Friday, October 31, 2008

For $724 per month, you too can be uninsured...

Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Tennessee has denied coverage of our attempts to alleviate 10 or so years of pain for Holli with surgery.


REQUEST FOR BID #25-06 October 30, 2008

We are seeking bids for the removal of the family uterus.


1.1 Definition of Parties: We will hereinafter be referred to as the "we” or “the family." Respondents to the request shall be referred to as "Bidders." The successful bidder shall be referred to as the "Doctor” (hopefully).

1.2 Evaluation: Award will be made to the low bidder, provided that all other requirements are satisfactorily met, such as a medical degree from a medical school and an operating room.

1.3 Costs of Preparation: Bidder assumes all costs of preparation and any presentations necessary to the bidding process as well as all costs necessary to complete the job.

1.4 TV and Radio Broadcast Rights: The family will retain all rights to broadcast, re-broadcast or otherwise publish any information or footage from this event.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

It was a four-foot scotch pine...

When I was in college (I tend to label the years between high school graduation and college graduation as such, and it’s only a minor violation of the truth) I got into a war of nasty practical jokes with a guy we’ll call Bill.

Bill had a girlfriend…that had been the girlfriend of a good friend and he kind of stole her away from him. I don’t know why this angered us (the friends of the guy) so much, but we were mad at the both of them (the girl and Bill).

One day at the Dairy Queen, I said so to a friend of hers. The news got back to her and she told her boyfriend and he came to see me. After about 10 seconds, I told him to get out of my house. Unbeknownst to me at the time, a friend of his was letting the air out of my tires. It was officially now 2 on 1.

So I got two friends (to make it 3 on 2) and we borrowed letters from signs around town and left him a message at a convenience store near his house. I don’t remember exactly what it said, but it wasn’t “have a nice day.”

We take time out from this riveting story for the Real Country Music lyric of the day.
Cook me up some bacon and some beans.
And go out to the car and change the tire.
Wash my socks and sew my old blue jeans.
Come on, baby, you can fill my pipe,
And then go fetch my slippers.
And boil me up another pot of tea.
Then put another log on the fire, babe,
And come and tell me why you're leaving me.

Back to the saga…

He then put a dead animal in a box and delivered it disguised as a Christmas present to my house.

So my two friends and I did the only thing we could do. We planted a tree in his yard. We got a tree out of the woods and went to his house in the middle of the night and planted it.

A few months later, he and his family figured out that they didn’t know how the tree got in his yard (they each thought the other had planted it).

We had gotten the last shot in, but he didn’t even realize it for months.

And that ended the war. I guess our response was so weird that he couldn’t think of a way to answer it.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

One more thing I shouldn't write about...

Every once in a while I have thoughts on this subject, but I don’t have the guts to write about it but about once every year or so.

Warning: I’m going to quote the Bible here. If this isn’t your particular cup of religion, I’m sorry and will try to quote from the Koran, the Book of Mormon, and the Fargo, ND phonebook (in order to balance things out) at a later date.

Anyway, this is from Genesis 3:16, the part where God has kicked Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden:

“Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children…”

Now this seems like a bad deal for the woman…and I’m sure it is. I’m not claiming I understand.

But my problem with the “Curse of Eve” is that there isn’t more information given. Given the opportunity, I would have liked one more sentence added:

“And thou shalt sweetly endure this curse and knoweth that thy dear husband is joyfully making a most sincere effort to make thy existence every bit as lovely as thy true beauty unequivocally deserveth.”

Obviously, this would have helped. But, as I believe the Bible to be the Inspired Word of God, I don’t believe leaving the clarification out was a mistake…and certainly not as big a mistake as I am possibly making right now.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The reason why I couldn't get a job in advertising...

Bud Light has a new ad campaign that says the great thing about their beer is, quote, “Drinkability.”

This is it? That you can drink it?

So I hear that this beer is drinkable (and by the way, I don’t think it is) and immediately I am convinced to purchase it against the thousands of other beers out there with ad campaigns that contain more information than "it's a non-toxic liquid"?

