Utah Welfare & Drug Testing: Salt Lake Silly

24th August 2013 by admin No Comments

According to KSL in Salt Lake City, the state of Utah spent more than thirty thousand dollars to drug test people who are on welfare, and out of 4730 applicants, they only caught 12 people with positive tests.

From the article“The data from August 2012 through July 2013 indicates the state spent almost $6,000 to give 4,730 applicants a written test. After 466 showed a likelihood of drug use, they were given drug tests at a total cost of more than $25,000, according to the Utah Department of Workforce Services, which administers welfare benefits and the tests.”

Two things here, I’m not surprised at all they didn’t catch many people. And more importantly, what kind of “written test” do you give someone to see if they’re on drugs?

Question #6: Do you own Bob Marley’s “Legend” album?
Question #9: Does Jesse Pinkman seem like a good role model to you?
Question #11: Do you have a favorite album cover?
Question #14: Brownies. Always a good idea, or what?

– Reid Kerr thinks we should also drug test political office holders.


Garage Sale Torture

10th August 2013 by admin No Comments
Ouch. Just...ouch.

Ouch. Just…ouch.

My garage sale find of the day…it looks like someone is selling the chair from Casino Royale.

If you haven’t seen the movie, you won’t get that joke, but you also won’t cross your eyes and get a headache at the memory of it, either.

– Reid Kerr prefers to think of the days when James Bond never lost.



Trailer Parked: R.I.P.D.

14th July 2013 by admin No Comments

(Trailer Parked is a new feature here on RAI.com where I’ll do the same thing everyone does while sitting in a movie theater, sit in judgment of movie trailers. Here goes.)

“R.I.P.D.” is a new comedy-action movie starring Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds, due for release on July 19, 2013.

Quick Synopsis: It’s Dead Men In Black. Or Gunfighter Ghostbusters.

Ryan Reynolds needs to understand we don’t like him in comic book movies, or even in movies that seem like they come from comic books. Or in movies where he basically is interchangeable with Dane Cook. Or in movies, I guess is what I’m saying.

Jeff Bridges seems to be playing the same gunfighter character he’s always done, and Mary-Louise Parker is the dead version of her character from “Red.”

Verdict: Pass. This looks like one I might enjoy on cable for free, but not paying to see it. If Ryan Reynolds is going to kill anyone, it needs to be his agent.

– Reid Kerr laughed at “This Is The End,” but not that much.

On Wikipedia And Wankers

12th July 2013 by admin No Comments

I’m really fascinated by the affect the internet has on social interaction.

Okay, that’s probably a pretty boring way to start off a blog. I should probably start off by saying “Jenna Jameson naked pictures” or “Sarah Palin Girls Gone Wild video” or something.

Anyway, I’m sure you’ve all heard of Wikipedia. It’s an website billed as “the on-line encyclopedia that anyone can edit.”

And that’s the problem, but more on that later.

I discovered Wikipedia a few years ago, corrected some wrong information on some article, and soon became a regular contributor. By “contributor,” I didn’t do a whole lot that was constructive on Wikipedia, I just kind of hung out and watched what other people did. I helped write some articles on things I knew a lot about and I did a lot of “vandal fighting.”

That “vandal fighting” is something that’s rampant on wikipedia. Since anyone can edit it, anyone can mess with it, which means when some junior high kid added “Poop!” to an article, I took it out. If I saw somebody on a high school’s page adding alumni like “Big Rod Johnson” to the list of names, I deleted it. I wasn’t exactly defending the castle, if you know what I’m saying. As David Lee Roth says, it ain’t rocket surgery. It happens pretty constantly, and they don’t really do anything about it.

It’s not the article pages that are worth watching, it’s the shouting matches and edit wars that go on over trivial details that become unintentionally hilarious “Springer” moments. As you learn more about the social aspects of it, you realize that Wikipedia is really like a neighborhood bar. Except no one has a date, everyone is trying to get their way, and whenever you try and get them to help you, you realize everyone has high-level Aspergers.

Wikipedia quickly becomes a big timesink, with so much effort put into keeping the word “poop” off of pages that actual information kind of falls by the wayside. I’ve probably flushed enough time down there to finish two novels and a short story, and all I have to show for it is an epitaph that’ll read “Here Lies Reid…He Kept ‘Poop’ Off of Jennifer Love Hewitt’s Internet Biography’.”

It’s the encyclopedia anyone can edit. A quick glance at your Facebook feed will indicate why that’s a pretty foolish idea.

