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Friday, October 18, 2019

Shhhh! Don’t tell a Soul


Shhhh! Don’t tell a Soul

Mrs. C and I go out to eat two or three times a week.  Mrs. C works three nights a week and doesn’t like to cook on her nights off.  We don’t do fancy, generally some local restaurants and a few of the Highway Chain restaurants.

A few weeks ago, during dinner, I was admiring my wine glass at one of those restaurants.  The restaurants logo was etched in the glass.

“I really like theses glasses; I wonder if they have them for sale?”

“I doubt it, I didn’t see any on display.”

I did not the pursue the subject any further.

After dinner, Mrs. C ordered a carrot cake to go.  The waitress returned with the check and the cake container in a paper bag.

“What are you leaving as a tip?”

“Twenty percent…why.”

“Add an extra two dollars.”

“Why?”

“Just add an extra $2”

“OK.”

We paid the bill and left.   When we got in the car, I grabbed the bag with the dessert.  It felt funny.  I peeked in.

“No way, you took the wine glass!”

“You liked it.  That’s why I said to tip the waitress an extra $2…so you wouldn’t feel guilty.”

“I’ve never stole anything in my life except a 30-cent yoyo from JJ Newberry’s, and that is when I was 12.  They went out of business or I would go back today and give them the thirty cents.”

“The wine glass will not put the restaurant out of business, it will just be written off as ‘breakage.’”

“Still, it’s not right…but the glass is cool.”

We have since collected wine glasses from “Bonefish”, “Longhorns” and tonight we scored at “Outback.”

The glasses are nice, but I do feel pretty guilty even if we do give the waitress an extra tip.  The guilt tends to eat away at me.  I do not like stealing.

Next week we are going to “Red Lobster.”


Thursday, October 17, 2019

The World Series Back in the Day


The World Series Back in the Day

 Do you remember back in the day when Major League Baseball was two eight team leagues, no divisions, no wild card game or division titles?

American and National league, you win the league in the regular season and you made it to the World Series.

In the fifties and early sixties, the Yankees almost always were in the World Series.  All the games were played during the day.  The World Series was over by mid-October.  There were no games played in late October nights in below 40-degree weather.  It was baseball in baseball season as it should be.

The problem for us school age kids was we did not get to see the games during the week.  The games started at 1 PM, school ended at 2:30.  When the bell rang there was a mad dash to get home and see the final innings on TV (Games took only about 2 - 2 1/2 hours then, not sure why they take 4 hours today).

In my school there were always one or two kids listening to the game on a transistor radio.  An ear piece was run through a long sleeve plugged into the radio which was in a pocket.  Hand on ear the student listened to the game and relayed scores during class via hand signals.

We thought we were so smart getting one over on the teachers.  I  have since learned that the teachers knew and allowed what was going on; they wanted to know the scores as well.

Still, everyone played along and when a hand signal indicated that Mickey Mantle had hit a three-run homer the entire class exploded into a silent cheer.  I guess we missed the teacher's quiet fist pump into the air.

I am told some teachers in some schools allowed the game to be shown on a classroom TV.  I was never that lucky.

When I started working, watching the day games was still an issue.

I was working on Wall Street when the Mets won the World Series in 1969.  We did bring in a small portable TV to watch the final game while we worked.  When the Mets won, windows on Wall Street opened and a lot of paper trade records were lost in a spontaneous “Ticker Tape” parade.  Rumor has it a few adding machines and Rolodexes were also tossed along with the paper.  The Mets were called the Miracle Mets; no one getting beaned during the celebration was also a miracle.

I remember watching Thurman Munson winning a division series for the Yankees with a home run.  I was in a Wall Street bar after work.  The bar and downtown exploded with that hit.

It was crappy that we could not watch many of the World Series games back when they were played in the daytime, but finding a way to follow the game while at school or work somehow made the game more interesting.  The comradery of class and work mates all rooting for the same team was more fun than watching at night with a wife who could care less who wins.

Being able to watch all the games at night is great; yet it is funny how when you gain something,  you also miss what you lost.   


Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Prescription Renewal


Prescription Renewal
My doctor has been telling me to take a statin drug to lower my cholesterol.  I have been balking at this because my cholesterol was only borderline high and I’ve known people with complaints like muscle pain from this drug.

My doctor recently convinced me that my count was not borderline, but was in fact very high.  I gave in and have been taking the drug at the lowest dose.

I have not since checked my cholesterol level, but have noticed that my blood pressure has dropped from borderline high to just about right.  I haven’t experienced muscle issues and my golf score has come down about 6 strokes (the stuff is supposed to prevent strokes so…)

Yesterday I went to my local pharmacy to get a refill.  I was told they needed to check with my doctor, but while they were doing so electronically, I should make a follow up to my doctor.

I called on a semi-holiday and got an answering machine, so I waited one more day.  Today I called and got the machine but did not have the pharmacy phone number handy which they needed.  I called later with all information handy and got the office, not the machine.

“Doctor’s office, please hold.” Pretty sure it was Lily Tomlin on the phone.

Damn, this time I was hoping for the machine.

After five minutes of hearing an occasional ‘boop’ I heard Lily answer,

“Doctor’s office please continue to hold.”

I was glad this was not an emergency.

Finally, I got the office.

“Doctor’s office, thank you for waiting.”

“Yes, I need a prescription refill.”

“Name?”

“Hagy.”

“What is the prescription?”

“That cholesterol reducing stuff.”

“Resterophambolisticularistofan?”

“Is that cholesterol reducing stuff?”

“Yes.”

“Then yes.”

“Did the pharmacy put in a request?”

“They said they would electronically, but that I should also call.”

With distain, “They shouldn’t do that!!”

Perturbed, “I just do what I’m told, should I go back and tell them they shouldn’t do that?”

“I’ll check.”

Five minutes later.

“My Hagy?”

“Yes”

With distain “You need to call the pharmacy because we approved that electronically yesterday!”

Apologetically “I did say they were putting in the request, I am just following up, thank you.”

With disdain “Well check with them, we did everything already, I don’t know why you are calling!”

Feeling like I did something wrong (and with a touch of F-you sarcasm“I guess I am just a jerk! Thanks, I will check with them.”

Sheesh! Some things that should be easy. 

I’ll bet my blood pressure is through the roof now.






Tuesday, October 15, 2019

I LOVE MY YANKEES, But OMG


I LOVE MY YANKEES, But OMG
My Yankees are fighting to make it to the World Series.  They are playing the Houston Astros, a damn good team.  Now I love my Yankees, but, Holy Cow (as the beloved Phil Rizzuto would say) they cannot stay healthy.

I understand athletes getting hurt.  Baseball is not a contact sport, but there are balls flying around from pitchers or off bats at up to 115 MPH.  People do get hurt.  There are walls to be run into at full speed, people do get hurt.  There are collisions between players racing for a fly ball, or barreling in to home plate, people do get hurt.

My Yankees have had almost everyone of their star players hurt for a month or more this year. 

How have they been hurt?

One was hurt diving to third base to avoid a pickoff throw…out for the season.  One was hurt sliding into second base on a steal attempt…out for a month.  Several were hurt running to first base trying to beat out a ground ball hit...out for two weeks.  One was hurt throwing the ball to second base from center field…Out for 6 weeks.  One player missed a month because he hurt his arm swinging the bat…on a base hit!

Running, sliding, throwing, and swinging a bat…these are all basic baseball skills and my Yankees keep getting hurt doing these basic skills.

Mickey Mantle spent an hour before every game tapping up his legs which were hurt from a childhood disease and an accident tripping on a sprinkler in the outfield.  The Mick played hurt…(and sometimes drunk but that’s another story.)

I do not remember Yogi Berra who played catcher, the toughest position in the game, ever being hurt.  I don’t think Whitey Ford ever missed a start, 15 years, and he was never hurt.

