Agony of Defeat

It is that time. Time for that event that although it doesn’t actually affect the life of the average American, every four years we are supposed to act like we care.Thanks to the mass media that infiltrates so many aspects of our lives, we are force fed the event and all its sordid characters. It is truly unpleasant this time around due to the way big business has injected its influence so that the average citizen has very little impact on the ultimate outcomes. You know what I am speaking of right? Hell No! Its not the presidential election. The Freemasons and the Illuminati have already scripted out what’s going to happen in that whole deal. I am talking about something slightly more distasteful, the Summer Olympics.

Ah, the games of the….um….let’s see…..the “x” is ten and the “v” is five and if it’s on the left you subtract, or was that add….or maybe you multiply by the “I”…..Damn you roman numerals. Let’s just call it the London Games. It is so sad that a culture that I really admire has been saddled with this monstrosity. For it is the time when people who don’t follow sports pay attention to events which aren’t really sports.

Let me see if I can simplify my complex emotion and psychological impressions about the Olympic Games: I will start my saying, “they” and finish by saying,”suck”. The whole Olympic deal is a farce and waste of airtime that the networks should be devoting to video footage of millionaire N.F.L. players stretching their hamstrings and playing catch in shorts. Heck, my disdain for the Olympics is so great it almost makes me want to watch major league baseball, almost.

My biggest problem with the Olympics is how they are such a waste of natural patriotic pride.There is already a great way to determine which country has the most valiantly patriotic athletes and citizens. Its called war. And don’t give me that whole peacenik pablum about the games being a pacifistic way to ensure the brotherhood of all men. The modern Olympic movement started in 1896, and in the century since, it isn’t like warfare has had to have a “going out of business” sale. For pete’s sake, they even let the Nazis be the home team for one Olympics. That’s like having a benefit concert for victims of heat stroke and then holding it in the Sahara Desert. Nice idea but really bad execution. The bad news is that the Olympics could function as a kind of Warfare March Madness if we could just get them to get rid of the wussy weapons the use in these “events” . Javelins? Shot Puts? Bow and Arrow? We are talking about world domination, not killing a wildebeest. I am sure someone will mention the shooting sports. I am sorry but in order for me to respect a shooting competition you are going to have to stop using the guns that look like they were bought at Captain Jack Sparrow‘s garage sale.

The thrill of victory has been replaced by the unimaginative and the unwatchable. Here is my rundown of the travesties..I mean Olympic events:

I have a special level of hatred reserved for the “sports” in the Olympics. Just because you use a ball doesn’t make the event any better than the other “non-ball” events. And to tell the truth, the entire Olympics is a “non-ball” event. In order for me to care about a sport, there are a few guidelines the activity must meet.

  1. Must be played with a ball. Keep you discuseseses and your pucks to yourself ya commies.
  2. Equipment for said sport must be for sale at the local sporting goods store, like Sports Authority and the like. If I can’t buy it at Dick’s, then the people who play it must be.
  3. Americans must be good at it. We did not become the greatest country in the world by wasting our time practicing sports that no one care about, that is Canada’s job.

Water Polo

I get that it may be difficult to tread water while playing a game that is basically aquatic kickball, but you have to lose the goofy headgear and all the referees. I like the idea of a sport where a flagrant foul can result is the use of a Defibrillator.

Land Polo a.k.a. Handball

Oh, so you made up a game for water polo players with aqua phobia . That sure was considerate, but unfortunately we already have a game that is basically water polo on dry land. We call it soccer.

Soccer

Do we really need yet another worldwide soccer competition? European players already play under more leagues than Captain Nemo. Do we have to have one more?

Basketball

Sorry Olympics but we already had a world championship and Lebron won it  The only way to improve Olympic basketball is to make it a true exhibition. I would love to watch a game between the Dream Team and five pygmies from Borneo. It would be like watching a giraffe wrestle a squirrel. The outcome would never be in doubt but the competition sure would be interesting.

Table Tennis

You lying bastards. This is just ping pong and we already beat the rest of the world back when Forrest Gump was playing for us.

Badminton

I can’t complain about a sport that grandmothers can still play.My favorite part is when the N.B.C. commentators have to use the word,”shuttlecock”. It makes me giggle.

Wrestling

It is not an actual wrestling competition unless someone in the event has the nickname, “The Nature Boy”.

Canoe/Kayak

The only time this type of Olympic event was interesting was during the games in Atlanta because they were held on the Chattahoochee river. That is right, the same river that they filmed Deliverance on. It is the only Olympics that I have ever been thrown out of for playing the banjo. And I don’t care what security says, telling the team from Belarus that, “they sure have a pretty mouth” is just damn funny.

Modern Pentathlon

You cannot actually refer to your event as “modern” if two of the activities that you are competing in are fencing and show jumping. That is like throwing an abacus down in front of a black-and-white t.v. and calling it a computer.

Equestrian

The only interesting part of this event this year is that Mitt Romney’s mare is at the Olympics. Oh, and I heard he has a horse competing too.

Tae kwon do/Judo

Nice try, but it is not a true martial arts endeavor if you are fighting only one guy at at time. Put Uma Thurman or Jet Li in that contest and they could win all 12 rounds at once. Plus, the Cobra Kai are going to win it all like they do every year. That Johnny Lawrence is a bad-ass.

Diving

Wow, lets just go ahead and give the medal to the thing that makes the diving possible. Way to go gravity.

Synchronized Swimming

The only way to make this event interesting is to add a great white shark.

Gymnastics

Let me see if I get this straight. I am supposed to watch a bunch of young men and women in skin tight spandex to roll around on the floor and then bounce their nubile bodies all over the gym. No thanks Zandusky, I will pass.

Well, I hope you enjoy the Olympics. I am going to go spend time in a place with less chemically treated bodies than the Olympics. I am going to a Meth Lab.

 

 

 

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Looking Backwards

Funspot's Skee-Ball

Step off Bitches, this is my game!

I really pity my children. No, not because of the shame and embarrassment that having me for a father brings upon them on a daily basis. Nor is it due to the fact that they are going to make some therapist very rich  when they get older. I am not even talking about the inevitable public scene that occurs every time we go out, I don’t care if he was 5 years-old everybody knows that the Skeeball at Chuckie Cheese is my “turf”. I just feel bad about the world they are growing up in. This isn’t a lament about the fact that I now have to suit my kids up in Kevlar to take them to the movies or the fact that by the time they are grown the average daily temperature will be around 160 degrees. This is more about the wonderful things that I had as a kid, that they never will. Childhood is about rituals and the rituals I experienced as a kid made me who I am today. Oh wait, that is probably not the best endorsement.

