Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Portable Philosophy

I have this bag, okay, I have many bags, but there is one in particular that I am talking about today. It is a green canvas messenger bag that I got at a surplus store. I always liked the bag, and one day I started putting buttons on it. Now it has in the neighborhood of sixty buttons. Most of the buttons have been purchased at various t-shirt or adult bookstores. (So, Mom, if you hear stories that I was in an adult book store, it was just to buy buttons!) There are other buttons I would have bought, but I have tried to keep it PG-13. Anyway, I have listed the buttons here, for your viewing pleasures.

-Service may vary according to my mood and your attitude
-It's not just a body it's an adventure
-The aliens promised me it would grow back
-Someone Less Dumb for President
-Coffee isn't helping get the jumper cables
-Excuse me, but I have minds to twist and values to warp
-Everything I need to know about life I've learned from reading banned books
-Guns don't kill people? yeah, right
-All religions are fairy tales
-Just pretend I'm not here - That's what I'm doing
-I do all my own nude scenes
-God is watching-give Him a good show
-I've found Jesus. He was behind the sofa the whole time
-Tact is for people who aren't witty enough to be sarcastic.
-It's sick the way you people keep HAVING SEX without me.
-Dip me in honey & throw me to the lesbians
-TV is educational. It teaches you how stupid the networks think you are.
-Another brilliant mind ruined by education.
-You nonconformists are all alike.
-"The only way to get rid of temptation is to yeild to it." Oscar Wilde
-I haven't lost my mind, it's backed up on a disk somewhere.
-I am not infantile, you stinkybutt poophead.
-I've got nothing against God, it's his fan club I can't stand.
-A normal person is just one you don't know real well.
-Believe those who seek the truth. Doubt those who find it.
-I see you're playing stupid again...looks like you're winning too.
-Don't make me come down there. God
-Immaturity: It's not just for children anymore.
-If love is blind why is lingerie so popular???
-You're not famous until they put your head on a PEZ dispenser
-Ignorance may be bliss. I wouldn't know.
-"Not all who wander are lost." JRR Tolkien
-GET REAL If I'm lying wouldn't my pants be on fire?
-I have no idea what I'm doing out bed.
-Happiness is a journey, not a place.
-Comfort the disturbed. Disturb the comfortable.
-Seriously bizarre
-You cannot stop me, you cannot destroy me, for I am the cockroach of love.
-Jesus loves you but I'm his favorite.
-I'm not myself today. Maybe I'm you.
-Emotional baggage limited to two checked pieces and one carry on.
-Rock is dead. Long live paper and scissors.
-Where are we going and why am l in this handbasket?
-I'm reading your mind. Okay, I'm done.
-Mr. Right just called. He's cheating on you and he's gay.
-Never put off until tomorrow what you can get someone else to do today
-Spiritual people inspire me. Religious people frighten me.
-Free the endorphins
-"The only unnatural act is the one which cannot be performed." William Burroughs
-Who says I want to fit in?
-To Err Is Human, To Really Screw Things Up You Need Religion
-Can't sleep, clowns will eat me
-A clean house is a sign of a wasted life
-Don't act stupid We have World Leaders for that
-If the world's a stage, I'll be needing more wardrobe
-Never underestimate the power of a sick mind
-Why be normal when you can be yourself!
-Out of my mind back in 5 minutes
-Parental Advisory

Friday, November 25, 2005

Braving the Shopping Mauls

Today is called Black Friday, by those in the retail profession. Why is it called this? Because, this is the single busiest shopping day of the year. Let me repeat that, in case you missed it; The. Single. Busiest. Shopping. Day. Of. The. Year.

Now, speaking as almost nine year veteran of retail, I can certainly sympathize with the people that have had to wake up before their Thanksgiving dinner has fully digested, in order to man the registers and aisles of stores, in preparation for the onslaught of shoppers that will be advancing today. Many of these folks will deal with shoppers who have been waiting for the doors to open, with the same looks on their faces as lions in the Roman Coliseum waiting for the Christians to be brought in.

So, if you are one of the shoppers descending upon these folks today, please be patient. You are (Statistically speaking.) not the first person they are dealing with today. You have the opportunity to be the most understanding, though. Look around you at the masses of people carrying off their packages, overloaded like ants returning to the hill.

