Saturday, June 25, 2011

Roswell! Alien Abduction Capital Of The World?

I was at last year's UFO Festival in Roswell, NM when it happened. 
     I remember waking up on a metal surgical table in a futuristic-looking operating room.  Some kind of alien creature stood in front of me.  He--for lack of a better word--was very thin, with long skinny arms and legs.  He had a huge bald head with two big eyes.  There was something familiar about him.
     "Mayor Cook, is that you?" I asked.  It looked just like the mayor of El Paso, TX.
     The creature chuckled menacingly, reached up , and with long, delicate fingers pulled off its Mayor Cook mask.  I couldn't tell the difference.  I looked around.  There were two more of its kind, whatever its kind was.  They reminded me of The Three Stooges, but from outer space.
     "Don't be afraid," the alien I thought of as Moe gently told me.  "We will not harm you."
     His words seemed to come--not from him--but from somewhere deep inside my own head.  There was a whirring sound above me.  A large, intimidating tool was decending from the ceiling.  I can't describe what it looked like in a family newspaper, but it was longer than it was wide, if you get my drift.  Sort of like the business end of an enema bag for Transformers.
     "What's that for?" I asked.  Larry, Curly, and Moe nudged each other childishly and giggled like naughty first-graders.
     "It's an anal probe, but it's better if you don't ask any questions."
     I shivered at his words...  and that's when I discovered I could move.  I sat up and hopped off the table.  They rushed toward me.  Too late.
     "How do you talk without speaking?" I asked.
     "From here," Moe pointed to the center point between his eyes, "we push our thoughts into your mind."
     "Oh, you do, do you?"  And--POW!--I punched him right in the kisser.  The back of his balloon-like head stretched out in the shape of my fist.  Moe made a funny kind of "woo, woo, woo" sound, and fell to his knees faster than Monica Lewinski in the Oval Office.  The other two jumped into each other's arms.  Their big bug eyes blinking furiously.  They were more nervous than a gerbil in Richard Gere's favorite pet store.  I'm guessing this had never happened to them before.  I looked at them.  They looked fragile.  Weak.
     "This is gonna be easy," I thought to myself.
     Apparently they could also read my mind, because one of them said:  "Wait!  How will you get back home?"  I reached up and grabbed the anal probe.
     Let's just say I "convinced" them to take me back.
 
So... what am I saying?  I'm saying go to the UFO Festival in Roswell, New Mexico.
You never know what might happen.
 
 
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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Gay Benefits

What a great time my family and I had this past weekend at Wet & Wild Water Park.  The rides were a blast and there were so many people there with tattos I felt like I was back in prison.
     I ran into Chris Lopez, my editor at the El Paso Times.  Who knew in his spare time he sold funnel cakes at one of their food shacks?
     "Hi, Jim," he greeted me.  "What do you think about City Council restoring benefits to gay and unmarried partners of city employees this past week?"
     "Well, Chris," I answered.  "Since you asked..."
     It's not that I'm against benefits for partners in gay relationships, I just don't think they're necessary.  Personally, I'm for gay marriage.  It would be good for the economy.  Every gay wedding would be a wedding with two brides.  Can you imagine the money they'll be spending?  I have a relative who's gay--let's just call him "Bob", since that's his real name--and he's been in a relationship for close to twenty years.  Together he and his partner own a nice house, drive nice cars, buy the latest electronic devices, and go on expensive vacations.  Do you know why?  Because they both have jobs.  Jobs with insurance.
     Jobs, insurance, and no kids
     Am I against people and their God-given right to do what they want?  No.  For example, my stand on abortion is this:  Go ahead, kill your baby.  Just don't try to tell me it's not a baby.  And don't try to tell me I have to pay for it.  I may not agree with what you do, but I will fight to the death your right to do it.  Well, maybe not to the death, and certainly not with my wallet.  Bottom line, you have the right to live your life, just as I have the right not to be forced to adopt your agenda.
     George Cordova from East El Paso wrote a letter to the El Paso Times where he demanded:  "...we must offer the same coverage to all employed."  And I agree.  Single people should have the same coverage as other single people, and married couples should have the same coverage as other married couples.
     The person you're dating or living with isn't your legal dependent.  If you choose not to get married, then you should accept the consequences of your actions, or, rather, your non-actions.  (Now here's where it gets interesting...)
     I know, I know.  Gays don't have that choice, but, personally, I think homosexuals are missing a great opportunity.  Marriage, more often than not, ends in divorce.  It's a broken institution.  Gays should come up with something better than marriage.  Something that will set the standard for everybody else to copy or follow.  Just like they do with fashion.
     I'm sure Mayor Cook and the rest of El Paso's City Council have good intentions.  I'm also sure they have unoccupied rooms in their homes.  When they begin taking in homeless gay couples I'll know they're walking the walk.
     Finally, Ouisa Davis, in her Friday column, tried to paint homosexuals as frail.  Weak.  Unable to take care of themselves.  She called them the "voiceless minority."  Well, I've been to the Gay Pride Parade, folks, and trust me...
     ...they are not voiceless.
 

