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Monday, March 31, 2014

DRIVING CROSS COUNTRY - a cranky re-run


This Monday's cranky re-run is from March 2012

In the many blogs I read daily, a common thread is the difficulty of raising children.  Moms are tired, moms are stressed, and everything is so difficult.  Raising children is indeed difficult.  It is something I have whined about as well.  As difficult as it is to deal with kids today, It used to be so much harder. 

I think back to when I was a child.

In 1951, my dad’s job required his transfer from Long Island, New York to Pasadena, California.  Dad decided to make the trip to California a family vacation.  It became an eight day vacation spent primarily in a four door Buick.  The Buick was a top of the line touring car for its day.  Still, there was no air conditioning and it sat three across on the front bench seat.

Dad drove most of the way.  Mom rode shotgun.  The five year old, me, sat in the middle.  I had to sit up front all the way to California because one of my brothers, either nine year old Chris or Eleven year old Jim was always “TOUCHING ME!!”  (Yes, even in 1951 there was the touching, or the even more ominous “fake touching” sibling torture.)

The Buick had no air, and dad, like almost every adult of the time smoked, so there was always a window open.  The radio was AM only, and stations went in and out constantly.  Most of the music was awful so the radio offered no entertainment.  The in-car DVD was not yet invented, so entertainment was “car games.”

The favorite games were “Woody” and “Snake.”  If you were the first one to spot a station wagon with wood panels, you would yell “Woody” and get one point.  If you saw a foreign car, you yelled “Snake.”  If you could identify the make of the foreign car you got a point.  The winner was the one who accumulated the most points by the time dad went nuts and erupted from all the yelling of “Snake” and “Woody” and all the fights about who yelled it first.

Either of these games would be very difficult today.  “Woodies” no longer exist except in antique car shows, and “Snakes” make up 75% of every car on the road.

The roads from New York to California were all Rt. 1, and Rt. 66; still directions were an issue.  Finding points of interest, and getting fuel, food, or lodging often took us off the main highways.  We had no GPS for directions, we had maps.  Mom was responsible for reading the maps while dad drove.  Dad drove, mom read, and the three of us all cringed.

Mom could never give dad the proper directions.  “I think….it looks like….there might be….I don’t see….”  Finally, invariably, dad would pull the car over to the side and snatch the map from mom.  Dad could read  maps as easily as if they were comic books.  After he determined where we were and where we needed to go there was five minutes of mom/dad bickering and we were off again.

At night we stayed at the nearest Bates Motel.  There were no “Holiday/Ramada/Howard Johnson/Days Inns or Motel 6’s, only little attached bungalows with Anthony Perkins as the proprietor.

Meals were all at whatever greasy spoon served the most truck drivers.  (Truck drivers do not in fact know the best places to eat.)

Through all this we had a wonderful trip.  We gained memories that have lasted a lifetime.  Memories that were all captured on an old Eastman Kodak that required light meters, f-stops, different film speeds and film loading which when attempted by mom rivaled the tension of the daily map reading.

I cannot imagine spending eight days with all my children in an un-air conditioned smoke filled, no radio, no DVD, no GPS car, driving on highways which were often only two lanes in opposite directions, eating at questionable establishments and lodging in crappy motels with inadequate beds and zero TV.

My parents did it.  They did it twice when dad was transferred back to New York.  They did it and they enjoyed it.  We all enjoyed it.  They did it because they didn’t know any better. 

They did it because they were tough.          

Sunday, March 30, 2014



It is time once again for
Why is it this always happens just before the Wedding?


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

One headline is completely made up, guess the fake and win a mention and a Whoop-tee-do.  


California woman says gym told her to cover up because she was intimidating members – I had the same problem, instead of covering up, I just put on a few pounds.  Now they want me to cover up because members are getting disgusted.

Michelle Obama Has Misunderstanding with China’s First Lady Peng Liyuan - “No, no it’s elle…Michelle, not Micherre; dammit!”

7 Signs Divorced Couples Say They Missed – “Eat shit and die asshole!” somehow went right over my head.

Westboro Baptist Church left confused by 'Sorry for your loss' counter-protest – Church that preaches hate is confused at reaction to the death of their founder…apparently they missed that “forgive us our trespasses” part of The Lord’s Prayer.

