Sunday, May 31, 2009

Saturday, May 30, 2009

She Couldn't Get Served with this!

There is no such address in Baltimore, MD zip code 21210 as "160 Madison Avenue." There is a twin daughter of George and Laura Bush, whose sad attempt at creating a fake ID is reproduced here for your amusement: (Hint to would-be imitators: don't use your grandmother's maiden name as your own!)

Really! Nice try, Ms "Pierce."

Friday, May 29, 2009

Let's Go Moonin'

I am not a big fan of movies that involve a lot of emotion without a lot of action (helicopters landing on roofs), comedy (people running around on a roof) or some combination thereof (helicopters landing among crowds of people on a roof.)

But the other night, through the magic of On Demand (from the free selections), we chose a winner. I knew it would be good, because Reese
Witherspoon was in it. This one was made in 1991, when she was 15, and it was called "The Man In The Moon." (Please don't confuse it with "Man On The Moon," in which Jim Carrey portrayed Andy Kaufman and more or less fought him to a draw.)

Just watching young Reese in this picture, one could tell that she was going to go on to big things in acting. She's both adorable and utterly captivating in her portrayal of a young Southern woman on the brink of womanhood, dealing with her first heartbreak, and remember, I'm a guy who generally reserves the word "captivating" as regards actors for the likes of Bruce Willis and Paula Marshall. All I know about acting is whether or not I find a person believable in their role. Reese Witherspoon is always great, for my money.

Don't tell the Comcast people, but I would have paid some of my money to watch this movie; that's how great it was.

Two hearty thumbs up. Fine summer fun!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The local library branch is now a health-food store

When I was a bald-faced boy (with cheek of tan), there were a couple of places in our town where everyone got their back-to-school clothes. One was Finkelstein's, where one of the brothers who owned and operated the store was a dead ringer for Richard Deacon, the man so talented that he was able to play both Mel Cooley on "Dick Van Dyke" and Fred Rutherford on "Leave It To Beaver" simultaneously.

I greatly preferred "Finky's" to Barry's Ivy Shop, where the woman who owned the place would always ask how the pants fit in certain regions that we young guys in the throes of pubescence cared not to discuss with anyone.

But I can remember spending many a late-August afternoon in Stewart's, a department store with branches all over Baltimore. The one we visited was on York Rd at the city-county line. In the same shopping center was a Hamburger's men's shop, a Doubleday book store, a Read's drugstore, and a McCrory's 5 & 10. All of these businesses are now defunct, but the old Stewart's store has been "repurposed" as an office building,, daily. It's where my new job is, and I am as happy as a lightning bug with a new battery to be there. I just wonder if I am ever standing in the exact place where once khaki pants, button down tattersall shirts, club ties, crew neck sweaters and herringbone sports jackets were sold.

I get the biggest kick out of going back to the places of yesterday. My elementary school is still around, teaching kids about stuff we had yet to envision when I trod those halls in Jack
Purcells. The lockers are still name-labelled, except that there are no more Henrys and Richards and Donalds and Janes and Barbaras and Susans. Next time I ankle around there, I'll be wearing Rockports, the favorite of mallwalkers across America. And people named Jacob, Matthew, Ryan, Emily, Madison and Emma will wonder who is the old man with bad feet and a happy, nostalgic grin.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

So I put on my electrical shorts and went to get the paper

There are several ways to be awakened, none of them especially pleasant, unless you hear "Publisher's Clearing House is at the door!" (alternately, "Carrie Underwood is at the door!" would be suitable too.)

Normally, Peggy and I arise to the gentle strains of some crackpot overnight radio show, the theory being that tender, vivid music would lull us back into the arms of Morpheus.

Yesterday, there were different plans; with doctor's appointments coming up next week, we were going to skip breakfast so we could leave blood samples on our way to work.

It all went to Holland in a handbasket when Peggy awoke me with words no sane person likes to hear: "The power is off." Turns out she had gotten up when she heard a boom, the lights went off, and then back off, and then on briefly, and then boom. Gone.

It's axiomatic that electricity is one of those things that you just take for granted, like water, cable, sewage, and FOX45 News at 5:30 (**cough** NASCAR race Monday pre-empted the news *cough). You just know it'll always be there, and that means when it isn't, it's sorely missed. Generous soul that she always is, Peggy shortened her shower by about 90% of her usual time, so there could be some hot water left in which I could splash about. The fun part was shaving by flashlight with a razor. Listening to the news on a little transistor radio was also a highlight, as was wondering why every time I entered a room or closet, I still hit the light switch. d'OH!

Today's karma minute: on Monday I spent the greater part of the day straightening and organizing my closet/dressing area, which is why I could enter the area and place my hands directly on my mini
Maglite in the stygian darkness. If not for all that cleanin' and organizin', the flashlight may never have been found.

