The Eyes Have It

In a perfect world, we wouldn’t need glasses to see clearly.  In a slightly less-than-perfect world, those of us who need glasses would discover that every pair we tried on made us look like the models in the posters plastered on the walls of the local eye glass boutique.  Any life-long wearer of glasses can look at those models and tell you that none of those pretty people even wears glasses, unless they’re paid to do so.

Now that I have the attention of the women and gay men in my reading audience, allow me to assure you I don't look like this young stud, with or without glasses.  If you actually think a guy as perfect as this doesn't have 20/20 vision, you're delusional enough to go eye glass shopping with me.  (Image from fanpop dot com)
Now that I have the attention of the women and gay men in my reading audience, allow me to assure you I don’t look like this young stud, with or without glasses. If you actually think a guy as perfect as this doesn’t have 20/20 vision, you’re delusional enough to go eye glass shopping with me. (Image from fanpop dot com)

As much as I’d like to see some ruggedly handsome transformation of my face once I try a pair of frames on, I am usually greeted with one of the following versions of myself instead.

A young Roger Ebert with Russ Meyer.  This serves as an example of why I also avoid sweater vests.  On a personal note, I was always more of a Siskel man myself.  (Image from wikimedia commons)
A young Roger Ebert with Russ Meyer. This serves as an example of why I also avoid sweater vests. On a personal note, I was always more of a Siskel man myself. (Image from wikimedia commons)

The Young Roger Ebert Look:  Make no mistake, Roger Ebert was a great film critic and displayed a rare brand of grace and courage when he fought thyroid cancer.  Be that as it may, when I try on a pair of larger glasses with solid frames, I bear something of a resemblance to a young Roger, which is not the look I’m typically going for.  I guess it could be worse and I could look like a male Sally Jesse Raphael.

This photo doesn't do Vandy proper justice, then again, I'm recalling his image from a dusty brain who last saw him 43 years ago on a Sears TV with aluminum foil on the antenna. (Image from sitcomsonline dot com)
This photo doesn’t do Vandy justice, then again, I’m recalling his image using the dusty brain of a man who last saw him 47 years ago on a black and white Sears TV with an aluminum foil antenna. (Image from sitcomsonline dot com)

The Vanderbilt From F-Troop Look:  Excuse me while I date myself with a reference to an obscure character on an old TV show.  Some of you senior citizens may recall Vanderbilt (or Vandy as Agarn would call him).  He was the fat, visually impaired soldier in F-Troop who could be seen chatting up horses he mistook for pretty ladies and falling down the well on at least three separate episodes.  This was back in the days before political correctness, when people could be made fun of for having poor vision, just like Mr. Magoo.  If I try on glasses with lenses which are too small for my face, I end up looking like Vandy.  Despite my not living in an area with too many horses or open wells, it’s not a look I’m comfortable with.

I'm not sure what this guy was charged with, but he is wearing an orange jumpsuit and was found on whatacreep dot com, so you can jump to your own conclusion.  I used to see him out curtting his lawn, he seemed like a nice enough guy...kept to himself, kinda quiet.  (Image from whatacreep dot com)
I’m not sure what this guy was charged with, but he is wearing what appears to be an orange jumpsuit and was found on whatacreep dot com, so you can jump to your own conclusion. I used to see him out cutting his lawn, he seemed like a nice enough guy…kept to himself, kinda quiet. (Image from whatacreep dot com)

The Creepy Convict From Down The Block Look:  If I try on any pair which doesn’t easily fit into the other categories, I may be surprised and a little scared to look in the mirror and see the guy from three blocks over who was just arrested for some sort of deviant activity.  We all know the type.  When neighbors are interviewed, they’re always shocked that he has been arrested for being a peeping tom, animal porn collector or Sarah Palin stalker.  Watching TV at home, we look at his mugshot and wonder how anyone could have imagined he wasn’t up to something nasty.

If someone stops and offers you a ride and he's wearing glasses like these, you should walk...or maybe run is better.  (Image of Jeffrey Dahmer from rapgenius dot com)
If someone stops and offers you a ride and he’s wearing glasses like these, you should walk away…or maybe run. (Image of Jeffrey Dahmer from rapgenius dot com)

The Serial Killer Look: When I try on a pair of snappy aviators, I hope to see a cool looking pilot or race-car driver looking back at me in the mirror.  Instead, I see a guy who has moved well beyond the “Creepy Convict” look listed above and into a whole different dimension of evil next door.  He knows where the bodies are buried, because he’s the one who buried them.  I don’t think even serial killers want to look like this.

