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Tuesday, February 28, 2017


Or you could have a real life!
There is a show on TV, “Extreme Couponing.” They follow genius shoppers who collect coupons, double check for special sales and double coupon days and demonstrate how they can save money.

It seems too good to be true.  Imagine going to the supermarket and buying over $600 worth of product and spending under $10.  Unbelievable, and yet that is what they do.  They brag about their savings, and are smug about their thrift and ability.
This is a sickness.  These people spend a good part of their day, every day scouring newspapers and magazines for coupons, then looking for specials at all the neighboring supermarkets, and planning their shopping trip like Bill Belichick plans the Super Bowl.  They argue with store owners and employees and tie up a checkout counter for over an hour.
Is it worth it?  First of all, the money saved comes at a labor cost.  The time they spend collecting coupons figured at minimum wage probably equals about $350, so their $590 saving is really only $140.
 Furthermore, the way these people save huge sums is purchasing in quantities they will never use.  They use up valuable storage in their home stocking their hard-won bounty.  However, most of what they purchase has a limited shelf life.  I’ve found that pasta goes bad in a year if not stored correctly, dry cereal tastes funky if it sits too long, and once you’ve bought 200 tubes of toothpaste, you are set for life, and then some.
OK, the coupon collecting is more of a hobby than labor, but at what real cost?

I knew a coupon collector at work years ago.  He was late for work almost every day picking through the trash outside the office searching through all the commuter tossed papers.   He almost got fired several times because of his lateness and he got lower raises and no promotions because of this “Hobby.”
I seriously hate coupons.  The expense of printing them and then processing them is crazy.  It must result in higher prices for many items at the store.  Why can’t they just lower the price of items they want to get people to try?

Monday, February 27, 2017

A Senior Moment

A Senior Moment

Now even I am worried, except I know others have done this, even before they've turned the corner on the actuary table.  I think.  Maybe.
The other day I was talking to Frog on my cell phone.  While I was wrapping up the conversation I started to get my stuff together for some basement guitar practice and golf watching time.  I grabbed my computer and mouse, my coffee cup, and then started searching for something else (I know a bunch of you know what that something else was).

I looked right and left.  I checked my night table.  Finally, Mrs. C asked,

“What are you looking for?”

“My cell phone, (you were right weren’t you) I must have left it downstairs when I made breakfast.”

“Maybe, but I don’t think so.”

Then Frog had to chime in,
“Ah Joe, are you looking for your cell phone?”
“Yes, I almost always have it handy, but…oh.”
I am somewhat comforted in that I did figure it out before being directly told where to look.
This could happen to anybody, right?  Come on young people tell me you’ve done the same thing…please.

Sunday, February 26, 2017



This cranky re-run is from October 2011
My best friend in High School and College, Charlie, and I had a code for uncomfortable comments which might be taken out of context.  “Say Sandwich.”  It came from the punch line to a bad joke….OK, I’ll just summarize it.
Two teens were parked at the local “make-out stop” with girls they picked up at the mall.  In the back seat there were the remains of an old egg salad sandwich.  The couple in the front seat was passionately going at it, the couple in the back…not so much.  Bored, the teen in the back reached for the old sandwich.  His “date” exclaimed, “you’re not going to eat that smelly old thing are you?” The young dude responded loudly and with much urgency (here comes the punch line) “SAY SANDWICH!”

I told you it was not a great joke, but the punch line stood the test of time.  If, for instance,  after a round of golf, Charlie made a comment at the local watering hole, “Next week I’d like to try out your balls.”  The quick response would be “SAY SANDWICH!”  We would laugh like hell and no one else had a clue why.

Several years ago I took my seven-year-old son to his favorite store, “Dick’s Sporting Goods.”  As we left the store in the presence of several people my son exclaimed loudly, “You know Dad, I love Dick’s.”  I still do not know how to explain to him my immediate knee jerk response.  

