Saturday, October 18, 2008

Like a solar eclipse

You had to be there. Otherwise, you'd never believe it.
Last night I ran short of cat food. Gotta have cat food. The poor guy depends on me, so off I waddled to the local grocery, which happens to be about a thousand feet from the container I call home.
I picked up a few cans of Fancy Feast, along with a few snacks for me - you didn't think I was going to leave empty handed, did you?
I found myself in aisle 3 - 15 items or less - which is pretty much where I am all the time.
As I was paying (cash - go figure) a woman rolled in behind me with a cart full of junk. Laura the cashier, took notice almost immediately.
LAURA: Ma'am, excuse me, how many items do you have?
MA'AM: [startled but composed and counting] Um ... three, five ... oh, am I in the express lane?
LAURA: Yes you are.
MA'AM: [politely] Oh, I'm sorry.
She rolled her cart over to one of the regular lanes.
Me, [startled but composed] joked with the cashier.
ME: You have to keep your eyes on these people all the time!
LAURA: [sternly] Yes. Yes, you do.
She handed me my change and I nodded in agreement.
Well, I thought, somebody empowered the cashier, and good for her. Laura even gave me my five cent CANVAS BAG REFUND. I've never been more in awe of a single cashier in my entire life.
I'm in love.
Is it possible to have a personal cashier at the grocery?
You just had to be there to see it.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Gosh darn it.

I love a good political cartoon. Tom Toles is about the best there is. I like the way he draws these two clowns. McCain looks like a pile of mashed potatoes and Palin looks like ... well ... Palin. That's the beauty of it.
I see she has admitted defeat and is about to appear on Saturday Night Live. When is that on?
The other night in North Carolina, Palin said that she likes visiting the "pro America" parts of the country. Gosh, Sarah - do ya think we're not pro America in America? Chalk that up to another of her dopey comments.
"Being here with all of you hardworking, very patriotic, um, very, um, pro-America areas of this great nation. This is where we find the kindness and the goodness and the courage of everyday Americans," the Republican vice presidential candidate said.
Meanwhile, old Joe the Plumber (boy, are they sorry they brought that up) owes back taxes and makes less than $250,000 a year; so he would get a tax cut under Obama's plan.
Wurzelbacher owes the state of Ohio $1,182.98 in personal income tax, according to Lucas County Court of Common Pleas records. The Ohio Department of Taxation filed a claim on his property until he pays the debt, according to the records. The lien remains active.
NEW YORK – Anyone can do Sarah Palin's voice, says comedian Tina Fey, who has done a pretty good job of it herself. "Not since 'Sling Blade' has there been a voice that anybody can do," Fey said. "Anybody can take a swing at this voice."
Appearing on CBS' "Late Show with David Letterman" scheduled to air Friday, Fey shared her formula for having spoofed the Alaska governor in recent "Saturday Night Live" sketches.
"It's a little bit `Fargo,' it's a little bit Reese Witherspoon in `Election,'" said Fey, adding she also borrowed the Midwestern accent of her friend Paula's grandma, "a sweet, sweet old lady from Joliet, Illinois. She would always say, `Ohhhh, this and that and stuff like that!'
Oh, you betcha.
She explained to Letterman other ways she captures Palin's distinctive speaking style: dropping g's and loading sentences with r's."
"She's digging those r's," Fey said. "I think she thinks there's oil in those r's - she is digging deep!"

