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Thursday, April 30, 2020

Birthdays and Wrestling

Birthdays and Wrestling

Today is my older brother’s birthday.  He is a retired Federal Judge living in Atlanta.  Tomorrow is my Birthday, I am a retired brokerage clerk, living in Jersey.
OK, that’s the birthdays, what does that have to do with wrestling?

My brother for many years was also my tormentor.  In his defense, I was a pain in the ass.  The only time I have ever been knocked out was when Chris got some boxing gloves for his birthday.  I was five.  We had a pretend boxing match and he “Accidently” hit me with a left hook.  I was accidently out for the count of ten.

My brother won every argument because he was smarter (future lawyer…surprise) and every fight because he was four years older and stronger.

I received my first and only accidental loogie slurp in the mouth (every brother combination ever, knows what this is) from Chris.

I will say that though I was a pain in my brothers ass, and he did torment me a bit, I was his pain in the ass.  Older kids in the neighborhood were well advised not to mess with Chris Hagy’s little brother…so there was that.

What does any of this have to do with wrestling?

My brother left for college when I was 15.

On Christmas, Chris returned from College, and I told him I was competing for the HS wrestling team.  Chris had wrestled some in school.  He immediately challenged me to a match.  It was probably not a good idea to accept the challenge while we were in the living room.
At this point I was at last bigger and stronger than my tormentor.  We started in the traditional wrestling down position.  I quickly had him on his back.  Then he was up, on his back again, and up, and so on and so on until we had to stop due to a broken lamp, and also due to the traditional Mom yell “Jim, Joe, Chris; what are you up to?” (Mom never got her sons names in the right order.  She just called all three to be safe. The last name called was somehow always the one she meant to call.)

Chris had simply willed himself not to be beaten by his little brother.  The match was a draw based on no pin, I was ahead 21 to 4 when it was called.

Chris never talked about this match, but from that day on he went from tormentor to friend and protector.

Today Chris is 78.  I outweigh him by about 45 pounds.  He has a touch of a shaky thing going on.  I know I am stronger, I know I am faster, I also know I could still not pin him.  

He would find a way to kick my ass.

Anyway, Happy Birthday brother, I still love ya!

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

It All Started With Ice Cream

It All Started With Ice Cream

I have made an observation recently.  The observation comes from my reality TV addiction, so don’t put too much credibility to it…still.

My studies are from shows like “Married at First Sight,” "90 day fiance," “The Bachelor,” “Sister Wives,” and other out of focused glimpses into how couples interact these days. 

It is clearly different than it was in my day.

Couples today, especially young couples, think too much.  That’s right, they think too much.  They think about every thing anyone says, every move, inflection, shoulder shrug or eyebrow slant.  Young people today assign some meaning to everything and they then analyze all the information gleaned from all that meaning.

It must be exhausting.  Having to explain every word, every step, everything.

As an example, here is a recent Reality TV couple discussion:

“What do you mean by 'you hope I had a good time?'”

“Nothing, I just hope you had a good time.”

“Why would you think I didn’t have a good time?”

“No reason, I just wanted to confirm you had a good time.”

“There must be some other reason you would ask.”

This goes on and on…it is exhausting to me and I am just a fly on the reality TV wall.

I blame it on choices. 

I blame it all on ice cream.

Back in the day, a trip to the ice cream shop meant you had a choice of vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry.  It was a difficult choice as they are all good.  In fact, there is no ice cream choice that will ever be as good as vanilla, chocolate or strawberry.  Oh, they added a few, cherry vanilla, pistachio, and butter pecan, and I may stray, but I always come back to the big three.

The ice cream shop today has at least 78 different flavor choices.  They throw everything into ice cream today, cookies, sprinkles, lemon mixes, watermelon, cotton candy, it doesn’t end.  Then they put kids’ names on the different concoctions, superman ice cream, sponge bob on a stick, Cinderella pops. 

How in the world can you get a child to sample any of the big three?  They never try the only real flavors ice cream was ever meant to have.  Children don’t have a favorite, they have to try a new flavor every trip to the ice cream shop.

Fast forward to young adults choosing a relationship.   They can’t do it. They never got to sample all the ice cream choices, they never got to choose a favorite, now how can they accept a relationship. 

