Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year's Resolution

So I'm sitting with my friend, Wendy, in Phoenix over brunch and I open up to reveal my newly defined New Year's Resolution. I barely get it out when she SPEWS Diet Coke all over the table -- and my forearm. (Timing of revealing resolutions is an art, apparently.) And then she can't stop laughing.

So at the risk of being spewed and laughed at, I share with you my New Year's Resolution:

Take Fewer Napkins.

Before YOU spew, remember it's honorable AND achievable. And of ALL the resolutions you've heard over the years, don't you think this one is a resolution you could get behind? Bumper stickers, viral campaigns, copycat websites and all?

Fact is, I take far tooooo many napkins. For example, at McDonald's or Rumbi's or ANYwhere I get a chance to select the number of napkins for my VERY own, I first take the normal amount, consider those I'm eating with and then take more. I'm not PROUD of it, it's just that I'm comPELLED to do so. I mean, what if I'm eating and find I actually NEED more but they're WAY OVER THERE. It could be SD (a Social Disaster). I think having an ample supply stems from my inborn need to be there for ya. You know, "Whoa, got mustard on your--here, take THIS."

Sometimes when the restaurant TRIES to limit me, it's a challenge I have to conquer. Again, I'm not proud of it, but when I'm at places like Cafe Rio and they place JUST the right amount of napkins (research findings) in such a way as to discourage customers from taking more, well, I . . . SCORE! Such a rush.

But when I take more and then realize friends aren't as messy as I thought, and we make it through without spilling drinks, well, too late 'cause the restaurant doesn't want them back, so we throw extras away. BUT if I were to -- if we ALL were to -- take fewer napkins, think of how the whole Nobel prize could go to us for stopping Global Warming. Kinda. So that's my goal.

Next year's resolution: Help Wendy time her spews. (I may need help.)

Sunday, December 30, 2007


For the record, it's "couldn't care less" not "could care less."

The point is that a person cares so little that they couldn't care ANY less than they already DO. It's that low. Sunken down. Rock bottom. Basement level. Can go no lower on the CL (Caring Level).

So the phrase would be, "She's so self-absorbed, I couldn't care less where she goes on vacation," you know, or something passionate like that. Because, truly, if you're going to BE passionate, you deserve to get it right, right? But you probably couldn't care less.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Three Ibu's

Do you think 3 Ibuprofens and two Airbornes (taken before the 3-hour restriction) could explode in your stomach?

Cause I think that's what just happened.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Maybe YOU Bug

Someone said they looked at my blog and noticed I have posted a lot of Things That Bug.

Know what? That bugs.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Cool Drool?

Okay, say you're sitting with your one-year-old and they want you drink from their cup with their straw. You do it, right?

And then what if the next day, your grandpa wants to share his drink with you and he's drinking from a straw, too. Do you drink it?

No? Why is that?

Is it because Grandpa has yucky germs? Or do you think Grandpa has more germs than your child, even though you're all from the same gene pool?

After all, it's the same strain of DNA in the drool, right? Baby or Gramps, same dif, don't you think?

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

I Lied to the Garbage Man

One year after Christmas, I decided I didn't want to have extra garbage bags outside in the snow for an extra week (because they wouldn't fit in the can), so when I heard the garbage truck, I hurried out to get rid of our extra garbage.

I was shaking in the cold waiting for the truck to come to our stop. I have to admit, too, that the closer it got, the more intimidating the noisy truck was. (Up close, those things are HUGE.)

When the Garbage Man finished at my neighbor and barreled his way to our stop, he put his head out of the window and yelled (over the truck noise), "Whenyagitriddyasak wateferda candycumdowndinputemindycan!"

I was so scared and it was so noisy and I was trembling outta fear or cold or something that I said, "OKAY!" and when the can came down, I hoisted a sack up into the truck.

The Garbage Man looked back at me and yelled louder, "Whenyagitriddyasak wateferda candycumdown dinputemindycan!"

"OKAY!" I yelled back, thinking, hey, we got something going here, the Garbage Man and I (I always made friends easily, so this was natural). And I threw another bag up.

