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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!

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...