Archive for ‘Travel’

July 10, 2011

Lemme Learn You Some Kentucky

edited by ANDREW HICKS and J.MIZ

The Kentucky slogan committee could never agree on anything but this slogan. Eventually, they fell.

I’m from Kentucky. Let me share some information that I’ve collected about the land that I loathe. Let me start with something to impress you. Kentucky is the 37th largest state. Our population is the 26th highest in the nation. With those numbers, I am amazed that we have managed to become No. 1 in prescription pill abuse, and No. 3 in meth labs. (Good job, Indiana, you came in first on that one!)

Thanks to the Kentucky judicial system, I learned all that in DUI class. We also have the largest percentage of smokers of any state which of course is accompanied by the highest cancer rate of the entire country.

Now, let’s have some good news. 83 percent of our kids graduate high school, and our dropout rate is only 2.89 percent. You may think I’m bad at math, but I actually got that statistic from an official government web site. I guess there’s truth in our state slogan: “Where Education Pays.” For the record, I don’t think suicides count toward the dropout rate, but Kentucky ranks in the top 10 for suicide as well.

My home state is also host to the Kentucky Derby, North America’s largest and most famous annual horse-racing event. The race is known as “the fastest two minutes in sports,” which I’m sure reminds female Derby attendees of disappointing men from their pasts, and which is why the Mint Julep was created.

The Kentucky Derby: Old men, hot chicks, big hats, lots of alcohol.

The Kentucky Derby has an old tradition for women: the wearing of the big hat. I can only assume they don’t want to worry about their hair when they get hammered as they flirt with whichever random bored C-list celebrity happens to show up. Personally, I don’t need to use the Kentucky Derby as an excuse to get drunk and flirt with a higher class of women that don’t want to talk to me. I do that all the time

For me, the most exciting Kentucky-related information of all is that Muhammed Ali, George Clooney and Johnny Depp are all from here. To me, this is exciting because they found a way to escape. All three managed to accomplish huge things, which gives me hope that I, too, one great day, will bang women who like me for my money, even if I am from Kentucky.

June 29, 2011

Intolerance is Genetic

edited by ANDREW HICKS

Everett recounts the events of his trip to San Francisco via cordless phone.

I don’t make the following statement lightly — intolerance is genetic. Submitted for your approval, my supporting life experience:

It had been a couple of years since my mother married her sixth (yes, sixth) husband. This new guy, Everett, was exactly what my my mother wanted: someone whom she could physically overpower and be intellectually superior to. She got what she wanted, clearly.

My mom and Everett came to visit my wife and me a couple years back. We planned a day trip to San Francisco, spending the entire drive explaining to my new backwoods stepdad that the city was teeming with people who had different beliefs and lifestyles than his.
In the course of conversation, Everett was dealt fair warning that San Fran was, in his words, “infested with the gays.” He made it clear he wouldn’t start a fight, “as long as no guy tries to touch my cooter or my pooper.” This seemed unlikely to happen unless we ran into a relocated hillbilly with an inbred-papa fetish. Or just some hyper-liberal with a fetish for forbidden fruit. Once this was settled, we addressed my apparent lifelong misunderstanding of what exactly constituted a cooter.
We arrived in town, and took a walk along the wharf. About seven minutes in, Everett exploded in emotion: “OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD, LOIS ANN! DID YOU SEE THAT?” Everett had spun around and was vigorously pointing at a biracial couple who stood just a few yards away. Needless to say, they heard his exclamation.
“What?!” my mom asked, clearly alarmed.“Those two fellers just kissed!”

So over walked Marcus and Darren, the biracial gay couple. Marcus was an extremely well-defined black man — 6 feet, 4 inches of pure muscle. His main concern was figuring out why this scrawny Howdy Doody doppelganger was wagging his hate finger at him and his partner.

Marcus, my wife and I addressed Everett in overlapping phrases.
MARCUS: What exactly is the problem?
MY WIFE: What is your problem? (Her first words to him since the trip began, by the way.)
ME: Dude, calm down. (I was personally hoping to avoid getting my ass kicked by Ebony and Ivory.)

That guy just kissed that guy,” said Everett, balancing his hate finger between the two like a metronome.“Everett,” I began calmly again, “we told you that could happen. This is the most gay-friendly city in the world.”“Oh, I’ve got no problem with the HOMOsexuals.” Everett replied.

