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Monday, August 31, 2015



It’s been almost a year since I started to learn to play guitar…again.  I first bought a guitar about 100 years ago.  With three kids, and a crappy job, I didn’t have enough time or money to play golf, so I tried guitar.  It turned out I didn’t have enough time to teach myself guitar either.

I learned a whole bunch of chords and could actually change seamlessly to three or four of them.  I strummed with whatever rhythm seemed to work, but I could never have kept proper time playing with anyone else. 

I quit, but I kept the guitar, a relatively inexpensive Yamaha.

Last year I pulled that Yamaha out and started to try again.  As I am retired without children at home, I now have time for golf and guitar, with time for a nap left over. 

With the extra time to practice and with the help of the internet for new songs, lessons and exercises my play is actually getting pretty good.  Not play for money good, or even play for friends good, but good enough to play for myself without getting completely frustrated, and good enough to reward myself by purchasing a new low end Martin guitar.

I can now strum a bunch of songs, finger pick a bunch more, and pick out a few “Boom-chick-a-boom” bluegrass favorites.  The biggest mistake I have made is singing while I play.  I once heard that it is very difficult to play and sing so I tried for the hell of it.  Well I can play and sing along, problem is I have a terrible voice and only sound in tune to my ear…others not so much.  So I tried to just play and not sing along.  It turns out that once you learn a song by singing along, it is impossible to just play and keep your mouth shut.

Now I am trying to learn to play just instrumental only.  Of course that requires throwing in a few melody notes while strumming and during chord changes.  I find that to be very difficult, but what the hell, I’ve got plenty of time to work on it.

That is the progress on the guitar so far.  If anyone expects a video or audio sample of what I have accomplished, it is not going to happen.  I have promised myself that if I can keep up the progress, I will buy myself a new very pretty very expensive Martin Guitar for my 70th birthday next year. 

I will post a picture…the one I’ve picked out is a beauty!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

JUST ASK! - a cranky re-run

This cranky re-run is from August 2013

Here is some cranky advice to women that will not be followed, but…what the heck.

Ladies, if you want your man to do something, JUST ASK!

I know; your man should know to do stuff and you shouldn’t have to ask.  Well he doesn’t and you do.  The sooner you learn that, the happier your relationship will be.

Women…do not let shit pile up and expect your man to notice and step in to clean up the mess.  I know, I know…you shouldn’t have to ask…

AH,   BUT   YOU   DO!     

Follow my cranky advice and instead of this:

“How can you just walk past that mess day after day and not lift a finger to clean it up?  Why do I have to do everything?”

“I don’t know, (man instinctually goes on the defensive) I didn’t notice.”

“How could you not notice?  It smells, and you can’t use the sink!”

“I don’t smell anything and I don’t use the sink.”

You will have this:

“Honey, I have stuff to do upstairs, would you be a love and clean up the kitchen?”

“Oh, sure, no problem.”

It is that simple ladies…you need to ask.  Then when he does as you ask, give him a treat.  Men are dogs.  Treat them like dogs.  You don’t expect a dog to just fetch the paper, you have to ask… “Fido, FETCH!” When he brings you the paper you scratch him behind the ears and tell him “Good boy.”

I hear you… “But I shouldn’t have to tell him!”

Once again:  AH,   BUT   YOU   DO!     

If you want to fight and get pissed off in that holier-than-thou way all the time, wait for a man to notice something and then step in and fix it.

If you want things to get done, ask in that women’s way of telling and then reward the good behavior. 

It is very simple;

Ask…reward.  After several years you may not even have to ask.

And by reward I mean SEX.

Saturday, August 29, 2015



Of all the boondoggles and messes this country has ever gotten into, the Viet Nam War was the worst.  The polarization in politics we experience today is a bi-product of the Viet Nam War.  Nothing has ever divided this country like this misguided war.

Before Viet Nam, Republicans and Democrats were never that far apart in their policies.  The two parties actually talked to each other and worked together.  There used to be something called compromise.  Today, when one party calls for a bi-partisan agreement they really just mean “Vote with us.”

Before Viet Nam, we used to believe our leaders.  We thought they knew best.  If our leaders said we needed to risk our life in a country we never heard of to prevent a whole bunch of countries from turning communist and ultimately challenging our freedom, then by gum we fought.

When we watched the six o’clock news and saw the horrors and results of war, and when we watched our men come home in body bags, a lot of people, especially those of us who might have to go and fight, started to question our reasons for that war.

