Monday, December 31, 2012

Monday Morning Stories With Mookie - Episode 49

The Time Mookie and Megan Lost Their Asses In Las Vegas

As I have previously said many times, I LOVE Las Vegas.  I have been there many times and would go again in a second if the time and money were available (mostly the money). However there was one trip out of all of them that almost ruined the place for me in every way possible. 

Almost every trip to Vegas has started with the hope of winning big and the excitement of knowing you are going to have fun.  However, for some reason…. when we landed in Vegas this time, I did not feel any of the excitement I had on previous trips.  In hindsight, I should have heeded those feelings and booked our flight home.

"Megan (*)" and I planned the trip over Valentine’s Day and were going to meet up with her friend “Kyla(*)," and her husband “Cole(*)" at our hotel in Las Vegas.  We were all staying at the Imperial Palace in the middle of The Strip, so things should have been peachy keen. 

As we were riding in the back of a cab on our way to the hotel, in the mid-day sun we could see all of the resorts, casinos, and attractions up in the distance. Normally I would be giddy at this sight, but for some reason though…I wasn’t.  When I looked out my window and surveyed the landscape, all I could think to myself was: “God, this place is stupid.”

I did not see a playground of dreams, money, excess, and former mafia hangouts.  No, I saw a gaudy monstrosity of greed and stupidity.  I was somewhat shocked at myself for thinking that, but I couldn’t escape it.  The 6+ mile stretch of huge complexes with their over-the-top landscaping, signage, and in-your-face neon was definitely not the thrill it used to be.

Once we got settled in our rooms, I tried to put on a happy face and we all set out for the casinos.  Our first stop was at The Flamingo. Megan had $50 in her hand and said she was going to hit the dollar slots while I found an open spot at a $5 blackjack table.  I had sat down at a table and played only 3 or 4 hands when Megan re-appeared at my side.  I looked up at her and said “Done already?”  “Yep.” She said with a humorous but dejected tone.  Seriously….it was like seven minutes.  I finally brought myself “even” again and decided to get up.  We didn’t need to give The Flamingo all our money in our first 10 minutes of gambling.

We ventured out onto The Strip and hit many of the casinos as we roamed around.  On previous trips it seemed that if we lost at one casino, we could usually find at least a small streak of luck at another casino. Sadly, no ounce of luck was found anywhere on this trip and virtually every casino busted our asses.  Monte Carlo?  Ha, nice try.  Paris?  Sorry dude.  Bally’s?  Phfff.  O’Sheas? Why’d you even try?  Caesar’s?  Really?  New York New York?  Fuggetaboutit.  It was SAD. $20 here, $20 there, and $50 over there.  SOBGDMF.

We didn't need Cousin Eddie to ruin our luck.
We didn't have any to begin with.
In what we hoped would be somewhat of a “bright spot” for the trip, The ESPY Awards were being held at the MGM Grand one of the nights while we were out there. So on the afternoon of the show, we made a point to go hang out at the MGM and see if we would see any celebrities walking around prior to the festivities.  Unless you count seeing Stuart Scott and Dan Patrick eating lunch at some restaurant in the MGM, we did not see any celebrities.  Oh, and I shouldn’t have to tell you - we didn’t win at the MGM either.  Broke and dejected, we did what any loser gamblers do when they get sick of losing:  We went back to our room and ate cheap food. Oh, and we watched the ESPY’s on TV – while it was happening LIVE just 4 casinos down from us.  Pathetic.

After 3 days of losing, we could not WAIT to get out of there.  So much so, we found ourselves standing out in front of the hotel with all of our bags waiting for our airport shuttle 20 minutes before it was supposed to be there.  

It was while I was standing there I put my hands in my coat pocket and felt something familiar.  What was it? It was a dollar coin from the Imperial Palace.  Or to degenerate losers like myself:  

I turned to Megan, held up the dollar in my fingers and said “I’ll be right back.”  She rolled her eyes as I walked back into the casino and headed to the nearest video blackjack machine.

I sat down at a particular machine, put the coin into the slot and hit the button.  The machine dealt me a 20.  I stayed and the machine busted with a 22.  Wow.  I won.  I bet again, and played another hand.  Would you believe it?  I won AGAIN.  In a matter of minutes, I had $5!  While this is nothing in the scheme of things, it was certainly a small victory at this point.  Needless to say, I felt like this was the streak of luck I had been waiting on for the ENTIRE trip – and BY GOD I was going to make the most of it!

Blinded by visions of winning all of our money back, I bet the entire $5 and eagerly played the next hand….. already know what happened.

On past trips to Las Vegas, it always seemed like we wanted to go back again not long after we had gotten home. This time…….we had NO desire to go back.  The words "Las Vegas" were not uttered in our home.  In fact, it took several years to even have a minor urge to go back.  Obviously that urge did come back and I am happy to report we both have been to Las Vegas since then.  However… the memory of that fateful trip has prevented the two of us (thus far) from going back there together.  

Someday.  Maybe.

(*) Names changed to protect the guilty/innocent.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Thursday, December 27, 2012


Looks like your Mom opened up a convenience store.
The sad part:  Even if the "S" wasn't burned out, it would still explain your Mom.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Monday, December 24, 2012

Monday Morning Stories With Mookie - Episode 48

The Time Mookie Got Hawkeye Bowl Shirts For Christmas

This one obviously goes back many years.

When I was a kid, I was a big fan of the Iowa Hawkeyes.  We watched all the football and basketball games on TV, and I was even a member of the "Junior Hawkeye Club."  That basically entitled me to monthly newsletters, and a yearly trip to Iowa City for an "open house" type thing at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.  We were able to tour the facility, and got to meet many of the athletes and coaches at the University.  It was pretty cool.

After a few years of dismal football seasons, the Hawks finally had a great year in 1981 and earned a trip to the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day 1982.  Back then there weren't 1001 bowl games like there are now, so this was a big deal.  It was the first time they'd been to the Rose Bowl (or any bowl) since the late 1950's, so Hawkeye fever was running high.

My "Grandma Onie" was somewhat "up" on things and knew what was "cool with the kids" compared to other grandmas.  Her youngest son was only two years older than me, so that helped contribute to her knowing what was cool.

