3/23/2007

A Day at McDonald's

Note to the reader: I apologize for my absence and my infrequency of posts. That damn SOCOM 3 has me addicted. I'm weaning myself off the PS2 and should be fit and primed shortly.


Today I ate lunch at McDonald's. Usually when I dine out (yes, to me fast food can be "dining") I bring something to read. As I eat and then for some time afterward, I read my book or the paper or some lunatic's manifesto. It's blissful. I'm not sure why reading while eating out is more fulfilling than reading at home. When I read at home, I feel like I'm wasting the day. Shouldn't I be doing something more productive, like watching television? But when I'm in a restaurant, reading is the perfect complement to the meal. Pure leisure.

Today I opted for McDonald's. It sounded appetizing. McDonald's food has a peculiar quality: it always disappoints you, but given enough time, you'll crave it again. Then you indulge that craving and rediscover how awful the food is. You swear never to return. Then your cravings get the better of you. You go to McDonald's again, gag, and so on. I think that's what McDonald's means when they print those "recycle" emblems on the packaging.

I secured a tray of chicken nuggets, fries and apple pies and reconnoitered the restaurant for a cozy booth in the sun. Despite the lunch crowd and the ocean of seniors nursing cups of coffee, I manged to find 4 sun-kissed booths in a row. Each was perfect for an afternoon of reading. That is, each of them would have been perfect, except for the obnoxious blue circle I finally noticed on the edge of each table with the handicapped emblem. Evidently, squadrons of handicapped people converge on the McDonald's and establish a beachhead on the south border of the restaurant. Four booths? Four entire booths? How many handicap people could possibly arrive at McDonald's at the same time? After all, they're handicapped. One would think they'd opt for the drive-through. Furthermore, their bodies are obviously ailing. Perhaps burgers, fries and processed fried chicken aren't the wisest dietary choices. I won't pass judgment. But I will suggest that as McDonald's is hardly an essential service, you gimpy bastards can take your chances with the seating like the rest of us.

This is the kind of shit that puts me at odds with the universe. From 0500 until midnight, thousands of people go without the finest seating in the restaurant on the slim chance that at some point in the day, 23 handicapped people will arrive at a McDonald's at the same time and demand handicapped seating. This is ri-God-damned-diculous. And I know I'm not the only one who feels this way. In fact, I'll bet most people do. Making provisions for handicapped patrons is admirable. But the degree to which we go to make a largely symbolic gesture (wouldn't a single table do, or a single handicapped parking space?) infuriates me.

The question is, why? Why do McDonald's and a thousand other companies go beyond the practical, the sensible, and into La-La Land? Who's to blame? The usual suspects: vegetarians, environmentalists and "fairness" crusaders.

Follow me on this: McDonald's sells hamburgers. Successfully. They've sold billions of burgers. That means a lot of dead cows and a lot of litter. It also means a lot of money to target with legal action. Add the slaughter of animals, consumption of natural resources and economic prosperity, mix it all together in a milkshake machine, deep-fry it in vegetable oil, and you've got yourself one greedy, evil, supersized devil-incarnate. Just the word "McDonald's" is an epithet for the evil corporate empire that is American capitalism. The only word that motivates the aforementioned busybodies faster is "Wal-Mart."

McDonald's has a lot of (unearned) guilt to assuage. They have a lot of attacks to deflect and a lot hatred to endure. What to do? They can't stop butchering cows. They can't stop wrapping burgers in aluminum foil or popping them into paper sacks. They can't tell their shareholders, "Sorry, we're not into the whole money thing anymore." What they can do is overindulge a group of busybody activists with sympathies for demographics of victims and give them - the activists busybodies - a sense of importance and the false satisfaction of "making a difference." Stroke some egos. Make it appear to the part of the world that holds capitalism in contempt that the company cares about something other than fulfilling an economic need and enriching shareholders. So McDonald's reserves an unreasonable portion of their lobby for handicapped patrons. Then they wildly gesture to its token of compassion each time a busybody starts organizing a boycott or a class-action lawsuit. Meanwhile thousands of patrons' dining experiences are less enjoyable. This is the cost to society for politically correct ambition: Patrons pay more and get less. Today, I was one of those patrons. I had to seek seating elsewhere, which brings me to the second part of my story, which I'll post at the beginning of next week. Tune in next week for Part 2:

Stay-at-Home-Moms and Their Precious Little Booger Eaters at the Playland.

