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Sunday, September 29, 2019

Geezer Golf

This re-run is on request from a certain fraternity brother.  It is a rerun from September 2011

Golf is a game that challenges athletic ability, concentration, strategy, and maturity.  With age, my athletic ability is on the decrease.  My concentration tends to…..what?  Oh yeah, wander.  Strategy is less important as my athletic ability declines.  
"Hmm 210 yards to the green, should I go for it or lay-up?  This was a strategy decision 15 years ago, now the answer is easy, lay-up….TWICE!  Then go for it!"  
At least as I grow older I should show more maturity on the course.  I think.  From my recent observation of some older links men, golf maturity may not be a given as we age.

Last summer my college friend Don “Squeak” Harjes (named for his sometimes high pitched voice) invited me to his private golf club.  It turns out it was not really his private club; it was a nice little public course in the Pennsylvania sticks.  What attracted Squeak to this club was it had a landing strip for small airplane access.  Don is not much of a golfer, but he loves to fly his small single engine plane.  For someone used to waiting hours to tee off a public cow pasture, an un-crowded club in the middle of Pennsylvania sounded pretty good.  Getting there by air seemed very cool.

I was a bit concerned about the pilot.  Squeak was not the valedictorian of our class.  He missed by about 320 graduates in a class of maybe 323.  Don had, however, done very well since his college days.  He started up a small insurance business and turned it into a large successful insurance company.

My trepidation of flying with Squeak was assuaged by his confident demeanor and apparent flying knowledge.  Everything was by the book.  His preflight check list was very thorough.  After all systems were to his satisfaction we took off.  About half way to the course, we approached the Allentown airport at an altitude of about 2000 feet.  I was very impressed when Captain Don (never call your pilot Squeak) got on the radio.

“Allentown airport, this is Centurian four one niner kilo, destination Happy Landing Golf Course, requesting clearance and radar check for any nearby aircraft; over.”  
This was very impressive….until the airport responded.

“Squeak, is that you?  Dammit, who are you trying to impress?  There is not a cloud in the sky, visibility is ten miles, and you have instruments that will pick up an approaching sea gull if it gets close enough.  OVER.” 
“Ah…Rodger Allentown thanks for the update. OUT.” 
I was now a little less impressed and a little more nervous.

After about 40 minutes, we approached the golf course.  Heading in to the landing strip, which I did not see until we were 150 yards away, gliding barely above a grove of trees and a power line, Captain Don informed me that the landing may be “A bit dicey!” 

We did land safely, but I was scared shitless!  “Squeak, what is up with the ‘a bit FREAKING dicey’ comment?”

“Oh, it was not a problem, just with the cross winds sometimes the landing is a bit bumpy.”

“THEN SAY BUMPY, NOT DICEY!  What the fuck does dicey mean?” 

By the time we covered the $36 greens and cart fees and were ready to tee off, my blood pressure was almost normal.  We played behind a twosome, both elderly gentlemen.  Squeak and I are 64, so elderly gentlemen means old; almost walker-old. 

It was a pleasant uneventful round.  As we reached the fourteenth hole, I had a chance to score under one hundred; Squeak had a shot at ninety.

The elderly gentlemen were teeing off, so we stayed in the cart a hundred yards away and watched.  We were in no hurry.  The first man up drove his ball straight down the middle.  It dribbled maybe 80 yards.  
“FUCK!”  He yelled as he slammed his driver into the ground.  
The second man up sliced his ball deep into the right hand woods.  
“SHIT!” It was lost for sure.  
“Take a Mulligan”, his partner advised.  
Accepting the Mulligan gesture, the second man teed his ball and slashed at it once again.  This shot was pulled to the left, 80 yards into a swamp.  
“Fucking shitty crap damnitty damn damn!”  The distinguished gentleman screamed as he wound up and flung his $300 Callaway diver in disgust.  
He pulled that throw worse than he pulled his drive.  The club landed and stuck 10 feet up in a tree one hundred feet to his left. 

Don and I were trying to hold back our laughter when the twosome asked if we wanted to play through.  “Go ahead, no rush” we advised.

