Thursday, April 28, 2016

It's Crime Rhyme Friday


What should we do
With the guy in the trunk?
Should we cut out his tongue,
Make him live like a monk?

The Boss said "Don't care, just
Make him disappear."
Our options are open,
Then let's have us a beer.

Should be shoot him, or stab him,
Or let him go free?
Maybe waterboard him, yo!
Always wanted to see.

Should we call up his grandma
For some old phone a booth?
Then send her a letter
Attached to his tooth?

Do we chop him up, burn him up,
Hack with a hoe?
Do we untape his hands,
And say "Dude, you can go."

I hope you remembered
The axe and the saw.
I hope we weren't seen
When we taped up his jaw.

Should we drive to the desert,
Or head to the woods?
Hey look, there's an Arby's,
Curly fries would be good.

Should we bury his torso,
Apart from his noggin'?
Keep driving until
We don't see people joggin'.

What should we do
With that dude in the back?
Remember, it's like lifting
Three concrete sacks.

Should he beg us to live,
Should he cry for his wife?
Will he tells us there's cash,
If we'd just spare his life?

Did you use enough duct tape
To keep him from kicking?
Hear that? Holy shit!
I don't think that shit's sticking.

Should we pull over here,
And just check on the load?
What's that noise? Do a U-turn!
He's bounced down the road.

Goddamn it! He's dead now,
And it's all your fault.
I'm sick of your shit, so
Climb in the trunk, Walt.

I need to get going.
Really need to get get drunk.
But what should I do
With the guy in the trunk?

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Ignorance and Hate in the Tar Heel State

Okay, what's up with this whole bathroom thing?

Back on March 16, the North Carolina General Assembly passed HB 2, banning employers and businesses from discriminating against employees or customers based on their race, color, country of origin, religion, age or “biological sex.”

Which is good... ish. Problem is, by saying what can't be done, Carolina's new law is actually implying what can be done. Omitted from the bill's language is any prohibition on discriminatory practices against those who identify with a different sex than the one designated to them at birth.

Before we go too much further, help me understand why—what were the true motivations behind such a strange rule? Why did a state's congress spend so much time and energy crafting this legislation? Here's all I could come up with, as explained by Davy Doug Duggar, Carolina kissin' cousin to the celebrated Duggar clan of Arkansas:

a) Fear—"Y'all just watch. Y'all gonna see those goddamn abonimabations settin' up shop in every laydees room from here to Stoney Creek. 'Specially that one down the hall from the food court at Raleigh Mall. Y'all never mind how I know that, I just do, a'ight?"

b) Power—"Case y'all forgot, we're the waht gahs. We in charge. Y'all can take yer baby killers, Mexicans and freaks and dump 'em on off in San Francisco or Seattle or one o' them other shit holes in California."

c) The convenience of dealing in absolutes—"Ever since Adam and Eve was cast out of the Olive Garden, men have held sole possession of the penis. Except that Jamie Lee Curtis, and ah do love her work."

Feel free to add your own theory, because this whole thing freaking flummoxes me. And in terms of item c), while life is mostly grey, there are plenty of black and white issues I can get behind. Here's three off the tip of my tongue:

1) There will never be a perfect ratio of chips to salsa. Ever.

2) The coat closet can never be left partially open. Since moving in, I've closed it 6,022 times. Yes, I figured it out.

3) Cats are weird.

I mean, sure, at my current proportions I'm imposing enough to be Leo's prison daddy, but if I ever shrank to the size of a troll doll, first he'd torture me by slowly gnawing off my arms with his toothless gums, then finally halt my misery by clamping down on my little Adam's Applet.

Fickle beasts, they are.

Given more time to consider the concept, I'm sure most of us would be able to conjure up a few more examples of good and bad, of black and white, of right and wrong. But gender isn't one of them. What right have we to label someone as wrong or bad after what has surely been years of struggle and shamed secrecy in pursuit of his or her true identity?

I'll answer that one, too—we don't have that right. If you're uncomfortable with your kid using a public restroom, go in with them or find a single-occupancy "family" facility. And speaking of family, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, of the 69,000 child abductions that occurred in 1999, about 82 percent of them were perpetrated by family members, and 11 percent by friends of the family (or other adults that the child knew well). So, North Carolina, if you really want to keep your children safe, maybe y'all should look a little closer to home. 