Just then, the Garbage Man threw open his door, looked down at me in anger (and was kinda frothing at the mouth with his beard and all) and screamed, "I SAID, DON'T throw the sack up there! WAIT for the garbage to be dumped out and then PUT IT in the CAN!! It took me TWO HOURS last week to get a bag out from behind the BLADE! DON'T THROW your bag up there. PUT IT IN THE CAN!!"

I was SCARED to death. This man was MAD and he knew where I lived and I had to protect my family, but I knew he could turn his truck RIGHT toward my house and practically LIFT the WHOLE thing in his truck, so my hand snapped to my ear, my heart was racing, I was breathing hard, gave a panicked look at the angry, frothing Garbage Man and with a pleading voice (this is the part I'm not really proud of) I yelled like I was deaf, "I COULDN'T HEAR YOU! I COULDN'T HEAR YOU!!"

His entire faced IMMEDIATELY melted into a soft look and he hollered, "Oh, that's OKAY. You're OKAY. You're OKAY," and closed his door and drove off.

I couldn't believe it. It worked, but as I walked up my driveway, I thought, "I just LIED to the Garbage Man." I just LIED to him. Why did I DO that??

My family was still sleeping, and when I crawled back into bed, my wife woke and asked what was the matter. When I told her, she said, "You what? You LIED to the Garbage Man? Why in the WORLD would you LIE to the garbage man?"

I've never lived it down, but I AM thankful for the two acting classes I took. They saved my life.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Love You More

So along with my feelings of disappointment by not thinking to say Merry Christmas or Have A Great Weekend before the other person (thoughtfully AND sincerely) says it first, I feel the same way about I Love You.

To counter, whenever my wife or children would say, "I LOVE you!" when I was going to work, I felt it was like a defeated afterthought to say, "I love YOU, too." Kinda like, "Oh yeah, good point, uh, I love YOU! Too." So I decided to TRUMP their Love quote by saying, "Love You MORE!" Yeah, that'll get 'em. How can you beat the MORE thing? It stunned them at first. Victory.

But then THEY retorted with the same, "Love YOU more!" you know, with the YOU emphasis. Dang.

So THEN it became a point (and I made up the rules) that the LAST one to say, "Love You MORE!" before I shut the door to go to work WINS. (Always love a winner, right? Even in love.)
So you'll often hear Love You MORE. Love YOU MORE. Love You MOST (hey, cheating). Love YOU Most whenever someone is leaving, ending a phone call, driving away.

All in all, there's a lot of love going around AND it's sincere. I think.
Besides being the last one to say it when I leave for work (they've even called me in the car to say Love YOU MORE and then hang up -- is that love or sheer trumpMANIA? The ONLY thing that has left me speechless was when my youngest daughter blurted, "Love YOU MORE Blackout Infinity Crossies Don't Count!"

Again, a lot of love.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

See You First...Huh?

I never really understood the phrase, "Not if I see you first!" I mean, I get it. I just don't underSTAND what people are thinking when they say it.

The first time I heard it was in elementary school when I said goodbye to the bus driver.
"See you tomorrow!"
"Not if I see you FIRST!" he shouted.
Uh, YEAH. I will still SEE you, I thought. Like what? If YOU see me first, I won't be able to see YOU? Hey, bub. Hey, Bus Driver Bub. Works both ways, the SEEing thing.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Goodbye, Dad

My dad died three months ago today, and it has been an interesting experience for me. Mostly, I just felt numb at first. I flew and drove to the hospital where he was. When I looked down at him on the hospital bed and realized what how close we were to him dying, I couldn’t stop from crying. And I let tears flow. I stroked his hair and rubbed his hand, telling him thanks for being such a good father. Six hours later, he passed. I don't think he was conscious enough to hear anything I said but that’s okay.

I wasn't angry about the death, like some. Dad was 81 and had smoked since he was a teen, so I felt for him that he dealt with that debilitating habit. He tried to kick the habit but got enveloped by it.

Besides being reminded of that overpowering sense that there's nothing I can do about death, I went through a lot of emotions and was most sad to realize my dad’s not there to talk to anymore. That has left me feeling empty during quiet times.

