Saturday, August 31, 2013

Those Who Go Down to the Sea in Ships Part III

17 JUN 1977

Latitude 00˚ 00’ N
Longitude 039˚ 00’ W
                          Atlantic Ocean
Hot.  Frikkin' Hot.

The captain swore that Oprah would never be allowed aboard ever again.

Remember, it's not just a job, it's being....

forced to the flight deck with dozens of likewise miserable "pollywogs," hosed down by insanely smiling shellbacks, whipped with firehoses by gay Irish pirates, and accosted by MS1 Angelo Abunzallah.....

    “Well, hello there, slimy,” he sneered.  He grabbed the back of my pants (which was actually the “front”).  He pulled an egg from a bag he carried around his waist and shoved it down the back.  As it nestled between my cheeks, he gave my behind a smack.

    I grimaced as pieces of broken eggshell oozed down my legs.

    “See you later, boddy,” he cackled and disappeared.

    “Hear ye!  Hear ye!  King Neptune’s court is now in session! 
King Neptune's Court.
Or Congress.
All ‘wogs rise for his highness!”

    I staggered to my feet, eggshell pausing to say “howdy” to a part of my anatomy which was unfamiliar with eggs.  I looked up to see who I thought was the ship’s chaplain decked out in a shirt covered with tin foil.  In his left hand he held a wooden trident covered in yellow aircraft paint.  Atop his hair (in reality a mop head-I hope it was clean) was an aluminum pie tin fashioned to look like a crown.

"You better believe I'm pissed.
I smell like fish.
And my junk is buried in cement."
    He pointed his “trident” in my direction and roared, “What pathetic piece of sea scum do we have here?”

    MS1, my eggshell “boddy,” stepped forward.
  “Your majestee, this slime work in S-Pife’s scollery deevizhion.  He break too many deeshes.”

    For some reason, “King Neptune” was able to understand him.  He scratched his black shoe polish coated chin and glared at me.  Finally, he said, “I find you guilty of the high crime of breaking dishes in this ship’s S-5 Division!  For your punishment, I sentence you to visit the Royal Baby and to spend one minute in Davy Jones’ Locker.  Bailiff, take him away!  Next!”

"There, there, Mummy wasn't
going to let that barmy Yank
sailor anywhere near her precious."
Oops, wrong Royal Baby.
    I was roughly grabbed by my shoulders and half-dragged away.  After a short distance, I was dumped at the feet of a huge, half-naked fat man.  Clad only in what was once a white towel, he was easily the largest man I had ever seen.  What’s more, his huge belly was liberally coated in what had to be arresting gear grease.  Except this time, instead of being applied to the huge cables used to recover (or “trap”) a landing aircraft, it was....oh, I was afraid of what it was going to be used for.

    He looked down and laughed a huge laugh.  Never saying a
Yeah.  That's more like it.
word, he laughed again and grabbed my head.  With a grunt, he rammed my face into his stomach.  Given no warning, I struggled to breathe.  And prevent my head from slipping into his cavernous navel.

  Just as quickly, he released my head.  Gratefully, I inhaled deeply, but accidentally drew in some grease.  Coughing black blobs of blecch, I was once more rammed into a quivering mass of greasy flesh.  This time, the Royal Baby grabbed my ears and twisted my head deeper into his stomach.  I felt some of the goop forcing its way deeper into my nose.

    Finally I was released, gasping, onto the flight deck.  Again, I was roughly grabbed and dragged to a five by five foot wooden box.  Good Lord, what could possibly be next?

    No way it could have been worse.

No, it didn't get this bad.
What do you think we are?  Animals?
To be concluded...

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Captain Caption VII

We interrupt our tale of those who go down to the sea in ships for this late-breaking news.....

"Okay, okay, everyone, settle the eff down!
I got my hands on a copy of 50 Shades of Grey.
And this one has pictures!  Only one problem.
They're all wearing burkhas.  Even the dudes.
You still think our brothers at GITMO will want it?"

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Those Who Go Down to the Sea in Ships Part II

  When last we left our hero....come to think of it, that 'hero' would be me.  My, don't we think a lot about ourselves?  Let's try this again.
  When last we left our hapless schmuck, he was onboard the aircraft carrier USS America as it headed towards the equator en route to military exercises with the Brazilian Navy.  You can read about it here if it's a slow day, you're bored, and you have nothing else to do.  If nothing else, you can go look at the pictures.  
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
It's all fun and games until parrots
and monkeys start shooting the joint up. 
Or you can just take my word that I was nervous...

