I Believe in Bigfoot, But Does He Believe in Me? A Question That Doesn’t Really Need to be Answered

As may or may not be evident by the photo accompanying this post, I believe in Bigfoot. I won’t say that I believe completely in his existence; instead, I believe in the idea of Bigfoot and his plausibility as a living creature.

But is the reverse true for Bigfoot, if he exists? Does Bigfoot believe in me? As far as I’m aware, Bigfoot has never seen me. I’ve certainly never seen him. If he believes in the few representatives of Humankind he may have seen, he at least believes in me by proxy and this brings me some sort of comfort.

I like to think, though, that there are fringe Bigfoots (Bigfeet? Thank you Tolkien for your Proudfoots/Proudfeet exploration. It intrigues us still today.) out there that, being more adventurous than their contemporaries, have sought out the strange sounds blasting through the woods and laid eyes upon a Human or group of humans. Perhaps these “outsider” Sasquatches lope home and grunt excitedly to their families and peers about the small, hairless, bi-pedal Sasquatchoid creatures they have seen.

Perhaps Bigfoot, too, knows the sting of being thought crazy by the majority of his society.

Maybe there are even Bigfoot Human watching groups. Perhaps it is called something like the H.uman B.eing R.esearch O.rganization or the Bigfoot grunting/howling equivalent of that. Perhaps they try to imitate the sounds of shotgun blasts or are hard at work producing the fluorescent orange colors they’ve seen during deer season. Maybe there’s some enterprising young Bigfoot developing scents he associates with people. I don’t know what they would be. Something unique that we probably can’t smell since woodsmen and hunters generally avoid scented aftershaves and colognes and such while searching for creatures to eat or study. Perhaps to Bigfoot we smell as bad as I’ve heard Bigfoot smells to people. Skunk Ape indeed. How crude and completely uncalled for.

And what if, just what if, the responses people claim to hear when they are call blasting into the night aren’t actual Bigfoot responses at all. What if these recordings people play to attract Bigfoot are something else altogether and Bigfoot, hearing these strange sounds and sometimes then seeing people, thinks these are the noises people make and is simply regurgitating what he hears in an attempt to attract us?

What if somewhere there is a Bigfoot attempting to imitate human speech and some Bigfoot researcher or frightened camper will one day hear from back in the tree line a tentative and gravelly “Hello?”

Just some food for thought. Bigfoot, whether real, imagined, hoaxed or misidentified, is a veritable buffet of such mental edibles.

And maybe he even believes in, or doubts the existence of, us.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…try to see both sides of all arguments. Some arguments, however, have two different sides from two or more distinct sub-groups. These 4 or more dimensional arguments are worth looking into from every angle.

A don’t…get caught up in the Bigfoots/Bigfeet plurality conundrum. It just isn’t really worth it. After all, rather than aruging semantics, you could be busy looking for a group of Big…well, you get where I’m going, I’m sure.

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Tome Travel

I’ve heard on multiple occasions from multiple sources that reading can be like time travel. I never thought that it was. I suppose it’s the closest we can get, but our own timeline advances as we read about previous times or exotic and maybe even fantastical locales. I suppose, even if we did actually travel in time, our own timeline would continue to advance even thought we could, in theory, return to the exact moment we left, I assume we’d return older than when we left.

Never mind.

This post isn’t about time travel.

I like to read. This likely isn’t a shocking revelation. I assume that most others who maintain blogs or read blogs also enjoy reading. I like every aspect of the act of reading. My tome travel begins with the discovery of the book on its shelf. When I pull it down, I commit the grievous sin of judging it by its cover. I think I do this in a very positive way, though. I’ve read many a book with a dull cover. I’ve read books with blank covers. I’ve even read books with no covers. The cover has no bearing on my deciding not to read it. Some covers have, on occasion, caused me to purchase books I have no intention of reading.  After I pass judgment on the cover I hold the book close to my face and flip the pages. As the scent of the ink and paper and perhaps the elements of the binding process become noticeable, I plunge my face into the volume, usually fairly close to the midway point, and breathe deeply. When this is done, I enjoy the weight of it in my hand as I look for other books. When I’m looking at a book in terms of its bookness only, size really matters. I especially enjoy paperbacks that are close to a thousand pages. If I’m picking a book to have for no reason other than that it’s a book and I want to have it (which I do often to the dismay of my wife, whose books are ever on the verge of being crowded out; my wallet, that could well have a perpetually lit neon “vacancy” sign sticking up out of it; and my overburdened bookshelves and the walls they’re attached to), it’ll be a monster. Then I drive home with the book on my lap or, if I’m not driving, I clasp it in both hands and stare at it.

