Tuesday, December 30, 2008


I lost 4.6 pounds last week with all the Christmas dinners! I am so happy. I credit Jen's advice 100%. Thanks sweetie!!

Hip hip hurray!

The rhyming is easy
For some reason today.
So here's another entry
Without delay!

Pretty soon we'll party.
Let out a cheer!
2008 will be over
And '09 will be here!

Bush left us a mess
Which was really quite rude.
The economy's in shambles.
The people are screwed!

The world all see us
As loudmouth cowboys
Who torture and bluster
And make too much noise.

Whereas Bush is a bozo
The fact remains,
On January 19th, change
Is a president with brains!

We'll start to recover
America's good name.
The cabinet will be competent
Where now they are lame.

Barack'll roll up his sleeves
'Cause there's alot to be done.
He'll use common sense and brains
Where now there is none.

To clean up from Bush
He's one in a million.
And he'll never have to ask
"How many is a Brazilian?"

To be like Mike...

I wrote a blog entry
Just the other night.
Because I didn't like it
Its out of sight.

It was about
What I plan to do
To improve myself
The next year or two.

But look at me
And its plain to see
That my weight loss
Will take priority.

With my burps and farts
I'm just another guy.
The dudes laugh
And the women sigh.

So, the resolutions
Are usually cut and dried.
That my faults are obvious
Cannot be denied.

I wrote two pages
Resolving once again
To do what it takes
To finally be thin.

Yeah, I'll resolve
To quit eating fries.
To drink more water.
Get more exercise.

The typical pap
You hear from us biggies.
I'll read their book but not eat
The three little piggies!

I'll eat more fruit
And more bunny food.
I'll say no to hot wings
And anything brewed.

But this year is different
Because I'm not joking.
I'm using the will power I found
When I quit smoking.

My brothers are sceptical.
A few out of many
Who don't believe that
A Teders can be skinny!

I'll be cutting down
On the foods that I like.
My motto now is:
"I wanna be like Mike!"

No more hot wings, pizza
Or buffets for me!
Its Begone! to Ryans
And BW3.

Yes, will power will help
Where I usually failed.
With Jenny's support
I'll have it nailed.

Only one thing can
Derail my diet this time.
Fat is much easier
Than skinny to rhyme!!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Ho-ho-holy cow!!

Another Christmas has come and gone. I believe I like it more now then when I was a kid. I am happy that my seniority at work enables me to take vacation during the holidays. I've spent the last two weeks taking it easy and doing Christmas stuff around the house and attending Christmas get-togethers. One thing about railroad work, you often can't get together at the get-togethers. I set up the train this year to run around the tree. Haven't done that in 15 years at least. I even hung outdoor lights. I thought that after I fell asleep, Jenny was secretly taking my temperature. You see, normally, I'm not the most ambitious fellow. To do the two Christmas things that don't have to be done, well, Jenny might think I was sick or something.

The reason I never put outdoor lights out is because its usually June before they get taken down and that looks Jakey. I have them on a timer to come on at dusk and go off at dawn. With them on, I don't have to remember to turn on the porch light for Jenny.

As for presents, I made out real well. Other than a new pick-up, top-of-the-line laptop and hot-tub, I got everything I wanted. Number one on my list was spending time with my family and that was the present I cherished the most. Number two was the Sham-Wow!

Shannon and family got me a leather bound journal in which I'm writing this. She calls it keeping and recording my blog entries. I call it preserving evidence! Writing on the right side pages is a snap. The left side will be challenging. But then again, I think choosing what wing sauce to order at BW3 is challenging also.

I remembered to bring along my camera to some of the festivities the last couple weeks and got some really neat pictures.

This first picture is little Jaden helping her dad to blow out his birthday candles. Curious George is looking on and applauding baby and daddy. It looks here that Grandma Ina is getting ready to stick her tongue out at me. I seem to evoke that response alot

Here Shane is demonstrating a new fad, that has taken Indy by storm! It's wearing your sixth grade long johns over your t-shirt while appearing dark and mysterious. Indy people sure are an eclectic crowd.

Here Jaden is telling Gramma J about her harrowing ordeal as a refugee during the ice storm. Luckily, they got power back on Christmas Eve and were able to open their presents at home on Christmas morning. After saying how much she enjoyed staying with Gramma Karen and Grampa Ron, she nevertheless clicked her heels together and said "There's no place like home!" three times.

Here, Lucy is up in the window meowing at Jaden to watch out for the train! Also, it seems like every time Jaden turns her back, Curious George and Arthur start making out in the stroller!

Jaden and I like to make faces at each other. Isn't she goofy?
Here's Jenny's brother Jeff and his handsome family. On the right is Grandma Marie and in the red vest is my lovely niece Tabitha. She is someone very special. A week or so ago, we celebrated her becoming a CNA, of which we are all very proud of. If Jenny and Shannon can convince her to write a blog, then we could learn more about her interesting life and point of view. Opening the present is my nephew, Trenton. My dad would've called him a "fart smeller". He's a pretty nice kid despite being from Avilla. Jaden's looking at him like he just told a dirty joke or belched.

Here Jaden is trying on a pretty outfit she got from Jeff and Jane. They fit around her neck nicely.

I'll let this picture with Jaden and her Aunt Cindy speak for itself. I don't dare write my first choice for a caption.

Finally, here Jaden shows Gramma Pat and Grampa Wayne how she painted this lovely picture frame for them. She was a busy girl this Christmas, painting numerous picture frames and ornaments for gifts.

Last but not least, today is Wayne's birthday. I believe that he's 70 this year but looks younger than I do! I owe Wayne more than I could ever repay. Not only for the countless number of repairs he's done for us, or the many things he's made or built for us, or the numerous times he's been there for us. He's shown me what it takes to be a great grandpa and I hope I can measure up to his example. Happy birthday Wayne! Come over to the house tonight and help us celebrate Ron Weimer's birthday!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

"Ho ho ho-hum"

It just turned midnight and it is Christmas Day. I would like to extend my wishes to everyone to have a blessed Christmas. To Shannon, Mike and Jaden, our icebound refugees, Welcome Home! To Bob and Barb, your friendship is one of my most prized possessions: Merry Christmas.

I would also like to extend my best wishes to all of both of our families. I wouldn't be what I am today without my family: Balding, overweight with stinky feet and a horrible memory! (lol)

To Krista, Andy and Seth, I want to wish not only a great Christmas, but a normal, ho-hum New Year. So surprises or drama would make it very happy. Just remember, Max and Maxine makes great middle names! Jenny and I are praying for twins! Keep Seth busy! To Amanda Bee, let me wish you and yours all the best. And to my reader from Washington D.C. and the U.S. Courts, if you are a federal grand jury, that wasn't me. Merry Christmas anyway!

Well, I have to get to bed. Got a busy day today!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Muse abuse

When men write poetry
Its never serious nor grave.
Its usually about a girl from Nantucket
Whose favors they crave.

Well, I'm here to tell you
That some of us have class.
We don't care if the top of Old Smoky
Is covered with grass.

Anyone can write a blog.
My last entry is proof.
But how many can do it in verse
Without seeming aloof?

I'm actually a minstrel
Who dazzles and enthralls.
I'm really just a
Longfellow in overalls.

When writing poetry
Its usually automatic
That you evoke the Gods
And be over dramatic.

But how fun is that?
I said to myself.
I'll get rid of the drama.
Put it on the shelf.

Instead, I'll write about
My observations.
A little off base
Without reservations.

This year's election
Was quite historic.
Obama was Socratic.
Palin was sophomoric.

During the campaign
There was nobody dumber
Than that Bozo they called
Joe the Plumber.

When the election was over
I was quite overjoyed.
Those commercials all
Made me completely annoyed.

But since then the ads
Are as bad as it gets.
They'll advertise anything
And have no regrets.

