Thursday, February 26, 2009

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night...

When I travel by plane I look for a suspense or horror story to keep me relaxed. My theory is that if I’m reading something by Stephen King I won’t think so much about the time spent above five-thousand feet. I only have a couple of problems. First, I’ve read every Stephen King book known to man and second, Dean Koontz (my back-up literary 'frightener') isn’t ‘scary’ any more. Lately Dean spends a lot of time writing about psychic dogs and quantum physics. These two subjects don’t really qualify as scary when compared to the collected works of Stephen King. From personal experience, I can tell you that my Golden Retriever knows what I’m thinking, I didn't need Dean Koontz to tell me.

I submit the following to you as evidence of my dog’s psychic ability…

Me, deep in thought, “I wonder what we have to eat with chocolate in it?”

Dog, “He’s thinking about eating again…”

Me, “Maybe there’s some Halloween candy left over from last year?”

Dog, “Great, he’s thinking about year-old candy. I’m never eating again.”

Me, “The dog looks hungry, I wonder if I should feed her? Hey, maybe we’ve got some of those Nestle Toll House Morsels with the baking stuff – I could eat some of those.”

Dog, “I’m going to kill him next time he falls asleep on the couch…”

Since my favorite ‘scary Writers’ are leaving me hanging lately, I’ve decided that I’ll take a stab at horror writing. How hard could it be?

It is a dark and stormy night. The old house on the side of the mountain groans as the rain beats the windows and the wind forces a moan from the aged beams. The man is not alarmed by noises from atop the roof, assuming it is just another branch that has broken loose from the maple tree being dragged back and forth along the roofline by the wind. While this sound is irregular, there is another, lower noise that the man hears below the rush of the wind. This sound becomes louder and more rhythmic. Its steady repetition is more reminiscent of a heart beat than the random rant of the shrieking wind and a stray branch. But the man is tired, and the sound of the wind and rain makes him think of sleep.

He is drowsing on the couch when the first real 'thud' comes. It is as if someone has dropped a bowling ball onto the floor of the attic above him. Immediately, the ceiling darkens to the color of a used cigarette filter. The man, now half-awake, swings his legs over the side of the couch and sits up groggily. He rises and walks down the narrow hall to look at the hatchway that leads to the attic. As he nears the drop-down door he pauses, hearing the sound of something pushing down on the attic hatch from above.

The two latches that hold the attic door squeal in protest as an unseen force continues its assault on the hardware that secures the old hatchway. The man looks in horror as the wood trim around the hatch begins to splinter and give way. The hinges let go with a spectacular shriek as the attic hatch falls onto the wooden floor below directly in front of the man. Water streams through the opening and a guttural growl is heard from above. The man backs away from the hatch as a pair of yellowish eyes glare at him with malevolent intent. Primitive ferocity shows in the reflected light in the beast’s eyes as it jumps down into the hallway in front of the man. There is a brief spark of recognition and then…

I woke up to find my Golden Retriever standing over me on the edge of the couch. “Nobody fed you yet, huh? Okay, come on and I’ll get you something.” I try to get up but the dog will not move. Suddenly I realize that I’m receiving horrible psychic images from my beloved pet. Rage and betrayal commingled with blood lust paint a hideous panorama of thought. With a snap of her head she produces a knife from between her jaws, brings her head down and stabs me deep in my chest. She tilts her head, wags her tail, and neatly ‘folds’ herself to the dumpster behind the Outback Steak House.

As I die, I realize with horror that I have turned into Dean Koontz. With a groan and one last thought of a Hershey bar -- I expire.

The End

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Fear the FUD

Mere hours from now President Barack Hussein Obama will address the US House of Representatives (as well as the rest of the world population via video feeds). White House aides have played down the upcoming speech and have let the media know that it will have none of the 'high-flying rhetoric' for which the President has become associated with with in prior 'media events'.

Tonight's objective? Oh, heck, I dunno, they didn't call ME to preview the event, but let me take a stab at it here (while it's still a free country):
  • The economy is in much worse shape than he, or his economic advisors were led to believe by the outgoing Bush Administration. If only he knew five weeks ago what he knew today, things WOULD have been different today.

  • The tired (old) solutions of lowering taxes on individuals and corporations will not be enough to bring this flailing economy back to life. New, bold (FDR-era) solutions of massive government spending, increased taxes, and diminished freedoms will be the mantra for years to come. The private sector, which provides 70% of activity of the economic engine of America CAN'T do it on its own. The 30% of the economy known as 'the Government' needs to jump-start the entire economy. You cannot trust Americans to spend their own money, Barney Frank, Christopher Dodd, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Barack Obama DO know how. They have proven that they know HOW to spend money over the past month -- trouble is, they are not so big on MAKING the money that they are spending.

