Thursday, June 28, 2007
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
I, like you, like a lot of people, I suspect, get lots of email from people whose name is their email address. Why, just today I got emails from Durante Urban, Ignatz Heike, Brice Hart, Emmerson Solomon, Allen Roderick, Stewart Courteney, Salome Aisha and Robby Gregory. I have no idea who any of those people are. I know they're trying to sell me goods and services of a dubious, at best, nature because it says so in the subject line. Even if their intent wasn't spelled out there, I'd have no trouble deleting these emails because I simply don't know that many people. Even better, there are very few of the people I like well enough to read what they have to say in an email. But when I saw an email from Paul Newman, I got very excited. I don't know Mr. Newman but I'm certainly familiar with him. I'd go so far as to say I am a fan of his. I loved The Sting, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Verdict, Cool Hand Luke, The Hustler, Slapshot, The Hudsucker Proxy and Nobody's Fool. I despised Mr. and Mrs. Bridge, but that's ok because I love his brand of spaghetti sauces, particularly the Sockarooni. And I've always thought Paul Newman was vastly underrated on the cool scale, as opposed to Jack Nicholson who is vastly overrated in that area (in my opinion). So I was pretty eager to see what Paul Newman had to say to me. Maybe he was going to share his thoughts on his recent decision to retire from acting or maybe he'd just wanted to share an excellent video of a chimpanzee bathing a cat he'd found on YouTube.
As it turned out, I was really disappointed to see it was just some plea to get involved with the Democratic Party. I didn't read it all but it was all don't-just-sit-there-and-accept-the-status-quo this, demand-accountability-from-government that, yak yak, blah blah. Maybe it wasn't some useless, rip-off offer for free Six Flags passes, discount cigarettes or a new way to meet thousands of local women with pictures and phone numbers waiting to hear from me RIGHT NOW, but it was still just a sales pitch. What use have I for active participation in an accountable government in my never-ending quest to date thousands of thrifty, local, cigarette smoking female roller coaster enthusiasts? None! So I deleted it. It would have been nice if he'd put an e-coupon in there for some Sockarooni spaghetti sauce.
Monday, June 25, 2007
ME: Hey, you wanna make $5?
KID: Doin' what?
ME: Carry these groceries up the stairs to that apartment.
KID: $5 a trip? It's gonna take me more than one trip.
ME: No, not $5 a trip. $5. I don't care how many trips.
KID: Man, you cheap.
ME: What are you talking about? It'll take you maybe five minutes. That comes out to $60 an hour. Crane operators don't make that.
KID: Hourly wages are for suckers. I'm gonna make salary.
ME: Not carrying my groceries, you aren't. Besides, if you were really smart you'd know that hourly is the way to go. Once you make salary, the company owns you and can work you as much as they want for the same money.
KID: Yeah, but you don't get medical and dental as no hourly employee.
ME: What does a 10-year-old juvenile delinquent like you know about medical and dental benefits?
KID: I'm 11 and I ain't no juvenile delinquent. Why don't you carry your own groceries and stop exploiting children?
ME: Is there a camera hidden somewhere nearby? Am I supposed to be charmed into coaching your Little League team or something?
KID: Man, what are you talking about?
ME: Never mind. So are you going to do this for $5 or what?
KID: I'll do it for a flat $10, no matter how many trips.
ME: $10, but you take my garbage back down wth you when you go...
KID: All right.
ME: ...including used kitty litter.
KID: No way. I ain't carrying no nasty kitty litter.
ME: Fine. No kitty litter.
I hate kids.
Saturday, June 23, 2007
It was bad.
I left straight from work so I got down there early, giving me plenty of time for sightseeing. I came off the interstate on University Parkway and sensory overload set in almost immediately. Where there had been cow pastures there were now Super Target stores, apartment complexes and shopping centers. Heading south on Tamiami Trail was even more shocking with massive condominium towers where there had been motels and shopping centers where there had been vacant lots. I was blown away. I would have to say that there has been proportionately more growth in Sarasota in the last decade than there has been in Tampa. It was apparent the place had changed dramatically. But that didn't prepare me for what I saw next.
