October 19, 2011

While I'm Away ...

I'm taking a well deserved few days off at my favorite getaway, "The Shrublands" for some rest and relaxation, as well as a major de-tox.  So I've asked a special lady to fill in for me with her own special brand of insight and humor.

Actually, I originally asked famed star of stage and screen Richard Dreyfus to write today's post, as he had done such an admirable job for me several years ago, but repeated calls to his office were not returned.  Funny how your friends turn on you in your hour of need.

Asshole ...

Anyway, Ms Nelda DuMont, although not a star of stage and screen, is pretty notable in her own right.  Nelda is a regular contributor to Ladies Home Journal, Woman's Day and Juggs magazines.  In addition, her weekly column "Housewife Humor" runs monthly in the Perth Amboy Sun-Patriot.  And if that weren't enough ...  Nelda's book "The Rug Is Always Yellower Under The Dog" was on the NYT best seller list for an amazing 47 weeks in 1971.

Please give Nelda your undivided attention, won't you?

REMEMBER THAT TV commercial where Josephine the lady plumber helps her friend who's visiting from St. Louis clean that old New York apartment house sink with kitchen cleanser, and the friend says she'd better take some of that cleanser back home with her because "We've got some pretty old sinks in St. Louis, too"?  Well, I always get a kick out of that because I live in St. Louis and we do have some pretty old sinks, although ours is practically new.

YOU KNOW WHAT tickles me?  The kids will spend all day Saturday picking up newspapers for the school paper drive, but just try to get them to pick up the clothes in their room!  My husband's the same way.  He gets hotter than heck if I borrow any of his tools and leave them in the kitchen junk drawer or under the sink instead of putting them back on the pegboard over his workbench in the basement, but then he'll turn around and leave his clothes all over the bedroom.  Aren't husbands something?   And kitchen junk drawers - now that I've mentioned it, I have to laugh when I think what a mess ours is.  Isn't yours?

MY LITTLE NEPHEW  Bobby, my sister Mildred's youngest boy (he's 1 1/2 ), said the funniest thing the other day.  He always says "wa-wa" when he wants water.  And the other day he said, "Can I have a glass of wa-wa?"  So my sister said "Don't say 'wa-wa,' say 'water.'"  And Bobby said to her "But I can't say 'water,' I can only say 'wa-wa!'"  Isn't that the funniest thing you ever heard?

October 18, 2011

No Sense Of Humor

One evening about a month ago, Jan came home and asked me if I'd like to see Second City at the local community college on a Saturday night.  Several thoughts went through my mind in less than a second.  With my on-again, off-again ADD would I be able to sit still for several hours?  Hey, I'd miss my Saturday night meal followed by watching a movie from Netflix?  And last, would Jan think I was a cranky old fart who never wanted to do anything and go out and find a real man who liked to do fun things, was not afraid to take chances and might be better looking than me.

The last thought took control and I said "Sure, I'd love to".

And so, on a breezy Saturday night several weeks ago, we drove over to the College of Lake County's James Lumber Center (I thought that some company named "James Lumber" underwrote the building, but apparently, there was a guy named James Lumber.  In my mind, this would be equivalent to my being named "U.S. Steel") to watch the Second City Troupe do their thing.

I guess when most people go to a comedy venue, they set their brains to "Laugh" no matter what. I'm not wired that way and I always figure people who bill themselves as comedians have to earn it. But 90 percent of the people at this performance were primed to laugh, which I guess is a good thing, otherwise it might have been kind of awkward.

When the show started the five Second City people did a series of sketch comedies, which were all right, except for the one about the father and son talking on the son's wedding day about how shitty being married is.  This one is right out of 1900's vaudeville and I thought that at the turn of the millennium, it would have become obsolete, but apparently not.

But then, the performance changed ... changed to my very, very least favorite type of comedy. Improvisation and audience participation.

Improvisation.  The bane of comedy in my mind.  It shows lack of imagination and preparation to put on a full show and makes me embarrassed for the performers.  They did three sets of these, interspersed through the show.  Each one was cringe worthy and the audience only managed a few forced laughs.

