Reality and Sanity

May 31, 2007

The Joy of Working Days

Filed under: General Nonsense, Self-Absorbtive Tendencies — Paul @ 8:34 pm

For nearly all of the period between November 1985 and March 2006, I held second or third shift jobs. There were certain advantages: limiting the expense of bar hopping and other (ahem) entertainment. Another was that I could arrange any appointments, do any needed shopping or play golf! during the day hours, completely missing the day crowd after-work rush. I also appreciated not sitting in traffic heading to or leaving from work.

One former coworker joked that we were all vampires and had to race home after a late night to avoid getting dissolved by the sunlight hitting our skin.

I was the quintessential night owl; staying up very late and sleeping late in the morning. I loved it.

There were drawbacks…like missing most Monday Night Football games, missing a whole generation of prime-time shows, and missing beautiful summer and fall sunsets.

Now, I work a job that requires me to arrive at 6am. So I still get to avoid the morning traffic.

I’ve found there are simple pleasures in a daytime shift that are far better than the constant working nights.

First, while I was on nights I noticed that regular workplace employees in general look on second-shift workers as second class: less skilled, more mistake-prone, and generally lazy. That isn’t necessarily true, but often, the perception is the reality to some people.

When I switched to days at some of these jobs, it seemed that I suddenly became smarter, harder working, and more dependable, even though I hadn’t changed inwardly or outwardly not one iota.

So being on days in my current job has been a boon to me among my coworkers.

Second, I can now see what I’ve been missing in televised broadcast media. Unfortunately, except for the NFL, most broadcast media seems to have collapsed on itself in mediocrity and worse. So now my time is devoted to reading, writing and running a small home business (the latter unthinkable during my time on nights.)

Third, I appreciate the silence. When I worked nights, sometimes my sleeping hours were ruined by construction workers, stomping feet pounding my apartment’s ceiling and blasting stereos. Now that I work days, my sleeping hours peace and serenity are enforced by city noise ordinances.

Best of all with the silence, I can fully take in the ambiance of the morning. Cool air lightly scented with fresh blooming lilacs, gently swaying the leaf-growing branches of the trees. The smell of fresh coffee brewing and breakfast sandwiches at the corner convenience stoe a block from my apartment. The nearly-clear freeways as I drive in, which I can now enjoy more because I am energized to get to work, not burned out at the end of another trying shift.

Then there’s fourth, which may be the last in this list, but first in my pleasures of working days. I can spend more time with my wife!

When I was working nights, there were days, even a whole week when I didn’t see her. I may as well have simply had a roommate during that time, we saw each other so rarely. Now I get to see her every evening when I return home, sharing the day’s events with each other in sweet converse. The dearness of having her next to me while I sleep.

The lack of sleeping at the same time in the same bed adversely affected Sweetheart also…there were many nights that she had trouble getting to sleep because I was not there with her, or at least home. Now she gets more rest, and is more energized to face the new day now that I’m home at night.

I can say that for all the years I worked nights, I did love my life as a night owl.

I’ve found that days as an early bird are even better.

May 30, 2007

Writing Prompt Part II Update

Filed under: Hollywood vs. America, Idiot Box Rumenations — Paul @ 7:59 pm

I could have put in a simple update, but after reading Rachel Lucas’s post answering questions in her e-mail and comments, I felt this update needed its own separate post.

The Fourth Meme Request stated: Name an actor that would make you less likely to see a movie. Actor is what threw me; I’m old school, so if the word actress had been used, one name would have come to me instantly:

Rosie O’Donnell.

I can’t improve what Rachel had to say about Crazy Mabel:

CatScapeBarb asks: “Dear Rachel, So why don’t you tell us how you REALLY feel about Rosie O’Donnell? (sorry, almost couldn’t finish the question as I was concentrating on not throwing up at the sight of her name.)”