  • For some reason, American citizens have grown 'concerned' about the economy. President Obama will not know where people have gotten this mistaken impression. Sure, things are bad, but hey, we've been through rough patches before, haven't we? You know, like that one time when the Federal Government decided to bail-out a bunch of bad mortgages, spend $1.3 million on a stimulus package 'chocked full' of pork, and then decided to bail-out a bunch of bad mortgages again? Sure, that was a much worse time than we have today -- right?

  • We need to control spending. The best way to control spending is to make health care available to all legal (and illegal) Americans. And the best way to control medical spending is? Come on, you already know the answer... Yes, the best way to control medical spending is to determine the procedures which are made available to those patients who can 'most benefit' from those procedures. So if you're really, really sick from illness A and you come down with a secondary illness B, don't expect to get health-care because you are a 'High Risk' patient. Shoot, you're already sick, aren't you? Do you deserve to be treated as a normal, healthy, patient would be? I don't think so. You are a burden to society, you are deemed un-worthy of treatment. YOU cost too much, and THEY'RE looking to reduce costs.

  • We need alternative fuel technology (circa 1975) to create new, high-tech, and high-pay jobs. Wind, solar, tide, clean coal technologies will NEED additional monies foisted upon them lest they never come to profitable fruition. We will NOT drill for oil within the United States, or off-shore because these two things are NOT solutions to our long-term energy needs. Instead, the U.S. will invest monies into technologies proven in-efficient, costly, and less profitable to the company providing them, than in proven energy solutions (like, for example, a whole bunch of oil and natural gas resting comfortably under our nation).

  • We need to increase taxes on a few of the 'wealthiest Americans' (as defined here, the 'wealthiest Americans' include seven guys named, Bill and one guy named, Warren.) These eight guys will provide the economic engine 'funding' to help Barack Obama make America great again for all Americans. Unfortunately, these eight guys will need to lay off approximately 67,000 who work for them to PAY for these tax increases. Then when these guys and gals start pulling unemployment benefits and stop buying stuff, 1.2 million other Americans will be laid-off because without the 70% of the consumer-driven economy referenced above dries up... Absolutely NOTHING happens.

  • We need to increase taxes on a few of the 'wealthiest American companies' (these companies include any company with a 'vowel' in the name of their firm). If they are wealthy enough to 'Buy a vowel' they had better darn well pony up to help out the poorest of Americans. They, in turn, will lay off 20% of their employees to offset their increase in corporate tax rates. There is a bright-spot here, however, as all of these unemployed workers (let's say, oh, another 1.2 million Americans added to the 1,267,000 above comes out to roughly 2.5Million NEW unemployed) these un-employed workers will all have health-care coverage (unless, of course, they contract a secondary infection, in which case their family starts pulling Social Security benefits out of the system a 'wee bit earlier' than they expected).

I do tend to get carried away, don't I? Sorry.

So back to the FUD:

This is an example of the 'FUDD':

This, of course, is the 'Elmer Fudd'

What I'm talking about in this rambling bit of verse, is NOT this 'FUDD', it is the 'FUD' as mentioned above in the title of the blog post. It's a Sales & Marketing term used to 'Sell products or services to people who may (or may not) need them'. In this instance, 'FUD' stands for:
Fear, Uncertainty, & Doubt

'Selling the FUD' refers to making your 'Prospect' aware that if THEY DON'T BUY YOUR PRODUCT OR SERVICE (when?) RIGHT NOW!...

THAT Something BAD will happen.

"VERY Bad, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh... You buy/do this ____________ or I won't be wesponsible for what happens to you or your famiwee..."

(You should go back and re-read this prior section as 'Elmer Fudd' (or Barney Frank). Feel free to hold a shot gun to your own head while you do it just to get a totally 'authentic feel of fear, uncertainty, and doubt'). Wearing the 'Fudd' hunting hat will also add to the learning experience! Trust me, I just did it... Although the gun was really a soda bottle and I made the hat out of aluminum foil.)

So, what do I expect from tonight's presentation of the President? FUD. Lots and lots of FUD. It's how he and Congress pushed through the recent ('We didn't have time to read it but we passed it anyway because we had to do SOMETHING...') Stimulus Bill.

Barack Obama's Greatest Hits
Including the following Classic Tracks!:
"If WE don't act now...",
"We are in a crisis facing a catastrophe",
"If we fail to act, we act to fail",
"We cannot maintain business as usual",
"Yeah, you may not agree with me. But I won..."

Yes, President Obama, you won. But I, do not want to lose.

So put on your hunting caps, get out your tweed jacket and repeat after me, "Shush, be very, very quiet, I'm listening for 'FUD'." I'll keep score on my predictions for this evening's presentation.

