Friday, April 30, 2010

emiT

Last day of the month of April. Last day of showers. Tomorrow the flowers begin. (Let me be clear about the shower part. I am referring to rain, not personal hygiene.) The months are flying off the calender. If I could have my way, I would stop time. I do not find aging fun. In fact, if I had my way, I would reverse time about 20 years. Sorry, those of you who are teenagers or younger, prepare to re-enter the womb. I should also apologize to you mothers who will be getting your children back. I hope it hurts less on the return trip.

Here's an awful statement that is true. I owe my life to Adolph Hitler. Please, bare with me as I explain. In 1941, my mother was married to her first husband. In 1941, my father was engaged to someone other than my mother. Then Pearl Harbor happened and Roosevelt declared war on Japan. A few weeks later, he declared war on Germany. If Germany hadn't been causing such a ruckus in Europe, then Japan would never have had the nerve to attack us. Anyway, Adolph started the whole kibosh. So we went to war. My mother's husband became an bombardier in the air force. My father became a foot soldier in the army. He footed all over the place; Africa, Italy, France and Germany. He footed so much that today my feet still hurt. Meanwhile in the skies over Germany, my mother's husband's plane is the first to arrive at it's crash site. Mom is suddenly a widow. Okay, the war ends and dad comes back home. Oh oh, his fiance married someone else while he was away. Add a year or so, and mom meets dad. For lack of other obligations, they get married and produce me. This is why I have to be grateful to Adolph Hitler. If not for him and his megalomania, I would not exist.

So let's go back to this time reversal idea of mine. We are now reliving 1990. (Unless you are one those who become unborn.) We know what is in store for us, so many things we can prevent. We will be waiting in Oklahoma City for McVeigh to pull up in his fertilizer truck. We will be at the airports to tackle those terrorists before they board the planes. We make sure Florida knows how to properly punch a voting ticket. But not only do we stop the bad things, we can take advantage of the good. Imagine buying stock in Microsoft before Windows 95 hits the market. How about getting on the ground floor of Google. Put some money in Pixar before they release Toy Story. Don't forget about all the Superbowl bets you will win. Yes, I think reversing time 20 years is something we should have our scientists work on immediately.

(Unable to come up with a strong closing statement. Feel free to insert your own right here.)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Commercial Interruption

Meanwhile, back at the computer, I started typing again. What wild words of wit and wonder will I bring forth? I am always curious where I am going. I am about to enter my fourth month of blog entries and I have one follower. My popularity has never been higher. I best patronize my follower else I lose them...

Dear Follower,

Please don't get dizzy following in my circles. Your loyalty is inspiring. I shall push on and try to widen the path on which I trek and seek new and brighter destinations. (This is called a come-on or promise of a better tomorrow. The idea is to lure the reader on with their own curiosity.) Stay, my precious one, and I shall never cease to entertain you with my blundering style of prose. (This is another good way to secure readership. Flattery combined with humility.) My goal is bring smiles and laughter, and I only improve with age. So hang in there, fan of mine, the best is yet to come. (This is an unknown. I am not Nostradamus. People like being assured that the future holds nothing but the best, so a white lie never hurts.)

Sincerely, (This is sincere)
John (Not an alias)

Perhaps I could obtain more readers if I advertise...



ATTENTION:
****
PEOPLE OF THE PLANET EARTH
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Have I got a blog for you.
Thrills, spills, laughter and tears!

Read the never-ending adventures of some tall old man with a hankering for attention.
Will he have another drink? Will he go to bed?
The suspense in titillating.

Subscribe to "Just a Blog, Nothing More" and we'll throw in "The Void (a story in progress.)"
No assembly required. Cherry flavor also available.

And you may ask "What does this cost?"
Our answer, "Not $50, no. Not $20 either."
If you act now, for a limited time only, we give you both blogs and a bonus story called "Tumble in the Night" for the mere click of a button.
That's right. No money necessary.
Just click the "Follow" button on the upper left hand of the screen and you are golden.



Please ignore the clause where you are to turn over your first born child to John.
He hasn't demanded one yet and hopefully he will maintain this policy.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Can of Peas

This is a story I do not remember happening but is one of my mother's stories about me. This occurred when I was in 2nd or 3rd grade.

The school I attended was going to show the movie "Heidi" starring Shirley Temple. The cost of this event was a can of food. This was a charity thing to help out families that were not doing too well. I must not have been overjoyed to screen this classic, for I neglected to mention the forthcoming feature to my parents. On the day of the movie, when everyone else had brought in their price of admission, I was the sole student without a canned good. When the teacher asked where my can was, I thought quick and responded, "My mom's only got one can of peas and we need it to eat for the rest of the week." The teacher felt sorry for me and let me join my classmates to watch Heidi.