I remember the joy that was walking to school. Once you got of a certain age, the feeling of independence as you would cut thru other people’s yards on your way to the day’s learning was amazing. Nobody hassled you as you would enjoy the peace and quiet. It was also comforting to know that every house along the way was a refuge of safety as you knew everybody in the neighborhood and saw that a parent at each house was looking out for you. I watch kids walk to school today and they act like they are trying to traverse the landscape in a zombie holocaust.  They have a look of abject fear as they cross the streets because they know that the average car driver is more likely to be watching a funny cat video than actually watching the roads. Whereas I felt safer because the neighbors were watching me, they know that a neighbor staring at  them is probably the first step to them becoming part of an Amber Alert. However, the kids are learning one valuable survival lesson,” If you fall behind, you get left behind.”

Bowling Alley Telephone

Data Plan? I don’t think so

I think that we should change the way we refer to time. Historians use the designations of “B.C.” and “A.D.” to refer to the different eras. I think we need to change those to “B.C.I.D.” and “A.C.I.D.”, that is “before caller i.d”. and “after caller i.d.”. Caller i.d. and their bastard child the cell phone have robbed kids of a lot of fun and a skill that all people need to master, cold calculated revenge. If a teacher disrespected us in class or gave homework on a weekend , or was late with the bribe money, they would be guaranteed to find themselves awakened by a 2 a.m. phone call by someone claiming to be the police or they would never go hungry because there would be at least 25 pizzas delivered to their house between 11 p.m. and 11:15 p.m. If you called a business and said you were the President, they had to trust you because there was no technological way to verify it otherwise. This also made dating way easier as a teen. You knew someone liked you if you would get two or three of the following phone calls: Ring….Ring….Hello?…click. It was like a warm up to actually talking to someone you were crushing on. If you do that today, the person on the other end immediately knows who you are and they develop little pet names for you like,”stalker” and “defendant”. The greatest thing about the anonymity of telephones was the joy of calling you parents at Midnight  and explaining to them how i was still at the “Library” Thankfully my parents never thought to ask me where exactly in the library did they keep all the Boone’s Farm.

Day 044/365

God bless you Dewey Decimal System

My kids will never know the pure joygasm that Saturday morning brought them. Today’s kids think they have it made in that there are a half dozen channels on cable or satellite that show cartoons, but the reality is that several of those channels are just repeated channels for time zone difference. Watching the same show 4 hours after you watched it the first time is not actually variety, its repetition. When I was growing up, the only cartoons were shown in a 4 hour 3 network block of programming on Saturday morning. You started planning your viewing the night before. I remember putting more effort into planning how I was going to get up early on Saturday than I did for any science project I ever completed. If you happened to get up too early , you had to endure either some Farm Report, cause the price of soybean futures are soooooooo interesting, or some half-assed kids’ news show. The great part of the kids’ news shows were that they were a kind of Nerd Litmus Test. They would pick the geekiest kids in the world to host those shows and as long as you were less nerdy than those wastes of oxygen you felt pretty good. As a sort of pallet cleanser, the next show would usually be one of the Sid and Marty Kroft freak shows. They would usually feature some over acting kids and a bunch of Giangantic talking puppets. We watched shows like HR Puffnstuff and people wonder why drug use went up in the 1980s.

Finally, the real entertainment would arrive. There were great shows like The Challenge of the Super-friends, it was a great show except for the damn Wondertwins. Really, you turn into water? It is not a superpower if you can be defeated by a Brawny paper towel. In addition to the classic Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman collection of heroes, they would include characters like Apache Chief, who could turn from a regular sized native american into…….a giant native american. That is a neato power but unfortunately it is about 120 years too late.

As great as the other cartoons were, they were just an opening act for the rock stars of all cartoons, The Looney Tunes. I loved Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and the rest . Not only were they entertaining, they were educational. I learned that the duck is actually the natural predator of the mexican mouse  . I learned that gravity only affects you if you

Yeah, I would hit that.

look down. I learned that it is always “Duck Season”. And most importantly, a rabbit in a dress will pass for a human female every time.

The kids today also suffer from the advertising icons like we never did. Tony the Tiger was a kitchen-bound friend to us. Now he is a roided out freak who encouraged kids to eat a big bowl of cereal and milk and then run around in the heat playing soccer. Any cartoon animal that encourages the playing of soccer should be euthanized. We had the Cookie Crisp Cookie Crook. We learned about a tasty cereal and the need to stay out of jail. But most of all, we kept Ronald McDonald where he belonged, in a fantasy world populated by Hamburglers, giant purple Grimaces and Mayors who heads were actually cheeseburgers. Today he is in commercials roaming the streets and parks  of America. Sorry, a clown in a park is the subject of a nightmare or a criminal trial not a commercial. I don’t know what a McFlurry is, but I have a bad feeling that the principle ingredient is Roofies.

There were lots of other fun things that my kids will never know. Things like having chicken pox and wanting to peal your skin off for a week, and that apparently means you can get Shingles ,which are chicken pox’s bad ass older brother, when you get older. They will never know what it means to “be kind and please rewind”. They won’t understand the dangers of sleeping on a water bed if you have keys in your pocket. I still wear a life jacket to sleep on my Temper-pedic cause you just never know. They don’t understand the days before youth coaches had background checks. What do you call 4 hours of physical torment? Football practice.

SSgt R Lee Ermey

No Coach, I don’t want to die.

They won’t ever know how it felt to think that the nukes might fall on you at any moment, and hoping the would hit your neighbors house first cause he ratted you out for breaking his window with that baseball. They also won’t know what it was like to feel like you would be a smart- assed teenager forever….and to be right.

 

 

A Confession

It has been a strange kind of day and a lovely combination of stress headache and pinched nerve in my shoulder have left me quite sedentary today and that always leads to thoughts far deeper than I planned on contemplating . But, here goes:

The very nature of our relationships with the people closest to us is probably something that shouldn’t be over analyzed but I did it anyway. After long deep consideration I have discovered something. I have been married for more than twenty years, which is  a time span greater than the amount of my life I was single. She has been in my life as a friend since I was 15 years old. That amount of time results in us just presuming certain things. I have come to conclude that some of those presumptions are not always completely accurate. So here’s today’s “the things I have learned” and they are very simple. I don’t love my wife. Here is why:

  • Love is selfish but Like is generous.
  • Love says “I cannot live without you” but Like says “I could but I choose to live with you”
  • Love gets tired but Like is always as wired as a 5 Hour Energy washed down with a Monster
  • Love buys you fancy lingerie but Like thinks you look sexy in sweatpants and a t-shirt
  • Love is going out on a Friday night but Like enjoys spending a Tuesday night together
  • Love remembers your very first kiss but Like thinks every kiss feels like that very first one.
  • Love talks of “in sickness and in health” but Like brings you NyQuil and chicken soup when you are ill.
  • Love takes you out to the finest restaurant in town but Like makes you dinner and cleans up the kitchen afterwards.
  • Love treats you like a queen but Like treats you like a partner.
  • Love is amazed by what you have done but Like is impressed by the things you will do.
  • Love applauds your strengths but Like helps you with your weaknesses.
  • Love is forever but Like is timeless.
  • Love says “I’m Sorry” but Like vows to never make the same mistakes again.
  • Love buys you jewelry for Christmas but Like goes and gets you ice cream at eleven o’clock at night.
  • Love consoles you when you are sad but Like cries along with you.
  • Love is roses on Valentines day but Like is a daisy on a random Thursday
  • Love never wants to be alone but Like knows that distance has no bearing on how you feel.
  • Love is a compulsion but Like is a choice.
  • Love says “God bless you” when you sneeze  but Like brings you a tissue.
  • Love is with you constantly but Like gives you the space you need.
  • Love writes you poems but Like tells you jokes.
  • Love takes you out for a night on the town but Like comes and picks you up when you are too drunk to drive home.
  • Love says,” Be my lover” but Like says,”Be my friend”
  • Love believes but Like knows.