What do YOU think that President Obama will be discussing (selling) this evening?

And, perhaps more importantly, what, if anything, will you be buying?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Natural Beef

Men should not shop at grocery stores. This isn’t because they're forbidden by some obscure governmental legislation, but because the casual male shopper finds the local grocery a frightening and confusing place. Trust me on this; guys are not equipped with ‘grocery’ genes. Allow me to convey the following real life example: Tonight as I wandered aimlessly through the grocery store I noticed something that rocked me on my heels. Perhaps hundreds, maybe even thousands of other shoppers (feel free to insert the word ‘women’ here) had passed it prior to my arrival without so much as a second glance.

As I entered the Meat department with my typical ‘I need to buy something, perhaps it can be meat, but what kind of meat?’ look on my face, I noticed something disturbing. In the open refrigerated meat case with other pre-sliced cold cuts I read the following: Pre-Sliced Roast Beef “ONLY $7.89 A POUND”. Okay, on the whole that wasn’t too disturbing (but I’m pretty sure a pound of gasoline still costs less than this). The thing that caught my eye was a circa-1970’s fluorescent orange sunburst sticker pasted on the front of the package featuring the words “NATURAL BEEF” in bold print. I know I’m not the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree but, help me here, what would you make of this? Since when does a store label food, beef no less, as “Natural”? Did the cow only eat organically grown Cow Chow? Did the cow actually spend some time outside, actively participating in NATURE?

I want to know what makes this pre-sliced roast beef in the clear plastic caskets able to be labeled as, “Natural Beef”? What other labels could they be keeping behind the butcher’s counter? Do they have a supply of stickers describing the following ‘Beef’ types?

  • Un-Natural Beef = Beef from a cow that ate nothing but the stuff men eat when their moms, wives, or girlfriends aren't around
  • Primordial Beef = Really old beef. "It's not just aged -- it's petrified!"
  • Super Natural Beef = Beef from a cow that had an uncanny ability to predict the future, but was tragically inept at avoiding its own demise
  • Free Range Beef = Beef from a cow that 'got around'
  • Chipped Beef = Beef I remember from numerous Boy Scout camping trips that consisted of white pasty goo with beef sporting an un-natural brick-red color. Also known as 'S.O.S.', but I'll say no more on this...
  • Tipped Beef = Bruised beef from a cow located too close to a college almost anywhere in the U.S. (If you have to ask you didn't go to a real college...)

So the next time your mom, wife, or girlfriend asks you to go to the store, or you have a momentary lapse of reason and volunteer to run to the store for a few things; be prepared. Be calm and don’t let grocery store employees see the fear that inevitably steals into the part of the brain that controls the ‘fight or flight’ response. Repeat the following to yourself, ‘It is only a grocery store -- it’s only a grocery store. I made it through showers after high school gym class; I can make it through this.’

Next time you have to shop -- take command! Upon entering the store, walk boldly up the butcher in the Meat Department and ask him to direct you to the ‘Natural Beef’ section. If nothing else, you’ll appear to know what you’re doing – unless, of course your store only features regular ‘Beef’. At this point my friend, you are on your own.

Avert your eyes, turn away and leave the store quickly. And for goodness sake, don’t look at the Head Cheese in the deli counter – it has nothing to do with cheese; but everything to do with head.

And, um, you might want to find the 'Beer' aisle just so the trip isn't a complete waste...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

How Men Shop

It’s late Wednesday afternoon, you’re out of elbow macaroni and your wife has informed you that you must prepare macaroni and cheese for the entire family. You must cook because your wife is ill. What will you do, what will you do!?

Do you?

  • Explain to your kids that peanut butter and jelly sandwiches were omitted erroneously from the ‘Food Pyramid’ and that they ARE actually considered a food group and should be eaten more frequently,
  • Tell the kids that they’ll eat again when mom feels better,
  • Stare longingly into the pantry hoping that something requiring no more preparation than a ½ cup of water and three minutes of preperation time falls into your outstretched hand by the force of your sheer will, or
  • Drive to the grocery store and act like you know what you’re doing
I have discovered that there is a profound difference between men and women when it comes to the process of grocery shopping. My wife takes shopping seriously. She makes a list, clips coupons, and she even knows what she wants before she arrives at the store (Gasp!). With single-minded purpose she uses her internal GPS, Grocery Positioning System, to move unerringly from aisle to aisle. She slows only long enough to collect each of the items on her list.

These items are actually listed, in the ‘aisle order’ as they appear in the store. Appropriately alphabetized coupons are transferred from the coupon envelope to the outside ‘coupon compartment’ of her pocketbook. When shopping is completed, coupons are handed to the cashier, the obligatory “Paper or Plastic?” inquiry is addressed and with the swipe of a debit card and entry of four-digit PIN; my wife’s mission is accomplished.

