Thursday, November 1, 2012

Look Mommy I Joined A Group...And Everything!

Americans love groups and titles. We love belonging to something-hopefully hip and current, because this makes us feel warm and fuzzy as if wrapped up in our favorite blankie.

 I remember back in 2008/9 when President Obama attempted to retool healthcare he met with all sorts of criticism; much of it coming from his own party. His party detractors were called blue dogs which meant they were conservative democrats. When they came out of the woodwork to side with the republicans who were against the affordable care act President Obama was blindsided. In the beginning these representatives towed the party line during their primaries and election battles but drew their line in the sand at Obama's healthcare plan. In short they turned coat. I don't want to talk about the merits of what they did but rather I'd like to illuminate the smug demeanor they exuded whenever they were in front of a camera. An ear to ear grin spread across their faces as they proudly announced, "I'm a blue dog!" At the time the blue dogs got heaps of media ink and face time. This caused some of the otherwise unknown representatives to become--known. They belonged to a group and the group had a title.

The next big movement was the Tea Party movement. We all remember how the movement began from a kernel of anger; grew to mass protests and rallies and expanded to where it is today; within government. The movement grew rapidly as successful movements do. From a spark to a flame and all that. It feels good to be swept up in a movement and what better way to feel fully soaked in the bath of vindication than when hordes of like-minded people join your effort? (Or your bubble bath).

I remember a tea party rally outside the grocery store where I shop. A caucasian gentlemen in his sixties shouted, "Obama should go back to Africa!" When our eyes locked he was staring at an expressionless two hundred pound black man twenty years his junior. He became uncomfortable, looked away and moved closer to the herd. I'm not a tea partier but I believe that they are committed to whatever it is they believe in. As I watched the rally and read the placards I couldn't help but feel that the stronger emotion may have been about belonging to a group--a group with a title. For how many tea partiers have truly put forth an articulate version of their doctrine beyond  'we're gonna take the county back!' Back from who? Back to where? Back to what era?

Today the group-flavor of the month is the undecided voter or 'the undecideds'. They are the current headline usurpers. In fact they were in the sought after seats at the recent town hall presidential debate. After the debate smoke cleared my wife and I watched the post debate focus group of 'geez-I-still-dunno-ers' . And boy oh boy, the facial smuggery of the undecideds was elephantine. Every face read: my vote is the most coveted vote in America and I know it is true because I'm on television. How many times did they mention, "I just don't feel that the governor spoke to me." Or "I'm just not hearing what the president will do for me."

The richter scale of nausea blew two gaskets and a piston. I can just see these folks on election night. Starved for more media attention as they wait in line at the polling station they'll scour the crowd for a reporter shouting, "Gosh darn it I'm still undecided because neither candidate is speaking to meeeeeeeeee!" I put it to those who claim undecided-ry that ninety percent of you have actually--decided. For the love of christmas, kwanza, hanukkah and all other yule tide-y holidays please move on ye of faux undecided-ry. Because though you feel the President may not be speaking to you, we hear you loud and clear and we're tired of listening.

Let's be honest this is just an extension of  the 'fifteen minutes of fame' syndrome. The undecided voter is dead center of the spotlight and also holds heavy sway over what direction this county moves in. Thus he/she feels powerful. To be fair one can relate to the intoxication but only to a point. For we are in an era of citizens united; the supreme court decision that grants carte blanche to corporations and unions as far as how much money they can throw at candidates. In other words the whole 'one man, one vote' scenario of yesteryear has lost its sex appeal since the judges handed down the ridiculous verdict. So we get it Mr. and Mrs. Undecided but come now, you know what you're going to do on November 6th, so until then pipe down.

 I'm not claiming that one cause is better than another but modern man's need to be part of a group has been given an Armstrong-ian steroid shot. There is too much mob mentality going on here. What is everyone afraid of? Are we that lonely? Why do so many people need a group security blanket? What ever happened to a man being a man and a woman being a woman? Doesn't anybody remember Chuck Norris as Lone Wolf McQuade? Have we truly forgotten Sigourney Weaver in the  Alien movies? Granted when we were kids we all wanted to be picked to play on a team (and hopefully not picked last) but we're all grown up now. Let's act like it. The danger of mob-think is that independent thought is lost and rational thought can be thinned to the point of "Ah, what were we fighting for again?" Work with others, be kind to others hell, join others but remember that's its o.k. to think outside the box and its just as o.k. to BE outside the box.