I lived about 5 houses from the school. I never stayed in the cafeteria for meals. I would always go home at lunch time. This could be construed by the faculty that my family couldn't afford to pay for the hot lunches. And construe they did. My parents were not poor, they were cheap. Why pay for hamburgers and fries when there was a leftover tuna casserole at home? So my teacher talked to the rest of the faculty and convinced them to donate some of the collected canned foods to my family. My teacher showed up on our doorstep with two grocery bags full of goodies. My mother was flustered with embarrassment. The more she tried to refuse the food, the more my teacher took this as mom being too proud for charity, and insisted more strongly for her to take the food.

Finally, my mother had to bring my teacher into our kitchen and show her our stocked shelves and full refrigerator. The two of them talked for awhile and finally, my teacher conceded that we did not need the hand out and took her bags and left.

Up until this moment in my life, I had only caused minor embarrassment on rare occasions to my mother. This one had her blushing for a week. Oddly enough, I did not get punished. Instead, to prove we were not a destitute family of the Cratchit caliber, my mother started supplying me with lunch money on those days the school had meals I really enjoyed, like pizza, or sloppy joes. Talk about a twist of luck.

This may be where I learned that making up stories can sometimes be a good thing.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Free Wifey

I'm at the drive-thru window at McDonald's. I spot a sign that says "Free WiFi." The girl hands my order to me and I say, "Would you mind throwing in one of those wifey things for me."

She looks at me dumbstruck.

I continue, "You're sign says free wifey and I would like one, please."

She looks at the sign and says, "You have to bring your computer in here for WiFi." She emphasised the word "WiFi."

I say, "Don't be ridiculous. Wifey or WiFi, I don't care how you pronounce it. You are advertising 'Free WiFi' and it doesn't have any conditions attached. I would just like my 'Free WiFi' to go. I made a purchase, I am entitled."

"Sir, you don't understand. WiFi is an internet connection."

"Okay. I'll take to mine to go."

"WiFi is something that you have to use here."

"Are you saying you will give me a wifey, but only if I use her in public?"

"WiFi! WiFi is not a person."

"You mean like one of them blow up dolls?"

"No, sir. WiFi is for your computer."

"Well, okay, I got a computer. Give me one of those WiFi things to take home with me."

"You have to bring your computer in here to use WiFi."

"Now, darling, that would be a lot of work. I got one of those big old monitors and the box with the computer stuff is pretty big, too. It would be a lot easier just to bring one of those WiFi things back home and use it there."

She looked at me totally perplexed. After a minute, I saw a light go on behind her eyes. She said, "I'm sorry, sir, we are fresh out of wifeys. Would you like a complimentary bag of fries instead?"

A few moments later, I was driving out of McDonald's smiling happily, eating free french fries.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

An Expression of Love

Falling in love. Why does it have to be "falling?" Can't a person gradually squat down in love? Falling can be painful. You might not be able to get back up. If you gradually squat, then if love starts to go bad, you won't have such a hard time getting back on your feet. Yes, I am a firm believer in the gradually squat over the out and out fall.

The phrase "falling in love" gives the connotation that there might be some puddles of love laying about. "Careful there. Watch your step. If you slip you might just fall into that love stuff."

I watched a comedy/documentary last night called "Paper Heart." The focus of the documentary was a comedienne who traveled the country asking people what love felt like. She had not experienced it herself and was very curious. This was not a very good piece of film making. I only watched it after I gave up trying to find the remote. The main thing I got from the movie was that everybody uses the expression "falling in love." From California to Paris, people are falling in love. Such a clumsy planet, it's amazing we haven't gone extinct. "What happened to Bob?" "He fell in love and now he's head over heels." "Poor fellow. I hope he finds his footing soon. Ain't much use to us like that."

If Bob had gradually squatted down in love instead of falling, then he would have gotten use to the descent and still have functioned in everyday society. If he gets rejected, he still can make it to work the next day instead of jumping off a bridge.

In fact it would be a good idea if everyone prepared for possible love puddles. Be sure to put on safety equipment like a welder's mask and a chest protector before going anywhere near. Knee pads, elbow pads and steel-toed work boots would also be a good idea. Remember what Nazareth said: "Love Hurts."

