Thursday, November 29, 2007

Stop me if you think you've heard this one before...

In college, I loved the English group the Smiths. The frontman, Morrissey, is in the news complaining about the immigrant explosion in the UK. In his heyday, he wasn’t known for his cheery attitude. “Girlfriend in a Coma”, “Unhappy Birthday”, and “Death of a Disco Dancer” were a few of his titles.

His mood hasn’t changed. He claims he can’t find an English accent amongst the people at the Knight’s Bridge Tube station anymore. My first reaction was, with all that money he has made, why is he riding the subway? But in the larger sense, it’s just another example of a celebrity (although a minor one) making social commentary.

Also in the news, guess who Barbara Streisand has endorsed for President. (take a wild guess…she’s from Arkansas…)

The idiots in the media world need to go out and hunt some real news instead of asking Brittany Spears her opinion of Iran’s uranium enrichment program (“Ms. Spears, Do you think President Ahmadinejad’s claim that uranium was enriched to 3.5% using over a hundred centrifuges is correct?”) while she shops for shoes.

To the media: Stop asking these questions of these people. I don’t care what Sean Penn thinks is going on in Iraq and that Danny Glover and Hugo Chavez are pals.

To the entertainment types: If you want to be an actor/singer/politician, I suggest running for office. Until then, shut up and act/sing/moan or whatever it is you do.

Unless you happen to have a blog...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

What’s on my IPOD


For some reason 1000 songs stored on something smaller than a cell phone seemed like a great idea. Still does.

I see all kinds of people using it, jogging, sunbathing at the beach, exercising, etc. However, I don’t do any of those things. This may be the subject of another blog, or perhaps a note at the bottom of my obituary.

Well, I do go to the beach. But you can’t zone out in your own personal audio world while a 3-year old plays in the surf and a 10-month old eats sand. Nor would I want to.

Unless I’m on a plane alone, I never use it. Also, I should note, I’m never on a plane alone anymore.

To be fair, we have used it at parties, we hook it up to computer speakers for a little background music. I’ve heard other people do this with their stereo.

I’ve used it to hit golf balls. I read this book called “Tour Tempo” and it wants you to learn to hit while a guy yells, “Swing, Set, Through” in your ear for the start, change of direction and contact during the golf swing. Seemed like a good idea at the time. Insert your own comment here.

Holli said she wanted to have one, so I gave it to her. She uses it as much as I did.

Monday, November 26, 2007

And of course, brown paper packages tied up with strings...

Recently, a group of golfers from Kentucky were making plans to come to my corner of the universe to play golf. Being that I lived a brief time in Kentucky, I mentioned that I would love to get a bottle or two of Ale81, a regional soft drink that I absolutely loved when I lived there.

The other end of the line was quite interested in making sure my craving was satisfied, so she arranged to mail a case (24 cans) to me as a surprise. And at great expense. I think shipping was $95. It costs 500 pesos at the post office (I had never been there in 4 years) to get it out of customs. The product itself was about 20 bucks. So we are up to about $5 a can. I will enjoy them one at a time and sob softly on the last one.

It reminded me of an import business I joked about with a friend a year or two ago. It would be called “My Favorite Things.”

I would start with (or maybe just hog all for myself) the following things:
JIF Peanut Butter….as I have been reminded many times, I am a Choosy Mother. Crunchy, creamy, I don’t care.
Frank’s Red Hot…the original Buffalo Wing sauce
Welch’s Grape Jelly…for my wife
Brookwood Farms Pork Barbeque…run by a friend of mine, he used to give it to us by the case
Guinness Stout…or any equivalent dark beer. Pilsners rule the day here. It’s a heartless dictatorship. When I go back to the states, I just go to the beer aisle and wander…dreaming of a beer coup and regime change in the land of my employment. So far, it’s just a dream.
David’s Sunflower Seeds…in the shell, of course
Jelly Belly Jelly Beans…Licorice
Cheese Straws…various brands
Ginger Beer…various brands
and of course, Ale81.

