Thursday, December 09, 2010

Wishful Thinking

Holiday time is a season of wishes both given and received. In the spirit of wishing here’s a list of wishes both offered and requested:

1) For the cyclists riding up and down Mass. Ave- a copy of the rules of the road. You want me to “share the road”? Fine, follow the same rules as those of us in cars. I’d also love to share a ride with them in their cars and see if they are nearly as tolerant of cyclists and pedestrians as they want me to be to them

2) For the jack-wagons outside my home cranking tunes at 3:00 AM- Their address in the suburbs so I can return the favor. Just because you’re on a busy, city street doesn’t mean people don’t live there

3) To the management/employees at movie theaters- a sense of pride in what you do. It’s bad enough I have pay over $20 for a ticket, popcorn, and a drink but for the love of god can you please take care of the only important thing you have to do, namely getting the sound and picture of the MOVIE correct. Next time I have to get up and say “hey, there is no sound” I’m going to scream

4) To fellow shoppers at the supermarket/department store/mall- 30 minutes of no cell phone use. That way we can all get done what we need to get done and get on with the rest of our day

5) To the brewers of the fine ale Smithwicks (my 2nd favorite beer)- An adhesive that actually secures the labels to your bottles. I’m tired of having to disappoint my nephew explaining why the bottle return won’t work without the UPC code on the label that is likely somewhere on the bottom of my fridge

6) To all the people making mention of how cold it is- A reality check! It’s technically not even winter yet and it’s pretty much going to be cold from here on in

7) For pedestrians in Davis Square- An explanation of “Don’t Walk”. Sure, I jaywalk all the time. However IF you are going to walk when it says don’t walk and I’m trying to take a right at least have the decency to pay attention to what the hell you're doing

8) To big retail- A ban on Christmas decorations and/or Christmas music until at least November 15th

9) To the P.C. police- Merry Christmas, Christmas tree, Christmas party, Christmas presents. It’s only words people and it’s the meaning that needs to be embraced!

10) To my dad- Another year. And another after that...and after that.

If number 10 is the only wish that comes true, I’ll be as happy as a pig in slop! Merry Christmas (and Happy Hanukkah) Friends

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Just Sayin'

Stream of consciousness from the mind of a guy with too much time on his hands

1) I'd like to hug the person who invented yoga pants and decided they could be worn as regular everyday wear. On the other hand I'd like to slap this same person as some things are better left to the imagination

2) Of all the low, dirty, backbiting things are are in the world political elections are dirtiest. Politicians and their supporters should be ashamed of themselves. No longer is it about where they stand on issues but smear campaigns and personal attacks. And people wonder why I find the whole thing disgusting

3)The Miller Lite commercials with the female bartenders making fun of guys for not choosing Miller Lite (change your skirt, put down your pocketbook etc) have clearly run their course

4) Guys who think other guys cooking (and no, not manning the grill during the summer but indoor cooking) makes them less of a man are incredibly ignorant, narrow minded, and probably hung like a field mouse

5) It's not TV, it's HBO has never been truer. While I dreaded the end of the Sopranos I can't get enough of Boardwalk Empire, East Bound and Down, Bored To Death, True Blood, and Curb Your Enthusiasm. Every Sunday I am reminded why I pay for this great cable channel

6) Travel while you can as we have a great, big, beautiful country out there waiting to be seen. Don't let opportunity pass you by.

7) You know you're a true Bostonian when you get equally pissed at pedestrians when you're driving as you do at drivers when you're a pedestrian. Don't get me started on cyclists

8) I don't get why some people say they "hate" watching professional (or college) sports. They have it all; action, excitement, drama, emotion, laughs, tears and more. You don't have to be a fanatic (I know, I know, fan is short for fanatic but bite me) to enjoy sports the same way you would a great tv show, movie, or concert

9) One of the great things about New England is the changing of colors from summer to fall. Having said that the idea of leaf peeping for the sake of it is nuts. I mean, to see all the awesome colors of autumn on your way to hiking, camping, apple picking etc is one thing but just driving around going "ooooh" and "ahhhh"....

10) I'm tired of hearing the expressions "farm to table" and "fresh, local, sustainable ingredients". Don't ge me wrong, I'm all for this but until this whole economy turns around those words all translate to "very expensive". I love supporting local producers but at 4 times the price of supermarkets it's hard to justify

11) I love social media and all it involves. I love Facebook and You Tube and the like. What I wanna know is do any regular people really use Twitter much? Tweeting seems geared solely towards celebrities, media outlets, and businesses and out of the reach of regular citizens (well unless your under the age of 30)

12) The whole 3D movie thing has already run it's course with me. I say, sure, go ahead, keep making them but do NOT insult me by making me buy another piece of shit 3D glasses every time I want to see a movie. Really Hollywood? Really?

13) Shows you really should check out- Drinking Made Easy, East Bound and Down, The Event, The Best Thing I Ever Ate, Food Jammers, Covert Affairs, Blue Mountain State, and the previously mentioned Boardwalk Empire

14) No matter how much he plays or how long he's here, Shaq is going to be a breath of fresh air on the Boston sports scene

15) There are commercials for video games which are, seriously, better then many of the shows they are shown during. I'd guess the commercials are also better then the games themselves in many cases

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

With Friends Like These...

Back from a well deserved and desperately needed vacation so I figured I'd get back into things slowly with a fairly positive blog. Don't worry I've got plenty of pent up frustration you'll be able to share with me real soon

I've written time and again about friends and friendship as it is a very important subject to me (and should be to everyone). I think for those of us who fall into the ever expanding category of single, never married, no kids, friends are a far bigger part of your life then it is to those who are married and/or have kids. Outside of family (which can and hopefully are also friends) friends are the most important thing in your life. Old friends, new friends, red friends, blue friends...sorry, Seussian slip friends, etc. Simply put without friends life is pretty incomplete. Now, I've gotten down on myself and on my friends a lot in recent years for often petty reasons but every single time, when the chips are down or when I need them most I realize I have the best friends in the world. I'm going to list a few recent examples of what great friends I (and my family have).

1) My dad has been sick for a while now but recently things were starting to look bad. He was losing the psychological end of the fight as much as the physical battle. Well a funny thing happened. As much as he said he didn't want to see anyone, friends showed up in bunches. His friends, my mother's friends, mine and my sisters friends, enough people to keep him from getting down and feeling sorry for himself. Mostly it was his best friend who, whether he is home or in the hospital, spends 4-5 hours every Wednesday with him. Sometimes they watch TV, sometimes they talk and sometimes they both just sit there but regardless, he is always there. Add to that the huge outpouring of well-wishes from friends of myself and my sisters it has been an amazing thing to behold. And you know what else? His situation has improved dramatically. Coincidence? Maybe. But coincidence or not you can't deny the power of friendship

2) I know some will find this hard to believe and it likely doesn't apply to everyone, but vacations for the single and unattached can be tricky. Usually you can only take vacations with those in a similar situation (tho not always). For this reason I waited even longer then usual to plan out my vacation time and was getting really worn to a frazzle with work and life. Well, 2 friends (one a relative as well as a friend) stepped up huge and I ended up spending time in 2 places I hadn't been to in years (decades in one case) and had the time of my life. Seriously. It was the cure for what ailed me at this point in my life. Both trips were at the same time busy, funny, and relaxing and were just about perfect from my standpoint. Oh, and the one constant I have to still look forward to is my guy trip we take every fall which is usually 3 days of non-stop laughter with 3 of the best friends a guy could ask for. I feel lucky to have friends I can still get away with and feel 100% comfortable and not like a 3rd, 5th, or 7th wheel with. The final result was a far more relaxed, far less stressed Rich O which is a good thing

