Jim Varagona

Month: February, 2006

>Dick Shot A Quail In Texas, Just To See It Was A Man?

My last post concerned recent events involving the White House that some would deem “effed up”. To add more to my arsenal, we learn today that Vice President Dick shot a man yesterday. Technically it was an accident, and they were hunting, but the details are still a bit sketchy.

For instance, Dick’s office did not report this until almost 24 hours later, after the local paper broke the story earlier today. The men were wearing bright orange vests, but apparently Dick was fixated on his quail and didn’t realize he shot one of his hunting companions in the cheek, neck, and chest. The companion/victim was one Harry Whittington, described as “a millionaire attorney from Austin”. The AP states further:

Whittington has been a private practice attorney in Austin since 1950 and has long been active in Texas Republican politics. He’s been appointed to several state boards, including when then-Gov. George W. Bush named him to the Texas Funeral Service Commission.

Katharine Armstrong, who owns the property, summed up the event well by saying, “…the vice president picked out a bird and was following it and shot. And by god, Harry was in the line of fire and got peppered pretty good.”

Granted, the man was shot with pellets, but he was bleeding, and despite being reportedly “stable and doing well”, Whittington is in intensive care. Who knows what he did to deserve this hit from the President’s right hand man? And is this only the beginning from our vigilante federal government? If one of us disagrees with them, could we be the next to get “peppered real good”??!



>Eavesdropping On the Prez


I always like these stories of mics being left on catching comments that we normally wouldn’t hear. CBS News reports that the reporters eavedropped on Bush discussing eavesdropping thanks to a mic left on.

And more news to make Bush look even better…

Michael Brown, the ex-FEMA chief that stepped down after dropping the ball with Hurricane Katrina, claims he notified officials at the White House the day the levees were breached. This contradicts earlier reports that they were left in the dark, even though technically at that point, most likely nothing could have been done.

Former aide to the vice-prez, Scooter Libby, testified that his superiors authorized him to leak information to the press regarding justification of invading Iraq, which lead to the leak of the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame. Considering his superiors were unnamed, one can only suppose that this indicates Vice-President Dick had something to do with this whole debacle.

Jack Abramoff, DC lobbyist that ripped off several Native American groups and consequently plead guilty to fraud charges, said of Bush in statements revealed this week:

“The guy saw me in almost a dozen settings, and joked with me about a bunch of things, including details of my kids. Perhaps he has forgotten everything, who knows,” Abramoff wrote in an e-mail to Kim Eisler, national editor for the Washingtonian magazine.

This of course was after Bush denied ever meeting Abramoff, despite reports that photos exist of the two together at events.
Ah, the drama of the DC. I can’t wait until Laura leaves George for another woman and Congress is overthrown by midgets that were unlawfully profiled through the PATRIOT Act. Don’t tell me it can’t happen. Things keep getting crazier.


>Don’t Got to Applebee’s When It’s Not Your Birthday


Yesterday my fellow retail service operatives and I went on our semi-daily business lunch. We decided on Applebee’s for a reason. You see there is a large, retired pro wrestler in our group that for some reason avoids our lunches. We aren’t sure if he is ashamed of his eating habits, hates spending money, or is simply watching his figure. Anyhow, it is an occasion if we convince him to go along, kind of like a sighting of a Sasquatch, except this is a Sasquatch eating. Someone brought up saying it was the wrestler’s birthday, because at Applebee’s they sing to you and give you free dessert. I was all for this, considering it was nowhere near his birthday.

Upon our arrival at the restaurant, I pulled our clueless, whiteboy waiter aside, explained it was my co-worker’s birthday, and asked if he could do something special for him. He told me that they only had two people on the floor, but could arrange something. I assured him that we would sing along or do whatever needed to help the process.

The six of us ate our meal while discussing some ideas for inventions I had and the possibilities of it freeing us all from our slave labor. We imagined an immense office complex with an ornate fountain flanked by Greek goddesses spitting water. As our dreams and our meal drew to a close, I spotted our boy moving in with a giant ice cream sundae.

I wished my fellow slave the happiest of birthdays. I must hand it to him for not busting a gut as he received his dairy treat. We all showered him with more well wishes as our waiter looked on. I requested custard dishes for the rest of us, because the big boy wouldn’t be able to devour it all himself. The server complied, and we divvied up portions for each of us. It was pretty good, except for the freezer burnt parts and the few ice chips within.

