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The Fisher of Stories


I hate kids.

Somehow, through tolerance and sheer force of will, I’ve managed to fall in love with the two I call my own, and there are several couples from church who have a few that I like.

But as a rule, the first time I meet or see a kid under the age of 11, I’m not going to like them.

Image credit

I also hate hotels.
It never fails that I forget something important, and have to spend the rest of the day with a sore back and smelling like lady Degree.
Other things I forgot:
1. Toothpaste2. Brush3. Patience
There is one thing, however, that I look forward to when I go to a hotel. One amenity I always look for, and won’t book without. And that is…

The Mount Olympus of the hotel.

…the hotel pool.
Yes, I am aware that the kids who just left the hotel pool probably treated it like a personal lavatory, and I’m sure the honeymooning couple that just got out of the hot tub more than likely consummated their nuptials as they relaxed their muscles.
None of that bothers me. Usually there is enough chlorine in a hotel pool/hot tub to clear up Jessica Simpson’s face before Proactiv, so little things like E.Coli and herpes are above my concern.
There is one thing that will ruin a hotel pool faster than anything else though. Something I’ve mentioned already in the blog, and something I wish there were a whole lot less of in the world.
They are the bane of my hotel relaxation existence. They nullify all hope of me ever having a peaceful moment during a terrible hotel experience. It doesn’t matter if the hotel has the best continental breakfast in the world, if there are kids in the hotel pool I will give them a 1-star rating. Jessica Alba could personally greet me in a string bikini in the lobby, and if I took her to the hot tub and there was a kid in it I would do my best to make sure the hotel chain went out of business the next day.
Kids are terrible things.
I’ve told you all that to tell you this:
Me, The Missus and the kids went to Oklahoma City the other night. We thought we’d spend the night, then get up early and hit the outlet mall, try to score a couple of deals.
So I booked us a room at the Embassy Suites where we normally stay when we go to OKC, knowing it had a beautiful swimming pool and an okay hot tub.
When we arrived, all signs pointed to it not being a great trip. The parking lot was jam packed with cars, more than I had ever seen at the place before.
I looked at my family, and with a great deal of optimism, said “Well, as long as the pool’s empty, we’ll be alright.”
I should have known then.
We checked in, set our stuff down, got our swimsuits on and headed downstairs. We walked around the corner and saw this.

Only it was indoors. And there were markedly less Chinese folks. But exactly the same.

I. Was. Pissed.
Here’s the thing though. It was 9 p.m. Every single person in that pool was an 11-year old girl. Not only that, but every single person in that pool was an 11-year old girl CHEERLEADER.
I have never in my life seen such a congregation of tiny cheerleaders. I don’t know where they came from, I don’t know where they were going, all I know is I now hate those kids more than anything in the world, up to and possibly including the University of North Carolina.
They were screaming.
They were yelling.
But alas! There was one saving grace.
They were all in the pool, and not in the hot tub. THANK YOU LORD JESUS FOR BEING A MERCIFUL GOD.
I settled into the hot tub, closed my eyes and relaxed. Maybe this wouldn’t be half bad after all, if I could just drown out the “ONE TWO THREE FOUR GET THAT BALL BACK YAY” that was going on in the background.
Slowly the sound melted away, and I was a moment or two away from complete transcendence…and then it happened.
I looked up, seconds from nirvana, and sure enough, 18 tiny cheerleaders had joined me in the hot tub.
Now. I don’t know what you would have done in that situation, but years of watching To Catch a Predator had primed me for action in moments just like that.
I took both arms out of the water and raised them above my head like I was giving glory to The Highest, when in fact I was probably the furthest away from giving praise I had ever been in my entire life.
“But Travis, why would you take your hands out of the water?”
That’s easy my friend, it was to establish my innocence. If my hands are visible, they can’t be busy doing anything else, and that is exactly the kind of alibi you need when you’re in a hot tub with 200 screaming 11-year old cheerleaders.
“Excuse me officer, but if you’ll check the tapes, you’ll clearly see I had my hands above water level the entire time, and my eyes were fixed firmly on the fake palm tree to the left of the pool.”
The Missus looked at me and laughed, and I began fervently praying for a minor drowning.
Then one of the little idiots touched my leg.
I jumped out of the hot tub like it had suddenly been transformed into a storage facility for black widow spiders.
I stood at the side, silently cursing them all in my mind, and waited for them to get out. Eventually they did. Then they immediately got back in. Then they got out. Then they got in. The whole time saying things like “DE-FENSE! DE-FENSE! GO TEAM GO WOOHOO WE’RE SO STUPID.”
At last, more of them got out than were in, and I got back in the hot tub, hoping for some peace. Immediately after I got in, all of the tiny idiots got back in with me.
After about ten seconds, a couple of them got back in the pool, and then it happened. The Lord moved. A miracle was wrought. My faith was restored. Something great and mighty and ordained and on par with the whole water into wine thing.
One of the girls slipped and fell and hurt her knee.
As she burst into tears, all of the girls rushed to her side to provide her comfort, and my face split into a thousand-watt smile like it does when I see the words “All you can eat.” I struggled not to laugh. I rejoiced. I came very close to eschewing my worldly possessions and pursuing a call to the mission fields of Guatemala.
I was, to put it mildly, insanely happy. That little girl getting hurt was on par with my wedding day. Top ten moments in my life easy.
I slowly lowered my arms back into the water, knowing I only had a few precious moments of unencumbered joy. I closed my eyes, still grinning like an idiot, and replayed the moment in my mind.
I had finally achieved inner peace. The trip had become officially worth it. The day was made.


