Friday, January 30, 2009

Brian the plumber

I actually have a storied history with me and fixing toilets. This past week I had a dilly of a time trying to change a toilet seat. (more on this in a moment)

It started when I was in my mid 20's and my friend Dave had a problem with his toilet running non-stop in his apartment. Both of us were somewhat new at home repair and living on our own. Despite the fact that his Dad owned a hardware store, neither of us had much of a clue as to how to fix it. We eventually figured out that the gizmo that determined when the toilet tank was full was in need of replacement. We made a quick trip to the hardware store and came back with what we thought was the appropriate part. Once the original part was out we tried to fit in the new piece but it wouldn't fit. I guess the style of toilet didn't match the part we bought.

In hindsight, it wasn't a good idea to get the hammer out. I don't think brute force and porcelain mix well. Thankfully for Dave, his ability to talk his landlord into buying a new toilet (he said it just "crumbled"!!) and having a plumber install it was much better than our first attempt at repair.

Since then I've become quite adept at toilet repair. I've even done that very same repair at least 8 times since then. (including the toilets at work) Being an experienced man in his late 30's, I had all the confidence in the world when it came to making a quick change of the toilet seat this past week. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.

When will I ever learn?

For some reason, our toilet seat had developed a crack (no, I'm not talking about the crack of my ass!) on it. While I admit that it very well could have broken due to my fat ass, I will say it more likely it was the result of the children constantly slamming the seat up and down when they use the bathroom like the reckless bulls that they are. The crack was not aesethically pleasing and it tended to pinch your thigh while you sat on it. But, regardless of why the seat needed replacing, I didn't think the undertaking would be all that hard nor expensive. (it was only $9.87 at Walmart for a new seat) The actual installation of the seat took less than 2 minutes, it was the removal of the old seat that took over 2 hours.

The old seat was attached by 2 metal bolts and 2 plastic nuts. Yes, I said plastic. This choice of building materials was my undoing. The bolts had become rusty and the plastic nuts had somehow fused themselves to the bolts. Making it impossible to unscrew the nuts no matter what tool I used. My next action was to take out the bolt cutters. It was hard to get them wedged into the right position and I did manage to snip the one bolt in half (after making a small hole in the wall) but I only snipped off half the plastic bolt as it was flush with the base. That half a bolt prevented it from coming out. So, I snipped the seat of at the hinges from the top.

I think that was a big mistake.

While it enabled me to get the one bolt off, it made it harder to remove the other bolt as it took away my leverage and I wasn't able to fit the bolt cutters on that side of the toilet. I tried many tools including saws, pliers and tin snips to get this bolt out of the base. I even had the hammer out and came to my senses before I used it. I eventually came to the brilliant solution (which my wife independently came up with a similar solution at the same time) to use the glue gun.

I'm sure you're confused as to why using a glue gun worked so I'll explain. The glue gun uses heat to melt the glue in the desired surface. I thought that I took out the glue I could use the tip to melt the plastic off. 20 minutes later with the help of my wife the plastic eventually came off and we had accomplished our mission.

The moral learned here is that things aren't always as easy as they appear, either that or you'll do anything to a have comfortable place to sit while you shit.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Whitest Kids U' Know

Tomorrow night on IFC, the sketch comedy group, The Whitest Kids U' Know, starts their third season. I'm a big fan of sketch comedy and I found this show last year with my wife, Lynn, while surfing channels. Think of TWUK as a crass American and more scatological and immature version of The Kids in the Hall. Both groups have 5 male members and both often play female characters by dressing in drag. And like David Foley of KitH, Darren Trumeter of TWUK looks rather nice as a girl...