I turned off Tamiami Trail to Cocoanut Avenue, to drive by the first house I had lived in when I was married. Times were good back then between us. I wanted to see if it still looked the same, maybe see who was living there now...but it was gone. Torn down, and apparently some time ago because there's no trace of the house remaining. The only thing there is the driveway that had led to the garage. I wasn't sure exactly why at the time, but this literally hit me, and I mean hard. There's no other way to describe it; I felt just like I had been punched in the face. I pulled into the driveway, got out of the car and stood in the middle of the vacant lot and looked around. At nothing. But I knew this was the exact spot in the living room where we had a recliner. It sat next to the sofa there and faced the TV over against that wall. To the left there was the kitchen and back behind me was where the bathroom and bedrooms were. And I think that's when I figured out why this had such an effect on me; since the house itself no longer existed, there was no evidence aside from my own memories that it, and the life and the happy memories it had contained, had ever existed. I couldn't even drive by with friends now and show them where I had lived. There's nothing there. Grass now grows and dies and grows again next year where a house stood in which I had once shared my life with someone I loved. I suddenly felt very, very much alone.
I got back in the car and drove the two blocks to the Van Wezel and watched the show. Brian Regan was funny and I laughed aloud a few times but I was pretty much numb and empty just sitting there.
After the show, I drove around aimlessly for awhile, but my heart was definitely not in it. Further dragging me down was a text message I had received from R asking if I'd like to go to Pleasure Island Saturday night. By all means, a trip to Pleasure Island would be a perfect remedy to pull me out of a funk like this. So yes, more than just about anything in the world, I would love to go with you to Pleasure Island, R. Unfortunately, the reality is that I have to work Saturday night so I have no choice but to decline. R's very kind and thoughtful invitation had inadvertently darkened my mood even more and I started contemplating the pros (many) and cons (few) of driving my car into a phone pole at 70mph. But lacking a flair for the (overly) dramatic gesture, I just drove home to Tampa and went to bed, with serious intentions of staying there until I had to go to work Saturday night and then immediately getting back in bed and staying there until Monday morning.
That plan was working well until 11:00 this morning when my phone rang. It was my friend W, asking me to come over tonight after work because she's struggling with some personal problems of her own. I didn't know how much help I would be, having dedicated myself to being depressed and all and that this would seriously cut into my laying-around-and-being-pathetic time, but what the hell, I told her I would definitely stop by. After hanging up, I laid there and stared at the ceiling for a while and thought about everything, all at the same time. What eventually came of that was the realization that somebody who was hurting was seeking help from me. This provided some motivation to you know, be alive. So I got out of bed, pulled my head out of my ass and got ready for work.
I think the rest of the weekend will be better than Friday night.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
I stopped at a gas station on the way home tonight and I was thirsty, so I went inside to grab something to drink. There I found a canned beverage comprised of half iced tea and half lemonade named after Arnold Palmer. I don't know a whole lot about Mr. Palmer...I mean aside from the obvious facts that everyone knows; that he was one of America's greatest astronauts, became president of the United States and invented the umbrella. But when it comes to personal info, well, I guess I'm just not up to par. Because I had no idea that he enjoyed this concoction so much that they named it after him. Just like how they name sandwiches after celebrities in New York delis. I can only imagine that's gotta be just a massive ego trip. The closest I've ever come to having a sandwich named after me is when they write my name on the bag when I call in for take-out. Of course, I can't complain. I've never done anything worthy of having any foodstuffs named after me. By which I mean I've never done anything. At all.
However, here in Tampa Bay, we're fortunate to have a resident who has several things named after him: Football Hall of Famer Lee Roy Selmon. At one time or another, Mr. Selmon has had a barbecue sauce, a chain of restaurants and a major expressway named in his honor. He's as famous for conducting himself with grace, class and dignity as he is for anything he accomplished during his storied athletic career. I don't know how he does it because I'm telling you right now, I couldn't do it without being downright insufferable. Why, if I were in Lee Roy Selmon's position...
- During commencement speech at Jefferson High School: "Congratulations, graduating class of 2007! This is a tremendous accomplishment in your young lives and deserves a celebration. Grab mom, dad, grandma and grampa and let's all go over to Me and have a big, family-style feast! My portions are generous and sharing is encouraged. Bring your diplomas...and your appetites!"
