Monday, December 28, 2009

No more blaming the cat!!

I really do my best blogging on a long slow train with hours to sit and think. As the last entry illustrates, some trains are really long and really slow! That's why this entry is so rare. I'm still at home, enjoying my yearly year-end vacation. I have been working alot lately around the house and there's nothing on my agenda today so I'm freed up for this little journey into blogdom.

Why an entry today after all this time? I realized that the new year is upon us and its resolution time! As all guys realize very early in any relationship, there's always room for improvement. In order to be the perfect gentleman, vibrant and healthy, witty and urbane, and couth and civil by the time I reach retirement, adjustments must be started now. Other than that pesky blowing off farts in public resolution, I've done pretty well with my last year's resolutions. Get off my ass and exercise, check! Lose that gut, check! The previous two resolutions, to be honest with you, are made every year by any of us who aren't in shape. Along with the the quit smoking resolution, they are, in my case especially, prefaced with the words "Yeah, right!" It is with extreme pride that my resolutions this year will not have to include "Yeah, right!"

There are other resolutions I've made every year since I've turned 18 that are bunnies. Accomplishing them helped alleviate the sting from blowing off the major ones. They included:
1. Pledge not to drive a Corvette over 125 miles an hour.
2. Vow to wear dress shoes when visiting the White House.
3. Be determined to evacuate for the hurricanes and not ride them out, and
4. Only ride non-Arabian horses!

So, typically, at the end of the year when asked if I kept my resolutions, I would say, between coughs and bites of pizza, that yes, I've met most of my goals. That's why you don't let others make your resolutions for you. A few years ago, I could hear Jen "Quit smoking. Go on a diet. Get some exercise for God's sake!" I would wonder "How fun would that be?" (Actually, I'm taking literary license here because Jen has never nagged me about smoking or my weight, to her everlasting credit. As it turned out, nagging wasn't needed! Hear that wives?) That's why I'm being proactive with resolutions on the 28th. If I wait and let Jen set the agenda, then there won't be any gimmes.

Of course, there are people out there who come up with some pretty lame resolutions to give the impression that there isn't much improvement needed, thank-you! Some like: "I resolve to wear each pair of underwear on its proscribed day. I like Friday's pair best and sometimes I just have to wear them on Wednesday! (Yeah, yeah, yellow in front and brown in back and shut up!) or ... "Even though I love its taste best, this year I'll switch from 'Crest with Watermelon' to 'Tartar Control Crest'!" (Keep smoking that meth, bozo, and you won't have to worry about tooth past anyway!) How about... "This year I'm going to support 3 poor kids in the Philipines instead of only one." (How about the 6 you fathered while you were there in the Navy?) Yeah, New Year's resolutions are a way for the self-righteous to shove their goody-goody persona in your face.

I don't do that! (Yeah, right!) My resolutions this year will have some meat on them. It won't be like a 400 pound, 50 year-old witch making a celibacy pledge or the doofus in a condo vowing to trade in his riding mower on a push one. No, mine will be meaningful, relevant and honest self-improvement. So, without further adieu, here's my 2010 New Year's resolutions:

1. I will treat Republicans like they treat President Obama.
2. I will change my public farting policy that allow farts that can't be heard to only farts that can't be smelled.
3. When someone starts on me about anything political, I'll smile and say "I'm proud to be an American!"
4. When someone starts on me about religion, I'll smile and say "... and may God bless you and God bless the United States of America!"
5. Candy, cookies and chips are the Devil's handiwork! Treat them that way and avoid them entirely!
6. Try to cut down on portion sizes. I eat entirely too much. If I didn't exercise, lord knows where I'd be.
7. When people say that global warming is caused by cow farts, say my usual "Bullshit" UNDER my breath.
8. Vow to close all the kitchen cupboard doors before I leave the kitchen. If that means quitting doing the dishes, well sometimes you have to take one for the team.
9. When my favorite sports team does the big choke, whine about it private, alone. Text whining is OK as long as the textee is probably whining too. and...
10, I'll try to quit making all those high crime and mob references about New Jersey. But Fuzzy, if New Jersey is the Garden State, what are they growing in Camden and Newark?

Ah, I feel like a better man already and I've still got 3 days of debauchery before these resolutions kick in!

Friday, October 30, 2009

If you are what you wear then I'm screwed!

I know that I've promised Jenny not to dwell on "weighty" issues in my blog for awhile. Frankly, I can be a bit tedious in my enthusiasm for the healthier lifestyle. This blog entry sorta skirts on the subject. Most women will say it does while most guys will say it doesn't. I could dance around the subject for awhile but my new endeavor to be precise and to the point won't allow me to.

My problem is that I have a very limited wardrobe. Now, if I want the real baggy look, I'm set. Most of my shirts that fit me are hand-me-downs from Jenny. Most of them are GHS shirts from the band or football. The brand named ones that I have bought fit OK. The one's that aren't have shrunk enough to be a little snug. I only have one button-up shirt but that's no big whup. I rarely wore them when I had a bunch. Same goes for Dockers. As for jeans, I have one pair that's my current size and two pairs one size up. That too is OK. As you can tell, I can start crafting a wardrobe that matches my persona. My dilemma is that there is so many different lifestyles of men's clothing that I don't really know which one to adapt as my own. You see, I have a unique opportunity to basically start from scratch with my wardrobe so that allows me to go with whatever style I desire. The problem is: Which one? After I started to think about it, I came up with a number of them. Since I am usually incapable of making a timely decision and this one would be made before Christmas, I guess I'll try to come up with as many as I can and let you, the blogosphere help me decide. (Its all a part of my latest self-help project: Let others make the hard decisions and I'll never make a wrong one!) I'm sure I missed a lot of different styles you may think of. Actually, I didn't. I just deemed them as being beneath my status as a renowned blogger! After all, there's no way you could picture me as an intercity youth, wearing FUBU shorts hanging to my knees with a white 4X t-shirt and a hat on with the bill to the side. Or, for that matter, who could picture me in geezer polyester with a white belt and cream colored shoes with Velcro straps. Hard to see me as a hunter with blaze orange clothes that smell like deer piss scent. How about "fisherman chic" with a boonie cap full of lures, a khaki safari vest and jeans covered with dried scales. Not very likely!

The first style I considered is "biker chic". There, you dress up in skin tight black leather with a lot of studs, a wallet with a chain and do rags. To fit this lifestyle, I'll have to grow a long beard and longer hair. I'll have to wear a leather vest without a t-shirt and get some serious tattooing done. There's a fine line between "biker chic" and the "flamboyant gay" style. The latter includes a leather motorcycle hat, a five o'clock shadow and manicured nails. Gotta watch yourself with these fashion genres. Now, I've got a brown leather barn coat I got years ago by sending in thousands of UPC bar codes from Merit cigarettes. It doesn't count here because no self-respecting biker or gay would be caught dead in it!

Next is "European playboy". I saw this alot when I spent two years in Germany in the Army. I'm aware that that was 35 years ago. Well, I haven't seen any renaissance in European styles in the meantime, if you know what I mean. This style could also be labelled as "mid 70's disco". The differences are minor. First, you start off with hip hugger pants without a belt (or loops for that matter). The European style will NOT have back pockets while disco does. The shirts are silk (or rayon for the cheapskates) and are unbuttoned for enough to show hair. Berlin's gay scene is filled with guys with no chest hair, yet still fulfill this requirement if you know what I mean. If you dress in this fashion genre, you have to listen to techno-rock and dance the "robot", eat food that normal people step on and hold your cigarette (whether you smoke it or not) between your fore finger and thumb with the back of your hand away from your face. You will wear light brown shoes without socks.

The next category will never be confused with the last one. This one is "square dancer". It consists of tight straight leg jeans, rolled up one turn and ironed with a lot of starch. The shirts are usually patterned like gingham, with a white yoke over the shoulders. It'll have pearled snaps instead of buttons. The black shoes will have a high gloss shine. (Gays will go with Paten leather.) and the ten gallon hat they wear will be white. Invariably, they'll be wearing a string tie but don't rule out a bandanna or a big bow tie. The "uptown" square dancer will have tight white leather gloves with no backs. Gays and gaudy types will wear matching white buckskin vests and chaps. They'll all look like "Smiling Bob" in those Ensyte commercials.

Similar to the last one, but not as gaudy is the "Marlboro Man" style. This one has a worn cowboy hat, regular jeans, a flannel shirt and cowboy boots. He'll have a five o'clock shadow, be chewing on a toothpick with a denim waist jacket. Gays in this genre will have the front and back bills on their hats bent down. Their 5 o'clock shadow will be trimmed and their cowboy boots will be made from armadillos and their toothpicks will be 24k gold.