If you don't mind some gross out humor, lots of cursing (IFC doesn't censor), and penis jokes then I suggest you give this show a try. Here's a sneak peak -

Friday, January 23, 2009

Boob tube boycott at the pump

I'm sure you've noticed the recent trend recently that many gas stations have been installing flat screen televisions on top of their gas pumps. My initial gut reaction to this was, "Oh goody!! Television while I pump gas! Now I won't be bored for the 4 minutes it takes to fill my tank!" But, alas, my initial enthusiasm was soon met by disappointment as I quickly realized that for every 20 seconds of news/weather or entertainment programing came 2 minutes of ads. So my 4 minutes was really 40 seconds of useful TV. Although, to be fair, one recent fill-up was a full 2 minutes 40 seconds as I would always consider any Billy Mays commercial to be useful television.

To make matters worse 1/4th of the screen on the left side are scrolling print ads. You can actually watch 2 ads at the same time! The gas stations are really trying to squeeze every last possible ad moment out of you when they know that they have a captured audience with no 30 second skip button. Personally, if I were an advertiser I would really see the value. We are drawn to the flickering light of TV like a moth to the flame. So while we are hypnotized into watching the gas pump television, we have no choice but to watch what the gas company wished to put in front of us. However, I suppose the idea hasn't caught on very well as of yet as half the ads are about advertising on their network of gas station TVs.

I guess I would be more willing to subject myself to this sort of advertising if I could see my share of the revenue being put into lowering the price per gallon. The least they could do is drop the extra 9/10th of a cent per gallon. You can't even buy a thought for less than a penny. It's the only product where we tolerate a company charging us tenths of a penny. What happens if I fill up with exactly 9 gallons of gas, does that extra tenth of a penny get rounded up or down? I'm willing to bet that they consider that a whole penny! Betcha that they don't charge that extra 9/10ths to the advertisers for their TV screens. Yet again, we the consumer are the ones getting screwed.

In the spirit of MLK Jr. day this past Monday, I say that we boycott whatever businesses that advertise on gas station televisions and that we keep boycotting until we no longer have to pay for that extra 9/10ths of of penny per gallon again!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Playing Mantis

Back in 2004/05, just as Phish bid goodbye to touring and producing music (however temporary as they are touring again this summer), a group from Chicago, named Umphrey's McGee, started to get some positive notice in the jam band world. Some publications even proclaimed that they would be the next "Phish". While not exactly a fair summation, Umprhey's McGee has become one of my favorite bands to listen to and I haven't even had the chance to see them live yet, although I have heard plenty of live performances from online downloads. In my opinion, part of what makes them so good is that their studio albums are just as entertaining as their live performances. As much as I hate to admit this, you don't exactly wait with baited breath for a jam band's newest release as much as you do for the next time they roll into your town. Fortunately, Umphrey's McGee is an exception to this rule.

Umphrey's McGee's current release, Mantis, is probably the best jam band studio album I've listened to since Phish came out with Hoist back in 1994. Even more shocking is what makes this album so great is not the typical, "noodling" and infinite improved scales that is so prevalent with jam bands but the eclectic mixtures of music that they seem to blend together so well. I'm dead serious when I say that this 6 member band successfully blends similar sounds that are usually associated with Yes, Phish, Metallica, Bad Company, Steely Dan, 70's through mid-80's rock, early 80's synthesizer music, Rush, 70's Genesis, Radiohead, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Spyro Gyra, modern European dance and yes, even broadway show tunes.

Before Mantis was released in its entirety, they pre-released the song, Made to Measure. The song itself, a very catchy and upbeat tune was rather typical in many ways of the group's usual fare and it didn't really signal what else was going to be on the album. The song could easily have been on an earlier enjoyable album, Anchor Drops. Listening to the rest of the album then became quite the pleasant surprise. The best two songs in my opinion, the title track- Mantis and Cemetery Walk, happen to be the 2 longest songs on the album coming in at almost 12 and 8 minutes respectively. While I can hear you groaning- "Well, of course, a jam band has long drawn out songs- all they do is riff and improvise!" While that statement is mostly true, that isn't the case for the length of songs in this instance. Imagine songs like Golden Summers Medley from The Beatles or Paranoid Android by Radiohead, where they have several tempo, chord and melodic changes.

