Monthly Archives: February 2011

Benjamin Button Bon Voyage (juxtaposition)

Best Experienced With:    Blues Traveler;     Conquer Me

(Please right click on the link below to open the suggested background music to this evening’s celebration of the last group to make their way through Chez Mulligan foster kitten training, doing all the homework and passing all the tests.    With the least appreciated song ever set out there by John Popper and the rest of the thinner peeps from Blues Traveler)

All six of the Ingalls foster kitten litter now have wonderful new, permanent houses.  I like to picture them bounding around their new homes, astounding their new owners/housemates by speaking French in complete sentences and helping the neighborhood children with their Calculus homework.  Am certain that at least one of the kittens will figure out the cure for cancer in the next few years so feel free to take up smoking again or roll around in asbestos whenever the urge compels you to roll around in insulation.   This group was a very special group.

We’ll celebrate the Ingalls litter’s time in The LJ in reverse order, listening to John Popper’s harmonica, with various phrases from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s short story The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Other Jazz Age Stories.   That’s why we’re going to look at them in reverse age.     Because of the Benjamin Button thing.

Always start with the end in mind.           That’s a damn fine rule in business and in life.

The End & Goodbyes

“Benjamin, we’re meant to lose the people we love. How else would we know how important they are to us?” 

“Your life is defined by its opportunities… even the ones you miss”




“I want to remember us just as we are now.”





(Ceeeeeeeeeatie is the finest surrogate cat mom in the galaxy)

“You can be mad as a mad dog at the way things went; you can swear and curse the fates – but when it comes to the end, you have to let go.”




The Middle











“It’s a funny thing about comin’ home. Looks the same, smells the same, feels the same. You’ll realize what’s changed is you.”





“Along the way you bump into people who make a dent on your life. Some people get struck by lightning. Some are born to sit by a river. Some have an ear for music. Some are artists. Some swim the English Channel. Some know buttons. Some know Shakespeare. Some are mothers. And some people can dance.”












The Beginning







“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.”










You stuck around and scrolled all the way to the bottom, eh?   Not much of that going on in today’s MTV, three minute span of attention, sound bite oriented, mile wide-inch deep world.   Bully for you!    Well done.    For your efforts, you get a quote from the finest book written in the past twenty years.   Not Fitzgerald because he died in 1940:  Rick Bragg…from The Prince of Frogtown.    That’s one hell of a book.   Go order it right now and read it straight through.   It will make you laugh and cry.   That’s the definition of “one hell of a book” and it also describes fostering.


“Don’t worry about what people think, because once it’s all over the people who love you will make you what they want you to be, and the people who don’t love you will, too.”   (Rick Bragg:  “The Prince of Frogtown”) 



God bless Friends of County Animal Shelters for saving hundreds of dogs and cats from the gas chamber each year.     Screw you morons who choose to not spay or neuter your pets and then dump them at the shelter in cardboard boxes.  Please spay or neuter your pets.   Always read the fine print.   Floss every day.   Never turn left across four lanes of traffic.    Never start a land war in Southeast Asia.    Treat others as you would like to be treated yourself.    Rinse.   Repeat.

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Palindromic Haikus, Onomatopoeias, & Rosebud


Best Experienced With:   The Arcade Fire;   Ready to Start

(please right click on the link below to open the suggested background music to this evening’s treatise…an examination of haikus using only onomatopoeias and palindromes.)


Shuffle, shuffle, plop

Shuffle, shuffle, shuffle, plop

Shuffle, SPLASH, yikes


Ah-choo, ah-choo, AH

CHOO, ahem, ahem, ahem

Ah-choo, ahem….phew

Pop, pop, pop, pop, pop

Clap, clap, clap, clap, yippee, yay

Belch, belch, belch, boo, hiss

Ratatattat…boom, boom

Clatter, clatter, clatter…BANG

Boom, boom, boom…gurgle

Tick, tock, tick, tock, tick

Tock, tick, tock, tick, tock, tick, tock,

Tick, tock, tick…cuckoo

Woof woof woof  MEOW

MEOW MEOW MEOW woof woof

Woof woof woof woof woof

Stressed desserts, stunt nuts

Evil rats on no star live

Cain, a maniac

Giggle, giggle, hack

Murmur, murmur, murmur, hack

Giggle, giggle. Huh?

