Monthly Archives: December 2012

If You Have Been In A McDonalds Drive-thru You Know The Demons

Where some people see a McDonald's Drive-thru I see pergatory and Dante's Inferno.

Where some people see a McDonald’s Drive-thru I see purgatory and Dante’s Inferno.

The drive-thru at McDonald’s is like being seized and strapped to a dead rotting body and being cast into the eternal bonds of hell. The order is placed, you pull around to the first window, your money is taken, and once that occurs you are left in purgatory to rot. You can’t leave. Sometimes they have you sandwiched between two cars so you can’t possibly escape even if you wanted to.

Typically in front of me are three minivans with six kids each bouncing around like flees on a mange infested mut. In reality it is a vessel where the Devil keeps his demons under restraint. That minivan is like Pandora’s Box; once opened all the misery of the word escapes, but for the time being the little demons must be fed and they are never satisfied, their orders are always wrong and I must wait in line behind them until every trace of pickle is removed from little Sally’s Happy Meal cheeseburger; catsup only!

All I want is coffee and I’m be good to go.

I wait and wait uttering a silent prayer, change the radio station, and adjust the rearview mirror. The lady behind me thinks I’m checking her out. ‘No, no,’ I say with my eyes. It’s the demon minivans in front of me. She thinks I’m trying to be alluring and says something to her six foot six boy friend next to her who would be driving, but he just got out of prison and has the McNugget shakes that has to be appeased.

Peering ahead I observe what is going on in the first minivan full of demons currently at the window where the orders are passed out. The employee at the window hands at least ten bags of food and four trays of soft drinks. The minivan lunges forward six inches and comes to an abrupt stop. I’m thinking, ‘Ah another soul has yet to be won over to hell.’ The driver gives a somewhat animated appeal and given another bag of food to appeal the demons and save his soul from the clutches of the demonic possession.

The next minivan pulls forward. It is rocking from side to side; the demons are restless, they must be fed. They don’t live off food from McDonald’s, no, they live off the misery they are causing to people like me. I wait. I think about growing older. I think about running in a field of flowers overlooking a pasture of docile sheep and the sea beyond with crested white caps. I adjust the radio hoping for serene and soft music. Suddenly I hear the Charley Daniels Band playing The Devil Came Down to Georgia!

There must be at least five special orders in that minivan and I bet none of them are anywhere close to being right. At last, the minivan moves on, but only after bribing them with a whole sack full of extra fries. Demons love fries.

Finally the van ahead of me is at the window. Only a three of the six demon children are in car seats, but they look worthy of the test. They are in training. The longer they take and the more frustrated they make me the closer they sit to the Devil at the evening meal.

I once read an article about being patient. I didn’t finish it because it was taking to long to get to the point. Isn’t that something they can tell you in the first paragraph. Anyway I think the point of the article was to take the time you are being delayed and use it for something useful.

What can I do stuck behind three car loads of kids that will someday bear the name ‘generation zero.’ They are spoon fed sugar, video games, iPods, iPhones, and I-don’t-want-pickle-on-my-Happy-Meal-cheeseburger. They were born and bred to suck up every last dime of social welfare and social security money that should line the pockets of tax evading Wall Street hedge fund managers and investors. As you can tell I’m at the point of my wait where everything is bad, nothing is good; I hate kitties and puppies now. I’m about to explode. My heart is about to burst from my chest and my eyes have long ago dislodged from their sockets. My mouth is dry, my stomach is cramped, and I got to pee – very badly.

The third demon car leaves. I pull to the window. I smile. I have been freed from the bonds of purgatory!

The window opens. The barley awake McDonald’s dweeb says, “Sir we just put on a fresh pot. Would you mind pulling forward?”

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Filed under Business, Essays

A New Year’s Musical Memory

Guy Lumbardo, it wasn't New Year's without him. It's sort of funny now that I think about it; that's the only time I ever heard him. He coudn't have lived on just one gig a year!

Guy Lumbardo, it wasn’t New Year’s without him. It’s sort of funny now that I think about it; that’s the only time I ever heard him. He coudn’t have lived on just one gig a year!

I haven’t gone to a New Year’s Party ever.

I don’t get ‘em. One day is the same as another.

The expression “see the new year in together” is used often. What changes from a second before midnight to a second after? Nothing; and everybody knows it.

