Friday, September 30, 2005

Birthday Monkeys!

Once upon a time there were three Birthday Monkeys... The Love Monkey, the Party Monkey and the Eternally Young Monkey...

If you party with the ones you love, you'll be eternally young!

Just wanted to wish a very dear friend a very happy birthday, let you know I'm always thinking of you and I hope you have many, many more in the years to come!

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Child labor laws be damned!

I've taken up the habit of carrying my camera everywhere I go lately because I always see shit like this. The last time I worked at the mine in Virginia I spotted this sign posted at the entrance to the office. I saw it and asked the guy I was relieving if it was for real, because, well nobody is this stupid, are they?

"Yep, they getting pissed that everybody and their brother traipsin' in an outta here."

Ooooooooooooookay......

I'm just going to keep on my toes for any minors running around here. As soon as I see one, I'll make sure I termat them emideately and ast them to leave the premiss's!

I just hope I have the emergy to follow through with that job...

The scariest part of this is the guy who wrote this is in management. It would make me feel so safe and secure going down into the mine knowing this Einstein was responsible for my safety.

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden
Photo Credit Thomas J Wolfenden

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Kodachrome

I took this picture a few weeks ago to finish up a roll of film. Yes, I'm still a dinosaur and use film in a 35mm camera... I just like the contrasts and colors better in film.

It was taken from the best view in my apartment, my bathroom window. Pretty sad to think the best view in my place is the toilet.

Whereas it's nowhere near as good as my best friend's photography, I'm not even near his class, I think it turned out pretty good.

I call it "Sunset from the Shitter"

Kodachrome
They give us those nice bright colors
They give us the greens of summers
Makes you think all the world's a sunny day, oh yeah
I got a Nikon camera
I love to take a photograph
So mama don't take my
Kodachrome away

-Paul Simon

Not a whole lot to say today, still walking on air from my phone call the other day. I'm off the next few days so I'll have some time to really get a good head of steam built up for a ripping bitch or two... Cindy Sheehan and some other ultra-lefties take cover!

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden
Photo credit Thomas J Wolfenden

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Making a difference

Yesterday afternoon I received a phone call I never thought I'd ever receive. That I even answered it is amazing, because I've started to turn off the ringer on my phone in the afternoon so I can get some sleep. On the other end of the line was a voice from about two years ago, sounding a little bit older and more mature, but yes I remembered it. I was wide awake in an instant.

"Tommy, it's me, Randy from Chino Valley?"

Shortly after I moved to Arizona my ex got involved with the local Search & Rescue group. That being her thing I didn't really want to get involved and after I met the posse I thought they were all insufferable pricks anyway, but I still wanted to get involved in some way with our new community. I was pointed to the Boy's & Girl's Club of Arizona from a friend in my American Legion post, which had a program similar to Big Brothers~Big Sisters. Not having any children of my own, and hitting my middle thirties I was feeling something was missing in my life.

Soon after I signed up and they completed the background check, they put me in contact with a fourteen year old boy from the town that had similar interests with me. His mom was a recovering crystal-meth addict and was still an alcoholic and really didn't want to have much to do with him. So about once a week we started hanging out, just doing stuff like going bowling, and mini-golf. We went on several camping trips and hiking excursions. I took him on his first fishing trip ever to Lake Powell. We even built model rockets once and launched them in my back yard... Laughing our asses off at my Golden Retriever, Fred charging after them. I think I enjoyed being around him more than he like hanging with me.

When we first met, he was failing miserably in school and getting into trouble with the wrong crowd, but by the time I last saw him he was getting great grades and had even made the highschool Varsity football squad. That last time we were together was a winter camping trip up to the Kibab National Forest. We sat up all night telling ghost stories and eating sm'ores, and as I turned off the lights in my camper and we settled in to sleep, he called out across the camper to me...

"Tommy? You still awake?" He asked.

"Yeah, what's up?"

"I wish you were my dad, you know..."

I couldn't speak because I had this huge lump in my throat. I choked back tears in the darkness and told him to get to sleep.

That weekend was the last time I saw him because shortly after that my marriage fell apart and I moved away.

But somehow he found me. He got hold of my sister, who after realizing he wasn't some spy from my ex gave him my number. He wanted to tell me he was accepted into the Air Force Academy and wanted to thank me.

"Thank me? What did I do?"

"You were there for me, Tommy. You never gave up on me."

I couldn't speak. I could hear the tears in his voice too. He asked if I would come to his graduation in 2009...

"I'd be proud to be there for you, son..."

WE talked for a while longer and said out goodbyes. I sat there a while and just stared at the phone. And felt really, really good. I wiped the dampness from my eyes for the last time and went back to sleep.

Maybe I did do some good for a while. I'd like to think I did. Probably that's the closest I'll ever get to being a father, and you know what? I liked it. And that call yesterday made the time I spent with him worth more than anything I'll ever do in my life.

That call was priceless.

Maybe I should leave the ringer on more often?

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

Monday, September 26, 2005

Axis of Evil

Or fantastic comic relief?

Not since the beginning of the invasion of Iraq and my discovery of Iraqi Information Minister Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf have I seen such spin...

If you've forgotten who he was, or don't remember him, go here:

http://www.welovetheiraqiinformationminister.com/

I remember sitting glued to the TV, watching the war live... And hearing his spin. It was a hoot. The one point I remember vividly, he was spouting off that "No Americans were anywhere near Baghdad!" and in the inset you see a live feed from that huge square with the crossed sabers, you know the one I'm talking about... And two M-1A2 Abrams tanks and an M-2 Bradley fighting vehicle sitting there, their crews nonchalantly eating MRE's and playing grab-ass...

Now it seems the Democratic People's Republic of North Korea is getting in on the spin... Actually, it's been doing it for a while now but Geoff Davis of San Francisco put together this fantastic website that translates all the press releases from the DPRK's Information Ministry, and without this man's genius, we'd forever be at a loss...

If you really want to start your Monday morning off with a laugh, go here:

http://www.nk-news.net/index.php

Just scanning through for a few minutes yesterday morning I couldn't contain my laughter. Try the "Personal Insult" button...

Personal favorite quote is this so far...

"You anti-socialist beast, your accusation against the DPRK is no more than barking at the moon!"

So, not only does North Korea love to play nuclear roulette, have a million-man army on a hair-trigger, throw away human rights and have a psychopath who thinks he's a God with a really silly haircut running the county...

They've got a simply fabulous Spin Doctor!

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Shut the fuck up already!

Last night while I was at work, reading the paper... They pretend to pay me, I continue to pretend to work... A quote I saw raised my ire.

"I think America has no experience with terrorism or even with war. In Europe, we know a little bit more about those things..."

- Irish Rock Star Bono

To quote a fellow bitter Irish~American, Denis Leary-

"Oh really, asshole?"

where the fuck do you get off saying this shit? What the fuck do you know about it? Just because you have a hit recording it's supposed to give you the right and power to bad-mouth the country that gave you all your millions? And, by the way asshole, this past years' Grammy's be damned, the last time you had a decent recording was "Achtung Baby" in 1991.

I do believe you're right in one thing. You do know about terrorism. How many innocent people have been blown up by IRA bombs in London, Londonderry, Belfast and the rest over the last hundred or so years? That's all the IRA and the PIRA is, a bunch of fucking cowards and terrorists. And you guys were soooo fucking helpful in the last two Worlds Wars... Fueling and re-supplying German U-Boats that were sinking hundreds of allied ships every month, and because of those U-Boats Great Britain almost starved to death.

