Thursday, April 30, 2009

Photo Friday

Home made thank you card from my nieces, Hope and Lila.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Video Thursday

Yes, more cute animal video. I can't help myself.

They have very sharp claws and teeth

Zap!!

When I first moved to Florida, I noticed a bumper sticker on quite a few pickup trucks. It read, "I Don't Care How You Did It Up North!", with the "screw you, you idiot" implied. I guess you can't argue with logic like that.

When I lived up north, I had relatively consistent electrical service. Yes, when a huge thunderstorm with high winds and lightning would roll through, there was always a chance of losing your electricity, but for the most part I could count on getting juice when I plugged something in. Not now, and not for the last twenty years of living in Florida, have I had reliable electric service. At least when I lived up north, I didn't have to keep flashlights in every room. Here I can be typing away on my stupid little stories, and in the blink of an eye the house has gone silent, and dark. It's no wonder there are so many house fires that are started by candles, not to mention the carbon monoxide deaths caused by numbskulls who put generators in their attached garage.

Once again, this morning we lost power. It wasn't the little pop off and pop on type that happens about once a week scrambling the data on my computer. This was the kind that lasts for hours, and requires me to get on the phone and speak to a condescending boob who is in an air-conditioned office that never loses power, because it's owned by the power company. What really pissed me off is that it was a beautiful, sunny day, there was no reason for the electric to go out. Anyway, Mark and I went off to have an early breakfast, and when we returned, the power company was just arriving. What was really sad, is that I knew more about their utility pole in the back yard than they did. At least I was able to point out the problem and they quickly got our power back on. Kind of like how they do it up north.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Once Again, THE SKY IS FALLING!!

It's on every channel, it's in the newspaper, and on the radio. Every news web site I go to, there it is in large type with photo's of the people with masks on. The end of the world will be caused by a Mexican microbe! Welcome to the CNN, MSNBC, FOX, boogie man of the week.

Every few years, the news media needs some kind of bug to juice things up when touting a war, or predicting the end of our economic system just won't cut the mustard. When salacious sex scandals are far and few between, the news vultures find a germ of a story in "The Disease Du Jour". We had the SARS scare a few years back that caused airline passengers to turn on each other if one so much as cleared their throat. Then there was the "bird flu" that caused Colonel Sanders to roll over in his grave, as thousands of chickens were turned into land fill. They even got into a froth over a bug that humans couldn’t even contract, the Y2K bug. People were filling bomb shelters with food, batteries, and other essentials, while waiting for the end of life as we know it. The outcome of all of these scares was, that nothing happened. Yes a few people got sick, and a few computers might have had a problem, but the end result was that the vast majority of humanity was unaffected.

Now we have this new ‘swine flu’ scare, that is causing the news readers to pee in their pants. Once again, I don’t think it will affect anyone much more than any other flu bug that has gone around every year. The sad thing is that the news media goes bananas over crap like this, when the real threat to human life in the United States and Mexico is ignored. The threat from guns, and the nuts who want everybody to carry one. 30,000 people die every year in the United States from firearms, including suicides and accidents. Maybe if you called getting shot, 'gun flu', people might pay more attention.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Perceptions

What would you do if you saw a black man at the playground eyeing a nine year old red headed white girl, who then walks up behind that girl and grabs her from behind? What would you think if she turned around and said "daddy!"? How about if her mother, a black woman, then walked up and joined them?

I was reading a story in Newsweek about a black couple who adopted a fair skinned, red headed, white girl, and the different reactions they get when they go out. For years it has been accepted that white families can adopt babies of another race, but never do you hear of, or see a black family adopting a white baby. Many whites, and even some blacks, find it troublesome, but for different reasons. That's the problem with us humans, we judge each other for what we look like, and not for who we really are. I know that for most of my young life I got by on my looks. I was a somewhat good looking, thin, white guy, and I know that I got at least a couple of jobs because I looked like the guy they were looking for. At least one of those jobs I was totally unqualified for.
That’s why I found it funny last week when the big story was the frumpy woman from Scotland, who made a splash because she could actually sing. Holy crap, stop the presses, ugly people are capable of carrying a tune! Most people who make it big in show business are usually pretty good looking. In fact record producers can take a talentless, yet pretty young thing like Ashlee Simpson, and through the miracle of electronics, make her into a recording star. You never see unattractive, hideous, repulsive people making it as a star. Well, there are exceptions, Amy Winehouse seems to be making a living.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Photo Friday

My high school girlfriend.
She should have known something was wrong
when I told her to stand in front of these masks.
Smile!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Video Thursday

I know, another animal video



Tigger is the neighbors cat, but he likes to hang around my house because I feed him occasionally, and I think he's a masochist.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Is Perez Burning?

