Monday, February 28, 2011

Coming to CBS this fall: "2.0 Men"!

And here we were, thinking that God was in heaven, when all along, our deities walk among us, knowing what to think, do or say in any conceivable situation.

" 'They' want to be married and live their lives together in wedded bliss!"

"It's just not right; it's a sin against God and mankind!"

"For Heaven's sake, won't someone think of the children!"

(Don't you love it when someone on this earthly plane speaks authoritatively for God above?)

These things and plenty more less worthy of repetition were heard all across the land...this land, the land of the free and the brave...where equal opportunity reigns...and all are imbued at birth with life, liberty and the pursuit of 1967, when there were still sixteen (16) states in this here union that did not allow interracial marriage.

You must remember this...a kiss is still a kiss. There was a Maryland Board of Film Censors, and a feisty woman named Mary Avara sat there all day long watching movies with titles ranging from "Lawrence of Arabia" to "Florence Does Arabia," and then deciding what people could pay to see down at the neighborhood theater.  

It was in those days that former Baltimore City Councilman Dominic "Mimi" DiPietro sought to ban peep shows from The Block, our world-famous entertainment zone with strippers and G-strings, on the grounds that "You got all those guys going in there, degenerating all over the place."

And all across the nation, just under a third of the states did now allow people to marry outside of their own race.  I wonder just who was in charge of deciding who was to be placed in which in those war movies, when the tough sergeant called out the names of all his soldiers who were going to help him recapture Meatloaf Hill..."Kowalsky!  O'Brien! Jimenez! Garçon! Schneckengruber! Wong! Kutchakokov! Gandhi!  Let's GOOOOOOOOOOO!"

I mean, was there some bureaucrat sitting in an office somewhere saying, "OK, you two are white enough/African-American enough/Asian enough to be married here" ?

Was there some sort of written test?

Did Chuck Barris have a game show called "So, You Claim to be of The Same Race!" ?

I kid, because I love.  This all seems silly now.  We don't care who marries whom. It is none of our business if Mr Kowalsky marries Ms Wong, right?

So how is it our business if Mr Kowalsky marries Mr Wong?

Thanks, and now let's get back to "So, You Want to Overthrow a Middle Eastern Dictator!"


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday rerun: Greece is the word

They're having their troubles over in Greece these days, aren't they? I happen to know a woman with relatives in Athens, and she told me years ago that if you move to another house or apartment in that ancient city, you get in touch with the phone company for a new installation and then prepare to wait. And if you've ever been told that the phone company or the cable guy will be to your place "between noon and 5 pm," and it's 4:30 and you're pacing the floor, imagine how you feel in Greece when you're pacing the floor and can't even call anyone to tell them about it because your phone isn't there yet. My friend tells me it can take up to TWO YEARS to get a phone installed in Athens.

Aristotle is still waiting for his conference call with Plato and Socrates! And, to steal a joke from the great Woody Allen, they wanted to meet with Isosceles, who had an idea for a new triangle.

(I don't often steal jokes, but when I do, I rip off the best!)

We all studied the oldtime Greek civilization in school, and it's a pity to see that great nation torn by economic crisis, rioting in the streets, civil unrest and out-of-control crime and corruption. In fact, there was a movement afoot in the Greek parliament to rename Athens "Little Philadelphia."

There are so many aspects of Greek culture that we have taken as our own. The latest is Greek yogurt, which is just loaded with cultures. As are art, music, cuisine, philosophy and the running of marathon races, which, according to legend, were begun to commemorate the run (speaking of movements afoot) of the Greek soldier Pheidippides, a messenger from the Battle of Marathon (the namesake of the race) to Athens. That's a distance of 26 miles, 385 yards, and that's why our marathons are the same length, although the winner is rarely named

Now, everyone in Europe is concerned about the Greek monetary system and how it is crumbling. A massive infusion of money - $157.5 billion, which roughly approximates Oprah's shoe budget - has not stanched the flow of economic woe. Economists the world over are predicting that Greece is tottering on the abyss of debt default.

I don't have the slightest idea what will happen to the European economy, or the American. That makes me the one blogger who will admit that he can't predict the future, which is really the only thing that is predictable. Except for this: I guarantee you, if you watch CNBC and the other business channels, at one point in the next few days, on the topic of Greek insolvency, someone will say, "It is what it is."

And that, my friends, is a tautological pleonasm. The term 'tautology' comes from two Greek words meaning "It says this." As much as to say, it already says this; why say it again? A perfect example of this sort of redundancy is the now-popular expression "It is what it is." Just as multiplying any number by one leaves the number unchanged, and just as "a rose is a rose," why even bother saying such things? "I wanted a ham sandwich but they gave me roast beef. I guess it is what it is." I guess it's a roast beef sandwich. Nothing more, nothing less.

Yes, the guy who lives down the street who practices his Sousaphone at 3 a.m. is a nuisance, but his neighbors say, "He says he can't sleep and that's the only time he has to devote to his music. It is what it is." What do those five words add to any discussion?

It's all Greek to me.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Music for a Saturday morning

I don't know any other way to express how much I love Love -the emotion and the band.  Those of us who love this sixties band as we do could hold our annual convention in a very small meeting room at a Motel 6, and we'll leave the light on for you in case you want to join up.

Pfisterer, Forssi, Lee, Echols, and McLean
Here are the late Arthur Lee on guitar and vocals, along with the rest of the band: the late Johnny Echols (lead guitar, vocals), the late Bryan MacLean (guitar, vocals) and the late Ken Forssi (bass). The drummer was  Alban "Snoopy" Pfisterer, who is the only member of the original band still with us here on Earth.  Please check this song on You Tube; it's called "Alone Again Or" and remember, I have been advocating for this band since 1967, and even though they have mostly departed this vale of toil and tears (Arthur himself checked out in 2006 from leukemia), you know I am awfully persistent in these matters. Arthur Lee was a genius and even he couldn't figure out how to get more people to listen to his band, so how is a gozzlehead such as I going to do it?  Sheer persistence.

Please hear, so that more will listen.  Won't you help?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Snow Use Complaining

Not for the first time, I'm about to cheese off a lot of people when I talk about the school snow day thing.

First of all, they close schools far too often for far too little snow.  Around here, they even close schools when it's GOING to snow, or for days of heavy rain.  It's true, and what does that tell the kids?

Listen, when bad weather comes along, no need for you to get out and get going!  Just turn your pajamas right side out again and get ready to watch Gullah Gullah Island or whatever all day long.

