Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Happy Love Card Day!

One of my readers e-mailed me recently, to ask a question concerning my availability on September 30th. I replied, "Are you insane? That's Love Card Day! Of course I'm not available, you dope!"

Heck of a way to talk to one's mother (especially since she reads this stuff and still actually admits to folks that I'm her son) but I don't plan anything for Love Card Day. Well, except for the obligatory exchange of love cards, of course.

[blank stare]

Why are you looking at me like that? You don't mean to tell me you've never heard of Love Card Day! What planet are you from? Earth? Where's that? And, while we're at it, who stole my underwear?

[even blanker stare, if that were possible]

OK, enough "funny" introductory material. Here's the scoop on Love Card Day.

MY WIFE and I met, had a couple of dates, fell in love, and decided to get married.

(That's the abridged version. More details are available here.)

Anyway, as we progressed through the courtship stage (as it's known to ornitholigists) we found out a very interesting fact concerning our fathers. Her father and my father were both born on the same day, in the same year.

I don't know what the odds are against that happening - two people meeting and finding out their fathers were born on the exact same day - but I suspect it's rather high. Higher still if you limit it to people who end up marrying each other. On top of that, our fathers were both raised in the same Boston neighborhood, Forest Hills, just a few blocks from each other. Anyway, they were both born on September 30th, 1931.

(As an aside, as MY WIFE and I got to know each other better, we found out that our paths had crossed many times before we met. It was spooky finding out how many times we might have gotten to know each other before we actually did. However, we both feel that we didn't actually meet at those times because we wouldn't have liked each other then. We both grew to be people we could stand and then we met. For instance, I used to do lots and lots of drugs, while MY WIFE has never done an illegal drug in her life. I was a long-haired metal-playing freak, while she was a strait-laced church-going choir member. When we met, I was balding and sober. MY WIFE was... well, pretty much as she had been. OK, I had become someone MY WIFE could stand. However, I digress.)

So, the thing is, we celebrated both of our fathers' birthdays on the same day, which was September 30th.

I'll cut to the chase. In 1994, my father died. In 1995, MY WIFE's father died. This made September 30th a somewhat sad day on the calendar. However, instead of dwelling on the deaths, MY WIFE had the idea that it would be nice to turn it into a day of celebration. I agreed. In honor of our fathers, we remade their shared birthday into Love Card Day.

Now, none of the stuff we do on Love Card Day sounds like a great way of memorializing someone. However, if you knew our fathers, you'd know that they both liked a good joke and they both really liked to eat. Those were probably their most outstanding traits. So, here's what we do, in honor of our fathers, on Love Card Day.

First, we each buy a greeting card for the other person. This is the "Love Card". We designate a particular brand of greeting card, and we both shop for that brand, independent of the other person. The only qualifier, other than the brand, is that it must be a "Love" card - one that expresses that sentiment. It doesn't have to be humorous, but usually will end up being so. On the initial Love Card Day, it was a Hallmark Shoebox card because we had coupons for free ones.

(On that first Love Card Day, when we exchanged cards, we found that we had both bought the same card. We had shopped at different times, in different stores, but out of the couple hundred or so choices available, we got the same card for each other. We have failed to replicate this extraordinary coincidence since then, but we took it as a sign that we were on the right track when it happened.)

Next, since our fathers both loved to eat, we have dinner.

That's it.

It may not sound like anything earth-shattering, but it turns what could be a very melancholy day into a day that we, instead, look forward to sharing with each other. Nothing wrong with that. It's our own personal holiday.

So, dear reader, make a note: I am never available on September 30th. It's Love Card Day, you dope!

Monday, September 29, 2008

What Do Your Hands Think You Look Like?

One of the folks featured on my sidebar, Ex-Shammickite, did a post concerning a photo she shot. The photo was of a group of self-portraits done by kids. Rather charming, and it gave me an idea for this space.

I will need your participation for this.

If you didn't run away, here's what I'd like you to do. Draw a self-portrait of yourself, then send it to me.

(Note: Unlike previous requests I made of you, I am not asking you to be naked. If you're willing to include that aspect, fine, but that's not what I'm looking for at the moment.)

Just draw your face, if you wish. Or you can try for the whole body. Whatever makes you comfortable. Then send it to me, as a .jpg or .gif or some other form of file that is e-mail possible. When I receive a decent amount of them, I'll publish them here.

I guarantee that I will make no facetious comments concerning your artistic abilities, nor will I denigrate your looks in any way. Be as serious or as frivolous as you wish.

In order to make this entirely fair to you, I will attempt to draw me. When you see how bad my artwork is, you'll rest easy concerning your own. I'll ask MY WIFE to draw herself, too, but she may or may not comply with the request. We'll see. It would be swell if she did. She's actually a decent artist. Well, she's decent compared to me, that's for sure.

Anyway, make a drawing and send it to:


In order to make this worth your while (aside from the inestimable thrill you'll receive from having your artwork appear in such an august place as my blog, which is actually a September place by now) I'll have some sort of prizes for everybody who submits a drawing, and extra-special stuff for those drawings I deem extra-special stuff worthy.

Let's set the deadline for the end of this week, Friday the 3rd. I'll publish everything I receive on Monday the 6th.

I think this will be fun. I hope you think so, too.

Soon, with your better stuff.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Awards For You!

You people are superb. I ask for a bit of help, and you give me tons of it. Magnificent! To show my appreciation, I'm going to give you all an award you can display on your blog.

But, first...

I printed out all of your very helpful comments and brought them home to show to MY WIFE. As is her wont, she had a few observations to make. Here they are.

(As is my wont, I feel the need to explain something before we begin. She read, and appreciated, every one of the comments. She only made observations of her own on a few of them, though, so if your comment isn't here, it's not because she didn't read it and love it. Rest assured, she did. And any sarcasm that comes dripping through is probably due to her being married to me for 16+ years.)

Rich said: Here's what I like to do on staycations.

1. Go down to the nearest bakery and smell the bread baking.
2. Stop by the local fire station and watch the guys wash the trucks
3. Hang out at the barber shop and watch the old guys get haircuts.

MY WIFE said: You sound like Beaver Cleaver. Please remember, HIS WIFE is a girl!

Rooster said: Go apple picking in Concord...

MY WIFE said: Pick my own apples? I don't even like to go into the kitchen. Anyway, why pick them? Won't they just fall off eventually?

Suldog (in discussing the Duck Boat tours) said: (we now know that) much of what some of the drivers have to say is bullshit.

MY WIFE gave more helpful examples than I did, to wit: There was a driver who said that the Kennedys lived in Louisburg Square. They don't, and never have. Also, that our dear friend, Peggy, who lives on Beacon Hill and happened to be walking by as they passed, "... may be one of the servants." MY WIFE also added that tour buses are now banned from Beacon Hill proper and must go around - quack, quack.

Sandra Ree said: Why don't you rent a hotel or motel in your area, meet up at different times, pretending you're meeting each for the very first time and have a wicked wild affair?

MY WIFE replies: I was raised not to talk to strangers. That's why I was 35 when Suldog's Mom introduced us. And they don't come any stranger than him.

Cousin David said: ... head over to Patriots Place

MY WIFE said: David! Great idea, but... Shhhhhh! Don't let him know it's a mall!

Crazy Cath said: My immediate thought was, if I were coming to stay with you for a while, where would you take me?

MY WIFE says: We don't like visitors. Our blinds are always drawn and we play freeze tag if we even hear the mailman approaching.

(That's not entirely true. Yes, the blinds are usually drawn. Yes, we prefer that our visitors call ahead to let us know they're coming. And we usually don't answer the phone, letting the machine get it first, so...

Well, OK, I guess it is true. But that doesn't mean we don't love you!)

Stu suggested: ... The Brattle Book Shop.

MY WIFE sadly informs us: As with Filene's, also fairly much gone. Open by appointment only.

Balcony Gal said: You should consider jumping the train to Worcester and checking out the Higgins Armory. I know a couple of cute kids who could show you around there for free and make it worth your while.

MY WIFE retorted: Armory? But war is not healthy for children and other living things! Oh, nevermind, Balcony Gal. You're probably too young to remember that protest slogan, drat you. But you do have the cutest and brightest Balcony Princesses in the entire world!

Shammickite talked about: ...a place on the wharf in Boston, where we could take our own booze to consume with our freshly cooked fish and chips...

MY WIFE remembered: That's The No-Name. That's really its name. It has no name, so they call it the No-Name. Since it has no name, there is no sign saying "The No-Name". It truly has no name.

(We like it. Many don't. Here are some reviews.)

WomanInAWindow said: (a lot of interesting stuff, mostly self-deprecating concerning her age, to which I replied in kind.)

