Friday, July 13, 2018

Bloody Mary? Bloody Crime!

A bloody crime!
Nothing exceeds like excess and there is excessive mischief going on in the world of adult beverages.  With stealth and a persistent effort to top each other, bartenders nationwide have taken to turning the most dependable and heretofore delightful eyeopener, the Bloody Mary, and created something very close to brunch at Caesar's Palace.  Whole chickens, hamburgers, skewers of shrimp,  assorted vegetables and scotched eggs are being jammed into perfectly good and, until now,  wonderfully simple tomato juice and vodka combinations.  These $50 and $60 abominations sport cutesy names like: Monster Mary and Chubby Mary.  Spot on monikers but lousy cocktails!
Where's the dog?

Why do some people feel it necessary to mess with perfection?  A Bloody Mary should be easy enough for shaky hands recovering from the previous night's debauch to prepare with ease.  As a public service this blog is ready to demonstrate proper Bloody Mary making simple enough for even the most intellectually challenged of us to master.  Don't mess this up!

All American Bloody Mary!

cocktail prep
If you have chicken, hamburgers, shrimp and other foods carefully prepared, put them on a plate and give them to the dog.  All you'll need for a perfect Bloody Mary is booze and some form of tomato.
For this demonstration I found myself without tomato juice and found that it really didn't matter.  A couple of tomatoes or maybe a splash of ketchup should do the trick.

Any vodka, tequila or gin will suffice as your basic cocktail building block. (NEVER RUM!)  A couple of ice cubes will give the drink a bit of a chill but always beware of using too much ice as it can promote choking.  Fewer ice cubes also promotes safer drinking and walking as the beverage will have a "see through" patina to it.  (Safety first!)

I hope you have been taking good notes as the weekend is here and it's time to put on your party pants.  If you've followed my directions correctly, you have the perfect tall and frosty Bloody Mary containing all the essentials of sloth, envy, greed and delusions of grandeur needed for the perfect weekend drink.  I give you, the"See Through Mary".

Cheers! See you in re-hab!

Friday, July 6, 2018

All Those Young Faces...

 I went in search of nostalgia when I made my way from my house to the local 4th of July  parade on Wednesday.  Coeur D' Alene, Idaho, my home for the past four years, now sports a population topping fifty-thousand but is still a small town in many ways.  We all know our neighbors, say "good morning" to people we meet on an early walk, pitch in to support local charities, all essential  elements of small town life .  In many ways it's reminiscent of the tiny Midwestern towns I called home in the 1950's and 60's.  

The parade route was packed with young and old alike and the weather was a perfect 72 degrees with clear skies, a welcome respite from what has been a too chilly Spring and early Summer.  Fire trucks, scouts, the VFW and the American Legion were well represented and it was good to see that there was at least one World War II vet still around to be honored.  The audience applauded and cheered the marchers, most now long past squeezing into uniforms that fit combat versions of themselves.  The crowd was there to celebrate being alive, free and living in a country blessed like no other.

 Then it happened.  Coming down the street six or seven abreast I saw what appeared to be marchers with placards nearly as large as they were.  At first it was impossible to see what message they bore but soon it hit me.  Each held a large picture of either a young man or woman in uniform with the dates of their births and subsequent deaths.  In every case the date of death was recorded in this new century.  Bright young faces normally looking forward to families, careers, and all the good stuff of life passed before me baring  2013, 2016,  even 2018 as the date the dream stopped.  There seemed to be so many, though I didn't count.  One small city and all of those names.  I began to multiply it by all the other cities and towns and felt ashamed that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq had largely fallen off my radar.  It was surprising and disappointing.

As I walked home those faces filled my mind with questions.  The war of my era, Vietnam, was front and center in the daily news cycle.  The front page of most major papers had at least one or two stories with a Southeast Asia dateline and a continuing tally of casualties and fatalities often led television's evening newscasts.  In twenty years (1955-75) our country lost 58,220 young men and women only to find ourselves in 2018 still arguing over what exactly the mission was and where we went wrong.  One thing certain, most all of us were paying attention and were more than a little concerned about the loss of all those lives.  Was it because so many were draftees instead of volunteers?

I am embarrassed to admit that before seeing this assembly of way too many youthful faces now gone forever I had given little, if any, thought to the war in Afghanistan.  Why is that?  Why has the press ceased to provide full coverage of a war to which we have now given nearly 2000 young lives  and seventeen years of our time?   According to information I found on the net, the United States still has 14,000 troops in that dismal sand trap and our expenditures thus far stand at nearly three trillion dollars.  THREE TRILLION!  That's not counting the dollars spent in Iraq where we lost close to 5000 troops and still maintain a military presence.  I'm no dove and have always believed in a strong defense but at some point we have to wonder if slowly losing some of our best and brightest to a war so few of us appear to understand or care about should continue unexamined.  Maybe it's time to starting asking some questions of our politicians and the media.
Why so long?  What is the mission? How much longer will it last and at what expense?  Why is there so little news coverage?

