Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Cartoon Hell

Have you been following this insanity over the less than favorable depiction of the Prophet Muhammad? Violent protests all over the world? People are actually dying over this. Attention all you violent protestors: Have any of you ever heard of the term Free Press? Apparently not. Definitely, whatever you do, make sure you do not write a letter to the editor. That would be too intellectual. And don't march quietly in the streets. That would be too peaceful. And please, I beg of you, do not under any circumstances uphold your personal principles by boycotting the paper (you know - the old fashioned approach of if you don't like the newspaper, just don't read it). That wouldn't make the 11:00 news.

I was watching the news earlier today and they interviewed a Bay Area Muslim who said that violence was indeed not the answer. This was her quote (I kid you not): "We are definitely not happy with the cartoon but we feel that violence is not the way to handle the situation. We are generally in favor of free press so long as nobody is offended." I LOVE IT! "So long as nobody is offended." Isn't that beautiful? Listen up people. They actually have a name for press that never offends anyone. It's called "Not Free Press." Get a clue.

Well folks, lest anyone think that all I do is complain in this blog, I'm here to recommend a solution to this problem. Here goes. Remember back in the day when Europe used to ship all their hardened criminals off to Australia? So how about we find some island off the middle of nowhere and ship off all the "free press is o.k. so long as it doesn't offend" people to it? We'll call it "PC Island". Everything will be nice and unoffensive. They could even take surveys of all citizens to be certain that nobody is offended for any reason prior to printing or broadcasting anything. Everyone will be pleasant and complimentary to eachother. Sort of like Pleasantville but in color.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

What to wear

Do you remember the good old days when there was either casual or formal attire? How I long for those days. Every time I get a party invitation these days, I need to reference a fashion dictionary just to understand what I'm supposed to do. Let's see... There's business casual, business dressy, casual dressy, dressy casual, smart casual, sporty casual, casual elegant, active casual, and the list goes on and on and on. And whatever I do, everyone else in the room seems to have referenced a different fashion dictionary. If I go with the slacks and sports coat, they're all in jeans. If I go with jeans and a t-shirt, they're inevitably in Armani suits. I give up. I can't win. I need to move to Siberia where things aren't so complicated.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

March of the Penguins

Do these penguins living in Antarctica think that they're all color blind? I wonder...

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Skating with Celebrities?

Skating with Celebrities? Are you serious? Dancing with the Stars was painful enough to watch. As if we've got all sorts of pent up demand for more reality shows with C list celebs, Fox tries to one up the lame dance competition with ice skating? That's the best they could come up with? Come on Hollywood. You can do better. If we're going to have any more "with the stars" genre shows, could we at least get something worth watching! Why not turn it up a notch or two. Let's see... How about Bull Riding with the Stars? It might be painful for the stars but not painful for the viewers. Anyone for Big Wave Surfing with the Stars? Crocodile Hunting with the Stars? Or here's my vote... High Altitude Mountaineering with the Stars. March 100 of these C listers up Everest with an ice axe and a couple Snickers and see who comes down. Now that would make for good TV!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

My favorite Sport

Raise your hand if you've found yourself from time to time poking fun at bowling as a "sport". Me too. I mean, come on - these guys aren't exactly sweating up a storm during their 10 frames. In fact, I think I've caught them occasionally grabing a slice of pizza while awaiting their turn. And billiards is even worse as far as required athleticism is concerned.

But those are nothing compared to my all time favorite "sport". Ready? Sumo wrestling. It's the only sport I've ever heard of where the fatter you are, the more successful you become. I'll telling you that these guys generally weigh in at north of 375 lbs. And do you know how they get to be so fat? Have you ever actually watched one of these matches? It's because they don't do anything, that's why! I'd say each match lasts somewhere in the neighborhood of 6-7 seconds. You step in the ring, bow to your opponent, stare him in the eye and then proceed to bounce him out of the ring with your blubber before he does the same to you. I'm pretty sure the bowing takes up more time than the fight itself. Can't see too many calories being burned during the 6 second contest.

Hmmm... I like to eat. I could use some more cash. Maybe I've finally found the perfect career.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Sesame Street Mysteries

I've been watching a lot more Sesame Street lately and I've been wondering a few things. Here's my Top 10 list:

Elmo... Grover in a red costume?
Oscar the Grouch... Cookie Monster in a green costume?
Snufalufagus... Real or Big Bird tripping on acid?
Cookie Monster... So many crumbs... Does he actually ever swallow any of the damn cookie?
Bert... Why just one eyebrow and why doesn't he get it cut?
Ernie... Why doesn't he have any eyebrows?
Ernie and Bert... Well... you know the question.
Oscar the Grouch... What happens to him when the garbage truck collects the garbage?
Elmo... Why does he get his own show? What's so special about him?
The Count... Why just two teeth? He doesn't bite. Just counts.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Sex and TV

I'm getting sick and tired of skewed statistics. You know - the kind when the mainstream media just wants you to see the world through their warped eyes. Why just today there was a Reuters news feed that started out as follows:

"Thinking of buying a TV for the bedroom? Think again - it could ruin your sex life. A study has found that couples who have a TV set in their bedroom have sex half as often as those who don't."

You see? This is a perfect example of where they got it all backwards. The story should read as follows:

"Thinking of having sex in the bedroom? Think again - it would ruin your TV viewing time. A study has found that couples who have sex in the bedroom watch TV half as often as those who don't."

There. That's more like it.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

No more pennies please

I hate pennies. Hate 'em. You can't do anything with them. They're so small a currency these days that they're practically worthless. Heck, they don't even match the color of my other coins. Is there anybody reading this blog who would feel somehow cheated if every business from this day forward had to round up to the nearest nickle? If you're anything like me (and I pray that you're not that misfortunate), your nightstand consists of a book, an alarm clock, your wallet, keys, a nightlight, perhaps a few scattered receipts, and 163 pennies (of course, if you have a mischievous toddler, those 163 pennies are on the floor half the time but that's a story for another day). I mean, I don't even like carrying them around if for nothing other than giving exact change. It's not worth the weight. So what's a man to do?

Funny you ask. Just last week I finally decided that I had had enough and wasn't going to accept any more pennies. That's it. No mas. Finished. The challenge is how to properly convey my stance to merchants without giving the wrong message. Why just the other day I was going to pick up my clothes from the dry cleaners...

Me: "How much do I owe you?"
Dry Cleaner Lady: "That be $4.98"
Me: "O.K. Here's $5. Have a nice day."
Dry Cleaner Lady: "Wait a minute. Don't forget change."
Me: "Oh no thanks. I don't want the pennies."
Dry Cleaner Lady: "Oh... nice tip mista. Thanks. This go long way to paying for kid college."
Me: "Sorry. I didn't mean it that way. It's not a tip. I just don't need the pennies."
Dry Cleaner Lady: "Oh now I see. You mista big shot. You too big for pennies. Pennies chump change for you."
Me: "No, not that either. I just find them a nuisance, that's all. Sorry for the confusion. "
Dry Cleaner Lady: "No, no. Me sorry to inconvenience you. I don't mean to burden you with such trivial matters as change."
Me: "Never mind. In fact, I changed my mind. I'll take the pennies now. Thank you."

And just like that, I'm back to collecting pennies on my nightstand.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

The Beach

If you pick up the travel section of just about any newspaper these days, it's all about the beach. Hawaii, Bahamas, Jamaica, Cancun, Belize and the list goes on and on. It got me to thinking... What the heck is so great about the beach anyway? Don't get me wrong - warm weather I can relate to. But the sand and the ocean? Let's just talk this through here for a moment. First, a quick lesson in thermodynamics. Ready? Here we go. When the weather's hot, so is the sand. Lesson over. So there you are hopping in pain all over to arrive at your sacred beach spot - you know - the one between the cheesy cell phone talking, cussing-every-other-word New Yorker and the beached whale whose about 163 lbs overweight and wearing a bathing suit 4 sizes too small. But at least you're at the beach, right? So you proceed to unpack your picnic and lay everything out nicely on your blanket. So you start with your gourmet sandwich and just as you're about to take your first bite, you find yourself suddenly caught in a treacherous sandstorm. As it dies down, you painfully open your eyes just a notch and make out 3 kids about 4 feet in front of you finishing up waiving the the rest of the sand out of their towels. Sound familiar? But at least you're at the beach, right? You now spend the next 45 minutes picking out the sand from your food, grain by grain. As you finally get back to where there's more bread than sand and lift the sandwich back toward your mouth for a second attempt, a strong gust of wind comes out of nowhere, blows it right out of your hands and sends it flying halfway down the beach. So now the chase is on. You're running like you're back in high school. Sure, so you have to sacrifice a few sandcastles and make a few kids cry during your quest but they'll get over it. You finally catch up with the sandwich 1/2 mile downwind and take it back with such a forceful grip no hurricane could possibly hope to pry from your hands. 23 minutes after the journey began you find yourself back at your cozy little spot. Unfortunately, so do the ants which have already devoured the top layer of every last edible item on the blanket. Well, there goes lunch. But at least you're at the beach, right?