MY WIFE said: Are you really in a window? I like looking in people's windows!

Melinda said: 1. Cook your favourite dinner. Since you're home, you won't care how long it takes.
2. Listen to your favourite albums while reading up on the history of The Black Donnellys (I've been to their town and know the story well. Very cool piece of Canadian history)
4. Hang out in your pjs watching a marathon of your favourite TV show.

MY WIFE said: I repeat - I don't even like to know I have a kitchen. We don't share any favorite albums. And, as for #4, that's every Saturday for Suldog.

(She's right on all counts. I enjoy cooking, she doesn't, so I'm the chef around our place. Our tastes in music intersect very rarely - Mine = Deep Purple, etc. Hers = Perry Como, etc. And, insofar as lounging in PJs is concerned, yes, I do it most Saturdays, except I don't own PJs, so it's my undies.)

Jeni said: Just thinking it would be a hoot to see Boston with you as a tour guide.

MY WIFE threatens: One of our favorite things is to blindfold people, take them somewhere, and then see if they can find their way back.

(This is somewhat true. I once did that with her. It wasn't kidnapping or anything; she agreed that it would be a fun experiment. So, I tied an afghan around her head, put her in the passenger seat of our car, and drove her to a section of Newton she wasn't familiar with at all. I then took off the blindfold, kicked her out of the car, and drove away. She made it home safely.

She would gladly do the same for me - or even YOU! - but she doesn't drive, and she thinks there's probably a good chance she'd be arrested if she took you on the T blindfolded, so it probably won't happen should you visit. However, if you really want to try it, I'm sure arrangements could be made.)

Thimbelle said: Stay home. Slow down.

MY WIFE observed: If we were any slower, we'd have been declared dead years ago.

Stu (in a return appearance) opined: Here's another idea: You and The Wife sit down and come up with a list of things that you aren't allowed to do, then pick the most fun items and do them during your staycation. Being openly rebellious is very therapeutic.

MY WIFE asserted: You don't know me very well. I won't even J walk.

(True. I spent many hours, total, waiting across streets for MY WIFE while we were courting. I'd see no traffic coming, cross the street, and get to the other side only to discover that MY (future) WIFE was still waiting for the "WALK" signal to come on.)

MLH revealed: ...I've never taken a straycation before...

MY WIFE, jumping on the typo, said: Does that mean we could have affairs?

Finally, Chris Stone suggested: The walking architecture tours in Boston... done by architecture students.

To which, MY WIFE quoted Suldog's Advice (a sensible subset to Murphy's Law):
Never stand when you can sit.
Never sit when you can recline.
Never run when you can walk.
Never walk when you can ride.
In all instances, avoid heavy lifting.
And, if someone else is pulling your wagon, there's no sense in you getting out to push.

This is a rare shot. It is the last moment we were both serious at the same time.

I've been given quite a few awards. Not a single one of them was deserved, of course. Well... maybe the one that says I talk a lot in other people's comments sections. That one was fairly much spot on. But, see, here's the thing: I know - vaguely - who gave me awards, but I mostly can't remember which one you might have given me. If I start naming names, and assigning specific awards, I might end up giving one back to the very kind soul who handed it to me in the first place. What good would that do?

So, I have made up an award. Here it is.

You can have that one, if you wish, or you can have the following one:

If either of these strikes your fancy (and we all know how painful th... ah, skip it) feel free to copy the artwork and post it on your blog. You can say I gave it to you, although that will diminish it's value immediately.

We're on the honor system here. Pretend it's Halloween and you're a kid again. Your tremendously nice next door neighbor has gone out for the evening, but has been swell enough to leave a bowl full of candy bars by his door. There is a sign over the bowl saying, "Happy Halloween! Take ONE, Please!" Act accordingly.

OK, I know. If you're like most of the kids in my neighborhood, you'll pick up the bowl and empty the entire thing into your bag. And maybe write an obscenity on the sign, too. Then, as you're running away, you find out your neighbor didn't actually go out for the evening, but just didn't feel like answering his door, so he's home and he saw you steal all the candy. You little bastid! What's the matter with ya? Don't yer mutha feed ya? Git off'n my lawn! I know where ya live, ya little shit! Don't think I don't know it's you behind that Bugs Bunny mask, Johnny O'Toole!

Anyway, take ONE. And thanks again for all the help.

Soon, with more better stuff.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Staycation, And You Can Help!

I'm scheduled to take a vacation from October 10th to the 19th. Usually, during this lovely time of the year when crisp air and fall colors abound in New England, MY WIFE and I travel north a bit, to New Hampshire and Maine. There is nothing quite so beautiful as the mountains during the week that includes Columbus Day.

This year, however, we have decided to do a "staycation". For those of you unfamiliar with the term, this means that we will not travel so far from home as to require hotel or motel stays. This is partly due to rising fuel costs, but more so because we just plain don't feel like driving a lot and making reservations and packing and all of the other stuff that has to be done when leaving the state.

What we will do, instead, is take day trips around our own home region, seeing the sights that tourists usually come here to see, as well as experience...

Well, see, there's the kicker. We have both come up with short lists of things we might like to do - most involve eating - but we are open to suggestions. And that's where you come in, my friend.

If you are from the Massachusetts area, what interesting offbeat activities might you suggest for us? Or, conversely, what mundane everyday tourist trappings might we be missing, which you find to be especially fun?

If you are from somewhere outside of Massachusetts, but have vacationed here at some point, what did you especially enjoy? If you were to come back, what would be on your list of things to do again?

Everybody - from MA or not; from the US or not; from other planets, even - what are some of your favorite things to do with a day off? Don't be afraid to list something that you think everybody would already know to do. Sometimes, the best suggestions are those which you might assume to already be widely known.

Seriously, give us some ideas.

MY WIFE and I thank you in advance for your input.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Am I Insane? Or Is It The World?

I've always thought that a really good test of whether or not you're insane is if you've ever asked yourself if you're insane. The truly cracked among us - those who desperately need a rubber room - never even consider if their thoughts are off-center. If you've stopped to wonder whether you're a candidate for the cracker factory, you probably aren't. Or, at least, your problems might be handled with a bit of medication.

(There are exceptions, of course. If you just saw a twenty-foot-tall mackerel walking down the street singing "Free Bird", then you are crazy. Everybody knows mackerel don't have feet.)

Be that as it may - or, if you got here a little late, then June - I'd like you to read the following. I did, and it got me to wondering - once again - whether I'm out of my mind. I had a reaction to it. If you folks mostly have the opposite reaction, then I may need to consider whether or not I'm the loony here.

From Daily Breeze (yes, it's a legit news source):

LOS ANGELES - A sexual and age harassment complaint filed against Larry Flynt by an employee who claims her work was disrupted by hearing the Hustler publisher having sex with prostitutes in his office must be decided in binding arbitration.

A three-justice panel of the 2nd District Court of Appeal Thursday reversed rulings in November 2006 and January 2007 by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Judith C. Chirlin that Cheryl Oldham's lawsuit could go forward.

Chirlin found that Oldham was not bound by an arbitration agreement in her employee handbook because it was unfairly weighted toward Flynt.

Oldham began working for Flynt in 1999. Her lawsuit states that she had a prestigious job supporting high-ranking Flynt corporate executives.

"The acknowledgment (Oldham) signed after receiving the 1999 employee handbook made it clear that waiver of arbitration required the consent of (Oldham) and (Flynt)," Justice Frank Y. Jackson wrote in authoring the 10- page, unanimous decision.

In her lawsuit, Oldham alleges she was retaliated against for helping another female employee in a similar claim against Flynt. Oldham maintains that when Flynt found out she was helping the other employee, he called her into his office and asked her to testify that he did not harass anyone and that she never heard sex noises from his office, but she refused.

Later, Oldham was summoned into another meeting with Flynt, where she alleges she was
told, "you're overweight, unattractive, over 50 and probably unable to find another job. So, why would you do this to me?"

According to her lawsuit, Flynt was called to testify at an arbitration hearing in the other woman's case, where he allegedly said, "I can't stand the sight of Cher (Oldham), and I wanted to fire her. But I was advised I couldn't fire her."

Oldham's decision to help the other woman caused her to be demoted to the position of receptionist at his video company to perform menial tasks, such as labeling Federal Express envelopes, according to her court papers.

Shortly after Oldham was hired, Flynt's assistant at the time told her that their boss often had prostitutes in his office and that his wife worked in the same building, the lawsuit states.

Oldham claims the assistant told her that if Flynt's wife ever attempted to get into her husband's office while he was with a prostitute, she should "divert and distract Mrs. Flynt at all costs until Flynt could get the prostitutes out of the building."

