Wednesday, June 30, 2010

50 Years

D-fish will be going dark this weekend.  I’m hanging up a sign, “Gone Fishin’”.

OK, it would probably be more accurate to hang a sign that said, “Going to the beach and laying around for four days, playing in the surf and eating and drinking like a pig.”  But the other one’s easier.

We’re heading for Amelia Island Plantation, a resort just to the northeast of Jacksonville, right up in the far northeast corner of Florida.  The reason?  Besides the aforementioned laying, playing, eating and drinking?  July 4th will be my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary.  For this occasion, my parents, my brother and his family, my sister and her husband, and Pinky and I are all getting together for a beach weekend.  That’s all my folks really wanted; the whole family together in one place. 
Married only 5 years, and here we all are!

We’re heading out early Friday morning and returning Tuesday.  I’d like to say I plan on dropping a post or two… my nephew is bringing his laptop, but I don’t see a situation where that happens.  But rest assured I’ll provide a full recap upon my return.

I know what you’re saying… “Your parents really got married on the 4th of July?”

Yep, they did.  Dad says they did it so that they’d always get their anniversary off work.  And you wonder where I get my “planning” compulsion…

They honeymooned up in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains.  Mom says Dad spent the night throwing cherry bombs in the pool.  OK, that, I disown.  Also, Dad won the Bathing Beauty Contest, where all the newly minted husbands dressed in their wives’ clothing and had a pageant.  It’s true… I’ve seen the pictures.  Lucky for Dad, I don’t have a copy. 

My parents got married pretty young… they were 21 and 20, I believe.  Five years later, we three kids show up.  A couple years later, they moved our whole motley crew out of Pittsburgh.  That meant there was no more built in support system.
What the hell is Mom up to?  Probably just waiting to send our little asses to bed!

But that’s how we rolled.  We moved about the Midwest as my Dad saw fit, whenever he could get a job that bettered our family’s situation.  There were tough times, but nothing we kids noticed; we never wanted for anything. 

Dad told me a number of years ago that for our first Christmas in Chicago, the year after we left Pittsburgh, they got us second-hand ice skates because they couldn’t afford new ones.  Dad said he’d felt guilty about that, even now. 

I told him to forget about it!  I remember that Christmas and I was thrilled just to get the skates!  We never even noticed that they weren’t new. 

Mom and Dad are different as night and day and the influence of both has made me the dude I am now. 

Mom is the wordsmith… the teacher, the poet, the writer, the activist.  You can see the effects from my mom in every post I write.  (Even the ones about poop!  In fact, Mom gave me my first “dirty” jokes to tell.)  Mom was the Editor in Chief of every paper I ever wrote, which often led to some spirited disagreements.  Mom would point out every incomplete sentence, misspelling, clunky paragraph and incomplete thought.  I thought all of my papers could be turned in as is, always.  Remember, this was before PCs… if you had to revise; you had to retype… usually the entire goddamn paper.  Gah!

Eventually I began to learn what the hell I was doing.  Still, I remember once, long after I was on my own, I’d mailed Mom a story I’d written to see what she thought of it.  I called home about a week later and Dad answered.  I asked if Mom had read my story yet.  Dad said, “Yeah, but she’s out at the store now… she had to go get a new red pen.”

Dad… the ball-buster, the breadwinner, protector of the family, the arbiter of all disputes and layer down of the law.  Dad was the engineer… the numbers guy.  I didn’t get any of that, unfortunately, but my brother did.  But I have the need to have things make sense.  If something doesn’t work, I need to figure out why.

He didn’t like having to travel for his job, leaving his family alone, but he did what he had to do to provide.  And he was still there to coach our teams or throw a ball with us.  He taught me to seize an opportunity when it presented itself… to weigh the pros and cons and then do the right thing. 

He taught me to value self-sufficiency.  With his guidance, I paid for almost all of my college degree.  I decided to go to a local college and live at home to lower the bill, but I worked part time jobs all the way through and banked ¾ of every check.  I pulled it off right up to my last semester, when I came up about $500 short.  They wrote that last check for me, but still, they got off pretty lightly with my education.  And by the end of that summer, I moved out on my own, just because I thought it was the right thing to do.  (OK, I wanted to shack up with my girlfriend too, but still…)

I only wish we could get everyone there to Florida… everyone from my generation upon whom my parents had an impact.  They were like de facto parents to all my buddies… they were the grownups that kids came to see when they had a problem that they couldn’t bring to their own parents.  Around the neighborhood, they were known as “The Oldes”, or “The Elderlies”.  They were terms of endearment and said with affection.  They had to be… hell, I’m as old now as they were when my friends were calling them The Elderlies.  (Ouch!)

