Happy Almost Fathers’ Day! You know, it isn’t until I am typing this that I fully appreciate the fact that Mothers’ and Fathers’ Day are so close. I’m not sure why this has never dawned on me before, but here I am, having spoken about moms last month, and now dads.
We have dads, yo. Oh, Lord, do we have dads in this household, and this is a good thing. It can also be... how do I put this?... a bit worrisome. As you know, we live on a mountain, and this means we have all kinds of descents available for the taking. You know, because gravity. Therefore, there is always a sledding route in the winter- or, when V and Butch insist on getting a hose out and hitting that sucker with water, a frickin’ death luge. In the spring, before Fritz fills the pool, there are all kinds of X Games going on in our empty, Olympic-sized bathtub involving skateboards. We also have inline skates running amok down the driveway during the summer nights, which I understand Manny and Jane look at as continuing medical education credits in orthopedics given all the foot, ankle and leg emergencies.
By the way, you’d think the skateboards flying into the air in that concrete basin would be harder on big bodies than the inline skates. Nope. Our flyboys dematerialize at the tops of those arcs if they feel they can’t land whatever trick they’re trying to pull. The inlines, on the other hand, present perilous speed coupled with a false sense of security. In this regard, our fellas are like American muscle cars. They are fine in a straight line. It’s when you to take that kind of weight at that sort of speed into a corner that things get interesting, in a bad way. Thank God they are fast healers!
But I digress.
Between the potato launcher, the golf cart, the skateboards, the snow skis, the sleds- oh, did I mention last summer Rhage tried to waterski in the pool? He had an idea- these things always start with an idea, usually posited and vetted after Last Meal is done and everyone is relaxed and therefore ready to devise schemes that will cause death and dismemberment- that if he got some ski ropes, tied them together and attached them to the tow hook on the back of the R8, he could get enough speed going to slalom ski across the surface of the pool out back. At the time, most of the females around the table laughed because we were sure this was a joke. The mirth dried up quick when V refined the idea by suggesting that Ruhn’s pickup would be a better velocity proposition because its tires had great grip and you could all wheel drive it. When we looked at him, he shrugged and said, “It’s going to tear up the lawn. There are going to have to be multiple tries and that means both traction and clearance are going to be an issue.”
When all of the guys nodded at that, we realized we were in trouble. Fritz, on the other hand, was excited by the prospect of resodding all ten acres. Which was exactly what happened. The boys did manage to get about a football field’s worth of water skiing in, and for their efforts, that doggen managed to get 58,080 rolls of sod to cover the ten acres they’d rutted. ‘Cuz, yeah, sure, after you’ve finished trying to waterski down a frickin’ pool a hundred times, by all means, get in that truck and do donuts until everything but the formally planted and bricked sections of the garden look like the mud wrestling pool from the movies Stripes.
Great. I’m off track again. And before I get on to what they decided do over this past weekend, let me point out, in their defense concerning the lawn, that they had already decided to resod everything so I guess they figured it was the they’re one and only shot at having at it. (NB: I am not sure they understood exactly how many sod rolls were going to be required- we had flat beds driven by our doggen coming up that hill for a week and then some. The ruse, by the way, for the humans we were purchasing from was that we were putting in a private golf course. And actually, the grass out there had gotten mangy.)
So, anyway. Last weekend’s adventure. Someone decided- I’m not sure who, probably Rhage or Butch, they tend to be the two with the biggest, brightest ideas- that we needed a zip line. For those of you unfamiliar with this, it is a wire that runs from one fixed point to another, on a descent, from which a butt bucket on a rolling bracket is suspended. The object of the game is to get on up there and get your zip on, yelling things like Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee, my b*lls are squeezed or Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh, I’m going to hit that f*cking tree with my face, or the ever popular, Nooooooooooo don’t try to spray me with neon pink paint as I go by you, you motherf*cker!
Wait, those were all the things that got yelled over the weekend here. Sorry. I suspect normal people just wave at their friends, go Yayay! and get on with the rest of their lives.
