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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Kid Stuff

Kid Stuff
My kids drove me crazy around Christmas with their Batman rendition of the Jingle Bell song.  If you don’t know it, I will spare you the ear worm.  I have noticed these days anything related to the Butt and especially farts will start a giggling fit with grade schoolers.
It does not take much to get an 5-11 year-old in a fit of giggles, and they never tire at the same joke or jingle.  We were much more mature in the fifties.
Except for:
Does anyone remember LSMFT?  Anyone?
That was the Lucky Strike cigarette mantra.  LSMFT…Lucky Strikes mean fine tobacco.  As if other cigarettes used tobacco grown in doody.  (Tee Hee, Tee Hee.  Excuse me while I get over that…I said “doody” tee hee, tee hee.)
Anyway, we mature lads of the fifties would say LSMFT, Loose Straps Mean Floppy Tits.  We would giggle about that for hours.  Actually, it still gives me a chuckle.
The other day I saw a discarded Lucky Strike pack.  It was all I could do to not stomp on the red dot, declare “Lucky Strike”, and slug Mrs. C on the arm.  Well, that’s what we did in the fifties.
The Snow-White cartoon had the famous “Whistle while you work” song.  We had our own lyrics.  “Whistle while you work, Hitler was a jerk, Mussolini bit his weinie, now it doesn’t work.”  We sang that all the time and always laughed.  I’m not sure we knew who Hitler or Mussolini were, and we only guessed at weinie, but we still thought it was funny.
Pepsi-cola had a jingle: “Pepsi Cola hits the spot / twelve full ounces, that’s a lot / twice as much for a nickle, too / pepsi cola is the drink for you!”
We sang it, “Pepsi Cola hits the spot, makes you vomit on the dot, looks like water tastes like wine, Oh my God it’s turpentine!”
We weren’t all bad as 10-year-olds, we knew enough to not step on a crack and break our mothers back.
When school ended for the summer, everyone ran out and sang, “No more pencils, no more books, no more teacher’s dirty looks!”  Do they still do that”
We did mature a bit as we got older.  I remember if you were driving with your girl and saw a car with one headlight out, you yelled “Padiddle” and got to give her a kiss.  No, I have no idea what “Padiddle” meant.  Probably a few car accidents came from that one.  We didn’t have texting, we did have “Padiddle.”
That was my childhood.  What mature stuff do you remember from those days when just about anything would make you giggle?

Monday, October 16, 2017

We All Can’t Be Perfect


We All Can’t Be Perfect

OK, I am a terrible person.  I just went on a mini-rant in a comment to a very nice blog-lady friend who committed the crime of correcting my spelling.  This is a pet peeve of mine, and yes, I spelled it “peave” in my rant just to play with her…once again I apologize.

However

Why is it that people have to demonstrate their superiority in certain areas?

Look, I am a horrible speller.  I have posted on this several times.  I was punished in school for years on every paper I ever submitted.  Big red letters:

GOOD CONTENT…WELL WRITTEN…3 spelling errors, 15 points off…B-

I can write a 500-word post today in about twenty minutes thanks to spell check.  Years ago, I would have spent an hour or more checking the spelling of every word I was unsure about.  Most were spelled correctly, but I still missed a few that I did not check as I was sure I spelled them correctly.

When I see someone with a bad leg, I don’t tell them they walk funny.  If I see someone who is really fat, I don’t tell them they are really fat.  If I see someone who has a bad complexion I don’t point it out to them.  It is rude and unproductive.

My spelling is terrible.  Pointing it out may make you feel good and superior or whatever, but it is a little rude.  Bad spelling is not always a result of laziness or stupidity, any more than accurate spelling is a result of intelligence or diligence.  

Maybe I am a bad speller because I am so damn smart. 

I see a word and instantly recognize its meaning.   I don’t have to see every letter of a word, or sound it out, or analyze it, I know the word and it’s meaning without seeing or caring about every letter.  Maybe I understand a thought or an idea without even reading every word.  I am so damn smart I don’t have to read every word much less the letter structure of every word.  I don’t see misspelled words, I don't need to analyze every letter. I am so smart I don’t need to use all the letters.

I am a poor speller because I just much smarter than all of you compulsive spell checkers!  Maybe.

OK, probably not.

Trust me people, unless you are a teacher or an editor, there is no need to correct someone every time they spell a word incorrectly. 

There is no need to tell a smoker that smoking is bad for them…they know.

There is no need to tell a fat person they are fat…they know.

There is no need to point out to a person with Tourette’s that they have tics…believe me, I know.