3) My final example would be A Night Out With Rich O (ANOWRO). What is ANOWRO you ask? Well, it was a crazy idea that worked out to be something special (at least in my opinion). Here's the basic genesis of it; With the onset of social network popularity amongst those of us in in 40's as opposed to those in high school or college I've started catching up with people I frankly lost touch with. It happens. What happens next is you try and get together with groups which usually has a limited degree of success for multiple reasons most of which involve synchronizing schedules. So I asked myself, Self, when was the last time a plan of this magnitude came together? The answer-my 40th birthday party and my high school reunion. Both were well organized and planned and people knew about them months in advance. The results were people were able to mark it on their calendar and arrange for baby sitters etc. Hmmm, if only there was a big event to plan around. Then it struck me! Let's make up an event! So, the first thought was Richapalooza and to get a small function room. OK, that was wicked self-indulgent even for me and the concept of a room or hall sounded too much like throwing a party for myself. Then it came to me like a bolt of lightning- I'll just tell everyone where I'd be and what time I'd be there. Come if you want, don't if you don't and called it A Night Out With Rich O! The event was promoted through Facebook and Evite about 3 months ahead of time. Well, the long and short of it is people showed up. Lot's of them. There were a few unexpected obstacles but to a person everyone who showed up told me they had fun. It ranged from friends from grade school to high school, college to current, friends I've known for decades to ones I've known for months. We laughed and smiled and caught up and drank. My face hurt from smiling so much (or maybe I did a face plant on the walk home). To me it was better then my reunion or 40th birthday as it really was all about MY friends and getting them all together in one place at the same time. I don't know if I can ever capture lightning in a bottle like that again but I'm willing to try

Many influences make us who we are as people. Family, environment, relationships, school, work, and friends. Of all these friends may be the most important as you choose who you are fiends with or who you remain friends with while many other influences you are born into or are thrust upon you. The people we surround ourselves with make up the very fabric of our lives. Every one of my friends, from the ones I see weekly to the ones I hardly see but I know are there when I need them, are a big part of my life and hope they always will be. I think the great American playwright Tennessee Williams put it best

“Life is partly what we make it, and partly what it is made by the friends we choose.”

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Captains Courageous or How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love Shared Leadership

I used to have a t-shirt with the expression "politically incorrect and damned proud of it". I usually got some kind of comment on it whenever I wore it. Truth be told I'm not politically incorrect and am in fact sensitive to people's feelings, ethnicity, religion, social standing etc. I am however not overly politically correct and have NO tolerance for the the PC police are doing to society. This will have to be one of those multi-part, sporadic blogs as the issue is so wide reaching. The thing that has spark my ire today is parents and kids sports. No, I'm not talking about the over aggressive parent who lives through his kids sporting career. Nope, that's a blog for another day. I'm talking about the parents who believe coaches should walk around on egg shells in dealing with their kids as it may damage their self esteem. Me, I'm not buying it

There was a story of a local high school this week where they have eschewed the concept of team captains chosen by their peers to "shared leadership". Look, we all know, by and large, in high school sports the captain concept is bullshit and who cares. But the deeper point is that, according to the most experienced coach involved, the athletic director was besieged with angry parents after captains were announced at the end of the year banquet screaming about why their kid wasn't picked as a captain. As she felt she was swimming upstream in a losing battle she simply gave in and and decided everyone is a captain. It's so typical. I wish this was an isolated incident but it's not

Sports for children is what it's always been, a microcosm of real life. On the positive side it teaches teamwork, problem solving, and achieving goals as well as getting healthy exercise.On the negative side they can face favoritism, low self-esteem, and grave disappointment. In other words the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. Sounds an awful lot like...real life. But see, for some people this isn't good enough. The live with an everyone is a winner philosophy. We can't mess with our youngster's delicate psyches. We need to pump up their self esteem. So let's stop keeping score! Let's not have a winner or loser and every game is an exhibition game! Everyone plays the same amount of time no matter the talent or ability! Captain? We don't need no stinkin' captain! Everyone's a captain!! Can you see what I'm saying (mixed metaphor??)?

So you don't do sports. Fine. Your kid has a part time job and he works twice as hard as the other kids doing the same job. Should his boss treat them all equally? "I'd like to pay you more but I don't want to reward you and make your co-workers think they suck at life". Or how about in school. Let's eliminate class valedictorian, honor roll, class officers, give every kid a scholarship to whatever school they want and all but eliminate any form of grading that might bruise someone's ego. Gotta treat everyone the same! What's that? Most of this, other then the scholarship thing, is already happening to a degree? Ugh...

Bottom line. Sports can be fun and they can suck. Like life. Some people will excel better then others. Like life. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes the game will get called for rain. Like life. Honestly where do these people come from? Every day of your life is a competition. You fight your whole life for betterment. There is no way to make a better life for yourself and your family without stepping on a few toes along the way. I'm sorry but it is not an even Steven world. Someone is always winning and some always losing. There will always be leaders and followers. Nothing is given to you in life and you have to fight, struggle and claw your way through it. Like sports. Sometimes someone less worthy get's ahead for the wrong reasons. Like sports. And often you need to endure the agony of defeat to savor the sweet thrill of victory. like sports

So, let's go people. If your kid's want to play sports, let them play and stay the hell out of it. If they don't want to play, that's fine too. But get away from this namby pamby everyone wins, we're all equals, don't keep score, my kid deserves better bullshit. Let them experience all this for themselves as believe me you crying to the dean of students or the CEO of their company about being "fair" just won't cut it

Thursday, August 26, 2010

R E S P E C T??

As if life wasn't confusing and complex enough we're constantly barraged with unwritten rules that we are expected to know. Some of these are societal rules, some are familial rules, and some are just plain made up rules. So, how is a person supposed to figure out Well, it's not easy. I'm going to examine a few of these rules in upcoming blogs and see if we can't make sense of some of them

One of the first rules I can remember my parent's instilling in me was "respect your elders". On the surface this seems like a simple rule and easy enough to follow. Be polite and deferential to old people. Done. However, on closer examination, who are "my" elders? I mean, are they elderly folks I'm related to? Every elderly person in my circle of life? And does it have to be someone elderly? Is someone 1 year older then me my elder? What if I know for a fact a certain person older then me was scum of the I respect them? How about the concept of respect is earned, not given. I think the concept has been twisted and generalized as time as passed and we've lumped it all together as all older people are "our elders". Me, I'm not buying it (even if I do pretty much live by this rule)

I believe the expression started when "your elders" were actually YOUR elders. In many earlier societies the family unit didn't stray far and the family (or village, or tribe, or clan...) elders were revered for their experience and knowledge and often sought after for advice. Often times a major move wouldn't be made without first checking with the elders. In some society these elders are stilled revered for who they were as much as who they are. Today our family elders, while in many cases still rife with experience and knowledge, seem to have taken more of a symbolic role of the kindly grandparent a kid can go to get to yes when your parent says no (ok, a sweeping generalization). I think for most of us the elder as the oldest, wisest, most powerful member of our clan is from a time long past.

