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The Ratman Chronicles: First Blood

It’s official folks, there is no turning back now, we have drawn first blood. It’s been over a month since the boy and I had our first encounter with Ratman on that moon lit March night. Since then the trail has gone cold, we had all but given up hope of catching our eternal foe. That was until yesterday when we stumbled upon what looked like a deserted hobo camp sight.

I didn’t note anything of import as I kicked through the trash, muttering words of disgust. That’s when a peculiar bottle caught my eye. I picked it up for a closer inspection and felt my heart leap into my throat. I immediately signaled to the boy to be on guard. We stood back to back with weapons at the ready. James had no idea what was going on but could sense the danger in the air.

It was the empty bottle of Swiss-up that confirmed we were on Ratman’s turf. I don’t even think they make that swill anymore but apparentlyr Ratman must have brought along his secret stash. Fearing an ambush, I began searching the wood line for my quickest escape route, praying not to see the rat.

I was starting to feel confident that we were alone when suddenly I heard a familiar song. That high pitched, shrieking voice could only belong to one rat.

“What’s the word
Thunderbird
What’s the jive
Birds’ alive
How’s it sold
Good and cold
But what’s that price?
Thirty Twice.”

That’s when Ratman appeared from the shrubs directly in front of me, holding a half drunk bottle of T-Bird and a devilish grin. He broke the bottle against a tree and drew his arm back for a killing blow. I feared I was about to die face down in the trash of a disgusting hobo camp.

That’s when I felt something streak just over my right shoulder. One of Ratman’s eyeballs exploded, spraying jets of blood in all directions. He let out a shriek loud enough to crack windowpanes from 5 blocks away and deafen all the neighborhood dogs. Just a quickly as he appeared, he bolted into the woods and disappeared before I knew what had happened.

I turned to see James standing beside me, his Jake the Pirate cannon now empty of its homemade projectile. I tried to say something but he was already bending down to collect some blood samples.

We studied the blood samples all night, hoping to discover a weakness we could exploit. I will post any results after we finish our investigation.

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The Law of the Terminal Trumps Airport Etiquette

Did some traveling recently, four flights in three days gave me ample time to evaluate the current airport experience. Overall my experience was quite painless with zero delays and every plane landing safely on time. The good folks of our TSA were kind and professional, never finding need to molest my privates or give me any undue grief. The friendly staff working at Delta Airlines did everything in their power to make my flying experience as enjoyable as possible.

Unfortunately there still remains a few situations in which the law of the jungle has replaced our common courtesy. I would like to list a few of these situations here along with a brief explanation.

Boarding Time Bandits

Most airlines have developed a system of boarding that seems simple and should act as a guide for a seamless boarding process. Boarding Bandits are those assholes from Zone 3 that feel need to clog the boarding lanes with their bodies and piles of shit just as soon as the first zone is called. They’re not trying to board the plane mind you, just positioning themselves strategically to box everyone else out and hijack the lane as soon as their zone is called.

As the confused folks from Zone 2 struggle to break through this human barricade, the Gate Agent then moves on to Zone 3, allowing the Boarder Bandits to complete their coup d’├ętat, successfully boxing out all remaining passengers from Zone 2.

Some might argue “Who gives a shit Jim? You’re gonna get on the plane eventually”. Sounds reasonable until you finally reach your seat only to discover that the Boarder Bandits have hijacked your overhead luggage space, leaving you with no choice but to scavenge desperately for any leftover room.

This search for overhead space leads me to my next airport asshole.

The Premature Ejectulator

We all know this one, that person who immediately jumps to their feet and piles their shit into the aisle instantly upon reaching the gate. This might not seem like a big deal but thanks to the Boarder Bandits, your belongings are now a few feet upstream, behind this new luggage avalanche that has descended into the aisle.

The worst part is, now you look like the asshole as you clog the aisle attempting to summit this assholes luggage in pursuit of your own. Remember folks, if you just give up and let the ejectulators leave the plane first, they win.

The last group of folks that I want to mention include a large variety of different cross terminal obstacles one must try to avoid. There’s the lady who has no problem blocking both lanes of the moving sidewalk. The hordes of people who attempt to stampede onto the Tram before others can get off. The church group, wearing matching t-shirts, who can block an entire walkway while checking the flight screens. The list goes on and on but I will save it for a separate post.

