We’ll Take the Bill Now Waiter

I love progress, I really do.  It’s gotten so dysfunctionally slick that instead of just getting an e-mail showing what I owe on my cable bill I receive a full-on, condescending video of what I owe with audio notes explaining how I got into this mess in the first place.

Being a forward-thinkin guy, I’d like to recommend the next step in our world of progress by suggesting that my cable provider invent a cartoon character called “Billy: Your Friendly Bill Explainin’ Squirrel” wherein Billy would explain to us how idiotic and self-indulgent it was to order “Wanda Does Walla Walla” in a moment of weakness last month, resulting in a “very reasonable” charge of $17.99 per viewing.  Billy could then step into the next phase of the billing process where he resolves absolutely none of our questions in the billing and tax phase of our bill to the point of imparting in an appropriately high, squeaky voice “HAHA!!! F*&# YOU and I’m NOT GONNA TELL YA!! or “GET A LIFE GOOMBAH!

Still, I have high hopes for our theoretical friend. Being cute and fuzzy can really take u a long way in this world, much like the Terrier outside my window who figures it sound thinking to bark his ASS off at 2:30 in the morning. Getting back to Billy, I’d like to see his lovability used as a force for positive change bringing love, peace, goodwill, free love, opioids and all the other fun stuff that modern society provides us.

To be honest, all I’ve been doing in the preceding paragraphs is running interference while waiting for Chuck’s response to this e-mail:

Me: “1st off, I went to Nick’s for a beef combo and gravy fries today cuz I just couldn’t take it anymore after 3 months of introverted denial (Evil demon on left shoulder: “get Nick’s roast beest w/gravy fries Jim, Chuck would WANT u to do it” while the angel on my right shoulder is saying “No, no it’s a sign of betrayal!”

Guess which side won.  Having just driven 8 hours up and 8 hours back to and between a wedding in Provincetown, MA I’da thought that a good post or two would be easy money, but no dice. As my sister so eloquently put it “I can’t believe we got thru that incident-free.”  (My family’s weddings usually qualify as some kinda spectacle that’d make the Cirque du Soleil jealous.)

Having noted all this I’ll take ANYTHING in the way of ideas for a post (it’s been a while, man.) including your scientific opinion on the preservation of mastodon fossils.  Lacking that, I’ll post this e-mail and WHATEVER thoughts on the subject of wooly mammoths as u may  be so kind as to impart.”

As fun and wonderful a writer Chuck is he can also be a surly, recalcitrant bastard when he wants to be. Fear not, for I shall harass him when/where necessary. This is my solemn promise to u.

Oh, Tom Petty died last week as most of us know by now.  One person fancied him an equivalent American songwriter equal to Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan (allow me to throw in John Lee Hooker) in a statement I’ll never disagree with. Once again lemme see if I can this video goin’ (it always seems to be a challenge) If not, listen to The Travelling Wilburys “End of the Line” and “Handle With Care” on your own.  You’ll be glad u did.

Stay safe and be strong.

Jimmy

 

 

 

That Means WHAT???

Being a 53 year old guy who thought he was wise to the ways of the world (the English vocabulary in particular) and then some, I’ve recently found out how wrong I was when my daughter and I recently got into a friendly argument about the nickname of her targeted college, namely the University of Hawaii.

While she insisted the team nickname was “The Manoans”, I quickly and accurately corrected her with “Rainbow Warriors” as the school’s flagship moniker.  In order to settle our dispute I looked up the aforementioned Rainbow Warriors on Google and the first site presented was The Urban Dictionary, which gave a vastly different interpretation of the term than I was expecting:

Kate:  OK Dad! Look it up!

Me (while Googling): Yep. I’ll show you!

(momentary pause)

Me: What the hell is this???!!!

Kate (laughing): Dad, you clicked on The Urban Dictionary site!