El Paso!  Give Us Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Huddled Masses Yearning To Be Free... 
...And WE'LL Support Them!
 

(By the way, if you've ever wondered who buys the ring when two gay men get married I recommend the book Steven Petron's Complete Gay & Lesbian Manners.  It's a bit dry, but very informative.)
 
 


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My El Paso (Part One)

"My El Paso."
 
     Those three words adopted by the El Paso Times newspaper as a way to promote our fair city to the world and beyond, or at least anybody who has cash, are powerful and personal...  and sure are similar to my two-word suggestion of over a year ago.
    
El Paso!  (Insert main selling point here.)
 

     Oh sure, I understand that no one has a copyright on the name El Paso, except, maybe, Marty Robbins, but the concept is similar.  Begin with the name of our city, add the word "my" to the beginning of it, or an exclamation point to the end of it, stir in something positive, and--bam!--you're done.
 

My El Paso...  is the safest city in America.

El Paso!  The Safest City In America!
 

My El Paso...  is known for how friendly its people are.

El Paso!  The Friendliest City In The World!
 

My El Paso...  has the best Mexican food.

El Paso!  The Best Mexican Food In The Universe!
 

My El Paso...  was recently visited by Barack Obama.

El Paso!  The Barack Obama Of Cities!
 
 
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Sunday, June 19, 2011

My El Paso (Part Two)

"If this is what winning looks like maybe it's time you considered other options," I said to Charlie Sheen, but I didn't call him to add to his trials and tribulations.  I called him to cash in a favor from an old friend.  I've known Charlie Sheen back when he still called himself Carlos Estevez.  We graduated from Ysleta High School together.  What I wanted was a few quotes from him for the El Paso Times's "My El Paso" community journalism project, because, as we've all heard these past few weeks, Charlie has quite a way with putting words before and after each other.
     Charlie was happy to oblige.  Having recently been fired by CBS he had some time on his hands and saw this as an opportunity to rehabilitate his reputation.
     "I want to submit some photographs, too," he told me.  "Will these do?"
     I looked at the photos he had just sent to my phone.
     "Carlitos," I said, affectionately using his old name, "these are completely inappropriate."
     He ignored that.
     "My El Paso?" he began.  "Where do I begin?  My El Paso is bitchin'.  A total freaking rock star from Mars.  My El Paso is addicted.  'Addicted to what?' you ask.  Addicted to winning, duh!"
     Click, click!
     "Hang on," he said.  "I've got another call.  It's probably Chuck Lorre calling to apologize."  Pause.  "Nope.  That was John Cryer, my co-star from Two And A Half Men.  Now, where was I?  Oh yeah, My El Paso is on a drug.  A drug called El Paso.  It's not available, because if you try it you will die.  Your face will melt off, and your children will weep over your exploded body.  Dying is for amateurs."
     Click, click!
     "Hold on, I've got another call.  It's probably CBS offering me more money to come back."  Pause.  "Nope.  That was John Cryer again.  He's been losing a fortune since the show's stopped production.  Now, what was I saying?"
     "My El Paso..."
     "Yes, My El Paso has Adonis DNA and fire-breathing fists.  My El Paso has tiger's blood in its veins and poetry in its fingertips.  And most of the time--this includes naps--My El Paso is an F-18, bro, and it will destroy you from the air!  Hold on a sec.  Let me take a drink from my magic daiquiri.  That'll make it all better."
     Click, click!
     "Hang on.  Another call.  It's probably my agent with some twenty million dollar deal to star in some big-budget blockbuster."  Pause.  "Nope.  It was John Cryer again."
     "What does he want?"
     "I don't know.  He won't stop crying."
 
