Thursday, May 28, 2009

TMI Thursday: Cougar Chunks

It's TMI Thursday my friends. For more stories that will entertain and disgust you at the same time, go to LiLu’s place for this week's full list. And now, on to the fun! 

A conversation at a barbecue this past Memorial Day weekend evoked this memory from deep in the recesses of my psyche. It was another Memorial Day weekend and I was in Twentynine Palms, Calif. If you’ve never been there, well, that’s probably because you’ve never been in the Marines. 

29 Stumps as it is lovingly known to those who’ve been there, or even passed close by, is the home of the Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center - about 931 square miles of nothing but desert. (By comparison, Rhode Island is 1,500 square miles.) 

By Memorial Day weekend my friends and I had basically been trapped aboard the base for four months and we needed to leave. One friend, Brian, was from Tucson and, best of all, had a car. 

Long story short, on the Friday before Memorial Day, Brian and I and our friends Ray and Bill loaded ourselves into Brian’s 1970’s vintage Mercury Cougar and headed off to Tucson.

Our route ... as best I remember

But not before making a short stop at the local If-your-money-is-green-you’re-21 Convenience Store to fill the cooler.

Let’s do the math, shall we? Four (4) 19-year-old Marines + four (4) cases of Bud + one (1) over-powered 1970s vintage American sedan = Well, what the hell do you think it equals?

Bill and I were in the back seat having lost the “Shotgun” contest, in which I think we may have actually shot-gunned beers to see who got to sit up front. About an hour and a half and six beers into the six-or-so hour ride, I look over at Bill and he ain’t looking so good. 

He Ain’t Looking So Good!



“Open your window, I think Bill’s gonna puke!”

All of this shouted over the blasting stereo. 

I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to hang your head out the window of a 70’s vintage Mercury Cougar, but it’s not the easiest thing in the world. Oh, we were also going about 95 MPH down I-10. And drinking.

Small back windows make beer recycling hard 

Somehow, with a bit of help from his friends, Bill managed to return his beer to the wild and we continued speeding down the road. 

When we stopped at the Del Taco in Blythe, right on the CA/AZ border, for some tacos (surprisingly, Bill was hungry) we took a moment to inspect the damage. And then we borrowed a hose from the guy spraying down the parking lot. 

It’s not like we wanted to be cruising across southern Arizona with a giant streak of puke streaming down the driver’s side of the car. That just wouldn’t do.  

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

One Particular Harbor

February 20, 2008. A date that will live in … OK, not infamy, but still, it sucked. It’s the day the Giant at Hains Point was torn from the ground after 27 years and moved, MOVED!! to PG County.

I know you, like me, all shed a small tear on this day last year.

Despite this tragic and thoughtless theft of public art (OK, if you insist, sale), The Awakening’s giant appears to enjoy his new home on the beach at National Harbor. Children still play on him, climbing in his mouth (now filled with sand instead of leaves and bark chips), sitting in his hand staring skyward at his outstretched arm.


Wait a minute. Who took my watch?
Fall off the wagon and go on one little bender and look where you end up
Damn, my mouth is dry


The Awakening meets the Creation of Adam

Despite the Giant’s apparent well-being in his new beach-front locale, there’s just something off about National Harbor. I mean, it’s nice and all, but it’s just so … I dunno, in PG County. It’s easy to get to, just a quick jog off I-295 or the Beltway. It’s new, pretty and clean. The faux beach is a little iffy though: there’s broken glass and other trash strewn about You really wouldn’t want to walk barefoot there. Trust. But the jetties jut nicely into the river and it’s a pleasant place to sit and watch the world float by.

But, still, it’s just kinda plopped down there in what seems like the middle of nowhere. There’s a Fossil, a J.A. Banks, a Godiva and South Moon Under. But there’s also a Swarovski Crystal, Segway dealer and a Harley store, all things I’m sure any conventioneer needs while on a business trip.