I don’t love my wife and I hope she doesn’t love me but we sure are in Like.

 

 

Spare Change?

It usually starts before the Halloween candy has been eaten. Sure the Hershey bars and the Gummy Bears are gone but that vast pedestrian mix of Sweet Tarts and Laffy Taffy still remain. It is the first week of November and all thoughts begin to gear up for the madness of the Holiday season.  And from the extra helping of stuffing on Thanksgiving evening through the parties that mark the month of December, and the vast arrays of cookies, pies and Honey Baked hams  and Irish Coffee that they entail, we start looking for that magic date when we will get organized and start our diets and generally be the kind of person we have failed to be for the past 2 months of the year.  The first of January beckons us to come and get right with all the things that are wrong in our lives. It is pointed to as the magic time when we can pull the raggedy ass car that is ourselves into the garage of New Years and drive out the next day totally repaired and renewed.

Businesses of every size and type take advantage of this universal belief in what new years’ resolutions can do for us. All the gyms run special deals and fill their rosters of the people who think that 5 minutes on the treadmill will make up for the previous 12 months of having the same amount of physical activity that a glacier has. Any restaurant with a salad bar is filled with people who think that an ounce of lettuce topped with eggs, cheese ,bacon and gobs of  blue cheese dressing is considered a “healthy lunch”.  You buy the planners, the exercise DVDs, the workout clothes, the healthy food cookbooks and every other  organize your life accessory but the start cold reality is that what you are doing isn’t really change. It just ends up being consumerism and you can’t buy your way into being the person you want.

It’s not your fault. The timing of the endeavor is to blame. The depression of leaving all the fun, excitement , and joy that the holidays bring make it impossible to fully understand how to make the true steps to create the kind of life modification that we are looking for. So you walk in lock step with the rest of society and despite your best intentions find yourself failing to make the adjustments you need. I am right there with you, and the month of February finds me the same person as I was in November.

I have been thinking a lot about change recently and am discovering that the time for change isn’t in the bleak dark days of winter but rather in the bold sunny days that make Summertime what it is. There is no just ended holiday season that you feel repentant about. There is no mass of people who you feel socially obligated to join in their ill-conceived plans of change . There are no revenue driven plots by business to sell you “quick-fix” or “easy” paths to the alterations you seek. There are also not the pitfalls that January lays in front of us. No shortened days that are to cold to go out and get the things done that we desire. There are no mad rushes to catch up on the work at the office that the abbreviated schedules of December have sabotaged. There is also not the defeatism that haunts as us as we watch everyone else abandon the goals that they set for themselves just weeks before.

In the light of the Summer sun, we will succeed or we will fail in making the changes we need solely based on our own effort. There are no pitfalls, there are no excuses. We will change if we choose and that is the only way.

The more I look at it, the more I realize that Summer is naturally made for making modifications in our lives. It is the season of transitions. Most weddings occur during the Summer, and what greater change can one make than learning everything you ever did and said was completely dead wrong. Thanks to the joy that are Fall football parties and the liquid merriment that they bring, there are also an abundance of babies born in the middle of the Summer. Speaking of change, say hello to you new child and say good-bye to ever sleeping again. Those are just the grand changes that Summer brings, but it also brings more personal, quiet and subtle changes.

You don’t always see these changes coming, but they are there just the same. Watching as your child graduates from one level of school changes  your relationship with them. Your shy elementary boy is now a middle school-er who starts to experiment with the self-confidence that growing older brings. The teenager that you drove to school is now a young women who seeks to create a life for herself in the adult world. Thankfully due to Summer, you have the extended days to journey with them through these changes and truly enjoy the  joys that their maturing can bring.

There are career changes as well, either voluntary or instituted upon us , that we must deal with. The seasonal opportunities that the Summer brings allows us to seek out that new challenge and maybe take a chance at an opportunity that would never have been pursued in the dark days of January. These changes can be scary or exhilarating and their success in entirely in how we embrace them.

There are changes in our personal relationships in the Summer months that also happen . It’s about changing from someone being an acquaintance to becoming your friend.  It maybe that of a father who is staying home with the kids all Summer and the difficulty that presents as he tries to find where he fits in if he is not going to work. There are the struggles of a mother as she has to trust strangers to watch her children as she works , without having the scheduled reassurance that the normal school year brings.  Unfortunately, this time of year also brings a fair share of relationships in turmoil and the grand questions that this creates. Do we fix it, or do we walk away?

Watching our friends and families deal with this season of change is full of complicating feelings. Do we encourage the opportunity for someone despite that it may take them away from us? Do we try to help mend the  fractures in the lives of people we can about, or is just being a listening ear good enough? Are we spending enough time with those who are suffering from physical ailments, or emotional stress?  How far are we willing to go to help those closest to us make the changes that they so desperately need?

We must always be vigilant that the changes we seek in our on life is real and substantive. We are not talking about organizing a linen closet or losing 5 pounds but rather using the season and its inherent gifts as a way to take the risks that will result in becoming closer to the person we  always knew we could be . This is the season of change. may it be everything we need it to be.

 

 

 

Here comes da’ Judge

It started, as most things do, on a random Tuesday. Despite what people like to say about Mondays, I find that Tuesdays are truly the worst days. Monday may be the start of the work week but you can always fake your way through it. People spend most of Monday recalling the great things that happened over the weekend. Most are busy checking the emails that they blew off on Friday afternoon. The rest of the people are either too tired, too sunburned, or too hung over to really have the energy to take it as a serious day of work and even if you don’t accomplish jack squat you have the comfort in the fact that you have 4 more days to catch it up.  Additionally,  of the eleven National Holidays that we as Americans celebrate, five of them fall on a Monday. That means that if the government would just do as I suggested and move every national, religious, and cultural holiday into a single month, I like the idea of calling it “Do Nothing-tember” of course to be followed by “Broke-tober”, we could actually wipe an entire month of Mondays off the calendar.

I like the whole concept of Wednesdays. I love the “Hump Day” designation.  I would like it better if Hump Day actually referred to camels, but nothing is perfect. Plus the week is 50% over and if my years spent in public schools taught me any thing it is that 50% is good enough.