 
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My El Paso (Part Three)

My El Paso.
 
     I think those three very powerful and personal words are a great start in getting the citizens of El Paso to define their own city.
     However, I must admit that when I first read that phrase I felt it sounded a bit too standoffish and exclusionary.  Kind of like when a two year-old says:
 
"MY blankie!"
 
"MY dollie!"
 
MY El Paso!
 
     Now I realize that this is the genius of it.
     Reverse psychology.
     What a concept.
     The best way to make something valuable is to make it rare.  Something not everyone can have.  A rock that you pick up from the ground has no value, but shine it up, call it a diamond, price it outrageously, and, all of a sudden, you've created a demand for it.
     This demand usually comes from individuals who are as dumb as said rocks, but, fortunately, there are plenty of those kind of individuals around.  They are as plentiful as, well, rocks on the ground.
     To make someone want something all you have to do is tell them they can't have it.  The person you want most, for example, is the one you can't have.  It's human nature, my friend, and that's the genius of "My El Paso."  We are creating a desire to visit this city by telling outsiders they're neither wanted nor welcomed.
     I offer the following "My El Paso" suggestions to make El Paso a destination desired by all those who used to ignore us.
 

My El Paso!  Get Out And Stay Out!
 

My El Paso!  Trespassers Will Be Shot!
 

My El Paso!  We Don't Need Your Stinkin' Money!
 

My El Paso!  You Don't Have To Go Home, But You Can't Stay Here!
 

My El Paso!  Move Along, There's Nothing More To See!
 

My El Paso!  Peligro!  Entrada Prohibida!
 

My El Paso!  This Property Is Condemned!
 

My El Paso!  Don't Let The Door Hit'cha Where The Good Lord Split'cha!
 

My El Paso!  That's Right, Amigo...  Keep On Driving!
 

My El Paso!  You May Never Be Heard From Again!
 

My El Paso!  If The Drug Users Don't Get You, The Drug Lords Will!
 

My El Paso!  It's Not You, It's Me!
 

My El Paso!  Get The !%#@ Out Of Here!
 

My El Paso!  This Ain't Dodge, But Get The Hell Out Anyway!
 

          So, El Paso, let's all do our part bringing people and businesses to this city by keeping them out.
     I'll start with my ex-wives.
 
 
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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Border Violence

There's a problem with our state politicians, and I'm not talking about the difference in their bank accounts from when they enter office to when they leave it.  The problem is that Texas politicians who should know better are constantly opening their mouths and inserting their Gucci cowboy boots when it come to El Paso.  If you listen to them--and I try very hard not to--you would think that the streets of our peaceful city are like the movie Desperado.  With bombs going off, cars exploding, and innocent buildings being shot down in cold blood.
     Every September 11th our esteemed Governor and future President--Rick "Four-Eyes" Perry--comes into town to celebrate the annual anniversary of when two planes hi-jacked by Muslim terrorists flew into El Paso's famous Twin Towers.
     "Sir," our Mayor informs him in another annual tradition, "that was in New York."
     "Don't confuse me with facts," the Governor will snap at him, and then they'll go grab a Monster Burger with fries and a diet coke at Frisco's Old-Fashion Burgers on Yarborough Boulevard.
     You see, the problem isn't that our elected representatives are ignorant or ill-informed about our fair city.  The problem is movie night in our state capital.  It's not a problem we have locally.  Democrats tend to like movies along the lines of Pretty Woman and The Fault Among Our Stars.  Whereas Republicans like movies such as Hobo With A Shotgun and anything with Samuel L. Jackson being a badass in.
     That's why when former U.S. Rep. Francisco "el Quikee" Canseco wrote in his March 31st newsletter about "car bombs in El Paso" I simply looked up which movie was playing at the state capital on the 30th, and saw that it was Scarface.  Who could forget the tense scene where Tony Montana refuses to help a Cuban assassin detonate a car bomb because the intended victim had his child with him?
     When the future President of the United States of America--Rick "I've Got Three Points" Perry--made his now infamous comment about car bombs going off in El Paso I couldn't help but remember that Casino was playing the night before.  Hey, the movie begins with a car blowing up.
     It's nothing new.
     I recall President Reagan telling a touching "true" story of a warplane shot down during WWII.  For some reason one of the soliers couldn't parachute out with everybody else, so another soldier held his hand and told him:  "Then we'll go down together."  That was so heartbreaking.  Too bad it didn't really happen.  He was recalling a scene from an old B&W movie he saw about WWII.  Think about it. If the two soldiers died in a plane crash, then who was alive to tell the story?
     So when Canseco refers to the head of the Mexican drug cartel as the evil Lord Voldemort, don't judge him harshly.  He's just a man.
     A man who loves movies.
 
