If you're like me, and I know I am...

Friday, December 03, 2004

Get ready for the new BATTLESTAR GALACTICA

I've been watching preview copies of the new "Battlestar Galactica" that will be starting in about a month on SciFi. I'm here to tell you that it freakin' rocks! This is 0one reinvention of a classic series that has already surpassed the original in its execution. Granted, the original inspired the imagination of your average 12 year old back in 1978, but this new series is strong. It's mature. It has gravitas. It takes itself seriously. It isn't afraid to be a science fiction show. It isn't goofy.

The basics are the same as are many of the characters ... in essence. The genders may have changed, but the names have stayed the same, sort of. Apollo is now the call sign for commander Adama's son, Lee Adama. Starbuck and Boomer are calls signs as well, for female pilots. Changes the dynamic. There are no female characters who are just eye candy like the original show.

The new and improved Cylons can pose as humans and the question "Are You Alive?" is a major theme from episode to episode.

Fans of the old show will be glad to see the old Vipers are around alongside a few newer models.

Check it out.  Posted by Hello

Paradise (and body parts) Lost

My father once told me that smoking was the only thing in his life that gave him any pleasure. Right to my face he says that. I don't think it even occurred to him that his statement could quite easily be taken badly by his offspring. It could also be argued that I shouldn't have taken it as a slight, but it was.

My failure as a son has mainly to do with the fact that I was never into hanging out in junkyards with toothless hayseeds who deliberately surrounded themselves with mountains of trash because something inside of it might be of value to someone. Fer instance. I remember one fieldtrip to a junkyard down in Plattsmouth, Neb. so my dad could go looking through mountains of wrecked cars for an intact rear windshield for some ancient piece of shit of his own. While he searched, my sister and I sat in the car and waited for about an hour... like dogs. When he returned it was with a cut hand and no windshield.

One might well ask, how expensive could any rear windshield be? The answer is not that expensive, but even if it were $50 with free installation, it would not have been as sweet as finding one in a junkyard for $20.

I grew up in a junkyard actually. My dad, always the admirer of other people's shit, kept his own little pile all around our house. There were several old cars, axles, tractors, plows, mowers and weeds, tons and tons of weeds growing in all the cracks. A completely dilapidated school bus my grandmother used to use to house chickens was the item that made sure no one driving by could fail to notice that our house had a small yard and a much larger junkyard attached to it.

After my parents got divorced, it was my mother's no. 1 priority to get rid of the embarrassing piles of rusted metal that had closed in on us over the years. Well, no. 2 if you count getting rid of my dad. My father put off the junk removal for over a year until my mother brought in another junk collector to take all the junk away for free, afterall, he was getting an amazing pile of crap in exchange. Suddenly, rather than take my sister and I out for pizza, it became my dad's primary focus to hang out with the junk dealer and move all his detritus. That was how he lost the tip of his pinky finger. He got it caught in a trailer hitch. That is the kind of thing that only happens to hicks like my dad. You don't see too many accountants or state senators who are missing parts of their bodies that they "got caught in a trailer hitch."

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

People are people ...

When I was a boy, my daddy told me two things that were true. One was that a man should never sit down just to pee. If you sit down, you better be wipin' your ass and not your pecker when your done. And that's a fact.

The second thing he told me that is unquestionably true is that people are complete shit. Lower than snakes. "Don't trust Whitey especially." He has not had an easy time of it in this life and I cannot say that I blame my father for his opinions. He might sound like a misanthrope, but I think he is more of a disappointed romantic. I know this because I am also a disappointed romantic. People will fail you for many reasons. They might be greedy, dishonest, lazy or just disinterested in not failing you. They don't love you, they don't help you, they don't care. They take all you offer and then try to squeeze a few more drops of generosity at the end.

Even the best people can be complete pigs when they lose interest.

Friday, November 19, 2004

What I got?

It's Dennis Hopper in Waterword, B!  Posted by Hello

Love is ...

... what I got. I said remember that!

In the 70s, there was this movie called "Three Days of the Condor" with Robert Redford. It was about a CIA agent whose buddies are all wiped out while he's out getting lunch or something. Turns out they accidentally deciphered something the hard-core spooks were afraid they'd understand. Most of the movie is a blur, but near the end, there was an exchange between Redford and the head spook that was supposed to explain why our government might want to control events of all kinds. Primarily it comes down to limited resources. Stuff is running out and just now the third world is starting to want the kind of comforts we have. Dwindling resources meets exploding demand.

Whether or not the last war was about oil, the next one will be. It isn't an option that we will all just switch to electric cars when the oil runs out, you know. Everything in this world runs on fossil fuels. That includes combines, y'all.

It's Mad Max time and I for one say, It's about damn time! I think I could really make my mark if I could kill whoever I wanted. So sign up now to join my crew and we can cruise up and down the Missouri like Dennis Hopper in Waterworld.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Cruel to be kind?

OhmyGOD I'm a cruel whore! Posted by Hello

The latest slew of reality shows have been tickling my fancy. Such programs as "The $25 Million Hoax" and "My Big, Fat Obnoxious Boss" aren't exactly Emmy winners and they have even less "reality" than most reality shows. But they are fun nonetheless because they test just how cruel apparently decent people can be to their own loved ones, how greedy and how gullible they can be.

On "Boss," the contestants are all so stupid they actually believe the fake billionaire they are scrambling for is in possession of Excalibur ... the sword of King Arthur. They scramble and backstab, lie and cheat to make money on the streets of Chicago for a job with a billionaire they've never heard of but whose ass they kiss nevertheless .... and they think Excalibur is real AND that some dickhead in Chicago owns it?

Meanwhile, a small town girl who really loves her parents and siblings is torturing them as she spends $5 million dollars all on herself right in front of them, taunting them. Occasionally, she cries, but the producers remind her that they will all win $500,000 for real.

Now my family has an understanding that should we ever be placed in the morally perilous position of hurting each other for money, we are to do it with complete malice of forethought knowing that money heals all later so long as we get a cut.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

 Posted by Hello

I'm not normally a perv, but I came across this photo of Mariska Hargitay of "Law&Order SVU" and just had to share it with you. I justify my exploitation of her thusly. One, she posed for this and you can read why if you click on it. Two, she's "mature" and, three, my attraction to her isn't simply 'cause "she's hot" in the conventional horn-dog sense, it's because she has a strength about her, an austerity. And a sweet ass, but it's OK that I dig her because she's not an 18 year old centerfold bimbo.

A letter to my artist buddy about his dark works

I guess I never noticed just how unsophisticated some of these little fuckers were. I am particularly made ill by the editorial in today's opinion section that claims having the Olympics in Beijing will somehow improve human rights in China. Apparently, these little pischers are unfamiliar with a gentleman named Adolf Hitler and a little known country called Germany that hosted the Olympics in 1938 and yet still somehow managed to conjure up a holocaust. That is right up there with their contention that banning cell phones while driving was bad when the ban was only on talking on your cell phone while driving.

What a bunch of turd burglars.

You must get out of there my brother before Andrea and Michelle decide to replace you with some 19-year-old girl who draws pictures of ponies and rainbows crying with the words "Beijing 2008" written underneath. You should flee before you get sucked up Hauser's coozy with the rest of the pathetic gynocentric, psuedo feminist crackers in the newsroom. Do it before they force you to wear a dress and gratify ***** in unholy ways only William S. Burroughs could conjure up.

I don't know how anyone could be as stupid as Hauser and then think that anyone who finds her stupid does so because they are not down with "strong women" like her. Her kind makes me violently ill because they are beyond redemption. No amount of rational discourse, convincing or clubbing can make these human moles see the light. They could have stood behind the Buddha and looked down their noses at him.

Friend, by the black lamps of the Lord, don't let these brightly lit bastards convince you it will. They will say "why can't you draw something nice, why cant you make your point without being so gross or insulting." SCREW THEM! They don't get it and they never will. YOU ARE SUBLIME!

The world will be destroyed by the empty-headed tyranny of the nice as sure as I love cheese, those people who smile while laying off 500 people, they are the people who try to "pump you up." These were the people who told all those black guys down in the south to not push so hard for human dignity, just be patient, they said while their daddies and uncles were lynched in the swamps. Just give it some time, just die a little while longer, just let white people kill you and subjugate you for a few more decades or centuries, just suffer the rapes and murder and oppression a little while longer just to keep the world nice for us.

Some things are sick and should be drawn that way. Doing a nice drawing of something evil is an affront to God. God has a strong stomach and can take anything. He killed every man woman and child on the face of the planet except for a boatload of Jews and their zoo. He can take a nasty picture or two I think. Cleanliness has little to do with godliness, I think, especially when it comes to a clean mind. God is beyond clean and filthy. God, if he is anything, has to be the TRUTH, in all caps, and the TRUTH can be as foul as a pig sty. So shove the foul and dark in their faces and don't apologize.

Make no mistake, the armies of darkness look like your high school pep squad, they are Satan's glee club. True evil is as pure as innocence and the godly who are filled with the spirit know this to be true. They are judged mad by the cloying masses of "good Christian folk" who are just into it for the occasional temptation, for the security of knowing they can fuck up and still get the big present at the end.

Dull, brown and grey

You like to think about the past like there was something in it that you let slip away, that if you had only stepped up, you coulda or woulda and that's crap. Sentimental, melancholy crap. The truth is you do that so can wallow in the past and pretend there is something worth regretting. The truth is worse because the truth is there was never anything there to begin with. You missed nothing and that means that not only is there no potential, there never was.