My question is this; Am I obligated to respect every person walking God's green Earth that's older then me? Does this include murderers, rapists, pedophiles, muggers, buggerers (sorry, slipped into Blazing Saddles mode) and the like? How about someone who's just plain miserable and mean spirited? If that's the case then I'm breaking this rule pretty much every day. Someone I spoke to about this likely put it best. I will give someone, despite their age, the benefit of the doubt in the respect department...until such a time as they lose my respect. From there on, again, despite their age, they will have to earn back my respect (and that's not an easy thing to do)

OK, so, I get it! I understand and live by the standards of this unwritten rule and am definitely poking fun at it's wide sweeping generality. Generally speaking we should be nice and polite to older folks. We should have a little thicker skin for their blunt, unedited opinions of us. We should bend over backward to be kind to them because, God willing, we will be them someday. Having said that, I don't care if you're 8 or 80 if you not only don't deserve my respect but have spurned my wrath, you best watch your ass pal!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Popular Myth-conceptions

Being in the condition my condition is in, single, no kids, no significant other, I often hear other people telling me how great or lousy things must be based on how they see my life. I gotta tell you, most of these myths are untrue or at least untrue in my particular circumstance. For those that don't know I'm in my mid-40's, single, never married, no kids. I won't say I chose this life as much as it chose me and at this point in time I'm content with it. But, I hear a lot of people making assumptions about my life that just couldn't be further from the truth. In my example you also have to make the assumption you live alone in either a place you own or rent and are gainfully employed. Let's examine a couple of them

Myth #1- You must go out every night- False. I think even in my heyday of my mid-20's about 3 nights a week was all we could manage. I did give the 3 or 4 nights a week thing a go when I first moved to Cambridge but it didn't (it couldn't) last. The simple truth is most people who have to get up and go to work every day simply can't go out every night. More so, if you are relying on a single income to pay all your bills the idea of spending $200 plus a week on booze just isn't feasible (but it is fun). Realistically I got out 2 nights a week, 3 on a rare occasion, and sometimes, on a weekend night, I even stay in (oh the shame)!!! While I admit at times my life feels like a never ending party, it really isn't even close to one

Myth #2- With all the divorced women out there it must be like shooting fish in a barrel- False. I've yet to find this particular barrel or these particular fish. If this kind of place exists outside movies and TV I either haven't found it or I'm just a lousy fisherman (and shooter). Maybe, just maybe, I find the whole idea of people referring to formerly married women in such a condescending way ignorant. Or maybe I'm just hideously unattractive.

Myth #3- You must live off leftovers, frozen food and takeout- False. I made a pledge about 5 years ago to learn to cook and have made good on it. While a lot of what I make may not be "healthy" in the true sense of the word, it's better then prepared food as I know everything that goes in it. I make dinner at least twice a week (usually recycling each meal at least once), lunch 4 times a week, and breakfast 3 times a week. I've learned to bake a little bit and have even learned such odd crafts as making my own sauces, mayo, and even pickles. I do still balance this off with eating out a few times a week but my microwave is primarily used to reheat my own food, not something from the frozen food aisle.

Myth #4- Wow, it must be great doing what you want, when you want, with who you want to do it with- TRUE...and False. I'm not going to lie, I love the freedom and control I have over my life. I really do. To not have it at this point would be as foreign to me as life on Mars. A great example would be Sundays. I wake up whenever I wake up, make some elaborate breakfast, then see where the day takes me. Maybe I'll stay in all day watching football. Maybe I'll get to a project I've been putting off. Maybe I'll spend all day making tomato sauce and homemade pasta. Or, maybe I'll do none of the above. And guess what? I only have myself to answer to. Living alone reminds me of what one of my Canadian relatives once told me about getting things done on Prince Edward Island; "If it doesn't get done today, it will get done tomorrow. If it doesn't get done tomorrow, it might not get done at all". Yea, it's kind of like that. BUT, as Erma Bombeck put it, sometimes the grass is always greener over the septic tank. Summers and vacations in general are tough if you're not part of "something". Hearing about everyone going "here with the kids" or "here with my wife/girlfriend" can really get tiresome and make you feel crappy. Going out in groups and being the 5th, 7th, or 9th wheel can be uncomfortably humbling. And, hell, sometimes you'd trade in all the freedom in the world just to have a special someone there by your side when you really need it. Then again, sometimes you wouldn't

I'm happy with my life and I hope you are with yours. It's hard to comment on someones life until you've walked a mile in their shoes. So while there are certain preconceived notions you have about someone, in most cases the truth isn't nearly as interesting. And for every part of someones life you may be envious of remember, they may be just as envious of yours.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Talk talk talk talk all you ever do is talk talk

I want to clear the air on something right off the bat; I am not a cellphone hater. Yea, I know that it seems everything I write has some axe to grind over cellphone use but I honestly don't hate cellphones. In fact, I love my cellphone. What I hate is phones and phone calls in general. I hated talking on the phone when I was a kid and hate it just as much today. Don't get me wrong, I love to talk. I talk a lot and I talk loudly...just not on the phone. You wanna go for a beer or a cup of coffee I'll talk to you until I'm blue in the face. Just not on the phone. Which leads me to my cellphone issues. People have taken what may be one of the great social inventions of the past 30 years and twisted it into this sick, twisted little device which gives it's user the power of super ignorance. People have taken the phone call, once relegated to home use, public and have no compunction about talking about the most personal and intimate things in front of other people. They just talk and talk and talk. It's like a disease or addiction. They just can't stop talking. It's mystifying. I can't do it. I honestly don't have that much important to say. There is a commercial for some cell carrier or another where the dude starts talking to his friend in NYC and ends up in rural Canada of some such bullshit. It's really not that far from the truth as some people could be on their cells while World War III was happening around them and never even take a breath. Now if you're under 30 you probably don't know any better as you've likely grown up with a cell pressed to your air. For the rest of us, we should know better. Tell the truth, when it was all pay phones and you had to pay for every call did you talk on the phone even 1% as much as you do now? No, didn't think so. Whew, that was a long opening paragraph. I know, let's do a list!!! Here's my Top 5 Things About Cellphone Use That Chap My Ass!!

1) The Check-In Call- Ugh. This is the most annoying use of phone calls. The periodic check-in with the spouse/significant other/sibling/parent etc for no real purpose at all. "Hey, just checking in. Everything ok? Good, I'll check in later". What the hell? I mean, what the hell? Is there a real reason for this call? More then anything I hate pointless calls. Calls for the sake of calling as opposed to calling for a purpose. It makes no sense to me to talk just because this is the designated time to talk. And DO NOT give me the "you haven't got wife/kids/pet turtle" argument. My dad had a wife and 6 kids and if he called once a day while he was at work that would be considered a lot. Just...please...STOP

2) The Trapped Call- Is there anything worse then being stuck somewhere and having to listen to someone phone call with no way to escape it? You're on the bus or train and someone is just droning on and on about the upcoming proposal. You're in the checkout line and the woman in front of you has been yakking non-stop the entire time to her sister about the results of her Pap Smear or some other really personal stuff. Or the meathead at the gym on the bike next to you talking so loudly on his phone to his meathead buddy about how wasted they got last night that you can't escape it even with your Ipod volume maxed. Do people have no concept of privacy anymore? Or, even more so, concept of courtesy to others? I mean surely you must realize WE DON'T WANT TO HEAR YOUR PHONE CALLS!!

3) Giving You The Finger Call- No, not THAT finger but it may as well be. I'm talking the pointer finger thrown up at you in a "just a minute" signal. Every time someone does that I want to break that finger off and stick it where the sun don't shine! So, you're saying "well, you're probably interrupting their call" which is true, I am! I'm interrupting their call because they are supposed to be working/helping me/doing something else other then making personal calls. I honestly find the "just a minute" finger" more offensive then the "f*#k you" finger as the "f*#k you" finger can be justified and out of legit anger whereas the "just a minute" finger is just plain ignorant

4) The You're Just Not That Important Call- This may actually be more ignorant then the finger. You're in a conversation with someone and their phone rings and (if you're lucky) they announce they have to take this call (other times they just take it while you're mid-sentence) reducing your importance status to lower then whale poop. Now, are there times that someone will need to take an important call rather then finishing their business with you? Absolutely. But there is simply no way every phone call someone gets is a "I gotta take this" call. My theory? It's some combination of the person on the phone represents the out of the ordinary versus the live person representing the ordinary and, at the back of their minds, people still feel that little tinge of status enhancement taking an "important" call

5) The Wish You Were Here Call- Similar but slightly different then the You're not that important call. You know that guy (or girl. For the sake of simplicity I will use the term "guy" to represent a person)that whenever you go out as a group, or are having lunch with, or invites you to his house then proceeds to take or make call after call after call to other people? People who may have had the option to be there but opted not to be there! I find the practice of talking on your phone while out with friends, family, coworkers, etc to be one of the highest forms of rudeness. We all know that guy that keeps getting up and walking away to take a call sometimes not even excusing themselves. Again, I go back and say before you had a cell phone with some kind of "minutes" plan did you constantly run out to the pay phone every 5 minutes to make random calls? Used brainwaves? Smoke signals? No, I think not you simply went out, enjoyed the company you were with and saved all phone calls for when you got home (and were alone) or at the office. The ultimate sign of the time; 4 people sitting at a table at a bar all on their phones talking to other people. Just freaking perfect!