I coped by talking to family and friends, getting lost in guitar playing (a love of mine) and sleep (which seems to heal more than I've realized). Somehow for me, those things eased the numbness and brought some sense of normalcy back.

Have you felt those things, too? How have you coped? And when do you get through it completely? I’d really like to know.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Drive Thru's Scare

Drive-thrus scare me. They honestly make my heart race. First, I can't even come to a stop before they greet with, "Welcome! May I take your order??" Yeah, I KNOW they're trying to be prompt, but some of us need a moment and I think they should know their customers.

Next, the menu boards intimidate. To me, it's like one of those Chinese menus with 372 ways to mix rice and chicken. I get lost--instantly. I can't find the burger or the taco or the drinks or the shakes and the more I look, the more lost I am. All I see is a BLUR of options like all OVer the place. All the while, I KNOW everyone behind me already knows what THEY want and I feel like they're bumping my bumper to get through.

I sometimes cheat by rolling down my window early--even when it's freezing--and listening in on the order ahead of me. At Wendy's, I can hear three orders ahead because of the wrap-around. But it's good because it gives me ideas and options, which is what I need when I'm at the drive-thru.

Another annoyance is going through lines where you have to decide EVERY little thing about your order--lettuce? cheese? which kind? bread? toasted? pickles? sweet or dill?

Hey, Hey, Hey, can't you just GIVE me whatever your RESEARCH people team group back there in that little room showed worked with most folks? Just whatever the best thing that goes with the meatball sandwich--THAT's what I want. I don't know. Mayo? Mustard? Provolone? I'm a guy. Just put whatever MOST people put on it and QuitLookinAtMeThatWay. In reality, you WANNA be on my good side. I have MONEY you want.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Merry Christmas, Jon

Popular Radio Personality Jon Carter, from 103.5 The Arrow, is a riot. I just saw him at The Gateway shopping (I suppppooose) and he's always one to make you laugh. It's not jokes, just quips, wit, timing with a nonstop smile. And I returned the favor (yet OBVIOUSLY not as skillfully as he).

So we start to part and I say, "Merry Christmas, Jon!" which is key cause you always want to be the first to say that. Because if you're NOT, you'll do what everyone does -- and Jon did -- which is, "Oh yeah, Merry Christmas to you, too." Which is totally like NOT sincere. It's more like a "Oh, I forgot and NOW I have to respond but I really couldn't care less but I HAVE to say SOMEthing. After all, t'is the season, so blah, blah, blah."

So you can't win. Even if you say it, you can't. But you HAVE to say it. So, in reality, to get the most punch, you wanna say it FIRST. And there's no way to recover if you don't. Except for what Jon did, which was say, "And have a Happy New Year, too!" Dang him.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Yoga, Anyone?

I saw a yoga exercise mat at the store today, and it looked like just what I needed but don't they sell those in double-wide? Who can fit on THOSE narrow things? I mean, eVENtually, yeah, maybe, with yoga, workouts, the whole package of fitness. But why discourage myself from the onset? Rug burns alone could make it nasty. (Did I tell you I don't like the word "get-go"? Which some use instead of onset. So cowboy-ish, not that there's anything wrong with cowboys cause we built this country, you know. . .)

Monday, December 17, 2007


So because we all speak English, we have an obligation to use it to explore, to reach out, to make the world a better place. Here's the challenge: Sometime this week, use the phrase, "That's how I roll" in a sentence.

AND to win points, you have to make it natural, make it sound like you. Say it like you've said it a HUNDRED times, even though, well, we all know. . .

Variations include: "This is how I roll" and "Just how I roll." So any of those count. Using them more gains more points. Keep track of your own scores. I know I will because, well, that's how I roll. Whoa. So easy.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Actors Who Bug

What is it with actors who think that, just because they can act, they have an opinion on something the rest of the world should pay attention to?

Just because they act well and make millions (no fault there), why do they think they have any reasonable authority to speak on issues relative to a local matter? And why do we provide an audience? WHY do we listen? Do THEY have training? Are THEY experts? They’re just ACTORS. Except for Julia Roberts. She can say anything she wants.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Three Gifts

After mentioning my frustration with the chaos of the Christmas season, a friend shared this.

