3 Is A Magic Number.

Usually I write about some issue or personal growth stuff but occasionally I like to touch on less weighty things (See Word to your Mother). This is one of those times. I’m sure many of you remember that song from Schoolhouse Rock which helped with learning the 3 times table (Trivia: it was also the first video in the series). But it really is a magic number. When must perform some action we usually go on the count of three. As in  Monty Python and the Holy Grail. “First shalt thou take out thy Holy Pin. Then shalt thou count to 3. No more No Less. That’s fine if your working alone because you know when you will release it but if 2 people are involved you have to get things straight like in Lethal Weapon 2 Do you go on 3 or is it 1 2 3 then Go. Of course the movies are almost endless that have these examples. We use it in real life all the time. “Put the cookie back junior. I will count to three and it’s a time out.”

Of course it’s not just counting to 3. 3 is a grouping we see all the time. You need three sides and angles to form a triangle. You need at least 3 legs to get a table or tripod to stand on it’s own. In the area of religion you have the Holy Trinity Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. There are three branches of Government in the US to provide checks and balances on each other. When playing football 3 points are awarded for kicking a field goal. If you score 3 goals in Hockey it’s called a Hat Trick. You typically want a minimum of 3 members in a Rock band, Buddy Holly and the Crickets, Guitar, Drums, and Bass.

Lot’s of amazing famous trios from all over the World , Sports, Literature, Entertainment. For instance: Tinkers to Evers to Chance, The Three Stooges, The Three Amigos, The Marx Bros. (I know Zeppo made it 4 but he wasn’t funny so he doesn’t count), The Three Musketeers, Kirk Spock and Bones, Luke Han and Lea, Harry Ron and Hermione, Huey Dewy and Louie, The Three Bears, The Three Little Pigs who interestingly enough had the same names as The Pep Boys, Manny , Moe, and Jack (That’s how my Pop told It). Even in food you have the BLT Bacon Lettuce and Tomato, Snap Crackle and Pop, and the ever favorite Jersey sustenance, TEC Taylor Ham Egg and Cheese. Three hands on a clock counting a second hand. Which is confusing since the third hand is the second hand.

Not everything that comes in 3’s is good. Celebrity deaths, disasters, all come in threes, so it is said. Or is it we just stop counting after three? It’s bad luck to light 3 on a match, for you smokers out there.  It takes a minimum of 3 people causing destruction to be classified as a riot, unless of course you are Alice Kramden (shame on you if you didn’t get that Honeymooners reference). Three Strikes and your out.  Threes is a crowd and Three Mile Island.

As I conclude I would like to give you The Truth, The Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth. In this nation Of the People, By the People, For the People, I try to Hear no Evil, See no Evil, Speak no Evil and only wish us all Liberty, Equality, Fraternity. I offer this last bit of advice Never let the Good, the Bad and the Ugly play Paper, Rock, Scissors with each other even if they are Small, Medium and Large because one of them might say Ready, Aim, Fire. If you don’t think 3 is A Magic Number, prove me wrong. On Your mark, Get Set, Go!

 

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Never Forget 9/11/2001

 

It was 17 years ago today. Those of us around to witness it will never forget it or where we were or what we were doing when it happened. I am a native New Jerseyan  At the time I was working at a Dish Network call center  just outside Denver, Colorado. I was running a bit late that morning. We had Monitors up all around the call center. I stepped out on to the floor, cup of coffee in hand. On one of the monitors I could see the 1st tower was on fire the newscasters were saying a plane had hit it, some sort of accident. I was puzzled as to how an aircraft could not see the trade center on such an obviously clear day. I was late as it was, and I figured I would get more info in a little bit, so I headed to my desk. I dealt with an escalated call from one of my agents. When I got off the phone, I saw  people were now keeping their eyes on the TV. Not a good sign.  One of the managers said we were attacked by terrorists. Not wanting to believe that, I said “Well we don’t know what happened yet. It could have been an accident.” He said “No. there was a 2nd plane.” Right then it felt like the air had been sucked out of me I was stunned in disbelief. I immediately called home to tell my then wife what had happened. She had already heard. My parents and 2 of my cousins were visiting at the time and they were all watching it unfold. I was working and  stayed,  as at least I was able to do divert my attention periodically. As the day wore on the news kept coming in. People were jumping off the towers to avoid death by fire. What a choice to have to face. I remember seeing it. The Pentagon was hit, one of the towers collapsed, another plane crashed in PA., then the other tower fell. I remember false alarms adding to the hysteria as well, like a car bomb outside of the state department.

