Out looking for a place to live, my wife and I happened upon a quaint little house in the city that we liked. There was a cyclone fence that wrapped around the backyard with an old-fashioned and weathered “beware of dog” sign on the gate. The front yard was grass.
We thought the yard and the fence would come in handy for those times when family stopped by with their dogs. In anticipation of the fun we’d have we even picked up a Chuckit and ball.
At no time were we advised there were plans to change anything about the house. The property management people treated us throughout the entire process like the rental scum that we were.
Finally it was moving day. We rolled into town in our U-haul and arrived at the property. It was so exciting. We hadn’t seen the house in two months.
Surprise. The fence was gone although the gate remained. It was no longer a place for dogs. The lawn had been replaced with raw dirt that would soon be the uber cool and trendy urban front-yard farm.
Sorry, dog. We’ve been victimized by bait-and-switch. There’s no place for a game of catch around here. But I do see a nice place where you can bury your bones. Please, feel free.
Mister Thompson calls the waiter, orders steak and baked potato
(Then) he leaves the bone and gristle and he never eats the skin
The busboy comes and takes it, with a cough contaminates it
(And he) puts it in a can with coffee grounds and sardine tins
And the truck comes by on Friday and carts it all away
A thousand trucks just like it are converging on the Bay
Oh, Garbage, garbage, garbage, garbage
We’re filling up the seas with garbage
What will we do when there’s no place left
To put all the garbage
And now, from our ongoing series Tales Of The Justice…
Who says that justice is dead? Finally, a punishment that fits the crime.
Meet garbage man Kevin McGill, 48, resident of Atlanta, Georgia, husband, and father of two children. His crime? Reporting to work too early. The punishment? Thirty (30) days in jail.
For once the justice system finally seems to be working. Really, shouldn’t reporting too early to work always result in jail time? I think so!
I humbly suggest we make this a constitutional amendment. I sustain the motion!
For those OCD nitwits out there who demand more detail I’ll reluctantly say this. His job is picking up the garbage. A city ordinance says that garbage shall not be picked up earlier than 7 a.m. McGill, obviously a true go-getter in the refuse collection industry, started his shift early. This naturally startled residents in an affluent neighborhood of Sandy Springs, a suburb located north of Atlanta.
Naturally the startled residents, hearing the terrifying sounds of a garbage truck around 5 a.m., responded to the situation by calling 9-1-1.
I hate to even think what I would have done in similar circumstances. Of course you call 9-1-1. That’s what you do. That’s what public service ads on television have been telling us for years. 9-1-1 is reserved for the important stuff. I probably would have gone further and voided my bladder and bowels. That feels like the Sandy Springs thing to do.
Residents of the wealthy neighborhood reportedly include Herman Cain and “professional athletes and executives for Delta Air Lines.” We now pause for these commercial messages while I cancel my subscription to ESPN and make new travel arrangements.
Thankfully the culprit was apprehended and the garbage in his truck was (presumably) seized into state’s evidence. Finally a task worthy of Atlanta CSI.
“One thing’s for sure,” said the star du jour while removing his super-sparkly sunglasses. “Something about this case stinks.” He then made some comment about keeping a “lid” on news coverage.
Justice was quickly served. The prosecutor (chief solicitor) wanted 30 days in jail. It was McGill’s first offense. McGill voluntarily agreed to the “plea deal” without a lawyer present and only accompanied by a representative of Waste Management, Inc., who was expecting nothing more than a routine $1,000 fine.
The prosecutor stood by the outcome saying it was right to go after McGill personally rather than his employer. “Fines don’t seem to work,” he said. “The only thing that seems to stop the activity is actually going to jail.” Yes, these are real verbatim quotes.
Fortunately, by press time and despite the fact that the story had been picked up internationally, the city and the judge had a miraculous change of heart and the charges were dropped. Yeah, just like that. That’s how they roll in Sandy Springs. Bag it and tag it. This case is done.
Suddenly the solicitor was saying whacky shit like 30 days in jail for violation of a noise ordinance was “disproportionate to a first-time offense.”