And Europeans know more about how to win wars? That's a Goddamn joke. The only thing I see from European history is the grand tradition of appeasement. A few names come to mind here too... Chamberlain, Petain, Chirac... A tradition that carries on today...

Let me tell you one thing before I slap those ridiculously pompous and pretentious sunglasses of your smarmy little rat-face...

If it wasn't for us Americans, almost the whole of Europe would still be speaking German... Twice!

You fucking prig! You make me ashamed to say I'm an Irish~American. If America is sooooo fucking bad, why don't you just give back all the millions you've earned here and never come the fuck back?

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Just give me the news, damnit!

Back a few years ago I was coming back to the states from Germany and had to spend a year one night at Heathrow airport in London. Not only was it there that I acquired the taste for good English Bitter, I got hooked on their news.

"News readers" is what they call them. It's a pretty radical concept. You go on the TV, and read the news. No slants left or right, just tell me what the fuck happened. I really wish the TV news people would grasp that idea here. Even the damn Weather Channel is sucked into the sensationalism, first with Katrina, now with Rita.

Of course it's pretty bad. I do not need to see some dumbass standing on a beach in gale-force winds to tell me that.

"Now we go to Lake Charles to our reporter standing by live... John, what's it like there?"

Flash to the inset and see a blurred image of a person in a yellow rain slicker clinging on with one hand to a lightpost at a forty-five degree angle to the ground and a microphone in the other.

"Well, it's getting pretty dangerous here, as the winds have picked up to 75 MPH sustained and 100 MPH gusts. It's not safe out here and I'm strongly suggesting that those of you that haven't evacuated, leave now..."

Eh, no shit.

The only thing this is telling me is that you are a fucking idiot. Thousands of people have evacuated the area, and in search of ratings, you have decided to stay.

You need to have your head examined.

Next come the long line of alleged "experts"... Morons who couldn't tell a storm cell from a brain cell. This one that I saw in video clips during Katria kept on saying it was a "Tornado"...

"Tornado Katrina is now a monster..."

Where do they find these people? Pundits R Us?

There are some times that opinions are an important part of the story. As an example, not to long ago there was a big dust-up with a major coal producer and some local townsfolk about a coal storage silo being erected to close to a school. Just tell the story, please? Give both sides and let me make up my mind. Don't use your position as a talking head to jam your opinion down my throat.

News radio is now the only place you'll find this kind of news anymore. (I'm not talking about the talk-radio hosts, they're full of opinions) Every half hour they give me the local and national news. Period.

I just really wish all these news outlets would just go back to a time when they told me the damn news. A time when being a journalist meant something.

Edgar R. Murrow, where are you when we really need you?

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

Friday, September 23, 2005

Well officer, it's like this...

Of all the things that used to really annoy the shit out of me when I was a cop was some of the lame stories I'd get. Oh, the stupid people would piss me off too, but the lame excuses for the tiniest infractions were the worst.

Not that I did a whole lot of it, but I'd pull someone over for running a stop sign and the first thing I'd hear was:

"Well officer, it's like this..."

I've heard them all. Dropped a cigarette, changing radio stations, spilled coffee... I even had a guy tell me he lost concentration when the hooker he picked up was going down on him.

Stupid.

I was taught to believe a man should take responsibility for his own actions. Do something wrong and admit to it. If you copped to the offence I was a lot more likely to not give you a citation. Give me a bullshit story I'd warm up my Cross pen.

I didn't like writing tickets because I'm inherently adverse to paperwork. I hate it. Make me write a citation, and I was apt to dig out my copy of the Crimes Code or Motor Vehicle Code and find something to give you a ticket for.

I'm so glad I don't have to do that shit anymore.

Ok. So now I'm not doing that shit. A few months ago when my boss still had me driving every weekend to the mine outside of Richlands, VA. 67 miles one-way. One Sunday morning I got done my shift at 6AM and headed off back east on Rt 460 headed for home. It was still dark and quite foggy, so even if my little truck could do the speed limit I was playing it safe and slowed down some.

A few miles west of Tazwell, I see headlights in my rear-view come up rapidly and begin to pace me. The guy follows me for about a mile and the I see the blue lights.

Great.

Now I do have to say my truck is legal, but not real legal. I have insurance, my license is good... But I don't have a West Virginia inspection sticker... But I'm still in Virginia, so I'm ok.

I pull over, and in a minute a Tazwell County Deputy walks up.

"Good morning sir, do you know why I pulled you over?"

"Well it certainly wasn't speeding..." I said.

Where are you coming from so early this morning?"

"From work sir, I was working at a mine in Raven, near Richlands."

"May I see you driver's license, registration and proof of insurance please?"

I hand over the requested documents that I already had ready for him from experience. He takes them and walks back to his car, where he sits for a quite a while, and if he was anything like I was he was finishing up the crossword puzzle and letting me sweat.

A few minutes later he walks back up to my truck and hands me my papers back. He then asks me:

"Mr. Wolfenden, might I ask why you have West Virginia license tags, Virginia inspection stickers and a Arizona driver's license?"

So I reply:

"Well officer, it's like this..."

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

Thursday, September 22, 2005

A beautiful evening

Last year when I was still working on the railroad I discovered this little town, or should I say it discovered me. Thurmond, West Virginia has got to be the nicest place on earth. At least it is for me, because it has everything I love, woods, a river and especially trains. I love trains. Long ago the last few residents moved away when coal went belly up in the early 70's. Since then the US Forest Service has taken it over and is going through the long process of restoring the town and what's left of the buildings. The station is still there and a bi-weekly Amtrak still makes a stop, but mostly it's an out of the way museum of sorts. CSX still uses it as a main line for many coal trains on a route to and from Charleston & Huntington.

Walk a little ways in either direction along the tracks and you'll see peering through the kudzu the skeletons of the old coke ovens and coaling stations. It's like taking a trip back through time. You could almost smell the coal smoke and steam, hear the lonely whistle of the old Chesapeake & Ohio steam locomotives pulling through, making a whistlestop to drop off freight and mail for the town's residents, for until recently the only way in or out of the sleepy little town in the New River Gorge was the railroad. It was Thurmond's lifeline to the world. No roads led to this part of West Virginia.

The last time I was there I went with someone very special because I wanted to be there with them for one, to share a little, very private part of my hopes, dreams and aspirations. It was also nice to be there not covered in coal dust and hydraulic oil because the times before I was working along the tracks and had no time to really explore.

We walked hand in hand along the side track by the station, checked out the old buildings like the bank, post office and hotel, standing empty like reflections of a long ago time. I thought I could feel the ghosts of the past looking at me from the bare windows, and it oddly felt reassuring. We sat down on a bench at the station and she sidled up next to me, putting her arm in mine and head on my shoulder. No words were exchanged as we enjoyed the twilight. I can still feel her arm in mine, the warmth of her body so close, the smell of her hair...

We sat like that for a while and I noticed the signal had changed from red to green. Soon a train would be rumbling through the town. I heard the horn of a locomotive, and coming around the turn was one of the many coal trains heading from Charleston to points east. In the fading light I saw the engineer wave to us as it sped past the station, and as it past I felt my companion pull me closer.

All was right with the world at that very moment in time. I had never been happier in my life until that very moment.

The train slipped past and as the light of the ELF on the last car blinked out of view, headlights splashed across us from another car pulling into the station's parking lot...

