Sunday, July 31, 2005

Aboard the USS Imagination

I went to my Grandparents’ house today, expecting nothing more than the weekly Sunday dinner which has become one of the few constants during my time in Utah. I certainly did not expect to relive childhood games of the variety I described in my last post. Imagine my surprise and pleasure, then, when I ended up having a three-day long sea voyage adventure in which I barely escaped with my life!

It happened like this: I was lying on my aunt and uncle’s hammock, talking to my little cousin Danny (age 6) about the biggest storm he ever saw, and suddenly, I’m not sure exactly how, the hammock became a boat and little Danny turned into a brave and fearless captain. We were adrift in the gigantic waves which rocked our tiny vessel back and forth. There was much scrambling about at first. I wasn’t exactly sure what I supposed to be doing, but the captain found his place at the front of the boat and took command.

“Oh no, another wave,” shouted the captain, and I shift my weight accordingly in order to make the hammock turn violently on one side, threatening to throw us overboard. We tossed an turned as wave after wave rocked our ship. Luckily, we hung on and the storm seemed to calm. But the adventure was just beginning.

“Rocks!” warned the captain, “You have to steer the boat the way I say to make it through!”

“Aye, aye, sir!” I shouted back.

“LEFT!” he called, and I shifted the boat on its left side. After several more turns, we successfully cleared the dangerous rocks. I was quite bewildered and somewhat exhausted after this, but scarcely had time to rest before disaster struck again.

“Oh no!” the captain announced, “We’re caught in a whirlpool!”

And so we were, and quite a devilishly strong one it was too. The torrential blasts of the ocean grew so strong that our poor little captain actually fell overboard!

“I’ll save you!” I shouted bravely, reaching over the side to pull him back onto the ship. He looked somewhat embarrassed as I did so, perhaps feeling that the captain ought to have a bit more resiliency when in tight situations, but under the circumstances I thought his survival was quite miraculous. He soon had an explanation, though:

“Good thing we wear safety vests!” he said, drolly. I agreed.

The captain was safe, but we were still in the whirlpool that threatened to pull us under at any minute.

“What are we going to do?” I asked, terrified.

“Well,” the captain said, thinking out loud, “we better try off-ground.”

“What?” I asked.

“Off-ground!” he said, louder and slower, but it still made no sense to me, so he explained what I had to do. “You pull that side and I’ll pull this side.”

I wasn’t sure what that was supposed to accomplish, but I obeyed and it seemed to work.

“We’re out of the whirlpool now,” he announced, and I breathed a sigh of relief. And then he said, “Oh no! A sea monster!”

It seemed we would never get a break.

“How do we get past it?”

“That’s why we have torpedoes!” he said.

“Oh, of course!”

He leaned low over the front of the boat, and fired four torpedoes but still the monster survived.

“Oh no!” I said.

“Oh, I forgot to drop the anchor!” he said, and then he pulled a lever and made a falling, plopping sound. “I dropped the anchor!”

“Why?” I said, “Now we can’t move!”

“No,” he said calmly, “I dropped it on the monster.”

I was impressed with his quick wits, and glad that the creature had been defeated, but I knew better than to expect any kind of reprieve at this point.

“Giant squid!” he shouted.

“Oh no!” Lamenting our situation had become pretty much the only thing I was good for, but the captain, as usual, had a plan.

“What would happen if we shot a torpedo through the squid’s head?” he asked me.

“Well, I think it would die,” I guessed.

“Ok, lets do that. Fire torpedo!”

The ship shook quite furiously, prompting the captain to remark, “Oh, I guess that was a super exploding torpedo.” But my guess was correct; the squid was dead, allowing us free passage.

There were some blood-hungry clams after that, which required us to use eight of our ten remaining torpedoes (he counted them thoroughly). After this, however, it was finally time for a well deserved rest, as night had fallen. We settled down for sleep.

