Bless this Blog.

Thoughts, stories, ideas, recipes, cheers, and more... What else did you think you would get for a $1 tip?

For those of you looking for something on the more sophisticated side you have my apologies. This blog unfortunately mirrors the author (yours truly.) Some of the humor is not for everyone but I liked it and it's my blog so there! My patrons sometimes ask me where I come up with some of this stuff. I am glad to tell them my mind is a lot like Canada. It is sometimes a bit cold, there are a few dark corners, some of it down right confusing and even a bit dirty but there is also a lot of neat stuff up there. So I hope you all enjoy this blog! ... Cheers!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Never Hungover... Challenge Accepted!

I was recently contacted by the people at "Never Hungover" and asked to demo their product. As I have stated before and remain to be not proud enough to ever not accept free swag. This project of writing this blog can be at times completely thankless. I never have nor will pull any sort of paycheck from this site. Hell, even Google's AdSense turned me down because of my content. I have to admit I find that one funny, last I checked you can google just about anything! But I guess my humor is where they draw the line. Although I do get a few nice comments, the majority of them are a bit more derogatory. Calling me immature, sophomoric or just nothing more than a perverted booze jockey. I can't really refute any of those. Even a few that are just filled with complete disdain for being of this earth. I chalk it up to misplaced love... So when the people of "Never Hungover" wanted to send me a few packages of their product my answer was simple. Challenge ACCEPTED!

First order of business was to round up the troops. I opted for a small group of 5 friends that have a taste for cocktails. Second was location, location, location. We started our evening with dinner at a Hibachi grill joint complete with flipping knives and sake bombs. Then it was off to see my buddy Jay at his bar Spread in the Old Port Section of Portland, Maine.

For those of you that have never been to the Old Port in Maine, I usually equate it to my Attic. It's a little dark, a little dirty, a bit chilly and tough to get to. However when you do get up here and look around you notice there is a lot of neat stuff up here. What most people don't know is that Portland, Maine boasts one of the largest populations of bars and restaurants in a concentrated area in all the United States. I commonly tell visitors to the state that they could spend an entire year going out to eat for 3 meals a day at a different place and get a great meal for every sitting at a price that won't break your bank account. It almost makes the 2 months of summer well worth it to live here.

Spread is a great spot to start off your night with a great martini. Cool atmosphere, great drinks and interesting tapas menu. I looked it up online and I thought I was being redirected to a porn site.  After a bite to eat, all of us popped our first Never Hungover. Game on!

We traveled the cobblestone streets hitting about 8 different bars. Keeping in mind the old saying "Beer before liquor, never sicker. Liquor before beer, you're in the clear." We intentionally went against this golden rule with the only proviso being that every 4 drinks/ shots we all shot a Never Hungover. No water or conventional hangover remedies allowed on this could be suicide mission.

The bottle itself is a bit cumbersome if carrying more than one. Especially if you are a dude or do not carry a purse. My suggestion being that they switch to a foil type pouch. making it easier to carry more than one. Also keep in mind that this product DOES NOT deter you from getting completely loose your pants drunk. However it can take away some of the drunk feeling. DO NOT try to drive after a couple of drinks because you feel like you can take still take on the world and want to show all your friends who has the fuzzy nuts and doesn't drink like a little girl. A quick field set of roadside Olympics aka field sobriety test will prove otherwise. Even worse is the feeling of cuffs and not the fuzzy kind will be extremely sobering. So have a DD and maybe a voice of reason.

Round 1: This consisted of a couple Sake Bombs with dinner and a couple tasty martini's at Spread. Be sure to check out the ginger infused bourbon and Siracha cocktail. Like I said before I ended the night good an loaded so some of the details here may be a bit hazy. So drink names might be one of those forgotten details however ask for the drink by those little details and Jay will surely set you straight. finishing our time at Spread with a shot of sake. Banzai!

Round 2: This round started with the cold night air on the Portland waterfront that can be quite sobering in and of itself. We made our way to the alley and all slugged down another Never Hungover. Not a bad taste at all. Sort of a orange Tang type flavor to it. If it's good enough for the astronauts it is surely good enough for me. We checked out a few more bars here 51 Wharf, Fore Play and Pearl nightclub. One of the cool things about the Old Port is that there are rarely cover charges. So it makes my ADD charged bar hopping all that more easy. A shot of Patrone Silver with a Bud Light back is sort of like polishing chrome with a dirty rag however it was doing the trick. Tequila makes me an amazing dancer and daddy was starting to get happy feet! Follow this with another shot and another Bud Light and round 2 is now over.

 Round 3: We hit the street once again and this time our choice in bars where the Chameleon, Old Port Tavern and Gritty's. This is were things normally get a bit dicey. Depending on the type of drunk you are your colors start to show. Anger issues, sad drunks begin getting that familiar lump in their throat and drunk texting begins in hopes of a post last call booty call. I myself am a goofy drunk and I'm feeling happy.