I would also open a few restaurants:
Primanti Bros….if you’ve ever been to Pittsburgh, you know
Schlotsky’s…I could eat there every day
Drover’s Inn, West Liberty, WV…the best wings in the world
The Hot Dog Shoppe, East Liverpool, Ohio…I don’t really like hot dogs, but this place…
Skyline Chili…get the 5-way…you won’t be disappointed…
El Vaquero, Southern Pines, NC…the Mexican food here is terrible…who’d have known?

Bon appetite…

Saturday, November 24, 2007

My Parents Got a Letter This Week...

Dear Mr. and Mrs. _______________,

We regret to inform you that your son’s development in the past year was not sufficient to allow him to be promoted to the next age. We feel another year at 40 will allow him to mature and keep him from falling further behind his contemporaries.

This decision is based on key events of the past year and we have included recommendations for the coming year.

1. He should have bought Amazon stock in June, not October.
2. During the Nevin Shootout in May, he should have hit a normal 8-iron instead of trying a knockdown 7-iron on the 16th hole.
3. He should never go “all-in” with three of a kind. We repeatedly cautioned him on this.
4. He should avoid the Miami and San Juan airports at all costs.
5. When a waiter brings him hot sauce with 357,000 Scoville units (as we know, Tabasco has only 5000), scoffing and dumping it all on his Malaysian Chicken is something we hope his ego (and the rest of his body) can avoid in the coming year.
6. He should continue to avoid Tequila. This is something he did very well on in the past year. We hope he will continue.
7. When asked by his wife, “What are you thinking?” Please counsel him to answer either “how wonderful you are” or “how beautiful you are” or even “how lucky I am to have you.” Answers like, “Nothing”, “I don’t know” and “I should have hit a normal 8-iron instead of a knockdown 7-iron” are not considered appropriate responses.

We hope that another 40th year will give him the needed skills to progress toward adulthood, whatever that is.


William Porter Walden

Friday, November 23, 2007

The Next Post Won't be Political, I promise...

Mr. David Stern
Commissioner, National Basketball Association
New York, NY 00125

Mr. Stern,

Due to a recent order signed Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm prohibiting hiring discrimination based on religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, height, weight, marital status, politics, disability or genetic information, I am informing you that my client will report to the Detroit Pistons next Tuesday as their starting power forward.

My client is 6 feet tall and weighs 172 pounds. He will turn 41 next May. However, as you read above, height, weight and age are not to be considered in hiring.

To make room for my client on the roster, I ask that you direct the Pistons to cut Rasheed Wallace, whose 15 points and 7 rebounds each game are largely due to the fact that he is nearly seven-feet tall and weighs about 240 pounds. He obviously benefits from the illegal hiring preferences used by Piston management.

In order to keep with the NBA code of conduct, my client will begin to attempt to father children out of wedlock, purchase an IPOD (for walking into and out of arenas) and get some tattoos on his biceps, if he can find them.

We look forward to working with you.


Bill W. __________, Esq.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Hating's a vicious circle...

I haven’t mentioned my job yet, and I am not really going to, but a thank you note addressed to “Dear Friend of the Diversity Center”, from the Diversity Center of Northern Ohio came to my email address. Of course, they wished me Happy Holidays.

Now I have no idea who these people are, but my first impression was that if they really want to be diverse they wouldn’t limit themselves to only Northern Ohio.

I wasn’t splitting the atom or anything (it was before lunch) so I clicked on the link to read about their 7th Annual Humanitarian Dinner. I’m sure the food was good, but probably void of any foods that may offend, such as Kosher (or non-Kosher) meat or fish or vegetables picked by underpaid migrant workers, or bread made in the ovens of Republicans. I’m sure no alcohol was allowed nor any caffeine nor any trans-fat. I’m sure it was delicious.

Anyway, I then clicked on “Diversity Partners”. This is a list of people who they partner with although I assume EVERYONE is invited. I’m going to name a few:

The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio…The same people who think Santa and the Easter Bunny are religious icons.