And if you want to have fun with all of this jazz walk up to a tea partier and tell him your'e an 'Espresso Expressionist' and that you're taking the universe back. Locate a 'blue dog' and call him what he really is; a conservative.  And then tell him that you are a Blue Pony and that you believe in healthcare for all americans with the exception of blue dogs. And last find an 'undecided' and tell them that you are a 'Decidedly Decided' who knows exactly who your'e going to vote for.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Yoga Practice...and its plot to wipe out christianity, one downward dog at a time

A group of parents that reside in Encinitas California are outraged. Their children attend Flora Vista Elementary school and the school is engaged in a practice that the parents will not stand for. Furthermore they are considering suing the school. No, the teachers aren't beating the kids; thank God and no, the staff aren't feeding the kids high fructose corn syrup portions by the ladle-full. What's going on there is perhaps even worse, in the eyes of these parents. The school...wait for teaching the children yoga! Nooooooo!

These parents take their religious practice darned seriously and by golly they feel that yoga, a practice  drenched in Hinduism threatens their children's religious beliefs. They've got themselves a lawyer and they're flexing just about every legal muscle they've got. And did I mention they've got a pastor on board as well? Ah, but of course they do. Oh sweet fanaticism how I love thee.

What have we got here? Let's break it down. By now we all know that California is approximately a ten times more litigious state than any other in the union. So the lawsuit piece ain't no big revelation.  But yoga threatening christianity? Really? This is a case of one of man's biggest driving emotions: fear. (Which is kinda timely what with halloween around the corner and all). But this is fear; fear that the hardcore teachings from parent to child will be diluted, distorted and dismantled and thus control will be lost. The parents will have lost control of the doctrine that their children have been raised under.

The bigger picture of fear is that as with many religions people have a posture that 'my religion is better than yours and I fear that yours will grow larger than mine and eventually wipe it out.' You don't buy it? Just look at history from the crusades right on up to the conflicts of today. Now before you go throwin' your crumpled up Starbucks coffee cup at your tablet-phone-monitor-pod-pad in anger...settle. I'm not bashing religion rather I am attacking many-a-man's application of his interpretation  of religion. Getting back to fear, the message I recall from the good Book is that fear is something to be cast out. It is not something that calls for the creation of an angry mob with legal lackeys in tow.

 Take Bob and Martha and son Timmy for example; do Bob and Martha quake in their boots that a situation like this might arise?:

"Mom, dad I'm a changed nine year old."

"How so Timmy?"

"Well after moving from a sun salutation I eased into an upward dog. From there I melted into a downward dog, took a deep breath and jumped forward into standing-forward-bend. It was then, as I came up slowly and slid into mountain-pose that it hit me, pow! I'm no longer feeling the fire or the brimstone. I'm done with christianity. Bring on hinduism. Matter of fact let's just get straight to full-on  debauchery!"

"Goodness gracious no, Timmy! Say it isn't so! Damn you yoga, damn you to hell!"

Or let's not forget Hal and Ethel and their fine young son ironically also named, Timmy:

"Mom, dad meet me in Pop's den in five will ya."

"What is it Timmy, why have you called this meeting?"

"Today at school we did this thing called yoga and--"

"That's it! Marsha, get the shyster on the blower," Hal demands.

"Hear me out Pops," Timmy pleads. "As I sat in the lotus position I focussed on my breathing and--"

"Breathing? Those heathen soaked blasphemers!"

"Steady Ma. Anyway, as I sat in my lotus position it hit me, pow! Me and christianity are through baby."

"Timmy, I will not have you using the word 'baby' that way. Any more bombs you want to drop on your poor mother and me?"

"Actually yeah Pop, uncle Roger, your twin brother, ah, he's gay. He told me so when he bought me my first yoga mat."

"Damn you yoga, damn you to hell!"

Alright perhaps these examples are a tad extreme but come on y'all this is crazy what these parents want to do. And you'd better beware of the slippery slope because if yoga is a demon then Tai Chi practitioners  better start circling their slow moving wagons because they're sure to be next. The headline of the local rag will read 'Tai Chi forces combative buddhism on fourth graders by force. Parents unite!'

Listen kooks, raise your kids the way you want to but don't fear the yoga. Yoga is about tranquility, breathing, meditation and a whole host of other positive things. And at the risk of getting hung up on semantics yoga actually predates Hinduism. Heed your good Book's words and cast fear out. And here's how you can do it: When something scares you take a breath (pun totally intended) and learn, research, study, inquire, hell enquire while you're at it. And then proceed. Because if you'd opened your minds and opened your hearts you would come to learn that yoga is not the foe, it is the friend. Lastly, the bible does not read 'thou shalt be totally litigious whence living in California at all times' so stop running to your lawyer every time you get spooked. Love thy neighbor, don't fear him. We're all God's children and that includes those who do the praying mantis.