And the moment was gone forever.

But it will forever be etched into my memory, always there for me to pull out on dark days and scan... Something to lift me up when I'm feeling low.

A perfect memory of a beautiful evening with a lovely woman.

This morning I'm heading to Bluefield to another hiring session with Norfolk~Southern railroad. Wish me luck! Maybe today I'll be one step closer to achieving at least one of my dreams.

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Lawmower Man

I don't know about you, but tattoos and body-pearcings really do nothing for me. I don't find them attractive at all. I'm not saying I won't be attracted to a woman who has one, and I've dated quite a few women that had them. They were tasteful and small, like a little rose on the breast, a dolphin on the ankle, that sort of tat.

I almost got a tattoo when I first enlisted in the army, but out of the five guys who piled into a buddy's Chevette and took the long drive from Ft. Sill, Oklahoma to Wichita Falls, Texas one Saturday night, I was the only one sober enough to change my mind when we got there...

The "illustrated Lady" on the other hand, with enough ink and body pearcings to frighten a charging rhinoceros is another thing altogether. You've seen the type of woman of which I speak.

But this tattoo has got to one of the best one's I've seen in a long time. If I was to ever get a tattoo, it'd be small, simple and produce a laugh.

I did meet a guy once who said he had a fly tattooed to the head of his cock, but I just took his word for it. I wasn't about to ask him to show it to me, and I sure as shit wasn't going to ask him why he did it, because anyone who'd do something like that is just a tad bit unhinged in the first place.

So here's to this unknown lady and her small, tasteful and hilariously funny tat!

Now if you'll excuse me, I have this strange feeling I need mow the lawn with my face now...

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden
Photo credit: Unknown, sent to me by my best friend in Philly

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Crackpots R Us!

I think in putting together this blog my main job is looking up the stupid shit all week so you don't have to. I'm your one stop for stupidity, whether it's my own stupidity or someone else's.

I found a website a few weeks ago put together by Alex Chiu, an alleged "inventor".

He compares himself to Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein & Nikolai Tesla. Pretty lofty aspirations if you ask me. What did Mr. Chiu invent? Is it some new form of energy to take us forever away from the dependence of fossil fuels? Some new anti-gravity device to enable up to fly through time and space?

His website says:

"Many people have called me on the phone and scorned at me for 8 years. But I don't care. All I know is my device works."

Great. Fantastic. Let's hear about it.

"Giant drug companies don't want you to know this site. FDA wants me to spend 20 million dollars to get an FDA approval. TV and radio do not dare to air my commercial without an FDA approval. So the only place where I can advertise is the internet."

Know what it is? A fucking "Immortality ring". Wear this ring he's invented and you will live forever!

It gets better.

By wearing this ring, the whole world will be saved, it'll cure the deaf and blind, create a new space station, learn who God really is...

But you know what the most amazing thing is? He actually received a patent from the US Patent Office!

I don't know about you, but I for one don't want to live forever, and can you imagine if everyone could? Think the earth in fucked up now with all the people. Just imagine a world where babies are born every day, but NO ONE dies...

How long do you think it would take before we all ran out of food? An earth with a trillion dumbasses, and they NEVER GO AWAY! Think we have some major problems now, what the fuck do you think this would do?

It would be like having your annoying Aunt Betty come for a visit then NEVER going home... For all eternity. I think I'd be looking for ways to end it all in about two hundred years...

Go here:

http://www.alexchiu.com/

Myself, I like the idea of and end. To me death is uninterrupted sleep, with no fucking telemarketers asking if I want vinyl siding for my apartment.

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

Monday, September 19, 2005

It figures

I haven't really said much about it here, but beside writing on this blog every day, I've belonged to a Australian Army site for about six years. It's where I got the handle "Ranger Tom". Besides having a message board, the site has a chatroom too called "The Boozer" where I've spent many an hour chatting with fellow army veterans, swapped war stories and where we learned each other's slang. Being a member on that site was also a big help in my divorce too, for my "mates" whom I've never actually met but feel like brothers to me, rallied around and helped me get through those first few dark months.

So mostly my routine is to post here first thing, read my other favorite blogs, then check out my Aussie site. Yesterday morning I was looking through, and noticed I had a Private Message from one of my mates there. He's also a reader here and enjoys my little rants. I read the PM he sent and I just had to chuckle. If I had known the Australian term for "Nightman" I would have used it Friday.

I'll just let you read the PM because it's easier to just let him tell it. I've pasted the body of the message and, as usual, omitted any names:


G'day Tom,

Just had a few moments to sit down and visit your blog and caught the pervert one. Mate, with all that history in the family I wouldn't have married her in the first place. I know love is blind and all that, but man what a fucked up mob they are. It took me two goes through the mill to find the love of my life and I appreciate it every day. Not all sheilas are as fucked up as she obviously is. That Nightman idiot is on some other planet I reckon. Do you know what a nightman is in Oz?


Back in the earlier days of the 20th century and before, most houses had a back lane (alley) for access into the back yard. Well also at that time, proper sewers and stuff was not in place and most houses had an outhouse. Over here referred to as an outside dunny. Well, the "nightman" used to come along every night with his cart and empty the cans from the dunnies. So next time your Nightman gets on your blog, just refer to him as a turd burglar.

I first read the MJ blog..... Bleecchhh! what a thought. Can I stick my mit up to be in the hit squad?

Cheers mate, hope today is good for you.

I knew what a dunny was, but a nightman is a turd burglar? I wonder if my mate in Australia knows what the term "Turd Burglar" means here in the States? Even if my mate didn't know, it really is apt...

Mr. Nightman is a Turd Burglar!

Thanks Mate for clearing that up.

Now please send the slabs of VB and Coopers? Pretty please?

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden





Sunday, September 18, 2005

Cat circles

I'm sure a lot of you have seen the movie "Signs" with Mel Gibson, filmed in Newtown, PA. That town is actually only fifteen miles from where I grew up.

The movie is about aliens leaving strange geometric shapes in farmer's fields... Supposedly hidden messages from outer space.

I didn't believe it until last night. My cat left me a message, pictured here.

He is an alien cat, I'm sure of it. Along with the other things I'd see during a full moon, he would do some of the strangest stuff. He was definitely not of this world...

No, my cat didn't leave me this message... I don't even have a cat anymore. I do have another little kitty that comes around about once or twice a week and loves to sit in my lap... I guess he's just my part time cat. I personally think he has a whole neighborhood schedule that he follows... "Ok, it's Monday, today I go to the old lady's house who has the Whiskas treats, Tuesday I go to the guy's apartment that has 9-lives tuna flavor..."

But last night was a full moon, and since nothing really goofy happened and I had this picture for a while I decided to use it for something.

But there was one thing strange that happened. Long after I had decided to use this picture last night at work, Coast to Coast AM's topic when the show came on was crop circles...

Eerie.

Picture pinched off rotten.com
Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Another freak heard from

Yesterday was a great lead-in to this little nugget. I was going to add a photo but thought better of it. The story in itself is gross enough as it is.

While recently staying in Bahrain, Michael Jackson rented out the entire "Wild Wadi Center" allowing his family and friends to have the run of the place. According to Yahoo! News, Jackson was sporting a white lyrca body stocking…

Eewwww…

Which exposed only his nose and eyes…

Ooh, the mental image that evokes! Sez I, as I squirm uncomfortably... Michael Jackson dressed in a white, tight-fitting lycra body suit... What that must have looked like!