That's a bad lesson to teach them.

Now, I know what you're going to say - there's a risk, oh a horrible RISK of letting the kids be driven to school in the horrible two inches of white hell that descends from the sky!  Little Egbert or Ursula can't possibly risk life and limb getting on a school bus in such adverse conditions!

So they get on saucer sleds and hurl themselves down hills at 87 miles an hour, careering madly off trees, boulders and other sledders in their descent.

Or seven of them pack into a Corolla and head for the mall.  No risk there, huh?

So we agree, schools should stay open unless there is a blizzard of the magnitude that has the governor appearing on TV wearing a Lands End down vest, appealing to all motorists to stay home at all costs, leaving the few passable roads in the state open for vital traffic such as police, fire, EMS, plows, and television news crews who are there showing people digging out their cars, crabbing about the whereabouts of the plow, bemoaning the fact that we are now getting more snow than Hibbing, Minnesota does, and sticking a yardstick into a snow drift for the touch of science and math.

Keeping the schools open will preclude another sure harbinger of spring around here: the annual rationalization by members of school boards who, every fall, announce that there shall be a finite number of snow days in the school calendar, and that for any day(s) that schools are closed over and above that number, the school year shall be extended into the summer, or shaved off the spring break.

Then at this time of year, just at the same time that hopes are once again aborning in the hearts of Orioles baseball fans, the school boards meet and decide to waive the necessity of making up the excess snow days.  The standard reason is usually something along the lines of, "Well, you know, what could we do, you know what I'm saying to you?"

And this teaches the kids that rules are rules and they are not to be broken no matter what and that's final.  Well, almost.

We will now turn the floor over to responsible members of the education community for their responsible, if logically flawed, reply:

Oops! All out of room on the internet!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Baba Bieber?

My run on reading autobiographies continues apace. I finished Keith Richards's "Life," and I cannot recommend it highly enough.  I know, I keep telling you that! But you'll have to read the book to find out what really happened when Keith fell out of a palm tree (it wasn't a palm tree, more like a horizontal branch of some other tree, and he was wet from swimming: hence the fall) and if he really snorted his father's ashes (no but he did accidentally inhale some.)

Also checked off: "Dream Boogie," the life of Sam Cooke, as talented a singer and as ambitious a performer as you'll ever find, but also a man of unbridled carnal appetite, and that was to be his undoing. 

You feel that, Mr Bieber?

Baba Booey! Baba Booey!
And lesser-known but still important in things as I see them was "They Call Me Baba Booey," the life story of Gary Dell'Abate, Howard Stern's radio producer and frequent butt-of-joke.  It was twenty-one years ago that Boy Gary made the mistake of calling Hanna-Barbera cartoon character Baba Looey "Baba Booey."  He thought the guys would stop picking on him the next day.

He should have known better.  Women might get cute nicknames when they are young. I recall a friend of my sister being called "Muddy," and not in any tribute to the blues singer Muddy Waters.  But you can bet next month's issue of "Marie Claire" that they don't call her that any longer.

Whereas, if you're a dude, and you twist your ankle playing volleyball in sixth grade and have to limp back to class, your friends just might call you "Hoppy" for the rest of your life. 

You know the hotshot lawyer who successfully defended you in that lawsuit filed when the mailman tripped over your kid's skateboard, landed in your unfenced mulch pit and was set upon by Jack Russell, your Jack Russell terrier?  No matter his many successes in the courtrooms of our land, he will forever be known, to the friends who saw him at a college mixer dropping dry ice down his pants, as "Numbnutz."

And that surgeon who operated on your duodenum the other week?  His friends from high school still call him "Shitferbrains."

Just so you know.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Sunset and Evening Star

As you may know, my mom sold the Ponderosa a few years ago and moved to a place called Edenwald in Towson.

Edenwald? What is it?

It's a big building full of retired people, but that's not important now.

Actually, though, it is.  They have three levels of domicile there: the independent living, where Mom has been since June of '08, the assisted living, and the nursing home care.  Mom has thrived since moving there, because, alone in the house, she mainly sat and watched Regis all day and did not do much more.  Surrounded by people of her own age bracket - let's describe them as the sort of people who have to dress for dinner and they LIKE doing that! - she has had a lot of zest and fun, and even a tad of vim and vigor now and then.

But osteoporosis has been looming over her like the Spirit of St Louis at that museum in DC.  She was 2 when Lindbergh became the first person to fly to France and wonder where his luggage wound up.  Osteoporosis means her bones are brittle, and now she has three fractured vertebrae.  There is not much the doctors can do for someone aged 85 with broken bones like that, so she is Rush-ing around taking Oxycodone and gobbling Tylenol to go with it.  And she has had to move to the assisted living area for a while, so that she can have her meals and meds and someone can be around to help her if she drops her remote, or whatever.

It makes one think about the stages of life.  We're born and we run in the playground and then one day we run to catch a bus to see "Oliver Twist,"  and later, our shins hurt like the Dickens.  And then, there's no more running, and the doctor says well, let's try this, and pretty soon, just getting down to the auditorium to hear a mandolin orchestra, with no strings attached, is a big deal. 

Oh, so you were letting the Dickens joke slide, but you draw the line at a mandolin without any strings, eh? Good to know how far I can push it.

Mom has been widowed for almost 14 years now, and she talks of being with Dad again sometimes.  I know I couldn't make 14 days without Peggy, so it's not easy.  I happen to believe in predestination, and we all know there is a due date stamped in the Big Book Of Life.  What we have to hope for is a maximum of comfort and a minimum of pain, and also a favorable face-to-face meeting with The Pilot when we have crossed the bar.

But don't get ahead of the story here. There are plenty of years left on Mom's calendar.  For all I know, she'll be around to vote for Sasha Obama for president.  Sasha, at nine years of age, speaks Chinese with Hu Jintao at a White House dinner.  When I was nine, I ordered a Chinese dinner at a place called Donald's Peking Palace on Yakona Rd, and I got one of those bamboo roll-up calendars.

Circle of life.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Put it right over the plate

I think we need to talk about a problem that bids fair to end life in America as we know it, especially on weekends, especially at times when we choose to dine out.

Friends and neighbors, and friends of neighbors, I speak today of a real nationwide problem.  There seems to be a shortage of plates in the diners and dining halls and finer restaurants in America.

How else to explain that I am still eating my food and some 17-year-old busboy dives in from the left, much like Ed Reed going for a deflection interception, and grabs my plate as he says, "Can I take that away for you?"

