Sunday, July 31, 2011

On the 69th day



And on the 69th day the man prepared to leave the sea, looked back on all he had created throughout the previous 68 and said:

“I was never a fan of flip flops because of my hairy toes. But they are not without merit, especially when using the men’s room.”

The wise man decided he would leave the beach and walk into town in search of food, as he was certain none of his cheapskate followers would spring for lunch.

As he approached the frozen food case in the local seaside cantina, he spread his arms and said, “Behold the multitude of choice when it comes to frozen dinners. Hungry Man, Lean Cuisine, Smart Ones and Mrs. Paul’s eclectic Frozen fish selection. Does this not tell us much about ourselves as a people?”

At which point a red haired temptress, in the disguise of a divorcee with two unruly children, sucking voraciously on lollipops, lured him to the side with her multiplicity of charms. The woman, dressed  provocatively in tight fitting garb, grabbed him by the collar of his teal terry cloth beach jacket and said, “Out of the way creepy weird guy, you’re blocking the ice pops.”

To which the man smiled and spoke, “Fair women of brats, you speak with much wisdom, despite your obvious endowments, for it is the ice pops among us that provide substance to our humble existence, here at Pappy’s Food Mart.”

“You keep eyeballing my endowments, buster, and I’m calling Pappy to throw your neon teal butt out of here,” spoke the woman.  “What’s your game anyway?”

The wise man smiled, yet again, for how could he not, given the situation.

“To be honest, I was hoping to impress the deli guy so he might throw me a Turkey on a roll, with lettuce & tomato, mayo on the side.”

With that the Temptress, snapped her gum and said, “Save your breath, old man. That ain’t gonna fly with that guy, though I did once manage to persuade him to provide extra swiss on my Rueben.”

To which the wise man filled with pride. “Temptress, I have no idea what you mean.”

To which the Temptress replied, “Neither do I…I just thought it sounded smart.”

With that, the Temptress and Wise man, with two lollipops stuck to the back of his head, parted ways; she to the Ho Ho aisle, and he to the cracker. 

Both smiling, both not knowing...with the knowledge that they had no knowledge and the lesson they had learned that day.


Friday, July 29, 2011

Pre-Vacation Day...The Worst of all Days



Today is pre-vacation prep day. 

The worst of all days. 

We’re heading out for a week at the Jersey shore tomorrow. 

Z usually takes the day before we leave off and, well, you can guess the rest.

The first thing is to prepare a list of all the lists that need to be made.

The second thing is to adhere to the lists and check completed things off the list as we go. If items are attended to that were not previously on the list, they are added to the list…and then checked off...the list.

Of course packing is a big item on the list. There’s all sorts of packing. There’s food packing. Food preparation packing. Beverage packing, both non and non-non-alcoholic. There’s entertainment packing, which has become much more manageable with the advent of the IPod. No more lugging around 500 CDs just in case you feel moved to play “Lime in the Coconut” one night.

There’s linen and towel packing, pillow packing, shoe packing, sundry packing, mondry packing and tuesdray packing, as well. Snack packing, which is in addition to food packing, book packing and of course, clothes packing, which most definitely includes bathing suits and towels, since we are going to the beach for a week. 

Don’t laugh…it’s been known to happen; but not with us…not with the list…no way!


Once the lists have been scrutinized and check assured, car packing can now commence. The car is carefully backed down the driveway so that the packing materials can be efficiently hauled off the deck and onto the driveway, where the Rubik’s cube of packing can begin. You might think that packing a Hyundai with the stuff of two people should be pretty easy, but you would be wrong. 

As you know, if you’re shore savvy, weather wise, the beach is a funny place. While it may be warm and sunny at 11 AM, it can be cold, windy and cloudy by 4 PM. Therefore one must pack accordingly and pretty much just bring everything they own, including that natty sweater from Aunt Louise.

So there’s a lot of stuff and we kind of look like this when we're done.

I’ve actually thought of photographing or diagraming past packing’s to expedite things; but I thought that might be excessive. Not to mention weird. Besides, after a while it becomes second nature; until you buy a new car and then you start all over again. So it’s best to keep what you drive as a long as you can.  And 1988 was a good year for Hyundai’s.

