Saturday, December 31, 2011

Has Another Year Gone By Already?

 New Year's is right around the corner and 2011 is coming to a close. The earth (and it's inhabitants) are another year older and what do we have to show for it? I reflected on the past year and tried to decide what was significant. Some of it was only important to me, but here is what I can remember.

12 - The year kicked off with the passing of one of our beloved pets. Kirsten's tarantula died (read about it here). She had lovingly named him Hitler when we got him and just as lovingly tossed him in the dumpster when he stopped breathing. This made me consider two things: First, what would she do with me if I died and second, do spiders breathe? I mean, they don't have noses and  I don't feel like looking it up right now. Someone explain it to me.

That same day, the youth minister at our new church asked me if I wanted to help with the jr. high kids. We had been in town for three months at that point, I hadn't assaulted anyone yet and my background check came back clean, so they figured I was safe around their kids. The journey to influence young minds in a new town begins.

14 - I started a new job at a factory in the neighboring town with three letters for its name. I never asked what the letters stood for, so I can only guess. I was hired on to work in Quality Assurance. I was one of the most hated people in the plant. Apparently, they hadn't really had much of a quality control program in place and suddenly I come on the scene with the job of catching peoples' mistakes. Some department supervisors would actually refuse to let me on their floor. Since I was only there to tell them what they were doing wrong, I can't say I blame them for not liking me, but since the management couldn't be bothered to make sure people cooperated so I could do my job, most of my time was spent arguing with people and trying to force my way into areas I was not welcome. To make matters worse, my paper work often got other people fired, demoted or sent off for training and they gave me an office high above the factory floor so I could observe the line workers. Guess how many friends I made there.

15 - Kirsten sensing my stress or trying to butter me up for something, does the dishes for the first time since we had moved. I believe that was also the last time. She is not very domestic.

1 - The first day of February we get hit with a snow and ice storm that was predicted to be the biggest since weather started being recorded (read about the Snowpocolypse here). Stores were cleared out of merchandise and we hunkered down expecting the worst. It was a bad storm, but not nearly the size they warned us about. Our power was out for a little over 4 hours, school and work were cancelled for a few days, but we survived.

These things never end well.
25-26 - At the end of the month, I took my first trip with the Moweaqua youth. We traveled to St. Charles, MO for a CIY/Believe conference. In my efforts to be a good leader, I managed to secure front row seats for my group. Unfortunately, this got us so close to the stage that one of my kids was pulled up and put into a guillotine by a magician. As the responsible (sic!) adult, I quickly had to decide if I would allow this to happen. He really had his head secured in a device made for cutting it off. Do I play it safe, make his parents happy, rush the stage and save this kid OR trust that despite how scary this looks, the people on stage are professionals who know what they are doing, but risk a decapitation of a pre-teen on my watch. After a quick but heated deliberation amongst some of the saner voices in my head, I decided to pull out my camera to document the event. Whether we took him home with or without his head, either way I could show his parents how it went down.

12 - After two months as a hated Quality Assurance specialist, I decided to quit my job before someone made good on the various death threats I had been receiving. This gave me a lot of extra time at home, which led to the discovery that I could link my XBOX to my computer through my wireless router. Suddenly, my TV in the living room had access to all the movies and music on my hard drive from the computer in my bedroom. Since we didn't have cable, it gave us another much appreciated option for TV viewing.

BAZINGA, loser!!!
While bragging to my neighbor across the hall about my technological prowess, she advised me that the cable jack in my apartment was active. I scoffed but tried it as soon as I got back into my apartment. She was right. I had never hooked the cable up because I had not ordered it, but the entire complex was wired with basic cable. After 5 months of watching the same DVDs again and again, we now had live television. Kirsten and I cried while we watched Big Bang Theory. It was a happy reunion.

19 - This month was also the occurrence of the Supermoon. While I expected to see a big cape on the moon for that evening, I was disappointed to learn that it only means the moon will be about 15% bigger than usual. I was even more disappointed when it was so cloudy that night we couldn't even see the moon, the stars or anything else that might be worth looking at. We live in a cruel galaxy.

