Sunday, August 10, 2014

The GYST List

This is the first in an ongoing series where I will tell you just what
is wrong with something in my humble opinion. There may be profanity -
there will be insults.

First on the list of people, places, and things that need to get their
stuff together:

I saw a picture of something on facebook and was curious about the
specifications on how it was built. I reverse image searched and found
it at the above mentioned website. The first thing that they need to
fix is the hover drop down menus. They may have been all the rage in
web design in 2011, (the copyright date you'll see at this site), but
most savvy developers realize that they are actually less useful to
most users than fixed drop downs. They may be annoying on a
desk/laptop but they are completely useless on a touchscreen. You
know, tablets and phones, the fastest growing segment of computer
interface devices in the history of ever? How anyone that has ever
navigated a website can deliberately use them I cannot fathom.

That is just the interface, the thing this site most needs to get
their stuff together on is the content. Actually, it still might be
the interface, I may never know. I looked up the fold up picnic table
I was curious about and found several pictures. They employ a lightbox
because... I don't know, people like them I guess. I didn't see any
instructions or specifications but I did see there was a page 2 so I
clicked it. It didn't look much different. I sometimes find websites
that don't work in one browser so I exited Firefox and tried the site
in IE and Chrome. No go.

The worst part of visiting this website was trying to use their
'contact us.' It doesn't fit on the screen so I hit F11 and it still
doesn't fit on the screen. So, I typed up my question: "Are there
instructions or is it just the pictures? Could it be a problem on my
end?' I don't think my question got through, they have a captcha but,
as I said, the whole form doesn't fit on my screen and I don't think I
successfully clicked the hidden 'send.'

As it stands, I am positive their website is functionally the most
terrible thing I have seen in recent memory, but I am unsure if their
content is as pointless as it would seem. If there are no specs and no
instructions of any kind then it's really just another picture board.
DIY pinterest without pinterest being involved. If there are
instructions but you have to use Netscape or something to see some
hidden button, well, maybe fix your website for 21st century browsers.
I don't know how to wrap up other than to say I was obviously quite
distressed by something as innocuous as visiting a website hoping to
learn something.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

John Stamos Story

Back in 1983 or 1984, when John Stamos was making a name for himself
portraying "Blackie" on "General Hospital"; my sister and her friend
Davida found him to be a very attractive man. Stamos was new enough to
fame that his parents had not come to the conclusion that they should
have an unlisted number, so my sister and her friend found their name
and with it their address in the phone book. (I don't know if they
were the only Stamoses in Cypress CA but yeah, probably.) The girls
(16 or 17) wrote gushing odes and sent them off with the postal
carrier, with only the slightest hope that they would ever hear
anything back. (Much like @replying famous peeps these days.)

Skip to a few weeks later and the young Teen/Tiger Beat pin-up had
sent back each girl an autographed photo, complete with a plea that
they not harm his parents. (I made the last part up.) My sister
doesn't share my penchant for saving every single thing she ever gets
but she probably still has it. Coming Next Month: My favorite Craig
Bierko story from Conan

Friday, May 13, 2011

hi Myrna

In 1974 I started kindergarten in Mission Viejo, CA. In late October
my mother, sister, and I moved to NC. The age cut-off in CA was Nov.
15; in NC it was Oct. 15. My birthday being Nov. 12, I was one of the
youngest children in class in CA, but too young for the NC school
system and they would not allow me in school. Apparently I stayed at
home that school year. The next year I was shipped back to CA and
spent a few months of first grade educating at John Adams elementary
school in..., I want to say Santa Ana but it may have been Costa Mesa.
There was some number of days attended that then allows a student to
transfer so I matriculated until that time was reached and then was
sent back across to NC where they allowed me to continue first grade.
My social awkwardness to this very day accounted for; I only had three
weeks of kindergarten.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Hallowed Ground

The bell of St. Sebastian's church broke the early morning silence to
announce the hour. Four times it rang; two hours until Randall Gartner
would be led to the gallows to breathe his last. December 4, 1860, the
condemned lay on his bunk looking out through the lone window of his
cell. Thin, wispy clouds slowly made their way across a new moon,
cutting it in two, then three pieces, then leaving it to become whole
again. If Randall had shifted himself upright a bit he could make out
the upper arm of the gallows that would deliver his sentence. He was
aware of this; he had positioned himself precisely to avoid it. In the
past week he had become quite familiar with the view through the bars
of his window. He was content to watch the clouds playing tag with the
moon without distraction.