And then ... Audience participation.  You know, where some poor schlub is pulled from the unsuspecting audience and is made a fool of.  I won't go into details, but I did notice that the guy who was picked left at intermission and never came back.  I figure he headed straight for a psychiatrist for the first of two hundred sessions to try to get his head screwed back on straight.

This is the way I see it.  If I'm going to pay 30 dollars for a ticket to see a live show, I don't want to be keel-hauled up on the stage and humiliated, unless I'm getting 60 percent of the house gross.

There were two "audience participation" sets and all it did was make me edgy and pissed off.

And then it ended.  Yay.  The best part of the evening actually happened in the parking lot.  A grey haired lady (about my age) and her husband/boyfriend roared out of the lot in her Porsche Boxter convertible in a haze of blue tire smoke ... which I thought was awesome.

Yeah, I liked the evening.  But the really best part was yet to come.  Trying to find a place to eat in this backwash county I live in after 11 p.m. on a Saturday night.

Next Post:  Why I Have Hated And Always Will Hate Bill's Pub ... And How White Castle Turned Into A Hillbilly Gangster Hangout.

October 14, 2011

Friday Hodgepodge Of Vitriol

It's a beautiful Fall day here in Northern Illinois.  The sun is out, there's not a cloud in the sky and the gentle breeze sends the fallen leaves skittering along the streets and sidewalks of my modest village.

What better time to vent about some things ... minor things ... that annoy the shit out of me.

Morning Radio:  For more years than I care to remember, I've awakened to the sound of an all news station on the clock radio.  I don't know why I picked this particular station at the time, but it's just become a habit.  And it was fine until about a year ago, which is when I realized that this station was really grating on my nerves and getting me off to a bad start.  I won't name the station, but it starts with a "W" and ends with a "BBM", which I believe is an acronym for "Worlds Biggest Butt Munchers".  I don't have a problem with the news stuff, but I do have a huge problem with the two early morning hosts.  For the sake of anonymity, I'll call them "Pat" and "Felicia".

As with most stations, they both introduce themselves to their audience about every 15 minutes. The first one used to start out with "Hello Breakfast Lovers!  I'm P-t C-----y".  I thought this was slightly annoying, as I hate breakfast and felt that he was ignoring my presence.  The other one did and still does the standard introduction with no embellishments, which is fine.  In fact, I don't have a problem with her at all, except she sounds like she attended Madam Haversham's School of Elocution.  So, the more I think about it, I'll just leave her out of this discussion.

Anyway, "Hello Breakfast Lovers" was bad enough, but lately "Pat" has started his spiel as follows: "Hello, I'm P-t C-----y, By the dawn's early light!"  The first time I heard this, the first thought that jumped into my head was "What the fuck?  What does that mean?"  And as bad as that is, he continues by addressing his co-host "Good morning "FLEESH".

"FLEESH"?  Holy shit.  I'm waiting for her to bark at him to stop calling her that, but it hasn't happened yet.  To his credit, "Pat" is blessed with a good set of pipes, and I imagined him as resembling Mr. Rogers ... you know ... kind of having that good uncle appearance.  But when I looked up his promo picture, I got this instead:


I'm sorry, but can't cut anybody any slack when they look like a rubber Halloween mask.  I think I'll just change to an easy listening station, as opposed to a hard listening station.

American Family Insurance:  Their television commercial drives me 100% apeshit.  The theme is "Protecting Your Dream" and features cutaways of a bride appearing to be trying to escape from a serial killer, some dude yanking on a lawnmower that won't start, a sweaty woman pulling off a field hockey helmet; and worst of all ... some guy slamming down a cup of coffee next to a laptop while the announcer intones "So fire up the laptop, pour a cup of coffee, 'cause there are going to be a lot of late nights".  To this I usually respond ... hey announcer, why don't you go fire up your ass.

And then, the commercial ends with some smug looking asshole who looks like Dave Hester from A&E's "Storage Wars" standing there with his arms crossed across his chest. 

Dave ... Or  AFI Asshole?

The only thing that I get out of this commercial  is that I wish I had American Family Insurance so I could cancel it.

The Morning Walk:  No, I didn't get into a fistfight with the Paper Man this morning.  I didn't even see him.  But I did see this:

"Don't Look At Me!"

During my walk, I rounded a corner and came upon a woman standing by a dog who looked a lot like the one above.  When she saw me, the following transpired:

Woman:  "Would you walk out in the street?  He can't go if you're watching him!"

