Reason #439295 I Don't Like People Much.

Scenario: The Buffalo Marathon runs by about a half a block near my home. I grabbed a cup of coffee, the kids, wife and the dog and we walked down to the corner to cheer some of the runners on. Our street is one of the cross-town arteries, and somewhat heavily trafficked, so race volunteers were camped out on either side of Richmond Avenue holding up "RACE IN PROGRESS. PLEASE STOP" signs. Most motorists were cooperative and patient.

As we stood there clapping, we heard a series of honks, coupled with some inaudible shouts in the distance. We turned to see a driver hastily maneuver his sh*twagon past all the other cars waiting to cross past the race. At the first opening, this crusty old dude, races past.

A**hole Driver: I hope you all f*cking die.
Prego: (To Wife) Well, that just ruined my morning.

O-Dog & Fletch: (Clapping at marathoners.) Go! Go!

Morning partially salvaged. It'd have been completely salvaged if the bastard wrapped his Chevy P.O.S. around a lamp post.


That's Great, it Starts With an Earthquake...

Motown's Sereena X of Metaphor Voodoo is up to bat with this week's roundtable discussion. Apparently, the end of the world is still looming as the doomsday clock is a-tickin'. The query? What would you do with the last week of existence?

Sh*t, man... people have been predicting doom and gloom for eons now. Ever since I was a wee one, I've seen cartoons with that old dude with the beard and the placard alerting us that the end of the world was upon us. Well, 38 f*cking years later, and I'm still looking over my shoulders.

Anyway, I always thought it would be some big explosion. I came of age during the Reagan Era, where me and all the other teens cringed at the thought of his withered p*ssy finger itching to hit 'the button.' Well, now that the crusty old bastard is d-e-a-d, some of the irrational fear is gone... Or is it? The way the media and the government paint a portrait, every homo-sapien with middle-eastern sand in their ass crack is packin' a walloping punch of plutonium, uranium and enough germs to make us sh*t ourselves to the afterworld.

Regardless of how we all collectively check out... the question remains: Last week on Earth?
I'd always had a last piece of tail in mind when the time came, but f*ck that sh*t. I want to be awake when it happens. Now it's all about the boys. Pack up the family truckster with some clothes, grub and hockey sticks; steal gas and food for a week and find a cave.

"Come get me, mother f*cker. Yeah. I'm talkin' to you, Armaggedon. I'm still standin', b*tch. I've got your Four Horsemen right here."

(Not god. No. Me and dat nigga dere will sort that sh*t out later.)


Top 10 Songs I'd Be Happy to Never Hear Again.

Periodically, as you peruse the dial on your radio, you stumble upon a classic such as "Don't Fear the Reaper" by Blue Öyster Cult, "Downtown," by Petula Clark or "Oh Babe, What Would You Say?" by Hollywood Smith. You might think to yourself, "God damn, I'm glad somebody wrote that song."

Songs like "Fox on the Run" creep up occasionally, as you fumble hurriedly past a putrid new Goo Goo Dolls ballad.

"'Iris'? Faaaaaaahk!" (swerve. screeeechhhhh. pounding heartbeat.) '(crackle) You think you've got a pretty faaaace... but the rest of you is out of plaaaaace....'

"Aaaaaah." (smooth driving resumes.)

Hell, I'll even take a f*cking Burt Bacharach slap in the face once in a while. It's hit or miss on the radio (unless you live in the Bible Belt, in which case it's all miss). What follows here is a brief list of songs that instantly send the synapses firing, ordering my index finger to thwart an auditory atrocity on the car stereo.

(Click. Crackkkle bwooeeeooo.... Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap.)
10. "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" Elton John - While "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" still brings nostalgic lachrymal fluid to my eyes, this song I can simply do without. An over-wrought effort by a talented(?) artist looking to cash in on royalties from a Disney Soundtrack. Very insulting.

(Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap.)

9. "She's in Love with the Boy" Trisha Yearwood - If you have to run away to get married, you're either a 16 year old inbred about to marry your 3rd cousin, or a selfish idiot who doesn't take advice well. I also abhor the use of 'hayseed plough boy' in a feeble effort to add some backwoods legitimacy.

(Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap.)

8. "San Francisco (Wear Some Flowers In Your Hair)" Scott McKenzie - Why is this song even on the air anymore? Please, if you live in San Francisco (Mary Tsao, I'm looking in your direction) please pistol-whip anybody that heeds this vapid rally cry.

(Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap.)

7. "Candy Girl" Frankie Valli - This dago's screeching falsetto might have been all the rage in 1960s Newark, but it's about as palatable these days as a sh*t sandwich.


6. "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" The Proclaimers - When I wake up, your ass better be at least five-hundred miles in the other direction. I don't care if homeboy Johnny Depp and your twin brother got yo' back, either.

( Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap.)

5. "Snowblind" Styx - Nothing makes the spinal cord shudder more than visions of 70s hessians penning this lame-ass homage to coca.

Dennis DeYoung: "Mirror mirror on the walllllll...."
J.Y. Young: "Far out. Let's do a line."

(Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap.)

4. "Stairway to Heaven" Led Zeppelin - Probably the first, foremost and primary reason I'm the only male music fan on the planet that can't stand the Zep. I hear if you play this song backwards it still sucks.

(Tap. Tap.)

3. "Bitch" Meredith Brooks - Bitch, give me that guitar back before you hurt yourself.

(Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap.)

2. "Calendar Girl" Neil Sedaka - If only for the haunting visions of old henpecked white dudes singing along with this abomniation on PBS. I can only imagine myself in thirty years, if I still have a pulse, sitting next to my beloved singing "Every morning there's a halo hangin' from the corner of my girlfriend's four post bed..." at the Sugar Ray reunion of 2039

(Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap.)

1. Sh*t... where do I go from here? "Inagadda da Vida"? "Come to My Window"? "Bark at the Moon"? "R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A."? "Keep on Rockin in the Free World"? "Come As You Are"? "The National Anthem of Uruguay"? "You're Momma Don't Dance and Your Daddy Don't Rock and Roll"? "Danke Schöen"?

(Fwip. Smashhhhh skkrrrrrrtzzzzz. Silence)


Unmailed Letters - Volume 2

I'm one of those guys who always thinks 'I should write a letter to the manager' whenever somebody chafes me. In turn, I always make an effort to think 'Wow, what a good waitress. I should write a letter to her boss.' The problem is I never get around to actually following through on it; just like I never get around to repairing the hinge on the door, cleaning the yard or helping with the laundry.

I've decided to do something about it. Don't worry. One would have to do something grievous for me to write a letter of complaint about them. I won't arbitrarily jeopardize somebody's job for mere spite. I'm sure the managers at Wal*Mart get deluged with grammatically deficient scribbles admonishing some minimum-wage soul for getting lippy.

Maybe I should have written that letter to complain about the waitress who, while blaming the kitchen staff for the delay of our food, held a *#%@ing cigarette and her lighter in her hand anticipating a trip off to flavour country. I've always regretted firing that one off - particularly since it's the last time I dined at this establishment.

What follows are a couple of letters that sit unmailed on my messy desk, beneath a coagulated coffee mug and a few back issues of Guns & Ammo.

Dear 'Robust' Ghetto Woman,

I couldn't help but notice you on the stoop of your home this morning as I drove to work. I caught you out of the corner of my eye, but had to do a double-take, since it took my beleaguered mind a second to register that you were only clad in a towel.

Ordinarily, somebody with an overwrought libido such as myself would drool like a Pavlovian mutt at such a sight, but regrettably your physique caused some 'retreating of the troops' to occur. Additionally, any regards I might have had for you as a decent or classy human being have been jettisoned along with my morning wood. I shouldn't need to alert you to the fact that you live on a major east-west artery in our humble burg, and that people like to drink coffee on their way to work. Have you considered that your scantily clad appearance might cause an unsuspecting motorist to spit their mouthful of java all over their suit and dashboard?

I've got a couple suggestions that might accommodate your need for exhibitionism and your lack of decorum:

1) Invest in a bathrobe. They are a rather inexpensive addition to your wardrobe, and I hear they come in the 'plus' size that you might need... which is more than I can say for that ratty green towel you donned. If the gentleman at your door wished to speak with you for any reason -- either to say good-bye or to borrow a cup of sugar -- you could at least have made your appearance a little more dignified and modest with a bathrobe.

2) Invest in a treadmill. You could purchase one second hand at a nominal cost. If you can't afford one, curb the trips to Mickey D's and the donut section of your supermarket. Lose some of that girth, girlfriend! Ordinarily I give the ladies a little leeway when it comes to the lb's, but
goddamn! If you manage to drop about a buck-thirty or so, I might find the sight of you in a towel welcoming. It might also elicit a toot of the horn and a hearty 'Yah, bay-beee!' (provided my sons or wife aren't in the car), but until then keep your corpulent and exposed anatomy indoors.

