Top 5 Nicknames for Bellingham, WA

  1. Nacho Bell
  2. Bellington Thirst Howl III
  3. Bling Hamz
  4. Hamenstein
  5. Mr. Beldingham

CK get’s all the credit for the obvious winner on that list. We just had a phone conversation about this and he made tears well up in my eyes with Mr. Beldingham. He said it almost reluctantly, not immediatlely grasping its genious, but then when I used it in a sentence we both knew it rolled off the tongue rather nicely.

Me (recreating CK calling me up out of the blue): “So a,.. hey man… how are things up there in Mr. Beldingham?”

[Sidenote: When I said the previous line in conversation with CK I used the voice and character that I have now officially named Chucky Hasbean. Now you all know that I sometimes use voices and or facial/hand gestures to add in a little physical comedy here and there. So now picture the me you know and… forget him. Instead picture me as Chucky Hasbean (aka Chuckles the Dude, aka Chuck-E-Sleaze) who is kind of a washed-up, never grew out of high school parking lots, mindless guy who stumbled in life but who has a heart of fucking gold. That is Chucky and, damn it, picture him instead. ]

So what are the top 5 nicknames of your city?

A Major Flip Flop

I can’t believe I’m about to change my position on an issue as important as this…

I think Sammy Hagar might be a better front man than David Lee Roth. Wow. Even now, I can’t believe I’m saying this. Last night’s Van Halen concert featuring Sammy Hagar changed everything. It took seventh row seats and permanent hearing damage to arrive at this conclusion, but I’m officially convinced.

This is not taking anything away from David Lee Roth. He’s a legend. He was one of the few rockers that gratuitously performed the splits on stage. He could pull off the look of sunglasses and a taxi driver’s cap better than anyone. And he put Van Halen on the map.

But after the electrifying show Sammy Hagar and the rest of Van Halen put on last night, I have a hard time envisioning anyone being able to top it. They played over three hours without a break. The audience stood and cheered the entire time. We were losing circulation in our legs and our bladders were uncomfortably full of beer, but nobody left for even a minute. Van Halen flat out rocked. I held a pretty tepid appreciation of Van Halen before last night, but my level of fandom shot up tremendously after seeing them live.

Here are some highlights of the evening in bulleted format…

  • Eddie performed a 20-minute guitar solo. Twenty minutes. At one point he crawled into the fetal position and put his head next to a wall of speakers. His guitar screeched as the audience wondered if he was attempting to commit suicide through massive amounts of feedback. It was a stellar performance though. He played like he had bet the Devil his soul against a fiddle made of gold.
  • My only complaint against Sammy Hagar was that he wore a pair of red Capri pants during the show. This bothered me the whole concert. I studied his pants closely, and honestly, I think my wife bought the same pair of pants at the GAP last weekend.
  • The bass player had a bass guitar painted like a bottle of Jack Daniels. The best part was that his guitar functioned as a Pez dispenser for those little mini liquor bottles you see on airplanes. Periodically throughout the concert, he’d pop out a shot of whiskey, down half the bottle and throw the rest into audience. That, my friends, is showmanship.
  • The band split evenly into shirts and skins. Eddie and Alex Van Halen went shirtless, apparently ready for a pickup game of basketball after the show.
  • Rest assured, Eddie Van Halen is still the master of doing the jumping scissor kick while playing the guitar. He proved this time and time again.
  • Midway through the concert, they announced the score of the Yankees-Red Sox game. Judging by the crowd’s reaction, apparently I am the only person on earth that was rooting for the Yankees. In my opinion, as impossible as this may sound, the Red Sox were less likable than the Yankees.