Me:  "You're watching him."

Woman:  "That's different."

Me:  "I'll bet it's not.  Let me just stand here and see."

Five seconds and a dirty look later, the woman yanked the dog out it's hunched stance and huffed off.  I wonder if he ever took a shit?

The Grocery Store:  After my walk, I drove over to Butera Supermarket to purchase mushrooms, Shake 'N Bake and Halloween Oreos (Don't Ask).  As I was waiting in the ONLY checkout line open, one of the employees told me that another lane was open.  I looked over and saw "Adelajda" manning the post.

Sidenote:  Several months ago, Adelajda and I had a bit of a dust-up when she left her station (with the checkout light ON) and went over to chat with someone while I stood there like a dumb ass, waiting 5 minutes for her to saunter back over and do her fucking job.  We had "words" and I vowed never again to get in a line where she was behind the cash register.

Anyway, I told the employee "no thanks".  Not taking no for an answer, the employee asked me why I wanted to wait behind two people instead of going to the open counter.  So I just told her "because I don't like that bitch."  That seemed to do the trick.

By the way, after my altercation with Adelajda, I contacted the good people at Butera Supermarket on their website about her assholery, but never received an answer.  Perhaps the powers that be at Piggly Wiggly Inc. (owners of Butera Supermarkets) may see this and look into their poor correspondence practices.  On an up note, congratulations to "The Pig" on their 100th anniversary!

Happy Birthday ... Er ... Anniversary ... Er ... Whatever

October 13, 2011

Paper Man

I don't go looking for trouble.  I really don't ...

When my contract with Giant Pharmaceutical House ended during the summer, I took the opportunity of the free time to start walking in the morning.  Short ones at first, which evolved into about an hour. When Jan started school early in the fall, I developed the habit of waving goodbye to her and then immediately going out, which is about 6 a.m., give or take a few minutes.  It's quiet.  Few people are out and almost no one has left for work.  It's also too early for the school bus routes to start up.  I use the time to wake up, tackle things that are bothering me and plan the day.

Almost as soon as my new walking schedule had began, I noticed there was one person who was always out there with me.  The paper man.  For the first few days, I noted a few things about him. He drives an old beat up Toyota Camry, finished with that pukey greenish-blue color that could only have been thought up by color-blind GM and Toyota engineers, and it was missing one hubcap.

As time went on, I noted that during his rounds, he constantly stared at his delivery sheet, which he propped across the steering wheel with both hands.  As the weeks went on, I thought this odd as one would guess that he would have his delivery spots memorized after a while. Eventually, I figured out that this guy had four motor functions he was attempting all at once.  Driving, being aware of his surroundings, reading his sheet, and pitching papers out the driver's and passenger's side windows. That's a lot of shit to do all at once.

Several weeks ago, I was walking on the sidewalk, when a folded up newspaper whizzed right under my nose as I strode across a driveway.  And then the Camry passed me, papers ejecting out the windows as it made it's way up the street.

"Bastard must not have seen me", I thought.

A few days later, still on the sidewalk, I watched a pair of headlights approaching me.  The lights suddenly bobbled and I realized the car had jumped the curb and was coming straight at me.  As I veered into a yard, the car went back onto the street and as it went by, it was the Camry.  I yelled after it, but of course, it just kept on motoring up the street, leaving newspapers in its wake.

Since that morning I've pointed straight at this guy with an accusatory finger every time we've crossed paths.  He never noticed me, or pretended not to.  Until yesterday.  When he smirked at me.

Which brings me to this morning.

I was again on the sidewalk, preoccupied with some matter or the other, when a newspaper hit me square in the back.  The Camry drove by on my right.   Without thinking, I picked up the paper and heaved it at the car as hard as I could ... but I missed.  The car drove on.

As he turned the corner, I followed his path.  For a half-hour, every DH newspaper I saw in a driveway went someplace else.  In the street, on the other side of the street, under a car, on top of a car, in the bushes, on a roof ...

(Publisher's Note:  I know what you're thinking.  They'll get over it.)

And here's hoping that more than one phone call went into the newspaper office this morning ... and that a certain prick had to go out and re-deliver a few papers.