 
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Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Anti-Mija Factor

On behalf of mature Latina women my age who have been to New York I request that the El Paso community recognize that we are still youthful and vibrant.  Our once smooth skin may be old and leathery now, but under this saggy bag of flesh is a heart that's still hanging in there.  Barely.  I understand that as we grow older everything gets heavier, hairier, and closer to the ground, but that's no reason to call us "senora".  When I put on my bra I may now have to start from below my waist, but I am not a senora.  I am a senorita.  Just ask my husband.
     I realize that many of you refer to us in the older sense because 1) it's a term of endearment, 2) it's an expression of affection, and 3) it's true.  To this day my husband still calls me his vieja in bed with that special twinkle in his eyes that means he's about to roll over and fall asleep.  I know that he--and you--don't mean anything hostile by such references, but it's belittling to those of us who can carry groceries in the bags under our eyes.
     I recently sauntered past a gaggle of young hooligans standing on a street corner.  They had obviously been drinking.  They were the kind of ruffians I used to gleefully flirt with and then cruelly ignore.
     "Can I help you across the street, abuelita?" one of them had the audacity to ask me.  POW!  I punched him right in the kisser.  Nobody calls me abuelita.  Not even my grandchildren.  What's left of them.
     "The next time you talk to me," I warned him, "it better be something inappropriate and sexist!"  Whatever happened to those admiring ch-ch sounds Hispanic men used to make whever I would wiggle by?
     The last time I was in New York I forgot which city I was in and kept asking for directions to Chico's Tacos, but that doesn't mean I'm closer to the end of my days than to the beginning.  Sure, the only thing that gets me moving these days is Ex-Lax, but that doesn't mean I'm antediluvian.  It just means I have such a wealth of experiences that some memories shove the others out of the way.  Did I mention I've been to New York?
     For our part, elderly--I mean, mature--Latinas need to stand up and demand we be sexually harassed just like our younger rivals.  When my group of geriatric friends and I get together we call this the "anti-mija" factor, and then spend the rest of the day getting soused.
     So, please, treat me with respect, and I promise one day I'll do the same for you...
     ...mija.
 
 
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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Pardoning Billy The Kid

As a world-renown faux historian of the southwest I found it amusing that the former governor of New Mexico, Bill Richardson, considered granting a pardon to Billy the Kid just before he left office.
     I called Billy the Kid for a response, but his having died a century back made it difficult for him to return my calls.  Governor Richardson also didn't return my call, but I expected that.  I know he holds me responsible for the derailing of his Presidential bid in the historic election of 2008.  Sadly, I was the one who sugggested to Melissa Etheridge that she ask him whether or not he believed homosexuality to be a choice.  Her original question had been how Double-Stuffed Oreos could sell for the same price as regular Oreos. 
     "It has double the stuffing!  How can it possibly sell for the same price?"
     "Melissa," I answered back, and the rest is history.  Maybe in an alternate reality she asked him her original question, and in that alternate reality America elected its first Hispanic president, rather than its first...  Hawaiian.
     This line of thinking led me to call up the famous theoretical physicist Dr. Michio Kaku.  Cofounder of string field theory, star of stage and screen, and a personal friend of mine.  He informed me that according to his string theory, Billy the Kid has already been pardoned by territorial Governor Lew Wallace in a parallel universe.  Therefore, the pardoning of him in this universe would be redundant.  Since I had Dr. Kaku on the line I also asked him if time travel were indeed possible, and would I be able to go into the future and return with the numbers of the next Power Ball?
     "It doesn't matter," he answered.  "That's the beauty of string theory, in another reality you already have."
     Somehow he seemed more excited by the idea than I was.
     To get back to my original point, however, I didn't expect an answer from Bill Richardson, who, in this reality is no longer governor.  Or president.  One other thing I didn't expect was how, two years later, my short time with Melissa Etheridge would be the cause of her divorce from her wife...  but that's another story.
     Nevertheless, this is the universe we live in, and in this universe the question remains:  Is it necessary to pardon a western outlaw who is very much not alive?  I understand the former Governor's reasoning.  When his time in office was coming to an end, he couldn't help but think about his future legacy.  Will he be remembered?  Will his accomplishments stand the test of time?  Should he grow his beard back?
     I recall when Bill Clinton was leaving office that he, too, considered pardoning Billy the Kid, but, being dead, Mr. the Kid was unable to make a donation to Clinton's Presidential library "fund", so his pardon never materialized.
     Oh, well.  Maybe in another universe.
 