“Wait, you forgot to turn on the shield,” he chided, “so that sharks can’t eat us while we’re sleeping.”

“Oh,” I said, sheepishly, “how could I forget? Sorry.” He had to point on the shield button, but it was worth it because we slept through the night without incident.

The next day brought new trials. Looking over the side of the ship, Captain Dan spotted swordfish.

“Swordfish!” he pointed.

“What if they drill a hole in our boat?” I asked, nervously.

“Hmm…” he considered this possibility, “well, they just did!”

“Oh no!” I said, repeating my catchphrase.

“We’ll have to use the surfboards,” he said.

“What?? How do we use those?”

“You just strap them to your leg and then get on the water.”

“But we have to get under the boat, that’s where the hole is. How are we going to plug it up?”

He thought a moment. “Good thing we always carry around these big rocks!”

“Good idea! I’ll swim under the boat and plug up the hole with the rocks.” I wanted to do something productive.

“I’m the one with the air tank on, I’ll do it!” he said, and dived off the side, emerging moments later to announce the hole was no more.

We were hungry after that, so he distributed fishing poles to catch our meal. He got a big bite, and I had to help him pull his catch onto the boat.

“Whoa!” he said, he hands stretched out wide to hold the massive creature, “Good thing we have a big boat, because this is a WHALE!”

I cleaned it and then asked, “How do we cook it? Do you have a fire?”

“No,” he said, “we have a stove downstairs.”

“Of course!” I replied, and then we made short work of the whale.

“I think that whale must have ate a lot of fish,” he commented.

So ended our second day. After an uneventful night (I forgot to turn on the shield again, and he had to remind me), the third day dawned with hope on the horizon.

“Land ahoy!” I shouted, looking through my telescope.

“Oh no!” he said, “there’s rocks in the way!”

“Do we have to steer around them?”

“No,” he said, “we’ll go under! Turn on the shield!”

I was an expert at this by now, so I did so. Suddenly we submerged into the dark briny water of the sea under the rocks, which I suppose must have been of the variety of sea rocks that float on the surface. We finally popped up on the far side, very close now to land.

“We’re almost there!” he said, “Turn on superspeed!”

“Ok,” I said, and hit a button.

“No, not that one, the one that says ON!”

“Right, sorry,” I hit the correct button and we were off. The boat bounced up and down with the speed.

“We’re going to hit the shore!” I screamed, fearing the boat would disintegrate and we’d perish, so close to our goal, after all we had endured. It seemed the most profound of ironies that we should fall victim to the wonderfully creative inventions crammed on our ship that had been our salvation more than once. I closed my eyes and prepared for the worst.

“BRAKES!” he shouted, and the boat came to a screeching halt right at the dock.

“We made it,” I sobbed gratefully. “We’re home.”

“Yeah, but just wait until our next adventure,” he said ominously.

“Dessert!” called Grandma from across the lawn.

“Hurrah!” we shouted, and abandoned ship.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Memoirs

Do you ever remember random events from your past with such great clarity that suddenly you are in a way reliving the experience emotionally, even though you have not thought of the event for years? Well, I do! Sometimes, of course, its a memory with especially intense emotional baggage checked and stored in overhead compartments, but often, in my experience anyway, it is something rather mundane and simple. And when this memory is from one's childhood (and, as young as I am, what other memories do I have, really?), I not only relive the experience but view it as an outside observer who can more fully understand what’s really going on in the situation than the child version of myself in the past can. You didn't realize, at the time, how annoying or rude or naive you were, but from your current vantage point it is all too painfully obvious. This leads to a strange sort of double consciousness - in your memories, you don't know something and act accordingly, but in your present thoughts outside the memory you know it but can't change how you acted.

