Thursday, December 28, 2006

While celebrating Christmas with my siblings, we played a game in which we each asked a question that everyone else would answer, blah, blah, touchy-feely, etc.

It was actually pretty fun. But for "Name one life-changing event you have experienced," I didn't want to get too sappy about things like the time my friend died or when my parents split up, so I just wrote, "The time I was held in a Viet Cong prison."

Another question though, was "Who is your hero and why?" I should have probably mentioned my Grandpa, or Jesus, or something, but I answered that Bono is a hero to me because he has turned his celebrity into a vehicle to help people. I really admire that.

I've been listening to a new U2 song for a few days now. It's not my favorite, but the lyric is brilliant and I wanted to share some of it with you. (This is going to be my sentimental Christmas message. No cynicism. Just sincere and corny.)





Monday, December 18, 2006

Well, it's a week from Christmas and I haven't blogged for a while. So here goes:

We had a big sale on Saturday. It also dumped about 8 inches of snow on Saturday. Guess how the sale went? That's right, it was craptacular. It was a non-stop crap-fest. We opened at 8AM with door prizes for the first ten customers in the door. By six PM when we closed we still had 7 door prizes left.

We mailed out about 400 invitations to the sale. We spent more on the postage than we took in the entire day.

That should set the tone for the rest of this post. Now you can see where I'm coming from.

Today my wife insisted that I write the Christmas letter for our friends and family. This was a great idea since I'm so full of Christmas cheer and holiday spirit. I spent all day on the letter trying really hard to make it cheerful, or funny, or anything but sarcastic and pessimistic. I failed.

The closing paragraph went something like this: "Now for the obligatory Christmas message: Merry Freaking Christmas."

My wife didn't like it so she rewrote the whole thing. I should have gone with my first instinct and written it Mad Lib style. Letting the readers choose the adjectives would have worked out well. I could have imagined that every adjective was a derivative of the word "Crap" as I wrote, but readers would have been able to think up their own saccharine sentences. That would have been doable.

Instead, my wife wrote about how wonderful our kids are and how rewarding her work at the hospital is and how my store still hasn't caved in or burned down. She has a way of looking on the bright side of things.

Merry Freaking Christmas fellow bloggers. May your hearts be full of (noun) this (adjective) season.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

This is what I made my kids last year for Christmas. It has a 250 watt electric motor and two 10 amp hour batteries. It goes about as fast as I can jog, and has working lights. It's been sitting in our garage for several months now. Unused.

I don't know what to do this year. I want to make something really cool, but I think they're too little to appreciate the kind of things I can make. The other day an elderly woman whose wheelchair I fixed gave them some toys: plastic dinosaurs for Rxxxx, matchbox cars for Dxxxx, and a stuffed toy kitten for Exxxx. Dxxxx said it was the best day of his life. I make the kid a motor vehicle, and a five-pack of matchbox cars trumps it.

Maybe when they get a little older they'll be more interested in the things that interest me. On the other hand maybe they'll just want to watch football on TV all day. Or worse, they might get into Harleys and wear Orange County Choppers T-shirts. Blasphemy!

In my opinion, Harleys are one step above a Rube Goldberg contraption on the scale of engineering sophistication. Today I went to Borders and thumbed through a book on John Deere tractors. They used the same engine configuration for something like 50 years, and still they are more innovative than Harley Davidson. Harley engines are the same low-revving v-twins of motorcycle antiquity, coupled with inadequate brakes and styling so hackneyed that it has become a caricature of itself. But they've used that to their advantage, somehow moving out of the trailer parks and into the garages of lawyers and investment bankers. Case in point: At Thanksgiving dinner my wifes cousin (a graduate of BYU law school) was going on and on about his adventures on Harleys and how great it was to feel the open road. Turns out he rents them on weekends and goes cruising. When he left he put on a leather jacket with the Harley logo emblazoned across the back. I couldn't help but chuckle as I said, "Gary, when are you gonna get a bike to go with the jacket?" I hope he didn't think I was laughing at him, because I most definitely was. I didn't tell him about all the Harley guys that come to the store wanting to rent scooters to take the motorcycle license test. A few weeks ago a guy came in who had actually crashed his Harley while taking the test. They manuever like a freight train. They also brake like freight trains, and are as loud as freight trains. Maybe if I was profoundly deaf, and only needed to go in a straight line without ever stopping, a Harley might be a tolerable motorcycle. Then again a two-wheeled Suburban with straight pipes would weigh less, cost less, and serve the same purpose. But the guys buying Harleys are buying a status symbol, they don't care how they handle, most probably don't know better.

I'm going to stop that tangent now, and go off on another one. Today our helmet rep. stopped by and we talked a bit. He told me that there is a guy in Boise selling Tank brand scooters. For those of you who don't know, Tank=Stank. They are some of the worst scooters "on the road", or maybe I should say "off the road laying in a pool of their own petroleum based excrement." I guess the guy in Boise is doing so well he's going to open three more stores. He's got bankers calling him begging him to borrow their money. He buys the scooters for about $600 and sells them for $1800. Sweet deal.

When will people learn? It's not all about margins. If you sell a piece of crap, you'll wind up stepping in it sooner or later. How many so-called scooter shops have come and gone in the past four years in Utah county? How many used car dealers were selling scooters over the summer and got wise when the scooters started falling apart?

The Scooter Lounge has been in business for four years now. It hasn't been easy. It's hard to compete with low-priced junk. It's hard to stick to principles and good brands with narrow margins when you see these other tools laughing all the way to the bank, and abandoning their customers when the going gets tough.

But you know what? It's worth it. I'm proud of the business I run. I know there's always room for improvement, but I enjoy what I do and I'm proud to wear my Scooter Lounge work shirts each day.

This time of year it's tougher because we don't sell many scooters in the cold season. It's a time to reflect on the year and think of ways to do better next year. I want to thank all of our customers over the years. Many of you are more than customers, you are my friends. I sincerely thank you for supporting our business.

I've often said that I've got no business running a business. I never finished my degree, and even if I had, it would have been in English. I went into business because I didn't know enough about it to know better. In spite of me, the store has been successful. That's because of the good people who have supported us. Thank you.

One of these days I'm going to make up a batch of t-shirts and other Scooter Lounge paraphernalia. If any of you are interested in wearing the company logo I'll make sure you get one. Just let me know.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

I have mentioned before that I have Tourette's syndrome. I'm also afflicted with something even worse: Vaginaphobia.

I've spent a lot of thought-energy on this diagnosis. While it's hard to pinpoint the exact moment I became ill, I've identified several experiences that may be responsible for this ailment.

1. My Moms underwear. As a kid I was a bedwetter so I had to learn to load and unload the washing machines with my soiled bedsheets. Often I would reach into the dryer and inadvertently feel the staticky silkiness of my moms special unmentionables. This gave me a serious case of the heebie jeebies. Now my wife wears them. Fantastic. We don't call them the "passion killers" for nothing. It's a wonder I'll even sleep next to a woman who wears the same underwear as my mom.

Once my friend Bren had a peculiar look on his face as he sort-of danced over and said, "Dave, I feel so free. I ran out of clean underwear so I had to wear some that my wife got from her mom to wear when she was too pregnant to fit into her own." I think he must have wanted to see my sensitive gag reflex in action. (Another disorder of mine.)

2. Luisas dirty jeans. My half-sister Luisa was so cool. She listened to cool music. She danced like Madonna. How could I have predicted the look of fear and revulsion she wore when she caught me trying on her sweet unisex Girbaud jeans. "They're dirty," she explained. "So what?" I said. "No, I mean they're really dirty," and she gave me a look that let me know it had something to do with periods and playtex. I was too young to understand the exact mechanics of it, but I knew it was bad, and from the look on her face, I knew I would never touch my sisters jeans again.

3. Zeebo once showed me the toilet. That's right folks, during a nice evening with her family, my high school girlfriend beckoned me to the bathroom where she proceeded to show me a toilet bowl full of an unseemingly large turd and a gory torpedo she had just unloaded. "This is what girls have to go through," she said with an accusatory glare. A normal guy would have run away and never looked back for fear of turning into a pillar of salt. I was too lerpy for that. I thought I had participated in some kind of initiation. It was as if all the cool guys had seen menstrual blood and I was now one with the dudes. I think I walked back to the living room and resumed watching TV with her dad. Inside I knew I would never be the same again. Ever.

4. Meat packaging. You know the Carl's Jr. commercial where the guy is standing in front of the meat counter looking confused and lost? It says, "Without us, some guys would starve." That's kind-of like me. If I had to kill everything I ate, I'd probably be a vegetarian, but it would be easier for me to skin, gut, and fry an animal, than it is for me to peel off the cellophane and lift a steak from the styrofoam plate to reveal the gory maxi pad beneath it. That is probably the grossest product on the market. "What's your line of work, Fred?" "Oh, I make those industrial blood sponges for the meat industry. Nice work if you can get it."

5. T.V. commercials. I don't want to know about feminine freshness, dryness, moisture, itching or chafing. I would much rather remain in the dark about light days, heavy days, and chunky days. It can't be good for a woman's self-esteem to buy the ultra-absorbent heavy-flow extra-large tampons either. I had to buy them once and it was the worst day of my life. My wife sent me to Costco to get them and as luck would have it, they only come in a fifty pound box there. I must have looked really cool pushing a huge cartload of tampons up to the register. I tried to hide them with a flat of muffins but it was no use.

