Mike's Reporter Blog

The gift of stupidity

Tuesday, July 24th, 2007
Michael McGuire

If you’ve ever been to a wedding, chances are you’ve given a standard wedding gift, right?

Cards, gift certificates, money, crock-pots, kitchen sets, etc.

Have you ever given a gift that keeps on giving?

I call them embarrassment bonds.

Many of those were offered at a great friend of mine’s wedding that I was in this past weekend.

For example, I left people forever with the image of myself dancing cheek-to-chest with the groom’s strapping father.

Our song: “Unchained Melody.” Our dance floor: made of clouds. Our moment: Indescribable. So are the pictures on Youtube. He’s already lost out on a huge promotion because of them and I’ll never be taken seriously on the net again.

It goes to show, an open bar and an open mind are not a good combo in the information age.

That wasn’t even the worst of it.

I thought it’d be a good idea to throw on some Axe Body Spray from the free amenities tray in the reception hall bathroom during a quick freshen-up. Turns out it wasn’t spray, but actually shave gel. I didn’t notice until after giving myself a thorough hosing. Good thing I had tuxedo insurance – and a good explanation.

“Your dad’s fiancé was so jealous because of our dance that she accosted me in the bathroom and doused me with Nivea shave gel,” I told my newlywed friend. “She was about to give me a swirly before DJ Dave came in and threw her off me. Real mature.”

So much drama. So little time.

Although I enjoyed it, this next scenario turned out to be the holiday fruit cake in my little gift basket:

The maid of honor and I are both huge horror fans. So as a gag, I made a mask out of a piece of prime rib off the buffet, revved up my Stihl saw, and chased her screaming throughout the reception pretending I was “Leatherface” from Texas Chainsaw Massacre. We wrecked a few tables, tweaked some pace makers and ruined a few dinners. In hindsight, doing that during the father daughter dance was probably in poor taste.

The people that matter all laughed.

I call those embarrassment bonds because the stories will only mature – get stupider and more over-the-top – with time.

Who remembers a bread maker?

Leave Harry Potter fans alone

Friday, July 13th, 2007
Michael McGuire

I am not a Harry Potter fan.

I am cynical and mean though, and I understand where the people who leak the ending of “Harry Potter and The Deathly Hollows,” are coming from.

But I’ve got to give “spoilers” a thumbs down for basically ruining most Harry Potter fans’ lives – just because they can.

The last wizard book may not be a big deal to some. But for others, a ruined Harry Potter ending is like a Chernobyl meltdown happening inside their little hearts.

Harry Potter fans haven’t hurt anyone. I say let them enjoy their fantasy and let’s not always be raining on their parade.

What’s in a name?

Thursday, June 28th, 2007
Michael McGuire

Some government agencies don’t do so hot in the reputation category. I’m sure the IRS and the DMV immediately stand out in everyone’s mind.

These days it seems like FEMA isn’t too far behind them.

But those other two agencies don’t get accused of not getting anything done. Plus, FEMA doesn’t strike fear into our hearts like a cold government bureaucracy should. Not like the “I–R–S” and “D-M-V” do. They command respect – even if they screw up – through fear. I cried last week at motor vehicles and I didn’t even do anything wrong. “If you had only filled out a form wrong or forgotten a critical document like most people do, I wouldn’t have had to yell at you for something totally un-related, like looking like John Candy when he was in Plains, Trains and Automobiles,” barked the DMV lady. She sounded right even when she was wrong.

FEMA, on the other hand, sounds like a good name for a wholesale foods distributor.

They deal with disasters – and not well, some say. But when things go bad – FEMA. When things get worse – FEMA. When despair breaks the levees – FEMA. Like it or not, they are the tax-payer’s answer to the mini-apocalypses. Let’s give them a name and an attitude that suits the part.

Here’s a suggestion for the Federal Emergency Management Administration’s new name:

S.K.U.L.L.

It doesn’t stand for anything but it sounds nasty and “tuff.”

Read two probable testimonials from disaster victims who dealt with a new-look, more IRS-like, emergency administration:

“Within hours of the disaster, SKULL was promptly there to be surly, cold and apathetic to my situation. The agent I met with misplaced my paperwork, but eventually issued a check to help repair my storefront – not before making me feel really lousy about it. Thanks SKULL.”

“Not only did SKULL deny my requests for federal assistance after floods left me homeless, they said if I kept complaining that they’d come down here and give me something to cry about. I believe it.”

Sounds like they’re taking-care-of-business to me.

If you’ve got a good name you’d like FEMA to consider, feel free to send it in a post-marked envelope to evesun.com blog comments, P.O. Box 8337, Burbank, CA 91502.

Jealous rivals plotted my so-called “defeat”

Monday, June 18th, 2007
Michael McGuire

There’s a lot of harmful propaganda floating around out there regarding my performance in the Dairy Day Goat Milking Contest Saturday.

It’s true, contrary to my claims in a previous blog, I did not yield a single drop of milk from my goat (who I found out later is named “Sahara”).

