Monday, February 28, 2011

Dear Jon (February 14, 2011)

My son is winding down his Navy Boot Camp 'Experience'.  In less than two weeks we'll be attending his graduation at Great Lakes in Illinois.  We've been exchanging letters over the past six weeks, I'm posting a few outgoing letters from me to him because I want to remember the experience (the good, the bad, the 'weird').

I miss my boy.  From the letters we've received home, he seems to miss us too.  This, I did not expect from him.  He's the 'reserved' Kane, not prone to displays of emotion.  I've learned much in reading his letters over the past six weeks, and it appears that he's learned quite a bit about himself also.

Dear Jon,

I’m sorry that it’s taken a while to write again.  Mom told me that she sent you a Valentine’s Day card, and a letter last week, Ben said he sent you something too, so I spent my time, instead, shoveling snow in front of, and behind the house. 

I normally would write to you in the morning (it’s Tuesday Morning now) but for the past week or so it snows anywhere between two and five inches pretty much every night.  In the morning I wake up, make Timmy’s lunch, make sure he wakes up, pull jeans over my PJ’s, get my ‘warmsies’ on and go downstairs to shovel (or snow throw) the driveway and then come back in to shower, shave, and whatever.  By then it’s 7:49 and I’m almost already late to get to work at 8:30 because the roads are ‘interesting’ lately. 

We didn’t hear from you this weekend, so I’m thinking that this is a ‘good thing’.  When we spoke on the phone about ten days ago you said that if you had any problems that we’d know by this weekend.  So far, so good?  Your most recent letters sounded quite a bit more like yourself than the first couple did.  This also, is ‘good’ (I think). 

Don’t worry about the whole ‘Care Package’ thing from here, we had told anyone who knows you that if they send you anything it can ONLY be a letter, or card.  I went online at work yesterday and looked up the ‘8 Count Push-Up’ – yeah, I’m with you, doing 300 of those, that ain’t right. 

You’re not missing much here (we don’t HAVE a $40 Million-Universal-Studios simulator here – although, I think Mom is weakening...).  Maybe when we see you again I’ll have a sizeable down-payment so we can build one of our own in case you’re missing the Navy’s version of it ‘too much’.  But, since you’ll more than likely be spending some time ON a ship or two, who needs a Simulator when you have the real thing above, under, and around you?  Yeah, I’m thinking we’d better save our money in case we ever want to visit you in the future.  Plane tickets are not cheap, and I am NOT driving to Texas (all those scorpions crossing the road freak me out). 

Just so you know, I bought our train tickets for the trip up to your graduation on March 11th.  We’ll arrive early on March 10th (10:15am) after riding all night on the scary, shakey, and noisy train. 

Yup, we’ll be there, wouldn’t miss it for the world.

Everyone here is thinking of you and praying for you.  I sleep better now than I did a few weeks ago (mostly because I have that good little girl right there next to me) as it sounds like you’re on the ‘Up Side’ of the Boot Camp experience.  Like I said before, they need to break you down prior to building you up again.  They don’t want a bunch of stoop-shouldered recruits showing up for their graduation on the 11th – they need proud Navy men and women with shiny white teeth, and from what I’ve seen in the past, very little hair. 

Oops, speaking of HAIR, I had your dog, Sandy, shaved last week.  It was either this or give her a bath.  When I gave her the option or either / or I clearly heard her bark ‘Hair’ in response.   She’s fine, but she looks a little different than she used to. 

I’m attaching a photo HERE just so you’re not surprised by her looks when you see her:

Oh, I don’t know, it could be an improvement, I guess?

More (actual) photos follow at the end of this.  Just so you know, we still miss you and think of you daily (and most days, just plain, ‘a lot’).  Do the best you can while at Great Lakes, you’re a good boy and you’ll be an excellent Sailor when you begin your Navy adventure in less than one month!
I miss you more than words can express Kidd-o.  Take care of yourself, take care of your ship mates, and I’ll take care of stuff around here.  I’ve got your back (wherever your back happens to be).



Yes, it’s been snowing lately, just like in Illinois (except, probably not as MUCH as you’ve had – and I’ve been using the Snow Thrower)

Here’s the ‘snowline’ on the edge of the driveway.  Snow overall is about 18” deep – it’s going to be 38 today so some of it should melt (hoping, anyway)

Oh, snow in the trees, how ‘pretty’!!!

I took this picture this weekend.  Here are the clown fish, the gobbie, and the blue ‘I don’t know what to call it’ fish.  All together in fishy’ happiness. 

It took HOURS to get a photo with all of them together.  The blue fish mostly ‘hides’…  He WAS delicious though...