I've gotten fat. I own a mini-van. I'm even losing some hair. But nothing is as emasculating as buying tampons for your wife.

Maybe I'm wrong about this. That's the nature of phobias though. They are irrational. I know in my mind that there's nothing to be afraid of, but that does nothing to keep down the goosebumps.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Rainbow Connection

My Dads heart's been broken an inordinate number of times. Of course, most of those heartbreaks were probably his own doing. Just as his heart attacks have been mostly due to high stress, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure; I think his heartbreaks have been due to low self-esteem, low morale and low self-control.

But the thing about heartbreaks is, you've gotta love something a lot to be crushed by it. In my dad's case he has a flowing well of love for his kids, and he's got kids in spades. 5 from his first wife, 5 from his second wife (my mom), 2 steps from wife #3, 8 steps from wife #4 and I think 4 steps from #5. I consider myself fortunate to be one of only ten he personally sired (as far as we know).

The other night as I slept I gradually became aware of someone singing. It was the voice of Kermit the Frog singing "The Rainbow Connection." I hadn't thought of that song in years, but now I remembered all the lyrics. I lay in bed, in the dark warmth of thick blankets, arms around my 2 year old daughter (who absolutely refuses to sleep anywhere else), and the song repeated itself in my minds ear until dawn.

"... Have you been half asleep? And have you heard voices? I've heard them calling my name.
... Is this the sweet sound that calls the young sailors?
The voice might be one and the same"

I learned "The Rainbow Connection" in first grade for one of those programs they have kids put on for their parents. I sang my guts out. My mom was there. It was during the bitter first months separation prior to the divorce being final, so I don't blame Dad for not coming. Plus he would have missed a whole day of work to drive down from Salt Lake. But he used to tell us we could call him collect anytime. (This was back when we couldn't afford long distance.) So later that day I went to the school nurse for help with my grief and called him. He was probably at work, but I didn't know that number so I called his home. I got an answering machine-- first time I ever heard one. I thought it was something seedy, like if he had run out and bought a waterbed as soon as we moved out. Now I realize it was him missing us, and not wanting to miss our calls.

"Who said that every wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star?"

Dad almost never missed a weekend visit (or a child-support payment). Fridays after school Mom would load us up in the Toyota Corona station wagon and take us to the Park and Ride at the off-ramp just before the point of the mountain. Dad would meet us there in his white Cadillac ElDorado (another post-divorce waterbed-like acquisition) and drive us back to Salt Lake. We'd spend the night there, then meet back at the Park and Ride the next evening.

During these short road trips between Salt Lake and Provo, Dad always asked us to sing to him. "The Rainbow Connection" was immediately one of his favorites. We sang it for him over and over.

"What's so amazing that keeps us stargazing
And what do we think we might see?"

As I lay in bed the other night, I thought about my dad and how much sadness must have filled his life back then. Knowing how much joy I have in my own children, I suddenly had a better taste of what my dad must have felt back then, desperately wanting to remain a part of our daily lives, but demoted to weekends and holidays.

"Rainbows are visions, but only illusions,
And rainbows have nothing to hide.
So we've been told and some choose to believe it
I know they're wrong, wait and see."

I'm not as close to my dad as I'd like. Sure, we talk, we have our heart-to-hearts, but there's something missing. We don't really know eachother. Quality time is important, but it can't replace the experience of actually living with someone. Now that I'm an adult, I can see it clearly. I grew up, but I didn't grow up with my dad. We missed it. We missed out on eachother. And I don't know whether that can be recovered. Dad probably knew this back then, as he mourned this loss times five and slept alone in a queen size bed-- the steady light of an answering machine for company, but it has taken me 25 years to realize it. As I tried to sleep, I hugged my little daughter a little tighter and shed silent tears in her hair.

"Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection,
The lovers, the dreamers, and me."

Monday, October 02, 2006

I love Mexican food.
Not the bastardized crap you get from most places, but real, authentic Mexican food. You're probably saying to yourselves, "I'm with you on this one Dave, authentic Mexican food is the best!" But you are a liar and your pants are on fire, because I bet you're saying this to yourselves while thinking of someplace like Cafe Rio.

The first time I ate at Cafe Rio must have been ten years ago. My mom had been raving about this place in Saint George for months and on a road trip to my brothers wedding in LA we stopped for lunch. She was so excited. I was sceptical.

I chose the Smothered Pork Burrito. Whoever the hell smothered it didn't smother it long enough. It wasn't dead yet. Long story short: I got irritable bowel syndrome. That little piggy wanted to go back to the pigpen real bad. This wasn't your basic IBS either, it was the kind where your colon throws a tantrum and you want an epidural. These were brutal, vicious cramps, like the ones that killed Elvis. And I was stuck in the backseat of my moms car for hours before the pain finally subsided.

If you want to avoid the soul-rending pain I experienced that day, you need to know the following:

I present to you "The Law of the Kitchen Staff." This is an irrefutable law of the universe, much like the law of gravity and the law of "Tom Cruise is a major douche."

At just about any restaraunt you go to, be it Chinese Buffet, Italian, Martian or whatever, the guys working in the kitchen are Mexican but when you go to one of those fake Mexican places, the kitchen staff is white trash. Sure they may have their token Juans and Joses in back, but there's always a Duane or a Bud slinging the beans. This should be your first clue to stay very far away.

Before you start making excuses like "So what if it isn't authentic, it tastes good," you should know that I don't usually have a problem with fake Mexican food. It is what it is. You won't hear me complaining much about Taco Bell even though it sucks, because nobody claims it's authentic. But if I go to a place whose tagline is "Authentic Mexican Grill," and there is a line in front that resembles the line at the Log Flume ride at Disneyland, and after waiting about eighty years to be served I squeeze into a seat among people going on and on about how great the food is when what I see is an eight dollar pile of sweetened meat, beans and lettuce strips and a five dollar glass of bad horchata with no refills, then I can get a little whiny. It isn't authentic, not even close! And give me a break with the sign on the door already. If I wanted to start my own restaraunt I wouldn't take pictures of your crappy one.

Last week I discovered a little joint called "Maria Bonita." It's around the corner from the new shop, so we all checked it out for lunch one day. The food is unbelievable! Besides the usual stuff they serve things like Lobster, and Molcajete. They have two kinds of Mole. They have HUGE Mango, Strawberry and Pina Coladas too. The staff barely speaks English. Maria Bonita has superceded Disneyland as "The Happiest Place on Earth."

Ever since the Saint George incident, I frequently experience bouts of IBS, usually coupled with frenzied bowl evacuations. Kent has the same problem. After lunch we usually race for the bathroom. An additional benefit to Maria Bonita, as if you wanted to hear about this sort of thing, is that Kent and I were fine afterward. Even Dustin commented on how unusual it was for us to eat without having subsequent rides on our own "log flume".

I realize you may still want to have your "red-headed-stepchild mexican grill." You may not want to try the real stuff. You might still prefer to eat some bastardized sludge that has the nerve to call itself authentic. That's ok. I can take a dump on a tortilla, and throw it on a pie tin for you, I've got time. And if I eat at Maria Bonita the night before, it will still be more authentic than Cafe Rio.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Janelle (who works at The Scooter Lounge) got married recently and just returned from her honeymoon. In honor of this momentous occasion, I think a review of the good old birds and bees is appropriate.

Around the time I was in fourth or fifth grade, some kid showed up at school with a great recess-time joke. He would take a screw out of his pocket ask other kids, "Wanna screw?"

Of course this led to some playground speculation about "screwing." The general consensus was that sex functioned much like a nut and a bolt.

When my mom got wind that this matter was being discussed, she decided it was time for her to "educate" us about this important topic.

One day she took my older brother and I out to the garage, leaving our friends and younger siblings out, and sat us down on some old boxes. Her lecture began innocently enough. She started with the whole, "when a husband and wife love eachother very much. . ." routine, but soon steered us into uncharted waters and a bermuda triangle of information overload.
She even told us about "sick men who like to kidnap little boys" and the things they do to their "bottoms." in the process, of course, she enlightened us on the mechanics of homosexual man-love.

I remember sitting in church a few days later and realizing with horrified disgust that all of the moms and dads around me did those vile things to eachother. I also had to quit my piano lessons because I felt creeped out when my piano teacher would sit next to me on the piano bench. Sometimes her leg would touch mine and really give me the heebie jeebies. I don't know if it was what my mom intended, but her lecture made me morbidly curious and somewhat obsessed with sex. It was like a train wreck. I couldn't look away from it, but I desperately wanted to.

A few years later on a weekend visit to my dad's house, Dad invited me to go get some big gulps, just the two of us. As soon as we sat down in his 15 passenger van, he turned to me and in his thick peruvian accent he said, "Son, be careful gwith jour penis."

He didn't elaborate much, he just made it sound as though I might accidentally lose my virginity the way I might accidentally fall down an uncovered manhole while walking down the street.

Between his advice and my mom's, it's a wonder I ever left the house.

So Janelle, this one goes out to you and Jeff as you enter a new phase of life. Be careful with your nuts and bolts, scheming perverts are everywhere. Also, let your kids learn about sex the old-fashioned way-- from TV. It's much safer.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Things at the lounge are going smoothly. We have a new product line coming in soon. I am excited about it, but I'll keep it close to the vest for the moment. Let me say this: 200cc, liquid cooled, four-valve, ceramic coated cylinder. It's going to be good!