I must admit, I can't say I see much sense in the ocean either. For divers (like yours truly) and surfers, I see the allure. Surfing in the pool wouldn't be quite the same adrenaline rush. But for all of those folks who like to step into the salty water just up to their ankles and then whip out the paddle boards, I say "huh"? You're telling me that 3 inches of murky salt water really adds that much excitement to the game? But the part I love the most is when the little kids come flying out of the water crying to their parents about all the salt water in their eyes and mouths. "Oh, how did this happen, Jimmy?" the parents empathetically inquire. Gee... that's a tough one. Let's ponder this for a moment, shall we... Oh, I'm really not quite sure. I don't know... Perhaps... Is it possible... Could it be that just maybe their kids were splashing around and swimming for the last hour and a half in SALT WATER!!! But at least you're at the beach, right?

Reading on the can

Reading on the can. This is one of those 8th wonders of the world for me. Am I the only person that finds this activity somewhat bizarre? I have nothing against it per se. Just don't quite get the concept. Call me peculiar, but for me pleasure reading involves a soft couch, perhaps some light classical background music and neutral to positive odors. But the toilet? Isn't that one of those places where you visit not because you want to but because you have to? Don't you generally want to take care of business and hit the road as fast as possible? I feel like outside of lunch breaks, this is what people now look forward to during their workday. But I've always been a somewhat open minded person so allow me to suspend my biases for the moment and just assume that catching up on the news for a few minutes while moving your bowels is a worthwhile endeavor. O.K. fine. I'm thinking the front page of the newspaper ought to do the trick. Perhaps even a light magazine (People perhaps?). But just the other day as I was washing up in the men's room, I couldn't help but notice one of my colleagues enter the room with what appeared to be a rather large book in his hands. I turned around to view the title and had to rub my eyes and look again. "War and Peace? Are you reading War and Peace?" I enquired. "Why yes I am. Great book. Hard to put it down." "Apparently so." I replied. "I take it you've got just a few pages to go, huh?" "Nope. Only halfway through the book," he responded matter of factly. "Hmmm... Oh I know. Let me guess. You're almost at the end of a chapter and the suspense was killing you. Is that it?" "Nope. Anyway, if you'll please excuse me..." "Oh sorry about that. Ummm... Enjoy the book." And that was that. I did a quick check on amazon and we're looking at 1424 pages. I mean, come on folks. Isn't this a bit much? That's like throwing on a multi-day backpack for a stroll down the driveway to fetch the newspaper. To this day I couldn't even venture to guess how much of that book he consumed during that nondescript afternoon while in stall #3. Nor would I care to guess. Some things are just better left a mystery.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

2006 Predictions

I've got nothing better to do at the moment so I thought I'd jump on the 2006 predictions bandwagon. Here we go...

1. I will double my blog readership from 5 to 10 people.
2. I'll find out that my blog traffic meter was off and I actually still have just 5 readers.
3. None of the remaining predictions on the list will ever materialize
4. Dubya will finally step down with the following speech: "I lied. People died. You all cried. It's time for me to step aside."
5. Everybody in an Internet startup will realize they can't make any money and will find a job in real estate.
6. Everybody in real estate will realize they can't make any money and will find a job in a hedge fund.
7. Everybody in a hedge fund will realize they can't make any money and will find a job with an Internet startup.
8. I will win the lottery, bet it all on Google and double my winnings in 6 months. Google will then be caught in an Enron/Worldcom/Healthsouth scale scandal and since I will not have sold any of my Google stock, I will then proceed to lose every last penny.
9. My wife will find out I never sold my Google stock like I said I would and we'll get in the fight of the year. I'll then sleep on the couch for the rest of the week.
10. I will end the year just as confused as I am now.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

I'm sorry

"I'm sorry". What the heck do those two words mean anyway in this day and age. They're almost always said under false pretences. To all you husbands out there, let's be honest. "I'm sorry" isn't a way to express true remorse to our wives. It's a way to finally put an end to a 2 hr squabble so you can actually get some sleep. Am I right? And with kids? Forget about it. Why, just the other day I was picking up my son from preschool when some other 3 yr old in the class ran over and stepped on my foot. "TAKE THAT!" he shouted. The teacher ran over, squated down to eye level, grabbed him by the arm and demanded that he apologize to me immediately. "NO!" he responded quite emphatically. "You say you're sorry this instant!" replied the teacher. "I said NO. NO NO NO NO NO!" "If you don't apologize right now, you're not going to play outside. Do you understand?" "I DON'T CARE!" "In that case, if you don't apologize this minute, I'm going to take away your toys for the rest of the day." "I DON'T CARE!" "That's it. If you don't tell him you're sorry immediately, you can't have any dessert today. Got it?" "No dessert?" "That's right. Not one cookie." At the prospect of losing out on his most coveted possession, the kid finally turns to me and utters out meekly, "I'm sorry". Gee... thanks kid.

Pre-sickness

I hate being sick. I'll make no bones about it (note: where the heck does that expression "no bones about it" come from anyway?). But being pre-sick is even worse. You know the feeling. You come home from work one day to find that your wife is sick, your toddler is sick and your infant is sick. Heck, even the mice that run around our kitchen eating up crumbs in the middle of the night are sick. Everyone's sick except you. But at the same time, something feels sort of off. Know what I mean? You're not sick per se. No fever. No soar throat. No nausea. No headaches. No specific symptoms that you can point to. Just a feeling that you're not exactly 100%. Sort of like that pre-pain feeling when you used to go to the doctor as a kid and could smell the alcohol that you knew came seconds before that painful injection. It's not that you were in pain from the odor but it was close enough to the real thing that you started to shed a few tears just to set the ambiance.

Anyway, I just don't like being pre-sick. There's nothing you can really do about it but sit there and wait in line (unless you're one of those consumer suckers who buys into the Airborne phenomenon... o.k. fine, I guess I've been one of those consumer suckers on more than one occasion). If you're a flu and you're reading this blog, I beg of you - either hit me and hit me hard or stay away. But don't jerk me around. I can't take it. The anticipation alone could kill me. Just do what you've gotta do and move along to the next victim. Thank you.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Jan 21st New Years

While most of you are still recovering from your New Year's Eve festivities, my new years doesn't actually begin for another 3 weeks. Strange? Bizarre? Perhaps. But here's why. What's the #1 New Year's resolution? Losing weight, right? Same here. Same for me last year, and the year before, and the year before, etc. So how do I drop the extra 5 lbs in a hurry? I hit the gym. Unfortunately, so does eveyone else. In fact, for the first 3 weeks of the year, when I say "everyone else", I mean just that. If history is any indicator, the gym population will look something like this:

1st week in Jan: 10x the avg number of people working out
2nd week in Jan: 5x the avg number of people working out
3rd week in Jan: 2x the avg number of people working out
4th week in Jan: Back to normal

So I simply kick back, continue gorging on empty calories even when I'm not hungry, and wait patiently for the 4th week of Jan to roll around.

And by the way, in case you're wondering how to spot the newbies those first few weeks of the year, it's easy. Look for people wearing fresh, bright, matching workout clothes that have never been washed. Look for people spending their first 5 minutes on any piece of equipment trying to figure out how the heck to use that piece of equipment (add 10 minutes for anything with digital display outputs). And of course don't forget my favorite... the people spending most of their time chatting away on their cell phones.

So there you have it. So Happy New Years to all of you. But please, I beg of you, don't reciprocate for another 3 weeks.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

I'm not hot

I'm not hot. Sounds obvious, right? Not that I ever thought heads were turning as I'd stroll down a busy street during lunch hour but I never quite realized just how unattractive I really am until today. You see, today I had the misfortune of tuning into one of those mindless soap operas during my workout routine at the gym (don't blame me - nothing else on this afternoon during my workout except Oprah). And it only took me about 15 minutes to put the pieces of the puzzle together. That is, the fact that I'm not hot. O.K. fine, I'll venture a step further... I'm ugly. That's right, compared to the supposed snapshot of Americana from this particular soap, I'm one UGLY dude. After today, there's absolutely no uncertainty in my mind.

We started out with the modelesque, mid 30's, armani suit-wearing, chiseled-faced, super polished protagonist. Fine, so I can't stack up to him. He is the main character, after all. The show revolves around this guy. I think I can live with that. Hey, I can't always be the best looking guy in the room. But when his mid 60's, pushing retirement, grandpa dad makes his grand entry and blows me out of the water, that's where I start to feel a little ego deflation. You're telling me grandpa is more of a looker than yours truly? Well, evidently yes. Fine, so dad and son both fall from the same tree. I guess that makes sense. Come to think of it, Robert Redford is one of those gracefully aging, elderly actors that quite frankly most women would much prefer make a cameo in their fantasy dream than this author. So I guess it's not out of the realm of reality.

