Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Fresh Off the Farm

"Across the lot from our office barn, you'll see the goat pasture, where Charlie frolics and grazes…"

This is the opening line of the mini-newsletter that came in the carton of Country Hen free-range, organic eggs I bought yesterday. I'd never before bought food that came with literature, so I decided to read on.

Charlie, it seems, was happily ruling the roost with his goat girlfriend Sarah, butting heads, basking in the sun, rifling through garbage, that is until Clover the goat showed up. According to "Farm News" Clover is a real asshole; an asshole who harasses everyone on the farm, destroys expensive fencing and continually escapes for trips to Mr. Mike's convenience store whence Dave the farmhand is forced to retrieve her using a snack and (I'm quoting here) "a little trickery."

The newsletter ends with the assurance that, at Country Hen, their quest is to produce the very best egg possible where, "the yolks stand tall and the whites don't run". I can't help but wonder though, what the fuck is going on over at Country Hen Farms? Not once, in the entire issue of "Farm News" did I hear any mention of chickens.

And now every time I crack open one of my Country Fresh, Free-Range Organic eggs, I wonder, where has that Clover gotten off to? And is anyone on the farm paying any attention to the goddamn chickens?

They could be smoking crack and eating their own shit for all we know because everyone on the farm is so damn busy chasing Clover the delinquent goat. How do I know my yolks will stand tall when the chickens that produced them are probably, right this very moment, down at Mr. Mike's chugging 40 ounces of Natty Light while Dave chases Clover around with a sausage?

I am faced with the very real possibility that my breakfast came from crack-smoking, shit-eating, drunk chickens.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

10 Things I Learned From Playing Pitfall


Since today is 80s nostalgia day (it's not really I just made that up)
I thought I'd share some poignant things I learned from one of my favorite Atari games.

Ten Life Lessons I Learned from Playing Pitfall

1. Appearances can be deceiving:
What looks like simply a shallow puddle of water could be a bottomless abyss that will suck you into its depths.

2. Be patient.
At some point the alligator whose head you are standing on will close its mouth so you can jump to safety.

3. There's always hope:
Even if you fall through a hole into the world's basement (never mind for now that a forest/desert shouldn't have a basement) you can always just climb back up the next ladder you happen upon.

4. Tackling problems head on won't kill you:
The huge logs of life will barrel towards you (always from the right). They will temporarily cripple you and may make a horrible farting noise, but they will not kill you. You my friend, are a survivor.

5. This too shall pass:
The other side of any hardship is only a hop, skip and a jump (or a swinging vine) away.

6. Never let your guard down:
Even if an area seems safe, an entire lake can materialize out of nowhere and swallow you whole.

7. If you see a giant scorpion or rattlesnake, run the other way:
That means exactly what it says.

8. There is such a thing as a second chance:
Life is just one big loop that will keep going around and around and around. The same obstacles you conquered before are waiting for you to come running through them again. Hopefully you'll have already learned your lesson about being patient on the alligator heads.

9. Take things one screen a time:
Don't try to just dash through from one obstacle to the next, you don't know what lies ahead and could run headfirst into a giant rattlesnake (see lesson 7)

10. You'll bounce back:
Even if you drown, fall into quicksand, get stung by a rattle snake and a scorpion, are beat over the head with rolling logs and fall into the mouth of an alligator, you will bounce back with a happy boink and keep searching for treasure (which ironically will not end up being worth all the trouble).

Monday, August 13, 2007

Dogs Playing Poker

Flipping through the paper today, I saw the very familiar image of dogs playing poker. It's true that the novelty of this image wore off about 12 years ago for me and indeed I think most people are aware of this image now as the yardstick by which to measure how crappy some piece of art might be. (ie. that Ronald McDonald statue is the "Dogs Playing Poker" of sculpture).

However, as a first time dog owner I now have a fresh insight into this painting. And that is, I'm quite convinced that the artist of this painting did not even own a dog. Or if they did, their dog bore absolutely no resemblance to the canine who resides in my household.

My dog would be absolutely abysmal at poker. Not because she isn't smart. She's a very quick learner, she just couldn't contain an emotional reaction if her life depended on it. Her best attempt at keeping it together when she's excited closely resembles a tea kettle on the brink of explosion. She will sit when told although she's quaking with excitement from paw to paw and emitting a steady high pitched whine from the very core of her being.

Come to think of it, I think cats are far better suited for a round of poker. Just by looking at the cat, I can't tell if he feels like snuggling up beside me or peeing in my shoe. Is the cat gazing at me with all-consuming hatred? Or tender affection? I may never know.

The dog on the other hand is currently running laps around the living room (a celebration of the major canine breakthrough of actually catching her tail).When I come home at the end of the day, I don't even know where the cat is. But the dog is practically doing backflips. She couldn't be more excited if a 5-foot tall strip of Beef Jerky walked in the room.

There's no doubt in my mind, if that dog had a good hand in poker, you would know about it. Even with a pair of fours she'd be bouncing off the walls like a leprechan on crack.As the world's worst poker player, her explosive emotions would be surpassed only by her complete inability to strategically and responsibly ante the contents of her little doggy purse.

She's impulsive you see. She will drop anything she is doing for the tiniest piece of food. I'm certain that in the heat of the moment she would give up every comfort we have provided her in return for the burnt stub of an Oscar Meyer Weiner.

Maybe I'm wrong, maybe that artist did have a dog. A dog capable of reining it in with a paw full of aces. But not my dog. My dog is currently prancing around the living room with a rope in her mouth because she beat Danny at a game of tug.