I love cars but I’ve never been a huge fan of the Corvette. I appreciate the performance and technology of the latest generation, especially in the Z06 and blistering fast Z01, and I don’t mind the styling. They look okay. I guess.
The problem with the Vette is I see them EVERYWHERE. Even if I’m driving three miles to the store there’s a 50% chance I’ll see some form of Corvette built in the last 30 years. If I’m on the freeway for more than 20 minutes, make that 100% chance. And I’m not talking about just one. This time of year at least a dozen is the norm. I’ll have to check the books – maybe legislation was passed forcing every guy over retirement age to buy one.
And that’s the main problem I see with the Corvette. They’re so common here in the States it renders them ordinary and boring.
Chevy revealed the newest generation of Vette and I really like the way it looks. Some people hate it, but I like the aggressive lines. It reminds me of the Ferrari 599 GTO, and when something reminds you of a Ferrari I would chalk that up as a good thing.
2014 Corvette Stingray
Ferrari 599 GTO
So I think it looks great and the tech specs are impressive. Supercar territory for sure. But as usual, Chevy will produce so many with so many watered down models they’ll be as common as a Camry a year or two from now.
The definition of a supercar arguably depends on four factors:
1. Extreme performance
2. Exotic styling
3. High price
4. Limited production (it’s rare to see one)
With the $113,000 ZR1 you have all these check boxes ticked off. Even though I see what seems like dozens of Vettes every day this time of year, I can’t seem to recall ever seeing a ZR1 in the wild (in my corner of Wisconsin). The problem is, the thousands of watered down Corvettes roaming the countryside have left us numb. A ZR1 might turn a few heads even to those who don’t know a damn thing about cars, but to them it’s just another Corvette. Porsche has this same problem with the 911, but that’s another story.
Hey, did that Vette you just passed cost $49K or $112K? You didn't even notice it, did you?
2014 Corvette Stringray
Porsche... 911? Carerra? Turbo? Cayman? Who knows...
So here’s what I propose to GM. You’ve got a new design and you brought back the Stingray name. Swell. One model. Make just one model of Corvette from this point on. I don’t care if you call it the Stingray or the ZR1 or just Corvette, but please don’t sell a half dozen limp wristed versions to sell to the pensioners with a modest 401K balance. Make it a true supercar. Load it up with as much technology and cram as many horses and superchargers into that thing as possible. Make it mid or rear engine, give it all wheel drive - the hell with tradition. Make it exotic and price it well over a hundred grand. The people that can afford it will appreciate it that much more.
To me, the ultimate definition of a supercar is that it turns heads. The other morning I saw an Aston Martin DB9 and I practically shouted a marriage proposal out the window to the guy driving it. A DB9 might be a dime a dozen in LA, but that’s the first time I've ever seen one in my town. Audi R8. Yes, please.
A couple weeks ago I saw an Audi R8 going the other direction on the freeway and I practically ran off the road trying to get a better look. Same thing a week later when I saw a Lexus LFA. That’s what I want for the new Corvette. I want it to be a true supercar, capable of going toe to toe with the best thing on four wheels the Italians and Germans can throw at us and turning heads like crazy.
Remember that entry level Lamborghini Gallardo with the eco-boost 1.4 liter engine? What about the diesel model? No? That's because there's only one Gallardo. Actually, bad example. There are a six versions of the Gallardo but the entry level model still costs $191,000.
Sure, to the Europeans any Corvette will still be just an American car made up of too much plastic and a sub-par interior. But you gotta start somewhere. Come on Chevy, build a supercar we can be proud of. I promise not to cause an accident if and when I finally see it in person.
If you're worried about lost sales, just make ten version of the Camero or something. I won't mind.
Lexus LFA. 330,000 what? Dollars??
Lamborghini Gallardo. Bet your grandpa doesn't have one of these.
First of all, let me set the record straight. Road House is a horrible movie. It's cliche after cliche wrapped up in cheesy dialog, over the top acting, and one liners that make Arnold Schwarzenegger cringe.
