Saturday, January 21, 2012

Who Loves Ya Baby

I started a new workout routine and I am already filled with doubts and dubiousness. Over the years I learned that one of the important things when working out, dieting, or any long-term project is to have a goal. Number of pounds you want to loose, lowering your blood pressure, things like that. Mine was to best my personal trainer at arm wrestling. It might sound superficial, but it seemed like a good idea that was also achievable. After a few weeks on my new regiment I felt ready.

“Okay Nicole,” I told her, “you’re going down,” with an air of misguided bravado. Nicole let out a slight smile and was quiet as she placed her elbow on the padded bench her forearm poised her hand in an open grip. Bam! Over. You know those cameras that capture hummingbird wings flapping around a flower? Well, you needed one of those to capture Nicole’s victory in all its glory. What really was upsetting was her “In your face” taunts afterwards that rang through the gym as if from a cracked tin bell. It was briefly after this first humiliation that I was dealt with yet another.

While driving in the car with my youngest daughter she told me I should start working out. “But honey,” I said “I have been. In fact I go to the gym four to five times a week.” She couldn’t believe her ears and asked “Then why are you still fat?” I went on to tell her that stomachs are naturally round in nature. Flat stomachs are an oddity. Just look at our cousins, the orangutan. Besides, I added, I have a six-pack of abs. I just prefer to keep them in a cooler where they belong.

Let’s face facts. Most of us aren’t cut and can’t get cut to the point where strangers (and sometimes loved ones) want to look at us. It’s a myth perpetrated by the film industry using high tech computer software, a good deal of makeup, digital imaging and androids. These ‘humans’, if that’s what they really are, have it in their contracts to be shirtless in every movie they appear. Its reverse sex discrimination and I for one am very offended.

Movies are an escape. Instead they have become a sadistic minefield, selling buttered popcorn while images of superior body types flash before my wife’s eyes. Well, I won’t let them do that to her. I refuse to see any movie with George Clooney, Ryan Reynolds, Ryan Gosling, Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Lautner (to be honest I wouldn’t see him in any movie), Brad Pitt, Josh Brolin, Hugh Jackman, Matt Damon, or Daniel Craig. Consequently, as a result of my boycott, I miss a lot of movies. But more importantly, they make me sick. From now on I only take my wife to films that star Paul Giamatti or Steve Buscemi. And who wouldn’t want to see a Philip Seymour Hoffman, or a Clint Howard in a romantic comedy? How about a remake of Valentine’s Day where a shirtless Drew Carey makes out with Linda Hunt? It may still suck, but I could leave the theatre feeling good about myself for a change.

Instead of excessive dieting and exercise what we need is a new spokesman for this generation. What Telly Savalas did for bald men in the seventies, Jack Black could do for the heavy weights now. Instead of ‘Bald is Beautiful’ (although come to think of it I could use that too), we can have ‘Pretty in Portly’, or maybe ‘Fat is Phat’. There was a period when beautiful starlets such as Nicole Kidman and Charlize Theron donned ugly makeup for roles. I’m issuing a challenge to all those actors out there. If Salma Hayek is brave enough to wear a unibrow, why can’t Matt Damon? What’s the matter pretty boy? Afraid? Come on Hollywood, what about us regular guys?

"Who Loves Ya Baby"

An unrelated Harvester 1-12-12

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


When I was in school all those years ago I was your typical angry young man. I had to rebel against everything that was established in those days with my music, clothes, even my hair. Refusing to listen to parents about dressing properly for an interview or lowering the volume of Brain Salad Surgery on my Sansui 7070 when others asked only made me want to do it more.

Is it the perspective of age and a certain amount of sagacity over the years that I have learned to be more tolerant? Hardly. More likely it is due to having less to protest with since losing my hair and a good deal of hearing, Although, I think I still have those painter’s pants in the back of my closet along with a Jethro Tull concert T from 1979. But as any reader of these ramblings can tell you I haven’t mellowed completely over the years. I’ve gone from an angry young man to a complaining old one. Now I’m ready to turn another corner.

My first idea was to install a plaque on my front door. I got this notion when I went to the movies. The sign would read “Please refrain from using your cell phone and keep your voice down for the enjoyment of others.” These marketing people know what they are doing. But that didn’t go far enough.

I’ve entered the millennium last week (better late than never I suppose) with a purchase of an iPhone. Not the new one mind you, but the one you can get for .99, $1.07 with tax. It was a reluctant decision based mostly on the fact that the ‘6’ button didn’t work on my old phone. Not having a keyboard didn’t help either while trying to communicate with those accustomed to texting.

