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Crafted in the spirit of crass commercialism for Lost Gems of Yesteryear

Lost Gems of Yesteryear, lost in the great ocean of nodes...

Three pieces we’d have you remember.

Three out of thousands. How shall I choose them?

Over my time at e2, I have become a fan of many great writers. One of the best of the best is a lady named Prole. Her work is so intriguing, so interesting, so carefully-crafted. One writeup I particularly enjoy is entitled:

You are Reading This

Go and read it, and while you are reading it ... you, um, will be ... you know, reading it. So, yeah. Like that. Um ... trippy!

Aren't families fun? Mine has schizophrenia, alcoholism, allegations of theft (like, inheretance and college trust fund theft), assault, favouritism and so much more. Oh yeah, and fundamentalism ... lots of fundamentalism, Southern Baptist style. Few people can do fundamentalism like Southern Baptists. It’s disturbing how something that is supposed to unite us all really serves to divide us and make people more distant.

I finally chose AudieMcCall’s brilliant and deeply personal piece:

Questions I would ask my born-again sister, if we were still talking

This piece moved me a lot when I first read it. It spoke so directly to a place in my life that brings me such profound sadness that I finally had to read it as the first podcast I ever participated in.

Cow Of Doom makes me laugh aloud. I'm sorry he left here, feeling that E2 had outgrown him (or vice-versa, perhaps). There is always room for someone as brilliantly insightful and funny as he is. To that end:

When life gives you lemons, grab it by the throat and demand better

I loved this one enough to print it out for my Platonic Life Partner and it proudly hangs on her wall. Her favourite philosopher is Denis Leary, after all.

Lost Gems of Yesteryear, buried in a beach full of treasures.

Vote em up, ching em, do anything you can ... they are wonderful.

Dispatches from Macedonia

My first experience with Macedonia has started with catastrophe. Which is not the fault of Macedonia, really. It didn't even participate. Rather, the journey there turned up the worst problems.

I was supposed to fly to Skopje, the capital, through Amsterdam and Vienna. Somewhat complicated, but manageable, and I made absolutely sure that there was enough of a lag between each flight to cushion any delay. But my well-laid plans were ruined from the very start when they canceled my flight to Amsterdam.

The ticket agent for KLM promised me that I would still make it to Skopje around when I'd planned to. He also promised my baggage would arrive there with me. Promises worth the paper he totally failed to write them on.

He routed me through Milan, then to Vienna, and finally to Skopje. This made me nervous. I had no problem going through Holland, where everyone seems to speak my native language better than I do, but I don't know a single word of Italian that doesn't involve pasta. I have a pathological fear of visiting countries whose languages I know nothing of, probably exacerbated by the stereotype of the blundering, loud, ignorant American traveler enunciating rude demands in English as if that will help people understand him better. About 110% not the sort of person I want to be. But I went with the plan anyway. I didn't care as long as it got me to Macedonia.

It didn't. My record disappeared from the Italian ticket agent's computer when I arrived in Milan, my baggage was routed to Vienna, I held up a flight sprinting to the terminal with my new ticket, and arrived in Vienna to find that they had lost my baggage. By the time they found it, I had missed the last flight to Skopje for the day. So I was stranded in Vienna.

There was no need for any of this to happen. None of it would have happened without the generous offices of that dick at KLM.

I got a hotel room in Vienna, ate dinner, and passed out from stress and sleep deprivation (barring one or two obscenity-laden phone calls home). When I woke up, it was midnight, and my body was convinced there was no more sleep to be had. The neverending wonders of Circadian rhythms.

With nothing else to do, and knowing the breast-jiggling vapidness of late-night German TV from experience, I decided to explore Vienna. Even if it was the early morning.

There were some revelers out enjoying their buzz, but otherwise the city center was empty. I meandered down alleyways and across boulevards randomly, turning whenever I saw something that caught my attention. Eventually, I found an automated bike rental station and took one out to cruise the near-deserted streets. I passed a few Gothic churches, cast in spotlights and looming over the squares that surrounded them. I saw plenty of stately buildings that seemed a little smug in their grandiosity. If one were to turn the tables and switch from Orientalism to Occidentalism, one might say that I was riding through the center of traditional Western culture.

But I don't listen to classical music, I rarely survey classical art, and overall, I wasn't really moved by this monument to European achievement. It was nice, but it was stuffy. With all its stiff and starched glory, it was a little sterile. Sterile may be safe, but it also means the absence of life.

As it turned out, Macedonia offered the perfect antidote. As soon as I left the Skopje airport the next day, a taxi driver approached me. He offered me a price for my ride about 40% higher than he would have to a native Macedonian, but I was ready for the foreigner tax. And it could have gone higher had I spoken no Macedonian at all.

