Friday, September 16, 2016

I know it's been a while since I posted, but Mrs. Noisewater and I had a baby boy on September 8th. Erik is his name, and he is one hell of a cute son of a gun. The day he was born was an unbelievable day, and it's a tale I'd love to tell all of you. However, it's a long story that I don't have enough time blocked out for right now to relay to my beloved blog buddies at this moment. This little guy has been keeping us so busy that I saw this block of a couple of hours at midnight as my only chance to bang out a blog. Since it would have to be a short one, I figured I'd go for a laugh and tell you some funny stuff that's happened so far.

Let's just come right out and say it: Circumcision is a dated and crazy practice. The lady who performed the mutilation of my son's penis came by first to tell us that any benefits to the surgery (cleanliness or risk of STD's) are such a small percentage in either case that it's hardly even worth doing. I decided to go through with it for very stupid reasons such as: That's how mine is, I've heard women say that they have been freaked out when they have seen on the other way, and some of the ones I have seen look like those worms in "Dune."

Here's another thing, a nurse said that the tip-snipper lady would first have to come by to assess if my boy's ding-dong was big enough to do the surgery. This was one of the first times I found myself stepping in to stand up for my son. "Hey, it's plenty big enough," I said in his defense. "You just tell her to grab her best scalpel and come down here to surgically remove this young man's turtleneck!"

Hope no one is offended by my assessment because it's only an opinion. Plus I'm an idiot.
For those of you who don't know, seeing your son's freshly circumcised penis for the first time will scare the living daylights out of you. It's bright fire engine, red like when a dog has an erection and shows everyone his red rocket. There is some upkeep involved too. Every time you change his diaper for a week (which is many, many times int the first week), you have to put some ointment on a gauze pad and stick it to his sore ding-a-ling. If you don't, the poor little guy's sore penis will stick to the diaper. Ouch! I was telling a friend that it's a lot of pressure because I didn't want to screw up my boy's dick. That's a big deal. "That's a huge deal," my friend said emphatically in agreement.

No transition here other than funny baby genital stories, but I was assisting with weighing Erik at the doctor's office the other day. For some reason they plopped him down on a cold metal scale. He doesn't like being on his back much to begin with, but this ice cold hard surface upset him even more. He instantly screamed, and he put up such a fight that he didn't sit still even for even a split second to get an accurate reading. He then let loose with the only play he had. Erik sprayed a stream of pee in the upwards of three majestic feet that sprayed all over a nearby leather chair. I heard a loud splat as it  hit the back of the chair. He had some power behind this shot. I was cleaning it up as fast as I could and apologizing, but what I was really thinking was, "That's my boy!"

When the doctor came by to ask us some questions, one of them was if he is peeing enough. I said to her, "Did you see him out there by the scale? He damn near took the upholstery off one of your chairs with his power washing. He's plenty well hydrated. As a matter of fact, you should have a plaque in your waiting room commemorating that performance for longest distance in his age division. Next question." Just kidding. I didn't say of this, but I will say I was beaming with pride for the rest of the appointment. It won't be long before he is ready to pee in the trough at Wrigley Field. This is a very daunting task for any young man, but I think by 4 years of age he will be able to take a step back, put some arc on it, and deliver a perfect stream with laser point precision and not a drop hitting the floor.

I told you it's scary to saddle up there for a pee as a kid. This youngster is apparently intent on waiting for everyone else to leave before giving it a go.
Okay, I know these were baby genital stories and it's a little strange. But I do plan on delivering the heart-warming and more earnest tale of when Erik Noisewater first came into the world and changed my life forever. For now I just had time for these quick goofy stories while he is sleeping, but isn't this post more fitting for what this blog has been all about over the years? Thanks for reading, friends.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

These Are the Records That Were Spinning In My Neighborhood

I've been putting off blogging by watching all kinds of useless junk on the internet, such as this band that dresses up like Transformers and plays songs from "Transformers: The Movie," the animated movie from 1986. Aren't those costumes fantastic? But I can't help but feel sorry for the guy stuck portraying Spike, the earthling and friend of the Transformers. It's as if they ran out of money on the other elaborate costumes and just stuck him with a factory jumpsuit and a hard hat.



Tomorrow I'm going out to the suburbs for a record sale hosted some dude in his garage. He says that if you show him on your phone that you have shared the link to the add to someone else on Facebook, he will give you an ice cold Old Style tall boy. For my European readers (okay, reader, let's face it), Old Style is a cheap beer sold only in the midwest, and tall boy means a 16 ounce can. It seems this guy has way too many records and decided to take a couple days drinking beer in his garage and selling a bunch of vinyl. It's only a town or two over from my parents' place, I like beer, and I like records. How can I say no? The plan is to drop my very pregnant wife off at work and drive right out into the suburbs to thumb through stacks and stacks of vinyl while sipping on a cool one. What a great way to end the summer!

No idea who this guy is, but is he more proud of his lady or the beer?
Speaking of the very pregnant wife, it's now the 25th of August, and our due date is September 12th. We have the crib set up in the bedroom, and sometimes we will walk by it and say, "Hey, that's where baby sleeps!" Then we will be in the car and motion to the backseat where the carseat is hooked up and say, "That's where baby rides!" Just today I drove Mrs. Noisewater by the hospital on her way to way to work, and she said, "Hey, Ken. That's where baby is going to be born." It's obvious the first time we say those things, then it's just repetitive, and after a while it's hilarious to us. I think because we both can't believe we are having a baby in a matter of weeks, maybe days!

And then back to vinyl again: Today's actual blog topic involves listening to the records that were on the turntable when I was a kid and recording my impressions now and memories then. My mom and dad were actually not that big on rock music. Their collection consists of a lot more jazz and classical. However, there were a handful of rock records that they would play, and my sister and I would spin those select few over-and-over.

1. Fleetwood Mac, "Rumors."



As a little kid, I'll be honest, the first thing that excited me about the record was the cover because Mick Fleetwood had a pair of balls dangling from strings like a nut sack. Balls were funny then, and they still are. And I like how Stevie Nicks gazes in the general direction of his dangling crawdads with a look of utmost sincerity. Within the lyric sheet insert there are a series of photographs, and in one there is a guy smoking a joint. I remember hearing at school how terrible and illegal drugs were, so I thought that by pressing this album, the police could go to that guy's house and arrest him for drug use. Isn't it weird how brainwashed and confused little Kenneth Noisewater was from public education?


There were two simultaneous break ups going on within Fleetwood Mac at the time they made "Rumours." Bass player John McVie and his wife, keyboard player and singer Christie McVie, were going through a divorce. Christie was seeing a new guy, and she wrote a song about her rejuvenated faith in love called "You Make Loving Fun." John had to play bass on a song about his wife being all excited about fucking someone new! This fueled his already heavy drinking. John would be one of the first guys into the studio to record his parts, and he would often be the first one done because he would pass out.

Lindsay Buckingham, singer and guitarist, was also splitting up with his girlfriend, singer and hippy-chick poet all-star, Stevie Nicks. Stevie was taking it really hard and wrote an amazing song called "Dreams" all about it. Not to be outdone, Lindsey wrote one too called "Go Your Own Way." So, four of the five members were having break-ups with each other, and that left drummer, Mick Fleetwood, who was in the midst of a failing marriage with his wife. The pain and heartache all five members were experiencing at the time could have spelt disaster, but it was instead channeled into a catharsis that became one of the best albums in rock history; certainly the best break up album. In fact, all five members are given writing credit for an extremely moving piece of music called "The Chain." That's one of those songs that even as a 7-year-old kid, nowhere near dating any chicks or having any breakups of my own, I knew that song was somehow important. It was just majestic.

2. My sister and I probably played Three Dog Night the most. I remember big sister and her friend made a dance routine to "One," of all songs, and would play it over-and-over again to rehearse their steps. My parents still talk about a trip we took to Pittsburgh where us two and the kids of our family friends were spontaneously singing "Joy To the World" during any downtime. I didn't know at the time, but Three Dog Night was a cover band. I loved "Try a Little Tenderness" as a youngster and had no idea that Otis Redding did it first. "Celebrate," and "Old Fashioned Love Song" we also liked. We thought "Eli's Coming" was about some sort of bad boogie man type coming to get everyone. Then up until recently I thought it was a song warning people against a cock block buddy of his. Allow me to explain.

What he's really saying:

"Eli's coming, hide your heart girl."

What I thought he was saying:

"Eli's coming, hide your hot girl."

Not at all about a cock block. My apologies. 


3. My mom and dad had only one Rolling Stones album called "Gimme Shelter." One side, to my recollection, were recorded versions of "Gimme Shelter," "Jumpin' Jack Flash," "Street Fighting Man," "Honkey Tonk Woman," and "Love In Vain." The other side was a collection of live songs, the only which I know for sure were "Satisfaction" and "Under My Thumb." My sister and I rarely gave that side a spin.


What I do remember is feeling so sad when I heard "Love In Vain." It's a Robert Johnson cover. He is the blues legend from the 1930's who was rumored to have sold his soul in exchange for a brief and wondrous career that would prove to be extraordinarily influential to blues and later rock music. There is only that one session of recordings and that one picture that we always see of the man. In any event, it wasn't just Jagger's pained vocals that struck a chord, so to speak, with me. Mick Taylor's slide guitar was wailing away in anguish in a way 7-year-old Ken just didn't hear on the 1980's radio stations that were playing Kajagoogoo around that time.



My parents threw out all their records some time in the early 2000's, but I have since tracked down my own copies of some of them. However, I don't have that same Stones record. What I have is "Let It Bleed," largely because of that "Love In Vain" cover is one there. In a case of tragic music-lover irony, the only song on either side that skips is none other than "Love In Vain."

It's all the more a sad song to hear Mick keeps saying

"I followed her to the station . . . With a suitcase in my hand (hic), in my hand (hic), in my hand (hic), in my hand (hic) . . ."

Monday, August 08, 2016

Where the Sidewalk Ends: Beware of Ditches and Horny Weirdos

My dad was out for a walk around the neighborhood the other day on the street due to the fact that there was no sidewalk during that stretch. Suddenly he sees a woman dash out onto the street to stop him.  He thought there might be some kind of emergency, but instead she says, "Have you found Jesus?" This was not the kind of conversation Kenneth Sr. wanted to be involved in during his morning walk, but like his son, he is really nice to weirdos who want to talk to him and has a hard time getting out of those situations.

She told him that she was an alcoholic for a number of years and is lucky to be alive, and that the only way she ever got clean and sober was to find Jesus. She said that one time she was so drunk that she fell in a ditch. She then pointed out the very ditch that she fell into. I suggested that one way out of that situation would be that the two of them could go get a closer look at the ditch, Kenneth Sr. could shove her in said ditch, and run like hell. I'm sure he considered it as she went on-and-on, especially when she said, "You have such nice curly hair. Would you like to come inside for a cup of coffee?" I laughed my ass off when I heard this. The seamless segue from the curly hair to invite inside could only mean that she has given up "the sauce," but she has not given up her other vice: flagging down strange men on the street and doing sex to them.

The situation was getting very strange to say the least, but he was saved when crazy lady saw the streets and sanitation man approaching and said, "Oooh, he is a recovering alcoholic like me. I have to go talk to him." That was Kenneth Sr.'s cue: He ran like hell. He has not been able to run properly lately for years due getting older and nagging injuries. However, on this day he ran faster than he did in those track meets in high school he was always telling my sister and I about.

Kenneth Sr. now takes a slightly different route on his walks. Here is the usual route he had been doing for years now.


And pictured below is the route he now takes every morning.


What do you think, friends? Anyone have any weirdos in their neighborhood or anywhere else that you find yourself avoiding?

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Time Traveling Concert Goers Serve Their Own Selfish Rock Purposes

I had a dream last night where my good friend, HLP*, and I were transported back to various times in history. What an amazing opportunity! We could have saved the Kennedy brothers from being assassinated, stopped the world wars that cost the world so many lives, and maybe even smacked the AIDS monkey in the head with a crowbar.** But instead the first thing that occurred to us that we could do for the good of mankind went something like this, "Holy shit! We can travel through time seeing all kinds of legendary rock bands!"

HLP and I were discussing what shows we had been to during out time travels. One of us saw Black Sabbath with Ozzy Osbourne in the 1970's, and on another night in the 1970's we saw Blue Oyster Cult. Seeing B.O.C. is not that exciting of an opportunity, but that is all we could find playing that night. And they didn't even play "Don't Fear the Reaper!" Now that I think about it, HLP and I could have been yelling out for them to play that song when it hadn't even been written yet. Trippy, right?


We found our potential Holy Grail when we skimmed through the newspaper to to see that Jimi Hendrix was playing that night! This must be what the Ziggy of our rock and roll "Quantum Leap" has been wanting us to see. It was all so clear now! The only problem was that it was sold out. First we tried to sneak through the front door, but the doorman busted us and kicked us to the curb. We then found a way to get in through the back door. This led us to the backstage area, but from there there was no way to get to where we could see the stage. We decided to hide behind some folding tables where we could hear the show perfectly and see Jimi playing from time to time when he walked by a door with a window on it. 


At one point Jimi happened to glance through the window and looked right at me. I didn't know what else to do, so I just smiled and waved. Mr. Hendrix stopped playing at this point and said, "Hold on a minute. We got a couple white boys*** back here." I thought for sure our goose (or geese) was cooked, but he asked the crowd if we should be let into the show. The crowd responded with an uproarious applause, and we came out and saluted the crowd to a standing ovation. HLP and I found some seats, but people kept arriving and kicking us out (we had no tickets, if you'll recall). Some seats that I sat in I had to leave even before anyone got there because my knees were hitting the head of the person in front of me. I found it odd at the time that some seats had more leg room than others, but maybe it was like that in the early 1970's. I'll never know because I can't really time travel.

Sometimes you just find that perfect Google Image.
With all the time I spent worrying if I would be thrown out, if a ticket-holding patron would arrive to take my seat, or if my knees would graze somebody's ear and piss them off, I realized that I wasn't paying much attention to why I was there: Jimi. Fucking. Hendrix. I will say that dream-time-traveling Kenneth was impressed with his playing, but Jimi didn't play one single, solitary song I had ever heard before.  

So, what does it all mean? Are the rock gods inside my insane brain trying to tell me something?
- Maybe I should just enjoy the moment more and not worry so much about little details?
- Perhaps it's a telling story about how I'm too overly concerned with rock music?
- Help me out, Seven Readers. Maybe there is a hidden meaning that I'm missing?

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
*This acronym stands for Heterosexual Life Partner. He has been a good buddy of mine since junior high, all through this blog's inception, and right up until now. We text one another just about every day about sports and music, so I would say life partner still applies.

**I'm sorry if any animal lovers are offended by this. Believe me when I say that it wouldn't be easy because I find monkeys so adorable. But I would hypothetically smash that little guy's infected nose right into the back of his disease-ridden skull for the good of mankind. But he would get a pass if Zeppelin or someone else awesome was playing that night.

***We weren't the least bit offended when he said "white boys" because he delivered it with no malice at all, and in fact, a great deal of warmth. Dream Jimi was extremely kind and gracious. He was everything I imagined him to be, but I just wish he played some songs that I knew! I mean, I have heard his whole catalog, so from what reservoir was he digging through for that night's deep cuts? I'll have to ask Dream Jimi if I ever have the pleasure of meeting him again, and while I'm at it I'll thank him for letting me and my "white boy" friend into the show.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

The other day just about the only thing I had to do for the entire day was put a baby crib together. How long could that really take? Well, little did you know I got a C- in Industrial Arts in Junior High, and I suck at this sort of thing. If there is anything that could have been done wrong, I did it wrong. Two different times I figured out way too late that I had put something on backwards and had to take apart just about everything to get it put on right. Believe it or not, I woke up all sore the next day from sitting on the floor in awkward positions screwing screws into stubborn bolts. 


This was my first real dad task, and I'm not going to say it was a complete failure. Sure, there were a lot of bumps in the road and a lot of swearing, but I stuck with it and got it done. I think it was a metaphor for what parenting is going to be like from what I hear from my friends: You have to figure it out as you go, you're going to suck at it at times, but you just stick with it and stay positive. And they'll be lots of extra parts. Okay, that makes no sense. I suck at carpentry and metaphors. 

I ran the Chicago Rock and Roll Half Marathon last weekend. I have figured out that halves are plenty for me. No more full ones because those destroy perfectly good bodies. My good buddy, Night Train, and I run around 10 miles once every weekend, and it's been great for keeping weight off and gives us time to recover. Also, that way you don't get sick of running when it's just once a week. The race went really well for us, and they had live music along the way. They also had rock impersonators, and I tested the Blues Brothers guys and said to them as I ran by "Orange whip . . . Orange whip . . .," I was very pleased and impressed that they both responded with "Three orange whips!" and did the proper hand motion. The Elvis impersonator looked very hot, sweaty, and hungover, so I didn't engage him with any fun pop quizzes. He looked busy concentrating on not throwing up on himself. 


Hot yoga has been a great way for me to recover from running way too far and taking entirely too long to assemble things with seemingly simple instructions. Usually I'm just about the worst yogi (that's what they call yoga participants) in the class, and that's fine. You have to be willing to be the suckiest guy in the room before you can get better at anything. I'll tell you right now that I'm in decent shape but can't touch my toes. Not even close. Slowly I'm getting more flexible, and I always leave feeling refreshed and thinking with a clear head. However, yesterday right when the class ended, some country music kicked in and continued for at least four songs while I was in the locker room. I would prefer they play any innocuous new age wind chime music music that just blends into the background. That's fine and expected. But, I can't relax when I'm listening to a song about some guys drinking a six pack of beer in the back of a pick-up truck. Unless I'm right there in the back of that truck with them. Country makes me angry, and I can't tune that crap out. 

Always good to have a spotter
When I was in high school I left my alarm clock-radio alarm (I'm old) on the other end of the room and had it set on the country station. That way I knew I wouldn't lie in bed and listen to the music because I knew I would have to run across the room to turn it off or slowly lose my mind. So, it's been a long history of hating country music. I was thinking of leaving a complaint with the yoga studio, but I'll just complain to you guys instead because that's what I've always done.

So running, volleyball, and yoga have been about it as far as exercise goes lately, and I have been losing some muscle tone. I have been avoiding doing any kind of weight training due to an elbow problem, but today the elbow felt pretty good so I pumped some (really light-weight) iron. You know that debate kids have on the playground where they say "My dad could beat up your dad?" Well, what I don't want is some kid saying that to Kenny Jr. and poor Kenny is left saying, "You're probably right. My dad has pipe cleaner arms and can't even screw together simple wooden structures with directions that even a chimp can follow. He's hardly a man at all, but he can do a downward facing dog in his hot yoga class that will make your head spin!" That won't score him any points at all out there on that playground. 


No segue at all here, but I was at work not too long ago, and a coworker said, "Kenneth, I saw on Facebook that we have a mutual friend." She said the friend's name, and the name meant nothing to me. I looked it up, and it is a blog buddy. She was saying what a great dude he is, and it made me happy to hear that. I said he is an excellent writer, and she said that he helped everyone write their term papers in college. This pleased me too for some reason. I was proud of this dude I have never met. Then I had to explain to this coworker that I had never met him, and I'm a grown-ass man with pen pals. 

One blog buddy I have met is SO@24, and I was reminded recently of the time we first met in L.A., and for reasons I can't remember, we recreated the suggestive cover art from Hall and Oates' 1982 release, "H20." I thought of this because I went to an outdoor Hall & Oates show last night on a very hot and humid Chicago night with my sister, her boyfriend, and my very pregnant and sweaty wife. Believe it or not, we were actually just as sweaty as Daryl Hall and John Oates were in the picture! 

(Hall & Oates)

(Dr. Ken and SO@24. We should have got sweatier or just spritzed water on our faces. It will always be one of my biggest regrets.)

There has been no real rhyme or reason to where this post has been headed, and I'll just end it here. Go ahead and leave a comment related to any of the scatter shot of topics I have run down in this rambling stream of consciousness, or just say hello to your insane pen pal buddy from Chicago. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to admire the glorious crib that big daddy built with his own. bare. hands! 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

You Asked and Ken Answered!

