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Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Games People Played From Coast To Coast

The Games People Played From Coast To Coast

Growing up, my family moved a lot.  My father’s occupation resulted in multiple relocations.  We moved from Long Island, New York when I was five, to San Marino, California, and back again to Long Island when I was nine.

This was in the fifties.  There was no internet, and TV was somewhat limited, yet many things I learned on one coast, were exactly the same on the other coast.

All kids played “Hide and Seek” not that unusual, but the rules were the same, and the all-clear call seemed to be universal, “Ally, Ally in free.”  (Some will say Ollie, Ollie in free, or Ollie, Ollie oxen free, but it was never written down, so the pronunciation is subject to interpretation.)

I played touch football on both coasts.  There were no written rules for the game, but it was always four downs, no first down and on fourth down the question was always “Kick or stick.” (Punt or go for a touchdown.)  Regardless of the score, games were generally decided by “Next touchdown wins.”

Baseball was the same on both coasts as well, although for some reason kickball was more popular in California.  If there were not enough kids for two teams, both coasts figured out having only three batters, no right field (if you hit the ball to right it was an out,) the on-deck batter was the catcher, and batters and fielders rotated after there were three outs.  On both coasts the game was called the same “One-a-cat” I have no idea why. 

If there was not enough room to hit, we learned to catch and throw playing “Running bases.”

It seemed like all the games were the same on both coasts.  At school recess we played, “Tag," “or “Freeze Tag.” “Duck Duck Goose” was the same on either coast, as was “blind man’s bluff.”   

If it rained we played “Tic Tack Toe,”  “Hangman,” or “Battleship” inside.  All these games were before Parker Brothers sold them at toy stores.  We made our own battlefields with graph paper and everyone knew all the rules.

Card games were the same no matter where we were relocated.  “Solitaire,” “Spit in the Ocean,” “War,” “Go Fish,” all games, all names, all rules were the same.

I often wonder, did word of mouth bring all these games to both coasts, or do children just naturally invent the same games with whatever materials or tools that are available?

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

A Day At The Movies

A Day At The Movies
The other night we went to see “My Big Fat Greek Wedding II.”  It is a very funny movie, not the least bit disappointing as are many sequels,  but this post is about the theater, not the movie.

Mrs. C wanted to go to the 2:00 showing, and then do an early dinner.  I preferred the 4:40 showing and then having a later dinner. 

I won.

Then Mrs. C wanted to leave at 3:30 for the theater.  I thought that was ridiculous because I didn’t want to walk the Mall while waiting for the movie to start.  I was told that this theater required that you select your seat when you buy your ticket, much like an airplane, it is a small theater and we needed to go early to get a good seat.

I lost.

As it turned out, even leaving early, we did not get that good a seat, we were forced to choose a seat up front in the second row.  I don’t mind sitting way up front, especially with these new modern theaters.  Every seat has lots of room and they are so comfortable it is sometimes difficult to stay awake.  The seats also tilt back and have a foot rest just like a comfortable lounge chair.

We settled into our seats well before show time and the theater was almost empty.  Then she came in.  She was a complainer.  Worse, she was a complainer who needed validation from others.  Her seat was in the first row, directly in front of our seats.

“These seats are too close!”  She complained first to her daughter, then to Mrs. C and then to everyone who entered the theater. 

Mrs. C told her it was not too bad because the seats adjusted and you didn’t have to crane your neck.

“This seat button does not work!”

Mrs. C showed her how to push the button.

“I hate these seats, they are too close, maybe we could just take another seat back further; are people really coming in for those seats.”

The daughter responded, “They were not available because they were paid for.”

“There is so much leg room, why is there so much leg room?  They should have used less leg room so they could have put the seats back further.” 

Then directly to me, “Don’t you think there is too much leg room?”

So far everyone she spoke to validated her complaints, because they didn’t really want to get into an argument.  Mrs. C anticipating my response gave me an elbow. 

It didn’t work.

“Actually I like my seat, I love the leg room, and I’m pretty sure it is too late for anyone to change the layout 15 minutes before the movie starts.”  I got a harder elbow.