I hope you don't take offence to this, or considering the offence you perpetrated on my cornea I don't care if you do. Your indelible image has tainted my morning (but then again, thank goodness you didn't reach for your morning paper and inadvertently exposed your tain't). The next time I see you, I hope you're at least wearing tacky pyjama bottoms and an airbrushed t-shirt commemorating a dead homie.

Sincerely yours,

Then, there's this offering:

Dear Colleague,

I realize you've got at least thirty years of professional defecating experience, giving you credit for mastery of the art-form since the age of three. I find it disconcerting, though to have to bring this up, since it is such a delicate topic.

You're riding a little too far back on the saddle cowboy/girl. To clarify things, you are sitting too far back on the toilet and thus leaving a small but visible and disgusting amount of fecal matter on the seat. Now the toilet seat has an opening with a diameter that approximates a foot and a half across and nearly two feet from front to back. That's quite a target, particularly since your immense *ss is set directly atop (with a layer of toilet paper for hygienic purposes).

I know you male colleagues might have a difficult time with these dimensions when voiding, especially with that last trickle. It's evidenced by the dried yellow spots on the front, but feces on the back-end is inexcusable. Even with the size of your aforementioned *ss, your 'orifice' can only produce a 'sausage' with a 1-1/2" to 2" diameter. It's not difficult to ensure you empty your contents directly into the basin, since it's equivalent to the task of squeezing out a tube of toothpaste into a cereal bowl.

In closing, I'd just like to add that if you can't adapt your riding style, at least look behind you and do a spot check... If you repeat the offence, I'm taking your stool sample to the science teacher and see if we can't make a positive identification. She and I will then ensure you keep the seat of every toilet in the building squeaky clean by forcing your face around the perimeter.

The Throne Ranger

Does anybody have a stamp I might borrow?


Guffaws, Cackles, Bellows - Oh My...

Roundtabler Atul has an axe to grind on the funny bone of crappy comics. I've got a major offender to send his way:

Gilbert Gottfried - Obviously he has no real friends. Otherwise they might have pulled him aside early in his career and said, "Gil, that squinty-eyed, cheese-grater voiced shtick just doesn't work in this shtetl."

See what's making Atul laugh and what isn't.


Bush-League Frankie

My wife always criticizes me for... um... (Well, what doesn't she criticize me about. Let me start this sh*t again.)

I never cared for my wife's male friends (her friends' husbands and boyfriends). No. It's not a jealousy thing. I just found that I was getting a "Home Team/Away Team" vibe, and I was the Away Team.

Mrs. P: We're going out with Joop and Jeep.
Prego: 'great.'
Mrs. P: (groan) Why do you hate my friends?!
Prego: I don't hate 'em. I just don't usually like their boyfriends.
Mrs. P: Well, try to be nice, anyway.
Prego: I always do.

Months later, my wife was offended at some remarks made at the Joop and Jeep household; you know... racist undertones and all that. I felt vindicated for having my patented bullsh*t detector dial on "11."

Chalk one up for the Away Team.

One of her other friends also came equipped with an accoutrement I didn't quite care for.

Mrs. P: I don't really like him either, but they're married now.
Prego: So?
Mrs. P: So try to be nice.

Months later, they divorced. I am no longer obligated to 'be nice' to him. I'm not going to go out of my way to be an *sshole, or wish him ill will. I just won't invite him over to play checkers and watch the dog shows on ESPN2.

I won't try to hit him with the car on a one-way street, either.

Now regardless of which camp one finds himself in or team you might be on, I've always felt there is unwritten code of conduct/honor for men to follow.


A female friend of mine, Josephine, has a son with an ex-boyfriend Caligula.

Prego: Hey, I ran into Caligula over the weekend.
Josephine: Hmmm. (disapprovingly) He said he had a 'medical problem' this week. Where'd you see him?
Prego: At Hank's Bar.
Josephine: We're having 'issues'.
Prego: Oh... (jokingly) Did I say Caligula? I meant Nero.
Josephine: It's all right. Was he with a blonde?
Prego: (poker-faced) Nope. He was with a couple guys he says were his roommates.
Josephine: Oh.

Code of f*cking conduct. He was with his roommates and the skanky-*ss blonde.