Anti-Defamation League…this is a great idea. Who is FOR defamation? But isn’t being “Anti” anything a slap in the face of diversity?

Cleveland Council on World Affairs…They were formed in 1923 to promote World Peace. Since Cleveland hasn’t gone to war since then, I guess we know they are doing pretty well with this in Northern Ohio. Now if only we could get everyone else to join. In college, the people that loved to talk about world peace also smoked weed. Same with the “Save the Earth People.” Just an observation.

Anyway, there’s 20 more or so partners but I don’t have time to list them all. They don’t leave anyone out, unless they believe in God. Well, just one God, that is.

Also, for the non-specific, non-denominational winter celebrations that annually occur in November and December, they did want to invite us to:

THE B'NAI JESHURUN ON MONDAY, NOVEMBER 19 AT 7:00 P.M. for an interreligious Thanksgiving celebration sponsored by InterAct Cleveland, B'nai Jeshurun Congregation and The Diversity Center.
THE EVENING WILL FEATURE...* The B'nai Jeshurun Choir * An Interreligious Choral Group * South African Song * Indian Sitar Music * Participation by the Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Bahai, and Buddhist communities.

Well, this either will be a spiritually uplifting event completely devoid of real meaning or a complete brawl.

As for me, I love diversity and tolerance. Does that mean I hate intolerance? Am I allowed to hate intolerance? Am I allowed to hate anything?

In fact, just thinking about intolerance people makes me want to punch someone. But (in keeping with diversity) someone different each time, of course.

Get Steven King a cup of decaf…

The horror writer Steven King has had another of his novels made into a movie. Since America has no taste, The Mist will open sometime soon at a theatre near you. Whether you like it or not.

I don't know how you feel about Steven King, but let's face it, Victor Hugo, he isn't. But that doesn't stop this idiot.

“Frank wrote a new ending that I loved. It is the most shocking ending ever and there should be a law passed stating that anybody who reveals the last 5 minutes of this film should be hung from their neck until dead.”

Well, Stevie boy, it’s Frank’s (whoever he is) movie now. It’s his ending. So shut up. If knowing the end ruins the story, it wasn't a very good one to begin with. Great books can be read over and over again without the reader being stricken with amnesia each time.

Before Congress rushes to enact this law, I’m going to give you the ending…the hero lives, the bad guy or thing dies and life will never be the same again. There. Now you don’t have to go.

Tell Steve to sue me if he doesn’t like it.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A History of Ireland That Makes You Feel Sorry For Myanmar

Even though St. Patrick’s Day is months away, the deeds of the great man are never far from my mind. His banishment of snakes (although post-glacial Ireland has never had snakes) from the Emerald Isle is an undertaking that is unmatched in public service, even beyond that of my friend Ed, who is credited with attempting to rid the Dominican Republic of Don Armando Rum, one bottle at a time.

The Irish Potato Famine of 1845-1852 reduced the population of Ireland by an estimated 775,000 people, or a little less than 100,000 per year. On the bright side, due to the heroics of our man Paddy, no one died of snakebite.

The people in Asia don’t have it so good. Roughly 50,000 people each year die from snakebite, with about 80% of the deaths occurring in Asia. This is every year, not just for eight years in the 19th century. So since we started keeping score in 1845 or so, it’s Snakes in Asia 6,400,000 – Potato Blight 775,000.

So I really don’t want to hear about the Irish Potato Famine any longer. And if there is a 10-foot Equatorial Cobra in the produce section, just remember, Uncle Ben’s Long Grain White Rice can be found in the Soup Aisle.

Gotta go...

Let me tell you about Potty training. We all know potty training is tough. First, you have to learn when you feel the “urge” to go and then you need to either tell someone or go find the potty. Since the one we are using now is portable, it is sometimes hard to find. (which is why they are put them in the bathroom next to the sink and anchor them, I suppose—not like the remote or the cordless telephone)

After finding the potty, it is a little boring. Eventually, success arrives. We flush it down the toilet and celebrate.