So this happened last night.Story here via News on 6. (follow the link for video)TULSA, Oklahoma –
Dramatic video Friday morning showing someone shooting an exploding firework at Tulsa Police. It happened around 1 a.m. at Chamberlain Park near North Hartford Avenue and East 51st Place North.Police say firefighters were responding to a small fire on the roof of a building when someone started shooting fireworks at them.The firefighters called police, and the same thing happened to them.News On 6 photojournalist Gary Kruse was responding to the building fire and had his camera rolling when the firework showered sparks at some emergency responders.Officers ran after the group, but they escaped.No one was injured

I just have a few basic questions.
How do you get to this point?
“Hey guys, let’s shoot these fireworks off.”“Y’all know it’s illegal here, right?”“Who cares, I’ve had 3 PBRs. Let’s get crazy!”“‘MURICA.”
*fireworks commence*
“Guys is that the cops?””IT’S THE COPS RUN!””I don’t run from nobody.””Let’s shoot fireballs at them!””Guys that seems like a bad idea.””FIRE IN THE HOLE.””Now run!”
This seems appropriate.

Also this picture is gorgeous. Absolutely gorgeous.

Picture courtesy of

If you’re a cop, what is your training for this? Is there a CLEET Class in fireworks dodging? Do you use a taser in response? Pepper spray? Hand grenades? A gun? Also, is this something they talked about later at the bar?

“There we were, pinned down. The enemy had artillery shells and Roman candles.” “Sweet Moses. Artillery shells? In Tulsa?” “They were fireworks, son. Shut up I’m talking.”
I really want to hear the radio transactions that took place during all this.
“Unit 1, this is Unit 2. We have a problem up here in the park.” “Unit 2, what is the problem?” “We’re hemmed in here, the enemy has us surrounded.” “Unit 2, you say surrounded? With what?” “Bottle rockets, Unit 1. Bottle rockets and Black Cats. Maybe some snappers, I can’t t…”BOOM“UNIT 2 GET OUT HERE NOW IT’S GETTIN’ REAL!”
I bet the whole  scene looked like a Michael Bay film. Rockets and explosions and Shia LaBeefy riding a motorbike through it all with a Muse song playing in the background. Like the founding fathers intended.
I know I’m kind of poking fun at this, but in all seriousness, the people that did this are freaking idiots who deserve to have fireworks shot straight up their nostrils.* Regardless of how you feel about police or the media, you cannot shoot freaking legit fireworks at them. You see that picture? That’s a legit firework. You want to shoot a Roman candle at someone, fine. It’s dumb, but the very worst is someone takes a slight burn.
The best part of this story is that whoever did it got away. Right now there are a group of  people somewhere sitting in a coffee shop** in North Tulsa talking about their “Eff the Police” moment in the sun.
Shout out to the video guy. Staying in there when it got hot. Sort of the Geraldo Rivera of Tulsa photojournalism.

* buttholes
** crack house
I may have a few new readers who aren’t familiar with my line of “Why Music Sucks Now” posts. The basic point is me passing judgment on songs I feel are detrimental to the music industry, and society as a whole.

Today’s post, however, while focusing on a single song, will cover an entire album of horribly digitized voices and what can only be described as sound effects from any number of CGI based movies.

I’m speaking of course of Kanye West’s “Yeezus,” featuring the song “I Am A God.”

The album cover reflects the contents: blank.

There are some, I’m sure (probably Kanye), who will hail this the greatest album of all time, and demand that it be lauded from rooftops the world over.
I am not one of those people.
The album, which seems as if it’s about 15 minutes long, is probably the most narcissistic piece of media I’ve ever laid hands on, and I’ve laid hands on me, so that should tell you something. The name itself, “Yeezus,” is some sort of play on “Jesus,” and in the album he refers to himself as Yeezus repeatedly. This is not only excruciatingly blasphemous in my book, but is also just downright idiotic, unless I’ve gotten Kanye all wrong and he’s actually referring to himself as the local country club gardener.
So let’s take a look at the lyrics of “I Am A God,” and break them down.

I am a godHurry up with my d*** massageHurry up with my d*** ménageGet the Porsche out the d*** garageI am a godEven though I’m a man of godMy whole life in the hands of godSo y’all better quit playing with god
Soon as they like you make more money like youBut kissing people a** is so unlike youThe only rapper who could compare to MichaelSo here’s a few hating a** n***** who’ll fight youAnd here’s a few hating a** n***** who’ll bite youI don’t wanna hear why some n***** like youOld n***** mentally still in high schoolSince the tight jeans they never liked youPink a** polos and a f***ing backpackEverybody know you brought real rap backNobody else swag n**** we the rat packVirgil Pyrex that’s the snapback, diamond shotgun shiningUntil the day I get struck by lightning
I am a godSo hurry up with my d*** massageAnd a French a** restaurantHurry up with my d*** croissantsI am a godI am a godI am a god
I just talked to JesusHe said ‘what up YeezusI said “s*** I’m chillingTrying to stack these millions”I know he the most highBut I am a close highMi casa es su casaThat’s that cosa nostraI am a godI am a god
1. He doesn’t waste any time at all getting right into telling you he’s a god. Naturally, as a deity, the first thing on his plate is a massage and a ménage, followed by a ride in his Porsche. Since I’ve thought very little about what I would do as a god, I can’t say that he’s wrong here, I can only speculate on what I think I would do, which would be to make sure Duke never loses again and drive way better cars than a Porsche.
2. Kanye then lets us know he’s a man of god, which makes all of this okay, right? It’s like when you make a racist joke then say it’s okay because you have Alaskan friends.
3. I’m pretty sure he compares himself to Michael Jordan here. As in, “Hey guys, I’m the Michael Jordan of rap.” Let’s clear one thing up here. Tupac is the Michael Jordan of rap. And no, I didn’t say “was” the Michael Jordan of rap, I said “is,” because he’s clearly alive and dropping a new album in 2014. Just ask this guy.