Thursdays are basically Friday Eve. You have the motivation that if you just knock it all out at work on Thursday you can just cruise into the weekend. Thursday nights are also great for going out as a kind of “on-deck circle” for Friday nights. It doesn’t really feel like you have to work the next day, although you probably do, cause the boss will either come in late on Friday or not all at. So you can go out and get a good baseline drunk going . You won’t go get smashed but you will probably be just lubricated enough to make some plans for Friday night that will turn out to be really bad ideas and as I have mentioned on numerous occasions, I love bad ideas.

Friday is just Friday. Its a kind of like you are running a 5k race. You may have walked almost the whole time but you will sprint the last 20 feet to the finish line and feel like you have kicked ass the whole way. Plus, Friday also usually means either a short day or a long lunch so either way you have made it.

But, Tuesday! Tuesday how I hate you. Tuesday, you bastard child of Sunday and Monday. The weekend is too far behind you for you to feel its warmth and too far ahead of you for you to see its light. It is a day when your bosses actually expect you to “work” and they use words like “focus” and “effort” and “responsibilities”. These words are all too often followed by other ones like,” its your job” and “thirty day notice” and “fired”. Even if you do have the inner fortitude to take all that Tuesday has to offer at the office, when you get home you have a whole new set of traps that Tuesdays has put out for you. Odds are that Fridays paycheck is long gone. When you check you bank account o the computer, you see images of cobwebs and tumbleweeds. The last time I called the bank’s  voice automated account line on Tuesday to check my balance, I could actually hear an  echo. Even worse is that by Tuesday you are socially obligated to call and talk to the people who you have avoided conversing with since Friday.

This particular Tuesday had set a far more devious trap and it used the United States Postal Service to spring it. Since I have been taking a month long sabbatical, I like that word better  than referring  to it as the month I have been sitting on my ass eating pop tarts and playing Madden, the grand schemes that Tuesdays like to hurl at me at work can’t reach me. Since I have not bought a calendar since sometime in the mid 1990s, there are days that I may not even be fully aware of the date. So Tuesday can hide, and wait. It was such a day when I went to get the mail. The mailbox was full of the usual envelopes of credit card offers and coupons for places that I have never heard of. I filed the mail as I usually do, I threw it on the dining room table as I passed by. Then, I saw it. It emerged from between the flyers of the 5 Rent-to-Own places that send us weekly ads. It wasn’t an envelope. It was far more evil.

It was rectangular in shape and had a strange seal upon the front. It possessed no traditional triangular flap in order to release its evil. No, it had tabs you had to tear off. Now, there are three things in life that freak me out. They are clowns(duh!), carnies( have little feet, smell like cabbage) and envelopes that  you have to follow directions to open. Clearly this was my nemesis, the non tent related thing that I fear. Unlike regular envelopes, which may contain the birthday cards from relatives written in old lady script, or notifications about parties to come(not everybody uses Facebook to invite people), or promises of great wealth from imprisoned Nigerian royalty. Envelopes with tabs always bring ill tidings. They are either pin numbers to atm cards that are linked to accounts with zero balances or notice from the friendly community “non-profit” utility provider informing you that if you don’t pay up, you are about to have a lot more in common with the Amish than your crappy beard. This piece of correspondence was neither. It was that which all men dread, Jury Duty.

You know that a thing is the embodiment of all that Hell can spawn, if it has the same name as a Pauly Shore movie. I am fairly confident that I will end my life at the hands of a serial killer who calls himself Encino Man, but I digress. As I read through  the official jury notice, I paid attention to the rules and requirements of my obligation. I love how they make it so clear that failure to as directed could result in jail time. I love the fact that the person who skips jury duty will face deeper sanctions than the person on trial. Since I have this medical condition, I am allergic to jail. I decided to comply with my civic call. That’s just me. I am a giver.

Here is how I envision my day of jury duty. Trust me, it will be the worst $15.00 the state of Florida has ever spent.

First of all, a little background on the legal system in northeast Florida. We have just recently opened the new courthouse that has been under construction since slightly before the last ice age. It is a beautiful monument to what bribes and poor urban planning can do to a city. It is my honor and privilege to profane and defile such lovely architecture. I also feel the need to inform you that despite what is shown in every movie based on John Grisham‘s novels that yes we do have air conditioning.

The notice informs me that parking is about is rare as a Chicago Cub World Series, so I am encouraged, I love it when the government encourages me to do stuff like pay my taxes, to park at Ever-bank Field and take a shuttle to the courthouse. Ever- bank field is the home to our beloved Jacksonville Jaguars, no they haven’t moved yet, and I have spent quite a bit of time at that stadium’s parking lot so I feel comfortable with the arrangement. or at least I thought I would be comfortable. Apparently, you are NOT supposed to tailgate before jury duty. The lovely officer informed me that if that if you are tailgating more than a month before the next football game, then it is not tailgating. It is just being drunk in a parking lot. I guess we would have been nicer if the burgers and hot dogs had been done. Then the attitude really started. Much to my surprise, the court shuttle drivers don’t find it funny when you jump into the bus and yell”follow that car”. The guys on the monorail at Disney World thought it was hilarious. Also, not a good idea to try to collect fares from the other people on the bus, none of them had exact change. I tell you one thing, it is no fun to play “Punch Buggy”  with a blind guy. He hits like a girl.

It was such a unique experience for me to enter a courthouse from the front door and its harder to know how to space yourself from the man in front of when you are not shackled to him. I really enjoyed the security process but I may have pushed it too far the fourth time I asked for the pat down. I also got quite the odd looks when I started giggling like a school girl every time  I said that I was there for Jury “Doodie”.

We were brought in and told to wait. Thanks to my ADD, that seemed like an eternity. Finally we were told to proceed to the courtroom so we could be examined by the lawyers. Much to my chagrin, this for some reason requires us not to take out shirts off and wave them in the air. Today is just such a learning experience. My fellow juror asked if I had ever served before and found my story about being the fourth judge on American Idol to be a bit far fetched. The process was long and boring so you are encouraged to bring something to occupy your time. Items that they approve include crossword puzzles and cross stitch but they didn’t seem to appreciate my serenading the courtroom with my skills on the kazoo..

Some other things I learned:

  • Asking,” how much time til Wapner gets here”  is frowned upon.
  • Do not refer to the bailiffs as Officer Friendly. They also refuse to address me as “Commodore” no matter how may times I reminded them.
  • Do not answer the questions on the interview form in pig latin.
  • Lawyers have  very short tempers, especially when you keep referring to them as Matlock.
  • Every body thought it was funny when I stood up and yelled,”You Are Not The Father!” Well, everybody but the guy with the tazer.
  • The choices are guilty or not guilty. Damn Skippy is not an acceptable alternative.
  • It would be nice if for once some one could call me sir, without adding ,”you are making a scene”.
  • No one will tell you when Batman is going to testify.
  • Gavels hurt.
  • Only the presiding  judge is allowed to show up in a robe, and apparently no one is supposed to wear a snuggy.

There are only a few finite ways to be excused from jury duty and just yelling,” Not It” is not one of them. So I will probably get to serve and I guess that is what’s wrong with the system. Your fate is in the hands of 12 people, not smart enough to get out of jury duty.

