What does the world cost? Oh well, then we'll just take a small coke.


Friday, September 28, 2007

'With Jojoba Oil'

After a hard workout, there is nothing more attractive than an uninhibited bath. To sever all connections with civilization, fill up a steaming tub and relax for several minutes with only the gentle hum of the bathroom fan as accompaniment is the personification of ecstasy.

I just emerged from one such bath. I use the term "just" in the general sense: I got dressed before coming to my computer. My bath was, like most baths, a catalyst for muscle relaxation and mental formation, as Hume calls thinking. My epidermal layer is now wrinkled like a prune in the sun, my mind has completely let go; to this moment I am still enjoying the bliss of perfect escape.

Note: "Bliss of Perfect Escape" is a term borrowed from the back of a shampoo bottle. But there is no shame in stealing slogans from cleaning agents. In fact, there is little else to do while laying partially submerged in steaming water.

Case in point, reading shampoo bottles is precisely what I spent the majority of the last forty-five minutes doing. Given lifestyle decisions and a propensity to find entertainment in more orthodox sources, I have rarely found the time to actually read the information on a shampoo bottle. Even while at the shampoo store, I tend to purchase based only on a price per ounce calculation; ingredients, special scents, pictures of attractive women with lots of hair, advertised textures and "Jojoba" are never considered.

Yes, Jojoba. My brother, who has longer hair than I and therefore uses several non-astringent chemicals to "soothe, satisfy and satiate" (also taken from a shampoo bottle) his scalp purchased a bottle of shampoo that specifically contained some Jojoba. Jojoba is, as you might gather from the banner on this post, a fluffy plant that doesn't in its natural form look at all good for one's hair. But hours of careful processing and several tons of heavy machinery turn God's natural gift of Jojoba into a pasty hair product. Come to think of it, maybe the banner is actually of steam from the Jojoba purification plant.

One of the bottles in our bathtub, a blue bottle with a sleek shape designed to make it look larger than it actually is, advertises its secret ingredient before even naming the product. "With Jojoba Oil" is pasted in large but sexy letters over the brand, drawing the consumer's eye there first.

I have only little idea what Jojoba is or what it does for hair, nor do I really care to know more, but the shampoo company obviously feels that Jojoba is very key. The back of the bottle has a paragraph of prose describing the "euphoric cleanliness" instilled upon the user and the "just woke up this way beauty" that natural ingredients provide.

(I, for one, do not need to shampoo in order to attain the "just woke up this way beauty," but I understand how some people might).

Anyway, to make a long bath short, I reached over and checked the ingredient list on my nondescript economy size shampoo. There, in small letters, barely legible to those with trombone vision, was the word "jojoba." The same ingredient, minus the fancy packaging.

Take that fancy bottle with attractive woman with lots of hair!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

TheS paceb arT ypo

Whent ypingq uickly,i ti se asyt od epresst hes paceb ara tt hew rongm oment.I na nyones entence,t hes paceb arm ayb ep resseda s manya st ent of ifteent imes.T hef astert het yperm ovesh isf ingers,t hem orep recises heh ast ob ew itht hes paceb ar.I fs hem akesa m istaket her esultl ooksl iket hisp osta ndi sc onsequentlyd ifficultt or ead.

Thoseo fy oui nt hef aithfulF CNf eww hos peedr eado na r egularb asisw ill,h owever,h aven op roblemk eepingu pw itht hee rror.

Life Tip #41

Don't light yourself or others on fire.

If you must light yourself or others on fire, don't use highly flammable Axe Body spray to fuel the flames.

If you must light yourself or others on fire and use highly flammable Axe Body spray for fuel, don't film the incident for later publication on YouTube.

If someone offers to light you on fire and use highly flammable Axe Body spray for fuel and film the incident for later publication on YouTube, resist the urge to give your permission.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Please Do Not Feed the Genii

I'm a college student. I go to community college. I sleep in. I stay up late. I'm particular about my soda. I never run less than 5 programs at a time, at least one of which must always be a chat window. I'm through high school. I have vague plans about the future. My eating habits are disgusting. I have held down a few jobs and am currently unemployed.

Until recently, I was proud to be one of thousands of generic faces milling across the face of American academia. I had gone through the proper rites of passage - high school graduation, SAT, AP, driving, offending people. I took pride in my status as a college bum. I was part of a certain group. Until recently, I had an identity.

All this was shattered yesterday when I took a leisurely trip to the computer lab yesterday. As I strolled merrily down the metaphorically rose-strewn path besides hundreds of students just like me in all but the really important ways, I saw something that made my blood ran cold. It was a ten-year old.

That's right, a ten-year old.

Okay, I don't know how old he was.

But he was young. Short, fresh-faced, wearing a clip-on tie and a sunny disposition (among other things). His backpack was crammed so full that the Calculus II book was sticking out the side. I stopped dead in my tracks, horrified, as he walked by. Then I turned around and ran after him.

"You!" I cried, clapping a hand on his shoulder. "Aren't you a little far from home? Where are your parents?"

"Excuse me," The boy said with snobby, nasal voice, brushing my hand aside like a rotten leaf. "I am on my way to class."

"Class where? Kindergarten?"

"No," He said patiently. "Here at college."

I snorted derisively. "You? You're just out of diapers."

"I did not need diapers. My parents enrolled me in an Intensive Infant Advancement program so I was potty trained by ten weeks. I skipped most elements of childhood in a two-year Accelerated Development course, and pushed through three grades a year, which gave me an extra year to ace seven AP tests and three CLEPs. And my SAT, of course."

"You've got to be joking."

"I don't joke. Who has got the time anymore?"

"But how old are you? Ten?"

"Eight and three quarters tomorrow."

"So you're a college student? A real one?"

"That questions implies a host of epistemological and normative quandaries. Overlooking those, I will tell you that I am indeed a college student as real as any of the others in this crowd. Now, please excuse me. I do not want to miss my organic chemistry class. It is my favorite field. I already have an idea for a thesis." With that, the little bugger turned and toddled away into the mob.

I watched him go, horrified. My sense of well-being hasn't improved much since. Being a college student used to mean something. But here's someone who doesn't cheat on tests - not because he doesn't know how, but because it would probably decrease his accuracy. He doesn't drink beer - not because he chooses not to, but because his liver would explode if he did. I'm sure he keeps regular hours, wears matching socks, and gets plenty of fiber in his diet. My whole frame of reference has been shattered. I no longer know who I am or where I am going. I am lost. I am a leaf on the wind.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Todd's Eye

Todd gets up at his normal heure de reveil ("oh, way too early"), grabs his razor (the comfort of five blades, the precision of one) and heads to his bathroom. Along the way, he notices in his full length bedroom mirror that sleep has tussled his hair and puffed his face (like Jon Heder not Nick Diaz). Todd makes a mental note to spend more time in the shower with the various cremes in his possession remedying these conditions.

Razor in hand, Todd walks into his bathroom and looks at his reflection in the mirror. You know, he thinks, sleepiness aside, I look pretty dang good. Todd turns his head slowly while maintaining eye contact with his reflection, and looks at his hair and jaw lines, admiring the solid strength and feeling more confident in his appearance. He moves his hair to the side, combing it slightly with his hands while continuing to stare at the mirror. Dang good.

Out comes shaving cream and on goes razor. Sharp blades make contact with hair just above the surface of the skin, easily cutting off twenty-four hours of keratinized growth. Todd uses short quick motions and manipulates his facial features to give the razor uninhibited access. And while he shaves, Todd looks in the mirror.

Mentally Todd compares his visage with that of famous contemporary and historical figures. He imagines what his chin would look like covered with a scruffy black
Abraham Lincoln goatee or a nose like Frances I's. Maybe I would look better with Ben Stiller eyebrows. Todd visualizes the effect of a facelift and tries to pinpoint the impact his eyes have on his overall appearance.

Todd notices some hairline acne and mentally kicks himself for not being more liberal with the face wash. Fortunately the effect minimal and doesn't detract from my overall good looks.

