Saturday, July 8, 2017

Storage bins

The trailer where I am to put my stuff.

Every Christmas when I go down to my little storage bin in the basement I say, "You know, some time I should clear out some of this junk!" A nice project for when I retire.

Well, last week I had a notice on my door saying "All storage bins must be emptied in two weeks. There is a trailer that has temporary storage bins for your convenience. This will allow us to rebuild the basement and physical plant of your building. Thank you for your cooperation."  A quick perusal indicated that the temporary storage bins had maybe 40 % of the space of the old bins. Looks like somebody is going to get some exercise. Oh, I wish I had a son.

I have been methodical, doing a little bit at a time. Some moldy boxes for appliances that I no longer own (or at the very least are well beyond warranty) have been thrown in the recycle bin. Luckily there was room. I have found a lot of old Christmas cards, decorations,  and two plastic Christmas trees. I have found an air pump for the air mattress I no longer have along with a beloved old tent I used in Denver and upstate New York as well as a newer tent I have never used.

I often wondered what ever happened to my 35 mm camera. After I got a digital camera it was disused and ended up in the storage area. One day I'm going to take up film photography. Look there is a musical t shirt. Probably needs batteries.

I have discovered I have a spare pair of Venetian blinds, left by the old owners. I can use those. I have found a bookcase left by the old owners too. I can use that in my home office. I really shouldn't have spare paper and paper towels sprawled on the floor. A little wax and I can spruce things up a bit with that. Have to find out if is steady enough to support weight. Look, a spare kitchen cabinet I didn't know I had. Happily it fit in the temporary quarters.

Finally, the project is finished, I'm not in traction, and I can now look down on my neighbors who have yet to clear out their bins. They'll be okay though. They have sons.

Editor's note: When projects come up that involve physical labor it is handy to have sons. People with sons actually know there is a great disappointment when their son is in California and they have to pay a kid to do the job.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Casual Mondays



We all know about "Casual Fridays" at work and are usually told explicitly what not to wear. "No cutoffs, exposed navels, exposed undies, unclean trousers, etc."

My question is about those days that are sort of like Fridays but not really Fridays. These are the days most people are not at work at all, because they immediately precede a holiday. For example, this coming Monday is between Sunday and the Fourth of July. Most people will not come in anyway, but for those loyal souls who do come in on Monday, is it permissible to treat it like a "Casual Friday" even if it's a Monday?

Of course, most people are of the give em an inch and they'll take a mile variety. They know they can get away with coming in dressed as they please on Monday because no one who could possibly care will be in anyway. Unwritten rules allow for liberal interpretations, in the opinion of staff,  including the extending of "Casual Friday" dress to any day before a holiday.

On Monday people will bring their children to work with them, take extended pizza breaks with fresh pizza in the breakroom, and skip out at least fifteen minutes early. I hope they don't trip on the stairs in their flip-flops.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Stop hiding your aging neck

It's that time of the year, at least for those of us who are too  cheap for premium channels, when the pickings on tv are pretty slim. It seems every night when I glide across the cable offerings I come upon "Stop hiding your aging neck". This show is starting to interest me.

When I think about problems I have, hiding my aging neck does not seem to be one of them. Perhaps it should be.  Is that why I spend Friday nights alone? Is it my aging neck? Perhaps it is an avant garde program disguised as a bad infomercial. I will have to watch it.

Editor's note: Finally watched "Stop hiding your aging neck". Especially liked the never before aired bondage scenes from the Gilmore Girls.

Friday, June 23, 2017

I must be on my way to that fateful age



I've been warned that as I approach my sixty fifth birthday I'll be deluged with mailings from companies wanting me to buy their Medicare supplemental plans. When my father came close to sixty five the same things happened to him. My mother commented when she got a letter from Lorne Greene, "I thought he was dead!"

Some of the mailings look quite official and make you think. "Oops I better open this official piece of mail." Then you notice on the corner in tiny print it says, "Not affiliated with any government agency". Fooled me!

Actually it is an important and unfortunately, an expensive decision. Perhaps the best decision is to do nothing and rely upon the goodwill of the government to provide. 😄

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Girls reaches its finale if not its climax




I can finally say I have seen all six seasons of the most influential television program of the 21st century, Girls. Here is a flashback to earlier reviews.  Now that we have reached the end the girls are no longer girls but women, if women of a sort. Here are some comments about how each has grown and predictions for the characters and the actors who played them:

Hannah: She got published, got a writing gig, got pregnant, and apparently got a full time professorial job at a posh college. She is a woman now. She is even past Adam, getting wise when he admitted she would have to pay the bills if he was to be the step-dad. Lena Dunham is not pretty enough to get major acting roles, rather she will write some hit screen plays and be the Nora Ephron of her generation.