On top of that nearly everybody except for retailers close; there are no government services, no banks, doctor’s offices are closed, nearly every administration and manufacturing function of the nation stops. I’m not necessarily complaining; I just don’t get it.

Mom and Dad never went out. Dad always went to bed and never saw a New Year’s come in. On the other hand Mom stayed up. And I stayed up with her.

We watched the ball drop in Times Square on an old black and white, which was kind of pathetic when you think about it; sitting alone on a cold winter evening watching others celebrate.

After the ball dropped Mom quickly changed the channel to find Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians play Auld Lang Syne.

Here is Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians December 31, 1957 probably just the way Mom and I watched it:


Filed under My Music

Boise State; The Close Of A Season And The D J Harper Era

There must be a special feeling in the heart of Chris Petersen for D J Harper.

There must be a special feeling in the heart of Chris Petersen for D J Harper.

The season is over for Boise State football; now breathe.

I could be wrong (and normally I am), but it may have been D J Harper who said he knew it was going to be ugly this year. I suppose when you are used to flat out gorgeous than beautiful may come away as being ugly.

An 11 – 2 was much better than what was expected and at the same time five points from a victory against Michigan and three points against San Diego State.

This season featured the future of Boise State. To start with there is Joe Southwick, who with the exception of two games, performed as a if steady well-oiled machine. Jay Ajayi gave a taste of power and speed that may move him to the tier of elite runners in the nation. Shane Williams-Rhodes may just develop into one of the most versatile athletes and all purpose offensive threats Boise has ever seen.

There will be a whole host of personnel who contributed significantly return next year. It will be interesting to see how each one develops and matures in the off-season.

It is obvious Chris Petersen does not run a half-way house for disadvantaged, delinquents, and the wayward. When a man comes to Boise State he is expected to be a good person, good student, and good citizen first. It is man-up time. What ever you think you are or was has to be left at the state line. There are consequences for bad behavior and breaking team rules.

Boise State was effected by such consequences. Those rules, unknown to the public, apparently are not trivial. Petersen and his staff believe in them so rigorously that no one is so valuable that they are exempt. Those rules are not overlooked for the sake of any game no matter how important.

This past season a few key players were suspended. Likely it may have actually cost a game. What has to be remembered; it was not the rule, it was the person that broke it.

There are probably few programs in the nation that would adhere to team rules to the point of suspending a key player at the peril of losing a game.

It was mentioned in a previous paragraph that suspensions may have cost a game, but who knows how many games such discipline may have won?

The Maaco Bowl Game against the University of Washington was a great ending to a pretty good year. Nothing to gloat over, but they did what was needed to win.

It was a come-from-behind win in the waning minutes of the game. Not only the winning score, but the defense stopping a potential winning drive.

A lot of comments have showed up on various sites by disgruntled Husky’s fans. They said their team was bigger, stronger, and faster. They may be right, but games are not won by how well players perform in the combines, but by the final score.

The season rested on the timely performance of two players, Mike Atkinson and Michael Frisina.

In the game against the Huskies Frisina accounted for ten points; clearly one of the differences between winning and loosing.

It was Mike Atkinson who came up with an interception and ran it back for a score against a 7 – 6 win against BYU. Frisina kicked the point-after.

It is interesting the part of the game (field goal kicking) that has caused the loses over the last five years has finally won a game for Boise. Kicking is important!

Those were the ones who showed up in the headlines and the box scores. There is a whole host of unsungs who did their job when called to do so; the good block, tight coverage, the batted pass, the pressure on the quarterback, and so on.

So closes the D J. Harper era a Boise State. Perhaps one of the most underrated backs in college football. He survived two torn ACLs. I’ve tried to find a statistic on D J that has been eluding me. He may not have fumbled this year. If so, WOW!

D J epitomizes the Boise State program; work hard, don’t make mistakes, and don’t give in or up.

August 31, 2013, Husky Stadium.


Filed under Sports

Listening On Radio To The First Liston/Clay Fight With Dad

The tale of the tape; Sonny Liston was a 7 - 1 favorite over Cassius Clay.

The tale of the tape; Sonny Liston was a 7 – 1 favorite over Cassius Clay.

Dad and I were in constant friction about who were the best athletes, the old timers or the new guys (who are today’s old timers)? It was an amusing and fun bantering with him about something that had and obvious conclusions. It seemed as if for the sake of Dad’s own pride he held on to the good old days.