The shower awaits, so Todd sets down his shaving system, pulls off his sleeping attire and hops beneath a flow of steaming hot water. Apply the shampoo, lather it in...

Todd is struck by an idea. What if I had a jaw more like Brad Pitt's? Todd tries hard to imagine what the overall impact such a change would have on his appearance. He can't. Todd is unable to visualize his face, much less his face with Brad Pitt's jawline.

More curious than ever, Todd exits the still running shower and walks in front of the bathroom mirror. To his surprise and disappointment, Todd discovers the bathroom mirror has been fogged over from the shower steam such that the surface is no longer reflective.

Todd leaves the bathroom and goes into his room to use the full length mirror. There Todd stands for several seconds, looking at his dripping wet features and heavily lathered hair. Todd suddenly realizes how ridiculous he looks and returns to the shower to continue washing. A moist circle remains on the carpet of his room.

On his way to work, Todd checks his car mirrors often, more to look at himself than to check traffic.

Todd goes out to lunch with an old friend. He notices his reflection in his glass and looks forward to see how the hours have treated his visage. Todd's friend pretends not to notice the show of vanity, but inwardly she is hurt by Todd's implicit message that his face is more interesting than her conversation.

If Todd were to think about his actions, he would probably feel some remorse. He doesn't want to hurt his friend's feelings. He is just really interested in his own face.
I am the kind of man who can appreciate beauty and what's so wrong with admiring what God gave?

In fact, why is the girl in front of him not more engrossed in her own features? They certainly aren't comely; she should be checking herself out all the time. What gives her the right to criticize me when she probably does the same thing when she is alone? Is she insecure in her beauty?

Todd sits alone at his dinner table and feels the uncomfortable weight of solitude as a suffocating force. He needs company. A small mirror propped up by a stack of books allows Todd to look at himself while he eats. He no longer feels alone.

"When with rebukes You correct man for iniquity, You make his beauty melt away like a moth; Surely every man is vapor. Selah"
~Psalms 39:11

Monday, September 24, 2007

Part Three: 'The Greatest Danger Could Be Your Stupidity'

I grew the nerve and asked Carrie out. She accepted. I am freaking. We are going out later this week. Any advice???

Friday, September 21, 2007

Life Tip #40

Don't collect on debts in a bar.

If you must collect on debts in a bar, don't get into a fist fight with your debtor.

If you must get into a fist fight with your debtor while collecting on a debt in a bar, find something better to steal as collateral than your debtor's false teeth.

Extreme...Bruise

The other day, for the first time several years, I went roller blading. In an effort to diversify my training regimen and reduce the chance of an overuse injury on key running muscles, I invested in a pair of inline skates and hit the hard cement of my community sidewalk.

As a backdrop to this episode, I should tell you that I told my plans to a good friend and roller blading fanatic. She tried to appear non-plussed by the idea of my picking up the new sport, but I could tell she was excited. I did not know, however, the cause of her excitement, and would not discover it until I laced on my blades and tried for the first time in years to stand up.

For the blissfully unenlightened among the faithful FCN few, a rollerblade is essentially a ski boot with wheels on the bottom. The wheels are small and well oiled, such that they shift quickly and without warning. Almost any pressure is enough to motivate rotation and the first time I contracted my quadriceps and tried to get off the ground, my feet flew out from under my body and landed me firmly on my rump. And when I say firmly, I mean that with all the inherent force of the word; the landing was not pleasant.

My friend laughed and explained that when the shoes are parallel, there is nothing contradicting the force of forward movement and such an awkward display of ill planned physics is a predictable outcome of my mistake. Only she didn't say it quite like that. Outwardly, I laughed with my friend, but inside determination beat out embarrassment and I decided to try again. And again. And again.

The difficulty for me in handling a new sport is balancing my need for speed with a limited skill set. I'm the kind of guy who races full throttle into every new project and the results are generally injurious. For instance, I broke my thumb on my first ever ski trip, I got shin splints in my first two weeks of competitive running and stress fractures in my first month on the track team. That's not to say that the effort hasn't paid off or been worth the pain, but it hasn't been smooth sailing either.

In my first block, I managed to stay on my feet through a series of tap dance like maneuvers. I looked like an inebriated barnyard animal, but I was very proud of myself. My second lap wasn't as fortunate.

Four falls later, my ego was bruised more than my body. Somehow, I'd been able to navigate to soft landing areas or slow down significantly before connecting appendage with ground. Every time I lost traction and fell, images of painful road rash, a common biker and Xtreme sport injury, crossed through my psyche. The pictures were so disturbing and profound that at a couple of moments, I just had to get to stable position and catch my breath. Then the position would become unstable, the images would return and the fun would start again.

I look forward to dominating this sport and becoming master of the wheels. Until then, I'll just be riding along aimlessly on eight small round disks, with little control over my direction. If you see me, wave hi. I'll try to waive back, but if you see me gyrating, I may not actually be waving.

In other news, an old friend contacted me a while back asking if I wanted to go wall climbing. I accepted and will be conquering a fear of heights sometime next week. At least with a wall, you don't get road rash.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Life Tip #39

Don't go boating without adequate water and vessel safety training.

If you must go boating without adequate water and vessel safety training and your boat breaks down, call someone who knows what s/he is doing for help.

If you must go boating without adequate water and vessel safety training and your boat breaks down and you refuse to call someone who knows what s/he is doing, don't tow your boat by hand from an inflatable raft.

There’s a girl in my language class who scares me

My foreign language teacher is a linguistic anomaly. She was born and raised in the United States, is a huge Red Sox fan and has all the outward physical trappings of an American. That is, she’s overweight. She covers for these deficiencies by using a limited set of carefully coached European facial expressions. When she is confused, she does the Parisian shrug and happiness is expressed with a gesture more common in Bordeaux than the Bronx.

Class is organized in an unorthodox fashion. Instead of sitting in neat rows and columns like so many numbers on a mathematician’s page, all the seats are scattered to the outskirts of the room, the way they would if Nancy Pelosi suddenly appeared in the center. This arrangement, teacher tells her students, allows for better “linguistic interaction,” an unnecessarily large phrase that means “shooting the breeze.” And believe me when I say we students shoot the breeze.

Aside from simply being unorthodox, the arrangement of seats forces me to look at the students sitting across from where I’m sitting. Sometimes this fact allows me to share in a joke and otherwise interact with my fellow classmates or converse with them on a more intimate level, which is fine. Other times, like today, seat placement is a catalyst for horror.

Annie is a freshman from the wrong side of Massachusetts. I know, is there a right side? She is, I am sure, a perfectly pleasant girl in person, but she has a habit which borders on the neurotic and has gone well beyond the distracting.

Many students will ”zone out” during a professor’s lecturious droning and allow their minds to wander to a happier place. This mental voyage is expressed physically with a slanted head, slack jaw and wide open eyes that look but don’t focus. At any point after the first five minutes of a lecture, a speaker can expect to see as much as 60% of her audience performing this “zone out” escape.

Annie zones out. A lot. Except that when she allows her mind to wander, her face gets the most serious and intense expression as if she’s desperate in a persuasive plea. Her eyes remain unfocused, but the small muscles around them tighten so that she is almost squinting. Her lips are slightly parted in a way that is more Spears than Loren. She looks as if she is heavily focused on letting her mind wander.

When most students zone out, the spectacle isn’t so absorbing that I can’t look away. But when Annie zones out, it’s like watching art happen. The face is letting you in on what’s happening in the mind and the viewer is swept along in the drama of the zoning. The whole thing is, quite frankly, very scary.

Maybe Annie needs to take zoning out lessons or maybe I need to learn to pay more attention in class, but regardless, the faithful FCN few can take a pointer from this pour soul: If you’re going to zone, zone! For goodness sakes, zone! Please!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Happy International Talk Like A Pirate Day!


