Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Gravity, Thou Art a Heartless Bitch


The evil accomplice of Gravity
The villa where I live is surrounded by a six-foot tall concrete wall. Because I live on the ground floor, I have my own gate to enter the villa with everyone else using a different gate which goes to a main foyer area.  The gate is a wrought iron and tinted Plexiglas affair that is peaked at the top in the middle and then goes down lower on the sides. My gate is a double door that opens in the middle and is hinged on the side;  one panel is how I’m get in and out on a daily basis, the other panel has an additional lock which keeps it closed unless you specifically release it so that you can get a wide object through.  The public gate is just a single panel.

The way that you enter my gate from the outside is with the key. I am the only one who has that key, except for the housing office which is located in another part of town. Even my Haris does not have a key to my gate.  When you're on the inside going out, you push a blue button on the center of the gate and it releases in electronic lock which allows the door to open. Electronic lock is there to allow me to unlock the gate from inside the house if I've chosen to answer a knock on the door by using the intercom.  I have never used the intercom, choosing to just walk out my front door and open the gate to see whoever is ringing the doorbell.
 
All of this background is necessary to explain what happened around noon on Sunday.
 

The magic Blue Button
As I've mentioned before almost anything can be delivered in Kuwait, including services. It was time for Falkor to be groomed so I called the grooming place and they came by and picked him up to take him to their shop to do the deed. I'm not sure how much extra I actually pay for the pickup and delivery, but it is convenient. When the guy rang my doorbell I walked out the gate and handed the dog to him and signed the appropriate paperwork. When I turned to walk back into my house I found the gate closed and solidly locked. Since I did not plan on the gate being closed, I did not take my keys with me and therefore I was outside with no way to get back inside. Did I mention already that I am the only one with a key to that door? Aside from leaving my keys inside the house, I had also left my phone on my desk.
 
Not fretting over my situation too terribly, I had done this once before, I went across the street and retrieved my trashcan and rolled it up to my gate.  Because of the height of the gate, I needed a boost from the trashcan in order to allow me the push myself over the top of the gate and lean in so that I could reach the blue button which would release the lock. Once the lock was released, I could push myself off of the top of the gate and then use the trashcan to step back down. This was a very un-complex and quick process.  Of course, that was the last time.
 
I positioned the trashcan to one side of the gate so that I could align myself with the lower portion of the gate.  I climbed up on the trashcan and thought momentarily about simply pulling myself up and over the wall itself realized that because it had lights mounted in it I might accidentally kick the glass out of one of those or break it trying to scramble over. So I pushed myself up until my waist was even with the top of the gate and then leaned forward in order to reach down and push the blue button.  At this point, my entire weight is on the top of the gate as my feet no longer are no longer stabilized by the trashcan.  I pushed the button several times and it failed to release, so I shifted my weight so I would have a better angle to push the button and tried it again – – success.
 
 
The Gate taunting me
Because I had repositioned my weight, it also affected my balance and as the gate was no longer locked, it swung in with me on top of it.  As the gate began to swing open I could feel that I was losing balance and at any minute was going to come crashing over the top of the gate head first.  Perhaps I failed to mention this, but in front of the house is a span of area with paving stones and behind the six-foot wall is a wide walkway that is tiled. In other words, it is not a soft landing to fall on either side especially headfirst.  These thoughts occurred to me as I had a flashback to swinging on an open gate as a kid.
 
In an attempt to regain my balance, I shifted my weight back and lifted the upper part of my body up which caused me to start sliding off the top of the gate feet first. I expected to at some point feel the trashcan under my feet and did momentarily as the trashcan decided it did not want to be what I landed on and slipped out of the way. As a result, I fell onto the small stoop that the gate was on and fell backwards onto the paving stones giving me a terrific view of the gate as it slammed shut in front of me.
 
I could not help myself; I broke up laughing out loud. There are some things in life that are just so terrifically well-timed that you really wish a camera had been rolling – – this was one of them.  Regaining my composure, and hoping that none of my neighbors were watching, I stood up and made sure that everything worked.  Nothing felt broken, so I moved the trashcan back and attempted this once again.
 
