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Friday, August 31, 2012

Ray’s Mini-Golf


In the summer, during my college years, I worked with my friend Charlie Widmer for his cousin.  We installed underground sprinklers.  Charlie’s cousin paid us the handsome sum of $1.35 an hour.  I think the reason he paid so much was that the law said he had to at least pay minimum wage.

To supplement my income from this lovely job, I tended the till at Ray’s Mini-Golf Friday and Saturday nights.  Ray’s Mini-Golf was a subsidiary of Ray’s Gun Shop and Range which was right next door.  The Mini-Golf course was in North Plainfield, New Jersey, on Rt. 22 East, directly across from Bowcraft Amusement Park (for you Central Jerseyites.)

I worked from 6 to 11 collecting the 50 cents it cost for each round of golf.  It was a pretty boring job except for the occasional flirting with groups of pretty young girls.  It was surprising how the pretty young girls never seemed too attracted to a loser clerk behind the counter of a mini-golf course.

The most fun I had was when a family finished up their round.  I would watch for the littlest child in a group to fire the 18th hole shot.  If you hit the clown’s mouth you won a free game.  When the child’s attempt inevitable failed and fell harmlessly into the gutter, I would trip the free game bell.  Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding.  The little one would jump up and down all excited.  Dad would just look all confused, and mom would applaud with great enthusiasm.

As I stamped the card for a free game the dad would invariably confess, “It never did go in the clown’s mouth!”  Mom would smack him on the head, “Shut up…the bell rang, he gets a free game!”  I would just say, “I don’t know, the bell rings I gotta stamp a freebie.”

At the end of the night, I would call Ray’s mom who lived in an apartment above the Gun Store.  She lowered a can from her window, I filled it with that night’s receipts, and she hauled it back to her apartment.  It was a high tech operation.  This job also paid minimum wage, plus all the free games I wanted.  I thought the free games were a big deal.  

Looking back, we didn’t have a cash register to record the nights take.  Holding back four or five bucks from the can and putting it in my pocket would have been very easy.  Ray probably expected it.  It never even occurred to me.  I thought the free games was stealing enough.

In the summer of 1967 I was working a Friday night at Ray’s.  I received a call from Ray.  “Close up the mini-golf right now.  Clear the course, give everyone their money back and get the hell out…State Trooper’s orders!”

“Why are the State Troopers concerned about a mini-golf course?”

“There are riots in the streets in Plainfield.  Twenty miles east there is rioting in the streets in Newark.  People are being shot, stores are being looted, and you are right smack in the middle.”

“Why would anyone loot from a mini-golf course?”

“Joe, look to your left.  What do you see?”

“I see the sign for Ray’s Gun Sho…EVERYONE OFF THE COURSE!!!  NOW!! Bye Ray.”

I refunded fifty cents to all the golfers, and filled the can that Ray’s mom dropped out of the window with the remaining receipts.  As I got into my car to leave I saw Trooper car after trooper car running up and down rt. 22.  The Trooper’s cars were filled with troopers and the troopers were hauling shotguns.

The Race Riots of 1967 never expanded outside the streets of Plainfield and Newark, but those cities were left with over thirty five killed and store after store burned to the ground.

For $1.35 an hour I was not going to stick around to see if the riots would spread.

I did stamp a few freebies for myself before I left.

Thursday, August 30, 2012


Summer vacation is over, and I am back on toddler duty one day a week for my school teacher son and D-I-L.  Cole is 4, Connor is 2.  With just one day sitting I have the following toddler observations:

Stunt Toddlers (not Cole and Connor)


In the history of toddlers, a four year old has never answered YES to the question “Are you ready to go to bed?”

If toddlers see you, they won’t play.

If a toddler does not see you when he falls he will not cry.

The only toy worth having is the one that another toddler is playing with.

In the history of toddlers, a four year old has never said YES, to the question “Do you need to pee?”

A hula hoop and a toy tractor equals a beach comber machine from the Jersey Shore.

In the history of toddlers, a four year old has never answered NO to the question “Do you want desert?”

If Grandpa does a silly dance he will hear, “Do it again!” If he does it again he will hear, “Do it again!”

In the history of toddlers, a four year old has never said, “OK Grandpa, that’s enough” after a silly dance.