17 JUN 1977
Latitude 00˚ 00’ N
Longitude 039˚ 00’ W
Hot, Frikkin’ Hot

"I'll never bitch about shoveling
the sidewalk ever again!"
    This morning we crossed the equator.

    After the morning rush, MS1 Abunzallah announced that we were to report to the ship's hangar deck with the rest of the pollywogs.

    “Ass-keecking for sure, boddy,” he cackled to nobody in particular before disappearing.

An A-7.
Next to two helicopters.
I'll leave it to you to figure out which is which.
After changing into our “Pollywog Uniform” of inside-out tee shirts, backwards trousers, and shoes on wrong feet, we joined several hundred other similarly miserable souls in the hangar.  As we carefully stepped around an 
A-7 bomber chained to a set of pad-eyes, we heard an ungodly shouting from one of the aircraft elevators.

    “All you ‘wogs, asses down!  Grab your ankles and duck-walk to elevator #4!”

"Ya know, if I cut this bastard into two foot lengths,
it'd be perfect to smack the hell out of someone.  

What are the odds of us actually catching fire?"  
    Another voice joined the fray.  As I squatted, I spotted two bearded sailors who I’m sure I’d seen before.  Except this time they wore eye-patches, dungaree jeans cut off at mid-shin, and blue aircraft cleaning cloths wrapped around their heads.  Plus, they waved two foot lengths of old fire hose as if they were swords.

    They looked like pirate trick-or-treaters.
Pirates who dug Harry Potter.
And were gay.

    “I want to hear everyone squawking ‘wog, wog, wog’!” the smaller (not to be confused with ‘nicer’) of the two hollered.

    Like cowed lemmings, we belted out “wog, wog, wog!” and hobbled to the elevator platform.

    Emerging into the bright tropical sunshine, we were greeted by a torrent of saltwater from a flight deck firehose.  The high-velocity spray cascaded over us, momentarily drowning out our pitiful cries of “wog.”  Its salt got into my eyes and coursed down the back of my pants, soaking my shorts.

    What I didn’t know at the time was that soggy skivvies were to be the least of my worries that morning.

NOTE:  Depiction of 'skivvies'
for entertainment use only

NOTE:  What we actually wore.

    I shook my head and tried to blink away the saltwater stinging my eyes.  No way was I going to remove my hands from my ankles to relieve the salty burn.  No sense giving Blackbeard or Captain Hook any excuse to belt me with what they called their “shillelaghs” (ohhhh, so they were Irish pirates).   

    With a jolt, the elevator quickly rose to the flight deck.  Primarily used to shuttle aircraft from hangar to flight deck (or vice-versa), it now carried several dozen miserable pollywogs in backwards clothing.  For a brief, crazy moment, I fantasized about duck-walking my way right off the edge into the Atlantic Ocean.

    Getting picked up by a helicopter had to be better than this.

    The elevator shuddered to a halt and we were ordered to hobble onto the flight deck.  Right into a direct hit from the firehose.  Several of those around me were knocked to the rough non-skid meant to aid a crewman’s footing and halt any sliding by aircraft or support equipment.

    All it did this morning was remove skin.

    We were quickly formed into a line and ordered to jump to our feet.  At the sound of “Go!”, we dashed between two lines of shellbacks (“pirates” is a much more accurate description), shouting obscenities and, most importantly, armed with firehose “shillelaghs.”

Why aren't they effin' with the dude
 that has a camera??
They wailed away at us as we dashed through their gauntlet.  We held our hands pitifully around our heads, but our backs were exposed to this modern-day flogging.  I was struck more than once between the shoulder blades and was even smacked right in the behind, the lip of the hose whipping up and catching a testicle for good measure.

    I reached the end and collapsed on the flight deck.  Trying to catch my breath and ease the burning on my back, I didn’t see a shellback sneak up behind until it was too late.  I turned my head to see Abunzallah leering over me.

To be continued....

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Those Who Go Down to the Sea in Ships Part I

  This verse from Psalm 107 doesn't sound nearly as dirty as "Those Who Go Down to the Sea ON Ships."  
  Although it may account for all the seamen.
  Anyway, it's a slow day.  I'm in Virginia once again.  You see, I'm taking my son back to Virginia Tech.  It will be his senior year and by May, he'll be off the payroll.  What's more, he's accepted a job in Virginia Beach which starts next summer so I'll have another place to stay when I go on vacation.  
  So, yeah, I'm pretty psyched.
  Since I've been pretty busy, I thought I'd give you an excerpt from my Work In Progress (or, to use the pretentious "Writer-Speak" acronym: my "WIP"), It's Not Just a Job-or...INJAJ (hey, these acronyms work) instead of writing anything new.  Planned for release sometime before I die (CAUTION:  My mortality is closer than I think), it's the tale of my close to 30 years in the Navy.  Although I could have gone the serious route, I chose not to because...well...have you been paying attention to Penwasser Place?  I really don't do serious.
Shameless Self-Promotion
  My intention is that INJAJ easily exceeds sales of my previous work, Shag Carpet Toilet (available now on Kindle and Nook!  Get yours now!!  While an unlimited amount still remain!!!).  