What else is happening? We are extremely busy with repairs still. We have a 1959 Lambretta TV175 that is coming out of the paint booth in a day or so and reassembly will begin soon. This project is particularly exciting because we are doing the restoration for the original owner. He has a long history with this scooter including that he rode it on his first date with his wife. It is going to be really fun to present it to him in restored condition-- just like when he opened first opened the crate at the age of 14.

Funny stories? Lemme think a minute.

Nope. . . nothing.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

This is another story about the Galaxie 500. I'm talking about my car, not the band. The band is well worth a listen though.

I have said it before, and I'll say it again: I have never been good at making friends. Most of my friends found me, not the other way around. In Peter's case, I was found in an introductory level linguistics class at BYU.

The professor was a really cool guy. Really. His name was Royal Skousen. I liked him. He had lots of interesting anecdotes and a good sense of humor. Once I commented on how I had seen him at Barnes and Noble the night before. He wryly said he was picking up a copy of "Linguistics for Dummies." I mentioned that I had noticed they had a book called "Sex for Dummies," and without missing a beat he said, "I hope it comes in a plastic sleeve." Ah, Royal. . . I hope they didn't fire you for that remark. It was one of the highlights of my long, fruitless college edumacation.

One day after class Peter hit on me. That's what it felt like anyway. Actually his parents had sent him a copy of "How to Win Friends and Influence People" and he was putting it into practice. I think he said something like, "I've noticed you make very insightful comments in class, would you like to get together sometime to study?"

I gave him my phone number and we started hanging out together.

One night Peter and I went to a party at Eugene Englands house. Dr. England was an English professor that BYU basically forced into retirement for his liberal views. The party was his farewell, and it was thrown by the Student Review, an off-campus newspaper with which Peter and I were involved. The Review itself died shortly thereafter, and Dr. England didn't last much longer than that. He went on to teach at UVSC before passing away unexpectedly. He had the most interesting home which he and his family had built using salvaged materials. It was a welcoming place, and a shelter. (Though I never got to know Dr. England very well, I did become well aquainted with a friend of his daughters, who was living there at the time, and I spent a fair amount of time there that Summer.) Probably the most impressive feature of the England home was the stained glass rendering of Joseph Smith's first vision. It was beautiful.

After the party, Peter and I found ourselves cruising around in the Galaxie. I was excited because I had just met the aforementioned girl. She had shown up at the party and played the dulcimer. I had never seen such an instrument, and I was immediately taken with the music as well as with the long-brown-haired musician with big brown eyes. She was striking.

As we drove up University Avenue with the windows down, a car jam-packed with eight boys who couldn't have been more than 19 years old pulled up alongside. All of them started yelling and screaming and gesturing the most horrible obscenities at us. We stopped at a light and they continued to abuse us. I calmly asked them what the problem was, but I couldn't make out a coherent reply, just more obscenities. When the light turned green I asked them to pull over up ahead. I was curious as to what I had done to upset them, and still being under the spell of the dulcimer player, I didn't imagine there was any danger.

I pulled over and got out of the car. Six of the boys got out and surrounded me. Again I asked what the problem was. The only reply I got that I understood was one of them spitting in my face. I immediately sent him reeling toward a fence with a right, and once I had him against the fence continued pummeling him as best I could with five others hitting me. One of them kicked me in the stomach and I must have gone down because they all split. I made my way back to my car, where Peter was still sitting, and I stopped halfway to my door to ask again what I had done to upset them. The biggest of them got back out of the car and ripped off his own shirt as he approached me. Alone I could have taken him, but I noticed the others starting to get out of the car too, so I just stood there while Tubby slugged me twice in the side of the head. As they drove away I memorized their license plate.

It took the police detective two months to call me back with any news. He said he had located the owner of the vehicle and was trying to get the names of the others involved. That was the last I ever heard from him. Don't believe what you see on CSI. They can't just look up license plates. It seems they have to actually go out and examine every car to find the one with the right plate on it. How else could it take TWO MONTHS? Meanwhile I was irrationally scared every time I saw a burgundy Honda Accord. I still don't understand what made them do that to me.

The apathy of the police was the first thing about the whole experience that was appalling. The second was the fact that Peter had stayed in the car the whole time. He said that Tubby had opened the door and knocked his glasses off his face, and he had spent the duration of the altercation looking for them like Velma from Scooby Doo. I wouldn't know. I was too busy getting my trash kicked.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

I'm thinking of buying a scalpel on eBay. I've been looking around the web for do-it-yourself medical equipment, and I think eBay is the place for scalpels. (I have found some other interesting sites , but eBay seems to be the place for scalpels.
Here's why I need one:

Not very many people know this, but I'm an amateur surgeon. Ingrown toenails? No problem. Warts? Piece of cake. I can handle most anything.

Wait, it gets better.

I have lipomas. A lipoma is a small benign tumor composed of fatty tissue. I first noticed them in my forearms when I was a teen. The doctor removed them with a simple enough procedure. He made a small incision, removed the tumor, snipped it free of any connective tissue, and sutured the skin closed. Done.

The problem was, the tumors grew back. I also found more of them.

Fast-forward ten years. I was working for Vespa Utah, a company gracious enough to provide its employees with absolutely no insurance coverage whatsoever. One of my lipomas had gotten pretty large, about the size of a big grape. It was positioned on my arm so that whenever I sat to eat, it rested on the edge of the table. Though not painful, it was a nuisance I desperately wanted to be rid of.

One day, shortly after quitting my wonderful job, I found myself home alone. I was feeling a peculiar combination of depressed and adventurous, so I found a razor blade and set to work.

I shaved the area, cleaned it with alcohol, made an incision, and pulled out the tumor. I placed the tumor on a clean washcloth, then I soaked some q-tips in alcohol and cleaned the inside of the wound. Using a needle and thread, I had just finished the first couple of stitches when there came a knock on the door. It was my mother-in-law. She already thought I was crazy, the last thing I needed was for her to see me operating on myself.

I panicked. I folded the washcloth over the tumor, hid the alcohol and razor blade, and stuck the needle and thread, still connected to my arm, up my sleeve.

I don't remember what my mother-in-law wanted, but for some reason she came into the kitchen and in the process picked up the washcloth and wiped her face. The tumor fell onto the floor and I quickly picked it up as if nothing had happened. I don't think she knew what was going on. After she left I finished the sewing.

My wife was pretty impressed when I told her what I had done. She even helped me to remove an even larger lipoma from my thigh. But there was one on my butt about the size of a golf ball that she didn't want me to attempt to remove by myself. And since it was in a difficult position to remove alone, I decided to wait until we got on some insurance. This was a pain to do because the tumor was in my right butt cheek and I keep my wallet in my right back pocket, so every time I sat down I could feel it.

Finally the day arrived. The doctor wanted to put me under for the operation. I insisted he didn't. I knew it was an easy procedure and I didn't see the need. But I still had to go to the hospital for the surgery, and gown up and everything.

Now, a couple of years later, I still have a gnarly purple scar on my butt. You can even see the scars from when the family doctor removed lipomas from my arms when I was a teen. However, there is almost no scarring from the surgeries I did myself. They healed up fine, and so far no tumors have come back on those sites.

The moral of the story is, of course: If you want something done right, do it yourself.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The scientific method is a pile of crap. We all learned it in grammar school. It's that whole load about making observations, forming hypotheses, testing hypotheses, analyzing data, blah, blah, blah.

Right now you're probably saying to yourselves, "Dave's wrong, the scientific method works, and it is the best way yet discovered for winnowing truth from error!"

Prepare to be shown the facts.

Fact 1. Scientists are wankers. Did you ever meet a "cool" scientist? Me neither. Science is composed of lamewads, gaywads, dorkwads, and Bill Nye who is actually kind-of cool. The scientific method doesn't work for these guys either. How many stupid ideas persist simply because nobody has proven them wrong yet? Almost all of them. It took mankind like 3 billion years to prove the earth was round. Way to go scientific method!

Fact 2. I didn't win the 6th grade science fair. This is in spite of the indisputable reality that my entry rocked the very foundations of Edgemont Elementary School.

Here's what happened: I was really into robotics back then. I wanted to buy a toy robot called Omnibot 2000. It could, like, bring you a glass of water or something. The problem was that Omnibot sold for over 300 bucks. To give you an idea, back then a candy bar sold for thirty cents. My allowance in a month was good for about 2 candy bars. The sum-total of all of the allowance I got my whole life would not have bought Omnibot. Instead I got Verbot. Verbot was Omnibots retarded little brother. He was voice-controlled. About one percent of the time he would do what he was told. The rest of the time he just stood there staring blankly. And he needed new batteries every five minutes. It sucked.

So I did what I always did with my toys. I took him apart. I also took apart some remote controlled cars, a tape deck, a doorbell, and a radio shack electronic experiment set. Then, armed with all the knowledge I could glean from the World Book Encyclopedia, I set out to make my own Omnibot. I had big plans. It was going to have a built-in tape deck, a hand to pick up a glass of water, a face with light-up eyes, radio control, and rechargeable batteries.

In the process of doing my research, I came across some other interesting ideas. For one, a robot should be autonomous. A robot is not a glorified remote control car, a real robot should be able to do cool stuff on it's own, like bring you a glass of water. (This is why I think the show "Robot Wars" is a crock and I hope they all blow up in their nerdy creators faces.)

