Thursday, December 29, 2005

Hamburgers are difficult.

In 5 weeks my father turns 70 years old. He's losing his ability to order a hamburger. He admits this. The thought of never again being able to order a hamburger frightens him. He's not senile. He doesn't show signs of Alzheimers. At times, he's more lucid than me. Then why on Earth can't he seem to order a hamburger. He can - it's just becoming a more lengthy process. The problem is - it's almost impossible to get just a hamburger. There's a Big Mac, A Quarter Pounder, A Whopper, A Bacon Bacon Burger, A Jumbo Jack, A Cowboy Burger, The Doublestack, The Deluxe Doublestack, The Thickburger, The Monster Thickburger, The Big Mouth Burger - Jeez - I think you get the idea. My father wants a hamburger - so he orders a hamburger. The kid at the window or the counter then reminds him, "UUHH, We don't uh have a uh Hamburger. Do you mean an Old Roy?" "What's an Old Roy?" This is where the communication completely breaks down. My father wants a hamburger with tomato, lettuce, onion & mustard. No one sells it that way and he wants to know why. Sure, he could go to Burger King and "Have it his way" - but he'd freeze at the window trying to figure out if the Big King is the burger he's looking for. He panics - "Gimme an Old Roy." "Sir, we don't have an Old Roy - how about a Whopper?" "What comes on that?" "Mustard, Ketchup, mayonnaise, Lettuce, Onion, Pickle & Tomato!". "Well that's out of the question - it has mayo." "Would you like us to hold the mayo?" "Do you have anything that doesn't come with mayo in the first place?" "No sir." "Then give me a Deluxe Thickburger!" "Sir, we don't have a Deluxe Thickburger." - And it goes on and on and on. My fathers photo is displayed inside drive-ups and behind fast food counters all across Menard County Illinois. No doubt tonight he visited Dairy Queen and asked for an Old Roy. Would someone just fix this man a hamburger???? Who cares what he calls it - you know what he means.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Gift Cards are dumb

I bought them as gifts too. I copped out and gave gift cards as presents for Christmas. Not a lot - just enough to make me part of the problem. I don't recall when it started. People who track stuff like this, say the gift card phenomenon began about 5 years ago. We mindlessly marched to retailers and bought these dumb, dumb gifts. Is it a gift at all? Is it the best gift choice? No & no. Gift cards can never replace the actual "in your hand" gift. Gift cards are nothing but a promise of a gift - as soon as the recipient gets off their butt and goes shopping. This requires much more effort than just ripping off wrapping paper. You have to drive to the store, park, walk in, walk the aisles, make a decision, stand in the checkout lane, walk back to your car & drive home again. That's 8 steps in all - that could've been avoided if you had only selected a gift. Any gift at all would bypass the whole process. Best gift choice? Not by a long shot. Gift cards require you shop a particular store. Of all the shopping choices there are - you must make a trip to Big Earls Supply - because someone gave you a Big Earls Gift card. Does Big Earl have something you want? Maybe - maybe not. Maybe the gift giver loves Big Earls and you wouldn't be caught dead in the place.

The retailers themselves are bellyaching about the way business is changing because of gift cards. No longer is there more shopping BEFORE Christmas. The real shopping begins after Christmas with all the gift cards being redeemed. The stores find it difficult - when all the cash comes in early and the merchandise itself goes out late. Often gift card shoppers find the gift they want is in short supply because all the other gift card people got there first.

There is only one real solution. Cash. Think about it. Cash is the original gift card. You can take cash anywhere and redeem it like a gift card. You are not restricted to any particular store. You can even use it on the street with a man selling stuff out of the back of his truck.
Retailers will be happy. The books will balance when the cash in - equals the merchandise out.
Cash - is a gift card with every store logo in the world - printed on the front.

Why are you always in a good mood?

