Monday, February 27, 2012

All This and the Ohio Turnpike, Too

Founder of failed "People Named Horace Are Cool, Too" movement.
Only presidential candidate to die before electoral votes were counted.
And you thought it would be Bob Dole.
    “Go West, young man, go West and grow up with the country.”
    Or so Horace Greeley, founder of the New York Tribune and former presidential candidate (I say “former” primarily because he’s dead.  Oops, you didn’t know?  My bad.), wrote in his paper.
    Actually, some people ascribe (meaning “attribute to,” it’s a Latin word which combines “ass” and “crib.”  Although I don’t know why) this to John Soule of the Terre Haute Express (whose motto was, “We Still Have Real Indians Here, So Suck It, New York”).  Learned scholars swear what Greeley actually wrote was, “Go West, young man?  What are you, frikkin’ nuts?  And get my ass stretched on an anthill by Apaches!?”
"Oh, F!!!
We're still in frikkin' Pennsylvania??"
    No matter who wrote it, my brother, nephew, and I decided to do just that last week.  So, we packed up his Nissan Murano and ventured forth through four states, two time zones, countless toll booths, many variations of IQ points, and untold roadkill to Chicago, Illinois.
    Our route crossed Pennsylvania, onto the Ohio Turnpike (I now know where Purgatory is), across the Indiana Turnpike, and into Illinois (I think it’s called the “Illinois Turnpike” but I can’t be sure.  My ass was too numb by that point to notice).  After passing through parts of Illinois (and Gary, Indiana.  Thought I forgot you, didn’t you, Gary?) in which Kevlar wouldn’t be out of place, we arrived in Chicago.
Not as tall as what those a-holes
put up in the UAE,
but plenty tall enough to
splatter your ass if you jump off.
    Only to realize that we (and our sore asses) still had an hour to go to Great Lakes, Illinois.  That was where we needed to go watch my sister’s son graduate from Navy boot camp.
    NOTE:  My sister, brother-in-law, three nieces, and a nephew-in-law (didn’t know there was such a thing, huh?) elected to fly to Chicago.  They’re from the intelligent side of the family.
    But, that’s another story for another day.  I just want to concentrate on our trip for now.
    All told, we spent twelve and a half hours in the car heading out there.  But, that was okay because we were thrilled to watch the beautiful panorama which is the United States slide by our wondering eyes.
Beautiful panorama which is the United States.
And Gary.
    Of course, it’s winter so the beautiful panorama which is the United States is pretty much brown and dead.  Also, since it is winter, we needed to keep all the windows closed.  Of a car with three dudes in it.
    Yep, the pioneers may have been forced to endure an arduous trip in covered wagons over hundreds of miles of wastelands occupied by savage tribes and wild beasts.  But, they could get fresh air.
Move along, there's nothing to see here.
And we're not kidding.
    And don’t get me started on the unrelenting sameness which is the Ohio Turnpike.  DISCLAIMER:  I’m quite sure Ohio is a beautiful state, despite having the wackiest flag in the Union.  And even though they claim Cleveland-they've been trying to convince Canada to take it off their hands (especially since LeBron gave them a big "FU!")-I know it has to have its good points.  Besides being the easiest state to spell.  But, I’m sorry.  The most interesting thing we saw while losing contact with our asses was some dog eating something along the side of the road.
    For some reason, we never thought to turn on the radio to enliven our imprisonment.  Country, Gospel, hip hop, talk radio, some itinerant preacher, farm report, anything would have been better than listening to the symphonies issuing from the seats of our pants.  Sadly, nobody (including me) thought to turn on the radio.
    NOTE:  Remember what I said about the intelligent side of the family?
Could be worse. Could be Ohio.
Oh, you've been there?
    Still, the ride out wasn’t Public Speaking at the Mute Olympics, either.  We discussed any number of topics from politics to weather to sports to whether Brad would stay with Angelina (I’m just kidding-we didn’t talk about the weather).  We also wondered if the Indiana Turnpike would be better than the Ohio Turnpike (it was, only because it was shorter). 
    Some conversations were dead serious while others were comic reminiscences (NOTE:  Thank GOD for spell-check!) of days gone by (ANOTHER ANNOYING NOTE:  I’m sure my 24 year-old nephew loved hearing two geezers talk about the good old days of the 70s.  That poor bastard).
    I’ve listed one such conversation below.  I’d write about more of these discussions (goodness knows I wrote them all down), but since I’m getting close to 1,000 words, I’ll spare you the details and only go with one (you’re welcome). 
Spaghetti. With meatballs.
Yeah, I love meatballs.
    Besides, the Food Network is having a Giada de Laurentis marathon.  I need to watch her breasts learn how to cook manicotti with ketchup, SPAM, and individually wrapped cheese slices.
    “Hey, you see that sign back there?”
RV-MH Hall of Fame.  Yeah, this place really exists.
Bet you thought I was kidding.
I don't blame you.
    “The one that said, ‘Welcome to Elkhart, Home of the RV-Motor Home Hall of Fame, but Little Else’?”
    “No, the one for McGregor’s Farmstand.”
    AL’s NOTE (well, whose else’s would they be?):  This is where, in typical fashion, our conversations would stray into the bizarre.
    “Nope, I needed to steer around that truckload of Amish people hauling their buggy.”
    “Wonder if they have fresh eggs?”
    “I can’t stand fresh eggs.”
    “What do you mean?”
    “If I see ‘Fresh Eggs For Sale’, I steer clear.”
    “I don’t want no egg from a chicken’s butt.”
    “What?  Eggs don’t come from a chicken’s butt!”
    “Sure they do.  Where else would they come from?”
    “Their vaginas.”
    “What?  Chickens don’t have vaginas.”
    “Of course they do.  Especially the girl chickens.”
    “What!?  All chickens are girls.”
"Just because I'm a chicken
doesn't mean I'm a pussy."
    “Nope.  The girl chickens are called ‘hens.’”
    “Then, what are the boy chickens called?”
    “Barney Frank?”
    NOTE:  This elicited a laugh from my nephew, who was doing his best not to be drawn into the conversation between us two noted biologists.
    “I’ll bet there’s no such thing as chicken vaginas.”
    “Everything that lays eggs has vaginas.”
    “Easter Bunny doesn’t have a vagina.”
    “That’s because the Easter Bunny is a boy!”
    “Who lays eggs.”
    “Have you ever seen the Easter Bunny lay an egg?”
    “No, have you?”
    “Of course not.  He’s not real.  But, if he was, he wouldn’t have a vagina.”
    “I’ll bet the Tooth Fairy has a vagina.”
    NOTE:  Interestingly, chickens don’t have vaginas.  They have what are called ‘cloacas’ which is a combination of-wait for it-butt and vagina.  So, my brother was right.  Meaning, I’ll never have a hard-boiled egg again.  How do I know, you ask?  I looked it up.  Although, I think the government is going to pay me a visit because I Googled “Chicken Vaginas” when I got home.
    Wow, I’m over 1,000 words, which is what I use to gauge how much torture to put you through.  So, I’ll close for now.
    There’s much more to tell, though.  The Mars Cheese Castle, Navy boot camp, a place called the Twisted Kilt, the effects of Thai food on hotel room chemical warfare, political incorrectness on a Chicago bridge....all will have to wait for another time.
    After all, Giada’s almost on.
Yeah. Like this.
At least it was sunny.
    EPILOGUE:  As we prepared to return home, we were in good spirits.  Since we had already proven we could drive a little over twelve hours, the return trip wouldn’t be too bad.  All was well.  Until we passed that sign in Indiana:  “You Are Now Entering the Eastern Time Zone.”  Meaning, we lost an hour.  Meaning, our twelve and a half trip became a thirteen and a half hour trip.  With the Ohio Turnpike still left to go.  Donations in lieu of flowers may be sent to help finance our ass transplants.