That year for Christmas she got me a Hawkeye/Rose Bowl shirt.  It was a pretty basic shirt, but I thought it was bad ass.  Unfortunately the Hawks lost in tremendous fashion to Washington in the game, but I still liked my shirt.

The Hawkeyes ended up having a good run for the next several seasons and went to a bowl game almost every year through the 1980's.  Each year the Hawks made it to a bowl game, she continued the "tradition" of getting me a Hawkeye/Bowl shirt of some kind. Peach Bowl, Gator Bowl, Freedom Bowl, Holiday Bowl, and yet another Rose Bowl shirt followed in their respective years.  While there was little to no surprise that I was probably going to be getting a Hawkeye shirt for a gift, I always looked forward to it anyway.

As I got into high school, the Hawks had a few years where they weren't very good and didn't make it into any bowl game.  Because of this, the "tradition" of getting the Bowl shirts from Grandma and Grandpa came to a sad conclusion.  While they did make a few bowl games during their 1990 and 1991 seasons, Grandma must have sensed the shirts weren't "cool" anymore (which they kinda weren't) and I did not receive shirts those years.  Sadly, her health deteriorated and she passed away a few short years after this.

As I look back and remember Christmases past, I always smile when I think about getting those Hawkeye/Bowl shirts from "Grandma Onie."  It is one of those silly memories that I will keep with me forever.

I hope you have a happy holiday, and a Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Monday, December 17, 2012

Monday Morning Stories With Mookie - Episode 47

The Time Mookie Sold Bible Videos As A Telemarketer

Back when "Megan (*)" and I lived in Colorado Springs, I was always on the lookout for a good paying job.  While I had a full-time job working at the suck-hole that is Walmart, it was certainly not my career ambition.  Odds are good I would have walked into oncoming traffic if I would have furthered my career there.  While the pay wasn’t “terrible” as far most jobs in Colorado were, it definitely wasn’t enough to pay the bills.  I had recently graduated college with two law enforcement-type degrees, but the jobs I wanted in the law enforcement community were very few and far between. So I had to improvise and make due with what I could find.

I combed the classified section of the newspaper every day looking for a job that was going make me some coin.  I can’t even remember how many interviews I had or applications I filled out while living in Colorado Springs.  It was A LOT.

One type of business that ALWAYS seemed to be hiring were the call-center/telemarketing firms.  While I personally wish they would all burn to the ground, these places were advertising an hourly rate of $9 - $10 bucks.  While this isn’t great, it was definitely better than the minimum wage rate that every other place in town was paying.  Plus, since the hours were during the day, I could do that and keep working my 2nd shift job at Walmart.  So I sucked up any dignity that I had left and went and applied.

This business was on the 2nd floor of a two-story multi-office building.  The door to the business opened into a small lobby that had a reception desk, about 4 chairs, and a closed door that led into the telemarketing area.  I asked the lady at the desk if I could have an application for the position they had posted in the paper.  With very little enthusiasm, she gave me one and told me I could sit in one of the chairs and fill it out.  I did as I was told, and then gave her the application when I was done.  She said if they were interested, they would call me.  Uhh yah.  Thanks sunshine.

A few days later they actually called.  They said that they were interested in my “computer experience,” and asked that I start the following Monday at 8AM.  As I had no other prospects lined up, I said “sure.”

So on Monday morning I arrived at the telemarketing place as I was told, and entered the same lobby I completed my application in.  The room was already full with about 7 or 8 other people sitting/standing.  I tell the receptionist (a different one from the last time I was here) that I am here for my first day, and she tells me with very little enthusiasm that “someone” will be with me in a moment.  After a few minutes of standing around staring at the closed door that led into the telemarketing area, a man and a woman came through the door.  They each had a list of names, and the guy read off 4 names – including mine – and asked us to follow him.  The four of us walked through what appeared to be the “call center” towards a small conference room on the side of the building.  As we walked across the room, I curiously looked at the couple hundred workstations that were lined up in rows across the room.  At each workstation was a push-button phone and a chair.  That was it.  No computer.  No fancy phone equipment.  A push-button phone and a folding chair.  What. The. Hell.
This is what they looked like....
except with crappy folding chairs

Across the room I could see people already busy at their workstations, dialing their phones, and making their pitch with a very rehearsed script about something.  The first question dinging in my head was “Why were they interested in my ‘computer experience’ when they obviously don’t have any computers?"  So we get into the conference room and the guy in charge shuts the door and we all sit down.

The Chewlie's Gum Guy from "Clerks."
Have you ever seen the movie “Clerks?”  There is a character early in the movie that is revealed to be a representative of “Chewlie’s Gum.”  THAT is exactly what this guy looked like.  Exactly.  It was the first thing I thought of when I looked at the guy. He had the fuzzy hair, beard, the white dress shirt, and the black tie.  He introduces himself as “Tony”(*) and starts talking to us with this intense sort of demeanor as he begins explaining what we are going to be selling.  As he is talking, he starts concentrating his vision on one of the guys sitting there at the table. Finally he stops and asks “Do I know you from somewhere?  Where did you work before this?”  The guy unflinchingly says “Me?  Before this I worked at Future Call.”  Tony continues looking at him with this intense look, starts nodding his head, and calmly says “Yeah.  I remember you.  You were good.”

Satisfied with himself for figuring out where he knew the guy from, he continued his explanation about what we would be selling.  It was easily one of the weirder things I’ve witnessed.  Obviously Tony here worked at Future Call as well.  Or did he??  I never found out the answer, but was certain the guy was totally psycho.

Tony started telling us we were going to be selling computer software to auto mechanics and service garages.  The software was called "Centrum."  The first thing I said is "Like the vitamin?"  Tony looks at me with with arrogance, and says "No. Its a computer software."  I nod like I understand, but in the back of my head I'm going "Bullshit. I have a bottle in the cupboard at home."  He explains it is an organized inventory manager and invoice creator for mechanics and garages.  He says the software saves all of the information on your customers, so if you have repeat customers - oil changes..etc.. its extra handy.  What he's telling us makes it seem useful, but then he tells us the kicker.  Once you generate 1000 invoices, you have to order (purchase) an update to the software so that it will give you 1000 more invoices.  Riiiiippppp offfffff.