I hope I didn’t come off as some jaded traveler with an axe to grind. I wish each and everyone of you folks a safe and enjoyable traveling season. It is only by working together that we can hope to eliminate some of these unsavory airport habits.

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Stock Market Monkey Business

I’ve heard a few different people tell this story when trying to explain the stock market. It’s an old story but grifting is an old trade.

There was once a small village located deep in the rain forest, far from all the horrors of modern day progress. The villagers were living an easy life, masters of survival, they had become accustomed to their harsh jungle environment.

Most mornings were spent gathered around the fire pit, discussing the day’s business and decoding the previous night’s dreams. All was grand until one morning when a stranger arrived, interrupting their morning discussions with an offer of easy riches.

The man explained how there was a great need for monkeys in the city and he was offering $10 for every monkey they could produce. The villagers seeing that there were many monkeys around, went out to the forest and started catching them by the dozens.

The man bought hundreds of monkeys at $10 a head but as supply started to diminish and the hunting became more difficult, the villagers stopped their efforts. Not one to be denied, the strange man announced that he would now pay $20 for every monkey caught.

This renewed the villagers efforts, sending them back into the forest to produce more monkeys. It wasn’t long before the supply diminished even further and the villagers once again returned to their easy going lives.

Soon the man increased the bounty to $25 each and the supply of monkeys became so little that it was rare for the villagers to spot a monkey, let alone catch it! The man then announced that he would buy all monkeys at a staggering $50 each!

The villagers again redoubled their efforts but since the man had urgent business in the city, his assistant would now be buying the monkeys on his behalf.

In the absence of the man, the assistant told the villagers. “Look at all these monkeys that the man has collected. I will sell them to you at $35 and when the man returns from the city, you can sell them back to him for $50 each.”

The villagers then rounded up all their savings and bought back all the monkeys. Unfortunately they were never to see the man nor his assistant ever again, only monkeys everywhere.

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Sexy Secrets of Yahoo’s Spam Folder

Just found out I need to check my yahoo spam folder more often. Some chick named Adriana has been trying to contact me on Facebook for weeks. I’m not sure where she’s from but according to her messages it’s only 4.2 miles from my current location.

Turns out Adriana is super “chill” and she can’t stand no drama. She loves to have fun and enjoys taking sexy pictures of herself and her sexy friends. The ladies recently acquired a new webcam and it’s always on no matter what the girls are up to.

Poor girl, she wrote to tell me that she and her beau are no longer an item. She looked at my photos because she thinks I’m super sexy and wants to hang out sometime. The conversation got really dirty after that so it will stay between me and Adriana.

I did find it kind of strange that she sent me a link to some website instead of her email address. Looks like I need a credit card just to tell this poor girl I’m spoken for. SMH. Adriana honey, if you’re reading this you need to know I’m married. Don’t worry honey, there’s a man out there for you somewhere just give it time. Please tell all your sexy friends the same.

All the best,
Jim

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Advance Praise for My Next Blog

I haven’t even begun to think about my next blog and already the reviews are pouring in. I am honored and humbled that people would take the time to send such kind words. I wanted to share a few of my favorites here with you folks before I actually begin writing.

“Jim brilliantly captures the atmosphere of colonial Virginia and sheds new light on some of Jamestown’s greatest mysteries. A blog that promises to forever change the way historians view the old dominion.”
– Publisher Biweekly

“Murder and mayhem are the order of the day in this spellbinding post. A rollicking good yarn that will leave you begging for more.”
– Nobelprize.edu

“I started reading this blog in the tub, continued reading in the kitchen and finally finished it in the bedroom. This was the first blog that made me blush!”
– Jenny Jameson

“If technology completely crashes and the web goes tumbling down, this blog will remain. It will remain immortal in the hearts of the storytellers round the world. The brave men who safeguard humankind’s greatest achievements for the betterment of posterity.”
– Stephen Hawking

“It’s a shame that nobody will remember this blog. Just like Neil Armstrong who went to the moon, came back down and nobody gives a shit.”
– Kenny Powers

“This blog reminded me of my days as a struggling writer. Living hand to mouth, always grinding for that next meal.”
– Hillary Clinton

“I read the blog to the fellas as we sat quietly in the locker room. I wish you could have seen their faces moments before we took the court. Thanks Jim, we owe it all to you.”
– Tim Duncan

“I was finally touched.”
-MC Hammer

“Mission Accomplished!”
– George Bush

There you have it friends, just a sampling of what people are saying. I dare not waste another moment basking in my future glory.

