Thursday, January 26, 2006

In praise of Lloyd Dobler

Lloyd Dobler: I don't want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don't want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don't want to do that.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Lessons in Religion

I’m not a Christian.

I guess I was when I was younger, because I was too scared of the alternative. I came by my distaste for organized religion honestly, though. A Baptist preacher pissed me off when I was 8. I haven’t been back in a church, except for a few weddings and funerals, since 1970.

For the record, I don’t think most Christians are stupid. I think some are. I think some Muslims are stupid, but not all. There are stupid Buddhist, Hebrew, Shinto, Voodoo, Mormon and Mayan practitioners, as well as intelligent ones. And what religion would Native Americans practice? I don’t want to leave them out.

My point is that even though I am not religious and I have a hard time understanding what drives members of certain religions, I do not think they are stupid. While I do my best just to be a good guy and not piss over anyone (well, most anyone), I don’t look at them as if they are misled. It is something they need, and if they are happy with it then so be it. “So let it be written. So let it be done.” I do like a good Charlton Heston bible flick, by the way!

So anyway, my girlfriend is a southern transplant. She has lived only in the southern states in her 9 years in this country. As you no doubt know, southern America (not South America) is pretty much Christian country. The Bible Belt. Mississippi is indeed the buckle of said belt. She is always eager to learn, and she has witnessed some shit – good and bad.

She has been to a primitive Pentecostal church. They didn’t “take up the serpent” at that church (she would have returned home, I’m sure) but they did speak in tongues and fall down a lot. She was concerned. She has been to Baptist and Catholic churches. I think she needs to visit a synagogue just to round out her experience. Plus, I think the Hebrews have some cool traditions.

We first met just prior to Easter. She spent Easter with some friends in Louisiana. When she returned, she asked me to explain the whole Easter thing. (Excuse me while I burst into flames!) My ignorance was immediately apparent. About all I could tell her was what I learned from watching “The Ten Commandments” (for the whole passover thing) and "Ben Hur" (the crucifixion) about a hundred times. And what I knew from some of my catholic friends in New Orleans.

Anyway, I did some quick research to try and explain what was going on during the 40 days before ascension (although I promprtly forgot). While muddling through all of that, I discovered that Easter eggs come from the Germanic pagan rituals celebrating the beginning of spring. The Easter bunny and eggs symbolize fertility (oh, that promiscuous bunny!) and the bright colors of the eggs symbolizes the reawakening of the landscape as the winter solstice abates. What is it about Americans and their fondness for pagan rituals that if you call them pagan rituals they think you are a heretic?

But I am a shitty teacher.

When you get right down to it, you can’t go wrong with Edward G. Robinson as Dathan (and don’t forget the brilliant work of Rob Scheider on SNL as “Little Caesar Dathan”), Yul Brynner as Ramses (his best roll until “The Magnificent Seven”), and a brightly oiled John Derek swinging around the tops of the monuments – eye candy to a multitude of female moviegoers during a time when the American female was shedding years of repressed sexuality. And of course, this movie also gave rise to Metallica’s excellent “Creeping Death”. I can remember when I was a kid being so frightened of the green ooze coming through the streets, and the moans and screams and the guy falling down the stairs. A vengeful god! The best!!!!

BTW – in 1969, Brother Bill Causey (who has the same name as a recently arrested pedophile) made the comment in church (Parkway Baptist) that "the reason hippies wear turtleneck sweaters" was “to hide their flea collars!” I gave it up not long after that, when I realized that any fucker could get that gig no matter how much of a fucker they were.

But I sure do like me some Cecil B. DeMille!

Thursday, January 19, 2006


When I was a kid in the sixties, there were 2 convenience store chains in the United States. The first one was called 7-Eleven. Actually, the parent company had been operating convenience stores since the late twenties, but they didn’t start with the 7-Eleven chain until after WWII. The second convenience store chain in the U.S. was a local chain. It was the Tote-Sum.