It will never stop and will only get worse. We (as a society, not me and you) talk while driving, talk while biking, talk on the toilet, talk in the movie theater, talk while crossing busy streets, talk on the bus, talk on the subway, talk while running, talk while hiking, talk at the gym, talk at the salon, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk. Oh, and we have excuses for all the talk. It's a 24 hour work day. Bullshit! I need to keep in touch with my (kids/parents/siblings/spouse). Bullshit! It brings people closer keeping in touch on the phone. Bullshit! We simply love to hear the sound of our own voices and have eschewed common courtesy, quiet, private time, and enjoying our surroundings for the constant droning that is us talking and talking and talking and talking on our phones. Do me a favor people. Please, for the love of all that is scared, PLEASE, GET OFF YOUR PHONE!!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Perfectly ordinary, ordinarily perfect

Back in the 80's there was a horrible movie called Perfect. There is nothing memorable about this movie except the one line they played over and over and over in the trailer and commercials. It was Jamie Lee Curtis (at the height of her popularity) pouting to John Travolta (at the nadir of his popularity) "What's wrong with wanting to be perfect"? Now while this movie sucked beyond all comprehension of suckiness, 25 years later that line still resonates. What is wrong with wanting to be perfect? Well, besides everything? Seriously, we've lost our damned minds as a society in striving for physical perfection. And why? First, by it's definition, it's impossible to achieve perfection. Secondly, who decided what physical perfection is? The answer to the latter is Hollywood/New York/popular culture and the like. The image of physical perfection has been set so unrealistically high it's amazing people even bother trying to emulate it. But we try, o lord do we try. Waxing and dyeing, reductions and augmentations, rhinoplasty to dental veneers. The lengths we'll go to and money we'll spend seemingly has no limitations

The biggest question I always have is who decided what the form of physical perfection is? I'm thinking it goes all the way back to the sculptors and painters of ancient Greece and Rome as most of the surviving art seems to feature males and females in the current concept of physical perfection. The washboard abs, chiseled features, 2% body fat. We never had a chance. What if those original artisans models had been flat chest women with buck teeth and uni-brows and men with beer bellies, big ears and lacking in certain physical endowments? My guess is we'd have a nation of people getting braces to cause buck teeth, eye brow implants, breast reductions, etc etc etc. Those closest to what is currently physical perfection would be the ones on the outside looking in

Here's the thing though; why can't we just be happy with how we look...within reason. I'm not condoning living an unhealthy lifestyle but otherwise why do we have to try and look a certain way? Why when we're younger do we have to look a certain way to either fit in with or accelerate past our peers? And why as we get older do we have to try and look younger. I mean, who are we trying to kid. The wrapping on the package can look all new and fancy but the present inside is still going to be old. Why can't we just say "this is me, take me as I am"?? Because we can't. We're human and we've been conditioned for 1,000's of years for how we're supposed to look and quite honestly it ain't changing any time soon. They say badly dyed hair and horrible wigs and weaves look better then the natural loss of color or of hair itself. We're told that tanned skin, bordering on orange at times, looks better than pale skin (once revered as "alabaster skin") despite the fact that all that tanning leaves you with skin the look and consistency of a wet paper bag in you golden years. They tell us this, they tell us that, they tell us what they want us to believe. And we buy what they're selling ho, line, and sinker!

I'd like to think some day we'll be able to judge each other by what's on the inside instead of the outside...hahahaha. Sorry, that was pretty funny. As humans we simply can't get past the fact that our first impression is always based on how someone looks and it's never going to change. So, until we get past that we'll just keep on waxing and tweezing, tanning and dyeing, dieting and sculpting.....

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Retro Rant

So I was going through My Documents on my old laptop (from my pre-Macbook days) and came across this blog I started writing a couple of years ago. As I read it I realized a lot of what I was ranting about then was actually the seeds of many of the rants I've had in the ensuing years. Some of the stuff is dated (GTA 3, Myspace, etc) but I didn't edit it other then a few grammatical issues. It ends suddenly and doesn't go on and on like most of my rants so enjoy a brief, dated, kind of familiar but not, retro Rich O rant!

I was driving the other day and randomly the song Eye of the Tiger by Survivor came on the radio. It made me sad because I remember that song and that movie (Rocky III) and remembered those as some of the last simple years of my life. Something as small as a movie or a one hit wonder song could make your summer. The simple joys of hanging with your friends after school playing street hockey, shooting hoops, or getting into trouble the like of which seems funny by today’s standards. Oh, we weren’t angels, but it was mostly good clean fun. It was a different time. We didn’t rush home after school to sit at the computer and chat for hours on end or updating our Myspace pages. We simply hung out with the people we liked and chatted with them face to face instead. The world was tiny and the idea of getting into some discussion of YouTube videos and memes with people in Topeka or Toronto just didn’t happen. We didn’t have GTA3 but we would kill each other good naturedly playing “kill the kid with the ball”. We did our best to hide when we screwed up not record it on video to share our ineptitude with the world. So much is different now I know my list would be enormous if I was to mention them all but here’s some examples (yes, a Rich list…yay):

1) Young people spending all day in chat rooms, chatting on instant messengers, playing WOW, browsing YouTube, dealing with Myspace drama etc. Now, as an approaching middle age guy, I could actually understand bored “grownups” doing this but 14-25 year olds wasting away their time like this is absurd. Even more frightening is conversations with their friends regarding what dramas are occurring in their electronics lives. Go outside, visit your real life friends, read a book, write a song, toast a Pop-Tart…just get the hell off the computer

2) When I was in high school, if we ever found one of our friends recording a video of them dancing to Soulja Boy and posting it on YouTube, he would have been the victim of the atomic wedgie from hell. I’m talking about guys. I mean, we had some semblance of self respect and most of us carried ourselves as the coolest guys in the world (we weren't we just liked to think we were) so to do something that un-cool and share it with the world…

3) A gym bag or book bag maybe during the school year would be acceptable but carrying backpack full of crap wherever you go just made no sense (the Richman was old school and carried his books under his arm). How much crap do you need to make it through the day? Every kid has an Ipod for all their music and other then schoolbooks for school, what other crap do you really need? Oh, and Ipods, we loved music too and, yes, we had music listening devices other then 8 track players, but, c’mon people, every once and a while take the fuckin ear buds out and listen to what’s happening around you, you just might learn something

4) We actually grew up and thrived without a single cell phone (ok except for those things with the huge battery packs that popped up in the late 80’s which were larger then the cordless phone in you kitchen and cost about $10 a call). It’s scary that the whole world is on the phone like, always. My 12-year-old nephew has a phone. My 10-year-old niece has a phone. While I cannot deny the safety aspect of them having phones I can’t totally condone it. But some people simply can’t stop talking. There’s a great series of commercials for stopping smoking where they show people struggling to do things they were used to doing with a butt in their mouths or hands . The same applies to phones as I swear some people have their necks permanently frozen in that phone cradling tilt they’re so accustomed to. Honestly, does anyone really have that much to talk about?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Fractured Fable