They sure do keep things classy in those ritzy neighborhoods.
Do you have the right to put up Christmas decorations? Of course you do. We are a country based on property rights and religious freedom.
Unless your decorations go against the prevailing winds of the primary government-backed religion. Laws, yes.
A town is taking legal action against a homeowner because they do not like his zombie-themed nativity scene. They do not like it at all.
So they did what any government entity would do. They took out the rule book and dusted off every arcane statute they could find to hassle the guy.
That’s using the old noodle. Mmm, brains. Let us pray!
Police forces across our great nation are financially strapped and forced to cut and prioritize services, but do not worry. The city has code enforcement funding to protect us against zombie Jesus.
In other news, a woman who practices the Pastafarian religion recently won the right to wear a colander in her driver’s license photo. I think I’m in love.
I live in Portland, Oregon, which mostly receives electrical power from Portland General Electric. Founded in 1888 the company was eventually owned by Enron Corporation from 1997 until 2006 until Enron went bankrupt.
See? I just used a writing technique known as foreshadowing.
Foreshadowing is a literary device by which an author hints what is to come.
By dropping the name Enron, you are now on notice that this story does not bode well. The portends are decidedly not in our favor. It’s time to omen up.
Yes, I’m being mysterious. I’m trying to leave you in the dark. Just like Portland General. Bazinga!
Being a major metropolitan area, the City of Portland is designed with security and reliability in mind. Power outages simply do not happen unless:
- The wind blows up to one (1) mph
- A squirrel gets hungry
- Water magically falls from the sky
- A drunk person, in a trillion-to-one event, rams their car into a pole
Such simple criteria means the city loses power about every 42 minutes. Who knew that cramming 625,000 people in the same area would make stuff happen? Yes, I live in a city where squirrels are frequently blamed for power outages.
At least Portland is safe. No one, not even a terrorist, could ever fuck with this city unless:
- A tweaked out kid needs to take a whiz in a city resevoir
- The wind blows and a branch falls and an entire power grid goes haywire
- Water magically falls from the sky
Portland has many names. The City of Roses. Bridgetown. Stumpdown. Rip City. Little Beirut. PDX. Cloud City. But, during autumn at least, it could also be known as The City of Leaves. (Leaves are the unpredictable byproduct of shitloads of trees.) And the city has a great strategy for dealing with them. “Clean ’em up your own damn self. You want your storm drains to work? Better get on it. By the way, we’re adding a street fee. You need to pay more taxes for this.”
So it rained on Sunday. We were out running errands. We had to retrace our steps. We drove through St. Johns. Then it started to rain. An hour later we went through the same area. It had already flooded the size of Lake Erie. It wasn’t even a heavy rain.
There had been a few brief gusts of wind. So, yeah, the power was already out. We pulled into a bar just as thunderous lightning spooked everyone in the place. They were amazed. Lightning? Wowwee. Perhaps Portland has exactly the power company it deserves?
We continued on our way and that’s when I noticed it. The traffic signals were are dark. None of them were red. None were yellow. None were green.
You know what that means, right? The entire city went Starman on steroids. Perhaps we can add “Starport City USA” to our lengthy list of nicknames?
[Starman is driving the car, and speeds across a recently turned red light, causing crashes for the other motorists]
Jenny Hayden: Okay? Are you crazy? You almost got us killed! You said you watched me, you said you knew the rules!
Starman: I do know the rules.
Jenny Hayden: Oh, for your information pal, that was a *yellow* light back there!
Starman: I watched you very carefully. Red light stop, green light go, yellow light go very fast.
Apparently the collective wisdom of the hipster lumbersexuals in PDX is this: No street light, go very fast.
That’s weird because the law says an unpowered traffic signal is to be treated as a four-way stop. It’s so weird that no one in Portland knew that. Keep Portland weird.
So we sat at an intersection watching an endless stream of cars whiz by at top speed and we never got a turn. To pass the time we celebrated several birthdays. And I plotted revenge. Now I understand where Joker, Riddler and Penguin are coming from.