I know I did not want to go and fight in the rice paddies of a country I had never heard of.  Maybe if these people had blown up the Empire State Building and threatened us at home I could have understood the need to risk my life.  They didn’t threaten us directly, and I didn’t see the need to risk my life.

As I approached college graduation and the end to my draft deferment I began to disagree with the need to fight this war more and more.  I was not in the minority.  Many kids my age went on to graduate school to extend their deferment. I was not graduate school material, hell I barely graduated from college.

Not wanting to be drafted I signed up to be a pilot in the Air Force.  I took all the tests and then was told I didn’t qualify as I was too heavy for my height.  That surprised me as I was 5’ 10” and 190 pounds.  Except for a small blip of a beer belly, I was a brick.  Looking back, I think the recruiter was being nice and I had probably failed the mental tests, not the physical tests.  I’m sure they were right; I doubt I had the right stuff to fly a jet plane.

I have to laugh when I think back a few years to the litmus test of armed service during this time, that all politicians had to pass. 

Clinton was called a draft dodger for being a Rhodes Scholar.  Bush was lambasted for having daddy get him into the National Guard and fly planes not destined for Viet Nam.  Al Gore went as a photographer, John Kerry fought in a scary boat but some say he copped out early.

Hell, it is all bull shit.  It was not the least bit uncommon for people to try to get out of the draft or avoid going to that war somehow.  People fled to Canada.  People claimed conscientious objector status.  People knocked up their wives and girl friends.  I had a friend who had slightly elevated blood pressure; he drank gallons of beer and ate pounds of salty pretzels the night before his draft physical.  He was deferred 1Y for blood pressure that was through the roof.  Guys with bad knees were playing in the NFL, but got the 1Y deferment.

Me?  When I washed out from the Air Force, I joined the ranks of the “How the hell do I get a deferment” majority of my age.  I told the draft doctors of bone chips in my neck from a football injury.  X-rays confirmed the issue and I was 1Y.

I did need a C6 laminectomy to restore feeling on my left side 15 years later, so the deferment was not total bull, but…

I could have served.  I could have not mentioned the injury…I didn’t tell the Air Force and they never saw it.  In effect I was a draft dodger.  Fortunately I never ran for President.

Anyway I am not ashamed.  It was a stupid war.  Over fifty thousand young men died for no reason.  The war divided our country and taught us to not trust our leaders.  We still have not recovered from the trauma of that mistake. 

I often wonder if JFK was not murdered, would he have gracefully deescalated our presence.  Lyndon Johnson sure didn’t.  He made up some bull-shit Gulf of Tonkin incident, sent in the troops, divided the country, and we have never been the same.

Friday, August 28, 2015



Before I leave my home, I perform a pat down.  Is it an OCD thing?  Kinda, mostly it is just because I am an idiot.

When I  commuted to work by train, I needed five things before I left the house;  a handkerchief, my wallet, my cell phone (beeper in earlier years), my train ticket and my work ID.  I regularly forgot at least one of these items and it would cost me money or time and was a pain in the ass. 

I soon got into the habit of the pat down.

Without consciously thinking about what I was doing, I would pat my back left pocket (wallet), my back right pocket (handkerchief), my left front pocket (cell phone), my shirt pocket (work ID), and my inside coat pocket (train ticket).  If any pocket was empty I stopped and realized I had left something behind and retrieved it before it was too late.  The pat down method was almost fool proof, but I did look a little silly. I didn’t do the pat down just once, it was a ritual performed periodically all day. 

I also have a car thing.  On two occasions I have locked my car with the keys still in the ignition (the old VW bug and my Jeep Wrangler doesn't have those remote lock things on the key.)  Realizing you have left the keys in the ignition while you are in the process of slamming the door shut is a sinking feeling.  Your mind is screaming "NOOOO!" while your body is unable to halt the momentum of the slamming car door.

Because of these car incidents, I never close the door without pausing for several seconds.  I don’t even realize why the pause and then I remember the car keys.  I double check usually by patting my pocket for the keys and then I slam the door.

It might look weird, but the only way for me to remember what I forgot, is to remember to check for what I forgot before I forget it. 

That is why the pat down.  

Thursday, August 27, 2015



It has taken seven years, but I think I am finally beginning to understand Mrs. Cranky’s directions.  Not road directions, her road directions are second to none in accuracy and detail.  It is things around the house that she is either vague or weird in her directions.

“Kare, where are the new towels we just bought?”

“In the corner.”

Do you have any idea how many corners there are in my house?  Of course you don’t, but it is like any other house and there are a lot of corners, and several floors.

“Kare, where is the mustard?”

“In the fridge.”

