Friday, December 26, 2008

The Day After: The Pile of Misfit Toys

If you're like me and have 2 boys or more, then the day after Christmas your house looks like it was the victim of a anti-toy jihad as it appears a bomb went off in a Toys R Us. Toys and gifts are strewn all over the place as you navigate your hung over self through the Bakugan and Pokemon on the floor in search of a place to sit. Then there's the piles of new clothes for everyone and if you've done any entertaining then there's also a mountain of dishes in the sink. The task before you is daunting but after some coffee and some stale cookies you start to clean.

Personally, I like to start with the crap that I wish to return, give to charity, re-gift or just plain throw away. There's a reason that no one wanted the Charlie-in-a-box, and it confounds me that people continue to find a way to give bad gifts. Unfortunately, the search for the gift receipt in the package often goes unfound for the worst of offenders. This unwanted pile of misfit toys and gifts can be categorized in several ways:

1) Doesn't fit gift- the simplest reason for a bad gift. I personally won't buy clothes for anyone but my kids and wife. Maybe I'll buy a T-shirt or sweatshirt as sizes can be judged more accurately but if you don't know someone's pant size or shirt collar then just don't guess at it.

2) Style is not yours gift- I'm pretty lucky that I'm fairly good at picking out clothes that my wife likes. My mother-in-law, however, is not that good at it. Plus she had the kohones to buy me underwear- like she even knows what I wear underneath what shows on the outside, kinda creepy to even think about.

3) Good intentions but poor execution gift- the most common gift that sucks is often the result of knowing just a little about someone to get them something completely lame. The thought process is like this- "Oh Brian loves to do crosswords, and look, here's a 6 foot crossword puzzle he can hang on his wall and do for days and days, I'll get him that!" Meanwhile, what they don't know is that I like the Sunday puzzle that Merle Regal makes because it's fun and clever and would have preferred a compilation book by him instead. I have no desire to hang a monstrosity of a puzzle on my wall and stand while I attempt to decipher lame clues. Crosswords are relaxing for me, I have no compulsion to complete the world's largest crossword puzzle.

4) Age inappropriate gift- I really wonder my mother-in-law thinks when she gets my 10 year old son a flash card set on telling time from a clock.

5) The whatever gift- this is a weird category as one in every 20 times you get something that you'd never thought you'd like but really enjoy. (The Foreman grill comes to mind for us) But the other 19 times is a complete and utter miss. It's a gift that either had no thought behind it whatsoever or the person just plain quit and gave you whatever he or she wanted to despite what your wishes were. I'll admit I've even done this on several occasions. Lynn and I once got a neon lighted pink flamingo statue for her sister one year. I don't think we've ever seen it displayed.

Cleaning up the day after Christmas isn't all that fun, but at least you get to play with your new stuff when it's done.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Twas the Night Before Christmas part 2

And then, in a twinkling, I spied on the roof
I saw him drinking bagged wine that's ninety proof.
As I aimed my shotgun, he was turning around,
Peeing down my chimney this dirtbag made no sound.

He dressed as if homeless, from his head to his toes,
And his clothes smelled like varnish and some cheap ho's.
A bundle of Toys he had, for goodness sake!
And he looked like a robber, just opening his take.

His eyes-were they glassy! his nose- was it crusty!
His cheeks had on makeup?, his chest was quite busty!
His drooly little mouth spewed breath like gasoline,
And the bulge down in his pants was quite something obscene.

He had a crack pipe he held tight in his hand,
And twenties peeked from his pocket- at least a grand.
He had a stoned face and an enormous gut,
That shook when he cackled, he seemed he was nuts!

He was a slob and pure scum, crazy addicted old elf,
And I cried when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A twitch of his eye and nothing that was said,
Soon let me know I had to blow off his head.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his drugs,
And filled his one good vein, then asked for some hugs.
This display of kindness had fooled my good plan,
While hugging me he then took my wallet and ran!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a holler,
And away they all flew while I shot at his collar.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Twas the Night Before Christmas part 1

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even Gabe Klaus.
The stockings were hung by the TV with care,
In hopes that some Bakugan soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of Pokemons danced in their heads.
And Mom downing martinis, and I drunk on beer,
Had just pickled our brains to fake some Christmas cheer.