With all that said, you may be wondering what on Earth I’m getting at. What does any of that have to do with tome travel?

Well, new books are strangers. Before I’ll surrender my mind to it and let it take me somewhere, I have to get to know it. Would you time travel with someone you barely knew? Likely not. You’d want to get acquainted a little first. Gathering all this information is necessary to insure an enjoyable excursion with an acquaintance, if not yet friend, rather than a blind foray with a stranger.

Once the book and I have shaken hands and I’ve had a chance to look over its opening pages (and run my fingers over the contours of any embossments that happen to be present on the cover) I can crack it open and go wherever its going to take me. I don’t think of it as time travel, though. It simply isn’t. No matter how involved I become with the story, I’m still in my house. I can hear the tv in the background and the kids playing. I can smell my dog as she walks by. I haven’t gone anywhere and I know it.

But last night I had a slight epiphany. As I was reading I suddenly became aware of my eyes reading the page and my brain interpreting the words and providing vague visuals as two distinct and separate phenomena. I have never been aware of the distinction before, but as I continued to read this way, I began to notice that what my brain produced for me to “view” and what was actually read by my eyes could be completely different things.  Specifically, the author described a character as an overweight male mowing the lawn in bathing trunks. I pictured him in a speedo. I didn’t even realize I’d done it until I went back and re-read the description wondering why this guy in my head had a speedo on. The author specifically said trunks. My brain showed me speedo.

Why?

No idea. I have no desire to see any man in a speedo, subconscious or otherwise.

I realize now that, yes books can be considered comparable to time travel. They can distract our minds with visions of other times and places and events. They can evoke emotions and cause distress to a degree. But no matter what the author has written or what he envisioned as he was writing, the reader’s interpretation will never be exactly in line with the author’s.

Books take us on journeys, but not necessarily the ones we are expected to take.

But reading isn’t time travel in any sense.

It’s tome travel.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…tome travel as much as you can. The author will have quite a say in where you go, but your own tome travels are unique to you. Open your eyes and enjoy the ride.

A don’t…forget to respect the fact that others want books too. Make sure to leave them at least a little space on the shelves.

Ties and Sickness and a Lump on the Couch; A Rant, a Rave and an Exploration of an Unpleasant Fact of Life

Is there any moment in life more gut-wrenching than having to “hurt” someone to help them?

I think not. Or if there is, I haven’t experienced it personally.

This evening my son appeared in a Christmas program at his school. He was a little fussy as I straightened his tie. I didn’t attribute this to sickness. It seemed perfectly normal to me to fight the tie, even though he really wanted to wear one. Wanting a tie and liking a tie are two different things. Everyone wants to look nice. No one wants to wear a tie.

But, for some weird reason, in order to look nice (that is, if you are male) you must first button the top-most button of your shirt. This simple act is a crime against nature. I’m convinced that the Adam’s apple is God’s indicator that you aren’t supposed to constrict your throat area. But we do it anyway and, simply by fulfilling the prerequisite of tie-wearing, you’ve already limited your throat’s little defender’s range of motion.

Now, as the button compresses your larynx, you must flip up the collar, thus untucking your shirt. Next you voluntarily wrap a potential noose about your neck, fumble around to get the knot right and make sure it’s straight and that the thin back part isn’t longer than the presentation surface of the adornment.

Now, with all that done, you sentence yourself to a term of discomfort all in an attempt impress people you probably don’t even know for a short period of time during which they, in their own self-inflicted, self-absorbed state of discomfort, couldn’t care less how well you are dressed.

Who wants this? Of course I didn’t associate his fussing at the tie with illness. I was actually comforted by it. Oh look, I thought, I’m raising a normal boy!

He coughed a lot on the way home. He fell asleep on the way home. When we got to the house, he sat on the couch, blanket over his head, to eat his cheeseburger dinner. a few minutes later his small hand emerged from the fuzzy lump on the couch clutching a crescent shaped burger remnant. The hand placed the scrap on the coffee table and scrounged blindly for a moment until it closed around a small cellophane bag of cookies. The hand and treats disappeared back under the blanket. The lump on the couch collapsed on its side and began to crunch slowly and methodically. A few moments later a partially full bag of cookies was weakly ejected from under the blanket and the lump on the couch fell still and silent.