Racecar vroom racecar

Radar blip blip blip radar

Racecar vroooooooooom racecar



…and if I was yours, but I’m not……5, 6, 7, 8

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Singles Awareness Day, The Airborne Toxic Event, & First Peter (4:8)




Best Experienced With:   The Airborne Toxic Event;   Gasoline

(please right click on the link below to open the suggested background music for this evening’s celebration of both Single’s Awareness Day and Valentine’s Day in a new browser window.    That’s a solid love day tune right there. “They tell me how….you’re married now….oh, my dear I fear I cannot understand how…..FIVE, SIX, SEVEN, EIGHT.”)

As we dive headfirst into Singles Awareness Day, those of us who find ourselves singular through choice, fate, or prison sentence often find ourselves musing and opining on what we would be doing if that “certain someone” found us at the laundromat or on eHarmony.     Singles Awareness Day is also the perfect time to play one-upper on everyone we know.   If a friend buys his loved one four dozen roses, we opine “I would have had three guys build a greenhouse addition off of her living room and populated it with rare African orchids and hummingbirds, but I am sure she will appreciate the flowers.”    If another friend mentioned taking his last first date to Bali to pop the question on Singles Awareness Day, I’d probably toss out the following as a throw away while walking to my car:  “yeah, Bali is OK I guess, if you are not wealthy enough to get to the moon like Richard Branson.”

Love is a ridiculously amazing thing.    Being single is also a ridiculously amazing thing.    Most embrace the former while ignoring the latter.

If you and I were dating and we were celebrating the opposite of Singles Awareness Day together, what would your Valentine’s Day gift basket contain?    Would you need oven mitts or gloves to open it?  Would it scare your neighbors?  Would the basket be bigger than a breadbasket and would it make sounds as you approached it?   Would my gift basket for you fascinate you or scare you senseless?   

As I handed you the basket, I would turn on a 1992 era Sony boom box and crank up the tune you cued up above when you started reading.  Would, in a very poor  voice sing the following Airborne Toxic Event lyrics to you while dancing around like the lead singer in a ska band,  because that is the only way I can dance.   Except for doing certain line dances such as “the sprinkler” and “the shopping cart”, neither of which add to my marketability. 

“And she’ll step away
For a second or two
And I close my eyes
And I think of you

We were only seventeen
We were holding in our screams
Like we’d torn it from the pages of some lipstick magazine
And you’d scratch and turn
And say, ‘let’s burn ourselves up ’til we scream’
Like gasoline”


What could you expect in the Valentine’s Day basket?    Were I flush with cash, you could expect to get at least one wallaby.    Were we past the first ninety day dating probationary period, you would get at least a full grown wallaby with a joey in its pouch.

There would be a pair of tickets to the last public Siegfried and Roy Valentine’s Day show on February 14, 2003.   We would use my time machine to go back to the pre-Roy stroke days.  Not the cheap seats either:  we would have princess seating in that pit they used to have there at the Mirage at the Siegfried and Roy Theater.   There are few cooler things in the galaxy than double fisting Valentine’s Day umbrella cocktails, surrounded on all four sides by thousand pound wild animals and animal magicians in tight white, bedazzled costumes…open from throat to belly button.  

There would also be one of the tee shirts below, carefully folded and wrapped in green garland.   This would allow you to fully appreciate the baseness of my humor, while also commenting on (and allowing others to see in public) my self deprecation and humility.   I would intentionally always stand to your left when you wore the shirt.

And there would be tasty, fizzy candy in your basket.


And dozens of bottles of cheap wine


And more candy.   Colorful candy with other people’s truncated love sentences:

And after you opened your Valentine’s Day basket, there would have been a wildly fantastic puppet show for you in the living room with the cop puppet reading Franz Kafka’s The Trial to the kangaroo puppet.   I’d hide right there behind the couch and do the various Kafkaeasque voices for you to prove my everlasting adoration and admiration for you.