And there is no need to correct a person’s spelling every damn time they make a mistake.  We know, we have paid the price, we hate it and we do try.  It is not laziness or stupidity it just is.

I am not perfect, I am a poor speller.  I know.  I have been a poor speller for 71 years, I am not likely to improve anytime soon.  I also know that  poor spelling can stop some people in their reading tracks, sorry, that is your issue.

I love to write.  I might have even been good at it if I was encouraged by teachers instead of being beaten down because spelling is so damn important.  Too bad spell check came along so late.

OK, that is my last rant on spelling.

I’ll get off my high horse if you get off yours.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

LASAGNA

LASAGNA
 a cranky culinary re-run from October 2013
Mrs. C is half Italian and half Irish.  I often tease her that the Italian half never steps into the kitchen.  It is not that she cannot cook; she does not love to cook.  For the last six months I have been goading her about her lack of culinary passion and have pestered her into making lasagna.

I love lasagna.

For the past six months she has been brushing this request off.  Now her Italian half is from her mother, so I know she must have received some training in the kitchen.  What Italian daughter does not know how to make lasagna?

Last week we went grocery shopping.  We bought several tons of ground beef, not a typical purchase but I thought nothing of it.  We bought several tons of ground veal and ground sausage.  Not a typical purchase, but I thought nothing of it.  We bought five cans of crushed tomatoes and a can of tomato paste and some ricotta cheese.  I thought nothing of it.  We bought four packages of lasagna pasta…DING!  The bell in my head went off…LASAGNA!!

“Yes, I’m making lasagna, and you don't deserve it.”

“When?”

“I’m making it Saturday for dinner on Sunday.  Jerk! You couldn’t have asked for baked ziti?  Do you have any idea how much time it takes to make lasagna?”

I do now. 

Saturday there was crushing, mixing, seasoning, boiling, baking, and browning for four hours.  The kitchen was littered with pots, pans, Pyrex dishes, and cooking implements that I didn’t know existed.  The house was filled with odors that mixed together and created a stomach rumbling mouth salivating perfume reminiscent of Thanksgiving, but with a definite flavor of Italy. 

A pot of sauce simmered on the stove for hours and in it were sausage links and meatballs absorbing the flavor of the sauce.

“Mmmm, the sauce smells delicious.”

“Gravy!”*

“What?”

“It’s not sauce, its gravy.  You want sauce, you get a WASP to make dinner, you want my Italian half in the kitchen…IT’S GRAVY!”

Dinner on Sunday was Heaven.  Two large squares of lasagna with some cheesy bread to sop up the gravy, and sausage and meatballs on the side.

I had no idea what a big job it is to make proper lasagna.  At least we have enough left over to last a week.  I am told that like wine it improves with age.

I wonder if I should ask for soda bread this St. Paddy’s day. 

I love soda bread.


*Tomato Gravy is much more in depth (than tomato sauce), and is also referred to as "Sunday Gravy" as it was generally the normal Sunday dinner for most Italian families. The gravy is made by beginning with a sauté of oil and meat (usually braciole, pork chops or sausages, meatballs, roasts or a combination), followed by your vegetable, tomato mixture, and seasoning. It is referred to as Gravy because of the juices from the meats that are used as your base. A proper gravy will take a minimum of 4-6 hours to properly cook, simmer, and marinate.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

STUPID HEADLINES 101517

STUPID HEADLINES 101517
It’s time again for
I'm not sure I'd tune in for this
STUPID HEADLINE SUNDAY
This week’s stupid headlines and my stupider, sometimes sophomoric comments. 
______________________
Florida woman visiting jail arrested after leaving toddler in hot car – Do they put stupid in the water in Florida?
Fans call for McDonald's 'boycott' following Szechuan sauce snafu – This is so funny to me on so many levels I can’t even comment.  Here is the story:
O.J. Simpson reportedly orders Bloody Mary during recent outing as a free man in Las Vegas – Maybe he should switch to a screwdriver.
Florida man set on fire after losing NFL bet – Man, they take this crap serious in Florida!
Get set for sex robot revolution – This is revolting.
Your Spouse is Not a Jerk – Someone please tell my wife!
Boy Scouts Will Admit Girls – They will be called “Girl Scouts.”
Carolina Panthers fan punches spectator in disturbing video – If you’ve ever been punched in your disturbing video, you know how painful that can be.
Flight 666 lands in HEL for final time – Damn, Harvey Weinstein just missed his plane.
Man Finds $24 Million Lottery Ticket In An Old Shirt Just 2 Days Before It Expired – I don’t believe I have any shirts with expiration dates.
FEEL-GOOD NEWS:
Deadly Flames Threaten Wildlife Site But One Man Stays Behind With Hose To Keep Animals Safe77 YO man fights fire with garden hoses.
___________________________________
Come Back Next Week For More
STUPID HEADLINE SUNDAY

Friday, October 13, 2017

Take a knee?