Round 4: This is the final round. Money is running out. We are all old and usually can't stay awake all night like we use to. Like my Pops always says "All my crazy friends ain't so crazy no more." Due to budgetary confines we have now switched from Patrone Silver to Cuervo Gold Tequila and I can smell the heartburn. We all say a cheer "Here's to you. Here's to me. The best of friends we will always be. But if by chance we disagree. Screw you and here's to me!" With that we all suck down our final Never Hungover. A few parting beers, and a couple slices of pizza from Bill's Pizza. (Side note: Only eat this pizza when you are hammered. Every time I have been intoxicated and eaten this pizza it is the greatest pizza ever. However when I was a bartender in the Old Port I tried having a couple slices on the way out of work and completely sober. In the words of Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, "Big mistake! Huge!") We are now done for the night. All feeling like we had our fill. 

The next morning: Fearing the worst I opened my eyes slowly. My first thought is what have I done and how much is it going to hurt? To my surprise Never Hungover was no joke! No Montezuma revenge, no sour stomach or screaming headache. No need for the hair of the dog or other crazy hangover remedy for this soldier. I felt fine. Admittedly I went into this challenge skeptical at best. With all the other stuff out there that is being debunked. Never Hungover really held up it's end of the bargain. Yes I realize I sound like a info-mercial for Never Hungover however I didn't even wake up next to a woman that looked like a Werewolf! 

Bottom line: Never Hungover really works! There is a lot of good science that went into this that I really don't understand. There is a lot of B Vitamins in here and I know that works to offset the effects that toxins brought about by reckless drinking brings on.

All I and you need to know is that there is stuff in here to keep you feeling like freeze dried dog shit the morning after. What we did was completely irresponsible but it was for science. So please don't intentionally do what we did. But if you do see a big night of bad decisions and possible regret coming at you like a train through a tunnel in the middle of the night, pick up a few of these little bottles. They can be found online here or at any GNC store. Trust me you will be happy you did!


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Tense Moments

Whenever I tell someone that I am a bartender, the response I get is usually "bet you have seen some crazy things." Yes, of course I have! Then I am usually asked "what is the craziest thing you have ever seen?" There are far to many of crazy things for me to count really. I mean how does one rank the things I have seen in order of crazy to tame I am not sure. But keeping in mind why I created this site ever to begin with is to share some of these stories with all of you. So here is one of many. Keep in mind I couldn't make this stuff up even if I tried so... Enjoy!

Awhile back I was bar tending at this little sports bar "Casey's" in Methuen, Massachusetts. I started to build a nice little following and was getting offers to bar tend private parties. I was approached one night by a couple asking me if I had any problems with people being naked at a private party? I think my response was along the lines of  "Nope! And you now have my attention." They presented the parties to me as a group of erotic minded friends and they have these parties a couple of times a month. They would pay me $200 to walk in the door and then all tips would be mine as well. They held these parties ether at their home or in  large hotel suite and the whole thing was in their words "nothing to crazy and just some friends that like to get together have a few drinks and some laughs. Count me in!
When I got to the hotel to set up my bar in the hotel suite I was met at the door by the Lynn and John the husband and wife that ran these parties. They were a couple in their mid to late 50's both in good shape and extremely friendly. Not knowing going into the party the theme was "women in lingerie" and Lynn was dressed already in a little lacy number with clear stripper heels to complete her look.

I on the other hand was dressed in a pair of khaki pants and a golf shirt looking like Lewis straight out of
Revenge of the Nerds and the only thing I was missing was a pocket protector. I was told to be dressed neat and clean and I remember asking my Mom what I should wear to work a private function. I even had my shirt tucked in!

Side note: Clear heels remind me of Chris Rock talking about the "Stripper Myth."

Turns out Lynn and John had sugar coated the shin-dig and it was a full on swingers party! Not that this would have made a difference to me except in maybe how I dressed for the event but I digress...

So couples and singles started filtering into this party till the entire suite was filled. Now you have to picture the layout of this modern day Sodom and Gomorrah hotel suite in order to get the full effect of the following events. When you walk into the room from the hallway of the Holiday Inn there is a kitchenette immediately
on your left and a bar type counter this was my post. The kitchenette doubled as my bar for the night directly ahead of was living room type space with 2 bedrooms to your left and one large adjoined bedroom to the right. To the back of the living room was a small couch and a couple of chairs and a sliding door leading to the patio to the very back of the room. Got all that? 

As the night went on the crowd grew to about 40 couples and 10 assorted single men and women. One of the women was a girl named Amy. She had the ability to be the life of the party even if the party was an insurance convention held in a cardboard box. Come to find out down the road a ways Amy also had a greater affinity for cocaine.

Now here is where the party gets fun. A guy named Mike was chatting Amy up and talked her into allowing him to orally satisfy her while she sat in one of the high-back chairs to the rear of the hotel suite. Amy dressed in a little baby doll piece of lingerie and little more sat back in the chair and threw her legs over each of the arm rests letting Mike go to work.

Amy thoroughly enjoying the attention Mike asked if there was anything off limits and Amy gave him the green light. After a good tongue lashing and a couple fingers Mike decided to slip a couple fingers into Amy's "3rd input." This seemed to make Amy quite happy.