Sandy LOVES the snow.  It makes ‘Treasure Hunting’ for food…  FUN!

Kelly’s tired of the snow, it’s making her face turn WHITE.  And she barks more now than she used to – I still blame Sandy for this. Your wicked little dog…  J

Here’s a view of the back yard, snow up to the top step of the shed.  We haven’t seen this for a while.


“Boy, come home boy, they’re mean to me all the time.  Yesterday they made me eat CAKE on Valentine’s Day.  I HATE cake – but I can’t wait till I pooh today, that makes it YUMMY!!!”

Even though I'm not physically with you, I think of you all the time.  Be well and we'll see you soon.  I'm really proud of you Jon.  More than you can ever know...

Saturday, February 26, 2011

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. 

Friday, February 25, 2011

Better Make Mine a Double

Mmm, mmm, mmm, just like Momma used to make!
If you've been around the any of my blog posts for a while you know that I have a thing for 'Cows'.


Because cows are wonderful animals.  They're cool to look at, they are an excellent source of food, AND a cow would never steal your wallet even if you left it out on your dresser.

As it turns out, someone's looking to give my friend Bossie a run for her money when it comes to a previously-cow-based-food group.  Okay, maybe ice cream is not OFFICIALLY a food group, but if anyone asks me, I put it right up there with the 'Snickers' food group.

Yes, someone has begun making ice cream out of...

Breast Milk

So as to NOT mess up the details of this very important story, allow me to post a few excerpts here from the article I found on both and

LONDON (Reuters Life!) – A specialist ice cream parlor plans to serve up breast milk ice cream and says people should think of it as an organic, free-range treat.

The breast milk concoction, called the "Baby Gaga," will be available from Friday at the Icecreamists restaurant in London's Covent Garden.

Icecreamists founder Matt O'Connor was confident his take on the "miracle of motherhood" and priced at a hefty 14 pounds ($23) a serving will go down a treat with the paying public.
Victoria Hiley, 35, from London was one of 15 women who donated milk to the restaurant after seeing the advert.

Hiley works with women who have problems breast-feeding their babies. She said she believes that if adults realized how tasty breast milk actually is, then new mothers would be more willing to breast-feed their own newborns.

"What could be more natural than fresh, free-range mother's milk in an ice cream? And for me it's a recession beater too -- what's the harm in using my assets for a bit of extra cash," Hiley said in a statement.

"I tried the product for the first time today -- it's very nice, it really melts in the mouth."

The Baby Gaga recipe blends breast milk with Madagascan vanilla pods and lemon zest, which is then churned into ice cream.

All rightey then...

The next time you have that craving for 'free range mother's milk' - head on over to London and ask for a double scoop of Baby Gaga ice cream.

Just make sure you don't mistakenly ask for a double scoop of Lady Gaga. 

Why?  Because it's cheap, it's tacky, it's hard to dance to, and something tells me that you'll need a couple of antibiotic shooters after a single scoop of this particular non-dairy product.
Cherry on top?  No, I don't think so...

Max's Multiple... 'Groins'

I spent a year in the hospital with my middle son February a few years ago.  He was admitted for a pesky bacterial infection that just wouldn’t go away.  As a result, we spent six quality days together at University Hospital in Syracuse, New York. 

The hospital itself was nice enough; the nurses and doctors were professional and tended to my son in a caring and considerate manner.  For two days it was, all things considered, a pretty good visit. 

Oh, sorry, did I mention that we were there for six days?
The doctor told me that they needed to transfer him off the floor he was on because he was getting better – excellent!  His new room was two floors closer to the cafeteria in the hospital (Bonus!).  And since I was there for a while with him, I took the stairs up and down a couple of flights just to ‘stay in shape’. 

Actually, I was taking the stairs because chances were greatly reduced that I would have an orderly or nurse push a ‘sickie’ into the stairway on a gurney.  Having watched “House” for years, I wanted to avoid any patients who might have ‘goo’ oozing from their extremities, head, chest, nose, ears, or eyes.  And I really didn’t want to come across anyone spurting ‘bright red liquid’ onto me if I was unlucky enough to be standing nearby.  There aren’t many patients ‘spurting’ in the stairway – so, yes thank you, I will take the stairs. 

But I digress...
We moved downstairs and met “Max”.  Max was 15 years old.  He was in the hospital because he fractured his pelvis (broke his butt) snowboarding while doing stunts (being a butt) for friends.  Over the four days that Max ‘allowed’ us to stay in HIS room – my love and respect for my children grew exponentially. 

The following is an actual exchange from Day 2 of our stay – I am not making ANY of this up:
Max:    “Why don’t they ever come when I push the buzzer?”