I can say there are very few times in my life that I felt that terrible.  I remember it was surreal. How could this be happening? All those poor people who were killed. All those families that lost mothers, fathers, sisters , and brothers.  I couldn’t imagine the anguish. Added to that our nation was under attack. Someone came into our home and assaulted us not a military attack but a direct assault on us, the people. What was next? How many more people would die. The hospitals were all waiting for an onslaught of survivors that never came.

I didn’t just feel pain. I felt anger and rage and helpless. I wanted to do something, anything. I think I know how people must have felt after Pearl Harbor. I was 32 and I wanted to enlist. I wanted to serve and protect my nation.  However I had a family and responsibilities and that had to take precedence. When I returned home that night I lowered the flag outside my home to half mast. I didn’t sleep well. I remember getting up and thinking maybe it was all a bad dream please let that be it. I then looked out my window and saw my flag and knew it to be true.

I don’t know who remembers this, but I do, every TV station and television entity covered this tragedy, even pay movie channels like HBO, for several days. My son who was 3 and a half years old at the time said he remembered it. He wanted to watch cartoons but every station had this coverage. I said yeah but do you really remember it, or  have you seen the documentaries and think you remember. He said “No. I remember sitting on the floor  in your bedroom looking up at the TV on top of the dresser and seeing it all happen. The explosions the collapse of the buildings. He remembers the airports being closed and telling my parents they had to stay. I remember too. All flights were grounded. All rental cars were rented. People were buying cars just to go home. My dad had a rental and decided to drive cross-country to get home rather than wait for the skies to reopen.

I remember the stories that came out in the aftermath, of people who risked and gave their lives to help those in the towers that were trapped or in the process of fleeing when they were coming down. First responders rushing into danger and climb the towers despite the moaning and groaning of the buildings, that signaled to them there wasn’t much time. The passengers aboard Flight 93 who revolted and tried to take the plane back. Failing that, causing it to crash in Shanksville Pa. before it could hit its target. The last audible words of passenger Todd Beamer just prior to trying to take back the plane “Are you ready? Okay. Let’s roll.” Like the pain of that day these incidents also stick with me.

911 pile

I remember that while we were shocked, and saddened, we weren’t beaten. In the center of all this tragedy We did what Americans do best. We banded together rolled up our sleeves and got busy. People of all stripes volunteered to help. We took a page from Great Britain’s playbook during WWII “Keep Calm and Carry On”  I remember “The Pile”. The mass of rubble with pieces of steel sticking out of it, that had once been the Twin Towers. I am proud to say I personally know men,  first responders, who heeded the call and came from NJ to work “The Pile”, in the hopes of finding people alive. I remember everyone rushing to give blood. So many in fact lines went around the block.

The people, the backbone of this nation, the ones our enemies always seem to underestimate, rose to the challenge. We are always at our best when things are at their worst. We were unified. We had solidarity. What is sad is it take a tragedy like this to get us to drop our petty differences and work together.

There are kids growing up now that have no knowledge of those days. They must be taught. We must be ever vigilant. I will never forget 9/11/2001.  It is burned in my memory and my heart. I will never forget the horror and heroism that transpired on that day in history.  Remember 9/11 and let no one forget.

I find music cathartic. Hope these songs help cope with the angst. As for me I still get chills when I hear these.

 

A Blog About Nothing

Much like Seinfeld was a show about nothing, that’s how I feel today.  So I’m going to just sort of freely associate from one thing to another. It might seem like I have ADHD as I skip around. Before someone says something, I’m not poking fun at the condition. I know, I am fortunate to be able to focus without outside aid or prescriptions. Really it’s amazing that anyone can even be focused these days. There are so many distractions everywhere. Preemptive apologies, (see 3rd Sentence) for one. Truthfully I am not out to offend anyone so please accept this as a blanket apology for anything I might say to offend you in my following thoughts.