Avast, me earties! One of these ere page's bilge rats knowed us t be right fine sell-outs t any sort o keel-hauling oliday; why, we're the greatest sluggards in all skullduggery. We be the sorts as wink off at the slightest smidgen of a chance, at's right.

So when that lubber throwed us a rope on ow this be Talk like a Pirate Day we knowed we'd ave ourselves a right fine going at it, aye! Me earties an I vowed we'd neer stop at nothing. We'd go down t Davy Jone's locker afore we let the day go by without a smart turn from us. So we weighed anchor an hoisted the mizzen, an the three Jack Tars of us (which we says acause there's three of us) set off across th bounding main in search of a merry yarn t spin back ere. Yaharr.

Jack was so good as t bring along his ornpipe an struck up a skivvy, an blow me down if it wasn't the worst piece of ear-splitting t be eard in this section o ocean since Jack learned is skipper ad spirited away with is motherload an is wench. Arrr, when Jack tracked down that mangy dog e tied is miserable salt t the yardarm an didn't bring im down till is back teeth showed. Then e made is wench walk the plank. Jack learned his tars a mighty fine lesson at day, aye! Shiver me timbers! At's a man as really know how to skuttle is skippers.

But enough on ol Jack. Me have more tales to tell o him than are lubbers to fire out to portside. It's time to uncork me bung hole an let forth on what happened on me own ship, to say so. Me an these scurvy scallywags oisted the colors an set course for the sunrise in all manner o fine trappings, when who should come along but the greatest grand beauty yer er to clap eyes on. I do mean the mother o all buxom beauties, the sleekest schooner in all seven seas. Arrrrgh! Me an me bilge rats are shocked to the very boney.

Jack's th first to come by is wits. "Thar she blows!" says e, an e strikes up a merry ello with the beauty. "Prepare to be boarded," e says.

"Yarrrrr!" We shout, "dogs ahoy!" and we oist our grog skyward for t show we're behind im. Aye, Jack is a real barnacle, Jack is.

"Avast, ye varmint," she says. "I'll be skuttled afore I haul keel with the likes o ye."

"But me's lost af me lice when me schooner went down off Tortuga! I'm a clean one, that I be."

"Well, you can swim if you can't sail, arrrr! Now avast afore I crack yer skull atwixt me knees. Savvy?"

"Yarrrgh," Says Jack, for e knows e's been beaten. He scuttles back to the rest of us an makes us a fine proposition, aye. He says as we've been doing this merry oliday for nearly alf an our now, we'd best be making back to home where be grog and salmagundi an ridding ourselves of the booty.

So we did. And we will talk normally for the rest of the day.

25 Things not to say during your Driver's Test

1) Before we start, I want to say that I had a pretty crazy night so please cut me some slack.
2) LOVE that clicking sound!
3) Diesel was cheaper. Now I see why.
4) Chuga-chuga-chuga-chuga-chuga-chuga-chuga-chuga ...
5) So, you come here often?
6) Train tracks! I think we can make it.
7) Some day, they'll have movie screens that fold down all the way in front so everyone can see them.
8) Yellow light, beep-beep!
9) Sometimes I pretend I'm an allied tank driver on World War II, and all those cars in the other lane are panzers.
10) There's that trucker again!
11) So how am I doing?
12) Come on. Quit giving me these tame orders. Let's open this baby up and see what she can really do!
13) Wow. I am so relaxed right now.
14) Police car! Keep your head down!
15) Look, it's my ex-girlfriend coming out of that store. If I swerve, would you mind taking her out with the door?
16) Sure is bright out here today.
17) I've been driving this road for years now.
18) Can't wait until I get enough money to buy a real car. I mean, look at this hunk of junk. It's a death trap.
19) Can we hurry this up a bit? I'm late for my online support group.
20) You wanna swing by my place on the way back?
21) I love the effect of all those yellow dots coming at you. So mesmerizing. Gets me every time.
22) Ahhh! No brakes! No brakes! Ha! Just kidding. You should have seen the look on your face. Hahaha!
23) Vroom, vroom!
24) That's where we crashed right there on the left. Nobody was hurt though. I don't think.
25) I wish we could always be in this car, driving down the road side by side. You and me. Forever.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Three on one with Mike Huckabee

Unsatisfied by our previous encounters with various presidential candidates, we followed the advice of our esteemed readers and tracked down the personal email address of Mike Huckabee. Note that this is not very easy to acquire. Uncle Wally broke a sweat over the keyboard and ended up getting the keys wet. We blew a fuse and had to go to the computer lab to continue working.



A transcript of the email conversation follows:



From FCN FunnyClassNotes@Gmail.Com
Reply-To FunnyClassNotes@Gmail.Com
To Mike Huckabee
MikeHuckabeesPersonalEmail@MikeHuckabee.Com
Date Sep 12, 2007 9:17 AM
Subject Interview
Mailed-by Gmail.Com

Dear Mike (We hope you don't mind if we call you Mike):

We write for the humor blog FunnyClassNotes.Com and are seeking a candidate worthy of endorsement. We have a readership of eleven and counting and are set to take over cyberspace by the the spring of 79062826 AD. Are you interested? If so, we'd like to ask you a few questions.

Write back.

The FCN Team




From Mike Huckabee
MikeHuckabeesPersonalEmail@MikeHuckabee.Com
To FCN FunnyClassNotes@Gmail.Com
Date Sep 12, 2007 11:42 AM
Subject Re: Interview
Mailed-by MikeHuckabee.Com

Hey guys. I remember one of my staff members mentioning your blog awhile ago. Great to hear from you.

I'm very interested in your endorsement and can't wait to get started. Ask away!

Mike

PS. I don't mind you calling me Mike. Everyone else does. I don't even know what it's short for anymore.




From FCN FunnyClassNotes@Gmail.Com
Reply-To FunnyClassNotes@Gmail.Com
To Mike Huckabee Date Sep 12, 2007 11:46 AM
Subject Re: Interview
Mailed-by Gmail.Com

Mike: That's exciting! Who mentioned us? Was it complimentary?

Here's your first question: Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, once called you a "serial tax increaser." What do you say to that?

The FCN Team




From Mike Huckabee MikeHuckabeesPersonalEmail@MikeHuckabee.Com
To FCN FunnyClassNotes@Gmail.Com
To Mike Huckabee MikeHuckabeesPersonalEmail@MikeHuckabee.Com
Date Sep 12, 2007 4:13 PM
Subject Re: Interview
Mailed-by MikeHuckabee.Com

It was Stacy who used to work at the campaign regional office headquarters in California. She was trying to explain her nervous breakdown and subsequent hospitalization.

Ah, yes. Norquist. I never was much of a fan of his. Well, I may be a bit of a tax booster. I mean, when I was Governor of Arkansas the state payroll increased twenty percent and our general debt increased by a billion dollars. People focus on things like that and call me irresponsible. Like those rats at the Cato Institute, who had the nerve to give me an F grade for spending and tax policy. People like to focus on the costs, but they ignore the benefits. When my service as Governor was over, the state of Arkansas had a one billion dollar surplus. That's results. That's clear, empirical proof that my constituents were being well served.

And don't worry about taxes when I'm President. I signed the PTPPPATR.

Keep the questions coming. This is fun.

Mike




From FCN FunnyClassNotes@Gmail.Com
Reply-To FunnyClassNotes@Gmail.Com
To Mike Huckabee MikeHuckabeesPersonalEmail@MikeHuckabee.Com
Date Sep 12, 2007 4:20 PM
Subject Re: Interview
Mailed-by Gmail.Com

Mike: Sorry to hear about Stacy. I'm sure it was one of the other two contributors that made her snap, if that's any comfort.

What's the PTPPPATR? It sounds tasty.

There's always been a flurry surrounding your stance on immigration. What's your vision exactly and how will you act to bring it reality as president?

The FCN Team




From Mike Huckabee MikeHuckabeesPersonalEmail@MikeHuckabee.Com
To FCN FunnyClassNotes@Gmail.Com
To Mike Huckabee MikeHuckabeesPersonalEmail@MikeHuckabee.Com
Date Sep 12, 2007 4:13 PM
Subject Re: Interview
Mailed-by MikeHuckabee.Com

Um - that doesn't really comfort me at all. Earth to FCN. I have no idea who's who. It's an anonymous blog. Hello.

