My Lawsuit Against Mother Nature

I’m sure there were some wonderful ones before 1978, but, for me, it all started with the Twinkie Defense—too much sugar diminished my mental capacity and that’s why I shot those guys.  Then there was the hot coffee incident at McDonalds – you remember the $2.7 million award for the lady who spilled “too hot” coffee on her lap – friggin’ klutz.  Just yesterday, I read about law students suing schools because they can’t find jobs – well played, young Jedis!  This morning about a lady, who got hit in the mouth by a baseball during a Little League game, and is now suing the 11- year old who threw the ball – yes, seriously, suing a kid for throwing a ball – idiot should’ve ducked!

The point is, the frivolous lawsuit seems here to stay, so I’m employing that age-old strategy, “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.”

 Craig Cignarelli vs. Mother Nature.


Suing for punitive damages in the name of $17 trillion…I figure that should get most of the American citizenry behind me in my quest to resolve the looming debt crisis while leaving myself a cool half-billion or so to buy a few new suits.


Jan-March I’m spending a fortune on long sleeve t-shirts and the damn meteurologists (def) don’t know whether or not it’s going to piss outside – are suggesting I purchase galoshes in a city that thinks galoshes is some sort of Russian food.

April-May means I’m spending half my life in the local CVS or Walgreens arguing with people who wear diapers just so I can get my hands on something that will stop my itchy eyes and running nose.

June’s cloudiness and gloom is like an external hangover and drives me to drink, which causes me…well, you get the picture.

July and August require a virtual corporate expense account for sunscreens, deodorant bottles and head coverings, not to mention the frequent embarrassment of underarm pools and forehead sweat.  Plus the ol’ shower or pool dilemma.

September–October Ever hear of El Nino or the Santa Ana’s?  Look, if Mother Nature is going to employ foreign labor, that’s on her dime, but I can get through my day without the added attractions, so I certainly don’t think I should be subsidizing this equatorial climate crap?

As for November and December, would it hurt to have a little snow out here in California?  Centuries have passed and what, she’s teased us a few times with a smattering of flurries while the East Coast hunkers down beneath warm blankets aside cozy fires and gets to sing Christmas songs that actually make sense.  You try belting out a chorus of “Let it Snow” while your air conditioner is humming along in the background and you’re un-showered Uncle is suffering a severe case of swamp ass.

The point here is if she can do this…

and this…

…then clearly something as simple as providing the perfect day should be within her control.  Perhaps a little $17 trillion punitive reminder will help.

The plaintiff rests.

By ccxander

Project Child Save…For Ty from CC

His voice is granular, as though he’d scraped it on his heroic trudges through hell.  Beneath his black shirt, two pectoralis muscles wrestle for space. His seventeen-inch right bicep displays a tattoo that says “NO MORE” and across the top of his bald-head lurks a seven centimeter scar where a knife once slit him open until the white bone of his skull shone forth. John Carpenter is tough in ways that make even brave men flinch, cornered-dog tough, ruthless enough to stare death in the eye and wait for it to back down, hard like stone, a fella who takes a bullet and merely sneers at the wound, the kind of tough that the world’s criminals simply don’t understand, a don’t-fuck-with-me man who looks at a severed head as a thing to be stepped over on the way to complete a mission.  He is the weapon you’d want when confronting your enemy. For John Carpenter, however, heroism was never a goal, merely a consequence of life. His purpose lay on another level, deep down in his DNA, in places where rage and vengeance and limbic systems hold dominion over the emotional superficiality from which most people fashion their lives. The moment he formed his first team of mercenaries, his friends knew someone was in trouble. When John Carpenter decided something, other options need not apply.

The girls had originally been in the States, eight to twelve year-old children whose days consisted of playgrounds and classrooms, their young lives filled with ambition and joy and imagination.  They’d bounce plastic dolls upon their knees and host tea parties in ways that made innocence seem secure.  And then victimization brought life’s cruel reality.  Over a seven-month period, they’d all been kidnapped, stolen from various cities throughout the lower forty-eight, transported beneath cobalt skies across the southern border and driven down into the jungles of South America, gone without a trace.  Their families built search parties, gave press conferences, checked in hourly with the police, and suffered the guilt and pain of being unable to protect their virginal daughters.  But desperation has a short wick. With each passing week, they stared at the empty seats beside the dinner table, growing more despondent and less hopeful, eventually falling into a numb acceptance that their offspring might not return into their now slumping arms.  In time, even absence loses its presence.  Though they never gave up, the hours dedicated to posting fliers and holding interviews gave way to days dedicated to making an income, to returning to their old lives – lives horridly unfulfilled and wracked with culpability – and a desperate desire to change the media’s interest in new news and return it to the cases of their missing girls.  Hope was a river that dried out in the long arid sands of wrinkled depressions.