They need to sample every choice.  Their mind says, “Gee, I liked chocolate fudge mocha cream fuzzy, and then I liked vanilla nut crunch Popeye berry. ”

If you could never choose a favorite ice cream flavor because there are so many choices, why would choosing a mate be any different?

Young people today grew up with choices for everything.  They were taught they could be whatever they wanted, could live wherever they want, and eat any one of at least 78 different flavors of ice cream.  They are paralyzed by choices and it makes them analyze everything.

These days it is not uncommon for couples to seek counseling before they get married.

I’m convinced the problem is they think too much.

Hell, just order the vanilla.  That’s what I did.  Of course, vanilla didn’t agree with me long term, so I tried chocolate.  Chocolate had a bad after taste.  Turns out my best flavor is strawberry, and I am so glad that for me there were only three flavors.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

A Shocking Realization

A Shocking Realization

I just read an article that made me do a double take.  

The headline was:

“Your Cell Phone Has 17 Times the Bacteria as a Public Restroom.”

As a confirmed skeptic, this headline had me thinking.

Which restrooms did they use to test?  Whose cell phones did they swab for bacteria?  Who did this study?

The first two questions were not answered in the article.  

The study according to this report was however, done by “EXPERTS.”
Obviously the study is accurate.  Experts say so, and anyone who disputes experts is just anti-science!  That is not me, I am a skeptic, but I have always been pro-science.  Science is good.  I like science.

So, as a pro-science yet skeptical person, what am I to make of this article?
I can only assume they took a fair distribution of cell phones to test, and they for sure must have tested public restrooms in an assortment of fine restaurants and also dirty spoon highway diners and gas stations.

I know from simple observation and my own practice that most people only use their cell phones to call or do research.  They do not wipe their backsides with their cell phones, they do not pick up after the dog with their cell phones, their cell phones mostly just come in contact with their own hands.

Most people wash their hands a few times a day, and shower at least several times a week. You would think their hands would be relatively bacteria free.  And yet this study by EXPERTS has determined that your cell phone is 17 times dirtier than a public restaurant.  Not just twice as dirty, mind you, not 12 times dirtier, but 17 TIMES MORE BACTERIA ON YOU CELL PHONE THAN IN A PUBLIC RESTROOM!!

Since I am not anti-science, I can only reach one shocking conclusion.  A realization that I would have never thought in a million years.

Public restrooms must be really feckin clean!

Thank you experts, now I will not worry as much as I used to when in a public restroom.  Wash my hands after using the restroom?

Why bother? 

The damn place is 17 times cleaner than my cell phone!

Monday, April 27, 2020



This re-run is from July 2012
So much bad press on China because of the Covid thing.  My biggest fear besides  catching it, are restaurants going out of business.  Especially Chinese restaurants.  My world just has to have Chinese food!

Tonight Mrs. C. and I ordered Chinese food for dinner.  There are several reasons why we love Chinese food for dinner.  The food is delicious.  The food is inexpensive.  The food is ordered on the phone and delivered to your door.

There are drawbacks to Chinese food.

I used to call in my order and then pick it up at the restaurant.  I had to stop this because I couldn’t handle the 15 minute trip.  It was not a difficult drive except for the smell of Chinese food.  Fifteen minutes in a car with the smell if spare ribs, pork low mien, egg drop soup and chicken almandine wafting across my nostrils and taste buds is torture.  The smell caused me to speed, run lights and drive more distracted than a teenage girl texting Justin Bieber.  I almost had an accident several times. 

Now we order delivery.

Another drawback to Chinese food is for some reason I eat it like it is going to be taken away from me at any minute.  I don’t know why this is, but I shovel that chow in my mouth faster than an Olympic sprinter.  Egg roll…duck sauce…low mien…chew…spare rib…swallow…chew, chew, chew…egg drop soup…swallow…REPEAT.

Within fifteen minutes after the delivery, my stomach is busting and I am in pain. 
My taste buds are in heaven.

One of the best things about Chinese food is the duck sauce.  What is duck sauce?  I use it on everything.  I never have duck.  I once asked the proprietor of the local restaurant about this sauce.

“Why do they call it duck sauce?  Was it the invention of an man named Duc? Duc’s Sauce?”

