Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Memorial Day Pics and Others

8 days. This is by far the longest I've gone without posting anyting. I feel as if I've left world waiting with baited breath for something really, really good. Well, these pictures, in my opinion, are really, really good. Granted, they're not of the quality illustrated in the constipation pictures from a past entry but they have their own uniqute attributes that make them special.

The first few are my son at the Memorial Day Parade. The last two are of Nathan pushing a plastic child shopping cart around the house. Just when I was getting used to his immobile nature. Now comes his unchecked, free-wheeling, warp speed, biped motion. The ride for me now begins...

Nathan and Mommy at the Memorial Day Parade. Also, notice mommy's right tricep in the picture below. This muscularity is due to lifting and holding Nathan which is task not for the weak.

Nathan watching the parade

Nathan on the swing at the play ground after the parade ready for a cool beverage

Nathan's standing and ready for action in both shopping cart pics

Monday, May 22, 2006

Parking Dilemma

Tell me something. What infuriates you more than not finding a parking spot when your in a hurry, or even worse when its raining? Sure, its not the worst thing in the world but at the time, nothing could make your blood pressure go up more, aside from realizing after the fact that the store your hoping to do some shopping in is closed.

Here's my experience.

Late last week, the wife had me run to the grocery store for a few odds and ends. The grocery store and I don't get along (see this previous blog entry) so before leaving the driveway, I always have a plan of attack which includes mapping out in my head where the items are in the store, in what order to pick them up and most importantly, where the best parking spots might be given the day of the week, the time of day and the weather. All of this is done in an effort to expedite the process of grocery shopping which I dispise a great deal. My focus here is on parking so let's get to it.

I entered the parking lot of the grocery store and started my search for a spot. Like most people, I made a bee-line down to the spots closest to the store's entrance praying for that ever-elusive spot next to the handicap spaces. (Of course, 99% of the time they're occupied but I'd kick myself if I never bothered to look only to find out moments later that someone else scored the spot. Believe me, that's a let-down that I've experienced far too many times to let it happen again. So I had to eliminate that obvious close spot before taking the more realistic approach further away from the store's entrance. This time, no spot existed so I continued my search.

Up an down the rows of vehicles and still no luck. I could feel my patience running thin. After all, I came to the store for a handful of items and now, its turning into a grueling expedition analogous to climbing Mount Everest.

All of a sudden like a diamond in the rough, like a beacon of light shining down on a time of despair, (sorry, way too many metaphors) the front of a vacant parking spot glistened with my name on it. It was almost as if the Lord himself willed that spot to be vacant at that very time so that I would be privy to it. Feeling as if I won the lottery, I sped up to the spot giddy with excitement and started to turn the wheel when something became clearly visible in the spot. No, it wasn't a person or a shopping cart. IT WAS A CAR!

I slammed on the brakes only a few feet from slamming into a brand new Ford Focus! How in the hell is this possible? Granted, I'm not a fan of the Focus but if I would have continued into the spot, I would have been responsible for the damage to the car!

Back in the 1970s when the huge, gas guzzling Lincolns and Buicks roamed the streets, you knew when these behemoths occupied a spot. Their 8 foot long trunks would stick out giving an oncoming driver a conspicuous clue that the spot was not vacated. Now in their place, Toyota Corollas, Ford Focus' and motorcycles take up most of the spots.

The problem is you can pull one of these subcompacts into a spot and if surrounded by a truck and a Cadillac, the subcompact becomes completely obscured, totally hidden from aggressive parking spot hunters like myself. Is it my fault that the spot was too small? I say no. In principle, the designers of the parking lot spaces should be held liable for the damage due to faulty design.

We all know that there are more parking lots than ever before. However, what hasn't changed is the size of the parking spaces. Nope, these rectangular oases on the vast plain of asphault surrounding your favorite store, for the most part, have stayed the same size; their dimensions frozen firmly in place since the first strip malls reared their ugly head.

How many accidents are caused by this blatant disregard for parking lot space design etiquette? I'm sure the department of transportation has no such statistics illustrating this but trust me, it happens more often than you think.

Back to my parkin saga.

