Sunday, March 30, 2008

Let's Get Physical ...

This past Friday, I had a doctor’s appointment for my annual physical … problem is that I haven’t had an annual physical in about 5 years … oops, has it really been that long? Folks, let me tell you, this visit felt as if I was doing confession at a Catholic church, but the last time I did it was 5 years ago. The doctor came in the room, greeted me warmly, then looked at my chart, and gave me one of those “disappointed” nods. I felt like asking if I should say 5 Hail Mary’s, and then bend over.

The physical went well – I mean the nurse even asked if I worked out, because my blood pressure was 118/70 – I don’t know what those numbers mean, but apparently, that’s pretty good. The doc checked my ears, mouth, and I guess my lungs … apparently, the plumbing is still in good shape.

Now, I decided to confide in my doctor that I’ve had a little problem – nothing I thought was serious. Basically, I’ve developed a rash/discoloration on my back, upper chest, and neck over the past 6 months – not overly noticeable, but still there. It itches a bit, but my skin always itches. The doc took a look at it and said it wasn’t anything big – he said the name of the “disease,” I think it began with an M, and had every letter of the alphabet in it at least once.

What I found out is that I’m kind of like something you’d find at a discount rack … an uneven sweater. I never knew this was even possible, but apparently, I sweat very unevenly across my body, and the ph of the sweat causes the skin to change color slightly … however, because my sweat isn’t evenly distributed, this is why I have “blotches.”

Doc informed me that I could go to a dermatologist, however he wanted me to try something first – he said I should buy some Selson Blue and use it as a lotion on my back, chest and neck … Now, I’m sure we’re all familiar with Selson Blue – apparently, it is much more than a dandruff shampoo – it is very useful to uneven sweaters like me. Who knew? He directed me to apply it every night for a week, and the blotches should disappear. Most likely, I’ll have to continue this “procedure” on a monthly basis.

Doc gave me other examples of “medicines” that were originally developed for one “illness” and were found to work on other “illnesses.” For instance, Rogaine was originally developed for people with high blood pressure. So, not only did I get a physical, but I learned something about Rogaine and Selson Blue … go figure.

Thursday, March 27, 2008


This Saturday night, a great American will be inducted into his “sport’s” hall of fame. This hero has been at or near the top of his “profession” for more than 30 years, and has been recognized as the best in the business by more than a few major publications. Am I talking about some NBA superstar? Nope. How about an MLB ace? Absolutely not! Of course, I’m talkin’ about “The Nature Boy,” Ric Flair!

“Who,” many of you not familiar with the “art” of professional wrasslin’ may be asking yourselves. And now that you know I’m talking about a wrestler, many of you are probably either tuning out or falling asleep. Please, give me a chance!

Let’s just say that Mr. Flair is like the Babe Ruth of the squared circle, or the Wilt Chamberlin of the ring. The guy practically invented “mic skills” in wrestling, and certainly was a trailblazer when it came to ring attire. He was the king of catchphrases before anybody in wrestling knew what they were. Some of his classics include “To be the man, ya gotta be the man,” and “I’m a limosine driving, jet-plane flyin’, kiss stealin’, wheelin’ dealin’ son of a gun,” and of course, “Wooooooo!”

The man successfully married charisma and wrestling in-ring skills, and made ring psychologoy an art form. He was really the first bad guy or “heel” that many wrestling fans actually cheered for. His 16 world championships, as well as many other “minor” championships speak for themselves. Sure, when you look at him now, you’ll probably say that he probably should’ve retired at least 10 years ago. Well, maybe you’re right – but the fact is, that this 58-year-old over-the-hill performer is still probably better than many other wrestlers on the WWE roster, and the reason he’s still around is to try and “teach” these punks the ins and outs of being a successful wrassler.

When I first got into watching pro wrestling in the mid 1980’s, it was right during the beginning of the “rock and wrestling” movement, with such stars as Hulk Hogan, Tito Santana, Roddy Piper, Superfly, and Andre the Giant. The WWF was rapidly gaining in popularity, while the other regional promotions were slowly wasting away. The only real competition the WWF had was a group of regional wrestling promotions that “acted” as one promotion under the umbrella of the NWA. Ric Flair was its champion when Hogan reigned in the WWF. The NWA always seemed to be more about wrestling, while the WWF was more about glitz and gimmicks.