New Jersey town official admits stealing $460,000 in quarters collected from parking meters - He was caught after he tried to claim the 50 cent pool table at the local sports bar for next 25 years. 

Tumbleweeds take over Colorado neighborhoods Wasn’t this the second movie in a 1950’s double feature after “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes?”

Girl, 9, barred from school for shaving head to support friend with cancer – Superintendent   Erma Dumass claims shaved head is distracting, unlike tight skirts with “Juicy” printed on the ass.

Obama reportedly plays 'nuclear war game' with world leaders at summit – It was that or “Angry Birds.”

Fight Cancer, Adopt a Polar Bear – Studies have shown that people mauled and eaten by polar bears almost never get cancer.

Kim Jong-un Haircuts Required for Men in North Korea – New law requires the “Kim” hairdo and eliminates the only other previous options, the “Mo,” the “Larry” and the “Curley.”

Reid on need for Obamacare extension: People ‘not educated’ about internet- Americans are too stupid for healthcare program…this explains how legislators that passed the program got elected, also this is why Bush cancelled mandatory calculus for food stamp eligibility.

Pope Removes German 'Bling Bishop' After Inquiry Into His $43 Million McMansion Pope defrocks Bling Bishop also known as Puff Pontiff or P-Pappy over a few excesses.


Last week’s fake was:

Atheist Group Objects To The Term “Crosswalk” – Group insists on naming pedestrian section “Disaway.”

And the winners, 3 out of 16 attempts:

atheist anti-crosswalk. :)

Atheist disaway?

I need to believe atheists have better things to do than worry about crosswalks so I'll pick that one.

TexWisGirl is getting hard to fool.  If you like photo-stories of ducks, dogs, and fences drop by @

Susie is a first time winner.  Visit her@ Photos, stories, opinions and an occasional rant…good stuff!

Stephen is on a roll! A notoriously bad guesser he is now two out of three.  The Chubby Chatterbox needs no plug.  Great stories, art lessons, travel the world with Stephen and Mrs. C @

Please visit all the winners and come back next week for more


Saturday, March 29, 2014



A cranky opinion for


The following is the opinion of a cranky old man who has only limited knowledge on the subject opined.  Opposing opinions are welcome.  They are wrong, but they are welcome, and please, no name calling.  That means you, you big stupid head!

The NFL recently voted to experiment with changing the extra point after a touchdown rule.  Currently the extra point in the NFL is virtually automatic.  The league wants to change that and make the game more exciting.  The experiment will be during the preseason only.  Extra-point kicks will be attempted from the 20 yard line.

I doubt this will make that much difference in the game.  Conversions will probably drop from 99% to 92% which will only result in pissing fans off because a few more games will be decided by a soccer player who keeks de ball an weens de game.

The Cranky Old Man favors eliminating the extra-point kick all together.  A touchdown is 7 points.  If a team wishes to try a play from scrimmage for an eighth point then let them.  If they convert they get an eighth point.  If they fail to convert, they lose a point.  This will speed up the game.  It will remove some of the boring kick game.

While they are at it, let’s really take the foot out of football.  Raise the cross bar five feet and narrow the goal posts five feet.  Change the field goal to a 2 point play, and award the defense one point when a field goal attempt fails.  This will make 55 yard field goals a real long-shot, and teams will think twice before ever attempting them.  Even shorter attempts will be more difficult and with the reduced reward for a successful kick and penalty for a miss attempt, teams will opt for a more exciting fourth down conversion attempt instead of a boring kick.

With the extra-point kick gone and field goal attempts drastically reduced the only regular kicking plays will be the always exciting punts and kickoffs.  Maybe at this point we could also change the name of the game.  In the rest of the world football is what we call soccer. 

Since the NFL wants to expand internationally it would be less confusing to have a new name for the game.   I recommend we rename football…Warball.  The game is all about moving into the other side’s territory and crossing their final boundary.  The game is organized war with rules, let’s call it Warball.   Then soccer will be called football as it is in the rest of the world, and we can put an end to all the confusion.

Here is your cranky recap. 