 This was a show we were not going to miss.

The Geezer golfers surveyed the situation.  They shook the tree; Nothing.  They threw their other driver at the stuck club.  The fourth try was a direct hit; both clubs tumbled back towards earth.  Both clubs got stuck 8 feet off the ground.  Don and I watched in amazement as these two golfers, both of whom walked like a 14 year old golden retriever climbing stairs, attempted to climb the tree.

Golfer number one made a stirrup with his hands and boosted golfer number two about eight inches up where he grabbed a foothold on a branch.  Don stood ready to dial 9-1-1 with his cell phone.  If either of these geezers fell, they would break like a light bulb dropped on cement.  
Regardless of the danger, Don and I were now laughing convulsively.  With one foot on a broken branch and a seven iron in his hand the geezer golfer managed to free the $600 worth of drivers and they finally continued on their way.  They were on the green before Don and I could stop laughing enough to tee off ourselves. 

Green fees $36, fuel to get to golf course $150, Two Callaway drivers $600, watching two geezers risk their lives climbing a tree; priceless!

I’m sure the geezer golfers were accomplished respected gentlemen in their own realm, but they left their maturity in the locker room. 

Don and I finished the round uneventfully, stifling our laughter all the way in.  Don finished at 94, I managed a 102.  The scores were secondary after the tree climbing spectacle.

On our way to the plane, through the club house, we passed the old dudes regaining their composure over a couple of beers.  As we passed, Squeak paused and gave the geezers a golfing tip, 
“When you fling your club, don’t use too much right hand, it will cause a pull every time!”

I thought this comment was very funny.  
Only two people laughed.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

I Don’t Play Well with Others

I Don’t Play Well with Others
My friend, Frog, the bagpiper, has taken up guitar.  Actually, it is a bastardized guitar.  As a former banjo player, Frog removes two strings and tunes the remaining like the banjo.  If this seems strange, we have a rule, that is there are no rules in music.  If it sounds good and you are comfortable with it, then it is legit.

Now we have decided to try and play together.  Once every two weeks we have been joining forces.

This has not been easy.

Frog finds sheet music, and follows the timing; he rests where there are rests, and strums along with the quarter, half or whole notes that are on the sheet music.  He actually counts!

I download the chords and the lyrics.  I listen to a YouTube version for the beat and the pauses, and strum however feels right while picking out the bass notes in the melody if I can.

When Frog tells me the song is in 4:4 or 6:8, I have no idea what he is talking about.  He starts counting and it drives me nuts. 

“No, no, there is no rest there, it is one, two, three, four; one, two, three, four; pause, pause, three, four!”

I can not count, strum, and vocalize.  It is like spinning a pie plate while walking the dog with a yoyo.  I can’t do it.

“I can’t do that count thing!  Just listen to Johnny Cash, he drags out the words in that measure, and as long as I strum down on the chord change it works for me.”

“It should be down, up, down, down, up down.”

“Frig that down up shit!  I think Chink-ah, chink, chink-ah, chink!

“The book says down up.”

“You do down up, down, I’m doing chink-ah, chink!”

If that is not bad enough, I’ve been playing longer than Frog, so of course I play too fast.  I have it in my mind that fast is good.

“Slow down! You’re killing me…it is not a race!”

“When I slow down, I get confused.”

“The song is played slow…and you should use a pick!”

“I can’t use a pick; I am a thumb strummer.”

“The best players use a pick.”

“There are no rules remember.”

“We need a metronome.”

“OK, but you need to listen to the YouTube version to get the rhythm, I don’t do that count thing.”

“How about I just watch your left hand, when you change chords, I’ll follow.”

“OK then.  From the top…One and two ‘chink-ah, chink, chink.”

“No, start at four, not two.”

Were having fun when not fighting; but apparently, I don’t play well with others.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Not So Fonda My Honda (service)

Not So Fonda My Honda (service)

I took my ’18 Honda HRV (Harvey) to the dealer for service.  The car is over a year old and this is only the second time I have taken it in for service.

The car has 11,000 miles on it.  I am of the school that a car needs service every 3000 miles.  My wife and Honda disagree.

