Friday, September 01, 2006


My good friend in corrections sent me a "heads up" to share with any guy friends who may be regular Home Depot customers. Since I am all about sharing, I figured I would post his warning here for everyone. This is a relatively new scam that I was unfamiliar with.


Over the last month I became a victim of a clever scam while out shopping. Simply going out to get supplies has turned out to be quite traumatic. Don't be naive enough to think it couldn't happen to you. Here's how the scam works:

Two seriously good-looking 18 or 19-year-old girls come over to your car as you are loading your shopping.

They both start wiping your windshield with a rag and Windex, with their breasts almost falling out of their skimpy T-shirts.

When you thank them and offer them a tip, they say, "No," and instead ask you for a ride to another Home Depot. You agree and they get in the back seat. On the way, they start having sex with each other. Then one of them climbs over into the front seat and performs oral sex on you, while the other one steals your wallet.

I had my wallet stolen July 4th, 9th, 10th, twice on the 15th, 17th, 20th, and three times just yesterday.

Again - please beware!!


Thanks to KH for passing this along. I am heading to Home Depot now to investigate...

Thursday, August 31, 2006


I just wanted you to know that, as I type this post, I am completely naked.

It feels good to strut around in the nude like this, lounging about without a care in the world, hoping nobody decides to come into the office this late.


Do you remember where you were on September 11th? Do you remember what you did? Of course you do - we all do!

I went to work that morning just like I did every morning - hungover. The weather was cool, but sunny in Champaign, Illinois - so I hoofed it. I didn't hear anything about the twin towers until around 9:30 CST. I hadn't yet made my rounds of the news websites. No one had called me to share their disbelief. I hadn't been in my car to listen to the radio. And because I was late for work, again, I didn't even have time to flip the tube on. I was completely in the dark about the whole thing until I saw a bunch of coworkers huddled around a tiny television at the office.

'What's going on?" I asked. They all turned and looked at me as if to say, "That wasn't funny." But I wasn't joking. I really had no idea. After realizing what was going on, I headed straight for the office fridge and uncapped a Corona. If we were under attack, I wanted to be sure I was properly sedated. And as the rest of the day unfolded, we all found it difficult to do anything but stare at the images. Yeah...I remember September 11th like it was yesterday.

So what's with this new ad campaign asking us to remember? Yeah - an advertising campaign created to remind us how awful we felt that morning. But do we really need an ad campaign to remind us?

Here’s a link to an article by a guy who has some pretty strong feelings about these ads. Why do we need an ad campaign to remind us of September 11th?

The answer, of course, is that we don't. But there are some people in this country who are willing to spend a lot of money to keep those horrible events at the forefront of our national psyche - people who stand to gain politically from the promotion of fear.

Having us relive that day is not a public service. We remember it just fine and we're not going to forget it. This campaign is clearly a shameless attempt to garner support for a hawkish foreign policy agenda built upon the dangerous and costly premise that we need to pre-emptively invade every country that has the potential to arm terrorists with weapons, by which logic we would need to invade every nation on the planet.

Instead of chasing our problems overseas with bombs and infantry, perhaps we should consider developing alternative forms of energy so we can pull out of the Middle East altogether and let the terrorists shift their attention and ire to the industrious Chinese.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


I'll admit it. When I was a kid, I loved dressing up the family dog in "people" clothes. I'd patiently work with the family collie mix, Pixie, until she was all decked out in her Sunday best (usually something from my sister's closet). Or I'd outfit her with a Chicago Bears jersey, pair of Reeboks, and Blueblocker sunglasses. Yeah - I had a ton of fun pretending my dog was the punky QB, Jim McMahon. I'd even arrange photo shoots using dad's Polaroid camera, trying to get her pose like the Heisman trophy.

But I was 11 years old.

Here's a site full of pictures, taken presumably by adults, of dressed up pets. The guy who has posted these humiliating pet pics isn't awarding the owners any praise for their effort. He's actually convinced they are mentally disturbed and has included some nice captions alongside the photos.

See for youself what these dogs might say to their owners if only they could speak.

Many laughs.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


It has been stated that the American people vote not with their hearts and minds, but with their wallets. If this is the case, I am looking forward to seeing some fresh faces in Congress this November. Some greener faces.

