Wednesday, June 30, 2004

The Dark Force Rears Its Head in Transportation Design

One day, not long ago, I found myself sitting on a lakeside dock enjoying the sun and sounds. Gulls carelessly lofted about while waves lapped at the pilings, and a Black Lab fixed his intensity on a tennis ball when a kid bawked a throw. Not far in the distance a bunch of guys raced around on vintage jet skis.

After a while one of the Jet Skis sputtered to the dock, and its owner hauled it up and threw open the engine compartment. I walked over, curious about its workings, and began talking with the guy. He seemed pretty nice, so I held a ratchet while a bolt in an awkward spot was adjusted, and he gave me a bit of an overview about the motor. Afterward he snapped the lid on and kicked the thing back into the water. Then "go ahead", and he noddod over to it.

When asked, he told me it was just like a bike, you have to give it some gas and get going before you stand up. So I pitched my shirt and dove in, real excited to get on a personal watercraft for the first time. I pointed it away from shore, laid down on top and gunned the throttle. Just then I felt a strange tingling around my ankles.

With a jet Ski you can't have a propeller like a boat, because rotating blades would tend to sever the limbs of riders. So you have an inboard motor that drives a sort of aqua jet. Water is sucked into the front of the thing, then shot out the back, which is how it is propelled.

Well, I was lying with my upper chest onboard, the rest of me behind the craft. The tingling sensation I felt when I hit the gas was that powerful jet blasting my testicles down to my ankles, oscillating them from one to the other like frantic pinballs. I don't have to describe the pain to anyone accessorized with a set of these, but as an illustration of the force applied, just imagine that my trunks almost hit the kid playing with his dog.

As I hobbled back to the dock the Chaplain-esque quality of the scene was not lost on the few who witnessed it, and their laughter was only compounded by my having to walk butt-ass naked to get my shorts.

Let me tell you this friend: I will never again get on a jet ski for any reason at any price. They are satanic devices designed by scorned women and frustrated lesbians.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

The last thing a bug thought before the windshield of my high-powered luxury sedan with full auto and leather slammed into him at a buck twenty

Things often strike me like swinging mirrors in a forest. Hanging images come to pass, reflecting familiar shapes with itinerant cues, wafting meaning first before recognition slowly resonates inward. They glance off staler reality, momentarily defying gravity.

I come to know things as they should be, wish to be at their very best. I aspire towards charity, see nothing in competition and greed. Simple sensibilities hover over my everyday, I contemplate matters and weigh the time they consume separating me from my childhood. I go about things with ease, and am sometimes horrified by my dismissals.

It may be a life in reverse that I live, going inward toward birth, but still these things which surround me seem to be without direction. Others in their tidy ways seem oddly stunned by aversion from thought or feeling and introspection. I’m not any better.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Otis' Wildlife Adventure

You know how they say that dogs look like their owners? Well, this is what my neighbor looks like: He’s a big guy with broad shoulders, not the type you’d be unhappy to find on your side. But he’s also a professional guy, with a very friendly demeanor and perpetual smile. He may have been an ass kicker in High School, but only by virtue of his imposing size and a propensity for laughs. If he was, there’s virtually no sign of that now.

Otis does not appear to be as genteel a package. Adopted from the city shelter, this dog spent most of his life as an unofficial resident at the University’s equestrian complex. Oddly enough, he shares many features common to the breed which serves as the school’s mascot. With an adopted dog like that, one never really knows its complete history, but when you look at Otis you can speculate that there was a particular event which led from happy existence in bucolic horse setting to bars in the city pound. Needless to say, after five weeks Otis and Tim are still getting to know each other.

Here’s a little illustration of Otis’ delicate sensibilities: I like dogs, so anyone who comes over to my place with one gets the run of the place. Tim and his sidekick come over one night to watch a DVD, and as usual the dog has to sniff out the place. But with Otis there’s not just the occasional tipping over of things and dog toe-nails on hardwood. It sounds more like furniture in an enormous clothes dryer. In the middle of "Really Big Fish" we hear something that sounds like a water main break, and it turns out to be Otis practically sucking my plumbing inside-out getting a drink of water from the toilet.

About a week ago my friend and I are sitting on the stoop and along comes Tim and Otis, and they seem to be making a bee-line for the house. Very curious. We say hello and get an enthusiastic response, exchange a tidbit of neighborhood gossip, and then we hear him say "you’ve gotta hear what just happened". This is the part of the story where my friend and I almost sprain our diaphragms laughing.

Tim goes on to say: "So we’re walking past a bunch of kids on our way to the park and one of them says "mister, your dog looks mean, is it ok if I pet him", and a minute later they’re all cooing over him and pulling his tail and that sort of thing. As we leave I wave goodbye and begin to pass a row of houses with brick stairways and sidewalls enclosing them. Just out the most extreme portion of my peripheral vision I see a squirrel sitting in one of these blind entranceways on the first step. Well, apparently Otis saw the same thing. He just casually turns his head and CHWOOOMP, he’s got pretty much the whole squirrel in his mouth. You can see its legs frantically pumping as if trying to hop out of the situation. Then Otis changes his grip and starts yanking it from side to side, tail slashing through the air in a blur of fur. Blood is spattering all over the sidewalk and a demonic groan is coming from the pink foam around Otis’ mouth. Things have gone well beyond a P.G. rating. While Otis is going at it I’m hauling on the leash, but blind instinct is apparently pulling harder. Finally he gets the message, lets go and gives me a look like ‘sorry, but you know how it is’ type of thing.