The restaurants look nice, but I hope my lunch experience is not indicative of the rest of them. After being seated in the National Pastime Bar & Grill, my friend and I waited at least 10 minutes before I buttonholed a hostess and mentioned the wait. When our server showed, finally, the best way I can describe her is “indifferent.” For ex: She made the point of asking me “Sweet or unsweet?” and then got it wrong by bringing me unsweet tea. There was another loooooong delay between our drinks showing up and her return to take our lunch orders (not to mention the long delay between the drink order and their actual arrival at our table. I mean, seriously, how long does it actually take to pour a glass of sweet tea and pull two drafts?).

I could maybe understand the delays if the place was slammed during a ‘Skins game, but it was a Saturday afternoon and the place was only about half-full. No. Excuses.

The good news is this: my hickory bacon burger was pretty good, but not $15 good (and the service definitely wasn’t $15-burger good). Cooked just the way I like it (a way that would make Lemmonex cry) and served with a decent-sized handful of tasty steak fries. My friend’s chili-cheese dog was also pretty good looking, although the bun was a bit small for such a generous-sized dog. It got a bit messy.

After the food was finished, there was another interminable delay before our check arrived.
All-in-all, an interesting journey south of the Anacostia and the Beltway, but not one I’m planning to replicate any time soon. My advice: Go, look around, but avoid the restaurants. There’s better food and value across the river in Old Towne or back in the District.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Footprints and memories

Anybody remember the old saying about what you should do when you visit a National Park? The one that goes “Leave only footprints and take only memories.”

For some reason these words were running through my head last night as I watched a PBS documentary called “
Hallowed Grounds.” The show profiled 21 of the 24 overseas American military cemeteries lovingly maintained by the American Battle Monuments Commission. (The three not shown are in Brookwood, England; Corozal, Panama; and Mexico City.)

The World War I and World War II cemeteries stretch across eight countries, from England to Tunisia to the Philippines. Eleven of the cemeteries are in France. All told, there are 117,982 American men and women buried in the ground they fought and died for during these two wars.

One of the stats about a couple of the cemeteries jumped out at me: at the Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery in Belgium there are 7,989 headstones for the 7,992 dead (three graves have two sets of remains that could not be separated). There are 66 white crosses in 33 pairs marking where brothers rest side-by-side. A set of white crosses belong to three brothers who are buried together. The Brittany and Sicily-Rome cemeteries, are each the resting place for 20 pairs of brothers. And, at Epinal, 14 pairs of brothers are buried together.

The most extreme example of this is, of course, on the wall listing those missing in action at the Manila American Cemetery in the Philippines. Brothers George, Frances, Joseph, Madison and Albert Sullivan were crewmates aboard the USS Juneau and all five died when it was torpedoed and sank Nov. 13, 1942.

These aren’t all of the American servicemen and women who died overseas in these two wars, but they are the last Americans to be buried near the battlefields where they fell. After World War II, America brought its war dead home from Korea, Vietnam, Panama, Beirut, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan (to name a few).

I wonder why we no longer honor our dead near their battlefields? Is it because we can bring them home more easily? Or are there other reasons? In the Pacific and Africa, and across Europe, these cemeteries are the footprints and memories of Americans who fought and died in two world wars.

One part of the show struck a particular chord with me when some of the cemeteries - particularly those in France, Belgium, the Netherlands and the Philippines - were described as popular destinations for schoolchildren on class trips. Many of the pictures of the cemeteries included groups of children walking amongst the rows of white crosses and Stars of David.

I thought to myself, and I have no idea what the answer is, “When was the last time American students visiting D.C. went to Arlington National Cemetery?” You see them all the time at the Fashion Center at Pentagon City, but I’m curious how many have visited Arlington, only two or three miles away?

Anyway, unlike my usual course of action, I’m not going to belabor this point. I will merely leave you with a list of the cemeteries and links to them if you’d like to read and learn a little more about these special places.

World War I
Aisne-Marne, France
Flanders Field, Belgium
Meuse-Argonne, France
Oise-Aisne, France
Somme, France
St. Mihiel, France
Suresnes, France

World War II
Ardennes, Belgium
Brittany, France
Cambridge, England
Epinal, France
Florence, Italy
Henri-Chapelle, Belgium
Lorraine, France
Manila, Philippines
Normandy, France
North Africa, Tunisia
Rhone, France
Sicily-Rome, Italy


Brookwood, England
Corozal, Panama
Mexico City, Mexico

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Important Pictures

So, these are some pretty important pictures here. 