When we approached the lump with a thermometer, it willingly disgorged the boy’s head and he allowed us to take his temperature. 100.4. Not too concerning, but definitely worth keeping an eye on. My wife went out for Tylenol.

The lump remained still and silent as I helped my daughter with her homework and notified my boss that I shan’t be working upon the morrow.

Suddenly, the lump again disgorged a child. The child stood, walked silently toward his room, stopped before disappearing into the hall, offered a weak wave and went to bed a full half-hour before bed time. Now I was concerned.

I asked him if he was going to sleep and he said that he was. I asked him if he could stay awake until the medicine arrived. He said he couldn’t. I told him that when the medicine got here, he’d have to wake up and take it. He nodded and went to sleep.

When my wife and I went to wake him up, he began to kick (shameless book plug here, it was his trait of kicking wildly at anything and everything when upset that inspired the main character in my book “How Sir Donkey Legs Became a Knight”) and fuss and literally cry. We tried to comfort him. We tried to convince him. My wife even picked up a small gift for him and the bribe of opening a small toy wasn’t enough to crack his delirious resolve.

We finally had to force it down his throat as he kicked and cried and fussed.

We’ve found that a cupful of generic lemon-lime soda generally makes the medicine go down, so we allowed him that amenity. At this point he became once again the sweet-mannered young man he truly is. He opened his toy and was excited. He was even more excited to learn he’d be staying home from school in the morning. He went once more to bed, smiling now despite his infirmity.

Though it all ended well, those few moments of forcing medicine upon him felt to me like the equivalent of controversial water-boarding tactics. There was no way I was letting him go back to sleep without something to break his fever. The ends certainly justified the means, but it still didn’t feel quite right to force needed medicine on a sick, squirming, crying, kicking, miserable five year old boy.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…force medicine on your kids when they need it. It isn’t water-boarding, no matter how much it feels as though it is.

A don’t…water-board anyone. Or anything. The only exception being when you are in dire need of a wet board.

Some Restaurant Whose Name I Dare Not Remember; A Disaster in Mexican-American Fusion

Greetings!,

I wish to regale you with a tale. It isn’t a tale of hope. It isn’t even a pleasurable tale. It is instead a tale of a horrible mistake. A mistake made by a young man and his father. It may be pleasurable to you. Being detached from the actual experience, you may find it quite humorous. Read on that you may be enlightened as to your reaction.

Before I begin, I firstly disclaim that, although I tell a tale of woe, I do not seek to discredit anyone whatsoever. It is perhaps a benefit that I do not remember the name of the terrible Mexican restaurant my father and I visited. Nor do I remember the town that it was in, although the state was Oklahoma. Go figure. Ridiculous Turnpike tolls and horrible Mexican restaurants. The only good thing to come out of Oklahoma for me is my beautiful and amazing wife. Well, her and that one Toby Keith song.

My father and I once traveled to a town fairly foreign to us to tow home one of our family’s cars that had broken down on the cursed Turnpike. After hooking up the car to my pickup truck, we decided that we were hungry. We pulled, connected and carefully, into a small town gas station and inquired as to the availability of “good food” in the area. The attendant for some reason suggested the Mexican place. Perhaps it was the only restaurant in the tiny town. If so, I’m sure the inhabitants rue their future for it is one bereft of culinary class and diversity.

We traversed the tiny roads, happy for the low population and empty streets, until the route we had been given terminated in the Mexican “restaurant” whose praises had been sung (sang? No, it’s sung.) at the gas station. In retrospect we should’ve considered the source. I’m not saying that gas station attendants have no taste. All I’m saying is that the edibles offered by gas station attendants generally inspire diarrhea.

We entered the place and were shown to a table by some people who were by no means Mexican. This should have been our first clue. My father and I are, however, quite dumb. We sat down and perused the menu. After ordering drinks my father proclaimed a need to evacuate either his liquid or solid waste repositories. I can’t remember which, and it probably is irrelevant and disgusting to try and remember anyway. He requested that, should the waitress approach before his return, I order him the buffet.

As it turned out, I placed our order, two buffets, as he was still preoccupied with his evacuations. I approached the wanting self-serve bar and filled a plate. There wasn’t much to choose from. The buffet was perhaps three feet long. There was some ground beef that had dried out on the top, a pan with taco shells that had cracked down the middle and some wilted lettuce.