For the record, I seldom wear an ascot, unless you count the self-portrait I recently used to in my post "It's All In The Wrist".  (Image from milliesmoviestowatch dot blogpsot dot com)
For the record, I seldom wear an ascot, unless you count the self-portrait I recently used to in my post “It’s All In The Wrist“. (Image from milliesmoviestowatch dot blogpsot dot com)

The Mel Cooley Look: Now that my hair has left my head to migrate to other parts of my body, I no longer resemble a young Roger Ebert (or a young anyone for that matter).  To be perfectly honest, large frame glasses now make me resemble the actor Richard Deacon, who was best known for his role as Mel Cooley on the old Dick Van Dyke show.  There is one saving grace of resembling characters from really old TV shows, most of the young people I know have no idea who these characters were, so to them, I just look like an old, bald guy in glasses.  I suppose that’s a good thing.  I don’t necessarily like the look, but I need to see where the hell I’m going.

As much as I’d like to let you all believe that I’m some kind of creative genius who comes up with these thoughts out of thin air, I’m not.  The lovely and talented “She’s a Maineiac” wrote a post recently about her possibly needing new glasses, and it spurred me on to share the trials and tribulations with my own miserable experiences shopping for fashion eye wear.  If you don’t read her blog, you’re missing out.  Just don’t forget who sent you over there.

Grilled Cheese

As a scientist, I can make a radio into a blender and use coconuts and palm fronds to send morse code signals to passing ships, but I'll be damned if I can figure out how to fix the SS Minnow.  (Image from flickr dot com)
As a scientist, I can make a radio into a blender and use coconuts and palm fronds to send morse code signals to passing ships, but I’ll be damned if I can figure out how to fix the SS Minnow. (Image from flickr dot com)

I read that scientists in Britain have determined how to make the perfect grilled cheese sandwich.  Considering they’re scientists, one might expect that they would find a way to put the recipe into some sort of complicated formula that most of us couldn’t easily understand.  They did.  Considering they’re British, one might also expect that they would somehow include boiled meat and lukewarm beer in the recipe.  They did not.

I don't expect you to be able to completely understand this, but to simplify, this complex equation uses the square root of infinity to quantify the parameters of a good sammich.  (Image from
I don’t expect you to be able to completely understand this, but to simplify, this complex equation uses the square root of infinity to quantify the parameters of a good sammich. (Image from

I don’t doubt that following the recipe carefully could result in a tasty bite, but could something as subjective as a grilled cheese sandwich could ever truly be classified as perfect?  Chances are, it will only be perfect in the eyes of some, while too cheesy or too bready or too dark or too light in the eyes of everyone else.  I think if my long suffering wife made me one on an occasion when I was particularly famished and wanted nothing more than a grilled cheese sandwich, I might think it was just perfect, even if she skimped on the cheese as she has been known to do.

As it turns out, the Brits make grilled cheese open-faced under a broiler or toaster oven and have been known to call the finished product “cheese toast” or “cheesy bread”.  The scientists weren’t even testing real grilled cheese sandwiches!  Be that as it may, a scientific study is a scientific study, so they must be right.

Some of us might question why scientists are wasting their time on such nonsense in the first place.  The perfect grilled cheese sandwich seems kind of trivial when there are diseases to cure and CSI evidence to process.  Not every Bunsen burner jockey is necessarily the greatest mind of his or her generation.  Logic dictates that someone has to graduate last in their class at Scientific U.  I would hope that the really smart scientists are all working on important stuff, while the dullards are analyzing sandwiches and dissecting what are purported to be Sasquatch turds.

That's not a scientist; it's an actress doing a mediocre Betty Page imitation.  (Image from
That’s not a scientist; it’s an actress doing a mediocre Bettie Page imitation. (Image from

If I were one of the grilled cheese scientists, I know how I’d answer when asked what it is I’m working on.  I can just picture my wife and I mingling at a neighborhood Christmas party in some quaint British pub.  She’s wearing a classic little black dress and some pumps*.  I’m in my white lab coat complete with pocket protector and slide rule.  In my hand I hold a beaker containing precisely 275 mL of chilled vodka with +/- 2 olives.  Every so often, when faced with a lull in the conversation, I lift the beaker up to the light and inspect it, staring intently at the clear liquid through my safety goggles, with my head cocked to the side.  I take a sip, purse my lips and eventually swallow, my face reflecting deep scientific thought.

With that kind of grandstanding, it’s only be a matter of time before one of the impressionable young wives in attendance would ask what it is I work on in the lab.  I startle slightly as her question pulls me from my vodka-analysis reverie.  Lowering the beaker, I give her some sort of overly complicated answer.

“I’m currently concentrating on the effect of external thermodynamics on semi-solids in composites of gluten and yeast-based substrates,” I say with a gentle but slightly condescending smile.

“Oh my!” the woman stammers, no doubt confused, but probably more than a little impressed.

I continue on, in what might appear to be an attempt to help her understand.

“You see, the proportions required to maintain the desired ratio of moisture in the center to crystalized gluten molecules on the exterior is critical to the finished product.”

The woman, though totally confused, can’t help but show signs of excitement in the presence of my obviously giant science-brain.

My wife, who’s now affecting something of a Cockney accent, has had enough by this point.

