Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Broken Wing

Think of the Bald Eagle, and you bring to mind an icon, a symbol of the American spirit. Yet, there was a time not too long ago, that the great bird was on the verge of extinction. Upon discovery of the bird's plight, there seemed to be an appeal to American pride, that we couldn't allow such a great emblem to disappear from the planet. There was just too strong a bond for people to sit back and do nothing.

The bald eagle recovered, reclaimed its place in history. The bird with the broken wing survived.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketWe have another great American icon that seems to be struggling with a broken wing. It is as much a part of the national fabric as our Bald Eagle. The building blocks of the American spirit have always been Mom, apple pie and baseball.

Baseball has been a constant for generations. We have fought terrible wars, suffered tremendous loss, horrendous tragedies, yet, when the smoke cleared, the battlefields emptied, there was baseball. There it stood, ready to welcome us back. Nothing could ever hold us down for long, because baseball was always there to remind us that we were Americans, a nation of people too proud to ever admit defeat. And baseball was the game that helped keep us together.

Our heroes past were flawed, imperfect. While they were out on the field, however, they were gods, incapable of anything less than sheer perfection. Their off-field behavior was not what we cared about. If anything, it diminished their on-field performance. One can only imagine what the likes of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and The Mick might have further accomplished if they'd managed to stay healthy just a little bit longer.

It is ironic that the cloud that hangs over our broken-winged creature is caused by men striving to exceed perfection. But the backlash simply illustrates and enforces our desire to see players exceed their natural abilities by exertion of will and courage and character, rather than through the use of performance-enhancing substances. While our respect has always been given to the powerhouse dynasties, such as the NY Yankees, our hearts and imaginations have been forever captured during the seasons when a Cinderella team finally had its dance at the ball.

Our beloved bird is struggling. The image has been marred. But we know that even the most tarnished surface, with some love and a little American elbow grease, can be restored to its former luster.

We don't give up on our loved ones in this country. We rally behind those we see as suffering, and we do what we have to in order to make them well again.

Baseball is on the verge of seeing a controversial player claim one of its most revered titles, and when that record is eclipsed, there is certain to be discussion and disagreement about the validity of that accomplishment. There will be uncertainty with regard to a great many accomplishments in the sport. Baseball will lose a little more of its charm in the near term.

But we'll find a way to nurse our injured icon back to health. It may never be perfect again, but that will be just fine. Baseball is too valuable to our nation to allow it to be made extinct by the actions of a few. Our icon will return from the brink. Our country just won't have it any other way.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

That's What Friends Are For...

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketSometimes people say things to you that are just so great, you're sorry that more people weren't around to hear it. Thankfully, through the wonder that is Blogging, sometimes you get to share those things because they're in writing.

I've had my share of nonsense and issues of late. I have my "support team" in many different forms, thanks to the Web. And I get a lot of support and inspiration from people in so many different ways. Sometimes, though, someone just takes that extra step to make you feel so much better.

This was a comment a friend left me recently. Days later, it honestly still chokes me up in a good way, and I don't think I'll ever forget it. So if I may, please indulge me for sharing these words, ok?

I don't know if this is the right time or place but I'm going to get a little spiritual. Some stuff kept running through my mind as I read your post--esp about the disability part. I don't know what you believe regarding the next life, but each of us will be resurrected one day--which means our spirits will be reunited with our bodies....in perfect form. Our bodies are mortal here on earth and thus subject to illness and wear and tear. Whatever ailment, physical deformity, etc. we have in this life will be gone in the next. Thus, all your knee problems, back problems, down to the smallest scar will be gone and your body will be restored to its most perfect form.

Sorry if I got a little carried away; you don't have to publish this, but for some reason I felt impressed to share that.

I hope you appreciate it as much as I did.

This Is Kinda Boring

I took one of those online quiz things, and I wanted to keep this somewhere to look back on.

This is some of what it told me:

You are an Experiencer

Your inquisitive nature, imagination, and hands-on practicality make you an EXPERIENCER.

Although you have an active imagination, you also concern yourself with the functional elements of things.

You are willing to experiment to find things that work the most efficiently.

Getting stuck in certain habits is boring to you—you'd rather find new experiences.

Accordingly, experiences are more important to you than objects—you'd rather spend your money and energy on events and adventures than on material things.

You like to contemplate a lot of options before making a decision, and you're willing and able to consider a lot of different angles to problems.

You're open to suggestions, and often rely on others to assess the merit of those suggestions.

You have an ability to see the big picture—not just how things are, but how they could be—in a variety of situations.

You're well-attuned to your emotional state, and not afraid to use your feelings to guide you. You tend to be cooperative, rarely contradicting others, and always considerate of their feelings.

You have a strong sense of style and value your personal presentation - friends may even seek your style advice from time to time.

You are Benevolent

You are a great person to interact with—understanding, giving, and trusting—in a word, BENEVOLENT

You don't mind being in social situations, as you feel comfortable enough with people to be yourself.

Your caring nature goes beyond a basic concern: you take the time to understand the nuances of people's situations before passing any sort of judgment.

You're a good listener, and even better at offering advice.

You're concerned with others at both an individual and societal level—you sympathize with the plights of troubled groups, and you can care about people you've never met.

Considering many different perspectives is something at which you excel, and you appreciate that quality in others.

Other people's feelings are important to you, and you're good at mediating disputes.

Because of your understanding and patience, you tend to bring out the best in people.

Benevolent Experiencer

Click there to try it yourself.

