Wednesday, October 19, 2011


For months now, many of you have been urging me to help resolve the conflict between professors Anghurst Sveng and Kep Othlanpangin. During that time, I purposely chose to stay out of the affair in the hopes that these two exceptional minds could resolve their conflict in due course.

Alas, that has not happened. These past few months have brought only ever-escalating acrimony. This acrimony now threatens to poison all of our work and, should I allow it to continue, it is highly probable that their bitter dispute could lead to the total collapse of that field of research we all hold so dear.

And so, reluctantly, I find it necessary to step into the breach and bring this matter to a swift yet thoughtful conclusion.

It goes without saying that I hold both Professor Sveng and Professor Othlanpangin in the highest esteem. Both are good men. Both have good intentions. And both are striving for a better understanding of the world around us.

That said, Professor Sveng is an utter moron. Now I know why some animals eat their young. If I could find enough wood, I'd board his mouth shut. If brains were bricks, he'd be homeless. What holds his ears apart? I'd like to see things from his point of view, but I can't seem to get my head that far up my bottom. I don't know what makes him so stupid, but it's really working. When he goes to the mind reader, does he get half price? Having heard him talk, I now know the dead do contact us. Calling him an idiot would be an insult to all the stupid people. It takes him an hour an a half to watch "60 Minutes."

Hopefully we can now put this matter behind us.

I know you all join me in congratulating both Professors Sveng and Othlanpangin in their contributions to our field of research.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Well, here it is. This is the final chapter in my horrid meeting opus. Those who never read part one may wish to do so at this time. You can find it here. Things will make more sense if you do. Or don't. This is a happy place and I'm not going to tell you what to do. You are free to make your own decisions. Disastrous as they may be.

When we last left me, I had just walked into Mr. Big's office. 20 minutes prior to this, I had been filled with a cocky enthusiasm. It had now been replaced by a particularly strong sense of self-loathing and a desire to run. I didn't. I rightly figured that bolting at high speed toward the exit would be off-putting and diminish my chances at being involved in whatever secret project I had been summoned for.

So, I put my best fake smile on and entered Mr. Big's office.


Two men were sitting in the office with Mr. Big. One of them was wearing cowboy boots. Fancy cowboy boots. They had flecks of red in them. And maybe snaky things on the side. Boots. Maybe this man had a horse. Maybe his horse was outside. But I didn't see a horse when I entered. Maybe his horse was around back. Maybe there was no horse at all. Maybe he drove here in a car. But can you even drive with boots like that? Perhaps he had been riding his horse earlier in the day and then was late to the meeting and didn't have time to get out of his boots. Good, heavens. Why am I wondering about this guy's boots and horses? I'm now in the office of Mr. Big. THE Mr. Big. Time to focus.

If this guy didn't have any horses then why would he wear boots like that...especially in Northern California? You don't wear boots like that unless you have horses. Are boots like that even comfortable? If they're not comfortable and he doesn't have any horses, then he must really like the way they look. Boots are okay. But they take a while to put on. I don't think I'd have them by my bed at night. Especially if there's an earthquake. No thank you. That would take so long and....STOP THINKING ABOUT BOOTS, Rugg.

But I couldn't. See, my brain was using it as a coping mechanism. I was totally freaked out and my mind was trying to calm me down. Boots. Those are some very expensive boots. I don't know how much boots like that cost, but I bet it's a lot. Probably boots like that are special ordered from a boot guy.

As I tried to make sense of the boots, I moved toward Mr. Big. Mr. Big never got up from his chair. He wasn't going to make this easy. He just stared at me politely as I approached to shake his hand. But wait. Should I shake his hand first or shake the hands of the other two men. Surely Mr. Big was more important that Boots and Mr. Guy. And what's with those boots anyway? Boots like that is a serious fashion statement. If you have boots like that you must have others. I wonder how many other pairs of boots he has like that? You have to have a pretty big closet for a collection of boots. If this was his only pair of boots, then why did he choose to wear them today? Luckily, I don't have a lot of shoes, so I don't spend a lot of time picking out what I'm going to put on my feet and...ENOUGH WITH THE BOOTS! Shake somebody's hand and get this over with!