But then they go to visit dad's dad (for those of you keeping score at home - that would be "great grandpa") at the nursing home, my jaw just drops. He can't walk, he can't hear and he can't pee on his own but he can make the nurses' heads turn like I'm not even lucky enough to dream about. Now I wasn't just feeling down, I was outright angry! How can this be? Surely there's gotta be someone in this show that I can top. The mailman? He's better looking. The butcher at the local deli? He wins. The pharmacist? I'm not even close. This is crazy! There was even this guy who was run over by a bus and then mauled by a ferocious, man-eating tiger. His face was literally ripped to shreds. He's lucky to be alive. But there he was in his hospital bed in the ICU putting me and my looks to shame. (And just in case you're wondering, the doctor, admin, janitor, flower deliverer, meal server and all other male personnel on the entire hospital staff... all better looking.)

I knew I should have just watched Oprah.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Lemonade

Why lemonade? We have orange juice. And apple juice. And grape juice. And cranberry juice. But no lemon juice. Just lemonade. What's up with that? Why the special treatment?

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Hear ye, hear ye, read all about it

Are you ready for this one? It's gonna blow your mind. The ABC's is sung to the same tune as Twinkle Twinkle.

Alphabet soup

Does any can of alphabet soup actually contain all 26 letters of the alphabet? I can't recall counting more than a dozen or so when I was a kid. Sort of false advertising, isn't it? It should be called "Partial Alphabet Soup". So just how many cans altogether would it take to accumulate all letters of the alphabet? Not sure? Well now you have something to do over your Holidays at the in-laws. Has anyone been to China? Do they have alphabet soup over there? That'd be pretty interesting to see. Each can would have only enough space for about one Chinese character. Fascinating topic, huh?

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Meter Maids

Are you a Beatles fan? Do the lyrics "Lovely Rita Meter Maid" come to mind? Well, I must confess. I've never met a "lovely" meter maid. Quite frankly, amongst us friends, I've never met a meter maid I didn't despise. There I said it. I HATE meter maids. Hate 'em. I know, I know. I shouldn't hate anyone. They're just doing their jobs. Somebody's gotta put food on the table... Yada yada yada. Sorry. Still hate 'em.

Just last week I was double parked in my neighborhood as I was picking up some shirts at the cleaners. I think I was in there for about... oh... let's call it sixty seconds tops. I then step outside to find one of these annoying meter maids writing me up. I was irate! I angrily inquired: "What the hell are you doing?" She momentarily stopped writing, looked up at me with a quizzical look on her face and sternly questioned: "What did you just say to me?" Pause. Now, have you ever wondered what specific class of governmental operation these meter maids are? Are they technically law enforcement? I mean, are these cops? Do they carry guns? Handcuffs? Can they haul my ass down to the station and write me up for insubordination? Do they outrank traffic cops? I feel like they're floating somewhere in the spectrum in between highway patrol officers and those people that drive the trucks with the neon lighted arrow signs in the back that tell you to switch lanes. But where exactly in that spectrum they lie is the conundrum. O.K., back to our story...

"I don't mean to yell at you", I replied. "I just don't see why you can't let people run into the cleaners for two minutes. It's not like I was blocking traffic." "Well, don't you yell at me mister", she retorted. "You're the one that's parked illegally." I was really annoyed. I was thinking "What, do you work on commission or something and you haven't made your monthly quota? Boo hoo." Evidently, what I was thinking must have inadvertently made it to my lips because steam started to pour out of her ears. O.K. Stupid move. Think fast. Think fast. "Ummm... errr... I mean, well, what I meant was..." She wasn't happy. Not happy at all. "How would you like me to write you up for another ticket?" Pause. Now here we go again. Specifically, what kind of ticket were we talking about here? One of those talking back to a cop type tickets? Or another double parking ticket. Are we talking felony or misdemeanor here? I'd never last even 24 hours behind bars. The suspense was killing me. "So are you actually a real cop or just a meter maid?" Now, for those of you taking notes at home, please write down the question I just asked and put a note next to it with the following comment: NEVER and I repeat NEVER ask that question to a meter maid!

So before I have a chance to utter out even a half baked apology, she starts writing up that second ticket. I was digging myself further and further into a deep hole. I wanted to reach out with both hands and strangle her. "What I bitch on wheels!", I was thinking to myself. She looked up at me with shock. Once again, I apparently didn't do a very good job at keeping my thoughts to myself...

Friday, December 16, 2005

Aquaman

I just don't get this guy. Superman I get. Batman works for me. Spiderman seems to make sense too. But Aquaman? I mean, did we really need a superhero dedicated to the underwater world? Is there indeed that much crime lurking just under the surface? Come on folks. Who exactly is he going to fight anyway? Clown fish? He certainly can't be fighting human crime. What exactly could that be? One scuba diver stealing another scuba diver's air tank? "Hey, give me your air. I'm almost out!" "No way!" "Give it to me now or I'll kick you with my fin!" "Don't even try it or I'll get water in your mask." "That's it. You asked for it. Now I'm gonna... OH NOOOOOOOOO!!! Here comes Aquaman! Damn! Foiled again!"

Kugel

You know the age old "is a tomato a fruit or a vegetable"? Well, I've got one even more intriguing. Here goes. What the heck is kugel (if you're not Jewish, you might want to skip to the next blog)? Is it a side dish or a dessert? It's definitely sweet, no doubt about it. But it's not quite sweet enough to be called dessert in my book. It's sort of in a similar predicament as the sweet potato. Too sweet to be a true starch yet too boring to be served after the main dish. It will always be second fiddle to a good baked alaska and to garlic mashed potatoes.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Songs in my head

HELP! I woke up this morning with the theme song from The Love Boat in my head and I can't get it out. If there is a God, this isn't very funny. This is what I would call abusing your position of authority. I can't take it! Captain Stubing, Julie McCoy, Gopher, Isaac and Doc. The entire cheesy gang. They're all sitting inside my head with those goophy fake 70's smiles. You people are killing me. Get out of my head. Enough is enough. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Baseball uniforms

Have you ever wondered why baseball managers wear uniforms during games? Basketball is suit and tie. Football is slacks and sweater. But baseball you look no different than the rest of the team. What's up with that? Looks sort of... ummm... errr... what's that word I'm looking for... on the tip of my tongue... oh yeah - STUPID. Stupid stupid stupid. I just don't get this one at all. These coaches do realize they're not getting into the game, don't they? Are they thinking of themselves as a last resort option if the game is going down to the wire and you've burnt through your entire roster? I can see it now... "Well folks, it doesn't get any better than this. Here we are, the 7th and deciding game of the World Series. Yankees and Braves are tied at two apiece in the bottom of the ninth with two outs and nobody on. Not sure who Joe Torre is going to send to the plate. Wait a minute... Could it be? I must be halucinating. Why it looks like Joe Torre is sending in none other than himself. Hey, it's a darn good thing he's already got that uniform on..." Just for kicks, I think the NFL should require coaches to wear the uniform too, helmets and pads included. Why should baseball have all the fun?

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Chutzpah of the week award

Saddam wins this week's award hands down. Today he told the courtroom judge to "go to hell". I love it. Not "objection your honor" or "could I get some clarification your honor" or "I beg to differ your honor" or "might I present a contrarian viewpoint your honor". Just a simple yet prophetic "go to hell". Not too verbose. No roundabout dialogue. Just straight and to the point. Remember that Scott Peterson trial where he just sat there emotionless for months? All those courtroom analysts sitting around debating what must have been going through Peterson's mind. No sorrow. No remorse. He just sits there stoned cold. Well, none of that bullshit here. With Sadam, I think it's relatively safe to say that we know where the guy stands.

Oh but wait... it gets even better. He then vows not to return to court the next day. That's the best part. It would have made for great TV had the judge pulled an "oooooooohhh, we're really sca sca scaaaaaaaaaaaaaared". Can you just see the headlines: "Trial of the century indefinitely postponed due to Sadam's refusal to come back to court." Heck, as long as you're at it Sadam, you might as well refuse to stay in jail too. And come to think of it, why not let everyone know that you refuse to stay out of power any longer. That's right everyone. Sadam has had just about enough of our shenanigans. It's time to concede the inevitable - relinquish control now or face the wrath of this man. Game over.

