Area Restaurant Implementing Controversial Ideas in Effort to Go Green

8 03 2010

Elmer Huggest, owner of the restaurant, O’Grady’s Garden in Indiana, plans to do his part to save the planet by implementing some new policies at his eating establishment.  Some are pretty basic; others are a little more radical.

“It’s time we take a stand and do the right thing,” Huggest stated.  “There is so much food and energy waste in restaurants in this country, and I’m going to do something about it.”  Huggest, a retired gold prospector purchased the restaurant in 2005 and has been trying to come up with ideas to “go green” ever since.

O’Grady’s Garden will be closed this week as the staff makes major changes to the place.  The first work done will be to change all lighting to energy-saving flourescent bulbs.  The restaurant will also use significantly less lighting.  Huggest admits that some patrons may complain the restaurant is too dark but believes his customers will understand once they are informed of the new “green” policies. In addition, all the cooking and refrigeration appliances are being replaced with more energy-efficient models.

Other changes, however, may be more noticeable to customers.  In an effort to save paper, menus will be printed on small, playing-card sized menus.  Huggest realizes that these menus will be more difficult to read but believes this will not be a problem because a magnifying glass will be placed on every table to assist customers.

The napkins are changing as well.  Huggest proudly proclaimed, “We were fortunate enough to find a supplier in China who makes edible napkins.  They are made of some sort of plant fibers and come in two flavors:  Banana and Plum.”  This will cut down on washing costs and may also serve as a sort of replacement for dessert for our patrons.  I tried one, and they are very filling.”  Along the same lines, silverware will not necessarily be washed after each use.  “We’re going to have our staff inspect each piece of silverware when a table clears, and pieces that are deemed to be ‘not that dirty’ will simply be wiped once and placed back on the table.  This is a true ‘green’ innovation.”

Huggest also believes that restaurants waste energy in the form of heating and air conditioning.  “We’re going to go as natural as possible.  The heat will only come on if the restaurant temperature goes below 50, and the air will only be used when it’s above 85 in the dining room.  We think this can be comfortable as long as customers dress appropriately to the season.”

Servers will save paper by no longer writing down customer food orders and instead will be required to memorize them.  “We’ll probably have a few more mistakes on orders in the beginning since most of our servers are young and from the local community college,” Huggest admitted.  “I realize some of them are not the sharpest tools in the shed, but it’s all going to be worth it once they get the hang of things…eventually.”

Huggest also is removing the restaurant’s sound system meaning there will be no light music for ambiance.  He believes that is a waste of energy but has other ideas to provide a pleasant dining experience.  “My 14-year-old daughter plays the piccolo and will be available to sit in the corner and play most evenings.  Also, we’re very proud to announce that Corey Hart will play in the dining room on the first Thursday of every month.”  Corey Hart had the 1980′s hit song, “I Wear My Sunglasses at Night.”

Previously, O’Grady’s had a policy of handing out coloring paper and crayons to children diners.  This will be cut out, but children will have an opportunity to play in a large sandbox in the middle of the dining room while waiting for their food.  “I think they are going to just love that,” Huggest said.

Not all of the noticeable changes will be confined to the dining room.  Public Restroom policies are also being affected.  “The water faucets have been programmed to provide running water for only two seconds.  When it shuts off, it will not be able to be turned back on for a full minute.  We’re very proud of our efforts to cut out the unnecessary waste of water.  We also ask that our customers follow the old addage, If it’s yellow, let it mellow; if it’s brown, flush it down.”  Huggest added that the restaurant is considering having servers check the toilets immediately after customers use them and reserve the right to evict anyone from the restaurant who flushes “only urine.”

There will also be some big changes relating to the actual food.  For example, the restaurant’s signature steaks will no longer be available “well-done.”  Huggest stated that cooking meat for an extra couple of minutes to get them “well-done” is simply a waste of electricity and will not be allowed.  “We feel that medium is plenty done enough.  People will get used to it.”

Drink spills by customers will be handled differently as well.  Servers will quickly try to “scoop” any amount of drink that can be saved back into patrons’ glasses.  There will be a “fine” added on to the bill for every ounce of drink that cannot be saved.

“Fines” will also be applied when customers do not finish all their food.  The price of the “fine” will depend on the type and amount of the food.  Huggest says a reduced “fine” will be applied when customers ask for take-home boxes for leftovers.  “It’s all well and good if they want to take leftovers home, but we can’t be sure they won’t throw the food away at home or even accidentally leave the carry-out box on top of their cars when they drive off.  Therefore, a small fine is in order.”

Huggest believes that children are the biggest wasters of food.  He is changing the kid’s meal as a result.  “The kid’s meal will now consist of a few slices of prune, one saltine cracker and a 1.5 ounce juice box whose container is made completely of recycled material.  Since the meal is a lot smaller than it used to be, customers will be happy to hear that we are reducing the price by ten cents.”

The restaurant will also attempt to reuse some food left behind on customer plates.  Huggest realizes this idea is “different” but believes it is necessary in today’s world.  “We’re going to cut out any bite marks and inspect food to see how much can be recycled.  We’ll then put it on our ‘second chance’ buffet which patrons can eat from for a reduced price.  We think we are pioneers and that many, many other restaurants will be doing this type of thing in the near future.”

When asked if this is sanitary, Huggest stated that the restaurant is committed to providing a healthy environment.  “Since we will be reusing some food, it will be necessary to take the temperature of every customer as they arrive.  Anyone with a fever will be denied entrance.  Also, our host staff will be taking a good look at every customer who is trying to come in, and only clean-looking people who look like they don’t have any diseases will be admitted.  Additionally, servers will go around the dining room and spray hefty doses of Lysol every ten minutes.  We want our customers to know we care about their good health.”