I remember absolutely hating Flair at the time because he was a bad guy, and he always seemed to cheat in order to win his matches. In looking back at those times, Flair was a master at his craft – I was supposed to hate the guy, and man, did I ever! Only one other wrestler was able to wrangle that kind of negative emotion out of me – Roddy Piper (he was basically made in the same mold as Flair).

As time went on, I got to appreciate Flair more and more – he had this “bad guy” thing down to a science. He had the fans in the palm of his hand, and he could literally wrestle a broom-stick, and get the broomstick “over” with the fans. His legendary matches with Dusty Rhodes, Ricky Steamboat, Sting, and Randy Savage are probably still being viewed by aspiring wrestlers to this day

In case anyone is interested, the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony will be televised on USA this Saturday night at 11:00 p.m.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Easter Recap

So, my wife and I joined her family for Easter brunch at a place called Meridiths – a fancy little restaurant … and when I say little, I mean small. I enjoyed the spread they had, but why is it that all of these trendy restaurants have to all be so little and poorly laid out? Is this one of the “check-marks” of being trendy? These places end up hauling in as many tables and chairs as possible, making it difficult to just even get to your table, let alone pull the chair out and sit. Couple that with a “buffet-style” brunch, and you’re just asking for collisions involving eggs, sausages, and even salmon. This place also had one “restroom,” which consisted of exactly one toilet and one sink. This was “conveniently” located behind the “maitre-d” podium. For the love of God, let’s put together a more intelligent floor plan, and let’s introduce another bathroom.

My wife and I were invited to my brother’s wife’s parents’ house for Easter dinner later that day. As you may have read in my previous post, I absolutely hate ham, but feel bad about being invited to somebody’s house for Easter dinner, because I know that they have to make concessions for me. The dinner served on Sunday was pork, but I know most of the people there probably would’ve preferred ham. Seriously, just tell me to bring my own hoagie or something like that – I won’t be offended … heck, I love hoagies. Everyone else can enjoy their ham and not have to worry about the one person who can’t stand ham … I don’t mind, I can take care of myself. Cook the ham, dammit!!!!

Other than that, the weekend was uneventful. On Friday, Schue and I did a massive house-cleaning, which brought on a sense of accomplishment for yours truly. Additionally, I FINALLY finished Lego Star Wars … completed 100% of it. It felt like it took forever … thankfully, the game keeps track of how long one plays … I clocked in at just over 67 hours. So, the good news is, I can move onto a new game. The bad news is, I now have to figure out which game that’ll be. Any suggestions (remember, I own a Wii) are appreciated.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Trendy Transformation????

Last weekend, we decided to put together our own St. Patrick’s Day bar tour in Delco. There was already something called “The Blarney Bus” which was a bus service sponsored by 5 local bars (up and down Mac Dade Blvd.), but we decided to take our own bus …. AKA Septa. The bars we chose weren’t on the “Blarney Bus” route, which meant they weren’t as crowded as those aforementioned bars. Plus, they tended to be more like dive bars … which is just the way I like it.

I wanted to point out one bar in particular – The Frontier Saloon, located near rt. 420 and Mac Dade Blvd. The bar fits every definition of a dive bar. Weekend NASCAR races televised on the big screen? Check! A six pack store attached to it, so the party doesn’t have to end at 2:00 a.m.? Check! Pictures of naked Indian chicks inside? Check! A popcorn machine that dispenses free popcorn? You betcha!

However, there was one thing that didn’t fit. The Frontier has decided to try and become a little more upscale, as evidenced by the amazing draft beer selection. Some of the brews included Troegs, Rogue’s Dead Guy Ale, and Blue Moon. These drafts are normally found in the “trendy” areas of Philly, and some of the more upscale places in Delco … certainly not something one would expect to ever be sold at the Frontier. I mean, the normal clientele there thinks Miller High Life in a bottle is upscale.

Which got me to thinking. Is this bar really trying to change its image? If so, what steps will it take? Will it get rid of NASCAR in favor of PBS? What about removing the naked chicks with pictures of people smoking pipes? One thing that makes me think the image won’t change, at least not that rapidly, is a sign I saw at the bar. I kid you not, the sign said “Draft Beer Available To Go.” How is that possible? Are they giving out McDonalds cups? Do you need to bring in your own sippy cup? Is this such a good idea for a bar to be doing?