I'm sure there's a studio
Somewhere in this land
Where "Viva Viagra"
Is sang by a band.

Poor Alyssa Milano had
Zits everywhere.
Her zit cream fixed everything
Even her hair!

Lawyer's ads on TV ask
If your loved one's in a coma
Or if you suffer from

Yeah, the campaign was long
With a lot of drama and thrills.
But its many ads saved us
From male enhancement pills!

That campaign will influence
Ads yet to come.
They'll take it for granted
We're all really dumb.

Ora-Jel will showcase
Joe the Numb-er.
Poly-Grip will feature
Joe the Gummer!

Yeah, there'll be Sarah
All cutesy and perky.
Becoming the spokesperson
For Butterball Turkey!

I've found my muse.
My poetry is gold.
My talent finally showed through
Before I got old.

So please don't pester
Me to publish my verse.
My poetry is my blessing
And its my curse.

Roses are red
And daisies are yellow.
If talent was steel
Mine would be jello!

Friday, December 5, 2008

"Santa Shaved!"

If I remember correctly, I haven't blogged since Veteran's Day. Thank God I don't write for a living because I've got writer's block. I've started to write blog entries a number of times, including an open letter to Santa and after a paragraph or so I hit a brick wall. Heck, since I've blogged last, little Jaden has learned her alphabet, can figure square roots in her head and knows the presidents through the first Roosevelt. Well, I might be exaggerating a tad. I don't think she knows the presidents after Lincoln.

To catch you up since I've last blogged, I've lost 10 more pounds (2.8 pounds Thanksgiving week!) Most of it was probably hair. It seems that I'm destined to be a FUZBUKT look alike. Geez, now I'm depressed (hehe). With the economic downturn, the railroad is running fewer trains and I no longer have enough seniority to hold the Garrett to Cleveland run. So, goodbye high paying trips. Goodbye to the two days off between trips. Goodbye to the swimming pool, sauna and hot tub at the Wyndom Hotel in Cleveland and goodbye to the easy trains. Now I'm back in the Garrett to Chicago pool and its goodbye social life and goodbye extra sleep.

My sister Linda had an operation yesterday and Jenny found out from my niece Cathy that she is doing fine. That makes me happy. Linda is one of God's better ideas.

I was watching Countdown on TV yesterday and Michael Moore was on talking about bailing out GM. He said something that got me thinking. He said that GM is asking for a 16 Billion dollar loan but the whole company is capitalized (the value of all its outstanding stock) at less than 3 Billion! He said that's like giving a $700,000 mortgage on a $100,000 house and isn't that how we got into this mess in the first place? Thank God (again) that we don't have Joe the Plumber trying to get us out of this mess!

As most of you know, Christmas is three weeks away. That makes me happy. Christmas means that I'll be able to spend time with my family and that's the best present of all. Jenny and I aren't buying each other clothes this Christmas. We are hoping that we wont be in our current sizes long enough for new clothes. "Of thee I sing!"

Coming in a little over a week is the birthday of my beloved son-in-law, Mike. He is a good complement to me. His insurance company charges him extra because he's too skinny and mine charges me extra for being too fat. He plays a round of golf in double figures, I do it in triple figures. But what's important is how we're similar. We both have outstanding wives and daughters!!

For those of you who are sick of the Christmas Specials on TV, be aware that I have not seen one yet this year. Are they still showing them or are people starting to get sick of seeing Frosty the Snowman for the 30th time? The History Channel doesn't start their Christmas specials til the week before. I love cable TV!

Back when I started writing this blog, I could write an entry wherever I was and despite whatever was going on around me. Now, after I've done the easy subjects, I can't write if the TV is on or anyone is talking. On a train, I write Pulitzer Prize material. At home, with the TV on its "Laverne and Shirley"! On a train, its wry, at home its rye. On a train, its Red Skelton, at home its Deuce Bigalow! On a train, its Hillary. At home, its Sarah. Now that I'm on the Chicago run, I ought to have plenty of time to write some really great stuff!

Finally, now is the season where the fat guys get a little respect. There's no wonder why I love Christmas. All will be great until the first kid cries "Santa Shaved!!"

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A day to remember...

Today I am walking with a softer step, with a smile on my face. In a society that bitterly complains about its callow, thoughtless youth, I have experienced the opposite.

My day started off when I got a text from my daughter Shannon wishing me a happy two year anniversary! My life changed for the better two years ago when Jenny and I quit smoking. I had tried many, many times but the coming arrival of little Jaden was the help we needed to finally quit. Her text continued with "I'm proud of you!". That made my day. I thought about how thoughtful that was and how I appreciated it immensely.

This afternoon I got a text from my son Shane wishing me a Happy Veteran's Day! He ended the text with "Thank you for your service." I was so humbled, I misted up.

Yeah, my shoulders are a little straighter tonight and my voice is a little softer. You see, I have again received that cherished gift that comes with fatherhood. Thanks again kids. Thank you very much.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Yesterday, America made me proud. For the most part, she looked past the color of a man's skin and elected a man president who will guide America into the future. Personally, I had doubts it could be done. As a kid, I watched on TV the nightly saga on the news that chronicled the civil rights struggles that America was going through. I saw stories of hatred, bigotry on both sides and mistrust that I thought America could never outlive. Even today, I got a racist text message, in all capitals, about how the whites should report to the cotton fields. The person who sent that text, like many in America, cannot see past the color of a man's skin. He would happily forward on all the racist e-mails that circulated about the Obamas. When he referred to Barack Obama, he also referred to Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. He has no clue that Barack Obama is nothing like the other two. He sees the black face, the automatic tax and spend tag the GOP gives any Democrat and nothing else. In a thousand years, he would never see a black person as an independently thinking individual. He sees a stereotype only.

In the same respect that I hate to be stereotyped, I refuse to stereotype. I agree with Martin Luther King in a very important distinction: I judge people, all people, by the content of their character and not the color of their skin. Whereas the author of that text sees Obama only through the lens of a stereotype, I'm sure that he would not like to be stereotyped in the same manner. I'm sure that if someone would confront him as being a pedophile or traitor just because he had a similar appearance of a known pedophile or traitor, he would react quite abruptly. Those who stereotype the most tolerate it the least.

Maybe the next four (Eight, I hope!) years will teach all America that we are all Americans. Maybe then our culture will be able to lose the African from the African-American tag like it lost the Irish-American, Italian-American and German-American tags. Maybe the strength of Barack Obama's character will help America to focus not on race but the needs of all Americans. Then, when the time comes for his re-election campaign, he won't be seen as Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson. He won't be seen as the first African-American president and he won't be treated differently because of his race. Maybe, just maybe, he will be seen as an unhyphenated American who applied his intelligence and talents to begin to bring America back from the precipice of a Bush-Cheney induced disaster to the honor and importance of America's proper place on the world stage.

With all this talk of stereotypes and such I find it funny about how one particular stereotype played out. Isn't it somewhat appropriate that now, just like all the other times in George W. Bush's life, when he has made a huge mess of things, along comes a black guy to clean it up!

While Jenny and I were watching the returns, I told her how proud I was that both our kids cared enough to vote. I would like to tell Shannon something very personal: "Woo-Hoo!! He did it! It wasn't Hillary but it wasn't Mc Clain either!! I am so happy for you!" I was disappointed that my favorite politician, Jill Long Thompson, lost her race for governor. Shannon, do you still have the trophy she presented to you in third grade for your young author's book? She referred to you as a "Very intelligent young lady" and me as the dumb guy. Is she smart or what? Indiana, the state where a Republican can gain 10 points in the polls by saying "He'll take your guns!" went for Obama. It is about time. The last time that happened, thousands of cars in Indiana had front licence plates that said "4 U LBJ" Also, my brother Jerry had lost his campaign for County Surveyor in the primary and never made it to the general election. Thinking about it now, I see where he missed the boat. If only he would have come out and said "Mark Strong will take your guns!!" then maybe he would be the new County Surveyor, ready to give me a high paying patronage job. Live and learn, I guess.