The prostitutes "made loud, obnoxious and repeated noises of sexual gratification that disrupted the office and (Oldham's) ability to perform the essential functions of her job," her lawsuit alleges.

When Oldham took her complaints to Flynt's human resources department, the director told her, "I don't want to know anything. I don't want to hear it. I know nothing," according to the lawsuit.

When Flynt's assistant was on vacation, Oldham had to handle all of his telephone calls and appointments, including the scheduling of appointments with prostitutes, the suit alleges.

Oldham's experiences working for Flynt left her "sick, sore, lame and disabled," according to her lawsuit.

(OK. Careful with the link coming up. It may not be safe for work.)

This just boggles the mind. How...? I mean, really. You go to work for Hustler and truly, honestly expect to never encounter some form of sexual harassment? The whole magazine (hell, everything Flynt does) is based upon the concept of there being no such thing as sexual harassment.

(Or taste, for that matter. However, I digress.)

No secret. I'm about as big a proponent as there is on this planet concerning Flynt's right to be tasteless. Insofar as his battling censorship is concerned, I'm a huge fan.

I have purchased more than one issue of Hustler in my day. I've found something truly offensive in every single issue that I purchased, too. Not the naked women, by the way. I've never found anything whatsoever offensive about naked women. The disgusting cartoons, the obscenity-laced editorials, the phony ads depicting various celebrities in mocked up sexual positions, the total disregard for anyone's feelings - those I have found offensive. But, you know what? I knew coming in that what I would find between the covers was not going to be 100% to my liking. I knew that the good stuff I'd find existed strictly because the bad was allowed to be there also. If you want the freedom to enjoy what you like, you have to give everybody else the freedom to enjoy whatever they like, even if you think it's disgusting or amoral. That's how freedom works. It's an all-or-nothing concept. Either you're free or you're not.

But, putting that argument aside, let's say I was a completely strait-laced tee-totaling evangelical virgin, my entire life thus far having been lived in a hermetically-sealed bubble. I have never let any epithet stronger than "Gosh!" escape my lips. I have never even seen myself naked, let alone another human being. I walk into the offices of Hustler and apply for a position as an executive secretary. Despite my lack of real-world experiences, I am miraculously hired.

Now, suppose I am employed there for FOUR YEARS.

(The story concerning the lawsuit doesn't state how long the person was there. Since she was hired in 1999, and the initial findings were from 2006, I think that four years is a reasonable enough assumption.)

Is it not incumbent upon me to quit my job, with no recompense due, as soon as my sensibilities are offended the first time? Maybe not. How about the second? The third? The fiftieth? The thousandth? When does it become ridiculous for me to stay and then file suit because something has offended me so deeply as to scar me and leave me "sick, sore, lame, and disabled."

Grow up, lady. You knew you were signing a deal with the devil when you first walked into the building. When you get poked in the ass with his pitchfork, it's your own fault, no matter how much noise he makes while doing so.

So, am I insane?

(Just had to get this off of my chest. I'll be back soon with a nice family story, or a bit of fun, or something similarly non-threatening. It's just that, sometimes, the madness is so amazing, it must be commented upon. If your opinion differs from mine, I'll probably still like you.)

(Oh, and blame Stu. He asked me for my opinion. And I'd appreciate it, Stu, if you'd comment on this yourself.)

Soon, with less worser stuff.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Music Meme

(Yes, my generation dressed funny. So does yours.
You won't realize it until 30 years too late for
it to do you any good, though.)

This is the first meme I have ever voluntarily undertaken; that is, without having been tagged to do so by someone else. I lifted this one from Buck.

The rules:

A) Go to Music Outfitters.

B) In the search function, enter the year you graduated from high school. Get the list of the 100 most popular songs of that year.

C) Bold the songs you like, strike through the ones you hate, and underline or italicize your favorite. Do nothing to those you don’t remember or don’t care about.

OK, I understand the rules. Please note, however, that I am unable to follow them. I have no idea how to do a strike through. If I did, there'd be big old bunches of these songs struck through. 1974 was a terrifyingly shitty year for music. I spent an inordinate amount of time, during my senior year in high school, cursing at the radio.

It's amazing how few of these songs I like, as well as how many of them I truly despise. Most of the recordings artists I dug back then - Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper, and others who would fit in with that crew - just plain didn't make it into the top 40 often enough to make any listing of the sort we'll encounter here. Those that did? Well, somebody bought those records. If it was you, more power to you. And no personal offense intended by the comments I'll be making. De Gustibus Non Est Disputadum, as my grandfather used to say in 1944 whenever the neighbors complained about him singing Deutschland Uber Alles at the top of his lungs.

(I would also like it to be noted that, despite my previously held fervent belief, it appears there is no God. That is the only inference I can draw from the fact that Ballroom Blitz didn't make this list.)

(Well, OK, it came out in 1973. But it was too good a joke to pass up and no song actually from 1974 even comes close.)

So, not knowing how to follow the instructions as given, I have instead broken the list into three easy categories:

Songs I Really Like - Easily defined, these are the songs I turn up when they come on the radio. I can listen to them without wanting to jam an ice pick through my eardrums. Most of them I own, since I spent nearly every penny I had in those days buying recordings.

Songs I Really Hate
- Should I end up in Hell, these songs will most definitely be in heavy rotation. They are the spawn of Satan (and that's fairly much the best I can say about them, too.) Given the option, I would probably choose to have my chest hair set on fire rather than have any of these hideous tunes once again assault my aural sensibilities. In the case of the Paul Anka entry, you could chop off my toes and feed them to me as canapes.

Songs I Could Probably Stand To Listen To If Otherwise I'd Have A Red Hot Poker Shoved Up My Ass - Not really my cup of tea, but not so objectionable that the artists responsible should be garroted.

Songs I Really Like

6. The Loco-Motion - Grand Funk Railroad
12. Jungle Boogie - Kool and The Gang
16. Spiders And Snakes - Jim Stafford
(Yeah, I know. Considering what I told you about my tastes in music, and the other songs I'll be giving the finger to here, for me to like this one is just plain unfathomable. What can I say? I like it. There is no reasonable explanation for this state of affairs. It just is.)
17. Rock On - David Essex
20. Hooked On A Feeling - Blue Swede
(Ooooga-Chucka-Ooga-Ooga, Ooooga-Chucka-Ooga-Ooga. The rest of the song? Feh. That opening, though... Genius!)
44. Smokin' In The Boys Room - Brownsville Station
63. Taking Care Of Business - Bachman-Turner Overdrive
64. Radar Love - Golden Earring
(Easily the best of this sad lot, with the Bachman-Turner taking second prize, and Brownsville Station third.)
66. Keep On Smilin' - Wet Willie
79. Tubular Bells - Mike Oldfield
91. Helen Wheels - Paul McCartney and Wings
99. Wild Thing - Fancy
(If you've never heard this one, and you want a cheap thrill, download it. Good hard rock with one of the sexiest female vocals ever recorded. Almost a porn soundtrack.)

