Friday, September 28, 2007

Can't We All Just Get Along?

I have lived alone enough in my life to appreciate the joy of watching what I want on TV, listening to the music I want when I want to, and generally not being bothered by the needs of another person. For ten years now I have had to compromise because I live with Mark. As long as I get to watch my football and baseball I can live with it.

My sister recently sent me an e-mail with lists of ten things entitled,



These were mildly amusing lists and if you want to see them e-mail me and I will forward them to you.

The only problem is with the last list about black people. There is one thing not on there that I think should have been included over many of the others, and that is ‘The people in the movie or television show cannot hear you’. Stop talking to them. In other words, SHUT THE F**K UP!!

Maybe this is just another stereotype and I have the only black person in America who talks to the television living in my house. I, however, doubt that because I have heard this phenomena among black people before. I haven’t watched a movie or TV show in ten years without having to say "what did they say?" or "shhhhhh, hush, quiet". My usual signal to Mark that he’s talking too much is to put the TiVo on hold and turn and look at him instead of the television. This usually results in him saying "Sorry, am I talking too much?". No you aren’t, the people in the movie are just being rude and talking over you.

Every Sunday morning we watch ‘Meet the Press’, ‘Face the Nation’, and some of the other political shows. For some reason Mark thinks he’s one of the people on the panel and has debates with them. It gets worse when a republican is on. That’s when Marks voice goes up to the highest pitch he is capable of (and that’s pretty high) causing Molly to cover her ears. Subjecting me to this is one thing, but for a dog with sensitive ears it must be painful. I just hope Peta doesn’t hear about this.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Loose Ends

Hey You! Get the hell out of here!

Apparently Lovie Smith, coach of the Bears, read my blog last Tuesday and realized my knee jerk fan expertise. Yesterday morning he named Brian Griese as the starter for the Bears. This of course will go to my head as I now realize the enormous power I have. Wait until I do a blog about George Bush, things will probably change overnight.

This morning I’m very worried because there’s an old guy with a beard down the block building a big boat. Already he has a pair of rats, cats, possums, squirrels, raccoons, and palmetto bugs living on it. I assume this is because of the unending rain that has been falling for the last week. We have had torrential downpours. This did not stop the Chicago Cubs from losing the last two nights to the Marlins during the only six hours it hasn’t rained here since last Friday. One thing the rain has done is to turn my pool into one of those really cool ‘infinity’ pools.

Yesterday, after five days of trying to make my head not look like some kind of gray haired ‘Chia Pet’ I went to Joe’s barber shop and had Mark’s experiment fixed. I don’t know what he plans to do with that hair cutting kit he bought, but he won’t be using it on me again. When I sat in the chair the girl looked at my head and tried to be tactful when she asked who last cut my hair. I explained about letting a ‘friend’ try out his new clippers, and how when I said "Now let me cut yours.", he responded "Hell No!".

One thing about getting my hair cut at Joe’s is they take care of all the old man extras. By that I mean they cut my eyebrows, and do a quick pass in and out of my ears. I really hate the fact that she ran the clippers on the outer edge of my ears. I didn’t even know I had hair growing there.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Marks Cheesy Balls

I want to introduce a video that was sent to me by one of my brothers or sisters. Because of my bad short term memory and the fact that I deleted the e-mail after saving the video, I don’t know who sent it.

As anyone who has ever had dinner at our house knows, Mark is an excellent cook. He will try to make anything he sees on TV or in a cook book. The other night we had sautéed goat cheese balls stuffed with sun dried tomatoes as a appetizer. Man they were good, but definitely not on my diet.

Mark is also a big scaredy cat and afraid of creatures big and small. He thinks when the cat licks his hand, that it’s sizing him up for a meal and is within seconds of biting him. A palmetto bug sends him running from a room, screaming for me to go in and execute the offending beast. For years he thought that when Molly went to give him a big dog kiss that she was trying to bite him. She thought that was funny and he was playing with her so she’d go after him even harder.

But I digress. The following video, however not of Mark, is an accurate recreation, with a nice lady standing in for him, of the day Mark decided to make fresh, live lobster.

By the way Garet, you don’t have to comment. We already know what you’ll say. Hehehe.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Sunday Night F**kup

Gee, when you don’t have safe search turned on and you type in Bears-Cowboys on Google you get some very startling results. I was looking for pictures of Sunday nights game and I got a lot of pictures of bears and cowboys, some with their clothes on.
Ever since 1986 when Charles Martin of the Green Bay Packers picked up Jim McMahon during a game and tried to drill a hole to China with his head, the Chicago Bears haven’t had a quarterback with any great skills. Things just weren’t the same after that.