Now, I'm no computer genius - But I'm not stupid either.  My curiosity gets the best of me so I say "So what if someone loaded the software and ran through their 1000 invoices, couldn't they just uninstall the software and reinstall it from the source disk and get 1000 more invoices?"  This catches Tony off guard.  He says "Well you could try to do that, but you would lose your customer data."  So then I say, "Well isn't that information stored in a specific file?  Couldn't you back that part of the file up before you uninstalled it and then just put it back in when it was installed again?"  Tony does NOT like my questions.  He essentially says a person could do that, but it is not our job to explain that.  Then he gives me a "shut up" sort of look.

For the rest of the morning, we are told to sit with active telemarketers, watch, listen, and learn what they do.  Its clearly an intensive training style.  Pffffff.  I sit with a few people and watch them maybe sell 1 or 2.  I notice on the white board at the head of the room is this apparent bonus structure.  It basically says if you sell 5, you get X dollars.  Then of course the bonus went up with each further sale.  It seemed simple enough, except for the fact product was a piece of shit.  I must add I watched some of the most awesomely awful sales tactics while sitting with these people.  I can't even begin to describe what they were doing as "lying," because that would be doing the word lying a disservice.  Nothing they said was true, and these people were accepting something they were not getting.  Troubling to say the least.

They dismissed us for lunch, for which I had brought a sack lunch.  I sat in my car and ate while 75% of the people that worked there stood outside, smoked like chimneys, and shared stories about their parole officers.  Finally my 30 minute break was over and my little group met again in the conference room.  Tony came in and "trained" us for the rest of the afternoon. He presented us each with a "script" that explains the product, and several answers to  "frequently asked questions."  He elaborated on the "bonus" graph that was detailed on the white board outside, and said we could make some "crazy" money if we sold our product.  This of course gets a few of the guys all jazzed up because they think they are going to be the super sales guys.  Finally the day ended, and were told we'd be on the phones the next day.  Awesome.

I show up for Day Two, and as promised Tony puts us on the phones.  They gave each of us a list of phone numbers for about 50 mechanic/auto garage type places all over the country in which we are supposed to sell to, and sent us to a workstation where a folding chair and push button phone were waiting for us.  They also gave us forms to complete when we suckered sold someone the software.  I started calling, and was met with numerous hang ups, and obvious "no's."  Finally, I got some poor guy to try it out.  The hook was he could try it for 30 days free, and if he didn't like it he could return it.  Woo!  One big sale!  The rest of the day was a bust.  I was told "no" so many times, you'd have thought I was trying to score with Lolo Jones or something.  I burned through my list of numbers pretty fast, and when I went to the supervisors to see if I could get some more, they looked at me like I did something wrong.  They must have felt I was burning through the prospects a little to fast.

The morning of Day Three did not yield any better results.  I got some other poor bastard to try it out the software but that was it.  So by lunch on Day Three, I had only sold two of these crappy software packages.  When I came back from lunch, I was told they were going to move me to a different product.  I was OK with this because I certainly couldn't do any worse.  They took me into a conference room and gave me a quick "crash course" on what I was selling.  What was it??

Bible School videos.  

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.  Seriously.  The script explained how the cartoon stories helped kids understand good values, morals, and how they should listen to their parents.  I had legitimate concerns I was going to get struck by lightning for selling these given my lack of church attendance - and of course my dislike of organized religion in general.

They gave me lists of churches all over the country, and it was my job to call them and ask to speak to their director of "religious education."  So I set off on my push-button phone calling churches all over America. While I did get some answers, most numbers I called just rang and rang with no answer.  A lot of these churches were obviously rural, and did not have a whole religious education set up.  In many cases I was talking to the pastors of these churches, and telling them about the happy cartoon situations these videos would provide.  AND...just like the computer software, these came with a "try for free for thirty days" gimmick.  I actually saw a picture of these videos on someone else's desk and they looked like something Walmart wouldn't even carry. They were crap.

By the end of Day Four, I was somehow able to talk two of these religious education people into taking a chance on this video series of garbage.  But that was it.  The managers called all the new people into a conference room at the end of the day on Day Four, and made an announcement.  They said that tomorrow would be the "last day" for a number of people in the group as they weren't "meeting sales expectations."  Unless things turned around tomorrow, those "under-performers would be let go."  THEN they hit us with more news that showed how shyster-ish this outfit was.  They said that they would be telling people around lunch whether they would be let go or not.  If they were "let go," they were expected to stay the rest of the day and finish their shift.  If someone left before their shift was over (like when you were told you were fired), their hourly pay for the whole week would be re-rated to like $4.00 an hour instead of the $9.00 we were supposed to be getting.  Legally, I'm not sure how they could do this, but I'm sure there was some crap loophole somewhere.

So when I showed up for Day Five, I figured I was probably on the edge of being let go.  The sad part was that I did not care.  I started the day dialing up the religious community and pitching the "Jesus Loves You" videos and actually got some other poor pastor to order one up.  I have to tell you, I felt horrible trying to talk people into buying this crap.  Finally just before we broke for lunch, that Tony guy I met on Day One asked to speak with me, and pulled me into a conference room.  NICE.

Tony tells me that my sales numbers have not been that good, and they are going to have to let me go at the end of the day.  I said that I understood, but told him I didn't feel like I was given much instruction or opportunity to do what they wanted me to do.  I told him about them giving me crap numbers, and then being jerks when I told them the numbers were junk.  He said that they listened in on some of my calls, and while I was friendly, they felt that I wasn't made out to sell things over the phone.  I said "fine."  I wasn't going to fight him because it wasn't worth it.  Plus I wasn't going to lie on the phone to sell stuff.  He then reminded me I had to stay the rest of the day if I wanted the $9.00 an hour for my week's work.  If I left I would only get $4.00.  I told him "Oh! I'll be back after lunch."

I was damn sure I was not going to get screwed out of $5.00 more an hour, so I came back.  But I made sure the numbers I called were the same numbers I had called before where there was NO answer.  I made sure I did not speak to one person the rest of the afternoon on the phone.  Even if someone had answered, I probably would have hung up.  I didn't feel it necessary to inconvenience someone with the burden of crap this outfit was selling.