However, there’s something even weirder. Wikipedia is such a mess, there are other sites dedicated to criticizing it. And by “criticizing,” I mean “screaming gibberish on the internet at other people.” There was a called Wikipedia Review, which appears to be composed of current and former Wikipedia editors who spend all day making fun of other Wikipedia editors. That one wasn’t enough, so now there’s one called Wikipediocracy. There, current and former editors can rip not only Wikipedia editors, but also people who are over at Wikipedia Review.

People who donate their time to an online encyclopedia are accused of having no lives by people who contribute their time to an online forum dedicated to cataloging the wasted time spent on the encyclopedia.

I wonder if somewhere there’s a Wikipediocracy Review, which makes fun of the people making fun of Wikipedia.

– Reid Kerr wants to know if there’s a ReidAboutItReview.com.

Happy Father’s Day

16th June 2013 by admin No Comments

Everything I’ve ever accomplished in my life, I’m just building on what my mom and dad taught me. Happy Father’s Day to my dad, and all the fathers out there.

Me and my Pop

My last radio show, dad dropping in.

My dad taught me to count and add by watching football with me. In fact, we once stopped our family Christmas celebration to watch Monday Night Football with me, the night Brett Favre threw for four touchdowns and three hundred yards in the first half against Oakland the night after his father died. After watching such an inspirational performance, he told me that when he died, he wanted me to take the day off.

My dad has a Facebook account, but only to check on me.

My dad is the two things that don’t actually exist, an retired minister and an ex-Marine.

My dad has retired from the ministry at least once a decade since the 1980’s, but is still preaching a couple of times a month, every month. I doubt he’s ever been more than a month without giving a sermon somewhere.

My dad will always be known as “Ol’ Hole In One” Kerr. And yes, he hit one.

My dad taught me to play golf and fish, and then didn’t get upset when I decided they weren’t for me.

My dad took me to my first concert, Styx, in 1983 on the “Kilroy Was Here” tour. He still thinks concerts would be better if they all had storylines.

My dad loves watching drummers, because I started out as one. He also loves Billy Joel’s “Uptown Girls,” probably because it’s got a great drum track.

My dad found out that my tiny hometown was starting a kids soccer league, so he got with some other dads and drove to Dallas one weekend to learn to play the game just so they could teach it to us.

My dad will watch anything you can keep score at, but loves to watch ESPN for the Sports Reporters show on early Sunday morning because they’re both well-informed and respectful in their discussions, unlike the rest of ESPN’s shows.

My dad is a proud fantasy football champion, and can talk strategy with the best of them. His team? The Chile Cheetahs.

My dad is a minister, a Marine, and a Dallas Cowboys fan, which means he doesn’t like to use profanity, but he does have some experience in the field.

My dad has always been “Uncle Red” in my family, even though he hasn’t had red hair in my lifetime, which was pretty confusing for me as a child.

My dad’s favorite movie is an obscure Western called “My Name Is Nobody,” and when I was growing up, it aired on Channel 11 about once a year. That night was like an annual holiday in our house. I still love it, too.

My dad once drove six hours round trip on a weeknight just to see me do stand-up comedy for fifteen minutes.

My dad would teach at church camp every summer and come home with a new batch of funny blessings for the dinner table that Mom wouldn’t want him to use. My favorite? “Rub-a-dub-dub, thanks for the grub, Yay Lord!”

My dad still loves Bo Jackson for running over Brian Bosworth.

My dad was a Marine in the Korean War, and loved M*A*S*H, but not the later years when it got too preachy.

My dad let me file down the nut on his old acoustic guitar to fit it for four strings just so I could learn to play bass. At least, I think he said it was okay. He didn’t yell at me for doing it afterwards, in any case.

My dad never said “Let me teach you something,” but somehow he always did.

Happy Mother’s Day, pop. I walk every day of my life in the footsteps you laid for me.  love you, and I hope I’m not through making you proud yet.

– Reid Kerr knows Mom was a big part of all that too, but she got her day on Mother’s Day.

Parked On Top Of Spaghetti

2nd June 2013 by admin No Comments
Dinner's ready!

Dinner’s ready!

Sometimes things happen in my life that are so confusing, they set me back for days.

For example…

I went to my local Walmart on Sunday. Yes, this indicates a definite lack of planning on my part, but that’s not the story.

As I was getting out of my car, I noticed something on the ground behind the next car over. I walked back there to make sure it wasn’t something sharp, and there I found it.

A bowl of spaghetti.