  1. Happy to donate but I want proof of purchase!!!

  2. I loved the part about your other family being from the intelligent side of the family for flying out instead but I wouldn't worry about it too much Al, this is an interesting read that wouldn't have happened if you'd just flown out after all. Best of luck with those ass transplants buddy haha, awesome stuff.

  3. I'm SO glad Jenny Pearson sent me here! Your sense of humor is a mirror of my own. Not to mention that I L O V E road-trips. I'll have to post about that some time. However, I completely disagree with you about Ohio. Not sure what road you were on, but we drive the I-70 route when we go east. Occasionally we do the I-80 route. I find Ohio to be one of the best states to drive through with its dense forests and rolling hills. But to each his own. The part I hate is Nebraska, and that's the prime reason we don't usually go that way.
    I'm your new follower, and I'm sure you know by now about the A-Z, but I'm leaving it in my signature anyway ;-)

  4. hahaha while you know Ohio does have the highest smog content in the entire country, maybe that's why it was so bad. And why us Canadian's don't want'm soo glad I don't eat eggs, I'll never look at a chicken that same way again or hen whatever. The RV hall of fame, wow sounds exciting!

  5. At least you got some good banter on your drive. With a plane trip, you'd have been strip searched and probed. There was just a massive accident on the Ohio Turnpike this morning. I'm glad you'd cleared it before that went down.

  6. I know all about Greeley. So sad they divided up all his electoral votes even though he already would have lost in a landslide.

