The Crank

Cranky Crank’s Damage Repair

Cranky Crank’s Damage Repair
The Crank

At this point in my life I have been instructed by my orthopedist that I will not fare as good as my Mom did with the arthritis. In my case, if nothing is done it will kill me, and sooner rather than later. The scoliosis in my lower back is bad but not terminal. My neck is another story. Over the years I have graduated from one big chin to many big chins. Of course I realized this is partly because of Pasta and Twinkies, but also because for some reason I was losing height in my neck area.

Remembering Mom’s issues, I thought it was time I had it looked at. Besides, now if I coughed my arms went straight out like they were electrified. If I looked up I would lose feeling in both arms and part of my chest and face. I also had almost constant debilitating headaches. Not good. I have already had two full knee replacements already in an attempt to head off the kind of debilitating arthritis my Mom had.

After having the obligatory MRI after warning them I already had two metal knees (I really didn’t want my knees ripped from my body) my wife and I returned to the doctor. It was a life changing visit. He brought the scan up on a big monitor and pointed to the area from vertebrae C-2 to C-7. The spinal cord canal had narrowed to the point it was closing off at midpoint C-4 and one good fall or abrupt movement could, and probably would, end in quadriplegia or death. While I have tons of respect for Professor Hawking, I didn’t want to fully emulate him. He said my working days were over, and warned me I had better not drive or even be a passenger in a car for even a minor accident could be disastrous. At 59 I was to go home and watch TV, have restless leg, and eat, for the rest of my life. Tripping over the cats was not an option at this point, an activity I normally participated in regularly.

I went through the whole thing: first inconsolable sadness. I had said to myself that unlike my Dad, I was going to enjoy my retirement, not die just before it. I then had lots of anger at my Mom for inflicting this on me. I would scream at her picture when I was alone. My brother, my sister and I now have so much metal in side of us that airplane travel is all but ruled out without someone from TSA calling out a swat team. I then remembered my Aunt Pauline, my uncle Tony, and all the rest of Mom’s lineage with all their arthritis based issues, and now it’s popping its little bastard head in some of my nieces and nephews.

I then got to a point that I started to look for a fix. Most doctors I read of on line said they were not comfortable with fusing six neck vertebrae and wouldn’t advise surgery. I did some more internet searches for a fix and came upon a name. A man who was the head of Orthopedics for the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN had recently tired of cold and wet and moved to the Surface of the Sun. He was also ‘in my plan’!!

We saw him, and after he studied my MRI, he turned to my wife and I said the four words I wanted to hear: “I CAN help you”. He explained he had done many and instructed me on what I would be left with as far as movement (not very much). He also said my headaches would in all probability go away. He was going to remove permanently the backs of each vertebrae in something called a Laminectomy. Just the word gives me the frightened turtle. He would then wire the vertebrae together with 2 long steel posts and 12 large screws. (Hello, Home Depot?) He would even attempt to reshape the neck into something remotely resembling what it was “supposed to” look like. Mary and I had a conversation, and agreed to go ahead.

The surgery went great but the recovery, not so much. The doctor said that when he finally freed up the cord, it sprang out of my spine like a jack-in-the-box, spring. He had never seen one so compacted. After two days in the hospital, I was released. I was weak as a kitten and could barely move my arms. I had to be fed. Now I know exactly what being a Tyrannosaurus felt like. Big head, big mouth, big ass, tiny useless little flappy arms. More fun was finding out I was allergic to large amounts of opiate-based painkillers. Something the Discord crew used as a food group at company parties. I found out my own allergies while in a hospital bed with my wife and niece at my side.

You see, I started to hallucinate, bigtime. Look people, I lived through the fucking seventies and that was nothing. My dining room table became a picnic table filled with itinerant field workers from the turn of the century, in black and white. At the foot of my bed a flower arrangement in a vase became the head of a man poking through the floor, with headphones on, in front of some kind of equipment. He had 70s style aviator glasses and hairstyle. He was in full color. The obligatory women in white gown floated around by the front door. And all these people were staring at me, while talking amongst themselves.

Now, this frightened me, and more so my wife. When I pointed out the guy with the headphones, who she couldn’t see, I naturally accused her of being part of some vast conspiracy. She then figured it was time to call for an ambulance and had me re-admitted. I was put in another MRI to see if I had had a stroke. When I came out I was flipping out. Some story I had seen on TV became real and I was convinced I was integrally involved. The MRI became a helicopter I was being removed from and I was also convinced I was no longer in a hospital, but in some fake hospital set up in a warehouse somewhere a la Blacklist. Crawling under the bed to get the spiders was also helpful to the staff.  Yeah, fun times. I will at this point have to take the space to thank Mick Zano for his help with texting answers to questions we had while watching the doctors argue about my meds in the middle of the night. That really gave me the warm fuzzies. He may be politically incoherent, but in his forte he has my full respect.

It wasn’t all horrific, though. There were the ants. I saw very big, pink ants, coming out of the corners of the rooms. They were dressed in full 70s disco regalia with afros, leisure suits, aviator glasses and platform shoes. And they danced. It started as I stared into the corner of a room. I would first hear the beginning of the song Love Rollercoaster (Ohio Players 1975)  and then the ants would slowly appear along the ceiling, as if they were squeezing out from behind the wall. They would wave at me as they entered. Then they started to dance as they made their way around the room. I implore the readers to go to YouTube and hear this song

While you’re watching, picture what I was seeing. It was wonderful. I would stare at them for hours, they kept me sane while we all waited for the drugs to wear off. To this day from time to time I gaze up at the corners of the room, hoping maybe I would see them again. I really miss the pink dancing disco ants.

It all went better after that. I have very little up or down movement and only about 20 degrees side to side. More importantly I am headache free, except when I read Zano. And that’s easy, I just don’t read Zano. I have built my strength back up and retaught myself to drive with the help of big-assed mirrors. So it’s all good. I just have a block of concrete for a head, but that’s nothing new.

I had an amazing support group. My wife is a nurse, my niece and nephew helped a lot, and my stepson came out for a week to be of great assistance. I could not have done it without all of them.

Oh yea, and ….Thanks Mom.

Only Your $ Stays in Vegas

The Crank

So there I was, on my way to Sin City the day after hearing the great news from my Orthopedist that the slightest fall or accident could leave me with more in common with Professor Stephen Hawking than I would like. “Doc, are were talking quadrophenia?”

“The Who? …er…yes, and that headache you’ve had for over a year? …well, that’s part of it too. No cure, just don’t fall or have any kind of accident. If it gets real bad, we can do surgery that probably won’t work.”

So having lost big-time at the Genetic Wheel of Fortune, I was on my way to Sin City to try my hand at another type of gambling. You see, my lovely wife was needing a little getaway so I found that midweek there are some great deals in Vegas—booked us a hotel center strip for $57 per night. What could go wrong? Famous Las…words.

The ride was great, complete with unbelievable scenery which my wife slept through for the entire 5 ½ hour trip. I marveled at the magnificent things to behold, all the while listening to the GPS lady telling me, well, even she nodded off:

“The next 200 miles, you will find zzzzzzzzzz…”

It’s amazing what passes for a town in northwestern Arizona. Wikiup , no really, Wikiup is a group of six small mobile homes with a gas station. Northwest of that? Nuffin. Nuffin until the Hoover Dam.

