Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A Travelogue for People with Deep-Seated Issues

I happen to think getting drunk in the woods is a pleasant thing to do.

This counts as "the woods," too, doesn't it?

If you have a cute little backpack so you can carry your car keys, your smartphone, and of course your flask of vodka, you’re ready to clamber the marked and unmarked trails of your local nature preserve. You just need to wear the right shoes – this is one time you must sacrifice your high heels for the sake of utility – and dress comfortably. Jeans are recommended to avoid being scratched by prickly pricklers and thorny thorns. Jeans that are already a bit roughed up from previous alcohol-fueled rambles are preferred.
 

Assless chaps, for a variety of reasons,
are not recommended.
There is no bad time of day to get drunk in the woods. Trust me on this. But when the sun is getting low in the sky, the woods are very pretty and the little bunnies come out to play. Probably it’s also when a lot of snakes start slithering through the brush and leaves that carpet nature, so it’s best not to think about that too much as you’re walking through them. You may want to look down so you can spot them, or you may want to avoid looking down specifically so you don’t spot them. Most snakes aren’t aggressive unless they catch you staring at them. Just saying.

 
Dafuq are you lookin' at, Leggy?

So you clamber and you hike and you make your way through the trees until you find a nice, cool, quiet place to drink. And by nice, cool, and quiet, I mean unoccupied. Strictly speaking, some woods, and especially some city-owned nature preserves, don’t allow adult beverages, so there’s no point in upsetting any children or sticklers for the law who may be about.

Honestly, some people are such prudes.
 
Relax. Listen to the rustling of the leaves, the babbling of the brook, the croaking of the frogs or anything else that may be croaking. And drink, of course. If you’re in the woods with a flask of vodka, there’s no point in staying sober.

Now, in nature you’re never alone. So remember that as long as you can see or hear some kind of living creature, you’re engaging in social drinking. Also, nature is a very safe place. This is a fact. Name one book, movie, or TV show in which someone went out into nature and had something bad happen. Keeping in mind that those Uruguayan rugby players in the Andes were on a plane, which technically isn’t nature. Also, that what happened to James Franco in 127 Hours was almost certainly his fault for not reading the script more carefully.

 
"Why yes, I am a Method Actor. Why do you ask?"


What I’m saying is that it’s OK to wander into the middle of the woods at dusk by yourself and drink vodka. Why else were cellphones invented but to enable us to engage in risky behavior knowing that 911 is just a phone call away?

There’s no need to invite anyone along. This is your private, peaceful time. Although if you wanted, you could message a good friend to meet you in the woods, or maybe meet you somewhere afterward. You know, for dinner or a movie or just to hang out. Because that would be fun to do after a nice relaxing clamber in the woods.

 
If you read the dictionary definition of "clamber," it says
"to climb in an awkward, scrambling fashion."
I prefer to illustrate the concept with this adorable photo
of a mouse scurrying over a rock.

Especially if you and that good friend haven’t seen each other in a while because your schedules are so out of sync. And, you know, life gets in the way and things come up and you both have priorities that sometimes preclude spending time with a good friend.

Which is another reason it’s perfectly fine to get drunk in the woods by yourself. Life is too short to let circumstances over which you have no control define your enjoyment. Carpe that diem, lest it be carped away from you.

 
Give it a moment, it'll come.

Also, even if you and a good friend have made definite plans to get together – plans that you were pretty sure had a good chance of falling through, and you were OK with that except that your friend swore up and down that they wouldn’t and got your hopes up that you’d finally be able to have an evening together because, you know, sometimes the stars do align – you should be prepared for crushing disappointment. Shame on you for your lofty expectations. That’s a sin, I think. Up there with gluttony or sloth.


But not Anderson Cooper holding a sloth,
which I'm posting because I can, and also because
OMG Anderson Cooper holding a sloth.

 
The good news is, everything is going to be OK. After all, you’re already in the woods, you’re already drinking, and you’re already alone. And those things are pretty enjoyable, as long as you don’t compare them with what you originally hoped to be doing that evening.

There is nothing that can possibly go wrong.

Well, you could start wandering around shitfaced drunk with night falling and get lost.
 
This picture works on so many levels.
E-mail me if you know what they are.

You probably won’t. I mean, this is a suburban nature preserve, not a national forest. Technically, if you can keep walking in more or less the same direction for 20 minutes or so, it’s almost impossible not to come out on the other side of the woods.

In order for that to happen, you would have to stray from any kind of marked trail. And it would have to be nearly dark. And if you can’t manage to stay oriented in one direction and keep moving that way…what are you, drunk?