But this weekend, the family is getting together to have a Wild Rumpus and for the first time in quite a while, it’s not revolving around a football game.  In fact, we’ve all been to Amelia Island before, back in 2006, when the Steelers were playing Jacksonville.  But this time, it’s just us and the beach.  And 50 years of stellar memories.

Happy Annivesary, you old farts!  Now let’s play…

Same Hearings, Different Name

This cartoon surfaced during the Sotomayor hearings, but it is just as appropriate now.

Thanks again to First Door on the Left.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Award to the Wise

I realize that this is déjà vu all over again, but not only did I just receive another award, but earlier this month, I was given the same one: The Versatile Blogger Award.

Yeah, I’m so versatile, I’m writing the exact same post again…

Seriously, though, thank you to new blogger friend, Jennifer Juniper, who is currently vacationing in Switzerland Colorado.  Check out her blog; she’s funny and very cool.  I’m always amazed that anyone reads my crap, let alone give me some kind of award for it.

The funny thing is that the award graphic is different from the one I was originally given, so I feel absolutely no shame in posting them both, to bolster the illusion that I’m a decorated writer.  But also, since the graphic IS different, I also feel no shame in changing the rules.

I still don’t like passing it on, which gets me out of having to choose between so many writing friends.  And instead of providing 7 tidbits about me (which I just did a month ago and there are only so many tidbits to go around), I thought I’d drop 7 links to posts I did long before you ever came around.  Can you say “Cheap post?”

Feb 20, 2009: Is That a Towel in your Pants, Or are You Just Glad to See Me?  A public stunt at work peters out.  I also recall a similar prank from college.

Feb 23. 2009:  Bluz’ Rules of Vegetables.  One of my all-time favorites, which spells out my feeling on… gulp… vegetables.

March 10, 2009: Obama 3 Dogma 0.  This is one of my first political rants that, if you know my most of my other work, should be celebrated for its brevity.

March 31, 2009: I the Jury.  I drew jury duty last year and blogged the whole thing.  Welcome to “Justice: Baltimore Style”.

April 30, 2009: A Word From our Sponsor:  “You’re Stupid.”  My media courses in college pay off here in this rant about TV advertising and what advertisers must think of us.

May 10, 2009: Musical Memory Lane.  You know how certain songs immediately take you to some other time and place?  This post is about that.

May 25, 2009: Goodbye Old Friend.  When Yours Truly turns in his old reliable TV for a shiny new HDTV, he can’t help but wax nostalgic about the journey they’d taken together.

These are some of my favorite posts that no one knows about.  I hope you know about them soon.  And please feel free to comment… it’s never too late to tell me I’m full of shit!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Even More Odd Bits - The Sequel

My brother sent me a YouTube video the other day, that showed the reactions of various people gathered in bars and such across the country, to the game winning goal the Americans scored in their World Cup game against Algeria.
I’d intended to watch the next game the US played, Saturday at 2:30, but watching the video made me think that maybe I should go out to see it, instead of sitting at home by myself.  Why not make it an event?

So I went down to my local watering hole, Jilly’s, where I usually go whenever the Steelers aren’t on local TV.  I thought the place would be packed, but I thought wrong.  I sat down on an empty side of the bar, but soon moved to an empty chair on the other side.  I could see a young couple sitting there… the girl had a little American flag with her.  I figured these people would be fun and might even know something about soccer.

I’m not really a soccer fan… they didn’t have youth soccer when I was a kid… or if they did, it was just a haven for kids that weren’t coordinated enough to hit a baseball.  So I don’t really know anything about it, but I know that the World Cup is a very big deal.  I figure it’s like watching the Olympics… I don’t know anything about the finer points of the luge, but I know enough to root loudly for the U.S.A.

It turns out that my young friends both played soccer, so they helped me a great deal with the rules.  (Besides “kick the ball in the net.”  I get that part.)

