Friday, December 14, 2012

The Official un-Official Presidential Announcement

While as of late there seem to be more engaging topics of conversation to discuss, today I officially announce my unofficial announcement that I am seeking to become the President of the United States for the next election in 2016, the first election for which I am eligible to participate. 

Some people have inquired as to my positions which I would take as a candidate.  So to clear the air for those who don't know me, and for those who only think they know how I think, I shall lay out a few major positions to get the ball rolling.  These positions are not laid out in any particular order of importance.

1. Marijuana Legalization:

*I am for the complete legalization of marijuana, both medicinal and recreational usage. 

*This will apply only to natural unadulterated marijuana- spiking it with random chemicals will remain illegal.  I think you can solve your pain, depression/anxiety, or just plain get high enough on the weed alone.  The chemical spiking rule will also be applied to any rolling papers.  None of this "fire safe" or "slow/even burning" chemical additives added to rolling papers.  Half the problem with cigarettes these days is the added chemicals that harm the people far worse than a plain natural tobacco cigarette of way back when.

*DUI will include marijuana use.  I'm not sure how to determine a driver being "legally under the influence" like with alcohol.  I may just decide to leave that up to the police to determine that your driving like a total moron is the result of you being high off your ass.  Get a friggin sober driver if you must leave the house

*All persons incarcerated for mere possession of marijuana will be immediately released, their record cleared of those offenses with immediate expungement of said files.

*Marijuana will be appropriately packaged and sold in licensed retail outlets, with all applicable taxes included.

*For the record: NO, I do not engage in marijuana use.  I experimented when I was young, and it's really not for me.

Immediate impact of this law would lower crime rates, decreased costs on law enforcement and incarceration, increase in tax monies received by the government, and job creation for those who are so smart about farming their product, but seem disinterested in growing corn or beans like regular farmers.  This will lead to an immediate improvement in budgets at all levels of government.

2. Presidential and Congressional Responsibility Act:

*First and foremost Presidential Salary will be reduced from $400,000 to $300,000.  The extra per annums and expense accounts go away.  The taxpayer should not be on the hook for a bunch of extras.  If you can't live on $300,000 a year, then maybe you need to look at your own checkbook and curtail your spending habits.  You already jet set around the world on the taxpayer dime to attend official functions as POTUS

*Congressional Pay will be set at $150,000.  Seniority and being appointed to leadership positions will not receive additional pay for those positions.  Serve because you want to serve and enjoy the power you have.  You got elected based on your ideas and promises, along with a lot of other peoples money. Again, you should be able to live on such a salary- the majority of your constituents have to work a lot harder and longer for a lot less money and still have the same basic expenditures as you.

*Pay raises to any federally-elected office will be subject to a vote of the American people, once every four years coinciding with Presidential elections.  An approval of 67% of the popular vote is required, PER CANDIDATE.  In other words, you can be re-elected to your office, but the vote on your salary can be rejected by the people.

*Laws enacted by Congress will be applied to members of Congress in the exact manner in which they effect the American citizens, any benefits Congress confers to its members will also be extended to the American people.

*Balanced Budget Amendment- A budget will be allocated each and every year.  Failure to pass a budget will result in the prior year's budget continuing minus 10%, with that 10% going toward further reduction in the national debt.  Should there be no current national debt to speak of, then those funds will be allocated to a "rainy day fund" which cannot be moved into the general fund.

3. Foreign Aid:

*All Government-sponsored monetary aid to a foreign state who holds U.S. debt will be offered the same aid, only under the condition that such aid is applied to the debt owed.  Failure of the foreign states' writing down our debt to them, will result in forgoing any aid from the U.S. government.  Privately raised money to aid other countries in need will not be affected by this rule.

4. Ethanol Mandate and Oil Subsidies

*All mandates toward ethanol/biofuels will be eliminated.  The U.S. Government is not to be in the business of propping up companies, never mind entire industries.  We speak of wanting cleaner fuel sources, yet we mandate products that produce less energy than is taken to create them, and use "dirty" fuel sources in order to produce the cleaner sources.  We are wasting energy and creating a lot of pollution in multiple forms to produce the supposed cleaner fuel.  Ethanol production and use will be legal for fuel purposes, but shall not be mandated on a federal level. 

*Should we find a safe and viable fuel source that can overcome such issues, then such an issue can be looked at in the future.

*Oil Subsidies shall also be eliminated.  There is no point in giving money to an already very profitable industry.

*Any subsidies for these fuel industries being sought shall be in the form of non-forgivable loans.  You can borrow what you need according to your abilities as a company.  Any subsequent loans will only be considered after the original loans have been paid off.  You will operate under the same set of rules as any other business.

These are just a few ideas I have.  If you have other areas of concerns, campaign ideas, etc., please add to the comments below so that I might address the issues that are important to you and everyone else, not just my own Pollyanna ideas of how the world should work.  I greatly welcome and appreciate any input you have.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Return of the Prodigal Kitty

Now I know that most of you would expect me to be announcing the triumphant return of Colonel Beauregard Sterling Lovell (pictured below).  Sadly that is not the case.

I have grown up with cats most of my life, starting with the infamous but evil Bobb Bookie, and ending my childhood with the B.C. the Lionface.  Bobb Bookie shredded my sucking thumb at an early age and in my Composition class at Iowa State University he was 90% of the reason I received an A in that class.  B.C. the Lionface managed to last from when I was 8 or 9 until a few years after I moved out.  He's currently buried in my parents backyard underneath a Lion statue. 

There were many cats in between those two.  Most ran off, probably to go back to whoever owned them before we acquired them off the streets. One cat, Spike, my Siamese, died of Feline Leukemia, probably God's punishment for my sinful ways if you were to ask the opinion of Pat Robertson.  His half brother was sent away for continuing to spray about the house.  Another was hit by a car- that was my sister's cat whom she never bothered to name before I had to watch it attempt to wreck a car with its head.

After my first son Josh was born, I was given a kitten by a neighbor.  It was all black, except for a small white patch on its chest.  I dubbed him Damien, and that devil cat lived up to his demonic name. I'm convinced he was the reincarnation of the original sinister black cat, Bobb Bookie.  He was one mean ass SOB, and when we moved to Des Moines he went out to an acreage with my ex-wife's aunt and uncle.  He met his maker at the hand of two dogs, both of whom would probably never forget the damage Damien did to them before they finished him off.