11 - An event occurs outside of my own life that gets my attention. A massive earthquake hits Japan causing tsunamis and widespread destruction. We soon learned that a Navy friend of ours was on a ship just off the coast. He spent the next few months on site at the nuclear power plant that was in danger of meltdown. He assisted with containment and cleanup.

8 - This month brought to an end the several months long wait to see if Congress would be able to come up with a financial plan to keep the government from shutting down. Everyone was waiting to see if income tax checks would come, social security pay out and government offices stay open. With less than an hour to spare, they came up with a new plan. Now our trusted elected officials have a little more time in office to vote for higher congressional salaries.

14 - A few days later ABC announces the cancellation of the long-running soap operas All My Children and One Life to Live. Housewives everywhere cried out to Oprah to save the shows. Oprah made a tearful statement of her own. She loved these shows, but being in show biz, understands that networks have to make these decisions and she would not intervene with ABC. Her and Eckhart Tolle then prayed to themselves and began mentally broadcasting the soaps directly into the minds of the Oprah Book Club subscribers.

17 - Quickly approaching completion of my bachelor's degree, I turn in my proposal for my final research paper. It  was 10 (TEN) PAGES long. Notice this was not the paper, but the proposal introducing the paper that was to come later. This forced me to consider how much I really wanted this degree. The actual paper was long enough, I should get it published so people everywhere could use it as a paperweight.

1 - President Obama holds press conference announcing that Osama bin Laden has been killed by U.S. special forces. Osama, shot in the face while holding one of his wives in front of him as a shield and surrounded by dozens of cases of Pepsi, still went out with a little more dignity than Saddam when he was dragged, un-bathed, out of a hole in the ground.

7 - My daughter leaves me that evening to attend her first Prom (click here). I spent most of the evening looking around town for good places to hide a body if her boyfriend did not heed my warnings for the evening.

11 - Turn in the last assignment for my degree (click here). I suddenly have a lot of free time.

18 - I receive my degree in the mail. I took my first college class in August of 1989 and received my degree in May 2011. At just a few months short of 22 years to complete my degree, I decide it must be time to figure out what I want to do with my life.

Dogs don't have souls
21 - This marked the day of Jesus' Second Coming according to preacher Harold Camping. Many of his immediate followers gave away all their belongings while others used their life savings to take incredible vacations to spend time with their families before rising into the sky for the Rapture. As for the rest of the world, the Armageddon hoopla prompted hundreds of clever Facebook updates. My daughter and I spend the day inflating 38 blow-up dolls with helium and released them in a mall parking lot that evening. The subsequent crowds and traffic accidents were not amusing to local law enforcement.

25 - Bigger than news of the potential end of the world was the actual end of the Oprah Winfrey Show. After 25 years, Oprah brings her show to an end.  Whether a fan of Oprah or not, this event could not be missed since it was reported on every station. Oprah celebrated her departure by giving a new car to every person who has ever watched the show.

3 - The famed euthanasia enthusiast Jack "Dr. Death" Kevorkian dies from thrombosis of the liver caused by his Hepatitis C infection. The elderly now have to return to dying the old fashioned way...watching Matlock and Murder, She Wrote reruns.

16 - New York's 9th District  representative Anthony Weiner resigns. Insert your own joke here.

5 - After months of capturing the attention of every media outlet, Casey Anthony is found not guilty of the murder of her daughter. The country is outraged and the jurors start clamoring for book deals. Due to the country's brain-dead interest in the crazy lives of dysfunctional families, the Anthony family will probably be the stars of their own reality show before the end of 2012.

6 - In retaliation to the police shooting of Mark Duggan, local youth started massive looting, burning down local businesses and inciting violence. This crime spree lasted four days. Sixteen people who had nothing to do with the shooting died in the violence. While this incident did create chaos for local law enforcement, the worst was suffered by local people and families that were unlucky enough to get caught by the thug mob.

17 - I receive my substitute teaching certificate (click here) so my circle of influence on the youth of my community grows a little bigger.

22 - I start my first class for my Master's degree. I quickly learn that Master's level work is not more difficult than work at the Bachelor's level, but there is much more of it.

22 - My daughter comes home from school with her driver's permit. This is followed by months of white-knuckled car rides. I soon bit through my lip while pretending to calmly observe and instruct. I decide I will never be a drivers' education instructor.