I never knew how important this was to Dad until February 25th 1964. It was the night of the first Liston/Clay (Ali) fight.

Dad and I debated for months about the fight. I favored the younger, brash braggadocio blathering lightening fast Cassius Clay. Dad preferred, the brawling brooding brutish thunderous slugger Sonny Liston. He was a throw-back of what my Dad thought heavyweight boxer should be.

Dad and I sat at the kitchen table listening to the Liston/Clay fight over radio. It was a different time. We lived in a farm-house seemingly isolated from the world around us except for a TV and radio. It was a small cozy kitchen with a counter top and painted white homemade cabinets. The appliances were early to mid fifties white. There was a certain aroma to farm kitchens; there was always the presence of the odor of well water. We waited months for this fight. Dad was nursing his second beer and not particularly enjoying what he was hearing over the radio, it sounded as if Clay was winning. Sonny Liston was not landing any of his punches while clay was jabbing and scoring.

Dad sat at the table sort of shadow boxing to the description of the fight by the announcer. He could not have been anymore involved than if he was in Liston’s corner. “Cut off the ring. Get underneath the jab. Charge and lead with your right when he backs away. That sets him up for the left upper cut.” Dad shouted commands like he was in the corner. Dad took a swig from his beer and turned to me. “He won’t stand toe to toe and fight like a man.”

“This is boxing, Dad,” I said. “It’s not a brawl. It’s about who has the over-all best skills.”

When Liston remained in his corner not answering the bell for the seventh round Clay was awarded the victory by TKO.

Everyone was stunned. I was stunned. I really thought Clay did not stand a chance. The odds were so heavily in Liston’s favor.

Immediately Dad said, “It’s fixed. There’s no way.”

“I can’t believe it,” I said gleefully.

“He took a dive,” Dad said sitting his bottle firmly on the table.

I was giddy inside.

It seemed as if Dad began to doubt the existence of reason and order. The only way he could make sense of this was to say, “It’s fixed.”

This fight was more than a fight to Dad. It was much more than that.

Next week I’ll explain a little more.



Filed under Dad

Ebenezer Scrooge’s Christmas Much Maligned And Misunderstood

If you had a sniveling, whinning, and unappreciative employee like Bob Crachit what kind of employer would you be?

If you had a sniveling, whining, and unappreciative employee like Bob Crachit what kind of employer would you be?

Ebenezer Scrooge was a realist and visionary, but eventually he sold out.

Charles Dickens, who created the character Scrooge, hated rich people and aristocrats, which he eventually became. He made a literary career out of exploiting the poor and profiting from their misery. In many ways not much different from the Scrooge he vilified.

Scrooge, though, was doing no more than what any businessman of his day did. He planned to conduct business on the day that Christians wrestled from the pagans. Christmas in the mid 1800’s was viewed by many as too worldly and pagan, which in fact it was. Although Scrooge’s motives are in question, one cannot deny the rightness of his position from either an economic, religious, or a historical viewpoint.

His dreams were, I think and have ample reason to believe, induced by his sniveling and disgruntled employee Bob Crachit. It was no doubt an opium induced dream state that caused Scrooge to change his ways.

Bob Crachit somehow is viewed as a sympatric character in spite of the fact that his lack of industriousness and initiative placed him and his family in a state of poverty. Could he have not displayed an entrepreneurial spirit and start his own accounting business?

What about Tiny Tim and his affliction that rendered him to spend the rest of his life with a crutch? Was Scrooge to blame for that? No one has ever asked if Mrs. Crachit smoked or did drugs while carrying Tiny Tim. What I’m saying is that the Crachit’s cannot be entirely without blame.

Was Dickens’ book, A Christmas Carol, a victim itself of the law of unintended consequences? The very things it wanted to promote in people such as love and charity it produced the opposite – greed and loneliness. Christmas is a greed filled and motivated holiday and for many the loneliest day of the year.

What if Scrooge’s conscience pricked him some other time of year or multiple times out of the year without the overtones of being forced into giving because of some impending holiday? What if charity were something displayed throughout the year?