She said, "I have centered gift-giving around the three gifts of Christmas - gold, frankincense & myrrh. I give each of my children three gifts labeled 'The Gift of Gold,' 'The Gift of Frankincense,' 'The Gift of Myrrh.' (Each gift may actually have one or more gifts that go along with it, but I bundle them together to represent the single gift.) Each gift represents a type of gift that you give. For example, the Gift of Gold represents 'garment,' or in other words, clothes. I might give one outfit for that gift, but would separately wrap each item so there was more than one box to open, but they would all be bundled together. Make sense?

"The Gift of Frankincense represents something 'fun,' and the Gift of Myrrh represents something for the 'mind.' The 'mind' gifts are sometimes the most difficult to think of, but some gifts I've given in the past are books, music, scrapbooking material, telescope, sports equipment, art supplies or anything that inspires growing and building talents. You get the idea.

"Anyway, it's worked well for me and my kids were very accepting of the whole idea, even though it meant less "things" Christmas morning. It's fun to hear them refer to their gifts by these names, too; it makes me feel like a better mom."

Seems brilliant. What do you think? What works for you to simplify and focus during this season of the year?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

What You Had

A friend said, "While you work to give your kids everything you didn't have, don't forget to give them things you did have." (You know, a work ethic, sense of accountability--all those things our more stern upbringing might have taught us.)

Do you think city life is far too easy for kids these days and that they don't learn to work as hard?

Instead they're getting paid for chores, for mowing their own lawn, for making their beds, keeping their rooms clean--even for school grades? Is that a good thing? If so, can all parents in a neighborhood get on the same payment system so kids don't pit us against the others?

To Judge?

I interviewed a renowned back doctor for a brochure I was assigned to write. Out of the blue, he stopped and said, "I've learned never to judge a person when they're sick."

I thought, he must have had numerous situations where patients acted erratically and concluded it wasn't fair to pass judgment because they weren't themselves then.

I've extended the advice to include those who might be sick emotionally, socially, spiritually, financially, etc. It's not easy but it calms the judgment process and makes for better conclusions. Have you found the same?


Have you ever noticed some drivers who plow through streets as if THEY OWN the road? And with no regard for others? I've seen 'em, dodged 'em, thought nasty things about these self-centered cyclopes (cyclopsi?). I've also noticed they all seem to be driving a certain car. Know which? Yeah, BMWs.

I don't know why. Perhaps it's something they sign for when they purchase the vehicle. But you'll see them out there, cutting you off, taking over, turning without warning, switching lanes without regard.

Another prime violaTOR? Mercedes owners. Honestly, what's WITH these people? Are they born with a BMW-tude, a MercTude? Or do they grow into a feeling of entitlement? Have you seen them? Are there more male than female drivers? Do they live in a certain part of the city? I'd like to know.

Two People

A friend told me, "Even if there were only two people on the planet, they wouldn’t agree on everything."

Does that put you at peace when you have a disagreement with another? (Or does it just make you say, "Hey, bub, my way or the highway!")

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Treating Others

You can measure a person by how they treat someone who can do nothing for them in return.

You know people like that?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Food on Face

OK, so you're sitting with friends talking, gabbing, laughing (and because YOU'RE witty, REALLY making them laugh). Then five minutes later, you look in the mirror and see you have food on your face. But NOBODY told you.

So what kind of friends are they? JUST TELL ME. "Hey, ya got food. Yeah, right there." That's all you have to say. No biggie. But it IS embarrassing when you NO one tells you. So that's my motto, you know, to tell. If you're wearing it, I'm sharing it.

Of course, one time a friend came up to me and she had one of those, you know, things out of her left nostril. (Well, my left, her right.) And it stunned me. You know, just . . . THERE. So I said, "Hey, you got something right there," motioning to my left nostril so we were like on the same nostril, but really it was still on her right one. Kinda half in, half ou--well, you know. And she was really embarrassed, but I was thinking like, hey, I'm your friend and why wouldn't you want to know. You know, even though I saw your nose dangly thing, still friends.