Footsteps outside the cell broke Randall's serenity. He listened as
the boots met the swept dirt floor of the passage between the
Sheriff's office and the small string of cells. From the sound Randall
reckoned there were two pairs of feet making their way towards him. He
knew they were coming to him as there were no prisoners in the other
three cells. On the other side of the courtyard was a similar line of
cells that were occupied, but none of those men were scheduled to meet
their unnatural end here at the Bertram County Courthouse. They were
thieves and drunkards, paying their debt to society in time; they
would live to offend her again.

Nobody finding themselves in Getty's Station harbored any such
illusions of future offense. Getty's Station, the last stop before
meeting your maker; that was what the locals called the four North
side cells which currently hosted only Randall. The cells in Getty's
Station were separated by brick walls and there were two locking gates
between the cell block and the Sheriff's office. Each cell had one
window facing the courtyard, a mixed blessing for the incarcerated. A
small consolation for the confined to see the outdoors, marred by the
horrible sight of the gallows.

"Get Up!" A voice barked from just behind Randall's head. Deputy
Barnes voice softened as he continued, "Over to the wall, put your
arms through the window and fold them." Randall stood and moved into
compliance. As Randall stood with his arms through the window, Barnes
opened the cell and walked over to stand directly behind him. Unseen
by Randall, a boy of about thirteen entered carrying a tray of food
and a small table. He stood the table in front of Randall's bunk and
set the tray on top. He reached into his pocket and produced a small
fork and a blue and white checked napkin. He laid them on the bunk and
then left the cell, quickly making his way back down the hall.

Barnes heard the boy scurrying away and turned to leave the cell. As
he closed the door he called to Randall, "The train was at Wasatch on
time, I expect your minister will be here shortly." Barnes' tone was
almost cordial now.

Barnes was nearly out of sight when Randall spoke, "How am I to eat
this?" He sat in front of a tray with an enormous steak, four eggs, a
pile of scorched potatoes, and a hard chunk of rye bread with a large
puddle of butter on it. He held the fork up for Barnes to see.

"What can I tell you, brother?" Barnes replied, stepping back toward
the wall of bars that separated the two men. "A knife is a weapon no
matter what you might otherwise do with it." The two men held each
others' gaze for a moment in silence. Randall searched his mind for
something to say, but no words came. There were no words of assurance
he could give that would cause a lawman to allow a condemned prisoner
a knife.

For his part, Barnes was thinking hard on the subject as well, and
surprised Randall when he reached into his vest and pulled out a small
pocketknife. He offered it through the bars, "Cut your steak and hand
it right back," he said, looking back toward the office.

Randall took the knife and opened it, wiping the blade across the
napkin. He cut the steak into reasonable bites and wiped the knife
again. He folded the blade back into the knife and stood up, offering
it to Barnes. "Thank you," was all he could think of to say. Barnes
took back the knife and nodded, their eyes met again for a second and
then he was on his way.

As he ate his last meal, Randall reflected on the small kindness he'd
received from the deputy. He had not thought through needing a knife
when he chose the steak, and apparently neither had his jailers. The
fear was not of their own safety, they carried their revolvers; their
concern was that a condemned man would take his own life or force them
to by attacking. It wouldn't be the first time for either. The courts
were very serious about their rights concerning how, when, and by whom
their sentences were carried out. Barnes could very easily have left
Randall to eat with his hands and Randall wouldn't have judged him
harshly for it.

When Randall finished eating he moved the table and tray next to the
cell door and sat back down. The moon had moved while he was eating
and it took him a few seconds to position himself so as to see the
moon and nothing that he didn't want to see. It seemed as good a way
as any to pass the time until Brother MacVale arrived. It was either
that or counting bricks, which Randall had already done several times
over the days since the verdict and his move to Getty's Station.