Up here on the mountain, we ended up with two black eyes, a set of leathers that had to be thrown out because pink spray paint is permanent no matter what the can promises, a pair of trees that no doubt had PTSD, and one broken zip line wire that finally gave up the ghost when Rhage, Butch and V all got on the butt bucket at once. As they hit the ground, the thing I was wondering was why the butt bucket was able to hold them up at all. I would have assumed that it would be the first to go, not the wire.
Those three Brothers hit the spring mud in a heap and I don’t know who was laughing harder: The trio who’d only managed to fly about fifteen feet or the peanut gallery who had been watching with equal parts amazement and fear. And no, the guys weren’t the only ones trying the ride out. (Although they were they only folks who decided to sandwich extra weight on the contraption.) I took a turn. Payne and Xhex did. Layla decided not to, but Autumn and Cormia loved it. Bitty had a great time- and that was the only pass that Rhage did not have a great time with. He insisted on running underneath her with his arms out in case something broke. Which was how we ended up with one of the aforementioned black eyes. He was so busy watching out for his little girl that he slammed face first into the receiving tree, as they called it. (The other black eye was Lassiter’s, although that was not because he was on the wire, but because he suggested pink was V’s color and matched his panties. At which point V threw him into the tree. NB: I would like to point out that there is nothing wrong with pink panties on whoever decides to wear them willingly.)
The kids love when their dads and uncles get nutty. We’ve had pie throwing contests in the foyer, bubble blowing parties, dress up parties, The Great Playdough Experiment (whereupon much was eaten, yuck,) and the ever popular Catch the Clown (this is where one of the Brothers puts on a red wig and clown makeup and the kids have to find him wherever he is on the first floor. Blay won last time when he hid up on the domed ceiling!) Nine times out of ten, when the Brothers go out into the field, at least two of them have painted toenails in shades of lilac and pink inside their sh*tkickers. They have had eyeshadow put on their lids, and lipstick on their mouths, when Bitty wanted to experiment with her makeup. They’ve been blushed, and patted dry, and powder’d, too. They’ve been draped in swaths of silk, and gotten under the dining room table to play peekaboo with L.W., and gently played patty cake’d with Lyric and Rhamp.
Yes, these guys do reckless and silly things, but I know that they do them because they are stressed with the war, and they worry about each other in the field, and they worry about us here at home, and they see a lot of horrible things that no one can unsee. There’s a lot of steam to burn off for them and the things with the kids provide some serious relief. I can see it in their eyes, the way they look at the little guys and smile and give the young space to explore and be safe at the same time.
All things considered, I could have done without having to replace the sod. But I wouldn’t change a thing about anything else.
For Fathers’ Day, Wrath wants to do what he does every night after work: Sit in his father’s chair with his son in his lap and his dog at his feet and his shellan by his side and listen to his friends tell jokes and laugh in the study. I think the nicest commentary on the way he and I are living our life together is the fact that on “special occasions,” we just want to do what we always do. When normal fits the criteria for special, that’s a good gig.
On Fathers’ Day, I’m also going to go to the Audience House and spend some time in my sire’s underground private quarters. That’s where the pictures of me are, the ones that Fritz took for Darius when he couldn’t be outside in the daylight... and couldn’t get close to me because he didn’t know whether I was going to take after his side or my mom’s. And we all know now how that question was answered. I feel closest to my father down there. John Matthew will join me. And we will talk and fall silent, and wonder about the father who we know through stories told to us by those who loved him most. It is a blessing to have his journal, his stories, his houses. It’s not as good as having him here, but it is wonderful, and so much better than nothing at all.
I hope you all have a wonderful Fathers’ Day. If you cannot be with your father in person, be with him in spirit as I will be with mine.
Until next month! Love, Beth
I recently watched The Bodyguard again, and I was reminded of how talented and beautiful Whitney Houston was. She commanded that movie in so many ways, and that voice. THAT VOICE. I’ve been around a long time, and I can tell you, she is in the top ten voices of all time. Incredible range, a tone that couldn’t be beat, and the strength and control she had was that of a master. This month, your horoscopes are from Miss Houston’s catalogue of amazing songs!