 
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Monday, June 6, 2011

The Good, The Bad, & The Weiner

The press conference was brutal. 
     It was harder than Bill Clinton at the Miss Arkansas Pageant.  Why Congressman Anthony Weiner, the man in line to become New York's next mayor, would willingly show up to a press conference addressing his Weinergate scandal is beyond me.  (I add the "gate", not because of his action, but because of the ineptitude of his denial.)  He was advised not to, but decided to do it because "the American public is stupid."  Never underestimate the short memories of the American voter.
         While Rep. Weiner (D) wanted to address the important issues of the day at the press conference, such as who's going to replace Steve Carell on The Office or if there will be a Hangover III, the press only wanted to ask him about whether or not he sent a photo of his junk to a 21 year-old female college student.
     Weiner wouldn't bite.
     "Dana," he said, replying to a question from Dana Bash, CNN Senior Congressional Correspondent, "if I was giving a speech to 45,000 people and someone in the back of the room threw a pie or yelled out an insult, would I spend the next two hours responding to that?"
     That opened up a whole new line of questioning concerning national security.
     Bash:  Who threw the pie?
     Weiner:  I'd rather not speculate on who may or may not have thrown the pie.
     Unidentified Man:  What kind of pie was it, sir?  Was it coconut cream?
     Weiner:  Nice try, but I am not going to let myself be distracted by answering that.  We have far more important issues to talk about.  Will our economy improve?  Will the price of gasoline go down?  Will Charlie Sheen ever return to Two And A Half Men?
     Bash:  Did you throw the pie, Congressman?  Is that why you won't answer the question?
     Weiner:  While I am almost positive that I didn't throw the pie, I cannot be 100% certain that it wasn't me.  Therefore, I am not going to answer until all the facts are in.
     Unidentified Man:  Why won't you just tell us what kind of pie it was?
     Weiner:  Because I'm not going to let what I see as a good-natured prank from a mischievous scamp keep me from doing the job I was hired to do.  A job that includes taxing, spending, and borrowing money from China.  But, trust me, I am taking this very seriously.  While I may not have contacted any of Capital Hill's law enforcement agencies, I have contacted Betty Crocker.
     Days later, at another hastily called press conference, the dirty, dirty man finally came clean.  He broke down and tearfully confessed that the pie in question was banana cream with nuts.  His wife was conspicuously absent from his side.  She had just stepped out for a pack of cigarettes with the former Mrs. Jim McGreevey. 
     When he was done with his mea culpa he paused for a moment, wiped a tear away with the back of his hand, bravely faced the men and women gathered in front of him like a pack of rabid jackals, and spoke to them on a personal level.  He asked them to look into their hearts and answer him honestly.
     "Do you think Eliot Spitzer needs a co-host?"

El Paso!  An Anthony Weiner-Free Zone!
 
