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Monday, April 30, 2018



a cranky re-run from April 2014

The “Shaving Cream War” is from my self-published, little read book “I Used to be Stupid.”  This story comes in the middle of the book so some events and places may need explanation…probably not.  So here for your reading pleasure is the story of:


Freshman year at Lafayette College I was assigned to a painted cinder block room on the third floor of Marquis Hall.  When not studying or at class, I hung out with Frog and Dick Steifkin.  They both resided on the second floor.  We were all from Westfield so we had something in common.  We were only acquaintances in High School, but became good friends in College.

The three of us also became friends with Bruce Miller.  Bruce roomed on the fourth floor.  I am not sure how we met; I think it was Bruce who approached us.  Bruce was from Plainfield, our High School rival.  When he saw we were from Westfield he greeted us with some good natured ribbing about how lucky we were to have beaten their superior football team the year before.
We, of course, ribbed him back.  The back and forth ribbing led to friendship.  Bruce was very funny and a bit of a prankster.  We had some good times together.

One afternoon, Frog returned from class and found a huge sign on his door, “WESTFIELD SUCKS!!”  Had to be Miller he surmised.
Frog and Steifkin turned the sign around and inscribed in equally large letters, “WESTFIELD 14 – PLAINFIELD 12!!”  They took it to the fourth floor and duct taped it to Miller’s door.

Miller escalated. 

With Frog and Dick in their room, Miller snuck downstairs and sprayed a layer of shaving cream on the floor outside their door.  Miller knocked on the door and hid in the stairwell.  Steifkin answered the door, saw no one and stepped into the hall.  His bare feet stepped smack dab into the shaving cream.  The Woody Woodpecker laugh running up the stairs gave the culprit away….MILLER!!

Steifkin planned his retaliation.  He found a large manila envelope, filled it full of shaving cream and marched to Miller’s room on the fourth floor.  Placing the open end of the envelope slightly under Millers door, Steifkin stomped on it hard.  Shaving cream exploded into Miller’s room.

For some reason Bruce decided to one up this prank on me.  We generally did not lock our rooms, so access was easy.  While I was at class, Miller snuck into my room.  He then duct taped a full can of Gillette menthol over the entrance.  A string was taped to the nozzle and the other end of the string was attached to the back of the door.  A desk was moved in position to block the door such that it would only open at the max amount to pull the nozzle and yet not yank the can from the wall. The trap set, Miller retreated to his fourth floor lair.

I returned from class tired and a bit cranky.  I opened the door and stepped into the doorway.  First I heard the noise and then I felt the shaving cream.  Baffled by the stream of foul menthol smelling shaving cream, I stood motionless unaware of where the attack was coming.  I looked up and the mystery was solved by the constant blast of shaving cream now directly in my face.  By the time I moved and closed the door to stop the flow from above, I was covered head face and shoulders in Gillette menthol foam……MILLER!!

Without removing the shaving cream I immediately proceeded to the fourth floor and MILLER!  Looking somewhat like a rabid dog, I burst into Miller’s room.  Miller was expecting me.  He was sitting on the edge of the window sill with an evil smile on his face.

“I’m going to kill you, you fuck,” I blurted out, foam spraying from my mouth.  A prank such as this demanded that I at least shove a handful of shaving cream in the offenders face.  Miller should have accepted this without a fight, allowing me a face saving admission of his superior prank.  I was laughing as I announced I was going to kill him, so Miller knew I was there only to acknowledge his prank and get minimum (guy’s rule) payback.  Miller was not about to allow me this retribution.

Bruce leapt out the window onto the 14” ledge bordering the building.  He ran, not walked, not crept, but ran along the fourth floor ledge some thirty feet before escaping into the open window of another room.  I watched him run, laughing all the way with that mad man Woody Woodpecker laugh. I could not believe what I was seeing.  Miller ran bare foot along a fourteen inch ledge; certain death lay fifty feet below and he laughed the whole way.
Clearly the shaving cream war was over.

Maybe, I used to be stupid; Bruce Miller was crazy.