When out of my butt there arose such a clatter,
The force from my fart had made my ass cheeks wetter.
Away to the window as fast as I could think,
Tore open the shutters and fanned out the stink.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Reminded me of stuff I found between my toes.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a broken down sleigh, and eight abused reindeer.

With a fat-assed old driver, whose stench made me sick,
I said to myself, "Who the hell is this prick?"
More nasty than pit bulls his coursers they came,
And he grumbled, and cursed, and called them bad names!

"Now shithead! now, dumbass! now, fuckface and hose-bag!
On, ballsack! On, stupid! on, on dumdum and cunt-rag!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now get yer lazy asses movin' before I roast you all!"

He dry heaved, then coughed up and spit out some mucous,
He adjusted himself and then kicked some deer tuchus.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and that weird drunk guy too.

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Curious Case of the Christmas Crankies

If you hear "HO HO HO!!" and then feel your stomach turning, then you know you're getting the Christmas crankies. Maybe you run out of tape while wrapping the gifts and you start cursing up a storm because you have to go all the way down stairs and run back up before the kids notice what you're doing. It also possible that it started when you waited too long to put up the tree and decorate and now you have even more stupid Christmas things to do while you also still need to do your school work, get some sleep, work your job, make dinner and also fold the friggin' laundry!

Or perhaps it was the 24th time you heard a rendition of Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree and you then screamed at your spouse for forgetting the butter at the store. After all, how the fuck else are you gonna make the goddamned cookies?! It's Christmas after all and you just gotta make cookies cause everyone's expecting you to do it! It's for the kids after all!! Even though those ungrateful little brats ran out of the house to their friends as soon as they finished licking the batter off the beater. So much for having fun with the kids who are now "too old" for that kind of stuff now and they don't even want to help make a stupid batch of cookies that you could've just bought at the Acme!! Plus your mother keeps calling from the toy store and asking you the stupidest questions about what the kids want when you clearly told her about five times before. Obviously, she doesn't understand the difference between a Bakugan and Pokemon but what the fuck else you gonna tell her to get?! It's not like the kids will accept any old toy these days, they're too "sophisticated" and will whine if they don't get what they want exactly because the stupid twerps don't appreciate what their parents and grandparents do for them! Plus some imaginary magical fat guy gets all the credit anyways!! *

If that's what happened, then you definitely have a case of the Christmas crankies.

*please note that the preceding paragraph was fictionalized and although it may seem completely possible, it was , in fact, a made up story that was based in some reality and events over the past few Christmases. Brian does love his spouse but thinks that she overworks herself during the holidays (especially this year when she's also in school while working) and is trying his best to help out and doesn't care that he occasionally gets screamed at for little things and understands that she needs to blow off some steam.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Back cleavage

Nothing makes you feel more young than attending a large party where you are in the top ten of youngest people there. That was the case last night as I went with my wife to her work's Christmas party. Lynn works in a hospital as a lab tech/medical technologist and at age 32 she greatly lowers the average age among her co-workers which is much closer to 55 than 30. There were lots of short haircuts on the women, dresses that would have looked fashionable 20 years ago, and salt and pepper coifs of hair and beards on the men.

The beginning of the party was somewhat adventurous as the lights were out for almost an hour, probably the result of the day's ice storms on the electrical wiring around town. Fortunately the open bar kept going and the bartender managed to dispense drinks and spirits by candlelight. I suggested that since the DJ's couldn't play their music that we murder someone and the rest of us could spend night figuring out who did it. My suggestions were met with an curious scowl as if they thought I could be serious. Instead we ended up singing a rather uninspired version of The Twelve Days of Christmas where each table took their turn singing one part of the song. Our table had "six geese-a-laying" so I got our table to stand up and stick their butts out and squat to pantomime the laying part.