Jimmy MacVale stopped on the steps of the Bertram County Courthouse to
listen as the bell of St. Sebastian's church announced the five
o'clock hour. Inside the Courthouse was a foyer which led to the
courtroom straight ahead and the Sheriff's office on the right. Once
inside he was greeted immediately by Sheriff Jordan, standing in the
doorway of the Sheriff's office. "You Brother MacVale?" Jordan asked,
walking toward him with his hand out.

"That I am Sheriff, just got in," MacVale replied, taking the sheriff's hand.

"He's right through here," Jordan said as he lead MacVale through the
Sheriff's office toward Getty's Station. Condemned prisoners were
allowed to consult a clergyman of their choosing, and MacVale had
caught the first train out of Kansas City when he got the telegram.
Jimmy MacVale was not so much a preacher as he was Randall Gartner's
oldest friend. After his sentencing the clerk of court had asked
Randall, "Will you be wanting a spiritual advisor in your darkest
hour?" It struck him as a strange way to ask a man if he wanted to be
preached at just before they tied a rope around his neck and killed
him. He had almost laughed but composed himself and asked to see

For the second time that morning the sound of footsteps had roused
Randall from his reverie, pulling his mind from the clouds and the
moon back into the cell. He stood up and walked to the window, putting
his arms through the bars and folding them as before. The same boy
that had brought Randall's last meal entered the cell first, carrying
a chair. He set it down and collected the tray and table he'd left
before and hurried back out of the cell.

After letting Jimmy into the cell and shutting the door behind him,
Sheriff Jordan spoke to Randall, "You've got about forty minutes,
we'll be heading out there at six o'clock sharp." He nodded to the two
men in the cell and went back down the hallway.

Randall looked at his old friend for the first time in over two years.
He motioned for Jimmy to have a seat on the chair. "Expected you a
little earlier, Parson," Randall said, taking a seat on his bunk.

"Came straight away when I got the telegram, took a coach from the
station at Wasatch that wasn't all that quick," Jimmy answered, taking
a cigar case from his pocket and offering one to Randall. "I believe
the driver had been matching drinks with the horses and downing their

Randall took the cigar and leaned forward as MacVale struck a match
and lit it for him. "They let you in here with matches?" Randall

"Maybe they figured if I was willing to let you burn the place down
with me locked inside I might as well get what I asked for!" Jimmy
replied. Both mean laughed, an uneasy but not entirely joyless laugh.
They sat and smoked for a few minutes before Jimmy spoke again. "How
the hell did you let this happen?" he finally said, a bit more harshly
than he had intended.

Randall stared blankly at his friend for a moment. He took another
draw on his cigar before answering. "Jimmy, I," he started, and then
fell silent for a few minutes. The bottom of his eyes were shining
with wetness when he continued, "I don't regret a thing I've done to
get here. I don't like that there's nothing else I wanted to do but
hunt that ratfuck down and take his life away from him, but that's
just who I am." The two sat in silence again. They both watched as a
breeze tugged at the floating bands of smoke the men had made with
their cigars in the air above them.

Jimmy wasn't sure what he could say to Randall; not really sure if
there were anything to say. When it all began, back in November of
1858, it had seemed too horrible to be real. Randall's wife Ella had
been on her way to catch a train east to St. Louis to see her mother
when the coach she was riding in was stopped by a gang of highwaymen.
For whatever reason, maybe none, they didn't simply take all the
valuables they could find and get on their way. The driver, Ella, and
the two other passengers hadn't resisted; they had all handed over
their purses and what jewelry and other valuables they had. They each
received several bullets for their cooperation. The driver was the
only one to survive, although he lost most of one leg to gangrene.

Jimmy broke the silence, "I've got a bible with me, want me to read
something?" He looked at Randall and gestured to his coat pocket.
Randall's stare was easy enough to interpret and Jimmy turned his
attention back to his cigar. Finally, he spoke again, "Well then,
Randall, what am I doing here?"

Randall's expression brightened a bit, he smiled at his friend and
said, "I reckon when a man is about to go somewhere he has to go alone
he ought to have a friend with him as far as he can." He wiped at his
eyes, "Seeing as how you're about the best friend I've ever had, I
didn't think you'd mind."

