Saturday, July 30, 2011

Searching for Cortes

Hernan Cortes.  Explorer.
Try as we might, there is simply no way to avoid the various forms of physical and emotional punishment life has in store for us every day.  All we can do is close our eyes and embrace the pain, and then do our best to patch the wounds, soothe the battered feelings and move forward.  To help with the recovery, nature has considerately provided us with a universal cure.

It's called "Mom."

No matter what ails you, Mom can take care of it.  She'll put mercurochrome and a band-aid on the knee you scraped playing touch football in the street.  She'll prepare an ice pack for the purplish knot on your forehead you got from the neighborhood rock war.  And in your teen years, she'll give you a hug and a vote of confidence after you spill your guts to her about how totally unfair it is that even though Brenda Cantrell told you she thinks you're really funny and nice and made you fall completely in love with her, she turned around and went to the Valentine's Day dance with that meathead Brent Chastain.

Moms are psychiatric therapy and Robitussin all wrapped up in a flowery apron.


Mike the Whip had a mom too, her name was Cheryl, and she was one tough lady.  She raised her three children more or less on her own, and we're not talking about the Brady kids, either.  Mike and his sister and brother were the rough-and-tumble type, and keeping them in line was no easy task.  She laid down the law, and ruled with an iron fist.  A wooden spoon, actually.  Suffice it to say, I saw her crack the Whip on more than one occasion.

She was not exactly Shirley Jones from The Partridge Family, is what I'm saying.  She was more like Deacon Jones from the Los Angeles Rams.

It was a snowy Sunday morning, about nine o'clock.  I'd spent the night at Mike's house, and we were sitting at his kitchen table finishing off our bowls of Froot Loops, discussing our plans to build a snow fort in his front yard and pelt the passing cars with a barrage of snowballs.  A howl from down the hall interrupted our conversation.


"Uh-oh," I said.  "What'd you do now?"

"Nothin', I don't think.  I'd better -- "


"Jesus, Mom, keep your pants on!  I'm coming!" 

I ignored the Freudian implications of Mike's response, not that I'd have thought of it in those terms when I was ten, and continued shoveling Froot Loops into my mouth as Mike went to see what his Mom wanted.  He was back a few minutes later with a ten-dollar bill in his hand.

"C'mon, she wants us to go to Cumberland."  Cumberland Farms was a small convenience store a couple blocks away.  We put on our coats and went out into the snow.

"So what are we getting?" I asked.

"Something called Cortez."

"What's that?"

"Beats me."

"Didn't you ask her?"

"I tried, but she just started yelling at me to go get Cortez.  She's in a real bad mood."

"Isn't she always?" I asked, as I a made a snowball and pegged the stop sign at the corner of Runyon and Grove.

"Yeah, but she's even worse than normal today.  I think she's sick."  Sensing a challenge, Mike made a snowball of his own, stepped back ten feet or so, and took his shot.  He hit the sign right in the middle of the O.  We spent the next ten minutes firing snowball grenades from all angles and distances.  As usual, Mike won.  Final score was fifteen to twelve.

We walked into Cumberland Farms and headed toward the aisle with the band-aids and aspirin.  We figured it was as good a place to start as any.

"How do you spell 'Cortez?'" he asked, scanning the shelves.  In our circle of friends, I was the "smart one."  It was a relative term, to say the least.

"Well, if it's like the guy we're learning about in social studies, it's C-O-R-T-E-S.  Or maybe it's a Z at the end.  Something like that."  In Miss Baron's fifth grade class, we'd just studied explorers.  Hernan Cortes, Vasco da Gama, Ferdinand Magellan.  Those guys.

"I don't see anything even close to that."

"Maybe we should ask Mr. Panella."

Mr. Panella was the weekend clerk at Cumberland Farms.  Mike and I, along with most of our friends, used the mini-mart as our one-stop superstore for baseball cards, slushies, Bottle Caps, Charleston Chews, Mason Dots, Sprees, Twizzlers, and other childhood staples.  A couple years later, on a dare of course, Mike would pilfer a six pack of Old Milwaukee from the refrigerator section.  On Mr. Panella's watch.

