Sunday, July 31, 2005

A Note on Wizardry

Well, I am still taking nominations but after consulting with the queen and recieving counsel from the Wizard who is sounding a lot like Dumbledore without the ledore, I have a few appointments to announce.

I hereby announce the appointment of Indigo as the Official Secretary of Defense. She has shown herself to be imminently qualified to defend the kingdom and dealt with the Evil Genius threat quite handily. We honor her willingness to serve and urge her to begin dispensing the rubber bands.

I hereby announce the appointment of Travis to be the Prime Minister. Of course, he has ambitions well above what we can offer here in WilkeWorld, but we are happy to have him include us on his resume. First order of business, draft us a constitution with lots of freedoms.

I hereby announce the appointment of kmsqrd as Minority Whip. I fear she is too excited about this appointment but anyone who can successfully deduce the need to stay far away from the Evil Genius deserves the accolades we can laud upon her.

I hereby announce the appointment of Better Safe Than Sorry as Royal Gardener under the conditions that she allow any one of the citizens to rest in her big yellow chair.

I hereby announce the appointment of Shaleen as Sea Cow Caretaker. We feel this is one of the more important appointments here in WilkeWorld and we suggest she don her hip boots and get to work. First order of business, she must name the sea cow. Suggestions include Doppelganger and Wonder, but she may choose all by her lonesome. Good luck, Shaleen.

I hereby announce the appointment of Marie as Secretary of Education with her first order of business being to help the Wizard with his grammar. Well, Marie, you should be plenty busy.

I hereby announce the appointment of MissMeliss as the WilkeWorld Poet Laureate. I mean, give me a break, how can you turn down the appointment of someone who writes a poem for your blog. MissMeliss, I am duly impressed and suggest your next opus be the Fall of the Evil Genius.

I hereby announce the appointment of Jo at Chez Le Laquet as Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food and give her complete control over the WilkeWorld diet. I may not follow her suggestions but she has complete control.

I hereby announce the appointment of John Cowart as Official Dog Catcher. John, I don't know what you'll do here in WilkeWorld, but I do have a couple of curs that live out by the moat that need catching. Good luck. Oh, and as far as salary, I will leave that up to the Queen, she always tracks the checkbook.

I hereby announce the appointment of Anita as WilkeWorld Press Secretary. The attention we have been garnering here in WilkeWorld has been wholly underwhelming. I sure hope this appointment will rejuvinate things.

I hereby announce the appointment of the brother-in-law as Evil Half-wit. I thought Evil Genius was a bit of a presumption on his part but his credentials are impeccable in this appointment and he has already prompted the ire of the queen, so well done and en garde.

I guess that does it. I am thankful for the willingness to embarrass yourselves here due to my total buffoonery. It is appreciated. I will be announcing other appointments as they make themselves known. Please feel free to nominate yourselves.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

A Note on the State of the Monarchy

I think I need to state for the record what the situation is here at WilkeWorld. It is not as if the constituency is clamoring for reform, but I sense that we need some official recordkeeping and the establishment of an appropriate governing force here in WilkeWorld. So, I present here the official government newsletter announcing the formation of a WilkeWorld governing force. Here are the pertinent facts as they now stand.

Form of Government: Representative Monarchy
King: K Jones (I will not be overthrown)
Queen: The Wife (it is not certain who exactly is the ruling monarch, but he who holds the pen)
Court Jester: Grandpa Jones

This is where it gets a little testy. We have a dress code and a list of illegal substances. We even have an official mascot, but we need more. We need you.

I have a couple of suggestions for possible cabinet positions but I would like you to nominate yourself for the positions you would like and I will run the suggestions past the Queen and my Court Jester for approval. Once approved, you are in. Don't worry, we don't actually do anything, but, you can brag to all your blog friends about your appointment. Some possible cabinet positions might include the following:

Secretary of Defense
Secretary of the Interior
Press Secretary
Prime Minister
Minority Whip
Surgeon General
Poet Laureate
Sea Cow Caretaker
WilkeWorld Historian

Oh, the list could go on and on. Rest assured, your qualifications will be poured over and you will need to defend your position with vim and vigor (mostly cause I enjoy saying "vim"). Nominations will continue until, well, until I get tired of playing this pointless game and I move on to other total wastes of time. Enjoy, citizens.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

A Note on the Green Stuff

I am pretty sure the following story has occurred at least a million times, but every time I hear about it it brings a smile to my face. Yesterday's victim: The lovely and talented Christa, who works with me and has an engaging streak of naivete. I envision that Christa's experience went pretty much like this.....