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Prick in a Prius

So I almost got killed by some chick in a Prius today. Girl is texting and driving then decides to cut me off on HW 183. Hey honey, how about you put the phone away and concentrate on the road.

Had to swerve across two lanes of traffic to avoid this hussy, spilled blue cheese sauce all over my car and almost dropped my swisher. I ended up eating the rest of my wings plain like an animal. To top it all off, my Jalaepeno cheddar cheetos got drenched in Diet Coke.

I eventually caught up to this Eco friendly airhead only to notice a couple of the most repugnant bumper stickers ever made. One simply read “Free Carbon Credits, Suck Here” with an arrow pointing towards the exhaust pipe. The other sticker was some type of cryptic warning about acid rain. Having had my fill of insults I dropped the Bu down into third and punched it.

We made eye contact as I passed, she must have noticed my cigar for she immediately began coughing violently. She actually wasn’t trying to be obnoxious but the Pavlovian training was too strong in this one. I was laughing so hard as I typed up this post I ended up cutting her off and almost crashed into the guardrail.

The Ghost inside my iPhone.

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It’s been close to six months since I purchased my iPhone. I always told myself that I would never own a smart phone, never cave to the temptation of that forbidden fruit.

I often feel that the phone is controlling me rather than me it. The phone knows me better than I do myself. It knows my habits, my daily travels, my friends and relatives, even my kinks. God help us all if our phones or our pets ever begin to talk.

After leaving the military, I spent a couple years at community college, earning my associates on the GI bill. I can’t say that I learned much other than the ability to regurgitate authorized opinions from authorized textbooks.

There was a Philosophy teacher whose class I thoroughly enjoyed, an older gentlemen who taught for part time fun rather than a full time career. His name has long been forgotten but I can still picture his face as he began each class with a joke or an update on his ever struggling golf game. He owned an old fashioned typewriter on which he would type up our exams, then run off to the copy machine to produce separate copies for each student.

A student once asked him why in the world he was still using a typewriter in this age of modern computers. His answer was the one thing from college that has stuck with me after all these years.

In a very nonchalant manner, he informed the student that he didn’t own a computer. Completely baffled, the student asked him why, to which he simply replied “I think it takes away from my humanity”.

At the time I didn’t fully understand the meaning of this casted pearl. The more I play with my iPhone or perhaps the more it plays with me, the better I understand the words of an old thinking man.

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20 Dangers Facing Yesterday’s Man

I posted this list at the end of last year and caught a little flack for it. I never intended to be a jerk and spent too much time working on it not to post it here. So here she is in all her splendid glory.

The List

Well folks the early list for 2014 is out! Please remember that this is not the entire list but simply a few chosen entries that tickled me so. This year’s Island of Man conference was held at a undisclosed private location just off the Texas coast.

This is only the second time I have had the opportunity to attend since the meetings got started back in 97. I had a blast and there are a bunch of people that I would like to thank but I will address them in a separate post.

When I received my cryptic letter from Bruce I immediately knew this year’s festivities would top all. The first few lines simply read: Gird up your loins for the struggle for the way back to mandom is long and arduous. Pleasure, all smiles, beckon you on one hand, while the nine sisters of grief beg your retreat on the other. Take refuge on the island of Man this weekend only, and prepare yourself to charge once more into that great breach!!

I knew I was in for an adventure and that is just what I got. I don’t want to bore you with all the needless details, the reason for this writing is after all, the list. For those of you who have never heard of it now is your chance to get involved. This will be the 15th year that the list has been published and every year it acts as a compass leading wayward man back towards the bosom of masculinity.

Its not our aim to offend anyone for most all men will find themselves guilty of at least a few things listed if not most. We only hope to bring these issues into the social arena and have them weighed in the balance. Without any further adieu, I present you 20 afflictions that men the world over must work to eradicate.

