Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Wolf Battles Common Sense Revisited: A Visit From Dead Burt's Daughter

When we last checked in on the Wolf's senseless drive to extend a high voltage power line to his home, he had just danced a quick jig on Dead Burt's grave and was proceeding unabated with his plan. Things were going swimmingly and by his own estimates he was a mere days from consuming electricity with reckless abandon.

Well it shouldn't come as a shock to most that extenuating circumstances have once again impeded the Lobo's forward progress. This time he has been thwarted by the intervention of Dead Burt's daughter.

It seems that Dead Burt's daughter, known locally as Angela, inherited much of her father's teutonic disposition. For she has assumed the mantle forfeited by Dead Burt's death and resumed the bitter battle her father waged against the Wolf with a terrifying vengeance.

Her first order of business has been to halt any further action regarding the Lobo's desire to acquire electricity. In this endeavor she has shown remarkable tenacity. For in one fell swoop she has succeeded in striking a deep fear into the hearts of the contractors charged with completing the project.

Armed with only a camera she descended upon the worksite and threatened to take photographs of what she claimed was illegal construction. Fearing the implications of having their images set to film, the workmen fled. When the Lobo inquired about what had transpired he was told that the contractors sensed "aggression and anger," and that they were made to experience "feelings of intimidation." They have subsequently refused to proceed.

Shortly Before They Were Set Upon by a Camera Wielding Kraut

A Lone Man Quivers High Above the Jungle Floor

And thus the Wolf once again finds himself at an electrical impasse. Perhaps worse, his enemy is uncomfortably familiar. The effects of this latest setback have worn heavily on his psyche. He isn't sure that he still posses the fortitude to repeat the voodoo onslaught that defeated Albert, and yet he is absolutely certain that his life cannot continue without electricity. It is an existential crisis of staggering proportions.

For his part the Badger has remained on the periphery. He knows that fighting a two front war will likely overwhelm the Lobo. And thus he waits patiently for the moment when the Wolf is at his most vulnerable. Perhaps a moment in which his cranberry juice is too warm for the delicate nature of his palate, or maybe on an evening in which he is forced to forgo the History Channel. Rest assured that at that moment, the Badger will be there.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Wolf Battles Errant Defecation

The week preceding Easter heralds a unique phenomenon in the Wolf's little corner of the world. Known as Semana Santa, it functions as a universal imperative that every person in Mexico drop what they are doing and rush blindly to the nearest beach for a week of fun in the sun.

In most coastal areas the influx of revelry is staggering. Usually depressed local economies are suddenly awash in tourism. Hotels and restaurants that remain empty all year spring to life. The shelves of local markets become empty. Shrimp and fish and oysters and beer are consumed voraciously. And then after a week it is over. The visitors stumble in the direction of home and Semana Pascua begins (a week long national hangover).

The isolated beach that houses both the Badger and the Wolf is not immune to this pandemonium. Hundreds of campers from local villages and far flung cities alike descend upon this normally tranquil environ. They eat and drink and frolic in the surf. Families play soccer and volleyball. For the most part it is a festive and congenial affair.

There is, however, the problem of infrastructure. There are no permanent services in place to accommodate campers. There is no water or electricity. To address this issue, a few villagers annually erect a tent store that offers rudimentary groceries. Ice cream, fruit, and snack vendors trek out each day to hock their wares. And a beer kiosk is established to ensure that no one goes thirsty.

But there is an issue that each year goes unresolved. What to do with the excrement of 800 men, women, and children gorging themselves on ceviche and coconuts. The possible solutions are myriad. The ocean seems like a natural receptacle, but there is the issue of privacy. The jungle makes sense, but it is filled with all manners of things that sting and bite. Instead a seemingly universal yet largely unspoken accord is inevitably reached. The natural agreement is to defecate in front of the Lobo's gate.

Now this causes the Wolf all kinds of anger and consternation. He understands each act of defecation to be a personal affront. An unsanitary and disgusting attack on his character. Over the years he has struggled to prevent the proliferation of this activity. He has pleaded with the local village council to establish some kind sanitation plan. Of his own volition, he has dug conveniently placed latrines. These actions rarely elicit an effect. One year he even placed politely worded signs around his property asking that would-be poopers find another location. This plan was foiled by a plucky jokester who showed his disapproval by defecating on the Lobo's gate lock before using one of the signs as toilet paper.