Wow, I am so excited. I have never really ever tried sushi before. The California roll from earlier tasted so good, I am really glad I decided to buy a whole package for lunch. Whoa, what is this? Guacamole? I love guacamole. I didn't know the Japanese used guacamole. Let's see, I'll just smear some on that roll right there. MMMMMMM....yeah, that looks good. Come here little California roll.

Wait. That doesn't taste like guacamole. No, that doesn't taste like guacamole at all. Why is my nose burning? Arrrggghhh. Why did I put the whole thing in my mouth? Make it stop. Owww. Owwww. Owwwwwwwww. Give me some water. I need. Water. Now. Now!!!!! I've got to get this taste out of my mouth. Hey, what's that. A slice of ham in here with the California rolls. Excellent. I will just toss the whole slice into my mouth. Here goes...

Blech. That is not ham. What the crap is that stuff? Oh, I don't like this at all. If they are going to give you a slice of ham and a dollup of guacamole they should just do it. I don't know what this stuff is. Where are the contents listed? Hmmm....wasabi and ginger. Wasabi and ginger????? Yeah, I don't think I like California rolls. Not. At. All.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

A Memory of the Vehicles

In the days before Child Restraining Laws and Buckle Up Laws, the people of this land had station wagons and vans where families threw caution to the wind and made great jaunts across the country without DVD's and nary a multi-deck CD player. It is these days that I wish to reminisce about today.

In the mid-70's, my family owned a Country Squire station wagon. Yep, that's right. The Jones clan toodled around in a vehicle with wood paneling and seats that folded down flat so the entire rear of the wagon could be, well, wagonlike.

Our favorite pastime in the station wagon was to fold all the seats down flat and roll ourselves up into a big ball with our knees tucked tightly beneath our chins. We would position ourselves at the very back of the wagon and we would wait patiently for Mom or Dad to reach the railroad tracks. The railroad tracks signalled the beginning of the stop and start action needed to bounce around like a pinball. Mom would slam on the brakes and we would launch forward and roll haphazardly into our siblings. She would then hit the accelerator and we would roll backwards slamming into the back door and munching the window. Oh, we would howl with excitement and make up games and rules for the chicanery.

After the Country Squire had seen its last days, the old fam went out and got a custom Chevy van. Yep, racing stripes and the little round portal window in the back. We were cool. The drawback to the van was that we couldn't play human pinball nearly as well cause of the bucket seats, but we soon found that surfing was the ticket in the custom van. We would again position ourselves in the middle of the van with one foot in front of the other and surf til our hearts were content. I'm sure that the bruises inflicted by the refrigerator and the scratches from the bucket seat levers would now seem like neglect on the part of Grandma and Grandpa Jones, but we just adored trying to stop ourselves before we stumbled into the driver.

Lastly, the Herbie-like custom van gave up the ghost and we again went out and got another custom van with a table in the back that you could play cards on. It wasn't nearly as fun as the others, but without seat belts to inhibit us, we still had a grand time.

The trip up to the family reunion was grand, but after two videos and extracting angry children from carseats, I yearn for the days of "Get in the back and hold on!"

Sunday, July 24, 2005

A List of Things I Learned at the Reunion

I guess I had better post before Indigo loses it and thinks I've fallen into the deep end of the pool without a flotation device. I just returned from the First Annual Kay and Dorothy Jones Family Reunion and I have gleaned a great amount of knowledge and interesting facts that I am destined to share with the citizens of WilkeWorld without further ado.

1. Grandpa and Grandma Jones are smarter than I ever thought. In what was one of the most hotly contested games of travel Trivial Pursuit ever, the old couple managed to salvage a split against me. Now before the old man gets mad at me for distorting the truth, they absolutely took it to me in the second game. Grandma was guessing Little League World Series victors and Grandpa Jones had obviously made some kind of pact with the Devil cause he was coming up with answers he had never even heard of. There is an inquiry into the cards that were used as I am fairly sure there was foul play involved, but officially I am congratulating them on a wonderful if not tainted victory.

