Thoughts, Philosophy, Life and Love

Month: April 2009

Why are farts funny?

Tonight I decided that, since my stomach was still not quite at 100% since this bout with what I can only assume was a stomach flu, I would go to the Subway Sandwich shop here by my home.  Not a long drive and the fresh air… well… as fresh as Bakersfield can grant, would do me some good.

Upon entering and subsequently waiting in line behind the woman who probably single handedly inspired Carol from a slightly demonic version Brady Bunch, whose six children might have been models for  “Chucky” and whose ability to control them was slightly akin to Captain Binghamton’s ability to control Lt. Mchale  (Yes… I know most of these analogies are lost on anyone younger than thirty…)  Her and her kin were waiting for their food to be made when “IT” happened.  During one of the critical moments of public sandwich-making when children are present, happened.  The sandwich guy’s Mayo jar ran out.

Anyone who has been in a Subway when this happens, knows what that means.  Yes… the Mayo jar made a rather loud sputtering sound.

It was at this time that one of the kids happily announced to no one in specific and everyone in general that… “The sandwich guy farted!”

This had the effect of turning the already noisy group of children into a now laughing group of children sounding something slightly similar to what Pee Wee’s playhouse might sound like on laughing gas… oh… never mind.

To make matters worse, the now very self-conscious sandwich guy made the sound three more times… in the ever-efficient effort to get every last drop of the mayo out of the jar.  This, in turn, evoked a chorus of laughs and giggles… now not just from the children, but also from the few other adults that were there as well.

Yes… even me,  mister stoic… the gruff, 40 something former Marine, started to smile at this point.  For me, however, I think I was smiling more at the way the sandwich guy was looking at the children.  With that fake smile, hiding the sudden desire to start practicing Hannibal Lecter’s craft in the kitchen, beginning with the little starting lineup of the might munchkin football league that he had in his dining room.  All he was missing was the quiet time, fava beans and nice Chianti.

It was about this time that he, the sandwich guy, announced that he had to go get more Mayo, then went to the back.  Either to actually GET mayo, or to contemplate his new career as a serial murderer and cannibal.   This I do not know, as the sandwich gal who was working with him took over and finished making the sandwiches for them and then, myself.

The woman and her small restaurant assault team went off valiantly to ransack the Domino’s pizza next door.

I saw no further sign of the sandwich guy that night… I hope the rest of his evening went better, and that it did not end with him having his partner for dinner with beans and wine.

Note to the reader… some of the events may have been embelished for the entertainment of the reader.

I hope to be the model of a Modern Master Mason.

So… as of this last Wednesday (22 April 2009), I am now a Master Mason.

Masonry has been a part of my family for a few generations now.  Most recently it was my Great Uncle… William Yelland.  He was a Mason to the core and made it to the lofty 32nd degree in the Scottish Rites.  If you were to look at the life he led and the things he had accomplished, there would be no doubt that he was a benefit to the lodge and they to him.

Thinking about it now, this is something that I should have done years ago but I never was able to set aside the time to do so.  This is mostly my fault.  I got lazy and never MADE the time to do this, something that was important to me because of the connection that it has to my family and to myself.

And just remember.

“To become one, ask one.”

Mixed signals…

While walking around work today, I noticed something that just really had not struck me before.  It is the way that there is one set of rules for one group of people, yet an entirely different set for others.

What do I mean?

If I were to put pictures up in my work area of women wearing bikinis or underwear, it would not be long before one of two things would happen.  First, I would probably be written up for something along the lines of sexual harassment.  Second, I would probably be looking for work elsewhere, since most companies have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to things like this.

All this being said, why is it that when I walk through my work, there are several people that have pictures of people like Brad Pitt or Johnny Depp with their shirts off or similar?  How is a guy with his shirt off or just wearing a towel any less of an offense to the company policies on things like this than if I put a scantily clad picture of, for example, Gigi Edgeley or Tyra Banks?

Am I supposed to accept that it is right for the ladies in my office to enjoy the sight of their favorite actor in a semi-clothed state, yet if I put up a picture of an actress, model or any other picture of a lady with the same amount of clothing on, it is considered wrong?  Are the rules really that skewed in favor of women that they are exempt, or are people just afraid to stand up and say anything about it to someone?

To be fair… it is not just my current job, but this is something that I have seen at a couple of my other jobs too.  There was one office that I worked at where a woman had her desk littered with pictures of various men, not only in various states of undress, but in some provocative positions as well.  Yet I would be willing to BET you that should one of her male counterparts put up a picture of Jessica Alba in a bikini, SHE would be one of the first ones to raise a stink about it, and HR would be all over him, say little or nothing about her desk.