"How you boys doin' today?  Enjoyin' the snow?"

"Yeah, absolutely," I said.  "Gonna build a fort later on."

"Ah yes, snow forts.  I don't suppose you're planning on throwing snowballs at cars or anything, are ya?" he asked rhetorically.  Not getting a response, he continued, "Ya need help finding something?"

"Yeah, we're lookin' for something called Cortez," said Mike.  "Do you have that?"

"Cortez?" asked Mr. Panella.  "Is it some kind of candy?"

The likelihood of Mike's mom sending us out in the snow to get her a previously-unknown brand of chocolate bar was right up there with the possibility of Mike and I spending a snow-day off from school studying our multiplication tables.

"Nah," said Mike, "It's not candy, but I'm not sure what it is.  My mom's in bed sick, so it's probably medicine or something."

"Sick?  Is it a headache, or is she throwing up?"

"I dunno.  She said she has cramps and she's really crabby.  Crabbier than usual, I mean."

A woman behind us in line had overheard our conversation, and she tapped Mike on the shoulder.  Undoubtedly, in a future conversation, Mike would refer to this brief contact as "getting to second base with an older woman."  He was like that.

Smiling, she said to Mike, "Follow me, I think I know what you're looking for."  We followed her back to the medicine aisle, passed by the Tylenol, the cough syrup, the Q-tips.  She reached for a box and handed it to Mike.

"Here's what your mother sent you for.  Better get them home to her right away."  She walked away, chuckling.

Mike looked at the package, puzzled.  "Kotex?  What the hell's this?"

"What's it say on the box?"

Kotex.  Nothing at all like Cortes.
"Kotex sani-something napkins?  She sent us here for napkins?"

"I guess.  That lady seemed to know what she was talking about.  Might as well get it."

"Okay, but if I get smacked 'cause this is the wrong thing, I'm kicking your ass."

We took the Kotex to the counter, and Mike fished the ten-spot out of his coat pocket.

"Well, well," said Mr. Panella.  "This would certainly explain the crabbiness."

We had no idea what he was talking about. 

Back at Mike's house, we stomped the snow off our shoes on the front porch, and walked in.  As soon as the door slammed shut, we heard the voice from the bedroom.


"I'm tellin' ya, Chris, this better be what she wanted."

"Good luck, man."

He returned a minute later, looking relieved.  "Yep, that was it.  She's still crabby, though.  But at least she let me keep the change.  Four bucks!"

So we put our coats back on and walked back to Cumberland Farms, stopping for a snowball-at-the-stop-sign rematch along the way, and bought four dollars worth of Bottle Caps and Charleston Chews.

All in all, not a bad morning.  And we still had the snow fort to look forward to.


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Thursday, July 21, 2011


Mike the Whip was the first friend I ever had.

His family lived right across the street from mine, on Runyon Avenue in a small New Jersey town.  Mike and I met when we were three years old, and for the better part of twelve years, we encountered all sorts of relatively mild adventures.  Whether we were imitating our hero Evel Knievel or busting light bulbs at an abandoned toy factory, Mike was always the star of the show.  He was fearless, fun-loving, and couldn't say no to a dare.  Everyone should have a friend like Mike the Whip.

For a number of reasons that I won't get into here, Mike's childhood was shorter than most kids'.  When we were twelve, his family moved a few miles away, and we lost touch.  But a couple years later they returned, so Mike and I were classmates in ninth grade.  He'd only been gone a short time, but a lot of changes happen between the ages of twelve and fifteen, and I noticed that Mike was somehow different . . . edgier.  Don't misunderstand, he was still a loyal friend with a good heart, but a lot of the "fun" was gone.  He was more serious about things, and seemed to be expecting the worst in most situations.  For example, our friend Paul and I had been receiving a lot of harassment from a kid named Gordie, who lived down the street.  Nothing too serious, mainly threats and verbal bullshit, but when Mike heard about it he decided to take care of things.  The next time Gordie showed up on our block, Mike walked up to him and without saying one word, blasted him in the jaw with a right hook.