I climbed up on the trashcan and pushed myself up on the gate – – balancing myself so that I could reach down and pushed the blue button, which I did. Nothing happened. I pushed the button several times and still nothing happened.  Taking myself off the top of the gate, and then standing on the trashcan momentarily before I stepped off it and stood in front of the locked gate, I shook my head. I wondered if I had somehow broken the lock on the gate by it slamming so hard during the prior action. I stepped back and looked at the wall for a place that I might be able to climb over without taking out one of the security lights.
 
I reached down and grabbed the trashcan and pulled it upright and in the process banged it against the locked gate.  As I rolled the trashcan out of the way, out of the corner of my eye, I caught the gate opening on its own just a small crack.  It was taunting me. I quickly pushed the gate open wide and then released the lever on the other side so that both gates were swinging wide open and could not possibly relock themselves. Triumph!
 
I went inside and got my keys and then rolled the trashcan back across the street. I then entered the gate then closed and locked it up behind me making sure that the lock still worked. Finally, I went the house and sat down in my recliner to laugh at myself again.
 
Sometimes things just happen.
 

Sir Isaac Newton, thy mistress Gravity is cruel
Post Script:  When I stood up from the recliner an hour or so later, I found it very difficult to walk due to the pain in my knee and leg.  It got worse as the day went on.  I took some Tylenol and tried to keep off it for the rest of the day.  The following morning, I could not put any weight on my knee, so I went to the medical clinic to have it checked out.  It turns out that I sprained my ankle and tore the lateral meniscus [Link] in my knee (better than an ACL).  The doctor said it should be okay in about two weeks time, but they took some x-rays to make sure I didn’t do anything else to me.

On the plus side, I did avoid getting a ticket for this whole thing.  After all, Gravity is the law – – you have to obey the law. (That line is funnier if you read it in the voice of Mr. Peabody [Link].)












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Saturday, April 27, 2013

An Ambassadorship Without Diplomatic Immunity

Hanging at Chilis
The culture of the Middle East is unique about the treatment of and attitude towards dogs and other animals.  There are some who consider dogs to be the personification of evil but many in Kuwait have a more Western attitude. As a result, when I take Falkor out for a stroll I attempt to use encounters we have to educate people. Since he craves attention, Falkor enjoys the role that I have placed him in.

Just last night, we came upon two little girls – – ages eight and nine – – they were with their mother and preparing to get into their car.  Because we were walking by, the two little girls came running over to see the dog.  My usual behavior is to pick Falkor up so that he does not scare them with his standard response of standing on his hind legs to greet new folks.  Next, I caution the children to pet him coming in under his chin rather than trying to pat him on the top of the head.  A dog’s natural response to someone patting him on the top of the head is to look up to see what the hand is doing and for someone who is not aware it could seem like a dog is attempting to bite the hand instead of just smell it.

The two little girls were satisfied petting him at first, then one asked if she could take his leash and walk him for a bit. I let her do so which made her giggle and prompted her mom to take some pictures of her with the dog. Then the other little girl wanted to hold him so I picked him up and showed her how to hold a dog. This of course led to another round of pictures.  While this was going on when the girls excitedly told me about a parrot they had at home who apparently could speak both English and Arabic. As they were getting ready to leave, one of the little girls asked if they could see Falkor again and I explained that anytime I was out walking the dog they could feel free to come over and say hello.
An Ambassadorial power nap

This may seem minor and even inconsequential but during that short encounter not only did they learn that Americans can be friendly they also learned something about how to act around the dog that might govern their actions in the future and therefore prevent them being scared of a dog or worse thinking that it is evil. After all, how could a dog be evil when he sits in your arms peacefully or let’s you lead him around by a leash.

Falkor & his peeps at the kennel
On another evening I had a woman pull up in a car and lower her window. I could see she was wearing a full abiya with veil, and in perfect English she told me how cute she thought Falkor was and asked me if she could take a picture of him. I told her to go ahead and she took a picture with her iPhone. Then she asked me if I would take a picture of her with the dog and I agreed. I admit, when I bent over to pick up the dog I was wondering what difference a picture of her veiled face with the dog was going to make in the bigger scheme of things, but when I turned back towards her she had removed her veil and had her arm outstretched handing me her iPhone. So, I took a picture of her smiling face with Falkor snuggled up against it.  I’ve never had something like that happen before or since, as I said in some ways Falkor is a perfect ambassador for knocking down some cultural barriers.

