Life Begins at WD40

September 28, 2006

Simple things we take for granted like safety pins and q-tips, do you ever stop and think about the wonders of science?  It seems whenever I come up with a good idea for something I find it has already been invented, which creates a kind of black hole in my psyche, I mean …  do I get to sue or am I entitled to some compensation or what?  Shoot, this being creative stuff is hard enough the way it is without being out maneuvered by some big corporation who had the ways,  means and think tanks  to develop it first. 

Take for example a slogan I read on a T-shirt in Key West:   “Liver is Evil   It Must Be Punished.”  I was told the guy that originally came up with that clever line was deprived of recognition and royalties because the phrasing was altered from the original:  “The Liver is Evil  It Must Be Punished.”  Now you might not think that it is such a big deal but imagine this;  thousands of T-shirts are sold annually with your concept printed on them and you don’t receive a single dime, bummer.

I go by a church every day, perhaps several in a single day, in fact… there are more churches in my area than you can shake a collection plate at.  I marvel at the catchy, little phrases on their signs out front.  It used to be the sermon of the week was posted there but now you get cool little quips like; “Seven Days Without Prayer Makes One Weak” or “Free Extreme Makeovers, Inquire Inside”and “Ch_ _ ch What’s Missing?  U R”  It makes me wonder if there is a church going, slogan writing person out there that peddles his little banners through-out the church industry.  (Yes, folks… it is an industry, trust me) Now I know for a fact that these antidotes (Life is Fragile, Handle With Prayer) are freely passed from parish to parish, denomination to denomination because I recognize them from religious messages in other areas.  (It is unthinkable to surmise that these brainteasers are stolen)   So I wonder if there is some infringement going on and have they all just agreed to tolerate it?  If it is a mutual understanding in the religious practicing world that these marquees are for their general use… why can’t they tolerate other things as well?  Especially when they all seem to have different interpretations of a single, mutually shared source, i.e. the Bible?   I think it sends a mixed message…  (Looking for a Sign From God?  Here it is!)

Sometimes these little sayings really do have a poignant message like the one I read the other day which goes; 

Yesterday is history   tomorrow is a mystery   today is a gift   that is why it is called “the present”

I liked that one, but I didn’t see it on a sign at some church…  I read it on an invoice I got from one of my suppliers, people I buy goods from for my business.  It has been on my mind for the past two weeks and the wisdom from that little blurb will no doubt stay with me the rest of my life.  I don’t know who made that one up but it’s message couldn’t be simpler or ring more true.

Like I said, my best ideas always seem to be thought of by someone else and claimed as their own long before I get around to thinking of them.  Still… it doesn’t diminish the validity of the statement. 

I know the squeaky wheel gets the inspirational grease, sometimes we have to just keep grinding those mental gears…   I think, therefore I am…  what I am.

Amen.

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God Needs An Hour With Doctor Phil

July 17, 2006

Okay, I know what you’re thinking…  what does Phil know that God doesn’t?  But before I address that question let me elaborate a little on why God needs an hour with Doctor Phil.

I don’t know how many people out there watch Phil or have read his books but I do know that he is very popular with at least 1/3 of the population in our house.  On the rare occasion that the two of us are home in the late afternoon together, his program is the one of choice by at least 1/2 the people sitting on the couch, and it is usually the predominant half.  I’m not saying that I am a wimp (you are, no doubt) but I just find it easier to go with the flow.  I have surmised that it might have had something to do with what happened to me during pre-birth to persuade me now to be so easily maneuverable  in my relationships though I know have just acquiesced to the alpha male gender bender military complex hex tootsie roll popular opinion poll that men don’t know what they want anyway… or at least we don’t know what is good for us.  Is that clear?

So I come home tired and hungry, a little bit grumpy but otherwise easy to live with…  what I really want to do is put the CD player on random and chill with some Dave Matthews and the like but what I get is Phil giving out this advice that you’d swear YOU HAVE SAID a dozen times before but it now suddenly makes all the sense in the world because PHIL said it and I think… “I need a gig like that.”  Just to sit back and espy with out any fear of contradiction or a challenging of ones credentials must really be hard on the old ego.  I’ll bet he even picks out his own ties.