It’s 1:00 pm on a Sunday afternoon in a Walmart parking lot, and there’s a plastic bowl of spaghetti with a metal spoon in it sitting on the concrete directly behind this car.

My mind is officially blown. I was so confused, I forgot what I was there to shop for.

Did they put it there themselves? Is that how they heat up their lunch while they shop? Were they driving around eating spaghetti in their car, and didn’t want to take it in the store with them, but couldn’t leave it inside the car because that’s where they keep their dogs?

Maybe they weren’t even aware it was there, and it had been placed there by someone else. Perhaps that’s some way of marking them for death from the Mafia. Did this family anger the Boyardee Mob, and now they’re paying the price?

(My phone’s camera takes wavy pictures in direct sunlight, by the way, that’s not actually the fabric of reality tearing around this bowl of spaghetti.)

I stayed in the parking lot for a while, hoping to see them come back out. I eventually went inside, grabbed my purchases and rushed back out to see what happened.

But the car was gone. And so was the bowl of spaghetti. There wasn’t a broken bowl left behind, nor was there a drop spilled in the parking lot. It looked like it had been rescued.

And so, I’ll never get any answers, and I’ll just keep wandering around wondering what happened. This is why I can’t focus on anything important these days. I’ve got too many unanswered questions left in my head.

– Reid Kerr wishes he made enough money to only shop at Target.

The Great Arkansas Putt-Putt Adventure

28th May 2013 by admin No Comments

A lot of people like to do something special for their birthday. I chose to spend my birthday weekend working with my buddy Matt “Mattie 5” Bellner, covering him on the Professional Putters Tour in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Why? Why not?

FRIDAY: The Road Never Starts

We decided Friday afternoon to make the trip to Fort Smith, a place neither of us have ever been and according to various maps, a place it’s fairly difficult to get to on purpose.

We initially decide to leave around four for the five-hour trip from Longview, Texas. The two trademarks of Mattie 5’s time on the Pro Putters Tour are spectacular attire and late arrivals, so we actually wind up leaving around 8:45 Friday night.

Welcome to Middle Of The Night, Arkansas

Welcome to Middle Of The Night, Arkansas

It’s not a bad trip for the first few hours, but somewhere near Texarkana we realize Mattie’s GPS is drunk. Instead of taking Highway 259 all the way as a straight shot up through Oklahoma, it veers us off to a series of smaller roads in Arkansas. We wind up driving through tiny towns, barely two lane roads, nameless intersections, and various people’s back yards. We get the feeling that the scenery around us is nice, but it’s two in the morning and we can’t see any of it. We’re basically looking for road signs and listening for banjo music the entire time.

About 2:30am we pull into the hotel on the outskirts of Fort Smith. We’re staying at a La Quinta, which is a Spanish phrase meaning “Next To Denny’s.”

When I get into a hotel room, I immediately want to do two things: Have sex, and turn down the air conditioner as low as it’ll go. It’s part of our male nature to procreate, and also to get the most out of our money. Since I’m alone, I settle for cranking down the AC and going out to find something to eat.

It’s 2:30am on a Saturday morning in Arkansas, so the only lights on the highway are from a Walmart. We duck in there to grab some kind of foodstuffs at an odd time, as the Fort Smith Walmart employees all take one simultaneous smoke break as we walk in the door.

Which means we’re in the quietest Walmart ever.

It’s like a Walmart in “Night of the Comet.” It seems to be completely abandoned, which is actually nice. There’s no disgruntled minimum wage employee rolling a pallet of potato chips behind us to block us into an aisle, no sullen neck-tattooed burnout in a vest pushing a buggy of broken merchandise in front of us, and then just leaving it there. Walmart should really think of that for a new marketing scheme.

“Walmart…more quiet, less nimrods.”

We wind up buying a couple of pre-made sandwiches and some drinks and heading back to the hotel. At about 3:20am, I take the ham and cheese sandwich out of the microwave, and discover it’s the most delicious thing I’ve ever eaten in my life (Walmart category). Sure, it’s probably the exhaustion and starvation, but still I’m awed by the heavenly delight of a Walmart sandwich. It seems somewhat fitting that it happens in Arkansas.

I turn in for bed and get a couple of hours sleep before it’s time to get right back up again, late as usual, and get to work.

SATURDAY: Putt-Putting Right Along

For this weekend, I’m covering the Professional Putters Tour, which is playing at the Putt-Putt in Fort Smith.

Lights! Camera! Putting!

Lights! Camera! Putting!