Finally, the restaurant’s popular frozen margaritas will no longer be available.  “It just wastes too much ice,” Huggest said.

Jenna McQuire, a long-time patron of O’Grady’s is not happy about this last change. “If I don’t get my Friday night mango margarita, I’m going to kill someone,” she ranted.

Customers are certainly in for some changes at the establishment.  “I think they’ll understand in the long run,” Huggest said.  “What good is a restaurant if we end up living in an post-apocalyptic world where people are beating each other with sticks trying to get at the last drops of water on earth.  Now you think about that.”





Technology Is Scary Unless You’re 4

1 02 2010

Saying that my four-year-old daughter does not come from a long line of technologically advanced people is an understatement.  I offer the following true stories as proof.

In the early nineties, I acquired my first personal home computer of my very own.  It was exciting, but I felt a little intimidated.  I know that I resisted going to any sites such as Playboy.com for the first few days.  At some point, however, it was time to find out what all the internet fuss was about.  Fate played a cruel trick on me that day with a strike of malicious, unfortunate timing.  Not more than ten seconds after going to such a site for the first time, I received my first on-screen message of “Your computer has performed an illegal operation and must shut down.”  I now know this has nothing to do with the government or decency laws.  At the time, however, I experienced momentary panic and even unplugged my computer.  I thought the police had been watching my online movements.  I realized a little later that I was just being an idiot.  Years later, I admitted this faux pas to a couple of friends and learned that I am not alone.  One friend’s father was once trying to play some sort of online game when he received this message.  He ended up hiding in his garage, thinking law enforcement was on the way to grab him.  This made me feel slightly better.

But back to my blood relatives.  My own mother and father were very afraid of technology.  One time, many years ago when I still lived at home, a twenty-something family member had come over from his apartment to use my parents’ hose and driveway to wash his car.  He left his beeper (yes, this was back in beeper/pager days) on my parents’ table.  It’s unfortunate that I was not home and that he was outside when the beeper went off.  My parents were alarmed and first did not realize from where the beeping was coming.  Once they located the thing, they of course had absolutely no idea what it was and grew nervous.  Long story short, they literally picked it up gently and set it in the middle of the back yard in case it was “going to explode or something.”  At some point later, my other family member came in and asked if my parents knew where his beeper was, thus solving the mystery.

Once I moved away from home, I had to return there any time the power had gone out because their VCR would reset in such a way that their cable tv was no longer coming in.  There was a better chance of my mother accidentally discovering a cure for cancer while making chicken and dumplings than there was of them being able to navigate the VCR menu and fix the settings.  I’m hoping that either Heaven is technology free or that you get some fantastic tutorial from St. Peter himself upon arrival or they may be floundering around up there.

I have an older sister who just recently added texting to her cell phone usage.  She sent me her first trial text (which took her about a day to “type out”), and I responded with what I thought was a very simple reply, just to let her know I received it.  I sent, “Texting rules!” back to her, as in “Texting is cool” or “Texting is good.”   I did not hear back from her but instead ran into her at a grocery store the next day.  She said, “Oh, it wouldn’t let me read the text you sent back. I think it thought there was something lewd in your text…it said something about breaking texting rules.”  It took me a second before I realized what had happened.  She thought my statement of “Texting rules!” was some sort of warning from her cell phone company police.  So, I explained it to her.  I want to make it clear that these are intelligent, sensible people otherwise.

So, you would think my daughter would be in trouble when it comes to technology.  However, she is not.  I think maybe God decided to add some technology savvy into the DNA for any children born after, say, 1985.  She seems to inherently understand devices.  She can easily navigate through my mp3 player to use album cover art to pick the song she wants.  I gave her a used digital camera to play with, and it took her no time at all to figure out how to switch between photos and recording moving video.  I’m telling you; I dread the day when she can read everything on the tv guide screen because I’m never again going to get to watch anything other than children’s animated shows once that happens.  I’m considering holding her back from kindergarten for just that very reason!  Then again, I should send her because you never know when my laptop could stop working, and maybe, just maybe, she’ll know how to fix it.





I’ve Always Suspected the Sporks

2 12 2008

Cheap tacos are wonderful things.  Yesterday, I had the pleasure of gorging on these very entities at a Taco Bell-like place with some family members.  Due to my attempts to live past the age of 50, I have to keep this sort of eating establishment in the “not as frequent as I would like” category of my life.  (Other things that fall into this category are:  Deep dish pizza, doughnuts, Apple Jacks, bacon and egg sandwiches and ogling beautiful women…all of these are equally dangerous if not kept in moderation).  However, there are times when I need my fix of the aforementioned cheesy, spicy, beefy edibles.

It was great lunching with family, and the food was similar to that of Taco Bell’s.  However, one important ingredient was missing:  The Taco Bell sauce packets with their witty little sayings.   If you’ve ever had a Taco Bell bag in your greasy little hands, and you’re not afraid to add a little extra kick to your tacos, then you know what I’m talking about.  If you have not had this pleasure, see the picture below for an example of the sauce packets that “say something” to you.

It’s admirable that Taco Bell has added some humor into the fast food landscape.  However, I often wish they had even more sayings on their packets.  I also think they should get a little saucier, so to speak.  It is time to get this off my chest.  Here are 20 phrases that I would love to see printed on a Taco Bell sauce packet, even though I know it will never happen.