Later, after Corwyn was born, we eventually adopted a cat from the Animal Rescue League.  It was part of a group of cats they dubbed the X-men.  This one was named Rogue.  Now normally, I like to name my animals, but I was voted down by the kids and their mother and rogue retained her name.  In our old apartment we let the cat out onto the deck.  Rogue liked to go down onto the downstairs neighbors' grill and then to the ground to run around. (Unlike the Colonel who would only go up to the upstairs neighbors' deck and refuse to come down except when they brought him down through the inside of the building.)  Anyways, she did this often, chasing around squeenies and squirrels and rabbits.  One day she disappeared and we never saw her again.
And of course there is the Colonel, who has spent his time running about the neighborhood, getting nabbed by the next door kennel once before they got to know who he was and where he lived.  And then a few weeks back he disappeared again.  We haven't seen or heard from him since.

Fast forward to earlier this week.  My mom calls me at work.  They got a call at the veterinary hospital she works at from the West Des Moines Animal Shelter. they had found a cat, and scanned it for a microchip that traced the cat back.  Since I was at work, I had my girlfriend call to find out about getting our cat back.  We were saddened to learn that they did not have the Colonel.  I sort of suspected this because I didn't remember having Colonel chipped. The description they gave sounded oddly familiar to me.  After 6 years, Rogue had been rounded up.

Now, with our dog, Gracie, being a puppy, I don't care to introduce another animal into the house unless of course the Colonel finds his way back.  We do miss him.  I texted my ex-wife and let her know of the news of our old cat having shown back up after all these years.  She grabbed my cat carrier yesterday, and today she brought Rogue to her home.  While a bit thinner, Rogue has turned out to be still cuddly and affectionate upon being reunited with her and the boys.  So, while I did not get my cat back yet, our old cat gets to come back to a loving home.  Her she is sleeping on one of the boys' bed with them faking sleeping with her that their mother sent to me earlier this evening:

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Politics: Helping Vitriolic Opinions Get Out

Well, we're finally winding down the last few weeks of this election cycle which started, depending on how you count, since the midterm elections of 2010, or the last Presidential election of 2008.  By this time, most people's patience is wearing pretty thin regarding anything political, and yet at the same time these supposed non-caring people are throwing their opinions out there left and right with increased fervor. And some of them are taking great offense at whatever someone from a different viewpoint has to say.

 The last attitude always keeps me pissed off on some deep rooted level that hums constantly below the surface somewhere.  Occasionally it comes to the surface in the face of such incivility when it come sup quite directly.  Case in point, my sister's Facebook page.  One status update she posted during last night's Town hall Debate between President Obama and the Republican nominee Mitt Romney, where she merely repeated a paraphrasing of something Mitt said:

Binders full of women?! And be sure to give them flex time so they can go cook dinner...

Now politically, my sister and I are on opposite sides.  She is a liberal democrat, I am a moderate conservative (but NOT republican).  I can imagine exactly how her voice sounds if she said this statement aloud.  I can even see the look of disgust on her face.  Personally I took little offense to Mitt's statements on this particular exchange, as his answer was more of an example of how he chose to do things to increase females in senior leadership positions in his cabinet when he governed Massachusetts, rather than actually answer the question asked, which was what he'd do to pare the gender pay gap that exists.  Evasive answering by politicians is common place and probably one of the biggest complaints about them.  I assume she took his answer in some different way than what he was actually saying and she voiced her opinion.  Shortly thereafter a "friend" of her and her husband made a comment that he was going to remove them as Facebook friends (My god NOOOO! the humanity of it all!!!) because her political venom is just too much for him to take and he hates having to sift through it all to find her other updates. Well, I sifted through her updates to see what the stink was about.  And I kept sifting, and sifting and sifting some more.  And then I went ahead and re-sifted just to be sure I could find something non-political and venomous within her updated statuses.  I was amazed at what I found.  Going back 2 months, the amount of politically oriented statements I found on her page was ridiculous.  Turns out that the post she made last night was the ONLY one political in nature in any way shape or form.  
Now I see why the guy was so irritated.  My sister, bless her soul, had actually communicated a politically related thought on her page, and it had been seen by a guy who is apparently anti-Obama to the point that one comment made against what Mitt had to say was just too much for him to take, and despite "liking them as people and reading about their family developments" had to resort to killing off their Facebook connection.  REALLY????

Now I'm not exactly a fan of Obama, but I'm also not in the tank for Mitt Romney either.  I can see not wanting to be Facebook friends with my sister too.  I mean, this is Becky we're talking about.  My lifelong arch-rival, who's been out to destroy me and my reputation since day 1!  I won't get into all the details, but lets just say there was more than one instance where she framed me for hurting her when I wasn't even around.  My lack of presence wasn't enough evidence to get out of butt whoopings either.  Sinister master of conspiracy that she is, it only got worse from there.  I'm only Facebook friends with her because it allows me to keep up with what my nieces are doing...and to maintain relations with my brother-in-law.  She's just the awful hippie residue I have to deal with in between.  That and my mom would probably find a way to ground me if I wasn't Facebook friends with her.  I can hear her now, "Michael (she never calls me Mookie), she's your sister.  Now you go and accept her friend request, because it's the right thing to do.  Now be a good boy, and maybe I'll make that sweet potato casserole you like so much when you come up next."  Yes, my mother cheats with her "hard bargaining".


Anyways, back to my point.  So someone might say Facebook isn't the best place to be airing one's political beliefs.  Maybe, maybe not.  The way I look at it is that it's my page, I'll say what I want.  If you don't like it, then don't read it.  Or chalk it up to me expressing myself, and move on to whatever it is about me that interests you.  God Forbid you have to look past one comment to find out what else might be going on in my life.  If anything, it's the serial posters that irritate me on Facebook.  You know, the ones who "like" every damn photo they see as they spend the next hour or so on Google images and sharing it to their page.  Of course, in that hour they often redeem themselves by finding one really funny picture that makes my hour that much better.  It usually involves bodily functions or sarcastic cats.  even if they don't find me squat to be interested in, and I spend 3 minutes continuously scrolling down the page to see what any of my other friends might say, I don't then threaten to "unfriend" them.  That's just immature and stupid if you ask me.