Once ALL the packing and list checking is completed, a call to our house sitters, Gunter and Gerde, is made to assure them that their required supply of lutefisk is in the basement fermenting. We also let them know that there’s a brand new cushy sofa in the living room for their two very large, very scary, Great Danes, Hans and Feats, to have their way with.

It’s nice to know the place will be in good hands while we’re away, and the smell of week old lutefisk is always oddly reassuring upon our return.

Before we found Gunter and Gerde, we would just lock everything up tight and take all the usual vacation precautions; stop the mail and the papers, etc.

Z would leave a note behind with our mobile phone numbers, just in case any intruders wanted to get in touch with us; you know, in case they couldn’t figure out the remote for the flat screen or where we kept the “good” gin.

Z would also clean the place like a fiend the day before we left and make sure all the trash baskets were empty in the morning.  She always claimed that it was nice to come home to a clean house.  But I always suspected that she was really planning ahead in case we became shark food, and she didn’t want the “bereaved” relatives who came over to pick through all our stuff to think we had a messy house.

So, with all that in place, we look toward an early morning departure in hopes of beating the incessant traffic on the Garden State Parkway. 

Best of all, we’re now free to hit our pillows, which mostly prevents us from hitting each other. 

I mean vacation prep is stressful…list or no lists.

Check back in a couple of days and I’ll update you on our progress.  

I better add that to the list….


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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Crappy Mood

I’ve decided to cancel Cable Week. 

Looking ahead, it just seems like way too much cable for one sitting, even if it’s spread out over 5 days.

It’s probably way too much spread out over 5 months.

So it’s cancelled.

I can do that. It’s one of the benefits of being the Blog Meister General. 

I can change my mind…



I’m in a crappy mood. 

Can you tell?

Not sure why; just one of those things that sneaks up and grabs hold of you from time to time.

Trying to figure it out is usually pointless, since by the time you do, it hopefully has passed and you can get back on with your life.

And now since I’ve canceled Cable week, I need to come up with a substitute…and this is what you get.

A crappy post by a writer in a crappy mood.

Spell Check is telling me that’s a fragmented sentence.

Screw Spell check….

Part of it may have been the recent heat wave.

Now that’s broken and we can revel in the fact that it’s only 88 degrees.

But its summer…it’s supposed to be hot.



Summer must be saying, “Damned if I do and damned if I don’t”.

Screw Summer….

Some people I know just spent a week sitting on their butts all day long, all week long, on a beach, down at the shore. They said the weather was cool and refreshing every single day that we were sweltering up here.  They said some days they actually had to leave the beach late in the afternoon because it would actually get too cool.  

So screw them too….

It might be that July is fast coming to an end and those Augustinian days will soon be here. And for those of us with fast forward brains, it’s practically time to go looking for our Christmas tree.

My friend Rosie is always a lot of fun and for the most part, never met a party she didn't like. But she's also one of those folks, like myself, with a fast forward brain.
She hates the Fall. She calls it the F word and we’re not allowed to mention it in her presence. She can get a little dramatic about it at times but we defer to her wishes.

However, it does make it difficult if one of us should actually take a fall and try to find the right word to replace it, for descriptive purposes.

“I’ve tumbled and can’t get up” just doesn’t seem to work.

Rosie is all about summer; can't get enough of it. She’s off to foreign shores next week, for vacation, and while I know she’s thrilled about it, I’m wondering if part of her is dreading that when she gets back, it will be nearly mid-August. 

But I would tell her that mid-August is better than no-August.

So hopefully she’ll enjoy her gelato and know that there’ll be plenty of summer left when she returns.  We’ll keep it on ice for her and push the F word as far away as possible.

Bon Voyage, Rosie!


Watch out for all those Italian guys....

Or not, if you prefer.

Janey recently returned from vacation herself. High up in the mountain air she says she had an epiphany, which, to be fair, she has on a semi monthly basis, mountains or not.


Janey’s epiphany goes along the lines of no longer worrying about everyone else and what they do and think. Instead she’s going to just focus on herself and what she can control. 

Which basically means “screw em!

And with that I can agree….