One style where a gay guy wouldn't be caught in is the "grungy punk teenager" or GPT for short. The GPT will have pants that sag a good six inches down his rear. Because of that, he'll walk on the pant legs, tearing the bottoms up pretty good. The shoes are usually untied Skecher skateboard shoes and the shirt was the one he wore yesterday (and the day before). His face usually has more zits than a wrestler's ass and if his hair came in contact with a comb lately, it was purely coincidental. Usually his trousers, either denim or khaki, are able to stand in the corner on their own and the top three inches of his boxers will be faded from the sun. Wannabes in this fashion genre can be identified by their tighty whities, belt and unpicked noses.

Next up is the business professional. Even though its his day off, he'll wear a sport's coat with either a polo shirt or a dress shirt with no tie. He'll wear either Dockers or starched and ironed jeans with either tasseled or penny loafers. I think that if their shoes get scuffed, they throw them away. Their hair will be razor cut with a straight part.

Similar to the last one is the country club type. The only difference is his blazer will have his family crest on the pocket, he'll be wearing Hush Puppy deck shoes and if he's not wearing a jacket, he'll have on a cream colored sweater with his family crest. Slim clubbers will wear the sweater over their shoulders with the arms tied loosely around the neck. The bigger boned ones will wear their sweaters the normal way. They usually wear their glasses on the top of their heads. They would rather be blind than appear in public with their glasses over their eyes! The only difference between gays and straights in this genre besides the sex of their gold digger, would be the gay's tendency to wear silk scarves with their blue blazers.

The next two have similar names but are a little different. The first is "redneck chic". He wears either a white "wife beater" shirt or a sleeveless t-shirt to show off his "guns", barbed wire tattoos and all. His jeans will be Rustlers (the Wal-Mart brand) worn plumber style and his footwear will be clodhoppers. His hair style will include a flat top. He'll either have his head skinned on the sides and back or have a mullet. The mullet usually has short sides, but long sides are popular too. The rule of thumb on the sides is the closer you are related to your wife, the shorter your sides. Most of their tattoos were done by a friend instead of a tattoo parlor. Therefore, most of them are misspelled. Popular in the last five years is having GIT R tattooed on the knuckles of the right hand and DONE on the left. His gum line usually has more gaps than his resume and the only people who are worse at Jeopardy are his kids. The other similar style is "lazy redneck" or LR's. The LR's differentiate themselves from the other rednecks by the fact that they are too lazy to change their clothes so they invariably just wear the same holey sweat pants with an unmatching inside out sweatshirt with the sleeves either cut short or off completely. Their tennies don't have shoe strings and their hair is usually long and greasy. If their hat gets wet, it'll usually disintegrate!

The "college professor" types wear corduroy jackets with leather elbow patches and corduroy slacks. They usually wear their granny glasses at the end of their nose and wear houndstooth patterned hats. Their favorite shirts are turtlenecks and also like sweaters quite a bit. Like the LR's, they tend to wear the same clothes much of the time, thus saving a ton of money on extra outfits.

Now, this is just a partial listing of the available options I'd have. I haven't even mentioned nudism. Come winter, this option gives a whole new meaning to the term "blue balls"!

This decision is just too hard to make. I guess the only way that makes sense is to wait and see what style I get for Christmas and make that the style I adopt. My luck, Shane will get me a couple "wife beaters" and some clodhoppers! (At least, now a day's, Git 'R Done doesn't concern Shannon and Jenny like it used to!)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

"I'll tell you how I am... COLD!!"

In the old days, I never got cold til Christmas. Below zero weather and I'm wearing a t-shirt and no long johns. I couldn't understand why Jenny needed the thermostat any higher than 65 degrees and would chuckle at the thermo-nuclear setting she put the electric blanket on. Yeah, those were the good ol' days. Tolerance to the cold is the fat guy's advantage. You can scoff at the skinflints who are whining about the cold. There's a reason why you rarely see skinny people in those Polar Bear Club swims on New Year's Day. Fat guys stay warm the same way walruses stay warm: Fat repels the cold!

I realized that fact just a little too late. Today, in Chicago, I went out for my walk around the airport with my t-shirt and gym trunks, an extra long sleeve t-shirt and sweatpants and a sweatshirt. It was 48 degrees with a 40 mph wind. Despite all those clothes and the heat my body produced by walking at a good pace, I froze! WTF! I never got cold in September before! I didn't even know it was possible. I used to sweat like a pig when I shoveled snow in below zero weather. Today, I couldn't pop a bead of sweat if I ran a mile, on my hands! I'm sitting here in the hotel with the heater on max (75 degrees is the highest it will go) and I'm freezing. They don't tell you this at the Weight Watcher meetings. "Go ahead and lose that gut, bozo, and next winter, your shivering alone will keep you thin!" In the dictionary, under shivering, you won't see William Howard Taft's picture! Abe Lincoln's maybe, but not Billy Boy's!

So here I am wondering what the heck to do. I got an arctic lined Carharrt jacket that fits me nicely (thanks Jen!) and some jackets I haven't worn in 10 years. They fit nicely but the styling is a bit outdated. I've got a ton of sweatshirts that are a tad too big. No problem, I like 'em loose. Sweaters? Maybe now they won't look like a second skin on me. I like sweaters, but until now, they didn't like me!

For the last month, I've been bringing a sweatshirt with me in my bag to wear when the engineer turns on the air conditioner. One day last week, I even turned on the side heater when he turned on the A.C. I used to think we needed central air in our house. Not anymore. I only turned the window A.C. on four times this summer. That $5000 would be much better spent if I bought something nice for the kids. (Just checking to see if they still read this!) If we ever sell the place, I'll have the realtor target market skinny people. They won't even ask about central air or the lack of it!

Used to be when some skinny person would whine about the cold, I would think "Suck it up, Slats. Its only zero!" Now, I'll be a little more tolerant in my thoughts. No more will I turn down the thermostat to 69. I used to think "Geez, put on a sweater!". Let Lucy out on the back porch? Heck no, Its cold out there! One line I'd use when someone would crank up the heat way high was "Geez, grow an immune system!" As the one with the skinny little finger on the heat button, I'll be more tolerant. I still can't figure out why my Aunt Frieda kept her home at 85 degrees in the winter. They weren't skinnies. Must've got too cold during the depression. Might've gotten scared by an evil snowman or something.

Last winter, I never wore long johns. This winter I'll probably double up on them. I better get the snow blower fixed. I'm not friends with the cold anymore. I better start saving the big bucks because I see winters in Florida in my future! Hurricanes? Bring 'em on! Wild fires? Try me! Living with Southerners? Make that a double order of grits! But shivering in September? Pack up the Edge, sweetie!!

Now some of you may think that I'm exaggerating just a tad. Those who have read this blog for the last year and a half know that I never exaggerate! I'm as serious as a holy roller preacher on Sunday. I'm as serious as Oprah at the buffet or Sarah Palin at the turkey farm! Now, some of you may think that I'm doing all this whining just to get some cuddle time with Jenny. I'm not as warm as I used to be so she won't be as interested. I used to be a veritable furnace and even in July, her feet were icicles!

On cold winter mornings, I used to come downstairs and Jen would be just standing there. So would Shannon and (our dog) Cheaney. I finally asked what was up and learned that they were standing on warm spots where the heating pipes went through the cement floor. I used to shake my head (and both chins) and chuckle at their foolishness. Now, I'm looking for a floor heat map!!

Now I'm on a train heading for home and my engineer has his window open so I'll sorta walk over to the heater switches and voila... thermonuclear heat!!!

In an unrelated matter, I spent a great Sunday with Jen. First, we went to Indy and had lunch with Shane-0, celebrating his birthday and finished the day visiting Taylor and Jaden (and their folks). It doesn't get any better than that. I mention this (besides the enormous pride I have in my family) as an intro to disclosing an amazing fact. Its still less than 3 weeks after little Taylor was born and Shannon is within ten pounds of her pre-Taylor weight! Way to go, honey bun! You are an amazing person! You know what she said to me? "Starting to look more like my dad!"

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Hell, just move to Florida!

I'm reading a book that Shane got me for my birthday that's titled "The Know-It-All". Its a true story about a guy who read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica. Its funny and quite interesting. Like the lady who wrote "Julie and Julia" about her quest to cook every recipe in Julia Child's cookbook, this author wrote a best seller about his endeavor. Each of these authors blogged about their efforts, which paved the way for their bestselling books. Why am I, a reasonably normal middle aged guy bringing this up? You are getting a hint at what retirement may have in store for me!

