Monday, December 31, 2007

Football Know-It-All

I walked in and Pop was watching the Sun Bowl between Oregon and South Florida.

I got there just as the Aflac Trivia Question came up. The question was, "Who was the last defensive lineman to be named MVP of the Sun Bowl?"

Umm, if you know that one without looking it up, you're either a sportswriter, or someone who spends way, way too much time on football.

You can see the answer here

A Blast Of Optimism

Sometimes, it's really how you look at things that can make the difference in the interpretation. Let's think about it this way: 2008 has to be a better year than 2007, because I really think we hit the ultimate rock bottom this year.

Things have happened, the likes of which most of us have never seen before, and if you needed one more kick to remind you of how intensely pitiful we, as a society, have become, consider this:

  • GARLAND, Texas (AP) — An essay that won a 6-year-old girl four tickets to a Hannah Montana concert began with the powerful line: "My daddy died this year in Iraq."

    While gripping, it wasn't true — and now the girl may lose her tickets after her mom acknowledged to contest organizers it was all a lie.

Read it. It's unbelievable. And the way the mother tries to explain it away is just the thud off the bedrock that validates my opinion.

Think about everything else that's happened this year: Paris in Prison, Britney Spears in Everything...The US Government as a whole: President Bush's Administration, Senator Craig, the Presidential campaign so far. But our performance as people wasn't much better...

  • In one Maine school district, the school board has okayed the distribution of birth control that could be given to girls as young as twelve.

  • The idiot "judge" who sued a dry cleaner for $65 million over a pair of pants. Mind you, it is presumed that this man received at least some formal education.

  • Can't forget the astronaut, Lisa Nowak, who drove cross-country in a diaper now, can we? She was going to confront her romantic rival.

  • We allowed China a shot at taking over the US by poisoning us with lead paint, antifreeze in our toothpaste, but didn't really get mad until they messed with our dog food. Then people really spoke up! But most Americans don't care if you sell them hazardous waste, as long as they can get it at Walmart, and as long as it's cheap.

  • And what happened to the National Pastime, huh? In November, Giants' slugger Barry Bonds was indicted for perjury, obstruction of justice, and testing positive for steroids use. This was just after he broke the all-time Home Run record, in October, mind you.

  • And nothing got people motivated like the arrest of Michael Vick on dog-fighting charges. We throw human babies in dumpsters, sometimes when they're still alive, and go on with our business, but let someone offend a four-legged friend, and WHAMMO! STOP TRAFFIC!

Unfortunately, a list of American Screw-Ups could go on all day, but you get the point. Can 2008 really go any lower? Can people be any more stupid than they were in the last 365 1/4 days?

I'm brimming with optimism for the year ahead. Life has to get easier because hey, take a look around. We don't have a formal English language anymore, so I can just write what I want, even make up words, such as, like ungood, and eventually, evolution will do away with our good friends . ' , ; : ! ) ( so take a good look at that bunch before they fade away.

And my musical career will flourish in the coming 12 months. I have the utmost confidence that with the right computer and editing software, I can create and sell my first million albums. I have no musical talent whatsoever, but...

But seriously, you can only get so wet, no matter how much water they dump on you, right? I really think Americans hit the zenith of stupidity and contemptuous behavior in 2007, because not only did a lot of people do a lot of stupid things, they figured that we were stupid when they tried to sell the logic behind their actions. When one idiot assumes that everyone else is completely stupid, it might be the indicator of a major turnaround.

So yes, I believe 2008 will be a better year by simple virtue of my belief that it can't get any worse. I think that by default now, the government will actually do one thing this year that isn't completely moronic (that itself will make it a better year, because in 2007, Moron Politics batted .1000, and that was without the use of steroids).

And some of my optimism may be too ambitious, but is there anything truly wrong with hoping we're entering a new year, a new era, a new world? Am I crazy to believe that this is the year when or or become more heavily visited than or Is it over-the-edge to wish for the return of grammar and punctuation? Could it be too far-fetched of me to think that the next time I see the word "your" it will be in the context of possession, as in "your house", and not yet another bastardization of the contraction meaning "you are"?

Oh yes, I know that there is no such thing as Utopia, because what might be perfect for me could be purely toxic for you. But all I really and truly want would be a country where we get our priorities in order, and act accordingly. We pay more attention to Viral Videos than we do to the AIDS virus. The problem of starving children only comes to mind when some celebrities walk the Red Carpet at some fund-raising project. Global Warming is something we "deal" with by selling $1000 cloth shopping bags.

