Saturday, December 30, 2006

Stop By And Say "Hi!"

A blogging buddy of mine has re-started his long-dormant blog! Stop by bardhol's blog and say "Hi!"

Fun awaits you there...

Friday, December 29, 2006

The Green Bean Thing

Remember that Seinfeld episode where Kramer found the old Merv Griffin Show set in a dumpster? He hauled it back to his apartment and reconstructed it. The next logical step was then to conduct a twenty-four-hour-a-day talk show from his living room.

It finally reached a point where Newman was sitting there prattling on about how he uses the store brand of green beans and he could hardly tell the difference.

Sometimes blogging feels like that.

I like the give-and-take with my fellow bloggers and sometimes I even have something to write about. But other times, it's that green bean thing.

"Well, this is an all-time low!"

(BTW, I snatched the photo here from, so check it out if you're a fan of the show!)

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Christmas Cookie Mystery

We sent some home-baked Christmas cookies to my brother along with his gifts this year. Scott called to say they had received the package, but...

To find out what happened to the cookies, check the first post in the "comments" section and, perhaps, "you can help solve a mystery!"

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Merry, You Know, Christmas!

Oh by gosh, by golly! It's time for mistletoe and holly!

Man, oh, man! There are a lotta bad vibes floating around this holiday season! I just made my second trip to the sympathy card section of the Hallmark aisle last night. Yep, two friends have had parents die so far this month!

My 3 year old daughter is so keyed up over the coming Christmas morn she's become a mini-Tazmanian Devil! "Wanna go to Wal*Mart and see the Christmas Pups!" has become her mantra. She says this roughly 10 times a minute. Even in her sleep!

The wifey has been pulling all-nighters baking cookies, wrapping presents, etc., etc. And don't get me started on the mood at the office! Wow-weeee!

So here's the deal. I'm going to try to post some pleasant things here as I think of them. I don't know what they'll be, but I figure we could all use a respite from the oh-so-merry demands of this blessed holiday season. You, gentle reader, can chime in as well, either here or on your own blogs.

So watch this space...

Thanks to Aunt Kathy for this one...

Awwww... cute widdle kittens! Click the logo to see 'em!


Hey, here's a big shout-out to my brother, Scott! Without going into detail, I'll just say he's been having some set backs and health issues of Biblical proportions! Last month, while I was grumping about some really trivial crap he told me the following...

It was early in the pre-dawn morning and Scott was getting some breakfast together before heading out to work. He toasted up some bread and spread it liberally with his favorite unpasturized peanut butter. You know, the kind that's really heavy, sticky and oily?

With his toast loaded on a plate, he started to make his way into the living room to watch some TV whilst he noshed on this hearty repast.

Something bumped his elbow. The elbow on the arm of the hand that was holding the toast-laden plate.

The toast fell off the plate and onto his light beige wall-to-wall carpeting.

With indescribable joy in his voice, my brother informed me that the toast landed peanut butter side up! This really made his day!

This whole mild anecdote really helped snap me out of my funk.

"If someone with some real problems can get excited over such a small, yet satisfying event," I thought, "then it's time to re-assess what's been bugging me!"

"It's all good," was Scott's observation.


A random photo from the 'net, but it says it all!

Restoring Rudolph! Click on the photo to read more!

Well, I guess this ends my experiment! Another "upper" was the following e-mail comment from the above-referenced Aunt Kathy:

You blog is terrific, as it your art work! Now, I'm telling you, son, you gotta
do something with all that talent. Tell me what you really wanna be when you
grow up, and don't say LEFT ALONE because that's my mantra!

Well, thanks, KK! I hope there was something here that brought at least a slight grin to everyone's stressed-out faces. Thanks for looking and MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Lame Movie Joke

Try this one if you're married and you like to make your spouse roll his or her's eyes.

Pretend to look through the newspaper movie section for a film to go see.

Then say in a distracted voice, "Oh, look what's playing at the dollar show - SNAKES ON A PLANE!"

Wait a beat and then say, "I wonder what that one's about?"

(Well, I said it was lame!)

Monday, December 18, 2006

An Anniversary, Of Sorts

I’ll spare everyone the gory details of how my wife and I came to live in Fayetteville, NC. (At least for now!) We arrived here in April of 1998 and on May 22,1998, I started a new job at a manufacturing company in the small town of St. Pauls, NC.