My wife’s Sonata is quite nice: 41 mpg and fat man comfort at 80 mph. Oh, and by the by, at 80 mph and up, out where the buses don’t run, Chrysler 300s and the like will pass you as if you were standing still.

As we neared Vegas, the GPS awoke and led me to the Mirage. As it turned out, we weren’t alone. Nascar, the Rodeo, and the entire population of Nashville were also in town…simul-fucking-taneously.

Do you know what a football field room, filled with machines all glowing and making wonderful noises does to a certified ADHD sufferer? As I sat on an unoccupied chair in the middle of the casino, it was as if the clouds parted and the choir began singing.

You talk about “oh look, a squirrel!?” This is that on steroids. I didn’t really have to play, I just sat there drinking it all in. They bring those to you too. Bells ringing, electronic noises, flashing lights, buzzers, tumbling wheels with colorful pictures on them. It was like my home away from….look an Elvis!

The place was filled with chain-smoking, cowboy-hatted, gap-toofed shit-kickers (send your letters to And, for some reason what seemed like half the country of South Korea was also in attendance, acres and acres of them, all feeding various forms of sure loser machines. We grabbed a meal in the hotel at a Carnegie Deli—ridiculously large sandwich, but complete with real NY flavor—but soon realized that the air in the casinos was unbreathable with cigarette smoke.

We tried hitting a show, which was when I found out why it’s so cheap here on weekdays. No shows early in the week. Just Lounge Lizards and magicians—you know, people even The Discord would turn down.

As we awoke the next day, we planned our one full day in Vegas. Breakfast at the hotel buffet, then off to walk the strip and see some other hotels. It was then, when I put on the room’s TV, that I saw that it was 28 degrees outside. I was all warm and cozy in my unzippable spring jacket…NOT. I froze my fat ass off as we walked to the Caesars’ Palace.

The Palace appears to be the biggest hotel on the strip. Almost ridiculous in size, yet the casino was old, the chairs ripped, and the slot machines scratched up. Not impressed. They did have a real nice shopping mall attached to it, where the idea was to recreate a Roman era town, with arched streets with stone like pavers, where each store front was a different building complete with a curved roof painted as the sky. All of it lit as if it were dusk. Pretty cool.

Next was The Bellagio. Modern, beautiful, and very expensive, but very worth it to those who have the geld. We went to see the fountains out front, but they only work from 3:00 PM on so we played the slots a little. As we went through my mom’s stuff after she passed, I found a small jar with quarters in it that she was saving to take to ‘the Indians’ as she used to call The Mohegan Sun in Connecticut. I had saved that little jar for years and my wife had a dream where she won $23,000.00 with Mom’s quarters.

So we brought the jar, but I soon realized that Vegas was now a ‘paper-in, paper-out’ machine town, so we proceeded to try to have them converted to cash at the casino’s cashier. The Mirage casino cashier told us she couldn’t take them all, but she would take half (?), and then she came to tell us to say the coin counter was out, so she would have to hand count them. Buh-buy.

We took them the Bellagio where they converted them all for us. My wife and I each took half to a machine to bet in honor of Mom. My wife hit one for $230.00! No shit….only off a few zeroes.

After a trip through Harrah’s (not at all impressed), it was now so cold I could not walk anymore, so we took a taxi back to the Mirage to warm up, eat, and plan the evening. We decided to eat at the buffet we had breakfast at, and it was great. It had better be, at 36 bucks each. Real gourmet food. Except the shrimp’s cocktail sauce. Evil drek it was, ruined a whole pile of the little curly bastards that I had planned to devour. How do you screw up cocktail sauce Vegas? Really?

Anyway, a short taxi ride back to Bellagio, and there I was, standing in what was by now almost single digit temperatures (the lowest they have had in years). I watched the fountains dance to the theme from Titanic. Yup, that one. “Yes Honey, it was beautiful, and SO worth it!” I said as the snot froze in a solid stream straight out from my nose amidst 40 mph winds.

We then took a taxi to The Freemont Street Experience, what used to be main street Vegas before the strip, back in the mob days. Freemont Street is known for having a large blocks-long video screen above the street, which is now all pedestrian. They usually have things like running horses and such, all moving above your head. The casino hotels down there are the oldest ones in Vegas, and as such, have some of the best prices, and better odds, or so I am told. We get there to find that three Country Music concerts are being shown this very evening simul-fucking-taneously, so fully half the street is closed off for concert goers to honor the country music people. The overhead video spectacular was a video of an oak floor. That’s it, a fucking oak floor. A twenty dollar taxi ride, frozen solid, and I look up to show my wife, “hey honey, look up at the video I told you about!” A moving video of a stationary oak floor. Um, ok. So we went into some of the old casinos. They were, well old. The slots there seemed to me worse than the ones on the strip. My head is now hurting blazes, so we taxi back to Mirage, have a snack, and off to bed. The next AM we had breakfast, checked out and left.

We did stop at the Hoover Dam on the way back and took the tour. I highly recommend this to anyone going that way. Magnificent engineering feat.

Despite the bullshit, we actually enjoyed the ride and shall return again. This time I want to check out the Hard Rock and the Venetian.

“And Mr. Crank?”

“Yes Doc?”

“Above all, whatever you do, do not ever look up”.


So I did get to see the bottom half of the pole of the Stratosphere and the base of the Great Pyramid of Luxor.


Cluster Blank: the Movie

The Crank

There I was up to my knees in caribou dung, surrounded by a thousand Ezakwantu tribe’s women naked to the waist. Sorry, another Wild Kingdom flashback. Here’s the thing, my now regular Monday morning trip to the bank for my Unemployment Obamamoney went south…southern Africa Ezakwantu tribe’s women south. Also known as, you trust big government? Why?

So I got showered, shaved, dressed and was ready to go on my big outing of the day. But, before I go, I always go online to ensure my—held for my own good for 40+ years by the Government—weekly Ucard allotment funds are available.

At about the same time all this is going on, the Arizona Department of Economic (please don’t laugh) Security sends me a second Ucard from a different bank. First clue, the new card has no accompanying note.

I go online to activate my new Ucard and then promptly insert into my wallet. Then I attempt to check the old card’s website. I log-in and see there’s $0.00 on the old card. I ASSUME Zano stole my money. It’s happened before…actually, I thought that meant my money is on the new card. I go online and try to set up an online account for the new card.

Proceed to Clusterblank one:

Please put your card number here. I do

Please choose a user name. I do.

Please choose a password. I do.

You are now ready to use you online account.

Well, notsomuch. What follows is an endless loop of ‘name, password, wrong username, wrong password, Please reenter account info That account has been set up, please enter name username password, wrong username wrong pass…aw screw it!

On the card is a phone number to call. If I had use of an electron microscope, I could not possibly read the number, as it is printed within the rear end of the embossed words on the other side, and done so small an eagle would look down and just shrug.

Taking many repeated guesses at the number, I finally discover:

No, there is no money here either.

Time taken here for eight-pack of twinkies and six-pack of Coke. For a moment I actually wondered if they still make Salem Light 100’s. Now I am in the unenviable position of having to somehow find out why from The Department of Economic (OK, laugh) Security, using either the phone or the internet.

Proceed to Cluster blanks two thru eleven:

I go online to the website I use to fill out my weekly claim. I see a phone number, so I call.