I will be sitting home on my couch, relaxing and watching movies, with my feet up. Unless I decide to go to my favorite coffee shop and watch the SUVs circling the parking lot of the mall across the street, looking for places to go and practice their rampant consumerism.

I might not have such a bleak view of these Christmas happenings if I hadn’t been hammered with the holiday spirit for last few months on end. Hallmark releases their Christmas ornaments in July fer christsakes! Some of the stores I went shopping for Halloween goodies had more Christmas items than Halloween of Thanksgiving supplies. And it seems that the push for the Christmas shopping season starts earlier every year. Soon it won’t just be trailer parks that have year round Christmas lights!

Even worse, the push is more for the commercial side of the season than the actual purpose of it. Target stores last year wouldn’t let the Salvation Army have their bell ringers in front of the stores. Why? My thought is because that bell sounds to the greedy parts of the people passing it by, and makes them feel guilty that they are ignoring the true season of giving, by going shopping, instead of helping the less fortunate.

To me, Christmas has always been about family. I have a rather large extended family and we, for the most part, gather together every year, to celebrate together. It isn’t about who gets the most gifts, it is about spending time with the ones you love. (Or at least tolerate because they are family.) It is about renewing relationships and drinking a lot of Johnnie Walker catching up.

Okay, enough out of me for the time being. Remember, only 28 more shopping days until the holiday that the Christians used to supplant the Pagan Yule celebration!


Random fact: Today’s forecast for Phoenix, AZ is a high of 75. Enjoy your cold weather kids!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Dress to Impress

I recently received a spam e-mail which was titled “Impress her with a hard erection!”

Now, I may have missed this particular issue of GQ, but I don’t remember this really being a way to impress women. As a matter of fact, I don’t think there is a bar in Phoenix where I could just walk up to a woman and whip mine out without getting slapped and/or arrested. Okay, maybe there are a few places this might be acceptable. But I don’t go to those places. In fact, I have only heard of them from friends. (And in case my mom is reading this I would never go to one, even out of curiosity to check it out.) (Cause you never know where my mom will turn up. She surprises me a lot.)

Since I have many women friends and I am not shy, so I asked around for things that impress them about a man. I invariably had to ask them, at the end of their thoughts, and lists, “How about a hard erection?” Needless to say, I then had to explain I wasn’t offering one.

Actually, I have been hard pressed (No pun intended) to find anyone impressed by a hard erection. Then again, I haven’t asked around any retirement communities, where this might actually be a topic of conversation. I can imagine a table of old ladies sitting around asking each other if they had seen Ernie’s (Or whoever.) new erection.

Now, it could be that I am more difficult to impress in this manner, having the equipment myself and having had to deal with such “uprisings.” But other than the retirement home example, I can’t think of a situation where you could use an erection to impress anyone. And believe me, I have put effort into it. Here’s the proof:

At a job interview;
“No, I don’t have a degree or experience, but take a look at this!
(Unless you are applying for the position of “Porn Star.”)

Meeting your girlfriend’s mother;
“No ma’am, I don’t have a diploma or any goal or direction in life, but there is something I’d like to show you.”

In court;
“I’m sorry, judge, I don’t have a valid license or proof of insurance, but I am an upstanding citizen.”

Buying a car;
“No I don’t have a job, or credit, but I do have one thing can provide to show why I should have this sports car.”

Before the parole board;
“I know I haven’t completed my therapy sessions, but perhaps, if I were able to introduce a character witness?”

“Hello, Nobel committee?”
I think you get the point.


Random fact: I am turning into my parents and I don’t even have kids yet.


Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Monday, November 21, 2005

Wisdom That Man Should Not Forget

When my father still had his private practice, he had, in his office, a framed collection of thoughts, which I always liked and would read every time I was there. He had it in both Spanish and English. As I said, I always liked this and it made a lasting impression on me. This year, for my birthday, my father gave me the English copy of this work, the same one that had hung in his office for all those years, and all those years ago. Turns out that he had saved it to give to me. I’d like to share those thoughts with you, and I hope you find something in these words, as I have.

