January 20th, 1980. This is when I lost my first official bet to an adult.  He was our neighbor and friend.  He also knew how to take advantage of a 7 year old.

Bill was a friendly man.  He was also voraciously serious about gambling, fishing and chocolate. We’ll get back to that.

Walking over to his house at the age of seven, I offered him a wager.  I placed money I didn’t have on a Super Bowl game:   The Los Angelas Rams vs. the Pittsburg Steelers. I took the Rams and lost.  Our bet was a candy bar.

Convinced he was past posting,  thinking he’d seen the game before it was televised, I tried to call him on that.  Ultimately, I was wrong, and further, even worse, I was forced to ask my father for a loan.  Their were two options for me.  He could take me behind the chicken coop and give me a whooping or I could clean his room.  My old man wasn’t in favor of butt whooping so he convinced me to clean his room.  I did, and he gave me a dollar.  My old man and I were square, but I still had to travel almost three blocks to purchase the candy bar, which was happily refused but respected by our neighbor.

Fast forward to 2019, February, 3rd. I lost a bet to my brother,Tom.  I bet on the Los Angelas Rams against the Patriots.  Instead of a candy bar, I owe him twenty dollars.  Times are heavy and so is inflation.  The money I owe him will pay his dues for March Madness.

If I didn’t pay him, he’d be going all around Chicago and telling people I was a welch.  I wouldn’t able to get a game of jacks.  (of course, that’s from The Sting)

Suckered at the age of seven and forty seven.  Guilty as charged.  O and two barbecue, I will never bet on the Rams again.

It’s funny a Twix bar comes in a package of two.



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Years ago, I used to get the 24 hour flu.  After my first year of teaching middle school, I developed an immunity.  In fact, the only two sick days I remember taking after fifteen years of teaching was when my brother broke my ribs.

Yesterday, after watching part to the Academy Awards, I quickly caught the Oscar Virus, commonly provided  by wives who convince their husbands to suffer through this wonderful display of narcissism.  After a half hour, I seriously was sweating, had the chills, and felt nauseous.  After three and a half hours, the 3 and a half hour virus passed through my system like ex lax chased with Cheetos.

Don’t get me wrong, I love movies.  However, I only watched one of the movies involved in the ceremony.  That disqualifies me from sending in a ballot.  Oh well, I probably deserve it after making my wife suffer through countless athletic events.  I don’t think she felt sorry for me.  Actually, she did which made it worse.

I’d like to thank the Academy for playing the music before I write any more of this drivel.

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Of Hot Wheels and Wrestling

It’s that time of year for anticipation and participation,  Most adults anticipate while others participate.  I give thanks and grace to those participating, especially because most of those participating are children.  Unfortunately, one of the dimmest of those children golfs in a White House.  Since I can’t digress from that, I will elevate to a different level: youth wrestling.

Twenty years ago, I witnessed one of the most spectacular feats in sports.  It wasn’t the thrill of victory or the agony of defeat, it was the apathy of entertainment.  While attending a youth wrestling event, one of which my nephew was participating in, we were forced to watch others wrestle in between the six hundred gallons of Gatorade provided between matches.  After a urine intermission, we were awaiting my nephew’s match.  The eight year  old entering the mat was carrying his hot wheels and placed them strategically on the mat as though they were a symbol of comfort.  The official allowed them to be present and within the first four seconds of the match, the boy owning the hot wheels was on his back prepared to be pinned.  Not no fast.  Before you are pinned, both shoulder blades  must remain on the mat before the match is concluded.  He kept one shoulder off the mat while he played with his hot wheels simultaneously.  Rolling them back and forth, it looked like he didn’t have a care in the the world.  For me, it would look like I had just been been bitten by a rattle snake.  It was beautiful. If only we could hear him whistling while displaying such a courageous act of relaxation.

Forgive me if I did not describe this properly while providing an adequate picture in your brain.  I have been to the Sistine Chapel.  The Chapel was mere child’s play compared to the art I witnessed that day.  Chin pinched to the front of his scapula, a  boy desperately struggling to keep his shoulder off the mat to save his hot wheels wasn’t worth the trip to
Rome.  He built that Valley mat in less than a day.,


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My Hometown

I won’d disclose his name or the city, but my friend, Vic, described it, and the city of Spokane, as delightfully as thus.  Come to Spokane!  Drinking, gambling and shoveling snow. That’s how we roll.  He’s trying to keep the tourists out.  He could also have added Chinese food and karaoke on the brochure.

His statement also reminded me of the great Mark Twain, or Samuel Clemens.  His observations were limitless, yet wildly shrewd.

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Gifts We Shall not Forget

Annually, my wife asks me what I want for Christmas.  I respond annually with this.  1:nothing. 2: A Mad Magazine, and 3: an orange.  I receive the magazine and an orange every year.  That’s what our mother would place in our stockings each year.  I miss her dearly and daily.

Happy Hollidays

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Mother Hood

My wife and I are proud parents.  She is proud as can be of our animals, (me, not so much) and I am a Spokane Washington raised hood. She believes our animals should be in the Feline and Canine Hall of Fame.  I believe they should be in prison or Spokane.  I don’t know which is worse.


