Life On The Border

A man of my years should be flattered.  I mean really – the young woman is very attractive.  She’s got a great smile, an impressive physique, and a devilish look in her eye.  She gazed at me from the border and made saucy suggestions about how I might spend my time with her.

There she is again!  This time, she targeting people who are over 70 and want to learn to speak Balkan.  Is Balkan even a language?  How can anyone over 70 resist her siren song?! (Image stolen from my very own Facebook border)
There she is! She bears little resemblance to what I imagined a linguist would look like, but maybe she’s just a really attractive one.  Maybe she enjoys teaching mature men how to speak foreign languages.  Can anyone over 50 resist her siren song?! (Image stolen from my very own Facebook border)

She seductively stared at me from the right hand margin of my Facebook page and tried to catch my eye – as if her curvaceous form and sassy attitude didn’t already trump yet another pet memorial from one of my junior high social-studies classmates.

“Watch this crazy linguistics video!” she purred.  I may be a little long in the tooth, but I know a come-on when I see one.  Kids today and their zany euphemisms!  I almost had to blush at the thought of what “linguistics” must mean.  I’m not sure if this girl is a centerfold, a zumba instructor or both, but if she was into “linguistics” then more power to her!

“If you don’t know French and are age 50+ you’ll want to see this video immediately” she cooed to me.

She’s going to teach me “French”?  There’s a video?!  I can’t believe they’d let such a flagrant seductress on Facebook!  I must admit that the idea of a girl who’s this interested in men twice her age is a little off-putting.   After brief consideration, I supposed she preferred her playmates to be in bifocals.  Maybe she’d tired of the guys of her own generation who spent all their time at the gym and playing video games.  Those young pups are too busy trying to kill zombies and aliens to invest the time needed to learn how to take a relationship with a beautiful young woman to the next level using “French” and “linguistics”.

Being a crafty old coot, I knew better than to jump too soon.  I let her think I wasn’t all that interested.  Perhaps she’d think that I already knew French.  Patience is one of the most critical things I’ve learned over these past couple of decades – that and the importance of getting enough fiber in my diet.

Before I could make my move, she’d disappeared and was replaced by a real estate ad  for a 2 bedroom condo in the Village.  Who would be crazy enough to think that I’d be in the market for a condo in the Village?  People who are 50+ and don’t speak French are woefully out of place in a locale as trendy as that.  Do some research, advertising people!

When the Greenwich Village condo ad was replaced by one for a South Jersey Subaru dealer, I was worried that my playing hard-to-get had left the raven-haired vixen feeling rejected.  The poor thing had put herself out there so brazenly, and I had ignored her.  I was such a mean, sexy old grouch.  By now, she’d likely given up explaining the three families of French verbs to the wrinkled masses and was drowning her sorrows doing keg-stands with the Grand Theft Auto players from down the hall.

Just as suddenly as she had vanished, she reappeared in my Facebook border.  I was overjoyed to see her.  I tried to play it cool, though.  I knew fawning all over her ad would be the wrong move.  While only casting discrete glances in her direction, I felt like there was something different.  Was it her smile?  Had she lost a bit of the free-spirit in her eyes?  Her cup size and sexually-defiant posture certainly seemed unchanged.  Then I saw it!  She was looking to teach Italian to the over 60 set!

I’d had my chance, and I’d blown it.  She’d moved on to guys who were even older than me.  I can pass for 49 1/2 in the right light, but only a hottie with a severe astigmatism would think I was in my 60’s.  It was over between us before it had ever really started.  The bitter taste of rejection must have pushed this sweet young linguist over the edge.  She’d abandoned her desire to teach French to younger-old guys like me.  She lowered the bar to working on Italian with gents who had Geritol on their breath and a water glasses full of dentures soaking on the nightstand.

It’s all just as well I suppose.  Married men of my age have no business learning foreign languages from swimsuit models.  Still, I had let my mind go down that path and now my humdrum life seems to ache for a new direction.  I’m thinking that maybe I should reconsider a place in the Village.  If my wife says no, then I’ll have to settle for a Subaru.

Follow Me On Twitter N C My Nu Bangs!