Kind of missing Cable Week now, huh?

Monday, July 25, 2011

News 12 Westchester- Hyper-Local or Loco-Local?



Welcome to "Cable Week" on the Retort. All week long we're going to take a look at the one thing in life, no matter where you're from, you can't live with...and you can't live without.

Okay...maybe one of two things...or maybe three, if you're odd. 

I know...it sounds like a lot to devote one full week to one topic...but hey...it's cable.

You know....

I know....

Today's topic...News 12 Westchester.

If you’re a Cablevision subscriber in Westchester County, you are constantly inundated with the fact that “News 12 Westchester”— one of their many News 12 someplaces that serve local communities such as the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, etc…you get the idea.—is “Hyper-Local”. 
And they serve them well.

Hyper-Local Weather, Hyper-Local Traffic, Hyper-Local News, Hyper-Local everything.

Sounds great, huh?  I mean as far as made up media marketing words go, sounds fantastic!

This is the definition of Hyper-Local from that, again, mostly reliable font of information, Wikipedia:

Hyper-local content, often referred to as hyper-local news, is characterized by three major elements.

First, it refers to entities and events that are located within a well-defined, community scale area.

Secondly, it is intended primarily for consumption by residents of that area.

Thirdly, it is created by a resident of the location.

Sounds even better.  Hyper-Local News about the goings on in our “little” area.

This type of content should be contrasted with local news which tends to be less geographically constrained.

Ok…all well and good, but my little nit wit pick is, the News 12 Westchester definition of Hyper-Local consists of an area that is at least 90-100 miles from one end to the other; from Yonkers to West Hurley, which I’m pretty certain is not even in Westchester….last I looked.

 But these things change, all the time.

And I won’t even get into square mileage, which is what this thing really needs to sound intelligent, mostly because sounding intelligent has never been a big factor with me...as you can tell. Besides, I never understood the whole square mile concept to begin with...or end with. I mean, if you drive a square mile, don’t you just end up where you started? 
But maybe that's just me...

In any case…this ain’t Hyper-Local. 

This ain’t even Mostly-Local. 

This is Loco-Local….

A well-defined, community scale area…?

I guess if it’s 25 degrees and snowing in one area and 70 degrees and sunny in another that could be Hyper-Local.

This type of content should be contrasted with local news which tends to be less geographically constrained…?

Local around here is considered to be anything in the tri-state metropolitan area, NY, NJ, & CT, which is, at best, approximately 40 or 50 miles from the center of NYC…I think….

 But my News 12,  Hyper-Local  Traffic & Weather together is telling me all about a traffic jam on the Storm King Highway or Bear Mountain Bridge, which is not something I’m going to run into on my morning commute…if I had a commute…which I don’t.

I don’t need to hear about frost warnings in September for Poughkeepsie residents.  And can we at least try and find someone who is actually familiar with the area and can at least pronounce the names of all the towns correctly, using the proper inflections.

Okay…maybe it’s just the morning guy, but he ruins it for the whole class.

And as far as Hyper-Local  news goes…I don’t need to hear about the Toe Tickling bandit in Newburgh or even Oldburgh, if there is such a place, which I’m pretty sure there’s not since I kind of made it up, along with the Toe Tickler. But if there is such a place, I’m sure they’re very nice people, made up or not…even the Toe Tickler

Come on Cablevision, stop packaging us as the Hudson Valley, and give us back our News 12 Westchester.

Hello…WESTCHESTER!

I have never once heard anyone from Westchester say, “Oh yeah…I live in the Valley…The Hudson Valley”.

They might as well say they live in the Valley of the Jolly Green Giant.

Give those nice folks north of Westchester their own News 12; something to better reflect their strange customs and peculiar ways. 

Don’t they deserve that? 

Don’t we?

I mean does Eddie from Eddyville care, even a little, what’s going on in Rye, White Plains, Port Chester, Yonkers or New Rochelle.

Even people from Rye, White Plains, Port Chester and Yonkers don’t care about what’s going on in New Rochelle, other than the fact that Rob and Laura Petrie use to live there at 148 Bonnie Meadow Lane. 



But that’s pretty much a fictional location.