The Pro Putters Tour is probably something you might vaguely remember seeing on Saturday afternoons on television in the 70’s and 80’s. Putt-Putt was big in those days. Sure, there was a little bit of comedy and irony in it, but the tour was on television and there was big money at stake. Guys could win ten, fifteen grand by winning a single tournament stop.

Fast forward to now, and the PPA is made up primarily of those same guys who are still out there every weekend, driving themselves all over the neighboring states, paying for their own food and hotel rooms while trying to win pots of a hundred bucks or so.

It’s totally a love of the game thing, and if you’re expecting some cheap jokes at their expense, I’m not going to do it. I’m better than that.

Okay, I’m not really better than cheap jokes. I’ve made my career on them, really, but not here. I have a deep respect for these guys, and really anyone who does something like this out of a deep-seeded love. Whatever you did when you were 5-18 years old, you always have a love for it. Whether it’s comic books, slasher movies, baseball, Pokemon, or whatever, that’s always a part of you. I can totally understand not wanting to leave that behind.

These guys play together, drink together, bid against each other on eBay for vintage putters together, and just generally keep their childhood dreams alive. I can completely understand.

We roll out early to the Putt-Putt, which is a really nice 54-hole course. The State Championship starts with a three-round competition to narrow things down among the twenty people playing.

On Day One of the Putt Putt tour, we pause and eat at a nearby Subway. I decide to “Eat Fresh,” so I get a foot-long meatball sub with mayonnaise and cheese…but on wheat bread.

Day One ends with winner-take-all match play for the Arkansas State Championship. We get to see the seven-time Arkansas State Champion squaring off with a twenty-four year-old kid whose dad also won the title once back in the day.

For a minute, it’s big-time again. The whole tour is following these two guys around from hole to hole, guys are taking pictures, and there’s something big at stake. In the end the kid gets the trophy his dad once owned, and the former champ gets the Rocky III-“Eye Of The Tiger” drive to come back and win it back next year. Good stories all around.

After the day of Putt Putt and camerawork ends, we stop off at Outback for dinner. Due to exhaustion, starvation, and desperation, my Ribs on the Barbie quickly become the best meal I‘ve ever eaten (Non-Walmart category).

Back at the hotel, we get the gear ready for the next day and adjourn to our rooms. My wife calls, so I mute the TV and scan around for something to watch while we talk. After flipping by ESPN and Saturday Night Live, I stop on boxing.

Well, I think it’s boxing. I don’t follow the sport closely anymore, but I tune in as two Hispanic guys are beating the crap out of each other, so I figure I should stick around.

For a moment, I’m not sure exactly what I’m watching. There’s nothing else on the screen to indicate what this is, and I’ve got the volume off. I’m wondering if it’s FOX’s UFC coverage, or Showtime’s boxing after dark, or HBO’s fight night. Eventually, the round ends and the graphics pop up to indicate what’s going on. I don’t recognize the boxers, and I see that I’ve actually landed on one of the Spanish networks.

Disappointed, I change the channel.

And then I think, “Man, how racist am I?”

For some reason, I didn’t want to watch boxing on a channel in Spanish, even though I wasn’t actually listening to the broadcast. It was muted. But somehow, finding out the silence wasn’t being broadcast in English disappointed me enough to change the channel.

I felt fairly stupid, although certainly not enough to flip it back to the boxing.

Perhaps because of my disappointment but more likely because of my early descent into a meatball sub, I’m king-Hell sick Saturday night and I don’t sleep well.

SUNDAY: Oklahoma Comes To Arkansas

We get up early the next morning and hit the breakfast in the hotel, which is very similar to the leftover breakfast you’d get if you broke into someone’s summer house after they had already left to go to the beach. I grab some cereal and a piece of barely-singed toast and then we’re off.

Honest question, do you always take the hotel key card with you when you leave? I do. I don’t know why, maybe I just want to make sure I’m carrying the phone number of a local Dominos with me when I go. But I always do.

Sunday, we go back for Day Two of the tour. Same course, most of the same golfers, but this time it’s a stop on the Oklahoma Putters Tour. Yes, the Oklahoma state tour comes to Arkansas, which makes perfect sense if you know anything at all about either one of those states.

photo (15)

Blurry because I was shaky with excitement.

They play two different three-round tournaments on Sunday, which means I have a lot of time to stand around, apply sunscreen, and think about how very little cushion Converse sneakers provide you. It’s not really hot, but it’s definitely too hot to be standing around for two days lugging a camera and tripod around on the Arkansas asphalt.