Because my neighborhood sits between a bunch of apartment buildings and a mosque it is not unusual for us to run into groups of people going to and from who just happen to be walking through the neighborhood. Some of them cross the street and stare at the dog silently whereas others will walk towards Falkor and attempt to pet him. I have no problem with that but Falkor usually wants to stand up on his hind legs to greet the person; which is usually a shock to the stranger the first time he does it.

I always thought that one of the benefits of US troops being stationed around the world was that on the whole they were great ambassadors for our country and the servicemen took back a different view of the world home with them to whatever small town they may have come from. This is good for everybody. I knowingly stepped into my role of ambassador, Falkor is just being the dog that he is; and sometimes that’s all it takes.  Pretty good for a rescue dog.


Another Ambassador

I have been following Pepper the Dog since I started on Twitter (@PepperTheDog).  Pepper is the self proclaimed "Ambassador of Small Pets" and he posts funny and heartwarming pictures of pets, advice on animals and listings of missing and adoption ready animals.  He is also on Facebook [Link].  I would suggest if you are active in either of these social media realms that you check him out as his posts are fun as well as informative.


Pix Of The Week


Lamborghini Aventador Cop
The newest Dubai police cruisers. According to the press release they are even going to let their female officers drive them. BTW the max speed limit in Dubai is 120 KmH (about 72 MPH), the top end on both of these is slightly higher.


Ferrari Cop - Pix lifted without leaving fingerprints from kuwaitiful.com



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Saturday, April 20, 2013

...and That's The Way It Is -- Goodnight and Have a Pleasant Tomorrow


One of the most difficult times to be overseas is when something catastrophic happens in the United States. In 2001, I was in Wiesbaden, Germany when terrorists flew passenger airplanes into the World Trade Center. This time I was in Kuwait when terrorists set off bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.  In both instances, I have been thousands of miles away and therefore not directly involved; although for a period of time after 9/11 we were unsure if we might be attacked at the base in Germany. In both instances, I have not been in a position to offer help or assistance and could do little more than watch.
  
The Victims.  RIP

When 9/11 happened I had just relocated to Germany and did not even have satellite TV yet. As a result I had rabbit ears which allowed me to pick up the local AFN channel which was doing a live feed from CNN. This time, I not only had satellite TV, but between 2001 and now something called social media started to exist so I also had Twitter, Facebook and Reddit.  Postings on social media sites for the most part are written by real people and not professional journalists.  I have drawn two conclusions because of that:  1. On the whole social media was more accurate and up-to-date than any news channel on TV, and 2. There was less bias on social media, except for those postings by the political hacks who are also on TV.  What really rocks about social media over TV is that I can turn off those people who are doing nothing more than political commentary while keeping the objective observations of the rest of the population. It is really hard to turn off part of a channel on TV. 


Middle Eastern looking?  Okay, a little
As the week progressed, it became more and more difficult to watch the coverage as politicians tried to bend the events to suit their agendas. I have yet to find any connection between any gun legislation and the ownership or planting of bombs in public places. Additionally, it was quite interesting to watch many of the pundits on MSNBC insisting that this must be a white racist conservative while CNN and several others were reporting the person as being  Middle Eastern looking. I will tell you having lived and traveled extensively in the Middle East that there is no such thing as Middle Eastern looking.  I have seen Arabs, Persians, North Africans, and Israelis who look just like the folks that I saw walking down the street in rural Georgia, suburban Michigan, and anywhere else in the United States.  
When the end of the week came and the chase was on I went back to social media and again received updates by the moment. It was not the same as being in the United States, but at least I knew what was going on --well, sort of knew what was going on. The press was still pushing out rumors where social media was fairly accurate and unbiased. I saw pictures and footage of the suspect before it made CNN, Fox, or the BBC.   Again, there were those trying to bend tragedy to political advantage -- unlike having a different opinion on gun control, which is something that is something truly worthy of being ashamed.
 
