Day 80 – Old People on their Birthdays

Today is my mother’s 77th birthday. I’m pretty sure she would be a little unhappy with me for sharing her age with the universe, but I like to think 77 is quite the achievement. Mother actually gave up on life a long time ago and trudges through each day, which is really no different than the last. I think for her the process of living was just too hard. So her birthday is a day my sister and I “celebrate” and I think she actually mourns.

Tomorrow would have been my dad’s birthday. He would have been 93 tomorrow, but he decided to stop when he was 91. I think dad was actually at the point where he lived as much as he had wanted to and after a life-time of adventures, taking care of families, running businesses and all the things life has to offer, he just decided he was done.

The difference between my mother and my father’s ways of life are so different that it’s hard to believe they were together for as long as they were. For over twenty years, mom has just “gotten by.” She doesn’t want the change or really any part of learning anything new or experiencing anything different or exciting. She is not the woman I remember from my childhood. My dad actually made it a point to learn something new every day, to try something new every day and to live life the best he knew how. His basic personality / character never changed and I like to think I take after him.

So… today I shall wax a little philosophical and remember both of my parents – “the old people” – on their birthdays.

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Day 78 – Oreos and Carmel by the Sea

There are very few things in life that can improve the outlook on my day quicker than an Oreo cookie. Two chocolaty crispy delicious cookies surrounding a yummy creamy filling. Mmmmm good. I say this because I consumed a snack pack (6) of these cookies this afternoon. I didn’t have time to pack a more nutritious snacks in my lunch bag and the desperate need for something with a quantity of sugar rivaling that of Mt. St. Helen’s was important to keeping my job lest I fall asleep at my desk.

I believe the exhaustion I’ve been experiencing lately could very well be cured with a vacation.

I would like to requisition a few weeks of solitude at Carmel-By-The-Sea. I have a few places that I absolutely love to go and don’t get to spend nearly enough time there. New York City tops the list, but number 2 is undoubtedly Carmel.

Carmel offers a lot of things to do that aren’t necessarily hustle and bustle, but a truly relaxing time. Wine tastings, the many artist studios and galleries, the Carmel Roasting Company (excellent coffee), and shopping that doesn’t include an outlet mall feel – real boutiques with amazing clothes, art, jewelry, hand-blown glass and more.

Sidenote: A quaint place to eat lunch is a little place called The Tuckbox. I had the BEST (and I do mean…) THE BEST Welsh Rarebit at the Tuckbox. (And now I’m getting hungry.) I haven’t been back since 2007 and the food or the service may have changed since then, but the atmosphere is “English Quaint” and I was very pleased with the food. (Vacations are really about the food for me.) Finding Welsh Rarebit on the West Coast was quite the treat. Maybe that should be the mission – devote where we go on vacation by what is served? If that’s the case and I want some Welsh Rarebit, there’s a place in Brooklyn Heights – Brooklyn, NY that serves it called the Chip Shop…
129 Atlantic Avenue
At Henry St
Brooklyn, NY 11201
(718) 855-7775
I may have to try that out next time I’m up there… which I hope is really, really soon… after I gain some solitude and decompression from the hustles and bustles of life.

More later…

Day 74 – Abs, Butt, Thighs… Brains?

I know I’m basically a masochist, but even out of shape, I subscribe and avidly read a few of the fitness magazines out there. However, I got to thinking about what each one offers if they are all offering basically the same thing? Is there a real reason to get more than one? These are some of the cover headlines from two of my favorite fitness mags – both April 2011 editions.

The No-Diet Diet: Low Cal Meals that Truly Satisfy

56 Slimming Meals that Rev Your Metabolism

Flat Abs Fast

Keep Your Curves, Lose the Extra

Boost Your Energy

23 Ways to Boost Your Energy

I could probably go back several months and find many other instances, but I don’t think it would be mere coincidence. However, as I really do need to work on the de-chunkification of the body that has collected chunk like Charlie Sheen has collected bimbos. It’s hard when the body doesn’t want to cooperate physically because of things that have gone fubar, but I figure eventually it will happen.

(Slam Segue)
I’m watching Billy Madison tonight while working on this. I have lost 37 IQ points and I have a couple of brain cells that are running down the street begging for mercy – yet I watch. Oh. Commercial is over…. hasta for now.

Day 73 – Motown and High School

Tonight on American Idol the contestants did “Motown.”

Ein) This is the best season of AI since the first season. I’m so glad that the judges actually have a clue. Simon got to be excessively annoying – 9 years of being a pain in the ass and really not having a nice thing to say about anyone??? Paula Abdul was a joke and useless. I mean seriously? She wasn’t a good singer back in the 80’s / 90’s. She was a great choreographer, but I’m not a huge fan (and I am stating the obvious.) And Randy actually was the only one who tried to offer musical criticism. My complaint – Randy is stuck on “Yo Dawg.” After 10 years, it gets a little old. Find a new schtick dude.