At the end of the day, I picked up my shit and left.  It was the first job I had ever been "let go" from, and do you know what?  That was perfectly fine by me.

In hindsight, I laugh at that job.  I have tried looking up that "Centrum" automotive software online, and have never found a thing.  I'm sure the vitamin company came in and shut that shit down.  In preparation of writing up this little story, I checked the internet to see if this telemarketing outfit was still in business.  I have to tell you I was SHOCKED to find out it is.  They are at the same place in Colorado Springs, and claim to be quite the successful operation (per their website).  The reviews I read say otherwise, and it appears business is as usual from when I was there.

I just hope the psycho Chewlie's Gum guy is still there.  (Nodding my head) He was good.

(*) Names changed to protect the guilty/innocent

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Friday, December 14, 2012

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

For My Friends Taking Finals This Week

If you've ever taken a test, I'm sure you can probably relate to this sort of thinking....

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Most Epic Blood Alcohol Level Ever

Courtesy of the Cedar Rapids Gazette:

North Liberty man sentenced after arrested with twice the lethal dose of alcohol

A 24-year-old North Liberty man has been ordered to serve a short jail sentence, pay a $1,250 fine and complete drunken driving courses after he was arrested in July on suspicion of driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.627.
Justin A. Clark pleaded guilty to his first operating while intoxicated offense last week. He immediately was sentenced to serve a two-day jail sentence, beginning on Feb. 27, and was ordered to pay a $1,250 fine in monthly installments of at least $50.
Clark also was ordered to successfully complete a 12-hour drinking driver’s course.
Clark was arrested after officers caught him behind the wheel of a car in the area of Red Barn Drive in North Liberty just after 10 p.m. July 29, according to a criminal complaint. Neighbors had noticed him acting erratically and driving “all over the road,” hitting curbs and running up into one person’s yard, police reported.
When officers arrived, they found Clark sitting in his running vehicle revving the engine, according to the criminal complaint. An officer approached Clark through his window, but Clark was unable to answer questions clearly or get out of his vehicle and walk on his own, police reported.
He was given a breath test that showed his blood alcohol level at 0.486, police reported. He was hospitalized, and a subsequent blood test showed his alcohol content to be 0.627, according to a complaint.
Local hospital officials said that level could have killed him. Johnson County Attorney Janet Lyness said that was the highest level she’d ever seen.
National research indicates that blood alcohol content levels over 0.30 percent can cause a person to slip into a coma or die. To get to 0.627, according to an emergency room doctor with the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, a person would have to consume 35 shots, bottles of beer or glasses of wine in four hours.
.627......SERIOUSLY.  HOW?????  I have to say.....deep down....I'm impressed.

Ron Swanson Works With A Lot Of Women

It's My Birthday!

This one certainly rings true for yours truly......

Monday, December 10, 2012

Monday Morning Stories With Mookie - Episode 46

The Time Mookie Busted Some Scumbags Stealing Car Stereos

It was late one particular evening, and I was sitting at my desk in the glorious Funke Apartments (Pronounced “Funky”) studying for my upcoming finals.  My roommate “Russ”(*) was working at Red Lobster that night, and then was going to a “gathering” after he got off work (i.e. getting drunk).  While I wished I was engaged in the activity Russ was in, I was trying to finish up the semester strong and do well on my finals.

As I was sitting there, I heard a loud car enter the parking lot outside my 2nd floor window and could hear a variety of voices.  Our place was usually dead this time of night, so I peeked out the window to see what was going on.  Sitting under the security light in the parking lot was a junky late 80’s model white Renault Alliance.  It looked like there were four people sitting inside the running car – which I quickly noticed had no license plates.  Suddenly, two guys came bailing out of the rear doors of the car and ran around the building.  Naturally, I was curious as to what they were up to.  My suspicions were extra high because less than two-weeks prior to this, Russ' car had been broken into in the very same parking lot and his in-dash CD player and 35mm camera were stolen.

I opened the door to my apartment and ran up half a flight of stairs to a set of windows that overlooked the street out in front of the building.  Out front I saw a car that was parked along the street with its trunk lid up in the air, and I saw the two guys - who ran from the parking lot - digging in the trunk of this car.  I ran down to the front door of the building and stepped out onto the front steps, and saw that they were still there.  Unconsciously – I yelled “Hey!”  The dudes looked up, and took off running with arm-loads of something.  I ran back up to my apartment and looked out the window.  I saw the two guys jump back into the backseat of the Renault Alliance, which left very quickly and in very loud fashion.

As the recent theft from Russ’ car was still fresh in my mind, and the suspicious behavior these dudes exhibited was not “normal” for these parts, I called up the police to let them know what I saw.  A nice woman took my call and asked me about what I saw.  I told them of the recent theft from my roommate’s car, about the junky white Renault Alliance with no plates, how it appeared to have 4 guys in it, and how two of them appeared to have taken something out of the trunk of a car out front.  She asked if I was sure they took something, to which I said when they left the Renault they weren’t carrying anything, and when they went back to it - they were.  Plus they'd left the trunk lid open of the car they were digging around in.  She said OK, and then said “Please hold.”  A good two minutes went by, and I was wondering what was going on.  Finally, the woman came back on the phone and said:
“Based on your report and description, could an officer stop by your location and speak with you?” 

“Sure.” I said.

About ten minutes later there is a knock on my door, and I open it to find Officer “Mary Jo”(*) standing there.  I’m not sure if she knew who I was, but I definitely know who she is.  She just happened to be Russ’ brother’s whore of an ex-fiance.  This is way funny to me, and wish to God that Russ was here right now because that would have been FUNNY.

Officer Mary Jo quickly notices my "study attire," which is a t-shirt and boxer shorts.  She kindly asks me to get dressed and then meet her out front so she can get further information about my report.  While the boxers I was wearing were not my “underwear,” I did as I was asked and put on some regular shorts.  I walked out front to find two or three squad cars in the street, and a number of cops standing around the car that had its trunk contents pillaged.