Why did those old ball players always play, never got hurt, and today’s Yankees get hurt throwing, running and swinging a bat?  Pretty sure those old Yankees also threw, ran and swung bats.

Might be because those old ball players didn’t make as much money as they do today.  Many had other jobs in the off-season.  When they make or have the potential to make 30 million dollars a year, players today might be a bit more protective of their careers.  Playing in pain or playing through an injury could ruin a career and cost more money than most people can wrap their heads around.

I get it!

Still.

Throwing, running, sliding and swinging a bat should not cause an injury.  If you can’t run, throw, slide or swing a bat without getting hurt maybe you are in the wrong game.

Yankees are down to the Astros 2-1...damn Houston is good!     

Monday, October 14, 2019

THE THROW-UP BOWL

THE THROW-UP BOWL

Do all families have a “throw-up bowl,” or is it just mine?  When I was a kid ours was a large yellow bowl.  I never thought about it growing up, but how did this bowl become the throw-up bowl?

I’m pretty sure my parents did not get it as a wedding present. 

“What is this?  Oh wait, I know, it’s a throw-up bowl.”

“Oooh! Pretty!”

No, no one registers for a throw-up bowl at Fortunoff's.  Bowls are not marketed and sold as “throw-up bowls.” 

The throw-up bowl could have been used as a mixing bowl, but no, it had one use and one use only.  It was located in the front of a cabinet where the shortest family member could reach it when needed.  With three growing boys it was used in my family a lot.

“Mom, I don’t feel so good.”

“Does your tummy hurt?”

“Yes.”

“JIM, CHRIS, get the throw-up bowl…QUICK!”

No one ever asked, “Which bowl mom?” or “Where is it?” Everyone knew what it was and where to find the throw-up bowl.  Twice a year we had throw-up bowl drills. 

Years later, married and with my first child I realized how the throw-up bowl was chosen.  My daughter was two and feeling sick.

“Is it your tummy honey?”

“Yes.”

“Hold on, I’ll be right back.”  
I raced downstairs to the kitchen, grabbed the first bowl I could find, a big yellow mixing bowl, and raced upstairs.

The wife wanted to know, “Where are you going with that bowl.”

“Just a minute, Mary Beth is sick.”

“Wait, that’s my best mixing bowl!”

“ARRRGAH, ARRgah, Arg.”

“Not my mixing bowl, that’s my best bowl!”

“AARRGAH, AARRG, Arg, arg, ar.”

“Well...it’s the throw-up bowl now.”

We bought a new mixing bowl, but it never got as much use as that big yellow throw-up bowl.

After my first divorce I somehow got custody of the big yellow bowl.  My children were basically grown and out of the throw-up stage, but I still kept that bowl where it was easily reached.

Mrs. Wife #2 made terrific Irish soda bread.  On our first St. Paddy’s Day she made a batch.  I cut a slice, slathered it with butter, and was about to take a bite when I noticed the yellow bowl in the sink.

“I can’t eat this.”

“Why not, it’s good.”

“You made it in the throw-up bowl!”

“EEEWWWW!”

We discarded that batch of soda bread. 

We put the yellow bowl away, never to be used again…until we had Spencer.

Does every family with children have a throw-up bowl?  Are they always yellow?

Re-run from November 2013

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Napus Interuptus!


Napus Interuptus!
Not real, but a Stunt Cranky
Saturday, I came home from a difficult afternoon of practicing golf. 

Chipping, putting and hitting at the range for almost an hour in the 60 degree fall New Jersey heat was exhausting.

Mrs. C was back from a Zumba class and was puttering around the kitchen.

“I’m going downstairs to watch the game.”

“Enjoy.”

It was a good game, Texas vs. Oklahoma.  I root for Oklahoma as I spent the first 8 months of my life in Oklahoma.  I don’t really remember the state very much, but I’ve never lived in Texas so…

Generally, Saturday afternoon watching college football is nap time.  Mrs. C knows this well.

A little after the first quarter I drifted off.  I had hit a dream three wood on the par 5 fourth hole when Mrs. C hollered.

“JOE!!”