They are the last ones I will ever routinely take...on film that is. 

You remember film, right? Those plasticy roles coated in a magical substance that gathered in the differing levels of light and dark and, after you dropped them off at a Ritz or Wolf or Target or Eckerd Drug, you got yourself some pretty, pretty pictures. Why won't I be shooting film anymore? Well, last year I bought myself a digital point-and-shoot and, as I've written about recently, I bought myself a digital SLR last month. 

Anyway, I dropped these pictures off at Target earlier this week and picked them up later that day. For those of you from D.C., you'll recognize the subject: this year's blooms of the cherry blossoms. For those of you who aren't, well, these are D.C.'s famous cherry blossoms. The flowers have been gone for almost six weeks, and that's exactly how long the last three rolls of film I shot have lingered in my bag. 

And, last but not least, I couldn't think of a better subject than the Washington Monument for my last, routine, picture on film. 

I'm not going to totally retire my trusty Nikon F3, it's too good a camera to be let out to pasture. To stud maybe, but not to pasture. Also, I still have a shitload of film laying around. But from here on out, most of my pictures will be recorded by electrons and not emulsion. 

To tell you the truth, that makes me a little sad. Like most guys, I attach a bit of emotional significance to some of the mechanical things in my life. F3 has seen me through thick and thin, good weather and bad. It's been with me in Ireland, NYC, the Colorado National Monument, four Cherry Blossom Festivals, countless assignments while I was a reporter and sunsets too numerous to mention.

I think, just for fun, I'll go through my files and pull out some of F3's greatest hits and throw them up here as kind of a memorial one of these days. The age of film may have passed, but I'd like to make sure the memories it created will last forever ... in an electronic format. 

TMI Thursday: A little me time

It's TMI Thursday my friends. For more stories that will entertain and disgust you at the same time, go to LiLu’s place for this week's full list. And now, on to the fun!

Let’s not beat around the bush here, so to speak. We’re all grown-ups, we’re all adults and, if you’re not, you really shouldn’t be reading this anyway.

It’s time we talked about masturbation. Yes, I said it. And I’ll say it again in many different and creative ways: Spanking the monkey. Rubbing one out. Pounding the pud. Wanking. Jerkin’ off. Jacking off. Pulling your peeter. And, I believe, the Catholic Church likes to refer to it as the sin of
onanism. You know, I just thought about it, all of these refer to boys. I can’t think of a single one for the ladies. So tell me, what cute little euphemisms do you girls have for those times when the rabbit or vibrator comes out or, should I say, goes in? (C’mon girls, don’t be afraid, I wanna hear them all.)

Anyway, the scene: It’s lunch time on the third day of a four-day hiking/camping trip in the
Monongahela National Forest in West “By God” Virginia. Three brothers and a friend are relaxing in a beautiful glade for lunch.

Here's a map, just in case you want to visit someday

After lunch, the youngest brother, and most recent of the three to don the Scarlet and Gold of the United States Marine Corps, gets up to do what many of us do after eating. This leaves his older brothers and the friend to lean back and relax after their hearty meal.

During some point in the post-meal conversation, about 10 or so minutes after the youngest brother wandered into the nearby wood, the topic turned to the topic above. Don’t know how it happened, it just happened.

The friend, let’s call him “Eddie,” then made one of the more patently false statements I’ve ever heard a man make, aside from “I won’t cum in your mouth” and “Baby, she means nothing to me.” This is what he said:

“Dude, I haven’t done that since, like, eighth grade.” Yeah, it was the mid-90s, people were still saying dude. Even 24-year-old men who denied masturbating.

When the two brothers laughed at him and called him a liar, he asked the middle brother (his former college roommate), “Why, when was the last time you did it?”

“Last night.”

“In the woods?” Eddie asked.


Stunned by this knowledge, he turned to the older brother, “What about you?”

“Just this morning, down by the river while I was washing up,” the older brother said as the youngest returned from his sojourn in the woods.

Incredulous, Eddie looked up, pleadingly, to the youngest brother for support. “Did you know your brothers have been jacking off out here in the woods?” he asked.