Officer Mary Jo was talking to another officer when I was approached by a male officer who asked me “Are you the guy that called in the report?”  I said “Yes, I am.”  He says, “Could you identify the suspects if you had to?”  I said “Yeah probably.  I saw what they were wearing.”  He says “Well a unit just stopped a vehicle that matched your description about five blocks from here.  Why don’t you come with me.”

So we go out to his squad car and I get in the passenger seat.  As I buckled up, he threw on the flashers and we took off.  About 5 blocks later, we arrived at a vacant lot where the Renault Alliance was sitting amongst the glare of spotlights and flashers from (included ours) five squad cars.  My “chauffeur” then radioed to the other cops to get the suspects out so I could identify them.  Out of each of the 4 cars sitting there, one at a time an officer brought a suspect out of the back of their cruisers.  The cop I was with was shining his spotlight at the suspects so they couldn’t see me sitting in his car.  He asked me “ Can you identify them?” 

I said, “Well that guy and that guy were the ones I saw running and were in the backseat.  That guy with the hat was driving, and the guy in the red shirt must have been in the passenger seat because I saw a guy wearing a red shirt.”  The cop looks at me and says “Are you sure?”  To which, I say “Yes.  Positivley.”

The cop then grabbed his radio and said “BINGO.  The witness just correctly described the suspects as they were found.”  He then told me they found various car stereo equipment in their car, and a set of speakers that appeared to have been taken from the car I witnessed being broken into.  He took me back to my apartment, and said I was free to go.  He had me sign a document based on what I had just seen and reported, and said I may be contacted later in the future about this incident.  Then he and the officers departed as fast as they had arrived.

I went back into my apartment and my mind was just buzzing.  Did that just happen?  Then I wondered if these guys would figure out who ratted them out and come back for some revenge.  Needless to say I wasn’t too worried as my car had a crap stereo, and they didn’t know what I looked like or which apartment where I lived.

Eventually Russ came home, and couldn’t believe what I told him had happened while he was gone.  When I told him Officer Mary Jo was here, he uttered several expletives and said it was good thing he wasn’t there when she was.

A couple months went by and I didn't hear anything from the police, so I figured my services were no longer needed.  Then one day I arrived home, and Russ told me “A deputy sheriff was here looking for you.  He gave me this to give to you.”  He handed me an envelope, which I opened to find a GD summons to appear in court for a deposition regarding the incident I reported.  Shiiiiiit.  The oddest thing about it though, was that the summons was ordered by the attorney for the defendant.  So I figured they were going to try and get my witness statement thrown out on some technicality or something.  As the summons carried heavy language about being required to show up for court or face arrest, I made sure I was going to be there.  I requested off work, and showed up at the court house at the given place/time as instructed.  I checked in with some court clerk, and she told me to have a seat in a nearby chair.  So I sat down and I waited.  And I waited.  And I waited.  And I waited some more.  It was now 30 minutes past my appointed time, and I hadn’t been talked to by anyone.  Finally I went back to the clerk and asked what was going on.  She said I just had to wait.  So I went back to my chair and waited.  All of a sudden, some woman came bursting into the clerk’s office and looked quite harried.  She saw me and asked if I was here for the deposition in regards to whatever the defendant’s name was.  I said that I was.  She said “I’m sorry, it has been cancelled.”  She then turned around and walked away. 

Well F you too

Needless to say I was pissed.  I made sure I was here on time, I had taken time off work so I didn’t get arrested, and I sat here for 40 minutes……only to be told I wasn’t needed.  For a few minutes, it certainly made me feel like “doing the right thing” was SO not worth it.  I just got robbed of my TIME!

By the time I got home though, I had calmed down and felt good knowing I had done a good deed.  Plus I knew if I was put into the same situation again, I would totally do the same exact thing I did before.

Except I would have given Officer Mary Jo a hard time about screwing over my roommate's brother.  Because that would have been awesome.

(*) - Names changed to protect the guilty/innocent

Miss a previous episode of a Monday Morning Story?  Click HERE!

Friday, December 07, 2012

Michelle Obama's Getting Fresh

If I had to wager a guess here, I'd say Bill Clinton's mind is so far in the gutter at this moment it isn't even funny.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

I Can't Stop Laughing At This One

It appears Puff The Magic Dragon may be alive and well in Oklahoma City....

At least the Red Dragon appears to be civil.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Advent Calendar

Someone has set up the Advent Calendar here in the Breathtaking and Inappropriate offices.  Needless to say, it is GENIUS.

Monday Morning Stories With Mookie - Episode 45

The Time Mookie, Rick, Junior, and Russ Went To Minneapolis

(I have to mention this is a “reader requested story.”)

Several years ago, my gang of friends and I decided that we "needed" to do something.  “Rick”(*) and I had just completed a year of college, while “Russ” (*) and “Junior”(*) had just finished high school.  We always said we needed to do something “big,” like taking a trip out of town or something, but as usual nothing really came from it.  Then one day Russ came to us with news that gave us a kick in the right direction.  He said that his Mom could get us free tickets for a Minnesota Twins game at the Metrodome in Minneapolis.  Russ’ Mom worked as a “travel agent” at a local bank, and set up trips and tours for community bank members.  One of the perks of this particular bank was that -for some reason- they had four tickets to all the Minnesota Twins games that summer.  The bank employees could use them at their discretion, or they could be used to entice any travel packages.

When Russ asked his Mom about the Twins tickets, she said we could HAVE them if no one else had them reserved for a particular date. We all checked our calendars, and found that there were two dates where we could all make the trip.  We just had to wait and make sure none of the bank people wanted them because they got first dibs on them. A couple days went by, and Russ called everyone to let us know that we got the tickets for the 1st weekend we had open.  Booyah.  I imagine we probably looked like a group of excited school girls at the news.  The good news didn’t end there, because Russ’ Mom said she could help us book our lodging accommodations once we figured out what we were going to do, and get us a "deal." This trip was looking nothing but up.
From Junior's archive, his ticket stub.

Needless to say, the suggestions of what to do on the trip began right away.  While we all had great ideas of what to do on our trip, the only TWO sure-fire ideas that came out of our original planning were:
(1). Going to the Twins game.
(2).  Getting drunk.

