Monday, January 4, 2010


My brother Napoleon and I went to Home Depot and bought a sturdy, commercial-grade mop bucket on wheels with an attached mop wringer. At home, I swept the floors and then Nappy started mopping. At one point, while working in the kitchen, he kind of mopped himself away from the bucket, and so as I was passing by he said, “Hey, roll that mop bucket over here, will ya?” And I replied, “What, is this a two-man job? In the building where I work, one pregnant Mexican woman does this by herself.”

One day, during the Holidays, brother Nappy and I had some Christmas music playing in the living room. He walked into the bedroom where I was working on the computer and he said to me, “You know what I decided a long time ago?”
“What?” I asked.
“I decided that a man ought never to say ‘Figgy Pudding’.”

I use a dentist-prescribed oral rinse to improve the health of my gums. Part of the instructions on the package reads: “Rinse with one half of the solution for one minute, expectorate (spit) and repeat the procedure with the remaining half of the mixture.” This brings up two questions. #1: Are we as a nation really so dumbed-down now that most adults don’t know the meaning of the word “expectorate”? #2: And if so, then what’s the point of printing both “expectorate” and “(spit)” on the package? Why not just use “spit” and do away with the polysyllabic pretension?

Last night, Nappy and I watched the highly acclaimed Clint Eastwood movie ‘Gran Torino.’ Four thumbs down! The only positive thing I can say about ‘Gran Torino’ is that for once, Clint made a movie and didn’t include his girlfriend, Morgan Freeman. OK, I apologize. Maybe that wasn’t a fair statement. I mean, after all, how do I know that Clint ain’t Morgan’s girlfriend?

I was watching part of the Arizona Cardinals vs. Seattle Seahawks football game on Sunday, November 15th. The Cardinals had the ball and ran a play on 3rd down. (For my readers who don’t understand the game of football, all that really means is that the Cardinals had the ball and ran a play on 3rd down. See? You just gotta memorize the terminology). Anyway, LaRod Stephens-Howling comes up at least – AT LEAST – two (count ‘em – TWO!) yards short of the first down. And the professional television announcer says, “And Stephens-Howling may be short of the first down marker.” I shouted at the TV screen, “He may be? He May be? He MAY be? MAYBE I should have your job!”

I gotta give credit to my friend The Great L.C. for this one, as he pointed it out to me the other day: Every year as playoff time approaches in the National Football League, some of the weaker of the better teams find themselves trying to secure a Wild Card spot in the postseason. Often there are multiple scenarios which determine whether or not a team will advance to the playoffs.

For example, you might have a situation where if Team A wins their final game of the regular season AND Team C manages to beat Team B, then Team A will get that Wild Card spot. In other words, Team A needs a little “help” (from Team C) if it is to continue on into the postseason.

But sometimes a team’s regular season record is good enough that it makes the scenario a bit different. For instance, it may be that if Team A wins its final game of the regular season, it will be irrelevant what Teams B and C do, for Team A is playoff bound regardless of what happens in that other game. In this latter case, professional football announcers frequently refer to Team A as “controlling their own destiny” as far as advancing to the playoffs is concerned. But as The Great L.C. strongly protests: “NO, THEY DON’T!” And he’s right.

As my dictionary explains, “destiny” is “the predetermined, usually inevitable or irresistible, course of events.” The very meaning of the word destiny implies that something is destined to happen; it is beyond anyone’s “CONTROL.” You cannot control your own destiny. I don’t know where these football announcers acquired their education, but to quote Walter, my favorite puppet, they’re “Dumb-Asses!”

IF YOU BUILD IT [A Better Mouse Trap],
Late last year Nappy and I joined NetFlix and I gotta tell ya, I am really pleased with the company so far. They have devised an astoundingly efficient system. I watched the movie ‘The Bad News Bears’ and then dropped it into the nearest mail box on a Thursday at 12:45 PM. Pickup at that box is at 1:30 PM. By 8:30 AM on Friday, the very next morning, there was an Email in my Inbox saying that NetFlix had received ‘The Bad News Bears’ and was sending out my next movie request. I don’t know how they do it, but their delivery system is superfast and efficient, and so I say we kick out the Federal government and put NetFlix in charge of the U.S. Postal Service.

