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Monday, April 24, 2017

The Last of the Mohicans

The Last of the Mohicans
 I recently left a comment on a fishducky blog,  
http://fishducky.blogspot.com/ 
regarding a book and after school detention, that was a bit of a teaser.  She asked that I elaborate.

 Well Ms. Fishducky of the wacky state of California (cue the peanut butter jar label opening to a picture of Fran) “You asked for it!”


It is not much of a story; perhaps I can embellish it a bit.

As an adolescent, I was not a very good student, as a matter of fact that statement would be accurate for me at any age.  In middle school, I was a bit of a cut-up.  I don’t recall being totally obnoxious, generally I interrupted with a pithy comment but not in a too disruptive way.  Sometimes I said nothing but could not stifle a snicker.

“OK Mr. Hagy, what is so funny?” Then I would release my pithy comment.  Sometimes it was very funny…sometimes it was embarrassing.

Anyway.

In the eighth grade, Mr. Franks class, we were studying that American classic by James Fenimore Cooper, “The Last of The Mohicans.”  As I recall this book was awful.  It was, for an eighth grader at least, unreadable.  Plus, I had already seen the movie and did not even like it very much.  I don’t know why they do this to eighth graders. Somehow grown-ups have the opinion that if you are not conversant in the classics, you are uneducated.  The truth is I learned that the book was about Indians in New York State, it was written by James Fenimore Cooper, and stared Randolph Scott in the movie.  That was enough to get me three correct answers over the years while watching “Jeopardy.”

One fateful warm May afternoon we were discussing this horrible piece of literature.  It was one of those perfect spring days where it was stuffy inside the non-air-conditioned classroom, but outside baseball and refreshing spring air were calling.

I was seated next to those huge windows that could only be opened from the top using a long pole with a hook to grab and pull down.  The shades were drawn to hold out the sun (and any fresh air) and block out the distraction of a spring day. The shades were spring loaded things with a long cord to pull down or release (my older readers will know exactly the window and shade I am talking about)

During the discussion, I fashioned a perfect hangman’s noose out of the shade cord, and slipped my copy of “The Last of the Mohicans” into the noose.

When Mr. Frank’s back was turned, the buzzer sounded marking the end of the school day.  I pulled the cord and activated the spring roller.  It made a loud noise, and Mr. Frank and the whole classroom turned to see the book swinging back and forth high off the ground in the pull-cord noose.

“What the Hell?” Asked a startled Mr. Frank.

“No more Mohicans.”  Was my thirteen-year-old response.

The class thought it was very funny.

 
Mr. Frank was less amused.

And that Ms. Fishducky is how “The Last of the Mohicans” cost me two hours of after school detention.

I’ll bet you’re sorry you asked.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

JUST REACH IN AND GET IT…PLEASE

JUST REACH IN AND GET IT…PLEASE
This re-run is from April 2014
I get it women…men can’t find anything we did not ourselves put away.

Deal with it!

You could stop complaining and just deal with it.  But nooo…you want to torture us don’t you, kind of like ripping the wings off a fly.  Yes you do, admit it.  You know we can’t find the stuff you put away.  You know your directions of where to find stuff that you put away can only be understood by another woman.  Yet you continue to expect us to find things.  It is like expecting a person without legs to dance the jig.

This past weekend, Mrs. C and I were vacationing in Aruba.  It is a beautiful island, and we love lounging in the sun with a constant warm breeze, dunking in the ocean, or bathing in the pool.  It is wonderful, except Mrs. C knows how to stir things up.

I got up from our place in the sun to make a trek to the restroom.  Upon arrival I found I needed a room key to enter.  I walked back to our umbrella (oh the humanity) to get the key.

“What’s up, why back so soon?”

“You need a room key to enter, where is our key?”

“In the beach bag.”

"Could you just get it?”

“Why don’t you get it?”

“Because you could just reach in and grab it, where I will dig around looking, move stuff around and still not find it.”

“Oh please.   Just open the bag, the key is right behind the book.”

“Book?  We have no book.”

“You know, the Tablet, Nook thing.”

“Which is it, the Tablet or the Nook?”

“Yes.”