Now I know I find myself quite brilliant and could solve all the world's problems if you just let me make all the decisions.  Unfortunately, while the idea of a world full of more ME sounds great on the surface, the rest of the population seems to have the same self-adulation problem I have.  And I'm sure it will be later rather than sooner before they realize I'm the one who is actually right.  However, like everyone else, you are entitled to your wrong opinion.

Back to the politics.  The exchange bothered me, not because it was my sister the guy said this douche-y stuff too, but because he would say it at all.  Yes he has the same right to his opinion as anyone else.  But there is a thing called discretion, and another thing called social tact.  If he wanted to express his opinion on other people making politically charged statements, he should've done so on his page, and preferably in reaction to something someone said on HIS page.  Going to someone else's forum and then threatening to unfriend them over a mere difference of opinion on who our next political figurehead will be pretty much makes you a moron who's just looking to stir the pot of shit for your own sick twisted amusement.

I couldn't even care less if I agreed with your opinionations or political leanings, sometimes rude is just rude.  I have family with different political leanings and degrees of left and right, and many friends whose views I consider ultra fringe.  But I always adhere to the policy that they have their opinions and I'm more than happy to debate them, or listen to them, or politely agree to avoid the subject matter.  However, if its on THEIR Facebook page and I see it, well then that's on me to move on to whatever other posts they may or may not have and foster our relationship in the ways that work, and avoid whatever might be unpleasant.  

But maybe that's just me having all the right answers on how to do things... 

Monday, August 13, 2012

New Member To The Mookified Compound

Look at how cute I am!

This is Gracie.  Officially her name is Sergeant Gracie Mae Lovell.  But we just call her Gracie.  She's a Yellow Lab mixed with Husky. And as I write this post, she's trying to lay on my feet... that is until I wrote that sentence, now she got up and decided to have food.  I feel she is just preparing me to go for a walk..yep, there's the singular scratch at the door signalling that I must do as I'm told before finishing what I want to do.  Just like a woman.  Speaking of women... here is proof of their craziness:

"I got it! I got it! Now what?"

Now I grew up with dogs all my life.  Gracie is the first dog I've had since leaving my parents' digs.  In all my life, the only dog I ever saw chase her tail, much less actually get it, was Odie from the Garfield cartoons and comics... until the other day.  I just assumed it was comedy on the part of animators, but it turns out this is serious real-life business.

Anyways... Last Sunday I was taking my boys up to stay the week with my parents, and the plan was to get a dog, Tucker, who had been getting nursed back to health at their local Vet hospital my mom clerks at.  It's a long story of neglect and malnutrition prior to them trying to save the dog.  On the day we were to go up, I get a call from my mom saying the dog was found dead.  Well, I had been set on getting my first adult-life dog for about 3 weeks at this point.  After doing some hunting, I found an ad on craigslist for Gracie, and she lived here in the Des Moines area.  Her previous owner had a life situation and had to find her a good home or turn her over to the ARL that same night.  So after a quick supper with my parents and saying good bye to the boys, my girlfriend and I hustled back to Des Moines to pick up this 4 month-old pup.  She's been either full steam ahead or napping it out since.

She only slowed down one day, and that was Saturday when we went back up to my parents to have her spayed and get all her shots, and then on Sunday bring her and the boys back home.  She actually rode in the car very well:

See me...I'm blond just like my new brothers!

 Oh, I was supposed to be in that seat back there?

I prefer the window seat.  Josh doesn't mind me using his lap!

The only thing about bringing Gracie into our home to really consider was The Colonel.  On night one he established himself as the top dog of the house, and asserted the difference in rank, him being an officer and her being enlisted.  As he went up to sniff her out, she moved behind a chair.  It was all over from there.  He chased her round and round the basement, him getting that puffy cat look and her running scared out of her mind with her tail tucked between her legs.  Gracie is scared of cats, and the Colonel took full advantage of his intimidation factor.  Only wish I had a video camera for that!  The basement is now been deemed solely the Colonel's territory.  He has another blue chair down there that he uses, along with the blue recliner in my bedroom he took over long before we moved into this place.  Gracie will now attempt to play assuming the "downward dog" position and trying to lunge forward a couple inches, but the cat mostly ignores her.  Unless he's in a corner, then he gets on his hind legs, hisses, and occasionally throws a couple jabs, and Gracie comes running for protection.

When outside, she is always on a leash.  She is getting better, but she is a puppy and can get distracted easily, whether its a scent trail, a moving bug, kids, people, squirrels, random sticks, trash... you get the idea.  Whenever she spies a bird on the ground, she does the classic "pointer" pose.  But she does do a decent walk along from time to time.  On the homestretch, she likes to reach back grab the leash in her mouth and give it a tug to let me know its her turn to walk me, and if I'm willing, she really loves to run along.  I don't know if that's just her thing, or the Husky side coming out.  While at my parents, who have a fenced yard, she was allowed to roam free.  At first she wasn't entirely sure what to do, but it didn't take long to go exploring.

She knows how to sit, lay down, shake, and hi-five.  I'd say she knows the STAY command, but it seems I'm not allowed to leave whichever floor we're on to go to another without her wanting to follow along...  She has grown attached to both my girlfriend and I, but she really seems to have bonded with me.  And with the Olympics on these last couple weeks, she decided to invent her own sport for us to participate in together.  I fell asleep watching TV one afternoon, as she was napping after a long hot walk.  I woke up to her having chewed a sandal, and now was trying to lick me to death.  So I got up, decided I would use the bathroom quick and then take her out for the same.  So I go to take a leak and I left the door open.  Hey it was me and the pets, so why not?  Well, she followed me over, stared at me, and then decided that her spot on the carpet in front of the bathroom was perfect to trying out her half of the "synchronized peeing" routine.  Part of me wanted to laugh, the other part wanted to cry, because I had to clean up.  That and we would've been penalized heavily on our synchronization skills since I was standing and she was squatting... We have a long ways to go if we're going to get that act into the next games down in Rio!