We went for a two hour drive through the mountains of northern Macedonia. We exchanged words in Macedonian occasionally, to the limits of my ability with the language. He would point out aspects of the landscape or things that people were doing. We would pass through cities filled with white and brown sided buildings with red tile rooves, their crumbling architecture some surreal combination of old, dirty, old, and totally invulnerable. Lanes seemed to be mere suggestions by the way everyone drove, and donkeys or sheep occasionally blocked the road. Everything was sunbaked and frenzied, with a constant buzz of human presence throughout the streets. The very opposite of sterile: alive.

As we moved into the countryside, we passed villages with large mosques sending minarets sky high. This area of the country is Albanian, Muslim. The driver, who had an icon of the Virgin Mary on his dashboard suggesting he was Orthdox, stopped pointing out landmarks and fell silent. The advertisements began to show more Albanian language than Macedonian. The signs along the highway began to show graffiti. Where there should have been Cyrillic and Latin versions of each placename, the Cyrillic had been struck through with spray paint. Rock walls along the road showed hundreds of tags declaring the names of political parties. "VMRO." "PDSH." "SDMK." I wanted to know what my driver thought about all this political debate among the vandals, but I didn't ask.

Six years ago, people were shooting each other in this part of the country.

Still, the somber mood was scattered by the last bursts of sunlight. They came through the clouds and fell on the villages likes spotlights against a backdrop of mountain forest. I fell asleep from jetlag and the driver bought me something to drink. As we arrived in Ohrid, my destination, the activity picked up again, with Macedonians on holiday in this resort town walking home from the beach in wet swimsuits, wrapped with towels, gesticulating and laughing with enough energy to last them well into the night.

I arrived at the center where the seminar is being held as the sun was about to set. I could see it over Lake Ohrid, impossibly clear, a deep, crystaline blue that went on and on. I smell the fresh water. Friends who'd already arrived at the center already greeted me and invited me to eat. I met my roommate for the next two week, an earnest and austere Russian, and made friends with him despite our divergence in personalities. We played tetris with the furniture in our tiny room so we could separate the beds. Then we talked about each other's stereotypes of the other's country until we both felt exhaustion setting in. Just before going to bed, he placed an Orthdox icon in the windowsill beside his pillow. For my part, I placed me laptop on the nightstand to be charged.

I set my mind on automatic reimagining the landscape of Macedonia as my head hit the pillow, and opened my eyes to find it was morning.

Which was just enough contentment for me to get cracking. Just enough to handle the stress of this new foreign language I've taken on.

Hiking through Horseville
Invited in for coffee
A short rundown that's not short

Hello E2.

My birthday was on August 3rd, 2007, which makes me 22 now. Some interesting new fun facts about the life of scuzzy since we last spoke in February.

  • I quit my old job at TestAmerica Analytical Laboratories on June 27th, 2007 with a planned finish date of July 13th, 2007. They "cut me loose" on the 3rd of July and paid me up till the 13th - full health benefits and the ball of wax. I can't complain about free money
  • I started working for Watkins College of Art and Design and Watkins Film School on July 16th as Network Administrator. A nice fat 31% pay increase over the crap I was making before. I'm typically working 9AM to 5PM (including) a 1 hour lunch break (which I don't normally take like I used to at TestAmerica - it's moreso just go grab some food, munch munch, then get back to work)
  • Started talking with Churchill Mortgage yesterday regarding purchasing a home. He did some rough math and came up with about $125,000 as my upper limit at about $1,000 a month - but I'm still shooting for the $110,000 arena like originally planned. If you've never heard of Churchill, it comes recommended by the Dave Ramsey Show - a nationally syndicated radio show
  • Love Life has been rocky, the person I thought was wonderful turned out to be horrible - between then and this past weekend it's been a lot of little ole me and nobody else; the difference is I did get laid over the weekend; kinda fun, mostly not (it was the situation, not the person) the odd thing is I haven't heard back from him. I must have been a bad screw (he wasn't all that great either)
  • A good female friend of seven years is going through some rough times, currently lives with her brother on the north side of Maryland at the wishes of her parents, trying to find some work in the public service sector (political or CIA/FBI she's trying to get into I think) Of course, if you're not a good old boy and don't know a few, you play hell getting into that tight knit group.
  • Trying to get her to move down here to Tennessee with me and into a room in my house if I do have the opportunity to buy - still mulling it over with the mortgage company. she says she wouldn't mind it, but some people just say that, and when it comes to actually doing; they flake out.

That's all for me, for now. Until next time, you sexy bitches.


I like visiting with old friends. Being somewhat the nostalgic and sentimental type, there’s something to be said about passing the bottle around and reliving the glory days of our youth. The days when we strode through the countryside like kings and the public would lavish their praises upon us. We were, after all Gods among mere mortals and were worshipped and adored throughout the lands.

But then, a funny thing happened. Maybe it’s just human nature but over time we began to be taken for granted. The crowds we once commanded had dwindled to a mere few and even then, the applause we received was akin to the polite clapping that you here at a golf tournament instead of the roars we were accustomed to. We seemed to have lost our edge and gathered some dust and our bones had started to become stiff and brittle.

