"...it's like Will Rogers, Jean Shepherd and some grumpy Jewish man all rolled into one."

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Have You Ever...?

... pulled a frozen pizza out of the oven and realize you'd also "baked" the cardboard platter on the bottom?

... completed a very productive session in the bathroom and then pulled the last 3 sheets of toilet paper off the roll?

... asked a clerk where something was in the store while you were standing right next to it?

... ignored the sender's "NSFW" warning and launched the video at work anyway -- as your boss walked up behind you?

... hit what you thought was the "mute" button to offer a derogatory comment about the person leading a conference call -- but then realized it was the "pound" button and they'd heard what you just said?

... complimented new parents in the aisle on their baby's good looks and asked what his name was -- and it's a little girl?

... farted when you thought you were alone -- but you weren't?

... sipped from someone else's water glass during a business dinner?

... offered a scathing rebuke to a co-worker's statement several forwards down in an email chain and then hit "Reply All" -- with the co-worker included on the distro?

... called your wife or girlfriend "Mom" during a heated argument?

... checked out an entire cart-ful of groceries and then realized you'd forgotten your wallet?

... had the dental hygienist tell you to "open wide" -- and then she paused and requested that you brush your teeth before continuing?

... refereed the fight your kids were having in the backseat by offering withering glances via the rear-view mirror -- and then smacked into the car stopped in front of you?

... told a co-worker during a casual lunchroom conversation that you think organized religion is "idiotic" -- and then found out her spouse is a minister?

... rushed into the bathroom between meetings and noticed on your way to the next one that you've got a pee stain on your pants?

... jokingly asked a co-worker wearing a suit in a workplace where jeans are the norm if he was going to a funeral -- and he was?

... watched helplessly as the empty shopping cart you just launched across the parking lot toward the collection area veered into the side of a car?

... wandered aimlessly through Talbot's while your wife was trying on outfits and found yourself singing along to the store's piped-in version of "Lost In Love" by Air Supply -- in the middle of the lingerie section -- amidst the other shoppers?

Yeah -- me neither...

Thursday, February 20, 2014

I'm Such An Idiom

A journey of a thousand miles begins with but a single step. It ends with your significant other refusing to speak to you and flying home early.

Early to bed and early to rise works only if you don't have upstairs neighbors.

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst. That's why I tell my wife our dinner reservation is at 7:00 when it's really at 7:30.

Too many cooks spoil the broth. Hence, canned soup.

Bad news travels fast. Who told you we're coming to visit for the holidays?

Clothes don't make the man. Children in third-world countries make the clothes.

He who laughs last never sees the angry fist coming his way.

The way to a man's heart is through his stomach. At least, that's what my cardiologist billed me for.

A clear conscience is a soft pillow. I haven't slept well in months.

A soft answer turneth away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger. I'm angry that I don't know what the word "grievous" meaneth.

A wise man makes his own decisions, an ignorant man follows the public opinion. What do the rest of you think?

Flattery makes friends and truth makes enemies, so please ask someone else to tell you how you look in that outfit.

Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach him how to fish and he'll eat forever. He'll also be gone every weekend.

How wrong it is for a woman to expect the man to build the world she wants, rather than to create it herself. But I forget to empty the dishwasher one lousy time...

Actions speak louder than words. I said, "ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS."

Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow / Don't walk behind me, I may not lead / Just walk beside me and be my friend / But enough with the talking already.

The first half of our lives are ruined by our parents, and the second half by our children. The third half of our lives are ruined by our mathematicians.

No man is a failure who is enjoying life. Are we out of beer again?

Fools rush in where angels fear to tread. I'll catch up with you in a few minutes.

Whom we love best, to them we can say least. That's why the missus and I aren't on speaking terms.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Master Of My Domain Name

Hello regular readers of my blog (all seven of you). Before I forget, please update your bookmark to:
  • www.factsoptional.com
You can, if you wish, skip the "dub-dub-dub" but it's so much more fun to say that.

Getting this URL (which is pronounced "You-Are-Ell going to misspell the address") to function properly with my blog site was a bit of a struggle. I had to see if the domain name was available; it was, so then I needed to purchase it. There are a multitude of online companies that facilitate this transaction, all with varying come-ons and pricing schemes. I could have paid as little as $6.99 or as much as $25 to "own" the domain for a year, all conditional on whether I added web hosting, email, online calendars, tinted windows or surround sound.