Somehow, I knew.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Earl of Sandwich

I've had 'em for breakfast, for lunch and for dinner, and it says here that there is nothing like a BLT.

It really does add quality to your life and a spring to your step. Friends, take this simple test, won't you? Can you name a time in your life that you might have been a bit down or depressed or just feeling run down at the heels, and a BLT wouldn't have helped?

A truly American culinary experience, the humble BLT is so quick to make. Just use some decent bread - save the Wonder bread for Junior's PB & J - and toast it just ever so. A couple of sheets of Romaine, thick juicy tomato slices, bacon, and provolone cheese if you wish, although then you're really having a BLTC, and who wants to mess up a winning formula?

You can even use what I call cheapie bacon- should have called it lazy bacon - that precooked stuff is good enough for me, especially when viewed against the mess of coooking and cleaning up after the real thing is fried.

Vegans and vegetarians can use avocado slices, so they say, or fakey bacon made of soy protein and who knows what-all else?

Your nutritionist wants you to have a BLT right now! It's like a salad, so there's your vegetable group representin', on toast, for a carbalicious treat, with a little sumpin-sumpin' from the pork group.

This is historical fact: no war, real or otherwise, was ever declared in an afternoon by someone who had a BLT for lunch. Have one now, so as not to be declared an impediment to world peace, please.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Intentional Walk

I should get someone to take a picture of what I'm talking about here, but dear reader, you have a good enough imagination to imagine what I mean.

Standing 6'5" and weighing just a tad over what I weighed on my first driver's license, I tend to be a somewhat off-putting sight as I strut along.

Part of my campaign for better health is a nightly walk, but I prefer to wait until after dark on these nights when it's so doggone hot and

Peggy always worries that I will be beset by highwaymen or robbers, ne'er-do-wells, rakehells or, possibly, whoresons, who prowl the dark edges of the suburban night. In actuality, we have to bus in our thugs from distant neighborhoods just to keep the local gendarmerie in practice.

But now you have the picture and a possible link to understanding why I have never ever been troubled by bullies or been the object of hectoring by strong-armers. Add to my lumbering gait my baseball cap with the two little LED lights attached to the brim to illuminate my path, the reflective armbands to alert the drivers who are in such a hurry to get to the radar trap at Joppa Rd near Spring Av that they need to clear the sidewalk for a pedestrian, and the cheapie fake iPod that I use to listen to Tom Jones singing "Do What You Gotta Do (My Wild Sweet Love)," and you can understand why people give me a wide berth as I parade along merrily.

I'm not ever sure that people know what to make of me. Perhaps I'll lose 120 pounds and go become a jockey.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Thoughts for today from baseball's Mickey Rivers

"I don't get upset over things I can't control, because if I can't control them there's no use getting upset. And I don't get upset over the things I can control, because if I can control them there's no use in getting upset."

Looking for the exact quote here, I chanced to find that Mickey Rivers's real name is John Milton Rivers. I know we all lost a little paradise when Mickey stopped making hits and being more chance to hear gems like this one.

"Me and George and Billy are two of a kind."

- Mickey on his relationship with George Steinbrenner and Billy Martin.

Sounds wacky, but there's more than a kernel of truth to it!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

He also wrote "Harper Valley P.T.A."

I posted a little couplet from these lyrics on the "What's On Your Mind" box on Facebook and right away came a reply...what are you talking about, who is Margie, etc.

The great Tom T.
Hall wrote this song, "Margie's At The Lincoln Park Inn" and Bobby Bare had the big hit on it back in '69. At the time, I was affiliated with the local volunteer fire company, learning about life and putting out fires, and some of the lessons came from the older guys. For instance...I would see guys who were active at the fire house every night, and all the weekends too, get married, and then after a while I'd notice they were back at the fire house, and at first I thought, wow, what a great marriage; he gets to do whatever he wants to. But I realized that wasn't exactly a great way to be married...especially when it always seemed to follow that these guys were once again bunking at the fire house, instead of being home where they belonged, or used to.

And this song came along at about the same time, and it reminded me of some guys I knew who were working at the A&P with me - I was at that time a clerk with that long-established grocery firm, and a union member. How much fun were those union meetings, when a kindly sergeant-at-arms would be kind enough to yank my ballot out of my hand and helpfully fill it out and cast my vote for me, saving me the trouble of learning the vital facts about the candidates for local union office - mainly, whose brother-in-law each of these guys happened to be. But infidelity ran rampant with those guys, and I think I was not bothered by that so much as the hypocrisy of their ostensible actions, proudly parading the family around the shopping center, coaching Little League and doing all the Ozzie Nelson stuff while trying to be a junior grade Hugh Hefner on the side. Cheating on a partner is bad enough, and like your teacher always told you, "Whom are you really cheating?"