Weight a Minute

Most of the time, people who obsess about dieting, eating, blahblahblah, usually spend a lot of time fighting that war. Again, I'm not Adonis, my body is sure to punish me whenever I let go of the dietary guidelines by keeping the fat around to remind me.

But I know from past experience that you can't spend every waking moment planning meals, dodging temptation, etc. It will drive you nuts. You have to live, you just have to modify how you live a little. You didn't get fat in three days, you're not going to reverse it in three days either. I'm not always patient, but when the right reasons come along, I can find patience in a big way.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketI went to a very nice restaurant yesterday. Italian cuisine. Very nice. I ordered whatever I wanted, and then I ate just enough to be full and satisfied. That meant there was some food left on the plate. Yep, the "Clean Plate Club" is not something I belong to, and I put the knife and fork down when the belly said "No Vacancy". I had bread, Chicken Marsala, salad WITH DRESSING, and I even had some dessert, a fancy little recipe with a little cappucino mousse and cake mixed together. I didn't wipe it out...I had a few bites, about half the portion, and the brain said, "Okeydoke, that's plenty."

I went home feeling satisfied, and not on the hunt for something more to fill the void. Not a bad deal.

And, this morning, I exercised.

That awful word.

So, that's the Diet story for the day.

Something Good

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketSometimes a better mousetrap does come along. I've been experimenting on and off with Firefox, and man, this latest release is incredibly good. Almost amazing. Almost.

I was having problems viewing a number of sites with IE as well as that dreaded AOL browser. I loaded up Firefox, and I was good to go. Any plugins I needed to catch up, one click and I was done. No restarts, no 8 hour installation processes, I think I'm in love with a Fox.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Larger Than Life

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketI remember as a kid, reading all sorts of "hero" books. One of my favorites was a biography of Babe Ruth. He was an orphan who lived out the "rags-to-riches" American Dream. He came from nothing, yet became a person whose name was known for many generations. I think back to the Lou Gehrig story, a great athlete who played in 2,130 consecutive games, and who heroically stared down the evil disease that bears his name to this day.

There was a time when, if you became the Heavyweight Boxing Champion of the World, you were American Royalty. I remember following the exploits of Muhammad Ali, who was probably the biggest self-promoter in history. He'd boldly predict the round in which he would knock his opponent out, and then, more often that not, go out and fulfill that prophecy. And once the battles were done, he'd be the embodiment of humility and grace.

Ruth set a Home Run record that stood for nearly 40 years. When the time came, Hank Aaron broke that record amidst a tremendous buzz. The attention wasn't all positive though, as Aaron faced death threats warning him to back off the chase. So the new record was one of both athletic greatness and immense courage.

So what's happening now? Barry Bonds of the SF Giants is on the verge of eclipsing that record, yet how many people seem to care? He's surly, has minimal contact with fans, and is difficult with the press. Think back to Mike Tyson, who was the most formidable boxing talent to emerge in decades, yet what did he do with the fame?

I wonder how many of us, off the top of our heads, could even name the current World Heavyweight Champion in boxing. When was the last time any of us lined up outside the stadium after the game in hopes of garnering some athlete's autograph?

But yet, I'd bet that each and every one of us could name an athlete who is in trouble with the law, or a celebrity who's been arrested for DUI in the last month.

It seems now that "accomplishment" and "fame" are no longer partners. As a matter of fact, "fame" has become confused with "notoriety" more and more every day. If you look back at the histories of Ruth, Gehrig and the like, there are countless photos of them posing with adoring fans, with kids, basking in the limelight of that adoration. Sure, we as a society love to focus on the shortcomings of our Greats, as we know Ruth loved the nightlife, and probably drank a few more beers than he should have. And some will point out that Ali had problems with the Draft Board. But are those things really capable of diminishing the greatness borne by these people?

I jokingly peeve about the use of the word "amazing" in our culture. Seems every day, some star, some athlete, some "famous" person is described as "amazing." Sit and read about the struggles of Lou Gehrig, the accomplishment of the 1969 NY Mets, or what Ali did in the ring, and you might understand why the dilution of the word "amazing" gets under my skin.

I don't deny that there probably are some great people out there today, I'm just wondering why we're not hearing about them so much these days. I think my point here is, who are my kids reading about? Who will my grandchildren be reading biographies of, under the guise of "heroes"?

Who would you want your grandchildren reading about?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

And Since I'm Begging...

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To all those athletes not content with pure competition:


A Public Plea

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I'm convinced that if you were to run into any of the Presidential candidates on the street, and ask them the time, they'd spend the next 2 hours telling you how to build a clock.

Here's my problem. If the candidate is asked whether she is right or left-handed, and she answers with her shoe size, along with a detailed explanation of how the bones in the feet work, you're probably going to have a fact-filled, long-winded oratory. But you don't have the answer to the question, do you?

I try to catch all the debates on both sides of the political spectrum. And I intend to catch as many more as are broadcast. But going forward, I have one request to make of each and every single participant: ANSWER THE DAMNED QUESTIONS!

I once had a Public Speaking class with an instructor who warned us not to construct a presentation made up of birdseed. In his admonition, "birdseed" was used to represent a whole lot of pretty rhetoric. If you get up and cover the ground with a whole pile of birdseed, and the birds eat it all up, what do you have left.

Folks, I appreciate that most of you are very well-educated. You have a nice command of the English language, but use it to answer the questions!