I'm often asked, how do you keep up the good mood? I think about it often myself. How could a person who gets up at 4am, and is behind a microphone at 6 - in front of 35,000 people - maintain a good mood? Easy. I don't allow myself to get sick like you do. I maintain the grin with a cocktail of over the counter medicines, my favorite of which - has changed. Since the late 70's, I've been a Vicks Daycare man. In the last few years the name changed to DayQuil. I recommended it to anyone who asked. I swore by this stuff. I could have aches, pains, stuffy nose, headache, coughing - whatever - and DayQuil cleared it right up - at least enough to go on the air a few hours. My sick days over the last 15 years tell the story. I bet I've only missed 3 or 4 days - and those were because of toothaches & back pain. DayQuil. The answer to my prayers. I give it to my kids too. They no longer miss school. BUT THE DAYQUIL RIDE IS OVER. The meth addicts have messed it all up. Vicks, in an effort to keep their medications in reach of the public, (not behind glass cases) have changed the active ingredient - the decongestant called pseudoephedrine has been replaced with an antihistamine called doxylamine succinate - which as far as I can tell - doesn't do a damn thing. I can no longer recommend DayQuil to anybody. The people who continue to ask, "How do you do it", likely will now be asking the person doing my show - because I will be home sick, without my magic pills, because the meth addicts screwed it up for everybody.

Friday, December 23, 2005


In an earlier post I mention shopping for potpourri. Let's leave it at that. I have it - some in bowls around the house. Potpourri gives your home a fresh holiday scent. I sense no argument from you.
The story I'm about to tell should serve as warning. POTPOURRI WARNING.
Consider placing your potpourri in objects other than shallow dishes. I'm talking about the potpourri that is small pinecones, twigs, dried flowers, and small chips of wood. In a dimly lighted room, potpourri can be mistaken for a party snack. Ask my Dad, who while trying to chew a mouthful of potpourri asked, "What the hell is this"? He thought it was a little dry.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

The reason for the season

I will not go on a religious rant. I'll attend a Christmas Eve church service with my wife & kids. That's what it's all about isn't it? Kids. No matter how old they are - it's still all about them. Sure, it's fun when they're little. It's a blast when they're little - but they grow too quickly. Soon, they're old enough to be parents themselves. In a parents mind, kids are always kids. Mine are grown - and I look at them like they're 6. I know that was a long time ago - but allow me the memory. My kids are scattered - so they're coming to see me on Christmas. This is in my opinion the best indication I did something right raising them. They wanna see Dad on Christmas. Christmas morning we'll gather around the tree and open presents. Kids - all of them - but now with girlfriends, boyfriends & even a wife in tow. In my mind they'll all be 6 years old. They don't know it - but they will. Then soon afterwards I'm gonna do what you oughta do too. I'm going to see my parents. You see, they raised me right too - but at their house - I'm the 6 year old.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Christmas is Cardboard tube time!

I like cardboard tubes. I always have. It's the best thing about wrapping presents - the left over cardboard tubes. They make great swords. It's fun to thwack your kids in the head with them. Most of all - it's fun to speak into them. Grab a tube and talk into it. That is quality fun. If you don't see the value of speaking into a cardboard tube, you haven't done it recently. The joy of the tube has been lost to you for too long. Try it. Advanced tube play includes - blowing up balloons and attaching them to the ends of a long tube. You can then pretend it's a barbell and you're the worlds strongest person. You can use them as binoculars in your make believe world. I keep my tubes nearby all Christmas season. Whenever I need to raise my spirits - or those around me - I break out the old dependable tubes. Enjoy your tubes, they've always been there - you were just too quick to call them trash. Sometimes it's the little things right under your nose that make all the difference, and there's nothing more fun than "thwacking" your kids with a tube.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


Go to any large retail outlet. They have multiple checkout lanes. Let's use my local Target for example. Saturday late afternoon - just 8 days prior to Christmas - 26 lanes, 2 open. How could this be? Why go to the expense of building all those lanes with little conveyors & cash registers - then stock them with bags - and not use them? Is there a time this retailer feels they might be busy enough to open all 26? If it's not 8 days prior to Christmas - when would this magic 26 lane day be? Question is, was this Target busy? Yes. The 2 lanes that were open had shoppers 10 deep. The lines stretched out and to the side. Management finally noticed and sent in a backup. A singular backup. One person to open one more lane. This puts their open checkout percentage to a staggering 14%. This then creates the rush for the open register. The people that bolt the soonest make the new line, often coming from deep in the previous lines. People should be checked in the order they arrive at the checkouts - the way retailers open new lanes creates a rush and hard feelings between shoppers. 26 lanes. Where are the checkers? I knew before I went shopping. They aren't even at the store. They are home on a day off. Those that are on the property - are elsewhere in the store, stocking, straightening up or cleaning. Companies are doing more with less. It's business in 2005. These retail employees aren't doing anything wrong. They're trained to do what they're told. They'd head to the front to check out customers if they were told to do so. But they won't be - ever. The 26 lanes will not be open all at once ever again.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Why do we have to wrap everything?