From clear across the house I can hear Mark's squeaky voice loudly berating the television, and I know it's only a matter of time before he storms into my office with whatever it is that's pissing him off. Sure enough, moments later he's at the door, "Blah, blah, blah, Miss USA, blah, blah, Perez Hilton, blah, blah, gay marriage.". After a few "really's?" and "you don't say's", from me, Mark leaves and returns to watch more of whatever crap he's watching. A short while later, I step into the bedroom for something, and there is Mark, on his computer, watching clip after clip of Miss California blathering on about "her country". She obviously must live in some parallel universe, because I was pretty sure it's my country also, I know I've been paying taxes to it for years.

The truth is, that I don't give a damn about Miss California, Miss USA, or some asshole gossip blogger who changed his name to Perez Hilton so he might be confused with that other worthless piece of crap, Paris Hilton. Mark and apparently CNN, MSNBC, and the rest of the "news" organizations are all in an uproar over what some woman competing in a beauty contest has to say. It's a beauty contest!! A vestige of the 1950's pre-feminist United States. Who the hell cares? I say if a cable network with the word 'news' in it's name, utters one word about junk like this, or Dancing With the Stars, or American Idol, then they aren't really news channels, they are gossip rags like the Globe or the National Enquirer. Instead of wasting our time on stuff like this, they should be reporting on important news that matters. Things of national and world importance, like who will be quarterbacking for the Chicago Bears this year, or should the Florida Marlins baseball team have made Hanley Ramirez cut his dreadlocks off (I think he should be able to choose his own hair style).

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What Goes Up...

One of the auction items at the recent Abandoned Pet Rescue benefit, was a day trip in a private jet to Orlando, or Key West, taking off from the Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport. Just the thought of it made my hands sweat.

Back in 2006, Mark and I still owned our little hotdog stand. Late one afternoon while Mark was running the restaurant, and I was at home taking it easy, the phone rang. It was Mark, "Turn on the television quick, something just fell out of the sky behind the hotdog stand!!". In the background I could hear sirens and then the phone dropped and I could hear Marks squeaky voice shouting. It seems that a cargo plane had crashed a couple of blocks from the hotdog stand. If this was an unusual occurrence I would have been surprised, but for some reason airplanes from the Executive Airport are always dropping out of the sky. They crash on highways, golf courses, and once in a while, on somebody's house. There have been more than thirty incidents in the last six years out of this airport.

Last week, just a few blocks in the other direction from the hotdog stand, another plane crashed. Once again, no surprise, except that this time the pilot was an eighty one year old man. We have elderly folks driving their Cadillac's and Lincoln's through bus benches, and store windows all the time, but I never realized they were flying planes over us. From now on when I hear a small plane overhead, I will look to see if it has whitewall tires, and an orange ball on the antenna.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Joisey

This past Thursday Mark and I used the theater tickets I got him for Christmas. We went to see 'Jersey Boys', the story of the old rock and roll group, 'The Four Seasons'. Sometimes, when Mark drags me off to a Broadway show, I never know if I'm going to like it because I usually have never heard the music. I really hated 'Rent', especially after Mark bought the CD and listened to the crappy music all the way home from Miami. This time, however, was different because I grew up listening to the Four Seasons, and I always liked them, at least the early stuff before they became Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons.When we got to the theater, I noticed that the crowd was a lot different than other shows. For one thing, Mark at age forty nine, was one of the youngest people there. My first reaction was, "Why are all these old people here?", and then I realized they were all my age and older. It was the sixties generation, the first wave of baby boomers. Old, crusty, baby boomers. Another feature of this theater crowd was that it looked like a bad imitation of The Sopranos, and I said to Mark, "Are these people all from New Jersey?". The answer came with the first lines of the show. When the narrator mentioned New Jersey, and a few specific towns in New Jersey, the crowd went wild with cheers and applause. It was as if I had been dropped into some weird east coast time warp. Finally, when the music started, and the first song was sung, it became apparent that I wasn't the only one who was totally familiar with The Four Seasons songbook. To my right, the chubby New Jerseyite, whose ass had been slopping over into my seat, broke out in song, and for the rest of the show did his own off key version of Jersey Boys for me and the rest of the folks around us. Still it was a very good show, and I did enjoy it, especially the second act when I made Mark change seats with me.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Does My Ass Offend You?