Keeping the investigation hot.

4. Shout out to Mike Tyson with the “biting” lyrics. I guess maybe he could be calling himself the Michael Tyson of rap, but somehow I don’t think anyone would call themselves the Mike Tyson of anything, unless it’s biting. Like, “My two-year old is the Mike Tyson of the daycare we take him to.”
5. I don’t understand what being in high school has to do with tight jeans and pink shirts. He has to be talking about hipsters or something and I’ve been out of the high school game too long to know about it. If he’s saying he hates hipsters, then Kanye and I finally agree on something.
6. I literally had to Google what Virgil Pyrex was. The first thing that came to my mind was a Roman glass baking dish. Turns out it’s a clothing line of some sort, no word really on if it’s Roman, and they also make “snapbacks,” which if you’ve been living under a rock, are those idiotic hats the kids are wearing these days where the bills don’t curve. It ain’t natural, and I don’t like it.
7. I’m calling bs on the diamond shotgun. Ten to one says he doesn’t have one, and if he does, I volunteer to let him shoot me with it, with the caveat that my wife and kids have to pry the embedded diamonds from my riddled flesh to pay for my dream funeral, which will include The Rock and Vin Diesel propping up my embalmed body while Paul Walker reads the eulogy and Ke$ha sings “Amazing Grace” as live eagles fly screaming through the building.
8. You keep talking like you’re a god, and that lightning strike is going to happen quicker than you think.
9. Then Kanye has a conversation with Jesus, wherein he curses and explains to the Lord Almighty that he’s trying to “stack these millions,” which is almost a direct contradiction to what Jesus ever said to do. Is Kanye tithing on that money? Or is he buying more diamond shotguns? Then he tells us Jesus is the “most high,” but he a “close high.” I can’t even began to deconstruct the grammatical ridiculousness of that analogy.
10. Roughly translated, the Spanish here says “I’m a douchebag, really, I’m a douchebag. I’m bitter because Kim got pregnant fat and had an ugly baby and I’m really just taking it out on everyone by calling myself Jesus and using movie sound effects from Transformers 3 to make music in the loosest possible sense of the term.”*

Pew pew pew, lasers pew pew!

So if you were planning on buying the new Kanye album, don’t. Unless you feel sorry for him for the whole ugly baby thing.
And if you somehow made it to this site expecting an objective and on-topic review, AND you made it this far into the post, I should probably apologize, but I hope you at least chuckled a few times.

*This is a solid Google Translate translation, also I took a semester of Spanish in college.
**UPDATE** It has come to my attention that some people out there actually don’t like the sesame sticks, and/or have a more coveted piece than the rye chip. I’ve included a poll for discussion purposes at the bottom of this post.

I’m not a complainer.

I’ll let you recover from that.

I enjoy the simpler things in life. Things like fishing, basketball, and popping open a bag of my favorite crispy, salted snacks, such as Nacho Cheese Doritos or Gardetto’s Original Recipe Snack Mix.

Yes, I’m aware they make a four-cheese version, but I’m not a weirdo, so I don’t eat them, the same way I’m not a weirdo by eating Cool Ranch Doritos. Seriously, if you like Cool Ranch Doritos, you probably should just unfriend me on Facebook.

However, Gardetto’s, in the surprise Douche Move of 2013, has committed what I consider to be some sort of felony.

Just lies on top of gross pretzels and amazing rye chips.

They took out the sesame sticks.

I will admit that the way I eat Gardetto’s is a little weird. Like maybe I have a legit disorder or something, so don’t make fun of me about it cause it’s the equivalent of laughing a kid with cancer. It’s untouchable.

I eat them in a specific order.

1. Pretzels – Pretzels are disgusting, so I have to eat them first. Not even the glorious miracle working fairies at the Gardetto’s plant with their blend of special secret spices can get me to enjoy a pretzel. Pretzels are like the Monday-Thursday of Gardetto’s. You’re just getting through them to get to the weekend.

2. Breadsticks – If pretzels are the Monday-Thursday, then the breadsticks are like Friday at 4 p.m. You know you’re only a short time away from unbridled joy and never having to work again.

3. Sesame Sticks – THEY TOOK OUT THE SESAME STICKS THOSE SICK, DISGUSTING, AND HORRIBLE PEOPLE I HOPE THEY ALL GET POISON IVY ON THEIR PRIVATES. Now they have some sort of little Chex Mix knockoff swirly wavy bullcrap breadstick in there now. It’s terrible. Probably the worst thing to happen to me since I tried to run a 5K.

4. Rye Chips – Do I even have to put this here? Surely everyone on the planet saves these for last, unless you’re the type of person who likes to live hard and fast and has probably been in prison for making meth. Those types probably eat them first. Hands down best thing on the planet when you’re craving them. The rye chips are the Memorial Day Weekend of the bag, just hot chicks in bikinis on the lake for three days.

So there’s my lineup.

But imagine my surprise the other day when I cracked open a bag and said to myself, “Boy these look funny.” But I started in on the pretzels anyway, cause you have to start grindin’ if you want the reward right?