 

 

Hail Marys and other prayers

When I first started experimenting with this whole blogging thing over on Facebook, a friend of mine who is not known for offering advice, gave me some. He said to write what I wanted and believed in but, no matter what, to never talk about politics nor religion. So I sit here thinking to myself,”Since when do I follow good advice?” Now, politics are something that I will continue to shy away from due to my medical condition. You see, I was born with a special genetic syndrome that makes me incapable of being a hypocrite. It has this strange side effect in that it makes me reason  out issues fairly and rationally instead of just going in lock step with whatever political ideology is most convenient for me to cling to.But don’t worry about me, cause I am seeking treatment and someday I will be like all the rest of the close minded neanderthals. So buckle up for a very spiritual “the things I have learned”:

I am a southerner as were my parents before me. If you are not from here you will have difficulty understanding the southern religious frame of mind because religion here is unlike what it is anywhere else. In reading the rest of this you must hear the voice of the classic southern preacher. It is full of accent and vernacular. A word of warning: I am referring to the classic southern preacher/warden voice that says things like ” What we have got here is a failure to communicate” not the southern voice that says,”Boy you sure do have a pretty mouth”. So please hear the voice that drops all the “n’s” and “s’s” at the ends of words and pronounced all the vowels like they have 18 syllables.

Some of us worship on Saturday nights and some of us do so on Sundays. The truly devout worship on both days but there will always be one day of service that they value more. We build vast gleaming shrines made of concrete and steel so that we may all worship with our like minded brothers and sisters in unity.We even welcome those of opposing faiths to join us but we make sure they sit on the pews opposite from ours. We even welcome those of other faiths to convert to our way of worshiping but that rarely happens. For the faith that you were born into will likely stay with you for all of your life.

Our religion draws vast pilgrims to our holy sites from areas both far and wide. These pilgrims will sometimes be forced to camp in cities of tents and r.v.’s due to their numbers swelling beyond what the local hotels can accommodate. Our religious leaders dress in distinguished fashion in a manner that suits their lofty position not like some of the “newer” faiths whose leaders where polos and hoodies to tend to their flock. We gather in small prayer groups before the services begin and start to motivate the faiths  of ourselves and others. After a particularly moving service, we will take  to the streets to proselytize any non believer that we meet and point out to them the error of their ways. This sometimes leads to vast physical conflicts for we will not tolerate disrespect to our faith.

We have great hymns that we sing throughout the service and sometimes long after the service has ended. These hymns are played by grand orchestras and accompanied by the choirs of those with the voices of angels. These holy songs bind us to our brethren and reinforce our faith. We even mark our vehicles with special insignias so that our fellow believers can recognize us wherever we go. Unlike some lesser faiths, we don’t have to pass the plate for collections. Our fellow church goers gladly give till it hurts before they have even entered into the main body of the church. We tithe to the fullest extent but never complain for we know that the funds are needed to keep the church growing.

We are holy warriors. We are the holy. We are the devout. We are southerners and our religion is football. For those of us who worship at the altar of Saturday afternoons and the College game we will go to towns with names like Tuscaloosa and Chapel Hill .  We will go to many of these similar places, towns with one stoplight and two Whataburgers. The school you root for is a serous matter and there is more animosity between fans of rival schools than has ever existed between Jew and Muslim. Think that is an exaggeration? In the south true “hate ” is reserved for perverts, wife beaters, and the criminally insane. If you are a college football fan, you read that last sentence and immediately added the name of the fans from your rival school. Need more proof? Only in college football is there an entire industry of people writing books just to denigrate their opponent and its fans. A disclaimer: I am a dyed in the wool, bleeds garnet and gold, Bobby Bowden loving, calling Doak Campbell Stadium “God’s County”, Charlie Ward cheering, Tallahassee missing,Steve Spurrier hating, Burt Reynolds mustachioed  SEMINOLE.Hell, I even plant a burning spear in my front yard before I write my blog every morning just to psyche myself up. However, you can just insert the name of your rival school and these little nuggets of joy will work just as well:

  • How do you get to Gainesville? You go south until you smell it and then west until you step in it.
  • Why did Florida pick orange as its color? So its fans could go hunting on Saturday morning, go to the game on Saturday afternoon, get arrested and go to jail on Sunday, and go straight to their job on the back of the garbage truck on Monday and never have to change their shirt.
  • What do you get when you cross a pig and a Gator cheerleader? Nobody knows because there are somethings even a pig won’t do.

Just to be charitable, I will give the Florida fans a peace offering:

  • What do you call a F.S.U. grad in a suit? The defendant
  • What do you call four F.S.U. grads in a Cadillac? Grand Theft Auto

As you can see, we treat this whole college football thing with a level of seriousness that most people reserve for family relationships and religions. If football is our religion then Fall is our high holidays. It starts as the players report to school and two a days begin. The information slowly leaks out of campus and to the fans as to what the season will bring. We can’t wait to get to the season opener. Until kickoff, everything is possible. Every team is a contender for the national championship. Then, the first game is played and you lose your star running back to injury and you find out that the q.b. can’t read a blitz and your defense has one flaw in that they don’t know how to tackle. Do you lose hope? Hell No. You just start talking about quality losses and next spring’s recruiting class. Then you state the mantra that has been keeping the hopes of mediocre programs alive for decades,”Wait ’til next year.”

Some people cite the pomp and tradition of the college game for the reason that they love it so. They call it more family friendly than the pro game and talk about the purity of the “amateurs” who play it. Sure they are amateurs just like the Olympians except I don’t see the 18 year old hopeful on the luge team driving around in an Escalade that his single parent family living in the projects just magically figured out they could afford. Others talk about how they love that there is no alcohol allowed at the games.NO ALCOHOL?  College football is single handedly responsible for keeping the flask and plastic baggy industry solvent. If you see the t.v. shot of the student section at any college game, and you don’t see any drunks then you have accidentally turned on the B.Y.U game. If you see a group of college students and half are dressed like cowboy/prostitutes and the other half have painted their body in glitter while wearing a cape and a Centurion helmet, they are not drinking applejuice.

Speaking of out of control drunks, there is no better way for a former alcoholic to see the folly of this addictive ways than to take him to an N.F.L. game. This is an event where they have cordoned off entire decks at the stadium just to give people special places to get plastered. God bless ’em. The pro games are more than about drinking, they are about Fantasy Football and drinking. I love Fantasy Football because nothing makes me happier than having to cheer for the opposing teams’ q.b. because I started him this week and if I drop down another place in the standings the other guys in accounting will be riding my ass about it for the rest of the winter. And don’t even mention the office pool, that I didn’t have enough money to enter so I took Junior’s lunch money and dammit if Dallas isn’t covering the spread and I should have taken the over on the Tampa Bay game and WTF are the Browns doing scoring this late in the game just to kill the 3 and a half I laid on them..AAAARRRRRRRRGGGGGGGG!