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Problxms

My x kxy has quit working propxrly. Instxad of typing an x, I gxt an x! This can bx vxry inconvxnixnt. X is vxry important in writing. Xvxn thx othxr x is usxfull. I should havx both x and x if I plan to continux. Givx mx a minutx and I will try to fix this problxm.

(pausx)

Okay, I think I got it going. t3sting, on3, two, thr33. Hmmm... Am I g3tting disl3xic or is my 3 backwards? Giv3 m3 anoth3r minut3.

(paus3)

testxng, one, two, three. Good. X fxxed xt. Waxt a mxnute. My e xs workxng but now my x xs not. Another mxnute, please.

(pause)

txstxng, xnx, twx, thrxx. Nxt gxxd. Xnx mxrx mxnxtx.

(pxxsx)

testing, one, two, three. Hey, I got it! Okay, now for the blog.

(pause)

Nevermind, I'm too tired to write right now.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Potatoes

I like potatoes. I like 'em fried. I like 'em baked. I like 'em mashed. I like 'em mashed with cheddar cheese mixed in. I like 'em roasted. I like potato chips. I like shoe string potatoes. I even like Pringles, an imitation potato chip. I cannot think of a single potato recipe that I don't like. And I'm not even Irish.

I use to be Irish but I gave it up. I couldn't go for the whole leprechaun thing. Sure, it would be nice to track a leprechaun to his pot 'o gold and then steal it. But what would happen to rainbows without a place to anchor? All actions have consequences. When their children ask what became of all the rainbows, I don't want to be the guy mothers point to and say, "Ask that greedy bastard!"

So I gave up being Irish, but not my love of potatoes. Potatoes with cheese! Lovely combination. Even cheese flavord Pringles, that imitation potato chip with imitation cheese flavoring, tastes wonderful. I wonder why they decided to make imitation food that tastes exactly like the food its imitating. Seems much simpler just to use the original food.

And what about lemon Pledge? Is this a furniture polish, or a summer drink? And how about all the flavors they put in dish soap, it's stupifying. "My dishes prefer the taste of strawberry dish soap. They were on a blueberry kick for a while, then tried some orange flavored stuff, and now they refuse to be cleaned by anything that isn't strawberry. My dishes can be pretty picky."

Washing my hair the other day, I accidently got a taste of my "Green Apple Shampoo." You know, it would be pretty good if they get rid of that soapy taste. Now my conditioner, a delicious citrus combination, I could drink all day long. It goes good washing down my mint flavored shaving cream.

I wonder if someone will come out with a potato flavored bar of bath soap...

...with cheese, please.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Bonnie and Clyde (1970's Version)

Sometimes, when you become close friends with someone, you also become involved with the people in that person's life. Naturally, you get to know your friend's family and such. Yet, you also may get to know their neighbors and friends of their neighbors. One new friend incurs hundreds of acquaintances. This is a story of a friend of a neighbor of a friend of mine.

I had become friends with Steve. We use to sit on his porch drinking beer to pass the evening away. These were summer nights in the mid-1970's. I recall how the days were compressed with heat pulsating up from the ground and the sun blasting down from cloudless skies. The nights would creep in on a cooling breeze bringing release from the furnace of the day. We took full pleasure from dusk to dawn, sitting back, relaxed, congregating on Steve's front porch, sipping brewskis, and hold discussions as if we were the world's greatest philosophers.

Steve's next door neighbor was rarely home. I can't recall his name right now, so I will refer to him as Sheldon. Sheldon had a friend named Jay Nahto (this is a nom de guerre) who would forever be trying to visit Sheldon. It would not surprise me to find out that Sheldon was home, sitting in the dark, refusing to answer his door during Jay's visits. Jay Nahto was a nut.

I used the phrase "nom de guerre" for Jay. "Nom de guerre" means a fictitious name, but also has connotations of a "Fighting Name" like "Carlos, the Jackal" or the "Red Baron." Jay Nahto was an active soldier in the war on drugs. Unfortunately, he was on the wrong side. He was not merely a combatant, he was taken prisoner and his life story had been turned into a propaganda film by the other side.