I shook Mr. Big hands. Then did the same to the other two men. Words were spoken. Words I don't remember. But the words were along the lines of, "This is Bill and Hank." I wanted to ask Hank about his boots. Maybe the three writers that had been so jocular just moments before had done a whole bit about Hank's boots. Maybe I should do the same. Maybe I should say something pithy like, "Nice, boots, Hank. Where's your horse?" Maybe they would all chuckle and then I would...

Bear Country.

My thoughts about saying something pithy were interrupted by Mr. Big. He was holding a piece of paper. He looked at me and said it again. Bear Country.

Bear Country? What the heck is Bear Country? Why is Mr. Big looking at a piece of paper and saying the words Bear Country? The other men nodded. They had the same piece of paper.

Bear Country? What the heck does that mean? Is this some sort of secret code. Is Mr. Big a Freemason? Is this all some strange roundabout way of getting me to join their secret order? And what's up with that guys BOOTS?

I had no option but to say, "excuse me?"

Mr. Big spoke again. "It says here you wrote Bear Country." The men looked at their paper and nodded.

Suddenly it hit me. Ohhhhhhh. "You mean Country Bears?"

Here's a hint. Don't do that. When someone like Mr. Big says you wrote Bear Country. Just say, "Yeah. I wrote Bear Country. I love Bear Country. Bear Country. Bear Country. Bear Country."

We talked briefly about my experience on Bear Country.

Then, Mr. Big asked me if I like writing with a group or am I more a solitary writer. This was an actual question!

I immediately began answering. I answered truthfully. I'm a solitary kind of writer. I started actually relaxing. We're talking now. Finally. I don't even care about Hank's boots. Yeah. I'm a solitary writer. See, I like talking with people and then going away and...

Thanks for coming.

I had given the wrong truthful answer. Just as the blood had begun to return to my started flowing out again. Hank and Bill stood. Mr. Big said it was nice meeting me.

The meeting was over. I think I just sat there a moment. No wait. We're just getting started. Bear Country. Boots. Please. We're supposed to laugh and stuff. I'm supposed to get along with you. This was supposed to go so well that you want to walk me around the place and tell me stories about that really good first movie you made that I really like more than the others I didn't.

Hank and Bill were shaking my hand. It was irretrievably over. Over over. Mr. Big now stood. Over over.

I turned around and walked toward the door. And I tripped. I almost fell. I looked down like you do when you trip for no reason. You look for the trippy thing that tripped you. It wasn't there.

Next thing I remember I was rushing toward the exit. My legs remembered which way to go. They had to. My brain wasn't helping them. Down the stairs. And out...

There was my town car waiting. My driver stood by the back down. I could swear he was now wearing a mortician's outfit. The car was hearse. I got in. The door shut and we were moving away. I couldn't speak. I wanted a do-over. Don't take me away.

It was my ride of shame. Two hours before the world had been bright and shiny.

I sat at the airport. Quiet. Glum.

The flight back to Burbank was bumpy and icky.

But then I came home. My wife and daughter greeted me. All was well.

And nobody wore any boots.

I told my wife the story. "You should write about that one day."

"Maybe I will."

Now I have.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Window Lottery

I am finally home. And I return with a newfound respect for windows. More precisely, I have a newfound respect for what windows provide. Views.

I have been in many a hotel these past three weeks. I have seen many things. I have seen many things because each hotel room had a window. Through these windows I could see my surroundings. Sometimes the view was nice. Like in Miami.

See? Isn't that nice? There are boats. There's a little island or something. There's a big tree. There's water and junk.

Every time I checked into a hotel, I would move quickly to the window to see what there was to see. Sadly, I was in Miami only a few short hours to appreciate this nice view.

Sometimes my view was not so nice.

Such a view was found in Muncie. Muncie is an otherwise very nice place. However, I would be remiss if I did not point out that the view from my motel room wasn't very appealing.
Here it is. It's the Stoops GM dealership across the street. Stoops has many good cars for you to buy. I should know. I counted them all. There were over 100. There were many colors to choose from. There were many models. I saw a woman buy a car. It was interesting. Not super interesting. But sorta interesting. Super interesting would have been if the woman bought a car and then turned into an alien and sucked everyone's brains out through their eye sockets. But she didn't. She just bought the car and then drove off the lot. I don't know where she drove off to, but it was probably somewhere in Muncie. That's the thing about looking out your hotel room window. You can only see so much. You have to imagine the rest. I'd like to think the woman that bought the car eventually turned into an alien and sucked
somebody's brain out through their eye sockets. But, that's only speculation.
Most likely she drove home and made pot roast and then fed the dog.