It stands for the Presidential Taxpayer Protection Pledge of Americans for Tax Reform. Try to keep up with the acronyms.

I'm glad you asked about immigration because it's one I have very strong feelings about. I'm all for sealing the border, but when it comes to people who are actually here, I think it's ridiculous the way we're behaving. It's like: "You broke the law, so now we're coming down on you like a ton of bricks." It's shameful, really. Instead of being malicious toward these people, we need to shake hands with them. We need to make friends with them. We need to realize that these are people just like you and me. There's nothing that makes us any more American than them, besides maybe the fact that we're Americans. To think that these people are unable to obtain government benefits like Federal Aid simply because they don't pay taxes is unthinkable. It's unchristian. And it's bad politics.
Let's melt ourselves down into the pot of diversity.

Mike




From FCN FunnyClassNotes@Gmail.Com
Reply-To FunnyClassNotes@Gmail.Com
To Mike Huckabee MikeHuckabeesPersonalEmail@MikeHuckabee.Com
Date Sep 12, 2007 6:38 PM
Subject Re: Interview
Mailed-by Gmail.Com

Mike: Well, I can't help you much there, except to say that I'm not one of those other two guys.

So, it sounds like you support amnesty? Is that correct?

What do you think of your odds of victory?

The FCN Team





From Mike Huckabee MikeHuckabeesPersonalEmail@MikeHuckabee.Com
To FCN FunnyClassNotes@Gmail.Com
To Mike Huckabee MikeHuckabeesPersonalEmail@MikeHuckabee.Com
Date Sep 13, 2007 11:02 AM
Subject Re: Interview
Mailed-by MikeHuckabee.Com

I really don't think you get it. I don't know who I'm talking to.

I absolutely do not support amnesty. Amnesty is a big taboo word up on the hill. I'm very careful to say that I oppose amnesty to illegals. It's just that I want them to be welcomed into the country, which is hardly the same thing. Hardly.

After all, if we can't reach out to minorities (by which I mean illegals), the GOP doesn't stand a chance in the next election. Minorities want foreign work. They want the illegals who are already here to get stamped. If we give them that, the Dems won't know what hit them. They'll be all: "What hit us?" and they won't know.

Well, I placed second in the Iowa straw poll back in August right behind Romney, who we all know is going to lose steam any day now. I mean, the guy doesn't stand a chance. He's a Mormon, for crying out loud. Haven't you been reading the news about the FLDS? That's almost the same thing as the LDS. Please. Romney? Pschaw.

Mike




From FCN FunnyClassNotes@Gmail.Com
Reply-To FunnyClassNotes@Gmail.Com
To Mike Huckabee MikeHuckabeesPersonalEmail@MikeHuckabee.Com
Date Sep 13, 2007 11:41 PM
Subject Re: Interview
Mailed-by Gmail.Com

All due respect, but I think you're the one who doesn't get it. I don't know how to make this clearer. I'm the trustable contributor. Why can't you believe me?

You mentioned Romney, but how about some of the other front runners like Giuliani and McCain?

You've worked hard to associate your image with health advocacy. Back in 2003, the New York Times said of your 110-pound weight loss: "It was as if he simply unzipped a fat suit and stepped out." You've run in marathons, you won the AARP Impact Award ... can you tell us a little about how this relates to your candidacy, if at all?




From Mike Huckabee MikeHuckabeesPersonalEmail@MikeHuckabee.Com
To FCN FunnyClassNotes@Gmail.Com
To Mike Huckabee MikeHuckabeesPersonalEmail@MikeHuckabee.Com
Date Sep 15, 2007 1:41 AM
Subject Re: Interview
Mailed-by MikeHuckabee.Com

This is ridiculous. I don't have to keep listening to this drivel. I don't even think you're making an effort to understand me. Forget this. Forget this interview. Forget your stupid blog. Forget Giuliani. Forget McCain. Forget minorities. I have nothing more to say to you.

Except go read my book, Quit Digging Your Grave with a Knife and Fork. That'll answer most of your questions. The remaining questions can be answered by good acne medication. Now stop emailing me.

Mike




Obviously, we really couldn't walk away from this experience ready to give Mike Huckabee a glowing endorsement. We liked his positions, sort of. But that temper of his! Wow. We can't believe the way he treated us. What a politician! We get a little warm under the collar just thinking about it. What an overreactor.

So, the search goes on.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Part Two: 'Tomorrow’s Happiness Begins Today'

Since last week’s discovery that the beautiful girl in my philosophy class likes to spend time with the campus nerd, I have devoted countless mental calories to devising a way to be noticed by her in a positive way. Most of my ideas involve great heights, flame or Marxist propaganda (that was Reginald's idea, actually) and none of them are very positive. But because I haven’t risked any of them, a relationship with Carrie remains a possibility, albeit a distant one. By the same token, she still hasn’t noticed me.

During one of the breaks, I followed the nerd into the restroom and got a good look at him while at the wash stand. The nerd was looking at his own comely features in the mirror and adjusting his dry, keratinized hair with an air of vanity and self assurance. I sized him up while letting the tepid water flow easily over my outstretched palms.

He was small. Maybe 5’7” or 5’8”. His shoulders had an inward slump that spoke of more hours in a virtual world than a weight room. He did not look athletic, but had a fashionable pair of jeans that made turned his unshaped body into something mildly resembling the masculine form. He weighed between 120 and 130 pounds; a meager presence in the large restroom. His was the body type that made a small “poof” when entering the water in “cannon ball” form. His voice when we exchanged pleasantries was flat and high pitched. His diction was heavily weighed by a Castro Street lisp that severely detracted from his manliness. His shirt was nondescript, black with some artistic white designs. He was exactly the kind of guy you could look at and then forget a moment later.

But Carrie hadn’t forgotten him. After class they were walking together with a closeness that befits lifelong friends, not college freshmen two weeks into their first semester of higher education.

Maybe, I thought, my feelings were a banal jealously, a perception that this girl was somehow a prize that I could beat out the other guys to “have.”

But no, a quick examination of my priorities revealed my intentions were pure. This girl was fresh off the farm, a naive and innocent presence on a hardened academic surface. She didn’t know what she was getting into or the ideas the nerd might be getting into his nondescript head. She needed protection. My protection.

The nerd, on the other hand, was probably a battle hardened player with more love tales than Alexander the Great had war anecdotes. He probably made a lifestyle of getting women to fall for him and then crushing their uncorrupted hearts. His was a utilitarian existence and it was my lot to save one more victim from his grasp.

Then another thought hit me like the cold water of “polar bear club:” Why do women, especially those as beautiful as Carrie, get involved with the emasculated and uninteresting? Why don’t women always find the strong, handsome men’s men, the real alphas of the pack and leave the weak to their ugly counterparts?

Maybe you women in the audience can help me dissect this and provide a little light on this very complicated question: why do relationships like Robert and Stephanie happen? (Note that I did not just say that).

Anyway, at class yesterday, I was trying to think of something to say to Carrie, some way of starting a conversation. My position in class makes it awkward to lean over and make a casual remark, so I need to have something substantive in order to justify the effort of communicating. All the obvious things (weather, parking situation, cafeteria food) seemed too trite and a question about her experiences in college so far might seem contrived. I thought about asking her opinion of Fred Thompson's candidacy, but weighed the possibility that she had no idea who Thompson is and the eventual embarrassment my explaining might produce as sound arguments against such a query.

I sat at my desk, scribbling possible questions on the palm of my hand for a long stretch of our professor’s discussion of Leviathan and Thomas Hobbes. In the end, I just left without saying anything, biding my time for a future encounter.

At lunch after class, I discovered my fortune cookie was broken into small pieces. It had suffered some violent settling in transit and was now a collection of fortune crumbs. I was disturbed.