This is simply another in a long line of smoke screens churned up by repressed conservative men to keep the usual suspects in line. Anyone who disputes that our lives contain shades of grey apparently hasn't figured out how to utilize the grey matter God gave them.

Friday, April 15, 2016

The Yin's Fine, But That Needle's a Little Close to My Yang.

How open are you to trying to new things? Ever bought a pair of red Chuck Taylors, then actually worn them? Ever had your ear pierced in Canada then didn't get rid of it when you got back to the States?

Hey, me neither!

On a scale of one to ten, how game are you, with a one being, "Hey, Honey, can you hand me a new bottle of Pert over the curtain? You know I can't wash my bottom with a dirty head," to a ten being "Hell yes I'll eat that monkey!"?

While most of us fall somewhere mid-range, I've always skewed toward the "there's only one way to get to Tukwila" end of the scale. Sure, I've always talked a big game, but inevitably I've skedaddled to the comfort of my black and white cocoon of absolutism.

But when it comes to my asthma, experimentation has always bucked my conservatism. Since my first attack in '65, I've experimented with any number of inhaler cocktails, yet stuck to my tried and true friend, Albuterol, much like Donald Trump's well-documented dependence on Cialis and finger extensions. I'm a freaking OG vaper, which is why my adult life has witnessed a winding chain of steroid-based treatments, but without the benefit of large deltoids and small testes.

Prior to this winter, my only foray into eastern sensibilities had been a brief smidge of ponytailed dabbling back in the '90s, devouring Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance in an impressive year-and-a-half. In summary, its message was that when we're able to shake free our dualistic mindsets (good/bad, right/wrong, subject/object), and simply experience every moment as it occurs, our egos dissolve and we become one with everything. No separation will then exist between the energy that powers all living things, a force within which God resides.

So yeah, while the whole Zen deal is amazing and enlightening and all that shit, not once in all those pages does anyone mention God shoving needles in my cheeks. And I'm not talking about the more insulated cheeks located south of the Bible Belt; if my eyes are midtown Manhattan, the needles are setting up shop in Little Italy.

Regardless, by December of last year, things had gotten to the point where, whether at work, home, the bus or the Target check-out line, I'd become a wheezing, coughing, throat-clearing phlegmbot, tirelessly annoying folks of all shapes and sizes, It was time to act or be assaulted by loved ones and strangers with equal impunity.

In January, I began weekly acupuncture treatments, and since, I've managed to vaguely grasp the theoretical reason why the Army Corps of Engineers felt it necessary to construct a weekly needle runway from collar bone down to lower abdomen, stopping just short of the more sensitive Silk Road to the Temple.

The gist of the theory is that when our bodies are balanced, energy flows freely from within and without. This energy is known as qi (pronounced "chee"), or life force. Qi consists of opposing forces, the yin (moist and cooling, emanating from the earth) and the yang (warm and invigorating, flowing downward from the sun and sky).

With my flow of qi impeded, an overabundance of "wind" or yin, becomes trapped in the lung, causing wheezing and shortness of breath. To combat this, needles are inserted along the lung meridian, one of nine energy pathways present in our bodies, to re-kindle the egalitarian relationship between yin and yang. In other words, the lung meridian is prodded with enough little lawn darts to force the twins back to the negotiating table.

Finally, following these months of treatments, yin and yang appear to have stopped fighting in the back seat over the last Red Vine, and Father Qi hasn't had to pull over and spank, as he calls them, "those goddamn twins."

Is all of this working? Has my asthma gone the way of the IBM Selectric? Not yet, but it's improved substantially. Unfortunately, I'm unable to fully attribute this change to acupuncture alone, since during this same period, I've eliminated dairy, lost some weight and implemented a regimen of 18 herbal supplements per day. But hey, what matters is results, right?

Actually, l changed my mind. The acupuncture is fully responsible. Let's order a pizza.

Friday, April 1, 2016

These Two.

I was going to type this up last night but I started throwing up. How's that for a hook?