Dear CatScapeBarb,
Well if you must know, I hate that crazy bitch. When I see her face, I want to shoot my guns at watermelons. When I hear her voice, which is scientifically proven to be The Most Hideous Voice Ever, I wish I did not have functioning ears. She is the exemplar of all that is wrong in the world and is living proof that God, if He exists, has abandoned humanity. I think she is insane, stupid, and evil, and if I could train my dog Sunny to do ONE THING, it would be to spontaneously take a dump upon hearing the command “Rosie O’Donnell”.

It chagrins me to have to put up with her when I watch my copies of A League of Their Own and Sleepless in Seattle. I’m glad she left The View and has somewhat disappeared from sight, even though she provided the right-wing political blogs a near-endless supply of rich material.

Her own talk show became a car wreck when she advocated strict gun control one day, then showed up with a heat-packing bodyguard days later. She ran a magazine with a 133-year history into the ground within a year. (Which mag? Seen a McCall’s recently?) Crazy Mabel has the reverse Midas touch–everything she touches eventually turns to crap. Why she continues to get big, big offers to be in movies or on television defies any logical explanation.

There is no way I’d watch any movie with her in it made after 1993 (when Sleepless came out.) Bad enough I have to put up with her voice in my copy of 1999’s Tarzan (the Disney version.) Like Rachel said, she’s insane, stupid, and evil. Let me put it this way: I think the character she played in Riding the Bus with My Sister wasn’t much of a stretch. Yes, I know: that’s a vile insult to people with special needs.

Second place goes to Whoopi Goldberg. I would avoid her completely, but Gene Roddenberry ruined that notion by allowing her to pollute Star Trek: The Next Generation.

A Man Pleades Not Guilty…

Filed under: Stupid Criminal Tricks — Paul @ 6:55 pm

…to a DWI charge.

Problem is, it’s his 28th charge.

No, that is not a typo.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – An Albuquerque man arrested for the 28th time on a drunken driving charge has pleaded not guilty. Joseph Brill, 53, entered his plea Tuesday to charges of aggravated driving while intoxicated, driving on a suspended license and having an open container of alcohol in a vehicle.Bernalillo County sheriff’s deputies arrested Brill in an Albuquerque neighborhood on March 14. Deputies said they saw him park, then fall out of his pickup truck.

The deputies said they tried to give him a field sobriety test, but he could not complete it. They said he then refused a breath test.

A criminal complaint said Brill had 27 prior DWI offenses, with at least 14 convictions, before the arrest.

the article doesn’t say if ever did any hard time for any of these convictions. It did say the judge came down hard on this guy:

State District Judge Ernesto Romero set bond at $100,000.”The probabilities are if you get behind the wheel, you’re going to hurt or kill somebody,” the judge said.

Pathetic.

The Obligatory Allison Stokke Post

Filed under: Stupid People Tricks — Paul @ 5:21 pm

Until Dan Shanoff mentioned her, I had no idea she existed. (Scroll down to the bottom of the post.)

Dan probably wouldn’t have brought her up if the sports blogs hadn’t written about it…after she talked to the Washington Post.

So of course I had to research the big hullaballo by doing a Google search.

I agree with Deadspin: if Allison and her father don’t want the attention, I suggest in the future they not grant interviews to the second-largest paper in the country.

For aesthetic value, I prefer this Allison over this Allison.

May 29, 2007

Things That Make You Go Ewww…

Filed under: Stupid Criminal Tricks — Paul @ 8:17 pm

Taking a fetish too far:

WAUKESHA, Wis. (AP) – Police seized more than 1,500 pairs of girls’ shoes from the home and storage unit of a man arrested for breaking into a high school, police said Tuesday. “He liked to smell them,” said Lt. William H. Graham.Police said the recovered shoes may be related to the burglaries of three Waukesha public high schools and a middle school over the past two years.

So how did he accumulate 1500 pairs of girls’ shoes?

The 27-year-old Kenosha man, who was not identified because had yet to be formally charged, worked for a cable company and collected keys to the schools as he responded to calls, Graham said.

And this isn’t the first time:

The same man was convicted in 2005 for stealing shoes from Kenosha Tremper High School.