It amazes me that Phil can hear testimony during the span of say… 17 minutes, and know EXACTLY what the problem with you is and he KNOWS how to fix it!  I’ve also noticed that the other experts on his program always seem to agree with him.  I think it would make for better television if Phil had a guest therapist that might question his summerization or diagnosis.

Phil: ” Robin has a paranoid compulsive disorder.”

Guest therapy person: “No, she’s suffering with an identity crisis.  I’d say that she’s a Winona wanna be.”

Phil:  “You mean as in  ‘Girl Interrupted’ ” ?

Guest therapy person:  “No, as in a shoplifter afraid of being caught.”

Anyway, getting back to why God needs an hour with Dr. Phil.  Phil’s good ol’ boy home spun country charm and dynamic good looks are only preceded by his uncanny ability to be right ALL THE TIME!  There has never been a challenger to Dr. Phil’s ability!  When things go wrong in the world people all most certainly blame God for their woes, or when the world is in such a fix it isn’t Phil’s fault… it’s God’s!  People always say, “God made me this way… that’s why I do what I do.”  Like the fault is with God and not their own.  I NEVER hear ANYONE blame Dr. Phil for their being born black or poor or mentally challenged, or for that matter… being born white or rich or competent enough to pick out their own ties.

So there you have it, God needs an hour with Dr. Phil… if not for any other reason than to prove to the world that Phil’s advice is not God given… or maybe it is.  Perhaps the packaging has just been over looked. 

5 – 5 – 5

July 8, 2006

I know what you’re thinking… 2 posts in one day, how did we get to be so fortunate?  Well, it is a rainy day and there ain’t much on T.V. so…

Whenever things get me down (yeah, it happens to me, too) I like to reflect on all the positive things in life.  I feel it really helps boost the ol’ soul engine, if you get my meaning.  There are many things going on around us that we cannot change or perhaps even influence.  But there is much to be grateful for.  I think we sometimes forget the blessings we receive and fail to recognize because of their simplicity…  in everyday items, like pizza.

Pepperoni and pineapple has got to be one of the greatest taste sensations known to man.  Blend that with a deep dished saucy crust  and you have a blissful  indulgence un-parallelled in the annuals of dining.  I enjoy curling up with my remote, Coke and pizza and watching old black and white movies.  Can’t imagine ever feeling blue during that time, especially if it is a Bogie and Becall flick or a Tracy and Hepburn.  Times were much simplier then, actors had to act…  locations were real and special effects meant scenery whistling by a car window.  Classic movies are a reward unto themselves.  When the pizza executives came up with the idea of three for 15 bucks they definately got my attention.

Ice cream is another food group that does not allow me to be in a bad mood while partaking of its flavor.  I can’t imagine anyone feeling suicidal while eating ice cream, it is that good.  About the only down side to ice cream is choosing which flavor to buy.  I can stand in front of the freezer at the local grocery for what seems eons just to select the one that properly suits my mood.  Not that there is any BAD ice cream (except for coffee, ugh!) but each has its own unique qualities that will best serve my particuliar need.  Most frequently purchased:  Rocky Road, Neopolitan and French Vanilla.  Ice cream on a hot, summer day restores my faith in science.

Popcorn.  I love popcorn.  I didn’t realize how much I loved it until I had to be without it for awhile.  When it returned to me, I proposed.  Popcorn at the theatre is a must.  (I don’t enjoy the movie houses like I used because of unruliness, cell phones and airborne germs but popcorn is a great equalizer that makes me tolerant)  If I have popcorn, twizzlers and malted milk balls even a movie with Jennifer Lopez doesn’t seem half bad, unless I consider the acting.  No, popcorn is a happy food and mood altering.  If during WWI they were hurling popcorn balls instead of hand grenades the armistice would have come months earlier.