Here's some food for thought where your wallet is concerned:

On the day Bush was inaugurated, 1/20/2001, the average price of gasoline was $1.66/gallon. Remember when we thought THAT was outrageous? (I don't either, but I'm sure I was bitching about it) Yesterday I filled up at $3.66/gallon. I'm also having a hard time finding a fucking loaf of bread for under $2. When the price of gas goes up, the price of EVERYTHING goes up. The raise you thought you were getting? Sorry - that money had to be moved over to pay for the sudden jump in transportation costs.

Unfortunately, the invasion of an oil-rich nation (that had no WMDs, no ties to terrorism, and posed no immediate threat to our safety) did not help bring the cost of gas down any. In a country whose economic welfare is tethered to the availability of oil, a spike in prices like this simply can't be good for business. In just 6 years, the cost of getting from here to there has more than doubled. And that's all we do in this country - we get from here to there. And from there to here. And sometimes from somewhere to nowhere and back. We are movers. Drivers. Commuters. Travelers. Round, round, get around, we get around.

And nobody walks anywhere anymore (just look at our waistlines). We can't! We all live in the suburbs. What percentage of the American workforce lives within walking distance of work? We are a historical anomoly. Since man first started earning a wage for a hard day's work he has slept no further than a short hike to work. To the farm. To the mine. To the factory. To the shop.

This is a radical change in the way societies live, work, and function - a change afforded us by the availability of cheap oil. And now that we're all so spread out, oil suddenly isn't so cheap anymore. Sadly, we have no choice pay it or move. Gotta get to work, right? Gotta get to the doctor. Gotta get to the store. Gotta visit the family.

Remember the controversial Bush tax cut we got several years ago? The one where the government sent us all checks in the mail? I think I have officially given all of it, and then some, back to the oil companies - who are posting record profits quarter after financial quarter, by the way. Conservative economic advisors in closed-door meetings with oil execs call that "ooze-down economics."

Green is the color of the future, my friends, and the sooner we get there, the better off we'll be. All of us, and in more ways than one. To sustain our modern lifestyles, marked by the freedom to live and work wherever we choose, a luxury to which we have grown so accustomed, we need to find more cost-efficient ways of getting around. Period. And they are right before our eyes. The electric-hybrid car. Solar power. Ethanol. Hydrogen fuel. And many others in development. Other industrialized nations are way ahead of us in exploring breakthrough technologies, but we lag far behind thanks to the self-sustaining oil lobby and the short-sighted interests of those we have trusted to make smart decisions on our behalf. But they have betrayed us, and for this we must rise up and take back the power to shape our collective destiny.

Go ahead and vote with your wallet. In this case, it's also better for your lungs.

We can do this if we can get the politicians married to big oil OUT OF OFFICE. Maybe it's 10% of them. Maybe it's half. Maybe it's all of them. But we have the power to make it happen. Turn off the televised ads pitching the same horseshit this fall and look up the truth on your own. It's out there.

No, it's not going to be easy being green...but it will be a lot cheaper and healthier in the long run.


Here’s a story for your files. A couple of months ago, I joined some friends in Wisconsin for a short camping trip. We drove up on Saturday afternoon, played beanbags and beach volleyball near Castle Rock Lake, and fired up some flame-broiled burgers over an open pit in the rain. It was a relaxing, if wet, break from the breakneck pace of 21st century civilization.

Sunday morning I woke up around 8am, climbed out of my tent, and stumbled into the woods to pee. Everything was completely soaking wet from a night of steady rain. When I finished steaming up a patch of leaves at the base of a pine tree, I meandered back to camp and started packing things down.

I deflated my air mattress, packed up my wet clothes and started loading everything into the back seat of my car. I then set to the task of airing out my rainguard prior to rolling it up with the tent. Everything would need to be dried out once I was back home, but I wanted it to be as dry as possible before stashing it in my car for the journey back. I folded up the tent and stepped on the air pockets, flattening them for the next fold. I looked around at the rest of the site to be sure we weren’t leaving anything behind. Everyone else was busily packing down as well, mildly hungover and relatively quiet.

That’s when my car honked.