George Carlin was once commenting on States mottos on License Plates. NH has “Live Free or Die!”, while Idaho has “Famous Potatoes”. He said he liked to think America was somewhere in the middle of those  but probably closer to Famous Potatoes.

You know I didn’t spell out New Hampshire above because it’s to long. I know, don’t say it. But it switches my gears to the topic of abbreviations and or acronyms. Abbreviations such as NH for a state, or abbr. an abbreviation for abbreviation tend to make written words less cumbersome (although the word cumbersome seems cumbersome to some).  Acronyms can just make things insane. Not all to be sure, but many times, it just makes communication more cryptic than communicative. For instance if someone said “POTUS just got the SITREP from the FBI and CIA about the AMA‘s take on ED reported in an Op-Ed piece about CINCPAC and the effect it has had on NATO. You’ would say “Huh?”.  Translated The President of the United States just got the situation report from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and The Central Intelligence Agency about the American Medical Association’s take on Erectile Dysfunction reported in a piece opposite the Editorial page about the Commander in Chief Pacific and what effect it has had on the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Some of these acronyms have become synonymous with what they represent in their own right such as the aforementioned Op-Ed, POTUS and NATO.

I really only threw in one that was invented, which was done by the pharmaceutical industry. They love acronyms for disease. That way you don’t feel so bad about discussing it with your doctor. No one wants to say “I’m impotent!” so they gave it a longer name, Erectile Dysfunction. But wait saying your erection was malfunctioning still wouldn’t get you talking. Let’s just call it ED. Kinda like VD was short for Venereal Disease or Valentines Day which is when a lot of people got it. But even VD became too negative so it became Sexually Transmitted Disease or STD. For some reason the more words you have the less it stings, because it becomes more convoluted and even more so when they break it down to only consonants.

I’m sure a lot of these drugs help with diseases or their symptoms but sometimes the side-effects sound worse than the disease.  May cause explosive diarrhea and sausage fingers.  No thanks I’ll stick with the heartbreak of Psoriasis.

Psoriasis. It’s spelled with a P but it’s silent. Lots  of words and names like that. When I worked in Customer service and I had to spell out model or part numbers on the phone, I would use such words as a goof or to see if they were paying attention. “OK The model number is PEC27. That is P as in  Pneumonia, E as in Eugene,  C as in Czar 2 7. Got that? Good!”

Never really understood how I got into customer service. Oh wait I remember I needed the money. Not great money. But still, it was money. People always told me “Do what you love.” What I love is making money.  I have worked a lot of places some good some bad, and had some really crappy jobs too. But it taught me one thing. Treat the janitor the same as the CEO. Because no job is beneath anyone. If you’re out there making instead of taking hold your head up. I worked for a period of time at  FedEx Freight as a part time Loading Dock worker. One day we had a VP come in and tell us how he started where I and a great many others were and how he worked his way up. I know he was trying to inspire but I took it as “Look how great I am.” I said to the guys I worked with at the time. “Hey look at me! I started as a Driver Apprentice and managed to work my way down to Part Time Dockworker!” They knew what I meant.

So I’ve been carrying on here for a bit and I’m sort of out of Ideas. But it’s ok because for all I have written I really blogged about nothing which was my intention. If you have something to say about nothing, please feel free to comment.

 