Lyrics, please:
My name's in the paper where I took the boy scouts to hike
My hands're all dirty from working on my little boy's bike
The preacher came by and I talked for a minute with him
My wife's in the kitchen and Margie's at the Lincoln Park Inn.

And I know why she's there; I've been there before
But I made her a promise that I wouldn't cheat anymore
I tried to ignore it but I know she's in there my friend
My mind's on a number and Margie's at the Lincoln Park Inn.

Next Sunday it's my turn to speak to the young people's class
They expect answers to all of the questions they ask
What would they say if I spoke on a modern-day sin
And all of the Margies at all of the Lincoln Park Inns?

The bike is all fixed and my little boy is in bed asleep

His little old puppy is curled in a ball at my feet
My wife's baking cookies to feed to the Bridge Club again
I'm almost out of cigarettes and Margie's at the Lincoln Park Inn
And I know why she's there

I don't condemn, I don't judge, but please don't try to run a lie past anyone. I was lied to last week by people I once trusted - yea, went out of my way to help a thousand times - and now that trust is gone. To thine own self...

Friday, May 22, 2009

She Said It First!

It would appear that American courts are clogged these days. First I read that some nut out in Los Angeles jumped up on stage, the better to be nearer to his favorite performer, and was found guilty of assault and disruptive behavior, and also will take home $455,000 as a consolation prize, because he was injured in the process of ruining the concert for everyone else.

But I guess the courts had to wipe that docket clean so that all of American jurisprudence could cock an eye toward this giant lawsuit involving talk show titan Oprah G.
Winfrey and Mutual of Omaha, the insurance company that used to bring us "Wild Kingdom" with Marlin Perkins and his Shirt Of Many Pockets.

If this isn't the dumbest thing you ever heard a bunch of adults going to court to contest, I don't know what is, but M of O created a bunch of television commercials touting their insurance company and used the phrase "A-ha Moment" in them.

O of ChicagO got all steamed about it and said that she, Oprah, had come up with the term "A-ha Moment" and therefore those words belong to her and no one else can say them.

Who knows? She probably has a case and will win, and in that spirit I would like to announce that I hereby copyright and trademark the following figures of speech, which no one can ever even dream of using or face the retaliation of my bona fide legal team:
  • "Oh for the sweet love of Pete, can't anyone out there pick up a baseball and throw it to first base?"
  • "Of course you should buy a Pontiac! It's not like they're gonna stop making them or anything!"
  • "Double veggies, no cheese."
  • "Did I leave my SawZ-all ® in your living room?"
  • "Mr Vice-President, please don't shoot me anymore!"
If I hear of anyone saying any of these things, I get paid big-time bucks and can retire early to a life of leisure and indolence. That's my A-Ha Moment!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Where were you on May 9, 1983?

Here I am yesterday, being awarded my 25-year service pin. Although I am noted for longevity in endeavors such as marriage (36 years coming up), devotion to the Orioles through thick and thin (50 years) and regular support of Democrats (begun in utero), I am also very proud of my 26-year employment record. I just began my new position and I am liking it very much; even though I miss a lot about the old job, it's good to change.

Said the man who never changes.

I also tell young people, "wed at haste, repent at leisure," and I knew Peggy for less than 100 hours when I asked her to marry me.

I'm the rule that proves the exception, I guess.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Read My Lips: No Nude Texans!

Please add this to the list of cultural shortcomings I possess: a near-total inability to lipread.

There are three times when lipreading becomes necessary, none of which I can ever do, anyway.

First is when you're in a group setting and someone is speaking, so if someone
else wants to tell you something, he or she mouths the words and you get to guess the message. It will happen at conferences and training classrooms, and every time someone does this to me, I am puzzled. Did he say "What time are we breaking for lunch?" or, "There's a fine for taking my Crunch"?

Second is when you're at a concert or family birthday party or some other loud event and the din is such that even a person whose mouth is within 6" of your ears cannot make themselves heard. Out comes the lip mime. I have to ask someone later, did cousin Minnie say, "Brian Williams says they're not gonna make Pontiacs any more" or ,"Nine billion Prozacs under the door"?

Third, of course, is during a televised event such as a baseball game or Rush Limbaugh speech to the throngs, when unpleasant words are likely to be hollered at someone trying in vain to keep things orderly. Dear sweet Peggy excels at watching a baseball manager suggest a novel method of self-gratification to an umpire on tv -no audio of course - and then relaying the anatomically impossible arrangement to me, as I sit there helpless and not the least bit aroused.

Coupled with a propensity for spilling hot soup onto unsuspecting diners, this is another reason why I could not be a service person in a restaurant. People are always mouthing, "I need another iced tea" and I'd be over by the pitchers of drinks and sliced lemons saying "Why is he telling me he needs to pee?"

