Monday, February 23, 2009


Recent conversation between, now adult, Brothers:

Ryan: Yeah, I know this chick who does improv and she's not funny at all. She's like not funny, not cute, and kinda stupid. Actually, she doesn't really have a whole lot going for her. Except that she's, like, well-intentioned.
Dan: How did she get into improv then?
Ryan: No idea. She's like 'yeah, I do improv'. And I'm like, "Uh, is it serious improv"?
Dan: Well, there are different levels of improv. You can join a beginning level improv class.
Ryan: No, I don't mean a serious level of improv. I mean serious improv. As in, not intended to be funny, improvisation that's meant to be serious.
(My brother proceeds to act out a "serious improv" scene.)

At the spry age of 17 my brother had a vision. A year-round hockey player then, no doubt Ryan was in good physical shape. But he wanted more. It was after I spoke with him a few weeks ago when I realized Ryan had burning in him a desire to achieve the most ambitious athletic status the south side of Chicago had ever known:

"Obviously, I wanted to be jacked".

His objective was clear. But only through the search of Ryan's own soul would he determine his vessel to achieve ultimate masculinity.

A lifestyle of rigorous exercise and a scrupulous diet, you say? This is, of course, the route losers choose and fail. No, it would be science that Ryan would eventually turn to in his quest for the eternal six-pack.

And on a frosty Chicago afternoon in the year 2000, hope manifested itself in the form of an info-merical. It was as if Jesus Christ himself had purchased the ad space: The AB-TRONIC.

The AB-Tronic is a belt that goes around the waist (or arms or thighs), and creates electronic impulses which stimulate the muscles. The AB-Tronic can shape muscles while you sit, nap or watch other people exercise. Ten minutes using the AB-Tronic is equivalent to 600 sit-ups! And the best part is no one can see it, as it's easily masked under a shirt. Ugly words like "dedication" and "hard work" have been replaced with "electric shock therapy". All from the privacy of your own home.
Needless to say, my brother had found his vessel. Though even miracles come with a high price. The AB-Tronic was $100 (in 1997). Ryan needed another investor. His little brother Dan seemed all to easy. (See: Me, 14, sporting man boobs and low self-esteem.) My brother, the dapper salesman, approached me in his Green Day Dookie t-shirt. He was methodical with his pitch, pointing out my flaws while simultaneously painting the portrait of what my life could become. And what was most effective came in Ryan's knack for "just telling it like it is".

"Look, we both know you're never going to actually work out. We could go halves on this and both get a sweet six pack. And maybe you could finally get some chicks".
I was sold. A few nights pay for picking up old people's dishes and I could live the dream. The order was placed that afternoon.
It was like Christmas when the package arrived. A super secret Christmas, hidden from my parents who's outdated view of exercise had no room for a new-age machine induced six pack. They simply didn't get it. Makes sense, Humprehy Bogart never had a fucking six pack. I, on the other hand, grew up watching the biker from Terminator 2 put a cigar out on Arnold Schwarzenegger's massively ripped chest. The times they were a changin.

Any new form of technology comes with glitches, and the AB-Tronic was without exception. It was suggested that a gel be applied to the belt to form a barrier between skin and electric volts when in use. The problem: the bottle of gel supplied by the company was very small (around 8 oz.). This in turn lead Ryan to be very conservative about the amount of gel he allowed each of us to use per electro-session.

Dan: There is not enough gel on this thing, the belt is literally zapping me!
Ryan: We have to conserve. Quit being a bitch.

It was less then two weeks later that my brother and I were comparing electric burns on our stomachs in the form of a red rash of bumps. Ryan decided on a trip to Wal-mart and purchased a family-sized container of lubrication. In hindsight, I wonder what type of lubrication he purchased, which isle he found it in and what the expression on the cashier's face looked like. I suppose it's neither here nor there. The point is, we were going through those family-sized bottles of lube faster then old couples do on boner pills. It became much to expensive to keep purchasing lubrication at the rate we were using it.

It was either face repeated electric burns or toss the belt. Ryan and I decided that while we could handle 30 minutes of painful electric zapping, permanent burn rash might not be what chicks were into. Thus, we retired the AB-Tronic.

As years grew, so did the dust on the AB-Tronic. Yet every now and again, the Bush boys threw a party when thier parents left town. On these occasions, the belt would be placed on an unsuspecting drunk guest. With no need to inform them of the nessecary gel application, we cranked it up. Ryan and I would wait patiently for screams of pain as the belt pumped 600 electric volted sit-ups onto thier stomach.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Other Dan Bush

When I was little I used to dream about the existence of another me. Another Dan Bush. Not to be confused with a twin, rather an exact counterpart to my body and soul somewhere out there in the universe.