2. The Jones Familyites are notorious gluttons and the Reunion again proved that point. Breakfast was served between 9:30 and 10:30. A dainty meal of sausage, eggs, and pancakes. This was followed at 12:30 with BBQ pork and beef, potato chips of various hues and flavors, salads and, of course, desserts. The treats and cakes then made their appearances before we finished the evening with pizza, sno-cones, cotton candy, and more varied sweets and honey candies. So much for the diet.

3. My 9 1/2 month pregnant cousin is nuts. Her due date is today, and yesterday she tried like the dickens to go into labor. Yes, she jogged and swam all day hoping to jar that kid loose.

4. There is the 3rd Annual Ancient Perfumerie Festival to look forward to. Yes, that's right. On the way home today we saw a billboard announcing it. Yes, folks, apparently the people of Utah love their old colognes. Not only that, but two festivals have already been held and were successful enough to prompt another one.

5. Some guy in Preston, Idaho is selling rocks from his driveway for a $1 apiece and marketing them as "Rocks from Pedro's House". In what can only be considered opportunism to the extreme, some dude whose house was used in the movie "Napolean Dynamite" is, indeed, selling the river-worn rocks and writing the aforementioned words on them in permanent marker.

6. Touchdown hates dogs. Can't stand them. Well, she likes them in principle, but, in practice, she prefers if they were a hundred miles away. I have the fingernail marks in my neck to prove it.

7. Touchdown is quite adept at answering questions. On the drive home today, out of nowhere, she begins screaming. Not your typical run of the mill "I hate this carseat" kind of scream, but a blood curdling "I'm going to die soon" kind of scream. "OOOOOOUUUUUUUUCCCCCCCHHHHHHH!!!!!!!" I was petrified and responded with due concern. "Honey, what are you doing?" I blurted. With a calm and measured demeanor, she stopped and exclaimed, "I am saying, 'OOOOOOOOOOOUUUUUUUUUCCCCCCCHHHHHH!!!'" Well okay then.

8. My wife is a saint. I love you, honey. You rock.

Now that I am back I will continue to harrass you all about the sea cows. I will have an extra $35 to adopt the sea cow shortly, but I need to know which one fits our needs the best. Again check it out and leave me a short note.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

A Note on FanStory

As many of you know, I am trying to get published, and while I have been submitting to various sources, I have also found a website that offers peer reviews in exchange for site money. My blog has lacked a little attention as I've been trying to improve my writing skills by getting some honest feedback at this site. It is called and can be found here.

The problem is that peer reviews at FanStory can be downright scary and giving a review can be like killing someone's puppy. I use the word "peer" with a lot of hesitation as I am now aware that anyone and everyone can get on the site and offer their review service and write their All American Novel. That's all fine and dandy, but, boy, can it lead to some interesting exchanges. I offer here a few of the experiences I have had since I joined.

I read a wonderful little poem that I gave an "Excellent" ranking to, but I suggested at one point that the author might rethink a passage where he switched verb tenses (the entire poem was told in past tense and he inserted the word "waits" into a critical passage). I thought nothing of the criticism, and, to me, it was minimal, but the author wrote back with flaired nostrils and his fists ready to kick some sea cow butt. He expressed his disappointment in my assessment and asked me to please explain what I meant by "verb tense". He'd never heard of that term. Huh?

I wrote a little poem and had recieved pretty good reviews. I almost hoped somebody would criticize it, but no one did. After it made the rounds and the reviews were recieved, I got a last minute review that read as follows. "3 stars (out of 5) Needs revision. I liked this poem a lot. It was awesome. Keep writing. You'll do better next time." Huh?

I wrote another little review of a pretty hashed prologue to a crime mystery. The writer had some good ideas but needed some creative advice. I suggested she use some foreshadowing early on in her work. She wrote back that she had never heard of foreshadowing and asked me to explain. Huh?

I guess my point is that the United States educational system must be failing at some level if we are churning out authors and poets and novelists that can't construct coherent sentences and express coherent ideas. I am not talking about scientists, doctors, mine workers, or waitresses that can't write. I am talking about people who are paying several dollars a month because they think they can write a little bit. They are wannabe writers that can't write. I feel like I should take my thesaurus and my editing pencil on to that site each day and prepare for battle.

Don't get me wrong. I am enjoying it. I just wish it was more constructive. If one more person tells me that I just don't get their poem, I'm going to explode.