Songs I Really Hate

1. The Way We Were - Barbra Streisand
(Babs. Ugh. I learned early on to hate her, as my father owned a couple of her records and played them far too often. However, even if this song were recorded by Led Zeppelin, and I was covered with honey and tied to an anthill, with the threat of staying there for a week if I didn't say I enjoyed this tune, I don't know if I could bring myself to say so. The purest of pure drek.)
5. Dancing Machine - Jackson 5
8. The Streak - Ray Stevens
9. Bennie And The Jets - Elton John
(B-B-B-Bennie... Drives me up a wall. I'd rather have my lips freeze-dried than listen to this again.)
11. Until You Come Back To Me (That's What I'm Gonna Do) - Aretha Franklin
13. Midnight At The Oasis - Maria Muldaur
(This one seemed to play once an hour when I was 17. Purely hideous. Rip off my nipples and play tiddly-winks with them.)
14. You Make Me Feel Brand New - Stylistics
18. Sunshine On My Shoulder - John Denver
21. Billy Don't Be A Hero - Bo Donaldson and The Heywoods
26. Let Me Be There - Olivia Newton-John
27. Sundown - Gordon Lightfoot
(I once had an argument with my bandmate, Sean Flaherty, concerning this song. It was my contention that any boob with a week's worth of training could play the solo on this one. He said that wasn't the point. It was coming up with it in the first place that was the talent. I countered that if you call that talent, then you may as well call Mark Belanger a power hitter. Obviously, it helps if you're familiar with 1960's Baltimore Oriole baseball players. If you're not, the subtlety is wasted. But, so was I when I said it.)
28. You're Having My Baby - Paul Anka
(See, here's the thing about this piece of putridity. If Anka had written it and then sung it ONLY to his wife, it would have been a magnificent gesture on his part. Releasing it as a single, to spew its festering wad of stink cheese on the general public? Unforgivable.)
29. Rock Me Gently - Andy Kim
32. If You Love Me (Let Me Know) - Olivia Newton-John
33. Dark Lady - Cher
34. Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me - Gladys Knight and The Pips
39. Top Of The World - Carpenters
43. Rock The Boat - Hues Corporation
49. Waterloo - Abba
50. The Air That I Breathe - Hollies
(THIS from the same group that did "Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress"? Yikes!)
51. Rikki Don't Lose That Number - Steely Dan
(THIS from the same group that did "Reeling In The Years"? Double Yikes!)
52. Mockingbird - Carly Simon
(I once tried to smoke enough dope to make this song enjoyable. It is an impossibility. As a matter of fact, it almost completely ruined getting high for me permanently.)
53. Help Me - Joni Mitchell
57. You And Me Against The World - Helen Reddy
58. Rock And Roll Heaven - Righteous Brothers
(Right church, wrong pew. The sentiment is nice, but the execution execrable.)
62. Eres Tu (Touch The Wind) - Mocedades
65. Please Come To Boston - Dave Loggins
(No, please don't.)
67. Lookin' For Love - Bobby Womack
71. Leave Me Alone (Ruby Red Dress) - Helen Reddy
(Every song Helen Reddy ever recorded could be included on this part of the meme, in case you were wondering.)
73. I've Been Searchin' So Long - Chicago
(The final nail in this once-promising group's coffin.)
76. I Shot The Sheriff - Eric Clapton
(Yeah, I know. Bunches of you might get pissed about this one. Sorry. White reggae rip-offs have never scored high on my list. Marley's original whomps the piss out of this one.)
78. Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me - Elton John
(If the sun truly went down on him, setting his head ablaze, I would consider it a favor from God.)
80. Love Song - Anne Murray
(THIS from the same woman who recorded "Snowbird"? Yup, sounds about right.)
81. I'm Leaving It All Up To You - Donny and Marie Osmond
82. Hello, It's Me - Todd Rundgren
92. My Mistake Was To Love You - Diana Ross and Marvin Gaye
94. Beach Baby - First Class
97. I Honestly Love You - Olivia Newton-John
98. Call On Me - Chicago

Songs I Could Probably Stand To Listen To If Otherwise I'd Have A Red Hot Poker Shoved Up My Ass

2. Seasons In The Sun - Terry Jacks
(I'm not quite sure why this one didn't make the previous list. I'm not overly fond of it.)
3. Love's Theme - Love Unlimited Orchestra
4. Come And Get Your Love - Redbone
10. One Hell Of A Woman - Mac Davis
15. Show And Tell - Al Wilson
19. Sideshow - Blue Magic
22. Band On The Run - Paul McCartney and Wings
23. The Most Beautiful Girl - Charlie Rich
24. Time In A Bottle - Jim Croce
25. Annie's Song - John Denver
30. Boogie Down - Eddie Kendricks
31. You're Sixteen - Ringo Starr
35. Feel Like Makin' Love - Roberta Flack
36. Just Dont Want To Be Lonely - Main Ingredient
37. Nothing From Nothing - Billy Preston
38. Rock Your Baby - George McCrae
40. The Joker - Steve Miller Band
41. I've Got To Use My Imagination - Gladys Knight and The Pips
42. The Show Must Go On - Three Dog Night
45. Living For The City - Stevie Wonder
46. The Night Chicago Died - Paper Lace
47. Then Came You - Dionne Warwick and The Spinners
48. The Entertainer - Marvin Hamlisch
54. You Won't See Me - Anne Murray
55. Never, Never Gonna Give You Up - Barry White
56. Tell Me Something Good - Rufus
59. Hollywood Swinging - Kool and The Gang
60. Be Thankful For What You Got - William Devaughn
61. Hang On In There Baby - Johnny Bristol
68. Put Your Hands Together - O'Jays
69. On And On - Gladys Knight and The Pips
70. Oh Very Young - Cat Stevens
72. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road - Elton John
74. Oh My My - Ringo Starr
75. For The Love Of Money - O'Jays
77. Jet - Paul McCartney and Wings
83. I Love - Tom T. Hall
84. Clap For The Wolfman - The Guess Who
(The absolute worst ever recorded by these guys. Other than this, I love them.)
85. I'll Have To Say I Love You In A Song - Jim Croce
85. The Lord's Prayer - Sister Janet Mead
87. Trying To Hold On To My Woman - Lamont Dozier
88. Don't You Worry 'Bout A Thing - Stevie Wonder
89. A Very Special Love Song - Charlie Rich
90. My Girl Bill - Jim Stafford
93. Wildwood Weed - Jim Stafford
95. Me And Baby Brother - War
96. Rockin' Roll Baby - Stylistics
100. Mighty Love, Pt. 1 - Spinners

There you have it. What a bunch of crappy tunes. I'm ashamed of my graduation year!

As with Buck, I leave it up to you to do this meme or not.

(If you never graduated, or you haven't yet graduated, feel free to use any year you want. I'd suggest the year of some sort of momentous occasion, though. Perhaps the year you first found out that there were actually six Stooges.)

Soon, with more better stuff.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Thank You!

I just have to say that you people are delightful. Thank you very much.

I wondered just how far I could drag you along into my insanity. You proved to me that you could make the trip without my having to drag you at all. As a matter of fact, while I was running full speed ahead towards the area labeled "Truly Bonkers, And Perhaps Someone Should Put In A Call To The Proper Authorities For This Person's Own Good", I looked up and saw a couple of you standing there already, waving to me, saying, "C'mon, Sully, what took you so long?"

I had the most wonderful time the past two days. Every time I thought that my answers to your questions might be too far out, you asked sillier questions. Every time I had a doubt about you being able to keep track of the campaign promises - and military appointments, and just who was up on the bomb dome and who was down below, cruising around in a jeep, topless - you upped the ante.

I could keep this "Suldog For President" thing going for, oh, another six or seven weeks, but I'm afraid it would reach a point where about five of you would still be playing along, while everybody else (even those who had been playing at some point) would be utterly lost. The way it was escalating, even in this short span of time, we might have left anyone who missed a day or two completely bamboozled.

And that's the way it should have been, too! If some "loosers" fit only for scraping pigeon poop off of the bomb dome can't keep up with the rest of us, then they should use their 300-day government-supplied drug allotment for some smart pills, damn it!

Sorry. I'm having a hard time slipping out of character.

Anyway, no matter what else happens to me going forward in life, I truly thank God that I have such a wonderful group of Admirals, Generals, Adminerals, Commodore Generals, Saints, Witnesses, and Command CMSgts to call upon. You're all aces in my book.

(By the way, you shouldn't take this as a sign that Supreme Exalted Empress Lime has relinquished that part of her title. She was that before this stuff, and anyone who doesn't address her as such runs the risk of being flogged with wet noodles. If you like that sort of thing, of course, send me photos.)

(Some things will never be let go of here.)

(That's a straight line, folks. Have at it.)

Anyway, get down to the business of deciding who you're really going to vote for (if voting is something you can do under the tenets of your religion or in your particular locale) and have a wonderful weekend. I plan to be back on Monday with a meme.

Yup. From insane to mundane. I'll tell you this much about it: I was not named to do it. I undertook the task voluntarily, so you know it must be a fun one.

Soon, friends.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

It Is No Longer IF I Am Elected. It Is Now WHEN.

All you folks who decided to hop onto the Suldog For President bandwagon? Buckle up your seat belts and hang onto your hats, because we are now rolling!

General Rooster (OK, if you don't know why he's a general, you need to read yesterday's post, and the fact that you haven't done so already will be noted on your permanent record) has informed me of some stunning developments concerning the campaign. I can hardly contain my glee. Those of you who signed up to be generals and admirals and stuff like that? Feel free to go out and buy the snazziest uniforms available. It looks as though the election is now ours for the taking!

I know, I know. Even I, your fearless leader, found this hard to believe at first. However, it's absolutely true, and, if you still have any lingering doubts, just watch the following:

Jim "Suldog" Sullivan For President!

Life is very, very good.


In the meantime, for those of you who have any lingering questions concerning the policies which will be implemented under my administration, I herewith reprint the pertinent (and, in some instances, impertinent) bits of yesterdays comments section. I have deleted only those parts which do not serve to clarify my positions.

Anonymous said...

You? President? I'd rather lick a pigeon!

Melinda said...