Everybody looked up to see who dared break the silence on this dreary Sunday morning. I walked over to my car, which I had been slowly filling with things for the past half hour and saw that the theft-deterrent system was blinking inside. Strange, I thought, since that doesn’t come on unless the car is locked. I looked in the backseat and saw my overnight bag – the bag I routinely pack my keys in when camping. I was suddenly afraid to try the door handle. If it was locked, with the keys inside my bag inside the car, how was I going to get home?

My camp-mates gathered about me as I speculated as to why the car honked.

“Okay – which one of you assclowns has my keys? Very funny, Joke’s over.”

Everyone just started at me vacuously. Not a smile in the bunch. I turned back to the car and tried the handle. It was locked. I frantically ran around the car. They were ALL locked. Why would the keys lock themselves in the car? Did the 2006 Passat come with a safety feature I didn't know about? I knew that if I didn’t open the car door within 30 seconds of remotely unlocking it, it would lock itself. Perhaps I had remotely unlocked it unknowingly, stowed the keys inside the car, and after 30 seconds it had locked itself. Was that even possible, and if so, who was the German engineer behind that bit of brilliance?

It started to rain softly again. No one knew what to do or say. I was on the outside of my car looking in, 10:30 a.m. on a Sunday morning, deep in the middle of nowhere Wisconsin. I couldn’t LEAVE the car here, I thought. I would need to get in somehow. I began writing a very nasty letter to Volkswagen in my head.

I told the others to keep packing down and that I would be back. I started hoofing it up the gravel road to the highway. From there I walked another quarter mile to an intersection where a recreational park station was situated. I walked up the ramp on the side of the trailer, unsure how they were going to help, but in dire need of some. An older woman with orange hair and thick glasses met me at the counter.

“Hi,” I said nervously. “I’m camping a short ways down the road over here and somehow my keys got locked inside of my car. I was wondering if there’s anyone here who would be able to help me get them.”

“Where are you?” she asked sternly.

“Right over that way,” I said, pointing in the direction of my useless automobile. “About a quarter mile across the highway.”

“Across the highway? Oh, we got nothing to do with that.”

“I know – it’s private land. But it’s right over there and I don’t know who else to go to. Isn’t there someone here I could talk to?”

“I don’t know who. Sounds like you need a locksmith.” And with that bit of wisdom she hefted a yellow pages book out from under the counter and dropped it on the glass top between us.

“Can’t the police help me? Maybe we could call them. It’s MY car – I just locked the keys inside.”

“Police ain’t gonna do nothing about that. You need a locksmith.”

“Okay, then. Let’s see.” I nervously rifled through the pages until I found a few numbers. The addresses were all foreign to me, so I asked which one was closest.

“That one there’s about an hour away. But on Sunday morning? Good luck.”

“How about this one?” I asked.

“That’s another 15 minutes past the first one.”

“Which is the closest one here?” I said, spinning the book around so she could give me her best estimate.

“I’d say this one right here – it’s about 35 miles away. But on a Sunday morning? I don’t know.”

“Right. Sunday. Okay. So, is there any chance I can use your phone?” She looked into the back room behind her where her toothless son was gabbing away about paintball efficiency and said, “Sorry. Only got one line.”

I left the trailer and headed back to my car, certain that she could not have been less helpful.

I returned to camp and gave a progress report, which was to say that no progress had been made. I noticed that the others had been kind enough to finish rolling up my tent and rainguard while I had been off searching for help, and I thanked them. They offered me a ham sandwich and asked what I wanted to do. I really had no idea.

I fished my cellphone out of my pocket to see whether it had any battery power left and if I could get a signal. Fortunately, I had a couple of bars and enough strength to access the mobile web via Verizon Wireless’s broadband network. In a couple of minutes I had a Google window open and was looking up Volkswagen dealerships in Wisconsin. They might be able to help me get out of this sticky situation.

Unfortunately, car dealerships are closed on Sunday – so that search was an exercise in futility. Then I remembered that, with my lease, I enjoy emergency roadside assistance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year through Volkswagen! Of course, the number to call was on a card in the glove compartment, safely stored, very dry, inside the car.

Things were not looking good.

