Thursday, November 24, 2011

Pass the FOOTBALL, I'll Skip the PARADE

As it turned out the football gods proved crafty indeed making the Dolphins/ Cowboys tilt the most exciting contest of Thanksgiving Day.  The Lions reverted to form and rolled over for the Packers early in the day while the shootout at the Harbaugh brothers corral in Baltimore merely established the mortality of the 49rs and the inherent superiority of older siblings.  I am truly thankful for the pigskin parade.  It is the perfect accompaniment to the gurgling noises my body makes as it converts turkey, mashed 'taters, cranberries and pumpkin pie to winter time hibernation blubber.
Wiener dogs ruled the 1950's
Snoopy should lift his leg on the Today Show
However, there is one parade I can do without.  WHEN THE HELL WILL THE FREAKING MACY'S PARADE GO A W A Y??!!  I know I's all for the kiddies.  I get that.  My grandson Dan made his mom record and replay the passing of the Buzz Lightyear balloon about eighty-five times before he even finished his breakfast.  (The kid has a real thing for the Buzz man.)  But, COME ON, how much do any of the networks really show of the actual parade?  It seems as if coverage of the parade itself is secondary to the promotion of yet another season of doggy network sitcoms and dramas people have either not discovered or have discovered and decided to discard.  There is no other explanation for the insidious parade of unfunny untalented unknowns who flounce by  the webs' reviewing stands to be interviewed by equally untalented unknowns.  What has happened to fat Al Roker?  Is he now so skinny that I missed him, or has he "aged out" of the platoon of happy talk ho' bags so prevalent lately on the box?  I swear I didn't see a familiar face on CBS, NBC or ABC.
Bullwinkle was head and antlers above it all in the 1960's

So, networks, if you're taking notes, next year I'd like to see a little less from your promotions department and something more of the parade.  (It wouldn't hurt to have Buzz Lightyear circle the block a few times when he gets to Times Square.  My grandson would appreciate it.)  Also, get the technical director to spend a little more lens time on the cute corn fed baton twirlers from Tulsa and spare the rest of us the close-ups of the fat boy high school tuba players sweating like drag queens at a wig sale as they march in place to "Louie Louie".  PLEASE,  as mentioned earlier, some of us are still eating breakfast.

Gee, as I look back over what I have written, this seems just a tad on the snarky side.  So, I'm not that thankful for the parade.  Big deal.  I am very thankful for many things...Just a minute, they'll come to me.

I didn't get a speeding ticket this year.  I ...uh....only slathered on an additional five pounds since last Thanksgiving.  Okay, maybe ten after yesterday.
Let's see?...I know I have more.  Oh yeah, leftover turkey awaits me for the next couple of days and everyone knows that good gobbler only gets better with age.
And, finally--best of all-- when his mom wasn't looking, I introduced Dan to the direct application of Ready Whip.
We're making memories here.  The torch has been passed.

Open wide and spray.  INSTANT HEAVEN!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Comfort or Style? It's a Matter of Gender

Finding a great pair of shoes is right up there with laying a devastating line on the boss who just fired you as you flip him the bone.  It's like getting dismissed from jury duty or, better yet, sending some deserving miscreant to the electric chair.  It just FEELS RIGHT.
A couple of years ago, somewhere near the corner of 9th Street and First Avenue on Manhattan's Lower East Side, I picked up a pair of Merrell clogs that delivered my dogs to podiatry heaven.  It was an accident of course.  When you are diligently looking for something great it rarely is in plain sight.  The truly memorable friends, meals, movies, trips--you name it--are stumbled upon when you're not in the market.  My feet were being tortured by a pair of Nikes gone bad and in a walking city like New York that equals pure hell.

Those Merrells called to me from the window of a tiny shoe store directly across from Thompkins Square Park.  I bought them and it was love at first step.  I have several other shoes in my closet, but this is the pair I have chosen to marry.

Speaking of marriage...Here is the problem:  My wife thinks these wonderful shoes are starting to look a little "ratty" and need to be removed from my power rotation.  Why do women do this??!!  It's the same thing with a comfortable pair of jeans that you've broken in perfectly or socks that may have a few holes.  (Who can see those anyway?)  Just when stuff starts to get good, BOOM!, it's "Give me   those.  They are ready for the Am Vets."

We guys are reluctant to part with clothes and shoes we've come to think of as part of our body.  Comfort, not looks or style, is the primary concern for the keepers of the Y chromosome.  On the other hand, it's not that we don't appreciate a pair of good looking stems attached to feet sporting gravity defying high heels.  I don't know how women do it.  Drunk or sober no male can make forward progress in what amounts to a pair of mini stilts.  Even drag queens look as nervous as an elephant on ice skates in those things.

I think these look like you

So,  what I am trying to say is this:  Thanks ladies!  Your fashion sense is a gift to guys everywhere.  You all look lovely in girl shoes.  You make me and most guys grateful for the view.  BUT, PLEASE PLEASE leave us our unstylish  but comfortable duds and shoes.  We don't care how we're put together, we just want to be comfy when we unclog the sink or check your oil.  That whole "style" scene is your province and welcome to it.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I think I know where she has hidden my Merrells.  The Am Vets truck won't be here until a week from Wednesday so there is still time for a rescue.  Great kicks, like Padre trips to the World Series,  come once or twice in a lifetime.   I am on a mission and cannot be denied.
"Dear Santa...what is your take on comfortable shoes?"