Rhetoric, bad. Truth good. And if you don't know, say so. Tell us, "Hey, let me get back to you on that." That might earn you some respect.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Wow, I Need Work

I'm always griping about something. I have a little problem with the area radio stations. Actually, it's a curiosity. No matter what time of the day, when one station goes to commercial, they all go to commercial. My Toyota has the pre-set buttons in a really cool row, so I can whip through the stations in a hurry, and without taking my eyes off the road.(such a good boy) So yeah, I gripe about that too.

Today, the station I was tuned to played that Carrie Underwood cheating song. Me no like. Me really, really no like that song, know what I mean? Tune to preset 2. Carrie Underwood cheat song. Hit preset 3. Carrie. 4. Carrie 5. 6. CARRIE!

Are you kidding me now?

Then I hit a red light. Started pressing buttons.

My friend came over recently and asked if she could borrow the car. When she brought it back, she'd set all the presets to the same station. I didn't know you could do that. Then again, I'd never tried.

Tell me again why I have friends.

Monday, July 23, 2007


Please don't read this if you're eating

I got a visit from a friend over the weekend. She's considerate, a good cook, and all-around pain in the ass. I love her, mostly. She came by because she knew I was bummed, plus she reads this.

She called out from the bathroom, asking if I had any Advil, which was in the medicine cabinet. I heard her rustling around in there.

A couple of minutes later, she came out with this:

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"What is this?" she asked.

I explained to her that it's called the Turbo-Groomer, and it comes from Sharper Image. I told her what it does, explaining that it keeps my ears and nose from becoming bushy, like I'm smuggling rabbits or something.

"That's gross," she said. "You have to trim nose and ear hair with this?"

"Well, no, you can use scissors, and axe, a chainsaw, this just does it painlessly, bloodlessly and quickly."

"Eww." Again with the 'eww'.

"Why 'eww'," I said.

"That's nasty," she said.

"What's nasty?" I demanded.

"You have to trim your ears???"

Ok, so can I just address this whole issue of Male Body Hair?

Unlike a tattoo on my tongue, or a mullet, or mohawk, this "condition" is not something we guys actively choose. Nature has an evil sense of humor, and does things to males, just as it does to females. If I had the choice not to have to mow the ears or nose, trust me.

I'm not a bear. When I take my shirt off, it does not reveal a knitted wool sweater. I don't howl at full moons. But there are some unwelcome follicles placed strategically (from Nature's point of view) around my body.

I mean what's "ewww?" I keep it out of sight. When I shave my face, I occasionally have to follow up with a little nip/tuck action. I do it in the privacy of the bathroom in front of the mirror. I do not practice at dinner.

I have two options: Turbo Groom, or comb ears and nose. I go with the first choice.

She also mentioned that the Turbo Groomer looked like something else.

And my body hair is gross?

I'm so glad she came here.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Conclusions Jumped To

I wrote the other night about unexplained insomnia. It happens to us all. Then there's the other kind. When you know why you're awake, and still can't do anything about it.

I'm having a "pity party" spell. I'm glad these don't happen too often, because they don't feel too nice. But I've been studying intensely for quite a few days, and I guess I jumpstarted my brain, and then revved it a little too high.

Right now, I'm at the end of one of those self-evaluation sessions, and the end wasn't too happy. I can't say I'm a great person, by any means, but I do believe I'm ok. Maybe even decent. I've hurt people, and I know it. The only thing I can say to defend that is that I've never done it intentionally. I was raised well, by good and decent parents, and I like to think I inherited some of that decency. I always tried to live by the "code", and always try to do the right thing.

Yet, everything I've worked for, created, is gone. I'm at a point now where I should be resting on the laurels just a little bit, and instead I'm trying to figure out how to restart my life. I'm making notes on what I've done wrong, and how to avoid it in the future. Only a lot of the things I've done on my way to here were the things I've considered "decent". So what now, do I start living a life doing less-than-honorable things? I'm alone. I don't like to be alone, at least when I don't have a say in the matter.

I've seen so many examples of where being decent doesn't pay off. I've watched the bad guys do whatever they want, and the good girls give them chance after chance to hurt them again. I have someone in my life who only seems to respond to meanness, selfishness, and unkindness. Is that how I want to be with someone?

All I know is, none of those bad guys are alone tonight.

I'm sick of being who I am. I'm always the back-up plan, the one they come to only when everything else falls apart. When there's nothing else to do, or when they need something. And it sucks, if you'll pardon the crudeness.

Yeah, I guess this will pass. Until it happens again.

Say It Loud

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Every person who keeps a blog, and who has had enough of this kind of crap should post this picture and say what they think of the practice of completely altering the image of a person. Every single one.

And then they should skip this month's Redbook, and every issue of every magazine that pulls this nonsense.

Polishing up a picture, clearing out a few laugh lines here or there, fine. Creating a completely different person, just wrong.

Everyone should post this and let them know it.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

This Is How It Starts...

I was looking through an old Journal of mine and found this. I thought I'd repost it today.

It starts so innocently...a nice way to start your day, and you look forward to it...

Harmless, warm cup o' Joe...

Then, you start to realize, that you're really enjoying your morning dosage...and you see a way to squeeze in just a little more on the way...

...just a little more...

Then it has you. You move to

...the Next Level...

This holds you for a while, and you're content. And then, you're innocently walking along, and you hear "Hey Buddy, check this out..."

...ooooh, a bigger 'fix'...you can't resist...

And life is good. You handle it, no one has noticed just yet. It's under control.