Oooh Sully - apparently not everybody realizes how wonderful you and your Drugs For Everybody Campain is! (unless of course anon has been partaking in the program and now happens to love licking pigeons. I've heard some drugs can make pigeons taste like orange gummy bears. mmmm gummy bears)

Since I'm not allowed to vote for you - In support, I will help you to bring maple syrup, poutine, and Trailer Park Boys DVDs so all Americans can enjoy them!

Best of luck,
Gen. Peterson

Rooster said...

I take "burned at the stake!". Why? "I'd rather have a warm steak than a cold chop!"

I'll also opt for being a general - I currently drive a Jeep Wrangler, so the transition should be easy. Plus I'd get seasick smoking pot on a boat all day.

I sent you a little campaign gift in your email...

Mushy said...

Do you have t-shirts?

Soon-To-Be-President Suldog said...

Anonymous - If you wish to lick a pigeon, that's your business. All sorts of deviants are welcome in Suldog's America. However, you'll be doing it in your jail cell. You had your chance. You could have been a general. I guess we all make our choices!

General Peterson - I will gladly accept the maple syrup and Trailer Park Boys DVDs. The poutine? I'll wait until I have the munchies and then give it my best shot. It can't be any worse than licking a pigeon, right?

General Rooster - The campaign contribution you sent is spectacular!

General Mushy - I do indeed have t-shirts. As a matter of fact, that's what I wear most days.

Oh! You want one that has, like, my picture on it or a campaign slogan? No, I'm afraid I don't have any of those yet. However, you have my permission to get the photo featured here tattooed onto your chest. And I thank you!

Soon-To-Be-President Suldog and Soon-To-Be-First-Lady MY WIFE

Chucka Stone Designs said...

Hmmm...looks like I'm a pigeon licker with no head what with hating the Three Stooges and all. And I was really looking forward to being an Admiral in my cute little outfit, riding around completely stoned, in a Jeep with the top off under the bomb dome. Damn. Guess I'll just be voting for that other guy now.

lime said...

ok, listen i am educationally handicapped. will there be remediation for the kids like me whose parents wouldn't permit the watching of the 3 stooges?

i'd like to be a general rather than an admiral because i get seasick. although since i will already be empress i am not sure how much it applies. yes, we shall spare ron paul, he alone is worthy. we will also established the birthdays of curly, moe, and larry as national holidays.

CrazyCath said...

Can I vote? Can I vote?
I qualify on every count except for where I live.

AND I am related. Directly blood related to your line of Sullivans by means of insanity.

Soon-To-Be-President Suldog said...

Chucka - You HATE... HATE? HATE The Three Stooges?!? I'm sorry, cute redhead or not, that's just... Damn. I hate to do it to you, but rules are rules. The only out I can think of is if you qualify under section 14. Do you? If not, would you like to? I, uh, what was the question? Oh, yes, see, if you qualify under section 14, you could devote your TV program to airing nothing but Three Stooges films, in which case I would be more disposed towards looking favorably upon your lack of taste. But I still don't know if I could let you be an admiral. I think the best I could do is designate you a lieutenant commander, IF you can find a lieutenant to command.

General Most Exalted Empress Lime - You were severely mistreated as a child! Not being ALLOWED to watch The Stooges? Since ignorance of the law is an excellent excuse under President Suldog (under President Suldog - now there's a straight line I'll leave alone...) then you are forgiven, but only if you declare the birthdays of Shemp, Joe and Curly Joe to be holidays, also. Oh, and Vernon Dent and Christine McIntyre, too.

Claire Voiant said...

Count me for 'burned at the state' too, and General Rooster be damned...

Hey Sully, I stumbled into a political cartoon that, in a twisted sense, kind of expresses the hopelessness I sense you feel with our political leadership as the first decade of the 21st century draws to an end. Thought you might appreciate the cartoon. http://www.cafepress.com/usa21stcentury

Soon-To-Be-President Suldog said...

General Crazy Cath - Well, you can't vote in this election. Those pesky laws won't be changed until I'm actually elected. However, for your willingness to do so, you can be a general, anyway. As for insanity, yes, it is a prerequisite. Thanks for noticing.

General Claire Voiant - Just for your name alone, you get to be a TWO star general. However, no damning of your fellow generals is allowed, even if it is General Rooster. So, back down to one star, just like everybody else.

By the way, while I certainly do agree with the sentiment expressed on the t-shirts you're hawking (Sex, Drugs, and Rock 'n Roll) the problem is that the guy who represents sex (Clinton) denied it; the guy representing drugs (Bush) denied it; and the guy representing rock 'n roll (Obama) is... well, he hasn't denied playing it or listening to it or anything, but he is my opponent in the general election, so I refuse to say anything nice about him.

Anyway, I have no compunction concerning telling anyone and everyone that I have indulged, heavily. I am the truth candidate!

lime said...

under exalted empress lime (bwahahaha) the birthdays you amended to the original list shall be celebrated as national holidays. those who fail to observe the holidays will be poked in the eye.

Buck said...

"In order to qualify for the government buzz, you must show at least 65 days on a payroll during the previous year."

Ummm... you'd BEST make an exception for the AARP contingent, of which I might could be a member. Not sayin' I AM, of course, just lookin' out for their interests. So if ya want MY vote...

I don't wanna be a general, thanyouverymuch. But I WILL be your Command Chief Master Sergeant. There's more (real) power there, anyway.

Soon-To-Be-President Suldog said...

General Exalted Empress Lime - I bow in your general direction.

Command Chief Master Sergeant Buck - Damn! That's way too much to type. Let's just make it ComChiMastSerg.

Anyway, all you AARP types will still have to do your 65 days of duty. I'm sorry. No exceptions. However, the females can do their duty servicing the males, and the males can do their duty servicing the females.

Not bad, eh? I betcha THAT buys me a few more votes!

Buck said...

"Not bad, eh? I betcha THAT buys me a few more votes!"

That sealed MY deal. Er... vote.

- Command CMSgt Buck

San said...

You've got my vote. On one condition. Chocolate is decreed calorie-free! Correction. Chocolate is decreed to be the latest weight-loss secret!

Soon-To-Be-President Suldog said...

Admiral San - Under my administration's food guidelines, chocolate shall be deemed a vegetable.

Stu said...

Y'know, I was on board the Suldog Express until you inked a deal with CBS. Shame about it, I could have made good federal dollars as a grower.

Soon-To-Be-President Suldog said...

Possible General Stu - Inked a deal with...? No, no, no. I will immediately nationalize all media outlets that you don't like. Now do I have your vote back?

By the way, with the exception of "House" and [maybe] "The Simpsons", FOX will just plain be vaporized.

Oh, wait a minute. I promised some Sullivans that they could have shows on FOX. I'll hold off on the vaporizations until after the first ratings book.

CrazyCath said...

Chocolate will be deemed a vegetable?

I am on my way to the American Embassy as we speak to declare my intention to have American citizenship within the next 14 days so that I am a fully fledged and suitably experienced American citizen in time for voting.

I gotta have chocolate as a vegetable. That is so cool and well done San for suggesting it!

John-Michael said...

I am thinkin'(always a scary prospect) that I would prefer being an Admineral. I am so weary of requirements to be decisive. As Admineral, I would like to head up the Department of Obscurity and Vacillation Encouragement (I have always preferred the role of DOVE ...as opposed to being a 'hawk.') If you find your Self vacillating on your inclination regarding an inaugural parade ... I will assume the responsibility of facilitating a spontaneous Inaugural Meander to go wherever, whenever, and however it suits your Presidential inclinations at the time. (seems like an appropriate assignment for D.O.V.E.)

Twinkie said...

I will totally vote for you in four years, when it's legal for me to vote. Until then I shall be your biggest supporter! :-)

quilly said...

Before I was worried about my presidential choices. Now I am scared.

Jeni said...

...the Three Stooges -well, I find them to be just as funny and entertaining today as I did when I was a young'un -many, many moons ago! Maybe I am actually Peter Pan -still waiting but not wanting or able to ever grow up. You tell me.
A fine candidate you are -in more ways than one!
Can I be Secretary of the Treasury or some other cabinet member? One with not too many duties though, OK?

Soon-To-Be-President Suldog said...

General Crazy Cath - You'd better hurry. Under my administration, all American embassies will be converted into Wal-Marts (assuming their check clears.)

Admineral John-Michael - OK, you will be assigned the leadership of D.O.V.E., despite your odd way of spelling admiral.

(By the way, spelling and grammar will be very important under my administration. Anyone caught spelling "lose" with two Os will immediately be put to work on the bomb dome, cleaning off what the pigeons leave behind.)