Case in point, Cemetery Walk starts with a sad minor chord piano tune (imagine Spinal Tap's Lick My Love Pump?) and then suddenly jumps into a late 70's rock synthesizer boosted upbeat tune that would be no stranger to an 80's movie montage. It eventually finds its way back into the piano music but this time it's joined by a gradual building of momentum of drum beats and guitars that makes it sound gothic and can give you some goosebumps. It ends in a screechy and static-y feedback before going to the next tune, Cemetery Walks II where you hear the piano tune continuing but this time it's joined by modern dance instrumentals. You could almost picture Mike Meyers in his Deiter costume proclaiming, "Now ist da time on Schprockets venn vee dance!!". As weird as all that sounds, what's weirder is how much it all really works.

The song Mantis also accomplishes has the same strange blending. Turn & Run, Spires and Red Tape are all also very good and unique songs as well. It also wouldn't surprise if any one of these songs doesn't become very popular in Umphrey's Mcgee's live performances. Although I can imagine at some points that they could extend certain solos or continue certain riffs. The album truly works better as whole than the sum of its parts. Which is a strange thing in these days of MP3 players and on demand downloads. Aside from the first track, this album has no real catchy pop tunes, so if you're the type that likes White Zinfandel and shies away from dry, full bodied, and complex red wine blends then I suggest that you don't give this album a try. But if you're bold and want to try something that really is something unique and interesting than I really recommend that you give this album a listen.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Barack to the Future

Today's inauguration speech will probably be considered one of the greats. I'll leave it to history to see if it's as great as Kennedy's, Lincoln's, and FDR's inaugural addresses. Personally, I thought there were some great moments and phrases and hope that he can come through on his promises. As with any great speech, there usually exists a few phrases that one can point to as the keys to what the speaker wants us to come away with. As much as I try to keep my blog apolitical, I few compelled to discuss some of what I got out his speech today.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.
The first part of Obama's speech was actually rather dour. He went on with a laundry list of problems and ails of the country's current state of war, the looming depression and poor health care and educational systems. He then brought hope back in and told us that with hard work and dedication we would eventually make our country great again. What was most interesting about this part of the speech was that he promised that his administration would be different. We could count on them to do the right thing and not what is best for their political lobbies and parties. This above anything else, I think, may be the most significant promise of the speech.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions - who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works - whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account - to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day - because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.
The libertarian in me is screaming at these two parts. But the pragmatic reality is that government is big and has been big since before World War II and it's probably impossible to put the genie back in the bottle now. If it is true that he is willing to end wasteful programs and foster the programs that work then I can live better knowing that. I am not for the big brother type of politics where we ask our government to help us in every facet of our society but if he can trim the fat and bolster that programs that work and are less intrusive to our business and capitalism then I will support his view. I also applaud his little dig at Cheney and Haliburton at the end of this segment. However, I will say that Cheney did do his business in the light of day and still got away with it.

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals.

We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort - even greater cooperation and understanding between nations.

Finally after seven years of the Patriot act, illegal wire tapping, water-boarding and torture, and Guantanamo Bay and the lack of due process, someone finally is stepping up and saying no more, If we are to espouse certain ideals and freedoms, we need to live by and execute them- even in the direst of situations and fear of our safety. Not only can we live with ourselves after the threat has passed but we can hold our heads high in front of the world and be joined by allies who are inspired by these actions.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus - and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

Obama walks the line of being able to flaunt his bi-racial heritage and not alienate the dominant culture very well. He did it throughout the campaign and I believe that his diverse background will be a great asset to his presidency. The ceiling is now broken and I think he will bring everyone he can with him.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends - hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism - these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility - a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.
There is some Kennedy thrown in here for sure. It's also probably the last time a president had the guts to ask his constituency for hard work since Carter failed at asking Americans to wear sweaters. I hope we haven't become too fat, lazy and entitled to fail to meet his challenge.