This life is not a story of hope. If you are lucky, it is a story about promise unfulfilled. More than likely it's just short, miserable and sorry.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Under pressure. Or not.

Today, my nurse takes my blood pressure because I stopped taking my Altace, blood pressure meds, about three months ago when my insurance ran out. She tells me that not only is my blood pressure OK, it's better than hers and she's pregnant. Then she wonders why I'm on Coreg. "For my heart." That's all anyone ever said to me. "It's for your heart" or "it's a gamma blocker." Oh that's nice. Nurse tells me it is usually only taken by old people. So all these drugs might have been doing more harm than good as far as I know.

POP ... goes the weasel

When I was a kid, I was so ashamed of my own disobedient genitals that I used to rack myself whenever I got a boner in a sad attempt at self-managed penance. But then who didn't, am I right? People? Come on, who's with me?
Oh sure, Catholics may be fucked up, but try growing up in the sticks in the years before cable with parents who don't like to explain things.

America ... FUCK YEAH!

I don't know whether Trey Parker and Matt Stone are complete tools, geniuses or some weird hybrid of the two but ... "Team America: World Police" is not only a funny film in the crudest possible sense, but it also makes some pretty good points ... as crudely as they can. If you haven't seen it, give it a try. It has the funniest marionette fight scene ever conceived, a theme song that sums up American arrogance and attitudes in three words (see title of post) and hot puppet sex that had me laughing so hard I feared the end was near.

The thing with Stone and Parker, the creators of "South Park," is that they apparently find everyone equally annoying and worthy of target. That's cool, most people deserve it, but it seems to me that if one finds Americans arrogant, then one can hardly blame others for finding Americans arrogant, can they? And if celebrities are assholes for using their celebrity to make political points, then what are Parker and Stone? What I do like is that they repeatedly see that the truth is somewhere in the middle of extremes. Ultimately, the message of "Team America" is that sure, America can be a dick of a country sometimes, but that's OK, because we beat the hell out of the real bad guys sometimes. It's like they are bright 14-year-olds.  Posted by Hello

Monday, November 08, 2004

I want to join this exciting NeoCon movement

I just want to say to all the punk ass causes I've ever given a shit about that you can go fuck yourself now. I want to be a neocon. First of all, what a cool name. NeoCon ... it's just like the Matrix or some shit. Secondly, a NeoCon is what a liberal becomes when he turns to the Dark Side. Disappointed by crushing political defeats year after year as well as the wall of overwhelming apathy that seems to squeeze the life out of everything day in and day out, evil starts to seem just like a good way to get things done.

Nobody wants peace? Fuck it, let's go to war. I'm the sickest dude out here in the sickest country since Macedonia, let's throw down.

You don't want to embrace liberty, freedom, capitalism and the American Way? Go to hell Poncho, Sahib, Abdul ... whatever your fucking name is. Get ready to be the smallest fucking protectorate in the US of fuckin' A's collection of shitty thrid world hell hole islands. If you thought the Marshall Islands were pathetic, wait til you see what we do with Iraq.

Why not. Maybe Jesus wants us all to kill in his name and fuck the poor. I know which end of a good ass fucking I'd rather be on.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Sack up you ball-less lefties... damn

I think the Dems have a serious problem of trying to suck up to the center in the belief that American politics is some sort of tug of war. Well I guess it is because the Dems don't own the left. They should just come out of the god damn closet and say you better believe we're liberals and guess what? America is liberal country ... look around Chuck. Americans believe in civil liberty, they just need to be reminded of that sometimes.

Is there anyone who thinks in retrospect that the civil rights movement was a bad idea? No, but at the time, social conservatives were ranting that change was a bad thing, that the blacks needed to wait and sicking German shepherds on kids while shouting "go back to your own part of town, spades!"

Fuck all that. The Democratic Party might be as dead as Bobby Kennedy and for the same damn reason.

Read this and make of it what you will

The mind is its own place, and in it self
Can make a Heav'n of Hell, a Hell of Heav'n.
What matter where, if I be still the same,
And what I should be, all but less then hee
Whom Thunder hath made greater? Here at least
We shall be free; th' Almighty hath not built
Here for his envy, will not drive us hence:
Here we may reign secure, and in my choyce
To reign is worth ambition though in Hell:
Better to reign in Hell, then serve in Heav'n.

- John Milton, Paradise Lost

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

I'm moving to Canada... I swear to God

I'm so fucking depressed today I can barely give a shit about the fact that I no longer give a shit ... about anything.

What is the freakin' deal with Americans, anyway? I mean seriously. Is anyone better off today than they were four years ago? I didn't think so. So why the hell are they voting for this DOUCHEBAG? I never thought I'd miss voter fraud, I really didn't.

Oh well, let's get our war on for serious now, y'all!

Monday, October 18, 2004

Listen up, Frellniks!

If you never saw Farscape, I pity you monkey boy. The reviews are in. "Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars" is FABULOUS! OK, it's not bad. For those of you who hate loose strings, this tied it all up into a neat little bundle. There were tears and laughs. Catch it all this Sunday back to back at 2 p.m. CST.Posted by Hello

Old people ate my balls!

It's a prime indication of just how fucked up and selfish our society is that when we run short of flu vaccine it is the elderly who are supposed to get it. Whatever happened to hopping on the ice flow for the good of the tribe? Jesus! I'm all sorts of grateful for the many good things old folks have done for us in the past, but shouldn't we be saving limited quantities of flu vaccine for immune compromised ... oh I don't know, what do you call them ... CHILDREN?!

With the armies of old people multiplying outrageously thanks to advances in medicine as well as medicaid, soon everyone under the age of 65 will be nothing more useful to the elderly than soylent green. Why not? Old people vote. If they want to eat us, I don't see how or why anyone would stop them. Politicians would certainly figure out a way for them to at least eat criminals, right? Raise the retirement age, bankrupt society to keep old people in prescriptions and senior centers.

This is evolution working backwards, folks. I don't hate old people but I'd like to see them take one for the team because let's be honest, not all old people served in W.W. II, Korea, Nam or ... the Peace Corps even.

Check this out at http://www.startrekanimated.com ... bitches! Posted by Hello

Great Artists are Great Invalids

Thomas Mann is the guy who came up the title of this entry. His reasoning was pretty simple. Art is not capable without suffering. The artist is not teh creator of big-eyed child paintings and happy frog mugs. The artist is someone who takes their pain AND their joy and makes you feel it. I mean really fucking feel it. Art is also created by those whose perspective is not that of the mainstream, often because of debilitating mental and physical conditions. Anyone else is just a craftsan. Great art requires the artist to be capable of feeling something more than just the hunger that precedes meal times. A great artist has to know what it feels like to be unlike everyone else, to hurt, to bleed, to have one's mind turned inside out.

You take all that ... roll it up in a fluffy tortilla and serve it up and that's art, baby!

Friday, October 15, 2004

In the afterlife ...

I am continually astounded at the masses of mediocre humanity who seem to get by on nothing more than their willingness go with the flow like so much flotsam. I mean is there really such a big difference between say a concentration camp guard and your average human resources manager?

All I'm saying is that if your job is to take orders without question then your job sucks to the point of being an affront to mankind. Morality is always an issue and that dull bovine expression you wield like a get out of Hell free card is only gonna cover your ass on this plane.

If we can execute retarded children then I suspect God can deny us His presencefor trying to get off on the technicality of a short ethical attention span.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Bloody hell, ya been into me Wheaties?

Gordon "Ugly Irish prick" Harold

I have obstructive sleep apnea so for years -- as many as 20 -- I didn't really sleep the way most people do. I never had that deep, deep sleep full of dreams that went on and on and shifted and changed with the whims of the subconscious mind. No, I would have a little half lucid rambling and then wake up just long enough to screw up REM and start all over again.
Now, I wear a mask. Sometimes I wake up after eight hours in the same position I laid down in. Sometimes I wake up with my tongue stuck to the roof of my mouth. And I always dream. I dream like a mother these days.
Last night, I dreamt about this old roommate of mind, Gordon Harold. This scrawny, ugly fucking Irish asshole looked like Aidan Quinn on crack. He was emotionally abusive though and that was the worst part. He went home for the summer, which was great. But he padlocked the door to his room shut. Also not a problem except that the thermostat was in there and it was a hot one in our second-floor apartment. My room was right above the downstairs kitchen, too.
It was the most reasonable thing in the world for me to unhinge his door and get at the thermostat. He should have apologized frankly for inconveniencing me. Instead, he decides to throw a hissy fit and the door at me. He also accused me of "eating his bloody Wheaties" which was really stupid since he told me to eat whatever he left behind. Truth is, I never touched his Wheaties because I didn't know they were there. Had I known, I would have. I did eat the blood sausage though. It was nasty.
So last night, I have this dream where we are both supposed to speak at the Maintenance Shop (only it looks different) in the Memorial Union at Iowa State. Of course, he calls me fatty shortly before we go on and I beat the Holy fuck out of him. Then for some odd reason I'm naked and have to get dressed right before I go on and miss my shot while he goes up for big laughs.
It had all the elements of reality and none of the substance. His American ass-kiss friends thought everything he did was funny. Everyone acted like he was Brilliant though the only thing he had going for him was ... being Irish.
That guy minus the accent got NO PLAY. He was ugly for Christ's sake. This is a good picture of him and he used to be even uglier. He's gained a little.
Posted by Hello

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Life is a gateway drug

People talk about marijuana being a gateway drug. They say that if you smoke weed, pretty soon you will eventually be living in an alleyway somewhere trying to spike heroin into a vein or blowing businessmen at truck stops for crank.