{I was recently Freshly Pressed here on WordPress.  For those of you who aren’t WordPress bloggers, just know it’s a big deal, with the most important by-product being the wholesale harvesting of new followers.  Lord knows, I grabbed my fair share of new disciples.

The big challenge now is not writing some disappointing piece of crap for my next offering.  After slaving like a dog for months to finally get a bunch of new followers, I don’t want to scare them away this soon.  Be that as it may, I’m going to write about the following topic anyway.}

When I was a kid, a hundred years ago, the news was not fun viewing.  The screen featured a very serious looking man, wearing a suit, sitting at a desk with some papers in front of him.  He’d tilt his head slightly at the camera, cock an eyebrow above the frame of his horn-rimmed glasses and tell America what had happened that day.

No screaming like a Banshee when these guys were on.  They were giving America the news, not yabbering about Ruth Buzzi and giving birthday shout outs. (Image from
No screaming like a Banshee when Huntley and Brinkley were on. They were giving America the news, not yabbering about Ruth Buzzi and giving birthday shout-outs. (Image from

My brothers and I seldom stuck around to see what the anchorman had to say, as it wasn’t very entertaining in our estimation.  Our Dad would yell at us to “stop screaming like Banshees” so he could hear it.  Maybe if the news featured them, we would have sat down quietly and found out what the hell a Banshee was in the first place.  Instead, the only visual breaks in the action were usually maps of Southeast Asia or stock market graphs.

Of course, time changes ones tastes, and now I occasionally want to watch the news.  This was the case the other day.  The house was devoid of  Banshees, and the wife and I sat on our respective ends of the couch and watched Diane Sawyer on ABC.

Diane Sawyer is an attractive woman, not necessarily by TV standards, but certainly by news standards.  She also presents the news like a kinda-foxy aunt telling bedtime stories.  As the newscast wound down, a picture of Michelle Obama flashed on the screen behind her.

Can you see anything different about Michelle Obama?” Diane asked us viewers, her voice lilting and mischevious.  Then they cut to commercial.  Some guy in a khaki shirt was telling America about a quick and easy way to manage the tartar build-up on the teeth of our dogs.  I glanced over at my wife and made a wrinkled kind of face, as if to ask her about what had happened to Michelle Obama.  I got no reply to my non-verbal query.  My wife had looked back down at her Kindle as soon as the commercials started.  For the record, the non-verbal communication between my wife and me will be the focus of an upcoming post, in case you think I can’t top this one for dull topics.

I was annoyed at Diane Sawyer for teasing me and the rest of America with this First Lady topic.  I’m not worried about Mrs. Obama.  She seems like a strong woman and I’m certain there are plenty of staff eager to make sure she comes up with great healthy snack ideas for the kids and always has an outfit to wear that looks sassy yet refined.  Still, as the commercials for reverse mortgages and erectile dysfunction medications droned on, I wondered what it could be.  It’s funny that bullying is illegal in America, but teasing has been allowed to escalate into an art form.

Diane Sawyer doesn't mess around when it comes to the news.   Here she is interviewing Michael Jackson.  She was so glad that she thought better of wearing her own gold-plated catcher's shin guards - that would have been SO embarrassing!  (Image from
Diane Sawyer doesn’t mess around when it comes to the news. Here she is interviewing Michael Jackson and Elvis’ daughter. She was glad that she thought better of wearing her own gold-plated catcher’s shin guards – that would have been SO embarrassing! (Image from

After what seemed like an eternity, Diane Sawyer was back, smiling patiently, as if it were my idea to wait 4 minutes before finding out the answer.

She briefly recapped the question for those sleepy audience members in the back of the classroom who didn’t hear it the first time.  Then she dropped the bombshell.  Apparently there were two things different about Mrs. Obama.  The first was that she had started her own Twitter account and the second was that she had changed her hairstyle to one with bangs.  The first lady had bangs!

That’s NOT news!!” I screamed.

My wife’s attention was startled away from her Kindle and the dog quickly got up and slunked from the room, not sure if she was in trouble.  I could hear a low rumbling sound as Walter Cronkite and David Brinkley spun in their graves like rotisserie chickens.  I turned to my wife to expound further on this travesty of news reporting only to discover that she had already found where she had left off and resumed reading her electronic romance novel.