I read about early robots that used paper-tape instruction sets. I read about computer programs that were self-evolving. And somewhere I came across an explanation of how sattelites orient themselves in outer space.

(Before you start getting all sceptical, you have to know that when I was twelve, I was about four times smarter than I am now. It was before I started killing off all my brain cells with untreated sleep apnea and a decade of BYU education.)

So I put the tape deck and the grabber arm on the backburner and decided my robot would be able to orient itself like a sattelite in space. If turned on in a dark room, it would run in circles. Then if you shone a flashlight at it, it would move toward the light. It was slightly more autonomous than some lame remote controlled car, but only slightly.

I don't remember what the other kids made, except that one was something to do with leaving an egg in vinegar for two weeks to demonstrate osmosis, a word they consistently misspelled on their display materials. And I remember that somebody else made a demonstration of erosion, which I think he recycled a couple of years later to get a merit badge. I'm sure somebody also made a vinegar and baking soda volcano.

But I didn't care what the other kids did, because I was guaranteed to win. I knew I would win, the same way I knew the earth was round. I mean, I didn't think for one minute that anybody would come up with anything as compelling as my robot that I made all by myself without my mom's help that could follow a flashlight around. What could be cooler than that?

Apparently erosion was cooler.

The judges felt that I hadn't adequately followed the steps of the scientific method. Also I think they thought I must have had help from my mom. Obviously they didn't know my mom.

On the way home from school that day, feeling dejected and hopeless, carrying a huge box of robot parts, a kid came up and asked, "How do you activate it?"

"You turn it on!" I sneered.


Thursday, September 07, 2006

I had never kissed a girl until I was 16. Of course, this is only true if you don't count the kindergarten make-outs, which I don't because that would be creepy.

I was a junior. She was a senior in my creative writing class. It began with me trying to tutor her in math, which was absolutely hopeless. It ended much, much worse.

I won't tell her name, but lets call her Zeebo.

Zeebo was a strange kid-- not altogether stranger than I was, but where I was strange in a Boo Radley sort-of way, she was strange like a venus fly trap. She was an aberration. And she was mercenary toward me. She once kissed all of my friends just to tear me up. She often made as if to kiss me and then forcefully blew into my mouth. She was twisted and lovely to me.

But kissing! Kissing became my obsession. I had tunnel vision for kissing her. I lived for it. It was this strange and new all-consuming conflagration.

Now, from the comfortable perspective of a thirty-something parent I know that there is nothing uglier than two pimply teenagers tongue-wrestling. I find it totally distasteful in a strictly clinical sense. But even today as I try to write about this in a humorous way I am struggling with the emotions I feel. The best way I have found to describe it is that I felt for her things that were much too powerful for my fragile emotional fortitude. I was not capable of coping with the torrent of emotion I felt for her. I once read a poem that said it better than I ever could.

Through my life there trembles without plaint,
without a sigh a deep dark melancholy.
the pure and snowy blossoming of my dreams
is the consecration of my stillest days.

But oftentimes the great question crosses
my path. I become small and go
coldly past as though along some lake
whose flood I have not hardihood to measure.

And then a sorrow sinks upon me, dusky
as the gray of lusterless summer nights
through which a star glimmers - now and then - :

My hands then gropingly reach out for love,
because I want so much to pray sounds
that my hot mouth cannot find.

- Franz Kappus

In many ways that poem still describes me.

But this is supposed to be funny, so enough gloom already.

Zeebo and I were both victims. Victims of eachother and ourselves I might add. It's important that I say that because what follows is going to make her look really bad, and I am no saint either.

Zeebo had the worst personal hygiene I have ever known. Once we were sitting in my car and out of the corner of my eye I saw something that horrified me.

"Did you just do what I think you did?"

"I don't know what you're talking about" She coyly replied.

"You just ate a booger!"

"I did not!"

"I saw you," I said. "I saw you put your finger in your nose, dig something out, and then I saw your finger dart to your mouth as if to bite your fingernail. But you weren't biting your fingernail were you? You were eating a booger!"

"I was not! That's totally gross."

This went on until her emphatic denials caused me to question my own observation. For all I remember we might have gone to the park and made out for a couple of hours. Then, as we walked past the county courthouse, she said, "there is something about me that nobody knows except my mom."

"You pick your nose and eat it?"


"You have a vestigial tail?"

"I don't even know what that is."

"You're adopted?"


"You have a dangerous communicable disease?"


This went on for like 43 hours. I exhaused every possible strange or disgusting guess I could come up with. She answered no to all eight-hundred of them. Then she said, "It's something you already guessed."

"I knew it! You eat your boogers!"


Another 800 guesses ensued.

Then finally she admitted it. She ate her boogers. And I made out with her all the time.

Not really so different from the kindergarten make-outs after all.

She was disgusting. But I loved her anyway.

Oh Zeebo, I wish we had always never met!

Friday, September 01, 2006

In high school I became friends with a lot of cool but strange people. My sister called me a wierdo magnet. One friend I had my senior year was a guy whose family was from the Phillipines. His mom and dad told me repeated stories of tremendous wealth in their homeland, stolen by political opponents. Apparently they were just kicking it in Provo while they waited for a regime change back home so they could go back to their palace.

Anyway, this guy, lets call him Honcho for no particular reason, (His real name rhymes with mine) had some peculiar talents which may or may not have stemmed from being born something like 35 weeks early. He was so premature that he made the cover of The National Enquirer. I'm serious. I've seen the magazine in his scrapbook. He was born in Provo in 1975 at the UVRMC hospital while his Phillipine royalty parents studied at BYU.

One of his talents was that he could play any song on the piano, having heard it only once. He had never had a piano lesson in his life, and couldn't read music, but he could improvise anything.

I had lots of fun testing his skill with obscure songs from my CD collection. He played everything I threw at him. Of course I started with crap like The Phantom of the Opera, then moved on to better stuff like U2. I thought for sure I would get him with The Cocteau Twins, but it didn't phase him. I couldn't believe his ability.

So I did what anybody would have done in this situation. I entered our high schools battle of the bands contest. With Honcho as my ace in the hole, how could I go wrong?

Honcho was really into synth pop and John Hughes films, so naturally we looked at covering bands like The Thompson Twins and The Psychedelic Furs. Eventually we settled on a New Order tune called Every Little Counts. It's lyric pretty much summarizes my high school experience-- four years of hoping to be accepted by people I couldn't stand. It has lines like "Eventhough you're stupid I still follow you," and "I think you are a pig, you should be in a zoo."

I wish I could say that I stood up at the mike and sang my heart out, musically giving the finger to all the jocks in the front row. I wish I could say that Honcho had played the keys off of the synthesizer like that homo in Erasure. I wish I could say I won the contest and the affections of the quarterbacks girlfriend. Hell, I wish I had skied the K-12 on one ski while being chased by a deranged paperboy.

Here's what actually happened: The student body president Sunny Jim Caldwell put us on stage as the opening act, but he started us ten minutes before the show was supposed to start. In spite of the fact that most people hadn't even arrived yet, I was too shy to sing clearly into the mike. Not even the effers in the front row heard me call them stupid. I had forgotten to sequence the ending of the song into the synth, so Honcho improvised with a couple of chords, and then I walked offstage in my too-small David Early mechanics shirt from goodwill and my too-tight H.I.S. jeans I bought at Shopko with my head hung like Charlie Brown. My long bangs were hanging in my eyes. That was it. My moment in the sun.

I just realized something though. I didn't suck. I was just so far ahead of my time that the world wasn't ready to recieve the awesomeness that was Honcho and Dave.

I think I inadvertently started Emo.

So when you see a bunch of guys wearing girls pants and makeup, and a bunch of girls who look like they could beat the crap out of them standing outside some venue waiting to see a band with a name like Death Hearse of Joy, you should probably blame me. It's my fault.

Monday, August 21, 2006

The sign is looking pretty good. We're almost ready.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

The new shop so far.

Friday, August 04, 2006

I learned to swear on my mission. Before that, I was pretty bad at it. For example, once during a high school P.E. softball game, another kid got in my face about how badly I sucked at softball and I wanted so much to say something really menacing. Of course my old friend Tourette's kicked in. In the heat of the moment I couldn't decide whether to say, "I'm gonna tear off your head and spit in your neckhole," or "I'm gonna kick your a@@." I wound up saying "I'm gonna spit up your a@@hole." It wasn't very menacing.

(Speaking of Tourette's, a few months ago my mom had a cop over for Sunday dinner and thought it would be funny to tell him the story I am about to tell you. I nearly choked to death on my rosemary pork chop. Thanks mom!)

On my mission I heard plenty of swearing in Spanish. And since it was a foreign language to me, I found it entertaining rather than offensive. I even read a book called "Tradiciones en Salsa Verde" which was full of crass and humorous stories about South American history. Had it been written in English, I probably would have felt so guilty as to have met with my mission president for absolution, but in Spanish it was hilarious.

Now I frequently use Spanish expletives. I even use English ones sometimes. My favorite swear word of all is "Pinche". It's the most versatile cuss-word ever. You can use it in any sentence as an adjective. I use it in English sentences (usually directed to my wife) as a verb or as a noun too. For example I might say, "Quit peenching me!" To which she would reply, "You're the one that's being a peench!"