“I know that; where in the fridge?”

“On the shelf, behind the stuff.”

There are several shelves, and everyone has stuff that could hide mustard.

“Kare, have you seen my golf shoes?”

“In the garage.”

If you could see our garage, you would know how useless these directions are.

“Where in the garage?”

“In the corner.”

See what I mean?

Last night, while watching TV in the bedroom, I had a hankering for a Creamsicle.  I knew we had some, I also know the wife had hidden them because I am addicted.

“What do you say we share a Creamsicle?”

My best bet at having her tell me where they are is by offering to share one.

“Share smare, bring up two.”

“Great, where in the fridge did you hide them?”

“They are behind the wrong waffles.”

This is where I am finally starting to understand the workings of Mrs. Cranky’s mind.  Weeks ago I purchased waffles for Mrs. Cranky.  She has a waffle every morning which I toast for her and bring up with a glass of orange juice.  (Why yes, I am a good husband.)

Her waffles are toasted Eggo waffles.  She likes the Nutri-Grain, the Cinnamon, the Mini’s and the French Toast.  The waffles I bought were the Homestyle.  When I bought them she said “That’s OK, I eat the plain ones also.” 

That was weeks ago and she has yet to request Plain or Homestyle for her morning waffle.

When she told me the Creamsicles were behind the “wrong” waffles, I knew exactly where to go.

And she didn’t call me a jerk!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015



People like to make fun of professional wrestling.  What idiot would believe that crap? 

I never believed professional wrestling was real, even when I was twelve years old and watching “Bedlam from Boston” on TV Friday nights. 

The champion as I recall was “Killer Kowalski” who generally won by submission when he applied the painful “Claw Hold.”
The "Killer" applies "The Claw Hold"
I watched for a year or two when my older boys were twelve and ten.  That was the Hulk Hogan era after he had defeated the Iron Sheik to obtain the title.

A few years ago when Spencer was twelve (that seems to be the age that young boys get fascinated with wrestling) I started watching again.

I have watched during three distinctly different eras in the world of professional wrestling.

I preferred the first era the best.  That was the era of good vs. evil.  Many of the good guys always lost.  For some reason I liked those guys the best.

The script was almost always the same.  Good guy gets in a few licks, bad guy who was always bigger and stronger fights back.  Bad guy almost pins good guy, but lets him up so he can torture him a bit because he is the bad guy.  Good guy suddenly gets strength from nowhere, kind of like Popeye after he eats his spinach and he makes a tremendous comeback.  Just when the good guy is about to win, the bad guy does something dirty, a punch with a roll of quarters hidden in his trunks often did the trick, and he goes on to punish and finally pin the good guy.

My two favorite good guys were Arnold “Golden Boy” Skaaland and Chief Jay Strongbow.  When Arnold did his Popeye thing he would pound his arms and puff out his chest; the bad guy knew he was in for it…until he finally beat the crap out of the Golden Boy.  I never saw the Golden Boy win a match…not even once!
Arnold "The Golden Boy" Skaaland
When the Chief had enough he went into his war dance (and people today think the Washington Football team is offensive.)  The bad guy generally got all scared and left the ring for a minute, when he came back the Chief would throw him around like a rag doll until the roll of quarters came out and the referee was not looking.  The Chief may have had some success in different leagues, but when I watched he always lost.
"The Chief"
Don’t ask me why I loved this crap.  Hell, I was only twelve.  Now I only watch highbrow stuff on television.

“The Real Housewives of New Jersey” starts soon.  I am very excited.     

Tuesday, August 25, 2015



Murphy's Law "If something can go wrong, it will"

Months ago I posted ten corollaries to Murphy’s Law.  

As I expected, many of my readers had some suggestions that had not crossed my mind.  

The suggestions still come in, so here is TWTA V:

If you are running late and want to quickly check something on the computer, Microsoft will start downloading new updates and warn you not to shut your computer down.

If at first you do succeed, everyone else can do it too.

If your movie starts in 2 minutes, the person ahead of you in the ticket line will ask a thousand questions about a movie that starts in an hour.


How about...the printer always runs out of ink in the middle of printing your tax documents. We've also had the electricity go out while doing taxes on the computer.

"All the important stuff (the air conditioning, car battery, refrigerator, toilet, etc) only breaks at 5 o'clock on a Friday afternoon." (From personal Cranky experience as a commuter, if the train broke down, it was always on a Friday night,)

To err is human, but to really foul things up requires technology.