I looked back at the screen as Diane gushed about the exciting topic of the wife of the leader of the free world having a Twitter account.  For the record, if my dog could type a little better, she’d have a Twitter account too.  If she did, she may well have left the room earlier to “follow” Mrs. Obama on Twitter and not because of her assumed guilt.  As for the guilt, I didn’t find that chewed up pair of boxer briefs behind the recliner for several more days.

I let it all sink in.  As if changing ones hairstyle isn’t upheaval enough, Michelle had started Tweeting at the same time.  Talk about a busy day!  Before I could wrap my big, bald head around it all, Diane moved onto the next story.  There was a scratchy recording of a little girl being interviewed on an old time radio show.

Do you recognize that voice?” Diane cooed.  Another question?  One tease after another!  This wasn’t the news, it was pop-culture trivia torture.  If she kept this up, Sawyer would make Pat Sajak look like a Nobel Prize laureate.  This time, she was kind enough to give us the answer without going to commercial first.  It turned out the little girl in the recording was none other than actress Betty White, who had turned 91 years old that day.

Betty White is in an American treasure (not to mention the last “Golden Girl” still standing).  Every birthday is a milestone, and the closer she gets to triple digits, the more newsworthy it becomes.

The standard format of any news show is that you start with the biggest story first, then work your way down to the filler and fluff.  By this framework we can deduce that Michelle Obama’s hairstyle/Twitter account story ranked higher than Betty White getting older.  I’m embarrassed to admit that I even took the time to consider this.

I guess I should be thankful that my kids are too old to have been in the house interupting my time watching the news.  What kind of father would I have been if I had shushed them so that I could properly hear this drivel?  Truthfully, I think I would have preferred screaming Banshees to listening to what Diane Sawyer had to say.  Oh well, at least she’s nice to look at.

Online Dating Advice for the Lovelorn

Step One: Rearrange the buttons on your keyboard to write cute things.  Step Two: Take a piocture of it! (Image from
I checked my keyboard – this is not the actual orientation of keys on my laptop.  (Image from

A Vermont woman named Christine Billis recently pled guilty to manslaughter after she intentionally drove her car into a tree, causing her husband’s death.  Ms. Billis would have gotten away with it, but shortly after the accident, she joined the online dating website, then confessed the deed to a prospective beau.  The guy decided to go to the authorities instead of pursuing a relationship with her.  It seems wearing a wire and becoming an undercover informant is preferable to finding love for some people.

No one will dispute that it’s wrong to hasten the demise of your spouse by driving into a tree, no matter how much he snores over there in the passenger seat.  The old “thou shalt not kill” credo is pretty standard.  In her defense, Ms. Billis later claimed her husband was controlling and abusive.  Mental note: If you’re controlling and abusive, you should do the driving.

What’s glaringly apparent to me is that Christine, and possibly others, need some guidance in the dos and don’ts in the world of online dating.  Being an old guy who’s been married since Moses was a pup, I’m clearly not the most knowledgable about dating in these modern times, much less the new-fangled internet variety.  Despite my lack of expertise, I don’t see anyone else volunteering much advice for you folks, so here goes.

Do – be honest about yourself, particularly in the “Likes and Dislikes” portion of the initial questionaire.  If a potential love-interest doesn’t enjoy scrap-booking, it’s better to find out right away.

Don’t – admit to killing your husband by driving his side of the Ford Fiesta into a sugar maple.  Save that story for when the guy doesn’t want to see you anymore.  He’ll think twice about breaking things off – especially if you’ve gotten the Fiesta repaired and on the road again.

. _ . _ .

Do – bend the truth a little bit when describing your best features.  A little creativity can’t hurt.  Who hasn’t accidentally dropped five years off their sentence or twenty-five pounds off their derriere for the sake of embellishment?

Don’t – go nuts on the fabrications.  Describing yourself as looking like a young Meryl Streep when you look more like an old Merle Haggard will make for an awkward first date.

. _ . _ .

Do – realize that there’s going to be a bit of fabrication on both sides of the ball.  If the guy describes himself as “an outdoorsman”, there’s a chance he lives in his car.