"Shit, Randall, I would have been here for the trial if I'd known
about it! That telegram asking 'Brother MacVale' to come and minister
to the condemned was the first time I knew where you were since you
left." The absoluteness of the situation suddenly weighed on Jimmy; it
was his turn to tear up. In a few minutes time they would make their
way to the platform of the gallows; he would make the trip back alone.
He took a handkerchief from his coat pocket and wiped his face. "I
can't tell you I would have done anything different, Randall, I really
can't. I wish I could tell you something though, anything."

The last time Randall had seen Ella had been a day filled with hope.
They had left within minutes of each other; she in a coach on her way
to catch a train, he on horseback to a logging job Jimmy had found for
him. They had just found out for sure that she was pregnant a few days
before. The logging work paid quite a bit so they had decided he would
log for a year and build up a nest egg. Ella was to stay with her
mother until the baby was born and old enough to travel.

"Shouldn't we pray, Randall?" Jimmy continued. He wasn't particularly
religious, he had never made a habit of praying but he felt that this
was a time that called for it if there ever was one.
Randall looked at him for a long moment. He seemed to be studying
Jimmy's face as if he had never seen him before, almost as if his face
was something new under the sun. He really wasn't seeing Jimmy, or
anything in the cell; Randall was thinking back to the day he'd
learned what had happened to Ella. He had come back to the logging
camp from a long day of dragging timber to find a young deputy waiting
for him. He told Randall about the robbery, and that three of the four
men had died in a similar robbery just two days later. They had
unwisely tried to rob a coach carrying bank notes to Denver; a coach
also carrying two well-armed passengers guarding those bank notes. Of
the two that weren't dead at the scene, one got away clean and the
other stained his horse with blood for several miles before falling
dead in the middle of the road. Randall had thanked the young man and
sent him away before walking back into the woods and finding a sturdy
oak to lean against where he cried himself to sleep.

"I think the time to be praying about things has passed, brother,"
Randall finally said. "Maybe if I had prayed about being able to
forgive and let live that is what would have happened." Randall
dropped his cigar to the floor and ground it in with his heel. He
looked back at Jimmy, "You know, If he'd kidnapped her, or romanced
her away from me, if I knew she was still out in the world somewhere
making it a better place for anybody lucky enough to be around her; I
think I could have lived with that. But it wasn't anything like that,
he didn't even know her and he took her away from everybody that ever

Jimmy spoke slowly and deliberately, hoping not to agitate his friend
in his last moments of life. "I can see that, Randall, I can see that.
I was just offering, maybe you wanted to pray for your own forgiveness
is all." He tried to gauge Randall's feeling but his eyes gave away

Randall looked thoughtful for a moment and Jimmy was beginning to
think he had irritated him when Randall spoke, "I got plenty of
churching growing up, whether I wanted it or not, Jimmy. You know
that, you were sitting next to me most of the time. If I'm supposed to
say I'm sorry for something I'm not sorry about, well, I think any God
worth anything would know I was lying. I reckon I'd rather be judged
for what I've done than what I've had to say about it after."

Randall stood and stepped to the far end of his bunk, reached under
and produced a leather satchel. "That tall deputy helped me get my
papers together," he said as he handed the bag to Jimmy. "I've willed
the house and land in Verna to you. There ain't much furniture or
anything but what there is goes with, of course. If you see fit to get
rid of the place I'd appreciate you sending what you can to Ella's
Ma." Randall sat back down on his bunk and chuckled lightly. "My
'Hanging Suit' is in there too, I figured I'd just as soon wear what I
got on. I know it won't fit you but you could probably get a dollar or
more for it."

Jimmy had chuckled nervously along with Randall about the suit, but
laughter was the last thing he felt like doing. He pulled at the watch
pocket on his vest, trying to see the time without Randall noticing.
It was a quarter 'til six; Randall Gartner was just a few minutes from
becoming a memory.

Randall hadn't seen Jimmy peeking at his watch, but he saw the glassy
look come over his eyes. He decided to keep talking before either of
them starting blubbering, or saying things that might better be left
unsaid. "Did you know Getty was innocent?" Jimmy met this revelation
with a puzzled look and nodded. Randall clarified, "The guy this place
is named for, Getty's Station." Jimmy's puzzled expression eased and
Randall went on with the story, "He was hanged for killing a couple of
ranch hands that caught him stealing a horse from some big money dude
on the north side of town. Except that he was twenty miles from here
at the time, trapping beavers or some damned thing. He tried to say so
when they grabbed him, and he tried to say so again in his trial, but
it didn't do him any good. Some upstanding society type said it was
for sure him that he saw and that was the end of it for Getty."