  7. Congrats to your nephew! Years ago I went to one of the best fireworks displays ever at the Great Lakes Naval Academy. It was complete with live music and a laser show. Oh and thanks for risking your life to clear up the chicken's 'cloakas' matter! Julie

  8. Cloaca? That must be derived from Cloacina, the Roman goddess of the sewer. Who would have thought a chicken's butt was so exalted? You ought to start sucking eggs as a mark of devotion.

  9. @Gorilla: As long as they're not mid-cloaca, I'm cool with that.
    @Julie: To be honest, his boot camp graduation got me pretty emotional. Especially since I did the same (in a much older building but the same boot camp) more than 35 years ago. You may be surprised to hear I exaggerate (No!), but we really DID debate whether chickens have vaginas.
    @Adam: It apparently was quite the contest. And, yeah, he woulda got clobbered, regardless. The other guy was much better groomed.
    @Anne: You have no idea how much stupid crap we talked: bashful bladders, Jean Nate, boogers, whether the plural of scissors is 'scissors', clubbing pigeons..... I heard about that accident and WAS relieved. The trip was arduous enough. We were also glad there was no snow or ice.
    @Pat: I'll just go for the other white meat. As far as that Hall of Fame, I couldn't believe my eyes. Elkhart was pretty funny-I've never seen so many RVs in my life.
    @Tina: And that may be. We didn't see any forests or rolling hills. But, to be fair, my experience with Ohio WAS limited to I-80. And a trip to Cleveland a couple years ago. Cleveland, to be honest, doesn't deserve its reputation (although I joked about it). It really is a nice place.
    @Matthew: My ass still hurts. You're right about the trip, though. We had a lot of laughs. My brother said my life was like one of those Pixar shorts they show before the movie.
    @Marlia: I'd show you pictures, but wars have been started for less.
    @crowbloke: As tough as it was, I knew there was some good humor to be had. Which is why I kept my notebook with me.

  10. Al,
    you make me laugh! I lost it at the Jean Nate' reference. My Mom still uses it and it's a devil to find! I wonder why?

  11. That ride for your two passengers couldn't have been that bad with you in the car! It had to be hilarious!

    Wish I was a fly in the headliner for that trip!

  12. Oh boy Al. When I left NJ the first time, I drove straight across country (Route 80 W) all the way to Idaho without stopping except for gas. By the time we hit Nebraska I wanted to find a gun and shoot myself in the head from the boredom and sore ass! We did it under 36 hours.

  13. I'm from Ohio. Your post was interesting though.

  14. @bicyclegirl: We talked about how our nuns used to wear Jean Nate. The boogers part of our conversation came from how they used to stick tissues up their sleeves. Jean Nate-boogers. Done. And...ewwwwwww.
    @ryoko: My brother makes ME laugh.
    @Barb: I've been told that Nebraska is positively mind-numbing.
    @aamedor: Oops. Like I told Tina, to be fair I didn't see a whole lot of Ohio. But, it DOES have a wacky flag.

  15. Ass transplant? Don't do it Al or you'll be the butt of many jokes.

  16. I'll be careful. Because, if they put it in upside-down, I'll be a regular crap-up.

  17. Boogers and Bashful Bladders, yep that right there is why you drive and don't take a plane...hahaha

  18. I seem to remember writing about this, but the topic of bashful bladder went something like this:
    1. Walk into Mens Room.
    2. Walk up to a urinal.
    3. Begin to pee.
    4. "Old Man Bladder" syndrome kicks in (meaning: I stop and wait while my bladder catches up).
    5. Bladder kicks in for a few splashes.
    6. Old Man Bladder kicks in yet again.
    7. While waiting, another man comes in.
    8. Damn, no more peeing to be had. But I still had to go.
    9. Stare at tiled wall, do mental math, think of waterfalls, try to hypnotize self into peeing. No soap. The other dude is within "hearing" distance.
    8. Give fake shake and walk out of bathroom.
    10. Wait by cold and flu allergies section of store to wait for other guy to come out.
    11. Other dude comes out and goes to browse donuts and bagels (jeez, I hope he washed his hands!).
    12. Hurry up back into bathroom to finish business before that bus finishes parking.
    13. Get a cruller and a large coffee before joining irritated brother and nephew in car.
    In a nutshell (no pun intended) that's how it went.

    1. i didn't previously know about old man bladder. i wonder if i'll catch it when i'm your age. thank you for being so educational.
      what the heck is wrong with you guys that you didn't turn on a radio? i always get an audio book when i'm a road trip. it makes things much more interesting during those long hours.
      if i hadn't seen the note at closing, i was going to google chicken vaginas for you. i knew they had a special name cuz my sisters used to have chickens who laid eggs out their buttginas, but i couldn't remember what it was.

