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And speaking of 'Asshole,' we played that game at my house last Friday for the first time in a long time. It's a 'get rid of your cards and drink' game, slightly (SLIGHTLY) similar to The Great Dalmuti, where the order you get rid of your cards in one round determines your rank in the next. First one out is President, second is Vice President, all the way down through various respectful, semi-respectful, and insulting titles down to the last guy, who is the Asshole.

One of the things that makes this a 'hood game is that the President gets to make a rule, the violation of which results in the offender having to drink. We have a variety of standard rules, including one we call the 'DA' rule (no first names AND no swearing), named after DA who can be counted on to do this at least once per hand:
Anybody: "Whose turn is it?"
DA: "Joe's."
Anybody: "No first names. Drink one."
DA: "Dammit!"
Everybody: "No swearing. Drink two."

I had gotten people to sprain their tongues once by making the rule "No saying 'I,' 'me,' or 'you,' but I didn't go far enough. Lawn-boy's wife (who, now that I check my notes, never got her own nickname - I'll have to fix that), when 'elected,' made the rule "No pronouns."

I have never drank so much in a game of Asshole, ever. And neither had anybody else. We were all so accustomed to using pronouns instead of names that we all sounded like Bizarro Superman at the end. It only got worse when she got re-elected and got to add another rule. NOW she threw in "no first names," because by then we had kind of half adapted to using first names instead of pronouns.

Nobody remembers a whole lot about how the game went after that.

What. A. Weekend.

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A great sports weekend for me: the Tigers are going back to the World Series for the first time since I was in college, Michigan beat the living snot out of the State Penn offense on the road, the Lions actually won a game, and I won the football pool for the week!

    Not only that, I actually heard the following things said this weekend:
  • DA, after eating a chunk of bleu cheese: "I'm going to go home and say something to Dimples, and she's going to look at me like I just ate a sock."
  • Chumley: "'Vaginal Blood Farts' would be a good name for a punk band."
  • My son: "I dominated that toilet. Toilet = owned."

As If We Needed A Reason To Throw A Party


I think my neighborhood will throw a party to celebrate this: Drug 'may reverse liver disease'

A cheap and readily available drug could reverse severe liver disease, even in patients who find it impossible to give up booze, research suggests.

Sulphasalazine is currently used to treat arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.

But a University of Newcastle team has found that it can also reverse the scarring associated with cirrhosis of the liver.

Liver disease is the fifth highest cause of death in the UK.

It is estimated that up to 10% of the UK population have problems with their liver - and most are linked to lifestyle factors, such as heavy drinking and obesity.
I guess now I can chuck that light beer crap and start drinking Samuel Adams Triple Bock full-time!

Field Expedient Corkscrew

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BB brought a bottle of Asti to our Fridaily neighborhood gathering. I don't own a corkscrew.

What I do own is a power drill, a 2 1/2" drywall screw, and a pair of vise-grips:

So after the Freedom game (about which more later, sadly), we had Rico and several of his friends over (including Clay Aiken and Keri Russell, or at least their stand-ins) for a low-key garage gathering. Along the way, not all the introductions had been made, as evidenced by the fact that eventually one of his friends asked me if I knew where the bathroom was.

I wish I had a picture of the look on her face when I replied, "I sure hope so; it's my house."

Full Moon, My Ass! Part III

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[Part I is here. Part II is here. Remember the standard disclaimer: 60% of this story is 100% true, 20% of it is 50% true, and 20% of it is PIDOOMA.]

After several minutes of wandering drunkenly around the boat docks, we figured out where the sound was coming from - the stereo speakers of Wilford's boat!

Dude. Is. Snakebit!

There was some kind of electrical weirdness on his boat that was generating a quiet 'putt' noise every second or so - even though the boat was switched off with the keys out! For some unknown reason, turning on the lights made the sound go away, but nothing else short of pulling the battery cable would. DA and Kenny went to call Wilford and break the news to him, and I wandered back towards DA and Dimples' place, where I found Dimples sitting on their boat, looking none too pleased.

When I asked her what was up, she told me. "It's Full Moon Friday. I was under the impression there would be a Full Moon Cruise!"

I was about to tell her that since it was 1:30 in the morning, the odds weren't real good, when DA and flower_goddess came around the corner carrying a cooler. This perked Dimples up immediately, and within five minutes we were in the middle of the lake and had it all to ourselves.