One final food that I’ll mention here is corn on the cob.  I don’t think a sit down meal with family, (especially on a holiday)  can be complete without corn on the cob.  Steaming hot with real melted butter (salted to taste, ofcourse) is pure heaven.  Can you picture an argument or any other unpleasantries while hunkering down on fat morsels of juicy yellow nuggets of corn?  No, ofcourse not.  A family gathered around to break bread has got to be one of the most satisfying experiences a person can have, and probably one of the most overlooked.

Oh, there are many other things to lift me from the doldrums that I won’t go into now.  But the key to me has always been the simple things, the ones we sometimes take for granted, like friends and family, a good book or a blazing sunset after a lingering thundercloud.  Rainy days like today aren’t dampening to my spirit, hopefully the rain doesn’t come down too hard upon yours.

2 weeks

July 8, 2006

Maybe it is just me, but I often wonder why certain numbers were attached to the accepted standards of conduct.  For example: 2 weeks notice.  There is no law that I know of that requires an employee to give his boss two weeks notice before leaving a position, but that seems to be the norm in business.  Then again, termination by an employer can be immediate.  Where is the justice in that?  Ofcourse there are things such as severance pay and the collection of benefits earned, but the employee usually must depart on the day notice was given. 

Another standard that comes to mind is the 2 week vacation.  How did this become the accepted reward for a years hard work?  With 52 weeks in the year, 2 weeks vacation isn’t even 5 percent of the year.  Imagine how much better things would be if we could take 10 percent of the year off as vacation time!  With 5 weeks off in a year I think the stress level of the American worker would drop significantly.  That would be on average a weeks vacation every two months!  Something to look forward to at the end of February, April, July, September, and November! That would surely be a boon to the hotel/motel/casino industry and all those related service fields.  I think the economy would rock then and society in general would be happier.  It is a well documented fact that we are over stressed, tired and apathetic towards any positive change in government.  This would solve a lot of that, and even create jobs for the part time work force.

Also, there is two weeks between office visits to the doctor/dentist/therapist.  How is it that our little antibodies are in tune with the 14 day time table we put upon ourselves?  If I have a lower metabolism than the average person, two weeks may not be long enough for me to properly heal and I may die.  14 days might allow my teeth to fall out or grow in crooked.  336 hours may convince me that I am not crazy and no longer need a therapist then be enough time to make me go berserk if I am wrong.  No, to me two weeks is not conducive to sound medical practice.

But finally we come to the biggest puzzle of all in the 2 week cycle and men know what I am talking about.  Understanding why God wanted to split the month right down the middle when it comes to being in good graces with the female gender?  It seems cruel to me, to be going along minding my own business, being generally the same well rounded and happy go lucky individual that I am then wham! I discover that I am a typical male!  Bummer.  You know, if God had wanted to He could have gotten the entire process taken care of in about 15 minutes and saved mankind a lot of headaches.  So ladies, get mad at Him, not us!  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy doting on a woman and being sympathetic as much as the next guy, but these re-occurring conditions of the female body/mind/soul are not our fault! 

So guys, the next time a two week cycle of ANYTHING comes your way, consider what we have discussed:  Notice, take more time, heal and understand…   You are a typical male, bummer.

  

a perfect 10

June 22, 2006

You restore my faith in beauty.

(she stops like I’ve distracted her from something important)  What?

You restore my faith in beauty, I’d lost it for awhile but thanks to you I’ve found it again…

(she looks at me, amused)  Okay, so how did I do that?

Oh I dunno, I guess you just showed up.  The rest took care of itself,  it all kinda happened naturally.

(a sly smile now)  So… what do you intend to do about it?

Good question,  …I could say that I’d be content to observe you from afar…

( puzzled)  Could say?

Yeah, but that would be a lie…

(she laughs) Which part?

All of it… I could never be content observing you anywhere but here, next to me.

(she shakes her hair back from her eyes and looks directly into mine)  You’re  pretty confident, aren’t you?

No, I’m just like you are…

(her head pulls back slightly, like my words jolted her)  Just like me?  How’s that?