Electing someone like Hillary Clinton won't solve our problems. It will only replace them with a whole new set of problems. Let's face it, does getting kicked in the left shin really hurt that much less than getting kicked in the right one? The political process can be likened to taking out the can of stinky kitchen garbage only to replace it with our neighbors' can of stinky garbage.

Success in this country is now measured in terms of how long one can get away with cheating, or who can screw the most people for the longest time.

It's really a matter of saying "Enough!" Companies like Mattel import toys for our children that have the capability of poisoning them, and yet we shop on. The banks in this country thought that they could cash in by giving mortgages to people who can't financially afford them, and attaching ridiculous interest rates to those mortgages. And now that this practice has nearly bankrupted the system, the burden has been place on the shoulders of consumers. Politicians address a problem such as illegal immigration by taking measures that say, "Oh well, you broke the law, but there are so many of you, help yourself to the best we have to offer!" A man like Eliot Spitzer has no business running anyone's government. Vote him out, simple as that. Vote them all out. It's the only hope that really exists, and it's the only language that politicians ever really hear.

The Internet has given voice to a great many people. The First Amendment has been tested like never before, due mostly to our propensity as a people to take things to extremes in ways never intended or foreseen. We need to refocus our efforts in using this medium, and stop making it a stage for circus sideshows. There is power in the voice of the people, but only so long as it can be taken seriously.

The good thing about hope is that it always seems to exist. While my premise that things have to get better because they seemingly can't get any worse is a little skewed, I believe it's a valid point. People have been shocked, revolted, upset and annoyed to the point where I believe we've reached the saturation level, and I think when nothing more can fit in the barrel, it's time for a different kind of barrel. That's what's going to keep me going into the new year ahead.

It might be a crazy way to look at things, but I think it's one that just might work. I wish you all the very best in 2008.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

After Christmas Agita!


I happened to be making a return to Walmart late yesterday afternoon. The returns area is right up front by the cashiers, and I heard some very unhappy customers getting very riled up.

It started slowly, but it got ugly pretty quickly.

Seems like the good folks at Walmart had a problem redeeming all those gift cards that they didn't seem to have a problem selling (funny how it works like that?). Their "third-party verification" company had a "system error" which rendered the gift card balances to $0. (again, funny how that happens, notice nobody's cards erroneously went to $1 million).

I just wonder if this "third party" is another one of those "outsourced" parts of the business?

Another "WOW"... I had purchased a video camera for my oldest girl. It turned out to be the wrong model. She wants to be able to share her videos, YouTube, email back and forth, etc., and the camera we chose didn't do it. The salesperson insisted it did, but that's for another day.

We returned it, and went to a store where I thought the salespeople would be a little more capable and qualified. Circuit City.

After explaining exactly what we wanted to buy, the salesperson presented us with a Canon that was said to be "exactly what we needed!"

It wasn't. You can't tell this stuff from reading the outside of the box, you have to open it. But we didn't know, so we took his word for it. His word was worthless. Or more accurately, it was worth about 55 bucks. That's what Circuit City charged me as a "restocking fee", despite the fact that I only bought it at the salesperson's recommendation.

I immediately thought of that Dire Straits tune, Money For Nothing, except there were no "chicks for free", ya know?

Seems that they allow themselves to keep a healthy portion of your purchase price simply because you open the box. I wanna get in on that...I'll sell you products that are completely wrong, then keep a vig when you return it. Nice. Something to consider in the New Year, huh?

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A Very Stupid Christmas

Twas the Night Before Christmas, and all through the air,

was the sound of kids' laughter, as Dad fell down the stairs.

He did that, of course, for a very good reason:

It's the traditional start of the Holiday Season!

With lights that won't blink, and the garland in knots,

He knows just the things to bring joy to these tots.

The gifts that he thinks will all be a big hit,

Are toys that are broken, and clothes that don't fit!

Each year he starts early, but still can't believe,

That he's got to go shopping at 10, Christmas Eve.

Away to the mall he flies like a flash,

Tears open the wallet and throws up the cash.

The gleam on the breast of the new-fallen snow

is ice that sends him sprawling to the ground way below.

But nothing is broken, he's back on his way!

He's got to get done 'fore the end of the day.

Such a talented driver, so lively and quick,

he has to get home, ahead of St Nick.

All that wrapping to do, and a big tree to trim,

he knows what a long night is out there for him.

"Now Stupid! It's time to get on with the show!"

Each gift to be wrapped and topped off with a bow!

He wraps like greased lighting tearing through all those bags,

And then realizes he forgot the gift tags...

