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Wednesday, June 29, 2016



It is “Shark Week” on the Discovery Channel.  I am a big fan of “Shark Week” and have been for years.  I do have to admit, though, that the reason behind most episodes are, in my mind, malarkey.  

Every episode claims to be doing research to determine more facts about these little known animals.  This research is necessary in order to protect and preserve these great animals.


I wish they would be a bit more up front and admit the research is to gather footage for “Shark Week.”

Not that I mind either way, I love watching sharks, but seriously as just “Important” research?

The episode I watched tonight involved six, count them, six shark scientist experts or sharkologists.  They spent a summer in a five million dollar ship following great white sharks around an island that is home to a zillion seals. They tagged the sharks, and then followed them with tracking equipment, mini-subs with cameras and all kinds of super expensive equipment. 

What did these six, I assume well paid, sharkologists find out?

The sharks loved this island because they like to eat seals…I knew that, I watch “Shark Week” every year.

The biggest sharks are females… I knew that, I watch “Shark Week” every year.

They hunt during the day and rest at night… I knew that, I watch “Shark Week” every year.

They are very fast, they are very powerful, they bite to explore… I knew that, I watch “Shark Week” every year.

More people are killed by lightening every year than by shark attacks… I knew that, I watch “Shark Week” every year.  (Of course billions of people are exposed to potential lightening strikes every year and only a few hundred thousand swim in the same water as great white sharks. If there is a thunderstorm, do not stand under a tree, and you probably should not swim with seals.)

Anyway, scientists tag, follow, film and test sharks every year probably spending more money than Jerry ever collected for his children and we learn almost nothing new every year on “Shark Week.”

Still, I cannot get enough of these “Shark Week” shows. 

Monday, June 27, 2016

A New Study on Empathy

A New Study on Empathy

They’ve done it again; scientists have done a study showing that after taking Amesetapenaman… Aphenemanaspa…oh hell, after you take Tylenol you are less empathetic.  I learned this today on the 11 o’clock news in a 13 second story that the station was promoting for about four hours.

“Tylenol will make you a nasty bastard!  News at eleven.”

This begs the question, “Who gives a flying fig?”

Apparently scientists do, because they spent a lot of money, probably our money, to make this great discovery.

How they came to this conclusion was not explained on the 13 second news clip I just saw.  What I am supposed to do with this information was also not explained.

How did they even make this determination? I guess they showed people pictures of a dead puppy and measured the volume of their “Aww.”  Then they gave them some Tylenol and after an hour showed them another picture of a dead puppy.  Their collective “Aww’s” were several decibels lower.

Obviously this proves that taking Tylenol lessens your feelings of empathy so if you take Tylenol, don’t look at pictures of dead puppies or people will think you are a cold hearted prick.  

So what am I to do with this information?

“Did you just break up with your girlfriend of 8 years?  I don’t really care, but of course I just took a Tylenol so pay no attention to my non-empathetic response.”

Maybe if I have a headache and know I am liable to hear some bad news I should delay the Tylenol relief until I can show proper concern for something sad.


Great information experts and scientists; money and years of higher education well spent. If you take Tylenol you will be less empathetic.  Perhaps you should think twice before taking Tylenol.


Maybe this study proves that if you are in pain you are more empathetic than when you are not in pain and taking Tylenol works for lessening pain.  They did not address this possibility on the 13 second news clip.

Either way, I don’t really care. 

Sunday, June 26, 2016


This cranky re-run is from June 2012

 My recent wordless Wednesday post of an old TV test pattern woke up some distant memories. 

To all my fellow “Old Farts” in bloggyland, do you remember any of this stuff?

Adjusting the “rabbit ears” on the TV only to have the reception turn to snow when you moved back to your seat.

UHF channels.

The entire neighborhood getting excited whenever anyone came home with a new car or a color TV.

Regular home deliveries of Milk, soda, beer, and dry cleaning.

Doctor’s house calls…(happened maybe twice.)

The paper stopper on milk bottles that had a little flip-up tab. The tab had to be pried open with a butter knife which invariably forced the stopper into the bottle and squirted milk all over the table.