Wife, “That’s old school, cars today need an oil change only every 6 to 8000 miles.”

Honda, “No need to bring it in for another 2000 miles.”

Me, “It’s been 5000 miles, I am uncomfortable at over 3000 miles.”

Honda, “Sir it is really…”

Me interrupting, and lying, “Look, I’m going to be away for a while, and want service now as it may be too late if I wait longer.”

Honda, “Ok, bring it in, but you’re fine for now.”

Imagine having to lie to have a dealer let you bring in a car for service.

Anyway, I brought the car in at 10:00.  They told me it should be ready in an hour or an hour and a half.

I waited over two and a half hours.  Getting antsy, I went in to the service area to see what the hold up was, or if they just forgot me.

The lady who took my keys and told me it should be an hour or an hour and a half was with a customer who was wearing a blue shirt.  The customer was going on and on about some complaint.

I could see my keys and a service receipt on her desk, just waiting for me to pay and go.

The dude in the blue shirt then had a manager come over to try and resolve his problem, but they did not move from the desk which held my hope for escape.  I was unable to get anyone’s attention.

After about 15 minutes, (which is 2 ½ hours, in waiting for your car when you can see the keys and service receipt, time), blue shirt finally left with the manager.

Honda Lady “I am so sorry, that man would not give up, your car is done, here are the keys, just take the receipt and pay the teller.”

Me “Thank you.”

I went to the teller to pay and was once again behind Mr. Blue-Friggin Shirt!  He was still arguing about something.  He was not happy.  I was less happy. 

I hate the man in the blue-friggin shirt.

Ten minutes later, (1 hour and 45 minutes, in waiting to pay for your car’s service and get the heck out of town, time), and someone finally spotted me and led me to a pay teller not blocked by the blue shirt dude.

I finally paid and left to get my car and go home.  The exit was blocked by blue shirt guy.  I plowed through him without an excuse me.  He acted upset.  I did not give a crap.

The lot at the dealer is huge and spread out all around the dealership.  Spotting a gun-metal gray Honda in the lot of a Honda dealer is not easy.  I was getting a bit peeved!

I went back in and asked if someone could give me a hint where my car was parked.  I was told to press the emergency button on my key fob and go to the honking car.

I found the honking car.  I was not told how to stop the honking.  I pressed every button on the fob and the honking stopped.  Finally, I drove home.

I’m waiting at least 8000 miles before bringing the car in for service again.

Monday, September 23, 2019


This cranky re-run is from September 2013
I think I need to learn a new language.   As I get older I need to keep the mind working, I need to exercise the brain.  Learning to speak a foreign language might be just the mental exercise I need.

Learning a language should be a good way to work out the old grey matter.
What language should I learn.

I don’t want to learn French.  I don’t like berets.  I don’t like stinky cheese.  I don’t plan on visiting Paris or Montreal any time soon.
I don’t want to learn Spanish.  I already know all I need to know: No fume, salida, sala los de hombres, cerveza, gracias, no lo se, and por favor.  Well I know these when they are accompanied by little stick figures.

Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, all of these require learning a new alphabet…I’m not that smart.  Besides, I want to learn a language I can use every day. 

I want to learn the secret language of woman…Womanese.

This language would come in handy in many situations.  Have you ever been at a party where you and your wife chatted for twenty minutes with a perfectly lovely lady only to have your wife comment as you move to another corner of the room,

“What a bitch, do you believe what she said?”

“What? She said it was nice to see you and your hair looks great.”

“First of all, my hair doesn’t look great, so that was just mean; secondly, did you not hear how she said 'it was nice to see me?'  Did you even see her eye brows?  Are you completely oblivious to voice inflections?”

“No, no I didn’t, and yes, yes I am…I do not speak Woman.”

Maybe if I spoke Womanese I would not have been divorced twice.  If I spoke the language I might have known when something I thought was trivial was in actuality really important.  Where I often think, “Why don’t you just tell me what you want,” it has never occurred to me that maybe they are telling me exactly what they want, I just don’t speak the language.

The problem is I don’t know where to find a school or even a book that teaches Womanese.  How do women learn? 

