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    Good Buddy Engineering at its finest

    2009 - 12.30

    One of our delivery drivers was en route to a stop in Walhalla, SC, when his truck quit running. Being a fairly decent mechanic, he jumped out and took a look under the hood. He discovered that the bolt that holds the tension on the alternator belt had fallen out. If that belt isn’t tight, the battery doesn’t charge and the truck dies. This is a problem. Especially when you’re 150 miles from the warehouse.

    I called around to a couple of shops in the area and no one had the part in stock. Meanwhile, the driver, Johnnie, went to a few shops in Walhalla and had similar luck. Just as I was getting ready to take the extra truck and get him so we could finish the deliveries, he calls me back.

    “I shoved a rock in there and it seems to be holding. I’m gonna try to head down to Toccoa and finish these stops. I’ll keep you posted in case you need to come get me.” He said. I went ahead and filled up the extra truck with diesel because I didn’t really foresee a rock holding for 150 miles and several stops.

    A few hours later he rolls into the warehouse and I get to feast my eyes on this, the greatest feat of ghetto-engineering I have ever witnessed:

    Ghetto-engineering at its finest

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    Been Had Money: The Legend of Buda UPDATED

    2009 - 12.30

    The dude abides. By day, he flies around the world,  keeping the skies safe from nefarious Persians and unattractive stewardesses. By night he’s a fellow Wharf Rat who takes his meals in the form of Goldschlager and Irish Car Bombs, along with the occasional QuikTrip chili dog. All those things combine to form what is an exceedingly above average American, but yesterday Buda pulled off the ultimate coup; he coaxed his girlfriend into exercising at little expense to himself. Here’s how it went down:

    Been Had Money

    Been Had Money

    Buda is an occasional smoker, mostly when he drinks. He’s been trying to quit, been when you’re at the bar and all your buddies are smoking like a Dodge Omni, that’s a tough road to hoe.  What the man needed was some inspiration. Specifically, inspiration in the form of a tight-bodied beanhead. At the same time, his lady friend was looking for a reason to get up and do something worthwhile.

    After a brief synopsis of their respective days, Buda mentioned that he was going to the bar with the Wharf Rats that evening.

    “Well, if you go, don’t smoke.” She said.

    “What’s in it for me?” He asked, with a mischevious tone in his voice.

    “I’m sure something can be arranged…” She replied.

    “How about this?” Buda asked. “I’ll go to the bar and I won’t smoke, and you hit up that treadmill for 35 maybe 45 minutes.”

    “That sounds like a decent deal. Agreed.” She responded.

    Pause. breathe that previous statement in. He just told his girlfriend to go work out, and didn’t get slapped. In 99.9% of all cases, this sort of ballsiness will end up with her insinuating that you think she’s fat. Girls always think they’re fat, regardless of whether they actually are. And fat ones always rationalize it by squeezing their feet into the smallest shoes possible. “I’m not fat as long as I can still fit into the shoes I wore in high school…” They say to themselves, but that’s another post for another day.

    Back to the topic at hand. I have no idea how one gets the testicular fortitude to try something like this. For most guys, the best you’ll be able to do is suggest that you work out together; that somehow she’s helping you out by working out with you, when in actuality, it’s a referendum on her. Maybe he just has an exceptionally cool girlfriend. Maybe he’s just a persuasive badass whose mere vocal chord oscillations entice women to go on jogs. Nonetheless, what he’s done here is nothing short of miraculous, hence his inclusion in the Wharf Rats. Ride or Die, Bitches.

    UPDATED 12/30 NOW AVAILABLE! The Buda: Been Had Money T-shirt

    Been Had Money T-shirt shirt
    Been Had Money T-shirt by biloxxxi
    Make a personalized shirt on zazzle.com
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    Terrible Christmas Songs Part IV: Little Drummer Boy

    2009 - 12.23

    Little Drummer Boy. Few things bring back such turbulent memories of my childhood as this. When I was but a wee lad, my dear mother decided it would make good sport to dress me up like a little Injun and give me a little drum to play whilst she sang the song in front of the church. I think this was one of those things that parents do to their children that seems like an awesome idea to them, but they never think about running past their 4 year old.

    This song is terrible less on its own accord than for what it represents to me. I grew up in a rather small church and my mom is an above average singer, so they’d always have her sing a song or two for the Christmas Program. She bought me a little toy drum and taught me to play it along with the “rum pa pa pum” part. I wasn’t terribly excited about this, but I went along with it… For a little while.