Once upon a time there lived a happy, single bear named, amazingly enough, Happy Single Bear. He lived a happy if mundane life in a magical kingdom called Cambridge. He had great friends and a great family but never met that special someone and "settled down". He was OK with that, well, at least he thought he was. At the end of an especially long week he decided he wanted to go and have a couple of his favorite bear beers, Miller Lite, and watch his favorite bear baseball team, the Bearston Red Sox. So, he said to himself "I think I will call of few of my good friends and go watch the game". So he pulled out his Bearizon Wireless cell phone and called his friends

He called his good friend Married Bear. Before Happy Single Bear could even get a word in Married Bear said "Why Happy Single Bear me and the little lady we're just talking about you. She was just saying how we need to set you up with one of her friends. You're such a great guy you really should have a great girl and maybe get married some day. Being married is the best. My life has been totally awesome since I got married. I always say a bear isn't complete until he's happily married". Happy Single Bear started thinking to himself, gee, is my life really incomplete because I am not married? He was feeling pretty bad for himself when Married Bear asked "so, why did you call"? Snapping out of it, Happy Single Bear said "oh, yea, I was wondering if you wanted to catch the Sox game and grab some bear beers tonight"? Married Bear replied "sorry no can do. The old ball-and-chain has my whole night planned out. First we're going to Ikea then we're going to watch Julie and Julia. Should be a lot of fun. Maybe some other time". Noting the beat down tone in his voice Happy Single Bear said goodbye and hung up

Next on his list was his good friend Papa Bear. Papa Bear was married and had 3 cubs. Papa Bear picked up the phone and said "why Happy Single Bear, me and Married Bear were just talking about you recently. He was saying how we need to get you hooked up and married and I couldn't agree more. Once we get that taken care of you need to start making some babies. You're not getting any younger you know. I never knew how much I'd love being a daddy but now I can't imagine being anything else but. I am a happy man". Once again Happy Single Bear starting feeling down. Was Papa Bear right? Happy Single Bear always thought he'd be a great daddy but it just never happened and now in his 40's he wasn't sure it was the right thing anymore even if opportunity arose. "so, what were you calling about" Papa Bear chipped in. "Oh, I was wondering if you wanted to go watch the Sox game" said Happy Single Bear. "No can do buddy" Papa Bear said "cub #1 has been coughing all week, I have a parent/teacher conference for cub #2 and cub #3 has lacrosse at 7:00 am tomorrow morning. We'll get together soon" Noting the exhaustion in his voice Happy Single Bear bid his friend farewell

Getting a little bummed out but determined nonetheless he pressed on and called his friend Suburban Bear. He had up and moved him and his family to the home of his dreams. Unfortunately, as far as Happy Single Bear was concerned, it was also in the middle of nowhere. Having learned from his previous mistakes this time Happy Single Bear jumped in as soon as Suburban Bear answered. "Hey Burb, wanna come down and hit the bear bar and catch the Sox game"? To which he replied "ah, I don't know. It's kind of a haul for me to come down there. Then I'd have to drive home...your couch just doesn't cut it any more...and it's just not worth it. How bout you come up here? Give me an hour to drive to the liquor store for beer and the grocery for some steaks and we'll grill out on the deck then retire to my Bear Cave to watch the game. It will be fun. You're always welcome to crash in the guest bedroom". "Ah, I was kind of in the mood to be around other bears, you know, like a bar" said Happy Single Bear. "Hap, we're getting a little old for hanging in bars" said Suburban Bear "I know you love where you live and the lifestyle but don't you think it's time to get out of the city and head for wide open spaces and fresh air? Have a nice big yard and a porch and deck to sit on? I'm telling you man, it's the life". Happy Single Bear thought about the offer for about a nanosecond before replying "Thanks man but a couple of other guys are already heading out with me (telling a white lie) so I'm going to have to pass". "Now worries friend" said Burb "by the time I'm done mowing the stupid lawn the game will be half over anyway. Talk soon"

Now Happy Single Bear was not feeling so happy. Were his friends right? Was he missing out on all the great things his friends had? Did he miss the boat by never having married, having kids and moving to the suburbs? Did his friends really feel bad for him when all along he thought, on some levels, they envied him? He was feeling too bad for himself to bother going out for the game when his phone rang and it was his buddy Other Single Bear. "yo Hap, up for catching the Sox game and a few brewski's at Bearit Bar"? Happy Single Bear broke into a huge grin and said "See your there in 15 minutes"!

And he lived happily ever after!!

But wait, this is a fable as opposed to a fairy tale so there has to be a moral to the story, right? OK, so:

Classic Moral- Be happy with who you are and don't let anyone else tell you what happiness is

Classic Rock Moral- "It's My Life and I'll Do What I Want"

Angry Moral- You worry about your stupid life and I'll worry about mine, OK?

Scooby Doo Moral- I woulda got away with my happy life if it wasn't for you meddling other bears

Haiku Moral-
Happy Bear I am
live your life I'll live mine
now it's Miller time

Movie Trailer Moral- "In a world where people are pushing their happiness on others, one single, happy bear stands alone against a firestorm of negative reinforcement"

A.D.D. Moral- If you like your life then you should...oh look, a car gets 30 miles to the gallon. Caribou

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Times They Are a-Changin!

As I get older (and better) I try not to be one of those "in my day" guys I hated dealing with when I was a kid. But I am, at least to a degree. It's unavoidable. Things change so quickly. I'm totally cool with that and am adaptive enough that I can roll with the changing tide in most cases. However, some things I simply don't get, can't accept, or make me long for the way things were. So, here is another list (I know I'm a one trick pony but hey, people dig lists) of how things have changed, the good, the bad, and the ugly. As always this is from MY standpoint and how they effect MY life, so there.

1) I want my MTV! Gosh, remember when a band wasn't a band until they had a video on MTV? Now the once great channel is a hodge podge of bad reality tv with nary an extended block of videos in sight.

2) There isn't a day goes by I don't utilize the internet for one reason or another. Truly one of the life changing developments over the past 15 years. That said I think it is the single worst thing to happen to kids. I love youtube, facebook, myspace, online games etc but my mother would have kicked our lazy asses out the door before she'd let us sit huddled around a computer looking for videos of dancing cats, skaters getting their nuts crushed and the like

3) Phone tag? What's that. Gone are the days of "ok, call so and so then call me back". Three way calling had it's time and has passed. The idea I can make plans with everyone involved via text, email, tweet, or Facebook message all from my convenience of my cell phone, without having to utter a word, is pure bliss

4) OK, not on the same level as the rest of this stuff but who was the poindexter who thought the idea of announcing bus stops on external speakers? Internal? Sure. It's awesome to know when you're on the bus to know which stop is next...but external? The people at the stop don't need to know what f'n stop they're at they just need to know where to get off. The only possible reason for external speakers is to ruin any semblance of Rich sleeping in as he loves hearing "77 Mass Ave Harvard Station blasted at 10,000 decibels every friggin morning. OK, had to get that out of my system

5) The number one movie of all time, Avatar, is available on DVD or Blu-Ray about 2 weeks after it left theaters. Gone are the days of anticipating the arrival the summer blockbusters to be available on video nearly a year after their theatrical run. Missed a big movie? Just wait a few weeks and watch it in the comfort of your own home. I'm on the fence on this one as I know a lot of people that can't get out to the movies for one reason or another so this is a big win. Me? I love the whole going to the movies thing and watching movies at home is no substitute.

