Lessons learned

Well, here we are. We made it past the end of the word. No, I am not talking about that Mayan world’s gonna blow up crap. Everybody knows that the Mayans didn’t know diddly about predicting the future, or else they would have seen that inviting the Spanish invaders in for some tea and crumpets would have been a really bad idea. However, if the Aztecs would have predicted the world was going to end, sh#@ would have got real. I am talking about making it through the year 2012, which at several points this year seemed like a never ending big bowl o’ crap. It was like eating at Hell‘s Olive Garden. It had moments of moderate improvement and then got unbelievably worse. I just need to face the facts, 2012 was basically like all 3 of the Transformers movies. No, I am  not talking about the cool animated Transformer movie that came out when I was in Junior High( oh thank you Duval County Public Schools for adding one more feeling of inferiority to my 8-9 grade years by forever making me refer to it as ‘junior”) and had Dinobots in it and when Optimus Prime died you actually cried, or maybe that was just me. No, 2012 was just like the Michael Bay “let’s CG everything” Transformer movies. It started slow, got o.k. in the middle and then just devolved into nothing but noise and failure that you end up hoping that someone would just end the damn thing. Well as the the final credits roll for this year, and no, I am not going to wait around to see if there is one more foreshadowing- laden scene midway through the closing credits, I think it is time to reflect on the things that happened this year and what lessons that can be obtained from them.




So with no further ado, here are The Things that I have Learned, 2012:




  • Don’t underestimate the value of a quality tour guide, as a result of a certain unnamed,( not to protect his identity, it’s just that he wasn’t interesting enough to commit his name to memory) guide’s lack of zeal for his job, the civilized world has been exposed to six months of me typing out my cray cray.
  • Grown men should not use words like “cray cray”.
  • With regards to bosses, the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t.
  • If when explaining your boss you have to resort to an analogy involving the word “devil”, then you probably have made some unwise career choices.
  • My most rock and roll moment: In the pit and at the front of the crowd at the Van’s Warped Tour.
  • My least rock and roll moment: Standing at an Asking Alexandria concert and thinking that that kid in front of me with the stale smelling t-shirt should really switch to Tide with Febreze.
  • Rotate your tires and check your brakes.
  • That guy at Pep Boys is a jerk.
  • Being unemployed is great, until the bills come in.
  • Having a job  is great, until you have to leave the house.
  • I could remember a lot more important things if my brain wasn’t full of t.v. theme songs and my locker combinations  from seventh grade.
  • Kim Kardasian and Kanye West make a perfect couple. She has a huge ass and he acts like one.
  • It’s pretty clear that the guy that makes Adventure Time does drugs.
  • When deciding whether or not to work for a company, just visit their breakroom and see if they have powdered creamer for the coffee. If a company won’t pony up for half and half,   you can probably forget about any future raises.
  • If you ask someone on the telephone more than once how to pronounce their name,  you are legally obligated to use that name at least 5 times during the conversation. Otherwise, just call me “sir” and get on with your business.
  • Watching the local news in HD is a great way to find out that you live in a town full of ugly people.
  • Beer and pizza>beer>water
  • Beer and pizza with friends> just about everything else
  • I think it’s a compliment when people you just met say they want you to hang around because they find you entertaining. At least I hope it is.
  • If you are in front of me in line at a store, I hate you. Nothing personal it’s just I got places to go.
  • I want to see snow and go to Disney World,  just not at the same time.
  • The list of people that I actually like seems to be getting shorter on a daily,  but those still on the list I seem to like more.
  • The levels of intoxication are: Sober, Relaxed, Happy Drunk, Sloppy Drunk, Wasted,  and “No I didn’t realize that guy was being a jerk to me”.
  • I can drive a golf cart like a sumbitch.
  • Just because I am going into the kitchen does not mean you are about to get fed, cat………..or kids.
  • I am still genetically incapable of keeping my darn ideas to myself.
  • Home runs  are a lot more fun when it’s your team that hits them.
  • If the “get fit ideas” on the internet were half  as appealling as the “get fat” recipes on Pinterest then I wouldn’t have to keep buying new pants.
  • Attention Facebook members( like its a club or something): Please stop posting every whimsical picture and/or ecard that you find on the interwebs. Facebook is for posting pictures of your children, sending birthday wishes to people you really don’t care about, complaining about your job and posting  political opinions that I don’t agree with.
  • George Takei is exempt from the previous rule.
  • Do not let your kids name the new kitten unless you don’t mind saying the words “Pootie Pie” in a crowded vet’s office.
  • Haircuts are overrated.
  • People should be be classified not by race nor by sex but by whether they keep putting the twist tie back on the bag  of the bread or just twist the bag and tuck it underneath. Twist tiers unite, the revolution is coming.
  • After twelve years of bathing, my son still doesn’t remember he will need a towel until after he gets in the shower.
  • As part of Disney’s purchase of Star Wars, I hope they add Jar Jar to the shooting gallery at Frontierland.
  • If you like two different football teams, there should be a rule that they both can’t suck in the same year.
  • According to my marriage license, I got married on Febraury 28, 1992. According to my Facebook timeline, I got married on March 1,2009.  Does that mean I have 17 years worth of saying something stupid that I have to do all over again?
  • Parents celebrate their kids’  birthdays because we went 365 days without killing our children……..yet.
  • AA batteries make great although noisy cat toys.
  • This year is going to be great…….because it has to be.