Resident Curmudgeon and Wheaton’s Law

Over the years the last 6 or 7 I have evolved into a Curmudgeon, a person who is always cranky, crotchety, or cantankerous. (That was a nice example of alliteration IMHO). It seems when you get to this stage you find yourself wanting to say Why in my Day!… you don’t always get  current cultural references like who’s in the hottest band and people don’t always get yours. The WHO? is usually the response, I get when I mention a band like Supertramp. Makes me feel like Andy Rooney. (Google him kids.)  I even have the eyebrows now, but I trim mine.  I guess I was always destined to become this . When I was a kid I said to a friend of mine “Your mom doesn’t like me much.” He said “No that’s not true but she thinks you’re obstinate.” I replied “Obstinate. I like it.”
It’s true. Sometimes I’m stubborn just to be stubborn and I still like it. Being a Curmudgeon is not really a bad thing even though the word sounds like it is. Are you a Republican or a Democrat? No. Third party, Curmudgeon.  I think by and large most of us are destined to it. After being on this earth for 52 years now my cynicism far outweighs my naivete. I’m older and I’ve realized time is a finite commodity.  I have no time for Bullshit. if that’s what your spewing peddle it elsewhere.I used to think had all the time in the world, so I used to have a high tolerance for BS. All kinds of BS, like Heinz Ketchup ‘s 57 varieties. For example you have Political Bullshit, which while politicians are spewing it out, it doesn’t have the artistry it once did. Whether it’s just someone’s alternative facts (See Trump Administration), or  that we must pass a law to see whats in it (See Nancy Peolsi on Obamacare). We see right through that crap now. Then there is your infinite layers of Corporate Bullshit. If you ever had a job you’ve dealt with it. “We’ve decided on a Paradigm shift with regard to how we deal with employee morale. Beatings will continue until it improves.” As we say in Jersey, “Yeah I got yaw paradigm shift Right Heea”.  “Remember we’re all on big family here. I am here for you. Unless of course you become a problem child then I’ll disown you.” Add to it DMV BS, Municipal and State BS. Another one that is a favorite, is dating and relationship Bullshit! Oh yes. I covered this in previous blogs see What is Love? or  Dating in the 21st Century. It’s endless (the BS not my Blog posts. I hope).
Actually after having looked back at some of my previous Blogs I see I have covered this topic before. I’m have not only gotten more cantankerous but also forgetful it seems. But I can’t help it I see more and more BS everyday and I just want to shout Stay off my lawn. Seriously as a wizened old man now, (You be the judge) let me say this. If you’re LGBTQ,Heteroflexible Heterosexual  pan-sexual, Sapio-sexual etc. African American, Hispanic, Native American, Asian, White, rich, poor, tall, short, fat, thin,  lean left, right, center, pacifist, feminist, apologist, communist, plagiarist or Methodist (See Mel Brooks  Blazing Saddles ). I don’t care. ( Think Tommy Lee Jones) Seriously I don’t care. I don’t care who or what you are. It’s your business not mine.
What I care about is if anyone directly effects my children (Hurt them you die) or ability to earn my living in a negative way (Get me fired you’re going down). The rest in no particular order: driving to slow in front of me, driving to fast, Same thing in the checkout line as far as going slow, check writers, The chatty person in front of me on any line, or near me in a theater, or next to me on a plane, screaming babies on a plane or anywhere else. In short the world would be a better place if we all try to follow, as I do, Wil Wheatons Law  “Don’t be a Dick!”
Click below for some delightful music.

What is Love?

I’ve been pondering this question for awhile. Probably my whole life but more so in the years since my divorce, and a lot more recently. Love, relationships. Do people want those things or do they just think they do? So many questions run through my mind. This may or may not make sense, because as usual I don’t know where I’m going but I’m on my way.

I don’t  speak for anyone but myself so here goes.

There are certain things you know but you have to really own to move forward in life. It took a long time for me to own these things. 1. I can’t make anyone happy except myself and only I can make myself happy. 2. You can’t change anyone except yourself. and 3. While I can’t change someone’s behavior, I can change how I react to it. I have lived the last 6 years owning these truths. There are good and bad things  that goes with these truths.

Probably the best thing to come out of it, I’ve discovered I’m really a great guy. I like me.  I know some people like me and some don’t and I don’t care because I like me. I am not trying to be arrogant Just I have a whole lot more self worth. Of course no one’s perfect and like everyone else I have warts and blemishes but I’m trying to work on those to my own satisfaction. I now have a very low threshold for BS which is good but can be a curse too. You see most times I detect BS because it is BS, but occasionally as wacky as someone’s story can be,it could be true and you could miss out if you dismiss them.  I have been on the opposite side of the misfired BS detector. Not much you can do.