Allow me to withhold the definition of Urban Dictionary’s version of what “Rainbow Warrior” means (seeing as this is a damn family site) compared to what I thought it meant (brave Polynesian Warrior).  This got me to thinking what other interpretations of terms I thought I knew might be out there. This’ll require some investigative journalism on my part (or in other words “work”) but it’s a small sacrifice for you, our readers. Let’s begin:

“Afterclap”

What I’d guess it meant- noun; the fallout from a venereal disease

What it now means-verb; the last sound from a round of applause

“Yard Sale”

My thinkin’-A homefront where used junk is sold at dirt cheap prices

Alternative-Wiping out on a snowy mountain leaving gloves, poles, skis, etc…all over the place

“Unlightening”

Me: A light bulb blows leaving you in the dark

Actual-Somebody represents an idiotic and untrue theory as fact (I’ve gotta include this term in the website motto.)

“Beerboarding”

Me: (you’d think I’d know this one) Bringing a frosty alcoholic beverage up the gangplank

Actual: Getting someone bombed so that they spill the truth

This is getting so fun that I think I’ll make up a few of my own.  Lemme know what you think:

“Funselfish”- Buying the bar a round so you can keep the party going when everyone seems to be wrapping it up

“Steamed Clam”- A person who walks face-first into a glass door thinking it was open

“Kangaroo”- A person who trips on a crack in the sidewalk and has to hop in an effort to maintain some dignity

“Floon”-As Chuck knows, I’ve already tried this one out to no effect.  It’s intended meaning was to imply a screwup or mild mistake.  Shoulda gone further but the Catholic Church wouldn’t buy into it with the whole “forgive me Father for I have flooned” serving as quite the obstacle.  Worth a shot, tho.

This topic has above all proven to me how flexible, interpretive and stupid the English language can get.  See ya next time.

Jimmy

 

Excitable Boys

Last week, I asked Diane if she could spend time with any musical artist (dead or alive) who would it be? She said, “I really don’t know, but I know who yours would be.Warren Zevon”. Spend enough time with a person and they really get to know you. She was 100% right. Warren was uber talented (with a reputed genius level IQ), a brilliant lyricist (his lyrics often read like mini novels), a tortured soul (his demons had demons), but most of all, for me anyway, he was this different looking dude who made some of the best music of his generation. He wasn’t blessed with a great voice, but you always knew it was him even if you had never heard the song before. He wasn’t a chart topper, but record sales and musical genius are quite often mutually exclusive. He was equal parts funny, sad, brilliant, angry, romantic, sarcastic and wild. Warren left this world 14 years ago today. (You always knew he wasn’t going to grow old). But the legacy he left behind is astounding.

Chuck

Yep, this my kinda post.  The coolest story I know about him is that he hopped in his dilapitated car with his guitar and drove to California in the late 60’s/early 70’s, then supplied Linda Ronstadt with “Poor, Poor Pitiful Me”, one of her greatest hits.  Apparently Warren was headstrong enough and so contentious with music critics that one wrote a quick bio of the man (after he was dead, mind you) condemning him as a person while singing his praises as a songwriter/artist.  As Chuck pointed out, the man certainly had an impact.

If anybody had asked me which musician I’d like to spend a little time with, the answer “Ringo Starr!” couldn’t come out of my mouth fast enough.  He’s so humble and likeable that I’d feel actually feel comfortable asking him questions like “what’s it like to be a friggin’ Beatle, man???!!!” Beyond that, I love hearing him sing “A Little Help From My Friends”.  It picks me up when I’m down and that’s the thing music has done, will continue to do and should always be so.

Lemme attach a coupla videos featuring Warren Zevon’s “Lawyers, Guns and Money” plus Ringo’s “Photograph” (in no particular order).

As always, hit up Mamemagazine.com when u getta chance.  Plenty of great stuff to see there.

Jimmy

Wonderland

Time to swim against the current a little. I know at this time of year, most parents are overjoyed that the kids are heading back to school. Not this parent. I love all of the things that the girls and I do all summer long. I love being outside with them. I love game nights that start at 9 o’clock at night. I love heading to the local park to shoot hoops with them. I love taking them to baseball games. I love hitting the beach with them. I love attending outdoor concerts with them. But, mostly, I love the freedom that summer allows. Childhood races by at blinding speed, and childhood summers race by even faster. I, for one, am in no hurry to see them end.

Chuck

Yep, I have those memories too although I’ve hadda adjust mine to “stay the %#&* outta jail”.

Walter Becker of Steely Dan recently passed away so lemme see if I can hook you up with a good number here (below). Becker w/b the guy playing bass and singing in the background by the drum kit. He and singer/keyboardist Donald Fagen pioneered a lot of the music we hear today and yes, that’s Jeff “Skunk” Baxter on guitar for you Doobie Brothers fans.