So why is it every time this piece of crap is on TV, I want - nay - MUST watch it? I just can't resist. What is it about Dalton's ridiculous hair and armpit hugging trousers that keeps me wanting more? Why does Brad Wesley's smug grin make me giggle like a schoolgirl? And why oh why does pain not hurt?
Let's dig into this eighties monstrocity and really get to the nitty gritty. Let's analyze why Road House is the best worst move ever created by man.
1. The Hair
OK, let's knock out this obvious one right off the bat. This movie was released in 1989. Just based on the hair alone, it's pretty obvious this movie was released in 1989. Even if they made a movie today that was set in 1989, they would have a hard time making it look at dated as RH (1989).
2. Dalton's "Job Interview"
One of my favorite scenes. Frank Tilghman wants to hire Dalton A.K.A. the best cooler in the business. Dalton sets his terms right off the bat (while sewing up the bleeding gash in his own arm) $500 a night, CASH. Really? Cash? This guy is the best cooler in the business but can't manage to open a checking account? Or maybe coolers are above paying taxes like the rest of us. Either way, Tilghman should have told him he's going on the ADP payroll system like the rest of his employees and to stop being such a dick.
To top it all off, Tilghman asks when he can expect Dalton to show up for work. You know, the job where he just got a $5000 bonus and potentially $3500 a week? He barely gets the question out before Dalton cuts him off by spitting out "Don't. I'll get there." He does realize this guy is is boss, right?
3. Everybody's Heard of Dalton
I don't care how good of a cooler you are. Are we really supposed to believe that there's some nation-wide community of folks employed in bars that would know who Dalton is? And it's not just the dutchboy haircut waitress who's heard of him. Apparently it's everybody who lives in Jasper, Missouri. That is one famous bouncer.
4. This guy
It takes guts to be the only man in the place dancing with your shirt off. I like the cut of his jib.
5. Dalton's Head Shaking/Nodding
Dalton is a man of few words. If he's not talking, you can be pretty sure he's either shaking his head while smirking as somebody does something stupid in front of him, OR, he's nodding at one of his stooges to give them the signal to kick ass. Notice his hair doesn't move an inch while doing either.
6. This Guy
Not sure why the director found it important to spend three seconds on an out of place wierdo laughing during a fight scene. Twice. But it's okay. He accidentally gets knocked out with a bottle.
7. Dalton isn't a very savvy consumer
Dalton buys a used car so his precious Mercedes doesn't get keyed. What's his main concern? He wants to know if the headlight covers work. He doesn't even take it for a test drive. I guess it's instincts like those that make him so $#%^&@ good. We see more of his bad decision making later on when he agrees to take the crappy room for rent in a barn before even hearing what the rent is.
8. Brad Wesley
The smuggest movie villain of all time? Just try to convince me otherwise.
9. Dalton's first meeting with the bouncers
What does $500 a night (cash) get you? Original gems like "It's my way or the highway, Expect the unexpected," and "It's two nouns combined to elicit a prescribed response." Oh yeah, and "I want you to be nice until it's time to not be nice." Money well spent.
10. The floozy
We don't know her name and we don't care. The hair, the cleavage, it's the complete package of any good floozy worth her weight in Aqua Net.
11. Dalton's coffee preference
Leaded or unleaded?
12. Patrick Swayze's ass
You know, for the ladies in the audience.
13. Brad Wesley
Isn't he just the best?
Wesley's right hand man and head goon. Later on in the movie, he reveals to Dalton what he did to guys like him in prison. Surprised? Mmmm, not so much.
15. This guy
I guess when his chiropractic business went under, his only option for employment was Hired Goon. Times are tough in Jasper.
16. "Pain Don't Hurt."
Arguably the most famous line in the movie and probably the most idiotic. Be sure to watch the director's cut for other beauties such as "Water ain't wet." By the way, Mr. NYU Philosophy Major, it's pain doesn't hurt.
Producer: "Nobody will believe this hot 29 year old blonde is a doctor. Give her some big glasses and a ponytail."
18. Brad Wesley's boots
They're um....well, they....uh. Yeah.
19. Dalton's shirt
Strong with the force, this one is.
20. "Right boot."