This now ends the K. Jones soapbox standing portion of this post.

As for some other happenings.

I will be attending the Kay and Dorothy Jones Family Reunion with, well, the whole darned family this weekend in Alpine, Utah. Therefore, WilkeWorld will be quiet for a few days as I put on some swim trunks and scare all the women and small children.

In the meantime, I urge you all to check the Sea Cow Central link on my blogroll and determine which sea cow we should adopt. Please leave a comment below telling me which one should be the mascot and what we should ultimately call him.

Thanks all and have a great weekend.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

A Note of Desparation

I have given up. You win, Touchdown, you win. The daily battle to potty train the two year old has been won and its the two year old that won it. How do you pee your pants twice in a five minute period of time? How do you manage to pee every single time Baby Indy is breastfeeding? How many pairs of panties can you go through in a given day?

I have given up. The Teenager's daily battle with the new contacts has been won and, well, its the contacts that have won. She is reduced to tears each and every day by two little pieces of plastic. I have tried to encourage, but the thought of reverting back to glasses with dumb rims is just too overwhelming.

I have given up. The daily battle to lose some weight on the WilkeWorld Diet has been won and its the bag of Doritos that won it. Really, I have done remarkably well. Still no french fries, still no soda pop of any sort, still no eating after 9:00 at night. Add to that the 2 1/2 miles of walking a day in 100 degree temperatures and I ought to lose some poundage from my dainty frame. Well after three months of this grueling exercise in futility, I have lost the same 4 lbs. I mentioned last time.

I have given up. In my quest for publication, I have been sending out manuscripts and poems and stories galore and I have nothing to show for it. Yep, diddly. This battle is not over, however, as I am a stubborn old goat and will only accept defeat after every editor has been tortured by my drivel.

Wow, that was cathartic. Onward and upward. Everyone have a great day.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

A Note on the Big D

I am preparing a little primer on geocaching which I shall unveil later this week for Jo at Le Laquet, but in the mean time, I'll shoot you a little story from Katie's little sister. We'll call her Dora.

Well, she is visiting with her family from Virginia here in Utah's Dixie, and yesterday, she made a wonderful discovery. While driving around town, she noticed something quite exciting and began to ask her mom about it.

"Mom, did you tell anyone I was coming?"

"What do you mean, Dora"

"I mean did they all know I was coming here?"

Again my sister didn't really catch on. "What do you mean, Dora?"

Dora demurely pointed up on the side of the mountain to a huge D that rests on the sandstone commemorating the local college here in town, Dixie.

"They knew I was coming and they put up the D"

Pretty intuitive observation I would say. BTW--is it only here that every town has a letter on it's mountain or hill? What do they have in your neck of the woods?

Monday, July 18, 2005

A Note of Exhaustion

Baby Indy is vomitting.
Touchdown sleeps til 6:00 A.M.
Brother-in-law and family of four scavenging boys in for the weekend.
My sis from Virginia in with her four.
Going geocaching this morning.
Hosted party for 8 hours yesterday.
Its been 112 degrees for the last week.
There is about 8% humidity.
Lips are a-chapping.
House is crumbling because of blue clay.

I am going to fall asleep at this terminal in 3-2-1-zzzzzzzzz.

Friday, July 15, 2005

A Note on the Dragons

Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only
waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage.
Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence,
something helpless that wants our love. --Rainer Maria Rilke

It was a year almost to the date. He hadn't seen any of them and he doubted that they would want to see him. He hadn't been entirely endearing.

He bowed his head and walked quickly to an empty pew about half way down on the left. It took forever. He heard the whispers begin. He wanted to see them, reach out to them and tell them he was sorry. He longed to have it all behind him, but how could he really? How could he make up for everything he had done?

The organ droned a familiar hymn. "Rock of Ages, cleft for me..." It somehow seemed appropriate. He picked up the hymn book and thumbed through it trying to make everything go by quicker. An eerie quiet fell upon the crowd as the service began. He knew they were thinking about him and about what he had done. Oh, how he wished he could make it all better.

It all seemed interminable, but the time had come.

He hadn't wanted to go. He had argued with himself many times. What was the point really? Its not as if his return would end the hurt or even lessen it, but he made himself do it.