I call bullshit on that. Every living thing tries to get high somehow. Even old grandma in her kitchen baking cookies is looking for that love rush that comes when the grandkids stop over. Adrenaline is quite a rush, too. Stress junkies abound right alongside workaholics.

Religion anyone? Pass that dutchie on the left-hand side padre, I needs to get filled with Christ's lovebuzz.

And let's not even mention drama queens, food addicts, sugar rushers and people who smoke tobacco and drink coffee all day long. Ever seen one of these pathetic fucks drink cup after cup of hot coffee all day long? There's no way they are enjoying the sweet taste of good coffee, especially from a thermos. These are people hooked on the buzz.

Deny it all you like as you sit and watch four hours of TV a night, but everything we do is an action. Actions have consequences, good and bad. Soimetimes they are just feelings. When we seek to maximize those good feelings, we are drug seeking. And sure it's easy to say that drugs are pills we swallow, weeds we smoke or crystals we chop up and snort and not all these other things I point out, but I say to you that life is messed up and people want to get off. Some want to get off big time and some like a little bump now and then, but they are all doing the same things.

Just so long as they aren't trying to steal MY stereo, it's cool.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

It's the little things

I've been fucking busy lately with this cab driving job. I dont like to bitch about the details of it though, that would make it too much like it's what I do and plan to do for a while, so I try not to. suffice it to say, people are cheap fucks especially old people who would fuck you for a nickel. Oh and French Canadians can suck my balls too. This fucker wanted me to get him from 114 and dodge to eppley in 20 minutes. I did it by driving 90 all the way. Tip? $3. Three fucking dollars, man. I'd a liked to kill that bastard. I risk all doing 30 mph over the limit and he gives me three dollars.
And it never fails that the one who has you carry all their shit bitches that 7.15 is too high even with their senior discount which comes right out of my pocket, no one elses.
Then you got these fucks who call you down the shittiest part of town to a place you can't find them and when you have killed 45 minutes looking for them, you find out they already left thus fucking you out of a 20 dollar fare.
And if one more welfare mom lets her kid eat messy shit on my seats, I'm gonna run her bitch ass over. Fucking graham crackers and cheese doodles.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

I'm gonna miss Rodney Dangerfield

Rodney Dangerfield was a great comedian. He was a schtick warrior, man. He had that whole old school, sweatin' under the lights, I'm this close to bombing but I'm pushing this shit as hard as I can routine that just sold. It was like pure desperation and pure delight had a baby. My buddy, Todd, used to steal Rodney's lines and tell them all day at school like he made them up himself. It was a perfect match really, because he was fucking relentless. He would tell the same jokes over and over again until people laughed just at the sheer insanity of someone trying to get you to laugh at not only someone else's jokes, but the same someone else's jokes day in and day out.

But still, there isn't a guy my age who didn't admire the man in "Caddyshack," "Back to School" and whatever the hell else he was in.

God bless you Rodney!

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Things to do in Boulder when you're dead

What the fuck, man, a blog is supposed to be updated daily ... Multiple times even. How the hell am I supposed to become famous blogger is I don't GET ON IT?! Check out this tale of whoa, as in, whoa, what a fuckhead.
My name is Greg Jerrett. I am the direct male descendant of Jaret of Camerton Court and his father Gerard de Tornai who conquered England alongside William in 1066. My ancestors were hardcore Normans, the kind of men who kept alive the legend of King Arthur while living in France and when it came time to kick ass, they did so with relish.

Fast forward about a thousand years...

Last Friday I was working my ass off at my new temporary job, cab driving, when I picked up this couple from Chicago. Their car broke down in Carson, Iowa -- a shithole by any estimation -- and then they were robbed by passersby posing as good samaritans. The cops picked them up and dropped them off in Council Bluffs ostensibly to get them some help. They didn't even help them make one phone call to get some cash. They slept in a field.

I picked them up at the last minute Friday. I almost didn't take the call. I don't work in Iowa much until the end of the day when I come home and figure that while I'm driving home, if one call comes in, I can handle it and who knows? Who knows indeed.

I took them to the Hy-Vee to get some money wired from a rich friend in Boulder so they could continue their journey to Colorado by whatever means necessary. They had no ID, no credit cards and a dog they wouldn't inconvenience by putting in a cage for anything. So they actually paid me an inordinate amount of money to drive their asses all the way to Boulder. Yeah ... that's a lot of time on the road and a lot of money. From 10 a.m. to 4 a.m. Sunday I drove almost non-stop. No real breaks, just bathroom, gas and food stops.

As soon as I dropped them off, I headed back. That was the really interesting part of the journey, too, because I was all alone in the wilderness and believe me, there ain't shit out there. Between Boulder and Lincoln, there are two towns, Kearney and Ogallala. I kid you not. Everything else is scrub brush and fear of the unknown.

At one point, I was listening to a lame radio station. I hit the search button and, I swear, it went all the way around the dial and landed on the exact same station. At 2 a.m. I was so tired, I pulled over and bought some spicy corn chips. They are better than coffee at keeping you wide awake on the road.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Do I miss the Nonpareil?

Council Bluffs, Iowa to Boulder, Colo. ... $1,200.

People ask me if I miss working at the Daily Nonpareil for 21K a year.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

The Patriot Act

... deal with it, folks! Posted by Hello

God ... DAMN I love "Star Trek!"

Greg Trek by Carmen CerraPosted by Hello

I don't care who knows it. I love "Star Trek." It's an ethos. People go on about "Star Wars" and, oh sure, it's fun and all. But when it comes to a truly sophisticated science fiction world that expresses the hope we all have for the future of mankind, Roddenbery kicks Lucas' ass every time.
And don't give me that Joseph Campbell bullshit either. Anything, I mean anything can fit into the limits of Campbell's litery criticism. It's broad. That's the point. You can find heroes who leave home, face the unknown and return with boons for their fellow man anywhere! That Lucas was smart enough to use Campbell as a blueprint just proves what a hack he is. For my money, "American Graffiti" was a much better movie, as was "THX 1138."

Mongol Greg

by Carmen Cerra Posted by Hello

Monday, September 20, 2004

Illustration courtesy of Maj. Mark Schonberg, United States Army. He's one to talk. A CB native, Schonberg (son of Dick Schonberg, former plant manager at Iowa Western) is just about the biggest blowhard I know. In a good way. He once drove a moving van all the way from Manhattan, Kans. to Omaha, Neb. down to Houston, Texas to help me move. Then we drove all the way to CB and then he drove all the way back to Kansas. Now that's a buddy. At least, that would be a buddy if he didn't constantly bring it up. Believe me, I've paid him back 10-fold but you'd think he saved me from the Viet Cong the way he goes on about that trip. Posted by Hello

CB Night Panorama

I took this pic meself at Fairmount Park in the winter of 2002 let's say. It was cold and crisp, but there was no snow on the ground. Posted by Hello

The Writer by Jean Mason

My friend Jean Mason did this painting of me. I love it. It hangs in my mother's house right now because more people can see it there. What an eye this lady has. She managed to see me the way I'd like to see myself. Go to her site and buy her stuff.
Posted by Hello

High Idiocy

I had this publisher at my last job who was, and is, a complete fucking idiot. You know how hard it is to work for someone who is so God damn stupid he shouldnt even be the fry guy at Mickey D's? Your instincts tell you to beat them down like a spider monkey, chimp style.

But of course, he was the boss, so everybody walked around kissing his ass like he could wish them away to cornfield. He's one of those stupid people who either doesn't know how stupid he is or DOES know how stupid he is and insists with mannerisms that everyone ignore his stupidity. For example: There is plenty of coffee to be had in a newsroom. Reporters and editors run on caffeine. Our newspaper had been in the same building since the Depression.

One day, the bathroom sink comes up clogged. There were coffee grounds built up after generations of dumping coffee into the sink. Of course, where the fuck else are you supposed to clean out the pot and your cup? The fucking toilet?

So of course, we had to be bannded from cleaning our coffee cups in the sink even though the average cup of coffee these days contains exactly ZERO fucking coffee grounds.

Of course, this asshole was about the only grownup I've ever met in my life who didn't drink coffee. Carried a coffee cup around though. Drank pop out of it. Didn't want coffee, but didn't want to look like he wasn't drinking it either. What a tool.

On 9/11, I remember him barking orders out in the newsroom. "Get on the internet andfind out what the flight numbers of those planes are?" Why? If they don't have it on CNN, how the fuck am I supposed to find it by "getting on the internet."

Even the way he said "get on the internet" indicated he didn't "get on the internet" very often. He once told me to "get on the interenet" and find out when Nebraska became a state. I should have told him to stick it up his ass. Ever heard of Google motherfucker? Probably not.

This is, after all, the guy who fired me for sending a personal email to a member of the school board. I'm sure he didn't know she was on the board.

The Editor (v. 1.0) by Carmen Cerra

Talk about a great artist. My friend Carmen could draw versions of me that captured by fatness without being entirely offensice. That takes skill. Check him out at the Ames Tribune.

To me, this drawing, as well as v. 2.0, represented to me the great potential that we all knew was our at the Iowa State Daily. I have never shaken the faith that I and the people I worked with at that time were not only great at what we did, but had great futures ahead of us.