This year, however, with Semana Santa at our doorstep the Wolf has struck upon an ingenious plan. In another moment of otherworldly inspiration, he has decided to sprinkle a mixture of white, blue, and red chalk in front of his gate. His hope is that anyone who might entertain the thought of using his property as a toilet will see the powder and assume it is poison. The mind boggles at the depths of such profundity.

The Badger is dubious that such a plan holds any promise. But if the Wolf is anything, he is eternally hopeful. The Tejon remains poised to shatter that hope.

Sanitation Through Crafty Deception

A Toilet No More?

A Brutal Act of Psychological Warfare

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Badger Goes to Bootcamp

The tapestry of peace is a collection of the most delicate threads. Though elaborate and ornate, its fabric is woven from the ephemeral and fleeting nature of patience and understanding. In the presence of a few gifted diplomats, the strength of peace can seem natural and enduring. But the strains on such a fragile construct are immense. And without constant attention on the part of the peacemaker, the roots of conflict inevitably find their way to the surface. If unchecked, these seedlings can tear asunder the tranquil fabric of disarmament.

The tapestry that held together the month long detente in the Badger's ongoing battle with the Wolf has finally lost its most important weavers. The Lobo's parents are departing the field of battle and returning to their home in the Great White North. In their wake they leave a tenuous peace. A peace nurtured by the goodwill of shared briskets and sausage casseroles.

Peace Weavers

The Tejon knew that this day would inevitably arrive. Though content with the brief respite from battle, he long understood that the nights filled with laughter and slow cooked kosher meats were temporary. An uncertain future awaits. And the Badger reasons that if he is that much better prepared for the looming resumption of aggression, he might once and for all take the upper hand in this conflict.

With this in mind he has thrown himself into a rigorous training regimen. His goal is to return his mental and physical faculties to the steely tenacity they enjoyed before the arrival of the Lobo's parents.

First was the ceremonial shedding of the locks. Just as a recent recruit into the armed services is forced to undergo a hasty and humiliating shaving of the head, the Tejon directed his most trusted ally to spare no abuse in quickly disposing of his long hair. Though this element of bootcamp can be unpleasant, it instills within the initiate a sense possibility and rebirth. This was certainly true in the case of the Badger.

Stung by the Abuse of an Ally

The Point of No Return (Unless You're Canadian)

Having Realized He'll Need to Apply Sunblock to His Ears

Next he began the physical half of his training. The photos below depict the Tejon engaging in the battle tested practices of one-armed push ups and abdominal crunches. Though his smile may make them look easy, rest assured they most certainly are anything but.

Badger Battles Gravity

Putting Jean-Claude Van Damme to Shame

What the future may hold for the Badger and the Wolf remains a mystery. There is no doubt, however, that while the Lobo wiles away his days thinking fondly of his last brisket, the Tejon has accepted the mantle of battle. The next move belongs to the Wolf.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Wolf Battles Common Sense: The Quest for Electricity

Most are probably aware of the debate over the specific qualities that transform a house into a home. Though banal in nature it is nearly universal in remedial academic experience. Often formulated as a freshman English essay prompt or a conversation starter in foreign language courses, this topic is designed to get people thinking in a way that is neither especially provocative or insightful. Like the age old dilemmas of dogs vs. cats or brothers vs. sisters, it is a simply a pedagogical device that most people quickly forget.

For whatever reason, however, it is a topic the Wolf has taken much interest in. Maybe it's because he just happened to be paying attention in English class on the day it came up. Maybe it was one of the few assignments that afforded him a passing grade. The root of his interest is unknown. But what is known is that the Lobo has devoted much of his adult life to divining some sort of universal truth from the heart of this quandary.

And to be certain, after a lifetime of meditation his views on the subject are better developed than even the brightest pubescent or most clever linguist might imagine. For the Wolf has transcended the typically inane conclusions that homes be filled with things like family or love. He scoffs at the idea that a house can be transformed into a home simply by the presence of a few intangibles. That is sophist mumbo jumbo. What the Lobo has discovered is that a home requires four very tangible things: an abundance of marble tiling, a conspicuously large flat screen television, industrial stainless steel kitchen appliances, and extremely dim lighting.