(Cluster blanks two, three and four)

Please listen to entire message as all options have changed.

If your account number ends in one, two or three, you must call on Mondays only.

….Here we go again.

If your account number ends in four, five or six, you must call on Tuesday…

I realize now that it is telling me we have come to the end of the world as we know it, it had better end much later in the week for me.

I decided to call.

It then says to enter your account number. It actually tells you if you lie, the system will compare the phone number you are calling on to your account number, and hang up. I call their bluff. I then hear, Click.

(Cluster blanks five, six and seven)

I then see at the bottom of the page a number listed for complaints/issues related to payment. Yes, I then called the number. What followed was a closed loop of messages about how anything you want to know can be accessed on the website (no), followed by a repeating “Please Wait”, followed by the message again, ad nauseum, then after almost 45 minutes, it leads you back to the “please listen to entire message as all options have changed.”

If your account number ends in one, two or three, you must call on Mondays only.

Miserable fat bald inefficient tax robbing gubmint workers.

(Custer blanks eight and nine)

Going back to the website, I find a page that is supposed to tell you your earnings were for last week.  According to this page, the last week I got paid for was two weeks ago. The only problem is that I actually got paid for the week before last. It then asks me to file for the two weeks missing. Problem two? I filed for last week also. I then have to make a command decision. Do I refile, and risk lifetime incarceration for double filing?

(Cluster blank 10)

More Twinkies, More Coke, now looking for a place nearby that sells Salems.

I decide to refile and see what happens, after all, Mexico is only a short drive.

The website then tells me the money that is my own that they make me beg for may be on the Ucard as early as the next morning. Or, whenever.

Now, I see a link to email for the obligatory ‘complaints/issues’. I then find out that for some reason, only all caps works in the little box in which they want you to write your message. It is only befitting that I ‘yell’ my whole horrible story to some vacant-headed troll.

(Cluster blank 11)

These are the same people that want us to trust them to handle the administration of our healthcare?

Um, no

belch-simultaneous cough/fart


Umm, We Don’t Do Rebuttals Anymore, Crank

The Crank

Zano, Zano, Zano….I have attempted to avoid your political posts and your political views as they suffer from what one might call, Major Bullshit Disorder recurrent. See, I have a DSM-V too. But, really, Mikko why doth thee blog? Why? There’s so much more productive things you could be doing with your time, like American Idol marathons.

Let’s go through the last dreamland you inserted into the website mainly because there is really no one to stop you:

1. The GOP’s aversion to all green energies and an undying devotion to coal, nuclear and oil

Put money into research, not private companies owned by a fucking brother-in-law. When it becomes economically viable, it will sell well. If you truly want to clean up the environment, you would concentrate your efforts in India and China (cough-cough). Remember, for every coal fired power plant you close here, five open a week in China. Then 500 workers are jobless because of the green meanies. China had to put up a 100-foot long panoramic picture of the skyline for tourists to take pictures, because the skyline is now totally enveloped in smog.

Regulations should be equal to be effective. We and Europe are way ahead of the rest of the world. They need to play catch-up. The planet gets warmer, we get broker, while Greenies get dumber. Let’s make the transmission lines far better conductors, thus allowing you to put your hemp power plants. The problem is not the internal combustion engine, it is the fuel it uses, so find a better fuel. Now. Thus far gasoline is the singular most efficient fuel ever known to man. Though the bullshit in one of your posts could probably power a Belgium or a Liechtenstein for years.

2. Less unions:

When I started in the New York Supermarket business many years ago, Unions were much needed, mainly to keep us lowly workers from being tossed into the garbage crusher when we pissed off the short bosses with the big heels. They eventually morphed into a mob led killer of businesses. If they had stayed in that role of protection and equalization and fairness of pay, they would be prospering today. I wish they had, because we could use that right now, unfortunately, the unions are wholly responsible for their own demise. I said, the unions are wholly responsible for their own demise. Can you hear me now? World competition is a reality (reality: something progressives have no understanding, like the term ‘human nature’). The world gets smaller each day, and protectionism has also never worked, so deal…

3. Right to Work States:

(See # 2)

4. The Patriot Act (2001)

Yeah, well, you got me on that one.

5. The invasion and occupation of the wrong country (2003).

Ok, that’s two.

6. The global economic collapse (2008)

You mean the one that was the direct result of Progressive leaders in the Clinton administration forcing banks to give loans to any warm body that could hold a pen. An X will be fine, Mr. Meth McDetoxing. My neighbors who lost their homes, not because of evil Republicans, but because they had no business buying a five bedroom two-story when a large refrigerator box was all they could afford. You mean the one where Wall Street decided to group together these worthless mortgages and sell them as investments? You mean the one the W, and the world’s oldest legislator (McCain) actually tried to stop when a certain fat toothless legislator (pretty please do not censor) who was supposed to be in charge of watching out for our interests said all is well, nothing to worry about, knowing full well his significant other was in charge of the leading governmental backer of mortgages Come on Mikko, you know this! Is the big Al making appearances in your head while you sleep? Standing REM only?

7. The decrease in the U.S.’s credit rating (Aug 2011)

The decrease had nothing to do with 17 trillion in debt, it was all the fault of the only people in the country worrying about it. Really? That’s your argument? Jeez Bwahaha. When we were downgraded, the ruling body actually stated in its report that the administrations lack of a plan to pay down its debt was why it happened. Please watch something other than MSDNC.

8. Stopping the Fed from reducing the amount of U.S. bonds they purchase each month (Aug 2013)

Now you’re just makin’ shit up! The Fed rules this, the Administration rules the Fed, Wall Street rules all the administrations. Ergo, clusterfuck. More than enough dumb to go around. None of us (lowly citizens) are a big fan of money printing to start with. I am a firm believer in auditing the Fed. Put a little ammonia on a paper towel and inhale (repeat).

9. The government shutdown and subsequent economic collapse (Oct. 2013)

So let’s see. The republicans do something stupid, so that means I, the President, can also do something stupid in return. “I will not negotiate.” He would be the only one ever. Each President who encountered a shutdown negotiated. It’s called compromise, you know, what Democracy is all about? I know that term is absent from the “Cooking with Saul Alinsky” cookbook, but here is how it works. If your side wins all, fully half the country loses all. That would not be a Democratic Republic. Even though you are convinced of your intellectual superiority, in this case it really doesn’t matter. If you disagree, that doesn’t mean you must win. I know it’s hard, but you will learn the term ‘compromise’. Tip and Reagan knew it. Clinton and his fully Republican congress knew it. LBJ and the republicans in his congress knew it. All of those combinations of people were responsible for some of the greatest legislation we know.

The Unaffordable Healthcare act. I think that this putrid piece of legislation will go down under its own weight, no unfunding necessary. Plus, you really can’t ‘unfund’ it. The government’s own GAO office has said that even if it works, in ten years the same 30+million people will still have no healthcare, and we will be trillions more in debt, and the care will suck. You can’t force doctors to go to work when it more profitable for them to play golf.

The “gutting’ of the food stamp program. You mean lessening the increase in their allotment of money by 2% which increased over 40% in the last 5 years? That gutting? I have said before “THERE ARE NO ‘CUTS’ IN ANYTHING. EVER. IT’S ALLWAYS A LESSENING OF THE INCREASE. It’s how Washington rolls.