On more than one occasion, after finding Sheldon not home, Jay Nahto would meander over to Steve's porch and inject himself into our conversation. We mostly ignored him, hoping he would go away, and after fifteen or twenty minutes, he generally would. Once he came over and his arms was covered with a multitude of cuts and in several places, stitches. Our curiosity got the better of us and we asked what had happened. Jay went on to explain that a few nights earlier he had taken a few tabs of acid... (A few tabs! One is a nightmare.) ...and when he went home, he found his father had changed the locks, his keys no longer worked. Jay still lived with his parents. He refused to be kept out of his home, so to gain entrance he took a running leap through the front window. He found himself in his next door neighbor's front room. But not for long, the neighbors had already called the police when they heard him trying to force his keys to work their locks. The cops were pulling up when he plunged through the glass. It was less than a minute before Jay Nahto was in handcuffs and on his way to jail. The next day his parents made good with the neighbors and they dropped the charges.

By the end of summer, we hadn't seen Jay Nahto for about a month, and we wondered if he finally gave up trying to visit Sheldon. We asked Sheldon about it and this is what he told us became of Jay Nahto:

Jay Nahto was actually a junior. He shared his name with his father. Jay wanted to go out bar hopping and was without the funds to do so. He waited until his parents went to sleep, snuck into their room, and removed one of his father's credit cards from his wallet. He now had the means for a bar bill. He went up to a local watering hole to imbibe an inebriation. Since Jay Nahto was generous with his father's money, he treated many women to drinks in hopes of companionship. One female saw the possibilities of Jay Nahto's credit card and cozied right up to him. The night ended with the two of them renting a room, and stocking it with enough booze for a fraternity party. Their bender embarks.

Soon, the booze is not enough. Jay's woman (Since I do not know if I ever knew her name, I shall now bestow her the moniker of Jezebel) had access to a cabin up north in Caseville. Jezebel grew up in that area, and she knew several people up there who sold drugs. Thus Jay and Jezebel hopped in her car and headed north. They somehow managed to avoid colliding with any other vehicles or objects as they drunk drove the entire hundred plus mile trip.

Upon arrival in Caseville, and after finding all Jezebel's drug sources dried up, the couple concluded that the only way to get some dope is to liberate it from a local drugstore. Jay was to keep the pharmacist busy while Jezebel crept behind the counter and grabbed whatever she could. It went perfect for our modern day Bonnie and Clyde. Apparently intoxicated customers make good diversions for druggists. Jezebel made off with dozens of bottles of all sorts of pharmaceutical goodies. The two were so happy with their achievement that they stopped at city hall and applied for a marriage license before settling back to the cabin with their stash.

Jay and Jezebel filtered through the bottles of pills to find the ones best to their likings. Unbeknownst to Jay, Jezebel kept the strongest of the narcatics for herself. The night was filled with pill popping and booze guzzling until the two were knocked unconscience. In the morning only Jay would wake up.

Jezebel had overdosed sometime during the night. Jay tried to awaken his fiance's corpse. No luck. So he ate some more pills and drank some more booze while waiting to decide his next course of action. He stayed in the cabin for two days with the dead girl before running out of intoxicants. Finally he called for an ambulance. The ambulance attendants called for the police. The police called for a coroner. Jay had told the police that he had just found her. They were suspicious but since it appeared to be an accidental overdose, they did not press Jay for further information.

Jay volunteered to pay the funeral expenses. After all, she was his fiance and he did have his father's credit card. The funny thing about credit cards back in the 1970's was that if you kept your purchases under a $100 and you had the proper ID, you were good to go, but if you try to put a $5000 funeral on a credit card, the funeral parlor will check with the credit card company before going forth. Well, Jay Senior had discovered his card missing and had reported it stolen. So while picking out a coffin, the police once again swooped in and arrested Jay Nahto.

Jay's father did not want to press charges on his son. This time it did not matter. The credit card company was the one to decide. And they did not like their cards being used without permission. Even if the card was being used towards a decent cause such as the proper burial of a fellow human being.

But credit card fraud was only half of Jay Nahto's problem. The Caseville pharmacy had a closed circuit tv system and the drug thievery had been recorded. Jay and Jezebel's images were clear as day. When the prosecutor presented the evidence to Jay, Jay agreed to plead guilty. The prosecutor was very happy with this. He had planned to offer Jay a reduced charge, just to get the case done with, but Jay volunteered his guilty plea before the lesser charge was mentioned. When Jay Nahto was in the wrong, Jay Nahto would not hesitate to admit it.

Sheldon relayed this story to us. He concluded by saying we would not be seeing Jay for at least five years but, with any luck, not for another ten.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Piano Music

Two in the morning. Forty-five minutes before Sinatra croons "Set 'em up, Joe." I am not a big Sinatra fan, but I do enjoy his rendition of "One For My Baby."