Now, one suspect is dead and the other is in custody and the city of Boston is once again what it was before all of this. I was proud to hear the people cheered the cops and police as they went through the streets returning back to their station houses. I would've been right there on the streets with them.
It has been revealed that the suspects were not Americans, conservatives, Arabs, or any other target group but two brothers from Chechnya. Chechnya has been involved in a civil war for many years, but unless you pay attention to European news or the history of Russia you would never have known anything about it. Now, for at least a day or two all America will get an education on what is going on there.
Was that the point? There are better ways to gain attention than killing people. There are better ways to express yourself than blowing up property. There are better ways to convince people that your opinion is right or wrong than by blasting shrapnel through their bodies. Perhaps they should have tried Twitter, Facebook, or Reddit.

Maybe they should have written a weekly blog.

Post Script:  Ruslan Tsarni, the Uncle of the two brothers had the perfect response to his nephews actions "They put shame on their family...they put shame on the entire Chechen ethnicity".

Pix of the Week

Lifted without shame from @Q80HillBilly


I am not sure how this is supposed to work.  It can't be that easy, can it?



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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Who The Hell Forgot To Get Cornflakes? Oh Yeah, That Would Be Me

  I appreciate the picture,  but you forgot the hot peppers
Earlier this week I sent out a message; actually, it was a plea from a distant desert island. I wanted a Jimmy John's Vito sandwich (#5) with hot peppers and a little mayo.  It was so simple, I expected to be flooded with sandwiches – – but alas I only received one and that one was only a picture. That bordered on cruelty, except I probably would've done the same if places had been reversed.

Anyway, with the exception of requesting some real movie theater popcorn from my son, in March 2012, which I still have not received, I have not been dead ended in my quest for just about anything.
Being a military brat and prior Air Force, I knew what to expect from a Base Exchange (BX or PX or AAFES). If you consider what their mission is and the small square footage that they try to do it in -- what they do is amazing. There is a wide variety of anything to a degree. You won't find everything you want there but you can find most of what you need there. Those things you can't find, you have to rely on friends and family back in the United States, try to figure out the Arabic conversion for what you need or order it via mail.
I've already mentioned how responsive my friends and family are to a sandwich request. Truthfully, everyone has been really great and offered to send me anything I needed whenever I've mentioned I need. I've been able to be fairly self-sufficient but for those times when I'm not, I appreciate my family stepping up.
The Internet has changed the degree of difficulty in dealing with an overseas assignment. I can reach out and touch just about any major retailer in the United States and have them send me whatever I need if they have it in stock and if they will mail to an APO. Two heroes at doing this that are worthy of mention are Amazon.com and Target.
I have never run into anything that Target stocked that they would not mail to me. That includes a 42 inch Vizio TV. They are awesome and they have my loyalty when I return to the United States.  Until then please patronize them on my behalf.
Amazon.com is also a major-league hero. I thought it was just me until I saw them bringing in a palette of mail one day and at least 4/5s of the boxes on the palette had an Amazon logo. I am not the only one that relies on them as a lifeline. I can order something from Amazon today and I will get it in about four weekdays. The only time that wasn't true was during Christmas when mail volume was way up. I have bought lots of stuff from them from food, to computer parts, software, books, and sundries. AMAZON ROCKS!

The stores here run the gamut from French and English versions of Wal-Mart (Lulu and Carrefour)to corner stores run by families.  Some products are the same as the American version, just with an Arabic label. In some instances I've tried some new things that have worked out very well. I did notice that there's a Sears about open at one of the shopping centers near where I live, I wonder if they will show Martha Stewart wearing an Abiya in their ads.
As far as instant appetite gratification goes, Kuwait has a wide abundance of American fast and franchise food. Not all of it tastes the same because no pork is allowed – – so anything that involves bacon is a nonstarter.  They also lack two things I really would love to have here but at least one that I know would have to go through major changes just to open: Waffle House and Jimmy John's. 

Maybe someday.
Until then, have a #5 for me and follow it up with some hash browns: covered, mothered, scattered and diced.