Friday, December 02, 2005

A little help for Dubya

I'm not afraid to admit that I'm no fan of the President. While I love to mock him as much as the next guy, I'm actually getting a little soft in my heart so I've come up with a way to help him out. It hit me while I was watching Millionaire the other day. What the president needs is lifelines. So next time he's at a press conference it would go something like this:

Bush: Next question please.
Journalist 1: Mr President, you have been accused of lying to the American people. How do you respond?
Bush: Good question. I'm gonna go ahead and ask the audience on that one.
Moderator: Mr President, the audience says that indeed, you have been lying through your teeth.
Bush: Well, they're stupid.
Journalist 2: Mr President, what exactly is our exit strategy on Iraq?
Bush: Oh, I'm not crazy about that one. Let's phone a friend. Let's call...hmmm... let's try Dick Cheney.
Dick Cheney: Mr President, we don't have an exit strategy. Remember our little discussion this morning?
Bush: That's good. That's good. I'll use that. O.K., I'll go with what Dick just said.
Journalist 3: Mr President, who do you support in the upcoming Israeli elections?
Bush: I'll go ahead and phone a friend again. Let's try Condoleeza Rice this time.
Moderator: Ummm, Mr President, I'm afraid you've already used that lifeline. You can't use it twice in one press conference.
Bush: Damn! I mean darn. Well o.k., can we do a 50/50 and eliminate two of the wrong answers?
Moderator: Ummm, I guess so... But this wasn't really meant to be a multiple choice question.
Bush: Oh, I know I know. Let's switch the question then. Hee hee hee. Ask me about my ranch or something. Come on folks. Throw me a bone, would ya?

Sunday, November 27, 2005

X?

We've now accumulated in our home about three dozen books that teach the alphabet basics. You know - A for apple, B for ball, etc. Then you come to the one enigmatic letter of the alphabet - the letter X. And there it is - X for (can you guess?)... X for xylophone. Then you go to book #2 and what do we have... X for xylophone. Book #3: x for xylophone. Book #4 - 38: x for xylophone. That's right - xylophone in EVERY single book. Can you believe it? It has finally dawned on me... X is the stupidest letter of the alphabet. There is absolutely no reason for it. As far as I can tell, xylophone is about the only word that starts with it and I'm sure we could come up with a new home for this outdated musical instrument. In fact, I don't want to overstep my boundary, but I imagine the Z's would be more than happy to adopt xylophone into its family. Xylophone vs Zylophone? Same difference. Even pronounced the same. Is it just me or does it not strike you as a bit odd that we created such a useless letter in the alphabet to begin with? It's a waste, is it not? Who is responsible for this anyway? I don't get it. I'll bet once upon a time the alphabet makers were all ready to call it a wrap with 25 letters and present their findings to the alphabet committee when this one loser in the group was ticked off because nobody liked any of his letters. So out of sympathy and to shut him up, they let him have one letter and make up one word to justify the letter's existence. Hence, the birth of the letter X and the xylophone. No need for either but it looks like we're stuck with both so no use complaining.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Thanksgiving

Yuck. That's all I've got to say. I sooner look forward to morning after cold pizza than bland turkey and its sidekicks. I mean, here we are on the one day all year we've chosen to set aside as the special day to give thanks and for what? Turkey? Thanks but no thanks.

Beyond my pure distaste for the traditional meal, there are some particular aspects to it that I just don't get. For starters, why do we keep the gravy separate from the turkey, only to be united in one sloppy mess on our plates? Is this supposed to be some kind of built up drama? A big surprise for the turkey like a child being reunited with its long lost biological parent? Hey turkey, we've got a special surprise for you... Close your eyes. Ready? Tadam! It's your old buddy the gravy. You guys are finally together at last. Huh? Can you think of any other meal where we separate the topping from the primary meat until it's served? Have you ever in your life been to a buffet with chicken parmigiana where you first put on the chicken, then add some tomato sauce followed by some melted cheese? Or picture yourself in your favorite BBQ joint ordering BBQ chicken only to be presented with a plain piece of chicken and a bottle of BBQ sauce. THIS WOULD BE INSANE! Hey, I'm not here to ruin anyone's holiday meal but let's just call a spade a spade, shall we? The reason we have gravy to begin with is because the turkey is dry and boring. I can't think of a more boring meat. It's so boring, in fact, that we have to invent some gravy just to make it edible. Gee, that makes a lot of sense.

But nooooooooooooooooooo. That's not enough. Ready for more insanity? How about the stuffing? How about it? "Stuffing." Get it? It's "stuffing" but it's not actually stuffed into anything (and last time I checked, nothing was actually stuffed in the stuffing either). It's just sitting there by itself. That's the irony. There's no stuffing about it. It's no more stuffing than the sweet potatoes or cranberry sauce or turkey for that matter but it still gets anointed as stuffing.

Speaking of cranberry sauce, why? Have I died and gone to hell? Come on folks. We can do better than that, can't we? Heck, I'd settle for a deli pickle over a spoonful of cranberry sauce any day. Let me ask you guys something. Be serious for one moment. Outside of Thanksgiving, when's the last time you've actually eaten cranberry sauce? Have a hard time recollecting? That's because the answer is NEVER! Never never never. Or when's the last time you saw it on a menu? Get my point? Nobody would dare touch that stuff any other time. But on Thanksgiving, we're so over the top thankful that we're willing to suffer a miserable meal just to prove how thankful we actually are. Crazy.

Canada anyone?

Sunday, November 13, 2005

The Three Little Pigs

I was reading this wonderful classic to my son tonight when all of a sudden it dawned on me. Something was just not sitting right. It's the story... It's flawed. It's flawed I tell you. It's taken me 36 years to finally come to the realization that this story just doesn't add up. For those of you who still believe in Santa and the tooth fairy, stop reading, put away the mouse, and just walk away. I'm afraid you just won't have the stomach for what I'm about to tell you.

For starters, let's just start with the title: The Three Little Pigs. Repeat: That's The Three LITTLE Pigs. "Little" as in small. I don't know about you guys but when I think of little, I think of mice. Perhaps even a cat. But a PIG? An average pig weighs 200-300 lbs (unless we're talking about the potbellied variety in which case we'd all be reading "The Three Little Potbellied Pigs"). There's nothing little about them. Ugly? Yep. Dirty? You bet. Noisy? Indeed. But not, and I repeat NOT little by any stretch of the imagination.

Now let's get into the heart of the story. So here's this so called "Big Bad Wolf" huffing and puffing his way into each pig's house. Question #1: Why on earth doesn't he ever try simply opening the door? Is that too much to ask? So far as I can tell, the doors were never locked. Granted, it probably wouldn't make for such a dramatic story if the wolf opens the first door he comes to, grabs the pig, swallows him whole and walks off into the sunset. But at the same time, we can't just throw logic out the window, now can we?

O.K. so let's allow ourselves to suspend disbelief for just a moment longer... Now the wolf does his huffing and puffing and blows the house down. Now let's close our ours for a sec and think about the kind of storm it would take to just rip apart your house like that. We're talking like a category 56 hurricane or something way off the charts, right? Think about it - no roof, no walls, not even the foundation. Every last thing in site just ripped to shreds. Everything that is... but the pig. Everything's demolished but that annoying "little" pig. He's just standing there perfectly intact without any broken bones or ribs. Not a scratch. Heck, there's not one hair out of place. In fact, as I recollect, he's not even breathing hard. He's just sort of standing there dumbfounded, wondering how that big bad wolf was ever able to blow so hard in the first place.

And here's where the story really really breaks down... So the wolf does his thing and poof - no more house. Just one huffing and puffing villian and our little pig, both standing just inches apart from eachother. So here's your big break Mr. wolf. Here's dinner right in front of your nose. Here what you've been training your whole life for. For this one special moment. One hungry wolf. One helpless pig. And nothing in between. Time to teach our young kids about the laws of nature. The rules of the jungle. The survival of the fittest. How could our poor little pig possibly get out of this one? How can he escape imminent death? How could he have a prayer of a chance of pulling a Houdini here? Wait a minute... I know... I've got a brilliant idea. How about the pig just picks himself up, brushes himself off and takes a leisurely stroll over to the next pig's house, all while the wolf stands there motionless. Not even a chase. I mean GIVE ME A BREAK! THIS IS INSANITY! What, the wolf is so out of breath he can't outrun a pig? He's gotten so disoriented and dizzy from blowing so hard that he can't see straight? Or is he just so over elated from knocking down the house in his first attempt that he's lost site of his original mission?

So here I was getting all worked up, becoming all enraged, huffing and puffing myself over the sheer absurdity of it all, when my son looked up at me with those sweet innocent eyes and asked: "Daddy, are you ever going to finish the story?"