    Finally the day of the Christmas program arrived. The choir went through the typical church Christmas classics. It was far too small to have any sort of live musicians, so it was all that piped in music the choir sang over. Then it came time for my Mom and me to perform. We walked to the front and I sat on the stairs leading to the pulpit as I had been instructed. The tape started up and my Mom began to sing. I sat there. It came time for me to play my drum and still I sat there. No drumming. No paradiddles. I just sat there.

    After a verse or two, I just set down my drum and walked back to my seat. I was done.

    An important lesson was taught to the world that day; Biloxi Von Lutz does not mind being the center of attention, but, dammit, he does it on his own terms.

    As you watch this video of David Bowie and Bing Crosby singing in this video, reflect on what happened to me on this day 23 years ago.

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    Terrible Christmas Songs Part C: Last Christmas

    2009 - 12.15

    It should go without saying that any Christmas song performed by Wham is going to be spectacularly horrid. Last Christmas is no exception. Wham, the duo of George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley, is probably best known for their pop song (debacle) Wake Me Up Before You Go Go. Some things are better off forgotten.

    Although I’m not at all a fan of the song, it doesn’t inspire the pure hatred that Same Old Lang Syne does in me. If you actually read the lyrics, its really not a bad song on it’s own. The music isn’t very good and the video is straight up 80’s cheese, but I’ve heard worse. My major issue with it, and the reason it’s on the terrible Christmas song list, is that it’s just sad. Who wants to be sad on Christmas? No one.

    Imagine back to elementary school when you were singing in the Christmas Pageant with the choir. You’re going through all the old standards, Deck The Halls, Jingle Bells, and the like, when suddenly the choir sings this line:

    A crowded room,
    Friends with tired eyes,
    I’m hiding from you,
    And your soul of ice.
    My god I thought you were,
    Someone to rely on.
    I guess I was a shoulder to cry on.

    What happens next? Children are crying. An old woman strokes out in the back of the room. Some emo kid whose cat died on Christmas Eve a couple years back slips into depression and forms another God-forsaken band that starts with The. Mass hysteria. Dogs and cats living together. All because someone confused a song that takes place on Christmas with a Christmas song.

    The only reference to anything at all Christmas related in this song is in the chorus:

    Last Christmas,
    I gave you my heart,
    But the very next day you gave it away.
    This year,
    To save me from tears,
    I’ll give it to someone special.

    Now check this out:

    Last Cinco De Mayo,
    I gave you my heart,
    But the very next day you gave it away.
    This year,
    To save me from tears,
    I’ll give it to someone special.

    See what I did there? Now according to the loose standards applied at the Christmas radio stations we’ve got a spectacular ballad to commemorate the unlikely victory of our Mexicano friends over the Mighty Frogs in the Battle of Puebla! (Also, not a bad excuse to drink!)

    I’m sure that your city is the same as mine and there’s at least one radio station playing Christmas music nonstop from Halloween till Christmas Day. That’s a lot of airtime to fill and quite frankly, anything that smells remotely like a fir tree is gonna get spun. That’s also the reason every washed-up musician from here to Saigon has a Christmas Album. It’s cheap publicity (kinda like my Tim Tebow post). That doesn’t make it right though. Let’s stop the vicious cycle.

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    The Case for Santa Claus

    2009 - 12.11

    Let me say this and not mince words. If you raise your children to not believe in Santa Claus, you’re failing as a parent. I don’t care what your argument is, it’s invalid. The joy in a child’s eyes when he or she wakes up on Christmas morning and sees toys under the tree that were not there the night before is unmatched. And as a kid, the breathless anticipation of what awaits you the next morning makes it so you can barely sleep. There’s always the argument that Christmas is a Christian holiday and all that, but really it’s the quintessential American holiday. Although the celebration of Christ’s birth and Christmas are the same day and share the same name, they’re two entirely different beasts. You can believe in Santa Claus without ever setting foot inside a church. They are not mutually inclusive.

    Then there’s the Judaism thing. Celebrate Hanukkah with its eight crazy nights and then celebrate Christmas. Take your kid out to the mall to see Santa Claus. Have them bake cookies and leave a glass of milk out for Santa. For God’s sake make them watch Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. It’s joy, dammit! Do you know how little actual joy there is in life? Christmas is one of the few times I can remember being so happy I couldn’t hardly stand it. I’d kill to have some of those moments back. Finding out that Santa wasn’t real wasn’t a huge shock to me, because by the time I did, the realism of the world had already started to set in. Besides, I still got gifts and that helped smooth the transition. This story isn’t about how I came to find out Santa wasn’t real, it’s about how I stayed convinced for a few extra years. And try as you might, you can’t take those memories from me.