"Son, I ain't finished yet," is my standard reply.  See, I am a slow eater.  Oh, I can gobble when the situation calls for it.  Was a time when I got 1/2 an hour for lunch, and you deduct from that 3 minutes to nuke a Stouffer's lo-cal tuna surprise, and by the time I sat down to chow down, it was either gobble or go hungry.  And you know how I voted on that one!

So, a lot of times when we're eating out on real plates, I will linger over my few remaining scraps, maybe sop up some sauce with bread, or spear one more broccoli spear.  It's hard to do that when I have to be vigilant, lest young Fisher or Hunter or Sailor make his move and snatch the platter from in front of me.  Peggy is always great about this, and pleasantly tells the young man that I am not ready to relinquish the crockery, but it unnerves me to think that someone over near where it used to be the smoking section has to wait for his club sandwich because I am still using the plate they would put it on, if only I'd give it up.

So maybe we should all start taking our own plates, mugs and cutlery down to the ChewSumMor next time.  I don't know.  It's a nationwide problem that threatens to curtail our nights out and make us stay home and watch "Everybody Loves Raymond" reruns on TBS. 

And that's not nearly as much fun.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Advice Column

Stewie once asked Brian, "Do you really read PARADE magazine?"
Well, I do, and I love the new "Manner Up!" column. It lets me wonder how many of our fellow Americans are fully realized adults.  Let's check out yesterday's letter:

"My friends and I go to dinner once a month.  I lost my  job, so I have to watch what I spend, but they still choose pricey restaurants.  I don't want to be a killjoy, but I can't afford this!"   Janine K., Salt Lake City

The lady in the magazine, Nancy Bilyeau, goes all around Robin Hood's barn to tell Janine that she should tell her friends that she loves hanging with them but she can't go for the long green while she's scrimping.  Or words to that effect.  And then she suggests that maybe they could try all doing a potluck at someone's house, and points out that maybe her friends don't realize that times are tight.

Here's my take, if you want to know it.  I am very sorry for Janine's current jobless status, and I hope she finds something even better than what she had really soon.  But, Janine, if these people are your friends, then you should not be embarrassed by having to tell them that you're on a very tight budget these days!  Sure, you don't want to explain this sort of thing to total strangers, but this is why, out of the current world population of 7,088,436,889 (most of whom seem to be on the Baltimore Beltway on any morning) you get to pick a couple dozen or so to be your boon companions.  And those people, if you pick them correctly, are the sort of people to whom you can say, " I can't swing dinner at Pain Grillé et Confiture pour le Thé this month, so let's hit Burger World and we'll tie on the feedbag there, whaddya say, huh?"
Burger World awaits!

And then maybe one of your friends will help you find a new job while you're there!  But, Janine, good living starts with good friends, and being a good friend starts with being able to say what's on your mind!

Next week in Parade: "America's Love Affair with Cheese!"

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sunday rerun: He was the only one of us who "knew too much"

This is a real true story about a real guy. That's as far as the facts go. I know only this - and I 'm going to be as vague as Sarah Palin on a geography final exam, because, well, because.

This guy came to work with us in the early 80's. He had been some sort of bookkeeper for some wise guys, and he knew too much. It's never wise to know too much about wise guys. He went over to the Feds and testified about what he knew. Then the Feds put him in the Witness Protection program, and called our boss to say that he would be starting work with us on midnight shift the following Monday, and had been given a new name and Social Security number.

We could tell they were real FBI guys from out of town because they said "Social Security" number, instead of the way people from here say it ("Soshacurity") with a trail of expletives preceding it when they try to drive through the traffic jam engendered by that federal behemoth on the west side. ("Wesside").

I also wondered if there was a Federal office in charge of making up new names for these protectees. Did some guy in a fedora look at them for a while and say, " 'Joe.' You look like a 'Joe' to me."

Anyway. The guy shows up for work, does pretty well at it, and every now and again the Feds would call the boss and say that he would be picked up at such-and-such a time, to be transported to some distant city to testify against men with flamboyant nicknames. Oh, and he was to be marked "present" for any days he missed, and paid just as if he were at work.

And every now and again he would leave work at 7 AM and drive straight up to New York to get his bagel on, or however they say that sort of thing now. He went up there to get bagels, because they make the best ones up there; how's that sound? And that night he would present his shift with a dazzling array of bagels, bialys, schmears with the cream cheese, lox, whitefish, pickled herring...the only way it could have been more New York would have been if he had taken everyone to Central Park and had them mugged.

Then one day he got sick and then sicker and eventually died. Or not. There still exists a lively debate about that. No one actually saw him; all contact came from phone calls toward the end, and then someone got a message that he was gone and had left instructions about who was to get what of his personal effects. I don't know and I guess I never will. I did once ask him if he thought it was ok for me to go by the mob nickname of "Marky the Existentialist" and he said he'd have to check with Paulie Bananas or Vinny Bagodonuts or one of his other contacts.

And that's all I know, Your Honor.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Saturday rerun: Wallaby damned

I love the scene from "Arthur" where Dudley Moore is telling Liza Minnelli that he is all set to marry this woman whom his parents are forcing him to wed..or else he will lose 750 million semolians. He tells her, "I can't mention her name; that would be indiscreet. Susan Johnson."

I can't mention the name of the steak 'n' burger chain involved here, but let's say they're not out front. So they must be Out back. They have great food and we like it there, but sometimes we just want to grab some carryout chow and dine in the regal splendor that our house lends to dignified pursuits such as watching Orioles baseball. Also, beer is much cheaper at home.

And they have a really good deal, too. When you've ordered your fodder, you drive over to the restaurant and park in a designated area, and a young woman comes running out and hands you a bag of food. I don't think there could be a more pleasant scenario in all the world. Oh sure, you have to pay her, but still.

The only rub is, when you call in the order, you have to listen to a guy doing a horrible way-over-the-top Australian accent. These guys just get a list of how-ta-say-it and go from there. Instead of saying "mate," just say "might." It's all vaguely jingoistic to me, I don't know. A little condescending. We have an Australian theme restaurant, so let's talk with a bogus Aussie accent. But you better pay in American bucks, buddy.

It strikes me that an Australian-themed place would have a natural term for when things are really hopping on a busy night.

And don't be thinking that I'll 'roo the day I made that joke. I am shameless.

And then after this bloke screams about what button to push for takeaway, all overmodulated and way too loud, then along comes the dulcet tones of Tim McGraw, threatening to make you go to Australia to hear him sing if you win a contest they're running. McGraw really hams it up too, and all you want to do is order some beef.