But my newfound hobby of swearing got me into a lot of trouble once. I was about twenty-three and my brother Tom and I were driving to class at BYU. I was driving my pre-restoration '63 Ford Galaxie. It was a huge piece of crap. As we turned left from Canyon Rd. toward campus, some lunatic made a sudden illegal U-turn and cut us off. We made an immediate right turn and continued on our way. Suddenly I saw flashing lights in the rear view. A Provo cop was pulling me over. Me? What about the lunatic?

I pulled over on Campus drive right between the JKHB and the Tanner building. It was class break and students were everywhere. Three (3!) BYU cops pulled up and turned their lights on too just to get in on the action.

"Do you know why I pulled you over?"


"The speed limit back there by the stadium is 30, I clocked you at 55."

"Does this car look like it can make a turn from a dead stop and reach 55 half a block later?"

"Don't get smart with me! Where's your license and registration?"

I handed over the documents and he took them back to his car.

About an hour and a half later he came back with the ticket for me to sign. Meanwhile the other cops were still there, lights still on! A million of my peers were milling about, probably wondering what heinous felony I had committed to get into such trouble. Tom sunk way down in his seat. Officer Webber told me to sign the ticket which I did. As he handed back my license and registration I said something like, "Next time, get the guy that made the illegal U-turn and cut me off, okay?"

He said, "You mean when you ran up onto the curb?"

"I never hit any curb! It's lucky that maniac didn't cause an accident!"

"You are the one who is a dangerous driver."

"Oh, F$#% You!"

Suddenly my door flew open and he grabbed me by the arm and started pulling me out of my car. "You're coming with me!" I fumbled with my license and wallet and tried to unbuckle my antique, airplane-style seat belt at the same time. When he was unable to immediately yank me out of the car the officer accused me of resisting arrest.

"How is it resisting arrest? I'm just trying to get out of my seatbelt, A##hole!"

That didn't go over too well either. He threw me up against my car america's-most-wanted style and slapped on the cuffs so tight they left a mark for two days. As I sat in the back of the patrol car he stood and laughed it up with the BYU cops. My poor brother Tom had only been home from his mission for a few weeks and was probably scared out of his mind. I'm sure he began a fast for my salvation right then and there. Luckily for me they let him drive my car home.

I got arrested on Valentine's day. That night I had a special date with Del Parson's daughter Sara. (That's right, Del Parson the famous Mormon painter.) She was cool. I say "was" because when I used my one phone call to tell her I wasn't going to make it on account of being in jail, the relationship ended abruptly. I thought it was a romantic gesture on my part, but unfortunately we didn't see eye to eye.

After getting booked, fingerprinted, mugshotted (yes, I made up that word), and having my personal effects confiscated, I was thrown into a holding area with other dangerous criminals. One was a burned-out stoner who kind-of looked like Mallory's boyfriend Nick on Family Ties. He seemed harmless and not nearly as scary as the wierd eighteen-year-old watching Maury Povich in the corner so I made the best of a bad situation and used a line I never expected I'd have the opportunity to use.

"What are you in for?"

"Aw man, the F@#*ing cops busted in my F@#*ing door at F@#*ing three in the G**Damn morning man! They just barged in and busted up my whole F@#*ing meth lab! They took me away in their F@#*ing cars with the sirens on and everything! They're gonna lock me up for 20 years, man. Mother F@#*ers!"

Then he turned to me and asked, "What are you in for?"

"I said the F word."

He stared at me for a moment, incredulous. Then he said, "To a cop?!"


"Aw man!" he exclaimed, "That's bad!"

Pinche officer Webber.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Today at work Kent was making fun of me for the way I always start off a blog with something funny, then say something sentimental about my childhood. He's right. I'm a sap.

I don't have any funny story to tell tonight. The Destiny Norton case has got me down. It's so sad to think that there are people who would hurt a child like that.

Monday, July 17, 2006

I have Tourette's syndrome. It runs in my family. It isn't the classical variety of Tourette's that we are all familiar with. I don't shout obscenities at random or anything. What happens is I sometimes say incredibly stupid things under the worst possible circumstances, it's like some kind of evil verbal diarrhea.

My grandma had it too. Once she told my brother Tom, "Tommy, you got a big old nose!"
My mom once told one of Tom's dates, "Thank you for dating my homely son."

It goes way back for me.

The first instance I remember happened when I was in the first grade. There was an assembly where we watched some high school students perform scenes from Taming of the Shrew. There was a kissing scene. Afterwards I asked the male lead, "How can you kiss like that? Is she your sister?"

Another time in sixth grade I went from being on top of the world to utter misery in the course of an hour due to my Tourette's. Here's how it went down: My brother was popular. I wasn't. He "went with" girls. I was totally under the female radar. Then one day a girl named Kim Byrne (not her real name) came to my house. I didn't even like her, but the fact that she showed interest was so exciting. Before I knew it we were "going together." This actually meant nothing, but it meant everything to me. I was so excited that a girl liked me!

I decided to have a dance on my back patio to celebrate and invited the whole sixth grade. A lot of people came, but nobody danced at first. So for some reason, I shouted from a second story window, "Everybody start dancing or I'll pee on you!"

My girlfriend started dancing allright. . . with Richard. Her friend informed me that it was over between us. I wept bitterly.

After that, just to twist the knife I suppose, the girls would make up nasty cheers about me during recess every day for what seemed like the rest of the year. They came up with classics like, "Who's the dumbest kid in the class? David Retardo. . ."

It was not a good year. Moreover, it set the tone for my entire adolescence. I was a loser.

I really should have peed on her.

Last week my sister, who is sensitive about her hips and butt, was telling me about her new job editing medical journals. She said something sarcastic about how much fun it is to read about cancer all day. A co-worker of mine overheard and said in jest, "You have cancer?" Before my sister could explain I said, "Yeah, she's got butt cancer. Two huge tumors." I was trying to be funny, but there was nothing funny about that. All efforts at explaining myself made matters worse. My sister will probably never speak to me again.

Damn Tourettes.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

The Scooter Lounge is moving! This is not really by choice. Our building and several adjacent buildings have been purchased by some investors who are going to tear them down and put in something else. We have known about this for a couple of months, but have been waiting for some road construction in front of the new place to be completed. Now it is done and we are ready to begin the relocation process.

So I am formally announcing our new location at 600 N. State Street in Orem. The building currently looks like this:

If any of you Scooter Lounge fans out there in cyberspace would like to donate your talents to helping us make the place look really great, please let me know. We have the basic plan in place and will begin the build-out and move very soon. I do need suggestions for the signage and interior decoration.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

A couple of days ago I watched a free download from the iTunes music store. It was a 30 min. NBC special in which some news guy spent some time traipsing around Africa following Bono as he visited with dignitaries and ordinary citizens.

Unless you are a huge U2 fan, this may not sound very interesting.

I think that after watching this show, I am a bigger fan of Bono the Activist than I am of Bono the Rock Star. And I would even say that I have a deeper appreciation for some of the latest U2 tracks which I admittedly hadn't fallen in love with, after putting them in the context of Bono's work in Africa.

The one thing that he said that really stuck with me (and I'm paraphrasing here) is that we have all seen the pictures of starving African children with flies in their eyes asking for our help. The problem with this is it appeals to our sense of pity. He said that this is the wrong approach, and that America is the greatest country in the world because it is a great idea. He said that instead of appealing to our pity, the campaigns that he is involved with need to appeal to our goodness.

I really liked this because sometimes after watching the news and just TV in general, I get pretty pessimistic about America. I often feel as though most people aren't good or decent.

Maybe the truth is that most people are good. Maybe most people believe in right and wrong.

Get on iTunes and download the Bono interview. It's worth it.

Friday, July 07, 2006

English 110
Mr. Williams
Immigration assignment

I hate immigrants. I shoot them every day.

It seems the new hot-button topic electioneers have pressed upon our collective American conscience is immigration. Why? Because it is divisive and generates strong feelings. The "problem" of immigration is really no different now than it was ten years ago. What has happened is that certain Karl Rove types have found a way to get Americans to vote. The reason is fear. They recognize a post 9/11 fear of immigrants, and they have chosen to capitalize on it. They would have us believe that America is in danger of being overrun by Mexicans. (Most Americans think anyone with brown skin is Mexican so I will use that term to mean all Latinos.) We are supposed to believe that Mexicans are clogging up our schools, depleting our resources, stealing our cars, raping our wives, bankrupting our hospitals, and taking our jobs. If we don't act now, we will all be forced to learn Spanish and eat beans all day, while brown-skinned people give us pocket change to wash the windows of their Humvees. Basically they want us to be afraid of Mexicans polluting our culture.

Do you see the irony here? We are supposed to prevent these people from coming here because they will adopt our lifestyle, which by some very flawed logic will make our lifestyle inferior. I ask you, how will their getting ahead put us behind? That's just Playground Politics based on the idea that there is only room for a few at the top and that our place on top must be preserved by stomping on the heads and hands of any who dare approach. The secret they don't want us to know is that the top can and will get higher if we help others to prosper. Can we grow up just a little and recognize this fact?

These electioneers have now successfully divided public opinion into two basic camps: The first camp is the one that espouses the doctrine of shoot first and ask questions later. These are the people that give Americans a bad name the world over. If you have ever traveled abroad and felt that others were looking down their noses at you because you are an obese, T-shirt wearing, gun-toting redneck, blame these people. These people would vote Republican if Satan himself were the candidate, because better Satan than some draft-dodging pansy.