I got through the pretzels, and much to my surprise, THERE WERE NO SESAME STICKS.

Probably top ten most disappointed moments in my life.

So I start looking through the bag and I see these little wavy Chex Mix things. So I did what I always do when faced with unheard of controversy at work, I announced it to the room.


As usual, my coworkers were not the least bit concerned with my plight.

So I Googled it.

Turns out, I’m not the first to break this wide open. Their Facebook page has been blown up* with folks up in arms about this situation. It’s pretty tense over there.

A little bit of salty language here. Can’t say that I blame them.

There was thread after thread of people who weren’t taking it lying down. They were on Facebook, dangit, and they were handling business, because everyone knows Facebook gets the best results when you complain on it.

I like Brent. “But they were the best part.” Like that statement and not guerrilla warfare will get them back. So naive.

It’s because of that fact I’ve created a Facebook page for the cause.
Bring Back Gardetto’s Sesame Sticks
Like it. Love it. Further the cause.

*Shout out to my TSA folks here because I said “blown up.” Stay a while. I’m hilarious.

For those of you wondering, I have not died.

For those of you wondering if, I am not dead, I have continued my weight loss journey, the answer is yes.

I’ve lost 25 pounds or so over the last 4 months. It has not been easy, and I’ve stalled out around the 330 mark for right now, but a recent diet challenge presented by a friend will either push me past that or kill me slowly, either way.

In the course of my “trying to look less than that guy on the turtle” journey, I have spent a lot of time at the gym.

Go on. Stare. Get you an eyeful. There’s plenty to go around, ladies.

A lot of what I do at the gym now consists of me getting on an elliptical trainer and trying not to die for an hour. Since it is a big gym, some days people don’t work out next to me, and some days people do.

I’ve found out that I much prefer it when people do, as it leads to finally getting me to post a blog again.
About a week ago I was giving an elliptical the business, and had my fat head buried up in a Mark Twain novel while I was gettin’ my sexy on.
A woman then proceeded to jump onto the treadmill immediately to my right. She was a very attractive woman, clad in the traditional yoga pants and skin tight tank that you see so often these days…out in public.
Can I just pause, just for a second, and let you ladies know that these yoga pants and leggings are NOT pants? In all seriousness, put on some pants.
No, no. Shut up, and put on pants in public. I’m trying to raise a daughter modestly, and I can’t have her thinking it’s okay to show off her fanny in a pair of yoga pants or leggings. Guys, I know you’re probably upset at me for this, but it changes when you have a daughter, trust me.
Back to my workout.
This woman gets on the treadmill and starts going at a pretty good clip. I’m reading, minding my own business, and all of the sudden I hear a noise.
Y’all know the one. A soft little moan. Just a little “uhhhh.”
Being practically deaf, I decided I was hearing things, and went on to my reading. Then…
The lady next to me is making the sweet, sweet jogging love to that treadmill. She had her headphones in, so I guess she could have been listening to some Al Green or some Barry White, but whatever it was, she was enjoying it.
I had my hands on the heart rate monitor at the time, and I’m pretty sure I broke it.

My heart rate slightly increased.

Now look. I understand we all make noises and funny faces when we work out, and some of them might even be our “O” faces. Heck, for example, I’ll cite myself.

My “workout” face. Also probably my “O” face.  This is how I landed The Missus.
My “unloading the dishwasher/pooping” face.
My “surfing the Internet and blogging/looks like I’m doing something terrible to Sub-Zero” face.

You see? I have my faces. I make my funny noises. But what I don’t need is to be sexually frustrated while I’m trying to exercise, you know? We need to tone it down with the passionate jogging and maybe sit the next couple of plays out.
I sent The Missus a text about it and got the following:
“Ha, well they did just release 50 Shades of Grey on audiobook.”
Isn’t she helpful?
And I thought this post would end right here, but since it’s me, of course it didn’t.
About two days ago I was hitting the weights pretty hard, and I put a lot of strain into a particular set on the bench press. Then it happened.
I farted. Not just a little squeak either, I’m talking people looked at me like they thought I’d ripped the vinyl smooth off the bench. I didn’t have the chance to hear it because I had my headphones on, but I sure as sugar got to smell it, and I got to watch everyone in the gym look at me awkwardly for the rest of the day.
Just desserts?
I’ll never know, but I know I dang sure wouldn’t break gym equipment if I heard the chick next to me fart instead of daydream about a BDSM relationship with a fictional character.
And at least my Facebook friends were supportive.

Life changes people. Life changes.

I would just like to forewarn visitors today that the post you’re about to read contains a good bit of graphic material. Not language, but stuff about the loving. Also, there is a tastefully edited picture of me without a shirt on. Ladies, control yourselves, and proceed at your own risk. 

You’ve been warned.

It was a normal Monday night, really.

We had breakfast for dinner, watched Home Alone, put the kids to bed, I had a bath, then we watched Sweet Home Alabama.

Okay, so that doesn’t happen every Monday night. Normally I yell at the kids, then The Missus yells at the kids, then they gripe about not having dinner, we throw some hot dogs at them, then yell at each other, and I spend a lot of time petting Fabulous.

But for some reason, last night went well.

As The Missus and I crawled into bed, we began the early stages of, for the courtesy of the reader, what shall heretofore be called “activities.”

All of the sudden, The Missus got a text.

She looked at her phone, said, “It’s a wrong number,” and set the phone down.

As a man, you would think at this point I’d want to pick up where we left off. Resume the activities, if you will.