Not because of I am a lousy milksmith. Rather, I failed because I trust people – people I thought were my friends.

How do I know I was betrayed? Because the technique was there. The pick-up lines and soft music were there. The will to win was there. The only thing that wasn’t there was a working tit on the left side of that goat’s udder.

Clearly sabotage.

Oh yeah, “old faithful” gave it up for Mayor Joe Maiurano the turn after mine – once Dairy Day organizer Janet Pfromm made a “special” adjustment for him (she removed, upon further review of surveillance tape from a security camera, what appeared to be a small rubber plug from the goat’s udder).

I was too predictable. They knew I would volunteer to go first to spare everyone else the heartbreak of loss. I never had a chance.

Betrayed, humiliated, angered and frustrated, I said nothing as the boo’s from the crowd of thousands rained down.

“A kindergartner could do better than that you bozo,” one man said. “You’ll never milk in this town again you bum,” said another. “You made my granddaughter cry you worthless hack,” a woman said as she slapped me across the face.

I took it like a man though, because no one wants to hear excuses. And I ain’t giving any. I screwed up. I lost.

All I want is another shot, a fair shot. If I lose, I’ll live in exile and never challenge the goat milking kingdom again. If I win, I will take the throne that is rightfully mine. All conspirators will be forgiven (mercy they most definitely would not show me) and together we will enter the golden age of this empire under my rule.

Glory to the King

Tuesday, June 12th, 2007
Michael McGuire

Before you peasants pick through my blog, note your inequities as you read the work of royalty.

Well, not official royalty. Not yet.

But unless your name happens to be Mike “The Main Squeeze” McGuire, all you really are is a sniveling subject in the world of high-stakes competitive goat milking – a.k.a my new kingdom.

Come witness my coronation as your ruler at 2 p.m. this Saturday at the Dairy Day Celebrity Goat Milking Contest. Be amazed as opponents run away in fear of my “utter” ability. Be dazzled as goats line-up to be gripped by my gentle, yet purposeful hands. Be astonished as I build a wooden Ark to save my people from drowning in the flood of un-pasteurized milk that will undoubtedly flow from the Fairgrounds’ Exhibition Hall. Come. And you will one day be able to tell your grandchildren that you witnessed my two-handed “Canasawacta Clutch” deliver us to freedom.

A whale of an idea

Tuesday, May 29th, 2007
Michael McGuire

If I am going to be this big, I might as well be a whale headed in the wrong direction.

How awesome would that be? Anytime you screw-up the world will bail you out – no questions asked.

“Hello, I’m a desperate whale in need of $20 bucks for cab fare. I slept through my alarm and now I’m late for an appointment with my probation officer across town. They said if I miss another urine test they’ll throw me back in jail. Can anyone help me?”

Can anyone help you? Are you kidding?

The world’s top marine biologists would hand over fistfuls of cash, debit cards, and travelers checks all at once, start hailing you a cab and say, “Don’t you even worry about the money. All that matters is you pass that drug screening.”

“About that. The reason I overslept is because I got wicked stoned yesterday and drove 90 miles in the wrong direction on the way back from a party. My car ran out of gas and it took me all night to get back.”

–”Oh you must be exhausted. You should rest. Don’t worry about the appointment, whale. My brother-in-law is an attorney. He knows some people who know some people in the state probation department. He can pull some strings.”

“What about the dirty urine?”

–”Let me know when your make-up test will be and I’ll smuggle you in a clean sample. Not only are we Marine Biologists drug free, we are also crafty.”

“Sounds like you guys got this under control. Can we go get some food now? I’m jones’n for a breakfast burrito.”

–”I’m a strict vegan – but eating some sausage, bacon, eggs and cheese with a misguided whale does sound pretty good. Hop in my car, breakfast is on me.”

It obviously pays to be a whale.

Just don’t strive to be one of those rare 1,000 hogs that roam the backwoods of Georgia and Alabama. They can’t catch a break.

In a Norwich minute

Thursday, May 24th, 2007
Michael McGuire

I saw two propane cylinders set out by the curb on Grove Avenue the other day. I have no idea what the disposal policy is, but that’s asking for it. If I were fifteen and saw those sitting there, my first thought would be,” Awesome, target practice at the stone quarry!” But if it’s cool with everyone else it’s cool with me.

Question: Do fire fighters throw on the sirens to go back to the station? I was just curious. I saw a truck leave a call on Elm Street, and after waiting a bit to turn left onto South Broad Street from Conkey Avenue, it looked like the driver got fed-up with heavy noon-hour traffic and switched on the screamers. Everyone stopped and let them out. Pretty slick. Since my rusted GEO’s thunderous horn already commands so much respect, maybe it’s time to slap on a blue light and get in the EZ-pass lane.

What’s warm, green and has a distinct smell? No, it’s not a gangrenous sore. It’s Spring! And she’s in top gear. There’s nothing like nice weather to make you fall in love with Norwich all over again.

Easy, rider

Tuesday, May 15th, 2007
Michael McGuire

What happened to real bikers?