No matter what stupid fat fuck has the audacity to call me a piece of shit to face while I'm busy rocking the mic and selling papers, I know what I can do. I know what I'm SUPPOSED to do. I'm a journalist. That isn't up for interpretation by some stupid corporate fuck like Tom Schmitt, publisher of the Daily Nonpareil, has to say about it.

Journalists have a responsibility, a sacred trust with the public, that is so much more important than "the bottom line" or the opinion of an asshole from Missouri, hired by some stupid fucks from Nebraska to run OUR hometown newspaper.

These men with big mouths and no guts make me want to puke. I can't wait for the revolution, man, I really can't.

Posted by Hello

Breaking Away

Carmen Cerra

This illustration accompanied my final column at the Iowa State Daily. God ... DAMN but that Carmen is a genius. One is tempted to overlook the incredible subtlety and intricacy in his work, but look closely. He's like Picasso this guy. With a few lines he manages to create an image that conveyed all of the emotions I was feeling at the time.

One day, Lord willing, we will work together again.

Posted by Hello

Screaming in a vacuum

This blog stuff doesn't have quite the effect of bi-weekly newspaper columns. Patience though. I have plans in motion that will, God willing, result in something ... truly wonderful. For me, at least, if not Council Bluffs and southwestern Iowa.

For right now though, everything I saw is likely read by me and maybe one or two other people who never comment. Perhaps I shall get a counter just to prove to myself how few people are looking in on this endeavor.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Julia Roberts can milk my mare any day!

You know that Julia Roberts has done some good work. I'm not talking about her movies. Those are pretty much shit. Not even gay men find much to appreciate about JR. No, I'm talking about her work on PBS.

I don't care who knows it, I think she's got SOME balls on her to traipse around the world in conditions I know I wouldn't dig in order to do documentaries for educational television that you just know she isn't getting paid dick for. And she does a pretty good job. God knows she's no Richard Attenborough, but she doesn't suck either.

And she isn't doing some stupid reality show premise about the starlet in the shit, these are good in depth looks at Mongolians and what not. I just saw that chick milk a horse. She didn't bitch about it either. I could love me a woman like that.

KUDOS Julia!

Plato was right ... now make me a sandwich

Man, I'm hungry. I could really go for a sandwich. Not some fast food burger or a sub, but just a good old made at home turkey, ham, beef concocted with swiss and horseradish sauce on rye. Maybe some romaine and tomato to kick that bad boy up a notch, you know? This, of course, would require me to leave the house and go to the store, maybe two. I don't spend $3 for a loaf of break. I have no shame about going to the thrift store to buy bread. But even the day old store is getting expensive as hell. Time was you could get bread there for 50 cents a loaf. Now, even they are up to a $1.50 for the basics.

Of course, once I get to the grocery store, I might as well buy groceries for the week and that always sucks. Especially on a Sunday when everybody and his dog is there taking their time.

This all goes to show that desire is the root of all suffering. In this case, my desire for a sandwich and the suffering of inconvenience. Sure, it isn't torture, but this is just an analogy so if you don't like it, fuck off.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

The Return of Puddin' Head

Writing is a release that, for me, comes out of the fingertips. It's that sense of lightening quick flow from the mind and out threw my fingers onto the keyboard and instantly appearing on the screen that makes the intangible real with no hesitation between conception and realization. Writing with pens on paper is an entirely different process. The words are trying to come out of me so fast that it's actually quite frustrating to use anything but modern technology. I wonder if Shakespeare, Poe or Twain would have done anything differently if they'd been able to crank it out at lightening speed. I know for a fact that Twain was paid by the word. He used to mark his manuscripts with little numbers that "scholars" couldn't figure out for decades. They thought for sure he was doing some sort of god damned remarkable numerological mindfuck on us all. Turns out he was just trying to keep track of the duckets. This of course makes sense to anyone who really gets Mark Twain.

Needless to say, the great man would never have had his money problems if he was spewing out Puddin' Head Wilson stories like Steven King on crystal meth.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Pop goes the weasel

Bold thoughts require bold fonts and I am feeling bold tonight. My plan to search for ladies via the Internet (a prospect I had heretofore eschewed as geeky) is going awesome. These ladies know I'm fat, they've seen my mug and they continue to email me. It's shaking up my libido like a bottle of pop. I think I might have get all Onanistic on myself. Really, it's a compliment, ladies.

Total hippie masturbation

A lot of people look at the stars and feel insignificant. I can see that. The universe is huge and by comparison, we are no more significant than ants (we sure do lord it over the insects, don't we?). But when I look up at the universe, I don't see myself as a separate entity living inside an enormous cage that happens to be the universe. You look at the Milky Way and it is billions of stars that look like dust blowing in the wind. I see myself as a part of it all. Sure I'm just dust, man, but I'm space dust, don't you get it? We're, made from the same elements as the stars. We come from the earth literally and we go back to it the same way and in a billion years when our sun goes nova, this earth and everything it ever was will become dust again to blow across the universe to begin anew in some far distant corner. It may have happened countless times before and countless times still. So in a very real way, we never stop existing. We coalesce and become animated for an infinitesimally short time and then we blow away. We should look up at the sky and feel honored that anything in this universe would consider us worth creating at all.

Now where are my Cheetohs?

How I learned about sex

Now, if you ask my mother, she will tell you that she sat me down one day and gave me “the talk.” If you pump her for details, she will not remember exactly what she said or recall any of the emotional details. To be honest, there was a moment when we sat down for “the talk,” but I remember it being so excruciatingly painful for her to discuss the subject with me that “the talk” was more like "the torture session" and ended rather abruptly. I know she never said the words “penis,” “vagina” or even “sex” for that matter. But I do remember my Robin action figure mounting my Catwoman and thinking that if Batman walked in right now, he would be pissed.My mother was always uptight about sex when I was a kid. I remember she caught me masturbating once when I was about 12. It was bound to happen sooner or later. I was going at it at least five times a day and that was when there were people in the house. Man, those were good times. What I wouldn’t give to be overwhelmed by my libido just once and without that senseless guilt I used to feel because no one told me it was cool, just lock the door. It used to feel as if the center of everything was in my crotch and there was nothing more important than getting it out into the world. Laugh if you will, but on the genetic level that is exactly what’s going on with every human being born. We are the chauffeurs of our DNA, my friends, and that is all. I think we tend to not see the beauty in the male sex drive because it seems so base and monkey-like. But is a woman giving birth any different? It’s all just animal instinct, blood, come, grunting and release when you get right down to it. For me, being forced to suffer massive erections at the slightest provocation and feeling that I must do anything to ejaculate was at once awkward and profound. It was embarrassing, buty it was nature’s way of pointing me in the direction the universe wanted me to go. Thank God for gym bags. I learned about sex mostly from pornography. My uncle was a truck driver and apparently he stole quite a bit of porn from a big load he was hauling cross country. This wasn’t “Playboy” or even “Hustler” porn. This was nasty, specialty store stuff with penetration and exotic set decoration, plotlines, dialog balloons and all the hot action a young lad could ask for if he had any idea this stuff was out there in the first place. My uncle disseminated all this skank to friends and relatives profanely one Christmas, the disgusting pervert. I think it seemed OK at the time because it was the 70s and everybody was a little more curious and open about sex than they had been. Hell, my sainted mother even went to see “Debbie Does Dallas” with some friends of hers whose husband is a minister to this day if you can believe that. Would I lie to you? So for years my dad had this big pile of what, in retrospect, was some pretty awesome porn. It was from this magical nasty stash – concealed ingeniously under his side of the bed – that I realized sex had less to do with making babies than with making women make the most agonizing expressions. I must have spent five hours a day looking at those magazines while committing the sin of Onan once every half hour.Today, I can't get revved up without a bottle full of deer phermones, an upright vaccum cleaner and a truck battery attached to my nipples. Time's funny like that, ain't it?

Freedom of what again?

I know it sounds like so much whining to people who accept that life is exactly as hard as you make it out to be or that "life IS stress" or that there is nothing more satisfing than working like a dog for 60 years, paying all bills on time and dying not owing anybody anything, but for me, I see life as a series of limited choices and limited freedom. Freedom isn't just the freedom to pay bills or eat hundreds of different kinds of cereal. Who needs the freedom to be ground under the heel of some asshole who thinks of them as a lowly, greasy cog in his little corporate profit machine. Fuck all that shit. Get in my way old man, and you’re goin’ down faster than a two dollar whore. Fuck societal mores and niceties. I’m here to see how high and how far I can go. I don't want to bow and scrape for any man. I don’t relish the notion of dying but it’s gonna happen. And when it does, I’d like to leave something more meaningful than my credit rating and excellent work record behind me.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Lord, I was born a ramblin' man

So I got me the internet yesterday. So far I've decided to do all the things I haven't been able to do for a while. Long story short, I'm lookin' for the hook up.

I Googled "women who like fat men. " Damn skippy! Found a site for chubby chasers with women in my area who not only don't mind a man with a little - or a lot-extra padding, but insist on it!

It is the nature of man that he is a social animal. It is part of our success. The opposite side of that coin is that man is a rather lonely animal when deprived the comforts of community. I take no shame in the fact that I am lonely.

Well, that's not entirely true. All around me people are marrying and having kids, dating, screwing, holding hands and engaging in some of the most basic human as well as mammalian behavior and yet I seem nearly incapable of making that happen for myself.