  1. Not suitable for bra-stuffing, but I’m willing if you are.
  2. (This would go on the “Fire” level packets only.)  You know I’m going to rip you a new one, right?
  3. Hey lard-ass, stop eating here 4 times per week!
  4. Warning:  Do not attach to a packet of firecrackers (unless you want to see something awesome!)
  5. The guy next to you touched me in an inappropriate manner.
  6. For the love of all that is sacred, don’t open me with your teeth!
  7. I have to cover my piercings to work here.  Guess where they are!
  8. You’re adding hot sauce to a Volcano Taco…seriously?
  9. You may not want to know specifics about our secret sauce.
  10. I’m thinking outside the box right now, and it’s naughty.
  11. What was with that movie, WaterWorld? You have to be kidding me.
  12. Glove compartment in July?  Bad idea.
  13. I’m just not that into you.
  14. Your parents are cousins, aren’t they?
  15. How much sauce could a sloth slurp if a sloth could slurp sauce?
  16. You brought her HERE for a date?  Nice going, big spender.
  17. Whoa back up, buddy.  Ever heard of Listerine?
  18. Haha!  5 chili cheese burritos and a DIET Pepsi.  Yeah, that makes sense!
  19. Stand back – I’m packing heat, and I WILL use it.
  20. Hey wussy, you look like more of a ketchup person.

I’m going to have to end this blog now, as I suddenly have a Nacho Chicken Gordita craving.

What would you like to see on a packet of sauce?





Adult Film Rentals and the Perv-O-Meter

23 10 2008

Behold the Perv-O-Meter.  Every male in the world falls somewhere on this spectrum ranging from 1 (Sweet, innocent guy) to 10 (Total Perv).

As a guide to make the ratings clearer, let’s use the following celebrity examples:

Tom Hanks would be a 1.

Hugh Grant earns a 7.

Colin Farrell is an 8.

Michael Jackson is an 11.

Don’t get me wrong, number 1′s probably are not COMPLETE angels (what guy is?), but in the overall spectrum of the male species, they rate as sweet and innocent.  I’d like to think that I would be about a 3 or 4 on this meter, but I’ll leave that for others to decide.

There comes a time in a young man’s life when he takes a major step in forming his spot on this spectrum.  I’m speaking, of course, when he first goes to a video store to rent a porno an adult film.  This is probably an easy and non-embarrassing event for a guy who is an 8, 9 or 10.  It is a different matter for those of us who fall somewhere below the 5 marker.

I recall the day it happened for me.  I was 18.  A few buddies of mine were going to come over to play poker that evening, and several of us decided we should rent an adult movie from a local video store nearby.  We all wholeheartedly agreed this was a fantastic idea.  The part that was not so easy to decide was this:  Who was going to do it?

At this particular video store in the 80s, they did not have a little separate adult room for pervs men to go into and make their choices.  No, they instead had a big thick black binder with all the titles of the adult films they had to offer.  This binder was behind the counter.  So, not only did you have to get up the courage to ask for the dirty book, but you then had to peruse such titles as “Rambone” and “Star Whores” and verbally ask the clerk for the one that you wanted.  This was a double whammy of embarrassment for a 3 such as myself.

After a bit of arguing, arm-punching and wet willies, it was decided that I would be the lead guy (the asker of the dirty book) but that two of my friends would go with me to the counter and be my pervy sidekicks.  (Looking back, it seems like it should have seemed weirder to ask for a porno while flanked by two male friends than to do it by myself, but at the time I felt I needed back-up).

The evening came, and it was time to do the deed.  The three of us made our way to the store while giving high fives and doing chants to pump ourselves up.  Upon our arrival, it was time for step one.  Step one was to ensure that my female relative who worked in the store was not present that night.  A quick peek at the counter confirmed that she was not.  It was a go.  However, we did not go straight for the jugular but instead worked our way through the “normal” video sections such as Drama, Comedy and Horror.  I think we stayed away from the kids’ Disney section because it just would have seemed too sick to peruse that area and then ultimately ask for the dirty book.  As we feigned interest in VHS tapes of “Romancing the Stone” and “Footloose” while trying to work our courage into a fever pitch, I could feel a cold sweat forming on my forehead.

Finally, after we had looked at every single “normal” video in the store (except the kids’ section), the time had come.  We could not put it off any longer.  I gave the thumbs up signal and headed to the counter.  My two friends followed nervously behind.

I could feel my confidence slipping away with each slow step I took toward the guy and girl working the counter.  After what seemed like a 20-minute walk, I was finally there and the guy said, “Can I help you?”  This was good.  It would have been worse to ask the girl for the dirty book.  My confidence was regained as I asked for the book in a sort of grunt/point maneuver.  This is where it all went to hell.

First, I turned my head to find that my two friends had retreated and were heading out the door, laughing nervously.  I was on my own in this unknown land of porn.  The guy handed the book to me, and I knew I had to go through with it.  I slowly opened the book the way a treasure-hunter might unfold an ancient map.  The next step was to pick a title that wasn’t TOO embarrassing to request.  If you’ve ever seen adult film titles, then you are aware they vary greatly in the gratuitousness of their titles.  After much deliberation, I settled on “Fleshdance” which sort of just rolls off the tongue.  I requested it, and the guy looked at some magical area below the counter where the films were apparently kept.  He said things like, “Let’s see” as he looked for my request.  I started to realize after about 10 seconds that this was not working.  The guy looked perplexed and then did something horrific.  He called out loudly to the girl working at the other end of the counter.  “Hey, do you see ‘Fleshdance’ down there anywhere?”  Not only did the girl hear him, but so did anyone else shopping in the store, including those in the kid section.

At this point, I just wanted to leave, but I literally felt as though my feet were glued to the counter.  Sweat was pouring from me now.  After an eternity of looking for the tape, the girl finally located it and handed it to the guy.  I paid, and he gave the tape to me.

