Monday, December 31, 2007

Television at it's absolute best

Here's a tv commercial from 1985...

If you've never seen this one, no doubt you've seen hundreds just like it. Go ahead, make fun of it if you want to (but not too much because I am in love/obsessed with the girl in it and if you make fun of her, I will have no choice but to fight you). It's ok, it is funny. These commercials always follow the same formula:
  • Present some tedious common chore in a manner that makes it seem more difficult than the combined labors of Hercules.
  • Demonstrate a miraculous product that will make accomplishing this chore not only possible but fun, possibly for the whole family.
  • Hint vaguely that the development of this miraculous product is somehow affiliated with the space program (optional).
  • Show a ludicrously low price for this miraculous product.
  • Point out that the consumer actually gets two miraculous products for the ludicrously low price of one.
  • Inspire call to action by offering at least one free additional separate premium feature or item if the miraculous product is ordered immediately.

Now, in the case of the Powerjet presented above, the free additional premium item is an on/off switch, which is pretty shitty if you think about it. Seriously, how screwed are we if all manufacturers start considering on/off switches as premium, value-added features? But that's the beauty; these commercials are designed so you don't have to think. At all. The last thing the manufacturer wants is for the minds of people watching these to function beyond the ability to dial a phone and read a sequence of numbers from a credit card. And that's what happens to you when you see enough of them, which is why I love them so much. Not all commercials, just ones like this from the "as seen on tv" family. I wish with all my might that there were a cable channel that showed nothing but these commercials 24 hours a day. I'm envisioning something along the lines of mid-eighties MTV, with these commercials instead of videos (which are actually just commercials anyway). I guarantee I'd watch for at least an hour every day. As it is, I have been known to reach an almost zen-like state while watching Tarnex commercials. Man, they just stick those crusty old spoons in a bowl of Tarnex and they come out gleaming. In fact, If I ever become independently wealthy, I am going to hire teams of people to scour the globe in search of the crustiest, nastiest pots, pans, candlesticks and flatware. They'll bring them back to me in my palatial mansion, where I will lock myself in a room on the second floor and live out the rest of my days growing a long beard and fingernails and polishing those items with Tarnex. Maybe you would bliss out to the Topsy Tail or the Bedazzler or, if you want to go really old school, the Pocket Fisherman. But that's another beautiful thing; there's something for everyone!

Now, I know none of this crap works in real life like it does in the commercials, but that's the whole point. As seen on tv, imperfections are erased, families are brought together, wrongs are righted and the mundane is made fun and exciting for one low, low price plus a free egg timer. You won't find anything else on television that gives you such feelings of tranquility, inspiration and inner peace and if you do, return this blog for a full refund.

Oh wait, it's '08

It's New Year's Eve, a time when everyone is required to assess the past and predict the future. The past? I don't see much value in worrying about what's already happened. It's like the old saying goes, "There's no sense crying over spilled milk so quit crying and let's go beat the shit out of the jerk that spilled your milk." Sure, I have a few regrets. I'm sorry the dinosaurs are extinct. I would have liked to have seen flocks of Tyrannosaurus Rex roaming the earth like God intended. Who wouldn't? On the other hand, I'm glad that World War II is over and that we were able to blow up Hitler. I'd call that a wash. It's like that other old saying goes, "You can't make a blown-up Hitler omelet without breaking some Tyrannosaurus Rex eggs". So overall, I feel pretty good about the past.

But what about the future? Hmm. That's tricky because there's no such thing as a time machine that will take us into the future except for this one that I heard about that only goes into the future and takes 15 minutes to go 15 minutes, in which case what's the point? I think it's safe to say that what we have to look forward to in the future is more of the same ol' shit only louder and in different packaging. I sincerely believe that we've stopped inventing new stuff and all our innovative energy is dedicated to modifying that which already exists. This is most clearly evident in medicine where all efforts go toward treating symptoms and not developing cures. Simply put, there's no profit to made from solving problems. To quote yet another old saying, "Give a man a fish that prevents the development of malignant tumors and he will eat for a day and not develop certain forms of cancer, but teach a man that he needs a fish that treats chapped lips but has side effects that may include blindness, feelings of anxiety and uncontrollable seeping anal discharge and he will give you all of his money".
In spite of this, I'm genuinely hopeful regarding the upcoming New Year. Even though I think it's going to be 366 laps around the sun worth of more of the same ol' shit, most of that same ol' shit is still worth getting out of bed for. I'm also hopeful that what's damaged can be repaired. And if not, that it can at least be replaced. So good night, good luck and Happy Auld Lung Syringe.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Surprising fact I learned today

My cat does not like egg nog. I thought he would, since he likes everything else I put in my piehole. He thought he would too, getting all up in my grill trying to get some, which is par for the course any time I'm eating or drinking. Also par for the course, I offered only token resistance before sharing it with him, which is why he thinks he's entitled to whatever I'm eating or drinking in the first place. I know that's entirely my fault so I don't even get mad about it anymore. Anyway, he licked at it twice, made an "aw, hell naw!" face and hauled ass. I don't know what he didn't like, maybe it was the thick texture or the hint of cinnamon he didn't expect when he first saw and smelled it. There's no booze in it, so that isn't it...unless maybe it is. Maybe he thought we were gonna spend a quiet Wednesday night, basking in the twinkle lights of the Christmas tree, watching the Lightning choke away yet another road game and getting snockered. Well normally two out of three ain't bad. Except of course when one of those two is the Lightning playing down to expectations. Next time I'll be sure to spike the egg nog.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Eight things that annoy me (and should annoy you too) about Christmas

I'm not one of those people who hate Christmas, but certain aspects of the holiday season do get on my nerves. Ok, here we go, in no particular order:
  1. Remaking Christmas songs – I don’t know why but every so-called pop star is required to record at least one Christmas song, if not an entire album. And for some other unknown reason, they always feel compelled to go out of their way to make the song their own, like they’re creating the definitive version of a song that’s already been recorded at least 300 times. You can almost hear them saying “Suck on that, Bing Crosby”. This is usually accomplished by altering the tempo slightly and piling on heaping scoops of unnecessary, elaborate vocal flourishes featuring lots of “whoa-ho-ho-ho” and “me-heh-heh-ree-yeah chree-ee-ee-ee-ee-st-may-aaaaas” nonsense which just makes everything a big mess, sort of like a cargo plane pilot doing barrel rolls just to show he can.
  2. Year end lists – I don’t need VH1 or Time to remind me what a wacky year it’s been. Whatever “it” is, I either remember “it” already on my own or I’ve intentionally forgotten “it” on purpose because “it’s” not worth the storage space in my brain required to remember “it”. Besides, I already told you back in February that the Story of the Year would be the Astronaut Love Triangle. Sex, astronauts, diapers, scorned lovers, a cross-country quest for vengeance and diapers. Nothing could possibly top that. Not “Chocolate Rain”, not the litany of Britney Spears shenanigans nor even the recent harmonic convergence of a Tampa Bay troika of trollops with Debra Lafave, Jessica Sierra and former Wharton High School basketball coach Jaymee Wallace all occupying what seemed to be the same 15 minutes of sex scandal and poor judgment fame at the same time. Not even Larry Craig. Ok, maybe Larry Craig.
  3. Online Greeting Cards – When you virtually care enough to hit send. Gee, how thoughtful. I’ll cherish this for up to 30 days.
  4. Misleading Christmas words – Not only is fruitcake terrible, unlike it’s two delicious primary components (fruit and cake) but mistletoe, which could be the most awesome nickname ever for a punter (basically by default, since nobody bothers to bestow nicknames on punters) has nothing to do with missiles or feet. Also frankincense has nothing to do with Boris Karloff.
  5. Making up new words to “The 12 Days Of Christmas” – For whatever reason, people don’t seem to understand that merely changing the words to what is easily the longest, most boring and annoying Christmas carol ever doesn’t render any of those negative attributes void. No, they’re too busy congratulating themselves for cleverly coming up with “The 12 Days Of (where they work/their family/their favorite TV show/something else they think is important here)” to get that. They also expect you to be suitably impressed with their cleverness. And, since it is Christmas, you’re sorta morally obligated to act like you are or else you’re a Grinch or a Scrooge (see #7).
  6. “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” – Back to the subject of pop singers and Christmas music, this song begat Band Aid which begat USA For Africa which begat “We Are The World” which begat that smug "yeah, we got this" thumbs-up from Lionel Richie that makes me hate charity every time I see that video.
  7. Sexy Santas – The coalescence of two things that normally bring me great joy, but for entirely different reasons, Santa Claus and scantily clad women, confuses and frightens me. Please stop it.
  8. Being called Scrooge or Grinch for complaining about Christmas – Christmas as we know it now has been celebrated for hundreds of years. There are dozens of traditions, hundreds of movies and countless songs about Christmas…but you’re telling me there are only two derogatory terms for people who aren’t into it? How is that possible? We deserve, and should demand, more Christmas insults!