“Hand me your phone.”

Thus began a series of text messages.

From the get go, Donnel seemed only interested in one thing. He sent me a picture, so I of course asked him if he wanted one back, and I also asked him if he’d like me to be topless as well.

It seemed as though I had captured the young man’s heart. I would like to say I’m ashamed of the fact that my ample bosom could inspire such lust in the heart of a young black man, but we all know I’m not.
The conversation, which I’m sure you’re keen to get back to, continued.
The boy plays football for Ohio State, or so he claims. A quick search of the Internet not only proved he wasn’t from Atlanta, he also didn’t play football for Ohio State and he was listed as “In a relationship” on the Facebook.
So I called him on it. And I also revealed to him a shocking secret.

I felt like Maury Frickin Povich.

I then sent him a follow up picture for proof.

In the interest of you maintaining your current stomach contents, I’ve done a bit of editing.

Donell never replied, which was fine, because I had “activities” to attend to. By then, The Missus and I were laughing so hard it was almost impossible, but it wasn’t. I will illustrate the union of our love with a tasteful picture.

I can literally use Kevin Hart to illustrate anything.

Upon completion of said activities, The Missus was fiddling around with her nightstand drawer.
I heard a loud crash, a half-curse, and then…
Something, I won’t say what, started going off.
It was seriously the best night I’d had in a long time.
Thanks Donell.
I remember it like it was yesterday.

It was the first time my father ever corrected my grammar.

Me: “I’m going to take a bath, but I have to go get a wershrag first.”
Dad: “Son, it’s wash rag, not wershrag.”
Me: “Yes sir.”

As I’ve grown older in this wonderful state of mine, I have realized that I was not alone in the mispronunciation of the bath time cleaning cloth. In fact, day in and day out, I hear it called a “wershrag.” I must admit that I sometimes revert to my natural ways and pronounce it in the way that surely has my father rolling over in his grave.

But it doesn’t stop there.

You see, in Oklahoma, it seems as if we’ll throw the “er” sound in just about everything. It doesn’t matter what vowel or vowel cluster we substitute it for, if it can be done then we do it.

Take for instance, the state beer of Oklahoma.

State Question: “Are the mountains blue yet?”

I personally detest the stuff, but there is no getting around it. If there is a party anywhere to be had, someone will ask you if you want one of these things. Only, they won’t ask you if you want a Coors Light. They’ll ask you for something you’ve never heard of…if you aren’t from around here.

That apostrophe isn’t a typo. It’s an “assumed grammatical error.” Normal stuff he’re.

Cerrs Light. The beer endorsed by the 1990’s Chicago Bulls three-point legend Steve Kerr. You know, the white guy.

Kinmancare (previously known as “Kid Funk”) heard me pronounce it like that one day, and he took time out of his day to correct me.
KC: “Travis, that’s retarded. You’re retarded.”Me: “Well, I know it’s not very good.” KC: “No, I mean, how do you say door?”Me: “Umm…derr?”KC: “Very funny. You see my point?”
And I did. I saw his point. And from that day on, I have pronounced the name of the beer properly.
So thanks to two different people in my life, I now have a a finer grasp of the English language, as well as the ability to pronounce vowels like they should sound, instead of throwing “errs” all up in my syntax.
I will now return the favor to all y’all fellow Okies out there.
It has come to my attention that many of you have no idea how to pronounce the name of the leading lady of the smart phone industry.
*Post Break*

Image source

I typed “Siri” into Google and brought up images. Then I thought, “You know what would be great? If I pretended that I thought Siri was this hot chick buried in the phone.” So I googled “Hot Siri.” The picture directly above is the first result.
I’ll understand if you need a minute.
*Post Resume*
I’m talking of course, about Siri, the remarkable, snarky, and slightly condescending personal assistant built into the iPhone 4s and 5.
I have had countless friends and family members in the last few days pick up my phone and say:
“So does this have Serri on it?”
“Dude, do you like Serri?”
“I wish my phone had the Serri.”
“Serri! Tell me where the closest Hobby Lobby is!”*

The more I think about it, the more I realize this might be a teensy bit racist.

I am at a breaking point. I must take a stand and let my voice ring out over the plains, mountains, and lakes of the great Sooner State and proclaim the message:
That last one is Tom Cruise’s daughter for cripe’s sake! While I wouldn’t put it past her having an iPhone, I certainly think there would have been a lawsuit had both Apple and Tom both named their babies “Suri.”

We’re one fatal intonation away from calling the poor woman “Sue Ray.”  From there, it’ll become “Suerae,” and then “Soirée.” The next thing you know, no one will know if you’re planning on asking your iPhone a question or if you’re going out for a nice cup of frozen fruit flavored water.

I’m absolutely certain that Google would have a legitimate lawsuit here.

To settle this matter once and for all, I decided to go straight to the horse’s mouth, as it were, and ask Siri herself the question of the day.

There you have it. The consummate answer.

So, fellow Oklahomans – and more specifically members of my Sunday School class – I ask you to change your ways. Let us not soil the memory of Steve Jobs by mispronouncing the name of his favorite daughter. Join me in consistently practicing your individual vowel sounds as they were meant to be spoken.
Together we can get through this. It is our duty as state in this blessed union called ‘Merica. In fact, I’m almost positive I heard it mentioned in a “Red Dirt Ready” commercial.

“I’m Morgan Freeman, and people have always loved the sound of my voice.”