Take a knee?
A cranky opinion for
CRANKY OPINION SATURDAY
The following is the opinion of a cranky old man who is not an expert in the topic opined and who has spent only a minimal amount of time in formulating his opinion.  Opposing opinions are welcome, but they are wrong.  As always, please, no name calling, and that means you, you big stupid-head!
I have thought long and hard on this “take a knee” thing.  I’m talking about taking a knee before NFL football games, instead of standing for the National Anthem.  I get the original reasoning.  A quarterback wanted to make a statement about the mistreatment toward black Americans, and in particular, police brutality.
I am a white American.  I have never experienced police brutality.  I have never been shot at by a policeman or known anyone who has been shot at or experienced police brutality.  That makes me eminently unqualified to comment on police brutality.  I have no doubt that many black Americans are unfairly treated by the police.  Sometimes, perhaps, it is a black “attitude” and resentment against the police that brings about mistreatment, many times, I believe, it is racist behavior.  It is clearly more than just a perception.
To the extent that police brutality against black people exists, something as I said I am eminently unqualified to discus, it is a worthy subject to draw attention toward.  My objection would be to the means of the attention grabbing.
I wish the quarterback had simply taken a knee one time and then stated he did it to draw attention to unfair treatment of blacks, that he intended no disrespect and now, going forward, he would continue to draw attention in other ways that are not perceived as disrespectful. 
I think that would have been a powerful statement.
By continuing to take a knee, attention has been diverted away from the original purpose, to a freedom of speech/respect the flag argument.  It has become a divisive statement, made even more divisive when it became politicized (yes, Trump probably have stayed out of it). 
The knee takers are now in a position where if they stand, the claim will be they knuckled under to “The Man.”  The Americans who feel disrespected by the knee takers are turning against Football.  This is not good for the game, the players or the fans. 
It is time for diplomacy. 
The knee taking athletes need to be assured that they have a voice and their voice has been heard. 
The NFL should make some effort to address the knee takers issue.  We see pink “Breast Cancer Awareness” symbols for a month in the NFL; perhaps a month could be dedicated to some symbolic recognition that there is racism in the country and it needs to be put on notice, it needs to be stopped.
Give the players something, allow them to make their statement in another way, make their statement against racism an NFL statement.   Everyone should want to stand up for the flag, no one should stand for racism.
Free speech intact…check.
Respect for service men (women)…check.
Football without distraction…check.
The preceding was the opinion of a cranky old man, and not necessarily that of management…Mrs. Cranky.

*After this post was written The NFL President took this stance:


“We live in a country that can feel very divided. Sports, and especially the NFL, brings people together and lets them set aside those divisions, at least for a few hours,” Goodell wrote. “The current dispute over the National Anthem is threatening to erode the unifying power of our game, and is now dividing us, and our players, from many fans across the country.”
Goodell added: “Like many of our fans, we believe that everyone should stand for the National Anthem. It is an important moment in our game. We want to honor our flag and our country, and our fans expect that of us.”
He noted that the NFL “cares deeply” about players and “respect” their “opinions and concerns about critical social issues.”
“The controversy over the Anthem is a barrier to having honest conversations and making real progress on the underlying issues,” Goodell wrote. “We need to move past this controversy and we want to do that together with our players.” 

It will be interesting to see how many players ignore his request tomorrow.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Internet Problem


The Internet Problem

Liberals who want Republicans hung by their balls (apparently there are no Republican women),  Conservatives who want all Liberals sent out of the country,  white racists who make horrible comments about black people,  black racists who blame white people for everything,  homophobes, hetero-haters, misogynists, and man haters…Where were all these people before the internet?

We sort of knew they existed, especially the white racists who had no shame in that ancient time before the WWW, but we didn’t really hear from most of the others. 

There was a time when you were held accountable for your hatred.  Sure, you could hate whoever you wanted, but you had to keep it in your own circle, or you might have to face consequences.

The internet allows anonymous haters to spew their crap all over the world while they hide behind their basement computer.  They hide behind clever names: Libtard2000, Trumpdouche101, SFMdr, genderbender52...