So let me rephrase. I am a bit embarrassed to admit that I am lonely.

I like a great deal of solitude, but in my solitude there is a yawning chasm of sadness that occasionally longs to be filled. Of course, when I find out that the only thing I have to fill that chasm is the incessant nagging of a woman with issues, I might once again relish my solitude.

Who knows? Maybe I'm just horny.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Greggy's back. Back again. Greggy's back. Tell a friend.

Believe it or not, I JUST got internet service at home today. Up until now, I've avoided having the devil internet in my home because I knew, fucking knew, that if I were online at home I'd be ONLINE at home ALL THE TIME. Sure, it's just the first day, but I've been on since the dude who hooked me up left at 1. It's almost 6 p.m. I'm listening to Air Ameirca radio. I was watching Angry Kid on AtomFilms. I reactivated my eBay account after five years away. I signed up for AOL IM, a personals site and about 10 technology upgrades for by browser and media.

God ... DAMN broadband rocks!

I should be able to look for jobs, write and work on my web site without even putting on pants.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Why I don't write for the Council Bluffs Daily NonPaper any more and why it doesn't matter

E-mail me at gjerrett@yahoo.com for questions and details...

There I was on the morning of Aug. 12 minding my own
business writing an obit - a task for which I was not
hired but did anyway - at my desk at the Daily
Nonpareil when Jon Leu called me on the intercom to
come to his office. It had to be bad news because Jon
didn't talik to me at all if he could help it and only
called me by intercom when something bad was about to
happen to me.

Long story short, they fire me for sending "a personal
e-mail" to a contact of mine. I had been having a
three way e-mail conversation with her and another
contact about conflict of interest as well as how
stupid some people were for either allowing or
encouraging one of my editors to run for school board.

This is a clear cut conflict of interst, one of the
biggest in our business. One cannot be a reporter,
editor or writer employed by a newspaper and run for
public office.

My contacts agreed and we batted e-mails back and
forth forth for some time while I worked on other
stories. To me, it's no harder or time consuming than
chatting witha coworker while typing away on a story
and is, in fact, a good use of time in my opinion.

But I am not a popular man with the management of the
Daily NonPaper. The publisher, Tom Schmitt, hates the
fact that he has never once been right about me. He,
like so many others in my life. Had wanted very much
to dismiss me as a lowest common denominator kind of
writer. Someone who plays to people's lowest
expectations and twisted human emotions. But the truth
was that I was good. I actually made people feel good
about themselves, I made them think and feel and they
wanted more of me.

For three years they wanted more and never got tired
of me as I'm sure he believed they soon would. I am
from Council Bluffs. I know the town that reared me. I
know the people. I know what they want to hear and
what they NEED to hear. But I am honest and I never
manipulate my audience. I don't pander to them. I
don't cajole them or tell them simply what they want
to hear so they will like me. That way leads to ruin.
Evdntually, your audience will figure out that you are
full of shit and they will tune out leaving you on
your pedastal alone and confused.

Honesty is the hardest thing to come by and the last
thing the corporate overlords want. They cannot
conceive of honstey as a virtue only a detriment to
their profit margin. So when some fucking guy like me
comes along and proves that not only can one be honest
but popular and long-lasting to boot, it annoys them.

I honestly think I could have been golden for a good
long time at the NP i it hadn't been for Tom Schmitt.
Everyone else who mattered semed to like me well

So what was Scmitt's problem? The very same fucking
week I was fired I won the Nonpareil's Reader's Choice
Award for favorite writer for the second year in a
row. He got second and that was probably because he
got his family to sit around filling out forms. So
long as I was there, he would never get out from
uinder my shadow. Me, a god damn flunky who refused to
act like a piece of shit.

Well buddy, for $21,000 a year, you don't GET my
fucking soul. You get my ass in a chair and that's it.
The rest is mine.

I'm not done with them by a damn sight.

Keep checking in for more and please send my address
to your friends since this is now where I write and do
forgive any spelling errors or typos you come across.
I write from the hip.


Tuesday, August 10, 2004

THIS JUST IN: My milkshake, is better than theirs!

Announcing the 2004 winner of the Nonpareil's Reader's Choice Award for Favorite Writer ..... IT'S....ME! YAY!

I'd like to thank everyone who helped me be me, namely me, myself and I cause let's face it, if it weren't for me, who would I be? And I can't think of anyone who helped me be a better righter than everyone else who works here except for me?

I think when it's official we should go back on Todd and Tyler and talk smack about Rainbow Rowell.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Good Job and Thanks!

Just wanted to say you're doing a great job, keep it up! And remember if anything news worthy happens, keep me in mind!

Greg Jerrett
Council Bluffs Daily Nonpareil
800.283.1882 ext. 5746
Read My Column

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Local balding man shaves 'for charity'

'I'm doing it for the children ... really,' says man

FREDERICK, Md – Simon Webb, 356 Crabcake Ln. #B, shaved the last six strands of his hair Friday deciding that it needed to be done for the good of sick children. Webb donated the 10-inch strands to Locks of Love, a charitable organization that makes wigs for sick, bald children.
"I thought if I am going to take this drastic step, you know, actually shave myself bald, bald for the first time in me life and make this great big vastly different lifestyle choice that is so very much the opposite of what I used to look like then as a good Christian, I had better #uckin' do it for the kiddies, yeah? I mean, it stands to reason, right? Some little girl is going to have a magnificent wig is all I've got to say."
"He really didn't have much to make a wig FROM," said Julie Darter, president and founder of Locks of Love. "He insisted that he would donate his 'glorious mane' to needy orphan children. It was kind of creepy because while the 'lock' of hair WAS 10 inches long, it was still barely visible to the naked eye. It was like a little red rubber band all twisted up with a little hair in it. It was the most effed up thing I've ever seen."
With a single gleaming tear in his eye, Webb handed over his Lock of Love to Garter who accepted it in a public ceremony at Crowne Point Mall.
"I figured if I didn't accept it, he would keep trying to give it to me and I just wanted this whole thing to be over with as soon as possible," Darter said.
"Does this look like I might have hair if I let it grow out, d'ya'reckon," Webb asked onlookers."I mean, I know I've got no hair and YOU know I've got no hair, but do you think the birds will notice?"

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Corporate morality and other oxymorons (corporate morality)7.9.02

> Here is my favorite serious George Bush quote so far in what I am sure will ultimately be three or four terms of great quotes once we get that pesky two-term limit abolished.
> Addressing the Association for a Better New York Monday, Dubya said: > "> At this moment, America> '> s greatest economic need is higher ethical standards, enforced by strict laws and upheld by responsible business leaders. In the end, there is no capitalism without conscience, no wealth without character.> ">
> The first sentence is true or at least wishful thinking. The second one should read: > "> In the end there SHOULD BE no capitalism without conscience, no wealth without character because that> '> s the way it was in the beginning ... of American capitalism anyway.> ">
> American capitalism was pretty much the invention of Calvinists who were able to accumulate huge amounts of wealth or > "> capital> "> because they believed in working themselves silly, never having any fun and saving all their money.
> There is a great misconception in the United States as to our economic system. We believe in capitalism as much as we believe in democracy, which is funny since we don> '> t live in pure forms of either one.
> We live in a republic, a representative democracy, but since most of us DON> '> T vote, that is questionable as well. Our economic system is decidedly based on consumerism and credit. Our government is so far in debt that no matter how bad your credit might be, Uncle Sam (were he an actual guy) would not only be getting calls from collection agencies during dinner, he> '> d have his car repossessed, his wages garnished and find himself on > "> America> '> s Most Wanted> "> for writing bad checks. He would also not be wearing a shirt.
> Our economy> '> s lead indicators of prosperity are all based on how much money people spend whether they earned it or not. How many new cars did we buy? How many washing machines? When our economy took its post 9/11 dip, what was the answer? Spend money for the love of God! Of course, that god was Mammon.
> Capitalism is based in self-denial and the accumulation of capital through thrift, hard work and frugality. There is precious little of that in a country that> '> s all about instant gratification. From the fast food we suck down our throats to the fat bodies we suck out of our fat bodies, America is all about instant satisfaction.
> More than that, even if any of us actually wanted to live simply, off the land or without money and consumer goods, we couldn> '> t. There is nothing wild or unowned. We do not have the division of labor that existed in the old days. We would have to do everything ourselves.
> Even if you didn> '> t bother anyone, your existence would bug enough people that they> '> d have to get you somehow. That> '> s what the ATF is for. If you live off the land, the ATF will break into your cabin and shoot you on suspicion of hording weapons. Either that or IRS agents will come to collect the taxes you owe on your nuts and berries because technically they are considered income.
> Now, I like my fast food culture as much as the next junk food/video game addict. I want my stuff. Credit, space-age polymers, new sneakers, a kickin> '> sound system, honeys on both arms, power, influence, love, respect, happiness ... all the things money can buy. It is the natural caveman inclination to take as much as we can get.
> But the world is not the unlimited grab bag it once was. There are 6 billion people living on this spaceship earth. Even 10 percent of Americans live in poverty and poverty is calculated as a family of four living on $17,000 a year.
> The pursuit of wealth has left us spent. It has hit its limits. It always does.
> Corporate greed is the bugaboo of the future. Far scarier than Robber Baron lust because it has no face, only an image and a bottom line. No individual is accountable.
> When a Republican president with an MBA chastises American business, you KNOW the problem is not just serious, it> '> s likely much worse than we suspect. If Enron and Worldcom can get rich off the illusion of wealth, the idea is just too good to pass on.
> Penalties for white collar criminals are a joke because no one can really wrap their head around them. So here is a good way to conceptualize it. If I mug an old lady for her purse, I have committed a crime for which I should be punished. If I come up with an accounting scam that puts thousands of trusting employees on the street, tanks investors and trashes the economy forcing others to commit crimes like mugging an old woman, I get probation.
> If we want to make the business world a moral place then there have to be harsh penalties for criminals of this stripe. No more country club treatment. Stick them in a cell with bank robbers, rapists and murderers. These guys aren> '> t special.
> It> '> s not just the prosperity bubble that burst, it was the morality bubble. The super-rich live in a world where people like us are just cannon fodder. They trade inside information like we trade recipes and talk about sitcoms.
> It should be an established fact that wealth, conscience and character do not necessarily go hand in hand ... in hand.
> What it really comes down to is that in spite of 2,000 years of Christianity, moral philosophizing and ethical debate, Mammon is still the most popular god in Western culture.
> -> Greg Jerrett is a Nonpareil staff writer. His column runs on Wednesdays and Saturdays. He may be contacted at 328-1811, Ext. 279, or by e-mail at gjerrett@nonpareilonline.com.