Yuck.

May 28, 2007

Writing Prompts, Part II

Another device for writing is the meme: a list of questions that get you thinking and writing. This one is about movies:

1. Name a movie that you have seen more than 10 times.
Most movies that I own: Raiders of the Lost Ark, Star Trek II, the first three Star Wars movies, October Sky, The Blues Brothers, Ben Hur come to mind. There’s a few more.

2. Name a movie that you’ve seen multiple times in the theater.
Short list. That would be Grease, The Blues Brothers and Raiders of the Lost Ark. Note that all of them are over 25 years old. I don’t spend much time in darkened projection rooms.

3. Name an actor that would make you more inclined to see a movie.
Harrison Ford. I’ve seen many of his movies. I would also add Matt Damon, especially if there is another Jason Bourne sequel.

4. Name an actor that would make you less likely to see a movie.
Jake Gyllenhaal. He did a good job in October Sky, but has annoyed me ever since.

5. Name a movie that you can and do quote from.
The Blues Brothers. I cannot start a road trip without at least thinking “It’s 120 miles to Chicago, we have a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark and we’re wearing sunglasses. Hit it!” or “I’ve always loved you” anytime I hear the strains of Flight of the Valkyries. Or when pleading: “There was an earthquake! A terrible flood! It wasn’t my faaaaaauuuuult!” When at a certain friend’s house, I’ll intentionally hold up an incorrect glass just so she can say, “Wrong glass, sir!” I then motion her to fill it, just like Dan Ackroyd.

Can’t play poker without quoting from the card shark swindle in Trinity is Still My Name.

Also have to mention my favorite from Return of the Jedi: “When 900 years old you reach, look as good you will not.”

If the meme was cartoon shorts or TV shows, I can quote lots of those.

6. Name a movie musical that you know all of the lyrics to all of the songs.
There used to be two: Man of La Mancha and My Fair Lady. Make that three: Oliver. I’ve long since forgotten most of them. Haven’t seen any of those in a long time.

7. Name a movie that you have been known to sing along with.
Disney’s Tarzan. Phil Collins had much to do with this.

8. Name a movie that you would recommend everyone see.
October Sky. Boy from coal-mining town overcomes impossible odds with the help of townspeople. They help him because he willing to do what it takes to lay the groundwork for his success. He sees opportunity where his friends see a “slack dump.” If the Vatican endorses it and it’s not either a religious biography or made 50 years ago, you know you have a winner.

9. Name a movie that you own.
Not already mentioned would be the Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Fugitive, The Village, Fantasia, Blade Runner and about 20 more.

10. Name an actor that launched his/her entertainment career in another medium but who has surprised you with his/her acting chops.
Female: Kim Basinger. Nobody seems to remember that she started out as a model for Cover Girl cosmetics. Now she has an Oscar.
Male: Gotta be Will Smith. I remember him rapping as The Fresh Prince long before the Bel-Air show ever aired. I could put Kris Kristofferson here, but he already had several movies under his belt by the time I learned he was also a recording artist.

11. Have you ever seen a movie in a drive-in? If so, what?
Yes, I have. Unfortunately for this meme, all of them were so atrociously bad that time has mercifully wiped them from my memory.

12. Ever made out in a movie?
No. By the time I had my first serious girlfriend (or even somewhat of a girlfriend) I didn’t need a movie theater for a necking spot.

13. Name a movie that you keep meaning to see but just haven’t yet gotten around to it. The director’s cut of Blade Runner. I saw the original in the theater–once–have the DVD ready to go–still haven’t removed the plastic.

14. Ever walked out of a movie?
No. If it’s that bad, I’ll Mystery Science Theater 3000 it.

15. Name a movie that made you cry in the theater.
The Passion of the Christ.

16. Popcorn?
Yes, except for The Passion of the Christ. I felt it would be disrespectful to be mucnching on popcorn while Jesus is going through several illegal trials and getting the stuffing beaten out of him.