“Look ‘ere, luv!” she says.  “Don’t let ‘im impress you too much.  What ‘e’s tryin to tell you is that ‘e spends all day in that lab of ‘is tryin’ to make the perfect grilled cheese sandwich!  Sure ‘e wears a lab coat, but ‘e ain’t splittin bloody atoms all day.  ‘E’s nothing more than a flippin’ short order cook dressed like a scientist!”

The woman will look back over at me with a bemused look, then back at my wife.

“So your telling me ‘e’s makin’ cheese toasts in the name of science?” she’d say to my wife.

The two of them start grinning and I know I’m in trouble.

“Tell you what, cap’n; if you start workin’ on figurin’ out which type of cleanser works best on cleanin’ the loo, you can set up your lab over at my ‘ouse!  Me and yer missus will be out in the kitchen, eatin’ grilled cheeses and drinkin’ a few pints if you need us!  I’ll be expecting that me tiles’ll be gleaming white, they will”

My wife and the woman are now cackling and appeared to have bonded in their desire to emasculate and ridicule me.  I slink over to the bar and dump more vodka into my beaker, sloshing way beyond the 275 mL mark and ruining the integrity of all the data I’d gathered up till this point.

I may not have a great deal of research to back this up, but it looks like this will be a long night.

*Loyal readers will be quick to point out that my wife is known to abhor pumps and prefers more sensible footwear irrespective of my begging her to choose otherwise.  Further, what little accent she has is closer to  Philadelphian than it is to British.  Neither my wife nor myself have ever been to the UK.  Both my wife’s attire and the location of this fantasy were editorial decisions on my part.  Despite my choices, I still ended up looking like a knucklehead in my own fantasy.  I wonder if there’s a scientific reason for that.

Last Impressions

If you don't carefully you might not see it at all.  (Image by the author)
(Image by the author)

The hallway serves its purpose.  People walk through the brightness of the large windows on both sides.  Some glance out to see what the weather is like or take a quick scan of the lot to see which of the powerful have filled their reserved parking spots.  Others walk through so wrapped up in their days that they fail to notice the world beyond the glass at all.

Birds are sometimes fooled by the reflective glass on bright days or the illusion of a clear path to the other side at twilight; their moments of impact seldom seen or heard by the people inside.  The images are left, in the oils and dust each bird carries on its wings – pressed suddenly onto the glass in fine detail.  An instant of flight and graceful freedom captured in the faintest of prints.  The image of the bird held in suspended animation until the next rainstorm or custodian’s rag.

A New New Years Eve!

Don't get all nostalgic for the New Years Eve of yesteryear - this kid is wearing a cloth diaper and is likely wearing a Depends by now!  (Image from - first New Years Resolution - stay off of Pinterest for another year)
Don’t get all nostalgic for the New Years Eve of yesteryear – this kid is wearing a cloth diaper and is likely wearing a Depends by now! (Image from – first New Years Resolution – stay off of Pinterest for another year)

New Years Eve is poorly scheduled.  Someone had to say it, so I did.  New Years Eve can’t come close to beating the anticipation, pageantry and greedy hype of its gorgeous step-sister, Christmas.  Now that Dick Clark has passed, we’re free to think outside the box.  We need to seriously consider changing the date for bringing in the New Year.

Stop for a minute and try to name your favorite claymation New Years Eve TV special.  That’s right, there isn’t one (unless you count Don Ho’s New Years in Hawaii: So Long 1972 – Aloha 1973!– which was panned by the critics and technically only included a brief clay-mation segment featuring the voices of Jim Nabors and Larry Storch).

Let’s face it, New Years Eve showing up just after Christmas is like lighting a 10 cent firecracker right after the finale of a 4th of July fireworks extravaganza.

What’s the big lure?  Counting backwards to zero from ten and then yelling “Happy New Year!” ?!  Seriously?  The space program pretty much trumped the whole countdown thing years ago.  NASA gets to zero and then hurtles human beings and monkeys into outer space in giant rockets!  What does New Years Eve do when it gets to zero?  It drops a big ball a couple of stories over the course of ten seconds.  Technically, it doesn’t even drop the ball, it lowers slowly on a pole.  When the ball reaches the bottom, it doesn’t even smash or explode or anything.

We're gonna shoot this cute little guy up into space in a rocket when the countdown gets to zero.  What are you gonna do at zero?  Lower a big ball?  Really?  (Image from
We’re gonna shoot this cute little guy up into space in a rocket when the countdown gets to zero. What are you gonna do at zero? Lower a big ball? Really? (Image from

Once upon a time, when people wrote in their diaries with quills, it was a big deal to the change the year.  As if such a big transition needed an exclamation point, people kissed their dates at the stroke of midnight, then they blew out the tallow candles, said their prayers and went right to bed.  Times have changed.  Twelve midnight is the new 8:30 PM.  How else can you explain seeing families with small children out eating at Applebee’s at 10:30 on a weeknight?