You see, I work on the railroad. Doing so, I am always at work. (As a matter of fact, I just got called to go to Chicago a minute ago!) They are constantly calling me to go to work, not allowing me off work for any reason short of death (Even though there are eight dead guys still on the seniority roster!) and stamping out any continuity I may have in pursuing a hobby. Like many railroaders, I'm approaching retirement without any hobbies or interests that would keep me busy in a fulfilling way. I like golf. That might occupy me somewhat in the summers. I'm not rich enough to spend my winters in golf-friendly locales so other ideas have to be brought forth.

I brought these two books up because they gave me a wonderful idea! How about (when I retire) I initiate a similar project, blogging about my experiences as I go and culminate my experience by writing a best selling book and screen play. That would pile up an enormous bank account so I can afford to play golf all winter in Florida! That muffled thumping you hear is your's truly patting myself on the back for having such a great idea. Sheer genius if you ask me. There's only one little snag in my great plan. What do I do?

If my quest is too easy, people won't be interested enough to read the blog, buy the book or watch the movie. If I set my sights too high, I risk failure and that would seriously hamper any book or movie deals. So, what do I do? What can I, a humble flat guy of so-so intelligence (Normal for Indiana, the second coming of Edison for New Jersey!) and average get-up-and-go (My lawn may need mowed but not baled!) do to capture the imagination of America, no, the world!

First off, reading and cooking are out. Already done. Besides, what's there to read? The books on Wall Street business ethics or American Congressional Role Models are only 3 words long (You're kidding, right?") Books that interest me would be boring to blogdom. That's why I haven't followed Shannon's example and done book reports in my blog. "The History of Fart References in American Literature" and "Was Godzilla a Transsexual?" aren't books that would rivet America's attention in a blog. As for cooking, no way! I need to find pursuits OUTSIDE the kitchen, if you know what I'm talking about. I could cook an entire French cookbook but how many snails can a man eat, anyway?

That leaves a wide open field for my consideration. One thought I had was building a model train layout of the entire route from Chicago to Garrett. I could blog about all the exciting things I experience. The research that I would have to do before I begin would be extreme. Is the tree that blocks the signal at the Elkhart River a maple or an oak? Is the switch on the west end of the runaround at Alida on #1 or #2 track? Can I buy toy people that look as dumb as the real people of East Chicago or do I need to make them myself? In a similar vein, I've thought about building a garden train layout. That would be G-scale, which is the size of my Christmas tree train. We saw one a number of years ago when we were on vacation in Canada and it was really neat. I'd have to get an advance on my book deal though. Those G-scale trains aren't cheap!

Another idea that I've had was to make a pottery map of the U.S. by making separate clay maps of each state, which will fit into a large map of the U.S. I could dress up in the native dress of each state while I roll out the clay and cut out the map. For instance, while doing New Jersey I could be wearing a black suit and black porkpie hat with a white hatband, belt and shoes. I would glue my nose to the side of my face so it would look broken. While I did West Virginia, I could go barefoot with a t-shirt on that said "Are you my pa?" It would be pretty hard to stereotype the people of all 50 states but I've always been up to the challenge. Besides, I could sell them to schools for a mint! A triple revenue stream. I like that.

The latest fad for movie stars is writing children's books. I could do that too. How about a book about a near-sighted anteater who snorts some fire ants by mistake and the hi-jinks that result. Problem is, how do you write a book about writing a book? Being a children's book, I'd have it done in one day. Not alot of blog fodder there either.

I could do something crafty. I could make a model of the Empire State Building out of sugar cubes or the Golden Gate bridge out of Popsicle sticks and dental floss. This could be the way to go except for the fact that I have zero artistic talent. Jenny or Shannon could produce a credible copy of the Mona Lisa with the burnt end of a stick and a used Kleenex but not me. I could take a wheelbarrow full of rocks and make a, well, pile of rocks?

Seriously, one idea that I've been toying with is doing the family tree of my and Jenny's families. I could regale everyone with blog entries about all the colorful and famous people that I come across. Problem is, unlike every other family tree you've ever heard of, mine doesn't include famous, historical people. No, Napoleon isn't one of my ancestors. More likely would be his Polish chicken plucker. Besides, Alex Haley already did this. Geez, I got another great idea just a tad too late.

One idea that I've been mulling over is to try writing a volume of poetry. Regular readers of this blog are well aware of my poetic talent. All my poems rhyme, not like some of those fancy poets. Some of those bozos ought to have their poetic licenses revoked! Just because young ladies from Nantucket have prominent roles in a lot of my poetry doesn't mean the poems aren't classics. I could do a blog of poems and every year or so slap together an anthology. That ought to keep me busy in retirement. I could try my hand at painting pictures. My crap couldn't look less artistic than Picasso's. And, I'd charge a whole lot less!

Yes, I definitely need to find my retirement niche. I am open for suggestions. Just don't include anything too strenuous. After all, one definition of retire is "to go to bed" and that's exactly what I have in mind!

Friday, August 21, 2009

A week I won't soon forget!

Today is my birthday and this week I proudly broke the 100 pound level and have lost a total of 102.2 pounds since October 15th of last year. Add to that the fact that Jen and I spent a fun but exhausting day in Indy helping Shane move to Greenwood and note that I got a new (used) Ford F-150 pick-up...
and Jen got a new (used)Ford Edge.

Also and most importantly, my lovely daughter Shannon is due to have a baby at any time. As you can see, my life has been full, exciting and richly rewarding lately. I have a beautiful wife I adore, two kids I think the world of, the cutest granddaughter in the world, a great son-in-law and a marvelous family that I love.

As you have read the last paragraph, I'm sure some of you think that here is some rich fodder for the fat guy to talk about. Well, hold on there Skippy!

First off, let me dispel some notions about fat guys that you may have. They aren't always jolly. Its easier to laugh off someone's crass and thoughtless crack about your weight than to cry about your shattered feelings. Last October, my weight put me on the chart right in the middle of the extremely obese column. In the last 10 months, I've left that category, completely navigated through the obese category and have gone through most of the overweight category. Getting to the normal category means the world to me. You see, I've reached a position where I am experiencing the kindness of so many people. So many people have said so many nice things to me during the last ten months that I will still be walking on air for years to come. The people who saw fit to ridicule me for my weight have since been silenced. The hurt hasn't been forgotten, only soothed.

As I said, Jen and I went down to Indy to help Shane-o move to Greenwood (a suburb south of I465). It is a nice little apartment that knocks off 50 minutes from his commute to work, each way! Is he smart, or what? Whenever I help Shane move, I meet his friend, Big Mike. Like Jaden, he has red curly hair. Unlike Jaden, he has a beard and stands seven feet tall! Without him helping, me and Shane would've broke down like a pony with a 400 pound jockey! Shane has some really heavy stuff and his apartment is on the 3rd floor. My new truck got a workout, pulling a trailer, loaded down and performed like a champ. The notable part of that long day was the fact that I drove both ways. After 28 years, I've finally been able to figure out how to drive in a way that makes it easy for Jen to be a passenger. Aggressive driving makes her extremely nervous and I have converted my style to a less aggressive, more easy going technique that has us both smiling. Still another facet of the "Max Teders Self-Improvement Program".

Last Tuesday morning, Jen and Jaden went with me to the Weight Watchers meeting. Breaking the 100 pound mark is sorta rare and they are extremely supporting for any and all accomplishments. When Amy, who was running the meeting, talked of my accomplishment, she even teared up. When she went to get my 100 pound pin she said "Let me get the box" and Jaden added excitedly "Box?". In a touching presentation, Jaden (in her very cute green polka dotted dress) gave me my 100 lb. pin to the smiles of everyone there. I'm not done yet, still got 20 more pounds to lose, but I know that the light at the end of the tunnel is not an approaching train!

Little Taylor Maxine McClure will soon be making her appearance on the great stage of life. I've been praying for her and Shannon's good health and can't wait to see her first hand print tile! I'm sure that Jaden will be a great big-sister, just like her mom was.