Last but not least, this election has brought home to all of us how important it is to vote and be counted. Hopefully, America has quit electing the guy you would like to have a beer with. Tuesday night, while she was walking on the treadmill, Jenny let out a joyful yell. Pennsylvania was just declared for Obama. What a girl! She knew the importance of Pennsylvania. Eight years ago? No way. Like 53% of America's voters, she has learned an important lesson. One thing troubles me though. In the last eight years, we have endured the 9-11 attacks, the ruination of our economy to give tax cuts to the rich, a disastrous war in Iraq and a near criminal neglect in Afghanistan that has it all screwed up, the acceptance of the use of torture, sacrificing our freedoms for security, the elimination of the Writ of Habeas Corpus and the tremendous greed that brought about the collapse of our economy, the trashing of the stock market and the nationalization of America's largest banks. What does it take for that other 47% to say "Enough is enough". This is the first time in 20 years that a presidential candidate got over 51%. If America wasn't so polarized, it would've been 63%, not 53% this time.

So ends the 2008 election. I hope that all your candidates did good. Thankfully I didn't have to vote for Lucy (Our kitty) for president.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Working with a bunch of clowns!

Yesterday, I had a train that epitomized my career on the railroad - "Boy, I work with a bunch of clowns!" For the second time in my career, I worked on a circus train. A couple of years ago, I took one from Garrett to Chicago. This one is the Barnum and Bailey Circus blue train. They have 2 trains, the blue one and the red one. The circus ended Sunday in Cleveland and is moving on to Chicago. We got the train at the uptown Amtrak Station and took it to Willard Ohio. With all the waiting we had while the train was being switched up and other delays, we only took it from Cleveland to Willard and another crew brought it to Garrett. This is the engines and the head end of the train. The head car had the horses, the second, third and fourth had the elephants and then there was a bunch of cars with people. This car is the second car of the train and had elephants in it. I was hoping to get some trunks sticking out, like they were in Cleveland, but they didn't cooperate. One thing that was striking about the head 4 cars was that they really, really smelled! The car to the right had people in it. It is sectioned off into little apartments. The trailers on this picture is loaded with all the gear they need to run the circus. There were at least a dozen cars of them with lots of cars and trucks.
I just got called to take a train back to Cleveland. This train isn't as cool as a circus train but we don't have to worry about having hundreds of people and hundreds of animals on board. One embarrassing problem with the circus train was that people had a hard time telling us apart from the clowns and animals!
Oh, I would also like to give an update about the Weight Watchers change in my life. Its not a diet but a change in life styles. As of the end of the third week today, I have lost 13.2 pounds! Hooray!!!!

Friday, October 10, 2008

From Harry to Hairy!

If you know me, then you know that I do not use the term "bonehead" lightly. I respect the word bonehead and would never, ever use it unless it was absolutely appropriate. The engineer that I am working with now (yesterday's train) is a certified, true blue, gold medal, tried and true, authentic, original, down right All-American, through and through, top of the chart, A number one bonehead. Hoover doesn't make a vacuum like the one that exists between this bozo's ears. I won't bore you with all the details but he's voting Republican in this election because Harry Truman, a Democrat, signed the Taft-Hartley Act in the late '40's! I handed him a flyer, put out by his union, that documented how Mc Clain's plan of taxing his health insurance benefit would cost him over $5000/year in increased taxes and he said that the Democratic Congress wouldn't allow that. He is counting on the Democrats, none of whom he would ever vote for, to save him from Mc Clain's tax policy. Simply amazing!

I had to tell him, twice, that there are two subjects that are forbidden on my train: religion and politics. Now that I have been able to steer the conversation to the railroad (We agreed that its screwed up), the economy (Mutual funds aren't fun anymore), and our kids (mine are perfect, his are bozos), tension has been eased and on one is agitated.

I brought this up to point out that regardless how much you work at it, no matter how hard you try, as long as you breathe, you will be afflicted with boneheads. Truly ignorant people are like cockroaches. There could be a nuclear holocaust and out of the ashes would crawl a bozo who thought "Git-R-Done" was part of the Gettysburg Address. Like cockroaches, they're everywhere! Heck, one's been president for the last 7 and a half years!

In order to insulate myself from them, I fell in love with and married one of the smartest girls I ever met. Even then, my search took me through perilous waters. Even though my sweetie was beautiful and smart, her roommate was not the reddest strawberry on the shortcake! Jen talked to her three months after the start of the first Gulf War and she wasn't aware that there was even a war going on. Every newscast and newspaper for the previous six months talked about nothing but the war and she had no idea what was going on. Even today, her personal life is right out of West Virginia! Amazing.

The sad fact of life is that stupid people don't just hurt themselves, they hurt others too. How about that woman who killed her baby in the microwave. What was she trying to accomplish? I think the state should pay whatever it costs to buy a microwave big enough and give her a dose of her own medicine. Sometimes there is a certain poetic justice that occurs. There was a guy in Fort Wayne who kidnapped, raped and murdered a little girl. When his wife figured out what happened, he murdered her and their three little girls. He dodged the death penalty by plea bargaining for life without parole. Yesterday he hung himself in his cell. Ordinarily I am not a blood thirsty guy but when I read about him, I pumped my fist and said "All Right!" I guess his plea bargain was more than he bargained for.

That is an example of the thread that runs through all aspects of an idiot's life. They don't ask what could go wrong before they do it. A guy I knew in Bloomington, when I was going to IU, got a DUI and bought a moped. That was OK for a couple months until winter brought slick roads. The first time he hit an ice patch and wrecked, he broke his left arm. The second time, he broke his wrist. Then he couldn't ride it because he couldn't give it any gas without his left wrist. A normal person parks the moped when it gets slick out. A dope waits til after he wrecks the first time. The bonehead has to wreck twice!

Politics is much the same. A normal person would have seen what a bozo Bush was in 2000 and voted for Al Gore. A dope wouldn't have been able to see the obvious and would have voted for Bush in 2000. The bonehead, despite the four years of extreme incompetency, would have voted for Bush again in 2004.

Which brings me back to the bonehead I'm working with. He never asked what could go wrong if you elect an idiot president. In the same vein, he isn't questioning the candidacy of a bitter old man and his clueless parrot-like running mate. I can see it now. Mc Clain (God forbid) gets elected and strokes out six months later making Sarah Palin President. The phone rings at Three A.M. Iran has just fired a nuclear missile at Israel. The world wants to know from her "What are you going to do?" She winks and says "I'll just have to get back with you on that one!" and hangs up.

Oh my Lard!

Those of you who have been reading this blog regularly may have noticed that I have a slight weight problem. As I put it earlier, I currently eat more than I move. Well, that will soon be history! Starting next Monday, yours truly and my lovely wife Jenny are joining Weight Watchers. All my excuses will then be irrelevant. I am going along with this because I'm so fat, its either do this or die too young. Jen is doing this to support my efforts.

So let this be the gauntlet I need to throw down in order to pass that point of no return. I feel that if I make my effort public, then I won't be tempted to cheat or skip exercising. When I reach a milepost, I'll tell you. After all, with Jenny's help I was able to quit smoking. Somehow I was able to scrape up the needed self-discipline and will power to end a 3 and a half pack a day addiction. If I could do that, and I'm extremely proud of it, then I ought to be able to lose 125 pounds. It is much, much easier to exercise, eat properly and responsibly and lose weight than it is to quit the smoking addiction. Look to the left here and you'll see a picture of me next to my son Shane. I promise all of blogdom and all who love me or even sorta like me that I will not quit until I weigh the same of Shane. Knowing him, he would probably gain weight to make it easier for me. If you see me cheat, remind me of this vow. I will thank you!