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Sweet Life

La Dolce Vita. Yeah, right. For some of us it means naked mannequins. I find it interesting that their feet appear to be cloven. They took all the trouble to give them nipples but omitted toes. That says something about society. I’m not sure what it says, but it says something.
Thanks to Christina for the photo.
As it turns out, I share a birthday today with Manute Bol, Tim Robbins, Nico and Bob Weir, among others … and a big shout-out to King James II of Scotland, who would be 578 years old today if he were alive today, which I realize is highly unlikely.
Today is the day I found out why those web sites wanted my birth date. I’m getting e-mail from all of them, wishing me a happy birthday and letting me know that I can save 20% if I shop there on my birthday. Well, that isn’t much of a gift, is it? Happy birthday. Buy something from us.
That’s one of those marketing gimmicks. “Buy two and save.” Buy two and spend is more like it.
Some folks around here are living la dolce vita because the baseball team is headed to its first World Series in 15 years. Sports is a strange thing. Twenty-five strangers won a game and the place went nuts. One fan was quoted in the Inquirer today saying, “It’s the happiest day of my life.” Really. His whole life. A team of millionaires won some baseball games and this guy couldn’t possibly be happier. Technically, they haven’t won anything, so I wonder how the guy is going to feel if they win the Series? He has so much more living to do.
Two seconds after the last out was recorded, thousands of fans took to the streets, hollering and running around like they had just won the lottery. I love baseball, but I've never been worked up enough to run into the street screaming like a maniac. You have to figure that the owners and TV networks look at that stuff and think, 'Man, we have these people by the balls.' I suppose that’s why they can charge us $150 for a ticket to the Series.
The tickets we have to game 4 are going for $1,400 each on StubHub. Each. If it was totally up to me, they would be sitting on the web site waiting for a $2,800 bid right now. If some schmuck wants to pay almost 3-grand to watch a baseball game, I'll be happy to take advantage of his good nature.
$2,800 buys a lot of groceries. Or a thousand gallons of gasoline.
Or what the average major league baseball player earns in about 2 hours.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

World Series baby.

Cole Hamels earned his place among the pantheon of great Phillies pitchers tonight by pitching the Phils into the World Series against the beloved (by television) Dodgers.
Yours truly (me) has a ticket for game 4 on Sunday, October 26. Until then, the Phillies are National League Champions. Anything else takes second place.
We take our sports seriously around here. Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Another made-up holiday.

That's right. It's Boss's Day. Although I think the correct punctuation is Boss' Day, (or at least Bosses Day) but let's not quibble; let's celebrate!
One of society's little glitches is that people who are famous or popular generally don't have to pay for much.
They get comped at casinos, free meals when they dine out and gifts from fans who think they can give them something they couldn't buy for themselves if they really wanted it.
That's why I'm amazed whenever I see someone picking up a dinner check for a person whose salary has more zeroes than this season's Dancing With the Stars. Let them buy their own crap.
So, in order to honor that little conundrum, some sick bastard dreamed up Boss' Day. It's October 16, so I've left you at least 24 hours to go out and buy your poor put-upon boss something nice.
Here's the history, just so you know:
Patricia Bays Haroski registered "National Boss' Day" with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in 1958. She was working as a secretary for State Farm Insurance Company in Deerfield, Illinois at the time and chose October 16th because it was the birthday of her boss, who happened to be her father.
That's right, sports fans. Her father. Thanks Patricia, you flaming jackass. Now, several thousand guilt-ridden employees who generally would lend a hand to push their boss off a tall building must go out and spend their own money on a gift to someone who provides the money they just spent. My head hurts.
Here's my suggestion: Do what most bosses do. Ignore it. It will go away. Or better yet, call in sick for a couple of days and let your boss do some work. Take a nice 4-day weekend. Then, send your boss a postcard from a little bed and breakfast nearby with the inscription: The scenery is here, wish you were beautiful.
Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke.

Congratulations on discovering my blog.

Monday was a holiday of sorts around here. It's called Columbus Day and they tell us it is to commemorate Christopher Columbus' "discovering" America. I was always confused over how a guy could have discovered something that was already inhabited by people. I'm used to being told to "shut up and listen." Of course, that's about as factual as Santa Claus, and you don't see us having a holiday for ... oh. Sorry. Next.
I was home earlier than usual, and when I'm home and flip on the local evening news I am amazed at the traffic reports. Why? Because I find it absurd that they report traffic on television news. They tell us to stay away from certain roads because they are jammed. Are drivers watching TV? I suppose the whole thing is concocted so that home viewers can watch and call their special someones with traffic updates while they're driving around, but that can't be right because we have laws against using the cell phone ... oh. Sorry. Next.
Penny Marshall had Pat Sajak's seats at last night's Phillies/Dodgers game. Why the long face?
SUNDAY, Oct. 12 (HealthDay News) -- New genetic links to male pattern baldness have been discovered by researchers in England and Germany. But whether something can be done to prevent hair loss in people with the gene variants is another story. One of the new studies was financed, in part, by Glaxo SmithKline, a pharmaceutical company that might seek commercial benefit from its support. And one small company already markets a $149 genetic screening test for male pattern baldness.
Really, why is there such concern over baldness? It's only some hair falling out. Honestly, if they told me I could take a pill and grow my hair back, I'm not sure I'd do it.
What I would like them to work on is a pill that could stop hair from growing. You'd think, with all the science and technology that exists over male urinary problems and getting boners, there would be a pill around that we could take once our hair got to a point that we liked.
Women could shave their legs (or some other parts) and be done with it. Guys could get a haircut or shave their heads (or some other parts) and be done with it. Think about how much easier life would be if we weren't fussing with our hair constantly. Work on that, Glaxo.
Wouldn't it be nice? When you were tired of your hair style you could stop taking the pill and it would start growing again. I bet that some scientist somewhere is working on that right now.
We'd have a lot more time to run to the bathroom to pee or use all those 4-hour boners they're giving us. Nice trade, I say.
You betcha.

