Rapid Eye Reality -- Home of Brad Willis' writing on family life, travel adventures, and life inside the poker world

About Rapid Eye Reality
Poker Papers
Up For Poker Blog
Up For Sports Blog
PokerStars Blog

Currently reading:

2007 Reading List

Barack Obama
Devon Epps
Mt. Otis
Mental Massage
Tiffany Souers
TV News

Blogroll RER

This is a Flickr badge showing public photos from OT!S. Make your own badge here.

Sunday, December 30, 2001

One Giant Monkey Fist

That's what my back is, Mr. Peterman.

I've now been in constant motion for almost 12 hours. Behind me...crab dip-stuffed Anaheim peppers topped with shrimp, crab-stuffed mushrooms, maple sausage-stuffed mushrooms, cashew chicken balls, Brad's Big Balls (also known as sausage/cheese biscuits), mini chicken burritos, a semi-full bar set-up, and a clean house. My wife took care of half of the clean house and the desserts (a whole bunch of cookies, including my favorites...Snicker Doodles). She's actually still working. I can't see straight anymore. So, I have retired to my home office...a place full of musical instruments and this computer.

By this time tomorrow night, my house will be full of friends, alcohol, food, and music. We'll kick the hell out of 2001 and look forward to a 2002 full of good stuff.

2001 wasn't all bad. My wife and I celebrated our first anniversary...and getting that first year behind us. I met my buddy Todd. T and Patti decided to have a kid. Janice and Brett decided to have another round of baby-making. Gary and Ruth had their first child. I got to see Jay and Su for LEAF...twice. I got to go back home once and see my parents...and remembered that I have a lot to appreciate when it comes to the people who brought me into this world. I got to go on a ski trip with all my college friends (who I am missing a bit more these days). I have started communicating on a semi-regular basis with my cousin who is responsible for a big part of who I am and what I do today. I chased a murderer to Tennessee and was the first to listen to his confession. A bank robber made me laugh by making fun of my mother. Steve and Myra got married. Daly and Julia got married. Jay and Sara got married. Beth and Joe got married.

This could go on for a long time. I'm going to stop before I start remembering all the bad stuff that happened this year.

To all my friends, family, and casual readers of my daily blather...have a happy and safe new year.

And if you wanna come by Mt. Willis..the party starts in about 20 hours.

Bring a bottle of something.

Friday, December 28, 2001

Icing? That's ain't right!

"That guy is a sissy! Give me a pair of skates! Ref! How much they pay you, Ref? Sixty-two! Come up here and say that 62!"

It was Thirsty Thursday at the BI-LO Center. Until 7:45, beers were a buck. The Grrrowl (Greenville's East Coast Hockey League team) was playing a team from Columbus and we had free tickets, courtesy of our new PR hack from the hospital (AKA, our buddy T).

It was a tight game all the way. Back and forth. Probably the most enjoyable Grrrowl game I've seen.

Then there were the people with pink-ish (okay, they were red) necks who sat behind us.

"Ref! Ref! Oh, that just ain't right! He's a sissy! This is your fault, Ref! This is your faaaaaault!"

They must have brought the whole family. Dad (probably in his 60's) was decked out in the Grrrowl jersey. Momma was listening to the game on the radio. The kids (adults) were loud.

"Hit him with the puck! If he can't take it, hit him with the puuuuuuuck!."

At some point in this family's history, they must have decided hockey was their game.

Greenville is situated in a part of the country that doesn't allow for much professional sports worship. If you want a pro team, you have to look to Atlanta or Charlotte. Most folks around here follow college football and that's about it.

This family needed something more. They needed a minor league hockey team. And they needed that Ref to be six feet under the ice.

"Ref! LOOK at me Ref!"

I shouldn't poke fun. When I was in college, I spent five years as a part of a group called the Antlers. It is a 20-some year-old organization founded with the main intention of getting under the opposing team's skin (or the Ref's skin). The school gave us great seats and we were obnoxious. We had chants like "The Ref beats his wife." We'd wait outside the locker room for the Arkansas Razorbacks with two skinned hogs heads...one of them on fire. We delivered pizzas covered in muck to the opposing team's hotel room. We'd research the players and find out their girlfriend's names...sometime their phone numbers...and chant them during the game. We got under one player's skin so bad, he came into the stands after us. I once spent ten seconds on national television wiggling my tongue like an aging porn star. My aunt in Texas saw it and thought I'd lost my damned mind.

So, I shouldn't poke fun.

Redneck Hockey Family couldn't get enough of those goons on the ice...and I have to admit...there was one point in the game I wanted to teach them the old..."The Ref beats His Wife" chant.

Somehow, I think, the chant would've been lost on these folks.

"Whatta mean the Ref beats his wife? Was she mouthin' off again or something?"

Thursday, December 27, 2001

Christmas at the Waffle House

Four stoned guys walked in and sat at the counter. It was a profile of every pot smoker you've ever known. The Giggler sat on the end, entertained by every one of the grill cook's spatula-flips. The Perma-Smile Paranoid watched for narcs underneath the counter and in the booths. And the two Thousand-Yard-Stare guys looked through the grill cook's back, through the hash browns (heh...HASH browns), and into the greasy metal of the grill.