Merry non-annoying Christmas, everyone.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Notice to Pit Bull Gym

When I got home from work today, I noticed fliers hanging from my downstairs neighbors' doorknobs. But when I got to my apartment, there was no flyer hanging on my doorknob. There also wasn't one hanging on the door of the apartment across from mine either. Now I'm not complaining that I didn't get a flyer. That actually pleases me. Not having to throw it away without reading it, which is what I would have done, helps me feel good about doing my part not to harm the environment. Plus, the time I save by not having to throw away fliers that I have no intention of reading frees me up for eating crackers with cheese on them, watching "Most Shocking" on television and other leisure activities. No, my point is that I live on the second floor. And Pit Bull Gym is, well, a gym. Presumably, a place where people go to work out and get in shape. Do you see where I'm going with this? What I'm trying to say, proprietors of Pit Bull Gym, a place where people go to work out and get in shape, is that the person responsible for going door-to-door to tout your fabulous pitbull-esque getting in shape services is too lazy to climb stairs. This is probably not the most effective use of marketing resources nor the message you want to send. As such, this is going to be the reason I use to not join your gym that I was not going to join anyway.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A short conversation about similes

"Did I ever tell you that my great grandfather was killed in the Boston Molasses Disaster of 1919?"
"Really? How did that happen?"
"Yeah, apparently an enormous tank full of molasses burst and a massive wave of molasses flowed through the streets of Boston, swallowing everything in it's path. Great granddad tried to outrun it but was swept away and drowned in it."
"So wait, your great grandfather died because...he was slower than molasses?"
"Yeah, I guess so."
"Wow. That's probably the worst thing I ever heard."
"No, actually the worst part is he died before he ever even met my great grandmother."
"Oh. What? Wait a minute. How is that pos...hey, where did you go?"

J'a ever notice...?

Why is it that the guys who look goofiest in a baseball cap worn askew tend to be the ones who wear them that way? Whether it's because of a misshapen head, a bad haircut or simply an unfortunate collection and arrangement of facial features, the hat makes them do I put this delicately?...stupid. It doesn't come off like they're making any kind of fashion statement, it just looks like they're the sort of people who aren't quite capable of grasping what a hat is or how it's supposed to work.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Cell Phone People

Do you see...and hear...those people on their cell phones? I don't mean people who have cell phones. Hell, everybody has one. I'm talking about the people who are constantly on their cell phones. Well, here are some things you need to know about them:
  • The Cell Phone People are better, smarter and prettier than you are. They know it, too. But they aren't sure you know it. So they work really hard around the clock and at peak volume to remind you. You're welcome.
  • Their ring tones are not obnoxious, grating look-at-me sirens, they're melodic, soulful expressions of The Cell Phone People's beautiful, unique personalities, like snowflakes. Only better.
  • As a matter of fact, yes, what The Cell Phone People are talking about right this minute is that important, goddamnit.
  • Maybe you don't need to hear about The Cell Phone People's half of the conversation with uncle George and his visit to the chiropractor, but you don't deserve to hear it either. You're welcome again.
  • Actually, there are only two things in the world less important than what The Cell Phone People are doing on their cell phones right now, and here they are, in order:
  1. Everything else in the world, except you
  2. You

Monday, December 10, 2007

Update on the New Job

Only because I've been asked...

I've been at my new job for just over two weeks now and am still settling in. There's a lot to learn. But I go home every night at 5:00, I stop worrying about the job the second I walk out the door and I have every weekend off, which is exactly what I wanted. The job itself is not a repetition of the same routine day after day so I don't think I will get bored, so over all, it's working out exactly like I had hoped it would.

What is a little weird and a little difficult is being the new guy there. This is the first time I've started a new job where I didn't know anybody since, hmmm, maybe since I joined the Army 25 years ago. People who know me might find it hard to believe (although people who know me well will find it very easy to believe) that I am somewhat withdrawn and guarded around people I don't know. I enjoy being lively and entertaining but I choose to distribute my raucous, silly behavior in portions that I control in situations where I'm comfortable. Right now I don't have that, or even anyone to talk to, so my days are really kind of quiet and that's not much fun. Everybody who works there has been there at least seven years and they're all older adults, married with adult or late-teenage kids, so who knows, I may never fit in there. But life is all about trade-offs (or so I'm told) and I'm in a situation I chose for myself so I have no regrets and I should shut up already. It'll all be fine. I'm shutting up now.


Today was what would have been my 20th wedding anniversary.
In other news, "Deal Or No Deal" was on television tonight.

I observed both of these with equal indifference.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

i h8 txt msgs

In case you don't know, the title above says "I hate text messages" and I do. I find them impersonal and dismissive. When someone sends a text message instead of just calling you, what they're really saying is "I want to impart and/or exchange information but you're really not worth wasting my aural faculties". It's like sending a post-it note instead of a greeting card, which is something you send when you can't be bothered to actually visit someone in the first place. Maybe it's silly to feel this way but I do.
Someone I know who now communicates only by sending text messages told me (way back when we were still having actual in-person conversations) "You're a writer. You should love text messaging!" Well, I want to communicate exclusively via writing about as much as a musical theatre actor wants to communicate exclusively via elaborate song and dance numbers. I like being able to at least hear someones voice sometimes, if not actually look at their face once in a while. Is that so wrong? Besides, writing text messages isn't really writing anyway. The "language" of text messaging consists of dollops of leet-style shorthand delivered in short, abrupt, snippy-sounding bursts. It's very difficult to gauge the mood and meaning behind the messages, not to mention the actual messages themselves. If somebody sends me a text that says "im bldg 2dth!!!!!!!" I don't know if they're bleeding to death or just really excited about building a double-decker treehouse. And I don't buy the convenience excuse either. The fastest text messenger in the world can not find out if someone wants to go to the movies faster than I can with one phone call. The only way it's more convenient to send text messages instead of actually talking to someone is if you simply don't want to talk to them. And that saddens me.
But unfortunately, now that so many people are choosing to text message instead of talk, I have little choice but to give in and go with the flow. As such, I won't be the least bit surprised to exchange Christmas gifts via text message this year. I'm really xcited about that bcuz im sure it will b the most festv & hrtwrmg xmas evr!!!!!!!!!!!!!! lol : (

A new beginning

My last day at my old job was Wednesday (the day before Thanksgiving) and I start my new job tomorrow. So technically, I am currently unemployed. I'm excited about tomorrow but a little apprehensive at the same time. While I think this will be a good change for me, the potential is there for this to be the biggest mistake of my life, a situation I've been in before. Such as...