The day you have to go back to school and set up your summer-dismantled electronic devices, then do weekly grocery shopping, then take The Pony to an appointment, necessitating several trips in and out your gravel the day the county road department will choose to install a 30-foot pipe where that gravel road meets the county road.

I like: A bird in the hand---is messy!

When you're waiting at a bus stop to go anywhere, the bus on the other side of the road, going in the opposite direction, ALWAYS arrives before the one you are waiting for.

When you are flying to Milwaukee, your baggage ends up in Muskegon.
...or worse


Murphy was an optimist.

Monday, August 24, 2015

MY GOLF SCORE - a cranky re-run

This re-run is from August 2014 

I expect many readers will just skip over this post, but Frog, Squeak, Widmer and my brother will know exactly what I am talking about.
So I am starting to get serious about playing golf again.  In my youth I played pretty well, generally shooting from 84 to 94 on any given day.  Currently breaking 100 is a good day.  I now practice two times a week and play one nine hole round.  I only play nine holes, because I walk and pull my clubs on a cart.  Playing eighteen holes just kicks my butt.

Please don’t make the usual comments about golfers just chasing a little ball over a cow pasture trying to put it in a hole.  That is like saying singing is just talking loud and with a beat, or painting is just copying what you are looking at, or dancing is just flailing your arms and kicking your feet or writing is just putting words down on paper or boxing is just punching people in the face…ok boxing is just punching people in the face but you get the point.  Golf is a game which takes great skill, patience and concentration.


My score has come down from a 49 to a 52 for nine holes. 

If you ask how has your score come down when 49 is lower than 52 then you don’t know anything about playing golf.

Let me explain.

In golf, most golfers typically shoot three scores.  There is the number of strokes the golfer counts, the number of strokes he actually took, and mentally he counts his “shoulda been” score.  The “shoulda been” score is what you should have scored if you didn’t miss any easy putts, have any flubs or lost balls and got a good bounce off a tree.

In the beginning of this year I shot a 49 for nine holes played, only I had three flubs I didn’t count because, well just because.  I put two shots in the water and didn’t take a penalty because I didn’t know the water was there…sort of.  I didn't miss any putt under 5 feet because they were called gimmies (considered good without actually putting.)  Basically I played so poorly I only kept my counted strokes.  My real score would have been too painful to admit, and my “shoulda been” score was not worth figuring out.  Actually my counted score was more like my “shoulda been” score.

Yesterday I scored 52, but I counted every stroke and every putt including penalties for two balls into the water.  When you start to play better you count more of your strokes, when you are playing well, you count every stroke.  I am starting to play well enough to count every stroke, and that is how a 52 is a better score than a 49.

I actually played well enough to mentally keep a “shoulda been” score… 43. 

A 43 is a very good “shoulda been” score for me!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

I’VE GOT AN IDEA, BODY ART! - a cranky re-run

This re-run is from August 2012.  Some commenters found it to be Misogynistic.  It just goes to show you that women do not understand sarcasm.
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!