There must be a pamphlet somewhere that teaches “Basic Inflections 101.”

Where do I find “Eye movements, facial expressions, and body language for Dummies?"  It is not sold at Barnes and Noble or Amazon.

How about “Rosetta Stone,” can this program teach me when“You look so pretty” is a good thing, and when it means “F-off bitch?”  Why is “Have you been working out?” sometimes such an awful thing to ask?

There are so many phrases, and so many different meanings; so many inflections, so many facial, shoulder and hand movements.  Every combination of phrase, inflection, and body movement conveys a completely different meaning. How do women learn them all?

Mrs. Cranky told me, “It is really quite easy, I could teach you everything you need to know about speaking Womanese; you just need to learn to listen.”

I wonder what she meant by that...  

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Too Much Football?

Too Much Football?

It is Sunday night, and I am in bed watching the reconstruction of the actual house in the old “The Brady Bunch” TV show, to look inside exactly like the studio set where the iconic show was filmed.

About half way through I had to ask Mrs. C,

“Why am I watching this show?”

“What stupid reality show do you want to watch, the one about unexpected pregnancies, or the doctor that pops huge disgusting pimples?”


“There is no football, it’s Sunday night!”

“Ah yeah, Sunday Night Football.”

“Really?  OK, you can watch football.”

Thing is, much as I am not interested in rebuilding “The Brady Bunch” home, I am also OK without watching football. 

Back in the day, in the fifties and early sixties, football on TV was a big deal.  There was one college “Game of the Week” on Saturday afternoon, and a Professional game on Sunday.

If your favorite local team was playing at home, that game was blacked out and you had to listen to it on radio.  They may have had another game to replace the blackout game…I don’t remember.

When the Giants played Philly at home, it was a big deal in our house, because Dad could climb on the roof and aim the antennae toward Philly (our Jersey home was about 20 miles from NYC and 50 miles from Philly) and we could get a snowy reception of the game.  It felt like we were cheating somehow. 

Some fans would drive out of blackout range and rent a motel room to watch the game.

Sometime in the sixties the blackout rule was waived and we got all the local games, plus an extra game from out of town.  Then the AFC came along and there were two AFL games.  Holy cow, four games on Sunday, it was amazing.

With cable TV and a zillion cable stations there are now so many college games on TV Saturdays that it is impossible to see even half of them.  They start around 12:00 and the final game starts around 8:00 PM.

Then TV decided to add a Pro game on Monday Night.  That game was, for a while, a really big deal.  There were MNF parties every week, almost like Super Bowl Parties today.  Guess what?  Sunday nights were open…not for long.  Now there is Sunday Night Football.

Colleges wanted in on the TV loot so there are now games on Thursday and Friday nights.  Not to be outdone, The Pros now have a TV game on Thursday night.

So currently there is football on TV all day Saturday (early Saturday often has a High School game), all day Sunday, Monday night, and Thursday and Friday nights.

Tuesdays and Wednesdays are generally football free; except during December Bowl season.

So as difficult as it is for me to believe, I am watching the rebuild of an old iconic, but lame TV show, and I do not even know what teams are playing on Sunday Night Football!  And this stupid “Brady Bunch” show I am watching is “On Demand” which means I could watch it ANY TIME!

Football on TV, any football game, used to be a big deal.

If I am choosing to watch a Brady Bunch Home rebuild instead of football, I think that is a pretty good indictor that we have reached the TV football saturation point.
Or maybe I need to turn in my Man Card.


Thursday, September 19, 2019

Golf is a Melting Pot

Golf is a Melting Pot

Golf is a great game on many levels.  

I know many people think of golf as a white, Anglo-Saxon sport that is beyond the means of ordinary peoples.  That may be true of the country club set, though I must say most “country club set” people I know are very nice people; but my experience with golfers is from the public golf course, not the country club.

I often say about other golfers, "The foursome in front of you and the foursome behind you are all assholes, but I've liked every other golfer I’ve ever met!"

The foursome in front of you is always playing too slow, the foursome behind you is always playing too fast.  On the times that you do meet up with one of these groups, it turns out that they are also good people.