1978: Given the choice of attending school in St. Joseph or Benton Harbor, I chose Benton Harbor.

  • Potential for disaster: Pretty high. Benton Harbor is a rough place and was once listed as the worst place to live in the nation by Money magazine. The sorry state of the school system is indicative of the quality of life there.
  • Outcome: Pretty good, I think. Going to school as a minority (Benton Harbor is 92% black according to figures from the last census) was an educational experience in itself that would not have been available in St. Joseph and definitely influenced many of my philosophical beliefs. That's negated by the fact that high school sucked. Of course, it probably would have sucked anywhere, so who knows.

1982: I joined the Army

  • Potential for disaster: Beyond huge. Any time a fundamental element of your job description is kill and/or be killed, the possibility of something going as bad as possible is significant.
  • Outcome: Outstanding!! We didn't go to war and I got paid to go to Europe which means I got to get drunk and sick in places I'd never have seen if not for the Army. Thanks taxpayers!

1986: Upon leaving the Army, I had the choice of staying in Benton Harbor or moving to Florida with my parents. I chose to move.

  • Potential for disaster: Meager, at worst. I didn't know anybody in Florida at the time but it wasn't like I had tons of close friends in Benton Harbor.
  • Outcome: Also outstanding. I love it here now and don't miss my old home town at all.

1987: I get married

  • Potential for disaster: Pretty big. Marriage is basically a crap shoot but I always figured I'd be a pretty good guy to be married to.
  • Outcome: Oops.

So, all things considered, I've come out on top more often than not so I feel good about this choice. Of course, keep watching this space to see how it turns out.

Friday, November 16, 2007

How to drive through a school zone

Many of you have been out motoring around in your automobiles and encountered these strange signs and wondered what to do. "Do I get out of my car and run screaming in the opposite direction?" Not anymore (unless you want to). Feel free to clip and save this handy guide. You're welcome.

  • Slow down immediately upon seeing the sign, even if it's a half mile away (Can you see that far away? Really? Good for you!). This tells your fellow motorists "Hey people, there are children ahead. Let's all just back off". They'll appreciate your leadership and will honk and gesture at you to express their gratitude.
  • Legally, you can come roaring up to the school zone at 40 mph and then slam on your brakes to get down to 15...but that doesn't mean you should.
  • Often there's a cop right there patrolling the school zone. Even though the posted limit is 15, go ahead and let it creep up to 16 or 17. You'll be breaking the law right in front of a cop and there's nothing he can do about it. This is a good way of feeding your desire to Stick It To The Man without actually doing something really harmful.
  • Go ahead and start accelerating back to normal speed when you're about 10 feet or so from the end of the school zone. This shows people that you care about safety and obeying the law but, hey, you're not like a fanatic about it or anything.
  • If the light is blinking at 11:30 at night and/or it's Saturday and/or it's Christmas, you should probably still slow down to at least 20 because you just never know.
  • Sometimes the signs and the lines painted on the street don't line up perfectly. The area between is known as the Negative Zone, an area where hitting children with your car is not only legal but reccomended.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


It's been a week (well, six days) since I got robbed and I'm fine. Thank you for all the well wishes; very much appreciated. While going through the process of dealing with the aftermath (replacing my driver's license, picking up a police report, figuring out how to get my hands on cash for gas and whatnot without a bank card or ID, etc.) a friend pointed me towards a website that offers assistance:

I don't know why I never heard of it before now but it's incredible and should be in everybody's bookmarks. There are resources there for every conceivable crisis a person could encounter. Go there and add it to your list. If you don't need it now, you'll be glad you have it if/when you or someone you care about ever does. Unfortunately, it's Florida specific so if you don't live in the area, you'll need to contact someone locally and see if your area has something comparable.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

I got robbed tonight

At gunpoint, outside of my home, about two hours ago (it's about midnight right now). Three guys, might have been teenage kids but were probably in their twenties. They pulled up on BMX style bikes and surrounded me after I got my mail. One pulled a gun and held it about a foot from my chest while the other two went through my pockets and got my phone and wallet. I was pretty pissed off and know how when things like this happen, car accidents for example, and time actually seems to slow down? "Great. I'll need to call the bank. And get a new drivers license. That's going to suck. The lines there are ridiculous. And I'm sure they'll take my phone. I'll need to suspend the service and order a replacement. I hope someone is still up who will let me use theirs"...until the gun came out and then. Everything. Ground. To. A. Dead. Stop.

I was utterly paralyzed. I couldn't move, couldn't speak, nothing. I held my arms up and stared at the gun while two of them went through my pockets. I hate guns. Hate 'em. After all, crime etiquette seems to have changed for the worse over the years. In the good old days, the Golden Rule was "Don't try anything funny and nobody gets hurt". Now, you hear about it all the time, bad guys are willing to kill (forget hurt) people for absolutely no reason whatsoever, whether you pull anything, funny or otherwise.

The whole thing probably took 15 seconds or less but I stood there in that spot after they rode off for, I don't know, what felt like ten minutes or more. Then I threw up. Then I went to a neighbor's house and called 911. A Hillsborough County sheriffs deputy showed up before it was 10:30 and took my info. I left and went to find a phone where I could cancel my bank card and also suspend my phone service. the first place I went was Wendy's on Himes and Hillsborough. Their dining room was closed and they wouldn't let me in. I tried the TGIFriday's next door and a manager met me at the door and told me they were closed as well. I asked if I could use his phone, that it was sort of an emergency and he told me that the only phones they had received incoming calls only. Isn't that interesting? I'm supposed to believe that an establishment that serves alcoholic beverages and prepares food for people to eat apparently doesn't have enough trust in their employees to allow them to make outgoing telephone calls. I know I found it interesting. More infuriating really, but still interesting. A lot of bullshit you hear these days isn't all that interesting. This was some interesting bullshit. At any rate, it says something about the society we've built for ourselves. I'm not sure what, but something.

Eventually, I found a gas station that kindly allowed me to use their phone and I was all set and went back to the apartment. I wasn't scared anymore. The gun was long gone and I think I handled business on the phone and with the deputy coherently. But now I was really angry. Because I had lost my stuff, sure. But mostly at myself for letting it happen in the first place. Don't get me wrong, I'm not the macho man type and I'm smart enough to know that stuff can be replaced and is not worth risking life and limb. But I pride myself on being alert and recognizing threats and responding accordingly. And I had seen these three assholes on their bikes when I first pulled up and had made a mental note to call the cops because they looked really suspicious (I have a simple theorem that anytime you see an adult riding a child's bicycle after dark, they're probably up to no good; this theorem has yet to be disproved). But I lost sight of them, thought they were gone and let my guard down. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Now, not only had they robbed me but were still out there, free to rob and/or hurt somebody else. Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid!