I imagined that other Dan Bush and I would be into all the same things. Like telling jokes, reading Choose Your Own Adventure books, and running the treadmill on High to skin the faces off my brother's WWF action heros. Other Dan Bush would be sympathetic to me when I got in trouble. He'd be my total bro.

Inspired by my friend Christiane's search for herself on Google, I journied the spiderweb of tubes that connect us (as Al Gore puts it), to find my other self.

The first Dan Bush I came across was a Micro-Biology Professor at UC Berkely. Not a chance. I've never been into science and I don't want to feel the pressure of having to live up to Other Dan Bush for the rest of my life.

The next Dan Bush I found was promising at first, a photographer. I have a deep appreciation for art behind the lens and I aways try to surround myself with artistic people. But upon a second glance, I realized he wasn't going to fit. Dan Bush has been operating a website for ten years: "Missouri Skies: A website dedicated to the ever-changing skies of Missouri. Promoting the enjoyment of sky watching". It was clear that this Dan Bush has only had relations with women via the internet.

And then I found him. Other Dan Bush. And he is not my bro. The picture above and to your left is of him. Okay, I know what your thinking. "Dan, he has a much better jaw line then you". But before you fall for this kid's good looks and High School Musical Swagger, remember where your allegiance lies. This is an excerpt from his website:

"Dan Bush is back, and he's hotter than ever. As for those of you who know me, you can see from my dazzling picture above that I have gone under massive surgery. Fret not my friends, for I am still totally awesome. I'm the hottest thing since the Marcarena. Let's not kid ourselves, you cannot resist me. Give into your human lusts, and check back here for the latest on Dan Bush"

Say hello to Dan Bush, Palientologist/Actor. How it happened is a miraculous, heart-warming story. I was discussing with my agent my not-so-professional love for the awe-inspiring genius known only as Jeff Goldblum. I told him of how I aspired to be either him, or a much hotter him. Then, my agent hit me with the biggest news I may ever receive. His exact words were.. "You know, Dan Bush.. I think I vaguely remember knowing a guy who did some dental work for Jeff Goldblum's niece." Due to time constraints, I will now tell you the end of the story. I met Jeff Goldblum, and we shared a very intimate, one-on-one conversation of his genius role in Jurassic Park 1 & 2. The rest, my friends, is history."

So my search is over. I think I'm okay knowing there is just one person exactly like me. And for those days I wake up wishing I was somewhere else, or someone else for that matter, I have all the Dan Bush's in the world to convince me otherwise.

Due to popular demand (for the 3 people that read this) I have included Other Dan Bush's website:

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Hooters Riot

My mom and I had a discussion today.

Kathy: Do you like Ricky Martin?
Me: .....
Kathy: What, you don't like him?
Dad: Kath, teenage girls like him.
Kathy: Well I like him. I just watched a biography on him today

Let me now travel back in time: New Orleans, July, 2008. 10 teenagers sit shoulder to shoulder in a sticky and stuffy van after a day of mowing lawns. We vibrate to the lyrics of rapper Lil' Wheezy, bags of Flaming Hot Cheetos litter the floor. I drive. My co-crew leader Kelly beside me in shotgun. It is 90+ degrees outside and I have just turned off the heat in the van. A tactic I have employed in executing my mission: everyone must be in seat belt at all times.

(15 minutes earlier....)
Dan: Does everyone have their seat belts on?
Random teenage voices: Yes!!!
[I see Michael, seat beltless in the rear view mirror. Heat is turned to level 3 of 5]
Jamal: Mr. Dan, it's hot up in here! I got my seat belt on, turn off the heat, ya heard!
Dan: Michael, you got anything to say?
[Michael gets smacked on the side of his head by his peer Sean Paul. The sound of a seat belt clicks. Heat is replaced with Air Conditioning]

I, along with two crew leaders, led team Blues 2 in a national service camp where they performed lawn maintenance for disabled and elderly homeowners. Or homes abandoned since Hurricane Katrina.

Earlier, Kelly had brought a book to the work site consisting of life burning questions, that she had been asking the team throughout the day.
(see: "If you could do one thing before you die, what would it be?")
(see also: "If you could have dinner with any celebrity, Ricky Martin aside, who would it be?")

The team had spent roughly three weeks together at this point, and I felt I could let my adult guard down. Talk to them on their level. 'Clown them', as the kids say.

Dan: Okay, if you could take Miss Kelly on a date, where would you go?

Laughter and screams from the males on the team filled the air with teenage testosterone.

Dan: Keep this clean.

Kelly was very well respected by the team, and responses were actually quite mature. I remember things like: "I would take Ms. Kelly to a movie and bowling" or from the girls, "We would so shopping".