"On Stupid! Start over, this time get it right,

Or there'll be no sleeping this Christmas Eve night!"

The taping and wrapping and tagging did he,

And when he looked up, it was quarter to three!

Was time to get trimming, with garland and bows,

and of course lots of those needles stuffed up the nose,

but there in the branches of this year's blue spruce:

A SQUIRREL, oh no, and the damned thing is loose!

So chaos ensued as he ran 'cross the floor,

to chase this new houseguest right out the front door.

With a crash and a bang and a boom did he run,

and with one sharp heave the eviction was done!

It was back to tree-trimming at a quarter to four,

with a moment for cursing when the tree hit the floor.

But determined he was, as he worked through the night,

and placed the tree-topper at the break of day's light.

His work he had finished, and no one was dead,

he was smiling as he went in and lay down on the bed!

Just then the kids burst in without any warning,

Yelling "Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a good morning!"

Better luck next year, huh?


Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Shopping Review

Well, I guess it's time for the Annual Stupidsheet Shopping Review.

It went fairly well this year. I have definitely confirmed that it pays to shop around, and not just for a few pennies. I priced an item at 3 different sites. Macy's had it for $70 plus shipping, the manufacturer's own site had it for $59.99 plus shipping, and had it for $49.99 including shipping. That's pretty significant in my world.

Other online pleasantries were offered by 10 points from us. Good job with the site, the inventory, and the shipping. Same for

We're still sort of keeping our back turned on for their performance last year. Elephants and Stupids don't forget.

We had a pleasant surprise in the form of Freehold Raceway Mall in NJ. The parking was definitely at a premium, but because of the amount of people who showed up to shop, there are definitely plenty of actual parking lots.

Now that I'm one of those handicapped guys, I can joke about that. Having a handicapped permit in NY and NJ is a joke, for sure. I think 90% of the driving population of those 2 states is handicapped, at least as far as parking is concerned. So, I parked a few miles away and walked.

The mall itself is handicapped-friendly overall. Access is good, moving about the levels is easy. I'm not wheelchair-bound, so I can't rate it from that point of view, but I'd give the mall itself a gold star.

Stores that could use some revamping: As I said, the mall itself is very accomodating. However, some of the stores themselves could use some work. JCPenney is a nightmare for us less-than-able-bodied folks. They have very few checkouts, and in my case, involved a lot of walking through tight, messy aisles. and they're not easily visible. Penney's could take a look and maybe add a few cash registers. Also, Penney's merchandise is organized and marked pretty poorly. There was a section of Docker's pants marked down at various prices, one of which was $29.99, down from $60. But the pants were all mixed up, so the ones that were marked down to $49.99 were mixed up with the 29.99. And they let the customers go back to do the price verification. Nice. Not my favorite experience.

Winner of the "Are You Kidding Me?" Award. The Disney Store looked like Walmart. That's not a compliment. I never thought I would associate the words "what a shame" with anything Disney. This store was flat-out terrible. A mess, poorly stocked, and light on the sales staff. Who would think that the good Disney folks would ever allow something like that to bear the Disney label.

Awesome! Sears. Clean stores, well-stocked shelves, friendly, helpful staff. I was surprised, seeing how they merged with K-Mart. But it was a pleasant surprise.

Not too sure... Border's Books. Again, very large stores, not easy to navigate. One set of registers meant that we had to go up and down between levels to pick the books up, then hike to pay for them. Otherwise, ok rating. They could use a little more selection in the "Cooking" category though.

The laugh of the day The genuises at GAP Stores have decided that some of us will have no choice but to purchase online. They simply don't stock our sizes, and simply won't, in the stores themselves. Yes, 40/34, among others, is from this day forward an "Internet Size". From this day forward Gap is no longer my jeans supplier. DO NOT TELL ME THAT YOU'RE MAKING MY CHOICES FOR ME WHEN IT'S MY MONEY COMING OVER THE COUNTER. bye GAP.

Cool store Hollister. Quick, efficient staff, lots of merchandise.

Ooh, and one more "Bye Bye": I went to the UPS Store in Howell, NJ. As I got to the door, I read the hours and it clearly said "Saturday 8 to 4:30 PM" It was closed. At 3 PM. Nice job. I found an alternate shipping company. Buh bye UPS.

But overall, the results this year were a lot better than last year. Amazon-free, Sears-Wishbook free, and we still managed to get it done! How about that!

Saturday, December 22, 2007


Good ways to screw up Improve your life

There aren't many sure things in life. Here are a few
that fit the bill

Get a DUI. Or for added fun, get a couple.