Mom:  “Well Max, you just pressed it a minute ago…”

Max:    “But don’t they know I’m in pain?  I don’t think they’ve ever had anyone here in as much pain as I am.”

Mom:  “I’m sure they’ll be here in a minute.”

Max:    “I have to poop.  Don’t they know I have to poop?”

Mom:  “No, I don’t think they can tell that by the way you pushed the button.”  (Mom leaves the room hurriedly to find a nurse so Max can poop.)

Max (moaning loudly now):  “Don’t you people know I’m in pain?!  None of you care, you don’t care about ME!  I have to go to the bathroom.”

Mom (returning with a nurse):  “Okay, the nurse is here…”

Nurse:  “Okay Max, I’m going to have to get you to sit up now.”

Max:    “I can’t sit up, my pelvis is broken!”

Nurse:  “Well if you don’t sit up, I can’t get a bed pan under you, and if I don’t get a bed pan under you, you’re not going to like what happens next.”

Max (yelling now):        “What are you doing?!  The doctor said I must always have a pillow between my groins before I get moved!  Are you trying to kill me?!”

Nurse:  “He said to put a pillow between your ‘groins’?”

Max:    “Yes, he did.  Are you stupid?”

Nurse:  “I might be.  I’m still here…”

The next day Max told his doctor that he should be treated with ‘Medical Steroids’, to which the doctor asked, “But why?”

“Haven’t you heard of medical steroids?” Max asked.

“Why yes, of course I’ve heard of medical steroids, but what I’m wondering is why you would need them for a broken pelvis?” asked the doctor.

“Well, I’m thinking of becoming a doctor myself.”  Max answered. 

“In what field of medicine would you practice?” asked the doctor.

“I think I want to be a ‘Groinologist’” Max said in reply.  “Because after this accident I know all about groins…”

“But you broke your pelvis – wouldn’t you want to be an ‘Orthopedist’?”

“See, that’s why I should be a doctor, because you don’t understand what’s wrong with me”, said Max.

The doctor looked down at his clipboard and said, “Oh, Max, I think I have a pretty good idea.”

So if you, or your loved ones ever injure ‘your groins’ while snowboarding in the Central New York area 10 – 15 years from now, remember to look up “Groinologists” in the local phone book.  Max ought to be practicing by then. 

As for me, I’ll try to keep my butt intact, thank you.

Work Speech

One of the benefits of being employed is that you never run out of pithy expressions to share with family and loved ones.  This is secondary to the financial security of a steady paycheck but in the grand scheme of things how does mere money compare to the amount of humor can be delivered with the following business phrases?  If you have used any of these in public I forgive you, but please know that everyone else you work with HATES you. 

“At the end of the day…”  (This phrase must be interjected sporadically a minimum of 34 times during the average 60-minute conference call or any PowerPoint™ presentation)

“We must change our paradigms to fit our evolving business model” (A variation of the classic,

“Our business model is changing to meet the needs of a changing business model”)…”   

“Remember, there’s no ‘I’ in ‘team’” (But there is an ‘eam’ as in ‘scream’ which is what you’ll do if you spend too much time with THIS guy) 

“You can’t spell ‘team’ without ‘m-e’”  (Same guy, different day) 

“’Team’ to a dyslexic spells ‘M-e-a-t’”  (Same guy after a single beer – I don’t want to be around for the three-beer version of this conversation) 

“We celebrate the diversity of our workforce -- unfortunately, we’re laying off all of you 45 year-old heterosexual white guys.”  (Okay, I made this up, but you know a VP said this to another manager somewhere) 

“No, you don’t have to sell a lot – provided, of course, that you don’t want to eat a lot.”  (This manager missed most of the required Dale Carnegie classes.) 

“I managed Tom out of the role.” (Translation:  “I fired Tom.”) 

“Tom’s position was ‘surplused’.”  (Translation:  “I fired Tom but blamed it on upper management’s fiscal irresponsibility.”) 

“Tom’s position, while vital, was deemed to be ‘at risk’.”  (Translation:  “I’m mere minutes away from firing Tom”) 

“Consistent performance in the customer-centric model necessitated a change in the team’s employment paradigm.”  (Translation:  “I fired Tom.”) 

Corporate e-mail announcement to all employees:  “Please be sure to review the attached ‘Employee Handbook’ for new sections added under ‘Sexual Harassment in the Workplace’ and ‘Proper Use of company-provided Computer Resources.’”  (Translation:  “I’m getting ready to fire Tom and the rest of you perverts.”) 

