Monday, January 28, 2013


I must confess that I've watched the show "Hoarders" several times. It's an awfully sad situation. For those who have not seen it, the show focuses on people who can't seem to get rid of any possessions. These possessions range from household items to dachshunds to chickens. In fact, the houses of these unfortunate individuals are crammed with junk, dogs, cats, etc. to the point where the dwellings are unlivable.

Sad, indeed.

In my never-ending quest for the truth I must ask: At what point do we become hoarders and not just "normal people with too much stuff"? Truthfully, the greatest challenge that we face as we grow older is not Social Security or incontinence. It's what to do with all of the crap that we have jammed in the house.

There was a trend a few years ago that seems to have stalled out. That trend was downsizing. This occurs when a couple finally rid themselves of the children in their lives and find themselves alone in a 3,000 square foot home. The smart thing to do would be to sell the McMansion and move into a smaller place. For the sake of argument, let's say that the new place would be in the 1,000 square foot category - certainly plenty of room for an older couple. The trouble that people had was that they couldn't part with all of the possessions that they had accumulated through the years. Rather than move, people decided to stay in the McMansions.

Bear in mind that I am not pointing fingers at other people. The wife and I are hoarders in our own right. What do we hoard?

Bowling trophies? Pens and pencils? Books? Small animals?

No to all of the above. We are glassware hoarders.

I went around the house today and counted all of the drinking vessels that we have jammed into our cupboards. The numbers are shocking. All told, the two people living in our house have amassed a total of 253 drinking vessels; 252 if you don't count the dogs' water dish.

Here's the breakdown:

Water glasses: 30
Beer glasses: 23
Shot glasses: 9
Wine glasses: 61
Martini glasses: 8
Large tumblers: 4
Margarita glasses: 14
Coffee cups: 28
Plastic cups: 12
Disposable cups: 50 (approx.)
Vessels of unknown purpose: 13
Dog dish: 1

NOTE: I didn't count the large plastic drinking vessel that I received during my stay at Valley View Hospital. I think that they charged me $1,000 for it and I only included glassware that was under $1,000.

In looking at the inventory of drinking vessels that we have on-hand, it looks like we're running a little short on shot glasses. Should the U.S. Marines show up here for a get-together we may run out.

I'd better get to Target today.

Readers, enjoy your day.

Saturday, January 26, 2013


Background: Rep. Charles B. Rangel has written an article for floating the idea of reinstating the military draft.

Does anyone remember the draft? Show of hands? I didn't think so.

How about Vietnam? Kent State? Nothing there either.

Alright, here is the Cliff notes version of how the military draft worked in the 1960's. When males in the U.S. turned 18, they were required to register with the Selective Service. Once they were out of high school and weren't going to further their education and were reasonably able-bodied and did not have obscene tattoos, they were classified as "1-A". That's the big one, folks. That means that one is about to be contacted by the military and forced to enlist. Those drafted were sent into the military for a 2-year hitch and stood a better than even chance of serving in the infantry. Many of us chose a different route, opting for a longer hitch in the military in exchange for having a lower probability of being in the infantry.

The Vietnam era draft was an airtight lead pipe cinch for the politicians. Eighteen year-olds were subject to the draft. These same individuals were not eligible to vote (as the voting age did not change from 21 to 18 until 1971). Therefore, those of us who were drafted had no say in our fate. As the Barry McGuire song used to go: "You're old enough to kill, but not for voting"That's incredible as I look back on it but, like a lot of things 50 years ago, we accepted them without question and just did our duty.

As with most things, there was a silver lining to the draft: it brought the Vietnam war home to the U.S. Every one of us had friends and/or family who were among the more than 303,000 who returned physically wounded. Many of us knew one or more of the more than 58,000 individuals who came home to be buried.

All of us were affected by the war in one way or another. We internalized the war, it made us sick to our stomachs, nothing about it made sense. And, due to the fact that we were all affected by the war, Americans took to the streets and protested. Draftees fled to Canada in defiance of the U.S. government. Those of us who served kept asking "why?" with no response from our military leaders. Probably because little of it made sense to them either.

Let's fast forward to the wars in the Mideast: Iraq and Afghanistan. Where are the protests? Where are the draft card burnings? Where is the outrage at having spent over $1,400,000,000 (that's $1.4 trillion  -- so far) on wars whose justification is questionable, at best?