Before I move on, a quick word about the process of vomiting—and it is just that—a process. Very few of us spontaneously hurl, as usually we're provided warning signs anywhere from minutes to hours prior to the ultimate act of yelling yogurt. I'm here to tell you though, somebody paid for express delivery on this one. I went from enjoying a beer on a beautiful Thursday evening, preparing a nice black bean soup (with bacon, where you leave the grease in the soup and it's freaking delicious) to bedazzling the bedpan in less than two hours.

Sorry, I tend to trend graphically in this forum and I do want you to read on, so I'll stop there. It's just interesting how, when the human body encounters a breach of security, it goes through a sort of NORAD Defcon level progression. And not to worry, feeling much better today.

I was planning on featuring my two daughters in this post, since during April the older kid turns 21 and the younger, 16. It's a big milestone and they've been subjects, sometimes willing but usually not, of numerous posts over the past seven years, Accordingly, I've decided my gift to them is Seinfeldian in nature—the gift of nothing—no interviews or greatest hits. You're welcome, darling angels.

Alas, most of the cute stories, the mispronunciations and heart-tweaking sentiments, the naive perceptions of life on Earth, have slowly evaporated with each passing season. And like many of my friends also experiencing this, I've tried to embrace the evolving nature of parenthood, from hands-on to hands-off in fairly short order.

April fools! Here are the top five quips from each daughter since this blog started back in 2009:

Older daughter (I'll call her Hermione):

3) December 5, 2011 (age 16)

Hermione: "Hey, Dad, I can see your butt crack,"

Me (I'll call myself Ryan, either Reynolds or Gosling): "Okay, do you want me to put down this hammer and this really small nail and this huge string of lights that's teetering on collapse and get down from this stool and pull up my pants? Huh? Is that what you want?" No answer. "Just look the other way or something." I pounded. I taped. I failed. I pounded some more. I swore some more. I pounded. Finally, success.

Hermione: "Dad, guess what? We filmed you on my phone."

Ryan: "You filmed me? Are you serious?"

Hermione: "Yeah."

Ryan: "You filmed the whole butt crack conversation, too?"

Hermione: "Yeah."

2) January 12, 2011 (Age 15)

Ryan: "It looks really short."

Hermione:"Dad, don't worry. I'm wearing spandex underneath, so even if it gets hiked up, no one can see anything."

Ryan:"You only need to touch your nose to hike that thing up."

Hermione: "Dad, just wait until you see me with it on. You'll feel much better."

Ryan didn't.

1) March 30, 2010 (Age 14)

Ryan: "If you could change anything about your first ten years, what would you change?"

Hermione: "When I was four, I wouldn't have peed on the floor of my room and wiped it up with your towel and put it back, thereby forcing you to dry yourself with my urine.

Ryan: "I wish you could change that too."

And now for the younger child (let's call her Chrysanthemum)

3) February 29, 2012 (age 11)

Chrysanthemum: "I let Autumn borrow my deodorant in gym today. I know I probably shouldn't do that, but I sort of feel sorry for her because she smells like..."

Hermione, interrupting: "Seriously, you guys, I was looking at my stomach in the mirror this morning and my two-pack is looking so good..."

Chrysanthemum, interrupting: "You just interrupted me."

Hermione: "Sorry. But really, check this out (exposing her bare stomach). Is this not a highly-defined two-pack?"

Chrysanthemum: "I don't care about your stomach. Can I finish talking please? Thank you...I forgot what I was talking about. Anyway, Ashley and Jonah are dating now, so there making it Facebook official tonight and then they're...

Hermione, interrupting: "Ewww! There's something in my Au Jus!"

Chrysanthemum: "You just interrupted me again! And it's a piece of bread. Stuff gets in your Aus Jus all the time! Look at mine. It's got stuff in it, too. Now listen to what I'm saying!"

Older Daughter: "I think I need a bang trim."

2) August 21, 2009 (age 9)

Chrysanthemum: "You know what I want for dessert?"

Ryan: "What?"

Chrysanthemum: "Gilletto."

Ryan: "You mean gelato?"

Chrysanthemum: "No Dad, I mean gilletto. Come on. You've had it a lot."

1) July 13, 2009 (age 9)

Chrysanthemum: "Dad, tell mom to change her clothes. She listens to you."

Ryan: "What are you talking about?"

Chrysanthemum: "Dad, Mom has a doctor's appointment, and the doctors and nurses are going to be really embarrassed to see her in her brown sweater with huge buttons. She looks super ugly."

