Wednesday, October 30, 2019
I Hate Halloween!
I do not like Halloween. First of all I don’t really get it. What are we celebrating? Zombies, Ghosts, Witches, Goblins…it seems creepy and anti-religious to me.
And what the heck is a goblin anyway?
Is this just a day to push the sales of candy which is probably not very good for anyone, especially children?
I hate this one night of not being able to enjoy my crappy reality TV because every three minutes a bunch of costumed rug rats ring the bell looking for stuff. And half of them don’t even yell “Trick or treet.”
I don’t give candy until I am threatened. No quid, no quo.
On the first Halloween that I was on my own and living in a large apartment complex, my doorbell rang an 10:30 in the morning. I answered to a group of fairies and witches hollering,
“Trick or Treat!”
“Trick or treat? What the heck it’s 10:30, I didn’t even get any candy yet!”
“We can’t go out later, the big kids will egg bomb us!”
This was not the Halloween of my youth.
The Halloween of my youth was a combination of fun, candy and fear.
The making of costumes was fun. Going from house to house with friends and no parents was fun. (Big brothers or sisters had to make the early rounds with the younger children). There was candy, tons of candy, and there was fear, fear of bullies taking your candy (never really happened) and fear of the few neighbors you did not know acting like…oh I don’t know, maybe a cranky old man.
I must admit, I did like Halloween as a youngster. But these days Halloween is not the Halloween I remember.
We made our own costumes; we did not buy them. A sheet with holes cut up for eyes made a ghost. Pop Warner helmets and uniforms for boys and ballerina outfits for girls were popular. Kids made robot costumes out of boxes, houses were turned inside out looking for any old funny stuff that could be used creatively.
My favorite costume was I stuffed a rubber mask with paper, slammed it on a coat hanger and wore is as a two-headed man.
We did not buy ready-made costumes at Wal-Mart.
Also, lately I see on Facebook people are celebrating Halloween before Halloween. What’s up with that? If Halloween falls on a weeknight it isn’t convenient? Waa! The weather report isn’t good? Waa!
And parents are everywhere…damn why won’t parents let their kids alone ever? Kids are never left alone, how do they get in trouble? Where do they sneak off to smoke a cigarette? When do they get to just have some unsupervised fun?
Actually, I do get it.
Communities today are not the same as when I was a rug rat. We used to know every neighbor. We knew who to avoid and who to go to twice for the extra good Hershey Bars. We went with friends and we saw no strangers in our neighborhood. We knew all the mom’s, because they did not leave every morning to go to work. If you did something stupid all the moms knew us and you would be reported.
I get it, people don’t have time for made up costumes. Everyone is working or in some organized activity.
I get it, “Trunk or Treat” brings people together is safe, fun and convenient.
I get it, things change, Halloween has changed.
I get it, I just don’t like it.
And when I holdout a bag of candy, why do I have to say “Just take one!”?
Greedy little humans.
I hate Halloween!
Tuesday, October 29, 2019
At Least I Did Not Get Shot
I waited in the car as Mrs. Went into the bank. The alarm kept honking. It was a bit annoying. Then I noticed an old man, at least 80, limping away in a zombie like step-drag, step-drag pace. He had a cigarette dangling from his mouth, some kind of folder under his arm, and did not seem to mind a constant drizzle of rain or the car alarm.
He looked as if he might not have a roof over his head most nights. He slowly step-dragged his way out of the lot. I figured he must have bumped into the car setting off the alarm, but he did not seem to be bothered by the honking.
The car alarm stopped after a few minutes. A few minutes later, back came the old man step-dragging back toward the once honking car. This dude seemed a bit sketchy, but I was not concerned about what he was up to. Pretty sure he was no kind of threat other than you never know what is going on in the minds of a sketchy person.
I did wonder what he was up to as he walked toward the car. Then I saw him pull something metallic out of his pocket and into the folder he was carrying. It looked like it might be a gun. I was alone in my car in an empty parking lot with a weird guy who might have a gun. Now I was mildly concerned.
The old dude went to the car and opened up the back hatch. "Oh" I thought, "I guess it must be his car, nothing to see here. "
I minded my own business when suddenly this old weird dude was at the front window of my car opposite my passenger seat and looking in at me.
“Whoa!” I held up my hand, and he turned away and went back to his car. Now I was spooked. I did not like sitting in a car in an empty lot with a weird dude who may have a gun lurking around. I got out, locked the car and went into the bank.
As I went into the bank, old weird dude started the car and slowly pulled away.