Bam it all, anyway!

Hey, I read here where this guy wrote his campaign speech. Can anyone do that? 'Cause I'm running for school board and I can't afford to advertise. My name is "Bam" Boozler and I'm running here in Broken Nose, West Virginia. My real first name is Dewey but they've been calling me "Bam" all my life. I'm running for school board 'cause those sum-bitches kicked my baby girl, Lemon Drop Boozler, outa school and my cousin Grits (short for Gritzen Gravy Boozler) said the only way I was gettin' her back in school was to run the dang thing. Shucks, she didn't really do nothing wrong. They caught her smoking one of those left-handed cigarettes in the girl's john. She didn't buy it from some drug dealer. She picked it out of our garden! I know she drives to school but they have no call kickin' a fifth grader out of school.

I've been to them school board meetings. Should be called school bored! Ain't nothin' but a bunch of eggheads whinin' about their dumb students. I went when my boy, Bam-Bam Boozler, got kicked out for having "Skool Sucks" tattooed on his knuckles. If he would've had six fingers on his left hand, he would've spelled it right. Personally, I liked it. Before we got there, I used a Bic pen to change sucks to socks and they sorried us for making a big stink out of nothin' and little Bam-Bam was back in Junior High.

So, all you folks from Broken Nose, vote for me and not for that egghead I'm running against. You know that me and the rest of the Boozlers are normal people. I played on the Splints football team like the rest of you. Heck, I even played on the JV team, the Bandaids.

I ain't heard of globs or blogs or whatever before cousin Grits told me about this one. When I asked him how he found it, he said he goobled "dumb ass" and found it, whatever that means. I read some of those entries. That bozo ain't bad. He could be mayor of Broken Nose with that speech!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Oaf of Office

In this election year, I'm sure that you have seen about all the political ads you can stand. I'm sure that most of the politicians running for office have a specific plan to get themselves elected. The ones who know what they're doing get elected and the rest yell for a recount. If you ever listen to them, you would notice that they all have a regular stump speech they give over and over. The real trick to winning is to write a first class stump speech and ride that pony all the way to election day. Good stump speeches can be generic and be used for just about any office sought. Karl Rove is known for supplying Bush with one that got him elected twice. It was a beauty. Made a war hero look like a traitor and a draft dodger look like a patriot. Is America great or what?

I've been giving some thought to what my stump speech would sound like if I ran for office. Maybe something like this:

"Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for coming today. I am very happy to have this opportunity to talk to you about the upcoming election. My worthwhile opponent couldn't make it tonight. The Communist Party meeting must have ran long. Or, maybe that foreign car of his broke down. Doesn't matter. You probably couldn't understand his slurred speech anyway!

"I want to represent you because I embody your values. I go to a church with a white preacher who doesn't bad mouth the U.S.A. like what's-his-name's does. Every weekend, my church group goes hunting with our automatic rifles before we watch the NASCAR race. My opponent and his PETA friends looked to adopt a skunk before they went to his brother's gay wedding. As you can see, my hair is well groomed while he has a greasy mullet.

"He'll take your gun! I'll go shooting beer cans with you! He'll raise your taxes, I'll spend 'em. He'll do anything to get elected. He even speaks Mexican. I only speak American and if you don't like it, go back to where you came from!

"As you know, my opponent is a lawyer. He's probably chasing an ambulance as we speak. I'm no such thing. I work for a living. It takes real guts to work the night shift at the Quik-Mart! Let my guts work for you too!

"The other day, this bozo I'm running against was whining on and on about the poor education system we got. Heck, my kids got through it O.K. His must be a couple of dopes.

"There's a good reason why my opponent isn't running on his record. Its because his record includes wife beating, kicking his dog and wienie wagging in public. He's been in jail. I've never been caught!

"In conclusion, I'd like you to know that I'm not running for office because I'm power hungry like what's-his-name. I'm only running because it was my mom's wish that one of her boys could make it to the state house instead of the state farm."

Yeah, armed with this baby, I can't lose. I ought to run for Congress because I'd hate to waste this speech on a local election! And, if I run, I have some more great ideas! For the debate, I'll wear a "I'm with Stupid" T-shirt. Maybe change my name to Abraham Lincoln...

Friday, September 12, 2008

I'm near, therefore I am...

Disclaimer: I know that I said that this would be an apolitical blog. The views here aren't supposed to be political, but comedic.

While I was watching the Republican Convention the other day, CNN was interviewing a Gov. Huntsman (of Utah, I think). This guy was gushing on and on that since Alaska was close to Russia and next to Canada, then Gov. Palin had serious foreign relations credentials, even though she has never left the country! Duh! If being in close proximity of something gives you expertise with it, then I'm wasting my time riding trains! It seems that, using the Republican model, I've assimilated some major knowledge.

For instance, I'm writing this in a motel that's a quarter mile from Midway Airport in Chicago. That makes me an expert on the entire air line industry! (Overbook all flights, gouge the passengers and file bankruptcy whenever its time to negotiate with labor.) On Monday, a jet flew right over me as it was coming in for a landing while I was on my walk. It was close enough to make me able to pilot it! (Full flaps Scotty!)

Last week, I had a check-up and sat in the doctor's waiting room for 25 minutes. I know I "Palined" a ton of medical know-how during the wait. I will be taking appointments next week. I need to ask Gov. Palin, though, if I can write M.D. after my name too. Should be O.K. (That shanker on your butt? Take 2 Advil and say 3 Hail Mary's.)

Sometimes, this philosophy brings more responsibility than I'm willing to accept. On my walk in Chicago, I passed by a place called "Midway Colo-Rectal Clinic". I don't even want to know what I could've learned there! (No, that is not my finger!) I've been to Washington D.C. Doesn't that make me an expert about everything? (WMD really meant: Dubya's a Mean Dude.) I've driven through Nashville so I should know all about Country Music. (Is there a Grandma Jones?) Been to Charlotte, Atlanta, Indy and once drove by Michigan International Speedway so that makes me a NASCAR expert. (Dick Trickle is still my favorite driver!"

But, it seems that even I can't be infused with all the local knowledge of everywhere I go. I was stationed near Boston in the Army. Yet, I still can't explain why they elected Mitt the governor! I've been to New Jersey but don't know the first thing about making mob hits! I've been to Philly but can't explain why they use Cheez-Wiz on the cheesesteaks. I've been to Detroit twice and still can't figure out why it isn't a ghost town. Could it be I didn't "Palin" the information there like I should have? Could it be that the whole "Palin effect" of information gathering is a real crock?

Well, I'll tell you. I've been to Wasilla, Alaska. Two of my brothers used to live there. While I was there, I never had the urge to wear mukluks or say "Ay" at the end of every sentence. I was not infused with any sudden insights about Russia or Canada. How could that be? I should be the foreign relations expert! I should be the Vice Presidential nominee! Oh wait. I was never in a beauty pageant. I hope the governor has the same finish in this beauty pageant that she had in her first one!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Tennessee Travelers

I know that all of you see me as a workaholic who is all work and no play. I hate to burst your bubble but I just spent a wonderful time in the Smokies with Jenny and all the family. Boy, did I have a good time. The reason is because I didn't have a hand in planning the trip! Here is the great cabin that we rented.

Now, if I had been the one to make the arrangements, the cabin probably would've looked like this. As you can see, the architect of this place probably graduated from Purdue!

Jenny and I were lucky to have our entire family here: Shannon, Mike, Jaden, Shane and Ashley. Frank and the kitties had to stay home and were missed.