    2. Great Googli-Moogli! "Buttgina"-that's fantastic. I'll let my brother know that term.
      Speaking of my brother (and the radio), he called me to task this week. He told me the reason that we didn't turn on the radio while we headed out is that we had a lot of good things to say to each other. So, the radio would have been superfluous. But, when I consider that "buttgina" was one of our topics, maybe we should have put the radio on (I know I exaggerate a lot, but we really DID debate where eggs came from).

    3. Oh, and by the way, no way you will catch Old MAN bladder.
      Look on the bright side...since you're a lady of your gender, no one will EVER know you have a bashful bladder. You can just sit (or hover. I've heard the stories) there...amidst the funk. Ooh, wait, THAT doesn't sound good.

    4. i'm glad you enjoyed that buttgina. i thought you might be sufficiently twisted enough, like myself, to appreciate it.
      true, no one knows what you're doing when you're in the stall. they don't know if you're stalled in the point and shoot position, emptying your diva cup, or trying to hold back an exuberant fart til the toilet traffic thins out.

  19. haha nothing works when some strange dude is within hearing distance.

  20. I'm still a little sad that you wouldn't drive another 7 hours to visit me.
    I get my eggs from a farm near here. If I am lucky, I get there just in time to get them straight from the chicken's butt or whatever it is that they have.

  21. I made the drive from the SF Bay Area to LA for about 19 years (yeah, I'm a VERY SLOW driver. But an excellent one. Learned from RainMan himself.) As I was saying, or about to say, I finally discovered the airplane, Al. Dude, it gets you there faster and is actually cheaper considering gas prices, plus you don't need a butt replacement.
    Good luck through the Turnpike.

  22. My biggest problem with Ohio is their friggin mascot. Buckeye? Really? You don't have anything more ferocious than a tree nut? WTF? And yes, eggs come from a chicken's butt, but ham IS a pigs butt. They are both delcious. Stop asking where your food comes from. Unless it's Soylent Green, you really don't want to know.

  23. I am way too sleep deprived to fully appreciate everything said in your post. Good lord, what is in front of me?

  24. @Pat: I mean, it's not like he was looking. On the other hand, maybe he was, but I don't know. Because I sure wasn't looking. He kinda looked liked Mr. Peanut, though. Only with pants and without a monocle or top hat. Hmm, on second thought, maybe he looked like Colonel Sanders, instead. Except he was alive. Oh, hell, what do I know? Like I said, I wasn't looking. Or peeing.
    @Ruth: Next time I fly. And, then, next time I will. I probably won't want eggs though. Hope the eggs you get aren't still warm when you get them. That would totally skeeve me out. Yeah, I'd be toast on the frontier. Indians would LOVE me.
    @Robyn: Is big bird in sky? With a strip search thrown in for good measure?
    @Mary A: Dear Lord in heaven, it's a PIG'S ASS!!????????? By the way, I hear Soylent Green is people. Keep that on the down low, though. Wouldn't want to cause a panic.
    @DWei: That's what Mrs. Penwasser said on our wedding night.

  25. I'm glad I'm not the only one who drops everything to watch Giada do her thing in the kitchen. Glad you fellas made it to Chicago alright. Now's a good time of year to go. The gang shootings are at a bare minimum. The chicken vagina conversation had me in stitches.

  26. It's all about the cooking. The chicken conversation really did proceed pretty much as written. We also talked about a raging controversy: whether it's polite to fart while standing at a urinal.

  27. hahaha well if your too shy to pee you may as well fart...hahaha, so yeah it's polite.

  28. As long as nothing follows it.
    We also had a conversation about "Catastrophic O-Ring Malfunctions" and the wonders of a "Shit-Air Separator."
    As I've said, it was a long ride.

  29. Hahaha! I'd help out with the transplant, but I've been searching for my own hind end for years.

    Over a thousand? Didn't seem that much seeing how much fun it was to read.

  30. That was one of the funniest posts I've read anywhere in quite a while...
    I think you hit just about every subject possible. My RV was made in Elkhart, Indiana. I wouldn't go in that building though. If the quality control in construction there is anything like it is in the RV industry...It's just not safe...

  31. The conversation about the chickens and eggs is one of many hilarious things in this post. Funny guy, Al! Thanks for the laughs!

  32. @Shockgrubz: I just hope you know it from a hole in the ground.
    @Pat: That's too funny about your RV! I couldn't believe how many of them were in Elkhart. Funny, I didn't see any people in Elkhart, though. Hmmmm........
    @Lyn: Which came first, the chicken or the egg? The chicken. And then he fell asleep. NOTE: I did learn there are male chickens. As God as my witness, I never knew that. Plus, that whole vagina thing. But, I don't feel too badly about that one. I ain't exactly the stuff of Penthouse.

  33. That Ohio flag looks like a pair of tidi-non-whities Uncle Sam would wear.

  34. We're at war! Uncle Sam goes "commando." Much to the relief of Ohioans.