Then there was a knock at the door and Lynn doing her hosting duties answered it to allow the new party guests to come in. It was 2 guys one of them was a large guy named Jeff. Lynn being all of 5'5" with her stripper heels on and Jeff at 6'5" made it easy for him to see over and beyond Lynn from the hallway with ease. Before he could even get into the door he spotted Amy in full pleasure mode with Mike kneeling in front of her with a face full of Amy and knuckle deep in her butt. 

"Amy, you whore!" Jeff yelled across the room from the hallway of the Holiday Inn. Amy quickly snapped out of her rapture to see her boyfriend Jeff standing at the door with one of his friends. "Holy crap Jeff!" she stood up and stepped over Mike who was still on his knees with 2 fingers stuck in Amy. In the excitement and stress of the moment Amy tensed up causing a muscle spasm and somehow had Mike locked in her backdoor! As Amy started to charge toward the front door of the suite Mike half dressed on her knees was trailing behind her quite literally like a runaway bull at a rodeo dragging it's rider.

Now picture if you can every couple of steps Amy took she stopped to smack poor Mike who could not get loose from Amy's sphincter grip and then turned back to yell at Jeff who was in the midst of berating Amy! Mike the entire time yelling that he couldn't get loose and was trying. Lynn standing between the two of them and trying to get them all to settle down  before they all got kicked out of the hotel. And Amy questioning what Jeff was doing there to begin with all while trying to fend off Jeff from kicking Mike's half naked and stuck self while John the other host trying to grab at Mike to help him get free!
After about what seemed like 20 minutes but was only 15 seconds Amy did a sort of weird squatting motion and Mike along with a little brown nugget was sent to the floor. As Mike crawled quickly away to the bathroom half to wash up and half to hide from Jeff. Everyone took a moment to stare at the poop on the floor as though time had stopped. 

A moment later they where all back to pointing fingers at each other and calling names. As it turns out neither Jeff nor Amy knew each other would be at this party they just both happened to answer the same invite autonomously of each other not wanting the other to know that they had such carnal desires for fear of what the other might think so early on in their relationship. They went out to the parking lot of the hotel and I guess figured it out and came back to the party ready to present themselves as a couple and enjoy this together. 

When they walked in the door of the hotel the second time Mike had thought they left for good. Mike took one look at Jeff and feared for his life still bruised and scratched on his head from Amy just a half-hour before and ran straight for the balcony of the hotel. We where up on the 3rd floor so I am not sure what the heck he was going to do. At least he had pants on this time. 

All is well that ends well however. Amy and Jeff ended up hooking up with another couple and while they were holed up in a bedroom having fun Mike hit the bricks like his ass was on fire. I made a more drinks and even a shot of tequila for Mike and the hosts. I left that night with about $500 and a front row seat to a great story to be told here today. Yup, that happened! 



Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Cobalt Cocktail Shaker

This past summer this company asked me if I would demo and rate the new Cobalt Cocktail Shaker. Being one to never look a gift horse in the mouth. I took the free swag and gave it a whirl. I realize this could be a slippery slope and seeing as Cobalt did send this to me free of charge I should rant and rave the product. However I am also not one to sell out. Channelling my inner Mark Cuban on Shark Tank, I am going to give it to you you straight.

So I threw together a little shin-dig one Saturday evening with a group of friends that enjoy my creations and a good party. Turned down the lights and turned up the volume and gave the Cobalt Shaker a fair shake!

Pros: The Cobalt Shaker is made of a sturdy stainless steel shell. Much like any other shaker. It seems just a touch heavier the the run of the mill over the counter brand. The differences come in the appearance and design. 

Appearance - The blue seal between the shaker cup and the strainer creates one hell of a seal as you will see below. Although the color and style of the shaker makes for a nice, clean table presentation. 

Design - The jagged inner ring that sits within the stainer when shook correctly gives you tiny shards of ice that float atop your martini. This forms a thin layer over the cocktail and thus keeps the drink colder for longer and maintains the integrity of flavor.

Con's: First of all is the hefty $69 price tag. At this price it is already siding with the elite martini connoisseur.

Next the blue seal ring between the cup and the strainer when ice cold from shaking is tough to separate for a quick cleaning and turn around. More than a few times I had to run the shaker under hot water for a minute in order to reduce the seal lock. If you are a bartender in the weeds this shaker is going to be a tough one to use unless you have multiples.

Lastly, if in a hurry you have to be careful not to cut  or prick yourself on the sharp inner ring meant to cut the ice. Like my Grandfather always use to say: It's not OK if you prick your finger, but even worse if seen fingering your... (you get the picture.)  

Overall: I could easily see the Cobalt Shaker in use at fine dining establishments and home parties. The color and design is clean and would look terrific when presenting especially table side or make you look like a pro with friends. As we in the bar tending game know, sometimes it is all about presentation and 80% of a great martini is a good presentation. The Cobalt Shaker performed well and the thin layer of ice does a nice job of protecting the flavor of the cocktail and not diluting the blend.