But anyways... She's the newest addition.  The Colonel tolerates her.  The kids love her, and she loves them right back...Josh even took her for a walk around the block at my parents.  And she seems to be quite attached to me and my girlfriend.  So I'm quite happy in how things worked out.  She got a happy home without going through the shelter system, and I finally get to have my own dog again!

And here is Gracie doing what I always wanted to do- fart on my dad!  She does me proud!!!!

Now I just need an official flag for the Mookified Compound...

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Colonel Vindicated!!!

The previously noted charges against the esteemed Colonel Beauregard Sterling Lovell Have been dropped following new information that trickled into the hands of The Commission over the weekend.

When the Colonel was originally charged with Cowardice in combat, the original indications were that he had ran away from a battle against an enemy that looked a lot like this unworthy opponent.

We are sure the Colonel would've handed this one a swift defeat

Instead, after an eye-witness report from General Mook himself, we learned that the real face of the enemy, seen in a second incursion against the Colonel was much more like this:

Only through sheer stupidity disguised as bravery, would the General jump in front of THIS threat in order to save the Colonel

Instead of a charge of Cowardice, the Colonel is now being awarded medals for a textbook tactical retreat, this time without injury.  In order to clear his good name, the Colonel sought out the enemy and engaged the enemy long enough to lure it to the forward grounds of the Mookified Compound, allowing Mookified Forces to identify an aggressor and gather further intel.  The Colonel is also being awarded the Grand Medal of Edification, for his allowing the General to gather yet another award of valor in the face of outright danger.

Not only was this behemoth cat-like creature armed with front claws, he was less the size of any known cat in the universe, but approximately the size of a small pack elephant.  He had fangs as long as a mammoth's tusks.

An Artist's Rendition of the size-scale of the beast
By our best estimations, it will take a tank to stop this animal.  However, with the General's bravado and evil not-yet-had-a-full-cup-of-coffee morning stare, the ghastly beast retreated away from the Colonel and off the Mookified grounds.  We believe that this act alone will keep the mean bastard away.  Only time will tell, and full preparations are being made to deal with any threats in the future posed by the enemy.  Currently it is unsure if this is some one's pet, or a stray tomcat that feeds on small children to maintain its overly healthy dimensions.

Rest assured however, the Colonel has redeemed himself as a soldier, and as the reigning executive officer under General Mook.  In addition to Medals related to his valor being conferred, we are planning to put staff underneath him in a yet to be named non-commissioned officer of the canine variety.  We have one in mind, however we are leaving it to the Colonel to make the final decision on his staffing personnel.  Picture Announcements will be posted once the post is approved and filled.

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Colonel Got His Butt Kicked For Being A Coward

This is what the Colonel looked like, back when he was healthy, younger and still had front claws. Prior to moving into my current place, his claws were removed, to avoid the fate of the trim and furniture in the old place: being clawed all to hell. The Colonel's outside experience was limited to a deck on the 2nd and third levels of the old apartment building. The third level, just because he liked to climb up the support beam to the neighbors' deck. He was too much of a "fraidy cat" to come down the way he went up. He balked at the idea of me grabbing him with one hand and bringing him down while I hung precariously to the beam with the other hand, wondering if I will be falling backwards 15 feet down onto my back and paralyzing myself. And of course his accidental trip over the railing when he took a bird out of midair and went the distance down to the ground.

Then we moved to our town home apartment where the front door is on the ground level, and the basement has a walkout the back side of the building. The Colonel was at first content with just having more space to move about and more places to hide within the Mookified Compound. After a while, however, he sat in the window a lot, noticing a neighbors dog getting to run around outside in the front yard. Initially I was against letting him go outside, as he was lacking front claws for defense, and probably would be dumb enough to try to play his own personal game of Frogger on the street out front, or on the major boulevard that runs opposite our street a half block away. The Colonel, however, is a real pain in the butt, and more persistent than a four year old going down the candy aisle at the grocery store. He yowled and yowled and yowled... and then he yowled some more. On and on and on it went. I had already had a long day at work, and was trying to relax. I finally gave in, and I opened up the front door. Outside the cat went quickly, then stopping on the front step to assess this new environment called "outside."

He soon made friends with the neighbor dog, as the dog, Cullen, is smaller than the Colonel. That night pretty much did it, and everyday meant trips outside. And most nights he came in, although occasionally you had to find him (usually up about half a block), get his attention, and then he came running and followed along. I believe the Colonel assumes he is like a dog at times.

Well, one night he came in a little slow and awkward. He didn't like being touched, and he wasn't much for eating or drinking. A quick examination found a scratch between his shoulder blades and a wound on his haunches. He had either gone after something a little too big for his britches or it came after him. Either way he had gotten his ass kicked. He got a bath and some antibiotic ointment. He started moving around a little better, but he was definitely still looking and moving about all beaten up, and he was suffering a bit from dehydration and starving himself some.

July 4th came along, and he was really looking horrible. I had to work, but I had my girlfriend come down to my work, grab the car and take him up to my mom's boss, Dr. Jim Bullock DVM, to get him looked over and fixed up.

After visiting Doc, this is just one side of the cat's kicked butt:

According to Doc, another cat had taken the Colonel out. Just a few short years ago, The Colonel won the prestigious "Rentacop of the Year" award for taking down a full grown human being, who just happens to be my boss and a Rentacop Manager to boot. Now, here he is, all beaten to hell by some dumb cat. And not just beaten up, but literally had his butt damn near bitten off... because the coward was running away from the fight.

Now some might try to defend the retreat strategy as smart because he had no front claws. However, as his Commanding Officer who raised him and trained him to be a fighter, I say this is just unacceptable. He's able to do considerable damage with his teeth and his rear claws alone and has proven it plenty of times. This is a shameful act of pure cowardice. I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to court-martial him and place the report in his permanent record. May even have to trade him in for a new Executive Officer that doesn't back down to anybody. I'm sure my girlfriend will veto the replacement option though... and the smart ass that she is, just mentioned that I should be glad I'm not writing his eulogy. Friggin women! She turned him into a big baby. I tried to make a real soldier out of him and make him understand that dying in a fight for rightness and the cause of Mookism is better than living the life of a coward, but she has somehow influenced him to think to the contrary. Clearly she must be a liberal softy.

Monday, July 2, 2012

And I Said, "Let there be lawn"...