On November 6th, I went into a Safeway Grocery store to pick up a few items. As I was checking out, the clerk pointed out to me that Blue Oyster Cult’s song ‘Godzilla’ was playing over the store’s sound system. [“Go!-Go!-Godzilla!”] I found this a bit disturbing. I mean, the rebellious Rock music I used to listen to in my teenage years, which my parents were constantly hollering at me to turn the volume down on, I find I am now grocery shopping to. Blue Oyster Cult? Music to shop by? I mentioned this to the clerk and he replied, “Well, let’s face it, all music is heading for the elevator.” I laughed and said, “You’re probably right, but the day I hear ‘Godzilla’ in an elevator is the day I off myself. That will be a sign that I have grown way too old.”

Evidently the employees of Safeway grocery stores are forced to follow a dumb executive decision. These dimwits sit in their plush offices on Corporation Row and hand down ridiculous, unrealistic policies to the worker bees without ever really thinking the policies through. I’ve noticed that all of the clerks running the registers at Safeway ask every single customer “Would you like help out with that?” It doesn’t matter who the customer is or how many bags of groceries he or she has purchased, the question is always asked: “Would you like help out with that?” Well, I find that a little offensive.

It’s probably based on “politically correct” thinking: We mustn’t appear to be making any judgments about a person’s physical capabilities, so we will ask EVERY PERSON EVERY TIME if they want help.

Granted, I’m now 50 years old, but I am not in too bad of shape for a dude who has been knocked around by life for half a century. I am not overweight and I actually have biceps at least as large as Serena Williams’ (and that’s without the chemical enhancement or any weightlifting). So, I don’t care for it when I buy a single bag of groceries and some clerk asks me if I would like help out with it.

One time I actually caught the bloke by surprise when I said, “Yes.” Then I pointed to some young woman working at the Customer Service counter and added, “And I want HER to help me out.” The clerk replied that it was up to her to decide. I didn’t push the issue further, but I’m thinking a letter of complaint to the dimwits at Safeway’s headquarters on Corporation Row will soon be added to my “To Do” List. “Dumb-Asses!”

Having breakfast together at IHOP one day, Nappy and I found our conversation turning to politics. (Well, there’s a first time for everything, eh?) Nappy made the comment that if the devil himself ever ran for president of the United States, all of the Democrats would vote for him just to show how open-minded they are. He’s probably right. And to that I will add: In a country where the people get to elect their leaders, the people ALWAYS get what they’ve asked for and deserve to receive. It’s a new year but the same old traitors are still in the White House and in the Congress. And I can state with ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY that America will continue Her slide into totalitarian socialism in 2010. After all, that’s what the people voted for. Ask and you shall receive.

One day in early November, I got to thinking about Ariel O. O’Airedale, my bossy, inflatable, dog of a girlfriend! And then those lyrics from the song 'Breakfast In America' began playing in my mind: "Take a look at my girlfriend; She's the only one I got; Not much of a girlfriend; Never seem to get a lot." But then I realized that's not entirely true and I wasn't being fair. The fact is, Ariel makes me lightheaded . . . everytime I blow her up. You know, not every woman gets “Made In China” . . . but mine was.

Far be it from me to stir up some racial controversy or anything like that. Race is usually the furthest thing from my mind. Well, that’s not entirely true. 9 x 16 is the furthest thing from my mind. But thoughts of race rarely enter into my thinking. However... (you knew a “but” or a “however” was comin’, didn’t ya?), occasionally something occurs that is race related and I think about it. A while back, I was in a Walgreens drug store buying some shaving soap and I found myself in line at the register behind a Black guy who was wearing a Peyton Manning football jersey. Now that got my attention because it brought to my mind how rare it is to find a Black man wearing the sports jersey of a White athlete. It is not at all uncommon to see White guys wearing the jerseys of Black athletes, but the reverse is quite unusual. So, I got to wondering, why is this? There are lots of very talented White athletes in the world of professional sports. So, why do they have so few jersey-wearing Black fans?