Until that one late night, a moment of weakness, no one around...and

You're getting in deeper, but you're still holding it together...no one comments on your disposition change as you hunt, crave...

And then you top off. It calls, it beckons, you cannot resist...you struggle...perhaps it's a well-intentioned gift, a way to win your favor. They have no idea...Over you go!

The time has come. You're out of control...people are afraid of you, at your mercy ().

It's inevitable...you must regain control! You must face the enemy!

We have met the enemy...and we are THEIRS!

But, who cares? It's GOOD!

Enjoy! Wish I'd had theme music for this one...

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Reality Check

Well, I know one thing's inevitable: chicken. Lots and lots of chicken. I think it's just one of those things that get locked into the psyche: "if you're dieting, you gotta eat chicken." Chicken breast makes so, so many meals. Grilled, roasted, diced, caesar chicken salad, or chicken caesar salad.

You get the point. After a while I start scratching at the ground and sprouting feathers.

Of course, it's not the only thing that works for a diet. Hell, a lean steak is good for you if prepared properly. Turkey is ok, but tends to remind me of particleboard, and cold turkey breast can get funky in a hurry.

It's the fat-guy myths I gotta work on avoiding. Someone once told me that calories don't count if no one sees you eat them. Dumb. I remember another friend telling me I ought to sue Diet Coke since it didn't work. But of course, 2 cheeseburgers, french fries and a Diet Coke isn't exactly the formula, you know?

So yeah, pollo it is. A lot. At least in the first few weeks, until you realize that there is more to life than eating a bird, and creativity becomes the mother of recipe invention.

It also helps to stop being obsessed with whatever meal is next. Hey, yo-yo, that's what got you in trouble in the first place, ya know? Ya gotta just go on with life, spending just a few less minutes working out the chew muscles, and a few more paying attention to the others.

Fish is good. Just not tuna salad with 9000 pounds of mayo, ya know? That kind of thinking falls into the Diet Coke + anything you want = weightloss. We had a nutritionist at work for a while, and some lab proved that a 1/4 cheeseburger on a roll had less of the bad stuff than a tuna salad sandwich. Sigh.

But guess what? We're back to the bad word: exercise. Splenda may knock off a few calories, but crunches knock off the pounds. Yeah, exercise is the 700 pound gorilla that's not gonna move out and go away.

Yeah, when someone says, "What's that on the back of your leg" and the "that" turns out to be your ass, it's time to fight the gorilla.

And eat chicken.

The Conventions

I was thinking a lot today, which can be good or bad, depending on the day. I was thinking about how I haven't been playing by the rules the last couple of years. I'm not talking about being some kind of Rebel Without A Cause necessarily, but you get the point.

I have friends I shouldn't have, from places they shouldn't be from. I can honestly say that I have friends from just about every circle of life (I'm even buddies with an Ophthalmologist), from 18 to 82 years of age, and both genders. For me, it's been a cool experience. I have an 18 year old who keeps me up to date, and an 82 year old who reminds me how much better we have it than she did. It's good for keeping you grounded, because a 20 year old won't hesitate to let you know if something is lame.

Age is not a prerequisite for wisdom. And wisdom is not always borne of experience. Some of the best advice I've ever been given came from someone a lot younger than I am. And believe me, I'm grateful for that.

Intelligence is an amazing character trait. I've been lucky in that I've been able to interact with a lot of intelligent people who aren't afraid to share that.

If I were to become insanely wealthy tomorrow, the one indulgence I'd allow myself would be the chance to fly everywhere my friends are, and have dinner with each and every one of them. The conversations would be awesome, and I can't think of anything I'd want more.

Shameless Plugs

So a few of the blogs I've come across are authored by people who also happen to be the proprietors of online shops (yours truly included).

So here are a few links to those stores, why not check them out?

If you have a shop, drop me a link and I'll "pimp it" for ya.

A Schmoo?

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I've been called a Schmoo. That's a Schmoo up there, and this:

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is a Schmooze Award that was given me by Jodi.

The Award originated with Mike, who describes it as such:When it comes to blogging, schmoozing is your ticket to making new friends, getting yourself noticed and building a reputation. Some bloggers are gifted with the ability to effectively schmooze and others not so much.

So I guess I'm good. Right?

Thanks Jodi.

And of course, in the spirit of the award, it's my turn to pass it out to a few people. I'll do that.

These are people I think make a real effort to be a part of a community, by writing, reading and leaving thoughtful comments. Blogging (Journaling) is important to them, and they really try.

If you're named here, and choose to continue the chain, come back and leave a link when you post, ok?

So here are my choices:

  • Ms Emily

  • Nancy

  • Kristen (sorry, K, but you really make blogging fun for me, so you get another award from me!)

  • Ally

  • Noelle F She is another person who really gets involved, visits, comments, makes it fun. Great writing style.

There you have it!

Thanks, again, Jodi

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Apologizing In Advance

Due to some major problems with my webhosting company, I've had to change the way that this blog is published. I have no idea what will be saved or lost, or whatever. It had to be done, otherwise the whole site would have gone bye-bye.

Sometimes you have to take a stand with a company who's taking your money, but not providing a service. So I did. I think I'll have to re-do my blogroll, and that requires a brain and a memory, so of course I might come up short in that department. I'll give it my best. I'm going to re-do the ones I actually had written down. but if you don't see your Blog on my sidebar, and want it there, please don't hesitate to leave it in the comments section, ok?


