Thursday, June 30

Cousin Floyd

I have quite an extended family, many of whom read these posts from time to time. My cousin Floyd recently commented, "Hell, that don't look so hard. All you do is write about stuff that happens to you." Well-said, Floyd. That is pretty much what this effort is about. I thought it might be interesting to let Floyd have a chance to write his own entry.




This morning when I was having my bacon and eggs "over easy" I noticed that one of the yolks was broken. Somebody once said "If you want to make an omlet, you're going to need eggs." I don't like omlets. I prefer two eggs "over easy". Without either of the yolks broken. "Over"? "Easy"? Hmmmm....

I dreamed I was having my bacon and eggs "over easy" when I noticed that one of the yolks was broken. It was an oddly familiar dream.

I'm pretty fussy about my eggs.

Pretty fussy, indeed.





Thank you, Floyd, for giving us some insight into how easy this blog business really is.

What do you think? Should we have Floyd back for more of his perceptive musings?

Tuesday, June 28

Model Congress

I was at a family function over the weekend and my niece mentioned that she was involved in something called 'Model Congress' at her high school. She explained that in Model Congress students get to emulate the activities of the United States House of Representatives.

When I asked her if a model lobbyist ever takes them on a model junket she gave me the "There goes Uncle Jim" smile that I get all to often these days. "Maybe they'll cover that next term", she said, then warily moved to another table.

"Maybe they'll cover that next term." Hmmmm...




Welcome, students, to the second term of Model Congress. Last term we learned how a bill is introduced on the floor, how facts are gather during committee hearings, how differences are arbitrated among members, and how a final consensus is reached.

This term we are going to find out what really happens.

The first thing you need to know is that five percent of your final grade will be based on the weekly quiz, five percent will be based on the final exam, and ninety percent will be based on how much money you can raise for re-election.

Next, how to raise money for re-elections:

  1. Schmooze fat-cat party bosses

  2. Prostitute principals in the boudoir of corporate largesse

  3. Promise the voters that your number one priority is to "shake up the status quo"



Finally, what to do with the money you raised for re-election:

  1. Keep the status quo just the way it is

  2. Give a portion to some ne're do well relative who never worked an honest day in his or her life

  3. Hide the rest in an anonymous offshore account where it can't be traced except by someone who bothers to look


That about covers it, except to say frequent unexplained absences are encouraged and lavish gifts to the teacher are expected. My office hours are noon to, oh, I don't know, around 12:20 or so I guess. Oh, and there is an ATM outside the door for those who forgot to bring something.

Class is dismissed for a 6-week recess, and let me be the first to congratulate you for taking an interest on seeing how democracy really works.

Saturday, June 25

PBS

I see that the former Republican Party co-chairwoman has been selected to run the Public Broadcasting System. I suppose this means there will be some changes in PBS programming:

NewsHour with Karl Rove
Tonight: Why liberals love homosexual flag burning al Qaida child molesters.

The Freedom Chef with Condoleezza Rice
Condi explores the obsolete cuisine of the "old" Europe.

Sesame Bun Street
Big Bird explains why fast food is good for you.
Also: The benefits of privatized Social Security.

Upstairs, upstairs
In this special episode the rich get rich and the poor get poorer.

Fawlty Spiderholes
Saddam does his laundry.

Friday, June 24

Re: The Sleep Expert

In response to my previous post “The Sleep Expert” several readers wrote to remind me that there are other, more physical, uses for a bed, implying that there is something odd about the fact that I am not as obsessed with that sort of activity as they are.

To those readers I have but one answer.

I am 57 years old.

57!

Wednesday, June 22

The Sleep Expert

All my life I’ve heard that good health requires eight hours of sleep a night. This morning on the radio, however, some sleep expert was saying that people who sleep seven hours a night live longer than people who sleep eight. Why weren't we told this before? It is pretty upsetting to think we’ve been wasting that extra hour a night under the impression it was going to keep us healthy, and then find out we were misled into engaging in life-threatening bedtime behavior. This makes the WMD story look like a little white lie!

My guess is this cover-up was perpetrated by the mattress industry. Face it, the more you sleep the better it is for Big Bedding.

We’ve all heard those mattress mountebanks say, “You spend one-third of your life in bed”. That sounds like a lot. It’s worth investing in a good mattress for one-third of your life. But “you spend seven twenty-fourths, or 29.1666666667 percent, of your life in bed” just doesn’t sound so persuasive. Heck, for 29 percent I could sleep on the floor.