Marnie was the girl next door cute one. She could sing but her looks have deteriorated so she is not as cute as she was. Allison Williams is destined to be a second rate star, perhaps perching on a CBS three camera sit-com in the future.

Shoshanna is another character who grew up. Joining the yuppie set, she has a new husband and better looking and richer friends now.

I don't know Zosia Mamet's future. Perhaps she will pop up occasionally on independent films. One thing she needs to do is get rid of the white hair and black eyebrows.

For me Jessa is the standout of the series. Sort of like a millennial Anita Pallenberg, she is the former classmate you hear about at parties. She joined a commune. She is in rehab. She is backpacking in Indonesia. She met a millionaire and is living on a yacht in Burma. Then one night she turns up at a party and you find out she is living with her mother.

I see a decent film career for Jemimah Kirke.

Adam Driver is the hot hipster who always gets layed at parties. Perhaps he will settle down with Jenna but the two of them will struggle, especially after she has twins.

Adam already has a decent film career.

I always thought the guitar player Desi had more talent than his partner Marne. Who knows, Girls tends to have weak male characters. At least Ray got the coffee shop and Elijah got a Broadway role.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Millenials are killing napkins

When I was a tot, our household had napkins, paper towels, toilet paper and tissues (we called them Kleenexes). One day visiting one of the proto hipsters of my adolescence, I noticed the guy had a roll of toilet paper prominently displayed on his desk. When I sneezed, he pulled off a block or two and gave them to me. From then on, I never bought tissues again, at least until my fiftieth birthday.

Recently I came across two articles about how millennials had substituted paper towels for napkins. It made me realize I, myself, hardly a millennial, had stopped buying napkins in my twenties and still don't own any. I have to admit I don't host dinners in my kitchen, but still...

Napkins and tissues are things that are supposed to re-emerge in a man's life after he gets married, gets a mortgage, and starts hosting dinners at home. There is the matter of ascetics. Especially if you have company over, a paper towel in a place setting is pretty UGH. An old fashioned cloth napkin is best, but to be more informal a paper napkin with a cutesy picture is also acceptable.

For me, eating a meal in front of the television, I find paper towels work fine. I buy paper towels in groups of ten to save money.  Unlike fruit and vegetables, paper goods last a long time. Now that I'm aware of the decline of paper napkins, I'm tempted to buy a pack. With a cute design. To be ironic.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Why did the chickens cross the road

Yesterday I was driving through Imlaystown, a rustic old town south of Freehold, on the way to a hike. Suddenly I had to halt for a chicken crossing. Like movies made in scenic Italy, the chickens seemed to have the right of way. There they were, with a few brightly decorated roosters ( a fellow hiker said the were accompanied by peacocks, although I cannot attest to this). I honked but that only made them freeze in the road. Finally they started up again in their journey. The chickens crossed the road.

I made it to the hike on time and used the porta potty. Using the porta potty is one of the pleasures of travel in the United States.

Editor's note: It's wonderful to know New Jersey still has its backwoods towns where chickens still amble across Main Street.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Mother's day sentimentality

I am not going to denigrate Mother's Day. When it's convenient it can be fun. You buy her a present and in return you get to eat a good meal and drink a couple of Dad's or your siblings beers. Mothers deserve a day. Mothering children can be a thankless task.

 It being a cold and rainy day I've been spending time on Facebook and reading all the things people say about their Moms. It's led me to a theory that Mother's qualities increase exponentially with the years.

When you are young you have a different view of dear Mother. The college student is in the basement with a few pals, smoking a joint and drinking Pop's beer. The last voice he wants to hear is Mother's yelling down from the kitchen.
"You know, we are going to early mass tomorrow. Don't be too late getting to bed!"

Then you get older and can't wait to get away from the house. You are in your own pad and the phone rings. Maybe it's that lady you spoke to at the party. No, it's your mother. You try to be polite but get rid of her as soon as possible.

Then she gets sick and you argue with your brother about whose turn it is to take her to the doctor. "I would love to take her but we have an important meeting at work on Tuesday."

After your mother passes away she is rehabilitated in your minds. Her goodness expands while those moments when you argued with her or was mad at her go away. After a decade or two she becomes the saint who always was your guide to life and who you miss so much. That is when we see all the goop that people are putting on Facebook this weekend. Putting sentimental pictures up on Facebook is a nice way to spend an hour while your clothes are drying. Oh I wish Mom was still alive. I hate doing laundry.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

High heels



As we sit in our kitchens contemplating nuclear war with Korea, a new controversy has emerged, thanks to our friends in jolly olde England. Apparently there is a group that does not like the idea that companies in Britain can force females to wear high heeled shoes. The government apparently refused to change the law but promised a guidance letter to be issued this summer.