As some of you know, while I'm not homeless and desitute, I don't have a whole lot of what one might call luxury.  Two things I grew up with as a constant was 1) a dirtpile to play in and 2) an actual yard, with actual grass.  This first picture is actually the neighbor on the other side of the rear walkways "yard", but its pretty much the same as ours once looked.  I didn't think to do a complete "before and after" pictorial until it was already too late.
I figured the company that owns all the apartments, townhomes, etc in this part of town wouldn't allow a big huge dirtpile for me and my boys to drive toy trucks on and play army with the little plastic green army men.  So I figured spending money on just a lot of dirt just to pile it up would be money truly wasted.  And trust me, for the most part, despite a few instances of generosity, I'm pretty much just a cheap old fart.  I also have figured out having lived in my previous apartment for almost 8 years, and this place being owned by the same people, getting them to create a lawn for me was just not going to happen.  Getting anything actually FIXED, no matter how emergency it might be, is almost hopeless.  Most fixes are either something you resign yourself to live with because its almost better than it was before they "fixed" the problem, or you end up putting time, effort, and occasionally money into fixing it on your own anyways.  So, I hauled off to the local Home Depot to grab some top soil, starter fertilizer and some shade grass seed.

I started off a small "test plot".  I figured if things were just so bad that grass was absolutely not going to grow, I'd not waste too much money covering the entire yard in top soil and fertilizer and what would essentially amount to bird seed.  It came up patchy and it was about a week before I saw new grass peeking through the new soil.  Let me tell you, I was quite a giddy little boy.  I just played God with my small chunk of environment and it was a nominal success. Slowly as the first bits grew taller, it began to spread. 

Here, you find the grass a little thicker, taller and even in the barren patches, there are small little shoots of grass beginning to show through.  I am pleased, VERY pleased this is happening, while I can remain in my natural state of laziness.  Those are my knees you see in the photo, as I am sitting in my little camping chair, probably enjoying a high fructose corn syrup laden Pepsi, and most likely a cigarette.  Yes, I know what you're thinking right now.  And YES, I am the epitome of healthy living.  A full picture of me enjoying Pepsi and Marlboros while sitting on my increasingly large rear end really should be put on the front of some fitness magazine to help motivate the "little people" out there who are still looking for the keys to a good long life.  "Soda, Smokes, and Grass- The Mook's Guide to Happy, Healthy Living"  Some years down the road, there will be a follow up article on me on how I achieved diabetes, heart attacks, strokes, and obesity- complete with photos of EMTs using a crane to lift my lifeless body out of my meticulously manicured grass lawn.

As the test plot worked out well enough, my girlfriend and I decided to expand.  For the future publicity shots of my upcoming election to the Presidency of the United States in 2016, we faked some shots of me actually doing some form of manual labor.  It may not be Reagan's ranch out in California, but I did avoid the old "Putin with his shirt off" stunt as well.  Afterall, I hadn't spent time at the pool with the kids so much at the time of this picture, so I didn't want to risk the flash glaring off my body and reflecting into the eyes of pilots flying overhead and creating a catastrophic accident that might make the news.  I can't have any implications that I might have been the cause of so many civilian deaths.  That would be bad campaign publicity, and the people I've hired to stuff the ballot boxes to ensure my election as leader of the free world might develop a conscience and not do that for me.  Despite the actions of Congress over the last few decades, somehow I think I'd be the one getting charged with crimes against humanity.
This expansion fared much better than the initial test plot.  Within just 3 days, new grass was shooting up all over.  Again, I became a giddy little boy who enjoyed playing God of my backyard.  Clearly, I am an agricultural genius.  I think maybe the government ought to subsidize me with a little moolah to continue my good work.  It may take some hard labor, but I thought we did a pretty good job.  And unlike some wussies, I didn't take the easy way out and lay down rolls of sod that somebody else carefully cultivated.  Nope, this was all a labor of love on our part.  Just so you don't get the wrong idea- I am NOT some tree hugging, Green Peace loving hippie liberal.  Nope, this is individual private labor, worked through my own personal determination, and through free-market economic practices.  No laws were needed to make this happen.  And even without laws, I managed to increase the bio-diversity or some such stuff, as more birds and more moths and butterflies, and more bugs of all sorts started coming around.  They see vegetation, and of course another water source with my vigilant hydration of the lawn.  Seems like a win-win to me.

As a matter of fact, my efforts paid off well enough to earn me another contract. Secretly I had been hoping to annex the rest of the section I share with one neighbor over to the next walkway he shares with the people on the end unit. As I was out admiring my work, the neighbor showed up and asked what kind of seed we put down along with other questions. He then said the most beautiful thing I think I ever heard out of a man's mouth (that is until I hear someone tell me they are giving me a million bucks or more and actually mean it). He said he wanted to do his section, so that it would look uniform and actually have one large nice lawn. Then he handed me money to go get supplies. And he brought out his own hose for the purpose of watering it, when the project was up and running. The very next day I (I should say "we", since my girlfriend helped out) laid down 22 bags of top soil, and covered the whole thing with fertilizer and seed, including seeding an area of what I dubbed "weed grass" that was growing in a section that got more regular sunlight.

There was one logistical issue that came up. To merely soil and seed around the tree that marked the middle of the two sections that made up the "yard", or to put a nice woodchip mulch bed around it. My girlfriend would have you believe that this was all her idea and that she is the one who convinced me to go with the mulching idea. However, I think we all know how cunning and clever I am. And being knowledgeable enough to already know that mulching around the tree was a perfect idea (after all, I think we can all agree that my 4 weeks of farming grass makes me the leading expert here), I used the kind of psychology to let her think it was all her idea. I did this with the cunning use of the phrase "Okay" right after she mentioned it. Pretty smart if I do say so myself...which I do.

After a bit of watering and three days time... Their side of the grass grew up, and here we are just a week and a day since that part of the project began, as you can see in this last photo below:

Now, the neighbor may think this is his lawn now, but under the Articles of Mookism, given it was my labor and it is essentially a seamless attachment to the property known as the Mookified Compound, it pretty much is the same thing as an annexation, and therefore lawfully and legally declared Mookified Ground. So sayeth the Mook. It has been written, so let it be done!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

An Evening At The Ballpark

I realize I haven't blogged in almost 3 months. I've been meaning to do so, but I kept finding something else to do, or someone was standing around me right about the time I thought I would start. I can't write with people watching me, or at least that's the excuse I've used. Anyways, a few weeks back, I bought my boys their very first baseball gloves. At the ages of 13 and 8, I know that was LONG overdue, but we've enjoyed them a few times now. Last night I took them to their first baseball game. Des Moines is home to the Iowa Cubs, the Triple-A Minor League farm team to the more well known Chicago Cubs.