Love you! xxx Your Favorite Fallen Angel**
Aries (March 21-April 19) Strut your stuff this month! Your song is, I’m Your Baby Tonight. You are on fire this month, getting all the looks and all the attention. Commitment is not on your mind. You are in search of fun, so get those holey jeans on, and wedge up that hair, and find your rhythm! Enjoy everything to the fullest.
Taurus (April 20-May 20) Taurus, you need to break free from something this month. Small or large, relationship or in business or school, you need to stand on your own two feet. You’ve been on the verge for a while. Take a chance and own your future. Your song is, Try It On My Own. Listen to Miss Houston, see the wisdom of her words here. It’s time for you to stand alone and claim your power!
Gemini (May 21- June 20) Everything must come to an end. It can be hard to recognize this when someone or something means so much to us. But you must believe that with closed doors come windows that are opened. Destiny doesn’t always provide a long runway, but what you learned about yourself is worth the pain of the growth. As Whitney says, the ride is worth the fall. Your song is, Didn’t We Almost Have It All. It’s a live video from Saratoga. Listen to that voice, by the way. Unbelievable.
Cancer (June 21- July 22) You are so giving. You care so much. You give so much of yourself to those you love. Your song this month is I Will Always Love You. You would always choose to let go one who needs to be free no matter what it costs you. This is also, in my opinion, the song that showcases Miss Houston’s voice the best. It always brings a silver’d tear to this angel’s eye!
Leo (July 23-August 22) There is only one song that could be for you, Leo: I’m Every Woman!It’s all you, girl. Show it, glow it, for real. You do it naturally and everyone sees you. You cast a spell! You can read their thoughts right now from A to Z. This month, be your sparkly self, and expect good things to come your way in recognition of your talent and smarts.
Virgo (August 23- September 22) Your song is Exhale, Virgo. It is one of my favorites. Your metronome is order, and you thrive on it, but it can be a cudgel as well. You need your friends because they will wish you well, and you must know that the wind is indeed wise this month. Hearts are broken when words are spoken, but prayers are answered. I know this for a fact. You listen to this song and take a nice deep breath.
Libra (September 23- October 22) OMG for you, Libra, I am giving her arguably most famous song of all time. Your song is The Greatest Love Of All Time. You can rely on yourself, you can believe in yourself, you are the greatest love you will have. Stop looking outside of yourself. The strength you seek is already inside of you!
Scorpio (October 23- November 21) This month, you’re going to be a little more emotional than usual. Your fuse will be shorter than it normally is, but that’s not a bad thing! It’s only because you care. Your song is So Emotional. It is better to be passionate than to be disengaged!
Sagittarius (November 22- December 21) You Give Good Love, Sagittarius! And that is your song. Your enthusiasm is infectious, your adventurous nature means there is never a dull moment, and you are an excellent partner. It’s time for your significant other to send you some appreciation this month. They are lucky to have you!
Capricorn (December 22- January 19) You are so responsible, so capable, so trustworthy. Your song is I Want To Run To You. The lyrics say that she doesn’t know if you won’t run away, but we know the truth. You do not run, you with always be there for those you love and those who rely on you. Plus, OMG the cloud running scenes are the BEST in this video!
Aquarius (January 20- February 18) Aquarius, I have to give you my favorite Whitney song. Your song is, Your Love Is My Love. It would take an eternity to break us! You may not like heavy duty emotional expression, but the welfare of others matters to you deeply. As you take care of the people in your life, you take care of yourself, for you know that we are all connected. You are a source of good in this world, just as I am.
Pisces (February 19- March 20) How will you know? You won’t if you don’t take a chance! Your song is How Will I Know, a classic and her big start. That silver bow, that silver dress, that bright background. It’s a classic and so are you. I have a feeling they like you, they really like you! (Wait, do I get bonus points for the Sally Field, Oscar speech ref?)
**Although really, how many of us do you know? And PS, this is just for sh*ts and giggles, entertainment, blah, blah, blah.