Mr. President, your clock has just started now. Let's get to work and see what you can do. I hope I am not let down by your words and I hope your promises and promise are what you say they are.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Just the facts ma'am!

Facebook tends to get trendy sometimes. Back when it just started getting cold people kept sending each other "snowball" fights. I still get lots of "Lil Green plants" and other such silly things that people send each other on the site. The most recent trend was to post a note and give 25 facts about yourself that people probably didn't know. You then tag your friends who you'd think would do the same thing.

In less than a week I had 5 friends tag me in their 25 facts. I felt compelled to write something but I honestly didn't think I could come up with 25 real and interesting facts about myself. Hell, one friend had the tissue of her dead unborn twin in skin of her belly! How could I possibly compare? It was at that point I did what I needed to do-

-make shit up!

Here's a copy of my 25 "facts":

1) I have a mole on my back that resembles Abraham Lincoln's profile, complete with stove top hat. I even have a hair growing out the area of Abe's chin and beard. At first, I thought I should go to the dermatologist and get it checked for skin cancer but Lincoln was probably a top 5 president and he also freed the slaves. I couldn't have the fact that I got Abraham Lincoln biopsied weighing on my conscience.

2) Once in year, on the 8th day of the 8th month (August 8th) I participate in a ritual that I call the"Eight Meats Feast". On that day I purchase, prepare and consume 8 lbs of 8 different meats. Eating 8lbs of meat is not as hard as you'd think and finding the 7th and 8th different meat is quite the challenge as I can only choose one fish. Last year I had beef, pork, chicken, lamb, shrimp, venison, ostrich and Botswanian Monkey meat.

3) I think that VHS will make a comeback someday.

4) My wife and I once decided to start a pot farm. We had it all planned out and bought all of the equipment, storage facility and drying vats. Turns out we had purchased the wrong the seeds due to a small reading error. If anyone wants any free "Mari"golds- please let me know.

5) In 1992 I saved all of my urine in jars and still have them in storage in Columbia MD.

6) I shave my head using male pattern baldness as a guide.

7) I can fit 9 and half mice into my mouth at once without harming 9 of them.

8) I write my congresswoman at least twice a day. For some reason this has attracted the attention of the secret service.

9) We told our children that a monster lived in the basement when they were young. It was a great motivator when they misbehaved.

10) I am wanted by the law in 11 different states. I am a serial mattress tag remover.

11) In the 70's as a child, my parents were in a financial bind and gave me to the CIA for experiments with drugs and weird electronic devices. I have been fortunate that the only two side effects that I've noticed so far is a third testicle and the green glowing fungus in my armpits.

12) I have informed my wife that after my death that I would like her to take my body to a taxidermist. Have me stuffed and insert a speaker with various digital recordings of me. She would then take me to places and have me say the appropriate things.

13) I am working on inventing a new sex toy for hermaphrodites. I'm calling it the "Push N' Pull".

14) In my spare time I like to go to the train yard- and beat up hobos with a crow bar.

15) For a year I impersonated being a surgeon. The surgery itself wasn't so tough to do, it was listening to patients' screams and pleas to stop that was a chore.

16) I use my dog's skin to breed bot fly larva.

17) I have the unique ability to pass gas in 5 distinct and equally horrible odors.

18) When getting change from a cashier I always ask for 2 dollar bills back. When they tell me that they don't have any I fly into a rage and leave the store without purchasing anything.

19) By my last count, I have discovered 87 legitimate uses for Vick's Vapo-Rub.

20) I like to go into shoe stores and switch the shoes around so people will buy 2 lefts or 2 rights.

21) I sometimes scream "Thar she blows!!" at the moment of climaxing.

22) I firmly believe that inappropriate laughter is the best medicine.

23) I think there is nothing wrong with using your own poop to sculpt.

24) I like to make random phone calls and start crying that "Hank died". About one in every 153 calls I get a concerned response.

25) I not very good at lying or making things up.