Pix of the Week
Picture skillfully borrowed from 248am.com

Not sure I want to know what a "Security probing" is.


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Thursday, April 11, 2013

I'm Giving You an Rx for Titus, an Anti-Depressant You Can Take With Alcohol

I've never figured out why, but for some reason the most popular entries I have written are music reviews or music related entries. For some reason, the entry I made about Amy Winehouse [Link] is one of the most popular, and even prompted an email from a writer at The Rolling Stone – well it used to be a music magazine.  Ahead of that is my 50 Greatest Motorcycle Riding Tunes [Link] missive -- I figure that one is so popular because people are running a search for a song title that happens to be on the list and accidentally come across my list.  But today, I wander into a new realm as I discuss comedy.

I have always had a rather unique sense of humor and I blame Richard Pryor and George Carlin for its development. Richard Pryor has a way of telling a story that is unmatched. I have always been a fan of storytelling because the flavor of the story is so augmented by the teller. Richard was a talented storyteller.

George Carlin taught me two things: There are no bad words, only bad thoughts, and there is something funny in almost anything that happens, if you tilt your head a little bit and look at it second time. I loved the way the George played with words and my admiration of his wordplay style probably shows up in my writing and if so it is definitely homage to him. I did not particularly care for his comedy in the years just before his death because he had a tendency to be a curmudgeon and almost arrogantly cruel; but overall I thought he was a great comedian.

My only problem with Carlin and Pryor was that most of what they talked about was before my time. Both men were significantly older than I was therefore the experiences of life were different.  I can still relate, but it wasn’t firsthand.

My introduction to Christopher Titus was through his TV show Titus. I was flipping through channels looking for something to watch, and came across an episode that was midway through. I have to be honest; I really didn't like what I saw. I found the "neutral room" concept to be interesting.  It is basically where the show character talks directly to the audience and brings them into the story.  I liked it when George Burns did it and in Oz they gave it the structure of a fish tank jail cell to the break the 4th wall.  Because I didn't have the right lead in's to understand some of the inside jokes, I found the show too simple. Then, I happened upon his Norman Rockwell Is Bleeding show. It wasn't something that I sought out, it was in a stack of DVDs that someone here had loaned me. There is a lot of that goes on here – – people will loan their DVDs out in exchange for yours so you only have to buy half as many DVDs in the long run, but you get to see a wide variety of shows.

Great stuff and because he was just five years younger than me I could relate.  Very few comedians cause me to laugh out loud outside of the trappings and alcohol of a comedy club, but I admit that his timing was excellent and due to the sad nature of the history he related I found the shared schadenfreude.  Too many folks think schadenfreude is just a fancy way of saying that you are laughing at the misfortune of others, the deeper German origin of the word is that you have had a similar misfortune in your own past and therefore can laugh when someone else experiences it.  In America we try to sum this up with the statement “You will laugh about this later”.  Titus was spot on in joke after joke – No, my Mom was not psychotic and my Dad not way overbearing, but there were glimmers of my past in everything he said.  That is when comedy goes below the surface and the humor is felt heart deep.


From that DVD, I found and watched Love is Evol.  It quickly became my favorite since it is obvious we had dated some of the same types of women and he introduced a character that lives within each of us – the Inner Retard. This is the voice inside that spends its time telling us that we are not good or smart enough in any given situation.  His Inner Retard had a semi Quasimodo look to it, I always saw mine as little shorter with a Fu Manchu mustache and for some reason mine has a semi New York/Irish accent. My point is that he brought the inner voice out, gave it form and allowed me to laugh at it for the first time.  Again, nothing can ever be funnier than when you realize the joke you are laughing at is firmly based in truth.  The relationship material was also excellent and it is nice to know that some of the psychos I dated apparently moved to California and provided material for his act.

I dug up 5th Annual End-Of-The-World Tour and Neverlution as well.  Those two shows solidified me as a fan of the man’s work.  Titus was funny but for reasons that I had never encountered before with the comedian, I could see so much of my own life in his work.  No, I never fell into a bonfire or had an ex-wife lie about me abusing my children – – but taken back just step or two, I lived through many of the same relationship quagmires that he talks about.  Looking at them from his angle makes them funny as hell rather than reasons to cry into a beer.  