Now, for those not hip to southern lingo, “tote” means to carry something. (It can also mean the thing to carry something in, but forget that one for now.) The word “Sum”, while a more correct spelling of the way we actually pronounce “some” was probably the owner’s crafty way of saving a little extra money on the signs by dropping a letter.

As a child, the Tote-Sum was my favorite place to go. At this writing, I can really only remember where about 4 or 5 of them were located, but there were at least 20 in the Jackson area. I know there was at least one in Vicksburg, but I don’t think there were any on the gulf coast. There were, however, 7-Eleven stores on the coast – something we didn’t have in Jackson. There may have been some in Hattiesburg or some to the north even.

If you ever run across someone who makes a reference to any convenience store as a “Tote-Sum”, you can pretty much nail them down as having lived in or around Jackson, Mississippi in the sixties, seventies or part of the eighties. To this day I still ask people “have y’all got a Tote-Sum around here?” Usually you get 2 different responses. One is “A what????” The other is invariably “I haven’t heard of a Tote-Sum in years!”

There were 2 within a 2 mile radius of my house. One of these was also very close to my school - an easy lunchtime trek through the woods surrounding a park to go fill up on candies and other goodies. I remember these both being open affairs – the storefront was really 3 rollup garage doors. It was like a big newspaper stand.

These did not have the trappings of a modern convenience store. There were no cappuccino machines or fountain drinks. The cooler was comparatively small, there were no aisles of products like motor oil and gloves and gas cans. There may have been light bulbs, but those were probably priced very high compared to the A&P across the street. I remember we also used to steal bottles stacked in crates behind the stores and bring them in for deposits – my first attempts at larceny. My store was on Northside Drive, across the stree from Highland Village and the Olde Time Deli. It stood next to the entrance to Maywood Mart. I once ripped out the oil pan of my ’72 Cutlass (the Brown Turd) in the side parking spaces.

To tell you the truth, I can’t really remember much about the inside of these stores. As much time as I spent there and as much crap as I bought, what once was such a large part of my life is not even a fading memory. All I can remember is a partial front-outside view of a paradise beckoning with open arms. And the sign.

The Tote-Sum sign was a thing to behold. Of course you would probably laugh at my recollection if you were to ever see one, but you have to remember that this was Jackson, Mississippi and it was the sixties and I was a child. In a metropolitan area of 250,000 souls and a 19 story building being our tallest, the sign was, to me, a thing of beauty. It was the closest thing I had to the streets of downtown Tokyo circa “You Only Live Twice”. Well, it and the Mayflower Café sign…

The sign stood probably 30 feet or so. It was a white pole, about 5 inches in diameter. Starting at the top were 8 olive green square metal boxes, each probably close to 2-3 feet per side, descending down the pole. On the left, right and front sides of each box was a reddish-orange-ish neon letter. T O T E – S U M. The neon was sequenced to start at the top, light a letter and pause about a second, light the next letter, pause, so on and so on until all 8 letters (well, 7 letters and the dash) were lit. Then they would all shut off for about half a second and then all come on for about a second. It would do that twice. Then it would start at the top of the sequence.



I remember some evenings, returning home with one or both parents, we would stop off for something at the Tote-Sum. Whereas most kids would always want to go inside and look around or spend their hard-earned cash, I would almost always elect to remain in the car staring, transfixed, at this wondrous device. It beckoned me. It spoke to me.

And not just to me!

In the nineties, I was working in the IT department for a grocery chain. The Tote-sum stores had long been closed, and most of the buildings were gone as well – victims of progress. My favorite store at least still remained – disguised as a Subway sandwich shop. I was working on a graphics-intensive executable and decided to have a unique “Exit” button. I made this button green and put big red-orange letters spelling “Exit” (of course) flashing in the same sequence as my beloved Tote-sum sign. E…X…I…T…EXIT…EXIT…E…X…I…T…EXIT…EXIT. I did it mostly because I was playing around and had way too much time on my hands.

While it was being beta-tested, I had at least 6 different people come to me and ask if I had modeled this on the old Tote-Sum sign. One even told me he used to sit in the car and watch the sign when he was a kid. Too bad I thought (and still think) this guy is an asshole. We could easily have been kindred spirits.