Producer: "Tell the boys in post-production to make it shine. That would be sweeeeet."
21. These two
22. I already mentioned, the hair. Right?
23. Floozy gets a black eye
Just so we don't forget Wesley is a bad guy. That director's cut we mentioned earlier contains a scene where he kicks a puppy.
24. Dalton and Doc's love scene
Again, for the ladies in the house. Nothing says romance like doing it up against a filthy brick wall. In a barn.
25. Swayze's belly button
26. Dalton's fightin' slacks
Look closely and you can totally see his package.
27. Wade Garrett
Nothing clever to say about him. Dude's a badass. Oh yeah, and everybody knows who he is too.
28. Brad Wesley
Smuggest. Villain. Ever.
29. Floozy's topless scene
You know, for the men in the audience.
30. Keith David
Anybody else find it strange that his character doesn't show up until after an hour into the movie?
31. The monster truck
Just so we wouldn't forget this movie was from the 80s, they tossed in a monster truck for good measure. At this point in the picture I had the same thought as everyone else: "Is this thing ever going to drive over some cars or what?!?"
33. Dalton and Garrett disagree
Producer to writers: "I don't care what the reason is, but you guys better come up with a scene where Wade blocks one of Dalton's passionate punches. That would be so rad."
34. Dalton and Doc disagree
Just when we think things couldn't get harder on Dalton, he has a fight with his gal pal too. Up until this point in the film, Kelly Lynch is so hot we don't notice she can't act for shit. It's during this scene that...yeah, we sort of notice.
35. Swayze's still got it
It's been a couple of years since Dirty Dancing but he's still got some moves.
36. Jimmy's evil villain laugh after he blows up Emmet's house
I heard they play this clip in all the best acting schools. So students know what not to do.
37. Dalton and Jimmy's slightly homoerotic fight scene
Just two glistening dudes fighting in the moonlight down by the river.
38. That one part where the writers get writer's block
Dalton and Jimmy's fight is over. Jimmy is dead, Doc is horrified the man she loves just killed another man, and Dalton screams out Wesley's name. He floats Jimmy down the river and screams, wait for it..."Fuck you!" Riveting.
39. Brad Wesley
We've all heard of unconditional love. Brad Wesley invented unconditional smugness. Even though Dalton took out all his goons ninja style, Brad never doubts for a second he'll win. Now that's smug.
40. Dalton and Wesley's fight scene
For a dude pushing 70, Wesley can really take a beating. Even though Dalton has a gun shot wound, he prevails. But for some reason, he doesn't kill Brad. Why? To set up the most hilarious scene in the whole picture....
41. The entire town gets the chance to shoot Wesley with shotguns
Not only can Brad Wesley take a beating, but he gets shot four, yes four times. All the old dudes he screwed over for years got in a line and started blasting. They even managed to ruin his favorite coffee table.
42. The cops show up
Hey, wadda know? There are police in Jasper. Never mind half the town blew up or got set on fire and a dead guy floated down the river last night. Must have been all those shotguns going off in Wesley's house that finally woke them up.
43. Scooby-Doo ending
Man, the last twenty minutes have been a downer. Blood, death, and violence galore.
Cue Tinker for some last minute comedy relief. He didn't see nothin'. A polar bear fell on him.
Funny stuff. You guys do remember you just committed murder, right?
44. Creepy ending scene
Only the true die hard fans like myself will notice this one. Dalton and Doc are skinny dipping and look they're about to get busy in the lake. Just one small problem: poor third-wheel-Cody is on the bank playing guitar. He may be blind but he's not deaf. Awkward.
I hope you enjoyed these reasons and many more why Road House is the best worst movie ever made. Do yourself a favor and don't skip it next time you're surfing the channels. It doesn't get any better than this. Or worse.
I was going through the archives on my old blog and came across a little number I'd forgotten about. Over a year ago before Hugh Howey, indie author mega-star, blew up with his best selling Wool
series, I had a chance to visit his blog for a little chat over some yarn.
I'd gotten to know Hugh way back when Wool was just a short story and he was lucky enough to make enough money from the 99 cent ebook for a five dollar foot long once a month. Oh, how things have changed.