- Approaching a group of shoppers talking amongst themselves at Brandon Town Center Mall: "Say folks, were you just debating what the best, quickest way to get from here to Gandy Boulevard is? That's easy! Just hop on The Me and you'll be there in no time! There's a nominal fee, but I'm well worth it!"
- Climbing over someone's backyard fence in Carrollwood: "Mmm-mm, that smells really good! But you know what would take those ribs up to Hall of Fame-level delicious? Spread some Me Sauce on them! Go ahead, don't be stingy with my smooth, smokey goodness. And next time, marinate that meat in Me overnight for even more of a kick!"
Yeah, all things considered, I think the people in charge of naming stuff after people probably have it right.
(Cross posted at Sticks Of Fire)
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
To most people, wrong numbers are an annoyance. To me, they're an opportunity. Here's a call that I took at work the other day:
AUTOMATED VOICE: This is Blah Blah Mortgage Bankers, Inc. if you'd like exciting new information about refinancing your mortgage, press one!
(Pressing one): Beep.
SANDRA: Hello, this is Sandra. Would you like information on refinancing your mortgage today?
ME (in a "foreign" accent that sort of sounds like a bastardized cross between Indian and Transylvanian): Oh yes, very much please.
SANDRA: Ok, great! And what is your name, sir?
ME: My name is Dioner Navarro
SANDRA: Ok then. Is this a single family home, Mr. Navarro?
ME: Doctor Navarro.
SANDRA: Oh, I'm sorry Dr. Navarro. Is this a single family home, sir?
ME: Well yes it is. However, there are currently several families living in it.
SANDRA: That's fine. How many bedrooms?
ME: Right now, all the rooms are bedrooms.
SANDRA: I see. How many rooms would you say are supposed to be designated as bedrooms?
ME: Hmmm. Probably three.
SANDRA: Great. And how many baths?
ME: For me, personally? I take shower.
SANDRA: No no, how many bathrooms. In the home.
ME: Ah! Ok. Two rooms for bathing. Plus one extra with only toilet and sink. Or two toilets if you need.
SANDRA: Great. And what did you pay for the home?
SANDRA: And how much is still owed?
SANDRA: You still owe $124,000 on a $125,000 purchase?
ME: I have only had for three weeks.
SANDRA: Oh ok, I see. Well, unfortunately you have to have owned the home for at least a year to be eligible for this offer.
ME: But I think I signed bad deal and want to make do-over, please?
SANDRA: We can talk again after you've owned the home for a year.
ME: All right then. I will call you?
SANDRA: No no, we will call you, Dr. Navarro.
ME: Okay. The number will be the same unless it changes.
SANDRA: Great. We'll talk to you again soon.
ME: I can hardly wait!
Sunday, June 17, 2007
- IN THE PARKING LOT: After getting out of my car, I put my keys in my right front pants pocket.
- I then locked the car doors and felt my pocket to verify the keys were there.
- They were.
- I then looked at all four car doors to verify they were locked.
- I then took my keys out of my pocket, held them in my hand and looked at them before actually closing the locked door.
- I then looked at the keys again before putting them in my pocket and going inside.
- INSIDE THE STORE: Nothing happened.
- BACK IN THE PARKING LOT: I loaded my groceries in the trunk and underwent the above ritual with the keys before closing it.
- I noticed a plastic ringed six-pack holder that someone had thrown on the ground.
- I picked it up and put in my pocket and took it home with me to cut all the rings so there would be no loops.
- Why? Because I have been told that these six-pack holders often find their way into waterways where birds, turtles and other animals get tangled up in them, strangle themselves and die.
- Could I have just taken the stupid thing and just put it in the trash? Of course I could have. But here's where the paranoia kicks in. What guarantee is there that whatever trash I drop it into actually gets disposed of properly? Maybe it snags on something when they're emptying it; maybe somebody going through the trash looking for items they can use to steal someone's (my) identity tosses it back on the ground. At any rate, the odds of me being there when (not if) that happens to do something about it are pretty slim...so I must destroy it so it's relatively harmless when (not if) it ends up in the Gulf of Mexico.
- I do so, and then throw it away in my garbage, which I always make sure to double-knot (again, there are no guarantees, but this feels good enough).