Saturday, February 25, 2017


It’s time again for
I'm going to guess he lost the case
This week’s stupid headlines and my stupider, sometimes sophomoric comments. 
Star Wars: The Last Jedi' title confirmed to be plural and fans are freaking out – I got 99 problems, but this sure ain’t one.
Court Rules That a Snuggie Is Definitely a Blanket, Not Clothes – The court also ruled that whether blanket or clothes, the Snuggie is one stupid idea!  (Yeah, we have one and nobody ever uses it.)
Swedish politician proposes to give employees paid time off to have sex – Who couldn’t use an occasional two-minute break?
Stray bullet bounces off Oregon woman's head - I hate what that happens!
Arkansas lawmaker wants airport named after the Clintons renamed – Suggested new name “Cumanflewinski International.”
Former Obama State Dept. Official Explains Why They Never Said 'Radical Islam' – Administration felt the surfer term ‘Radical’ was inappropriate when referring to terrorism.
Trump on Obama: He's done a horrible job – Obama to Trump, “I know you are, but what am I?”
Sword-wielding felon threatens customers in parking lot of Florida Walmart – Every week there is a stupid headline story from Florida. What the heck is in the water in Florida?
Florida Town Apologizes to Residents Offended By ‘Sexist’ Leg Statue -
I am speechless.

Florida man accuses dog of shooting girlfriend in leg – WTF? And this is the state that seems to decide every Presidential election.

Cops caught having sex in patrol car while ignoring robbery call – That’s a code 69, “Officer going down.”  And no, this was not in Florida.
6-Year-old Golfer With One Arm Beat the Pros in Competition

Friday, February 24, 2017


A cranky opinion for
The following is the opinion of a cranky old man who never got higher than a “C” in English class.  Opposing opinions are welcome, but they are wrong.  As always, please, no name calling, and that means you, you big stupid-head!
TERRIFIED-  To fill with terror; make deeply afraid
Please don’t turn this opinion into a political comment.  I am just tired of hearing the word TERRIFIED. 
No one is just nervous anymore.  Nobody claims to be concerned.  People are no longer simply scared, no, today everyone is TERRIFIED.
We are TERRIFIED of politicians.  We are TERRIFIED of who is in our bathrooms.  We are TERRIFIED of altered food, of the weather, of Muslims, of Christians, of anti-Semitism, and race problems.  We are TERRIFIED of the police and we are TERRIFIED of the flu.
I watch the “Bachelor,” a reality TV show where 24 women compete for one man.  Every friggin woman on that show is TERRIFIED that they won’t get a rose and will be sent home heartbroken because they won’t be marrying a man they met three days ago. 
TERRIFIED I tell you!
It weakens a perfectly good word.  A word that used to describe what someone felt like when stalked by a great white shark in the ocean.  A word that conveys the feeling the victim of an armed robbery has.  If I barely avert a truck driving the wrong way down the Turnpike how do I now explain how I might have felt?
“So, you were concerned?”
“No, it was really TERRIFYING!”
“Oh, so you were nervous?”
“I was really fucking TERRIFIED!”
“You were scared then?”
“TERRIFIED!!! What don’t you get about the word…Terrified…pissed my pants, crapped my drawers, talked to GOD and prayed for my life TERRIFIED!”
I wish people would stop watering down the language.  "Awesome" no longer means inspiring great admiration, now it just means “Good.”
 “This pizza is awesome.”  Really? Does a slice of pizza inspire great admiration?
And you can’t use the words “epic” or “legendary” to express great admiration, they just mean “special.”
To properly express great admiration now, something is “Friggin awesome” or “Mother-friggin awesome”, or “really mother-friggin awesome.” 
You used to be able to properly emphasize a word by declaring it is “Actually” awesome, or “Actually” TERRIFYING, but currently everything is “actually” something.
“What kind of car do you drive?”
“I actually drive a Toyota.”
ACTUALLY? Really? Is the Toyota “awesome?”
The way we are diluting our language these days terrifies me.
The preceding was actually the opinion of a cranky old man and not necessarily that of management, the epically awesome Mrs. Cranky.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Only Thing I Really Want

The Only Thing I Really Want

I am a lucky guy.  In my older age, there is only one thing I really want.  Well, OK, a little extra cash would be nice, and everyone wants good health for themselves and their loved ones.  But beyond that I only want one thing.

OK, world peace would be nice, and a healthy economy.  Oh yeah, and an end to terrorism…but other than all that, I only lack one thing in my life.  That is, besides breaking 90 in golf, and averaging 190 in bowling, I only want one thing.  Playing guitar really well would be nice, and I wish I had a decent singing voice, but that is not the one thing I want that would make my life perfect…almost.

Did I mention a house at the shore…beach block?  That would be great, but that is not the one thing I really want.

Besides extra cash, good health, world peace, a strong economy, an end to terrorism, breaking 90 in golf and averaging 190 in bowling, playing guitar really well, a decent singing voice and a house at the shore on the beach block, I really, really want a wider driveway.

That’s it, a wider driveway.