“I don’t care,” I said in a whisper intentionally just a little too loud, “I want to enjoy the movie, and the complaining about the seats is starting to piss me off.”

“WELL! I was just saying!”

“Yes, I know, and I am just responding.”

The complainer did not stop, but at least she no longer addressed her complaints in our direction.  Then she moved over to seats still in the front row, but all the way on the side; worse seats in my opinion, but I said nothing.

“These seats are a little better she told her daughter.”

Don’t you know, the correct patrons of those seats came in later and not wanting to say anything took the seats behind the complainer. When the movie started the people who had those assigned seats came in and the non-complainers had to move to the seats directly in front of us, the complainer’s assigned seats. 

(Is this too complicated? Never mind it is not that important.)

While this was happening there was another seat battle behind me.  I did not look, I did not want to get involved, but there was a lot of  “Fuck this” and “Fuck you” and “Bull shit” going on.  Then I heard “Fuck it, I don’t want the seats” and two people apparently stomped out.

Complainer lady saw this and saw there were now two empty seats further back and immediately grabbed them.

“These are much better, but they are still too close and why is there so much leg room, and shouldn’t the first people in get their choice of seats and…”

Several people shushed her and we were able to enjoy the movie.

After the movie was over, both of us made a trip to the rest room.  When Mrs. C came out she was shaking her head.

“Mrs. Complainawitz is in there and she is bitching to anyone who will listen about how bad the seats are and how they should change the design of the theater…she will not shut up.”

“Well she came close to ruining the movie for me.”

“I told you we should have gone to the 2:00 showing!”

At least she didn’t call me a jerk.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016



This post is intended for men only.  Women are forbidden from reading this post.  Move on, nothing to see here.

Men, stop even trying to win an argument with your wife.  Just give in and move on.  Right or wrong you cannot win an argument.  Why?  Because there is no right or wrong when you argue with a woman.  Women feel, men think and you cannot argue a woman’s feelings.

Your woman will say,

“Don’t tell me how I feel!” 

(You’ve heard that before haven’t you.)  

I watch a lot of TV;  Reality TV, Judge Shows, and Dr. Phil.  I hear again and again, the woman will say,

“I just feel…”

“I just feel that you don’t care.”

“I just feel that you’d rather play golf.”

“I just feel that you don’t want to make more money.”

The man will always say,

“I just think.”

“I just think you expect too much.”

“I just think you don’t try hard enough.”

And the GRANDDADDY of “Thinks”

“I don’t think you should feel that way.”

(Oh crap dude you just said it.)

“Don’t tell me how to feel, and it is you that makes me feel that way!”

So here it is guys if you want to be happy, STOP THINKING!

You can’t argue feelings, but what you think can be wrong.  

This is so important it needs repeating: 

You can’t argue feelings, but what you think can be wrong.  

Got that?  Feelings just are; you can’t argue them.  What you think can be wrong.

“I just think you don’t care anymore.”

“Well I do care, so you are wrong!”

You lose.

“I just feel that you don’t care anymore.”

“Well I don't think you should feel that way because I do still care.”

(Oh crap dude)

“Don’t tell me how to feel, and it is you that makes me feel that way!”

You lose.

Do you get it guys?  You cannot win.  Feeling trumps thinking every time.

Take it from someone working on his third marriage.  Skip the thinking, and go straight to the apology.

Learn to say,

“I am so sorry you feel that way, what can I do to change the way you feel, because I don’t want you to feel that way…I feel bad that you feel that way.”

It is not easy, guys because we think too much.  Work on it.  Stand in front on the mirror and practice,

“I am so sorry you feel that way, what can I do to change the way you feel, because I don’t want you to feel that way…I feel bad that you feel that way.”

It is not about winning an argument, it is about survival.

Can you feel what I’m telling you?

Think about it.

Monday, March 28, 2016

The Four Pound Weight Window

The Four Pound Weight Window

In the last year I have lost over twenty pounds.  Most of it was my “stop smoking” weight.  When I quit smoking five years ago I slowly gained twenty pounds.  I was already 15 pounds overweight, so I have about 15 pounds to go.