A good Full Moon Cruise is a thing of beauty, and I highly recommend taking one if you ever get the chance. The wind and lake were as calm as I'd ever seen either, and the full moon and clear sky gave us enough light to navigate easily at idle speed. We passed through the channel to the big lake, and, when we were far enough from shore, saluted the full moon in the only really appropriate manner.

We completed our circuit of the big lake, much to the chagrin of the one party still going on the shore (where they signalled us so vigorously that I'd have thought them shipwrecked if I didn't know better), and headed back towards the channel and the smaller lake.

"Chris, could you run a lookout for me?" DA asked. "I'm not used to approaching from this direction at night."

I went forward and started watching the bottom for unpleasant surprises. Right as we got to the mouth of the channel, I saw a couple of big rocks way too close to the surface. Before I could even mention this to DA...

... we passed safely over the shoal and entered the channel.

Even though it was after two in the morning by now, we still encounted another pontoon boat coming the other way in the channel. As it passed us, its pilot drew himself up to full height and announced

"I lowered my cholesterol!"
which got a big laugh out of everybody.

In case you haven't figured it out by now, my brain ain't wired like most other peoples'. I've got this reptilian forebrain part that can take direct control of my mouth and force something out of it before my higher brain can stop it. Sometimes this power works for good; other times, not so much. I'll undoubtedly sprain my shoulder patting myself on the back for this, but tonight was one of the former. Within a second of the cholesterol remark, I blurted out

"I just saved a bunch of money on my car insurance by switching to GEICO!"

DA laughed so hard he let go of the wheel. The rest of us laughed so hard we didn't notice that.

Or that our course had changed from "pass under the bridge" to "impact on the bridge."

Full Moon, My Ass! Part II

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[Part I is here. Remember the standard disclaimer: 60% of this story is 100% true, 20% of it is 50% true, and 20% of it is PIDOOMA.]

There was an ozone tang in the air as Carmine, DA, Wilford, and I entered Carmine's house and went back to the utility room. You could actually see the flashes from the arcing wire connected to the breaker box without even having to open the box.

"Piece of cake," DA said. "All you have to do is switch off the main breaker."
"Uh, huh," Carmine replied. "Remember what happened last time you and I worked with electricity?"
"Don't look at me," I said. "That's a chips problem; I'm a salsa guy."

Everybody looked at Wilford. "It's probably my fault anyway," he said. "I walked by my A/C unit a couple of hours ago, and it made a horrible screaming grinding noise and quit. You got a broomstick?"

Carmine rummaged around in the closet and handed Wilford a broom.

With a metal stick.

"Are you trying to kill me?" Wilford asked.
"Sorry." A little more rummaging around produced a less lethal implement, and Wilford pried open the box door and hit the main breaker. The arcing stopped and the air started to clear.

While the three of them set about transferring refrigerator/freezer contents to working appliances, I went into town and got pizza for everybody. Something happened while I was gone - alien abduction, nuclear event evacuation, something - because when I came back, pretty much everybody had vanished except flower_goddess and me, DA and Dimples, and Kenny and Leen. Oh, well. More pizza for breakfast.

After dinner, we set up for night Jarts again (it is so much easier when you have the key to the field lights), and DA and Dimples beat Kenny and me three games to two. I think Kenny was spending more time complaining about the choice of Jarts (sliders rather than fixed-wing) and ruleset ('Hood Rules instead of Lake Rules) than he did about his throws.

'Cause, y'know, it couldn't have been my fault, despite the fact that all three losses came on my throw.

Couldn't have been me. Nope.

Sometime during the epic match, we started hearing what sounded like a small one-cylinder engine: "Putt. Putt. Putt. Putt." which we figured was just a little jon-boat creeping along, maybe frog-gigging or something. Eventually, it occurred to one of us that the sound had been going on for quite a while, was getting neither louder nor quieter, and was coming from the general direction of the boat docks up the shore about a hundred yards away.

"It's the full moon, folks," DA reminded us as we walked down the shore trying to identify the sound. "Could be anything."

Read Part III.