Clearly, more time in bed means more wear and tear on the mattress, which means more frequent replacement, which means more of Mr. and Mrs. Joe Sleepyhead's money going into the ill gotten coffers of the Sleep Cartel.

Pretty clever, these mattress boys. Pretty clever, indeed.

###

The sleep expert went on to discuss common sleep problems which keep some people from getting their solid seven. I personally have little trouble sleeping. It is easy for me to let the cares of the day drift away whilst the moon goddess Selene gently osculates me into the slumber of the innocent, as the gentle rise and fall of the waves................................................

...............................................

..........Sorry, I nodded off there for a minute.

Occasionally my wife has trouble sleeping, though, so I relayed to her these suggestions from the sleep expert:

  1. Don’t read or watch TV in bed. Bed is for sleeping and you must train your mind to know that.

  2. If you find yourself lying awake at night worrying about things, set aside a "worry time" before you go to bed to work those things out, or even write them in a journal. Then by the time you’re in bed you won’t have them on your mind.

  3. No matter how much your husband snores do not poke him, kick him, or tell him to roll over. Under no circumstances must your husband’s sleep be disturbed.


Okay, I threw in that last one myself, but, hey, if I don’t get my 29 percent I’m just no damn good.

Monday, June 20

Assisted living

A co-worker was telling me about the assisted living residence where his mother is staying. It seems ideal. She has all her meals pepared for her. She has all her housekeeping done for her. She gets to watch all the television she wants to watch. There are concerts. They have parties.

It just sounds so great I think I seriously have to consider it.

Oh, not for my parents, who, at 80, are still living happily in their home of 48 years.

No, I think it sounds great for me!

George Bernard Shaw said, "Youth is wasted on the young".

Could it be that assisted living is wasted on the old?

Saturday, June 18

Barbershop

A new barbershop opened in my neighborhood and I thought I'd give it a try. I like to support new businesses and I’m always willing to buy a magazine at a fledgling newsstand or have lunch at a pristine restaurant. It’s great to see the excitement and optimism of the owners when a new business opens up, before they realize that Wal-Mart or Target sells whatever they have to sell for about one third the price. I’m amazed at politicians who insist that paying taxes or abiding by worker safety rules are the enemy of small business. The real enemy of small business is…Big Business!

I used to go to a very affordable barbershop located along a dingy subway station concourse but they shut their doors recently, leaving a sign in the window reading “Closed for Renovations.” In New York “Closed for Renovations” means “Closed for Good” so I had to look for another place to care for my hair, still copious at aged 57 thank you very much.

As I walked into the new barber's I was greeted like a long lost family member. They were effusive in their praise, overwhelming in their concern, ebullient in their laughter. Of course, I couldn’t understand a word they said because they all spoke Russian, but the language of zealous flattery is universal.

They knew a few words in English - "How short?", "Sideburn?" - but mostly they spoke Russian. And once I was seated in the chair they earnestly went about their work in relative silence.

This was wonderful relief. My old barber was very talkative, usually sports -- "How about those Yankees/Mets/Jets/Giants/Knicks/Rangers" depending on the season and who hadn't gone on on strike. I like sports as much as the next guy with a full head of hair, but once we’ve discussed the latest trade rumors and injury report, I’m pretty much done.

It was serene to sit quietly and not be asked to analyze why so-and-so was a bum, and why whoozits was an overpaid crybaby. Someone must have told the Russians that Americans like games with their hair care, though, because they did have some sport that I did not recognize on the small TV in the corner. They had turned the sound down so it wouldn't interfer with the balalaika music playing on the stereo.

There were two other customers being tended to, and occasionally the barbers would toss an aside to each other, but for the most part it was just the whispering of the scissors snip-snipping a hirsute lullaby. I must have nodded off for a bit because I began to dream that I could understand what they were saying…

“Vladimir, how about those Voles? It looks like they may go all the way.”

“Don’t forget the Lynx, Dimitri. They have a pretty good team this year. And what about the Otters? If they can stay healthy, well who knows?”

“The Otters? Feh! They play like women!”

“Perhaps they play like women, Arkady , but at least they don’t fall asleep in the chair like this…”

I awoke with a start. My haircut was over and my barber was holding a mirror behind my head so I could review my neckline. It actually wasn’t bad.

A little like Leonid Brezhnev. Brezhnev

But not bad.

Wednesday, June 15

My new radio

I got a new portable radio to listen to while I pursue my 10,000-step program. In this program I must walk 10,000 steps every day. I even got a step counter so I know if I'm on target. My first day I strapped on my counter and set off to walk! At day's end I had walked a total of 3,000 steps. Clearly, I have more walking to do.