 
Mark Trail. It's...it's a play on words.
How did I just now get that?

Now, the most important thing to remember if you get lost in the woods is to stay focused. Don’t be distracted by briars poking you in the arms. Or strange shuffling noises in the leaves off in the gloom. Most of all, don’t get distracted by thoughts of what an idiot you are for believing any of this was actually a good idea. Or how foolish you’re afraid you seem to your friend for getting upset at being blown off for what really is a perfectly valid reason and ending up in a stupid predicament that is doing nothing to bolster your already flagging self-confidence.

At this point be sure to remember that you haven’t eaten, either.

And beware of the man eating snake.
See what I did there?
 
The thing is, it’s not as if you’re having a bad time. You’re clambering, one of the most joyful activities known to mankind. You’re drinking in the woods, which is after all what you came here to do. You’re surrounded by the sights and sounds of nature. Sure, the sights have become a bit hard to see since the sun went down, and the sounds became a bit more menacing at approximately the same time. But there are no grizzly bears here.

Are you sure about that?
 
Spiders, snakes, and possibly rabid skunks. But no grizzly bears.

 
Awww.

And so, eventually you follow a creek and leave the woods and cross a field and get on a concrete path and discover that somehow you’ve ended up in front of the firehouse that’s a good 200 yards east of the nature preserve. And that’s a good thing, because…firefighters. You know, just in case you need strong, brave men to come to your aid.

I'm not a pyromaniac, but I'm working on it.
 Which you don’t, because you easily traverse the distance from the firehouse to where you left your car. You would feel pretty stupid explaining to the strong, brave, possibly shirtless firefighters how you got there, anyway. And also, something about self-reliance and dignity. And you’re pretty sweaty.

Yeah.

All in all, a nearly perfect evening.
 
To sum up, I happen to think getting drunk in the woods is a pleasant thing to do.

Do it with someone you love.

 

 

 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The ABCs of D-I-V-O-R-C-E

Because I like to rhyme stuff.

And cats with fur-hearts.

A is for anger,
A waste of my time
 
B is for bitch,
Which some people say I’m
 
C is for crying
Much more than I should be
 
D’s for divorced –
I thought I never would be
 
E is for ever
And ever, amen
 
F is for fucked…
Lately I haven’t been
 
G is for grief
For a thing that has died
 
H is for head,
Spending too long inside
 
I is for if
You say “boo,” I’ll begin
 
J is for jumping
Right out of my skin
 
K is for kindness,
For which I am grateful
 
L is for letting go
When things get hateful
 
M is for me,
Whom I’m getting to know
 
N is for nothing
I’m willing to show
 
O is for over
If you haven’t heard
 
 P is for pfffft
A good all-purpose word
 
Q is for quitter
Which right now I feel like
 
R’s for reborn
Which I’d much rather be like
 
S is for someone
Who may not exist
 
T is for trying
To make up what I’ve missed
 
U is for used up
And hung out to dry
 
V’s for the veil
That was pulled from my eyes
 
W once was for we
But not now
 
X – what I’ll have to get used to
Somehow
 
Y is for yesterday,
Or simply for why
 
Z doesn’t work,
So I’ll just say goodbye.

Monday, April 22, 2013

I'm Just Saying the Guys on DIY Network Would Probably Agree with Me

Look, it's been pretty well established that I'm a terrible person. 

Making Jesus cry since 1968.
It must be the way my brain is wired. I don't TRY to be terrible. Mostly it happens as a completely reflexive reaction to...almost everything. In other words, I don't think about being a jerky bitchy jerky bitch. I just am.

Case in point.

I read this little parable on Facebook today. It's one of those "teachable moments" stories that float around the Internet or pop up in "Dear Abby" to inspire us and make us think and be a better person.

And I just hate those fucking stories.


See, like that. Sorry.
Have some damn flowers.

The problem with these little tear-jerking life lessons is that they assume I want to be a better person. Or am capable of doing so. Or give a crap about changing based on some hack piece of storytelling that doesn't even have a car chase or Robert Downey Jr. with his shirt off. This one is called "Nails in the Fence," and it goes something like this:

There once was a little boy who had a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the back of the fence.

The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Over the next few weeks, as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.

Finally the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper.

The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone. The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said, “You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won’t matter how many times you say I’m sorry, the wound is still there.”

Moral: Keeping your temper is hard, but it's a lot easier than needlessly scarring people and also like totally super worth it.

Really?