Your move, Oklahoma. Don’t let the terrorists win.
* This was said by my wife on Saturday. It really hit close to home that we aren’t Red Dirt Ready.
I am constantly on the lookout for new blogging material. Contrary to what you might think, the incredibly funny and thought-provoking content that is consistently uploaded to this virtual slice of Internet heaven is not of an endless supply.

Sometimes the content comes to me. Stories of my past, people doing crazy things, people pissing me off, deep thoughts in the middle of the night; all of those are examples of material presenting itself.

But sometimes, I have to search for the content. This is why I sometimes take pictures at awkward locations or moments. All I’m really trying to do is stir up something in this wacky brain of mine that will hopefully give you a chuckle.

In the following case, an opportunity presented itself, but it was up to me to grab it.

I give you exhibit A:

I should have probably blurred out the plate number.

I’d like to talk about the person that owns this vehicle for a little bit. I feel like maybe if we look deep enough, we’ll discover some insights into their personality and social life that will help us understand why they felt the need to rename their car.

For those of you that “don’t know about cars,” this is most certainly not a Dodge Challenger. It is also not the space shuttle Challenger, as that blew up in the 80’s with a school teacher on board, may they rest in peace. I was obsessed with the space shuttle Challenger in elementary school.

  1. This is most likely a male. “Now Travis, how can you make assumptions like that? That’s racist.” I can guarantee you that someone out there reading this just thought that. First, I’d like to address the racism charge. I made no indication of the race of the person driving it, although if I did, I’d say it was a white guy. Second, I can assume it is a male simply because I’ve never met a woman who cared on iota about the name on the back of her car. “What kind of car do you drive?” “Oh, I don’t know, a Honda.” “Yeah, but what’s the model?” “It’s a Honda, I told you!” A male, on the other hand, cares about the name on the back of his car. So I can totally see this guy saying, “Man, I wish I had a Challenger. WAIT A MINUTE, I’VE GOT IT!”
  2. This person probably hangs out with dumb people. Stay with me here. We obviously know that this car isn’t a Challenger. However, we don’t know that other people – people who don’t know how to use the Internet – wouldn’t be able to figure this out. So if this guy hangs out with, say, idiots all day long, then maybe he could fool them into thinking this was a genuine Dodge Challenger, or that they make conversion kits that turn Buicks into Challengers.
  3. This person obviously has champagne tastes on a beer budget. I’m actually not even going to make fun of them here. I slapped an Apple sticker on my daughter’s 2004 Compaq Presario laptop and told her she had a Mac. She loves her Mac.
  4. This person uses “text speak.” This is where I might get a tad judgy. You see, I can’t stand people who use text speak. I was first introduced to text speak by a gentleman that I worked with named Tracy. Tracy would text me and leave out almost all of the vowels, so it was like I had to decode an encrypted message every single time he wanted to talk. “Hy Trvs, cn u cvr fr me 2ngt so i cn go 2 th cncrt????” That sort of stuff. Doesn’t that make you sick to your stomach? Either way, the owner of this car took all the vowels out of the word Challenger and slapped it on the bumper, thinking, “Hy, i bt if i did ths it wld sv sm spc.”
  5. This person is very optimistic. Hey, they have Triple A, and they might be embracing an “if you want to change your car, rename it” Zen type philosophy. Who am I to argue with Zen? It’s won Phil Jackson 45 NBA championships.

So here’s my take on all of this. The owner of this car is under 30, is white, is a male, and probably owns an Android cell phone because he wants to be able to hack it, but he never will for fear of breaking the phone. He appreciates the finer things in life but can’t afford them, so he makes the best out of every situation he can. He probably loves Comin Sans font, but is too afraid to use it for fear of being judged by people that think they’re cooler than him. He has a lot of dumb friends, one of who probably owns a small graphics shop in his parents’ garage.
Now, seeing as I’m about one degree of Facebook separation from every single person in the city of Muskogee, I want y’all to help me out by telling me whose car this is. I have to find out how spot on I am with my description. If you know the owner of the car, or if you ARE the owner of the car, please contact me. I’ll give you a chance to share your story with my readers.
Now if y’all will excuse me, I have to get back to peeling the “F150” logo off my truck and putting “Porsche” on the back windshield.

***EDIT*** Seriously five minutes after posting this blog, I got a phone call from a friend saying it was her boyfriend’s car, who we attend church with. Turns out, he’s in a band called “Challenger,” and all of the members of the band have this on their cars. Talk about your anticlimax, but I’m keeping this up because I like my take on it better. Unless of course he makes me take it down. 



It always seems to start the same way. I get a Facebook update saying that Muskogee Mugs has been updated, and I click the link, and my hungry eyes start to devour information, greedily processing names, photographs, and charges, all in the hope that I’ll see someone I know, so that I can snap a picture, embed it in a text, and send it on, saying something like, “Can you believe they did this?”

And sometimes it goes the other way. Sometimes I see a face of someone I know that works at a store I frequent, and I can see the charges, and I know I need to watch my children a little bit better when I’m at that place of business. Folks I’ve talked to say the same thing, one person said they like to know who is coming into their store, and know if they’ve been arrested for robbery or something similar.

And then sometimes it’s funny, like in the last minute, where my best friend sent me a picture of a mugshot, who has the same name as a mutual acquaintance, obviously NOT the same person, with the caption, “She used to be a lot cuter.”

But it all boils down to the same site (I am aware that there is more than one, but since most of my audience is Muskogee bases, Muskogee Mugs is being discussed here today), with the same pictures. Sometimes the people are smiling, as if the photographer said something humorous right before they snapped the picture. Sometimes the person being photographed is obviously still under the influence of whatever it was they were arrested for. And sometimes the person is crying, or stoic, visibly ashamed of what they’ve done.