The harassment stopped.

Then my family moved to Southern California and although I never heard from Mike again, I never forgot him.  I've greatly enjoyed sharing our adventures with all of you, and while I'll admit to a certain amount of "artistic license," the Mike that comes across in these stories is a reasonable facsimile of who he was as a kid.  Over the years, I've tried to hunt him down on the web, Google searches and what not, and until recently I had no success whatsoever.  A few days ago, through a friend, I found out that Mike changed his last name when he was eighteen . . . he took his mom's maiden name as his own.  With that information, I was finally able to track Mike down.

Here's what I found out.

After high school, Mike lived for several years in a town not far from where we grew up and worked as a bartender.  After that, he got married, moved to Florida, and became an ironworker.  This is not a great deal of information, but it was something, and I would have been very happy to have learned at least this much if not for one detail.

I was reading it in an obituary from 2002.

Mike the Whip died at age 37 as the result of "a tragic accident at work."  Knowing Mike, he was probably doing something difficult or dangerous that no one else wanted to do, but needed to be done.  That's who he was.


There are many more Mike the Whip stories that I want to share from our youth, but those will have to wait for another time.  For now, I want to remember who he was, think about the man he became, and mourn how he left us far too soon.

Take care, Mike.  We won't forget you.


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Monday, July 18, 2011

The Best and the Worst: Sports Names

There have been some great names in the history of organized sports.  Some names are memorable for the way they sound to the ear, names like Cassius Clay and Antero Niittymaki for example.  Names with onomatopoeic qualities are also a lot of fun.  You'd be hard-pressed to find a more appropriately-named hockey player than former Tampa Bay Lightning bruiser Radek Bonk.

At the other end of the spectrum, you'll find names that are at best unfortunate and at worst, tragic.  I could probably do an entire top ten list of athletes whose names would be more suitable for adult film stars, but for the sake of variety I'll resist the temptation.  Therefore, former major leaguers Johnny "Ugly" Dickshot, Dick Pole and Pete LaCock didn't make the final cut.

For our purposes here, we're only going to use athletes' given names.  Anyone can come up with a catchy nickname like Magic Johnson, Too Tall Jones or Boom Boom Mancini.  But it's a true mark of greatness (or embarrassment) when you've got a memorable moniker right from birth.

So grab your peanuts and Crackerjacks and enjoy your visit to the Sports Name Hall of Fame/Shame.


1. Mickey Mantle (MLB) 

"Now batting, for the Yankees . . . centah fieldah . . . numbah seven . . . MICKEY MANTLE . . . numbah seven."

When Yankee Stadium public address announcer Bob Sheppard introduced Mantle to the crowd, it was like the voice of God.  Simply put, there is no better name in sports than the alliterative and All-American sounding Mickey Mantle.  It's the perfect name for an athlete, or possibly a superhero.

"Mild-mannered bank teller Mickey Mantle spends the daylight hours blending in among the citizens of New York City, but when darkness falls and the criminal element creeps out from dank cellars and secret hideaways, Mantle downs a couple shots of Jim Beam and a six-pack of Budweiser and becomes . . . CAPTAIN CHARISMA!"

One of the greatest Yankees of all time, he also has the greatest name.  Eat your heart out, Joe Dimaggio.  

2. Usain Bolt (Track and Field)

The fastest sprinter in the world has a name like "Bolt?"  The headlines practically write themselves.


I wonder if the name is what inspired him to become a track star.  If he were named Usain Vault, would he have risen to fame as an Olympic gymnast?  Would an up-and-coming Usain Splash have unseated Michael Phelps as the greatest swimmer on the planet?  Don't look now, Shaun White, but you're about to hand over your snowboarding crown to the great Usain McHalfpipe.