I play golf on a public course. Golf on a public course is a melting pot of golfers from different races, religions, and cultures.  I’ve found, on the golf course, there are not people who are different than you, there are only golfers.  Golfers are a religion and culture unto itself.

I know there are some of you who think,

“What a stupid game, chasing a little white ball down the grass, trying to put it in a little hole.”

I know this because I hear people say that all the time.

Yes, and opera is fat people singing in a foreign language and without a real melody, about shit that happened a zillion years ago.

Art is paint splattered at random over canvas.

Ballet is people in tight pants balancing on their toes.

Acting is someone making believe he is someone else, and figure-skating is young girls skating backwards to show off their ass.

Or in other words...

Don’t knock, what you don’t understand.

Belittle golf as a stupid game if you wish, but beyond the sport itself, I have only met fun, interesting people on the golf course.

When you are retired and play golf on weekdays, you never know who you will be playing with.  I have been paired with African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, Indians, and other WASPS. 

All these religions races and cultures have a great sense of humor on the golf course.  All, regardless of their skill are humbled by the game.  All are only helpful toward other golfers.  All, while on the golf course, are not of any culture, race or religions…all are just golfers.

I played with an Indian dude who bashed his drive into the woods.  His ball hit a tree and bounced out to the middle of the fairway. 

When he found his ball, he looked to me and said in that Indian accent, “Indian luck!”

I laughed my ass off and said I’m not sure it would be OK for me to say such a thing.

“Oh no, it is true, we have Indian luck.”

I’ve played with an African American who told me, “You’re not bad for a white dude.” I responded, “And thank you for not stealing my clubs!”

We both laughed like hell; we were not black or white, we were golfers.

I played with a Japanese guy who wore thick glasses, yet he kept finding my miss-hit shots in the rough when I had given up looking for them.  I told him,

“You are the best ball hawk I’ve ever played with.”

He responded,

“I don’t really need these glasses; I only wear them to fit the stereotype”.

We both laughed like hell, we were not WASP and Asian, we were golfers.

I played last week with a gentle giant of a man, a Puerto Rican, an ex-Marine, who worked as a guard at the local juvenile detention center.

The stories I heard.  He dealt everyday with tough kids, many who cared for or about nothing…some just lost souls.

“I know these kids,” he said, “I was one of them, I understand them.  I care about them, but you also have to be firm.  I’ve been suspended twice for smacking them down.  It was worth it, it's the only way to gain any respect.  They’ll say, ‘Don’t mess with that guy, he’ll knock you out!’”

I learned a lot from this gentleman who is tough when he has to be.  He was not a tough ex-marine Puerto Rican on the golf course; he was like me…a golfer.

Golf brings people together.  Golf is a melting pot.  I’ve learned more about people, ideas, and cultures playing golf than from any books or TV specials.

Make fun of the game if you want, but golf is more than a sport; golf is a culture in itself. It is a culture that brings people together, it brings them together with a common love-hate relationship that all golfers share, love-hate for the game, and respect for all who play the game.

Except for that slow group in front and the pushy group behind.  

We all hate those assholes!


Tuesday, September 17, 2019



I remember the days of sports before instant replay review on TV.  In many ways sports were better then.  Close play, official makes a call, move on.  Yeah, sometimes a call was so egregious that you wished for an instant replay, but for the most part close calls balanced out.

When we were kids playing on the schoolyard, there was no instant replay, there were also few arguments.

Tie goes to the runner.

If someone says they made the tag, then he made the tag.

In bounds, out of bounds? The closest person to the line made the call and the call always stood.

Games were fun in those days.  We played to win,  but if teams were not fair, they were rearranged on the fly to even things up.  There were no arguments to speak of…


Every neighborhood always had one.  One kid that knew all the rules and used the rules to win.  To this kid winning was everything.  He was THAT kid.

If there was a clean hit and the man running to first base turned the wrong way in returning to first base, THAT kid would be waiting with a tag.

“You rounded the wrong way, you crossed the line by a half an inch, you’re out!”

If a fielder missed stepping on second base by a fraction,  The "In the neighborhood" rule which existed in the major leagues did not exist for THAT kid.

“You stepped over the bag, I’m safe.”

THAT kid was the only one on the field who knew what a balk was, and he called it when ever it worked for him.

THAT kid called every fumble a fumble when on defense, when on offense he decided "The ground can't cause a fumble."

THAT kid fought every call, pulled out rules that no one had ever heard of and would do anything to win.

Why you ask, did we even let THAT kid play?

THAT kid was also the kid who brought the ball.  If you did not agree with his rules and calls, he threatened to take his ball and just go home.

Like I said, every neighborhood had THAT kid.

I wonder what ever happened to THOSE kids when they grew up. 

Monday, September 16, 2019



I got nothing, so here is a re-run from September 2019
Nothing is easy at the Cranky household.  Even sleeping is complicated.

Mrs. C demands to sleep on the right side of the bed.  That works for me as the bedroom door is on the left side of the bed.  I have always been of the opinion that the man (or strongest gay partner) should sleep on the same side of the bed as the bedroom door.
When we stay at a hotel, sometimes the door is on the right and I demand to sleep on that side.
“No way, I sleep on the right side.”
“But the door is on the right, if someone breaks in I need to be the best position to defend you.”
“Oh please, I wake up at the drop of a hat, you would sleep through me being ravaged regardless of which side you sleep.”
She has a point, though the chivalrous section of my brain still feels the need to be between her and the door.
Recently Mrs. C has complained about the temperature in our bedroom. The air conditioner blows from her side of the bed and she complains about being cold while I complain about being too hot.
I suggested we change sides.
“No way, because in the winter the hot air blows from that side of the bed and I want the heat.  Plus, who would protect me if there was a break in.”
(Notice how women use selective reasoning?)
“Well in the winter we could switch sides.”  
“No, I am used to sleeping on this side, changing with the seasons would throw me all off kilter.”
That’s it, no arguing with that.  I guess things will just have to stay as they are.  Mrs. C will freeze in the summer but be warm in the winter, and regardless of the season I am the defender if we have an intruder…unless we stay at a hotel, then Mrs. C may have to fend for herself.

Friday, September 13, 2019

The Problem With The Middle East

The Problem With The Middle East

OK, not THE problem; MY problem. 

It is difficult enough to know what is going on in that area of the world, but the media can not even agree on how to pronounce names and countries.

Is it just me, or does anyone else flip out when after years of hearing Hezbollah pronounced Hez boll ah’ suddenly it is pronounced Hez bol’ ah.  Why are suddenly some in the media changing the accent in the name?  Just stop it or at least agree on one way to say the damn name!

Thus site demonstrates  the different ways to pronounce Hezbollah.

Just determine the correct way and then stick with it!!

Are there two countries with similar names, Cutter and Cu tar’ or is it just that one spelled Qatar? If it is one country, please, everyone get together and call it by just one name.

RT- I can't find it in me to trust a country that does not follow a "Q" with a "U" in their name!

It seems that the terrorist group ISIS has been decimated and forced underground.  That is good news, but what about those other terrorist groups, Dash and ISIL? Actually, I haven’t heard about ISIL since Obama left office…What was up with that?

I think it was in the 70’s that Iran was run by the supreme leader The Eyeahtola Komenai.  That was over 40 years ago, how old is that dude anyway?  And it seems that he hasn’t changed one bit…still looks the same.  Has there been more than one supreme leader as I hear it as Ko’menai, Kom e’ nai and also Komen’a i.  Must be three new guys since 1970 who just all look alike.  If it is only one, pick a pronunciation and stick to it…please.

Are people from Saudi Arabia called Sowdies or Sawdies.  Pick one and stick to it…please

I do know that most of those countries hate Is-ra’-el and they also hate Is’-rye-el, and Iz'-ray-el.  Maybe Is-ra'-el, Is-rye’-el and Is’-ray-el should join together and form one country.  Anything to make this world less confusing.

I don't know if the problems in the Middle East can ever be resolved, but a good start would be to at least agree on the pronunciation of the key players.