Finally, I would like to comment on how impressed I am with how Jen's family has embraced a healthier lifestyle. Jen and her dad have both reached their goal weights and are looking great. Her mom is working hard with her exercises and her brother Jeff is really looking good! Add to that how her sister Cindy and Jeff's wife Jane are working hard on their diets and how good Chad and Lisa Davis are looking with their walking. Somehow, Jen's family has gotten the word (and thankfully brought me along for the ride!). They are doing the hard work that needs to be done to return themselves to a healthy way of life. All I can say is "Way to go!" and "Keep it up!" How I would love to help bring this healthy lifestyle to my family. As a family activity, Jen's family has shown that it works and its much easier when you are not doing it alone.

Last, but not least, is a note to Shannon. Even though its getting a bit late, if today is the day, I would love to change the name of MAXMAS day to T-MAXMAS day!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

"Oh this? I'm going hunting after work...

As is my practice, when it rains, it pours! I go a long time with nothing, then BAM! two posts. (I'm becoming the Emeril of blogdom) This post has none of the sentimentality and richness of the last post. Whereas the last post was a soothing ballad, this is a "Larry the Cable Guy" fart. How do I know this before writing anything? Well, my mind fills up with ideas much like a septic system fills up. After a while, it'll need emptied. With much of the same contents!

To those of you who know me well, know that I have been wearing overalls to work for over 25 years. It started as a way to keep all my jeans from getting indelible grease spots and fusee burns and became a way for a fat guy to be comfortable without having to wear a belt. I only wore striped ones when dad gave his to me when he retired. Otherwise, it was always blue denim. They're not cheap, costing between $25 and $50. Wal-Mart sells them for around $30 but the size I wore was bigger than the largest size they carry. I mention this because I have decided to quit wearing overalls to work for awhile. I'm wearing carpenter-type work jeans instead. The reasoning is simple. I have seven pairs of overalls at home that are too big on me. They range from 58X30 to 44X30. I've decided that until my weight has stabilized where I want it, I'll stick to the $15 jeans instead of the $45 overalls. How will I carry all the crap I'm required to without the extra pockets of overalls?

Simple, I bought one of those high-visibility vests at Wal-Mart for $8. Jeez, the way some of my co-workers reacted, you'ld think I slapped their kids or something! You see, there is one railroad, the Canadian National, that requires their train employees to wear these HI-VIZ vests. Employees of the other major roads are waiting for when they'll have to wear them also. The employees of Chicken-Shit-Xpress is no different. They think that if only one bozo (yours truly) voluntarily wore an orange vest, then everyone would be required to wear one tomorrow! Some even thought that the order was out to wear them already. Their questions (and the answers I SHOULD have give) ranged from "What are you wearing that #W$%^& thing for?" (It was on the top of the pile.) "Where did you get that?" (The vest fairy put it under my pillow.) and "I suppose we'll all have to wear that!" (Not you. You're too fat to fit in my vest!) Usually, after their initial stupid question, then a pleasant conversation about my reasoning ensued. I told them I chose HI-VIZ orange because the railroad used HI-VIZ yellow. I would've preferred a khaki vest but they are way too expensive for a poor conductor to afford. I usually say that I was looking for a pink vest because of breast cancer awareness because nobody is more aware of breasts than me! Also, I can wear my orange vest when I go mushroom hunting and maybe I won't get shot by a hunter who mistook me for a big, big bunny. Probably not. Hunters wear orange-camo clothes. How stupid is that? Stand by an orange bush and a deer will never notice you!

At work, alot of people lately tell me they didn't recognize me. (My plan is to diet myself into anonymity!) I usually say "Oh." to get them to explain. You see, I want to know if it has to do with my recent weight loss or the fact that they have never seen me before with regular clothes on. It usually turns out that they didn't recognize me with my eyes open!

HELLO! My name is: max

Note: I wrote this on June 25th and never got around to posting it. I'm posting it now because: A) This is the first time I've opened my journal in a month. B) I like it, and C) Becky, who goes by Rebecca, has become my Facebook friend. I may be Mr. Procrastination, but I am firmly rooted in the belief of fate and coincidences. As an aside to an avid fan, "Sorry Fuzzy. No meat here!"

Usually when I blog about a particular subject, I tell a small story about something I saw or something that happened to me and segue into whatever I'm ranting about that day. A little while ago I wrote an entry in my journal about how patience has evolved out of the American culture and it ended up as a rant about the greedy and corrupt Republicans. I had been trying to write that story for months but I couldn't come up with an opening story that linked me with impatience. It seems that I am the epitome of patient understanding. I finally made up a story but a blog entry based on a falsehood is doomed to fail. Yeah, I could've entered it and you all would've nodded and said "You tell 'em fat boy!" when you finished it.

Like most people, my attention span collapsed like that bridge in Minneapolis. My engineer mentioned that one of my old buddies lives down the road from him up by Waterloo. I thought all my friends had more class than to live near Waterloo but one must've slipped through the cracks. The guy he was talking about is Tom Thrush. I haven't seen Tom in years. Tom's wife, Becky was also one of my classmates and when I think of Becky I think of "class" and "style", two words that have never come up when you Google Tom's name. The reason that I'm mentioning Tom and giving him his 15 seconds of blog fame is that, as I get older, I am more interested in what happened to the people I knew when I was younger. The last time I saw Tom, for instance, was in the barbershop about 10 years ago. Him and Becky never go to class reunions and even Stan Pence probably doesn't have their e-mail addresses. The great thing about blogs and Facebook pages is you see how life has treated those you knew years ago. You have a chance to see pictures of their families, learn what matters. I'd like to learn more about those who populated my youth. My daughter, Shannon, has created the web page for the Garrett High School Alumnae Association and they have a feature where you can update where your life has taken you and tell what you are doing. You can include pictures too. Jenny has updated hers. Not one person in my class has done it.

Think of the stigma it would cast on everyone else if I were the first person in the Class of '71 to enter personal information. Me. Mr. Procrastination. The shame they would feel would be palpable. I'll try not to cause them any distress. Every class reunion brings someone you haven't seen in ages that is a pleasant surprise. Eight years ago it was Pam Cutler and the last one was Marston Greenawalt. Not having seen Marston in 30 years, I had to get his name off his name tag. Like all of us, he wasn't remarkable, just interesting. You look at me and you see someone you knew a long time ago. No big whoop, you say. But take a look at a picture of my wife, kids and their families and you see the pride of my life. You know that I work on the railroad and you think that I've probably coasted through life but look at my family and you see a life that has been lived with a purpose, with meaning, with pride.

I would like to see that of my classmates. Maybe by the next reunion, we could come up with a collection of family pictures, with everyone labelled and identified. It would bring a new dimension to those 12 years we spent together nearly 40 years ago.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The cat ate my journal!!

While I was relaxing in the motel in Chicago the other night before I went to bed, I was watching a self-help program on PBS. The guy was telling us how we can become the perfect person. How we could go through life, accomplishing everything, forgetting or postponing nothing and being hyper-successful. He listed the sixteen excuses people make and gave counter arguments to each excuse. He was trying to create a world with... (gasp)... no excuses!

Sounds Communistic to me! No excuses? That's anti-American. Our whole culture is based on excuses! "Don't blame Joey. His great-aunt was a bed-wetter!" or "Little Amanda isn't at fault. She lived next door to a hillbilly as a child!" Our Constitution promises me "Life, liberty and the pursuit of excuses!"

If I didn't have excuses, my quality of life would be seriously impaired. Clean out the garage, sorting out and pricing all the garage sale stuff? Yes, dear. Repaint the whole upstairs pink and orange? Right away, sweetheart! Get gas for the grill, check the attic for birds, redo the Star Wars room... and no excuses? Oh, my aching back. Wait, was that an excuse? If you could see the journal I'm writing in, you would see tear marks.

I realize that I'm in my pre-retirement self-improvement phase and boy-o-boy was there room for improvement. I can honestly say that I've made some serious strides towards improving myself in many ways. I am extremely happy with my life and envision that by the time I retire, all my health issues will be "healthy lifestyled" into oblivion. I am more active and less sedentary. The last time I checked my e-mail, I had messages backed up for over a week. I haven't written in my blog for almost a month and last week I didn't even have time to weigh in at Weight Watchers. Every time I went to the Y to work out, I got called by the railroad before I got home. The railroad seems to have laid off all but a couple of guys and are working us to death. I've been getting all the important things done like mowing the lawn, taking out the garbage, giving Jenny a pedicure and polishing her wine glasses with $100 bills. I know that there's obvious room for improvement but all at once? If I transform myself into the perfect man this year, what's there to accomplish next year?