I was also really angry because now I was a member of the Victims Of Violent Crime Club. I had never been mugged before and you'd think that now that I have, I'd be at ease because statistically the odds of it happening again are proportionately lower. But the brain doesn't work that way. Once you're a member of the Victims Of Violent Crime Club, you immediately start thinking of yourself as someone upon whom violent crimes are perpetrated. Hell, I've only been a member for three hours (it's about 1:00AM now) and that's how I'm thinking. I'm worried that the thugs who robbed me now know my address (they have my driver's license) and will break into my home. Maybe tomorrow when I'm gone. Maybe later tonight while I'm (trying to fall) asleep. I don't know. I've loved living in my neighborhood but now I'm embarrassed. There's no such thing as good and bad neighborhoods anymore; all manner of crime happens everywhere now. But still. I'm worrying if my friends are going to worry about being safe if they come over. As a member of the Victims Of Violent Crime Club I'm wondering if they should be worried.

And it's all because one of these punks pointed a gun at me. If you've never had a gun pointed at you, with or without malice behind it, I'd recommend you do what's necessary to keep it that way. It's really not a worthwhile experience. It doesn't build character, it doesn't test your mettle, it makes you feel impotent and somehow less-than-human. When someone indicates that they are willing to end your life to acquire some of your possessions, it's an indication that that person doesn't put a high price tag on your existence. Because of this, if they had just come up, demanded my wallet, maybe knocked me on the ground, I'd have given it to them and I'd still be pissed off but it would have been different.
Damn it, why'd they have to have a gun?

Monday, October 22, 2007

On the bright side...

Here's something good about self loathing: If you do wind up killing yourself, you're not some loser who committed suicide, you're the unfortunate victim of a hate crime!


Below is a list of things typed into various search engines that have led people (maybe you) to this blog. Most I understand, others I have no idea what they have to do with what's here. I also don't know what, if anything, this says about me (or maybe you) or this blog, but a lot of people seem REALLY interested in Randy & Paula White, the AC Nielsen Company, Paul Newman and butt plugs and vame here looking for more info. Who knew? So here's the list. Any one of these would be An Excellent Name For A Band, if you're so inclined (I especially like "Barcode Sex Slaves"). Have at it.

three quarters, two dimes, a nickel, and four pennies
ac nielsen
clearwater mattress company
custom butt plugs
nick esasky
orama massage
clearwater mattress commercial
ac nielsen scanner
fiction about being in prison
hate mars volta
conor timmis
what does ac nielsen do?
custom butt plug
free nigerian celebrity naked pictures
skier collision protocol
amazing animal facts
you pass me on the street and sneer in my direction
what do i do if my car has been towed tampa
forget how to read
nick esasky 2007
butt plugs in 24 hours a day
being in prison
consciousness and steroids
what does ac nielsen do
proud to be white-someone finally said it
diner elvis booth tampa
nicko's tampa
what happens when the skin gets burnt
willie sword child florida
ac nielsen blog
lingerie modeling studio
worlds wildest train wrecks
interesting facts about constellation cancer
superman score-you tube
i got a box from ac nielson what is it?
cubs suck merhcandise
a c nielsen blog
vanilli half breed or mongrel
crazy facts about magna charta
hypothetical questions funny
proud lion pub tampa menu
tampa space odyssey 2001 strip club spaceship
inconsistent wear in every fair
what is orama massage
mustang sally gentleman's club
custom butt plug -dvd -video
butt plug walking
the paula white saga
thunderbug on the roof of the forum and ice girls photos
paul newman's email address
butt plugs custom
butt plug and beyond
lingerie tampa drew park
paula white in a bathing suit
nielsen shopping scanner
ridiculously inconsistent ocd
florida survivalist
marilyn manson defecated cross
ac nielsen barcode
karmic questions
brian baschnagel's accident
yoplait pink lids rip off
nontraditional holidays
automatic toilet lid closer
serenade paranoids
aren't you glad to be free free
randy white saga
paul newman(today)
i hate jeeves
nontraditional holiday dinner
inconsistent bumper stickers
tampa news randy white and paula white
brian baschnagel selling boxes
tv for men
charley horses and sodas
amazing lobster facts
cashiering at walmart
do they actually count the pink yogurt lids yoplait
what happened to nick esasky
paula white
emailing paul newman
don't work with children
why we need tabloids
paul newman's email
prostitution tampa bay
roy leep radar
paul newman email
short animal facts
inconsistent toilet flush
can i walk around with butt plug
non traditional ministry homeless
barcode sex slaves
facts about the constellation cancer
randy and paula white saga
dealing with assholes
macaroni noodles clog sink drain
blog working at ac nielsen
70's roller girl shorts
a.c. nielson scanning groceries
tv commercial jump mattress won't spill wine glass
o'rama massage
facts about the dolphin constellation
deep voice monster truck ads
white pride racist e-mail
yoplait pink lids donation thousand

Sunday, October 21, 2007

So I've been feeling kind of down

Let's just say that I was putting lists together of pros and cons and one list was easier to fill in than the other and leave it at that.
Anyway, the point of this story is that I went looking for assistance on the web and found several sites that offer it, many of which have chat rooms. I thought it might be good to talk to somebody so I went to one of them. I logged in and got hit with a private message immediately, that went like this (my commentary in italics):

med_man: hello and welcome (Wow, that was prompt! I'm already speaking to a medical professional!)
med_man: what brings you here today? (I answered that I was feeling out of sorts and was hoping to talk with someone about it)
med_man: age, sex and location? (Nothing weird about that; all pertinent info a medical professional might need, so I answered. That was followed by this...)
med_man: are u cute? (uhh...what?)
med_man: wanna see me on webcam? (uhhh...)

Apparently, this is what all chat rooms are now. So the moral of the story is there's help out there if you need it...if you're cute.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Mint condition

After about a month of hard work, every baseball card I own is now put away and organized neatly in 3-ring binders. They had kinda been all over the place, in different storage boxes and whatnot and that was bugging me something fierce. As hard as it may be for some people to believe, I really do have some level of OCD that seems to occur randomly (as I mentioned here previously) so between having every single piece of laundry I own done, every dish clean and put away and the baseball cards situated, I feel pretty good tonight.
Like almost everyone else who collects baseball cards, especially if they have all of theirs from when they were kids, going through my old cards brings back memories, the three most traumatic-yet-ultimately-sort-of-rewarding-in-a-strange-way of which I will share with you now...
  • 1976: I was 12 years old and had bought several packs of cards at Angelo's at the Fairplain Plaza. I was really excited because in those packs I had finally gotten a Graig Nettles to complete my Yankees set (I didn't hate them yet). A bunch of high school kids jumped me behind Goldblatts and I was terrified they were going to take the Nettles card. But all they wanted was money, which I didn't have, having spent it on baseball cards, so they punched me in the stomach and left. (Note to those delinquents, if they're reading this: I still have that Nettles card, you bastards.)
  • 1976 (again): My next door neighbor, Robert, swindled me in a trade, taking Johnny Bench and Nolan Ryan in exchange for Carlton Fisk and Luis Tiant. You could probably call Bench for Fisk a wash now but Ryan for Tiant is ridiculous. It wasn't so much that he was slick and conned me, it was that he whined and whined and wouldn't shut up so he just wore me down. I was pretty mad at myself for letting that happen and really regretted making the trade. An old lady who lived in our apartment complex, Florence Stokes, found out about it and she was pissed too. All the kids in the complex called her Grandma because she took care of everybody; being our guardian at the pool, giving us lunch and dinner and buying stuff all the time. So anyway, she took all the kids, except Robert, downtown to Barentsen's Candy Company and she bought me a whole box of Topps wax packs. It took me the rest of the day to open them but I got both Ryan and Bench back out of it, plus I still had the Fisk and Tiant I had gotten in the trade. (Note to Robert Graves, if he's reading this: I still have all four of those cards too, whiner.)
  • 1980, Fourth of July: I went over to Victor Kulich's house because I knew he had a Dave Parker rookie card and I wanted it. Victor was (and probably still is) an asshole. He didn't even like baseball and couldn't care less about Dave Parker but he wouldn't let me have it. I offered trade, money, all kinds of stuff but he enjoyed not letting me have it. Once, he threatened to rip it in half in front of me. Yeah, that kind of asshole. Anyway, I was over at his house trying once again to get that card from him and he was fooling around with things in his dad's garage that parents aren't supposed to let their kids fool around with. Yada, yada, yada, I wind up with a hole in me. Writhing on the ground in his front yard, screaming in pain, he thought I was kidding. He figured out real quick that I wasn't. He gave me the Parker card in the hope that I wouldn't tell anybody and he wouldn't get in trouble. Not that I could have kept it a secret even if I wanted to, but I didn't want to. So he got in trouble and I still kept the Parker rookie card. (Note to Victor Kulich, if he's reading this: I still have that Dave Parker rookie card. And scar tissue. Asshole.)