When I got home on Sunday, I was more relaxed than when I left on Thursday and isn't that the purpose of a vacation? Also, the time was also spent celebrating my birthday, the 55th annual Maxmas Day. Shannon baked a delicious cake. I officially didn't know that she was baking it. When it comes to playing stupid, I've been told that I'm a natural. Jaden got me a beautiful picture frame (that will go on the table next to my computer) with her picture in it. Shannon and Mike got me a neat "Crean and Crimson" t-shirt and Shane and Ashley got me a cool Tabasco apron. That was a real stroke of genius. By wearing the apron at suppertime (and I will at home) my clothes and new t-shirts won't have all those greasy stains on the front. I don't think this means that Shane and Ashley think I'm a slob. (They know it like every other living being in America!!)

Here is a picture of Shane dancing with Jaden. I'm putting this in here as proof that there are living Teders' who can dance! (Can you read this, Gene?) I believe that I am an excellent dancer. But in order to prevent embarrassment and shame for my family, I have refrained from dancing ever since my wedding reception.

If anyone wants to see the really neat pictures of this vacation, please see the latest posts on Jenny and Shannon's blogs.
Oh by the way, the reason I now have photographs on my blog is because Jenny got me a great digital camera for my birthday. Someday she'll probably kick herself for that one!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

He's Pundificent!

I was watching MSNBC the other day on TV and I noticed the proliferation of election year "Pundits". I thought, "What in the name of Walter Cronkite is a pundit?" It seems they make millions of dollars giving their opinions (usually wrong) about everything politically and otherwise. It seems the only qualification to being a pundit is to stand up and say "I'm a pundit!" Then you hire an agent to let everyone know that you are indeed a pundit and are ready to share your opinion with everyone else. It is my opinion that a pundit's success is more because of a good agent than his superior knowledge. How else could an "Access Hollywood" reject like Bill O'Reilly succeed? So, in order to let the world access my great intellect, I humbly and honorably declare "I am a pundit!"

For you politics junkies cheering about having another pundit to drone on about who McCain will pick to be a Federal Judge or what Obama's free throw percentage is, I have bad news. I am not going to be a political pundit. Heck, you can't spit in Washington without hitting at least one. No, I'm going to be a non-political pundit. Its what I call being a pundit for everyday life. I will give my opinion on any and every subject I'm asked about (and some I'm not). Whether I know anything about that topic is immaterial. The lack of knowledge never stopped O'Reilly! Ask me any question and I'll give you an answer that you can dedicate your life to. If I don't know anything about it, I'll fake it and give you an answer anyway!

Now I know you're asking yourself "Can he really do it?" or more likely "Can that Bozo with the hair growing out of his forehead answer the most perplexing questions in our time?" You bet! I'm ready to dedicate my entire being for a couple minutes every so often to be the pundit America, no, the world needs.

I know it won't be easy. No landmark accomplishment ever is. But with my family behind me (taking advantage of the shade) and little Jaden whispering guidance in my ear, I'm ready. I know I'm going to face naysayers who don't know the depth of my intellect or my ability to spread the bull. So, I'll give my opinion on the defining question of our day. The question, never before answered definitively, will be the first one I punderize. Should the toilet paper hang over the roll or under it? I know you are saying "That's too hard a question!" and "Answer that and our lives turn insignificant!" Yeah, yeah, but when I pundit, I P-U-N-D-I-T!

Here goes. I know that half of you do it one way and the other half do it the other. Read my explanation and you will heartily agree with me. The answer: OVER the roll. Why? Because when the paper hangs under the roll, it lays right against the wall and hands that grab for it will also leave dirt marks on the wall that you will have to clean off. When draped over the roll, the paper stays away from the wall, keeping those grubby hands off the wall and saving you precious cleaning time. You may be asking yourself "Why didn't I think of that?" Because you aren't a pundit!

I'm here to answer your most vexing questions. Say you are expecting a baby girl and want to know whether to name her Rumer, Scout or Tallulah. I'll give you the answer! (None of them, you bonehead! Try Maxine.) If you're the type of person who sold their Atlanta Braves tickets when you heard that Russia invaded Georgia, then you're the type who needs my opinion on your most important matters.

For the time being, my pundit skills will be yours to access FREE of CHARGE! Of course, I'll have to charge the news channels and newspapers for my services. But for Joe or Jane America, I'm free. As a person who has a hard time making even the easiest decision, I'm ready to make your toughest ones. You can reach me at 1-800 UH-DUHHH or at www.noskinoffmyass.duh. If worse comes to worse, leave a comment on the blog.

Another very important function for a pundit is to give the unwarranted and unwanted opinion on just about everything. I can do that. Some of them are just too easy. Hey Brittney, lose the junk in the trunk! Male or female, gray hair looks like crap in a pony tail. I know that spiky, pointy hair is in vogue with guys but if you're over 50, forget it! Gray hair that's all spiky makes you look like some loser who thinks he's cool. Abolish the death penalty and bring back life at hard labor to replace it. Punks today don't fear death nearly as much as they hate hard work! At tax time, when corporations have figured up all their deductions, only let them take the percentage of them equal to the percentage of their products produced in the U.S. It seems to me, when skinny people host cooking shows, the food usually sucks: Crap like pickled herring and sushi tacos with broccoli sprouts and shredded tofu. You know those barbed wire tattoos that are so popular around the upper arms? It gives me the impression that the whole person should be behind barbed wire. Might as well have EEEWWW tattooed on their plumber's butt.

There ought to be an age limit for plastic surgery. Jeez, if Joan Rivers farts, her eyelids flutter! When you're 70, no one expects you to look like a nympho, just act like one. Likewise, when you reach retirement age, you're excused from being fashionable. You never see runway models with walkers for a reason.

Two words that would've given Hillary the nomination: Tanning booth! Presidential candidates should be required to tell how they got their nicknames. Mitt Romney's real first name is Willard. I realize that with a name like Willard, only his family would've voted for him. But Mitt? "Bill" would've gotten him the nomination.

Finally, as I wait for the networks to clamor for my pundit services, I realize that as a pundit, I have an increased self-importance. My farts no longer stink and my opinions are the only ones that count. Isn't that right, Dorothy?"

Monday, August 11, 2008

Next time, bring your friends!

This morning, as I was shaving at the motel in Chicago, I noticed that an old friend was back. I haven't seen him for at least 5 years and thought that he would never return. Of course, I'm talking about that hair that grows out of the middle of my forehead. The hair that gives Jenny so much joy to pull out. The hair, by its presence only, legitimizes my claim of uniqueness. It also performs other functions. It helps balance out a head that's losing its hair much too quickly. It proves that Jenny hasn't been gazing longingly into my eyes lately because it hangs down above them. If she had seen it, she would have plucked it! Lastly, it says something about my powers of perception when a hair can grow out of the middle of my forehead to a length of over and inch without me noticing it.

Before you start thinking that I'm not very perceptive, hear (read?) me out. I am not a narcissistic person. I've seen my face often enough, I don't make much of an effort to examine it very often. When I shave, my glasses are off. Also, I'm looking under my nose, not over it. When I comb my hair, I'm standing far enough away that single hairs are invisible. As a matter of fact, more of them become invisible every day! (That is, except for all the ones that started growing in and on my ears!)

Some of you are probably thinking that this bozo must live such a mundane life that a hair growing out of the middle of his forehead is a big deal. Well, you're probably right. I better show it off while I can because when Jenny reads this blog, she'll run in here and pluck it!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Similes make me smile!

Grammar has never been my strong suit. I use ain't way too much and say don't when I should be saying doesn't. Therefore, it won't come as much of a surprise to many folks that the part of the grammar book that I read first was the chapter about similes. A simile is a phrase that is used to describe something instead of adjectives. Instead of saying that some guy has a white, pasty face, I'd say that ol' Casper is whiter'n a nun's rear end. Might not be very couth, but that's never been a burden for me either.