If you would like to pick one up here on the Cobalt Shaker website.


If you don't like my opinion, here is a far better looking guy than me giving you his opinion and telling you a bit more about the Cobalt Shaker...

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Words of Wisdom?? Maybe.

Today I was speaking with one of my best friends. We all have those friends in our life that no matter where you are, what you are doing, who you are with and no matter how long it has been since you last spoke you just are always able to just pick up the conversation where you last left off like no time has ever elapsed between the two conversations. I am going to omit her name because she knows who she is and the somewhat delicate nature of the conversation.

Although what I can tell you is that the questions she was asking where not uncommon. When I get my questions for my advice column each month many of the questions seem to revolve around the same issues. The questions about love are countless and I for certain am no expert on the topic. I am like most just a guy with an opinion. Yes, I know what I am suppose to do under normal circumstances with my opinion however in this case I was actually being asked!

The lingering question here revolves around past love and new love. Those that have been hurt before and don't know how to move forward. If they are ready to love again and if they are even worthy of being loved at all? Then how do they know when and if it ever is real?

Thanks in part to my Mothers tough exterior my first inclination is to say "Oh enough with all the feelings! Hike up the Huggies and drive on already!" Especially the part of about being hurt before. Just sounds like nails on a chalkboard to me. Just because someone rejected you doesn't mean you have to hold that up as your shield. It has happened to us all. Getting your feelings hurt sucks. Yes, absolutely but either get over it or sit in the corner and continue to cry about it. Don't wade into the deep end with all the other big kids if you don't have your emotional flotation device properly in place. That shield works both ways and it very well may be protecting you from the possibility of ever being hurt again but it is also keeping you from ever finding happiness as well.

Then in a moment of clarity I came up with this gem that I think is pretty fitting. Love is sort of like a extremely complex mathematical equation written on a whiteboard for you to solve. There is no real time limit here to speak of with the exception of your own life span and in the end it is just you and the board working it out. You go through many scenarios, possible solutions and formulas as you try and solve for x. Notating what works and what doesn't along the way. Erase some, add some others constantly looking for that perfect answer. Sometimes completely clearing away all the work you have done in the past with one failed swoop of your eraser brush to just start over. Short term set back for a long term gain is all. Failures here are just stepping stones to a successful solution. There is no need to jam a square peg in a round hole here. Be selfish in arriving at the 100% correct answer. Others may not approve of your process but that is why it is YOUR process. Finally with hard work, perseverance, countless frustrations, anxiety and effort we arrive at the answer.



Monday, March 3, 2014

Brain Droppings

I commonly am asked to describe this blog. The question of what is your blog about, used to be an easy question to answer however over time the blog has taken many twists and turns. I remember a time where I would only write about different occasions and times of the year and the perfect cocktail to accompany said holiday, special occasion or season. Then I would end everyone of them with a half naked woman... OK that really hasn't changed. Nor will it.

Although as time has gone on this is really a place for what I call my own little "brain droppings." A series of rants, questions, diatribes and just plain silliness my Pops always calls it "general hoochey fatchey" (pronounced Who-chee Fatch-ee.) I have no idea where that term came from however if I had to guess probably my Grandmother who was well known to cheat at Scrabble and make up her own words or use "Romanian words."

So the past few months have been busy times and since I haven't had much time to write lately I had taken to just jotting notes of these brain droppings to be used another day. Well today is that day. without further ado here is a quick peek inside my twisted little brain. I apologize in advance for any lowering of your IQ, night terrors or desire to pierce your skull with a knitting needle as an after effect of reading further.

+ Do they bury people with their braces on?

+ Is it acceptable to contradict someone at a funeral when they say "he is going to a better place" with "Nope! He was an asshole." and dismiss it with "bless his heart" or "just saying is all."

+ If there is alien life and they are so much more advanced why do they always go in through peoples butts? This use to be one of the burning questions in my head till my room mate Jay asked me "why do you? Ah-ha moment! Thanks Jay.

+ Why do we as men always try for the butt? I mean it's like you are at this great club with the finest furniture and soft music and all perfectly tailored to your needs. Everything is warm, soft and comfortable. And for some God unknown reason you think hey this is nice but there is a club around back in the alley with a horribly paved parking lot and two huge bouncers and an intermittently awful smell called club dumpster. You just have to check it out!

+ Why do they call him the Lone Ranger if he always has his Indian buddy Tonto with him?

+ Everyone has their own karaoke song. Mine is Margaritaville, by Jimmy Buffet No real high notes or low notes and a catchy little tune. Actually anything by Jimmy is fine the guy really can't sing but he sure does have a lot of neat little diddy's especially good for drunk people.

+ Not much feels as empty as getting just past the midway point in an argument and realizing you are completely wrong, but you have to keep it up and win just to save face. Sort of like trying to bluff your way out of a crappy poker hand. If someone calls you to the carpet your fucked!

+ I hate going to the movies with anyone else that likes to use the arm rest.