23 - A 5.9 magnitude earthquake centered 40 miles north of Richmond, VA rocked residents from South Carolina to Maine. Office workers in New York flooded the streets to get out of their trembling buildings and parts of the Pentagon and White House were evacuated. Residents of Los Angeles laughed at all the commotion over a little shudder.

Look, Ma!  That's my name.
23 - I receive a Certificate of Commendation from the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department proving that I don't screw up everything.

24 - The UARS satellite falls out of the sky (click here) after years of wandering aimlessly around the cosmos. NASA had no idea where it would come down and warned that some of the pieces would be the size of a small bus, but reassured the public that they were in no danger. What more could we expect, they're only rocket scientists?

29 - I host a guest spot on THE VINE radio station (click here). I am invited back despite calling Christian radio "spiritual junk food" on the air.

5 - Steve Jobs, one of the greatest contributors to the technological age, dies. The world mourned because we had grown accustomed to looking at pictures of ourselves on devices he invented. iPads and iPhones all simultaneously powered down that day to observe a moment of silence.

22 - The St. Louis suburb of University City is overtaken by zombies (click here). About 500 of the undead terrorized the area's citizens and created untold chaos from six to nine.

31 - The population of the earth reaches 7 billion people, prompting renewed discussions about overcrowding. After driving through South Dakota and Wyoming last year, I think I have a solution. There is no one out there.

Nothing happened in November. It's not my fault, but nothing happened.

15 - Obama officially declares an end to the war in Iraq. American families are looking forward to having their family members home to share the burden of unemployment, climbing taxes, wide-spread foreclosures and rampant crime rates.

I love movies...and me!
17 - Crazed South Korean dictator and star of Team America, Kim Jong-Il dies. A few years ago, when he was warned by several countries and the United Nations to cease the development of his country's nuclear program, Kim Jong-Il responded by sending them invitations to watch his first nuclear missile test. Long the fodder of late night jokes and SNL skits, comedians everywhere pray that his son will be just as crazy just without the pursuit of nuclear weaponry.

2012 - While we do not know what to expect from the new year, hopefully you are looking forward to it and are willing to take control and make it your best year ever. Just keep in mind that the Mayan calendar stops and the world is supposed to end on December 21, so you have a little less than a year left to do everything you have ever wanted to do. Don't blame me if you drag you feet.


Saturday, December 24, 2011

MC Hammer is Black

Due to my recent YouTube addiction (click here), last night my daughter and I were discussing music and pulling up videos on the XBOX. I do not remember exactly how we got to this part in the conversation, but my daughter made some comment about the white rapper MC Hammer. I laughed and she gave me a funny look. I thought she was making a joke that I was just not cool enough to get.

ME: Kirsten, MC Hammer is black.

KIRSTEN: No, he's not.

ME: Yes, yes, he is. You must have him confused with Vanilla Ice. (I figured since we were discussing music from before she was born, she must have switched some people.)

KIRSTEN: No, I don't. Vanilla Ice did ICE ICE BABY and the stupid song for that Turtles movie.

ME: (very impressed by the movie reference) I know who he is. So who are you talking about?

KIRSTEN: MC Hammer!!! You know! U CAN'T TOUCH THIS (she demonstrated the trade mark dance) He wore those ridiculous parachute pants.

ME: (impressed again) Well, that's the right guy, but he's black.

KIRSTEN: No, Dad, he's white. Why do you always lie to me? 

ME: Are you messing with me?

KIRSTEN: Never mind.

There were always questions
about Michael Jackson, but this guy
is definitely black.
Since most of our conversations end that way, I stopped trying. However, I did turn to the XBOX to find the video. As soon as his face hit the screen, she excitedly exclaimed, "Since when is MC Hammer black?" She even posted the question on Facebook. She sat and watched the entire video to confirm I was telling the truth. When it was over, I asked her, "So, who were you thinking of?" She replied, "It was him. I just thought he was white."

This conversation was the first thing on my mind when I woke up this morning. How did this happen? Have I failed as a parent? I have put forth great effort into exposing my kids to music and film that go beyond what the masses tell them to like. My daughter is a great lover of foreign cinema and independent films. My son once impressed the adults on a long bus trip when he knew all the words to the songs they were singing, despite the fact that most of them were popular twenty to forty years before he was born.