Do all women shop this way? I’ve watched them (studied them even -- no, not like 'stalking'; knock that off) during the period of my life when I was unemployed (this was NOT a good time) and I did all of the shopping. I will concede that there may be a few out there who lack the ‘grocery’ gene and maybe even a few more who make my wife look downright reckless when it comes to shopping. And for you husbands whose wives are more genetically disposed to grocery shopping than mine, all I can say is, I’m really sorry. You may want to check out a few items from the 'BEER' aisle – assuming you can find it, of course.

Grocery shopping for men is infinitely different. Whereas my wife travels the store purposefully, I meander. There is no section of the store that can be overlooked. To this end I start at one end of the store and walk clock-wise through the aisles knowing that I’ll come across something that I will need. No need for a shopping strategy here, I merely continue wandering through the store until the cart looks full enough to justify getting out of the house for forty to sixty minutes. One bright spot is that with drive time factored in, you can get nearly ninety minutes of quality time ALONE. Sure you’ll buy things you don’t need, but you might just need that spare can of pineapple rings.

Consider the following real-life exchange:

Me, “Ed, it’s great to see you, I was just getting ready to peel back the lid on this can of pineapple rings. Are you hungry?”

Ed, “Oh, pineapple rings, uh, no thanks.”

Me, “Well then, how about some hot dog chili sauce on an English muffin?”

Ed, “No, thanks, I'm good...”

Me, “Cocktail franks in barbecue sauce?”

Ed, “No” Me, “Hey, how about we grab some wings at Hooters?”

Ed, “You’ve been shopping again, haven’t you?”

Me, “Well, ah, yes, my wife’s been (insert appropriate response here): a.) very busy, b.) sick, c.) abducted by space aliens, or, d.) astral projecting and isn’t expected back in her body until next Monday.

Ed, “I’m sorry man. Are you using coupons at least? My wife uses coupons.”

Me, “I tried it once, but I didn’t know if I should alphabetize them by manufacturer or by product. In the check-out line there was a group of women glaring at me, shaking their heads and whispering to each other. I heard one of them say something about me being ‘genetically challenged’. It was horrific.”

Ed, “Hooters it is. I’ll buy.”

So the next time you get snookered into running to the store for a few things; be prepared. Accept your limitations prior to entering the store. If your wife wanted the shopping done properly she would have done it herself (like she normally does). And if you are looking for an extra can of pineapple rings; stop on over, I have about fourteen of them right now.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Killer Deer

Once upon a time I had a real job. I was a ‘Global Account Manager’. This meant that I was responsible for things outside of my control, all over the planet. I worked for a large telecommunication’s equipment manufacturer based out of New Jersey. Part of this job was providing high-level training for new and existing customers so they would purchase more telecommunication's infrastructure (or in technical jargon, more 'stuff'.)

I took a customer to the corporate briefing center at Pebble Beach, California. Okay, let’s face it, Pebble Beach is not known for the quality of its Executive Briefings; it’s known for golf, woefully expensive and miniscule servings of food (however, I must say that the food is very ‘pretty’). Meals typically are a veritable feast for the eyes – but you’ll still spend $60 for it and you’ll be eyeing the Burger King on the way back to the hotel. I’m sorry, did I say hotel? What I meant to say was Resort. When you’re dropping $400 a night to sleep there, ‘hotel’ just doesn’t cut it. At this 'resort' the woman at the front desk told me that the rooms were not air-conditioned. Well, at least for $400 per night you get all of the heat that you would want. At the time I was living in Florida and $38 per night got you an Orlando area Days Inn with cable, air conditioning, and one of those vibrating beds.

The customer was able to play the obligatory rounds of golf at Pebble Beach while I rode around in the cart noticing how very overcast and chilly it was. For the golf nut, this was Mecca. The customer even commented that this was his dream, “To play Pebble Beach”. My dream, on the other hand was to get a $5.00 meal and a sweater (which I picked up later in the week at the gift store for ONLY $98).

The briefing event took an unexpected turn with the introduction of “Thom”. Thom was the briefer assigned to ‘brief’ the customer on new product enhancements, feature functionality updates, and applications in the Enterprise. To briefly sum up, I’ve never used the word ‘brief’ this much in one paragraph in my life – but I digress.

On the morning of the briefing, my boss, who was also at the briefing center, mentioned that she had opened the exterior door of her room early in the morning and had seen a deer. The deer (which apparently didn’t have enough money to eat at the restaurants either) had been munching on the flora of the meticulously manicured grounds (why didn’t I think of that? Here I was walking around hungry all the time…).