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Suicide Barrier

Has anyone been following the Golden Gate Bridge suicide barrier debate? The complex argument, as best I can decipher, goes something like this: People jump off the bridge. People die. Let's spend millions of taxpayer dollars putting up a suicide barrier so nobody will die off the bridge anymore. Wow, what logic. Hey, while we're at it, let's also take aspirin off the market so nobody can overdose on those. That's right all you pill poppers - no more aspirin overdosing on our nickle. Oh sure, so a few migraines and toothaches will go uncured from time to time but that's the price we must pay! Now that I think about it... say goodbye to razor blades. Thinking about slitting your rist? Not any more you're not. Contemplating a good hanging? Good luck finding any rope. Because under my new plan, there won't be any rope to buy anywhere. And you can kiss those fancy bathtubs goodbye too for you drowning wanna be's. No chance. Sure, we won't exactly smell like daffodils anymore but once we all stink, we won't notice anymore. Trust me... I'm really onto something. I just feel it.

Of course in true San Franciscan fashion, we can't either decide for it or against it. No, that would be way too easy. Instead, let's spend a couple million dollars conducting a feasibility study to decide whether or not we should erect the suicide barrier. Geez. I'll tell you what... I don't think that's enough. That's right. I think we should first conduct a feasibility study about whether we should have the feasibility study to study whether we should erect the barrier. I mean, let's be absolutely 100% certain we need that feasibility study.

Here's my suggestion. Ready? Forget the barrier. Instead, let's put up an invisible safety net about 10 feet below the jump off point. So the jumper thinks he's taking his life and then a few milliseconds later... he's just lying there tangled in the net feeling like an idiot. Once he hits the net, sirens and neon lights could go off informing all the passer by's on the bridge that the net caught another one and to come take pictures. Heck, we might as well throw a webcam into the mix as long as we're at it.

So there's my solution if anyone's listening. Anyone? Anyone?

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Naming hurricanes

Will someone please help me understand the madness behind hurricane naming. Why exactly is it that we feel the need to personify massive storms? I just don't get it. So 20 mph wind is just called "wind". And 50 mph wind is perhaps referred to as "strong wind". But once we get in that 100+ mph category, then all of a sudden it's Andrew or Katrina or Rita. Huh? Last time I checked we didn't have names for tornadoes or earthquakes. Now that I think of it, living in California and all, if Floridians get to name hurricanes, then I say why not name earthquakes. Yeah! Two can play at that game. And while we're at it, why not just name every weather pattern. I mean, after all, why stop at just hurricanes and earthquakes. I can just picture the 6:00 weather forecast: "Well folks, looks like fog front Freddy will be hovering above our skyline this morning but will eventually dissipate to make room for sunshine Sammy. Tomorrow won't be as pretty. Get out your umbrellas and prepare for rain storm Rudolph with a chance of hail storm Harry in the later afternoon." Geez...

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

The Pope

The line to see the Pope's dead body is now up to 24 hours. Wow! Can you believe it? The longest line I can ever remember standing in was for the E.T. ride at Universal when it first opened and that was about an hour and a half. You know how at theme parks they have these signs in the queue that tell you how much further you have to go. "Almost there. 20 more minutes." Can you imagine standing in line for 2 hours only to come to a sign that reads "Hang in there. Just another 22 hours." With all due respect to the Pope, isn't it sort of anticlimactic when you stand in line for an entire day just for a 3 second glimpse of his corpse? There you are waiting in the hot sun moving an inch at a time hour after hour for 24 hours only to see the same thing you've seen on TV for the prior 24 hours before standing in line. Then you're like "Yep. It's him. And he's dead all right. O.K., let's eat."

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Pharma Commercials

If I see one more commercial with old people either walking on a beach or riding bikes, I'm going to puke. I'm not kidding. It's not a threat. One more, just one more, and I barf all over my keyboard. Why is it, nomatter what the product, the only activities these companies can come up with are beach walking and riding? First off, old people don't hang out on the beach all that much and they sure as hell don't ride bikes. I used to visit my grandparents at Boca every year without skipping a beat for about 20 years. And not once during those 20 years did I ever see my grandparents (or anyone else's for that matter) step foot on any sand. The closest they would get was dropping us off in a parking lot. And in the rare instances when you'd actually see someone over the age of 70 walking along the beach, they were most likely senile and lost. And biking? You've got to be kidding me. I don't think most oldies could ride if you gave them training wheels. They need four wheels and air conditioning or they don't leave their condos.

Now let's allow ourselves just for a minute to suspend disbelief. Let's just for argument sake assume that retirees enjoy a nice walk on the beach or a leisurely bike ride. Even so, why is that the only visual we get regardless of the pill being promoted? Arthritis I get. That makes sense. But memory loss? What, they couldn't remember how to get to the beach before their medication? They'd just keep driving around in circles in their condo parking lot until they ran out of gas? Or how about erectile disfunction? So when they couldn't perform in bed, they also couldn't perform on a bike? And don't you find these commercials somewhat deceptive? What if some of these old folks aren't paying close enough attention and think that the pill will actually help them ride a bike. So they go out and buy buckets of Viagra in hopes of becoming the next Lance Armstrong. Unfortunately, they still can't ride a bike and now they have a hard on 24/7.

Middle Names

O.K., I give up. I cannot for the life of me figure out what the point is of a middle name. It's just sort of there but it doesn't really serve any purpose. Sort of like the Vice President. In fact, the only time I ever recall it being used was when I was in trouble growing up. I mean, every day of the year I'm known as Glenn. Nothing fancy. Short and sweet. But the minute I started roughhousing with my brother and he started screaming, you'd hear these loud, pronounced footsteps from the floor above followed by those ominous words: "GLENN ALAN ZWEIG, YOU COME UP HERE THIS INSTANT" Once you heard that middle name called out, that's when you knew you were in deep doodoo. Had she simply yelled: "Glenn, come up here this instant!", I would have continued pouncing on my brother and wouldn't have given her a second thought. But once she would get pushed over the edge and utilize that middle name, it was like a death sentence. It wasn't a matter of whether you'd be sent to your room but how long your sentence would last. Oh those were the days... But I diggress. The point is, it's been about 25 years since I've ever heard any utterrance of my middle name and if I were a betting man, I'd say another 25 years will come and go without any mention of it... So long as I stay out of trouble.

Friday, February 18, 2005

When the lights go down

Why is it we're so damn scared of the dark? It's 5 minutes till midnight and just as you're falling off to sleep, you hear this creaking noise on the other side of the house. Every frightening horror movie you've ever seen comes back to you in a flash. Is it Freddie? Jason? The exorcist? Your mind races. So what do you do? Do you pump your fists a couple times, work up a steaming rage, grab the nearest bat (what, you don't keep a bat lying underneath your bed?) and head straight to the source on a mission to protect your family and rid this intruder from the premises? HELL NO! You do what any rationale human being does: you pull the sheets over your eyes and pray that it can't find what it's looking for and goes away. So you just lie there under the sheets wide awake and pissing your pj's. And you pray and pray and pray.

Then the next thing you know, it's morning. The sun is out, the house is all lit up and now everything's o.k.. See, this is the part I can never understand. When the lights are out, you're scared shitless over the bogeyman with the butcher knife in one hand and a chainsaw in the other creeping steadily toward the bedroom where you await your doom. But during the day, you couldn't care less. If I heard a noise in my house at about noon, I wouldn't even hesitate to march right toward the source. Heck, I wouldn't even need to be armed. In fact, it wouldn't even phase me if it was the bogeyman with a freak show face, torn and bloodied clothes, mangled fingers and a death devise in either hand (and bad breath - for some reason I always picture these horror film characters with stinky mouth). I'd just walk right up to him, punch him in the face, kick him in the balls and yell at the top of my lungs: "GET OUT OF OUR HOUSE YOU UGLY SMELLY BASTARD OR I'LL CONTINUE TO BEAT THE LIVING CRAP OUT OF YOU RIGHT HERE AND NOW!!!" No problem. If he wouldn't leave on his own, I'd pick him up and toss him out. Then I'd go right back to what I was doing without missing a beat.

Does this make any bit of sense? Of course not. That's what's so bizarre about it. As if their weapons don't work during the day? We're somehow invincible in the light but scaredy cats in the dark? It's like darkness is our kryptonite. All our powers disappear come sunset. Maybe I should just pack up and move to Finland - Land of the Midnight Sun.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Garanimals

I went to a department store to pick up some dress clothes last weekend. Boy, was I ever lost. Thousands of shirts, slacks, ties, jackets, all of different colors, styles and patterns. I was so overwhelmed I just froze. No kidding. I just stood there, stiff as a board, for what felt like hours. Once I dethawed, I quietly backed out of the store, ran back home and hugged all of my old, dated, worn clothes.

It got me thinking. I really miss Garanimals. Remember? You simply match the animal tags and you're good to go. No worrying what colors go together, what's going to blend and what's going to clash. Got a zebra shirt? No problem. Go find yourself some zebra pants and you're home free. Those were the days...