1.     No kick for a ridiculous point after touchdown.

2.     Raise the crossbar, narrow the goalposts and make field goals more difficult.

3.    Field goals are only 2 points.

4.    Missed field goal attempts are 1 point for the other team.

5.    Change the name of football to Warball.

6.    Change the name of soccer to football.

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

Friday, March 28, 2014


Stunt Grammie (The real Grammie is much younger)
So I’m toddler sitting today for the Pa. Crankettes and as per usual, Grandpapa and Grammie stop over to take the oldest Crankette to preschool. 

I’m talking with Grandpapa about some remodeling the Cranks are planning.  It involves removing part of a wall to widen access to the family room.  Grammie comments,

“I don’t know, I see a space for a little one to push his chair back from the kitchen table and fall over the step-down into the family room and get hurt.”

My first thought was

“Yes you are right.” 

But then I thought,

“Are you kidding…dang you can figure out a way for children to get hurt from any situation.”  

Then I realized this was not just Grammie, this was all Grandmas. 

Grandmas have a unique ability to worry about how grandchildren might hurt themselves in a way that no other person could possibly comprehend.

A toddler walks carrying a crayon…

“Be careful, you might trip and fall and put your eye out.”

Toddler climbs the stairs…

“Careful, if you fall you’ll tumble down and crack your head wide open.” (Heads always break WIDE open.)

Toddler eats dinner…

“Careful, chew your food or you will choke.”

Toddler stands up on his chair…

“Be careful, you’ll fall over backwards and break your leg.”

Grandma’s always knew a child who…

“I knew a boy who poked his eye out with a stick.”

“Mrs. Crawford’s boy broke his leg bike riding no-handed.”

“You know when I was young; the Olson boy next door held his breath too long and he had to go to the hospital.”

“I knew a little girl who got too close to the candles on her birthday cake and her hair caught on fire.”

If there is any chance of any kind of an accident, a Grandma will think of it and warn you to be careful.  That is why whenever there is a toddler accident of any sort, somewhere there is a Grandma thinking,

“I told you so!”

You gotta love Grandma’s

Thursday, March 27, 2014


I have mentioned in several posts that Mrs. C refuses to get me breakfast in bed.  It is a running joke with us. 

I often enjoy a large breakfast of eggs, English muffins, sausage or bacon and a cup of coffee.  I have to have my cup of coffee.  Mrs. C will have a glass of orange juice and sometimes an Eggo waffle.  Obviously her breakfast is a simple preparation; even the waffle. I can make that with my English muffin.

Typically I will tell Mrs. C in the morning,

“I think I would like a poached egg on an English muffin this morning.  A little orange marmalade on the other half muffin would be nice…oh and two slices of the turkey bacon and coffee of course…with sugar and creamer.  Thanks, I really appreciate it.  Just put it all on a tray.  A nice flower in a vase with it would be nice.”

“I don’t think so!”

“What?  What kind of wife are you?”

“You married the wrong sister.”  (Her sister Donna is known to wait on her man.)

“I’m pretty sure it was in our marriage vows.  Love, honor, obey and bring up breakfast in bed every morning.”

“Fat chance, I only remember the love part, and that is starting to slip away.”

“Damn…well, as long as I’m getting my breakfast can I bring you anything?”

“I’m OK.”       

“Are you sure, it’s no trouble to bring you some juice and an Eggo waffle.”

“Well, if it will make you happy.”

“Oh it will, I just live to get you breakfast in the morning!” (Bold, Italics and underlined =sarcasm)

Damn, I not only don’t get breakfast in bed, but Mrs. C won’t even let me feel good about waiting on her. 

I don’t get “Thank you that would be nice,”

I don’t hear “Why yes, thank you so much, aren’t you just the best husband ever.”

No way.  I get, “If it will make you happy.”

And she calls me a jerk.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


Kids today get a trophy in every sport just for showing up.  That is fine, especially for the little ones.   It does get them excited, but at some point the accolades become watered down. 

When I was a lad trophies were few and far between, but I cherished the ones I did manage to win.  I think I won a bowling trophy, and two trophies for the football team winning our conference.  That was it, unless you count my wrestling trophy.

My wrestling trophy was really not a trophy, it was a tiny charm.  It could have come from a Cracker Jacks box, but it meant a lot to me.  It meant a lot because of how hard I worked for it, and because in those days awards did not come easy.

This tiny charm was for coming in second place in a wrestling tournament.  It was not even a varsity tournament, it was a JV tourney.

