Thursday, August 30, 2012

USADA to Strip Me of Sleep

I will get you Mr. Wily Guy
and your little dog too!
Travis Tygart, having recently convicted Lance Armstrong, in the court of Travis Tygart, on doping has moved on to a more subtle target.

In a bold move, he made the following statement:

Having put one unfair advantage in our rear-view mirror, it is time to take on another far more insidious criminal in one Wily Guy. His use of Benadryl to both aid his sleep and his recovery from allergic reactions has given him an unfair advantage at work and among his peers. I will not sleep (unaided by Benadryl) until I have stripped him of all this unfair sleep that he gained. I will also look to have his cost of living adjustments, raises, and any meritorious awards removed. We are going to show our teeth in evening the playing field for all of life's contestants.

While repeatedly stomping his foot he went on to say,

In addition to the life sanctions we plan to levy, our goal is to raise annual giving for this important work. As we work towards increasing our federal grant money, understand that this is crucial work. Without the finest lawyers, bribes and kickbacks, I wouldn't this program wouldn't have nearly the media attention that it deserves in our fight against corruption of our most cherished of our country's legacies...honesty.

How can I go home and preach the advantages of removing advantages to my children while men like Mr. Guy can go about using these insidious methods to move ahead in their chosen career fields.  I find this reprehensible and I plan to leverage the full resources of the federal grants, government and courts to bring an end to this injustice.

On a final note, once Mr. Guy is suitably humbled, I plan to turn my attention to the Jamaican Sprint Team.  Though my organization is bound to the laws and borders of the United States, I feel that the UN has untapped resources to allow me my organization to investigate this on their behalf. If legs have to be broken to see justice is done, that is a tragedy, but one I feel we can all live with... for the children.

Lance: Benadryl? Not me!
When reached for comment, Lance Armstrong had the following statement:

As a 7-time Tour De France winner and someone who suffered from testicular cancer, I was not once tempted to succumb to the evil that is Benadryl for sleep or allergy relief. My heart goes out to Mr. Guy as he makes his way in the proceedings.  In the end, it is important to note that though my loss in court was a personal loss, I continue to be a popular sports figure whose legacy will continue on in my foundation.

Dude Write

I'm linking up with the fantabulousness that is DudeWrite again this week... I kinda have to, but I would even if I didn't....confused?  Don't be... just plan your Sunday evening as a time of reading:  click the link, read the entries, comment or tweet the ones you like and then vote.  You get three votes, use them wisely... vote for mine and the two other suckers who you know have no chance of beating me.... or you could like Travis Tygart espouses... be fair and vote for your favorites.

Saturday, August 25, 2012


Greetings to my normal (really?) readers who are staring at this page, wondering what all these words are about. Sensing a lack of snark, my readers should not be alarmed. I am competing in a Flash Fiction challenge over at DudeWrite. The idea is to write a story in under 500 words using a starting sentence given as part of the challenge. Please consider browsing over there and checking out some equally good posts from other writers, who happen to be dudes.

Never one to turn down a dare, I was instantly excited with escaping the second grade. When my best friend Flip said I should have a go at outrunning the teacher and escape to the glory of the playground I felt the rush of the challenge.

Flip and I had been pals since the moment we met in second grade. Mrs. Spangler, who taught these children with whom we shared the class, was high on our loathing list. Since the moment we had entered the class, she had cordoned off a special area for Flip and I, as if she knew we'd be trouble.

Flip said that there would come a time when I could make a run for it. Science or Free Period had the best options. Enough chaos in the classroom at those times might allow me just enough of a head start to make it to freedom.

The time came and I made my move. I leaped to the counter nearest to the door and boldly leapt for the door that was open just enough. Making myself as small as possible, I ran toward the light of the front door, hoping to remain undetected.

As I made my courageous run, I was spotted by an administrator and seemingly the unnecessary shriek of that woman sent what felt like the entirety of the school in my pursuit.