In short, protests and outrage have been conspicuously absent.

Which brings us to the point of this posting. Only if the misery of the wars declared, paid for and perpetuated by our elected officials is truly brought home to the people of this country, will Americans do what they must do as citizens and elect leaders who will work toward peaceful solutions with other countries.

I hate the draft and always have. It forced many of us to give up years of our lives. Some gave it all.

But it is probably the the most effective thing that we can do as a country to minimize our involvement in future armed conflicts.

Readers, enjoy your day.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


Someone told me when I moved here that there are four seasons: summer, fall, winter and mud season. You know, the one that people who live in normal parts of the world call spring. This year we have added a new season which shall now be named turd season. It comes midway through winter and before mud season in years such as this one when snow starts becoming scarce in late January.

It works as follows: there are a few strong snowstorms in December and early January. During these storms people walk their dogs and don't pick up what the dogs leave behind. During the storms, no worries, the fresh waste is covered with a layer of fresh snow and no one is any the wiser. The $100 fine (that the city never enforces anyway) is all but forgotten. The dog walks away with the afterglow of a job well done. Its owner, after looking around for observers to this noxious act, revels in the fact that he/she does not have to deal with picking up the steaming mass and possibly foul his/her Bruno Magli gloves.

Everybody's happy and the world is beautiful again.

But wait. Several weeks go by without snow. The temperature climbs into the 40's. The snow progressively melts. Those beautiful piles of snow that once resembled a New England Currier and Ives scene are now dotted with...OH, NO, IT CAN'T BE...amorphous wet dog poop.

Just like your Aunt Mildred who comes uninvited every Christmas, it's back and it's not going away. Furthermore, every day that is over 32 degrees reveals a new and exciting layer of waste.
"Look, there's one - must be that Dachshund that belongs to the folks who live on the next block.. Holy moley Margaret, will you look at that one - must have been that St. Bernard that lives on the corner. All I can say is WOW!"
 I for one am sick of this mess and I plan on doing something about it.

March on city hall? No.
Complain to the offending dog owners? No.
Pick up the offensive waste? No.
Set up a neighborhood committee? No.

I plan on doing the only thing that will make this problem disappear:

Pray for more snow.

Readers, enjoy your day.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


I look forward to it; God help me but I look forward to it.

Every year our little town has a week where the city picks up unwanted items that have been left on the city streets. It usually happens in early April and is the social event of the season. It's even bigger than the return of the buzzards in June.

To me, it's five weeks of non-stop entertainment.

Although it occurs in April, people start piling their junk in the streets in late February. This is when the drama occurs. Normally by the time April comes, most of the trash has been picked over by the town scroungers (yes, I am one of them) and has disappeared. In short, our town has the biggest garage sale in the world....and all of the merchandise is free. 

An adventure on every street.

To enhance my "life in the Rockies" experience I walk the dogs twice a day, seeking out uncharted territories to experience new adventures in refuse. There is no stone unturned in my quest for new and exciting garbage. Most of my friends agree that last year was a particularly exciting year and that there were ample opportunities to experience something that is uniquely our town. On top of that, scoring a toilet seat in fair condition is a bonus. For this year's upcoming event, I'm even considering writing a newsletter, pinpointing on a map where the best trash is located. 

Garbage is not created equal.

Of course, some people's trash is better than others'. I must have some pretty good trash. Most everything I put out for removal last year was gone within minutes. The old front door was gone by the time I walked to the back door. The Styrofoam insulation was an overnight sensation. The cabinet: gone with the wind. And to the person who took the vacuum cleaner, my apologies; it hasn't worked in years. 

A feeling of remorse after someone has taken an item.

I put an old whiskey barrel out in the street. It's wood was rotten to the core and covered with maggots from years of being buried in the garden. It was gone in seconds.

But why?

What am I missing?

Perhaps I threw away the most collectible maggot-infested whiskey barrel that ever lived, thus making it a valuable piece of property. Maybe it was sold on eBay for a small fortune. Maybe if you looked at the decayed wood there was a Ben Franklin autograph. Or, better still, it was a remnant of Noah's ark.

I knew I should have kept it. Crap!