Friday, January 16, 2009

All by myself

This blog entry is being made from my office on a Friday afternoon. There are 3 of us who work here on a regular basis and one takes Friday afternoons off while the other had to call out today. That's left me all by myself. Just me and a few phone calls and the UPS man who dropped by to pick up some packages. While loneliness isn't a great thing as a constant, it can be relaxing and a much needed break.

Mind you, I would be pissed if I had a ton of packages to ship and no one answering the phones. But as it is on a Friday afternoon where it slows down, I am able to enjoy the quiet and get some work done and screw around a little. I can even rip a few loudly and not worry about the embarrassment I needed to.

Speaking as a bipolar person, it's tough enough to work when I have 2 other people here, let alone a big office. The extra activity can be over stimulating and makes it tough to concentrate. I wonder if I have a little ADDHD mixed in my brain, it wouldn't surprise me if I did.

However nice it is to be alone with your thoughts, eventually you start to long for some sort of social interaction. Thankfully I'm married and have two kids who just love to attack me at the door with everything that they're busting to tell me. I'll have to remember to enjoy that now as I know in a few years when they are teens I'll have to twist their arms and pull their teeth to get any information out of them.

I recommend that you allow yourself some "me-time" one of these days. Get reacquainted with yourself.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Hang in there, Baby!

One of the big ways to be happy in life is to enjoy your work and or the very least not to hate it. I know this because I was once a car salesman. The job itself was fine but the hours sucked and the people in management were the biggest lowlife, loser, power-hungry, assholes you could deal with. Imagine driving 40 minutes to your job and just dreading where you were headed. It drains the life out of you. I was eventually saved when I got back into the family business and I think it's a big reason as to why I'm more emotionally healthy and an overall happy person than I was as a salesman.

My poor wife, Lynn, has no such luck. She chose her profession back at the age of 18 when she decided to go to school to be a lab tech/medical technologist. She loved science and laboratories and thought it would be a great job for her. She then attended 4 years of college- 2 years at Bucks Co. Comm. Col. and 2 at Thomas Jefferson University. Then Lynn got a job right out of school at a hospital just outside Philly on the mainline. The commute was somewhat long but she decided to take the first job she could get and felt comfortable there as she knew some of the people there since she did some intern work at the hospital.

That was probably one of the biggest mistakes she's made in her life.

She never realized how much bullshit politics and bureaucracy goes on at a hospital. Her first boss she despised and she wasn't very happy with the hours of the second shift. She trudged on and eventually got a position with day shift. While a bit happier, she grew tired of the long commute and eventually discovered how much disrepect that the lab techs get from the rest of the hospital and the administration. (and the paycheck reflected this!) She tried for years in vain to get a job at one of the local pharmaceutical companies but never managed get her foot in the door. It seemed that she would have been better off as a recent grad or someone who had experience in the actual business; her hospital skills and experience seemed only valuable to other hospitals.

She eventually moved to on a closer hospital but took a night shift thinking that she'd have more time to spend with the family and less interaction with the stupid back biting among her fellow employees. She soon learned that she's spent more time trying to catch up on sleep than with her family and that the politics doesn't go away and still affects you, even if you aren't present during the day.

That's over 10 years of misery my wife has endured. I think sometimes her brain is being held together with bits of tape and glue as she trudges on every day. Finally, after some soul searching, last year she decided to become a high school science teacher. She realized that she was happiest when instructing the students that would intern at the hospitals over the years and decided that teaching was the best way to get the respect and happiness she desired in a career.

Easier said than done, of course. Changing your entire career path in your early 30's isn't the easiest task.

Lynn decided that taking online courses while still working would be the best course. The online school works out well as she can work at her own hours. But, now, she endures even less sleep as she tries to squeeze in her regular family life along with hours of school work each week and her regular night schedule.