With a smile only the youngest brother could give, he looked at Eddie and responded, “You don’t really think it took me 15 minutes to take a shit, do you?”

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Membership drive

All right, I’m officially beginning the movement for a new party, the Luddite Party. I’d say I’m about to above average in the “tech-savvy” department. Hell, being a guy I love all things with electrons running through their silicon and copper veins.

But I just saw something that’s making me rethink this whole “information superhighway” thingy.

Not only have I been in meetings where the attendees spend more time with their noses in their Crackberries than paying attention to the person running the meeting, I’ve been the person running the meeting. That shit's just rude. And, just today, in the lobby of my building, I saw a woman standing dead, stock still as she scrolled through whateverthehellitwas on her dealer device getting her electron fix.

I’ll even personally admit to maybe, just maybe, checking a score or two while sitting in what an old roommate called “the Reading Room.”

But all of these examples of electron dependence fall so far short of what I just saw. In fact, I’m having a hard time believing I actually saw what I saw.

A short while ago, during a journey to the men’s, the guy two pissers over (leaving the obligatory vacant space) looked up from his biz and greeted me with a “Hey man.” Despite this shocking breech of bathroom etiquette, I gave an upward nod of the head in return. And then saw what I saw.

Dude had his dick in one hand and his electron crack pipe in the other checking his email. There is nothing in the world delivered via email that’s so, so very important it can’t wait 37 seconds. I'm guessing you'd probably get to it even faster and with fewer chances of an "accident" if you waited those seconds, finished, shook and zipped before scrolling.

Even if illicit North Korean nukes are screaming toward the West Coast at 25 times the speed of sound (about 19,000 mph) I’m sure the Prez, who’s famous for his Crackberry addiction, would put it aside for a moment to take a leak in peace. Yanno, before showing Kim Jong-il what a real nuke looks like.

As much as I’d want an iPhone or Crackberry myself, it’s scenes like these keeping me on the straight and narrow and away from the electron dealers.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Happy Anniversary

I just looked at the calender and realized what yesterday, May 17, was.

On that day more than 51 years ago, my mom and dad were married in Good Shepherd Church in New York City. I hope I can be forgiven for this because although yesterday would have been No. 51, the last anniversary we celebrated with my mom was 43.

So, a day late: Happy 51st Anniversary Mom and Dad!


It’s amazing the things that go through your head at 2:27 a.m. and you can’t sleep. Some of you know about this, some of you don’t.

I have to say, insomnia is unusual for me. I don’t get the recommended eight or so hours a night, usually just six to seven, but it’s what works for me.

Last night? I got three. I was sitting in a meeting earlier today and I swear to God, if the woman next to me hadn’t offered me one of the mutant-sized Tic-Tacs, I’d fallen asleep right then and there. Thankfully, I got the mint (and a back-up, just in case) and powered through the meeting.

But as I was laying there, counting the stucco bump on the ceiling last night, I think I figured out what caused my detour from Lilly White’s party (as my mom used to call going to bed: “All right you three [me and my brothers] time to head for Lilly White’s party.” Ahhh, childhood). Anyway, I think I figured out my problem.

The night before, Saturday, I’d stayed out late and didn’t get home until 2:30ish. But it was what I did before that that is the root of my problem. (Right now? Typing with my eyes closed because it feels like sleep. How sad.)

Q. How do you know you’re getting old?
A. Your idea of “pre-gaming” for a night out includes a two-hour nap.

Yeah, I did that. (In my defense, I'd also gone on a long-for-me bike ride earlier that day as well.) Probably wouldn’t be a problem, ‘cept Sunday afternoon I dozed off while reading. I was probably out for a good hour or so. This, I think, hit the ol’ sleep pattern reset button in the brain.

But getting back to the thoughts. Some of them were pretty cool: like flying above the desert and water and grassy plains and any other relatively flat surface you can think of at high speed; that naughty little waking dream I had about … well, someone; it was right about here at, say, 12:33 where I was just about asleep when


I swear my upstairs neighbor was trying to get his name into Guinness by going after the post-midnight bowling ball dribbling record (the record, btw, is two).