Grandpas do not understand a word that a two year old says. 

Four year olds can interpret everything a two year old says.

Toddler rules make sense to toddlers…leave them alone.

No matter how long you let it cool, any food that has been heated will be “Too hot!” to eat.

A toddler’s appetite is inversely proportional to the amount of food available at meal time.

Any scrape, bump or bruise will hurt a toddler more if you act concerned.

Poop is funny.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Great Westfield High Nose Whistler of 1961

The Great Westfield High Nose Whistler of 1961

“Pssst Frog, check this out.”  Frog and I shared a table in 7th period study hall sophomore year in high school.  I barely knew him then, though he would become my best friend through college and right up to today.

“What?…I’m studying.”  Frog was a bit of a nerd; well I thought he was at the time.  First he was smart, second he was the football team equipment manager.  I would become captain of the team our senior year.  So Frog was a nerd, I was a stud; except the nerd was getting laid…me not so much.

Anyway…in this study hall Frog was all I had; I had something to show and I had to show someone.

“Frog, check this out.” I closed one nostril of my nose and exhaled slowly out the other.  A high pitched loud whistle pierced the air. 

“No friggin way!  Do that again.” Frog whispered.

So I did it again and we both melted into silent sniggering.

“What is that?”  Mr. Barnes the study monitor barked.  Mr. Barnes was the meanest, nastiest, detention-handingoutiest study hall monitor in the history of study hall monitors.

I let out another stealth whistle. 

Mr. Barnes was irate.  Detention pad in hand he scoured the room for the offender.  No one in the room except Frog and I, knew where the whistle came from.  We sniggered, whistled and tormented Mr. Barnes the rest of the period.

The next day Frog told everyone about my peculiar ability to whistle through my nose.  I rehearsed all day long.  When 7th period came, half of the room knew about my stealth whistle talent.  They were all anxiously awaiting the whistling torture I was going to give Mr. Barnes, the meanest study monitor in all of Westfield High history.

When the bell rang, the pre-study hall hubbub ended.  An eerie hush hung over the cafeteria, as by now the entire room knew of my whistling ability and awaited the Mr. Barnes torment. 

“Now!” Frog whispered, and I collapsed one nostril and let blow out the other.  “Woosh”…Woosh? I blew again, and again nothing.  Frog held up his hands in that “I don’t know kinda way,” for the entire hall to see.

That’s it, shows over, nothing to see (or hear) here. 

The room went back to its normal study semi-buzz. 

“What happened?” Frog asked.

“Booger shifted” I answered with a shrug. 

And that was the end of “The Great Westfield High Nose Whistler of 1961.”  It was a legend that only Frog and myself experienced; a fleeting moment of greatness that somehow forged a lifelong friendship.


Monday, August 27, 2012



The FFRF, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wisconsin has been in the news a lot lately.  They object to a city logo which has the outline of a church incorporated in their montage of landmarks.  They object to a Texas church feeding meals to the local high school football team before their  games.  They are objecting to anything that smacks of violating the constitutional doctrine of separation of church and state.

I whole-heartedly support this organization.  If we allow religion to creep into our government run organizations and public property, the future of this country is in jeopardy.  I think that the FFRF has not gone far enough.  Religion has too much control of our state run institutions.

The following are examples of where religion must be weeded from the fabric of our country’s life and or changes which the FFRF should demand:

“In God We trust” must be removed from our money.  I suggest, “In Greed We Trust.”

Witnesses in court should no longer be sworn in on the Holy Bible.  I suggest they put their hand on a one-hundred dollar bill and say, “Trust me!”

No religious dress or symbols should be allowed in government buildings.  This would include crosses, shirts with a collar (too much like a priest or minister) yamakas, burkas, etc.

Churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples should be denied services from state institutions such as the police and fire departments.     

Football is practically a religion in many towns…this sport should not be supported or allowed in public schools.

Many religions believe in the importance of education of their youth; schools should not be allowed to teach.

Religious Funeral processions should not be allowed on public streets.

Stop lights need to be changed during the Winter Holiday season; Stop at black light, go at white…(hmmm may be racist…have to think about that one.)

The “New Orleans Saints” football team must be changed to the “New Orleans Nice Guys.”

Crossing at public streets needs to be stopped.