Don’t – rush to judgement.  Living in a car has its upside, especially if you haven’t gotten the Fiesta fixed yet because the twits at the insurance company are fussing about that pesky manslaughter charge.

. _ . _ .

Do – post a picture of yourself if the website requires it.  Try to find a shot which highlights your best features while minimizing the negatives.

Don’t –  use video-stills from your trial.  Also, very few people have complexions which are complimented by orange prison jumpsuits, so consider a black and white shot.

. _ . _ .

Do – agree to meet in a public place for your first date.  It takes the pressure off and keeps expectations in line.

Don’t – worry about the presence of onlookers, or as some people call them, witnesses.

. _ . _ .

Do – come up with a cute, catchy screen name for yourself, which reflects your interests and personality, like “CatsMeow21” or “iLuvSunsetz365

Don’t – choose a name which might have a negative connotation, like “DeptOfCorrexuns3167239” or “iMakeLicPlates4u

. _ . _ .

Those are just a few of the thoughts I came up with so far.  I hope people find them helpful.  Hopefully by the time Christine gets back out on the dating scene, I’ll have a more comprehensive list of tips ready for her.

Grading Papers and Nailing Perps

Okay kids, today we're going to look at this picture and find something that doesn't belong in it.  (Image from
Okay kids, today we’re going to look at this picture and find something that doesn’t belong in it. (Image from

I just read a fairly preachy post on Facebook.  It was written by a “friend”.  I would not have classified him as a friend in the traditional sense of the word, but in Facebook parlance, people are either your friend or they aren’t.

In any case, the guy wrote about how putting armed police in every school could be an expensive option, and offered the alternative prospect of arming teachers.

I prefaced where I read the post, because I don’t want anyone to think that I got started on this thought process by going to the websites of political parties or special interest groups.  I certainly did not find this topic by reading the news, which I can’t really bear to do lately.  I make no apologies for not keeping abreast of a nation’s heartache; as a rational adult, I know all I need to right now and choose not to saturate my brain with the minutiae of every sickeningly painful detail, as reported ad nauseum by each and every news outlet.

I hoped that my “friend” was a lone voice and that he wasn’t just echoing the thoughts of someone with a broader audience than Facebook.  Somehow I doubted it.  A quick Google search proved my instincts correct.  An elected official in Washington State is pushing for teachers to have the right to carry weapons into the classroom.  Where would we be without some lawmaker telling us how to fight fire with firepower, or as I like to put it, fight crazy with insanity?

I feel I have a fair amount of first hand experience with schools and with teachers.  I attended public schools for kindergarten then twelve more years before moving on to several universities where I earned multiple degrees.  For the past 15 years or so, I’ve worked in schools.  I’ve dealt with every type of school employee from custodians to superintendents and many, many teachers in between.  I’ve dealt with new-graduate teachers and tenured, published PhD’s.  I’ve dealt with a lot of students as well.  My exposure to homicidal maniacs has been much more limited.

I am not a teacher.  I am not in the teachers’ union.  My father was a teacher, as were some of the most influential, important people in my life.  I admit that I’ve also dealt with a few teachers who were inept, sad examples of their profession.  Sitting here in my kitchen, I can’t think of a single one of those educators who I could imagine carrying a gun in the classroom.

In recent years, public school teachers in many states have wrestled with taxpayers and politicians over merit-based pay, benefits and tenure.  Apparently in the halls of power of at least one state, the argument has now switched as to whether or not to arm teachers.

Let’s take a moment to review: Elected officials and taxpayers can’t decide what a teacher’s work is worth, or how to determine if they are even effective at performing their jobs, but you’d like them to carry firearms?!  OK, just wanted to make sure I heard that right.

On a side note, law enforcement professionals routinely carry guns.  In many states they face the same scrutiny of pay and benefit issues which teachers do.  Unlike teachers, they enter their chosen profession knowing their duties may invlove the use of deadly force.  As a profession which has a fair amount of power in its armed authority, police training is designed to help weed out candidates who are unsuitable for the responsibilities of the job.  Despite the careful screening, history has shown us that sometimes the wrong people get badges and guns anyway.