Things felt a little uncomfortable at the end of the transaction, to say the least.  What was the guy going to say?  Most of the things that a video clerk might normally verbalize at this point seem inappropriate to this particular situation.  For example, phrases like, “Have a good evening” or “Enjoy it” or “Thanks for coming” take on a different connotation when you’ve just rented some porn.  Luckily, I think the guy just nodded and simply said, “Thanks.”

I made my quick exit and got back to the car where I promptly chewed out my friends.  The anger did not last long as the feeling of euphoria hit me.  I was holding an adult video tape in my sweaty little hands.  I had made it out of the store with the treasure.

Whether that movie was any “good” or not, I don’t recall.  However, I knew I had moved from a 1 to about a 3 with that walk to the counter.





I Kissed an Earl: The Video

29 08 2008

My nephew and I couldn’t just leave well enough alone with the parody lyrics we’ve been working on.  So, we recruited our friend, Harfax to record a few of them.  He is “talented” and has been “involved” in music for many years now.  The first video is done.  Also, thanks to Dead Charming for not only tolerating the song but promoting it!  Click on the video at your own risk!





“I Kissed an Earl”

19 08 2008

Like many people, I’ve heard the song I Kissed a Girl, and I’ve seen the NBC show My Name is Earl. Like any normal person, I decided the two should be combined. So I did it – not necessarily well – but I did it.

The following lyrics should be sung to the tune of I Kissed a Girl by Katy Perry, Lukasz Gottwald, Max Martin and Cathy Dennis. I apologize in advance to these writers for butchering your chart-topping song.

Please don’t steal this parody, unless you happen to be Weird Al Yankovic. If you are Weird Al, I’m a big fan and would greatly appreciate you using this song and helping me make millions (or even 10 bucks would be sweet).

For the record, I personally do not remember ever kissing anyone named Earl (male, female or hermaphrodite), although it’s not beyond reason I may have been given a peck on the cheek as an infant by my Uncle Earl.

Anyway, here are the lyrics to I Kissed an Earl:

There is this cool show on TV

It’s really funny

One actress is super hot to me

She’s Jaime Pressly

Won a trip to

The closed set

Just wanted to check her out

It’s not Ms. Pressly I met

Ended up getting thrown out

——————

I kissed an Earl and I liked it

Even though it made me feel sick

I kissed an Earl just to try it

I hope my wife doesn’t like it

It felt so weird

It felt so dumb

I think my lips went all numb

I kissed an Earl and I liked it

I liked it

——————

No I would not repeat this act

Pretend it didn’t happen

Forget he smelled of vanilla extract

Lips are still chappin’

It’s not what

Straight guys do

Not supposed to smooch Jason Lee

And guys don’t

Use the word “smooch”

What’s happened to me!?

——————-

I kissed an Earl and I liked it

Should have been Jaime’s red lips

I kissed an Earl just to try it

Can we just call it a slip?

It felt so off

It felt so strange

Don’t mean I’m totally deranged

I kissed an Earl and I liked it

I liked it.

——————

Us guys we are such homophobes

Football, fast cars, and huge ski slopes

We like when two chicks kiss and stroke

But different – with two dudes

I guess because they don’t have boobies

———————

I kissed an Earl and I liked it

But the world says I must quit

I kissed an Earl just to try it

Put that in your pan and fry it

It felt so wrong

Maybe I’m nuts

Probably shouldn’t have squeezed Earl’s butt

I kissed an Earl and I liked it

I liked it

2008 LicensedtoBlog

2008 Rickety Inflictor Productions





Some Things Our Kids Don’t Need to Know About Us

30 07 2008

Ever wish you could answer something in a completely honest way? Maybe when you’ve filled out a job application or been asked questions by someone on a first date? There are certain situations when complete honesty is probably a mistake (unless you are a true saint and have nothing to cover up).

I’m in one of those situations currently. I was given a journal/book called A Father’s Legacy (J. Countryman Publishing) by a family member. The idea is a cool one: Answer the questions about your own life in the book and then give it to your child/children so they can have a lasting memoir to keep. It will require some work (thanks a million, Luke), but I acknowledge this is a good idea.

Another good idea would be to utilize a modicum of care in how I answer some of these questions. This book is meant for my child (or children if more come along in the future) and could very easily get passed down to their children and so on and so on. It will be important to be truthful, of course. BUT, it may be wise to keep some true things about my past to myself. How fun would it be, though, to answer some of the questions in any way that I wanted to answer them? Luckily, I have this blog space to do just that! I can save my more “fatherly” answers for the book.

From the CHILDHOOD section of the book:

“Did you enjoy reading as a boy?” My book answer will of course praise the merits of reading and refer to the joys of having The Monster at the End of this Book read to me by my mother and enjoying Charlotte’s Web on my own. This is all true, but let’s get to the nitty gritty. I will never forget reading the sex advice column in the Playboy magazine that I stole when I was about 12. (I was not the type to steal, and other than the magazine, I think I stole a piece of hard candy once, and that was about the extent of my pilfering. I stole the magazine because, at least back then, they didn’t allow 12-year-olds to buy Playboy, and Suzanne Somers was in that particular edition. I had seen Three’s Company, and I couldn’t resist.) Back to the sex advice. What red-blooded boy at that age would not be mesmerized, awed and possibly a bit overwhelmed reading advice about extra-marital affairs or understanding female orgasms? I had the feeling that I was partway in heaven and partway in hell hiding in the garage reading those pages. Plus Suzanne Somers was hot. So, I can honestly say, yes I enjoyed reading as a boy.