Now would be a good time to defend the use of fortune cookies as a moral and life guide. Mommy G pointed out that there are several far better ways to get life advice and cautioned me against putting my faith in a fortune cookie. The implicit message in her caution is that superstitious tools like fortune cookies can cause more harm than good. Mommy G is, of course, right - Mom's rarely aren't - but I do think there is some limited role a tiny slip of inked paper with a quaint quip can play in our lives and occasionally in our decision making.

When the suppliers of fortune cookies for the Chinese restaurant sit down to start chopping out their advice, they look inward to some discrete location around the belly button, in search of enlightened humor. When they don't find lint, the nuggets of truth they pull from their hidden troves are wrapped in a slightly sweet sugar and wheat based product and baked. Fully baked; through and through. Anyone who puts that much effort into getting a secret message into a diner's greasy fingers deserves an ear. In some small way, fortune cookies are, then, a message from God himself; a sovereign protected correspondence with the Almighty. Our Maker guides these bits of molded dough into our hands and, after a salty meal with plenty of soy sauce and conversation, communicates through the fortune.

I mean, if Leonidas listened to the dieing messenger at Marathon, I'll read my fortune cookie.

Fortune cookies are life's way of laughing at itself; what they lack in verisimilitude they make up in jest.

OK, enough verbose summations; my fortune cookie read:
TOMORROW’S HAPPINESS BEGINS TODAY
Goodness! My meteorologist could have told me that. All those tiny China-men were waisting their time. Still, perhaps I could have been more assertive in the Carrie situation. Then again, maybe these dough wrapped messages are full of it, clich├ęd verbal sophistication notwithstanding. Yes, that was a drug reference.

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Truth about our Hit Counter

A recent rFCN post really got our gears turning. After our recommitment to honesty, we were really bothered by the accusation that we were actively hiding something from our readers. We were determined to get to the bottom of the hit counter scandal and expose the truth. Actually, we just wanted to find out who was guilty so we could drag his bald, tattooed self through a hay field to a Scone convention attended only by home school moms. Yeah. That would have been funny.

To that end, we stayed up late on a school night with Uncle Wally, crunching numbers and carefully examining the complex HTML code that makes FCN what it is. The code had never been pretty to start with, but after F's takeover and sabotage, it was looking worse than ever. It took us hours of careful search. But finally, we came to the bottom of it, and we announce that bottom here with shame and amazement:

There was a flaw in our hit counter!

I know. It's hard to believe. But it's true. All this time, we thought we only had ten readers. We were selling ourselves short! I guess many of you probably suspected from the number of comments that the readership must have been higher, but we placed too much trust in our code, which we only just now realized was full of bugs.

After carefully tallying up the corrected, bug-free data, we were able to come up with the correct number, which we now present to the world in general and rFCN specifically in the name of transparency, honesty, and trust. We have: 11 readers.

We apologize profusely for this embarrassing error. Countergate is an ugly mark on FCN's pristine record, and we hope you can find it in your hearts to lend us a little slack. Like Bill belichickbefore us, we offer this ambiguous apology and trust you will know what to do with it.

Before closing, we'd like to offer a solemn admonition to rFCN to be careful how it points fingers. Not every error is a lie, fellow humorists. People make mistakes. We hope you learned a valuable lesson here about jumping to conclusions. The next time you think someone has lied to you, take a second to stop and consider the possibility that they made an honest error. We're sure everyone will appreciate the gesture.

Oh, and next time, fact check.

Well, the new, accurate counter is up and running, and we can proceed into the future with confidence in our statistics.

Life Tip #38

Do turn yourself in to the police to stand accountable to a valid warrant.

If you lack transportation to the police station and wish to turn yourself in and stand accountable to a valid warrant, take the bus or get a friend to drive you.

If you lack transportation to the police station and wish to turn yourself in and stand accountable to a valid warrant, don't steal a car.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

[FCN], as they don't say in China.


Warning: The following post contains explicit, insensitive racist material. Please don't read if you qualify for affirmative action.


A fan of FCN who recently moved to China has bemoaned a fact which leaves her in a rut and us patting ourselves on the back in congratulations. The fact is this: FCN is censored. The People's Republic of China has decided that Funny Class Notes is not beneficial to the ideological health of the nation. Well, all right!

Of course, we're not ones to celebrate lying down. Nope. We've got to get the bottom of things. We got to meet the people responsible and shake them warmly by the hand. That's why, last weekend, we took the bus to China.

We arrived in Beijing late Saturday afternoon. The sun was shining and the beatings were only just getting started. We could tell this was going to be a great weekend. Then we tried to catch a taxi to the Ministry of Information, and our mood rapidly went sour. The irreverent driver pretended not to speak English! Of course we didn't fall for this, and told him with increasingly threatening tones of voice that we were American cowboys and we would whup his succulent T-Bone if he didn't take us to the Ministry of Information. A half hour passed, with him yelling rapid-fire Chinese and the three of us tag teaming so our throats could get a rest. Finally, he relented.

"Okay, I'll take you," He said, with a charming trace of an accent. "Get in the car."

We arrived at the Ministry just at dusk. There were armed guards standing outside, and when we told them who we were, they dragged Dan back behind the building and started beating the tar out of him. We were unfazed. In fact, our spirits were still pretty high. As a group, that is; Dan looked kinda fazed.

We got into another shouting match with the guards. This time, we lost, and were forced to beat a hasty retreat to other side of the street. It was clear to us that reason didn't work with these people. After all, this was an oppressed country. One couldn't just walk up the ministry and ask for an appointment with the bureaucrat who nixed the only website linking to your T-Shirt gallery. It was time to stop doing things the Chinese way. It was time to unleash a little good ol' Americana on these unsuspecting orientals.

But first we had to wait for Dan. That took awhile. While we waited, we skimmed the headlines of a newspaper on a nearby bench, which had headlines like: PARTY SOLVES ANOTHER PROBLEM and EVERYTHING IS FINE STILL.

Eventually Dan returned from his beating. We quietly made our way to the parking lot and found a spot marked (not counting the Chinese): MINSTER OF INFORMATION. Using skills we learned playing Grand Theft Auto back in kindergarten, we broke into the vehicle and hid ourselves in the back seat. We also acquired weapons.

After several minutes, the door to the car opened and a man plopped into the driver's seat. As soon as the car was fairly moving, Dan put him in a deadlock (rather passionately, I thought), and told him to stay calm. The man foolishly decided not to follow Dan's sage advice. He yelled and screamed until the tightening arm cut off his wind pipe.

"Now, you listen to me," Dan growled. "We came to tell you something, and by gum, we're going to get it told if we have to strangle half the Imperial Guard to do it. We're the FCN team. We saw you censored our blog, and we're pretty happy about it. We wanted to come over and say thank you."

The man's face was red and his eyes were bugging out, apparently indicating some sort of Chinese acknowledgment. In China, they don't just say "You're welcome," or "Don't mention it." They bug their eyes out and make guttural noises. It's a strange culture. Unless you've studied the subtleties like us, you really can't hope to interact with the Chinese.

Anyway, we bailed out of the car and caught the next bus ride back home. Then we checked our email. We had a message from the Minister. It read:

"Sirs - I heard reports earlier of your attack on my driver and say that this behavior must not be allowed to jeopardize the relationship between China and US which is already very dangerous."

We love you, too, Minister.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

In N' Out

When the clock strikes noon at General Mills, the employees disappear faster than Winona Rider with an armful of stolen purses. It's as if a fire alarm is sounded throughout the factory and even the conveyor belts sense that operations will have to be put on hold for a time while personal mastication needs are satisfied. We become Maslow's ants and focus on our hunger needs to the exclusion of our financial ones.

I am more than a little proud to say that I am no different. Lunchtime is an almost sacred rite and bringing face to food, while always a priority, becomes an obsession at twelve noon.