“Then what’s the issue?” My mother was clearly bothered.

“I don’t mind if one feller wants to kiss another feller, but that feller’s BLACK.” Everett’s finger had landed on Marcus, clearly for the last time.

Mixed-race ass beating, here we come…

Marcus spoke again, in a voice that showed more control than his throbbing neck and forehead veins. “You are okay with two men kissing, but not if one of them is black?” He turned to me and said, “Tell me you aren’t related to this guy.”“No, this is my mother’s husband.” I spun around to implicate my mom in her poor choice of men, but she and my wife were nowhere to be found. They must’ve made the quick decision to do some bargain shopping somewhere more peaceful.
I quickly explained our visit to him, emphasizing the fact that you can take the hillbilly out of the holler, but you can’t eliminate the brain-drain of many generations of inbreeding. Everett stood there nodding his head in agreement, not knowing exactly what my multisyllabic words meant but certainly realizing I was insulting him for the sake of saving his ass.
In the end, Ebony and Ivory decided it wasn’t worth it and strolled off toward a more tolerant corner of the wharf. Had we been trapped in a sitcom, they would’ve each given Everett a sloppy kiss before their departure, but in real life, no one wants to kiss that dude but my mom.
She’s still married to Everett, and there’s still plenty of pictures from our San Francisco trip. In the background of just about every picture, there’s an attractive biracial gay couple in the background, holding hands, kissing or otherwise clearly indicating they’re there, queer and proud of it. Everett, for all his prejudice, can’t stop progress.
May 26, 2011

Six Flags/Applebee’s Tornado Lockdown


This is about as close as I got to the action at Six Flags pre-tornado sirens.

It was too good to be true. We got to Six Flags at 1:30 — me, my wife, my stepson and my two kids in diapers — and there were only three rows of cars in the entire parking lot. There were only like 20 yellow school buses, which I knew would mean a tiny fraction of the usual multitude of high school kids dribbling prize basketballs in roller coaster lines.

We got a spot in the front row, four spaces from the aisle. My older kid had fallen asleep as we entered the parking lot, so we hatched a quick scheme. I’d stay at the car with the little girl sleeping and the little boy chewing on toys, while my wife and stepson would go in the park, ride the amazing compact wooden roller coaster just inside the entrance and come back out to tag-team me in to go ride the same. In theory, by the time that cycle was complete, the little girl would wake up from her power nap, and we’d all go in together.

That cycle did not reach completion. Wife and stepson rode the wooden coaster — they were the only ones on the ride, and they had the option to stay on and ride again and again — but when they got back to the car, the Six Flags P.A. system was crackling about tornado watches and storm shelters. The only attraction I got to experience was the Talk To The Fat Security Guard In The Parking Lot ride.

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May 6, 2011

Moron moves

Not as unpleasant as moving.


I’ve never had a prostate exam or root canal, but I’ve moved residences plenty of times. I imagine moving to be the most unpleasant of the three. At least you get drugs with the root canal. At least the prostate exam is over in minutes. When you move, you’re dead sober, and you have that metaphorical finger in your ass for weeks.

This was my biggest move yet — moving out of a four-bedroom house — and it made even my minor flaws become glaringly obvious, to the point where my wife and I were either having a hard time getting along or just plain not getting along. Worse, moving made me stupid. Here are some high(low?)lights:

  • Our plan was to get rid of as much stuff as possible before the move. I spent hours going through old boxes of personal stuff, downsizing papers and movies and CDs. The things I went through represented probably 1 percent of our total belongings. We still have a ton of secondhand furniture and duplicate junk that the time crunch forced us to move with us anyway. I could not see the forest for the trees, and speaking of which, I probably did not need to waste time digging up and moving all the trees from the old house, as the new house already has trees. What’m I gonna do with all these extra trees?
  • When gathering a handful of trash from the car with car keys in hand, I threw the whole pile of stuff in the trash, keys included. Next morning, exerted all kinds of time and effort looking for the keys, then thought, What if the keys are in the trash? Then thought, Nah, I couldn’t possibly have done something that stupid. Then thought, Better check anyway. Found them under a used, grounds-filled coffee filter. Then thought, I certainly could and did do something that stupid.
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April 15, 2011

The Streak

edited by ANDREW HICKS

Last time, we got lost...