Instantly I went from the warm embrace of Never-Never Land to total wakefulness and instant readiness to repel any intruders. Damn my amygdalae! I said good day, Sir! Wish I could have said good night.

So, ‘bout 10 minutes later, just as the quart of adrenaline has leached from my system, I guess the guy figured he really really really needed that record ‘cause:

BAM! again.

And that was it. Until after 3. So I put the time to good use updating my email address book. For some reason, my Outlook address book didn’t make the move from the PC (Evil Opus) to the Opus III, my new Mac Mini. (It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up).

I did use the time for one productive project between my ears: I thought up a couple of topics to write about this week. And they’re really good…but I was so tired I forgot most of them. You’ll just have to…yawn…make do with…yawn…what I can rememberrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr (Editor's note: Foggy's nose was removed from the "r" key at 2:29 p.m. EST.)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Random firings of neurons

I really haven’t been feeling it the last couple of days when it comes to writing. I don’t know why, perhaps it’s because … hell, if I knew I’d fix it. I started writing something yesterday and got pretty far into it, and then realized it was crap. You may see it, you may not, but that won’t happen until it’s up to snuff.

What I think happened to my muse lately is this: I started this thing almost a year ago to talk about politics and life and art and drinking and this, that and the other. But mainly politics. Anyone who knows me knows I enjoy a good debate. We were in the midst of a hotly contested presidential election with an almost, but not quite, foregone outcome.

But now, now the political debate has almost all but disappeared from the public discourse. It’s almost like it was 1994 again. Or, better, 2002. At least in ’94 we had one party in the White House and another in the Speaker’s chair.

Does everyone remember what it felt like in 2002? A widely popular wartime president called 1600 home, and a GOP almost super-majority ruled the Hill and K Street with iron fists. To criticize them and what they were doing was un-American and, when you get right down to it, damn near traitorous. Reporters stopped asking questions and digging up the facts and we the people accepted because we didn’t want to be accused of “forgetting 9-11.”

As if that could ever happen.

But guess what folks? We now have an even more wildly popular president and even bigger majorities controlling the House and Senate, it’s just this time they’re all democrats. The words have changed, but the venom behind them hasn’t.

Now, instead of being an un-American traitor when you voice a dissenting opinion, you’re a closed-minded, reactionary hillbilly Klan member.

My personal political leanings are mixed up enough I can be sure I have at least one that will piss off folks on either side of the aisle with equal vehemence. Such as:

I fear a government controlled by Democrats as much as – if not a little more than – the previous Republican leadership.

While I don’t personally agree with Miss California, she has every right to believe and say she is against gay marriage. She also has the right to not be attacked for her opinion.

I think Congress needs to turn the volume down from 11 on the whole he said-she said gotcha investigation into who knew what and when and why and how and where and who was doing the enhanced interrogations. Is it wrong to smash someone’s fingers and toes joint-by-joint with a ball peen hammer as you water board them? Perhaps. Were innocent lives saved and bad guys shot in the head because of the results? Also, perhaps.

A conversation I had last week is a good example. As I was warming up in my reply to a “violence is never the answer and true strength comes from inside” type statement, the discussion was shortstopped by the other party. I believe my comments about man being a top predator (not the top, but a top but that’s something for another day) and national power coming from the barrel of a gun were call cynical and considered not worthy of serious reflection.

Cynical? Perhaps. But true? History would seem to back me up. At least for now.

Anyway, I could go off on this tangent forever, so I’ll get back on point. And my point is we should be careful what we wish for, ‘cause we just might get it.

Also, why the hell do the new razors make it so bloody hard for me to shave right under my nose? Seriously, have they even tested these blades?

And, before I forget, thanks be to Saint Margarita on the Rocks that Ted Mosby, architect, did NOT get back together with Stella on this week’s HIMYM. He told her how he felt, comedy ensued, and he was left standing on the sidewalk with his yellow umbrella.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Big flash, lots of noise

If anyone's interested, you can watch the launch of the Space Shuttle Atlantis live here.

The clock is ticking with about five minutes to go before launch.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Friday Pictures

You know how sometimes when you lust after someone or something and when you finally obtain the object of your affection it doesn’t always quite measure up to what you imagined?