Whatever happened to Bruce?
If Google can be trusted, don’t you know he became a Psychiatrist!

Dr. Miller is Chief of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in the Department of Psychiatry. He supervises child psychiatry fellows in consultation-liaison psychiatry and child and family psychotherapy. He is an internationally recognized physician-scientist focusing on psychobiologic mechanisms by which child/adolescent stress and depression affects physical illness and somatization in children. His translational research program takes place in the Center for Child and Family Asthma Studies, (Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo) of which he is founder and co-director.

Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
1972 MD, Child Psychiatry
College of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey
1968 B.A., Biology
Lafayette College

Sunday, April 29, 2018

I Need a Computer Fix

I Need a Computer Fix

My computer crapped out Thursday.  It still worked, but the keyboard was dead.  I found a popup touchpad-type keyboard, but that was really a pain to try and use.  I needed a computer fix.

I took the machine to the Geek Squad.  These Geeks are computer savvy and pretty smart, or so it seems.  The thing about any subject where someone knows more than you, it is easy to think they know everything.  Most of these techs know a lot, almost no one knows everything.

The first guy that looked at my computer told me the keyboard was shot.  I would have to send it out and it would take maybe 4-6 weeks for them to replace a new keyboard. 

That was unacceptable.  I could buy a new cheap laptop (they are getting cheap if you don’t need a ton of fancy stuff and memory to store and watch movies and music) for almost as much as it would cost to fix my old laptop.  Beyond the cost, I really did not want to lose any files or go through the pain of resetting everything where I want it and restoring all my “Favorites.”

I explained to the guy that I did not think it was a hardware issue.  My battery ran down to zero as I thought it was charging, but I had a bad connection.  As soon as I plugged it in successfully, my keyboard did not function.  I thought this to not be a coincidence.  Another Geek was consulted and he agreed it was probably a software issue but I would still have to send it away for probably one to three days.

This was reluctantly acceptable.

I was without a computer for a day…I needed a fix.  I needed information and had nowhere to go, I needed a fix.  I needed to see who was blogging, I needed a fix.  I needed to post on my blog and read comments.  I needed a fix.  Without my computer being fixed, I needed a fix. 

The withdrawal pains were awful.

Friday I got a call, the keyboard was toast and my best cheapest solution would be a wireless keyboard as a replacement.  Crap!  I figured I would buy a new computer and go through the pains involved with getting things the way I like it, and also get a wireless keyboard and be a multi computer owner. 

I told the guy on the phone,

“Crap, I really still believe it is not hardware, it is just too much of a coincidence for the keyboard to crap out the exact time that my battery went to zero.”

Geek on the phone gave me a bull shit explanation how it could happen and I resigned myself to plan “b.”

An hour later I got a call from the same Geek. 

“Good news, It’s fixed, when you told me about the battery I figured it out and found the issue.”

“Excellent!  Thank you.” 

I did not mention my disgust that Geek-one did not pass on the battery information to Geek-two, I was just glad Geek-two fixed the problem.

Saturday afternoon I picked up the computer.  Keyboard works, no files lost.  I had to remember or get a bunch of new passwords for several applications, that was painful, but not horrible…OK it border-line horrible.

I’ve spent several hours getting a computer fix with my fixed computer. It is a warm glow of relief. 

I don’t ever want to be in need of a fix again.  

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

What makes Women So Special?

What makes Women So Special?