I’m afraid of what’s happened here, where it’s leading…

(she nods defiantly) You presume too much.  I’m not sure I like this… (she turns as if to go)

I know, I feel the same way.  It seems real familiar, though, …doesn’t it?

(she relaxes somewhat, looks out from behind the bar at the other patrons milling about… we are surrounded by dozens of pick-up lines but isolated by the moment,  she smiles again)  Maybe… just a little.

So tell me now, stay or go… this place is a cathedral and my soul must confess either way,  …it’s still true. 

(she pretends to be confused) What is?

You restore my faith in beauty.

(she leans in from across our boundary and kisses me tenderly) Stay awhile then… and thank you  (she pulls back seductively)  for saying it so eloquently…

My heart commands my words be true, they come easily where you’re concerned…

(she squeezes my hand… )

#9

June 22, 2006

The world is in a pretty nasty predicament.  We wonder if it can get any worse and then to our dismay it does.  Sometimes we think there is nothing we can do to change things and we are filled with dread, afraid to lay our heads down at night… perhaps worse is the fear of waking tomorrow.  It is so difficult to cope, we appear poised to continue making the same mistakes over again.  WWJD?

Yes, what would John do?  John Lennon, that is. 

It amazes me that the simpliest answers seem to elude us.  John would have protested, loud and long… possibly not leaving his bed for a week, maybe two.  Instant Karma.  I admired him for his stance on issues.  He never claimed to be anything more than ordinary, just working class but he had some powerful views and wasn’t shy about taking them to the public.  How do you suppose he’d be re-acting today?  No doubt he would be the first to tell us that we are heading down the same path we were some 30 odd years ago.  John would claim we hadn’t learnt our lessons, or maybe say we are letting government bureaucracts do our thinking for us.

John and Yoko sent acorns to world leaders, hoping they would be persuaded to nurture and grow life rather than seek to destroy it.  How cool, John believed in peace and thought the world was smart enough to deliver it.  I think we should relive John’s credo in our own day to day lives just to recapture the optimisim he had.  You know, we all shine on.

Now don’t get me wrong, there are many celebs out there lending their voices to worthwhile causes.  Good, sincere people hoping to make a difference and offer hope to those in need.  Likewise John’s efforts were not ‘flavors of the month’ or pet projects… and like it or not, he didn’t require any more status than what he had already achieved.  But as an activist  John’s stature did grow though he downplayed his increased notoriety as an effort to belittle his efforts and sincerity.  John didn’t need any more fame, he wanted the rest of us to get with it.  Give peace a chance wasn’t just a slogan but a call for sanity.

Fear is a strong ally to motivation.  Watch the news, read the paper, check it out on the web.  We are being directed by the powers that be and fear is playing a large part into their tool of manipulation.  Take this brother may it serve you well.

John Lennon stepped out of the public view for a time,  content to watch the wheels go round and round.  Just when he was set to come roaring back into our lives his own life was cut short.  But if he were alive today I don’t think he’d be resting on his laurels.   WWJD?  Just try to imagine. 

7-up

June 11, 2006

Seven seems to be a pretty lucky number for some folks, for others it means very little.  If you’ve done something up to 7 times, that is a pretty big deal, don’t you think?  Hmmm…  let’s examine that…

 Bob Seger had 7 albums out before he nailed the hit, “Night Moves” and went off into super stardom.  Now I’ve always liked Seger, but can you imagine 7 albums with little or no acclaim?  Then boom, a number one and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  On the other hand, the Moody Blues did 7 albums (now called the classic 7) and then did 7 more with several personnel changes in between.  I love the Moodies, but the classic 7 are their best collective efforts, each song blends perfectly into the next like nothing I have ever heard.  Their last of the classic 7 was appropriately titled, “7th Sojourn”.  That era, that visit was a brief one at best.  Bob Dylan’s seventh album, “Blonde On Blonde” signaled a change on the horizon in his musical style.  Pink Floyd had 7 albums that gave them a cult following of sorts, then delivered “Dark Side of the Moon”.  My favorite songwriter, Jesse Winchester spaced 7 years between his sixth and seventh albums.  (Then 11 years passed before the release of his 8th!  Haven’t figured that one out either.)  Even the Beatles 7th album, “Rubber Soul” paved the way for the ultimate rock album “Sgt. Pepper”.  What is it about the number 7?  Is it really lucky?  Or is it all just an amazing coincidence?