I have not been on a “diet” per say.  I have changed my diet and do not intend to go back to old habits.  I have drastically reduced eating anything with sugar and reduced my intake of carbohydrates.  I have had maybe 5 sodas in a year.  Soda, diet or otherwise, is poison.  What makes my change in eating habits palatable is I no longer feel guilt about some really good foods that experts tell you to avoid.  I eat bacon or sausage every day.  I have eggs every day for breakfast and hard boiled eggs for snack.  I eat a lot of meat, and smother my vegetables with real butter.

Enough on that, eat whatever you want, this is working for me.  I am losing weight I feel good and I am never hungry.

I weigh myself every morning.  I should stop doing that.  The daily weighing sets the tone for my day.  I have a four pound weight window.  Regardless of what I eat or how much I exercise, on any given day my weight will fluctuate four pounds.

I wake up one morning and weigh 195 pounds.  I skip through the day happy as a clam.  The next morning I hit the scale at 199. 


“OK, I had a pretzel after dinner.  What was it, a friggin four pound pretzel?  It makes me miserable all day. 

Intellectually I know the body’s weight just fluctuates from day to day.  Mostly it is probably just a function of water retention or dehydration.  When I hit 195,  I should just recognize that as my low reading and not get excited.  When I hit 199 I should know that is just my high weight and not get upset.

When it comes to weight loss, emotion kicks the crap out of intellect.

It is just me?  

Sunday, March 27, 2016

A Cranky Complaint About Women

A Cranky Complaint About Women
This re-run is from last March -
The first time around reader comments were very funny.

Don’t get all up in arms ladies; this is just a minor complaint.  It is more an observation than a complaint.

Actually it is a complaint.

Women (at least the women I have been married to, and that is a pretty good segment of the female population) will not answer a simple question from a man.  They prefer for the man to figure it out themselves.  It aggravates them that men will ask a silly question.  They will ignore, and or be evasive waiting for the man to figure out the answer themselves rather than simply saying, “yes” or “no.”

Yes or no! It hardly takes a breath; no effort, just yes or no.  Zero calories burned, no wasted time, just yes or no.  How friggin hard is that?

The other night Mrs. C was going downstairs and asked me if I wanted some water.  I said yes, preferably bottled if we still had any.  The fridge water tastes kind of funky because we need to change the filter.

Mrs. C brought up a bottle of water.

“Is that a new bottle of water, or is it from the fridge?” Sometimes she will fill an empty bottle with water from the fridge.


“Is it from the fridge?”


“Is there any reason you can’t say yes it is from the fridge, or no it is a new bottle of water.”

“You should know.”

“I should know? How should I know, and why don’t you tell me anyway? Yes or no!  How hard is that?  This conversation could have been over minutes ago…meanwhile I still don’t know if it is from the fridge or not.”

“Because when you twist the cap, you will hear it break the seal and you will know that it is a new bottle of water and not from the fridge.”

“So we still have some bottled water?”

“Yes, a whole case of it, if you would only look!”

“Well that is 180 seconds of my life completely lost because you could just not bring yourself to say, “It is bottled water.”

“You’re a jerk!”

“Hell, it took you just as long to call me a jerk as it would have to just say “It’s bottled water!”


Saturday, March 26, 2016



It is time again for


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


Man charged with hate crime in Iowa City says he's 'allergic to black people' If he lives in Iowa City, How does he know?

Easter bunny in mall brawl – This happened in New Jersey, not Florida, (sorry Pixel) I have no comment that can top this line from the story: 

The video showed the man wearing the body suit of the bunny costume -- but not the head -- fighting with the dad before security pulled the two men apart. A few seconds later, the man in the bunny costume appeared again, threw off his white bunny gloves and hurled more punches.”

I’ll bet you never thought you’d see a story with "punches" and “white bunny gloves” in the same sentence!

Jared Fogle reportedly beaten up in prison – I don’t care!

Man who was arrested for sex on Vegas Ferris wheel shot dead near strip club I’ve been told that the “Big Wheel” had the worst odds in Vegas, but I didn’t know they were this bad!