That’s when we resorted to plan B – which was actually plan AAA. A fellow camper and friend mentioned that he had AAA. As a member, he too received emergency roadside assistance – and if he told them he was a passenger in MY car, he heard they would come help us. He dialed them up and explained that we had locked our keys in the car and needed a locksmith. He then described our location to the best of his ability. He was then put on hold for about 15 minutes while the AAA customer service representative tried to hunt down a locksmith willing and able to drive into the middle of no where to break us into my car.

By this time, everyone else was packed up and ready to go. We made ham sandwiches and stood around in a circle eating them. I told them they could leave whenever they wanted and that I would figure something out. I still had my cellphone and credit cards, so I would be okay. They told me they had no intention of abandoning me there, and that we’d figure out something together. Friends rule.

“You did check your pockets, right?” someone asked jokingly. Of course I had. That was the first place I looked. In fact, I’d been checking my pockets every 2 minutes since the car had locked itself to be sure I didn’t have them. I panicked at the thought of having gone through all of this only to discover they were in my pocket. So I dug around again and assured everyone they were not. They were in my overnight bag in the car, I said. My EVIL car, with a bad temper and a mind of its own. I actually wondered how safe it was to be standing there, half expecting it would hear us talking about it, rev up the engine, and start mowing us down two at a time in the clearing.

AAA finally returned to the line to inform us that a truck was on its way. I was saved! We cleaned up and loaded the remaining gear into the cars, save my tent and rainguard, and the bean bag boards – which we decided we would play out on the highway until the tow truck arrived. That way he’d know where to turn and find us.

The locksmith showed up a half hour later in a tow truck and it appeared very possible that he had just put himself to bed (or more likely a couch) when AAA had called him. This mattered not to us, so long as he would be able to help me rescue the keys my car was holding hostage.

He began with some very basic locksmith tools, sliding metal rods inside the passenger doorframe to unlock the door manually. Discovering that the Passat has no manual door locks, he abandoned this strategy in favor of a bigger metal rod – this one designed to force the door handle open from the inside. When this rod didn’t work, we all started fidgeting nervously. My car clearly had no intention of giving up its contents without a fight. Made me feel safer about leaving things in it in the future – but pretty fucking helpless here.

The locksmith took his bass fishing baseball cap off, scratched his greasy hair, and stumbled back to his truck. After several minutes of digging around under the seats, he emerged with a third tool set. This one resembled a blood pressure arm band and squeeze ball attached to a heating pad. He used the metal rods to jimmy the door open about a half-inch, then slid the pad inside. He pumped and pumped the pad using the squeeze ball until it inflated, widening the doorjamb crevasse. He then inserted another metal rod and this time was able to pull the door handle open.

The door swung out and the Passat started beeping noisily, rhythmically, over and over again. It was not happy. We hit the automatic locks to unlock the other doors, but the automatic locks were disabled. So I leaned across and pushed open the driver side door, then reached around and pushed open the doors to the back seat. At once, we all entered the vehicle in search of the missing keys. Beep. Beep. Beep. I grabbed my bag and reached inside the pocket to pull them out. Beep.

The keys were not there. Beep.

I emptied the contents of the bag out on the wet ground as the car continued beeping loudly. I checked my pockets again. I knew they were in that car. Beep. Beep. Beep. The locksmith looked at me, then turned and spit into the woods.

“Are they in the glove box?” someone asked.

“The trunk?” Beep.

“Under the seat?” Beep.

“The center console?” Beep.

We tore through the contents of the car. Beep. Beep. We searched the ground around the car. We opened the trunk. Fished around under the seats. Unloaded all of the gear I’d stashed in the back seat until finally, we realized where they were. Beep. Beep.

At once, we all turned our heads away from the car and looked back at the smoldering campfire. Beep. Beep. Next to it on the ground was a rolled up tent and rainguard. We all raced over in a mad dash to make the beeping stop. Unfolding the tent, we dug around inside until we felt the familiar metal of a set of keys. They’d been hanging in one of the mesh pockets inside the tent and I’d forgotten to take them out before taking the tent down.