We take time out for the Real Country Music lyric of the day…
By the county line the cops were nipping on our heels
Pulled off the road kicked it to 4 wheel
Shut off the lights, tore through a corn field
What was I thinking?
Out the other side she was hollerin, faster, faster
Took the third road had the radio blastin
Hit the Honky Tonk for a little close dancin
What was I thinking?

Anyway, this brilliance is from same people that for 10 or so years milked to death the idea that everyone who might be trusted to bring you a beer was hard of hearing and that Bud Light was preferred as a beverage over a lamp, headlight, searchlight, spotlight or flashlight, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.

And don’t get me started on the “More Taste League.” More than what?

Monday, October 27, 2008

It takes five quarts of 10w-30....

Don’t get me wrong, the hospitality and caring nature of Southern women is a wonderful thing. If someone is in the hospital or the cable goes out, a group of ladies get together and bring over a casserole.

I believe this tradition started before it was discovered you could microwave hot dogs.

And while I love tradition, I think we can tweak this a little. So I have composed a letter.

Dear Ladies,

I very much appreciate your willingness to help with food while my wife is in the hospital. However, I believe your charity could be focused somewhere else that would be more useful at this point. Below is a list of things we would love your help with during our time of difficulty.

1. There is a lot of debris in the yard from the last seven or eight storms we have had. If you could bring a wheelbarrow and a truck, I don’t think it would take you more than two or three hours.
2. I’m going to go watch Monday Night Football at the Buffalo Wild Wings this week. The kids need to be bathed and in bed by 8:00. I’ll be back around 11:30 or so.
3. Change the oil on the car.
4. I think there is a dead raccoon in the crawl space under the house. The cover-alls (if you don’t have your own) are in the hall closet.
5. The day you come, call me when you are on the way…I may need you to pick up a six-pack of beer.

Again, thanks for thinking of us in our time of need.


Friday, October 24, 2008

Following the People for Fewer Telemarketers meeting...

The Citizens against the Post Office just had an impromptu session.

It was decided they could raise their rates at any time (who do they think they are?) and they do stupid things, like send mail 200 miles away to then send it back to deliver it to only 20 miles down the road.

They put mail in the wrong boxes. They have hours that a banker would envy.

The Citizens against the Post Office was formed when I was a small child when members of the committee worked somewhere that dealt a lot with the local Postmaster, who happened to be the father of one of my friends. At a certain point, the Citizens against the Post Office made it uncomfortable for me to play wiffle ball on a regular basis at their house.

As the meeting continued, the Citizens against the Post Office related recent stories of incompetence that complaints by the Citizens against the Post Office eventually led to the local Postmaster calling a member of the committee nasty names that the minutes of this meeting dare not reflect, due to the family-oriented nature of this blog.

This cemented the harsh view of the post office that the Citizens against the Post Office still harbor to this day.

After the room calmed down, the committee adjourned, announcing that the Group for Better Service at the Drive Thru Window would be meeting in a few minutes.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Angus Young and the Restless...

I heard the other day (and I wasn’t listening) that AC/DC is about to release their first album in eight years.

This came as a surprise to me. I would have guessed more like 20 years. I guess three guitar chords can be reworked a lot of different ways.

When I was an impressionable youth, these guys were the definition of evil in music. They were the one of the groups cited as evidence that music had gone straight to hell. People packed into churches to hear horrible lyrics and backwards devil-filled coded messages.

They were horrible drug abusers and womanizers, we were told. It was our duty to burn their albums (along with our Dungeons and Dragons books) and save our souls. Now they are the subject of video games and guests on the Martha Stewart show.

All of this makes me wonder, who are the bad guys now?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Can you hear me now?

I’m sure this has been covered by someone else, but I was too busy answering my cell phone to notice.

This “on-call” 24 hour-a-day thing has got to stop. There are no more areas (that I can find) that a cell phone won’t work. Now, you either answer your phone (no matter where you are) or someone will think you are ignoring them. Or you are in the bathroom.