“We are pleased to announce that Tom is going to be heading up our new ‘Scientific Customer Account Management’; or ‘SCAM’ division, with dotted line responsibility to Fred and Marjory and with direct report responsibility to John.  (Translation:  Tom caught Fred and Kathy making out at work.) 

“Tom has been selected to lead our ‘Customer First’ program.  In such context he will provide the management team with periodic reporting of the overall customer-branded experience and will be self-managing in this area of responsibility.”  (Translation:  “Tom caught Fred and Kathy naked at work and has photos.”) 

“Consider this a ‘learning experience’.”  (Translation:  Good Lord you have screwed up like no one else in the history of the planet.  You’ll see this again in your performance review right next to the “Reason for Termination” section.) 

“We have adopted a new sliding-scale compensation plan which takes into consideration customer satisfaction, billing accuracy, and shareholder value.”  (Translation:  You’re making a lot less this year than last year because you’re being paid based on other people’s performance – and they’re union and we can’t fire THEM.) 

“Management has decided to rescind the recently announced Fast Fiscal Finish Incentive program due to reporting irregularities from the Sales Team.”  (Translation:  We don’t know how you knew that were going to have a sales contest.  And we don’t know how you sold so much.  But what we do know is that you guys must have cheated because we didn’t put enough in the bonus pool to pay you based upon your sales results.  None of you gets the bonus this year, but I’m getting a Lexus.)   

I have collected of the above expressions at actual jobs that I’ve had over the years.  I take great pride in the fact that I’ve made a conscious effort to purge them from any real-life conversations with customers or co-workers.  With effort, and years of expensive de-programming therapy, you too can purge these expressions from your everyday life.  With patience and practice you’ll be able to have a conversation with another human being without falling back to ‘corporate-speak’.  By effectively managing the change of your speech paradigm, at the end of the day you’ll, you’ll, you’ll…..   

Oh, rats, never mind.      

For more Work Verbiage you LOVE to HATE:  50 Office-Speak Phrases

Have a nice weekend folks!

But wait, there's MORE!!! 

Office Speak BINGO!

Print out and take to YOUR next business meeting!  Circle phrases until you get BINGO! 
Then, of course, you get FIRED...  But hey, you're a WINNER - right!?!?!?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Our Edukation Sistim

There are those who say our educational system is in need of an overhaul.  I disagree, an overhaul is much too kind, it 'assumes' that the 'engine' can be repaird to 'LIKE NEW!' condition. 
I've had a beef with schools not teaching anything useful for a while now (Florida and New York equally guilty on this count).  By way of a high level overview, let me briefly review some of the assignments my sons have been given over the past five years:
1. Write a report on how you would spend $1 million dollars.  You can't give it away, but you must spend all of it on goods or services.  Detail what you spend by category, and create a binder with pictures of the goods and services you would purchase.  Wouldn't it be better to learn how to make $1 million, or at least invest $1 million to make more money instead of having nothing left?
2. Create a 3-D model of the Castillo de San Marco (the ‘old fort’ circa 1675 in St. Augustine, Florida) out of sugar cubes.  Not only did it have to look like the Castillo, but it also had to be in proper design ratio.  History of the fort did not need to be included in the assignment.  Why let history get in the way of a history class?  For future reference, when you use glue to cement sugar cubes together, the sugar cubes don't taste so good anymore. 
3. Create a doll of yourself as a baby.  The doll should be of the same size and weight that you were when you were born.  For this project my wife stuffed rice into one of her favorite stockings and created ‘Baby Boy #2’.  Luckily she knew how to sew, so we narrowly escaped having to take our ‘baby’ to the store to try on clothes. 
How would that conversation have gone?  (Dream Sequence Warning in: 3, 2, 1...) 
Begin Dream Sequence: 
Us, “Yes, could you please direct us to the children’s department?”
Store employee, “Sure, it’s right over there next to the men’s department.  How old is your baby?”
Us, “Well this is not really our baby.
”Employee, “Whose baby is it?”
Us, “It’s not really a baby, see, it’s a stocking stuffed with rice with yarn hair and magic marker features drawn on it.  Now we have to dress it before it goes to school.”
Employee, “Yeah, I see that.  Do you expect it (him) to do well in school?”
Us, “We’re cautiously optimistic…..  It’s public school you know.”
Dream Sequence Ends...
So now we're in New York.  I'm attaching a copy of a homework assignment for your assessment of the state of education.  The next section is the actual assignment.  The last section is my version of the response, and was not turned in to the teacher.  The course is Language Arts (didn’t we used to call it ‘English’?) 
I could have overlooked the fact the assignment just ticks me off ("go ahead, prove you have no value - and by the way, leave your family imprisoned on the boat, think only about yourself"), but the grammatical errors were the ones that sent me over the edge. 
Remember, this is Language Arts (English) after all!  Perhaps it's the 'Abstract' Art of Language course where you are not constrained to having verb agreement and spelling consistent with what used to be 'normal conventions' of grammar.  Granted, I'm not a literary genius, but I'm not TEACHING the subject either...                    
While my son did turn in his own version of the homework assignment (he is a good boy after all), I had to have fun with it.  Following, you will find the actual assignment (please keep in mind that this was written by the person teaching, and grading, my son in Language Arts…..)