Wisdom That Man Should Not Forget

The Greatest Obstacle...................Fear
The Most Beautiful Day..................Today
The Biggest Error One Can Make.......To Give Up
The Greatest Defect.....................Conceit
The Best Distraction.....................Work
The Worst Impoverishment.............Discouragement
The Best Teachers.......................Children
The Most Vile Feeling....................Envy
The Most Beautiful Gift..................Pardon
The Most Knowledgeable.................God
The Most Marvelous of the World.......Love
The Sweetest Happiness.................Peace

I don’t know who originally penned these thoughts, so I don’t know who to attribute them to. If anyone comes across the original author, please let me know.


Random Fact: One of my favorite books is “The Art of Worldly Wisdom” by Baltasar Gracian. It was also given to me by my father.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

I miss Garanimals

By the way, the Garanimals in the title is a link. As it is in this line.

I have been looking through a lot of old photos and I realize that I have worn my fair share of tuxes in the past. I’m also on to you women, by the way. (I may be smart, but I never said I was quick about it.) Any time there is any kind of even that the woman wants to go smoothly, men get dressed in tuxes. Weddings, proms, state dinners, every man is wearing a tux. You know why? Because if women didn’t require us to wear one, we would all show up in jeans and T-shirts.

You know I’m right on this. This is just another example of my theory. (Which, if you know me, you have heard, but if you haven’t, it is the basis of a whole post of it’s own. Possibly a series.) The simple truth is that we, as men, cannot be trusted to dress ourselves. It seems worse when you are living with a woman. You have to constantly ask, “Does this plaid shirt go with these fireman pants?” It’s no wonder women tend to live longer than men, they need a few years of peace before they go.

I have lived alone the better part of my adult life. Maybe not the part mind you, but at least the longer portion of it. In that time I have managed to get jobs, dates, and not be laughed out of Denny’s for my attire in the time that I have picked it out myself. I am also an oddball in that my underwear and socks tend to match the rest of the outfit. (Depending entirely on the proximity to laundry time.)

There have been times when I have been blessed (Or so it seemed at the time.) with female company that stayed over often. I even had a female roommate for a while. Now during these times, I remember not being confident in leaving the house unless I had run my outfit past my significant other. (Or Sarah.) In fact, in Sarah’s case, I think it was reciprocal, because I saw her just as often in her scanties asking for my thoughts on a particular outfit. Somehow I could help her get dressed, but I was incapable of picking out my own wardrobe.

Until I was living on my own again. But I have begun to wonder if my time without having a serious relationship has impacted my ability to pick out clothes, and thereby, be able to find such a relationship. Somehow that seems even too cruel for the powers that be. I think my next move might have to be having someone move in with me to be a wardrobe consultant. She could start out by interviewing all of my clothes to see if they had “relevance” in the new structure. I don’t think I need the whole Metrosexualization package. Just a little more pizzazz to my wardrobe. I certainly can’t just rent tuxes, not with my job. I’ll get locked up, too.

I have noticed that my clothing has become much more about comfort than about style. “Clearance” is also a good word in my shopping vocabulary. As I am looking back in some of these pictures, I find myself recognizing shirts that I still have. Some that I still wear, some that I swear I will be able to wear again. (I also used to have more hair. It must be in the closet somewhere, too.)

Ummm…I started out with a point. Oh yeah. Women dress us for important occasions so that we don’t screw it up. Such is the deviousness of their plot that in trying to uncover it, your brain goes on tangents! They are a nefarious and sinister gender. And we are dumb enough to fall for it. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to figure out how to connect these suspenders to this belt holding my pants up.


Random fact: This post has no correlation with the opening of “Walk the Line.” A movie about a man who solved this particular dilemma.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Direct line to God

My brother and I have very compatible senses of humor. We grew up listening to all the same comedy albums (Yes, albums, we are that old.) and watching the same movies, so we often speak to each other in quotes from these sources.

We also find humor in the abstract and bizarre. So it was that when I got my first apartment, I found one of those slim line type phones, which had an actual bell ringer. It was a very weird mintish green color, but it had a bell ringer!

After about a month of use I realized that I could take the phone apart! And, rather than have a number mat which lies over buttons, these buttons were all separate. (If you see where this is going, we should go out drinking some time.) Of course I re-arranged the numbers! You still had to press the “1” position for a “1” but the button might be the “4” button. As long as you didn’t look at the phone too much, you could dial without problem. But the looks on my friend’s faces when they asked to use the phone for the first time were amazing! Okay, so I am easily amused, I can admit that.