  And, by easily exceed, I mean ten.
"Sharp end of the spear, eh?
Well, we did sing In the Navy."
This takes place during the first time I went out to sea on the aircraft carrier, USS America.  A fresh-faced 18 year-old (Meaning: wellllllllll before a lot of you were born.  I'm talking to you, Matthew.), I was excited to take my place on what I called the sharp end of the spear.  What made this even more special was that I was going to take part in one of the traditions of the sea, that of crossing the equator.  Sure, it was mostly nonsense and kind of gross.  But, we got this from the Royal Navy.  So, you can blame them.
  I'm not sure how many other navies do this.  Maybe the French, although they probably hit each other with pastries.  Or the Iranians, except they more than likely behead someone.
  In any case, hope you enjoy.  Hey, it's Sunday so you may as well (if nothing else, you can look up Psalm 107)...


16 JUN 1977
Atlantic Ocean
My first ship.
Commissioned in 1965, decommissioned in 1996, torpedoed a few years after that.
The intention was to evaluate our weapons' effectiveness against an aircraft carrier.
My guess is they worked.
Because she's now a reef. 
    The next morning, America was due to pass a major milestone on her way to South America.  We were going to cross the equator. 

The Equator.
Although that red line
confuses the hell out of the fish.
The Navy is big on tradition.  So, sailing from the northern to the southern hemisphere most definitely had to be recognized.  In other words, nothing speaks more to the time-honored mythology of the sea than grown men, dressed as pirates and mermaids (“shellbacks”), smacking the living hell out of hapless rookies with their pants on backwards (“pollywogs”).

    My scullery* crew was full of questions about one of the leading
"I don't know about this, Stavros.
I think the Turks are gonna kick our ass.
Speaking of ass..."
rituals of life at sea (flogging having been outlawed, although sodomy may still be practiced in the Greek Navy).  Pollywogs all, we were curious about where we needed to be, when we needed to be there, and would our genitals be safe. 

    We’d heard all sorts of wild tales from puffed-up shellbacks who tried to intimidate us.  Even though we were sure they were exaggerating, there had to be a perfectly good reason why we stopped tossing our trash overboard the past three days.

   As with all things, from what our working hours were to how we were going to get paid, we sought out the Wardroom Leading Petty Officer, Mess Management Specialist First Class (MS1) Angelo Abunzallah. 

NOTE:  "Mess Management Specialist" was the Navy's politically-correct term for "cook."  Now they're called "Culinary Specialists."  We also call "Garbage Men" "Sanitation Engineers."  As the man said to a handful of razor blades before he swallowed them, "I shit you not."

  During  a quiet period between late breakfast and early lunch, my friend Brian and I scoured the spaces for our supervisor.  We finally found him hunched over what appeared to be a tense game of Acey-Deucey** in the cooks’ lounge.

NOTE:  See what I did there?  I wrote "cooks."  Screw political-correctness.

    Stepping over the knee-knocker*** into what we mess cooks called “Little Manila,” all chatter ceased as a dozen set of eyes stared at us.  Abunzallah, a pair of dice gripped tightly in his hand, glared at us. 

    From the looks of his board, he was getting soundly whipped by Chief Santiago.

    “What you shitbirds want?” he growled.

    I cleared my throat, “We were wondering what was going to happen to us tomorrow, MS1.”

    His face brightened.  He smiled broadly, revealing a gold-capped tooth swimming under the few wisps of black hair on his upper lip.  “Oh, that’s easy, boddy.”

    “It is?”

"Oh, Penwasser, we sooo gonna puck you up."
“Sure.  You wake up at pife o’clawck.  Come down to wardroom.  Wash deeshes.  At nine o’clawck, you go up to plight deck.  We kick your ass.  You come down.  Wash more deeshes.”

    Then he cackled like a Filipino chicken.

    I have to admit, MS1 was pretty much on the ball with that one.  Although, he missed one small detail. 

    We started getting our asses kicked before we even got to the flight deck.

Dumbasses on the Titanic probably
wished they had a couple of these.
Although they played hell with shins.
Or knees.
Of midgets.
*    Dishwashing
**  A form of backgammon
***Since we were on a ship, which could sink, the door frame did not go all the way to the deck (floor).  That way, any water would remain where it was and not flood any adjacent space.