1986: McMahon, Mike Tomczak, Steve Fuller, Doug Flutie
1987: McMahon, Tomczak
1988: McMahon, Tomczak, Jim Harbaugh
1989: Tomczak, Harbaugh
1990: Harbaugh, Tomczak
1991: Harbaugh
1992: Harbaugh, Peter Tom Willis, Will Furrer
1993: Harbaugh, Willis
1994: Erik Kramer, Steve Walsh
1995: Kramer
1996: Kramer, Dave Kreig
1997: Kramer, Rick Mirer
1998: Kramer, Steve Stenstrom, Moses Moreno (Moses Moreno! Who the hell was he?)
1999: Shane Matthews, Cade McNown, Jim Miller
2000: McNown, Matthews, Miller
2001: Miller, Matthews
2002: Miller, Chris Chandler, Henry Burris
2003: Kordell Stewart, Chandler, Rex Grossman
2004: Grossman, Jonathan Quinn, Craig Krenzel, Chad Hutchinson
2005: Kyle Orton, Grossman
2006: Grossman!!

Why can’t we ever get one of those super talented, tough as nails scrambling guys on our team? For just once I’d like to watch a Bears game and at least know that the quarterback is not afraid of his shadow and has the instincts of a real pro. When Rex Gossman ran for a first down in the first half, he showed instinct, the instinct to not get killed. He looked a lot like me when I was ten years old and ‘Big Al’ was coming at me with his belt. I think Rex has had the benefit of the doubt long enough and the Bears need to start thinking about a replacement. The one thing I regret about last Sundays game is not being able to sit and watch it with my dad, ‘Big Al’. He would have given a much more realistic ‘Color Commentary’ than John Madden. Sort of off color.

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Virgin Mary is not Edible.

I have nothing against people following a religion. That’s what the constitution is all about, freedom to practice your own religious beliefs. But you have to admit some people take it to ridiculous extremes. I’ve seen the snake handlers, but they only endanger themselves, and then there are the people who kill in the name of religion, but this isn’t about them. This is about the religious people who make me laugh because they do funny things. One that I find truly humorous are the guys who talk in tongues on TV. They get up there and start flapping there lips and tongues with their eyes closed and hands up in the air like some kind of god antennas. It’s obviously just gibberish yet somehow they’ve convinced some people they’re talking to god.

I was watching the news the other night and they had another Virgin Mary sighting. This one was some kind of wax spill on a piece of cloth. Another in a long line of VM sightings. She really gets around, from a grilled cheese sandwich, to the bottom of a turtle, to a bank window. I would think the real VM would have better things to do than show up in a wax spill, yet every time this happens the TV news people show up and dutifully report on it and I’m glad they do because it amuses me. Not amusing like nuns on roller skates, amusing like , "aren’t people nuts?".

So I’ve posted some of my favorite VM sightings here for you to either chuckle at or pray to. Meanwhile for some reason this made me hungry and I think I’m going to make myself a grilled cheese sandwich.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Splitting Hairs

Trust is paramount in a relationship. If you don’t have trust I don’t see how anything else will work out. Over the years I’ve worn my hair many different ways, and the fact that at fifty seven I still have it means I can still experiment with it. My mothers choice of hair cut for me during my childhood was the pompadour. She changed that ,once when I was seven, getting me a crew cut for the summer. Probably because my mom didn’t want to deal with getting me to the barber shop for three months.

In High School I really wanted a Beatles cut but my dad and the Tinley Park High School dress code prevented what I’m sure would have been a really ‘boss’ haircut (Boss: 1960’s slang meaning real nice. Now replaced by ‘Flossy’ or ‘Awesome’.).
Into the late sixties early seventies I wore the regulation hippie pothead cut. It was very easy to maintain, wash once a week and comb once a day.

As the seventies progressed I went with the shag split look. It was ‘hot’. I’m sure I was the coolest guy in Chicago back then.

On into the eighties I changed to the young professional look, which worked well when I got into the corporate world of computers.

When I moved to Florida in the nineties I adopted more of an I don’t really care cut. Just get it off my neck and out of my eyes and do it quickly because I hate people touching my head.

The last few years I decided to go back to when I was seven years old, and have been getting what is almost a crew cut. It seemed to me that paying someone twenty dollars to do the easiest haircut you can get was wasteful. So this time I let Mark cut my hair with his new ‘Wahl Hair Cutting Kit’. He of course bought it on sale and it has been sitting around the house for awhile. After watching the DVD instruction video, we went into the kitchen and Mark started to cut.

It was not reassuring to keep hearing oop’s, oh no, and oh my god, being muttered under his breath. In fact at one point he totally abandoned the clippers and started cutting free hand with the scissors. But it’s OK, I trusted that Mark wouldn’t screw my hair up. I just sat there knowing that for twenty dollars the guys at Joe’s Barber Shop can fix anything.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Is it Next Year Yet?

Mark hates sports. I love sports. When I take Mark to a baseball game he spends three innings eating and drinking then he goes out to the souvenir stands to shop. I love to watch sports. Football, baseball and basketball, I’ll even sit and watch Australian rules football. Even as a kid I remember watching sports. The fact is I was horrible at sports when I was a kid, maybe that’s why I like watching and not doing.