Is it just me, or does anyone else notice these little contradictions in life?  I am sure that I cannot be the only one out there that sees things like this.

Wait… it gets worse…

A couple weeks ago I wrote a piece where I bashed the new Jason Statham bomb, in theaters now, for being a very weak effort to draw in money for using a fairly big name action actor, in an already weak plot to make a few more dollars.

Now, we see that it does not stop there…  it gets worse.

Watching TV the other day, I see an ad for a “new” series called “Roommates”.  Supposedly about a bunch of people sharing the same apartment in a large city.  Then all manner of zany antics ensue… bullocks!

OK… I am already not a big fan of sitcoms.  I have never been able to tolerate programs that take and mentally molest you with things that are supposed to be funny… and to try and sell that point to you, they include a “laugh-track”, so that you can be reminded of the funny parts and remember to laugh yourself.

Examples of programs like this are “Two and a Half Men”, “Frasier” and “Full House” are some examples… ones that I actually had to look up on a list and then think about if I had ever seen an episode or not.  Most of the time, no… I have not, but I recall a few that Naty liked to watch, and those are the ones I listed.

To be fair… there was one episode of “Frasier” that I watched that was actually funny.  The only reason that I saw it was it was on while I ate dinner with my wife.  Otherwise I would not have seen it.  I tried watching a couple more episodes, but was not impressed.  I was able to tell everything that was going to happen and even knew how it would end before the show was even a quarter of the way in.

I am sorry.  I like to be surprised.  I do not like to be able to figure a program out before the opening credits have finished rolling.  This is why I like shows like “CSI: Las Vegas”, “CSI: New York” and “The Eleventh Hour”.  These are all shows that keep you guessing.  I cannot stand “CSI: Miami” for one reason… yeah… David Caruso.  He should have ended his career with the role of “Kit Kat” in “Hudson Hawk”.

I digress…  Almost all sitcoms these days are predictable from the start.  You know where they are going, what is going to happen and how it is going to happen.  There is no surprise, no excitement, nothing to look forward to.  The same is also true of many other programs that are on TV today, but I think this is more-so with sitcoms.

Now… back to my original example… the new program called “Roommates”.  I have never seen “Friends”, but I suspect that there is not much to that show beyond what I have been accosted with by the previews and the coming attractions spots they show on TV… you know, the little segments that start with “On the next exciting episode of Friends… so and so meets who’s a what’s its and they fall into a thing-a-ma-jig.”  Then they proceed to show you a thirty-second spot of the show.

Looking at the preview for “Roommates”, I suspect that someone found a box of leftover “Friends” scripts that never got used, renamed it and ran with a new series.

Problem is that there are idiots out there that are dumb enough to watch it and not realize that they are watching the television version of vomit.  Something that was filtered through the system, set aside, forgotten, filed, refiled, forgotten again, thrown away, used as a birdcage liner, then placed on the desk of some washed out producer with nothing better to do than make a show out of it.  Face it… this is “Friends” with a new cast, fresh coat of ugly paint and a different set of names.

Creativity, in Hollywood, is gone.  I am not sure where it went, exactly, but it is gone.  I can only assume it might be prostituting itself on some dark corner on a back street in Bangkok or someplace of equally poor reputation.

We will be subjected to shows like “24”, “Roommates”, “House”, “Two and an half men” and <enter your favorite sitcom here>

I will stick with the History Channel and Discovery Channel.

200th Post

For some, this may not be important.  But this is my 200th article, so I decided to post it on Tax Day, so that I would make something nice out of an otherwise depressing day.

This is as the result of five years of Blogging now, starting from my little Blogger site hosted with Google, to the purchase of my first domain name, which is now pointing to this one.  I never expected that I would keep at it this long, really.  I was expecting that I would have gotten bored with it and then cast it off.

I cannot say that this has been exciting, it really has not been.  There have been several times I have had to motivate myself to write something, then there were other times, like now, when there has been a lot I have wanted to say.  I have no doubt that with the new administration in office now, I will have plenty to write about for some time.

There are some disappointments too… I would hope that after five years, I would have had more than 19 subscribers… and that more of you who do subscribe would interact more with the site.  You see, three quarters of the time spent on this blog are spent trying to draw in readers.  People that might find something that they like here… something in my writing that appeals to them and keeps them coming in.  So the lack of readership can only be attributed to my fault.. not that of the existing readers.