And so is News 12 Westchester.

But I could be wrong…

I usually am.



The Cablevision Trilogy
Click on any link below
News 12 Westchester- Hyper-Local or Loco-Local? -7/25/11

Cablevision - They Give and They Give - 8/15/11  


Note: Some of the packages and pricing referred to have changed in the past year. What hasn’t changed is the level of frustration consumers must endure.




Sunday, July 24, 2011

On the 62nd day

And on the 62nd day he went to the sea, looked back on all he had created throughout the previous 61 and said:


“Sunscreen?  I don’t need no stinkin sunscreen!”

The vast crowd that had assembled, parted on the beach and watched as the man with the badly burned and peeling nose walked to the water’s edge.

Observe the fishes of the sea, for they speak to you a wisdom far beyond that which I, or any man, can provide.”

To which a woman, who was eating directly from a Chicken of the Sea Tuna can—gross as that may seem, for she was a gross woman—stepped forth and said:

What fishes?  All I see is a bunch of snot nosed kids riding boogie boards…making it impossible to swim”

Ahhhhh” said the wise man, since he finally passed the gas from last night’s burrito.

He recovered and spoke.

Gross woman, are we not all but fish in one great sea?  Are we not all swimming for the shores of wisdom?  Have you not gathered here today to learn the lesson I can teach you?

The crowd then began to murmur—again—and talked among themselves until a fisherman dropped his pole and approached him.

The wise man smiled and embraced the fisherman with kind, but runny eyes, as he was allergic to the ragweed that prospered amongst the dunes. It also occurred to him that he might score a blue fish, or at least a flounder.

Tell me dear fisherman, what words do you wish me to share with you today?”

The fisherman looked to the fine white sand beneath his badly chapped feet, chose his words carefully, then spoke, in the language common to the fisherman, because to not do so would be uncommon, not to mention peculiar. 

Words…we don’t need no stinkin words. We’re only here because we thought you were the ice cream guy!”

At which time the real ice cream guy rang his bell, shouted “Come and get it!  Ice Cream..come and get it!” And with that the crowd ran wildly in his direction.

Who wouldn’t?

The wise man watched as they went, shielding his eyes from all the sand they had kicked in their hurried departure, and said…

I knew this wasn’t my usual crowd”.

Then he walked into the sea, grateful for the lesson he had learned that day…until a boogie board appeared, bonked him on the head and pushed him under a wave.


Friday, July 22, 2011

Our Smoking Ghost

Sorry about the Christmas photo in July, but I wanted to tell this story, and it originated during the holiday season...so hence the pic.

And it kind of makes the house look spooky, which is good for the atmosphere I want to create.

Besides...doesn't it make you feel cool?

Anyway...we have a smoker in the house.

And since Z and I live here alone; and neither of us smokes….

Well, you can see where I’m going with this.

Z will be in the kitchen chopping away at some poor radish or cucumber or other unsuspecting salad making ingredient.

Believe me…you don’t want to be a salad making ingredient in our kitchen. 

I’ll wander in, sniff the air and say, “Someone’s been smoking in here again”. And Z will reply “Yep”…since Z is not a big talker while chopping, which is a good thing.  Then she’ll put down the knife and open the window and put on the exhaust fan.

This has been going on, intermittently, since our first Christmas, soon after we moved in, almost ten years ago.

At first we thought it was just some old smoking residue seeped into the walls, since time in memorial or hold over smoke from our pretty stone fireplace; but no...this was definitely tobacco smoke. We poked around in all the corners, under and behind all the counters; even the basement ceiling tiles below.  And none of that smelled like smoke.
So the only “logical”conclusion we could come to was...we had a ghost in the house…a  smoking ghost to boot. 
And while you might think, at first, as we did, that this was undeniably a thoughtless, rude ghost, who refused to follow the norms and customs of today, by taking it’s filthy habit outside, you have to remember, ghosts operate under a different set of rules than us live folk.  Plus, I’m guessing that smoking is probably quite common among the dead since, well, since they’re already dead. So the health risks are minimal.


Anyway, that’s pretty much the extent of its ghostly activity.  No tables moving, no chairs balancing on end, or green slime oozing from the walls.