All the Trappings of a Happy Home

Now traditionalists may hesitate at this conclusion. They might see little value in a house filled with nothing but inanimate objects. For his part the Wolf would mock them as bourgeois sentimentalists. What do they know about modern life? Do they expect familial love to stylishly cool his cranberry juice? Do they think a sense of place can entertain him more efficiently than the History Channel?

Where individual readers might fall in this debate varies widely. It is probably safe to assume though that most don't give it a whole lot of thought. This is natural. They probably see these types of questions for what they are. Nothing more than educational tools to develop faculties for cogent thought and logical thinking.

Unfortunately for the Lobo, this connection has eluded him. Instead silly questions take precedent over cogent thought. The ability to approach situations logically has been replaced by a deep preoccupation with irrelevant details.

And thus we find a man in the jungles of Mexico profoundly certain that his home must contain a very specific set of modern comforts, yet without the electricity to power them.

Make no mistake, the electrical draw of the marble tiling and dim lighting is negligible. Here he was quite reasonable in his calculations. It's the television and host of stainless steel appliances that really consume more electricity than he can provide with his solar system.

Now it would be a mistake to believe that the Wolf was ignorant of the challenges inherent in his plan before he built the house. Every qualified solar technician in the United States warned him that it was absolute folly to plug a flat screen television and electric refrigerator into a solar system. The Lobo listened to this advice judiciously, yet ever confident in his own abilities proceeded undeterred.

Even With all This, Microwave Popcorn is out of the Question

The failure of numerous battery banks, a refrigerator, a microwave, two televisions, and countless satellite boxes has finally caused him to rethink his plan. Though he is certain that none of these malfunctions have anything to do with a miscalculation on his part (God is responsible for those), it is also clear that without these appliances his house would cease to be a home. The thought of living without them is not a viable option.

The only solution then is to bring electricity to his property by way of high voltage power lines. Regular readers certainly remember that Dead Burt put an end to this plan years ago. But Dead Burt is dead. The Wolf has danced a jig on his grave and is now ready to proceed. The series of photos below depicts the latest incarnation of the Lobo's nonsensical drive for boundless electricity. Behold the lengths to which a man will push himself for icy salads and Chuck Norris westerns.

The Jungle Bends to Lobo's Will

An Argument Against Freshman English

From House to Home

A Final Pole Erected

Let The Dim Lighting Pour Forth

Friday, March 12, 2010

Jobo Battles God: The Television That Couldn't

To many readers the Wolf's battle with God's will is still fresh in the mind (If it is not click here). They might remember how the Almighty has taken a liking to reaching down and smiting the Lobo's household appliances. They probably also remember the derisive nickname (Jobo) bestowed upon the Wolf as a means of mocking the pathos oozing from his calls for pity. They will definitely not be surprised to hear that God has added Lobo's television to this long list of trials and tribulations.

That this would happen comes as no surprise to the Wolf. His television is as central to his lifestyle as cold lettuce or ice in his cranberry juice and thus would of course eventually become the target of divine retribution. Over the years the Lobo has learned that nothing hearkens God's wrath quicker than repeated satisfaction and enjoyment.

Yet surprised or not, these malfunctions still excite a deep ire. For it is understandable that God might decide to smite a single television set, or cause one satellite box to malfunction. But to destroy two brand new televisions, four satellite boxes, and a DVD player in the course of a few years is tantamount to a swarm of locusts or an infernal pestilence descending upon the Lobo's little corner of Mexico. What's next, he might ask in the direction of the heavens, hell fire and brimstone?

None of This Will Work Tomorrow

Not one to sit around and wait for the apocalypse, however, the Wolf has devised various ingenious methods for limiting God's unrestricted access to his primary form of nightly entertainment. Because as the Lobo sees it, while God may rule over heaven and earth from his lofty perch in the firmament, no man is more adept at the mortal arts of subterfuge and deception than he is.

His first line of defense is simply to drape a tea cozy over the television so that it matches the color of his walls. Though simple in nature, this tactic serves to camouflage what would otherwise be an obvious target. For the Lobo knows that God is infinitely busy and thus only really has time for the most cursory forms of surveillance.

Television? What Television?