Unfortunately, many people do not share my appreciation of the spring trash removal.

To the untrained eye, a sofa on the street is just a sofa on the street. To the trained eye, however, it is the end of an era. Thinking of all of the many family members who have perched their asses on the plaid sofa after an ample Thanksgiving dinner brings a bit of mist to the eye. For the flowered sofa a few blocks east I can picture Uncle Fred and Aunt Gertie sitting beside one another, enjoying reruns of the Lawrence Welk show before having their glass of milk and retiring for the evening. How many bowls of popcorn did the kids spill on that sofa? And, if you were to remove the cushions, how many bowlfuls would still be there?

And one mustn't forget the washing machine a few blocks south, so broken down and decrepit that it stands nary a chance of being saved by even the most desperate scrounger. How many pairs of jeans have been bounced and jostled within the bowels of its mechanical core until the dirt couldn't take it anymore and relinquished its hold on the stubborn denim? Alas, the dirty denims finally won, thus leaving a once proud machine to the shame of the street curb. 

Mark your calendars.

Trash week is only 75 days away. Gentlemen, start your engines.

Readers, enjoy your day.

Friday, January 18, 2013


I've been giving a lot of thought to this lately. Why? Because I'm retired and don't have much else to think about, I guess. I'd like to think that our creator, being the creative type, could have done much better than promulgating the existing perceptions of heaven and hell. Eternal bliss vs. eternal flames are both too predictable and, well, boring. Both heaven and hell should be relevant to a particular person's experiences on Earth. That is, what is heaven for one person may be hell for another. Example: a hardened sailor may find life on land to be pure hell. Conversely, someone who has lived away from water may find life on the open seas to be tortuous. Thus, heaven and hell need to be targeted accordingly.

Sometimes, however, there are hells that apply to everyone; take Florida, for example.

I've carefully compiled and honest list of my personal heavens and hells, all of which could be used by our creator for or against me, depending on how much the creator feels that I have pleased or displeased him (her?).

Heaven: Listening to Beethoven's Fifth
Hell: Consuming a fifth of Pagan Pink Ripple Wine

Heaven: Colorado Rockies (the mountains)
Hell: Colorado Rockies (the baseball team)

Heaven: Spending time with my wife
Hell: Spending time with my ex-wife

Heaven: Boston Red Sox, 1918, 2004 and 2007
Hell: Boston Red Sox, any other year

Heaven: A Saturday afternoon enjoying fine cheese
Hell: A Saturday afternoon at Chuck E. Cheese

Heaven: New York pizza
Hell: Chicago pizza

Heaven: A Princess cruise
Hell: A Disney cruise

Heaven: John Elway
Hell: Tim Tebow

Heaven: My wife's cooking
Hell: My mother's cooking

Heaven: ESPN
Hell: Fox News Channel

Heaven: Swordfish
Hell: Tuna Fish

Heaven: Denver Broncos, 1997
Hell: Denver Broncos, 2011

and, lastly:

Heaven: Marriage
Hell: Marriage

Readers, enjoy your day.


I have a love/hate relationship with the Super Bowl. Love the game/hate the side show. Every year it gets more extravagant - more fireworks, more commercials, more Beyonce at halftime.


I really and truly wish that they would broadcast the Super Bowl as a pay-per-view event with no commercials and a standard 15-minute halftime break. How much would I pay? I would gladly pay $100 to watch the game without the fluff that has become the reality of this event. Maybe instead of Beyonce at halftime they could show a simple message on the screen  that says "INTERMISSION" to give people the chance to catch their breath and take a potty break. Plus, we wouldn't have to listen to Howie, Jimmy, Joey, Larry, Billy, Dopey and Sleepy analyze every second of the first half.

Did I say $100 for pay-per-view? Do I hear $200?

Without belaboring this next point, I'd venture a bet that the most heard statement during Super Bowl parties is:


Did I say $200 for pay-per-view? Do I hear $300?

Plus, I'd like to see the game played in a real stadium. You know, the ones with real grass and real mud and real weather, not some wussy-dome in Dallas or New Orleans.

Here's an idea: how about a Super Bowl played in Green Bay's Lambeau Field? I can see Vince Lombardi and his wonderful, toothy grin looking down and smiling as I'm typing this. 