I have  gone out with people or at least made some contact to see if there is a spark.  There have been some that it’s like a road flare and some are just wet twigs which aren’t even going to smolder. That’s all cool. But the thing is  How do you know what is lust and what isn’t. People say friends first then we’ll see. Guess what that doesn’t work. BS. I have been friends with women and guess what, they always would tell me what a great guy they met. Now if there is that spark of passion things can move along to being lovers and best friends but it seldom works the other way. Also so many of us  say no Drama please. Which usually means no drama from you but my theater company is all over this. Another one, No baggage! Baggage, your little red wagon, whatever name you choose, that is what makes us who we are. Baggage I have a friggin’ steamer trunk and so does everyone else my age.

This all comes back to our question “What is love?” More importantly what do I want. As I said our baggage made us who we are. Mine has made me cautious but impatient at the same time. Mainly I’m impatient as to how long do I need to be cautious. Do I want what everyone considers a relationship, really? Some things I know I want but have not been able to find. I want to be involved in someone’s life but not to the point where I’m “forced” to go to family functions. Emphasis on forced. I hate enforced fun. If someone has kids their kids are there own business. Meaning I’m never going to tell someone You spend to much time with them and I expect the same. No one is putting a wedge there. They can just get the hell out. Also I don’t do the change thing. I have been dressing this way for a long time. Don’t tell me what to wear. Don’t tell me what words you don’t want me to say. Essentially if you like me why are you trying to change me? Because I work a lot and have children I also can’t be with you in my every spare moment. However I will be there whenever I can and always when the chips are down. I am romantic  I’m 52 years old, but I can’t do the epic courtship John Cusak movie thing anymore. Orson Wells once described the main character in Citizen Kane as man who wants what we all want, love on his own terms.

I don’t think I answered any questions, sadly. I guess I’m an optimist because I still keep searching for the answer even though part of me thinks it’s in vain. More questions. Am I the only one who thinks this way? Should I stop looking because of all my time constraints? Am I even capable of a healthy relationship? Are my red flags accurate or am I sabotaging myself? If a pig loses its voice, is it disgruntled?

To find out the answers to these and other questions tune in again to our continuing story,  The Old and The Sedentary.

Dating in the 21st Century

Sounds a lot like Buck Rogers in the 25th Century or Duck Dodgers in the 24th and 1/2 Century but probably closer to Duck Dodgers. Recently I was telling a married friend of the trials and tribulations of dating in 2017 and she  said I should share it with everyone. Won’t hurt. Might help, and maybe give someone a chuckle. I haven’t written in a long while so I may be rusty.

Finding prospective mates is harder now. Most of the good ones are already taken and happily married. I don’t know about the rest of you but I had a lot more patience and understanding when I was kid too. Now, I try not to be too picky. Really the biggest requirement I have for dating someone is they are not batshit crazy. Quirky is OK, You know, Like Zoey Deshanel quirky not Lizzy Borden quirky.  My only other issue is families. Don’t get me wrong I don’t mind them. However experience has taught me if you find a significant other’s family is nuts chances are she is too. Apple trees make apples.

The thing is, now in our online culture, even meeting is done online. It has it’s pluses and minuses. One plus is everyone knows why they are there. Everyone is searching for someone. One minus to this is some are Con-men or have some other nefarious purpose. For the most part though the biggest minus I come across is, I keep running into Batshit crazy. For example, I was speaking to a woman  on the phone. We didn’t make it to dating. That’s because she told me: “We were living in the end of days.” She also had a number of aluminum foil hat, conspiracy theories  as well.  One woman I dated got really angry with me over the fact I didn’t text her back immediately. I was driving to work.  In the course of my driving she concocted a whole series of reasons why I didn’t text her back except the real one. I told her I was driving, ’nuff said. She said I should have texted her that, it only takes a couple of seconds. Bear in mind we had 2 dates. Count them 2. I tried in vain to explain why I don’t do this. I ended it right there. She continued to text me after this several times before she got it.  