Beer, chips spill on Florida highway after trucks crash – I think this is similar to how Reese’s candy was invented.

Man in Seattle tree comes down, ending 24-hour standoff – I’m pretty sure the tree wasn’t going to blink.

Rare Sumatran rhino discovered in Indonesian Borneo – It was sent back, as it was requested medium rare.

Jared Loughner sues, Gabrielle Giffords, seeks $25M – I am changing my mind on the value of capital punishment.
Yes, that Jared Loughner

 Loretta Lynch Wants to Censor Climate Skeptics – Am I the only one who reads this and wonders when did the “Coal Miner’s Daughter” become so political?

Kindergarten play reportedly axed after parents fight over seating arrangements – “It’s my seat”…  “is not”… “is too”… “I called it”… “well you’re a big fat doody-head”“no you’re a big fat doody-head.” And those were the grown-ups.

North Carolina man arrested for not returning a VHS tape - 14 years later – Not returning the video is a misdemeanor, but he could be in big trouble for not rewinding.

Supermarket chain forced to change name of 'rape yellow' paint after complaint – Paint is now called “Head smashed in with a baseball bat Yellow.”

Why are you reading this, you should be celebrating the most important non-stupid headline of all time...HAPPY EASTER!!

Come back next week for more:


Friday, March 25, 2016


A cranky opinion for


The following is the opinion of a cranky old man with little expertise in the subject opined.  Opposing opinions are welcome, but are wrong.  As always, please, no name calling, and that means you, you big stupid-head. 

I do not at this time support Hillary Clinton for President, but I feel the need to help her out.  I want to help her out because she has a trait that is so annoying I do not want to deal with it for the rest of this year and maybe for eight years after.  I know it is not just me, and if she eliminates this trait she will be more likable and have a much better chance to win the election.


This is not the 1800’s and the times of the great political orators.  We have microphones, we have speakers, volume on TV’s can be turned up…STOP YELLING!  We are not stupid; yelling does not get your point across better.  When you speak, I feel like you do not think I understand the language and that you yell really loud so your meaning will somehow sink in. 

Once again we are not stupid…well we are not that stupid.

You. Speak. Loud. And. Slow. and stilted.  Didn’t Bill teach you anything?  For eight years Bill spoke to us like we were sitting next to him in the living room and it almost didn’t matter what he said, it was charming and we liked him.

“I did not have sex with that woman.”

Ok, we believed him or at least we didn’t really care.  Now if he had said,

I… D I D… N O T… H A V E… S E X… W I T H… T H A T… W O M A N!!!

He would have been thrown out of office in a New York minute.

And if you can stop yelling at us, also try to stop laughing.  Whenever you don’t like a question, you laugh as if the question is just silly or beneath you.  We are not stupid, Hillary.  We do not like being yelled at and we do not like having legitimate questions marginalized by your stupid smirk or patronizing laugh.

I don’t know if you will make a good President or not, but you will not be elected if people do not like you, and people do not like you.  People do not like you because you YELL and you LAUGH inappropriately.  Bill knew how to chuckle in a friendly manner, Barack has an infectious little laugh and smile; you have a forced laugh, a fake laugh and a smile that looks like you are trying too hard to be charming.
Relax, smile if you feel like smiling, but don’t force it.  Learn to laugh like a human being, not a sit-com laugh track.  Speak to us as if we were friends and we are sitting right next to you.  If you want to be President, for god sake:


I am a cranky old man, and I endorse this message.

The following is the opinion of a cranky old man and it is not necessarily endorsed by management…Mrs. Cranky.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Costa Rica Pictures and Video

Costa Rica Pictures and Video

After my posts last week on the Costa Rica trip, several people asked for pictures.
Thanks to my son, who is not in any of the pictures as he was taking them,

You Asked For It...welcome some of you did.



No fish were hurt on this trip...they were pretty pissed off though,

Camera man Mike on the right.
Thanks again to my brother for letting me cross off this bucket list item.