She and the deer both regarded each other for a moment and then returned to their prior activities, which is to say, munching, and observing. It wasn’t until later in the morning that she was made aware of just how close she had come to death. Thom (okay, is this a guy too lazy to spell Thomas, or is his name really Moth, and he’s dyslexic?) told the following and riveted us with his personal account of the ‘deer incident’. Thom explained that ‘Ninja Deer’ stalk visitors to Pebble Beach. I’m pretty sure I remember the conversation verbatim (and what I don’t remember, I will make up). It went something like this:

Thom began, “Yes, I walked out into my backyard, and there it stood -- the deer. It was much larger than a dog, but not quite as large as, say, as the USS Enterprise. It stared at me with evil intent. Suddenly, it reared up on its back legs and lunged at me with its razor sharp hooves. These talons (I know, deer don’t have talons, but this is pretty much Thom’s story from here on out) flashed razor sharp in the moonlight. I fell back against Patty; Patty O’Furniture the Irish man who lives on my porch, and I felt the wind from the wildly flailing beast’s stiletto-like hooves. I thought it was all over for me, so I turned, grabbed, and threw Patty into the path of the oncoming cyclone of death.

Patty fought bravely, but being afflicted with the Irish Curse, he was also fighting drunkenly. The deer, having no genetic need to imbibe mass quantities of cheap amber beverages effectively neutralized Patty by eviscerating him with the first assault. Luckily, in Patty’s altered state, there was no pain. He fell to the ground like a steaming mass of last year’s Corned Beef and Cabbage.” At this point Thom appeared visibly shaken.

Thom concluded, “I was lucky to escape with my butt – and every day I thank God for that.”

For Patty, death was delivered not through a prolonged liver-related illness, but rather through the killing machine that Walt Disney laughingly referred to as Bambi, Prince of the Forest.
So the next time you stare into the cold dead eyes of ‘your average deer’, remember Patty. Let his death be a warning to you. If you’re ever driving through Pebble Beach and a deer sideswipes your car, don’t open the door and leave the vehicle.

I’ve seen “Jurassic Park” and I’m here to tell you that modern deer are the Velaciraptors of today. That fuzzy veneer and perky white tail disguise one of nature’s greatest killing machines. Bambi, my butt, these guys are killers.

I know, because Thom told me so. I’ve been briefed.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

In Bed

Okay, sometimes humor finds you, and sometimes you find humor where you least expect it. Years ago I was sitting in a Chinese restaurant and a young couple at the table next to me was laughing hysterically. Since I'm always up for a 'Yuk' (when I'm around my wife and kids, they say 'Yuck' a lot - although, now that I think about it, it may not be exactly the same thing), I asked them, "Excuse me, but I can't help but notice that you are on the verge of 'making water' in your pants. Okay, so what's so funny?" They told me that the fortunes from their Fortune Cookies were the cause of their side-splitting laughter.

"Are you serious? So is Steve Martin started writing one-liner 'fortunes' for Fortune Cookie companies?" I asked.

"No, no, it's not that." the man sitting at the table answered as he continued to sputter with laughter.

"Were you drinking a lot before I got here?" I asked, trying to shed some light on the true source of their giddyness.

"No, we're going back to work, but it's the... the, 'in bed' rule.", the woman said as she wiped her watery eyes with an already damp red paper napkin.

Oh, oh, maybe I should have kept my question to myself? I thought that this was going somewhere that I didn't need it to, or want, it to go. They recognized my 'discomfort' because the woman quickly followed up with a question of her own, "Do you know about the 'in bed' rule?"

"Ah, all I know is that my wife says that I cannot eat in bed, and that whoever is the last one OUT of bed 'makes' the bed...", hoping this truthful response would keep the conversation from going to a 'weird' place.

"A good couple of rules, but not the 'in bed' rule...", replied the guy as he looked back across the table to the woman.

Now it was the woman's turn once again, "The 'in bed' rule says that whenever you read the 'fortune' from a fortune cookie, you need to add 'in bed' to the end of it... Whatever your fortune is, it will be funny, or at least more interesting, when you add, 'in bed' to the end of it."

"So this is why you guys are laughing your rumps off over here?", I asked.

"You've got it!", the man said, chiming back in to the conversation.

"Does it always work?", I asked.

"Yes, here's my fortune...", the woman reached back to the table and picked up her twisted slip of paper and began to read aloud: "This suspense is exciting, I hope it will last." She then added, "In bed".

"Okay, but it couldn't always work, could it?", I wasn't really convinced yet...

The man picked up his fortune and read it aloud (probably louder than he needed to considering it was an otherwise quiet restaurant), "Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction - in bed."