Since Rick had the most travel friendly car in the bunch (Honda Accord), he appointed himself the driver of this dog and pony show, but reserved the right to appoint someone else to drive in his place if his “ass got tired.”  We all agreed to pay our share of the gas, as well as our portion of any hotel fees we would be accruing.

Eventually in the days and weeks ahead, the agenda started to fall into place.  The official plan was:

Day 1 - Friday: 
Drive to MN.
Check into our hotel in downtown Minneapolis.
Walk to the baseball game.
After the game, go back to the hotel, drink some more, and get some agreeable food.

Day 2 - Saturday: 
Drive to Rick’s Aunt’s house (who lived near the Mall of America in Bloomington) for lunch. 
Go to the Mall of America and check that out. 
Eat at Hooters. 
Then go to a new hotel in nearby Burnsville.

Day 3 - Sunday: 
Come what may.
Head home.

Once we told Russ’ Mom of our vague itinerary (we omitted the alcohol part), she booked us hotels by the Metrodome, and near the Mall of America for our evening accommodations. 

The one real detail we still needed to shore up before we left though was the alcohol:  What were we going bring?  AND…WHO was going to get it?  At this point in our lives we were all still under 21, so it definitely complicated the situation.  In hindsight though, I have to say it provided that extra spark of “danger” that every trip needs.

We quickly figured out we would need a substantial amount of alcohol, and due to all of our discriminating tastes, it would consist of many different varieties (beers/whiskey/vodka/etc).  When the probable size of the intended purchase started to take shape, it definitely became a concern. We didn't want to have one of our usual suppliers get it all, because frankly that was just too big of a favor to ask of someone who was buying a bunch of minors as stash of booze.  Likewise, we felt it could be complicated if we each tried to get our own stuff in advance.  Junior finally came up with a brilliant idea to find someone who wasn't a normal supplier to us - and best of all - someone he knew wouldn't give a crap about buying so much liquor: His older sister.  While it held some risk in that she could say "no" and turn around and tell Junior's parents, but God bless her – she gladly offered and had no qualms about any of it.
From Junior's Archive:  The booze receipt from the store.

The day before our trip, Junior called us all up and said he was “taking our final orders” before he and “Tina”(*) made a run to the Econo-Foods liquor department.  Later that night, we all ended up at Junior’s house where he proudly showed us the trunk of his car.  Inside were cases of Budweiser, Beast Light, Jack Daniel’s, Vodka, Tropical Maui, Bubble Gum Schnapps, and God-knows-what-else.  It was awesome.

In the week preceding the trip, Rick had taken it upon himself to type up the itinerary for the trip, and assigned everyone duties and tasks they were responsible for during the trip.  Rick was of course the pilot of the ship.  Junior was designated “sound engineer” and responsible for proper trip music.  Russ was the "travel guide" as his Mom provided the tickets, lodging, and he continually stated he knew where we were going because he’d “been there before.”  I had the best job of them all though.  Rick designated me as the trip’s “Party Machine.”  In other words, I had no responsibility other than to have fun.

In addition to the itinerary (and because he is an anal-retentive bastard), Rick presented us a list of things we COULD and COULD NOT DO on the trip.  Most of it was common sense type stuff, like “when hanging out of a hotel window, make sure to keep at least ¼ of your body in the room.”  But most of it had to do with what we were not allowed to do in his car during our travels.  I do remember that one main rule was that there was no gum chewing in the car, and went as far as to name specific brands that were banned.  There was a specific rule about making obscene gestures at other cars (that was directed at me as I used to have a problem with that), and most importantly - that we should not criticize our driver.  Rick said “Its my way or the highway.”

Friday morning Rick picked up everyone at their respective residences and we hit the road.  The trip up to the Twin Cities was pretty tame for the most part.  I kept asking to stop in various small towns along the way and “exercise my right to party” as the itinerary stated I could.  However Rick stuck to his whole “my way / highway” mantra, so my requests to party were not given their due attention.  I finally relented as we were on a schedule and did not want to delay our festivities that afternoon.

We hit the downtown area and were able to conveniently park in a lot next to the hotel.  We entered the hotel lobby, and we were INSTANTLY made to feel unwelcome.  We tried to check in, and it became very apparent the desk clerk did not want us there.  We quickly designated Russ as our group spokesperson since his Mom arranged our lodging here, and of course because he’s “been to Minneapolis” before.  Just when it seemed they were going to turn us away, Russ finally spoke with a manager who actually seemed to care about our situation.  Russ explained who his Mom was, and that she had booked the room for us.  After a few minutes of confusion, we finally were able to check into our room.  We went out and got our luggage, along with a discreet amount of our contraband alcohol out of the trunk.  We retreated to the room, got some food, had some beverages, and headed out for the game.

The Metrodome was only a few blocks away so it was a nice little walk.  Once we got there and got inside, we were excited to find that our seats were pretty much right behind home plate….REAL nice.  I don’t remember much about the game itself, who they were playing, or it must not have been that memorable.  I certainly must not have done my best to get us in trouble, although I’m sure I probably made fun of Rick being excited to see his boyhood favorite player – big ass Kirby Puckett take the diamond.  Seriously.  That guy had the biggest ass.  Rest in peace Kirbs.

Seriously.  He has a big ass.
After the game, we retired to the hotel for some takeout pizza and more adult beverage.  After a fairly tame evening, we called it a night.

We awoke Saturday morning ready to tackle that day’s agenda.  Once we got loaded up, we set out for Rick’s Aunt’s house somewhere in Bloomington.  I say “somewhere” because contrary to what he kept telling us, Rick had NO F*CKING CLUE where we were going.  We drove around.  And we drove around.  AND we drove around.  Every so often in a futile attempt to appease us, Rick would say “I think we are close.  This looks familiar.”  After a couple hours in the car (and calling him a f*cking liar) we finally convinced Rick to stop somewhere and call his poor Aunt who had expected us 30 minutes earlier.  She quickly advised Rick he was not even close, and gave us proper directions.

At Rick’s Aunt’s house, we had a lovely lunch of BBQ'd burgers and sides, which we scarffed down with much politeness.  Eventually we headed out and on to our next destination:  The Mall of America.  We knew where this was - mainly because we had driven by it two or three times looking for Rick’s Aunt’s house.