So that’s pretty much the end of my walk. I turn to pass the kids, and they’re standing there agog, eyes wide as saucers. You could tell that if a twig snapped they would all break out screaming at the top of their lungs".

Tales of animal suffering make my heart pang, but we just lost it when we heard this story of natural predation.

Poor Tim had a countenance like the neighborhood was on his heels with torch and pitchfork. And all he ever did was try to help a poor City Pound dog have a better life.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Grazing Policies (More of The Deer Chronicle)

Surprisingly, some of the residents of my former enclave put aside their copies of "Heavily Medicated Affluent Housewife" and "The Joys of Corporate Sodomy" long enough to browse my letters. Even more surprising, though, was their reaction. One woman in particular was outraged that someone could attack hunters so blatantly.

Most offensive of all, though, was the paper's evisceration of my letter. You would think that people in the business of purveying news through the written word would have a bit of respect for the language. But alas, they stalked through my submission casually lobbing comas, paragraph breaks and all kinds of bizurk punctuation throughout.
After reading the printed version of my letter I tossed and turned for a bit, weighing my options, and then I ……

A) Internalized my anger and fantasized about my opponents getting painful, unsightly hangnails
B) Joined a Holistic Healing Through Crystals and Patchouli therapy group
C) Wrote another damn letter

If you guessed C you where correct. I like to write Letters to the Editor. I do it at the drop of a hat. If you left me in a room with nothing but a pen, a piece of paper and a large-breasted swimsuit model, one hour and forty-five minutes later I’d be writing a Letter to the Editor.

So here’s the letter. Beyond this, the deer were on their own.

To the Editors:
I would like to thank you, the editors of The Ridgefield News, for applying your convoluted notions of journalism to my Letter to the Editor. Without recourse did I gaze as my submission lie writhing in agony, having been dissected into three garbled heaps of sentences. Humbled was I to find that you diverted time from 11 glaring, felonious transgressions against the English language on your front page in order to proportion valuable resources towards littering my sentences with redundant commas.
That aside, I would like to draw your attention to (name withheld)’s Letter to the Editor in last week’s edition, and remind her that my article opposed "extermination teams", not hunters, which I neither mentioned nor referred to. As for "armed, beer-guzzling, camouflaged yahoos", I can not be held responsible if the phrase evokes a reactionary blow against your sensibilities.

Todd Vodka
Crayon Wielding Bard and Jackbooted Philanthropist

Friday, June 04, 2004


A part of my heart, tad of my countenance, something of my soul. That which is all a little of me. It precipitates the snow of time's storm, raining its passing on all I know. Books and souvenirs sit quietly collecting while I idle by. The disheveling of it my only being.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Deer Saga Continues

The deer situation continued to escalate to the point where people where seething with opinion. Horrifically, the one put forth most seriously was the notion of employing a company from upper New England who specializes in ambushing animals with firearms. After carefully reviewing this option, I decided that it was not in the best interest of all involved. So I sent this little note to the paper along with a basket of fresh baked cookies:

To the Editors:
The discovery that I was dead wrong about Ridgefielder’s attitudes toward deer left me wiggling in the throes of ecstasy.
Alas, you do not propose to sit idly by and content with complaint. Ridgefielders are people of action, and we’re not about to let a simple matter like the annihilation of natural predators explain away our deer overpopulation problem.
Sure, humanity has encroached on deer habitat to such and extent that their numbers fluctuate with the velocity of nuclear oscillation. But there’s a couple a’ people with Lyme disease, damn it, and if that means deploying armed, beer-guzzling, camouflaged yahoos with silencers and night vision goggles, we’re up to the challenge. After all, this world is so devoid of discharging armaments that an act of violence is almost justifiable in itself.

Todd Vodka
Philosophically Delusional Malcontent and
Nose-Picking Subversive Pinko

Two things here: The editors of the paper saw fit to butcher the letter with what they deemed "corrections", lumping all sorts of awkward punctuation upon it in what can only be seen as a vile attempt to justify their salaries. And finally, I do not bake cookies for people affiliated with publications which advocate violence.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004


Even when I was little I didn’t understand where everyone was scurrying off to. There seemed to be a secret club, rituals and rites learned from primordial time that was understood by all. Girls with their little outfits, boys joining teams and forming circles, all accompanied by voluminous amounts of mind numbing dialogue. Everyone was engrossed.
As I grew up the subject matter changed but the dialogue remained the same. Cars, homes, degrees, spilling coffee in the car surrounded by traffic on an otherwise beautiful sunny morning.
I like people, I just don’t understand any of them.
You know the sound a swing makes, the metal on metal sound? Yeeeeek Haaaaaw Yeeeeek. I can hear that solitary swing from a cold fall playground day telling me then that some day it would be different.
So, what, they make swings out of plastic now, right?