Have a baby when you're 16. A great way to stop yourself from
advancing, particulary in your education. That baby is a great way to
validate your existence.

Make a sex video, especially if you can do it with someone you've
been together with a long time, like, say, weeks.

And as far as the sex videos go, make sure a whole lot of people
know about it, and hey, share some copies. Friends would never take that
stuff public.

And if you don't have video equipment, hell, take some still-shots,
posing in the nude or something racy like that. Let a boyfriend you've
been with 3 or 4 days be the photographer!

Run for political office.

Trade all your self-respect and dignity in for a spot on a reality
show. Jerry Springer is a great springboard to the good life - or hey,
what about the great marriages spawned by The Bachelor!

vote for hillary clinton

Share the joy, don't be the only one whose life is improved:
refuse to provide any discipline, structure or value-system to your kids
(particularly if you have them when you're 12!) After all, the world is
here to cater to their every whim, and hard work is for suckers!

Ooh, and one more great tip: If you're battling legal issues,
get pregnant at the same time! That way you can give another life a great
head start!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Assessments: 2007

This is a great time for people who might not otherwise be able to break into the music business. Talent is so mediocre now that if you can remotely carry a tune and follow rhythm, the computer wizards in the music studios can make you a star.

That's one thought that comes to mind when I look at the accomplishments of my generation and those after. We're leaving some legacy, huh?

My age group in particular did a great job of destroying a lot of Americana.

Look what's happened to Baseball. Juiced-up losers breaking all kinds of records. Records that were astounding feats of athleticism eclipsed by incredible chemical performances.

Think back to the days of celebrity idol-worship. It was fun for some, fantasy for others, but people in this country at one time loved their Hollywood celebrities, and the Stars were like royalty when greeting the adoring throngs. Nowadays, "Celebrity News" means "who's in rehab", "who got a DUI", "who's the latest celeb to add the hot accessory, a baby, to their wardrobe".

It doesn't stop there.

Think about Wilt Chamberlain, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson...When was the last time you watched an NBA game on TV? Occasionally, Basketball does make the news, but usually only when there's a major brawl on a court somewhere.

And speaking of courts, how many NFL players wind up on the wrong end of the law?

Bring up names such as Jack Dempsey, Joe Louis, Muhammad Ali; holders of one of the greatest sports titles in the world. Now quick: who is the Heavyweight Champion of the World?

Or, remember when "family time" meant wholesome programming that people could watch with their kids?

Yeah, things aren't like they used to be, huh?

But let's take an honest look at things a minute.

Remember that money talks. Loud and clear. So much of what goes on in this country is simply someone supplying a product to meet a demand. Cashola, baby.

Christmas starts sometime in July now. Everyone complains that Christmas is so commercial, but think about that footage you've seen of the maniacs trampling each other at 5 AM like psychotic wildebeest, to get into the store for that $99 laptop computer. Would these stores be practicing this kind of business if people weren't there to fork over the cash? Christmas can only be commercialized if people show up to shop.

Would a nest like TMZ have a TV show as well as a web site if people weren't there clicking and tuning in? What about Perez Hilton? Would he be anything other than the freak at the company Christmas party if he didn't have thousands of daily readers? Someone is buying this garbage, folks. They're not counterfeiting all the money they have.

You think for a minute if people stopped coming to NBA arenas altogether, we'd have the likes of who we do running up and down the courts?

You can't get an autograph from an athlete today without forking over a few bucks. What makes them think there's a market for that? Couldn't be the hundreds of people lining up, cash in hand, at "signings" now, could it?

When was the last time you got excited about a movie release. I mean really excited. And if you did, was the picture up to the hype?

And let's think about how everyone and his brother is "going Green". We have idiots running around with $1000 cloth shopping bags, but how many of us have permanently parked the car and jumped on a bicycle? Everybody is too busy telling everyone else what to do to actually do anything themselves.

Let's face it: things are crappy at best. And I know a few people would read this and say, "Oh, not me baby, I don't contribute to that!" And I know that if you ask people, no one eats frozen or canned vegetables, or sauce out of the less pasta from a box!

To which I would happily say, "Bull-shyte". These companies don't make millions selling nothing, now, do they?

We have to be honest. We're all part of the problem. All this garbage floating around there is being supported by great American Dollars. Walmart and Mattel can keep on marketing inferior goods (in some cases dangerous goods) and when the doors open tomorrow, we'll be there, wallets in hand, ready to take the next shipment off their hands. So let's stop kidding ourselves. Half the problems we have would go bye-bye if we spent our money elsewhere, believe it. But, American companies can sell inferior products, ship jobs overseas, and we'll just take it. And they'll keep doing it. We can carry on about "Global Warming" all we want. And we can change lightbulbs, and recycle hemp to make pants till we're blue in the face. The future of our planet is in the hands of Big Business, and the only way that Big stays "big" is by raking in the cash. And guess where those bankrolls are?