So be good sweet citizens of Encinitas or I'll dust off my 1980's yoga unitard, squeeze my two hundred pound frame into it and come trick or treating as a yogi to your house...And you thought yoga was scary? Boo!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fashion Sense? Wave your freak tag...

O.K. so we've all heard me rail against some youths and their proclivity for wearing their pants far too low- what they refer to as sagging. Let's be serious they look as though they've had an accident in their jeans for heaven's sakes. But my next issue is one that I shant rail against however, one does have questions.

I looked out my window this morning to see this Cat (dude) wearing a brand new pair of what we once referred to as sneakers. (Later on we called them running shoes and then after that I was out of the game. I mean I still wear em' but I don't know what the kids call them.) At any rate I knew the 'sneakers' to be new because Junior still donned the tag which was attached near the tongue. This could be seen as an over sight on his part but I say nay, for I've seen a couple of Cats do this now.

Which brings me to my question: Why? Why do they leave the tag on? If a women leaves a tag on her Vera Wang dress its because she either wants us to see what she's wearing (and can afford) or she's 'borrowing' it from the store and plans on returning it. But what of Junior? Is this meant to be a status symbol? And if so shouldn't the fact that we can all recognize the three stripes as addidas be sufficiently indicative as to the level of his status? In other words; brand new addidas--we get it Junior.

I certainly hope he doesn't think that he can pull the Vera Wang style 'borrowing' act and return the shoes at the end of his romp to 7-11. Maybe he just wants to convey how 'fresh' he is. (Apologies for the 'fresh' word which dates back to 1985). But I'm at a loss here, I just can't grasp this one. To me it says 'hey everybody can you guess where I was fifteen minutes ago? That's right losers I just rolled outta JC Penny y'all." Junior, there's got to be more. Is it merely a reminder that the shoe with the tag goes on the right foot? O.K. that was a cheap shot, even for me, I take it back with utmost sincerity...and a slight giggle.

But it isn't just sneakers, I've seen Cats do this with baseball hats, which I believe are affectionately known as 'lids'. A ha! I have it. The other day I walked into a deli and an employee said, 'Nice kicks' to me referring to my shoes. I get it now. These youths today keep the tags so that they can work them into rap songs. Check it out:

I got my kicks and my lid and they got tags
I got my levi's doin' the sweet, sweet sag
Now all I gots to do is avoid da body bag

No? Anybody? Hello? Well that's it that's all I've got. I can't for the life of me comprehend why Junior and his ilk keep the tags on their merchandise. And the bigger question is when does one cut the tag? When does Junior release the tag as he would a white dove back into the wild to soar for ever more? As soon as one notices a scuff mark? When one has knocked back 14 big gulps within a 15 day period? Or does Junior wait until the gal of his dreams, say Bertha perhaps, agrees to go on a date with him? And if so do he and Bertha cut the tag together like a mayoral ribbon cutting?

Well, until the day comes that Junior reveals the mystery behind the tag conundrum the rest of us in society shall have to soldier on. We cannot lose sleep over this bizarre fashion craze. We cannot form focus groups and think tanks that will only result in feeble attempts at finding reason to this quirky phenomenon. We've got to move forward in a sane and peaceful way. So, check your tire pressure, hold the door for a stranger and keep cold beer in your fridge and together we'll get through this. Until next we meet; peace, love and remain tag-less at all costs.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Carpe Diem Baby, Never Too Old To Rock The 'Hawk...

The first time I had a mohawk I was 25 years old. One night I went to a bar on my own and in no time flat someone chucked an ice cube at me. I looked around and saw nothing. Then it happened again. By the third time I saw a table of 5 dudes in matching Lacoste shirts laughing it up. Thus, I gave them the finger. Suddenly they turned serious. One of them, in a light green variety of aforementioned shirt, walked up to my table. Keep in mind I had no illusions, disillusions or delusions for that matter that I could actually take these five guys but hey, I was 25 and damn it I wasn't going down without a fight.

Two bouncers with a combined weight of over 485 lbs. shadowed the guy coming to my table. This was good because it put the two buick-sized bouncers between this preppy fool and his neat chums. I was going to stand but then realized that would have been confrontational. In fact, when I stayed put and remained calm I could see him hesitate half a beat. They may have had the numbers but I my mitts, my boots,  a 22 ounce beer mug with heft, a bar stool and only four people between me and then back exit.

He smiled briefly and then spread his hands wide. Then to my pleasant surprise he actually apologized. He said that they were a couple of hockey players in town blowin' off steam and that they weren't used to seeing guys with mohawks.

"But when you do see 'em you throw ice cubes at 'em?" I asked.