One of the best things about hanging out on the Putt Putt circuit is the game rooms, which all are stocked to 80’s-90’s standards. Fort Smith had Gorf, Donkey Kong, and Galaga, with a “Peter Jacobsen’s Golden Tee” golf video game on the back wall.

I’ll confess, even though I’ve covered professional sports for television and radio for twenty-five years, I was a lot more excited to see “Gorf” than I was to see Peter Jacobsen.

Sunday was a long, trying day. At various points during our time there, my senses were assaulted by a guy who appeared to have shat himself, and the smell of a Long John Silver’s next door. It was a tie as to which was more breath-takingly disgusting.

Seriously, though, what the Hell is that smell? Long John Silvers has a blast radius of horror, and it’s filled with a smell unknown to man. A Burger King smells like burgers. A KFC smells like chicken. A Long John Silvers smells like a decaying deep-fried bucket of fuck. It’s not fish, nor is it chicken. It’s not a smell that occurs organically in nature.

We wrap things up around five, shake some hands, get some extra footage to use later, and head out of town.

This time though, we take 259 into and all the way through Oklahoma, driving on what appears to be a time machine. It’s nothing but forests and winding roads for most of it, pausing a few times to open up into tiny towns that time forgot. We see several locally owned businesses that have the word “Store” in the title, just so the local folks will know you can buy hardtack and flour there, I guess. There’s video rental stores still operating, and signs for national chains that use old logos we haven’t seen in a decade. I felt sure my debit card wouldn’t be accepted or even recognized at most of these stores.

Even the casinos there seem old. There’s a giant flashy sign out front for a “Cherokee Casino,” but the building itself looks like an old aircraft hangar. Oklahoma people are content to give away their money in rural settings, it seems.

Part of Oklahoma are so winding and hilly, my ears start to pop. It’s like going on a airplane trip at sixty miles an hour, surrounded by trees and areas that look like you could wander off into them and never be heard from again.

About halfway through our trip across the Eastern part of the state, we hit the Broken Bow/Beaver’s Bend tourist area where there are at least some people who’ve come to camp out and live at the lake for the holiday weekend. We stopped in Idabel (Population: 198, Town Motto: “What Are YOU Looking At?”) for gas just as a crowd of angry young bored slab-headed men stomped across the parking lot, coming up from their cabin in search of anything they could beat up or have sex with. Luckily, we fit into neither one of those categories, so they settled for walking across the road to a bar and grill of deep fried stuff and beer.

We decide it would be both safer and more hygienic to just keep driving, so we make it out of the state and back to Texas, where we dine like royalty at Ye Olde Dairy Queen in Omaha.

We finally check back into Longview around 11pm, and after unloading the gear I grab a shower at Mattie’s apartment to wash the sunscreen, sweat, and Arkansas off of me before I drive back to Tyler. I throw on a pair of old basketball shorts and a t-shirt to make the drive.

My birthday weekend ends with me taking a midnight drive home while not wearing underwear, but not for any good reason. That seems about right.

– Reid Kerr is actually looking forward to going through a box of old Putt-Putt DVD’s.

Happy Mother’s Day

11th May 2013 by admin No Comments

To say my mom and dad are my biggest fans is to make a ridiculous understatement, somewhere along the lines of calling the Beatles a rock band, or referring to Vin Diesel as just another thespian. Everything I am in my life, I owe to them. Happy Mother’s Day to my mom, and all the mothers out there.

My mom always wants to read my writings, although she warns me not to send her anything too dark, and I respect that.

My mom, my Pup (mid-snart), and my dad.

My mom, my Pup (mid-snart), and my dad.

My mom hangs out on my Facebook and supports me, and waits until later on to ask questions about how Facebook works.

My mom doesn’t really like fantasy football, but she’ll always offer to play if we need one more to make an even number of teams. Her first draft pick will always be Peyton Manning, because she thinks he’s a good person, and she hates people who make a lot of add/drops because she doesn’t think that’s the right way to coach a team.

My mom has always let me feel my own pain and make my own mistakes, and then when the moment came that I realized it and needed help, was there for me.

My mom worked harder to try and explain algebra to me than my algebra teacher ever did.

My mom found out I actually graduated college twelve years after she thought I did, and didn’t kill me. Barely.

My mom has never forgiven the Baltimore Colts for cutting Johnny Unitas.

My mom never missed me in one of my high school sports events, even though every one of them was awful.

My mom broke her ankle at the age of 75, playing on the monkey bars with her granddaughter.

My mom still let me drive, even after I plowed through the side of the garage in her car.