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Shun Gun

I've been thinking about the practice of "shunning," practiced by the Amish in Lancaster County PA, where we recently spent some happy days.

Young Amish males reach a point where they can choose to go on a "rumspringa" (literally, 'running around,' in German) and try out the world beyond their family and faith. If they like it out here with the car payments and the electric bills and the dumb stuff on the radio and dining on Lunchables, then cool, they can stay away, no questions asked.

About 90% of them come back from their rumspringa with plenty of the world and ready to go back to the Old Order. The other 10 per cent, we assume, become commodities traders in Chicago and soon are indistinguishable from Charlie Sheen.

However - (there is always a hitch!) - if you come back and sign up for the faith, and then you decide you don't like it, well, son, you better just pack up your valise and hit the road, because the only thing awaiting you in your town is a big old shunning.

That's right. No one will talk to you, everyone leaves you alone, you're treated like an outcast, an untouchable, a pariah, a castaway. Sort of like being voted off American Idol.

But then I was fondly remembering George Carlin, who had a novel approach to the nation's gun problem. Reasoning that "never'' would be when we could ever get some sort of gun control legislation passed, Carlin said "Ok, let them keep their guns. Just make BULLETS illegal! And when they run out of bullets, they can just throw their guns at each other all day long."

Why don't we try shunning? As in, the sensible people (readers of this blog, NPR listeners, granola consumers), could just all say they were going to ignore the buffoons, the blowhards, the criminals. Let's stop spending money with people who use their ill-gotten gains for foul purposes. Let's make child molesters and sexual predators feel really unwelcome. Let's refuse to be washed away on a wave of evil, and let's build a waterwall of goodness to keep the badness at bay.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Wrapped around her shoulders

Well, for those of you who were wondering, Ms Bristol Palin of Wasilla, Alaska, is now a high school graduate.

There she is above, in her glory, the proud owner of a 3.497 GPA (
"point zero-zero-something away from graduating with Honors!")

She gave up on that one too soon. "Point zero-zero-three" would have put her in Honorsville.

In keeping with the august dignity of the occasion of her commencement exercises, Ms Palin accessorized her crimson cap and gown with a homemade necklace comprising Blow Pops wrapped up with gift ribbon.

Also wrapping herself in glory this weekend was Rachel Alexandra, who took home the coveted black-eyed susan stole
(this is not really she, but it shows the flower drape on a previous winner) in the 134th Preakness. As the first filly to win the coveted second jewel of racing's triple crown® since 1924, she is now the apple of every horse racing fan's eye.

But that wasn't even the big news from Pimlico. We faithful viewers of the local tv news were deprived of one of our favorite stories ( as predictable as polar bears swooning in a heat wave and people wearing Steelers jerseys being banned from local bars while the Ravens play Pittsburgh), the one where local volunteers sort through the 185 billion
tons of beer cans, pizza boxes, broken discarded coolers, makeshift shelters, contraceptives, cell phones and wedding rings left behind by the rowdy infield crowd. In an attempt to make everyone in Baltimore stay home all day, race officials barred erstwhile infield celebrants from bringing in their own alcohol. Tomorrow, the guy who gets all the horses into the starting gate is going to walk around and pick up both of this year's tossed-away cans.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

I dunno, I thought it was interesting

I did not take this picture; I found it online someplace and I kinda liked it, and also kinda don't get it. I'm all over the board here.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Seasons must change...separate paths, separate ways

Today was my last on my job as facilities manager; I start Monday in a whole new area of endeavor within the same department. My kind boss decided to spend the last hour of today's annual retreat on a roast / salute to me. It was beyond touching. Normally stolid, I truly became misty-eyed. It was so nice; people had all sorts of nice things to say about me and even the roast was ever so gentle, lightly spoofing the more comic aspects of my personality: daily wearing of red socks, insisting on punctuality and good grammar, and arcane cultural references that not many people are interested in. (Such as the word "arcane.") I appreciate the people I used to work with and it feels odd to even say "used to" work with because I miss them already. I hope they know I will always love them.

But I wanted to mention a couple of harbingers...signs, omens, portending good things for me. First, when I got out of my truck this morning, I spotted a penny on the ground. After making sure that it was face up (I am not above picking up a penny - you do it a hundred times and you've got a dollar - but I won't bother with one upside down) I pocketed it. Not until later did I look at it and see that it was dated 1983 - the year that I first went to work for the County.

Then when I was wheeling the truck into the park where the retreat was held, what song came up on the CD that I selected at random? None other than the beautiful ballad "Don't Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)" by
Mötley Crüe.

I'm not going away mad; I have nothing to be mad about. Nothing but happy memories accompany me out of the one job and into the other. I don't really need an augury of happy times found on the street or on my speakers to tell me I'll be happy in the new job, but it's nice to have it going on my side for the new adventure.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Miss California? (How could I? I've never been there)

Dear Miss California,

It's a free country, as you know, so you are certainly entitled to your views on same-sex marriage. You really did not articulate them all that well, but we got your point: your faith is the kind that would seek to prevent others from finding what brings them happiness and bliss, and that prevention brings you yours.