Now, I didn't just wake up one summer day and say "Wow, its hotter'n two rats screwin' in a wool sock!" No, my dad had a saying for just about everything. That's what they're called in our family, sayings. Dad's were sometimes normal and predictable, ("Its hotter'n hell!), so I tried to branch out a little with new sayings. After all, dad had a 30 year head start on me and everyone knew his "sayings".

There are two of dad's sayings that I continue to use that have always confounded Jenny and the kids. The first is "Now you're stepping in tall cotton!" He came up with this because everyone, and I mean everyone, else were saying "Now you're cooking with gas" and "Now you're cooking on the front burner!" It means that, somehow, you're managing to do something the correct way. The other saying is "Show 'em how the hog ate the cabbage!" or "We showed 'em how the hog ate the cabbage". It means "Show 'em how its done" or "We showed them". Everything could always use a little spicing up. Last week, I told Jenny that I ought to get GET 'ER DONE tattooed in big letters on the bottom of my gut and start wearing those shirts that are too small on me. She knew that I wasn't serious, was I? After all, I work with a lot of Appalacian/Americans who would think that is a great idea!

Some of my sayings show my railroad background, like "Its blacker than a trainmaster's heart." A trainmaster is a bottom level supervisor. They usually know very little about the railroad life and are concerned only with being a hard ass so they will get promoted. Some other ones are: "Rougher than a trainmaster's kiss" and "Dumber than a trainmaster's kid." For a railroader, trainmasters make great dupes.

Usually when you decide to live the "saying" lifestyle, you fall into some bad habits. You find a good saying and you beat it to death. I have a few of them. They are my "answer" sayings and I tend to give the same answer every time. You say "How's it going" and I'll answer "Its going. I just don't know how yet!" You say "Have a nice day" and I'll answer "I'll make the heroic effort!" As I go to work, you say "Have a good trip" and I'll answer "Last time I had a good trip was in '86 and I was off work 8 months!" (That's when I dislocated my ankle at work.) You say "Have a safe trip" and I say "Seems to me, any time you trip, how safe can you be?" I have a snappy answer for just about every tired line that people automatically say when they think they're being polite.

I try not to be offensive. I don't say "Colder'n a witch's tit" or anything like that. If I had to come up with a saying, I probably could. As for cold, I'd probably say something like "As cold as a nun's stare at a farting contest." (That's for Fuzzie) I would never mention a well digger's rear end or a brass monkey. You might think that coming up with a good saying is difficult. Its actually pretty easy. I thought of my best lines on the spur of the moment.

I have a number of sayings that can't be shared here. People are just too sensitive now-a-days. You can't tell someone "If my dog looked like you, I'd shave his ass and make him walk backwards" or "Your face could gag a maggot off a meat truck" or "Your pits could make a buzzard puke!" or "You're so ugly, when you were born, the doctor slapped your mom!" Must be that thin skin I was talking about in my last posting. Now its "You're dumber than Bush's energy policy" or "That's scarier than Hillary without her make-up on!" Those are obvious no-brainers!

Old sayings are tired sayings. I believe in modernizing them. Old: "Stiff as a board." New: "Stiffer'n Hef's yard boy." Old: "Dead as a doornail." New: "Dead as a gay Texas gym teacher." Old: "Green as grass." New: "Green as pneumonia snot." Old: "Cold as ice." New: "As cold as Laura Bush at a booger eating contest." and Old: "As slick as snot on an onion." New: "As slick as Monica Lewinsky's cigar."

I'm aware that my use of "sayings" can be rough on my loved ones. After all, how many times can you hear the same old stuff before you want to barf. I've been blessed with a wonderful family who chuckle each time like the first time. That's as rare as a Republican at an NAACP convention, or rarer than Arabs at a hogroast or rarer than front teeth on a hockey team, or...

Thursday, August 7, 2008

"You want cheese with that whine?"

John Mc Clain's now-ex economic advisor, Phil Gramm, said a little while back that the U.S. is not in a recession, we are all just a bunch of whiners. I totally disagree with his first assertion but have to go along with the second.

Our culture had developed two disturbing traits the last ten years or so. First, Americans have developed microscopically thin skin. The cat farts and four strangers demand an apology! This blog posting will probably make alot of people mad. (I'm struggling to write this without saying "P...ed off" or "B..ch".) Jeez, Phil Gramm himself has probably already filed a lawsuit. If its O.K. with everyone, I'll leave this topic for a later date and go on with my rant about the second disturbing trait, whining.

If you read my last posting, then you'll remember about the engineer I used to work with named Bobby. Well, Bobby was a pathelogical whiner. He whined about everything. He was so bad and whined so much that after working with him for a round trip, I fealt like going home and opening my wrists. He makes Dick Cheney seem like Chuckles the Clown!

Let's not confuse whining with complaining. Complaining is O.K. because you are airing out legitimate gripes to the responsible people. Discussing with your neighbor about his dog's habit of crapping in your flower bed isn't whining. Its complaining. Moaning about it to your pastor is whining. Lets say little Shane has a bad habit of, not only cutting some really grizzly farts in public, but he stands on one leg, bending the other leg and cranks the fart out with his arm like an uppercut swing. The initial reaction would be to kick the kid in the butt and whine to his dad. The correct answer should be to whine at the kid and kick his dad in the butt!

I really don't suffer whiners very well. On the railroad, when you have to go somewhere to get a train or need a ride from the train to the motel, they send you a van to haul you around. I had a van driver in Chicago once who whined the whole hour-long trip about how his girlfriend (?) was screwing around behind his back and on and on. She didn't cook. She didn't clean. She didn't work. She didn't recognize his brilliance. He wouldn't even shut up when I faked sleeping! The next day we get the same loser and he starts right in about "the bitch". I interupted him right there. I told him that is obvious that he thinks his pitiful sex life is exciting and interesting but I'm sick of hearing about it and will he please shut up! He whined. I complained. Complaining trumps whining so I won and he shut up. I've learned that you need to be painfully blunt to shut up a serial whiner. "I don't give a f..." will not do the trick. The theory behind my defense against panhandlers works here too. When I see a panhandler coming (in Chicago, I attract them like flies), I'm ready. Just as he's ready to open his mouth, I say "Hey buddy, could you spare a buck for my blind mother?" They'll usually say "F... you" and go on. I'll meet a serial whiner with a "Hey, did I tell you about that shanker on my ass?" He'll just turn around and whine to someone else. My usual line about whiners is "He'd b..ch if someone s..t on his plate!" I'm not quite sure what it means but dad used to say it and if it was good enough for him, its good enough for me.

It seems that in the campaign, Mc Clain has been whining alot lately. "He won't go overseas." "He's overseas too much." "He's flip-flopping." Its his all-out push for the whiner vote!

At work I do a lot of fake whining. Its all a part of my main endeavor at work: Lowering my engineer's expectations. I don't care if I've sat on my rear end for 11 and a half hours and finally have to go out and throw a switch, I grumble "Rawhide the poor conductor" as I go out the engine door. My standard fake whine when the railroad screws something up used to be "Ain't seen nothing like it in 30 years!". After realizing that they make the same mistakes every day, I changed my signature whine to "Ain't seen nothing like it in 2 days!" Some guys I work with have some pretty good signature whines. One that stands out is Brad's. He says "I've been to 2 World Fairs and a goat f..king and I ain't seen nothin' like this before!" All this fake whining has a purpose. In explaining it to a trainee one time, I told him that when you lower your engineer's expectations real low and perform your job at a normal level, he'll be happy with your job performance. But, if you blow off about being the best conductor on the railroad and work at a normal level, he'll be disappointed. Either way, you work normally. One instance has him happy with you and the other not. I'll always leave them happy.