Teachers’ challenges managing kids are pretty well documented.  In addition to teaching the three R’s, they are often called upon to teach kids things which would traditionally be taught at home and only reinforced in school.  Things like respect, being able to tell right from wrong and the basics of ethical behavior.  There have also been more than a few complaints about children in the U.S. falling behind their counterparts elsewhere in the world.  Tacking on the additional responsibility of acting as an armed guard just doesn’t strike me as a particularly effective way of improving overall job performance.

Owning and being capable of using a firearm is strong stuff.  Despite walking this planet for over 50 years, I have yet to find it necessary to even hold a gun, let alone carry one to work.  The first part of my personal rationale for not owning a firearm is that I don’t think I need one.  I believe, perhaps foolishly, that I can use other personal attributes to avoid gunplay.  Like a teacher, I’m convinced that I can use my knowledge and ability to communicate.  The other part of my rationale is that owning a gun would somehow reduce my belief in the  first part of my rationale.

In my opinion, a teacher who wants to bring a gun to school, has to accept the same thought, on some level.

The horror in Connecticut has dominated the news, but it is not an isolated case of senseless violence.  Two innocent people were killed by a shooter in a mall near Portland, Oregon.  Two volunteer firefighters were killed and others seriously injured by a sniper in New York who set fire to his home and car strictly to draw the firemen into his line of fire.

If the logic for arming teachers holds water, then it’s only fair that Foot Locker employees and firefighters are also encouraged to pack heat.  I’m sure that if one analyzed the data for victims of gun violence nationwide, it would be difficult to find a demographic which wouldn’t qualify for carrying a gun.

I know Facebook is filled with people who pop in photos of puppies or little quips about how annoyed they are with the weather without giving it a second thought.  One would hope they would stop and think before proposing something as controversial and fundamentally absurd as arming teachers.  As for state lawmakers making the same proposals, I’m at a loss for words, finally.

That “Gender-Bias Mocha Swirl” Will Go Right To Your Thighs

My favorite flavor is “Montezuma’s Cacao-Nib Revenge”. Sadly, my opinion is only valued for more manly pursuits, like drinking beer, amusing super-models and running with the bulls in Pamplona. (image from

A blogger named Lenore Diane recently decided that it would be fun to invite some of her fellow writers to wax poetic all about how deeply they love Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.  The great thing about an idea like this is that it gives the writers a chance to express their personal views on a wonderfully universal topic.  I can’t speak for all bloggers, but I love having someone else give me a topic to write about, it so beats the hell out of coming up with a thought from scratch.

A cynic might point out that this entire affair is a thinly disguised attempt on L.D.’s part to get a lifetime supply of frozen pints for all the free publicity.  There are others who see this as something darker, something that’s so very, very wrong.

L.D. and I have a little history.  We run in some of the same blog circles and our comments sometimes intersect.  We follow one another on Twitter.  We’re not exactly blog buddies, but we know of each other.  Despite our obvious connection, she left me off her list of people who were invited to write about Ben and Jerry’s delicious product line.  Amazing, right?!

A closer look at the list of bloggers who were invited reveals that only one of the ten invitees is a male.   To clarify, the topic is Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, not how hard it is to find a pair of pumps to go with that green skirt or Keith Urban’s dreamy eyes.  Anyone who’s ever stood in the Quickie Mart at 2:30 in the morning with $5.63 burning a hole in their pocket knows about Ben and Jerry’s, irrespective of whether they tinkle standing up or not.

I’m not upset that L.D. didn’t invite me specifically to write on this topic (yes I am).  I am upset that there wasn’t a more gender-balanced group (no I’m not, I couldn’t care less).  I’m sure if she was pressed on an answer, L.D. would say it just worked out that way, and I’m sure that’d be true.  Let’s face it, society has decided that sweet, rich desserts are the domain of women.  That’s why “Cupcake Wars” is not going to be found on Spike TV, not even in syndicated re-runs.

I don’t normally get all charged up about being slighted like this.   Maybe it’s the time of year.  All the political commercials, mud-slinging and such has me feeling contentious and more knee-jerky than ever.  I’m sure that my crankiness can also be traced to Weight Watchers for Men – I’m just not sure how.  I feel like it’s only a matter of time before I’ll have to listen to Charles Barkley going on and on about how great it is to fit into his skinny jeans – it’s just wrong.  On a side note, I need to find out if pissing and moaning can earn me exercise points.