The other, much larger camp is the one whose vote politicians are really after. These are the people who voted Republican before, or had pre-existing Republican tendencies, but after the Bush II debacle might be persuaded to choose a different option. Last time we were swayed by fear of a disintegrating family, but that's a bit overdone, so this time it's fear of Mexicans they count on to get us to the polls. They know we will vote for the guy who says, "I support immigration, just so long as it's done legally." (Seems reasonable enough, as long as we don't find out that each night he goes home to his immaculate estate where Guillermo tends the garden and Consuela cleans the floors.) This strategy is sure to get us a puppet like Bush again instead of a more knowledgeable, rational person. Rational people don't get votes when the electorate is panicked about irrational fears. Electioneers know this.

Why are we afraid? Is it because of the few real problems brought on by illegal immigration, or is it because we buy the hype?

You know what is much scarier than illegal aliens? An America without illegal immigrants, that's what. Legal or not, we need these people here. Our economy is entirely based on cheap labor, it always has been. Almost everything we buy now is made in some other country where labor is abundant. What little we find in stores that wasn't made in Mexico or China, was made by cheap domestic laborers, most of them illegal. Yes it's unfair to them, but if the cost of labor goes up, the cost of EVERYTHING goes up. And last time I checked, American citizens don't work cheap, we are far to educated and entitled for such degradation.

Some municipalities are passing laws imposing stiff fines on any employer or landlord of illegal aliens. Good job you big-mac-munching bags of cellulite! The result will be two-fold: 1. Nobody with brown skin will be able to find a job or an apartment in your fair cities, including those with real documents. 2. All the people with brown skin will move out of your cities and very soon your businesses will start dropping like flies. Your McDonalds' and your Wal-Marts will be the first to go, and they're your favorite stores! Smooth. Real Smooth. We rednecks call this "shooting yourself in the foot." (Though truth be told, more rednecks shoot themselves in the crotch.)

Face the facts: Unless you want your hotel bed made by a fifteen year old runaway crackhead who turns tricks in it while you're at the pool, you want Mexican immigrants. Unless you want to pay $25 dollars for a watermelon, you want Mexican immigrants. Unless you want to spend an extra 50 grand on your new home because it was built by White-Power Bill instead of Speedy Gonzales, you want Mexican immigrants. Unless you want your restaraunt food cooked by a pimple-faced, crotch-itching, nailbiting nosepicker from Magna, you want Mexican immigrants. (Have you noticed that the cooks at nearly every restaraunt are brown? Unless you eat at Taco Bell, in which case they are probably the Magna-ites with jock-itch anyway.)

Are illegal aliens really dangerous? Do you know how many of the September 11 highjackers got in illegally? Look here or here or here

Maybe we should stop legal immigration too.

Clearly the argument that people just need to come legally is fatally flawed. It presupposes that these people actually can come legally. Under current immigration law it's next to impossible for most Latin-Americans to immigrate to the United States. The closer to the border you live, the harder.

Think about it. The reason the border with Canada is so easy to cross is that up north people aren't starving to death hoping one day to afford a ten by ten cinderblock building to "live" in.

Now people want to spend all sorts of money on a wall spanning the entire US/Mexico border. In case you are thinking this is a good idea, let me explain it to you in words you'll understand: This is not a good idea. If we judiciously invested that money in the Mexican economy instead, it would result in a much greater reduction of illegal immigration and the effects would last longer and actually pay dividends. Just ask Bono. Thats exactly what he's doing in Africa. He may be a rock star, but he knows what he's talking about. If you doubt me, download the free NBC interview with him on iTunes.

On the other hand, if we build the wall, it may end up serving to keep Americans from sneaking into Mexico to get jobs when our economy nosedives as a result of it.

The bottom line is: people don't risk their lives to come here illegally on a whim. Would you? Unless you are a student who has passed the TOEFL and has vastly more capital than the average Latino, or are an educated specialist in a technical field, or are wealthy enough in your own country to really have no need to seek a better life here, forget coming legally. Americans don't want you here and the law is not in your favor. Not only that, if you try to sneak into our country our self-appointed paramilitary border patrol which has appropriated for itself the once noble title of "minutemen" will shoot and kill you. No one will even know you were here when you are buried two feet deep on a Texas ranch.

And that is why I hate illegal aliens and I shoot them every day. Satan for President. San Dimas High School Football Rules!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

You Are Jan Brady

Brainy and a little introverted, you tend to think life is a lot worse than it actually is.
And while you may think you're a little goofy looking, most people consider you to be a major babe.

Jan huh? I was hoping for Greg or Peter, but in a way, Jan makes sense.

Who comes up with this crap?

Sunday, June 18, 2006

The content of this entry probably won't go over too well seeing as most of my readers are women. Nevertheless, something has got to be said.

I know I am not alone in complaining about this.

When women who have recently given birth or who are expecting get together, the conversation inevitably turns to the gory details of labor and delivery. I call it "talking about discharge."

One fine example of this phenomenon happened during a Sunday dinner at my mom's house. Along with my siblings, our spouses and our kids, my mom had invited over a Venezuelan couple and their newborn baby. In all there were probably four women who had recently given birth or were expecting.

Before the food was even on the table, the conversation turned to labor and delivery. Suddenly it was "afterbirth this" and "mucous plug" that. . . Then the Venezuelan lady uttered a line that is forever seared in my memory. "Gwen I had birth, my bar-china tore to my rectoom."

For the love of all that is holy, let me eat in peace.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Recently, some rather clever vandals had their way with a dumpster outside my sons school.

This reminds me of something I. . . er. . . a friend of mine did about 13 years ago.

It all started when some jaded underemployed person decided to rent a bus stop bench on the corner of Timpview Drive in front of Edgemont Elementary School.

My guess is that this individual must have been passed over for a promotion or a new job in favor of someone he or she percieved to be less qualified, but who nevertheless had family ties to the employer.

The bench was painted dark green with yellow block lettering which read, "Nepotism is a Relative Thing."

This friend of mine knew nothing of the reasons for the sign, but had to pass the bus stop at least once every day. As you can imagine, after a few months the anti-nepotism message got a little annoying. What kind of person would pay good money to rent a bus stop bench in order to have it say "Nepotism is a Relative Thing?" I think maybe he or she lost out on the job because the employer knew they were petty, vindictive, and just generally a pain in the arse.

So it was the night of my friends 18th birthday, and the sign was still up. After passing off the final requirements for his Eagle scout award, my friend got together with a cousin and a girl he met at the Palace dance club on high school night, went to Smiths and bought some green and some yellow spray paint, and plotted their evil scheme.

My friends were meticulous. They cut out stencils based on tracings of existing letters on the sign. They actually removed the sign to a secluded area so they could work uninterrupted. They painstakingly painted the letters as professionally as they could manage given the circumstances.

The next day the sign read, "Incest is a Relative Thing."

Friday, June 09, 2006

I love The Simpsons. One of my all-time favorite lines is in the episode in which Homer runs for Springfield Sanitation Commissioner. He says: "Animals are crapping in our houses and we're picking it up! Did we lose a war? This isn't America! This isn't even Mexico."

On that note, let me tell you about our dog. His name is Midnight. (Guess what color his fur is?) He is a Mini-Schnauzer. Those of you who know me may well be asking yourselves what on earth possessed me to get a dog. This is a good question. Maybe I will elaborate on that at some future date. For now, just imagine I was drugged and dragged to the pet store.

Midnight is a pestilence upon my household. He refuses to eat any form of dog food, drinks only running water, and yet he jumps at the chance to munch on a filthy diaper or human vomit. Sometimes the latter follows closely on the heels of the former. I have a fairly sensitive gag reflex.

When I get home from work I always kiss and hug all of the kids. Every day Midnight waits for his turn. He's going to be waiting a long, long time. I feel bad because he is an affectionate little dog and would love it if I would let him lick me on the face. Unfortunately, I have a pretty strict policy against getting licked by creatures that lick their own cornholes. Yet they say dogs mouths are cleaner than peoples mouths. How could that possibly be true?

This whole thing is turning me into a compulsive hand-washer. I can't touch the dog without washing my hands afterwards. I can't take it.

We've been keeping the dog food in the garage. There's enough bad-smelling stuff in the house as it is. The result of this is that we have a rodent problem in the garage now. Today I found three mice trapped in a garbage can near the food. I got the kids out of the garage and set to destroying the mice with the butt end of a two-by-four. I've never killed anything larger than a housefly in my life, but I had to do it. Dog ownership has transformed me into a brute.

This is the pestilence Midnight has brought down upon my head. I rue the day we became dog people. Why didn't we just get a cat? I wouldn't touch a cat either, but it wouldn't give a crap about that because cats don't give a crap about anything but chasing mice and burying their own crap. And both of those behaviors are fine by me.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Have you ever heard of a humanzee? Neither had I until I discovered the exciting field of Cryptozoology. It is the study of creatures whose existence has not been proven. As you can imagine, Cryptozoologists aren't very well respected in the scientific community. Yet they continue undaunted in their pursuits of the Sasquatch, Nessie, and the Skunk Ape. Citing the fact that a prehistoric and believed-to-be-extinct Coelocanth was found off the coast of Madagascar as proof-of-concept, they pursue legends of living Pterosaurs in African swamps, and Sauropods in the Amazon rain forest.

