You can always believe Abe Lincoln.
WHY I THINK OF SUCH THINGS I DO NOT KNOW. I certainly could find a better use for my remaining brain cells. There are days when I worry that my gray matter is slipping away by the cup full. Those days are usually Mondays.
The substance of my obsessive thoughts for today is: Lunch
At more and more hotels the Free Breakfast has become almost unavoidable. The big chains, such as Holiday Inn, Marriott, and a dozen others trot out the hot trays every morning to feed their guests between 6 to 9 AM. During those hours you can see the early risers slumped over their plates of eggs, sausage, and potatoes.
While I admit to being among that crowd on most mornings I am doing so for mainly medicinal purposes. Every morning I have my own buffet of medications that I take to stay alive and I am obligated to have something in my tummy to buffer the explosion when the pills kick in. So, I head down to the hotel lobby and the “Complimentary Free Breakfast.”
I’M GOOD AT GROCERY SHOPPING. I’M NOT GOOD AT DANCING.
Everybody has those little slices of life where they excel and others where they stink like the next morning in a fraternity house. No matter how hard we try to master a certain skill it evades us.
Reblog From The Bluebird Of Bitterness “Battle Of The Bulge”
Today we present a Guest Blog from “The Bluebird of Bitterness” – a truly funny Blogger.
New post on bluebird of bitterness
Spending a week or two in a foreign land is one thing, but going for seven weeks changes the way you see and do things.
Being in Ireland brings to mind an old quote from, I forget whom – Maybe Mark Twain, maybe Winston Churchill, maybe the Spice Girls,- that noted that, “The U.S. and the U.K. (forgive me if I lump Ireland into that mix) are two great nations separated by a common language.” I say this because, just as at home, there is more than one accent in play. It all depends on what part of the country you are in and your social status.
I think we started a new one this year. A good one – one that I hope we can put into play next year and on into the future.
For more years than I can recall, even back into my childhood, on major Holidays – the ones that warrant their own Hallmark Movies – our families have always gathered for monumental feasts with every relative who is on the loose and not in custody somewhere. We would have food on the table, enough to keep Bangladesh happy, and the day would be spent engorging ourselves.
YOU CAN TELL THAT THEY MUST HAVE SKIPPED BREAKFAST. All those guys wanted to talk about was food. They started out comparing restaurants and moved on to recipes. These guys are eaters, not cookers. They could easily kill themselves if they went into the kitchen. They would either poison themselves or blow the house to Kingdom Come.
The thing is – they are making me hungry and I’m stuck with them, sitting in the corner at St. Arbucks.
I think that part of this discussion of theirs has its Genesis in their desire to break out their backyard grills and destroy some perfectly good meat while they are popping open enough beer to get them all arrested for BUI – Barbequing Under the Influence.
WHAT WAS I THINKING? I know better than to behave like that. Alas, I will end up paying for that the next day and for several days after that. It was stupid – legal, but stupid.
Just about every Sunday we – my wife, the lovely and theologically eloquent, Dawn, and I go out for lunch with friends. After church we gather our amiable selves and head off to the preselected dining destination of the day. Our Sunday choices range from small neighborhood cafes where the chef looks like everybody’s Grandmother and no two plates match up – all the way to those Monster All-You-Can-Eat Buffets that always charge too much.
IT WAS JUST THE OTHER DAY as I was driving down the avenue when I noticed that the neighborhood Taco Bell was undergoing some remodeling. I don’t know if they were merely repainting or going full tilt and adding a branch of the Poison Control Center.
While I am not a fan of Taco Bell (I prefer Mexican Food) they are very popular worldwide. The latest figure I could find said that there are 6, 849 Taco Bell restaurants strewn about the globe.
Doing a little (very little) follow-up research I have learned that the number of Taco Bells has grown by one. Last week the first of a planned 40 Thai restaurants opened in Bangkok. And it was a rip roaring success.
WHAT IS GOING ON? LIFE IS CHALLENGING ENOUGH. I don’t need people, most of whom I don’t know or couldn’t pick out of a police lineup, sticking their surgically modified noses into my world with “Challenges.”