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Puppies are Us

My wife is a chew toy.

Since we can’t have children, many people say we are lucky.  My wife and I aren’t feeling so lucky with our new puppy.  Just the other day, my wife was heading to the Hanford Nuclear Power Plant for a job interview, and before she went, she told our puppy to not go to heaven…quite the opposite.  Our puppy was tearing at my wife’s coveralls before she left the house. It was a spur of the moment reaction where I had to put my wife, fully clothed, in a cold shower.  She needed to cool off.

After my wife finally cooled off and put on some overalls, I secured our dog so my wife wouldn’t be further threatened, and later arrive at the interview with only scars on her hands.  She landed the job, because she is fairly sharp, and quite simply, they felt sorry for her.

I spent a portion of the evening pulling one of my razor blades out our dog’s mouth that I had placed in a garbage can with no lid.  She’s so smart.

Who is dumber?

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Just the other day, I was asked if today was the lack of talent show at the local middle school. I had to say, I’m a bit sad to miss both teaching and whatever that show was for… talent or embarrassment.  This person inquiring didn’t know I hadn’t been teaching for several hundred years…..or so it seems.

Let me digress.  I’ve been thrown out of bars, one of which my brother owned,  stadiums, restaurants, haunted houses, and even my own 20 year class reunion.  But, I’ve never been tossed out of a talent show.  Perhaps, that’s because I never entered one.  After watching the Gong Show, I just knew better.

Teaching English for roughly 15 years, I was forced to suffer through one hundred and eighty deplorable displays of children attempting to perform in front of their peers, parents, neighbors, and local enemies.  It always ended in a blood bath of boos, followed by the teachers waving goodbye, heading to the nearest bar which ultimately ended in a blood bath of booze.

Some of the teachers would remove themselves from the auditorium before the students were five seconds into their display. I found that somewhat rude.  Once, I tackled a fellow teacher, bound and gaged him, and forced him to watch a dance and song routine which would make a billy goat vomit.  It was basically a pole dance making everyone uncomfortable.  It was essentially similar to a car crash. You didn’t want to watch it, but you did have to gawk.

I hope those brave students received a degree in anything other than talent.  Otherwise, they are screwed.

On a positive note, I did enjoy the piano players actually playing the piano.  Following their performance, I would make it a point to provide appreciation to someone with talent.  Thank God was the only praise I’d deliver.

I would also clap for those brave souls without talent on stage.


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Chicken Lenny and the Shadow

Chickens don’t run around because they are afraid.  They run to avoid conflict and danger, but when summoned to provide assistance, chickens will always be willing to provide a fist, or a beak.

My friend, and my brother’s best friend, Michael Linerud aka, Chicken Lenny, was no chicken even in the Spring.  In our neighborhood, where we played baseball, tackle football, sans the pads, and even boxed in a basement full of harmless blood, Chicken Lenny ran like a chicken, but could cluck like a truck.  I never saw fear in his eyes, but, rather a gleaming spectrum of recognition and intelligence regarding his surroundings.  It was nice knowing he was on our side.

Growing up as the shadow amongst six older brothers, I would often look to Chicken Lenny for that soft, yet tough touch.  Many of my older brothers’ friends would pick on me.  They’d call me names such as tow head, reject, gimpy, lumpy, little bastard, and even muffin top.  While my brothers would laugh, knowing I could handle it, Mike, sometimes, would step in front of those wisecrackers, and say, “Hey, we are four years older than him.”  He would then provide the age old wonderful statement any hero would add at the age of 12, “Pick on someone you own size, namely me.”  My brothers would always have my back, but Chicken Lenny was the guy they could defer to if they had others to deal with when bartering candy on Halloween.  Never a fist was thrown, and I was safe.

Years later, when the others were entering high school, some of us were left behind in the neighborhood mob.  After elementary school would dismiss us, many of my older friends were attending high school and preoccupied with athletics or detention.  Therefore, I would decide to roam the neighborhood on my bicycle.  It was like tossing corn to some of the chickens in our valley.  I was fair game.

Never being a participant of idolatry, I did ,however, have heroes.  One of my heroes showed up one day to provide assistance when I was in trouble.  Chicken Lenny had broken his hand, and fortunately for me, he had taken the day off of school for a doctor’s appointment.  He lived close by, and was taking a walk in the street when he found me being picked on by someone twice my size and twice my age.  I was willing to fight, but my chances in Vegas ruled me a billion to one underdog.  Just like heaven sends us Angels, Chicken Lenny was mine that day.  He diffused the situation immediately with his clear sense of anger witnessing a young friend being picked upon.   The fear in the bully was obvious,  and not a person was harmed.  Chicken Lenny even walked me home that day.  No one followed.  Chicken Lenny and his Shadow were both safe.  I’ll never forget it.

I wish I’d have written this before his demise.  That’s the damnedest of it all.


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Seattle Public Univerisity

We just received a bill from Seattle Public Utilities.  It was for 0.00 dollars.  The check is due on May 7th.

I think we’ll save the check and the stamp.

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