6) On a similar note with all the multiplexes out there we are force fed 10 new movies every damned week. The results are movies that should never had been made, been made for TV or gone direct to, DVD...urm, Blu-Ray. It's a little depressing to know if a movie like Star Wars came out today it would be #1 for about 2 weeks, out of the top 10 in 6 weeks and available for purchase in 3 months

7) Some time in the past 15 years suburban America has become the most dangerous place on Earth. I mean, it has to be because every time I ask why (insert parental type) is driving the kids everywhere I'm told that it's a different world then when we were kids. BULLSHIT! It's the same world. Just as safe and just as dangerous as when we were kids. The problem is we hear a lot more of the bad stuff that goes on now then when we were kids and as a result children are overprotected. My parents, to a point (and maybe a fault) trusted me. "Ma, I'm taking the bus to Harvard Square by myself after my last 8th grade class" . "ok, be home by dinner". There was no 50 questions, no dropping off and picking up, no 100 check in texts. It was a little taste of freedom that, I'm afraid, is lost on the current generation. Before all you parents get pissed off, I don't know how I'd be if I had kids, so save your breath

8) Vinyl gave way to tape, tape gave way to CD, CD gave way to MP3. Are we better off now? Yes...and no. I love the convenience of MP3 and other digital files and the fact I can carry thousands of songs with me on my Ipod, phone and other digital devices. I find the quality just ok but I felt the same way about CD's. While CD's were able to take full advantage of digital capabilities for multi-speaker systems the truth was the sound quality wasn't as rich as vinyl...or even tape. My only real negative about MP3 is the whole world now walks around with their ear buds in oblivious to the world around them. Me, I still like taking in the whole world of activities going on around me. Call it voyeuristic but I find people a million times more interesting then music

9) I love my lap top...all four of them. I love the mobility, entertainment and convenience they bring me at home or on the road. Having said that, I don't understand the idea of going to a public place to hang out in a crowd and spend the whole time on my laptop. Oh, I understand the whole free WiFi thing but you can get that at the library. Whats the thrill of sitting in a crowded coffee house or bar getting jacked on caffeine or well lathered with alcohol only to sit there by yourself tapping away at your keyboard. I think it's a safety blanket as people fear going out alone but if it looks like they're working it's ok. Here's an idea. Find a friendly looking bar or coffee shop, sit down and, I dunno, strike up a conversation?

10) Then we come to what I call textus interuptus. Or being Blackberried. Or whatever else you want to call it. When was the last time you went out with a group and someone, maybe everyone, mid-conversation, pulls out their phone to check and/or answer a text, email, or other message. AND they think nothing of it. There is nothing more annoying then someone "uh huh'ing" you while paying attention only to their phone. Jerry Seinfeld put it best when he said why is talking to someone while reading your messages ok but talking to someone with a newspaper in front of your face not? The art of interpersonal communication between people who are physically in the same location has been lost to the practice of communicating with those who are not present and, honestly, that's a damned shame

11) I don't think outside of cousins, etc I knew anyone outside of my hometown until high school and more likely college. It was a cozy, sheltered world. Now days between social networks, private schools, elite sports teams, and even Xbox 360 children are opened to a whole, huge world at an early age. I think, dangerous predators aside, this is a positive thing

12) Privacy is officially a thing of the past and, frighteningly, it's mostly voluntary. We are obsessed letting people know where we are and what we're doing all the time. It falls somewhere between self importance, narcissism, and boredom. Stop and thing how many times a day you Tweet or update Facebook or "check in" with whomever. I'm just as guilty. However, just so you feeling aren't hurt, the odds are pretty good if I'm out and about on my day off I'm most likely screening your call. Don't take it personally. Sometimes it's just nice to be "off the grid"

And some quick hits;
  • Resume's, once an art form unto itself, are now emailed
  • Jobs are offered and found on what breaks down to internet bulletin boards
  • People use credit cards for purchases below $5
  • Video games are rarely played in the arcade anymore but on the computer, cell phone, or $500 console for literally hours on end
  • Organic, sustainable, recyclable and cage free have replaced whole, skim, and diet in the lexicon of choices we need to make at the supermarket
  • Hair, except that on the top of one's head (for those that are lucky enough to still have it), is apparently evil as every single bit of it must be shaved, tweezed, waxed, or in some other way be removed
  • On the same note, bald is beautiful and gray is okay which for those who like to let nature take it's rightful path is a great thing
All right, that's enough for now. I need to walk home uphill both ways in the snow so I can watch one of 7 channels on my black and white tv

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

testing, testing 1....2....3

Sorry, no new content just testing as it seems the rss feed is not updating everywhere

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Misery Loves Company

I was out to lunch with a friend recently and I made note of an older couple sitting in a booth directly in my line of sight. I'd peg them for roughly my parents age so somewhere from their late 60's to early 70's. What caught my attention about them was not that they were out to enjoy a nice BBQ meal, not their age, but how friggin miserable they seemed. They sat down, ordered their food then sat there waiting, on the edge of their seats, for their food to arrive not speaking a word to each other or even looking at each other. It was disconcerting to me as I was thinking why bother going out to dinner and be completely miserable when you can stay home and be miserable in privacy? The look on the man's face was like unto someone smelling unseen dog shit (kind of the look on Ray Allen's face...just as an aside). I had a relative of mine make that face at any event we went to when the end of the meal coffee was not in front of him the very second HE was done eating. It pissed me off when he made that face and it pissed me off when this guy made the face. The woman almost looked like she wanted to speak to him but knew it would be to no avail. I admit I became consumed with this miserable couple to the point of distraction. First I felt bad for them. Then, I felt pissed at them for not even trying. Then I felt bad for myself thinking; is this what I have to look forward to in 20 years? I left before they got their meal so maybe they were a barrel of laughs once I left.

The whole drive home it bothered me until I started thinking, wait a minute, they are my parents age but they are NOT my parents (literally or figuratively). My parents still enjoy each others company, still enjoy going out with both each other and other people. If they go out they not only talk to each other but chat up the server and anyone else they happen to encounter(maybe to a fault). They smile, they laugh, they have fun. Now I can't say what was going on in this other couple's life but I know what my parents have gone through and are still going through physically, emotionally, and psychologically and yet they still remain positive, happy, upbeat people (at least publicly haha). I hope I can emulate them and not end up miserable (ok, no snickering) like these people.

So, I say to this couple, bite me! Keep your sour-pussed, unsmiling, unhappy asses at home. Misery may enjoy company but we don't enjoy yours.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

It's in the bag

You've seen them. You've dealt with them. Hell, you might even BE one of them. You know, a douche-bag. Now, if you're unfamiliar with the term, and I'm talking about a person, not the actual feminine hygiene product, I'll try and define it. I'm talking about a person so reprehensible in their obvious obnoxiousness and cliched, nouveau riche existence that they don't even realize what a douche-bag they are. How do you identify a douche-bag? How do you know if you are a douche-bag? Fear not friends, here is a short list of things and ways to tell if you are a douche-bag. I like to call it "You might be a douche-bag if..."