Drug addicts complain about ban (smoking ban) 8.27.02

> New York> '> s Mayor Mike Bloomberg has managed to get the price of cigarettes jacked up to $7.50 PER PACK. Can you believe it? Remember when you could get cancer sticks for a buck? From a vending machine? At work? So you could smoke WHILE you worked? I bet you do.
> Nothing said good morning, America like that first smoke as you rolled out of bed, shaved, showered, had another smoke, poured a cup of coffee, smoked a cigarette and then headed off to the bomber plant to do your part for the war effort ... while smoking.
> Time was, any 12-year-old with a notion to could walk into the general store, get a handful of jaw breakers and a carton of Lucky Strikes for a penny. And why not? If you> '> re old enough to work 14 hours a day, by God you should be old enough to smoke, too.
> Soon, Bloomberg will manage to make it illegal to smoke even in New York bars. Can you imagine walking into a transvestite, S&M, biker bar on branding night and not being able to smoke? Me neither.
> Lots of people, well, not people so much as smokers, don> '> t like that one bit. > "> It> '> s a violation of our civil rights,> "> they shout while frantically reaching for another bullet and one of those tacky, red disposable, child-proof lighters they bought at a convenience store for 50 cents that barely works. Flick, flick, flick. Flick ... flick ... FLICK. > "> I have rights, too, you know.> "> Puff ... fuuuuuu.
> I have to agree with the sentiment behind those words. It really isn> '> t a bar if people aren> '> t smoking in it. One can hardly argue that a bar is such a healthy environment that it is wrong to poison other people> '> s lungs while those people are poisoning their livers. Besides, smoking and drinking go together like Martin and Lewis, Lewis & Clark, Lois and Clark and Clark Bars and Vodka which leads us back to smoking and drinking.
> Why should what goes on New York concern those of us who live in the rational epicenter of common sense and libertarianism that is the Midwest? Because what New York does, we> '> ll be doing six months after that. If the largest city in our country pulls off this coup with little or no rankle, then the motivation will be there for every city and state government to drop the hammer on smoking as well.
> Ames already has a ban in restaurants before 8:30 p.m. and Iowa City is working on one, too. More and more people are warming to the idea of simply outlawing cigarettes altogether, a feat that is looking more plausible every day. Smoking is going the way of the dodo and one day in our > "> Star Trek> "> future we will look back in wonder at this primitive behavior.
> Smoking tobacco is not significantly different than smoking crack or shooting heroin. In fact, studies have shown that cigarettes are at least as addictive as cocaine. Don> '> t believe me? Try quitting. People can say they like smoking all they want, but the sad fact is they are just as addicted to that drug as any back alley dope fiend.
> If you had a monkey on your back digging his nails into your neck until you fed him bananas, would that mean you really liked bananas? Of course not. You were just feeding the monkey.
> Remember the first time you inhaled smoke? That is how you really feel about cigarettes.
> When you wake up because you are having a > "> nic fit,> "> those are the same feelings junkies get when they need to spike a vein. The reason smokers so often look like death warmed over is no more complicated than why crackheads, tweekers and dopers look like hell. Poison will do that to you.
> Smokers get upset at smoking bans because they are hooked on a drug. I got hooked at 18 and even though I don> '> t want to smoke today, I like the idea of going into a bar, having a beer and stepping off the wagon.
> When I got the diabetes, my doctor said give up cheese and never smoke again. OK, I said. Now, let> '> s get something straight. I love cheese. For six months, I had no cheese and not one smoke. Then I went to the airport. After a stressful check-in, I hit the bar and found a mark to bum me just one smoke. >
> Nearly a year later, I have not so much as bought a small quantity of cheddar cheese unless it was fat free and taste free, but I still buy smokes from my co-workers on a regular basis.
> One day, the world will look upon tobacco with at least as much disdain as it views marijuana, not because all the non-smokers will make the lives of smokers miserable, but because EX-smokers, high on zealotry, will call for its ban to keep temptation at bay.
> Smoking is not pleasurable, it is not relaxing, it doesn> '> t feel good, smoke doesn> '> t taste refreshing. Smoking is a drug and smokers are drug users. As long as people are comfortable with that notion, so be it.
> With that said, public interference should really be kept to a minimum. Smoking will die on its own the less we do. In-your-face measures will act as life support. Stop Big Tobacco from selling to kids, keep the ads down, but leave the smoking sections alone and quit jacking with the prices. The only thing legislators and city councils will manage to do is make smoking even cooler than it already is. That> '> s half the reason people started anyway.
> > -> Greg Jerrett is a Nonpareil staff writer. His column runs on Wednesdays and Saturdays. He may be contacted at 328-1811, Ext. 279, or by e-mail at gjerrett@nonpareilonline.com.

Dennis Miller ranting no more (Dennis Miller)7.16.02

I found out last week that Dennis Miller, the bon mot-spouting pragmatist of "Dennis Miller Live," formerly of "Saturday Night Live's" Weekend Update fame, is getting the axe from HBO. I gotta tell you, this is a world-class bummer for me.
Every writer can tell you who inspired them to do what they do and I'm not shy about the list of muckraking scribes I call influences, but I have not done enough to put Dennis Miller on that list. Primarily, I think of him as a comedian and while he has books to his credit, most of them are transcripts of his televised rants from "Dennis Miller Live."
When I started writing columns in college, it was with a copy of "Rants" and "Ranting Again" right by my side and if I had to do it all over again, the only thing I would change would be to add "I Rant, Therefore I Am" and "The Rant Zone" to that stack.
I have not subscribed to HBO once in the nine season run of "Dennis Miller Live." Luckily, I have always been able to catch up online, at a friend's house or by catching the audio-only version on scrambled HBO channels. It's just that good.
Miller has a cadence and rhythm that are surpassed only by his arcane references, practical politics and hardcore style of diatribe. He is the perfect American social commentator in my humble opinion. He is caustic, intelligent, vulgar, self-deprecating, honest and only just this side of aging hipster. He changes his position, admits when he screws up and sees life's details with magnificent clarity translating complex issues for a wider audience.
I trust a guy like Miller because when he does a commercial for 10-10-220, shills for HBO, gets canned from "Monday Night Football" or does a movie that tanks, he has no problem pointing the finger squarely at his own chest while calling himself a prostitute, a hack, an egotist all while making better use of four-letter words than the TV Guide crossword puzzle. When he opened last week's show only a few days after being nixed from HBO and a few months after being dropped from "Monday Night Football," Miller said, "How many jobs can a guy %#$@!%& lose in one year?" breaking the tension before going on to rant about corporate and personal responsibility. What style.
My early columns were practically an homage to Dennis Miller and while I will always have that taint, today I thought I would break out an old-school, Miller-esque tirade in honor of the man I hope will always be able to espouse his views in some forum.
Now, I don't want to get off on a rant here, but if any country at any time ever needed outspoken social critics it is the United States at the start of the 21st century. American political discourse today has about as much meat in it as Harrah's Buffet after a visit by the three tenors, Louie Anderson and Gorak the Carnivore of Meatus IX.
Dissension, competition and debate, once the foundations of American democracy have taken more hits than a drunken sorority girl on Ladies Night at the Virginia Military Institute. Our country was founded on certain principles: freedom of religion, the pursuit of happiness, the right to own property, one man one vote and that what the Indians didn't know couldn't hurt us.
But freedom of the press, the right to assemble and the need for dissent have become about as popular as Jerry Falwell at the Moonlight Bunny Ranch.
No one needs to take away Americans rights to say what they want because the sad fact is that we are sheep that like to be shorn. At no time in our history has that been more obvious than after 9/11. Americans lined up to hand over their rights to individual thought so fast even a few reactionary demagogues were shocked and appalled.
After decades of main stream America shutting down and tuning out vocal minorities like the Peace Movement, Civil Rights Movement, Animal Rights, Free Tibet, Free Quebec and people who prefer non-dairy creamer to half and half, discourse and opinion are doing about as well as Keith Richard's liver at the V.I.P. tent at Oktoberfest.
Will Rogers, Woody Guthrie and Mark Twain used to rile people up and Americans liked it. Today, we like our controversy subdued and our scandals in neat, little sound bites so we can easily digest them. Newspaper readership is sinking faster than the Edmund Fitzgerald and even hard news magazines are adopting a more "reader friendly" format which is code for fewer words, bigger print and more pictures of half naked celebrities.
We should learn to love debate again, mis amigos invisibles, because disagreeing with everybody is as American as apple pie in the hands of female body builder with a bald eagle tattoo playing baseball in a red, white and blue bikini singing "Born in the U.S.A." as she slides into home plate. If that's what you think.
Of course, that's just my opinion, I could be wrong. Dennis Miller still rules.
- Greg Jerrett is a Nonpareil staff writer. His column runs on Wednesdays and Saturdays. He may be contacted at 328-1811, Ext. 279, or by e-mail at gjerrett@nonpareilonline.com.