I’m getting pretty good at it. We’re going to start with Gracie any day now.

My mom thinks I'm not eating right...


I thought the hot dogs with the cheese and chili were great for lunch. Frying them was a great idea. As good as they were, I can’t believe I only ate four of them. I guess the dozen glazed-chocolate-covered doughnuts for breakfast kind of took my appetite. Thanks for getting them for me. You were right, Pepsi does make them go down a little easier.

I hadn’t really thought about dinner yet…have to let the bag of pork rinds you gave me as I was walking out to go back to work and the chocolate malt settle a bit first. Besides, in thinking about dinner, I’m not sure you can top last nights gizzards wrapped in bacon inside the puff pastry with mashed potatoes and cream gravy that we had. The chocolate cheesecake really was a perfect dessert. I’m sorry I was a little disappointed at first with the fact that you didn’t make the Crème Brule like you did on Saturday, but the cheesecake really hit the spot, especially after you added a side of homemade ice cream and chocolate fudge sauce.

Oh, one last thing. Bill called me about an hour ago and said you left the Fry-Daddy at their house last week when we made the deep-fried Snickers bars. I’ll stop by and get it on my way home.

A thought just occurred to me…let’s skip the nightly walk this evening. I’m pretty tired, and walking from the car to the office this afternoon kind of wore me out.

Why don’t we just order a couple of pizzas?

Live Free or Die, yeah, fine...just leave me alone

Why is it somehow important what people in New Hampshire think about the political candidates? I only know one guy from New Hampshire and he is a total moron, for what I can tell. I’ve never thought to ask him who should be President and if I did, I certainly wouldn’t care what his answer was.

So stop doing a poll every ten minutes and announcing the results like somehow they have merit. I don’t care what anyone in New Hampshire thinks…why do I want people too stupid to get out of the cold to pick a President?

While I’m on the subject of cold, why are most of the people who believe in the myth of global warming from the Northeast? Why wouldn’t they want global warming? Why would they want to stop it from happening? Do they like shoveling the driveway on Memorial Day?

These are the things I think about at 6:30 am.

Monday, November 19, 2007

I Know What They Did Last Century...

The Bush Administration was completely against the congress passing a resolution declaring the Armenian Genocide (I don’t need congress—I have my own opinion) in 1915 to have been genocide. The effort to bring it to a vote seems to have died.

As a descendant of Armenians, I have always felt strongly that something needed to be done or said regarding the atrocities committed by the Ottoman Empire prior to World War I. And many things have been written. Twenty-nine countries have passed resolutions declaring it to have been genocide.

But is that the job of government? To define history? And what if they voted against it? Does it mean it didn’t happen, that it was just the Ottoman Empire responding to a rebellion? No, what happened over 90 years ago will remain a horrible nightmare for 1.5 million Armenians regardless of what the House of Representatives and the Senate say.

And why now, Congress? The timing and the people in favor of this are suspect at best. I have never agreed with Speaker Pelosi on anything and I’m not going to start now. I’m not disagreeing that the genocide happened, of course it did. It is as much a fact as the sun coming up each day. I disagree with making it the business of congress to play historical fact checker.

I really think Ms. Pelosi is using the grief of the Armenian people to try to cause difficulty for the war on terror effort and for the White House. Well, this Armenian isn’t falling for it. I don’t care what you want to say, for political purposes, happened in 1915. Shut up.

Cayenne Lemonade

Here’s how you make it:

2 tablespoons Cayenne Pepper (or more, if you like)
Little Bit of Lemon Juice (or more, if you like)
33.8 Fluid Ounces of Water

Close the top of the bottle and shake. Shake before each drink as the cayenne tends to settle on the bottom. I like it. My stomach hurts almost all the time (mostly cramps), I spend about 45-60 minutes each day in the bathroom but at least it’s always right where I left it in the refrigerator.