Randall stood up and walked to the window and stared at the gallows.
"A couple of days after they had cut him down and tossed him in a hole
somebody rode into town looking for him. He was looking to do more
trading with a furrier named Getty that he'd bought some pelts from
the last time he'd been in the area. This fellow had looked in his
journal for where he'd got the other furs and had followed his own
record-keeping back through Getty's camp to this miserable little
town. Seems that journal of his placed him and Getty right where Getty
had said he was when the killings were going on. Somebody at the
courthouse showed him Getty's picture and he swore it was the same
man. Everybody involved was sure sorry about it but that didn't unhang
Getty. People say he twisted and jerked at the end of that rope for
almost ten minutes."

Randall was smiling a joyless smile, still staring out at the gallows.
Jimmy just stood there, thinking about the innocent man swinging at
the end of a rope. Just as Randall finally turned to face Jimmy they
heard the familiar sound of footsteps in the corridor. Both men looked
to see sheriff Jordan and deputy Barnes walking toward them. "Decided
against the suit, did you?" Jordan said as the deputy unlocked the
cell door.

"I gave it to Jimmy, you can see he could use some new clothes,"
Randall answered, laughing. The two lawmen were silent until Jimmy
joined Randall's laughter with his own and soon all four men were
laughing. It wasn't much of a joke, but the heaviness of the air
seemed to lighten ever so slightly with their combined laughter.

Randall had turned back and assumed the position with his arms through
the window. Deputy Barnes entered the cell and walked over to stand
behind Randall. "Go ahead and bring your left hand to the back of your
head for me," he instructed Randall. As Randall complied Barnes pulled
his arm around to his back and wrapped a short length of rope around
his wrist. "Now give me your right hand just the same." Barnes pulled
Randall's right hand down and turned it next to his left, wrapping the
rope around both hands and tying it off in the middle. He stood next
to Randall with one hand on the rope and his other hand on Randall's
arm to help steady him and turned him around.

While Barnes was tying Randall's hands behind him, sheriff Jordan had
taken Jimmy out of the cell and a few feet down the corridor. He
leaned in and spoke softly into Jimmy's ear, "Are you done here? I
mean, have you done all your ceremonies and what-all?" He pulled back
to see Jimmy's face. Jimmy nodded and Jordan continued, "Well then,
what's going to happen is, we're going to walk back through my office
to the door to the courtyard. The doc, two witnesses, and the hangman
are waiting out there. The whole lot of us will walk up to the
platform where you can say anything you've got to say."

Jimmy interrupted him, "He doesn't want me to say anything, but I'd
like to be up there with him all the same."

"That's all right, for sure," Jordan said. "One of the witnesses is
our magistrate; he'll read off the sentence and ask if Gartner has got
anything he'd like to say. After that the rope goes on and..." he
trailed off as the two men met each other's gaze and nodded. A spark
flickered in Jordan's eyes, "I know his story, you know? I know he
hunted him down for killing his wife and baby. I guess he's the only
one knows what he said to him, if he said anything, but I know the
bastard didn't have any marks on him. Other than the bullet holes, of
course. Between you and me, I don't know that I would've done anything
different if it were me. I'd like to think I would, but I've thought
on it, and I think I would have made him suffer."

Jimmy nodded with the sheriff, he'd thought a very similar sentiment
when thinking of himself in Randall's shoes. He was a little surprised
at the sheriff's candor, admitting such a thing to a stranger. The
situation brought a lot of uncomfortable thoughts to a man's mind,
even a man dedicated to the law. The law was cut and dried on the
subject; a killer was going to be killed, maybe Jordan just wanted to
share his conscience with someone that might understand.

Randall and Barnes stepped up behind them and Jimmy couldn't help
himself from throwing his arms around Randall. Randall didn't seem to
resist, he couldn't resist much with his hands tied, of course, but
Jimmy didn't press the matter. He had wanted to hug his friend one
last time, so he did and then it was done. He let go of Randall and
the four men set off on their way down the corridor.