The frustrating part is that I feel like I could’ve written a good post on Ben and Jerry’s.  I’m a big fan of their products as well as the company’s socially conscientious efforts to be something other than a money-making conglomerate.  As for their flavors, my favorite would have to be Heroin Toffee Crunch, if only they’d make it.  Seriously, that stuff would be addictive.  I’d also really enjoy Cashew-Gesundheit Frozen Yogurt, but only during cold season.

Alas, the opportunity to join in on the love fest for Ben and Jerry’s is a ship which has sailed.  I’ll lick my emotional wounds and hope that the next time there’s a call for entries, my deep voice and shaved head won’t keep me from being considered.  Being so manly in this world of sensitive writers has cost me another opportunity.  It would shatter gender stereotupes for me to weep anymore about it, I’ll just have to suffer quietly and pretend that I’m not hurting on the inside.  This is when real men retreat to moody silence and a tumbler of single malt scotch.

L.D., no hard feelings.  We’re good.  Please, notes of apology aren’t required (but if you feel like sending me one of those coupons for a free pint, I won’t turn my nose up at it).

The Same Five People Are Online

I just checked Facebook again.  I go on and off it obsessively whenever I’m online to see if anyone interesting is on.  Then I can gently remind them to read my blog or find out how their father-in-law is doing since the bypass surgery.  The vast majority of visits there yield the same results;  the same 5 people are on Facebook, nearly every hour of the day.  If I had a bout of insomnia and logged on at 3 AM, I’m pretty sure they’d be on there then too.

In no particular order, here they are.  Feel free to compare them to your five! :

From what I hear, this guy is actually worth millions.  There was no shortage of high school yearbook pics of him online, so I nabbed one to use here. (image from

The Really Boring Guy – This poor sad sack has less than nothing going on.  He has nothing to show on his wall, nothing to report in his status updates and has a picture of himself in high school in his profile, so you can’t even see what he looks like now, all these years later.  It’s hard to imagine how his life could be any emptier, unless he lost his computer and internet connection, in which case he might well turn to dust.

I cain’t stand here wavin’! I got me crops to rotate and magic goats to herd. Y’all come back now, hear? (Image from

The virtual farmer/game player – Spelling “xphrtty” or “cat” in Words With Friends or looking for unicorn eggs and magic beans is apparently full time work.  While it might be advisable for most of us to spend our time working at meaningful, possibly profitable vocations, these folks somehow get through life toiling in the fields of make-believe alfalfa, fighting Mafia wars and spelling words they don’t actually know.

I can click these simple buttons and change the world, then I can go find recipes on In the meantime, I can post pictures and then try to get more people to like my cause. (Image from

The Slack-tivist – They stay online and on Facebook for as many hours as possible, rounding up everyone they’ve ever met to sign online petitions for some cause which they know in their hearts is the single most important endeavor in their lives.  I know I’m cynical, but it seems crazy to me.  They work tirelessly trying to get people to “like” a post which points out the glaring need for prosthetic limbs for the feral cats of the Sudan, who’ve been brutally maimed by warlords and landmines.  As long as we’re on the subject, does anyone know exactly how many “likes” it takes to pay for a new rear-wheel for a tabby?

Status: In a relationship – With the most versatile, incredible kitchen-breakthrough since the toaster-oven! (image from

The Salesman – Constantly hyping whatever it is they sell.  One has to appreciate entreprenurial enthusiasm, but does it belong on a social networking site dedicated to father-in-law bypass updates and pictures of vacations I’m not on?  Savvy sales-pro’s that they are, they’ll work the product into all heir family photos and be sure to travel to conventions thinly disguised as vacations.  C’mon!  No one goes to Sheboygan on vacation and just happens to get a plaque for top performer in the Midwest Territory while there!

“Check it out! There’s organic corn in my chakra! I feel so empowered!” (image from

The New-Age Egomaniac Life Sharer –  This person must constantly keep everyone updated on every BM in their incredibly exciting, richly textured life.  In the event that they don’t have something actually going on, they’ll post blurbs to the effect that they’re “finding my center-in-the-path-of-self-awareness”.  They’re so in touch with their newly found spirituality, they just need to tell the world.  If their life is so rich with self-fullfillment, what the hell are they doing on Facebook 24 hours a day ?