My question is, why are they just for kids? Let's not kid ourselves - men haven't evolved in their wardrobe selection one iota since they were 6. We still haven't a clue what goes with what. But matching animals? Piece of cake. Heck, make the tags in the shape of the animals and I could do it with my eyes closed. Anyway, that's what I want. In fact, I'd bet all my stock options that that's all most men want. The world of off colors and bright colors and stripes and polka dots and patterns are just too foreign. You've got to be a magician to come up with a shirt, a pair of pants, a belt, socks and shoes that all go together. Throw in a tie and jacket and we're really screwed. Matching a half dozen orangutangs, on the other hand, is a piece of cake. It's what we were born to do.

While we're at it, let's extend the Garanimals brand to the culinary world too. I can't stand going to a fancy restaurant and having them look at you funny when you order an appetizer that doesn't match the entree. Excuse me for incorporating tuna into my appetizer and main dish. I wasn't aware of the rules. And God forbid if I order red wine with my fish. So to all of your snooty waiters out there, don't mock us. Just garanimalize your food and the confusion will be over. You can even have a formal rule: No mixing animals! If you're really that drawn to the hippo appetizer, then it's the hippo salad, the hippo entree, the hippo wine and the hippo dessert for you. Now that's the way the world should operate. If only I were President...

Poor Pickle

I was going through the fridge last night and I came across a jar of pickles. It was hanging out in the way way back of the fridge, behind the leftovers from at least a year ago. I couldn't even venture to guess how old the jar of pickles is. We've been living in the place for two and a half years so it can't be older than that (although it wouldn't surprise me if the previous renters left their pickle jar when they packed up and it's been there ever since). Funny thing is, it looked as though every pickle was still accounted for. Heck, I don't know if the jar had ever even been opened. I imagine this isn't an isolated case either. Come on, be honest. I'll bet anyone reading this blog has at least one unopened pickle jar sitting in their fridge somewhere. Don't believe me? See for yourself. It wouldn't surprise me if you had two or three.

What is it with the pickles? Somehow they appear so tantalizing on the grocery shelf. Once you make eye contact, you just know there's no turning back. So in the cart goes the pickle jar. And from the cart to the car, from the car to the house, from the house to the fridge, and that's pretty much where the story usually ends. I guess I can sort of understand the plight of the pickle. It doesn't really serve a purpose. I think we can all agree that it's not a meal, right? Even for a snack, it's just not filling enough. You can't really serve it as an appetizer. Have you ever been to a deli where they have the gargantuan pickle jars? Have you ever seen anyone eating them? Exactly. As a side dish? Come on, you've got to be kidding. How can the pickle possibly compete with mashed potatoes?

The pickle doesn't really have an identity either and I think that's part of the problem. What the hell is it anyway? It's not really a vegetable anymore once the cucumber has been fully transformed in its vinegar bath (speaking of which, who's idea was it anyway to see what happens when you keep a cucumber locked up in a vinegar jar?). It sure as hell isn't a fruit. Not a starch. Not a piece of meat, that's for sure. It's not even tofu (and the tofu clan will let just about anyone join its membership). A pickle is...well...it's just a pickle. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Have you seen my blog?

I remember when I lived in L.A. everybody, and I mean EVERYBODY, had a script. I'd be in a taxi cab: "Where to? No problem. I'll get you there in 22 minutes. So do you work in the industry? I've been working on a screenplay myself. It's sort of a Goodfellas meets Something About Mary. I could let you take a look if you'd like. Maybe you coud option it." But it didn't stop there. My landlord was working on a screenplay. So was the bartender at the neighborhood pub. Let's see... My golf instructor. The airport ticketing agent. The scuba diving boat captain. My barber. My tailor...

I had to get away from that nonsense. Then I moved to the Bay Area in the late 90's and it was like deja vu. But this time it was with business plans. Once again, everyone had one. Everyone was in their boring day job just temporarily. But they would soon be freed once they found the capital to start www.bbqaccessories.com or www.wigsforwomenover70.com or www.startrekcostumes.com. Everyone was sitting on THE next big opportunity. [And we wonder why the bubble ever burst.]

Fast forward to today. Just when you thought it was safe to stick to your nine to five job, along comes blogs. Blogs. Blogs. Blogs. They're everywhere. I can't get away from them. [I know. I know. Isn't this the pot calling the kettle black, right? Here I am writing about the overuse of blogs in my blog. The answer is yes. But since it's my blog, I can call the kettle whatever I want.] Last time I counted, there were 16 blogs making some money and 16 million not making a penny, let alone being read. But I guess that can't stop people from dreaming. I'd say I can't wait until the demise of the blog but why bother. Once the blog disappears, I'm sure there will be something else just around the corner...

Thursday, February 10, 2005

I hate Safeway

The big grocery chain up here is Safeway. For the last few years they've tried to put on a customer friendly face and I can't take it anymore. It's way over the top. Here are the two policies I hate the most. Let's say you're looking for something - cereal for example. So I go up to one of these Safeway workers and ask where I can find the cereal. The exchange goes exactly like this:

Safeway:"It's on aisle 6 on the right hand side toward the beginning of the aisle".
Me: "O.K. Got it. Thanks."
Safeway: "Would you like me to show you?"

I swear to God - they offer to take you there EVERY SINGLE TIME! What the hell is up with that? Am I a moron? Do I look like a moron? Or perhaps they think I'm blind? Could that be? Either that or the cereal must be camouflaged. You've told me the aisle number, the side of the aisle and the precise location within the side of the aisle and you're asking me if I need you to take me there? You've just given me idiot proof directions but you're wondering if I'll make it on my own? Not to mention that once you get to aisle 6, it's next to impossible to miss the cereal. It's EVERYWHERE!!! I couldn't miss it if I wanted to. And once is in a while you get one of these super annoying, over-eager worker bees who can't take no for an answer. They ask me if they can show me the way and I say no. Then they say they'll show me anyway. I again say no thanks. They're like "Hey, it's no problem. I'm happy to help. Just follow me." And before I can utter my third "no" they're already walking toward aisle 6. I get so disgusted that at the last minute I try to lose the guy by making a hard left at aisle 5. Next thing you know, as I'm halfway down aisle 5, I hear this loud voice yell out: "HEY SIR! YOU'RE GOING THE WRONG WAY! THE CEREAL IS ON THE NEXT AISLE! FOLLOW MEEEEEEEE!"

The next vexatious part of Safeway experience in the checkout policy. They ring you up, bag your groceries, take your credit card and then study the receipt really closely to they can make an attempt at your name:
"Thank you Mr.... Let's see here... Hmmm... Mr. Zeewig? Or is that Swag? Mr Swag?" "Or maybe Sweg?"
"No, it's Zweig."
"Swige? Is that it?"
"No, Zweig. Zweig with a Z."
"Oh, I see. Zeeweig. Like that?"
"NO! Just Zweig."
"O.K. I got it. Have a nice day Mr. Sweig."

Don't they get that the whole point of saying your name is to act like you actually know the person whose name you're saying? They're obviously trying to convey that friendly neighborhood grocery of the 50's type of feeling but it's NOT WORKING PEOPLE!"

So I grab my bags in disgust and turn toward the door when I hear one final: "Can I help you to your car?"

My Favorite Bugs. Part II

Let me first give the caveat that I use the term "favorite" quite loosely here. I wouldn't want one of these as a pet. I don't have any framed pictures of them sitting on my desk. I guess I'm just fascinated with this one, that's all.

O.K., o.k., so what the hell is this mystery bug you ask? It's called the Western Conenose Assassin Bug. The particular variety I'm referring to live in Latin America. First and foremost, they are blood suckers. Not the kind of innocuous ones like ticks that grab a quick blood snack from your calf while hiking through the woods. These like to emerge at night (and you have to admit, anything that likes to emerge when the lights are out is scary enough) to suck the blood from the faces of their sleeping victims. Those victims are none other than people like you and I. Are you with me so far? Pretty disturbing, eh? Wait... it gets better.

As if taking your blood without an invitation weren't enough of a crime, these assassin bugs also like to move their bowels when they're finished dining. Often the sleepers unwittingly scratch their face after the bite and the feces then finds its way into the skin. Other times, they simply deposit their stuff right in your eye. I guess this is his sick way of letting you know he was there (sort of like the Z from Zoro?). Anyway, this feces carries a parasite (that's right - it climbs up on your bed while you're snoozing in the middle of the night, crawls over to your face, sucks your blood, burries its feces in your face but not just any kind of feces - PARASITIC feces!!!). As a result, some people will start to get sick within a few days of the attack. High fever, swelling, redness in the face, droopy eyes, sweating, the "shakes", etc. Basically, the flu times two.

If you've had enough at this point, you may wish to skip the rest. For those of you still with me, notice I said "SOME people will start to get sick". But not everyone. Most others will wake up in the morning unsymptomatic. They may not even notice a bite mark. Little do they know, they could now be infected with Chagas Disease. This disease is a really really bad infection. But you don't notice it right away. Not that day, not that week, not that month. If fact, it more or less lies dormant for years. Then anywhere from 10 to 40 years later, the chronic symptoms finally start to emerge. These are mostly centered in or around the heart and include enlarged heart, altered heart rate, weakening heart muscle, heart failure and cardiac arrest. Let me spell this out for you: you get a heart attack and die. You have a heart attack and die from a bastard bug that bit ya and shit ya up to 40 years earlier.