From the FAMILY LIFE section of the book:

“In what ways are you like your father?” The book answer will include that I am funny and determined and that I believe in God, which are all things that my dad role modeled. He was a good man. These things are true, but like any man, my late father had his own issues. Unfortunately, I may have inherited one or two or twenty of them. So what’s the real answer? I can be as stubborn as an ass, just like him. I don’t like to lose any argument and therefore can be an infuriating person. I tend to scoff at the stupid things people do which can make me a bit judgmental. I’m guessing that my kids, when old enough to understand the book, will know these things about their dad without me having to write them down! Speaking of similarities between myself and my dad, let me mention one way in which I am not similar. Why can’t I hit a golf ball the way my dad could? I don’t enjoy the game, but I probably would if I could master the course the way he did.

From the EDUCATION section:

“What did you learn in high school?” I’m sure my book answer will touch on many things regarding “responsibility” and “self-reliance” blah, blah, blah. But here, my honest answer is this: I quickly learned there was a perfect spot on the first floor of the gym where, at lunch time, one could stand and be positioned directly below the railing on the 2nd floor of the gym where cute girls often gathered to socialize and lean against said rail. Why was this significant? Keep in mind, I attended a Catholic high school where many of the girls wore those plaid, uniform skirts. That’s right, in just the right spot, a perverted young male could see up those skirts on the 2nd floor. In my defense (not that there really is one), I was certainly not the only male aware of this, and looking back, I’m pretty sure some of the girls knew too. This was vital information and made lunch time so much more fun. (Maybe actually going up to the girls and talking to them would have been fun as well, but this seemed preposterous and impossible for me during my first couple of years).

“Is there Something You Wish You Would Have Done in High School?” Yes. Keri and Christine…preferably at the same time.

From the LOVE AND MARRIAGE section:

“What qualities first attracted you to your wife?” This is the easiest question to answer both truthfully and in book-appropriate fashion. We worked together. I was impressed with my wife’s intelligence, motivation to succeed, class and humor right off the bat. It’s difficult not to be impressed with her, and if you’ve read her blog you already know what I mean. I may leave out two things from my book answer, though. I still remember those two things from our days working together as though they happened just yesterday. One is a particular time I came across her in a narrow hallway while she was making copies. She smiled and said “hi” (we weren’t dating yet). She was wearing a skirt, and as I passed closely by her (remember it was narrow), I was stunned by how beautiful her legs looked. The other time was when a discussion broke out amongst several co-workers about working out, playing sports, flexibility, etc. My future wife decided to demonstrate her flexibility by bending completely over and easily touching her toes. I believe this happened on a casual dress day when she was wearing jeans. The incident affected me in ways I really couldn’t describe here. (Really.)

“What do you think is most important in maintaining a healthy marriage?” The book answer will include important things like trust and commitment. My real answer here? Being willing to help her with blog wording and titles and recording sporting events to watch later when she’s gone to bed instead of trying to watch them when she’s awake.

From the PARENTING section:

“What has been the greatest challenge of being a father?” My three-year-old daughter is great and is a nearly constant source of smiles and happiness. That is very, very true. However, if I were to answer this question with nothing but the truth, I would have to say it’s a challenge to remember those smiling times and to keep my cool when she decides it’s time to climb something inappropriate in a store (say, a display of breakable items). It’s usually at this time when she is very good at calling bluffs. When you have a cart full of items that you really need to purchase (or at least think that you do) and you warn her that you’re going to take her immediately home and give her a time out if she doesn’t listen, she knows that you’re not really going to do that. That’s when she looks you straight in the eye and defiantly pronounces, “I want to go home. I want a time out.” This eventually leads to an all-out screaming, public fit in which she does the kid universal turn-her-whole-body-into-deadweight-jelly when you try to pick her up off the floor while you get disapproving glances from non-parents. I get a little angry just thinking about it. Probably time to move on to the next question.

From the CELEBRATIONS section:

“Do you remember particularly special birthday gifts you received?” Hey, I got some cool stuff as a kid, like the Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots or the Miner 2049er game for my Atari system. I’ll probably put those down in the book. However, I can’t help but also remember some of the items of clothing that my mother, bless her heart, made for me. She was great at crafty things like that, and it helped out the family financially whenever she made clothes instead of buying them. The problem is; they weren’t always the coolest styles. You can see one of the outfits in a horrific picture buried deep in this post.

From the LIFE EVENTS section:

“Has there been a political event in your lifetime that made a strong impression on you?” Yes, the Watergate scandal. I could write in the book how I learned that politicians are not always looking out for us and how the media serves as a sort of watchdog for us. In reality, though, what I really remember about that time was how mad I was that it was the ONLY THING ON TV ALL DAY FOR WHAT SEEMED LIKE AN ETERNITY. There was no cable at that time. We had the three networks and PBS. I needed my cartoons, man! All of the shows I cared about were preempted for the Watergate hearings every time I turned on a tv. At least it made me get out and play more (I was already the type of kid who liked to play outside, but it was nice to have a little mindless tv time now and then.) What kid would rather see the face of John Dean instead of Bugs Bunny or Batman? Exactly.

From the INSPIRATION section:

“Who were your role models when you were young?” I’m going to have to write about teachers and my parents in the book, and they certainly were role models. However, the truth would also include Fonzie, rockers like the dudes from Night Ranger or the Scorpions, and maybe, since I loved scary movies, someone like Jason Voorhees. I think I’ll leave these out of the book so I don’t make my kids think that I’m a leather-jacket wearing druggie who sticks axes in people. Yeah, I’ll stick with the parents/teachers answer.

The more I think about my Playboy-stealing, scary-movie loving, skirt-looking-up, Batman-watching days, the more I wonder if I really should be parenting anyone. Then again, my daughter seems to be doing amazingly well in spite of my shortcomings. Have to give my wife credit there. Maybe this whole journal/book idea to give to your kids was someone’s idea of a sick joke.