This may be my last blog post for a while. I’ve decided to keep my computer turned off when I think Portland General will be unable to keep the grid powered. By my calculations that means I’ll have a 42-minute window of electricity per day.
Next up, on Iron Skillet Chef America our celebrity judge feels he’s entitled to share his opinions. Alloy cuisine!!! –Ed.
As a proud “native Oregonian” I’ve lived in Portland, on and off, since 1981. I’ve been to a few places to eat along the way. From food carts to neighborhood pub n’ grubs to world class cuisine, Portland has a veritable plethora of long waiting lines guaranteed to satisfy most any connoisseur of the latest trendy thing.
Voodoo Doughnut? I’ve never been. The line has always been too damn long. Who has that kind of time for a doughnut with bacon on it? My trick? Go to two different places, grab a doughnut from a regular place and a side of bacon from a diner. Voila! I call that Voodoo without the wait. When you’re downtown you’ll people toting around with their little pink boxes of Voodoo doughnuts as if to say, “Look at me! I did the wait!” Pro Tip: That pink box goes really well with plaid.
This is one of those topics on which I harp on from time to time. And by “harp” I pretty much mean the instrument my family members must be playing up in Heaven. Right after they accidentally burned down the family tree with a carelessly discarded lit cigarette.
Apparently I’m the proverbial apple that fell far from the tree. Or, in Taker family terms, I’m a mutant. Ironically, at least in this context, I’m a dying breed. You see, I don’t smoke and I never have.
I grew up in the “typical” American family. Our core family unit consisted of mom, dad, a sister, myself and 2.3 cats. Assuming the smoking rate back then, the math is already amazing. For simplicity’s sake we’ll say the odds of an adult smoking were one-in-three back when I was a youngling. Based on that, the odds of me being the only non-smoker in a family of four was about 1 in 27.
But wait, the fun doesn’t stop there. My sister had some children. 4 out of 4 of them are smokers. I had a son. He’s a smoker. My wife had a son. He’s a smoker. My son just announced his pending nuptials on Facebook. Nearby was a picture of the lucky couple. Both were proudly holding cigarettes.
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The people in the self-described “weird” city of Portland, Oregon are serious about many things. Like roses, microbrew, recycling, bridges, kale, bicycling, front yard gardens, cafés with garage doors, beards, fedoras, the Trailblazers, dogs and, last but not least, trees. These are but a few of our favorite things.
We were lucky enough to be the recipients of a new tree in our front yard courtesy of a non-profit organization that plants and cares for trees in metro areas. We also routinely have a CAR2GO parked down the block but that’s another story.
What we didn’t know was that this tree was the harbinger of a new long-term relationship in our lives. These trees like to put down roots.
Taking on the responsibility of a tree is a serious matter. It’s nothing to bark at.
We recently received our second report card (in the form of a flyer on our door) based on a personalized visit to our home. Yes, in a crazy mixed-up world where abused children often go unnoticed and sadly fall through the cracks, our baby tree is lavished with love, support and attention. If only the government could run with this much efficiency.
I thought I’d end this post by leafing you with a description of our tree parenting grades. I told my wife we should have redshirted the bastard but no one ever listens to me. Now our graduation ceremony marking us as successful tree companions is in danger of going timber.
Soil: Mixed. Ours was rated “a little dry.”
Mulch: Thumbs down. Ouch. But they said they’ll take care of it.
Root Zone: Thumbs up.
Bark: Thumbs up.
Canopy: Thumbs up.
Sucker Growth: Thumbs up. (Apparently we got a waiver for me to remain on the property.)
Overall Grade: Double secret probation.
There was nary a gold star on our report card. Apparently we’re falling down on the job. But we did get a nice thank you doing our part to help the “urban forest” grow.
In the comments section they also noted that we have failed to properly christen Junior with a name for his root certificate. I’ve purchased some baby name books and we hope to accomplish this soon. I’ve already got a bottle of champagne ready to smash on his/her trunk. Hopefully the christening procedure won’t hurt our Bark Rating.
No trees were harmed during the creation of this post.