Then the birthday boy asked us who would pay for the ice cream. It turns out they put it on his bill out of all of our separated checks. I understand it wasn’t really his birthday, but dummy server boy had no idea about this, therefore I am insulted by the fact that he one, even charged us for it, and two, put the charge on the birthday boy’s bill. It was still a good time had by all, despite that mongoose dung. I am demanding an apology from Applebee’s for this though, because if it really was his birthday, this would be an embarrassment.

The Birthday Boy

>Grandpa Munster Dies…Finally

Considering he was a grandpa on The Munsters 40 years ago, which I suppose is grandparent age, I always found it amazing that Grandpa Munster made it this long. Al Lewis was 95 and still hosting a weekly radio program. Good for him.

In the MSNBC obit., they state:

Just two years short of his 90th birthday, a ponytailed Lewis ran as the Green Party candidate against incumbent Gov. George Pataki. Lewis campaigned against draconian drug laws and the death penalty, while going to court in a losing battle to have his name appear on the ballot as “Grandpa Al Lewis.”

I only hope I can have that much spunk when I’m 65.


>Support Group for Abuse by Nuns

>I recently blogged about my boss breaking down to me about his nun abuse experiences after hearing my story. This has continued, with him describing in greater detail his horrific tales and how he is now haunted by them in his sleep. And we are talking about a great, powerful man here, who is crumbling under the weight of these thoughts of penguin women.

As we sat down with the Filipino Mafia and other co-workers to a bagel break, he told us about having to line up with other boys in the hall as a nun decided their fate on the other side of one of those double steel door doorways that are common in grade schools. Apparently someone cut through a neighbor’s yard to get to school and didn’t close the gate. A dog got loose and was hit by a car. The neighbor brought her issue to the nuns and the authorities, so the boys stood waiting. He spoke of the crack between the two doors and how they noticed the sister approaching. The fear in him created illusions of her striking down upon them with bolts of lightning from her fingertips or the even more realistic fate of hearing the crack of a ruler.

As an aside here, they say when the nun cracks a yardstick, it makes a noise, because the very tip of it breaks the sound barrier. That alone puts fear in me.

Granted, there were no lightning bolts, but she wanted so badly to discipline somebody, so they felt intimidation through her voice and mannerisms.

At this point in the story, another Retail Service Representative from another company who was listening in, joined us and looked worried.

“I know the sound of that yardstick,” he told us. “It will forever be etched in my mind.”

He then broke down and told us of how he was disciplined by being struck with a ruler by a sister. Three at this gathering now had a common bond. I wonder how far this will go and what other stories will come from the telling of my experience.

In the meantime, I suggested to my boss that he get on a strong sedative to sleep through the demonic nuns that haunt his slumber.

>The Pinoys Rule the World

>Boy, the members of the Filipino Mafia that I work with take advantage of their power. I ride with them, which I am thankful for, but they pick me up an hour after they say they will on a constant basis. Now I could leave their carpool, but they have connections at the quickie marts to get free gas, so no one has to pay. This is disrespectful to our boss though, and despite his mob ties, he cannot do a thing about them waltzing in whenever they please, because the power of these Pinoys is on the upsurge. I defend the boss as much as I can, but they gang up on me during their smoke breaks and blow second hand smoke in my eyes.

Now I understand that it is stressful when you do not have much food because spearfishing season is over, but to throw one’s weight around like this is ridiculous. I have no choice, but to submit though. What can we do as Italian Retail Service Representatives?? Only sit back, assemble more patio furniture, and keep our mouths shut.

>I Used to Work In the FertHairlizer Industry or Come and Get Your Hairy Bras and Panties

>Before I could have a real job, and before I actually worked in the fertilizer industry with Scotts earlier last year, I worked with FertHairlizer. My mother worked at a copy shop here in South St. Louis back in the early 1990s. Next door was a barber shop run by Bill Black. What was interesting about his place was that he was a C-level celebrity. He had photos on the wall of him on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and Jay Leno, The Late Show with David Letterman, and others. Black made and still makes clothing from hair, including bras and underwear, which may get itchy, but they still earned him exposure at Ripley’s Believe It or Not museums around the world. He also had this amazing innovation called FertHairlizer, which was a fertilizer for plants that had human hair in it, because of its nitrogen content. When the hair from the shop was swept up, it was swept into trap doors in the floor. In the basement, the hair was gathered in trash cans for use in the clothing, ferthairlizer, and potting soil lines. On a few occasions, I was the one that mixed the sterilized hair with the soil and bagged it. Good times.