An eight year-old’s fear of the dark is irrepressible, the screams and terrors generally subsiding only when they are wrapped beneath the blankets, between the warm bodies of loving parents, safe from the monsters and bad things hiding in dark closets and under thinly-covered beds.  Each girl suffered a similar fate, a scream-stifling weathered hand wrapped strongly across her mouth, her eyes blindfolded with thick, dark black cotton, her hands yanked harshly behind her back and lashed together with duct tape, her head pushed down and thrust into the back of a paneled van, her limp body lying crumpled upon a metal floor which bumped and caromed with every pothole. Evil owns no pillows. Until she yelled, they left her mouth unblemished, fearing a bleeding lip or a broken tooth might make her less valuable to her next owners.  At times, she recoiled from the callous hands upon her shoulders.  Hearing the first desperate shriek, they applied a small needle into her arm, turning her virtually catatonic for the remainder of the journey, although this drug left her with her wits and senses acutely aware of her circumstance, yet unable to make a sound.  It was the kind of paralysis one feels when confronted with a lion roaring just outside one’s tent, the frozen fear of horror that knows death is imminent unless one can quell the very silence.

When the girls awoke, it was in the claws of another individual – Spanish descent – surrounded by green jungle, and chained to the wooden slats of a free standing cabin in the middle of nowhere.  The constant chatter was foreign. The castellano ll’s and n’s merged with other consonants in a blend of incomprehensible slang.   Square white packets lay stacked atop tables. In vats and tubes and burners, shadows were always cooking up something.  The men were dark, bare-chested, often wearing rough beards, and soaked through to the bone with their own perspiration.  Inside the cabin, the stench of masculine body odor was nauseating.  The chains were black iron, a single cuff attached to one ankle, and unless one had the self-cannibalizing desire of a trapped coyote, virtually inescapable.  Over time, the girls would rub their skin raw and begin to chafe until the ankle was a bloody mess.  To the men inside the cabin, blood and screaming merely made the girls that much more attractive.

The first time was always delicate but horrible – children are not made for violation – and the young girls spent the first night in tears, physically exhausted and hurt, emotionally destroyed, and wondering how they’d gotten from the urban cities of the United States into a jungle cabin of abusive drug runners.  Cruelty knows not national borders.  There were no beds to run to, no parents to crawl between, and here, the monsters did not hide in closets.  Repeated violations were regular, the sweaty masculine beasts shoving them roughly up against the wall, the brutal thrusting and tearing of their tiny bodies mixed with the aggressive grunting and the hot breath of unrestrained animals.  At night, when the men slept, the tears rolled quietly for fear of awaking the predators, their little hands pressed up against their eyelids trying to create a place of darkness, an escape from everything horrible, if only for a few moments.

As the months wore on, the first night didn’t seem so bad. Then, what was to occur was unknown, a terror of the possible but unsure what the possible entailed.  But now, they’d become objects and the men didn’t bother being delicate, a determination noted by the girls as they sat in stark terror, dreading each minute of their ruined lives, awaiting the inevitable pain and torture and desecration of their very selves, with no hope for escape and no opportunity to take their own lives.  Doom is a merciless keeper.  They’d pulled out their own hair and slammed their heads into the walls until the blood ran down their unconscious cheeks.  They tore at their own skin to rip the flesh and expose the arteries so they could sever their own lives.  They saw themselves as trapped, as though standing upon the windowsill of a ninety story burning building ledge, the street below aflame, the rescuers unable to get through the inferno, and there was no longer the possibility of salvation.  Life’s un-bearability stood on the doorstep of hell and scoffed with contempt.  Alas, tears don’t quash misery’s flames. In these moments, resignation comes quickly, and along with it, passivity towards life, a numbness of acceptance accompanied by a living death.  With each broken toothed, steely-eyed glare, the men taunted the girls, suggesting imminent favor, and then delayed it for something so rudimentary and primal as a piss.  No, the girls were not even as valuable as a good urination.

Back in America, John Carpenter had heard the stories of the Colombian drug runners and their sex-slave trade.  He’d been witness to a young girl, courageously escaped from the clutches of cocaine warlords and making the decisive journey across too many borders to arrive back upon her family’s doorstep, bruised, beaten and battered, to live a post-traumatic life of guilt and remembrance and wonder at what might have been.  John Carpenter had visited that girl. He listened closely to her notes and descriptions of six months of a wretched jungle life.  He’d seen the unreturned look in her eyes, as though her body had made it home but her soul was still there.  As if she’d left her spirit in the jungle to provide hope for the other victims, the memories and horrors lurked beneath an anesthetized voice.