“Thank you India, thank you terror, thank you disillusionment “-Alanis Morrisette

I was raised in a southern house. The food was generally fried and featured a meat product in every dish. It was a house where you cleaned your plate before you had dessert. You learned that you could live without a heater but not air conditioning.  You had grits instead of hash browns, you called them sweet potatoes not yams and the only tea was sweetened and iced. You never took yourself too seriously and you learned more lessons at home than you did at school.  The most important of these lessons was a rather simple one: Mind your manners.

You addressed adults as mister or misses. You blessed people when they sneezed. You patted them on the back when they coughed. You looked someone in the eye when you shook their hand. You wished them a good day. You said, ”Yes sir” or “No Ma’am” even if the person you were addressing was the same age as you. You said,  ”please”. But most of all, you showed your upbringing was proper by saying “thanks”. Thank the waiter who was just doing his job. Thank the stranger that said   ”God Bless you” after you sneezed. Thank you for not smoking. Thank you for your business. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.  It becomes so routine to thank people that the actual concept of gratitude becomes lost in what become nothing more than empty words. I would like to think that I have a strength of character that the words mean something to me but know that the reality is that just are a vacant gesture. The question is how to put some gratitude back into my thank you’s. I guess Thanksgiving is a good day to start.  So here are the things I am grateful for:

·         I am grateful to my wife for not killing me in my sleep although I often deserve it.

·         I am grateful for having the patience to extend the same courtesy to my children.

·        I am grateful for friends that treat me like family and relatives that treat me like strangers because they both prove that it is the bonds of affection that bind us not genetics.

·        I am grateful for sci-fi and sports for giving me something to occupy my time with because otherwise I would be spending it making myself a more productive human being.

·        I am grateful for the bad job I no longer have and the good job I do.

·        I am grateful for free Wi-fi.

·        I am grateful for one hour lunches.

·        I am grateful for the cafe at work because it gives those lacking the culinary skills to work at a public school lunchroom gainful employment.

·        I am grateful that I have not yet eaten at that odd smelling Indian restaurant.

·        I am grateful for baseball games with my son and concerts with my daughter.

·        I am grateful for my wife giggling when she reads what I write.

·        I am grateful for Facebook for letting me see the psychotic ramblings of the people I know.

·        I am grateful that after 20 years, I sometimes still refer to her as my girlfriend.

·        I am grateful for kids that act their age and adults who don’t.

·        I am grateful for chocolate, marshmallows and gummi bears.

·        I am grateful that I live in a Navy town because when I talk about “the men in uniform” , they are real people.

·        I am grateful for Moon River and Dahlia’s.

·        I am grateful for good coffee and great beer.

·        I am grateful for Saturday mornings at Edgewood Bakery and Sunday afternoons at Dreamette.

·        I am grateful for my kids’ good public schools and the teachers that actually care.

·        I am grateful for the strength certain people show when faced with illness because it reminds me how easy I really have it.

·        I am grateful that the seventh grade girls on the bus like my boys hair.

·        I am grateful that the 20 year olds at FSCJ haven’t noticed my daughter’s.

·        I am grateful for Family Guy, Regular Show, and Walking Dead for proving that quality t.v. shows still exist.

·        I am grateful for the word “swag”, because it just sounds cool.

·        I am grateful that I still believe that things will get better.

·        I am grateful for Target for giving me somewhere to go when Wal-mart pisses me off.

·        I am grateful that the bruises healed.

·        I am grateful that our Krispy Kreme is coming back.

·        I am grateful that Krispy Kreme left because if not I would weigh 600 pounds.

·        I am grateful for the morally upstanding people I call my role models and the morally questionable ones that I call my friends.

·        I am grateful that they haven’t “Baker Acted” me, yet.

·        I am grateful that my bank doesn’t have a minimum balance requirement.

·        I am grateful for the people who give a damn.

·        I am grateful that I work for a company that gives to charity.

·        I am grateful that I have a job.

·         I am grateful for my imperfect family at my messy house, on a lousy street, in a crappy neighborhood, in a boring town.

I wouldn’t trade them for the world.

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.