Creative Story Scenario          
You are living on a large island with your family.  War has broke out.  Soldiers with rifles are running about ordering everyone into their homes to seek shelter.  As your family camps inside the walls of your home, gunfire and close-ranges explosions are heard.  You hear people screaming as enemy soldiers kick in their house doors.         
Suddenly, your front door bursts open.  Instead of being immediately shot, your family is taken captive and hauled aboard the enemy U-boat (submarine) headed for Norway.  You’re thrown into a filthy cell, a part from your family.  The only items you have with you are your pen and journal, safely tucked into your cargo pocket of your pants.  The only way you will escape is if you plead your case in letterform to the enemy captors about the importance of your release. 
Give at least three important reasons why the enemy should release you and what the effects might be if they do not.  In your letter be sure to include the reasons(s) you are of no use to the enemy.  Don’t forget to be descriptive!
  • “War has broke out?”  Ever consider having the verb tense match up properly?  “English – it’s like a second language to me!”  Even my spell-checker gagged on this one.
  • “running about”  Running about what, where, when, how?“
  • close-ranges explosions” My personal favorite for no other reason than it just sounds so very ‘dangerous’“
  • front door bursts open”  Actually, wouldn’t the door ‘burst in’?  I say this because earlier, the author references the fact that the soldiers are busily kicking “in their doors”.
  • “a part from your family”  In this instance, wouldn’t it be ‘apart’?  What ‘part’ is she talking about?  Get your hands off my son's 'parts'! 
  • “you are of no use to the enemy.”  Wouldn’t it be ‘reason(s) that you are of no use to the enemy”?
  •  Wouldn’t it be more true that this teacher is of ‘no use’ to my son?   
Dad's version of what SHOULD HAVE BEEN turned in for the assignment...  
October 18, 2007
To Whom It May Concern:
It has come to my attention that you intend on taking my sorry rump to Norway (a country apparently known world-wide for its penchant for kidnapping children and families in the dead of night).  I am writing this letter to you because I feel it would be a mistake for you to take me on the sub for many reasons. 
For the purpose of brevity, I’ve listed the top five here:
First, I have terrible gas. Not terrible like “Oh I lost my favorite pen ‘terrible’, but more like ‘weapons-grade terrible’; terrible as in “President Hillary” terrible.)  Given the fine cuisine you’ve been feeding me, my little backside will be blowing out bulkheads in this tub long before we get to dry land.  If you want to die, keep me on this boat.  I promise you that although I may be small, my stink is huge.  Ever hear of the movie, “A Mighty Wind”?  That was about me.
Second, I am afraid of being alone in small dark areas.  You'd be much better off with a T-Rex on the boat than with me having one of my ‘night terrors’ episodes.  I sob loud, I sob hard, and I sob often.  My tears will weigh down the bow of this sub and send us all straight to Davey Jones’s locker.  Again, put me off if you want to live.
Third, I am small and not very strong.  If you are expecting me to pull my own weight – you’re dreaming.  I let my little brother do the heavy-lifting around the house.  He is compact, yet powerful (My Dad says that he is ‘strong like bull, smart like tractor’).  Unfortunately for you, he is even ‘gas-ier’ than I am.  Nonetheless, you may want to consider keeping him instead of me.  But, on the other hand, you may want to put him off also, because he eats as much as a grown man.  If he stays on the boat, you’ll run out of food somewhere around Greenland, and once again, you will die. 
Fourth and perhaps most importantly for you……  I have just come back from a remote section of China and have a wicked cough and fever.  I’m not sure, but I think they called it ‘BARS’ or ‘CARS’ (or something like that).   I’m not sure if it is something that’s easily spread, but just to be sure, you’ll probably want to wash your hands extremely well as I have just sneezed on this paper and I am using my own mucous as ink.   I’m telling you again, stop the boat, let me, and my family, off at the nearest US Coast Guard Station.
Fifth, while we’re visiting the Coast Guard, turn yourselves in because the U. S. A. does not mess around with malcontents like you.
Have a great day!  (Oh, sorry, I sneezed on this again.)
Your Captive
p.s.:  I lied about my little brother.  He eats twice as much as a grown man.  Good luck Nordic dirtbags…….