    Let’s face it, most of the Red Sox players look like juvenile delinquents. If you removed their hats, it wouldn’t surprise me to see curse words shaved into their hair. I don’t know, all the wild haircuts, punk behavior, scruffy goatees… They looked like they belonged at a skate park instead of on a baseball diamond. (I know, I know, as the bumper sticker on the Allen family minivan proclaims: “Skateboarding is Not a Crime!!“) The Yankees on the other hand, looked clean-shaven and professional. They looked like they could have been heading to a job interview after the game. Sometimes it’s just nice to see the team with better grooming habits win. I’ll leave it at that.

  • Remember the scene in the movie “Old School” where Vince Vaughn performs a gymnastics routine while smoking a cigarette? It is arguably the funniest scene in the movie. Anyway, at one point Eddie lit a cigarette and performed his usual jumps and spins around the stage. It was probably the closest thing I’ve witnessed in real life that essentially duplicated that scene from the movie. There were 10,000 people screaming wildly in the arena that night, but I think I was the only one holding in laughter.
  • Throughout the concert, several girls threw their bras and panties up on stage. Sammy would collect these undergarments, hold them up for the crowd, and then drape them over his mic stand. I had no problem with any of this.
  • Like a lot of aging rockers, Eddie Van Halen, sadly, is looking a little fried. The few times he addressed the crowd, he mumbled, rambled and managed to say things that were completely unintelligible. Granted, he’s far more coherent than Ozzy Osbourne, but at the same time, I’m not sure if that is a yardstick you want to measure yourself against.
  • At one point, an audience member threw a giant banner onto the stage that read: “Sammy for President.” Seizing the moment, Sammy waved it around onstage for several minutes and then tied it around his waist like a sarong. I think I speak for most people when I say this: Provided his whiskey-swilling bass player was his running mate, this is one Presidential ticket we could all get behind.

Reading for Dummies

I consider myself a man of letters, a scholar, a learned gentlemen of the zillionaire persuasion, if you will. When I’m not brushing up on my Latin, you can usually find me buried nose-deep in the written word. I’ve studied the works of the masters and spent hours debating the likes of Joyce, Hemingway, and Suess. But that was before I had this leach called “Work” suctioned to my spine, sucking out all my motivation, energy, and will to live. My brain has atrophied to the point where my head now makes a sloshing sound when I lay it down on the pillow at night. With my last firing synapse, I’m trying to remedy the situation by delving back into books. Through painstaking research I’ve discovered that books are the best jumping off point for actual reading.

The fruits of my research grew slowly, however. The first week all I did was admire the book. Week two was spent examining the dust cover. By week three of my program I decided to start sitting down in a comfortable chair while holding the book. I would prop the book open in front of me for long stretches of time, regaining the strength in my wrists, forearms, and biceps. The sorer my arms felt the more work I knew I had ahead of me.

It should be noted that throughout this process I was avidly journaling my experiences and marking my progress. This sort of stuff was bound to help others, I figured. There are no training manuals for middle-aged illiterates. There are no how-to guides for redeveloping the atrophied mind. “Aha!” I said! I had stumbled upon my first brilliant idea since reinvigorating my faculties; the only unwritten book in the popular (and lucrative) “Dummies” series. I would assemble my various scribblings, jots, and canoodlings into Reading for Dummies. I even came up with a subtitle to make it seem more legitimate, “The First and Last Book You’ll Ever Need to Read”

I ran this idea by a few trusted friends who also suffered from MPB (mash-potato brain) and they were keen on the premise, but thought a book in any form might be daunting to those who can’t yet read. After all, while the first chapter of my book entitled “What is a Book?” advocated specifically against reading and promoted “prolonged casual glances,” the advice could only be conveyed to the reader through loosely strung-together words. To top it off, I can’t and won’t compromise my feelings that picture books aren’t really books, a decision that to this day stops me from recognizing all degrees from MR’s alma mater, Central Washington University.