In talking about the food at Jilly’s, I mentioned that I go there any time “my team” in football isn’t on local TV.  I didn’t want to here a bunch of shit from Ravens fans about Ben Roethlisberger, I just wanted to watch the soccer game, so that’s why I didn’t volunteer my affiliation.  But of course, they asked, so I had to answer.

When I said, “The Steelers,” their eyes lit up like Christmas trees…

“Oh my God, we just moved here from Harrisburg!” 

They were fans of both the Steelers and the Penguins.  Like I always say, “we’re everywhere.” 

The USA may have lost the game in agonizing fashion, but I now have 2 new friends to watch the game with when I have to venture outside my living room to see my Steelers.

Another Night at the Yard
Sitcom Kelly and I went to see the Orioles again on Thursday night.  We sat in the same seats we were in the last time we went; 10 rows behind home plate.  Only this time, there was no rain.  Remember when I said the last time, there would be nights when we wished it was 50 and drizzling?  This was one of those nights.  The high temperature Thursday was in the high 90s.

Actually, we kind of lucked out.  We weren’t in the sun at all and there was some air moving.  Also, it was Adam Jones Mini-Bobblehead Night.

Perhaps if the O’s were doing better, they could afford a regular-sized bobblehead giveaway.  Although I may have discovered a reason for their under-whelming season… their centerfielder is playing in orthopedic shoes.

The second I took it out of the box, it came apart, revealing the unusual footwear.  I guess the Orioles can’t afford high quality glue, either.

Anyway, we had a good time, and the Orioles actually came from 3 runs down to win 11-5.  It’s a start, but still a long way out of the basement.

McCrystal Balls
I’m by no means any kind of military expert or strategist, but you’d have to think that on the first day of “Generals School,” someone would come in there and say, “Hey, don’t disparage the Commander In Fucking Chief to god-damned Rolling Stone Magazine!”

What the hell was he thinking, even allowing access?  Was he trying to get the hell out of that useless hellhole with its unsolvable problems?  Maybe he was just crazy like a fox.

It’s not like he was a favorite in the White House in the first place after his attempts to publicly box the President into committing more troops for a longer time period, back when Obama was trying to reach a decision on a course of action.

And I’m still glad we have a President that gathers information, seeks opinions and formulates a strategy based on all information at hand, as opposed to one that thinks with his nutsack and goes with his gut.  It’s EXACTLY what we need in the White House.

I subscribed to Rolling Stone for years, up until around 2000.  I was hitting a bit of magazine overload and had to cut down some.  Once I was out of the music business, I really didn’t need Rolling Stone around as much.  All they seemed to be doing was covering bands I either didn’t like or couldn’t relate to.  Or they’d be all over some old dinosaur bands I never liked in the first place.

I almost cancelled my subscription on them a couple times, but then they’d come out with some dazzling piece of reporting on our eroding civil rights, reproductive freedoms or the rampant political hackery going on, so I’d grant them a reprieve and re-up.

Thank Heaven for Little Girls
I originally wanted to put this bit in my last post but after further consideration, realized that it didn’t belong in with the tales of vasectomies, 9-way sex parties and lottery extravagances.

Have you ever noticed how little girls move around the room?  I noticed this when I was back in Ohio and my buddy’s granddaughter was visiting.

She didn’t exactly skip and didn’t exactly run… she would just kind of “flit” from place to place, like a butterfly would do.  It was kind of a cross between skipping and prancing. 
John’s granddaughter Jaidyn (L) and the neighbor girl whose name I can’t recall.

When not munching on popcorn, these two flitted all about the garage and front yard.  I’ve seen the same thing with my other buddy’s daughters as well, back when they were little.  Is it just an Ohio thing, or do all little girls “flit”?

Political Cartoon of the Moment
Again, lovingly pilfered from The First Door on the Left.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Odd Bits - Vacation Leftovers Edition

I still have some random ideas on scraps of paper left over from my trip back to Ohio, so in an effort to empty my mental in-box, as well as clean off my desk, I thought I’d spill them out all over you today construct another informative “Odd Bits” post. 

The Deferens Rests
I may be the oddest friend ever.  You know how sometimes when old buddies get together; they come up with some kind of group bonding activity?  Like getting tattoos, or taking a road trip, or building some kind of large leisure equipment?  Guess what I suggested.