Please don't think she does less work than your regular college student. If anything, I think she does more on average than the college student who attends classes. With online school you are forced to participate in the class discussions. You are required to post in class discussion forums and get graded on what you write. I've seen her create and write more essays and projects than I ever did in one semester's worth of 4-5 classes while she only takes one course at a time. Mind you I was only a Radio, TV and Film major but still, she really has much more than you'd ever expect an online school to have. Online schools now have earned my respect and I hope that employers know that online diplomas are no joke.

There's only so much I can do to calm my wife's stress and allay her fears and concerns over the years. I just hope Lynn realizes that she's about halfway done her schooling and she has less than 9 months until she student teaches. To most outsiders she looks fine, but I know she's coming apart at the seams and needs some support from not just me but her friends. So, if you're a personal friend please be sure to express that you have confidence in her ability.

It's just a little bit longer honey, hang in there!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Things people wrote to me in my high school yearbook. Part I

Recently I found my lost high school yearbook. It was missing for close to a year and with all of these little reunions I've had recently I was really itching to look at the pictures and see what people wrote to me. It's a fun and good way to see what aspirations you had at the time, where people thought you were headed and even see where your friends and enemies were like at the time as well.

Here are some excerpts along with my commentary- (please note I am only using first names and last initials to spare google search embarrassment)

Brian, you are one of the funniest and wittiest persons I know. Good luck in college.- Joe G.
Okay, so this didn't tell us much, but my ego needs a good stroking before we get started.

Brian, well this is it!! You're a great and charming and witty guy!! I'll never forget our sexual talks!! You did great in Beauty and the Beast and a fantastic job in Jan. 16th!! Never forget me!! Call over the summer (leaves phone number)!! Love, Heather

Apparently Heather really liked to use exclamation points!! It was nice that Heather enjoyed my acting parts in the drama club, but I really was a bad actor. The fun thing here is that she knew me for always chatting about sex. I was quite the open and blunt person about it and still am. I would listen to Dr. Ruth on the radio a lot as a teen and would be quite the sex expert among my peers. (despite the lack of experience) Looking at the undertones of the message, I wonder if Heather was hoping I'd call for sex over the summer. Hmmmm....I guess I'll never know since I had a girlfriend at the time.

Brian, I think you are a creative mind. But I wish you worked harder.- Mrs. L.

Ouch! This English teacher hit the nail on the head. She was one of the few teachers that I disliked in high school but I regret feeling that way now. I think if I could back in time I wouldn't have cut her class so much and paid attention. I really could've done much better. It really is the story of my entire school career. I had so much wasted potential back then.

Brian, Bonne chance a un eleve unique! C'etait mon plaisir de t'avoir dans ma classe malegre le fait que tu n'as pas continul avec le francais!!- Mme K

Ummm...?? What?!! Is that French?! I'm embarrassed to this day that the reason that I took French was because a girl I had a crush on at the time we had to sign up for electives said that French was cool. How I wish I took something useful like Spanish.

Brian, I am glad I got to know you over the past year. You are a real nice guy. I will always remember your wacky T-shirts- especially the one with the tongue on it. Good luck in all you do- probably as rubber-band salesman. - Michelle K
Michelle was in my homeroom and speech class during senior year. We had basically ignored each other for 3 years in homeroom but public speaking class forced us to work together on many projects and my sense of humor and zany T-shirts (I was such an unabashed attention hound!) eventually won her over as a friend. I was able to cross clique lines like that frequently. I made casual friendships with the jocks and cheerleader types like Michelle because I didn't take things seriously and made them laugh. Note that Michelle was the only person in my yearbook who accurately guessed my future profession. (she remembered that I had a 5 ft rubber band that I brough to school)

Finally I'll end this part with what Mr. Odney wrote me-

Brian, I remember the first time I saw was a stormy summer night...NO!! was at the Night of Jan. 16th auditions. Rememeber?! You said I'd get the part of the gangster because I looked like I had a broken nose. Remember that? Huh? Huh?! No really, Brian. You've wised up since then. You're a good kid Brian. Seriously, after everything that's happened I consider you to be one of my true real friends. And that means a lot. Good luck in life/work/humor/art/love/death. I hope that everything goes well for you. {snip- a bunch of catch phrases we used at the time} Be Good- Andy B
Getting back in touch with Andy has been wonderful as I always have missed his sense and take on things. His story of how we met is true and is actually not uncommon with many of my friends. I often come off as rather obnoxious at first and some people (including my wife) actually didn't like me at all at first. But I grow on people like a fungus.