If you read the comments on almost any news story, from President Trump playing golf to a fireman rescuing kittens, you will find nothing but hate spewing, name calling, threatening comments back and forth between the worst of the ass-holes the world has to offer.

The internet is the electronic equivalent to road rage.  The chance to vent a little hatred without (most of the time) consequences.  In the case of most news stories it works.  A bunch of A-wipes battle back and forth name calling and threatening each other with bodily harm and the rest of us aren’t really hurt.  Just stay away from internet news story comments.

When it comes to comments on a friendly blog post, it is harder to ignore.  We have a community of people who just want to exchange stories and ideas in an environment that is safe and fun.  Unfortunately, even in this environment, sometimes you cannot keep out stalkers who have an agenda and a bone to pick.

I’ve been sucked into an occasional battle with these people and truth is, it makes me no better than they are.  It is for this reason that I have tried to keep politics and socially sensitive issues out of my posts.  It is impossible to do this 100 percent.  Politics and social issues find a way into almost any conversation.  When this does happen, you can count on the sarcastic, mean spirited, insulting comments to be delivered.

It does not happen too often on my posts, but I will no longer even read comments from known offenders.  If you know who you are, don’t waste your time; your comment will be deleted and unread as soon as I see it…Hands over ears, la, la, la, la, la, Can’t hear you!

If I have been guilty of snarky comments on a position I disagree with, and I think I have; I apologize.

My mom had a philosophy which I heard often and it has only been lately where I realized the simple wisdom of her words.  Whenever it came to an argument, a petty disagreement, or maintaining a relationship with someone you just did not like she would tell me. 

“Life’s too short!” 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The Eighties

The Eighties
Does anyone remember the eighties?  Were they good times?  Reagan was President, right? Did they have movies, was there music in the eighties?

I often hear a name from the eighties.  I’ve heard the name, I just don’t remember what they did.  I tell people, “Oh, that was in the eighties?  I missed the eighties and lots of the seventies as well.”
See, by 1976 I had three children.  I remember diapers, runny noses, fart jokes, kids in our bed because there was a noise, reading at bed time and falling asleep before my children.  I remember throw-up bowls, broken bones, flu, several pox’s, and whining.
There may have been sex, must have been, but I really don’t remember.
I don’t remember movies, or music.
I remember soccer games, and homework, watching baseball games in the cold, taking a little girl to dance lessons, playing with blocks, trains, and board games “Sorry!”
I do remember TV; it was brought to you by the letter “G”.  I remember Mr. Rodgers, nice man but his soothing manner made me want to drink.  I remember Barney, “With a great big hug and a kiss for you and me, I want to mur-der Barney!”
Did people have fun in the eighties? 
I think I did…sometimes, but I’m not sure.  I know there was almost no money in the eighties, just enough for food and a home, not enough for fun.  I think I did play golf once.  Sucked as I recall.
That’s the thing about children, they kind of put your life on hold.  I missed some of the seventies, and almost all of the eighties.
They’re worth it though, they make the rest of your years so much better. 
Anyway, I hear disco sucked!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Go Big or Go Home