Zwei) This is the most unique group the show has ever had. I’m grateful the judges are such a diverse group because I honestly think that’s how we ended up with such great talent. Paul and James are probably my favorites. There are a couple I don’t like at all – can’t even remember their names. Hopefully neither will win.

Drei) I haven’t voted. I probably won’t vote. I understand the concept of the fans choosing, but I honestly don’t know if it costs money. If it does, screw it. I don’t have the funds to waste on an entertainment vote. If it doesn’t, why do I want to waste the time when I could spend it blogging?

In other news, I had to have a chat with both of the girls about their grades tonight. I don’t understand why it’s hard to get good grades. If you just remember to turn in homework, half of the battle is won. I’m giving the girls the same lecture my parents gave me, only with less hellfire and brimstone. If the situation called for it, I would probably open the gates of hades; however, they know what needs to be done and they are pretty good at beating themselves up. We’ll see what happens. Right now, the both of them need to lose the spring fever and go for the gold.

Finally, haven’t been feeling up to snuff lately. Between the pain in the foot, the knees hurting from the extra baggage and the bladder problems… I feel much older than I am. I am thankful tonight for painkillers. Somehow and some way I need to get healthy. How to manage that I’m not sure, but am hopeful it will happen sooner rather than later. Sweet dreams (and may Charlie Sheen not be a part of them.)

Disturbed

Let me set the stage for you. I’m sitting in bed with the laptop. Maverick is curled up next to me and the television is on for some background noise. The next thing I know is I look up at the TV and see a clip of devil worshipers doing a ritual with a willing female subject. Seriously…
What in the world has this world come to? I think we are past the point of “gratuitous” sex and violence to get an R rating. The R rating has become common place. Why did we let this happen? I don’t need to see naked women on TV in the middle of a living room and a Satanic ritual – which is just one in a million things that really no one needs to see.

When I was in high school, I led a movement against Tipper Gore and the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) aka. The Washington Wives. This committee was formed in ’85 and it’s goal was to increase parental control over music deemed to be violent or sexually explicit. This committee was inspired by Prince’s song, “Darling Nikki” which suggested sex and masturbation. Along with “Darling Nikki”, the committee released a list of the “Filthy Fifteen,” songs that were too objectionable to be aired or sold in good conscience. As I recall it just wasn’t Prince, but Madonna, Def Leppard, Judas Priest, and even Cyndi Lauper made the list. I was a little cranky at the time because how DARE these snooty, out of touch women decide what I can and can’t listen to. The PMRC contended warning labels on explicit lyrics (sex, drugs, violence) would allow parents to really take a look at what their kids were doing and bring a morality back into the family unit.

I could go on and on about this whole ordeal; however, 1) the history of this mess is available on the internet and 2)I find myself looking at the situation with a fresh set of eyes.

Ever since my girls were born, I have tried to make sure they weren’t overly exposed to sex and violence on television. In fact, “kissy face” was okay, but any time I was watching a show or just flipping channels and people were doing the “humpty dance” I changed channels. In fact, most of the time, I still do because I really don’t see any good purpose in showing sexual acts on television, the movies or what have you. I have also tried to make sure the rules of Carlin’s 7 dirty words were held in place in music because who wants their kid growing up cursing and thinking it’s okay. (Do as I say, not as I do?) As the girls have gotten older, they have been exposed to stuff I can’t say is the best, but not the worst either. We can’t keep our kids behind castle walls, but we can’t open the gates and allow the enemy army to freely cross the moat either. It’s a fine line and we just have to teach them the best we can.

Wouldn’t it be refreshing if there was actually good programming on that didn’t involved people lying, cheating, stealing, and f-ing a different person each time you tuned in? Wouldn’t it be amazing if a new generation would stand up and say they have had enough? It won’t happen because this generation has been conditioned to what they have seen and heard is okay. No wonder I’m stuck putting movies in the DVD player with regularity. My moral compass is generally not in line with anything resembling what the entertainment industry puts out today and I pray my children are following in my footsteps.