“Sauce for duck.  Call duck sauce.”

“Are you sure it wasn’t developed by a Mister Duc?”


“It might be like the tape, duck tape isn’t for ducks.  Some call it duct tape, but the only thing it isn’t good for is ducts.  Did Mr. Duc invent the tape?


“OK, OK good to know.  Can I have some extra Duc’s sauce for my egg roll?”

“Sure, sauce for duck, very good on egg roll.”

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Wells Fargo to the Rescue

Wells Fargo to the Rescue

I have complained in the past about my Wells Fargo bank account.  They once demanded my thumb print in order to DEPOSIT a check.  When I got my receipt I demanded the supervisor give me a thumb print.
I was ignored.

For almost one year I was being charged $2 to use the FREE to all others ATM machine at the local Wawa’s.  I complained that my other cards had no such charge and received a shoulder shrug reply.

Yes, I know, I could just change banks, except some automatic payments and deposits go through this account and it is a pain to undo and change those automatic transactions.  It is easier to just use their ATM and give them a thumb print when requested.

Now, in an effort to support fairness in blogging, I am compelled to give Wells Fargo an “Atta Boy” for recently catching a fraudulent charge.

The other day, Frog insisted I purchase an internet guitar service,  “Chordify.” It is a nice system that accesses any YouTube recording and displays chords along with the music.  You can change keys, or move a capo to play chords in a different open position, pretty nice.  Anyway, it was $20 a year and worth trying especially to help with timing as I am not so good at playing along with others.

So, I purchased the service on-line.  Gave them my card number and that little code on the back.  I almost never do that, because I am old and don’t trust this new internet purchasing stuff, but I had no other choice.

My first purchase attempt did not go through.  I figured I punched the wrong number.  The second attempt cleared.
So far, I like the service, I need to work with it some, but it is just one more tool to learning how to play guitar…it also works for ukulele and piano.

I made this purchase around 6 PM.  At 9:30 Wells Fargo sent me a text to confirm a $213 purchase from Best Buy.  WTF!  It looked like a scam to me.  Hell, I don’t think Best But stores are even open.

We called a number they sent and after 20 minutes on hold, a very helpful representative assured me that the charge was held up.  It apparently set off a “Suspicious” charge flag, and it will be removed.  He is cancelling my current card and is sending me a new one, because someone has my number.  

It won’t do them any good now.

I called Frog to warn him.  He said his card denied the purchase also, so he used PayPal (I don’t know either) and was going to double check that account.
It seems “Chordify” has been hacked and the banks are aware.

Anyway, thank you Wells Fargo, you are now welcome to my thumb print anytime.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Now I am Cranky! Also an apology or two

Now I am Cranky!

Yes, I am really cranky.  That is probably why Mrs. C  slapped that moniker on me years ago.  Yet, until this stay-at-home thing started, I did not really know what cranky is.

Since being pent up inside this house, I have sarcastically lambasted one blogger, a very nice fellow who did not deserve lambasting, and made a mean response to a really nice lady across the ocean.  It is not me, I am Cranky, but that level of cranky is all the fault of the virus.

As long as I am cranky, I am going to go off on something that is not so personal.

Power cords!


I destroy power cords.  Most of our electronics these days are portable.  The power cords I use are carried around and hooked up in different places in different ways, at different angles.  This puts stress on the connections and after time they crap out.

My beef is that all these cord connections are different.  One end of the cord connections seems finally to be universal, but the end connecting to the device is different for every phone, computer, reader, or GPS device that I own.

How friggin hard is it to make these connections universal, or at least provide adapters so I can get by with only one or two of these power cords?  

We don’t have different outlets in our homes.  Somehow a universal outlet has been established.  Why can’t we do the same for power cords?

Batteries are either AA, AAA, C, D, 9 volt, etc.  There is not a different size for every remote or flashlight based on year or manufacturer.  If I needed a new spark plug for my car (do cars still use spark plugs?), I don’t go to the store and ask for a #18 2009 Kia Sorento spark plug.  I just buy a damn spark plug.  Why can’t I do that with power cords?