After a verbal tirade which included a multitude of four-letter words, I backed out and continued on my search for a spot feeling dejected and frankly stupid. Sure, some of this was my fault. I should have seen the car in the spot. I get that. But one simple fix if implemented could have eliminated my parking lot rage entirely. That is to create parking spots for smaller cars separate from larger cars. Sounds simple, right?

You know there would be an outcry because some people driving certain cars would feel that they would be singled out. Too many people would be offended and eventually it would snowball into a political issue which would ultimately result in an appearance by Jesse Jackson. A simple fix to a parking lot problem would end up being transformed into a metaphor of what's wrong with the country. As quickly as my parking space remedy was suggested, it would be swept under a thick bureaucratic rug never to be heard from again. Which brings me right back to square one: A man on a trip to the grocery store without a place to park.

So, what did I learn from this? Simple. Get a neighbor's handicap sticker that way you get the best parking spots ALL OF THE TIME!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Face of Constipation

Tell me you've never made these faces before when things weren't "flowing easy". Yeah, you better believe I'm going to save these pictures until his high school graduation and his wedding day and bust them out for all of his friends to see!

Monday, May 15, 2006

The Anniversary of Perfection

If your not a baseball fan then you might not know what a "Perfect Game" is. Imagine getting every hitter out--all 27 of them. Since 1876 (the start of organized Major League Baseball), there have been more than 350,000 games played, a perfect game has occured only 17 times (0.04%). Of those 17 occurances, only 10 times in the American League since 1901. One of these occurances was on May 15, 1981 at Cleveland Municiple Stadium in front of 7,200 fans (more an 500,000 claim to be there) when Len Barker pitched one of these perfect games.

Now, an owner of a construction company in suburban Cleveland, he reminisces back 25 years ago about this great achievement that happened on the most imperfect of nights.

Below is a picture of the signed scorebook from that night.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Are you a "HIP" person? 6 Simple Questions

Signs that the younger generation sees you as not cool and totally oblivious to the main stream world around you:

1. When using a video camera, you keep the lense cap attached to the camera via the cord so that it dangles in front as you shoot a family reunion or Christmas party.

Just take the damn thing off the cord. Either that or buy a camera that had a lense cover built in. This will save you countless hours of ridicule by distant relatives who have nothing better to do on a two hour car ride back home.

2. You use the word "cool" and "awesome".

Yes, these descriptive words were super-popular back in the 1970s and 1980s but now in 2006, it's become so intertwinned in the lexicon of most people that everyone from Aunt Gertrude to Grandma Ester drops a "that's pretty cool" blast every once and a while. Here's a tip: If a relative born before 1950 uses "cool" to describe something, its probably a good idea to retire it from your repertoire.

3. You wear white socks that are higher than your ankles.

Don't reinact an episode of Eight is Enough by pretending your big brother David who always sported high white socks with three orange horizontal stripes on top. This is almost as bad a wearing black socks while mowing the lawn. This rule can be waved if doing outdoors work such as spreading mulch or using a chain saw minus the orange stripes.

4. You send forwarded emails.

As mentioned in a previous blog entry, performing this activity only reinforces the fact, whether true or not, that you believe this email thing is brand new technology. The truth: EMAIL has been around since the 1960s. The "@" sign was used in emails in the 1970s. In other words, sending forwarded emails shows your not hip. That's not good.

5. You don't know who Jessica Simpson is.

She's dumb but incredibly popular. (At the very least, she plays a dumb blonde on TV) A correct way to rectify this is to watch Entertainment Tonight. They're sure to have some story on her divorce from her "no talent" husband Nick Lachey. You'll get all of the information you need--and some you won't--on Jessica Simpson or enough to fill a few lines on a short answer test.

6. You wear shorts that show your legs above the knee.

I've made this mistake a few times and was corrected by my collegiate brother. This isn't 1990 anymore, or 1995 for that matter. Seeing your quad (quadricep) below the bottom of your shorts is almost as bad as wearing plaid shorts found at Goodwill.
Shorts must at the very least cover ALL of your leg above your knee. It doesn't have to necessarily cover the knee but it should be long enough so that someone doesn't mistake you for John Stockton--all-time NBA Assists leader. (See Picture Above) Styles have changed so step it up.