The latest thing I’m having pushed upon me are these “Ten-Day Challenges” to convince me to eat better, exercise so that I too can have six-pack abs, or to transform me into a “World Citizen” – whatever that means.
Throwback Thursday from January 2016
The other day, in the illustrious Tribune-Star newspaper, there was a story about a fellow being sentenced to 69 years in the slammer for shooting and killing his “Buddy,” as the story called him.
It was said that both of these lads had been out drinking and were approaching a flammable state when the “Buddy” started feeling blue. He turned to his friend and said, “Just shoot me and put me out of my misery.”
So he did.
There’s not a lot I could add to that, except that it did appear in the Trib-Star, a newspaper not known for the accuracy/spelling/grammar/anything else one would expect. So, I suppose that it is possible that they’ve made a few errors and this story is actually about a meeting of the Garden Club’s Petunia Sub-committee.
In other January news flashes there was a story about my favorite baseball team – The San Francisco Giants – signing up a new outfielder.
Denard Span, aside from having an interesting name, is a good player and should be an asset to the team. The fly in this ointment surfaced during an interview after the contract was signed and Span was paraded before the media. It turns out that the new Giants outfielder has a serious phobia: Birds.
This could be a problem. Having been to many ballgames in San Francisco I can verify that, starting in about the 7th inning, the seagulls arrive at the stadium. They are there looking for a free meal among the dropped hotdogs, peanuts, pizza, and other leftovers. They arrive by the hundreds and take over the bleachers and even land in the outfield. I’m afraid that Mr. Span is going to be increasing his dosage of Anti-Anxiety meds.
These seagulls are big, bold and not afraid of anything. I saw one snatch an ice cream sandwich from the hands of an infant in a stroller. Swoop! Snatch! Gulp!
I wonder if the Giants will pay for his therapist? He’s going to need one or he will turn into Jimmy Piersall right before our eyes. (Look up “Fear Strikes Out”)
Terre Haute (That’s French for, “Biscuits and Gravy – Breakfast of Champions.”) got its first real taste of winter with snow and bitter cold. There’s nothing truly unusual about that, but the NBC affiliate TV station saw things a little differently than the rest of us.
I really hate it when we have to deal with “Blowing Snot” on the roads. I was afraid that my windshield would never be the same – until I replaced the Window Washer Fluid with Mucinex.
I guess that the BIG story of the month has been the Power Ball Lottery jackpot going over a billion dollars. It is a serious amount of money and provides easy stories for the media.
I was watching the Today Show when they did a puff piece about “what if” the prize was paid out in one dollar bills. (Can NBC do hard news, or what?) In singles, the prize would stack up X number of miles. If laid end to end, blah, blah, blah. It was pretty easy to ignore until he said, “It would weigh…” At that point my caffeine dependent mind leapt ahead of him and finished his sentence.
“It would weigh” – “slightly less than Rosie O’Donnell after six months on the Atkins Diet.”
I should talk. I once brought up the idea of having my stomach stapled. My doctor suggested, “That in your case, I would recommend spot welding.”
The odds of winning the billion-plus dollar prize are beyond astronomical, but it will happen (if it hasn’t already by the time this posts.) and someone will gain more previously unknown relatives than anyone in history.
Sudden wealth can present problems, but I’ve dealt with the problems of not so sudden poverty most of my life. I’d like a crack at the other end of that financial Mobius strip.
If you notice that I start writing about the goings-on of Tahiti instead of Terre Haute you’ll know that something big has happened. Tahiti (That’s French for, “Guess what happened to me.”)
Throwback Thursday from January 2016
TOO MUCH EDUCATION CAN BE A DANGEROUS THING.
I know a person with a graduate degree in finance from an Ivy League school. He can squeeze so much value out of a dime that it makes FDR get up and walk.
Now, I like saving money as much as the next guy – maybe a bit more even. I grew up poor with cardboard in my shoes to cover the holes. Even today, at an overripe old age, I still wince whenever I spend money. But, the fellow of whom I speak has elevated money-saving to an Art.