Dan: Okay, for the guys. If I were to take you on a guys night out... we'd go to Hooters!"

I don't even know. It just came out. And what followed happened all at once.

Kelly, sitting in shotgun, turned to me and mouthed silently "You've got to be fucking kidding me".

And then the van exploded. It was as if I had brought Taco Bell to a fat camp for kids trying to lose weight. "Yeah Mr. Dan, you da best!" Forearms pounded on the van ceiling, hands drummed on the seats, and I...I tried to mouth silently to Kelly that I was sorry. After which I immediately began trying to put the flames out.

Dan: Alright, relax, relax. It was just a joke.

But it was no good, the riot had begun. And it wasn't going to end until every Gordita Crunch was eaten. I flipped on the heat, Level 4 of 5.

After about thirty seconds the van quieted. Kelly, glaring at me like I just distributed Playboy's to the team, tried to gather her composure.

Kelly: Okay. Let's get the book and ask some other questions. Let's see, if you could go anywhere in the world where would you go?

Kenietta: (One of the most polite girls on the team) I'd go to California Ms. Kelly. They don't got beaches like that in New Orleans.

Jamal: Miss Kelly, ya know where I'd go. HOOTERS!!!

The male mob exploded again, this time in chant. "Hooters! Hooters! Hooters!" As Kelly tried to explain the way Hooters positions the role of woman, the chants grew louder.

Kelly's glare pierced my soul. I hit the heat to level 5.

For the duration of the twenty minute ride from Metterie back to our campus in New Orleans the riot continued on and off.

Q: If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life...?
A: Chicken wings...from Hooters!

Q: What would be your ideal job?
A: A manager Hooters!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Getting A Job

So I haven't written in this blog for awhile. I define 'awhile' here by 7 months.

Let me catch you all up to speed. 

My life for the past 10 months prior November: traveling the country performing service work, such as re-building homes in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and educating inner city kids. 

My life for the past 2 months post November: listening to saxophone riffs of Disney songs in Panera Bread - my asylum away from home and parents. Currently playing: "I Can Go The Distance", from Hercules. Points for job hunting inspiration.

I wonder if Hercules ever had trouble finding a job in an economic recession. Okay, being half God is always a good business to get into. And would probably be that much more lucrative in harsh financial times, as crime is usually higher and Hercules was always known for purging towns of villains

But what would happen if the town could no longer afford to provide Hercules with slabs of meat and grape feeding mistresses. He might have to start exaggerating and inflating his 'good deed' numbers. Eventually people would invest more 'stock' (see: grain and daughters) in him, and when they find out he's a hack, it would be to late. The myth of Hercules would already be collapsed... hundreds of towns people counting on him would be fucked. Hercules would become Enron.

So while at Panera Bread I was chatting with my friend online, lets call her, Katie Mary. The conversation was again about possible career routes. 

Dan: So do you like working on political campaigns?
Katie: So much fun, I love it. I even met one of my best friends on a campaign.
Dan: You sound like you're doing an infomercial testimony. 
Katie: Ha.
Dan: I wonder if I could just get a job working infomercials. Like find out what products are coming out, try them and then contact the companies  and explain how much I love what their product has done for me. Then star in the infomercials. Except I think they just call those actors.
Katie: They do. I know some. Sort of.  

Warning: Blog entries will become more cynical as unemployment lingers. (See: Earlier dated purpose-filled blogs)

Monday, May 19, 2008

We Know You Love The Devil...

We Know You Love The Devil...

Goverment Recipient's
Loud Mouth Women
High Fullentent's
Sophisticated Swine
Effeminate Men
Sports Nut's

Repent and Believe in Jesus...

I learned the do's and dont's of heaven and hell from a 6 foot high red poster on Bourbon St. It was my first weekend in New Orleans, and the man holding it was fat with lines shaved into the back of his head. Apparently when they were 'born-again', Jesus forgot to tell them how to use apostrophes.

I was curious. I approached the man with the mega phone and rat stash.

Me: Excuse me sir, what exactly is a high fullentent?
Repent or Perish: Someone who thinks they are better than you.
Me: Oh. Like you?
Repent or Perish: No. I am righteous. You're not.

So Bourbon St. is completly ridic. (See: 'Abbrevs'). One can drink in the street, listen to jazz, see two girls rip each others hair out and watch moms throw up - all for the small asking price of their eternal soul. And yet, after all that, even on Bourbon one can be saved.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Meet the Carters

Hello Cretins. Let me first give you a brief personal history of the word cretin and its importance for me. About 13 years ago my brother Ryan and I were fortunate enough to be bumped up to first class on a TWA flight because of my mom’s former career. Upon situating himself in his posh seat, Ryan realized that the curtain separating first-class and business class was drawn. He turned to me, and with his unnaturally large and unruly eyebrows furled said, “Uh, excuse me flight attendant. Could you please close the curtains? The Cretins can see us”.

