Friday, May 23, 2008

The Sloop John B

I should have known there would be trouble when I opened that birthday card from my grandfather. It had a picture of a sailboat on the front and inside were two round-trip tickets to the Bahamas. Nassau, to be exact.

“That’s right, boy. We’re going sailing. Just you and me.”

“Wow, Gramps, this is really a…surprise.”

He took a swig of his Michelob, which dripped down the gray stubble of his chin onto the front of his stained Hawaiian shirt.

“You’re twenty-one years old and it’s time to party! And what better place to raise hell?”

When we got to Nassau, we didn’t stay in a hotel. Gramps had chartered a sailboat called the Sloop John B. I was surprised to see that the crew were not native islanders, but Americans. Weird hippie-types in their 60s, like Gramps. In fact, Gramps told me they were buddies of his from “back in the day.” These guys lived in the Bahamas and made their living taking tourists on sightseeing trips around the islands.

I have to admit, those dudes looked scary. They all wore stained Hawaiian shirts like Gramps and spent most of the day passed out on the deck or walking around in a drunken stupor. If I didn’t know better, I’d swear I was in a Dennis Hopper version of “Pirates of the Caribbean.”

The first night we made port on one of the islands and went to a local tavern. I had more than a few beers and started feeling loopy, but Gramps and the crew were drinking tequila. The next thing I knew, some humongous dude with a skull-and-crossbones tattoo started arguing with Cheech, the first mate. Soon everybody in the place was fighting, just like in the movies. I ducked as a bottle of beer barely missed my head. This was not my idea of a fun vacation.

The only guy I got along with was the cook. They called him the Egg Man. His specialty was corn and grits, which weren’t bad. But one day he sort of went crazy. I was eating breakfast and suddenly he grabbed my plate and dumped the grits into the garbage. As if that wasn’t bad enough, he ate all of my corn. I couldn’t believe it.

“Egg Man, what are you doing?”

He ignored me and stumbled over to the side of the boat where he barfed into the ocean. That’s it. I was ready to go home.

I found Gramps playing poker with some of the crew.

“Gramps, I’d really like to go home now.”

“Sure thing,” he slurred. “But we have a little problem. Sheriff John Stone took Cheech to the jailhouse.”

“What happened?”

“He broke into the captain’s trunk and stole his tiki doll.”

Cheech was released the next day and we set sail back to Nassau. I was so glad when Gramps and I finally got on the plane for home. This was the worst trip I’d ever been on.


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Turtle: Running at Large

Okay, I am NOT making this up.

Our local newspaper printed a story about the city council's decision to change the city's animal ordinance to make it easier to prosecute owners of unruly pets.

Under the current ordinance, the owner is ticketed only if a pet's bite breaks the skin in an attack. With the new law, owners can be ticketed and ordered to appear before a municipal court judge if their pet "bites, attacks or causes bodily injury." Also, pets that make a second trip to the Cheyenne Animal Shelter would have to get a microchip ID implant.

The following is a snippet from the actual discussion at the council meeting:

Councilwoman Georgia Broyles: The change will make a difference in the health, safety and welfare of our citizens.

Councilwoman Judy Case: A constituent called me about a pet turtle. It has bitten people on occasion and he was concerned he'd have to purchase a microchip ID for his reptilian companion.

Broyles: Is the turtle running at large?

City Attorney Claudio Angelos: I do not believe the ordinance applies to turtles.

Case: It was my understanding the ordinance applies to animals with spines.

Angelos: If you're referring to animals with vertebrae, yes, I suppose you could have a turtle with rabies, but I don't think it would be running at large.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Movies: Best Supporting Dog Award

Verdell (As Good as it Gets)

Queenie (The 'Burbs)

Einstein (Back to the Future)

Waffles (Manhattan)

Bear (Crimson Tide)

Buster (Legally Blonde)

Toto (Wizard of Oz)

Brinkley (You've Got Mail)

Precious (Silence of the Lambs)

Speck (Pee Wee's Big Adventure)

Monday, May 05, 2008

Erma Bombeck

A friend never defends a husband who gets his wife an electric skillet for her birthday.

Did you ever notice that the first piece of luggage on the carousel never belongs to anyone?

Housework, if you do it right, will kill you.

I come from a family where gravy is considered a beverage.

Guilt: the gift that keeps on giving.

Thursday, May 01, 2008


A controversial Absolut Vodka ad has some Americans up in arms. It appears that the company created ads in Mexico to market their product. The ads feature a map of Mexico, showing parts of Texas, California and several other southwestern states, approximating the borders in the 1840s before the U.S. annexation of Texas. The ad copy reads: "In an Absolut World."

Extremists groups in the U.S. are upset about the ads. These fringe groups believe American sovereignty is threatened by the Reconquista movement, which seeks to reclaim U.S. territory for Mexico.

These groups boycotted Absolut. So in order not to alienate the United States which accounts for more than half the company's sales, Absolut issued an apology:

"As a global company, we recognize that people in different parts of the world may lend different perspectives or interpret our ads in a different way than was intended in that market, and for that we apologize."

Not surprisingly, one of Absolut's competitors took advantage of the situation with this ad:

"SKYY Vodka, made in the USA, proudly supports treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo."