Thursday, November 25, 2010

Gobble, Gobble

Happy Thanksgiving To You and Yours!

I truly have a lot to be thankful for including those of you who take the time to read and comment on my often absurd look on life here on the blog. So go carve yourself off a huge chunk of meat today and skip the green leafy stuff as you deserve a feast.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

 This is an old post and an even older news story, but I am busy wrapping up my seduce Chelsea Handler campaign so you get it again anyway. For the record Chelsea did finally answer one of my tweets. It read and I quote ...

 "@TravisErwin I've succumbed."

Nut Very Smart

Do you read If not you should. It is hilarious. Until now I've resisted the urge to copy and past things from failblog to share with y'all but this one begs to be commented upon.

Where o' where shall I start?

Maybe with his decision to skinny dip in big blue. Mario. Dude. Have you never seen all the stuff that lives in the ocean?

Crabs and lobsters with big claws just made for grabbing a hold of your junk.

Eels, jellyfish, and sting rays are lurking below the surface all too eager to zap Mr. Squid. Haven't you ever heard of the Crocodile Hunter?

Sharks, barracudas, and a myriad of other toothy fish are swimming about and everyone of them would like a worm to snack on.

Yep, Mario swimming in the ocean while freeing willie was mistake number one. Oh, but you weren't punished for it, so you hop out of the chilly water and despite being the victim of shrinkage you don't feel the need to don clothes. I'll applaud you for the self-confidence as most dudes prefer to only be seen at their best, but Mario wasn't content to simply let little Luigi go about pale and shriveled. No he decided to camp out on a slatted deckchair. In the warm sun.

Now I've had a few nasty sunburns in my day so no way am I going to dangle my bits about and risk becoming the subject for a new version of chestnuts roasting on an open fire. Not to mention the long term chance of skin cancer. A bit of melanoma on the ol' Manitoba would not be a pretty sight.

And then he dozed off. I know lots of people sleep in the nude, but doing it in the safety and confines of your own bedroom is one thing. Hanging it all out at the beach while you are unconscious is another. Ants, bees, biting flies, stray dogs, kids with a Frisbee, the list of hazards are endless. As Mario's fate proves it's simply not healthy to let things roll around unattended.

And man oh man would I have hated to be on that maintenance crew who had to come saw the chair in half. I'm pretty sure that was not in their official job description. And poor, poor Mario. No one since Bill Buckner, has done as poor a ball handling job, but I do feel a bit of sympathy for Mario. Any man with a set of his own would have to. Having your guys hanging about in the presence of a whirling saw blade is far from a situation any man wants to find himself in.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Day 5 of my get noticed my Chelsea Handler campaign brought the first measure of success. No Chelsea did not invite me onto the show or ask to read a sample from The Feedstore Chronicles, but comedian and frequent Chelsea Lately panel member Loni Love did show me some twitter love.  

Loni is a devote bacon fan and we meat lovers like to stick together so I'm happy that a member of Chelsea's posse has at least acknowledges my existence in this world. I appreciate all of you who have helped spread the word about myself and The Feedstore Chronicles. I still hope to convince her the memoir would make a great addition to her new Borderline Mazing Imprint at Grand Central Publishing. To aid me with that please sent Chelsea a message via MySpace, FacebookTwitter, or email her at 

On to other randomness ...

I spotted this vehicle outside out local Dollar Tree store. I have no idea what the message is supposed to mean or why anyone would feel compelled to write it across their windshield, but I was intrigued enough to snap a pic to share here on the blog.

Here we have a shot of good versus evil ... I took this picture of a coworkers lunch

I took this picture of a coworkers lunch. To my Lettuce is the Devil way of thinking this kind of diet is the contradictory equivalent finding a copy if the Bible in the nightstand of a whore house.

Finally I share this headline from today's Amarillo Globe-News ...