Let's start asking for the kids who no longer can.

"A veteran is someone who, at one point, wrote a blank check made payable to the United States of America for an amount up to and including their life."

Friday, June 29, 2018

Flush Twice For English

Seventy-five percent of cellphone users (see ALL of us) go to bed each night with our phones on or near the bed.  Not me baby!  I bury that sucker under pillows, blankets and dirty t-shirts in a mound at  least an acre or two south of my bed.  No nocturnal slave bracelet for this cowboy!  It's bad enough that troubles and people you don't want to talk to can track you down when the sun is up, let sack time be a phone free zone.

I didn't make up that seventy-five percent figure.  A company called SureCall just released that stat and others regarding our irritatingly ubiquitous cellular companions.  Here are a couple more that gave me whiplash:  Ten percent of users check their phones during sex, with an astonishing forty-three percent reporting that they checked their phone while having relations two to ten times in the past year.  This naturally begs the question of just what the hell they were looking up during this obviously merely routine session of mattress polo.  Ball scores?  Ways to spice up your love life?  Maybe seeing if there was something better on TV?  Whatever the case, it could be time for some serious thought  regarding  your commitment to the relationship.  

The most unsurprising revelation from SureCall was that sixty-nine percent of smart phone users check their phones while using the toilet.  (This goes a long way toward explaining the demise of newspapers and magazines.)  What this study didn't touch on was how many are doing this in public restrooms.  I don't get it.  Do these idiots blabbing away behind stall doors or standing at a urinal think that whoever is on the other end of the conversation can't hear what's going on??!!  Also, how many times have you thought someone in a men's or women's room was speaking to you only to discover that they were on the phone?  

"Yes, I did see that catch."
"Hey, pipe down!  I'm on the phone here."

I don't know about you but I have zero interest in EVER being on the receiving end of a conversation initiated from a restroom, unless, of course it's from someone with good news or money.  It really does pay to have the "pants waiting" feature.

Remember, flush once for Spanish and twice for English.  Or, is it the other way around?

Hey, did you guys wash your hands?

Friday, June 22, 2018

Bargains? When Did This Stuff Get So Expensive?

When I was a kid it fascinated me to hear parents and grandparents lament the cost of most everything.   It seemed as if these stories of complete dinners costing $1.49, homes less than $5,000 and cars being driven off showroom floors for hundreds not thousands of dollars were pure apocrypha.  Never would I be caught complaining of the bargains "in my day" to whipper snappers in my future.

Well, here I am with seventy years of road behind me and almost daily the cost comparisons of what seem like only a few years ago and today slap me upside my old grey head.  Some prices appear to be in line and a few items--if memory serves--have become real bargains.  Clothing, for example, seems reasonable.  No doubt this is because most of what we wear is manufactured in international backwaters where labor is cheap.  On the other hand I do believe most of us who have attained "senior" status find that cars and hotel/motel rooms loom large in the "when did they get so expensive?" department.  My first house cost $27,500 in 1973 and today that won't snag a halfway decent car.  Of course automobiles today are light years superior in all respects when compared to 1973 tin .  Motels and hotels?  Debatable.

Motel $50

Motel 6 was Motel 6 because it cost $6 to stay there in 1962 when the first one opened in Santa Barbara, California.  That works out to roughly $50 in today's dollars and for whatever reason that doesn't appear to make sense.  Depending on where you are, the average bill for a motel or hotel with the basic amenities (see indoor plumbing) runs around $100 per night today.  Naturally cities like New York and L.A. are considerably higher and destinations such as Cat's Ass, Nebraska, Frozen Monkey, Montana and Cain't Read, Kentucky far less.

It's mere conjecture on my part but I do believe, because we largely travel by air these days, that hotels get more of our business than motels.  Motels hark back to the days when the only kind of trip most of us took was by car as we traveled to see relatives or to maybe to get to a vacation destination.  In rural and small town America there were many mom and pop motels along the main roads that often advertised their free TV (black & white) and magic finger beds that, for a quarter, would massage away your road weariness.  

