable. The fun part is making things as amenable as you can get them with what little you have. We had an air mattress, a couple of sleeping bags, a couple of dewy pillows, plenty of extra clothes, and each other to pass the hours of night in comfort. Who needs more than that? Actually, now that I think about it, a portable space heater would have come in handy. But besides the unanticipated temperature drop, I had little problem sleeping. Another one of the many benefits of tequila.

Still alive after 16 less-than-extreme naval expeditions – and already looking forward to next year!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


Geri and I were chatting last night and she used the word “Jonesing” to describe a powerful urge she was having (let's call the object of her urge "chocolate"). Anyhow, she then wondered aloud where this term originated. Surprisingly, her know-it-all boyfriend did not have an answer. So I told her I’d hunt one down, as I value knowing obscure things almost as much as I value sharing the obscure things I know.

We all know what “Jonesing” means, right? It’s popularly utilized in connection with drugs or other items to which people develop strong cravings and desires. It’s most often used as a verb – “to Jones.” Although, it would not be incorrect to say that Michael Jackson has been accused of acting upon an inappropriate Jonesing. Noun.

Our question was not what the word means, but rather, where in fuck did it come from? Who is this magnetic Jones character? And why do we invoke his/her name whenever we feel drawn to a particular sensation or experience? I’ve been Jonesing to play a little basketball. I’m Jonesing for a super fat Reuben sandwich with extra saurkraut. I’m Jonesing for just one drag off that cigarette. I’m Jonesing for a delicious slice of cherry pie. I’m Jonesing for that next season of Survivor. (Hell the fuck yeah)

Who’s this Jones cat?

I dug around a little online. What did I find? Very little, actually. Everywhere I looked I found definitions of the expression, but no explanations of WHY. Finally, I stumbled upon a website called The author apparently hunts down the meanings and origins of figures of speech and other interesting words/phrases for curious and perplexed readers. From the site I was able to gather a bit of background.

The verb “jones” is of African-American origin, and was introduced as slang back in the 60’s. Originally, it was as a noun that meant “a drug addiction, especially to heroin.” Why Jones? It is believed this name may have caught on because the term “Mister Jones” was a common euphemism for the local heroin pusher. Again, why “Jones” was chosen as a euphemism for heroin pusher eludes immediate explanation. Maybe there was an actual guy named Jones who got a lot of people high back in the day. All I know is, I’ll never hear the Counting Crows song “Mr. Jones” the same again.

Anyhow, that’s where the term “Jonesing” comes from.