The service dragged on. He felt the angry, hurt eyes peering into him from all angles. He dared not move. He just sat humbly, bearing his cross reluctantly until the final prayer was uttered and he found himself paralyzed.

How would he leave? He stood stiffly and turned to face them head on, yearning to hear a friendly word, a forgiving glance, a handshake from those whom he considered his friends. Their eyes averted his glare. They shuffled off to other things. He knew they would. It would take time.

But as he reached the door, he spotted a big man lumbering straight toward him. He recognized the man. Why was he approaching? What did he want? The man held his hands wide, embraced him in a big bear hug, and whispered in his ears the sweetest words he had ever heard.

"Brother, we love you. Welcome back."

Thursday, July 14, 2005

A Note on the Lashes

All to improve her chances to win a cell phone. What does a 6 year-old want with a cell phone anyway? Seriously?

Wouldn't it hurt? I mean it would have to hurt.

My little niece, Katie, yanked every single lash off of one of her eyelids in an effort to give her extra wishes in her quest for a cell phone.

Yep, she entered a contest for a cell phone. And, yep, a boy at school told her every time an eyelash falls out you get a wish. Well, she put two and two together and came up with a handful of eyelashes. Presumably, she just used her fingers.

Oh, and she did not win the cell phone. Apparently some other kid yanked the lashes off both eyelids.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

A Note on Palmolive

The other evening I walked in to see my wife soaking in the bathtub. I then realized that she had been in there a good long time. Like perhaps an hour and a half. She looked so relaxed as she calmly read her book, "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants." She hesitated to even acknowledge me when I entered as her repose was so tranquil.

Fast forward a few days. I found myself with a few extra minutes prior to going to bed and I felt like I needed to relax as well. A shower is relaxing, but I decided to give the old bath a go. After all, my wife loves the bath. I felt like Chandler on Friends, going where no man dares to go.

I turned the hot water on as hot as it would go and then slowly turned the cold water on just enough so I wouldn't burn myself. Oh, yeah. It was going to be heavenly.

Next decision. Bubbles or no bubbles? No one likes to see a fat guy naked, not even me, so I opted for bubbles. I stumbled around awkwardly trying to find a bubble making soap under the sink when I happened across some Palmolive. Score. I'd seen my wife use it once. It didn't kill her. I squeezed ambitiously and then squeezed once more just for effect and retired to the little boys' room while the bath was being drawn.

I exited to see the Great Wall of Bubbles. It was awesome.

I quickly jumped in and just sat there. I couldn't read, my hands were wet, so I just sat there. What do you women do in the bath? Just sit there? It was so boring.

Aha! I quickly rediscovered that bath bubbles make great beards. Oh, and if you swirl your hands really fast in a circle, its like a whirlpool. Then if you put the bubbles between your hands and clap, the bubbles go everywhere. I felt like I was about 6 years old as I blew the bubbles like the wind and watched them accumulate under the faucet. It was astounding. I had waterfalls and geysers and snowdrifts. All I really needed were the little green soldier guys and I would have had an all out war in there.

My wife walked in just after I vacated the area and drained the tub. "Oh, you took a bath, did you?"

"Yeah, it was real relaxing."

No need for her to know anything about it.

Monday, July 11, 2005

A Note on the Call

Focus, Jim, focus. It will be done in just a second. No big deal. Just think how happy everyone will be once it’s done. Now just go through what you’re going to say. When he answers, what are you going to say? What if it isn’t a guy? What if it’s a chick? Oh, man, I knew I shouldn’t be doing this. Why do I have to do it?

Jim peered at the telephone all shiny sitting in its little cradle taunting him. He hated that phone. It seemed to snicker when he walked by. He played with the coins in his pocket trying to summon up the courage to do what needed to be done. He glanced to the refrigerator where he kept all of his lists.

Feed the dogs. Check. Vacuum the family room. Check. It says nothing of the phone call. What if I just didn’t do it? It would serve them right.

He stomped his clumsy feet in defiance and shook his big Teutonic head. The phone still didn’t move.

Okay. I am going to write it all down. Then I’ll just read it. I can read it. Right? I’ve done that before. No big deal. C’mon, Jim. Toughen up!