Kirsten's musical tastes include Frank Sinatra, David Bowie, Blondie and the Beatles. She does listen to today's music as well, but it is groups like Hush Sound, Dresden Dolls, Clocktower Showdown and Bobby Birdman. You don't hear these groups on the radio. She has a very broad and eclectic musical taste. So, what happened here? If I have somehow missed this, what else might she be misinformed about?

Does she know that Garth Brooks and Chris Gaines are the same person? Did she miss the clues that 99 Red Balloons was an anti-nuclear arms song? Does she know the secret identity of Hannah Montana? Does she understand the connection between Taylor Swift, Kanye West and Beyoncé Knowles?

 Maybe, I am looking at this the wrong way. It could be that I have done a superb job of helping her to see past color and just recognize people. That would be a good thing. For most people, if they don't know who a rapper is, they would start with the assumption that he is black, but not my daughter. She doesn't stereotype people. However, I can see issues with this as well.

Would George Lopez still be funny if you didn't recognize he was Mexican? Chris Rock's career is based on his color. If he told those same jokes and my daughter thought he was white, would she find them racist? Where does she stand on the color of Martin Luther King? Would it make a difference? Can she tell the difference between Jamie Foxx and Jamie Farr? Or Will Smith and Wil Wheaton?

I believe I am making too much of this. I have a tendency to over think things. Plus, this one simplified itself for me later. When my daughter rolled out of bed at two in the afternoon and groggily slurred out "Good morning," I figured it out. I'm getting her tested. Maybe she's just not very bright.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Another Way to Waste My Time

I finished my final class for the semester last week. I now have one semester of Master's level work behind me and I have discovered that work at this level is not really harder than Bachelor's degree work, . . . but there is a lot more of it. My professor, apparently, does not believe in grades. I have this class a week behind me and have still not seen a grade from the first week of class. I have no idea where I stand. I believe I did well, but have no way to prove it or really have any confidence at all.

Since I have finished the class, I find myself with much more free time. My schedule at the Sheriff's office is set for the next month so I can't get any more hours there to take up time and being the end of the semester I am not getting many calls to substitute teach. Therefore, I am home all day.

My Christmas shopping is done, the house is clean, I don't like people enough to want to go out and see anyone and it is getting too cold to leave the house anyway. Shaving only uses up about 10 minutes and can only be done once a day. Trimming your toenails can take up more time, but once they're done, they require no more maintenance for a few weeks. I have reached a point where I do not know what to do with myself.

I am currently working my way through
season four of Prison Break
A few days ago, I pulled out an old video game I hadn't played in a while and spent the day with my XBOX. I had fun. Especially since I have gotten XBOX LIVE since the last time I really played any games. I use it mostly for access to Netflix instant streaming. I don't watch a lot of movies on it, but there are so many old TV shows that I missed when they were on, it can easily burn some hours. However, you can only watch so much television. I decided that I could spend some of my time over the break playing video games, so I went to my brother's house to try to con some video games from his sons.

I asked if I could borrow every game they are not currently playing and they happily handed them over. To my surprise, there was no need to make a deal or try to trick them. That must mean I have some endearing qualities. Or maybe I was the recipient of their Christmas charity. I haven't decided yet, but I've been playing those games for the last week. They have been an entertaining way to pass the time, until Saturday.

That afternoon, after enduring an office Christmas party, I came home and fired up the XBOX. As the screens were loading, I noticed a new symbol on the right panel. It was the YouTube logo. I downloaded the free app and fired it up. YouTube videos are now accessible from the XBOX. How cool is that? I spent the next several hours pulling up some of my favorite videos and searching for a few new ones. This has since become a problem. I can't seem to get enough. This is one of the videos I have been wasting my time with.

I have spent literally days watching old skits from the Muppet Show, SCTV, Saturday Night Live and Whitest Kids You Know. I have pulled up old cartoons to show Kirsten. Some of the ones from last night include: Grape Ape, Speed Buggy, Ricochet Rabbit, Captain Caveman and Superchicken. We have watched music videos, videos our friends have made, sang along with Biz Markie and observed an alien autopsy. I have watched 'how-to' videos on how to escape a bear attack, how to throw your voice and how to safely build a self-detonating door knob bomb. ANYTHING you want is at your fingertips.