+ When an Atheist goes to court and swears on a Bible, how do you know he telling the truth? And can they be held in contempt the very moment they raise their right hand? Why the right hand? And what if you only have a left hand? Will the right foot do in a pinch? I really want to be a fly on the wall for that trial!

+ Every time I see a commercial with Samuel L. Jackson in it, no matter how many times I have seen the spot. I am always waiting for him to end the commercial with "mother fucker!" Example: Capital One commercial "Whats in your wallet... Mother fucker?!"

+ "Fun size" candy bars are not fun. They should be called pissed off because you have to eat 12 of them in order to be even remotely satisfied then feel shame because you have wrappers all around you."

+ I have never met Sadie Hawkins but I can just imagine she must have been one bold bitch.

+ Does anyone else remember back to the time many years ago when the US was going to use the metric system? Then President Reagan stepped in and reminded us that the convergence to the metric system is hard and the French are assholes. One of those points has nothing to do with the other. I just figured it needed to be said.

+ No one is ashamed of singing anything by Donna Summer in the shower. No one!

+ I use to tell my kids not to take candy from strangers. Then Halloween came and Daddy has a sweet tooth and I turned them into my little candy mules.

+ Where did Noah keep the woodpeckers on the Ark? And what a pain in the ass it must have been to gather and check all those insects.

+ If a librarian points you to the self-help section is that defeating the purpose or is she labeled an enabler?

+ After many marathon evenings of Wii Mario Cart I now swerve at the last moment if I see a banana peel in the street, shake my steering wheel when I hit a large bump and sometimes try to stick my head out of the sun roof while driving.

+ Taking a shower together in theory is romantic and sexy. In reality it is jockeying for hot water with goose bumps and figuring out that is only sexy when you only use soft soap. Lose one bar soap in the wrong place and that special little someone is NOT going to leave your house happy nor feeling clean when she is farting bubbles.

+ Stay married. The dating life is terrifying! Seriously! If your significant other tells you tomorrow he/ she is going to run away with a carny folk just chalk it up to them needing a little space. Don't believe me? Check out a dating website and think about using condoms again. There are far more choices that there was in both categories and then good luck sleeping after that.

+ The other day my 8 year old son asked me "what if we ran over Spider-man?" How the hell am I suppose to answer that? Go ahead and show me the parenting handbook that covers that gem.

+ I know women say "I can't have that it will go right to my hips" However I think those same women should consult a map, because I swear there is truck stop around their ass.

+ Definition of "Ambidextrous": A righty being able to work the mouse with their left hand.

+ Ask me to find my car keys, my wallet, the g-spot on a woman or even pin the tail on the donkey and it will usually take me a few tries to get it. My snooze alarm however... eyes closed, dark room, mid-sleep and one handed. First time, every time!

+ I once heard that if you say "God save me" when you see the darkness coming that you will be saved. If this is true I think I figured out my next tattoo because I imagine at a time like that it would be easy to forget things.

+ If ever asked "What the hell were you thinking?" Don't answer it's a trap! And in the case the person you are asking is the opposite sex. Trust me it is NEVER what you are thinking and they are NEVER going to get it right. EVER!

+ There is no right way to fold a fitted sheet with the exception of having someone else do it.

+ We should all have an emergency contact. Part of that duty is completely deleting our browser history, burning our porn collection and getting rid of anything else that could be constituted as weird. The last thing I want my Mom to find while she is cleaning out my house after I die is... well let's just hope Jay or Shawn get there before anyone else.

+ I hate that I can remember almost every word from every  top 40 song from the past 20+ years but ask me to recall 10 mathematical formulas, how to convert Fahrenheit into Celsius or what percentage of my bill is the right amount to tip and I am immediately looking to find an app on my smart phone for it.

+ Yes, we know, real women have curves, so do men and I like beer.

+ Funiest things I heard this month:
- "It's time to hunker down and embrace the suck."
- "Listen here! I'm the one fucking this cat. All you have to do is hold its tail!"
That's all I have for now till the next dumping of brain matter.


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

5 Stages...

From what I am told there are 5 stages to loss and grief. Today at 3:16 pm my now ex-wife was granted a divorce from me. The same way we stood before an official and stated we would love, honor and cherish each other for better or worse, rich or poor, sickness and health till death do us part. Today we did the polar opposite. Sort of like untying a really big knot.
I realize that today I am suppose to go out to my car and write all over the windows in grease paint "Just Divorced" and giggle every time someone honks at me. Heaven only knows how long in the making this has been. She separated from me years ago if not just physically but mentally. We had 3 beautiful children together (2 daughters and a son.) My son essentially took my place between her arms. He's a looker and to him I never had a chance. I can't hold him responsible though it is far from his fault.