They should change the slogan to,” The N.F.L., cause you ain’t got enough emotional conflict in your life.” But I do love the N.F.L. game because of the family aspect of it. Coming out and enjoying the game as family really seems to bridge the generation gap. It is a proven fact that nothing brings people closer together than all three generations of a family dropping “f-bombs” on a referee because he missed a holding call.

Some people claim that the N.F.L. game is in decline. They say that the outrageous ticket prices and concession prices that make the movie theaters blush with embarrassment have finally caught up with and are destroying the fans’ ability to attend the games. I don’t think that’s the problem. I just think they need to come up with more exciting ways to engage the fans at the stadium. I have a few ideas. Get your pen and paper ready Mr. Roger  Goodell:

  • Quit moving the kick off line. Make the kickoff more exciting by combining it with the flyover. Imagine the excitement as the F-16 hurls the football out the bomb bay doors while doing mach 3. The good news is that even if the return man makes contact with the football at the twenty yard line, the force of impact will result in a touch back every single time.
  • Old timers always lament about the rules to protect the quarter back.” Just put them in a dress”, they will moan. Exactly. Imagine how Payton Manning would look in a flowing little Dolce and Gabanna number or think how great Aaron Rodgers would look wearing a lacy piece from Christian Lacroix. Not only would this give the game another marketing opportunity it would open the game up to an entire segment of the population that aren’t currently known for their love of sports.
  • During a replay challenge, don’t have the referee go look at the video under the hood. I propose that we have the previous play acted out on the field by the local improv troupe. “OK, it is a running play performed in the style of…..anyone?….ok  kabuki theatre!”
  • Eliminate the Pro Bowl game and replace it with a  skills competition.  Not skills like running and catching but the true skills that N.F.L. players possess. There could be a wife/girlfriend beating contest. We could play a rousing game of “Are you my daddy?” We could gather all of the DUI offenders in the league and have the most kick ass demolition derby ever. We could have the running from the police 40 yard dash , and my personal favorite  we could have a quarterback impersonation contest. Apparently Tim Tebow has been practicing for that for years.

Oops, I forgot! I wasn’t supposed to talk about religion.

Recipe for Love

I remember my first time. I was confused and excited and didn’t really know what I was doing. I started doing it on a regular basis when I was a teenager. The more I did it, the better I seemed to get at it. I thought that once I got married I would do it less but the truth I do it more now than ever. If I do it more than twice a day, I tend to get achy muscles and if I do it too much in a week, my hands get callouses.I like to do it when nobody is at home to distract me and I get nervous when I do it in front of other people. So please join me for “the things I have learned” about cooking: What’s with the funny looks? What did you think I was talking about , ya sickos?

I love to cook. From the shopping for that extra fresh ingredient to make a recipe really work to the sitting back and watching some one enjoy the work I have done, I enjoy the entire culinary process. And due to the fact that there has not been a single call to Poison Control, I guess I am getting pretty adept at throwing together some food.You will notice that I refer to myself as a cook, not a chef. I am not a chef now nor do I ever intend to become one but I love being an amateur cook.

The layman may ask as to what is the difference between the cook and chef. A cook is what you do and a chef is who you are. Ask anyone that works in a restaurant what the difference is and they will tell you that is is about $20000 a year.Obviously the most basic difference is the responsibility and pressure that a chef is under is way worse than any, even professional, cook experiences. Although I only was employed briefly in the restaurant biz, note to self: Mussolini jokes don’t play well at Italian joints, I have been delivering to restaurants for years. Let’s face it, I have been in more kitchens than the Florida State Health Inspectors, explains that tummy trouble you have every time you order Moo Shoo Pork. In those visits I have learned a thing or two about what it means to prepare food for other people.

I know that I am not alone in my, probably undeserved, pride of my culinary skills. We have all been there. You are in front of your stove, whipping up a pretty good version of fried pork chops and you say to yourself,”hey, I am pretty good at this. I bet I could be a chef.” Well, you are pretty good at putting a band aid on, but I don’t think that qualifies you to perform open heart surgery.Lots of people have tried to parlay their skills at cooking turkey dinner for Grandma and Uncle Joe into the actual business of running a restaurant.  These businesses are easy to recognize shortly after they open. They are in dark buildings that have signs out front that say things like “Vacant” or “For Lease”. No matter how kick-ass you may be at whipping up appetizers for the last P.T.A. function you went to, the truth is the game changes when you are doing it for a living.

When I am fixing dinner at the house, the worst distraction I have to deal with is being summoned to the living room for a particularly brutal groin shot on America’s Funniest Home Videos, yet another reason to outlaw the pinata. A chef has to deal with a wine delivery who shows up two hours late, has to translate “sweep the floor” into 6 different dialects of Spanish, has to find a way to cover for the 3 waitresses and a hostess aren’t showing up because they got arrested and has to break up a fight between two hot-headed line cooks who accuse each other of sabotaging their” mise en place “. And this is before the chef even gets out of the parking lot. “Real chefs” have to deal with these type things every day. I said “real chefs”. Sorry “slop dispenser” at Golden Corral I wasn’t talking to you.

The hardest part about being a chef for a living  is…..being a chef for a living. At my house, if I burn the rice or the roast is too dry I have 4 different magnets on the fridge with pizza delivery numbers that will bail me out. I will have to suck down a few slices of Pizza Hut but other than my pride nothing is harmed.If a pro has a flame out he literally could have a flame out. If I screw up the Independence Day family meal, the worst I will have to deal with is being relegated to bringing cups or plates to the Labor Day BBQ. If I truly screwed up, I will get the family kissoff,’ No, you don’t have to cook anything. Why don’t you just bring the ICE?”

One spectacular screw up by a chef,and they will be so blacklisted that their next job will involve knowing the difference between hash browns that are “covered” and “smothered”. Or they spend their days talking to three toothless waitresses, and they are all named Judy. My biggest risk in cooking is my pride. A chef is risking the livelihood of everybody in the restaurant if he isn’t the best. So even if you think you got “skills”, you still may not be good enough for people to bet their bank accounts on you.

Here are a few more pearls of wisdom I have picked up about the culinary enterprises:

  • The weekend means nothing. In restaurants, Friday is their Monday, Saturday is their Monday, Sunday is their Monday…..
  • There are no clean Chinese food places. The only way to think the Chinese  food place seems clean is if you are comparing it to the Indian restaurant next door.
  • If a restaurant’s bathroom seems dirty, you definitely don’t want to see the kitchen.
  • Workers at Olive Garden are more likely to get carpal tunnel from opening cans and frozen packages that from burning them selves on freshly cooked meals.
  • If a person comes to your table and says they are the sommelier, it means they were too much of an asshole to be the maitre d.
  • Captain Dee’s is a fine seafood restaurant, if you have never actually seen a fish before.
  • Yes that waiter does smell like booze.
  • If your food is not the way you ordered it, just exchange it with someone at your table. Sending food back out of your sight and into the kitchen is an exercise in blind trust and  I am not even that much of a believer in human nature.
  • You can never pay too much for a great meal nor tip too much for great service because in life you will have far too many times when you will get neither.