Just as the song was finishing the lights came back on. While were saved from experiencing more sing-alongs I did end up seeing something that will forever be burned as a permanent image in my brain. The woman directly behind us at the next table appeared to be in her 50's and was wearing a low cut in the back dress. When I looked at her I actually did a double take as I originally thought she facing us and had her hair in her face. But she was sitting facing away from us and the reason I originally thought she was looking at us was the fact that her loose skin formed a fold straight down the middle of her shoulder blades. It looked just like your typical cleavage of a woman wearing a low neckline. Perhaps a bit flat chested, but it was clear cleavage all the same.

I furtively pointed out the back cleavage to my wife and her friend as they both laughed heartily. I referred to her as "back cleavage woman" the rest of the night as I would bring it up repeatedly as I often try squeeze out every last laugh possible on any subject. I didn't find out later until we were leaving that "back cleavage woman" was actually Lynn's boss. Had I known that, I might've squeezed some more jokes out of the situation.

Almost as horrifying, the sight of 12 post-menopausal women on the dance floor doing the twist was quite disconcerting. Even worse was when the DJ actually started to play some hip-hop at the bequest of an Iranian-American co-worker who looked like he liked to go clubbing. Watching 50-some year old women start grinding their hips and thrusting their butts back and forth was about as unappetizing as an Old Country Buffet when you have a stomach virus. I don't know if it really irked me because I know one day I might find that sexy or worse, NOT find it sexy and be doomed as a 60 year old man with mid-fifties wife.

Despite my cruel observations, it appeared they were all having a good time. Perhaps as you age your brain loses the ability to feel shame or embarrassment. It would, after all, explain alot about my father's behaviors lately.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Possum fish

After having 6 goldfish die on us in less than a year, the wife and I decided to stop emulating Dr. Kevorkian and stop buying fish. That's left the sole survivor to be Fabio, the beta fish. Fabio was purchased before any of the goldfish and was kept to himself as his kind will kill goldfish. The kids have seemed to grown attached to Fabio as he is the only fish who hasn't died on them yet. Fabio is a good little fish who has long flowing fins and swims around in his tiny little bowl. He actually has learned that when Lynn holds a pellet of food near the bowl that he should go to the top to eat it.

Last week he learned a new trick that I am not too fond of.

He now knows how to play dead.

I was at the computer (probably on Facebook), when my 10 year old son Jonathan came running over in a panic. "Daddy! Fabio's not moving!!"

"Calm down, he's probably just resting," I replied to assuage his fears.

I get close to the bowl to have a look and I see Fabio laying on his side on the glass beads at the bottom. I couldn't get a good look at his gills and he didn't respond to my tapping on the glass. After a few tries at trying to get his attention, I vigorously shook the bowl. Fabio lifelessly floated with the undulating water. In my best "Alan Alda as Hawkeye serious moment" like voice I declared to my two anxious boys, "I'm sorry guys, it appears that he's dead."

The wailing began again, just as bad as the 1st time they had a fish die. It seemed nothing I said or did would calm their cries. Gabriel ran to his mother upstairs for condolences. So, Lynn came down for a look-see herself and then performed a Christmas miracle. She took a pellet of food and Fabio instantly started to swim to the top. Apparently Lynn had noticed that Fabio's gills were moving and he was in fact alive and breathing. I guess Fabio was bored or sleeping when he was lying still.

The children immediately rejoiced but then started to cry some more because, "What if we had flushed him down the toilet alive?!!"

As usual, Mommy was the hero and Daddy the bad guy. I can live with that fact, but it doesn't help when her pet is in on trying to make me look bad.

Monday, December 15, 2008

An open letter to Ebay

I just got off the phone with a service representative of yours and I am left wondering why I even bothered to ask for satisfaction from your company. Despite the fact that this email is also just as futile, I will send it you just to get some things off my chest and also copy it to my blog so my loyal 17 readers can also see why monopolies are a bad thing. (and I'm a Libertarian no less!!)