She and I both have blood on our hands. Again I know I'm suppose to be celebrating this day, but to me it's tragic. Make matters worse I had to be in my office all day and couldn't break free to be there in person. A sign of the times it was done with me in the courtroom by phone. My divorce proceeding was the equivalent of a business conference call. No one on her end had even a note of sadness in their voice. Her lawyer called at one point addressed me as "My friend." I made certain to correct him on that point. "I am not your friend. Feel free to address me by my proper name. If you were my friend you wouldn't be on the side labeled Complainant. All my friends are on the side of Defendant or both." So here I sit in my office wondering what comes next. with 3 days till Valentines day is there such a thing as true love? I find it hard to look my parents married 41 years and Grandparents 80 some odd years and in the eye  and tell them I believe in forever.

She and I use to say words like "always" and forever as if Luther Vandross himself where in the room. Countless nights planning years for when we would be old and grey and how it will be so fun watching our little ones grow up together. I remember when we use to have a big fight like all newlyweds do in the first couple years and I would try to go sleep in a small chair we had in our apartment. Her unwillingness to sleep alone and stubborn nature to see the fight through and go to bed with understanding is something I respected. As she came down from the bedroom and sat on top of me till we talked it out. Years of hard work and coming to understandings gone... 

So here they are the 5 Stages of Loss and Grief

1. Denial and Isolation - That feeling is one of numbness and disbelief. How can this be happening, the one person that swore it would be forever. And that feeling. Oh that cold feeling of knowing you're alone. The room could be 108 degrees and still there would be a chill in the air. Isolation is just realizing that the only one I have to rely on now is me. Time for a glass of bourbon.

2. Anger - I'm not that angry of a man in general. However I am imagining this stage involves A LOT of curse words and lots of bourbon among other shots. Might be a good idea to let a few good friends (not her jackass lawyer) know they should have their phone and bail money on standby. Every fiber of my being wants to shout expletives in her general direction. I feel a bit like the late comedian Sam Kinneson just screaming into the wind.  

3. Bargaining - I have been here already. Even to pretty much the bitter end the thoughts of failure covering me like a blanket. I was still asking her to come back to the bargaining table. To do the counseling and to just sit and figure it out. That was a lost cause in retrospect. She was already gone. Now bargaining sounds more like "if I throw a stick will you go away?" Time for another bourbon.  
4. Depression - Here I sit. I've seen happy before and this is not it. Oh crap! I'm almost out of bourbon.

5. Acceptance - I am now on the other side. I commonly tell my kids. I've never lost at anything. I simply ran out of time. What is done is done and now it's up to me to pick up the pieces and show them just how strong Dad can be. The bottle of bourbon is now down to the last drop.

Time to hike up the Huggies and drive on... And get a fresh bottle of bourbon. My future is about to get interesting.


Friday, February 7, 2014

Stuff All Men Should Know

Under normal circumstances this blog would be filled with posts filled with hope, love, prospering, stories of joy and triumph. Deep emotional tales of days gone by and theories of God and nature. It would grant you wisdom, well being and amnesty of all that is wrong in the world today. This blog would cradle you in the soft bosom of truth and set you safely on the soft landing that is enlightenment. That my friends was complete bullshit and if you have read this blog before you would know it is nothing more than brain-droppings from a man-child with an IQ just high enough to get a real job and avoid receiving crayons and coloring books every birthday. My wisdom goes barely beyond not giggling when I typed the word "bosom" just a few sentences ago.

Although this column tends to have a slant towards the sarcastic, today I will remain more on the serious note. Today we will talk about boys over the age of 25 posing as men. However just scratch the surface and you will see it is all just a clever facade. That is why today I will make yet another clever list of all the fundamental things a boy should know how to do before he is declared a man. Picture this list as sort of an Eagle Scout badge of sorts.

Drink like a Man - This has a double meaning. First going out to get jack-hammered drunk is bush league and generally not a good look. leave that play to the amateurs. Know when to say when. A great plan for a night out can be easily ruined when you tell the other party that you will be there as soon as you find your bus pass because you lost your licence due to a DUI. Second is what you drink. Keep it simple. Ordering should be either 1 or 2 ingredients max ie: gin & tonic, Rum & Coke, Bud. Or a single name Jack, Jim, Johnnie. If you come to the bar and order anything over a few syllables and it's not for a lady feel free to leave your "Man Card" as part of the tip.

Know how to choose and enjoy a good cigar - This is a fine art and no cigarettes are not the same. Go to any poker game (another important skill see below.) When the cigars start coming out with the OK to smoke in the house, don't be that guy who asks if it's OK to light up your Marlboro Red. Cigarette smoke is disgusting! Thus the reason no one ever celebrates or has celebrated anything with a cigarette. "It's a boy! Here's a Camel unfiltered..." No. A good cigar takes time and is never a rushed smoke. Also the smoke is not to be inhaled. Take in the flavor and then just let it go. Here is more stogie knowledge.

Know how to dress it up - There a few ways to put lipstick on a pig. With a few simple rules it doesn't have to break your bank in order to shine like a new penny when the occasion calls for it.
+ The Matching game: The color of your belt, shoes and socks should all match. If you plan to wear black shoes make sure your belt and socks are black as well. Black shoes with white gym socks makes you look like Cliff Clavin the jackass mailman from the long running show Cheers. Not a good look.