"Look kids!  This motel even has a playground!"
Car travel with my parents was always contentious.  My father insisted on "making good time" and wanted only to stop for gas.  Mom, on the other hand, preferred a leisurely journey and wanted to stop frequently for meals and potty breaks.  She would grumble as she made and packed sandwiches for the cooler dad would jam into the backseat to separate my brother and me.  The fights over snacks and sandwiches between the two of us invited threats to pull over and "fix" the problem by the man in the driver's seat however "making time" was paramount.  He kept his foot on the accelerator, fired up another Camel and rolled on.  As the sun began to set there were increasingly insistent requests from mom to find a "nice motel" for the night.  Dad would turn up the ballgame and flick on the headlights as he said, "Don't worry.  We'll find a nice place soon...a really nice place."  Mom would point out that there were more and more NO VACANCY lights coming to life as we passed another motel.  I always knew we were in trouble when dad started paying attention to potential places to stay with a worried look on his face but, by then, it was usually too late.  We'd wind up at some motel that had a broken Coke machine, rusted metal lawn chairs in front of every room or, worse yet, consisting of some rustic "cabins" that hadn't been refurbished since the Truman administration.  Dad would always try to punch it up by pointing out how good the beds looked and how lucky we were to have that "sanitized for your protection" strip deployed over the toilet seat and bathroom glasses that were wrapped in some kind of paper.  Mom bought none of it and would give him the death stare until mercifully sleep overcame us all.  Well, most all of us...

I wonder if there are still any sandwiches left in the cooler?  If Steve snagged the last one he's getting clobbered!

"Hey, this one has a vacancy.  We made good time! Great price too."

Friday, June 15, 2018

Buy Ya Books, And Buy Ya Books...

(the following is a re-post from Father's Day 2017)

"Act like a man!"
"Act like you mean it!"
"You did a half way job!"
"Don't take a lazy man's load!"
"Buy ya books and buy ya books and STILL you don't remember."

I heard those admonitions from my dad throughout the years I remained under his roof.  Did I listen? Of course not.  I had to learn everything from experience or "the hard way" as he often reminded me. The truth is I learned almost NOTHING before messing up at least a couple of times and have remained a semi dunce for most of my life.  Fortunately for me there was a future in broadcasting, a natural destination for those of us who prefer to hang at the corner of Lazy and Stupid.

Dad's was a thankless job.  He raised a couple of goofball sons who resented nearly all of his good advice for, no doubt, the same reasons he probably failed to heed the guidance of his own father.  It's testosterone poisoning.  Young men are so completely full of themselves they become their own worst enemy.  That's why good fathers were invented.  Lucky lads have a dad with the grit and manners to prevent their spawn from going off course and into the ditch of life.  It's love designed to save a boy from the extensive pummeling the world is waiting to administer.  (see ass kicking)

Like most of the Greatest Generation, my dad came home from "the big war" ready for some peace and a slice of the American dream.  He and his tribe were exhausted by the cosmic hand they had been dealt by the Depression and World War II and naturally wanted their sons and daughters to have the peaceful and happy lives that they themselves had thus far been denied.  Of course we Boomers didn't appreciate any of this sacrifice at the time.  Nope, we, for the most part, thought them incredibly un-hip and square.  Rules?? We couldn't live by their rules!

What's the old saying?  "Too soon old; too late smart?"  I'm sure that if you look it up there is a picture of me and my brother right next to the definition.  Neither of us appreciated the tough love meted out by the old man until, well, after he was gone.  He died when we were both well into adulthood and, though it was never openly acknowledged, both of us had the impression that in his final days our dad was fairly well satisfied with how we turned out.  We weren't in prison and we weren't hitting him up for money.

This Sunday, Father's Day, would have been dad's 100th birthday.  (It was always convenient that his birthday fell either on or close to Father's Day as it meant only one card and gift.)  He lasted most of his 76th year which, frankly, seemed a whole lot greater an accomplishment in 1995 than it does now that I am 70.  Naturally I wish he were still around to thank him for his good advice and guidance; also for not killing me when nine out of ten juries would have acquitted him if he had.  He was a good man and an excellent father.

Though we never said things like, "I love you", I often think about the final words my father said to me.  My wife and I were leaving my parents home in Illinois heading for the airport in St. Louis and a return to our San Diego home.  Suddenly dad, who was suffering from a host of maladies including dementia, walked over to our rental car to apologize for not recognizing me on several occasions during our stay.  Through the haze of Alzheimer's he said, "Sorry I didn't know who you were.  You looked just like a man."  I told him not to worry about it.  A simple "I love you too dad" would have been the better and more honest reply.  To be "a man" was always the highest goal he set for his boys.  Achieve that and the rest would take care of itself.  I'd like to think that with this farewell he was telling me that at age 47 I had finally gotten there.  It sure felt like the best thing he ever said to me.  Years later I recall his words when my natural inclinations tempt me to default to the mode of immature and irresponsible.  Being a dad is easy but being a good one is a job for a man like he was.  Somewhere I hope he knows that I think he did a good job.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Stop The Insanity, I'm Buying...