To get into this tourney I had to make weight.  I wrestled at 167 pounds and I was usually around 174 pounds.  I lost 7 pounds in one day by running and sweating, eating only carrots, sweating some more, and for several hours before weigh-in drinking no liquids and spitting into a towel. (I know!)


I made weight and then spent all of a Saturday, from 9 am until 6 pm, either wrestling, or waiting to wrestle.  The day was grueling.  Weak from not eating and sweating just to make weight, I wrestled in three matches.  I won the first two matches, and was destroyed in the finals by a dude that was just stronger and faster than me.  Still, I was awarded that stupid charm for second place, and I was proud of it because it was such a long day and it took such hard work to win it.

That night I had a date, I think it was a date; it may have been a sort-of date, with a very cute little cheerleader, Colleen Vega.  The date was to watch the high school basketball game and then there was a dance or something, I don’t really remember.

I do remember racing home from the wrestling meet, changing, and racing to school for the game where I met up with said cute little cheerleader.  I vaguely remember that the cheerleader had initiated this date so I think she may have had a crush on me.  I remember for sure I had a big time crush on her.

I met her at the game, and she was very flirty.  She asked me about the wrestling meet.  Of course I bragged about coming in second after barely being beaten in the finals due to the referee’s horrible decision.  (I did not mention the horrible decision was counting to three when my back was on the mat one minute into the match.) 

After the basketball game we were walking I don’t remember where, but I was feeling pretty good about this date.  I had told her I won a small charm.  I was about to attempt holding her hand when she asked to see the charm.  I pulled it out and showed it to her.  She looked at it and suddenly she asked,

“Can I have it?”

I did a quick scale balancing thing in my head.   Small stupid charm/ Really cute cheerleader.  Worked hard and sweated all day to win small stupid charm/ Really cute cheerleader.

That was the last I time I ever had a chance with the really cute cheerleader.   She was never flirty with me again.  I never asked her out.

I still have the small stupid charm.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


Spring is upon us.  Winter is putting up a battle, but spring is in the air.  I can feel it.  It may still be 32 degrees, but 32 degrees in March or April just feels much warmer than 32 degrees in January.  I can smell it.  Spring has a smell.  All the seasons smell.

Spring smells new, fresh, like a new car or like clothes fresh out of the dryer.  The flowers, the trees and the grass all emit their spring odor.  Spring smells like linseed oil on leather, it smells like baseball.  Spring smells like open windows and fresh air. 

Summer smells before it is officially upon us.  The world starts to smell slow.  Slow has a smell.  Slow smells like bacon or barbque chicken.  Summer smells slow.  The wind smells slow in summer. Summer is for resting up for what is to come.

I know when fall is near.  I don’t need a calendar, I can smell it.  Fall smells like football.  Yes, football is a smell.  It smells like change, it smells like dying…no, not dying…hibernation.  Fall smells like old air, mulching grass, browning leaves and fermenting fruit.  Fall smells like pie. 

Winter creeps up on us like no other season.  There is fall and suddenly the air is crisp and clean…not fresh like spring, but clean, almost antiseptically clean.  Winter cleanses all the smells of the other seasons.  Winter is a necessary time to rid the world of all the excesses of the other three seasons.  Winter cleanses and prepares us for spring.

Open a window.  Breathe deeply.  Can you smell it?  It may still be cold, but there is no chill.

It smells of spring.

Monday, March 24, 2014



This cranky re-run is from March 2012

At my age I have forgotten way more than I have ever learned and I think the ratio of forgotten to learned is increasing. 

Why do we need to learn stuff that we probably will never use?  This is a question I ask myself today especially with regards to new technology.  It is a question virtually every teenager asks his parents while struggling with plain geometry, physics or Spanish 1. 

The standard parental answer is

1.    You don’t know yet what you will need to know at your age.

2.    Learning these things teaches you how to think.

Both of these answers will not register with your teenager.

My son played baseball in high school.  The field they played on was a perfect square.  It was 300 feet down each foul line and therefore 300 feet from either foul pole to dead center field.  The distance to centerfield was listed as 350 feet.  Many a long fly ball to dead center failed to reach the fence.  The players on the team were convinced dead center was deeper than 350 feet.  The coach said no.