“Yes?”

“Yes, one of those.”

“We have both…oh crap let me look…I don’t see it.”

“It is right there.”

“I don’t see it.”

“For crying out loud hand me the bag.”

Mrs. Cranky reaches into the bag that I have been turning inside out and without looking comes out with the room key.

“Here, it was right inside the plastic baggy.”

“But you said it was in the Nook, or the Tablet.”

“Well it was inside the baggy, if you had just looked you would have found it!”

“Well if you had just reached in in the first place like I asked I would have had 180 seconds of my life that is now irrevocably lost.”

“You’re a jerk!”

Aruba is such a beautiful island that I can easily overlook those minor Mrs. Cranky un-pleasantries, besides, without her I would have never found the island. 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

STUPID HEADLINE 042317

STUPID HEADLINE 042317
I know that guy!
It’s time again for
STUPID HEADLINE SUNDAY
This week’s stupid headlines and my stupider, sometimes sophomoric comments. 
______________________
Burglar breaks into home, cooks fried chicken – When caught, the distinguished gentleman with white hair, mustache, goatee in a white suit simply asked, “Where do you keep your buckets?”
Man Pretending to Be Cop Pulls Over Real One – Was this the same guy who last week got pulled over for drunk driving wearing a “Drunk Lives Matter” t-shirt?
Make it a crime to show killing on Facebook – Yes, that will make a deranged murderer think twice before posting on Facebook.
‘Sexual favors’ not accepted to pay taxes in Montana town – They’re not accepted in New Jersey either…at least not with me as the favor.
French presidential candidate wants a 100% tax on the rich – That should boost productivity incentive.
Loud sex interrupts tennis match – Too much racket stops Love match?
Microsoft is trying to make passwords obsolete – This is just so stupid.  If all passwords were “obsolete” hackers would have a field day!
Carmelo Anthony Did Not Get Another Woman Pregnant Before Split from Wife – It is a crazy world we live in when this is a headline. 
Nevada voter fraud probe finds 3 voted illegally in November – Only need to find 2,899,998 more to prove Trump is right.
Japan has plans to drill through the earth's crust and reach the mantle – Drill through the Earth’s crust?  Hello, it’s above the fireplace!
LGBTQ, transgender issues should be taught in nursery school, UK teachers' union says – I think you need to teach them the alphabet first, or they’ll get this confused with the twelfth letter, “Elemeno P.”
THIS WEEK’s FEEL-GOOD STORY:
Bikers heard marine’s remains were coming home in USPS box, refused to let that happen – These dudes deserve a little recognition.  They also keep those Westboro Baptist Church A-holes away from desecrating veteran’s funerals.
Come back next Sunday for more
STUPID HEADLINE SUNDAY

Friday, April 21, 2017

Marijuana, Good or Bad?


Marijuana, Good or Bad?
A cranky opinion for

CRANKY OPINION SATURDAY

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

It’s April 20 as I write this, apparently it is some sort of a marijuana special day.  I don’t know why, but it is a good excuse for an opinion piece this Saturday for “Crank Opinion Saturday.”

Unlike former President Clinton, I have inhaled marijuana.  I have inhaled it several times.  In the very early 70’s I had a puff or two so as to not look like a dork when a joint was being passed around at a party.  I got a bigger high from a Marlboro than from that 1970 cannabis.  Still if I was caught with a joint in my hands in those days I might have done some serious jail time.

Years later, while stuck with several co-workers in a hotel during a major NYC snow storm, I took another hit off a joint.  This one knocked me for a loop.  I think, on further reflection, it was laced with something.  It made me very paranoid and I did not like it.

Fast forward a few more years, and I imbibed with a friend whose wife used it to combat the effects of chemotherapy for her brain cancer.  It made me silly, but I quite enjoyed it.  That is my total experience with marijuana.

That is the problem with pot.  One batch does nothing, one batch plays with your head in a very negative way, and one batch is enjoyable.  You do not know what you are getting.

Based on my limited experience, I am not a big fan of pot.  I find it to be  antisocial and I prefer alcohol as my drug of choice. 

Should it be legal? 

How do you seriously keep it illegal? 

