Thursday, May 31, 2012


The self-important Mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, has made it his personal crusade to impose upon all people who live in, work in, or visit his fair city what amounts to his own food code.

Mr. Mayor has decided that since folks are not smart enough to stop overindulging in the consumption of sugary drinks, he will do something about it. He has proposed an amendment to the city's health code banning the sale of all sugary soft drinks over 16 ounces at restaurants and other food service outfits.

As a result of his proposal, everyone in NYC will become as thin as a waif, preferably drinking only diet sodas or water.

Except, of course, the ban does not apply to convenience stores, grocery stores, and drug stores because they sell mostly bottles and cans of the sweet, syrupy drinks the mayor does not want anyone to have. The proposed statute also does not limit the number of 16-oz. drinks a person can purchase at one time, in a day, a week, or a year (yet).

And the mayor also does not see anything ironic about his drink ban proposal (for health reasons) coming two days before he helps officially celebrate National Donut Day.

Entenmann's bakers will unveil a 1-foot diameter donut in NYC along with a Proclamation Letter signed by the good mayor himself.

Ahh...politicians; they rarely let their right hand know what their left hand is doing.

Monday, May 21, 2012

A hollow echo of things past

One of the things you learn as the years creep forward is how much you rely on things, things the way they are. You are used to the chair in the corner, the rug beneath the table and the sofa against that particular wall. On occasion these things are changed around a bit but the feeling quickly settles back into a familiar pattern. All of these things constitute a home. But the home is more than just the stuff inside no matter where it is located.

A home is a sense of place and a feeling one gets when it is entered. You can step into another's house and almost immediately know if it's a home, a home of caring and love or a house of tolerance. My Beloved is currently away on a girls trip. As is usually the case when that happens I find myself falling back into patterns of twenty years ago when I was a bachelor. I stay at work a little longer, I eat at the kitchen sink (guys do that but I don't think women do), and generally fill my time with busy-work. I think back on those times when she is away and I reminded how things were back then. I was content but I wouldn't call my life happy. I had a close circle of friends (and still do) and a strong family bond to fall back on. But as I rumble around my house tonight, twenty-plus years removed from being single I can still remember the feelings of a life long-ago, a room with muted silence, a hollow echo and the way my life felt back then.

My Beloved makes my house a home.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Floppin' around the clock tonight

Years ago as a young boy, my brothers and I were nearly always involved in some sort of sport around the neighborhood. Back in those days there weren't too many opportunities to join organized sports if it wasn't through the school. Most games were pickup with the other boys of the neighborhood. Many times they involved contests against those who were older than I. At some point, you pay a price for that.

In those games, mostly football and basketball, I got whipped pretty good some times but often I gave as good as I got. That is how one learns to strive and survive. That is where a young boy learns how to be tough when he needs to be. That is where one learns effort and how not to back down. You learn to stand your ground.

That notion brings me to the topic at hand. What's with all this flippin' floppin' in sports these days? Someone with the ball goes by and the defender falls down like a leaf in a gentle breeze flailing around like he was just shot with a howitzer. In soccer, the only thing you don't see at this time is an ambulance careening onto the field to scrape the chap up.

Unfortunately, this Euro flippin' has made its way into American sports, specifically basketball. You can't watch a game without a defender in the lane falling backwards before the offensive player even steps onto the court. Some claim its to try to gain an advantage. I think theater is no way to cover up for poor skills.

It's time to get back to standing ones ground; surrender and weakness is not an option.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Come on get happy

This is a post my esteemed brother Graybeard may or may not take offense to as he is employed in the wonderful world of the postal carrier's fantasy ensemble. Now, the post office is much maligned (often by me) but they get their fair share of good publicity as well. Nearly every year there is a story about a good Samaritan that helps someone truly in need. Unfortunately, those stories are too often overshadowed by the bad stories leaking out of postal abuse and misuse and general ineptitude, some deserving and some not.

A week or so ago I made a trip to the office near my work. As usual I was saddled with a long line and one person taking care of them with two "registers" closed and no one else around. This person had the look of death upon their face and one could tell they wished to be anywhere but where they were. Being in retail and customer service my entire adult life I can more than understand their feelings.

That being said, I think that is one of the biggest problems that is facing the post office in this country. No one wants to go there and a big reason is the lack of service in this service industry. Rarely do I find a smile or any other turn of the facial muscles from this group. I understand your job may at times be boring but if you actually put some effort into doing your tasks and interacting positively with your customers it might, just might make your job more tolerable. Over the years I think I could likely count on one hand the postal clerks that I would want to stand in front of to mail a letter.

If the postal service really wanted to begin to turn their image around in the public eye, perhaps they should place employees in their stations that enjoy working with people instead of someone who has the interactive capacity of a cardboard box. The paying public may then not dread using your service.

Just a thought......

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Pomp and Circumstance

After a week-plus of literally sitting on my duff on a beach in Florida, doing little else but reading and staying in the shade as much as possible, then sitting in an airport for several hours prior to a 2-hour flight home last night, I hopped in my car this morning and drove several more hours to almost-Cleveland (my term for all of their 'burbs), to sit on that same duff for 2 1/2 hours on an aluminum football stadium seat to watch my niece/godchild graduate (magna cum laude!) from a well-respected college, and then drove those several hours back home, where I am sitting on my duff (again!), at the computer. Man, is my duff tired!

After reviewing the above, I do not believe any of my teachers would have appreciated what must be the longest sentence I have written to this point in my life.

Be that as it may, this little posting is entitled "Pomp and Circumstance" for a reason.

Graduations everywhere are undoubtedly similar, wherein students don cap and gown, march into the facility. listen to one or more usually overlong and boring speakers, receive their diplomas, hear the alma mater, and march out a newly-minted graduate. At some point during all this pomp and circumstance, one hears the strains of Sir Edward Elgar's "Pomp and Circumstance" being played by a small part of a school band or orchestra. It is one of the more memorable parts of a graduation ceremony, and tends to bring tears to the eyes of many in attendance as they recall a graduation or two of their own.

Each school has their traditions, which play a part in making the commencements unique to that institution. Many of those traditions were on display today during the ceremony, but alas, during all this pomp and circumstance (of which there was much), there was no "Pomp and Circumstance".

No trace of Elgar's wonderful composition was to be heard.

I am beginning to think my niece did not have a proper graduation after all.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Rite of Passage

Last night several of my family members and I attended my nephew's last sporting event. He is a high school senior and it was senior night. You could see the emotion on his face although he tried very hard not to let it show. He is a co-captain and the seniors played the final volleyball game at home all by themselves. (They won as they usually do).

I think back to that time in my life many years ago. I remember my last baseball game. For me it was a sad affair as I had an injured shoulder and wasn't able to participate. Like in the movies, you remember the smell of the infield, the grass and the chalk on your hands. I was a pitcher and infielder. I always was covered with dirt and chalk.

My nephew has been accepted to a large university. He has a bright future ahead of him. I see in him all the confidence that I showed as I looked forward to a new part of my life. I also see the trepidation in his eyes of facing something so completely new and unfamiliar. It will not be a struggle for him if he follows the paths his parents have laid out for him. He will have his ups and downs as did I, a new struggle to find ones self in a world that will seem much larger than he ever imagined.

It's a big world out there that has previously been seen though puppy-dog eyes and the security of a solid family and parents. We all faced it and at some time in the future I'm sure he will look back on this time with the slight wisp of a smile from him we have come to know.

Good Luck, my young friend. Your journey awaits.