The power cord to my upstairs computer just crapped out after only two years.  Can I just go to Best Buy and buy a new one for $5?
No I cannot.
Even if Best Buy was open, I could not.  Best Buy does not carry 1137 different power cords that will be obsolete before they can sell them.  I have to go on the internet and order them at about 7 times more money than they would cost if they all had universal connections.

I have to wait several days for a new power cord and it IS MAKING ME EXTRA CRANKY!!!

The Presidential candidate that promises to make universal connections on electronic devices mandatory will get my vote.  The economy is difficult. Equal rights are not easy.  Healthcare is very difficult.  Clean inexpensive energy is extra difficult.

Universal device power cord connections?

As one candidate would say “Come on man!”

To anyone I have offended with a cranky outburst recently, it is not my fault. Blame the virus.

Still, I'm sorry.

Friday, April 24, 2020

God Bless Freedom of the Press…but

God Bless Freedom of the Press…but

A Cranky Opinion

The following cranky opinion is based on zero expertise on the subject opined.  As always, please keep mean spirited comments to yourselves.  Those comments along with any name calling will be summarily deleted…and that means you, you big stupid-head!

One of the things that makes this country great is our “Freedom of the Press.”  Reporters in this country do not “go missing” after uncovering ineptitude or corruption in our government or other institutions.  The press keeps leaders on their toes and keeps them as honest as is possible.

An important feature of Freedom of Press is our inherent freedom to question the press.  Good news does not sell.  Fear, panic and sensationalism sells.  Reporters tend to gravitate to stories which sell.  Nothing wrong with that, it is just our responsibility to recognize that trend.  While a free press helps keep us free, it can also be dangerous if it is left unquestioned.
“Where did this rant come from Cranky?”

I just read an article that questions the safe use of ACE inhibitor drugs.

 “Scientists (usually unnamed) are studying the use of ACE inhibitor drugs and breathing issues of Covid-19.”

This is a scary headline, especially for those like Mrs. C who take such a drug to keep her blood pressure under control.

Apparently a huge percentage of those who suffer and die from Covid-19 are users of ACE inhibitor drugs.  “Scientists” are studying this disturbing correlation.  It may be that these drugs while lowering blood pressure, also somehow assist the virus in attacking the lungs.  Worth looking into…of course, but worthy of a headline?  I think not.

First of all the virus is especially brutal to people  with conditions that have made ACE inhibitor drugs an important treatment.  Mrs. C’s blood pressure before the drugs, gave her serious headaches almost every day.  She was a candidate for a stroke or worse.  Her pressure is now normal, actually it is in the excellent range and she has not suffered a related headache since she has been taking a low dose of the drug.

Is the ACE inhibitor drug assisting Covid-19 in attacking the lungs, or is the condition that the drug treats what makes the virus extra dangerous?
If it is the condition itself, then not taking the drug would not only be more dangerous for the virus, but may injure or KILL those who rely on the drug.  If the drug itself actually is dangerous if you have the virus, then those with existing conditions need to be extra careful, which is just what most people are doing.

This reporting may well cause some people to stop taking a drug that is saving their lives, in order to prevent a virus from taking their lives.
If a study claims that swimming with great white sharks while using life saving medicine is more dangerous than swimming with great white sharks without taking life saving medication, then should you stop taking life saving medication, or try to stay away from great white sharks?

Freedom of press is very important, but so is thinking about everything you read.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Out And About

Out And About

Except for a few short ¼ mile jaunts to the mail box and back, I left the house for the first time in five weeks today.  I did drive to the hardware store yesterday for a new propane tank, but that store was only opened from 8 to 1.  I got there at 1:15.

Today I went with Mrs. C to Costco, Shoprite, the bank and the hardware store.  It was different for sure. 

In these difficult times (apparently in these difficult times, all discussions need to start with “In theses difficult times”) a shopping trip is a bit different. 

Costco as always was very well run.  We went on Wednesday as Mrs. C figured it would be less crowded than Tuesday.  Costco is open to seniors Tue. Wed. and Thursday from 8 to 10.  Mrs. C figured seniors would be panicked after the weekend and Wednesday would be less crowded.  She was probably right.  We only waited a few minutes to get in.

It was interesting shopping without dodging carts and shoppers who don’t realize they are not the only people in the store.  If there was a backup, a simple cough cleared the way (That was a joke, I would not do that). 