It seems to take longer than a Wimbledon tennis match before someone non-recorded actually speaks to you, and the sound of a nice warm human who isn't hollering at you is like honey for the ears. I don't know what happened to music on hold. You used to hear Walter Wanderley's "Summer Samba" every time you called an insurance office, newspaper circulation line or body-and-fender shop, but now you get hollered at by a heavily-accented guy you can't hardly understand, AND an Australian.

I hope I win the contest so we can go Down Under and hear McGraw sing "Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport." Or hear a kangaroo sing "Tim McGraw" while wearing McGraw cologne and eating a cheeseburger. Either way.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Act Naturally

Worldly and sophisticated, I am certainly no stranger to the Seven Lively Arts (music, literature, drama, painting, dance, conversation and Fleming) but I remain as a child, in awe of the masters of each.  If I could write or perform music, write great books or plays, act in a movie or play, tap dance like Danny Effing Kaye, conduct colloquies with the likes of world leaders and those who should be, and remember to give my answer in the form of a question, I'd be one well-rounded citizen.  

And yet, given enough time, I could learn to play "Mary Had a Little Lamb" on the harmonica, write some short story that might hold someone's interest for three minutes (Opening line: "Spring comes late to Carney."), smear some paint around in the impressionist manner, or talk with Obama or Castro.  But acting? No. Forget it. Couldn't do it.

We tend to forget that there is such a thing as acting; at least, I forget it.  We see stars such as, oh let's say, John Travolta.  We first saw him as Vinnie Barbarino on "Welcome Back, Kotter" and every role since has been sort of variation on that theme.  We had Greaser Vinnie in "Grease," Disco Vinnie in "Saturday Night Fever" and so on down the line, right up to Goon Vinnie in "Get Shorty" and Firefighter Vinnie in "Ladder 49."  And listen, people still want to see him in movies, so it's all good.

Old timers like Phil Silvers - cocky, strutting, wiseacre burlesque comics - were in movie after movie, always pretty much the same guy, too...a cocky, strutting wiseacre buddy with Victor Mature, or a cocky, strutting wiseacre Army sergeant. 

Lindsay, Lindsay, Lindsay!
On the other hand, I had always heard that Meryl Streep was a great actress, able to assume different personae in different movies.  Of course, you could have been handing out $100 bills to the audiences of "Sophie's Choice" or "Kramer vs Kramer" and I would still be without a $100 bill.  True, Peggy was able to inveigle me into seeing "The Bridges of Madison County," although I spent the entire movie hoping that Clint would suddenly turn into Dirty Harry and just go really Mad-ison, but no.  

Then, I went to see Garrison Keillor's movie "A Prairie Home Companion," and there she was, a New Jersey girl playing the part of a country singer from Minnesota! And then,  we watched "The Devil Wears Prada," and she was acting like a completely different human being!   I said, "Peggy, this shrewish harridan is nothing like Yolanda Johnson from Mr Keillor's movie!"

And Peggy, with the tenderness that we use to explain to children that Superman is just a made-up character, told me that she was able to appear to be different people by acting!

Phil Silvers! Phil Silvers! Phil Silvers!
Well, cut off my legs and call me Shorty!  Here's to all those who can do this sort of thing!  I can't act like anyone other than myself, which some will be quick to point out is a tragic shortcoming.  Here's to Meryl Streep.  And Phil Silvers, too.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A little about a lot

Still plowing through Keith Richards's autobiography "Life," and it's just a walloping hearty meatloaf of a book.  I read every word as a young seminarian reads the words of a bishop.  And for those who have ever had to work with someone who is annoying, self-centered to the point of ignoring all those he considers "beneath" him, controlling, and imbued with the feeling that he and he alone is the reason for the success of the entire group, I can only say, be glad you don't work with Mick Jagger, as Keith has done for over fifty years.  Now, it is true that Keith chose to be absent, if only mentally, for a dozen or so of those years, so avid was his drug consumption, but still.  To read that Mick Jagger can board an airplane and be greeted by baggage handlers, musicians and other members of the touring party, only to walk past them as if they did not even exist, is hardly surprising, but still.  And to read that Keith once picked up a lurid sex novel and found that it was written by one "Brenda Jagger," leading Keith to refer to Mick as "Brenda" to this day, makes me realize that it doesn't matter where you work.  Cleaning out grease traps in an abattoir, or playing guitar for thousands for millions, when you work with a butthead, you've got to do something about it!

...Did you ever stay home from school in 4th grade and then come back the next day to find that everyone else had learned to do fractions, and realize that you now have one arm tied behind your back, figuratively, forever?  I just have to say that a lot of people skipped the lesson in Driver Ed about how to merge onto a highway.  You don't just sail onto the interstate without slowing down or yielding the right of way!  And yet, every time that misfortune finds me on the dreaded Baltimore Beltway, immortalized in "Die Hard 4: How Long Can This Go On, Already?" as "The 6-9-5," I see minivan Moms and pick-'em-up Pops blowing off the ramps and right on into the lanes, often at the expense of jittery Joes who are just trying to get OFF the doggone superslab.  Same thing with traffic circles, those vortices of doom that dot our area:  if you're on the road, you have the right of way.  Those wishing to get on the traffic circles, which are really just teeny little Beltways, after all, need to wait til the current occupants depart, often in one piece.

...I had a friend of ten years who decided not to be a friend any more at all.  It was odd.  And the friendship ended in a way that was not even imaginable ten years ago. I found out that this person chose to end our friendship by un-friending me on Facebook, and then I got a text msg from her mother, informing me in 160 characters or less that her daughter no longer needed my friendship, support or help.  Well, look. In these days when such news is delivered electronically, or back in the cave-dweller era when rudimentary grunts were the only mode of speech, now as then, if someone doesn't want to be your friend any longer, there's no use in asking them to still be one.  

But I like metaphors and pictorial representations of feelings and moods, and it wasn't until I saw part of The Shawshank Redemption that I saw something that captured the shock and stupefaction that one feels upon receiving the news that the same person who made you laugh and feel good can do just the opposite in 160 characters or less. 
And this is how it feels to look into the abyss left behind when a friendship leaves town.  

What the hell.  We all shine on!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Do I dare to eat a peach?

Legendary bandleader and guitarist Duane Allman, founder of the Allman Brothers Band and the guy who supplied those wailing slide guitar notes on Eric Clapton's "Layla," was tragically killed in a motorcycle wreck in October, 1971, so there's no telling how great he might have been in the years since, or how many other tremendous performances he had left to give.