Bill Black later closed up shop here and moved down to Texas. I spotted him about a year back on a segment on The Tonight Show where Tom Green searches states for their most interesting person. Unfortunately, he wasn’t Texas’s, but he did get an honorable mention for his hair vests and bikinis.

Now, according to an article I found from the Austin Chronicle, Black is still hawking his usual hair stuff, but now he’s expanding his horizons to include insulation made from hair and nutritional supplements for animals made from liquefied human hair. So far his ideas haven’t caught on and it is a shame. He claims they all work great, so why not?! If only he could fuel cars on liquefied hair, then he’d have something to cure America’s oil addiction.

photo from the Austin Chronicle

Bill Black has a web site at FertHairlizer.com, but the quality isn’t comparable to his wonderful products. Check it out anyway.

>MTV Day

>No, this does not involve the televison station. As I stated previously, today is my brother Matt’s birthday. He would have been 20. Before he was born, I prayed every Sunday at church for a little brother. I’m sure this put pressure on my parents to make babies, which is awful, but true nonetheless. On this day in 1986, my sister and I were waiting at my Grandma’s house on The Hill anxiously awaiting the news. When the call came through, we received the news that we now had a baby brother. Even then, I was a bit of a softie, and I admit it, I cried.

Somehow, my sister, Sara, and I were involved in the naming rights. I know Matthew was in the running, so we picked Thomas as a middle name to make his initials M-T-V. Cable television was influencing us at that young of an age. He loved his initials though. It instantly raised his coolness factor. So when his birthday comes around, I designate this day “MTV Day”.

I have my brother to thank for many things. He was great at developing my sense of humor. He would make me do impressions for his friends of Andy Kaufman and others. I still hold dearly videos that he and his buddies made back in the day. They were pretty clever for such young kids. After he passed away, I became good friends with a lot of his pals. In fact, one is my best man, Dan, and another is a groomsman, Jimmy.

One of my teenage idols, Jim Morrison, wrote a poem about Brian Jones, former member of The Rolling Stones, who died from “misadventure”, entitled “Ode To L.A. While Thinking Of Brian Jones, Deceased”. I find a line from it touching and appropriate for my feelings:

You’ve left your


to compete


I hope you went out


Like a child

Into the cool remnant

of a dream

>February Looms Large

>While browsing stltoday.com, a headline caught my eye: Feb. 3 will be a bad day for some people. It really struck a chord with me, but the article, which deals with computer viruses, had nothing to do with it. My brother, Matt’s, birthday is on that day. He would have been 20. My family takes notice to February on the calendar. He also died during that month, on the 21st, in 2000, from Wegener’s Granulomatosis, a horrible auto-immune disease, which wreaked havoc upon his lungs and kidneys before our eyes around this time 6 years ago.

We celebrate his birthday by going out to dinner. It’s a low key affair. It may be odd to some, but everyone copes in their own way. It certainly is better than completely dreading the day and sitting there contemplating the occassion with a lump in your throat.

My parents, extended family, and some friends of the family attend a Catholic mass in Matt’s honor every year around this time. I myself have issues with the Church, so I usually do not attend, but reflect in my own way.

During the month, the events of 2000 strangely come back day to day. Around his birthday, we were taking care of Matt sick at home. He missed having a party because of his illness, which doctors passed off as the flu, even though he was spitting up inches of blood into a trash can. Shortly after, he entered the hospital, when the “flu” didn’t improve. We practically lived in St. Louis Childrens’ Hospital for the following two weeks until he succumbed to WG. He was buried on the 25th, which had record temps in the low 80s, at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery. We blasted Kid Rock’s “Only God Knows Why” for a very surreal moment at a cemetery. It’s odd to look through tears at easily over 150 people, including the elders, as you hear Kid Rock cursing loudly…in a cemetery. I guess you could say we woke the dead…heh heh.

But seriously folks…it’s an emotional ride watching someone close to you die before you, especially that young. Now I feel like I can’t experience much worse in life, but one never knows what lies ahead of them. That’s why I enter every February cautiously optimistic, that as I celebrate the short, but lively life of my brother, and remember the worst times of my life as I watched him suddenly wither away, that I learn from my life to enjoy every bit of it and not take things so seriously, because there’s always something worse that could happen to you.

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