Because I can go to Home Depot and rent a nail gun for pretty cheap, and not only will it shoot those SOBs into the fence with zero effort on my part, but there aren't going to be any freaking wounds from pulling them out because they're staying the hell in, where they belong.

Now, see here, Beav - wait, you make a good point.
Here's my takeaway form this tale: If you're so goddamn worried about leaving holes in a fence, then take a moment and make sure you're pounding them in exactly where they deserve to be.

Measure twice, maim once.

Also, I'm not sure why the father in the story has such a huge problem with nails and then tells his kid he can just stab a dude instead.

Sounds kind of hostile to me.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Something's Hatching

You know what I've got for you today?

A motto:

Obladiblada.
And to prove it, here are pictures of sweet li'l baby animals hatching from eggs.

Like this ducky:

Who doesn't want a small bill?
And this lovely lizard:

Cutest, scaliest peekaboo ever.
Then there are these...um...stinkbugs:

Darling...I guess? If you're a stinkbug.
Also hatching from eggs are the caterpillars of the polyphemous moth:

They're sort of fuzzy. Fuzzy is cute, right?
On the other hand...Baby tortoise!

Boom! I'm here and I'm adorable.
And itty-bitty crocogator!

Focus on the toothy grin and try not to think too much
about the horrible orange goo.
Here's a shot of existentialism in action:


Looks like a tie to me.

This, believe it or not, is a cockatiel:


Which just goes to show that some folks are late bloomers.


You all know I love baby snakes. Here's a whole egg carton full of hatchlings:

Omelettes for everyone! What?
It's not every day you see one of these creatures in the shell:

Wait, that's not an egg. That's a kitty in a Pokeball.
Squeeee!

Life goes on under the sea, as well:

Octopus eggs! Filled with octopus!
Kind of makes up for the whole stinkbug thing.

And finally we have:

They can't put it on the Internet if it isn't true.
Lives may end, but life never does. It's a pretty cool deal.

Circle of life.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

An Open Letter to the President: Taxation Without Intoxication Is Tyranny. Or Something.

Dear Mr. President:
 
First of all, congratulations on finally proposing a budget. I know some of your critics have faulted you for taking almost five years to do it. But I get it – I’ve got more than four decades of operating without a budget under my belt. There’s just too much to do to worry about where every single penny is going, am I right?
 

Like hanging a medal on what remains of Bob Dylan.
 
And maybe all those haters who bitch and moan about wanting Big Government off their backs should suck it up about how their precious tax dollars are being spent anyway. Go live free or die, why don’t you?

Or jail. Jail would be good. You got five days
to stop the Hypocrisy Clock.
 
Now, I admit I haven’t read the entire 246-page document outlining your proposed changes to the tax code. OK, I haven’t read any of it.  Frankly, it sounds duller than Mitch McConnell’s sex life. But I have been alerted that one particular proposal has a direct bearing on me. Therefore, I felt it was my civic duty to Google it and read what someone else spent time and effort to research and summarize on the Internet.
 
That's the American way.


 
If you read this blog, Mr. President, you already know where I’m going with this. You do read my blog, don’t you? I’m pretty sure Joe Biden does. I’ve received anonymous comments that really sound as if they could only come from the Vice President of the United States when he’s drunk-browsing at 3 a.m. after yet another long day of not being asked his opinion on anything.
 
Joe Biden, smiling through his pain.
 
But I digress. Mr. President, it has come to my attention that one of the means by which you plan to raise $1.8 trillion in new revenues is by closing a loophole that until now has resulted in lower taxes on flavored vodka. Assuming that vodka producers would pass along the increased tax to me, their primary consumer, this means that I might soon be paying upwards of 2% more for my beverage of choice.
 

That should knock out most of the revenue generation right there.
 
I must say, I find this disappointing.  Mr. President, what do you have against flavored vodka? Why must you punish those of us who choose to drink Stoli Vanil, or Absolut Citron, or Smirnoff Whipped Crème, or UV Blue Raspberry, or 360 Double Chocolate, or Van Gogh PB&J, or Three Olives Grape, or Skinnygirl Tangerine, or Pinnacle Cookie Dough? 


I could go on.
 
Frankly, Mr. President – and I hate to say this – but it sounds as if you’ve caved in to conservative pressure on this issue. If there were ever a right-wing conspiracy to tax the lifestyle choices of the left, this is it. You know damn well that Republicans on Capitol Hill overwhelmingly take their vodka neat, straight, and unflavored.  I’m sure Paul Ryan would rather kiss an unwed teenage mother than enjoy a cocktail made with Grey Goose Cherry Noir. And Ted Cruz is no more likely to sip SKYY Ginger than he is to keep his damn fool mouth shut about things he doesn’t know anything about for once.