Jimmy

 

Gimmee a T for Texas

I originally wrote this piece prior to the devastating hurricane and ensuing flooding that our friends and countrymen/women down in Texas/Louisiana now have to contend with.

I guess we all’ve found about where to donate but I’d like to recommend some others if it suits ya:

Actor and Philly native Kevin Hart opened his heart, wallet and a website for donations at https://cdn.crowdrise.com/o/en/team/kevinhart

Next, there’s always the good ol’ Red Cross at www.redcross.org/Disaster-Relief/Hurricane

Here’s the intended post:

As I dragged my sorry ass out of bed one morning last week, clicked on the TV, slumped in my slightly stinky, cockeyed yet noble comfy chair and reacquainted myself of the surroundings here at The Ponderosa I became aware of a news story whereby ESPN allowed itself to reassign a perfectly good and talented man from broadcasting the upcoming football game between the University of Virginia and William & Mary University. All because his name is Robert Lee (see link here…http://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/ncaafb/espn-moves-announcer-named-robert-lee-off-virginia-game/ar-AAqz0tG?OCID=ansmsnnews11).

Thru a series of rhetorical questions, historical quotes and sensible thinking I shall now attempt to make some sense of this…

First off, here’s a pretty good profile of Confederate General Robert E. Lee (from 1856, 5 years prior to the Civil War) in a letter to his wife and his attitude towards slavery…

“… In this enlightened age, there are few I believe, but what will acknowledge, that slavery as an institution, is a moral & political evil in any Country. It is useless to expatiate on its disadvantages. I think it however a greater evil to the white man than to the black race, & while my feelings are strongly enlisted in behalf of the latter, my sympathies are more strong for the former. The blacks are immeasurably better off here than in Africa, morally, socially & physically. The painful discipline they are undergoing, is necessary for their instruction as a race, & I hope will prepare & lead them to better things. How long their subjugation may be necessary is known & ordered by a wise Merciful Providence.”

— Robert E. Lee, to Mary Anna Lee, December 27, 1856

 

From Wikipedia I found this (https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_E._Lee): “Lee inherited a number of slaves with Arlington House.[12] He proved not to be a very good slave master.[12] He tried kindness and refused to use torture. But the slaves knew their freedom had been granted them in the will and refused to work.[12] Lee wanted to grant them their freedom but needed them to help him see out the work at Arlington House.[12] Personally, Lee hated slavery calling it an “evil” to both blacks and whites.[12] But he tought (sic) it had to be ended gradually or the economy of the South would wikt:collapse. (sic)[12] But Lee did agree with other Southerners thinking that blacks were inferior. He believed God would work out the problem in his own time.[12] Lee, like Thomas Jefferson had mixed feelings about slavery.[12] ”

Considering the momentous issues of that time period, four years of war resulting in over half a million casualties, half the nation thrust into poverty, the resulting Jim Crow laws, the Civil Rights movement plus our current struggle over which monuments come down and which remain, I got a question…

How does Robert Lee, ESPN broadcaster, get dragged into this? Are there people who can’t tell the strategically, tactically brilliant yet clearly morally conflicted Confederate general from a modern day guy who calls football games? Besides that, there’s gotta be a million guys walking around with the name “Bob Lee”.  Are there really people who would demand that others with a similar name be subject to a lifetime of social semi-banishment?  Now how about other Confederate leaders names? Apparently they’re less offensive insomuch as they tend to be less monumented and therefore less well known. That’d mean we also have to shun anyone currently named Jeff Davis, Tom Jackson, Al Johnston, Jim Longstreet, Dan Hill, Harry Heth, Joe Johnston, Bill Pender, Bill Rhodes, Dick Ewell, Ike Trimble, Jim Kemper and Dick Garnett among many others.

What I’m getting at is simple enough.  How far do we want to take this?  As far as I know, any community in the USA can erect or take down monuments at it’s own discretion.  While we ALL have the right to freely assemble and exercise our right to free speech at such an action, that community is also entitled to be free from violent activities under both state and federal law.