Bluz:  Hey have you guys ever thought about getting vasectomies?  What if we all went and got vasectomies together?

The Guys:    Um, you go ahead… We’re good right here.

I’ve been thinking about it a lot recently.  I’ve looked up some reputable snippers on line, talked to some people that have had it done, and practiced saying “vas deferens…” Still, I don’t react well to even the thought of something happening to The Boys.  (Or as nephew Sammy would say:

My dad had it done ages ago when we were still very young, probably right after going Christmas shopping for his three kids.  He told me they had to put the anesthetic needle right smack into the ballular material.  The mere thought of that made me drop to the floor and curl up like a boiled shrimp.

I figure that surely the state of medicine has advanced enough that such drastic measures would no longer be needed.  At work, I spoke with someone that just had it done last year and asked about how they numb it.  (And no, they don’t have a nurse go down there and go “num num num num…”)

Unfortunately, he told me, they still stick the needle straight into the nards.  Next thing you know, I’m all…

Then as I banged my head on the underside of the desk and the world swam in and out of focus, I realized it might be better if they just put me under general anesthesia. 

But back to my buddies...  I figured if I could get some fraternal support going, I might be able to go through with the whole long, hard ordeal.

One of them had a perfect alibi… his wife has already had a hysterectomy.  As long as he was a good boy, he had no worries.

But the other one… my buddy Rik… Shit, he ought to be the Poster Boy for vasectomy.  When you look up “cocksman” in the dictionary, they show you his picture.  He should have jumped at the opportunity to no longer risk being Rikky Appleseed.

Brilliant Segue
Aside from spawning all over town, Rik’s other obsession is hitting a major lottery.  He has it all worked out.  First he’d set up his kids.  Then John and I can quit our jobs and become his posse.  John will be in charge of arranging hunting and fishing trips, and supervising the grill.  My job would be organizing the schedule and acquiring tickets for all the major sporting events.  (It’s funny how many things you can get tickets for once money is no object.) 

We would both take turns in handling money requests from charities and estranged family members.  Call it the Dr. No detail.

I also suggested that Rik appoint me as his biographer.  Dude has lived more sex stories than I could ever conceive of.  In fact, as we were driving to Cincinnati, he reminded us of the time he took part in a “9-way.”

Yes, you read that right… a “9-way.”  It was an intimate crowd consisting of him, his buddy, and 7 girls.   See, THIS is why he should have went for the vasectomy idea… This kind of shit just doesn’t happen to regular people.  This isn’t real life, it’s Hef’s softball team.

He and the other guy had to have rules though… they had to stay within sight of each other at all times, so that nothing accidentally got slipped somewhere it wasn’t supposed to go. 

Personally, I’d find it counter-productive to see some sweaty, hairy guy going at it five feet away from me… I’d have to come up with another way of detecting unsafe proximity… perhaps wearing bells, like the ones people put on their cats to warn the birds.  I know it would probably sound like Santa was coming… Someone would be, that’s for sure…

Anyway, once you throw a zillion dollars into the mix, you know the stories would be legendary and they’d need to be documented.  I even have the title picked out: “Memoirs of a Feral Bachelor”. 

Of course, at that point I’d have to insist that he get the vasectomy.  With that kind of cash in the balance, he’d be hearing from paternity lawyers like they were Jehovah’s Witnesses.  He’d need his own express window at the DNA Lab and a Frequent Boner Card.

With that in mind, I’ll leave you with the words of Chicago comic, “Uncle’ Larry Reeb:

“I don’t have any kids, I got a vasectomy.  It happened on a Saturday at Toys R Us.  All these kids were running around screaming, I took out the pocketknife, did it myself.  You ever been to Toys R Us on a Saturday?  They ought to have a bar at Toys R Us.”

Monday, June 21, 2010

Celling Out

The Guys Perspective had a post on Sunday about multi-tasking, which got me thinking about the primary method we use to multi-task throughout our day.  By the time I finished my comment, I knew I had a post in the making.  Ahem

Am I the only one annoyed by the current obsession with cell phones? 

I am sick of all this cell phone bullshit pervading TV, media and our lives.  It’s like every other commercial is touting some new doohickey for your phone that you need to have right fucking now or you’ll be a social pariah.  What’s next, an I-Paper app that wipes your ass for you, checks the fiber content, then contacts your primary care physician with any anomalies?