How did I stumble across this fascinating branch of psuedo-science you ask? It started like this: I was at a Stake Conference at the Provo Tabernacle and my almost two year old daughter Exxxx threw her bottle over the balcony at one of the High Council (he politely threw it back by the way), then she tried to throw herself over as well, and nearly succeeded, so I took her outside and we walked around the building. On the South side of the building on a ledge about five feet up my eye caught a black shape about the size of a cell phone, but furry looking. It was covered in cobwebs and looked lifeless enough so I took a closer look and discovered that it was a small, rumpled bat.

I grabbed a stick from a nearby bush and brushed off the cobwebs. It didn't move. I poked it a little harder. It moved its head just the tiniest bit. "Exxxx, look at the bat!" I said.
"My Bat" she said as she tried to grab it.

Other passers-by were not as interested as Exxxx and I. Most women, I found, just walk faster when a strange man comes up to them and says, "Hey look, a bat!"

I did get some kids to look at it. They thought it was pretty cool. Each time I showed it to someone I poked it with a stick so it would move and the viewer would go "whoa." The bat started getting more alert and I got a pretty good look at its beady little eyes. It flapped it's wings a couple of times to swat the stick away, but mostly just tried to sleep.

I started to worry that after I left someone I had showed it to might try to hurt it. When my wife and boys came out at the end of conference I showed it to them and then used a couple of sticks to pick it up and move it. I only was able to take a couple of steps before the bat unfurled its wings and flew directly into the trunk of a nearby tree where it stuck like a furry black spitwad. It was cool to see. I don't know how they can do that and not hurt themselves.

Anyway, when we got home I googled "bats" and then somehow that led to "chupacabras" and then "loch ness" and so on. For a few days I was a regular armchair cryptozoologist.

My favorite "Cryptid" as they are called, was named Zana. She was a humanoid female discovered in or near Siberia in the 1800's. Some believe she was one of a group of surviving Neanderthals. She was covered with reddish hair all over her body, had unusually large breasts which she had to throw over her shoulders to run, was incredibly strong, resistant to cold, and didn't speak any known language. She was captured and kept in a cage for two years until she was sort-of domesticated. Then she was taught to grind grain and things and may have been treated more as livestock than anything else, aside from the fact that village men discovered that she liked to drink and when drunk she wasn't opposed to a little hanky panky. She gave birth to several children in this way. It is said that her children had unusual strength and strange personalities as well. One of them was exhumed for research according to one website.

So this brings us full circle. Have you ever heard of a Humanzee? This cryptid is a rumored cross between humans and chimps. As far as whether this is possible, Human and Chimpanzee DNA is so similar that to compare us as animals is apparently like comparing horses and donkeys. It is most likely possible. As for whether this is probable on the other hand, some would argue against it. But think of poor Zana, liquored up and seduced by the wiles of Siberian farmers. We humans as a species are pretty darn sleazy.

Recently scientists concluded that HIV began in an area of Cameroon where it spread from Chimps to humans. Chimps have a similar disease called SIV (simian immunodeficiency virus) which is pretty harmless to them, but somehow it mutated and was passed to humans. There are a lot of ways this could have happened: Chimp being slaughtered, chimp throwing feces in someones face, chimp barbeque, etc. But maybe, just maybe, it started with a man and a chimp who loved each other very much and they got married and started a family of Humanzees.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

This time of year things are really busy at the store. Everyone is always running around to help several customers at once and answer phone calls and fight off salesmen. It's easy to forget that we actually like scooters. It's easy to forget how much fun it is to go for a ride or just relax. Today I didn't get out of the store until about nine. Sometimes I just want to close up for a day and leave a sign on the door that says something like, "closed in the interest of employees mental health, will reopen tomorrow."

Maybe we should have an employee retreat. I think I'll do it.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Conversation Over

The other day this guy came into the shop in need of an air filter and a battery. He said he had purchased his scooter from a used car dealership down the street, and within a few days the battery had failed and he had also discovered that there was no air filter. The dealer had told him to come to our store to get one.

No problem right? Wrong. We don't service gray-market brands. I politely explained to him that the reason for this policy is that the companies involved in manufacturing and importing those scooters do not have proper product liability insurance, nor parts and warranty support. Quite simply, if the scooter spontaneously combusts, we don't want to be named in any lawsuit.
"I'm sorry, but you will have to take it to the place where you bought it for any parts or repairs," I said.

The guy was a little ticked off, but not at me. He was mad at the place he bought it from. They had told him that we would take care of any problem he had, and that we had parts in stock for his machine. This is not the case. While he was on his way to yell at the used car dealer he bought the scooter from, I decided to call them on the phone. Here's how it went:

"Hello, __Auto Sales"
"Hello, this is Dave calling from The Scooter Lounge. You just sent someone up here for an air filter and I . . ."
"We've never sent anyone up there. We handle all our own parts and repairs."
"Thats funny because I get calls almost every day from people asking us to work on your scooters"
"No you don't because we never send anyone up to you guys."
"Well then I don't know how to explain all the calls we get, but that's beside the point. You would remember this guy. He's a big guy with tattoos and piercings. You sent him up here for an air filter and a battery."
"Oh, maybe G.T. sent him."
"Yeah. We sent him because we don't stock those parts."
"Well I was just calling to let you know that we don't support gray market scooters. So don't send your customers here for parts or service."
"You wouldn't even sell them an air filter?"
"You act as if it's wrong of me not to stock an air filter for your customer. But YOU don't stock an air filter for YOUR customer."
"Well I just figured you would have it."
"If you drive a Ford do you expect the Chevy dealer to have your parts?"
"No, but I expect another Ford dealer to have them."

I began to stammer a reply, but I was so baffled by her level of ignorance I didn't know where to begin.
Just then, a male voice came on the line and said, "Conversation Over!" and the line went dead. It was apparent the boss had been listening the whole time, but was too much of a wuss to actually talk to me, so he let me politely talk his secretary into a corner. Her implication that the Junk they sell is the same as what we sell betrays the common belief that all scooters are created equal. I don't think there are very many people around who would say the same about cars, but for some reason there are a lot of idiots when it comes to scooters.

Here's the deal folks: If you wouldn't buy a car made by company you had never heard of, if you would think twice before buying that car if the price were half as much as a comparable Honda or Toyota, If a red flag would go up if the car were being sold by a florist or a beauty parlor, then the same rules should apply to a motorcycle or scooter. We are talking about Motor Vehicles. Be smart, Be safe. Don't get behind the wheel or handlebars of a dangerous machine.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

It is El Warmo in here. I have to put up the window AC units soon. It's nearly midnight and i'm sitting in my living room mopping sweat from my face. My allergies are kicking in too. I could really use that seminar.

(If you don't catch the Rubin and Ed references above you really need to see it. Let me know and I'll lend you a copy.)

Today Richard Guhn came back. Actually he came back on Saturday, and Monday, and Tuesday, and again today. We will probably see him tomorrow. It took him three days to wash the windows. I'm afraid he's officially back.

He asked me if I am the devil again. He said that in the past several months he worked for some lady who turned out to be the devil and so he had to come back to Utah. I asked him if he would leave and never come back if I was the devil and he said "probably". So I have the basis of a plan. The problem is, how do I inform him that I am Satan himself without coming off like a total jerk? Or worse, what if he goes nuts and stabs me in the eye or something? You never know with the homeless. You just never know.

He insists on talking to all the customers. He tells them the most outlandish things. You don't have to talk to the guy for more than 15 seconds to know he's insane.

Today he told a customer that he wrote a book in 1981 that predicted an increase in the price of diesel fuel relative to the price of gasoline due to an increase in diesel powered passenger vehicles. Don't bother looking for it on Amazon. Trust me. It isn't there.

I think that our problem is rooted in our proximity to the bus stop. All sorts of wierdos wander over from the bus stop. What is it about wierdos and the bus? It's like riding the bus is a prerequisite to being eccentric. It's true. Maybe you could extrapolate from that, and say that the vehicle you drive has a direct relationship with your mental health. Hmmm. . .

I drive a 1963 Ford Galaxie. It's kind-of the ultimate "Googie" car. (Thanks for the education on Googie, Carina. Now I know the name of the style I like so much.) Anyway, what does that say about me? Or what does riding scooters say about me?
Am I just a few steps from riding the bus? Am I likely to have a psychotic break and handcuff myself to the monorail at Disneyland? Could be. I just pulled that monorail thing off the top of my head. What does that say about me? Maybe I am the biggest wierdo of them all.

I used to wonder if everything and everyone in the world were just an elaborate put-on that God was using to test me. Kind of like Jim Carrey in the Truman Show, but I thought of it first. As a child I was pretty convinced it was true, but I just knew that if I asked someone God would step in and say, "Okay, show's over. You blew it." So I never asked anyone, and went on with the show. I should have cashed in my chips before the stakes got so high.

Is it all just staged?

Are you the devil or one of his minions?

By the way, remind me to tell you the "conversation over" story. It was pretty funny.

Friday, May 05, 2006


I hate instant message abbreviations. The one I hate the most is LOL. For those of you who don't know (as if anyone is reading this anyway), LOL stands for Laugh Out Loud.