I was a strange child. Some of the vivid memories that have returned to me of late have been of elementary school when I lived in Swink, Colorado (I bet you can’t find it on a map). We lived there for my two or three years, which meant I was there roughly from the 4th to early parts of the 7th grades. My memories have been drawn most to those periods of liberty and chaos to which each child longs - recess. Options for activities during recess for a boy my age were quite limited at this small school. One could play soccer/football/basketball (whichever was in fashion at the time) or one could refrain from the former and be branded a loser. Obviously, I chose the loser option without ever really recognizing, at the time, how that affected the way I was treated. But its not as though I didn't try to interact with the boys playing sports. Indeed, I have very vivid memories of pretending to be a sports reporter and attempting to interview the boys playing basketball. I would approach one after a particularly successful shot and ask, "Marcus, how do you feel about that last play?" and shove my imaginary microphone in his direction, at which point Marcus would either push me out of the way or look at me as if I was infected with rabies or perhaps a more potent form of the plague.

Most of the time, I played with another outcast kid in my grade whose name, I seem to recall, was Josh. We shunned the sporty boys, and were the stars in our own episodic adventure fantasy. I was some kind of brave warrior, like Link from Zelda, and he was a wise and powerful wizard and we'd fight new enemies and brave new worlds every day during our 35 minute recess. Each "episode" would raise new plot twists and dangers, which were ultimately resolved by the end of the week at the latest. I can't remember many of the details, but I think Wizard Josh had a very small glowing bug for a pet that spoke only in musical tones and was named, appropriately, Tone. Our adventures carried us all over the playground, from the swings (where we began each episode, the swings signifying as they did the magical pegasi that would whisk us away to wherever we were needed to fight evil) to the monkey bars to the little fake log cabin house (which was inevitably some kind of castle in which one of us was held captive). This was our most common game, though sometimes we switched it up and were superheroes based upon atomic particles instead (I was Proton, he was Electron). People who know me now as one of the coolest people on the planet (according to a recent poll) would be surprised to learn that I was once a big nerd. But what can you do.

One of my favorite TV shows as a young boy was a kid's show called "Today's Special," which took place in a department store at night, when customers weren't around. You'd think that would be a pretty boring setting for a kids show, but there is twist! A lady who works there somehow gets a magical hat that, when placed upon one of the mannequins in the men's department, brings it to life (a la Frosty). Jeff, for that is the mannequins name, is quite naive about the world which prompts his lady friend (who seems awfully lonely and desparate to bring a plastic man to life for company) to teach him (and us at home) simple things. The problem is that if Jeff’s magical hat ever falls off his head, he instantly turns back into a mannequin. The lady is then required to put the hat back on his head and say the magic words (“Hocus Pocus Alamagocus”) in order to revive him. This, I thought, was a very neat idea.

I loved Jeff. I loved pretending to be Jeff. I loved pretending to be Jeff at the grocery store with my mother. While she was perusing the produce section, I’d “accidentally” knock my imaginary magical hat off, and freeze in place. “Come on, Matt,” my mother would say, in a tone that promised dire punishments if she were not obeyed (moms are really good at that tone!), but I would only reply, “My name’s not Matt, its Jeff!” My mother would often reflect that, during these struggles, other people in the store surely suspected that she had kidnapped me and tried to change my name and I was bravely resisting. Eventually, in order to get me to cooperate, she would have to pretend to put on the hat and mutter the magical words, and then I would suddenly come to life and all would be well.

I look back on some of these events, and many others I can’t think of at the moment but will surely return suddenly to memory with sudden force at sometime in the future, and I am often absolutely mortified at the child I see before my eyes. When I see his total lack of social skills, or awareness of the world, his blind eye to his own bizarreness and power to utterly irritate other people, I want to hide my face. True, I still posses all of those qualities but the key is that now I know it. Back then I had no clue. I didn’t notice the frustration on my mother’s face as she tried to buy enough food for us to eat while having to put up with my dramatics. I never recognized the look on my classmate’s faces as I ran around the playground wielding my sword of air as one of disgust and embarrassment. But when I look at my memories, I see now what I could not before, and often it is so overwhelmingly distressful that I have to smack my head a few times until the memory is utterly repressed.