Actually, it was more of a screech than a holler.

“WHAT?” I hollered back as I almost jumped out of my seat and missed a dream eagle putt.

“Before you fall asleep, take the laundry out of the dryer.”

“Are you kidding me?  If I take the laundry out, I have to also fold it.  That will take 15 minutes at least.  Fifteen minutes will completely ruin any nap opportunity.”

“Well take it out after your nap!”

“Thanks to you, that ship has sailed!”

“Sorry.”

Actually, it turns out the ship was still at dock and I eventually enjoyed a wonderful nap.  I woke up just in time to see Oklahoma take a knee and win their game.

I then took out the laundry and folded it.

It was a good day, and a good nap; but because of napus interruptus, I missed a dream eagle on the par 5 fourth.

Friday, October 11, 2019

A Slippery Slope


A Slippery Slope
There are several “old saws”, words of wisdom that are used to make a point while wrapping up a discussion, that make me wince.

My dad used to call them “wet blanket” comments, as they extinguished the fire of any thought.

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” 

This is true when talking about jumping off a cliff, flapping your arms and trying to fly; or trying to walk on water; or trying to argue with your wife; but is a toddler trying to stand and walk after falling on his butt insanity?  Is trying over and over again to hit a golf ball straight insanity? (OK, the last one might be a bad example.)

Maybe insanity is trying to do something twice, failing and giving up. 

“If at first you don’t succeed…”

Here is one that always chaps my lips.

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Hmmm…the model T ran pretty well, why change it?  Propeller driven planes work great, why mess with jets?  The land line phone is a miracle, who needs a cell phone?

“If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” made many a boss where I used to work sound brilliant while they shut down any creative thought.  I always wanted to shout back, “Shut the f*ck up you wet blanket!” However, I liked having a job.

This one is the aluminum foil on my fillings,

“It is a slippery slope!”

Anytime a rule or law is slightly encroached, I hear It is a slippery slope to not enforce the rule to the nth degree", as an explanation for not being allowed to use common sense.

A school has a rule against guns, even toy guns in school.  Good rule, but when a six-year-old makes a pointy finger gun while playing at recess, does he need to be suspended?  “It is a slippery slope” “a rule is a rule.”

No, it is not, and you are a moron!

The NFL has a rule against slogans on players equipment, for instance “Vote Swartz for President” on your helmet is not allowed.  Understandable; but why is “Man of God” on a headband under a helmet an issue?  The NFL has ruled it is. 

“It is a slippery slope, if we allow one slogan, all slogans will become acceptable.”

No, it is not, and you are a moron!

It is called common sense.  The ability to recognize something that could be a problem, and something that might skirt the rule but is in no way an issue.  It is common sense; using your brain; the ability to understand nuances and make intelligent decisions.

Are there people around that will want to argue that any incursion of a rule must be enforced?  Why yes, yes there are.  These people need to be told,

“Shut the f*ck up.”

Enforcing every rule or law without regard to circumstance or nuance is a slippery slope to ignorance. 

Steel that is too ridged will snap under stress.  Rules or ideas that will not bend lead to a society of automatons.

“A slippery slope”, can be a slippery slope.   

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Different Strokes


Different Strokes
I recently got into a small discussion with a very nice lady who insisted that I “Simply must see 'Hamilton'” the popular Broadway play.

I am sure it must be a wonderful play, but I am not that fond of Broadway or musical theater.  In generally I will not see anything that I am told “I must see” and definitely will never go out of my way to see something that “I SIMPLY must see!”

That’s just me… the going ticket price of $500 for a so-so seat also factors into my decision. 

I told this nice lady that that is just not my thing, just as I am pretty sure my love of “reality TV” is probably not her thing.

She made a face.

I said, 

“Why the face; different entertainment exists because people have different tastes.  Some people lean towards ‘Sophisticated’ forms of entertainment.  Some people ‘like’ entertainment that they are told 'They SIMPLY must see' because they do not want to appear unsophisticated."  

If I am anything, it is not sophisticated.