Now I get the intention. And the next line certainly clears up any confusion, but upon first glance I thought. Man, that Farmer must be a real ass to have incited an angry mob.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Faithful Friday -- When It's All Said And Done

Many moons have passed since I last posted a Faithful Friday blog. Up to this point I've written only about the things that drove me away from organized religion. I could blather on about my negative perceptions of a myriad of churches and denominations ... the hypocrisy, the drive to suck cash from parishioners wallets, the self righteous sermons, but I see no need to beat a dead poodle.

So today I'm going to tell y'all what changed my mind. What transformed me from a pseudo atheist/agnostic into a willing volunteer to attend 18 months worth of RCIA classes to become Catholic.

Like my disillusionment from religion, my conversion/acceptance has many layers. None so prevalent as the birth of my two boys, especially the oldest. Long time readers of this blog already know the story of his birth and the time we spent at Children's hospital down in Dallas. If not you can read the story here. The tale of Tarek's birth is by far the most personal story I have ever posted on this blog.

I have stolen an excerpt from that post and pasted it here ...

The surgery itself was a slow torturous affair. I don't remember breathing much less talking. We sat in a tiny room and stared at each other -- waiting, wondering, and praying. At his time in my life I was very anti-organized religion and bordering on being a non-believer, but spinning the common saying away from foxholes let me say, there are no atheist parents in a children's hospital.

That was the first time in my life that I can say I both needed and hoped for help from a higher being. But proving my own capacity for hypocrisy, I forgot the many promises I made to God there in that hospital once my son was home and out of danger.

Fast forward 4 years. I now had two sons and Tarek, the oldest was nearing school age. But he'd always stayed home with his mom and we feared he would struggle to adapt unless we began integrating him with other children in a classroom type environment. We didn't want or need daycare. Just a place for him to go and learn a few hours each day. After asking around we decided to enroll him in a Montessori program at St Mary's School here in Amarillo.

That decision has proved to be one of the best we ever made. Our fears were confirmed when Tarek struggled the first few weeks. But his teacher was perfect for him and he soon began to thrive and learn. Jennifer began volunteering at the school and soon we were both active, participating members of a tight but friendly community of parents. Neither of us were Catholic but Jennifer had been raised Methodist and was much more inclined toward religion than I.

She enrolled in the classes and began the journey that I am now on.

Me? I stood by decade plus assertion that organized religion was nothing more than crutch for the week and feeble. I didn't need it, or want it.

But I began to make more and more friends at St Mary's. And most if not all of my other friends were Catholic as well. I began to at least appreciate a religion that held fundraisers where you could both drink and gamble right there on church property. Before I knew it I was up at the church several hours  a week, Attending one function or another. Volunteering to help at the school. Coaching kids. Working multiple shifts at the book fair.

One day I found myself helping a group of nuns stuff envelopes for their annual calendar. We were all talking and working and one of them asked me a question to which I answered I'm not really Catholic. She stopped and looked at me kind of funny. "You're not?" she asked.

I shook my head. The priest who heads up both the church and school was also present and as the nun started to say something he laid one hand on the nun's shoulder and one on mine. With a smile he simply said, "Don't worry about Travis. He's a good man. We'll get him before it's all said and done."

Then we all went back to work. As we circled the table filling envelopes I realized in nearly three years of time spending countless hours at the church and school this was as close to a sales pitch for God or Catholicism as I'd ever gotten. I'd never had someone in my face asking if I'd been saved. If I truly knew God. If I was living my life right.

Throughout my life I'd probably been inside 3 dozen protestant churches and been given "the sales pitch" 3 times that many times. Hell, I'd been given pitched on my front porch, in the breakroom at work, and at 3 AM in the middle of Bourbon Street. But I realized not one of those salesman had been trying to sell Catholicism to me. Not even in all those hours at St Mary's. They, the parishioners, the staff, and the clergy had simply shown me their relationship with both God and each other.

Show versus Tell. Every writer worth their salt knows that is the way to get your point across.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Yankee Poodle Dandy

My mind is infected with a myriad of random thoughts and observations so excuse this rambling post of absurdity. Look there is so much stuff crammed in there it is beaming out my ears.

Not long ago I posed the following question on both facebook and twitter ...

I'm curious, what do monkeys claim to have gotten off their back after solving a persistent and dogged problem?

My followers on those places chimed in with a variety of answers, but I decided from now on I'm gonna use the word poodle rather than monkey. As in ... "Whew, I'm glad to get that poodle off my back."

Twice I've used the new and improved saying in conversation and the other parties have failed to notice. Think I'll start using poodle in all my cliches just to see if anyone notices or is even listening to a word I say.

between a poodle and a hard place
houseguests and poodles stink after three days
It ain't poodle science
A day late and a poodle short
give a man a poodle, feed him for a day, teach a man to poodle, feed him for life
it's raining harder than a cow pissing on a flat poodle

This fear that no one is listening to me probably comes from being a dad to two boys. They don't hear in the morning when I call upstairs and tell them it's time to get up. They don't hear me when I tell them to turn off the TV and get to work on their homework. They don't hear me when I tell 'em to lift the damned toilet seat.

But mention Santa Claus and they can hear a poodle drop in a bowling alley.

Speaking of being ignored. Here I am on DAY2 of my quest to get Chelsea Handler to read my Feedstore manuscript, or even acknowledge my existence and so far she hasn't woke up and smelled the poodle. To help the cause you can leave Miss Handler a message at MySpace, FacebookTwitter, or you can email her at 

Upon hearing from her fans that she does not like men with facial hair I have offered to let her diminutive side kick Chewy, who she refers to as her little nugget, shave my goatee for a live TV audience. Now if that is highly quality entertainment I do not know what is.

But I would never expect y'all to do my dirty work for free so I have a bountiful prize package in which I will reward to one of my faithful helpers upon any sort of acknowledgment at all from Miss Handler. Here is a picture of the prizes up for grabs. 

 Whip It and Spotted Dick. Who could resist that combination of delicacies?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Evil Bidding

After cranking out three bestsellers, E! Entertainment Chelsea Lately host Chelsea Handler has taken the next step forward. She has been given her own imprint by her publisher, the Hachette Book Group USA division Grand Central Publishing.

I read the above blurb in this article

Deeper down in the article Handler was quoted ...  

"I'll be editing and overseeing, while my family and friends make money off me and get something back from the torture I've put them through. I've got a couple other ideas and people I want to see write books."

Okay, given the fact that Chelsea has no earthly idea of the existence of this big hairy Texan I'm fairly certain I am not one of the people she means. But I choose to believe Miss handler would love my memoir ... The Feedstore Chronicles.

Why you ask?

One, she likes Texans. According to a coworker who religiously watches Miss Handler's show on E!, Chelsea Lately, Miss Handler currently has a swarm of gay Texans residing with her. I may not be a gay Texan but I have been known to write a romance novel and that has to account for something.

Two. Think of the comedic goldmine Miss Handler could reap from having me on the show alongside Chewy. A big hairy Texan and Mexican midget.

Three. The Feedstore Chronicles is a crude and at times offensive memoir. Not unlike her book Are you There Vodka, It's Me Chelsea. Sure, she had no tales about bulldog masturbation or stolen prosthetic legs, but her tale of identity theft and the resulting jail house lesbianism is as funny as books get.


Four, my desperate attempts to sell my literary soul to the Devil pleas to get either Oprah or Rick Perry on board failed miserable ...

So in honor of what I know would be a book marriage made in heaven Texas the fertile fields of my imagination, I'm launching a twitter campaign to annoy persuade Miss Handler she is missing something great by not grabbing The Feedstore Chronicles for her new imprint.

Help me out by sending her a tweet mentioning me and The Feedstore Chronicles. 

Send your manifesto to  @chelseahandler at

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Get Lost

Given the fact I spotted this Hawaiian vanity plate outside an indoor soccer facility here in Amarillo, Texas, I think these folks have already accomplished their mission.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Twice this week I have found green glitter in the mail sorting machine at work. Meaning it is time to bring y'all this service announcement. It's an old spot but I have added some new info at the bottom.


Cock-A-Doodle-Do & Glitter My Sack

Last night I did something I rarely do. No, I did not eat any green leafy vegetables. I said something I RARELY do, not NEVER do.

I plopped down on the couch and watched TV. All night long. I didn't read, I didn't write, I didn't even ponder the comings and goings of the characters in my stories. I simply shut down my brain and watched the boob tube. And Network TV to boot. This morning, I am dumber for the experience.

Here is a rundown of what I saw.

A Muppet Christmas special called Letters to Santa. As a former Fraggle Rocker I can appreciate Jim Henson's creation, but this one lost me right from the get-go, when they opened with a big musical sing-a-long at the New York City Post Office. Trust me when I say, "Ain't nobody singing and dancing at the ol' PO this time of year." Or any other as far as that goes.

And another inaccuracy. There wasn't any glitter in the air. This time of year all of us that work on the equipment look as if we've just gotten back from a stripper convention in Vegas.

That's right all that shiny glitter you attach to your Christmas cards ends up in the bottom of the PO's automated machinery and when I have to change a belt or whatever, I come away looking like the love child of Tinker Bell and Sasquatch. So do all us Postal employees a favor and save the glitter for your kids school party, or help out an exotic dancer and donate it to your local gentleman's club.

After the Muppets, we joined an in progress Christmas story about a little orphan girl, an elf, a polar bear, and a fox all looking for Santa's sack. Okay, maybe my mind us filthier that a reindeer turd, but couldn't the writer's have called it Santa's bag instead of sack. And did the fabric have to be flesh colored? And did the animals have to crawl out of said container and say, "Santa needs to do some housecleaning because that is one nasty sack?"

Jay Leno narrated and Brad Garret and Norm McDonald both voiced characters in this poorly written kids story.

But wait, it wasn't just the shows that were bad. Let's talk about the commercials. Particularly the pharmaceutical ads. Is it really appropriate to advertise Cialis, an erectile dysfunction med, during a childrens show? Especially one about Santa's sack? And why do those people have not one, but two, bathtubs in their back yard? And I thought the whole point of taking Cialis was to share ye olde yuletime log. How can you do that from the comfort of you own backyard tub? Wouldn't they need to be in one tub together in order to jingle their bells. Am I alone in these thoughts?

And then there was the one about the insomnia aid Ambien. No wonder that woman can't sleep she has a rooster roaming around freely inside her house. Instead of wasting her money on pills she should invest in some screens for her windows. Or maybe she's tossing and turning because she went to bed hungry. A big chicken dinner would probably solve all of her problems. Don't you think?

UPDATE on Cialis ADS

Last night during the Ravens/Falcons game I spied a Cialis ad where a dude was pitching an actual tent. Now that is a subtle message about the drug's capabilities. I wonder if next month they'll have a fireman polishing the big brass pole down at the station. Or a zookeeper doling out corporal punishment to an unruly monkey? Maybe a farmer giving the Heimlich to a chicken with grain caught in its throat? Maybe they can get the same fowl from the Ambian ads?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Toe Jam

Imagine yourself moving to a new town. Or maybe a new job. Or anywhere where you have no friends. No one who knows much about you or you them.

You smile at someone and say, "Hello."

What if this other human blurted out some random fact about themselves rather than replied with the expected "Hi, Howdy, or Hola."

Let's say the person said, "I'm a Republican," "I'm a lesbian," or "I think Lettuce is the Devil."

Chances are you'd smile and move away. Even if you happen to have a Sarah Palin bumper sticker on your pickup, or a rainbow tattoo on your right bicep. The fact itself might not scare you but the blunt delivery of this info would make you think the person was weird.

Now let's say the person has a true character flaw. "What would you do if you spoke a kindly hello to a man in the grocery store aisle only to have him shout, "I am having an affair!"

Now let me say I have friends with a Sarah Palin sticker stuck to their vehicle. I have gay and lesbian friends.  I myself have perhaps the strangest notions on food of anyone you will ever meet. Timberlake brought sexy back. Me, I'm trying to bring carnivorism back. None of these facts are the first thing I knew about my friends or they about me.