1) You regularly use terms like "outside the box", "drill down", "future endeavors", or "on my radar" and make the air quote while saying it

2) You shovel your snow, pump your basement water, or rake your leaves into the middle of the street with complete disregard to how it affects your neighbors

3) You complain about how much insurance you have to pay on the car you only use on weekends

4) You use the word "summer" as a verb as in "we summer in the Hamptons"

5) Even in casual conversation you use only analogies pertaining to golf, skiing, boating or some other activity that most people are limited in their ability to participate in

6) You talk on your cell phone at the gym

7) You drive a Hummer. 'nuff said

8) You wear sunglasses on top of your head, or your hat, long after the sun has gone down

9) You pay $100 or more for a haircut

10) You take a contrarian view on a popular subject for the simple purpose of pissing people off. For example you wear the jersey of the quarterback facing the home team even though you have no connection to this team

11) You will have a conversation with someone while not looking them in the eyes because you're reading or composing email on your Blackberry or other smart phone device

12) You ask someone, who you know cannot afford it, if they've ever eaten at this expensive place, tried this expensive wine or this expensive scotch

13) You consider hiring a highly recommended nanny as good parenting

14) You've ever parked you car sideways, diagonally, or intentionally took up 2 parking spots in a parking lot. Likewise if you've ever parked your car in such a way as you never even considered how the person parked next to you will get in or out of their car

15) You have been thrown out of your adult hockey/baseball/softball/volleyball/etc league for throwing a hissy fit at the official

This is just the tip of the iceberg. I've probably ruffled a few feathers and pissed a few people off but like I always say, it's my blog. If you disagree, write your own. And always remember if you take anything written here as serious or something to take to heart then a) you don't know me and b) you need to get a life!!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Over and Under

In popular culture we are told what's hot and what's not, what's in and what's out, what we should be doing and what we shouldn't be doing. Me, I'm not buying it. So much of the crapola we've been force fed into believing is gospel is completely overrated. On the other hand there has been some amazing people, places and things that have gone under the radar that deserve more credit then they've gotten. In other words they are underrated. With that in mind here is my totally random, totally opinionated, overrated vs underrated list:

Overrated- NASCAR
Underrated- UFC

Overrated- Lebron James
Underrated- Manny Pacquiao

Overrated- The Seattle grunge sound
Underrated- Early 80's power pop

Overrated- "Scarface"
Underrated- "Miller's Crossing"

Overrated- Tapas
Underrated- Soul Food

Overrated- Reality TV
Underrated- USA network original programming

Overrated- "Entourage"
Underrated- "Curb Your Enthusiasm"

Overrated- James Patterson
Underrated- George Pelecanos

Overrated- "Twilight"
Underrated- "True Blood"

Overrated- Lady Gaga
Underrated- David Bowie

Overrated- Pickup Trucks
Underrated- Fuel Efficient Sub-Compacts

Overrated- St Patrick's Day, New Years Eve, Night Before Thanksgiving
Underrated- A random night in a quiet bar with your best friends

Overrated- Relationships
Underrated- Being single

Overrated- Pearl Jam
Underrated- Red Hot Chili Peppers

Overrated- The beach
Underrated- The mountains

Overrated- NYC, LA
Underrated- Philly, Chicago

Overrated- Vacationing in the Tropics
Underrated- Holidays in Ireland

Overrated- Barnes and Noble
Underrated- The library

Overrated- Windows
Underrated- Mac

Overrated- High School
Underrated- College

Overrated- Catcher in the Rye
Underrated- A Separate Peace

Overrated- The 70's
Underrated- The 80's

Overrated- WWF (World Wildlife Foundation)
Underrated- WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment)

Overrated- Being single
Underrated- Relationships...hmmm,sounds familiar, yet not...

Overrated- Blogs
Underrated- THIS blog ;-)

Well, that's the list...I'm sure a lot (most) of you disagree but hey, start your own list. The way I feel is Overrated- Your opinion, Underrated- MY opinion

Thursday, March 04, 2010

The Golden Wedgies, 2010

So, one of my earliest blogs was what I called The Golden Wedgie Awards. It was my version of the Academy Awards or maybe closer to the Darwin Awards. Here is how I summed it up back then:

I feel I just haven’t been raging against stupid people enough recently so figured it was time to catch up. I’m announcing the first recipients or the Rich O Golden Wedgie Awards. For the uninitiated, a wedgie is a form of torture and humiliation usually dispensed on teenage boys by bullies or as part of a “welcoming” ritual. The procedure is usually grasping one by the back of their underpants and pulling with great force and velocity pulling said underwear into ones “anal cleft” causing great pain, discomfort and yes, humiliation. Naturally it works best if the person is wearing briefs or “tighty whiteys” as boxers simply don’t give the same effect. For the purpose of these awards, neither men nor women shall be spared from my wrath. Many of you insane enough to have been reading my crap for the last couple of years will recognize some of these repeat offenders. That said, on to the Wedgies:

At the time I promised there would be more Golden Wedgies but somehow it didn't happen...until now. If you're interested in reading the original, it's still up here:

On to the Wedgies!

* Most annoying use of a parked car- This goes to the Executive Parker. You know, they are so important and what they're doing is so important they simply park where they want, including making their own spots, regardless of whoever else it inconveniences. Double parking, handicapped parking, parking in an area designated for 2 way traffic narrowing it down to just one. These are just the tip of the iceberg for our winner, the Executive Parker

*Most annoying use of a cell phone in a speaking role- It was a close call but just edging out the Checkout Line Yapper is the Just Plane Ignorant Caller. Is there anything more annoying on a flight then the person who absolutely, positively must continue to talk on their phone until the flight attendant has to pry it from their cold, dead hands? Yes, the person who has to get on their phone again the second the plane lands. I mean the very second. And everyone around them is forced to listen to their stupid freaking call. And, worst of all this is the typical call(s); "hi, we're just taking off. My car is at the airport so I'll be home around 8:00" followed by "Hi, we just landed I'm headed to pick up my car and should be home by 8:00".

*Most annoying use of a cell phone in a texting role- The Cinematic Sinner. Movie theaters are dark. Cell phone screens are bright. When bright meets dark, annoyance ensues. No matter how far forward you lean or cover up, I can SEE you texting and it's ruining my movie experience so please, STOP. There is light (pun intended) at the end of the tunnel as they now ask you to refrain from phone call and texts during the movie so I'm sure this will help...right?

*Most annoying unhappy customer at a retail chain- The Rabid Repeater- He's unhappy about something. The manager expresses sympathy but explains it's store policy. Not happy with that, he states his case again and again to apologies but no change in what they can do. Not happy he complains to the guy stocking shelves, the woman at checkout and yes, even other customers because by god he's getting his pound of flesh one way or the other.

* Most annoying performance at a restaurant by an employee- High Hat Harry/Harriet- One of my favorite parts of going out to eat is the service staff. Hard working people making an honest living. That is until you go to a fancier or pricier place and these people, working for tips, take one look at you and decide this place is above your pay scale. Don't look or talk down on me because you WORK at a classy establishment or I'll kick your WearGuard wearing, Ford Escort driving, still have roommates even tho I'm in my late 30's ass all the way back to TGIFridays

*Most annoying performance at a restaurant by a customer- Lower Then Pond Scum Louis/Louise- "Treat everyone as you would like to be treated yourself" as an adage goes out the window when you're out to eat. A perfectly normal person who would never cuss out a friend, family member, or coworker publicly has no compunction about doing this to the person who delivered their meal or drink wrong. This is of course because the server is imperfect while Louis/Louise is perfect. This is because the server is simply not to your level of society so they deserve to be treated as the lower form of life you feel they are

*Most annoying performance by a pet owner- Stupid Selfish Shnauzer Shopper. Leave your dog at home. I'll say it again LEAVE YOUR DOG AT HOME!! I don't care if the pretentious, ass kissing store is "pet friendly" (which really means dog friendly as I think if someone brought their Komodo Dragon with them it would be less then friendly), leave your dog at home. Let alone that there are millions of people who are allergic or have a phobia to dogs, it's just plain ignorant. I, simply put, don't want your dirty ass dog walking around anywhere I'm going to buy food. Period

OK, I'm out of steam and need to simmer down so that's it for now but trust me, there will be more and it won't be 3 years before I write about them

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Secret Of My Success

So I was having a conversation with my dad one day and one thing led to another and we got on the topic (as we always seem to) of how much more I could do if I applied myself. He doesn't say this in a mean way he just see's his kids in a certain light and wants them to have done better then he did. Then he said something that surprised me. He said I could have been the CEO of a company had I set my mind to it. I took it as both a compliment and a back handed compliment. The I thought about and and said "what in my personality makes you think I'd ever want that kind of life??". It got me thinking what is success? What makes one person successful and one person not? And who decides who is considered a success and who a failure. Like most things, success is in the eye of the beholder but often judged by popular culture

I got out of college smack in the middle of the "greed is good" era so that was ideal for success of the time. Ruthless, cutthroat business, 70 hour work weeks, stepping on whoever it was needed stepping on. The work was trying but the rewards were great. You'd ride this out into your 40's then cruise the next 10 years and retire at 50. How'd that work out? Needless to say, life didn't go that way for most of us but does that mean we weren't successful? Is a Harvard grad working for a Fortune 500 company pulling down a million a year more successful then a guy who owns his own plumbing company? Then a small business owner servicing his local community for 30 plus years? Then a school teacher molding young minds? Then a mother of four making just enough to scrape by? Then someone who measures success simply by another day above ground? If success is measured in dollars and cents then, yes, he is. If it's based on quality of life, maybe not. I could argue either way.