Milk bottles.

Cream on the top of non-homogenized milk.

Your mom talking about remembering the street “lamp lighter” guy.

Playing in the street.

Picking up the phone and having the operator ask “number please.” (Ocean City, New Jersey did not move to direct dial until the 60’s)

Telling the operator the number (four digits) and having her ask, “and how is your grandmother, Joe?”

Seven-cent Good Humor Raspberry-one-stick ice pops.

Paper boy calling out the latest edition, “Get your two star, sports Fi…nal Bulletin.” (Ocean City, New Jersey again)

Turning wire hangers with cardboard inserts from the dry-cleaner into a bow and arrow.

Being called into dinner by mom’s old two pound bell… and everyone knew their mom’s bell.

Catching crawfish in the creek.  (The one running past Aunt Nancy’s house.)

Smoking on an airplane.

Fumbling with a bra fastener….wait….that was last week.

Using a clothespin and a card (baseball or playing) to turn your bicycle into a “motor” cycle

Old stuff question:
What is a church key?

What old stuff do you remember?

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Stupid Headlines 062616

Stupid Headlines 062616

It is time again for
That's just wrong!


This week’s stupid headlines and my stupider, sometimes sophomoric comments.  


Microsoft is testing a new mosquito trap to fight Zika – Makes sense, my computer runs on Microsoft Windows, and it catches bugs all the time.

Axe-throwing club wants a liquor license – Cause axe-throwing and liquor go together like blow torches and dynamite.
Texas woman wakes up with British accent after common jaw surgery – Apparently the surgery also included a stiff upper lip.
Same-sex marriages in US up, domestic partnerships down – Well they have only recently been deemed legal, so why is this a surprise.  I’ll bet sales of Cuban cigars will also be up this year.

Movement on a vast scale detected near San Andreas fault – Maybe Oprah shouldn’t eat bread every day!
Judge rules Texas prison must provide inmates with safe-drinking water – I’m not I favor of mollycoddling prisoners, but I think providing non-poisonous water is reasonable.
Clinton IT specialist invokes 5th more than 125 times – Big deal, I used to take a fifth every night…now I just have an occasional glass of wine.
Solar-powered plane lands in Spain – The plane in Spain landed mainly cause it rained.
Bank employees publicly spanked for poor performance – Hmmm, I think I’d prefer to just give my notice by kicking this shithead boss’s ass.
Despite Latino surge, Asians remain U.S.'s fastest growing racial group – Coming around the final turn its Asians followed by Latinos with the Middle-east driving hard, and Latinos are surging; coming to the finish its Asians…Latinos…Asians and at the finish it’s ASIANS!!

Serbia Asks People To Please Stop Throwing Their Grenades In The Garbage – Or at least duck tape the pin.  (Thank you Fran)

Woman Calls Police Over Not Enough Cheese On Her Pizza – If you think this is a problem, you should be a Garbage man in Serbia! (Thanks Marty)


Come back next week for more


Friday, June 24, 2016



A cranky opinion for


The following is the opinion of a cranky old man with little knowledge of the topic opined.  Opposing opinions are welcome, but they are wrong.  As always, please, no name calling, and that means you, you big stupid head!

Apparently the 906th Olympic Games start this summer in Rio De Janeiro which is a little south of New Jersey.  I know about this event because in the news I read all about a Zika virus that is scary as shit.  Seems a lot of it is going around in Rio.  I also read about the pollution (air and water) that is scary as shit, and rampant crime which is…that’s right, scary as shit.

Today I hear Rory McElroy one of the best golfers in the world is not going to participate in the Olympics basically because among other things, the venue is scary as shit.

Years ago, when the Olympics were first telecast worldwide, the Olympics were a huge thing.  To win a gold medal was to be a superstar.  No one would ever think to avoid the Olympics when even a medal in fencing, sailing or hop scotch would put you on a Wheaties box…today not so much. 

What has changed?