They walked silently through the sheriff's office until they were to
the doorway leading to the courtyard. A voice spoke from behind them,
it was the same boy that had brought Randall's last meal and the chair
for Jimmy. They had walked right by without noticing him sitting at
the sheriff's desk polishing a pair of boots. "God be with you!" he
shouted to Randall.

Randall stopped and looked at the boy. The sheriff and deputy had both
bristled as the boy had spoken, but Randall was smiling. "Your lips to
His ears, son," he said, and winked at the boy. The party continued
through the door and into the courtyard. The group of men Jordan had
told Jimmy about were waiting. The magistrate was dressed in his
robes, the doctor had his stethoscope draped over his neck; the other
two were indistinguishably dressed in black suits. Nobody spoke,
several of the men nodded back and forth, but that was all the
communication there was. The new foursome took the lead and walked
toward the gallows.

Up the steps they went in pairs, at the top of the platform the group
dispersed. One of the men in black stepped to Randall on the opposite
side of Barnes and the three of them walked to the trap door in the
middle of the platform. Sheriff Jordan and Jimmy stepped forward to
stand at Randall's side as well. The magistrate took a large ledger
from somewhere in his cloak and opened it. He read the official
statement about the verdict and Randall's sentence but nobody was
really listening. Everyone seemed to be lost in their own thoughts,
however different they might be. The magistrate finished his rhetoric
with the question; "Do you have any last words?"

Randall looked at each of the faces looking back at him. The hangman
was looking down, as were the magistrate and the other witness, but
everyone else was looking at him. He nodded at Barnes and then at
Jordan and finally turned his head toward Jimmy. Almost a whisper, he
simply said, "Goodbye." The hangman had been nervously twiddling with
the rope when he felt Randall's body falling toward him. He had barely
been holding onto Randall when the magistrate was talking, but
suddenly Barnes seemed to be struggling to hold him up. As he grabbed
a hold of Randall he caught a look of complete bafflement on Barnes'
face. Barnes shouted to the doctor, whom had taken his place alongside
the magistrate and the other witness, "Hey, doc! You better get over

The doctor rushed over as Barnes and the hangman continued to struggle
to hold Randall upright. He seemed to have passed out, which wasn't
unheard of under the circumstances. The doctor came over and felt
Randall's neck for a pulse. His eyes widened and he groped for his
stethoscope. He shoved the earpieces in and moved the bell around
Randall's chest. He kept at it for a couple of minutes before
motioning to sheriff Jordan and the magistrate. "What is it, doc?"
Jordan asked.

"Yes, what is all this about?" the magistrate huffed.

By this time everyone on the platform had crowded around Randall. The
doctor stammered in a low, wavering voice, "He-he, he's gone." The
magistrate was outraged and began cursing about the doctor's
credentials, and there was some mumbling and a lot of shouting from
the others present, but Jimmy wasn't really paying attention. He was
already making his way down the steps with just the slightest smile on
his face.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Stop Being So Lazy

Hobo-lifting Aroma (or Stop Being So Lazy) 3/?/07

I know this lady, well, that's a reach, I don't know that she's all
that much of a lady, but she showers regularly and dresses up to go
out, so you know, six of one. That part, the 'six of one' part, you
knew what I meant, right? I short-handed a cliched old saying because
I could save space since everyone knows the rest, and what it means.
No? Okay, the saying is, "Six of one, half dozen of another", and it
is supposed to mean that there is no difference, just semantics,
describing the same situation with different words. The same thing, or
the same difference, I have trouble with that too, but I'm getting
further off track.

Basically, you say you have a bag of granola and I say you have a
sack of crap and some interloper will pipe in, "Six of one, half dozen
of another." Ya, fascinating. That might be why they cut it down to
'six of one', see? Anyway, I would like for people to stop doing that,
shortening well-known phrases assuming they are so damned well-known.
I heard that six of one nonsense several times before I had any idea
what these hillbillies were trying to say, and I'm reasonably
coherent, really.