Just smoking. 

So I guess it could be worse.  I mean the ghost could be ordering pay per view, and it doesn't, so in that way it’s a considerate ghost.  



Interestingly, when we first moved in to our humble little abode, we replaced the original oak floor in the dining room and found this old-fashioned tin for small cigars tucked under the old floor boards. So it must have been sitting there since at least 1927 when the house was built. 

It got me wondering who put it there.

Obviously, one of the builders; but did he just misplace them or did he put them there thinking that it would be cool for some folks in the future to find them?

But I don’t think he would have said “cool”. He most likely would have said that would be the “cat’s pajamas”, which is the kind of thing they said back then. I think it had something to do with the unfiltered water.

I tend to think it was the latter; since the box was empty…”no cigar” as it were. But it would have been the “cat’s pajamas” if he had left a note from the “past” for us to find.

Even "cat pajamier" if it read, “A fat guy named Lou left this on August 7th, 1927”.

Or even better if it said, “There’s an annoying loudmouth named Lucille buried under your bathtub! August 7th, 1927”

Then I got to thinking about all the people that lived in this house; the house I now own, but really just reside.

In truth, we’re only the 3rd set of owners. The previous ones lived here from 1972-2001. Besides the funky Laugh-In style wallpaper they left under the funky treasure chest stove hood thing in the kitchen, plus a lot of graffiti in the boiler room, they didn’t leave behind anything of much significance...at least to me. 

It’s the original owners, who lived here from 1927-1972, more than half the life of this house, who comes to mind when I think about the past, and feel their presence.

Think about all they lived through, right here. 

All the happiness and all the sadness that comes with a life, right here. 

A Model T parked in the driveway. The ice man cometh. The milkman goeth. The Depression, Prohibition, Al Capone, Dillinger, Bonnie and Clyde,  those funny crank style telephones, party lines, a farm down the street,  trolley tracks, radio soap operas, Little Orphan Annie, two World’s Fairs, one World War, rationing, blackout curtains.  Coolidge, Hoover, FDR, Give em Hell Harry, Eisenhower, JFK, LBJ, NIXON!!!  Those poofee women hairdos, those slicked back men’s hairdos, crew cuts, shag cuts, Korea, Vietnam, Sinatra, Goodman, Miller, Elvis, The Beatles, B&W TV, Color TV, rotary phones, Princess phones…and of course my recently departed beautiful relic of a slop sink. 




These are the things I think about as I tend to my fire on a cold winter night, and imagine it’s 1927 and we’re all sitting close to the coals, trying to stay warm.

Me, Z and our smoking ghost.

Okay...back to the summer....





Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Trashing the Past


Sitting here on my big back porch, on a lazy summer, afternoon I can’t help but think that the smell of my neighbor’s BBQ’d chicken smoking on the grill is designed to make me feel pathologically insane. But then again, imagine how the chicken feels?
But I digress…already…and I just got started.
Is that even possible?

The neighbors are having a family party—birthday I think—or else they just LOVE that song. It must be for one of their kids, since aside from the pre-requisite grandparents, aunt’s uncles and family friends, there are about 800 kids ranging in age from 1-10 running around, about 20 feet from my big back porch.

I know it’s not much further than 20 feet because that’s just about the range limit that I can reach them with the hose.  But that’s mostly ineffective since it only makes them scream louder, and their parents don’t seem to mind. So where’s the fun in that.

The reason I’m sitting here on my big back porch, right now, is because Z and I have just returned from lugging a couple of old twin mattresses and box springs up to my mom’s attic, which is about 240° this time of year. Do you know what a human being looks like after all of the fluids have been drained from his body? Not pretty…

Anyway, in order to make room for the heretofore mentioned large, awkward, heavy clumsy items, we discovered we had to remove about 40 years and 20 tons of accumulated attic “artifacts”. You know…the stuff you stick up there when you don’t know what to do with it, and its not actually too broken…too much….and it seems a waste to just toss it.  

Some of our artifacts included a 20 inch RCA color TV that hasn’t worked in over 10 years but was kept just in case someone needed a TV and was handy with tubes. A 5,000 BTU air conditioner that once cooled off Thomas Edison’s lab while he was inventing the electricity he sorely needed to run the thing.