But you know what else is interesting? He would not pose for a photograph!  After he reached a certain point of being recognized in public, he just figured, if people want to take a picture of me, they may, but he sure as shootin' wasn't gonna stand there grinning like a fool while shutterbugs snapped away.

Duane could play guitar like nobody's business, and he had quite a business playing for others, Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin, Boz Scaggs and B.B. King among them.  He was a simple, humble Southern guy who liked to play his guitars, fish, ride his motorcycle and be left alone.  And even though he was around at the time of the tumultuous social upheaval in this country, he was not out there on anyone's front line of revolution.  Asked about his philosophy, Duane, whose father was a career Army sergeant killed by a hitchhiker, said, "There ain't no revolution, only evolution, but every time I'm in Georgia, I eat a peach for peace."   

And the surviving members of the band went on to call the album released shortly after his death "Eat A Peach."

But I bring this all up because I would not like to be in show business and have to stand around posing for photographs every time I showed up for the Oscars® or one of Kelsey Grammer's frequent weddings or a supermarket opening.  Yet, it's all you can see in the papers and on line: the stars in their finery, flashing the piano-keyboard grin and posing like nuts.  And the cameras and the flashes go crazy.  And people are calling their names like mad.

And the other night, Peggy wanted to see the red-carpet arrivals at the Grammys, where these days, one is rewarded for selling lots of music by being subjected to an interview with Ryan Seacrest.  It was sad because as he relentlessly grilled luminaries such as P. Diddly, or whatever he calls himself this week, and Justin Bieber, we saw Cyndi Lauper walk by, without a soul paying her any attention.  In her heyday, they would have pursued her for two blocks to find out which colors she used in her hair, and now her heyday is over, and no one even says "hey." 
Seacrest always asks, "Who are you wearing?" and I would have to answer this way: "That should be 'whom' are you wearing, and it's Eddie Bauer."  And then he would turn and greet the arrival of Steve Lawrence.

Ring finger, left hand: Coricidin bottle
And one last thing about Duane Allman, in case you think that having a cold is always the worst thing that could happen.  In 1968, Duane had a cold, and his brother Gregg brought him a bottle of Coricidin pills.  You remember those, those red pills that did nothing for your cold but everyone took them anyway?  Duane found the best use for Coricidin in the glass bottle of yesteryear.  He emptied out the pills, stuck the bottle on his finger, and used it to make those beautiful slide guitar sounds.  Listen to him play here.  Those notes that sound like teardrops falling?  That's the best picture of Duane there is!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

President company excluded

The President of the United States of America, Barack Obama, came to a local middle school near us on Monday to check out the students' progress and their use of today's burgeoning technology.  It was a proud moment for our town, and the kids in the classroom enjoyed seeing him and interacting, from all accounts.
Parkville PATCH

But on the Parkville-Overlea PATCH - which is an online news source that AOL recently began, and which, if your town does not have one, you should hope they do soon! - the reporter tells us that some people gathered to protest the president, which is of course their right.  I mean, you can walk around with a sign and crab about the fact that the man eats oatmeal for breakfast, if you wish, and that is your right as an American citizen, or it's your sworn task if you are a commentator on FOX news.  

But notice that one woman from 30 miles up the road in Edgewood was down here to complain about BHO's policies, because she is out of work.  She said,"I'm here because I'm unemployed.  It's unbelievable. It's his policies that I object to."

I have been unemployed in my lifetime and it was a few of the worst weeks I've ever known.  I spent that time finding another job.  Onetime movie actor Ronald Reagan was in the White House at that time, but rather than spend my time carrying signs about him, I carried my resume around and found another job.
To the lady from Edgewood: I am sorry that you are out of work.  It's not unbelievable, sad to say.  There are always people out of work, and I think that those who have jobs today should be grateful not to be in their number.  What's more, hiring in this country is done between 9 and 5, M-F, so I don't think you are working as hard as you might be toward finding more work if you're passing your Monday mornings complaining about the president. 

But...when I was teaching, years ago, a student was telling me that getting a job was just a matter of being in the right place at the right time, it's all in who knows who, and he didn't have a chance...etc etc etc.  I asked him how he spent his free time after school, and he said he mainly stayed home and watched TV.

Since you rarely, if ever, hear of people going door-to-door offering work to people otherwise engaged in watching television, sitting home on the sofa watching sitcom reruns, or marching around picketing the president, are not examples of being in the right place at the right time.  Priorities!  If you need a job, you need to be out there looking for one.  You should spend more time per week trying to find a job than you will actually be on the job once you find one! Decide what you want to be, train and get prepared for it, and knock on doors until people hire you.

After all, that's how Obama got his job!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Slurring his words

From the New York DAILY NEWS, another for your collection of apologies that are only to be taken as apologies if, heaven forbid, you are actually offended by the offensive thing someone said or did:

Mayor Bloomberg sure got their Irish up.
Hizzoner drew jeers when he tried to joke about the Irish's fondness for booze in an impromptu speech to the American Irish Historical Society.
He noted he lived near the Irish society's Fifth Ave. home, and, on St. Patrick's Day, was used to seeing "a bunch of people that are totally inebriated hanging out the window waving," a transcript of the event shows.
Irish "I's" are smiling!
His latest foot-in-mouth gaffe came while speaking at the society's St. Patrick's Day Parade book launch.
Dozens of society members - and the parade grand marshal, author Mary Higgins Clark - gathered to celebrate the debut of a book called "Celebrating 250 Years of the New York City St. Patrick's Day Parade."
Bloomberg was not on the program but was invited to make a few remarks, said society Executive Director Christopher Cahill.
After making his "inebriated" comment, Hizzoner seemed to realize he overstepped the bounds of decency.
"I know, that's a stereotype of the Irish," Bloomberg said to jeers. "Nevertheless, we Jews from around the corner think this."
The remark triggered a handful of boos from the crowd, and several Irish society members' eyes were not smiling that Bloomberg was trading in cultural stereotypes.
"It was ill-advised to make a statement like that," said John Dunleavy, chairman of the St. Patrick's Day Parade committee. "The remarks are highly, highly offensive to any Irish person.
"I don't think he would say a joke like that to any other ethnic group. It was totally uncalled for and unbecoming of the mayor," Dunleavy added.
Bloomberg did some bobbing and weaving Thursday when asked about the comments, which were first reported by
"I certainly didn't mean anything that anybody should take offense to," Bloomberg said.
"I was talking about a party they have every year on St. Patrick's Day, where it's traditional to hang out the window and yell and scream, and it's all in good fun."
Later, he issued a mea culpa in a statement sent to reporters: "I apologize. I certainly did not mean to offend anybody."
The act of contrition was enough for City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, the city's highest-ranking Irish-American politician.
"Given the mayor's long history of support for the Irish community, his remarks last night were both surprising and inappropriate," Quinn said. "I am pleased to hear he has since apologized."
Dunleavy said the impolitic remark would not prompt him to disinvite Bloomberg from marching in the parade, and Cahill said the mayor was still welcome to visit the Historical Society.
I would like to live long enough to see two things happen:
a) people actually starting to think before starting their lips to flappin'