It seems masks are pretty easy to come by now as Mrs. C and I were the only ones with home made cover.  I did get a little bothered by the few that had the extra good N95 masks.  I’m sure they had a smug look under those surgical grade masks.  I guess they were just “special.”

Then there was the one guy at Shoprite who had no mask.  He had a scarf that got him in, but then he took it off.  I was not really worried about catching anything from the old dude he has probably been in quarantine for several weeks, it is just a “What the F*ck thing” to me.  Him I might have faked coughed at.

Then there was the guy who was shopping in his pajama bottoms with a matching scarf as a mask.  Damn I wish I got a picture of that!  I could not wrap my head around someone who would be so casual as to shop in his pajama bottoms yet fashion aware enough to have a matching scarf as a mask.

That’s it for the Cranky’s, we are stocked up enough for three more weeks.  I hope the world will begin to open sooner than that, it is so sad seeing all the shops and stores closed.  Sooner or later people without money and small businesses shutting down for good will hurt as much or more than this virus.

Even if the world open up soon, I will stay tight a bit longer.  I may try the golf course.  Social distancing should be easy there.  I spend a lot of time in the woods looking for my ball, that should be pretty safe.

Stay safe everyone, and wash your hands in these difficult times that is very important.

Oh yeah, and we are all in this together, us and every bank, insurance company, car dealer etc. that can’t sell anything; they are all in this with us.  Makes me feel  warm and fuzzy all over.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

She did it again

She did it again
I just went downstairs for a late-night snack of some cinnamon sugar-coated pecans Mrs. C had ordered from the internet.  These things are sooo good I can’t tell you.  I only eat a few at a time but they make a great late-night snack.

Hmm, they didn’t seem to be in the usual place.  I checked under all the towels, and still nothing.  Disappointed, I just grabbed a slice of Velveeta, a cheese like product, and came back upstairs.

“You Bitch!”


“Don’t give me what, you know what you did.”

“I have no idea.”

“Please! I know that you know what you did!”


I’m no fool, I know this trick.  Never admit to anything until you are sure that the jig is up.  I know because sometimes she will accuse me of something with that “You know what you did” simply as a covert means of eliciting an admission of something that she had not actually uncovered.  I’ve been tripped up a few times too and admitted to something she had no idea.  It is a clever subversion that she thought I might be attempting on her.  Thus, the quizzical response.

“You hid those pecan things!”

“Yes, and you found them I can tell you were chomping on something.   You are going to finish the whole bag.”

“Well Hell, you only eat like one at a time, and you eat in little baby bites.  You make a sugar-coated pecan nut last a day.”

“So, I have to hide them so I have one if I want it.”

“I’d save you a few, and I didn’t find them, I just had a piece of cheese!”

“Good, you’ve had your share.”

Three months from now those nuts will turn up someplace untouched from when squirrel lady hid them.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

The Creepy Old Man

The Creepy Old Man

Ah, the good old days before social distancing, and when stores were open.
 a Cranky/Creepy rerun from October 2016

On the way to the hotel for this years fraternity reunion, Mrs. C wanted to stop at Kohl’s for something.  First she dropped me off at the cigar store about a block away, there may be some scotch and cigars involved at the reunion.  I made my purchase and was off to meet Mrs. C at Kohl’s.

I walked in the store and immediately saw Mrs. C in the check-out line.   I walked over to her, past several people who gave me that “you better not be cutting” fuzzy eyeball.  She did not see me; her back was turned.  As I leaned over to show my face she turned away to look at some merchandise.  At this point I started to reach out and grab her backside on the sly like I sometimes do…hey, I like her backside.

Just before I made contact something seemed wrong.  There were no red stripe highlights in Mrs. Cranky’s jet black hair.  The pants she was wearing did not look familiar.  I was about to say something when Mrs. C turned my way, and it was not Mrs. C!

I have a feeling I may have looked just a little creepy as I mumbled “excuse me” turned on my heels and got out of line.  Now I was looking for Mrs. C and wandering around like someone who does not belong and was only looking for trouble…you know, looking creepy. 

(I’m surprised I didn’t get drawn in magnet like to a certain ex-school teacher named Val who attracts creepy people.)

At this point I realized the store did not look familiar.   I was in T.J. Max not Kohl’s.