Well, for the last two or so years I’ve lusted after a particular digital SLR camera (Nikon D200), but was never able to justify the expense. Funny thing about new jobs, you sometimes get more than just new career opportunities.

Long story short, but I was able to buy the exact camera I’d been wanting and, last Saturday, I took it out for a test drive. I wanted to go somewhere pretty, but also somewhere I hadn’t been before. Since I was down Old Towne way with a friend to pick up her new Honda Fit (see, all of us are pitching in to help the economy by buying Japanese-made products) I figured I’d go for a little walk around Jones Point.

Jones Point? Where the hell is Jones Point, you ask. Well, Jones Point is the little spit of land where the new (and old) Wilson Bridges land in Virginia. OK, I admit it, I’m a bit of a bridge geek, comes from growing up the son of a bridge engineer, and I wanted to get a closer look at the new Wilson.

Jones Point, I think, is one of those secret little places in the D.C. area. You know them, places in plain sight, but places few people go. When, I ask you, was the last time you visited Teddy Roosevelt Island or the National Arboretum?

But anyway, back to my pictures. Because like any real man I believe mechanical devices have souls and feelings I’ll have to be gentle about this so as not to offend my trusty, venerable, solid and all-around dependable Nikon F3, but my new camera rocks in so many ways. I think my walk lasted maybe an hour and I took more than 150 pictures. To compare, during 10 days in Ireland I took around 1,000 on film. Funny what you can do when your camera fires up to five frames a second and you have a memory card that holds 1,300 pictures, you quickly stop caring about how many pictures you’re taking.

Without further ado, the pictures.

Did you know we have one of the only bascule bridges in the Interstate Highway system here in our area? Well, we do. The old one opened about 260 times a year stopping traffic each time. This one is 20 feet higher and only has to open about 60 or so (according to the bridge's Web site). And for those of you wondering what the hell a bascule is, it's the part of a drawbridge that goes up and down.

But wait. What is this lonely little concrete marker beside the trail as patiently as a bill waiting on the steps of the Capitol? Perhaps we should investigate.

Fancy that, it's a boundary marker between Virginia and Maryland. Down around the bend there is another one just like it and, together, they would seem to indicate the border between the North and the South is the high-water mark of the Potomac. Alas, the point where the District, Virginia and Maryland all come together is out in the middle of the river, so I don't have a picture of that (although it may actually be in the first picture).

Spiders are our friends. As long as they don't mind living outside. This one has apparently been busy getting its web site ready for summer.

There's just something about a field of soft, fuzzy pussy willows. It just draws you right in and holds your gaze.
Hope you enjoyed the pictures 'cause you're bound to see more as the summer progresses.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

TMI Thursday: How do you spell relief?

I’m sure we’ve all been there. The phone rings late at night. The message is short, but the tears and talk go on well past midnight. 

“I’m late," You heart stops. "A week late.”

Fade back in time to three weeks ago. You and your girlfriend are visiting friends over the long Memorial Day weekend. The barbecue and beers that Saturday night were chased by more beers and, if you remember correctly, tequila. Lots of tequila.

The beer and tequila were later chased by lots of mad, passionate drunken sex.

And now, three weeks later, she’s out of town visiting her parents for a few days.

“What are we going to do?” The question brings you back to the present. 

“Are you sure?” you ask.

“It’s been a week. I could be.”

“Come back tomorrow, we’ll talk about it together.”

The goodbye lasts almost as long as the call. You tell each other “I love you” too many times to count. 

And then you hang up.

Sleep comes fitfully, if at all. Did you even sleep? It doesn’t matter when the alarm goes off, you still have to get up and go to work. 

A quick call to make sure she’s OK and still coming back that afternoon. 

“Meet me at work,” you say. “I’ll leave when you get here and we can talk.” 

The morning seems to stretch toward infinity, like you’re on the event horizon of a black hole. One more step...

Lunch comes and goes. The next two hours are spent checking your watch every 10 minutes. Every five minutes.

Every minute.

Then, just before three, you’re outside taking a smoke break with some friends and you see her car pull up. Your heart races and your hands shake as she pulls into a spot just across from you. 

She gets out looking more beautiful than you remember (khaki shorts and a blue tank) and your eyes meet. 