Best Guy's Weekend ever!!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016



I’ve heard that vinyl records are becoming popular again with audiophile purists.  I don’t understand it, but people are buying up the old albums and some new music is also being sold on vinyl.  It reminded me of a story.

Sometime in the 80’s I had an artist friend at work, Ernie, who was very into vinyl records.  I learned through him that some records from back in the fifties and sixties were valuable.  There was no EBay, but he knew how to advertise through various collectors magazines. 

I was in need of some extra cash just to make ends meet, so I was very interested.  I did not have a big collection of old records, but I had some interesting ones.  He suggested that if I had some that turned out to be valuable, he could help me sell them and we could split the money 80/20. 

I went through my small collection and found a Jimmy Jones LP from the early sixties.  In the fifties and early sixties, LP’s (Long Play albums for you young people) were not very popular.  Most records sold were 45’s with one song on each of the two sides.  Jimmy Jones had two big hits in 1960, “Good Timing” and “Handy Man.”  Both songs were on my LP.

Ernie thought this album might attract some interest.  He listed the record in various magazines, or whatever it was that he did to attract interest and we waited.  In less than a week bids started to come in. 

Apparently Jimmy Jones had a large following and the album was rare.

We received a bid of fifty dollars, and before we accepted that bid someone came in at seventy-five dollars, then one hundred dollars, and one hundred and fifty dollars.  It was all very exciting.  We finally accepted a bid of two-hundred dollars for an album that I actually never bought.  It was left behind in the fraternity house by a graduating brother. I grabbed it because I liked those two Jimmy Jones songs, but I never did play the record.

Fresh off the success of the Jimmy Jones album I brought in an old 45 record by John Zacherle, a Philly DJ and host of “Chiller Theater” a local Saturday night TV horror movie show.  Zacherle was famous at one time in the Philadelphia and New York area.  His record had two silly spoof songs, “Eighty-eight Tombstones” and “Lunch With Mother Goose.”  Both were done with a Boris Karloff imitation style similar to the more famous hit by Bobby "Boris" Pickett, “Monster Mash.”
Ernie thought this record might generate some enthusiasm and listed it for sale.  Within a week he came back with some information that apparently there were only eight know copies of this 45 in existence.

 We braced ourselves for a large windfall.

After two weeks, the highest offer we received for the record was $20. 

“Ernie, what the hell!  Twenty dollars, I thought there were only eight other copies of this record known to exist.”

“That was the good news; the bad news is that only nine people give a shit.”

We took the $20 offer.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Rogue Shopping Carts

Rogue Shopping Carts

A Mrs. Thevictorian recently posted about an accident her son had returning a grocery shopping cart to the grocery shopping cart corral.

 It is a funny story but what I took note of was that the Thevictorian’s actually return their carts to the cart corral.  I thought I was the only one who does this.

At our local markets, the lot is strewn with shopping carts.  Shoppers routinely leave the carts exactly where they last had them while unloading their car. 

This is a pet peeve of mine.

There are at all shopping lots multiple cart corrals, and yet people leave their carts all over.  When looking for a parking spot, I often have to get out and move one of these strewn about carts in order to get into a space.  When the wind blows ever so slightly, these carts will begin to move and they will not stop until they make contact with something…generally a car.  If you shop at a supermarket in my neck of New Jersey you will have dents and or scratches on your car from a runaway shopping cart.

This cranky old man is never guilty of such an offence.  I always make sure to return my cart to its corral. 

Is there anything that could force derelict shoppers into returning their carts to their proper place?  Signs imploring people to return their carts go unheeded.   Would a shopping lot patrol enforcing cart returns end the issue?  Probably not.  The supermarket does have hired help retrieving carts, but they cannot keep up with all those anti-cart-returners.

There is an answer.  At a shopping center we use when down at the shore, in order to take out a cart you need to put a quarter in a lock (this is hard for me to explain, take my word for it) when you properly return you cart, you are able to release your quarter.

There are no rogue carts in this lot.  NONE! For the most part, all those people who do not give a crap about loose carts and other people’s cars suddenly care very much.  What all the signs and enforcers are unable to achieve, a simple quarter a cart return fee does.  People who save every coupon and wait for double coupon days, will not leave their cart and lose a quarter.  They all return their carts.  If they forget, there are cart watchers just waiting to return that cart and collect the quarter for themselves.