So be it. Free country, takes all kinds, live and let live, who am I to judge, etc etc.

But the other day you mentioned your grandfather, and that he fought in the Battle of the Bulge to protect your freedom....which he did, and a lot of brave people fought in that most horrible battle of World War II, and I think it's akin to damning with faint praise to think that they fought, and died, in some cases, to make sure that beauty contestants could get up and make ridiculously fatuous statements while wearing bikinis and high heels.

I like to think that they fought for all the rights and freedoms of all of us, and if that includes other people who want to be together, it's none of your damned business, young lady.

And if Grandpa had needed medical attention or more ammo or some other buddy backup during that battle, do you think he would have turned it down, had it been offered by a gay person married to another person of the same sex?

And please, could you drop the "I'm a victim!" charade? The real victims are the millions of people who are repressed by backward thinkers such as you.

You make me think of the old country song: Pretty girl, pretty clothes, pretty sad.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


We went to a very swanky restaurant for our 20th anniversary, 15 years ago. It was so swanky...they had no idea what I was talking about when I mentioned Supersizing® or coupons.

But my entree was some sort of seafood commotion, served on a noodly bed of black linguini. The server, a sort of a supersized Gig Young type, asked me if I knew how they made the pasta black. I was going to say "a Sharpie®" but that seemed, I don't know, dumb, so I played along and let him tell me that the linguini was tinted with squid

Now there's a little sea critter who must have awful anxiety attacks during his marine lifetime, however brief. I mean, he might wind up as "bait" in a bait shop, in a Dixie cup 1/2 full of dirt in a refrigerator bought from a scratch 'n' dent outlet. Or he might wind up as "calamari," and be a part of an appetizer in an Italian restaurant.

Interesting, though, that the word "calamari" has its roots in the same ground from where "calligraphy" comes...the former being that deep-fried dish, a favorite in antipasti everywhere you look, and the latter being that ornate pen-and-ink lettering. Here's some more info from Merriam-Webster's popular* Word of the Day feature.

The word "calamari" was borrowed into English from 17th-century Italian, where it functioned as the plural of "calamaro" or "calamaio." The Italian word, in turn, comes from the Medieval Latin noun "calamarium," meaning "ink pot" or "pen case," and can be ultimately traced back to Latin "calamus," meaning "reed pen." The transition from pens and ink to squid is not surprising, given the inky substance that a squid ejects and the long tapered shape of the squid's body. English speakers have also adopted "calamus" itself as a word referring to both a reed pen and to a number of plants.

* at least, with me!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Dash away, all!

Does it make me seem cranky to complain about a sign that I saw the other day, posted alongside the road as I ran an errand?


What's up with the dash between the numericals and the street name? The dash is not called for.

What's the story on signs outside car repair places, signs with slogans such as "ALL TYPE'S REPAIR'S -- MECHANIC-ON-DUTY" ?

And for the sweet love of Pete, who put up the sign on the restaurant down the road, "CONGRATS ARTIE YOUR FORTY!"

Oh, call me cranky. But punctuate and spell it properly, please!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Chicken out of water

Wondering how much longer it will take until blowhard Sean Hannity ("waterboarding is a fair and necessary interrogation technique for suspected terrorists") ...will respond to Keith Olbermann's offer to pay $1,000 to charities benefiting the families of American service personnel for every second that the chortling Hannity can stand being waterboarded...

Hannity was talking to Charles Grodin, who lamented the use of this barbaric technique under forces led by "Scary Dick" Cheney, soft-pedalling the horror of it all, leading Grodin to doubt that Hannity could stand it, and hoisting Hannity on his own petard.

"Sure," Hannity said. "I'll do it for charity ... I'll do it for the troops' families."

When Grodin asked, "Are you busy on Sunday?" Hannity laughed.

"I'll let you do it," Hannity said.

"I wouldn't do it," Grodin said. "I'll hand you a towel when you come out of the shower."

Olbermann offered the thousand-per-second, and said he'd double it if Hannity acknowledges he feared for his life and admits that waterboarding is torture.

"I don't think he has the courage to even respond to this — let alone do it," Olbermann said.

It's been a couple of answer. What's worse than a bloviating baby who won't back up his billowing boasts?