What the heck just happened? Did this guy have a gun? If it was his car, why did he not shut off the alarm? Why did he step-drag away and wait until the alarm stopped? Why did he sneak up on me and peek into my car?
Did this guy break into the car and then just step-drag away until the alarm stopped? Was he spooked by our parking while he was in the act? Did he know how to break into a car and start it, and steal it? Did he have a gun? The car had a Canada plate, not likely from anyone in this very local bank, but then this guy did not look like he was on a road trip from Canada.
I probably should have called 911 from the git go. It couldn’t hurt to report suspicious activity. A few questions by the police wouldn’t have hurt this guy if he was on the up and up. I just never thought to do that until it was too late.
In retrospect I really think this guy stole a car and I just watched. I feel bad, like I was not a good citizen.
On the other hand, at least I didn’t get shot!
Monday, October 28, 2019
Re-run from November 2013
Halloween costumes are in the news lately. One reveler dressed up as a Boston Marathon bombing victim, complete with running outfit, number, blood and bruises. She was instantly chastised by millions as her insensitivity went viral.
Some other numbnutz slapped on blackface and portrayed the murdered Trayvon Martin. Offensive…yeah, I think so.
In the UK two college girls won a prize for their costumes depicting the twin towers being blown up by terrorist attacks.
The world is outraged by these idiots.
There are now calls to ban specific costumes. There are calls to discipline these numb-skulls. Stupid kids have been insensitive, something has to be done! These kids need to be taught a lesson. They need to be pariahs. Their lives need to be ruined because they dared to make light of tragedies.
Of course if it were not for Facebook, twitter, email, and the internet no more than twenty or thirty people would ever have known about these costumes. The people who actually saw these get-ups would have told them “Dude that is just wrong” but in general no one would have known about these costumes. No one would have been angered; no one would have been hurt by this insensitivity because no one close to the actual tragedy being portrayed would have seen or been aware of their stupidity.
If you wear a witches’ outfit on Halloween are you offending the Salem relatives of Abigail Somebody? Dress up like “The Grimm Reaper” and someone should be offended. I’ve seen people dress as the Boston Strangler…how chilling to anyone who is related to any similar criminal act.
I’m not defending, or advocating these insensitive costumes, but I am just saying calm down. It’s Halloween. People dress up as all different things. Some can be offensive to all; all can be offensive to some. Don’t blame the costume wearers, blame the internet. Those kids never intended for their offensive dress up to be seen by people who could be offended. Bad taste? Absolutely. A capitol offense? Hardly.
Years ago, before the internet, before Facebook, before Twitter and Pinterest, my son’s good friend got in trouble for a costume that was considered in bad taste. This friend, I’ll call him Ralph, wore a white mask and his church alter-boy outfit.
Ralph was one of the nicest kids in the school. He was an average student and an above average athlete. He had many friends and no enemies. He went to church every week. He was the all-American boy, always a smile, always polite, never a bad word for anyone.
When he showed up to school in his costume he was almost immediately dragged into the Principals office. He was berated and sent home. The school administration was horrified that Ralph would come to school as a Ku Klux Klan member.
Ralph was bewildered. Ralph had never heard of the Ku Klux Klan. That organization was in the South. They had not been seriously active in Ralph’s lifetime. They had not been on the news, they were ancient history to most, and they were non-existent to Ralph.
“What is a clansman? I’m a phantom. You know like in the comics. Woo Woo, I’m a phantom. I don’t understand all the fuss.”
The phantom costume was in bad taste. Many students in school, particularly the black students might have been upset by the outfit, and sending Ralph home to change into something more appropriate was the right thing to do.
Still, no students in school were offended. The black kids were not offended. It was a phantom, not a clansman. This was Ralph; no one would think he could be mean or racist. He was a phantom.
Beyond being sent home, nothing else was made of the incident. Ralph was embarrassed, and all of the students thought it was funny. The very idea of Ralph being racist and trying to hurt was silly. It remains today simply a funny story.
I have to think however, that if there was an internet, if there was Facebook and twitter, would Ralph’s phantom costume have been plastered around the world? Would Ralph’s life have been turned upside down because sensitive people would have miss-interpreted his motives and his character?
Relax world…it’s a Phantom!
Sunday, October 27, 2019
It seems the leader of ISIS has been killed, Abu-al-Bullshit-el F-you. I don’t think any of these ISIS people are benefiting the planet in any way, so his death does not upset me.
Actually, it is probably a good thing. That might not be politically correct to say, but dammit I just do not like people that chop off other peoples’ heads. Never have.