But, that's the nice thing about this time of the year. New Year, new opportunities to make things right. We can always change things in this country, if we just realized where the real power lies. That's all it would take. Writing letters, posting Blogs, holding protests, well they all sound good. But they don't do anything, really. The very first step toward change comes the first time that someone refuses to buy a product they don't approve of. Choose the products of a company who doesn't want your kids to be exposed to lead. Shop at stores that pay fair wages, and stock their shelves with American-made products. Refuse to allow the Chinese manufacturers to ship their poisoned garbage here. Insist on American-made by refusing to by foreign-made. It's right there on the label, folks...Country of Origin.

Trends start slowly. We didn't wind up in this position overnight, and we won't fix it overnight. But everytime you spend according to your conscience, you can make a statement. Nothing will get the attention of Big Business more quickly than falling sales.

It's time to stop pointing fingers. We all made this bed, we can all pitch in and carry it out to the trash.

That's the beauty of second-chances. Maybe 2008 can be a second chance. We can change what we say we hate, or find out and accept that we really don't. Good luck to us!

A Stupid PSA

There's been a lotta boot talk lately around my world! (that includes blogs, journals, phone calls, and conversations with my friends - YES I NEED A LIFE!)

Anyway, a complaint I hear quite often from my friends is, "Damned boots won't fit my calves!"

Well, calfly-challenged friends, your pal StupidJimmy found a great website that you may not know about.

It's a company called Duo Boots®, and they specialize in boots that fit women's calves a lot more comfortably than you might be used to. How cool is that? My plan to see every woman on Earth in boots has taken another great step forward.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Pop had a rough couple of days. And today we had to make that trek to the hospital to see his main Oncologist. The doctor had some blood tests run, and when the numbers came back, they were very encouraging. That seemed to be just what Pop needed to hear. His spirits lifted a lot.

We had a long ride home, and got back in the dark. When we went inside, I asked him if he wanted to eat anything. (he has gained 1 pound, incidentally) He said that he felt like having pancakes, so I whipped up a short stack for him.

The kitchen table is situated by a glass sliding door onto the yard. Now that the leaves are gone out there, you can see the highway off in the distance. Pop sat facing that door.

I left the room a minute, and when I came back, I was out of his sight, so he didn't know I'd returned. I stood watching him a minute.

It made me think, seeing this man with his plate of pancakes and a cup of coffee. He was just eating quietly and looking out the window. He had a simple look of contentment on his face as he ate. And it made me think.

You know, no matter what the timeframe might be, eventually there will come a day where Pop won't be around anymore. I think about the time he has, and occasionally can't help thinking that this might be the last time he does this or that. His world has become very small, and it all revolves around things like finding a good program on TV, or getting a solid night's sleep, or a blanket that's just warm enough, you know? The news comes on, then Leno follows, then maybe the pain medicine kicks in just the right way. And then perhaps he gets to sleep.

Trust me, this isn't some Hallmark movie going on here. There are those occasional head-butting bouts, and the irritations (or worse, like when he recently pulled a pot of boiling water over onto me). But we're like any other family, good days, bad days, ok days. It's just, well, the time is something that's not quite taken for granted as much lately.

And at the end of the day, those pancakes can be some pretty important things to Pop, especially if I warm the syrup just right.

These days, those pancakes are made just a little more carefully. And the syrup gets done right, you know?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Smart Ash

Saturday Morning Basketball

My 8 year old signed up for Instructional Basketball at the school. Starts at 8:30 and goes for about 90 minutes.

They run the clinics at 8:30 and 10 AM so they split it by age, and my group today is 2nd and 3rd graders.

So funny, the little girls are so serious and intense, but all the boys are interested in is diving for the ball and sliiii-iding across the floor. They spend more time on the floor than anything.

Great group of coaches. It's fun to watch people who know what it's about, dealing with little kids. Takes talent and brains, you know?

Is there anything better than seeing little kids' faces as they accomplish something new?

Friday, December 14, 2007

Techno and Some Other Stupidicity

For those who ascribe to the idea that nothing is impossible, I offer the following statement for consideration:

"Hold on a second, I just want to install this program quickly on my computer..."

I've been thinking about which gift is going to be the one that I try to get last-minute and spend 8 hours racing around trying to get.