Earlier this week he told me of his latest trip to Kroger’s to buy some breakfast cereal. He had some coupons in his hand.
When he got to the Cereal Aisle he saw that the object of his hunt was also being discounted. He smiled I’m sure, bordering on a leer.
Many of the “discounts” on the store shelves are as phony as a politician’s promise – The item sells regularly for $1.49, they change it to $1.79 and slap on another tag reading, “Marked Down to $1.49!” Instant Non-Discount.
Sometimes the discounts are real – usually because a buyer screwed up and they are stuck with ten truckloads of the stuff. Of course, some discounts arise after a news report says that the product can make your kids grow extra thumbs or decide to go to college and major in “Organic Bongs of Medieval Japan.”
Back to my tale of Nuclear Couponing in the Cereal Aisle.
In addition to your garden variety discount was another tag offering even bigger markdowns if you bought the cereal boxes 10 at a time. The buyer must have really screwed up. My Friend The Shopper felt like he had just found the Lost Dutchman Mine. He made a trip to chat with the store manager to verify that everything, as he saw it, was kosher. The Manager said that he was entitled to all of the posted discounts – plus – another “Instant Coupon” that would be given to him upon checkout. The coupons he walked in with were those super-duper double coupons and all of this back and forth with the store manager meant that he was getting into some serious high finance negotiations with Kroger’s. For a guy with a degree from Columbia University and a resume that includes a lengthy stint on Wall Street, this was heaven.
Cutting to the chase!
This man, who just wanted to buy some breakfast cereal for himself and his daughter, ended up walking back to his
car with 48 boxes of Post and Kellogg cereals – and a bottle of cranberry juice.
He hadn’t really wanted the cranberry juice, but after the dust settled at the checkout cash register, the store owed him $1.79.
The Manager was concerned that the Home Office in Cincinnati might pop an aneurism if the transaction showed up as a negative cash flow. To circumvent this he grabbed a bottle of cranberry juice off the shelf that cost $1.79 and they called the whole deal a push.
When I heard him tell this story my first thought was, “I hope you and your daughter really like cereal, because you’re going to be eating it every day for a year.
As he told this story I could see a fire in his eyes. This experience has spawned a monster. He said that he has found a cable TV show all about serious “couponing” and “It’s really interesting.”
I told him that I thought it all seemed like something that ended up with a very cult-like fanaticism.
If he keeps up with this “couponing”, I half expect him to shave his head, move to Battle Creek, and start banging a tambourine at the airport.
“Om, mane pay me coupon om.”
At least half of the world makes the same resolution every year: Lose Weight. The other half of the world makes a different resolution: Don’t Starve to Death.
I’ve not made that Lose Weight resolution for years, decades even. Not that I don’t need to shed a ton or two, but I don’t need to try to embarrass myself into it. I have enough of that elsewhere in my life. If you’ve ever performed onstage you’ll understand.
I LIVE VERY CLOSE TO MY favorite gym. It is only about a five minute walk from my home, but, of course, I don’t walk there – I drive. It has all the latest equipment and a highly- trained staff that can help design for you a really healthy and vigorous workout program. You can also get top notch diet and nutritional planning advice there as well.
I don’t care about any of that crap.
It’s my favorite gym because it is right next door to a Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream store. I can just imagine myself doing a really healthy cardio workout in the gym and then zipping next door for some hand-packed peanut butter and chocolate ice cream. I’m never going to do that, but I can imagine it. I’m so glad that the two places are so close. Talk about your city planning! I should send a “Thank You” card to the zoning board. They got something right for a change.
I really do love going to that gym – really, I do. I just stand outside, with my ice cream cone and watch the folks inside sweating and grunting. Every once in a while someone comes outside and joins me. I think they realize that I’m having a better time than they are.
One time some yutz came out from the gym and started to berate me for my dissipated lifestyle. That was his phrase – “dissipated lifestyle.” – And how he was a much better person than me. I licked my cone and nodded, but didn’t say anything. That really fried his Twinkies. He flexed his muscles and got right up in my face and said that when we both get to 50 years of age I’ll probably have already dropped dead and he’ll still be healthy. I told him my guess was that he’d stroke out on his Stairmaster long before reaching 50, and that, anyway, I’m already way past 50 years old and “you can lick my Rocky Road.”