+ Tuck it in and zip it up: Tuck your shirt in and zip up your fly. Unless you're planning on selling hot dogs at a hobo meet and greet it just gives you a neat appearance. Take it one step further by arranging your "gig line" this is a military term for aligning your shirt, belt buckle and fly.

+ Keep it simple: If you suffer from the Italian disease "Dafundzalo" (the funds are low) There is no need to panic just keep it simple. A plain white shirt, a pair of black dress shoes (not Sketchers type or Doc Martins,) a black belt and socks, a simple tie and a navy blue blazer can all be found at your local Target.

+ Tie one on: There are occasions that call for a tie. No matter how much of a slouch you are in your daily life, showing up to a wedding, funeral or a important job interview without a tie is just poor form. Here is a simple step by step to tying a double Windsor knot and make you look like the worldly gent you really are.

Tell a decent joke - There are a million of rib-ticklers out there. A man always has a few go-to jokes to lighten any mood. You don't need to have a million of them unless you are planning on being the Henny Youngman of your office/ circle of friends. Some easy things to remember is keep it under a minute or you lose your audience, memorize the joke so no one has to listen to you desperately remember the punchline and know your audience so not to offend. Here is a link to jokes for every occasion.

Slow dance - Just being able to dance in general is a great skill to have. If you are looking for tips on how to shake your ass just watch the movie "Hitch." However the best way to sweep that special someone off their feet starts with a simple box step and and before you know it you will be adding a twirl here a dip there. No need to dance like Fred Astaire. Just be able to sway gently in the kitchen and the rest is gravy.

Understand basic car repair - Nothing too crazy here. There is no need to be a certified auto mechanic unless that is your thing. The following are just a few things you should know how to do. Change a tire, change your oil, check your fluids, and do a basic tune-up.

Be able to talk sports - I run into guys all the time that know a lot about sports. I think I am pretty well versed and can chat about a variety of sports but some guys take it to a whole other level with stats and fantasy leagues. All that is just a bit much for me. Have a basic understanding for the rules of the 4 major sports; baseball, basketball, football, hockey and toss in the Olympics if it is in session. I'm a pretty basic guy so the best way to keep in the know is watch Sports Center and if you want to get a little more a show like Pardon the Interruption (PTI) will get you a little deeper than the surface.

Know how to carve meat - Weather its a Thanksgiving turkey, Christmas Ham, or a Sunday steak have the knowledge and ability to wield a knife like a pro, instead of making it all look like road kill. Just look at any painting of the holidays where there is a big meal. Who is at the head of the table knife in hand? Dad! Here are a few helpful meat carving tips.

Give the perfect kiss - Don't leave that special someone looking like they just got a tongue lashing from a St. Bernard. When giving the perfect kiss just remember that a little goes a long way. Now I know you're all excited. This is the moment you have been waiting for! First of all don't push. Let her lean in when the time is right. The last thing you want is for her to cry rape after a simple goodnight smooch. Now again not to much pressure. Start slow for the initial peck and let it percolate. If she wants more she will keep coming. If not deep breath and pump your brakes. Let your breathing go back to normal and pray to God it happens again. Then when it is all said and done, say thank you for Christ sake!

Have a firm handshake - It is extremely tough to be taken seriously if you are handing people a "dead fish" handshake. A good one should be firm, not over-powering and last about a full second. Anything more and it just gets awkward. Forget the Clinton two handed grip unless you plan to run for office or hoping to catch a blowie in the Oval Office. (Sorry I couldn't resist.) The handshake can be a bit of an art form as anyone who has ever watched the NBA knows. No need for all that mess. The old-school method still works. So just keep it real as the kids say and look whoever it is in the eye and leave the fist bump for the second date.

Speak using proper grammar - Funny story here. My dear sweet Mother upon meeting my Father at a college dance one fateful night in Philadelphia thought he looked like a prize pig at the county fair. However once Pops opened his mouth to say something eloquent what came out as described by Mom is something that sounded like he was a voice double for Sylvester Stallone in the movie "Rocky." You see Mom was studying to be a speech pathologist and Pops heavy Philadelphia cheese-steak slang was the equivalent of nails on a chalkboard. She continued to date him because Mom was a stone cold playa at the time and Pops in her estimation had some good looking friends and figured she might be able to have one of them break Bro Code for her, but eventually Pops won her heart and the rest was history. The moral to this story is that if Pops wasn't so damn smooth and had less game than Parker Brothers his vocal inequities would have driven that little lady into the arms of another. Speaking with proper grammar shows a degree of education and sophistication. These are two qualities that people respect and prove to be a valued commodity in life. Unless you have all your hopes and dreams on a budding rap career and even then be a master of your native language.

Be able to build a fire and grill meat over it - CaveMEN where the ones to invent fire. Then they would go out and bring home the bacon. Literally. Since then women may rule the roost and the kitchen but when it's time to fire up the grill two words "daddy's home."
Fire is medicinal and even the worst camping trip can quickly be made tolerable when sitting around a fire. Something about the warm glow and the smell of the burning wood makes even the most stressed sit back and take a deep breath. Now add a nice big steak cooked to perfection with a cold beer to that fire and the result is pure nirvana.

