Wilder by Far

A look at life with the Wilder family. Updated most weekends and some vacation days. You can contact me at movingnorth@gmail.com..

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Sunday, May 17, 2009

"You fool! Mothers do not get sick; they take care of the sickly!" - Dexter, Dexter's Laboratory


They look so small, don’t they? Yet they make so much noise. Whodathunkit?

If you don’t believe we live in The Matrix, then last week was a week to celebrate Mother’s Day. If you believe we live in The Matrix, it’s considered good etiquette to take your laptop or toaster out for dinner.

Mother’s Day (or is that Mothers’ Day) is a holiday that appears to be a wasted one – why would we applaud the efforts of someone who toils week in and week out to keep the family fed, covered in clean clothes, and living in an environment where the sink isn’t classified as a biological warfare laboratory? I think that these so-called “Mothers” should suffer in silence, like the fathers of the world. I mean, is fair that that Mother’s’ day is during the school year where The Boy can make gifts (laminated books filled with poetry about how much they love Mom), lovingly crafted at taxpayer expense at school? Father’s’ Day is during Summer Break, however, and I normally get items otherwise destined for the trash, like a torn, used chewing-gum covered Houston Astros™ poster and a chewed-through binky for presents.

I guess that kills the whole “suffering in silence” theory. Dang.

Anyway, I really don’t begrudge The Mrs. for the cookbook and poetry that The Boy worked on in school. I don’t like to cook. Heck, I’m just surprised that school boards (or school board lawyers) haven’t yet considered “Mother’s’ Day” an “outmoded view of the socio-economic world wherein children growing up without mothers are marginalized and disenfranchised by the whole celebration of mothers in general, and shall henceforward be replaced by ‘Non-Sex Specific Adult Quasi-Familial Authority Figure’ day.” This would be in keeping with Christmas Winter Break, Halloween Fall Festival, and Easter American Idol© Finale.

I’m only half kidding. Heck, I’m afraid I just gave some sort of group headed by some bitter wizened little crank a whole new cause to yell about at the local school board. If so, I’m sorry for the school board, but not all that sorry. I’m still mad about the fish sticks every Friday for TWELVE YEARS OF MY LIFE.


Back to Mother’s’ Day.

We had a good Mother’s’ Day at the Wilder Compound (it’s really only one building, but the guard tower, barbed wire, and electromagnetic detectors tent to make my small-minded neighbors brand it a compound). I got up and watched The Boy and Pugsley so The Mrs. could sleep in. When The Mrs. finally wandered into the front room, fresh and well rested, she was confronted with a snoring, drooling me splayed out on the couch like Bill Clinton on prom night. I’m thinking that The Mrs. found the cards and flowers (I was drifting in and out at that point) but I do recall The Boy meandering into his room to come back with . . . extra presents for Mom.

The Mrs. looked at me and said, “John, he totally weaseled you.”

The Boy did weasel me. Pugsley also weaseled me with “I luff you, Mommy,” pointing his big blue eyes up at her. Much like Jeanine Garafalo at a marathon, I was neither cute nor prepared.

I drifted back off to sleep.

Eventually I woke up to the sound of the mower – The Mrs. had decided to go out and take care of the near-junglerainforest conditions that were developing outside. Texans can abide by many a thing, but a poorly kept lawn is enough to start a blood feud that can last generations. It is a little-known fact that the Texas War of Independence started over General Santa Ana having a lake house with a poorly kept lawn. Sam Houston could not let that stand, especially since he owned the lake house next door.

It turns out that I’m the guy whose wife was out mowing on Mother’s’ Day.

I wonder who Agent Smith takes out for Mother’s’ Day? I’m betting, since he’s software, that he takes an Apple™ laptop out for dinner – because if The Matrix ran on Windows© Neo would have so kicked their butt when they blue-screened.
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Sunday, May 10, 2009

"The Red Green Show is kind of like the flu; not everybody gets it." - Red, The Red Green Show


Downtown Houston at sunset. The buildings are tall, but they won’t save you from a plague of frogs.