Monday, May 11, 2009

ABCs of me

I guess it's become apparent that I will fill out any online quiz sent my way. Hence:

A - Age: Bronze

B - Bed size: queen

C - Chore you hate: straightening up my closet etc

D - Dad's name: Robinson Berg Clark

E - Essential start your day item: S, S & S

F - Favorite color: brown

G - Gold or Silver: silver

H - Height: 6' 5"

I - Instruments you play: autoharp, jukebox

J - Job title: Public Information Specialist

K - Kid(s) none

L - Living arrangements: with Peggy in a house full of love

M - Mom's name: Beverly

N - Nicknames: Marky Mark, Mark E. Mark

O - Overnight hospital other than birth? Church Home, Mercy, Good Sam

P - Pet Peeve: people being left out of things

Q - Quote from a movie:
Arthur [to Burt Johnson's servant] "Are you sure you want to be a nightclub comic?"

R - Right or left handed: left

S - Siblings: Robin

T - Time you wake up:0455

U- Underwear: yes and you should too

V - Vegetable you dislike: asparagus

W - Ways you run late: it would take a nuclear detonation to make me late

X - X-rays you've had: left knee, over and over and over

Y - Yummy food you make: beer can chicken

Z - Zoo favorite: prairie dogs

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Wooly Bully!

Mine is one of those puckish senses of humor that enjoys seeing something become acceptable and highly regarded when there is no reason for that to happen. The inevitable denouement, in which the house of cards tumbles all over the deck does not amuse me as much as the part in which an entire nation is taken in by some outlandish goon.

What better recent example than this Joe
the Plumber person, the ridiculous prop used by the Republicans to prop up their meager hopes of electing old McCain last fall. Joe didn't seem to realize that two minutes after the polls closed would have been the appropriate time for him to sidle off, stage right, so he's still hanging around, writing books, apparently reading none, and offering his trenchant views on matters he can't even see from where he stands.

Joe the Plumber, whose name is not Joe and who is not a plumber, is the subject of a quick bite in TIME magazine this week...
Samuel Wurzelbacher, better known as Joe the Plumber, tells TIME he's so outraged by GOP overspending, he's quitting the party -- and he's the bull's-eye of its target audience. But he also said he wouldn't support any cuts in defense, Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid -- which, along with debt payments, would put more than two-thirds of the budget off limits. It's no coincidence that many Republicans who voted against the stimulus have claimed credit for stimulus projects in their district -- or that Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal stopped ridiculing volcano-monitoring programs after a volcano erupted in Alaska.

In these parlous times, isn't it great to know that we still can turn to Sam the Sham for wise wisdom and guiding guidance?

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Corn Flake

Today's guest blogger is my wonderful Peggy, who sent this along in her "hi honey I made it to work again" email yesterday...

I have something you might want to blog about. I was on Joppa Road, right around Satyr Hill. Some person was trying to go in and out of lanes and I thought he might run into me. He didn't, but went into the left lane whereupon the person he cut off in that lane blew his horn. Then, I look over and the man blowing the horn was eating a BOWL OF CEREAL!!!! I just laughed and laughed. Bowl, spoon in his hand, etc. It was the funniest thing.
Thank goodness there was no accident, but it kept me amused on my lovely drive to work!!! Good Lord have mercy!!!!

The Good Lord does deploy his tender mercies upon us all, does He not? Here we find placed among us a man who sees no problem with balancing a bowl of cereal on his lap as he drives among us. Who wants to bet me that this bozo doesn't also text while driving, run the occasional red light, and speed when he's in a hurry to get to that Rotary meeting?

But he's the one blasting his trumpet at the guy weaving in and out because he HATES to see unsafe driving practices! My heavens, he might spill Cap'n
Crunch all over his lap!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Piece of Cake, Baby

I'm transferring to the main office. I am going to miss the people I work with - they are like family to me and I love them. They gave me a wonderful farewell party yesterday with fantastic gifts and a cake just made for me, baby:

To quote from Lou Grant, "I treasure you people."

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Pardon Me, I speak phonetics

Owing to my employment with the County's Emergency Services, I still speak in phonetics when it becomes necessary to spell something out. Police will talk on the radio this way to avoid confusion. For instance, if the surname of some fleeing felon is, oh let's say, "Cheney,'' there might be all sorts of ways to spell that last name. Accuracy is important, which is why to this day I don't just say "C H E N E Y," opting instead for the clarity of "C Charles H Henry E Edward N Nora E Edward Y Young."

If you'd like to learn this phonetic skill, here is the alphabet for you, police-style:

A Adam
B Boy
C Charles
D David
E Edward
F Frank
G George
H Henry
I Ida
J John
K King
L Lincoln
M Mary
N Nora
O Ocean
P Paul
Q Queen
R Robert
S Sam
T Tom
U Union
V Victor
W William
X Xray
Y Young
Z Zebra

Just ask Peggy - when I start spelling out stuff like this and answering her with "10-4" it's enough to drive her C Charles R Robert A Adam Z Zebra Y Young.

And the code for that is "10-96."