Be able to keep your cool - Yes I am sure you are big, strong, have hair in places other guys don't have yet. (See Manscaping.) You have a big booming voice and the ability to bend a crowbar in half with your bare hands, even reach things on high shelves without standing on your tip-toes. Good for you big fella! Now the real test... When that SOB standing in front of you has you seeing red. What do you do? Throw the hay-maker, make your point then mic drop and bounce or listen to this ass-hat call you every name under the sun all the while decoding what his major malfunction is and solve the problem like a diplomat? There is no real playbook for times like these. The one thing I do know is that real men only throw down as a last possible resort. The last thing you need is to have a warrants because you were drunkenly trying to defend some sweet little ladies honor. Nor do you need to look like a meat-head cussing someone out. Now be a big boy and use your words.

Manscape - Being a man can be pretty hairy. The 70's are exactly where they need to be, in the past. If you look like you have a gigantic caterpillar across your forehead then separate that uni-brow. If you sneeze and look like a party favor it's time to get up in there with those nose trimmers. The days of  Burt Reynolds are long past and it's time to mow that lawn. Now look down... Time to trim the shrubs around the tree. No need to go full Monty and shave it when a simple trim will do. Besides it makes the tree look bigger and let's face it almost all of us could use a little help in that department.

Cry - Let me say this once and for all it's OK for a man to cry. Your not made of stone no matter what yourDick Vermeil on us all. There is a way to do this without blubbering and really let's try to keep down the frequency to a minimum. So as a reference here are a few acceptable times to shed a tear: Birth of your first child or your first boy, death of a close family member or very close friend, winning a world championship, The movie "Rudy" especially when they carry Rudy off the field to the applause of the entire Notre Dame football crowd and father and finally when Ol'Yeller dies.
high school football coach use to tell you. With this being said now don't turn into

Play golf  - The name itself is an acronym for Gentlemen Only Ladies Forbidden, no joke look it up. No one is asking you to be the next Greg Norman, Tiger Woods or Bubba Watson. Just have a set of clubs and know how to swing them with limited accuracy. This day and age lot's of good business deals and networking happens on the golf course. Besides that you can drink beer, smoke cigars and dress as goofy as you want and no one will ever make fun of you. It's a great place to relax and unwind while getting good exercise walking after and cursing at a little white ball.

How to leave a tip - I'm going to make this one real easy. Getting a drink in a crowded bar can be tough. Of all the chuckle-heads on the other side begging to be next in line for a drink what sets you apart. Cold hard cash. This is the only thing that levels the playing field between you and the smoking hot red head in the little black dress. Make your first tip a little bigger than normal if you intend to be at this bar all night. If you go to the bar and hit your tender with a $20 spot and tell him you will be back. I will guarantee preferential treatment all night. After that depending on how many drinks you get each time will determine the tip. 1-3 drinks $1, 4-6 drinks $2, 5-7 drinks $3 and anything more than 8 drinks hit that barkeep with a $5. When tipping your server if it's a place you frequent 25-30% of your total bill, Random meal place 20% and if the waitstaff or the meal sucks it's open season to whatever you wallet tells you. Most Smartphones have tip guides so you can do the math easily and not have to strain your brain.

Treat a woman like a lady - Chivalry is not dead unless you kill it. Show that special lady you have what it takes to be the man of her dreams by doing all the little things. Simple things like open doors. Next time she goes to get in the car open her door and wait for her to get in then shut it for her. If the weather is rough have
a umbrella handy. This shows you think ahead. Use your manners. Say please and thank you. Help her put on her coat. Try not to stare at her tits while she is talking and go one step beyond that and actually listen to what she has to say. Finally pull out her chair and not just as she is about to sit down!

Plan a the date - Just have a plan. I usually like to have a couple ideas to chose from. Sort of like a chose your own adventure book and try to have one idea that is a little unique. Just check the Internet or there are plenty of applications out there for local event calendars. Having a plan shows you have put thought into the time you get to spend with her. Kick things off with a couple flowers and you might even get lucky!

Know how to play poker - Poker is another one of those games that we as men get to bond over. No one says you have to be a card shark in fact not many people will invite you to a game if you are one. Just know the basic rules of  a few of the basic games and what makes a winning hand. Here is a good spot to learn the rules of poker

Know your way around the kitchen - With the invention of the Cooking channel and Food TV there is no
excuse not to be able to put together a decent dinner for 2. When in doubt go with breakfast for dinner. It's fail safe. No need to be the next great chef. Be able to boil water without burning it and toss together 1 or 2 signature dishes that look as good as they taste (something with chicken is always a good bet.) And you will look like a renaissance man for sure.

There you have it. I am sure there are a few skills I have missed. So feel free to add a few of your own. Now go man up and get out there! You are ready to conquer the world or at the very least look good trying! Now here's a pep talk to get you started...