78 comments:

Jeannie said...

Too bad we can't buy signs to place on the table saying: I am not handicapped, but if you are and you need this table, I am happy to move.

I had to put a handicapped washroom in my salon although in 7 years, not one person in a wheelchair has come through my door. I had to put handles rather than knobs on the doors. It is ri-God-damned-diculous.

In Canada, our Rail System have to make upgrades costing millions of dollars so that EVERY single car is wheelchair accessible. And how many people will take advantage? One?

Linda said...

funny you should mention those booths...I took my kids to McD's...met another SAHM (yup...can't wait to see how you slam me in part 2)...between the two families we had 4 kids and 3 adults. There was only ONE table that allowed this kind of seating, and the kind woman with 3 kids took it, using half the very long table to rest her baby in a carseat (you realize, she's had that thing on the floor of every place in town, along with 100 shopping carts and God knows what else, yet she chose to put it on the TABLE where people EAT!!!) Oops....digression...sorry.

anyway...we staked out a bunch of tables for three...but they were taken over before we could claim them. That left a bunch of "bar seating" (tall tables with tall stools, not conducive to a 3 y/o acrobatic boy and a 4 y/o autistic boy...the older girls would have been okay). There I go again...digressing...sorry!

So...we took the ONLY place we could all sit together...two booths, side by side...both marked with that blue circle. There was not enough space between the two to get a person on a pair of crutches, much less any kind of wheeled contraption. I could care less if there are blue circles. I consider my kids a handicap to me at times, so I'm allowed to sit there. Honestly...if McD's would provide seating that was made for PEOPLE instead of trying to be aesthetically pleasing....

By the way...I stay away from the play areas at most fast food places...they cause nothing but headaches for me, blistered bottoms for my kids, and parents covering their kids ears as I battle my way through the tunnels to rescue the one who REFUSES to come down...AGAIN. No more for me, thanks...in and out as quick as I can!

mist1 said...

It's not dining when there's a drive thru.

jules said...

There's a place here in town that has 7 (seriously) handicap parking places right in front of it. This is the ONLY parking even remotely near this store. The rest of the "regular" parking is quite a hike away. Makes me want to knee cap someone.

smile_away said...

I think you can still use those tables and bathrooms even though they are designated for handicapped people. You can't park in their handicapped spots but I'm sure you can eat at their tables. What I usually do is if I sit at their table and I notice someone with a disability who needs a table I will give it up to them.

Now, reading at McDonalds is a little odd I think. It's so noisy and sometimes smelly. Also, the food is horrible but to each his own :)

By the way, is it so bad that vegetarians want tables made for people with handicaps? Maybe if you lose your legs in a horrible accident and you're looking for a place to park your wheelchair at McDonalds and read you'll understand why we wanted to make those tables.

Ari said...

You have just blogged the most apt description of McDonald's food, and the love/hate relationship most of America has with it, as can be found anywhere in the world.

tornwordo said...

Eat IN the McDonalds? Yuck. Eating in the car is a wiser option. More comfy seating as well.

Janet said...

There was a time when McDonald's was the only game in town. As a child, I went to many McDonald's bday parties. I might have even had one myself. But besides their fries, I think BK, Wendy's or even Arby's does it better. But then again, I always did enjoy going against the grain.:)

NWJR said...

Here's what I don't get. If people didn't eat at McDonald's, all those billions of burgers would have been replaced by something else, and they'd be bitching about that instead.