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Chicken Recipe that everyone in Rhode Island Read

I love chicken, and I love free chicken even better than the kind you have to pay for. Oprah, I'm not that wild about, and she never gave me a Pontiac or a set of teakwood ice tongs or a Persian terrycloth lounging robe (not that I lounge anyway, per se. I loiter, more than lounge.)

But - and you chicken lovers already know this - KFC is making another attempt to get away from the "Fried" connotation. They really want to get the "F" out of here, so they are promoting their new grilled chicken.

What better forum to present this gift of poultry than to have Ms Winfrey tell her fans (and me) to go to her website to download a coupon that entitles the bearer to two pieces of grilled chicken, two sides and a biscuit, free for nothing.

OF COURSE people - the millions of Oprahphiles who hang on her every word - are taking this as an eleemosynary act, donated by the queen of TV, as if she had decided that this new chicken was so finger-lickin' good that she felt the urge to purchase some for every man, woman and child. Hence this admiring note on her website, just to the right of where you'll soon be clicking for your cluck:

Thanks so much for being so generous. You are an Angel sent by God to feed the people of your country considering the circumstances of today.

All she did was allow KFC to promote their stuff on her website, which places the act just outside of the realm of generosity, but "considering the circumstances of today," maybe that's angelic enough.

Come and get your chicken! Hot sauce please!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

How to turn one of those Facebook quizzes into a blog entry

TEN things I wish I could say to TEN different people right now:

1. Thank you , Peggy, for loving me so perfectly (it can’t be easy)
2. Who taught you to be this kindly - and why don’t they write a book about it?
3. I am so proud of how your life is turning out because you took control of it.
4. Come out from the shell you hide in; we love you and no one will hurt you.
5. It’s ok to have feelings and make mistakes.

6. People would take you more seriously if you didn’t dress like a clown and speak like a fourth-grader
7. There’s someone just right for you somewhere; don’t give up until you find him
8. There’s someone just right for you somewhere; don’t give up until you find her
9. No need to take yourself so seriously all the time.
10. I’d be wary of letting someone else dominate my life like that

NINE things about myself:

1. I tend to give trust before it’s warranted and stop trusting before that’s warranted either
2. I am either way ahead of new trends or really way behind them
3. I love to read
4. People often have no idea what I’m talking about
5. I pride myself on being prepared for emergencies
6. I can’t do mindless tasks (walking, lawn mowing) without an mp3 player or Walkman
7. I need to continue losing weight and getting back in shape
8. I am finicky about grammar, spelling, and punctuality
9. I am among the most blessed people on earth

EIGHT ways to win my heart:

1. Tell me you love me
2. Be honest

3. Tell me everything you feel about me
4. Be consistent about it
5. Be faithful
6. Show kindness to others even when no one is looking
7. Back me up when I’m up against it
8. Tell me you love me again

SEVEN things that cross my mind a lot:

1. Making sure Peggy is happy
2. What time is it?
3. Should I eat that - what’s the carb/sodium/fat gram count?
4. What’s the weather forecast?

5. What’s in the news?
6. Is everyone in the family/friends group ok or do they need anything?

7. Is this fair for all concerned?

SIX things I do before I go to bed:

1. Guzzle iced tea

2. Brush teeth
3. Take one Tylenol PM
4. Obsessively check everything in the house

5. Kiss sleeping Peggy goodnight

6. Pray with thanks for another day of love and happiness

FIVE people who mean a lot (non-family, non-friends, so as not to leave anyone out):

1. Garrison
2. Jimmy
3. Cal
Ripken, Jr.
4. Barack
5. Elvis

FOUR things I'm wearing right now:

1. Red t-shirt
2. Grey gym shorts
3. Brown moccasins
4. Proper support undergarment

THREE songs that fit my life right now:

1. The Wonder of You - Elvis
2. True Love - Bing Crosby and Grace Kelly
3. Bongo Rock - The Incredible Bongo Band

TWO things I want to do before I die:

1. Go hunting with Dick Cheney

2. See #1

ONE confession:

1. I don’t deserve any of the happiness and love I’ve been given, so I just try to share it.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Bachmann: Turn Her Overdrive off!

There's a woman from Minnesota, name of Michele Bachmann, who occupies a seat in the US House of Representatives - home to great statesmen of our land such as Salvatore "Sonny" Bono, the guy who played "Sonny" on "Sonny and Cher," Ben Davis, the guy who played Cooter on The Dukes of Hazzard, and Fred Grandy, the guy who played Gopher on tv's "The Love Boat."

Michele, Sonny (no Cher), Cooter and Gopher.

The latter three served without great distinction in the House, but Rep. Bachmann (R., MN) is quickly developing a reputation for saying outlandish things. This past Monday, she hit the bell twice.

First, in a discussion of the Swine Flu, she said, "I find it interesting that it was back in the 1970s that the swine flu broke out then under another Democrat president Jimmy Carter. And I'm not blaming this on President Obama, I just think it's an interesting coincidence."