Monday, October 08, 2007

Burn, baby, burn!

The Bronx may not be burning, but some asses there are going to be. Because the New York Yankees are just about finished for the 2007 season (and may in fact be officially done before I finish typing this) and I'm absolutely lovin' it.
How can you not love the fact that a team that spent $199,229,045.00 on player salaries (that's a lot of commas, isn't it? If it's easier, think of it as almost 1/5 of a billion dollars) played exactly four (4) more games than the Devil Rays, who spent $24,124,200.00 (or $3,584,325.00 less than the Yankees pay ONE third baseman, Alex Rodriguez). That's a disparity of $175,104, 845.00, or $43,776,211.25 for each of those four (4) games. Cha-CHING, indeed. Was it worth it? I'm no economist, but I'm guessing not so much.
What could be better? Not damn much. Well, I suppose if the Red Sox and the arrogant, self-righteous snobs who comprise their fan base were out of it, that would be pretty nice too. Those people are just as obnoxious as Yankees fans, maybe even a little more so since they won the World Series a couple of years ago. A while back, I was wearing my "YANKEES SUCK" t-shirt to Skippers when a Sawx fan came up to me and told me how great my shirt was. I said "Thanks, but don't get me wrong; I hate your team too. I can only wear one shirt at a time though".

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Open For Business

I'd like to take this opportunity to introduce you to a brand new company, Clark Brooks, LLC. That's right, I am officially in business as a business owner. That means YOU can now actually hire ME, via my company, Clark Brooks, LLC, to work for YOU! What a fantastic opportunity! By the same token, you could find yourself working for me, or more accurately my company, as an employee of Clark Brooks, LLC! This is totally true!
And what exactly are some of the goods and services provided by Clark Brooks, LLC? Well, uhh, I'm glad you asked. I guess you could say I'm in the business of business. That's right, I make and do business things. I shake hands firmly, I wear shirts (sometimes with a tie) and I have lunch. At lunch, you and I will talk about business. By talking abut business, we will actually be doing business, which I believe means the government pays us back at the end of the year with taxes or something. I will ask a lawyer or accountant about it. Does this sound as fantastic to you as it does to me? Of course it does! It works like this:
Knock knock.
Who's there?
Is it paid for by the government?
Why yes, yes it is.
Well, come on in then! You're helping me eat for free, which is something they used to do in the bible, which is a very fine business to be in indeed!

I also have a number of pens. Blue and black ones! You'll notice that many of these pens have the names of other businesses (not Clark Brooks, LLC) on them. Pay that no mind. Rest assured, these are definitely my Want one? I'll sell it to you for a nickel. Look at that, now we're in retail sales! Is there no limit to the business functions that Clark Brooks, LLC offers? Who knows? Seriously. I honestly don't know at this point. But I am going to get myself some file folders, more pens and a coffee mug. After that, I'll just let all the other details sort themselves out as I go. In the meantime, here is a short list of things that I (as Clark Brooks, LLC) am willing to do for money:
  • Write something funny
  • Feed your cats
  • Grow a mustache
  • Write something serious
  • Vote
  • Sincerely apologize to your grandparents
  • Write something that was supposed to be funny but was actually just kind of weird and while you could see where somebody might laugh at parts of it, you wouldn't exactly describe it as funny
  • Cook a meal
  • Wrestle a giraffe
  • Write something (ads, letters, stories, scripts, texts, tomes, etc.)
  • Place and collect your Jai Alai wagers
  • Eat a meal
  • Accompany you to a modern art exhibit, ballet performance, poetry reading or hockey game
  • Pretend to be from a foreign country
  • Something else? Sure, you name it and we'll talk about it...over lunch

Where Euphemisms Come From

The other night, one of The Girls got sick (non-drinking related, in case anybody cares) outside my apartment and threw up in the parking lot. The next morning, we noticed it was all gone. There had been quite a lot of it but not a single trace to be found only a few hours later. Now, there are a whole bunch of ducks that live in my apartment complex and, disgusting as this sounds, the only logical explanation as to where it all went is that the ducks ate it.
Anyway, as a result, from now on getting sick and throwing up shall be referred to as "feeding the ducks".
feed·ing thuh duhks
1. to eject the contents of the stomach through the mouth; vomit; regurgitate; throw up.
"Oh god, this sausage is spoiled. I think I'm going to feed the ducks."

Monday, October 01, 2007

Last Man Standing

Life is so transitory; restaurants come and go on a weekly basis, stadiums and shopping centers are built to last only about 20 years or so, and even countries change names and borders. It blows my mind when I hear about people who live their entire life in one place. My best friend throughout school was/is one of those people. We’ve lost touch over the years but the last I knew, he was still living in the same house (same bedroom) he grew up in. That creeps me out a little. I can't imagine living as an adult in the same place where I played with toys and baseball cards. Ok, I still play with toys and baseball cards, but I’ve moved around quite a bit over the years, with stints in Indiana, South Carolina, New Jersey, Kentucky, Germany, Michigan and here in Florida, so it's different. And even though I’ve spent the last 20 years in the Tampa Bay region, I’ve moved around a lot within that area. I think that’s normal these days. For example, I’ve lived at my current address for 14 months now and as of this morning, am now the longest-tenured tenant in my four-unit building. Here’s a brief history of the comings and goings:

  • Across the hall from me when I moved in was family of about 26 or so. At least it sounded like that. They used to keep garbage out on their patio. The highlight of our time together would be the exchange that took place right outside my door last Thanksgiving morning: “Fuck you, you whore. Fuck you, fuck you, fuck yoooooouuuu!!” “Oh, that’s really nice, mom! Happy Thanksgiving to you too!” I think they got thrown out because they just disappeared one day. Two girls who attend Hillsborough Community College and call me ‘Doctor Rockstar’ replaced them. They call me that because my job has me coming and going at weird times, so their theory is that I am either a doctor or a rock star. I don’t bother to clarify for them. At any rate, it’s a definite upgrade.
  • Downstairs and across the hall was a woman who I heard singing scales one day when I passed by her door after I had just moved in. I remember thinking, “how nice. I like music, she seems to be a musician, at least a singer. We’ll probably get along fine.” She moved out soon after and I never even saw her. She was replaced by a Cuban family; mom and son. The kid (a smartass) and I have had encounters, including the time he helped me carry up some groceries. He apparently reported back to his mother that I had lots of beverages but not much food so sometimes she cooks food and has the kid bring it to me. The kid’s ok, as far as kids go I guess, and I love Cuban food so this works for me.
  • Downstairs below me, the unit that just moved out was an older guy who rode a bicycle and (I think) his adult son who played a lot of video games, judging by what I saw on their television when I’d walk by. I said hello to them a few times but that’s all I really know about them. But they’re gone now and I don’t think it really matters all that much that I didn’t say good-bye. Somebody else will be in there within a week or two.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

What's mine is mine and what's yours is mine

Life is a series of obsessions. Some are impulsive and fleeting, like Swatch watches, while others are deep-rooted and last a lifetime, like not trying not to die. Often, these obsessions are shared with those with whom we spend a lot of time. Such is the case at work where many of us are currently obsessed with "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia", the FX sitcom about a group of people on a quest to demonstrate the absolute worst manners, morals, and judgement in television history. In our office, the show is mentioned several times every day, whether somebody is quoting dialogue or reliving scenes from a favorite episode.
Yesterday, Billy went on the shows official website and downloaded an icon of Charlie for use on his Yahoo! messenger. I decided it was pretty cool looking so I went and downloaded it for my Yahoo! messenger too. Billy was not amused...