But he was a mainframe geek and never made coffee.

I can forgive the former, but the latter is a red-hot brad-awl shoved through my soul - no matter if you were a Tote-sum sign dreamer.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Road rage

Another useless post, and also one that requires a little preparation.

Around the time I am making whatever meager point I am trying to make, I will ask you, the reader, to visualize a gesture. I feel as if I should go ahead and get this gesture firmly entrenched in your brain so that I can call it up at a moment’s notice. Actually, there are 2 gestures I will discuss later, but one I am sure you already know.

Imagine any Woody Allen film you’ve ever seen in which he is one of the characters. At some point he will be trying to explain some intricate, emotional problem he is experiencing, and he will take both hands and place them horizontally against his head, the fingertips touching between the temples and forehead, then he will bring them both forward in a movement clearly defining exasperation. Practice that image for a second… Are the pretzels making you thirsty?

Good. Now, also imagine that same gesture, but instead of a smooth, quick, forward motion, think of bringing them forward and splaying the fingers somewhat, and then waving them in a rapid, back-and-forth motion from about five inches away from the head to about three inches away from the head. This is also accompanied by eyelids going from relaxed to “Roger-Rabbit” eye-popping size. We will call this gesture “aghast-flabbergastedness”, for want of a better word.

Hey – never let it be said that I will send you off ill-prepared!

My girlfriend and I were driving home Monday afternoon after a busy day of skipping work (for me, at least, as her company is owned by foreigners who don't understand that they are supposed to hate black people and not take MLK Day as a holiday) and doing pretty much nothing productive (and having a damn fine time doing so, I might add!) We were stopped at a traffic light at Old Fannin Road and Flowood Drive (for those of you familiar with Rankin County and Dogwood Festival) and while waiting, she leaned over for a few seconds of “tongue-rasslin’” while I wasn’t having to divert all my attention to the road. My peripheral vision caught the change to green, and as I was shifting into first, a red mustang behind me honked long and loud, as if to tell me that the car in front of me was now 15 feet farther down the road and I was not yet moving.

He should have just gotten pissed and gunned his little mid-life-crisis-mobile past me and been done with it, because he was not yet aware of the sleeping tiger he had awakened within me.

About 200-300 yards down the road from this light is a strip-mall entrance and then a major intersection with a state highway. Traffic on this highway at that time of day in that area is usually reminiscent of a parking lot for a couple of miles until it opens up to 8 lanes (from 4). So as I am progressing towards this intersection with the idea of turning right (or west to any locals reading this), I notice that he is still behind me. I start to salivate in anticipation of the agony I can inflict upon his tiny-penis-hiding-hot-rod with my own vehicle, but it looked as if he were preparing to continue straight at the intersection instead of heading west.

Suddenly, he pulls into the turn lane! A quick “Yesss! Thank you, God!” escapes from my lips, turning my young lady into a squealing mass of laughter, as I never make any references to the hallowed one, except when deriding the “flamboyantly Christian locals” of the tri-county area.

Seeing this as a gift that must be accepted, I morph immediately into “fucked-up-driving-man”, unleashing my uncanny ability to second guess every move of my trailing prey and place myself soundly between the hapless victims and their destinations. It just so happened that traffic was indeed in parking lot mode, so all I was able to accomplish in such a short span was to pull out on the highway and then pull into the left lane to where a blue car was stopped. The right lane was stopped as well, but it was stopped farther back. So I had the lead - a whopping 2 car-lengths. But size means nothing to me! I was in front! Woohoo!!

Anyway, flaccid-penis-red-mustang-man pulls out onto the highway, guns his engine as if to pass me (although I am already stopped in the left lane) and then slams on his brakes to keep from ramming me. He then proceeds to display “aghast-flabbergastedness” (see above) as his aneurism begins to swell.