    By the time Christmas of my 9th year rolled around, I had already been told by my classmates that Santa wasn’t real. My family never made a huge production out of Santa, but he came to our house nonetheless. I’ve always been good at “the suspension of disbelief” and I can lose myself in the entertainment of a movie or a book without concerning myself with its feasibility. Santa Claus played into this wonderfully. I was still happy to be young and naive.

    That particular Christmas Eve when I was 9, we’d returned from the annual Christmas party at my grandparents’ house and were carrying out our usual Christmas traditions. This consisted of baking cookies and watching A Christmas Story on TBS. Christmas Eve was also the one night of the year that my dad would wear his Playboy night shirt. It really was as ridiculous as it sounds, and we loved it. A 5 foot long t-shirt with a big ass playboy bunny on it, made even funnier by the fact that my dad is not a small man. Such a normal family we were…

    About 10:30 or so, my mom would usher me off to bed and and my older brother would have to follow soon too. She said it was because she had to finish wrapping presents, which she usually did. In my younger years, I would sleep in the extra bed in my brother’s room, so he could make sure I didn’t run off into the living room in the middle of the night and scare off Santa. I probably made that idea up in my mind, but what can I say? I’m a glutton for suspense.

    This particular Christmas, I went to bed and tried my best to fall asleep. Not happening. I was way too excited. I can’t really remember what I’d asked for, but this was to be a banner year at the Lutz Residence. If I got even half of my requests, I’d be fully stocked on fun for months to come.

    I awoke at the crack of dawn, and tried to wake my brother up. No such luck. He was in that middle to late teenage stage where you sleep 67 hours a day. So I rushed into my parents room to wake them up. “Go back to sleep till 8:00, then we’ll go open presents.” My mom said. I trudged back into my brother’s room, defeated.

    I watched the clock tick until 8:00 and I was out of the bed the moment the digits rolled over. I kicked my bro in the back and hoofed it back into my parents’ room to get them up. They rolled out of bed and my mom just about had to grab the collar of my pajamas to get keep me from running off before my dad had a chance to find the camera. I was like a rottweiler rearing to be unleashed.

    Finally it was time. I tore down the hallway, dodging the clothes hamper and wrapping paper rolls and laid my eyes upon the most beautiful sight at 9 year old could wish; a living room overflowing with gifts. I remember this as the year we got several Super Nintendo games. It might have even been the year we finally got the system itself, it’s hard to remember exactly.

    After opening all our gifts and checking our stockings, it was time for breakfast. My dad would always make bacon, eggs, and grits for Christmas breakfast. As I was sitting there at the table eating with my family, he asked me if I had gotten everything I wanted, just like in A Christmas Story. I was sure that I had, but he said I had one more present in store. “Take a look out back.” He told me.

    I giddily rose from my spot at the table, wondering what it could be, and peeked through the sliding glass door. There in the backyard was a brand new, full-size trampoline. I was in shock. That most decidedly was not there the night before. How else would it have gotten there if it weren’t for Santa? I was smart enough to know that trampolines did not come fully assembled from the store and certainly not on Christmas Eve night.

    Mom made put on some warm clothes, but once I did, I jumped on that thing until she made me come in after dark. I had the time of my life on that thing. It was better than your typical trampoline too. It was about six to 8 inches taller than most trampolines and had much softer springs so you could jump really high. Over the years we devised countless games to play on it. Dodgeball, Criss-Cross, Break the egg. We even had a plastic basketball goal that sat on a table by it so we could dunk like Michael Jordan. Oddly enough, I never got hurt on that trampoline, which was pretty much a death trap; it had no mats covering the springs or those retention nets to keep people from flying off. It was my neighbor’s trampoline with all the safety devices that I shattered my elbow on.

    Slowly, over the next few years as the realization that Santa Claus wasn’t real set in, I always kept this trampoline thing in the back of my head. I found out that Santa was fake long before I actually figured out how that trampoline got there. It turns out that my brother and my dad put it together in the dark after I went to bed. It took them till 1 or 2 in the morning to complete, and they did all that just to see the joy on my face. That’s what Christmas is all about, folks. Joy. It’s the most American of all things. Underneath all the commercialism and political correctness, there’s a smiling kid who just got the surprise of a lifetime and who gets to believe in something magical for that much longer. If you deprive your child of that, damn you.

    Merry F’n Christmas!

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