WILL SOMEONE PLEASE HIT ME WITH A BRICK if I ever suggest going to another “All You Can Eat” buffet for Thanksgiving Dinner.
It was just the four of us at our table – Me, my wife, the lovely and eternally practical, Dawn, our son, Alex, and the spirits of Genghis Khan and his Horde – all of us eating until we blacked out.
Why is it that all sense of Reason and Proportion disappear when confronted with an endless supply of Mashed Potatoes and Roast Turkey? A nearby mountain of Crab Cakes doesn’t help either.
LET’S SEE – SOCKS: TWO PER DAY. Nicey-Niceys: One per day barring unforeseen circumstances. Hawaiian shirts: One per day with extras for any formal occasions that might pop up. Pants. That should cover it. Boots and metal-free cheap airport friendly travel shoes are a given.
I travel light. If I do it right my suitcase will weigh about six pounds. My Carry-on might come in at seventy pounds, but the main bag will be like a feather.
Point of Order! Point of Order!
I WENT TO SEE MY NUTRITIONIST yesterday morning. His task is to help me to change my eating habits, thereby losing weight, thereby lowering my blood pressure, thereby continuing to be alive.
So far so good.
According to him I have lost four pounds since my last visit – and I did so without amputating any body parts or pretending I was a prisoner in a Northern Ireland jail. I have tried to alter my food choices – that means cutting back on pizza and eating more fruits and veggies.
I can do that.
He told me that if I can lose seven more pounds I will officially move from being considered “Obese” into a category labeled “Overweight.” He said the difference is that as an “Overweight” category resident it becomes conjecture about whether my excess weight is fat or muscle. I assured him that it isn’t muscle and hasn’t been for about forty years. After he stopped giggling he gave me that seven pound weight loss as a goal for our next appointment which is set for late July. In essence, he has given me the go-ahead to stay alive for another three months.
I’m jiggy with it.
I didn’t use that phrase with him. Not only is it about ten years passé, but he is also from India and I doubt that he was a “Fresh Prince” fan. With him I just mumbled an “OK.”
Since I started seeing him I have lost about 45 pounds. At first it was easy – “at first” lasting about three weeks. After that it became more difficult. At one point I considered having all of my internal organs removed. My wife discouraged me from doing that saying that “Zsa Zsa Gabor did that and look what happened to her.” I haven’t been able to discover what actually did happen to her, but it probably wasn’t good from the sound of it.
Instead I have lost the weight the old fashioned way: eating lots of fruits and veggies and implementing “Portion Control.” I can now spot a 3 oz. piece of chicken from across the room. I’ve always used potion control but just with different parameters that my Nutritionist has in mind. In one frame of reference half of a large pepperoni pizza is portion control. In a different frame it is – Oh, how shall I say it – NOT!
You can’t make everyone happy.
He asked me the same question my other doctors have asked me lately: “What are you doing for exercise?”
I gave him the same answer I’ve given them: “I stumble.”
You see, when I walk, I honestly have no idea what my left leg is going to do. There have been times when I want to go straight ahead, but my left leg decides on its own to go left. Why? I don’t know. It’s just being rebellious perhaps. Or it does those wacky things in retribution for two early childhood surgeries on the leg. Or maybe it just saw something more interesting off to the left. So, when I walk I do so carefully. Not too fast, not with steps larger than the distance I am prepared to fall face first into the pavement.
I honestly think, along with my wife, the Wonderful and Understanding Rev. Dawn, that I get most of my exercise pushing the shopping cart up and down the aisles at the Kroger store. I can put in some mileage there depending on how long the shopping list is that day. And the cart offers support and something to hold onto in case “Lefty” decides to wander off.
I chalk up yesterday’s trip to see the Nutritionist a success. He was happy. I was happy. My wife was happy. And remember:
You can’t make everyone happy. You are not pizza.