To be continued....

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Captain Caption VI

"Just got an e-mail from a fellow jihadi at GITMO.
There really aren't any pictures in 50 Shades of Grey!  NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Got a Job

Guess I'll have to start putting on trousers before noon now.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Captain Caption V

"Hey, great news, everybody!  I was picked to be on next season's The Biggest Loser!
Funny, they said it had nothing to do with weight, though.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

I'm In the Money

    Since I'm presently not maximizing my earnings potential (i.e., unemployed), I began looking for ways to put a few dollars into my pocket after my last job as a Teaching Assistant went the way of the American automobile industry in June.

    Unfortunately, since my stint as a male prostitute for women with low standards wasn't as lucrative as I'd hoped, I needed to find something else.  Then I thought, why not raise money from writing?  After all, there's really no difference between me and Stephen King.  Except he's talented.  And rich.

    Okay, well there is that.

    Since book publishers haven't been breaking my door down and sales of my epic opusi (or should that be opususses?), Shag Carpet Toilet and The Knothead Twins and the Mystery of the Ghost Crabs  haven't exactly rocketed me to the top of the New York Times bestseller list, I began searching for something else.


Now on Kindle and Nook:  Shag Carpet Toilet and The Knothead Twins.

Several have been sold!!  Millions are available!!
Why spend money on something good??
Get yours now!!

    So, after seeing that several of you have done the same, I signed up for Google AdSense and waited for thousands of dollars to come roaring into my bank account.

    You probably know what I'm talking about.  AdSense places commercial ads on our blogs.  Then (and I really don't don't know why) whenever anyone clicks on them, some money gets funneled into my account.  The fact that I've never clicked on an ad for an Electric Dog Polisher or a Fur Lined Sink was irrelevant.  Somebody would click on one of my ads.  After all, this is Penwasser Place!

    As of today, I've made twenty cents with AdSense!  

    Wahoo!!!  Happy days are here again!!  Hey, don't laugh.  Twenty cents was real money.  In the 18th century.

    While mentally spending my lavish earnings (ignoring the fact that, at this rate, it will take me ten years to buy a bag of Skittles), I noticed that the ads on my blog look suspiciously like Google is going for a specific target audience.  

    And that target audience is me. 

    For instance:

I don't quite know what to make of this. 
                           If I were to click on this, would I become a white Oprah?  
With blue hair?

Well, whaddya know?
I just thought veggies helped you poop and
made your pee smell.  
I guess they also melt the skin off your body.
That'll make you weigh less, I suppose.

If all else fails, I suppose could resort to this.  
Incidentally, ladies?  
I personally don't think it's right that most of these weight loss ads have women in them.  
Or that Google apparently thinks I'm a chick.

I guess if that Gastric bypass thing doesn't work out, I could hide in one of these.

Not only does Google think I'm a chick, they think I suck at golf.
But, that is an adorable shirt. 
It would so match my shoes. 
Incidentally, Google is right.

Seriously, do they know something I don't?

Whoa, hang on!  I don't know anyone in the Philippines.  
Oops.  Except for that Filipino "hospitality girl" in Dubai.  
Never mind.

I think Mrs. Penwasser had something to do with this.

     I just thank goodness there's no ads for ass-less leather chaps.

Jason Greenslate from La Jolla-Free Spirit and Noted Slacker
"On the other hand, why work at all, dude?  
You can surf, play rock and roll, and score with hot chicks.
And the government will send you money.
Thanks, taxpayers!"

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Captain Caption IV

"'Remain seated and keep your hands and arms in the car at all times,'
my ass!  I'm the Pope, dammit!
The fat guy behind me is just a cardinal, though."

Monday, August 5, 2013

Huh, Whaddya Know?

I guess we should have paid closer attention......

Because then I wouldn't have ended up like this...

Should've at least waited until the sun went down, though.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

We Interrupt This Blog For A Trip Back To Nature

  As you may have noticed, Penwasser Place has been running at reduced capacity the past couple of days.  The first week of August is traditionally time for the "Penwasser Brothers Campfest" at an undisclosed location in Rhode Island.

  Our wives do not accompany us.  Apparently, we fart, scratch, and tell bawdy stories.  There is some drinking involved, as well.

  I should be able to read your blogs and comment on them, but I won't really be able to write any wickedly funny material (as if I ever did) for at least a few days.  The reason being is that all I'll have is a smart phone.  I can get away with using one finger to comment, but to write a post, I need two.

   In any event, I should return sometime next week.  Unless I get arrested.

  That bathroom's a long way away, you know.

August, 2012
I sure hope that tree is still there.