After going through the maze of AT&T's phone menu system, I am finally talking to a human being, or so I think. "Sir how can I help you?" the lady inquired. "You can straighten out my bill. I spoke to someone last November and they fixed my bill so that it wouldn't be more than seventy five dollars, now I'm getting billed for a hundred and ten dollars. Do they take me for some kind of jackass?", I replied. Instead of helping me, in the haughtiest voice she could muster, she told me, "Sir, if you continue to use profanity I will have to disconnect.". What followed was a short argument over what words consisted of profanity and what was just her being a stupid jerk. After a while I got exasperated, and told her that she was irritating me and that I would disconnect her. When I called back, I refrained from using such salty language as 'ass', but I still didn't get any satisfaction.

When did the word jackass or even just ass become profanity? When did we become so sensitive and fragile that our poor little ears are offended by common language? All over the radio and television you can hear songs and pseudo (aka Rap) songs about women's anatomy and what the singer wants to do with that anatomy. We have the Charmin bears dancing around with tissue balls stuck to their rears, and the Burger King doing a rap dance with square butted women, yet I am dressed down by some help desk worker who is so easily offended that the word ass makes her swoon.

The arrogance of huge corporations are what's truly wrong with America. When you try to deal with them, they treat you like dirt and then get offended if you try to fight back. I personally am tired of trying to deal with AT&T anymore. I won't bother them with my foul language, and my insistence that they bill me correctly. I'll just take my ass over to Vonage, and tell AT&T to go screw themselves.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Cemetery

I think there was some kind of Catholic rule back in the 1950's that if you had a large family, and specifically more than one son, one of them had to become a priest. In my family it was my older brother. While he became an altar boy, I was asked to leave altar boys for being such a screw up. He also was a favorite of the parish pastor, while I was often chastised by the same priest for my behavior. So it was that he was sent off to the seminary for his first year of high school, much to the dismay of the girls on our block.

Once a month my mom and dad would pile us into the station wagon, and we would go visit my brother at the seminary, or cemetery as we would call it. We all looked forward to the visits. Not so much because we wanted to see my brother, we did, but mostly because the seminary was full of strange, and scary things for us to explore. There were the tower that you could sneak up into, and out on the grounds were five or six lakes that had been created by damming a creek. One of the lakes had a really cool grotto that we always went out to play in. But the absolute best, and scariest place in that whole seminary, was the church. Up and down each side of the church were little side altars. In one of those side altars, behind a pane of glass was the body of a dead child saint on display. It was the spookiest thing, but we would always have to go and have a look at that desiccated body. I seem to remember that it was all dressed up in a fancy gown of some sort, and had what I assume was a wax face so as not to totally freak children out. It freaked me out anyway.

My brother never did become a priest. He left the seminary after a couple of years. I think it might have been puberty and that celibacy thing that convinced him to leave. He did date some pretty hot girls after that.

Not the actual altar.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Peace at Last

I am typing this in my underpants, in my office, and listening to some jazz. No more females, no more hip hop, rap crap, and finally after seven full days, I am able to take a hot shower. For the last week, I have had to jump into a freezing shower, and do a speed wash before I got hypothermia. Talk about shrinkage. Between the four ladies and Mark showering, and the constant clothes washing, I have not felt hot water for a week.

Chandler had an entirely different take on the ladies leaving. He missed them almost immediately, and wondered all day what had happened to his new playmates. For Chandler, them leaving meant no more treats all day, no more playing endless fetch with his well chewed, slimy, raccoon toy, and no more tasty women's shoes to chew on.