As for the big New Year’s kiss, Christmas wins again, with a little something called mistletoe.  You just hang that stuff up, get a tumbler of eggnog, and wait.  Sooner or later the object of your desire strolls under it, and there you go.  No watching the clock, no “one-time-only” restictions.  Savvy bachelors will locate the mistletoe in high lady-traffic zones, like near the bathroom or the wine coolers.  Since it’s some kind of poisonous weed from the middle ages, most people don’t even have any idea what mistletoe looks like.  One year in college, I just stapled a piece of a plastic fern up there and got busy.  None of the girls cried foul about the fake fern – though most of them seemed to avoid the first floor bathroom after that point.

I realize that society needs to change the year at some point, in order to force people to buy new Garfield calendars and to give themselves the opportunity to hope for better times to come.  I’d just like to propose that we save the big New Years Eve celebrations for the end of January and New Years Day on February 1st.  Truth be told, February is a sad excuse for a month, from a holiday perspective; it’s got Groundhog Day and Valentines Day and not much else.  It’s almost insulting that all February gets is a holiday dedicated to paying attention to an otherwise forgotten, smelly, over-sized rodent.  Groundhog Day isn’t all that special either.

If we move New Years Eve to the end of January, everyone can walk around with hangovers and resolutions to start exercising on February 1st.  We won’t miss out much on New Years Day celebrations as far as January 1st goes.  Most of the college bowl games have already been scattered all over the months of December and January.  The Mummers Parade in Philadelphia can go on as scheduled on Jan. 1, since no one watches it except Mummers and their kinfolk anyway.  The traffic won’t really be much worse just because there’s a string band in the middle of Broad Street dressed like Liberace’s lawn jockeys.

On the west coast, the Rose Bowl parade can be pushed back to February 1st.  Just think how much more impressive those floats will be with an extra month available for preparations!  They can still play the football game on January 1st.  Everyone knows that the parade is the most important aspect of the Rose Bowl anyway.

Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for future posts, where I’ll propose more alternatives for making the world a better place for all of us, but especially me.  These include moving the nation’s capitol from Washington, D.C to Orlando and revising the traditional colors for baby genders from pink and blue to polka dot and plaid.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to start drafting my New Year’s resolutions – I’ve only got a month or so to put them together.  Things are going to be different for me in 2013, I’m counting on it!

1Point’s Guide to Winning Blogs : Chapter 1 – Timing

My research shows that people will tolerate Dali's melting watches, but they LOVE fat cats (Image from
My research shows that people will tolerate Dali’s melting watches, but they LOVE fat cats (Image from

There’s an old joke.  A man is interviewing Poland’s greatest comedian.

He asks, “What is the secret to being Poland’s grea-”

Before he can finish asking the question, the comedian emphatically says, “Timing!”

(If you’re Polish and you’re offended, please feel free to revise the joke, substituting Croatia for Poland and dental hygenist for comedian – it won’t be nearly as funny, but we’ll have spared your tender feelings at the expense of those annoying Croatian mouth workers)

There’s a good deal of truth to the thought behind the joke.  Not the Polish part, but the timing aspect.  Timing is critical, and not just for telling jokes.  Timing may also play a key role in getting blog hits.

I’ve repeatedly promised myself that I’m going to look into figuring out the best time to post things to actually get people to look at them.  Up till now, the extent of my research has been to have more than 3 people visible on Facebook chat before posting my link there.

My problem is that when I finally finish polishing the turds I call posts, I just can’t help myself and have to hit the “Publish” button.  It doesn’t matter if it’s 2 A.M. or the night before Ramadan, I’ve got to get that gem out for everyone to see.

If he doesn't turn things around this semester, he could be a D list celeb by June (Altered image from
If he doesn’t turn things around this semester, he could be a D list celeb by June (Altered image from

Sometimes I have a additional fear that the topicality of my post is waning, and I need to hit “Publish” as quickly as possibly before Dr. Phil is no longer a B grade celebrity and my post loses what little relevance it might have once had.

My timing also took a hit when the movers and shakers at WordPress decided to ignore daylight savings time.  I was used to my posts having all the way up to 8 PM Eastern time to collect hits, then suddenly the end of the reading day became 7.  As if it weren’t depressing enough to face total darkness by 4:27 in the afternoon, now I’ve got one less hour to collect hits on my Tori Spelling blog posts (Please do not waste your time explaining that I have an extra hour in the morning – everyone knows that particular hour is only good for beauty sleep).

Here then, are my unscientific findings on the best timing for posting blogs.

Morning, noon or night?

Due!  You toally got OJ all over my peacoat! WTF?!  (Image from
Dude! You totally got OJ all over my peacoat! WTF?! (Image from

Many writers feel that morning is the best posting time.  They post as early in the day as is practical, keeping in mind the importance of getting to work on time and the aforementioned beauty sleep.  They hope for big numbers of reader hits from the breakfast crowd.  After all, few things are more satisfying than having a commenter exclaim that they laughed so hard that orange juice spewed out of their nose and all over their Cap’n Crunch.  While the morning post is tempting, the reality is that many readers have the eye function of 1 day-old kittens at this time of the day.  Recent scientific studies have shown that a large percentage of American employees don’t actually wake up until just before their lunch breaks.