Not necessarily proud of that, it is just fact.

“You need to try things before you make judgment, you would love ‘Hamilton’!”

“Perhaps I would, much like you might like WWE Wrestling if you gave it a chance.”

Another face.

“You know, don’t you, that WWE Wrestling is not real!”

“Really, I did not know that.  And I guess our founding fathers wrote the constitution in sing-song;  used RAP instead of talking, and oh…was Alexander Hamilton black?”

“That’s different!”

“So are our tastes.  Enjoy your sing-song plays.  I prefer people saying, ‘I am off to Boston’ instead of hearing them sing the same dialog to fake almost musical talking…That’s just me.”

“It is more than just sing-song lyrics, it is art!”

“And getting wacked upside the head with a two-by-four and getting back up to deliver a double flip off the ropes into a suplex for a winning pin is also art!”
Another face!

We ultimately agreed to disagree…actually she left in a bit of a huff.

I’m waiting for the movie version of “Hamilton” to come on TV so I can avoid it for free.

Different strokes.


Monday, October 7, 2019

HOW TO PLAY WITH TOYS

HOW TO PLAY WITH TOYS
There are toys of every size and shape for toddlers.  Most are designed by the toy maker with a specific purpose in mind.  Some are educational; some are for developing coordination, and some teach socialization.

It is very important that your toddler uses these toys as they were intended.  If you want your toddler to develop to his full potential, to learn his letters, colors, animals, to develop physically and learn social skills, it is very important that they play with all their toys the way the toy makers intended.

I cannot stress the importance of this enough!  Most toys come with instructions and pictures demonstrating how a toy is to be used.  Improper use of toys can slow your toddler’s development and even leave him (her) confused and frustrated.  Parents should always monitor their toddler and be sure that all toys are used correctly.  If necessary you may have to demonstrate to your toddler how to use a toy correctly.  

Cole and Connor have a wonderful toddler table.  It is intended for quiet play.  The surface is for coloring books or playing with blocks.  In the center of this table there is a circular sack that is perfect for holding crayons or blocks until the boys wish to use them.  This is the perfect place for the boys to learn to color and learn to build with their blocks.


Cole and Connor may need some guidance.
This Cranky rerun is from October 2012

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Who Wants it More?


Who Wants it More?

I was just reading an article about an upcoming football game.  One of the quotes from a coach was,

“It will all come down to who wants it more.”

This has always been my favorite bull-dinky coach comment.  Just incase your team loses, you can just say,

“The other team wanted to win more.”

Sort of hard to disprove I guess, but what does it really mean.

I remember when I was in high school playing football, and I must have heard a thousand times,

“You guys don’t want it bad enough!”

Like that is supposed to get a player to try harder.

“You don’t want it bad enough”, or “They just want to win more than you do” is a coaches way of saying, “It’s not my fault, I coached the hell out of you and I have a great game plan, if you lose it is your fault.”

I suppose coaches think they are inspiring their players.  Sometimes inspiration works…for maybe five or ten minutes, usually inspiration loses to superior players.

When I was a 170-pound high school defensive tackle, and a 230-pound offensive lineman pushed me around the field, he didn’t do that because he wanted it more than me, he pushed me around because HE COULD. 

A sporting event is won or lost because one team is just better.  Maybe they are just a little better on a given day, maybe they just caught a few lucky breaks, but a team never wins because they wanted to win more than the other team.  That is especially true when the game is for a championship and or lots of money.

Sports experts love to espouse this crap.  Well, I guarantee that the team that wins a game does not win because they wanted to win the most…it does not work that way. 

While I’m at it, no one, no matter how much they want to win can ever give more than a 100% effort.  You can not give a 110% effort coach; take a math class dickhead! 

The reason your team is not blocking and tackling very well is because the other team is better at avoiding blocks and tackles than your team is at blocking and tackling.

Telling your team that they need to execute better is really just saying “You need to play better.”

Telling your team they need to try harder is really just saying,

“You need to play better.”

Telling your team they need to play better is not coaching, it is a coach’s copout.