Now, do you think cutting that thing up and thereby possibly saving some poor animal from an untimely death made me feel superior to the careless slobs who threw it on the ground without thought to the ramifications of their actions? Nope. This just allowed me to not hate myself as much because I would be able to go to sleep later knowing I had not done anything that day to directly cause the inadvertent and unnecessary deaths of any sea creatures. See, the fact that it was litter in the first place wouldn't have caused any problems; me leaving it laying there would have. Got it?
- What do you tell the struggling pitcher who's trying to hang on to his spot on the rotation if he happens to draw the starting assignment for one of these designated games? "Hey kid, you've been giving up a lot of homers lately and we just can't have that. Of course, if it happens today, you'll be helping the ongoing effort to treat and eventually find a cure for prostate cancer. But that won't stop me from sending your ass back to Durham tomorrow morning. Well, good luck out there today!"
- How does a manager with any kind of social conscience whatsoever call for a sac bunt to move a runner into scoring position late in a tied game? You know how much is donated for sac bunts? Zippo. Does the socially conscientious batter ignore the sign and swing for the fences? Does the manager then dare to fine the conscientous slugger when he grounds into a rally snuffing double play because he's Ben Zobrist and has no business trying to hit heroic home runs under any circumstances, life-saving or otherwise?
- How is Gary Matthews Jr. supposed to feel after he robs somebody by making one of his spectacular leaping catches at the wall? I guess it's great for the Anaheim Angels; too bad for prostate cancer research. "Daddy, why does Gary Matthews Jr. want you to die?"
Actually, I have less of a problem with the 'Home Run Challenge' than I do with some other fundraising efforts because it's fundamentally about ordinary joe fans pledging what money they can from their own pockets. What really bothers me are certain corporate initiatives, things like Yoplait Yogurt's 'Save Lids to Save Lives' program, which benefits efforts to cure breast cancer. Again, an inarguably worthy cause to be sure and any company that gets involved deserves kudos. But the way this one works is you buy Yoplait brand yogurt with pink foil lids, you save those lids (you'll want to clean them) and then send them back to the people at Yoplait. For every lid they receive back, they donate 10 cents to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, a minimum of $500,000 and "up to" $1.5 million. That's a lot of money and it's fantastic that a company is willing to do that. But if you're willing to donate "up to" a million and a half bucks...well, how about just doing it? Why tie it to the ability of consumers to store little pieces of pink tinfoil and then eventually mail them back to you? You already have the lids there; if you really want them that bad, just keep them and write a check. I promise, we'll still buy your delicious yogurt. It's delicious! I mean, is there really somebody there at the Yoplait home office with a balance sheet keeping a count on the lids that come in? And if so, would that person really nickel and (literally) dime the Susan G. Komen Foundation?
Yoplait: "We collected 14,876,238 lids and so you may expect a donation from us in the amount of exactly $1,487623.80 and not a penny more."
Susan G Komen Foundation: "Hey, that is really great and we sincerely appreciate it, as always. Of course (heh-heh), you know we could find a pretty good use for another $12 thousand if you still..."
Yoplait: "Not a penny more!!"
Geez, I would certainly hope not.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
I just saw a TV commercial that featured some pick-up truck...excuse, me Sport Utility Vehicle...whatever...driving up the sides of buildings, leaping across rooftops and basically flying all over the place. Sometimes upside down. Beneath all these obviously computer generated special effects images in very small print was the word "FICTIONALIZATION".
That's it? That's all you have to do to cover your ass when you put something out there that's obviously impossible and completely untrue? You have to be kidding me! I don't think that's even a real word. I've never heard that word used before. I'll bet when I go to post this, spellcheck is going to flag it. Yet, somebody's lawyers determined that this is valid legal protection in the event that some idiot buys one of these things and gets upset (and/or killed) when it doesn't navigate a 90 degree turn straight up and drive up a wall? Well, that's awesome if that's the case, because this opens up all kinds of opportunities for me. I'm going to make up my own words, have them printed up in a tiny typeface on business cards and hold them up below my chin whenever I tell lies.