And yet, I had a happy childhood. I may have had my issues, but, being unaware of them, I had no reason to be unhappy except that still didn’t have a Nintendo. My parents were always loving, as parents are even to their most difficult of children. Sometimes I wish I could still enter a state where I never looked at myself self-consciously, like when I was child, when I did as I pleased and never considered that others might be judging and disapproving. The only time that I feel I get close to that again is when I am on stage, performing, and entering the zone where there is just me and my fellow actors, and the audience is just a comforting glow around the outside of my thoughts. Only then, perhaps, could I find that confidence that once came so naturally; to take up my sword in despite of all the world and become, just for a moment, the hero I know I could be.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Lost: My Muse - $20 Reward

I think my imagination is dead, and I think I know exactly who the murderer is. You see, the “golden days” of my blog, when ideas for fun posts were coming every other minute, coincided perfectly with the period of time in which I was not in school and unemployed, and therefore in possession of no small amount of free time to just sit and brainstorm. Now, my full-time job gives me little time to think about anything but frozen TV dinners and paperwork associated therewith, and what free time I do have I want to spend on video games or TV, not on anything associated with thinking. It just proves what I’ve always believed: once you join the corporate world, the artistic side of your brain just shrivels up and dies. Yes, I have more than a little streak of bohemian in me (viva la vie boheme!) but its true that by the time I’m finished with work I barely have enough creative juice to get me through rehearsals for the two plays I’m in, so forget about a clever idea for the blog.

Which reminds me of these fitting lines, written by the poet:

Ah Muse, thou life in life!
Who in my youth did onetime grace
Me in the labored strains of strife,
Did bless my eyes, and touch my face,
Now with the stinging of a knife
Emptiness doth claim thy place!

Now you are probably thinking that by “the poet,” I mean Shakespeare or somebody, but in this case I am, of course, referring to myself (but thanks for mistaking my humble verse for that of Shakespeare!). As you can surely tell, I wrote these lines during the height of my romantic/transcendental phase when my greatest ambition was to be John Keats. Another frighteningly transcendental poem from the same period was called “Upon First Reading Emerson and Thoreau, 3rd October 2003” which is an interesting read, if you are interested in literary periods and that sort of thing. I’ll assume that most of you aren’t and have no idea what I’m talking about and will move on politely. (But you English majors know where I’m coming from.)

The point is, I was actually writing back then. I was creating! Ideas came intermittently and painfully, but at least they came. I was thinking about all that this morning as I got up to go to work, grumbling to myself about the ungodly hour that I was expected to leave my comfortable bed and wanting to blame my job for just about every problem that exists in my life. You see, this is my first full-time job ever, and its been interesting to try to adjust to spending the large majority of my time every day at work. You may say I have a poor work ethic, and I’d be hard pressed to disagree with you. But I’m getting better.

But I realized today, at some point, that I can’t really blame anybody but me for my recent artistic deficiencies. With just a little bit of thinking during my lunch break I was able to readily come up with two or three things I could write about on my blog, and I recently completed a short story for my ever-delinquent writing group that I’m quite proud of. Things aren’t as bad as I would like to make out, and what is lacking is my own fault. So we found the culprit at last, and it is my persistent laziness, which is, I would have to confess, one of my defining characteristics and the quality most likely to cause me to die feeling that my life was of no purpose to anybody.

Allow me to come to the conclusion without any further ado: I do hereby swear to put more effort into writing for the blog, not just for you, my adoring public, but because I can do it, and I should do it, and I want to do it. I commit myself to two posts a week, at the absolute minimum. And you people must commit to read what I write, and to leave an appropriate amount of comments so that I feel loved and needed. I mean, have you seen my friend Chris Clark’s blog? Twenty to thirty comments for each post! As if he of all people needed his ego inflated any more! They don’t even have to be positive comments, or relate in anyway to what the post is about. I just want to hear from my friends sometimes. Is that too much to ask?