At this point, my bunsen burner of a neck had been lit and the soup in my skull was warming up faster than MR can write up a post about playing xbox while getting wasted with high school buddies at his wedding. In other words, brilliant idea number two popped into my head. My book would be the first book bundled with an accompanying book on tape! Books on tape and book means no more tedious lessons on all the letters of the alphabet. No more overtaxed retinas deciphering every curve and dash of ink. Say goodbye to eyebrows and eyelashes and all the other fancy ocular adaptations we evolved over the years. They are going the way of the dodo or more currently the Nealon.

It’s simple, easy, and simply easy. All you do is follow along. I REPEAT, ALL YOU DO IS FOLLOW ALONG. In fact, you can just fake follow along, changing pages whenever you feel like it. If you listen with headphones, you can pull out the book while you are on the bus or some other public place and fan through the pages in one minute, close the book and put it away. Everyone will think you are Albert-freaking-Einstein. And in a way you will be, because he couldn’t read either!

To my astute readers, the answer is “Yes.” To my Jeopardy-challenged readers, the question was, “Did you just solve the world’s education problems?” To my kneeling and praying readers, I accept your sacrificial goat-meat but warn that a great and mighty plague shall ruin your arable land unless you get me a copy of Halo 2 on November 9 at midnight.

I have a feeling that some of you doubters are reading this and don’t see the merit of my ideas. To you I say you really need a new act because I sensed you were doubting and you’ve become such a reliable force of doubt in the world that the rest of the world has written you off as doubters. There isn’t a shadow of a doubt in my mind that you doubt “doubt shadows” even exist when all I see around you is shadow all the time. No diggity. No doubt.

What about cd’s you ask? I’ve thought of that. Tapes are old and not many people have tape players anymore. So that’s why I bundle Books on Tape (or CD) and Book. If you have an archival storage media, I can and will put a book on it. Guaranteed. No matter where you go, whatever you are doing, you can be listening and learning the content of a book. That is my promise. If you are on the go, I offer Ebooks on Book, CD, Tape, PDF, and ebook. Analog or digital. Kilobyte or candy-gram. Mp3 or DVD.

The DVD option, aside from the fact that writing this is the equivalent of taking a cat o’ nine tails to the corpse of a shetland pony, could be the simplest option of them all. With a DVD, you wouldn’t even need to follow along with the book while listening, you could just watch the video of someone following along to the book on tape (or cd). They would be sitting in a comfortable chair, just like yourself, with a copy of the book outstretched before them, doing all the labor! And for all the DVD heads out there, the special features would contain alternate endings where the reader of the Book on Tape or CD would vary their tone or inflection slightly on the last paragraph of the novel.

The End.

or is it

The End

Reese’s S’more

I’ve been meaning to contribute under the heading “Zillion Dollar Ideas” for some time, but I had abstained for three reasons:

1. How do you top “toilet paper gloves?” (On a side note, while this is an ingenious idea, I’d hate to see the failed prototypes…)

2. Out of sanitary, or in most cases, purely selfish reasons, there are some things I choose to keep to myself. For example, here’s a partial listing of things I don’t like to share with others: The road, my dessert, airplane legroom, leftover pizza, swimsuits, health (in a video game setting), PIN numbers, and toothbrushes. Along those lines, it just seems like brilliant ideas should be hoarded, closely guarded, and possibly used for world domination.

3. Has anyone noticed there is a major deficiency of Zillion Dollar ideas on this site? It’s embarrassing. We’ve been at this for about six months now, and we’ve come up with two. Conversely, a pair of monkeys pounding at two typewriters in the last six months could have easily churned out a few dozen Zillion dollar ideas and probably a couple Shakespearean plays as well… (And frankly, the monkeys would likely have had fewer episodes of throwing fecal matter at each other…)

As you may have guessed, I’ve dealt with this before. Fortunately, I have never been one to quit on things just because I had come to the realization that a primate could render a higher quality product and demonstrate more professionalism in the process. And on that note, I’m pleased to present the Reese’s S’more!