Also, women like flawed men. I'm sure that Jenny would hate a world without an occasional belch or fart. I'm not talking about cranking out colon bombs that would make a buzzard barf but an occasional puffer or two. And I didn't mean I would burp the Star Spangled Banner in pig-latin but just a slip now and then. You see, having a couple character flaws can prove beneficial to one's spouse. Jenny doesn't have to ask me what I had for lunch. She just has to look on my shirt. Now I admit to being flawed. I'm not perfect. Yeah, I may be far from ideal, but I'm far from the other end of the spectrum also.

I know people who consider washing their work jacket or brushing their teeth to be spring cleaning chores. Or those who think parking an old car or dead lawn mower in the yard qualifies as landscaping. They're the ones with pet hair in their potluck dishes. They wear tight wife-beater shirts to formal parties and put out cigarettes in the ice bucket. They have an "If the truck's a rockin', don't come a knockin'" sticker on the pick-up with a window sticker of a brat kid peeing on something.

Yeah, I'm not perfect, yet. There's some room for improvement. I'm working on it. I won't have to get the "Get 'er Done" tattoo or the 4X t-shirts. I look forward to a nice long walk or a workout at the Y. My house won't make "Architectural Digest", but it won't make "New Jersey Living" either.

So, as for Dr. Wayne Dwyer, the flack on PBS the other night, who thought I should be perfect and shouldn't have any excuses, if he doesn't like what he sees, he can call my emergency complaint line and complain. The number is 1-800-EAT CRAP.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

It was Clem, from Gary!

The yearly monsoon season has arrived in full force to the Fort Wayne area. Soon the flood stage of the local rivers will lead off all the newscasts. The TV stations will have cute shots of baby ducks swimming in a ditch somewhere and the newest reporters will be interviewing people who have been flooded out for the tenth straight year. The city of Fort Wayne is probably scouting out locations to dump the sand that will be used to fill the sandbags.

This year, flooding concerns me more than it usually does. Look at the horrendous weather that accompanied the Great Depression. Mother Nature is famous for kicking people when they're down. That's why tornadoes usually hit trailer parks. Dump on the people without a pot to piss in!

Also, I saw something that shook me to my core. Coming home from Chicago the other day I saw two deer standing together! Then I saw two raccoons standing along side the road when I was driving to Fort Wayne. Also, on my walk last night, I saw two pigeons who seemed to be together and everyone who walked by me in the other direction were paired up! Are you getting my point? The first time I see a geezer with a long gray beard pulling a boat behind his truck, I'll be freaking out.

If a latter day Noah shows up, what's next? Locusts? Sodom and Auburn? Wandering in the mall for sixty days and sixty nights?

If you ask me, anytime you get a flooding rain, its triggered by a seemingly unrelated event. Some people will probably blame me for it. Ever since I planted grass seed on a couple places where we had trees cut down, its rained and rained. I doubt that the almighty is sending all this rain because he enjoys watching grass seed wash away. My money is on some devil worshipping farmer who's trying to plant his fields. Isn't it always the farmers who are screwing us over?

As we go through Gary, Indiana, on the train, the sun is shining without a cloud in the sky. I can put away the rain gear that kept me dry during the deluge at Garrett. If getting puked on by Mother Nature is dependent on how just the local people are then Gary ought to be experiencing a plague of rabid saber-tooth tigers or such! Of course, with my mental acuity, I've figured out why Gary is being spared. The only thing they grow up here is pot and all those "farmers" are in jail. You'll have to wait until the next batch graduates from Purdue before fire, brimstone and rain will fall on Gary.

Personally, I think this bad weather for bad behavior is all a load of crap. The wife gets just as affected by the tornado as the wife-beater. Whenever you see people interviewed after a major disaster, the women seem tragically sweet and vulnerable. They don't have horns and breathe fire. All of those women taught me in elementary school!!

Now, I don't want anyone (Shannon) to think that I'm complaining about the weather. I see rainstorms as God's way of getting that slob next door a second bath this week. My only plea is "Enough already! He's clean!"

Halvey Birthday Jen!!!

Yesterday was Jenny's birthday. For those who are unaware, Jenny is my lovely wife. You may know her as Gramma J or Shannon and Shane's mom or Mrs. Bisque-It. She celebrated her 21st birthday, again, for the umpteenth time. Anyone who knows her or me knows that she is, absolutely and unequivocally the best thing that ever happened to me. So, once again, with sincerity and love I say "Happy Birthday, Sweetie!!"

The only bummer about Jen's birthday is its close proximity to Mother's Day. People have a tendency to give one gift for both occasions and the birthday celebrant gets shorted. The only fair thing to do, and Jenny is the definition of fairness, would be to celebrate her 1/2 birthdays, complete with cake and ice cream, party hats and maybe a clown. Then November 13th would be an official Teders holiday. If I remember (Highly Unlikely) then we'll do it up right in November. I'm sure that Grandma Pat is more willing to share her birthday month than Shane is.

Friday, May 1, 2009

"It's beginning to look alot like..."

In a previous entry, I talked about taking the snow shovels and ice chipper out to the garage. Of course, when someone does such a brave thing, he opens himself up to a snow storm. As you can see, I'm done the tough work. Now this may seem a little ridiculous but as soon as I took these back to the garage, the temperature dropped 15 degrees! If it snows, I'll blog the snowman I make.

Also, on the same entry, I talk about how much nicer the lawn looked when I mowed with a Lawn Boy push mower. Being a hard charger, I started mowing the yard with the Lawn Boy today and on the second pass over the yard the handle broke in two. I must have put too much stress on it with my no-holds-barred mowing style. Luckily I have a back-up push mower.
Little Jaden is staying at our house tonight. Shannon and Mike don't necessarily have any special plans for tonight. They are just thoughtful enough to realize that Gramma and Grampa sometimes need a little more Jaden in our lives. Here she is, trying to put on a pretty necklace she found in her kitchen cupboard.
... and here she is after she got it on. What a cutie!
Her and Gramma J always have a lot of fun when they're together. Here Jaden is having fun jumping on Gramma.
Yeah, Miss J is such a blast to have around. Makes me anxious as all get out for when Little Taylor arrives. Having two little girls in the house? Simply heaven.

Monday, April 27, 2009

"Hail of a nice hotel!"

I'm sitting here at the motel in Chicago, waiting for them to call me for a train back to Garrett. Luckily, I got my walk in earlier, because now its raining like a cow pissin' on a flat rock. Since the motel's TV is hooked up to a dish, all the cable channels went off. Now I'm relegated to watching the Antique Roadshow on PBS. Jenny probably wonders how I can watch it since no one is dancing, singing, fighting for immunity or running for an airport! You see, as the television watching options shrink, my blogging creativity increases. Exciting TV and I have writer's block. Crappy TV and suddenly I'm Mark Twain!

Earlier tonight, I survived a tornado warning IN MY MOTEL ROOM! It was while I was showering. I had all this cold air coming from the air conditioner (I had it set on "large cubes") and the steam was streaming from my long and luxurious shower. As you all know, tornadoes are formed when cold fronts (AC) collide with warm fronts (shower steam). These two fronts met over the bed. I put up with it hoping for hail because I needed ice for my cooler. Needless to say, my calculations were a bit off and I didn't get any hail or tornadoes. Maybe that's for the best.

I have to admit to a fact of life that men of all walks of life hate to admit. This pains me because some guys will see me as a traitor for admitting it. My only excuse is my internal pursuit of truth and integrity. The fact is lawns that are push mowed look much better than lawns that are rider mowed. I have a Lawn Boy push mower that I got tuned up this spring. Its not even self-propelled but is a nice little mower. I felt that the Lord knows I could use the exercise, so I have been push mowing my yard. Its a pretty good sized lawn, so it takes me awhile. It also works out my arms and shoulders. While I was mowing last week, my neighbor came over, asked if my rider was busted and offered his rider if I needed it. I told him that my rider was okay, but I was just walking because I needed the exercise. He looked at me like I was yodelling nude. But as I was saying and it pains me to say so but the lawn looks nice.

The weather seems to have stabilized. I still have the snow shovels and ice chipper on the front porch in case of a snow storm. When I get home, I guess I'll throw caution to the wind and take them out to the garage. I know that as soon as I do it, a snow storm will begin forming over the Rockies an start heading this way. I believe that its finally warm enough to change to snow to rain before it gets to Garrett. If I'm wrong and we do get snow, then I'll have to carry that responsibility with me to my grave. If my actions brought snow to town then I would be on Shannon's s-list. She has proclaimed it to be warm weather and far be it for me to mess with that. So, maybe I'll wait until it breaks 80 before I put the shovels away. No reason to risk my relationship with Shannon just because little kids are pointing at my porch and laughing. Maybe I'll stake a pit bull out front to keep those little whelps out of my yard. What does a smart assed kindergartner know about snow anyway?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Back yard vigilantism!!