"I know, sorry about that it was stupid."

We shook hands and all was good. I got a nod from the bigger of the two bouncers just prior to them melting back into the sea of patrons. I only kept the mohawk for about a month because in that time three other situations similar in nature to the one mentioned above, occurred. That was two times too many for me. 

Flash forward to 2011 and we have mohawk version number two. Was I too old for the look? Probably, but I'm happy to say that mohawk part-deux brought nothing but smiles (ok maybe not from my wife), compliments, reluctantly polite comments and straight ahead rock and roll. (As can be witnessed in the above photos). I never intended to keep the look into my twilight years, it was more of a lark; and a fun-filled awesome one at that. Call it mohawk-zen-full-circle or mohawk-closure. Hell, call it silly for all I care but the bottom line is life is short and if a guy can play rock while rockin' a mohawk in his mid-forties, then dang it I wanna know that guy...I wanna be that guy. I am that guy! And if you want to rock a mohawk, don a tight Lacoste shirt in a smashing lavender-teal combo color or serenade your babe in nothing but boxers and cowboy boots from the highest rooftop I say carpe diem long as nobody gets hurt.

**Incidentally the hockey team those fun-lovin' cut-ups played on was the Toronto Maple Leafs circa 1989-90-ish. Sorry Leafs but that 195 pound brother of yesteryear with the racing stripe down the center of his head was not only chalk full of piss, vinegar and not too much sense, he was a Vancouver Canucks dudes didn't have a chance!

Friday, October 12, 2012

And The Winner Is...

Ah yes debate time again. It doesn't feel like four years have passed since President Obama went up against John McCain or Joe Biden took on Sarah 'also too' Palin. But here we are. When the smoke cleared after President Obama faced Governor Romney the majority...o.k. all of the punditry declared Romney the winner. It was a contest. America likes contests. There can only be one winner and on the day that winner was Mitt Romney. No argument here however what stuck in my craw was that every media outlet from television; newspapers to radio played this thing like it was a sporting event.

We've got tons of sporting events to choose from-the top gun at the moment being NFL football. But American politics specifically the Presidential election should be taken a little more seriously than, "Hey dude who won the Packers game yesterday?" "...Oh yeah and who won the debate?" The 'winner' of the election goes on to be (or remain) the leader of the free world. Them there ain't small potatoes folks.

This attitude of 'fun sport' was evidenced by the polls. Prior to the Obama/Romney debate President Obama led the polls by an 8 point margin. Following the 'contest' Romney came out a 4 point leader.(According to the PewResearch Center). Unless my math is fuzzy (as it can be) that is a 12 point swing after just 90 minutes of debate moderated by a near powerless moderator. (Sorry Jim Lehrer you seem like a good guy just not quite as sharp a moderator as one needed to be...oh, and sorry about potentially being fired if Romney is the next Commander in Chief). Ninety minutes and a massive number of people are swayed? Have you been under a rock for the last four years? Did you not see any of the Republic primaries? It took you until now to know/decide who you may or may not vote for?

Why is this? Is it because the candidates are so similar you're left confused...until a 90 minute t.v. show paints a clear picture? A 12 point shift all because of one debate, really? I didn't buy it at first but then upon further thought and musing I realize that we are largely a nation of sports-fans. The media bills the debates that way and we sop it up like drunks drinking spillage off the bar when the bartender turns his back. "Who won? Who lost? Ooh Ahh."

Let's look at foreign policy. Let's take Joe Biden and Paul Ryan on the subject of Iran. One side claims they have the allies on board and the sanctions plan in place. The other side comes perilously close to declaring war on Iran. And YOU mister sports-fan just want to know who won the debate; who won the talkie-contesty-thingy. Get serious America because this is serious business. This could mean war...AGAIN!

Many feel that Joe Biden won last night's debate and that this should bolster President Obama for the next debate and so on. Winners, losers, competition. This stuff is not a game sports-fans it's real life. The expression 'game of life' is just that, an expression. This is the real McCoy, the real deal, the bacon and the eggs! (O.k. I need to work on that last one) but hopefully the point is clear. We are talking about jobs here at home; Europe in financial crises and the potentiality  of war...AGAIN. I'm not alarmed that the media packages it this way for I expect the media to be useless, hell I damn near count on it. But we are the people. We are the  citizenry and as such we need to take an interest; we need to give a sh**! Read a newspaper, both local and foreign; watch a news source outside of Fox and CNN. Try the BBC or Al jazeera. And regardless of whether you lean left or right check out what the other side is saying, don't just listen to the sweet sounds of your own choir. Get involved, get informed and let's get busy. And then feel free to crack that beer, put the feet up and see what the time honored grid iron game of football brings on any given Sunday. Home of the brave y'all.