I would imagine that if I should get to be 173 years old, I would probably start getting excited to wake up in the morning, no? That's kind of a ways off though.

If every single person in the country turned off the TV for 24 hours starting next Monday morning at 12:01 AM, how freaked out would the Nielsen Ratings people be?

I've often heard that when you die and go to heaven, all your questions will be answered. But do you think if I ask St. Peter where the hell all those socks that disappeared from the dryer are, he'll put me out?

And I'm many of us actually eat the stuff we bring home in doggy bags? I would imagine shrimp scampi is not a good idea for Fido, ya know?

And since I about lost my mind here tonight...I was talking about apologizing the other night, and then I thought of this: Did you ever have a moment where you were really snotty, or mean to some stranger that you know you'll never see again, but then wish you would so you could say you're sorry?

Ok that's enough I guess.

Monday, December 10, 2007


Did ya ever have this happen?

You do something, you think about it, then you apologize for doing it. What you don't realize is that the person totally agreed with what you did, and isn't mad, so they tell you something like, "oh don't worry about it". But you don't feel like you're off the hook?

Now you're unsettled, so maybe you apologize again, and in trying to convince yourself that it's all good, you wind up making them mad?

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Commenting Again...

My friend Jackie wrote: I tried to put this comment on your blog, but they changed the format, and I couldn't. Not without joining Google/Blogger. What's up with that? They used to let you leave a comment without doing that. Hmm...

I don't know why these companies never get to the point where they say, "OK, good product, it works, let's leave it alone now!" But it seems as though that's never going to happen.

Anyone who writes a Blog/Journal, and has comment links, likes comments. It's half the fun to read what people think about what you wrote. I like 'em, and I know a lot of people who enjoy that part of it.

Seems everytime I turn around, something's changed. I keep coming back to find those "WORD VERIFICATIONS" back on my comments section, even though I took them out. And my blog is designed to invite anyone and everyone to comment, and they don't need any accounts etc., to do so.

Anyway, if you're interested in gettin' involved here, and can't get it to work, I'll try and help. This step-by-step is the best offering I can make. Note, these instructions work with my blog setup. Some other blogs might have a variation on the theme

So when you get to the end of an entry or posting, you'll see one of two ways to comment:

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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Once you click that, you should be brought to a page like this one:

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You can start by entering the comment you want to make here:

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Then you can just scroll down

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Where you'll see these options:

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Pick the way you want to go:

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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

And then all you have to do is click the publish button

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That should do it.

Love to hear from you soon!

Secret Santa Time

OK so I got a reminder, and for once I'm going to actually do something on time. (thanks for the reminder, by the way!)

So if you indicated that you want to participate in the Secret Santa, here's how we thought it would work best:

  • Send your address to Jaime or to can email it using the contact Stupid link on the right

  • When you send your address, please include your name! Then, indicate whether you want to use a Screen Name or Nickname instead of your real name when your info is shared with your Secret Santa.

  • When we have all the names, we will randomly assign each person someone to send a gift to.

  • Remember now, the gift should be something that kind of represents the state you live in. It can be a souvenir with the State name on it, or something like that. Nothing crazy expensive...this is for fun!

OK, so start shooting those addresses to us (and if you can please put Secret Santa Address in the subject line)

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The Things They Do

I love my children.

Here, let me say that again. I love my children.

But they do things. Things that convince me that kids are the reason parents get old and die. Things that make me do things like talking to myself.

Some parents, when frustrated, mix up the kids' name.

I invent words: "I can't believe this. This is ungood!"

Ungood. Yes.

In the normal course of life, parents have to teach things to the kids by setting rules: "Don't run into the street"; "Don't play with matches!"

A normal parent shouldn't have to come up with rules like, "Don't butter the dishwasher!", "Don't peel your brother!"

But my kids come up with things to do. In particular, things involving computers.

I had to tell my kids not to unplug cables and wires from the computer. The same kids who don't want to walk the dog 300 feet, will mount this monstrous computer desk, squeeze their bodies into the 4-square-inch space back there, to unplug the pretty purple keyboard cable from the back of the computer.

"Why is the keyboard unplugged?"

"I wanted to see something..."

"See what, how the computer looks when you can't do anything with it? Maybe we'll take the tires off the car next?"

As a dedicated computer geek, I did think outside the box a little. I instructed my kids on some do's and don't's with computers...don't Instant Message with Myspace (too young) not click on hyperlinks in Instant Messages or emails, especially from strangers

Well my oldest got an Instant Message from someone she didn't know. There was a hyperlink in the message.