They Didn't Know Jack

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Back in November, I wrote about a local FM station changing its format. For years, 101.1 FM was the NYC area "oldies" station with a pretty big following. The station geniuses decided to take a good thing and "improve" it. They dismissed all the DJ's (some of whom were regarded as rock-n-roll legends in these parts)and went with a new "contemporary" format. A lot of people (yours truly included)were pretty upset about it, since this station was a good one that had been functioning very nicely. Someone just needed to make a name for themself by shaking things up, I guess.

Well, the shake-up didn't go so well. Happily, someone at the station management flexed a little brain-power, and brought back the old format, DJ's and all.

Sometimes "change" isn't always good.

So Anyway

Well, like I said, it isn't my intention to turn this into my personal weight-battle journal. But there are a couple of things I'm going to mention. There won't be endless recipes for rabbit food.

And I'm not about to reduce myself to grazing on monster salads for every meal.

Starving myself never worked. The experts make it very clear what happens to your metabolism when you try to starve the fat off. The body says, "Uh oh..." and it defends itself by slowing that metabolism down. Kinda not what we're going for here.

Now, I've had success with this whole thing before. I've actually been "there" a few times in my life, so I figure I'll go with what I know. I have to back off on the weight-training. After all, if I try to hoist big barbells with this brittle body...

I had some luck using this in the past. It's called the Ab-Doer. You can google it if ya wanna buy one. I promise this isn't some paid endorsement.

And this isn't a shock absorber. It's called a "bullworker" and it works with "isometrics". It won't turn you into Arnold, but with some dedication, it actually helps tone and tighten.

It's going to be a healthy diet mixed with a sensible exercise regime. No diet pills, no whacky supplements. Good food, a lot less sugar, and exercise. I say that bad word twice, because I tried to b.s. myself a few times in the past, thinking Dexatrim, or TrimSpa, or worse, would get my body in shape. It didn't and it won't. Nothing is going to shave the pounds off, (well, maybe a chainsaw might, but)except less calories and actual movement.

Oh and, yes, I did work out today. Ok, I exercised. Not ready to call this working out, just yet, ok?

Did I Miss A Class?

I was looking something up on IMDB.com, and there was a thread posted there with the following comment:

  • "ye...datz sooo wot i woz tinkin!!! der jus sooo alike itz unreal!!! i said dat straight away when i saw her & den my sis woz like, oh ye!!! definately a resemblence!!! "

Doesn't that seem like a lot more work than just writing it in English?

Or was I absent the day they taught that variety?

Monday, July 16, 2007

And Then The Alarm Clock Rang...

There comes a time in every man's life...

Yeah I should write anything so profound. Not gonna happen. But my bell has been rung, and it's time to climb out of this dream I've been living. Or more appropriately, the hallucination I've been experiencing.

I bought into the whole "Be comfortable with who you are" thing. And you know what? For me, it's a crock. One big, fat crock. "Being comfortable with who you are", for me, is a cop-out. An admission of defeat. I was going to rant and rave about how the whole country is going soft, but, not this time. Nope, this is all about me.

And I, for one, am not comfortable in my own skin. Matter of fact, I'm pretty damned uncomfortable. Why?

Because nothing fits, dammit.

A couple of years ago, I got my body almost to the point of being what I considered acceptable. I was a fat kid in my pre-teen years. And you know what? I was miserable. Miserable because I couldn't keep up in sports, which is half of what boys that age are about, and I couldn't keep up in the girls department, which of course, is that other half of that equation.

I made my mind up that this wasn't going to work. Then with a combination of some hard work, some motivation by the opposite sex, and a timely growth spurt, I got in shape. REAL shape. Muscles and all.

I carried that into college, and then into the early part of my marriage. Since my wife was a "high-risk" pregnancy, the Doctor told me to keep her well nourished and well fed. And hey, can't leave her to eat alone, now, can I?

Well that was the beginning of the decline, which lasted a lot of years past the 3 pregnancies and deliveries. I have a teenaged daughter now. Time to let go of the baby fat, pal.

So, by about two years ago, I had accomplished a lot. I almost had a body again. I was doing the whole gym thing, knocked off some poundage of fat. And, as Mother Nature has a sense of humor, at the same time, some major parts of my body decided the warranty was up. Knees came apart, lower back exploded. Beautiful. There were malfunctions in body parts I didn't even know I had. So much for the comeback. Disability sucks. And the weight found its way back to me. Not all of it, but enough.

Now I'm not considered obese. Even by those insane Met Life weight charts. But this body is in tough shape. I don't like the way it looks, and when I see Matthew McConaughey running around like an adonis, I very much like my shirt on, thanks.

Now I noticed that a lot of the people spewing all this "love yourself" crap typically had their shirts on, too. And everytime I would read about someone "curvy" or "real", it was a sure bet that within two pages of that article was either another article about "amazing weight-loss stories", or a full-page ad for some diet plan.

Now, I'm not speaking for anyone else. No, folks, this is all about me, as I said earlier. If you're good with who you are, that's wonderful. Me, I think I let myself get soft, and then got really adept at rationalizing. And settling. For less.

I'm classified as "disabled" now. Oh yay. Got the blue parking thing to hang on the mirror. And I'd have every excuse to turn into a behemoth now. But it's all crap. I have a great rehab guy who is more than willing to chart out a fitness regimen for less-than-optimal bodies. And I have some friends who are more than willing to motivate me at a moment's notice should I ask.