His monstrous hands reached for the cold-water knob on the faucet in the kitchen sink. The cool water dribbled out and swirled around harmlessly before falling to the drain. Jim cupped the coolness and splashed it briskly into his face. Refreshed and invigorated, he wheeled around and faced his nemesis grabbing it by the throat and placing it firmly against his ear. His resolve seemed steely and his sausage-like fingers quickly pounded out the number.

Here goes nothing. It’s ringing. Oh, my holy simole, it’s ringing. Steady, Jim, steady. Focus. A girl answered. Good thing I prepared for the chick. She’s talking. She’s talking. How long is she going to talk? Focuuuusssss. Okay, big boy, it’s Showtime.

Jim flexed his knees and rose onto his tippy-toes. An ox dancing a ballet. His nerves steadied and he blurted it all out.

“I’d like two large pepperoni pizzas, a medium combo and two orders of garlic cheesy bread.”

The sweet smell of success.

I rock.

**I wrote this in response to a prompt at the Alchera Project. I actually had a lot of fun trying my hand at something a little different here. I hope you all enjoy it.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

A Note on the Stuff

When was it that I came to understand Fatherhood? Was it when I found myself holding dearly to my Touchdown as she vomitted Twizzlers and chocolate milk on my shoulder or was it when I got shot in the eye by Baby Indy's geyser of pee? Was it as I held my wife's hair as she, too, vomitted for nearly nine months straight or was it watching my stepdaughter false start and get disqualified in her first race on the swim team?

The truth is that it started with my birth and childhood as I watched my parents holding hands and walking the floor at all hours of the night cradling a feverish child. It continued as I watched the parents of my friends teaching us T-ball and driving us to sleepovers. I learned from fathers interviewing me at the commencement of dates. I grew from watching my own siblings take on the trials of fatherhood with anxiety and courage.

These examples lent understanding and appreciation but I really came to understand all of the complexities about six months in to my marriage when I entered our house from the garage and my naive life came to an end.

I married at the tender age of 32, which in Mormondom equals "creepy middle aged freak", and I immediately became the father of a delightful 10 year-old stepdaughter who both adored me and found me to be a bit of a nerd. The first several months of marriage and fatherhood included an awkward period of hair thingies and hair in the drain, and, well, hair in general. It bordered on abuse as I often got sprayed with caustic chemicals and found myself watching shows that a single menace to society would never watch. It was a trying time, but a time made easier by the fact that parenting a perfect child isn't really all that difficult.

As the year went on, both my wife and I were aware that the 5th grade maturation discussion would soon be upon us. I was a little clueless, because for boys the discussion was always centered on hair in new places and changes in our voices, but we always knew the girls had a movie. A "sex" movie, we were quite sure. I really didn't know what to expect.

As I crashed through the garage door, I looked up to see my girls rummaging through the bathroom at the top of the stairs. They whispered and giggled and whispered some more before I gave them the Leave it to Beaver, "I'm home!" More whispering ensued and then, like a flash, my stepdaughter whipped out of the bathroom, plummeted down the stairs and whipped around the bannister to throw her arms around me in a big bear hug.

"K, K, guess what? Guess what?" she began as she tried to catch her breath. I looked up anxiously at my wife at the top of the stairs. She, too, looked as bewildered as I did.

"What? What?" I conceded.

"Mom and me have been looking at the stuff. You know the "stuff". That's what we call it. And guess what?"

Oh, I couldn't even pretend that I knew what was going to come out next. My life flashed by me like a priest on a rollercoaster and I bit my tongue hard. I again gazed up at my wife shrugging her shoulders (She had got roped into this experiment by a devious questionnaire sent home by the school).

"What?" I winced.

"Some of the stuff" her voice quieted to a whisper. "Some of the stuff goes up in ya! Yeah, up in ya!"

I may have passed out at that point, but I regained my composure and nodded my head knowingly.

I was now officially a Father, and my fall from grace was precipitous yet harmless.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

A List on Namedropping

At one point in time, I worked on the Strip in Las Vegas. Yeah, that's right. Tom Jones worked on the Strip in Las Vegas. Ha! Ha! Get it all out of your systems. Now, can we go on. Well, while there I actually came across a number of famous people and had some interesting encounters with them. Here is a list of some of the highlights.

