It has come to my attention that many Americans do not like to travel. Specifically, it came to my attention during a certain presidential election when a certain vice-presidential candidate appeared on a certain television show and was asked by a certain television hostess why she did not have a passport. I do not know how this certain vice-presidential candidate answered the question because I got bored and changed the channel. However, I assume the answer was something like, “Blah blah blah I am a feisty young soccer mom with ambitions of becoming a puppet president blah blah blah Alaska is the greatest country in America blah blah aren’t I so feisty!

In order to avoid such embarrassing international incidents in the future, I have decided to share my extensive knowledge of foreign cultures with the American public. If you are a fortyish single mom with political ambitions well beyond your experience, please take notes.

England

Positives: English muffins. James Bond. That Henry guy. Marry Poppins. They speak English–although not very good. For instance, they call “fries” “chips” and “chips” “crisps” and “soccer” “football” and “presidents” “queens.” Maybe you should take an English class, English people!

Negatives: Jack the Ripper (serial killer!). Sweeney Todd (musically inclined serial killer!). Winston Churchill (a little bit on the chubby side!). Fox hunting. British television looks all weird for some reason. It rains all the time and people are always drinking tea and saying things like “Allo, govna!” in a way that makes you want to revolt against them.

Recommendation: Why go to Old England when we have a new one right here in Vermont?

France

Positives: French bread. French kissing. French ticklers. Nice view of Spain. Their movies have a lot of naked chicks in them. Inventors of French’s Mustard.

Negatives: Too many French people.

Recommendations: Stay home and watch “Moulin Rouge.”

Belgium

Probably not a real country.

Holland

Positives: Legalized marijuana and prostitution. That little boy on the paint cans. Double Dutch is fun. They speak English better than the British.

Negatives: Residents are too tall (makes normal-sized people feel like Danny DeVito…but not in a good way). Wooden shoes (what if your feet catch on fire?). Windmills (sooooo 1738). Can’t decide on a name for their country. Should I call you Holland? The Netherlands? Dutchistania? Make up your mind.

Recommendations: Pot is legal in California and you can find prostitutes at any sorority house in America.

Switzerland

See: Belgium

Germany

Positives: Has this totally awesome wall that runs right down the middle… What? They tore that down? Why? Oh. Stupid Ronald Reagan and his stupid Cold War symbolic gestures. In that case, um, lederhosen are kind of cool.

Negatives: Techno music. Scary porn. Men have too much body hair. Women have too much body hair. Has the word “germ” in its name. Not many kosher restaurants for some reason. David Hasselhoff.

Recommendations: Wisconsin in the winter is just like Munich, except without all that annoying culture.

And that’s pretty much all the countries in the world. Now you’re ready to hold the second highest office in the United States. Good luck!

Somewhere out there in the real world–at this very moment–there is a person looking at this blawg who is naked.

Naked, naked, naked.

Perhaps they just got out of the shower and couldn’t wait to read the super-hilarious series of progressive sentences that that scamp, Dale Bridges, had written on The Internets. “No need to worry,” they thought to themself. “I’ll just catch a quick peek at this new blawg entry and then I’ll put my pantaloons back on, posthaste. No one will ever know!” Or perhaps they are the more  brazen type, who ripped off every stitch of clothing as soon as they walked through the door this evening and thought, “Yes! After a long day toiling in the trenches of this military-industrial complex we call America, I shall assert my civil rights at last and saunter around my castle unclothed! Take that, Obama!”

In any case, I do not care how it happened. The fact is that you are reading this sentence with your dangly parts all exposed, and I won’t have it. As a Powerless Voice On The Internets, I insist that you go to your room and cover yourself immediately. And don’t put on any of that see-through Victoria Secret stuff, either. I’m talking full-body wool pajamas. I don’t care how hot it is in your neck of the woods: I said wool pajamas.

You should be ashamed of yourself.

Chicken-Head Puppets

June 4, 2010

There’s a lot of talk about free range chickens these days. Well, okay, maybe there’s not A LOT of talk. I mean, it’s not like the subject is showing up on the front page of the New York Times or anything like that. But there is MORE talk about free range chickens, especially considering the fact that I don’t recall people using those three words in conjunction with one another for the first thirty years of my existence.

In fancy restaurants, you hear this term quite often, usually involved in sentences such as, “I don’t eat eggs unless they come from free range chickens,” or, “Was this parsley-coated cutlet in watercress sauce made from free range chickens?” These people say this with their chins turned up and their eyes defiant, as though they are the Harriet Tubmans of poultry, always prepared to help the birds escape through the Underground Railroad if their range isn’t free enough to their liking.