It's quarter to three
there's no one in the place
'cept you and me


The piano work in that song is what I really like. I'm a sucker for the piano. Especially, lounge lizard piano plinking. Tom Waits is the best. I love his song "The Piano Has Been Drinking."

The piano has been drinking
and my necktie fell asleep
the band has moved back to New York
and the juke box has to take a leak


I recommend that you grab your cash, run on down to your local music store, and purchase Tom Waits' CDs "Small Change" and "Nighthawks at the Diner." It will be worth the investment. You'll be praising me tomorrow for the suggestion.

Unless you don't care for gravelly voiced sarcastic piano players. Be forewarned, this is not Rock and Roll. Tom Waits is a style unto hisself. Although, others have recorded his music, and many can be classified as Rock and Roll; i.e.: Rod Stewart, the Ramones, Canned Heat, the Violent Femmes, Screamin' Jay Hawkins, the Eagles.

I was living in Seattle in 1977 when I got my very first earful of Tom Waits. There was a tv show on around that time called "Fernwood Tonight." It was a spin-off from "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman." Fernwood was a fictional city, and the local tv station of this make-believe land had a variety show hosted by Bart Gimble (Martin Mull) and his sidekick Jerry Hubbard (Fred Willard). Their show was doing a on-air wedding of two local residents. It so happened, according to this particular night's episode, that Tom Waits had been driving through Fernwood when his car broke down. To fill time while his car was being fixed, Tom agreed to appear on the local tv production. He played piano for the wedding that was going on. The song he played was "Better Off Without a Wife."

I knew this one girl
she was married so many times
she had rice marks all over her face


Well, it is almost quarter to three... so, I think I will pour myself a drink. In fact, I'll have one for my baby... and one more for the road.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Pipsi

This is where I let my mind roam. I never know what I am going to write about until I am writing it. And even then I do not know in what direction I am heading. I have no subject at hand. Yet I am pounding out these words.

Suddenly, Pipsi, the little Jewish girl who had been turned into a cow by a band of roving gypsies, kicked her stall door open. She mooed triumphantly as she left the barn to search for her parents. If she could somehow relay to her folks what had transpired, perhaps they could make the gypsies turn her back into a human.

And so it goes. These random thoughts cross my mind and I type them out. I have no idea why a band of gypsies would transform a little girl into a cow, yet in my head this has occurred. Why was the little girl Jewish? Not because her parents were Jewish. That's too easy. She converted to Judism of her own free will. Could be the reason the gypsies turned her into a cow. Ah! The young girl was also a gypsy, and because she changed her religion, the gypsies decided to teach her a lesson by showing what happens if you change into something you should not. Life isn't always what you make it, sometimes life makes you what it wants.

Wait, I just re-read my original paragraph. It seems that Pipsi is seeking out her parents. If her parents were gypsies, then why would she want to get back with the people who changed her into a cow? Maybe her parents were not there when the rest of the gypsies put the cow curse on her. Yeah, okay, that might work. Her parents may have been away doing a grift. Some kind of con where they do construction work with shoddy materials at exorbinant prices. Mom is the sales person. Dad does the work and collects the money.

So now we have a cow by the name of Pipsi wondering through the countryside in search of her human parents. Pipsi is smart enough to know to stay off the main roads, she wouldn't want the farmer retrieving her back to the barn. The farmer who owns the barn that housed Pipsi is Chesty McBabe. He was born Chester McBabs, but with a name like that, it was only natural for the townfolk to nickname him Chesty McBabe.

Chesty bought Pipsi the cow from a door to door cow salesman. That was what the gypsy claimed to be and Chesty believed just about anything anybody would tell him. The gypsy who sold Pipsi was the one who had turned her into a cow. He did not turn her into a cow because she was Jewish. He did it so he could sell her and make a few bucks. After all, the girls parents were away. Who would complain?

So I got to throw out my "teaching Pipsi a lesson" reason. I still like the idea, but no motive other than financial gain, is more believable. And I want to make my story believable. Okay, let's see... Pipsi has traveled across the countryside undetected and she is approaching suburbia. She spots her father putting up fake aluminum siding on one of the houses. She rushes across the road and gets hit by semi-truck. The truck driver does not stop, but the father has seen it all. He hurries to dying cow. The last thing Pipsi sees in this life is her father looking down at her. The last words she hears is her father saying, "Oh boy, steak tonight!"