1. Smoky Robinson--I sold him a briefcase and he is about the nicest, quietest guy around.
2. James Brown--I sold him earrings for his "women", and he called me "Chief".
3. B.B. King--Another prince of a man, he found my name to be amusing and we chatted about it for awhile.
4. George Strait--I sold him a $10,000 fur coat for his wife.
5. Mike Tyson--He was a regular and a lunatic. His limo almost ran me over in the parking lot the day after he was released from prison.
6. Danny Elfman--I think I mentioned this before, but I've seen his girlfriend topless and I believe a little soused. FYI--He is the lead singer of Oingo Boingo and wrote the Simpson's theme song.
7. Tony Orlando--I sold him a lot of luggage. Nice guy right out of the '70's.
8. Johnny Depp--I sold him a duffel bag at 7:00 a.m. He stunk of alcohol and didn't look like he'd slept at all that night.
9. Shirley MacLaine--Entered our store dressed like a bag lady. Incognito-like.
10. Coach K of Duke--Sold him a red tie.
11. Wes Unseld and Gene Keady--Both basketball guys that are enormous. Sold them both Tumi luggage.
12. Mike Weir--The Masters Champion bought a bunch of Swiss Army luggage.
13. Davis Love III--The PGA Champion bought a Tumi suitbag from me.
14. Jack Black and Lara Kightlinger--They were always kind of flying through the shops. I never actually talked to them but they were there all the time.
15. Whitney Houston--Never met her but talked on the phone to her. She liked Fendi.

I could go on and on with the sports guys and the musicians but these are just the highlights. What is your brush with greatness?

Friday, July 08, 2005

A Note on the Whirlwind

My wife and I and the kids decided on the spur of the moment to make a one day trip to Capitol Reef National Park to visit a friend of ours in Torrey.

Here are a few of the highlights of this little excursion.

Three hour trip quickly turns into five hour trip when potty stops and drink breaks are factored in.
Oh, there might have been a few pictures taken of my post offices which added to the delays (I wound up snagging photos of Circleville, Kingston, Antimony, Koosharem, and Teasdale to add to my collection).
The wife conveniently had to tend the baby when we were approached to hike a few miles up to Hickman Bridge.
Dad hauls Touchdown the entire way to Hickman Bridge on his shoulders.
Dad hopes Touchdown didn't experience a potty break while on this excursion.
Teenager and Touchdown want to go swimming in local pool.
The wife has to conveniently tend the baby.
Dad swims as long as Touchdown and Teenager want.
Dad takes Baby Indy in for a dip in the pool.
Baby Indy has total fit.
The wife gives Dad stink eye.
Mosquitoes invade picnic.
Touchdown stays up all night long telling stories of her imaginary pets.
Everyone else stays up listening to Touchdown stories against their will.
Equally long trip back today.

Well, that about sums it up. More regular posting later.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

A Note on the Crazy Lady

Just before I finished my mission in Paraguay, I was assigned to a quaint little city called Piribebuy. Piribebuy had the distinction of being Paraguay's capital city for a few months at the end of the War of the Triple Alliance, and the inhabitants took that honor quite seriously. They also took their drinking and partying seriously, too, and on many mornings the entire town suffered from a hangover.

On one such morning, my companion and I ventured out to find absolutely no one willing to give us the time of day, so we decided that breakfast would be a good option. We entered into a little bar/restaurant on the edge of the town's main square and ordered up some empanadas. We were all alone in the bar except for the bar owner, who was busy cleaning the clutter from the night before. It was really quite peaceful.

As our empanadas arrived, I notice that the town's resident crazy lady had entered in with her basket full of exotic and no doubt elicit herbs and jujus (remedies). Her leathery skin seemed particularly tanned and salty as she tried a sales pitch on the bar owner. He knew her all too well and with nary a kind word booted her out on her tush. Much commotion and yelling ensued, but given her crazy lady-ness, neither my companion, the bar owner, nor I could make any sense of it.

The bar owner couldn't let her leave without a cutting remark so he let fly with some colorful Guarani insults and laughted heartily.

We hardly thought any more of it. A random encounter with craziness. It happened every day in Paraguay. Only this day the craziness continued.

A few minutes later, out of the corner of my eye, I saw the crazy lady creep back into the bar. Then, with a ferocity I had never seen from her, with both hands, she raised a rusty old machete high above her head and let out a blood curdling scream. She took dead aim at the bar owner and let her fly.