BTW, if you don’t believe me about that sign, check out my wife’s website at Her latest post has lots of pictures of the bar tour, including a picture of us standing next to an ape trying to sell cheese-steaks.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Easter Memories

Since Easter is upon us, I figured I’d “share” some of my most favorite Easter memories.

1. Having to dress up in a tan 3-piece suit as a child that made me look like a slice of poundcake with buttons. I hated this suit with a passion. I’d probably beat myself up if I ever saw myself wearing this suit again. Not only did I have to go to church with this suit, but I also had to search for Easter eggs in my back yard still wearing this ridiculous outfit (and no, Jeff, my parents didn’t make me wear Lederhosen for Easter).

2. Going over my uncle’s house and eating a bowl of ketchup … OK, there’s a story here, and most of you have probably heard it, but let me go over it quickly again. I absolutely hate ham – this has never been a secret in my family. Unfortunately, my aunt and uncle decided that they would not have any alternative dinner choices available for me – no chicken nuggets, no PBJ, no hot dogs, no nothing – just a big ol’ disgusting ham, and some sides. I was so upset by this (I’m a stubborn jerk sometimes), I refused to eat anything. My mom was saying things like, “Well, at least have some corn … or some string beans, or some noodles …” I nixed every suggestion. Finally, somebody at the table sarcastically said, “why don’t you just have a bowl of ketchup,” which was received with a round of laughter. Not to be outdone, I took that person up on the suggestion, and poured myself a bowl of ketchup, and slurped it down with a spoon. That’ll show ‘em!

3. Being absolutely amazed that the Easter Bunny had access to keys to get into our house in order to hid Easter eggs on a rainy day. I may have been around 5 at the time (or maybe younger), and wasn’t excited about getting soaked trying to find those hand-painted (or dyed, or whatever) rabbit eggs. My mom informed me that the bunny somehow got inside and hid the eggs in the basement. At the time, I was excited about the ingenuity and creativeness this hare showed. It would probably freak me out now.

4. Going up to my cousin’s house (he lived up the street) dressed up in some kind of suit … Not a big deal on the surface. However, it was rainy. Still, no big deal. My cousin asked if I wanted to play football … again, wouldn’t have been a big deal if (a) I brought a change of clothes, or (b) if my cousin allowed me to wear some of his clothes. Nope, I played tackle football out in the rain in a dress clothes … I thought I’d be able to dodge people, not get tackled, and stay relatively mud-free. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, and I sullied the suit. My mom was so happy to see me that night.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A Really Important Topic

The Rev and I got into an “interesting” conversation during lunch today – I think it started when I noticed that he had not eaten any of his green beans. He informed me that they were “boring.” I suggested dipping them in chocolate or maybe peanut butter, which actually got us to the conversation we had.

Specifically, we heatedly discussed peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. First, and foremost, I said, I preferred grape jam, as opposed to jelly, mainly because it spreads more evenly than jelly, which tends to glob up in certain areas. This is probably not an issue to some PB&J “novices,” but I enjoy a consistent jelly/jam flavor throughout the sandwich, and don’t like getting overwhelmed with too much jelly. The Rev wondered aloud how I felt about preserves, but in my 30+ years of PB&J, I don’t think I’ve ever used preserves to go along with peanut butter (in fact, I’m not sure if that’s really even legal).

The second item we talked about was white bread. I’ve discussed this with my wife as well, but I really do think that white bread should be renamed “toast bread.” I’m not really sure why it should be renamed this, other than it is the best tasting toasted bread out there. The Rev brought up wheat bread, but there is seriously no comparison. And that whole grain white bread, while tasting similar to “toast bread,” doesn’t hold up well to toasting.

Speaking of which, my favorite “toast bread” is Maier’s Italian “toast bread.” The Rev claimed that this isn’t really “toast bread,” and more Italian bread. I told him to shut the hell up and finish his green beans.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

I love the Feud!

You may be aware from my previous blog postings that I am a big fan of game shows. Specifically, I love funny answers given in game shows. I found a great website that has literally hundreds of funny family feud answers:

I also found some great funny game show moments on Youtube. Just enter “Stupid game show answers,” and you’ll see. Anyway, here is a list of some of my favorite Family Feud answers:

Name something in a bird cage - Hamster

Something you'd find in an operating room - Operator

Something that comes with a summer storm - Snow

One of the three bears - Yogi

A holiday named after a person – January

One of Santa's reindeer - Adolf

Something Russia is famous for - Russians

Something that comes in pairs - Bananas

A job around the house that has to be done every fall - Spring Cleaning

A man's name beginning with the letter K - Kentucky Fried Chicken

The month where a pregnant woman begins to show - September

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

A Hair-Raising Experience ...