Re-Imaging: The Cosmetic Surgery of Horror Films

24 07 2008

Remember when movie re-dos were called remakes? At some point, some relatively smart person in Hollywood decided that term wasn’t sexy enough to lure hoards of people to high-priced cinemas for a new version of a movie they had already seen. Hence, the term re-imaging was born. Before some nerdy film student at UCLA chides me for not pointing out the supposed difference between remaking and re-imaging, let me include the official line that re-imaging is slightly different because it means the new film has at least some variance from the original film. There I wrote it. Hollywood is saying, “This one is DIFFERENT! I Promise! Come see it…twice.”

Now, let me point out that I am also relatively smart, and I call your bluff, Hollywood (and geeky Hollywood hopefuls who go to UCLA in the hopes of meeting Reese Witherspoon or Ryan Gosling some day). Re-imaging may sound really, really cool, but IT’S STILL A REMAKE. Remakes Re-imaged films are not necessarily a bad thing, but did we really need a new term? In some cases, re-imaging is good. For example, someone needs to tell A-Rod that he is (allegedly) dating an “original” in Madonna. Apparently he is unaware of re-imaged versions, like Shakira or Carrie Underwood. Then again, maybe he prefers old classic movies like 1954′s Creature from the Black Lagoon (which is scheduled to come out as a remake in 2009).

Fine, I won’t say remakes any more. Remakes. Oops. That was the last one; I promise. On to the point.

Horror films have always held a special, albeit deranged place in my heart. I loved them during my teen years. My wife tries to pretend this is not true, but sadly, it is. Many of these films have been or are in the process of being re-imaged. My “Big Three” from that era [Halloween (1978), Friday the 13th (1980), and A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)] are no exceptions. A part of me is excited to see new life breathed into the main characters who chased me in my childhood nightmares: Michael, Jason and Freddy. I recently viewed Rob Zombie’s re-imaging of Halloween. Overall, it was fun to see a new and more in-depth take on the past of Michael Myers and why he snapped. There were definitely some scares, and it was cool that Danielle Harris was cast in it. (She was great in Halloween 4 and Halloween 5 when she was a kid and single-handedly kept them from being crappy sequels). In the end, though, the new version had just a few too many white-trash characters in it to be thoroughly enjoyable.

Word on the street (that’s my cute way of saying I surfed the internet for information as there is no real “word” on the street in my little Midwestern town that isn’t about the weather or the price of gas) is that there are talks about re-imaging A Nightmare on Elm Street. On February 13, 2009, the re-imaged Friday the 13th is scheduled to hit the theaters. Talk about pressure to finish production on time. Can you imagine if this film’s opening had to be pushed back a couple weeks? Opening on Friday the 27th of February doesn’t quite pack the same punch. Interestingly, Jared Padalecki (yes, ladies, cute little Dean from The Gilmore Girls) is in it.

After new versions of the “Big Three” come out, what’s next? Sure, they could re-image Children of the Corn and have it take place in an experimental hybrid corn field. Or, they could re-do The Lost Boys with some brand new Coreys. (I’m pretty sure they won’t be re-imaging a terrible horror film originally from Spain I saw back then with the English title Edge of the Axe. There’s 99 cents I wish I had back from the video store…ouch.)

I have a different suggestion. I think they should take non-horror films of the 80s and re-image them into new, horror versions. That way, it really would be a whole new take on a old film. Crazy, you say? Stupid? Worse idea than a Chia toupee? Ah, you lack vision. Just think of this:

Field of Screams. Yes, Field of Dreams turned into a scary movie. Instead of Shoeless Joe coming out of the corn, it would be Skinless Joe. He’d fly out of the corn (hybrid corn, of course) to haunt you and to let you know that your dead father never really loved you and always thought you were a failure. Now that would cause some nightmares. Maybe Danielle Harris could play the wife of the sap who builds the baseball field. She’s cuter than the original actress. “If you build it, they will kill.”

How about Stand By Me turning into Stabbed By Me? Who would have blamed the fat kid if he’d gone nuts after seeing the dead body? Who wouldn’t have cheered him on if he’d donned a hockey mask and killed off Corey Feldman’s character?

Did you love E.T. as a child? Well, you might have different memories after seeing E.T.T. The Extra Terrifying Terrestrial. When his fingertip lights up, you know he’s going to kill. Don’t offer him any Reese’s Pieces unless you want to end up in Resting in Pieces. Yeah, he phones home all right…to tell them to send more chainsaws.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off? More like, Ferris Bueller’s Head’s Off! What would be scarier than having Ben Stein reprise his role but this time as a teacher who has been pushed too far and loses it. Picture a dark alley at night, with Ferris trapped against a brick wall. Here comes Stein’s character with an axe, dully repeating: “Bueller? Bueller? Anyone?” Scary.

They could easily turn Raising Arizona into Maiming Arizona. A clueless couple in want of a child kidnaps a baby from a family who seems a little, shall we say, weird. The couple figures that family didn’t deserve a baby anyway. The problem: This child grows horns and is the spawn of Satan himself! He’s out to find and wreak havoc in the hottest states he can find, starting with Arizona. In one memorable scene, the child is accidentally left on a highway. By the time the clueless parents realize their mistake, the kid has telekinetically blown up several semi-trucks. Yeah, I know…pretty sweet.

In a way, the idea of re-imaging can make us all a little optimistic that things can be renewed. For those of you who have been following my swelling situation, I hope to be re-imaged myself in the near future through surgery. The St. Louis doctors just may have figured this thing out. Hopefully none of the surgeons are named Voorhees, Myers or Krueger. I’ll blog it when I have some specifics. In the meantime, rent the first four Friday the 13ths (the good ones) and watch them with the lights off. I double dare you. You’ll get to see a young Kevin Bacon bite the dust.