(I suppose this is how my wife could know if I’m drinking enough fluids)

I draw the line at the bathroom, but there are some out there who will answer two calls at the same time, if you know what I mean.

If this is a part of your particular lifestyle, do me a favor and try to keep it a secret. Don’t flush. Don’t use the air dryer or pull down the paper towels from the dispenser.

I just don't want to know.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in...

Back when I gave golf lessons for money, I felt like a crook.

Thirty-percent of the people wouldn’t work on what I told them. They didn’t believe me afterward that what I told them would make them better (when it didn’t work EVERY SINGLE TIME…and nothing works every single time)…and sometimes they probably were right.

Twenty-five percent couldn’t do what I told them they needed to do. Their body just wouldn’t do it or they didn’t have time to work on it enough to make a change.

Another twenty-percent didn’t understand what I told them (sometimes my fault, sometimes theirs) and they worked on the wrong thing and didn’t get better.

Twenty more percent just wanted someone to watch them hit balls and listen to them talk about their golf game. Kind of like a therapist that only says, “I see…”

This kind of personal attention is how a lot of golf pros get fired, by the way.

But five percent listened, worked on what I told them and got better. I have a few people that I actually took from one place and got to another place, a better place.

But 100% of them paid. This type of con game (although it wasn't my fault) began to wear at me, so I swore I’d never give another golf lesson.

This worked out until today (at 4 pm…only an hour from now)…if you have any advice to give me on how to have a better attitude about it, I’d be happy to:

1. Listen and ignore it
2. Or just listen
3. Or listen and try to do what you tell me and fail
4. Or listen and do the wrong thing to correct it

Just let me know.

Monday, October 20, 2008

It's who you know that counts...

The basketball hoop is finally up.

In difficulty, it was somewhere between the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima and the building of Tower of Babel.

A few weeks ago, when I thought I could do this without the aid of the Army Corps of Engineers, I had the first pole put into the ground during the driveway paving. I then consulted the directions and realized that I was never going to have a basketball hoop, just a 4-foot pole in my driveway to taunt me and a box full of parts in the garage taking up space.

The directions were like the prophecies of Nostradamus…easy to see what they meant after you got it done, but not very useful in predicting what to do before it happened.

But into town rode a hero. We’ll call him Rick, mostly because that is what his name is. He read the directions and said he thought we could do it.

After a few detours and a couple do-overs, it was complete. The directions called for three capable adults. Rick was two short, but his leadership pulled us through.

We celebrated by shooting a few baskets and I congratulated myself on knowing someone like Rick.

Friday, October 17, 2008

I'm also the General Manager...

The Governor of our state was here this week to endorse a political candidate running for state senate. As it was news, Mr. News at Noon attended. And as it was a chance to make some money, Mr. Sales attended.

As a member of the media, Mr. News at Noon declined to wear a sticker on his shirt endorsing the candidate or take two signs for his yard, one of them for the candidate and the other for the Presidential candidate of this particular groups liking. He even declined the hot dogs, chips, cookies and coca-cola that was offered to him.

Mr. Sales ate 4 hot dogs, two bags of chips, drank three cokes and put on as many stickers on his body as possible and took a sign for both his yard and his car.

Mr. News at Noon met the endorsed candidate, shaking his hand and smiling.

Mr. Sales, upon meeting the candiate, hugged him and asked him to purchase ads on his station. Your opponent has ads on our station, Mr. Sales explained, and the candidate wouldn’t want to miss out. Any good candidate (with a chance to win) would want to participate in the political process in this manner, Mr. Sales explained, speaking rather quickly.

Mr. News at Noon recorded the press conference and didn't change expression or clap as partisan views were expressed. Mr. Sales got on a picnic table, stamped his feet, whistled and cheered loudly at every possible chance so that the candidate could see him.

When the speeches were over and the hot dogs were gone, Mr. News at Noon packed up his stuff and walked to the car, dragging a waving Mr. Sales behind him.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The adventures of Scoop Jones, radio reporter...part 1

5:12 pm – Scoop departs home to cover the 5:30 pm City Council Meeting.