One particular lunch break in the not too distant past, I was hungry but distracted as I ran over an old woman who works in the factory office on my way out the door. That morning, I had been thinking about my diet and wondering if regular visits to In n' Out Burger constituted good eating. I had frequented that fine burger establishment every one of the last three days and, while the thought of an Animal-Style Double-Double with a Flying Dutchman chaser was appetizing, I figured I owed my body better.

I wanted something healthy, something green, so I hopped into my car and sped down my town's main thoroughfare, scanning restaurant titles for the anti-burger.

As I drove, I pensed. Without the steady blare of General Mill's quality control operations to plague my thinking, my thoughts were actually fairly lucid. I thought about the elderly woman I had run over and the merits of spending hours a day in a smelly cereal factory. I considered the recent Cabinent shakeup in Japan and then, tired of thinking, I tuned into VH1 and relaxed to the gentle thump-thump of the latest pop hit.

Before I knew it, I was at a restaurant. I stepped out of my car and walked forward, my mind still thump-thumping. Then, just as I was about to step through the doors of the establishment and into the air conditioned comfort of modern dining, I glanced at the name of the restaurant: In N' Out Burger.

I couldn't believe it. The car had practically driven me here of its own accord. I had made no conscious decision to come here - in fact my thoughts were about health and alternatives the whole time - but here I was nonetheless.

At first I was mildly upset that fate and destiny had denied me the opportunity to have a healthy meal, but I wasn't about to let fate ruin a good time.

I went to the counter and ordered a 4x4 burger, fries, a Flying Dutchman, diet coke and, after the main course, a vanilla shake (see right, click for enlarged image). I wasn't especially hungry, but In N' Out has a way of making room for itself.

My food came quickly and smelled of rich salts and heavy fats. I found a place to sit and thanked God quickly for his providence and direction. Then I lit into the food, enjoying each bite as an original delicacy, despite the fact that this was my fourth time this week eating from the limited In N' Out menu.

I was just stuffing the last bites of the 4 x 4 into my mouth and beginning to eye the lightly crisped fries when a the violent tones of a car alarm cut the air. Everyone in the restaurant heard the noise and the gentleman sitting to my immediate left made a cynical comment about modern gadgetry.

Everyone expected the alarm to subside quickly, but just the opposite happened. The noise continued with the throbbing regularity of the pop song I had just heard in my car.

I looked around the restaurant to locate the car's owner and saw an elderly gentleman who couldn't have been younger than sixty fiddling with his car keys and pointing them out the window toward a Toyota Tundra that looked new enough to have an anti-theft alarm.

The elderly gentleman fumbled and fiddled with his keys for some time, making facial expressions like John Belushi and generally looking defeated by technology. Then, tired of the window, he moved to the door and began clicking at his unresponsive car from beneath the fan that keeps the warm air out.

An In N' Out employee approached the man and asked if he wanted any assistance. I am not sure of the man's exact reply, but it was obviously negative and harsh.

The man's wife vocalized her support, announcing to everyone within earshot that the car was new and that he would "have to get used to the alarm." I thought her choice of words was comically poor, but said nothing.

Between us, the sound got annoying really fast. With the door open, one had to speak exceptionally loudly to be heard above the din and, although I was more focused on face stuffing than conversation, the sound was beginning to give me a headache.

It was about five minutes between when the alarm began to sound and when I left In N' Out to return to work, but the alarm was going full bore the entire time. I think I can be fairly confident when I assert that that is one car that will not be stolen. Or maybe it will, just to halt the alarm.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Three-on-one with Ron Paul

It's getting to be that time of year again, and that means it's time for FCN to endorse a candidate. Of course, we're not the types to give out an endorsement without a careful analysis of each person's awesomeness and a confirmatory interview. We decided we wanted a Republican candidate because we don't like Killary Clinton, so we sifted through the mob and settled on someone who really looked promising: Dr. Ron Paul. This guy, we reasoned, was inherently cool. Having a beer with this guy would be fun. We could see ourselves endorsing this guy. So we set up the confirmatory via conference call. The transcript follows.

//BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RON: Ron Paul speaking.

FCN: Hey, this is Funny Class Notes. We negotiated with your secretary for five minutes.

RON: Take all the time you need.

FCN: Great! So, first question: what's the biggest thing that makes your candidacy different from all the other republicans in the ring?

RON: Well, if I had to pick one thing, I think I'd take my support of limited constitutional government. My opponents have clearly demonstrated a lack of willingness to fight for the constitution at best. But perhaps bigger than that is my voting record. I've never voted to raise taxes, restrict gun usage, or increase government power. I voted against the Patriot Act, I voted against the War in Iraq, I voted against internet censorship - I even voted against Martin Luther King Jr Day. That's the number one thing, really: sound fiscal policies. Our budget is a disaster right now, boys. And part of it is related to what may very well be my biggest issue: open trade. Of course, that's not the same thing as open borders. I intend to close the borders, put an end to taxpayer support of criminal aliens, and stop birthright citizenship. That's sort of the raison d'aitre of the campaign, unless you count my stand on Health Freedom. I've consistently introduced and supported bills in congress like the Access to Medical Treatment Act that give Americans choices about their medical care, and I led the opposition to bills like HR 5005, that would have force-immunized everyone against small pox. You know what they put in those immunizations?

FCN: Uh, no ...

RON: Chickens, that's who. Chickens.

FCN: I'm confused.

RON: Were you immunized?

FCN: I ... think so.

RON: Next question.

FCN: Okay, let's see ...

FCN: What do you consider to be your ...

FCN: Hey! I thought we agreed I was going to ask the questions.

FCN: Well, you weren't asking, so ...

FCN: Just let me handle this, all right?

FCN: Okay, sorry. Wow. Touchie, touchie.

RON: While you boys were arguing, I realized what's probably the number one biggest issue in my campaign.

FCN (together): Let's hear it.

RON: Withdrawal from international organizations like NATO, the UN, the WTO, the ICC, CAFTA, GATT, NAFTA, the NAU, the IMF, and the World Bank. We've got to pull out with all urgency. That's the first thing I'll get to when I'm president, just as soon as I'm done codifying protection of unborn life. If there's one thing I learned delivering more than four thousand babies as an ob-gyn, it's that life begins at conception.

FCN: So ....

RON: Actually, it looks like I'm out of time.

FCN: But we only did one question.

RON: It was a good question. It covered a lot. Okay, I really have to go. Bye!

//END TRANSCRIPT

After an interview like that, we had no choice but to go back to the drawing board. We agreed unanimously that Ron Paul is not that candidate for us. I mean, he completely dominated the conversation, made us look like idiots, and generally took away our appetites. We would not have a beer with Ron Paul. He can drink alone, thank you very much.

So we're still on the endorsement hunt. If you have any names to volunteer, we'll welcome them gladly.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Part One: 'Never Let An Opportunity Pass You By'

There is a girl I like at school. Not “like” like or anything terribly mushy, but I really enjoy talking with her and she is amazingly pretty. She’s inhale sharply and clear your calendar kind of pretty. She is “how in the world did God make something this pretty” kind of pretty. She is ... okay, she's a terribly mushy sort of pretty. That didn't sound right, so I'll abandon the visual descriptions and move on.

We’ll call her Carrie, since that’s a close approximation of the name she gave me when we met a week ago in line to take collegiate placement tests. She speaks Spanish and was bemoaning the inconvenience of sitting through a language exam when she already knew her skill level. My agreement started a conversation which covered everything from heritage to plans for school (she’s half Italian and is majoring in International Studies). We didn’t get a chance to exchange contact information, but she assured me that we would “probably run into one another in class.”

Carrie was right. Not a week after our first meeting, I found myself on the other side of a small classroom from her, listening to a lecture on Plato’s critique of democracy. I’ve read the Republic and consider myself a regular advocate of the philosopher king concept, so the lecture had little new to offer. I spent most of the hour, conjuring up various ways to look at Carrie. I caught her eye once and drew out a gorgeous smile of recognition. I considered that delightful grin just reward for the effort I'd exerted.