My mom once drove six hours round trip on a weeknight just to see me do stand-up comedy for fifteen minutes.

My mom always let me talk her out of an extra nickel for the tax when I bought comic books with my one dollar allowance, especially if I was buying one with the Thing in it. She liked him because even though he was a famous super-hero, he was still his “Aunt Petuniah’s bashful blue-eyed baby-boy.”

My mom eventually gave me a raise on my allowance, and made me keep a ledger with it so I could learn to handle my own money. It sort of worked. She also tried about a dozen times to try and help me to organize my comics, but we both eventually gave up.

My mom let me move out at seventeen to finish high school with my friends three hours away, even though it hurt.

My mom found out my favorite food in the world is the Seafood Bisque from Gaido’s in Galveston, so she bought their cookbook and learned to make it. And every single time she does, I eat so much I make myself sick on it. And I’ll continue that tradition.

My mom wants me to be able to handle failure too, so she always asks about that when she asks how things are going with the writing.

My mom would straighten my hair for me growing up when I was in high school, and wanted long hair because I was playing in a band. It made my hair as dead as hay, but it was still what I wanted, and she could sympathize because she knew what it was like to have curly hair and want it straight. That’s the curse of curly hair, especially in the humid Gulf Coast conditions of Beaumont.

My mom took years and years of piano lessons growing up, but when I told her I didn’t want to take lessons because I didn’t want “anyone telling me what to do,” she didn’t make me. I was seven, by the way, and already raging against the machine of authority. I play piano now, but not nearly as well as she does. Last time I was in town we worked our way through some old songbooks with me playing the chords and her playing the melody, and it was the most fun I’ve ever had playing music.

My mom is sometimes amazed at the things I can do, and I don’t think she realizes I can only do them because of her and my dad.

Happy Mother’s Day, mom. All that I am is because of you. I love you, and I hope I’m not through making you proud yet.

– Reid Kerr wants to be sure Dad knows he gets credit for most of those things too, but Father’s Day isn’t here yet.

Tijuana, Day Five: Leaving Tijuana In The Broad Daylight

10th May 2013 by admin No Comments

A little while back I took a little trip to Mexico, by way of San Diego. As with all of my trips, it became an accidental whirlwind of unintentional comedy and goofy stuff. Here are some of my dispatches from the road, written on the trip.



This is not a time for jokes, kids.

This is not a time for jokes, kids.

Leaving Mexico is the hardest part of the trip. Not for any sentimental reasons, although I’ll certainly miss the insane traffic flow and purchasing power of the US dollar.

No, Mexico is hard to leave because they don’t want you to. While you can skate across the border going south with no passport or any declared motive, going back into America is a completely different matter.

My driver continues his habit of insane driving like he’s got a trunk full of heroin, which I don’t think is correct but I wouldn’t corroborate under oath. We go swerving down back roads, barreling towards the border while seeing the nearby lines back up every time we surface. At one point, I’m fairly sure he drove through someone’s back yard, made a right at a pinata, and swerved past a taco trailer to get back to the main road.

By the way, me using the word “pinata” in that last paragraph made it feel an eentsy bit racist, Just saying.

As we made his multiple shortcuts, I felt certain he was using his long-honed skills to get us past the lines. I was about half right, because he got us about halfway past the lines. There were still a few thousand people waiting to get out of Mexico waiting in front of us.

At the border, every car is stopped going into America. The Mexican marketplace doesn’t stop until the actual border, by the way. Anywhere the traffic slowed down, an impromptu market sprung up. People were pushing carts full of drinks and snacks around, there was a booth selling cell phone accessories in the middle of one of the traffic rows, and if you felt comfortable buying burritos out of an unmarked cooler, then you were all set for lunch.

At one point I looked up and a guy was jogging through the bumper-to-bumper traffic, holding a 4’x6′ framed painting of the Last Supper overhead and trying to sell it. I wanted it for the comedic value alone, but there was no way I was going to fit it on an airplane.

There’s a lot of time to look around, honestly, because the Border Patrol is in absolutely no hurry. Long lines are a part of the job. Every day is Black Friday to them, I doubt they even look up because the line never ends for them.

You need a passport to reenter America, which I didn’t have. I did bring my birth certificate, though, and the Border Agent asked me my name, and where I was born. I didn’t want to get into a big criminal justice discussion, but even if I was going to give him a fake everything, I probably would have taken the time to memorize those things. I guess we don’t want people in America who don’t know where they were born. I’m sure there’s an Obama joke in there somewhere, but I don’t want to have to dig for it.