I don't need someone to tell me when to laugh, or how to laugh for that matter. If something you said is funny, it's funny. If it's not, well it certainly doesn't help to insert an acronym. Was there ever an acronym that was humorous? I have an acronym for all you LOL users: FU

How about instead of using the pre-recorded laugh track on stupid sitcoms like Will and Grace, they just flash the caption LOL on the screen whenever they make a joke. That would be great. I can see it now:
Grace: "Oh Will, I love you but you're gay!"
Jack: "Oh Will, I love you butt too!"
LO freaking L

LOL is like the pre-recorded laugh track for the internet.

Seriously, don't LOL anymore. You aren't funny, and you are making yourself look bad. "I'm going to the mall LOL, and then I'm going to talk on my cell phone LOL about my new shoes LOL and my LOL hairstyle!"

But one internet word that hasn't made it into the popular lexicon is dotcom-- at least not in the way I envision it. Proper usage follows: "People who use LOL are so lame. They are"
Even dotedu and dotorg could be used. "How was your date?" "he was totally dorky. dot edu" or "she's kind of a hippie dot org."

I'm feeling really surly tonight. I spent the entire day at a wedding though so cut me some slack. I had to wear a tie all day. Do you know what ties do to fatheads like me? That's right, Splitting Headache. You might as well put a noose around my neck as to make me wear a tie all day.

Adding insult to injury, I had to wear a tuxedo at the reception. Yeah I looked like a million bucks, but something about formal wear gives me really terrible gas. I swear it's the truth. Ask any of my prom dates.

The whole wedding experience needs an overhaul. Here's what I propose: Make a list of all the people you would normally invite and send them each a bill for fifty bucks. If you like them a lot, throw in a kick in the crotch for good measure. Then get Mom and Dad on both sides to write you a huge check for the amount a reception and the associated festivities would have cost. Then after the honeymoon send each person a piece of cake with a half-inch of crisco frosting on the outside and youv'e got yourself the same experience with half the hassle and twice the loot.

Seriously, I would pay you not to rent me a tux and not to invite me to your wedding. It's like double coupon day. You save the expense of the tux rental, and I give you a bonus on top. That's a solid deal. LOL

Thursday, April 20, 2006

If I give you a box of Lego’s and ask you to make me a sandwich with them, what result could I reasonably expect? Would it be rational for me to expect something edible, delicious, and nutritious?

Of course not.

But in life we encounter a similar situation every moment of the day. Our efforts to communicate with one another are made with very crude tools. We have words (which have all sorts of different connotations and meanings) and choose how to use them based on our own experiences and upbringing. Some of us use gestures in an effort to clarify words. We may also stress certain syllables and use various intonations to add depth and meaning to words.

Ultimately however, the message that is actually conveyed to the receiver will invariably differ from the message that was intended.

Telling someone you love them is like handing them a Lego sandwich.

But love is the common denominator in interpersonal communication. The desire to communicate with another is an outgrowth of love, because love is the common ground of living things, it is the soil in which we are planted.

Even hate therefore, and disgust, and fear, are all manifestations of love. Though not necessarily the love of one for another, these feelings exist because of the innate conflict between the need to be understood and relate with others (the outgrowth of love), and the complications that result from being unable to truly communicate.

The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis states that "there is a systematic relationship between the grammatical categories of the language a person speaks and how that person both understands the world and behaves in it." In other words, the language you speak, with its rules and structure, shape the way you interact with the world. I believe this to be true. If you speak English and you only know one word for "sunset", you will experience the sunset differently from a Navajo, who if I'm not mistaken has several words for that time of day when the sun sets. Words are handles we use to grip reality. Different handles mean different interaction with reality.

If you have read this far, you're probably wondering what this spontaneous outburst of dime-store philosophy is all about. It is certainly a departure from my usual potty-mouthed rambling.

I don't know the answer. I was thinking about how the people I love are also the people I argue with most often. I was thinking about how the more intimate a relationship becomes, the greater the capacity for loneliness. Rainer Maria Rilke said that at bottom we are "completely and unutterably alone." Is it possible that the constructs of language are to blame for this?

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

I had an interesting experience on an overnight trip to Chicago this week. As everybody knows, security since 9/11 is much tighter, particularly at airports. Leaving Salt Lake International, I was obliged to remove my shoes and belt, and to empty the contents of my pockets. I also had to take my laptop out of my bag. No big deal. It’s all in the name of safety. I don’t mind the inconvenience.

Then they searched one of my bags, which was just a piece of medical equipment called a CPAP machine. No big deal. So I snore so badly that it requires mechanical intervention—I’m not ashamed of it. I don’t know what they thought the machine was for, but it’s not perverted or nefarious, so who cares right?

On the way home, carrying exactly the same bags, I removed the same articles of clothing and followed the same protocol. Not surprisingly, they called for a bag check. I thought it was the CPAP machine again, but no. This time something in the other bag raised an alarm.

They searched very carefully, but I had no idea what they were looking for. The bag is a messenger bag that is always with me. It carries my iBook, some papers that have never been attended to, a bicycle tire patch kit, a bottle of generic excederin, pens, bank deposit slips, etc. What I had forgotten, and what the security personnel had spotted on the x-ray was a smail lockback knife in a nylon case embroidered with the name “fighter plus.”

Oops! Suddenly, and for the second time in one day, I was reminded of the time as a youth that I tried to smuggle in some switchblades from Tijuana and got caught. (The first reminder came in the meeting when a switchblade was pulled to make a point. Yes the scooter industry is that rough.)

A knife like the “fighter plus” really isn’t that dangerous. I mostly used it to clean my toenails. As a weapon it would be pretty harmless, but so are boxcutters. So I was a little nervous when security pulled it out of my bag.

Then the really scary thing about it set in. Security in Salt Lake hadn’t even seen it. They were more concerned with my Snore-No-More and my belt buckle.

So I surrendered the knife and made my way to the gate without further incident. But now I guess I need to buy a proper set of nail clippers. Then again, switchblades are pretty cool. Maybe I should get one of those. Then I could sneak up on my toes like a real thug.

Friday, April 07, 2006

I'm going to tell a story about my childhood:

As a kid I never heard country music until my parents split up. My mom began listening to Anne Murray. Around the same time two of my aunts got divorces and we all lived together with my grandparents and I was exposed to John Denver and Conway Twitty. (Incidentally, it was during this time that I first heard the name Adolf Hitler. My aunt Dawn said that I combed my hair like him.) When my mom remarried I was exposed to Austin City Limits, The Grand Ole Opry, and Waylon and Willie. My new stepdad (himself previously divorced) had a serious love affair with old country LP's. He still does. His collection is enviable.

All of this led to my theory that country music and divorce were somehow interrelated. In fact to this day I think there's some truth to it.

Another thing about that time in my life is that I was reading and watching "Little House On The Prairie" every day. I read the whole series by the end of second grade. So basically I was Hitler's bedwetting six-year-old doppelganger and had a serious crush on Melissa Gilbert. I cut out a noxema ad with her picture in it from my cousins Mademoiselle magazine and stuck it under my pillow and everything. I was not a normal kid.

Right now I'm listening to Rilo Kiley. I'm not sure what that says about me. Normally if you were to come to The Scooter Lounge you would hear tunes from The Arcade Fire, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, The Killers, U2, or something else non-sucky.

So why am I listening to this folky, semi-twangy Rilo Kiley stuff? I don't know, but I like it. I hope that doesn't mean my marriage is in trouble. I better ask my wife.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Broadband is the greatest thing since sliced bread.

A couple of months ago my wife and I signed up for the city's high-speed fiber optic network at home. I now use my iBook anywhere in the house and download songs and shows on iTunes at lightning speed. I also found a widget that lets me watch TV online. I have a Gizmo account with which I can make phone calls anywhere in the world using the computers built in microphone and speakers.

Truly we live in an amazing age. When I get home from work I can combine my three favorite pastimes into a few blissful moments of solitude.

That's right, I can watch TV, on the Internet, on the toilet.

I find it funny though, because if you think about it, the things we are doing with computers today that seem to be so revolutionary and exciting are really nothing new. The only thing that's new is that we do them with computers now. We already had TV's, VCR's, Telephones, and Walkmans-- and those things worked fine. But now we do it all on the computer. We have been sold the same experience in a different package. That's all it is, but I love it anyway. Maybe Apple could make an iToilet. That would be a good idea. I could make some serious downloads.

Gotta go. Time to flush.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Geely has announced that they will enter the US automobile market in 2008. Industry analysts have not expressed the kind of scepticism I expected. I guess they aren't familiar with Geely's scooters.
This is troubling news to me. After seeing the wonderful scooters Geely has produced over the past couple of years, I fear that we may soon see cars for sale at Pep-Boys and WalMart at ridiculously low prices. And American rednecks will buy them by the ton. "Hell Cletus, even you can afford this car!"

Actually though, this may not be such a bad thing. If we've learned anything from Geely's scooters, we have learned that they are extremely dangerous and incredibly shoddy. Bear with me here: What this boils down to is, anybody who buys a Geely car is likely to eliminate themselves from the gene pool, thereby improving the human genome. In a collective sense, Geely is working to build a better America.

And who could argue with their ad copy? "MR(Sedan) brings you elegant and brisk life. With wings of dreams, we climb to the top of mountains or gallop on plains, chasing the rising sun and the gentle breeze. Sweetness and fragrance floating in the air makes you relaxed and refreshed."

I can't wait to buy one. It sounds like it would make a good douche.