One more thing.  The National Civil War battlefield parks (Gettysburg, Antietam, Spotsylvania, etc…oh, and wonderful places to visit btw) host voluminous amounts of statues and monuments, so that we can learn about American history and teach our kids about how this country got to where it is and hopefully inspire them to meet the ideals that we always aspire to. Do we tear them down too?  Luckily, the history has already been made as Lincoln said:

“But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. ”

In short, we can do what we want but the the land won’t forget.  Like Edmund Burke once said “those who forget history are doomed to repeat it”

Sorry to be preachy.  It’s normally not the way I like to write but sometimes things need to be put back in the prism of history.

What I’ve written here is no reflection on anybody on this blog but me.  It’s just the way I think sometimes and I take full responsibility for it.

 

Jimmy

 

 

 

 

 

Mr. Mom

Here’s a recent quote from Chuck:

Diane “I’m exhausted from food shopping.”

Chuck “Hey, I’m tired too! I’ve been watching three kids, one of whom I didn’t even know was here.”

Chuck

By my standards that was a fine job. Responsibility and coverage for the kids in consideration for your significant other tops all responsibilities as we Moms and Dads grapple with the ongoing struggle of raising and dealing with kids, their ideals, their hopes and dreams, their tantrums, refusing to eat what’s cooked for dinner, bumming money of ya, bad grades, insolent attitudes and generally being a money siphon akin to laying every dollar you own on the floor with the understanding that a vacuum cleaner will soon come along and clean you out.

Say, that reminds of a story of my own: (We had a one-year old boy at the time. Mother’s Day, circa 2001)

Wife (early morning):   “Well”?

Me: “Well what”?

Wife: “Where’s my Mother’s Day gift?”

Me (sensing trouble): “I didn’t get u one”

Wife: “WHY NOT!!???

Me:  “You’re not my mother”.

I paid a king’s ransom for that response friends and in some ways so discreet (other ways more overt) that I still haven’t any cognizance of them 20 years later.

Marriage/kids: Think hard my readers.

Think hard.

Jimmy

 

It’s All in the Delivery

I was scanning thru my 5 zillion TV channels recently when I noticed two things:

A) How fast the delivery of spoken lines was back in the twenties and thirties.  It was either sped up in editing or they really did speak their lines that quickly.  Here’s a reasonable approximation of when ya put lines on paper compared to the on-screen effect…

Joe: Thismugdoesntwannacooperate!Louie:He’sokJoe,just ask the boys.Darla:Don’thurt himJoe,hedoesntknowwhathe’stalkin’about.Joe:He’sstillamugIsay!Somebody’sgottatakecareofthisguysee?Andi’mjusttheguytodoit!Yeahthat’sright!I’lltakecareofhimrealgoodItellya!Idon’tcarewhatanydamesays!

Justtypingthatmuch, er sorry…Just typing that much sent my normally cognizant and cooperative spellcheck feature out of it’s mind. Nextly and thusly I’d like to point yer attention to art of naming movies and their enthusiastic promos.  Maybe I could be good at that. There’s been a long running trend where movie (or even TV shows) have been kept to five words or less so as to keep them quickly remembered as well as fitting onto posters hanging to your local theatre walls geared towards generating the interest and fascination of you, the viewing public.

Sooner or later (in our lifetime or not) Hollywood’s gonna run out of words about how to name and promote their latest shows and features.  Think I’m wrong?  This effect is already occurring with such improbable names as  “Bikini Bloodbath Car Wash”  (Hey!! I think I saw that one!!),  “Mars Needs Women”, “Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny”, “Ilsa: Nazi She-Wolf of the SS” (definitely saw that one) and “On Golden Pond”.

Then again maybe I’m jumping the gun here.  Let’s see what movie titles I can drum up with word anagrams using only the actual words in the aforementioned film names (allowing for pluralizing when necessary):

“Ice Cream Nazis on Mars!”

“Santa Needs Women!”

“The She-Wolf and the Bunny Bloodbath!”

“The SS Bikini Carwash Pond!”

Ok, Ok, this is a clearly stupid and futile exercise but are my movie names really any worse than the ones I was drawing from? Then again, maybe I didn’t see some great film monikers in there that other, more farsighted readers can provide. Please send ’em to me in the comments section if ya think u got a good one.

Jimmy