I only wish all problems had such an easy solution.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Press One for Yes, Two for No

Press One for Yes, Two for No
The other night I got a robot phone call offering me a free vacation if I only answered a few question.  This is the fourth time in a week that I received a similar call and I decided to play along.  I did hear enough of the original spiel to know that my free vacation was only going to be offered if I also bought something. 

I stayed on the line.

“Would you vote for Donald Trump?  Press one for yes, two for no.”

I pressed two.

“Would you vote for Hilary Clinton?  Press one for yes, two for no.”

I pressed two.

“Would you be in favor of higher taxes for the wealthy? Press one for yes, two for no.

I pressed two…it’s my lucky number.

“Please hold for information on your free trip and the opportunity to extend mumble for only a small mumble of mumble.  Thank you.”

I held for about two minutes.

“Hello, this is Anthony your mumble mumble service provider of mumble, how are you today?”

“Would you vote for Donald Trump? Press one for yes, two for no.”

“Excuse me?”

“Would you vote for Donald Trump? Press one for yes, two for no.”

At this point I assumed the phone would be unceremoniously hung up, but no.


“Would you vote for Donald Trump? Press one for yes, two for no.”

“Sir, that’s not how this works.”

“Would you vote for Donald Trump? Press one for yes, two for no.”

“Sir, you held for your prize, not to ask me questions.”

“But I want to know, would you vote for Donald Trump? Press one for yes, two for no.”

“Sir, I just work here, I don’t even care about politics!”

“Neither do I, but you called me, now I have my own survey, if you answer the questions you win a free game at Brunswick Bowling Lanes.  “Would you vote for Donald Trump? Press one for yes, two for no.”

“Sir, I don't answer your questions."

“Well, suit yourself, you won't win a free game.  I'll give you one more chance.  Would you vote for Donald Trump? Press one for yes, two for no.”

“Have a good day sir.”

I think Anthony must be new to the job.  I’ll bet the next call I get telling me I won something I won’t get past “Would you vote for…”


Sunday, March 20, 2016


This cranky re-run is from March 2013
I was watching the TV show “Cops” the other day and it became crystal clear to me that I would be a lousy cop.

I do not like or know how to shoot a gun, so that would be bad.  I am a confirmed chicken and do not like confrontation, so that would be bad.  I am not that fast a runner, so if there was a chase that would be bad.  I cannot wear a suit without getting it wrinkled or stained, my shoes never looked polished never mind spit shined, so that would be bad.  All these factors would make me a lousy cop, but the number one reason that was driven home to me while watching the show was I believe every perpetrator’s excuse.

In this particular episode, cops arrived at the scene of a shooting.  The alleged perpetrator was found with a pistol in his hand.  The pistol was smoking.  A man who was hit by a grazing shot to the leg was screaming and pointing at the perp, “That’s the guy!  He shot me.  Arrest him!

The cops grab the man and disarm him.  They put him in cuffs, pat him down and find a bag of cocaine.  

“What’s this?”

“Man I ain’t never seen that before.  I don’t know nuthin.  I was walking down the street, I hear a gun shot and then this dude bumps into me and runs away.  Next thing I know he put this gun in my hand, and he must have dropped that bag of coke in my pocket.”

The victim steps in.

“Officer this guy was trying to take my watch, I resisted and he pulled a gun.  It went off and grazed my leg here.”

“Naw man, you crazy it was the guy…the guy what bumped into me.  He went that way, ran like a mother-whater!”

As the cops were throwing him into their patrol car and doing that Miranda thing I’m thinking, 

“Hey it could be.  Maybe someone else shot the guy and planted the coke and the smoking gun on this poor sap.  Why not?  The guy that was shot could be in shock and misinterpreted the events.  How can the police be sure he isn’t telling the truth?  Shouldn’t they run after and look for the guy who planted the gun on the perp?"

It’s probably a good thing I’m not a cop.