Instead, for 2011, I will celebrate Singles Awareness Day amusing myself to the nth degree and file away the Valentine’s Day gift basket ideas for another year.   I will celebrate it in the traditional Irish Catholic fashion, watching the new Monday night episode of “INTERVENTION” on A&E while eating a delicious and nutritious meal of beef flavored Ramen Noodles and three Trader Joe’s chicken patties.   I’m still going to sing Airborne Toxic Event’s “Gasoline” to myself and will most likely play along on the new Sunlite guitar with the capo on the third fret so I won’t screw up the really, really hard chords.  Because, as we learned through the film Alien, “in space no one can hear you scream”.

Happy Singles Awareness Day and God bless us, everyone.      Those of you with dates, feel free to burn yourselves up until you scream.


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All I Got Was a Rock


Best Experienced With:           Michael Franti and Spearhead;     Sounds of Sunshine 


(Please right click on the link below to open the suggested background music to this evening’s explanation of why I am still in The LJ instead of cracking a malt liquor with Anderson Cooper at the Ramses Hilton in Cairo.   “One, two, three….uh-huh”)



My first day in Cairo would have begun right……    Because of The Man, my first day in Cairo did not begin.   The Man ruined my vacation, yet The Man is still going down.   The Man always goes down, especially these days, because as John Naisbitt wrote in Megatrends:  “the new source of power is not money in the hands of a few, but information in the hands of many”.  Down with The Man.   Up with Cinnabon.

There is a Cinnabon at Terminal A of the Lindberg Field in San Diego.   Back when my metabolism was as strong as Evander Holyfield, would pick up six or seven dozen full size Cinnabon rolls with extra frosting for the six mile ride home to The LJ.    There is nothing like airport Cinnabon rolls with extra frosting after a cross country flight.   Tasty.

My Wednesday morning began at 4:45 a.m. as it often does, performing email maintenance while watching CNN on a hotel bed.  Four teenie tiny cups of watered down hotel lobby coffee to the left on the night stand.   Looked like all was cool in Cairo until 5:15 a.m. PST when Anderson Cooper got the crap beat out of him on his morning walk from the Ramses Hilton to Tahrir Square.  The correct question is not “why would anyone want to punch Anderson Cooper ten times in the head?”   The correct question is “given the chance and a free shot, who wouldn’t want to punch Anderson Cooper ten times in the head?”  The Man was back in full force in Cairo Wednesday and The Man wanted to ruin my Cairo vacation.   The Man hates to lose power…and The Man loves to ruin my vacations.

When The Man starts hauling away the Amnesty International folks (which The Man did in Cairo this afternoon) and imposes Draconian measures, the pendulum swings the other way.   There’s not a pendulum in the galaxy that stops in the middle.   When The Man sees His power slipping away like sanity slipped away from Kanye following his mother’s passing, The Man gets angry.  Like so many version of The Man before him (Joey Stalin, Pinochet, Suharto, The Shah of Iran, Mobutu, Batista, Papa Doc, Trujillo, and Mugabe), Hosni got angry when he saw his power slipping away.  

Delta Airlines is not afraid of The Man.     Four hours after Delta cancelled Flight 84 from JFK to Cairo on Wednesday, they made me whole by rebooking me through Paris.  In fact, they gave me a sweet nineteen hour Friday layover which I planned to use for a late lunch with Nicolas Sarkozy, followed by a viewing of Canova’s Cupid and Pysche Standing at The Louvre.    Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and Canova always gets me into the right Valentine’s Day frame of mind.   Delta came through.    