My new radio lets me preset my 5 favorite AM stations and 10 favorite FM stations so all I have to do is press a button to listen to one of them. I set about selecting my stations.

I set the 5 AM's easily. One all news, one sports-talk, NPR, and 2 talk radio (one conservative and one liberal).

Then came the hard part. Finding 10 FM stations I like.

It had been a while since I listen to FM radio but I looked forward to what I remembered as a wide variety of formats to enjoy. I planned one button for an oldies station, a couple for country western, maybe three or four for classical music, NPR (yeah, I know. How much NPR can one man take?), some jazz, show tunes, the sky's the limit.

I was in for a surprise.

First of all, apparently radio stations no longer go by their call letters. It used to be WABC or (where I grew up) KRLA but now it's all Hot this and Zoo that, plus a "Jack" - whatever that is - and a Lite (I guess being able to spell is not required to own a radio station). The point is you don't really know what station you are tuned to, except that it is Hot or a Zoo.

After trying to listen to several stations I had to check to see if my new radio was broken because it seemed that all the songs were the same song. I don't want to sound like my parents who claimed, when both I and rock-n-roll were young, that all the songs sounded alike (you couldn’t really tell the difference between The Coasters and The Drifters? C’mon, Mom and Dad!) But it seemed like everything I heard on my new radio sounded like a bunch of people yelling at each other or yelling at me. And they were all so angry! What do they have to be angry about? They have recording contracts! People listen to their music on the radio!

There was anger in the songs of the Sixties - remember “Eve of Destruction” or “We Gotta Get Out Of This Place”? – but not every single song was angry. There were optimistic songs, too. “Here Comes The Sun”, “Joy to the World”, “We Gotta Get You A Woman” – songs of happy expectation.

But on my new radio I heard no optimistic music. Only songs about being P.O.’d.

Well, that has to change. I can’t let the youth of America go on thinking that life is a meaningless struggle for nothingness.

There is so much more to life, kids.

I am now making it my mission to introduce a new musical form that I call Rose Colored Rap to the next generations of Americans.


Yo, wassup, hey hey, Yo, Yo, Yo!
The sun'll come out tomorrow, y’all.
Bet your f@#%-ing dollar that tomorrow
They'll be sun. Be-hatch!

Just thinking about tomorrow, motherf#%&*
Clears away the bulls#$%& and the sorrow
‘Til there’s none, Yo Ho, Yo Ho!


Well, you get the idea. I know it needs work (that last part sounds a bit like a sea chantey, I know), but it's important work if I am to save the kids from this depressing music.

Meanwhile, I have set the buttons on my new radio to Lite(sp?) FM, Hot Jazz 101.9, the Classical 96.3 Zoo, and the rest to NPR. Believe it or not I could find no Oldies or Country Western stations in the New York market.

That really makes me angry!


Sunday, June 12

Others talk to my dog

I have mentioned before that I often talk to my dog, Spike. What I didn't mention is that others talk to him too.

Although he is as male as the ASPCA spaying and neutering guidelines allow, he is frequently referred to as "she" or "her". I think of this as the "Lady and the Tramp" syndrome, in which all cocker spaniels are assumed to be female. Maybe it's the long ears, which hang down like girlish locks. I know during the Clinton impeachment saga I frequently made note of the fact that Spike looked an awful lot like Linda Tripp.

"She's so cute. What's her name?" people will say. I patiently explain that "his" name is "Spike" and he is handsome, not cute. Alright, he is cute, but I have to maintain some semblance of dignity.

Yesterday as we were taking a slow, aimless walk on a blistering day a middle-aged man wearing a flowered shirt and teal flip-flops leaned over to him, semi-screamed "I don't know why it's so hot!", and walked along without further comment. He might have been gay but I have no way of knowing. However, I think both Spike and I must have had equally befuddled looks on our faces, because the next person who walked by (an equally flamboyant middle-aged woman wearing a teal shirt and flowered flip-flops) said, "She looks so confused. What's her name."

"His name is Spike", I sighed, "but we just call him Lady."


Saturday, June 11

Product Placement

Advertisers must be getting desperate. With the advent of TIVO it appears that fewer and fewer people are watching commercials, so they are trying to embed the commercials in the shows.

For example on a recent episode of "CSI: Miami" the intrepid investigators were trying to track down a runaway criminal. When they discovered that the suspect was driving a Cadillac Escalade the David Caruso character said, "If he's driving an Escalade, then he's got OnStar."