The machete, brandishing several years worth of rust and crud, twirled and danced as it missed its mark horribly. She wasn't even close to her target. The bar owner barely even knew what was happening, but as I saw the machete hurling toward me, I saw my life pass by in quick flashes. "Please don't let me die from a crazy lady's machete," I thought as the twisted knife whizzed by my head and into a pile of dusty beer glasses.

Again the bar owner let out a loud guffaw. I could hardly believe my luck. The crazy lady scuttled off before she could be caught, and my companion and I finished up our empanadas. Just another typical day in Paraguay.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

A Note of Retraction

My wife wanted me to post this yesterday, but I had to let my previous post run its course. Apparently my wife is not losing it entirely. We found this out when we discovered that Touchdown actually had two, count them, two separate toenails that are falling off. She was not delusional after all.

I retract my previous statement in all of its glory, but wait, I think I will continue with a post on the very forgetfulness I pointed out with the previous post. After all, she is still losing it. The evidence:

1. While making Lemon Chicken and Rice, the wife totally forgot to put in the lemon juice, hence we almost had just Chicken and Rice.

2. While leaving the house yesterday to go to Grandma and Grandpa Jones' 4th of July shindig, the wife totally forgot the Doritos and the cucumbers she was asked to bring.

3. The wife, in doing a favor to my mother, promised to bring a pound of ground beef to their house last week so my mom wouldn't have to go to the store. She defrosted it and set it out, but ultimately left it sitting in the fridge chilling.

4. The wife after promising to give me a back rub for our anniversary just totally forgot and I got bupkis for the big day.

Okay that last one was totally made up, but as much as she is forgetting stuff, I thought I'd give it a shot. Maybe she will be gullible enough to feel guilty and give me a back rub. Shhhhh. Don't anybody say anything.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

A Note on Bandaids

So yesterday afternoon, Touchdown stubbed her toe and really busted up her toenail to the point that it is probably going to fall off. It was really quite gruesome. My wife in all her wisdom slapped on a bandaid and kissed it better.

Fast forward to the bathing of the kid and the reapplication of the bandaid. The wife did apply the bandaid, but applied it to the wrong foot. THE WRONG FOOT! The injured child didn't know any better so she didn't fuss at all about it, but later in the evening she asked if she could have another bandaid placed on the appropriate foot.

When does the memory come back after the pregnancy? Anyone? Help!!!!!

Saturday, July 02, 2005

A Note on Frogs

The wife and the Brother in Law alluded to this occurrence in both of their comments, but I thought I had better elaborate on it here to give the citizens the full effect of the story.

The two-year-old (we'll call her Touchdown with a wink and a nod to the Bro in Law) when she first started to talk had a little trouble pronouncing the word, "Frog". Lets just say that fricatives and glottal stops are complex things to master and the word came out a little (okay, a lot) like the big F word. Again, Touchdown was just barely over one, so the mispronunciation was endearing and funny and often called for once anyone found out about it. "Touchdown, what is Kermit?"

Well, the green amphibian became her animal of choice and she would bounce about the house swearing like a trucker stuck in the mud. "Frog, frog, frog, frog, frog." Harmless, until we went to church one day. Now in the Mormon Church, we have a big meeting called a Sacrament Meeting where the whole congregation meets together in a reverential setting to partake of the sacrament. Children cry and shuffle about uneasily, but parents struggle to keep them on a tight rein. For the most part, Touchdown did pretty good. She was normally quite reverent.

On the fateful day, I was on duty attempting to maintain the quiet reverence during the sacrament when Touchdown noticed a book protruding from the diaper bag. "Hmmm," she pondered reverently. I could tell she wanted something and I figured a picture book was harmless and quiet, but as she reached for the book, I discovered the topic of the book. Frogs. Again, like the elbowing of the girl on the first date, everything slowed down and I became aware of the imminent danger of the situation. "F--R--O--G," she shouted with astounding enthusiasm when the congregation was possibly at its quietest.

"N0000000000!!!!!!" I freaked as I stuffed that awful book deep into the recesses of the diaper bag. "Nothing to see here, Touchdown. Daddy killed the froggy. Wow, look a kitty."

"Heathens. Those Joneses teaching their kids all those nasty words. Despicable."

Water under the bridge. Now we just have to keep Touchdown away from Sister Atkinson. Yeah, somehow, her last name comes out JUST a little bit differently in mixed company.