5:13 pm – Scoop feels hunger pangs and begins running through options for a quick snack as free food and drink is not offered to members of the media at City Council Meetings.

5:15 pm – Predictably, Scoop pulls into the KFC Drive-Thru and waits behind a Ford Explorer. His keen eye for detail tells him that he is fourth in line overall, second in line to place his order.

5:16 pm – Scoop orders a two-piece chicken (leg and thigh) and biscuit with a medium pepsi to drink. Answers “original recipe” when asked. Readies $5.38 for payment. Pulls ahead.

5:18 pm – Scoop pulls forward to window and pays with three $1 bills and $2.38 in change, including 28 pennies. Receives dirty look from cashier.

5:19 pm – Gets order and pulls into the street. Considers opening box, but shows patience.

5:22 pm – Arrives at City Hall. Decides to eat chicken leg. Uses first napkin.

5:23 pm – Decides to eat biscuit. Checks clock. Drinks pepsi.

5:24 pm – Decides to eat thigh. Drops it in his lap. Uses most of second napkin. Checks glove box for more napkins, with no luck.

5:25 pm – Finishes thigh. Leaves one-half of the biscuit in the box. Cleans original recipe skin from pants and car seat.

5:26 pm - Licks fingers.

5:27 pm – Uses rest of second napkin and part of an old newspaper to finish cleaning pants and car seat. Uses rear-view mirror to inspect teeth. Worries rest of pepsi will be water-logged on return, decides to drink remainder.

5:28 pm – Belches loudly. Exits car.

5:29 pm – Enters City Hall.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

It was sunny with a high of 81...

Flu Shots.

I know I’ve had the flu a few times in my life, but I don’t remember a specific instance, besides the time that it was viral encephalitis.

(of course, the time it was viral encephalitis, it WASN’T the flu, it just had the symptoms of the flu)

However, on Friday August 12, 1977 (I was 10 years old) I went to the doctor with my mother for a check-up for school. It was noted at the time that I hadn’t had my tetanus shot.

So with no concern for my immediate safety (and no protest from my mother) the doctor pulled up the sleeve on my blue shirt, got out a needle the size of an industrial-size caulking gun, jammed it into my arm and held it there for four or five minutes (it may have been quicker than this, but this is what I remember) before pulling it back out and giving me a band-aid and a grape tootsie-pop.

My arm hurt for about two days. I remember lying on the couch that afternoon with my arm dangling off watching the Cubs play the Phillies on WGN. The Phillies jumped out and scored 3 runs in the second inning and 4 runs in the third inning and went on to win 10-3. I remember my arm throbbing as Steve Carlton got the win for the Phillies while Rick Reuschel took the loss for the Cubs. Frank Pulli was the home plate umpire. The attendance was 28,849.

And my arm kept hurting that night when we had chicken casserole with biscuits. It smarted while Gabe Kaplan guest hosted the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. I remember the guests were Roy Clark, Tom Smothers and Susan St. James, who talked about her career now that McMillian and Wife had been cancelled.

It remember that it hurt the next day when I went outside to get the newspaper. I found a penny (it was heads up, 1974 D) on the way back up the driveway, but it didn’t stop my arm from hurting.

And as I said, I don’t really remember having the flu.

I think I’ll take my chances.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Staring at the ceiling...

What are two words in the English language that sound like a letter of the alphabet, but doesn’t have the letter(s) it sounds like in the spelling of the word(s)? 

Did you know that your IQ can be divided by your shoe size? 

Did you know that if you buy a bookcase (unassembled) for under $20 that you probably need to assemble it about two feet from where you will leave it forever since it will break into tiny pieces when you try to carry it up the stairs…all because you wanted to assemble it in the living room and watch football at the same time? 

Did you know that a basketball hoop with directions that call for three capable adults shouldn’t be purchased by someone who needs 45 minutes to assemble a bookcase? 

Did you know that people who claim to have 13 fool-proof ways to get a good night's sleep have at least 12 ideas that don't work?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Heads I win, Tails I get reimbursed...