Mark my words, when we all go "veggie", the special interest groups will whine that we're killing too many bugs in the process. Buncha effin babies...

Amandarama said...

Every so often I get a craving for a double quarter pounder with cheese. And as soon as I have one, I wonder why. Especially after the last one went through me in almost the same time it took me to eat it.

Cameron said...

I know exactly what you mean about the craving, the revulsion, and the craving again.

I wonder what would have happened if you'd just sat down at one of those handicapped booths?

Shoshana said...

I don't understand the handicapped thing either. Go to Best Buy and you'll see over a dozen handicapped parking right in the prime location. No one uses it. Except maybe on Thanksgiving sale day and two or more other holidays, it's empty. A waste of space! They should put two in front and the rest in the back. After all they're handicapped and they probably need that distance to exercise their arms as it wheels the chair into the store.

What they should put instead is a pregnant woman's spot. Especially women in their last tri-mester. They should be allowed to park in those spaces. They want points? Do that.

I can attest how painful it is to walk right when you're a month away from popping that baby out. It's hard to lie about the pregnancy. I swear I saw a guy jogging into a store...and he parked in a handicapped parking. I wonder what was his handicapped? Is being a moron a handicapped now?

Oh great One said...

AMEN! Preach it!

PlatinumGirl said...

I don't let those little blue circles stop me from sitting at those tables. I've always assumed those markers were just to tell people that that is in fact where you would sit if you were handicapped, i.e., you'd wheel your chair right up to the edge of that table to eat and there'd still be enough space for people to get around your chair. If the place was full and I saw someone who needed the table, I'd give it up -- but with 4 empty booths, I'd have sat my ass down and read if that's what I wanted to do!

Raggedy said...

Amen!
Great post!
I am with Jules we have a store here that does the same thing she mentioned.
Have a wonderful day!
*^_^
(=':'=) hugs
(")_ (")Š from
the Cool Raggedy one

Peter said...

I, along with the other 25,000 residents of Gympie, was shocked to read your harsh comment about our seating arrangements at the Golden Arches....
"You gimpy bastards can take your chances with the seating like the rest of us."
The fair city of Gympie awaits an apology.

Mo said...

I sit at the handicapped tables anyway. What are they going to do? Run after me? I'll bet they can't catch me.

Mo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jenni said...

Honestly, I think us vegitarians out in "la-la" land have they key to it all...You don't se US droning in groves to the nearest Mc Donlads like zombies under some spell that Grimace laid un us after that Big Mac, large fries, "apple pie" and chocolate shake.

Grimace is the mastermind behind that spell. You thought he was just a dumb purple blob that was there to make fun of and laugh at. That's just a cover-up. Grimace is the man.

He's the one slipping all those anti-biotics into the beef and chicken that make up your "Chicken Nuggets." He's also the one behind the Mc Rib, and was pissed when he lost a bet to the Hamburglar (who is really a pre-op transexual)who introduced the "Premium Salads, and Fruit and Yougart Parfait."

You need to stop going there, you need to save yourself, and therefore the rest of the human race as we now know it. May the force be with you Lightning Bug.

(Fanatic post written by vegan who has coincidentally taken a recent trip to "La-La Land. "Save the vegan....Save the world.)

;)

Violet said...

so, is part of the reason that you bring reading material with you to the restaurant to avoid eye contact with other patrons? i know that when i dine alone that is my major concern... staring blankly at the ceiling and having people think that they have to take pity on me since i am eating alone. i'm eating alone by choice, assholes! because i don't want to have to deal with the mindless blather of idiots like you!

okay, sorry, got off on a bit of a tangent there...

Dave Morris said...

Amandarama spoke of the double-quarter pounder with cheese. I wonder why they can't just call them the half-pounder...

Anyway, I had one yesterday and no amount of reading could keep my mind off the urgency to use their handicapped stall in the restroom. Hey, some of us need more space, and I feel no guilt at all using that toilet. Especially to dispense of some gawd-awful "food."

jeremy j said...