I started looking like a rock-star in recent weeks, so it was time for me to get my monthly (sometimes I get lazy, and it is more like bi-monthly) haircut … sadly, the barber/hairstylist’s job is becoming easier and easier with each malfunctioning hair follicle. I decided I would go at lunch, so that (a) I could get away from my desk, and (b) so I could get it out of the way and play Lego Star Wars on the Wii tonight.

I normally put off getting my haircut until night-time, because I’m usually all itchy back at the office if I get my hair cut at lunch. A couple of things I noticed – first, I didn’t have the same reaction as the guy from the Supercuts commercial (yes, I went to Supercuts), which is “I look awesome!” Now, the haircut wasn’t bad, but I’m seriously wondering if that robot could’ve done about the same (the one that says, “How about a nice number 2” over and over).

Second, I could easily fall asleep with the soothing rhythmic sounds and feel of the electric razor on my neck and sides. I wonder how much it costs to have the lady do that for about an hour … and to think, when I was a kid, I was deathly frightened of those clippers/razors … so much so, that my mom would have to bribe me to sit still (usually, a lollypop would be the ransom I wanted).

Third, I still don’t know if I’m comfortable with that blue “disinfecting” liquid the barbers/hairstylists put all the combs in. I guess it’s really no big deal, but (a) do these places have a lot of customers with rabid head lice, and if that were the case, (b) can I bring in my own comb?

On another note, most barbers/hairstylists are very talkative and are good conversationalists … after my experience with one of the candidates for “Miss Introvert of the Year” today, I really do believe that being talkative should be one of the job requirements of a hairstylist/barber. Sure, there are times I really don’t feel like talking, but when the hairstylist isn’t talking, I get an uneasy feeling. At least she didn’t have any body odor (I’ve been to places in which the barber smells like he just got through playing 5 games of basketball and then decided to roll around in dog-sh*t). Sometimes, you just need to look at the positives, I guess.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Growing up Way Too Fast!

My wife and I were enjoying a glass of wine with dinner the other night, and it reminded me of a time when I was just a youngster. My parents would also enjoy a glass of wine with dinner, and for some reason they allowed me to have just a splash of wine with my ginger ale. This made me feel like a grown-up, as I was eating my chicken nuggets. “Mom, this is really good wine,” was a common response that came from me, as I sipped my Canada Dry and Carlo Rossi concoction. Truthfully, as a child, I really enjoyed the taste of the ginger ale better by itself, but wanted to be more like a grown up.

My parents allowed me to do other grown up things whilst I was a youth. For instance, my parents never thought twice of allowing me to have a cup of coffee for breakfast … folks, I was a hyper 5-year old as it was – the coffee probably didn’t help. Sure, it was probably more like half a cup of milk, half coffee, and about 5 teaspoons of sugar, but still.

My obsession with growing up was insatiable. I remember being at a picnic over my neighbor’s house. The neighbor, who was kind of like the funny guy of the neighborhood, and I got to talking. I was probably around 3 or 4 at the time. I admired his beard, and expressed how I would very much like to grow one myself. The neighbor, without skipping a beat, gave me the “secret” of growing a beard. He said that I needed to rub beer on my face, and this would help stimulate the growth of hair on my face. Heck, the guy could’ve told me to rub dog sh*t on my face, and I probably would’ve believed him. The neighbor, drinking a can of Budweiser, proceeded to pour some of it on my hands, so that I could saturate my cheeks and chin with the cold gold. I never grew the beard, but I’m sure my parents enjoyed the fact that I smelled like the guy at end of any bar.

Do any of you remember stories like this?

Thursday, March 06, 2008

A New Type of "Perk"

Many of you may know my issues with work place restrooms – the main issue being that I just don’t find them “private” enough when I have to “drop some rope.” I get severe stage-fright when somebody else walks in while I’m “hangin’ bananas.” My solutions to this problem would probably be costly – basically making each stall it’s on “room” with walls from the floor to the ceiling. Additionally, I’d like to have some sort of white noise in the background to help drown out the grunts and other sounds. But, that’s not really what I’m blogging about today.