(And hi, Mary! You’re my favorite shellan!) Anyway, my problem is with my cat. Actually, scratch that. My problem is my boyfriend, who has a problem with my cat. Some background about us. We met in college, but didn’t start dating until we both got jobs in the same city. He asked me out and did the pursuing, and I gradually fell for him. We’ve been together for about three years now. Marriage is maybe in our future, but we’re still kind of young (we’re both twenty-four.)
He has his own apartment, which he has shared with two of his buddies. Lately, one of them has been making problems for him. They are arguing a lot, about anything from who’s cleaning up what dishes to whether someone forgot to lock the door last. My boyfriend is fed up and has asked if he can stay with me while he looks for another place to live. I have a feeling he’s using the apartment search as a fall back if we aren’t compatible under the same roof because, as his move out date approaches, he hasn’t been checking out any roommate search sites or been asking other friends of his for leads.
I’m fine with him moving in and I want the new arrangement to work out for us. I also appreciate the lack of pressure that we have with this whole “apartment search” thing. If we aren’t a good fit, then there’s a release valve built into the situation. The problem is, he says I need to give up my cat. He says he’s allergic to her, and it’s true, he does take an allergy pill from time to time when he’s over here. But I feel like he’s asking me to pick him over her. She is one of the cats I grew up with. We got her when I was 14. She’s ten now, and I don’t want to give her back to my parents because they travel a lot now that my dad’s retired, and besides, she’s used to me and I’m used to her. I feel like the transition would be hard on her and I also know I am more available to her than my mom and dad can be. Is my boyfriend being unreasonable? Am I a bad pet parent for considering the relocation of my cat?
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Meow Me Going To Do
Vishous: Keep the cat, ditch the loser-
Mary: *shoots a glare over* Can’t we start one of these on a more positive note?
V: Okay, fine. I am *air quotes* positive *air quotes* that you need to keep the cat and ditch the loser. This is a permanent decision for the cat and a temporary one for your BF. The cat shouldn’t bear the disruption because you two humans don’t know whether you’re taking a left or a right.
Mary: You know, I think I have to disagree with you, V. The cat has a safe home to go to, one that she is well familiar with (this is assuming, Meow, that your parents would agree to take her.) I would suggest a defined timeline of trial with your boyfriend, say ninety days, after which the two of you assess where you are as cohabitants. After three years of dating, you clearly must have some compatibility as a couple, but you are right. Living under the same roof takes things up a notch no matter how long you’ve been with one another. You’re right to be cautious and not box yourselves in. The cat can always come back if things do not work out, and there are options for-
V: Yeah, but what happens if Captain Claritin decides it’s working? If the BF thinks he’s fine and dandy in that apartment, and she agrees, is that cat stuck in an empty house while those two parents drink mai tais on Princess cruises until they get a case of Norwalk virus and come home crapping in their pants?
Mary: *blinks* How did we get diverted onto stomach viruses?
V: Because her stupid parents are on cruises all the time and those ships are like petri dishes with anchors.
Mary: You are making assumptions-
V: No. I traced her email address. I know for sure that is what they do. They’re on one now. To Alaska.
Mary: *puts hands over eyes* Tell me you did not dox one of our letter writers.
V: I’m not revealing the information. So it’s not doxing.
Mary: Okay, I’d like to take this opportunity to reassure our letter writers that we do not break any confidences or do anything outside of answer the questions posed to us.
V: *lights hand rolled* Just keep telling yourself that, Mary. Whatever helps you sleep at night.
Mary: I’m going to have to take this up with Wrath.
*long silence as they stare at each other*
V: Back to the cat-
Mary: Back to the cat-
V: I think you need to protect the interests of the animal. If you did not intend to put that cat’s needs first, you never should have taken her out of your parents’ home. She is on the old side. You can’t explain to her what’s going on. Too often, humans are fickle with their decisions as it relates to animals. You already have a roommate. It’s the cat. You wouldn’t expect a human living with you to tolerate being kicked out because a better deal came along. Yet because the cat can’t express her needs and wants to you verbally, you’re tossing her out on her a**, expecting her to suck up your Important Life Decision. And hey, yeah, sure, if doesn’t work out with the guy, you’ll just move her back in. Like she’s a f*cking toaster. That’s just wrong.