Council Bluffs man loses well (Ras man well) 8.30.02

While you're barbecuing and enjoying the last three-day weekend of the summer that Labor Day is all about the struggles and triumphs of the working men and women of the United States who put their backs into it, build things, move things and keep America on top.
Listen to some Woody Guthrie or at least some Bruce Springsteen, read "The Jungle" or "The Grapes of Wrath," maybe rent "Norma Rae" or "Matewan." Then lift a glass to people who made sure the average American doesn't have live like an indentured servant and maybe lift one for yourself too. I know you will.


And now for you Labor Day weekend entertainment. A story of one working man's search for glory based VERY loosely on read events that occurred last Tuesday night in Omaha
The following news story is a parable. It is also satirical, which means it tells a greater truth than the facts allow for i.e. the thing is made up.
Now that all our legal bases are covered ...
Growing old is a pain, a fact to which the "hero" of this story can testify.
It also teaches other great working class lessons such as "never let your mouth write a check the other end of you can't cash." "Never talk yourself into believing you are tougher than you really are" and "just because they sell it, doesn't mean you have to drink it."
Read on.

OMAHA, Neb. - Kevin "The Rasmanian Devil" Rasmussen, 34, of Council Bluffs was beaten into submission Tuesday night during an exhibition of Omaha Fight Club held at Club Amnesia in Omaha. Amateur fighters and members of the audience "faced off" in submission wrestling, kick boxing and no-holds-barred brawling for the entertainment of patrons. Fights lasted up to three rounds or nine minutes.
Rasmussen's fight lasted for two minutes and three seconds and was the second longest fight of the evening.
Going into the fight, Rasmussen said he had certain reservations about his chances for victory against his opponent, a much younger, leaner man.
"Going in, I knew I was gonna get my butt kicked," said Rasmussen, who thanked God profusely for allowing him to "survive at all" his match with four-time national college wrestling champion Rob "Choir Boy" Van Garcia, 22, of Hogswallow, Vermont.
Olsen registered a complete lack of surprise at his win, but did say his opponent was much "wilier and harder to pin down" than he anticipated.
"He kept running away, but it was still pretty much over before it started," said Olsen as he wiped Rasmussen's blood and tears from his wrestling shoes. "I took one look at this old guy and I reckoned I had him. Then I saw him smoke about a pack and half of Kools while talking to some fat guy and a couple ring girls. It was at that point I was just hoping I wouldn't accidentally kill him. There is nothing more embarrassing than to have an opponent stroke out while you have him in a full nelson. Oh and he made me promise to tell everybody he looked good getting beat, can I say that here?"
Greg Jerrett, 23, of Council Bluffs was Rasmussen's ring manager. Jerrett said he had "no fears at all" going into the match that Rasmussen was going to lose.
"I had no fears at all that Kevin was going to lose," Jerrett said. "I was absolutely certain he would lose, it was just a question of how fast and how bad. I'm just glad the other guy didn't get hurt when he was kicking Kevin in the ribs. He could have easily stubbed. Luckily, Rasmussen is soft. Poor Kevin, I mean, I threw the towel in kinda fast. I almost hit him with it. That terry cloth was kinda rough, no fabric softener or anything. He could have been killed! Oh, but he looked good getting his butt kicked. Is that OK, Kev?"
During the match, Rasmussen was visibly angered by the way in which Jerrett threw in the towel.
"I told Jerrett to throw in the towel at the FIRST sign I was going to lose, not wait to see how many times this wrestler could pick me up and drop me on my head," Rasmussen said with a boldness he lacked IN the ring. Wiping a tear from his good eye, Rasmussen said, "I could have really gotten hurt! Yumpin' yiminy, didn't he see me tapping out? TAP TAP TAP! I almost broke my fingers on the mat!"
Rasmussen then began writing furiously into a folder to make sure his Dungeons and Dragons character "got the experience points for this one."
Jerrett said he would have thrown in the towel sooner had the nachos he ordered for himself and the ring girls not arrived.
"Bad timing on my part, but to be fair to me, I didn't realize he was tapping out, I thought he was convulsing," said Jerrett wiping cheese from his fingers and placing them back on the ring girl. "I guess I was focused on those nachos. They were very good nachos. I can't be expected to pay attention EVERY time Kevin Rasmussen gets beat in a fight. I'm only human. I paid attention the first 30 or 40 times I saw it, but after that, well ... you've seen it, you know what I mean."
Rasmussen swore vengeance loudly before the crowd of nearly two dozen Nebraskans for the embarrassing public beating he received.
"If it is the last thing I do, I will have my revenge for this," Rasmussen said as Life Flight paramedics restrained him for take off. "Do you hear me, Jerrett? I will get you for this!"
Rasmussen is listed in stable condition though doctors say he will be unable to wear hats for some time.
Jerrett is currently hiding at an undisclosed location in the hills of Crescent. He communicates using only smoke signals, courier pigeons and a Nokia 5800 series cell phone so he can reassure Rasmussen almost daily that even though he had his butt kicked, he "looked good any way."
- Greg Jerrett is a Nonpareil staff writer. His column runs on Wednesdays and Saturdays. He may be contacted at 328-1811, Ext. 279, or by e-mail at gjerrett@nonpareilonline.com.

Can you live this fantasy life? (fantasy life) 8.20.02

Ah, romance. Romance is one of those things you never really have to have, like cheese, but it just makes everything it touches so much better ... like cheese.
My buddy, Pete, is one of those great catches, smart, good-looking, independently wealthy. Like most guys, he's about as thoughtless as a tzitzi fly when it comes to the ladies. Luckily for Pete, he's already married and so has no need for romance. Or so he thinks.
I called Pete the other day and got to talking about what he was doing for his ninth wedding anniversary. Nothing, he says, probably stay home. You're kidding me, I says to him I say, you think that is not a one-way trip to distaster?
Operating under the delusion that because his wife SAID she didn't want to do anything for their anniversary, Pete took that to mean that she actually MEANT she didn't want to do anything for their anniversary. Like I said, Pete is an intelligent guy, but he lacks the kind of street smarts to really keep a marriage in fine tune .
Luckily, he has me to make stuff up. I don't need any more women any closer to me than the ones I have now, so it is nice to play Cyrano de Bergerac occasionally. Some guys play fantasy baseball; I can sit back and watch how someone else's love life works under my guidance without all the fuss and extra cleaning associated with human contact.
Romance isn't just what you do to woo a woman. Romance isn't just about love and seduction. The term "romance" actually applies to an entire category of medieval tales based on legend, chivalric love and adventure. King Arthur is a prime example. Romance tales were fantasies dealing with heroism and the mysterious, they lacked a certain basis in fact.
Which is why, years later, the term has been narrowed by common usage to refer almost exclusively to the flowers and candy maneuvering men do to make women feel extra special.
Of course, modern romance is not supposed to just be some underhanded ploy to deceive the ladies, at least not so far as the ladies are concerned, it's supposed to be a genuine outpouring of uncontrollable affection that makes men act in a fashion that is counter to their base nature. "You complete me," "You make me want to be a better man," "Without you I am lost," "You clean my socks like it ain't nobody's business, baby," things like that.
In most tales of medieval fancy, romance was about killing dragons and kicking dude's butts then going off to pick daisies for some chick. They had no TV, radio or magazines so they had to do something to kill time. Occasionally, they killed each other to kill time.
Some dude tried to kick my butt the other day to look cool in front of his "lady." He gave me the time-honored Council Bluffs signal that he wanted to engage in fisticuffs, namely, he took off his shirt to show me his flabby gut and complete lack of hair.
Guys with no body hair just aren't scary, they're like furless Mexican cats, featherless Israeli chickens or N'Sync, an aberration of nature pleasing to young girls who want to keep them as pets, but hardly frightening. I dispatched him readily enough with the flat side of my longsword whilst his girlfriend didst hold my jacket.
I dig romance. I am quite the romantic. Actually, I am quite the disappointed romantic, which means my card is officially stamped "cynic," but life is still a little more interesting with the proper amount of fantasy added to the mix.
Fantasy/romance is why we flirt with people who are WAY too good-looking to condone interfering with us physically in the first place. It's why we get dressed up to go out for a night of fancy living. It's why middle-aged men drive Corvettes and why no woman on the planet wears a shoe larger than 6 or 7 unless it's the store's fault. Half the time, it's what gets us out of bed in the morning knowing that after a day of pretending everyone we work with doesn't hate us, we can spend the night at a watering hole pretending people there do more than barely tolerate us. It's why we nose dive into a book or try to reach level 10 in some electronic reality.
Fantasy is self-medication for the soul. Losing yourself in your own diversions passes the time, but making someone else's fantasies real, well that's just pure altruism. It's also vicarious living - another kind of fantasy.
So I told Pete that if he didn't want to spend the next two months wondering why his wife was mad at him, he better make some kind of effort, preferably in public, to demonstrate that he still goes weak in the knees whenever he thinks about the mother of his children.
I recommended a pizza delivered to the office that said "you rock!" in pepperoni followed 15 minutes later by flowers with a card that said "Just kidding - I love you, baby." Pete opted out of the pie and went for an arrangement so huge they had their own ecosystem and a bottle of cold duck. Six of one, half dozen of the other, I suppose.
- Greg Jerrett is a Nonpareil staff writer. His column runs on Wednesdays and Saturdays. He may be contacted at 328-1811, Ext. 279, or by e-mail at gjerrett@nonpareilonline.com.