Now that I'm an important blogger and read by a couple of Americans (and Germans looking for compression stockings) every day, I want to use my elevated position in American culture to establish a moratorium on whining! AND, there will be a $1.00 fine for every time you whine. This has a chance to bankrupt some people. Since I outlawed it, then the fines must be paid to my favorite charity, Kate's Cart. Visit www.katescart.com to pay your fines. Take your medicine like a man (or woman) and pay up. Our motto could be "We whine so sick kids can read!" or "Bitching for Books!" I can see it now. Bobby will have a new wing named after him at Mitchell's Books!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Dumbo? He has big ears!

For personal reasons, I'm not much of a Mel Gibson fan. Its got nothing to do with that Jesus movie or the one about the Aztecs. Its those dang Mad Max movies he made. He didn't even look like a Max. A longhair he-man hero named Max? NOT LIKELY! Maybe his smart sidekick or his pet dingo, yeah. By using the name Mad Max, he has labeled all us Maxes as being mad. Whenever anyone refers to me as Mad Max, I say "No, that's happy Max!" Doesn't work. Before Gibson came around, Maxes were thought of as dependable, hard working and fun-loving brains. Smart and honest. Warm and loving. After all, Max is the most common name for dogs. You know, the friendliest, most loyal species of animals. Not anymore. There's a reason no Saint Max has been proclaimed lately. Can't be both holy and mad.

As I've said before, I don't have a viable nickname. My family members have the normal ones. James is Jim (Not Jimmy!), Gene is Gene and Gerald is Jerry. Linda doesn't have a nickname either. An intelligent one for Linda would be LIN. You know, Linda without the duh! My brother-in-law, Jim, can easily be called James to remove confusion between him and my brother Jim. No one would ever think of calling my brother James.

Some nicknames rescue a kid from a dweeby name. Frances becomes Frank, Melvin is Mel and Alfred and Albert is Al. Delbert is Del or Bert and Maynard is Nards (Shane will get this one!). Some names have no help. Names like Marian (Mary?), Nelson (Nellie?), Abner (Ab?), Percy (Perk?) or Fuzbukt (Fuzzie?). To get a nickname for these guys, see the next paragraph. They alone won't be stigmatized. After all, when you start with Mortimer, ANYTHING is an improvement!

I have around 50 first cousins and as far as I can determine, not one of them has ever had one of those cutesy nicknames that some guys give their sons because they hate children and want to ruin their lives. These are nicknames like Chip or Chipper, Bud (I've got an Uncle Bud but he fits the stereotype!), Junior, Pal, Toots, Punk, Skip, Skipper or Skippy. You may as well tattoo "Hit Me!" on their foreheads.

Even though they aren't nicknames, one thing really gets me. That's when people name a child a kid's name never realizing that the kid will grow up. About 10 years ago I worked on a train with 2 guys. The engineer was 61 and named Bobby and the Conductor was 62 and named Billy. For strike 2, the conductor's middle name was Clinton. No kidding. My niece Cathy had 2 classmates in school who were twins and their first names were Lemonjello and Orangejello. We still have the program with their names on it somewhere at home. Bet they don't turn into Nobel Prize winners!

One way to receive a nickname is to have an unfortunate or embarrassing event in your life. Have a car wreck, you're crash. Have a fat girlfriend, you're Jack Sprat, or fall in the lake and you're Bob. I work with a guy, known by his initials, J.J., who had a problem. He was on a train and was sorta tired. When he yawned, his jaw locked and had to go to the hospital with his mouth wide open! After that, he has been known as Lockjaw. (I call him L.J. instead of J.J.) We had another guy who used to have eyebrow and nose rings with a tongue stud. He's known as tacklebox. One guy got into an arguement with a working girl in front of the hotel in Chicago. Word is he shorted her on her fee. He is quite a bonehead. He ended up slapping her and ended up earning himself the nickname of Chief. Chief? Yeah, he's an Indian now and the Chief of the Slap-a-Ho tribe. One guy is known as Buffy because he has buffalo breath. One guy is an American Indian whose relative is a chief in the Miami tribe. He's known a Chief Short Lance.

I hate it when someone goes by his initials. Jenny wanted to name Shane-o Andrew Joseph and call him A.J. I liked the name. Call him Andy or Drew, but not A.J. I work on the railroad where everyone is referred to by their initials and if you are unfortunate enough to have initials like B.J. or D.M.F. or O.J. you learn to hate initials. I may change my mind about it, though. Ask me in 6 years.

Another lazy nickname that some people are given is a shortening of their last names. Names like Smitty, Jonesy or Teets. Not too fond of that either.

Descriptive nicknames can be cruel. Names like fats, shorty, tubby, tank, slats, lumpy, Dumbo, pokey, bull, one-eye and beanpole. Even worse is using nicknames that are opposite of reality, like shorty for a tall guy, tiny for a fat one or Einstein for an idiot.

Actually, I must admit that one guy at work has a nickname for me (He's the one who came up with Tacklebox). He calls me professor because I'm smart. Compared to him, professor would be a good nickname for my cat.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Young and Restless

My lovely wife, Gramma J, thinks that I'm going to be writing an entry on growing old. She told me the other day about signing me up for AARP. In the normal realm of blogdom, I would then be expected to give the lowdown about growing old. Thats if I exhibited the symptoms of aging, and I don't! I'll prove it to you.
Old people talk about their ailments. I don't. Jeez, when I got together with my 3 OLDER brothers and my OLDER sister last weekend, all they talked about was politics and pains. I didn't once mention my really painful left heel or my diabetes or my really low chloresterol. They all talked about these vitamins and those supplements but I never mentioned the Omega-3 fish oil capsules, Centrum Silver and low-dosage aspirin I take every day. You see, I don't act like a geezer.
Old people wear alot of hats to cover their thinning hair. Don't want to burn the bald spot. Hehe. My hair may be thinning a little (nothing like my cousin Kevin or ol' FUZBUKT) but not to where I have to wear a hat. I can still joke with my older friends. "Its not that you have less hair to comb, you have more face to wash!" or "You know that every hair that falls out takes brain cells with it, don't you? I know a couple guys who are one hair wash away from retardation!" Oh, I did get a neat Reds road cap the other day. Finally found one that fit.
Old guys will walk down the street with shorts and black knee socks on. What a hoot. When I wear my compression stockings, I wear long pants.
Need more proof? Old guys hit from the white tees, I hit from the blues. Old people drive Buicks and Mercury Marquises (hear that Jim T), I drive a Bronco II. Old guys have Velcro on their tennies, mine ties. Geezers listen to Sinatra and Johnny Matthes, I listen to Elvis and the Bee Gees. Old guys eat flats, I eat drummettes. They like Mc Cain, I prefer Obama. They use Bon Ami, I use Soft Scrub. They visit the facilities, I take a dump. They eats soft food, I eat cracklins. They use Duz, I use Tide. They use Brylcream, I use mousse. They buy Cat Chow, I buy Deli Cat. They read Hustler, I read Maxim. They gum, I gnaw. They go toodle, I piss. They watch Regis, I watch Kelly. They do jigsaws, I do crosswords. They do Sudoku, I do Kukuru. They're OG, I'm UG. They wheeze, I used to cough. They pee on their shoes, I pee on the toilet seat. They use snow-blowers, I shovel. They like Carson, I like Letterman. They eat cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts, kohlrabi, parsnips, turnips, green peppers, celery, carrots and cucumbers. I eat corn. They drink buttermilk. I would die of thirst first. They eat livers, I eat gizzards. They play checkers, I play Minesweeper (Got a 92 on expert!). Last, but not least, they hang around old ladies whereas I chill with my young trophy wife, Jenny.
So you see, I'm not old. Just because I can remember 18 cent a gallon gas, 2 for 21 cents bread and the Interurban tracks that ran along Cowen Street extended doesn't mean that I'm old. I just have a good memory.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Fat flip-flopping fun!