Love this bathroom, even on "Casual Fridays"
Love this bathroom, even on “Casual Fridays” (Image from

Other bloggers will swear by the mid-day post.  For the purposes of my study, I’ve defined “mid-day” as anywhere from the time my morning fish oil capsule stops repeating on me and the hour of my afternoon visit to the 3rd floor men’s room over by human resources.  I swear, hardly anyone knows about that bathroom.  It’s always clean and my magazine is usually right where I left it.  I’d appreciate if we could keep the location of this tidy little oasis a secret – so mum’s the word, OK?  As for timing, mid-day is a big mistake for posting – people are at work and/or chasing small children around – focusing on a 900 word blog about which reality star annoys you is more than likely going to have limited appeal.

Behold -The Meatloaf Martini !  Always remember to crust the rim of the glass with onion-toasted breadcrumbs for that special flair! (Image from
Behold -The Meatloaf Martini ! Always remember to crust the rim of the glass with onion-toasted breadcrumbs for that special flair! (Image from

Finally, there are the night owls of the blogging world.  These writers post in the evening, certain in their convictions that a belly full of meatloaf and martinis when they publish will guarantee success.  These authors should make sure to take their sweet time so that they don’t hit that button before 7 PM Eastern, because once that witching hour comes, the slate is cleared and new hits go into the next day’s hopper.  Waiting too long after 7 is also a mistake, as many readers will turn off their laptops in the coming hours in desperate attempts at spending “quality time” with spouses and if necessary, children.  A little attention to timing on the part of these readers can help avoid the children altogether, but the spouse may resent their having read blogs during both bath and homework times.  Clearly evening posting is fraught with pitfalls and risks and should be avoided.

I Don’t Like Mondays

The savvy blog writer may also wish to pay close attention to which day of the week it is when they publish a post.  Might the content of a given post have an impact on where in the week it should appear?  For instance, one could imagine that a post about the diminished mental capacity of one’s boss would find a welcoming audience on a Monday.  This is not necessarily correct.  In fact, a recent informal poll indicates that people are annoyed with the incompetence of bosses and coworkers pretty much every day.

Most people define the weekends as a time for rest and recharging the batteries.  With this in mind, it’s critical to consider that reading your blog might not fit into some readers’ definitions of leisure time.  They may resent having to “sound out” erudite, ostentatious words from your post on a day when they’d planned to lay around in their jammies until sometime after their noon naps.


After minutes of painstaking research, I’m able to conclude that it does not matter a lick at what hour or day of the week you post a blog.  Those fickle readers will read it when and if they feel like it.  As often as not, they’ll leave it hanging on the vine to wither and die.  Feel free to hit the publish button any time you choose – you can be confident that it won’t make any difference.  While timing may be important in comedy and cooking, bloggers can feel free to disregard it, unless they run the risk of being late for work.

Be sure to tune in next time, when I tackle another topic in the quest for blog supremacy.

Take my advice at your own peril.  I'm not smart enough to avoid putting a picture of my bald head in a post with a picture of Dr. Phil's balds head in it!
Take my advice at your own peril. I’m not smart enough to avoid putting a picture of my bald head in a post with a picture of Dr. Phil’s bald head in it!

About the Author:  1pointpersective is a blogger who’s been scribbling his tired musings about life on WordPress for 9 months or so.  He would be the first to tell you that he doesn’t know crap about writing or blog success.  Truth be told, he only writes blog posts to kill time while he waits to win the lottery or face the zombie apocalypse, whichever comes first. 

And The Ribbon Goes To….

I thought I was smart investing in ribbon futures, when I should have put my money into magnets! (Image from

College football season has begun, and TV viewers may have noticed that blue ribbons are on display.  Like any loop of ribbon in America today, there’s a cause attached.

Apparently, the big business of college football is uniting against the molestation of little boys by defensive coordinators.  A noble cause to be sure, though I’m sure that as far as certain former little boys are concerned, it’s a case of far too little, way too late.  I’m pretty sure I was not molested as a child, but I’m no slouch at repressing memories.  If I was molested, I’m not convinced that seeing a bunch of blue ribbons would make me feel a whole lot better about it.

In my recollection of popular culture, the start of the whole ribbons-as-metaphors-for-giving-a-crap fad started with Tony Orlando and Dawn’s sappy hit “Tie a Yellow Ribbon ‘Round the Old Oak Tree”.  It was about a guy who was away for three long years and wanted to know if his long-lost gal still wanted him back.  I can’t recall if he was away in prison, the military or backpacking across Europe.  It was a schmaltzy AM radio classic, as sickly-sweet as anything Bobby Goldsboro or Terry Jacks could have mustered.