Being friends of nature, we put in a wireless router on our computer so the backyard animals can Wi-Fi on their computers. It seems that after reading my blog, one of them became a vigilante! Do you remember that rabbit I wrote about? Well, when I went to mow for the first time this year today, I found him DEAD under a bush. Some animal, and I think it was that dang starling, offed him! He then crawled under the bush and went to that bunny hutch in the sky. He could have read what I wrote and my tough talk scared him to death!

I didn't do an autopsy, so I didn't notice if there was a bullet hole in his hide. I figured if the bunny was dead, then he might've been sick and sick wildlife and me stay away from each other. It might have been death from natural causes. After a busy Easter, the bunny's heart could've exploded from the strain of lugging so much candy around.

Of course, there are a number of reasonable explanations for a dead bunny under my bush. One of his kids could've killed him for the insurance. Might've died of old age. He probably didn't stiff his loan shark. They would've broke his leg, not his neck. Now, I think its safe to say that he didn't commit suicide. After all, rabbits cannot say "Goodbye, cruel world." Plus, I didn't find a note. I doubt if it was a heart attack, the dang thing was a vegetarian.

The rabbit could have been a she. I didn't bother to check for boobs. That opens a whole other avenue of conjecture. It could've been PMS run amok or embarrassment over a bad haircut. She probably asked her husband if her butt looked big and blew up when she heard the answer.

Of course, when there is an unexpected and premature death, the first thing you think of is drugs. Ol' Peter Cottontail could have been a druggie and overdosed. It didn't look like a meth addict. It still had its teeth and its coat was well kept. I didn't see any tractor marks on its little arms. They might have been there but he was too furry to tell. He might have been a glue huffer and burned out his brain. I don't remember missing any glue, but my memory sucks and I don't really keep an inventory of my glue. He might have been a dope smoker but there wasn't any junk food wrappers laying around so I sorta doubt it.

He might have been a rap bunny and another rapper coulda capped his ass. Probably had a rap name like DJ Bugs or L'il Buster. I don't know if rap bunnies ride around in stretch Hummers too but I haven't seen any driving around the neighborhood lately.

Everyone knows how rabbits will eat anything that grows. It could've eaten something it shouldn't. More than likely it had a lunch of cauliflower or green peppers and they killed him. I know that if I ate that crap, I'd deserve to die too! Might have had a poison ivy salad. I remember when we were kids, me and Jerry and Richard Hyde fed a goose about ten pounds of gravel at the cemetery. He wasn't too spry afterwards! Something like that could have happened here. Some bratty kid could've fed the bunny something like grits or granola.

If you ask me, he probably was looking in our windows when he saw Karl Rove on tv blowing off about how Obama is to blame about the economy and not the previous administration. Ol' Bugs probably stroked out while he was screaming at the tv about the stupid gasbag scapegoating an innocent guy.

I'm pretty sure that PETA is looking to sue me for responsibility in the rabbit's death. Remember, if the glove don't fit, you can't convict! I don't know how this has anything to do with it but I like to say it.

Finally, you might think that I am celebrating the demise of dat wascally wabbit. Well I'm not. It sorta scares me. Something out there didn't like a cute little bunny and wasted it. Being sorta obnoxious, I probably have a lot to worry about using that rationale. To any bunny fans out there, let me tell you that I cared about that rabbit and to show you how concerned I am, I'll be taking up a collection to help pay the college costs for its 73 kids. Send your checks to me or donate to me using PayPal. Together we can make a difference in the lives of Bug's kids.

Friday, April 17, 2009

How about "Chip off the ol' Block"?

If you look back in some of my previous blog entries, you'll see where I refer to myself as "the fat guy" or "the big guy". When you're a hefty fellow, you tend to do that (If you're not a tight ass!). God willing and the creek don't rise, by MAXMAS Day in August, I'll be looking like my father-in-law Wayne and I will have to come up with new descriptors for myself. That won't be much of a problem for others, though, because "Hey you!" and "bozo" will still apply. In my unwitting quest to convert myself from a smoldering blob into a reasonably healthy guy before I retire, I have also eliminated a lot of the adjectives that I have relied on for years. What is left for a self-deprecating guy to do?

One good thing is it gives me some ammunition to use against those who saw fit to continually remind me that I was fat and have not yet said anything about my endeavor to get rid of my spare tire. (The tire is a Dunlap as in "My belly done lap over my belt!). My two oldest brothers have called me "fat Max" for years. Its only been since he moved home that Jim now calls me "flat Max". You can't fool me. Flat Max is fat Max with a French accent. The last time I saw Gene, he was looking good. The diabetes and heart attack got him focused and trim. Jim though, is a different story. I yearn for the opportunity to call him flat Jim or fat Jim. Turn about is fair play, right? Given the opportunity, after all the years of humiliation it caused me, I'll probably pass. We liberals are better than that.

One person won't get that same consideration. A former classmate of mine named Craig has made crass comments and demeaning observations about my weight for years. Add to the fact that as I shrink out of my old clothes, he's growing into them! The first time I see Craig after I duck under 200, I'll make some well-rehearsed and juicy comment about his lard ass. I might even make a smarmy crack about his growing baldness. (He's losing his hair faster than I am.) Jim and Gene get a pass because I love them. Craig doesn't.

Now, back to my dilemma. What is a self-deprecating and slim (I hope, I hope!) guy gonna do? I can't refer to myself as "Slats". Most people have never heard that description. I can't use "Jack Sprat" because that infers that my wife is fat and believe me, Gramma J is looking buff! I'm just hoping to look, act and feel normal. Go from obese to nobese. I guess I'll have to give my body shape a rest and use my other characteristics as descriptors. I could be "pick-up boy". Oh crap, that won't do. I don't own a pick-up. This summer, I'll probably be known as "long grass guy" or "stray ray". If I lived in New Jersey, I'd probably be referred to as "Einstein"! There the state university is a private college and they graduate you from high school if you can spell linguine! You know what a 13 year-old virgin is called in New Jersey? Out of state!

Even the terms they use for normal guys are pretty sucky. "Joe Blow" has gay implications I don't even want to talk about. "Joe Six-pack" has been used by Sarah Palin so often in the last year, it lost its meaning for normal people. "Joe Six-pack abs" might be nice for some people but I can't even spell abs. To me, sit-ups are only done by show-offs and crunches are candy bars with Rice Krispies in them.

Now that I'm 2/3's of the way to my goal, I'd like to once again express how grateful I am to all the many people who have said and written so many kind things to and about me. I am completely and totally honored. For an example, after Jenny gave me props on her Facebook page, all the Davis girls made very kind comments. It has really struck an emotional chord with me. After years of being fat Max, friends, family and even strangers are saying so many nice things to me that sticking to the program has become much easier and that one thing is very apparent. Boy, I must've been really fat!

Now, I'm sorry if I dwell too much on my weight issues buy people are usually quite perceptive about issues that they have to regularly deal with. You lose weight and you notice people who need to lose weight. Am I right, Oprah?! My harrowing ordeal with a saliva stone has made me sympathetic to those with kidney stones. Reroof your house and you notice roofs.

This weekend I will again be surrounded by my family as we celebrate little Jaden's second birthday. I'm excited at the prospect of our seeing Jaden, Shannon, Mike and Shane along with the McClure clan at Shannon's on Sunday. Two is the age where kid's toys all need to be assembled and this birthday is no exception. Jaden will be happy to know that Uncle Shane put together our gift instead of Grampa so she'll rest assured, in her big girl bed, that all the parts were used and inserted in their proper place.

Talking about Shane, with his work schedule, he often has his afternoons open so he's taking up golf. The first time he swings a club will probably elevate his game way ahead of mine. I look forward to playing with him.

Last but not least, today would have been my dad's 86th birthday. Whenever anyone would mention how I was just like him, dad would say "That's the best compliment he'll ever get!" You know, I gotta agree with him. Happy Birthday, Dad!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

"There he went, Fudd!!"

As my last post iterates, its springtime in America. Animals, especially the dumb ones, have migrated back to our back yards. They've come out of their burrows, nests, hives and holes to make their homes in my yard. If it has a stinger, I'll find its nest somewhere very inconvenient, like the hollow handle of my gas grill. Yeah, getting stung when you lift the lid on the grill just adds to the grilling experience.