It is like saying that in school I would have had the number one grade point average, except 543 people wanted it more than me, I just didn’t execute, and I should have tried harder.

Come to think of it, that explanation is better than, 

"I was just stupid!"  

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Breakfast With Frog


Breakfast With Frog
Friend and Fellow guitar wannabe, Frog, visited this week.
 
We are slowly getting better at playing guitar together at the same pace and are often even playing the same chords at the same time.  We are not yet ready to go on tour.

Breakfast did not go as well.

Keeping up with Frog’s schedule, I got up a little earlier than usual to make breakfast. 

Breakfast is one of my specialties.

I put on a pot of coffee, fried up some bacon, poached eggs, stirred up home-fried potatoes and toasted English muffins.

It was all plated and waiting when Frog got a phone call from work.

Actually, he is retired, so it wasn’t really work, it was his used-to-be- work calling for his free expertise.

He was on the phone for ten minutes while his breakfast was ready.  I was getting a bit miffed.

After fifteen minutes the poached eggs went from perfectly runny yolk to slightly hardened yolk.  The bacon was getting soggy, potatoes and coffee were luke warm, and the muffins were hardening.  I was even more miffed.

After thirty minutes, he was off the phone. I was finished eating my breakfast; his breakfast was, as far as I was concerned, completely ruined.  I was more than miffed.

“Well, I hope your happy. I get up early to make you breakfast, and you can’t cut a phone call short.  Breakfast is ruined.  I worked very hard to make a perfect breakfast and you don’t even care!”

“I had to take the call.”

“Oh sure, your ex-boss calls and you drop everything, while all I ask is a little consideration that you are available when the breakfast I worked so hard to make was ready!”

“But…”

“Don’t but me; you don’t know what I go through to give you a nice meal.  What do you do?  You ignore me! You always do that!  You never think about me!”

“Ah Joe…”

“And then we don’t even get to eat together, you always do that…we never talk anymore!”

“Ah Joe…”

“What?”

“When did you become my wife?”

Um

Shut up and eat your breakfast.”

“It’s still good; eggs are hard, bacon and potatoes a bit soggy, muffins hard, and the coffee is cold, but otherwise it’s good.”

“Fuck you!”

“Can you pour me some fresh hot coffee?”

“Coming up…

and still; Fuck you!”

Friends for fifty-five years…Priceless!

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Cruise Control


Cruise Control
Mrs. C loves cruise control.  She claims she gets better gas mileage when she uses cruise control.

I hate cruise control.  Unless I am on a major highway with almost no traffic it is impossible for me to maintain a constant speed.  If I have to keep tapping the break and or adjusting the CC speed, what is the point?

I am convinced that most of the a-hole drivers that tailgate and weave in and out of traffic, do it because they do not want to adjust their cruise control.

I believe this because I see Mrs. C doing it all the time.  No, she does not do the weave thing too much, but she will wait later than I would to slow down when getting close to the car up ahead.  She often will pass cars on the right.  I hate passing cars on the right.

I prefer to drive the right-hand lane and follow the car in front.  If the car in front is driven by a slow-poke that can barely see over the steering wheel, traveling miles below the speed limit, I will pull out and pass, but otherwise I see no reason to hurry.

What cruise control needs, and is probably on more expensive automobiles, is a sensor that automatically slows down when within 40 yards of the car ahead.  With this feature I might use cruise control.

Probably not. 

I do not find maintaining a speed manually to be that difficult.  It keeps my head in the game.  Pressing a gas pedal or releasing it is not really that difficult.  To me using cruise control is like asking Alexa to turn up the TV volume…like I can’t do that myself.

Mrs. C disagrees.  She does not like the way I drive.  She thinks I drive too slow and does not feel I pay enough attention.  I disagree.

Mrs. C does the driving when we are together.

So, I have to get used to her using cruise control.  It is not relaxing.  While she glides along, I find myself adjusting an imaginary gas pedal and tapping an imaginary break.

She does get better mileage than I do.