The following language must be outlawed from public buildings, parks, and streets: “Holy Shit” “God Damn” “Praise Allah” and anything in that secret Jewish language including “Mozel Tov” “Oy Vey” and “Putz.”

You may only be born once in a public hospital.

RR, School and Deer Crossing signs will be changed to RR, School and Deer “Might be coming this way” signs.

Anyone named Moses, Jesus or Mohammed should be barred from public property.

“One nation, under God?” are you kidding me?  Let’s just scrap the whole pledge thing.   Pledging allegiance sounds suspiciously religious to me.

No prayers of any kind, anytime, on public property.  This includes silent prayers.  To assure no silent prayers on public property, people will be required to mumble at all times while on public property.   Any mumbling that sounds like a chant will not be tolerated.

Pure thoughts are a concept from the Bible, the Torah and the Koran; pure thoughts will not be allowed on public property.  Leering and drooling while mumbling will be encouraged.

Congress will pass no laws which have as a base any religious connection; therefore any law related to the Ten Commandments will be null and void.  Adultery will be optional.  

As stealing, killing, lying, and coveting will now be legal we pretty much won’t need any police force other than to assure no one says…you know, the “G” word, and to enforce the mumbling and have no pure thoughts on public property rule.

Only when this country completely eliminates any exception to the separation of church and state doctrine, can we as a people be truly safe and truly free.

Thank God for the FFRF! 


Sunday, August 26, 2012



Yes, it is Sunday, time again for the stupid headlines of the week and my even stupider, sophomoric and sometimes offensive comments.  

Former Texas high school teacher gets 5 years after group sex with students – Why did they wait for her to have group sex before sentencing?

Texas woman suing Dallas Cowboys over 'burned buttocks' – Hot benches had no warning signs…Hmmm my ass really hurts…maybe I should STAND UP?

Augusta National admits first 2 female members – The Course is now experiencing 15 minute delays at every hole.  (Oh relax…it’s a joke…geeze you are sooo sensitive!)

Homeowner Fights to Keep Wife Buried in Front Yard of Their Home – Homeowner’s wife fights back!

Record radiation in fish off Japan nuclear plant – Today special “Neon Sushi!”

More cases of syphilis in porn found by LA inquiry – Inquiry also determined most cases of seasickness occur on boats.

U.S. Open Referee Charged With Killing Husband With Coffee Cup – And I was sure it was Col. Mustard in the parlor with a candle stick!

High school valedictorian denied diploma over ‘hell’ speech says she won’t apologize – She said “How the Hell do I know” instead of the pre-approved “Heck” and the school is holding her diploma until she offers a written apology.  I think the school owes HER an apology…God Dammit to H E double-fucking hockey sticks!

Opera singer faces death while deep sea diving for gold in the Bering Sea – Incredibly enough, that was the exact same sentence I had to type ten times as a warm up for my high school typing class.

Christians victims of rising 'hostility' from gov't – Atheist group fails to protest this violation of the separation of church and state doctrine.

Neil Armstrong, 1st man on the moon, dies – An American hero - He took the biggest one small step ever. RIP!

Saturday, August 25, 2012



When I was a child it was common to make fun of the strange customs of other cultures.  In China they bound young girls feet so they wouldn’t grow.  How crazy is that?  In some African cultures they used rings to stretch the necks of their young girls.  Some tribes put plates in women’s lips…always an attractive look; and what virile young man would not want to show off by adding a bone through their nose?

How silly, how backward, how strange we thought once upon a time.  Yet our culture today is every bit as silly and even more backward, and strange.


I’ll see your plates in the lips and raise you lip injections.  Doesn’t everyone want to look like a duck?

Bind your feet?  We got anorexia, what young girl wouldn’t look more attractive if they could only lose five more pounds?

Bone through the nose?  We have nose rings, tongue studs (alwas bawy attwaktive.)  Want more?  How about toe rings, ear rings, nipple rings, belly-button rings, vagina rings, and penis (shudder) rings?

Not enough?  We have breast implants, butt lifts, penis enlargement, nose jobs, grills, and tattoos.  Yes tattoos because we can’t have enough permanent shit painted on our body. 

Mrs. C. wanted me to get a tattoo.  I almost got the New York Yankee “NY” permanently affixed to my left bicep until I realized that would be the new initials of my first ex-wife.