Fox lies, Foxeteers. Teabaggers. Losing the argument terms Libs use to appear knowledgeable when they have nothing. The main stream media is catching up, and the web is full of stories that may have started with Fox, but now have legs of their own mainly because the media is finally aware it has been bullshitted so much they float in it. They are now realizing shit does in fact stink. It was a CNN interview with Harry Reid in which he stated he cares not for Children with cancer if it means losing a political argument. He even got testy with the interviewer as he was surprised the media would actually ask him a real question.

And finally, Syria. Yes, let’s believe that Russia and the UN will really actually oversee the removal of chemical weapons from Syria. Oh, they will all right, out of Syria, right to Iran, Hamas and Hezbolla, and that Al Qaeda fellow. Like that Journey song, don’t stop believing, Mikko. The world laughs at us, and Israel just had a thermofuckingnuclear case of the runs.

The Republicans are probably going to self-destruct, and that’s probably a good thing, for the outcome will be a third party that can actually win. We may be F-ed, but we still got a few rubbers left in the old vending machine. But, hey, I’m out of quarters…

Looking up from the valley to the real 1%.


Extreme Politics: the Baghdad Bob Syndrome

The Crank

Now that the powers that be have determined that I no longer need employment, the few of you northwestcoasties that will actually read this will probably be hearing much more of me. Like it or not. And I honestly hope ‘not’, as that would make my time at the computer much more rewarding. Ninja porn reference omitted.

I had an epiphany the other day whilst reading comments to stories on various websites. I read a well-known far left website’s comments sections, and switched to a far right site’s own similar area. The clouds parted, the chorus sang, and Jesus, Mom and Stevie Ray Vaughan shined the light on me. As I read the comments I realized that, like Baghdad Bob, these polar idiots were saying one thing as the opposite was going on behind them on camera, while they were obviously totally f-ing oblivious to it.

Baghdad Bob’s most famous interview was actually a fake one on Saturday Night Live, where he was saying that there were no American forces anywhere near Baghdad as behind him the American army waved at the camera as they rode by on tanks. The distant memories of this skit still bring tears of joy and laughter to my eyes.

The Current State of Online Politics:

My favorite part is where a commenter says something that disagrees with the website’s own leanings. Usually one of three things happen.

1. The comment will be followed by a statement saying everything the commenter said was false, usually followed by derogatory insinuations of an extremely personal nature on the left, and derogatory statements of one’s basic lack of any intelligence on the right.

2. The comment will be followed by wild accusations, and the insistence that the first commenter provide incontrovertible totally non-partisan links to back up his statements immediately, or die.

3. Trolls in their mom’s underwear trying to gin up a fight to make some sense of their own miserable f-ing existence.

What they both almost always fail to see is the Army of tanks carrying questionable reporting and questionable analysis riding right behind them, waving as they ride by.

I love the terms like ‘settled science’ (there is no such thing in true science), or “most all of the (worlds, countries) (economists, climate scientists, people, hedgehogs, etc) think that blah bla bla.” Meaningless drivel. First it was Bob as a Global Cooling person as the Earth warmed behind him. Then it was Bob as a global warmer as the earth stabilized for 18 years behind him. Now, its Bob as Climate Change Guy, while people behind him just walk in circles bumping into each other, not knowing which friggin ‘Bob’ to follow.

Also at the head of the Baghdad Bob parade is currently the ‘if you disagree with anything I like it’s because you are racist’ baiters who actually earn a living on the backs and heads of the less educated of their own color. Telling people that one side or the other is racist is idiotic because in their own fun-loving ways, both sides are. Some of the semi- toothless variety of right wingers are actually ‘old timey racists’ and most on the far left are just complete users. Baghdad Bob rears his pretty head. Jim Crow was Democrat. Most southern lawmakers that were real racists were Democrat. When the republican congress finally forced Lyndon Johnson to sign the Civil Rights Act that they had written, he is quoted as stating something to the effect of  “at least we’ll have those (n) voting for us forever.”

Baghdad Bob as the speakers at the 50th anniversary of the I Have A Dream speech, while the one lone black Senator in the country (a Republican) stands waving, wondering why he was not invited.

Baghdad Bob as Sharpton saying that Voter I.D laws were written by the GOP to disenfranchise minority voters. As he says this, behind him are the states that have voter ID laws and the FACT that minority turnout has INCREASED in every area where they have it. If the GOP wanted to disenfranchise minority voters with this, well, they suck at it. Might as well just laugh and give it to them. Dick.

The biggest cause of the current problems in inner cities is due to inadequate education, and enforcement of the “You will never succeed. Why try. We will take care of you” school of learning by the Left. If you wish to see just what you have to, and CAN, do to better yourself, read of Charles V. Payne’s life story. Instead, you have Baghdad Bob as an inner city education administrator stuffing his pockets with taxpayer’s cash while saying he is confident of his schools as his cities youth goes uneducated and teachers have to pay out of pocket for supplies.

Baghdad Bob as Eric Holder saying he is investigating a certain inner city for interfering with a racial equalization plan. Behind him is the voucher system he wants to end because it gives the parents a choice as to where to have their children educated? Whua?

Baghdad Bob was last seen in Detroit, where as the cities powers-that-be say “There’s nothing wrong here, nothing to see here, move along now; we know what we are doing” as the buildings behind them are being vacated and torn down.

Bob as any Republican leader who says absolutely anything involving a Women’s reproductive system, or sex in general, as the women of the country stand behind him with that same look a dog gives you when it doesn’t understand an f-ing thing you say, with its head tilted to the side and its ears up.

Baghdad Bob as any Republican leader who wants the House to threaten a Governmental shutdown over the Debt Ceiling increase. Behind him is every Democrat in the country yelling for him to PLEASE do just that.

What amazes me is the amount of sheer hate for real conversation and opposing views on the far left. While the far right almost always assumes they are correct intellectually, they don’t seem to really hate the other side; they would rather ignore them, or just step over them. The far left, on the other hand honestly feels that any and all opposing views must be silenced. That is far more frightening. I am reminded of the Monty Python skit on witches. When I see an MSNBC talking head excoriate a guest’s opposing viewpoint, I immediately see John Cleese waving his fist in the air, saying “BUUURRRN HER”. The far left wants you punished, lose your job, all your income, die.

Hey look, every side has its hate hooters, (Beck, Rush, Hannity , Olbermann, & all MSNBC commentators) but it is the personal nature of some of the hate that scares me. It is the antitheses of the word American.

If You Want To Silence All Opposing Views, You Suck As A Human Being:

I really cannot take much of some people, but I honestly do not want them wacked, and would ACTUALLY INSIST on their ability to annoy me. Most on the left would not even tolerate being in the same state, although Zano lets me live in the same State as him. He just made sure he was higher up the mountain from me as it were. Just more of that Liberal Progressive—looking down upon the unclean masses—school of thought.

I have an idea I want all fringe asshats to cogitate over. Most of America is much more centrist than you. They just happen to have important things to do, unlike now me, and people like Zano, so you may not hear from them often, but they eventually have to rule things, not any of you, or me. But I will admit that I am the last person anyone would want in charge of anything. Mikko still wants to be Emperor and Field Marshall for Life.

Lastly, the final Bob is Whitehouse Press Secretary Jay Carney saying all is well, while the economy again starts to tank, and scandals both real and imagined, rage behind him. All the while a speech plays golf.