A young couple sat in a two-person booth, downing waffles, a big slab of pig meat, and a BLT. The young man was unshaven. The young semi-vegetarian woman was eating bacon without explanation. They had travleled 520 miles from Jackson, MS the night before, slept off a troubling weekend, and found themselves without anything that even resembled Christmas dinner in the fridge.

And they were smiling.

That was Christmas for the Couple from Mt. Willis.

Actually, there was a lot more to Christmas Day than dinner at the Waffle House, but there's no need to go into all of it. Suffice it to say, it was unique and fun. I missed the Willis Family Christmas, but not as much as I would have if I had not spent the whole day with a wife who loves me and who can make the most mundane of days seem like a vacation.

There is a certain freedom to having nowhere to go, nothing to do, and no one to see. All of a sudden you can do whatever you want. All of the things that you would normally do (watch TV, go grocery shopping, clean the house) were for 24 hours either impossible or irrelevant.

The day has come and gone and, frankly, I'm glad. We now move on to one of the most fun evenings of the year...the 2nd Annual Mt. Willis New Year's Eve Party. It is a time when good friends come together, laugh, and trust each other to make sure the evening and the rest of the year are clean and trouble-free. I trust it will be a good time...despite last year's disaster.

I still have three dents in my kitchen drywall. A colleague's wife made them as she collapsed--drunk--into a kitchen chair. She had downed a bottle of cheap wine, some champagne, a pint of cinnamon schnapps, a half a bottle of tequila, and a six-pack of hard cider. She drank more than me and three big-drinking buddies put together. She vomited on herself, stripped off most of her clothes, and collapsed on the floor. She pretended to birth a non-existant child named "Jamie." She screamed at the top of her big lungs, "JAMIE! I'M BIRTHING YOU!!!" My dog licked the floor.. Her husband cleaned up the vomit with our bath towels and put them on out kitchen table.

My friends ran for the door, throwing "Happy New Years" behind them. My wife looked on in horror. My dog continued to lick the floor. I hid in the garage with my buddy G-man.

This year will be different. With the help of friends I have designed a fool-proof security system that doesn't force me to lock the liquor cabinet. We will be hyper-vigilant. If she shows up this year, everyone will be on alert. I will maintain semi-strict control of the liquor, wine, and beer. It will not happen again.

So, fear not, RER reader. In fact, consider this an open-invitation. Mt Willis. 8PM. December 31st.

Leave the Puke-Poncho at home.

Monday, December 24, 2001

Merry Christmas from Dixie

It's not snowing on the pines, or in the pines, or around the pines. In fact, I'm not even sure it is Christmas, but "Christmas in Dixie" was playing at the Kroger yesterday, so something festive must being happening somewhere.

I'm on a no-shaving campaign. Haven't shaved my face since Friday morning. It makes me happy in a lazy sort of way. I'm sure Elvis felt much the same way during his last days. These, however, are not my last days. In fact, they may be among the first. I dunno.

So, before I figure out how this holiday is really going to turn out...a few thoughts on what we should be thinking about in the next 24-48 hours...

I have always known, the holidays are not about receiving. My folks always said...it is a season of giving. Frankly, I don't think the giving matters very much either. We should all be thinking about one thing this holiday season and that is what we already have. If we can all just appreciate what we have and forgot for ten minutes about what we want or wha we don't have...we all might just be a little happier.

I hope every one of you has more happy things in your life than you can count this holiday season. And if you want...you can all come to the 2nd Annual New Year's Eve Party at Mt. Willis.

I think we'll have some champagne and think about how neat 2002 is going to be.

See you there.

Sunday, December 23, 2001

Blogging In Mississippi

That's M-I-cooked letter, crooked letter-I-crooked letter, crooked letter-I-humpback, humpback-I...to you and me.

That was how Grandma Price taught me how to spell the name of this wretched state, back when I was a young boy, eating oranges in her smoke-filled house, and trying to catch a peak at some "r-rated" movies on cable after she fell alseep in her chair. We were happily in Missouri and neither of us had any idea that I would end up in Mississippi within about 20 years.

Fortunately, I escaped this state after living here for only about a year and a half. We moved to South Cackalacki and I thought I may never have to come back here again. Thing is, the in-laws live here and it is sort of my marital duty to visit every couple of years. It just so happens, this year's visit falls over Christmas.

The odd part...We've only been here for 20 hours and in that time I have only seen about 30 minutes of my in-laws. We pulled up and they scattered like ants from a magifying glass. Right now, I am the only person in the house who is awake. My wife and dad in-law are taking naps, my brother in-law went bowling, and the sister and mom in-law are shopping. Odd.

Last night I got to eat at my favorite joint in Jackson. It's a japanese eatery owned by a really intense Vietnamese guy. When you walk in he looks at you like he's been awake for three days trying to figure out the last three numbers of Pi. And don't dawdle when he offers you a seat. He might just man handle you.

In two days, I get to make the long drive back across the Deep South to my home. When I get there, I don't intend to leave the state for a long time. In fact, since my wife bought me a PS-2 for Christmas, I may not even leave Mt. Willis.

However, if things get sketchy here, I may just need an in-lawyer before I can leave Mississippi.