The bottom line is success, much like happiness or beauty is in the eye of the beholder. For every person that thrives on long hours, titles, prestige and position at the cost of little or no family life there is the guy and his wife pulling down $60,000 combined with 2 healthy children who leave work behind the second they walk out the door. For every person who lives for team building exercises, memo's about the lunch room fridge and inter-office instant messaging there is a guy doing manual labor for 8 hours and leaves work with a smile on his face. For every breakfast meeting, power lunch and client dinner there is someone brown bagging it in the morning and home for dinner with his family every night. No, I'm sorry, there is no clear definition of success. Success is what you want it to be, not what movies, TV, books or newspapers say it is

So, do I consider myself successful? I've been gainfully employed for 21 straight years and while not my dream job I make enough to own my own place and enough extra to enjoy life. While I never married or had kids, work had nothing to do with that and I always find time for friends and family. Could I have chosen a different path? Could I still choose a different path? Sure, but if I don't I have no regrets. So, if quality of life is the ultimate measure of success then hell yeah, I'm one successful S.O.B!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Memory Motel

Why is it that the older I get the more I forget important, pertinent things but can remember obscure, useless things from 20, 30 years ago like as if they happened yesterday? Why can I remember the 1st 8-Track I bought (Kiss-Destroyer) but not my mom's birthday? That I can remember playing the board game Uncle Wiggily with my friend Bill back in grade school but not my checking account number which I've had for 15 years? Maybe the hard drive in my brain is just full and rather then writing over all the old, stupid stuff in there the new stuff just doesn't have room. Here some examples of stuff I can't get rid of but no longer need:

1) From Mrs. Clancy's 7th grade English the first column of prepositions we had to memorize; aboard, about, above, across, after, against, along, among, at, before

2) That The Cat Came Back even tho they thought he was a goner (ZOOM reference)

3) My friend Ted's phone number. I won't print it here but I haven't dialed it since 1984

4) That when my friend got his first car the previous owner left behind the 8-Tracks (and yes, they were wayyyy dated by then) Bad Company, Bad Company, Bad Company, Straight Shooter, Boston, Boston, and Janis Joplin, Greatest Hits

5) The fact there was never a logical conclusion to Danger Island on the Banana Splitz (uh oh, Chongo)

6) The words to pretty much every song in the movie Blazing Saddles

7) Buying the 3 books of Ursuala LeGuin's Earthsea Trilogy at the Ottoson Book Fair

8) Winning a creative writing contest and getting a gift certificate to Lauriats and with the money I bought a pen and writing pad

9) That the popular Count Chockula and Frankenberry character cereals had a less popular team member named Booberry and a totally obscure member known as Froot Brute. Seriously

10) That Long John Silvers had a game card/maze puzzle promotion where the grand prize was an Instamatic camera

11) That McFebruary was a very special month at McDonald's

12) That my 8th grade permanent substitute teacher has a best friend he called Sketts which was short for Spaghetti Head

13) My parents buying (here it is again) the 8-Track Roberta Flack Killing Me Softly

14) That the first "micro" computer I ever touched was a Tandy TRS80 which used audio cassettes for storage

15) That the Jickets will beat the Squeegees on Saturday afternoon...even if grandma dies (go ahead, see if you get THAT reference)

16) That my parents once hosted a weight loss club called the Roly Polys and that the person who lost the least weight each week had to wear a sign that said "Iggy Wiggy I'm a Piggy" and they consumed mass quantities of Tab before anyone discovered it caused cancer in laboratory rats

17) That if I wanted to send it to ZOOM I need to send a SASE to Z-double O-M Box 3-5-0 Boston, MA 0-2-1-3-4!

18) That everything counts when you're building a house of cards

19) I can still say "Moses supposes his toeses are roses but Moses supposes erroneously" which was the toughest tongue twister in the adult board game Passout

20) The time my 1st grade teacher asked the class to find out who thier parents voted for in the Nixon/McGovern election and being upset when I was the only kid who's parents voted for Nixon (who won by the way)

21) My sister bringing me into her class when I was in Kindergarten telling the teacher I could Irish Step Dance (which I couldn't)

22) That Mr Rourke was far edgier and less friendly in the original TV movies Fantasy Island and Fantasy Island II

23) That the character Enos Strate from the Dukes of Hazzard was played by actor Sonny Shroyer

24) That the coolest action figure of all time was The Whip who was part of Big Jim's Action P.A.C.K

25) That the coolest Creature Double Feature EVER was the Giant Majin where a giant statue in feudal Japan came to life to stomp the crap out of the bad guys menacing the peaceful villagers

OK, I need to stop. Seriously, I need to stop! This is starting to scare me. Not 1 of the 25 thoughts I just relayed will do me any good EVER yet are emblazoned in my mind. Now ask me what I remember from 4 years of college...

Monday, January 18, 2010

Playing Catch Up- Random Observations

Wow, so I haven't updated since before Thanksgiving. Between work getting busier and holiday obligations that come along with being from a large family I simply haven't had time to sit down and gather my thoughts. Between Thanksgiving and my high school reunion all the way through New Year I've noticed a lot of things. Rather then bore you (and me) with a recap I'm just going to list some random thoughts I had during this time period

- Despite what poets and singers have stated, you can indeed go home again. I've had the opportunity of late, between my reunion and other opportunities, to catch up with people I hadn't seen and in some cases even thought about for ages and in every case it was absolutely a great experience. I know when you see people you haven't seen for a long time talk of seeing each other again soon rarely happens but I hope in a few cases it holds true

- I always hate January 2nd as holiday season if officially over. No, it's not any great love of specific holidays, it's the fact that the general good mood of people comes to a rapid end. Everyone just seems a lot nicer to each other and happier in general from mid-December to early January

- On the other hand, holidays can be a painful reminder for the lonely and alone. There is something about having someone special to enjoy holidays with. Me, I've gotten used to it an am happy that I have so many great friends and family to spend my time with

- The flu is an epidemic. Well, I'm not talking about he spread of the flu but the epidemic of people overreacting to it. Look, I'm not dismissing the seriousness of either the flu or swine flu but the fact of the matter is people get the flu every year and people, unfortunately, die from the flu every year. What's disturbing is the lengths people are going to to avoid getting the flu. Not shaking hands? Not hugging people? Dousing themselves in Purell? I got some news people. The money in your pocket and the doorknob you touch are far more germ laden then and hand you may shake.

- To me a perfect holiday is one when there is no tension, no fights, and no drama. Holidays 2009; mission accomplished

- Despite myself I'm actually getting good at this whole cooking and baking thing. And you know what? People really do appreciate it when you make them something more then if you buy them something

- There is nothing quite as eye opening as when you truly learn where you stand with friends and what they really think of you

- I really don't care about New Year's Eve anymore. I've always called it amateur night (along with St Patrick's Day and the night before Thanksgiving) but still always found it important to "do" something. But after being sick last year I realized missing it was no bug deal and that I'd rather spend that night sitting around laughing with friends then going out among the throng of 3 times a year party people!

Well, that's it for now