"Whoa, that is kind of funny in a weird, Sixth Grade Elementary School kind of way... But I'm a 'Sixth Grade humor' kind of guy", I said. Now I wanted to open MY fortune cookie, before my second trip to the buffett bar. Somehow, the fortune I received was strangely appropriate: "Ideas not coupled with action will never become bigger than the brain cells they occupy. Yeah, 'in bed'", I added, as I read my fortune aloud to the table with the couple sitting across from me.

"Yup, works every time..." the man said as he picked up his check and stood to leave.

The couple paid their bill and walked out of the restaurant, laughing as they went. I never learned their names, but I never forgot the 'in bed' rule. I share it with you in the hope that you will enjoy all of your Chinese meals whether they be, 'take-out', 'buffett', or, 'in bed'.

Just to get you started, I went to a website that has listings of fortune cookie sayings (to save you MONEY and your very LIFE! You know, with the Economy, gas prices, global warming, Africanized Honey bees and all...).

Here are the first twenty that I came across (you be the judge as to if 'the rule' works or not):

There is a true and sincere friendship between you and your friends - in bed.

You find beauty in ordinary things, do not lose this ability - in bed.

Ideas are like children; there are none so wonderful as your own - in bed.

It takes more than good memory to have good memories - in bed.

A thrilling time is in your immediate future - in bed.

Your blessing is no more than being safe and sound for the whole lifetime - in bed.

Plan for many pleasures ahead - in bed.

The joyfulness of a man prolongeth his days - in bed.

Your everlasting patience will be rewarded sooner or later - in bed.

Make two grins grow where there was only a grouch before - in bed.

Something you lost will soon turn up - in bed.

Your heart is pure, and your mind clear, and your soul devout - in bed.

Excitement and intrigue follow you closely wherever you go - in bed!

A pleasant surprise is in store for you - in bed.

May life throw you a pleasant curve - in bed.

As the purse is emptied the heart is filled - in bed.

Be mischievous and you will not be lonesome - in bed.

Your flair for the creative takes an important place in your life - in bed.

Your artistic talents win the approval and applause of others - in bed.

Pray for what you want, but work for the things you need - in bed.

Simba, the circle is complete, the grass feeds the antelope, the lions eat the antelope, the antelope dies to feed the grass, then... Oh, sorry, that's from 'The Lion King'. Well, in any event, this circle IS complete. It was shared with me, and I share it with you now. First the 'I Have a Cow (The Game)' for traveling fun, and now, the 'In bed' thing for dining in 'fine' Chinese restaurants. Try not to have green tea shoot out your nose... in bed. Oops.

Well, anyway, I'm sure some of you may have already have heard of the 'in bed' rule, but for those of you that have not, I offer it to you here 'free' as a passing of the 'in bed' torch. It's sort of like the olympic torch 'pass', but on a 'Sixth Grade' level. If you have any other Sixth Grade humor that you'd like to share, send it on over. For me, at least, Seventh Grade is always another year away...

See ya' in class!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The 'Green' Rodent From Pennsylvania

It was only a matter or time. It had to happen. The only question I have is: So why did I have to find out about it?

I was arguing with my son over the number of times that Punxsutawney Phil hasn't seen his shadow since 1886 (we had to argue about something, so why not something completely pointless?). That answer, so YOU don't have to look it up, is FOURTEEN. Yes, for only fourteen times in the past 132 years, the sleepy, dark-loving, 'un-happy-about-being-dragged-out-in-front-of-13,000-loons' Phil has NOT seen his shadow. Now you know in case you want to start an argument with someone in your family...

But I also found out something that I DIDN'T know. I found out that there are folks 'out there' speculating that since NINE of these fourteen total 'non-shadow' appearances have taken place since 1975 that it's because of... WHAT? Go ahead and guess! Come on, you can do it!

Give up?

What is the significance of 9 out of 14? Take a shot! Do IT! Do IT NOW! (Read the preceding like Ahnooold.)

Well, it is being speculated that this large percentage of non-shadow 'events' since 1975 is because Punxsutawney Phil is sensitive to, and completely aware of... Global Warming.

Yup, even the groundhog is in on the Global Warming kick now. Here is a photo of the environmentally-aware groundhog in his natural environment (being dragged out of a dark box into broad daylight, surrounded by thousands of shouting and laughing 'Phil-O-Philes').

Go ahead, look into HIS eyes and call ME insane...

Yes, stare into the eyes of nature's pre-eminent early-warning system. Feel Phil's psychic presence as he pleads with you to save HIS planet (he, apparently, is very full of himself)...

Okay, enough of that. Can we discuss reality for a moment, just for a MOMENT? From the article, I quote, "(Phil) uttered something in the obscure language of Groundhogese to Club President Bill Cooper, who then proclaimed that the large rodent had seen his shadow and we would therefore be getting six more weeks of winter."