She sees the look on your face and bites her lip. And smiles. 

“Sorry I’m late,” she says, then laughs after she realizes what she’s said. “I had to stop on the way down and buy some tampons.”

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Up like a cannonball

A couple of things caught my eye this morn as I perused my online NYT, but I’ll get to them in just a minute.


Last night on HIMYM, Ted Mosby, architect, finally got around to telling his kids the beginning of the story of how he met their mother. After a couple years wait, I might add.

I won’t go into all the funny details (in case some of you have it on your divver and haven’t watched yet) except to say Barney nails a body builder chick by accident (she calls it her cardio) and Ted Mosby, architect, meets the eyes of a woman he’s known as they wait at a crosswalk. But I say too much.

So, without giving too much away, I hope the next thing that happens is she introduces him to another woman who becomes those silent kids’ mother. Because if it’s her, I’m giving up on the show. The only thing making her his true love would do is turn Ted Mosby, architect, into Ted Mosby, total pussy push-over.

I can handle Barney having the hots for Robin, but Ted cannot fall for this woman. I’d much prefer he fall for Victoria, the baker. At least she didn’t leave him at the altar.

Ground Control to Major Tom
This article in the NYT, (Finally! He got to where he was going) about the shuttle heading to the Hubble, reminded me of my very first research paper in 7th grade about the shuttle. And by 7th grade research paper I mean copying information about the shuttle out of the library’s encyclopedia and a copy of NatGeo at home and presenting it as research.

The article got me to thinking. Do you still stop and look at the TV when a shuttle takes off? Is anyone else still amazed, and I mean deep down tingle in your stomach amazed, when you see those men and women ride a controlled bomb into, through and out of our atmosphere?

I’ll admit it, I do. If you don’t I can’t understand. Let me try something here: Imagine you’re you, and today’s still May 5, but instead of 2009, it’s 1961. Just 48 years ago. The Commie Reds have beaten the True Blue Defenders of Freedom and Right into space the month before and the defenders are now rolling the dice.

Down in Florida a young Naval Aviator, name of Alan B. Shepard Jr. is sitting high up in his 60-cubic-foot capsule (for reference, a 3x3x6-foot box is 54-cubic feet) and is waiting to blast off. To become the first American to ride a rocket toward space. The rocket in question attached to his Freedom 7 capsule is a retired Redstone missile. It's 60 feet long and about 6 feet in diameter and provides 78,000 pounds of thrust.

Pee-U-Knee. Puny by today’s standards, but it'd still kill ya.

When Atlantis launches toward Hubble next week, it will ride not only its three main engines (400,000 pounds of thrust each), but two, TWO!, solid rocket boosters. These boosters might have even scared Shepard, John Glenn, Gordo Cooper and company. (According to Mike Mullane, author of Riding Rockets, who flew the shuttle three times, they scare today’s astronauts.) Measuring in at 149 feet long and 12 feet in diameter, the SRBs together produce almost (finger to the corner of the mouth a la Dr. Evil) 6 million pounds of thrust.

Now imagine that Shepard’s back on Earth safe and sound. How do you feel? Our first steps in space were so small I’d barely dare to call them baby steps, but we’ve been there.

And we went back.

Imagine now that it’s July 20, 1969, just a little more than eight years later. We’ve gone from clawing toward the stars to walking on another planet.

July 20 is such an important day, in fact, you take your 2-month-old son from his bed and lay him in front of the black-and-white TV so that someday he can say he watched man walk on the moon for the first time.

And we’ll be back.

I don’t know about you, but if I’m near a TV next Monday, you can be sure I’ll take the eight and a half or so minutes — the time from lift-off to MECO (main-engine cut-off in orbit) — to watch man head toward the stars and inspire me one more time.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

I’d like to announce my eligibility

At the end of my junior year a couple of friends, who passed many an hour playing pick-up ball on the court behind their dorm, hatched a plan. The were going to follow in the footsteps of some of the most well-known alumni of the University of North Carolina and announce their eligibility for the NBA draft.

They figured “What the hell, it can’t hurt" and it could be funny to see an pro scout come around campus asking about the previously unheralded 5’10” shooting guard from North Carolina.