Nappy and I drove up to Prescott for the weekend on November 29th. Well, we had intended to stay in Flagstaff, but when we got up there and found it looking like this...

...with all that cold, wet, white “stuffs” on the ground, we stopped at Granny’s Closet for one beer and then turned around like Southern California born and raised wimps and drove back to Prescott, where the sun was shining and the ground was dry. Well, as I related on my other Blog, we may have had one too many “adult beverages” in Prescott. (Alright! Alright! We DEFINITELY had one – or two – too many. So, sue me.)

Just before we left Phoenix, I went to pack my overnight bag and I grabbed the first T-shirt out of my chest of drawers. It happened to be my Mel’s Diner ‘American Graffiti’ shirt. I immediately hustled into Nappy’s room, held up the T-shirt for him to see and said, “You’re not bringing YOUR Mel’s Diner T-shirt, are you?” The last thing I wanted was a repeat of that most unfortunate Payson episode!

Before the serious drinking had started in downtown Prescott, Nappy dragged me into an antique (read: “junk”) shop where he poked around for awhile. He decided to buy this beat up old red bicycle that the shop owner had gotten at a police impounded property auction. He paid the woman and asked her to leave the bike leaning up against her fence in the side alley for us to pick up later that night after the drinking was done.

So, later that night after the drinking was done (well, almost done), we went back for the bicycle and began walking it to our motel from the downtown area.
I said to Nappy, “Why’d you buy this old bike anyway?”
He answered, “Three dollars.”
“This thing’s a mess. Now you’re going to have to get a new chain for it and a new seat.”
And Nappy said, “Three dollars.”
“You know, you could have just ridden Pa’s old bicycle; it’s in a lot better shape than this thing is."
And Nappy yelled, “THREE DOLLARS!”

As he was walking the bicycle along, my Brother became concerned. He had noticed that the main bar across the bike was very low. “Hey, do you think this is a girl’s bike?” he asked me.
“I don’t know.”
“Doesn’t that bar look too low?”
“Hmmm…” I said. “I don’t know. Maybe.”
“I think this is probably a girl’s bike.”
“Well, if it is, so what? I mean, who cares? What’s the difference between a girl’s bike and a boy’s bike besides where the bar is located? If I liked the bike, I’d ride it anyway.”
“Oh, you would?” Nappy said. “Well, you know what? I won’t.”

Then Nappy noticed something painted in white across the bicycle’s frame. He walked the bike under a street light but still couldn’t read what was painted there. “I can’t make this out in the dark. Can you read what that says?” he asked me.
I immediately recognized it as a police impound number but I told Nappy, “It says ‘Amelia’s Bike’.”

I realize that it may seem to some of you that Nappy and I drink an awful lot of alcohol, but the truth is, I kind of exaggerate things a bit. You know, it’s all part of my shtick. In actuality, we don’t drink to an excessive degree. In fact, the only times we do imbibe “adult beverages” are when we go out of town or stay home. Otherwise, we’re as sober as two old church ladies.

Back when I was a California boy, I loved Disneyland. I had an Annual Pass and used it often. My favorite ride was the Storybook Land Canal Boats - only a “D” Ticket ride back in the “old school” Disneyland days. What always surprised me back then was how my other two favorite attractions were actually free of charge; no ticket required. One was the ‘America The Beautiful’ movie (later, ‘American Journeys’) in “Circle-Vision 360”, and the other was ‘America Sings.’ America Sings was similar to the Country Bear Jamboree, only a thousand times better and totally free, whereas the Bear crap was (if I remember correctly) an “E” Ticket. After many years, Disney closed ‘America Sings’ but reused a number of its “animatrons” in the ‘Splash Mountain’ ride. Well, my dear ol’ friend The Countess, who sent me the entire ‘America Sings’ soundtrack on compact disc back in 1998 (I still play it frequently) recently sent me a link to a YouTube video of the entire ‘America Sings’ production. What a joyful surprise to see it again after so many years. This, people, is GREAT “STUFFS” and not to be missed. Sit back and enjoy the fine music and the gentle humor. My favorite segments? The big Gospel number with the small toads singing bass, and ‘Shake, Rattle And Roll’ with another toad – a larger one - again singing the bass part... “OH BAABEEE!” Dig it! ‘America Sings’ – still free of charge.
Link: ‘America Sings’ at YouTube