Fortunately for me, these five people are so busy doing whatever it is they do on Facebook, that they don’t have the time to whine about that pain-in-the-ass guy who’s always on there trying to find people to read his blog.  Actually, they’ve probably blocked my blog updates from cluttering up their screens.  I know I should do the same thing to them, but then I’d have to find something else to write about.

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.

Inspirational Poster Proposals for Facebook

After writing my post about the over-use of inspirational posters on Facebook, I decided to come up with a few of my own.  I had a ton of old digital photos including some from a vacation to the Pacific Northwest.  After a little time screwing around with my computer, I was able to put some inspirational words of wisdom on the images.

Without much more of my pesky dialogue, here are some more of them.  I’m hoping to put them next to myself on Facebook.  In the event you have no taste (you’re already reading my blog), I want to make them available to you, my faithful readers to put next to your names on Facebook if you so desire.  Since I took the photos and came up with the quotes, there’s no need for copyright concerns.  If you somehow missed the previous post, click this link – Cheap Sentiments.

Cheap Sentiments – Get ‘Em While They’re Hollow!

Apparently, I am far from being the only person to be annoyed by uber-cute posters like this. A quick internet search for this poster revealed tons of cynical and occasionally grisly remixes of this image.

As my loyal readers may know, I rejoined the bizarro-world better known as Facebook after a year away.  I went back for one reason only – to drum up some readers for my dopey blog posts.  At the time, it seemed a small price to pay for my own perception of popularity.

Many people will admit to a bit of sentimentality when it comes to catching up with friends on Facebook, I have to confess that it’s been stirring up a very specific piece of nostalgia for me (Cue the time-travel music and wavy-screen effect).

It was the carefree days of my freshman year in college.  The rigors of high school and  oft-embarrassing life history of my hometown were behind me.  I was a whole state away from those ancient gaffs.  My slate was clean and I was making the most of it.

I’d chat up some little cutie from the dining hall, and before too long, I’d be hanging around in her dorm room.  Her pleasant-but-dumpy room mate would be there as well.  While my amorous intentions were held in check by the presence of Mandy or Becky or whatever the hell her roomie’s name was, I would look around the dorm room, sizing the place up, hoping to spot some clues which might come in handy later if whatsername ever left.

There were two staples in any of these freshman girls’ dorm rooms;

The first was a prom picture of the girl in her gown holding a corsage with some dude in a powder blue tuxedo.  The size and display of the photo spoke volumes.  The bigger the photo, the more likely she was still carrying a torch for him.  If it was in a massive Rococo frame surrounded by a semi-circle of votive candles, that would usually be an even worse sign.  If, on subsequent visits to the room, you noticed that the picture was missing or face down on the dresser, things were looking better.  If on a later visit still, you noticed that she had cut him out of the picture or somehow mutilated his image, that was even better.  It wouldn’t be a bad idea to keep any photo mutilation in mind for the future in case things with this young lady actually proceeded into some sort of relationship.  Knives and razor blades in the hands of a scorned college coed can be hazardous to one’s health.  Still on the topic of one’s health, another good use of the prom photo was for reconnaissance, in case her knucklehead date turns out to be the possessive type and comes to visit some weekend, it was probably a good idea to know what this former all-county linebacker looked like.

All-County linebacker?! From what county?! In which state?!!
(pic from

The other mandatory feature in all of these dorm rooms were the schmaltzy posters hung on the rather institutional walls.  There were two posters which seemed to be on nearly every freshman girl’s dormitory wall.  The first had a  kitten on it, clinging to a span of clothesline with the words “Hang in there, baby!” in jaunty letters somewhere on the image.  The second poster would have some saccharin sweet image of a mountain sunset or a horse and foal, with the words “If you love something set it free, if comes back to you, blah blah blah”  (I’ve finally managed to forget the exact quote, so “blah, blah, blah” is kind of nice for me).  As for clues, these posters told me next to nothing.  The kitten poster was there because the girl liked kittens or because she needed an emotional boost to help her get through those tricky freshman courses for Elementary Ed majors.  The “If you love something, set it free..” poster may have been there for any number of reasons.  It could reflect a deep, philosophical stance on love’s fleeting nature, or a taste for sunsets and horses with the sappy quote as a mere afterthought.