I decided for a two-year, bare-bones option through GoDaddy.com. They've made a name for themselves over the last few years through their Super Bowl commercials which feature Danica Patrick and were, until this year, always deemed too suggestive to be shown in their entirety during the broadcast. This year they went "cute" -- it was still Danica but instead of featuring her figure, they positioned her as the Donald Trump of the Speedway and somehow it was all tied in to helping a woman quit her day job to fulfill her lifelong dream of starting her own company to make puppets. I was going to say GoDaddy now has a hand in the puppet business but you likely got there before I did.

Anyway, I ran into some difficulty dropping the "www." and still getting the URL to forward to the blog site, so I ended up contacting GoDaddy's online product support. I was told to delete a "parked IP address" via my "zone file editor" and all would be well. Now, I work with software engineers and web designers and am fairly entrenched in their processes and I had NO fuckin' idea what I was being asked to do. But I dutifully followed the instructions and within minutes everything was working perfectly. My online chat support agent was named Heather, and I commended her on her insights and typing skills and then asked if she'd like to move to a private chat room to see where else we might like to park my IP address. Chat session terminated.

Another confusing element in this activity was the discovery that there's another blog with the address "factsoptional.blogspot.com". I think that one is written by someone who isn't me but am not sure since I read through some of her posts and we share uncannily parallel interests in obscenities along with disdain for the working environment (if that's not redundant). However, my blog soul-mate seems to have been laying low since last summer. Maybe she's distracted by trying to launch a puppet business.

Here's a puppet riddle I just came up with:

     Why did the puppet decline an invitation to Thanksgiving dinner?
     He was afraid someone would knock the stuffing out of him.

Once you stop laughing at that one -- oh, you're all set; OK -- here's another riddle:

     Why didn't they release The King's Speech in Brazil?
     Because they couldn't find someone to dub-dub-dub the dialogue into Portuguese.

Guess I won't quit my day job either. Much to my employer's regret.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Blow Me

I recently had another birthday and again wasn't gifted with what I really wanted -- an harmonica.

I've been hinting at wanting one for many years, having offered subtle hints and suggestions along the lines of:
  • "Wow! Did you hear that guy wailing on an harmonica? Sure wish I had one so I could learn to play."
  • "Honey, do you know anyone who plays an harmonica? No? Well, I know what would change that..."
  • "What would I like for my birthday? Gee, I'd really love an harmonica."
Now, please don't think I'm one of those "make a fuss over me because it's My Special Day" sort of people -- I'm not, I'm really not. Quite frankly, I'd be happiest if there were no acknowledgment whatsoever regarding the occasion. Birthdays are an odd celebration to begin with, since the accomplishment they are recognizing is that you managed not to die during the previous year. It's an anniversary, but not like a wedding anniversary -- a wedding anniversary is supposed to commemorate that one or the other of you managed to attract a mate and, despite your in-laws' efforts to the contrary, continue to live together and possibly even share a joint checking account. There's some effort involved. It's something you choose to do. The "event" that perhaps merits celebration regarding our births should be the anniversary of the date when our parents decided to engage in the act of sexual congress that later resulted in our slippery entrance into the world. For many of you, your parents were so enamored of each other that their passion resulted in you being born just nine months after they married. Or, in my case, being born just six months after.

A birthday is different - none of us choose to be born, much less on a specific date. A birthday just means you managed to plod through another 12 months of dreary existence on this earth while avoiding being sneezed upon and contracting swine flu, or run over by a bus, or "accidentally" mixing prescription drugs and cinnamon schnapps. What little effort may have been expended in these avoidance maneuvers is minimal at most. So, cheerful sort that I am, I'm happy for my birthday to be just another ordinary day of avoiding sneezes and buses. But -- if my wife or son ask, "What do you want for your birthday?" and I offer a gentle and unobtrusive suggestion such as "I'd like some warm socks" or "I'd enjoy going out for a hamburger" or, most significantly, "I'D LIKE AN HARMONICA", then dammit! they'd better gimme those socks/that burger/AN HARMONICA.

Actual conversation, reproduced verbatim and occurs every year:
  • WIFE: "What kind of birthday cake would you like?"
  • ME: "I'd like a JELL-O cake."
  • WIFE: "I am not making you a JELL-O cake."
She says a JELL-O cake is "gross". Well, I think potato salad is "gross" but I don't tell her she can't eat it, especially if she asked for it for her birthday (although I would not allow her to eat it anywhere within a thousand-yard proximity to me). Why doesn't she just tell me what kind of cake *she* would enjoy for my birthday? And then ask me to go to the store and pick one up?