One one hand, when I'm in a fancy nightclub or restaurant (admittedly a rare event) I've always thought it was nice to have a waitress in a short dress and high heels. On the other hand, for the price of a free cup of soup I might even be willing to forgo that pleasure. The women in Britan argue that it is a sexist situation, since men are never required to wear high heels to the office. That is true, I don't even own a pair.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Bill O'Reilly



For years I have watched Bill O'Reilly before going to bed. I like him because he is in the "spin free zone". Now he's in trouble. Why? Because he always tell the truth. I'm of the opinion that it's always the woman's fault. If you want to leave their husbands and go on tv I guess they have the right but to bring down a decent person like old Bill isn't right.

Easter

A few years ago I wrote an Easter blog. Happy Easter. Today was also my old man's birthday.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Self flushing toilets


I have a gripe. The gripe is about the new self-flushing toilet they put in at work. The theory is that most people are too lazy or too distracted to flush the toilet. However I have a gripe. After I do my business and stand up to horse around with the toilet paper it flushes. Then, after I put in the toilet paper I have to flush it again. I don't see how turning one flush into two flushes is efficient or saves water. 

Yesterday I was sitting on the john thinking about my pension when suddenly the toilet flushed unexpectedly. I felt like I was using a bidet as I got an unexpected rinse in a place I wasn't expecting. Seems the water was higher than usual due to toilet paper or something jamming the mechanism. I guess it could have been worse. New Jersey, unlike some states, doesn't have alligators in the sewer systems.  


Sunday, March 12, 2017

You gotta have a fall guy

In the Maltese Falcon, Humphrey Bogart proposes a fall guy. In order to give the police something to keep them out of their way. The truth is that in most things, you need a fall guy. The guy who takes the blame.

A bunch of kids are rough housing just as the teacher walks in. One kid, not even the worst offender, gets caught climbing a chair. He gets punished while the rest of the gang look on like the boys choir in a Bing Crosby movie. You need a fall guy.

Same as with health care. With Obamacare the rich, and the successful small businessman took the fall. They had to pay the extra taxes and fines. Now the Republicans are writing a plan and all the taxes and most of the fines are gone. The problem is there's no fall guy. That's why it doesn't make fiscal sense. If there is any fall guy, it's the poor. The poor are getting rambunctious though. They are tired of being the fall guy and could make it difficult in the next Congressional elections.

The question is who should be the fall guy. The insurance companies? The doctors?  The hospitals? The old? No, the old will vote you out of office. The young? Yes, let's hang it on the young. Let young people take the fall. They talk big but they don't vote.

When I was in high school there was another kid in my English class who applied to Rutgers. We both had pretty much the same grades, but we couldn't both go to the same school. College admissions wouldn't allow two guys from the same school on campus. He had to take the fall. In politics, as in life, you need a fall guy. In the Maltese Falcon it had to be Elisha Cook or Peter Lorre. Somebody has to take the fall.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

A day without women

I woke up late this morning, expecting an easy ride to work. With all the women taking off, I figured the highways would be empty and the parking lots would just have a few SUV's for the few brave male souls at work. I was wrong. It was just a normal day, everybody seemed to be in as usual. Oh well. The media made a big deal of the day anyway.

WXPN radio celebrated the day with an all woman's playlist. The Internet had lots of articles on the day including an article about how women do a lot of unpaid work in this country. Somehow, I feel left out of enjoying all this unpaid labor. Mother in the cemetary and no wife on the horizon I have to cook, clean, shop, launder, etc. all by my lonesome.

Sometimes I get wistful and imagine married life. I come home and am greeted by the smells of a hot manicotti in the oven. The bathroom is pristine clean. My laundry is divided into whites, colors, and my shirts have been ironed. Unlike the rug in my living room, the rug is freshly vacuumed and a  smell of pot-pourri fills the air. Fresh daisies greet me in the living room. The kids are back from soccer practice and the wife parks the car and kisses me hello.

Like  William Powell in Life with Father I inspect the kids ears at the dinner table, then take a look at the stock page in the paper. Married life isn't so bad. As I take off my shoes and watch the basketball game I can hear my wife running the dishwasher in the kitchen. After that she will fluff up the pillows in the bedroom and check on the lad's homework. Is this the way most married men live? Perhaps but I am doubtful, just a bit.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Comfy theater seats

The movie theatre near me has remodeled. It has gotten rid of the old style theatre seats and put in those new comfy theatre seats. Sort of like sitting in the reclining chair in Grandma's house, the seat you could never sit in when Grandpa was alive.

I guess it's an attempt to woo back the baby boomers with our herniated disks and arthritis. Yes they are comfy. They also have reserved seats which you have to pick out in advance. Next time I'll get closer to the screen.