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Sistine Chapel

My wife and I were in Rome recently. And I'm here to tell you that this city is more beautiful than people say it is. The visuals are beyond incredible; and I don't even know if that's proper English. The most pleasant surprise for me was the Sistine Chapel. Originally I didn't really want to visit the Vatican. Give me the sights, the architecture and wrap it all up with the Colosseum and a few Italian beers and I'm good to go. But they tell me a good marriage consists of compromise and I believe 'em. I wanted the Colosseum; the wife the Vatican alas, we did both. We found a three hour tour (which incidentally is two hours beyond my usual limit...but when in Rome...) and away we went. As expected we joined just shy of three million other tours and crowded through gorgeous buildings with gorgeous paintings and sculptures etc.

It was hot; there were far too many people; our group kept having to stop for numerous head counts and we always lost someone. You wouldn't have believed we were an adult group. And when I stated as much I got a few laughs. Being one who likes to entertain himself I tossed out a few more corny jokes; hell, in my mind I was a regular Rodney Dangerfield.

When we got to the last leg of the tour our guide along with several P.A. announcements in every language told us there were to be just two rules, count 'em two, regarding entry into the Sistine Chapel. Number one: no pictures whatsever-no cameras, no cell phone pics, not even a 1970's child's viewfinder; nothing! Rule number two: absolute silence, no talking, no whispering. Don't even think out loud.

Everybody nods, everybody is on board, everybody gets it. We enter. The room is dark and cooler than the rest of the tour. This is to preserve the art work and centuries old paint. The place has maybe 800 people in it. The security guards of which there were many tell everyone to be quiet because it's difficult not to exclaim  something upon entry. This was the most amazing sight I'd ever seen. To see it in books and movies ain't nothin' baby. I was moved. This was the closest I'd ever been to witnessing a miracle. I could have stared for an hour. That was until my fellow man let me down to a depth that I was almost moved to violence. People started talking. They were shushed. People started sneaking pictures. Security came calling and reminded them of rule number two. My immediate thought was that perhaps people didn't understand. Nope, turns out the world over understands 'shush' but then pipes right up again. I then thought it was the younger generation. And it was but it was not only them it was cats even older than me. I caught the eye of a dude in his 50's taking a picture with a flash. I signaled for him to knock it off and he just looked at me defiant. His look said 'what are you going to do about it?' I nearly throttled him...but I'm not a violent guy. I could not believe that the beauty that was on the ceiling was unable to move people to observe and enjoy; to soak it all in.

WHY? I asked myself. By the time I left I had my answer. We live in a time where people of all colors, cultures and genders have a universal feeling of ME-ism. It's all about me. If I want to talk before this amazing wonder of the world than I shall. If I want to take a picture regardless of your rules, I shall. It is 2012 and it's about my freedom, my desires, my entitlement; its all about ME! There I was a rough and tumble rocker who didn't really want to be there in the beginning and I was moved to awe. Awe, I tell you. . You might be thinking 'hey, maybe others were not moved like you were'. And to this I say, fine. But during the parts of the tour or any other tour I've attended where I wasn't awed I didn't and I don't break the rules. What am I a toddler? And why don't I break those rules? Because it's not all about me. If you're didggin' it then have at er' and I won't disturb you. People don't want to play by the rules anymore. Doing what you want and getting what you want seems to be applauded in today's society and ladies and gentlemen it sickens me. Word to the wise, or rather, word from the wise to you dummies; respect it! Whether you understand it or not; respect it!

Eventually I calmed my nerves which was easy to do when one gazes at that ceiling and when one is accompanied by his hot wife. The very last stop was a fifteen minute jaunt to the gift shop. The Vatican is down with commerce apparently. Lo and behold at the back of the shop which was chalk full of the tackiest jazz you'd ever see was a tiny espresso bar which had beer. Suddenly the world was becoming good again. I tossed out another corny joke about me, the Pope and beer. Then I purchased a Peroni beer and took a long, hard well deserved pull. The beer half done I turned to my wife and said, "Babydoll, I love the Vatican!"

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Say Anything...An Olympic Committee Gets It Right

I'm not usually a fan of Olympic Committees but when they get it right, they deserve their due. Greek triple jumper Voula Papachristou made a racist tweet which she claims was a joke and has paid the ultimate price for it. Her tweet: "With so many Africans in Greece, the West Nile mosquitoes will be getting home food." On the surface you may think that this joke is merely in 'bad taste' but it is her political affiliation that shines a light on the depth of her racist leanings. She fully supports Golden Dawn a former far-right party with roots hostile toward immigrants and when a former Golden Dawn spokesman struck a female MP in the face Papachristou pledged a tweet of support.