Executing retarded people wrong (executing retards) 6.25.02

So last Thursday, six Supreme Court justices out of nine made the call that executing mentally retarded individuals - generally regarded as those with I.Q.s of 70 or lower - might be cruel and unusual (thus violating the Eighth Amendment) and should be put on hold. As a unit, the court tends to believe the death penalty is not in and of itself cruel or unusual. So let's go with that.
O'Connor, Kennedy, Souter, Bader Ginsburg, Breyer and Stevens said "we are not persuaded that the execution of mentally retarded criminals will measurably advance the deterrent or the retributive purpose of the death penalty."
Scalia, Thomas and Rehnquist were so outraged at this decision that their rebuttal - called scathing and scoffing - said: "If one is to say as the court does today that ALL executions of the mentally retarded are so morally repugnant as to violate our national standards of decency, surely the consensus it points to must be one that has set its righteous face against ALL such executions."
In short, they are saying the other six are obviously yet secretly opposed to the death penalty and must be soft-on-crime pinkos. Scalia refused to sign the dissent "respectfully dissenting" to let everyone know they meant business.
Scalia mocked what he referred to as the "the 47 percent consensus" pointing out that only 18 states of the 38 allowing capital punishment don't execute the retarded and that is way less than half.
I would suggest it is safe to say the 12 states that don't allow capital punishment at all could legitimately and safely be counted with the 18 bringing the consensus to 30 states against executing the retarded to 20 that allow it and may or may not like being referred to as "IN FAVOR of executing the retarded."
Call me crazy, but I think that not executing retarded people is a good thing and is not the drawback to law and order critics suggest.
"Now everybody that commits murder will claim to be retarded," is the rallying cry. Yeah, because we'll never see through that.
Have we gotten so hung up on payback that we just want to kill anyone and everyone that crosses the line regardless of their capacity to know right from wrong? At some point, it is important to establish that justice can be served short of death rather than seeking the most extreme punishment in as many cases as possible.
Well, I'm with Dubya on this one, executing retarded folks is just plain wrong.
The problem is that "justice" has become synonymous with "retribution" in America. It is time to maybe step back a pace and look at what the whole point of executing people is supposed to be.
Regardless of your stance on capital punishment, whether you believe that no civilized nation should use death as a punishment, whether you think we should kill 'em all and let God figure out whose guilty or whether you think you could think of 20 things worse to do to a murderer than giving him the quick release of death, one thing seems pretty clear: if there is no chance of securing the public from future, similar crimes or of meaningfully punishing an individual in a way they and others like them are capable of understanding, then the punishment is not only unjust it runs the risk of making the public less secure.
Example. In Henry VIII's England, capital crimes were extended to include highway robbery. The logic was this would curb highway robbery by scaring the robbers straight. What it did was jack up the murder rate as highway robbers began killing everyone they robbed to keep witnesses to a minimum.
In the current case, executing a retarded guy who may or may not appreciate his crime does little to teach him an important lesson about what it's like to be an upstanding member of society nor does it send a clear message to other retarded people to behave since the idea of clearly communicating concepts to retarded people is at the heart of the matter. What do they understand? Is it reasonable to expect someone with an I.Q. of 70 or less to always appreciate the consequences of their actions?
Good and evil, that's the heart of the matter. We want to punish evil, keep it in line. Does everyone always know when they are being evil?
I appreciate that evil, if left unchecked, can spread like a virus. I also believe good people can be capable of evil and still be good. Continuing to check ourselves MAKES us good.
Good people who see nothing wrong with executing retarded people might need to do a check, that's all I'm saying. People who stand around with frying pans shouting "burn, baby, burn" at executions have definitely crossed a line somewhere. Either that or their hometowns don't have cable.
Before writing this column, I asked myself "what would Jesus do?" and funny enough Jesus wouldn't pull the switch on a retarded guy either so... safe for one more day I guess.
Granted, the Eighth Amendment is a bit vague. "Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted." It doesn't say what cruel or unusual is because they either had a general understanding of "cruel and unusual" in December, 1791 when the Bill of Rights was adopted or they wanted to let successive generations decide for themselves.
They didn't have electricity, I.Q. tests or psychiatrists in 1791 so they could not be expected to determine whether sending a charge through a retarded guy was cruel or unusual. Lucky for us, we have all of these things and should be able to either breathe a sigh of relief that something good has been done in a world full of badness or, at the very least, let it slide and respectfully dissent.
- Greg Jerrett is a Nonpareil staff writer. His column runs on Wednesdays and Saturdays. He may be contacted at 328-1811, Ext. 279, or by e-mail at gjerrett@nonpareilonline.com.

Summer re-runs, games shows and hot topics (pledges) 6.27.02

Time to circle the wagons, load your guns and hide the kids 'n' women folk, it's political litmus test time again.
Every summer, when the sun takes longer to set, the days are hot and humid and the reality TV shows are in full bloom, some issue or other rears its head to get everyone all het up.
Wednesday, some guy (Michael Newdow) in the Wild West (Sacremento, Calif.) managed to stir up debate over the Pledge of Allegiance by getting the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to declare the current form of the Pledge unconstitutional - in particular, the part added in 1954 during the height of the Red Scare that says "under God."
Now, I suppose it is expected that all professional purveyors of opinion should be getting themselves worked up about this issue on one side or the other. For me, it's just too hot and what with the humidity turning my biscuits into dumplings, I flatly refuse to get worked up over this issue.
Chances are it is just covering up for some other much more important scandal anyway that is now buried under a morass of media flurry as pundits debate and the man on the street gives his opinion in spite of the fact that the average man on the street has never voted in any election any where at any time more important than senior class president and even then he probably voted "straight party."
I don't think anybody should be casually changing the Pledge of Allegiance from how it was written by a minister in 1892 who did not write it with "under God." That when the 1954 Congress took a statement of pure patriotism and added "under God" during the Red Scare to boost their own images in the eyes of a nation scared of communists.
They messed with the Pledge and pretty much this brouhaha inevitable. Why it took until 2002 is the only thing that really surprises me.
I would actually like to go back in time and undo everything that happened between 1945 and 1954. The United States would be much better off if we could have gone straight from kicking the hell out of the Nazis to Rock 'n' Roll, wouldn't we?
Unfortunately, we had the Red Scare in there to cast long shadows over our nation's integrity. Americans of all stripes were victimized by the ambitions of a few piggish men who ran this country ragged looking for communists, ruining careers and ultimately accomplishing nothing more than the destabilization of civil liberties by making them a privilege of the few instead of the right of all.
You know, I give my allegiance to the United States, but I won't be saying any pledges any time soon with or without the phrase "under God" in them because I am flat offended at the notion that anybody else in this country thinks I need to live up to THEIR standard of patriotism.
Pledges inherently contain the idea that there is someone saying it and someone listening to it, otherwise there would be little point in saying it at all unless one contends that saying a thing over and over again has the effect of ingraining that sentiment deeply into the subconscious.
Writing it is the same thing. You write it, for someone else to read. And who is that someone else?
Tell me, exactly what other human being of United States citizenry do you hold in such high regard that you feel you must prove yourself to them? Who do you willingly turn your fate over to? By a man's actions, that's how you know him, not a few words he can recite. That's not proof. Even the Devil can quote Scripture if he needs to.
My allegiance to the United States is not in question until somebody else tries establishing rules, tests and measures to sum up how patriotic I am in comparison to them.
Take a minute right now and make a list of every person you know whose patriotism you honestly feel is superior to yours. Use whatever criteria you wish to make that determination. Are school teachers on that list? Principles? Employers? Cops? Firemen? Congressmen? Members of various branches of government? Servicemen?
And of those people, how many are sworn to serve the public interest, the same public to which you and I belong? Even the President of the United States serves us so why should we prove ourselves to him?
Simple fact of the matter is the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that "under God" is unconstitutional is just going to give everybody yet another chance to line up and beat their chests once again before the new fall lineup of TV shows starts and they realize they don't say the Pledge, haven't said it for decades and even if they did, it doesn't prove anything and that the Supreme Court will more than likely overturn the lower court ruling for a few kudos.
These things always heat up in the summer when there is nothing but re-runs, game shows and "reality" TV to distract us. Three summers ago, the flag-burning amendment was big news after nearly 10 years of dormancy even though no one saw anyone born in the United States burn a flag in person or on TV. Why? Somebody stirred up some stuff.
The extent to which the American public cares about any political issue is in direct inverse proportion to how many of us want to know what happens on tonight's episode of "Friends." Personally, I always thought Ross and Monica would get together.
- Greg Jerrett is a Nonpareil staff writer. His column runs on Wednesdays and Saturdays. He may be contacted at 328-1811, Ext. 279, or by e-mail at gjerrett@nonpareilonline.com.