Would they have changed things? No. Not for me. These are but things. Labels mostly. They have little to no bearing on a person's true character. They are but the wrapping paper on the Christmas present. 

I have friends incapable of remaining faithful to their spouses. Had that been the first thing I knew about the person I seriously doubt I ever would have became friends with them. To be perfectly honest I've know a few who were justified in their wayward ways. Just as I believe there are times when killing another human is justified. Or a lie is better than the truth.

It is these the gray areas, the moral and social dilemmas that we writers seize on. Create stories and situations out of. Too many times writers (myself included) focus solely on that pretty wrapping paper. We make the gift appealing to the eye, but once our readers rip through that thin layer there is nothing but drab, boring pair of socks inside.

Don't give your readers socks.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Fall Foliage Tour, TX Panhandle Style -- A My Town Monday Post

Fall has arrived. In most places you can tell by the changing of leaves. here in the tree deprived Texas Panhandle it is a bit harder to see the changes. (Clicking any picture should give you a larger view)

When the cotton bolls open and reveal their white fluff white we know it is fall.

And of course when the grass in the bar ditch and the weeds along the fence line turn yellow, we know it is either fall or a drought.

Sometimes there will even be a tree or two that pops up in those bar ditches.

Matter of fact anyplace where water congregates you just might find a tree or three. Like along the sandy banks of our mostly dry creeks and rivers.

Yeah, I know most of you have far prettier fall foliage tours than I was able to provide, but I'm kind of partial to the wide-open rigged beauty the Texas Panhandle has to offer. And while we don't have many trees we go to great lengths to protect the ones we do have from rustlers.

Barbed Wire- It Ain't Just to Keep The Livestock In.

Got something to say about your town or area? Then please consider joining us this or some other Monday for My Town Monday. Drop me a link here or over at the official My Town Monday Site and I'll get you added.

This week's participants thus far ...

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Too Good Not To Share

There is nothing we Texans enjoy more than poking fun at Okies. So with that in mind, check out this headline from Guymon's newspaper The Daily Herald.

I might have thought the paper had it right and the Republicans were the best tippers at the local gentleman's club, but if they polls in questions were in reference to stripper poles then I'm pretty certain that sub headline would read erection rather than election. 

I'll have to go back to Guymon for another visit on December 26th to see of Santa brings the good boys and girls gifts from the North Poll.

Just Keep Swimming

I've been meaning to get a post written all week but time keeps slipping away and sadly this one isn't going to be much of one either.

I was supposed to be in Colorado right now. At a cabin in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. For the first time ever i was going to meet up with some of my blogworld pals and we were gonna laugh, write and of course drink until the wee hours of the night. But life got in the way for me, and most of the others and the thing kind of fell apart. Oh, but I still get to leave town today ... I'm headed to lovely Guymon, Oklahoma where the wind always blows and the pig farms smell ever so lovely to work on a mail sorting machine. I only hope my favorite clerk, the one with the Horseshack laugh and whiny personality is there to keep me company.


I'm sure all of ya'll are sick of reading about my emails from Rick Perry's staff. It is clear I do not like the man or his version of leadership, but as expected he easily won reelection so it's four more years of slick Rick for Governor.

Adding insult to injury I received one more email from his camp. This one thanking me for all my hard work helping him win the election.


I am not participating in the NaNo challenge but for all my writing friends that are I wish you luck and happy writing this month.

 In other exciting news a friend and coworker explained to me this past week that he had to block me on Facebook. He said he was afraid somebody from his church would read one of my posts and find it too vulgar.

I don't really consider my posts vulgar and unless the church goes was already my friend they wouldn't see what I wrote anyway, unless I wrote it directly on my coworkers wall. Something I rarely do.

Truth be told I think my friend/coworker was worried I would talk about the time he got us kicked out of the strip joint in the middle of his bachelor party. But don't worry buddy, I would never tell anyone you groped that midget stripper and then in your state of inebriation tried to fight two dudes twice your size.

I do believe that is all the damage I can do at this moment. Off to Guymon, Oklahoma for a day of funa nd excitement.