General Twinkie - As soon as I get into office, I shall abolish the minimum voting age. However, everyone will have to pass an intelligence test, so just because you might be 94, that doesn't mean you automatically get to vote, either. The first question on the intelligence test will be "Who do you plan to vote for in the next presidential election?", and if you're smart, you'll know how to answer!

(By the way, until your Mom leaves a comment, you now outrank her. Use this power wisely!)

Quilly - You have every reason to be scared. Those other candidates are very scary! However, I must be circumspect in handing out a generalship to you. If you mean that the prospect of me becoming president is scary, then it's off to the gulag for you! Pledge your allegiance now and save yourself some traveling time.

General Jeni - I will appoint you Secretary of Education. The less you do, the better my chances of re-election.

Sandra Ree said...


Admiral SR reporting to duty!

mlh said...

You are a shoe-in!

Soon-To-Be-President Suldog said...

Admiral SR - Welcome aboard!

MLH - Are you comparing me to footwear? If so, no generalship for YOU! Unless it's something really cool like spike-heeled thigh high boots or maybe a pair of black high-top Converse Chuck Coopers. In that case, not only are you General MLH, but your tank is in the mail.


If there are any more questions, I will gladly answer them now. Thank you.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

If I Am Elected...

I wrote this almost two years ago. I was, as a matter of fact, the only candidate to have declared at that time. Since then, I have also republished it. However, since my campaign seems to have not gained the traction I thought it would, I'm publishing it again. Now that the post-convention furor is dying down, perhaps some of you will come to your senses and get on-board the Suldog bandwagon.


Good evening, folks. I'd call you ladies and gentlemen, but you know what you are.


In response to a request from Melissa (whose link no longer works) (I suspect she was spirited off by the CIA for having supported my campaign) I am now going to discuss my platform. I would rather discuss the plataforma, but we can make dinner plans later.

Oh, I suppose I should tell you that this is my presidential platform. This is what you can expect, should you be so high as to decide to cast a vote for me in 2008.

1) More Drugs!

Hey, if you being high got me elected, I better keep 'em coming. Every year, everybody gets a government-issued 300-day supply of the drug of their choice. If you use it up in 100 days, that's your problem. Come on, people! You have to learn some self-control, for goodness' sakes.

Some of you are no doubt wondering why it isn't a 365-day supply. Look, you've got to work sometime or the whole country will tank and then nobody gets any drugs. In order to qualify for the government buzz, you must show at least 65 days on a payroll during the previous year. Pharmacists and Doctors are ineligible because they can get as much as they want anytime anyway. If you're on the dole, you'll have to get your drugs by mugging people like you do now.

To show you my sincerity, I shall personally be handing out syringes and bongs at random polling places on election day. Nothing to put in them until I'm elected, though, so get voting!

Now, some of you may be asking how I will fund this plan. That's simple. I am going to sell off all of our military resources and equipment to the highest foreign bidders. You can get a lot of bones for the price of a stealth bomber, let me tell you! Factor in all the various bombs, aircraft carriers, miscellaneous tanks and hand weapons? That should be enough to keep everybody high for at least 20 years, and probably fund the school systems to boot.

"But what will we do when someone attacks us?", I hear some nancy-boy saying. I've got it covered.

2) No More War!

Yes, I have the solution to war. I propose building a gigantic see-through dome over the entire country. This will keep bombs out.

Of course, it will also keep out rain, so we'll have to build a gigantic network of aqueducts and water-treatment plants from coast-to-coast, in order to facilitate the growing of crops. Special consideration will be given to those crops which can be made into pharmaceuticals.

To do this, I will authorize a plan whereby every man, woman, and child will work 65 days a year for the federal government. This will also solve the employment problem from proposal number one.

I realize that the Bomb Dome will tend to cut down on air travel. Too bad. See America First. By Rail. Yeah, that's the ticket! That should put AMTRAK in the black, too.

Of course, a gigantic dome will not only keep bombs and rain out, it will also keep pollution in. Therefore, to alleviate that eventuality...

3) SUVs Will Be Illegal!

Actually, I don't give a damn about pollution. I just hate driving behind them. You can't see a damned thing! So, no more SUVs. And anyone caught with a Hummer will be executed by having it fed to them in bite-size pieces. With one exception...

4) The President Will Be The Only One Allowed To Have A Hummer!

Hey, get back behind those barricades! I didn't say that the President would be the only one allowed to GET a Hummer. You're thinking of that fellow from Arkansas. No, in the interests of national security, I can take up as much space as I want. Hey, you got a problem with that? I'm the guy giving out the free buzz, remember? So move your crummy Miata to the side of the road and let me by.

By the way...

5) There Will Not Be An Inaugural Parade!

Why in the name of Beelzebub's left tit do you need to see the President (that is to say, me) marching down Pennsylvania Avenue? That's always seemed like a tremendous waste of money to me (that is to say, Your President.) So, take what you would have spent on the parade and put it into the general drug fund. Anyway, I don't feel like walking that far, even if I'm riding in my Hummer.


6) There Will Be An Inaugural Party!

And one hellacious one, too, you bet! But you won't be invited, unless you make a significant contribution to my campaign. Significance starts at $10,000,000.

Better yet, contribute to one of my many RE-election campaigns. You say I'm limited to two terms? Hah! I will win over and over again, because...

7) I Shall Repeal All Term Limits!

You think once I get in, I'm going to give anyone a fighting chance at getting me out? What government-issued goodies have you been smoking? And, just to make sure I can carry out this plan...

8) Congress Shall Be Abolished!

They suck, anyway, so they're history. Except for Ron Paul. He's the only one with any common sense, so what the heck, I'm appointing him Congress For Life. Not CongressMAN - CONGRESS. He's it.

As for the rest of those bums...

9) All Congressional Salaries & Pensions Will Be Abolished!

These monies will be put into the general drug fund, except those earmarked for Presidential Hummers. All of the frauds currently receiving Congressional salaries, and those past frauds receiving pensions, will be put to work constructing the Bomb Dome. They will NOT receive the usual 300-day drug benefit. Instead, in order to up their productivity, they will be force-fed crystal meth.

The only exception to the above is the aforementioned Ron Paul, who will have his pension upped 5% every time another of the Congressional Domeworkers keels over dead.

Insofar as who will be the vice-president when I'm elected...

10) My Running Mate Will Be Chosen At Random By Publishers Clearing House!

So, get those entries in today! Special priority will be given those who purchase subscriptions to High Times. If you get your entry in before October 1st, you'll be eligible for the special early-bird prize: A seat on the Supreme Court.

Remember this, though. If you win the nomination as my running mate, but you get some uppity idea about succeeding me as President after the election...

11) The Vice-President Will Be 247th In Line For Succession!

The 246 people before him in line will be a secret. That way, you'll think twice before offing me. I might be crazy, but I'm not stupid, and how do you know I don't have the Grand Dragon of the KKK at the top of the list? Better the buzz-giving devil you know.

As a special incentive...

12) Everybody Who Leaves A Comment On This Blog Gets To Be A General!

Or an admiral - your choice. There won't be an Army or Navy or anything, what with the Bomb Dome in place, but you'll still get to ride around in a jeep or on a yacht wearing a snazzy uniform. This is your last chance, so comment NOW!

13) Everybody Who Left An Unfavorable Comment Will Be Jailed!

You'd rather lick a pigeon? It had to be a good comment. It pays to read ahead. Too late now, pal. See you in the gulag!

14) All People Named Sullivan, Married To A Sullivan, Who Gave Birth To A Sullivan, Ancestors Of A Sullivan, Or Who Are Progeny Of A Sullivan, Get A Network TV Show!

Those who are able to prove direct relation to me get one on CBS, NBC or ABC. After that, my cousins, it will be Fox, the WB, UPN, and on down the line until those with nebulous relationships get either The Home Shopping Network or Spike.

15) Fast-Pitch Softball Will Be The Mandatory National Sport!

The President (ME) will be given five strikes and will only need two balls to walk. And, believe me, this President has 'em already.

16) Anyone Who Kicks A Kid Out Of School For Carrying Aspirin Or A Nailfile Will Be Castrated, Live And In Color, On The President Suldog Show, Wednesday, 8pm (9pm Central) On CBS.

It's frickin' hard enough to get kids educated without suspending them because of some hare-brained politically-correct nonsense about zero tolerance. Those school officials in violation of this policy who were born without the necessary equipment for castration will be given sex-changes and then castrated.

And, finally...

17) Anybody Who Isn't A Three Stooges Fan Will Have Their Choice Of Being Burned At The Stake Or Having Their Head Cut Off!

If you're a fan, then you know what your reply should be to that statement. If you have no clue? DIE! DIE! DIE!

But, first, I'd appreciate your vote. Thanks for your time!