That's it for now, I will revisit this later this week as I'm still astounded how people thought I was going to get my own HBO special.

Monday, January 12, 2009

I admit it, I'm a band wagoner.

This past season of football was kind of unusual for me. I gave up on the Eagles halfway through the season. The definite low point and when I really wrote them off in my head was when they could only muster a tie against the hapless Cincinnati Bengals. I refused to watch them after that. I was blissfully unaware of their failings and ultimate comeback after that. The benching of McNabb, the flogging of the Cardinals, the revenge on the Giants, etc, etc. Also, the fact that I had a Phillies championship helped nurture my lack of caring.

Over the weeks, I'd hear my employee, Rocco, tell me of their little comebacks and he finally convinced me to watch them again as they were in the lead for a wild card spot. So that Sunday I sat down and watched the Eagles play the Redskins.

Yet again they shit the bed.

They played just as bad as they did when they played the Bengals, so again I swore off them for good this season. I would proudly proclaim to my friends that I didn't care that the Eagles managed to get into the playoffs when they trounced the Cowboys and got lucky with a few key losses by their competitors. I told everyone that they were most likely going to lose in the 1st round. Last week I told everyone not to get their hopes up as the Eagles couldn't possibly beat the Giants twice in one year at Giants Stadium.

Yet here they are in the NFC Championship game against the lowly Cardinals- the only team with a worse record than the Eagles and someone they slaughtered like a turkey on Thanksgiving day. Looks like an easy win and an automatic Super Bowl bid for the Eagles, yes?


Don't fall for it!!

This is EXACTLY the type of game that the Eagles will go and pull a mind numbing choke-fest on!!

My employee, Rocco, keeps saying to send out the Super Bowl party invitations but I know better. The recent Phillies trophy has not blinded to me to what's really going and what will happen. I've lived through 38 years of Philly sports and I know that Charlie Brown never gets to kick the football despite what Lucy says or does.

And if I'm wrong?

Then I'm wrong but happy enough that the Eagles are in the Super Bowl to care that I was wrong.

HA!! Fool-proof strategy I tell you!

Reminder: It's Jammuary again!!

Just like last year, if you have Comcast cable then you can access Jammuary on demand. Go to the music categiry, choose and then Jammuary to find lots of great music. I haven't had a chance to listen to much, but I saw moe., Blues Traveler, Umphrey's McGee and Disco Biscuits listed with at least half hour concert bits.


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

My little stinker

When I say that my shit doesn't stink, I'm actually telling the truth in a fashion. As gassy as I usually am, my farts tend to be quite loud but for the most part they don't have that awful odor that goes along with the average flatulence. In other words, my bark is worse than my bite. Despite what my wife may tell you about the matter, I think that we're quite lucky that we can enjoy all of the comedic effects of hearing my farts, yet at the same time lose almost all of the noxious fumes that often follow the laughter. It's a win-win situation as far as I'm concerned.

That was true until my 10 year old son, Jonathan, started to take after his dear old dad and kicked the amount of his own emissions up a few notches. He's aggressively started his own chemical warfare campaign on our living room. The problem is that his farts are probably twice as unpleasant as the next guy's. While mine are loud and proud, his are of the silent but deadly ilk. They are really so bad that I have to wonder what's crawled up his ass and died. He's as skinny as a rail and has a normal kid diet, so I really have no idea why he has been cursed this way.