I freely admit that there are many things about your policies and procedures that I dislike. (don't get me started on your current feedback policies) My expectations of being satisfied over a recent dispute I had with your company were biased as a result. However, I was hoping for a pleasant surprise and that Ebay would do the right thing. I think the fat tuba player in the marching band had a better chance of getting a date with the homecoming queen than I did of getting just compensation from you.

Allow me to explain the situation-

I partake of the option that you offer to have my monthly Ebay invoice automatically withdrawn from my Paypal account. I plan my Paypal withdraws to my bank account around your schedule of when you apply the invoice. I get invoiced on the 15th of each month and then the automatic payment is applied around the 1st of the month. I've noticed that sometimes it can be done on the 3rd or as late as the 4th, I am not picky if it gets withdrawn a few days late. But recently when my November 15th invoice had not been applied as of Friday, December 12th, I had grown concerned that something wasn't correct. Worried that I wouldn't have enough money in the Paypal account since I was withdrawing the money that day (as I do every other week), I went and used the option to pay my invoice with a one time paypal payment. I paid the entire invoice amount up to that day. The amount paid was $672.32.

This morning my brother, who handles the banking, informed me that Paypal withdrew a few hundred dollars from our bank account. Paypal only does this, of course, when a payment needs to be made and there isn't enough money in the Paypal account. I was surprised as I had made the Ebay invoice payment prior to withdrawing the money out of our Paypal account. I checked my Paypal transactions log and saw that Ebay had applied a payment of $483.12, which was the total amount that my November invoice was for.

Angry and upset, I immediately called your customer service system that is provided for us "Silver" power sellers. (I often wonder what extra services the Gold and Plantinum power sellers receive, is there an executive washroom?) After explaining the situation, the rep quickly looked into it and discovered that recently Paypal had problems and the Ebay invoices were delayed for over 10 days. Thus I accidentally double paid my invoice when I submitted payment on Friday since there was a pending invoice payment that was waiting for Paypal to apply it (unknown to me). After this discovery I made the following points:

1) I was never notified of the situation by Ebay or Paypal through email or announcements made on the home pages.
2) I am a small business and having surprise withdraws (even small ones) made from our bank account can get costly if we end up bouncing checks. The mistakes of both companies (and I know Ebay owns Paypal) could lead to a chain reaction of overdrawn amounts.
3) I wished to know if there would be compensation if I did indeed bounce a check or two (which I admit is unlikely, but possible)

The service rep informed me that a refund of the extra payment could be made to my Paypal account. I agreed that would be part of the solution but I wanted to know what would happen if I were get bounced checks and if Ebay or Paypal would compensate us. The service rep then checked with his supervisor for my request. Having waited the usual 5 minutes or longer when being placed on hold by a large corporation, the service rep came back on the phone and reiterated that he could refund the extra payment and said nothing else. I then brought up the reason why he had to scurry for a supervisor and make me wait on hold and he then told me that Ebay would not issue compensation of any sort for this inconvenience.

I the owner of a small business and when I sell a defective product or make a mistake, I work with the customers until they are satisfied. I've issued full refunds, extended discounts, sent extra supplies. All in all, I probably lose money when I'm trying to make things right. Sure, there are some customers who may act a bit unreasonable but overall I do the right thing and often I do more than what's expected. Even if I didn't feel ethically bound to do as such, I have to provide this sort of customer service because I have competitors who will provide the same sort of guarantees and service.

Ebay has the luxury of being a virtual monopoly for online auctions. Overstock and Amazon hardly make a dent in your sales. As such, you are just as bad as AT&T was in the 70's and Comcast in the 80's when it comes to customer service. A small overdraft seems inconsequential to you whereas it can really hurt a business like mine. Saying you're sorry and nothing else is not acceptable. Plus you try to squeeze every little penny out of both your sellers and buyers. You've changed your policies this past year to boost your fees while appearing to do us a favor in your emails to us.