An eye witness said: "He looked even stranger than usual. His body is very skinny and lycra does him no favors."

I don't get it. John Lennon takes six bullets in New York City, Yoko Ono standing right next to him, not one FUCKING bullet... Stevie Ray Vaughn is dead...

And this freak is still walking around a free man.

What the fuck.

Excuse me now, I have to shower to wash this feeling off myself. I feel decidedly unclean...

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

Friday, September 16, 2005

Who's the sick one?

Some of my long-time readers remember I had at one point vented my spleen at length about some of the shit my ex-wife pulled on me but I just merely scratched the surface. At one point I said that she spread the word all over the town where we lived at in Arizona that I was some sort of sexual deviate.

It got so bad at one point that I was basically a prisoner in my own home when I was there. Last summer when I was still working on the railroad in the New River Gorge here in West Virginia, I would work six to eight weeks, then have two weeks off. I'd go home to Arizona for two weeks, and because of her shit, I could only go from my apartment where I was living to the post office and back home for the entire two weeks I was home.

I'd get a taxi at the airport, go home, pick up my voicemail and have twenty to thirty messages, all from her new boyfriend giving me a play-by-play to rival John Madden of what the two of them were doing in MY bed in MY home...

Not including emails and other shit. I'd have literally hundreds of them I'd have to sift through.

I was the fucking pervert though...

Because of her fucking shit I didn't have one friend left in Arizona by September of last year. She was sleeping with everyone else in the town, getting knocked up on a "business trip" to Atlanta the summer before...

But I'm the fucking pervert.

Now comes the irony.

A week or so before our wedding back in 96', we got a phone call from her mom. Her mom tells us my bride-to-be's brother is bringing his new bride to our wedding...

No problem, one more plate at the reception.
But there's a hitch.

"What's that?" I ask...

"She's young... Really young..."

"How young?" I ask...

Now, I've really got to tell you a few things now. At that time, nine years ago, her brother was forty-four years old. Back in the late seventies he was tossed out of the US Naval Academy at Annapolis for smoking dope. He was fired later from a major US airline where he was a pilot for having over a $500 a-day coke habit, and because of that can never again have a commercial pilot's license.

Then, after that, he was the president of several "Mail Order Work At Home" schemes, that netted him millions of dollars by bilking a lot of not-so-bright people out of their money, always one step away from the US Postal Inspectors and jail. Always losing the millions in months because of his on-going nose-candy problem.

Not a real pillar of the community, but he was going to be my new brother-in-law, so I was being nice.

I bit my tongue. Hard.

"So, just how young?"

"She's thirteen..."

Ok. I knew her brother was a sleezebag, but believe it or not, thirteen IS legal in Pennsylvania, with parental consent. I'm not saying it's right, just that it's legal.

So, like I said, I took the benefit of the doubt and chalked it up to one more fucked-up thing her brother did. Besides, from what I knew of here brother, this girl was probably one of those "Thirteen going on Thirty" teenagers.

Boy, was I fucking wrong.

So the joyous day arrived... Everyone gathered at the church. All my friends and family are there and then...

Her brother shows up with his new bride...

She looked like she was TEN FUCKING years old!

I shit you not.

Flat-chested, little sun dress on, glasses, and little girl berets in her hair...

She spent the day, not with her husband, but PLAYING with my twelve-year-old niece, playing and running around, hide and seek and tag! I though my sister was going to have a stroke! And my mom was fucking speechless.

What the FUCK!

Do you know how many cops were at my wedding? Do you know WHY I never got drunk at the reception even though I had a $1000 open bar?

Because I spent the entire fucking time going around from table to table trying to break up plots to kill this fuck.

This is how Goddamn stupid he was, not just for showing up with this little girl. I was approched at the reception by a very good friend of mine. Another cop I've known for a lot of years. To look at him you'd never in a million years think he was a cop. Long hair, beard, leather and tatted up. Looks like a card-carrying member of the Warlocks MC. He comes up to me and says:

"Hey Tommy, your new brother-in-law just tried to make a hot gun deal with me in the shitter. Can I take him out and beat the shit out of him?"

I'm the fucking pervert though. I'm the bad guy.

Who's the sick, fucked up family here? She's defended him through everything with this shit, but yet when she got tired of me and left me for some cowboy, she just couldn't leave well enough alone. I told her attorney last year I never wanted anything to do with her again, but yet she keeps trying to destroy my life. She's so pissed I'm actually trying to do something I've always wanted to do with my life, she just can't stand to see me happy.

But I'm the fucking pervert.

Because I wanted sex more than once a month, I'm the pervert? Fuck, I didn't even get a kiss let alone get laid on my fucking honeymoon for Christ's sake!

All this talk about "Same Sex" marriages, I was lucky to have a "Some Sex" marriage.

As soon as I slipped that ring on her finger it was like turning off a light switch.

I let her win last year; I also let her win this past February.

I'm not going to let her win again.

I'm finally happy now for the first time in ten Goddamn years and I'm not going to let her, or any of her other members of her fucked-up family do ANYTHING to destroy that happiness.

I can guaran-FUCKING-tee that.

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Ok,

This is getting a little to Goddamn creepy.

I put a webtracker on my blog a few months ago because I was getting an enormous amount of nasty emails from an "anonymous" reader in Maryland.

Anyway, since those emails stopped I haven't really checked the webtracker lately because I don't have a need now. I could care less about my "hitrate", wich is about the only other thing it's good for. But what it does show me, by IP number and ISP, who (no name though), when and where my visitors are coming from.

I just checked it now for the first time in about a week... And there's someone reading my blog, going over it with a fine tooth comb really, from South Florida on the BellSouth Network.

59 times from 3:16 yesterday afternoon to 2:14 this afternoon.

And they're linking to my site through a Yahoo! mail account.

Don't ya think 59 times in a 23-hour period is a tad bit excessive?

I know I only post once a day usually and what I have to say isn't of great importance...

I only know two people in Florida, my nephew and my brother's ex-wife. Both of whom I'm on good terms with, and if was either of them they'd have said hello by now.

Who the FUCK are you?

I just might have to phone the BellSouth Network and ask them about IP# 68.153.109.3

Pictures!











Here's some shots from when I lived in Arizona if anyone cares to see them...

I was off last night and nothing really happened so I have nothing to bitch about right now but give me time, I'll find something...

The day is still young.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

I've only had tee martoonees, ossifer...

Back around 1990 or 91' I was dating this nurse who worked in the ER at Univeristy of Pennsylvania hospital. A few blocks away from the hospital where she worked was a bar called the Kyber Pass on 2nd Street. It was a pretty cool place although I didn't frequent it often. It was too far from where I lived to be a real hang out place for one, and it really didn't have a night crowd. It was mostly an 5PM to 8PM Happy Hour place for all the office workers who would stop off after work for a few belts.

It did have a lot of atmosphere, lots and lots of dark wood, I think the bar and barback was over a hundred years old. And along with it's name came the almost required stuff from the British Raj in India and Pakistan all over the place. You could almost feel Gunga Din looking at you from somewhere...

What it did have also was a beer list that boasted over 300 different brands of bottled beer from all over the world and the bartender would even give you a menu of the beer it carried.

So one evening the woman I was seeing and I decided to meet after her shift, have a few drinks and then walk over to Old Original Bookbinder's for dinner. If you ever get to the Philadelphia area and want to get the best seafood you'll ever have, try the place. It's definately not cheap, but it's well worth it.