I often hear women claim men are wimps because they could never endure the pains and discomfort of carrying and creating a baby for nine months and then suffer the pain of child birth.
Granted, several months of throwing up must be very uncomfortable.  Having various foods make you ill is inconvenient. Carrying extra weight around, being bloated, having back pain and bladder issues are all things that men would complain about far more than any woman. Passing a head many times larger than the orifice of exit? I’m pretty sure a man would faint a few times during this process.
All these things and more are excellent arguments for women being special and tougher than men, but it misses the most impressive point. 
Once conception takes place the woman has no choice but to go through with the process (yes, I know, abortion is an option, but for sake of this post lets leave that out of the discussion).
I believe that if he had to, a man could and would go through all the pain and discomfort associated with child birth.  When you have no choice, you can endure pain and discomfort, have no choice, so I believe men could undergo childbirth if it was possible.
The truly amazing thing about women that does not get enough attention, is not their ability to endure the morning sickness, tiredness, bloating, back pain, bladder issues of developing a baby and the incredibly pain and endurance during many hours of delivering a baby. 
No, it is something else that makes women so amazing.  There is something that women do that almost no man in the world ever would or could do.
What is this thing that women do?
Within a year, and sometimes even within only a few months of going through nine months of discomfort and several hours of the most intense pain and torture imaginable, women will say,
“Let’s do that again!”
Yes, just think about it; sure it takes guts and stamina and dedication to have a baby, but experiencing how difficult and painful the process is and to then want to do it again?
That is really what makes women special!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

A Visit To Broadway

A Visit To Broadway
Last Saturday we went to a Broadway matinee.  We went with Bill and Hillary to see “Children of a Lesser God.”  No, not that Bill and Hillary. My old college friend Bill, known more often in this blog as Frog, and his wife Hillary.  I just like saying Bill and Hillary instead of Frog and Hillary.

It was a nice day.  The train and then the subway get us to the theater in about an hour and a half.  I worked downtown for forty years, but I am lost uptown, I just follow Mrs. C.
The play is about a school for the deaf, and in particular an instructor teaching one very smart but reluctant young lady to speak.  He fails, but they do fall in love.  Problems between the deaf world and the hearing world ensue.
Before the show, Mrs. C and I watched the movie, the one where Marlee Matlin won an Oscar.  The movie was pretty good if a bit too long.  The play was too long and not so good.  I fell asleep for half of the first act, a nap that cost me about $50 based on the ticket price.
When we watched the movie, I remarked how it would be interesting to see how they do all the different scenes in the play.  It turned out to be not so interesting.  The stage was all grey.  The only changes were two benches that popped up and down while the audience was forced to figure out if the scene was in school, home, a duck pond or a restaurant. 
Several actors were hard of hearing (naturally) and it was a little difficult understanding them sometimes.  The theater displayed the lines above the stage to help with this, but the displayed lines were poorly timed with the actors delivery, adding to the confusion.
It was interesting to see actors having to know the lines and also the signing.  They were very good in roles I thought pretty difficult. 
I did learn how to sign “Bull Shit.”
The theater experience was fun and along with the nap we had a good time.  Truth be told, and this is not very PC, especially for a play about such a sensitive subject, but the play…er…well sucked.
After the play we went to dinner at…I forget the name, but it was really good and reasonably priced.  It is pretty hard to find a restaurant in Manhattan that is not really good.  Any restaurant that is just fair, or way overpriced will not be in business for long as there is so much great competition in Manhattan. 
There was a famous person eating across from us, we could not figure out who he was, but we were pretty sure he was someone sort of famous.  Frog wanted to ask for his autograph to find out who he was, but how do you ask when you don’t know his name?
“Excuse me, may I have your autograph Mr. um famous person we think?”
He may have just been someone we saw on the subway earlier.
Horrible Mediocre play notwithstanding, it was a good day out and we enjoyed our weekend with Bill (Frog) and Hillary.

Monday, April 23, 2018


A cranky re-run from April 2014

Does anyone remember typing?  I took typing in high school.  Do they still teach that? It probably comes right before Latin and after Home Economics.  Maybe not.  Hell, I understand they don’t even teach longhand anymore.  How about that? Longhand? Longhand became script, which became cursive, which became extinct.  I’m so friggin old that I refer to an extinct writing technique three generations before its demise.


I learned to type on a manual machine.  Why did they put the “a” so flipping far away?  I had to whack that thing with my pinky, the weakest of all fingers.  All my “a’s” were two shades lighter than the rest of my letters. 