From behind me, I heard Mrs. Spangler call my name. Then the doors of seemingly all the classrooms opened. I could hear some of the kids in the other classrooms cheering me on as if I was running for all of them. I heard teachers come barreling out of their classrooms to join in the pursuit. Who knew that the rules of decorum, or at least the ones taught during a fire drill here could so easily be set aside to run after me.

Still, I had the head start and Flip's brilliant plan. As I passed the administration office in the front of the building, I began to feel that success was possible. At roughly the same time, I realized that I should have had lunch before this run. Stomach growling in that "I may never get to eat again" way, my thoughts turned to reversing course and returning for my lunch. Knowing I would never make a full round trip, I satisfied myself with the refreshing taste of freedom.

Dashing through the last set of open doors into the lobby, I was one set of doors from freedom, the pursuit hot on my tail.

I hit the doors to victory at full speed, but they didn't budge. Had they been locked? Did Flip dime me out? I was trapped like a rat in this lobby area and all I could think to do was to hide. As I tried to bury myself in Lost and Found coats, I felt the hands grabbing me, the great escape was over.

Flip would be laughing his hamster ass off when I returned.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Friend

What is a bad friend? Let's start with a story.

Markus Aquarius and Rudy
There were two guys who were well liked by most people and pretty good friends. One was an outgoing viciously friendly guy who loved life and the people encountered along the way. This guy was always willing to help out his friends and mentor younger guys. He had a cheery disposition.

He also had cancer. He didn't know he had cancer, well, until he did. Cancer took his bladder and left him in the unenviable position to have a bag attached to his leg.

He battled cancer and beat it down. He went into remission.

But cancer is a dick, an ugly friend if you will who is always with you. It waited until his guard went down and came roaring back, attacking other organs and when he found out, it was already stage 4. Doctors gave him a short span to enjoy his time here and he set out to wrangle the disease again. He never lost hope, never accepted defeat, his attitude was always positive.

Or so I heard... I'm the other guy... the bad friend.

I've stewed on writing this because it was going to be hard. I may have to keep trying to write it and if you're reading it, I must have finished it.

Mark was my friend. He taught me more about reef tanks, life, parenting, and God than I ever had a chance to thank him for. The first time I got the news that Mark had cancer, I visited him once or twice. I told myself that I was staying out of the way of the healing process. He had plenty of visitors and I had life's challenges and raising kids to worry about.

I should have thrown the Excuse flag right then. I didn't want to deal with Cancer. I know it isn't contagious, but I couldn't deal with it. When I realized I wasn't dealing with it, I made the excuse that it was too long and too late and I couldn't go back and do it over. How could I walk back in as if nothing had ever happened?

And then he beat it down. I was excited for him. We chatted on Sundays. We didn't talk about cancer or survival or bladder bags. We didn't talk about my fear and cowardice and not visiting.

I had been downstairs with the kids on a particular Sunday a year or so later and didn't catch announcements and prayer requests, but got a call on my way home from work from Mark. He knew he hadn't seen me and wanted to tell me personally that the cancer was back. He told me the doctors had told him he was going to die, as matter of fact as that... because that was his nature. He said he was going to keep his head up because all the survivor stories he had heard involved people not losing hope.

It was at that point that I said I was sorry. I was sorry that I didn't know what else to say other than "I'm sorry." I was sorry that I hadn't been there on the first go around. I was sorry that I just couldn't deal with it and had difficulty not saying what was on my mind and being direct. I was sorry that I wasn't as hopeful as he was. I told him wanted to be there for him but that I didn't want to diminish his hope.

Like a good friend, he allayed my fears. He said that his hope was much stronger in its root than my fear. He told me as matter of fact that he had conversed with his wife and that they would enjoy whatever time the Lord allowed him on this earth and then he'd see her in Heaven. He said it in much the same way as you'd tell someone that you would meet them at a restaurant.