When my son mentioned this to me my immediate response was, “I thought you said you would never use anything you learned in geometry.”


“Draw a line from home plate to center field.  You have a right triangle.  The distance down the right field line (a) is 300 feet.  The distance from the right field foul pole to dead center (b) is the same as the distance from home to the left field foul pole 300 feet.  The distance of the line from home to dead center (c) can be determined by that formula you thought you would never use: a2 + b2 = c2.  So 90000 + 90000 = 180000 and the square root of 180000 is about 424 feet.  Tell your coach the distance to dead center based on the formula a2 + b2 = c2.” is 424 feet not 350 feet.”

The next day I asked my son “Is the coach going to change the center field marker to 424 feet?”


“Why not?”

“He says he don’t care about no a2 + b2 = c2.  If the sign says it is 350 feet to dead center then it is 350 feet to dead center.”

“Well” I told him, “Now in addition to finding out that you can actually use what you learn in school, your coach has demonstrated why it is also important to  learn how to think.”     

Sunday, March 23, 2014



It is once again time for:
Way TMI!


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

One headline is completely made up, guess the fake and win a mention and a Whoop-tee-do.  


Doctors perform rare C-section on gorilla – Strangely enough, most gorillas prefer natural birth…pant, pant, blow…pound your chest…pant, pant, blow…pound your chest.

Professor cooks up recipe for turning wood chips into food – Couldn’t that make you Sick Or More?  Woodn’t it taste like Ash?  Hey, Yew never know.  OK, I’m Elmost done.  Make sure to Spruce up before dinner.  See dare I go again, but I’m done now, by Gum.*

Baptist churches giving away guns to attract new members – I hope the Post Office doesn’t think this is a good way to hire carriers.

Jurors award nearly half-million dollars to handyman who slayed 7 at suburban restaurant – Dang, that’s over $70,000 per murder…who said crime doesn’t pay?

Hangman resigns after seeing gallows for first time – Well it was only a part time job anyway.   (See how I avoided any bad “Its noose to me” pun…well I almost avoided it.)

49ers Coach Jim Harbaugh Does Push-Ups With a Walrus – That’s illegal in 16 New Jersey counties!

Atheist Group Objects To The Term “Crosswalk” – Group insists on naming pedestrian section “Disaway.”

President Obama reveals Final Four picks for NCAA March Madness Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, and Hilary Clinton?  This is college basketball Mr. President!

Man finds egg worth $33.3 million – Now he is looking for the hen.

A State With No Song: Decades-long fight to get NJ an anthem drags on – Val, if you dare suggest “Dirty Water” I will unfriend you!**

Hawaii law allows undercover police officers to have sex with prostitutes – I think this is wrong even if it is done under the covers.

Mt.Gox finds 200,000 bitcoins in old wallet – I have researched and studied this subject extensively and this is what it means to me: Blah, blah, money sort of, blah, fake, blah rip off, geeks, blah, blah, blah, ruined, not safe, yada, yada, yada, future, not, nerd, blah, mine computer, blah, blah, blah!


*They say puns are the lowest form of humor, actually the lowest form of humor is really bad puns.


Last week’s fake headline was:

Man addicted to saliva tries to quit swallowing – He tried chewing spitorette gum, but that didn’t work.

Very few guessers, 4 people nailed it:

                         Marcia Shaw Wyatt said...

Man addicted to saliva. Wow! That's my pick this week. I love you headlines and comments on them. Thanks so much for sharing and I hope you have a great Sunday! :D

Visit Marcia @ I am just getting acquainted so visit with me…jokes…thoughts…eclectic stuff.  

           Pixel Peeper said...

My guess is on the guy addicted to saliva.

You will find Pixel @ Nature photos and funny Dry Cleaner sayings (just go there, you’ll see.)  


                       Val said...

I'm drooling for the saliva addict to be the fake this week.

Visit Val @ She is always entertaining!

                       Life happens said...

I'm really hoping its the saliva one. I would say the conceived in bathroom one but let's face it that's pretty common. The spit one should be a real one. I know a few people that drool all the time. I wish they would swallow it or something. I have had many a spit bath while talking to them.

You can find Mylinda @  (I may have misspelled her name, but she probably can’t see it anyway) just check out this amazing lady she always has a fun post.

 And come back next week for more