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Monday, July 20, 2009



My friend Glenn took me skeet shooting last weekend. Is there anything more fun than shooting something that can’t shoot you back? You walk around to different stations, and shoot at “clay pigeons” that they catapult into the air from all directions like little Frisbees. So you follow these targets along the sights of the barrel and shoot at them. It turns out that in my case a clay pigeon is a little small. Something along the lines of a “clay ostrich” would work better for me- any flightless bird would help. They are hard to hit, especially the ones that travel from side to side. My technique, which is hard to pull off believably, was to wait until just before it hit a tree and broke, and fire at it, then pop the casings and blow into the chamber. If anyone had a problem with that they kept it to themselves, because I reloaded quickly and affected a kind of psychotic look, as if I didn’t know quite where I was, like maybe Peter Falk on Demerol.

You are supposed to lead the target as you aim, and fire just ahead of it. I couldn’t master that, and so I just used the “Superman” technique (anyone who watched Superman on TV knows): You empty the whole chamber at Superman, as he smiles smugly at you, and when there is no ammo left you throw the gun at him as a diversion and run like hell. This worked for awhile but I got tired of looking for the shotgun in the woods.

In life I always aim high, and I think I killed some real pigeons. Incidentally, aside from firing pellets known as “shot,” the shotgun can also fire a solid projectile known as a “slug.” This form of ammunition is especially feared, since if you have ever worked in a garden, you know that if you get one on you it’s gross.


They just had the annual “Running of the Bulls” in Pamplona, Spain. This yearly event coincides, strangely enough, with the annual “Running even faster of a Bunch of Drunken Idiots,” also in Pamplona, and on the SAME street! What a scheduling SNAFU that is!

This is exactly the kind of thing that I can see myself getting caught in while I am late for a concert or something on vacation. There I am, in a rental car, and I see that traffic is going NOWHERE, so I pull off onto a sidestreet, and all these crazy-looking numbnutzes go running by, but at least they are moving in the direction I want to go, and they are going pretty fast, like 20- 25 miles per hour. I think to myself, damn these guys can run fast! So I fall in right behind them at a safe distance, and I hear this rumbling. I assume it’s coming from the rental car, so I do what I always do when I hear a noise coming from my car engine, and I turn the radio up loud. But the rumbling gets louder also, and I look in the rear view mirror and see about 45 bulls following my car. My first reaction is DAMN- I should have gotten that supplemental insurance that I always waive… They start passing me and rubbing against my car, and I am getting hoofmarks on my fender and snot-stains everywhere. They are smelly, so I have the owner’s manual out trying to find out where the “air recirc.” button is on the rental car. And I realize you are supposed to keep at least one bull-length between you and the bull ahead of you, but it’s impossible to keep track, the whole thing happens so fast, and no one is using turn signals at all. Then rubbernecking forces traffic to a halt, and I seize my opportunity, get out of the car, lasso the nearest bull and put him on his back tying up 3 out of 4 legs in the traditional rodeo style. Of course in my case, he takes that 4th foot and kicks me to kingdom come.

As you watch it on TV, what’s amazing is that the drunken idiots, if the bull closest to them is ignoring him, will try to goad the bull a little bit- a little trash-talking if you will. The opportunity for bullshit is at its all-time high. Usually the bull will just ignore him or kill him- there are very few options in between. Sometimes the guy will touch the bull, or slap at him, knowing that the bull is not in any mood for silly games. What is unclear is what the bulls are running from in the first place? And to the idiot who left the door open, I have one question: “Do you live in a BARN?”

Incidentally, since 1910, 15 people have been killed during the running of the bulls, some seriously.

Provided by website-hit-counters.com site.

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