Besides my yearly infestation of hornets and wasps, the pests that get on my nerves the most is rabbits. Since the dumb bunnies make their nests in the middle of the yard, I'll invariably mow off the top of at least one when I mow the first time. They use a lot of hair in their nests so when the mower shoots out a wad of hair, I know a bunny nest just lost its roof. Well, you say, what harm could a "widdle wabbit" do anyway? Plenty! Have you ever seen a Bugs Bunny cartoon? Its based on FACT! Lately, I've been eating a lot of vegetables and I'd like to have a little garden where I could grow some of my favorite veggies. Not with those varmints in my yard! Ask Shannon what happened to her pepper plants two years ago. The rabbits ate 'em. All the way to the ground. With those buck teeth and beady eyes. Just when she was ready to enjoy a couple hot peppers, along came some bestial bunnies to eat not only the peppers, but the whole stinking plant!

Now, it those bucktoothed barbarians would eat the broccoli or cauliflower, I could possibly be tolerant. But when they eat the green bean and pepper plants they deserve no mercy! I proudly displayed a box of rabbit meat in my freezer for 3 years before we finally pitched it.

Next month, the Easter Bunny will be back, jacking our kids up with sugar, making them fat and rotting their teeth. I heard on Fox News that a group of rabbits were major stockholders of Hershey's, Mars and the Tootsie Roll companies. Therefore, the so-called Easter Bunny is actually a shill for the candy companies. As for the candy, the rabbits don't even like to eat it. Not when they can stroll into my yard and belly up to the Teders Salad Bar.

Those of you rabbit apologists out there who think that the little bunny in the fat guy's yard is an innocent bystander, take a second look at its actions. If it was innocent, it would traipse through my yard, easy as you please. But no, its out there, running around suspiciously. What's it running from? Whose garden has he just raided? And when they stop, just look at those red, beady eyes. Oh, you say to yourself "Its so cute and fluffy..." Well and Hitler used to wear a fur coat! I'm not saying that rabbits are Nazis or anything but, I haven't seen any squirrels in my yard since the rabbits invaded.

Finally, the last thing in the world I want to do is scare little kids, like my dear Jaden, away from the Easter Bunny. All I'm saying is, when you take the kids to the mall to see the Easter Bunny, keep the mace handy!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

What is bird for "Get outa here!"

As I was slaving away at the taxes this morning, Jenny noticed a bird carrying straw and twigs into the side holes of the gas grill. Being the dumb one of the family, I went out and lifted the lid of the grill. It was becoming a huge bird's nest. There was straw weaved all the way through the briquettes, grills and gas jets. Luckily, it wasn't finished. After I cleaned out as much as I could, I burned out any leftover straw I might have missed. As I was doing this, the birds came back and boy were they mad! After about 15 minutes, my frugality kicked in. I turned off the gas and stuffed the holes with wads of newspaper.

This really torqued off that stupid bird. He stood on a nearby tree limb, flapping his wings, spinning in circles and squawking up a dickens. After the grill cooled down some, the bird came back and his demeanor hadn't improved one bit. He was crawling all over the grill looking for a way into it. The wads of newspaper were particularly irksome for him and his girl-friend bird. If they wise up and pull out the paper, I'll have to invest in a sling shot.

Now, this isn't the first time I've had animal issues with this grill. Last year, I had wasp nests in the handle. What does Mother Nature have against my grill? I use "natural" gas. Its not as if that black starling is related to those chicken wings I grilled last fall. They were unrecognizable as to species, but were way too big to be starling wings. Hey bird! If that's your problem, go build a nest at that Vietnamese restaurant!

He's also pretty nervous. Every time I go outside to get a nice picture of him squawking on the basketball backboard, he flies off as soon as the door clicks. What's he have to be nervous about. Besides trespassing in my stinking gas grill.

I thought maybe I could Doctor Doolittle the damn thing but that didn't work. I learned that starlings are a lot like railroad officials. No matter how much common sense a suggestion may have, it will be ignored in favor of an original plan that doesn't work. Do you hear that bird? If you succeed with your twisted plan, the first time we grill breasts, we'll have an extra one! Yours! He's just standing there on the backboard with his little wingtips in his ears. Hey bird! Even the railroad would have figured out after spending thousands of dollars and a month studying it that it is not a good idea to build a nest in a gas grill! Get with the program, Jeckle!

Now, if this was New Jersey, I'd just order a mob hit on the darn thing. Plant his little feet in a small block of cement and throw him into a bird bath. Make a little Starling Cacciatore!

How would politicians handle the situation? Obama would point out to him an empty bird house in the neighbor's yard and convince him it would be easier to live there since those people are dumber and less threatening. (They don't have any friends from Jersey!) McCain would have ordered a drone attack on it. In Congress, the Democrats would have instituted a grill use tax while the Republicans would have shipped him off to Guantanamo!

Even though I'm pretty much speechless, as is normal, I know what Jenny would have to say about this whole situation: "Quit screwin' around and get on those taxes!!"

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Me and my Amish buddy...

Shane and Ashley were able to come home this weekend from Indy and I am happy to see them again. We just don't get together often enough for me. While he was home, we got a couple pictures together. Its all part of my ongoing effort to look good by getting my picture taken with people who have the looks.
I wanted to post these pictures instead of the one I had posted because I'm anxious to rid myself of my "whopper big" past in favor of my "sorta big" present. I am hoping that by the time Maxmas Day arrives in August, you can't tell me from Shane from the back (without looking at the hairline!)
So if you see Shane-o around town, say howdy. I'm sure that if you see me, you'll notice a spring in my step that always seems to follow Shane home!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Distilled Barney...

Boy, am I distressed. It seems that my last blog entry was so blah that my buddy, FUZBUKT didn't have anything to wisecrack about. That being so means that I have fallen down on the job. He's my goofy alter ego. Sorta like Lou Costello to my Bud Abbott or Gracie Allen to my George Burns. I feed him lines like Sally Strothers feeds Filipino kids. The fact that my last entry couldn't be mined for a joke is a shame that I'll have to learn to live with. If you were reading this straight out of my journal, you would see where my tear drops have smeared the ink.

The other day when I was grocery shopping, I picked up a gallon of distilled water. What makes this noteworthy is the fact that the distilled water has an expiration date! The water had a "Use by" date for goodness sakes. Then what? All the water, not just the distilled stuff had expiration dates. You would have to be a world class, blue ribbon, hall of fame dumbass to throw the water away when it is not used by the date on the side. Oh, but those people exist! They may breathe through their mouths or live in Auburn, but they're there.

This experience has sorta piqued my interest in expiration dates. Now that I've got to start checking other things like toilet paper, kitty litter and garbage bags. Its like any other defining moment in your life. Get a butchered hair cut, you notice hair cuts. Put a new roof on your house, you notice roofs. See an expiration date on a gallon of water and you notice the labels put on products to help businesses from being sued by boneheads. Like: Remove the plastic wrapper before baking the pizza. Bananas must have the peels removed before eating. Do not drink the fabric softener! Wouldn't it be tragic if you were so stupid you needed these warnings? It would be worse, though, if your spouse or kid was. Personally, I don't have a problem because I've surrounded myself with smart people. Poor people like Barb have to take it on the chin!

Being more proof that I am attempting to enter the Twenty-first century is the fact that I've opened a Facebook page. I'm pretty much clueless about all the jargon used and features of Facebook. I've been given two green beers and I'm at a loss figuring out what it means. Also, I've noticed that there are some people who are very eager to accumulate friends. One of Shane's friends wanted to be my friend too. I'm pretty sure that there's nothing in my life that would interest him but, since I'm the nurturing type, I'll be his friend. I'm convinced that Facebook will bring about the "Barneyfication" of America with everyone stumbling around asking "Will you be my friend?"

I'm hoping to use Facebook to help me touch base again with old friends from high school that I have lost contact with. I've already got one, Mike Hockaday, and can't wait til I get home and check out his page. I'd like to touch base with old friends from college but I can't remember their last names. I remember that an old roommate's mom's maiden name is Valentino but I can't remember his first or last name. One of my best friends during the "Motley's Pub" year was Don from South Bend. Last name is a blank. The same goes for my old Army buddies. I remember more of those guys names but I can't find much on 123people on them. It seems that all my old friends (at least the ones that I remember) have lived their lives under the radar. Is it too much to ask, if a guy's memory sucks, that his old friends be flamboyant enough to get noticed by the world wide web?

Well, when I get off this train in Cleveland I'll be headed to a new hotel. We no longer stay at the Wyndham. Now we're at a Doubletree Hotel by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Also, I'm hoping it has a good place to walk (its right by the lake) without the panhandlers and traffic.