During a break, I maneuvered across the room and said hi. Carrie told me she’d passed her exams easily and we shared a laugh over the easy language questions which helped to “place” us. Then – foolish, foolish me – I asked about her class schedule. Nobody wants to talk about how they have mister or misses so-and-so for Econ and the tall guy without any fingers for political science. I tried to cover my mistake by asking questions about her teachers, but she remembered hardly any of them and I could tell she was growing bored of the conversation. I concluded it and went back to my seat, mentally kicking myself because I hadn’t asked her out.

Class ended after one of the longest forty-five minutes I had ever experienced; how many times did we have to hear a definition of “philosophy?” But the excruciation finally ground to a halt and I headed for the front of class to sign up for an assignment. I figured I would see Carrie at the front, ask if she had an opening for lunch sometime and exchange contact information. But reality hardly mirrored my plans.

Carrie had already signed up for the assignment and was out the door before I could write "Nigeria," which is, by the way, what I wrote. I charged after her, but when I got to the door, I saw something that was as deflating as it was familiar: Carrie was walking along with another guy. And, to make matters worse, her escort was the class nerd, a low expression introvert with a sandpaper voice. I’d never caught his name, but he had apparently caught Carrie’s.

For a split second, I thought about running after the pair and inviting Carrie out anyway, but that would have been a blatant violation of the masculine code of conduct. Instead I just stood dejected as they marched into the warm early afternoon.

As I watched, I noticed something about Carrie. She looked genuinely happy. She was making emphatic gestures and laughed a couple of times at something the nerd said. She seemed to be enjoying herself with this guy. Maybe, I thought, it was meant to be; maybe I was trying to butt into a situation that demanded my respect and distance.

But then again, my interest wasn’t necessarily romantic. I just wanted to get to know her. She could continue whatever relationship she was developing with the nerd while doing a lunch with me.

I continued thinking about the situation while chewing on some unkosher sweet and sour pork at my favorite Chinese eatery. My thoughts were jumbled and disorganized until I opened my fortune cookie at the end of the meal. There, in bold red lettering, was the answer I was looking for:

NEVER LET AN OPPORTUNITY PASS YOU BY
I folded the message carefully and slipped it into my duct tape wallet. These were words to live by; uninspired but still profound.

Carrie and I have a whole semester of class together and our majors are similar, so we may be interacting as students for a couple of years. But Mid-Term 1 is just around the corner, and I think I know who I will be inviting to my study group.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Desperate Student, Episode 12: Mercenary

This post picks up where previous episodes left off. Make sure you're caught up before proceeding.

Well, I'm back from Africa. But this story will take at least two episodes to tell.

I awoke bright and early, ready to face the day. Then I got a wiff of room 7 in the It'll Have to Do Hotel, and life got dull and dreary right quick.

I heard a knocking outside my window and stumbled over. A black limousine was parked outside. A uniformed chauffeur with a massive forehead stood by the open door, staring at his watch with impatience. I pulled on my clothes, which were starting to smell pretty bad, and stumbled out into the parking lot. The chauffeur straightened and sniffed the air.

"Do you have any baggage, sir?"

"Only the emotional kind," I said, brushing past him into the car. "You're with Jane Goodall, right?"

"Yes, sir." The man dutifully closed the door and went around to the driver's side. I stretched myself out on the luxurious leather upholstery as the car pulled out of the lot and toward the highway. The ride was surprisingly bumpy. I had expected limos to be more comfy.

The ride to the airport was reasonably uneventful and mindlessly boring. We parked near the entrance in a reserved parking spot, and the chauffeur opened the door.

"I am to escort you to the plane," He said stiffly. I nodded and followed him into the main building. The chauffeur, whose name I later learned to be Jeeves, produced two boarding passes at the security checkpoint.

The TSA agents made me strip down to my underwear and put everything in ziploc bags, which were put into rather less-than-sanitary gray bins. The gray bins were put onto a conveyor belt and went under some hanging rubber flaps into a machine. Then came a beep, a flash, and a puff of smoke. I never saw them again.

"Step forward, please," Said an agent, motioning to have me go through a metal detector.

"Will that do the same thing to me that you did to my clothes?"

The agent frowned. His left hand slowly moved across his belt toward his baton. "Step forward, sir."

I stepped forward. Nothing happened. The agent winced and had me step through again. This time, there was a beep. I threw my hands up to my face reflexively and felt hot air rush over my near-naked body. I pulled my hands slowly away. They were covered with hair.

"What happened?" I asked.

"Sterilized you," The agent said casually. Then he frisked me.

Forty minutes later, we ran across the tarmac to a private jet painted with two apes grooming each other. I was wearing a plain blue jumpsuit that Jeeves had ingeniously produced the moment we got through security. Jane Goodall stood at the door of the plane in regal splendor, arms folded. She looked like Hera surveying her domain.

I ran up the steps quickly with Jeeves in tow. "Hey, I'm the Desperate Student."

"And I am Miss Goodall. I look forward to working with you."

I felt like I was in the presence of one of the greatest scientific minds of our age. "Uh ... likewise. Shall we go?"

"Not just yet. We're waiting for the other team members."

I went into the plane, which was luxuriously furnished, and took a seat on one of the couches. Two hours went by. Then tires squeeled outside, doors slammed, and a flurry of shouts and pounding boots sounded up the steps.

"Come on, come on! We're gonna be late!"

"You already are," Said Jane quietly as a dozen men in blue jumpsuits bustled past her into the plane. "You will never be tardy again." Her voice was packed with authority. The men skulked toward their seats with guilty expressions.

Jane took the front. "My friends," She said, "Thank you for your interest in this expedition. The information we are about to collect on orangutans will do wonders toward filling in the gaps in our understanding of these enigmatic and rare animals, and help us build a picture of what steps need to be taken to ensure their continued survival into the next millennium. The work will be difficult, dangerous, and dirty. Your total enthusiasm in this operation is its only hope for success. I'm sure I can count on your one hundred and ten percent effort." Everyone looked around. I got the sense that my fellow team mates were as stupid and lazy as I was. Jane nodded with a slight frown. "Very well. Off we go!"

I fell asleep during the very long ride. No one talked. Nobody really moved. One of the blue jump suit boys shook me awake as we landed.

"Hey, I'm Vince."

"Nice to meet you, Vince. Where are you ..." The wheels slammed into the tarmac, and the whole plane shook and rattled violently. Vince and I were thrown up into the ceiling. Then the couch slid out from under us and down the hall, and we landed face-first on the thick carpet. Vince got up slowly, nose bleeding. The plane had stopped.

"Crash landing?" He asked.

Jane materialized in the doorway, the picture of calm. "There's been a coup," She said. "The airport is in turmoil. Collect the gear and meet me at the cargo bay door in three minutes. We'll have to disembark under fire."

That didn't sound good. I followed Jane to the hold and helped her pack supplies into two rugged jeeps. The other crewmen, led by Vince, and the two pilots appeared soon after. I heard automatic gunfire outside. It didn't sound far off.

Jane took a position in the front passenger seat and pulled a briefcase from the glove compartment, from which she produced an easy-to-assemble sniper rifle. "Who knows how to use a machine gun?" She asked. No one raised their hand. She pointed at me. "Get in the back and ready the .50 caliber." I dutifully loaded up and pulled a massive gun and tripod out of the trunk. The tripod bolted to the floor and gave me an excellent position for laying down fire anywhere the jeep was pointing. Vince hopped up next to me and loaded a belt into the side. Someone else got into the passenger seat. Two more people hopped onto the back bumper armed with sub-machine guns.

"Did you know we'd need all this weaponry?" I asked nervously as our comrades piled into the other jeep and got the rocket launcher ready.

"This is Africa," Said Jane. She reached out with the butt of her rifle and threw a lever on the wall. The back of the plane lowered; the driver tromped on the gas.