Your flight has been cancelled.  You have been
rebooked on a new flight.
Delta Confirmation #HJRA6C
Check In


Dear Daniel C Mulligan,  
We are trying to contact you because your flight has been cancelled.  We have rebooked you on the best available flight and we’ll keep trying to reach you by phone.  Please review the information for new flight numbers, departure and arrival times.  
Thursday, February 3
Flight Delta 28
Departs 3:25 pm Atlanta, Georgia
Arrives 6:10 am (February 4)
Paris – Charles De Gaulle, France
Choose seat
Friday, February 4
Flight Air France 508
Departs 11:30 pm Paris – Charles De Gaulle, France
Arrives 9:00 am (February 5)
Cairo, Egypt
Choose seat
Check In
Thursday, February 3
Flight Delta 84 – Cancelled
Departs 5:25 pm Atlanta, Georgia
Arrives 4:25 pm (February 4)
Cairo, Egypt
We apologize for this interruption in your travel plans.  You can check-in online or at one of our self service kiosks. If you already have your boarding pass, just scan the bar code at one of our boarding scanners or kiosks to receive your updated travel document.  
If you have any questions, please contact Delta Reservations, or go online to check your flight status.  
Thank you for choosing Delta.  


Hilton Hotels are afraid of The Man.    Spoke with three or four hundred folks at the Ramses Hilton between 8:00 p.m. and 3:00 a.m. Wednesday night (Thursday morning), endeavoring to confirm the car service from the airport to my hotel on Saturday morning.    All three (or four) hundred folks repeatedly mentioned the magical mystical Mr. Samuel.  Mr. Samuel had the power to tell me whether or not the odds were with me or against me to get an armored limo transport from Cairo International to the Ramses Hilton Saturday morning.   Below is the reenactment of the conversation Mr. Samuel and I had from 3:47 a.m. (PST) to 4:03 a.m. PST Thursday morning.    For the best reenactment experience, use my voice when it says “Me” and use an Egyptian head concierge’s voice when it says “Mr. Samuel”.    I have a bit of a cold, so please make my voice particularly deep and throaty.   


Begin transcription of conversation with Mr. Samuel at Ramses Hilton in Cairo, Egypt:  3:47 a.m. Pacific Standard Time

Me:  “Hello, Mr. Samuel, it is very nice to finally speak with you!”

Mr. Samuel:  “Who is this?”

Me:  “Daniel Charles Mulligan!”

Mr. Samuel:  “Should I know you?”

Me:  “Not yet….but you will, Mr. Samuel!  I have a Rolling Stone press pass and plan on being Rolling Stone’s most prolific Cairo journalist next week.   I have a reservation that I had to move from Friday arrival to Saturday morning because Delta cancelled the JFK to Cairo flight.  I am now arriving on Air France flight 508 from Paris to Cairo and I arrive at 9:00 a.m. this Saturday and would like to arrange a car and a driver to meet me at the airport at 10:00 a.m.”

Mr. Samuel:  (long pause)  “You are aware that we are having some slight difficulties in our downtown area right now, Mr. Mulligan?    Our property is adjacent to Tahrir Square.”

Me:  “Mr. Samuel, you are a master of understatement, sir.    Indeed.   That is why I am calling.   I spoke with several folks at your hotel throughout the evening and early morning and each has explained that you are the one man who can get me a driver for Saturday.   How can we make that happen?”

Mr. Samuel:  “This will be somewhat difficult”

Me:  “Nothing is too difficult for you and me, Mr. Samuel!   We can figure it out.”

Mr. Samuel:  “Well, they are saying that the curfew will be now changed to 3:00 p.m. to 11: a.m. soon.”

Me:  “Giving us a full four hours to get me picked up on Saturday!   Excellent!  How far is the hotel from the airport?”

Mr. Samuel:  “Roughly 22 kilometers or 40 minutes”

Me:  “Outstanding.    Will the driver have a sign with ‘Mulligan” written on it?  May I truncate it to ‘Mully’?   I will explain why when I get there.”

Mr. Samuel:  “Mr. Mulligan, perhaps you do not understand.   I cannot guarantee that I will have a car there because there is some trouble in the streets and when you get here, you may not be able to reach us by telephone because the airport is quite chaotic.”