Now I will admit it was free to attend, as it was Dahl's Night, and we got the free tickets from a local Dahl's (an area grocery store chain), but the food definitely cost more than a few pennies to make up for it. So I'd say it was cheap way to entertain the boys and spend some time together, but again, the food damn near bankrupted me. We had to get the big collector cups for drinks, and Josh got the souvenir popcorn container too... and then Corwyn wanted a GIANT pickle after having finished off his nachos. Later he would tell me all that stuff was snacks and he still needed supper... I'm cheap, but I had to oblige on this one occasion.

It was definitely a good night for baseball. We had had rain the day before and earlier in the day, but it cleared off a couple hours ahead of time. We get to our seats, and of course they're still a little wet, and therefore, so were our butts. During warm ups, one of the stadium staff handed Corwyn one of the balls that got a little scuffed up to have as a nice little souvenir. He was quite pleased with that, although later he would tell me how he had never caught a foul ball during the game and his ball was just one from the practice. Sometimes kids just can't be 100% pleased I guess, but he is still proud of his baseball. Shortly after the start of the game, another staffer approached us and offered us a free upgrade to better seats. We ended up 5 rows up from the visiting dugout along the first base side. The sun was less of an issue, and the placement was great. Late in the game, Josh barely missed catching his own foul ball, as it glanced off his thumb, bounced off the seats right behind him and into its cup holder, where someone grabbed the ball for their grandkid. I have a feeling he'll be insisting on more games just for the opportunity to grab a foul ball.

The name of the ballpark the Iowa Cubs play in is known as Principal Park, after the big insurer who sponsored the remodeling of the park. It used to be known as Sec Taylor Stadium, named after an old player. But this is the age of corporate sponsorship, and as you can see here, if any company gave money towards the ballpark, they WILL have their names plastered on whatever space they can get. I don't think this ballpark has a single square inch of flat space that doesn't have some company banner or sign covering it. It seems to be that the game is more about money and less about heart... kind of like a corporation. And that is how the Iowa Cubs played this evening- without any heart. They gave up 4 runs on 5 hits in the first inning. Like their Big League team, affectionately known as the Cubbies, they are choke artists. But they are the home team, and you can't help but root for the underdog bastards to win one.

Here we see Corwyn. It is surmised by one person that he is bored. I think he's just frustrated by the Cubbies' performance... as you'll see in the picture below, it's 7-1 at the start of the 4th inning...and the Albuquerque Isotopes are just having fun at this point, at our expense. Even their first base coach is taunting us. He constantly looking over in our general direction flashing a big stupid grin. Secretly I'm convinced he's eyeballing us specifically, rubbing in the fact that his team isn't even trying and still whipping us handily. Yes, He knows exactly who the Mook is, and how to rub him the wrong way. I would've had him assassinated by my squad of commandos, but I figure that unless it's a game that I'm physically competing in (which would've guaranteed victory for us!), that I really can't justify the sanctioned killing.

The one nice thing about the local games is that they always have a lot of little competitions in between innings. Here we see mascots for local convenience store chain Kum&Go racing from the first base line, around the infield to the third base line. The bag of chips had no chance, as the hot dog and big gulp toyed with him before giving him a playful football block to the ground before they finished together. Things like this kept Corwyn from losing interest while waiting on the ball players to get started with the inning. During the middle of the 8th inning, a lot of people had either left or were in the process of leaving. I don't know if they were leaving to get a jump on traffic or if they had lost interest in the very lopsided game. Corwyn decided to move up to the empty seats in the first row. However, his interest having already waned, decided he would be the night's entertainment for this couple sitting in row 2. They were quite amused by him, and he and the man had quite a conversation going on. I couldn't hear what was being said, but both were highly animated in their interactions. And of course, to make sure they lady was impressed with him, he made sure to show her the ways he can contort his thumbs about. Because he is Corwyn, he needs to maintain his connection to the man to show he is a full spectrum entertainer, but ultimately he's really targeting the pretty women who find themselves his very own captive audience.

The game ended after a little over 3 hours of play, with the final score being 9-1 in favor of Albuquerque. Corwyn didn't seem so interested in the outcome of the game. He was too busy amusing himself by entertaining whoever would he had his giant pickle and gotten his own officially-used baseball. Josh seemed more interested in the outcome and had hoped for more home runs by the Cubs, and maybe a win. All in all, it was a great time. Some free seats and perks, some over-priced stadium food, and some baseball on a summer evening, spent with my boys and my girlfriend, who took these pictures for us.

My next article will follow in the next few days hopefully on my big huge landscaping project that I've almost finished with... unless I find some more excuses to keep from writing about it.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Mookified War On Terror Continues

As you all know, the Mookified History is a rich history of military "events" dotted throughout its existence. There were the moments of internal strife, as Colonel Beauregard Sterling (B.S.) Lovell and Corwyn aka "Buggy" went from a mere misunderstanding to a longstanding feud ala the Hatfields & McCoys. Much like the Korean War, truce rather than treaty has left the situation precarious. Anything could set off that tinderbox into an explosive all out war.

Then there was the War on Pests. Ants, and more seriously, FLEAS, had invaded the Mookified Compound, staging an insurgency that lasted over a year. Hydro-warfare, chemical warfare and other such tactics were used to almost no avail. Then after long meditation, the answer came. Now constantly you hear the GOP members trying to unseat Obama and other democrats from political power constantly channeling the late President Ronald Reagan, as if they know how he would react in situations of grave importance. However their ideological mindset has blinded them from truly hearing the message of "The Great Communicator". What most people don't realize, is that Ronald Reagan and I have communicated. From his picture with John Wayne, Dean Martin, and Bob Hope, he spoke directly to me with what will eventually become words immortalized in history: "Mr. Mook, throw down that bed-couch!"
With those words of wisdom, I thusly removed the semi-permanent (it was really heavy) hide-a-bed couch, through the sliders and off the edge of my 2nd floor deck out onto the ground below. Then to the dumpster it went, and the Flea Army never returned. Once again victorious, the Mookified Compound experienced an unprecedented period of peace.