Lambeau Field with its 72,928 seats frozen solid.
Lambeau Field where even 120 proof brandy freezes in minutes. 
Lambeau Field where sissies needn't apply.

There is hope along these lines; the 2014 Super Bowl will be played in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

I can live with that.

Readers, enjoy your day.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


I should give classes on this. Most husbands make the mistake that, if they get the big stuff right, the rest will fall into line. Nothing could be further from the truth. Guys, take my word for it, work on the little stuff.

Why? Because wives worry about the little stuff.

I've seen husbands get away with murder. Some of these guys were forgiven by their wives for the most unacceptable behavior that you can imagine - messing around with other women, gambling away the family fortune, drinking excessively and numerous other offenses. Why did they get away with it? Because they did the little stuff right.

What are the big things, what are the little things?

Here are some examples:

Dumping out the trash is a big thing; after dumping the trash, replacing the disposable bag in the trash can is a little thing.

Heating some food for your wife is a big thing; cleaning the splatter from the inside of the microwave is a little thing.

Buttering your wife's toast is a big thing; keeping the crumbs out of the butter is a little thing.

Cooking dinner for your wife is a big thing; cleaning up afterwards is a little thing.

Buying groceries is a big thing; bringing her home a bag of potato chips is a little thing.

Doing the driving on a road trip is a big thing; buying her a bottle of water when you stop to fill up the gas tank is a little thing.

But, there's one more thing.

I'm about to reveal what has never been revealed before and no man, besides me, is remotely aware of this. The one biggest thing that a husband MUST do, without fail, forever and ever, is to ensure that there is an adequate supply of toilet paper in the house. Wives get really testy when they run out of toilet paper. And, for some reason, it's always the husband's fault. This probably goes back to the days of the cave man when men were the hunters and women were the gatherers. Part of the men's hunting duties included picking up toilet paper at the 7-11 after hunting down a saber tooth tiger.

Lastly, wives demand the high quality variety of toilet paper - you know, the stuff that Mr. Wipple likes to squeeze. As a buying guide, remember that if the toilet paper is shiny or has wood chips in it, it's probably not the kind that your wife will be happy about. That's the stuff that they use in the restroom outside the Registry of Motor Vehicles office.

I think I just figured out why the women who work there are so crabby.

Readers, enjoy your day.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


We wimpy fair weather skiers have declared that it's too cold to ski. It's about zero degrees today and has been for several weeks.

No matter. Truth be known, unless there are perfect conditions, I tend to bag it for the day. Two clouds in the sky? Nope, can't go. Only thirty degrees? It has to be at least thirty one.

This undoubtedly reflects a generally unfavorable attitude toward winter. I think that this happens with age, as many of my friends who are also old farts tend to be of the same mindset. That's why old coots move to Miami and Phoenix once they hit my age and spend the rest of their days whining, particularly those who retreat to Miami. Me, I'm better than that; I'll spend the rest of my days in Colorado...whining.

Days and weeks like this make me long for the time that we lived in New Mexico. Honestly, if you like ideal weather, constant sunshine, minimal snow and great Mexican food, move to New Mexico...don't hesitate, do it today. Be aware, however, that there are a few drawbacks to living there. Here are a few:

New Mexico license plates are brandished with the slogan "Land of Enchantment". New Mexicans, however, fondly refer to their state as the "Land of Manana". That is, if something is promised to you on Tuesday, it means it might be ready on Wednesday. I had a guy repairing a guitar for me. He said it would be ready in a week. After a week I called him. He said it wasn't ready and said he'd call me when it is. Two weeks later I called him again. He said it wasn't ready and said he'd call me when it is. I decided to quit bugging him and didn't call him for three weeks. After the three weeks, still not having heard from him, I paid him a visit at his shop. I asked him if the guitar was ready. He said, "it was ready 2 weeks ago, why didn't you call?"

If it rains, be afraid, be very afraid. New Mexicans overall are good drivers but they don't know how to drive in the rain. This is not unexpected since it rains there about one minute a year. Worse than that, snowy road conditions, which are also rare, create a veritable demolition derby on the highways. Things are so bad that schools are called off when the weather forecast even hints at snow. That's because the state's three snowplows can't keep up. Ultimately the best thing to do is to stay at home and avoid the carnage.