She, of course, clicked it, and unleashed a Trojan Horse the likes of which have not been seen since Odysseus. The computer languished, unusable, a veritable paperweight for months. Why?

We're all familiar with rhetorical questions, you know, the ones you ask but don't really expect an answer to. "Do I look like an idiot?" or "Did I not make myself clear?"

My rhetorical question that day was, "Where's the little packet with the system disks that came with the computer?"

Yesh, right. Enter the confused, quizzical looks on multiple faces.

This house I'm staying in has magazines dating back to the 1960's, toy parts to things we can't even remember or identify, but that little, tiny packet was a source of intolerable clutter, so, naturally, out it went.

Thanks only to the good people at Dell was I able to get the necessary disks replaced. That kept me from breaking a rule of my own: "No bungee jumping off the roof, ok?"

I remember as a kid my Mom saying, "You keep making that face, it's going to stay that way!"

Well, seems she knew what she was talking about. My face is permanently disfigured now, in what I can only describe as a cross between a confused grimace and a deep scowl.

'cause my kids do things

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Body Wars

I've been doing a pretty thorough job of destroying
my own body, but I do manage to get some outside help. Yesterday, I was
boiling some water for spaghetti. Pop reached into the stove area for something
or other, and knocked the pot over. I have a few blisters, but for the most
part, let's just say we got lucky.
I remember living in NY City, and lying in bed at night.
There were times where it was actually quiet, but occasionally, out of the
blue, you'd hear this horrific sounds as two or three alley cats would decide
to brawl. It was often the suddenness of the outbreak that would startle
you. Well my oldest girl and her Mom get into it in a similar fashion -
out of the blue, WAR! And my daughter has developed this advanced weapon:
she can pitch her voice in such a way that not only does it de-calcify my
spine, it dissolves all the connective tissue in my body so that I wind
up a quivering blob on the floor in some room.

My mouth isn't safe, either. I remember as a kid, my Mom would make homemade
soups. I hated them all! Not because they weren't delicious or anything,
it's because you know when you're a kid, you don't want to wait for anything.
THESE SOUPS NEVER COOLED OFF! And that meant that quite often, hot soup
met young palate and that meant owwie.

Last night, I got the inspiration to create a large pot of homemade chicken
soup Now, being so meticulous, I turned the pot off and left it on the
stove a while to cool before putting it in the fridge. About a half-hour
later, I went to the kitchen. I lifted the lid, took a spoonful to sample
my work.


A half-hour, and this soup IS STILL THERMO-NUCLEAR.

Some power company has to look into chicken soup as a source of permanent
heat. Kinda like the sun.


It's a wonder I'm still alive.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

You Know The Type

This is something I'd been working on, then put aside. I think now that the Holiday Party Season is upon us, it might be fitting now to go ahead and publish.

When you're part of a large group of people, you'll probably encounter a number of "types". People who fit certain descriptions, who behave a certain way, no matter where you are. Let's run through the list quickly, shall we?

  • The Grouch:There's always that one person who arrives in a bad mood, usually after most of the others arrive. They're wearing a scowl, they're usually mumbling about something negative. Traffic stinks, the government sucks, and the Internet provider is screwing them, yet again. Everyone seems to start walking on rice paper, trying to placate The Grouch.When they get near me, I usually show them my concealed weapon

  • The Patient: always ready to recite the litany of medical woes that have befallen them. Can name diseases and conditions that you have never heard of, usually in anatomical order, from head to toe.When I run into Patients, I usually just play dead until they go away

  • The It's My Party Girl: ready to dampen the mood with tales of her latest romantic disaster, canceled Engagement, and the like. Never fails to mention how bad men really are, and that if you're happy, it's just a matter of time. "They're all dogs!"When this one gets near me, I usually just growl

  • The Born-Again: No, not the religious kind. This person was eating out of pig troughs two weeks ago, but thanks to a miserably-failed physical exam recently, is now on the path to righteousness and good health. That'd be ok, normally, but the Born Again wants to change your life now, too, and will inform you just how every single item on the buffet will cause you to suffer a hideous death.When this one gets in my face, I usually just do something like sneeze on their food and walk away

  • Sporty: no, not the Spice Girl. This is the weekend warrior who is going to give you the latest news of the sporting events in their life. They coach, they play, you hear about it. All of it. They usually whine that they wish the host would turn off the music and turn on the TV so they can catch "the game". With this clown, I usually launch into how I won the Heavyweight Title of the World by knocking out Muhammad Ali in the third round. Then I leave.