Remember when these things first came out and they looked like a brick with buttons?  And you’d have to actually plug them into your car?

It’s funny now when you see them show up in older movies.  They were such high tech things then… little did we know where they were going.

I remember there was a company that used to market a big faux cell phone that had a little red light on it.  The purpose then was so that you could be seen with it, even at night, which was much more important than actually making a call from the road.  I’m not sure that has really changed.

Obviously over the years, the size has come way down and the uses and functions have skyrocketed.

I also hate those Bluetooth headset things.  Time was when you saw some doofus walking down the street talking to himself, you knew he was a whack-a-loon and knew you should probably cross the street. 

OK, that part hasn’t changed.  I’d still cross the street, just so I don’t have to listen to some guy whose central message is “I am a very important guy and I can’t possibly walk down to the Burger King without negotiating a mega-business deal along the way.” 

This is probably the same guy that’s still yapping away in the bathroom stall while I’m trying to have a pee in peace.

I was very late to the cell phone party.  I was sure I was the last grownup in America to get one back in 2006, before I finally caved.  And the only reason I consented then was because otherwise, I’d have been forced to carry a pager.  Talk about the most useless piece of 2010 equipment…

Anyway, I figured if I had to have a cell phone, I’d get a good one that could do everything, even if I never wanted to take advantage of all the functionality.  You never know.  So I had a good phone for about 10 minutes before the I-Phone was released.  Instantly, my new top of the line phone became just another piece of shit.  (Albeit a piece of shit that’s still in pristine condition.  I haven't even taken off that piece of protective film from the outside window.)

My phone suits me for several reasons.  First, I like the flip-out style.  It adds heft to it.  I don’t trust those short phones that just come to your cheekbone when you hold it to your ear.  It doesn’t seem like they’d be able to pick up your voice from so far away, so I’d overcompensate by speaking in that WAY TOO LOUD CELLPHONE VOICE that we’ve all heard and loathe. (Not mine... I mean in general.)

I also like a slim phone, so I can slip it into my pocket without leaving a big obvious lump.  (OK, another big obvious lump.)  I have a little phone case but I don’t use it much because it screams "Hey everyone!  I have a cell phone!"

But I won’t give it up until I have to.  It does what I need it to do… make occasional short phone calls if I’m running late, arrange a meet-up on the fly, or make a call from the store when I don’t know what kind of beer Pinky wants.  I have a plan that gives me 200 minutes, with free weekend minutes.  I use about 2 or 3 minutes and me bill runs around $30 a month.

I also avoid the unlimited plans for texting or Internet.  I send maybe 5-10 texts a month, and often less (at .20/month).  The only time I tend to text is when I’m waiting a bar for someone and going “Where are you?”  I also text a lot of “Wooooooooo!” if I’m watching a game I know someone is watching elsewhere.

You’ll note I avoid the usual texting shorthand.  I’m afraid if I start abbreviating all my words, it will start to seep into my other writing areas.  Don’t think that’s true?  Look at the emails you get from your teenage kids.  Or look at their English homework.

But I should cut corners, though, because I am so hopelessly slow at texting on my non-qwerty keypad that by the time I get my thought out, it has become irrelevant.  (As in the intended recipient shows up at the bar, or another big play happens in the game.)

I also don’t use the Internet much on the phone.  I figure, that’s the reason I have a home PC and work PC.  If I need to know something, it can wait.  Plus, I don’t see where my occasional need would outweigh the cost of the plan.  Same with picture mail.

I can take pictures with my phone, but in order to actually DO anything with them, you have to sign up for an expensive monthly plan.  Screw that!  I’ll just use my regular camera, thank you very little.  It’s like that with all the apps… in order to actually use all the shit your phone can do, you have to get roped into some kind of plan, so unless it’s something you need to do all the time, (and it rarely is) you get boned on the bill.

My phone is off about 98% of the time.  As with the PCs, I have a phone at home and a phone on my desk at work.  I am in one of those two locations for most of the day.  The rest of the time, I’m in transit to and from.  Half of my trip is spent in a subway tunnel where there is no signal.  So do I really need to boot up my cell for those 20 minutes each way where I can get a signal? 