Former Louisiana governor Bobby Jindel recently penned a Wall Street Journal opinion piece suggesting that, like smoking, alcohol should be banned from all commercial airline flights.  His thesis being that drinking passengers cause most of the unfortunate airborne incidents that seem to grow more prevalent by the day.

I beg to differ!  What's the rule for pilots? As I recall it's "twelve hours from bottle to throttle" demanded by the FAA for the men and women who fly today's Greyhound buses of the air.   Although I'm fairly certain that a full bar in the cockpit might alleviate some of the tedium, it's probably a good idea for someone to be sober enough to find the correct airport when fuel is low and it's time to land. (Make it O'Douls for breakfast flight crew!  Don't worry, you'll pee just as much.)  For the rest of us trapped in too small seats with too little air the humane thing would be to provide an open complimentary full-tilt boogie "all you can drink" BAR.  It's the least the pirates of the sky can do after we've been forced marched through TSA check points (Thanks terrorists!) and the colossal cluster f*&k  referred to as "the boarding process."  "Here, let me help you cram that refrigerator into the overhead bin you moronic old moon bat."

I'm senior enough to remember when flying was kind of fun.  People dressed up to take a flight and--I know this is unbelievable--CHECKED their bags, walked onto the plane and settled in to a seat wide enough for the admittedly smaller American ass of yore and enjoyed a nice ride to Dysfunction, Ohio or wherever the "friendly skies" were bound.  These days the typical traveler looks like they were busy power washing the garage and said, "Screw it, I think I'll fly to Buffalo."  They also are sporting the ever expanding "orca sized" American butt now responsible for sinking boats on the water rides at Disneyland and Disney World.  (True! Look it up.)  It was props instead of jets in the good old days but you had plenty of room, were fed actual meals, other passengers were acquainted with bathing and the wobble water was free flowing.  Often I found myself not caring who landed the plane but who was going to land me.

Wait a minute!!  I just had a horrible thought.  What if this jug headed Jindel proposal got some traction?  You could at some point find yourself stuck between two wide-load losers with no means of escape!  As the late author Jim Harrison once opined, "there is no nastier experience than being trapped between two bores with an empty glass." The man was pure genius.

Next stop, Dysfunction, Ohio

It's bad enough that political correctness--a commie invention all the way--has taken the scalp of humor and honesty.  We can NOT EVER let the fun police take away our right to fly the freak flag at thirty-thousand feet.  Bobby Jindel and his nitwit no booze on airplanes ideas must be fitted for cement shoes and drowned in a vat of Gentleman Jack and pronto.  Now, if you'll excuse me, the drink cart is coming and I'm prepared to take out the two fat guys between me an sweet airborne oblivion.  Make way for Maker's Mark!

Friday, June 1, 2018

Don't Worry, It's Not YOUR Fault!

(This is a re-post from June 2013.)

Thank God!  It's not my fault.  That adipose tissue orbiting my equator is the product  of a DISEASE according to the nation's largest physician organization.  Obesity is now officially NOT YOUR FAULT!  See your doctor and let the American Medical Association assume the guilt, but save some for your parents.  As we all know, parents are responsible for just about every problem life tosses our way
Looks like it needs mayo.

I couldn't help noticing the curiously juxtaposed story about doctors declaring yet one more modern problem a "disease" as I opened the paper a couple of mornings ago.  There was the report of actor James Gandolfini, TV's Tony Soprano, dying of heart failure after eating a whopping big meal of fried foods and copious amounts of booze while he vacationed in Italy.  It was just above the story of the AMA's declaration proclaiming gluttony as an illness.  REALLY??

Is there nothing to save us from ourselves?  Who is going to prevent us from picking up that double-decker ham sandwich?  No way to make us simply drop that fork, pass on the pie, and put the ice cream back in the refrigerator?  It must be that damn disease talking!

How did we get from a society that took on the responsibility of saving the world from Hitler, Tojo, and a variety of nut jobs in the Kremlin to one that can't wait to point the finger toward any vice, foible or offense and say, "Not my fault."  Everybody is a victim.  We no longer control our own destiny.  Maybe I'm being judgmental, but I can't help it.  It's my parents' fault, damn it!

I'm no doctor, but I play one on this blog and it is my considered opinion that a disease is an illness you are born with or contract by accident and cannot control.  Drinking too much and eating too much are physical and psychological addictions that can be overcome through something we used to call willpower.  When we want to look and feel our best it is within our abilities to simply put down the glass or knife and fork and get "WELL".

In the words of Dean Wormer:  "Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life son."  If our doctors are no longer willing to call us "Tubby" who is going to stand between us and that plate of fries?

Oh, who cares!  Is the crash cart ready?  I'm goin' in!

Help yourself.  It's a disease!