So, I'm sorry, Dr. Phil, I can't buy it anymore. Men in good shape are every bit as "real" as the guys with the bellies. And let's face it Ladies, with all this "natural" "real" women stuff going around, don't think I didn't notice that People ran a "sexiest bachelors" issue recently, and there were no jelly rolls hanging over any of THEIR belts. Let's just keep it completely "real" here, ok?

I don't like the way I look. I don't like the way I feel. Obesity didn't suddenly become less dangerous to me because a bunch of life coaches figured out how to cash in on The Great National Insecurity. Cholesterol will stop the heart of someone who absolutely adores himself as quickly as it quits on the self-loathing types.

I'd much rather have a washboard under my shirt than a washing machine, thanks.

So yeah, I'm going to sleep tonight with the realization that it's time to wake up, stop kidding myself, and crank it up. I might bore ya more than usual now, by including the occasional progress report, but my brain is still Stupid, so I wouldn't count on that too much.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

What To Eat?

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketUnfortunately, my appetite has sure gotten the better of me this past week. Eating like I got a tip on a famine.

Last night, a friend stopped by really quickly, to drop off a dessert she thought I might like. Inside the package was this slice of chocolate cake, with a sprinkle of cinnamon on top.

Well, at least I thought it was cinnamon. A couple of moments later, my mouth told me that the cake was hot!. The cinnamon was actually cayenne pepper.

Huh? I like spicy-hot foods, don't get me wrong. But how come everything I eat lately needs to be served with Burn Ointment? And spicy-hot chocolate cake? Are we going a bit overboard now? Is this the future of American cuisine?

I thought about it this morning. All week I've been eating a lot of different stuff. I had some tamale pie, some Chinese, spaghetti and meatballs. I had Perogies, Italian wedding soup, and arroz con pollo. You know, by the amount of food I consumed this week, I could technically be considered a small family all by myself. But I looked at the variety on my menu the past week or two...

Not exactly American fare, now, was it?

I tried to think of the last time I had "American Food". I tried to think of something that is American food. Mac & Cheese maybe? Meatloaf? I'm pretty sure steaks and chops qualify, but help me out here. Who can tell me some foods that are uniquely American?

Friday, July 13, 2007

Word Play

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketWell, it looks like the folks at Merriam-Webster have given us a few more words to remember. They've added "ginormous" to the lexicon, for all our fine friends in the Happy Meal Culture. And the People Who Like To Make Everything They Do Sound Impressive get one too: instead of saying "lettuce shoots" or "baby plants" we can now use "microgreens". Yay.

And of course, our legacy grows with the addition of the word "crunk", which I thought was the combination of "crazy" and "drunk", (and we could use another word for that because nowadays, "idiot" is just to broad a term). But, because we're never too old to learn (it's the remembering that hurts me), I've discovered that "crunk", at least by this dictionary definition, is a style of Southern Rap music.

Oh well.

I guess our grandparents had similar emotions when rock-n-roll became a Movement instead of a movement, right?

We've got IED (improvised explosive devices) so that folks can have another nice word to shout about now that WMD's seem to have fallen out of vogue; DVR (digital video recorder) one of which broke here just recently.

Oh, and folks, don't go gettin' all cocky now with "ginormous". We didn't invent it. The British used it over 60 years ago. Occasionally, of course. We just made it our Word of The Day.

Unfortunately, for me, they didn't remove "amazing". I asked them to make an addition to the definitions that are already there, namely "yogurt and phone plans are not amazing", but I think they deleted that email without reading it.

So, go have a ginormous salad, made with microgreens, listen to your crunk, or watch an amazing movie on your DVR. Just watch for the IED's ok?

Final note, if the nitwits can have "ginormous", why can't the knuckleheads have "nucular?"

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Romance Is Over!

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A mere 10 days after it began, my relationship has ended. 10 days of bliss came to a crashing halt today.

Yes, the DVR that I loved so quickly, so recklessly, broke my heart today. OK, well it broke. I called Comcast tech support and told the Lady who answered, "I think my DVR is shot."

Naturally, she had to walk me through the 5-step "troubleshooting" process that I went through prior to calling Tech Support. The call ended when she said, "I think your DVR is shot."

I have to go in and swap it out tomorrow. I'm going to go play Beyonce's "To The Left" now.


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I had the TV on for a while today, and it was tuned to a network. During one particular half-hour show, every commercial fit into one of two categories:

  • Weight-loss products

  • Loan companies

What's the correlation there? What is the target audience?

Sunday, July 08, 2007

The Z Factor


No one escapes insomnia. It can be chronic or occasional, or even once in a lifetime, but sooner or later, we have a sleepless night, right?

Sometimes we have a lot on our mind. Sometimes we don't feel well, a headache or something, and sometimes we're just worked up and can't sleep.

Then there's the Evil Insomnia. That's the one that has no discernible cause. Body just says, "Nope, no sleep right now, pal!"

And I call it "Evil" because it is. You go through the whole routine...can't get comfortable...can't stop thinking...noise outside perhaps? Pillow won't lie right under the ol' noggin, blanket feels heavy and bunched, and NOT RIGHT DAMMIT. Then maybe you get the itchy-owwies, sporadic itchy spots on your body. Then maybe that little tickle in the throat?

Uh-oh, is that an itch, or A SPIDER IN MY BED???!!!

Then the To-Do List runs through your mind, and then the FORGOT To-Do list.

Then of course, the thrashing as you try to reconstruct your sleep space. Pillow here, blanket there, it's too cold in here, it's too warm, it's now 1 AM!!!

Counting sheep. Ok, 245,983 sheep and the eyes are open. Is that clock brighter tonight?