When I was young, we lived on a small farm-like plot of land in rural Colorado. I say “farm-like” because we didn’t do any actual farming, per se. Pa never woke me up at the crack of dawn to plow the fields and fetch water from the crick so’s Sis could clean her lady parts. However, we did have a couple of pigs, a few rabbits, a badass hound dog named Duke, and a variety of feathered creatures with lizard feet, also known as chickens.

Were they free range chickens? I don’t know. We weren’t that close; I didn’t ask about their personal lives. They certainly seemed to be ranging freely. There were no bars on their chicken house and they were allowed to nest wherever their delicious little chicken hearts desired (i.e. in the snake-infested weeds out back, or in the snake-infested front seat of the old Ford pickup that sat rusting behind the barn, or under the snake-infested porch).

One day each summer, Dad would invite all our relatives from the tr-state area to the house and we would butcher a few dozen chickens for the family. What can I say? Some people go to Disneyland in the summer; some people rent houses in the Hamptons. We butchered chickens.

My job was to chase down the chickens after my dad chopped off their heads with a giant ax.

Chickens can still move for about two or three minutes after their heads are removed. In fact, I think they’re more active during that period of time than they are at any other point in their lives. Normally, chickens just sit on their ample behinds all day or wander around doing that head-bob thing that makes it look like they’re backstage at a Parliament Funkadelic concert. But after you chop their heads off, they start flapping around like crazy and running in a variety of directions. It was my job to chase down the headless chickens and return them to my mom, who would then de-feather and butcher them. And when my mom wasn’t looking, my brother would take their severed heads and put them on his fingers and entertain our cousins. We called them Chicken-Head Puppets.

There aren’t many vegetarians in my family.

We were not the only people processing chickens in the neighborhood. There were a variety of large chicken farms in the area that mass-produced poultry for human consumption. These were the types of places that incubated eggs by the millions and crammed chickens into tiny cages, where they often died of malnourishment or disease. Every once in a while, some animal-rights group would sneak inside one of these chicken farms and videotape the carnage inside. The local press would run a story about the horrible conditions on the farms and how something should be done about it. But no one outside our community seemed to care too much, so we basically just ignored it.

Of course, no self-respecting local resident ever ate the chickens from those mass-produced chicken farms. Those chickens were all packed up and shipped to the city, where customers were constantly demanding that farmers produce more food at cheaper prices or go bankrupt. Eventually, those mass-produced chickens would end up at some fancy restaurant, where a wealthy woman who had never actually been to a farm in her life would raise her chin and stare defiantly at her waiter and say, “Was this parsley-coated cutlet in watercress sauce made from free range chickens?” And the waiter would say, “Of course, ma’am.”

What my job is like

May 29, 2010

When I tell people that I work at a medical-marijuana clinic, I usually get one of two reactions: A) They smile politely and blink a lot and wait for me to tell them where I REALLY work, or B) They say “Right on! That’s totally rad, dude! You have the coolest job in the world!” and they try to give me a high five. (Incidentally, there are an inordinate number of high fives being distributed amongst those affiliated with the medical-marijuana industry, and I for one would like it to stop. Also, no fist-bumping or complicated handshakes that involve fancy maneuvers that make me feel as though I’m participating in a shadow-puppet slap fight. It’s getting out of control.)

Honestly, my job is fairly boring on a a normal day. Yes, in the beginning, it was exciting to go to work and see five pounds of marijuana in a plastic bag on top of a giant jewel-store safe, but these types of events have long since lost their luster. Like any other job, the newness wears off and it just becomes work.

On the other hand, every once in a while, I will look around the dispensary and think to myself: “This is a very strange place.” Today was one of those days.

The dispensary where I work is near the college, and when the students went home for the summer, things really slowed down. We’re still doing steady business, but we also spend a great deal more time watching “SpongeBob SquarePants” on the giant flat screen than we used to.

One of my coworkers is a 25ish blond hippie chick who looks like she came right out of a Rolling Stone fashion shoot circa 1972. Today the blond hippie chick was feeling stressed out because she is the maid of honor at her sister’s wedding, and her sister is being a normal 20somethingish American bride (i.e. insane). Therefore, the blond hippie chick asked if she could run to her car and grab her hula hoop (apparently, she keeps a hula hoop in her vehicle in case of hula hoop-related emergencies) because hula hooping helps her relax. In the meantime, my other coworker, a skinny young stoner who basically looks like the male version of the blond hippie chick, decided that he was going to fire up the vape and buy some beers at the liquor store next door.

So there we were, watching SpongeBob fight some sort of evil, pink, lobster-man thingie, drinking microbrews, partaking of a vaporizer, while an attractive young woman hula hooped in the lobby in order to relieve the stress related to her sister’s wedding.

That’s what my job is like right now.

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