17. How often do you go to the movies (as opposed to renting them or watching them at home)?
Rarely. Too expensive and crowded.

18. What’s the last movie you saw in the theater?
Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith

19. What’s your favorite/preferred genre of movie?
I’m a guy. Action. Preferably when the antagonist is a real scumbag and dies horribly in the end at the hands of the protagonist. Cobra–a crappy movie otherwise–is the gold standard.

20. What’s the first movie you remember seeing in the theater?
A Boy Named Charlie Brown

21. What movie do you wish you had never seen?
There isn’t a movie that I’d wished I’d never seen, but there is a movie I vowed to never see: Jaws. PBS once ran the clip of Quint getting chomped while the movie was still in theaters, and I swore that day I would never see that film. That clip scared the shit out of me. That vow is still intact, even though I could easily handle that scene today. The book and that movie have blackened the reputation of sharks. Even Peter Benchley has expressed regret for ever writing the story.

22. What is the weirdest movie you enjoyed?
Dr. Strangelove. I got the humor, but it is still weird to me.

23. What is the scariest movie you’ve seen?
I don’t watch scary movies as a rule. But I vote for anything by Alfred Hitchcock. He was a master at making you feel helpless with ordinary surroundings and objects.

24. What is the funniest movie you’ve seen?
Gay Purree, a full-length animated movie by Loony Tunes’ Chuck Jones, with the voices of Judy Garland, Robert Goulet and Red Buttons. There’s cartoon-style action for the guys and well-done songs and scenery for the gals. There’s also a scene in this movie that makes tears come from my eyes I laugh so hard. I can’t even describe it without laughing. It made me almost choke when I first saw it as a kid, and it still kills me 35 years later.

Time For A Fisking

Filed under: Coleman Fisking — Paul @ 10:56 am

It’s been years since I fisked Strib columnist Nick Coleman, Mr. He Who Knows Stuff. Since it’s been years, I am not suffering from Coleman Fatigue, so I am just the one to fisk this piece

Gauging the gouge when tanked up and tapped out

By Nick Coleman, Star Tribune
Last update: May 22, 2007 – 10:23 PM

I had put 14 gallons of unleaded What, there’s a place you can buy regular still? into the family car, which carries five people, a dog that has one blue eye, and a month’s supply of Happy Meal wrappers, A MONTH’S supply? Don’t you empty the trash every time you fill up? I can’t believe your wife hasn’t nagged you yet, since this is the FAMILY car we’re talking about here. Maybe nobody minds because of all the homeless you talk to; you know, make them feel at home in your car while you interview them. when the spinning numbers on the pump started to slow to a crawl.

This was not good. Cue menacing background music

The pump said I owed Super Mom $47 already, and the numbers, though crawling, were still headed up. Second, I was still far from filling my 21-gallon gas tank, which had been down to running on fumes. And now the pump was coming to a stop. And there it was: It shut off.

I owed $50 American and the tank was only two-thirds full. Cue menacing dramatic music: duh-duh-DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

Not too long ago, I paid that much for an entire car. So what? The price my mother sold our house for in 1986, the house I grew up in, wouldn’t cover the standard 20% downpayment on an average-priced home today. Besides how come you don’t describe what that $50 car looked or ran like? Now I was paying $50 to dampen my fuel tank: 14.925 gallons. Dampen? Tell you what. I’ll pour 14.925 gallons of gas on your pants leg and see if it gets “damp.” I’ll even pay the $50 for it. Fifty bucks, and it wouldn’t take more, even if I could have afforded it. What, paying for that luxurious estate on Crocus Hill taking too much from your exorbitant salary? The antitheft protection on my credit card doesn’t permit anyone to buy more than $50 of gas. Well, then you CAN afford it. A little misdirection, perhaps?

Not even me.

That’s to make sure that crooks can’t get too much. But I never thought the bandits would own the pumps. Bandits? We wouldn’t be talking oil companies here, right? No way.