Hell, the stuff grows like a weed, because, well…it is a weed.  Throw a few seeds anywhere, and it will grow.  How do you regulate something that grows anywhere?  We had enough trouble with prohibition in the 20’s, and you couldn’t throw a vodka seed in the garden and grow a fifth.

Pot is not going away.  Like it or hate it, and there are many negative things to say about it, it is not going away.  If it is legal, at least it can be regulated for potency and some taxes can be collected to offset some of the negative social issues that go along with the drug.

Pot is not good.  Gambling is not good.  Alcohol is not good.  Tobacco is not good.  Prostitution is not good.  Pornography is not good.  TV is not good.  Soda is not good.  Sugar is not good.  Any current music is not good.  We allow, we enjoy lots of stuff that is not good.  Where do we as a society draw the line?  What do we allow?

If it can kill you or others, I say it has to be illegal.  If it makes you stupid but harms no one else, it should be discouraged.  If it is unproductive, perhaps it should be regulated.  Pot does not seem to kill others, it sometimes does make you stupid, it is not productive, so I say let it be legal and let it be regulated.

The world has lots of problems, I am in favor of eliminating one of them…make pot legal and regulated.  Have a drink, eat a bag of chips, bet your week’s salary on the horses, chug down that caramel colored sugar water, enjoy a good cigar, watch some crappy reality TV.  If it only hurts yourself, it is your life, your choice, have at it.

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

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Photography


Photography

I’m about to offend some readers, so let me start with an apology.  Not one of those lame semi-apologies most people give…you know,

“I’m very sorry IF I may have offended some people, it was never my intention blah, blah, blah.”

My real apology is,

“I am sorry for offending many talented people for my opinions which are the result of not truly understanding your medium.”

Here goes: 

I don’t consider photography to be true art.  I enjoy a good picture, but it does not impress me like an artist with paint, pen or another technique.  To me, photography is to art as podiatry is to medicine, or drumming is to music.  It has its place, but it does not impress me the same way as a brain surgeon impresses me, or a violinist mesmerizes me.

I guess it is because if I had a drum I could beat it and maybe even play in a group and maintain a beat (ok probably not, but I could come close).  I could inspect a foot, maybe even trim some nails, without losing a patient.  

If I had a good camera and took about a billion random pictures, some would be very good.  I could never play violin without getting booed.  I would not be able to even watch a brain surgeon in action.

It just seems to me that everyone can take a picture.  It wasn’t like that in my childhood.   

My pops had an old Kodak collapsible thing.
 Loading the film was tricky. 
Usually my mom loaded the camera when we were driving so dad could take pictures of the scenic country we explored.  This process generally ended up the same as mom reading a map.  Dad pulled over and said,

“Here, let me do that!”

The picture taking required a reading with a light meter,
 an aperture setting based on the meter reading and the film speed chosen.  I was impressed that pops knew all those formulas.  Inside, lighting was also important, and there were flashbulbs.  First, we had individual bulbs, then there was a cube thing that let you take several pictures without reloading.

The exciting thing about pictures in those days was waiting to see what you took.  Often pictures taken in summer were still on a roll dropped off for developing in the Fall.  There were always photos you forgot about; it was like finding treasure.

Picture taking today does not require film loading, light reading is automated, results are instant, and they can be edited and or altered after the fact.  Today anybody can snap a picture.  What is the big deal?  How is that art?  Why do my pictures always suck?


This post was going to be a nostalgia piece about my first camera, an old brownie with a flash and a plastic fake leather case. 
  I got sidetracked insulting photography enthusiasts (see above for apology.)


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Knucks


Knucks



When we were kids, we used to play a card game.  It was called “Knuckles”, or just "Knucks," and sometimes “Bloody Knucks.” 

Anyone remember this game?  I’ll bet some do.

I forgot how it was played, but I do remember how it ended.  I Googled it, and for most people it is pretty much the same, they remember the end, but are fuzzy on the rules.  It may have followed “Double Solitaire,” but I also think it may have followed the rules of “Go fish.”

The ending was what counted.  The winner got to rap the other guys knuckles the number of times of the points he won by.  