Coincidentally during the next commercial break there was an OnStar commercial, but even if you had TIVO'd or VCR'd the program and fast-forwarded through the commercial, you still had that little voice in the back of your head saying "Yeah, OnStar. I gotta try that."

Here are a few suggestions I think the advertisers have missed.


*

Suppose on an episode of Law and Order we hear the District Attorney say "I hope that scumbag doesn't call Jacoby and Meyers. They get everyone off with a slap on the wrist."


*

Or what if on the next episode of Lost we hear:

"Can I help it, Jack, if everybody is suffering gastro-intestinal distress from eating so many bananas and fish?"



"Now you listen to me, Sawyer, and you listen good. I'm going to need that crate of Kaopectate that you've been squirreling away, and I'm going to need it now!"


*


Or E.R.: "It doesn't look good, Dr. Carter. He took the Cialis even though he was drinking alcohol in excess." "Dammit, didn't he see their ad in Car and Driver!"

*


There could be many more examples, and I'm sure we'll see some soon, but I don't have time now for more suggestions. I locked my keys in my car and I have to get a locksmith to open it up.

I wonder if there's any way to avoid that.

Thursday, June 9

Celebrity soundalikes

I'm a bit of a news junkie and recently I was reading the New York Times while I had a 24-hour news channel on the TV. How geeky is that?

Anyway, I wasn't paying close attention to the broadcast but when I thought I heard "Now let's go to Montel Williams for this report" I had to put down my paper and listen up. Had the popular talk show host suddenly become a reporter? It turned out it was actually a reporter named Mantill Williams.

This made me think of some of the people I know with names that sound close to the name of a celebrity.

For example I know a local carpenter named Tim Cruise and, oddly enough, he is dating junior high school student Katie Helms.

My sister uses a home decorator named Georg W. Busche who is only too happy to tell you his plan for an Extreme Makeover with North Korea. Or is it North Crimea?

And there's the guy who works in the Communications System Maintenance Department at work, Russell Throwe. He fixes the phones when they have been mistreated.

Somehow I can't help feeling that this is all part of some Higher Plan. I'll have to run that by my spiritual advisor and bartender, Pops Benedict XVI.

Tuesday, June 7

Ode to the Old Olive Tree

One day while sitting beneath
The old olive tree
I looked up and noticed an olive
Was falling on me.

Then two more fell, one hit me in the eye
And it hurt.
And one made a big black blot
On my shirt.

Here's my advice to you and
It's offered for free.
Wise it is not to sit 'neath
The old olive tree.

Sunday, June 5

Hey, that's my picture up there!

Well, you may have noticed that as of today I have added my picture to the top right of this blogsite. I had intended to remain anonymous but, with the outing of Deep Throat, I thought it was time to be a little more open. So this is what I look like.

I toyed with the idea of using this picture of Troy Donahue


that came with the last wallet I bought - I kept it in my wallet along with pictures of my wife, kids, and dog - but that seems dishonest. Some might suggest (Douglas, I mean you!) that perhaps a picture of Deep Throat himself would be more age appropriate.




I will ignore that suggestion.

Anyway, for what it's worth, I'm putting my picture up on my blog, dammit, and I don't care who knows it!

Feel free to print a copy to keep in your wallet.

Friday, June 3

Bear-Baiting

My friend Glen, who is a member of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, was telling me about how bear-baiting was popular in some middle eastern counties. They take a bear, remove it's teeth, and put it in a pit with a bunch of dogs who proceed to kill it.

"Outrageous", I said. "They should let the bear keep his teeth. Then it could kill all the dogs. That's much more ethical."

Glen hasn't spoken to me since.

You just can't please some people.

******

JD Times does not condone or encourage bear-baiting or the mistreatment of dogs or any other animals except pigeons, those filthy scavengers.

No animals were harmed in the writing of this blog.

Thursday, June 2

Rebuttal

In a recent post I implied that politicians will take any position to please voters. In the spirit of fairness I have asked local assemblyman Stan Mentira to respond:

"There are those who say that politicians will take any position to please voters. And there are those who say they won't. Both sides have merit, and who is to say which has the more valid argument. There is good and bad in both positions, and one could or could not support either.

"On the one hand those in public service might posit that it is sometimes necessary to enhance the truth to engender support. On the other hand concerned citizens have a right to expect a certain level of honesty from those to whom they entrust the government.

"That said, let me make it perfectly clear by stating in no uncertain terms that my principals will remain flexible no matter how politically expedient it would be to follow one course or the other or perhaps a third or fourth, or even..."

Okay, that's enough. End of rebuttal.