 
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Friday, June 3, 2011

Count Barackula (November Elections 2010)

As we make our way into November I can't help but remember something that happened to me this past Halloween eve.  I saw the scariest movie I've ever seen, and, no, I'm not talking about Julia Robert's latest film.
     It was almost midnight, and I was walking in Downtown El Paso by the old Palace Theater where I used to watch horror double-features for 35 cents when I was a kid.  Later it became a porno theater and began showing movies that were horrifying in a different way altogether.  Eventually it went out of business.  Someone, however, must have renovated it like they did with the legendary Plaza Theater, because it looked like it must have looked when it first opened.  I bought my ticket.  It was 35 cents. 
     I felt like a kid again.
     I went inside.  The audience looked vacant-eyed, much like the porno audience of the dying theater's last years (not that I would know anything about that).  The movie was about vampires who hid their true natures by becoming politicians.  Chauffeured around in black limousines with windows tinted so dark the blood-suckers were protected from the sun's rays and angry constituents.
     The hero of the movie gets elected to office, discovers their terrifying secret, and then spends the rest of the movie trying not to become one of them.  The vampire politicians create zombie slaves who are kept subservient with free government cheese.  It's a symbiotic relationship.  The vampires can't live without the zombies votes, and the zombies can't live without their "free" entitlements from the government.  Each creature's hunger causing the other's to grow.
     "We are the nosferatu," the head vampire, Count Barackula, proclaims.  "The undead.  As long as you keep voting us back into office we'll never die."
     The hero tries to lead a voter revolution to get them out of office, but fails miserably.
     "We vote straight ticket," the zombie voters eerily cried as one, "because the vampires give us more."
     "Don't you understand?"  The hero was desperate.  "They have to take from you before they can give to you!"  But it was no use.  The zombies wouldn't listen.
     "More free cheese!" they chanted.  "More free cheese!"
     Finally the hero succumbs to the vampires...  and votes himself a healthy pay raise.
     What a great movie.  It was filmed in a 3D so realistic you could actually swear Count Barackula's hand was reaching for your wallet.
     When the movie was over I left the theater.  I thought about our own upcoming election.  I thought about how I was going to vote.  Would I vote the same people back into office?  Same people, same problems.  I looked back at the Palace Theater hoping for an answer...
     ...but it was no longer there.
 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Pancho Villa's Finger

Anyone who's traveled east on I-10 can't help but be curious about something called The Thing. Mainly, that's because you've driven by 247 billboards asking you: "What Is The Thing?"
     I stopped to see it one time. I admit it, curiousity got the better of me.  It was in a nice little homemade museum. Personally, I liked that museum because they tried to make what little they had interesting. My favorite was a 1937 Rolls Royce they said was rumored to have once been owned by Hitler. Heck, anybody can start a rumor. I started one once back in High School and ended up taking my best friend's girlfriend to the Prom. He tried to get even with me years later by marrying one of my ex-wives. She made his life a living hell. Be careful what you wish for, my friends. Be careful what you wish for.
     That's why I found it so interesting that Pancho Villa's trigger finger was for sale at Dave's Pawn Shop in Downtown El Paso. I went to look at it. After careful study I determined that the finger was indeed that of the notorious bandit. Unfortunately, however, it was not Pancho Villa's trigger finger, but instead his nose-picking finger.
     "I wouldn't know anything about that," the store manager, David Delgadillo, said.  "I just know what I read on the internet."
     I looked around to see what other interesting artifacts this unique pawn shop offered. The first thing I noticed were wooden slivers from the actual cross Jesus was crucified on.
     "Have they been authenticated?"  I asked.
     "I have it on good authority," he answered. For the right price David is also willing to sell 100% of his interest in the Golden Gate Bridge.
     He told me that Elvis comes by on Wednesdays to talk about why Wednesday isn't pronounced the way it's spelled.
     "What about February?"
     "He doesn't care about February."
     He showed me several photographs of the Chupacabra. They looked just like my ex-wives during our divorces, so they might be real. He also played video footage for me of the legendary Bigfoot, but upon closer inspection it turned out to be Ron Jeremy.
     "I see it's not just his foot that's big," I observed, dryly.
     David then brought out a piece of the crashed alien spacecraft from Roswell. It looked just like a sheet of aluminum foil.
     "Of course it does," Degadillo explained. "Where do you think we got the technology to make aluminum foil? Before Roswell there was no such thing."
     And then he said he'd show me something so rare no one's ever seen it.  He went into the back of the pawn shop and came back after a few seconds. Do you know what he brought out? An honest politician.
     That was too much for even me to believe. I left.


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