Everyone from the bearded, Prius-driving, Columbia educated College Professor to the $1200.00 suit-wearing slick-haired chicklet-toothed Escalade-driving hedge fund manager has the RIGHT to their opinions. And guess what! Their opinion is as correct as yours is, and equally as meaningful. It is, after all, an OPINION, not a fact. Whether you agree or disagree, you must compromise, not “win”. If you completely win nearly half the country totally loses. That’s not a Democratic Republic, that’s, well, today’s France. And, if you wish to win at all costs, well:

Je vous déteste

Ant Invasion: Them! Them!!

The Crank

So there I was at my new desk, at my new job, planning someone’s beautiful new kitchen when I hear the opening guitar riff from AC/DC’s “For Those About to Rock” (my new smartphone ringtone). I immediately flashback to all my wife’s other just-getting-home-from-work-frantic-gems.  “We’re being invaded!” she said. “Red ants everywhere, millions of ‘em, and they bite!!”

I take a deep breath, “Where are they?”

“Everywhere,” she said. “The cat food in the laundry, and the bananas in the kitchen seem to be their main obsession.”

“What do you wish for me to do from here?” I asked.

“I have used up all the organic natural bug spray we had. Pick up more.”

Now let me ’splain something. My wife gets skeeved out very easily by any sort of tiny livestock. The last time anything like this happened, this ‘organic natural’ bug spray had the most god-awful smell I have ever been subjected to. I smelled it for weeks. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t enjoy eating, nothing. I was ready to set fire to the f-ing house. It eventually went away and I put the can in the garage, hopefully where she couldn’t find it.

You see how well that worked. Oh, and to put this invasion into perspective, I believe that last incident involved one cricket.

So now I have these scenes flashing through my mind. Scenes of vomiting cats. Scenes of vomiting beige gorillas. Scenes of my wife, in full hazmat regalia, with a can of shit smelling bug spray au natural in one hand and the phone in the other. As I go into a local establishment for some non-lethal to gorillas, non-smelling bug spray, I ask a guy in the department what he would recommend for small red ants. He tells me he has lived in some really bad places, and this one has always worked.

The label reads: “Works Every Time, No Odor.”

Awesome. As I enter through the laundry room, gingerly, my eyes focus in on the floor. You know those scenes of battlefields you see in movies after the fight is over, and the winner strolls through hundreds of dead bodies as the sun sets in the distance, smoke rising from the ashes of the put out fires? Yeah, well that was nothing. The floor literally crunches with the remains of ants (mostly uncles really), millions and millions of them. All gone to that big anthill in the sky. Bowls of cat food, almost totally hidden by the bodies of the vanquished. The automatic cat waterer had dead uncles raining down the little waterfall into the bowl of other floating remains. They were swirling into the mechanism swimming their little swim of the macabre, over and over again. As I crunch down the hall, I see them, dead, stuck to the floor, stuck to the molding, stuck to the walls. As I round the hall into the kitchen, I see her. My wife standing there with a look of sheer exhaustion.

“I think I got them. I think I got them all.”

“It looks like you wiped-out the whole f-ing species.”

It was just about then that the whole ‘smell’ thing started to rear its ugly nose. Oh-My-God was all I said. “Where are the cats” was my second statement. Again, not asking how she was would soon enough come back to bite me.

“The cats are in our room, no ants there.”

I told her I would change and I would start the cleanup. We both got to it. We had the whole area mopped thrice, vacuumed and the mop head and bag from the vacuum thrown in the trash.  It was about 9:00 PM when we both settled down to watch some TV.

“Want anything? I’m going for a sandwich?” my wife asked, while heading to the kitchen.


That was all I heard from her as she walked into the kitchen. As I rolled out of my Lazyboy and into the kitchen, I saw that our little red menace had regrouped for a last ditch effort to assume control of my home. Thousands of them now cover the stove and the countertops.

“Fuck you, you little red bastards!” I said as I get the bottle of Works Every Time, No Odor and go for it. My wife asks about its organicity, if that’s even a word. I laugh and say “Gee, I hope not” in my best Sly Stallone as I start to spray.

They all seem to die on contact, and no odor…at all. They start to try to escape, but I am just too fast. I start to make the sound of David Hedison in The Fly, when he calls out for help at the end just before that spider kills him. “Help me, heeelp, oh noooo”, in my best Hedison-like Helium voice.

Eventually I win and they all die. This should be released in installments, of course, like Lord of the Rings. I could be like in the last episode: Return of the King. If there were only one ant big enough that I could have kicked into the pool, while yelling, “This is Phoenix!”

Now, at near 10:00 PM, we get to clean up all over again. Rip apart the whole range and put all the parts in the dishwasher. Clean off the counters, disinfect, and clean again, re mop the floor… and then move out the fridge to see if any are hiding there.

All this death and no odor! What a concept!

At this point I realize that the cats have been locked in the bedroom, sans litter box, for some four hours now. I slowly open the door and they both run like hell for the litter. It was like I could almost hear them go “AAHHH…” as they relieved themselves. Cannoli looks up at me and gives me a look like, “You almost had another f-ing room to clean, beeoch.”

It is the next morning and there is no sign of the red menace. The cats look fine. We won. We defended our home. No lasting smell. As I leave for work, I look around for George W. Bush to tell me “Mission Accomplished,” or, at least “a heck of job, Cranky”.

Now, if I could just figure out why I glow in the dark…….

Don’t Crank Wit Me.

Or Especially Mrs. Crank.

Star Trek: Into Beigeness

The Crank

Phoenix, AZ—After meeting Mick and entourage at a pool party on the surface of the sun, we decided to go see the new Star Trek movie the next day, en masse. As my lovely bride and I waited outside the theater the next morning, it was then I remembered that Micko doesn’t really do mornings, per se. He is more of a crack-of-nooner, as it were.

What to my surprise should appear but a bearded Mick and entourage, all bright-eyed and, well bright-eyed was enough… We got our tickets, our obligatory 55 gallon drum of soda and pail of popcorn, paid a small fortune, cursed, and went inside.

PopKAAAAAHRN!!!! Sorry. Spoiler alert.

I have to say this up front. I am a fan of the stupid original series, in all its stupid stupidity—moronic story lines and all. Gene Rodenberry was not a genius foreteller of the future. I will get much heat for this, but here it goes:

Gene Rodenberry was a chain-smoking ex-cop who had one great idea at the absolute right time, and milked it for all it was worth, never passing up a strange piece of ass in the process, even though he managed to stay somewhat happily married.

I also want you all to know this, I am a big fan of New Zealand’s Karl Urban, back to his Hercules and Xena guest rolls. I also feel he is good as Bones, but a bit of a waste. He is reduced in this film to repeating all the same old cliché lines that were badly written for Deforest Isonfire. If you want to see Karl being, well, Karl, see the remake of Judge Dredd. Blows Stallone away. He makes Stallone an Expendable… What? Too Over the Top?

It seems as though Simon Pegg got a better contract. He has more lines and slightly more meaningful ones. He just needs to put on a few pounds. And he is WAY too happy to be a real Scotsman. We all know they threw Craig Ferguson out of Scotland for being jolly.