Truthfully, there is something entertaining about seeing the worst of people, neatly organized in alphabetical order by name, so easily found on the Internet. I wanted to dive deeper into that feeling, to ask around and see what others thought, and then organize that information so that you could easily form your opinion on whether Muskogee Mugs is a good or a bad thing.

The Pros:

“I would say that in the beginning, the interest is generally puerile and voyeuristic; but that’s the case with anything of this nature. Over time, however, the interest matures and the site becomes a necessary and valuable information source.” – Owner of Muskogee Mugs website

This ties in with the general feedback I got from Facebook on the matter. One person mentioned that it helps her recognize people who she might want to be a little more guarded against. So the site can be used for research purposes, and might in fact keep viewers from becoming victims by educating them about who has been arrested for what.

“I do think Muskogee Mugs is used mostly for entertainment, which is fine with me; however now I think I’m more worried about being on the site, than I would be going to court or paying a fine. Muskogee Mugs is enough to keep me from committing a crime. – Blake Russell

“We’ve heard dozens of stories about people who were drinking and who called a cab instead of driving home for fear of being on our site. In cases such as that, there is the chance that our site could have saved a life or two.” – Owner of Muskogee Mugs

In this instance, we see that the fear of being put on the site has become somewhat of a crime deterrent in itself. But why are people afraid of being seen on Muskogee Mugs? Is it the shame, humiliation, and embarrassment that being pictured brings? I for one am supportive of the fact that we have another reason for keeping people away from breaking the law, but what does that cost us as a society?

The third pro focuses more on checks and balances in the law enforcement sector. Again, we turn to the owner of the Muskogee Mugs website.

“It [Muskogee Mugs] lets people know exactly what the police are up to, and where their tax dollars are going for things such as the jail and the police force. It also helps keep the police in line. In Muskogee, this isn’t such a big deal, but in Tulsa, they arrest people for ridiculous charges such as no headlight on a bicycle or having a cat without a leash. Our sites publishing that information serves to let people know what’s going on, and that’s an important function of media.” 

So here we have the ability of a site like Muskogee Mugs to show the public the charges a person was arrested for, which in turn lets them know what the police force is doing. In once instance, someone was charged for “Resisting Arrest,” with no other charges filed. How can you have a resisting arrest charge without a charge that led towards the arrest you were resisting?

In the Pros section, we have the site shown to be an effective research engine, a crime deterrent, and a checks system for the local police force. But what are the cons?

The Cons:

“I would love to be able to update the mugs with the disposition of the charges, but at this time it’s impossible to do that because of the way the system works.” – Owner of Muskogee Mugs

“The public doesn’t care about innocence or a fair shake. Once their pic is posted, the individual is guilty according to public opinion. There is never a follow-up to the outcome of innocence or guilt post publication or trial.” – Jeremy Mustain

This is a big flaw that I see in sites like Muskogee Mugs. You never get a real update on what happened in a particular case unless it’s broadly announced by news media, or you follow the case closely yourself. The person could be innocent, and you’d never know it unless you do the research yourself. All you see is the initial bad. If an employer was looking for your online presence and stumbled across your mugshot online, they might not even bother asking you how the charges panned out, and instead remove you from consideration of employment.

“I have mixed feelings. Some people deserve it, but their innocent children do not. I know of cases where the children were made fun of because Daddy got arrested.” – Belinda Clark

Here we will discuss two things. Both the effect that a public social stigma can have on the family, and the comments section below each picture listed on the Muskogee Mugs site.

First off, children being bullied is not something that is every going to be completely stopped. In recent years, it has been addressed time and time again, and enormous headway has been made. However, with a site like Muskogee Mugs, which is easily accessible by anyone with an Internet connection, it is very likely that kids will see, or be told by their parents, about other kids’ parents who have been arrested. This is going to lead to bullying. Does that mean the website should take responsibility for this? Absolutely not.

The other negative in this section is the fact that comments are allowed on each “mug” via a social plugin for Facebook. This means that anyone with a Facebook account can comment whatever they want on a “mug,” and this usually isn’t very nice. In fact, in most cases it is downright mean and slanderous. Should the people that have been arrested feel ashamed if they are guilty? Absolutely. But should they have insults heaped upon them like they’re on a Comedy Central roast? I don’t believe so.

The last con is more a matter of personal opinion than anything else. And since this is my personal blog, you get stuck with it. And since that comment box down there can be turned into your personal opinion, you have an opportunity to speak out and tell me how wrong or right I am.

I feel like it speaks to us deteriorating as a society. We are so eager to see other’s misfortune, so hell-bent on seeing someone “get theirs,” and so happy to see that Karma has come full circle, that we are starting to ignore what might be opportunities to minister to those who need it most. Instead, we focus on degrading them as much as possible, and maybe even silently thanking God that we’re not there, refusing to admit that almost all of us have at one point and time done something that could have landed us there had we just. been. caught.

So where do you stand? This entire blog is aimed at the entire community of Muskogee and the surrounding areas, but don’t let that stop you from putting in your two cents worth. Are you pro-mugs? Anti-mugs? Why? I will be loosely moderating comments, but for the most part, you can say what you need to say as long as you aren’t being derogatory. I look forward to hearing from you all.