And yes, I have no real choice to go to another site and sell my wares there as I know you are really the only game in town. So, despite my angry protestations, I will continue to list my items there. I am still your little bitch and you will continue to abuse me as I come back asking for more. I can only hope that you won't make even more mistakes like this and then offer me nothing for it. Perhaps I can dare to dream that some young computer whiz will come up with an online site that will be better than yours and make you fairly compete or become obsolete.

Small businesses that use your site are the backbone of this country and in poor economic times like these we are in grave danger. Your bread and butter is starting to turn stale and all you're trying to do is cut off the crust instead of helping us. Your greed will be your undoing.


Brian Klaus
Vice-president, *********** Inc.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Now serving

River Horse is a local brewery just across the river from New Hope. I'm getting the Oatmeal Milk Stout. It's been described to me as a an extra creamy and slightly sweet stout. This is a bit of a risk for me as I'm going purely on a recommendation. I couldn't find a picture of the label of the specific beer either as it's a limited edition. I have high hopes for this one. My wife will be the perfect judge as stouts are her favorite type of beer.

Sam Adams Winter Lager continues to be one of my all time favorite beers. Such a nice crisp taste with intense flavors and it has a great bite and finish. Perfect for the season.

Goodbye Pat

I'm a bit saddened today as we have to say goodbye to one of my favorite players, Pat Burrell. The writing is on the wall as Ruben Amaro, our idiot of a GM, has just signed Raul Ibanez to a 3 year 30 million dollar deal. Why does this deal make me upset aside from losing Pat?

1) Raul is 36 and that's the age where players start to rapidly decline. There are exceptions, yes, but it's not a good gamble to give him a hefty raise from ages 36- 39. In contrast, Pat is several years younger, 32.

2) Raul is left handed. The Phillies line up is littered with lefties. The likey spot in the line up where Raul would bat is with Howard and Utley who are also left-handed. This makes it easy in the later innings for opposing teams to use left handed relievers to shut down the middle of our line up. In contrast, Pat is right handed.

3) Raul was offered arbitration by Seattle. That means since the Phillies signed him away, they have to give their 1st round draft pick to Seattle. The Phils won't have their first pick for a long time (somewhere in the 60's) since there are lots of supplemental 1st round picks and are last in the order. In contrast, Pat wouldn't have cost us any picks what so ever, plus, had we offered arbitration and he signed somewhere else, we'd have the extra pick.

4) Ruben jumped the gun too soon. By being the first free agent outfielder signed, we have just set the market price. Instead of being a bit more patient, we perhaps could have signed Ibanez for a smaller amount of money or if it went higher signed a better bargain or platooned players to their strengths. Ibanez's salary increased by 4.5 million over last year by signing this contract. If you're really sold on him, I honestly think we could have had him cheaper. In contrast, Pat will likely sign for the same money and length of contract.

5) Raul's defense and speed are horrible. In contrast Pat's is just as bad.

6) Raul is a slap hitter who hits for average and lots of singles and doubles. To be fair, Ibanez does get on base a lot, which is important. But his style of hitting doesn't play well at Citizen's Bank Park. Doubles and singles get suppressed while homers increase (actually making the park play neutral offensively despite what people say). I think Ibanez will hit a few more homers this year but his average will drop sharply. In contrast, Pat had a higher on base percentage, higher slugging percentage and was a slightly better overall hitter than Raul.

To sum up-

We signed an older, left handed version of Pat Burrell to a contract that's too long and too much and lost a draft pick and a player that's been great for us since 2000.

Thanks Ruben, I have a feeling you're going to be making idiotic moves like this until you get fired in 3 years. I'm just glad we won it all before you had a chance to screw it up.

Goodbye Pat, I wish you all the best and hope you have much success wherever you go. (except the Mets)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A bailout package we all can agree on

Today's economy is as bad as it's ever been in my lifetime. The government's answer so far has been to grab the credit card, call the bank to increase the spending limit and then go out on a shopping spree that would make Paris Hilton blush. Despite this seemingly illogical solution, the experts on TV all tell us that will help our situation. I sure do wish that I could do something similar if I run into bad times.