Ok, so I’ve got wry, self-depricating post in the works (as the over-all theme of the blog is, if you haven’t noticed yet, wry self-deprication) so check back in a couple of days. Tell your friends, folks, the Ramblings are back!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

An Update and a Review

This is just a short update to let you all know that I am still alive. It has been a week since my last blog post – this delay is due simply to a lack of inspiration on my part about what to write. Never fear, I’m sure I shall come up with something any day now. As it is, allow me just to tell you what I’ve been up to.

I read the new Harry Potter book this last weekend and enjoyed it quite a bit. A lot of people seem to be disappointed with it, or so I’ve heard, but I think that may be because the whole series has become so popular that its beginning to be easier to find things to fault than to praise. The hype surrounding the new release got so big that nothing in reality could live up to it. We expect nothing but the best from such a celebrated series, so expectations are high. So even though Mrs. Rowling delivers another solidly crafted, entertaining book, we are now harder to impress. Needless to say, I think it is a brilliant work by a brilliant author who really knows how to tell a story. It’s a great development of the emerging maturity of the characters and suitable transition into the final chapter of the saga. Too bad we have to wait another couple of years for that one.

So, having finished that, it is now my task to find a new book to read and time to read it, what with work, rehearsals for two different plays, finding time to spend with friends and loved ones, playing a requisite amount of video games, and, of course, writing in my blog. It’s a lot to handle, but I’m one heck of a guy. So be patient if nothing is posted on my blog immediately. I’ll get to it eventually, once I think of a subject. I do take requests, by the way, so feel free to help my imagination out a bit.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

A Moral and Gas

Speaking of Costco, I found myself there again yesterday in order to fill up my car with gas. Its pretty cheap there, and as I am now an exclusive member with access to all the rights and privileges associated therewith, I thought I might as well take advantage of it.

For some reason, Costco employs a man whose sole duty is to watch people pump their gas at the station. He walks back and forth, inspecting people’s gas-pumping techniques like a military commander inspects a soldier’s barracks. As I pulled up to the station I thought to myself that having the man there was pretty silly. Filling your car with gas is a pretty simple process, especially since the pumps have those little computers that won’t let you get any gas until you pay, so I think everybody there could probably handle the job without any supervision. After all, we are Costco members, we’re smart enough to recognize the cost-efficiency of buying in bulk, so we’re more than qualified to pump some gas.

I was waiting for my tank to fill up, simultaneously filling up with derision for the attendant man, when a lady in a mom wagon-style SUV pulled up to the pump on the other side of me. She got out and went about her business, but I paid her no attention. I was washing my windows, which was covered in the slaughtered remains of innocent bugs. The gas man came my way, and suddenly spoke.

“Ma’am, you need to turn off your vehicle before fueling.”

The lady with the SUV said, “Oh,” and turned off her car. I was in shock. She seemed to be in her mid to late 30’s, and yet did not have the common sense enough to know she had to turn off the engine before pumping gas. I was standing not five feet from her car, so I wondered what might possibly have happened if the gas man hadn’t been there. I don’t know much about mechanics, but I suddenly imagined her vehicle exploding, killing us both instantly in a tragic and news-worthy sort of way.

So as I got into my car and left, I cast a warm smile of appreciation at the man. His job must be tedious and boring, but clearly some people just need a little extra help. Somebody's got to do it.

Mr. Gas Station Attendant Man, I salute you.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Bulking Up

And now for something completely different:

My roommate and I went shopping at Costco yesterday, after he persuaded me that buying in bulk was the cost-effective and masculine thing to do. I didn’t have a huge grocery list or anything – I just wanted to purchase the ingredients I would need to make a favorite dish of mine. My mother and I invented it when I was quite young. She was improvising on the ingredients to use, so I helped with a few random suggestions and, if I remember correctly, was allowed to stir. My mother indulgently named the result after me, which was quite an honor because up to that point I had never had any sort of food bear my name.