Back to the lady, she married my Uncle and became my Aunt Tinky
about 30 years ago, and she is as country as collard greens and
backyard dentistry. She is constantly dropping these abbreviated gems
of hokum wisdom, leaving me wondering do I even dare ask for the
English version. The one that got me the most confused is, "He
wouldn't take a job in a pie factory." The literal meaning was lost on
me, but by context I knew the intended meaning, she could just as well
have said "He wouldn't himqua toda flim-whap." She was trying to say
someone was very lazy, and specifically that this someone suffers
frequent, long-lasting bouts of self-inflicted unemployment. She said
this about one of her step-sons, my cousin Angus. ( He is as bone-idle
as a corpse but that's neither here nor there.) The phrase is intended
to convey that the person shuns work to such an extent that even a
leisurely, lucrative job would not be good enough to keep the person
interested for long. Unfortunately, I couldn't figure out how a
factory would be such a great place to work, especially a pie factory.
Heavy sacks of sugar, flour, and kidneys to lug around, loud,
dangerous machinery putting that wavy crimp in the crust, hobos flying
all around, I don't think so, not for me, thanks.

Eventually I asked someone else what this botch was saying, and I
got the original version: "He is so lazy; he wouldn't take a job in a
pie factory TASTING PIES." Oh. Oh! Yeah, that might be a pretty sweet
gig! I imagine pie-tasters make pretty good kablinky, seeing as how
they have already convinced someone that they deserve full time pay
for something that really only requires a mouth, which most of the
other workers in the factory probably possess. Not pretentious and
sanctified by society like those wine and cheese sniffing snobs, but
steady work to be sure.

All that trouble just because she wanted to save three syllables. I
counted, tast / ing / pies. Now that's lazy. The word 'botch' is not a
typo; it's a word for people that screw things up that may also be

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Punchline That Had No Joke

This was posted to a website that has since become a dangerous portal
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The Punchline That Had No Joke (Barry Gibb is not jealous) 2/14/07

I had some friends that I had been cliqueing with since high school
and at one point two of us were working a construction job together.
Sometime in the Summer of 1988, Frizzle (name changed for pretty good
reasons) and I worked one particular job, a new patio deck and some
remodel work inside. The owner of the house was an Italian-American
guy with a lot of money (lays finger along side of nose). The wife and
kiddies were never there and briefcase-and-shiny-suit guy was amiable
enough when he would sidle through on his way in or out; but he had a
Mother-in-law, (or Grandmother or something), that didn't speak any
English and hung around watching us all the time. I'll call her Olda

On one sunshiny day Olda Cronia was watching as we did nothing for
about two hours while we waited for our boss to bring back more lumber
for the deck. Apparently Olda Cronia was unfamiliar with the concept
of contracted work, she was very agitated that we were there not doing
anything; I believe she thought we were on her clock slacking off. Of
course, we were being paid by the hour, but our idle time was hurting
our boss, not his client. Nevertheless, she eventually meandered out
near where we were and started speaking gibberish* and motioning for
us. We walked over to her and listened as she waved her arms about and
said things we didn't understand. She became increasingly exasperated
with us for deliberately not learning any Italian as she harangued us
on the topic of ... like I said, I think it was loafing on her dime, I
will never know for sure. I started nodding to her, thinking she might
shut up and go away if she thought we were agreeing with her -- but
that made her get louder. I probably agreed to do something and then
didn't do it, I sympathize with her vexing situation.

Eventually she summed up, (I concluded from the context of her
sweeping arm gestures that she was nearing the end of her rhetoric),
so I nodded most agreeably and said "Yes, yes, penis fluid"; with my
most agreeable smile and continued nodding. Agreeably. Frizzle, of
course, cracked up, causing Olda to storm off with steam blasting out
of her ears, (not literally). Being a friend of mine he had been
chosen for his skill/sense of humor in finding me hilarious, but it
was a pretty funny moment I must say so my damn self. I could have
said anything, she had made it very clear she didn't understand a
single word of English; 'yes, yes, penis fluid' just happened to be
the funniest thing I could think of to say at the time.

Forever after that day, the phrase joined well-worn movie and song
quotes in our gang's lexicon. Anytime someone said something
nonsensical, especially if they were very earnest, one of the other of
us would invariably start nodding his head, then the punchline, "yes,
yes, penis fluid." Followed by gales of laughter and a look of
consternation from the nonsensical babbler.

* I say 'gibberish' not as a gibe towards the fine language of
Italian, but as a commentary on someone continuing to blather to a
person they know does not understand.