We live in a town house.  It is a nice size for us, 2 ½ baths, a guest bedroom and a large master bedroom.  It has an eat-in kitchen, a family area and a living room and dining room that we almost never use.  We have a finished basement where I can hide from Mrs. Cranky and watch TV, exercise or practice guitar.  There is an association swimming pool in the summer, and it is a nice quiet neighborhood.  All is good, except we have a driveway that is only one car wide.

My car goes in the garage, Mrs. C parks behind in the driveway.  If I want to go anywhere, she has to move the car to let me out.  Then when I get back I park in the driveway behind Mrs. C.  When she has to go to work, I have to move my car to let her out.  It almost always seems that whenever anyone wants to go somewhere, they are blocked in because of our one car driveway.

I hear some of you asking, “Why don’t you just use whichever car is not blocked?” Good point.  Fine with me, but Mrs. C hates driving my Jeep, and she refuses to let me drive her car…she claims I adjust the seat and she never gets it back to where she wants it.  I know…get one of those computer seat setting things, maybe next car.

In the meantime, I only need one thing for life to be perfect, a two-car driveway…and maybe all that other stuff.

Life is good.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

I Hope You’re Happy

I Hope You’re Happy

I may have spoken in the past of Mrs. C’s tendency to be a hoarder.  If not, Mrs. C tends to be a hoarder*.  She is getting better, but still, she does have a problem letting things go.  If I threaten to toss some useless junk, her eyes gloss over and she gets a look of panic on her face.  We won’t be on that horrible hoarder TV show, but it is an issue.
The other day I was cleaning up some papers, tearing them up as they had some potentially sensitive numbers and information on them.  One page had no sensitive information on it and as I was about to tear it up, Mrs. C stopped me.
“I can use the blank side if I need to print something.”
“Oh please, that’s ridiculous, it’s a piece of paper, let me toss it.”
“It is a good piece of paper!”
This was not a battle worth fighting.
Fast forward a couple of days. 
We have a humidifier in our bedroom.  (We have forced hot air heating, and if you do not humidify the air you get dry skin and itchy scalp.) The humidifier broke down and we purchased an identical unit.  Mrs. C left the old unit for me to toss…sans the big globe that holds the water.
“Where is the water holding globe?”
“I’m not ready to throw it away yet.”
“Why the hell not?”
“In case the new plastic globe breaks.”
“You’re kidding!”
“Just leave it alone, I’ll take care of it.”
This was another battle not worth fighting; but I was annoyed that this globe that we would never use will take up space somewhere.  As I was fuming to myself, I saw the stupid piece of paper she did not want to throw away on top of a pile of similar stupid papers.
That’s right; I ripped it up and threw it away.
That night when Mrs. C came home from work she gave me that look.
“I hope your happy!”
I was pretty sure where this was going, but sometimes a wife will trick you.  Kind of like when a cop asks, “Do you know why I stopped you?”
I Played dumb, not wanting to admit to something she was not trying to have me confess.
“What are you talking about.”
“You threw away that piece of paper to spite me didn’t you!”
Damn, a borderline hoarder and a detective as well!!
“I hope you’re happy!”
I don’t know what or when, but there will be payback, and payback will be a bitch.

*Due to some comments I feel it necessary to reiterate, my wife is not an actual hoarder, we both just have very different ideas on the value of some objects.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Why I Dawdle

Why I Dawdle
I dawdle a lot.  Mrs. C is often upset with me because of this. 
“Would you get moving, we're late.  Why do you always dawdle?”
Actually, my dawdling is a subconscious act.  I do not intentionally dawdle, it is my subconscious saying I am forgetting something.  I may get half way out of the door but my mind tells me, “Slow down, you’re forgetting something.” “What,” I ask my subconscious mind.  “I don’t know, just slow down.” “Well this is ridiculous, I’m late and Mrs. C is getting pissed.”  “OK, but you are forgetting something.”
“Are you coming, why must you always dawdle?”
“OK, I’m coming, WAIT, my cell phone charger cord, my phone is almost dead!” “See, I knew you were forgetting something.”
And that is why I dawdle.  It is also why I am often late.  I just about get out the door and I think I am forgetting something.  Sometimes I am, and dawdling pays off.  Sometimes my subconscious mind is wrong.  “Wait, you are forgetting something.”  “I don’t think so.”  “I think you are, you better dawdle and go through the check list.”
This is where I stop and start to pat down all my pockets to see what I’ve forgotten. “Back left pocket…wallet: CHECK.  Back right pocket…handkerchief: CHECK. Left front pocket…bill fold: CHECK. Right front pocket…cell phone: CHECK. Jacket pocket…car keys: CHECK.  Shirt pocket…Cigarettes: NO! Wait idiot, you stopped smoking years ago. OK subconscious, shut up.”
Right or wrong, my subconscious always makes me late.  Sometimes even after I go through the check list I forget something.
“You’re forgetting something!”  “I don’t think so, I’ve gone through the check list, I have everything and I’m late.” “OK, if you’re sure.”
I have gone to the gym without socks, or a shirt, or even my gym bag altogether.  I’ve gone bowling without my bowling ball, left for the golf course without golf shoes or extra balls, taken the train without my monthly ticket or arrived at work without my ID badge (the last two before retirement).  “I told you so!”
The check list doesn’t cover everything.  Sometimes I just don’t dawdle enough.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Old Fashion Fireplace