 2) people who have failed to heed a) would then say, "I'm sorry; I was foolish and inconsiderate" instead of, "Well, I'm sorry IF AND ONLY IF you didn't care for me picking on your ethnic heritage in a public forum.  Jeeesh!  Everyone's so touchy!"

Do you   1) think I will live that long?  or b) want to attend the Parade with Hizzoner?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Best Blade Plans

Shhh!  Please don't tell the good folks up at Gillette Razors Inc., but something went wrong with their OctoSmoothieSupreme Hawaiian-Jazz Fusion Razor.  At least, the one I am currently using, and have been for about six months.

Now, I'm the first to admit, I am not the most hirsute in the bunch, and so shaving my face is not quite as tough on a razor as, say, removing shellac from an old dining room table with Hepplewhite legs.  But I'm doggoned if I haven't been using the same blade insert doodad since Tisha B'Av (which is in August). I don't know why this is.  Every time I lather up the old face (emphasis on old) I always think, today is the day I will start whittlin' off the whiskers and leave abrasions and contusions on a facial plain that, quite frankly, does not need any more damage done to it.

See how it gleams in the morning sun
But no!  The multi-bladed wonder slices through the face forest like Grant took Richmond (not to bring all that up again...) Like a snowplow in last year's blizzard, like Charlie Sheen at a high school prom, like that guy you always see at a buffet who can balance two plates at a time, the razor makes easy work of my quotidian pruning.  A quick rinse in some lukewarm water is all it asks, then it's back into its ready position in the little jar that holds my toothbrush, all set to be pressed into duty again.

I don't think it was supposed to happen this way.  This is maybe the fourth or fifth newly-installed blade set in this razor, and none of the others lasted this long.  As Oprah® would say, What I Know For Sure is, when I do need to change it, the next razor will give me one, two, maybe four good shaves, and then will slice me dangerously close to the carotid artery.

You guys know what I mean.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Take Me To the Other Side

If you get the chance, please click here and go to the New York TIMES website to read a very nice article about Steven Tyler, and how his "rock 'n' roll affability" is doing so well replacing the acerbic Simon Cowell and his tight t-shirts as star judge in the star chamber known as American Idol.  It's funny; Peggy and I watched AI faithfully for many years and so far this year, we haven't tuned in.  For one thing, the early shows feature a succession of oddballs, lunatics and plain old nutbags, and you sort of feel as if you're picking on the village fool for watching people who are clearly deluded about their ability to carry a tune.

Then again, many people with similar delusions are earning a handsome dollar singing on records, in concerts and in nightclubs, so what do I know?

And when they get down to the serious competition among the two dozen or so finalists, we will probably watch again.  But one night we happened to tune in to the last few minutes of the show.  We were getting ready to watch FOX45 News At Ten.  There must have been a snowstorm going on and we figured it would be a way to see the weather forecast and also get a good look at Keith Daniels standing at a salt dome as front-end loaders loaded up the back ends of dump trucks with enough salt to line every tequila glass from here to Juarez.  At the end of the Idol show that night they showed a young man whose fiance had been in a car crash and is now, so sadly, afflicted with huge physical challenges.  The TIMES article goes on about the affecting way that Steven Tyler (real name: Stephen Tallarico) had of greeting the woman and encouraging her. He was most kind, and he showed the bearing of a man who has met thousands of people and put them at ease.  The paper goes on to say that he knows how to do that because he is a professional.

To me, there are few words of higher praise than to be called a "professional."  It indicates that someone has been down this road a few times and knows what she or he is doing, and can handle the unexpected as well as the expected.  Let's face it: everyone loves young people and hopes they do well as they embark on their careers, but who wants to be the first patient for a brand-new brain surgeon?  Put me in the hands of someone who knows what to do when something goes south.  

A pro is one who can handle everything that comes their way with equanimity and grace.  That's when you can really spot a professional: when a curveball comes their way.  I think of that goofy weather guy Chad Myers on CNN when Katrina was hitting the Gulf and how he tossed a little hissy (and his clipboard) as Carol Costello literally begged him to explain things in terms that could be understood by breakfasting Americans who do not hold advanced degrees in meteorology.  Watch him - it's the best definition of unprofessionalism I can offer.  

A professional is where he or she is supposed to be at the time he or she is supposed to be there, trained, prepared and ready.  Have you ever had an appointment with someone who was not there at the appointed time, and then strolled in fifteen minutes later, wheezing about the traffic, or the lack of dry towels at the gym, or who parked in their private parking spot?   

So, big ups to Steven Tyler.  He was really nice to another person, and that's a rare thing.  You can see the entire sequence right here and know that he's the kind of man who can step out of his flamboyant persona and reach out to another person who really needs a boost. 

Friday, February 11, 2011

Dance In Your Pants

I don't know much about the currently popular hit music, but from scanning the titles of the songs that ride atop the charts, I see an awful lot of Sturm Und Drang in just the titles of the songs.  Any time that a society's favorite songs include something called " 'F' You" by the cheery Cee-Lo Green, and "What The Hell," by Canadian teen-forever Avril Lavigne is a good time to say, hey, come on, get happy!

So I got to thinking, where are the dance hits? There hasn't been a dance hit on the charts since the days of "The Lambada" and "Tango # Five" over a decade ago. Not that I could ever dance, nor was there any great demand among the young women of our town for me to demonstrate my terpsichorean skills, but I know that songs like "Land of a Thousand Dances," made popular by both Cannibal And The Headhunters  and by Wilson Pickett - a song in which no fewer that sixteen different dance steps are mentioned - could get couples back on the floor, shaking their groove things, as it were.