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Doctor Moo, MD

Allow me to add yet another title to my already impressive collection of 'Faux' accomplishments:  "MD" (a.k.a.: Moodical Professional).

Sure, why not?

You may ask, "Hey Mike, do you feel that you have the training, the expertise, the professional qualifications to be a "MD"?  Aren't you being a bit presumptuous?"

In a word, no.

I have just solved a major medical mystery (from last week) and it took ALMOST six whole minutes. 

I probably should provide some back story information here so you too can be impressed by my medical prowess. 

Hey look!  Here it comes now!

I came across an article on the Huffington Post entitled:  "Diet Soda Tied To Stroke Risk, Though Reasons Still Unclear ". 

In this article, you'll find the following: 
It's far from definitive proof, but new research raises concern about diet soda, finding higher risks for stroke and heart attack among people who drink it everyday versus those who drink no soda at all.
Daily diet soda drinkers (there were 116 in the study) had a 48 percent higher risk of stroke or heart attack than people who drank no soda of any kind (901 people, or 35 percent of total participants).

Ahem [sound of throat-clearing], here's a newsflash for the folks at the Huffington Post: 
People who are FAT are more likely to have a heart attack or stroke.  People who are more likely to have a heart attack or stroke more often than not, DRINK...  Diet Soda.

Allow me to say with certainty that if you drink Diet Soda, you are more likely to have a heart attack or stroke. 

Why?  Because if you are NOT a FATTY (like me) you would NOT be drinking Diet Soda. 

As everyone knows, Diet Soda, compared to 'Regular Soda' tastes NASTY. 

One of three conditions MUST exist if you are drinking Diet Soda:

1.  You are FAT, or,

2.  You are allergic (or diabetic) and can't drink good-tasting sugary drinks, or,

3.  You are out of 'Regular Soda' and find an un-opened can of Diet Dr Thunder in the back of your pantry next to a half-eaten bag of mildewed Carob Raisins from when your space cadet niece visited six years ago.  You reach into the pantry, grab, turn and toss the Diet Dr Thunder into the trash... 

Then, you eat the mildewed Carob Raisins. 

WHY?  Have you ever tasted Diet Dr Thunder from WalMart?  Well, if you're asking, you've obviously never opened up a can and tasted it before, have you?  HAVE YOU!!!???!!!  Oops sorry, didn't mean to shout. 

Yeah, the above are pretty much the ONLY reasons to be drinking Diet Soda when Regular (a.k.a.:  'Real') Soda exists anywhere else on the planet. 

But if we re-visit my Option 1 above with the premise of the Huffington Post article:  IF I'm drinking Diet Soda THEN I'm more likely to have a stroke AND If I'm FAT, I'm more likely to have a stroke.  How do I know this?

Simple, I AM A MOODICAL PROFESSIONAL!!!  Now stop asking so many questions!  You didn't e-mail the author responsible for the original 'Huffy' article did you?  You believed it because it was ONLINE and everything ONLINE on true isn't it? 
[Note to self:  Begin posting all random thoughts and synaptic firings online as if they were true...  Hmm, looking back, it appears that I'm already doing this - Great idea!!!]

Oh, so anyway: I Googled "What's the impact of weight on the risk of stroke", I came across the following article:  As Obesity Increases, So Does Stroke Risk

This is what the authors if THIS article have to say:
The more overweight you are, the more likely you are to have a stroke, a new study reports.

The study, which followed 13,549 middle-aged Americans for 19 years, looked at stroke risk associated with several measures of obesity, emphasizing body mass index (BMI), a ratio of weight and height, but also such measures as waist circumference.

"We found that the risk of stroke was increased with each measure of obesity," said Dr. Hiroshi Yatsuya, a visiting associate professor of public health at the University of Minnesota and lead author of a report published online Jan. 21 in Stroke.
First, I would like to personally thank Dr. Hiroshi Yatsuya for spearheading this excellent report regarding the impact of obesity and the higher risk of stoke in weak-willed Americans. 

Second, I respectfully request that Dr. Hiroshi Yatsuya ask 'his people' to shut down those wonderful 'All You Can Eat Chinese Buffet' restaurants across America.  It's the LEAST he can do to save me from...  Myself.

IF the Huffington Post was my ONLY source for news [yeah, like THAT's gonna happen], I'd be scared to death.  But now that I have this latest round of 'scientific' report regarding Diet Soda AND the AJC report on Fatties both fighting for real estate in my noggin? 

Well, quite frankly, I'm freakin' terrified.

Although, how seriously do you take a 'scientific article' which contains the following phrase?: 
No significant differences in risk were seen among people who drank a mix of diet and regular soda.