The name makes the man, or so they say.

3. Lindy Ruff (NHL)

In hockey, there is a situation known as "coincidental minor penalties."  This is when two players from opposing teams are simultaneously slapped with two-minute sentences in the penalty box for minor infractions such as hooking, slashing, or failing to end a sentence with the word "eh?"

I know.  Canadians.

Anyway, I think a better definition of a coincidental minor penalty would be if former NHL defenseman Bill Houlder were penalized for holding.  Or if Cory Cross were sent off for cross-checking.  And of course, in keeping with the topic at hand, if ex-Buffalo Sabre Lindy Ruff were banished to the sin bin for roughing.

What a great name, though, right?  Ruff.  And he'd better be.  Imagine the trash talk if he lost a fight.

"Get up, Lindy, and see if you can find the rest of your teeth.  From now on, we're gonna call you 'Lindy Timid.'" 
4. Van Lingle Mungo (MLB)

I love the way this one rolls off the tongue.  Van Lingle Munnnnn-go.  Apparently so does jazz singer/pianist Dave Frishberg, because he wrote a song about it.  In fact, when you Google "Van Lingle Mungo" you get more hits for the song than you do for the actual guy, who was a pretty decent pitcher for the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1930's.   

Click here to listen to Frishberg's tune, you won't be sorry.

5. Scott Speed (NASCAR)

This one is so perfect I'm tempted to not even believe it's his real name.  I can just see the young and aspiring race driver Scott Kromwicki sitting around one day thinking, "Man, I'll never make it in NASCAR with a name like Kromwicki.  I need to come up with something zippy, something flashy."  After rejecting "Scott O'Sparkplug," "Scott Turbo," and even "Slammin' Scotty Bumpdraft," he finally settled upon the simple and memorable Scott Speed.  It sounds like Speed Racer's cousin, or something.

But he didn't make it up at all . . . that's the name he was born with.  And it's absolutely perfect for the NASCAR circuit.

Too bad he's not very good.  Hasn't won in several years.
Maybe he should adopt a pseudonym like "Scott Slow."

HONORABLE MENTIONS: Jonathan Quick (NHL), Shaquille O'Neal (NBA), Jeff Beukeboom (pronounced BOO-Kaboom, like an exploding ghost) (NHL)


1. Dick Trickle (NASCAR)

Easily the most ridiculous name in sports, if not the entire history of mankind.  I've never understood why guys named Richard willingly go by the name "Dick."  Even when you have a normal last name, like York or Van Patten, it can't do much for the ego when you're hearing, "Hey, how are you today, DICK?"  But when your last name is also a word . . . it can lead to absolute disaster.

Seriously, Dick Trickle?  It sounds like a diagnosis you'd get from a urologist.

"We just got the results back from the lab, and while your prostate looks fine, it seems like you've got an advanced case of dick trickle.  Here's a prescription for Flomax, and we'll schedule a follow-up exam for next month."

Seems like Ricky Trickle would've been a wiser choice.

2. Grant Balfour (MLB)

Let's examine this one, shall we?  If your name is the command "GRANT BALL FOUR," what would be the absolute worst job for you to have?


Grant Balfour is a major league pitcher for the Oakland A's.  Amazingly, he's not the first hurler to overcome a name that implies ineptitude.  Back in the 1980's, the Pittsburgh Pirates had a pitcher by the name of Bob Walk.

Announcers must love it.  "The three-one pitch . . . slider, low and outside, Grant Balfour just did."

I can hardly think of anything worse.  An NFL kicker named Steve Widewright?  A running back named Tyrell Fumbleman?

Grant Balfour.  I guess it's better than Dick Trickle.

3. Fair Hooker (NFL)

Listen up, parents.  When your last name is a synonym for prostitute, you have to be very, very careful about naming your child.  "Michael Hooker" isn't going to attract unwanted attention.  "Rich Hooker" and "Randy Hooker" most definitely will.