 

You can also run into serial daters. They just like  going out on dates. They have commitment issues. Serial daters love that phase of dating where everything is new, butterflies in the stomach, Magic kisses. Then they’re gone. I may or may not be afraid of commitment. But I’m not a serial dater. It sounds like too much work. Although I think I went out with a couple myself.For instance, I took a woman to dinner at a very nice restaurant.  Prior to this we had several conversations both text and by phone. Dinner went very well I thought. It was very much like our phone conversations. It felt very comfortable. When I leaned in to kiss her goodnight, she gave me the cheek.  Now I have no issue with that exactly. The issue I had been if you’ve spoken to me prior to this date. I was no different in person than on the phone. I did nothing stupid during it. So I assume she had no interest romantically, prior to the date.  I did not receive the courtesy of thank you, or even a text that said “I had a nice time last night but…”.

There’s another thing I see online, on women’s profiles. “Friends first” or “looking for long-term dating or friends”.  I never bought into that. We are on these dating sites for the same reason. We want to meet someone so we can get off dating sites. If you really want friends, wouldn’t it be a friendly gesture to respond to an email. Most don’t. But I get it. Woman are inundated with messages. So many they don’t read them all. Also I see “No Hookups! Swipe left if you want to hook-up!Etc”.  Then it says Long term or Short Term relationship. Would short-term classify as a hook-up? I’ve yet to see a woman who states on her page looking for a hook-up. The fact is we are all looking for a hook-up sooner or later. Oh yes, I know, relationship first, but then once that is going well, then there will be sex. From the woman’s perspective (at least what I’m told) you can’t have one without the other.  Otherwise whatever it is won’t last long. Actually that’s not true. No sex equals friend zone, for what can be infinity.  If there is not that spark and/or a make-out session on that first or second date it’s time to move along. Just as an experiment I might just put on my profile, “Open to LTR or Hook-up”

I’m not saying everyone was like this. I have met a number of very nice women, but for some reason, either chemistry, or our timing was just off, we just didn’t make a go of it. Then of course there are  the times you get friend zoned. That has happened more than I like to admit. You think I would have learned, but there was a 30 year gap between those occurrences. I think the 2nd time was tougher, because by then you know what you would like in a significant other, you find it, and because of inaction you lose it. It’s even more painful when you find out that early on they had that kind of interest in you. This is life, not Hollywood so you have to close that door and move along. Of course the romantic in me will always have that door cracked open just a little bit.

Now I’m no George Clooney but I’m not hideous either. For a man of 51 I think I look relatively good. ( I know what man doesn’t think that). I still have all my own hair with some grey. I have a spread  like so many my age do.  Other than that I’m funny, (which is good because women all put down “Love to Laugh”. Don’t we all?) I’m intelligent sensitive to others but still a man’s man.  I can cook, clean, do laundry yet I can still make household and automotive repairs.  That’s what I typically put down in my profile anyway. What I find amazing though is the Laundry list of qualifications that women list to date them. Height is one I see a lot of. No offense meant to short people, but I’m so glad I’m not short. It seems that this is a problem for a lot of women that are taller than average and /or like to wear heels. often wonder about priorities. “He’s 6’5″ and is an ax murderer? Cool I’ll wear my 5 inch stilettos. ”  I’m 5’11” and I have no issues with dating women shorter our taller than me. Seems everyone, men included are looking for Fit, Athletic, Active, No Drama, and no games. I have found that those who want no drama, and claim to have none of their own, create more drama for themselves than if William Shatner was performing,…. well,…. anything really. As to games, it’s all a game really. People say they want honest and blah blah blah… and no games. Guess what. Everyone is playing a game. Me I just try to keep the rules as simple as possible.

By the way, I’m not say’n. I’m just say’n. If you have a single female friend give them my regards and my phone number.

Tales From the DMV — I knew I shoulda taken a left turn at Albuquerque

Tales from the DMV! DUN DUN DUUUUN! First let me tell you today was the culmination of several trips this month to renew my CDL license. 1st attempt line to long. 2nd time the computers were down statewide. By my estimate there were at least 100 people waiting for them to come back up then wait […]

via Tales From the DMV — I knew I shoulda taken a left turn at Albuquerque