The dances mentioned?  The Pony ("like Boney Maronie!"), the Watusi, the Slop, the Chicken,  the Alligator, the Twist, the Fly, the Jerk, the Tango, the Yo-Yo, the Mashed Potato, the Hand Jive, the Bop, the Fish, the Popeye and the Sweet Pea.  You had to know all those steps just to be allowed in the gym for a Friday Night Teen Center.  There were adults at the door, selling cokes and donuts and monitoring the dancing.  Not for nothing did they have that scene in "Grease" about how any couple doing vulgar or suggestive dance moves would get the boot.  In some places, adults walked around with a sawed-off ruler to make sure that a 7" gap was in place between each guy and each girl, lest accidental arousal occur.  Later on, when it was discovered that the average teenage male could achieve ten-hut status over the cartoon image of Wilma Flintstone, the rulers were discarded in favor of baking salt peter into the doughnuts.

"Dirty Dancing"
The Fish was a dance move of unbridled libido, banned in most schools and malt shoppes, as the main step involved simulated upright coitus.  For some reason, in our part of Baltimore it was known as the "Bodie Green."   That was the dance that made Eve Arden blanch in "Grease."  This was the original "forbidden dance of love," long before the Lambada came along.

Teen Centers have gone the way of all things from the 60's, leaving today's hormonally-charged youth to cluster in eddying knots of testosterone or estrogen in the malls of our nation.  I say, let's get the kids together, teach 'em to Hand Jive, and things will be better soon.  As Avril would say, what the hell?

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Lee De Forest
Friends and neighbors, you never know what you can learn.  You have to pay attention, though.  It's said that radio pioneer Lee De Forest was a very sloppy man, and lived in a house so full of junk and old radio parts that friends who came to call often went away, believing that he was not at home.

From this, we get the old expression "You can't see DeForest for debris."

Speaking of which, there's a song by Harry Nilsson called "Good Old Desk."   It was on his album "Aerial Ballet," which he named in honor of his grandparents, who were Swedish circus performers who did an act called Aerial Ballet on trapezes.  I learned that by watching the documentary on Nilsson called Who is Harry Nilsson? (And Why Is Everybody Talkin' About Him) and you know what else I learned from watching that DVD?
Harry Nilsson

The Good Old Desk he was talking about stood for GOD! Now, Harry went on to lead an interesting life.  When he first came to notice as a songwriter, he was working the 3-11 shift at a bank in Los Angeles.  Back when computers were new-fangled, he was one of the new fanglers, and he stuck with that bank job until The Monkees recorded "Cuddly Toy."  Then, he felt safe to go into show business full time, and he did some good business for a few years, but fell into an embarrassing lifestyle of drinking and drugging and getting thrown out of nightclubs along with his running buddy John Lennon for heckling The Smothers Brothers.  I mean, really.  

It was a shame that he fell to that depth, but by the time of his death in 1994 (aged 53) he had come back from bankruptcy, a blown-out vocal cord and a sharp drop in record sales to have a happy marriage, complete with six kids who adore him to this day along with his widow.  

And now I listen to the Good Old Desk song:

My old desk does an arabesque, in the morning when I first arrive.
It’s a pleasure to see it's waiting there for me to keep my hopes alive.
Such a comfort to know it’s got no place to go, it’s always there.
It’s the one thing I’ve got, a huge success, my Good Old Desk.

My old desk never needs a rest, and I’ve never once heard it cry.

I’ve never seen it tease, it’s always there to please me from nine to five.
Such a comfort to know, it's dependable and slow, but it’s always there.
It’s the one friend I’ve got, a giant of all times, my Good Old Desk.

My old desk isn’t picturesque, but it’s happy as a desk can be.

We never say a word, but it’s perfectly alright with me.

For when my heart's on the floor, I just open the drawer of my favorite guest.
And what do I see? But a picture of me working at my Good Old Desk.

And I realize what he meant, all those years ago, before his life became an aerial pandemonium.  Nice to see the spiritual message behind a happy kinda song. Hope is always alive. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Baby Boom

I tell you, sometimes I feel like Garrison Keillor, writing these daily bursts.  Not that I have the grasp of the language or the overall mien of the legendary man from Lake Wobegone, but stuff that happens here in our town can be every bit as interesting, or odd, as what happens in that Minnesota version of Brigadoon.

Fans of Krusty the Clown will remember when he sat in the witness stand and bragged about betting on sports games, only to be told by the prosecutor that such conduct was illegal.  "Ohhh Ohhhhhhhhhhhh...." was all the clown, born Herschel Krustofsky, could say.  So did you know that it's illegal to display a lookalike bomb in a public space? 

I mean, besides movies starring Christina Aguilera and Cher?

Tiny bomb tank approaches toilet tank warily
On Monday, a guy placed a toilet outside our county courthouse.  The toilet was not hooked up to the water system, or someone surely would have used it. But it was connected to an old radio and an old cell phone, and it had a petition seeking justice for the murder of a young man out in Illinois, and some newspaper clippings, what the police termed "numerous miscellaneous notes," and so forth. 

This is not the sort of thing that one normally sees while racing to be on time for work for once, so here came the police and the bomb squad, all duded up in their protective garb, but you just know that at least one of them is wearing one of those t-shirts that says, "I am a bomb technician...If you see us running, try to keep up!!!"

It took the local gendarmerie about five minutes to figure out what was going on here, and they have arrested a man who operates a pit beef stand up the road a piece.  The man said he decorates toilets as fund-raising objets d'art but knew nothing about this instant case.   I don't know about the decorated toilets - most art lovers don't take that sort of thing sitting down - but there is nothing that says "Baltimore, hon!" like a pit beef stand.  For the benefit of our many reader in far-flung states, pit beef is what you get when you get a round roast and cook it over charcoal, then slice it up and put slices on a roll or rye bread with onion and bar-b-q sauce and horseradish.  You get a round for $20 and make 87 sandwiches out of it, each selling for $6.50.  Profit margin is high.  Customer satisfaction, the same.

It's said that the concept of getting beef and selling it on the side of the road in a wooden lean-to was inspired by The Beach Boys...remember their 1964 hit, "I Get A Round"?

Anyway, the beef salesman told a reporter he couldn't talk; he was headed to the courthouse to renounce his citizenship.

Ironically enough, he might have other business in that same courthouse soon!

And that's the news from Baltimore County, where we are flushed with excitement.  Pass the horseradish, if you will...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Broad Stripes and Bright Stars

I shouldn't make this assumption but I guess I will.  I mean, is it fair to deduce that the entertainers who sing in the Super Bowl pregame and 1/2 time show are told in advance that they will be performing at the game?  By way of proof, I have to figure that the Black Eyed Peas don't usually sit around dressed as they did for the game, and were not sitting at home chomping on Doritos when the call came to get down to the stadium and do a medley of their hit.  