Remember that powder keg of a situation between the Colonel and Bug? Well, it heated up in a different way. Instead of direct confrontation, the Colonel sent out his hired Soldiers of Fortune (pictured below).

In a well planned swift raid, Buggy, the scourge of feline terrors, was apprehended. Here he is shown with his also captured stash of weapons used in his constant onslaught of the neighborhood.

As you can see, he was well equipped with both halves of a broken Spartan spear, plastic light machine gun, plastic revolver, police-style baton (commonly associated with random beat downs of unsuspecting civilians), a tennis ball and super compressed foam baseball (used like stun grenades, only ninja-like with their lack of explosive material).

At first reaction once being notified of this black ops mission and its result, I was hard pressed to release the prisoner. However, being a staunch supporter of ending terrorism, and the need to show our commitment, we released this photo to the general public to show how committed we are that we will take down our own. We at the Mookifed Compound have shown that we embrace the zero tolerance of terrorism, in addition to our solemn refuting of anything communism (generally defined as anything I disagree with, including the consumption of pineapple, coconut or cabbage).

It is this kind of resolve that clearly shows that World Domination (such as I have demonstrated repeatedly in the game RISK)
will be mine, despite any claims by Selena over at Motherhood Sucks in her latest blog.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Sunshine Award Winning Blog!

I realize that it's been almost 2 months since my last blog. My excuse? Well, that is obvious to those that know me: I'm lazy and I procrastinate with writing even on the best of ideas. I have successfully managed to not write over 5 dozen Pulitzer Prize-winning articles. I have also managed to avoid writing best-selling children's books, psychological thrillers, and 4 well told horror stories that stand on their own as great movies, even before the gory bloodshed and CGI effects are thrown in. I have written a factional (yes, fActional, NOT fictional... the story is based on true events, but my memory is occasionally suspect) autobiography, got some of it printed off, then my old computer crashed like a junkie on a 2 week crack binge. I have yet to reintegrate it onto this electronical box of motherboards, chips, and other such technological stuff only an IT guy can truly appreciate on its most atomical level.

However, all that being said Selena over at the Motherhood Sucks Blog has nominated me for the Sunshine Award. I don't know if it is because it was National Sunshine Week, celebrating openness of government or some other such crap, and since I'm usually so open that I get the award by default or what. But hey, I take whatever credit I get from the outside world. Usually it's only me giving myself credit anyways. I have been given the responsibility of playing the game. Although given that Sunshine Week ended already, I intend to re-classify all information as soon as it's transcribed, so what you will read is most likely propagandized B.S. After all, as a self described government entity, The Mookified Compound, probably under intense scrutiny by the U.S. Government as a homegrown terrorist insurgency (The Colonel and I are huge bad asses and well on our way to becoming a nuclear power well before Iran), feels the need to protect the people (that's you) from the truth.

The rules of the Sunshine Award are as follows:

1. Include the award logo in a post or on your blog.
2. Answer 10 questions about yourself.
3. Nominate 10-12 other fabulous bloggers.
4. Link your nominees to the post and comment on their blogs, letting them know that they have been nominated.
5. Share the Love and link back to the person who nominated you .

Sunshine Awards Questions:

1. What is your favorite color?

Blue. All other colors are conspiracies by communist sympathizers, and therefore no longer are officially recognized

2. What is your favorite animal?

Koalas. What other animal looks cuddly enough for a baby to hug before ripping you to shreds with those big ass claws? And we thought all vegetarians are pussies. Well done cuddly furball of death.

3. Favorite Non-Alcoholic Drink?

COFFEE! Because without it, I'd be more apathetic towards life than a cadaver.

4. What is your favorite number?

7- because it eight 9

5. Facebook or Twitter?

I once had a facebook account. I killed it. With my bare hands. I refused to ever breathe life into twitter. Twitter can die. Feed it to a Koala.

6. What is your passion?

Sorry, the Mook is officially an emotionless creature. Passion does not compute into the Mind of Mookie

7. What is your favorite time of day?

Whatever time I might be committing suicide by exercise by playing football or basketball against kids half my age and twice my size. In case you're wondering, this overweight, out of shape, smoker usually wins the games. I just hurt a million times more in my 30s because of my warrior skills being put to use. The Force is literally killing its user.

8. Favorite day of the week?

Saturday- because I don't work, and I don't have to go to bed early for work the next day. And there are cartoons on!

9. Favorite Flower?
Flowers? We don't need no stinking flowers!!!

10. Give or Get Presents?

Again, some readers know me. If you wanna give me a present, make it the present of getting me nothing. I keep saying, I don't want anything for Christmas or my birthday. But then people go screw it up and get me stuff. That's more crap to take care of. (Aunt Denise- KEEP sending the Lebkuchen and Contessa. That stuff is useful. I only have to put it away in my belly). I only give presents out because otherwise I gotta listen to a bunch of people telling me what an asshole I am...I already know this, I just don't wanna hear it.

As for nominating other fellow bloggers, both of whom I doubt will carry this on, as they blog about more important stuff than what I send them:

Brother P, because while we are different in a lot of ways, he always keeps me informed on what happens on the other side of the racial coin, entertains me with his description of certain villains (usually republican in nature), and always listens to others points of view with an honest open ear. And if those points of view are completely stupid...he points that out too. Political correctness seems to be a casualty with him, and I really like that about him, even if he is a Star Trek fan.

Scott, the Professor from the University of Maine. He writes about all facets of life, from personal stories, to the issues of the day culturally and politically. Smart as a whip, but generally humble guy, unlike some other pompous educated asses I've run into from time to time. And with him, ANYTHING (and I mean ANYthing) can be paralleled with a song from Styx or Rush or some other band he listens to before summoning blogs into his mind and straight to the computer.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Disappointing Finish To A Great Season

After a great season for the San Francisco 49ers, it all came down to yesterday's NFC Championship game versus the New York Giants. It'd been almost a decade since the 49ers last saw the playoffs. Last week's exciting see-saw game against the New Orleans Saints, culminating in a last second victory, hopes for this week's game were high.