When my brother moved from his dorm to his first apartment, I bequeathed the phone to him. He left it in the same state that I had set it up, but made sure that people were drunk before they tried to make a call. After some years of abuse the phone stopped working, but he still kept it on the counter, cord trailing but unplugged. He began to call it the “Direct Line to God” with the comment that if it ever rings, we are well and truly screwed.

Goonie goohoo, my brother, goonie goohoo.


Random Fact; According to this site $1.00 of goods or services in the year 1969 (When I was born) would cost $5.30 today

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Oral Pleasures

Okay, all, I have fallen in love. And it has the potential to be a very long lasting affair, too. It all started the other day in a Circle K. I was wandering the store, feeling a bit hungry, but just looking for a little snack, when I saw the object of my affection.

Funyuns. With wasabi!

Now, I thought that once they added lime to Coke, my world was complete. As good as an icy cold Coke is, it could always use something added to it. Cherry, Vanilla, Captain Morgan’s. But Funyuns? They were a perfect food. Granted they were a side. You could never really make a meal of Funyuns. Not even if you were seriously dumped. (We all know that requires Hagen Daz.) (Hey, most of my friends are women.)

But, back to the Funyuns. I bought a bag. Such was the intensity of my desire, the bag didn’t even remain intact while I waited in line. I tenderly, gently took a nibble and was enraptured. Oh god, they are good.

So now I am hooked and I know we will be together forever. At least until they stop being made, which will be my luck.


Another food combination; Mint Kit Kats, believe it or not, not so good.


Addendum 10-20-05

There is something very gratifying about listening to an ex-girfriend looking over your blog and telling you, “Oral Pleasures? Shut up! Shut up! I want to read this!” Only to be disappointed that it wasn’t about what she thought it was. Thank you for making my day! It’s nice to be fondly remembered.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Department of Redundancy Department

It all began with my brother buying a new car. In filling out the multitude of forms, which are redundant in and of themselves, he told me that he lost count of how many times he had to write down his “VIN number.” As in Vehicle Identification Number. Number. Just in case you forgot that it was, indeed a number. I can almost make the argument for that need of reminding. My VIN has letters in it. I'd hate to forget it is, after all, a number.

So then, new car and VIN number on your sheaf of papers you head to the Department of Motor Vehicles, Motor Vehicle Division. Or DMV, MVD for short. I wore BVDs just to be a smart ass. Under my BDUs. Okay, that's not redundant, but it makes me chuckle.

And, good lord, let's not forget going to the ATM machine and having to remember our PIN number. Ah, I see the realization in some of your eyes. For those that missed it, Automated (or Automatic) Teller Machine. Machine. And Personal Identification Number. Number.

I also have a new PDA, which means I never have to remember anything again. Of course, to make sure I don't lose data, I have to back up the memory…to the memory. I'm not sure how this works, so I kept everything written on paper. Just in case.

My brother and I were having this conversation while he was waiting to get on a plane. As I am typing this, I am sure the waitress stewardess has handed him his foil packet of peanuts, with the precaution “Warning: Contains nuts.”

I am sure there are more out there, but I worked an 18-hour shift and I am going to bed now. If you think of any I have missed, please, pass them on. Oh wait, here's one; I now have two cats when none was sufficient.


Random fact: This entry was posted using my friend's new Mac G5; she calls him "Big Mac."

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Nuts about cats

I’d like to take a few moments to talk about my testicles. I have grown quite attached to them, and they to me. I am also rather protective of them. I have a female Corgi/Border Collie mix, who used to have the uncanny ability to land on my tenders every time she would jump on the couch. Together we learned to avoid the twins. Now I have cats.

I am not sure how many of you are men, or have woken up with a man, but the first thing we do, typically, is scratch the boys. I think this is a prehistoric, genetic ritual which is really an excuse to make sure everything is still in place and that a saber-toothed tiger has not munched something in the night. Then there was Lorena Bobbit, which brought the ritual into the 20th century.

Anyway, in addition to the scratch, there is the subject of “morning wood” of which I have heard said; That’s why men think with their penises; (Peni? Penisi? How the hell would I know, I only have the one!) How do you outwit something that is awake 20 minutes before you are?

But back to the testicles. And the cats. Most people who have slept around cats know they will go for your toes in a heartbeat. Mine do. But if I happen to be sleeping on the couch, they ignore the toes for other targets. You guessed it, the sack. Today, for example, they are re-paving the parking lot to my apartment complex, so I was trying to sleep to the lullaby of numerous large construction machines backing up. (They seemed to only function in reverse.) Well, my living room was quieter than the bedroom, so I went there to sleep. I was awoken several times, which prompted the scratch and adjust ritual, which in turn prompted a fuzzy cannonball to the gonadual area. At one point I was amazed to discover that a seven month old kitten can launch itself over five feet in a horizontal line, with amazing accuracy. I also learned that, with a good underhand scoop, you can fling a cat onto the other chair with amazing accuracy. I also learned where the “catapult” must have gained it’s name.

I guess it is my own fault for moving under the blanket, but for goodness sake I think I should be able to handle my business in my own home!

So, I am either going to have to get a protective cup, or a tennis racket.


Random fact: Spell check tried to replace my invented word “gonadual” with “gondolas.”

Monday, November 07, 2005

Thanks for the Mom-eries.

Today is my mom's birthday.

Happy Birthday Mom!

My mother is an amazing woman, and I spent a good deal of this weekend thinking about and realizing the impact that she has had on me.

I am in the midst of cleaning out the many boxen (One ox, several oxen.) of useless crap that I have accumulated in my 36 years on the planet. Actually, this batch represents just the last 10 years or so, most of the rest has been lost long ago. I store things in those 48-gallon plastic tubs that you can get at any Wal-Mart or Target. (These come from Wal-Mart, as Target is not open at 3:30 am.) So, I have these tubs of papers that I will “one day” go through to see what I actually need to keep and what I can get rid of. The good thing about having all this stuff around for so long is that most of it is useless now and can be thrown away.

By the way, neat people never have the sense of discovery that I do.

Now, you may be asking yourself, "What does this have to do with Eric's mom and her effect on him as a person?" I'll get to it, patience, young grasshopper. First of all, despite their protestations to the contrary, I leaned much of this hoarding from my parents. Admittedly, I have escalated the skill far beyond what they had ever done, but I have lived alone all my adult life and have never had to make room for anyone. Secondly, and more my mother’s influence, I have saved almost every piece of personal correspondence that I have been sent. Everything from birthday and Christmas cards, to letters and postcards. I had a tub and a half of this collection, which I spent the weekend going through.

And here’s where it really comes back to mom - The bulk of all that mail was from her. This is all stuff that started back when I first went off to college in the summer of 1987. Yes, I have been carting a lot of this stuff around for 18+ years. Without reading it in any chronological order, I can honestly say that I don’t think that there was a week that went by which didn’t find some piece of mail from mom. There were many pounds of articles clipped from newspapers and magazines, relating to papers I told her that I was writing, goofy stuff she saw that made her think of me, cartoons, coupons and confetti for birthdays, Christmas and just plain smiley faces. (I like smiley faces, but owe the bulk of my collection to mom.) Oh, and STAMPS!! Enough stamps that I could probably mail myself home for Christmas. (No easy feat, I am not a small guy.) I think the stamps were a hint, which I never took. Okay, I know the stamps were a hint. A little more subtle than the many notes that read, “Sure would be nice to hear from you.” But more on that in a bit.

My mother is, without debate, one of the most caring and selfless women that I have ever met. She has never let an opportunity to sympathize, empathize or support me or my brother go past. She has buoyed spirits, tended wounds, mended torn clothes and broken hearts. Without my mom I would never know when I should throw food away. Thank goodness she has the cell phone now and I can catch her away from home! She taught my brother and I to cook, to do our own laundry and to iron our own clothes. And, she has endured us teasing her that having taught us these skills is why neither my brother nor I have ever married, as well as being touted as the “Black Thumb” of relationships. (We are just kidding mom, we know it’s all our faults!)

I spent hours reading birthday cards, cards with update letters, looking over cards with photos, cards with new phone numbers and addresses from there various moves. And in the midst of all the remembering, smiling and misty eyes, I started to feel a bit guilty. I have been remiss in my end of the correspondence. I have a box of cards that I have bought over the years, and was going to send one day. (Another thing I learned from mom. Buy the card when you see it, and you’ll always have a card when you need it.) I am certainly not in need of stamps to write. And I don’t even call as often as I should or would like to.

None of this is new, but there is nothing like a towering pile of love to remind you how much someone has touched and influenced your life. And while I always tell her that I love her when I talk to her, I’m no longer letting so much time go between reminding her.

Happy Birthday Mom. I love you. (Papi, too!)


Things that make you go…WTF?

Did you know there is an internet addiction website? Isn’t this a bit like holding AA meetings in a bar?

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Is it just me?

I don’t have any concrete proof, other than my own observations, but it seems like people are getting more and more stupid as every year goes by. It’s as though common sense has become rare and that critical thinking skills are non-existent. Humanity appears to be drifting through their days in a fog with their hazard lights turned off.

It starts with some of the e-mails I receive. E-mails from people who I consider to be intelligent. People with actual DEGREES for goodness sake! But they send me warnings about outrageous kidnapping plots for starters. (Not for those starting a career in kidnapping.) So, rather than sending out paranoia and unfounded fear, how about we say this; Folks, pay attention to your surroundings. Park in well lit areas. Exercise caution.

Then there is the ever-recurring e-mail that promises a huge check by sending an e-mail to everyone in my list, because Bill Gates is taking over Yahoo. (And the rest of the world, but that’s another story.) And the tag line is always something along the lines of “It couldn’t hurt.” Or “You never know.” But yes, you could know, if you applied reason or, failing that, research. And yes it can hurt. It hurts my brain every time I see this!

And how about the entertaining lists of “factoids”? You’ve seen them; you’ve probably even quoted some of these tidbits as truth at one time or another. But, as entertaining as they are, many of them are false. But people just go on forwarding these things and spreading the misinformation.

Maybe I should never have taken that logic class in college. Or maybe I shouldn’t have paid attention in class. It might make people easier to talk to. If you ever want to see stupidity in action, watch some daytime TV. And I don’t mean Jerry Springer; I’m talking about the Judge Whoever shows. Listen to some of the things people say to justify the stupid things they do! There was one person who refused to pay for a rental car that he wrecked while driving drunk because his daughter, who had rented the car, didn’t get insurance on the car. So he felt it wasn’t his fault or his responsibility.

What?!?! Let me get this straight, YOU drove drunk. YOU wrecked the car. But it isn’t. Your. Fault. OWW! My brain!

The only thing harder than watching these idiots is watching the one we elected. (Well, I didn’t vote for him. I put my mark by “Anybody but.” I find it difficult to have our nation represented by someone who doesn’t have a firm grasp on the official language of the country. Is it some kind of omen that the intelligence of our leaders seems to be slipping a few points with each person we elect? The last two elections I have not been excited by either candidate. I have always voted for the one that scares me less.

I see people having children that can’t even take care of themselves. What are they going to be teaching their children? I think that my parents are intelligent and well educated. I think they passed on good lessons on reason and critical thinking. But even I have moments of “What was I thinking?” There are people who can’t reason for themselves and believe everything they hear on TV or the radio, what are they going to be passing on? What will the children of the bad examples learn?

I’m frightened for future generations.

Random fact: I'm wearing new socks. (Thanks, mom!)

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Mightier than the sword

Have you ever written with a fountain pen? Even the cheap ones are a pleasure of fluid grace as they glide their way across the page. But a good one is like...well like something really good.

Seriously though, I am using a Sheaffer that I picked up at Office Max for about $30, and it is the nicest that I have ever had the pleasure to write with. I use it at work and when I notarize, people think it's a special pen that I use just for this purpose. If only they knew the only thing I don't use it for is writing on duplicate forms. Heh heh heh, my little secret.

Random fact: CD currently playing is Stray Cats, "Rock This Town." (Best of CD.)

Getting started

Okay, so here I go, following the herd. I can recall all of the disparaging things that I have said about blogs and online diaries with great clarity. However, I find myself looking for a way to keep friends and family updated on my vampire lifestyle. (Okay, if you have searched "vampire" and found yourself here, I just work overnight shifts. No Goth/blood/weirdness here.) (Okay, there will most likely be weirdness.) At any rate, ("How about 6 1/2%?") here will be me, dumping the contents of my brain into cyberspace.

Watch your step.