I need to go practice my smirk to prepare for tomorrow morning.

UPDATE 10/14/11:  Just after lunch, I looked out my front window and saw this on the lawn:

Yessss ... I do believe that someone got his shit smacked yesterday.  And I've received a very "special" delivery/message in return.  As George Bush once said ... "BRING IT ON!"

October 11, 2011

Another Failed Venture

Recently, I've been on a cleaning tear.  And by "cleaning", I mean throwing shit out.  I'm not completely certain, but this may be a result of my watching a "Hoarders" marathon on A&E several weeks ago.

Be that as it may, I was going through some papers the other day, and ran across a submission that I had sent to one of the Chicago papers.  About 10 years ago, after Ann Landers died, the Chicago Sun Times ran a contest to find a new advice columnist, although they must have overlooked the fact that there are as many "advice columnists" out there as there are rat turds in the New York City sewer system.

Whatever.  I've read more than my share of advice columns in my time here on earth, and it seemed like a pretty easy gig.  The Sun Times asked that all interested parties send in an example and that the powers that be would crown a new "Ann Landers" with much fanfare.  I sent mine in, but predictably, I wasn't chosen.  I didn't even get a fucking thank you note for my submission. Assholes.

Anyway, they ended up picking some dick named Jeffrey Zazlo, whose spiffy column was named "All That Zazz!"  It lasted about six months, after which the Sun Times picked up a column by one of Ann Landers kids, whose name was Muriel, or something ... I forget.

So, before I throw this particular folder in the dumpster, I thought I'd share ...

Dear Roberta


DEAR ROBERTA:  At a luncheon at a friend's house I discovered that there was no toilet tissue in the bathroom and as I needed some I had no choice but to use a hand towel.  I put the hand towel into my purse fully intending to take it home, wash it, and return it the next day.  However, a while later my friend asked to see my new handbag.  Needless to say, she found the towel and accused me of stealing.  What should I do now?

DEAR EMBARRASSED:  Anyone who entertains and doesn't have the sense to check her toilet tissue supply isn't considerate enough to have friends.  If she's really your friend, I'd hate to meet your enemies!

DEAR ROBERTA:  I had a few friends over for lunch the other day and as we were visiting I noticed one of the gals was acting very peculiar.  I suspected something right away and asked to see her purse.  She was very reluctant to give me her purse and with good reason - she stole one of my towels!  I'm shocked at her and don't quite know what to do.


DEAR ANGRY:  Anyone who steals from her friends is no friend at all.  Drop her like a hot rock!

DEAR ROBERTA:  I am very generous about loaning things but I'm really miffed.  I loaned a neighbor my expensive good guest hand towels for a luncheon party.  When she returned them the next day, one of them was stained and smelled of urine.  What could be wrong with her?

DEAR REVOLTED:  I think your friend needs a hygiene lesson.  And you need friends like her the way a cat needs swim fins.

October 08, 2011

Saturday Boredom Buster

I'm just marking time until Jan and I go out this evening to see Second City.  And just like any Saturday night date when I was in high school, I washed and vacuumed out my car today.  It's a guy thing, and the only difference is that I didn't have any high school dates with women I had been married to for 36 years.

If you're bored, or just taking a break, here are a couple of things for you.

I normally loathe cats, but this was kind of cool.

And a few of these made me snort.

Talk to you next week.

October 07, 2011

The Mad Housewife

The Mad Housewife 

By ... Mama Needs Whiskey

It was one of those days.  First the washing machine had gone on strike, the 15-year-old had come home with an injured football helmet, and then I had returned from my dip in the car pool to find Ginger, the beloved family tabby, dead on the kitchen floor.  It looked like the poor thing had been hit by a car and come inside to die.  Holding back the tears, I hid the kitty behind some bushes for later burial and decided to say nothing to the kids until dinner time.

Naturally, this night my husband was held up, and arrived just as the meat loaf was breathing its last.  "Dear, " I said, as he dug in, "there's something we have to discuss.  The c-a-t has been k-i-l-l-e-d".  "What does that mean" said nine-year-old Billy, not fooled for a second.  "It means rest," said noble husband coming to the rescue, "that Ginger has gone to sleep for a long time."