Jon Cho’s Sulu is like Bones, almost invisible. Apparently, in the Star Trek world, it pays to have breasts. Zoe Saldana as Uhura was great. She gave the original character much more depth. And her “affair” with Spock is somehow totally believable.

I do feel as though they hit the mark with Chris Pine and Zak Quinto. They ARE Kirk and Spock, only more realistic.

Micko says that he thought some of the old back and forth banter was “corny”. I disagree (surprise). I feel a little corny is what the original was all about, and I feel omitting all the corny would have hurt the movie. Trekkers of the Corn?

See? Totally necessary.

These lines are also somewhat better written than Bones’ or Sulu’s. Mick and I do agree that some of the special effects were awe inspiring. All that being said, I want to know why they fucked with the final scenes. I will not spoil it for those who have not yet seen it, but boy do they fuck with one of the most memorable scenes in Star Trek History. Now go see it.

Crank Long and Popcorn.

My Life in Retail: Part One

The Crank

As I think about my life, my thoughts turn to the whole “Legacy” thing. What do I actually leave with my friends and relatives when Momzilla pulls me kicking and screaming into the next world? Will people even remember me 15 minutes after I’m gone? Probably not, with the exception of Mikko passing a rag over his forehead and saying “whew, thank Darwin that’s over.”

I hereby decide that with a lifetime in various stages of retail, I will pass along an expose’ of what living your entire life in the sale of product to others is like. Cautionary note to parents and the squeamish:

This is not pretty. You may never shop again.

It all starts in the family business. I was six when I realized my upbringing would not have anything in common with Leave it to Beaver. My parents owned a Deli on Long Island. Each birthday, my dad would take me out behind the counter and put a pepperoni on a scale high up on the top of the salad showcase. He would then ask me if I could read it. At six? No. At seven? No. I am still at this stage reduced to getting stung as I separated the unwashed soda bottles for return and refill out behind the store (being ‘green’ circa 1962) and bleaching smelly wooden things inside the fridge units.

For my eighth birthday, I took the obligatory walk out behind the counter, and Dad put the pepperoni up on the scale and says “can you read it?” My answer would prove to haunt me for the rest of my days. You see, I figured that when I could finally read it, I would get some kind of extra-special prize for that birthday. Why else would he be doing this? As I looked up at the scale, I saw that the pointer was right on the mark that read seven ounces. “Seven ounces! Seven ounces!” I screamed. I couldn’t believe it, I could finally read it. Yay!! I then asked Dad, “Well, what’s my prize?” His answer? “You get to serve the next customer” as he retreated to the kitchen.

It was as if I grew up ten years in one day. I spent the rest of my formative years getting picked up at the bus stop after school, brought to the store, and had to do homework and serve customers in the store, as I cleaned and closed up shop. By age ten I got to be ridiculously good at stripping down and cleaning/sharpening/reassembling the slicer machines. My dad would come by to pick me up at closing. By 12, I had learned that a cold beer tasted mighty good after mopping the floor. My fave? Carlsberg Elephant Malt Liquor. By 14 I was driving home. Nothing like a slightly inebriated 14-year old behind the wheel of a ‘68 Rambler wagon we called the Green Glory. This, folks, is where the whole Coke and Twinkies thing started. Fat kid alone in a store filled with food. Thanks Dad. Little did I realize at the time that I would be battling those same demons well into retirement. Speaking of which:

It’s Alive, It’s ALIVE!
It's Alive, It's ALIVE! Twinkie Resurrection 2013
Twinkie Resurrection 2013

This was the late sixties and many teenagers would come in seemingly starving around 7:00 pm during the summer. At first I was rather perplexed, after all, don’t normal people have dinner like an hour ago? I soon found out about the whole ‘munchies’ thing and decided at 13 to exploit it. Mom would cook large roast beefs and put them on the table in the back to cool. I would put them in the walk-in fridge before I closed. When the ‘heads’ would arrive, I got an idea! I moved the beefs from their previous home to a new one on top of the counter up by the front door. The aroma got them every time.

“Wow maaan, what smells so good, maaaan? Oh boy, look at the roast beef. Hey like little chubby dude, we’ll take six Roast Beef heroes (subs to you westerners).” Worked like a charm.

I leaned a lot about life during those days. These were the braless days, ’68 & ’69, lots of swinging boobs behind gauzy blouses. I learned that I liked boobs. I liked boobs a lot. I even got flashed regularly for free sandwiches. That also worked like a charm. In fact, I ended up loving working. No, my life was no TV sitcom, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Now for a little Mick Zano story. When he was but a small child, he and his mom were visiting us at the store. When it came time to leave, he was nowhere in sight. We looked high, we looked low, looked inside and outside. Total panic was setting in when we found the little bastard hiding behind a candy display, watching the whole crazy people running around screaming thing and snickering. Should have known then that he would figure out a way to get paid to watch crazy people.

This would go on till my Dad passed on. He had sold the business a year before as he was ill. We now needed the money, so I decided to forgo college (much to the chagrin of Momzilla) and get a full time job. Where? Why, in a supermarket behind the deli counter, of course. It’s what I did. No, more than that. By then, it was who I was. I needed a job, and we had a relative who was a big shot with a local supermarket chain. He got me in. It was only going to be temporary, after all. I was going back to school as soon as we got back on our feet.

For the next 27 years I worked for supermarkets on Long Island. I could, and really should, write a book on my escapades in ‘Wally-World’ as we later on called it. Every year the memories fade, so I better get started soon. The supermarket business is its own world. It has its own language, mostly obscene. It’s where I got that wonderful little part of my personality from. You know those tapes of John Gotti taken from inside his social club? It’s like that, only instead of talking about killing, they are talking about Prosciutto (pronounced pruhzshoot). Most of the people I have met in the business all felt like they wanted more out of life, but life kind of threw them a curve , and they ended up here. Credence had just come out with their song ‘Lodi’, and we quickly augmented it with the words: ‘Was about a year ago, I set out on my own. Seekin my fame and fortune, lookin for a pot’o’gold. Well things got bad, and things got woise, I guess you know the tune…….Oh Lord, stuck in supermarkets again”.

No one aspired to be a supermarket clerk. No one, that is, except me. I was in a union for 26 years. With raving unmedicated ADHD, it was the perfect job. Do it FAST and do it so it LOOKS LIKE it was done right. Don’t need to finish it, just move on. Perfect. I got so good at it I was asked to do all the new store openings and remodels. I loved that. Three or four weeks in a store to set it up, and NO fucking customers. The day of grand opening, I would come in early to set up, and stand back and watch it all get fucking destroyed by the pillaging hoard. Think Jewish Vikings.