Can you imagine getting bit by one of these on your wedding night. Maybe you wake up the middle of the night because you felt something itchy on your face. You give it a few scratches, go back to sleep, wake up and get ready to fly to Hawaii for your Honeymoon. Forty years later you're on the 18th hole at the Boca Vista retirement village golf course with your old fart buddies when suddenly, just as you're about to tee off, you feel a little chest pain and the next second it's lights out. Ouch.

Now that's what I call disturbing.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

My favorite bugs. Part I

It's taken me 16 blogs to finally come up with a topic big enough for a Part I and Part II. Are you as excited as I am? Here we go. One of my favorite bugs in the world is the Mayfly. Here's what fascinates me about this creature: their average lifespan is just a few hours. You heard me right - a few HOURS. I kid you not. Just think... A mayfly is born, opens its eyes, learns how to walk, learns how to fly, learns how to communicate, goes through puberty, grows up, dates around, finds a mate, procreates, takes a nap, reminisces on old times, gets sick and dies all in the time you were watching Titanic. Crazy, huh? I can just picture papa mayfly on his deathbed at 2.5 hours distilling advice to his 3 minute old son: "Son, I remember way back when I was just a few minutes old just like you. I had my entire life in front of me. The world was mine. I knew if I put my mind to it, I could accomplish anything. So I focused on being the fastest flying, buziest mayfly I could be. As the minutes passed on, I realized that I didn't want to be alone any more. A few minutes after that is when I first met your mother and it was love at first site. We dated off and on for a couple minutes until we finally realized that we were meant to be together. It was only a minute or two after that until your mother got pregnant. The next minute you were born and after a few minutes... well, here we are. Enjoy every minute son. It goes by so quickly."

Monday, January 31, 2005

I'm sick of waiting

Let's just state the obvious right up front: waiting rooms suck! There. I said it. Hey, that actually felt pretty good. Let me try that again but this time with a little more oomph: WAITING ROOMS SUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK!!! Ahh. Much better. Yes, we all hate to wait but where I get confused is how is it that we'll sit in that waiting room at the doctor's office for an hour and a half even though we have a RESERVATION. If the doctor will see me for my 1:00 appt at 2:30, then why not just make me a 2:30 appt in the first place? Wouldn't that be the best solution for everyone? But it's always the same excuse: "We're sorry but we're all backed up. Please have a seat and we'll call you when we're ready." You'll call me when you're ready? Thanks but how about when I'm ready? Don't they realize after years of always being backed up by 1-2 hours every day that they've got a wee bit of a scheduling problem? It's bizzarre. It's like they wake up every morning and forget everything that happened the day before. Anybody see the movie "Groundhog Day"? Anyway, what really scares me is the doctor who is going to knock you unconscious, rip open your chest and perform a quadruple bypass is the same doctor that can't even schedule his own day. Go figure.

But here's the part I really really can't stand. As if waiting in a room full of sick patients for a couple of hours isn't enough excitement for one day, they have the audacity to call your name off the waiting list only to bring you into one of many examination rooms which is where the waiting really begins. It's unbelievable. I'm walking down this hallway where I'm counting at least seven or eight rooms before we arrive at my destination. I don't recall there being that many doctors at this office. Come to think of it, I'm pretty sure it's just one. [Why the one doctor needs that many patient rooms is an enigma we'll never solve.] Anyway, by this point I'm starting to have flashbacks of Disney line hell. Except at least in a Disney line you're always moving, albeit slowly, so as to present the illusion of getting closer to your end point. Whereas at the doctor's office you just sit on your ass and wait. And wait. And wait. And wait. And those receptionists aren't exactly innocent bystanders. They know exactly what's going on. And you just know you're in trouble when they call your name and add: "You might want to bring that magazine with you." Oh boy. Here we go again...

Sunday, January 30, 2005

The world's greatest invention

So here's the part where you start guessing. The world's greatest invention. What is it? The lightbulb? Nope. The Television? Keep guessing. The telephone? Not even close. The computer? The Internet? No and no. Give up? Lazy susan. Who's she you ask? It's not a she, it's a what. Lazy susans are those ingenious revolving trays they use in Chinese restaurants. You know what I'm talking about? All the food goes on the tray in the middle of the table, you eat what you can, the tray gets spun and you eat again. With every spin, it's a new dish. Again and again and again. It's brilliant. I think my fondest childhood memories are sitting at one of those tables, spinning and laughing and eating, spinning and laughing and eating... Of course, if you were smart, you could be strategic about the spinning. You'd always know who else sitting around the table coveted your preferred dish the most. Then when it was time to spin, you'd be sure that your favorite dish always came just shy of that person or spun so fast past them that if they tried to stop it, they'd get a finger chopped off. Oh the days...

Anyway, I've never quite understood why the lazy susan phenomenon never made its way into other cuisines. The last time I checked, the Chinese didn't exactly hold any sort of patent on it. It's there for the taking. I just don't get it. You can spin Chinese food but Thai and Korean don't work? That makes a lot of sense. But hell, it's not even just about Asain cuisine. You can spin sweet and sour pork but not BBQ ribs? Better yet, how about fries? Everybody's always sticking their hands into everybody else's fries anyway. Why not spin 'em? Onion rings? Spin those too. You can't sit there and tell me spaghetti wasn't grown to be spun. What a hoot! Spin it. Why stop there. Spin all pasta. Spin the garlic bread too as long as you're at it. Speaking of Italian, how about pizza? I can't believe to this day pizza is still served on a stationary tray. What a waste. It's round. You've got precut slices. You've got different toppings on different parts of the pie. Spin it people! Why the hell is it that if a guy wants to have a little fun at the dinner table these days he's got to schlep to a Chinese restaurant? Don't get me wrong - I like Chinese food. I just wish that more cultures and more restauranteurs would see the light and start lazy susaning their restaurants - that's all. I don't ask for all that much, do I?

Ouch!

As I was driving home after a long day of work the other day, I had no idea just what I was in store for. My routine was the same - I parked the car in the garage, walked up the stairs, entered through the kitchen door and went to the sink to pour myself a glass of water. As I was filling my glass, I felt a pain unlike any other I had ever experienced. Something had bitten me in the back of my leg. And we're not talking about a little friendly nibble here. This something had latched onto my leg and was bitting with full force. It was biting to kill. I dropped my glass, looked up to the sky and started to scream on the top of my lungs. I was screaming for dear life. I could feel the blood oozing from the wound and dripping down my leg. I was afraid to even think of what this hideous creature was that came into my life at such an inauspicious time. Was this a rat? But not any old rat. One of those overgrown, vengeful, blood-thirsty rats that live in the sewers and sneak up into your home in the middle of the night through the toilet? Or even worse, a snake? Could it be? A big snake? Oh my God... A big poisonous snake? Was that it? Is that venom I was starting to feel crawling up my thigh? I think I was feeling a little tingling sensation in my fingers too. My breathing seemed a bit heavier than usual all of a sudden. I couldn't believe it! I had seen this kind of episode on Animal Planet's Venom ER a hundred times. I know how the story ends and it's not pretty. I look around. No anti-venom in sight. I'm screwed. So this was it? This was how it was all going to end for me? I had to know. I just had to know who my attacker was right then and there. If this was truly the end for me, I at least had to know who was responsible for my ultimate demise. So I held back the tears, took a deap breath and turned around. And there it was. There it stood just inches from me staring me straight in the eyes. I couldn't believe it...

It was my two year old son. OUCH!!!

Monday, January 24, 2005

Pull up your pants

O.K. o.k., I'm the first to admit that I'm not exactly what you would call a fashion buff. Let's just say that about 95% of my clothes can be traced back to the Gap. The other 5% were gifts from my wife over the years - they're much more hip, more trendy, more fashion-forward, more "in" than anything else I own - which is why they still sit in the way way back of my closet to this day.

As conservative as my clothing tastes may be, I can still respect those that wish to push the attire envelope. I may not like it. But I get it. Sort of. That is, until the last few years. The subject here folks is jeans. I've seen all variations over the years - faded, stone washed, hard, soft, narrow, wide, red, green, yellow, orange (I'm not kidding), straight legged, tapered, bell bottoms, etc. Just when I thought I had seen it all, out of left field comes these low riders. And I mean LOOOOOOWWWW. We're talking wastelines that start below the butt. But that was then. These days, if you're wearing jeans that start just below your butt crack, you're almost too conservative. Now you're only cool if you wear these things starting at mid thigh. You heard me right - mid thigh (and mid thigh is where the top of the jeans sit for those of you not paying close enough attention out there). Would you believe that I've even seen a pair or two being worn from the knee down? I kid you not. I saw it with my own two eyes. You know, where I come from, we had a name for jeans that went from your knees down to your shoes... we called them socks!!!