BILLY: Man, don't do that. I already have Charlie.
ME: I know. I want Charlie too.
BILLY: Well, we can't both have Charlie. That's stupid.
ME: Ok, take somebody else. You can have Sweet Dee.
BILLY: I don't want Sweet Dee.
ME: So get Frank. Frank is hilarious!
BILLY: I don't want Frank, Sweet Dee, Dennis or Mac. Charlie is mine. I had it first.
ME: You can't claim Charlie as yours. It's on the internet, free for anybody who wants it. And I want it.
BILLY: That's fucked up. I can't believe you're stealing my shit.
ME: It's not stealing. It's free from the FX network.
BILLY: You only want it because I have it!
ME: That is almost entirely true. But so what? It's not like you can do anything about it.
BILLY: You know what? Go ahead and keep Charlie. I don't care. I'm going to get a different one. But please don't copy me and steal that one, ok?
ME: Sorry, I can't make that promise. Actually, I'm already a little bored with Charlie and if I see something else I like better, I may change it.
BILLY: I hate you!
ME: Ha ha ha!
BILLY: Do you remember the other day when I stabbed your foot with that umbrella? I apologized and said it was an accident. Well, it wasn't an accident. I did it on purpose. I knew you were going to steal my shit so I went back in time and stabbed your ass in the foot. And I'm glad I did it too!!
ME: None of that makes any sense. It's obvious that you have no familiarity with the concepts of time travel or human anatomy. Therefore, you have demonstrated that you do not deserve cool chat icons. So go see if you can download a Liam McPoyle chat icon. Because you suck.
ME: Ha ha ha ha ha!!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Much Ado About Not Much

Here are three things that people are kind of worked up about right now and what I think about them. For what it's worth...

I must be missing something here but this was not the worst thing I've ever seen on television. Oh sure, it was awful. But Britney Spears and other performers of her ilk are always awful. But did anybody honestly expect Elvis in Vegas, the Beatles on Ed Sullivan or James Brown at the Apollo? It certainly didn't merit the cover of Entertainment Weekly, did it? Sloppy and uninspired maybe but it's not like she pooped herself or even fell down. And as far as being fat, I'd like to be that fat. In fact, if I ever am that fat, I'll wear that outfit and expect to be worshipped as a god. What I wonder is if fashion models are too skinny and Britney Spears is too fat, exactly what can a woman weigh without being criticized?

Wow, in the World Series of Scumbags, who do you pull for, the guy who got away with murdering two people or sports memorabilia dealers? That's a tough one and I don't know the answer, but look at OJ. He's looking good for a 60-year-old man, isn't he? He looks fantastic! Man, that guy is livin' right. One question though: who even wants OJ Simpson memorabilia at this point anyway?

People are debating the merits of this new reality show on CBS, wherein kids, with minimal adult supervision, attempt to establish a functioning society. Some say the show provides valuable life lessons and teaches us about our own society. Opponents say it merely exploits children.
I don't watch the show and probably never will. But 'Kid Nation', along with every other program on television, exists for one reason and one reason only; as a vehicle to deliver advertising to consumers. The instant it fails to accomplish this, it will be cancelled and replaced by another show. As such,'Kid Nation' is no more a sociological experiment or teaching tool than 'Gilligan's Island'. Seriously, anybody who doesn't understand this fundamental, basic truth about television programming probably shouldn't have kids...or a television. People, for the love of god, please stop relying on television to raise your kids (and justifying doing so by calling it a "learning experience"). It didn't work for us, what makes you think it will work for them?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Catching up on CENFLO

I just realized that I never followed up on my promise to talk more about the Central Florida Film Festival (CENFLO) where we presented "Ten At The Top In Tampa Bay". I also noticed that I have only posted twice in the last two weeks and both times I bitched about what was on television, which would indicate that I've done nothing but sit around and watch TV. Far from it. So as promised previously, here's what happened at CENFLO.

  • The festival runs during the Labor Day weekend, so it started Thursday night and ran through Sunday. I had to work Thursday so I didn't get to Kissimmee until late. I did get there in time for the gala at the Osceola Center for the Arts. K and R were already there but had car trouble earlier in the day. Everybody was kind of wiped and we didn't feel like sampling any night life and we didn't stay very long.

  • Saturday and Sunday we hung out and watched tons of films. Some better than others, but I honestly didn't see anything I hated. This is unusual for me as I have an innate ability to find something to hate in almost anything, and I enjoy doing so. As a result, I was both pleasantly surprised and bitterly disappointed.

  • We didn't go out Saturday or Sunday evenings either. I didn't feel well all weekend long for some reason and I don't think K & R did either. It kind of goes without saying that it's extremely challenging to find good food in the Kissimmee area. It's Disney's doorstep so the whole area is choked with kitsch and clutter. And in an environment like that, it's no surprise that almost everything is served either in a plastic bag handed to you through a window or from a trough on a steam table, which is enough to make anybody feel queasy. I had very little appetite so I didn't eat much of that crap but something got me. I had to call in sick to work later that week. It was definitely a disappointment to not spend at least a little of the weekend partying up but none of us were really up to it.

  • My favorite film of the weekend was "Kreating Karloff" (you can watch it in it's entirety by clicking the link). I got to meet the star and creative force behind it, Conor Timmis. I had hoped to just say hello and compliment him on the film but we wound up talking for quite a while about all kinds of stuff. Conor's an interesting guy, with lots of opinions on a variety of topics. He's been doing the festival circuit for some time and had some great stories, successes and disappointments, about his experiences.

  • "Ten At The Top..." was shown twice and both times there were glitches in the presentation. The first time was in a small room that I think is a music rehearsal studio. Just after the film started, someone tripped and fell over some chairs. Then a couple of minutes later somebody hit the light switch which was actually in a tiny hallway outside the room. The next day in the big theatre, it started with audio but no picture. It only lasted about five seconds but it felt like hours. Plus, the color was kind of washed out for some reason. I think the DVD projector was over-adjusted for another, darker film. It was still a thrill to actually see it on a real, full-size movie screen.

  • Another thrill was autographing our poster for festival director Bob Cook and his wife and deputy director Ginger. I tried to think of something deeply meaningful ("War Is Over If You Want It"), spiritually cryptic ("May U Live 2 C The Dawn"), or sarcastically smarmy ("Get Well Soon") but couldn't think of anything that hadn't already been done or didn't sound full of shit so I just went with a sincere "Thanks!" and my signature, which sort of looks like "Clk Buh". I suppose I should probably be too mature (jaded) to get an ego stroke from being asked to autograph something but I'm not.