I read that some theatres have "love seats" where couples can sit in small sofas without the dividers. Cute. still I feel a little guilty. I thought uncomfortable seats made you concentrate on the movie more.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Office baby showers

I'm within two years of retiring now and I'm starting to think about what I will miss about work. I won't miss the commutes. Being late in the morning and rushing to put my socks on and one of them tears. I won't miss talking to the public on the phone. What will I miss?

After some ruminating I have decided that the thing I will miss the most is that one thing I would never get to take part in  if I didn't have a job. That is, being invited to a baby shower. Work is one of those places where men, especially men with cash in their wallets, get invited to baby showers.

It is a great treat and I am looking forward to watching the new mother open all those presents. I'll ask if it will be a boy or a girl. Someone else will ask if they hope on having a Cesarean. I've seen enough movies that I know what that is.

Usually there is a wedding shower, followed a year or so later with a baby shower. The director makes a speech at both events. The second baby is celebrated by the inner circle only. Female employees get one shower for the wedding and one shower for the first born. We don't want to go overboard on these things.

It's happened more than once in my long and estimable career that there has been a baby shower without there being a wedding shower, or even a wedding that I am aware of. Oh well, better not to dwell on such things.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

The end of the American century


One hundred years ago the United States, under the leadership of Woodrow Wilson, entered World War I.  For one hundred years, American was the leader of the free world with all the responsibility that entails. Today the American century has ended. For better or worse, we are now an independent country, responsible for our own needs and nobody elses. 

Like a mother who cuts her daughter loose financially, or the man who buys a motorcycle and ends his membership in the car pool, we are now a world unto ourselves. Influenced only by our new leader, Russia, we, like Bulgaria, are now a minor world power. 

There are nice things about our new status. We can now be selfish and concentrate on ourselves and our own needs. "Sorry, I can't coach Little League this year, don't you know Trump is president now?"
"Sorry, this year we are taking a family vacation and leaving Aunt Louise to fend for herself in the nursing home."

I suspect we have not seen the end of those pink hats. At least I won't have to wear one. There are advantages in being a man. 



Saturday, January 14, 2017

The replacement for Obamacare

Looks like they are going to repeal Obamacare. Replacing it will be difficult, since Obamacare attempts to be self-funding, and has lots of revenue raisers like fines and taxes. Republicans will have a hard time replacing the program because of their hatred of taxes. Luckily, I have come up with a replacement for Obamacare.

When you go to a doctor you normally fill in your insurance information. If you don't have any health insurance you would simply fill out a form to provide funding for health procedures. It would ask what church or synagogue you belong to and what fundraising apparatus you would like to be used for your care. For example you could pick "car washes" or "pancake breakfasts", "bingo", or "spaghetti dinners". These functions could be held every week and thus provide health care for those parishioners without health insurance.

It would add so much to our lives, filled with fundraising activities. Our taxes would go down and we would be busy bees.
"Where are you going, Jack?"
"I'm going to buy tomato sauce for my nephew's spaghetti dinner. He needs a hernia operation."

Saturday, January 7, 2017

I am entering the 21st century



For the past few years I have been bucking the tide. I have been a hip baby boomer who doesn't have a smart phone. It has become my personal eccentricity. Like the friend who doesn't do emails (you have to call her) or the lady at work who doesn't have cable (You can't tell her about Better Things ) or the man at work who doesn't own a car (you have to avoid him around five o'clock or he may ask you to drive him home) it has become a personality quirk.

Looking at a list I wrote a few years ago, I have been grudgingly acquiring the mandatory things someone in my social class should own.  Yes I now have HDTV (the networks forced me into it by changing the size of the screen), a GPS for the car (great to have) and now I am going to have a smart phone with texting and other things. No longer will I disappoint people with the knowledge that they can't text me. Now when I sit at the bar I can be one of the many guys staring at their smart phones. I can even compare features and talk "smart phones" with the gang.

So far it has been a rocky road. I got a notice on my front door saying UPS was here but couldn't deliver the phone. I went on the Internet and said I'd pick it up at the UPS place near the Sculpture Garden. I arrived at the back entrance and the building was fenced off so I had to get back in my car and drive a mile to get to the customer entrance.

When I got home the phone wouldn't get past the set up phase. I brought the phone outside but had no more success. After chatting with two different customer reps, the second one determined I needed a Sims card (the directions said a Sims card was optional). She said I should go to the local wireless store. It is still snowing, so, prudence being the better part of valor, I'm waiting for the snow to stop.

One day I'll have a smart phone. I will again have the proper accoutrements for my demographic.

Next day: Setting up my smart phone. Turns out I had nothing wrong but a weak satellite connection. Bought a case. Yes I can make calls, get calls, and I might have even sent a message. Sadly I am in the 2G category and in 2017 I was supposed to have moved up to 4G to keep up with my demographic. I'm still behind.