Me:  “Side question, can you make me a dinner reservation at the Windows on the World restaurant for Saturday evening?   A romantic corner table would be ideal.   I noticed that Hala Gorani is staying at the Ramses Hilton and she is quite brilliant…with piercing, beautiful eyes.    Am planning on inviting her to dinner when I arrive and would appreciate the best table you have.   A window table.    Will tip you handsomely.”

Mr. Samuel:  “Certainly, Mr. Mulligan”

Me:  “OK, so when I grab my luggage, I will look for the man with the ‘Mully’ sign at 10:00 a.m.  We will jump in the car and I will shake your hand by noon on Saturday.   Deal?”

Mr. Samuel:  “Mr. Mulligan, I cannot guarantee you a car on Saturday morning, nor can I guarantee you a car for your return trip, either.   We have had several journalists come right back to the hotel because they were unable to get into the airport for their return flights.   Even if we can get you to the hotel, you may not be able to get into the airport for your return flight.”

Me:  “How are yo0u fixed for supplies?”

Mr. Samuel:  “Excuse me?”

Me:  “Supplies.    Are they restocking you on supplies daily at the Hilton?   Do you receive food, beer, and whiskey each day?”

Mr. Samuel:  “Yes, sir.”

Me:  “Excellent.     Back to the airport livery question.   I hear the distinctive “chop, chop, chop, chop” sound of helicopters near your hotel.    Are any of those helicopters yours?  If so, perhaps you could send one of those to pick me up Saturday morning.”

Mr. Samuel:  “No, Mr. Mulligan.  Those are military helicopters.   They are not the Hilton’s helicopters.”

Me:  “Crap.   So what are my odds of getting to the hotel and then getting back to the airport next Wednesday?”

Mr. Samuel:  “Less than fifty percent, Mr. Mulligan.   You may spend your entire time at the airport”

Me:  “Crap”

End transcription of conversation with Mr. Samuel at Ramses Hilton in Cairo, Egypt:  4:03 a.m. Pacific Standard Time


Cancelled the hotel reservation and Delta flights shortly thereafter.   My dreams of doing the Carolina Shag on the Windows of the World dance floor to Michael Franti’s “Sound of Sunshine” with Hala Gorani died shortly thereafter.    Tuesday evening, in my mind’s eye, I saw Lester Holt and Brian Williams watching Hala and me swing dance jealously from their table before grudgingly accepting that there was a new sheriff at the Ramses Hilton.   They would have led to the standing ovation as the song petered out and Michael repeated “when the sun goes down, when the sun goes down”.

Am quite willing to miss the Sunday morning mimosas with Christiane Amanpour and Mallory Simon and was quite willing to take a few rocks to the head while watching a group of downtrodden, abandoned, and forsaken humans fight for their rights.  There are few things in life that make me more happy than watching fellow humans take back their God given rights from The Man.  There was, however. no way in hell I was going to get stuck in the Cairo International Airport for five days.   Because there is no Cinnabon at the Maṭār al-Qāhirah al-Duwaliyy.   And that would have sucked pretty badly.

Screw you, Hosni.    God bless you, Anti-Hosnians.    Fight the good fight and win with your spirit.

What to do with all these Rolling Stone press credentials?


Thank you Stevie JC and Kinko’s.    Will use these Rolling Stone press credentials at the next revolution.   There are always more revolutions and there are always more of The Man to bring down.   Down with The Man.

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May Be Delayed Or Diverted Due To Civil Unrest




Best Experienced With:          Rage Against The Machine;       Sleep Now in the Fire

(Please right click on the link below to open the suggested background music in a new browser window.)


Learned about the Circle Jerks, the Dead Kennedys, and Black Flag through Rolling Stone magazine because The Land of Cleve has never been fashion forward in the punk rock department unless you count the evening Joan Jett spent at the downtown Holiday Inn after smashing her guitar and amplifier to bits at the Akron Agora in 1979.   Rolling Stone introduced native Clevelanditians to punk rock and mosh pits.   I fell in love with mosh pits eighteen years before the Lord gave me the opportunity to dive into one.   And out of one.  And back into one.  From Rolling Stone, I developed a deep and abiding love of punk rock and mosh pits.  Much like Adderall to an eleven year old, punk rock and mosh pits soothe my soul.