After the satanic television incident, I switched channels and am now watching a movie that I enjoy. Morally, it’s not the best, but there are some good lessons that can be learned from watching. The movie – chick flick “Raising Helen.” It’s a romance and a comedy and there’s a small moment of suspense or two. This is a movie directed by Gary Marshall, which means it is automatically going to do fairly decent at the box office. Kate Hudson is lead actress and does a really good job with this. John Corbett (cutie) and Joan Cusak, Hayden Panettiere also gave some pretty good performances. Like I said, this movie is not a “G” movie and has some cursing in it; however, because it sounds like something I would actually say, I have to share one of my favorite quotes:

You listen to me. If you ever so much as blink in her direction again, I can and will bury you so far in the ground that the heat from the earth’s core will incinerate your sorry ass!

That seems like a pretty good way to end the evening… a threat to maim and destroy anyone who hurts those you love. Rant over. G’night.

Day 71 – Interesting Way to End the Day

I love the written word and while I may not always follow the MBA rules of composition exactly, I do succeed in getting my point across in a fairly easy and conversational manner. The rhetorical question I have, is do I try to take up writing again as a side-line career? My dad used to breakout a yellow-pad to make pro and con lists. I would actually prefer a Big Chief tablet, but the end game is still the same. This is something I think I will be working on for the next little bit. It could be I just keep my blog and be happy with that until some other changes are made at the casa.
Side note: Now I really DO want to go out and get a Big Chief tablet but they stopped making them in 2001 after 80 years of production. It’s rather sad really. Big Chief tablets were the BEST and I now wonder what kind of crap kids today have to use in their place. AND I could go into the metamorphosis of all the different chiefs and the sons of the chief depicted on the covers over the 80 years, but I have a feeling it would be only for my personal gratification and you wouldn’t find it overly interesting. If you would though, please advise.

And speaking of careers… a friend of mine at work told me today that I should be a stand-up comic. While my anecdotes can be amusing, I don’t know if they would qualify for the Improv, which is pretty much the mother of all comedy clubs.

(Insert abrupt change of subject here at 2111 hours.)

I appreciate the fact I have raised my girls to be honest with me. This was experienced first hand tonight when my youngest called and said she and a friend had “gas problems” and would be late coming in thereby missing curfew. When she came in, she came straight to me and admitted she lied and explained what really happened at John Stiff Memorial Park @ the skate park. I was upset, but not angry. Had she not told me the truth, anger would have taken hold and I’m sure I would have erupted like Mt. Vesuvius. I’m not sure how to handle the situation that occurred, but I’m sure I will think of something – something fair because I certainly don’t want to pull an “O. William.” (Sorry dad, you’re idea of discipline was outlawed by the Geneva Convention in 1949…)

And for your learning pleasure this evening… we all have heard about it, but this is the summary of the protections afforded to prisoners of war and war criminals.

Protected persons are entitled, in all circumstances, to respect for their persons, their honour, their family rights, their religious convictions and practices, and their manners and customs. They shall, at all times, be humanely treated, and shall be protected, especially against all acts of violence or threats thereof and against insults and public curiosity. Women shall be especially protected against any attack on their honour, in particular against rape, enforced prostitution, or any form of indecent assault. Without prejudice to the provisions relating to their state of health, age and sex, all protected persons shall be treated with the same consideration by the Party to the conflict in whose power they are, without any adverse distinction based, in particular, on race, religion or political opinion. However, the Parties to the conflict may take such measures of control and security in regard to protected persons as may be necessary as a result of the war. ”
—- Article 27, Fourth Geneva Convention

One For All….

The family gets together fairly often for movie night. Tonight was such a night and after we dismissed more Tom Hanks movies than I realized I actually had, the mutual decision was made to watch the Three Musketeers.

This version of the film was made in 1993 and it’s still one of my favorites. Charlie Sheen (strangely enough) received top bill. Keifer Sutherland, Chris O’Donnell and Oliver Platt along with Tim Curry and Rebecca De Mornay are also in it. The movie does not follow Dumas’ work to the letter, the “accents” are pretty abhorrent (O’Donnell can’t even pronounce his own name.) And last but not least there are a lot of continuity errors in the film. So why is it one of my favorites?
* Dialogue – witty
* Comedic timing
* Action and Pacing
* Musical score
* The acting / script is good enough that I can overlook the flaws.

When I watch this movie, time flies because even though I know what’s coming it’s (for me) a perfect mix of action / adventure, romance and sarcasm. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a pretty jolly romp if you keep your expectations realistic. In fact, I think I may have to watch it again.

The idea of the three musketeers is interesting to me – as is the musketeer in general. To me, they are the cops or the secret service of the day. Their job is to protect the king, the queen, the country and each other. Maybe in a way, we are all musketeers.

“This world is an uncertain realm, filled with danger. Honor underminded by the pursuit of power, freedom sacrificed when the weak are oppressed by the strong. But there are those who oppose these powerful forces, who dedicate their lives to truth, honor, and freedom. These men are known as Musketeers.”