I will now entertain questions from the floor.

Monday, September 15, 2008

I Am An Imbecile

On Saturday, I drove my car to the store. I bought cigarettes and lottery tickets.

(No, wise guy. That only makes me a moron. It gets worse.)

The lottery tickets I bought are called “Cashword.” As you can see from the reproduction above, there is a graphic of a crossword puzzle, and then a place to scratch off 18 different letters of the alphabet. Whichever of those 18 letters matches a letter in the crossword puzzle, you then scrape off the guaranteed-to-be-found-to-be-a-carcinogen-sometime-in-the-near-future substance covering that letter in the puzzle. If you can complete at least three words in the puzzle, you win a prize. Needless to say, when they give you 18 letters with which to work, it will almost always be the remaining 8 letters you’ll need to complete the requisite words. However, the tickets are pretty, about the size of a small paperback book, and instead of losing your money in 10 seconds, as with a normal lottery ticket, it takes five minutes, so you get entertainment value.

(MY WIFE and I buy these tickets perhaps once a week. We uncover a letter, and then make noises approximating the phonetic sound of the letter for which we are currently searching in the crossword diagram. We sit there in the living room, going “Arrrrrrrrrrr” and “Eeeeeeeeeeeeee” and “Oooooooo” as we scrape the cards with our lucky quarters.

Yes, youngsters. This is what married life comes down to after 16+ years. You sit in your living room making pirate and monkey noises while hoping to win $20,000 on a game designed by the state to suck up the remaining dollars of those residents who had planned on making their fortunes by playing Bingo. After that, you watch House Hunters and go to bed. On some nights, this is what passes for sex in the state of human affairs known as “mature love.”)

Well, after pulling into the garage, I put the car into park and gathered up my purchases from the passenger seat. I had bought enough two-for-the-price-of-one packs of cigarettes to last the week. Along with the oversized lottery tickets, it was an unwieldy load. I couldn’t get a hand free to shut off the car. So, I put the 6 packs of cigarettes and the two oversized lottery tickets back down on the passenger seat. I shut off the car, but didn’t remove the keys fully from the ignition, as leaving them hanging there would make it easier to grab them once I had rearranged the other stuff.

I first gathered up the cigarettes and lottery tickets as best I could, cradling them against my side with my right hand, while using my left hand to open the driver side door. I then hit the automatic lock button with my left hand, while still cradling my purchases with my right. I stepped outside of the car, and then used both hands for the cigarettes and lottery tickets, after which I shut the car door with my right foot.

(Well, yes, of course, you know it. That’s because I told you right in the title that I was an imbecile. If I had entitled this, "I Am An Amazingly Smart Person. Can You Guess Why?" then you wouldn’t have any idea, either.)

Yup. Keys. Still in the ignition. All car doors locked.

Is there any moment in life quite so disheartening as when you realize that you’ve locked your keys in the car? Certainly, finding out you’ve got cancer, or that someone close to you has died, ranks higher on the real tragedy list. But, on the Homer Scale (D’Oh!) there is little to match it. It is an entirely preventable and supremely stupid thing to have done. No rationalization works to erase the shame. Cancer, death, and other hideous moments in life – say, watching a Detroit Lions game - are things that come at you from somewhere outside of yourself. Some universal power (God, or, in the case of a Lions game, FOX) is at work to destroy you. You can live with that (although, if it's death, not literally.) But, when you lock your keys in the car, you have no one to blame but yourself.

What’s even worse is to be standing in your garage, knowing that you’ve locked yourself not only out of your car, but also out of your house, and you’re holding 6 packs of cigarettes and two lottery tickets in your hands. The only way I could have felt any stupider would have been if my pants suddenly fell down around my ankles and Moe jumped out of the bushes to hit me in the face with a custard pie.

Here are the thoughts that ran through my head, in chronological order:

1) Shit!

2) Did I leave my lighter in the car? Will I at least be able to smoke the cigarettes?

3) I’ll try all of the doors, just in case the automatic lock didn’t work on all of them.

4) Crap. It worked on all of them.

5) I could scratch the lottery tickets and maybe win enough for a NEW car!

6) Maybe I can force one of the windows down.

7) Repair = $300. That would be really stupid. I’m really stupid, but I’m not that stupid.

8) I could call MY WIFE at work and ask her to come home and let me in the house. That will only cost her a shift at work, and that's less than $300.

9) Nope, that's still really stupid.

10) Shit!

At that point, I truly felt like crying. This is because there were all sorts of excellent college football games being played on my TV and I had no way of getting inside to watch them. Really. That was the next thought I had. I knew that, sooner or later, MY WIFE would come home from work. I could get inside the house then. But I wanted to be inside the house NOW.

Of course, if you’ve been coming around here for a while, you know this isn’t the first time I’ve written about something like this. I did fairly much the same thing earlier this year. That time, it was during the dead of winter, so at least this time I wasn’t in danger of having anything freeze off. And, since it was summer...

When I stepped outside of the garage, still clutching the cigarettes and lottery tickets, I saw the air conditioner in the bedroom window. And now, I knew I could get inside and watch some football.

The air conditioner is in a rear window, overhanging a porch. I climbed up onto the porch. I carefully put the cigarettes and lottery tickets down on the porch, pushed up the screen, and then pushed up the window. I grabbed the air conditioner and pulled it out onto the porch with me. I lifted my left leg up, thrusting it through the space recently vacated by the AC, straddled the window frame, and then more-or-less dove through, landing with a thud on my bedroom floor.

At this point, having been relieved of the prospect of sitting outside for 8 hours, smoking cigarettes and waiting for MY WIFE to come home and find out what a dummy I’d been, I got pissed. I reached back through the window, grabbed the air conditioner, and lifted it back into its space. I slammed the window down on top of it, to hold it in place, and reinstalled it with a vengeance. It usually takes ten or fifteen minutes to put in a window unit correctly. I should get this mad every time I want to install an air conditioner. It took me about a minute and a half. It will probably leak all over the floor the next time I turn it on, but it looks good.

I went back outside – by an actual door, which I was very careful to unlock – and retrieved the cigarettes and lottery tickets. And here I am, typing this while Notre Dame kicks Michigan’s ass. As soon as I finish this, I will have a cigarette. The lottery tickets will wait until MY WIFE gets home, at which time we’ll go “Arrrrrrrrrr” and “Eeeeeeeeeeee” and “Oooooooooooo.”

If there’s any justice in this world, we’ll win the $20,000.

(Oh, who am I kidding? If there was truly any justice in the world, I’d scrape off my ticket and it would say, "You’re about as sharp as a hedgehog on thorazine. Give us another ten bucks.")

As an aside to would be burglars: I now realize how simple it is to break into our house. Therefore, I have booby-trapped the air conditioner. I won’t tell you how. That would make me an idiot. Suffice to say, there is nothing in our house worth what will happen to you. Of course, this means that the next time I lock myself out – you and I both know it will happen again – I will forget about the trap and I’ll be the booby. With any luck, maybe that will be next weekend and it will give me fodder for another post. I had no idea what I was going to write about this weekend until this happened.

Soon, with more better stuff.

P.S. We won $2. The lottery tickets cost me $4. All things considered, this is as it should be.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Si Rosenthal, Hero

While combing through the many wonderful family photographs and mementos given to me by my cousin, Dorothy, I came across a couple of interesting pieces concerning a man named Si Rosenthal.

In all likelihood, you've never heard of Si. Here's a link. Please go there, read the tiny bit of information available - it won't take you more than a minute or so - and then we can continue. Si Rosenthal, on Wikipedia.

Now, if you wish, Google the name "Si Rosenthal." What comes up - with one notable exception, which I'll get to in a bit - is a small mountain of pages which give you his skimpy major league playing record. There are one or two mentions of how the Red Sox held a day in his honor in 1947, but little mention of why they did so.

I hope to shed a bit of light on the why. And maybe help to preserve the memory of a man who, from all accounts I have in my possession, deserves one hell of a lot more tribute than just those concerning his baseball career.


I said there was one notable exception to the lack of information. Aside from the two artifacts I obtained from Dorothy, which I will reproduce here later on, I'll be quoting extensively from the website Baseball In Wartime, by Gary Bedingfield. It's magnificent. Bedingfield has written the most complete account I can find - anywhere, outside of the clippings in my possession - concerning Rosenthal. The site has numerous other interesting and compelling stories, including Bedingfield's own. If you're any sort of a baseball fan, you'll be there for hours. Even if you loathe baseball (Heathen!) the stories of these truly heroic men are worth reading and remembering.


Here is Si Rosenthal's story.