Supermarket customers are inherently pigs. Stupid self-obsessed pigs at that. You all NEED to be there, but there is no way in hell any of you WANT to be there, and you make it known to all the personnel. You walk through the store with your lists, staring at your watches, thinking of everything else you could be doing and then take it out on your drippy little kids and the clerks. Oh, I’m sorry, do I sound bitter? Did I offend you? Tough shit. It’s true, deal with it. I watched it for 27 years. Beeoches

How does one get through 27 years of that? Humor and friendship. I met some wonderful people in my days at Wally world, some that I still communicate with. When I would end up in a store with an asshat boss, I would find a way to torture them endlessly. In a union, if you are careful and smart, you can do just that. Its endless fun, really. You should try it. That was taught to me by the best, a man named John –one of the best managers in the company in his time. He knew they didn’t want to do without him, so he took advantage of that, every day. Case in point: When the supermarkets first found out about the six foot sandwiches that delis were making, they wanted in. The V.P. came to us one day to teach us this new art. Mounds of lettuce, mounds of tomatoes, with the thinnest sliver of a layer of meat and cheese. Prof. Steven Hawkings couldn’t find the meat on this sandwich. When the VP was finished, he told John he was going to lunch, and would he please make up a sign to tell the customers about the availability of the new 6’ sandwiches. He did just that. The sign read:


The V.P. was not pleased when he came back, but all he did was ask him to remove it. I learned a lot that day. John was like a large beer-loving and funny Yoda. We had one supervisor who, when angered, would start to stutter. John would egg him on till he got a ‘but J-J-J-J-John!’ Then he would say-Gotcha! You see, back then it wasn’t as important to remain p-p-p-politically correct.

Every supermarket had one thing in common. Each one had a bar next door. We all got real familiar with the bars. The Taffrail, The Dry Dock, etc. It lead to many interesting evenings. Sometimes the guys would close the bars, sleep in the cars in the parking lot, and open the next morning like nothing happened. Others would spend the night drinking and come straight to work. Case in point: I remember once where the opening manager was real late. There were maybe 30 of us all standing around, waiting. All of a sudden, we hear a screeching, followed by a crash. We then see, on the road in front of the store, the manager crawl out of his wrecked car, limping and bleeding. He walks to the door with his keys out and opens the door. Again, like nothing happened.

Back in the day, each store would have its very own token bimbos. They were called ‘motor-room girls”. The motor room was a room at the top of the store, where all the refrigeration compressors were. It’s where you took the girls for some afternoon delight, which, back then, was a reference people understood. Each store manager had his ‘girlfriend’, usually a cashier. You would hear them tell the assistants, umm, if you need me-motor room… We saw a fight in the parking lot once where the manager put his ‘girlfriend’ in a shopping cart and sent her careening down a hill. Thankfully no one got hurt…er, until his wife found out.

One time I worked for a guy that spent the entire day in the main office. He liked the price-change girl. He was never around. One day the V.P. called and they announced for Paul to pick up the phone. Before he did, I did. “Hello, this is Paul. I am not able to come to the phone right now, please leave your name and number, and I will get back to you.” I knew that the VP would recognize my voice and, yeah, Paul wasn’t there very long. I was a bastard towards the end. Thank you, John. 

After many years of this, around the time that I got married, I met another person who I would call friend to this day. When I went to her store to make some changes, the supervisor had me doing all the deli counters in the county. But, much like reading The Discord, I was not totally prepared for what I saw. Let’s just say the Good Lord really had his shit together the day he made her. We would end up working together for some eight years, when she was the manager in the store closest to my home. I would periodically go to other stores for various reasons for short stints, only to return to what I called home base.

Karen was good at all things I wasn’t (all managerial stuff), and I was good at making things look pretty, and doing it fast. By now I was considered by most in the company to be ‘unmanageable’. Mr. Winslow believes this has continued with my career here on The Discord. I did my own thing. I marched to my own rather odd drummer. Karen was able to do the impossible. She knew how to get me to do the right thing without me actually knowing it. It was also great fun working there. Once, as we were both filling the salad showcase, it became apparent what protuberances each one of us had. As we would pull our heads out of the showcase, she was always left with salad on her boobs and me with some on my gut. We were a great team.

One day, I was told that representatives of the company owners were going around seeing if they could buy out the union contracts of any of the long-termers (i.e. me). Two ‘suits’ strolled up and told me how much they wanted to give me for going home and never coming back. It was a nice check. The Discord has not managed to meet this number yet, thus my continued submissions.

Anyway, I took the check. During my last week there happened to be a day when we were visited by the new V.P.s. They saw our deli showcase and remarked at how it was the best one they had seen. They asked who set it up and they were directed to me.

I asked them if they liked it.

They said, yes, we do.

I then told them they had better take a fuckin’ picture.

They asked why, and I told them they would never see one like this again as I had just taken the buy-out plan.

It felt great!

On the way out that last day, J.F. the store manager saw me leaving, so I waved and said goodbye. As I went through the doors for the very last time in 27 years as an employee, the store manager went on the P.A and said, “Attention shoppers, Elvis has left the building!”

I spent the rest of that summer on my deck, wondering just what the fuck I was going to do now. I hope I figure that out by Part Two.

End of Part One

Hold your Crank

New York Guido Meets Arizona Gun Show

The Crank

Mrs. Crank has of late voiced an opinion that we should be thinking about getting a firearm for personal protection. My first reaction was to ask, who was she and what had she done with the original Mrs. Crank? Visions of pod people and dopplecrankers danced in my head.

“Wait just a minute,” I said. “I know you. You are the wife that popped up when we bought the big screen TV and you wanted the ‘biggest one that they had’ as I recall. You are also the one that when I asked permission to purchase my very own Cadillac said, ‘It was the fattest-assed most ostentatious automobile I ever saw, so by all means, yes please.’” You are the multiple personality I like best. Please stay a while. Have coffee…

Getting back to the gun thing. As I have a long list of inherited health issues, not the least of which is tremors, the whole gun as a hobby thing was something I would momentarily think about and then envision many injured people within 100 feet of whatever I was ‘aiming’ at, complete with all the associated gore and blood. Then I would laugh and say no. Mrs. C, however, persisted so I agreed to do some investigating.

Everyone said the best way to touch/handle/feel many different types of guns was at a show. As there happened to be a show scheduled at our very own local football stadium/mothership, we elected to attend. We soon discovered at a gun show, cash is king…aka, leave the visa home. It’s useless as tits on a bull.

$17.00 per person to get in.

“Oh, you have no cash? Well there’s an ATM right over there that only charges you your firstborn child.”

Now let’s get one thing straight. This is a gun show in Arizona. I could not look more out of place if I were riding a fucking pink pony and singing Dixie Chicks’ songs. Short, wide, very Italian—with little tyrannosaurus type hands—I was vastly overdressed in my full set of teeth, chinos and golf shirt. As we walked in, my wife said to me it was a little disconcerting to see people all walking around with large firearms hanging from their necks and/or hips. No shit!  As we approached our first of many booths, a tall cowboy hat-wearing dude asked me how he could be of help. As I was about halfway through my diatribe of “don’t know much ‘bout no guns,” he interrupted me.

“I have to tell you sir that you have the accent of someone who hails from a place where guns are not looked upon very kindly.”

This, dear wife, was going to be a LONG fucking day.

He asked me some questions he had prepared for just such an occasion, and I guess I answered them right. He seemed especially happy to hear that I loved the baby Jesus and NASCAR and hated the Evil Obama, and that I felt it was nobody’s business how many guns I had. I had passed the audition with flying colors. Whew, that was tough—especially as I was starting to attract an armed audience. Good thing I didn’t take the Prius. It was like some kind of bizarre game show. “Answer the questions right and proceed with your life.” Double Barrel Jeopardy?

We spent the next few hours going from booth to booth with the wife holding each and every handgun in the place. At one point, she started to repeatedly pull the trigger on one particular gun. I saw by the reaction of the gentleman tending the booth that that might just be just a wee bit frowned upon. I leant over to my wife and whispered, “Please do not pull any triggers, ever.”