Many of you may be thinking, "YouTube has been around for years. What's the big deal?" Let me try to explain.

It's now on my TV!!!

These useless videos are no longer hidden in the recesses of the Internet on my computer in the back room. They are in my living room. I cannot get away from them. How many different electric guitar renditions of Beethoven's 5th Symphony do I need to see? Practical jokes, nut shots, cute animals, BMX wipeouts, UFO sightings, impossible basketball shots, llamas with hats, magic tricks, vaudeville, karaoke and any other event that has ever been captured on camera is there. Every time I turn on my television from this point on, I will be faced with the reality that I can watch literally anything I can think of. I will no longer have to scan through the channels to see what is on, because everything is on. Ten years ago, I would have thought this was awesome. Now that it's a reality, it's a sensory overload. Yet, I can't look away, I can't go to bed and I can only answer the door to show someone a video of the latest bum fight.

It's a little depressing, but I have come to grips with the knowledge that I will one day die surrounded by potato chip bags in front of my TV. When the paramedics arrive, they will take their time removing me so they can finish the episode of Fraggle Rock playing on the television.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

BACON: The Main Reason I am Not a Vegetarian

 Thank you, Ian Cates for this blog topic. Suggestion given when I wrote What Am I Supposed to Write?


There are many things that bring me pleasure in life. It is healthy to occasionally reflect on the blessings you have. Here is a small list of things that make me happy.

Days I don't have to go to work

Getting a new Netflix movie in the mail

No longer having to use a dial-up Internet connection

Being seen by someone I know in Wal-Mart who then does NOT feel the need to come talk to me

Playing with Bubble Wrap

 Getting a good parking space

The sound of no one knocking on my door

Anything involving BACON!!!

I think the hardest part about being a vegetarian
would be hiding my bacon from my vegetarian girlfriend.
Bacon is one of God's greatest gifts to mankind. It was so special, He made his followers wait thousands of years before they were allowed to eat it. According to Old Testament law, pigs were one of the many animals that were considered unclean. When God lifted the ban on unclean animals to Peter in the Book of Acts, Peter had no idea the treat he was now in for. For the first time, we could eat BACON!!!

Life just wouldn't be the same without it. Frying bacon is one of those smells that will pull a person out of a deep sleep and wandering into the kitchen. The sound of it popping as it fries in the skillet makes your mouth water. Nothing else tastes like bacon. It just may be nature's most perfect food.

Before we go any further, I want to make it clear what I am talking about here. There is no other animal from which you can make bacon but a pig. I know you can buy a pseudo-product in the store called turkey 'bacon.' That is not bacon. It may have a few similarities, but it is not bacon. It doesn't fry right, smell right and definitely does not taste like the REAL bacon. Bacon, by definition, is a pork product. For the remainder of this blog, keep in mind that when I use the term bacon, it is to refer to the only true bacon. It does not involve any product made with turkey, chicken, beef, kittens or soy. Now let's move on.

This man knew the value of bacon
One of my favorite authors, Lewis Grizzard, wrote a book about his heart valve replacement surgery. When the doctor's told him that his heart valve would be replaced with a valve from a pig's heart, his first thought was, "Will I still enjoy bacon?" If part of your body has been replaced with pig parts, is it even right to continue to eat the animal? He never did decide if it was right or wrong, but knew he would never give up bacon. If it happened to me, I would always wonder if I had ever eaten from the same animal that was now also part of my body. What would you call that? Is that cannibalism? Does that only apply to humans? Is it still cannibalism if you eat part of your own body? If so, does chewing your nails make you a cannibal? 

Regardless of the ethics behind potential cannibalism, bacon is not to be taken lightly. In fact, in the last decade bacon has started to appear in all sorts of places that it hadn't been considered before.

Chocolate chip bacon cookies!!!
Is there anything that bacon cannot do?

I have seen bacon brownies, maple bacon lollipops, bacon pizza, bacon coffee and bacon scented candles. Last March, Denny's restaurants (jumping on the bacon bandwagon) started serving a maple bacon sundae. Bacon is everywhere and it is here to stay. Not that I am complaining. I would put bacon on everything if it were not for the serious health repercussions that would go along with it. However, it would almost be worth it.