At this point I can only be amazed. This display, while rewarding, was certainly not an appropriate reaction for the limited skirmish we had fought. I don’t know if he wanted to be parked behind the blue car, or if he wanted to run into the blue car or what. But he was obviously pissed that I was stopped in traffic in front of him. So pissed, in fact, that he then proceeds to flip me off for a good 15 seconds. Quite a generous display, I might add. He was thrusting his fist and extended finger against his windshield, staring straight into my rear-view mirror.

All of a sudden, this was no longer fun. I realized that there could possibly be a madman behind me. He looked as if he were ready to ram me. I started to worry. The only weapon I had at my disposal was my phone-camera. I made a show of taking several pictures (the were worthless, but he couldn't tell!) and that seemed to have a calming effect on him. Maybe he just ran out of adrenaline? Who knows?

For the next few minutes, we crept through traffic. Once the jam began to ease, he continued to stay behind me. I think he was wary of me now. I had to turn off about then, and he shot past without even a glance, avoiding the all-seeing-RAZR-eye. Even though I bested this oaf, my fun was tempered with the realization that I was pretty damn glad he didn’t have a gun. And I was also pretty glad I didn’t have one, because I found myself fighting an overwhelming urge to yank him out of the car and shoot him on the spot in the middle of the highway for all the assholes to see. Road rage… It’s contagious.

Because even though I was completely guilty of wanting to be a pain in his ass, the traffic at the time did not allow it. I was innocent of any asshole-ishness or wrongdoing, but that was out of my control – I just never had time to use any of my moves. But he just freaked because I was in front of him, which would have been the case even if he hadn’t been an asshole and honked at me for kissing my girlfriend and wasting that valuable 3 seconds of his life that he would never be able to reclaim. It really could have been just an innocent thing. And he could have killed us, or worse, I could have killed him!


About an hour after this incident, Kenneth Thornton of Crystal Springs, Mississippi, was killed on I-220 on the other side of Jackson from where my fracas ensued. Apparently, the gunman didn’t like the way this guy passed him, and shot him in the back of the head while they were going 70mph on the interstate. Police are still searching for the asshole.

It’s a good thing my guns stay at home, because it is contagious!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

MLK Day observations

I would like to apologize in advance for several things in today’s post:
  • A rambling, go-nowhere kind of post.
  • The use of the word “nigger”
  • The use of the word “pussy”

Over the years I have developed a great distaste for the word “nigger”, and I almost never write it, and I rarely speak it. Only when I am very pissed. I liken the word “nigger” to be as offensive as the word “cunt”, which I also rarely use, and only when I am really pissed off. However, I was not able to use the word “cunt” in the post below. Instead I had to use “pussy”. While speaking of the same area geographically, the latter meaning is the one needed.

I have decided that there are 3 types of people in and around the area where I live, and perhaps farther spread than that.

These are:

  1. People who vehemently deny the honoring of Martin Luther King as they passionately acknowledge the honoring of Robert E. Lee.
  2. People who vehemently deny the honoring of Robert E. Lee and passionately acknowledge the honoring of Martin Luther King.
  3. People that accept both of these men and their places in history.

Numbers 1 and 2 are definitely the crowd pleasers here.

To tell you the truth, I have no idea when either birthday really is. But I do know that until I was in my twenties, business in Jackson, Mississippi (and I’m sure other southern cities as well) would close for Robert E. Lee’s birthday. I remember when I was young I was branded a heretic for asking why we celebrated him since he lost the Civil War. (Or the Great Unpleasantness as some still refer to it.)

However, through the years I have actually learned a little about the man and have come to realize that he did possess many traits that would should be considered noble. Now, I’m not making him out to be a great hero by any means, but he did manage some “forward thinking” actions in his lifetime, and I think that he and Dr. King may have been able to have some good discussions together.

So anyway, I took the day off yesterday. Not to honor either one of these men, but to spend the day with my girlfriend. Her company actually closed for a day! But they aren’t from around here.

It seems to me (and I may be wrong here) that some of the local businesses around here that once closed for REL day have, in a fit of spite to be admired by a precocious 2 year old, remained open once MLK day was established as a legal holiday. I can almost see these white-headed patriarchs, infirm and palsied, loosening their grip on their walkers in order to shake a spotty fist at the unseen enemy. “How dare you, suh?” they may croak. They probably feel as if the Negroes are raping their daughters unabashed, spoiling the flowers of Dixie.