Years later, during Operation Desert Storm or one of those other wars with the catchy names, people began tying yellow ribbons around oaks, hemlocks, elms, street lamps and fire hydrants to welcome home soldiers.  It was a sweet, nostalgic gesture. It caught on and people soon became fixated with out-ribboning one another, tying bigger yellow ribbons around larger and larger things to prove that they were even prouder and more loving than those people down the street.

They quickly discovered that yellow ribbons faded out in the elements and their glorious tributes to returning vets ended up looking kind of sad before too many weeks went past.   Marketing geniuses figured out that a picture of a single loop of ribbon held the color longer and saved people the pesky task of tying bows.  Further refinements involved putting the picture of the ribbon loop on a magnet thus allowing people to display the ribbons on their cars.  Even idiots know that we care much more about our cars than we do our old oak trees.

Somewhere along the way, people began using alternate colors of ribbons for other causes.

One thing is for sure; whether you’re far away in the military, a victim of abuse or afflicted with some disease, there’s a pretty good chance that there’s a special ribbon just for you.  There are periwinkle ribbons for eating disorders, pink ones for breast cancer, raw sienna ones for yeast infection awareness and one with special meaning to me; paisley ribbons in support of victims of Mongolian Brain Fever.*

It’s not surprising that colo-rectal cancer has an alternate ribbon color of blue instead of the original brown.  Though the choice of brown for cancer of that region has a certain logic to it, not all logical connections are equally positive.  Rectal cancer? Brown?  Great idea, we’ll take ten thousand magnets and five thousand lapel pins.  Can you make the lettering a nice corn yellow?

Correct labelling of the colors is critical.  There’s a huge difference between the meanings of light blue and plain old blue.  Blue ribbons have the biggest number of causes, including child abuse, anti-second hand smoke and “Save The Music”.  Seriously?!  Save The Music?  Do you guys really need a ribbon for that?  I would have kept those crate of LP’s in the basement without some silly ribbon.

Light blue, on the other hand, represents prostate cancer, among other causes.  It’s possible that a certain ex-football coach could sport a light blue ribbon pin on his orange jumpsuit.  He might find comfort about his fears of the enlarged prostate which men of his age know to be a risk factor for prostate cancer.  Imagine the potential for misinterpretation if a casual observer in a prison interview failed to distinguish that it was a light blue ribbon and not regular blue.  Better yet, imagine said ex-coach getting the prostate exam he truly deserves from Dr. Bubba.

In my fifteen minutes of research, I was disappointed to find that there is no ribbon color designated for bulging and herniated discs.  I somehow feel under-represented.  To add insult to injury, though there was a ribbon for alopecia, there was not one for male pattern baldness.  Where’s the justice?  I guess I should just be happy that the proponents of my various causes didn’t choose brown.

*Those of you interested in learning more about Mongolian Brain Fever will be disappointed if you read this linked blog

Notes From An Old Codger – Volume I

I swear, he sold me a bag of fried pork rinds and a bottle of Mountain Dew outside of Little Rock! (Photo from

When I was young, just decades ago, I swore to myself that I would never become old and out of touch.  Little did I know that even as I made those solemn pledges to myself, the process had already begun.  I’d developed a fondness for types of music which would eventually be played on the Musak system at the supermarket.  I’d played outdoors and lived with grass stains and no seat belts, in a world devoid of video games and on-demand entertainment.  My favorite hairstyles would not hold up well to male-pattern-baldness.  The final straw was having children.  Those hyper-sensitive critics who would have a real problem with my trying to dress or act  like anyone but a Dad.

I read a post recently, where Life With The Top Down referred to a man she’d met.  She wrote that he reminded her of Cee Lo Green.  I have to admit that prior to seeing him in a soft drink commercial a few months ago, I had no idea that Cee Lo existed.  Once I did see him on that ad, I still had no idea who he was and had no desire to find out why 7-Up decided he was famous enough to represent their product.

My disconnection from popular culture has become disturbingly common.  As I wait in line at the supermarket, my cart packed with plenty of roughage, denture cream and a Valu-Pak of Depends, I glance at the tabloids out of sheer boredom.  The headlines scream for my attention as they always have, but using names I don’t recognize.  Apparently So-and-So has admitted to cheating on What’s-His-Name.  In another blockbuster chunk of news, Whosie Whatsie has gone back into rehab due to her dependence upon drugs which I haven’t even heard of.  While the infidelity and substance abuse issues of people in the public eye shouldn’t be my business to begin with, the fact that I don’t recognize a single name of any of the participants just gnaws at me.  In my heart of hearts, I know that as a good American, I should care about the trials and tribulations of these strangers, but I’ve never heard their songs or seen their movies.  At this point, it seems like too much work to learn who they are so that their addictions have meaning to me.

Besides, gossip and bad news don’t work that way.  You’re supposed to “know” the person first, then be surprised and concerned when you find out about all their problems.  If you know about the star’s crippling dependancy on lethal cocktails of barbituates, stool softeners and bath salts before you even know who they are, it just ruins the whole emotional experience.  It’s like putting the cart before the horse’s ass.