Would you like that gift wrapped? Yes!!!!!!!!!!!! I would. What I wanna know is, WHY? Why do we feel obligated to wrap presents? Geez, we could just hide them. On TV, the diamond commercials & car commercials lead us to believe we can just give them their gift in the front yard - and the recipient will melt into your arms. Wrapping is laborious, messy & difficult at best. Often the best laid wrapping plans are foiled by an odd shaped gift. The roll of paper always runs out with one more inch needed, and hey - where's the tape? It's just too much to mess with on this - the busiest week of the year. Let's just mail everything. Really. Box it up - and send it away. People visiting from out of town will be grateful thet they don't have to check your present as baggage on American Airlines. We'd be more inclined to buy large gifts. We might buy more odd shaped gifts. People will get more fishing poles. Wrap a fishing pole, and deny it looks like a wrapped fishing pole. Ever wrap a present and tear virtually all the paper off it - simply moving it to beneath the tree? Mail. It's the only way. Gift bags? Someone was on the right track with these, but stopped short of the real solution. Place the big brown boxes you get in the mail - under the tree - and come Christmas morning know someone finally got it right. You.

And I call myself a man......

Christmas shopping, I find myself looking at teapots & crock pots. I have crockpot envy. It's potluck season - and everyone has a better crockpot than me. I like hot tea - and I'm tired of heating water in the microwave. At the grocery store I pause at the scented candles. I actually went looking for liquid potpourri. I can actually spell potpourri. WHAT'S WRONG WITH ME? Have I turned into a "girlie man?" Guys like me are in demand - or so I've been led to believe. I cook, clean, do laundry & watch decorating shows with my wife. I only realized how far it'd gone, when while shopping with my son - he felt uncomfortable joining me looking at potpourri. He said, "Hey Dad, there are no men in this aisle - do you believe you belong here?" I didn't know how to answer. I laughed it off at the time, but it's been on my mind. It's not like I want to "join the other team" - I just need more tools, more sports, more oil changes, more yard mowing, lumber sawing, bricklaying, beer - drinking, poker & all you can eat buffets. I need to go to a football game with my face painted. I need to listen to loud Rock & Roll at home on the stereo - not in the car alone. I need to sit in a chair and ask "what's for dinner?" I need to get up from the table afterwards and not help with cleanup. I need to stay out of grocery stores. And I will, just let me get a crockpot for Christmas.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

I need an Apprentice

Randall won the latest Apprentice on NBC. Super sharp guy. Contrary to my daughters beliefs, I believe he did the right thing claiming the night "his own" instead of allowing Donald to hire Rebecca too. If Don wants Rebecca, he'll hire her. He doesn't need Randalls permission. This was his night. He won the game. Rebecca was good though - I liked her more when I realized she was just 23 years old.

Now, the call for MY APPRENTICE.

I need about 20 contestants. You will shadow me for 16 weeks. You will scour the internet non stop looking for content for my radio show. You will contact companies looking for goofy prizes to give away on my show. You will take calls from listeners after the show, answering questions or apologizing. You will be in the studio 15 minutes before me with 2 pairs of headphones and 2 cups of coffee. One black and one with cream and sugar. You will have the news laid out for Kellie in little piles by subject. You will have the weather forecasts in place with the current temperature. You will brief Brian & Kellie on the following: Has anything burned down? Has anyone been assassinated? Are we in another war? Plane crash? Slick streets? School closings? Anything that will allow me to skate in just seconds ahead of 6am. This will allow me to sleep as late as possible. I also require a great pen and highlighter. Position it just to the right of the board along with a pair of scissors. Find me a paperclip. Place it there too - I often need a paperclip. Turn up all the lights. At my age I need all the light possible. Oversee anything printed on a computer, and be sure to use 16 font size. This way I won't strain to read. Watch the phones for the little green lights and gently nudge me when the calls come in - I may be looking the other way. Don't speak a lot. Doing what I do requires too much concentration to engage me in much conversation. How about you raise your hand.
I will fire one contestant per week. If, at the end of it all, you are the last person standing, you will be awarded a job paying minimum wage. The job will last till probably 4 or 5pm, long after I've gone for the day. This job comes with no guarantee. If you begin to irritate me, you will be told to leave immediately. E-mail me to apply. The contest begins when I have 20 applicants. Brian Pierce is an equal opportunity employer.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Santa's helpers