Ryan: "People in our family are allowed to dress any way they want, including you."

Chrysanthemum: "But I always wear really pretty things."

Ryan: "Just leave your mom alone."

Chrysanthemum: "Just tell her to change her sweater, then. She can leave her pants on."

Ryan "I have to get back to work. Just let it go."

Chrysanthemum: "Okay, but you have a really unattractive wife going out in public."

Happy birthdays, my beautiful girls.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Con Man and the Carpet Bomber

Let’s start with a quick quiz. True or false, Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, at some point or another, has said each of the following:

“I don’t feel guilty for anything. I feel sorry for people who feel guilt.”

“Success is the sole earthly judge of right and wrong.”

"Torture works, okay folks? Believe me, it works.”

The answer is “false.” Ted Bundy uttered the first statement just prior to kicking back in Old Sparky, and the second quote comes from none other than Adolph Hitler. Oh, and yeah, that last line actually is from Trump, since Hitler probably would have said "volks” and the word “earthly” is a little too fancy for the Apricot Assmask.

My point is, when stacked up against two all-time psychopaths, Donald Trump cozies up like a puppy in a sack of sausage. Like the other two, he thrives on deception and preys on fear, he dangles his vitriolic red meat above the ravenous mouths of the disillusioned and disenfranchised, and over the past six months, he’s provided his supporters no shortage of targets on which to focus their hatred.

The irony in all this is Donald Trump, the man. While railing against corporate special interests and political corruption, he’s morphed into the human personification of the very entity he eschews. Like a classic American corporation, he isn’t immoral, he’s amoral—his sole aim is maximum returns for the good of the brand, and he’s demonstrated a willingness to do or say anything toward that end. In his mind, just as Hitler spouted, success is the ultimate judge of right and wrong.

But you already knew that. The question now is, what do we do? I’m not really sure, but after this week’s Super Tuesday III, Ted Cruz seems to think he’s got the nomination aced. After Marco Rubio’s withdrawal Tuesday night, young Ted took the podium with squinty delusions of grandeur despite having won nary a state. Here’s a little snippet:

"Together we will make Washington less relevant in all of our lives. We will repeal every word of Obamacare. We will pass a simple flat tax and abolish the IRS. We will rein in the EPA and the government regulators that are killing small businesses.

"And we'll stop amnesty, secure the borders, and end welfare benefits for those here illegally. And the result will be millions upon millions of high-paying jobs and wages rising for people across America. (It) will be young people coming out of school with two, three, four, five job opportunities.”

Holy shit, Ted, what’s the plan for your second week in office?

I’m about seventy percent sure that next January, Bill Clinton will saunter through the White House door, high five Hillary and sprint to his room to see if his stash of Penthouses is still under the bed. But God bless the United States of America when that happens, because if you think our nation is divided now, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Fox News, indebted to the original Clinton presidency for its anointing as messenger to the ignorant and fearful, will blossom. “Fox4U," its new alternative offshoot, will have the news read by attractive twenty-somethings who will rail against the Clintons while wearing bikinis and sausage satchels. Ratings will skyrocket.

Until then, the Repubs are left to choose between Trump, Cruz or an as-yet-unnamed GOP savior. If this happens, chances are extremely likely that this individual will be considerably more normal-looking than either of the other candidates. Look, I know I’m no beauty queen, but Cruz is one creepy looking Texan. He's got the the face of a comic book villain whose face stuck in a contorted smirk after a nuclear mishap.

To my conservative chums, a friendly word of advice: get your shit together. Right now, you must select either a megalomaniac who believes in exacting revenge on terrorists’ families, or a ghoulish theocrat who will "utterly destroy ISIS. We will carpet bomb them into oblivion. I don't know if sand can glow in the dark, but we're going to find out.”

Out of the 142 million Americans eligible to run for president, you've narrowed it down to these two? Scary.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

That's the Ticket

Don't ask me why I cleaned out the basement last weekend. Seriously, don't ask me.

Okay, I'll tell you. It's because purging the cellar was but one in an chain of unpleasant tasks incurred by my own willful ignorance. Unaware that the swinging door into my cat's litter box was stuck it took me two days to realize my error. And what's a cat to do when access to his private poo igloo is denied?