Which brings us to former Cleveland Browns wide receiver, Fair Hooker.  Let me start by saying, what the hell?  "Fair" isn't even a name.  It's like Mr. and Mrs. Hooker did this on purpose.  You can even look at it two different ways:

While many Vegas prostitutes do an outstanding job of customer "service," Champagne Fixxx is only a below average-to-fair hooker.

Cinnamon Bunns told me I could get a full hour for two hundred bucks, but then she left after forty-five minutes.  She is not a very fair hooker.

Monday Night Football's Don Meredith said it best.  "Fair Hooker?  I've never met one." 

One very tall Fucka.
4. Gregor Fucka (European Basketball)

Okay, okay, to be completely fair about it, there's supposed to be some little symbol over the c, the name's Slovakian, and it's pronounced "FOOTCH-ka."

But still.

One can only imagine the hell his MOTHER went through.  "Are you Mother Fucka?"

And imagine what happened when she had to pick up the kids at the babysitter.  "Ivan and Helga are here to get their little Fuckas.  And not a moment too soon, those Fuckas were absolutely horrible today.  I can't want for them to get the Fuckas out of here."

Sure, as a European basketball player, he's a virtual unknown here in the States, but one can only hope he'll someday find his way to the NBA.  I'd love to see him play for the Knicks.  You know the Madison Square Garden crowd would hang a huge banner:


5. Craphonso Thorpe (NFL)

It started innocently enough.  Craphonso's father is named Craig Alphonso Thorpe, who thought it would be clever to smash his first and middle names together to create "Craphonso" (pronounciation: Cra-FONZ-o).  Pretty clever, actually, and if his name were Robert Edward Thorpe, having a son named Robard would be unusual, but not embarrassing.  But I don't completely blame Mr. and Mrs. Thorpe for this one.  Someone at the hospital needed to step up to avert this disaster.  I'm picturing the scene, when they're giving the information to the nurse in charge of the birth certificate.

NURSE: Okay, Mr. Thorpe, have you and your wife chosen a name?
CRAIG: Yes we have, we're going to call him Craphonso.
NURSE: Can you spell that for me?
CRAIG: Sure.  C-R-A-P . . ."
NURSE: Whoa, whoa, whoa, are you sure about this?
CRAIG: What?
NURSE: That spells "crap."  You really want to do that to the kid?
CRAIG: It uses both my names.  Craig and Alphonso.  Cra-FONZ-o.  Get it?
NURSE: Yes.  I get it.  It starts with crap, and he's going to hate you.
CRAIG: Just write it down, that's what we're going with.

Good thing dad's name wasn't Balthazar Isaac Thorpe.  Otherwise, Peyton Manning would be completing touchdown passes to a guy named Balsaac.

DISHONORABLE MENTIONS: Dick Butkus (NFL), Miroslav Satan (NHL, and sadly, NOT for the New Jersey Devils), Ron Tugnutt (NHL)


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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

What Ever Happened To . . . Pebbles Flintstone?

The only daughter of Fred and Wilma Flintstone, Pebbles lived as normal a childhood as possible, when you consider that her dog was a barking dinosaur, their kitchen sink was a woolly mammoth, and the family car was powered by her father's oversized feet.  By all accounts, Pebbles had a bubbly personality, cheerful disposition, and was a joy to be around.

During her junior year at Bedrock High School, however, her demeanor began to change. Pebbles had developed into an attractive teenager (according to a male classmate named Shale McQuarry, she was "a stone cold knockout"), but she was uncomfortable with that sort of attention which caused her to become withdrawn, and her self-image deteriorated rapidly.

"We didn't notice it right away," admits Wilma. "But Pebbles became sullen and moody. She was involved with the boy next door, and he was always polite to Fred and me, but we just weren't sure about the nature of their relationship. They'd go into Pebbles' room, and for hours we'd hear nothing but 'Bamm! Bamm! Bamm bamm bamm! Looking back, maybe we should've talked to her about it."