A Trick Even God Could be Proud Of

And in the event that God comes searching during prime time, the Wolf has enacted a devious contingency plan. In a moment of profound inspiration, he struck upon the idea to place a decoy television in his manservant's quarters. That's right, he placed a television previously smote by God's own hands on the detached premises of Dario's residence.

Make no mistake, this was not an easy sell. Dario is a religious man and he didn't want any of God's anger towards the Lobo spilling over onto himself or his family. He also enjoyed watching television in the evenings and thus understandably wasn't interested in God mistakenly reaching down and causing the wrong appliance to malfunction. Once, however, the Wolf pointed out that he in fact owned the house and could do whatever he wanted, the two men reached an uneasy compromise. The cursed decoy set would sit on Dario's porch. Far away from the Lobo's living room and Dario's television alike.

As Good a Spot as Any

God Will Never Know the Difference

Through this tactic, the Lobo has achieved a modicum of success. He has been able to watch television uninterrupted for more than three months. He has even begun boasting to the Badger that he was able to pull the wool over the eyes of God himself. For his part the Badger simply smiles and nods. He also usually shuffles a few feet away so that there will be no mistake as to who the lightning bolt was sent for.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Badger Battles.....Scorpion

Most readers have probably surmised that the Badger has a deep affection for eating. The photos featured in previous posts attest to this fact. What may not be so easily gleaned, however, is the fact that the Tejon enjoys preparing his food almost as much as consuming it.

Amongst other things, the ritual of fixing the evening meal offers yet another outlet through which the Tejon can slough off the accumulated daily stresses of engaging the Lobo. This part of the afternoon is generally split between quiet meditation on the day's events and relaxed speculation as to what the future might hold.

It can happen though that various forces conspire to crush the serenity of the moment. Instances where extenuating circumstances pull the Badger from the cathartic bliss of chopping vegetables or arranging coals for the grill. Though these diversions are neither welcome nor appreciated, they comprise an inevitable aspect of jungle living and thus force the Tejon to abandon his zen cocoon and reluctantly respond to the matters at hand.

Today we find the Badger in the midst of just such a scenario. In this case he has been assailed by a deadly scorpion as he prepares to light the barbecue. For most men such a discovery would not only spoil the calm tranquility of the moment, but also announce the probability of a prolonged and agonizing death. For the Tejon it is just another task preventing him from enjoying his meal. Remember, the Badger spends his days battling a foe more infernal and insidious than any scorpion.

The series of photos below depicts the Tejon as he nonchalantly faces down the formidable adversary. Watch as his combat hardened reflexes take control. Behold as he puts his most trusted ally at ease by making light of a serious situation. And finally observe him as he steals one of the Wolf's most brutal battlefield tactics and dances a brief jig on the body of his vanquished enemy.

Comfort in Charcoal

An Unwelcome Dinner Guest

Kiss of the Badger

It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time

Dance of the Wolf: Reinterpreted

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Badger and Wolf Battle Dolphin....Together?

There are occasions when even the most vicious of battles are halted in the name of dignity and understanding. Times when extenuating circumstances trump the brutality of warfare. Most readers are probably familiar with the tale of German and French soldiers laying down their arms on that fateful Christmas in 1914. They sang songs, played soccer, and shared in yuletide revelry for one day before returning to the trenches and resuming battle. Well Christmas came early in the ongoing conflict between the Badger and the Wolf. And as chance would have it, it took the form of a dead dolphin.

Few things smell worse than rotting flesh. Those who have experienced this olfactory nightmare know that even men and women with ironclad constitutions can be brought to their knees by this most putrid of stenches. It is thus that when the Wolf approached the Tejon and asked for assistance in removing a particularly malodorous dead dolphin from the beach in front of his house, the Badger had no choice but to help.

For the Tejon may be many things, but he is not heartless. He does not revel in the unnecessary suffering of others. His operations against the Lobo are not malicious in nature. They are merely a series of wartime calculations designed to bring a rapid end to an unpleasant conflict.

In addition, on this day the Wolf's parents happened to be visiting from Chicago. And the Badger, ever cognizant of the shifting complexities of battle, saw the potential to win some hearts and minds in Camp Lobo.

The series of photos and videos below depicts this brief d├ętente. If there are those amongst you who think that perhaps the Tejon has lost some of his edge, fear not. For just as the French and German soldiers returned to combat after their brief respite, the Badger has already laid plans for a renewed offensive.