This is the third summer in a row that Twin Cities gas prices have spiked by a dollar or more a gallon just in time for summer driving. That’s because more people drive in the summer. This time, despite industry assurances a few weeks ago that it wouldn’t happen again, prices have reached the highest level ever, with the price for unleaded regular hitting $3.40 a gallon at many stations Tuesday, and $3.35 at hundreds more, including the one where my credit card crapped out before the tank topped off. Yeah, times are tough all over.

Gouging? Nah. You’d have to be crazy to think the oil companies would rip anyone off. I’m sure there are many good, sound business reasons why the gas they put in the underground storage tank at your local service station last week is worth almost a buck a gallon more today. Right. Maybe you should broach this topic with your Middle East buddies. You know, the ones that keep threatening to destroy Israel? Every time they do that, the price of gas goes up. Or maybe your green friends. You know the ones who oppose all oil drilling and oil refinery construction? If you oppose those also, maybe you should stop whining about the price of gas.

Can I get my card back now? By the way, does anyone remember when gas last cost just $1 a gallon? The 1970s? That was the average price for the entire year back then.

Nope.

According to http://www.twin citiesgasprices.com, the average Twin Cities retail price for a gallon of regular hovered between $1 and $1.20 a gallon throughout the fall of 2001 and spring of 2002, briefly dipping as low as 96 cents a gallon. Ah, those were the days of our untroubled youth. Nice cherry picking. What Nick doesn’t tell you that the price came down from nearly $2 a gallon before that, and went up to nearly $1.40 after, and has been steadily climbing as the Chinese economy has grown, sucking up a hefty percentage of the available oil market.

Five years ago.

Since we invaded Iraq and made Mideast oil safe for democracy, Americans have learned to accept $2-a-gallon gas. That should read: Since we now depend on 60% of our oil from imports and have not allowed any drilling within 100 miles of a US coastline or the construction of any new oil refineries since the 1970s, Americans have learned to accept $2-a-gallon gas. But we didn’t top that price on a regular basis here until 2005. Since then, like the proverbial frogs in the ever-warming pot, we have gotten used to being parboiled. But when gas looks as if it might hit $4 just in time to drive to Bemidji, us frogs should be hopping. Mad. Yes. At anyone who had a hand in making our economy so vulnerable.

The $1.20 we were paying a little more than five years ago meant 20 gallons cost $24.

Today, 20 gallons cost $68. Wow! You can do math!

That kind of jump has some eco-greens happy because they think the public will turn away from minivans to mass transit. Don’t you mean “gas-guzzling SUVs” to mass transit?

Great. Count me in. Then maybe you won’t accumulate a month of Happy Meal wrappers.

But I will need that new streetcar tomorrow morning, in time to get the kids to school, and another one to get them home, plus one for grocery shopping. Don’t tell me it’ll take 20 years to get the trains running. Wow! A thin light of reality breaks through the gathering storm clouds!

The kids can’t wait that long for their next meal. What, there’s not a place where you can purchase Happy Meals anywhere along the bus routes?

This is ridiculous. If I wanted to pay European gas prices, I’d drive to Europe. Yesterday, the price of petrol in the United Kingdom was running a few pence below one British pound per liter. If I performed my calculations correctly, my 14.925 gallons of gas that cost me $50 would have cost me $111 in London. Hey, your eco-green buddies used to say that it was unfair that we paid so much less for our gas then they across the Atlantic. Now that we are on our way, you’re griping?

That’s a big difference. But not as huge as it used to be. For the kind of money we are paying for gas, I don’t want to see the Foshay Tower.

I want to see the Eiffel Tower. You still can. I’d go before the “unruly youths” in France that torch 100 cars every night get bold and burn it and the Louvre to the ground.

Writing Prompts, Part I

Filed under: Self-Absorbtive Tendencies — Paul @ 5:39 am

I have a small book called The Pocket Muse–Ideas and Inspiration For Writing by Monica Wood. The goal of the book is to get past writer’s block by selecting a prompt and writing about it. Now a person doesn’t have to follow exactly what the author suggests; the point is to get writing.