Tijuana, Day Four: Observations on a Mexican Adventure

8th May 2013 by admin No Comments

A little while back I took a little trip to Mexico, by way of San Diego. As with all of my trips, it became an accidental whirlwind of unintentional comedy and goofy stuff. Here are some of my dispatches from the road, written on the trip.



I knew just enough Spanish to get a sandwich here.

I knew just enough Spanish to get a sandwich here.

  • On my last night in Mexico, we went to a little Mexican restaurant. Or as they would refer to it, a restaurant. Lots of things about Mexico are quaint. Tables with bugs crawling on them, and dirty glasses filled with brownish water are not two of them. Rather than risk the water I had a Tecate, since I never drink those at home. The last time I was offered a Tecate, I was standing in an overcrowded living room waiting on a pay-per-view Manny Pacquiao fight to start.
  • Mexico is a country in need of a good eyebrow waxing.
  • Mexican Coca-Cola is special, something far beyond the sparkly ass-sap we get in the States. Mexican Coke is sweeter, like the nectar of life, except infused with caffeine and suckled from an angel’s teat.
  • If you’re an obvious out-of-towner, taxis will always honk at you. It doesn’t matter if you’re on the other side of the road going the other way and there’s a traffic median between you, and the taxi van already has eleven people and two pregnant women in it. He’s going to try to get one more for the ride.
  • In Tijuana, it’s cool to see a guy who looks like Danny Trejo. It’s not cool to see a bunch of them all at once, though.
  • Some stereotypes are true. Everywhere I went at night, people were watching telenovelas. I mean, straight up focused on them too.
That's actually not much money.

That’s actually not much money.

  • By the way, Walmart in Mexico? You can’t get anything that says Tijuana on it, or even anything from the San Diego area. What’s for sale? Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers gear. Oh, and Angry Birds. Lots of Angry Birds.
  • I really stand out in Mexico. Like, even more so than in America, which I wasn’t certain was possible. Most males here are dark, short-haired, and the taste in fashion runs to darker clothes. Whereas I look like I’m walking around looking for the audition to play Animal in a live-action Muppets movie.

– Come back for the finale of Reid’s adventure tomorrow, where he finds that crossing the border the other way is a lot harder.

Tijuana, Day Three: Tijuana Taxi

8th May 2013 by admin No Comments

A little while back I took a little trip to Mexico, by way of San Diego. As with all of my trips, it became an accidental whirlwind of unintentional comedy and goofy stuff. Here are some of my dispatches from the road, written on the trip.



We cross the border and head into Tijuana.

Tijuana traffic doesn't even all go the same way sometimes.

Tijuana traffic doesn’t even all go the same way sometimes.

Imagine the bad part of your town, the part you hate to drive through and can’t wait to get out of. That’s Tijuana, except it’s that part over and over again, except with more people and fewer traffic rules.

Did I say fewer? Ha-HA! I meant absolutely none.

Tijuana traffic is an automotive Black Friday, it’s like everyone at the Super Bowl all leaving at the same time and racing through the parking lot of an outlet mall for the one exit that leads directly to the freeway.

It didn’t phase my driver, though. He cut through traffic with reckless abandon, like he was in a movie. The lines on the road aren’t even suggestions to him, at one point swerving over through two lanes to come to a dead stop in a moving lane of traffic to buy breakfast burritos from a road side vendor, selling homemade foods out of a cooler.

The only rule of traffic in Tijuana seems to be “Never Stop Moving.”

Tijuana is everything, everywhere, all the time. It’s a crowded, manic border town that never ends, existing while simultaneously moving in every direction at once. It’s maddening and fascinating all at the same time. It reminds me of post-Katrina New Orleans in some ways, in that there’s no order or reason to what happens where.

In the part of town where I’m staying, the layout is very odd. There’s a private hospital, with a burned out slum next to it. At the end of the street, there’s a floor tile warehouse store, and then there’s an empty patch of land that’s a good enough size for an office building, or maybe a small park. However, it seems to be in use as a place where people drop their garbage.

Welcome home.

Welcome home.

Next to the private hospital is an open area with a chain link fence, and a wooden door to enter it. I quickly realized the door wasn’t attached to anything, and the fenced-in open area was where someone lived.

It’s a different world from what I’m used to, obviously.

In Tijuana, nothing costs anything. Which is good, because I have no idea what anything costs anyway, and I just have to hope I’m pleasantly surprised when the bill comes. I bought a hamburger in the hotel restaurant for $130, Mexican.

Which turned out to be about nine bucks.