Go Big or Go Home
My wife has a friend who only gets in touch when she wins at the casino. 
“Won $6000 today!”
Or when she gets free stuff.
“Free dinner and a show last week, COMPED AGAIN!”
She only plays expensive machines, and always the maximum.
“Go big or go home!”
She never loses and always gets free stuff.
She lives in a crappy home mortgaged to the hilt, drives a crappy car, works sporadically and her husband is on disability (but not really disabled).
She never loses, but she is a loser.
I’ve noticed this about many gamblers, they never lose, and yet they are big losers in life. 
I remember a lady at work whose life was the AC casinos and Church run bingo.
“How did you do at AC this weekend?”
“I won $1500.”
“Wow!  That’s great,”
“Then I lost $1900…I probably should have quit, but the room was free and we were comped for dinner.”
At least she was honest, but to me her room and dinner cost $400.
Gambling is infectious, you know the odds are against you, and yet gamblers keep betting, hoping for that big adrenaline boosting win.
Mrs. C and I hit the casino every now and then.  We are not gamblers.  I know that because we never win, real gamblers always claim to win.  We play penny slots, and at .20 a bet, I can breeze through $20 in about ten minutes.  That is why we both have a $40 limit.  We always lose, but then we don’t have a system.
Gamblers, the ones who never lose, always have a system. 
“Wait for a machine that has been cold, the odds will catch up, and skip to a new machine if you are not hitting.”
Great advise, except odds are odds…they do not change on a machine.  It’s like flipping a penny and waiting for a penny that is due to come up heads, or changing to a new penny if you keep losing flips.  Penny is a penny, a machine is a machine, odds are odds.
Anyway;  Mrs. C and I are not gamblers as we bet small, quit when we lose our allotted funds, and we never win.  We go small, but own our home.
Actually, we did win once, or Mrs. C did.
Mrs. C played a penny machine for hours and only lost about $15…she was hot.  I hit big on video poker and was only down $8.
“OK, let’s go while we are up.”  (Well down $23, but up because we had not lost our allotted $80.)”
“Wait, I’ve earned $10 in casino money.”
“Great, take it and let’s go.”
“You can’t just take it, you have to bet it.  I’m going to bet on the dollar machine, I’ve always wanted to try one.”
Mrs. C took her $10 credit and put it in the dollar machine, she then bet the max…$5 and hit spin.
“Crap, that’s $5!”  My head spun, I could not imagine betting that much on a single spin.
“Relax, it’s casino money, and you know what they say,  Go big or go home.”
She lost the $5, then won $8, then lost $3.
“You bet the $10, cash out the $5 that is left and let’s go.”
“One more spin.”
Understand the only thing we knew about this machine was whether you won or lost, what fruit alignment payed off, we had no idea.
The machine spun our last $5 and a whole lot of similar fruit lined up in several ways.
“That has to be good.”
Bells rang, lights blinked and numbers kept running up.  It seemed to last for about 5 minutes.  When it was done she had a credit of $475!
“Holy crap! You hit big on the last spin.”
“Wait, let’s just play until we get to $1000 or $400, whatever comes first.”
I pushed the cash out button, grabbed the $475 ticket and hollered,
“Bull shit, start the car, we are outta here.”
For the one and only time, we went big and went home.

Monday, October 9, 2017

APPRECIATING THE ARTS

APPRECIATING THE ARTS
 This cranky re-run is from October 2013
Why do we give our children lessons in ballet?  Why are piano instructions for kids a good idea?  Why do our schools even have art and music classes? 

If your child is destined to be a musician, he will find the music.  You will not be able to keep him from it.  If your child is destined to be an artist, he will find the brushes, paint and canvas.  You will not be able to hide them.  If your child is destined to become a dancer, her feet will feel the music and she will dance.  

If art is in the child, the child will find it.  Your children will learn to walk and run and talk and think.  It is in them, it does not need to be taught, it can only be suppressed.  If they are inclined to the arts, it will come out. Encouraging will help of course, but unless intentionally suppressed it will come out. 

I write in “Maybe It’s Just Me” that if you had locked Beethoven in a closet at the age of five with a case of empty bottles, a pitcher of water and a pencil, he would have learned to play a symphony.

So why bother teaching the average child to play an instrument, or paint a picture, or to dance?  

First and foremost, you don’t need to have talent to enjoy trying.  Second, without trying you cannot appreciate and enjoy what the truly talented artists achieve.

Years ago, I tried to teach myself to play guitar.  I could pick a tune, and strum a bunch of cords.  I could follow the cords on a music score and fake a tune or two.  Basically I sucked. I could play for no one but myself, but damn when I see and hear someone who can really play guitar it is amazing.

I once learned to juggle.  I could do some pretty good tricks with any three objects; when I went to four…not so much.  When I watch someone preform juggling four, five, or more objects and do it with different rhythms and do it while playing a kazoo…damn do I appreciate it.

Mrs. C has me watching “Dancing With The Stars.”  She has taken years of ballroom dancing instruction, and she can tell who is doing well, and who is missing the steps.  I have no clue.  Since I don’t know half of the “Stars,” I had trouble even telling who was the professional.  Now I can tell.  The professional is the one that does not look like he is trying.  He is not thinking about his next move, he just flows and the music is reflected in his feet, hips, arms and face.  He is the one who is in tune with his body.

It is the same with musicians.  Anyone with enough practice can learn to play a song on guitar or piano.  A musician will ask, “What key?”  Like the dancer, you can tell the musician by his face and body language.  He does not think about what he is playing, his fingers know where they want to go just as you or I know how to shape our lips and tongue to form a word.

The artist chooses his brush and his tints and his touch without thinking.  He sees, he feels. It is in him and it needs to come out.  Most of us can’t do that.  Most of us have to feel for the next step, or search for the right key, or guess at the right color.  It is not in us, but unless you attempt, unless you see for yourself, you can never appreciate the gift that truly talented people have to give us. 

The artist is given a gift, and he shares it with us.  It is up to us to learn to appreciate this talent, in order to truly receive their gift.