This policy is designed to hurt people. Me. This policy is designed to hurt me. And people like me.
 

People like Joe Biden.

On the other hand, this may an excellent opportunity for Intoxicated-Americans to stand up for the country they love. In that case, thank you, Mr. President. Thank you for challenging me to dig a little deeper in order to support a balanced budget. Thank you for letting me cast a vote for deficit reduction every time I get my drink on. God Bless America for allowing incipient alcoholics to make a vital contribution to democracy and free enterprise simply by visiting their local liquor store on a monthly weekly daily no let’s make that weekly basis.
 

Who's counting?
 
I will do my patriotic duty. I will pay higher taxes on flavored vodka. If you really want see the economy get a boost, Mr. President, you should fund research into creating Snickers Peanut Butter Squared-flavored vodka. I’d pay whatever it took to get my hands on that shit. This country would be running a surplus in six months, no lie.

Thank you for your time and consideration, Mr. President. You da man, if I may say so. I shall toast your health with a variety of tasty distilled beverages. And your family’s health. And Congress’.  Yes, even John Boehner, if it’s a double. Because this American stands up for America, for as long as I can stand at all.

 

Sincerely,

Chuck Baudelaire

 

P.S. Have Joe call me. Tell him it’s his turn to buy.


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Birthday Thoughts (Not About Birthdays)

As the Lovin’ Spoonful sang, “Now, a quarter of my life is almost past.” Which is just about right, as I totally plan to live to be 180 years old.
 

Me and Torty, here.
 
Precocious Daughter has baked me a cake for my birthday, because she’s awesome. We’ll cut into that bad boy tonight, with a few other members of my beautiful family in attendance. Who else wants a slice? Send me your address and I’ll FedEx it to you.
 

Disclaimer: Ms. Baudelaire will not actually
FedEx you a slice of cake. Get real.
 
Here are some birthday thoughts, which don’t actually have anything to do with my birthday. So they’re just thoughts, but they’re special because I thought of them today. Which is my birthday. Yeah.

********** 

I’m so sad that Annette Funicello passed away.



When I was a kid, I LOVED the original “Mickey Mouse Club,” WHICH I SAW IN REPEATS BECAUSE I WASN’T ALIVE IN THE 1950s SHUT UP.  Anyway, Annette was so beautiful, and I really sort of identified more with Darlene because she was definitely the Rhoda to Annette’s Mary. Annette had a cameo in the Monkees’ Head, so she is permanently OK in my book. Plus she endorsed Skippy peanut butter, which was my brand growing up. And she never, ever wore a two-piece bathing suit in her beach movies because Uncle Walt wouldn’t approve of her looking like teh sex.

Doreen never had that problem.

R.I.P., Annette.

**********

It’s very strange to not wear a wedding ring after you’ve worn one for 20+ years. I keep feeling a moment of panic when I notice it’s missing from my finger. Then I think: “…Oh…” 

 
...okay.

The ring belonged to my grandmother, so I’ll pass it down to PDaughter someday. I hope she’ll cherish it the way I do.  For the record, I didn’t want to take it off – I had moved it to my right hand.  But I removed it upon request.

 
Oh...okay.

**********

I want to send a shout-out to an old friend of mine from my Milwaukee days. He was one of my favorite people growing up – he always reminded me of Dan Aykroyd.  He’s going through some hard times, and he started making suicide threats on Facebook.  Now he’s kind of dropped out of sight, and I’m worried. I’ve been rallying our mutual friends and checking the police blotters where he lives, because I know how it feels to feel as if there’s only one way out, and no one should feel that way, especially not someone as sweet and funny as my friend Clark. I’m concerned about him.  So if you have a prayer in you, maybe send it his way.  I’m a firm believer that there is a funnel in the universe that will scoop up your good thoughts and channel them to the right place.

 
That's science and shit.

**********
 
These thoughts are getting melancholy. Not my intention – after all, it’s my birthday, and I kick ass.

 
This is supposed to be a HAPPY occasion.

Oooh! I know! Here’s a picture of Anderson Cooper holding Grumpy Cat!

 
Anderson Cooper holding Grumpy Cat.
As advertised.

 
D’awwwww.

I think I’m going to treat myself to some cake-flavored vodka tonight. Or some vodka-flavored cake. Or both, one washed down with the other. Because as of today, I’m finally old enough to drink.
 
It’s my birthday, humor me.