I completely understand why McDonalds made these "handicapped" seats. You see,,,, People who have eaten at McDonalds for so long-they become morbidly obese, thus creating pressure on the knees ( holding up 400+ pounds of fat ass) which then makes them handicapped cause it is too painful for them to walk. So they need special seating for their regular customers to keep them coming.

Cat Lady said...

How dare you sir! These people you are blasting to pieces on you blog are handicapped. You would never understand the troubles they have to go through. You walkers think that you rule the world and that no one else exists. You should thank god everyday that your legs work and that you can sit everywhere and anywhere you want. So what that cripples need a place to sit? We can't all climb up on stools or walk around looking for seating. I'm supposed to be sorry for a bunch of women who have more kids then they can handle? Maybe they should have kept their legs closed and then they wouldn't need to take handicapped seating just to eat. You should be ashamed of yourselves!

Matilda Jane said...

I feel the same way about the Amish parking at McDonalds in Olean, NY. Seriously, how many Amish can possibly be at McD's at one time? Do you really need FOUR spaces for buggies and horse-ties? Aren't they supposed to stay home and churn their own processed meat burgers?

Scottsdale Girl said...

The only thing I can eat at MickeyD's anymore is the fries. And if you are honest with yourself, that is the only thing you crave from there but feel compelled to order more than Fries due to decorum. I do not care. Fries is what I want, that is what I order. And I would totally have sat in one of those booths.

eddo of postednote said...

"McDonald's food has a peculiar quality: it always disappoints you, but given enough time, you'll crave it again" Very true. I'm waiting for Part II because I know it is going to be good. What is worse is when Mom's convene with their children at Starbucks! STARBUCKS IS FOR ADULTS PEOPLE!!! ADULTS!

Heidi the Hick said...

Whoo, heavy!

You pretty much nailed the McDs cycle. They have that chemical food simulation thing.

As for the handicapped tables, I admit that I don't really get it. HOWEVER I get right snotty when able bodied people take over the parking spots. Could have something to do with my Grampa who had two plastic legs and hand controls on his car and needed to open the door right wide so he could get out of the car with his canes. So like, don't be an able bodied asshole parking in the handicapped spot ok?

(Also don't ever bitch about the Amish taking parking spots anywhere!!!!!)

There is a real problem in our modern society with not wanting to offend anybody and be all polite.

I'm going to raise a steer someday and I'm going to name him Hamburger. He's going to have a great life with plenty of green grass to eat and sunshine and rain on his back. Then I'm going to eat him and that's the way life goes.

Superstar said...

Well, if that get's you going...Did you see the parking slot marked "expectant mothers"?? OH yeah. Like you are pregnate..not dying of some world disease.

*gasps*
OMG I can hardly wait to read your take on the playland..As a PT nanny to my nieces...LOL ;o) Mombot land...LOOK OUT!!!

Webmiztris said...

I would have taken one of the sun-kissed booths anyway! if 23 handicappers decided to come in to McDonald's to eat at that exact time, then fine....I'd move. Well, maybe. it's bad enough they get all the good parking spaces. I don't see why they should get all the good ass spaces too.

Nölff said...

I eat those McRibs.

also, the coffee is better than that artfag starbucks crap.

jali said...

Sometimes a broad just NEEDS a Big Mac.

Sometimes a broad gets hungry for food too...

CruiserMel said...

Hmmm, did you say those were the cozy booths in the sun? Isn't that sun coming through glass? McD's isn't pandering to persons with disabilities...they're trying to FRY them. So don't feel so bad.

Becky said...

Speaking of video games, I got the Wii! And it's freaking awesome, the new Teenage mutant ninja turtles game is sooo freaking cool! I just love that damn thing! I've been glued to it for a month or so now.

Rach said...

I;m with Jeannie on this one, a simple sign will do

NWJR said...