Well, thanks, Honorable Representative of the Land of 1000 Lakes! Because when the swine flu scare occurred in 1976, Gerald R (as in Republican) Ford was president. Mr Carter was elected in November 1976, and sworn in in 1977.

And then that night, Ms Bachmann spoke from the House floor again, and talked about how great the Republican economic policies of the 1920s were, under Calvin Coolidge. These wonderful policies, as any semi-educated person knows, led to the Great Depression of the 1930s. But Ms Bachmann hit the jackpot again, blaming the Democrats (and pinpointing President Franklin Roosevelt) of the 1930s for turning a "recession into a depression" by use of such means as the "Hoot-Smalley Tariffs."

One only needs to watch "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" to see Ben Stein droning on about the Smoot-Hawley Act, but Ms Bachmann must have cut class the day they were teaching that in Econ 101.

You have to like her attempt to link the Democratic party to an outbreak of a flu strain. I would love to meet someone who actually voted for her.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The consequences of our actions

a. woman climbs over barriers and gates
b. woman gets into polar bear area at Berlin zoo
c. woman almost dies
d. people blame the bears

Friday, May 1, 2009

Pancake Lady gets served all wrong

It's been a couple of weeks since I got to the physical therapy office to work out in the wellness program. First, I had a cold that Peggy and I passed back and forth, and then we were away, so I hadn't been there for far too long. When I got there and saw my favorite tech, herein referred to by the code name Pancake Lady, she said, "Where have you been? You missed all the drama!"

Oh, my, we can't have that! As both a lover and an amateur chronicler of human events, I was all ears, and as soon as she finished with a group of women doing aquatic exercises, she came over and related the story, which, again, tells a lot about young men of the day and how they treat young women despicably.

Having just got out of a relationship that really wasn't even supposed to happen, she was in a bit of a spin, I suppose, and rebounded back to someone she had gone with before. That hadn't worked out the first time, because the guy - let's call him Harry's Son - had gone back to his old flame Paula (not Abdul, one can only hope.) But! just as Pancake Lady became free of the relationship with a guy who had been a friend-friend and insisted on becoming a boy-friend, with the result of suffocating Pancake, who shows up but dirty Harry's Son, and guess what!? He is free and clear of Paula, who is so far in his past that even with the magnifying rear-view mirror, she is smaller than a speck of dust, and even less important.

Unemcumbered, young and free, the two fell into a giddy whirlwind of courtship. It was all happening for them - dinner on the run, fun things to do, school, work, ball games as spectators and as participants - right on through this past Sunday, which she describes as " the perfect date on the perfect day." Almost as an aside, as they sat reliving the happiest Sunday they had ever known, he mentioned that he had to run up to Paula's and pick up some stuff he had left behind there.

Attention daters of all ages: take this advice. Unless you are absolutely sure of the permanence of your hot thing with someone, don't leave behind anything that you couldn't easily replace with a trip to Ollie's Bargain Outlet. Your CorningWare, your E-Z-Ice'R cooler that holds 2 sixes and a liter of Asti Spumante, all this stuff can be gotten again and it's less painful than going around to his or her house with a big empty cardboard paper towel box in your trunk. Do NOT leave irreplaceable CDs, family photos, or stock certificates, because you never can tell. Ask Ms Pancake!

So on Monday, Harry Jr drives up I-95 to where all the Paulas live, and starts texting back to his One True Love that he is successfully retrieving his Tupperware and will be on the toll road of love just as soon as traffic allows. After work, she stops over at his place, and he does the one thing that males do that tips off the opposite sex that they have something very important to discuss.

He turns OFF the TV.

And tells her that he was only using her to get Paula jealous, and it must have worked, because looky here, he and Paula are just as close and cuddly as a couple of sparrows in the cornfield. Pancake felt her foot go into an involuntary twitch, and the color drained from her face, and the smile went away faster than a Good Humor bar on the 4th of July. She was cast as The Other Woman by this cad, this rogue, this scoundrel, this rake, this bounder, this heel, this knave, this churl.

He used her, and right now he thinks he is right where he wants to be - Paula is dancing to his tune, because she sees that he can step right out and get grooving with other women, and he has no more need for Pancake. But Harrison, my man, the day is gonna come when the wheel of karma comes spinning around and knocks you right down. It happens. I've seen it happen. And, buddy boy, it's a-gonna happen to you. And our Miss Pancake is far too nice a lady to extract any joy from the pain that will catch up with you at some disputed barricade down life's road. I wish for the same level of magnanimity, but you hurt my friend, pal. Someone has to pony up for that. You see, it doesn't matter who you are or how great you look or what you do or how rich you are - there is always someone who will come along and have just enough of you, and dump you. Then you'll know why my friend cried.