If you are looking for culture in New Mexico, find out where the nearest flea market is. You will find a huge mix of people, bums to bankers, perusing piles of stolen merchandise. If your lawn mower suddenly disappears from your yard, chances are it's for sale at the flea market. The guy selling it may even make you a deal. Some kidding aside, Albuquerque has a dandy flea market and I hear that Santa Fe has the best one in the state.

In New Mexico, things are never black and white. Rather, people, sensing that you are an outsider, may approach you and ask you whether you are red or green. This local query is unique to New Mexico and is a way that the locals size you up, much like a dog sniffing another one's ass. What they are asking is whether you prefer red or green chile. If you don't understand the question and say "huh?" you are the lowest form of life, probably from Chicago or New York and should stay there. If you reply "red", you are probably a Texas transplant and are equally disgusting. If you reply "green", you are either a genuine Chilehead or a wanna-be. To assess whether you are the real deal, they will look you up and down for a few seconds. If you are wearing a ripped wife-beater t-shirt with week-old guacamole stains, they know that you're a local. They'll accept you instantly and will likely ask you to marry their son or daughter. On the other end of the spectrum, if you are wearing anything that refers to how much you love Santa Fe, they'll peg you as a low-life tourist and will steal your car.

That's my take on the Land of Enchantment - sincerely, one of my favorite places in the whole world. If anyone should ask about me, tell them that I am "green", through and through.

Readers, enjoy your day.

Monday, January 14, 2013


Snow removal is a hot topic here in the Rockies. This is due to the fact that there's not much else to talk about. Here we are expected to remove snow from our sidewalks. Again, for lack of much else to do, I have made some careful and detailed observations about snow removal and snow removers.

Here are some of the population segments as I see them:

Non-believers: Let's face it, some folks just can't or don't want to remove snow. These folks are easy to spot. They usually have bumper stickers on their cars that say "I Love Maui". I've got an off-topic question - who doesn't love Maui?

Blowers: These are people who use snow blowers to remove snow. I saw a guy last week using a leaf blower - most amazing thing I've ever seen. All of the snow was going into his neighbor's yard. My kind of guy. Folks that own snow blowers love to talk horsepower - some of these things look like they can plow a parking lot, let alone a sidewalk. It's a guy thing - I've never seen a female wielding a snow blower although I hear that it happens in Northern Wisconsin. One of my friends had an itty-bitty snow blower that had brushes that went wildly around an axle and kind of flagellated the snow into submission. We called it the "Snow Slapper". It threw the snow maybe three inches and had difficulty in snow depths greater than a half-inch. I'll bet it would do just fine in San Diego.

Shovelers: These hearty traditionalists have shovels of all shapes and sizes. There's a shovel with a bend in the handle that's supposed to be good for your back. Here's a hot flash: If you're worried about your back, you should be living in a place that doesn't get any about Maui. I saw a guy the other day with a pink shovel. He said that he painted it pink so that no one would steal it. I can't argue with that.

Salters: These people leave the snow where it is, spread an inch of rock salt on top of it and hope that it melts before April. Sometimes it does. The folks at the County building are the worst offenders. They have a guy there who spreads salt with a lawn fertilizer spreader. "Up here in the Rockies we care about the environment" say the brochures. Ya, right. 

Environmentally conscious salters use something called "Green Earth Solid Ice Melt" (notice they don't call it "salt"?). The information about this product states:
"Green color makes material easily visible to avoid overuse."
Unfortunately, the Green Salters in town never got the memo - some of the sidewalks here are so green they look like Astro Turf.

Readers, enjoy your day.


I was thinking of this the other day. There used to be some great love songs that we ("we" meaning us old coots) all enjoyed. To me, the best ones were those that came out of Motown. Here are some great lyrics:

Betcha by golly, wow; you're the one that I've been waiting for forever
Nothing you could say could tear me away from my guy
You can't hurry love, you'll just have to wait
I've got so much honey, the bees envy me
Haven't I been good to you? Haven't I been sweet to you?
Hello? I've just got to let you know...

...and the all time greatest lyric:

If loving you is wrong, I don't wanna be right.

Man, that's powerful stuff.

Readers, enjoy your day.