In a little more than a week, Santa will arrive by sleigh, jump down the chimney, and deliver toys to little boys and girls. But his thousands of helpers are already delivering gifts to adult boys and girls. Take a moment today (and this weekend) to thank the "Santa's Helper" in your world.
The UPS guy - dressed in his brown uniform - is a Santa Helper. So is the FedEx delivery person and U.S letter carrier. They arrive at your office or home with Christmas gifts every single day. This time of year, their job is extra hazardous. Heavier loads and some shifts last late into the night in order to get your Christmas items to you. Most can't go home until every package is delivered. Give them thanks.
Despite the crush in the stores, cashiers are working extra - long hours to keep the lines moving. Give them thanks. The holidays can be stressful enough without pushy people. Try not to join the ugly fray, and give thanks to those people who help deliver the holiday spirit.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Change your shoes stupid

It's wet. It's cold. There's snow on the ground and there's a windchill. I know what you're thinking. "Man, my feet are cold". Your feelings are correct - your feet ARE cold. It's December for crying out loud - and you have on the wrong shoes. You are wearing the same shoes you wear all year long. You may have 30 pairs of shoes - but rarely does anyone have December appropriate shoes. Most these days wear "tennis shoes". You can't even play tennis, but hey - the shoes look cool. Thin, lace up, canvas shoes. No insulation whatsoever - and get 'em wet - hell - they'll be wet all day. Tennis shoes are the last shoe any right thinking person would wear into snow, but look around. Tennis shoes make up 50% of the "Stupid December Shoe Wearers". Next, there are the "Dress shoe people". These are men & women who wear stylish, mostly leather shoes. These shoes are the pumps & loafers. Business shoes for mostly business people. Leather too has an almost sponge like quality when it comes to water, and poor insulation. "Dress shoe people" make up 40% of the "Stupid December Shoe Wearers". The remaining 10% of the "SDSW's" believe they ARE wearing the appropriate shoe - but they are not. They are wearing UGGS or anything with a fake fur trim around the calf. These are waaaaay more stylish than anything really made to wear in cold weather. Paris Hilton wears these when it hits 60 in California. This should give you an idea to their effectiveness in cold.
WHY do we wear the wrong shoes? Because we're obsessed with "looking cool" - and there's nothing cool about Gortex,waterproof, thermalite insulated, lace up, seam sealed Hiking Boots.
Nothing cool about 'em at all.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Falling down

There is nothing sadder than a person over about 25 years old - falling down. Be it tripping over something, or slipping in the snow, it's that face down, soles of shoes in the air - picture I can't get out of my mind. Some of the saddest moments I've ever experienced were with loved ones who went down - hard. Somehow you feel that maybe if you'd been in better position - you may have caught them. They might have been relying on you to "spot them' - and you failed miserably. Some people take joy in others crashing & burning. Take America's Funniest Home Videos for example. This shows been on over 20 years and had handsome ratings and revenue the whole time - with one sole purpose. The exploitation of people falling down. I put the age of "falling down sadness" at 25 because even I enjoy seeing children & teenagers fall down. I especially delight in seeing smart ass, goth, tattooed, pierced teenagers fall down. This is the best. As this winter gets underway and walkways become slippery, thoughtfully consider your position on falling down - and if you assume the role of "spotter", remember - someone is relying on you.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

$150 Face Spray

Christmas shopping I found myself at a cosmetics counter. My eyes were drawn to a display with small cans of aerosol spray that were priced at $150. The cans appeared to be abour 4 or 5 ounces. The spray was some sort of "age defying" concoction that promised results in no more than 3 days. The sign said this stuff "rivals Botox" in it's ability to make you appear younger. They had a "tester". I deduced that at $150 a can, even a "test spray" of this stuff would be worth five bucks. I thought about trying it for a moment - maybe come back three days in a row - to see if I saw marked improvement. Just as I was reaching for the can, a saleswoman approached. "May I help you?" All I was able to blurt out was, "$150 a can???" She said "Yes" and went on to extol the virtues of this magic liquid in the can. I thought (but did not say out loud) she'd have to sell me the stuff naked - for me to spend $150. I thought fast. Last week I was asked how old I was when purchasing a pack of cigarettes. They key the age in for verification. I asked the cigarette lady how old I looked. She thought for a moment and said, "32?" I said "That's it! You got it exactly. (She was quite low.) I decide now to ask the lady with the $150 super spray the same question. I figure she's going to say once again a low number. Confidently I ask, "How old do I look?" She says, "Uhhhh......52?" It was at that moment I realized I was dealing with a very very very good salesperson. I'm sure when training to sell $150 cans of age defying spray, the salespeople are instructed to add 20 years when asked to guess a customers age. Yeah, that's it. That's gotta be it.