So, if you drink Diet AND Sugar Drinks you're OKAY? 

What the???

Bottom line is this:  Drink what you want, because within DAYS of both of the above very important articles being released, The Center for Science In the Public Interest (that DOES sound important!) issued a statement saying that the Caramel coloring used in 'dark brown' soft drinks...   Will give you cancer until you die

They've even petitioned the UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION to have the stuff banned everywhere it's used today. 

This, um, of course, means that it's pretty much used EVERYWHERE.  I hope you like a PALE yellow Coke Zero with your ice cream sundae.   

In the end, it always comes to the same - something WILL kill you.  Surprise!  Sooooo, it might as well be something you love (like 'Regular Soda') in an ice-cold mug with LOTS of ice and a maraschino cherry tumbling carelessly around the bottom of your glass, right? 

This cherry, of course, is chocked full of Red Dye 40 will ALSO kill you 'in color'

I'm also purposely NOT mentioning the eColi, microbial contaminants and antibiotics in the soda from the ice because, well, that would just be wrong.

You know what?  Maybe you'd better skip all this artificial stuff and get back to nature? 

How about a nice warm cup of tea and some organically-produced honey? 

Oh, what's that?  Your honey is the COLOR OF BLOOD!?!?!? 

Hmm, must be from New Jersey...  [Read more here]

I give up...

You folks are on your own. 

Good luck!

p.s.:  Did I mention that laptops give you testicular cancer if you keep them on your laps while spending an inordinate amount of time writing blogs about other stuff that will kill you?

It must be true because I just wrote it online.

I'd better wrap this thing up, you know, just in case...

E-Mail of the Dead...

I thought I heard it all.  I heard that if you play Mozart for babies, they grow up smarter (apparently my parents didn’t even own a radio when I was a kid).  I heard that if you put a razor blade under a pyramid, the blade maintains its cutting edge.  I also heard that if you were ever able to get into the ‘guts’ of a golf ball, you would find that its core was made of an incredibly potent acid.

Now I find myself hearing something so wacky that it makes the whole ‘golf ball guts’ thing seem believable. 

The thing of it is; there is a company out there that will send your e-mails for you after you’re dead.  Yes, you read this correctly...

A company that will send e-mails to friends, relatives, and ‘other persons of interest’ upon your departure from this plane of existence for a 'nominal fee'. 

All I know is if I get an e-mail from a dead friend, I’m going back to Church.

Me, “Father, I’ve been away from the Church for quite a while, but, you see, I just got an e-mail from one of my buddies, and he’s, well, he’s sort of, well, actually he’s dead.”

Father, “Well my son, it’s a shame that your friend passed away, but isn’t it nice to know that he was thinking of you right before he went to be with our Lord?”

Me, “That’s the problem Father; see, he sent me the message three days after he, uh, left.”

Father, “Oh, I see.” 

Me, “No offense Father, but I don’t think you do – he sent me a message while I was at his viewing.”

Father, “And what did this message say?” 

Me, “He said he didn’t think the Rush Limbaugh tie was appropriate for the event.”

Father, “And……?” 

Me, “I love that tie.  Okay, so maybe the colors make it look like Walt Disney exploded, but it cost me almost fifty bucks.”

Father, “And how does that make you feel?” 

Me, “How do you think it makes me feel? 

Father, “I don’t know.  In case you haven’t noticed, I’m not much of a ‘tie’ man…”

So this is how it works:  You contract with this company to address your ‘post mortem messaging’ requirements.  In return, they agree to send out messages to your loved ones.  You pay in advance for their services, and they assist you in parting with some of your ‘You can’t take it with you’ cash.   

Why didn’t I think of this?  People pay these guys for services and have no Earthly idea whether or not they will be performed.  Their slogan – “A dead customer is our best customer!”….  And if I, as an intended recipient, don’t get an e-mail from the ‘dearly-departed’ friend, I’m pretty sure I wasn’t expecting one. 

These guys are geniuses!

There are other valuable services provided by this ‘once in a lifetime’ offer: 

Make loved ones aware of your wishes for burial or cremation (seems a little ‘last minute’ to me…..  But what the heck, you’re already dead right?  What do you care?  If you did care, you would have taken care of this when you were ALIVE.)

Send confidential stock, retirement, and insurance information over the internet (Whoa Nelly!  They’ve already got your credit card information, now you’re turning over your investment and insurance information to these guys?)

Let friends and family know what inheritance they will receive.  I’m sure something set up over the internet is perfectly legal in all fifty states -- I have one word for you, ‘Escheat’.  Go ahead, look it up, you’re not going to be happy about this either, but what do you care? You’re off playing a harp while your immediate family lives in a refrigerator box just off Broadway and Main with some guy named “Dwight”.