  • The Politico. No one really likes to talk politics, and most times people will avoid it. That is, unless Politico is present. This person will find any and every opportunity to begin spewing their nonsense. You could be telling a friend how you spent the afternoon trimming the rose bushes, and off he goes: "Speaking of Bush..." When this one gets started, I'll look behind them, scream "OH MY LORD!" and run.

  • Bargain Person: always buys what you bought, but got it $50 bucks cheaper. They always, ALWAYS get a better deal than you, and they live to tell you that. I'll just say something like, "Yeah, well I can't believe that guy would say that about you" and walk away.

  • The Anti-Person: no matter what comes up, they hate it. "Oh I can't be bothered with that crap..." "That movie sucked!" (the one that just topped $300 trillion in box office), "Only an idiot would do that!" You eventually realize that no matter what you do, you're "an idiot". I offer this person a soaking-wet hand in a handshake. Usually gives you time to walk away

  • The Joker: you could be at a funeral for crying out loud, and this guy's got "a great one!" You get a 15-minute monologue, and then you have to do that "socially-polite" laugh. Ugh. I'll typically ask this person how long they've been fighting that illness...

  • Can't Have That Person: Doesn't eat meat. Hates vegetables, looks for onion soda and is surprised you didn't buy some. Is lactose-intolerant, peanut-allergic; seafood makes him swell, popcorn upsets his diverticulitis, and he doesn't care for chocolate. Sushi is too risky. He wants soy milk for his decaf, he asks if the shaker is filled with sea-salt. Cakes give him heartburn, alcohol raises his blood pressure, and yet he still manages to stay alive. This one is actually a lot easier to accomodate than you think: just give him a bingo chip and a quart of motor oil and tell him to sit down and shut up.

  • The Singer: has a singing voice that hits your skull like a dull drill, but insists on randomly bursting out in song at frequent intervals throughout the evening.Everytime someone like this opens up, I'll just start coughing very loudly

  • The Contrarian: will take the opposite side of every opinion expressed, even if it means contradicting themselves several times through the day. Loves the Death Penalty at 9 PM, hates it at 11:30.When I've had enough, I'll say something like, "Didn't I kill you in Korea?

  • But my personal favorite one is The Expert: knows everything about everything. You don't, and she's gonna educate the misinformed. All night. 'nuff said.

The weird thing is, these people are annoying, abrasive and flat-out unwelcome, yet they'll be there, somehow. Why is that?

Have fun noticing them next time you're out, ok?

An Open Appeal!

One thing I have come to understand is that Blogging can be a source of great information.

So here's my situation. In addition to his cancer, Pop has fallen victim to colitis. He's also been a long-time sufferer of diverticulitis, as well as major lactose-intolerance.

Stay with me now...

So part of the job-description for me has been preparing meals. I'm living with my kids and their Mom, so pulling off meals that Pop can live with, and the others can enjoy has not been easy.

Now I have been consulting a lot of websites. The diverticulitis is seeds, nuts, popcorn, etc. Don't cook with them much anyway. But the colitis is a tough cookie. There is no "Colitis Diet" so to speak. There are some definite foods to avoid: high-fat things like bacon and sausage. Meats need to be lean, which can often translate to dry. But mostly, you keep track of "trigger foods" which can set off an attack, and avoid them in the future. Sadly, "trial and error" can mean a few flare-ups while we learn.

So I've come up with a few sure things to go with in the "safe" category. Chicken and turkey sit well with him. (stuffing doesn't!). You kind of go against convention in that you are advised to avoid high-fiber foods. Eggs are good, and low-fiber foods are acceptable, especially during flare-ups.

Well, after cooking all the "ok" dishes, I find that the menu is rather limited. There's a lot of foods out there that he used to love, but can't have any more. He can eat pancakes just fine, just no sausage. Bacon is out. Most pork foods are out, as a matter of fact. Foods that start out ok can wind up in fatty recipes. He doesn't care much for stews and casseroles, which are usually fatty in nature anyway, but chicken-breast cutlets, lean cuts of pork (tenderloin) do ok. I made a dry-roast eye round of beef which sat pretty well with him, so there is a lot of confusion here at Chez Stupid, you know?

Anyone who cares to be kind to Stupid here, contributing a recipe to me would be much appreciated. If it fits in the comments I'll keep an eye there, or you could use the contact link on the top right of my page. I would really appreciate it. Managing the menus for Pop, a teenaged girl, a growing boy and an 8 year old girl, along with their slightly-finicky Mom has been quite the challenge. Maybe a reality show is in the works!

Thanks in advance. I really need your help!