Cars for Christmas

I personally mingle with car dealers. Not the salespeople - the people with their names on the big sign out front. They expect you to buy cars for Christmas. Sound outrageous? It's not. It happens every December. Dealers even have companies that supply them with those big car sized ribbons you see on TV. They'll arrange to have it delivered to your driveway late on Christmas Eve. You can then wrap a key in a little box, and lead the gift-ee to the door with a blindfold on. This is the way to gift a car on Christmas. You must do the little box and the blindfold. Unless you pay cash, this is the gift that keeps on giving all year long. Actually you keep giving - for 60 - 72 months at 3.9 a.p.r. (with approved credit - does not include t. t. l. & doc fees.) For that one splendid moment at the door with the blindfolded person, you will pay for 5 or 6 years. I like the Lexus commercial with the husband giving his wife the new $45,000 car. Did he get permission from her first ?? - Or did he decide on his own to spend $45,000 of "their" money on the car? Did she even have a say in the model or the color? The commercials over too fast, we'll never know - what we do know is - when that Lexus has 50,000 miles on it in 36 months and is worth $15,000 wholesale, Hubby is upside down several thousand and Wifey has forgotten all about that brief "blindfolded front door moment". I know a 16 year old kid who'll get a Lincoln Navigator this Christmas. I really do. His Dad is the guy on the big sign out front of the dealership. These are the only people that have any business giving Cars for Christmas. By the way, if the 16 year old kid above stumbles upon this post - I'm not talking about you - your Dad's getting you new pants.

Why do I like meat slicers?

I want one. I want a meat slicer. I saw a $99 professional grade meat slicer in a magazine, and I've been thinking about it for two days. It's not like I have an unusually high affection for meat, just a normal healthy love of meat. I like meat prepared many ways, and one of my favorite meats is - any meat sliced.
Stop right there Bri. Won't the store slice your meat free? Yes. Doesn't most meat come in little bags pre-sliced? Yes again. This is why I'm so troubled. I've made it this long without a meat slicer, why freak out about it now? I'm not sure. I imagine it's because I could take all the time I wanted slicing my meat to personal perfection. On a whim I could slice my meat thick or thin or any thickness in between. Meat slicers were always one of those tools I admired from the wrong side of the deli case. I watched with envy as the deli person grabbed that slicer handle. They always ask, "How thin do you want it?" We always respond, "Thin baby thin." It never is as thin as you imagine it could be. It's probably because the deli person has other customers and isn't allowed to spend 30 full minutes slicing your 1 pound of ham. This makes a personal meat slicer attractive. I could take that 30 minutes - maybe an hour and 30 minutes - slicing to my content - until my chosen meat is the thickness of onion paper. I'd shoot for meat you could see through. I'd hold it up in front of my face and look at you to test it. If you appeared slightly pink - Heaven!!!
"Linens and Things" by the way.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Barry White loved Christmas

Barry White loved Christmas. He had to. He loved love. Every single person my age knows about Barry White. He inspired love, he gave love, he made love, hell, some of you were conceived to Barry White music. Why on Earth didn't Barry White record a Christmas album! Mariah Carey did, so did Celine Dion. Elvis, The Beach Boys - even Barbra Streisand did a Christmas album - and she's Jewish. For the love of God & all things Holy, why didn't Barry White do a Christmas Album? You can hear it in your head. Barrys golden tones being backed by a lush orchestra. The album likely would have been called "Panty Claus" (Kellie gave me that name.) I bet he planned on eventually getting around to it. But, Barry made so much love he died - stealing from us all the ultimate Christmas album.

Where are the red spotlights?