I resisted for as long as I could. But now that I own one my viewpoint is changing. I am now embracing the American art of marketing and advertising. The first thing I notice were all the alerts you can choose from. I want to incorporate them throughout my whole house. Who wouldn’t feel important when you open the front door to the fanfare of French horns from the ‘Sherwood Forest’ clip? I may just go in and out a few times each day to give my frail and tattered ego a boost. I plan on having all my entrances wired so they play different alerts depending who is there. I call it the iDoor. Now everyone can have his or her own theme song, just like Dick Cheney has Darth Vader’s. For my mother-in-law, what else but ‘Science Fiction’ to give me a heads up. ‘Suspense’ is perfect for strangers and bill collectors. I can even use the ‘Bark’ since my dog has become apathetic and doesn’t give a shit who is knocking any more.

Why stop at the front door? For those long dinners that need a little pick me up how about iTable? Have a very close friend that tells awful jokes? The ‘Cricket’ is perfect for those occasions. ‘Time Passing’ may give those never want to leave guests the hint. Introducing the iPet, a small CPU chip we implant in your pet so you can get them to behave the way you want them to. Hmmm, maybe an iSpouse? (Note to self: tell my wife I stopped writing this blog.)

And you people were worried now that Steve Jobs is gone. Tsk, tsk. Why I have a million ways we can push Apple to the next frontier. There’s the iBoss (be your own boss), the iGovenment (we can save a lot of waste here folks!) and the iI where eventually you can replace yourself. Yes sir, once again I’m hip and happening. It only took four decades. I only have one question. What are theses things called ‘apps’?

Just a couple of sketches I did on vacation before my pad fell in an ice bucket.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Resolutions? Really?

I suppose you want to read something all cheery and full of hope for the New Year? Well, you’ve come to the wrong place. I’m still suffering the effects of my money hangover to be optimistic.

I started the year off in the right frame of mind but by the 2nd of January it was only a dim memory. You see for this year I made a whole list of resolutions that would bring great changes and much joy to my life. Oh they weren’t for me, but for my loved ones, family, friends, fellow motorists, theatre-goers, restaurant guests, and any strangers that I happened to meet along the way. For some reason, however, they were less than enthusiastic upon receiving my unsolicited advice. I haven’t seen such strong resistance since France in the 1940s.

And they weren’t just for my benefit. I have been exposed to enough bad habits, poor hygiene, misguided parenting, and mental disorders that could serve as the new lineup for TLC. And yet…oh well. That’s the last time I try to help. Well, maybe the second to last.

I do have one more resolution. This one is for the news media. It seems every year for as long as I can remember they dig up a story about a good Samaritan helping a family in need, getting them gifts for under the Christmas tree or paying off a much needed debt. And while these stories warm the cockles of my heart (yes I have cockles, but the doctor promised me he could get rid of them) it got me to thinking. Aren’t there any Jews, Muslims or, God forbid, atheists out there that could use some help? Don’t they ever have problems during Chanukah, Ramadan, or Festivus? Couldn’t the media show someone helping out a non-Christian for once? One of the principles of this country is Freedom of Religion, and that is with half the founding fathers as practicing atheists. I guess what I’m asking for is a little Freedom From Religion.

Even as I write this I can hear some of you saying, “Well, he’s going to Hell.” You may be right. Please believe me I’m not trying to be anti-religion. I just think sometimes we forget that we should love and show kindness to everyone, not just the ones that believe what we believe.

A fortune-teller told me a few years back that I'll probably die in my 50s or 60s. So I decided to enjoy what time I have left, to be less concerned about money, less critical, and be a kinder person (How am I doing so far?). If she was right I'll enjoy my remaining years. If she was wrong I'll be asking people if they want two percent or whole milk in their lattes when I'm 75 while trying to make ends meet.

And who knows. Maybe the Mayans will be right and we're all going in 2012. Although, why would anyone put much faith in a race of people that couldn't figure out how over one million of them could beat two-dozen Spaniards is beyond me. When the time comes and if there is a God maybe He’ll be a regular guy and say, “Well you are a complaining little bastard, but what the hell c'mon in.” Either way, I’m okay with it. And I suppose if I want to be a better person I should start now and wish everyone a wonderful 2012. I hope you receive all that you long for this year, unless of course you’re Mayan.