As I sit here typing, I should be packing for my business trip this weekend. I leave for Dallas, Texas, tonight for a four-day jewelry seminar/training marathon. It’s a break from the everyday stuff in my life, which is great, but it also kinda sucks because we’re driving there. Eight women, two vehicles, 10+ hours. Yay. Not.

I don’t mind being on the road, but the crowded vehicles and lack of sleep are already getting to me. I am not a happy person when I am sleep-deprived. I love my sleep, and when I am tired, little things that normally wouldn’t get to me, will completely piss me off. For example:

SCENARIO A (Well-rested Natalie):

PASSENGER: Hey, Pirate Hooker! We blew a tire! What are we going to do?

ME: Oh, that’s okay, I have a AAA card. We can call the tow truck, and let’s sing some songs while we wait. Tee hee.

Scenario B (When I have NOT had some sleep):

PASSENGER: Hey, Pirate Hooker! We blew a tire! What are we going to do?


It’s always a good thing to let me sleep. Unfortunately, I can already tell that, on this trip, some people are going to make it really hard for me to maintain my Never Killed A Bitch streak.

December 12, 2010

Miser in Mexico, Pt. 3


I met Seth while he was cradling a bottle of wormwood-less absinth and lamenting the lack of ‘titties’ at the Fiesta Americana. He compensated for the tittie shortage by instructing a random girl to lean over the top of the swim-up bar if she wanted a drink. Fortunately for Seth, it took awhile for the bartender to show up. I had made my first friend.
-From “Miser in Mexico,” Part 2

Running low on cash, I resolved to ride my all-inclusive status to the vacation’s terminus, though I did drop a couple hundred bucks on a three-day scuba package that included a free underwater DVD. That’s when I learned my next lesson about doing Mexico cheap and alone: the art of the mooch.

Martin was an executive chef from Denmark, by way of Los Angeles, in Cozumel by himself because his wife doesn’t dig diving. Martin was in search of a “dive buddy,” which we’re all supposed to have underwater in case we run out of air and need to shank someone with our dive knife and take over their regulator. In the hotel lobby, we met, and Martin asked if I’d like to be buddies.

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December 11, 2010

Miser in Mexico, Pt. 2


“Jesus loves you!” Ramon calls after me. Of course Jesus loves me. Jesus would nod in admiration at how I’d bitched at Orbitz long enough to get them to throw in an “all-inclusive package” that makes kobi tuna salad, mahi mahi, filet mignon and agua purificada a series of delicacies for which I pay nada.

-From “Miser in Mexico, Pt. 1

I was in Cozumel, one of the top five diving destinations in the world. I’d decided I wanted to learn to scuba dive. And the only instructors for whom I found good references were in town, a good eight kilometers from my resort. Getting to my lessons was gonna cost me six dollars each way in cab fare. Scooters were $15 a day, and cars were $25. And this cheap bastard wasn’t willing to pay for any of it.

So I hitchhiked, which is kind of a bitch, really. Seventy percent of the cars that pass you are white taxicabs. The taxi union in town is so powerful, I was told, that they’ve kept any kind of reliable bus system from getting off the ground in Cozumel. And when you stick out their thumb, they honk and yell at you, which would make me feel bad if I gave a fuck.

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December 10, 2010

Miser in Mexico, Pt. 1


“I want to tell you about Jesus Christ,” says the smiling Mexican giving me a lift to my hotel.

Fuck. I’m almost to the Fiesta Americana Cozumel Dive Resort, a pina colada and a nap. Last thing I need right now is a speech about the Lord.

I smile. “Oh yeah! Jesus! I know all about him.”

“You go to church every Sunday?” Ramon persists.

“Of course,” I replied. “Every Sunday.”

The ride ends. I hop out.

“Jesus loves you!” Ramon calls after me.

“I know!” I yell back, hurrying away from the little red beater that’d saved me a six-dollar cab fare.

Of course Jesus loves me. Jesus would applaud me pissing off the powerful Cozumel taxi-cab union by thumbing, jogging, walking, and panting my way to and from the Fiesta. He’d nod in admiration at how I bitched at Orbitz long enough to get them to throw in an “all-inclusive package” that makes kobi tuna salad, mahi mahi, filet mignon and agua purificada a series of delicacies for which I pay nada. He’d smirk at my rebuff of the street-side vendors calling out “Hey buddy” and hawking fake Cuban cigars as I make a bee-line for Cozumel’s version of Wal-Mart, where 100 percent-agave Mezcal is a paltry $17 a fifth.

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