- "I'm not coming in today. I have the flu real bad" - BULLSHITTERY
- "You must have received my payment. I mailed the check over a week ago." - FALSITIVITY
- "Of course I went to college." - DECEPTICONJUNCTIVITIS
- "I attend church services regularly" - TRUTHESQUE
- "Wow, you look great!" - MADEUPALUFAGUS
Later, after Staci left he came back and said it was the worst thing I had ever done to him and he punched me, hard, in the arm twice (remember, I have sunburn).
Yes, this is how I get my kicks. Thanks for asking.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Monday, June 11, 2007
This is completely unacceptable for a variety of reasons:
A) I live in Florida and should know better. True. I've lived in Florida for over 20 years now.
B) I live on planet Earth and should know better. It's not like Florida is the only place you can get a sunburn. I've gotten sunburns in Michigan, Illinois, Kentucky and Frankfurt, Germany and they all hurt about the same.
C.) It's not fair, I don't deserve this. Also true. Nobody I was with got burnt. "Well, I'm a little red right around this one inch area near my shoulder, see, where I slide the strap over a little...". No. That doesn't count. If you don't feel like every raw nerve ending in your body is poking through your skin like hairs, you are not burnt like I am burnt.
Here's the thing; I do know better and took numerous precautions to prevent this from happening. Ok, I did forget that the sun is close enough to where I live during the summer time to be eligible for an 813 area code, but I honestly wasn't out that long. When I was, I applied liberal amounts of waterproof SPF35 sun block all over and had a shirt on the whole time I was out of the pool. Plus, I'm not fair skinned. I mean, I'm white but I'm not like some people whose skin hue is about the same as a fluorescent tube. You wouldn't think I'd be the kind of person who's overly susceptible to getting burnt. I guess this is just another one of those things.
So what happens when you're suffering from sunburn, and what I'm going through right now, is your skin gets really, really tight. Drawn over your body like the head of a snare drum tight. It hurts to move, so you try not to. You spend long periods of time in one position. This inactivity causes your muscles to tighten up. The result being when you do have to move, and unless you're one of those lucky bastards in a coma, you will eventually have to move, your entire body aches, skin and muscles working together to painfully remind you what a dumbass you are.
The beauty, and by beauty I mean ironic agony, is there's nothing you can do about it other than wait it out and let it heal. I've gone through almost half a large bottle of aloe lotion, but that's momentary relief at best. I'm going to start keeping mine in the fridge. You can also take cool showers. However, standard toweling off is not recommended. Your options are strategic dabbing or air drying. Then there's the whole issue of avoiding touching someone or being touched by someone, which is almost impossible unless you live by yourself out in the desert or some tropical jungle...places that don't have aloe lotion.
Thursday, June 07, 2007
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
And you certainly don't change your name. Everybody already calls them the Rays anyway.
Sunday, June 03, 2007
Well, we've finally had it. We're giving up and moving out. We just can't take it anymore. It's such a shame because this used to be such a nice place. Until the volcanoes moved in.
We tried. Honestly, we did. We're open-minded people and pride ourselves on accepting others different from us. So when the first one moved in, we grinned and beared it and thought we could make a go of it. Even though there were signs that there would be trouble ahead right from the start. You know, the noise at all hours, the themal updrafts, the expulsion of steam and magmatic gases and the lava. Mostly the lava. It sounds like a stereotype but honestly, we almost never had lava problems before. Still, we turned the other cheek and went about our business. I mean if someone is not directly bothering us, there's no reason we can't all get along. Live-and-let-live, right? But then more of them showed up. And before you know it, it was non-stop chaos and destruction. Property values were dropping out of sight. I'm sorry but nobody who in their right mind is not going to be bothered by a neighborhood covered in volcanic ash? As it turns out, more volcanoes, that's who. I guess we should have seen that coming.
Still, we smiled and went about our business and tried to make the best of it. What finally tore it for us is when we found out that our youngest, Doug, was secretly dating one of them. Again, we're open minded people. In college, I even had volcano friends. But my folks, Doug's grandparents, just wouldn't understand. Trust me. So we put the old homestead up for sale (sold it for a fraction of what we should have gotten for it) and are moving out. Not so much because of how it affects me but because if my folks found out that Doug had a volcano girlfriend, it would just kill them. So this is really for the best.
Anyway, we have high hopes for the future and we're all excited about this opportunity for a new beginning. I'll write again once we get settled in at our new home in Earthquake Heights.