Of course he really has a knack of releasing his toxic gas in the car where there is no relief but to crack the windows in winter and hope you can hold your nose. I try my best not to deride the poor kid, he has a poor self esteem as it is. But when your senses are assaulted like that, it's hard not to react in a negative way. I know he probably winds up catching shit from his schoolmates when they catch wind of his shit. I think he can identify with Pepe LePew, the cartoon skunk who only wanted love but had an odor in the way of his quest.

I need to take him aside and teach how to deflect accusations and perhaps even master ventriloquism with his butt. Unfortunately, this requires acting ability and lying which my son is just awful at. He can't lie worth a lick, which in of itself is a good thing. It's just not good to be an honest person when he needs to blame the dog.

Monday, January 5, 2009

The simple formula for creating euphemisms for masturbation

Onanism is and always has been comedy gold. There's nothing more that lends itself to embarrassment than male masturbation. The mere thought of having one's pants around their ankles while one ejaculates into a tissue is both sad and funny at the same time. The act of self pleasure is something 99% of us do and the other 1% lie about. It's no wonder that we have come up with quite a lot of colorful phrases or euphemisms for masterbation.

"Choking your chicken" "Bopping your baloney" "Waxing the tadpole" and "Polishing your knob" have all become lexicons in the slang dictionary. But how did they come into being? Even after the first hearing of these and other phrases the person knows what they are talking about. So, just what is the secret?

I think I know what it is and I think it's simpler than you think.

It's almost as simple as

(Gerund) + (noun)=masurbation

I know I just lost 30% of you with the word "Gerund", so I'll just come out and say it's a fancy word for verb ending in "-ing".

Of course there are exceptions and general recommendations that should be followed. Let's take a look at a few things-

1) The gerund should imply some sort of action is going on. Obviously certain verbs shouldn't be used as they generate a more disconcerting or unpleasant effect. For instance I wouldn't use the words "sanding" or "cutting" even though other violent gerunds work much better like "choking", "strangling", and "squeezing". While keeping in mind that the gerund needs to conjure up the image of what's happening, sometimes the best ones are the most non-sensical. Some other good gerunds that work well are "oiling", "greasing", "noodling", "walking", "basting", "hoisting" and "bronzing". Just have fun with it and remember that metaphors work well and don't always try to be so literal.

2) The noun can be almost anything. Phallic objects of course work well, as do small furry animals. Do remember to stay away from the euphemisms for female parts like "beaver", "kitty" and "tuna". The sillier the better when it comes to the noun part.

3) Do try to keep the noun somewhat tied into the gerund. Alliteration is always a good thing, being clever or using puns help even more.

Give it a try and you'll see that this is no joke. The formula works. The next time someone asks what you did over the weekend try answering them with the formula and see if they understand.

Them: What did you do last night?

You: I spent a lot of time corning my cobb.

If you see them wincing or laughing then you know I was right.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Lump on a log

The past two weeks have been glorious if you just like to relax and do absolutely nothing. Hell, I didn't even feel like blogging when I had all the time in the world. My business was closed early on both "eves" and I had to only work one, plus we were also closed the Friday after each holiday. So my total commitments in the past 2 weeks?

4.5 days of work
holiday stuff like visit relatives
prepare and host a new year's eve party

Other than that, I slept a lot and I mean a lot. I would end up sitting in the easy chair watching TV and the next thing I knew was that I had napped for an hour. I think I may have missed only one day where I didn't nap. I don't think we realize how much we deprive ourselves of sleep during the regular routine of going to work.

I also had the pleasure of going to AC for a day and playing some poker with my friend, Dave. I only won a small amount but he really did well and made almost 400 bucks. I admit I had some jealousy that the cards were hitting him so well but overall I was happy for him and enjoyed myself nonetheless.

Tomorrow the party is over. Kids go back to school, I go back to work and the regular hum drum routine. It was a much needed rest and I'm not regretful that I didn't make better use of my time. I'm well rested and raring to go. Perhaps it'll be a slow start tomorrow morning but I have a new year and a renewed battery.