The thing that does bother me, is that these ass-hats are always described as “Masterminds.” I’ve always considered “Masterminds” to be evil, but also admirable in a strange sort of way. A real ““Mastermind” is Lex Luthor, arch nemesis of Superman; or “The Joker” of Bat Man fame.
A “Mastermind” should be someone who is not just diabolical, but uses his sinister genius to destroy mankind in a way that only a Superhero could stymie.
A “Mastermind” should be one step ahead of society in his attempt to destroy the world or at least steal the world’s riches.
I don't think that a plan to use religious fanatics to fly planes into buildings is the work of a “Mastermind.”
It does not take a brilliant mind to have people fly planes into buildings…it takes an evil person who does not give a crap about the sanctity of life.
It does not take a brilliant mind to figure out that chopping off heads in public will scare the crap out of the average person and make them do what you tell them to do.
This ass-hat was not a “Mastermind,” he was a piece of crap that did not care what he did to get what he wanted, and mostly what he wanted was to scare people, control people, and get his jollies by killing people in very unpleasant ways.
Stop calling these cruel, ruthless, creatures “Masterminds.” They are not clever, they are not sinister geniuses…they are just sinister.
And if this scumbag was such a genius “Mastermind”, he would still be alive.
F-you Mr. Mastermind and good riddance!
Saturday, October 26, 2019
Is there a list of official “dishwasher rules?” I think every woman has their own set of rules. I am on my third marriage. I have had to learn a new set of conflicting rules with every wife. As soon as I learn the rules, I change wives and have to relearn a new set of rules. It is hard enough for a man to learn how to perform a task, it is impossible to have to relearn new rules.
PLEASE!! Women, please get together and agree on dishwasher protocol.
Here are the rules I have to adjust to after every new marriage.
1. Knives go in pointy side down or pointy side up? Make up your minds, one way or the other, I really don’t care!
2. All plates and flatware must be scrapped clean before loading. Some say yes some say no. It seems to me the dishwasher should be doing this work, but many women say the washer only sanitizes the load. I don’t really care; just decide one or the other!
3. Tupperware? Yes or no? Come on women, either you can put it in the washer or you can’t. Please, one rule!
4. Silverware? See #3.
5. Fine china? See #3. Keep in mind most men cannot discern fine china from Corningware.
6. When can I turn the washer on? Does every nook and cranny need to be bursting with dishes or can I do a load every day?
7. If #6 requires the washer to be bursting with dishes before starting, is there a time limit to overrule that requirement. Two days? One week? Make up your mind and tell me!
8. Can I wash stainless steel? I’m told it might rust. Really, rust but not stain? Really?
9. No plastic, plastic will chip or might melt, or plastic is no problem; come on, what is it?
Currently these are the rules I have been forced to follow:
Knives go pointy side down so you do not stab yourself as opposed to pointy side up so the business end gets cleaned. Everything needs to be scrubbed clean before loading; the washer only sanitizes the dishes. Tupperware…..NEVER, it will lose its whoosh when burped. Silverware…no, I have no explanation. Fine china…no, it will chip. Why won’t crappy china chip? The machine must be filled to the brim and then not turned on until the wife has a chance to inspect and redistribute the dishes to optimize capacity. Dirty dishes must be washed within two days if washer is not filled to capacity. No stainless steel, it might rust if the drying process is not complete (I don’t make the rules, I just follow.) No plastic, it might melt (I know, dishes have to be scrubbed clean before loading into a machine that could melt plastic. WTF?)
These are the rules I currently follow. Please ladies, get together and make one set of rules, I refuse to have to relearn dishwasher protocol again.
Or, I guess I will just have to stick with Mrs. Cranky and her rules.
Friday, October 25, 2019
Yesterday, out of nowhere, Mrs. C asks me,
“Did you notice I cleaned up your soap and sponge rack?”
“You mean that thing behind the kitchen sink faucet?”
“I didn’t know it needed cleaning.”
“It was a mess, because YOU don’t use the SOS pads correctly.”
I thought to myself, “Here we go again.”
“There is a correct way to use an SOS pad? I thought you just wet them and scrub, then rinse them and put them away.”
“That’s what YOU do. You should wet the pan and then use the SOS pad in the wet pan. That way the SOS pad does not drip gunk all over the tray.”
“So, don’t get the pad wet first, get the pan wet and then use the pad…but then won’t the pad get wet and drip gunk?”
“No, my way the pad only gets wet on the part that touches the pan, it does not get wet enough to drip gunk.”
“But if you only wet the outside of the pad, you don’t get any soap out of the pad.”