@shoshana: One of the local grocery stores has "expectant mother parking" now. There go another four prime parking spots. Why should I have to walk further just because someone decided to breed? What makes her so freakin' special? Ooooh...you're fertile! Wow!

Miss Cellania said...

I would have used one of those tables. If someone else needed it, I could move.

About parking, don't kid yourself. places around here have twenty handicap spaces and they are all in use constantly. Its so easy to get a handicap tag. If you are over 70, you get one automatically. I used to have one.

Trevor Record said...

I'm a vegetarian and, I suppose, have environmentalist leanings at times. I'm sorry to be the one to break this to you, but I have never once campaigned for more seating for the handicapped. I may have missed the memo, but we aren't even allied to any sort of vast egalitarian pressure group that is attempting to make the planet politically correct and handi-accessible.

(But we are of course allied to the vast feminist conspiracy to inject all men with empathy drugs and breast-growing hormones.)

Queen of Dysfunction said...

I love it and look forward to Part 2. Because you know, I'm a stay-at-home mom and I have two little booger eaters. Not that they're that precious. Well they are, just a little, at tax time when I can deduct their asses.

C said...

I take my precious little booger to Playland but I am not a stay at home mom and I always sit at the handicap boots because they are roomier and because I consider being a mom a bit of handicap because I have to manage a squirming kid and a tray and not spill my drinks or lose my purse and still have a conversation on my cell phone.

Fathairybastard said...

Every time I take a crap in a public crapper I TAKE THE LARGER HADICAPPED STALL. iT'S THE ONLY ONE i FIT IN LIKE A HUMAN BEING. oTHERWISE i FEEL LIKE i'M STUCK IN ONE OF THOSE RIDES AT SIX FLAGGS THAT'S BUILT FOR 10 YR. OLDS AND... God damn caps lock! Anyway, it's like I'm in one of those rides and the safety bar doesn't close all the way. Some day a guy in a scooter will roll up on me while I'm in mid dump, and he'll have to fuckin' wait. He's sittin' after all. What I can't stand is folks who are just old or fat who act like it's a handicap. Old maybe, but fat fuckers rollin' around the grocery store blockin' the isles? Sheesh.

April said...

yada, yada, yada.

at least McDonalds has some damn good fries.

Elaine said...

OH you described the cravings for McDonald's PERFECTLY. I hate it...and then I love it..and ugh, it makes me want to vomit..to damn, I could really use some chicken mcnuggets right now.

I can't wait for part two....I can say that because I've never let my munchking play at the McD's Playland unless it was completely empty. I am uncharacteristically anti-social at McDonald's AND Wal-Mart.

Go figure.

Sylvana said...

When I dine out at McD's solo, I like to bring reading material too, so I don't have to look at all short-shirt wearin' mouth-breathers eating there. Or my food. I try not to look at the food too closely. Plus that reading material comes in handy when you have to hit the handicap stall in the john, cause you know you are going to be there for a while.

Bennet said...

Yes, so true.
I don't eat McDonald's anymore but oddly I'm craving a pickle...WTH is wrong with me?

Migraine Boy said...

Fuck 'em! I just sit in their seats and if anyone says anything to me, I piss myself and shove fries up my nose. If they don't leave, I start babbling "My bathing suit area is private! Stop touching me! Stop touching me!"

OldHorsetailSnake said...

Gee, Bug, this is rotten. I never heard of a restaurant saving TABLES for the handicapped. Parking places, sure, but TABLES??!! I'm handicapped, and like you say I am one who NEVER goes inside to eat -- too much bother. So you can tell the local MacMafia they can stuff those TABLES where the sun don't shine.

phlegmfatale said...

"McDonald's food has a peculiar quality: it always disappoints you, but given enough time, you'll crave it again."

You are brilliance-on-a-stick. You need to bottle this shit and sell it.

Anyhoo - isn't that kind of mean, making those squinty 'tards sit in the direct sunlight? meh. I'm sick of preferences for the differently-abled. Some are more equal than others after all. Fuck 'em.