Saturday, August 22, 2015


A long-winded cranky opinion for
The following is the opinion of a cranky old man with little expertise on the subject opined.  Opposing opinions are welcome but will be ignored.  Mean spirited opinions will be deleted.  As always, please, no name calling…and that means you, you big stupid head!
A lady in New Jersey was recently exonerated from a charge of child abuse after fighting it in the courts for six years.  This lady had an 18 month old child asleep in a car seat when she ran into a convenience store to make a quick purchase.  She left the car running which was pretty stupid whether she had a child asleep in a car seat or not, but this was in a low (practically non-existent) crime area.  When she came out, a police car was waiting and she was charged with child abuse.
Before you comment, I know car theft happens and leaving a child in a running car is careless.  On a hot day, children can become dehydrated and die if left in an unventilated car.  There are many, many, instances where leaving a child unattended in a car is so careless that it could indeed be considered child abuse.  However there are also many, many instances where it is perfectly safe and reasonable.
 If you ever had a child who would not go to sleep, who cried uncontrollably for several hours and then fell asleep in a car seat when you left the house for a bottle of milk, you understand leaving the child in the car while you run into a Quick Check for a two minute purchase.
Apparently until recently, in New Jersey this meant you were automatically guilty of child abuse.  No questions asked.  No excuses.  You perhaps would have your child taken away to be raised in a foster home…like there is never serious abuse in a foster home, or like being pulled from his mother does not seriously affect any child negatively.
Fortunately the New Jersey Supreme Court has amended the law to be interpreted as leaving a child unattended MIGHT, in certain circumstances, be considered child abuse.
See, my issue with any of these across-the-board law interpretations is the many self serving, self appointed, holier…better than thou, busy bodies out there who just go looking for shit to complain about.  The local Mrs. Kravitz (TV’s “Bewitched”) of which every neighborhood has at least one, just waiting to dial 911 for any perceived indiscretion.
There is one in our townhouse community.  I don’t know who she is, but I know her from her signs.  She leaves laminated signs at the post drop telling all the residents how to behave.
“REMINDER…There is no alcohol allowed in the pool area.”
I have been going to this pool several days a week in the summer for five years now and have never…EVER…seen anyone with as much as a can of beer.  Why the sign, and why the seven (yes I counted them) signs declaring the same thing within the pool area?
“RERMINDER…When you collect your mail, please do not sort through it while in your car.  There are people behind you waiting to get their mail.”
REALLY?  Well then the people behind me should haul their fat ass out of the car and walk the five yards up to the mail boxes and stop worrying about how other people choose to check their mail. BITCH!
Today there was a new sign:
“REMINDER… (With a picture of a dumped garbage can) Please leave your garbage out on pick up day properly covered!”
Well, thank you so much for your concern.  In five years I have never seen a garbage can tipped over and spilling out garbage, but we do have raccoons, foxes, and other creatures…maybe even your dog, that are occasionally very good at garbage can tipping, so yeah, it is possible.
My neighbor in a previous home had two small children and she appointed herself as the traffic control officer because she was afraid for her children.  She even clocked cars with a radar gun and reported speeders to the local police.  The police had to tell her to stop. I drove by her house today, and she still has signs out telling cars to slow down because her children are at play…Her children are in high school! Teach them how to cross a street for Christmas sake!
Where was I? 
Oh yeah, don’t leave a child unattended in your car, but laws should have an element of common sense and not be cut and dry. Unless, of course, you want to live your life with ex-high school hall monitors like Mrs. Kravitz peeping at you from their holier than thou windows ready to report you for littering, getting your morning newspaper in your bathrobe, spitting on the sidewalk, or leaving your child asleep in the car seat while you bring in the groceries.
The preceding way too long-winded opinion was from a cranky old man and not necessarily that of management…Mrs. Cranky.

Friday, August 21, 2015



Today it was back to the golf course to play nine holes.  I could play all eighteen holes, but I would be wiped out and suck on the back nine, so playing just nine holes is fine.  I walk, dragging my clubs on a cart so it is still pretty good exercise. 

On my way to the course I was plotting how I would bust Ernie the dick’s chops (see ). I figured since he made such a big deal out of not allowing practice chipping behind the first tee where there is no sign saying practice chipping was not allowed, that I would make a point of asking if it was ok to practice chipping behind the first tee.  I was then going to ask why not, then ask why there was no sign, and then ask if it was necessary to be a dick when you tell people that you are not allowed to practice where there is no sign saying you could not practice.

That was my plan, but then I started thinking that one, Ernie is probably too stupid to get that I would be just busting his chops, two, I was not sure I could positively identify Ernie as half the dudes working the course are old fat short dudes with a slight limp, and finally I realized I would only get my own juices boiling and that is not conducive to playing golf.  The game requires a relaxed mentality.

So fuck Ernie, let’s just go play golf, nice and relaxed. 

The course is about twenty minutes from my house.  After nineteen minutes of driving, and less than three hundred yards from the course entrance, I ran into a “Road Closed, Detour” sign and a cop car blocking the way.

This course is in one of the few parts of central Jersey that is actually somewhat farm like.  The detour to the course was east eight miles, north five miles, west eight miles and south five miles.  It took me an extra forty minutes to get to the course. 

When I finally got there I saw the road work that sent me on this cross country trip.  The road crew was repairing a five by ten foot section in one lane of the road.  There were three people working on the hole and four people watching, plus two cops and a cop car not to mention the cop and car three hundred yards down the road.  The road by the way is not heavily traveled. 

Now I was pissed again.  It took me forty minutes of driving because this crew could not station traffic controllers to direct traffic safely past the five by ten section of road under repair.  Hell, the detour signs alone must have taken them an hour to put up and probably would take another hour to take them down.

So without getting into tiff with Ernie the dick, I was still not in a relaxed frame of mind.

I called Mrs. Cranky and let off steam about the detour.  She listened patiently and added the appropriate “Wow” and “Oh my” and “That’s just ridiculous” until I was calmed down and ready to play.

Hey, what are wives for?  Well lots, but listening and not calling me a jerk for complaining about my rough life because my golf was delayed forty minutes is certainly one very good trait.

Anyway, I played my best nine holes in several years.