At home we had an old Remington from the 1930’s.  The keys used to stick together if you hit them too rapidly: clack…clack…clackclack…”Fuck.”  You had to stop and flick those letters back manually.  Usually happened with “the” damn I could type “the” fast.

Typing 60 words a minute was the standard of excellence.  I got up to 40 not counting errors.  They took away 5 words for errors.  Counting errors I typed about -12 words a minute. 

My mom could type about 65 a minute counting errors which she made none.  That was on the old Remington.  A real typist did not make errors in those days.  If you made an error, erasures looked crappy, and white-out was still a snow storm.  Even white-out was not acceptable for a formal letter.  And don’t even get me started on carbon copies.  If you made one mistake you actually made three errors when you were using carbon copies. 

By the way young people, that is what the cc stands for when you cc someone.

Then there was the ink ribbon.  My mom couldn’t change the film in a camera, but she could change a typewriter ribbon in minutes and never even smudge her hand. 

I remember when my pops brought home an IBM Selectric he got from work.  Damn that thing could fly, and no locked up keys, the letters were all on one ball.  You could change the ball and type with a different font…Imagine that! Mom did not like that typewriter.  She preferred the old Remington.  I think she felt the IBM was cheating; it diminished the value of her skill.

Mom could “carriage return line feed” like you would not believe.  It was a thing of beauty. Left hand up, flick of the wrist, and back down into perfect QWERTY position without losing any of that clack…clack rhythm.  The IBM took a single electric key touch to create the same effect.  Mom preferred the wrist flick…“That new return thing throws my timing all off!”

The typing skill was so marginalized by IBM electrics, white-out, and finally computers that can simply back up and retype or even auto correct that it is now completely gone the way of longhand.  They even took away the keyboard clack. 

Early computers made the keys clack.  I think all the really good typists needed the clack to find their rhythm.  When the typists became obsolete, they took the clack away.

Why am I writing about all this?

I don’t know. 

Why did you read it?

Sunday, April 22, 2018


It is Time Again For

This week’s stupid headlines and my stupider, sometimes sophomoric comments.
Boston Marathon says trans women can compete as women, raising questions about possible advantages – Because who wouldn’t change their genitals in order to gain an advantage in a race?
Snake sex party discovered after Florida python implanted with tracking device – Snake sex party?  Was this a party of snakes or was a snake used in a sex party…I don’t want to know!
Man, 80, accidentally records himself admitting to killing Missouri lawyer who sued him – Dag nab fancy new gizmos!
Delta flight makes emergency landing: 'We left a tire in NYC – Plane headed for Richmond landed in Washington.  Why couldn’t it make an emergency landing 120 miles away in Richmond?  Do planes that are missing a tire land better in Washington than in Richmond?
New upright airplane 'seats' would allow for 'ultra-high density' flights – Why not just put in those subway poles for multiple people to grab on to, “Attention passengers, we are experiencing turbulence, please fasten your seat belt, or hold on real tight to the pole.”
Cat adopted after walking 12 miles back to family who then tried to have him euthanized – I am not a cat person, but these people are really cold!
Christie's official portrait to cost taxpayers $85K: report – In the ex-governor’s defense, it took a LOT of paint!
After calling Barbara Bush an ‘amazing racist,’ a professor taunts critics: ‘I will never be fired’ – Perhaps, but you will also always be fat and ugly…and stupid!
Kim Kardashian's bikini pic body-shamed by users mocking her toe – I’m not a fan of the K’s, but I have to ask, who the hell is looking at her toes?
4 Things You Should Never Ask While Being Interviewed – I know from experience that asking, “Do you allow booze in the office?” should not be asked on the first interview.
Majority of Americans utter curse words when stressed out, study finds – Number one I think this is complete bull shit, number two, what dumb ass would give a fuck about such stupid issue.
One Armed Three-Year-Old Plays Golf – I don’t care if you like golf or not, if this doesn’t give you a warm glow, you have no heart.
Come Back Next Week For More