“And that’s why it does not drip gunk.”
“But it is the soap that cleans the pan!”
“My way gets some soap, just not enough to drip gunk.”
“Here is an idea, how about I just leave the pans for you to clean?”
“No, because you are the one using the pans, I don’t even eat breakfast. I’m not cleaning up your mess.”
“Well apparently you just did when you cleaned the gunk off the soap and sponge holder that I didn’t even know was dirty.”
“That’s different, that dirty holder drives me crazy.”
“Well using SOS pads without getting them wet first drives me crazy.”
“That’s why you’re a jerk!”
“You’re the only person in the world who wets the pan and not the pad, and you don’t even do that, I clean the pots, you just tell me how to do it.”
“You’re still a jerk!”
And so it goes, if it’s not one thing, it’s another!
Thursday, October 24, 2019
OMG I Remember…
When I was a wee lad, I always hated it when some old friend or relative that I had not seen in years would say,
“Is this Jody? (it was Joe by then, but I let it slide with old folks) It can’t be, I remember you when you were no higher than my knee!”
I would think to myself,
“What you’re surprised that I’m bigger at 13 than I was at 2? What did you expect?”
One time I met an old favorite Aunt of my Mom’s who I did not remember.
“Oh, this can’t be Jody; I remember when (holding her hand to her waist) you were only this tall.”
I could not resist responding to this under 5 foot lady,
“That’s funny, I remember when (holding my hand way above my head) you were this big!”
Why do old people do this? Why are we shocked that people change?
I have often stopped myself from commenting on Facebook to old friends of my children,
“OMG Frankie, you’re a doctor? I remember when you were a snot nosed kid!”
“Danny, you’re a cop? No way, I remember when you egg bombed my house.”
It’s easy to stop such stupid comments on Facebook, but in person it is difficult to bite your tongue and not advise someone that they used to be different thirty years ago.
Apparently it is natural to remember a person from the last time you saw them and be surprised that they have changed when you meet years later.
The funny thing is that appearance changes, but your impression of a person does not.
If Frankie was a little prick when he was ten, you still think of him as a little prick 30 years later when he is now a respected doctor.
I see pictures of women I knew in High School who have aged and put on a few pounds. If I had not known them back when they were little hotties in high school I would not give them a second glance, now I think,
“OMG, that’s Shelly Newman? She used to be so cute”
…and yet the older version still makes my heart do a double thump.
Perhaps this phenomenon is one of the benefits of aging.
Wednesday, October 23, 2019
I had my first slice of pizza when I was 18. There may have been one pizza parlor in our town, but my mom did not like ordering out, and pizza was just “That ethnic food.”
I always assumed I would not like it anyway, even though when I smelled it walking the Jersey Shore boardwalks it made my mouth water.
I assumed I would not like pizza because whenever Jackie Gleason ordered it on “The Honeymooners” he ordered it with onions, olives and anchovies along with all the regular toppings. The thought of onions, olives and anchovies made my stomach flip-flop.
Besides the repulsive thought of anchovies on dough, my older brother was once sick on a Saturday morning. He blamed his stomach problem on “Bad Pizza.” I did not want bad pizza to give me such a problem. Apparently the “Bad Pizza” was really too much beer the night before.
My freshman year in college a bunch of guys ordered pizza. It smelled really good. It was plain, no onions, olives or anchovies. I was feeling brave, I may have had a few beers to strengthen my courage. I tried a slice.
O M G!!!
This was the best food I had ever eaten. I wanted to order it again every night for the next week. How could I have lived so long without ever eating a slice of pizza.
I’d have to say pizza is probably my favorite food in the world…well maybe tied with Chinese food. And not that cardboard stuff with the dice on the box, or the crap from the “Hut.” Might as well order from “Pizza R Us.”
My pizza has to come from someone named Mario or Nino. Baked by someone with an accent who talks with his hands. The crust should be thin, soft and bend in half with the tip slightly drooping over. If a hot piece of cheese leaves a burn bubble of skin on your upper palate that is just a price that is worth paying.
Turns out that you can order pizza with tasty toppings, not like Gleason’s “With the works.”
My favorite topping combo is sausage and mushroom. I add copious amounts of those hot red pizza peppers.
Monday, October 21, 2019
Hitching a ride; I picked up this little ear-worm listening to Sirius Radio the other day. It made me think,
“When is the last time I’ve seen a hitchhiker?”
This song was in the early 70’s so I guess it was common back then, but I have not seen a hitchhiker in years.