I didn't have to go to bat for this guy. Sure, he's all right, and he's kind of in my camp and all -- but to use a hockey analogy:

When Zdeno Chara was tangling with Vincent LeCavalier last month during the NHL playoffs, LeCavalier was clearly beaten and in a vulnerable position and nearly prone on the ice. Chara could have easily taken a couple shots to teach him a lesson, but instead he held his fist tightly clenched and cocked over his head until he allowed the officials to separate them.

I thought of myself as Chara, since I could have easily swung the fist directly into Caligula's face by ratting him and the blonde skeezer out.

I'm particularly strict in following this code, since in my young and wild days I lost a college sweetheart when some Claude Lemieux motherf*cker with an overwrought sense of justice clocked me in the jaw. Apparently, he felt it was his moral obligation to inform my beloved that I had a few trysts on the sly.

That's what's known as the 'buddy pass.' Allow me to demonstrate with the following highlight reel.

If you'll notice, Philadelphia Flyer RJ Umberger received a 'buddy pass' from his teammate Niko Dimitrakos, only to get leveled by Buffalo's Brian Campbell.

Substitute me for Umberger and the significant other for Campbell and you'll see what the 'buddy pass' is all about. Basically, a teammate sends a pass that puts you into a precarious situation. Kind of like a quarterback sending a pass to a receiver about to get clocked by three defenders.

"Thanks, buddy."

The effects of the concussion I received lasted several years.

I'm now older budweiser, skating with my head up. Sure, I keep my nose clean, but that doesn't necessarily protect me from an errant 'buddy pass,' which I was nearly the recipient of this week... from a motherf*cker with no code.

In order to clearly set up this scenario, I have a brother who has a striking resemblance to yours truly. People mistake us for each other all the time. My 'acquaintance' Frank is apparently one of those myopic types who can't tell us apart. Frank's wife is an old friend of my sister's, who is now friendly with my wife.

Frank: I saw Prego today at the park.
Mrs. Frank: Really? Was he with the kids?
Frank: No, he was with some blonde.
Mrs. Frank: Mrs. P?
Frank: No.
Mrs. Frank: Are you sure it wasn't his brother?
Frank: It was Prego.
Mrs. Frank: O-Dog and Fletchmonster's father? THAT PREGO? YOU'D BETTER BE SURE, BECAUSE I'M ABOUT TO CALL MRS. PREGO NOW!!!
Frank: You're going to call her?
Frank: Um... ...maybe it was his brother.

Needless to say, the call was made. Not as an indictment, but more of a humorous anecdote that Mrs. Frank wanted to share; which in turn, Mrs. Prego decided to share with me.

"Heh- heh."

There are three possible explanations for Frank's egregious infraction and breaking of the code:
  1. He's a complete f*cking idiot and didn't know better.
  2. He was under the sad impression that his wife followed the code. (Women don't. The b*tches play by a completely different set of rules...) and
  3. Motherf*cker wanted to throw me to the wolves.
In either of the three scenarios, my regards for him have plummeted.

Dude, you have no code. Turn in your testes at the door. You are hereby relegated to Clay Aiken status... Or to use a sports metaphor again... Your ass just got sent down to the minors. You don't have what it takes for this league.

Skate with your heads up, brothers... and more importantly, follow the code.

Kickin' Up Sparks...

RW Spryszak's got his tassels in a tussle over those goofy bibelots the fellas be wearin' on they shoes in Frisco... Pop by his crib. Just don't wear anything needlessly ornate...


New Togs for the O-Dog

The O-Dog's trying his hand out at graphic design. He busted out this "Cyclops" design over the weekend.

He was anxious to put his creation on a t-shirt. I was game. It beats the hell out of Wiggles, baseballs and firetrucks.


To the Republic for Richard Stands


Here's the two little bastages running rampant in D.C. last month. The O-Dog kept wanting to go to the White House to cut all the elastic off of Geo. Bush's underwear (in an elaborate plot to embarrass him in public).

The Fletch? I think he votes Republican.

One of the little f*ckers deserves a spanking.

* Streaming photos created using Film Loop.



I can't wear my favourite t-shirt in public anymore!

I'll still wear it around the house (at least I'll be able to until the O-Dog learns to read) but I could never pull it off in public. Years ago, when I was a 'punk-rock' kid, I'd wear anything in public. My mom would stand in the door with a broom, yelling "¡No vas a salír de esta casa vestido así!"('You're not leaving this house dressed like that!') Now, that I find myself seeking employment as a school administrator, I don't think wearing a shirt that proclaims that "Mother F*ckers Be Trippin'" is appropriate - regardless of how true the statement is.