Guys: Top 8 Ways We Enrage Women

7 07 2008

Women. I love them. They are amazing, creative, resourceful, beautiful beings. I’ve been fortunate in my life to somehow charm a handful of them who, for some reason or another, thought I was better than I actually am. This has culminated in the crowning achievement of my life: Being married to this woman.

Life with a woman is certainly much better than life without. However, there are times when men and women mix about as well as a dried-up tent filled with fireworks and a lit, gasoline-soaked rag. Guys seem to have an innate ability to make women angry. It has been my experience that there are actually 4,523 ways to tick off a female, but there are eight (call them deadly guy sins, if you like) that consistently get their panties in a twist.

1. Other Women: Guys like to check out women in restaurants, at church, in the grocery, on the street, at the gym, and at parties and events (yes, even cute moms at kids’ birthday parties). Face it: Guys like to look at women, period. This can really irk the woman you happen to be with, even though you really like to look at her, too. In fact, you probably can remember the first time you ogled her with an unhealthy lust in your heart. Still, nothing seems to get us into more trouble. We can try explaining how we just can’t help ourselves, but it doesn’t seem to calm the storm that makes up the emotions of a female. Since giving up this hobby is not an option, there are several ways guys can at least lessen the likelihood of a full-blown argument.

  • Pick the appropriate time and place. You might get away with a quick glance at a beautiful woman when you’re at a Halloween costume party. Your wife/girlfriend is probably in the right state of mind to understand that you’re going to look at the woman from down the street who is dressed in the French Maid costume. It sort of goes with the territory. However, a long stare at your wife’s cute third cousin at a funeral for your wife’s great aunt is not going to go over well.
  • Don’t stop and stare in an obvious, guy-like manner. Use either the “extreme eye slide” where only your eyes and not your head move in the direction of the other female or the “tie your shoe and sneak a peak” maneuver in which you crouch down and pretend to tie/fix/wipe something off your shoe while quickly looking in the direction of the woman in tight shorts a few feet away. These won’t actually fool your mate, but she MIGHT appreciate the fact that you at least tried to be subtle.
  • Under no circumstances do you ever look at another woman when your wife/girlfriend is pregnant, menstruating, recovering from some sort of facial surgery, or has just eaten dessert and is therefore feeling “huge” and unattractive. During these periods, you just have to fight the urge. For those of you who feel you are in a relationship with a woman who is always in one of the aforementioned states, you’re just out of luck.

2. ESPN CLASSIC: Most women hate watching most sports. Most guys like watching most sports. Most woman hate it when most guys watch most sports. Follow? However, women and men have come to friendly truces in this area. The men will watch some sports and sacrifice others while the women will either learn to enjoy some of the sports or will find other, more important things to pass that time. However, this truce becomes null and void if and when the women catch the men watching a sporting event from the past. Men call them classics while women call them old reruns. Women can understand a guy’s yearning to watch their team play in a current NFL playoff game. They cannot, however, understand why a guy would rather watch a tennis match from nearly thirty years ago rather than go shopping with them. Guys, your only hope here is that she won’t notice it’s a rerun classic. However, it’s not easy to pull this off when the guy is wearing tight shorts and using an old wooden racquet.

3. We Just Don’t Understand: Guys (well, most guys) at least have gotten the message through their heads that when a woman says no, she means no. (Those public service announcements may actually be working.) However, we are still clueless as to the more subtle messages we receive from the women in our lives. For example, we still can’t figure out when she said she really, really didn’t want anything for Valentine’s Day that it meant she AT LEAST wanted chocolates, a card, and dinner out at a nice place. We also don’t understand that we are never supposed to agree with her when she says some article of clothing is not flattering on her. On a related note, never fall for the “Which one do you think looks best on me” trap if out shopping for clothes. When you say, I like the red one, what she will hear is, I think you look ugly in the black one. Similarly, even if she told you that you didn’t have to go to a family event with her, you saying: I just don’t feel like going to that get-together today - you go, is the same thing as saying, I hate everyone in your family, and I’d rather stay home and poke my own eyes out than go there.

4. The Kids Are Fine: Sometimes, a guy’s parenting style is, how should I say it…more laid back than a woman’s. This, when noticed, does not always go over well with the female. The following things could instigate disharmony in the home:

  • Letting your kid ride the bike inside the house. The woman is likely to point out that some things in the house are actually breakable and besides, those bicycle tires probably rolled through bird poop yesterday. Everyone in the house may come down with bird flu, and you won’t have that nice blue vase from her great grandma Helga to cheer you up when your sick in bed because your kid bumped into it with the Huffy while spreading disease through the carpet fibers.
  • Women don’t seem to think that Shaved Ice/Hawaiian Ice treats are a substantial dinner. (Even if it’s a cool half and half mix of black cherry and lemon sour.) Your kid will love you for this decision, but that actually just makes matters worse when your wife insists that some carrots be consumed and the kid screams, “I like Daddy better!”

5. We Don’t Care about Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, Charlotte (though she is hot), Emma, Mr. Darcy or Lizzie: We don’t want to see the Sex and the CIty movie or any 4-hour documentary about the life of Jane Austen. We don’t want to read newly discovered letters from Jane Austen to her sister. We get offended when we realize our woman is not thinking of us when she buys an “I heart Mr. Big” coffee mug. We don’t get all misty-eyed and fuzzy inside whenever Colin Firth gets yet another movie role playing the same damn character. We don’t want to re-watch the DVR’d Oprah where Sarah Jessica Parker discussed fashion and the screaming audience members were given free DVD’s of the final season of the SATC tv show. Yes we can tell you who won the 1982 World Series and in how many games, but we sure as hell don’t know which season Carrie and Aidan broke up and why.