The manner of the rap was chosen by drawing a card.  Red meant you hit hard, black was soft. 

Then there was the method of the rap which was chosen by the rapee. There was the scrape where you scraped the knuckles with the cards of the deck held lengthwise against the knuckle.  You got one scrape per point.  There was the smack, a blow to the knuckles with the width of the deck.  One smack was worth five points.  Finally, there was the bomb, basically a smack but with a greater and thus harder length of downward stroke allowed.  The bomb was a ten pointer.

There was a strategy.  If you lost but drew soft, you chose a smack or bomb as the rap method because the scrape, even if soft, would loosen up the knuckle and make bleeding easier later.  If you drew hard, the smack or the bomb hurt more, but the scrape was very effective.

The winner was the first to draw blood.  I remember it was kind of a badge of courage to be the loser and have the bloody knuckle.

What did we play after a game of Knucks?

What you only have one knuckle?

I don’t know where this game came from or why it was so popular, but I’ll bet kids from other ages and in other areas of the country all played some variation of the same game.

What did you guys call it?

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The Asshole and the Conductor

The Asshole and the Conductor
The recent hoo-ha over United Airlines having a passenger thrown off the plane reminded me of a situation commuting on a New Jersey Transit train.

Years ago, New Jersey Transit had a fare schedule where if you bought a round trip ticket off-hours, there was a significant discount.  If you didn’t use the ticket both ways in off-hours, you were then charged the full rate. 
It was very common for people to buy the round trip, go to the city during off-hours and return during peak-hours.  The conductor charged them the difference and they were always surprised and upset because they didn’t understand the rate.  They often complained to and fought with the conductor.  They always lost.
One Friday night, these things always occurred on a Friday night, a passenger on the way home was informed he would have to pay an additional $3.75.  He refused.  The conductor explained the situation one time and warned him that if he did not pay the additional $3.75, he would not be allowed off the train.  He refused.
When the train pulled into the next station, the doors did not open.  We were informed that we would stay in the station until the transit police arrived to take the delinquent passenger away.  We sat for fifteen minutes waiting for the police to arrive, they were about forty minutes away, and everyone started getting a bit peeved.
Other passengers offered to pay the $3.75 just so we could move on.  The conductor refused.  The delinquent passenger started to freak out and was screaming, “I’ll pay, I’ll pay.”  The conductor ignored him.
We waited at the station for forty-five minutes before the Transit Police came and dragged this ass-hole away screaming, “I’ll pay, I’ll pay.” 
The conductor won this battle.  On a train, the conductor has the power to enforce transit rules.  Not obeying a conductor on a train is like attacking a police officer on the street.  They have power, and sometimes it goes to their head.
On this Friday night I was late for a dinner reservation and my (ex) wife was pissed (we had no cell phone in those days).  Her rage was not tempered by my valid excuse…it never was. 
Because this one a-hole did not understand the fare rules and refused to pay $3.75, and because the conductor could think of no other way to handle the situation, our train was delayed forty-five minutes, and every train that left behind us was delayed almost as long.  Almost one thousand people had their Friday night plans disrupted because of an ass-hole passenger and a conductor on a power trip.
I didn’t care about all those one thousand people, I only cared about the new butt hole I was ripped…again.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Bumper Cars

Bumper Cars
As a kid, at the Jersey shore, I loved the amusement park.  Just about every large boardwalk on the shore has a small amusement park.   They have ski ball, pinball machines, a merry-go-round, Ferris wheel, tilt-a-whirl and other rides.  The ride I liked the best was bumper cars.