Thursday, December 20, 2001

Take off those footie pajamas

Maybe I'm just feeling a little randy today. Because, I seem to be in some sort of sick minority.

Last night, I put on my rucksack, pith helmet, and Glock 9mm and headed out to the mall. During my travels (and after fighting a Mall Santa for a piece of some little kid's candy cane) I spotted a particularly...intriguing...advertisement in one of those Mall Store windows. Bigger than life, an unshaven man, backlit with amber light, kissing a woman's bare foot.

Now, let me go on record here...I do not have a foot fetish. There are internet porn sites, adult video stores, and back-alley, black market, black-ops dealers who sell nothing but foot porn. There are consumers for that product, and I am not one of them.

Nevertheless, there is something to say about the foot. Certain feet, at least.

I'm not going to go into my many arguments about how the foot is a taboo part of the body, and how we never see it, and how neat is it when somebody feels comfortable enough to take off their shoes around you.

But think on this for a moment: Picture a man or woman (your choice), standing in a blank room, completely naked except for a pair of argyle socks. Wouldn't you really prefer to have those socks in a hamper somewhere?

I spent months in college debating the politeness of wearing socks during sex (I'm against it, by the way). I never could come up with a hard and fast rule or any logical reasoning for my assertions. One of my colleagues just came up with the rule for me.

During a moment of extreme intimacy:
"The only time socks are appropriate is when you're your wearing pants. If the pants are coming off, the socks come off first."


Maybe I am a sicko. Maybe my mind is in the gutter.

Or maybe, just maybe everyone of my friends is too repressed.

Or maybe I am a sicko.

[Editor's note: Everyone head over to the casbah and wish a very happy girl good wishes. Her boy is about to make an honest woman of her.]

Shivering and warm at Mt. Willis

Just came down off the real mountain...Paris Mountain. It is ten degrees colder up there and the wind is whipping like a stud bull's tail. I don't go up there often and wouldn't have tonight. But, when my wife came home about nine tonight, she said she saw a bloodhound tracking team heading up the main mountain road. She stopped at the corner store, did some investigating, and found out an old lady was missing.

I shoved two pieces of pizza in my face and sat on my couch, itching to do something other than watch NBC reruns. I sat for five minutes, then I put on a flannel shirt and headed up into the darkness. I had no real business going up there, except for the fact that news IS my buisness and there was a good chance a missing lady on the mountain would turn into news.

After thirty minutes of driving skinny mountain roads, navigating quick switch-backs, and doing my best not to drive off the side of the cliffs, I found the command post. Two bloodhound tracking teams, an infrared helicopter overhead, and one very worried family.

Turns out, a 75 year old woman from California is in town visiting her daughter. And she made a mistake.

Barbara is a healthy woman. Even at 75, she walks several miles a day. And at 4:50 this afternoon, she decided to take a walk on an unfamiliar mountain. At 11:00, she still hadn't come home.

The overlook on which we stood had the feel of a story about to turn bad. While the mountain's base feels like early spring, its summit feels like dead winter. Barbara's family was bundled up, holding flashlights for which they had no use. The search team didn't want any family on the trail. It messes up the infrared and the dogs.

I could drag this out for a while, but my hands are a little numb.

About twenty minutes ago, the search team found Barbara. She's been out in the cold darkness for more than six hours, but it looks like she's going to be okay.

You know, I spend most of my days, waiting for bad things to happen. It's the ugly part of my business. When bad things happen, my sick adrenal glands start melting all over themselves.

But, you know what feels really good? It feels good to know that I won't be covering this story in six hours. It feels good to know that Barbara--a woman I'll never meet--is going to sleep in a warm bed tonight instead of on a cold mountain.

Most of all, it feels good to know that my twisted sense of reality isn't as twisted as I sometimes think it is.

Some news folks would be mad if they spent a few unpaid hours on a cold mountain and ended up with no story.

Me...I'm feeling good that there is no story to report.

Moreover, I feeling good that I actually have a few human cells left in my heart.

Wednesday, December 19, 2001

Unpacked, unscathed, uninspired

The glutton has returned to Mt. Willis.

After four days on the road, in the air, and bellied up to a mother's dinner table, I'm back on the mountain, wearing boxers covered in bongo-playing monkeys. Monkeys are funny.

My good buddy took good care of the pooch and took even better care of my house. I'm thinking of asking him to move in with me... on a strictly platonic basis, of course.

I'm running on Central Time, so I'm not nearly as tired as I need to be right now. I did everything I could to ensure exhaustion (no dinner, worked non-stop on house projects when I walked in the door tonigt, etc.). No going. I'm wide awake.

Sadly, I don't have any really funny tales to relate. Nor do I have insight into what's on my head right now (besides Quackers).

So, maybe tomorrow.

Maybe next year.

Sunday, December 16, 2001

Blogging in the Ozarks

Back to the old homestead for a few days. It's odd to see all the old haunts through new southerner eyes. The old high school seems foreign. Old girlfriend's houses seem small. Old friends have kids. I feel like an uncle. My buddy Brad's little brother isn't so little anymore. He's taller than me, has tight facial hair, and gets asked if he's been drinking when he gets pulled over.