His first few weeks were a little rough and I visited him in the Hospital with my eldest son. Mark seemed impatient to begin treatment that he knew would eradicate the spreading ugliness of cancer. The doctors wanted all the right conditions for maximum effectiveness. A week or so later, I visited him at home with my middle son. With the winter pressing upon us, colds in the family kept me from visiting for fear of exposing him to something that he wouldn't be able to fight.

Spring led to my migraines that wouldn't go away, allergies crushing my spare time. My remaining spare time was spent on catching up on the chores that I needed to do. I always kept an eye on emails about his progress and things never looked down. I realized that people with great hope don't often have "bad" progress reports.

And then my wife called me at work one day and asked the words I already knew the answer to... "did you hear about Mark?"

I had done it again. This time, I couldn't apologize.

It has been more than two months since I got that call.

I am not certain I will ever meet someone as genuine as Mark. I have to imagine that if he were here with me, he'd be assuring me that I was a good friend during some of his best days, he wouldn't mention the bad days. He would forgive me and tell me that he can't wait to see me again. That's what Good friends do, or so I've been told.

But he's not here...

I have to believe he is enjoying the best fishing of his life.  I can't wait to see him again.

I'm linking to Dude Write this week. You should visit and read some great posts by Dudes!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Because Six Words Are Just Enough

Because of a six word challenge.




It is important to be brief.




I was sad until Sioux Falls.




Not as pathetic as it sounds.




Who knew that brevity was freeing.




Fajitas for dinner, are you staying?




For sale, baby shoes, never worn...




(ok I took that from Hemingway)




People talk too much, simplicity rules.




Stop talking and kiss me now.




I remember you, then I awoke.




My Six Words are done now.




Six word comments are always welcome.


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Bringer of Conversity

So, recently it was asked of the community over at Dude Write the following question by ThirtyFlirtyFit:

Well, if there is one thing guys will do, it is to rise to a challenge.

Ms. Fit should consider herself lucky that she did not invoke the all powerful double-dog dare! She would have found herself in our service even after our proverbial tongues are removed from the icy metal playground pole. (ok, that almost didn't sound right and if you had two meanings in mind when reading it, I meant the cleaner one!)

She said "bring it!"

Men are generally going to have one of several problems carrying on conversations with women on dates. Now because it was twitter, we could assume Ms. Fit was intentionally leaving out the "on" to save on characters. That said, she seems to have plenty of the 140 left, so I must conclude that she was intentional that she wants a man to "carry" the conversation, as in lead said word fest.

1. Men have long been told to listen to women. We aren't good listeners, but we also know that talking too much is a sure sign that we aren't listening. Are you saying that our moms' lied to us, you don't want us to listen to you?

2. Our topics aren't likely to overlap... thankfully I married a woman who likes sports. A "man's man" is likely better able to converse about the fantasy wide receiver prospects in the upcoming NFL season than the last book we read. We can cheerfully identify any car driving by (well, except me) and tell you it's horsepower and JD Power ranking, before we'll have any clue about a Nicholas Sparks movie.

3. Men think differently than women. You've read Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, right? Yeah... we haven't. We do much better with Yes/No questions than in the abstract. Ask a guy, "did you like the movie?" and you'll get an answer. Ask him about the social significance of movies in the modern culture and you'll most likely get "I like movies." That isn't to say that men can't answer a similar question, we just normally have difficulty with more abstract questions. Think of it like colors, we have red, while you have mauve, rouge, tulip grove, crimson, ruby, maroon, barn red, fire engine red, firebrick, etc. (yeah, I had to look up the names). Dare I say we have black and white, while you have 50 shades of grey?

4. Ok, here's a secret that will likely get me kicked out of the Junior International Society of Men (JISM)... We'll listen to and jabber on about whatever you might be inclined to discuss, just to get in your pants. This has much further reaching implications. We will lie. I'm not proud of us. I'm often not one of us.