So she cleaned it off and asked me something but I don't remember what she said. But even though that happened about 8 years ago, I still remember it. I'm not saying these are always the best of memories, but, you know, still friends.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Top 7 Bad Things About the Writers Guild Strike

7. We’re sick of Leno’s reruns.

6. It begs the age-old question: Is Letterman also in reruns?

5. The shoulder bone’s connected to the arm bone. Do studio execs not get that concept?

4. Outdoor walking might lure writers.

3. The imminent return of the “There is/There are” conflict by junior writers.

2. English-as-a-Second-Language writers are poised to swoop in.

1. Look, if they don’t get back to work, we’re gonna FORGET all the words we knew. That’s how it works in this country. Just ask the Founding Fathers.

Top 7 Good Things About the Writers Guild Strike

7. Signmakers are scoring.

6. Don’t we have enough TV junk to last, oh, say, 1000 years already?

5. It’s proving the pen is mightier than the—oh, maybe not.

4. Does this include Bush’s speech writer?

3. It re-emphasizes how shallow actors are. I’m just sayin’.

2. War raging with our soldiers in the Middle East…Writers striking. The more critical would be…

1. Does this mean no new Britney songs?


People who say, "YouKnowWhatIMean" every THREE seconds. They bug.

Uh, yeah, I speak English, too, and uh, I KNOW what you mean. 'k? Deal? We square on that? Just MOVE on with your next sentence. I'll keep up. Yeah.

Know someone like that?

The Mouse

OK, I already KNOW you're probably not going to like this, but, honestly, what's the whole deal with Mickey Mouse? I mean, he's a MOUSE, okay? And for a long time, he didn't even SAY anything, and then when he DID, it was just high and, like non-male like. Which is TOTALLY embarrassing.

But all I'm saying is I don't get him. And I feel clear-thinking persons would agree. And then that whole thing with the mouse ears hat. Is that really attractive? I mean, I understand what they were going for. And good for them. They got a lot of people, you know, to buy into it. But if you really think about it, weren't a LOT of people duped into thinking that was cool, but really it's not? It just bugs. If you think about it, we're better than this.

Music Makes the Moment

So this Groove section will probably evolve the most of all these. My best friend started Voodoo Carnival, which was named the Best Band of the Gold Coast by three magazines in the rich part of Connecticut. Not bad.

See how their music sets with you by clicking here.
You like? I can get you their autograph. Hey now.

Things Will Work Out

At a very low point in my career, just after I had been laid off and had five children to feed, I somehow wrote this. It gave me strength to carry on and has guided me ever since. What inspires you?

Things Will Work Out

Things will work out,
They always do.
Rough times come,
That's nothing new.

But how you view it--
What you see--
Guides you to where
You'll eventually be.

So decide where it is
That will make it just right.
Then skirt all views
That veer from your sight.

Because times do get rough.
That's nothing new.
But things will work out.
They always do.

John Mayer

How could you NOT like anything John Mayer? Or Counting Crows (and NO, they don't sound like yelling). Or James Taylor. Not so sure about Michael Buble, cuz SOME stuff is great, but I fear he's gonna sound alike in all his songs, kinda like Josh Groban, and I KNOW Josh is great, but . . .

John Denver kinda had that problem. While likable, he had a lot of his songs sounded alike. But, hey, not James Taylor. And Jack Johnson kinda does but he can get away with it. Why is that? Is it the island that sucks us in? And what about Del Paxton? Yay? Nay? (Name that movie.)

Lights Out

The lights went out because some loonie ran through a T intersection and crashed into the power station box that apparently controls our neighborhood's electricity.

So we lit candles throughout the house and put one high on our bedroom credenza to light the room. Four minutes later, the smoke alarms throughout the house (yeah, we have them ALL connected) went off, and we couldn't figure out why. You guessed it: the credenza candle was right under a smoke alarm, which has never gone off (thankfully) so we were a bit puzzled as to how to stop it.

Then we just had to laugh because it was SO STUPID. I know you're not that, you know, dumb, but what's made you smile and laugh lately?

Ringo Starr Thinks I'm an Idiot

OK, so I was in New York in 1998 with a client and coworker, let's call her Courtney cuz that was/is her name, and I saw Ringo Starr was signing his new CD, so I INSISTED we see him. We arrived at Tower Records near Columbus on the Upper West Side and didn't want to stand in the LONG line, so we told the doorman we were going in to shop, which, hey, we were.