It's not bad though. It's neat how quickly you can fall back into the old groove with good friends. They may have kids now, but they can still laugh like they did when we weren't much older than their littluns.

Gary's little brother (once the subject of petty taunts) is now a successful dot-commer, making scads of dough, and about to test to the level of 2nd degree blackbelt.

There is a lesson in all this, but my mind is weighted down by my mother's good food.

More when I return south to my home and little dog.

Friday, December 14, 2001

I said "pee" on live TV

In my six years of radio and television work, I've never cursed or had an offensive slip of the tongue on the air.

That ended on live television tonight.

A jury convicted the county urine salesman of illegally selling his own pee-pee. Six months in jail, a $10,000 fine, five years probabtion during which time he's not allowed to sell his urine anywhere in the world. If he violates his probation, he goes to jail for prison years.

In a minor televsion coup, I snagged the salesman for a live interview shortly after he bonded out of jail (for $30,000, he stays out of jail pending an appeal).

I asked him what he was going to do now. He said, he guessed he "coudn't pee for the next six years."

What a silly thing to say, said the little man in my head (also known as my better journalistic judgement). You better call him on that! You're on live TV. Call him on it.

So, I say..."Well, you can't pee and then sell it."

I said "pee" on live TV.

It's not a bad word...but I want to kick the little man in my head. He could've fed me the word "urinate."


Even when you're expecting it...

...the repair man screw job still hurts.

Straight up, 8AM. I'm groggy, just out of the shower. I'm wet, sloppy, unshaven and looking for a reason to call in "dead" to work. The doorbell rings and my dog goes nuts.

Mr. Former-Armed Services is at the door. He's holding a notepad and few tools. I know he's hiding his "screw driver" somewhere else. I expliai my problem, he nods, and we both give each other that look. It's that look that you share with someone right before you know they are going to knee you in the groin.

In the second grade, I shared that look many times with a girl known as "Sweet Emily." She was the most attractive of all the females in Mrs. Bennett's second grade Hilldale Elementary class (with the possible exception of Mrs. Bennett herself. I proposed marriage to her). I loved Sweet Emily. She hit me in the nodules. Regularly.

Mr. FAS broke the look first and headed out to The Machine. The heater kicked off and on a couple of times while I idly watched Katie Couric and wondered how a woman can be paid more than any other news person in history to just sit and flirt with Gwenneth Paltrow's boyfriend. It wasn't long before Mr. FAS was back at the door. The dog went nuts.

I bent over a big, poofy chair in my living room and gave him a look.

"You, um, got a sticking gas regulator. Seems it's all locked up."

"What's the fix for that?"

"New gas regulator."

"How long will something like that take to fix?"

"'Bout 15 minutes. I got a new one on my truck."

Of course, you do. You know that I have no idea whether you're replacing the gas regulator or the home heater's little clown that dances around inside the unit until he gets all hot and bothered, thus heating my home.

"That'll be $243."

Of course, it will.

All in all, Mr. FAS was a nice guy. He didn't mention anything about a selling me a new compressor or wanting to look at my wife naked. He only drank about a six pack of my beer and only went as far as to erase the hard drive on my computer. That's generorous, I think.

As he left, he looked up at Katie Couric. She had ceased flirting and started reading some news about bin Laden.

Mr. FAS says, "You think they'll ever get that guy?"

I told him, I thought we would, but the public would never know about it.

"That's what I think," he said.

Of course, it is.

Thursday, December 13, 2001

I should be home in bed...

But I am at work, staring blankly at my computer screen.

Apart from a two-hour happy hour break, I've been at work for 14 1/2 hours. So far today, I've put a temporary fix on my home heating system, covered the trial of a man accused of illegally selling his own urine, talked to a nursing student who may have saved an old lady's life without knowing it, and spent two hours in a dimly lit room staring at a TV screen and wondering how I'm going to tell a good story.

Home heating...I can't stand it when technical things that are supposed to work don't work. I would rather shave a big dog with a dull razor than call a con...I mean, repair man. But I did. He'll be knocking on my door--hand out--in about eight hours. Seventy-five bucks just to knock on my door. Then he'll find something terribly wrong with my home heating system, kick my dog, drink all my beer, key my new vehicle, pour diesel fuel on my lawn, flip off my neighbors, unleash a rabid monkey in my bedroom, flip my wife's bra straps, use all my shaving cream for a lower-body hair experiment, then charge me another few hundred bucks to tell me he can't do anything without going back to the office to have sex with the receptionist first.

Urine sales...best quote of the day: "If my little bag of pee can bring down a multi-billion dollar industry, am I not doing SOMETHING right?" As it turns out, Su's husband was mentioned on the stand in a criminal trial today. He was among the first people to buy urine from our resident urine monger. Very proud to know him. (By the way...he was doing it as part of an undercover news sting, not to defraud a drug test).

The trial resumes at nine in the morning. At that time, I'll probably be asking the repair man how he likes his eggs and if he'd like Tabasco or silver dollars on the side.

I need to get back to work. It's only 12 minutes to Midnight and there are a full eight hours until Mr. Repair Guy shows up.

Anyone know where I can get me a "beam-me-up-scotty" beam to December 31st?