Friday, April 9, 2010

1964

Back at the dawn of time when I was in 5th grade, (That's elementary school, my dear Watson) I had my first male teacher. Everyone at my school in 5th grade had a male teacher. There were only two 5th grade instructors and they were both men. They both were also German; Mr. Schmidt and Mr. Moore. They made the German language part of the 5th grade curriculum. World War II was a mere 18 years earlier and to this day I do not know which side they were on.

It was in Mr. Moore's class while learning to count in German that the news of President Kennedy death was announced. Ach, du lieber!

It was also in Mr. Moore's class that I first heard of that new rock and roll band called the Beatles. The kids seemed to like them. I thought they were okay, but it wasn't until the Rolling Stones emerged that I went crazy for rock'n roll. All my friends were either a Stones fan or a Beatlemaniac. You were allowed to like them both but you always would favor one over the other. The majority was for the Beatles. This was how I ended becoming best friends with Joe. We bonded over our devotion to the Rolling Stones.

During my 5th grade school year, a new kid moved into the neighborhood. Naturally I was suspiscious of him, there were Commies everywhere. Several months earlier, Nikita Krushchev tried to point missiles at us from Cuba. Kennedy wouldn't stand for it, and the U.S. and Russia had a showdown. Nikita flinched first and had to pull his missiles out. So it was only logical to think that Nikita would try something else, like planting one of his spies in my classroom.

This new kid, Joe, was seated next to me in German class. I kept my eye on him. After a while, since he did not carve a hammer and sickle in his desk, I began to talk with him and found that we had a lot in common. When the Rolling Stones released "Not Fade Away," in March of 1964, Joe and I rode our bikes to Miracle Mart where we purchased the 45 release. While others were playing "She Loves You" and "I Saw Her Standing There," Joe and I were listening to "Tell Me" and "Time Is On My Side." The Beatles were called the Fab Four. Our Stones were referred to as the Rolling Uglies. But that did not matter to us, we were in it for the music, not the band's good looks.

1964 radio was staggered by Beatle/Stones songs. A Beatle song was released in one month and the following month a Stones tune hit the airways. In 1964, there was 6 singles at the top of the charts by the Rolling Stones. There were 10 by the Beatles. The Beatles had several "double-sided" hit singles; i.e. side-A "All My Loving" and side-B "This Boy."

I'm not trying to down grade the Beatles. I cannot think of a single Beatle song that I do not like. I am saying that as I remember 1964, the Rolling Stones was the band for me. They introduced raunchiness into my life. They made it okay to be different. I was able to see that sometimes bad can be good. The Shangrilas sang "He's good bad, but he's not evil." They could have been singing about Mick Jagger.

So Joe and I became best friends because of the Rolling Stones. I think of Joe at least twice a year. On April 2nd, which was the day he was born. And on June 6th, the die he died. But I don't want to talk about that right now. I'm reliving 1964. That was the year of Boy Scouts, paper routes, and the Rolling Stones.

It was Joe's step-father that started a Boy Scout troop at our school. The reason Joe was new in the neighborhood is as follows. His parents had divorced several years earlier and when his mother remarried, the new dad had bought a home in Center Line. He moved his bride and her children into the home. He adopted Joe and his two sisters. He was what every father should be; devoted to his family. He went above and beyond the call of fatherhood. When he found that Center Line did not have a local chapter of the Boy Scouts, he started one. At first there were maybe five or six of us kids, but by the next year there were a few dozen. Joe's father was the Scout Master, and his uncle was the assistant Scout Master. Most of us original scouts were either Joe's cousins or friends. Being a boy scout was corny and cool at the same time.

In the summer of 1964 I got my first paper route. It covered one street and had 28 customers. I still recall the number. Twenty-eight customers is a very small route. You had to buy paper routes from retiring newsboys. Each newsboy had a certain area assigned to him, and he could only develop new customers in that area. I was pretty maxed out customer-wise, so I looked for a bigger route. I found one after Christmas of 64. No boy likes to sell his route before Christmas. That is when he gets the biggest tips. So in January of 65, I gave my smaller route to Joe and I took on the bigger location. My new route was a townhouse complex behind Miracle Mart, a local department store. The people in the townhouses were haphazardly moving in and out, so the size of my route was in constant flux. I could have as few as 65 customers or as many as 100. Imagine 100 copies of the Sunday Detroit News jammed into bags being hauled on the bicycle of a twelve year old through streets covered by snow. Remember, this is before global warming and Michigan's winters would snow three or four feet every day.