Pebbles dropped out of high school halfway through 12th grade and took a job as a waitress at the local Hootstones. The attention of older men gave her the self-esteem she'd never gotten from her relationship with, as Fred called him, "that Rubble kid." Pebbles was growing up quickly.

Too quickly, as it turned out.

"Working at Hootstones showed me that I could be my own woman," said Pebbles in an interview for Rocksmopolitan Magazine. "My high school relationship was purely physical, and Bamm Bamm didn't respect me one bit. I wasn't meant to be the plaything of some hormonal Neanderthal. I'm better than that."

When her Hootstones income proved insufficient to support her increasingly materialistic and self-centered lifestyle, Pebbles took to stripping. Headlining at the Spearmint Stegosaurus, she averaged several hundred bones a week, just in tips. At the age of 20, Pebbles was invited by none other than Hugh Hefrock to spend a few weeks at the Caveboy Mansion. She quickly became Hef's favorite, and was featured as the Cavemate of the Month in the magazine's July issue.

Predictably, Pebbles soon outlived her usefulness to Hef and, running low on viable options, she returned to Bedrock to try to reconcile with her estranged parents. When her bus pulled into Granite Central Station, however, she was greeted by none other than her ex-boyfriend Bamm Bamm Rubble, who'd armed himself with two dozen roses and a Whitrock's Sampler. They walked to a nearby coffee shop, and reminisced about days gone by.

Pebbles decided to give him another chance.

When your main squeeze has a nightclub bouncer name like "Bamm Bamm", there's no point crying "foul" when he clubs you upside the head for overcooking the brontosaurus burgers. On a muggy August night, Rubble knocked Pebbles unconscious with repeated bamms to the head. Thinking he'd punched her ticket to the big quarry in the sky, Bamm Bamm rushed her to nearby Bedrock General Hospital where she was immediately taken in for surgery.

Distraught at what he'd done, Bamm Bamm drove to the home of his parents, Barney and Betty. When he told them the story, the three Rubbles went next door to break the news to the Flintstones.

This was a poor decision.

Upon hearing that his Pebbly-Poo had been reduced to a comatose red-headed fossil, Fred went absolutely sabertoothed-tigershit. He stormed into his bedroom, got his Slate and Wesson 357 Night Guard, and dropped Bamm Bamm with a bullet to the head.

Fred Flintstone was arrested and convicted for the murder of Bamm Bamm Rubble. He is currently serving a life sentence in Gravelworth Penitentiary.

Although Pebbles survived the savage beating, she was never quite the same. She has frequent dizzy spells, occasional memory loss, and a few really unattractive scars. An attempted civil suit against the Rubbles was short-circuited when Barney Rubble pointed out (reasonably), "Hey, our kid is dead. Yours is just a bit wonky. Whaddaya say we call it a wash?"

Putting the past behind them, Barney and Betty Rubble moved to Fort Lauderstone, and are currently retired.

Pebbles lives at home with Wilma and Dino the Dinosaur.

And Bamm Bamm is still dead.


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Monday, July 4, 2011

Doody Duty

If you're a dog owner like I am, you've probably devised an efficient and reasonably sanitary system for removing your pet's butt biscuits from your yard.  My technique is fairly simple: Theresa does it.  This is because, without putting too fine a point on it, our dogs Munson and Newton are the canine version of Beavis and Butthead which is to say, they are incredibly stupid when it comes to finding a proper location for doing their business.

Case in point.  Our backyard is a combination of bare lawn (read: dirt), decorative rock, and patio.  And also a swimming pool, but thankfully, the pool is not a major character in this troubling tale of turdish treachery.  You would think that the easiest and most comfortable place for our wonder mutts to drop the doggy deuce would be the dirt, right?  Well, you are exactly wrong.  They often choose to go on the rocks which, on particularly warm days, makes for a fairly disgusting clean-up process.

At least that's what Theresa tells me.