Maybe tv? Gotta be careful there, you might find something on that you'll get hooked into, kinda counter-productive, no?

Sigh. Resist reliving your whole life in your mind. That's not good. You can't undo what you did, and that girl really did whup your butt on the tennis court.

Think about all the things you could be doing...no, stop that, you have to go to sleep. You didn't leave the gas on in the kitchen, idiot, you have an electric stove.

Ahh, we all know the drill.

You can't knock yourself unconscious, by the way. You just hurt your head.

Night now....

Friday, July 06, 2007

Reverse Hypocrisy?

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I read a very thought-provoking article on this blog. The main question the author posed was how people who suddenly "find God", then become majorly hypocritical by turning on those who used to do what they did, and condemn them for those things. After all, wouldn't hypocrisy be offensive to God?

Of course, the way my mind works is, I wondered something of a less-religious nature. What about those times in our lives when we grow to accept something we long shunned, and in some cases, embrace it entirely? I remember my parents banning such things as The Beatles, long hair and bell-bottom pants. Over the years, their stances softened. They danced to Beatles music, praised my kid brother's long ponytail, and I even saw my Mom wear bell-bottoms.

Some time ago, I was part of a Blogging exodus. A large group of us had a nice community over in AOL's J-Land. After a long, peaceful existence, The AOL Overlords decided that the best, newest place for ad-placement was right atop the Journals of all the J-Landers. We went nuts!

That Ad Exodus was what brought me to Blogger in the first place. We were upset because, at the time, we were paid AOL subscribers. AOL has a way of doing what it wants to, always has and until it goes out of business, it always will.

For me, it was more the "too bad if you don't like it" attitude shown us by AOL, and the flat-out lies told to us by the AOL staff. That company is most certainly not one to care too much about customer goodwill. And so I did a "sick-out" for a while, and began writing here.

Over the last couple of years, I have gained a good understanding of just how this whole advertiser-driven market works. I mean, think about it...we get Blogger for free. We can pretty much do with it what we will, and not be obligated to pay for that service.

I have also learned that a lot of free services didn't last because, well, how the heck do they pay for it? Advertising has become a necessary evil. I don't like web ads any more than I like TV commercials, but, without the commercials, how would the networks survive?

I struck the indignant artist pose for a while. "How dare they mess with my creative integrity?!" And then I started to pay attention. Business always has rules, and some of them aren't too palatable, but that doesn't mean they're not in place.

So, I have embraced the advertising. The big difference between Blogger and AOL is, well over there, all the advertising fills their coffers, while it does keep the service afloat. At least with Google (who owns Blogger, in case you didn't already know that) they take their advertising fees, but they throw us a bone in the process. If you agree to place Google ads on your site, they give you a cut (although a very tiny cut) But from our point of view, it's a means by which to continue enjoying this otherwise "free" service.

So, I guess I'm a reverse hypocrite. I hated those ads, and went to great pains to keep them off my computer. (there's a way to almost completely eliminate ads from appearing on your computer...if there's enough interest, I'll share what I know :) )Until I realized...who pays for this stuff?

Truth is, I'd rather place a few ads than pay a monthly fee, no?

Let's face it, if we want this to be "free" for our use, someone has to pay for it, right? A thing as big as Blogger comes with a pretty healthy price tag. So I'll embrace the ads.

The only thing I will ask is, concerning those online videos we can watch? Please stop attaching ad-videos to them that are longer than the video we want to watch!!!

Ok that's all for now!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Step In The Right Direction

From kvoa.com: PHOENIX -- Beginning in January, employers in Arizona could face having their business licenses suspended or revoked if they get caught hiring illegal immigrants.read more

It looks as though someone in the government finally showed some fortitude.


Ok so some folks don't like coming to a blog and reading negative stuff. They're of the opinion that these things should only be chock full of "HAPPY HAPPY JOY JOY"!

Well, guess what? Sometimes the world has things going on that aren't so Pollyanna. You're faced with things that make you think, and it's unfortunate that some of them are negative. People talk about them because they matter.

This story should be causing a wave of outrage nationwide:

From AOL News:As stabbing victim LaShanda Calloway lay dying on the floor of a convenience store, five shoppers, including one who stopped to take a picture of her with a cell phone, stepped over the woman, police said.

So tell me, what's one positive statement that can come of that? Some low-life stood and snapped a cellphone picture of a dying woman. What, for its MySpace page? Maybe it was video that this worm can share on YouTube?

There isn't a single viable excuse for this. Not one, and I won't even entertain a hint of one. Did the vermin who snapped the picture then dial 911? I'll bet not.

This is civilization these days? God help us.

Blog Advice

I think if you're looking to launch a high-profile Blog, you might be wise to consider not using Weblogs Inc. In my never ending quest to quench my thirst for Geek Knowledge, I study a lot of the technical stuff behind publishing platforms such as Weblogs. That one, in particular, is pretty quirky.

The thing I wonder is, suppose there are 100,000 other users, and you are the only one who can't get the service to work. Does that mean your problem shouldn't get any attention? I'm always very wary of services that think that way. AOL is a good example of that type of thinking.

But I have to say, I'm pretty happy with this one here at Blogger, as far as quality for us lesser-profile everyday bloggers, no?

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy 4th! Turn on the sound!

Monday, July 02, 2007


I'm happy to report tonight that, despite my best efforts, my new Cable/DVR box is hooked up, and operating perfectly.