Now that I had the proper background, I watched the entire series of his show Titus. and gained a whole new appreciation for the show.  I was never a big fan of Stacy Keach but in the show he portrayed Ken Titus as everything I imagined him to be.  Keach should have gotten an Emmy for the worst comb-over on TV ever.  Zack Ward, who plays Titus’ brother Dave, is killer in the role and the development of it over three years was awesome. Cynthia Watros, as Titus’ girlfriend Erin, rocks. She is a great comedienne and has wonderful facial expressions plus does the physical comedy well. Watros also looks great in a cashmere sweater and brown corduroys (check out Season 3, The Visit) or maybe it was just my mood on the night I watched it. 

Some research on the web revealed that in 2010 they looked at reviving the show, putting it eight years into the future, but I could find nothing else about this revival. I think it would be a fantastic idea.

Anyway, this post is supposed to be about his latest work The Voice in My Head [Link].



It was by chance that I came across his Podcast, yeah the man stays busy, and he mentioned that The Voice in My Head [Link] was going to be released on April Fools’ Day. Since it was April 3 when I was listening to the Podcast, it was available.  So, I went to his website and paid the $9 (10% of which goes to charity) for the download and then spent the next three days trying to download the file.  Fine, I understand there are 8,000 miles of wires between Kuwait and LA – that is no frigging excuse.  I hate it when appropriate tech is not brought to bear on a problem.  If you are not sure, call me BEFORE you have the problem, I am a professional who does this IT stuff for a living. ‘nuf said.

The show starts with a paraphrase of the opening segment of Prince’s Let’s Go Crazy and ends with Titus relating a conversation he had with Bruce Springsteen, that ended with the Boss asking an epic question (I won’t say about what, I don’t want to spoil it). With those bookends, in the middle is an hour and 40 minutes of some of the best stand-up I have ever seen this man do.



Whenever Titus takes the stage, I pay attention to the scenery and background behind him, somehow some way it always plays into his act. This show is no exception, as on the stage behind him are six large posters: Bruce Lee, Dodge Viper, attack dog, electric guitar, Confederate flag, and Darth Vader.  These serve as a basic outline of what the act will be about. The posters are not funny to look at, but you know that the story he will tell behind each one will be hilarious. 

He binds these six epic fails, has he calls them, together with the thread of referring to this act is a service at the Church of the Epic Fail.  All of this works. There are two things that I think make Titus funny to me: Schadenfreude, which I mentioned before, and his ability to flip from being the tough guy to being the insecure victim. It is what adds heart to his performance and makes it entertaining rather than sad. It also allows almost anyone to identify with at least some portion of what he is talking about.

In between the story about his teenage job playing Darth Vader and talking about doing a show in the South, he spends a few minutes talking about what he means by retard. It simply does not get any better. Not since Carlin have I seen someone actually take time to dissect the language and then put it back together in a different way making totally acceptable to laugh at it without feeling self-conscious. Yes, the Inner Retard has returned -- and with a vengeance.


You come to realize that this performance really isn’t a solo act, it is a duet. Titus has skillfully woven the Inner Retard into every one of his stories…and on more than one occasion, he plays straight man letting the best punch lines go to the Inner Retard. Ever watch a movie or some big Hollywood star is trying to play an accent and then drifts in and out of it for the entire movie? Titus nails the Inner Retard every single time in both voice and actions. After the first few appearances of the Inner Retard, you start to see two people on stage versus one.  The best part?  Every one of these transitions is so smooth that it is artistic and beautiful to watch.

I was lucky enough to be able to watch this all in one setting, but given how tight time is I could’ve easily watched any of the six segments separately and they could’ve stood alone – – except for some of the running gags that kept reappearing.  I can’t think of another comedian working today who has that kind of style -- and before I deployed I spent many a night Saturday night sitting in the front row of Gary Fields Comedy Club watching a wide variety of comedians.