The Mrs. made the mistake of exposing The Boy to the term “flash flood” during when we were turned back by wet highway patrolmen recently as the highway we were driving on began to resemble a bayou (that’s a local term that replaces “fetid swamp filled with reptiles and pond scum” for the non-Southerners in teh Intarwebs). Driving in a bayou is not good if you use the standard-issue Texas Mercedes™ or Jaguar©. A little-known fact is that the State of Texas purchases a new Mercedes® for each driver as a standard issue car when you get your driver’s license down here. If you have a good driving record and sufficient plastic surgery to be a TWIT (Trophy Wife In Training), you get the Jaguar™.

So, after Houston flooded, it was announced that Texas officially had developed Swine Flu. I don’t know if you’ve heard of Swine Flu (different that Sine Flue, where you calculate trig problems all day) but Swine Flu is perhaps the SECOND HORSEMAN of the APORKALYPSE. I knew Texas had felt a bit warm recently, but I never would have guessed. Sadly, I guess that means I’m not supposed to eat bacon (mmmm, sweet, crunchy baaaaaacon) or ham (mmmmm, salty pink ham). An aside - Ma Wilder always wept when I ate ham, because I slathered it in ketchup, which was okay because I would slather anything classified as an “animal” – turkey, fish sticks, sausage – with ketchup when I ate it. This must mean that corn is an animal, because it got ketchup, too. (Full disclosure – that’s really still the case – meat is just an excuse to eat more ketchup, and on more than one occasion I ate two pieces of bread with ketchup as the only filling – but enough about college.)

Since we’re in Biblical punishment mode, I’m guessing that a plague of non-Muppet™ frogs will be hitting us soon. When I was ten or so, watching Charlton Heston tell God that he could have his Commandments back from his cold, dead fingers, I always wondered why a plague of frogs was bad. Frankly, I still do. What do frogs do that is worse than the whole “river of blood” and “curse of baldness on Yul Brenner”? I suppose it would be bad if the frogs were zombie frogs, or perhaps if they were just really big frogs that were hurled from the sky at 200 miles per hour and dented your car chariot, but I think it was just a plague of frogs.

I think if Hollywood were to redo the Ten Commandments, it would probably star Brad Pitt as Moses, since, hey, why the hell not? I think Ramses, Pharaoh of all Egypt would probably be played by Alan Greenspan, or maybe Vin Diesel if they wanted to go younger. I could see them updating it, and Pharaoh would be confronted with:

Instead of rivers of blood, perhaps we could replace that with, oh, Nancy Pelosi?
Instead of baldness, why not a mysterious flu?
Instead of falling frogs, failing megabanks that would cripple the economy?

Okay, maybe I got some of those a little wrong, but you get the idea. Then Brad Pitt would show up in Congress and say, “Let my Texas go!” They’d say “no” and then he’d turn a briefcase into a child he’d adopted from Canada, or some other place without the Internet. Then he’d give congress huge wads of campaign cash, and they’d say, “Whatever, dude.”

Then Utah (would we really miss it?) would flood and trap the people attempting to flee California, and Texas could finally be free.

I think this might work out, especially if I have enough ketchup, because I think it might taste good on frog. And, really, who has ever heard of frog flu? Heck, if you say it – it sounds like a martial art – frog flu. It’s certainly better than Hammageddon.
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Sunday, May 03, 2009

"I’ve told them a hundred times: put ‘Spinal Tap’ first and ‘Puppet Show’ last." - Jeanine, This is Spinal Tap


Sunset from near the House of Blues®, Houston. Though a pretty picture, this is not a good thing, as we will soon see.

This story starts out on (about) March 1, 2009. I told The Mrs., in passing, that tickets for a concert by Messieurs Guest, McKean, and Shearer. You may not recognize the names, but these gentlemen are better known to most of the world as the fake (and funny) rock band, “Spinal Tap.” In this tour, however, they were performing songs as themselves, not acting, just three friends having a good time on stage.

The Mrs. managed to get tickets for us. Not just any tickets. FRONT ROW. CENTER.