Hugh has been a great inspiration for me as well as countless of other indie authors as he continues to blow the doors off the traditional publishing model and helps tip the scales in our favor. His success is incredible and it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.
Let's go back in time while I ask some dude who lives in Boone, North Carolina and works part time in a book store a few questions. The bit about me
work is especially quaint.Saturday Stitch and Bitch with Robert Brumm
Posted on January 21, 2012
by Hugh C. Howey
Joining me for this Saturday stitch and bitch is the up and coming writer Robert Brumm
. Robert is the author of DESOLATE, available on Kindle
, and WINDIGO SOUL
, which you can sample for free on his website
. Robert positively exudes talent, and I’m convinced he’s going to be mega-famous one day. (Which is why I’m buddying up to him now, so I can guilt him into endorsing my crap in the future). I thought, after getting a publisher’s perspective last week
, it’d be cool to field questions from a fellow writer.
This week, I’m still knitting away on my scarf from last week. I got frustrated with this one stitch I dropped on the tenth row, couldn’t sleep at night for agonizing over it, and finally got so disgusted with myself that I pulled the entire thing apart and started over again. Robert is working on a simple cap. He says his head gets cold easily. I think he hopes it’ll make him look like some kinda tough guy. Here’s what we chat about while our needles are dancing:Robert
: You Tweeted recently about completing the outline for Wool 5. Do you always outline your books or do you ever start with a general idea and let the story evolve on the fly as you write? How closely do you stick to an outline and does it bother you if you veer off course of what you originally planned?Me:
I get this question a lot, and it’s also one I often ask of other writers. Writing is such a dark art; the “do you outline” question seems to drive a stake right to the heart of it. It’s like asking a mystic if they chant incantations from a book of script and lore, or do they drop in eyes of newt and invisible snake legs and watch how the waters froth? Everyone wants to know how it’s done, even those of us who do it. Because frankly, I can look at a finished work, scratch my head, and wonder how the hell I did that. It’s still a mystery to me every time.
I am a firm believer in outlines, but I also leave myself room to wiggle and be organic. The outline is important because I enjoy foreshadowing. I’ll drop hints in book one for what’s to come in book seven. But that doesn’t mean I write to a formula. My outline is full of intricate details, but also of vague scenes where the characters can be themselves. The most important thing for me, when it comes to crafting a coherent story that never drives off the rails, is to know my final scene before I begin my first one. I’ve always done this; I find it crucial to have a destination in mind, so I know where I’m heading. Often, I’ll skip ahead and write this last scene while I’m still in the early stages of planning the book. Too many works, when I read them, I can tell the author wasn’t sure where they were going. It starts to just meander in the middle sections. I always lose interest when I can tell the writer is fighting to wrap something up with no prior thought about how they’d get there. (I’m looking at you, LOST). I much prefer the satisfaction of knowing the artist was at least as dedicated to the story as I’m beginning to be.Robert:
Many authors these days including you are pricing e-books at 99 cents. Some say authors are shooting themselves in the foot because 99 cents might become the norm for most self-published books and anything above that will seem expensive. This appears to already have happened with smart phone apps. A five dollar iPhone game seems like a fortune yet a five dollar game for the PC is a bargain. What are your thoughts?Me:
Man, I wish people would pay what I think my stories are worth. I’ve had reviewers tell me they’d pay more. And then I’ve had people give me a horrible review because my story only entertained them for half an hour, and damnit they spent 99c on the stupid, well-written thing!
Are we devaluing books? Absolutely. The fact that anyone can publish means most of them will. I don’t think it’s something to fight; this trend has taken place in almost every market. The cost of goods keeps coming down, the number of free distractions keeps going up, artists are squeezed in the middle. But I’m happy with my current pricing. I put my shorter works out for 99c and my novels for $2.99. I think they are all bargains, and I’m still amazed that I get paid for something I’d be doing for fun no matter what. If you put me on a deserted island, all by myself, I’d probably scratch stories in the sand with a stick and pretend the sea was reading and enjoying them when the tide came up.