I only have one question – how do they know you’re dead?  Do call them at 1-800-DOR-NAIL to report your ‘status’ daily?  And what happens if you FORGET to check in?  "Yeah, sorry Mom, my cellphone died and...  No, stop crying, I'm okay!"

or, “Yes, this is Mike, account number 48u98y649874 – I’ve got a cold, but I’m feeling better.” 

If there’s any lag in communication between these guys and your family, you may find yourself in a pine box for all eternity when what you really wanted was a nice fiery send-off in the crematorium.  There is nothing quite like the look on your wife’s face once you’ve already been dropped into the ground for your dirt nap and ‘You’ve got mail’ pops up on the screen.   

Here’s my plan:  When I go, I want Mozart playing in the background.  I want a nice close shave with my ‘pyramid power’ sharpened razors, and I want the funeral director to use golf ball acid to slosh me down the drain at the funeral home.  No fuss, no muss!  No pallbearers required - just rinse me away with a garden hose and a dollop of OxiClean. 

Oh, and if you’re coming to my funeral – wear your Rush Limbaugh tie, if you don’t have one, I’ve got a couple that I won’t be needing any more…..

Post Mortem:  The company referenced above was '' and DID exist for several years and WAS around when I wrote the above back in 2008. 

Alas, the business failed and the website is now deader than President Obama's hope for a second term.  I wonder who sent out's  'last wish' notifications?

Most likely, Google...   Don't they do EVERYTHING?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Jessica Simpson's No-Diet-Stay-Slim-Secrets!!!

I’m sorry (no, really, I am)... 

I made the mistake of picking up my dentist’s June, 2004 edition of Self magazine.  The magazine included an article entitled:  “Jessica Simpson’s No-Gym, No-Diet, Stay-Slim Secrets!” 

Okay, sure, I was curious.  If I could lose a couple of pounds without a diet, without a gym, and learn Jessica’s ‘secrets’ -- I figured I’d give it a shot.  So while other un-lucky patients in adjacent rooms were being scaled, cleaned, and filled – I learned the secrets of weight loss!

I'm ready to share with you everything I learned from this detailed plan! 


Okay -- here we go!

Tipping the scale at a heart-stopping 110 pounds (my left and right legs combined weigh this much), the record company wanted Jessica to lose weight for an upcoming video shoot.  By following a rigid Atkins’ diet regimen her weight ‘plummeted’ to 102 pounds, an astounding eight-pound weight loss!  Jessica complained that she was bloated, constipated, and ‘uncomfortable’ with the diet (personally, I’m 'uncomfortable' with her talking about her constipation). 

She valiantly maintained her 102 pound-weight for, as she says, “for about a week”.  After shooting completed, Jessica binged on carbs and her weight rocketed up to about 128 pounds. 

But wait, did you miss how Jessica “got her weight under control” too? 

Maybe if I kept reading, I would find the answer….. 

According to the article, “She sought the advice of a personal nutritionist who got her running and taught her how to eat in moderation.”  As Jessica says, “I learned you can eat bread, but if you have it in the morning, don’t have it with dinner. Or have it, but just half, and don’t soak it in Alfredo sauce.” 

So, cutting through approximately twelve paragraphs of Jessica’s self-indulgence – the ‘Diet Secrets’ can be found here: 
  • A Personal Nutritionist                                              
  • Moderate Exercise               
  • Sensible Diet
Hey, this could really catch on!  I might be mistaken, but I'm thinking that  not everyone can afford a ‘Personal Nutritionist’.  If this is the case for you, then Jessica Simpson’s secret to weight loss success would be a combination of Moderate Exercise and Sensible Diet. 

Who would have thought that it would be THIS complicated?!?! 

I’m no psychic, but I'm smelling ‘Book Deal’ for our country girl!  Wow, diet and exercise used together to control your weight – who’d have thought? 

No great magic here, no real weight-loss secrets to be found anywhere in Jessica’s story - just, apparently sensible diet, aerobic activity, her age, and perhaps her family's genetics at work.  

The most frustrating part of the experience for me:  I found out there was NO magic weight loss bullet, even with the claim made on the cover of the magazine.  And here I sat with my hopes up...  

Way to go Jessica!  Congratulations, you’re like 30 years old.  Let’s see how those pounds fall off when you’re 40, 50, or, gasp, 55!  I’m sure we’ll still be watching.
And if you're ever looking for me Blondie, I’ll be the guy in the recliner holding the TV remote (with two of my three chins resting on my chest).