Christmas lights on the house. Several seasons ago, I decided to flood the front of my house with floodlights. I bought the fixtures on stakes that press into the ground, and bought two spotlights. You guessed it. One red & one green. Over the years both the bulbs have blown, and I've simply purchased replacements. Never a problem until this year. My red blew - and there are no more red floodlights. Forget that during the year these bulbs sell for about five bucks, and in December they sell for twelve - there are simply no more red bulbs. Where have they gone? Has there been some sort of red glass shortage I wasn't aware of? Are people flooding their homes in red light exclusively? Red lights used alone make your home appear to be on fire. Only when used in conjunction with green bulbs do red spotlights work as decoration. I don't make this statement as a decorating amateur. I have 25 years of personal outdoor illumination experience, and nearly 50 years of closely examining light displays. Home centers don't have red bulbs, nor do the Hardware stores. Wal Mart is out and so is the grocery store. They ALL HAVE GREEN - just no reds. People - you're doin' it wrong. Red & Green. Red & Green. You have unwittingly caused a national shortage. How were the bulb manufacturers to know you'd mess this up. Ultimately they're responsible though because they didn't include instructions with the bulbs telling you to purchase equal amounts of red & green bulbs. Now, my house is bathed in green light - as if I were a fan of "The Grinch" or worse yet, "Kermit the Frog".

I am not pathetic enough to win

Viewers of "Three Wishes" & "Extreme Makeover Home Edition" - don't look for me anytime soon, I am not pathetic enough. The allure of these shows I was led to believe was - you could apply - and possibly win. I don't have cancer. I have all my limbs. No-one close to me has died. I have not been in a horrific accident. There has been no catastrophic fire, nor am I on any public aid. Each week these shows find a family, or in the case of "Three Wishes" - an entire town - that is suffering some calamity. We let out a collective "awwww" - as the show makes these peoples lives better. I live in a comfortable home that could use some updating. I'd love to have Ty build on another floor and install One Million dollars worth of Kenmore appliances. I have wishes too. I'd love to have an indoor pool. I'd like a wraparound driveway. I'd like a live-in maid. Amy Grant could get me the maid, and Ty could build her a room. I love those giant plasma TV's. Everyone seems to get them. It's as if a plasma TV can replace Dads arms he lost in the power saw accident. I won't bother applying to appear on these shows. They'd look at my application and find a hard time shedding even a single tear. The only person left crying is me - because tragedy hasn't struck me to the degree I'd need to win.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

For those in Pain

Those who know me, know where this is going already. I don't remember exactly the first time I had Excedrin. I do recall when I became a fan. It's been about 10 years ago I discovered how fantastic a drug Excedrin is. No matter what the pain is, headache, feet, teeth, muscles - Excedrin is there at the ready. Excedrin always. Caplets not round pills. If I were to go on Survivor and could take one thing, Excedrin would be my luxury item. It's always there, ready to satisfy my pain management needs. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy prescription meds as much as the next guy, but when it comes to OTC, Excedrin is the way to go. Excedrin contains what I call the BIG THREE. Aspirin, Anticetimenophen & caffeine. Whoa. I get tingly just thinking about it. Two big pain killers and a blast of caffeine to kick me in the butt. Only thing that would make it better is aspartame, so I could chew them up and eat them like candy. (See below for my affection to aspartame.) I'm basically a 100 count bottle man, but once, bought the huge 500 count bottle at Sams. I suppose this is the same bottle the Army uses. Often I feel like I have enough pain to equal the Army - maybe a division, but I simply enjoy the process of buying it too much to take away that moment in the store when I grab the box and throw it in the cart. Excedrin recently did away with the cotton stuffing in the bottle. This only increased my love of the product. They instinctively knew when I needed my Excedrin, I wanted to save as much time as possible, and they saved me 10 seconds easily. That's 10 extra seconds added onto my life for each bottle I buy, and over the course of a lifetime, that means Excedrin has given me two extra weeks to spend with my family. Look for me to be the national spokesperson for Excedrin - any day - I'd accept the job gratis.

I love radios as much as radio

I've been into radio for 35 years. I remember a night at Danny Lillards house in the 60's when he turned on a radio. I remember Jay and the Americans singing Cara Mia & John Fred & the Playboys singing Judy in Disguise. I'm not sure why I remember that, but I do, my brain is wired that way. I remember the DJ conducting a contest and giving a phone number. This was a local station, so we called and won!!! It was something like a coupon for a pizza, but that was the exact moment I was hooked. I didn't call a station for a contest for several more years, but that's when I began listening to radio often - and buying radios. I think the first radio I bought was a Sony clock radio I bought with my moms TV stamps. I went through the drawers and filled in the books, until I had enough to go to the redemption center. I listened to that radio daily for years, until I reduced it to it's component parts (yes, I soon began taking radios apart) to see what was inside. Now all these years later, I have radios everywhere. I bet if there is some Guiness record for total radios owned - I'd be in the running. Only an obsessive collector would have more. I use my radios. I have a radio in virtually every room in my home. I have one at the desks I use, both at home and at work. I listen in the car. This is why I've never really been into cassettes & CD's in the car. They would never tell me something I didn't know. They don't inform me in any way. I learn nothing from them. Radio, on the other hand is unfolding right there before my ears in real time. If something happens, I count on my radio to tell me. I like battery radios. This is the ultimate radio. You can pick it up and take it anywhere, even to a room with other radios. My love of radios surely played a part of my deciding to go into the radio business. I had three choices. Build radios. Sell Radios or be on the radio. I chose the latter.