He's going to air his grievances elsewhere. Which of course he did, which in turn precipitated last weekend's dust and dung festival in the basement. But who wants to hear about that? We all have to deal with the unlovely excreta from our pets and children on a regular basis. Cry me a yellow river, superstar.

But fear not, there's an upside. Did I wheeze worse than Muttley the cartoon dog from lingering all afternoon in a my self-created toxic spore bloom?

Absolutely, but any bronchial scarring caused by my extended stay downstairs was decisively offset by the treasure trove of memorabilia I rediscovered. And when I came across an envelope with "ticket stubs" scrawled faintly across it, Papa strapped on his headlamp and spelunked nose-first into to the flashback cave.

I won't share them all with you, just those which struck a meatier chord while vacationing in the Republic of Nostalgia. Overall, I think the most humorous commonality among these mementos is the crazily-low prices.

This was a good show, even though the band's biggest hit, "Dust in the Wind," wasn't exactly an encouraging message to esteem-challenged 16-year-olds like myself. Also it took us a really long time to find the car afterwards.

Possibly uttered afterwards: "Dude, where's my car?"

By the fall of my senior year, my friend John and I had become fully immersed in all that was Beatle. When the tribute foursome, "Beatlemania," invaded Seattle, we had no choice but to venture up north to check them out. After the show our Fab Four hysteria was tweaked to eleven, but in less than three months John Lennon would be assassinated. My friend John is also gone now, and uncovering this stub churned up some powerful memories.

Possibly uttered afterwards: "The guy who played George looked like the real Ringo, and the guy who played Ringo looked like my aunt from Scotland."

This was my first Seahawk game, which I attended with my dad. Still fun, despite the Hawks getting steamrolled by the Browns. 27-3.

Possibly uttered afterwards: "Dad, I can totally see the Browns racking up a few championships by the end of the 80s. I'd put my O.J. poster on it."

Played during one of the worst wind storms in forty years with gusts approaching 70 miles per hour, the Dawgs spanked the Troy Boys on their way to a second consecutive Rose Bowl. 

Possibly uttered afterwards: "Shit, man, it took so long to get to the front of the pee line that by the time I got there, I couldn't pee. I'm cramping hard, can you carry me? Why not?"

Sixteen bucks for a concert? Give me a freaking break. 

Possibly uttered afterwards: "Expensive ticket, but it might be our last chance to see these guys. I mean, how old is Mick, like, 38?"

While Connors would still play another ten years, Borg was approaching the end of the line. Jimmy won the match, but the real theatrics occurred in line prior to the contest. My brother and I watched as an upstart Seahawk quarterback named Dave Krieg crowded to the front and attempted to gain entry without a ticket. The last words we heard him yell into the box office before stomping off were, "You don't know who I am? I'm Dave Krieg!"

Possibly uttered afterwards: "That was some awesome tennis. The incredible topspin, the long rallies and Dave Krieg is a dick."

Ann Wilson sang with such power she wouldn't have even needed a microphone that night. If you've never seen her or her sister Nancy, one of the most underrated rhythm guitarists in rock history, do yourself a favor. Just brilliant.

Possibly uttered afterwards: "I can't believe what a dick Dave Krieg was three years ago."

I'll stop there and just lay down a summary of the remaining stubs:  Rush was a borderline religious experience in June of 1981. Aerosmith appeared uninspired and coked out in 1985. The Kinks were fantastic, but performed the same show both times I saw them, and when the Sonics defeated the Lakers and Showtime in the Western Conference Finals that sultry afternoon in 1987, losing the green and gold twenty years later seemed about as likely as a Donald Trump presidency in thirty.

We all know how that went.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Confessions of a Word Nerd

Moist ointment. Leaking papule. Snot glob. 

Whether used in combination or individually, many of us feel an unhinged contempt for certain words. I’ll tell you though, these little nasties sure are attention grabbers, aren’t they? And now that I’ve got your attention, let’s talk about just that... words.

I understand it sounds a little moronic, but the best part of writing is the words. I love them. Finding just the right one can be, as my teenager might say, "low-key” joyous. Hooking the perfect word and gingerly hoisting it from the thesaural rabbit hole proves nothing short of a literary Heimlich Maneuver sans public mortification and a 90-day ban from Outback Steakhouse.