Well, in case you were wondering, I am in the third category. While the majority of my friends are either 1 or 2. It reminds of the assholes that think that if you are not “pro-choice”, then you have to be “pro-death”. As if…

I can remember the turmoil surrounding the assassination if MLK. Memphis was just 200 miles from my house. My parents, as beatnik and uber-hip as the strove to be in 1960’s Jackson, worked themselves into a frenzy that night. I’m sure they were debating putting the mattresses against the walls to hopefully serve as projectile barricades or whether to go ahead and just shoot my brother and me and then kill themselves to avoid the coming slaughter. I had no idea of the scope of what was happening at the time. It just seemed to me like I was seeing an awful lot of televised funerals around that time.

Back in 1984 when U2’s “Pride” became a huge hit, the band I was in was covering that song. I will never forget the moment when one of my best friends said to me that MLK was “just another nigger” and then lashed out at U2 for writing that song. I have never been so astounded and amazed before or since. Here was a perfectly functioning member of society in all of the social graces and skills, but she was a true “daughter of the South” and it just freaked me out. Granted, her wounds were caused not by experiences, but by the clever honing of her mind by her parents and grandparents and a bevy of aunts and uncles, all intent on saving the South from the black man. And while I must admit she has mellowed over the years, I never again brought up that particular subject. I don’t want to know the answer. I pride myself on being patient enough to have friends in categories 1 and 2, but I guess one of the bad things about membership in the #3 club is that you occasionally just have to be a pussy and ignore the assholes.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Real-time controversy

Well, it looks like I got right into the middle of this one... James Frey - a millionare author of 2 published "memoirs' is now having to defend his "embellishments" and is trying to sue

Last night, he was on Larry King's show, being petted and stroked and even having Oprah call Larry's show and offer her support.

Why is it that I have this insane desire to see this guy humiliated?

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


Which Napoleon Dynamite character are you?

brought to you by Quizilla

Thanks, DeadpanAnn

"In retrospect, maybe that's not quite right...?"

Last night I was listening to All Things Considered on the way home. I had never heard of James Frey before, or his book. But William Bastogne, editor of has!

Remind me to never piss these guys off!

There is no way in the world I could ever write anything that could do justice to this story. Please read it for yourself. It's ridiculous, but it's also sad how many people have been taken in by this guy. I just think these guys are geniuses at tracking down this bastard's lies. Why didn't we have THEM looking for nonexistent WMD?

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Ahem... Kettle? You are indeed so black like me!

I can't believe that the first 11 sentences in my previous post all end with exlamation points! See!!! I can't stop! Well, I will try to do better, since I also rant about good grammar all the time. And empty coffee pots. And fuckers.

So it's January 4th now. Wal Mart has already filled the aisles with Valentine's day stuff. Then on Feb 15th, we'll have the Easter Tree decorations out.

Where I live, Easter is decorated seriously. Lots of crosses. I live in a subdivision called Crossgates. I always thought it had something to do with intersecting roads. Now I wonder. On the other side of Brandon (where I live) is a subdivision that touts itself as a Christian subdivision. At the entrance to the subdivision is a big marble-ish cross laying on it's side. I think it would be creepy living there. I imagine Stepford.

On the other side of my subdivision is a neighborhood that was built after mine. It is called "The Commons". A commons is a green, pastoral, park-like area shared by a community. But the builders apparently didn't pay attention in grammar class. For several years the big wooden sign out from said "The Common's". I took it to mean that everyone that lived in the subdivision was a peasant. People didn't understand why I called it "The Proletariat" or sometimes "Le Bourgeoisie". I guess they thought I couldn't read. So about 4 years ago, someone got hip. Maybe one of the neighborhood children noticed after a heady day in the classroom. Anyway, they decided that a change should be made. And in true lazy redneck fashion, someone just got a little dab obrown paint and painted over the apostrophe. So now the sign reads "The Common s" with a darker spot of brown betwixt the "n" and "s". It sounds like a bar. Which we can't have in our county. Or liquor stores. Because people think that when you open up liquor stores and bars, you will get strip clubs. In fact, restaurants can only serve beer. How bourgeois!