First of all the Olympic athletes of old were all amateurs,  people who made the supreme sacrifice of postponing life for the chance to win a medal.  If a participant twisted his ankle in his first heat it was a tragic story as he would never have another chance.  Jim Thorpe had all his medals taken away when it was found he played “Professional” baseball and earned $1.35 before the Olympic Games…these people were serious.

Today these “amateurs” are supported and paid to train and participate.  They don’t postpone their life for sport; sport is their life and their occupation.  Maybe not the fencers, sailors and hop scotchers, but the athletes for any sport anyone really cares about.

So when a great golfer like McElroy refuses to represent his country, who really cares.  He represents his country in every tournament he plays.  Golf is now international.  Every big tournament is worldwide.  Soccer is worldwide.  Basketball has players from many nations in the NBA.  Track and field athletes from all over the world are on scholarships and represent US Colleges in NCAA competition.

I don’t know about the rest of the world, but I don’t care anymore. 

There is no Al Oerter who after working all day spent hours training and lifting weights so he could try and win the discus throw five times over a 20 years period of time; all without support from anyone except his family.

It is no longer politically correct to root exclusively for your own countrymen.  The chant of USA, USA, USA is a little annoying when you know your guy is taking the same steroids as their guy and is just as professional as their guy and though he may be American, he is quite possibly an American Dick!

I can’t get excited when a swimmer wins his 73rd gold medal in his fourteenth Olympics.  He is not making sacrifices, it is his job.  He doesn’t have to hope to be Tarzan in the movies, he is already rich. And besides, he is a swimmer…big whoop.

Does anyone watch swimming between the Olympics?  How about sailing? Fencing anyone? Track and Field? Olympic style Wrestling? Anyone?  Hell these events are not even broadcast on ESPN 6.

So to all you medal winners, congratulations, enjoy, but I will not be watching.  Oh…and that medal is only gold plated.

The preceding was the opinion of a cranky old man and not necessarily that of management…Mrs. Cranky.  

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Fool’s Mate

Fool’s Mate

When I was a chronological kid, I used to play chess.  We played lots of board games, checkers, backgammon, and card games.  We didn’t have the computer games and TV was often boring, what with only six channels.

We especially played games on rainy days.  When I was eleven, my best friend was Johnny Pear.  Johnny was two years older than I, but we still got along pretty well.  The Pears lived about a block away from us in Manhasset, L.I.  Believe it or not they lived on Bartlett Drive.

Being two years older than I, Johnny beat me at most physical games.  I had two older brothers, I was used to losing.  When it rained, Johnny and I played chess.  We were both pretty good, but certainly not students of the game.  By pretty good, we knew all the rules and how to move the pieces.  Generally Johnny beat me at chess also.  He was a pretty smart kid.

There is a series of moves in chess where a person can win by checkmate in four moves.  It is known as fool’s mate*.  One day playing Johnny I found the series of four moves and he did not take the obvious defense.  I won in four moves. 

Johnny was flabbergasted.

We played again, and Johnny was flabbergasted once again.  He fell for the fool’s mate four times.

Once he figured it out, I don’t think I ever won another game.  Johnny was a pretty smart kid.

I don’t think I played chess for years after Johnny figured out the fool’s mate.

Many years later I played someone in college.  My first three moves were the fool’s mate moves.  After my third move my opponent made the correct defensive move and commented as he did it,

“What do you think I’m an idiot? I’ve played before; I’m not going to fall for a fool’s mate!”

“Maybe not, but that’s all I’ve got.”

I lost that game too, and have not played since.

But on one day, for four games, I was a chess genius.

*actually 2 moves, so 4 is a semi-fool's mate.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

One More Golf Story

One More Golf Story

Sorry folks, but I’ve spent a considerable amount of my life playing this dumb game, and I’m running out of normal material.

The other day I reminisced on my one perfect day of golf where I broke 80 with a score of 78.  I have had other days, twice shooting 80 on a par 72 course the equivalent of 78 on a par 70 course, but there is just something magical to a mediocre golfer to a score under 80.

So after a story on a magical day of golf I follow with a beautiful day gone bad. 