Attempting to avoid diarrhea, I loaded my plate with the only other thing on offer that day, jalapeno poppers. Or so I thought. I returned to the table and, before my father returned, I had time to bite into a popper and be disappointed and confused.

When dad got back to the table, the waitress was there refilling my drink. Dad requested the house made salsa and went to fill a plate. When he returned, he found on the table a bowl of ketchup with jalapenos sliced into it and cilantro sprinkled on top.

As he sat he said with a grin, “You must experience the bathroom!”. After having eaten a few “jalapeno poppers” I was only to quick to agree. Before making my exit, however, I lifted a “popper” in salute and watched as he also bit into one. His face creased, as mine had, in disappointment and confusion.

They were not, in fact, jalapeno poppers. They weren’t, in any respect, Mexican food at all. They were pigs in a blanket.

As dad sat regretting our choice, I visited the men’s room, another choice to be regretted. The toilet sat upon a raised rostrum not even large enough to support the entire base of the toilet. Sitting upon this was an experience I’ll not explain in detail. Who needs to read about that? Suffice it to say, it was scary. The sink, if sink it could be called, was so shallow that I couldn’t fit both hands under the stream of water at once.

After washing each hand individually, I returned to our table for the most horribly non-mundane culinary experience I’ve ever had.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…take risks when you eat out. Many times you’ll find a “diamond in the rough”.

A don’t…eat at a Mexican restaurant staffed by white people. Or, if you must, tread very carefully. They may take too many liberties and present you with unexpected and horrible Mexican-American fusion disasters.

Food That Shouldn’t Be; An Essay on a Universal Offense Against the Culinary Community and Those Who Eat for More Than Mere Survival…Part 1

If you happen to be fortunate enough to live in a part of the country, or another country altogether, where pickled rope bologna is not prevalent, count your blessings.

It is my good fortune now to live in a place where the aforementioned atrocity is not offered on the shelves of every supermarket, but this has not always been the case. When I lived in Kentucky I couldn’t enter a store that had even a single grocery shelf without being confronted by the sight of scrap meat tubes curled into gallon jars in one long and disturbing segment that resembled more of a South end offering than a treat you’d enjoy ingesting through a Northern orifice.

And to top it all off, it spends who knows how long soaking in a pinkish brine before whomever is inclined to partake in the travesty purchases it.

I’ve never cared for bologna to begin with. I know there are those who do and it doesn’t bother me in the slightest that they continue to consume it. I’m not here to try to convert anyone to non-bologna-ism.

I simply have a hard time fathoming why someone would take something terrible and make it worse. I ate pickled rope bologna one time. I was the victim of unrelenting peer pressure. I’ve never forgiven myself. Neither have my taste buds and whatever part of me it is that decides whether or not the texture of food items is pleasing.

Pickled rope bologna becomes mush while it brines. It has the same texture as supermarket liverwurst. You don’t chew it, you just mash it with your tongue against the roof of your mouth and it slides down your throat lubricated not only by saliva but also by the tangy, unnaturally pink vinegar that turns the once firm waste patty into mush in the first place.

Once was more than enough for me. In fact, becoming aware of the existence of pickled rope bologna was more than enough for me.

There may be those who truly do have a way with B O L O G N A, but it most certainly isn’t those who have chosen to shape it like a turd and brine it for any period of time.

Just my very strong opinion.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…continue to enjoy bologna if you already have a taste for it.

A don’t…try to develop a taste if you haven’t already. It truly isn’t worth it.

A Curs-ed Disease

I have come down with that most dreaded of diseases. Don’t worry. Logic tells me it isn’t life threatening. I assume it isn’t communicable. It certainly isn’t any sort of computer virus, so you are quite safe should you read on.

I suppose it isn’t a disease in the traditional sense. It is more of a cursed (read cursed) state of mind. For some reason this evening, I’m possessed of an overpowering urge to write. This in itself is not a problem. I love to write. If this aspect of my disease became a chronic condition, I’m sure I’d be rather at peace with it. The thing I don’t like; the thing that is cursed (cursed), about it is that I’ve really had to scrape around in the scrap heap of my brain’s creative center to find a topic.

Expelling all further ado, please enjoy forthwith, the best I could come up with:

My wife and I visit a lot of antique stores. We buy a lot of useless junk, most of which doesn’t fit our décor for some reason or other and ends up in the garage. The rest of it ends up either in the laundry room because we’re too lazy to find a place for it or is incorporated into one of the many “nerd nooks” scattered around our home.