"See Nancy," replied Billy, " I told you they had nine lives.  We clubbed the little fucker with a brick and he's just sleeping it off!"

I knew it would happen sooner or later.  But after all, I was the one who had insisted on our getting a five-speed, two-toned, chrome-bumpered leaf blower in the first place.  It was either that or you-know-who out there with a rake and a very sore back.  So we got one, and it was the very same contraption that my husband was putting to use as I conducted an investigation to find out which one of the twins had come up with the delightful idea of making tiny pinholes in Mommy's diaphragm last June.

That out of the way, we climbed into the SUV, hubby replacing one steering wheel for another, and set off backward down the driveway right into a pile of leaves and the unmistakable and sickening crunch of a small child being run over.  "Uh-Oh!" I said, "we've just run over one of our children."  "No, we haven't dear," said unflappable hubby.  "It's the four-year-old from down the block, I saw playing the the leaves a few minutes ago.  You always expect the worst," and having put Mom in her place, proceeded to set sail for the supermarket.

And then there was he time my husband woke up with an extraordinary plan ... he was going to find out just who he was supporting.  It was high time, he announced, that the captain of this ship knew the size and condition of his complement, from romper room to attic ... even down to the details like wives and pets.

After he pried the twins away for the television, with the help of a crowbar and a lot of muscle, and flushed the various inhabitants of our shaky craft from their hiding places, he assembled the entire sleepy crew on the front lawn.  "All right, troop," he barked, " is there anyone here who knows of any inhabitants, animal or human, that are not clearly visible on this deck?"  "Please, Dad ... I mean, Captain," ventured our youngest, "what about Mom's pussy?"

"That's not very funny," snapped loyal hubby.  "I suspect someone else was feeding it because I haven't seen hide nor hair of it for months".

Some days ... it just doesn't pay to get out of bed.

Next Post:  Will Rob Stop Mommyblogging??!!

October 06, 2011

October? ... WTF?!

There are times when normal people can forget what day it is.  I guess I'm not that normal, because I forgot what month it was ... until this morning ... when I realized that it wasn't September any more ... and that all the bills I was supposed to pay last Friday are now overdue ... so the credit card companies will get their overdue fees as an early Christmas present.

A lot of people I know say that they are "multi-taskers".  That they can do and remember many things at once.  Just for the record, these people are fucking liars.  Me ... I'm a monomaniac.  I do one thing at a time.  And sometimes it takes me weeks to get it done.

Three weeks ago, I decided that the side door to my garage needed to be replaced.  Then I decided that the garage walls needed to be insulated.  Then I decided that the exposed insulation looked weird, so I covered it over will wallboard.  Then, the wallboard looked strange without paint.  Then, what's a garage without a workbench?  Then, the whole area needed that man-sy "personal" touch. At one o'clock this afternoon, I finished.  And, of course, I can't wait to show you:

Before ... How Utterly Disgusting!

After ... One Thousand Hours of DIY Network Viewing Pays Off!

Anyway, the garage is just like my new MANCAVE!  Except, there isn't a flat screen, or a couch, or a refrigerator, or a bathroom.  And when both cars are inside, there's no room to turn sideways.

What the fuck ... it was the last project of the year.  Now I can kick back with my Tolstoy collection and enjoy the roaring fire in the fireplace.  Except that it's October 6th and it's 80 degrees outside.


Well this can't last, and everyone loves Indian Summer, whatever that is.  Speaking of Indian Summer, I always enjoyed this Chicago Tribune editorial cartoon, which was first printed in the "Trib" in the autumn of 1368 ... I think:

"You thinks them thars haystacks, eh boy?"

"Gee Gramps, can I smoke some weed too?"

I couldn't find the original subtitles, but I'm almost certain that's what the captions were. Whatever. So, due to prior commitments, I probably won't be back before every one's favorite holiday ... Columbus Day!  But, just for all of you Italian fans, I've picked out a special recipe for you to enjoy on Monday.  It's a very unusual combination of seafood and cheese, named "Cheesio Christobal Colon" Here's a picture for you.  If you'll send me a self-addressed, stamped envelope and $5.99, I'll send you the recipe ...

Let's All Go To the Vomitoriam After Dinner! 

Next Post:  You're Guess Is As Good As Mine!