Loving Annie said...

Where are you, Lightning Bug ? It's Thursday April 5th. Hope all is well --

Pirate said...

Micky Ds fries are the best. I don't care what the food Nazis say.

gusgreeper said...

now you know what owning guitar hero feels like but not really because you don't own it.

Riss said...

Okay so I was just in Australia and they still have the DEEP FRIED apple pies, not that shitty baked crap they have here. Which still infuriates me by the way. Why is someone who gives a fuck about their health eating a McDonald's. God, they were so yummy.

BV said...

You should have just sat in one of the seats. If somebody handicapped came in then you should have gotten up. That's what I would have done. If I'm wrong...sue me.

Heidi the Hick said...

Dear Mr Bug,

I would like to invite you over to my blog for a celebration!

Bennet said...

I deleted my blog. Stupid. Anyways, I'm slowly rebuilding 2 versions. A digital image version and a rant version.

Oh great One said...

Darn you SOCOM Darn you all to heck!

NWJR said...

Every day you don't blog, God kills a kitten.

Raggedy said...

We are tuned in but where are you?
I hope you had a wonderful Easter.
Huggles and Love,
Raggedy

Scottsdale Girl said...

*sigh*

DUDE! Step away from the video game!

MrZhisou said...

Did you consider those people who might be rendered disabled having eaten at McDonald's?

Violet said...

Direct quote: "Tune in next week for Part 2."

Still waiting, LBB.... :o)

Crystal said...

well??? were the chicken nuggets good???

i am pretty pissed that you have to pay 10 cents for each additional sauce bucket. greedy bastards.

jules said...

Hey Bug,
Did you end up splattered on someone's windshield? We NEED our bug fix!

socom said...

bumba a'cliate~

alex said...

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alex said...

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alex said...

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Just telling it like it is said...

Obsession... it is like a box of chocolate...you never can really tell what you can and can't live without...

Eddo said...

Dude, I hate McDonalds too, however, have you tried that new breakfast chicken biscuit? It's actually pretty darn good and of course the hashbrowns are probably one of the best food substances on the planet. I always have to get two - when I go. Which thankfully is only about once a year.

Memphis Steve said...

Man, you been gone a long time! It seems like everyone is wearing down at the same time. We're all slacking.

Webmiztris said...

apparently your PS2 'weaning' isn't going so well? lol!

Nölff said...

I get mcpoop.
You've been playing socom for like a month now.

pss.. do you know where I can get some vicodin?

Queen of Dysfunction said...

Dude! You can't do this to us! My brain! It's like threatening to turn around on and eat itself! Post dammit!

Mo said...

Are ya dead, mon???

Yas said...

did you die? just makin sure. .. because if you did... can i have your ps2? ;p

this.. I won't pass judgment. But I will suggest that as McDonald's is hardly an essential service, you gimpy bastards can take your chances with the seating like the rest of us.
is the reason why i miss you.

Damsel Underdressed said...

Hello? Bug? Are you there? Is everything ok?

Fathairybastard said...

Man, I'm thinkin' somone needs to drive by and discover the body. Give you a decent burrial. Somethin'. Maybe you've been kidnapped by crazed fans, and you've been tied up and subjected to lots of viscious taunting and unprotected sex with Brazillian waxed underaged girls. Wait, that was me. nevermind.

Memphis Steve said...

Hey, I hate to tell you this, but I just tagged you with one of those meme things.

Mimi said...

My daughter is in a wheelchair, but I would still sit in one of those booths if I needed to. I just thought it meant that they had the capacity to allow wheelchair seating. Besides, how does anyone know that you are not disabled? I've seen plenty of people with handicap placards and wonder what in the hell their disability is. Hell, people get disability benefits for being alcoholics. I also would not care where the handicap spots are, the important thing to me is the extra room on the side that I can put my daughter in her chair without being in a parking spot. But, of course, dumb asses park in those lines. By the way, this is the first time I read your blog. I love it.