Edison finally got rid of the dinosaur when he realized he would never be able to keep up with the energy demands it was making. Plus it wanted meals as well.

There are about a thousand empty shoe boxes, leading one to wonder just what happened to the shoes. And why were the boxes retained in the first place…in case they needed to be returned?

There was my first, pre-internet, computer monitor, first laser printer, some old window fans that Columbus used on the trip over, some Christmas paraphernalia and even some cool Mets “decorative” items that once hung in my old apartment, but somehow mysteriously got forgotten in the move to our house.  But don’t worry; they now reside in the basement, right next to the treadmill.

Yeah…I know.

But the toughest decision I had to make was what to do with my circa 1965 Motorific Torture Track, which I found tucked away in a dark, dingy attic corner.

Now I know how Howie Carter must have felt when he discovered King Tut’s tomb…or at least how parched he was.

I spent hours playing with this thing. It took up my entire bedroom floor, and was a permanent fixture, much to my mom’s delight.  It used these little battery operated cars—which I still have in my old fold down desk, along with about 15 years of Fall Preview TV guides, which I’m certain will be worth about gazillion dollars apiece, one day soon…real soon.

These little, pre super cell, battery operated cars, which ranged from a Black & White 57 Chevy Impala to James Bond’s Aston Martin, would run around this “Torture Track” crashing through brick walls, navigating zig zagging roadways, undulating highways, and even a jumping ramp…just like Rush Hour on the Cross Bronx Expressway. The batteries usually died after about 2 minutes of use, unless you juts parked the cars. Then they lasted about 3.

So there it was, sitting untouched, just where I had left it some 40 years earlier. How forgotten it must have felt, lo these many years.  How…tortured.

You know, we always think our old junk is going to be valuable someday. That somewhere there's a “collector” out there willing to pay big buckos for such things. And there are, but they’re usually kept in rooms with soft padded wall paper, and don coats with sleeves that wrap around their torsos. 

A quick check of E-Bay would show the going rate for such things is little more than 30 dollars.  So a quick windfall and a trip to Barbados is out of the question.

In the end, I did the grown up thing and said, “Let’s just toss it.”

And Z, who is kind and thoughtful, said, “Are you sure?”

And I said, “Yeah, we don’t have room on the bedroom floor for it anyway.”

And I’m not sure but, I thought I might have heard a subtle “Yes!!!” from under Z’s breath.

So the space was cleared, then filled up again with the mattresses and box spring, and body fluids were rehydrated. 

The door to the attic was again closed, to be opened another day…a much cooler day…to continue the purge of the past.

Satchel Paige once said, "Don't look back. Something might be gaining on you."

And he was right. The past is always hot on our heels.

But the Torture Track is now in my Mom’s garage, waiting with the TV, the air conditioner and the printer, et al. for next week’s trash day. 

So I still have time to let it catch me….






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Monday, July 18, 2011

The One Bathroom House & Other Freelance Rules

We live in a one bathroom house.

Yeah…tell me about it.

Actually we have a toilet in the basement too; but that’s only useful when we have Mexican food the night before.

Living in a one bathroom house is not without its challenges…especially in the morning, Mexican food or not. 

Leading a normal fulltime worker person existence, Z is usually up way before I am.  But sometimes I get a bug of an idea in my head…or a snake as Z calls them, and I drag myself out of bed to scratch it down before I forget it.

That’s when the fun ensues. We’ve been known, Z and I, to throw an elbow or two in search of morning relief.  Usually this involves a body hitting the floor, but rarely is there a lot of bloodshed.  And once I pick myself up, I’m usually good to go...if you know what I mean.

I guess the thing that I failed to realize was, that in all this time, there was a schedule for bathroom usage. I was not aware of this schedule since I was mostly asleep at the time.

Apparently I’m scheduled once hell freezes over, or when Z leaves the house, whichever comes first. I usually know when Z leaves the house because the slamming of the front door rattles the bedroom windows, which is a good indicator.

It’s not that Z isn’t a morning person; it’s just that she not a “share the bathroom with your hubby” morning person.