Years before my perfect day, I came close to perfect.  Close to perfect in golf can spell frustration of the highest magnitude.  I was playing with my dad, mom and older brother Chris on a golfing vacation swing through New England.

I was having a terrific round.  Not spectacular, but clean and steady.  No bad shots, never in trouble, always around the hole with a chance at par. 

Playing well with my dad was unusual for me. 

Pop’s had a way to throw you off your game and he loved using it against me…teaching life’s lessons I guess, or maybe just looking for a competitive edge.

“Joe, don’t worry about that fairway trap, it’s at least 225 yards, no way you can reach it.”

He knew dang well I could hit the ball 240 – 250 (in the day), and of course I had to show him.  Trying to give it that little extra, I would dribble a worm eater about 75 yards down the middle.

“That’s a shame!”

Anyway, on this day I ignored his mind games.  By the time we reached the 18th hole I needed only a double bogey 6 to score 79, my first time breaking 80 and this was a par 72 course.  The 18th was a short par 4 maybe 325 yards, dogleg left.  A nice drive with a little draw would shrink the hole to about 275 yards.  The way I was playing a bogey 5 should have been a lock.

My drive was lifted high, short and to the right.  It was on the fairway but I did not cut off any of the dogleg.  Still on my next shot I had an easy nine iron a little over 100 yards from the hole.

At this point I must explain that every golfer from a 30 handicapper (that’s bad) to Jason Day (today’s #1 pro), every golfer, has one shot in his bag that he cannot explain, but is a horrible, horrible shot.  When this shot rears its ugly head, it is not a onetime deal, it sticks with you for a while.  My one shot is a nine iron shank that drills the ball not high and straight, but low and on a 90 degree angle from the target.

The one shot that every golfer fears, never happens except for the worst possible time, probably because it is at that time the golfer thinks, “Please don’t show up now.”

It always does.

After shanking my second shot out of bounds and taking a stroke penalty, I shanked my next shot out of bounds, at this point I was six strokes into the hole and breaking 80 a distant memory.  I finished with a nine and a final score of 82.

Pop’s had to ask after the hole, “What you get Joe?”

“A nine.”

“Nine? That’s a shame.”

Tuesday, June 21, 2016


Based on my last post about the great frustrating game of golf, 
many may wonder,

“Why Cranky, do you keep subjecting yourself to this game.”

It is difficult to explain, but every once and a while even the worst golfer swings sweet, strikes the ball just right and the result is euphoric.

And then there is that day.  That one day when your swing was on, you have great feel on and around the greens, and your few misfires hit a tree and bounce forward and onto the middle of the fairway.

My one day came in September 1978.  At a little public course in Princeton New Jersey.  It was a 6200 yard par 70 course, not a difficult course, but if you are not a pro or a very low handicap golfer, there is no such thing as an easy course.

On this one day everything felt just right.  I hit the ball clean and crisp.  For the most part everything I hit was straight and far.  If I pulled the ball to the left, the ball had a natural slice back to the intended target.  If I pushed the ball to the right, the ball had a natural hook back to the intended target.

One drive was off line and did not hook back.  It hit a cart path, took several huge bounces before hitting a pebble and took one last long bounce back onto the fairway…perhaps my longest drive ever.

My putting was accurate and distance control spot on.  Two putts which were destined to go well past the hole hit the hole dead-on popped up and stopped quickly.

This one day in September 1978 it all came together.  The drives, the woods and long irons, the short irons, the chipping and the putting all crisp clean and accurate, and on the few occasions where a shot went astray luck was on my side.  On this day there was the perfect combination of an easy course, a good swing, a good short game and lucky bounces. 

The result was a score of 78!

It was the kind of day, the kind of game, the kind of scoring that sends a golfer back to the course again and again, always with the hope of lightening striking twice.

Of course on the way home from this perfect day of golf, in my euphoria and anxious to tell the world, I drove a little over the speed limit.  A state trooper objected to my speed.  He did not seem interested in hearing my score of 78.  I received a ticket.

Some might say it was a case of Even-Stephen, but no.  I will take a speeding ticket for a score of 78 any day of the week.