Wednesday, December 12, 2001

Nose Hair Horror

So, I was putting on my makeup yesterday (I love to start out a story like this...) and something wasn't quite right. It was like seeing the car you sold last week out of the corner of your eye on a busy street. Somebody else is driving and they aren't holding the wheel quite right. Then it is gone and you're left to wonder if you sent that car into a world it just can't understand.

I was readying myself to do two live shots for my hometown station and one for the folks up in Cincinnati. I generally don't apply the powder so liberally, but I always get nervous about shiny spots on my forehead when I'm on the tube in Ohio.

Then I saw it.

Now, at this point you're probably thinking...the poor sap is growing hair out of his nostrils. He's on his way to another "I'm getting old" rant. Well, in reality, my nose has been sprouting nostril bushes for years. It's a Willis thing and there ain't much I can do about it.

No, this was a horror show of a whole new variety.

Sticking out out of the top of my nose (right around where it gets bulbous) was a big, black bear of a hair. No amount of Clinique Stay Beige #3 could cover it up. I actually threw the powder puff to the side and rubbed the compact on the end of ma nez. Nothing. Just a big black bear of a hair. I yanked at it with my fingertips. I tried to comb it back with my hair brush. No good.

I don't know what this means.

I try to keep all of my hair in a trimmed fashion. I think tidy hair is a sign you respect your body. I'm actually developing quite a sickness with the need to be...well, un-hairy. And now, my nose is not only sprouting Fraggles from my nose holes, but it's also playing Chia Pet with my face.

I've never been a really hairy guy. My buddy Gary grew a beard in the fifth grade. Me, I was still pleading with my privates to grow some underbrush just so I wouldn't look...um...bald...in gym. Even today, my level of chest hair can only be described as "a dusting."

I fear the worst.

There's this family somewhere in Central America that has somewhere in the neighborhood of four kids who all look like werewolves. It's some odd genetic thing that forces them to join the circus or shave their face daily. I didn't even know it was possible for regular genetically-boring humanoids like me to grow hair on the top of their nose. And here I am putting on makeup to try to cover it up.

Maybe the worst part is, I'm going to have to result to using tweezers to pull the thing out.

My wife is going to walk in on me in the bathroom and I'm going to be plucking my nose.

Anyone ever tried to use Nair on their face?

Tuesday, December 11, 2001

Blogging at the Citadel

[Editors note: I just rolled in after a four hour drive back from Charleston. I had no laptop, so during a moment of boredom, I blogged on a legal pad. This is the short post from inside the arena where Dubya spoke this afternoon.]

Dubya won't be here for another hour and a half and it looks like I picked the the wrong day to quit sniffing glue.

I'm trapped.

The Secret Service Agent said--with no amount of humor--"Once you're in, you're in." I had to go in. So, I'm in. In fact, everybody is in except Dubya. The seats are full of cadets in tight gray jackets. The media platform is groaning under the pressure of a few dozen weary reporters and photographers. Every few minutes an agent gives me a wary look, checks my press credentials, and marks me down on his mental checklist as "that guy who looks a little too average."

I AM that guy, but I'm no threat to anyone...except maybe myself.

You might expect this scene would be tense. It is the three-month aniversary of 9/11, Dubya is set to arrive soon, and I'm in a room full of young men and women with short haircuts.

The mood, however, is relaxed.

Still, you should've seen the protective detail agent jump when a cadet tripped into a stadium chair. It made a good thump and I'm fairly sure I saw the agent's holster as he opened up his jacket.

It looks like my seat for the show is in jeopady...time to secure my space.

Wonder if that agent can help?

Monday, December 10, 2001

On the road...

Looks like I'll be away from RER for a couple of days.

I'm being shipped out to the lower part of the state for a presidential visit.

Everyone keep your eyes open for odd minutiae.

Things Change

We here in the southeast have lounged in relative comfort for the last few months. We've had very few cold days and even fewer with rain. I went out on the frolf course at 10:30 Satuday morning. I perspired.

This morning, it is jacket-chilly outside and the clouds are spitting raindrops.

When the weather shifts so dramatically, it can be quite a shock to the system. The already-short days seem even shorter. The daylight hours seem poorly lit. Part of the shock, I guess, comes from the fact that you've spent so many months taking the warm weather for granted that you really miss it when it is gone.

Friday, December 07, 2001

The whole darn pissing match

I try not to be vulgar (use "gutter talk" as my daddy would say), but that's exactly what it is going to be...One Big Pissing Match.

Beginning next Wednesday, a man I'll call Ken will be the first man ever to stand trial in South Carolina for selling his own urine.

His operation works a bit like this: He urinates, puts his urine in a small, clear plastic bag (think: blood donation bag), attaches a tube and a heating element to the product and sells it on the 'net.

He's been doing it for several years now. It's only been illegal since 1999. He cites his right to freedom of expression.

Some time in early 1999, the State Law Enforcement Division (also known as SLED) began an investigation (some would say at the behest of a state senator who penned the bill that would make urine sales illegal). During that investigation, agents bought several bags of urine from Ken and his employees. Shortly thereafter, they put the cuffs on him. If Lenny Briscoe had made the arrest, I would have to guess he would've muttered something like "Urine trouble, buddy."