We drove out into an open tarmac. We had the only plane on the ground. A dozen vans with red flags were parked alongside the chain-link fence that surrounded the airport, and men with red and white bandannas were shooting in toward the terminal, taking cover from behind their vehicles and the occasional rock or bush. I looked back over my shoulder and saw a desperate handful of Zimbabwean soldiers, most of them armed with pistols, making a stand on the roof. They were being massacred.

I heard a terrific cracking noise and looked down to see Jane calmly chambering the next round into her rifle. "You may fire as soon as you find a target," She said quietly. I squeezed the triggers to the machine gun. Long yellow streamers leapt from the barrel, shredding everything they came in contact with. The whole gun shook violently and my teeth chattered against my tongue. I had a hard time focusing as the jeep careened toward the fence, gaining speed by the second. A rocket whizzed by overhead, leaving a scorching hot exhaust trail, and pounded into the nearest van, sending shrapnel in all directions. I saw white and my ears started to ring. The jeeps raced through the new hole in the fence and off into the foliage beyond. I heard the people in jeep two hosing down the rebels from behind with their SMGs. I became dimly aware that my fingers were still on the triggers. I released them sheepishly and looked over my shoulder. The hail of bullets had decimated a hundred square feet of rain forest. Jane sniffed but said nothing.

Vince slammed the next bullet belt into position and cranked the gun. "This thing is hot," He said.

I nodded. "Well, I think we're done firing it for awhile."

I saw a flash of blue to my right and pivoted the smoking barrel, ready to unleash heck at the slightest provocation. Jane raised her hand and the driver stopped.

"We're being followed," She said. We all stopped and listened to the very loud and chaotic rainforest for several seconds. I wanted to fire in all directions at once, so I didn't fire at all. Finally, Jane nodded. "Continue."

Alas, we only made it a hundred more feet before the bumper riders were forced to walk ahead, slashing the trail with machetes. The going was unspeakably slow. The day was hot and sticky. The men (including myself) removed as much as we thought Jane would allow and guzzled water from the canteens. Jane sat calmly in the passenger seat nursing her rifle. She didn't even break a sweat.

Nightfall brought little relief from the heat. We turned on the jeep headlights and kept pushing, taking thirty minute shifts with the machetes. I don't think we went more than two miles per hour.

They attacked at sunrise.

The foliage was just starting to lighten when I heard a twang behind me. A bright blue arrow thudded into Vince, who fell to the ground, frothing at the mouth. It took me just four seconds to get the machine gun turned around and working. Hundreds of bullets tore the foliage, ripping the jungle to shreds. The air heated around me. I saw distortion above the gun.

Someone fired a rocket. It detonated against the wall of trees, and the blast lifted two unlucky crewmen into the air. Their flailing arms tangled in the vines overhead and stayed there. I saw a tall, half-naked savage jump into the path we had cut into the jungle. His aspect was hideous - his body smeared with blue paint; tooth necklaces dangling from his neck; a curious horn design tattooed onto his face. He raised his bow to the canopy above and released a savage yell. I swiveled and blasted away.

For about ten seconds, no one moved. The bullets seemed to hit anything and everything but the savage. Then Jane leveled the rifle and fired. The native yelped and ducked into the trees. A few moments later, he was gone. A few moments after that, the gun jammed.

"Report!" Jane ordered. No one moved for a moment. I noticed she was looking at me.

"Uh ... we were attacked. By savages. Can't have been less than a dozen. They killed three of our men. I think we nicked one. We should probably keep moving before they tell the others."

"You are an imbecile," Jane reported. She didn't say it maliciously. She just wanted to let me know. "There were two of them. They fired a single arrow, probably as a warning. No one was seriously hurt."

"... oh."

"In the future, you will emulate my accuracy in all your reports."

"Okay."

"You didn't recognize the markings?"

"Uh ... no."

"Those were contributors to the humor blog Really Funny Class Notes. I doubt they'll be back."

Vince got up, wiping his mouth, and pulled the shaft from his back. "Itches," He reported.

"Let us proceed to the campsite," Jane ordered.

We kept going until around noon. Finally, we reached a modest sort of clearing, which appeared to have been carefully situated in the exact middle of nowhere. Jane nodded approvingly and dismounted.

"Pitch camp," She ordered. "Tomorrow, the hard work begins."

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Life Tip #37

Don't steal plants from the back of other people's vehicles.

If you must steal plants from the trunk of other people's vehicles, make sure the vehicle doesn't belong to a government agency.

If you must steal plants from the back of a government vehicle, make sure the plants are not marijuana.

If you must steal marijuana from the back of a government vehicle, make sure the car isn't registered to the Department of Drug Enforcement Agency.

How To Give A Great Man To Man Hug

Thanks to Miss Shannon, a longtime FCN reader, for sending us this video. We found its instruction both germane and profound. We'll be praying for you as you embark on the next big adventure in your life. And hopefully you will be able to access FCN from your perch overseas.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Close Call

The other day I was driving the roughly twelve mile stretch between school and work. It was shortly after 12:30 and the lunch hour traffic was lighter than usual. I was singing along with Jason Aldean on a freshly burned disk of assorted country music and generally trying to look cool, calm and collected as I bobbed my head to the tune and adjusted my sunglasses. The road seemed to come to me and I really didn't notice much other than the white lines to my left and the base boosted sound from the speaker on my right.

I didn't care too much about my speed, but was going about five miles per hour above the speed of traffic (roughly sixty) and, if my memory serves me correctly, the zone was listed for 45. The town where I go to school has a large police presence and the road I was traveling is such a transit artery that regular patrolling is a guarantee. Still, I thought little of the authorities when I noticed a gap in the traffic ahead of me and accelerated to pass a car and settle in.

Never glancing at my speedometer, I grinned as I heard the first notes of a new Josh Turner single and started singing along with Firecracker.

Ahead of me was an intersection that is arguably the largest and most traveled in all town. It's on a road between two large higher education institutions and the cross street is a major east west route (Pacific and March, for those of you in the know). When I was no closer than three hundred feet from the light, it switched from green to yellow.

I calculated quickly and determined I could make it. Then I down-shifted and gunned the engine, leaping forward with less caution than the yellow light demanded. To my left, I noticed a red Isuzu Rodeo, making a similar attempt.

(I've always wondered about the wisdom of naming a car "Rodeo;" it doesn't speak much to the smoothness of the ride).

Just before crossing the white line and entering the large square of the intersection, I happened to glance at my speed and noticed I was almost thirty over the limit. I'd started out a tad fast, speed up to pass a car and then severely violated the applicable traffic laws during my approach to the light.

But as fast as I was going, the Rodeo was going faster. Without a radar gun, I can't be entirely accurate as it its speed, but I would wager an honest nickel that it was going on the high side of 85. Maybe even 90.

As we breezed through the intersection, two geese on a flight south, I noticed the distinctive white and black markings of a CHP officer out of the corner of my right eye. You know the type: reinforced bumper, light rack and overweight driver. I instinctively engaged the clutch and tapped the breaks to slow down, but the officer's lights were blinking and he had pulled out of his perch before I could slow below the posted limit.

Embarrassment and disappointment are the only two emotions I remember as I carefully pulled my car to the side of the road and engaged my emergency blinkers.

My first ticket.

I had been driving - seriously driving - nine months and now I would have a point on my license, my insurance costs would skyrocket and I would have to sit through a class on traffic safety - as if I didn't know all the rules I'd violated. I sighed and leaned back, waiting for the prefect to come to my door.

But the officer never came. In fact, the cop car chased down the Rodeo and a uniformed officer was knocking at the door of the red SUV when I drove by a fraction of a minute later.

I don't know how much weight I lost in those few moments when I thought I was going to be ticketed, but it must have been measurable. My heart was beating like I'd just drunk three Red Bulls while watching Mission Impossible and my palms were sweatier than T.D. Jakes after a hard sermon. As if to reinforce my feelings, my stereo was playing Keith Urban's Stupid Boy.

The rest of my ride to General Mills was about as slow as I can remember. I don't believe I ever came within five miles of the speed limit and I spent the entire time in the slow lane.