I’ve decided to create blog posts based on some of these prompts. Hey, it’s all in good fun, and if somebody actually reads this stuff, you’ll get to know a bit more about me than most people do outside of cyberspace. So here goes…

Reconstruct your first date. Can you recall a particular sound that brings it all back?

First Date?

-snicker-

First Date? I couldn’t definitively tell you what my ‘first date’ was. I suppose it was with a gal I call “Sharon.” We did go to dinner; we did go to movies; but she always insisted we were ‘just friends’ while any of my friends she met would end up locking lips with her in the back seat. Well, she did save me from a perfect record of zero high school formals (then made out with yet another friend afterward).

You have to understand…to say I wasn’t popular in high school is an understatement. I put up with this kind of treatment because I met flat refusal from anyone else I asked. When it came to dating, I was the polar opposite of one guy I’ve called a friend for over 35 years. Girls just loved him; he married this stunning redhead that was a grade below us that has no understanding of the distraction she causes anywhere she goes. She became an MILF (not to me, if I ever had a sister, she was it. Ewww…) before she was 20, and still holds that status today, even with all three of their children now high school grads.

When I worked for Domino’s Pizza in the late 1980s, she would show up with her oldest son to use my employee discount since I never used it. Invariably, after she left, another driver that had never before seen her would ask me excitedly in a higher-pitched voice, wide eyed and tongue dragging, “Is that your girlfriend?” I would then sigh annoyedly, explain yet again that No, she wasn’t my girlfriend, she’s married to a longtime friend of mine. I would then get a detailed unprintable explanation of what he wanted to do to her. But I digress…

When you can’t get a date to save your life and you have this kind of stuff go on, it’s devastating to a guy’s confidence.

Looking back, the biggest problem I had was confidence. After meeting endless flat refusals, not even given an opportunity to at least get to know someone or someone to get to know me, I wondered if I would ever get a date. I was young and stupid…and so were the prospective dates I pursued. These girls craved Excitement! and Bad Boys! that they could mold into their charming man. To them, I was like a pendulum, reliable but boring.

To be afflicted with Boring Nice Guy Syndrome, to a high schooler, is a fate worse than death. My senior yearbook is filled with comments from girls that start, “Paul, you’re such a sweet guy…” If I’m so sweet, why did you turn me down when I asked you for a date? I learned later that being reliable, concerned, courteous, and kind isn’t very exciting to a young heart that craves romance such as what is provided in romance novels. No, I was the crying towel when their excitement-inducing bad boys broke their hearts. It took them years before they learned that the guy you consider a friend, the one that’s always there for you, the one that fits in your life like those favorite old comfortable, frayed jeans is the one you want. Unfortunately for me, I wasn’t eventually that guy for any of them.

I don’t judge those girls harshly; they didn’t know any better, and neither did I. I later learned that I didn’t know how to ask them–more on this later.

So I cannot recall my first date, simply because I’m not sure any of them qualifies as a first date. I had a one-night stand with an acquaintance years before I had a real girlfriend.

That first real girlfriend nearly became my last, as she was very needy. She had no concept of the idea of personal boundaries; even if you are joined at the hip with someone, everyone needs some personal time, which she wouldn’t allow. She would also broadcast every detail I would tell her; no such things as information shared in confidence. I didn’t handle the situation well because I didn’t know how, I had never seen something like this, and neither did anyone I talked to about it.

I finally peeled her off me after several tumultuous months. After each of us grew up more, we became friends; unfortunately, she died of stomach cancer a few years ago in horrible torture. She was only 34.

I married the woman I had the next serious relationship with; but because we both tailored each other to our liking through the glasses of our desires, and both of us dragged in tons of personal unresolved baggage, it was doomed from the start. I do have some pleasant memories of that relationship; I still laugh about her playing with the claws of her crab legs anytime we went to Red Lobster. I still marvel how she lovingly earned my trust and allowed me to be vulnerable with her, never mocking me with any of my secrets.