President Bush firmly believes that the worse thing a person could do in life is change his mind. That would make them a "Flip-flopper". That must stem from the fact that he has such a narrow mind, there's no room to maneuver. Personally, I believe that changing one's mind is an admirable trait. If you receive some information that alters a previously held belief, then a reasonably intelligent person will change that belief to correspond with the new information.
I'll give an example. Last Thursday I was wearing a gray t-shirt. When I got called to work, I'd only had it on for 20 minutes or so. Sam, my regular engineer, was off for a doctor's appointment and I was told that my engineer for this trip would be Uncle Strawberry. Whenever I work with Strawberry, we make tons of money. Dispatchers don't seem to want to run our train and we sit at red signals racking up the overtime. Its gotten so that when I work with him, I not only wear a green t-shirt (green as in greenbacks) but I pack a green one for the next day also. So after I took my call, I changed my mind about wearing the gray t-shirt and put on a green one.
Now, that may not sound like a life altering occurence to some of you, but it was quite stressful for me. You see, that one little decision turned me into a "FLIP-FLOPPER"! Some people could just slough off that stigma, but not me. I'm much too sensitive about political correctness and about the feelings of strangers for that. And Jen thinks that my job is low stress. Hah!
To change the subject (which is not flip-flopping), I have decided to address a subject that is considered to be a scourge of modern civilization: FAT. As you know if you read my last posting, I'm big boned. Queen Latifah calls it being wide. I like to think of it as being horizontally challenged. I don't have a beer guy, I ate this one on. Little did I know when I started evolving into a tub what a drag on the American Economy I was becoming. There was a study out last year that said obesity costs ALL Americans over $6 billion the year before in health costs. Don't blame me. I have health insurance. Blame the POOR fat guy. I think skinny people are just mad because food prices are higher because of shortages caused by us fat guys mowing down on the supplies. Throw a bag of potato chips into a room full of lard-asses and you'll learn about supply and demand pretty quickly.
The thing that has me concerned is that that study about the $6 billion cost of fat people is just the first shot over the bow. That's how it started with smokers. Some non-smoker came up with a study how smokers cost all of us over $5 billion a year in health costs. Then it soon became OK to act however prejudicial you wanted to against smokers. Its got so bad, one company, US Gypsum, doesn't allow their employees to smoke OFF the job in their own homes. If an employee tests positive for nicotine in a urine test, they're fired! That same fervor that non-smokers exhibited in the smoking wars is now rearing its ugly head in the war against obesity. Pretty soon, it will be OK to disregard the rights of fat people, making them non-entities like smokers. After all, watching a fat guy scarf down 2 dozen hot wings and a large order of fries could cause irrepairable harm to an impressionable young child. Watching a fat woman enjoying a banana split may cause kids to want that type of love and enjoyment in their lives too. Soon, restaurants in Fort Wayne will only be allowed to serve dessert in walled off rooms and convenience stores will quit selling Twinkies to anyone under 18.
Whereas non-smokers think smoking is just a habit and not an addiction, skinny people think that their heftier brethren are fat because they are lazy and lack self-control. All I know is my current heft was not caused by laziness or lack of self control. It happened because, as a little kid, I was once scared by a skinny guy!
I think that Jenny once told me that bloggists don't like to read about 2 different subjects in one posting. Here I am, in only my second posting writing about 2 subjects. I was so ashamed until I found out that that scary skinny guy was also a FLIP-FLOPPER!!!

Friday, July 18, 2008


Hello all you blogospheroids, I am now one of you! I have begun my journey into 21st Century life in America. If and when I get a MySpace page with 1000 friends, an IPOD with 5,000 songs and an electric car, I will be a child of the 21st Century. Please don't hold your breaths. I'm doing this because my lovely wife and my charming daughter get so much joy from blogging. I could use some of that joy too.

I am thought of differently by the diverse group of people who know me. At work, I'm the hard charging go-getter who is quick with a joke and a kind word. To my kids, I'm the guy that allows them to take advantage of me whenever they want. I would do any and everything for them. To my wife, I'm that lump she has to sweep around and occasionally spray with Lysol. I have different names depending on who is referring to me. I'll list some and give a little clarification of each. I will not include the ones like "dumb ass" and "s... for brains". After all, this is a Christian blog.

1. Max. That's my name, Max Joseph Teders. Paul and Eleanor's baby boy. I was the fifth kid, fourth boy. Mom once told me that she would have named me James, except one of my older brothers already had that name. Yep, I could've been James Darryl Teders! Mom's doctor had a son named Max (who later became her doctor also). I don't think that I was named after him but I think that's where the folks heard of and fell in love with the name MAX. One guy at work once asked me if I had a nickname. My name is 3 letters long. Its already been nicked all it can be.

2. Dad. I'm called this by two of the most remarkable people that I have ever known: My daughter Shannon and my son Shane. They are smart, witty, kind and generous, hard working, industrious and beautiful. In other words, chips off the old block! When I look back to my childhood and teenage years, I realized that I have been extremely blessed and luckier than an oilman with a Republican President!

3. Husband. The day that God made my life complete was August 1, 1981. That day Jenny and I got married. I love her more than life itself. I am, indeed, the luckiest man in the world.

4. Conductor. The catchy name of the blog hints about a connection with trains. I work on freight trains between Garrett, Indiana, and Chicago. My family has no clue as to what I do, where I go and how I do it. When I would start to talk about the road, their eyes would glaze over and they'ld change the subject. I spend around 2/3 of my life at work and to truly know me, you need to have to be somewhat aware of my life at work. I may tell you all about it someday. I may not.

5. Me. I'll soon be 55 years old, on MAXMAS day, August 21st. I refer to myself as being horizontally challenged. Got a gut. Don't want it. I currently move less than I eat. Ideally, I'd like to lose a hundred pounds. The person who comes up with a safe and easy way to do that will win the Nobel Prize, his book will win a Pulitzer and the movie about him will win an Oscar. He'd be the Al Gore of diets. I like to think of myself as a nice guy. Actually, being thought of as a nice guy is what I have always strived for.

6. Liberal. The L word. We must be there for the children. Give them hope for the future that will enable them to fulfill their dreams. The only thing worse than not caring for our children is taking away their hope. One thing that you can be assured of is that I would vote for a kitten for president before I'd vote for a Republican.

In 55 years, I am sorta set in my ways. To Jenny's amazement, I don't really care for reality shows on TV. The people on those shows aren't the people I see every day. The reality of life in America is the family struggling to get by. Not Rob and Amber. I can't keep up with shows that are serials because of my work schedule. I have found that my favorite shows are documentaries. The History Channel and NatGeo rule! The very best ones are the sports documentaries by Bud Greenspan and HBO. The actor Liev Schreiber narrate both the Greenspan and HBO shows. If he's narrating, I'll watch. I'll watch MSNBC or CNN if there's nothing else on. Countdown with Keith Olbermann is the best news show on TV, bar none.
As for music, I've been stuck in the 60's and early 70's for the last 35 years. Lately, though, I've been listening to Majic 95.1 alot. Green Day rules! Jenny has taken a liking to country music lately. I like the catchy tunes but can leave the rest. I like some classical stuff, mostly Mozart and Overtures.
I like to read, mostly mysteries, almost always fiction. There are a couple books that I've read more than 10 times. Poor reading comprehension rules!
Last but surely not least is the newest member of my family, Jaden. The prettiest little girl in the world. With the gene pool she received from her mom and dad, this little girl will someday make the world a better place.
I haven't mentioned many of the people who have shaped my life and are meaningful in it now. Maybe later I'll write about them. Really dish the dirt. Tell where the bodies are buried. Write History! Then again, maybe not.