“Why not?” she asked. “The guns are all empty.”

I told her that the look I was getting from the guy was making my sphincter clench. I swear I heard Dueling Banjos in the background.

What ended up getting her attention? As we approach a particular booth, I heard the unmistakable sound of electricity arcing. Tasers. She picked one up that said One Million Volts and pressed the button. The sound that erupted was enough to give Frankenstein priapism for a week.


Instead of being frightened or put off by the loud noise, I could see by her sly smile and the glint in her eye that she had found her protector. I think she wanted to name it. Sparky?

“I want this” she said.

So $40.00 later and a ‘free’ pepper spray and a ‘free’ mini folding knife and everyone was happy. All the ‘issues’ that come with gun ownership were sidestepped, but anyone looking to harm Mrs. C will not soon forget the associated testicle re-ascending experience (TRAE). Look up the term win-win and there is a picture of my smiling bride holding her new friend.

Oh, and I wouldn’t say to her “Don’t tase me, bro” either. Don’t make her angry; you wouldn’t like her when she’s angry.

One of the things I had to accomplish on the trip was an errand for my son. I needed to find a dealer close to my home for him. Two things attracted me to one particular booth. We shared an area code and their sign read:

“Clinging to our God and our Guns since 1979.”

Bingo. Guns AND a sense of humor. Perfect. On the table next to an absolutely evil looking weapon was a Bible. The dark side of me was reeeeally starting to like this lady. But as we prepared to leave, we hit one last booth. As I quickly perused the merchandise my eyes settled on something I was hoping she wouldn’t see…shit. She saw it.

A 38 cal. Sag Sauer ‘Red Lady” hand gun.

You’ll shoot your eye out, ma’am.

It was all pretty in red with fancy white scroll work, obviously made to be noticed by females. And it was. Thank the lord it was $760.00. We took the name and model # for future reference.

What did I get out of the experience? Where there are guns, there are usually knives. I like knives; I worked with them daily for 25 years (pre-tremor years). I saw some beauties too that I might want to add to my collection. We left unscathed and hit the drive through for some Butterburger on the way home.

“Would you like that for here or to go? Hey, is that a Taser? Don’t tase me, bro…(ha, ha, ha).”

“Oh, shit.”

Beasts & Men with Tits: Unsung Heroes of the NFL

The Crank

Today I rant on a subject many know to be true, but few will utter. Most remain fearful of the associated politically correct backlash. Even The Daily Discord initially reviewed this submission and said, “Ahh, Cranko, I danno about dis one.” Who am I kidding? These schmucks will post anything.

As I am following football for a relatively short period of time and have terminal ADHD, I have not yet mastered the jargon, nor am I the armchair/Monday morning quarterback. I am an observer, and I have observed something that no one else talks much about.

You can be the world’s best quarterback, tall and handsome, with a bullet-perfect arm. You can be the most agile wide receiver, able to leap into the air for the game winning catch. You can be the special teams guy that returns the punt for a 99-yard touchdown. And yet you will garner more publicity, accolades and money than in your wildest dreams. The pundits on ESPN, the NFL channel, and sports reports everywhere will talk of you.  You will be interviewed many times, and all the fans will be enamored with your smile. Today’s NFL is a testament to the leader, the overachiever, the ‘winner’. There is one glaring problem with this. It’s all bullshit.

The little dirty secret all the quarterbacks and wide receivers keep from the public is this:

they would all be nothing without the ‘beasts’ and the men with tits. Let me explain.

As any QB will tell you, when they get the ball snapped to them and they stand up, what they see is a line of ‘beasts’ all trying to kill them. What stands between them and imminent death? A line of human busses, condos with feet, fleshy brick walls. This is also why in Middle-Earth the orcs followed behind the trolls.

These unsung heroes all share one thing. There is a reason they are not often interviewed. No one will ever accuse any of them of being Mensa material. They are not verbal, and they don’t care. They don’t care what you think. They don’t care how they look on TV. They are all thankful for the opportunity to earn the kind of money most men they grew up with will never see in their lifetime. They take what they do very seriously.

The defensive line: people like The Cardinals’ Darnell Docket; people like the Ravens’ almost retired Ray Lewis; like Green Bay’s Clay Mathews; like The Texans’ JJ Watt—all human/animal hybrids who’s only calling in life is to cause the opposing quarterback monumental grief. Men with arms like our legs, and legs so big they can’t wear Corduroys without generating enough excessive static electricity to power a small city.

They also have to be agile enough to get past the offensive line. Not easy when you are big enough to be mistaken for a city bus.

The ones who get the least fanfare of any in the game are the front of the offensive line. I am talking 6′ 4″ or more, and upwards of 340 pounds. Walking barbeque vacuums. These are men for whom the term “big-ass” is a monumental understatement. These are men whose ass starts just above the back of the knee, and goes on to midway up the spine. These are men whom the quarterback has to watch consume copious amounts of wonderfully gaseous foods, and then has to stand behind while they are bent over. That cannot be a positive experience. These are men whose belly apron regularly hangs down outside their jerseys for all to see, and whose pads will never hide the hairy 44 DD’s hanging from their chests. These are men, however, that the QB entrusts with his life.

These offensive linemen will never catch the game winning touchdown pass. They will never throw the game winning pass. They will never get the big sack that turns the tide of the game. They are there for one reason and one reason only. Stop the beasts/protect the quarterback. They know what their job is and are proud to do it. They don’t look for the accolades for they know none are coming. The only time they know they will make any headlines is if they are so bad at what they do, the term ‘turnstile’ is used to describe them (see AZ Cardinals). These are the true unsung heroes of the NFL. Without them, the QB would have milliseconds to get the ball away. Again, see Arizona Cardinals.  Kevin Kolb is not injured, he’s shell shocked at getting his bell rung so many fucking times he now has a permanent twitch.

Once in a great while magic will happen. Once in a while, one of those fat bastards will be in the right place at the right time. In a playoff game I watched recently, the ball got tipped by a beast as it was thrown by the QB. All of a sudden, there was a fat man standing there with the fucking football in his hand. The rest was shown many times in slow-motion.

Screaming with a look of sheer terror on his face, eyes wide open, mouth wide open, there he was, running (well, kind of running) towards the goal line. In slow-mo, you could see his ass having movements one has only seen during the tidal surge of a hurricane. You could see his tits heaving up and down below his pads, like a bizzaro-world Bay Watch slow-mo. You could see his gut alternating slapping himself in the face and hitting his knees on its wild ride into the end zone. You could see him thinking to himself, “oh please God don’t let me drop da ball, oh please God don’t let me drop da ball” as he ran to the goal line. Then, breathing like a freight train and near total exhaustion from his nearly six yard run, he held the ball out in front of him in case he dropped dead before his ass got to the line. In one glorious moment he was there. The only time this fat man will probably ever score a touchdown. He turns to the camera, and with tears in his eyes you see him mouth the words, “Mama, I jus score a touchdown!”

For one brief moment in time, he was THE man. For one brief moment in what will hopefully be a long and successful career as a brick wall, he was the agile wide receiver, scoring the game winning touchdown to a wildly cheering crowd of fans. It was a moment I’m sure he will relive in his mind every time he dons his pads and walks out onto the field and takes his place as just another silent human barrier.

Walk-a-proud fat man, walk-a-proud.