5. We are intimidated by your beauty and become tongue tied in your presence. (OK, if you actually thought that was real, please see #4 again)

Given these reasons, I suggest to Ms. Fit and all the fine Dude Write Impressive Mademoiselles (DWIM...really got a find a better acronym) the following advice:

1. Date someone you are already friends with. I can't fathom the odds of a blind date working out, but roughly I'd guess the same as being struck by lightning, twice, while at the lottery office claiming the big prize on your birthday, which is Leap Day...and a Tuesday. Yeah, that often. Don't expect that because you're hot, you have to find someone of equal hotness.  Think about being with your best girlfriend (umm, the guys certainly are) and the kinds of things that you can honestly share... now go find that in Dude form.

2. Where ARE you finding your dates? If you are a bookworm, a bar may not be a "target rich environment." Sure, you might get lucky like Mrs. Mynd did, but I don't care how rich you are, girls twice struck by lightning are going to strike out at a bar.  If you're more inclined to be at the bar, its probably best not to latch onto Mr. "Checking Out Dostoevsky for the 15th time" at the library while you're picking up your lottery copy of 50 Shades of Grey.

3. Give your date a topic ahead of time. Preferably not in a blunt, "pick me up at 8 and we'll be discussing the Theory of Relativity and Einstein's lack of sleep." Better would be a "I can wait to see you, (always an excellent start) Did you watch the President's speech last night?" Best would be, "Did you catch the (insert sporting event) last night?"

4. Decide whether everyone has to be knowledgeable about a topic. And there it is. He doesn't think you want to hear about Fantasy Football. If that is all he can bring and you don't care, well maybe that isn't a love connection.  I expect that Mrs. Mynd will want to talk about things that really aren't on my daily radar, but I follow along and try to ask questions.

5. Start date conversation with "Why do you think men might find it difficult to have a conversation on a date?" I mean, if he can't answer that he'd better be hot and great in the sack.
This, my friends, is why I am the triple threat.

Dude Write
Consider it broughten.  And at Dude Write as well.

If you've not been there, click on the link or the button.  Then create yourself a calendar reminder dealie to go back on Sunday Night or Monday and vote for 3 of your favorites.  I'm sure you'll want to just vote for mine, but ALL the entries will be good.  You CAN still vote for mine, though.  You WILL, right?

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Levels of Drunk

I recently had a conversation with my therapist who told me that he'd never been drunk. He's not a teetotaler or under age. He's also not Amish, fake or otherwise. He just doesn't drink to excess. I found this a little incredible and wondered how much he'd be able to relate to me. I'm no lush, but have certainly had a few experiences bad and good. My first question is if you don't know what "excess" is, how do you know when you're close? As I discussed this with him, I thought for those of you considering getting your drink on for the first time, this would be a helpful scale.

Hey you!
Come sit on the couch and eat couscous with me
1. Relaxed - Relaxed is that wonderful one beer or a glass of wine feeling. All the little tensions of the day don't seem nearly as stressful. If this were the weather, it would be sunny, not too hot or humid with a light breeze. This mood may put you in the mood for something slightly exotic to eat.

If puking were like rain in the forecast, chance of pukrification would be 10%.

I probably won't think that's funny tomorrow.

2. Happy - Happy is obviously the next stage. Happy is subjective. I become happy, others become quiet, some become sullen. I like to think of this as happy.

At this stage, for the happy folks, jokes are funnier.  Your words may become slightly slurred, but only certain words.  Did I mention this will be funny?

The people who become quiet are likely perceived as listening intently.  I know someone who is normally boisterous and when drinking becomes quiet.  The quiet is disconcerting, but they don't edge into becoming an ass.

You may reach this stage unintentionally, for instance, being thirsty on a hot day might lead to overindulgence in the beers.  Caught early, the wise drinker will switch to Water, Ice Tea, or Soda.

Chance of pukrification 25%

Moves like STAGGER.
3. God's Gift - At the God's Gift stage, the liquid confidence is fully percolating in your bloodstream. You become God's Gift to dancing, singing, women, fighting, and general badassery. You've got moves like Jagger and there is no equal to you on the dance floor as you sweat through the second of four shirts you brought to the club. If your taste runs to Karaoke bars, you will be working on notes never before hit by a guy, hell some aren't human. There are no women out of your league. You have a strut to your walk that gives you back cleavage, you know, when your shoulders are so far back in your swagger that your upper back is forced to look like your butt.