We saw about 30 photogs around a table where Ringo was going to sign the CD. (By the way, I remember watching Ringo on Ed Sullivan's show when the Beatles first came to the US. I was 5; my dad said the Beatles looked like hippies jumping around like they had ants in their pants. I feared Dad, but I determined to be a lifelong fan.) Courtney, our client went up the escalator to the 2nd floor & Courtney pushed her way to the ledge overlooking Ringo's table.

I said, "Courtney, what are you doing?"
"I'm trying to get a good shot for you--hey, I think that's HIM!" she said.
I turned around and RINGO & band were walking 5 feet from me. I said, "Wait here!" and I followed behind them to see Ringo before he went down the elevator. Around the corner, I stood just 10 feet from him and his band in the elevator. We all stared at each other. FOUR feet away! I couldn't say a word (how stupid!), so I just raised my right hand and waved.

They all looked about me like, "What a stupid man" but Ringo looked over his shades, slanted his head and flashed me the peace sign. I thought, "HOW COOL! Ringo Starr just gave me the peace sign!" The elevators shut but then someone hit the wrong button and the elevator doors suddenly opened back up!

I was shocked and frozen. They, too, were surprised that 1. the doors opened; and 2. I was still standing there. By this time, the blood had TOTALLY drained from my head, and I couldn't think. So for SOME reason, I raised my left hand and actually said, "WAVE with the OTHER hand!" I thought, "Stupid, Stupid Stupid!!" But I couldn't stop waving and everything was in tortuous SLOW motion. Ringo just looked about me like and shrugged his shoulders, like "You're an idiot." Which I WAS. But I couldn't stop waving. And they just stood there for what felt like an HOUR.

When the doors FINALLY closed, I walked back to Courtney at the ledge waiting for Ringo to walk to the table on the 1st floor. She looked at me, who was white as a sheet, and said, "WHAT happened to YOU??" I said, "I just did the MOST EMBARRASSING thing of my life!" I think she said, "What an IDIOT," which, you know, I was.

That same night, Ringo, in his same purple getup, was on Letterman and I could hardly stand to watch cuz, well, you know . . .

I'm often asked at parties to share this story. You got anything embarrassing?

Wicked Witch

The Wicked Witch of the West AND her nasty flying monkeys. Whenever I watched that when I was 5 until about 19, I couldn't go to the bathroom at commercial break because I was SCARED she was going to be in there. You too?

You Teach

You teach people how to treat you. Did you get that? Does that even make sense?

Friday, December 7, 2007

Freeway Dozers

You know when you're driving in the fast lane and someone is in front of you, going 65 and WON'T get over? Who made them the freeway police? MOVE OVER. It's simple. Blink and move. Does that bug you?

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Love You More!

So along with my feelings of inferiority on not saying Merry Christmas or Have A Great Weekend until the other person (thoughtfully AND sincerely) says it first, I feel the same way about I Love You. To combat that, whenever my wife or children would say, "I LOVE you!" when I was going to work, I felt it was like a defeated afterthought to say, "I love YOU." Kinda like, "Oh yeah, good point, uh, I love YOU!" So I decided to TRUMP their Love by saying, "Love You MORE!" Yeah, that'll get 'em. How can you beat the MORE thing? So then THEY retorted with the same, "Love YOU more!" you know, with the YOU emphasis. Dang.

So THEN it became a point (and I made up the rules) that the LAST one to say, "Love You MORE!" before the door shut WINS. (Always love a winner, right? Even in love.)
So you'll often hear Love You MORE. Love YOU MORE. Love You MOST (hey, that's cheating). Love YOU Most whenever someone is leaving, ending a phone call, driving away.

All in all, there's a lot of love going around AND it's sincere. I think.
Besides being the last one to say it when I leave for work (they've even called me in the car to say Love YOU MORE and then hang up -- is that love or sheer rudeness?), the ONLY thing that has left me speechless is when my youngest daughter blurts, "Love YOU MORE Blackout Infinity Crossies Don't Count!"

Again, a lot of love.