I used to hitchhike all the time. It was an easy mode of transportation. Back when I was as young as 13 and all through college, hitchhiking was popular. Stick out your thumb and wait. Eventually someone would stop and ask,
“Where ya going?”
“Easton, Pa. (my college town).”
“Hop in, I can get you half way there.”
When I was in the eight grade, I played sports. The buses home were all gone well before practice was over. Home was three miles away. I would sometimes grab a ride from a friend’s parent. Often I would just hitch home.
No one ever thought twice about hitchhiking. we never worried about it. I think people started to think twice after hearing stories and seeing movies where being picked up by a psycho ended up badly. Other stories about picking up a psycho ended up badly.
Pretty soon, the only people hitchhiking and the only people who picked up hitchhikers were psychos.
I’ve often wondered what happens when a psycho hitchhiker is picked up by a psycho driver.
Anyway, I suppose soon even psychos stopped hitchhiking and picking up riders. Hitchhiking now just does not exist.
My days of hitchhiking were not as dangerous as people today might imagine. When I was thumbing a ride home from school after practice, I would almost always get picked up by someone I knew. It would be an older high school kid who had a license, or a neighbor I knew who was coming home from the train station after his daily commute.
It was a small town, people knew each other, there weren’t many psychos passing through.
When I was in college I would hitch to and from school when on break. It was about an hour and a half trip. I would hold up a sign saying “Lafayette” and invariably would get a ride from another student, or an alumnus.
I also generally hitched with a friend. Apparently, psychos only pick up solo passengers. Psychos only hitched alone, so picking up a twosome or being picked up as a twosome was perfectly safe…or so people thought years ago.
Anyway, it is a lost mode of transportation. Way back when, it was convenient, it was an adventure, it was fun…it was probably also stupid.
If you’re interested in an ear-worm,
Sunday, October 20, 2019
THE NAKED TRUTH
“Kids today, with all their keyboards, don’t know how to write in cursive (script or longhand in my day) anymore. Soon it will be a lost art!"
Really, who cares? Why do we need to write in script when we have keyboards? In my day the lost skill old people were afraid we would lose was Latin. Everyone had to learn Latin.
“Most of our words have Latin as their origin.”
“You can’t be a doctor or an engineer without learning Latin.”
“Latin may be a dead language, but it is important to learn.”
And so we learned Latin.
“Omnia Gaul es devisit en tres partes.”
“Veni, vidi, vici.”
Guess what, it was not important to learn Latin. It was stupid to learn Latin. Learning Latin was a waste of time.
Where am I going with this? I’m not sure; I’m just noticing that the evolution of ideas in this day and age is moving at lightning speed and us old people are getting overwhelmed by it.
What prompted me to reflect on generational differences was my observation on nudity.
When I was a youth, there was no nudity in magazines, movies or TV. If you got your hands on illicit naked pictures it was very exciting. Today there is nudity in movies, TV, and magazines. People walk on the beach practically naked where in the early nineteen hundreds (before my time) swim suits covered the whole body almost burka-like. Nudity today is no big deal.
Young men today will not undress in gym locker rooms. They do not shower together with other young men. If they do shower at the gym, there are separate showers.
Old dudes do not have this hang up. We grew up forced to shower after gym or sports practices. The showers were open rooms with multiple shower-heads. There was group singing, and plenty of horseplay in these showers. I know; gay right? Except unless you were gay, we did not even know gay existed, so showering together was harmless.
In college, and no one wants to believe me on this, at our all men’s school, we had swimming as a PE course; everyone swam naked and thought nothing of it. Swimsuits were not allowed! I don’t recall anyone being embarrassed. I don’t recall any bullying, although we did all became quite proficient at making a “rat’s tail” out of a towel and inflecting welts on each other’s rear ends.
I find it ironic that in my younger days, when homosexuals were forced to hide their lifestyle, when most of us did not even know such a lifestyle existed, we participated innocently in what today would be considered gay activities and today when homosexuality is becoming an acceptable lifestyle (I know, we still have a ways to go) it is unacceptable for men to be naked in each other’s company.
A generation of men intolerant of homosexuals was comfortable in their nakedness with other men. A younger generation that is more acceptant of the gay lifestyle finds it unacceptable to be naked around other men.
If you are waiting for my point, I’m not sure I have one. Maybe it is just that generations are different, sometimes the reasons for the differences do not make any sense, and sometimes when you pass sixty your mind tends to wander a lot.
Friday, October 18, 2019
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?”
“Add an extra two dollars.”
“Just add an extra $2”
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.”