Mary: Well, I wasn’t quite finished with my commentary when we segued into cruise ships. I think there are ways to balance the interests between the humans in this situation and the cat. I do believe it is important to clarify expectations before any suitcases are packed on your boyfriend’s part. I also think you need to be clear about how long the trial period will be, and you need to know whether or not your boyfriend is willing to explore allergy treatment. If the cohabitation works out, I think it’s entirely appropriate for you to request that he receive allergy shots so that the cat can come back into the apartment. Before he moves in, you need to find out: 1) if he is a candidate for such treatment; and 2) if he is willing to pursue it if it is an option for him. This is all a good exercise in communication and you’ll have an idea of how responsive he’s likely to be to your needs depending on how far he is willing to go to reasonably address his allergy. Let us know what happens! (And don’t worry, I’ll make the background checks stop!)
I fall down rabbit holes on YouTube all the time. One of my most recent descents occurred when I tripped and fell over a guy who calls himself the L.A. Beast. The L.A. Beast is a competitive eater who holds the Guinness Book of World Records titles for ten feats including the most chicken nuggets eaten in 3 minutes, the most Bhut jolokia chili peppers eaten in 2 minutes, the most powdered doughnuts eaten in 3 minutes, the fastest time to drink a 32 oz. bottle of maple syrup, and records involving chocolates from an advent calendar, marshmallows, peanut butter cups, gummy bears eaten with a stick (????), and the fastest times to drink a cup of coffee and drink 2 liters of soda through a straw.
This is an impressive guy, and one I respect for obvious reasons. I am not alone. His YouTube channel has over 2.3 million subscribers and a total view count of over 370 million (about 1500 of those are mine because I have showed clips to everyone here at the house.) I’ve watched almost every one of the Beast’s videos (although not his live streams,) and I would say that the heyday of this channel was probably in 2017. He was singlehandedly responsible for bringing back Crystal Pepsi for a limit run, and in fact, his most popular video, with 17 million views, is him “enjoying” a 20 year old Crystal Pepsi.
Even though he starts every challenge with “Have a good day!”, his content is NOT for everyone. Some of his videos are marked with Vomit Alerts so you can avoid those if you get squeamish, but a lot of them where he hurls are not marked. What I love about this guy is the effort he puts into the videos. Most are filmed in his parents’ garage or his apartment in L.A in his bedroom. He puts Easter eggs in the backgrounds, like bottles of Crystal Pepsi, and the Captain America shield, and he accessories his narratives with little pop-ups that include his most famous one, a map of the Bering Straight, which perennially makes an appearance when he’s choking something back and needs to get his bearings straight. His narratives are awesome, and he is careful to detail how much he pays for things, what they taste like, and how he’s faring in the challenges. You know he’s in bad shape when he does the robot. Often, he does a post game wrap-up from the floor of his bathroom.
Here are some of my favorite video offerings of his! I have marked the ones where he hurls. PLEASE REMEMBER, THIS CONTENT IS NOT FOR EVERYONE. And it is NSFW.
This is where I started with him and he had me at: “Why? Because I didn’t eat breakfast.” Half of the fun is watching what kind of crazy stuff he’s willing to consume. Naturally, Tootsie Pops. Hello. (Although he seemed likewise disappointed that it wasn’t a single big pop, but a collection of like six.) He hammers those suckers hard and chips his tooth. The Cola Bottle giant gummy got me grossed out a little. What the hell is that made of? But that and the Snickers are legit in terms of size. The Ferrero Rocher and the Hershey’s Kiss are fakes like the pops, just shells, really. But still, you add it up and it’s an OMG load of sugar! Back to the Snickers. I just wanted to tell him to stop! He’s shaking from the overload of glucose rocketing through his blood stream. And then he chases it with a five pound gummy bear that he puts in a microwaves and attempts to drink. When he says, “I don’t feel well...” Well, you can guess how it ends.