In what universe do people think earlobes stretched to your shoulders is a good look?  I have never had anyone elbow me and say, “Hey Dude, check out those earlobes.  Damn they are HOT!”

Face lift?  Would you rather look like a mature woman or catwoman?

Why are black people bleaching their skin white while white people are risking skin cancer in the sun trying to be black?

Here is a really good idea.  Squirt poison in your face to reduce wrinkles and gain that always attractive porcelain smooth no expression-ever look.  And just to keep it in place, squirt that poison in every four months.

I can understand a little plastic surgery for actors and actresses whose living often is dictated by their looks, but women do you know:

If your husband found you attractive when you married, he probably still finds you attractive as you age.  Well…most men.

Beauty is skin deep.  Body art, surgery and ornamental attachments do not make you attractive.

You want to be more attractive? 

Lose some weight (or gain some weight) it’s healthy. 

Men…get a job, a car, and move out of your parent’s house.

Women…read a book.

Men…take a bath, wash your hair and brush your teeth.

Women…smile and stop complaining.

Men…open doors, pull out a chair, and learn how to give a sincere compliment.

Women…say thank you, and act like a Lady…oh…and show some cleavage for God sake!

Friday, August 24, 2012

BULLYING, the GOOD the BAD and the UGLY

BULLYING, the GOOD the BAD and the UGLY

Warning: The following opinions are from someone with absolutely no experience in bullying or a degree in psychology…but I play a councilor on my blog.


Bullying has been in the news a lot lately.  There is nothing new about bullying, it has been around forever.  The advent of the internet has allowed bullying to be a much larger problem than in the past. 


Cranky, how can anything good come from bullying? 

Let me explain.

Have you seen how many little spoiled 4-5 year old brats there are in this world?  Check any mall or grocery store and you will find countless number of brats hanging onto their spineless parents, whining for stuff which they invariably get.  Parents are not doing their job of putting these brats in their place.  They let the child run the show.  How will these children ever learn to stop whining and socialize with the rest of the world?

This is where bullying comes to play.  In school, kids will not put up with whiny, pouty brats.  Throwing a tantrum in third grade does not work.  Parents may give in to it, eight year olds will not.  They will pick on and bully the whiner until he learns how to socialize properly.  The group, through bullying, teaches the spoiled brat how to behave when the parents could not.

Unfortunately when the whiny or “different child” has issues not subject to socializing through “group bully therapy” then the process becomes counterproductive.  A child with Tourette’s, a child with learning disabilities, a child with different sexual orientation, these are the children who can only be harmed by bullying. 

Children are rough, they don’t like other children to be different, but as mean as they can be, when they recognize the difference is inherent and not subject to being normalized through bullying they often will let up.  Children mock behavior they don’t understand.  When the behavior is explained to them, the bullying ends….sometime.  I see this today in the peer treatment of children with autism, hyperactivity and retardation.  Children are beginning to recognize these differences and respond to them with compassion.

This bullying of inherently “different” children still exists, but the good is I see signs of it changing.


This is obvious; some kids are still bullied because they are weak.  Some are bullied because they like to play the violin some have freckles, and some are bullied for being smart.  Bullying against children that are “different” is still going strong.  Bullying unsocial behavior of a spoiled brat can be productive.  Bullying different behavior or traits that are not acceptable to the majority simply because they are different is counter-productive and needs to be stopped.


The ugly in bullying is when it is taken to such extremes that the target can just not cope.  Bullying through Facebook, Twitter and other social networks has driven children to suicide.  Growing up I knew many kids that were unfairly bullied.  I probably played a minor part in some of it (sorry Danny Plotkin.)  But these kids pressed on and succeeded in life.  I wonder if they could have handled the intense 24/7 bullying provided by social networking. 

Children, innocently being children, doing what generations have done before them but with technology, picking on “different” children and causing them to die…That is the UGLY.   

Thursday, August 23, 2012

What is in a Name?

What is in a Name?

So I am at the doctor’s office today for an exam to get an OK for my eye doctor to perform cataract surgery.  While I am waiting for the doctor, half naked in the 60 degree examination room, I hear the nurse, whom I have never met, correct the doctor. 