We parked, and set out to ravage the mall.  The place was fairly new at that time, and we’d heard people say you couldn’t see the whole thing in a day.  Bullshit.  It took us about two-and-a-half hours to walk past every store, and shop in the ones we wanted to.  I must add we rode the roller coaster at Camp Snoopy too.  Finally, we decided we needed some dinner and headed up top to our next planned destination:  Hooters.  In true Rick and Junior form, they quickly learned the waitresses names, and arranged to have their pictures taken with a few of them. It was classic Rick and Junior.  Russ and I of course had our photos taken too, because…you know...who are we to say no to chicks in tight clothes getting their picture taken with us?.  After our agreeable meal and ample gawking at the supple flesh the establishment offered, we decided to depart and head to our hotel for the night.  On our way out, a couple of us decided it would be a "good" idea to buy Hooters t-shirts.  While doing that, the hostess came by and let us know that MLB All-Star Harold Baines was sitting right outside.  While it was cool to see him, I'm sure I wouldn't have been able to pick him out of a line up.  We all said hello while Rick got Harold's autograph, and then we headed out.

While our tub had more ice, this is pretty close to what we had.
We made it to our hotel in Burnsville with little to no problem, and sent Russ in to handle the administrative tasks of checking in while we waited outside.  With no trouble, he got us checked in, and advised our room was on the other side of the building.  We quickly found out we could park RIGHT outside our window, which boded well for our transportation of contraband into the room.  With the car backed up to the window as close as we could, we quickly handed our cases and bottles of liquor through the window of our room.  It was pretty slick.  We then hit the ice machine with buckets and pails and began to fill our bathtub with as much ice as we could.  Rick and Russ took to the task of icing down our beverages, and when they were done the scene could only be described in one word:  Magical.

We headed out one last time for some quick dinner, and then retreated to the room for the night.  The beer was cold, and it was flowing.  As the night wore on, we certainly got drunk thanks in part to the various card games we played (Circle of Death/Asshole), and various shots of whiskey.  It was at that point Russ went into the bathroom and then returned wearing only his underwear and running shoes.  He said he was going out (the window) for a run, and to get cigarettes.  We quickly spurned that idea – as an almost-naked Russ out and about was surely a bad idea.  For some reason - perhaps as a form of solidarity -  Rick went to his underwear as well.  So there they were - Rick and Russ in their underwear – drinking.  In any other setting, I would have called them homosexuals.  Either way....I have photos.  If one of them runs for President, I'd hate for those to surface.

Then finally...we had our first "pass-out."  The victim:  Junior.  He was partially was also partially dressed, but had somehow gotten under the covers in bed.  So then we did what any good friends would do:  We wrote on him and then took pictures of him.  We staged various bottles of booze around him, and I think we each took pictures next to him. He’s lucky he didn’t get tea-bagged.

Eventually we all decided to turn in for the night, so we did our pre-bedtime anti-hangover ritual (lots o’  water and Advil) and crashed.

We slept in Sunday, and awoke with laughter as Junior had discovered the artwork on his arms, back, and face.  After some discussion about what to do that day, we finally agreed on going to "Valleyfair,” a nearby amusement park with kick-ass roller coasters.  After packed up the Honda, we checked out and headed to the fun park.  While most of us were feeling "OK," in hindsight I think Junior was feeling the ill-effects of the prior evening.  I remember catching looks of him before going on various rides, and he did not look too good.  However, we all survived the day and no one ended up barfing anywhere.  By mid-afternoon, we all decided that we'd had enough and called it a day.  We piled into the Honda and headed for home.

While our trip home was uneventful, we did arrive home to some “concerned” parents as they thought we were heading home first thing that morning, and were not aware of our Valleyfair stop.  I thought it was funny because if they were concerned about that, it was a good thing they didn't know about the stockpile we had in the trunk, or how we had to stop Russ from going out the window in his underwear the night before.

Trust me...that would have caused major concern for everyone.

In the end, we all had a great time and it was exactly what we all needed.  While some of us don't recall a few of things that happened along the way, a few of us have photographs that documented a lot of it.  Perhaps a few of those photos should be know.... just because.

(*) - Names changed to protect the guilty/innocent.

Have you missed a previous Monday Morning Story?  Click HERE to see the list.

As I stated at the beginning of the story, this one was a "reader request."  Do you have a request for a story you'd like to see in a future "Monday Morning Stories With Mookie" like the one you just read?  Drop me a line at: and let me know.  

Friday, November 30, 2012


I've had the Bon Jovi cranked today.  I think this would be the case if I wasn't wearing headphones....

Thursday, November 29, 2012


This is allegedly a KFC that was set on fire.

When you see it.....

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

She Knows The Vacuum Cleaner Man

I am a huge fan of the idiots they interview on the local news.  Notable favorites here at Breathtaking and Inappropriate are Antoine Dodson (Hide Yo Kids, Hide Yo Wife), and of course Sweet Brown (Ain't Nobody Got Time For That!).

I am not sure of this fine lady's name, but you find out several important facts about her during her interview.  Enjoy.

Most Popular Professor On Campus

I'm going to take a shot here, but I bet all of his exams are oral.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Stupid Uncle Phil

That guy was always ruining a good joke.

Monday Morning Story With Mookie - Episode 44

The Time Mookie Wrecked The Shit Out Of His Car

One night back in college, I wrecked my car.  Not just wrecked it, mind you.  I WRECKED THE SHIT OUT OF IT.  What happened?  Read on.

I was going to college and living at home with my parents at the time.  So while I was a full-time "college student," you could argue I wasn't getting the "real" college experience.  I wasn't off banging the entire co-ed community on campus every day like most regular college-going folk.  I still lived at home, commuted to school during the day, and worked part-time at Hardee's.

I wasn't a total loser though, as I had friends that did live on campus, and from time to time I would go and visit them when the time allowed.  One Wednesday night I went and visited a friend for some various reason.  It was getting to be close to midnight, so I decided to call it a night and head for home as I had class and work the next day.  I had not been drinking, so the idea of me driving was not a big deal.  While my friend lived approximately 45-50 minutes from my house, it was a bit of a drive...but I was used to it.