For Christmas of 1964, I was given a present by Joe. It was the album "12 x 5" by the Rolling Stones. He wanted to show his appreciation for the the paper route I was giving him. Great album, but I did not understand the title right away. Joe explained "'12 x 5' means 12 songs by the 5 Rolling Stones." This was the first of many "Duh" moments in my life.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Stolen Jokes

Why do cranky doctors specialize in midgets?
Because they have little patience.
Ba-dump-bum

A grasshopper jumps on a barstool and orders a beer. The bartender says, "You know we have a drink named after you."
The grasshopper responds, "Really, you have a drink called Steve?"
Ba-dump-bum

Upon eating a circus clown, one cannibal says to another, "He tasted kind of funny."
Ba-dump-bum

What did Mickey Mouse cite as the reason for divorce from Minnie Mouse?
She was fucking Goofy.
Ba-dump-bum

Jesus walks into a hotel. He hands the desk clerk three spikes and asks, "Can you put me up for the night?"
-cymbal crash-

That's all folks

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Eggs and such

Decided to blog an Easter Post. I have had my share of Easter eggs today. Easter eggs do not taste any different than ordinary hard boiled eggs, but "Blessed" Easter eggs seem to have a better taste. I know it does not make sense. Some priest sprinkling a few drops of water on a basket of ham, eggs and such, should not affect the flavor. Well, he also waves his hand in the basket's general direction and speaks some indecipherable Latin words. Maybe all the hoo-joo woo-joo makes it taste different.

I do not take a basket to church to be blessed. My neighbor does, and every Easter he treats us to blessed eggs, ham and bread. I have tried to get Linda to go to church in my stead, I have given her my proxy, but she refuses. What do you think about that? My better half would rather see my soul damned to an eternity of Hell than spend an hour a week praying for me. Jeez. Some people!

Anyway, I understand that the physical composition of eggs and ham can not be changed by religion. Although, I admit, I have not consulted a single scientist on this matter. And still I honestly think that the taste of blessed food is better than the identical non-blessed version. What a strange bird I must be. I am not, to any sense of the word, religous. The next time I am in church will be at the end of a shotgun being married, or in a casket as the end result of a shotgun because I wouldn't marry. On that day, the Armageddon begins.

By the way, I happen to know that when the world ends in 2012, I will not be one of the casualties. It was predicted by a Ouija board, at the start of my teenage years, I will not become a ghostly being until 2017. That means for five years after the rest of you say goodbye to this sphere of water and muck, I will be roaming the vast empty wilderness by my lonesome. I already have it planned to live out my days in a Wal-Mart. They have everything I would need; beds for sleep, canned goods for nourishment, and TV sets and entertainment systems with thousands of DVDs to keep my mind off the fact that I am the last man on earth.

So, after 2012, unless you are female, do not come knocking on my Wal-Marts. I will be busy watching the complete DVD sets of the Sopranos... or Bonanza... or Cheers... or Man From Uncle... or The L Word... or Frasier... or Buffy, the Vampire Slayer... etc... etc...

Friday, April 2, 2010

Condiments

The following should be read as if Andy Rooney of 60 Minutes were speaking the words.

Did you ever wonder why some people collect odd things? My neighbor collects empty beer bottles and cans. Everyday he adds more bottles and cans to his mélange. If you were to look you could see his garage filling with his treasure. I just wish he would organize this hobby. Keeping everything in big plastic bags is not the proper way for displayment.

I had an aunt who collected elephant statues. She made a point to only save elephants whose trunks pointed up. She said that that was for good luck. She must have had over 500 figurines of the trumpeting creatures. You think with all that good luck she would still be alive. She isn't.

A friend of mine collects newspapers. He has every edition of the Detroit Free Press from 1968 to today. The papers are tied in foot thick bundles and have been stacked to fill most of his basement. What he calls his "Local History Archives," others call a fire hazard.

I collect condiment packets. Not intentionally, but anytime I have brought fast food home and have found packets of ketchup, mustard, salt and pepper, I loathe to throw away what I have not opened. I have a entire door shelf in my refrigerator dedicated to holding these packets. Most of them display the name of the establishment that handed out the packets, not the company that created them.  Although, on most you will find a small, almost minuscule logo for Heinz or Frenches or Vlasic.  I have ketchup and mustard packets advertising Burger King, McDonalds and Wendys. I have an assortment of taco sauces from Taco Bell and Del Taco. I have Bar-B-Q and horsey sauce from Arby's.  None of these establishments made the condiments.  They simply slapped their brand on them.