Being for the Benefit of Ms Aguilera
So along those lines, this open letter to Christina Aguilera: The Star Spangled Banner was written in 1814, here in Baltimore, so that has given you plenty of time to learn the lyrics, young lady.  This is not third grade, although I would hope that most third-graders could sing the first verse of our national anthem without screwing up the lyrics.  You can click here if you want to see it again, how she kerfuffled her way through the most important song in our patriotic repertoire.   Instead of singing, "O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?" she sang, "What so proudly we watched at the twilight's last gleaming?"  And then, after the game, she issued a statement explaining her lyrical mishap. 

"I can only hope that everyone could feel my love for this country and that the true spirit of its anthem still came through," she said.

'C' You real soon!
I can understand nerves, even for someone who has been a spotlight performer since her days as a Mousekeeter with Britney and Justin.  And everyone makes mistakes, myself more than most.  But please, spare us that "look how patriotic I am!" excuse, and just say, "I screwed up! I got the words all wrong!  No matter how patriotic I am or am not, the point is, I got the words wrong.  Sorry!"  

How refreshing that would be!

Meanwhile, for those who have been invited to sing the anthem at Bingo halls, youth soccer opening days, and Sarah Palin's inauguration,  clip and save:

Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say, does that Star-Spangled Banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?


Monday, February 7, 2011

Pan American

Some twenty years ago our good friend Lisa gave us an old-fashioned frying pan - the cast-iron kind - along with the fixin's for a great pizza.  (Fry up some sausage in the pan, spread out some bread dough in the pan, top with toppings, bake in pan and love it love it love it!)

We love the pan too.  People worry about Teflon® and Stik-No-More artificial surfaces on aluminum pans, and you have to think...after a year or so, the slippery surface is wearing thin, and where did it all go?  Were you eating chemicals along with your homemade "Eggs Derelict"?   There is some concern about a chemical called PFOA, and while I have no idea what the story is there, I am relatively sure that PFOA does not stand for Pretty Fine Organic Additive.  If I'm wrong, I will either stand, or sit, corrected.

So I recommend getting away from the non-stick surfaces, and also, this ain't the Ritz and I ain't Anthony Bourdain, so I am not about to use plain metal pans that have to be scoured every time I sauté an onion.  Go with the cast-iron skillet and build up a "seasoning" on the cooking surface.  It's easy to clean and it makes everything taste all home-skillety.

Take my pork chops!  Just toss some chops in a plastic bag with some flour, bread crumbs, garlic and onion and a little Italian seasoning, and throw a little EVOO in the pan...then put it in the oven, put 'em on the table, and stand back out of the way! (Congratulations if you remember that Esskay jingle.)

Take my corn bread!  Mix up some corn meal and milk with a tiny bit of honey and a beaten egg, and have the skillet in the 400° oven while you're mixing.  Then, put on your OveGlove and take the pan out, throw in enough EVOO to coat the bottom, get a pitcher of beer, and pour in your batter.  (You will want to change pitchers if it's a left-handed batter.) (I regret that pun, but I do not take it back.)  Back in the oven goes the pan, and you go looking for the pizza cutter, because in 15-20 minutes, you're gonna be slicing up the best corn bread you ever had!  Crumble it up on some chili you made in the crock pot.  Hint: you can add fresh or canned corn to the batter, unless you are married to someone who doesn't like "other things in (their) food." Kenny Rogers Roasters always did it, is all I know.

Take my reheated fried or rotisserie chicken! It tastes even better reheated in the skillet in the oven or on the range top, which is also where you can use the pan to reheat pizza.

Toasters quit toastin', spatulas only spatulate for a certain amount of time, and heaven knows you can't get a coffee maker to last more than a year or two.  But your cast iron skillet will not wear out or quit working or need replacement! It will last forever, just like our friendship with Lisa!  


Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Old Quizmaster

 I got this from Robin and from Laura - so herewith, my answers:

Welcome to the new 2011 edition of getting to know your family and friends. Here is what you are supposed to do, and try not to be lame and spoil the fun. Change all the answers so that they apply to you. Then send this to a bunch of people you know, INCLUDING the person who sent it to you.

Some of you may get this several times; that means you have lots of friends. The easiest way to do it is to hit 'forward' so you can delete and change the answers.
Have fun and be truthful!

1. What color are your socks right now?    R-e-double D redd!
2. What are you listening to right now?    Harry Nilsson
3. What was the last thing you ate?   Italian cold cut sub (bad for diet but umm umm good!)
4. Can you drive a stick shift?     Yes and you never forget how!
5. Last person you spoke to on the phone?   Peggy
6. Do you like the person who sent this to you?   Love 'em both
7. How old are you today?  59 heading for 60! I'll be a SEXAGENARIAN!!! 8. What is your favorite sport to watch on TV?   football (Roll TIDE!)
9. What is your favorite drink?   iced tea or iced beer
10. Have you ever dyed your hair?  yes, this fashionable grey is right out of a bottle
11. Favorite food?    Sea
12. What was the movie that u last watched?  Jackass 3-D in theater
13. Favorite day of the year?   Christmas Day
14. How do you vent?    Sing along really loud in the truck (alone) 
15. What was your favorite toy as a child?   Howdy Doody marionette.  It looked like W.
16. What is your favorite season?   Winter, Cold harsh nasty brutal snowy sleety winter!
17. Cherries or Blueberries?    Cherries
18. Do you want your friends to e-mail you back?  yes please
19.  Who is the most likely to respond?   Jonie
20. Who is least likely to?  Dick Cheney
21. Living situation?   Been alive since 1951, currently doing so in a happy house w/ Peggy
22. When was the last time you cried?  1994
23. What is on the floor of your closet right now?  slippas
24. Who is the friend you have had the longest that you are sending to?  Chandler Bing
25. What did you do last night?   took groceries to Mom, visited funeral home for friend's Mom
26. What are you most afraid of?  Dick Cheney
27. Plain, cheese, or spicy hamburgers?  Cheeseburger
28. Favorite dog breed?   mutts are the best
29. Favorite day of the week?   Saturday
30. How many states have you lived in?  1
31. Diamonds or pearls?   baseball diamonds
32. Favorite flower?  Black Eyed Susan
33. What do you wish you could give up?   my 33 1/3% ownership of the new OWN TV Network