~ Stephen T. McCarthy

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  1. I too have been impressed by Netflix. However, I am convinced that Netflix already does run the postal service. At least Netflix is now one of the main reasons USPS can continue to exist and they certainly must get special treatment.

    That was certainly one conglomerated post that you expectorated out at us.


  2. Uhm... what does that mean, "expectorated"? And is a "conglomerated post" a good thing or a bad thing?

    ~ Stephen
    <"As a dog returns to his own vomit,
    so a fool repeats his folly."
    ~ Proverbs 26:11>

  3. It's a good thing I'd say. I "toss it out" and you "spit it out" -- one's as good as another I guess. And I like conglomerations. It's like Forrest Gump's box of chocolates, except it doesn't matter which one you're gonna get because I just eat the whole damn box and wash it down with a couple bottles of YooHoo and if I'm in the right frame of mind and stomach I don't get sick at all. Of course if I'm not in the right frame then it could very well be Proverbs 26:11, but I hope not.

    If that makes sense then you must be in the right frame of mind.


  4. me's a wonder. Why disney got rid of those attractions. Oh ya, it was more important to join ABC and buy into the porn industry. The wife and I took Parker to Disney in December. You can still see many of the good traits there. However, it is starting to sag under its own power. Instead of creating new refreshing concepts Disney buys the ideas of others. They then of course subsequently destroy them. Just my opinion. My wife loves the place. I just see dilapidated entity with a face lift, and more plastic surgery coming. Too bad they never go after the cancer thats eating them from the inside out.

  5. >>[If that makes sense then you must be in the right frame of mind.]<<

    Actually, rLEE-b, it does make sense, but I've been out of my mind for years. Stepped out for a cigarette one day never went back.

    ~ "Lonesome Dogg" McMe

  6. I hear ya, BR'ER.
    It would probably greatly surprise most people to learn that Disney is the #1 distributor of porn in the U.S.A. I've been in full Disney boycott mode for many years. I read the 1998 book 'Disney: The Mouse Betrayed' and that cured my case of Disneyitis.

    ~ "Lonesome Dogg" You-Know-Who

  7. I have lots to say on this post but then I was distracted by what looks like you drinking a bottle of Irn Bru in the picture with the Statue of Liberty; please tell me it's Irn Bru, that would make me happy.

    Stopped by from Judy's place. ;O)


  8. Howdy, HELEN, and welcome to my not so humble Blog!

    "McGinn", eh? Another Irisher. No wonder you got "distracted" by the "bottle." Ha!

    OK, all kidding aside now, here's my all-time favorite quote about the Irish:

    "Irishmen have a keen sense of tragedy to sustain them in times of joy."
    ~ Anonymous

    Yes, Helen, it was a bottle of Irn Bru.

    OK, are you ready for the very disappointing truth now? Can you handle it?

    Not only was it not a bottle of Irn Bru, but I don't think I've ever even heard of Irn Bru (but if you send me a bottle of it, I promise to drink it and write a review of it).

    Sadly, it was a bottle of Jack Daniel's Tennessee whiskey. But I beg your forgiveness. Please understand that the photo was taken in 1983, and I was young and stupid then. (Now I'm just stupid.) If I had that photo to shoot all over again now in 2010, it would definitely be a bottle of Grand Marnier instead (for reasons soon to be disclosed on my other Blog, "Stephen T. McCarthy STUFFS."

    But with a name like "Irn Bru" - whatever that stuffs is - it sounds like it's out of my wallet's league.

    ~ "Lonesome Dogg" McME


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