"Hello, Capital One? I just got laid off, can you increase my limit to $100,000 so I can stimulate myself?"

Nevertheless, it seems like the executive of the month club has come out to beg congress for bailout money. First the banks and their bad mortgages had their hands out with their sad sack stories and next the Detroit automakers were crying poor since they can't seem to make product that people desire. The amount of money being doled out is staggering to think about. Yet, those smarty-pants TV experts are claiming it's just the beginning. I know to expect some increases in spending when a democrat gets elected for president but the man hasn't even set his foot in the White House door yet.

Times are tough all over and most of us know of someone who has either lost their job recently or themselves are experiencing a pinch. Even the Arena Football League almost closed their doors recently and retracted a team in order to stay afloat. Has it really gotten this bad? How can we continue to function as a society without Arena Football? There's a time period come the third week of February when the NFL season is over, the Flyers and Sixers are mostly out of contention and it's not time yet for spring training.

Arena Football helps fill that gap.
It completes us.
It makes us whole.

Perhaps, we can even credit the Philadelphia Soul's recent championship season as the ice breaker that led us to a Phillies' World Series trophy. They showed them how to do it as we've seemed to forget how to win as a city since since 1983. We simply cannot let Jon Bon Jovi and Ron Jaworski (the co-owners of the Soul) out in the cold after their heroic deeds.

As a child of the 80's, I say when New Jersey's second most popular rock star and the Polish Cannon needs assistance, we help them. An idea as brilliant as indoor football cannot be allowed to languish on the vine. Mom always said not to play ball in the house (OW! My nose!!), but she didn't know the joys of watching the spectacle that is Arena Football. Besides, if we're going to let our elected officials spend trillions of our great-great-grandchildren's hard earned wages then why not let them spend it on something that's at least less trivial than saving the Chevy Aveo?

It would be a mere pittance. Imagine if we all chipped in 25 cents. I've spent more on wishing wells (wishing for a World Series trophy). Arena Football needs financial assistance and we need government pork to save it. Don't let the players go back to their full-time jobs at UPS and the meat processing plant. They need the extra money as they entertain us on the stage made of carpet and plexi-glass. Bon Jovi gave us Wanted, don't you think it's time we paid him back?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Happy Anniversary

Today marks one year since I began blogging.

It's a good time to look back and see what we've accomplished.

Sad to say- not much.... It's been a touch therapeutic at times but overall I haven't shattered the earth or reached thousands of people with my words.

And that's fine. It's not about the acclaim or even the affect.

It's joy of writing. I've missed it over the years. My job requires me to be business like and straight forward in what I write. So, having this release has been immensely enjoyable for me this past year. I don't think I'm some great talented writer but I enjoy writing about my life and my observations. I like hamming it up on and occasional inject some smatterings of serious thought. Since the huge majority of my readers are my friends, I haven't really held back much either. This blog has been 100% "Brian". I appreciate those who have taken the time to come by and read this and extra thanks goes to those who show their appreciation and also to those who participate in the discussion.

As far as the future of the blog-

I think I won't change much. Looking at the poll I can see that the over the top stuff plays well. To be honest that's the hardest type of post to pull off successfully as it also requires me to be in an "up" mood. But I'll certainly try to liven things up on occasion. I think I may taper the poker and Phillies posts a bit as they play to a more specific crowd. Perhaps I'll include more polls about different things for some variety.

In any case, I'll still keep this blog 100% "Brian"- thanks again for stopping by.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Elbow Room

We all have our neurotic moments. Me, I can't touch cotton. I have a friend who washes his hands too often. I have another friend who has to have his upstairs and downstairs light switches all lined up correctly. Plus, I have a brother-in-law who cleans his lampshades once a week. By contrast, my wife, Lynn, seems rather normal. It's when you get her in a crowd is when her crazy gets out and about.