For more on my pricing, you might want to check out this article another author wrote about me
. He seems to think I’m breaking new ground when it comes to digital publishing. That’s what you tend to do, apparently, when you go barging into the unknown with your eyes shut, your arms waving frantically, and hollering like a madman. What I find scary is looking over my shoulder and seeing the perfectly sane trudging down the path I just cut.Robert:
The whole e-book phenomenon has really changed the world of publishing – including what it means to be a success. Being a successful author once meant a spot on the New York Times best seller list, book signing tours, talk show interviews, and royalties rolling in from paperback deals. Now people like John Locke can sell millions of copies using social networking and internet marketing without ever leaving the house. When you dream about being a hot shot world famous author (you do, admit it!) do thoughts of a big cash advance from Big Publishers Incorporated dance through your head or would you rather stay independent and earn a living with the network of fans you’ve built on your own?Me:
If I had to choose only one, I would say independent, all the way. I have a hard time convincing my father of this, who keeps telling me that someday, someone will call me and offer me a ton of money. But I don’t want a lump sum from New York; I want thousands of fans from all over the world to buy me cups of coffee in exchange for being entertained a few hours at a time.
If my options were limited, that’s what I would choose. But I’m not sure it has to be this dichotomous. Perhaps this is me charging into the unknown like a banshee again, but I envision a hybrid style of publishing in my future. The main problem I would have working in the traditional model is that it doesn’t move fast enough for me. I am obsessed with my writing, which is why I can turn out so much quality work in a year. The publishing world moves at a glacial pace; I would go nuts waiting for line edits or cover art to approve or the delay before a release date.
So here’s what I fantasize happening some day in my distant future: A publisher or agent stumbles onto my work and makes inquiries. I tell them I’d be thrilled to work with them, that I have this other project in the works, and would they like to take a gander? While they’re doing the glacier-thing with this work, I’m crafting more stories just like I do now. The traditional project becomes my day job that I perform my other writing around. It would always take precedence, but never prevent me from self-publishing other stuff.
The beauty of this hybrid model is that the two would feed on each other. The audience that discovers 99c gems in the Kindle store would want to check out the latest from the big publisher. Fans of the traditional book would want to see what else I’ve done. So, this would be my fantasy. If I’m allowed to dream . . . I guess I would choose to have it all.
One last note on this topic, while I’m rambling: I used to think writing success meant signing deals and amassing sales, but it’s been something else that has driven me these last few months. When I started getting emails from fans on a regular basis, when I had people contacting me via Twitter or on my website, I started feeling happy about my writing in a way I never have before. This is especially true about reviews, this direct feedback from readers who say they appreciate my hard work. Maybe it’s my fragile ego or my crippling self-doubt, but each and every interaction like this makes me feel like I’m doing something good with my time. If you aggregate all these small pleasures, they dwarf what I would feel in one lump sum by signing a major contract or seeing my work on the silver screen. Those huge moments would be nice, but it’s all the individual tanks of gas I get from readers that will get me there.
I received an email from a reader a few weeks ago who told me that HALF WAY HOME
spoke to them about their childhood of dealing with and understanding their sexual orientation. When I read something like that, or someone say WOOL is the best thing they’ve ever read, or that it’s inspired them to start writing, all examples of emails I’ve gotten lately, it makes me feel like I’ve already reached the top. And that’s no exaggeration. I’ll be happy for the rest of my writing life if I can keep doing what I’m doing right now.
Robert seems to mull this last answer over. Or maybe he stopped listening five minutes ago....
Read the original post at hughhowey.com
I took a break from writing recently to address a big problem in the kitchen. Too much space. Wait, what? No, I'm not talking about storage or counter space, I'm talking about the big empty space in the middle of the room.
You see, we used to have just an eat-in kitchen and no dining room. That changed recently and now that we're sporting a proper dining area in a different part of the house, the table in the picture above lost a leaf and was downgraded to a two-seater pushed up against that wall. The table was fine for grabbing a quick bite, but now that all that real estate opened up in the middle of the room, I started to get a hankering for an island.