The part that worked best was the sex. We weren’t into anything kinky, or into lots of positions or acrobatics, we simply thoroughly enjoyed each other several times a day because I constantly caressed her: lightly dragging my fingers over her back, tweaking her cheek, slowly rubbing my palm on her belly. I never knew I could be such a horndog and have a gorgeous wife that could match me drive for drive. I thought such escapades were reserved for Penthouse Forum.

Now, I am married to a woman that understands me, loves me, and gives me that space when I need it. She isn’t a closet nympho like my first wife, but there is plenty of loving to sustain both of us. I have a genuine good time with her, no matter what it is we choose to do, whether its attending a conference, working a job side by side, playing a game or watching a movie.

She is who I looked for when I aspired to be part of a couple in a cafe on a Tuesday late afternoon sitting across from each other because the table is so small that our noses are almost rubbing. We decide to skip the 9:30 movie we planned to attend because we are having so much fun simply talking about our respective days. Sharing of insights: a joke told by a coworker, a new labor-saving device purchased by the employer, a challenge met and addressed successfully. This is why we have been married for nearly ten years now, we are each other’s best friend as well as lover. Something we tell each other every day.

So when was my first date? With whom? Where did we go?

I never had anything near the stereotypical TV experience of asking the girl for the date, meeting the parents or what you see in the John Hughes teen movies. Maybe I would have if I knew then what I know now: how to ask.

It is astounding how many of us men don’t know how to ask for a date. Guys I know try to get the woman to ask him for the date, or worse, ask other women they know are friends with the woman they fancy to ask for the date.

Piece of advice, gentlemen. If you want the chance to take out that special lady that has your fancy, ask directly with these elements: Specific activity on a specific date at a specific time.

“Say Jennifer, I have two 5 pm tickets to the dinner theater this Saturday. Would you like to go?” Or: “Say Christine, the festival is holding Irish Day this Friday afternoon, and I’d like you to join me.”

I do this now with my wife. “Say Honey, I’d like to see (pick the movie) on Saturday evening. Would you?”

Now how hard is that? Think about all those young girls I knew years ago (that are an illusion to me now–thank you, Bob Dylan.) Maybe they would have responded differently if I had simply mentioned a specific activity on a specific date at a specific time. Maybe if I had asked properly and had a bit of success, I would have built up some confidence. Maybe if I suggested something that piqued their curiosity or sounded fun, I wouldn’t have been afflicted with Nice Guy Syndrome. “Paul, you’re so sweet!”

So to give a definite answer to the prompt: After all this reflection my first date was with my current wife, since she is the only one I asked properly (specific activity on a specific date at a specific time) before we were already involved. The particular sound that brings it all back was her jaw hitting the floor because she was incredulous that there was a man in existence that actually knew how to ask for a date.

May 27, 2007

But She Had A Court Order Of Protection!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Paul @ 8:17 pm

They’re not worth the paper they’re written on: New York Woman Shot Dead by Husband She Had Court Order of Protection Against.

CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. —
A man accused of shooting his wife dead in their bagel shop was ordered to give up guns six months earlier, a prosecutor said.

The victim, Ann Anderson, obtained a court order of protection in November against her estranged husband, 66-year-old Robert Anderson. The order revoked the husband’s gun license, and he turned in two guns to authorities, prosecutors said in court Saturday.

But Anderson apparently had or got another gun, and he used it to shoot his 39-year-old wife in the head five times early Friday morning at Super Bagel in Huntington, said Denise Merrifield, an assistant district attorney for Suffolk County.

Police later found parts of the dismantled gun in two separate sewers, Merrifield said.

Cell Phone Disconnect

Filed under: Self-Absorbtive Tendencies — Paul @ 6:23 pm

Now, I think cell phones are a wonderful invention, especially when you’re stuck with a broken-down car on the freeway. Some people, such as my in-laws, so much enjoy the convenience cell phones provide that they eliminated their home land lines. There’ll be no battles for phone usage for the parents of a very popular teenage girl in that house.