I'd like to look at the climate of the day in many parts of the world. People today talk of freedom. They talk of their right to do this and their right to do that. This belief in rights sadly has been ginned up to the next level, and that is the level of entitlement. I initially thought the entitlement banner was flown solely by the younger generation but people of all ages, sizes and colors are holding the banner high. I'm amazed as of late how many grown-ups, some older than me who talk on their cell phones in a movie, or cut someone off to secure a parking space and then give the victim attitude. Or the smartly dressed woman in her late 50's who I held the door for looked me dead in the eye and said nothing. When I sarcastically said, 'you're welcome' she gave me the 'how dare you' look. As if it was my job to hold the door for her.

Here is where I'm going. Voula Papachristou, upon receiving many negative tweets in response to her comments replied, "That's how I am. I laugh. I'm not a CD to get stuck!! And if I make mistakes I don't press the replay! I press play and move on!!!" This is exhibit A of entitlement. The kicker is that when she truly knew that the sh** had completely hit the fan she later began, like so many (usually politicians) of this group to back pedal and apologize. "I'm sorry if I...blah, blah...I apologize for...blah, blah"...and so forth and so on.

Let's venture into her psyche shall we? We all know of Greece's financial troubles. History tells us that when money flows and everyone lives high on the hog (most) everybody is happy. But when the chips are down what happens? Scapegoats are born. I'm sure she and many others blame crooked politicians, banks, the United States, Germany and let us not forget; the onslaught of immigrants for their current dismal state. That is where the racism may or may not have been born. Take an elite athlete who is a person in a privileged position. The country is broke but Papachristou has the support to train for four years; has access to the finest training facilities and coaches not to mention the best foods high in nutrition and finally, passage to London. This elite status may have lead to her entitlement trait.

But as luck would have it one little racist tweet brought the entire racist/entitlement house of cards tumbling down because as I said earlier she's paid the ultimate price. The Hellenic Olympic Committee along with the Greek government has pulled her card. She has been kicked off the Olympic team. She will not be wearing the uniform and representing her country and I for one could not be happier. Justice being rare these days makes it even sweeter to behold when it is served.

To Voula Papachristou I'd like to say this. Many African immigrants are in your country because they have fled famine, oppression, wars and worse. The bulk of them merely seek a better life. Can they be seen as a burden to your economy? At times, perhaps sure. But they cannot be blamed for the depth of sh** your economy is in. The problem was greed. The problem was that useless politicians took their eye off the ball. For, when the storm was brewing the great deciders of your parliament did sweet fu** all about the hell that was coming. And as far as your talent as a triple jumper, this should be seen as a gift. The fact that your country supported you in a time when your countrymen and women were without jobs and losing their homes, should also be seen as a gift. Not something you are entitled to.

I don't dispute the fact that one has the right to tweet just about anything they want. But having the right does not mean that you are in the right and sometimes there's a little thing called consequence. And sometimes a not-so-heartfelt apology, well after the fact can be too little too late. So, Voula please take this time to learn humility and learn what it is to be empathetic because we're all in this game of life together, baby.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Hot Pursuit...comin' up back in the day

Ah, you kids have it so easy in today's dating world. In my day we had to work our tails off to attain comfort from the opposite sex. Picture a time (the 1980's) where the single guy had but one venue to meet a girl; the bar. You dudes today might think, 'how hard could it have been? You'd walk into a bar, order a drink and chat up a girl.' Ha! I say, there was so much more to it.

First of all you were early twenties which meant you either flipped burgers at a crappy restaurant or you swung a hammer or did some other exploitative physical labor job. You'd put blood, sweat and tears in for two weeks until the second Friday of the month when you got your check. Great! Or Bonus! as we used to say. You'd head to the bank and cash half of it and bank the rest. Then you'd blast downtown and buy a sweet shirt.($$$). This will be your Friday night shirt...and possibly Saturday. Next, you'd whip back home to eat, shower and iron your new shirt. (no need to wash it-it's new). Tonight is the night. Drinking and driving was fast becoming frowned upon as Mothers Against Drunk Drivers were gaining serious momentum. Thus, you'd call a cab. (More $$$).

Now you're at the bar. Things look good-plenty of talent. You've got the snazzy shirt and a couple o' bucks in the wallet; which you don in the back pocket of your tight levi 501's as that was the look of the day. You're about to meet your future girlfriend and you've got to make a good impression. This takes half decent dialogue-so you move to the bar to loosen up. Two drinks-in your meet a girl. Your dialogue isn't too smooth but she's still hangin' with you. It's time to buy her a drink lest she move off to a competitor who also dons the same loaded back pocket wallet. The conversation flows nicely and why wouldn't it? The shirt and  the drinks are doing what they're supposed to.