As usual, I'm a little early and I have about thirty minutes to wait for my date. I wander up to the bar and find a seat. The place is starting to fill up with people and it looked like it was going to be a good night for the place. Right away I notice the guy who's sitting next to me is well on his way to a really good drunk. He looks like a businessman of some sort, jacket and loosened tie, and he pounding down martinis like they're water.

Being that they have over 300 imported beers from all over the world, I order up a Miller Genuine Draft as the guy starts a conversation with me. Just small talk really, the weather, the Phillies, Traffic on I-95... Seems like a pretty nice guy. Like I said before, he's really pounding the vodka down. He then pulls his wallet out and gives me one of his business cards.

I looked at it and was just a tad bit stunned. He was a neurosurgeon at the same hospital where my girlfriend worked... Chief Fellow, FAC... All those alphabet acronyms and shit doctors have.

"Hey doc... I thought alcohol was supposed to kill millions of brain cells, isn't it?" I asked.

"Yeppers it does, Tommy, but you've got BILLIONS!" he said with a laugh and ordered up another.

Fantastic.

Soon after my date showed up, I introduced her and he bought us both a drink. We finished that and said our goodbyes, leaving him to slowly pickle himself in good Russian tater' squeezings and went to the restaurant.

Over dinner I related what the doctor said to me, and my date told me he was one of the best brain surgeons in the country.

I don't know about you, but right there on the top of that list of people I do not want drunk, along with airline pilots, cruise ship captains and railroad engineers are most definitely people who might someday be cutting open my skull and digging around in my gray matter.

But that's just my personal opinion.

Meanwhile, I'll have a double shot of John Jameson's finest rye, neat in a rocks glass.

I've got some thinking to do...

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Misdirected Priorities

I received a phone call from a dear friend of mine yesterday afternoon.

"Did you see the front page of the paper today?"

"Yeah, I did..."

What she was referring to was an out-of-focus photo of a long parade of ambulances and other rescue apparatus taken from distance, maybe from a highway overpass. A caption under the photo read:

"A long line of EMS units snakes down W.Va. 16 toward Beckley Sunday night with their emergency lights flashing in memory of the victims of the 9/11 terror attacks. The parade went from Coal City to Crossroads mall"

That's it. Nothing else.

I knew about this because my friend who called is one of those EMS personnel, and they've been doing it now every year since 9/11. I think it's great that they do it as not to forget all those who died. I knew she was proud of her participation, and also her role in getting it started in the first place. It's why she called.

I'm proud of her.

But what really pissed me off is what got more attention than the area's EMS personnel doing something out of the goodness of their hearts for the heroes and victims of the 9/11 attacks.

Just below that photograph was another story.

Get this...

Michigan couple spots strange lights in Daniels (wv) sky

Huh?

Now, including a really clear photograph, is a story twenty-one paragraphs long about a couple in Daniels, WV who for the last several nights have seen two strange lights in the southwestern sky... That come out at the same time every night and travel west across the sky... The clear picture I mentioned includes one of the "strange lights" to the right of the half-moon and even has a red circle around it to help the reader identify it.

The head of the Raleigh County airport was questioned, the National Weather Service was queried. They even contacted the National Radioastronomy Observatory in Green Bank, WV to find out what these "strange lights" were... The newspaper even sent a reporter out to do this piece and investigate this odd phenomena...

Know what these lights were?

Are you ready?

Please sit down...

Venus and Jupiter, two of our nieghboring planets in our solar system.

I'm not a trained astronomer, but even I could have told these two dumbasses what the were. It's the right time of year for them. If they had waited a little later in the night and looked east, they would have seen another strange light, tinged slightly red... It would be Mars, coming up around 11:30 pm.

Ok. I'm not going to go off on how stupid these two folks were for reporting this, because not everyone was a science geek in school like I was and didn't watch the Discovery channel all the time like I did.

You fucking dolts!

What pisses me off is that this bullshit story took up the front page of the paper, and over half of the back page of the first section, and those rescue and EMS people who risk their lives every day for us and was doing something really special to remember all those who've died on 9/11 gets two lousy sentences and an out of focus long shot.

That's just fucking wrong and it shows, in my humble opinion, a great disrespect for my friend and her colleagues and the thankless job they perform every day.

I think tonight I'm going to call the same reporter who wrote the story right after sundown and say I see strange lights in the sky... Thousands, maybe billions of them... Twinkling up in the sky! little tiny spaceships from horizon to horizon, holy shit! They're everywhere!

What are they? Aliens? Space Ships? Mothman returning?

It's got to be aliens! Then, early in the morning, this HUGE light comes up! I think it's the MOTHER SHIP! It's so bright I can't look directly at it! It's up there all day, travelling west sending harmful rays down into my brain!!!!!

Maybe they'll call the Air National Guard in Charleston or even get in contact with NORAD in Colorado, or even the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon for an opinion on those...

What the fuck...

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

Monday, September 12, 2005

Cyber Whores

This actually happened Saturday evening and I really wanted to blog about it then, but keeping with my self-imposed one-post-a-day limit and my 9/11 post I had to wait until this morning. It's just an on-going thing with me. It's like these people are crawling out of the woodwork just to drive me nuts.

Saturday evening I'm getting ready for work. I boot up the computer and check my messages and email. I've logged onto Yahoo instant messenger but I have it minimized because I really don't expect to see any of the few people on my list on line. Maybe my niece up in Philly.

So I'm logged on and answering an email from a buddy in Port Headland, WA and I hear the little "tingle" from Yahoo IM that says I have a message...

I maximize and it's a message from someone I don't recognize.

"Hello?" I ask...

"Hi! You don't know me, but I saw your profile on the Yahoo members list and thought I'd say hello"

"Ok, hi."

So it went on like that for a few minutes, she was a lady, 45, living in Princeton, WV a few miles from me. She asked me to look at her profile, she had a picture up so I did. Not beautiful by a long shot, but not ugly either.

So, anyway... She quickly tries to turn the conversation to sex. I've got about thirty minutes to get ready and I'm not really interested so I change the subject back...

"So, what do you do for a living?" I ask, ready to hit the 'iggy' button.

"I'm a call-girl."

"Really now?"

"Yes."

"Well hon, I don't and won't pay for it, so you can forget me as a customer... Good bye!"

"I don't give it away sweetie!"

"Look, you'd have to pay ME to fuck you... Bye!"

Jesus. Now I'm getting solicited by prostitutes on line.

What the fuck...

As a cop, I've dealt with prostitutes before (Not that way!) and the one thing to remember with them, you have to assume they ALL have AIDS or are HIV positive. Besides, the ones I mostly dealt with in Philly were all men...

Unless you call a 230 pound, 6' 6" tall whore with an Adams apple, hairy arms, size 13 pumps named "Leroy" a woman...

"My names be Leroy, but yous can call me Jaquelynn..."

And this one was definitely nothing to write home about. Nothing that I'd actually pay good money to sleep with. I've never paid for it (well, that's not true... I did buy my ex a house and the sex there wasn't all that great anyway...That's my new pick-up line, by the way... "Hi! I'm Tom. Can I buy you a house?") and never will, not in that sense.

It's the nut-magnet I've got.

It has to be.

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Do you remember?


I know I haven't.

2996 dead at the World Trade Center, Shanksville, Pennsylvania and the Pentagon. For those of you that have forgotten, it happened four years ago today.