Finally, last week Paul Harvey, the radio commentator, passed away. His feature "The Rest of the Story" was always one of my favorites. The reason I mention it was because one of his broadcasts has stayed with me forever. Jen and Shannon have probably heard this a dozen times so bear with me please. During the filming of "The Wizard of Oz", the character of the Wizard and the traveling salesman, played by Frank Morgan, needed an old used tuxedo. The director sent a flunky to the Salvation Army store to get one. After the filming was done, a wardrobe lady looked in the jacket lining and saw the name of the original owner of the tux. Who was it? L. Frank Baum, the author of "The Wizard of Oz". And now you know... The rest of the story.

So there you go Fuzzie, plenty of ammo for your gun!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Walking with Giants!!

I'm sorry that its been so long since I wrote an entry. Its not that I've been busy and couldn't find the time. If you want the real truth, things have been sorta slow lately and I've been on vacation the last week. I just haven't had anything to say. Those that know me know that having nothing to say has never stopped me from saying something. So, even though I am affected with 100% writer's block, I'll muddle ahead because that's the kind of guy I am. First, let me make some observations...

Jenny's dad, Wayne, is nearing maintenance weight on his lifestyle change. His dedication to proper diet and exercise has him looking great! He's been leading the way for me and deserves an enormous "Way to go!"
Last weekend, at the Home and Garden Show, I met Shannon's co-worker and Laura's husband Dalen. (Though officially known as Sara's dad) What an interesting guy. There's someone who needs to write a blog.

One of my life's greatest pleasures is my little granddaughter Jaden. Like anyone else, she has her favorite TV stars. Jaden's three favorites are Arthur, (Curious) George and Clifford. At the Home and Garden Show on Wednesday, I got my picture taken with two of the big three!
(Rotating the picture sorta squashed me a bit.) Ordinarily I don't grovel at the feet of celebrities but think of the street cred with Jaden I got with this picture. I'm hanging with the superstars!

Afterwards, Jenny had to get a picture with me. Sorta like basking in the glow. I even had to fight off the urge to dress in all yellow. Couldn't find a 10 gallon yellow hat in my size anyway.

For the time being, I'm back on the Garrett to Cleveland run. The guys with more seniority than me have found what they believe to be better jobs elsewhere. I can hold three turns in the Cleveland pool so I ought to be able to ride it out for awhile. Now that I said that, I'll probably be rolled out of this pool before I get back to Garrett on my first turn. Also, this trip I'm working with the Junior Rush Limbaugh that I described in a blog last October. What a treat. Sorta makes me want to deregulate something or torture someone.

As many of you know, my lovely daughter Shannon is expecting again. She is due in September and her mother and I could not be more excited! This blessed event makes it more imperative that I keep focused on my diet. Then, when she gets to be eight months pregnant, maybe everyone won't comment how much she looks like her dad!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Recommended by "The Big O"!

Most people know that Oprah started a reading club a few years ago. Anyone lucky (or good) enough to get their book recommended by Oprah were assured of it becoming a best seller. Just think what the impact on our culture would be if Oprah started a blog reading club! Her recommended blogs would be read by millions and become defining influences of American life. I'm wondering what it would take for Oprah to recommend my humble and unassuming little blog. (I hear she is big on humility!)

First off, Oprah is currently in one of her "big boned" phases. That means that all references to one's body is out. She don't want reminded about the return of her saddlebags. That means I've got to eliminate all mentions of a shanker on someones ass. Also, got to quit talking about our recent weight loss. While she's busy packing on that third chin, she might get jealous.

Oprah likes to sit around shooting the bull. I do too! Maybe I should emphasize how good I'd look sitting on her couch discussing my blog. In the couch sitting world, I'm considered a visionary! "Yo Oprah, who ties your shoes?" And, did I say how I can carry a conversation?

It seems that "The Big O" (my pet name for Oprah) is big on animal rights. Just like me! I am currently owned by a kitty named Lucy. (You can see her on Gramma J's last blog entry, taking a nap in Jaden's play refrigerator.) I believe that no man stand so tall as he who stoops to pick up a kitty!

She likes to give gifts to her audience. I like to get gifts. Sorta sends a shiver up my back. Like all the other talk shows, when Oprah runs out of ideas, she just grabs some ugly schlump out of the audience and does a makeover on them. What a coincidence! If there is anyone on God's earth who desperately needs a makeover its me. I could write volumes of blog entries about how O changed my life by getting me that sweater or restyling what hair I have left. I hear that she likes fashion. Even though I wear only Sam's Club t-shirts and jeans, I can blog about fashion. As a matter of fact, I was just thinking about doing an entry about how wearing white socks with colored underwear is a fashion faux-pas.

Personally, there are a number of eerily similar things about me and Oprah. We both supported President Obama. She used to go to Reverend Wright's church in Chicago and I've gone by it on trains hundreds of times! Put a hoodie and jeans on us and you can't tell us apart from the rear! We both work in Chicago and live in Indiana. I've seen Lake Michigan. She probably owns it.

You know, now that I think about it, Oprah could probably learn alot from a fat white guy in his 50's. Give her the insight to transform that little dog and pony show of hers into something meaningful. Reading my stuff could make her hotter than two rats screwin' in a wool sock...

Saturday, February 7, 2009

A stimulating experience!!

I've figured it out! It just came to me how to have an economic stimulus bill that will work! No, don't resod the national mall or buy rubbers for illegal aliens. Here's how to do it!

I'm sure you remember the economic stimulus bill last year that gave us all $600 to spend. Like good Americans, Jenny and I went out and bought a new hi-def TV with the money. I don't know about the economy, but that purchase stimulated that H.H. Gregg salesman! The reason that last year's stimulus plan didn't work was it stimulated the economy of the country that made that television, not ours.

The auto industry illustrates that quite clearly. When you buy a car built in America, the purchase price of that car circulates through the economy 13 times! It is paying taxes to five levels of government, including payroll taxes and wages not only to the auto company employees, but to the workers of the hundreds of supplier companies. Add to that, the purchase power of those employees, buying groceries, houses, cars, etc. Foreign cars that are assembled in America has less of an impact of an American made car because it is assembled from nearly all foreign made parts. There is nearly zero economic impact from suppliers. The purchase price of a foreign made car goes through the economy only once. A $20,000 Chevy has a $260,000 impact on the American economy and a $20,000 import has a $20,000 impact.

They're looking at 42% of the stimulus plan being tax cuts. That's O.K. if the cuts go to the people, not big business. Let me give an example. When President Bush was trying to get Congress to eliminate the capital gains tax on corporations in 2005, he said that those companies already paid taxes on that money once and we shouldn't tax it again. But that's not quite right. General Electric, one of the largest and most profitable companies in America, not only didn't pay any taxes in 2005, it ended the year with a $16,000,000 tax credit! Do they need more tax breaks? Uh-uh. You know what the real kick in the pants is on that G.E. tax credit? They have moved nearly all their consumer appliance manufacturing overseas, yet, are still getting these major tax subsidies.

So, here's my plan. Listen up Nancy Pelosi and John Behner. You too, Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell.

Half the stimulus is tax cuts and tax changes. The other half is stimulus checks. The tax cuts, for people earning less than $200,000 a year would be a REFUND OF TAXES PAID. If the amount is $1,000 per person, for an example, and the taxes due on your adjusted gross income is only $400, then you only get $400. The tax changes for corporations would be that after a company figures out all their deductions on their tax forms, they will only be able to deduct the same percentage of their deductions as the percentage of their American manufacturing. Say G.E.'s revenues accrued from products that had 75% foreign manufacture and 25% American manufacture. Then, only 25% of their deductions would be deductible. Don't reward them for selling out their American workers!

Last but not least is the stimulus checks. They would be sent out in the form of a debit card, with an impressed name and only sent to American citizens and taxpayers of record. Picture ID's, proving that it is the buyer's card, are mandatory. These debit cards will be able to purchase services and goods that are made in America only! You want to buy a bike? You'll have to buy an American made bike that will stimulate the American economy and not the Chinese one. Buy groceries, whatever. Retailers can mark their products with a star to help you out. When the government gets the receipts back and finds a foreign product purchased, it will send a 1099 form to that person to recover that money on their next tax returns and can charge a penalty to the retailer for taking the card on an illegal purchase.

There you go. A stimulus plan that will work and thought up by a guy who shouldn't have to think so much! Senators and Representatives, vote in this package and you might win re-election. Barack, you owe me one!!