Old Fashion Fireplace
Rick at Life 101 posted about his blind dog loving a fireplace.  This kicked off some un-cranky memories.  Rick’s posts do that a lot.
The Cranky’s current abode is a townhouse.  We have a wood burning fireplace in the living room, and a fake fireplace that runs on gas in our basement.  Our basement can get a chill, so I use the gas fireplace a lot.  It looks like a wood burning fireplace, it puts off a lot of warmth, but it does not smell like the good old wood burning fireplaces.
I’ve only used the real fireplace in the living room once.  We just don’t use that room, it does not have a TV and Mrs. C does not share my fondness for the real thing.  Also, we don’t have much of a yard for stacking logs.
I’ve always had a wood burning fireplace where I’ve lived.  I do miss using the real thing.  Yes, they are a lot of work, but that is part of what I miss.  I miss stacking fire wood after it is dropped off by a dealer.  There is nothing like several cords of wood neatly stacked along the entire back of your yard.  It just makes it like you are prepared for all that the Winter can throw at you.  There is something rewarding about  stacking wood.
It is nice to just flip a switch and watch a gas flame flare against some ceramic logs, but it is not rewarding.  I enjoyed crumpling up newspaper, then covering the paper with kindling and finally a log or three.  Then you light some paper and hold it up in the chimney until you are sure the smoke will draw properly. 
Lighting the paper, watching the kindling catch and then the logs, a small bellows helped fan the flames…the whole process was just take-you-back-to-the-old-days rewarding.  Then there was the smell.  I loved the smell of a fireplace fire, especially if you were working with good slow burning maple, oak or fruit wood logs.
Finally, there is the process of tending to the fire.  You have to poke it from time to time, turn it, and add logs as needed.  Often that meant a trip to the wood pile at night in the cold and through the snow.  That sounds like a chore, but it made you feel like a pioneer, like you were doing something to protect and keep your family warm.
I like modern conveniences.  I don’t miss washing dishes by hand.  I’ll a save time by popping corn in a microwave.  I prefer the K-cup coffee makers.  I won’t give up the automatic transmission in my car.
I do miss the ritual, the process and the ambiance of a good old wood burning fireplace.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Look out for the Indians

Look out for the Indians*
 This re-run is from February 2013

This is a story about my mom.  There is no particular reason for telling it other than it is a family favorite and I want to make sure it is captured in print as family lore.

I seem to tell more stories about my mom than I do of my dad.  My dad was a remarkable man, incredibly smart, strong, and trustworthy.  He was just a solid guy.  Mom was the Lucy to his Ricky.  Dad was interesting, mom was a hoot (GIYP.)

My father was a Chemical Engineer and the family moved wherever his job demanded.  In the 1940’s it took them to Tulsa, Oklahoma.  They had a small farm on the outskirts of the city, where they had horses and for spare cash they raised and sold vegetables that were grown in a “hydroponic” green house, one of the first in the country.

When they moved to Oklahoma, mom and dad were invited to a small “getting to know you” gathering.  Mom struck up a conversation with one of her new neighbors.

“So, we are from back east, where are you from.”

“Oh…my family has been in Oklahoma for over one hundred years.”

“Oh my goodness, how exciting.  I can’t imagine how it was as an early pioneer.  It must have been so difficult.  Weren’t they afraid of the Indians?”

“Oh I don't think so Ma’am; they were the Indians.”

That was the end of the story as my mom always told it.  I am sure she laughed and was not the least bit embarrassed.

I expect her “Indian” neighbor thought she was a hoot; everyone else did.
*feel free to substitute "Native American" if you just does not work the same for me.