You know that place in your head you go to when things are really stressful or too much to take in the real world? For some, it is sitting on the beach with some fruity drink in their hand. For others, they go back to a favorite childhood memory. For most, it is some quiet, safe place that makes them feel warm and fuzzy. That special place in my psyche is an image of me eating a plate full of bacon with grease dribbling down my chin. I have all the fixin's on the table in front of me to make bacon cheeseburgers and fat BLTs (light on the tomato, heavy on the bacon). Tia Carrere is also there, but just to help me make sandwiches. She doesn't get any. It is the way I imagine heaven to be, but with no cholesterol.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Today's Secret Word is ... WAR!!!

I have learned something about myself. I am going to do what I want, pretty much when I want to do it. Last August (click here), I committed to posting a blog a week and a couple of weeks later (click here) I up it to two posts per week. If you follow my blog regularly, then you know that I have only posted twice since September. That is one post per month for the last two months.

I could tell you how busy I have been working two jobs, being a graduate student, trying to get a new business off the ground and being a single father of a teenage girl, but I don't like to make excuses. I have actually done a lot of writing lately, but it has been for college papers and is not something most of you would want to read. When I have free time during the day, I usually find myself at my buddy Adam's house watching him play XBOX 360 and helping him find the shortcuts as he plays Need for Speed, or decoding the ancient vaults in Elder Scrolls: Skyrim. Since Adam is handicapped, he doesn't get out much and he starts making weeping phone calls when he gets bored, so I go to his house at least once every day.

I say all this to simply state, it doesn't matter what I promise in this blog, I will probably end up doing what I want. With that stated, here is something I promise to do (but don't take it too seriously). In August, I asked my readers to suggest future blog topics. I received several suggestions and do intend to cover them all. You can read the suggestions by clicking here and scrolling down to the comment section. My brother suggested that I write about who would win in a fight between Mr. Rogers and Pee Wee Herman. I will be tackling this topic today. I was excited to start researching this since they each had illustrious careers as military snipers before going into show business.

 Years ago, a girl told me that the reason Mr. Rogers wore those sweaters all time was to cover the tattoos on his arms he had acquired during his military service. He was ashamed of the things he had done in Vietnam and the people he had killed during his service and kept them covered. A kid from my church that was enlisting in the Marines wanted to be a sniper. He was told by his recruiter that the top sniper ever to come out of the Marines was the famous Mr. Rogers. The sniper with the third highest marks ever was Paul Ruebens, known to his fans as Pee Wee Herman. It turns out that both of these men were to be feared at one point in their lives, so Kyle had chosen two men who actually knew several ways to kill a man. They were chosen because of their innocent demeanor, but using their pasts could make a great blog. In order to make the best comparison, I researched both their lives to get the best idea of who did what. This would help me determine who would win.

As I began my research, I discovered that many children's television stars had a military background. In fact, many of them were highly decorated and had unusually high numbers of enemy kills. Captain Kangaroo was especially vicious. Don Knotts, best known for playing Deputy Barney Fife on the Andy Griffith Show, was someone not to be messed with in his military days. However, as I dug further, I discovered something else they all had in common. IT WAS ALL LIES!!!

None of these stories are true. In reality, Don Knotts was in the military, but he was not a drill instructor at Parris Island, like the rumors say. At 19, he joined the Army, where his duties consisted primarily of entertaining the troops in traveling GI variety shows called "Stars and Gripes". Rumors that Bob "Captain Kangaroo" Keeshan fought beside Lee Marvin in Iwo Jima during World War II are also false. Lee Marvin was there, but Keeshan did not enlist until two weeks after we pulled out of Iwo Jima. He never saw any action. Where do these rumors come from?

Won't you be my neighbor?
Many people may not want to hear that the gentle, soft-spoken Mr. Rogers was exactly what he appeared to be, but he was. Born in 1928, he spent most of his childhood living with his grandparents. He saw television for the first time at his parents' home when he was in college. It left such a negative and lasting impression on him that he became dedicated to changing it. He attended a seminary after college, became an ordained Presbyterian minister and started immediately working in television. Rogers was an advocate for family-friendly programming and even testified before the Senate to try to clean up television. He was also a staunch supporter of the VCR. When most studios were trying to get them outlawed, he testified that many channels showed childrens' programming at times when children were not available to watch it. With the new technology, they could tape it and watch it together as a family at a later time.

