Tag Archives: Five Feet


by Richard

The ground below me is sere, brown and wrinkled, as if giant hands had sunk deep into the earth, gripped it tight and then tried hurriedly straighten it out with limited results.

The airplane rushes westward, passing clouds as if they were standing still. And, it turns out, they probably are. The clouds cast dappling shadows on the mesas and valleys of the brown-red ground.

It’s spectacular country. Unfortunately, I’m flying over it and won’t get to explore. It’s really quite amazing. These mountains and canyons seem so remote and untouched and then, out of nowhere it seems, I can see a razor-straight line cutting through the dry lands. A road. Once you see one, the rest suddenly snap into focus and I’m amazed to see the hand of humanity on such raw land.

Out of nowhere, a lake appears and with it houses and boats racing along the waters, trailing out white wakes. It’s absolutely fantastic. And, once again suddenly, Las Vegas appears out of the distance, large tracts of houses with green grass blasting color into the landscape.

It’s been an amazing flight, one of profound beauty. And then I walk off the plane and into the Las Vegas airport and I’m jolted from the beauty of the wilderness seen from on high to crass commercialism of the greatest degree.

And I couldn’t be happier. I laughed like a little kid when I walked off the plane and saw these one-armed bandits filling the airport terminal. Of course, I have self control and decide not to play the slots.

I make it about five feet before I’m out my first five bucks.

Dudes, I have a feeling this might not be a good weekend for me. Wish me luck.

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Stupidity As A Spectator Sport

by Richard

Over last weekend, Hyper Lad and I had a chance not afforded to many. We were able to see the birth of a new spectator/participant sport. We’re naming it Stupid Ball. The great thing about it is you don’t even need a ball to play.

All you’ve got to do is act without regard to personal safety, cleanliness or common sense.

Here’s the deal: Zippy the Monkey Boy, Hyper Lad and I were in Gainesville last weekend to watch the University of Florida Gators actually win a home game against the Appalachian State University Mountaineers. Of course, being on the UF campus and being with Zippy the Monkey Boy, we had to go to Lake Alice and see if we could spot any alligators or other fauna swimming around.

We parked the car and then walked back to Lake Alice. when we got there, we found that the lake was at least four or five feet below its normal water line. Which meant there was lots and lots of very soft mud around the lake’s edge.

When we walked up, we saw what looked like the markings of an alligator having dragged itself up onto the edge of the lake. Zippy the Monkey Boy, being Zippy the Monkey Boy, had to get a closer look. I warned him not to as I could also see some very, very, very deep footprints already in the mud, meaning that mud, which had so very recently been under water, wasn’t stable in any sense.

“Nah,” he said. “It’s cool.”

“You’re going to get amazingly muddy,” I told him.

He sneered. “No,” he said. “I won’t.”

I shook my head, leaned down and whispered into Hyper Lad’s ear: “Just watch. This is going to be fun.”

And it was.

Zippy the Monkey Boy got one good step into slightly solid mud. Then he took his next step. The problem was that he was already moving pretty fast and as soon as his left foot didn’t hit solid ground, he pitched forward and his right leg swung out over the loose and very deep mud. It was at that point he lost his left shoe in the mud.

Hyper Lad and I almost fell down as we laughed and laughed, watching Zippy the Monkey Dude try to hop his way out of the mud while simultaneously grabbing his lost shoe from the mud as it quickly devoured his shoe.

Eventually, Zippy the Monkey Boy made it back to shore, holding both shoes, covered in mud up to his knees, telling the laughing hyenas he had thought were his family to just be quiet.

Yes, he lost his socks. Yes, he smelled like lake bottom mud. Yes, he walked along with dried-mud socks. But, it was all worth it for the laughs Hyper Lad and I got watching the invention of this new sport.

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The Cat’s Meow

by Richard

Apparently, our house is getting something of a reputation in the animal world as a bit of an easy touch. First we had a neighbor’s cat basically move into our house, despite the fact that we didn’t want it there. Thankfully the cat moved on to another house down the street after a couple of years. Yes, seriously.

However, now we’ve got another problem. There’s a Maine Coone mix living in the woods around our backyard and it has decided it’s going to start eating in our garage with the cats who actually live here and it’s going to hang around the periphery of the yard just to drive the dog nuts. Yep. Apparently we’re attracting feral cats now.

The cat’s been around for about a year now. So, in the way of all animals that our little dudes see more than once, it’s acquired a name. Through a ridiculously long explanation, we ended up calling the cat Mario, which — oddly — has absolutely nothing to do with small, fat plumbers with bad Italian accents.

Frankly, I figured Mario would have been long gone by now, but I think it’s becoming acclimated to life on the outside of our house. When he (or she, really, since we have no idea of the cat’s gender) first showed up, if we walked within a 50-foot radius of the cat, it would bolt for the woods in a blur of gray and brown. Over the weeks and months, it’s become a little more used to our presence.

Now, if Mario is out in the garage eating from a food bowl that isn’t meant for him and we walk out of the door into the garage, the cat will leisurely jog outside and then sit down to wait on the driveway until we leave. Heck, he’s even sat still as we’ve walked to within five feet or so of him. Which is, actually, a pretty good thing.

Because, you see, now that he’s been around for a while and we’ve built up a little trust, I’m getting ready to crush it. I plan on trapping Mario, taking the resultant howling, spitting and hissing hurricane of fur to the vet and getting him shots. Oh yeah, I’m also going to have his testicles taken out. Or her uterus. Whichever is more appropriate. While that may sound cruel, I think it’s rather a good idea. We’ll be helping to cut (no pun intended) down on the number of feral cats running around out there, dying by degrees, spreading disease and making more cats to run around without any care.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

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