You know, the ones who would stab you with the sharp end of a broken pool stick if you reminded them quiet hours at the campground went into effect at 10 p.m.

You know the type. They were the ones who couldn’t ever take compliments:

“Hey, nice chopper Slingblade! Can I check it out?”
– “Sure Mike, if you can knock me off it.”

Now they’ve gone soft. Unlike the old days, today you’ve got a better chance of buying insurance from a biker than you do crystal meth.

“What’s wrong with that,” you ask?

I’ll tell you.

Bikers used to only bother you on desert highways and in Mel Gibson movies. Granted, they would mess you up pretty good if your paths crossed. But the chances of having a run-in with these rolling criminals – while dangerous – was pretty slim.

But “Bikers” have suddenly sprouted up everywhere. They aren’t looking to cause trouble, however. They just want to let everyone know that helmets are unconstitutional, that Harley-Davidson mufflers are loud, and that they have leather vests that compliment their large pipes (which I personally think is more annoying than the rare possibility of getting shivved by a guy with “love” and “hate” tattooed on his knuckles).

Why can’t we go back to the way things used to be?

The Hell’s Angels never did me wrong (that’s probably because I never met any).

And after witnessing the pre-Bike Week festivities in Myrtle Beach last week, I’d say having middle-aged dudes with Richard Gere mullets and Orange County Chopper goatees ripping loudly up and down the road on their fat boys at all hours of the night – wearing flip flops and “Big Johnson” T-shirts – has kept me up more nights (literally) than worrying about a gang of rowdy road dogs.

My neighbor’s garage puked on me, and all I got was this stupid shirt

Tuesday, April 24th, 2007
Michael McGuire

I almost got killed the other day.

That means it must be garage sale season again.

People don’t realize the impact off-loading their junk can have on a neighborhood. It’s like in 1980 when Fidel Castro unleashed thousands of Cuban prisoners and mental patients onto the U.S. after he opened-up Mariel Bay, so “political refugees” could live their dreams in America. He basically dropped a bomb on us.

Same goes for any garage (i.e. basement, bedroom, living room, bathroom) sale.

It’s Saturday. It’s sunny. It’s quiet. It’s wonderful.

A far of voice then whispers to your neighbor, “If you build it (a tent covering four folding tables filled with 25 years worth of stuff you no longer care about), they will come.”

KA-BOOM!

Mayhem ensues.

People for forty square miles turn into flesh-eating zombies – and they show-up in droves.

Nearby lawns turn into outposts and access roads for the eager hordes. Cars get jacked sideways in the street because – even though there aren’t any legitimate parking spots left – they don’t care, “there might be a velvet Elvis chess set in there.”

Clusters of automatons walk down the middle of the street adoring their “Easy Rider” lunchboxes, oblivious and unyielding to oncoming traffic. Then, once they get into their cars to leave, they’ll pull out blindly into the road, cutting-off passing motorists and cyclists, nearly causing horrible accidents, all while clutching their “new” 4×16 Indian dream catcher and shouting “Veni, vidi, vici!”

Meanwhile, you become a prisoner in your own home. You can’t drive – the streets are blocked. You can’t walk – you may get trampled and robbed. You can’t call for help – a sale goer has commandeered your telephone (right after commandeering your bathroom) to call and confer with their significant other to find out if $10 bucks for a ripped “slip n’ slide” is a good deal.

What a nightmare.

When the dust finally settles, it looks like your neighborhood caught on fire and someone put it out with an ax.

Whatever happened to the Salvation Army? Whatever happened to the side of the road? Whatever happened to sending enormous goodwill packages to unsuspecting pen pals?

Be a good neighbor and don’t have garage sales. Build a high fence around your property and pile everything in the backyard.

April’s been a tough month

Wednesday, April 18th, 2007
Michael McGuire

My mom pointed out Tuesday that April, particularly this week in April, has historically seen its share of horrific events.

Monday’s massacre at Virginia Tech being the most recent.

In years past my family would have been in Myrtle Beach this week – where 75 percent of Norwich is currently – and heard the awful news. But being by the beach with a heavy heart is a place we’ve been before.

Three events standout more than others.

April 19, 1995 – Oklahoma City bombing, 168 killed, 800 injured.
April 14, 1997 – Norwich High School student Jesse Scott dies in car accident.
April 20, 1999 – Columbine High School Shooting, 12 students and one teacher killed.

There’s no reason all these events occurred in April.

There’s no reason why they happened at all.

They just did.

Regardless, April will always mark a tough month. It’ll remind me of sad times I saw as a teenager, and now again as an adult.

All of us, like Cho Seung-Hui, could impose our will on others if we ever felt the need. And rather than blame the school or security, I can’t help but be angry with the shooter more than anything. Whether he was disturbed, scared, or whatever – his real problem was that he was selfish.

Other infamous happenings in April:

April 14, 1865 – Abraham Lincoln assassinated.
April 18, 1906 – San Francisco earthquake and fire – killed 3,000 over 4 days.
April 15, 1912 – Titanic sinks, killing 1,500.
April 4, 1968 – Dr. Martin Luther King assassinated.