It is of interest to note that much of what is viewed as Christmas tradition today was  invented by the creative mind of writer Washington Irving. Christmas did not become a national holiday in the United States until 1870 and it was only then that religion and merchants hijacked it for their personal aims and use. Christmas was actually outlawed at one time in Boston and New York. Anyone singing Christmas songs were to be arrested. Likewise when Dickens conjured the Ghost of Christmas Past, there really was none – he manufactured the tradition. There was no tradition.

Displays of charity, kindness, and love displayed once a year are exactly that – ‘displays.’


Filed under Adventures From Rode Apple Junction, Essays

At McDonalds, If It Ain’t On The Register’s Screen It Must Not Exist.

The McDonalds,s register's cumputer screen; all the mysteries of the universe can be found there - well not quite

The McDonalds,s register computer screen; all the mysteries of the universe can be found there – well not quite

It takes very little to entertain me. To illustrate I enjoyed a book on chess entitled One Hundred Soviet Chess Miniatures – riveting stuff.

When I go to McDonald’s it’s like Disney World on speed for me.

I approach the geek or sweetie behind the register who I will call Spook. Spook says, “Welcome to McDonald’s, may I take your order.”

“I’d like to have a Big Mac without the center bun,” I say, lean back, and watch the excitement. Let the games begin!

“Do they come that way?” Spook says.

“Sure,” I say. “I’ve had them before.”

Spook suddenly becomes fixated on the register’s screen like a cat watching a squirrel bury its stash. The screen reveals no secrets or clues. He’s been trained that if all else fails stare at the register screen. There is nothing on the screen that can be related to the average teenage brain. He doesn’t see a video game or bong, he’s lost. If a picture of a the Mona Lisa popped up on the screen they’d say, “Just a sec, old dude. The dollar menu is next, I can tell because I got the picture of George Worthington on my screen.”

It used to be a joke if you saw somebody reading something and you would say, “What you doing, there ain’t no pictures there.” Spook wouldn’t get it – because it would be true. Spook is still not sure what Dick, Jane, and spot ruined.

So, I order my Big Mac with no center bun. Spook starts looking for it on the computers screen and pretends to dial in with his finger. “Oh, oh, I know where it is. I just saw it.” (He knows, I know, this is a stalling tactic.)

“Just charge me for a Big Mac,” I say. “And special order it with no center bun.”

“Excellent,” Spook says. “I should have thought of that.” (Come on, Spook, admit it you still don’t know what’s going on.)

“That’s okay,” I say. “I’ve done this before.”

“Right, I thought you knew what you were doing.” There is a meditative pause. “How do you want your center bun. I mean like, you already paid for it.”

“That‘s up to you. I don‘t want it.” I say. “I don’t care what you do with it.”

Spook becomes visibly shaken. “Well than the whole Big Mac one-center bun-with-a- top-and-bottom-bun-continuum will be off by one center bun. Who knows what that would do the all the cosmic forces in the universe. Like, could the world handle that?” (Give Spook credit, he recognizes the universe is organized, just not how.)

“Maybe you could just throw it away,” I suggest.

“That’s like wasteful. Think of all the starving kids,” Spook says.

“How is my eating it going to solve the problem of world hunger?” I say.

Spook looks back to the screen with that focused cat look again.

“What are you doing?” I ask.

“Old dude,” Spook says mysteriously. “The answer must be on the screen. My manger said all I will ever need to know is on the screen. There are so many unanswered questions to life. Dude, don‘t you get it. It‘s the screen.”


Filed under Business

Musical Memory: My Kids Digged Lawrence Welk

And a vone, and a two, and a tree.

And a vone, and a two, and a tree.

In the 70’s my family (Jackie, my wife, Kathy our oldest daughter, Patty, our youngest daughter, and Matt, our son) and I lived in an old farm-house surrounded by corn fields and space.

It was a good time. It was simple and uncomplicated, although at the time life seemed a struggle.

Compared to today there was little to do. We had a black and white TV. We only got three channels. I don’t know how we ever made it?

There was little television programming available at 7:00 PM on Sundays. We watched Lawrence Welk. The program introduced my children to a variety forms of music, although we used to make fun of a lot of the performances.

Out of this somewhat Spartan existence comes a flood of fond memories. Memories that had little meaning or context to me until one particular occasion my daughter, Patty, started singing a song. Kathy and Matt joined in as if on cue. I laughed until nearly in tears.

My children claim to still bear emotional trauma and scares from watching Lawrence Welk.

Here is that song my children sang;

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Filed under My Music