I bristle at the whole "PC" crowd when I hear that we should try not to "offend" anyone...

Offend them? I want to kill them! These people we're so afraid of offending are trying everything in their power to kill every last one of us and here we are trying not to offend them.

You know what? I'm offended by that.


For more images, go here:

http://www.september11news.com/911Remembered02.htm


Have You Forgotten
Darryl Worley

I hear people saying
We don't need this war

But I say there's some things worth fighting for
What about our freedom and this piece of ground
We didn't get to keep them by backing down
Now they say we don't realize the mess we're getting in
Before you start to preaching let me ask you this my friend

Have you forgotten how it felt that day?
To see your homeland under fire and her people blown away?
Have you forgotten when those towers fell?
We had neighbors still inside going through a living hell
And you say we shouldn't worry about Bin Laden Have you forgotten?

They took all the footage off my TV
They said it's too disturbing for you and me
It'll just breed anger, it's what the experts say
If it was up to me I'd show it everyday
Some say this country's just out looking for a fight
Well after 9-11 man I'd have to say that's right

Have you forgotten how it felt that day?
Too see your homeland under fire and her people blown away?
Have you forgotten when those towers fell?
We had neighbors still inside going through a living hell
And we vowed to get the ones behind Bin Laden...
Have you forgotten?

I've been there with the soldiers who've gone away to war
And you can bet that they remember just what they're fighting for
Have you forgotten all the people killed?
Yeah some went down like heroes in that Pennsylvania field
Have you forgotten about our Pentagon?
Yeah all those loved ones that we lost
And those left to carry on
Don't you tell me not to worry about Bin Laden

Have you forgotten how it felt that day?
To see your homeland under fire and her people blown away?
Have you forgotten?

Have you forgotten?

Have you forgotten...

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden
Song copyright 2003 Darryl Worely

Saturday, September 10, 2005

You're shitting me, right?

If you find this picture only as half as disturbing as I do, you will definitely do what I did when I found out some information last night.

Say "What the fuck!" then piss yourself laughing.

So this Friday night was my Monday. I report on, check my stuff out and head out to do my first checks. The diner is ok, and as usual, the girls have a fresh pot of coffee on for me.

Next stop, the Deli two doors down. I go in and say howdy... Make sure everything is ok. One guy who works behind the counter says hi, then smiles. He tells me I have an admirer.

"Oh, really?" I think... This is a college town, and he's a college kid. Maybe one of the coeds want to meet up with a nice 39 year-old... We have shitloads more experience, you know.

He hands me a slip of paper... Suspense builds as I open it. On it, written in very nice cursive is:

"James, #555-1212 I like your eyes. Call me some time..."

This has got to be a joke... I look at the kid and ask: "Eh, you're shitting me, right?"

"What's the matter?"

"For one thing, I'm not gay..."

"Oh, we thought you were..."

"Where the fuck did you ever get the idea that ever in a million fucking years I was gay???"

"Well, you never are with anyone, girls that is, and when we see you down at Leo's you're always with that guy..."

"Well dickweed, that guy is a buddy of mine, he's married with two kids. We're both straight!"

"Oh man, I'm so fucking sorry..."

"So I don't have a lady friend that you know of and enjoy hanging out with my buddy once in a while and that makes me gay? Some fantastic powers of deduction you have. Ok, I'll confess one thing. I'm a lesbian trapped in a man's body! You'd better spread the word around that I'M NOT FUCKING GAY real Goddamn quick, alright?"

How in the world would anyone ever get the idea that I was a homosexual is beyond belief. I'm not in the least bit effeminate for Christ's sake.

Richard Simmons, now he's gay as the day is long and nobody is going to try to tell me otherwise.

But me?

Sure. I am not your usual guy. I cook and do other shit like that. I'm actually not afraid to cry sometimes. I know how to sew, and can even do embroidery. I do my own laundry and I even know how to separate the whites from the colors into two diffent loads. I can find the beauty in a butterfly drinking from a drop of dew early in the morning or in a West Virginia sunset. I'm extremely comfortable with certain feminine ways and I'm at the point in my life where I'm very comfortable with my manhood and don't feel threatened by homosexuals.

But I am NOT fucking gay! I'm so heterosexual I make John Wayne and Lee Marvin look queer.

Now you know why I say "What The Fuck" a lot...

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go and laugh some more and contemplate a pedicure...

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden



Friday, September 09, 2005

Pedigree

For a while now, on and off I've been trying to research my family history. It's been quite a chore because there's not a whole lot of records, and most of the people who would have known anything have been dead for quite a while. But I do know some things now is spite of the dead-ends.

Oh, to be able to talk to some of them. I'll give you an example.

My grandfather on my father's side. My dad's dad. I never knew him. He died when my father was only eight or nine years old and my dad would have been 80 this year. Anyway, he came to the States from the UK sometime before the Spanish~American war. I know this because I've traced my surname and even though it sounds German, it's really English. He served in the US Navy through that war and also in WWI. That's about all I know about him. My grandmother I know just a tad bit more about. Her maiden name was Wiley, and came from County Cork in Ireland. I don't know how old she was, but I do remember her. She died when I was about five or so, and I remember being able to look her eye to eye she was so tiny.

A little leprechaun of a woman. And a bit of a firebrand if my memory serves me correctly. I remember her sitting in our living room in front of the TV watching "The Friday Night Fights", her favorite show. She would go from yelling at my folks in the kitchen to yelling at the TV...

"Oy! Kick is' ead in, ya bastard!" To the screen, then to my folks,

"Chut up out der! I'm tryin' to watch me' foights!" Then back to the TV...

"Cheesus crimeny! Doont ya see dat! Da ref muss be blind!" The back to my folks...

"Oy! You out der! Fetch me annodder pint, me glass as' gone dry!"

Ah, Christmas at the Wolfenden house...

My mother's side I know just about as much. Her maiden name was Wagner, and that's the German part of me, not the Wolfenden. I know that sometime around 1870 is when they came from Germany and settled in northeastern Pennsylvania and were coal miners, digging up that anthracite coal by hand. I'm not sure when, but they migrated south, and my grandfather on my mother's side was the Fire Chief of Camden, New Jersey when that town was a good place to live.

There's also a "Fenstermacher" in there too on my mom's side, which is German for "Window Maker".

But that's all I know. Sad really, for it gives just the tiniest hint of some greater human drama I'd love to know. It leaves so many questions unanswered.

Why did they leave their towns and villages in Europe to come to the New World in the first place? What tragedy compelled them to leave everything they ever knew? Why did they choose to settle in the Philadelphia area when so many other Irish, English and Germans were settling in New York City and Boston at that time?

Maybe it's my love of history that keeps me digging and asking questions. To remember the past, to remember your own past, is a way to keep them alive...

Because if you remember them and pass on those memories, they're never really gone, are they?



Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Do I miss...?

Well, I finally did it...

Went to bed last night at 10 PM and didn't crawl out until 10:30 this morning. God, that felt good.

That's not what I'm writing about today though. I was talking with a friend yesterday morning and the question was asked of me...

"Do I miss being married?"

That's a tough one. The quick reply is yes. I'm not going to lie, coming home every morning to my little apartment is lonely. I think about how nice it would be to have someone there when I came home from work to share my day with. I really enjoy cooking, but I really don't like doing it for myself. I'd prefer to have someone to share it with.

I really hate going to bed alone every night, and I'm not talking sex although that would be nice once in a while too. I also hate waking up alone. To me, there's nothing nicer than waking up to the warmth and feel of someone you care about next to you...