My most recent find, excluding a few books I bought simply because I was judging them by their covers and will likely never read, was a couple of miniature Coke bottles with miniature measures of Coke inside them. They seem to be from two different eras, a conclusion I draw based on the fact that the logo differs slightly on each. I have no idea which eras these are. I didn’t buy them because they’re old or antique or valuable. I bought them simply because they are small.

They’re teeny. They’re a mere couple of inches tall.

Why on Earth would this intrigue me?

Philosophically, perhaps it’s because it makes me feel big and powerful. Look at me, holding these Cokes in my giant hands. I can crush those small things who oppose me because I am huge, ha ha!

In reality there is no reason at all other than that they are small. That’s it. I want to pose them next to little ceramic leprechauns or something. Maybe they’d look good in my daughters’ fairy garden.

Maybe little things are just cool and we all need a small thing to bolster a bit of a superiority complex every now and then.

Or maybe it’s nothing. Maybe for some reason some neural pathway was created in my brain that makes me pre-disposed to enjoying miniature versions of everyday items.

Maybe it means nothing at all other than my bank account $4.00 closer to being overdrawn.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…enjoy the little things in life. Cliché, right? Sorry. Still, enjoy the little things even if they are actual little things rather than the cliché proverbial “little things”.

A don’t…drink the Coke from the little bottles. It may no longer be tasty and instead of a little bottle of Coke, you’ll simply have a little Coke bottle.

Burgers: A Method For

I’ve posted several times before about cooking. This will be the first time I post anything close to an actual recipe; unless you count the post about my son and his recipe for “gummy sour”, which is not a viable recipe for any edible substance at all.

My wife and I (I more than she) love burgers. There are times when I crave a burger specifically and when I get one there’s a bit of a high involved. I don’t know what an illicit substance high feels like, so the closest thing I can relate it too is the time mom gave me a little too much cough syrup, back in the days when cough syrup had some sort of happiness mixed in, and I went on to get to level three of Paperboy on Super Nintendo. A unprecedented feat, I proudly add, that lived in infamy amongst myself and my two brothers and one that they were never able to replicate!

Burgers make me happy. I don’t know why. They don’t give me superpowers like the cough syrup did, but they do make me feel like everything is just right for a few fleeting moments after I eat one. It can’t be just any burger, though. A fast food value menu burger usually doesn’t quite cut it, although there are exceptions. I don’t know exactly the requirements for an addictive burger but, after years of experimentation, my wife and I got it right last night.

Here’s what we did:

I separated the meat into two bowls and seasoned them. She doesn’t like some of the seasonings I like. In hers I put salt, pepper, BBQ sauce, shredded cheddar and butter. In mine; garlic salt, pepper, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, cooking sherry, shredded cheddar, French fried onions, French fried pickles (apparently a new product and an amazing one) and butter. I mushed all of this together and put the meat back into the fridge for close to an hour.

When it came time to cook, I heated the cast iron griddle. As it was heating I made an onion patty by slicing a thick chunk of onion, placing it in oil on the griddle and letting it caramelize, weighted by a small cast iron skillet. I weighted the meat patties also so that they were very thin and I let them caramelize some as well.

They cooked very quickly and I melted cheddar cheese over each patty and served them on toasted brioche buns.

I’ve heard the arguments about not pressing a burger because you lose the juices, which are mainly fat, and fat is flavor. I used to adhere to this but after last night, I’ve found that, even if you press them nearly flat, they cook quickly enough that they are still quite flavorful and have that “melt in the mouth” quality.

My wife and I have sworn off grilling burgers. The grill is for steaks and vegetables now. Burgers in our house are henceforth flattop only items, smashed flat, not steamed, and a little crunchy on the outside. This, my friends, is a very legal form of crack. While it may clog an artery here or there, at least it won’t land you in jail or make you go berserk and chew people’s faces off.

Aren’t these qualities we should all be looking for when we select a drug of choice?

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…try this burger method, or a similar one, at least once. I know this method didn’t originate with me, just like cocaine didn’t originate with the guy selling it on the street corner, but this is definitely a “drug” worth trying. Don’t forget to add the butter or some similar fat. I think that this might be key to retaining moisture when pressing the patty flat.

A don’t…do illegal or dangerous drugs. They are called things like “illegal” and “dangerous” for very good reasons.