Of course, cell phones create nuisances. There’s the stereotypical sales exec talking client business while dining: “Hey John, glad to hear from ya. I can close this deal for you and set you up for LIFE!” His dinner partner invariably wears a pained expression that says, “let me drop into the floor,” because she knows everyone is boring their eyes into her head for allowing such juvenileness.

Then there’s the chick who argues with a boyfriend while standing in a grocery line: “You talk about getting married, yet you can’t hold a decent job, you can’t stop drinking and partying with your stupid friends…”

Why must people hold such converse in public with no regard at all who hears? Conversational politeness and personal boundaries seem to be forgotten in the 21st century.

I discovered a new cell-phone annoyance as I was eating a made-by-my-hands club sandwich during lunch break at work. A attractive, thin, early twenties young lady with strawberry-blonde hair and a fresh face recently hired as an Administrative Assistant came in and sat down at the empty table behind me. After a moment of rustling the loaf of bread and package of sliced turkey she retrieved from the company fridge, out came the cell phone. The call was to some clinic; innocuous at first, since she was determining insurance eligibility. Once accomplished, she then turned to the task of describing an ailment to a nurse taking the call. I really don’t need to hear this, I thought as I continued to munch on my second club sandwich.

Now my stomach and nerves are strong; I’ve watched PBS surgery documentaries while I eat. But I thought her conversation rude; I’m glad it didn’t include such mundane medical terms as cervix or vulva. I endured it amid some displeasure, and when I finished my meal, I simply got up, left the break area, and have rarely returned there. I find simply sitting in my work area in the shop (I’m a welder) or on a lawn chair outside provides peace and serenity from someone I privately refer to as “bodily-function chick.”

I’m just happy she’s not pregnant. The mind shudders to think of what might have been discussed, like how many times she threw up on the side of the road this morning on the way into work.

Barry Bonds Hits No. 746

Filed under: Horsehide Chronicles — Paul @ 5:26 pm

A two-run homer in the 6th inning off Taylor Buchholz of Colorado.

You know he’s going to pass Hank Aaron before the end of this season.

Aren’t You A Little Old For This?

Filed under: Stupid Criminal Tricks — Paul @ 5:11 pm

This is the kind of tomfoolery I expect from the local high schoolers acting alone, not with help from an adult:

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – Police ticketed a 39-year-old woman this week after she allegedly drove seven kids to a teacher’s home to toilet paper it.A seventh-grade English teacher at Pound Middle School told police that over the weekend, the outside of her house, yard, trees and driveway were vandalized with toilet paper, syrup, adhesive tape, dishwashing soap and eggs. A message directed at her was written on her driveway.

Four 13-year-olds and three 12-year-olds who attend Pound were referred to the Lancaster County Attorney’s Office for possible charges.

And police ticketed the mother of one of the 12-year-olds on suspicion of contributing to the delinquency of minors. Police said she drove the girls to the teacher’s house, knowing they intended to vandalize the home.

The 39-year-old mother’s job is to stop this from happening, not join in on it.

In Memorial of Those Who Died For Our Freedom

Filed under: Military Sacrifice Reflection — Paul @ 4:57 pm

Keep them in mind while frying burgers and hot dogs.

OK, I’m Back

Filed under: Uncategorized — Paul @ 4:46 pm

After nearly a year break (dealing with a job layoff, switching careers, and health issues) I have returned to blogging, but with some differences. I will keep the present catagories of my old posts, but will add some new ones as I will mostly leave politics out of my posts. Such issues are for the professionals, which I have graciously linked to on my blogroll.

I am worn out with arguing with dimwits that need a swat with a clue-by-four to get some sense in their heads. Also, after reading the brilliant clarity of Bill Whittle at Eject! Eject! Eject! (I purchased four books because of him) I feel a bit unprepared to write commentary on the issues of the day.

So what will I be writing about? Stay tuned.

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