I bought a bottle of Coke, jumbo bag of chips, liter of water, and a hot dog at a gas station for what was actually about three dollars. I have learned that when I’m hungry, it’s very hard for me to do math.

And by the way, buying a hot dog from a Mexican gas station? That was an emergency, and I’ll postulate that it isn’t that much worse than buying one from an American gas station.

From my hotel window I can see a beautiful church tower, semi-reconstructed but still obviously a historic landmark. Then just over the next building, shining down upon the steeple is a bright Carl’s Jr. sign. It’s like some kind of fast-food-endorsed Nativity, with the Carl’s Jr. star shining down upon the three wise men, Ronald McDonald, Colonel Sanders, and the Burger King,

It’s a total culture shock for me. It’s very humbling to be somewhere where your language isn’t the one in use, and to realize just how ethnocentric you really are. Hey, these people don’t speak ANY English, but they seem to have cobbled together a society and everything. Wow!

Tijuana in a single picture.

Tijuana in a single picture.

On the second day, I realized I didn’t have any idea what time it was, or where I was. That’s terrifying, yet freeing.

Nothing is actually in a hurry in Mexico, however, despite what the traffic would make you think. I didn’t have a single appointment with anyone that went off on time, including a meeting with a professional businessman that wound up four hours late. No shame, no explanation, no calling ahead. Things always run late around here. It took twenty minutes to get my check from a waiter once. It’s just laid-back, to the point of madness, then past that point to acceptance.

If you need something done in a hurry, you should probably go to another country.

– Come back tomorrow for more random observations on a Mexican week.

Tijuana, Day Two: San Diego A-Go-Go

7th May 2013 by admin No Comments

A little while back I took a little trip to Mexico, by way of San Diego. As with all of my trips, it became an accidental whirlwind of unintentional comedy and goofy stuff. Here are some of my dispatches from the road, written on the trip.



Our tiny, overcrowded plane had two rows of first-class seating, filled with comfy people who wouldn’t make eye contact with the rest of us poor, cattle-seated bastards.

Moo! Mooooo!

Moo! Mooooo!

Ever sat in first class? I did once, on one leg of a long, multiple-stop journey. It was the best flight of my life. They served me champagne and gave me a hand-woven blanket. When I asked for peanuts, a nubile twenty-three year-old stewardess leaned over and placed them on my tongue, one by one.

I wasn’t sitting in first class on the flight, and I doubt I’ll ever get that again. I shuffled to the back of the plane, where the seats are as wide as a goal line, the overhead bins always sound like the door of a haunted house, and while your seat won’t move, the person in front of you can somehow recline to the point where you can check their molars for plaque.

By the way, do we still need the “No Smoking” sign? Why are we still pointing that out? You can’t smoke anywhere these days. I doubt anyone’s got the balls to light up inside a pressurized tube anymore.

As I’ve said before, I tend to wind up on smaller planes. This time, though, I wound up riding an airline billing itself as the “Big Lots of the Air.” It was more crowded than a Japanese subway car. For snacks, one of the stewardesses passed around a canteen and a sleeve of Ritz crackers. Instead of a movie, the attendant just stood up and told us about her vacation to Branson.

Tiny planes are always a little more terrifying than the bigger ones, especially when they ask everyone to lean to the left during the takeoff.

We landed in San Diego without incident. For the first time in my life, I get to see palm trees that aren’t just transplants in the parking lot of a Barnes and Noble.

Not me, but a West Coast doppleganger.

Not me, but a West Coast doppelganger.

By the way, in San Diego, there’s a small change to my schedule. My hair is no longer Sammy Hagar. I’m now told I look like the guitarist from Incubus.

Fair enough.

Because of the trip, I have a driver to get me out of there. We have a little while before we can leave. He stops in a parking lot for a break, and whips out his laptop so he can chat on Facebook. That’s not exactly the image of the old tour guide, scampering from hill to hill for just a Yankee Coca-Cola.

San Diego is absolutely beautiful. The hills remind me of pretty much every song about California I’ve ever heard. I’m barely in San Diego, though, as we load up and drive. We take the 5 South until we see the colors change, and cross the border.

The border is an odd place. They don’t stop you going into Mexico, only coming out. Why? Because Mexico wants your money. You could be driving South with a cannon on your roof, and they’d never even slow you down. They’d figure if you’ve got the money for cannonballs, you’ll spend some of that money in town.

– Come back tomorrow for part three, in which Reid learns about how Mexico traffic never stops, and Mexican time never starts.