But who is?
Aside from the obvious bathroom etiquette—stay away—did I mention ALWAYS lowering the seat on the toilet?  Believe me, no one likes having to call the fire department for toilet extractions, early in the morning…even if it did happen only once…okay twice, but I still say that was an over reaction

There are other considerate things the stay at home freelance worker person can do to create a harmonious marital relationship. 

The first is always make the bed, at least when you get out of it…at least before 5PM.

No fulltime worker person likes to come home to an unmade bed, especially one with the freelance worker person still in it.

Number two is…never leave your dirty dishes in the sink.  Either wash them yourself or hide them in the dishwasher, if not under the dog.
AND…make sure you do ALL the dishes, not just the ones you dirtied.  Take it from me…that can sometimes lead to trouble, even though I have yet to get a reasonable explanation why. 

Number three, DO NOT go through the mail and open anything of interest…particularly greeting cards…specifically holiday cards or birthday cards or anything that looks like it wasn’t sent by the Unabomber.  Don’t ask me why…just DON’T DO IT!

Number 4…if you have a dog, make sure you walk it…frequently. If you don’t have a dog…walk one anyway…any dog…just in case. 

Cover your bases people!

Number five…if you’re really looking to make some brownie points and possibly buy yourself some breathing room for future transgressions…do the laundry.  That’s the pile of dirty clothes that usually collects under your bed and on your closet floor.  Just make sure you don’t mix up the washer and dryer.  The washer does not need a garden hose to fill up with water. The dryer does not have a place to fill with detergent. 

What…like it couldn’t happen?  To a perfectly intelligent human being…it couldn’t happen?

And finally…put on some pants before the fulltime worker person comes home; at least some underpants.

And most importantly of all the rules…NEVER…NEVER…yawn.

And then you should be fine…


Sunday, July 17, 2011

On the 55th day

And on the 55th day he walked out from the desert after 40 days and 40 nights, looked back on all he had created throughout the previous 54 and said:

Geez, I smell like a French whore…”

The crowd, hearing that the man was back from his retreat, rushed forth from the town to greet him and learn the knowledge that he had gained; except for the French whore, who had taken umbrage to his remark.

Tell us wise and dusty man, who smells somewhat peculiar, though I can’t quite place the scent….”

The wise man shrugged, for it was well known that he was fond of the whores, beggars and thieves. It was a flaw in his character, he knew, but he promised to seek counseling, if only he could find a good rate. Talk about thieves, he thought….

Tell you what my good and honorable man, who does not smell so great yourself, I don’t mind saying?”

Tell us what you've learned in your 40 days and 40 nights in desert exile”.

Yes” spoke a woman, who hid her face, as if in shame, even though she was not French, nor a whore, though her mother-in-law would disagree. “Tell us so we can learn by your ways, as peculiar as they seem to me, most of the time. I mean who goes off into the desert any more…especially without sunscreen?”

And with that, the wise man stepped up to the crowd and spoke….

After, 40 days and nights in the desert I've learned, and so, now shall you, that you may as well stay for 43, since every tenth night is comped.”

The crowd began to murmur, not certain of the meaning of the message imparted.

Again with the murmuring?” The wise man said. 

A child, not yet accustomed to…well…the customs, spoke out, boldly and brashly.

“Is that all you’ve got, you smelly old man?

The wise man smiled at the impetuous nature of the youth, then smacked him with his staff and said….

No…I also recommend to always go with the buffet, especially at dinner…though they have a generous breakfast, as well.

And with that, the crowd was contented with the lesson they had learned that day…not to mention hungry.

The French whore was still annoyed, and the child walked with a noticeable limp.

Is that all you’ve got?” repeated the man as he walked off to shower. “Give me a frickin break…”




Friday, July 15, 2011

Summer Half Time



It’s July 15, the half-way point of “real” summer.  That is if you count June July and August as your “real” summertime.

Some folks get to carry their summers straight on in to October…but they don’t count since they’re mostly writers or something weird like that. Plus they’re largely disparaged and reviled by the normal working population

So, as I was saying, before I interrupted myself, seeing as Summer Half Time was fast approaching, this past Tuesday, I decided to take a stroll through the neighborhood. And, if you recall,  unlike the cooler, drier temperatures were having right now, Tuesday, as was Monday, was a hot & toasty, muggy day.  