Monday, October 13, 2008

I hate L.A.

I hate the Dodgers. Their fraud fans that come late and leave early. Their stupid name that has nothing to do with Los Angeles - the Brooklyn trolley dodgers. It's about as relevant as the Utah Jazz. And the Hollywood nonsense. How does Pat Sajak get a seat next to the Dodger dugout? Did you see him? Sure you did. He was on the screen a thousand times. He should be in right field with Vanna White, turning the numbers on the scoreboard. And Mary Hart behind home plate ... don't get me started.
The Dodgers clobbered the Phillies tonight 7 to 2 in what was part baseball game and part Hollywood spectacular. Awards shows don't have as many celebrities as these games. Between that and the shameless Fox promos for their lame TV shows it's amazing that they managed to work in a baseball game.
The Fox coverage is so biased toward LA it's disgusting. They got Danny DeVito to give out the Phillies lineup before the game. Why? Because he is in a Fox show called It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Product placement. He isn't from Philadelphia, and said during the spot that he isn't a fan, then went on to mock some of the players. Even the play-out music at the end of the inning is a Hollywood film - "Rocky" - which, by the way, I am sick of hearing. It's what, a hundred years ago? Can't they find a song about Philadelphia that has nothing to do with a film made in Hollywood?

"The Fonz is here. Jon Lovitz. They're mixed in all over the place," says Joe Buck, calling out the names. The Fonz? What year is this, Joe? "Tiger Woods is here." Big fucking deal. I'm surprised they didn't show him hobbling up to his luxury box. We also were privileged to see Ryan Seacrest picking at his Blackberry - with the Blackberry logo at the bottom of the screen. I'm impressed. They probably didn't pay for their tickets either.

So OK, the Dodgers won a game. Let the baby have his bottle. I like to go to the games so I don't have to listen to the dribble on the TV. I wonder what Fox is going to do on Sunday now that they've exhausted most of their options? Let's start by getting Sajak another seat.

Two more to go before we are snapped back to the land of reality - Philadelphia.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Life's hard lessons

I did some heavy duty bike commuting today. 26 miles in and around Gloucester County, which probably qualifies me for some sort of battle commendation.
After a few stops, I quietly wondered to myself how I had managed to go 15 miles without a major confrontation with one of New Jersey's courteous drivers. No sooner did I wonder than it happened.
While crossing an overpass on a 4-lane highway, a blowhole in a white pick-up truck passed me in close proximity and laid on his horn while doing so. This not only irritated me, but confirmed my feelings about goons in big trucks. As though it isn't hard enough riding a bicycle up a hill in traffic, I need this wanker blowing his horn at me.
Usually, such actions offer no repercussions, since the driver is usually much faster than I. As fortune would have it, he had to obey a red light at an intersection less than 200 feet from the overpass, giving me the time to catch him and hatch my plot.
Seeing that the passenger window was open and that he was turning left and I was going right, I took the opportunity to call up Mister Potty Mouth, and soon found myself within mouth-shot of his vehicle.
"Screw you, asshole!" was the first and most appropriate thing I could think of to say. I could have debated his actions or used the opportunity to teach him common courtesy, but my experience tells me that such actions are neither appreciated nor understood. So, when in doubt, cuss it out. Good advice for the kids.
What I saw as I yelled my epithet was that his vehicle was occupied by not only the asshole in question, but a young woman and younger child.
Well, I suppose the kid had to learn sooner or later that his (or her) (probably) illegitimate father was indeed an asshole.
Learning is hard.