If you haven't already guessed, the state contends Ken sells his urine with the intent to help people defraud drug screens. The state thinks that's a bad idea.

Ken contends his urine kits are novelty items...art, if you will, to protest the entire urinalysis industry. He says he has a First Amendment right to pee in a bag and sell it.

[Editors note: In the middle of writing this, I was offered some deep fried turkey. I'm eating it now. If you've never had it, you really should start thinking about moving to the South].

There are a lot of legal issues involved in the case which would probably bore you. There are constitutionality questions, issues of selective prosecution (Ken is the only man who has ever been arrested for doing such a thing), as well as the concept of selective legislation (the idea that the General Assembly passed this law simply to put Ken out of business).

Here's the law...

SECTION 16-13-470. Defrauding drug and alcohol screening tests; penalty.

(A) It is unlawful for a person to:

(1) sell, give away, distribute, or market urine in this State or transport urine into this State with the intent of using the urine to defraud a drug or alcohol screening test;

(2) attempt to foil or defeat a drug or alcohol screening test by the substitution or spiking of a sample or the advertisement of a sample substitution or other spiking device or measure;

(3) adulterate a urine or other bodily fluid sample with the intent to defraud a drug or alcohol screening test;

(4) possess adulterants which are intended to be used to adulterate a urine or other bodily fluid sample for the purpose of defrauding a drug or alcohol screening test; or

(5) sell adulterants which are intended to be used to adulterate a urine or other bodily fluid sample for the purpose of defrauding a drug or alcohol screening test.

Intent is presumed if a heating element or any other device used to thwart a drug-screening test accompanies the sale, giving, distribution, or marketing of urine or if instructions which provide a method for thwarting a drug-screening test accompany the sale, giving, distribution, or marketing of urine.

(B) A person who violates a provision of subsection (A):

(1) for a first offense, is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than five thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than three years, or both; and

(2) for a second or subsequent offense, is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than ten thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

That's the law he's up against. It's going to be one hullava trial. I sat in court for an hour today listening to the prosecutor, judge, and defense attorney yell at each other.

The defense contends (among other arguments) that the law is much too vague and could apply to many stores. He brought up Wal-Mart and K-Mart today. Turns out you can buy deer urine and hand warmers in the same building. He also talked outside of court about something called the Whiz-ard. I'm not sure I want to see that little magician. He said he'd show it to me on Wednesday.

I have to imagine things are going to get really confusing during the proceedings. At some point one attorney will look at the other during a fight over an ink pen or something. Does that pen belong to the defense team or prosecution team?

Someone will ask...with a perfect southern accent..."Is that urine or our'n?"

Ken has been on Geraldo, MSNBC, Maury, Politically Incorrect and all the rest of those shows. If you'd like to check out Ken's web site (where he has links to his appearances)...you can find it here.

Oh... on another embarrassing South Carolina note...

Our voters recently made it legal for the Lottery Barons to move into the state. I have no opinion on the games whatsoever, but I find this a little a funny:

Apparently some young capitalist thought he would buy up the best sounding web domain for the lottery...SCLOTTERY.COM...and try to sell it to the state. But the state wasn't buying. So now...this is what people see when they mistakenly log on to the wrong site.

He better watch out...I'm sure they can find some way to make the urine law apply to him.

Thursday, December 06, 2001

One year ago today...

I was freezing. I had a wool overcoat and pair of thin, inadequate leather gloves. A medivac helicopter carried a South Carolina state trooper into the gray sky. He wasn't breathing then and would never start again. Somebody shot him. His name was Eric. He bounced around so much--vibrant and loving his job--people called him Tigger.

I spent hours there that day, cold, having to pee, trying to tell a story that made no sense at all.

It still doesn't make sense today. I talked to the trooper's wife a few times in the the last week. She's remarkably strong. She organized a blood drive in her husband's honor. Turns out, the last time she saw him was about an hour before he got shot. He was giving blood at a drive at her office.

Right now, I'm sitting at my desk, much warmer than I was one year ago today. The TV above me is spilling out unconfirmed reports of 35 people shot at an Indiana factory.

The last two days have been a bear for me. In fact, they've sucked. But, I think about that Trooper's wife and the families of those folks in Indiana...and I don't feel like bitching too much.

So, rather than bitch...a few odd facts to send you into your evening...courtesy of the lady of Mt. Willis:

*A pig's orgasm can last 30 minutes long.
*You can rip the head off a cockroach and it won't die until nine days later when it starves to death.
*Banging your head against the wall burns about 150 calories per hour.

I think there's something to be said here about pigs, but I can't quite come up with what it is.

Oink, oink, my readers.

Wednesday, December 05, 2001

The Bulbs are Blooming in Boston

I've never been to Bean Town, but I bet it's nice to have flowers blooming in December. Indian Summers are one of the neat things about this planet and I think we should embrace them...or at the very least give them a good pat on the back.

I've got a headache and I'm dealing with a chest-tighteening squirrel underneath my rib cage. The little rodent is angry and beating the hell out of my insides. I have a few guesses why. I'm not sure I really want to get into them. In fact, I don't.