“Who is the next patient? Mr. Ha’gy?” (Pronounced Hay like what you feed horses Ge, Hay Ge)

“Oh no” says the nurse whom I have never met, “it’s Hag’y” (Hag as in sea Hag Ee, Hag ee.)

Now I know that neither pronunciation is particularly pretty, but the correct pronunciation is Ha’gee not Hag’ee, and I can’t believe anyone with a choice of how to pronounce their name would choose HAG over HAY.  Somehow everyone who doesn’t know, wants to pick the more ugly sounding pronunciation.  

My doctor, who I have met many times, pronounces my name correctly…finally… and a nurse, whom I have never met, corrects him to the incorrect more ugly sounding pronunciation!

If you get the feeling that this is a pet peeve of mine.  You would be correct.

With a major bug up my butt, I leaned my half naked body out the door and interrupted, “Excuse me, but you have the pronunciation incorrect.  It is an old Swedish name; the correct pronunciation - H A G Y - is...Urnassole!

I have no idea why an appointment to get clearance for cataract surgery required a full rectal examination.  

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

CONTACT - Seance with the famous

CONTACT – another Cranky re-run

This is an early Cranky post.  I think about 3 people read it so it is ripe for a re-run.  I think it is funny, but sometimes I’m a bit twisted!

I recently attended a séance with a local psychic.  I was skeptical at the start, but it must have been real, no one could have made this stuff up.  This psychic specialized in contacting famous people.  She talked to several icons, here is a sample:

 “George Washington, is that you George?”

“Yes it’s me, would I lie?”

“George, why did you chop down that tree?”

“Actually my old man did it, Mom was pissed.  He gave me a buck and I took the rap for him.”

“What?  So you lied?”


 “Damn, hey, it’s Steve Irwin.  He’s mumbling, I’m not sure what he is saying, what’s that Steve, speak up.”

“A sting ray? Crikey, a fucking sting ray?”

“FDR, FDR over here.  Any words for the living?”

“Yes!... Jonas, what took you so freaking long?” (I just re-read this and it took me about 10 minutes…Salk”)

“Wow, I have Abe Lincoln, any questions for the Abestir?”

“Ask him did he have any regrets.”

“Abe, any regrets?”

“Yes, I think I should have just said 87 years ago.  That and honestly, I should have skipped the show.”

“Marco Polo, is it you?”

“Yes it’s me.  Damn I explored Asia for 24 years, practically invented the modern map, and what am I famous for?  That annoying flipping kids swimming pool game!”

“JFK! Mr. President is there anything the USA could have done for you?”

“Don’t ask!”

“What is junior so angry about?”

“Oh, he’s pissed at Sinatra.  Every time he sees him, Sinatra starts singing ‘Come Fly with Me’ Frank; Frank it’s not that funny!”

“Oh my Lord, it’s Jesus Christ! Jesus, Jesus, are you planning a comeback?”

“Yes, and this time things will be different.  Warn everyone, when I come back don’t cross me!”

Tuesday, August 21, 2012



A cranky fairytale

Once upon a time there were five children. 

Tommy, the oldest, was very, very smart; maybe too smart, he corrected everyone on everything…usually he was right.

 Halley, the only girl, was very, very cute; maybe too cute, she was also smart but knew that cute got you more candy than smart. 

Graham was very, very good; probably too good, sneaky good, sometimes up to no good.

Cole was always very, very happy; maybe too happy, maybe smiled too much when someone else stubbed his toe. 

Connor, the youngest, was very, very quiet; maybe too quiet, he was always thinking something, something probably not good.

These five children had a Grandpa Joe who was very, very cranky; maybe too cranky for the five grandchildren that were too smart, too cute, too good, too happy, and too quiet.

The five children decided they were going to make Grandpa Joe un-cranky.

Tommy said, “Grandpa Joe, you shouldn’t be cranky; studies have shown that cranky people live 5.7 years less than people that are always happy.”

Grandpa Joe said, “You may be smart, but I am still cranky.”

Halley tilted her head, fluttered her eyelashes and said, “Grandpa Joe, you shouldn’t be cranky, how can you be cranky when I am so cute?”

Grandpa Joe said, “You may be cute, but I am still cranky.”