So I was in Costco with my roommate, buying the ingredients for Matt salad, when I began to get frustrated with the whole “buying in bulk” thing. I needed a bag of noodles, as Matt salad is a variation of the popular pasta salad, but you cannot buy a bag of noodles at Costco. You can only buy eight to ten bags. A can of olives? Forget about it! There’s only jars and cases and boxes full! I began to get grumpy, so my roommate explained that in the long run I would save money by buying a pack of ten bags of noodles rather than buying just one.

His argument makes sense – when applied to any other human being but me. If I had ten bags of noodles in my cupboard, I would never use them. Most likely I would forget they were there altogether, as I regularly buy food that I forget I have. Now I spent money on ten bags of noodles, nine of which disappear of the face of the planet only to be discovered when I move, and all I needed in the first place was a single package!

I guess the bulk thing is alright, but I don’t know if its really my thing. Something about the whole place began to feel a bit… excessive. You know, like mansions with five hundred rooms kind of excessive. Its hard for me not to feel like its going a little overboard to buy a gallon of soy sauce, or a bucket of mustard. Its difficult not to remember there are starving people in Africa when I’m looking at a massive barrel of applesauce on sale for five bucks (which is perhaps the wrong thing to think of, because who knows if Africans even like applesauce? Lots of people don't.) Logically, I understand the economic benefit of buying in bulk, and I understand why Costco is such a hot spot especially if you are feeding a family. On my birthday I spent an afternoon with my grandmother and most of my aunts, who spent a long time taking turns to talk about their favorite thing to buy at Costco. For the busy mother, buying in bulk is clearly a great blessing. Something about it makes me uncomfortable, and its difficult for me to put my finger on why.

Under the great dome of Costco, I stand amazed at the world we live in, enjoying economic success unlike any generation or age before us. I know not everybody in the past or even in the present was/is able to enjoy the same benefits, so I begin to feel guilty that I’m so lucky. I feel the same kind of guilt when I look in the mirror and realize I’m one sexy, talented piece of man flesh. It’s the guilt that comes with great blessings that you don’t feel you deserve.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have ten bags of noodles worth of Matt salad to consume. You should come over and have some.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

A Moment of Respect

I was just as shocked as anybody to find out about the explosions in London. It hit me pretty close to home, though, because I've walked those streets and ridden on the buses and the tube. London felt like a second home to me while I lived there, and its always difficult to learn something disasterous has happened at home. It reminded me in a small way of the feeling I got when, in an extremely remote area of the Philippines where I was the only American for miles, I found out about 9/11.

It hurts me to see what hatred and intolerance can do. Man's capacity to destroy himself is a painful concept to see acted out at the cost of innocent lives. No doubt we will only see more violence in the years to come, for violence begets violence in a terrible cycle. I only pray the pain we feel at being attacked doesn't turn us into the very thing we are fighting. The last five years have given us new meaning to the word "tragic."

Friday, July 01, 2005

Fat Matt

I'm fat.

Ok, so I'm not really all that fat. Yet. But I'm certainly feel like I'm heading that way. As I mentioned last month, I got a gym membership and I'd like to report that I have actually been using it quite regularly. I'd also like to report that in that very same amount of time I have gained over fifteen pounds. Now that wouldn't be quite so bad except that nearly the entire bulk of the fifteen extra pounds has decided to take up residence in the inappropriately named "love handles" area, with the remainder commuting from the suburbs of my belly. The overall result is that I begin to take a shape not unlike a pear, and clothes that once fit with a nice sexy snuggness now tear at the seams. Take, for example, the shirt I am wearing in the photograph on my profile to your right. The photograph was taken over a year ago, when I was in England. I tried to put it on the other day and was only able to button it up with extreme effort and while holding my breath.