In the immortal words of Burton Cummings:

Seasons change and so did I
You need not wonder why
You need not wonder why

Hopefully the change is for the better, but in some ways I doubt it.

Roundtabler SK Waller finds that newfound 'fame' changes 'others' before it change 'you'. I agree in some ways, since last weekend I went to see my old friend's very successful rock band. When I met him backstage, it almost felt like the same dude (with surgical enhancements)... But then again, I felt compelled to say, "Dude, what the f*ck happened? You used to be about the tuuunes..."


"The Star Mangled Banner" - Part XIV

Once again, hoopla hits the headlines. Last month it was an onslaught of illegal immigrants hitting the streets in protest over possible legislation to have them sent back to wherever it is they came from. This time around, they're still voicing their protesta, but have now introduced a version of the national anthem in español. Ooooh, Chicken Little, the f*cking sky is falling.

All right, maybe this is a testy subject for me, since my parents were (legal) immigrants from South America. I had to subject myself to such uniquely American dictums as "It's okay to play with you because you're not really black. You're tan." Or, after having a 'friend's' dog growl at me, have the friend's older brother explain, "Don't worry about the dog. He just thinks you're a n*gger."

I don't know when xenophobia was written into the constitution. I know racism's been a wart on the collective asses of Americana since the git-go ("Yeeeee - haw, Cooter. Slaves at five for a dollar!"), but what the f*ck is wrong with embracing other languages?

Case in point: My mother was speaking in Spanish to a co-worker in an elevator.

Anglo American: Ughhh. It's too early for this sh*t.

Mom: Wassamatter weeth eSpanish? I never complain when I live in Black Rock* and people speaking Polack.


: Um. Mom. You didn't say "Polack" did you?

Mom: ¿Porque?

Because that's um... Uh, never mind. That's tellin' them.

Yesterday, as a matter of fact, I was speaking Spanish to one of my students. She kept answering me in English. I asked her why she wouldn't answer me in Spanish.

"Last year the teachers yelled at us to speak English only. 'You're in America,' they told us."

It didn't surprise me. In fact, Anglo students just go through the motions at the Spanish class they have to take.

Even when I was living in South America it annoyed me that American housewives stubbornly refused to try to learn Spanish while their husbands earned good pay from Venezuelan oil companies and construction sites. They criticize similar mindsets here.

The rest of the world isn't so myopic when it comes to linguistics. Any traveler in a pinch can count on finding someone to speak English. Hell, while I was in Paris, my French was too p*ss poor to buy a pair of sneakers, so I had to resort to pointing or having an English speaking 'Frog" stoop to my level and speak English to me. I was grateful, since my feet had swollen during the flight and my f*cking feet were killing me.

Speaking of sales, my brother-in-law has to have my sister handle phone calls when he is trying to sell a vehicle, because people hang up on him as soon as they hear an accent. That's enlightenment for you. It's the 21st Century and some people are still remembering the Alamo and its basement.

We should learn a lesson from our neighbors to the North, the Canadians. They've got at least two versions of their national anthem that I know of (judging by watching the Montreal Canadiens play on Hockey Night in Canada). I don't see people throwing sh*t-fits in the crowd. Being a bi-lingual nation is part of their fabric, history and their hockey games.

In order to alleviate some of the fears people have about "nuestro himno," the Spanish version of the American anthem, I thought I'd give you the courtesy of translating it, using my bilingual expertise. Got it, pendejos?

Nuestro Himno
Courtesy of Prego

Oh say can you see by the lawn mower shed
What a hottie she is, going down on the mail man
Whose broad broads and fat dudes
Pay me under the table
No documentation required
As they can't find any good help no-how.

And the kids are just as bad
Learning sh*t from mom and dad
Gave proof through the night
that our jobs will always be there

Oh say does that star mangled banner yet waaaaave
As we barrage Prego
With indignant comments talking about what a mother f*cker he is to make fun of our national anthem. Go back to South America, you spick. It's like it or leave it around these parts. I'll kick your Macarena ass back to Cuba. Got it, Josè?

* Black Rock is the neighborhood I grew up in (where the other two incidents took place, by the way). I was the only kid in my class that didn't have the Polish -ski suffix in my surname. Tres Poli (Very Polish).