So I'm driving along, and I come upon a detour. I'm in my town, just a part that I'm not too familiar with. I realized I needed to make a U-Turn, and when I did, I went into the parking lot of my cable TV company.

I have been wanting to get the DVR for a while, so I figured I'd ask what I needed to do to get one. The Lady at the counter was very nice, took my phone number, and told me that I could take the new box home right now. I could bring the old box back tomorrow, no problem.

Ok, that's not supposed to happen that way.

So I take the stuff and go home. I open the box, and inside the box was the cable box. Not a cat, not a bologna sandwich, not a brick. A cable box.

I take the cable box out, and the AC cord is there, as well as the coaxial cable. I connect everything, plug in the AC cord without electrocuting myself. So far, no fatalities.

I turn the TV on and sit. I unwrap the remote and see that it requires 2 AA batteries, included in the box. I look, and there they are: 2 AA batteries. Not C batteries, not a car battery, AA batteries.

That's not supposed to happen! After a few seconds of the "One Moment Please" screen on the TV, it loads up, and I'm looking at television. I insert the batteries, and follow the easy instructions to program it. I program it to work my TV, and my DVD player.

Then I test the remote, and it works all the devices. I start flipping channels, even getting into the comfy "Channel-Surfing" position. I'm surfing...I power down, I power up, TV, DVR, DVD, I'm programming recordings, and everything is working

OK, what the hell is going on here? No fires, no injuries, no short circuits, and not a single cuss word.

Great. And I've got shows programmed already, going into next WEEK! This is just not right!

Yeah, but I have to go out tomorrow, now, don't I? (return the old cable box and all)

I'm gonna get hit with a falling piano now. I just know it.

All I know is, right now, at this moment, everything works.

Oh well, I tried.

I'm Rated "G"

A while back, someone mentioned to me that I was a little loose with my language. Not in a critical, unsolicited way, mind you, but because I asked.

I made a conscious effort to do something about that.

And looky here! The effort paid off!
Online Dating

CNN is rated "G", but FoxNews got an "R". Disney got a "G" (I had to check)

You can get yours rated, too. Click above

That's a good thing, right? I mean I think it is, right?


Comments. Yes, we all love comments. We love getting them, but I think we also like leaving them for people, too.

So how would you feel, if something went wrong with the blogging platform you use, and the comments section wouldn't work? It'd kind of bug me, and I assume most of you wouldn't be too happy either. I'm not talking about people who disable comments, I don't care about that. I'm talking about having a blog that invites comments, but that due to some technical glitch, they don't get through.

Weblogs has a whole bunch of mostly "professional" blogs out there. I found one, called "Styledash", where they mostly make fun of the latest "fashion trends" and the pompous idiots who parade around in these atrocities. I get some laughs over there, and like to leave a comment or 10,000.

Only, for better than a week now, the comment function doesn't work. They do that thing where they send a confirmation email containing a link that you must click to activate the comment. But the click does nothing.

See, half the fun for me over there wasn't leaving comments, it was reading the 100's of comments they'd get when they wrote something particularly bratty.

I just hope this doesn't give Blogger any ideas. For the most part, this works pretty well, no?

Oopsie iPhone

I mentioned those folks waiting in line for days to be the first to get the iPhone from Apple.

Well, it looks like some of them get to wait some more.

Seems the fine people over at AT&T are going with the "demand was higher than expected" routine,(read more) to explain why so many new iPhone customers had to wait hours, or in some cases, days, to get the phones activated.

Of course, if AT&T had checked with Apple to see how many of the new toys they were planning to sell, they could have known what to expect. But who worries about such minor details, right?

Did anyone here buy one yet? If so, what happened?



I wonder if I'll ever get old enough to not be afraid to go to the Doctor. You never know what to expect.I've been going fairly regularly for over a year trying to get this chassis going again, and yet, I'm lying here with the jitters tonight.

My Doc is a fairly nice guy, and the magazines in the office help me brush up on ancient history. (man, remember "Highlights for Children"?)His staff is actually pretty personable, and they place nice muzak in there.

But it's that element of the unexpected that always gets me. I'd had some X-rays done about 8 months ago that he'd never said a word about. Maybe he was waiting for just the right moment to break the news?

I don't know. It's never as bad as you anticipate.We'll see.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Thought For A Sunday Evening

The Worst Ever...

Comedy is not supposed to be painful. Tragic news, sad movies, yeah those are painful, but not comedy.

Comedy is supposed to be funny. Shows that call themselves "comedies" should make you laugh.

I caught the end of the Concert for Diana on VH-1. When that ended, a show called "Best Week Ever" came on. I wound up looking for Advil. This show was that painful.

There's just something weird about watching a whole pile of Nobody's sitting around calling other, more famous people, "Nobody's", and when these Yo-Yo's do their spiels, little by-lines flash on the screen. Typically it would say, "John Doe, Comedian" or something like that. Again, comedians are supposed to be funny. I was waiting for one of these mopes to pop a lampshade on his head and do a dance.

Who decides when someone is a comedian? Is that a title you bestow on yourself?

I'm not even sure why I wrote this. I wouldn't want any of you to hurt yourself watching this monstrosity.

Ok, see ya later.

Concert For Diana

I don't know if anyone is interested, but I just happened to catch that VH1 is broadcasting the Concert for Diana in honor of the late Princess Diana. It's coming on at 11:00 AM Eastern on VH-1. The Concert's website says that it's being broadcast on MTV, but on my cable service it's on VH-1

I'll take this down later.