So I've got a question. A straight forward one I believe. Why? I mean, why wear anything at this point? Why not just save the money and go to the mall in your boxers and a t-shirt? That's what you're pretty much doing anyway, right? And here's another question: how the hell do you even get around with jeans latched around your knees? Come to think of it, maybe that's exactly the point. Maybe you're not really supposed to move at all. Maybe the idea here is to wake up, get out of bed, put on your jeans, stand still all day long until you're ready for bed and then take them off, jump back into bed and catch some shut eye.

Are you ready for the best part? Have you ever wondered how this trend got started in the first place? What possibly could have inspired this insane fashion trend (and I use the term "fashion" extremely loosely here)? Well, I did a little digging to find the answer (you gotta just love the Internet for ground breaking research like this). And here's what I came up with. Prisons. That's correct - federal penitentiaries. Why you may ask? Because in prisons (at least in the maximum security kind - not in the Martha Stewart variety) a belt in the wrong hands can be used as a weapon or a suicide aid. And that's a no-no. So bye bye belts. And without the belts, there's nothing left to really hold up the pants. So there you have it. Isn't it great to see these rapists and murderers serve as role models for our youth? I know it makes me proud.

But now that I think about it for a minute, the logic doesn't quite hold water for me. Humor me for a minute if you would. Stand up right now. Remove your belt. What happened? Did your pants fall down to your knees? I didn't think so. I must admit - it would be a pretty funny site seeing all these violent, hardened criminals tripping all over themselves with low riding, knee-high jeans. Now that would make for an interesting reality show.



Bye Bye Birdie

Kill 'em. That's right - I said kill 'em. Kill every bird that exists today. I'm not talking about taking them to the endangered species list or even to the brink of extinction. I am hereby authorizing the complete 100% annihilation of every last feathery creature that gets more than 3 feet of lift in the world. I've had enough! I can't take it anymore! Did you know that the United States has over 3.5 million square miles? That's a lot of space, right? I mean, that's a ton of space, isn't it? I'm not crazy, am I? So will someone please explain why it is that with millions of square miles, billions of square feet, every bird known to mankind seems to find some kind of sick humor in using my car as target practice. I kid you not. Of all the farm land, all the roads, all the desert and all the rivers and oceans, they prefer to use my automobile as their toilet du jour not once a year or even monthly, but what feels to be pretty much every day of the year. Hell, even if they wanted to stick with nothing but moving vehicles, I still couldn't possibly have more than a .0001% chance of being hit, could I?

What did I do wrong? What did I do to deserve this? I've paid my overpriced zoo tickets on plenty of occasions. I've always stopped short to avoid those obnoxious pigeons. I think I even recall buiding a rather comfy birdhouse during my youth. So why me?

When I was younger, I used to naively think that it had something having to do with the specific car I was driving. They like Jettas. Yes, that must be it. They have something against the Germans and this was their way of letting off a little steam perhaps? O.K., that seems fair enough. So I sold it. New car, old problem. I don't know if they have access to DMV records or what but they found me. There I was driving out of the car lot with my brand spanking new Acura and SPLAT! Right on the winshield. So it wasn't the Jetta afterall. Ah hah! I've got it! It's the color of the car. That's gotta be it. They have something against the color gray (heck, I'm not really in love with it myself). Or perhaps all cars are on their hit list? Maybe I need a different type of vehicle altogether. I thought I was getting warm. So I eventually traded the car in and got myself a BLUE SUV. Different color. Different vehicle type. Same problem.

I know everyone reading this (all 3 of you) is thinking, "Boy, this guy sure does exaggerate. There's no way it's nearly as bad as he's making it out to be. Everyone gets hit once in a blue moon. It's simply random." So let me leave you with this final annecdote. It's fresh in my mind because it happened just this morning. I woke up to my normal monday morning ritual and got myself ready to go to work. A fresh day, a fresh week. I was feeling good. I kissed my wife and kid goodbye, walked over to my car and I couldn't believe my eyes. Right there smack in the middle of my freshly washed winshield was not one, not two, not three but FOUR bird droppings! Did you read that correctly? Read it again. I said FOUR!!! One would be a bad enough way to start off the week but four? You've got to be kidding! But wait, there's more. Are you ready? Are you sure you're ready? How could it possibly get worse, you ask? Like this...

The car was parked in the garage.

I rest my case.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Weird pets

I love dogs. I grew up with a dog. Collie. Beautiful dog. Really smart. Lots of fun too. We would run around the house together. Play tag. She could do lots of cool tricks. Oh the memories...

I was at a friend's house recently and his son has a pet snake. Can someone please explain this one to me because I just don't get it. A dog I understand. A cat? Not my favorite but I still get it. Even a bunny just barely sneaks onto my "Glenn's list of acceptable domestic pets" list. But a snake? Why? You don't snuggle up in the bed with a snake. They can't fetch (at least I don't think they can). Heck, they can't even roll over on command. They just sort of lie there and do nothing. If you're lucky, maybe you'll catch it eating a mouse alive for 5 minutes of entertainment (sorry PETA but if you had as many of those annoying little creatures running around the house and eating and defecating on your food as we do, you'd understand the joy of seeing that scared, hopeless look on their face instead of ours once in a while).

I can't stand it when I hear those stories of snakes turning against their owners and biting them. And they get all angry and disappointed in the snake. "Oh, he was such a good pet. I just can't imagine what came over him to do this. He has never bitten anyone before." Well, I think I might have a clue as to what came over him. HE'S A SNAKE!!! That's what came over him. He woke up one day and realized that he's a snake and his owner isn't. And what do snakes do? THEY BITE THINGS! That's why they're a snake. It's in their nature. In fact, that's all they know how to do. They have the brain capacity to bite, slither and poop and that's about it.

Time to go feed my Anaconda...

Friday, January 14, 2005

Blogy

For those of you with babies, you can probably already surmise the theme of this post. For you single people out there, you might as well skip this one and go to the next. You won't get it and even if you did, you probably wouldn't care. So here goes...

To all you mothers out there: PLEASE STOP ADDING THE EEE SOUND TO THE END OF EVERY DAMN WORD!!! "Hey baby, mommy wants to know if you want a snackie with some milkie? What's wrong cutie? Do you have a poopie in your pantie? Let's change it and then give you a bathie before beddie bye."

WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE??? WHY CAN'T YOU JUST SPEAK NORMALLY FOR ONCE!!! I CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE!!!

Sorry. I just had to get that off my chest.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Rats!

You hear of rats in homes and rats in restaurants but not rats in offices. I've been working for a dozen years at 6 different companies and I've never seen one rat in any part of any room of any building at any company I've worked at. Ever. What's up with that? I mean, do they have an operating manual that forbids entering workplaces? Can they tell the difference? Do they care? What the hell is their beef with offices? I just don't get it. We've got food too. We've got more space to roam around. Probably just as many crumbs to nibble at. Maybe more. Beats me.

Rollover Rover

Are there gay animals? I've never seen male dogs humping each other. Cats either. Or squirrels for that matter. But they have to exist, right? Just curious. Not that there's anything wrong with that...

Monday, January 10, 2005

Put Away that Cell Phone!

Talking while walking down the sidewalk? O.K. While driving the car on the highway? Dangerous perhaps but I get it. At the gym? You look stupid but I can live with it if you must. At the table at a nice restaurant? Rude, obnoxious but I can barely tolerate it once in a blue moon. But this one tops the cake. I never thought I'd see the day...

So I'm at a nice restaurant last week. I excuse myself after my 4th glass of water to take care of business in the Men's room. Here I am attempting to relieve myself at the urinal with a little peace and quiet when in walks this huge cheeseball talking on the cell on the top of his lungs as he steps up to the other urinal. I figured he was about to hang up. No such luck. He keeps chatting away with one hand and proceeds to do everything else with his other hand. Can you believe it? WHAT THE HELL IS SO GODDAMM IMPORTANT??? I just don't get it. What was so incredibly urgent that he just couldn't pause a conversation while using the facilities? Honestly I just don't get it. Was Microsoft buying his company? Did his father just pass away? Dog got run over by the school bus? President Bush got abducted by aliens (Hey, I can dream, can't I?)? No. No. No. No. Nothing. He was talking about absolutely nothing. I think it went something like this: "...uh huh... yeah... that's cool... yeah, me too... oh, my God, you're kidding?... wow... can't believe it dude... that's something else... what?... not sure... maybe if it doesn't rain... you?... o.k.... that makes sense... I hear you..."

Maybe I've just had my head in the sand for too long but this was a first for me. And I pray to the powers that be... the last!!!