Somehow, as I had been stamping the air out of the tent, I had inadvertently hit the “lock” button on my remote car lock. The car had beeped at me to let me know I had locked it, but instead of putting two and two together, I chose to assume that the car was possessed by a poltergeist who was very unhappy with the grade of fuel I had been putting in it.

We hit the alarm button on the remote key lock and the car stopped beeping. The locksmith was already on his way back up the gravel path to his tow truck, surely cursing the idiot campers from Illinois who do this to him at least once a year. I stood in the middle of a collapsed, wet tent holding my keys in my hand – not my proudest moment. My car looked at me sadly from across the clearing, all of its doors, trunk, glove, and console wide open. It had been violated unnecessarily.

I sheepishly apologized for the misadventure and was forgiven in a chorus of laughter. This was not something I would live down, I thought. I piled all of my crap back into the car and set off for the long, drive back – upon which I decided to fill ‘er up with Premium. I also decided to program Volkswagen road assistance into my cellphone in the event I should ever actually lock my keys in my car.

All things being equal, the simplest explanation is usally the correct one.

Oh yeah... and I am an idiot.

Monday, August 28, 2006


Are people always asking you why you're so damn happy all the time?

Me neither.

What's the deal with that? Why aren't more people more happy? We know what makes us happy, don't we? And we know what makes us unhappy, right? So why are so many people still so unhappy so much of the time? I've got a theory on this, and I'm putting it to the test as we speak.

One word: FIBER

That's right. Fiber is the secret to happiness. I'm not kidding. As you know, there are few things in life as satsifying as a steady, seamless evacuation. You know what I'm talking about. The kind you can feel has been coming on for awhile, but you hold off until just the right moment to let it go. Like baking bread, a good loaf of crap is a delicate thing. Pull the trigger too early and you've got a soft, doughy mess. Let it bake too long and it turns hard and black like coal. The timing of a fantastic loaf of crap is essential - but so are the ingredients.

Fiber is like yeast. It makes sure your loaves are rising properly. Make sure you get enough and things will move along effortlessly. Get too little and you end up with a colon full of flatbread. I've been noticing recently that whenever I'm in a sour mood, it's almost always because I'm constipated. Additionally, I always feel great after a good crap. ALWAYS. So if regularity enhances mood, then the goal would be to promote regularity. And this is done primarily through diet. In other words, consume more fiber!

Here's something I didn't realize until I went on a serious fiber-hunting mission. Most mass-producted commercial breads don't contain a significant amount of fiber! And here I grew up thinking fiber came from the bread/grains/cereal portion of the food pyramid. I was turning over plastic loaves at the grocery store the other day and was shocked to find that even most of the WHEAT breads had 1g of fiber or less per serving. That's essentially nothing. Why the hell even bother eating it?

According to nutritionists, 2 grams of fiber per serving is the minimum amount of fiber content that has any meaning at all to your intestinal tract. And with everything so processed these days, it's not easy to find that kind of fiber content - believe me. You have to eat things like fruits and vegetables (I force myself now), nuts (certain nuts), and baked beans (which have the side benefit of producing intestinal gas, which I LOVE letting go).

And cereal? I thought for sure cereal would be loaded with fiber. Nope. Most cereal is actually loaded with sugar and contains very little fiber. But if you look at enough box panels, you can find a few with 2, 3, 4 or more grams of fiber per serving. That's the shit you're looking for, pardon the expression, and is usually found on the top shelf above all the colorful boxes strategically placed at eye level for kids.

Friends, I can't tell you what the addition of a little fiber has done for my mood. I'm loose as a goose - and we've all seen what geese can do to a black-top parking lot.

Example? Here's one. I actually karaoked Friday night for the first time in 13 years! I'm usually the uptight chump in the corner who refuses to make an ass out of himself. Not Friday. Assdom beckoned and I heeded the call! I belted out an up tempo rendition of Mack the Knife that brought the entire house down. No joke. I couldn't believe it. My Terryoake act was met with applause, whistles, and high fives as I stepped off the stage - and not because I had turned it into a cabaret strip tease act. Complete strangers were actually congratulating me on a job well done.


Check your labels. Look for the whole grain breads and cereals with 2g of fiber or more per serving. Load up on nuts and beans. And eat your veggies!

Your lower GI will thank me.