I guess it's a form of claustrophobia (Klaustrophobia?) as she can't stand getting lost in a sea of people and feels like she's surrounded on all sides and can't breathe. She starts to stress out and I feel sorry for whomever gets in her way. (and it's usually me!) It's why she can't enjoy herself fully at places like Disney World or a Phillies game. It was a good thing we went to Disney while it was the offseason, any more crowds to deal with than the small amounts that we had and I might have had to sedate her.

If you think that all women like to shop then you just haven't met my wife. She dislikes the mall and the grocery stores because of the other people in the store. Just this past weekend we were at Target shopping for a few X-mas decorations, new pants for my son and some other odds and ends. You could tell that the store was very crowded as the parking lot was almost full. I could hear her teeth start to grind as we pulled into the lot. Unfortunately, the Xmas section was even more crowded and it was difficult to get around. As I scanned the aisles for the wreath that my wife wanted, I noticed packs of greeting cards that we haven't purchased yet so we could mail them to our friends. I pointed them out to my wife and asked her if we should get them while we were there. She angrily replied, "WE'RE NOT HERE FOR THOSE RIGHT NOW! JUST LET'S FIND THE FUCKING WREATH!!"

Despite my awareness that she kind of loses her sanity, logic and clarity when in a crowd, I always seem to forget as I tend to react the opposite way and hyperfocus. I can zero in on what we need to do or where to go and speedily accomplish that goal. As a result, I can be terribly annoying to her. The best example is when we're leaving the Phillies game or other such event where thousands of people all head to their cars at the same time. I'm a big guy, I'm tall and I'm wide and I'm a man. As such, people tend to yeild to me when I make my way through a large group, I am the Moses of the crowd walkers. I also have a big stride and can move pretty quickly. Unfortunately for Lynn, she gets caught behind slower moving people as she's only 5' 4" and skinny to boot. Plus she doesn't walk as fast as I do. I find myself looking back 2 seconds after being by her side and she's trapped behind two old fuddy duddys who made their way in front of her.

Needless to say, I catch a lot of shit from her for not being courteous enough to wait for her. It's just that's it's almost painful for me to walk that slowly. I suppose, it's just as painful for her to drown in the swarms of concert goers or baseball fans. I think that this Christmas I might buy her a wheelchair, a blindfold and a MP3 player. That way I can just wheel her out of the crowds and allow her to sit back and relax to some music in the darkness.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Writer's block

Just letting you all know I'm alive. I just have writer's block and work has been a bit busy as well.

I have ideas, I just cant seem to flesh them out. It will all spill out eventually.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The nominees are in...

Well, asking for nominations for best blog post this past year was a complete bust. I guess I only have 2 regular readers. (sniff sniff)

Nevertheless, I remain undaunted as tomorrow is the 1 year anniversary and as such I have nominated the top ten posts myself. To the left of this post, I've placed a poll and you can vote for your favorite post of this past year. The writer of the winning post will receive another year of blogging.

Here are the links, so you can make an informed judgment:

Cranky Ebay Ad pt1
Cranky Ebay Ad pt2

Billy goes to Newtown Brewfest

Secret Little Moments of Emotional Wussiness

Race Walking is the Curling of the Summer Olympics

My MP3 Player is Reading My Mind


It's My Blog, I'll Cry If I Want To

The Gag Reflex

Twisted Roots

When Nerds Collide

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Santa is a gateway drug to atheisism

We've all heard the rumors, Santa Claus is not who we all think he is and is in fact evil incarnate. All of the evidence is there-

  • Santa is an anagram of Satan
  • Claus is a homonym of claws
  • He wears a red suit
  • He is impervious to fire (goes down a chimney)
  • He distracts us from the real reason we have Christmas (To celebrate the birth of our lord and savior) by enticing us with sinful pleasures filled with gluttony and greed.

While the evidence does seem clear, I am taking the contrarian position and that the whole Santa story and eventual unveiling actually contributes to producing more atheists. While the fundamentalists will claim that creating atheists is evil, non-belief is actually the opposite of belief.