Suddenly her girlfriend shows up. You buy her a drink too as is gentlemanly custom. After one, they thank you for the drinks and move on. After a tequila shot for courage you head to the booth they now inhabit and take another crack at the first girl by asking her to dance.What dame can say no to Bon Jovi's 'Living On A Prayer?' She agrees but shuts it down immediately after the song's finale because she dances far better than you and would rather cut the rug with her girlfriend. You slide back over to the bar. You're exposed. Everyone has seen you strike out. It's either cut your losses and head home to watch crappy MTV videos or have two more cocktails and get back in the game. You choose the latter. Another gal sidles up. You dive in. Dialogue is faster. You do your best to hide your slur, but its o.k. because she's three banana daiquiris deep herself. You not only keep her in banana daqs, you make her laugh-once again; bonus! Over the sound system comes the 'last call' announcement. Awesome, she wants another drink and a shot for the road. You ignore the fact that your paycheck is thinning to the point of anorexia because she's obviously working her courage up to let you have...another kind of payday. The two of you tumble into a taxi. Your kissing, pawing and groping all the way to her apartment. Finally, she pulls away and scribbles her phone number on a napkin. She pops the car door and with a giggle shuts it behind her. You offer to walk her to the door but she vehemently declines. You watch her fumble for keys until she finds them and falls into her apartment. The cab driver says, 'tough luck buddy' with sincerity. This garners him a good tip. (more $$$).

Tonight's not the night but hey, you got a phone number and you're feeling like a million bucks. That is until you look down at the napkin and discover she's only scribbled out 5 numbers. And that's it. You and whatshername are done. With drinks, sweet shirt and taxis, you've blown threw half of your cash. You now have 3/4 of your check to live off for the the next two weeks...and rent will be rearing it's ugly head in no time. But guess what? You're not a quitter, you don't cut and run. You're going to wash that shirt, hang it up and yank it out next Friday and hit the bars all over again because its all about the game- it's all about chicks. And that's how tough we had it. But this pursuit; this life of sacrifice and struggle did something: It taught us life lessons and built a strong character within. (Sounds like a stretch but I'm on a roll here).

But you kids today have the luxury of going online with your Match.coms and your Hook Me Up.coms, where you parade with impunity to peer at truck loads of pictures and profiles to pick the partner of your dreams/lust with the simple click of the mouse. Do I wish I had it this easy in my day like you youngsters do today? Not a chance. Because as a result of how it was when we were 'comin' up' we learned about finance. We also learned that when you get a sweet dame, you hang on to her, (provided she gives you all seven digits plus the area code of her phone number). And when it comes to fashion a sweet shirt is good but may not be enough. And although we may have worn our jeans a little too tight we at least knew that our belts were meant to hold the pants up, not a means to cinch the denim low at crotch level so that we could show our asses to the world. 

But go ahead Youngsters and enjoy your lives of ease, and your dating world of non-effort. Bask in your hook-up seas of layabout-ery and cyber match-making. For us old school Cats who've moved on from the bar scene embrace our current lives with honor and relish our memories of hot pursuit with pride and nobility.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Re-Seal The Deal

It's been a few months now but I can't seem to shake the break up between Seal and Heidi Klum. Before you rush off to another blog post, hold the phone. I'm not saying my heart aches for those two crazy kids, but it's the whole renewing of the marital vows that causes me to shake my head with knitted brow. For those of you outside the celebrity loop, the former happy couple used to renew their marriage vows every year.

'Gag us with a spoon', to borrow a quote from the San Fernando Valley circa 1980's. Alas, the self indulgent public display of a perfect marriage could not be saved by the ritual. Let's be honest, doesn't this fall into the same category of 'me thinks ye doth protest too much?" But, slightly amended to 'me thinks ye doth renew too much because thine marriage days are numbered'. The move also belongs in the 'look at us, we're blowhards in need of severe attention' category.

But let's peel back the layers of this decadent onion shall we, for I am curious as to how it works? The vow, for example. Do you write new vows or do you roll with the originals? If the original vow(s) is working for you, don't change it, right? However, ripping through the same old vow would become tedious to say the least, would it not? And what about the wedding party? Do you invite the same people every year? We all know how sensitive and down right stupid people can get over this lovely day. Keeping the roster the same would insure that no one is offended. And do the bridesmaids want to be bridesmaids every year? One would hope that Heidi Klum, the queen of Project Runway would no doubt put her gal pals in some sweet threads to be sure. Or, would it be a pain in the ass for the ladies to have to head back to the treadmill every 6 months prior to the ceremony seeing as they'll be standing beside a former super model...every year...Gee thanks.