Moving on, sometimes the view from my hotel room was nondescript. Like this view from my room in Glen Ellyn, Illinois.

There's a big tree there. And a parking lot beyond. The tree never moved to allow me to see anything else. I thought about getting a chainsaw and cutting it down, but propriety steadied this impulse. I was a visitor in Illinois. I didn't want to anger anyone but cutting down their trees. Illinois has many trees and I didn't think they'd miss this particular one, but it might have had
special significance to someone. Maybe that's were Bob proposed marriage to Gwen. Maybe they came to that tree every year to celebrate. If I had cut it down, they'd probably wonder what happened. Next thing you know, Bob would leave Gwen. Gwen would go crazy and take her rage out on monkeys. I don't know if Illinois has many monkeys, but I couldn't risk it. I would just have to imagine what was beyond that tree. Or watch TV.

Yes, there are many views I witnessed. But one view in particular was astounding. It was a view so startling, so creepy and so bleak, that I will never forget it.

It was 3am when I checked into the hotel in Indianapolis. I was too tired to check out my view. That would wait until morning. When morning arrived, I threw open the curtains and came face to face with...
I wasn't prepared for this. What the heck was I looking at. Whatever those things are they were huge. At least 15 feet tall.

Surely looking out the window the other way would provide some glimmer of hope!

So I looked.


Saw the same thing.

The wall behind these ducts went up 10 stories.

This was not a view. It was a glimpse at a distopian future where machines ruled and man was no more.

No birds. No trees. Just a big, beige wall and air ducts.

Man had been exterminated. Just big clunky machines remained. Big clunky machines that made clunky machine noises.

How I longed to see Stoops GM dealership! Or a tree that blocked my view. Where had all the people gone? What had we done?

I quickly closed my window. I refused to open it ever again. Luckily, we checked out the next day. But still!

So please. Don't ever complain about a view again. Be thankful for Stoops GM dealership. Chunky trees. Anything. Anything is better than this.

Trust me.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


We're winding down the Stuffed and Unstrung tour. Three performances left: Gainesville. Melbourne. Miami. It's been fun...but life on the road is a challenge. It wouldn't be so bad if we could just do show after show. The shows are great. Performing is fun. It's all the stuff we do in between shows. Like...traveling. Hotels. Motels. Bus rides. Checking in. Checking out. Laundry. And waiting. Waiting for call time. Waiting for the bus. Waiting for something. I have been reduced to a mere child. I have no means of getting anywhere on my own. I must wait until others see fit to tell me where I'm going and provide the mode of transportation that will get me there.

I could walk. But where? I tried that in Muncie, Indiana. I walked for about a mile until it occurred to me that I didn't really have anyplace to go. There was a place across the street from our motel called, Rural King. But I didn't need a combine. I mean, combines are neat, but one would never fit in my luggage. For a nano second I kinda thought it would be fun to drop my daughter off at school in a combine. But, ever the rationalist, I quickly put the thought aside after a few hours. I considered buying a really cool hunting blind. I have no idea what that is, but at $1,795.00 it seemed like a bargain.

We're now in Florida and have been traveling in rock-star style in a tour bus. After each night's performance, we pile on and hit the road. We drive into the wee hours of the morning. We each have a little cubby to sleep in...complete with a curtain. The cubbies are sort of like coffins. Only, you're not dead. But you do look like it. With little room above you, there's no option but to fold your arms on your chest like a peaceful dead person.

Now that I've gone through this experience I have no fear of death. It's just like being in a cubby on a tour bus at 3am in the middle of Florida.

Did I mention that the cubbies look like coffins? Cuz they do. I don't think I'd freak out now if some crazy person kidnapped me and put me in a box and buried me in the ground. Maybe a little. But I'd overcome my fear by remembering being in my little coffin cubby on the tour bus.

Cuz it's a lot like a coffin.

I mentioned that. Right?