A little while back I asked you, my beloved readers, to ask me some personal questions so that you can get to know your favorite blogger a little better. I was blown away by all the responses filling up my inbox. It looks like you really want to know more about what makes me tick, and that is very flattering. I chose some of the most interesting ones and put some serious thought into my responses. I hope you enjoy . . .

Okay, I'm full of shit. I never actually asked that you guys ask any questions because there are only like 7 of you that read, tops. Truth be told, I just scrolled around the internet for interesting questions to ask myself because I had no blog topic ideas today. So, now I do have a topic, but it's kind of a crummy one. Whatever, we will make the best of it here at The Gancer. Away we go . . .

1. What do you do if you can’t sleep at night? Do you count sheep? Toss and Turn? Try to get up and do something productive?

I usually read, but when I'm in between books or need a break from reading I play the name game in my head. For example, I'll pick a topic such as "heavy metal bands," and then I'll name a band for every letter of the alphabet. Usually by the time I get to N or so, I'm out cold. My dad also told me that when you are having trouble sleeping, get up to go pee even if you don't have to. That works sometimes too. Thanks for the pee pee trick, dad! You're the best. Also, it sometimes helps when I try to sync my breathing up to someone else's. Now that my wife is pregnant she is snoring like a snow blower (sorry to announce that to all seven of my readers, honey. You're still beautiful!) so it's really easy to get the timing of her breathing down given the volume of the snoring. Pretty soon we're both sound asleep, only she is far louder than me (Sorry again, darling. You're still the sex pot of my dreams).



2. Who performs the most random acts of kindness out of everyone you know?

That would have to go to my good buddy, Night Train. I went to a concert with him the other night, and we were partying in the parking lot with three random middle aged weirdos who were a little rough around the edges. When we walked by they said, "Hey, come hang out with us!" Odd that they wanted new friends so badly, right? We had written on our white styrofoam cooler full of beer that we were selling one concert ticket for face value that came with a free adult beverage. One of our new friends who invited us to hang out took it upon herself to help sell one of the tickets. She seemed to have trouble getting through any sentence without saying "motherfucker," and she didn't make exceptions even when it came to her sales approach. I for one wouldn't want to imply that someone had intercourse with their own mother as part of a first impression, but she had a style all her own. Someone would come around the corner and she would say, "Hey, motherfucker! We got a ticket here for sale, motherfucker!"*

*You see, MF'er appears in both sentences She never missed a chance.

(In case you don't know what a styrofoam cooler looks like)
We were all a little embarrassed by our new friend and were doubting the fact that she could help sell the spare ticket. As a matter of fact, we were convinced she was scaring the shit out of any "motherfuckers" who came near us. Nigh Train never doubted her for a minute, and he even offered her a $20 commission on any leads she brought in that led to a sale. Sure enough, she found someone who paid full price. After the transaction was complete and Night Train paid crazy lady her commission, he noticed that the customer had paid $20 too much. So, he ran after him to give him the money. Then it dawned on him that he forgot to get his free beer, so he ran him down to give him that as well. Night Train is just a solid dude, and that is all there is to it.

3. What are the top three qualities that draw you to someone new?

      3. Not selfish. The person cares about others, and the person actually listens to what others say - doesn't just wait for his/her turn to talk.

     2. An interesting conversationalist. If we've been conversing for the first time and over 5 minutes have elapsed without us extending things beyond the weather, what we do for jobs, where we live, and how many kids we have, then it's just not going to work out for us as new friends.

     1. Funny. It really helps if you're funny. Even if you're not actually saying funny stuff, it helps if you laugh at the super funny stuff that I'm saying to you.
____________________________________________________________________________
How about you, Seven Readers? Do you want to answer any of these questions or just comment upon my wildly (mildly) entertaining responses?

Each of these men is either selfless (Andre), a good conversationalist (Wilt), and funny (Arnold). Wilt would have to be a decent conversationalist to bed 10,000 women, or whatever.