Christmas Light Scam

Christmas lights, the little ones, the mini ones, the ones in strings of 50 or 100 with the green wire - are a scam. Certainly by now the technology exists to manufacture a Christmas light that will work more than one season. They sell the replacement bulbs. They sell bulb testers. there is even a $29 thing that supposedly tests the strand. We now occupy a "throw-way" society. I don't believe I am alone in the belief that when a strand of Christmas lights goes bad, I just throw 'em away and buy new strands. Can you think of anything else we purchase that we have such low expectations of going in - that the moment it doesn't work, we throw it away? General Electric and the other companies that makes these lights - price them right where we don't consider them expensive. We mindlessly fill the landfills with bad strands and buy new strands. Why isn't the American public at the end of it's collective strand? Simple. We want the damn tree up and we want it up now. The stress of the project is enough already without the friggin' lights giving us a headache. Two years ago I bought a CASE of lights. 24 boxes of lights in a giant cardboard display box. They were $1 a strand. I thought at the time - I was buying a "lifetime supply". This year they're ALL in the trash. I'm sure there are Christmas cowboys that will spend hours diagnosing light problems, and fixing strands. I don't have that much time. When I'm lying on my death bed, I'll be glad I spent that time living instead of fiddling with lights. The only solution I imagine, is putting those GIANT LIGHTS on my tree - they seem to be fail safe - but ugly. Candles? There you go. My home owners insurance is paid up.

Blue, Pink & Yellow

I'm blue. Rarely pink. Yellow in a pinch. My quest for blue began about 1991 when I sweetened an iced tea with it. It was the best iced tea I'd had up to that point in my life.

Blue, of course is Nutra-Sweet or Natra-Taste or any of the brand names for aspartame. It appears over time your body craves more & more little blue packets - until the number you desire is too many to rip open at once. It's like trying to tear through a little phone book. You must scale back and tear open only half. I've never had that problem with pink. Those, you just use one at a time, no matter what you're sweetening. There have been times I've used 10 blues at once. I'll take a fresh iced tea made with clean crisp water, full of pristine ice, and top off the glass with a quarter cup of my favorite chemical. I trust the scientists involved with the discovery of blue, tested it rigorously. I have faith the FDA ran their own independent tests. In the nearly 15 years since my discovery of blue, my love has turned to dependence, and I want to believe I'm not harming my body. I don't know for sure how safe blue really is, that's why I just used the words "trust & faith". Tea, coffee, cereal - it's just gotta be blue. Restaurants should take note that there are others like me - and before we order drinks we check the little sweetener box looking for the coveted blue. It's high time bitter, stupid, dangerous, cancer in lab animals - pink - go away. Yellow? Why - as long as there's blue.

Saturday, December 10, 2005


Coke. I mean soda. You might say "sodie". I can't drink it anymore. Well I can, but it's gotta be diet. Diet? Right. I've had it with the whole high fructose corn syrup thing. In the old days Coke was chock full of real tooth destroying sugar. It tasted different. Why on Earth can't a soda company sell real sugar soda? These companies are under attack from health advocates claiming we ingest over 50 teaspoons of sugar a day already. America's fat enough already they say. 50 teaspoons? Not me. I'm overweight and I did it the old fashioned way. Grease! Nothing cuts grease like an old fashioned sugary soda, and I'm not given the option of purchasing it. While I'm at it, I want my Coke in a glass bottle too. Not that little 6 ounce job Coke rolls out at Christmas - I want the big 16 ounce glass Coke bottle back - in the big 8 pack. I'll pay the deposit on the bottles. I'll dig out my old bottle opener and enjoy soda the way it was intended. CRUSHED ICE WITH A STRAW - but hey - I'm a dreamer.

May I have a straw?