I played blackjack at the casino over the weekend (they have a great day-care) in Tunica.

The first hand a guy next to me got a jack and an eight. The dealer had nine showing. He decided to hit on the 18.  He got a three! Winner!

I took that as a sign of what would happen to me and kept hitting if I had less than 19. 

Eventually, I lost all of my money, including the $21,543 I got advanced on my credit card.

On my way out, I stopped by the office and told them I’d gambled and lost everything. They said they were sorry and gave me my money back.

They told me that this happens all the time and they were more than happy to give me my money back since it was really their fault that they advanced me the money in the first place to play games that you could lose money at if you took stupid risks.

Good thing. Betting all that money when I couldn’t afford to…what were they thinking?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Nick 'em at night...

I think it would be fun to rob a bank.

First, you have to decide whether you do it at night or during the day.

If you do it at night, you got to figure out how to get in (and get out) and there are all kinds of things to stop you like alarms, guards and the safe. You’d have to make sure you didn’t leave fingerprints or look at the cameras…or maybe you could disable the cameras or pipe cartoons into them or something.

The nighttime thing sounds kind of like when we used to sneak into the gym at night to shoot baskets when I was in high school. It was fun. It may have been more than half the fun.

The “at night” plan also works better in that the bank can (if they don't want to look for you) just keep quiet about losing all that money and blame it on bad sub-prime lending or de-regulation.

If you do it during the day it seems like there are a lot more problems without the fun of crawling inside an air-conditioning vent.

Sure, you get to walk in the front door, but you almost always have to take hostages and that never works out…not even very often in the movies. You have to have weapons and someone might get hurt. This compounds your problems should you get caught or even get away. They tend to look harder for you when someone got hurt.

And the “during the day” plus of using the front door to get in (and hopefully out) doesn’t outweigh the annoyance of having to schedule bathroom breaks, order food for everyone from the hostage negotiator (keeping in mind kosher or vegetarian concerns) or having to choose between the pregnant lady and the man with the heart condition to release in exchange for a bus to the airport or pepperoni on the pizzas.

Also, I don’t want to have to deal with people while I’m working…if I wanted to deal with people, I’d skip the bank robbery and get a job in the golf business or a job selling radio advertising or something.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Hope they don't have caller ID...

Yesterday I called a bunch of people to try to get them to buy advertising on the radio.

This is my first week of doing this, but I figured if I could sell (or take rejection at the rate it was likely to come) this week, the rest of my sales life would be easy.

I read a few books on sales. My favorite was, “How to sell when you’d rather throw up on your shoes.”

I practiced my sales pitch for a while before I called.

“The reason I was calling was that I, I was hoping you might want to maybe give a thought, if you have a second, to perhaps buying some advertising on the radio. If you don’t that’s okay, I’m sorry I bothered you.”

I’m only exaggerating a little.

This is the same slickness I used when (attempting) dating. I’d call and hope she would show me some mercy and let me take her to a movie and get an ice cream cone afterward. I’d hope for a goodnight kiss, but was willing to settle for her not to laugh (out loud) when I leaned in.

Some people were polite and some weren’t. Some bought and some didn’t. Today I’m going to try to talk to everyone the first time they answer the phone instead of hanging up half the time.

Or maybe I’ll start that tomorrow. Or next week.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

One last gasp and cough for vocal maturity...

I hear my voice on the radio all the time now.

I do the weather, the news, and ballgames and I’m comfortable with what it sounds like, for the most part.

I interview people. I have this bad habit of starting a sentence when I have no idea what I’m about to ask, but it usually works out…in the end…when I…finally figure out why…I started to…talk.

I also do advertisements for all kinds of stuff. This is where I have a problem sometimes.

Certain kinds of ads are okay, like one’s for the local auto parts place. But I had to do an ad for an investment firm recently and I don’t think my voice measures up.