For me, this stage is where you will find me discussing my sobriety with myself in the mirror of the men's room. I will say things like "I'm not drunk!" and believe it based upon whether I laugh. There will be head shaking pursuant to a determination if I have moved to the next step.

Chance of pukrification 50%

Fly like an eagle...
4. Room moving slow - this is the stage where liquid confidence leads into general stupor. You'll have that vague feeling that you've had too much to drink and yet you'll be unable to anything about it.  You will likely continue drinking if alcohol remains available and your good friends are either at this same stage or have it in for you to be blowing chunks.

This is the beginning of the "beer goggles" stage where as opposed to your being God's gift to women, ANY woman is a gift to you and you may wake up next to one that you had not intended to previously.  You may also in this stage decide to switch between wine, beer, and hard liquor.

My story begins with my 18th birthday. Having missed the grandfathering of the drinking age change to 21 in Maryland, I felt robbed. My sister had grandfathered in and had a party for her 18th birthday. In a senseless act of kindness, my parents decided to allow me to have a much smaller get together with 2 friends who had to turn in car keys.

I performed two miraculous feats that night.

The first was slowing down time. Yup, at the height of my intoxication I was found on the couch in the family room jerking my head (keep your mind out of the gutter) from one side to the other.  I was amazed that it took the room a full 2 minutes to actually catch up.  I was like The Flash only in slow motion.

My second miraculous act was flying.  Now, some will tell you that I, in my intoxication was feeling for the walls to keep myself upright, but believe me... I got air!  All through the house I flew, I even flew up a flight of stairs.  My flight took a lot out of me and I napped on my friend's shoe...with his foot still in it.

Much to the chagrin of my friends that night, the second alcohol run was cut from the schedule due to my reaching this stage.  They may have forgiven me by now.

Chance of pukrification 90%

Lucky bugger, towel to rest his drunken head upon!
5. I did what? Did you apologize for me? - Now, this stage is the final stage and can turn into alcohol poisoning. If you've ever been to this stage, you will recognize it only from your next day's mutterings of "I didn't do that!" and "I don't remember that!"

I have a fine example of this in my senior year of high school on spring break.

We took a class trip to South Carolina to the beach. It was a fairly uneventful trip from most aspects. On the final night at the beach house, when most cleaning up was occurring, a game of quarters was started. I was wicked good at quarters back in the day and I was game, but due to the previous story, I was a bit sour on beer. It was decided that as a substitute to the half glass of beer, I could take a shot of rum. A fair deal given my talents for the game and aversion to the hops. As the game proceeded, my talents fell victim to the Rum and my growing inebriated state.

At one point, reportedly, I asked one of the girls to play with us and she declined saying that she didn't drink. In my liquid confidence state, I proclaimed that she could play and if I couldn't get her drunk, I would make her pee a lot.

Yeah, smooth...I Know!

This same night after consuming upwards of 17 shots, again... reportedly, I passed out. When I awoke, I was in the bathroom on the floor, in my own vomit. When I reviewed my condition in the mirror, I realized that I had twin bruises on my cheekbones and wondered with whom I had fought. I asked my classmates and laughingly they told me that in my state I had begun banging my face on the floor to keep time with the music.

I feel confident that I was still drunk the next morning and slept much of the trip home.

Chance of pukrification 100%, most of which will happen while drunk.

What's the drunkest you've ever been?

Dude Write 
I'm hooking this post up with DudeWrite and if you haven't yet, click that link, go read some fantastic posts by bloggers who happen to be dudes.

Then on Sunday Night, or Monday go back and vote... I know it is a lot to remember, but I have confidence in you.  You get three votes, use them wisely on posts you've read and enjoyed.

Dude Write


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