Looks like Mazatlan is the one that we can both agree on. The wife presented 4 options: San Diego, Oregon Coast, Key West and Sanibel Island. These were all good choices. Of the four I favored Key West.

In the end it was a marriage relationship at its best. I wanted what she wanted and she wanted what I wanted. We were both a bit hesitant about two of my choices; Scuba Club Cozumel, being an all-inclusive, would restrict us to one dining option among the many in Cozumel. Xcalak's five hour drive from Cancun was a bit much for us.

As far as travel in general, to quote B.B. King - the thrill is gone. Let me explain.

I can't speak for everyone else but it's downright annoying to travel anymore. I attribute half of this annoyance to the airlines and the other half to airports. I could list the factors involved with both entities but those are old news. 

One thing on which I'd like to comment is the premium seat phenomenon which has been introduced by the airlines. Lets face it, conditions in the Coach sections of airlines have deteriorated rapidly over the past five or so years. There is less and less legroom and most airlines now charge for checked-in luggage which prompts all of us to try and stuff as much luggage in the overhead bins as we can. Add to this the fact that the airlines now charge for on-board food. These steps have created a volatile mix for the passengers in the Coach section. If I'm not mistaken, these are the same conditions that caused the Attica prison riots. NOTE: I could be wrong about this.

Enter the airline executives who are there to capitalize on every new money-making opportunity that arises. I can hear the boardroom meeting now:
"What if we make things so miserable in the Cattle Car that passengers would be willing to shell out a few hundred dollars for a comfortable seat with adequate legroom?"
This explains the birth of the Premium seat. On top of that, on most airlines one must pay extra for an exit row seat.
Let me get this straight. In the event of a crash or other such unpleasantry, the airline wants me to turn the exit door handle, rip out the door, shuttle all of the screaming men, women and children out the exit, get them down the slide, all the time making sure that no one is grabbing their luggage or new Armani jacket from the overhead bin before exiting...
...and I have to pay for this privilege.
Have you noticed that airline advertising is nearly nonexistent? I remember some great airline ad campaigns:

United: "Fly the Friendly Skies"
Delta: "We Love to Fly and It Shows"
American: "Something Special in the Air"
Continental: "The Proud Bird With the Golden Tail"

All of these at one time were truly genuine. You could count on a friendly experience from United, a passionate one from Delta, a special one from American and a proud one from Continental.

I'd like to submit some ideas for airline ad campaigns for TODAY'S airlines:

United: "Many of Our Planes Are Clean"
Delta: "Southern Hospitality, and Hush Puppies for $4.99"
American: "Hoping to Still Be in Business By the Time You Fly"
Continental: "We Merged With United - Leave Us Alone"

One of the unfortunate things about our trip to Mazatlan is the fact that we'll have to fly U.S. Airways.

Wish us luck.

Readers, enjoy your day.

Sunday, January 13, 2013


Yesterday the Denver Broncos lost to the Baltimore Ravens in a most exciting and dramatic style. As is common in the Rocky Mountain West, we die-hard Broncos fans will tear into the results with a fervor and second-guess every move that their players and coaches made against a formidable opponent.

Whenever I am tempted to engage in such criticism I remind myself of a quote by Theodore Roosevelt:
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face in marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. 

Broncos, you had a great season and fought your best. Know that your fans will be there when you return to the gridiron next September.

Readers, enjoy your day.

Saturday, January 12, 2013


Spring vacation is always high drama at our house. There are months of posturing, planning, political maneuvering and undue influence that go into the process of deciding where we should go. Usually we can agree in a reasonable amount of time but this year is different. I've been throwing things up against the wall for months with barely a reaction from the wife.

"How about a dive trip?" "Meh."

"Beach trip?" "Meh."

"Hoboken, New Jersey?" (No reaction)

So, tomorrow night (after the football games, of course), we will sit down and each present three ideas for consideration. The wife is much cooler about this than I am and barely shows any emotion or interest in the subject. This is a good tactic, especially when dealing with one whose interest in Spring vacation rivals that of Ralphie toward his Red Ryder BB Gun.

On Thursday night we went to the brewpub for dinner and I convinced her to play a version of "Twenty Questions" to gain greater insight into her choices. She reluctantly agreed to play. In the end, however, this laborious task revealed little about her choices other than the fact that they are not dive trips. Rats - I was looking forward to diving. I may have to turn up the heat on the political influence today and tomorrow to get my point across.

