Friday, September 12, 2014

At the end of the earth with a loin cloth eating terrorist

Domestic terrorist

The readership might not think that looks like a domestic terrorist, but I promise you, it is.

This animal is essentially trying to eat our entire house, despite being (self-limited) to one room (she will not cross the threshold of the living room, which apparently indicates the end of the earth to the bunny).

Perhaps she's just practicing self-control. Perhaps she won't venture out into other parts of the house until her Work is done here in the living room.

House Protector II surveys
the end of the earth
Sometimes the bunny makes out with the house protectors. We have two in the living room. Thankfully they are positioned such that they cannot see each other so they don't know about the bunny's promiscuity.

She has eaten both of their loincloths and most of the hair on the one that has hair.

I'd call the Humiliation and Sexual Enslaving of the House Protectors the bunny's greatest exploit.

Cuckolded House Protector I
Sometimes the bunny hops onto the couch (the leather of which is dotted with holes courtesy of unfortunate sessions during which were not practicing enough care in the supervision of the bunny) and attacks the Goat's newspaper, tearing it into shreds.

Your humble hostess enjoys those proceedings immensely. 

The bunny's other big project involves the table next to where I usually sit. We have essentially conceded this table to the bunny, which she furiously gnaws at like a pint-sized power tool.

Despite how much wood is associated with said side table, I'm pretty sure one day, whilst the Goat and I lounge in the sweet velvet of the morning sipping coffee, I shall set my mug upon the table in order to type a missive on my laptop and the whole thing will clatter to the ground.

And the bunny will silently glare at us, vindicated.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014


Ahead of President Obama's speech tonight, if you have a chance to listen to Dan Carlin's Common Sense Show 280: In Search of Context, it will be an hour very well spent. That podcast might have even more impact after the speech.

You will not feel better afterwards, but you will appreciate his point of view.

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Friday, September 05, 2014

It was last fired on April 10, 1994

Sometimes I just land here. Sometimes the world pushes me here.

When I first returned to work after my brother John's suicide, a coworker said to me, "You know, he cannot be buried in a Catholic cemetery."

That was before John's name would become internationally associated with the award-winning film Leaving Las Vegas, although I'm pretty sure that individual would have said the same thing under any circumstances.

One man wrote to tell me he was going to "join" John amid pages of barely comprehensible ranting. One woman wrote me 14 years after John's death to tell me he'd made a pass at her while he was still married.

Once at a terrible book signing wherein I sat by myself at a table for hours with a pristine stack of copies of my novel before me, the one person who came in from the blinding blizzard did not buy my book, but asked me casually, "So, why did your brother kill himself?"

I do my best to mothball the unfortunate comments, but as you can see, they are pretty indelible. Hence, I did not comment on Robin Williams' death, but it did move me to this post.

The Grim Reaper and I are old friends. I know his ways all too well. He'll let you say goodbye to just about everyone, but you will never lay down a suicide. It is a badge he sews into your flesh.

Read this:

At some point after Dad's death, Mom gave that box to Eric. It remained sealed until nearly 19 years after John's death.

Nineteen years.

On January 4, 2013, some cosmic switched toggled. It was time. Someone had to verify the gun--acknowledge it--and it had to be me. I asked Eric to dig the box from wherever he'd stowed it. He did. When he handed it to me, it was at once too heavy and too light. I could not open it. I handed the box back to Eric as queasiness overwhelmed me from my stomach to my head. I was shaky and flushed.

As he worked through the wrapping, I thought, what will you do if it's covered in dried gore?

The masculine tailored look of the Smith and Wesson, a terrible handsome thing, was not lost on me. It was exactly the gun I would have expected John to select, which was oddly painful: to not be surprised by it.

The evidence tag was another story. I had not expected that: written verification on the inside of what Dad refused to acknowledge on the outside of this box. That rote slip of paper amid all this blood and emotion struck me at my core.

I could not touch the gun, but documentation seemed important. I don't know why. I took the photos and Eric took it all away.

Perhaps the heaviest burden associated with John's death is the dichotomy of the act: was it the zenith of cowardice or bravery? After 20 years and countless hours studying his body of work, I've concluded that it was both. Whether I'm right or wrong isn't the point. I deserve the modest liberation it affords.

This is what it is like. This is exactly what it is like.

Bill and John O'Brien, circa 1961

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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Phone cam round-up, Canfield Fair edition

Round and round at the Canfield Fair

Honey tree with big bears and little bears

BoozeFighters on the scene

Spoiler alert: Pickle Surpize reportedly contains, pickle, chocolate and peanut butter.
Contents not independently verified by Owner's Manual field staff.

Goat perusing Men's Garden Club Display

Humble hostess, giant pumpkin and friend
Fine Arts, rooster of locks and admirers

Fine Arts, revealed

Entertainment adjacent to Fine Arts

Terrified beasts threatened, but did not attack

Dining option: Cheese-Chili-Loaded-Garbage

Dahlia contest entrants

Parking row recorded on thumb of Goat under duress

Photos admittedly not taken with a phone cam, but your humble hostess will assume that the readership gets the proverbial picture.

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