I will occasionally use a packet of taco sauce or horseradish sauce, but if I need ketchup, I go straight for the big bottle. Who wants to waste time opening all those small packets when there are french fries demanding to be devoured. It is the ketchup packets that has the majority of packets in my collection. I'd estimate that over 40% of packets are ketchup.  One day I plan to spend an afternoon emptying all those ketchup packs into a ketchup bottle. I wonder, does ketchup go bad? I am pretty sure some of those packets can be carbon dated sometime back in the last century.

Do you ever wonder why ketchup has different spellings? There is catsup and ketchup, yet they both have the same ingrediants and taste identical.  Same goes for catchup.  I could understand this if one was a brand name, but none are.

I prefer my ketchup to be "fancy." There is no different taste from ketchup that doesn't have the "fancy" claim, yet it's nice to see it on the label. Makes me feel like my condiment is special. When my condiment is special, so am I.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April Fool's of the Past

I've been the butt of April Fools Day pranks in the past. The first one that I fell for was when I was around 7 or 8 years old. I was with my parents visiting my aunt and uncle, and their daughter, my cousin who was three years younger than I, offered a piece of chocolate to me. What kid turns down chocolate? So I took the candy and munched away. Everyone started snickering at this. I was suspicious but did not know the reason for their contained laughter. My cousin offered a second piece to me. The first one tasted fine, so I took another. Upon eating it, my aunt could not contain herself any longer and burst out with laughter. This got everyone going. I was still perplexed. My uncle offered me the box that held the chocolate. It was dog treats.

Not such a great trick compared to ones others have pulled throughout history. I always like the one Thomas Jefferson pulled on John Hancock. It seems that Jefferson had made a duplicate of the Declaration of Independence, got all the signers of the original (except Hancock) to redo their signatures on the duplicate. He then waited until the following year. On April 1st, 1777, Jefferson stormed into Hancock's home waving the fake Declaration, and demanding to know why Hancock had had his signature removed. Hancock stared at the historical paper in disbelief. His signature was no longer there. John Adams and Benjamin Franklin were outside Hancock's window listening to Hancock protest his innocence and bewilderment. Adams and Franklin were doubled over giggling like school girls. Jefferson called for George Washington and his soldiers, who immediately entered Hancock's home, and ordered that Hancock be put under arrest for treason. John Hancock started babbling through his tears that everyone in the Continental Congress had seen him sign the document, that he had no idea what had happened to his signature. He plead with Jefferson to let him sign it again. As Washington's men were putting shackles on Hancock, Franklin could not keep back his chortles. Franklin broke into a uncontrolled spasm of laughter. He was physically rolling on the ground, hee-hawing like a donkey. Well, this got Jefferson and Washington chuckling. The soldiers fell to their knees with humor. No one could maintain a straight face. It took a moment for Hancock to realize that a prank had been pulled on him. "You guys..." he exclaimed. "You got me good."

It was a shame that Franklin ended the gag. John Paul Jones was in the harbor awaiting to pretend to deport Hancock to England. His sailors would all act disgusted with the treasonous man. The plan was to take Hancock a little offshore, the sailors feigning to want there own justice and make Hancock walk the plank. Jefferson, Washington, Franklin, and Adams would be in a dingy to pull Hancock out of the water shouting "April Fools!"

I also enjoyed the joke Henry Ford pulled on the American public. On April 1st, 1910, Ford had placed a full page advertisement in all the major city newspapers stating that his Model T could be run on milk when gasoline was unavailable. Thousands of Model T owners fell for the joke. Not only did Henry Ford howl at the stupidity of some of customers, he had put a boon on the milk industry. Dairies across America were depleted of the milk supply by car owners. When people called Ford to complain that the milk did not combust, that their cars were dead in the roads, Henry had instructed his phone operators to ask the automobile owners what type of milk they were using. When they replied "cow milk," they were then told that "only llama milk was to used as fuel. Only idiots would use cow milk." The Model T owners would not want to admit that they were idiots, so the complaint ended there.

Some pranks can backfire like the one pulled by FDR. Shortly after being elected President, Roosevelt hosted a party in the White House. Coincidentally the party was to be on April 1st, 1933. His wife, Elenore, was a lousy dancer and would constantly step on Franklin Delano's feet. To avoid having to dance with his wife at the affair, FDR pretended to be paralyzed and insisted at going to the dance in a wheel chair. When the public heard about Roosevelt being paralyzed, an outpouring of sympathy cards, telegraphs, and phone calls came into the White House. Franklin knew if he ever showed up in public walking, he would lose his public support and any possible re-elections. So for the rest of his life, FDR was pushed around in a wheel chair.