Now that we have covered restaurants, I want to tell you what separates me from the less talented home chefs.. First of all, it is feedback. My family has developed a complex judging formula similar in complexity to that which governs Olympic diving. To make it easy for me to understand, they have translated it into simple to comprehend verbal clues. Apparently the top of the scale is,” I am eating it, ain’t I” and the bottom rung is the much feared” This tastes like ass”. I am not sure what falls between those two categories but the family says they will let me know when I need to.

The other secret to my success  is that I only use the finest ingredients. I insist on using Top brand ramen instead  of the more pedestrian types and find that when I splurge and use 2 flavor packets that the dish is just amazing. I also insist on using the fish sticks shaped like dinosaurs cause it makes us feel like we are a fine dining restaurant, that serves fish sticks shaped like dinosaurs. You may ask which cheese does this gourmand recommend. Gouda? Irish Swiss? Fine Havarti? They are all too plebeian for my taste. You have to think big to cook big and there is no bigger cheese than Velveeta.  It must be a fine product or why would the grocers put it so far from the refrigerated cases that contain the other lesser cheeses. I know some may argue over the wonder that is “cheese in a can” but I guess that is what separates the masters from the apprentices.

Well I guess you now know why I could never be a professional preparer of meals, but a professional drinker? That, I could do.

Searching for meaning in the madness

This is not what I want to write. I was all set with something I had written last night. But due to some computer probs and a bad case of the “too damned tired to finish its” last night, I had decided to get up and just add a few more archaic pop culture references and grab a few pics off of Google Images and it would be all set. I can’t do that now. I have to say something different. You don’t have to agree with me. Hell, you can stop reading now if you want to. I just have to say what’s on my mind, and today there is not much on my mind that’s happy or amusing.

I woke up this morning, got ticked off because we are out of coffee and thought that this would be the worse thing about today. I was wrong. I turned on the local morning news and was stabbed in the chest by what I saw. The first image on the screen was an aerial  view of some unnamed movie theater in some random mall at night. Through the darkness of the picture, you could make out the tell-tale flashing lights of police cars in the parking lot. That’s when the scroll on the bottom of the screen gave illumination to what was actually being seen. A gunman had charged into Century Theater 9 at the Town Center in Aurora, Colorado, during the midnight showing of The Dark Knight rises, tossed  two tear gas canisters at the crowd and then opened fire. The death toll was reported at 14, although that number may change as facts become clearer, with 50 injured.  The shooter walked the aisles targeting people at point-blank range. He wore body armor so that nothing could stop him from finishing his grisly task.I had never heard of Aurora, Colorado before, but now it is forever etched in my mind with that list of places who belong to that rapidly growing fraternity of locations whose price for joining is the loss of its residents at the hands of a madman. They join that McDonald’s in San Diego of 1984,the Luby’s in Killeen Texas of 1986, a middle school in Jonesboro,  Arkansas of 1998, the Virginia Tech campus of 2007,  and in a town just 20 miles away, Columbine High School in 1999.

I am sure as the story unfolds that we will learn that this young man, that the police arrested last night as he calmly walked away from the mass chaos his cowardly act had created, was “troubled” and that some how the “system failed him” but that doesn’t in any way answer the bigger question,”What do we do now?” I have always tried to keep my kids safe and out of harms’ way but it seems the places that they can now go without danger seem to be shrinking day by day. No high-rise building feels truly secure, an airport still causes me concerns and our most secure government buildings are always a target to the terrorists in the world.

As I watch this news story unfold I can’t help but be taken back to the horrible events that seem to befall us all too often that  they become such seminal moments that they change our world. As we toured the 9/11 artifacts at the Newseum in  Washington, I reflected on how that day had changed our lives as Americans. This is true and the mass casualties of that day seem so overwhelming that there is no way that it could be otherwise. However, in light of this shooting last night, I start to ponder how it was true that 9/11 changed my life as an American but it was the Columbine shooting that changed my life as a parent. As I take myself back to that April day in 1999, in a world before al-Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden, I start to remember what an impact it had on me. I only hope that this is the last of these events that we have to learn from.

In 1999, we only had one child and she was just three years old. She did not understand how those flickering images that her parents were glued to as she played with her Duplo blocks were changing her life.  As the story unfolded on live television, we would look to the teenage victims being carried  across the field to the awaiting  ambulances we wondered aloud how we would cope if something like that happened at our school. We didn’t have an answer then and I don’t have one now. I do know that the lessons from that day led us to teach our kids to be kind to their classmates, to reach out to the disaffected and the alone, to try to be a positive influence in the lives of everyone they meet. They understand that there are some tortured souls among us how barely hold on that thread of humanity that keeps them from harming themselves and others. I don’t know if they have prevented anyone from acting on some psychotic notion that they had just by trying to be considerate to them. I do know that they keep trying and maybe they have saved a few lost souls along the way. I know they won’t ever stop trying.

The sadness of the fact that the movie shooter targeted kids as young as 3 months old is a bit overwhelming. How does someone sink to that level of evil? I do know that the immediate response of one unnamed TV network was to spin it as an excuse to tear down the walls between church and state. I don’t think mandatory prayer in school would have stopped this. I do , however, believe that mandatory kindness and civility would. We have to find a way to reach out to these disaffected forgotten  souls living on the edge of our own lives. We all know some who have lost too much, who have felt as though the world has given up on them and it is hard not to walk away. But, we just cannot. I am not saying that a kind act will prevent someone from stepping off the edge, but I know that saying nothing definitely will not. So I guess we each individually have to find a way to bring some sanity to a glowingly insane world. I will do my part to be kind. I will find a way to make a difference. I will reach out to those who are lost in my life and maybe, just maybe, they will save me along the way.

Peer Pressure

We all have that one friend. He or she is the wild one. They are the one we would probably do better without but we let them hang out in our lives because they are fun to be around and as long as  they behave everything is fine. This story is about that one friend. It’s about how different he is from me.
I try to be good but I have this friend.
I try to say the right things but I have this friend.
In front of my kids, I try to set a good example but I have this friend. I watch my tongue and try not to use foul  language in mixed company but I have this friend.
I try to be witty and a little sarcastic but feel bad when I go too far but I have this friend.
I want my home to be neat and organized but I have this friend.
I always respect those in positions of authority but I have this friend.
I enjoy nothing more  than a quiet evening at home but I have this friend.
I have learned the importance of doing things in moderation but I have this friend.
I don’t go out on a weeknight but I have this friend.
Although it is hard,   I  try to make good decisions but I have this friend.
Since I am an adult I don’t feel the need to be rebellious but I have this friend.
I have learned the importance of paying my  bills on time but I have this friend.
I would never eat the last of the ice cream or take the last donut but I have this friend.
I  have learned to act my age but I have this friend.
I have learned that life is about playing the cards you are dealt without resentment but I have this friend.
I don’t need to act crazy but I have this friend.
I don’t have to be the center of attention but I have this friend.
I have learned that life is about more than just following  your instincts but I have this friend.
I don’t need to have my ego stroked by others but I have this friend.
I don’t like to take risks but I have this friend.
I have learned that life is a marathon not a sprint but I have this friend.
I need to surround my self with people just like me but I have this friend.
I have learned that adventures are for the young and single people but I have this friend.
There  comes a time when the music is just too loud but I have this friend.
I need to grow up and accept that this is the best I will ever be but I have this friend.
He gets me in trouble but I have this friend.
I have this friend
    And  it is ME.

