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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Stink Holes

Sink holes are nothing to be challenged with, especially when county workers are attempting to fix the issue.  There is currently a sink hole on our street.  Since we live on a dead end road, we had no way of exiting our house, even to get toilet paper.  I went down to visit five “workers”.  Four of them were doing nothing…..I mean Nothing, and the other one was awake. That’s progress.

Holding my hand up with contrition, I worked for the county one summer while attending college.  As a rookie, I was instructed not to work so hard.  The county veterans said I was making them look bad.

I finished the summer while county veterans, on the county clock mind you, were spending the first three hours of the day traveling to a local convenient store collecting doughnuts and chicken gizzards, followed by finding a secluded park where they could eat their meal and read the paper, and then it was nap time for them.

While the 70 year old I was “working” with was snoozing in the park, I walked around picking up garbage just to make myself feel as though I didn’t have to attend confession after work.

We also had Fridays off.  Sweet deal.  I still found a different job.

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Teachers at Large

Armed teachers?  On the way to school, you may as well give them a bottle of tequila on the way. This is not the way to solve this school shooting issue.

I don’t carry a gun.  As a former a teacher for fifteen years, I was involved in one lockdown only resulting in one death.    The boy took his life before entering our school.

I hate making light of this issue, because there is no light.  I know teachers.  If you arm them, they will end up shooting one another in the staff room.  Teachers can be as dangerous as the troubled children we teach.

I once threw a ripe orange at one of my best friends in the staffroom.  It hit him square in the forehead.  Just think if I’d had a gun.  You do the math.

Shootout at the middle school corral .


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Juice Bags

A friend of mine, whose name, Jeremy, will remain nameless was recently cut off by a driver he referred to, out loud, as a “Douche Bag”.  With a momentary lapse of verbal judgement, he forgot his three elementary children were in the back seat.  One of them asked, “Dad, what’s a “Juice Bag?”  I think he got off easy on that one.

As a loyal friend, I’m going to reveal the true story to his wife when his and her boys start calling people Juice Bags.

There are just too many juice bags in this world.  One of them is currently trying to run our country.

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Two Stooges

Before heading to the Confetti Plant, my wife always loves me reading the Super Quiz in the Seattle Times while she’s dolling herself up for a hard day of ripping paper. There is a different subject each day. Usually, it’s Science, Geography, food or Ice Dancing. Today’s subject was, “The Bible”.  That’s a tough one, since we’ve not been to church since the Bible was written.

The first question was, “What were the actual names of the three wise men?”  Without hesitation, she answered, “Larry Moe, and Curly.”  It was brilliant.  I fell down on our bathroom floor with amusement.

Me, being a simpleton, would have answered, “Gold, Frankenstein, and Murry.”

One out of three ain’t bad.




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Intros and Concussions

Sometimes, the best introduction ends with a  great concussion.

Some of my brothers picked on me.  Since I was the youngest, it was pretty fun for them to  perform acts of unkindness.  Hanging me up from a tree while serving a two year sentence in leg braces was only one form.  Personally, I preferred tamed fighting as opposed to emotional abuse.  Far to0 young to match their wits or humiliation approaches, I chose the barbarian approach…  Fighting.  As one of  my brothers  once said, no one wins in a fight.  So true.  It’s senseless, mindless, and you wind up with a broken nose, concussion, or blood from your opponent causing your mother to do an extra load of laundry.

Not sustaining a broken nose, as I am aware of, the concussions and blood were true, and I deserved some of them.

I love my brothers and am glad I didn’t mess with my six older sisters.  That would have been concussion central.  I love them as well.  They all taught me how to be strong, compassionate, and how to gamble.

We were and are a family, and I wouldn’t choose anyone else to help me along in that pasture of ultimate kindness.  There really was no bullying, just blood and love, and a few concussions.

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Do you Believe in Basements?….Yes!

No skates.  No Ice.  Just tennis shoes and clubs.

The Winter Olympics isn’t just about figure skating around a rink.  With remorse, I was forced by my sisters to watch ice skating.  Although knowing zero about figure skating or hockey, I preferred ice cream and ice hockey.

After witnessing the “Miracle on Ice”, in 1980, my brothers and friends became interested in the sport.  None of us had skates, but my father accumulated a load of golf clubs from many of the doctors working with him.  They provided the clubs as a form of tithing or charity.  After the 1980 Winter Olympics, we used the clubs as hockey sticks and the used golf balls as pucks.

While still wearing a leg brace at the time, I was forced to be the goalie.  Coincidentally, Jim Craig, the USA goalie, was my favorite player on the USA team.  I used a worn downed catcher’s mitt to defend our goal.  The mitt should have surrounded my face.  I took more golf balls off me from the basement floor than Frazier took hits from Ali.  Someone taking a putter and hitting a golfball into your forehead is just flat out embarrassing.  Can you at least pull out a three wood or even an eight iron.

Staggering back, it was glorious.  It may have been dangerous, but it sure was fun.

No brain, no pain. No goals.  Just use your head.

Perhaps, we’ll see another miracle this year.







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The Buffett

Cheeseburgers can become paradise.

Although I didn’t love the song by Jimmy Buffett, “Cheese Burger in Paradise”, I learned to love his music and free beer.  So did my wife.

People believe Disney Land is the happiest place on earth.  I beg to differ.  For one night, a Jimmy Buffett concert in the glorious sun tanned coconut city of Seattle, he made it the happiest place on earth.

My wife had no interest in attending this concert.  She only knew two of his songs.  I told her to trust me.  She did and didn’t regret it.  It wasn’t just the music which was terrific, and additionally not the entertainment, equally as terrific…. It was the atmosphere.  People were happy.  Every paying guest was relishing in what can be good and peaceful in this world.  There were no tears…Only smiles and people handing you beers.  We felt as though we were at the most peaceful colosseum in Rome.  Jimmy and his band made you, for two hours, forget how ugly this wonderful country can be.

Facing difficult times, sometimes we forget about the paradise we, as Americans, created. I hope and pray this current cheeseburger can once again become a paradise.


Britt’s husband

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