This company traced its lineage back some 95 years to a blacksmith shop in Brooklyn, NY. Many employees had been there thirty years or more, and, being a profitable company there were many nice benefits doled in terms of bonuses, 401k payments, sick time, etc.

I was coming on board right on the heels of the plant being sold to a major corporation. The president of 35 years was now out of the picture but the benefits package and old-school employees were still intact.

A couple years into my tenure there, the plant was sold a second time to yet another major corporation. To make a long story short, in my seven years at the plant, there were seven Plant Managers through the revolving door on the corner office. The previously generous employee benefit package was winnowed down to the point where sick time was rescinded and employees were receiving attendance demerits for staying home when ill! (I will mention here that two employees actually dropped dead in-house than dare to take time off to go to the doctor or find out the source of their searing chest pains.)

The thing that really hit me was that my department manager went out for an operation in early 2003 and never came back. Something went terribly wrong and he ended up on permanent disability. I watched as my office went from housing four people down to one, i.e., me. I actually came to work for ten months without a direct supervisor!

One day, the current Plant Manager decided to stuff me into another department. It wasn’t a good fit, but since there really was nothing left of my department, well something had to be done, I suppose.

I could glimpse the grim reaper of downsizing hovering over my shoulder if I turned around quickly enough. In a panic, I started looking for a new job – any job – before this one completely dried up. (I should mention that I hadn’t received an annual employee evaluation for three years. This was surely a bad sign!)

Well, I didn’t outwit the reaper. On March 24, 2005 I was shown the door.

Regrouping with my wife, I suggested maybe this was really a blessing! Surely, I reasoned, this was a sign that it was time to move back north! Our new infant daughter could grow up around friends and family and we could happily shovel snow the rest of our days.

I signed up for unemployment and set about combing the internet for employment in Western New York, Western Pennsylvania or even Michigan where my sister and now-widowed Father were living. I had many nibbles and took several trips “back home” to interview for jobs that I thought were sure winners.

Each trip ultimately ended in disappointment. The curt dismissal letters started to pile up.

I will mention here that throughout this whole ordeal I had been praying. Praying to know God’s will as far as my employment was concerned. For which company back north would I be working? Would it be a repeat of what had come before? Additionally, of course, when, oh, when would I get back to work?

In the mean time, I continued to answer local employment ads as well. The Employment Securities Commission requires that you document a minimum of two job applications per week. My unemployment benefits ran out after six months and I was still scrambling.

I answered a very unassuming ad placed by a local “temp” agency looking for some sort of technical/engineering support.

I went in and filled out the application.

I took a test on basic math and measurement skills.

I got the job.

On December 19, 2005, I started work at a local manufacturing company. It was a “Mom ‘n’ Pop” shop with an eighty year history in the area. The company was now being run by the granddaughter of one of the founders.

On March 23, 2006, nearly a year to the day of being dismissed from my previous job, I was put on the new company’s payroll as a full-time employee.

Yep, my prayers were answered. Only I thought I was praying for a job back north. Turns out I was really praying for a job at a small company that was free of the corporate smoke-and-mirrors, please-the-share-holders-at-all-costs mentality.

Isn’t it funny how sometimes you don’t know what it is you’re praying for? I guess as long as you pray that God’s will be done, you’ll be sure to get results. Just be open as to what those results are.

Friday, December 15, 2006

What's YOUR Story?

Whew! Here is my first "official" post for December and it's already half over! I'm still pretty spent from dredging up that long-winded Frank Zappa story. I had mixed feelings about even posting it in the first place, for a number of reasons.

    It could have been construed as gratuitously self-aggrandizing.

    It could have come off as sounding whiny and self-pitying.

    It could have been long and boring with no real pay-off for the reader.

    It might've sounded like I wanted to demonize my high school buddy

But then I remembered: THIS IS A BLOG! The above points are practically prerequisites for any post!

But enough about me!

I have a challenge for you, my blogging buddies. Post your own similar stories! Have you had any "brushes with greatness?" I'll bet they're a lot more common than we might suspect!

Did you meet Bob Balaban at an IHOP? Does your cousin deliver laundry to Elena Verdugo's chiropractor? Did you once see John Lithgow drop his ice cream cone? Is Andy Devine your godfather? Did you once see Mitch Miller at a hotel swimming pool? Were you ever flipped off by Yoko Ono?

Let's hear it! Post either the story or a link to the story in the "comments" section here.