So, I think I'm going to muse on my new imaginary friend, Quackers. The regular RER reader will recall Quackers. He popped up as I toyed with the idea of wearing a duck on my head to cover up any gray streaks. Then I got to thinking...it would be really funny for me to have an animated duck riding around on my noggin all the time. He'd hop off and do other things when I really need to look presentable. But, during the daily grind, he'd ride along, his little orange feet kicked up on my forehead, maybe sipping on some fruity boat drink. He might eavesdrop on my private conversaions and offer insight and advice when necessary. I think he's a smart duck.

I've got a lot to be smiling about. My wife and friends made my birthday a great one. I'm going to see my family in a week and a half. I'm still alive and that's a good thing.

Still frustrated though. Gotta find a way to have Quackers take care of some of my more frustrating issues.

I'd just like to hear him say..."My name's Quackers. I take care of problems."

Heart-rate decreasing...

It seems my fix has worked for now. My heart rate is going down and I might be able to concentrate on work for a while. If it gets any worse...I'm might start a boycott of some sort.

Technical Rage

I'm sure someday there will be some designation in doctors' DSM--IV (maybe by then it will be the DSM-V) that relates to Technical Rage. There is something about the inability to make something work (that very well should be working, by the way) that makes me want to rip off my shoes, polish my toe nails, and dance around on Main St. singing something out of the soundtrack to the upcoming future-scare musical "1984: A Brave New World without all the Soma."

If you haven't noticed (or if I have already made it work the way it should) I have no images on RER right now. My service sucks. But an un-named e-mail user wants to continue receiving e-mail from said service, so I have to keep it.

So now...Code Orange and RER both look like warzone casualties.

Anybody have any fingernail polish?

Tuesday, December 04, 2001

Light a fire under this

I may lack Olympic pride.

Seeing that little Scruggs girl roll her ankle over didn't make me buy an American flag. I only chant "U-S-A" at Fourth of July parties. And I think I hate the Olympic Torch.

A lot of it may have to do with my Neo-Purist tendencies.

Back in the day (I'm talking the day when people wore robes and since jock straps had yet to be invented there was a good chance that a long jumper would give the crowds a much bigger show than his jumping ability), the Torch Relay had to be have been a much bigger deal. I'll confess, as hard as I looked, I found no torch relay history. So, I have no idea how long it's been going on or how it was handled in the past. But I do know the modern Olympics began in 1896 and I'm pretty sure they didn't have a scientifically engineered torch and they sure as hell didn't have a motor home called Media One to track the torch on its bogus journey.

I only bring it up because the torch is coming here today. I understand...they HAD to fly it over here from Greece. You just can't run a relay across the ocean (although I WOULD like to see those honorary relay members running around the deck of a Grecian fishing vessel for four days while it crossed the Atlantic...that's entertainment). But once it lands here, that torch just shouldn't have wheels.

Today, they're bussing the thing from Atlanta to South Carolina. It will hop off the bus, a bunch of dignitaries and people with carefully selected and heart-wrenching back stories will run it up and down the road and then the torch will hop back on a bus and head on to its next destination. Before it is all over...the torch will hit every state except Hawaii, Minnesota, and the Dakotas. Frankly, if I were a torch-song type of guy in Fargo, I'd be a little miffed that Alaska gets to see the torch and I don't.

In all...the torch will move at about 416 miles per day. I can't imagine it moved that fast in the days of jock-strapless pole vaulters. At an average speed of five miles per hour, it would take the torch more than 80 hours to make that distance. That's why they need the Torch Bus.

Now...maybe I'm just not getting into the spirit. Take this quote from the Olympic web site..."The Olympic Movement has survived wars, boycotts and terrorism to become a symbol of the ability of the people of all nations to come together in peace and friendship."

I'm not necessarily anti-Olympic. I may just be anti-Torch. I think it has come to symbolize everything manufactured in our society.

So, I won't be standing along the parade route tonight. I won't track the progression of the torch along its 46-state route on web sites specifically designed for that purpose. And I won't be buying any Scruggs Girl posters for my garage wall.

I might however flip on the Classic Sports network and watch the USA beat the hell out of those Soviets. Coming together in peace and friendship is one thing, but a little historical hockey dominance is another thing all together.

Muesday Morning

I have a hard time going to sleep on Monday nights and Tuesday mornings. Not sure why. Probably something to do with an aging metabolism or fears about how big the sweet gum tree outside my house seems. My wife says I've been screaming in my sleep recently.

I had intended for my previous post to be the Birthday Post you all woke up to. But after a few games of Yahoo! Euchre, a few songs downloaded from Audio Galaxy, and enough tap water to keep my uranium-coated insides glowing for months, sleep didn't seem so important.

The Missouri Tigers played St. Louis Univeristy tonight. I don't get to watch much Tiger ball anymore. Living in the southeast, we get a lot of Duke, not so much Big XII action. So, the opportunity to watch them play on ESPN 2 was a treat. I accidentally missed the first half, but saw enough to make me yearn for the days of Hearnes Center. When Wesley Stokes dropped a jumper to win the game with no time left on the clock, I nearly popped my jock strap. I called Brother Beaker. I knew he'd be watching the game. Strangely, he seemed deflated. Then I heard it in the background. He doesn't have the Deuce, so he was forced to listen to the game on the net. He had a 75 second delay and had no idea that the Tigers won. I felt bad for ruining the surprise.