Bumper cars was the most expensive ride at the park I went to.  Fifty cents!  When you consider you could get into a double feature movie for thirty-five cents, or buy a pack of gum for a nickel, fifty cents was a big investment for a three-minute ride.
But for a kid too young to drive a car, it was worth fifty cents to speed around a track and bang into other cars, driven by people you generally didn’t even know.  If there was a cute young lady in another car all the boys would gang up on that car.  Clearly blasting one’s bumper car into another again and again would be the catalyst to an exciting romantic relationship.
Well that never worked out, but it was great fun blasting another car, spinning it around and banging it head on and not allowing it to move.
A few years ago I took my then very young son for a bumper car ride.  While waiting in line for an open car, I read the “Bumper Car Rules.”
My reaction was “Bumper car rules?  There are no rules in bumper cars!”  But oh, yes there are now. 
Some of the rules made sense:
Stay in the car until the ride stops
Keep the bar down at all times
Keep your hands and feet inside the car
Do not hit another car head on
You must be over 43 inches tall…
WAIT!  DO NOT HIT ANOTHER CAR HEAD ON!! WTF?
Bumper cars is all about hitting the other cars, and head on is the best way to hit them.  The name of the ride is BUMPER CAR, and they don’t want you to bump other cars?
Oh, you can tap them, give them a glancing blow, even push them a little, but “DO not hit another car head on!” And they were serious.  While we were waiting, they stopped a ride and warned someone about bumping head on.
My son enjoyed the ride.  He thought avoiding collisions was fun.  Me, I’ll never waste another fifty cents on this ride (five dollars now). 
A bumper car ride where you can’t bump other cars?
What’s next, no tag at school recess?

Sunday, April 16, 2017

SHE'S OUTTA YOUR LEAGUE

SHE'S OUTTA YOUR LEAGUE
This cranky re-run is from April 2014
I may or may not have ever mentioned this, if so I am mentioning it again.  I have never been a ladies man.  I’ve had dates, I’ve had girlfriends, hell I’ve even had three wives, but I’ve never been a ladies man.  Most women usually see past my exceedingly good looks and charming personality and find something else way less good looking and not so charming. So far Mrs. C has not looked that deep and still finds me charming…I guess.  Anyway, except for Mrs. Cranky I’ve never had much success with women.

The reason for my lack of success?  I reached my peak at thirteen.  It's true; at thirteen I was a very handsome lad.  I had a full head of hair; I had a powerful, athletic physique, a bright smile, reasonably good breath and very little body odor. 

It was at thirteen that I had my first kiss.  It was behind a candy store.  It was a no-tongue kiss with the most magnificent female creature that ever adorned the sixth grade.  Not just the sixth grade in Manhasset, Long Island, not just any sixth grade in New York, any sixth grade…anywhere...ever.

The first kiss at thirteen was with Heather Pintertail.

You may think I made that name up as is my wont to do, but no, Heather Pintertail was the name.  She had long blonde hair with just the right amount of curl.  She had a perfect face with a perfect nose, perfect ears and beautiful skin.  Her eyes were haunting and her figure…Oh my God she had a figure. At thirteen she had a figure that women today spend thousands of dollars to construct. 

Heather Pintertail was a vision.  She was female perfection, and at thirteen I had my first kiss behind a candy store with Heather Pintertail.  It was all downhill from there.  When I turned fourteen, not long after that behind the candy store kiss I developed pimples, and Heather Pintertail developed a taste for older men.  I peaked at thirteen and with it my success with women also peaked.

A year after Miss Pintertail decided she preferred older less pimply faced boys; I was riding in the car with my older brother.  Chris spotted Heather Pintertail walking by the road and almost drove over a curb.  He did not recognize her from his high school because of course she was several years away from high school though visually she would have been more than welcome.

“Damn!  Did you see that?  Who the heck was that?”

“That was Heather Pintertail.  For a while, I thought she was my girlfriend, but apparently I’m not good enough for her.”

“Good enough! Boy she is so far outta your league you couldn’t even get a bleacher seat to watch her play.  Don’t be too upset though, there won’t ever be many in her league, and her league is nothing but trouble.  Did you kiss her?”

“Yeah, behind the candy store.”

“Consider yourself lucky.  You’ve kissed the best and it didn’t cost you a thing.   Girls that look like that are trouble, with those looks everything comes too easy and ultimately they bleed you dry.”

My brother may not have said that last part but if he did he was right. 

After my behind the candy store kiss I have had many unsuccessful relationships.  There have been many women who preferred washing their hair over dating me. I have gone through a broken engagement and two failed marriages. 

Like I said I’ve never been a ladies man.  I peaked at thirteen. 

I think my luck turned around at sixty-two with Mrs. Cranky.