Anyway, Easter is decorated with a seriousness akin to Christmas. Which is my segue into my last decoration update. If you have read some of my previous posts, you no doubt read about "penitent Santa", "new penitent Santa" and "upgraded penitent Santa". "Penitent Santa" (or "original penitent Santa") never showed up. In fact, no decorations at all went up at this house. "New penitent Santa", the identical twin of "original penitent Santa", will probably become "default penitent Santa" next year, if "original" skips a second year. Maybe there was an illness in the family? Who knows? "Upgraded penitent Santa", if you remember, was just like OPS and NPS except it bore the legend "EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW" with the postscript "Romans 14:11". But the morning I was leaving on vacation and driving to my girlfriend's apartment, I found yet another "penitent Santa". This one was just like "upgraded penitent Santa", but where UPS had a pink background for the text, "counterfeit upgraded penitent Santa" (as this one shall be known) boasted a baby blue background, and no postscripted bible verse. Now, in fairness, it could actually be "beta-version upgraded penitent Santa" instead of "counterfeit upgraded penitent Santa". It is located not far from the font of "upgraded penitent Santas", as well as elves, angels, etc... This yard bore the questionable device "Art for sale", leading me to assume that not only were these hideous pop-ups considered by at least one person to be "art", but that this was the well from which they all sprung. So, "counterfeit upgraded penitent Santa" could in all fairness really be "beta-version upgraded penitent Santa", and created before the artisan realized that "EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW" was plagiarized text and that the reference should be included. Or someone could have just made their own. I will do my best to keep the controversy to a minimum.

I can't wait to see his/her Easter "art".

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Where the hell are the flying cars?

It's a new year, dammit! It just looks the same to me!

Well, okay! I'm different! That's right! The last thing I did in 2005 was exchange bodily fluids! It's also the first thing I did in 2006! I have to be careful! At my age, that could kill me!!!!

So yes indeed, I am grinning like nobody's business!

But fear not! I am not going to waste your precious time with any "guy talk" (although I have to say taking all those years of sexlessness improved my outlook on sex [which is another way of saying "if she's still walkin', I don't know my business!"]).

No - I have decided that I must tell you why I hate foreigners. Nope - not right! I have many friends that are not native to this continent. Hell - technically I am not native to this continent! But no, I have decided that I hate other state's foreigners. Maybe it's foreigners on vacations? I have no idea!

Last week, I spirited my girlfriend (ooooohhh! I like saying that!) out of town for a few days. I had not vacationed in several years, and neither had she. Plus, she works for a Japanese company and they are notorious workaholics AND her boss is a cunt! They are workaholics because they have to deal with a mothership on the other side of the planet (half a day off in time zones). I have no idea why her boss is a cunt, though!

So anyway, because our schedules are what they are, we had to keep it within the region so we could drive. New Orleans is broken, so I thought Atlanta would be good. Big enough to do lots of shopping and nightlife. Plus, we wanted to have at least one night for a dress-up date at a good restaurant. (By the way - just because a restaurant says "proper dress required", it doesn't necessarily mean that you can't wear sweat suits or have your pants halfway down your ass or wear a baseball cap indoors! But that's also another blog...) We had also planned to go see the peach drop at Underground, but we ended up having sex instead. Did I mention that I had sex? That being said, it was an excellent trip. Except for the foreigners.