I really wish that my company would find a way to provide reading materials in the stalls – now I’m not asking to have newspapers on top of the tank, but I did see a pretty cool idea in a restaurant restroom a little while ago. Specifically, this establishment puts newspaper pages on a wall behind a plastic cover in front of the urinals, giving us the opportunity to catch up on some world events as opposed to just staring at the urine going down the drain.

Couldn’t this be done in the stalls at work? How difficult would this be to do? I’m not asking for a flatscreen monitor on the door of the stall – all I’m asking for is to put new reading material up once a day, or once a week, or something like that. When I worked at Lockheed, I always enjoyed when somebody left the sports section behind in a stall – this would be kind of like that, but I wouldn’t have to worry about who’s hands were touching the paper previously.

Think about it – we could get creative with this, by having one stall dedicated to the sports section, another stall for entertainment, yet another for world news, and so on. Couldn’t this work? Just have the cleaning person replace the old news with new news when he/she is cleaning the toilets? I don’t think this would cost much more, would it? One of the “lesser publicized” benefits would be that people would no longer have to put a newspaper in their armpits on the way to “drop a deuce.”

On another tangent, maybe we could do something creative with the urinals – like having pee races, kind of like what is done with water guns at carnivals – have a line of cars that race their way to the top of the bathroom, and have this directly related to how much urine is released into the urinal. Tell me this wouldn’t be fun?

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The Annual 4+ Hours of Hell...

My parents have done and continue to do so much for me, that I could never turn down their request that I (and Sue) attend the annual “Vereinigte Saenger – Saengerbund,” event. Sounds exciting, doesn’t it? So, what exactly is this, you may be asking. In a nutshell, members of different German choruses throughout the Philadelphia area get together and perform classic German songs. My dad is part of one of these groups, the Delaware Saengerbund – spending a day with the family and watching my dad perform is the least I could do …

But man, it ain’t easy, folks. First of all, mom and dad treat us to a late lunch (or early dinner) at the Cannstatter (the German club). At one time, the food there was excellent … sadly, that was a long time ago. The salad is set up “banquet style,” in which you go up to a buffet table, and scoop lettuce out of a large steel bowl that is sitting in a tub of ice. Toppings and salad dressing are available next to the tub, but the “Chef’s special” salad dressing looks as if it was already digested once.

The soup is ok, but let’s face it – it’s kind of tough to screw up soup, right? I ordered the prime rib, which unfortunately probably should’ve been renamed prime-fat. Amazingly enough, the chef was able to completely overcook one side, and barely heat the other side – a culinary feat! Oh, and it took more than an hour to even get the food – it was as if the chef was outside locating the road-kill to cook for this splendid meal.

The waitress was about as friendly and welcoming as a lake filled with piranhas, and her knowledge of the beer selection was akin to a five-year-old’s knowledge of driving a MAC truck. Oh, and I told you this was a German club/restaurant, right? Well, at one point, I actually heard La Cucaracha playing over the loudspeaker – I was informed by my uncle (hopefully jokingly) that it was originally a German song – my brother said it was originally titled “Das Cucaracha.”

But, as bad as the dinner was, the actual concert was even more brutal. There were six German groups, ranging from old to ancient. Some groups were better than others, but none were great. The only thing that got us through the event was the notes my brother, wife, and I made on each of the performances. Hopefully, my brother kept the notes – I’ll try to scan them and post them … I think you’ll get a laugh.
Again, I’m happy to do this once a year for my parents … thankfully, it is only once a year.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

A Couple of Things ...

Ray-Ray came over my house on Monday night, mainly because he wanted to watch the Flyers, and he still doesn’t have cable TV in his new house (the township is apparently jerking his chain with regards to allowing him to get Verizon cable services – a whole other story).

Anyway, while he was over, we decided to do a podcast. Much like the first one I did with Slant, this one starts out kind of slow – we talk about the difficulties associated with being a Philadelphia sports fan, and the steroids issue. But towards the end, it gets really funny – Ray-Ray came up with an interesting game, which resulted in some pretty funny responses, in addition to the time I went to a John Tesh concert (no, I’m not gay).

We’re definitely going to add more structure to the podcast in the near future, plus, we’ll hopefully get the Rev involved again to make it sound more professional. Check out the podcast (if you have any interest at all) at:

On a side note, I am going to be a special “guest” on the Pork and Beans podcast. We’ll be talking about some classic Commodore 64 games – if you remember this system, you may want to have a listen - not sure when Beans will be posting the new episode.
Check it out at: