So I decided to call my Grandma Lola today because it's been a while since we've talked. You never know which Lola you are going to get on the phone -- she can be sassy, laughing, frustrated, or ready to argue. She's always sweet, but like all of us, Lola has her days. And if I reach 82 years of age, I want to be like Lola -- cuz she rocks and I wouldn't want her any other way!

I have learned a lot from Lola. She taught me how to cuss properly. When she's frustrated, the four-letter words are released. She talks about wanting to clean up her act, but it's not like she's foul-mouthing the server in the restaurant or cursing out the other BINGO players. It's endearing, and I say, let the damn shit fly!

She has taught me that family is important. She is the martriarch of our family, and she has always looked out for my mom, my brother, and me. I owe my success today, in part, to her contributions and support. I think she bought a new car once so I could buy her old one. When my brother and I visited on the weekends as kids, she would stock the fridge and freezer with our favorite drinks, ice cream, and microwave dinners. She would take us to the movies and hide sodas in her purse because she didn't want to pay those "damn crooks" for their overpriced drinks. She clips coupons or saves newspaper articles she thinks we will like. Most of all, she taught us what it is to love unconditionally.

Lola and I are birds of a feather. We are both night owls. Lola would go to bed at 5 a.m. and wake up around noon. We both drive with a heavy foot and yell at annoying people on the TV. We both understand the therapy of eating out by yourself in a restaurant. In that way, we are both independently minded.

Lola loves to gamble. Bingo, slot machines, lottery, instant scratch tickets. If there is a place on Earth to which each of us is drawn, her spot is Las Vegas. But in the interim, the gambling boats in Indiana will suffice. She always tells me that next time, she is bound to win because she lost the past several times...her win is due. Oh, Lola.

Lola used to fly airplanes. She once told her boss that if he wants her to work faster, does he expect her to stick a broom up her ass because she only has two hands. I used to work around her house for extra allowance -- washing the car, cleaning the windows, running the vacuum. She makes the best peanut brittle you ever had.

She watched after my grandpa for many years as his health was fading. Before that, they would argue and chide each other as only a married couple their age can do. She would always bring home meatloaf and mashed potatoes or instant lottery tickets for him. Or beer and cigarettes, even though she didn't want him to have them.

Lola and Bob raised my beautiful mother. She is truly the best, too, so it looks like Lola has created a legacy of herself -- generosity, love, a sense of independence, and humor. Get us together, watch us interact, and the relation is clear.

So I called Lola today and we chatted for some time. She was telling me about how she could not believe that old witch would not let her grandchildren have fun or how this so-n-so was like an old mummy that must have thought a smile would crack her face. She promised to clean up her potty mouth. She told me she can't wait to see me and that she will keep Grandpa's tradition of giving me money on my birthday equal to my age...I told her, like I always told Grandpa, that I'll be 100 this year.

I'm lucky to have a cool grandma like Lola. Many people have told me how wonderful she is, and they are right. I told her she's the best. We laughed about being horrible morning people. We talked about how happy we are for our family. You have to love Lola. I do.

The Same Effect From Another Cause

I was sitting here after surviving our third Sunday tornado warning in the past month and listening to some tunes, and suddenly the hairs on my arms stood up. They did that when the tornado sirens went off around 4:00 p.m. today, but now my skin tingled for another reason -- awesome music.

So I wanted to share some tunes with y'all that cause physiological responses in me. I also threw in a few pictures I took today during the storm's epilogue.

- "Without You I'm Nothing" by Placebo -- gotta crank it and ride the emotion through to the final note. All I can say about this song is Wow. I'm in awe every time it finishes.

- "Spies" by Coldplay -- eerie intro, and Chris's voice is chilling; there's something haunting to me about the line "and the spies came out of the water"

- "Fiction" by The Lucksmiths -- a simple story told beautifully (like many of their songs); the lyrics are poetic; you can feel the crescendo at the end invade your body

- "Somewhere a Clock is Ticking" by Snow Patrol -- this song creates an uneasy sense of urgency that keeps me on edge; the vocals and guitar push this song to its hurried end

- "Everybody Wake Up" by Dave Matthews Band -- mostly it's the intro that never fails to move me, so much that I will frequently restart the song 3-4 times; a powerful violin intro that merges with electric guitar - I'm getting chills writing about it!!

- "Ladies and Gentlemen We're Floating in Space" by Spiritualized -- oh my god, this song is genius; it starts as a tiny song that continuously builds with different overlapping vocals that somehow fit together in a coherent piece that will blow you away : )

"A Wolf at the Door" by Radiohead -- what isn't haunting about Thom's voice... he can turn any lyric into a nightmare, which he does in this song, while being pulled along by an electric guitar riff constructed with the intent to terrify us

Army says Peace Out for now...

Gone Wild Series: MILF's Gone Wild!

Installment two of the Gone Wild series is finally here, and it's taken me some time to scrape together adequate coverage of this one. Another local phenomena that happened to coincide with those vagabond turkeys was Mom's Weekend at the University of Illinois. And believe me, when Moms come in to town, they like to par-tay! And the most sought-after, fun-loving, wild-go-crazy mom is the legendary M.I.L.F. -- or simply, Mom I'd Like to Fuck.

(print lifted from

To my knowledge, this term was popularized by the movie "American Pie" in reference to Stifler's mom. I draw your attention to the movie still below:

I have to admit there's something hot about a hot mom -- yeah, I said that. As a gay man, how could that be? Well, I don't know what to tell you. All I can say is that on Dad's Weekend, I'd be hard-pressed to find a D.I.L.F. in the crowd -- let's just say there's a double standard for gender on this one. And if any of you have seen Alias's guest star Lena Olin play Irina Derevko, let's just say I'd go straight for her...well, for one night.

Anyway, the best thing about Mom's Weekend is the night life because, as I said, Moms go wild. And there are pictures to prove it. For horny college boys, there are groups who discuss the fine art of "milfhunting" which includes, for example, allowing an older woman to experience the "fountain of youth." Take that as you will...and take in some of the sights I was able to rake up:

Great stuff. I have witnessed Mom's Weekend first-hand in the past, and the hilarity is far greater when experienced in-person.

On a final note, one of the respected newspapers on campus, Booze News, saw fit to print a helpful article that classifies The Mom Genus. I wish this article was online so you could truly appreciate it, but I will paraphrase as it goes on to describe the following species of Mom:

Imstilltwentyuerilla -- still thinks she's got it going on despite fat bulges, saggy breasts, and her big old fat ass; thinks she has to compete with her 19 year old daughter

H.O.T. (Hold On Tight) Mom -- the sight of her brings even the strongest of male species to his knees, and if provoked by the right music, will begin her ritual dance on the dance floor -- she's on the prowl

Closet Freak Mom -- normally quiet and shy in her suburban habitat, when exposed to alcohol and the flashbacks of her teenage years, she breaks free and becomes a crazy wildebeast; will eventually blackout and have to be dragged home by son/daughter

The Lady Devil -- she never says no, always yes; she is in need of sexual interaction that has been deprived for too long; can be found parading around with a mixed drink in one hand and a bottle of wine in the other; will grind with men half her age while reliving her glory days

This stuff is too funny...we love you Moms!!

Minotaur Paces the Labyrinth

All work and no play makes Chris a dull blogger...

that and my heliolithic desire to enjoy the sunny warm weather, god-bless-ya daylight savings time, how you were missed...

and I just read the story of the minotaur out of curiousity and it sounds suspiciously like a soap opera plot...when a woman gets inside a wooden cow suit to be mounted by a bull...well, that just has daytime drama written all over it...and internet perversions available for $24.95/month...

I'm just saying...

and I had a revelation today at Starbucks standing at the add-ins counter...I'm not rushing to get out of the way of anyone wearing flip-flops...because flip-flops makes the statement that you got no where to go and all the time in the world...damned lounge-about students...

And now to lay my head into a pillowed reminder that nighttime is for sleeping...

Gone Wild Series: Turkeys Gone Wild

This is the first post in a series of three seemingly unrelated incidents that happened to coincide with one another in a twist I can only describe as serendipity or perhaps, even fate.

If you have ever been to the University of Illinois or know someone who has, you have likely heard about the squirrel epidemic. That's right, everyone has at least one squirrel story here because the furry punks are everywhere! A squirrel once chucked a nut at a co-worker and one of them stood its ground as I approached, perched on its hind legs, front paws clutched into tiny fists, as if to say, "try me, betch!" In fact, on Facebook, there is a group called the Squirrel Counterterrorist Task Force and about 20 other groups related to the furry rodent. They were C-U's number one menace...until now.

Enter the wild turkeys. It's literally all the town can talk about. Wild turkeys have found their way back to Illinois since being gone from this area basically since the early 1900s. Taking the bus to the shuttle lot from work one evening, the driver slowed for what I assumed were pedestrians. Upon further inspection, it was two gobblers! On campus? Weird, but I didn't think much of it at the time. Until a friend called and told me these birds are the talk of the town. People are calling up morning radio shows to share their turkey stories. And these things are not docile...they attack something fierce! Stories of people being chased, fending them off with swinging bookbags, being rescued by passing motorists, being held up in their homes or blocked from enter buildings (now THAT'S cock-blocking in its original form). It's like some feathered posse moved into town and is roughing up the locals. The News Gazette ran a feature about the capture of these guys. Apparently the police, animal control, and Department of Natural Resources can't quite decide who's responsibility it is to detain these wandering thugs. Um, let me just say that we are in the Midwest, the NRA is big around here, and I think there's an army of hunters and gun-toting yokels who may get all vigilante for the promise of an early Thanksgiving unless the authorities can "git 'er done!"

Meantime, all we can do is sit back and enjoy the comedy. I was talking to Brandon and Iker about it at dinner today, and on my way home, I saw all these cars slowing down and sure enough, the turkeys were crossing the street! There was a guy with a video camera...yeah, seriously. I busted out laughing and called Brandon to make him jealous.



A bridge for sleepwalkers
a reality for lucid dreamers
forgetting how to recognize
an emotion
waking up betrays
what your hidden brain takes
a lifetime to rectify

Houdini in a Pinch
through a trapdoor or false wall
I escaped the horror of my life
constantly fearing confrontation
of a past best sealed in a box
tossed into the river
unable to break free in a pocket of air
or reappear behind a curtain
I vanish like those troubled teens
who don't have their shit together
who cannot pull the right card free.

Soft Drink Formulas

Okay, look. These debates have gone far enough, so Professor Army Armstrong is here to set the record straight old school-style. No, not that tired old soda v. pop debate. This one is far more important to settle! I can no longer tolerate the "soft drink x tastes like soft drink y" utterance, so it must end here and now...

That's right, I'm laying out the proofs concerning the taste of soft drinks (using Coke as my example) in mathematical formulas. Rationale? Soft drinks are created by use of strict formulas. And let me be clear -- if you tweak the formula, if you contain it differently, if you change the timing of ingredient mixture, or if you remove sugar or caffiene, it will change the experience!

What seems like common sense clearly isn't because people contend me on this all the time. I may not know wine or beer well, but Coke...Coke, I know.

Today's Lesson Plan on Taste

1. fountain Coke ≠ canned or bottled Coke

2. McDonald's fountain Coke > any other fountain Coke

3. Diet Coke ≠ ≠ ≠ Coke
(yes, Diet Coke drinkers actually argue this with me)

4. no, even caffiene-free Coke ≠ Coke
(don't give me that look, you)

5. oh yeah, Pepsi ≠ Coke
(that's why they are different beverage companies all together)

6. and for godsakes, RC Cola is the worst cola that exists or ever will exist!!

Now go forth and spread the knowledge because knowledge is power.

Class dismissed!