So here's where it gets weird(er): The Global Warming prediction is NOT made by the groundhog himself, but more appropriately, by a guy named, 'Bill Cooper' translating on behalf of the rodent.

How do I know this? Simply put, groundhogs don't speak. Go ahead, you can look it up if you have to, but I'm pretty confident that the section above about 'the obscure language of Groundhogese' is a SCAM made up to amuse TOURISTS (as proof, I offer the following to you: No one in their right mind goes to Pennsylvania in FEBRUARY.)

If Phil actually spoke, I'm pretty sure it would be something more like, "Psst, hey buddy, you put me back in my box away from these lunatics or I'm gonna take off one of your stubby little gloved fingers. Don't mess with me, I'm a rodent, a cousin of the 'rat'. I can do it. Don't push me man. And watch where you're puttin' that other HAND!"

To add more credence to the above theory, it was reported on February 2nd that the New York equivalent of Phil, Staten Island Chuck, did in fact, take a chunk out of NYC Mayor, Michael Bloomberg's hand. From a personal perspective, I hope he's okay. You can get a nasty infection from a bite like that. Regarding Mayor Bloomberg, I'm sure that he'll be okay, I'm more concerned that the poor little rodent may have picked something up from him, you know, him being a politician and all...

If you would like to read the entire story, you can click the following link -> Phil Responding to Global Warming?

Click the link if you want... Or you can just trust me. Just like the Global Warming folks who 'KNOW IN THEIR HEARTS THAT HUMANS ARE KILLING THE PLANET', trust Bill Cooper to translate the frantic gruntings of a panicked rodent (being pulled from his hutch into the cold February air) to predict the winter weather forecast (and the END of the EARTH).

Yeah, you're right, it's probably better to not trust anyone. Not even a guy in the tuxedo coat and top hat.

Game On...

Monday, February 2, 2009

Signs Of Life

Do the people who write this stuff ever go back and read it again once they are done?:

I was following a truck this morning heading north on I-95. There was a huge orange sign on the back of the truck that said “Construction Vehicle – Do Not Follow”. So I turned around and went back to the office.

I had the opportunity to open a toilet paper 6-pack earlier today on which the following words appeared: “Facial Quality”. Butt I didn’t need to wipe my face…

While showering this morning I took time to read the shampoo bottle. Under instructions, it said, “Lather, Rinse, Repeat”. I’m still in the shower and the laptop’s getting wet, what happens next?

Q-Tip Box includes the following instruction: "Do not use in ear canal" What ELSE are they good for -- Teeny-tiny Tiki Torches?

Oh, and on a "Scrubbing Bubbles Fresh Brush" I came across in our bathroom, I found the following verbiage: "Do not use for personal hygiene" Anyone ever see the size of that ' Scrubbing Bubbles Fresh Brush'? What part of your body WOULD you clean with it?

I ordered a 'Southern Style Chicken Sandwich' today at McDonalds. (If you've ever eaten at Chick-Fil-A, you know what they are trying to do -- but naaah, not even close.) I read the back of the little purple and white cardboard casket that my sandwich came in and found the following note: "Made with a minimum 46% post-consumer recycled content" Super, now they're wrapping my lunch in someone else's garbage. Thanks Scary Clown, now I'll tell everyone that the "You Want Flies With That?" blog was about YOU. That's right, your name is on the street -- let's see how long you survive after these two MAJOR scandals?

And, when I ordered the $1.00 hot fudge sundae to wash down my trash-encased sandwich I was relieved to see that the peanuts (that I asked NOT to get) also had a warning: "Allergen Information: May contain tree nuts" So was I 'nuts' for not running screaming out of the building? Lacking that little tidbit of information, how could I have possibly known that my peanuts might have been hanging out with the 'wrong type' of nuts?

I washed my car this weekend and had to open a new bottle of Meguire's Crystal Car Wash. I twisted off the cap on top of the jug and found an inside foil seal labeled: "Sealed for your protection". What are they protecting me from, washing my car?

That's it for now. The "Do Not Follow" sign got me thinking... If you've seen any 'spooky' verbiage out there, send it in as a 'Comment'.

It's FUN, it's EASY, and best of all, it's FREE. (For a limited time only. Actual comment cost may be affected by dealer's contribution and your credit rating, no money down, and EZ monthly payments required, 12,000 characters included in the base comment lease and .32 per character for every character over the 12,000 during calendar period. Remember to always read the FINE PRINT -- it's there for someone's protection (yeah, not yours))...

Words Mean Things... Right?

This is not the post I was going to write this morning. THAT post was to be about one of my favorite things: my good dog, Kelly. Appropriately enough, it was to be entitled, "The Golden Assassin". (I promise that it will make more sense when it's actually written...)