Thanks to this noble effort, we have once again become invigorated. No longer do we have stand in the dusk of the setting sun for the time has come once again for us to shine like beacons guiding our ships back to safe passage. We have come out from under the earth and risen like a Phoenix to once again to reclaim our destiny and assume our rightful place in the kingdom.

Okay, enough of the goddamn hyperbole. Here are my three choices for the Lost Gems of Yesteryear:

Drum roll please…….

Run like you are six by grundoon – because you should…

The One-Boobed Systyrs of the Apocalypse by doyle – because it’s from the heart…

No one can be unhappy with a fresh box of crayons by IWhoSawtheFace – because it’s true…

Believe me, there were plenty of worthy candidates out there but I figured I'd pick some standouts that weren’t already on Lord Brawl’s list.

What’re ya waitin’ for, go read, go ching!

This week I started my new position as a fully tenured professor of ethics in the University System of Maryland and I look forward to the start of a new semester as students accustomed to the blatantly incorrect liberal take on ethics will get their eyes opened by yours truly, Berhardt Goats (friends call me Behr).

I acquired this position by falsifying records on my educational and work history with the help of a new friend I call Wally. Since this position will pay much better than my former work as an unqualified remedial science teacher and a slightly less unqualified substitute gym teacher in the Greater Baltimore School System it was a very ethical decision on my part and I pause now to pat myself on the back.

I was working on writing the lecture I will give on the opening day of classes, a lecture I have entitled "Smoking Pot is Not Ethical" when a random anthropology professor approached me and asked if I wanted anything from Burger King such as a Whopper or fare similar to the Whopper in nature since he was going to a nearby Burger King to pick up lunch for some of the staff who were on campus. I handed him five dollars and asked for a Whopper with extra onions and some freedom fries. I did not care for the look he gave me at that point and put a black mark next to his name on the sheet of paper I keep on my person at all times for the purpose of putting black marks next to people's names.

When he returned, he gave me the food I had requested without offering any change. These items total up to four dollars and eighty-eight cents, which would give me twelve cents in change (you can do the math yourself and I bet you will come up with the same result - we will call this Behr's math challenge as I know there are a lot of noders on E2 with strong math skills for whom this should not be too difficult). Obviously, this man was being unethical in his handling of disbursement of proper change following the doing of business at a fast food establishment of some note.

I proceeded to give this so-called professor the evil eye for much of the afternoon. Then I ran into him at the soda machine later in the day and witnessed him taking a bunch of change out of his pants pocket and depositing the required seventy cents into the machine to purchase a Coca Cola product. He looked at me with a smile, asked, "How's your day going, Professor Goats?" and then put the remaining change he had removed from his pocket back into his pants without giving a second thought to correcting the mistake he had made earlier in withholding my change! Unbelievable!

I was having a fitful time typing up a complaint about this anthropology professor which I was planning to file with the proper department at the university to get the ball rolling on getting this unethical charlatan fired for his actions, but then decided it would be easier to take matters into my own hands. I followed him to his home, made a note of the address and then went back to my house and telephoned my friend Chopper. Upon hearing the story of how this jerk ripped me off, Chopper wanted very much to be a part of the revenge I planned to take against this mountebank.

I disguised myself as Barack Obama and Chopper rented a minivan, which we decorated with Barack Obama promotional stickers and so forth and drove up to the home of this anthropology professor. Chopper disguised himself as a nerdy Barack Obama supporter, complete with eyeglasses and simulated perfect teeth. We then went up to his door ostensibly to ask him for his support in upcoming elections. All of this was basically just a cover as I am a strong supporter of Ron Paul unless we can somehow stop the elections and keep my good friend George W. Bush in office for the twelve more years it will require him to straighten the mess Democrats have made of this country.

As expected, Professor Rip-off welcomed us into his home after seeing who we seemed to be. Now, if you know anything about ethics, once a person invites you into their home you are pretty much allowed to do anything to them or their property short of murder or sexually offending their pets, at least that is the way the statute reads here on the books in Maryland. Once we had taken a seat on the couch and this professor of deception had gone into his kitchen to fetch us all glasses of faggy lemonade, we started our revenge.

I removed my Barack Obama disguise and Chopper got rid of his glasses and fake perfect teeth. Before the thief could return from the kitchen with the faggy lemonade we had begun slicing up the upholstery on his furniture with razor blades Chopper had hidden in his hat. Then we began urinating on his Persian rug (which, if you know where Persia is, you know who this jackass is friends with). We then smashed whatever small items, knick-knacks we could get our hands on, especially those that looked valuable.

At this point the con man professor had come back to the living room with a look of surprise and shock on his face. We were giving him shock and awe up close and personal, something we hope he will share with his crazy Persian friends. I then punched him three times in the face while telling him, "Next time, give people their change or else."

Our point was made, and after a good night's sleep I returned to the university the following day and put the finishing touches on my "Smoking Pot is Not Ethical" lecture. I smiled though, as I wrote the closing lines of my future lecture, as I realized I had already given someone a strong lesson in the importance of ethics and I deserved another pat on the back.

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