Si Rosenthal was born in Boston, in 1903. At the age of 22, he was signed to play ball by his hometown team, the Red Sox. He did so for two seasons, 1925 and 1926, mostly as a backup outfielder, compiling a .266 lifetime batting average. And that tells you not much more than any of the other pages you'll find by Googling Si's name.

Here's the stuff you should know about Si Rosenthal.

First, as you might have suspected, Si was Jewish. Back in the 1920's, there weren't a heck of a lot of Jewish ballplayers. Some of this was due to Jewish culture itself - physical prowess was not prized above the scholarly - and some was due to outright prejudice. An illustration of the prejudice comes to light via a quote from Rosenthal himself (although he seems to have not been aware of it. Or, perhaps, he knew, but cast it in a better light. That would fit his personality, as you'll find out later.) In any case, when he came up with the Red Sox, Hugh Duffy was the manager. According to Rosenthal...

"Duffy wanted me to change my name to Rose because it would fit easier in box scores. But I told him that I wouldn't do it. I was born with the name Rosenthal. It won't make any difference if my name is Rose, Rosenthal, or O'Brien, I'll rise and fall on my own name."

If his name had been Bob O'Connell - one space more needed to fit it into a box score than "Rosenthal" - do you think they would have asked him to change it to "O'Conn"? Hardly likely. I suspect Duffy (or, more likely, Red Sox management) wanted the name change so that it wouldn't be readily obvious to the fans that there was a Jew playing the outfield. Perhaps I'm impugning Duffy and The Sox unfairly. Whatever the case, you had to be one tough Jew to play major league baseball in those days. Rest assured, Si Rosenthal was one tough Jew.

Before making the major leagues, he played in Albany, Pittsfield, and San Antonio. He hit .376 in San Antonio, making him one of the top prospects for the Sox. He was called up, as I said, for two seasons. After his time in the bigs, he played for minor league teams in Louisville, Chattanooga, Dallas, Nashville, Galveston, Atlanta, Mobile, Quincy and Beckley. He was a baseball hobo. He ended his career, in 1935, with Peoria.

Thus far, you've got a man with a slightly interesting baseball resume. The fact that he was Jewish adds a bit of color. It's not much to treasure, unless you're a complete Red Sox fanatic. When we move ahead a few years to World War II, however, Si's story becomes much more memorable.

From Bedingfield's site:

In 1943, Rosenthal – aged 39 – entered military service with the Navy. He had previously been rejected for service on physical grounds because of bad teeth and damaged cartilage in his knee. He had the cartilage removed and got a new set of upper teeth. "The next time I tried, they accepted me," he told The Sporting News on September 24, 1947. "So I liquidated my business - I had been manufacturing tin cans in South Boston - and pretty soon I found myself on a mine-sweeper."

At this time, his 17-year-old son, Irwin 'Buddy' Rosenthal, was serving with the Marine Corps in the Pacific. "I had been corresponding with Buddy pretty regularly and, on putting in at Norfolk, in February 1944, I found a mass of my letters to him had been returned. And I had received no word from him in a long time. Then I learned of his death."

On the day after Christmas Day, 1943, 'Buddy' Rosenthal went ashore at Cape Gloucester, New Britain, with the 1st Marine Division. "They went through some tall grass - I learned later - and, as they went along, they couldn't locate the Japs. My boy deliberately exposed himself for an instant. The instant was too long. A second later he was dead."

So, here's a man way past the usual age for enlistment, and with physical problems that disqualified him in an earlier attempt. He doesn't need to serve his country. That is, nobody would think any the less of him for staying home and taking care of his business concerns. His son is already in the Marines, in combat. So, what does he do? Out of a superb sense of duty and patriotism, he fixes, as best he can, the physical problems that disqualified him, and he tries to enlist again. This time, he is successful. The Navy takes him. He serves his country.

And then, he receives news of his only son's death in battle.

Si returns to duty following this devastating news. Again, from The Sporting News, via Bedingfield:

On May 5, 1944, Si Rosenthal set sail on a minesweeper for European waters.

"My minelayer - the USS Miantonomah - got around quite a bit. On D-Day she was off Omaha Beach, performing a few minor services for the USS Texas. She seemed to be a pretty lucky minelayer, and September 25, 1944, she had just come out of Le Havre [France], heading for Plymouth, England. From there she was going to Boston."

(Note: For Si, this meant she was headed HOME.)

"It was a raw day. It was around 2:30 in the afternoon. I was to go on watch in about 20 minutes and I was sitting on deck reading The Reader's Digest - the article, I think, was 'They Take The Wounded Off Normandy.’

"Next thing I knew, there was an explosion and I was pirouetting through the air. Then I was in the water. I couldn't swim, but my life-jacket was holding me up. Soon I felt a terrific heaviness from the waist down.

"After a while, I could see our chief pharmacist swimming over towards me. He grabbed me and pulled me over to a life-raft. He got me on it somehow, and I sort of half-landed, half-rolled onto a couple of other men.

"More time passed and a small British boat - a lot like one of our PT boats - came out and took me aboard. The men on the British boat looked at the two men on whom I was lying. Both were dead.

"I never have walked since then. For the past three years, my life has been in hospitals - in France, England, and Massachusetts."

He had completely given up his business to serve his country. His only son was dead. Now Si himself was a paraplegic.


The Red Sox enter his life again in 1947. They hold a "Si Rosenthal Day" at Fenway Park in Boston. The objective is to raise money for Si - a true war hero - to have a house built without staircases or any other hindrances to his mobility via wheelchair. They are successful in raising $12,500, which is half the price for building the house.

(Remember the time period. In the late 1940's, the price of a normal home was in the $10,000 range. Comparing with today's prices in the Boston area brings the realization that Si needed to raise the equivalent of about one million dollars for his specialized home, of which the Sox were successful in raising half. This was at a time when tickets to a ballgame might have been two dollars, tops. Very nice.)

A couple of years pass, and in 1949, Si is presented with a $10,000 check, from Edith Nourse Rogers, US congressional representative from Massachusetts. This completes the building fund.

Let's sum up. What we have thus far is a story with tragedy that most of us will never have to deal with in our lifetimes. Si can't walk, his only son is dead, and he is depending upon the goodly charity of others to have as near to a normal life as is possible.

Some people, at this point, might have thrown in the towel. And who would blame them? That's enough hurt and pain for any TEN men. But, remember: Si Rosenthal is one tough Jew. And he is also an amazingly loving one.

Si Rosenthal doesn't call it a day. Not by a long shot. What he does, instead, is devote the rest of his life to raising money for others he considers less fortunate than himself. From his wheelchair, he works tirelessly to raise funds to fight Polio - to fight blindness - to fight Cerebral Palsy - to fight... well, you name it. Si Rosenthal was a fighter. Got a charity that needs a hand? Give Si Rosenthal a call. He never says "No."

And this is where my family enters the picture, and why I have the clippings to show you.


There was a priest named Charles Burns. Father Burns hailed from Greenville, Mississippi. While stationed in the Boston area, he became acquainted with my relatives, the Sullivans from Jamaica Plain. They, in turn, were friends with Si Rosenthal. My Great Uncle Jim worked for the Curley and Dever gubernatorial administrations, and he was a former state representative. He had become acquainted with Si while working on legislation to provide funding to charitable organizations, as well as handicapped accessibility issues.

When Father Burns mentioned needing to raise money for a gymnasium building in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi (his southern United States parish) my relatives made a monetary contribution. Much more important than that, though - they introduced Father Burns to Si Rosenthal.

Here is a brochure produced to help raise funds for that gymnasium. I believe it speaks for itself. I will note that there are slight discrepancies between this account of Rosenthal's military service and that given above. Doesn't matter. Both versions are heroic.

The money was raised. The gymnasium was built. Well, of course it was. Si Rosenthal had fought for it. So far as I can gather from my research on the internet, the building still stands in Bay St. Louis, carrying on the good works of both Si and Father Burns.

(Finding information concerning Father Burns current whereabouts was even harder than finding stuff about Si. From the tiny bits and pieces I did find, I saw that he went on to pastor for a mostly black parish of Los Angeles, St. John Of God, on 60th and Crenshaw. He left that post in 1994. No other information is readily available. It is hoped that he retired to comfort, perhaps in Bay St. Louis.)

The Sullivans mentioned are all dead. I've written some, in the past, about my Great Uncle Jim. I'm sure I'll have more to say about all of them at some time in the future.

Si Rosenthal died in 1969. He was only 65 years old. Here is his obituary. Most of us could only dream about something so beautiful being written about us. Si made it a reality by refusing to wallow in self-pity.

I haven't the slightest doubt that Si is now walking with his son in Heaven.

Soon, with more better stuff.