Now, before I get labeled as some politically incorrect (I am) republican (am not) southerner (definitely), let me explain that I am not some politically incorrect rebuplican southerner. In other words, "shut up, he explained". Let me just say that as far as I am concerned, you are welcome here as long as you aren't trying to knock down our buildings or radiating the populace by blowing up cobalt bombs. I am all about the "melting pot" philosophy. But just because your country's culture may require you to be a rude asshole when you are on the streets of whatever third-world piece of shit hell hole you left behind doesn't mean that you bring that crap to me. You are in the South, goddammit! (Well, Atlanta's no longer a southern town, I guess...) But down here, we say hello to people, or smile. You no doubt noticed that I not only held the door open for you and your abused and neglected wife, but also for the African-American (too PC? Negro is still easier to say!) couple in front of you! And their ancestors were enslaved by mine! Yet they still managed a "thank you"! And a smile! Because I was smiling at them, maybe? But don't look at me like I need to be washing the oil-well residue off your fucking BMW instead of staying in the same hotel as you! Eat shit, fucker! And you apparently know enough English to check in, so don't use that as an excuse!

Ahhhh... It's good to be back.

It turns out that the nicest people in Atlanta (other than the staff at Fellini's Pizza - but I already new that one!) were the hotel housekeeping staff. I had a wonderful time chatting it up with a young lady bearing towels in the elevator on New Year's day! The desk staff left a little to be desired. And the ancient white bell captain can kiss my ass. (Maybe he has a bigger problem with foreigners than I do?) But the (much older) housekeeping lady that interrupted us during sex (did I mention that I had sex?) (and that I was still having sex at 10:30?) was equally nice, but I didn't have much opportunity to talk to her through the half-inch crack in the door. But I would like to thank the housekeeping staff for being good people. You must be from the south.

But back to the foreigner thing. Here's where I sound like the right-winder that I am not. Make that right-winger. That I am most certainly not.

When you come here, try to learn these 3 phrases - "Hello", "Thank You", "Goodbye". It would be great if you could communicate in English, but I have learned that a large portion of the citizenry of the U.S. can't communicate in English. I mean people with English as their first language! But that's another blog... However, you are more than welcome (as far as I'm concerned) to come here and continue your "English As A Second Language" studies if you are planning on living here. If you are vacationing, then the above 3 phrases (and a willingness to experiment in hand signals) will get you extremely far in my book. (When I meet new Japanese students at the ELI at USM, I immediately teach them how to say "Hey y'all". Occasionally I get them as far as "how's your mama 'n' them?".) But for fuck's sake - just because you might come from a place where it's possible that someone smiles and nods at you and says the local equivalent of "hey" just prior to caning, flogging or beheading you doesn't mean you shouldn't do your homework before visiting to learn that, yes, there are some areas of the US where strangers say hello to other strangers! Hell, I say "hi" to strangers in New York! Sure, it brands me as a rube, but what the fuck do I care. I figure I'm giving them a good story for when they get home that night!

So on Sunday, we drove back home. I love driving with my girl, because when she gets sleepy, she wraps both her arms around my right arm and goes to sleep on my shoulder. But it was a grey, cloudy day and I was driving back roads instead of interstates. It took forever, but I was just prolonging the moment when we would be separated for the first time in 5 days. We stopped in Anniston to get some food and also to have 2 redneck crackers and their redneck cracker whores make some snide comments about my girlfriend's nationality that I didn't quite catch until one of the crackers started doing lots of throat clearing (in the American redneck fucker's signal for "shut up - he's listening"). But she was cool with it (because she's fucking awesome!) and just chalked it up to Alabama being full of ignorant RC/RCW pieces of shit. We got back on the road and stopped in Meridian for gas and snacks. In the store, I ran into a man and his son, both of a Latin-American persuasion, at the drink cooler. The young boy was speaking rapid-fire Spanish, proudly extolling the virtues of the candy bar that he was preparing to purchase. Out of habit I smiled, nodded and said "hey" to the father, and he smiled, and nodded back. No "hey", but I still wanted to hug him! I like our foreigners! I hate everyone else's foreigners!

So, except for the sex (I'm pretty sure I mentioned that I had sex!), 2006 looks pretty much the same as 2005. And now that I have a girlfriend, I have decided that I need a fiance. That's something I will have to work on this year. And dropping the five pounds of cookies, cake, ice-cream and strawberries and cream frappucinos that I seem to have collected during the holidays.

Rock on!