San Francisco played their usual game: A tough defense complimenting the offense that's done just enough to win games. With the number one run defense in the NFL and a spotty but effective pass defense, most people new this would be a relatively low scoring affair. The offense played it's usual game of a few flashes of brilliance in the big pass plays between Alex Smith and Vernon Davis. The rest was a grind it out offense, using Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter pounding away at the Giants' defense to keep them honest and help open up the passing game.

The Giants also posed a pretty good defensive front, that made relatively few mistakes. And of course their offense was led by Eli Manning and his trio of receivers that tend to step up when called upon. Eli of course possesses the good instincts of a great quarterback, which of course tends to be one of the big reasons the fans of any other team hate him for getting out of a bind, always in the nick of time. That's not to say that he wasn't harassed..a LOT by a bruising 49er rush, but he tended to step out of the way of danger and get the ball where it needed to go to keep the offense going. He had a lot of help from Victor Cruz, who seems to have an invisibility cloak to get that wide open short, medium and deep ranges, over and over and over. Yes the guys really freaking good, but it's not like the 49ers subbed in a pee-wee defensive backfield for the enitre game. How do they not cover him up and make plays on the ball at least 1 out of 4 times, rather than let him get open and catch the ball 5 out of 4 times. Ridiculous!

The difference was made in the realm of turnovers and special teams. Usually the 49ers are known for creating turnovers...last night was an exception. One interception was nullified by a penalty, 2 other would-be-picks were broken up, not by the Giants receivers, but by 49ers safety Dashon Goldson. The first was when he collided and almost knocked out Tarrell Brown while they simultaneously converged on one of Manning's passes. Later on, Carlos Rogers nearly had a pick before being hit by Goldson. Other than stopping the Giants on 4th and short, the 49ers created zero turnovers. And on special teams, lacking Ted Ginn, Jr., a young Kyle Williams was tasked with punt return duties.

As a faithful 49ers fan all my life, I too wanted the young man cut fromt he team, and have his hands and face stomped on. My statements were made out of frustration, but never turned into real credible threats, much less more public ones I've heard have been swirling about. The kid is young, inexperienced, and will learn. On one punt, after the ball bounced erratically, Williams made the mistake of getting in the vicinity of the ball, which hit his knee and was recovered by the Giants at 49er 30 yard line, making short work for Eli Manning to throw his 2nd touchdown pass to put the Giants up 17-14. Yes, many of us football maniacs know that if you let the ball start bouncing around you stay the hell away from the ball. If you aren't going to catch it, you run AWAY from the ball. Let the other team down it, and let your offense worry about moving the ball after that. Had he done so, the next score may have made it 17 or even 21 to 10 in facvor of the 49ers. But a rookie mistake gave a seasoned offensive veteran like Manning what he needed to change the momentum of the game.

We came back and tied the game, forcing overtime to ensue. After stopping the Giants cold for another punt and an opportunity to drive down the field for the winning score, Williams again tried to do too much, and failed to protect the ball. He fumbled on a pretty standard tackle attempt. Coaches all our lives have drilled into us, do NOT hold the ball like a loaf of bread. Protect the points, and in traffic use BOTH hands to hold on. He failed in this, lost the ball, and it was recovered again by the Giants, who went a very short distance before Lawrence Tynes kicked a very easy chip shot of a field goal to win the game.

Yes, it basically came down to the two punt return snafus by Williams, resulting in 10 points for New York, that brought the game into reach, and then ultimately decided the outcome of the game. If you need me, I'll be in mourning until next season. We had a good run this season. It wasn't always as flashy as the days of Joe Montana and Jerry Rice, but it was still good to see a consistent season. Hopefully it's the beginning of a new non-losing era for my beloved 49ers.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Friday, January 13, 2012

Life's Little Things

So, I've been contemplating some posts for some time now. Just NOW, I mean literally right now, I am glad I waited on one topic...only because up until right now, I was going to be wrong after discovering what I discovered. (Wow, I've exceeded my own personal standard of vaguery!)

Growing up, a lot of things can amaze you, intrigue you, and elicit all kinds of thoughts and feelings. As we get older and begin to "know everything" we are less surprised or amazed by anything. Maybe we're just too smart, too jaded, or just too cool to let anything really grab us anymore.

One instance...clovers. most of them are your average run of the mill 3 leafers, but if you look real hard, you can find the occasional 4 leaf clover. That old lucky charm, that when you find your first one, it's just soooo great, and you gotta show it off to whoever about how awesome it was that you found one. Pretty dorky right? Probably, but back then, who cares about dorky. You just found a lucky 4 leaf friggin clover!!!

On a certain parallel, take Life Cereal. Growing up, every box we ever got had AT LEAST 1 double piece. Instead of your average little squares of cereal, you got a rare 2 connected together, almost like a domino of sorts. Maybe I'm exaggerating a bit, but I swear you could find one in EVERY box we had, and to me, this was just really friggin cool. As good as any four leaf clover in my estimation.

Fast forward some years. Every now and then I buy a box of Life...for myself...cuz I'm Mike, and I'll eat says the commercial anyways. For the past few years, I have failed to see my double piece of Life. In fact, I don't know if it was just some over reaction to the loss of some childhood nostalgia, me getting pissed about the condition of today's roads that cause the fully packed trucks to bounce and settle the crap out of my cereal and robbing me of that double piece, or what was going on. But yes, I feel so strongly about it, I was going to blog about it at some point.

And then tonight happened. I bought a box of Life yesterday, I opened it up, just prior to logging into here to write about this double piece-less travesty. I poured the cereal into my bowl, and suddenly I had to stop. My eye had caught something unusual. I sifted through the laready poured cereal until I found the anomaly. And there it was: A DOUBLE PIECE OF LIFE CEREAL!!!!!!

And yes, I am dorky enough to be highly excited about that, and just had to not only share my dorky moment, but shine a big bright spotlight on that dorkiness. And that's a big spotlight, given my roughly 875000000 regular readers. Okay, maybe there aren't that many people reading it, but if you slap the entire world's population together in one spot, and you can find one of my readers in that field,'s just as exciting as finding the double piece of Life or that four leaf clover...