Now ideally, an introduction such as this would take place over a campfire, not in the cold outer reaches of cyberspace. Regrettably, due to a scheduling conflict, the Nobel Prize Committee was unable to “meet me in the woods” for a proper unveiling. I heard through the grapevine that the same thing happened to Stephen Hawking.

Anyway, for once, I won’t bore you with all the minutia about the composition of a typical S’more. It’s irrelevant. Let’s face it, the three little bars of Hershey’s milk chocolate had run its course. It was fine in the 1800’s. That’s all they had. Now, we have an endless array of candy bar options to construct a S’more with. And that line of thinking ultimately led to the Reese’s S’more…

Please understand, with most things, I am a traditionalist. For instance, I have resisted the societal pressure to order a “Pannido” at Jack in the Box. I have firmly stood my ground in opposition to satellite radio. And I have no interest in carrying around Sacajawea dollar coins instead of paper bills. But when it comes to S’mores, I tend to be a little daring. After trying several different candy bar substitutions to the standard milk chocolate, it became instantly clear that the inclusion of peanut butter was a remarkable improvement to the traditional S’more.

Admittedly, anyone can throw together an unconventional S’more recipe and win a slew of Humanitarian awards for their efforts. It’s been done. Look at Gandhi and his lentil S’more. While the ingredients are important, the true brilliance of the Reese’s S’more is derived in the preparation

To yield the perfect distribution of chocolate, peanut butter and marshmallow within the graham crackers, the Reese’s peanut butter cup must be cut crosswise. This is pretty labor intensive, and borderline impossible to do, which is why I rely heavily on my wife during the assembly process.

First, it takes an amazingly steady (read: not intoxicated) hand to do this… Since I’m never within 20 miles of civilization or sobriety on a camping trip, I leave this delicate incision to my wife. As luck would have it, she possesses the hand-eye coordination and physical dexterity necessary in making Reese’s S’mores or dominating a game of Operation.

Also, you need to have the right knife for the job. Unfortunately, while camping, I simply don’t carry a knife with a blade less than 18 inches in length. While a knife this size is useful for chopping down saplings and performing Crocodile Dundee impersonations, it is just flat out impractical for making ultra fine slices through peanut butter cups.

Again, my wife helps remedy this situation as well. Truthfully, the Reese’s S’more could never have come to pass without my wife bringing every kitchen utensil we own on every camping trip. Only my wife could classify items like melon ballers, spoonrests and flower sifters as part of the bare necessities needed to survive a weekend in the wilderness. Thusly, when the situation calls for it, she nonchalantly removes a paring knife from our knife block and lacerates the peanut butter cup. I seriously doubt most plastic surgeons could make such a precise incision.

Finally, the speed of the cut is important too. If cut too quickly, the whole thing crumbles in your hands. Too slow and the marshmallow is stuck cooking too long, possibly catching on fire, and at that point, the whole S’more is compromised. As you have witnessed, preparation of the Reese’s S’more is a painstaking task and an artform that takes years to perfect. Attempting to master the intricate timing and cutting techniques has driven people to the brink of insanity. I can only promise that the enjoyment of this delicacy makes it all worthwhile.

The Reese’s S’more is my legacy and a gift to my fellow man. I’m disclosing this idea not for profit, but for the betterment of all mankind. I only ask that it be used for the establishment of peace, and not in the pursuit of evil. With that said, I must now begin clearing mantle space for the Nobel Prize…

Rainbow Six Personality Profiles

Continuing on with the Rainbow Six theme, I thought I would elaborate on the personality profiles discussed briefly in the Comments section…

The Captain: Despite what the comments section may suggest, The Captain is not the rigid authoritarian his subordinates portray him as… The Captain is an experienced field commander that simply understands the strengths, weaknesses and tendencies of his teammates and the enemy. Armed with this knowledge and a machine gun, he uses these assets to lead his team in an ongoing hunt for terrorists…