You’ve got to love a guy who uses Twinkies as a delivery device for the world’s most powerful horseradish! He starts off with ten delicious plain Twinkies and then chases them with an attempt to conquer his failures with “nasally foods.” The set up of the video is classic, with the Tums bottle and the milk liter on the floor on the left. I love the warning label on the horseradish that includes a caution not to put under your nose and smell- which he promptly does. He notes pretty quickly that he doesn’t feel well after like six Twinkies- the robot comes out early in this one. Before he starts the horseradish Twinkies, he decides he will distract himself with a pain distractor which seems to course electric current into the backs of his hands. LOLOL I’m like, son, what are you doing? Watching him try to pick up the Horseradish Twinkies with the wires and the pads running between his hands is painful to watch! (Mary doesn’t get these videos. I don’t blame you if you don’t, either.) I love the pop ups of the duck, and the crow, and Everybody Loves Raymond, and when he goes, “Bad bite. That was a bad bite there...” Then the pterodactyl. When he succeeds, I swear I cheered! And then the classic post game wrap up of him on the floor of his bathroom. (No shots of him throwing up and I’m not even sure he did after this one.)
The L.A. Beast has spent $1,081.62 on eBay buying boxes of his favorite discontinued cereal brands. He taste tests two decades-old Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Batman cereal from 1989 (he describes the smell and taste as grandmother’s attic), Flutie Flakes (11/12/99 expiration, and it smells like gym socks and cardboard and tastes like his grandmother’s dirty couch under its plastic cover), and Count Chocula from 1987. He also tests out Urkel-Os, Adams Family and G.I. Joe. Then he creates a milkshake out of what is left and swallows it whole. He’s a nutter! Considering he lived through this, he makes me think there’s considerable wiggle room when it comes to cereal expiration dates LOLOLOL He ends this video with clips from him as a kid. It’s a nostalgic and nice way to cap the gauntlet. No hurling on this one.
This video opens with a Ghostbusters play action set montage and then the Beast explains that he’s about to drink a Hi-C Ecto Cooler Juice Box that expired some 24 years ago. It was purchased off of eBay for $400. He freshens his palate first with new Hi-C Ecto Cooler out of a can. Then comes the sludge. Dear God, this would not be me. There are “little things floating in it” and it’s the color of swamp water! You just want to yell, noooooooooooooooooooooooo! One of the things I love about his videos is the music that turns inspirational. He tosses this one up and then pours a bucket of green stuff over his head.
OMG. From the floaty things and the Christmas background music! He is blasting himself back to the past and sampling some old crap. He starts with 7-Up Gold, a 0.1% of the market failure for the 7-Up company. He describes the bouquet as possessing a hint of deer urine, and the taste is something he believes is what a wet, wrinkly, jungle foot would be like (with pop ups.) He tries Billy Beer from a rusted can. I think this is from 1970? Acidy loaf of stale bread is the bouquet, and there is a chunk in there (flash picture from the Goonies.) LOLOL! How is this guy still alive? Last but not least, he tries a murky brown glass bottle of 25 year old Crystal Pepsi (which he compares to an old man’s nut sac.) This leads to a geyser, as you can imagine.
Before you think he only does food challenges that have varying degrees of success, his most recent two videos are awesome! He doesn’t post as much anymore, and given how hard some of these challenges were on his body, I don’t frickin’ blame him. But he did this great video in March where he bought two packs of Fleer baseball cards off eBay for $579 and opens them to see if he gets a rare and valuable Michael Jordan 1986 Rookie Card:
I’ll let you watch to find out what happens. There is NO VOMITING in these two, do not worry! Bottom-line, I think he’s a really good guy. He’s a bro, and I like everything he’s done. I’m glad he’s slowed down on the eating, though. Some of that stuff was hardcore!
And okay, I know that this month’s Popcorn Review subject matter might not be for everyone. Next month, I’ll do something with broader appeal, I promise! Hmmm, I’m hungry...