It sucks coming home to an empty apartment. The hours I work aren't really cohesive to meeting people either, 10 PM to 6 AM but I do have a few friends I sometimes spend my free time with. A lot of people just don't understand the night shift mentality. About once a week, I'll stop into the Deli Mart when I'm done my shift and buy a six-pack and I'll get "The Look"...

"Buying beer at 6 AM?"... And I just want to scream sometimes "Hey, asshole! I just got done working and to my body-clock it's 6 PM, ok? Shove your morality up your tight prig of an ass!"

So yeah, there is a ton of stuff I miss about being married.

But.

Do I miss the constant sniping and the little comments meant to piss me off? Do I miss being taken for granted? Do I miss the cats, dogs, horses and even the goddamn fish getting more affection that me? Do I really miss getting sex only six times in the last year of my marriage? Do I miss having everything I say or do dismissed, like nothing I say matters? Do I miss not being consulted about things around the house?

Do I miss feeling like a piece of furniture?

Do I miss being lied to about the "Business Trips" to Atlanta three or for times a year?

How things change. When my ex and I first started dating and then moved in together, the household chores were a 50/50 deal. We shared everything. Dishes, cooking, laundry...

And how subtly it changed... Before I knew what was happening, it got to the point where if I didn't do the chores around the house it wouldn't get done at all...

I could go on, but I wont bore you. That part of my life is far behind me. But yes, I am lonely to an extent.

So do I miss being married?

Yes and No.

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

It's Alive!


Something else I wanted to bitch about yesterday but I was to damn tired to deal with...

This might come as a shock to some of you, not only am I a man who can admit when he's wrong, but I'm pretty good at keeping up with the housekeeping. Taking out the garbage, doing the laundry...

Washing the dishes...

But the last week or so I've been so busy with other shit I've been just a tad bit lax and the dishes have piled up some in the kitchen sink. When I left for Nicholas County Saturday afternoon there they sat... Along with two bags of garbage I had yet to take to the dumpster. (Skip to my friends in the UK & Australia) The garbage wasn't taken out because the guy who owns the auto repair place next door is forever putting his shit it it to overflowing, and none of the residents of my apartment building can throw their shit away. Complaints to my landlord have fallen on deaf ears.

I couldn't take the garbage out because for the fifth straight day my dumpster has been filled will all kinds of shit and the dishes, well, they'll just have to wait until I get home.

So I go off and do my thing, getting back about 8 AM yesterday. The first thing to greet me is a certain funk of rotting garbage... Something far worse that shitloads of curry...

Wonderful. Then I look at the sink.

Ack! Holy shit!

Any of those ID people who still think life didn't arrive out of nothing from the primordial ooze didn't see what I had growing in my sink yesterday. One look at the growing mass of green and yellow fuzz covering everything and your mind would have been changed forever. I even thought I saw some of it move... Like the Blob in that old Steve McQueen movie...

It was definitely alive! And I swear I saw it growing as I stood there in shock.

So I had this freakish science project conceived from the Island of Dr. Morreau and Frankenstien and the definite odor of Dead Guy in my place.

Needless to say I gave up some more of my precious sleep time and took care of this mess... And promised myself I wouldn't let it get that bad again... Next time it might grow out of control and try to take over the world... Or at least destroy Tokyo along with Mothra, Cronos and Godzilla...

And now today I have the distinct pleasure of going to the Laundromat, another one of my favorite chores.

I'd kill right now for a dishwasher and a washer~dryer combo...

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

No rum serpis, and hold the curry, please

This past weekend I was sucked into a communications black hole... And it could have been an episode from the old TV series "Twilight Zone".

(Hum the the theme now...)

At the last minute Friday, my boss calls me begging me to do him a favor. He wants me to work at that mine up in Nicholas County again. The one I swore I wouldn't work at because of the dumbass they have as a supervisor.

So, he's begging me like I said, and I really hate to hear a grown man grovel like that. It's pathetic. Ok sez I, I'll do it on a few conditions. One, I use the company truck to get there because the last time I worked up there it cost me money. I didn't earn anything. What I made in overtime I spent in gas. Two, He'd get me a motel room for the time I'd be up there working. The two-hour drive one-way after a 12 hour shift gets pretty old after the first day, and he needed me Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

He's so desperate he readily agrees.

So I head out around 4PM to get to the place at 6. I get there and the supervisor/dumbass is curiously mum. So I get my assignment and head out to the waste pile.

If any of you have ever been to a coal mine, a waste pile is an enormous pile of shale that's left over after the raw or "green" coal has been processed.

So I'm guarding a gigantic pile of rocks.

Every thing seems pretty normal, and I'm treated to a fabulous sunset you can only get in September in West Virginia. It's also getting chilly and I'm glad I brought a jacket. So around 11 PM, my radio goes out. Not my two-way radio but the one in the truck. It just goes tits-up on me.

Great.

No I've got to sit here guarding a titanic pile of rocks for 2 and a half more shifts, about 31 more hours with NO TUNES!

To make matters worse, I wasn't able to get a newspaper and I had nothing to read.

This is gonna' suck!

So I'm finally able to get through the night without falling asleep or gouging my eyes out in sheer boredom and make my way to the only motel in Rainell and get myself a room.

I do have to ask, is it just me, or is every small motel in this country owned and/or operated by East Indians?

So I get the room, and since I do not speak Hindi or read Sanskrit, and the proprietor couldn't read or write English I had some difficulty informing her that I didn't need maid service, that I worked all night and wished not to be disturbed.

So, of course the room is right next to the office. I key myself into a room about the same size as a Wheat Thins box, take the "Do Not Disturb" thingie and hang it on the outside doorknob. I then get in and take a nice hot shower and crawl into bed.

(I do have to ask this though. Is it in the rule books for hotel/motel architecture that all showerheads must protrude from the wall in the tub not more that 5' 3"? I'm 6' 2" tall and every damn motel I ever stay at, the damn showerhead is at about tit-level and I have to do the limbo just to wash my hair...)

So now I'm in bed and find it impossible to get to sleep... The overpowering aroma of something being slowly stewed in curry permeates the room, that and the most horrible noises are emanating from the office next-door.

It sounds as if Ravi Shankar, Yoko Ono and George Harrison got together with some really good acid and decided to have a jam-session at full volume.

What the Fuck....

I'm finally able to get to sleep... Then there's a light in my eyes, blinding me...

"Rum Surpis!" I hear and see an ethereal figure standing in a aura of white, brilliant light...

Rum Serpis? What the fuck is that? Some sort of message from the Beyond?

"Misser, you wan rum serpis?"

I'm not dead, and it's not an angel in a white halo beckoning me to heaven. It's the goddamn maid who also can't read English.

"No, I do not want 'rum serpis' OK? I want to fucking sleep! Get the fuck out!"

This happened again Monday too. I told the manager, who smiled and nodded feigned understanding.

It was no use. Right on cue at around 11 AM Monday, after being lulled asleep again by Ravi, George and Yoko and what sounded strangely like a cat caught in a fan-belt, I hear "Rum Serpis!"...

I'm not paranoid. Well, maybe just a little... But it was almost as if something, some greater power out there than me was doing it's damnedest to make my weekend miserable. To totally cut me off from reality and the outside world. No radio, no cell phone service, no newspaper, nothing to read...

No fucking sleep...

It succeeded. In spades.