Friday, May 05, 2006

A Disturbing Workout

If anyone knows me, they know that I am a big proponent of a healthy lifestyle. I lift weights and do cardio-exercise on a regular basis and eat a good balance of protein, carbohydrates and fats to maximize my energy level. Its a challenge keeping up with the rigors of physical fitness especially now that I am a father with other activities preoccupying my time more than ever. Not that I'm trying to sound like Jack LaLanne, who stays physically active by pulling boats at the young age of 92 but staying in shape is the best thing you can do for yourself. If you are young and one of your food groups is french fries with ranch dressing then your signing your death wish but I digress.

That brings me to this past Monday. I had just finished working out at the community center and was in the process of getting cleaned up in the locker room when all of a sudden, a group of aged men entered the locker room after finishing their "workout". They were all talking about what ailed them. In fact, one guy was commenting how he was pleased that he didn't walk like a duck anymore...whatever that means. But most of the dialogue revolved around retirement, complaints about their "old ladies", their discovery of the internet and how this wasn't around back in the 40s, and on and on and on...

At this point, I felt like a kid at the grown-up table at Christmas dinner greatful that I was there but knew damn well that I didn't fit in. Hell, I was born when these guys were approaching 60!

Then the worst thing that could happen in a locker room full of old men actually happened. As if ordered by some omnipotent force from above, they all disrobed down to NOTHING! No, not down to underwear...down to bare ass!

This is what super-old men should be doing.

You're probably wondering why I looked in the first place. Well, its hard not to when you have six old men with a combined age of 498 walking around the locker room buck-naked taking half steps. Try not looking at a 15 car pileup on the interstate. See, that was my conundrum that fateful day. Believe me. A room of old men with wrinkly, stretched out skin and fat hanging down all over the place was the last image I wanted my eyes to capture and my optic nerve to send to my brain to process.

Oh, the humanity!

This brings me to my "moment de vérité" (moment of truth):

Why are men over the age of 80 working out in the first place?

Honestly, is working out going to change anything at this point? I mean, once you've hit 80, does your doctor all of a sudden tell you "You know, you might want to get on a fitness regimen"? No.

I've never been to my grandmothers' doctor's appointments but I'm fairly certain that the conversations had nothing to do with "pumping iron" or cardiovascular training. Maybe I'm wrong but I don't think this happens.

The operative word in all of this is YOUNG. If your just out of college and you smoke then that isn't good. If your in your 30s and your starting a family and you eat greasy burgers with a few beers 4 times a week, that probably isn't good either. If your in your 40s and 50s (the age when heart attack chances become greater) and your daily exercise consists of flipping through the channels then your not too wise. If your in your 60s and 70s and you do all of the above then your arteries could very well look like my basement plumbing.

In other words, working out when your under the age of 80 is the best thing you can do for yourself. Once you hit 80, what's the point. Yes, I know that you need to stay active at an elderly age but that shouldn't culminate in a trip to the locker room to chat NAKED! Play bingo or hang out at the mall or something. Walk down to the Piercing Pagoda Kiosk or the Orange Julius in the footcourt for exercise. Now I'm scarred for life because six old men decided to dawn their plaid shorts with an "I'm a grandpa" shirt (no doubt bought at Myrtle Beach) topped off with black socks and velcro sneakers to work up a sweat only to strip down and lumber around the locker room letting it all hang out. Why can't some hot chick (or chicks) saunter in with their clothes off?

I can tell you this. When I hit the magical 80--assuming I live that long--I'm taking up smoking, drinking scotch everyday and eating food that has all of that trans-fatty stuff that makes it taste so good. I'm purchasing a recliner and super-big plasma TV (or whatever the high end TV is in the year 2054) and I'm only moving to go to the bathroom assuming that I can still go unassisted. Why? Because what's broke by then ain't going to get much better. Why not have some fun? A friend of mine said he's switching sexual orientations at 85 just for fun. But that's a story for another time.

Today, there are many issues in our society that the president now and future presidents will have to tackle. The high cost of health care, oil prices, the Iraq war just to name a few. However, if I were president, I would make it illegal for men over the age of 80 to be naked in the presense of others. People say television and video games are damaging the minds of our young people. Nope. Catching an unwanted glimpse of a/many naked, flabby old men is definitely at the top of the list!