One of my earliest memories playing sports was my brother Dave trying to teach me how to catch a baseball. He started out lobbing it gently to me at first, which was fine, but then he decided I was ready and he heaved the ball high up into the air. "Get under it" he yelled, and like a Three Stooges skit I did. It hit me square in the forehead. While I screamed bloody murder, a bump on my head swelled up the size of a large walnut. Lesson one, I can’t catch.

When I was about nine or ten years old my dad decided I should join the Little League. At the first try out it was quite apparent that I was awful and the coach suggested to my dad that I go to the instructional league. This seemed to hurt my dad more than it did me, I thought it was a fine idea. In the instructional league they put me in the outfield, where I caught about one out of a hundred fly balls. The worst part was batting, in the entire time I was in that league I never, ever hit a ball. When it was my turn to bat the other kids always said "Here comes strike out!". Lesson two, I can’t hit.

So tonight I sat and watched another Cubs game on TV. They are in the thick of a pennant race, going touch and go with the Milwaukee Brewers. Tonight they won and the Brewers lost putting them in first place one game ahead of the Brewers. Even if the Cubs win the pennant, I have grave misgivings about the final outcome. This is because I watched them blow it in 1984, and again in 2003. I know people in Chicago are getting all exited about the Cubs maybe going to the World Series, but those must be people who didn’t learn lesson three.
Lesson three, The Cubs will rip your heart out and stomp on it as they find a way to lose what may seem to be a sure win.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Good Dennis, Good Alan

Having a good friend to do things with is something very precious, especially if you can tolerate their habits. Nothing is worse than going away on vacation with someone and finding out you can’t stand to be alone with them for more than one hour. Then you realize you have three whole days in a hotel room ahead of you.

Dennis and I used to go away every once in a while for fun weekends. A couple of times we went to Atlanta for what was called ‘Hotlanta River Expo’. This consisted of hundreds of gay guys partying all weekend culminating in the river raft race on one of the most polluted rivers in the south, the Chattahoochee River. The raft race was fun because everyone got kind of dressed up in costumes and blasted each other with super soakers. I really don’t know what the people who had homes along that stretch of river thought of it, but I know we had fun. It was just like we had gone back to our childhood but with an adult twist to it.

Then there was the time we decided to take a trip through Florida on secondary roads and visit the weird tourist traps we found along the way. This included the ‘Cypress Knee Museum’, an alligator farm called ‘Gaterama’, and a pineapple farm where they didn’t even grow pineapples any more.

Now Dennis is going on another trip, this time permanently and without me. He is retiring from teaching in just nine days and will be moving to Palm Springs in less than a month. We were separated like this once before when he moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico and I moved here to Florida. I was able to entice him to move here a year later after a drunken night at a strip club in Pompano Beach. Albuquerque didn’t have anything like that, in fact it actually had very little night life compared to the Fort Lauderdale area.

This time however, his moving away bothers me a lot more. Because this time I know how I’ll feel when he’s gone. There will be a vacant place in my life that Dennis has filled for almost thirty years. Yes I missed my family when I moved here, but family isn’t like a good friend. Your family is required to put up with you.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Bad Dennis, Bad Alan

Sometimes I drink too much, and some times I drink just enough. However most of the time my drinking has been done with my best friend Dennis. Now don’t get me wrong, Dennis and I have done many things together besides drinking but what we do best together is drink vodka. We are not angry or mean drunks, we are happy drunks. We don’t drink every day but when we do, we drink to have fun, not get drunk.

I met Dennis about thirty years ago when he was bartending at a dive called ‘Dugans’ at Clark and Surf streets in Chicago. That very night we went out drinking downtown. Back then the bars downtown were not all hoity toity yuppie places but sleazy joints with cheap drinks. When I got a job bartending at my friend Rudy’s bar, ‘Dandys’, Dennis would come in about three or four nights a week. He was the one tolerable customer I had, because for the most part I can’t deal with drunks, at least when I’m sober. That of course is not a good thing if you are a bartender, so my bartending career didn’t last very long.

Through the years Dennis and I have spent many an evening in dives up and down the Clark Street corridor. There was the night we went up to an Andersonville bar with Garet. Garet needed to use the washroom and when he returned he had a very large pair of fruit of the loom tighty whiteys on his head. He said he found them up in the ceiling tiles. We never did get a reasonable explanation as to why he was peeking up into the ceiling tiles, or why they ended up on his head.

No matter where Dennis and I went drinking somebody would know him. It was like walking into a different ‘Cheers’ bar every time. We’d walk in the door and someone would yell "DENNIS!". It could be downtown, Rogers Park, or Uptown when Uptown was nothing like the gentrified place it is becoming now. We once went into the ‘Wooden Nickel’ on Wilson, and as we stepped over the drunken woman on the floor to get to the bar somebody yelled "Dennis!".
Since moving to South Florida our behavior hasn’t changed much other than the fact we like to go out earlier and leave the late night to the young ones. Also here in Florida the bars aren’t as sleazy as they could get in Chicago, at least until we walk in.