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Veterans Day, one of the few remaining federal observances we actually reserve for a specific date, seems different this year.  I don't know why.
Maybe the fact that we seem to be winding down our long military involvement in places like Iraq and Afganistan has something to do with it.   Or perhaps the 11/11/11 date that comes so close to the original Armistice Day "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month" ending of World War I gives us pause this year.  I'd hate to think that the Friday anniversary making it a three day weekend is key, but it might be. 
I'm a veteran and proud of the fact that I served.   Unlike my father and several friends who wore the uniform,  I was lucky.  Nobody ever tried to capture, maim or kill me--so far as I know.  I spent my time in Georgia and Kansas playing war games, calling in artillary strikes on cattle and hiding from my company commander. I couldn't wait to get back to civilian life and my chosen profession of vagabond radio reprobate.  I was good at that.  Soldiering, not so much.  
The problem with the military, and all large organizations, is that they don't encourage contrary opinions. Indepedent thinking leads to management problems and a lack of discipline the theory goes, but sometimes that results in  decisions and actions that are silly or just plain wrong.  Superiors DO NOT appreciate input contidictory to their opinion!  Suggesting that the Captain, Major, Colonel or General might be just "a teensy bit wrong" about something will get your heels locked every time.  Trust me.  If I had any designs on a military career, these would be the musings of the world's oldest first lieutenant.  
Which brings me to...Maj. Gen. Peter Fuller.  Until a couple of weeks ago General Fuller was the deputy commander for programs at the NATO training mission in Afghanistan.  It seems that General Fuller didn't get the memo about not expressing an opinion that contradicts "official" Army policy.  On a speaking tour in Kabul, the General was asked for his thoughts on recent comments from Afghanistan's president Hamid Karzai in which Mr. Karzai told a Pakistani interviewer Afghansistan would come to Pakistan's aid if attacked by the United States.

"Why don't you just poke me in the eye with a needle!  You've got to be kidding me," Fuller said.  "I'm sorry, we just gave you $11.6 billion and now you're telling me, 'I don't really care?"

Fuller went on to say that Karzai was erratic and inarticulate and failed to appreciate the American lives lost in defense of the Afghan people.  Good call!

So, what happens?  General Fuller's boss, General John R. Allen dismissed the deputy commander effectively ending his Army career.  A good soldier done in for simply stating the obvious.  The pentagon did the same thing last year to General Stanley McChrystal for his esentially correct observations regarding the Obama administration's handling of our country's mission in Afghanistan.
Major General Peter Fuller
On this Veteran's Day how about a big thank you to General Peter Fuller for having the guts to speak the truth.  Perhaps even a little more frankness in the upper echelons of our military might lead to better planning and fewer American lives sacrificed in the future.  The troops always know the truth.  It is mostly the Generals and politicians who can't handle it.

Friday, November 4, 2011

A Santa Even Daddy Likes

November first was always the day I could see Christmas and the holidays on the horizon and the shopping nightmare would begin.

God, I hate shopping! You know,  regular, get in the car and go to the store shopping.  In the past there was NO way around it.  Birthdays, anniversaries, and other less significant gifting events might be taken care of with a lunch, dinner, or promise of some sort of "good behavior in the future" but Christmas requires something wrapped and "thoughtful", both of which imply actual SHOPPING.  The horror!

Several years back a man from the North, not the pole but Seattle, named Jeff Bezos came along with this really neat idea to sell books via an Internet website.  Viola! Amazon was hatched. As time passed Mr. B. decided to lend his marketing genius to the destruction of not only retail bookstores but RETAIL in general.  Now, thanks to this magnificent SOB, I can buy everything from coffee to cattle prods, Kaye Starr to Katy Perry, mouthwash to mouse traps and it's all ON LINE.  No more sweating that trip to the mall and the inevitable safari for parking.  Nope,  I can find a gift for everyone on my list without ever leaving my Lazyboy--(also available on Amazon).  And now, thanks to Amazon Prime, I have guaranteed quick delivery to just about any doorstep FREE! (for only $79 per year).  This is truly a heaven sent gift to guys.

I will admit that since shipping booze via UPS, FEDEX, or USPS is against the law Amazon won't help with some of my degenerate friends this season.  However, a trip to the liquor store does give me the chance to once again congratulate myself for maintaining twelve years of abstinence.  All I have to do is look at the price of some of my formerly favorite fool fuel to realize how much money I'm saving.  (A quick tabulation tells me that from 1968- 1999 I drank up about eleven Corvettes, two round the world cruises, four vacation condos and a partridge in a pear tree.)

Now...where is my list?  Time to get on-line at the old Amazon store and start setting fire to a couple of credit cards.  Think of all the gas I'm saving!  Although I will miss some of the pushing and shoving at the mall and, best of all, finding the cutest little saleswoman in the lingerie department--"she's about your size"--to pick out that special gift.  I will miss nothing else.

I know it is not yet Thanksgiving but the holidays and shopping have a way of sneaking up and biting you in the ass.  "Ho Ho Holly Cow!  It's Christmas!"  No need to panic,  just take your shopping to the Bezos man.

As my beloved Grandpa Copper used to say, "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.  When life gives you a juniper berry, make a gin martini."  The man was an idiot savant.  Just like Jeff Bezos.

Gentlemen, start your credit cards!
Making glad the hearts of shopping impaired males everywhere.