  • The festival closed with an awards ceremony. In spite of the fact that we didn't win anything, R wouldn't let me throw my program on the floor indignantly and storm out. Uh, hello? I thought we were filmmakers. If we're not going to storm petulantly out of awards ceremonies, what's the point?

Bottom line, CENFLO itself was terrific. Great films, well organized, beautiful facility, and extremely friendly and hospitable staff. I hope we have something to take there next year. I'll just bring sandwiches from home.

There is nothing, and I mean NOTHING, on

Folks, forget the rain forest or whatever. Ominous signs indicate that we are dangerously close to completely running out of one of our single most precious resource: television. Need proof? Here's what's on ABC right now (8:00PM EST)...

"JUST FOR LAUGHS" - This a collection of blooper and practical joke clips from some old TV shows that originally aired in the sort of eastern European country where goats are treated both better and worse than you'd expect, accompanied by the kind of canned laugh track that hasn't been used without irony on American television in about 20 years. The on-screen guide's description says this is some of the imported hilarity you can expect to see on 'Just For Laughs': "A car door slams on a man's hand; a police officer borrows a pedestrian's cell phone; an arm falls out of a coffin". My god, we're not only out of television, we're out of humor!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


I just spent the last three hours watching the film "Waterworld". On purpose. It was like eating an entire bag of Funnyons for dinner; I figured it couldn't possibly be as bad as I remember it but three hours later I find myself feeling bloated, disoriented and a little disgusted with myself. In my defense, there honestly was nothing else on TV tonight (aren't the new shows supposed to be on now?) so they caught me when I was vulnerable. Plus, I've noticed it's been on the local cable channels a lot lately. I flipped past it twice on different channels this past weekend before caving in tonight. I'm not sure if it's because somebody's decided with all the discussion of global warming taking place that this film is suddenly relevant but I sincerely doubt the solution has anything whatsoever to do with a urine-drinking Kevin Costner bungee jumping from a homemade zeppelin to save a little girl with a tramp stamp from a three way exploding jet ski collision.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Random Observations On Tuesday, September 4

Maybe nobody else finds this stuff odd or even interesting, I can't tell anymore, but I do. So I write about it. Here's stuff I saw and/or heard today:
  • Fans of the University of Michigan are acting like there were several untimely, grisly deaths in their immediate families over the weekend because they lost their season opening football game to unranked, lower division Appalaichan State. They had hopes of competing for a national championship and will now be lucky to be ranked anywhere near the top 10 for the rest of the season. I guess I understand their grief; it's not like there's a war going on or anything.
  • After a long weekend in Orlando (which I will write about soon) I had to do laundry. So I went to the laundromat after work tonight. While sitting there watching "Gilmore Girls" (there's only one TV), the woman who manages the laundromat, who I am positive is at least ten years younger than I am, was doing a crossword puzzle and asked me "What team does Joe Namath play for?". I answered "Uh, the New York Jets" and then added under my breath "about 35 years ago". I know time stands still at the laundromat. I didn't know it actually went backwards.
  • Also at the laundromat, I overheard a teenage girl tell her mother "Today in the hallway, my jeans slipped down and I looked back and like, every guy was looking at me and checking me out". Was mom appalled, nonplussed, taken aback or otherwise affected in any way by this declaration? Not that I could tell. Of course, she was folding a tee shirt that read 'RENT the hour' on it at the time, so maybe topics like that are commonplace in mother/daughter confabs. I don't know. For me, it just further reinforces that fact that I am not cut out to be a parent.
  • I had to buy a new phone charger because I left mine in Orlando so I went to WalMart. As I cruised the aisles, I heard a slow, solemn military drum cadence over the loudspeakers. It took me a minute but I realized they were playing Elvis's 'An American Trilogy', which is a medley of 'Dixie', 'The Battle Hymn Of The Republic' and 'All My Trials'. I'm sorry, I just think that in itself is kind of funny.
  • I did the self checkout thing, as usual, and was halfway to the door before I realized I'd left four dollars in the change tray. I turned around and got it and on my way back to the exit, the hatchet-faced receipt-checker, or scorn-wielder or whatever her title is said to me, "You don't have to worry, we wouldn't have kept it. We'd have taken it to the office". Her tone suggested that I was somehow insulting her integrity by remembering I had left change behind and coming back immediately to get it. I guess I was supposed to leave, give her an opportunity to graciously retrieve it for me and then wait an acceptable time (I don't know, three days? A week?) before returning to the office to claim it. Sorry, I didn't know the protocol. I tried to make a little joke about how I needed the money and she said, without a little joke, "Yeah, I know you do". Now what the hell was that all about?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The saga of Randy and Paula

Looks like the long-rumored parting of Randy and Paula White is officially news. Ah well, happens to the best (and the rest) of us. However, one has to wonder if this is the first visible sign that the Without Walls empire has reached a tipping point and things are going to proceed rapidly downhill from here. Allegations of general malfeasance and improper conduct have been floating around for some time now, as seems to be the norm with all these so-called "megachurches". By and large, Without Walls has enjoyed a pretty solid reputation for good works in the community, but as their profile has grown, so have whispers of improprieties.

I don't know if any of these rumors are true. I do know for a fact that Randy White regularly attends high profile events like concerts, Superbowls and championship fights in Las Vegas and the pair generally live their lives more like rock stars than church pastors.

As far as I'm concerned, I don't begrudge anyone making a buck and I don't necessarily believe that religious leaders need to sleep on a straw mat and eat out of a clay bowl (although, Mother Teresa seemed to manage somehow) but I'm also not going to go out of my way to salute someone who wants credit for tossing scraps to the poor while they live far above what any normal person's definition of comfortable would be. After all, how much food and clothing can be purchased with the difference in price between a Cadillac Escalade and an Infiniti G37 Coupe? (About $21,000 worth) So if this is the beginning of the end and this all goes down badly, and it's hard to imagine it going down any other way, I can't say I won't be somewhat satisfied to see it.

Plus, I'm pretty sure Paula White is a space alien.

Is this the definitive Tampa news story of all time?

Maybe! After all, it features a former professional wrestler, a county commissioner (the same guy, actually), a chain restaurant and a lawsuit. If only there had been some of our world famous adult entertainers involved. Well, it does have a happy ending...

Commissioner Blair's Suit Against Carrabba's 'Amicably Settled'

(Cross posted at Sticks Of Fire)

Karaoke and how it relates to differences between the sexes

As I mentioned before, the girls and I have been doing karaoke at the Proud Lion Pub lately. I'm learning some frightening new things Such as what the songs someone chooses to sing says about them. As seen here...

THE GIRLS: "I want to sing that one song about how I will survive without a man or men of any kind. Or one of the ones about how I can do without any of his stupid male nonsense. Or the one about how I'm going to destroy his personal property while he's out cheating on me. Is there a song about attacking men with crowbars and blowtorches while they sleep? No? there should be. I would sing the shit out of that one. Or anything by Alanis Morrisette. Hey, you know what would be even more fun? Let's all go up on stage as a group, or maybe more like a street gang, and sing all those songs!"

ME: "I'd like to sing a song about how
you can leave your hat on. It's a very nice hat and I know you're fond of it. Me too. Feel free to keep it on. You look cute in it. Plus, it's kinda cold out and you lose most of your body heat through your head, you know. I'm just mostly concerned about your health. Of course, I'm not ordering you to keep your hat on. I would never do that. But you can leave your hat on. You know, if you want. Or not. It's totally up to you. That's all I'm saying, really."