You may or may not be familiar with the running series on my blog called “Why Music Sucks Now,” in which I dissect a song that is responsible for the trepidation I feel when I actually have to listen to the radio and not my iPod. I understand not everyone agrees with my fine tastes in music, as evidenced by a recent commenter on my “Rack City” who thinks I was conceived during the big bang. 

Today’s installment of “Why Music Sucks Now” will focus on the recent hit by Carly Rae Jepsen, “Call Me Maybe.” Before we get into the lyrics, I have to say that every single time I’ve heard this song, the following image has popped into my brain.

Seriously. Am I the only one? Also, if you don’t get this, just keep reading.

Now to present the lyrics.

I threw a wish in the well,
Don’t ask me, I’ll never tellI looked to you as it fell,And now you’re in my way
I’d trade my soul for a wish,Pennies and dimes for a kissI wasn’t looking for this,But now you’re in my way
Your stare was holdin’,Ripped jeans, skin was showin’Hot night, wind was blowin’Where you think you’re going, baby?
Hey, I just met you,And this is crazy,But here’s my number,So call me, maybe?
It’s hard to look right,At you baby,But here’s my number,So call me, maybe?
Hey, I just met you,And this is crazy,But here’s my number,So call me, maybe?
And all the other boys,Try to chase me,But here’s my number,So call me, maybe?
You took your time with the call,I took no time with the fallYou gave me nothing at all,But still, you’re in my way
I beg, and borrow and stealHave foresight and it’s realI didn’t know I would feel it,But it’s in my way
Your stare was holdin’,Ripped jeans, skin was showin’Hot night, wind was blowin’Where you think you’re going, baby?
Hey, I just met you,And this is crazy,But here’s my number,So call me, maybe?
It’s hard to look right,At you baby,But here’s my number,So call me, maybe?
Hey, I just met you,And this is crazy,But here’s my number,So call me, maybe?
And all the other boys,Try to chase me,But here’s my number,So call me, maybe?
Before you came into my lifeI missed you so badI missed you so badI missed you so, so bad
Before you came into my lifeI missed you so badAnd you should know thatI missed you so, so bad
It’s hard to look right,At you baby,But here’s my number,So call me, maybe?
Hey, I just met you,And this is crazy,But here’s my number,So call me, maybe?
And all the other boys,Try to chase me,But here’s my number,So call me, maybe?
Before you came into my lifeI missed you so badI missed you so badI missed you so, so bad
Before you came into my lifeI missed you so badAnd you should know that
So call me, maybe?

Okay, now let’s break this stinkburger down, shall we?

  1. The first four lines speak volumes. The lady makes a wish, tells us she won’t tell us what the wish was, looks at this dude, who is presumably what she wished for, and then gripes about him being in the way. It’s not, “Oh! Hey! You’re in my way that’s so awesome let’s do it!” It’s, “Oh, and now you’re in my way, great.”
  2. She’s trading her soul for a wish. I feel like Delmar in O Brother Where Art Thou? “For that you traded your everlastin’ soul?” Then she goes on to say “she wasn’t looking for this,” WHEN IT’S EXACTLY WHAT SHE WISHED FOR. Carly, sweetheart, you have to make up your mind. Then of course she complains about him being in the way again.
  3. The man is staring at her. I want to go out right now and stare at a woman and see what happens. What do you think would happen? I know what would happen. I’d get slapped. Or beat up by her boyfriend. Also, dude needs to patch his jeans. Then, Carly has the nerved to ask him where he’s going. She JUST told him that he was in the way. Now he’s trying to move, and he can’t do it because he’s probably stumbling over things, what with him staring at her and all, and she’s upset about him moving. Forgive me ladies, but this has “typical woman” written all over it.
  4. When we arrive at the chorus, Carly does three things for us. First, she tells us that there has been a short amount of time since they’ve seen each other, but she wants him to call her. Then she explains that it’s not her fault she can’t tear her eyes away from him, and she wants him to call her. Then she actually has the gall to brag about the fact that other guys are practically standing in line to holla at her, but again, she wants him to call her.
  5. After the chorus, Carly explains that ol’ dude takes a long time to call. In reality, I think this might have been half a day, tops, just because of her sense of time when it comes to giving dudes her number. You can’t tell me that if this was a guy, and he was singing the same lyrics, that he wouldn’t get put on stalker mode. And apparently, the dude isn’t really into her, possibly because of her forcing herself onto him all crazy like. Then, once again, she gripes about him being in her way. If he is STILL in her way, then the amount of time that has elapsed in this song is about thirty seconds, and it brings the whole “you took forever to call” line into stark, stalking reality.
  6. Apparently here, Carly is stealing something. This could be why the man isn’t that into her, because he doesn’t want to be called as a material witness.
  7. Chorus again, she asks him to call four more times. That’s eight times, and they’re standing right in front of each other still.
  8. Now Carly is telling this ol boy how much she has missed him, after only knowing him literally for only about thirty-nine seconds. I would like to, once again, ask you ladies how you would feel about a man singing these words to you. What would you say? What would you do? I think I can answer those questions. You’d mace the fool, kick him in the stones, run away, and tell your friends how terrified you were that time when you almost got raped.
  9. We go into the chorus again, she asks be called four more times, bringing the total up to twelve times in one meeting. Doesn’t Carly know that desperation is a stinky cologne? I feel like at this point she’s simply channeling her inner Andy Bernard.
Words to live by. That’s how I got married.

In closing, this song has one redeeming quality, and that’s all of the tribute videos it has spawned. I’ll leave you with my favorite two, and my sincere wish that you never have to hear this song ever again after today.