6. We Think We Know Where We’re Going: Guys don’t like to stop and look at maps or, God forbid, ask someone for directions. Never before has the saying, “Life is a journey, not a destination” been more true than when a man is trying to drive to a new place. Our sense of adventure kicks in. Sure, we’re just a guy with his wife trying to find a co-worker’s house for a dinner and game night, but we suddenly feel more like pirates traversing the open seas in search of treasure whenever we hit an unexpected “road closed” sign. While the woman would like to take the easy way out and simply pull into the Marathon station on the right, we men know that it is much more satisfying to let our sixth sense kick in and figure out the maze of little-used side streets by using wind direction, instinct, and landmarks. We know we’ll get there eventually (although we can’t promise that we won’t pass through a few extra states on the way).

7. We Look Pretty Good with Some Gray Hair and a Wrinkle or Two. Women are irate that men have a decent shot at actually getting better looking with age. Terms like wise, handsome, stately, gallant, and dignified are often used to describe older gentlemen. This is especially true in Hollywood. Men like Clint Eastwood, Robert Redford, Harrison Ford and others continue to be sex symbols, while actresses over the age of 24 may have to start settling for parts as grandmothers or wicked stepmothers. Diane Lane, however, is doing her best to change this attitude. At the risk of doing number one on this list, here is a picture: wow. (I may get away with this, as I think my wife has an innocent woman-crush on D. L.)

In the interest of fairness, I thought about posting a Robert Redford pic here, too. Then, I thought, hey – I’m doing a blog about what makes women angry. Why stick a guy pic in just to appease them?

8. Talking about how good the hot wings are at Hooters: The wings are awesome. Let’s get that out there right up front. However, spending time trying to convince your woman that the two of you should eat at Hooters because the wings are delicious is like saying strip clubs are a good place to go because they play really good dance music. (Who doesn’t find themselves tapping their fingers when You Shook Me All Night Long comes on?) Try as you might, your woman is not going to believe that you are more focused on these…

than these…

If your wife likes to blog, you might want to try my latest tactic. I’m trying to convince her we should go to Hooters so that she can write a funny blog about the experience from a woman’s point of view. Guys, keep checking her blog to see if I’m successful.

There they are. Eight ways to incite rage. Take them for what you will, but for God’s sake, don’t discount their power or consequences, or you could be looking at a long, cold few days of couch-sleeping. For those of you wondering if I wrote this big long blog just to have an excuse to post a picture of waitresses from Hooters, the answer is: Maybe.





A Swell(ing) Journey Part IX: Vanderbilt? Hello? Are You There?

15 05 2008

For whatever reason, the fine kidney doctor people at Vanderbilt have never called me or my local doctor back with an appointment time. I tried calling again yesterday and left a message. Those of you who have read these tedious posts about my freakish swelling/discoloring/general deterioration know that I was waiting for an appointment with a specialist there while also awaiting skin biopsy results.

The bad news: No appointment with Vanderbilt. Maybe they just don’t like me. I’ve never done anything to them – honest. (Sure, I pull for my Bengals whenever they play the Titans, but that’s it.) Maybe it’s for the best. They might be really mean there.

(DISCLAIMER): In no way does this photo represent the average doctor at Vanderbilt. Generally, they do not walk around in bloody garments nor do they drill holes in people unnecessarily. However, some staff at Vanderbilt (such as the people working in the gift shops) do tend to wear blood-soaked scarves.

The good news (and it’s pretty good!): The skin biopsy confirmed (or at least strongly indicated) that this problem is a reaction to some medication that I take/took and not a weird, undiscovered disease. In addition to that evidence, a kind reader of these blogs sent me some information that indicates a very few kidney transplant recipients have had this sort of reaction when they take Rapamune. (As indicated in a previous post, I stopped taking Rapamune about a month ago.) The information also indicates that it may take 3 to 6 months after stopping the Rapamune, as opposed to a couple of weeks, before it gets better. If I understand it correctly, something bad happens (for lack of a more medical-sounding phrase) to the lymphatic system, but most of the people did eventually get better. So, hopefully I am on the right track and will see some results in the next couple of months. Also, my doctor has given up on Vanderbilt and is sending me instead to a kidney specialist in St. Louis at Barnes Hospital. I now have an actual appointment, and it is in mid-June.

In the meantime, I’ve grown to love my big fat purple swollen parts. I’ve named my abdomen “Big Lenny” and my leg and foot “Jake and the Fatman.” I’m also keeping busy corrupting my toddler daughter in the following ways:

  • Teaching her to sing “The Boys Are Back in Town” – she insisted on listening to it three times in a row today on the way to daycare
  • Teaching her to put her hands in the air and say (with a terrible and probably offensive Italian accent), “It happens!” whenever something bad occurs, such as a drink spill. I look forward to hearing that she has done this at daycare at the appropriate time of spillage
  • Watching “Whammy!” on the Game Show Network whenever possible. I’m wondering if she’s the only two-year-old in the nation who says (in her best game show announcer voice), “It’s TOOOODDDDD NEWTON!”

Thanks again to family/friends/readers who have been so supportive. This is especially true of my wife, Allison, who continues to handle the stress of this situation like a trooper. I’ll keep you posted. Anyone who doubts that can just take a closer peek at my blog and the ridiculous fact that there are now NINE posts on this subject. Sheesh, when will it ever end?? Madness, I tell you. Finally, anyone who has been wondering what I look like as a purple, swollen version of my old self, here you go, but it’s not pretty:








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