I was flying along doing about 60 on a rural highway, I had the windows down, and had the Van Halen album "5150" cranked as loud as my whiny JVC cassette deck would go.  My car was a 1986 Ford Escort EXP.  It was a 2 seat hatchback, and I loved this car.

I came out of a curve and began a set of rolling hills approximately 10 miles from home.  As I started up the 1st hill, I saw a critter of some kind scurry onto the road and into my lane of traffic.  I tried to swerve a bit to try to avoid hitting it, but accidentally jerked the wheel harder than I should have in trying to swerve.  The next thing I knew was that my car was beginning to go broadside (on dry pavement).  I have self-corrected out of this situation a million times on snow/ice, so while I was caught off guard by the apparent slide I was in, I was confident I would be able to regain control.  Yeah...not so much.  I turned the wheel to try and correct the skid...and all that managed to do was swing the entire car the other way and pointed straight towards the ditch while still doing 60 MPH.

It all happened so fast, but yet it was one of those things where it was in slow motion in your brain.  I remember seeing the ditch coming at me REAL fast, and me going "Oh shit."  WHAM.  I hit the ditch embankment with a sickening crunch, and all the lights on the car went out.  At that point I was totally along for the ride. I couldn't see what was happening, or where I was going, but I was still moving at a high rate for some reason.  I had that whole "life flashing before your eyes" thing when I hit the ditch, but was cognizant of the fact that I was currently in a motor vehicle accident in progress, and thought it was pretty "weak."  Finally, the ride came to an end, and I had no idea where I was.

The first thing I noticed, was that there was a light on in the back of the hatch for some reason.  I wasn't sure why, but figured the car just got rattled around a bunch and turned something on.  I looked down at my lap, and there was a piece of something laying there.  I picked it up and it looked like a chunk of clear plastic.  I opened the driver side door, and tried to get out.  I remember it being difficult to get out of the car for some reason but didn't know why.  I more or less fell out of the car into the ditch, and began to try to look at the car in the moonlight.  My car was perpendicular to the road, and the front was facing the highway.  I walked up onto the roadway and looked at the front of my car.  One of the headlights was gone, and the other was sort of hanging there.  Both of my fog lights were gone, and I could tell one of the front wheels was flat.

At this point, I still had the idea that I would probably be able to drive the car out of the ditch and drive it home.  I was like "My Dad is going to wonder what the hell I did when he sees this in the driveway in the morning."  I decide to try and start the car and drive it out.  I climbed back into the driver seat, and then realized the car was definitely not what it once was.  The entire driver seat was broken.  The back part had snapped upon impact and I had actually been laying down for the rest of the accident.  That explained why it was such a bitch to get out of the car.  Undeterred, I put my foot on the clutch and tried to fire the engine.  VROOOOOOM.  It fired.  Hell yes.  I shut the door, put it into gear and got ready to take off.  Just as I eased off the died.  I pushed the clutch again and tried to start it again, but this time it went no where.  I was dead where I stood.  I fell out of the car again, and decided to walk around the car and see what I was really dealing with here.  It was then the extent of the damage became apparent.  The entire hatch was still locked and shut, but the body had shifted so much I could put my arm through a opening between the body and the door.  A rear tire was flat, and the other one wasn't even touching the ground.  Yep.  I was screwed.

I was still not exactly sure where I was, and because it was about midnight, there was NO traffic out and about on the highway.  I started walking up the highway about 100 feet when I finally realized/remembered where I was.  There was a farm house just up the way a bit, so I ran there to see if I could find a phone to call for help.  I ran up to the dark house and pounded on the door.  I stood there forever, pounding on the door every few minutes or so. Finally, a light went on and some old old old guy came to the door.  I explained my problem and asked if I could use his phone to call my Dad and the deputy sheriff.  He said yes, so he led me to his phone in the kitchen and I called my Dad.  He answered, and I said "It's me.  I was in a car accident.  I'm OK, but I need you to come get me."  He asked where I was, and I told him.  He said he'd be there in a bit.  After that, I called the Sheriff's Office to report the accident.  I thanked the old guy for letting me use his phone, and apologized for waking him.  He was very nice about the whole thing, and to this day I still feel horrible waking him up that night.

I went back out to my car, and waited for the cavalry to arrive.  As I sat on the hood of my busted up EXP, I remembered what got me into the situation in the first place: that critter.  I followed my skid marks back down the highway, and sure enough....there was the critter.  From the way he looked, I think I hit him with at least two wheels.  Bastard.

Eventually a deputy sheriff showed up, and began to write up an accident report.  Much to his credit, he did NOT give me a ticket for anything.  I was sure I was going to get a "failure to maintain control" citation or something, but he was really nice about it.  I had interacted with him before at various community gatherings, and I think he remembered me.  Dad arrived and was VERY glad I was OK.  He asked if I was wearing my seat belt, and I said that I was.  I showed him my now growing bruise from said belt, and the broken seat.  The officer said he called a tow truck, and that we didn't need to wait around for all of that.  He said to make sure I got any "necessary" items I needed out of the car though.  I knew for a fact there were two items I needed to discreetly remove from the car due to their contraband nature.  One was my radar detector.  I didn't want my deputy friend here to see that and rethink the whole necessity of a reckless driving ticket or something.  The second was the pile of "Works Bomb" supplies I had in the hatch.  I had a bag of drain cleaner, aluminum foil, and 2-liter bottles that definitely would not look good in the eyes of the deputy.  While Dad unknowingly distracted the cop, I removed the contraband and put it in Dad's truck.  We then left and went home.

I arrived home to a Mom who was nervous beyond belief, and a feeling of definite whiplash that was beginning to take effect.  By morning, my entire body was the sorest it had ever been, and I couldn't move my neck/head at all without utter pain.

Dad and I went to see my car that afternoon, and remove anything else we needed to.  When we saw my car laying there in its wrecked state, neither of us could believe it.  The auto salvage guy swore that I rolled the car based on the kind of damage on the hood, roof, and trunk of the car.  I told him what happened, and said that based on the condition of the ditch and everything, I didn't think I rolled it.  The guy kinda nodded his head for a minute, and then he said:
"Well kid, you definitely wrecked the shit out of it then."

Indeed I did.

Thursday, November 22, 2012