pass the first ideological purity test
pass the 50th
but they’ll keep coming
and sooner or later you’ll be one of the monsters


We were at some mall. It might have been Independence Mall in Independence MO, but it might have been somewhere else. We were in fourth or fifth grade I think, meaning we were nine or 10 years old. There were escalators.

We were on a school field trip. We attended Blackwater R-II Elementary in Blackwater MO. Blackwater MO still has less than 300 people. Even the townies, who we country kids sometimes called “city slickers,” lived in a town they could walk across without too much trouble, even on a hot day.

The K-8 (Kindergarten through Eighth Grade, about 13 years old) school is still operating as it was then. Our class, admittedly one of the smaller ones, had 10 kids in it by the time we left for separate high schools.

Many of us had seen escalators before, not in Blackwater, but elsewhere, on clothes buying trips, or visits to relatives in cities, or the odd vacation. But one girl in the class got excited about them that day and she kept riding up and then back down. The teachers had to pull her (okay, and the rest of us who followed along with her) away from them so we could leave the mall.

She was a little eager but I know where she was coming from. Escalators are cool. They are stairs that move and you often find them in places that sell stuff or where you get on the airplane. There’s still that bit of big city sophistication to them, even though they’re to be found in my medium sized uni town.

There’s that little bit of danger there too. Moving stairs say “you could get on me and go up or down, or horizontal but faster (if you’re on an even cooler “people mover”) like always, or you could get pulled into these relentless metal jaws and die screaming as horrified shoppers watched helplessly.

It’s a trick to look cool getting on and off the escalator. I like to think I handle myself pretty well on them, like I know what I’m doing, like I’ve been nonchalantly riding moving stairs all my life. To make escalatin’ look good one must move effortlessly, without thought, like some European movie businessman or chic model, like an escalator.

Kenny was energetic and outgoing last night when we stepped out of our car and met him on the sidewalk. He’s always energetic and outgoing, but I think he might have been a little more of both last night. Kenny is the long time bartender, he told me almost 14 years, at our “home bar,” McNally’s.

Kenny’s last day at McNally’s is Friday. He’s planning to spend the summer at least hanging out with his young son (also a Kenny) and working around the house. So if Kenny was a little more energetic and maybe a little more joyful last night he had good reason.

I used to go to McNally’s at least once or twice a month. Since we’ve had kids and life (that old cliche) has changed we’ve gone less and less. Now we’re probably doing well to pop in every two or three months. These days we take the kids with us and order a big pizza (Wise Guys Pizza is excellent and it’s in the same building) and a couple of beers. There’s not as much yelling and there’s a lot more time between drink orders than there used to be.

We’ll keep going to our bar even though Kenny won’t be behind it anymore. I hope things go well for him and we all live close so maybe we’ll see him around.

H went through an anti-strawberry phase. It lasted, I don’t know, a year or two. I was baffled when he told me he didn’t like them. It had never occurred to me that someone might not care for them. Much less someone I know, someone I’m related to, one who bears the imprint of my genetic makeup…

We had a strawberry patch when I was growing up. It wasn’t big, it was in our yard, and I don’t think it had anything else in it. We also had a garden that we called “the garden” and “the potato patch” where we grew squash. Gotcha! I’m kidding, The Potato Patch was for potatoes (Dan Quayle is out there somewhere).

But I could understand it. Strawberries, especially the bigger ones or maybe different varieties, can have an off-putting texture. They can get a little tough and, I don’t know, mealy.

And I always thought they were outrageously sweet but I used to dip the bastards in sugar. Anything is sweet dipped in sugar. Your toe would be sweet dipped in sugar, come to think of it…

We were at my brother’s and his wife’s place over the weekend. There were some strawberries there and H was chowing down. I said “so you like strawberries now?” He shook his head yes because his mouth was full. We finally had to tell our boys to quit eating all their aunt and uncle’s strawberries.

So Katie picked up some strawberries at the store the next day. They are sitting on our counter now three days later, nearly untouched. She can’t seem to get the boys to eat them.

I generally have liberal opinions on economic and social issues. I think there should be a social safety net (there can be disagreements about what that entails). I am in favor of public education and programs to assist the disadvantaged. I think our society is wealthy enough that nobody should be hungry or desperate due to sickness.

I hold these stances in spite of many others who do. Because self proclaimed liberals can be the most sanctimonious, morally superior, self righteous, authoritarian, censorious, politically correct, whiny baby bitches in the fucking world. Sometimes listening to a liberal go on about some evil in the world one could be forgiven for thinking they’re listening to some churchy social conservative.

If a group of libertarians and a group of liberals both called me up and asked me to go for drinks at the same time, on nothing other than the knowledge of their politics, I’d go with the libertarians. We could argue about politics and probably no minds would change, but we could also talk about anything else and I wouldn’t have to worry so much about one of them getting all butthurt over the wrong word or phrase or going on some superior rant about some earth shattering injustice that the rest of us have never fucking heard of.

Now there are cunts in every group and I’m sure libertarians are no different. And I am admittedly ignorant of libertarian groups and culture, so I could be way off base here. But I’m betting at the end of the night, if most of the night was focused on anything other than politics, I’d enjoy the libertarian night and regret the liberal night, hangovers aside.

Spring Rolls, some other Chinese style dishes. Which ones? Hell I don’t know. We’re supposed to eat over at Matt’s about 1:30 or 2:00. Mom and Dad’ll be there. I’ll try to pick up something to take to complement the planned menu, don’t know what yet.

It’s Derby Day, maybe we should drink some whiskey, read some Thompson, a ritual reading for the holiday, the first piece of Gonzo: Decadent and Depraved.

Maybe we should make Mint Juleps. They’re just simple syrup, mint, ice, and whiskey, sure there are different recipes but that’s the basics. In any case we’ll have to have some beer, some American Lager (adjunct as it’s lovingly referred to by the ones who know the beer), a few green bottled pilsners too. We could hang out, sit on the porch with beer and a cocktail or two, don’t know if that’ll work into the plans today or not.

If we end up there into the evening that’ll be nice, if not it’s our usual horror flick and anime night, that’s cool too.



There’ll be a bounce house.

H would live in a bounce house if I could make that happen for him. I don’t know if it’s possible to live in a bounce house, your muscles or organs would surely revolt at some point. But H would try if we gave him the chance.

The Bounce House or maybe houses, will be at a PTA Picnic event at H’s school this evening. Today was Grandparent’s Day so my Mom and Dad came up for that and are spending the afternoon with their 3rd grade grandson. This evening families can head to the school grounds and set up lawn chairs, eat food they brought (reminder: pick up food, and lawn chairs, and things to eat the food with), and play games, I’m sure there’ll be face paint (with the standard 86 hour line), and I’m told a bounce house.

My Dad told me that there might be ice cream in there too, maybe a visit to a park, I’m sure H is having an OK time of it. His Grandparents do alright by him, they’ll be joining us at the picnic (reminder: get enough food for everyone, and lawn chairs, and enough things for everyone to eat their food with) and it’s a good day for it.