Carpenter’s only other memory of crying came at age nine, when his best friend and companion through childhood’s brutal emotional landscape died.   But that dog was gone, deceased and irretrievable, like Carpenter’s emotional self, shoved into this brutal diseased world to fend off men like the predators this destroyed girl was describing.  He felt a welling in his eyes. For a very brief moment, he turned away.  By the time he turned back, he’d made his decision.  The rest of his life would be dedicated to bringing these girls home, giving them a chance to find themselves again, providing their families an opportunity to breath life into them once more, and offering hope.  To this girl, he made that promise.

When John Carpenter and his team arrived in the middle of the night, camouflaged in fatigues, green face paint and boots constructed for surreptitious acts, they were carrying twelve-inch corrugated steel knives, AK-47’s and enough knowledge to kill a man seventeen different ways with their hands, unsympathetically.  On the first rescue mission, Carpenter had taken six girls from their captors, leaving three men dead and one man cuffed to the same walls where the girls had been, a rag stuffed in his mouth and a flowing gas tube stuck up his ass.   His last act was to light a match against his teeth and toss it into the building.  Until the explosion, the journey had been deadly silent.   When they reached the outer wall of the compound, one of Carpenter’s men suffered a machete wound across his cheek and down into his shoulder blade seconds before the offender was taken with an around-the-neck chokehold that stopped his final breath with a soft jerk.  After quick medical attention, the men got out, returning to the States to begin the process of reuniting the girls with their families.

Repatriation took time.  One does not take a wounded animal from the jungle into suburbia without incident.  Psychologists worked slowly, delicately restoring trust and courage and some semblance of humanity to the children.  They started with puppies and furry stuffed animals. They listened to the haunted cries echoing through the night.  Doctors spent hours performing vaginal repairs, straightening broken bones, redefining lips and teeth and violated rear-ends.  But some scars never heal.  These girls were shattered and even loving arms cannot halt tears of contrition.

Over the next eighteen years, Carpenter would undertake seventy-four trips into the jungles with one rule “Never leave a child behind.”  To date, although there had been occasions when he’d been tempted to take their successes and go, when he’d lost a man to an angry blade, when the numbers were against him in an almost unconquerable capacity, he upheld that promise to himself and his team, and most importantly, to the children.  Yes, John Carpenter was a hero, silently performing duties few Americans would ever consider, taking no credit, no money, and no reward for his acts, aside from the personal satisfaction that comes from keeping a promise to a brave little girl from long ago.

By ccxander

Into the darkness…

Depressed! Maybe disheartened is a better word.  It’s this whole concept of entitlement over merit and I can’t seem to get ahold of it.

Recently, I was asked by a mother to call a University and impose my influence upon them to help a kid get into the school.  When I suggested that my influence would cause another student, who’d merited entry, to lose his/her spot, the mother harbored no remorse.  When I confronted the kid about it, the kid said the following, “No, it isn’t necessarily morally correct, but that’s the way the world works.  I see people using their influence all the time to get what they want, even when they don’t merit it. It’s not going to change so I’m learning to work within the system.”  This is an honor student, one of the next generation’s leaders, a notion, which now dispirits me.

I know changing the world is too big a task for most folks.  I understand that making inroads into political corruption or corporate responsibility or human incivility appears daunting.  But someone has to start somewhere, right?

To me, making that phone call on behalf of the kid would reek of irresponsibility.  It would suggest that power and pressure and wealth are more influential than merit.  It would teach him the world does run by those rules and that within that system, he doesn’t have to have ambition or work ethic.  That would not bode well for any of us.

Imagine a world where power and wealth determine access.  Do we already live in that state? Imagine the arrogance one would attain with enough money and clout.  Imagine if that was the lesson we passed on to our kids.  Frightening, eh?

Alas, in spite of the mother and child’s indignation, I cannot be a part of that process.  I am shutting down my phone and heading off to do something productive for myself.

Hopefully, the kid will follow my lead.

Probably not.

By ccxander

The Death of Civility

Can someone tell me when courtesy left the world?  To wit:

At the airport:

“Excuse me ma’am, I need to use the restroom for a moment and I was wondering if you could watch my bags for me until I return?”

“Yea, um, this is too much like the first scene in a terrorist film, so NO.”

No? Have you ever heard someone say “no” in this situation?  Would you ever say “no?”

For a moment, I wondered if I was just profiled – the threatening blue jeans, the v-neck white t-shirt which clearly implied something detonating, and the brown leather shoes which we all know is the universal footwear for plane blower-uppers.  Yes, evidently I have the look of a potential suicide bomber.….or maybe…. somewhere deep down in the Hollywood psyche that pits logic against imagination in a losing battle,  she’s just living in a fantasy world where well-groomed men with soft voices and courageous smiles are out placing bars of C-4 in her sphere of influence and trying to test her resolve.  I doubt it though. I’m pretty sure she was just being bitchy.