As I came around the corner there were some roofers working in the hot broiling sun. Not sure how they do it. I guess they have lots of determination, and mind over matter type stuff working for them. Unlike myself who has no determination, let alone a mind that matters...or anything that actually works for me 

I was feeling kind of chipper so I thought I would go and say hello; you know, kind of let them know that their hard work was not going unnoticed.

To be honest, I don't think they get a lot of that kind of thing since they were already up on the roof, and seemed kind of surprised to see me suddenly appear up there with them.  Luckily, Marty landed on the lower roof, which was only a 7 or eight foot drop.

Which reminds me...
Hang in there Marty!  I’m sure that broken leg will be as good as new in no time! 

Gotta take care of your peeps…  Know what I mean?

Anyway, after we got the Marty situation sorted out, I helped them roll out some of the tar paper, and told them when the shingles looked a little out of line, which they seemed to appreciate. Some of the guys kept saying something to me in Spanish, which meant, I think, “Thanks for all your help”!

After a while, I got the impression that the fellas were worried about my not getting enough fluids since they kept telling me to piss off.  I guess that’s some sort of a roofers test for dehydration.  So I thought I would leave them to their work, satisfied that I had made their day a little brighter, if not easier. 

I’m not sure why they moved the ladder, but I was able to swing down from the gutter, without a problem. Not for me, but that gutter is going to need some straightening,

So, off I went, until next I came upon this sweet little old lady walking her little dog down the street.  She looked as if she were struggling a bit in the heat, so I told her to go sit down in the shade and I would walk the dog for her. 

After the police left and I had cleared up all the confusion, I was once again able to continue on my way.  But those plastic little handcuff straps they use nowadays, left me with a little bit of a rash on my wrists…and my ankles.

It seems this sweet old lady was nutty as loon and had stolen her neighbor’s shiatsu and was holding it for ransom the last few days. When the neighbors saw me “watering” the mising dog on their front lawn, they immediately called the police. 

When the first patrol car pulled up, siren whooping, lights flashing, I thought it might have something to do with Marty, or that maybe I wasn’t supposed to let the little fella go on someone’s lawn. But when the swat team arrived and ordered me onto the ground with my hands behind my head, I had a feeling there was some kind of mix up…maybe’s with the dog’s license or something. 

Then the Cable news truck pulled up, and while it was exciting to be on TV, I didn’t think anyone would recognize me with my face pushed into the grass.

But, like I said, it was all just a big mistake.  The old lady eventually explained everything, and even made us all some lemonade, but no one else would drink it but me.

Finally, I made my way over to the high school where it appeared there was some kind of summer camp going on. There was a bunch of young kids with cool tattoos all over their arms sitting on motorcycles smoking some kind of funny smelling cigarettes I wasn’t familiar with.

I’m thinking the motorcycles belonged to their dads or uncles since a lot of them had some pretty racy pictures on the side, and the cigarettes were some sort of non-tobacco “safe for kids” type thing. 

They were a nice group of youngsters and they invited me to “hang” with them for a while.  One of them offered to get me set up with a nice set of “tats”, which I misunderstood as nice set of “cats”, so I thanked him for his offer, but politely refused saying that I was allergic.

For some reason they seemed confused by this.

Another one of these super nice kids even offered to let me hang with his “old lady” for a while— which I thought kind of odd, but didn’t want to offend, in case he was a little on the simple side—so I told him I kind of had my fill of old ladies for one day, to which they all guffawed and proceeded to give me big pats on the back. I guessed they had heard about the incident with the dog.

I “hung” with these happy campers for a while, discussing the New Harry Potter movie, then finally said my farewells and headed on home to the air conditioned comfort of my little house.

First thing I did, when I got back to my office, was jot down a few quick notes so I wouldn’t forget anything when I was writing this up because, these days, I tend to forget a lot of the small details that make or break a good story. 

And now, looking back at what a great day that was, I can’t help but think what a great summer it’s been so far.

Here’s hoping the second half is just as much fun!