In summation;

ME = precious, kind and completely innocent
THE GIRLS = fearsome, ferocious and to be feared

Sunday, August 19, 2007

May I not help you?

Boy, for an area that relies so heavily on the tourism and hospitality industries, I sure do run across a lot of crappy customer service here in Tampa Bay. Let me cite three very recent examples.

  1. BOSTON MARKET (Carrollwood) - Earlier this week, I was behind an elderly lady in line who ordered her meal and also wanted a salad to go along with it. The server said she had a choice between Caesar and Market Chopped. The lady was confused. "I just want a regular salad". Again, she was presented with the choices of Caesar or Market Chopped. "Is one of those like a small dinner salad?" "Well, one is a Caesar salad and the other is our Market Chopped salad." Now the lady was very confused and I can't say that I blame her in the least. She was getting replies but no answers. What the hell is a market chopped salad anyway? What does that even mean, 'market chopped'? Now I know that people who work at places like Boston Market are conditioned to speak only in the approved corporate jargon at all times and that if some jamoke in an office building somewhere decrees that what the rest of the universe knows as a standard, garden variety, garden salad shall henceforth be referred to as Market Chopped, then by God, so shall it be. But that shouldn't overrule common sense to the point that it prohibits serving the customer or even communicating with them. It was pretty obvious the lady just wanted some lettuce, a couple of cherry tomatoes and maybe some cucumber slices and carrot shavings. The server could have very easily just made that happen, instead of engaging in a verbal tug of war of semantics with someone who just wanted a freakin' salad with her dinner, for cryin' out loud. It's because of things like this that the diner scene in 'Five Easy Pieces' (click the link or see above) should be required viewing for everyone in the service industry.
  2. THE RINGLING MUSEUM (Sarasota) - We bought tickets last Sunday at 3:30PM, knowing full well that the museum would be closing at 5:00PM. I guess it was nice of the lady reluctantly selling us the tickets to point out that we probably wouldn't be able to see everything but it got annoying when several of the volunteer ushers we came across insisted on driving that point home to us repeatedly, thereby ruining what little time we did have to view the exhibits. At 4:30, one was actually following us and turning off lights behind us. If that wasn't bad enough, at one point I happened to make eye contact with him and in an effort to be friendly said "How ya doin?", he replied "Good night". Real nice. Museums, performing arts centers and such rely heavily on volunteers in order to keep costs down which helps to provide high quality programming and exhibits. The problem is the handful of these people who have bad attitudes, no people skills and false senses of entitlement who seem to find their way into these positions. I guess I just don't understand why anybody would do a job for free if they didn't have a genuine passion for it. I know that if I were so into art, or whatever, that I went out of my way to work at some place for no money, I'd be thrilled to see people who shared that interest and I'd go out of my way to engage them. That's one exhibit we definitely didn't see.
  3. RACETRAC GAS STATION (Gunn Highway) - I bought an Arizona Iced tea at this gas station today. It came to $1.06. I gave the cashier two one dollar bills. He said "you don't have the six cents?" and I said "Nope, I have no coins". "Well you should carry coins", he replied with disgust. I've had cashiers ask for exact change before and if I have, I'll use it. If not, I don't. But this was the first time I'd ever actually been chided for not carrying three quarters, two dimes, a nickel and four pennies with me in the event that I might have to come up with any possible combination of change from a dollar for the benefit of a clerk with a cash register full of money in front of him. I reminded him that I had two dollars, more than enough to pay for the item. He said "Don't worry about it" sneering, as though he were graciously doing me some kind of favor. If there had been more than one cashier on duty and nobody in line behind me, I would have made an issue out of it right then and there and insisted that he take my two dollar bills and give me the 94 cents change. I didn't but I kind of regret that now. I'm all about picking my battles and usually don't make a big deal out of things like this but I think it might have been satisfying to make a small mountain out of this particular mole hill. Instead, I just won't go there anymore, which is the customer's ultimate weapon anyway.

(Cross posted at Sticks Of Fire)

Monday, August 13, 2007

The Worst Thing In The World

The worst thing in the world, worse than genocide or matricide or any other cide order, has to be when you wake up just a few minutes before your alarm clock goes off...on a monday morning.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

"There's a new home run champion of all time..."

...and it's Barry Bonds. Deal with it.

Ok, only because I've been asked about it, here's my couple of cents on why I don't have a problem with Bonds breaking Aaron's record:

  • Steroids - Steroids make you bigger, stronger and faster but they do not improve hand/eye coordination. If you don't have that, I don't care how big, strong and fast you are, you're not going to hit worth a damn. Even if you're naive enough to think that the handful of players who've actually been mentioned by name as being involved with steroids are the only ones who are, it's not like there are several guys who suddenly are in the 700+ home run club. Bonds is the only one.

  • Asterisks - This is an awfully big can to open. If you're going to denote Bonds' homers with asterisks, how far are you willing to take it?Asterisks on his RBI? How about the ERA's of every pitcher who gave up a home run to him? How about Won/Lost records for those pitchers in games where a Bonds home run influenced the outcome? Team won/lost records? Standings? Pennants?

  • He's no Hank Aaron - Who is? Are we really willing to determine the merit of an athlete's accomplishments based on their personal demeanor? I'm not.

And there you have it, as far as I'm concerned anyway.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Fountain Blah

There's a fountain being built in Ybor City as part of a major beautification project. It's being built by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and when completed, will become the responsibility of the City of Tampa. This fountain is huge (nearly 29,000 square feet) and the total construction is going to cost about $1.3 million once it's done. The upkeep is expected to cost between $3,000 and $5,000 a month.
Now, as long as hospitals success rates aren't 1000% and crime rates aren't 0%, there are going to be plenty of valid arguments against spending millions of dollars on things like fountains. But we all know they're still going to get built and now we're stuck with this one so there's no point in bringing any of those arguments up now. Don't get me wrong; as far as fountains go, this is truly a beautiful fountain. It's as nice as any you're likely to come across. The problem is you're not likely to come across this one.
It's located between 21st and 22nd avenues underneath the I-4 overpass, right across the street from a McDonalds, which is what FDOT spokesman John McShaffrey refers to as a "gateway" to Ybor City. If you don't associate that particular vista with screaming "scenic view!", but more like just regular screaming, well, you're probably not alone. I'm pretty sure that's not one of the gateways to Ybor that Paul Catoe and Norwood Smith of the Tampa Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau tout to out of towners.
It doesn't help that the entire thing is surrounded by a eight-foot high iron fence with locked gates. That's right, you can't (legally) get near it. It seems there are concerns about people misusing the fountain for purposes other than which it is intended, such as a bathing or, um, restroom facility. Now, I'm not making judgements about the people who live in or frequent Ybor City, I'm just following the path being laid here to it's logical conclusion. That being if that's really a concern, then maybe a fountain was never the best thing to put there in the first place. I mean isn't that kind of like getting your kids a puppy but you know they're too irresponsible to care for a pet so you take it to the taxidermist before you give it to them?
At any rate, the best place to actually view this magnificent fountain is from up on top of the I-4 overpass itself. Simply look for the McDonald's sign, then pull over and stop (illegally) in the inside breakdown lane, get out and lean over the retaining wall and look down. Voila! Gateway fountaintastic!
Of course, all this grousing about the fountain is pointless anyway, since the the city has already said that because of water restrictions and budget concerns, they're probably just going to shut the whole thing off once they take control of it. "I don't know of any reason why it should be running," said Elias Franco, spokesman for Tampa 's Water Department.
Oh. Never mind.

(Cross posted at Sticks Of Fire)