The copy is about planning for the future. It calls for a fatherly tone and a calming influence that tells the listener that retirement is for the long term and don’t worry, you’ll be just fine with Investment Firm X. But my voice is sounds more like the guy who tries to convince you to liquidate your 401K and buy a deep-sea fishing boat or to go to Vegas and enter the World Series of Poker.

A friend of mine in college had a great radio voice. One of his theories was that voice quality was helped by smoking cigarettes.

(If you ever were in a radio station during the 60’s, 70’s or 80’s, it would be hard to argue anyone disagreed with that theory…it also seemed the theory involved keeping alot of old coffee cups around with the station logo on them)

But anyway...if you need me, I’ll be around back having a smoke.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

It's the thought that convicts you in front of a jury of your peers...

Yesterday, I went to the store to buy an anniversary gift for my wife…because yesterday was our anniversary.

Sometimes I buy them early (earlier in the day, that is) but my tardiness made the gift no less important, even if I was in Wal-Mart.

Years ago, I had been counseled to buy jewelry and jewelry only for gifts but today was going to be an exception. Mostly because I was in Wal-Mart.

I selected a huge chocolate bar (expensive chocolate is better than cheap jewelry), a card and a bag to put the card and chocolate in.

As I put my items on the conveyer belt, I noticed the man behind me in line was buying a big piece of thick rope.

I guess he’s been married longer than I have been.

Monday, October 6, 2008

No score and 7 years ago...

I have a porch swing that needs to be hung up, but I haven't bought the frame yet.

The swing used to be on the porch in my wife’s parents house.

It's sitting on our back porch, holding a dead plant. It's had more important tasks.

The first time I ever sat in it, I had just met Holli. We did a lot of complaining that night to one another, each with our own problems.

I’d visit every once in a while and we’d sit in the porch swing and talk. Even when it got really cold, we’d sit out there for at least a minute before I’d go home.

And when I proposed marriage to her, we were sitting in that swing.

Friday, October 3, 2008

When watching concrete set up IS exciting...

We’re getting the driveway paved (complete with basketball hoop) tomorrow and I can’t wait.  

So I’ll be able to… 

Shoot baskets whenever I want.  And since we have a light on the outside of the garage, I can do it at night too.  Now, the kids will all play at my house.  I hope Holli can make lemonade and cookies when they come over. 

Ride my big wheel as fast as I want, slam on the brakes and spin around.

Bounce my superball straight up in the air and it will just keep bouncing, forever and ever. 

I hope the kids like it too.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Can't wait until John gets older...

This offering is not immoral, but could be in bad taste
So if you are fearful of offense, please leave now in haste

But wait! Don’t leave before the Real Country music lyric of the day:
I've read somewhere statistics show
The man's always the first to go
And that makes sense 'cause I know she won't be ready

Still there? Well, then, here we go…

I’ve been accused of a crime that’s a century (or two) old
And I’m certainly innocent, my denials are bold

But with her “j’acuse” she says it isn’t she
And who else, she asks quite pointedly…could it possibly be?

There are spots on the seat and she says I’m to blame
Her opinion is really quite strong that I have no aim

But my denial is proved weak and cannot phase her
When in desparation I whine…"Hey...I’m not using a laser!"

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Don't blame me...I only had them an hour a week...

I went to the volunteer meeting for junior achievement and they gave me my assignment…the junior high class at our local middle school. 

I was there with a few other volunteers.  One of them claimed not to understand what he had agreed to do.  I don’t know what he thought, but he said he was terrified when the director told them he would, indeed, have to talk to them.  And he carries a gun, for pete’s sake.   

So, on a weekly basis, I’ll be facing 30 junior high kids.  I have some experience in this age group.  I taught Sunday School for a group of junior high boys for a while and I can with all confidence say that a few of them turned out well and most of them (to date) avoided jail or boys camp. 

I taught them vital things (with a Biblical theme), like that the calendar was stupid (no, the world wasn’t going to end when the year 2000 came) and that you needed more than $2,000 a year to survive on your own.   And that you didn’t necessarily need $100,000.  

I told them I’d teach them about whatever they wanted to know.  They said women.  

I told them I’d have to bring in a guest speaker.