And what about the wedding band? Do Seal's guys get the gig? And if they do, do they have to do it for free as a good gesture to their boss? That would suck for them. Do you know how much a wedding band can charge for a celebrity wedding? And if Seal's guys don't get the gig are they insulted? "What, aren't we good enough for you?" They'd ask. And what if you're some wedding band plucked out of the yellow pages? You're the lead singer all fired up at the prospect of singing to Victoria's Secret models when it dons on you that you'll be singing for Seal! Doh! Talk about pressure.

And now onto the the caterer. If you're the caterer you've probably had to low ball your estimate to get the gig. So now you've got a celebrity client who no doubt will need special, shall we say, maintenance and there you are getting short changed. Yet, all the other catering companies envy you. This in turn forces you to play it up at cocktail parties with other caterers. It's just good business after all. (And as an aside, who caters the caterers party anyway?)

So where are we at? We have a yearly display of 'look how much in love we are and for the love of god, pleeeeeease envy us!' We have a wedding party that if surveryed I bet would come down around 65% don't want to be there. We have a boat load of employees; the wedding band, caterers etc. who need the gig, even if they have to take it in the shorts financially. Roll all of this into a sandwich of attention getting, red carpet wannbe-ism only to find that its done; the party is literally over.

The Bottom Line

Don't sicken others with exaggerated public displays of affection and numerous vow renewals you're just putting your relationship behind the eight ball. But, if you must put us all through your decadent fantasy make sure to put the bridesmaids in nice digs and pay your employees a decent buck. But who are the winners here? The guys, dolls, men and women on the outside that's who. The everyday John and Jane Doe. The people who go about their business keeping it real day in and day out who become mildly amused and slightly irritated by celebrity stories like these. I'm talking about me and You! We are the norm. Stay strong ye of the non-renew and single-vow for, a true vow need only be sworn...once.

Monday, January 30, 2012

When We Were King's

The sanity tank of this world is fast becoming depleted. Yesterday I was witness a scene, or phenomenon if you will, so grave that it is imperative that I share it with you. It was yet another beautiful day in sunny SoCal so my wife and I went hiking. We were in a fairly populated area so 'hellos' and 'good mornings' were abundant. It seems everybody's cup is half full during a hike away from the daily grind.
Suddenly, and without warning we a came across three 20-something women and a little dog. I'm no dog whisperer, nor dog expert but if I were testifying in a court of law I'd say the k-9 was a brussels griffon. American Kennel claims that this breed is charming, curious and makes for a good companion dog. I, for one am not here to dispute their assessment. Rather, I must tell you that I was darn near overtaken by shock when I saw one of the three ladies carrying the dog. I mean heaven forbid that the poor doggie-soul should have to suffer and walk upon its own four legs in the great outdoors! Why, a pack of rabid coyotes could attack in broad daylight and assault the little guy. Or a giant eagle having not fed for a fortnight could swoop down and pluck up the little brussely rascal. Or worse yet, the dog might harm his cute little paws and claws on the incredibly smooth sandy man made path.
This is a new world people. A world where the dog's new natural habitat is the great indoors; a cozy prada purse or a $1200 down filled doggie bed. To quote the once great...ok half decent, Charlie Sheen, the dog is 'winning!' And man is swimming in a dark sea of subservient patheticism. (My word, poetic license and all that)
As I struggled to recover from my shock I convinced myself that what I witnessed was a fluke, a one-off if you will. Alas, my cloud of optimism was burst into a million tiny fragmants not ten minutes later when we came upon two more women; one carrying a chihuahua-something-mix. And to add insult to injury; to poke fun at the fact that my (and your) position on the food chain is dropping like a rock the little chihuahua looked at me smugly as if to say, 'hey there bipod how goes that activity that causes you to huff, puff, sweat and yearn for a cold beer?' In fact, I could have sworn he even...chuckled at me in that doggie way they sometimes do.
My wife and I scampered the remaining 400 yards of our hike, climbed into my truck and headed to the pub for a pint. We toasted briefly and then let the ice cold sweet nectar run down our throats to comfort our very souls. And it was then that I took pride in man's progress for the k-9 can't saddle up to a bar and order himself a doggie treat...not yet anyway. As long as we have cold pints waiting at the end of long hikes it is we who are 'winning'! But, dang is it ever a close race. Stay strong people and watch your 6, for man's best friend no longer has designs of wiping out the cat...nay, he's coming...for you!