Graham said, “Grandpa Joe, you shouldn’t be cranky, I HATE it when you are cranky, how can you be cranky when I am so good?”

Grandpa Joe said, “You may be good, but I am still cranky.”

Cole said, “Grandpa Joe, how can you be so cranky when everything you see is so funny, you should be happy, not cranky.”

Grandpa Joe said, “You may think everything is funny, but I am still cranky.”

Connor did not say a thing.  Connor climbed up on Grandpa Joe’s lap, put his arms around his neck and gave him a huge hug.

Grandpa Joe smiled a big smile and said, “Now I am happy.  Whenever I get cranky I will think of how smart you are Tommy, how cute you are Halley, how good you are Graham, how happy you are Cole, and how quietly Connor shows his love.  You are ALL smart, cute, good, and happy, now everyone come and give me a hug and I won’t be cranky again.”

And Grandpa Joe was never cranky again…well hardly ever...OK, he was a lot less cranky…some of the time.

Monday, August 20, 2012



The other day, while driving home from the grocery store with Mrs. Cranky, I saw a lady crossing the street to the parking lot with her husband.  This woman dropped her sunglasses on the street and began to rip her husband a new a-hole.  We could not hear what she was saying, but it could not have been good given her husband’s reaction.

The husband picked up the glasses as it seems he was directed to do and the wife continued to hammer him.  Mrs. C. thought the sight was funny, I was frozen in silence.

“Did you see that?”


“Joe….Joe…are you all right?”

“Wha ah what?”

“Are you alright?”

“Oh yeah…just a little flash back.  PTWD!”


“Post-traumatic Wife Disorder!”

The look on that husband’s face had taken me back to a place I have been trying to forget.  Many were the times that I was that man,  going along with my ex-wife, having a decent day when suddenly something would happen; I made a wrong turn, I said the wrong thing, I forgot to do something, I left something in a store, or she dropped and maybe scratched her sunglasses.  In a flash it was if I was with a different woman; a woman who lost all perspective of the issue at hand.  A woman whose reality was suddenly perverted and I was the perceived cause.  I was to blame for a molehill which unbeknownst to me was now a mountain.

Mrs. Cranky assured me it was not my issue.  The sunglasses which might be scratched and the angry lady were the stranger’s problem.

“It’s all right.  You’re safe.  You’ve messed up things with me for real like a hundred times and I still haven’t gotten angry with you have I?”


“Come on, let’s just go home.”

I never thought much about soldiers with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder which used to be called “Shell-shock.”  Now I understand it completely.  It may not be anywhere near as serious as what soldiers experience after they leave the battlefield, but Post-Traumatic Wife Disorder can be temporarily debilitating if not treated with a caring sane woman.

Fortunately I think I am on my way to recovery…but I do have setbacks.

Sunday, August 19, 2012



We know you hate them, but I like them so here are this week's stupid headlines and my stupider, sophmoric and sometimes offensive comments:

Palin will not speak at Republican convention – Romney breathes sigh of relief

110-year-old Pa. widow gets WWI benefits boost -  Yee Ha…it’s party time in Pa.

Colorado Still Skinniest US State – This is ridiculous…Have you even seen NEW JERSEY?

Oregon man survives being compacted in dumpster—twice – Now that is getting trashed!

Parishioners sick of Alec Baldwin pontificating from pulpitNo, he is not a priest…but he played one on TV!

3D printer creates physical model of fetus for expecting parents – They make great paperweights.

300-pound Texas 12-year-old told he's too big to play Pee Wee football – Gee that doesn’t seem fair…oh wait what is the league called…um PEE frikin WEE!!

VP Biden Says Republicans Are 'Going to Put Y'all Back in Chains' Who are these people that used to be in chains?

Pussy Riot supporters protest at Russian cathedralHmmm I’m not sure rioting ever solved anything, but I am in complete support of their cause.

1 of every 100 U.S. Caucasians has celiac disease – Black and Hispanic citizens demand equal celiac disease representation.

Scientists may have found the secret to a male birth control pill Pill makes most women look like Justin Beiber.

Diverted Air France flight asks passengers to pitch in for gas – Passengers can accept no peanuts and paying extra for luggage…but pitching in for gas?

Exploding toilets prompt recall – Ordering your toilet from Al Qaeda Inc. is a really bad idea!