Sadly, the world seems to be moving in this direction, and fast.  Remember when you used to say hello to your neighbors and leave your kids un-supervised at the park?  Remember when you could safely hitchhike, or stand on a subway without fear of getting your pocket picked?  Remember the days when an evening walk wouldn’t end up in the news?

I’d hate to think I’ve reached an age where I’ve become nostalgic for civility, but I think it’s happened.  There seems to be a pervasive force of mistrust permeating society these days.  It makes me sad.

Anyway, I hope the woman appreciated that I tried not to splash her bags when I urinated on the floor next to her.

By ccxander

Oh no, CC is on the road again!

I know Sienfeld covered the issue, but when a rental car company takes a reservation and doesn’t have a car when you arrive, you should know they are quite willing to part with some pretty high-priced vouchers if you use phrases like “Guarantee is a legal term, right?” and  “Does your manager know you charged my card already but now you don’t have my car?”

Advice to Norcal rental car drivers:  Accept the GPS. Yes, it is overpriced, but then you won’t have to ask the vindictive bitch, in the blue Explorer next to you, how to get to the Richmond Bridge and end up with directions into San Francisco and spend an hour weaving your pissed and dejected ass down Lombard street to get to the Golden Gate bridge where you can putt-putt at snail-on-valium speed before you find the damn 101 North again.

Most of the area North of San Francisco can be summed up as follows:

Boots (pointy and shit-kicking), trucks – American and often toting bumperstickers that say things like Ron Paul rules cuz he has none, cows lazing around like day laborers at lunch, highly visible vineyards which sell enough monogrammed paraphernalia to make Donald Trump blush, small towns with sheriffs named Slim or Jim-Bob and who actually let pieces of hay dangle from their lip, forests of trees blessed with enough girth to humble your most well-endowed porn star, enough roadside roadkill that suggests the whole thing may not be accidental, roaming  rivers with old men in waders who drink light beer and throw flylines with the sort of limp wrists one expects of urban San Franciscans and say things like “Sumbitch life doesn’t git much better’n ‘nis.”

FYI – I made it to the Redwoods today.  Drove through a tree for absolutely no reason other than to say I drove through a tree.  Had dinner at the Eel Lodge.  For those whose gastrointestinal interests incline toward thick slabs of red meat and potatoes large enough to dunk at Staples center and things fried twice, this is your spot.  The average weight of the clientele was somewhere North of Sumo-ish, and  there was an omnipresent habit of both elbows on the table to fight the barbecue sauce apparently attacking their faces.

Alas, I hear a cricket chirping. Perhaps it is time to retire.

By ccxander

Bite Me!

Ears of corn and artichoke hearts and heads of lettuce are endearing terms for evening fare.   It’s as though someone got a little loose with the Vodka one night and constructed some vegetable art in the form of human beings and the playful personification caught on.  But now this:

Oh sure, we can chalk it up to misappropriated bath salts or multiple screenings of I AM LEGEND, but I think something more is amiss.

What once was a republic has now succumbed to a more Darwinian notion of “survival of the fittest.”  Moral decay is ripping the teeth from our society.  In Washington, our representatives are constantly at each other’s throats while PAC’s and lobbyists prey upon every misspoken word.  Television’s talking heads report murders, robberies, and abductions and spew hateful terms like greedy bastards and racists and predators. Topic for further research: In the hierarchy of ideological insults, is commie bastard worse than capitalist pig?  What once was splenetic dissension amongst the public ranks has now turned venomous clash.  We have a society where priests and teachers are fucking little kids, where government employees are partying on the taxpayers’ dollars, where the news media lies without retribution and where students kill.

And now this: People are eating people.  Yes, I’ll write that one more time.


In the past: Hey, Joey, I was cruising down Melrose the other day and some guy walked past me.

Today: Hey, Joey, I was cruising down Melrose the other day and some guy walked past me and took a bite out of my arm.


It’s bad enough out here in California that we experience the infrequent shark attack – frankly, I’ve been a bit skittish about the ol’ blue Pacific ever since that asshole Spielberg dropped his Super 8 into the ocean – but now I’ve gotta watch my back on land?  There I am, stuck in rush-hour traffic on the 405, powering through my morning Egg McMuffin, when here comes Carnivorous Carl with a mouthful of un-brushed fangs and a ravenous gleam in his eye, screaming “I’m gonna munch your face.”  We have officially reached the bottom of the genetic cesspool.

During my schooling, someone once stole my milk money, and I think I recall having a group of older kids make fun of me for having long hair – and yea there was that embarrassing playground experience with the wet jeans – but my formative years were fairly tame.  And now, without training, I’m being thrust into an urban jungle where people don’t hunt for supper, but rather, people hunt people for supper.  I’m not ready for this.

When I was a child, my parents had a tendency toward exaggeration.  They said things like “if you don’t toughen up, the world will eat you alive.”  I had no idea they were serious.

By ccxander