Since I could go for one last indoor project of the season and had a good royalty month from my books with a few bucks to spare, I decided to tackle it myself. As you can tell from the picture, our kitchen is pretty modest, so we're not talking about granite counter-tops and fancy hardwood custom cabinets. The whole project cost me a little under 400 bucks and took a couple of weekends. Here's how it went:
For the base cabinets, I decided on using two unfinished units: a 36" and a 12" put together. This would provide me with a 50" counter which I reckoned was just about right for two stools side by side for the breakfast bar. They cost me $115 and $58 respectively, and come pre-assembled from Home Depot.
I removed the doors and drawer fronts to prime and paint all the surfaces. Luckily, I still had some left-over paint from when I did the cabinets you see in the back. The cabinets I bought are oak veneer and would look great with a nice stain and polyurethane job instead of paint. You can also fork over extra dough for pre-finished cabinets if you're not too concerned about matching your existing kitchen and want to save the trouble of paint or staining.
The big head scratcher of the project was how to secure the island to the floor. I decided to go with using L brackets screwed into the floor. Since the bottom of the units are solid, I could't screw them in from the inside.
I first placed the cabinets in the room where I wanted the island to go. I measured and remeasured. I eyeballed and measured some more. When I was certain I had the cabinets in their final resting spot, I marked the floor with markers. I was drilling into the floor after all, so I needed to be certain. Once the brackets were screwed into the floor, I did the same for the base cabinets.
Before I fastened the cabinet bases to the brackets, I used some shims and a level to make sure every thing was even. I forgot to take a photo of the back of these things, but they aren't meant to be seen (they usually face the wall, after all). The backs consist of thin, almost cardboard, board so I cut a piece of cheap pine 3/4" ply and screwed it into the back. It provided a nice uniform surface and added a little more sturdiness to the final product.
Time for the star attraction - the counter. I could have had a custom counter made for me but even the cheapest of laminates would put me over my budget of $500 so I decided to make my own. A few years ago I painted my old laminate counters (more on that later) so all I had to do to match the rest of the kitchen was provide a solid and decent looking surface to paint.
I decided to go with an oak veneer plywood from Home Depot. $41 bucks for a 4' x 8' sheet and they cut it to size since I don't have a table saw. I added an inch on three sides for a slight overhang and decided on a 12" overhang on the back for a breakfast bar.
The base cabinets come with plastic brackets in each corners for attaching the counter from underneath with screws. Just be sure the screws are long enough to bite into the wood but short enough that the screw doesn't go through the top.
Tossing a sheet of plywood on top of some cabinets, even nicely painted or stained, screams PLYWOOD! So I attached some 1.25" oak strips to each edge with some wood glue and 1.5" finishing nails. It gives the illusion the counter surface is thicker than 3/4 of an inch and looks nice.
Now for the paint. I mentioned earlier, I painted my kitchen counters and did so using a Giani Granite Paint kit
. It's an $80 do it yourself kit that can transform any counter into a simulated granite counter top. After using it twice now, I highly recommend it. As long as you follow the directions and take your time, it's really easy and comes out looking great. The pictures below show the process of painting a layer of primer and building the pattern with three shades of paint. 3 coats of clear-coat after the paint dries seals the surface and protects it from the kitchen elements.
The last optional step I took was adding some handles to the drawers and doors. I say optional, because they're designed to not need handles but I think they add a nice visual touch. Plus I was lucky enough to find matching hardware with the rest of my kitchen which ties in a nice matching element.
The very last step which isn't shown in the photo below is the molding I attached to the base of the cabinets to hide the metal brackets on the sides. They are painted to match the rest of the cabinet.
So there you have it. For under 500 bucks I think I added at least $1000 in value to my kitchen and I couldn't be happier with the results. We gained a ton of storage space and oodles of counter space. The breakfast bar is a nice touch as well. Those stools you see in the picture were only $30 each.
Best of all, I took great satisfaction in doing it myself and you can't put a price on that.
This is just one example of a simple island you can do yourself. You could get fancy with a bookshelf on the side for cook books, running electrical through the floor and adding outlets on the side, putting in a permanent cutting board on the counter, a range-top, you name it. It all depends on your budget, your creativity and your prowess in the toolbox. Have fun!