As a general rule, Captains are created, not appointed. It takes a dire moment of uncertainty on the battlefield, where lives are on the line and the mission objectives hang in the balance. The soon-to-be Captain looks into the vacuous, indifferent or bloodshot eyes of his fellow teammates and comes to the realization that any hope of success in the mission lies completely in his hands. When he ultimately leads them to victory, his role is cemented. Going forward, the greatest burden on The Captain is not surviving the war around him, but simply maintaining some degree of discipline and focus with a platoon filled with the personalities listed below…

Along for the Ride: Somehow, this person always has full health. No matter how intense the firefight, they seem to emerge completely unscathed. This is no accident, as this individual routinely positions himself behind another player for a human shield. Also, he usually is equipped with a sniper rifle, so that he can shoot enemies from great distances to accumulate the safest possible kills. Along for the Ride’s main objective is to simply survive as long as possible, even if it means demonstrating the cowardice of George McFly (before he fought Biff) in the process. While this person usually manages to survive for the duration of most missions, his act eventually runs thin…

The Glory Hog: This person picks and chooses his moments of bravery, but it will always be at the expense of the mission objectives and when very little danger is present. For example, The Glory Hog will never miss an opportunity to abandon his position to notch a kill, especially when he’s supposed to be prudently covering teammates or disarming a dirty bomb. For this reason, The Glory Hog is not entrusted with any critical objectives, as he generally spends the better part of each mission polishing his medals, applying moisturizer or whitening his teeth.

The Martyr: This squad member will risk his own life to save the life of a teammate or to insure the prolonging of the mission. For instance, The Martyr will place himself directly between a hostage and enemy gunfire to prevent an assassination attempt by the terrorists. By placing himself squarely in harm’s way, the Martyr often will pay the ultimate price. However, The Martyr’s actions are not totally selfless… The Martyr wants to die just to receive posthumous recognition for valor from his other teammates. Secretly, The Martyr hopes his surviving squad members will rally around his death and carry on the mission to seek vengeance in his name. The Martyr can stand to be gone, as long as he is not forgotten…

The Grieving Widow: This teammate takes a little too long to come to grips with the loss of a teammate. And for the record, the definition of “a little too long” is any length of time greater than one second. The Grieving Widow syndrome usually occurs when The Martyr has sacrificed his life for theirs. Feeling indebted to this person, The Grieving Widow will usually deliver the two-sentence eulogy every Martyr wants to be remembered by…

The Grieving Widow: “Wow, McSex came out of nowhere and just saved my life… I’ll have to name my first-born after him!!!”

The Overreactor: His philosophy is simple: No threat is too insignificant that it can’t be met with several grenades and intense, indiscriminate machine gun fire. The term “loose cannon” comes readily to mind. Being shot at by a video game terrorist is actually taken personally. If this player had a button on their controller that could make his character smear “Braveheart” war paint all over their face, scream an exalted battle cry and charge into a hornet’s nest of enemies it would be used constantly.

Cannon Fodder: The one teammate on which all other squad members silently agree is at best a profound annoyance and at worst a total detriment to the mission. Sadly, Cannon Fodder has no idea his life is completely expendable in the eyes of his teammates.

Sometimes “Along For the Ride” evolves into Cannon Fodder once teammates with only a shred of health determine that “Along for the Ride” hasn’t been pulling his weight. At this point, “Along for the Ride” will be pushed to the front of the unit where most attacks (and casualties) are rendered. Usually, the last sentence this individual hears is: “Ok, we’ll guard this empty parking lot, you go inside their ammunition stronghold and serve the terrorists with this UN resolution.”

Map Illiterate: In real life, my navigational skills are comparable to Gilligan’s. Surprisingly, I don’t fall into this category while video gaming. Somehow, I can look at a nebulous video grid with moving dots and flashing symbols and translate it like an air traffic controller.