Full Moon, My Ass! Part I

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The weirdness started before we even made it out of town on Friday. We were sitting at the light, ready to turn onto the freeway, when a black-and-white Camaro pulled up next to us. And I don't mean a police Camaro, either. I mean white with big irregular black spots. Just to clear up any possible misinterpretations on the road, it had lettering on the door handles saying "Cow-maro."

I was so stunned that I didn't even lean out the window to ask "What. The. Fuck?"

Now, I can't read lips, but I'm certain that was exactly the question on the lips of the driver who saw the Cow-maro as he made a left turn off the ramp to our right and crossed in front of us.

It was good for a chuckle, not to mention a good bit of head-scratching, as we continued our journey to the Secure Undisclosed Location. The conclusion we came to was that Cow-maro Boy was the #1 area salesman for Gateway, and that was his prize, in much the same way as Mary Kay Cosmetics awards Pepto-Bismol-colored Cadillacs to their top shills.

We arrived to find The Usual Suspects deciding what to do with a used Yamaha golf cart that StitchMistress had recently bought. The plan started out with a fabric swatch for an upholstery upgrade, a paint sample (canary yellow) for the exterior, and the idea of stealing the 'M' off another cart's "Yamaha" emblem so the StitchMistressMobile would be emblemed "Yamama."

By the time The Usual Suspects were done brainstorming, we had blueprints that would add a kegerator, low-rider pneumatic suspension, new Hemi motor, aero package with spoiler, roll cage, five-point harness, air horn, plasma TV, laptop computer, and a TV deal for our new "Pimp My Cart" show. Within an hour, I had a MS Project plan put together to coordinate all the subcontractors. This, of course, would require an addition to Carmine and StitchMistress's garage to hold the StichMistressMobile while said work was done on it, a prospect that Carmine was quite enthusiastic about (in retrospect, it appears that that was his intention all along).

It was about this time that half the lights in Carmine and StichMistress's house went out.

Read Part II.

Less Like 'Ben Hur' Than 'Been Hurt'

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[Part II of my Fourth of July story is here. Part I is here.]

We got back just in time for all the day-trippers to head back to the Fort, which left Gunner and Cover Girl in the position of being at the wrong location without their vehicle. Of course, if I'd known that what should have been a twenty-minute trip would have taken more than two hours, I would have left them at the IICNBIWDTSUL and let them drive themselves back. See what I mean when I say I have trouble with "X people traveling in Y vehicles to Z locations" problems? We got somebody to drop them off at the IICNBIWDTSUL on their way back to the Fort. At least I assume we did, because we didn't seem them after that. Maybe they walked. Who knows?

The Lame Leading The Blonde

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[Part I of my Fourth of July story is here. Recall that when we left our intrepid heroes, Saint, Gunner, Mountaineer, and myself were waiting at the sandbar for DA to return, and there was some question as to whether he would return at all.]

Right about the time I was sizing up Saint and determining whether I could overpower him and take his beer (conclusion: not only 'no,' but 'hell, no!'), DA came around the point with the rest of the group, and, far more importantly, the rest of the beer. And there was much rejoicing.

Gunner's and Cover Girl's daughters had stolen half of the floating bar and were using it as a makeshift diving platform, or at least a cannonball platform, when one of them got too close to the edge of it when she jumped and inadvertently demonstrated Newton's Third Law. Nobody wanted to chase the foam raft as it drifted back towards the shore, mainly because the bottom there was 50% sludge, 50% weeds, and 50% oh-God-what-was-that. I had my sport sandals on, so I went after it figuring I was OK.

Not so much.

I forget exactly where I gave up wading towards it ('mucking' would be a better word) - it may have been just after I saw the remains of Jimmy Hoffa - and swam the last twenty feet. Have you ever tried swimming in a foot and a half of water? It's quite an experience. Anyway, about the time I returned with the raft, BB started yelping and carrying on, saying that something kept biting at her ankle no matter where in the water she was standing. As she raised her leg up to show everbody, we saw she was wearing a shiny bangled bracelet.

"Well, no wonder," DA said. "You're wearing a damn spinner bait on your leg."

She took the bracelet off and put it on the boat; lo and behold, the fish stopped bothering her.

About that time, DA asked me if I felt like taking the jet-ski for a spin around the lake. I agreed, somewhat reluctantly, because I don't have much experience driving jet-skis and this was the busiest weekend the lake had seen all season.


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