Friday, April 20, 2018

I Hate Starbucks

I Hate Starbucks
A cranky opinion for
The following is the opinion of a cranky old man with no expertise in the topic opined.  Opposing opinions are welcome, but they are wrong.  As always, please, no name calling, and that means you, you big stupid-head! 
I hate Starbucks.  I hate Starbucks because their coffee is too strong.
I hate Starbucks because it is so damn expensive.
I hate Starbucks because Starbucks is young and hip and I am old and cranky.
Is that a fair reason to hate Starbucks? Maybe not, still, I hate Starbucks.
Because I hate Starbucks, it pains me to come to their defense.
Starbucks is in the news lately because they called the police on two men who were doing nothing wrong while in one of their establishments. 
It seems two men entered this establishment and asked to use the rest room.  They were told only paying customers could use the restroom.  The two men then hung around the restaurant apparently waiting for someone.  They were asked to leave, they refused, the manager called the police and they were arrested tor trespassing.
The men that were arrested were African American and this has become a racial incident.  The manager was fired.  The CEO of Starbucks is apologizing all over the place and has even met with the two men to ask their help in resolving the issue and assist in ending systematic racism in Starbuck’s corporate culture.
Now I am thinking, I have gone into a McDonalds many times while traveling and used the bathroom without asking.  Most times I still bought lunch, but not always.  Their bathrooms are always open.  The fact these men asked to use the bathroom tells me the room is locked.
If they are locked it suggests to me that these restrooms have been misused in the past by non-patrons.  Maybe they were damaged, maybe the homeless used them to bathe, maybe they were used to take drugs…who knows, but it seems to me that it should be an establishment’s right to not have open bathrooms for anyone to use at the possible detriment to their paying customers.
I also don’t know why anyone would be allowed to take up a table in a restaurant and not purchase anything.  I would never walk into a restaurant and ask for a table for two, and then not order anything.
“No thanks, we’re just waiting for a friend and then we’re leaving.”
If I wanted to use the bathroom and then wait for a friend and was told I needed to be a paying customer, I would buy a cup of coffee.  Most people would buy a cup of coffee.  Anyone who just refused to buy anything or leave is suspicious to me.
Apparently Starbucks is a known place to sip coffee and dawdle, work on your computer, kill time between appointments etc.; but at least, buy a cup of coffee.
Is Starbucks racist?  Not for this incident. 
I have read claims that white people have used this same Starbucks without purchasing anything.  If white people are using the restroom and not buying anything, if white people are hanging around just killing time without buying anything and they are not given the bum’s rush, then yeah, Starbucks is racist. 
But, you ask, “Even if the white people are polite and these African Americans gentlemen copped an attitude?” 
Hell yes, white people would cop an attitude too if based on previous experiences they had reason to believe they were being discriminated against. 
Starbucks should kick out anyone, white or black who is just loitering. If they discriminate and allow whites to dawdle without buying anything then they are racist and I hate Starbucks. 
If they assert this policy equally, then they are not racist.
I still hate Starbucks because their coffee is too strong, it is so damn expensive, and because I am old and Starbucks is young and hip.
The preceding was the opinion of a cranky old man, and not necessarily that of management…Mrs. Cranky.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