So I live in Nawlins' now. The big easy. I have absolutely fallen in love with the city. Our lime green apartment building stands above a royal purple fence adorned with barb wire in the upper ninth ward (a wee bit sketch). The French Quarter is only 2 miles away, and yes, we have already walked to Bourbon Street. A sub cultural experience all in itself. The architecture of the French quarter is awesome. You could probably walk the whole city when it’s raining and never feel a drop as your body is protected by all of the cast iron balconies and galleries (recently learned that a ‘gallery’ is a balcony with support beams attached to the street). And the culture is so unique because the city was once divided by the French Creole and the Puritan Americans. There is also a heavy Voodoo influence brought about by the slaves. The French Quarter is still littered with Voodoo shops ornamented with hanging chicken feet and sacred alters that are only to be touched by those that seek bad luck. Or drunks.

On our first day we drove through the lower ninth ward and saw where the levee had broken. I had heard it be described as a third world. For my Chicagoans - imagine North Beverly utterly wiped off the map. Nonexistent. A field of cement stoops that lead to nothing. A third world.

My quest now is to learn as much about Hurricane Katrina and its effects. On Friday I got one step closer.

We painted the interior of Henry and Verlena Carters house in the lower ninth ward. 5319 North Rampart Street. Interior painting is far more difficult than exterior, especially in New Orleans. We worked in humid weather with a Mississippi house captain who demanded perfection. Adding to the challenge, my team was a little ‘painted out’, as we had spent the last 7 weeks in Florida painting homes. When all was finished the house looked great, and Henry Carter agreed.

He walked around the inside of his freshly painted home in a giant blue Hawaiian shirt with a cane and a grin.

“My oh my, it looks great. You did a great job. We gonna throw a party here!” he said.

As Henry was taking a stroll through the house Verlena was on the porch explaining her and Henry’s evacuation from their home. They were lucky enough to have been apart of the bunch that was emergency evacuated 4 days before the storm hit. Others were not so lucky. Because the city transportation operators and drivers were evacuated early from the city, and most residents in the ninth ward don’t own cars – exiting the city was literally impossible for many. The water in the ninth ward rose to roof level, and would sit at that level for days. People sought safety on their roofs, waving white bed sheets to alert rescue helicopters. The home next to the Carters was totally destroyed. We met the owner, a jolly robust black man named Darrell, who seemed happy we were there. When conversing with Darell I nodded my head often, as his thick Louisiana accent made it impossible to understand.

The Carters thanked us with a card and some Pralines (a New Orleans sweet) and invited us back sometime next week. I hope we arrive in time to party…Henry looks like he rages.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Math Bingo breeds school bullies

Announcement: The date for cutting all of you out of my life has been pushed back once again. So…welcome to my blog minions!

I currently reside in Ft. Myers, Florida - home of spring breakers, old people, Thomas Edison's summer home, pick-up trucks, and rat stashes. My dreams are manifested on a military cot in an apartment complex recently inhabitated by victims of Hurricane Charlie. Eleven of us occupy five rooms. I am a member of Team Eagle Six.
(See Also: Badger Unit)
(See Also: Wolf Unit)
( See Also: Griffindor, Slytherin, and Huffelpuff)

We only have two neighbors, one of which drives a white pick-up truck mounted on 4 ft. high wheels, whom I hate. The other is our gracious apartment manager, who totes around her yippee french poodle - which I hate. We rage fairly often. (See: 604 S. Clinton, my old house at the University of Iowa).

Our project is with the City of Ft. Myers. Three days a week we repair and paint homes for elderly and disabled people with the City Code Enforcement division. The other two days are spent tutoring children at Franklin Elementary School. Unfortunately, tourism and aesthetic appeal of downtown Ft. Myers masks the poverty a few miles across the tracks. Literally. 93% of Franklin’s enrollment is in poverty and eligible for state provided lunches. The project became even more important for me when I learned that most students have little or no adult male influence in their lives.

Playing Mr. Dan has been one of my most challenging roles yet. I now often hate myself as a tyke who never exercised self-control. Aside from reflective self-animosity, teaching has been quite rewarding. Highlights include: Helping students comprehend what they read, getting kids excited about otherwise lame lessons (subtraction can be fun when kids are pinned against each other in do-or-die competition...Bingo), learning the 'Soldier Boy' dance from my 2nd graders and listening to teacher gossip.

I have stumbled upon the realization that it's indeed possible to be more mature than 40 year old woman.