Welcome to Atlantic City.
But cleaning up after our dogs is a duty (rimshot) we humans must undertake with diligence because otherwise the entire planet will be overcome with poop and end up smelling like Philadelphia.  You're probably thinking, hey, didn't he mean to say "end up smelling like New Jersey?"  No, I did not.  Bashing New Jersey is a cruel and over-used cheapshot taken by comedians who don't appreciate the Garden State's finer qualities.  I happen to be from Jersey (specifically, Exit 9), and I therefore know that it doesn't smell anything like dog poop.

It smells like raw sewage and chemical waste.

In breaking news from Lebanon, New Hampshire which I am not making up, Debbie Violette, the manager of Timberwood Commons Apartments, has implemented her plan to identify and prosecute individuals who do not clean up after their Shih-Tzus and poodles.  Using scientific technology developed by BioPet Vet Labs, Violette patrols the apartment complex, collects samples of dog poop that have been carelessly left on the property, and with the help of -- I'm still not making this up -- "PooPrints" DNA testing, determines the identity of the offending dog and owner.  For this to work, of course, Timberwood Commons's dog owners are required to submit a DNA sample to Violette's office to be filed for future reference.

Debbie Violette, Doody DNA Specialist
"I want people to know we're serious about this," says Violette.  "We've tried sending warning letters, we've tried doing a lot of things."

I'm not sure why Violette thought that dogs would respond to warning letters, since they can't open envelopes without shredding them completely to smithereens, but I admire her creativity in addressing such a stinky situation.  She could really take it to the next level by getting the CSI specialists involved.

Cue theme music: "Whooooo are you?  Doo doo, doo doo . . . "

Interior: Forensic laboratory, Crime Scene Investigation Unit, Las Vegas, Nevada.  Lead Investigator Gil Grissom and Level 3 Investigator Nick Stokes have received an evidence sample from freelance investigator Debbie Violette of the Timberwood Commons Fecal Collection Team and are completing their final analysis.

GRISSOM: Judging from the size and consistency of this sample, we're probably looking at a small-to-medium sized canine with a canned dog food diet.  Could be a cocker spaniel, a beagle maybe.  I'm going to run the DNA sample through DeCAP and see if we get a match.


GRISSOM: Stands for "Defecating Canine Apprehension Program."  The database contains information on all dogs in North America, including the name and address of their owner, genetic background, and criminal history.

STOKES: That's dog-gone brilliant!

GRISSOM: You're a riot, Nick.  

CSI experts Brass, Grissom, and Stokes always get their mutt.
Grissom runs the sample, and retrieves a print-out of the results.

GRISSOM: Looks like we found our culprit.  This poop was left on the grounds of Timberwood Commons Apartment Complex by a six-year old Boston Terrier named Max, owned by a Jonathan Tompkins of Lebanon, New Hampshire.

STOKES: Any priors?

GRISSOM: This mutt's got a rap sheet as long as a greyhound's hind leg.  Three outstanding warrants for unlawful defecation, six counts of felony catslaughter, a couple citations for public urination and a misdemeanor for destruction of a couch cushion.

STOKES: I'll call the Lebanon Department of Animal Control with the results.  It's about time to get that bad dog off the streets.

End Scene.

Even with the fancy technology, it's just a matter of time until dogs and their owners figure out a way to beat the system.  For example, instead of sending in an initial DNA sample from your own actual dog, you could steal some poop from a neighbor dog's pile and submit that.  This way, when your dog takes a dump on the complex's lawn and you ignore it like you always do because you're a lazy son of a bitch who has no regard for the environment or the soles of your neighbors' sneakers, the DNA testing will eliminate your canine as a suspect.

Violette would have to be on the lookout for turd burglars, is what I'm saying.

As a favor to those around you, always take a few minutes to scoop up your dog's poop.  Even without the threat of DNA evidence and eventual prosecution, it's still the right thing to do.  As I said, it's not that difficult or time consuming.

Especially if you can make a family member do it.


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