Friday, July 08, 2016

The Litter Box Bar League

A friend called me up and said he needed one more team to sign up for a volleyball league that takes place on a sand volleyball court outside of a bar in Chicago on Wednesday nights. I threw a team together and showed up that first Wednesday and couldn't believe that it was even worse than you would expect a court outside of a bar would be. At first I was pissed that I had committed my friends and I to playing in an unsanitary and unsafe environment once a week, but slowly all of these quirks have grown on me. I took some pictures to help you get a sense of just how crazy this whole thing is because I don't think you would believe me unless you saw it for yourself. 


Here is the court. It is a bunch of sand poured into a giant plywood box, which is why we started calling it Litter Box Volleyball. The net permanently droops in the center, and there is no way to adjust it. You get the volleyballs from the bar before your game, and many of the balls have bite marks in them. Why, you may ask? Because when the ball goes over that wall you see pictured, it lands in a Doggy Daycare. When that happens, the ball either flies over the fence back to us right away and we say thank you to the staff, or it mysteriously flies back over 45 minutes later, or it never comes back at all and becomes a permanent chew toy for the doggies. Because this disrupts the game and because the balls are expensive, whoever is deemed at fault for having the ball get into the jaws of the hounds has to take an immediate shot of room temperature Malort, which is just about the grossest liquor you'll ever have. 


The sand is not nearly deep enough, and in some spots there will be two inches of sand with concrete underneath. I dove a couple of weeks ago and cut my knee up really bad. One of the Litter Box veterans then told me, "Oh yeah, don't dive." Don't dive? I can't help it. I just react and go if I see a ball about to hit the sand on my side. Right when it was just about healed from a week or two before, I dove again and opened the cut right back up, which is what you see above. 


So you got the DoggyDaycare on one side line, the other side line is a street, and then on one end line you have two very smelly dumpsters, as you see pictured above. It's smells terrible on that end of the court, so dumpster side always serves first. Seems fair. If someone spikes one past you that doesn't get stopped by a dumpster, then someone has to run down the street barefoot to fetch the ball. Sometimes it sort of veers down the street and just rolls forever downhill. This is why I have found that when I'm holding down the dumpster side, it's good to keep my flip-flops handy so that I can slip those on and run down the street more swiftly and safely.


On the other end line you have the back wall of the bar, and there is an apartment above the bar. Sometimes the ball will hit the satellite dish, knocking out the transmission on the NASCAR event viewed by the regulars in the tavern, or it will land on the upstairs tenant's porch. The guy up there has visitors that come by very briefly and leave, there are some strange chemical smells coming out of there, and other signs that make us think maybe he runs a "business" out of there. But would he take such a risk with all these yuppies in his backyard drinking beers and playing volleyballs in his backyard? Maybe so because the other night he had not problem drawing attention to himself by hopping on his bicycle/motor cycle, cranked up that engine, and went around the block to fetch two tallboys of Icehouse beers. It looks to me like this is what we called a "mini bike" as kids, only this one has an engine attached to a bicycle so he has the option of pedaling as well. It was loud too, let me tell you! A five city block radius is always aware when this dude is making a beer run.  


There is one little nook where a ball can go down this alley as well. There are rusty nails everywhere,  so this is also a good opportunity to slip on your sandals before venturing in. Tetanus shots should be given out as readily as Malort shots around this joint. I'm serious. 


We usually drink buckets of beer outside by the shabby court, but on one rainy night my friend and I noticed the fine array of beef jerky flavors prominently displayed behind the bar. In case you can't read them, the flavors from left to right are as follows: Jerk This, Tickle My Teriyaki, Pepper My Cornhole, Blowout Cajun Jerky, Fire In the Hole, and Hot Habanero. You'll notice that's my hand throwing out a pair of scissors because I was thinking it would be a fun game to play paper, rock, scissors and the loser has to try the jerky of the winners choosing. If a guy had already Doggy Daycared a few balls that evening and earned a few Malorts, some Pepper My Cornhole jerky could really push him over the edge to have a reversal of fortune, or at the very least have a very, very rough Thursday ahead of him.

What do you guys think of Litter Box Volleyball? Anyone want to sub in next Wednesday? Anyone play in any goofy leagues of any kind this summer that you want to share with us in the comments?