I still have high hopes for the site.  It really does not cost that much to run it per year, and in addition to being my place to talk with you and share my thoughts, dreams and ideas, it is also my window into the world.

I have learned more about politics, science and culture since I started running this blog than I have over the last fifteen years.  So you might say that the process of running this site is a developmental process for me in more ways that just the chatting kind.

I thank you all… my few readers, for your presence here, and I welcome all those that are yet to visit and maybe stay.


The Lessons along the way…

When I was growing up, my mother had this thing she would like to tell me… something that she, in turn, heard from her Grandmother.

“Wish in one hand and piss in the other, see which gets full the fastest.”

I am sure that there are many variations on this saying, and I am sure that it predates even my Grandmother.  But there is an underlying truth to the statement that I think gets lost in the humor and maybe even in the “visual” that the comment provokes.

If we take into consideration all the education we get through our lives, all the people that teach us little things, and all the books that make up our total knowledge base; I do not think it would be as important to life itself and the things we learn by doing.

Thing that we pick up through the accidents we have, the accomplishments we make, the losses we endure through our lives… those are what truly shapes and educates us.

For example, we can read about death, watch it on TV, see it in the news and hear about it on the radio, but that first time a friend or loved one dies or is killed, then it takes on a whole new meaning and we learn right then and there exactly how short and fragile life truly is.  Then, the next time you read about it, heard about it or see it in a movie or on the news, it means something a little different.

The same holds true for the rest of life as well.  Love means more when you have experienced it versus when you read about it.  Cars are fun to drive and own, but the moment you need to repair one yourself, they suddenly have a new meaning to you.

As we grow older, we see other things like this happen.  Our minds start piecing this events together with “outside” understanding of them and that, in turn, livens or gives new meaning to the experiences.

Educations is great… I encourage everyone to go as far as they can with their school studies, but do not limit yourself to just that.  Challenge everything you learn.  If your professor tells you that water is hot, go out and challenge that.  If someone tells you that Quadratics are hard, try them yourself.

The point?  Learn not only through education, but through experience.  Learn to be a thinker, a ponderer, a daydreamer, but learn also to take those thoughts and apply them to the real world.  You never know what you might find out about the world and your self.

Maybe Salvidore Dali was right!

This world really is a strange place.  It seems like everything that we do and see does nothing more than prove this point these days.  In fact, I have to stop and wonder if maybe the ones that can truly see things as they are, are not the ones that are usually cast aside as being crazy or eccentric.  Those that see what, to many, appear to not be there.

So the question arises…  did people like Salvadore Dali or Pablo Picaso see things as they might really be, and you and I are the ones seeing things the way we would like them to appear for the sake of keeping ourselves sane?

Don’t get excited, these are not serious questions, they are just observations from a person who has always felt that there is more than one correct answer to the questions in life, the universe and everything… and no, one of those answers is not “42”.

It seems that when ever we think that we are figuring things out and getting the gist of life, there is always something that comes along and proves that we are either wrong, or right, but on the wrong path.  You win the lotto one month after you declare bankruptcy, you wreck your car on the way to get your “Safe Driver” award from your company.  You fail a sobriety test on your way to your AA meeting, you find out you are pregnant a three months after you are told you are sterile and decide to quit the pill and have fun.  Things like that.

There are also those people that seem to hide in the pathway of your life just to jump out and give you a wedgie when you least expect it.  The silly friend that you did not expect to meet you at a lunch appointment.  The crazy aunt(s) that you just recently realized really are the spawn of Satan incarnate (can you say Avis and Marlene?.)

If I have learned any one thing in my forty years of living, it is that the world is a crazy place.  Full of things that are either there to help you or hinder you.  Fortunately the ones that are there to hinder you are mostly innocuous.  Things that catch you off guard and cause you to take a step back and collect your thoughts, then move forward.  Usually this last area is caused by family.  Love them though you might, they are usually the first in line with the monkey wrenches of good intent and well being.

When you look at nature, there are also things there that were meant to throw us for a loop.  Things that just seem odd or not quite right.  Beautiful flowers that are deadly poison, ugly ones that smell heavenly, pristine rivers that hide certain death, grand landscape that will invite you, then, years later when they find your body, prove that nature is still in charge.