Once upon a time, the tabloids were simpler.  Superstars like Elizabeth Taylor, Michael Jackson and Elvis were in almost every single issue.  Even in death, they showed up.  The formula was simple: take a really famous person with some peculiar lifestyle choices, and speculate about every single aspect of their bizarre lives.  If you had nothing to go with, just make something up.  Many’s the time where Elvis was resurrected from the grave and reported to have been sighted working at a mini-mart in rural Arkansas.  Michael Jackson giving you a slow week?  No problem, he can be abducted by aliens.  When Liz Taylor and Michael got together, the stories wrote themselves.

Now people who aren’t even through the 9th minute of their 15 minutes of fame are already all over the gossip rags.   I saw an article about a woman who had done something stupid.  For the life of me, I couldn’t begin to figure out who or what this woman was.  She may have been a singer, an actress or the newly discovered wife of North Korea’s President for Life.

Fortunately, I have a bevvy of younger, hipper people working around me who I can refer my questions to.  In a pathetic attempt to try to stay in touch, I approached one of my coworkers for info.

“Who the hell is {insert name here}?” I asked.

“Oh, you know, she’s one of the Real Housewives of {insert locale here}” my colleague answered, looking at me to see if I was seriously even asking that question.  “She’s the one who had the big fight with {insert second name here}.  She threw the {circle appropriate projectile – table / chair / Chihuahua / bottle of Cristal} at her!”

My colleague made a face of expectation, waiting for the light of recognition to flicker on in my ancient eyes.  I tried my best to fake it, closing my eyes as I rolled my head slightly to the side.

“Oh!  Right RIGHT!  The one who threw the thing at the other one!” I said, hoping she’d let this matter drop.

She looked at me with pity, pretending to be unaware that I was lying.

It’s no use, I’ll never keep up with a culture which changes at the speed of Tweets.

I guess I should accept my status and start mowing the lawn in loafers, dark socks and Bermuda shorts.  It’s clearly time to embrace my inner old codger.  I’ll regale anyone who’ll listen with stories about how football used to be a man’s sport, played without gloves or Darth Vader visors.  After all, football season is nearly upon us.  I saw a commercial for the NFL just the other day.

There were shaking pom-poms on the screen.  I waited in eager anticipation to see who was behind them.  I hoped that it was Ann Margaret or maybe Raquel Welch. You can imagine my disgust when the pom-poms dropped to reveal the smiling mug of Cee Lo.

Blog-Garage Sale – A Call For Duds!

Look at all this great stuff! I wonder if I can get the smell of Indian food out of this cool crock pot. (Image from

I think most bloggers will tell you, we have lots of junk stored in our mental garages, or as WordPress likes to call them our “Draft Files”.

I’ll have a momentary spark of inspiration about a potential topic, scribble down a sentence or two, give it a title, then hit “Save Draft”.  Sometimes it’s the title itself, sometimes it’s the idea, but something in there merits my hitting the save button.  Subsequent revisits to the draft do not shed much light on why I ever thought that dog of a topic ever had any value.  So it sits in the draft file collecting dust like a singing big-mouth bass mounted on a plaque.

It’s time for a blog-garage sale.  Next Saturday morning, 7/14 around 8:00 AM Eastern time, I’ll put five of my drafts out on tables in the driveway known as my blog, in hopes that  someone will take these clunkers.  Shoppers will be able to get them for a fraction of what I paid (which was nothing), and save me the trouble of tripping over that pile of ideas on the floor by the back door.

The drafts, just like their snooty over-achiever cousins, the finished posts, are bargain priced at zero dollars.  Still, in my garage-sale state of mind, I just can’t bring myself to just throw the drafts in the trash.  If I can’t find someone to take these off my hands, I’m just going to have to throw these things out, along with this broken beach umbrella and that crappy old bureau that my grandmother said was an “original Chippendale” – Come on Nanny, I’m pretty sure didn’t have male strippers back in the olden days.

Everyone knows that the more people’s junk treasures there are at one of these sales, the more carloads of strange people will show up and browse.  Therefore, I encourage my fellow bloggers to bring out your duds.  Pick out a few lame ideas from your own drafts file and add them to the shady driveway also known as the comments section of this post, or email them to me at  I’ll post them all in next Saturday’s Blog Garage Sale post.  Once they’re on the comments section or in the post, they’re fair game for anyone who’d like them.  If you email them, I’ll be able to post them without attaching your name if you’re that embarrassed by them.  Think fondly of me as you hit the delete button beneath the draft, ridding yourself of those once sparkling ideas which are just depressing to look at now.

As for you non-blog writers, enjoy this creepy glimpse into the raw creative process of your writing heroes.  Be warned though – Seeing these turds before they’ve been honed and polished will undoubtedly take some of the magic away from your reading experiences in the future – kind of like seeing Johnnie Depp without his elevator shoes and make-up.