The sweaters were intentional, but had nothing to do with covering tattoos. Sweaters and sweater vests were the clothes worn by figures of authority in the seventies. Teachers, ministers and others dressed that way and that was the image he was trying to express. Even though, Mr. Rogers bored me to death even as a child, he was a good man who didn't think like the rest of us and wanted to change the world for the better.

Today's secret word is CREEPY!
Paul Reubens (a.k.a. Pee Wee Herman) left for Hollywood immediately after high school to become a star. Practically living on the streets, he hooked up with a comedy troupe called the 'Groundlings.' In 1977 the group did a skit where they created characters one might see in a comedy club. Reubens character was one that everyone immediately knew would never make it as a comic. He couldn't remember punchlines or get his cues in the right order. Pee Wee Herman was 'born' that night. His distinctive guttural "Ha Ha" followed by a low "Heh Heh Heh" became his catch phrase. As well as, "I know you are, but what am I?" The rest is show biz history. At no point did the military fit in there.

This leaves me with the problem of now having to size these men up and decide who would win in a fight knowing that neither of them has probably ever been in one. Lets start with their physical attributes. I think Rogers has the weight advantage, is taller and has a longer reach. Pee Wee Herman is kind of petite. However, I can picture him being much better at the 'duck and weave.' He may be able to get close, get in a few shots and get back out before the slow-moving Rogers even gets his hands up. However, I think Rogers could take a punch much  better than Pee Wee. If Pee Wee gets tagged it may be over.

Look at all the dead puppet BODIES!!!
Fighting is not just about strength and agility. It also involves attitude and in some cases a little bit of crazy can get you a long way. Mr. Rogers spent half of his time in a Land of Make Believe, a world that didn't exist, but he liked to go to from time to time. For a child, that is having a creative imagination. For a middle aged man, it is disturbing. Rogers' world had a king named Friday, Queen Sara Saturday and a retarded prince named Tuesday. Amidst these puppets whose mouths didn't move was the occasional costumed person named Purple Panda, Bob Dog or Bob Troll. It even had a talking owl, known simply as "X." Was the owl a spy? Why the secret identity? There were lots of creepy little secrets in Rogers' imaginary world. On Purple Panda's planet, the citizens are forbidden to sit in rocking chairs. Prince Tuesday went to school in the Land of Someplace-Else with a neighboring tiger. What kind of kingdom doesn't even have it's own school? Your head is a creepy place, Fred Rogers!

MORPHEUS!!! What are you doing?
Pee Wee Herman lives in a fantasy world as well, but he passes it off as real. In his world, his house is alive, the furniture talks and he can climb into his television to go for an adventure.  Like Rogers, he has many guests to his home, but instead of the mailman or a teacher visiting, he has cowboys, the King of Cartoons and Captain Carl dropping in. The creepy factor of Pee Wee's Playhouse is higher than Mr. Roger's Land of Make Believe. While children might make a wish on a falling star or a four-leafed clover, Pee Wee makes wishes over a head he keeps in a box. Pee Wee has a robot servant named Conky and somehow forced Lawrence Fishburne into a child's cowboy costume. That's the creepiest one yet.


Mr. Rogers took on a government agency (FCC) almost single-handed and he won. That makes him pretty tough. However, Pee Wee has a criminal record, and based upon the nature of his charges, I would say he is probably better in dark places and at hand-to-hand combat. Rogers' on screen appearances after his show were mostly talk shows, but Pee Wee appeared two years after the cancellation of Playhouse as the vampire Amilyn in Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, he was a super-hero in the movie Mystery Men, and he has appeared on Wrestlemania and WWF Raw.

Look at this guy. Would you want to fight him?
After weighing all the options and looking at the stats, I have to give it to the one who lived on the streets in California, and can make children everywhere scream by only uttering a single word. It's not even the same word each time. He just tells them what will cause them to scream and it does. Pee Wee Herman would mop the floor with Mr. Rogers. It would be no contest.