This cannot be. I will not allow it. For the first time in my life, I'm spending a great deal of time thinking about my weight, and imagining a middle-aged version of myself so grotesque and mis-shaped that nobody from my childhood recognizes me. As a result, I've become one of those people who is constantly worrying about how to lose weight. Suddenly, every other commercial on TV is advertising guaranteed weight loss programs; where did these adverts come from? Surely they were there before, but I never really payed any attention to the sheer volume of them until now, when their promises of slimness in just weeks, attractive bodies delivered in the shape of a can or a pill or an exercise bike appeal to my dwindling positive self-image. Now I understand why the weight loss market is such a cash cow, why people are willing to spend outrageous amounts of money for the elusive promise of perfect weight, perfect body, perfect, perfect, perfect... I sometimes feel that I would do or give anything to get rid of the feeling of my new-found weight hanging onto my body, like a parasite, nestling under my skin.

Let me tell you, this is quite a change for me. My whole life I've been used to just eating whatever I want, whenever I want, without worry that I'll regret it later when I look in the mirror and wonder how soon people will start asking me when the baby is due. Overnight I've turned into the sort of person who used to drive me crazy; the kind who looks at an offered desert or candy and exclaims, "Egad!! Are you crazy?? Do you have any idea how many calories are in that thing??" I've always been the scrawny kid with no fat (or muscle) so the idea of me having a big potbelly always seemed to me as unlikely as Fox News actually being "fair and balanced." (Oh come on, you know its true. Like any succesful TV show they know their audience and they play to that audience very well. Lets compare a story I heard in my car on NPR to the same story mentioned briefly two days later on Fox News, which I watched at work. The NPR story I have to paraphrase, but the FOX News headline is word for word.

NPR: The Supreme Court ruled today that cable companies do not have to grant access to their cable lines to smaller companies. A small company in California which attempts to compete with the big cable companies had filed a suit saying that by denying access to cable lines the cable companies were effectively removing competition and giving themselves an unfair advantage
on the market. The Court's decision denied the suit, which will make it extremely difficult for any smaller, local businesses to compete with the national cable companies. Experts say its highly likely that many of these smaller companies will eventually be driven out of the market, unable to compete, resulting in falling stocks and probable foreclosure.

(Two days later, during a quick break from the Natalie Halloway story:)
FOX NEWS: Coming up next, are activist judges trying to destroy YOUR stock portfolio? We'll have the details on a CONTROVERSIAL decision by the Supreme Court, after this short break...

In addition, Fox News has a show on every day called "Dayside with Linda Vester," which has the stern-faced Linda covering major stories in front of a middle-sized audience of everyday people. She regularly asks members of the audience's opinion on whatever story is being discussed, with the apparent aim of finding out what the common American thinks of any given issue. I wonder what sort of screening process one must go through to be on this show, because there are never any liberals or even moderates, no voices of dissent, and NEVER any minorities. In fact, everyday the audience seems to consist of white middle-aged women from the South, occaisionally with their husband dragged along. So when Linda asks questions like, "What do you think, audience? Is it OK to have the ten commandments displayed on government property?" the entire crowd responds in something close to "HELL YES!" and then collectively spits out some tobacco juice on the ground in perfect unison. After which, Linda would say something like "There you have it. America has spoken." But I digress.)

So, to make a long story short, I am taking action to keep this from going any further and, indeed, to reverse the effects until I am once again slim and sexy and eighteen. I am going to the gym every day now and walking on the treadmill for an hour. I'm trying to eat conservatively, and to have more small meals instead of three really big meals. Yesterday I saw the first fruits of my efforts. I had stopped my advancing weight and reversed it backwards two pounds. I will keep you all informed as the situation develops.

Coming up next, are activist judges trying to make YOU gain weight? We'll take you deep inside the massive liberal judiciary conspiracy, right after this commercial break.