I am also finding all sorts of mysterious and strange women things that they have left behind. In the bathroom are lotions and creams with uses that I am unfamiliar with, and when I removed the air-mattress in my office, I found all the tags from their shopping trip with Mark. That's another interesting development, Mark has found his match at shopping. After a day of shopping with the girls, Mark actually came home exhausted and spent, complaining about how awful it was. Hooray for the girls!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Photo Friday

Baseball Season Is Here

It was not always red. This is Wrigley Field in 1962.

Oh, and screw Carlos Zambrano.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Girlie Things

Day four of the invasion of the femibots, and I am learning some new things. First of all, it takes four women an exponential amount of time to get ready to go somewhere. You would think if it takes one female thirty minutes to get ready, all of them could get ready in that same time frame. Of course it does not work that way, and no, it does not take thirty minutes times four for all of them to get ready. It takes four hours for the ladies to do all their lady things before going out. This morning I watched one of the girls take two full hours to do her hair. It involved some kind of heating contraption, and filled the house with the foul odor of burning hair. I don’t remember my sisters being this way, but then again I really never did pay that much attention to their girl activities.

Another thing that I have discovered is that women require a lot of laundry time. My washer/dryer has been going non-stop since Sunday, and even loads involving my clothes have had various string shaped apparel mixed in. I realize it will all be over by Saturday morning, and I think I can take it until then. Chandler however, will be quite sad to see his new friends leave. For the last four days he has had more attention, more faces to kiss, and more treats than all the months before. He’ll just have to get over it.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

You Go Girl

For her first eight babies, my mom kept up a reasonable variance, in that she produced an even number of little boys and girls, alternating them in a boy-girl-boy-girl pattern. That is until baby number eight. That's when my mom started on a streak of four girls in a row. What had been a perfect yin yang thing, where the needs of the boys and girls balanced out, suddenly started to lean heavily to the female ways of doing things. More dolls than toy cars started to fill the house, more girly things in general took over. The worst was that because of the imbalance of girls to boys, the boys had to all share one bedroom, while the girls got to pair up only two to a room. When I finally broke free after high school, I discovered the joys of living without females in my own home. You know, like the joys of using the bathroom with the door open, and taking a shower without all those lotions and fancy smelling shampoos and soaps crowding you. I have managed to live without females in my home for forty years, and I like it.

This week, Mark and I, are hosting Mark's sister, sister-in-law, and two of his nieces. Once again the balance in my home has been tipped to the female side. It is a rude awakening for me. Suddenly my home is awash in the color pink, and my bathroom is filled with the scent of various ladies products. Every time I turn around these girls are rubbing sweet smelling lotions and balms all over their legs and arms. I also suspect that they might each have at least two cell phones per girl, because every outlet in the house is taken up by chargers of every type. The girls are all very sweet, and I am glad to see them, but I can assure you that by this time next week I will be quite happy to be sitting in front of my television, in my underwear, and watching something besides the Oxygen network.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Sofa King

Old Sofa
I could hear my knee pop as I lifted Mark's new sofa up the first step of the porch. A sharp, stabbing, pain shot through my leg, up to my brain, and out of my mouth as a string of obscenities. Oblivious to my agony, Mark continued to bark out orders, "Lift it a little higher, tilt it over!". Once again I have become a pawn in Mark's twisted world of, 'It's not good enough'. We had a perfectly usable sofa, and had no reason to get a new one, but what looks fine to me often looks like yesterdays fish to Mark. So it was that we 'had' to get this much better, new sofa. After all the lifting, twisting, and shoving of two sofas, I finally sat down, out of breath, and feeling like my knee had been whacked by Tanya Harding.

If it were up to me, my home would still look like it did fifteen years ago. Once I get comfortable, I don't go around looking for things to do. I didn't need my bathroom redone, I don't need the walls to be painted a different color every two years, and I never need the furniture rearranged. That last thing, rearranging the furniture, is actually Mark's revenge for whatever bad things I have done to him in the last year. I really think he gets a little chuckle out of watching me stumble over furniture that wasn't there yesterday, or me slamming my toes into a new chair that has materialized overnight. I have to admit, the new couch looks good, and the micro-fiber upholstery is pretty much Chandler proof, but the best part about it is that it has two recliners built in to it. Now Mark and I can both fall asleep during one of those boring 'chick flicks' that Mark likes.

New Sofa

Friday, April 3, 2009

Photo Friday

Before


After. New shower enclosure, new sink and vanity,
new light fixture, and new tile floor