Personally I like the way life is.  The adventure is there to keep us guessing.  The random events that we all seem to dread are just another way for nature to see if we are paying attention.  Life and the universe are full of examples of these grand and humorous contradictions…  so maybe it is the crazy that see the universe as it truly is…  the rest of us are blinded by our own idealism.

You see… I think that God… whatever god you might believe in, has a sense of humor and loves to practice it on you and I.  With this in mind, if there is a heaven… I am sure that comedians and philosophers all have the best seats and the rest of us will be the performers.

Returning from Vacation

Did you ever notice that vacation, in many cases, is more trouble than it is worth?

Sure… you are away from work, having a good time and enjoying life.  Times are good, life is good… maybe you might even find yourself in some island hide-away or on some isolated beach somewhere.  Drinking a frosty adult beverage, watching the local wildlife and their mating rituals, or even participating in them (if you are not married.)

Then, like the proverbial splash of cold water after you get out of the dry sauna… you are back at work.

Walking back into work after having a few days off usually puts people like me into and instant bad or sour mood.  I have also been known to take out my dissatisfaction about being back at work on others.

Then you reach your desk.  If the process of returning to work itself was not traumatic enough, then getting to your desk is that point where you start reconsidering that idea of running off and joining a circus somewhere and making lion taming your chosen profession, or, as in my case, that I should have been a plumber.

Usually, upon returning to your desk, you immediately see that not only did the world NOT stop turning while you were gone, but neither did the emails stop coming in out of respect for your decision to take time off.  Voicemail is there in droves to prove that people were not willing to accept your desire to take a little “me” time, and the pile on your desk looks very much like the paperwork fairie took a crap on your desk.

All in all, the return from a good vacation is very hard on the spirit.  You are getting a little glimpse of what you hope is your future, when you eventually get to that golden time called, dare I say… Retirement.  Then you are thrust back into the real life of work, deadlines, expenses, problems, solutions, etc…

So…  once again at work, what do we start doing with our free time?  Planning for the next vacation, and where we will go on that one.  Always looking for someplace new and exciting, or… as in my case… someplace that has lots to see and little to do with other people short of ordering food, talking or otherwise spending time with my wife, playing with the dogs or walking where there are few other people.

Man… I hope my lotto number come up soon…  Retirement is still too far away.

Blog appearance…

I have decided to revert the blog back to a simpler appearance.  While I liked the “Old West” feel of the old theme, it was apparent that this was slowing things down a bit.

So…  in an effort to make the site more appealing to those that may find it… I have opted for simplicity over beauty.


Crank??? Really?

A while  back the wife and I watched a movie called  Crank.  This was not really something that I was looking forward to, but to make the wife happy, I relented.  I knew she had a thing for Jason Statham, and I really think that this is the only reason she wanted to see it.

Well… in the end of that movie, for those of you who did not see it, you see the Hero of the movie fall from a helocopter and plunge about a thousands feet to the street in the middle of the town.  The last scene is him hitting the ground and then one last blink before it fades to black.

First off, lets JUST look at the physics behind this.  Any person, no matter how tough or strong, that falls from that high, is going to be nothing more that a puddle of bloody goo when it hits the street.  The only cleanup you are going to need to worry about is that which requires a mop and a shop-vac.

Now there is a new movie coming out called “Crank: High Voltage”.  Staring Jason as the same “Chev Chelios” character.  Only this time, it appears that some folks come acros his body, revive him and, so the previews appear to be saying, harvest his organs.

OK…  First off…  are we supposed to believe that there is any way that a human body could survive a fall from that height… and, not only that, be in good enough condition to be harvested for anything more than compost.

In the previews that we see in the theaters we not only see that he is alive, but almost unscathed.  But this time he is trying to keep himself alive after the people that are harvesting his “parts” have taken his heart and replaced it with a artificial one, which happens to look like a K-Mart brand Jarvik heart.

The plot, this time, is that he has a dying battery for his artificial heart and he must run around town, through various weak plots and exploits, to locate his own heart and get it to a doctor so that he can have it placed back in his own body.  All the while he needs to keep recharging his battery.

My only thought as I sat in the theaters and watched this proview was that it is sad that this is the best that Hollywood can come up with for entertainment.  I cannot even see that this would be a big draw for the most die-hard Statham fan.  This appears to be one of those movies that the writers were either playing rock, paper, scissors or based the story on a poorly played game of craps.

Strangely enough, Naty has admitted that she will not be watching this movie.  Even thought Jason is in it, she has desided that this one is just a little too dumb even to watch just for him.

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