Category Archives: Society

Pedalphile in the Neighborhood


Two years ago, we had a garage sale and sold some guy an old 21-speed of ours for $10. The guy had no way to take the bike home at the time, so he just paid for it and said he’d be back later to pick it up. He had not come back for his bike by the time we were closing up shop, so I parked it just inside our backyard gate thinking he would return later that evening. But he didn’t return, and he didn’t return, not that evening, not the next day, not the next week.

The tires went flat, the chain and sprockets eventually rusted. Then after two years of mowing around the bike, and at my wife’s pleading, I finally moved the bike out of the backyard in preparation for the graduation party we were preparing for recently.

That rusty old 21-speed did not last but two days outside the confines and protection of the privacy fence surrounding my backyard, and it was gone. Maybe the bicycles rightful owner finally came by to pick it up. He sure must have been disappointed in the weathered condition of his $10 prized purchase.

When I was a kid, the house where I grew up did not have a fence around the yard or a garage to put my bike in. I parked my bike wherever it landed smack-dab in the front yard. I never locked it up and never had it stolen. But times are sadly different now…

Maybe there is a pedal-phile living in the neighborhood.




The little lady and I swung by Wally World the other evening to pick up a few groceries. As we began to drive out of the parking lot, I could hardly believe my eyes. Right there in the Walmart parking lot in Guymon Oklahoma was a riding lawnmower pulling a homemade travel trailer. This was an amazing sight, and not something you see every day, so I stopped to take a closer look. Noticing a teddy bear on the front bumper of the riding lawnmower, I mused if that might be road kill from driving too fast. The mower looked to be equipped with a CB radio, presumably to call ahead for speed traps. I was also amused to see the extra-large side mirror, which I guessed to be a street legal requirement for travel trailer towing.

I stepped out of my Suburban and took this picture, so I could confirm later on that I was not just dreaming again. It was then I heard the roar of a portable electric generator. Upon further inspection, I could see some guy was inside this tiny little homemade travel trailer watching television. I realized that behind the homemade travel trailer, was another trailer, a garden trailer with a portable generator on it.

By now, I am starting to get a little envious of this guy’s set up. I begin to wonder if he can technically be considered homeless or not.

Does his possession of a homemade travel trailer, by definition indicate that he has a home?

Who would intentionally live in this tiny little travel trailer pulled by a riding lawnmower, unless they were homeless?

This line of thought is a paradox for me. Perhaps referring to this contraption as a homeless-made travel trailer would more aptly describe this homeless man’s home.

Mac Attack


When my kids were young, I used to swing by McDonald’s on my way home from work every Family Night to pick up Happy Meals. I remember how I always had to make sure I got the right combination of boy and girl toys. The Happy Meals were cheaper on Family Night so as a provider trying to make ends meet, Mickey Dee’s was my lowest cost option. While it is true that my kids loved these little toys, the low price was undoubtedly the overriding factor in my decision.

Today there are several debates raging over the toys that come in Happy Meals.

One point of contention seems to be that McDonald’s specifies the gender preference of its toys. Maybe I am just being a little dense, but I think if a toy is born that way, why not specify? The bashers believe that toys should be gender-neutral. After all, “What father wants his sons to be limited in their choices?” Ah.., me.

Another point of concern surfaced recently because apparently kids in San Francisco are eating these toys and getting fat. I totally understand why the San Francisco Board of Supervisors are trying to curb childhood obesity. After all, fat kids might grow up to become fat adults, and what adult looks good in a pair of leather jeans when their ass is too fat. Plus, imagine the disappointment of ordering a Happy Meal and spethifying a boy-toy, only to find a tiny plastic Alien figurine in your box. I am sure that would be very uncomfortable.

Welcome to San Francisco, did you want that with fries or a fruit?

I Voted


I was the 5th or 6th person to get into a line that had formed in front of City Hall in the dark just before 7:00 am Tuesday morning. With only a few minutes to go before the poll was to open, we could clearly see inside through the outer glass wall into the well-lit polling place. The three election workers scurried around in preparation for the day. One fellow wondered aloud about what time the workers must arrive to set everything up by 7:00, but none of us knew. It was quite chilly out and a little breezy. The scotch tape holding up the “Vote Here” sign on the front door came loose and the sign fell down. I walked over and taped it back up. Joking about the sign falling off, we all laughed. All Americans, all Oklahomans.

The doors opened to the polling place with only a minute to spare. Our precinct poll workers have been the very same three ladies for several election cycles now. One of the poll workers is the mother of Michael Brown who was the FEMA Director during Hurricane Katrina. Guymon is a small town, and so I am casually acquainted with all three of these women. It must have been a little hectic getting the poll set up this morning, as they seemed slightly harried, not quite as relaxed or talkative as usual, but still just as polite as can be.

After officially signing in with the first women, the second handed me my ballot and quickly greeted me by my first name before I moved off to an open poll enclosure to fill in my ballot. I completed my ballot, carefully fed it into the ballot box machine, and walked over to turn my ballot marker back in to the third.

“Thank you for voting,” Mrs. Brown said as she peeled an “I Voted” sticker off the roll, leaned forward, and handed it to me.

“You’re welcome,” I grinned as I proudly applied the “I Voted” sticker beside the company logo on my Polo shirt and began to walk away. Then pausing, I turned back to her and quietly added, “I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”

I knew she got my meaning as she reclined slightly in her chair, looked up and with a calm confidence replied, “Neither would I.”

Tuesday was a long day for me, heading out early to the polls and then staying up late to watch the election results on TV that night. While not trilled with every single race across the entire country, the races in Oklahoma all turned out the way I had hoped, each and every one of them. These results made for a perfect ending to a long Election Day for this Oklahoma Panhandler.

I would not have missed it for the world.