Straws. It's the little things. I like 'em. Straight, bendy, paper, plastic, clear, with stripes, loose or sealed in paper sleeves. I think I like straws now more than ever. Not to say I haven't always liked straws - I don't ever recall not accepting a straw when offered one. My affection with straws is probably now rooted in being a mustache person. I have a thick Sam Elliott mustache. Only mustache wearers know of the constant cleaning required. Straws bypass mustaches completely and deliver the goods directly inside your head. Straws are the last great American value. Have you priced straws lately? You can get straws in bulk for less than one cent each. Straws also make great drink stirrers, and spit wad launchers. There is nothing holding you back from obtaining your own straw supply, and enjoying straws more often. Straw technology hasn't changed much since their debut in 1888 - before that people sucked on rye reeds. This is testimony to the ingenious contraption that it is. Go the whole way, get straws and a cool straw dispenser - and light up the lives of the people you love with this simple gesture. Life is too short to suffer being hit in the nose with ice from a raised glass even one more time. Maybe I haven't convinced you yet. You are too close minded. I'll not offer you one then - nor will I offer you anything to drink.

Dave Barry, Bob Greene & Shoveling Snow

Already this thing is sounding like a Dave Barry or Bob Greene column. They rant about tivial stuff - and are considered fantastic writers. I realize now, they just pick something and let their thoughts flow out their fingertips. Jeez. maybe I should've done this all along. Maybe when Andy Rooney dies, I can do the last 2 minutes of 60 Minutes.

I'm thinking about Christmas Lights, straws & shoveling snow. Which to do first? Let's say......shoveling snow.

I don't shovel snow. I don't have a 10 horse snowblower. I have 2 shovels and a 17 year old son. I used to have more shoveling staff, but the others moved out. I'm left with an unenthusiastic shoveler. I don't blame him. I look at shoveling snow like Kellie looks at watering plants. Leave a plant alone long enough and it'll rain on it. I believe: leave a driveway alone long enough and it'll melt. I see neighbors working all hours to rid their driveways of any hint of snow. I'm watching from inside though a window holding a hot coffee. They appear miserable, while I feel quite warm & cozy. I feel no real guilt. My hatred of shoveling goes back to when my Dad coaxed me outside to shovel his driveway. I did it simply to please him. Now, years later, I'm the Dad, and I'm passing on the tradition of making a young person shovel my driveway. That's it. It's long standing tradition. Maybe my son will buy the explanation. Doesn't really matter - it'll melt on it's own - eventually.


This just in. I told you this would be random thoughts. I like starched shirts. There are two things I believe are the little things that make life worth living - starched shirts and drinking straws. I like starched shirts more, because I could slurp from a cup or glass, but I couldn't go on without starched shirts. If I lost everything and lived under an overpass, I'd crawl from my cardboard box home - wearing a heavy starched shirt. I'd beg for money during the day, then walk to the cleaners. I'd walk in - the employees would be startled because of my un-washed appearance - as I presented them with my pile of button down dress shirts. They'd ask, "Do you want starch?" I'd respond, "Of course - make it heavy, ya know I live under that overpass down there, and I don't want to look wrinkled sleeping on the pavement." I'd then pay with the change I collected from generous people. It's just occured to me - I need a sign that says "Help me starch my shirts." I wouldn't have it say "Will work for starched shirts", because I would have no intention of working, it's why I'm under the overpass in the first place.

A moment of clarity.

Here's the deal. I just realized this is the perfect place to spout drivvel. This will be like paying a Psychiatrist $75 an hour to listen to my inner thoughts. Whether anyone reads this or not - means absolutely nothing - it's the process itself that will cleanse my soul. I don't know if I have the gumption to continue with this everyday, but hey - we're on day three, so maybe.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Day 2

Still contemplating taking on this daily blog thing. I spend a good deal of time on my web pages, and am concerned I don't have enough drivvel in my mind to fill these pages. Frankly, I use all my drivvel on the air everyday - and it leaves me well, spent.

Part of my problem is, I feel this has to be interesting. I'm not a newspaperman - I'm a radioman - I hang all my thoughts out there on the air everyday, leaving just trivial stuff to blog. "I got my pants dirty when I rubbed up against the car" - "My shoes got wet & shrunk" - "My glasses are smudged and it looks like I'm looking through a fish tank" - stuff like that. I imagine someone might find that interesting - I just have to adjust my attitude.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Beginning

This is the bitter beginning of what may become a daily thing here. Let's see.