Nickelodeon, The Destroyer of Worlds

Blame Nickelodeon. I think they are the ones at fault. Am I lamenting the  state of popular music and holding the network that gave us Big Time Rush responsible? Not really, although it probably is to blame. Am I accusing the orange blimped network of promoting a Pro Green Slime agenda? Not actually. Do I find them to be the ultimate in evil because they took advantage of a young girl’s out of control ego and actually told that  icarly girl that she can sing? Nah, I find that more funny than anything else. Is it because basically they are a poor man’s DisneyChannel ? Nope, everybody knows that. I am talking about the decay of modern technological advance,  the reason why cancer goes uncured, why all our good gadgets are made in China or Japan or Malaysia or (insert foreign sounding word here), the reason why science in America has become a complete and total joke. Nickelodeon, the channel that gave us a young Alanis Morrisette on You Can’t Do That on Television and through a spunky little character named Spongebob Squarepants  taught us that the Aplysina Fistularis can be a welcome guest in our living room. Despite all this good, their evil act cannot be forgiven, because during the summer of 1990 they cancelled Mr. Wizard’s World. This one act single handedly killed science in our country.

No it was not just another t.v. show. Mr. Wizard’s World  was my first exposure to the scientific method. It is by learning things like how to fit a boiled egg into the neck of an orange juice bottle that science became the love of young men and women all over this land. On the day it went off the air, the quest for scientific achievements also went with it. Why do you think we have gone from a nation inventing the space shuttle to a land of  no goodniks whose only scientific quest involves rousing games of, “Will it Burn?” Just look at what American science has given us lately. Um…Umm….mmmm….That’s right nothing.

Now I can already hear the petrid defense you basic cable apologists may be offering. “What about Bill Nye, the science guy?” Please! Nye was born in Washington, D.C.  Name the last great scientist  to come out of that hell hole. If they had any scientists, maybe they could do something about all the damn Canadian Geese. Don Herbert a.k.a. Mr. Wizard was from Minnesota. You can’t swing a dead moose in Minnesota without hitting a scientist. Why so many scientists in Minnesota? You have to be a scientists to figure how to get rid of all that damn snow. No problems with Canadian Geese in Canada, know why? Because their scientists are so brilliant, they have discguised the state into looking like such a lifeless barren wasteland that even the Canadians won’t come there.

Need more proof? Bill Nye spent his early twenties “studying” at college. Mr. Wizard  spent his twenties killing Nazis as a B-24 pilot in World War II on 56 bombing missions. It’s bad enough that Bill Nye went to college instead of defending his country, and don’t give me that “the war was over before he was born” garbage because if the Bush administration taught us anything it was that if you want a war bad enough you can find one, he actually attending a “prestigious” Ivy League school at Cornell. Dear Prestigious Ivy League school, Remember when you had that janitor that kept solving your most challenging mathematical problems in between cleaning toilets .Do you know who you sent him to in order to unlock his genius? I will tell you. It was Mrs. Doubtfire, with a beard.

So how do we overcome the damage that this “children’s network” has done to us? It won’t be simple but we have to return to the days when our Professors could make a radio out of two coconuts and yet be so focused that he didn’t notice that he had both a “Ginger” and a “Maryanne”  who wanted to “assist him with his experiments”, if you know what I mean. The answer is for the “sliderule and labcoat crowd” to get off their fannies and do some inventin’. However, I understand that these two decades of mourning for the demise of scientific programming may have dulled you inspiration as to what does mankind need to be invented. Well, today is your lucky day. So strap on those safety googles amd fire up that Bunson Burner cause I am giving you a list of things that America needs.

  1. A life sized “like button” for me to carry around and use. I need to be able to demonstrate to people that I enjoy the things they say and find their whimsical descriptions of the funny things their cat does as hilarious as they do. I thought that perhaps the use of hand gestures would accomplish this feat but apparently the extending of one’s middle finger in the middle of a conversation to mark your pleasure at their narratives has had a somewhat negative reaction.
  2. The mosh pit diving bell/ shark cage. Does your adolescent love the hardcore rock concert experience but does have the physical strength to endure what is basically a felony assault version of dancing? He will feel safe and secure a midst the flying fists and thrashing Doc Martens as he says he was in the pit but won’t need the usual post-mosh E.R. visit. If we can develop the technology to keep a year old Jacques Cousteau  safe from Great White Sharks, we should be able to keep little Billy unharmed from 8 rednecks in wife beaters.
  3. Actual Working Gaydar. This is just to avoid the embarrassing situation where you have been buying drinks for a woman all night and at last call you find out that you had zero shot with her because, um…let’s just say she was never eligible for the draft if you know what I mean. A functioning electronic means of discovery would also keep a young woman from inviting a group of  young men with great fashion sense and flawless skin to her and her girlfriends hotel room and find out that they thought they were about to get a lot more that tips on exfoliating. It would be far easier that the written exam I currently hand out at local drinking establishments.
  4. The Sonic Screwdriver. I refuse to believe that the British can invent anything useful before we do.
  5. Birth Control for the Duggar family. For God’s sake, how many effing kids do you need?
  6. Portable Cone of Silence. To be deployed onto that White Caprice Classic with the 24″ inch rims that seems to need to play their music loud enough at stop lights to break glass, nine states away.
  7. Transparent cell phones. Would enable parents to see their teenage daughters faces more often than we do now.
  8. Advanced Avian Behavior Modification. A series of medicines and supplements that would allow Sonny the Cuckoo to calmly enjoy Cocoa Puffs cereal with out freaking out like a guy on a four day meth bender. if successful, could also be applies to the Trix Rabbit.
  9. Cloning for the Thesaurus. Cause I really like dinosaurs. Oh, what? Its like a dictionary? That just sucks.Damn public schools.
  10. A TiVo  for the conversations with bosses and parents. Would let us just skip to the parts where they tell you that you were wrong.
  11. Ingested Micro laser. Single tablet application that would  eliminate the alcohol content of the last beer/Cosmo/ Flaming car bomb that you consumed because unfortunately I never realize that I have had one too many until…I have had one too many.
  12. A coffee carafe that doesn’t drip. Because I am tired of changing shirts twice every morning.
  13. Something that both kills us..and makes us stronger. May also assist in the ability to both fish..and cut bait.

O.k. now science, the ball is in your court. If you need any more assistance I will be over here trying to fix what happened to literacy since they cancelled Reading Rainbow.