Rolling Stone gave us ridiculously unique and special writers such as Hunter S. Thompson, God rest his brilliant, drug addled soul.   Aside from Saint Thompson, Rolling Stone introduced me to five of my favorite authors:  Joe Klein, Owen Fegan, Evan Wright, and P.J. O’Rourke.    Mr. O’Rourke visited my alma mater back in “the day” and read some excerpts from what would become his finest work, Holidays in Hell.  From Rolling Stone and P.J. O’Rourke, and Holidays in Hell, I developed a deep and abiding love of travel to third world countries, especially when they are ablaze.   Both figuratively and literally.

The world’s finest and largest mosh pit is happening in the streets of Cairo as you read this.  As I watch the Cairoidianites having their nightly celebrations in Tahrir Square, I picture them dancing around to Rage Against the Machine’s Sleep Now in the Fire and Offspring’s Bad Habit.  That’s one heck of sweet mosh pit you have going on there, Egypt.   Well done and “mabruck”, Cairo moshers!

Would appreciate it tremendously if you kids can please get Hosni to end his role as non-benevolent despot by Tuesday at midnight.   You see, when Hosni changed the curfew from 8:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, he salted my mosh pit game a bit.  That four hour change in curfew made Delta Flight 84 switch from a blinking green “on time” to a steady yellow “may be delayed or diverted due to civil unrest.”   While that is most certainly the coolest flight update ever issued by Delta Airlines, it is going to keep some of us away from the world’s finest and largest mosh pit.

Your Receipt and Itinerary (Scan this barcode at a Delta Self-Service Kiosk to access your reservation.)

            5580 LA JOLLA BLVD
            LA JOLLA CA 92037-7651

Flight Information

TICKET #:  00623421149890
                                 Bkng                          Meals/ Seat/
Day Date       Flight     Status Class       City        Time  Other  Cabin
--- ----- --------------- ------ ----- ---------------- ------ ------ -------
Thu 03FEB DELTA 2892        OK     R   LV SAN DIEGO     740A     B     7C
                                       AR ATLANTA       240P          FIRST

Thu 03FEB DELTA 84*         OK     O   LV ATLANTA       525P     D     *S$
                                       AR CAIRO         425P#         BUSINESS
          *Change of equipment required

Wed 09FEB DELTA 85          OK     O   LV CAIRO         1125P    D     2C
                                       AR NYC-KENNEDY   515A#         BUSINESS

Thu 10FEB DELTA 2657        OK     O   LV NYC-KENNEDY   910A     B     2C
                                       AR SAN DIEGO     1231P         BUSINESS


As you can see in the photo above, last Saturday and Sunday I did my trip preparation.   Did a good shoulder and chest work out, got my hair buzzed into my CIA ‘do, and stocked up on Kodiak.   It is exceptionally challenging to find Kodiak in the Middle East.   Made reservations at the Ramses Hilton with a corner room overlooking both the Nile and Tahrir Square.    Am very much looking forward to sipping mimosas this coming Saturday morning with Christiane Amanpour and Mallory Simon at the Windows on the World restaurant atop the Ramses Hilton.   Ms. Amanpour will flirt shamelessly with the wait staff while Mallory and I arm wrestle for the check.   The three of us will count helicopters and F-14’s while discussing how Jann Wenner has finally turned around the magazine we have all adored since childhood

Because when Ms. Simon and Ms. Amanpour ask what I am doing in Cairo, I’m going to say I am a freelance journalist writing for Rolling Stone magazine.   If you want to stay utterly safe and sound in any revolution in any universe, you need only two things.   You need a CIA looking hairdo and you need press credentials.

As of this evening (thanks to Stevie JC and a Pacific beach barber shop), I have both.   See you soon, Cairo.

“So raise your fist and march around, just don’t take what you need.  

I’ll jail and bury those committed and smother the rest in greed.”

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