In any case, they bothered me.  Unlike the prom portraits, the posters had no redeeming value.  To be frank, once you’ve seen one kitten dangling from a clothesline, you’ve pretty much seen ’em all.  If there was any doubt as to the worthless quality of these posters, all one had to do was look at the dorm rooms of these same girls as sophomores.  There were typically no traces of these sickly-sweet bits of visual noise.

As the years marched on and I moved into what I like to refer to as the  post-college-freshman-phase of my life, I have been blissfully spared those horrible posters.  I don’t mean to imply that my life is without schmaltzy sentimentality.  The hollow sweet phrases are still there, usually sold for 2 or 3 dollars with color coordinated envelopes from Hallmark and other purveyors of prepackaged emotional kitsch.

For the record, I don’t mind receiving a greeting card, especially if the sender writes something other than their name inside it.  There is something which borders on insulting when someone sends me a greeting card and only signs it.  It’s as if they’re saying “I have incredible fondness for you and wanted to take a moment to let you know just how much I care about you on the special occasion of your birthday / death of your uncle / recovery from same-day surgery / loss of your job.  Luckily, the folks who make greeting cards wrote this particular one and it captures all of my emotions just so.  All I had to do was pay for the card at the counter and put the old John Hancock on it.  Thanks Hallmark!  P.S. I hope you can read my signature, I signed it in the car at a red light.”

Apparently Facebook has some kind of massive photo album of inspirational Hallmark-ish quotes.  They come in a wide variety of fonts and colors.  The quotes cover every emotion known to man (OK, every emotion known to woman and more than every emotion known to man).  A person needs only find the quote of their choice and click on it, and it will show up next to their name.  Other people, who are apparently even lazier than the original virtual-Hallmark poster, can then “like” the original poster’s post of an actual writer’s quote.  It’s quite convenient to be able to post your emotions by just clicking on an image of a dorm poster (Certainly it’s less labor intensive than, say, writing a massive blog post, then revising it, editing it and then hitting “publish” and regretting it).

Unfortunately, like everything else on Facebook, some people feel the need to overdo it.  I have several “friends” on there who regularly who post dozens of these little posters of deep-thoughts every day.  It’s like they have an all-you-can eat pass from the dorm poster store.  I can barely keep track of how my other friend’s quest for magic unicorn eggs in Castleville is going without these cloying posters popping up every 30 seconds.  The implied “cleverness” of the person who posted it is also kind of annoying, as they didn’t actually do much more than browse at a virtual card shop and click a key on a laptop.  Friends then “like” the little quote as if the person who clicked first had some sort of creative stake in the process.  The fact that this person clicks on more posters in a given day than most people even have time to read gives a more accurate reflection of how little they actually put into it.

So, after decades of not having seen kittens-in-peril posters, I’m now inundated with a new generation of feel good, pep-talks on people’s walls.  The difference is that now, I never even asked to hang out in their stupid dorm rooms in the first place.

Breaking Political News !!!

According to an article I just read, a veteran Republican senator just called President Barrack Obama “stupid” in a Twitter post.

A member of Team Obama quickly responded, comparing the Twitter writing style of  Senator Grassley to that of a 6 year old child.

I'm rubber and you're glue, what bounces off of me sticks to you! My Mom says you show people this finger when you don't like them - so here's my finger. How's that for healthcare reform, you Ka-ka face? (Image from

Sentor Grassley’s office reportedly countered that Obama and his staff were “Doo-Doo Heads”.

Obama’s camp was quiet for a few minutes, but there are unconfirmed reports that a burning bag of dog feces were left on the steps outside Senator Grassley’s Virginia home.

Reports of subsequent toilet papering of the trees outside the White House have yet to be substantiated by the Secret Service.

Several senior Republican’s have been working on a formal rebuttal – undisclosed sources say the rhetoric is along the lines of  “I know you are, but what am I?”.

Obama himself has been unavailable for comment, as he is at Camp David this week, reportedly building a tree fort.  Rumors of Democrats having a strategic sleep over have not been confirmed.