After another two hours drive this morning I'm home now and I'm going to crawl into bed, turn off the phone... One more night and I have two nights off...

It's been a long time, but I think tomorrow I'm going to get drunk and sleep for about 40 hours....

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

Saturday, September 03, 2005

I stand corrected

My Father taught me a lot of really good life-lessons, one of them being that to be a truly great man is always admit when you are wrong.

And I was wrong the other day.

Dead wrong.

Wednesday I wrote about Hurricane Katrina and how I didn't expect to see any other nations pitching in to help, and historically I should have been right because as far as I can remember it's never happened.

But again, I might be wrong there also.

This morning at work I'm reading today's Beckley, WV newspaper, The Register~Herald, and on page 11A the headline shouted out to me:

"Several nations offering aid to U.S."

Wow.

Over 50 nations from Cuba to Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Sri Lanka have pledged assistance.

Secretary of State Condaleeza Rice, in an attempt to dispute the report out of Moscow to the contrary said that "No offer of aid has been turned down"

Australia had donated $8 million to the American Red Cross. Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said;

" The United States is so often at the forefront of international aid efforts to help less fortunate nations so it is only fitting that Australia should contribute to the daunting task of helping the thousands of American citizens whose lives have been thrown into turmoil by this unprecedented disaster."

France also is sending two ships and several aircraft capable of airlifting tons of supplies, a disaster unit of 20 soldiers, an airborne emergency unit and a civil defense detachment.

In Halifax, the Canadians are fitting out three warships and a Coast Guard ship with food and emergency supplies and will set sail for New Orleans next Tuesday.

Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin is also releasing 30,000 barrels of oil and gasoline for US use.

Japan contributed $200,000 to the American Red Cross, and upon request has offered another $300,000 in tents, blankets, generators, portable water tanks and other equipment.

I stand before all of my loyal readers with my hat held humbly in my hands.

On behalf of the residents of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama who desperately need assistance I say thank you.


Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

Friday, September 02, 2005

B'wana, The Great White Hunter!

In the summer of 2003, myself and a few friends trekked off to the wilds of Northern Arizona's Kibab National Forest outside of Williams, AZ to hunt the elusive Southwestern Wild Watermelon.

Camped out in the midst of the largest free-standing Ponderosa Pine forest in the country was, as usual, awe-inspiring. We got to our campsite by horseback in the late afternoon and quickly set up our bivouac, started a fire and made our plans over a topo map of the area.

It was quickly decided that I'd set off on foot and head north into the thickets where the wiley fruit was most likely to be seen. Barney, Fritz and Serge would set off on horseback at a full gallop for several miles, hoping to frighten the usually nocturnal Mellon out of it's lair. Equines are the only enemy of the watermelon in the wild. On the first sound of the horse's hooves, watermelons by the hundreds sometimes scurry out of their burrows in the undergrowth and stampede blindly for miles. Caution is paramount when hunting this dangerous wild fruit.

The next afternoon, when we were all finally roused from a fitful sleep in our bedrolls by a blazing sun and temperatures hovering around 110 F, the four of us perked a pot of coffee and took several painkillers to quell the painful headaches we all suffered from due to the high elevation of our encampment. Serge told us that by his GPS, the elevation from sea-level where we were was exactly 6523 Ft. And told us of his vast experience of high-elevation headaches as he went around the camp picking up several hundred empty beer cans and whiskey bottles.

Around 3 Pm, we had all recovered enough from our headaches and opened up a few cans of iced-down beer to re-hydrate ourselves, we headed out. My three amigos on their trusty steeds and I on foot, with nothing more that a pint of Mad Dog 50/50 and my .303 Lee Enfield and a half-pack of Winstons.

I walked for about an hour and decided to sit down under a juniper tree. In what seemed like minutes but had to have been hours because the sun mysteriously moved lower on the horizon that it was, I stifled a yawn and heard my hunting companions driving a watermelon towards my ambush in what sounded like Fritz getting thrown from his mount. That couldn't have been true, because Fritz is the best rider in our merry little band so it had to have been some sort of ruse they put on to outwit our prey.

There! Right in front of me! A big 3 pounder, charging at me at full speed... Blinded by pure panic and driven by adrenalin. I wiped what couldn't have been sleep-crusties from my eyes and raised my rifle and placed to sights right on the side of the green and red skin. It was perfect! The fruit didn't know it was giving me a perfect heart-lung shot at 100 yards! The 135 Grain Nosler partition-tip .303 British round stopped it dead in front of a lodgepole pine. (see pictures above) I'm lucky I did to, because there's nothing in the world more vicious than a frightened, desperate watermelon, although I did see a friend lose an eye once in a tragic grapefruit trapping expedition in the Pacific Northwest back in 89'.

We feasted well on watermelon carcass that night, while Barney went into town to get more beer. We had packed 10 cases for our week long trip, and even though he swears he packed all the beer in ice before we left, we couldn't find any. We sent him to buy several more cases. He must have only thought he'd packed the beer away because we couldn't have drank all that beer on the first night.

The rest of the week was a blur as most of our hunting trips do, but I think Barney got an even bigger Bull Mellon later in the week, and Serge was almost mauled my a rabid pumpkin. I did see some wild Portabello Mushrooms grazing in a meadow one afternoon, but I can't be really sure because the high-elevation headaches plagued myself and the rest of my hunting party every afternoon the whole week.

Now that I'm back east here in West Virginia, I understand there's really good Squash hunting in the north up near Kanawah County. The season opens in a few weeks, so I'll keep you all abreast of that hunt when it happens.

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Seven Questions Quiz

I was pigionholed by the Divine Ms. N into doing this...

Actually, It was kind of fun.


SEVEN THINGS

Seven things you plan to do before you die

1. Become a railroad engineer
2. Finish my book
3. Visit Australia & the UK
4. Live in a caboose
5. Get eight hours of uninterrupted sleep
6. Take a train trip from coast to coast
7. Retire

Seven things you can do

1. Shoot a rifle really good
2. Order a beer and get my face slapped in four languages
3. Cook
4. Write (I think)
5. Look myself in the mirror
6. Drive in the snow
7. Fart

Seven things you can't do

1. Fly a blimp
2. French-kiss a rabid badger
3. Put up with stupid people
4. Not cry at the end of "Ol' Yeller"
5. Sleep eight hours without some asshole calling me wanting to sell me vinyl siding
6. Figure women out
7. Never go home again

Seven things that attract you to the opposite sex

1. Long hair
2. Self-confidence
3. Sarcastic sense of humor
4. Intelligence
5. Glasses
6. Flexibility
7. No gag-reflex (you asked!)

Seven things you say most

1. "What the Fuck!"
2. "Bartender, I’ll have another..."
3. "What the Fuck!"
4. "No, I do NOT want vinyl siding!"
5. "What the Fuck!"
6. "Can I please have some coffee flavored coffee?"
7. "What the Fuck!"

Seven celebrity crushes

1. Jan Smithers, Bailey from WKRP in Cincinnati
2. Christina Abernathy from The Weather Channel
3. Alexandra Steele, also from The Weather Channel
4. Jonetta Jones, again from The Weather Channel
5. Emily Procter, who plays Callie on CSI-Miami
6. Vanessa Ferlito, Who plays Aiden on CSI-NY
7. I can't think of any more...

Seven people you want to take this quiz...

1. Bart
2. Kat Woman
3. Tina
4. Syd
5. Dirk
6. Becky
7. Anyone else reading my blog