"Honey, remember that great time that we had diving in Roatan some years ago. Man, that was a great trip! What about when we saw the mermaid off the coast of Belize? What? You didn't see that? Yes, dive vacations are a guaranteed good time, don't you think"?

Somehow I feel that she will see through these ploys and opt for her choices, however undefined.

My choices? I thought you'd never ask.

Mazatlan, Scuba Club Cozumel and, the piece de resistance, Xcalak.

The first two are easy to explain. We went to Mazatlan for a beach vacation several years ago and had a great time. There was a small grocery store across the street from our hotel that sold quarts of Pacifico beer. I beat a path to that store many times that week. There were numerous excellent restaurants scattered around the area and the beach was excellent. Scuba Club Cozumel is a wonderful dive resort on the island of Cozumel, Mexico that offers an all-inclusive dive and dining experience. The diving is great and the food is wonderful. There are better places to dive, however, due to the fact that the currents can be quite strong running through the channel between Cozumel and Playa del Carmen. In a perfect world, we'd prefer lighter currents and have enjoyed some wonderful diving in The Cayman Islands, Bonaire, Curacao as well as many other places with little or no currents to deal with. This one may be a tough sell.

The last one, Xcalak, is one sale that even the best and most conniving used car salesman would have trouble closing. Xcalak is a small fishing village on the extreme southeast corner of Mexico. It is a wonderful eco-tourism destination and reportedly has excellent salt water fly fishing as well as great diving....did I mention that I really want to go diving? Anyway, as with many fantastic destinations, getting there is challenging. In this case, it's a 5-hour drive from Cancun. Yes, five hours on desolate Mexico highways...cattle crossing the road, iguanas the size of golden retrievers, danger lurking around every corner. If the rental car (picture a Yugo with 200,000 miles on it) breaks down, we're toast (or, in this case, tortillas).

I can see how the wife's wheels will be turning when I present this tomorrow. She will have images of Pancho Villa and his gang setting up a roadblock demanding all of our money in exchange for sparing our lives. Or the federales stopping us for a minor traffic infraction that will cost us two weeks in a Mexican jail. Or, worst of all, we'll miss the NCAA Final Four.

More later.

Enjoy your day.

Friday, January 11, 2013


Yes, it finally happened. After years of begging to be fired, the boss gave me the ax.

And I couldn't be happier. Let me rewind for a moment.

During my professional years, when called in to meet with the boss, I would sometimes enter with the statement "You're firing me, right? Please, fire me." It never happened, possibly only because of the fact that I wanted it to happen. My bosses throughout the years wouldn't give me the satisfaction.

Here's a hint to you younger workers: if you want job security, beg your boss to fire you. It worked for me.

Now back to present time. The boss who canned me is me. I was self-employed and enjoyed a fun and profitable home-based business off and on since 1988. I was able to support my wonderful wife, feed several pets and, generally have a fun-filled professional life. 

Without going in to laborious details as to the nature of the business, it involved providing data to major corporations. Someone (like you) takes a survey online and someone (like me) has to process the mass of numbers generated. 

Tedious? You bet.

I compare my past career to a career in asbestos removal. It's something so incredibly undesirable that no one wants to do it, therefore it pays pretty well.

That will be the last time that I write about my life as a number cruncher. It's boring and would put the audience to sleep.

Some thoughts on this blog:

I suppose that anyone who reads this is part of an audience. And audiences need to be entertained. Therefore, I must write entertaining things to keep my audience riveted to the pages.

Did you hear this one: Pope Benedict, Donald Trump and Osama Bin Laden walk into a bar....oh, you've heard it? Crap.

Here's another one: There was a traveling salesman...oh, you've heard that one, too?

So much for entertaining the audience.

Upcoming topics: memories of New Mexico, our travels, scuba diving, how to play guitar for 50 years and still suck at it, how to train a Welsh Corgi (you can't), how to train a Sussex Spaniel (you can't), fine points of shoveling snow, my "barn", my first Social Security check, tourists in the Rockies, pet names that I have for my wife, my love for beer, whooppie pies, The Salem Willows and other topics that you are anxious to read about.

Enjoy your day.