I quickly skulked out and I swear I saw several people on their cell phones, no doubt dialing 911.

I moved up one store to Kohl’s and quickly met up with Mrs. C. 

“We need to get out of here right now.”

“OK, I’m done, what’s wrong?”

“A really creepy guy almost grabbed your ass at T.J. Max just a minute ago.”

“What?  I was never in T.J. Max.”

“I was, and I almost grabbed your ass.”

“How could you almost grab my ass if I was not in T.J. Max…oh wait, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?”

“Almost did; I was the creepy guy.”

“Let’s go, you can explain in the car, but I’m pretty sure it is going to end with you being a Jerk!”

And also a creep!

Monday, April 20, 2020

Soap Costs What?

Soap Costs What?
Listening to a TV commercial for hand sanitizer, I remarked,

“They are ripping people off, just because hand sanitizer is hard to buy these days because of Covid-19.”

“How much is it?”

“Fifteen dollars and you can’t get it on Amazon.  They say that like it is something special, probably Amazon won’t sell it as they are ripping people off.”

“You think?”

“Sure, Hell, what does a simple bar of soap cost, Fifty cents?”

“What?  This is not 1950 you know.”

“Well, the last time I bought soap…come to think of it, I have never bought soap.”

Imagine that, 74 years old and I have never bought soap.

“How could it be you have never bought a bar of soap?”

“Well, I never bought it at home, in college I just brought soap from home or used what was left in the fraternity house shower.  When I got married my wives did the shopping and I just have never bought soap.”


“So what does a bar of soap cost?”

“Around $1.50 to maybe $5.00 for the expensive stuff.”

“Holy cow, no wonder you don’t throw away the slivers.”

I have to get out more…but not for another few weeks.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

The Smoke Detector

The Smoke Detector

The other day my breakfast was ruined as every 30 seconds an annoying beep came from the basement family room.  I traced the annoying beep to a smoke detector in the basement. 

“Why is it f***ing beeping?”  I demanded of my more patient wife.  “The battery must be low,” came the calm response.

“The BATTERY? WTF, the thing is hard wired!”

“In case of a power shortage there is a battery as a back-up.  When the battery is low it beeps to warn you.”

“Really.  What happens if there is a power failure, the battery is low, but the beep function is defective?  We will all die!”

“Just change the battery……you’re a jerk.

After much twisting, turning and prying, I managed to take down the detector and change the battery.  I twisted and turned back locking the device in the ceiling and retreated upstairs with a satisfied grin.

Beep Beep!  “FUCK! I thought you said it was the battery.”

“That new battery is a couple of years old; it must not be any good.  Go out and get a new 9 volt and stop whining.  You’re a jerk.

The wife is almost never wrong on stuff like this, so I went to the hardware store for a new battery.  Forty-five minutes later I was back.  After much twisting, turning and prying, I managed to take down the detector and change the battery.  I twisted and turned it back locking the device in the ceiling and retreated upstairs with a satisfied grin.

Beep Beep! 

“FUCK! I thought you said it was the battery.”

“Are you sure you changed it correctly?  What a jerk!


Beep Beep.

Now I was really pissed.  After much twisting, turning and prying I pulled down the offending detector (again) and unplugged it from the hard wiring.

Beep Beep.

WTF!  I yanked out the battery.

Beep Beep.

Now I was really angry.  I ran to the garage, grabbed a hammer, and smashed the smoke detector to bits.  Silence.

“What did you do?”

“I busted the freaking thing up, that beep was driving me nuts.”

“That’s a short trip! Jerk.

Sweaty but satisfied that the battle was over I was again jolted by that annoying sound. 

Beep Beep.

I trudged downstairs hammer in hand ready to destroy.  Destroy what I did not know.  I stared at the hole in the ceiling and waited. 

Beep Beep. 

It was not coming from the ceiling.  Listening carefully I traced the sound.

Beep Beep.

Found it!  It was a Carbon Monoxide detector in the corner.  One of three in the room left by the former owner!  No carbon monoxide was going to get passed this basement unnoticed.  The freaking thing was just defective.  It is now defective about thirty yards into the woods where I chucked it.  Problem solved!

You’re a jerk!”  

A cranky re-run from June 2012