Honestly, I hadn’t been front row center for a concert since I had elbowed my way forward for a Van Halen, Dio, and (inexplicably) Loverboy concert in the way back time of the 1980’s. Oh, sure, that crazy hit “Lady of the Eighties” was such a catchy tune, but Mike Reno and the rest of Loverboy were a bit out of place between “Last in Line” and “Running with the Devil.” Perhaps Loverboy needed more Satan music to be at home in that group. I hope that Mike Reno was wearing a cup, because that tennis ball really looked like it would have hurt. And, really, who has aim that good?

I digress.

Front row center. At a concert of some of my comedic idols. How could I be happier?

I set up babysitting immediately after we got the tickets.

Finally, it was concert night. The Mrs. and I happily dropped off our little toads, the round mound of sound, Pugsley and The (serious) Boy. We drove down to Jones Hall, where the tickets said the concert was. We’d been there before going to a concert of an artist The Mrs. loves, (Tori “Screech” Amos – okay, she was good in concert, but, dangit, sometimes that woman just screeches like a cat). It was a nice venue, very artsy, meaning that lines of men peeing in the sink during intermission weren’t likely.

We got to Jones Hall. We were beginning to turn in to park when The Mrs. said, “Oh, look at the sign – it says Spinal Tap® has been moved to the House of Blues©.”

It had an address underneath, which might as well have been hieroglyphics – neither The Mrs. or I know downtown Houston. We got on the cell phone and called Alia S. Wilder, and she gleefully found directions for us on the Interweb, all the while noting that she would have driven down to Houston for the concert. Well, who would give us directions then, hmm?

We made it to the House of Blues, and were directed to the concert site -third floor- and went in. After sticking my head in the door, I asked the bouncer, “Umm, what exactly are those people doing in my seat?” All the floor seats were full – packed. Not a single open seat.

“Floor is general admission, if you’ve got the wrist band.”

“I want my seats. Front row. 10 and 11.”

“Do you want me to go ask those people to move?”


“That’s not fair, they got here first.”

“No, that is fair. I got in line BACK IN MARCH.” I didn’t raise my voice – rarely helps with bouncers, and often leads to physical altercations. He was only twenty years old or so, barely 210 pounds of solid muscle, so I didn’t want to hurt him and his thirty friends. I continued, “I want to talk to your supervisor.”

Supervisors, sometimes, can help.

This supervisor helpfully pointed out that the balcony, located somewhere just short of low Earth orbit, had seats that would have just a super view once the massive projection screen was pulled back. She also indicated that all the people who had gotten here first had dibs on the front seats. Oh, and that I could get my money back if I didn’t like it.

I (theoretically) will get my money back, in 7-10 days. Comedy isn’t funny when you want to rip the pancreas out of, well, anyone at this point, really. It also didn’t help my mood when I later figured out that at least some of the people sitting in my seats had paid HALF what I did for my ticket.

The Mrs. and I were irate on the way home, wherein The Mrs. indicated all of the things (one thing) that she would like to do to Dan Ackroyd’s (who we think owns House of Blues™) most tender anatomical unit, namely, pull her fist back and punch it. Hard. The Mrs. also mentioned something about “Ghostbusters 2©” when she was hitting her left open palm with her closed right fist. Horrible sound.

Me? I was mad at everybody, from Messieurs Guest, McKean, and Shearer to Dan Ackroyd to the idiot in the car in front of me.

“Don’t drive mad, honey.”

“I’m NOT driving mad. I’m just driving like a jerk. There’s a difference.” I figured I could spread my joy with the rest of the world.

We finally got home, and I had a good head of steam up. I picked up my laptop and began writing a letter to everybody involved. What did I want? An apology.

I sent out an “electronic mail” copy to Harry Shearer, one of the performers (Mr. Shearer has done more voices on “The Simpsons” than there are photographs of Paris Hilton on the Interwebs). I didn’t really expect a response.

I got this in response from him: “I'm really truly sorry that fans like you, and you actually, had such a crappy experience.”

There was a lot more, and we actually exchanged another e-mail. My opinion of him? Classy guy.

I was impressed that he took the time to write. The Mrs. was certain that it was one of his myriad personal assistants and dog washers, but I felt (and feel) like it was the genuine thing.

Does that make it better? Sure it does.

I just hope that The Mrs. doesn’t do a Mike Reno on Dan Ackroyd. I thought Ghostbusters 2™ was okay.
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