Answer:  I don’t freakin’ think so.  I am not so indispensable that whatever it is can’t wait until I reach my destination.  And I do not use my cell to call people so I can amuse myself.  I actually hate chitchatting on the phone in general.  Because we live hundreds of miles apart, I talk to my parents about once a week to catch up.  But other than that, I never call anyone without a specific reason.  I’ve always been like that… I don’t know why.

When I’m on the train, I read my daily paper on the way to work, and my Sports Illustrated or Newsweek on the way home.  And I never forget to wear my MP3 player, primarily so I don’t have to listen to everyone else amusing themselves by blabbering on their cell phones!

“Can you hear me now?”

“Yes.  Now PISS OFF!”

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Adventures in Babysitting: Chapter 2

Well, it only took 4 years, but my brother asked me to baby-sit again.  Some of you may remember my first time babysitting my nephews, as rendered in The Funniest Story Ever Written (by Me).  It was a harrowing experience because it was my first (and as of today ONLY) experience of changing a diaper.

This time, my brother Ed and his wife had a wedding to go to near DC.  Lucky for me, Sammy is four and a half, and potty-trained.  There would be no more staring down of the poo.
The boys in Wildwood NJ, August 2009.

When I was out at Daniel’s 5th grade graduation, two weeks ago, he got an I-Pod as a present.  When I asked what music he likes, he stunned me by saying “80’s music.”  He specifically mentioned “You Give Love a Bad Name” and “Living on a Prayer” (Bon Jovi), “Letting the Days Go By” (Talking Heads), “Rock and Roll Train” and “You Shook Me” (AC/DC), “Don’t You Want Me Baby” (Human League), “Don’t You Forget About Me” (Simple Minds).

This is where having me as an uncle pays off.  So with that song list in mind, I loaded up a thumb drive with some other tunes I thought he might like.  Mostly they were songs like the Bon Jovi and AC/DC songs, rather than the New Wavy stuff.  I told Daniel the best songs are ones played by real people using real instruments.  Synthesizers should add a little snap, not carry the entire song.  Drums should be beaten, not programmed.

Anyway, we didn’t much get around to evaluating the songs because the boys were too eager to play some Family Room Soccer.  I love how kids just make up games and rules as needed.  They decided one boy would guard a big oversized chair and that would be the goal.  The other boy would try to kick a small, soft, stuffed ball past the goalie and hit the chair.  I played some of my handpicked songs on the PC while we played, but Daniel wasn’t really in the mood to dig on the music, so I didn’t press it.  There will be time…

You would think that the age difference between the boys would have been more of a factor, (4 and 11) but Sammy proved quite adept at kicking goals past his big brother.  The smack talk was fun to watch and Sammy had the line of the night, if you can call it that.

Daniel bent down, put his hands on his knees and said to Sam, “OK, show me what you got.”

Sam then turned around, put his hands on his knees, and farted with great gusto.  (Sorry, CB... “tooted”.)  Game, set and match to the Little One.  Their “grown-up” babysitter commenced to laugh his ass off.  Then Sammy began referring to his hardest shots as his “gas kicks.”

Sammy’s other favorite expression seems to be “nuts,” as in “Watch our for my nuts”, “Don’t hit my nuts”, “I got you in the nuts.”

He gets that from Daddy,” Daniel explained.

I cannot understate the impact that Daniel has on his little brother.  Sammy kept asking me to turn him upside down, which I do with a great flourish, before either setting him back on his feet, or dropping him on the couch.  As soon as I got him though, he’d squeal, “Daniel, save me!

Daniel is also The Law in the house.  Occasionally Sammy would get all wound up and kick me a little too hard, or continue to punch (as we’re playing) after I’d tell him to stop.  Of course, he wouldn’t stop.  Then Daniel would look up from his laptop game and go, “Sam!  Stop it.”  Then he’d give him the look… And Sam would stop like he just got unplugged. 

I was like, “I got me a Deputy!” 
Easter, 2009

We also had some fun playing with their foam broadswords.  Best of all, every time one of us got in a good shot, we’d get to quote from the Black Knight in Holy Grail.

Your arm’s off.”  “No it isn’t… it’s just a flesh wound.”

We had a nice dinner of Stouffer’s Lasagna, which filled and satisfied.  Sure takes a while to cook though… and hour and forty minutes??  I probably should have started it a little earlier.

Nothing of consequence really happened the rest of the night.  We put on Pirates of the Caribbean about 9, Daniel played Revolutionary War-era war games on his laptop, and Sammy fell asleep on me about 10:30.  Mom and dad were home by 11:30.  The children were alive, the house was unburned and best of all, there was no poo anywhere to be seen.

I hope it doesn’t take another 4 years before I get to watch the boys again.  I figure I don’t have more than another couple years before Daniel will be able to mind the store by himself.  I think I was maybe 13 when Mom and Dad would go out to dinner and leave me in charge.  But then it was on my watch that we knocked down the Christmas tree by horsing around in the living room.  I’m pretty sure, though, that Daniel is already more responsible than I was.  I blame his father. 

He never listened to me any more than Sammy does now. 

Favorite Political Cartoon of the Moment: (as collected from First Door on the Left.)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Great Flaming Jesus Afterglow

Now tell me that wouldn’t make a good band name…

Disclaimer:  If you found this post after searching on “Lawrence Bishop Drugs”, please be advised that you probably want the post immediately preceding this one.  Not that I wrote anything about drugs there either, but you will find my post on the Great Flaming Jesus Incident.

Holy crap, it’s been one interesting week.  Tuesday’s post about the 62-foot statue of Jesus getting hit by lightning and burning down drew the most hits I’ve ever gotten since I began this blog.  I have The Google to thank for that, because by sheer dumb-ass luck, I seemed to have figured out how to draw Google hits by doing something I’m sure everyone else that’s been blogging for more than 15 minutes already knows.

You know in the last post how I mentioned about a half-dozen Google searches I got hits from?  The mere fact that I listed them in the post brought a ton more hits from the same search. 

(brick drops on head…)  So if you use a phrase that Google suggests via drop-down menu when you search for something, it will bring your link under many, many noses and you will get many, many hits.  I’m sure it also helps that Blogspot is a Google-sponsored platform so they have an interest in promoting their affiliated sites.

I got 106 hits on the phrase “Lawrence Bishop Drugs” since Tuesday.  Yet I never wrote a single thing about the church pastor and drugs, other than quoting a blog hit I got from that particular search.  OMG, now I just did another one!  I better put a disclaimer up top.

You know, I think I read something about that in a “How to Blog” post, but it just struck me as artificial, so I never did it.  I couldn’t see myself stringing together a bunch of buzzwords and trying to build a post out of it.

However, I did like what this little quirk did for my weekly stats:
Welcome to “Spike City”.

I also got 33 hits via Facebook, but I have no idea how.  I never posted a link there.  I even tried to search it out myself and couldn’t find it, so I don’t know how anyone else did.

You all know I’m a stat-monster, so I’ve been just flipping over the hit tally.  (Hits = Popularity = Someone Loves Me.)  Now I get to go around for a week saying, “Hey, I just doubled my average hits per day this week, I’m pretty hot shit!  Where’s my pipe and smoking jacket?  Everyone in the hot tub!”

Yes, I know, with the low stats I usually have, how hard can it be to double traffic?  I know I’m still pretty low-rent, but it’s an improvement for me, and I’ll take it. 

What would really be cool is if some of the rent-a-hits would actually come back.  I’m not holding my breath though.  Only three that visited via searches left comments.  All were favorable, which surprised me.  I’m sure there must have been some Solid Rock Church supporters that found the post and went, “Glory be, am I ever in the wrong place…  This boy’s going straight to H-E-Double Hockeysticks, so I better click my ass out of here before I’m guilty by association.”

At first I thought the whole thing was going to be like that time Red Pen Mama wrote about the Health Care Reform debate and it got picked up by the Wordpress home page.  Then she got hundreds of hits and comments, many of which were hostile. 

Anyway, now we’ll have to see what becomes of Great Metal Jesus Skeleton.  I have a couple ideas for its use.

First, they could add some pistons and stuff and make it into a Terminator T-100 knockoff: “The Saviornator.”

Or on the other hand, they can weld some more shit onto it and make it like that big “Transformer Goalie” they have back in Pittsburgh, along the river.

Either option has got to be better than building another abomination like the one that just burned up.

In a very late and semi-related note, further evidence of the existence of a benevolent God came to pass last week, besides the smiting of the Touchdown Jesus:
(Image lifted from ThePensBlog a couple years ago.)

Congratulations to the Chicago Blackhawks for preventing the Stanley Cup from being defiled by that unwashed horde from Philadelphia.  Game Seven Cup-winning goal in overtime…  That’s divine intervention.

And for the Flyers fans, never let it be said that I am without compassion:

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Rest in Pieces

What a day this has been, here at the old D-Fish Command Center, a day in which justice has been served with some good old-fashioned fire and brimstone.

This morning, as I was poring over my “StatCounter” stats, I noticed that I was getting a lot of Google search hits on my post about the Solid Rock Church and their gargantuan Jesus statue: 

“Pastors Lawrence and Darlene Bishop criminals.”
“Lawrence and Darlene Bishop drugs.”
“Solid Rock church Monroe Ohio against Obama.”
“Lawrence Bishop Solid Rock church salary.”
“Tithing at Solid Rock Church.”

Must be big doin’s afoot,” I thought, but I was puzzled… “Why now?  All that is old news.

Then I came to: “Touchdown Jesus burns down.”  Wow…

So I did my own Google search.  First, I have to say I was thrilled because my piss-ant little blog actually showed up on the first search page.  Then I found the story I was looking for:

For a moment, my only thought was this:

Lighting.  From the sky.  How rich is the irony?  A bolt of lightning screams down from the heavens and smites this graven idol right between the eyes.  (Late edit:  OK, technically, according to witnesses, the lightning bolt hit the right hand.)
As far as "messages" go, this makes the ‘burning bush’ look like a backyard kiddie sparkler.

MSNBC picked it up and ran it under “News of the Weird,” although it was made up of the AP report.  The Enquirer had this video below on its website:

I emailed the story to my mom right away and she responded thusly: “Yes Sistas and Brothas, there IS a God and SHE hates schlock.”

You know that if something like this would have happened to a giant statue of some other non-Christian religious figure, or even a pop-culture or sports figure, the people in the Solid Rock Church would be hollering about it being the hand of God and Divine Retribution against false idols.

I wonder how they’re going to rationalize this, because it looks to me like a giant Fuck You Sandwich personally delivered to Mr. and Mrs. Bishop.  As I recall from my meager religious training, Jesus didn’t commission any 60-foot statues of himself.  He was a humble Dude that hung out with some fishermen.  He told people to love each other and give their time and money to the poor, not to build palatial estates in His name.  He spoke out against those that were using God’s word to make themselves look better.  You can see how Divine Retribution might be in order here.

Or, maybe He was up there in heaven talking to his old buddies…

Yo Pete, you see that big-ass statue of Me down there in Ohio?  Is my nose really that big?  And what’s with the karate outfit?  That doesn’t look like Me, that’s Barry Gibb on a bender.  Hey guys, watch this…”

“Now you see it… ZZZZZZZap!  Now you don’t.”

Now the thing looks like an outtake from The Transformers… “Optimus Referee.”
No longer scaring the shit our of little kids in the back seat.

In the AP story, Lawrence Bishop is quoted from 2004 as saying he was “trying to help people with the statue, not impress them.”

Hmmm.  Help people.  OK.  When exactly have you ever been in trouble and went, “Dammit, if only I had a 62-foot Jesus statue… that would fix everything?

Maybe it might be helpful if you were trying to scare the shit out of some drunk friends, but I’d have to think the $700,000 (it’s insured for) might be better used to do something a little more constructive.

Like burn down the rest of that fucking nest of parasites.  I think Jesus delivered a message of his own last night.

When I got home, I found that I wasn’t the only one that found this story.  I had 9 different emails, all directing me to this story on a variety of outlets.  They included my buddies Rik and John, with whom I first saw the statue, my brother-in-law Scotty who lives nearby, my sitcom friend Sitcom Kelly, and bloggers Katie from Unapologetically Mundane, Carpetbagger (who claims I have powers, and may be right), Gina from My Very Last Nerve, Jayme from Random Blogette, and regular commenter DG.

Thank you all for thinking of me.  I guess when one thinks if giant, ugly, scary statues, one naturally thinks of me!    Special thanks to Sitcom Kelly, allowing me to steal her comment for use as the title but not without credit.  Pictures are from the Cincinnati Enquirer.  Well, except  the Jesus Finger… I don’t remember where that’s from.