Every time I finish writing a book I always ask myself the same question. How in the heck did I write a book? Well, it turns out I did it again.
Desolate 3 - Redemption is released today for Kindle. Grab yourself a copy why don't cha?Available on Amazon
You've been warned. Enjoy having that song in your head for the rest of the day.
Everybody leaned forward, getting as close to the small monochrome display as possible. Wilson once again pressed the transducer against Howard’s skin. He moaned in pain. The image came into focus. Emily screamed. Minnie put her hand to her mouth and took a step back. Wilson simply shook his head, unable to comprehend what it was he was looking at.
“Are those?” Dave asked. “Are those what I think they are?”
“Yeah, it…” Wilson said. “They look to me like…”
He moved the wand around, bringing into focus each individual orb among the dozens on the screen. In each perfectly round sack, a tiny creature, not unlike a tadpole, wiggled around and danced in its tiny womb.
He cleared his throat. “They look to me like eggs.”
It started out as a pretty typical morning. I was lying on my back and my cat Ranger was on my chest. Ranger sleeps with me most nights but he’s never actually slept on
me that I can recall. He seemed content, purring away with his eyes slightly shut.
Ranger is a butterscotch tabby that I picked up for free from the hardware store a few years ago. They usually don’t stock cats of course, but one of the employees was trying to get rid of a litter. I didn’t consider myself a cat person at the time, but Ranger was so cute I couldn’t resist. So, taking a chance that I might turn into a creepy single guy with a cat, I took the plunge and walked out of the store with a kitten.
Ranger looks like that cat Morris who used to do those cat food commercials in the ’80s. I preferred pet commercials back then when they shot them with old-fashioned trained animals. These days they do a little too much CGI and make cats smile and what not. It’s a little creepy.
Anywho, it was a nice way to wake up, having Ranger purring there on my chest. I skritched his head and said, “Well, good morning, ’Ger. What’s happening, buddy?”
He opened his eyes and said, “S'il vous plaît ne m'appelez pas ’Ger.
My eyes opened wide and I sat straight up, sending Ranger flying off my chest and the edge of the bed. I think I heard his head hit the wall.
“What in the hell just happened?” I asked nobody in particular – definitely not
my cat who did not
just talk to me.
“He said don’t call him ’Ger,” said June Bug. “He prefers it when you use his full name.” June Bug is my puggle who sleeps in a crate in the corner of my room.
I inherited June Bug about a year ago. She used to live with the old lady in the townhouse next to mine. When the old lady passed away, I heard she had no close family or friends and her dog was probably going to end up at the pound. I don’t know if it’s all those damn Sarah McLachlan commercials or if I was just feeling generous that day, but I offered to take her dog. Before June Bug, I’d never even heard of a puggle (half pug, half beagle), but I always thought she was cute. But I digress…back to the little detail of her, you know, actually speaking to me with her puggle mouth.
“What?!” I shouted at June Bug.
“I said, he doesn’t want you to call him ’Ger. He thinks it’s stupid,” she said. “Besides, his name is pronounced Rain-Jer
. Shouldn’t you call him ’Jer instead of ’Ger?”
“Yeah, I guess. I never thought of that,” I muttered. I shook my head and rubbed my eyes. “What in the hell is going on?” I asked the ceiling. “I’ve finally gone nuts. My pets are talking.” The ceiling didn’t have a good answer.
“Oh, yeah. That,” June Bug said from behind the door of her crate. “Listen, I’ll explain everything in a minute, but can you let me out of here? I’ve been waiting for you to wake up since dawn and I need to take a massive dump.”
Ignoring June Bug, I paced around the room. My heart was racing and I was definitely freaking out. Ranger sat in the corner, licking his left paw, oblivious to my nervous breakdown.
“I gotta call somebody. This has to some kind of episode. Should I call the hospital? Poison control?”
“Phil,” June Bug said.
“Maybe some bad drugs. Jesus, did somebody slip me something at work yesterday?”
“Come to think of it, that Coke I had during lunch yesterday tasted kind of funny. Oh, man. This is not good.”
“Phil!” June Bug shouted.