Think about why Santa causes us to doubt religion- You tell your children that a magical and wonderful man exists and he will, at no cost or expectation of payment other than "good" behavior (which the child learns quickly that bad behavior is forgotten if they are good for a few days before Xmas) , deliver them lots of toys and goodies. All of the TV shows and movies stress that faith and belief in his existence is a big requirement. Plus that no matter the problem or long odds that Santa faces, he always manages to somehow "save" Christmas.

Sound familiar?

  • God-like powers
  • Will do good things to those who deserve it (and people who are contrite at the last minute)
  • Faith is required and one should ignore others who say differently or ask for proof
  • He is the savior
You don't need a 12th grade AP English teacher to tell you what Santa actually represents!!

Eventually, little Bobby and Susie learn the truth about Santa and that he is actually their hard working parents. There are no little elves at the north pole but little Chinese men halfway around the world in factories assembling their toys for companies and conglomerates. You couldn't ask for better PR for Godlessness!!

The rest of the holiday magic then falls like a stack of dominoes-

Tooth Fairy? -NO- it's just bribery from your parents so you don't go walking around with your baby teeth in your pocket as it's creepy.

Easter Bunny? NO- don't be foolish Hershey, Cadbury and M&M Mars all act in collusion and came up with the story to sell more chocolate.

Halloween Ghosts? NO- Fear increases the metabolism and an intense desire for high carbs causing one to go begging at the neighbors for candy. Eventually, the chocolatiers came up with trick or treating.

New Year's baby? NO- people just tend to be horny in the spring.

Valentine's true love? NO- the biggest sham of them all as people still cling to this. Again the chocolatiers manufactured this holiday to boost sales in February, Hallmark also capitalized on it as well.

Yet after all of the magic is gone we are still expected to believe that while the whole Santa and his related kin of magical holiday creatures was all a big lie, Jesus is still real and that the biggest prize of eternal life is still coming to you?

Let's just say that I'm amazed that there aren't more atheists like me.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The BBC Reunion part 2- now in Triple Blogcast!

It's not uncommon when you have reunions that when you see an old friend that you haven't in years you recall the very reason why actually lost touch with them. You've either grown apart or one of you has changed or perhaps you just came to the realization that this person always was and still is a jerk. This past weekend I felt nothing of the kind and was left wondering the morning after why I did lose touch with these people in the 1st place.

and now the awards...

The Dorian Gray award, the person most likely to have a portrait of himself as an old man- Jeff "Movie Bill", I'm not gay but if I were I'd go for Jeff- the dude is a specimen.

The Steve Martin award, the person who has a full head of hair but is completely white/gray- Andy "The Enforcer", I wish he would grow it out as he would resemble Moses.

The Jeane Dixon award, the person who most believes in astrology- TIE Karen and Adam "Dr. Death". I always knew that Karen was delusional and believed in that crap but I had no idea that Adam did as well. I guess he's been hanging around those Hollywood types too long.

The Manute Boll award, the person who is a lot taller than I remember- John "Pretty Boy". I always knew John was at least 6ft, but he was clearly taller than me and seemed to be 6' 3" and I just don't remember him being that tall.

The Pied Piper award, the person when leaving took the most people with them- Karen, now that was weird. I know it was late, but right after Karen says she had to go, the remainder of the party attendees left with her. It was as if they were all going somewhere to have an orgy and I wasn't invited.

The Iron Chef award, the person who brought the tastiest snack- this one was shocking but I thought the buffalo chicken dip that Steve made was super tasty.

The wooden leg award, the person who really could drink- Bill "Merv" His drinking didn't even make him annoying as he clearly is annoying before getting drunk.

The tape recorder award, the person who recalled the most old jokes- Josh "Mad Dog", he always did have a knack for catch phrases, I actually miss that.

Best exchange of the night (that I witnessed)-

Andy- You had a big part in 12th Night

Jeff- I had 2 lines

Andy- At least you got to fence.

There were many other funny moments but that one will always stick with me.

Reunions are great when the people are great. I'm so glad to have these people in my life again.