[An aside here...The odd thing about this Blogging world is...you get a real sense for how your blogging friends are dealing with life. I read friends blogs and can tell when they aren't doing so well. That bad thing about it is...you can't just call them up and invite them out for a beer. That's a shame.]

By the way...I've given up on the "I Feel Old feel-sorry-for-me fete." It was BS and I knew it.

However, just because I'm not looking for sympathy anymore doesn't mean I can't tell a story on myself...

Saturday night...I was a little lit up. I'd spent about six hours on a deck with my friends. We were signing silly songs and tossing back a few (dozen) beverages. When I got home and crawled in bed...I heard the strangest noise.

Vrooom....thwack. Vrooooom...thwack.

It had a familiar timbre. I had heard the noise dozens--if not hundreds--of times before. A moving force meeting an object at rest. This particular version of the noise was immistakable. Mailbox baseball.

I never actually played the game myself. My young buddies and I were into a game called Bottling. Glass bottles, metal roadsigns. You get the idea. We were masters of the craft.

But there I am...drunk, in nothing but boxer shorts, hair in full Turkey Head-effect, staring out my window at a group of kids in a car taking pathetic swings at my neighbor's mailboxes. Something moved me. At first I thought it was the urge to tell those kids how to do some real damage. I mean, these kids were sad.

Then I realized...my vandal-youth is gone.

"Get me the phone." I was slurring, unshaven..."No wait...'

I was able to pull on a pair of blue jeans and stumble downstairs. I'm in the middle of a dew-soaked road. I'm barefoot and examining my neighbor's mailbox. The damage was minimal. The little riff-raff should be arrested for being such lousy vandals, I decided...or maybe I was rationalizing.

I stumbled back upstairs, picked up the phone and dialed 911.

I am The Old Man Across the Street. All I need is a wife-beater undershirt and a pair of slippers and I'll be set.

Monday, December 03, 2001

When do my boobs start to sag?

And stick it to those of you who are snickering and muttering to yourself "they have been since college, buddy..."

Yeah...my birthday is Tuesday. I've been feeling old and young at the same time. Old with graying hair, young while hanging out with friends.

Saturday night my wife and friends threw me a surprise party. It was a fantastic moment. It was, in fact, only the second surprise party of my life. The first was in college.

I laughed incredibly hard Saturday night. The surprise party was almost derailed when T's wife accidentally sat the birthday cake on a hot stove burner. The cake burned, the Pyrex dish cracked open. Patti cried then vowed to make a new one before I got there. She did and it tasted good. My drunk friends ate the burned cake and didn't worry about Pyrex poisoning.

I do have a problem, though. If you'll look back at the last few posts, my life has grown incredibly uninteresting. I've got nothing to talk about. I think that's because I'm really content and don't have much to bitch about.

One thing before I go fry up some bird...I've been tracking where a lot of my hits on RER come from. It lets me know who is reading and who ain't. I've been getting a lot of strange Google searches...

I mean who searches for "rockmont sex" or "any kind of charges against memorial mortuary in hawaii?" And moreover, why does Google think my little blog is an appropriate response to their strange queries? Search engines are odd sometimes...

Saturday, December 01, 2001

Shopping in Shorts

It's December 1st. I'm wearing shorts. I perspired today.

I slept late today (staying up until 5:30AM playing poker will do that to you), but filled my day with haircuts, frolf, and Christmas shopping. All day long, people are playing holiday music and I'm counting my leg hairs in public. The South is grand sometimes.

Not much else happening...maybe a few beers over at T's tonight...maybe a pizza. This is the last weekend before Holiday Hell begins, so I hope to enjoy it.

Advertisting inquiries to:
blackjack terminology
New canadian casino online poker web, which is owned by 888 casino announced launching before a few months. They are focusing only on Canadians and their specific needs (e.g. payment methods etc.),so you are able to play online games such as poker comfortably in your national background.

August 2001
September 2001
October 2001
November 2001
December 2001
January 2002
February 2002
March 2002
April 2002
May 2002
June 2002
July 2002
August 2002
September 2002
October 2002
November 2002
December 2002
January 2003
February 2003
March 2003
April 2003
May 2003
June 2003
July 2003
August 2003
September 2003
October 2003
November 2003
December 2003
January 2004
February 2004
March 2004
April 2004
May 2004
June 2004
July 2004
August 2004
September 2004
October 2004
November 2004
December 2004
January 2005
February 2005
March 2005
April 2005
May 2005
June 2005
July 2005
August 2005
September 2005
October 2005
November 2005
December 2005
January 2006
February 2006
March 2006
April 2006
May 2006
June 2006
July 2006
August 2006
September 2006
October 2006
November 2006
December 2006
January 2007
February 2007
March 2007
April 2007
May 2007
June 2007
July 2007
August 2007
September 2007
October 2007
November 2007
December 2007
January 2008
February 2008
Current Posts
    Creative Commons License

Rapid Eye Reality is the personal blog of writer Brad Willis, aka Otis.
All poker stories, travelogues, food writing, parenting and marriage advice, crime stories, and other writing should be taken with a grain of salt. It is also all protected under a Creative Commons license