And with all the lunacy around us, especially the shit storm stirred up lately by a certain apricot-jowled fear pimp, what say we take a deep breath and have a little fun with civilization’s building blocks—both the appealing and the appalling. Originally planned as a top ten for each category, I became too nauseated to venture past five for the list of least desirable words.

So let's weigh in with a few meaty abhorrences then bring it on home with the ten best etymons in all of worddom.

The top five worst words, as compiled by the underworked staff at Reflections of a Shallow Pond:

5) Pus—sounds nasty and is, but let's be honest, who who doesn't feel a slight tremor of satisfaction when the pus spatters lightly on the mirror, blessedly fracked from that oily crease just south of your left nostril?

4) Chafe—actually I kind of like the word ("Keith chafed at the thought of letting Shirley borrow his unicycle"), but I sure hate the feeling, especially after deciding to take a sticky summer walk in my new Levi's shrink-to-fits. Moist ointment time for sure.

3) Stench—just a downright nasty word, both in sound and connotation. The only redeeming quality is that it rhymes with its affable cousins, quench and Dame Judy Dench.

2) Bloat—many probably wouldn't consider bloat to be onomatopoeia (a word whose pronunciation imitates a natural sound, like "splash"), but think about it—what's the first sound that emanates from your body following a hearty beer bong of PBR? "Bloaaatttt! Ahhhhh!"

1) Tumor—an awful, awful word. It's number one on this dubious list simply because I can't think of a sentence where it's used toward anything positive, except maybe "We got all of the tumor."

Okay, enough of the nasty stuff. Here are the top ten best words, as compiled by me, since my staff has already bailed for happy hour at the Ruth's Chris:

10) Crunch—also onomatopoeia, crunch is one of my favorite active verbs— Ruffles, Fritos, Cheetos and Doritos team up with salt and chemicals to make one tasty noise. And when examined as a noun, NestlĂ©'s Crunch, Cap'n Crunch and Crunch 'n' Munch bear responsibility for 4.7% of my lifetime high fructose corn syrup intake.

9) Cream—Not just a superband of the 1960s, cream is wonderful as a sidekick to so many treats (cookies and cream, peaches and cream) or standing alone, as illustrated in this 1973 TV commercial featuring our beautiful Farrah Fawcett and Broadway Joe Namath:

Seems like there's a little something going on there. Not sure what it is.

8) Beer—a great sounding word, it's easy to say regardless of how much you've had. Equally easy to drink.

7) Dutch—I have no idea why, but I've always loved the sound of this word. Delving too deeply can expose some darkness, as it was Ronald Reagan's nickname and precipitated one of the most talked about lines in the annals of cinema:

6) Sweet—okay, I'm starting to realize that all the good words have something to do with food. Oh well, so be it! Sweet must be included since it's been a go-to of mine for dang near forty years. Along with cool, it's kicked to the curb the other generational faddish words, such as groovy, decent, far out and awe sooky sooky.

5) Block—I've always been a fan of blocks, especially of the Lego variety. Plus, it's a word that conveys sturdiness, solidity. How great is H-n-R Block as the name of a tax preparer? Oh, also I wanted to run by you an ad idea I've got for those guys. How about something like, "Yo, all y'all at Arthur Andersen used throw shade at our suburban strip mall workin' asses, but who's laughin' now bitches! Nah, y'all know I'm just playin'. H-n-R Block: Yamo be there."

4) Cash—99 percent of the reason is this guy:

The other one percent pertains to the feel and smell of American cash money. Filthy yet pleasing.

3) Huskies—long before I became first a fan, then a student and alum of the purple and gold, my six- to ten-year-old self wore boys' Husky size jeans and pants. My mom often went out of her way to find "stylish" pairs for me, which makes me remember how awesome she was. Great word.

2) Peace—just saying the word has a calming effect.

1) Pie—Where do I begin? What would the world be without these buttery, flaky, tangy, cheesy, sweet hunks of heaven? Whether it's blackberry, chicken pot, pizza, or even Hostess Cherry, I'm not ashamed to say that pie has made my life a whole lot better. And since I know a person who makes the best pies on Earth, this word must finish the list at number one.

Please reply with your favorite and least favorite words. I know there are a few of my fellow etymology nerds out there, so show yourselves! And eat more pie!