See, this is exactly the kind of fracas I want to avoid by side-stepping the societal obligation to "celebrate" my birthday. It creates tension, angst, dissent, tumult... all feelings that leave me feeling rather blue. And what instrument best captures the essence of the blues? AN HARMONICA.

Am I the only one who sees the irony here? The one gift in the whole world that would make me happiest is precisely what I need to express my despair. Receiving an harmonica would fill me with such joy that I'd no longer have any need to play it.

Perhaps what I should get for my birthday is an oxymoron. Especially since I'm now starting to feel like one.

Sunday, February 2, 2014


In the car late yesterday, heading for one of the warehouse stores to stock up on some bulk supplies, after which we'll go out for dinner and then grocery shop for the week before heading home. Heading in the direction of our pre-last-summer's-move neighborhood, since we know where everything is up there but still can't find our way to the corner from our new apartment.

Car is in motion, about to enter the highway, when Carol asks if there's a branch of the store closer to where we now live. I reply if she can find it and direct us to the location, I'll go that way.

Out comes the smartphone and voilà! there's another store only half the distance away. Google Maps says "5.6 mi., 15 mins." Of course, we have *just* driven past the first exit we need to take, so I make a U-ey and head back on the other side of the road.

45 minutes, umpteen missed turns and 2 screaming matches later, we still haven't found the "closer" store. "F*ck it! I'm not going to f*cking BJ's now! I don't know where the f*ck I am!" I calmly state. Carol responds in a huff, "Perhaps if we pull over for a moment..." Christ Almighty! She sure knows how to push my buttons.

As we start to head back toward where we think we live, we pass a supermarket on our left. I rapidly reassess our plans and decide to mitigate any further risk by moving grocery shopping to the top of our remaining priorities for the evening. At the intersection, I expertly veer across two lanes of oncoming traffic, fly into the lot and glide to a stop in an open space, just barely crumpling the fender of the car parked facing us.

We enter the store and find ourselves in the produce section. Carol prods me: "Would you like some salad tonight?" "NO!" I tranquilly respond. "Do we need any cold cuts?" "I HAVE NO F*CKING IDEA!" "How many jalapeños do you want for the chili?" "HAVEN'T YOU EVER MADE CHILI BEFORE?" "If I make sausage and peppers this week, will you want some?" "I HATE SAUSAGE AND PEPPERS!" "What kind of ice cream do you want?" "I DON'T... uh, Peanut Butter Cup."

After we check out and put our groceries in the car, Carol says she's happy to drive home if I prefer to navigate. "Good," I think to myself, "she recognizes her limitations." I quickly pull up the directions home and promptly point us toward the wrong exit from the parking lot. "Jesus," I think to myself, "she can't use the GPS and she can't drive, either..."

After missing several road signs since it's now dark out, we finally find ourselves on a road with which Carol is familiar and she gets us home in just a few more minutes. I bring in the groceries while Carol throws our frozen pizza in the oven, and by the time everything's put away and the cats -- who have been underfoot since the moment we walked back into the house, no doubt reacting to Carol's mood -- are fed, dinner is ready.

We sit on the couch with our slices, flipping on the TV and ready to decompress from our brief excursion gone horribly wrong. The tension between us appears to be dissipating. I don't intend to make a big deal out of this mishegas and am prepared to forgive Carol for her earlier unwarranted outbursts.

I take a bite of my pizza and burn the f*cking sh*t out of my mouth. I can't believe Carol is still being so petty AND she's willing to have me suffer second-degree burns just so she can settle the score between us? I glare at her -- she is watching the TV, not looking at me. Oh, she is SO evil -- she doesn't even glance in my direction to see if her cunning effort has succeeded. Fuming, I take another bite of my pizza and again burn the f*cking sh*t out of my mouth. My GOD this woman is so vindictive.

After we finish our pizza, I extract my revenge. I cheerfully offer to get ice cream for both of us and short her one scoop. Then the pièce de résistance -- I recommend we watch Woody Allen's To Rome With Love, telling her the star-studded cast combined with the filmmaker’s pedigree ensures it will be hilarious.

Heh-heh-heh. Talk about mis-direction…