To follow in their footsteps, I too would like to announce my eligibility. My eligibility for the highest court in the land.

I want to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Ha! You laugh, but as far as I can tell, there really are only a few actual requirements for the position. Actually, according to Article 3 of the Constitution, there are none. Unlike being elected to Congress (25 years old to be a rep; 30 to be a senator) or president (natural-born citizen and 35 years of age), the Constitution sets no requirements.

Why would I, the Foggy Dew, make a good addition to the court? I thought you’d never ask. Here’s why:

Not a lawyer

I see this as one of my greatest qualifications. I do, however, know how to read and I have a fairly high level of intelligence, so I’m pretty sure I could understand the concepts presented by the parties involved.

If I don’t, I’ll just ask questions of them until their time ran out and they have to shut up when the red light goes on. So I win.

Also, as a reporter, I’ve spent a good deal of time in courtrooms. So let’s just call that OJT and call it even for the lack of a JD.



Often you'll hear about judges being discussed in terms of being a "liberal activist" or a "strict constructionist." I'd bring what I call "Liberal Constructionism" to the Roberts Court. The Constitution is the law of the land, but yet it is not a suicide pact as Justice Robert H. Jackson wrote in his dissent in Terminiello v. Chicago.


I believe in the First Amendment, but I also know the founders did not hold freedom of religion, speech, the press, assembly or petition in as high regard as we do. I'll let you in on a little secret: The First Amendment was not the first amendment. It just happened to be the first amendment to pass.


Amendment the First dealt with congressional apportionment (and could still be approved today if enough states approve it), and Amendment the Second prohibited lawmakers from giving themselves a raise. You may recognize this one, it became the 27th Amendment in 1992 after waiting more than 200 years for approval by three-quarters of the states.

I also believe in the Second Amendment. As Moses said, “From my cold, dead hands.”

All of the arguments people have about whether or not the Second Amendment allows gun ownership to individuals to protect themselves, or to members of state militias to protect the public is bullshit.

The reason the Second Amendment exists is the one lawyers, politicians and judges don’t talk about. It exists for one reason: to protect us, We the People, from the government. Remember, the men who wrote the Constitution had just fought and won a revolution. A revolution that often required its soldiers to bring their own guns to the fight.

Thomas Jefferson said, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” (If you look to the right, you’ll notice I’m reading a Jefferson bio, I highly recommend picking it up.) The Second Amendment is kinda like the watering can.

As for the other hot-button issues, I’ll just lay it out there for the Senate: Gay marriage, for it; abortion, never had one, never plan to, but I believe in the right to choose; prayer in school, shouldn’t be there, religion can be taught at home (is this still an issue?); privacy, the Constitution may not specify it, but the less the government has to do with my life, the better.



I don’t have anything in my past involving hookers and blow in Vegas that would prevent me from being confirmed. At least not that I know of. There are a couple of years there that are a little misty, but I’m pretty sure no one who was there will make the connection to my appointment. They were a lot more fucked up than I was.

Self-appointed term limit

If appointed and confirmed, I promise to step down in 10 years. It’s been said that sometimes it takes the court a while to catch up with America. That may have been fine in the past, but no longer. We need justices who can understand changing times require a change in perspective.

Laws don’t need to be popular, but they do need to be just. You can’t expect that when the people making the decisions are in their dotage. No disrespect intended. But, seriously, David Souter is retiring at 69, and John Paul Stevens is 89. Something isn’t quite right about this picture.


As the picture below demonstrates, I already look good in a black robe.

That's me, second from the right, during graduation
from Sleepy Hollow High.


I promise, if confirmed, to keep this blog going. You, America, will have unprecedented access to the inner-most workings of our most mysterious branch of government. I understand the need to keep a bit of a low profile, but the people need to know what the hell’s going on in there.

To sum up (since I’ve already ‘splained) I’m just as qualified as the next guy to be the president’s first nominee to the Court. The only strike I have against me is the one I just stated, I am a guy (I’m also white as well, so two strikes), but I think America can see past that and get behind my nomination.


So click this link to drop a note to the president and tell him you too support The Foggy Dew for the Supreme Court. Together we can make this happen.