As I logged onto my lightning-fast (and soon to be 5% more expensive) Time Warner Internet Explorer session; an article on a topic that I had thought about for the past week popped up on my screen. But I didn't think anyone would put the subject of this particular thought of mine into words. It was labelled, simply enough: "Under Obama, `war on terror' catchphrase fading".

(Question: Should the first letter of the words in a title of a story, or article be capitalized? I remember this from Ms. McGooey's Third Grade English Class, but would appreciate clarification if you have any. I'll go back and update the titles of my posts since May of 2008 as appropriate... Sure, I'll do this right after I walk to Washington, DC with my pig, "Wilbur", in my pocket to draw attention to the PORK in the current House Bill heading to the Senate. If you haven't already done so, you might want to call YOUR local Senator to request their opposition to this boondoggle. They've already heard from me.)

The article was a piece written by Associated Press writer, LOLITA C. BALDOR (I copied and pasted her name exactly as it appeared in the article. THIS is where all the capital letters have gone. They have all been moved to her name.)

Here is an excerpt from LOLITA C. BALDOR's article (you can read the complete text by clicking the title of the story above, in the second paragraph):

"During the past seven years, the "War Against Terror" or "War on Terror" came to represent everything the U.S. military was doing in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the broader effort against extremists elsewhere or those seen as aiding militants aimed at destroying the West.

Ultimately and perhaps inadvertently, however, the phrase "became associated in the minds of many people outside the Unites States and particularly in places where the countries are largely Islamic and Arab, as being anti-Islam and anti-Arab," said Anthony Cordesman, a national security analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank."

Also, from the article:

"According to the White House, Obama is intent on repairing America's image in the eyes of the Islamic world and addressing issues such as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, unrest in Pakistan and India, Arab-Israeli peace talks and tensions with Iran.

Using language is one way to help effect that change, said Wayne Fields, professor of English and American culture studies at Washington University in St. Louis.

One of the contrasts between the two administrations is the care with which Obama uses language. He thinks about the subtle implications," said Fields, an expert on presidential rhetoric. The Bush administration "didn't set out deliberately to do things that were offensive but they liked to do things that showed how strong they were, and to use language almost in an aggressive sense."

Obama, he said, understands that language and conversation must be worked at and that it's "not just a series of sound bites.""

So according to CSIS, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and LOLITA C. BALDOR: By changing the words we use, we will have a positive impact on how certain parts of the world view the United States of America. Does this mean then, that once we embrace this new language of verbal political correctness, everything will be pretty much 'okay'?

I don't buy it.

The bad guys, whether they be Islamic Extremists, Irish Catholic (which I am, so don't get weird on me), Buddhists, Atheists, Protestants, Jews, Global Warming-types, or whatever religious affiliation; well, they know who they are.

The War on Terror by the United States was not an anti-religious action. It was an anti-Terror action. That's why it was called the, 'WAR ON TERROR'. It was NOT called the, 'WAR ON A CERTAIN RELIGIOUS GROUP (YOU KNOW WHO THEY ARE)'.

To be intellectually honest, we were not attacked by Irish Catholics, Jews, Buddhists, Protestants (the jury's still out on the 'Global-Warming folks'), or anyone else in my abbreviated list with the exception of, here it comes!: Islamic Extremists!

These were not nice people. These people were not using nice language about us as they flew the planes into buildings around our country killing our brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, children....

They slaughtered Americans to incite terror and to reap their reward of de-flowering virgins in the after-life, all at the direction of a mad man. The United States was attacked by Islamic Extremists bent on inflicting terror against US, the people of the United States. Call them what you like, but at their core, they were Islamic Extremists.

So now begins the era of conscious effort to be 'politically correct' to the eyes of the world
regarding our language. Personally, I think the real challenge will be to continue to keep the country safe, grow our economy, and stand for the things that made this nation the envy of the world for generations. If 'the words we use' are part of the equation, well, we'll see.

Personally, I believe actions speak more loudly than words. And actions are typically not mis-understood (unless, of course, you happen to be the 43rd President of the United States, in which case you just won't win, regarless what you do because the media HATES you, and admittedly, you sometimes just do goofy stuff (the Bail-Out comes to mind)).

Conversely, words CAN be misunderstood or misinterpreted. Especially when you spend more time thinking about the words you use, rather than the message that the words convey to your intended audience.

Words are important. Actions consistent with 'words' are more important than the words themselves. Neither one cannot survive without the other when it comes to successful national leadership. I just hope that President Obama and the Congress send the correct message to those listening worldwide regarding their verbiage and actions in the years to come. Our lives may depend upon it.

Just a thought.