And for those who could care less about golf:
A Ralph II update:

Ralph I's cousin in the ground

Monday, June 20, 2016


A whole lot of people have a big problem with Hillary, its a trust and integrity thing.  A whole lot of people have a big problem with Trump, he does say a lot of un-Presidential things. Perhaps, even though there is a Cranky family reason for extremely disliking The Vice President, it may finally be time for Joe for President.

Anyway, I am getting lazy and so here is another cranky re-run from May 2014

In 235 years this great country has had 44 Presidents.  It was considered a big step forward for the US to have elected a Black President in 2008.  Now many people are calling for our country to elect for the first time, a woman president.  While I fully understand that sentiment, I cannot support it; not while an even greater diversity injustice stands unresolved.

Of all our 44 presidents, there has not been one Joe.  There have been a bunch of Williams, at least three Georges, a mess of James’s and a slew of Johns, but not a single Joe.

Joe.  Good old Joe.  One of the most common and popular names since Jesus had a daddy, and not a single President of the United States has been named Joe.

I would never have guessed the people of the United States would have a president named Martin before a Joe, but that is the case.  In my wildest dreams I could not imagine a president named Zachary, but yes that did come to pass.  A Millard president before a Joe?  Preposterous; and yet it is true.  Franklin…not too uncommon, but we have had two presidents named Franklin and no Joes!

Abraham is not that strange a name, but except for Vigoda and Lincoln I can’t name anyone.  There are lots of Joe's, what's up with that?

Ulysses?  Wasn’t that a play?  There is no play named Joe, at least give us a president.

Rutherford…RUTHERFORD…come on I’ve never met a Rutherford and yet we have had a Rutherford as president, and still no Joe.

Chester.  I’ve known a few Chester’s.  One was a dog.  How is it we had a president named Chester and no Joe?

Grover; please;  GROVER and no Joe?  It boggles the mind.

I wonder what the Vegas odds in 1789 would have been for if we would elect a president Joe before a Woodrow, a Calvin, or a Herbert.  Pretty damn high I’d wager.  I lose. Still no Joe!

I’ve known three Dwight’s in my life, and one of them was president.  Lynden before Joe, you have to be kidding, and don’t even get me started on Barack.  How could we possibly have a president named Barack before one named Joe?  Come on now, Barack is not even a real name!

Enough of this nonsense, our next president should be named Joe.  End the discrimination now.  Right the injustice now.

It's not like Joe's can't lead.  Football quarterbacks Joe Montana, Joe Theisman, Joe Flacco, and Joe Namath proved that they can.  Wasn't Joe Walsh a lead singer? Joe's can fight, Joe Lewis and Joe Frasier could beat anyone. 

Then there is Joe Stalin...OK, not so good, but still... 

We need a president named Joe.  Hey, it could be a woman.  What ever happened to Joey Heatherton?  She was hot.  I could vote for her.
  Joey…Joe…close enough.


A Cranky Re-run
I dug this ridiculous cranky re-run up from June 2011
If I had the chance to interview the President of the United States, I would not settle for the typical Barbra Walters softball questions.  I would ask the questions every American wants to know:

Will government run healthcare save the average person money and will health services be as available as they are today?

How can we turn around the unemployment problem we face today?

Do you put the toilet seat down, or leave it up?

When do you see an end to the fighting in Afghanistan?

Now that you have released your birth certificate, can we see proof of your baptism?

Will Joe Biden be your running mate in 2012?

Do your daughters call you Mr. President, Daddy, or M’Lord?

What is the capital of Tanzania?

What brand of cigarettes do you not smoke?

Will we ever have a balanced budget?

How do you spell potato?

It has been said that your wife’s name and Belle go together well.  How do you respond?  (Beatles reference.  GIYP)

If gay marriages are not legal, can a gay man still marry a lesbian?

If a train left the station traveling at 60 miles an hour and stopped at its destination in 4 hours and 27 minutes, how did it stop at the station if it was going 60 miles per hour?

If you vetoed every piece of legislation coming from a Republican House and Senate, could we call you The Obamable Noman?