Here’s an example of a typical exchange with someone who’s map illiterate:

Map Illiterate: “Where are you guys?”
McSex: “Look at the map screen…”
Map Illiterate (after a long pause): “Am I the flashing dot? What does the blinking triangle represent? I just walked over a bridge… Does that appear on the map somewhere?”
McSex (sighing): “Alright. We’ll come find you. We need a signal though… Drop several live grenades at your feet. The explosions and smoke trail will lead us to you…”
Map Illiterate: “Ok, thanks. That sounds like a good plan. All set. The grenades should be exploding any sec-”

Unfortunately, depending on how the mission is progressing, and the level of patience other teammates are feeling, Map Illiterate can frequently be reclassified as Cannon Fodder…

The Girl Scout: Does his best, but is frankly more suited to selling thin mints door-to-door than systematically killing terrorists. The Girl Scout is consistently at the bottom of the list when it comes to kills, life expectancy, and testosterone.

The Intoxicated: Long pauses, slurred speech, and slowed reaction times are trademarks of The Intoxicated player. While they bring no discernable skills to the mission, they do provide lively conversation and usually don’t mind (or notice) if they are accidentally killed by friendly fire. On a side note, The Girl Scout always enjoys playing with The Intoxicated, as it dramatically improves his odds that he won’t be the first to die.

The Malcontent: This team member strives to undermine the authority of The Captain above all else. There are varying degrees to which this disdain for leadership is felt and expressed. Sometimes it can be harmless acts of rebellion like a “Kick Me” sign on the back of a commanding officer. Often, the Malcontent will impersonate The Captain and issue mock orders in the same manner the Captain would use:

The Malcontent: “Ok, everyone. We need to regroup immediately and cease having fun. This is a mission-critical objective people. Any fun taking place will cause me to abort the mission entirely!”

At his worst, The Malcontent will actually sabotage the mission with treasonous orders that other teammates may unwittingly fall for…

The Malcontent (disguising voice): “This is your Captain talking… I think I might be a terrorist. Frankly, we can’t take the risk that I’m not. I am issuing a directive that I am to be shot on sight immediately.”

(This technique is especially effective if The Intoxicated or The Overreactor are members of the squad…)

Side Conversationalist: Unknowingly, this person will hold conversations with the outside world over his headset while his anti-terrorist platoon listens in. Most of the time, these are “Yes, dear” conversations with our wives/girlfriends that serve to emasculate us in front of our friends.

However, Ole_Cool, a lawyer in real life, takes it to a whole other level. He will often answer a client’s call to his cell phone and proceed to discuss their legal woes in great depth without turning off his headset. Let me say right now, it is extremely difficult to resist the urge to chime in with advice like “Plead insanity!!!” or “Bribe the judge!!” during his legal counseling. Apparently, as far as Ole_Cool is concerned, every member of his platoon shares in the attorney-client privilege.

The “Cover Me” Guy: This person will suspend all common sense and decide to take a ridiculously foolish risk in the game. Of course, the expression “Cover Me” originated sometime in the 80’s with wildly unrealistic cop movies like Lethal Weapon. The unfortunate by-product of these movies is a generation of Martin Riggs wannabe’s that thinks they can accomplish a suicide mission by simply ordering their partners to “Cover Me.”

Here’s an example of how it ties in with Rainbow Six:

The “Cover Me” Guy: “You see that building where the heavily armed Tangos have superior positions and are well-fortified? I’m gonna run in there with this Swiss Army knife and fight them all hand-to-hand. Cover me.”
McSex: “Ok… Or, you know, we could just sneak in through the back alley…”
The “Cover Me” Guy: “That’ll take too long. Just Cover Me. I’m goin’ in!!!!”

Of course, when The “Cover Me” Guy is subsequently killed in horrific fashion from a barrage of enemy gunfire, he naturally blames his death on his teammates for not “covering” him. Practicing social Darwinism, The Captain of the squad is utterly content to the team “naturally” thin itself…