TV With Mrs. Cranky

TV With Mrs. Cranky
The other night I was in bed watching TV with Mrs. Cranky and a commercial came on that just set me off.
A young man walks into his parent’s bedroom to let them know he just had a “minor fender-bender in a way-too narrow drive thru.”  He relates that he has called the insurance company and goes on about how great this company is in resolving any problems…I assume this was the commercial portion. 
"I had a minor fender-bender"
Mind you this kid is clearly not a dope-head, had obviously not been drinking, and appeared to be a level headed young man probably, by appearance, an honor student and tuba player in the band.  Mid-way through his accident explanation the mom calmly spits out, “Four weeks without the car!” and the kid meekly replies, “Oh, OK, thanks” and slinks out of the room.
"Four weeks no car!"
I, as sometimes is my wont, went off on this commercial.
“What the hell!  Is that supposed to be ‘good parenting?’ The kid has a minor accident and you ground him? Don’t ask is he ok, don’t ask what the damage is, just show how tough you are and ground him for a month!  Whoopie, aren’t you parent of the year!”
“It’s just a commercial.”
“I don’t care, it pisses me off, these commercials and TV shows are always demonstrating how to be the tough parent with a teenager, I guarantee none of these writers have ever had a teenager; if they did they would  appreciate what a good polite kid this is!”
“It’s just a commercial.”
“I don’t care, it sends a message about parenting that is just unfair, unreal, and stupid; and why doesn’t the kid act like a real teenager and start whining, ‘Ah mom four weeks, that is so unfair!’  I’ll tell you why, because the TV parent always says, ‘Want to go for eight weeks?’  and the kid whimps out…which is also ridiculous.” 
Reality would be:
“What, four weeks, you can’t stop me for four weeks, just try.”
“Now it’s eight weeks young man.”
“Fine, I hate you, I wish you were dead and I was never born, you are ruining my life, and by the way the accident was not even my fault and no, I am not hurt, as if you care. I’m going over to Bobby’s house and watch porn and smoke pot because he has cool parents.”

"Way to go; nice parenting, see you on Dr. Phil jerkweeds!"
“It’s just commercial.”
“Oh yeah, but it still annoys me.”
“I know; it’s ok.”
I may get carried away from time to time.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The Golf Ball

The Golf Ball
I’m going to steal another story from my brother, Chris, the retired Judge.  I’m stealing it because I like the story, I’m running low on material, and he doesn’t have a blog so why not?

Years ago, before Chris was nominated for a Federal Judge Position by President Clinton, he was nominated by the first George Bush.  That nomination never went through the confirmation process because a Mr. Joe Biden held it up until after the election won by Bill Clinton, at which point it was buried.  It seems as if that political game has been going on for a long time.
A year or so later, before his successful appointment, Chris was playing golf with his wife and other friends when the secret service asked them to hold up and let ex-President Bush play through.
My brother introduced himself to the ex- President and brought up his disappointment that President Bush’s appointment never went to review.  President Bush commented that the election did not work out so well for himself either. 
President Bush then handed a golf ball to Chris’s wife.  A golf ball embossed with the Presidential seal…very cool.  My sis-in-law, Stewart, then handed that ball to another member of their foursome.
When Chris realized she had given this special ball away he was noticeably upset.  Stewart said, “Not to worry,”
She went up to the ex-President as he was about to tee off and with her best Georgia southern charm (and she has plenty of that charm), asked,
“Mr. President, I wonder if you would trade another of your Presidential Seal golf balls for a brand new Titleist One ball?”
Now, it would have been very cool if the President had just given out one more special Presidential Seal golf ball for the asking, but for some reason I think it extra cool that the President gladly accepted the Titleist One ball in trade.
The golf ball with the Presidential seal currently has a special place in my brother’s trophy case. 
I suspect the Titleist One that was given in trade is somewhere on the bottom of a golf course lake.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The Humidifier Part 2

The Humidifier Part 2
I recently posted about a fight I had with our bedroom humidifier.  This is the contraption that only Mrs. C fills every night as when I touch it, it malfunctions.  A few weeks ago, Mrs. C was away and I could not get the contraption to work without giving it a quick kick.
The other night Mrs. C had trouble with the dang thing.  She filled it and hit the switch and it did not come on.  I told her to kick it and that didn’t work.  I then emptied the base of its residual water, replaced the water container and turned it on…it worked!
In the past Mrs. C has claimed that whatever I touch gets busted.  I really wanted to rib her about the fact that it would not work for her either and that in fact I fixed it, but I know better than to poke the bear and left well enough alone.
Tonight, the humidifier again refused to work without a lot of fussing around with it.  I commented,
“I don’t know why it does that, it doesn’t make any sense does it?”
“No, it doesn’t.”
“I must say though, it makes me feel a little better that you have a problem with it also, it proves it is not just me.”
“Well there was never a problem until you touched it!”
When I win, I still lose.
At least she didn’t call me a jerk.