The Wolf Bearing Implements of Destruction

An Uneasy Alliance

Badger Intimidates with Display of Brute Strength

Wolf Offering Assistance

Wolf Thinking Better of It

Help From a Trusted Ally

The Wolf's Parents: A Potential Fifth Column?

One for the Ego

Crips and Bloods? No, Badger and Wolf

A Final Reflection on the Nature of Peace

Friday, March 5, 2010

Badger Battles.....A Mighty Thirst

The strains and pressures of battle are hard on every man. Covert conflicts are perhaps the most taxing because they require personal and close quartered contact with the enemy. Strict attention must be paid to each action undertaken and every word uttered. A single mistimed operation or misplaced sentence can jeopardize the entire campaign.

Such constant vigilance can tear at the very fabric of sanity. Without the occasional release that fabric can begin to fray. And if the stress upon it is ignored altogether it will inevitably be torn asunder by the sheer brutality of the forces acting upon it.

The Badger is well aware of these forces. And as has been documented in the past, he makes ample use of his hammock as a means of exorcising the lingering effects of sabotage and deception. There are instances, however, when the maniacal depths of the Lobo's insanity bear within the Tejon an agitation that cannot be wiped away by the gentle swaying of the hammock or the sweet release of malted barley and hops. There are times when the Badger seeks something stronger. Something capable of burning the Wolf's insidious dysfunction from the depths of his soul.

For these instances the Tejon turns to the languid fire of tequila. Not only is it the spirit most extensively available, but it also offers an intangible asset in the Badger's ongoing conflict with the Wolf. For if there is one thing the Lobo fears more than God's wrath, it is the incursion of anything Mexican into the vicinity of his Mexican compound.

With this knowledge fresh in his mind, the Tejon has developed a fiendishly inventive system for procuring his tequila. Sure, it is one thing to go to the local bottle shop and purchase a ration of the amber elixir. This might afford the Badger a vehicle for his release and perhaps at best disturb his enemy with the knowledge that someone close to him is under the influence of a foreign intoxicant.

It is quite another, however, to don the traditional garb of the jimador and distill the liquor yards from the Lobo's doorstep. In the photos below we see the Tejon engaged in the centuries old process of crafting tequila. We can only imagine the existential dread experienced by the Wolf as he watches the dexterity with which the Badger prepares the agave. We can only wonder at his distress as the acrid smell of the distillation process fills his house. And we can only marvel at the devastating potential of seeing the Tejon's most trusted ally (also donning tradtional garb) prepared for a wild and lavish fiesta.

Wielding the Tools of Cultural Contamination

Having Sampled the Fruit of his Labor...

Enemy at the Gates

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Wolf Battles Internet

The internet has, for all intents and purposes, been thoroughly adopted by the global community. While Iranian protestors organize via Twitter and Chinese hackers attack servers in the United States, vast communities of American octogenarians share inane photos of kittens eating cheeseburgers. You may ask, whose left? The answer is one man.

At the same time that complete digital saturation stands at the threshold of massive cultural acceptance, there remains a lone voice of dissent. Most astute readers have probably already guessed that this voice belongs to the man who refers to himself as Lobo.

Yes, the Wolf hates using the internet. Make no mistake though, the Lobo is no luddite. This is a man who intimately understands the mechanical advantages of wedges, screws, pulleys, and levers. This is a man who excels at constructing marble clad edifices. This is a man who can, from two plastic folding tables, create a stunning kitchen countertop. And yet this is a man who dreads nothing more than operating a computer.

The Gmail and the Google give the Wolf the most problems.

Below is a video surreptitiously captured by a trusted ally of the Badger. It opens with the Lobo struggling to access his Gmail account. We see the Badger offering advice (misinformation no doubt) before he leaves the Lobo to his own devices. This is when the true technological frailty of the Wolf becomes completely apparent. Watch as the Lobo shifts from what is known as the "hunt and peck" method of typing to a confused and halting search for the proper key. Watch as his brow furrows in frustration. Watch as his smoke (probably illicit) bounces between his lips. And perhaps most importantly, watch as the mighty Wolf attempts and fails to conquer the internet (the Badger is snickering off-camera).