The first rule of thumb at blog-garage sales is not to wonder whether someone has some sort of mental disorder -“idea hoarding syndrome” or “bad taste” are two of the maladies which often spring to mind.  Just glance at the junk on the tables, and if nothing suits you, nod and smile then move along.  Be sure to check back later, I’m hoping more people show up and bring their garbage treasured ideas.

One last request.  In the event that you trash-pick one of the draft ideas from here and later write a post with it, let me know about it.  I’ll try to let folks know via my blog.  Who knows, you might end up with a Pulitzer, or at the very least, maybe snagging a few more readers.

Life Lessons From Gilligan’s Island

I recently found myself commenting on two seperate blog posts, about two very different topics within a few days of each other and making references to Gilligan’s Island on both comments.  It occured to me that I learned many of life’s important lessons from watching any number of crappy sitcoms, and Gilligan’s Island is certainly no exception.

For a bunch of people stranded on an island with no way home, they look pretty damn happy – let that be a lesson to you!  (Image from

1. Given the opportunity, people will use technology for the dumbest possible reasons.  Long before we learned this the hard way through internet porn and Facebook, Gilligan and the Professor were using the available technology of coconuts, bamboo and palm fronds to the fullest extent of the materials’ potential.  Rather than use the technology to fix the boat, or make a water purification system, they chose to create things like automatic hammock swingers and for making the Howell’s a stock ticker which printed the Dow Jones on banana leaves.

and on a related note:

2. When faced with dire circumstances and a poor prognosis, people may focus on the wrong priorities.  Long before people squabbled over the rights to use a given pop song as the theme for a presidential election instead of frivolously wasting time on silly things like issues, Gilligan and company had paved the way for wasting time and resources.  The gang on the island would use their valuable energy to put on a show.  They’d build a stage and props so that 4 of them could entertain the other 3.  This sort of thing is still fairly rare in the real world, but in the realm of show biz it’s commonplace.  Still, we can learn from it.  The next time there’s a natural disaster, instead of sending medical aid and supplies, we should send footlights, greasepaint and boomboxes for musical accompaniment.

3. Running fast doesn’t always get you there quickly enough.  Instead you need to speed up the tape and make it even faster.  To clarify, Gilligan and crew didn’t originate this concept, the Munsters did it years earlier, whenever Herman scared someone.  Irrespective of who invented this incredible strategy, the truth of the matter is this; there’s no point in being careful to trying to accomplish things in an orderly, logical manner.  Instead, just run around and around really fast and people will become distracted by your foolishness and laugh at you.

Good news Lil Buddy! The Professor finished making the hot water heater for the showers!  (Image from

4. Having your heart in the right place counts more than actually accomplishing something and/or forgiveness is a noble thing.  Gilligan screwed up the group’s chances of getting rescued multiple times.  Though the Skipper would take off his hat and smack him with it, eventually, he would realize that Gilligan’s heart was in the right place and all would be forgiven.  So don’t worry about succeeding, just try your best for all the right reasons and some big Sandusky-looking guy will forgive you and call you his “lil buddy”.  Nothing creepy about that.

5. Change is not good – change sucks the big one.  Despite their time stranded on an island, not one of the castaways changed.  Ginger remained a primadonna, the Howells continued to value money and status over everything else, Maryann stayed the sweet, innocent farmgirl she’d always been and The Professor never got horny, no matter how hot Ginger looked in that shimmery, skin-tight dress.  Let this be a lesson to you.  If those people didn’t change why should you?  Keep being the same knucklehead you’ve always been, it suits you.  Besides, you only risk a drop in the ratings by trying to improve yourself.

6. As long as we’re on the topic of change, there’s no reason to change your clothes either.  A long sleeved red shirt and bucket hat is a good wardobe for the tropics.  Find a fashion which works for you and stick with it exclusively – don’t be mixing and matching like Ginger and the Howells, stick with your first choice.  Personally, I’ve been wearing these MC Hammer genie pants for going on 20 years and they still turn heads, so I know this one is a stone cold fact, yo.

7. Diversify, diversify, diversify!  People looked at Thurston Howell III and envied his massive piles of money.  A closer look revealed that that while the rest of the castaways were looking for pretty shells and running away from headhunters, TH-III was rocking out voice work for the politically incorrect, but always humorous Mr. Magoo.  Life lesson, if you aren’t happy with your station in life, get your ass to work at a second job!  Once you’re rolling in cheddah, go score some rich debutante like Lovey, then ride that gravy train straight down Easy Street.

8. Despite being seperated from loved ones and presumed dead, you can still have lots of fun. As detailed above, the wacky castaways wasted relatively little time trying to get rescued and finding food and shelter.  Instead, they focused on playing golf, putting on skits, and getting into all sorts of zany hijinx.  Gilligan’s Island taught us to be happy, regardless of the circumstances.  Now go back out there to your own miserable little island and try to have yourself a few good chuckles.  Be sure to wrap things up within a half hour or so, minus commercials and the credits.