“Seriously, man. I’m starting to crown over here.”
“Oh, right.” I slowly walked to the crate. My hand paused over the door latch. “You’re not, like, self-aware or anything, are you?”
“I’m not a robot, Phil. I can’t even reach the doorknob to the front door. How much damage do you think I’m capable of?”
“Sorry.” I opened the latch on the crate door. June Bug ran downstairs.
Ranger slowly followed. “Excusez-moi
,” he said as he passed.
“Uh, yeah,” was all I had.
We all headed downstairs and I opened the back door so June Bug could do her business.
Ranger asked me, “Que diriez-vous de déjeuner
“Um, I don’t understand.”
“He said he wants breakfast,” said June Bug as she trotted back into the kitchen. “Sounds pretty good if you ask me.”
“Wait a minute. You understand him? What is that, French? Why is he speaking French?”
“He’s a cat,” June Bug said. “Why wouldn’t
he speak French?”
“That doesn’t even make sense!”
!” Ranger said in an exasperated tone. He walked over to his empty food dish and gave me the stink eye.
“Hey, take it easy on him,” June Bug snapped. “This is all new to him, remember? Besides, didn’t I see you freak out over a pencil on the floor the other day? Now, if you want to start calling people stupid…”
“Guys!” I shouted. “Please! Can one of you just please tell me exactly what in the hell is going on?” Ranger opened his mouth and I added, “In English, please?”
“Well,” June Bug said, “for one thing, you’re not going nuts and nobody slipped you a mickey. Ranger and I are definitely talking. We’ve always been able to. Today is the day we’re allowed
“Amazing. And what about him?” I pointed out the window to a squirrel running up the tree in the back yard.
“Well, now you’re just being silly,” June Bug said. “Of course squirrels can’t talk. Say, speaking of breakfast, it is getting late. If you don’t mind me talking with my mouth full…”
“Oh, yeah,” I said. “Sorry.” I pulled out the bags of food and filled each bowl.
They dug into their breakfasts and I started to pace around the kitchen as my excitement grew. “This is amazing,” I said again. “Do you know what this means? I’ve got a talking dog and a cat. Do you realize how famous I’m going to be?”
I paused in mid-pace. “Wait, you guys aren’t going to pull that crap, like in the cartoons where I take you to a casting agent and you don’t talk in front of other people, are you?”
“Bon, tu lui expliques ou quoi
?” Ranger asked June Bug between bites.
“Yeah, I suppose I should,” she said. “Don’t worry, I’ll try to let him down easy.” June Bug, being a typical dog, had finished her meal in under a minute.
“Phil, have a seat. We need to talk.”
“What is it?” I was starting to get a bad feeling.
June Bug nodded toward the empty chair next to mine. “Do you mind?”
“Oh, uh, yeah. Of course. Have a seat, J.B.”
“Thanks.” June Bug hopped up and sat down in the chair. “Hmmm, not too bad,” she mused as she looked around the room. “I could get used to this.”
Ranger looked up from his bowl and rolled his eyes. Something I would never think was possible until about twenty minutes ago. “J’y crois pas
,” he commented in a sarcastic tone and went back to eating.
“Sorry,” June Bug muttered. “Anyway, here’s the thing – don’t bother calling anybody or making a big deal out of this, okay?”
“What do you mean?” I sputtered. “You can’t possibly expect me to…”
“Phil,” June Bug interrupted. “Didn’t you hear me before? I said today is the day we’re allowed to talk. I’m not talking about just me and ’Ger, here.”
“Qu'est-ce que j’ai dit
.” June Bug cleared her throat. Again, not something I’d ever…well, you get the idea. “Right about now, every pet owner in town is having a similar conversation with their dog or cat. Well, actually all over the world.”
“But why now?” I asked. “What’s so special about today?”
“You know what the date is, right?”
“Yeah, it’s Friday. So what?”
, genius,” June Bug snapped. “It’s the twenty-first. You know, 12-21-2012? The nut jobs got the date right but today isn’t the end of the world. It’s the day we go home. We’re leaving.”Leaving where you ask??? Click here to find out.