My favorite individual parts of the show were: Titus’ explanation of the term retard and a dinner experience with a fellow comedian with CP; what happened with his Dodge Viper (been there, done that, hated it); how he got beat up by an Air Force guy then learned martial arts; and finally how he killed a baby. I also like the fact that he talked about the demise of the TV show Titus, which I never knew about. A picture may be worth 1000 words but apparently one sentence can cost you $30 million -- must be part of the new economy. 

Lost?  Get the video and watch it! 



The Voice in My Head [Link] costs just $9 to download from his site.  It is undeniably the best comedy bargain I’ve seen in forever.  By producing and distributing it himself the entire overhead is cut out and therefore the savings can be passed directly onto the comedy appreciating public. Hell, I never got into a comedy club for less than 20 bucks, then I usually wound up spending a lot more on drinks and if I wanted to take a video of the act home I had to pay extra for it.  

I was surprised at the production values of the video since it was self produced. I’ve bought a lot of DVDs that were self produced by comedians and this is by far the best self production work I’ve ever seen.  Aside from the problems I mentioned with getting it downloaded, problems Titus says has been fixed by getting bigger gerbils, it was easy – – even from all the way over here in Kuwait.

He did mention during his show that he had done several shows here in the Middle East. I missed those because I wasn’t here yet.   If he ever comes back I am sure he would find an audience just as appreciative as the one he encountered on his first trips over.  Consider this an invitation from the comedy starved masses in the desert.

Unlike real life, you know that you have reached a very funny dead-end when the inner retard looks at you, shrugs his shoulders, and says “I got nothin’”.  Titus has something, he describes himself as being an antidepressant – – and one you can take with alcohol – – I won’t quibble with that assessment.



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Saturday, April 6, 2013

A Little of This, a Little of That… Blog Gumbo

This week I had to go to the dentist.  I ended up getting a root canal because a prior dentist had done poor work on a filling and the situation had gotten worse. It was actually not as bad as most people would make it out to be, and because the dentist was a reservist the treatment I got was top-notch. This is not to say that active duty dentists do not deliver good service, just that a reserve dentist tends to have a better bedside manner because his practice and livelihood depends on it.

I will also tell you that the procedure involved a blowtorch and smoke coming out of my mouth. I am not sure when fire became a major part of every procedure above the shoulders (see last week's missive regarding my Turkish haircut) but apparently I'm going to have to get used to people coming at me with flame.  When I was a kid I was told to keep fire away from your head, but apparently as you get older it becomes more and more of a necessity.

We had our first sandstorm of the year this week.   It is unusual that we get hit this early and had something to do with an unusual jetstream out of Sudan according to the Kuwaiti meteorological folks. The thing that made this one kind of unique was that in the middle of the sandstorm it started to rain – – and because of all the sand in the air it rained mud. I luckily made it to my car before it came down.

Forgot which day, but someone in the neighborhood got a rooster and one morning when I was out walking Falkor the rooster went off. Falkor’s first reaction was to run back towards me and hide between my legs. He kept looking up at me to see if there was reason to panic because of this new noise. Falkor finally moved out from hiding but every time the rooster would crow, he would turn and look at me to see if it was time to panic yet. We still have not seen the rooster, must be living in the backyard – – I think if we ever saw it and Falkor connected the sound with the animal he would no longer be worried about it.

Friday night while I was out walking Falkor, a passing car stopped alongside of us. Rolling down the window I could see that the driver was a Kuwaiti, dressed in traditional clothing so I greeted him in Arabic and he responded in perfect English.  He then asked me for directions to a local supermarket. I gave him the directions and as he pulled away I realized just how odd that was. Not only was a Kuwaiti asking me for directions in his home country, I actually knew where he was talking about and gave him accurate directions on how to get there. There times when I feel like I've been here way too long, this was one of them.

Last night, the International Space Station passed directly over Kuwait and was visible to the naked eye.   Well,  when there is dirt in the air and clouds above that you can't see much but I was told it looked very similar to the picture -- well sortof.

I have always been a space exploration fan,  in case you couldn’t tell with entries like this [LINK] and this [LINK] in the past year. 

BTW I still want to know:  WHERE IS MY JETPACK?
Again with the fire,  I am sensing a theme here.
Oh and because of possible furloughs and other financial downsides of sequestration, I have extended through the end of November.


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