1. Movies based on comic books. The only exception is if you are escorting children to and from the theater.

2. Crossfit workouts. This one was highly contested among all members. Most agreed that if done at a crossfit gym with other crossfitters, there was no harm no foul. Unfortunately the plague is spreading to normal gyms like rabid locusts with six pack abs. It’s time to nip this thing in the bud.

3. Obnoxious headphones. (Looking at you Beats)

4. Earrings. This one makes the list every year and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. There are a few items that are talked about every year even though we know them as a lost cause. Luckily Bluetooth headsets were finally removed thanks to their natural demise over the past few years.

5. The phrase “no worries”. Except when in Australia where it will remain acceptable.

6. Opting for the shampoo and massage at Sports Clips. Just get your haircut and get the fuck out. We got shit to do.

7. Any form of juicing.

8. Pea Coats. Unless you are Navy or Coast Guard.

9. Wearing a dress or high heels for some bullshit cause. No exceptions.

10. Obnoxiously sized smart phones. Get a tablet already!

11. Tablets.

12. Social media. Particularly Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Facebook also made the list.

13. Wearing a professional athletes jersey. Exceptions are made for boyfriends and mothers.

14. Car selfies.

15. Having any involvement in the “I need feminism because..” campaign. This one was universally adopted and approved.

16. Tanning Beds. (see #4)

17. Yoga. Surprisingly, this was another highly debated entry. Many members went on ad nauseam about the thrill of witnessing women’s yoga pants in their natural environ. Some men prattled on endlessly about their spank bank overload that occurs after attending a” hot yoga” session. Moot and disgusting points fellas, it’s on the list.

18. Fantasy Football. This one made its debut on the list four years ago. Every year at the meet up everybody attending is currently playing fantasy football and every year they claim it’s their last season.

19. Video Games. It got really quiet when this one was nominated by some asshole. Nobody wanted to argue the case against it, ergo it makes the list.

20. Using the phrase “I’ve got nothing to hide”. Far better men than we have died for the right to privacy, lets show some respect.

Well there you have it folks, a sample of this year’s list. Being that we are still several weeks from the new year, many of these may not make the final cut. The final list should total 50 things and will be published on new years day. We are taking in any and all suggestions that people may have.

I would like to extend a special thanks to Bruce, George, Magnus, Wolfe, Big Billy, Knuckles, Julius, Prince Humungus, Bonafied and Max Powers. If it were not for you men, strangers to the world as you are, I would have no bearing.

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Hill Country Vegetarians Always Start Beef.

Well folks, the Summer of Jim is in full swing and I decided it was time to try some new things. We all know the folly of repeating the same behaviors yet hoping for new results. I knew my diet was in disarray and drastic measures needed to be taken.

After a night of self-reflection, sitting fireside in my den with a bottle of wine and a president, I had a sudden epiphany. I decided that I would spend the next two weeks as a vegetarian. Vegetarians as a rule are a barbarous lot, easily angered and processing a penchant for violence. I knew it was a dangerous endeavor but decided that for my healths sake, it was time to walk that razor’s edge.

This is how I found myself at the Wheatville Farmers market Tuesday morning, arriving long before the sun. My body was still half asleep as I sat in the parking lot reading through my various vegetarian recipes. When traveling in vegetarian circles it’s best to try and blend in. They can smell an imposter among them and they don’t take kindly to fakes. Or as they put it, “To betray the secrets of the Mysteries, to wear on the stage the dress of an Initiate, or to hold the Mysteries up to derision, was to incur death at the hands of public vengeance”.

Before entering the market I decided to hang back and take measure of the locals. Just as the sun began to peak over the horizon, two Chevy Volts entered the parking lot and proceeded to box me in on both sides. I was surrounded by a gang of ruffians the likes of which would send Leroy Brown himself running for cover.

I rolled down my window hoping to make peace with these grass-fed free rangers. Before I could gather my voice, a barrage of half eaten Lara bars began pelting me from all directions. I almost lost an eye to a loose almond that had ricocheted off my front glass. There was no time to dawdle, I jammed the Bu in reverse, laid my foot on the floor and laid rubber all the way back to Pflugerville. I think I’ll stick with eating meat for now, I’m trying to get healthier but not if that means I gotta get my ass kicked.