Let’s see, there are 7 days in the week, 7 wonders of the ancient world, 7 Dwarfs, 7 deadly sins, Popeye the sailor sailed the 7 seas, there were 7 brides for 7 brothers, there’s “Yeah, I’m the one they call the 7th son”, the Hootchie Cootchie Man was born “on the 7th hour, of the 7th day, on the 7th month, 7 doctors say…” he even had 7 hundred dollars and told you not to mess with him.  I wonder if he would have seemed quite as intimidating if he only had $699.50?  There was the Magnificent 7, the 7 Year Itch, the 7th Calvary, 7 Years in Tibet and the 7th Voyage of Sinbad.  Seven even has religious, mystic and astrological connotations.  Think 7th Heaven. 

December 7th, 1941… a date that will live in infamy.  But did you know that on that date 67 years earlier President Ulysses Grant in his sixth annual message to the House and Senate mentioned educating Japanese youth in America?  He also brought up the benefit of learning the Japanese language.  Talk about foresight.

A rainbow has 7 colors. 

Even as I write this 7th entry I realize it is the 7th day (Saturday) of the week!  And the disco favorite, “Saturday Night Fever” was realeased in ’77!  Yikes!  What is it about the number 7?  If you have any insight on this phenomenon, please let me know!

My uncle, the great inventor, came up with a soft drink that he called five up.  But try as he might the drink never took off.  Some time later he made some improvements and re-named it six up.  Unfortunately, he died shortly thereafter… never realizing how close he came to success… 

cinco de juno

June 6, 2006

oops… missed another holiday.  Mexican Independence Day and Corona beer was last month.  Didn’t really forget because, well… not one I’m interested in.  As a matter of fact, these holidays are becoming a real nuisance to me.  I can understand post office workers needing time off for good behaviour.  (never know when one is on the edge) but do I need a date on the calendar to tell me when to buy flowers for my girl or gifts for my secretary, parents, kids, boss, newspaper boy, etc.?  Don’t get me wrong, I am all for remembering significant days in history.  I just think most of those holidays lose their significance due to merchandising and/or political correctness, which is a real shame.

What did any president of these United States have to do with me buying a television on sale?   Nothing, but there are Presidents Day sales galore.  I wonder if the father of our country, George Washington, would have watched the ‘Sopranos’ or ‘Queer Eye for the Straight Guy?’  I can just imagine Abe Lincoln and his TiVo recording the ‘ “L” Word’ or ‘West Wing’.  (Did the White House have a west wing in 1865?) I think Martin Sheen did play ol’ Honest Abe once, so maybe that counts.

Honestly, I am not a scrooge, I like receiving gifts as much as the next guy.  I don’t need to be reminded I’m another year older, though.  Actually we should be obliged to giving gifts to those around that have put up with us for another year.  “Here ya go, Joe.  It’s my birthday and I knew you’d enjoy this.”  What a turn that would be.  We’d be able to declare how much others mean to us instead of waiting to receive something just because it is “our” day.  I wonder how generous we’d be if that were the tradition of birthday gift giving.  So if you’re about to celebrate your birthday, why not thank ol’ mom and dad with an appropriate, “thanks for my birthday, folks!” and give them a token  for your appreciation of life.  Might just make an impression. 

Ofcourse, 365 days is a long time to go without any sort of a holiday so I’d  nominate the following days to be set aside as worthy of note:

 Groundhog Day… a very funny film with Bill Murray.  Definately worth watching over, and over, and over…

Independence Day… another worthwhile film, if nothing more than for the special effects.

“It’s A Wonderful Life” Day… not because of Christmas but because it is.

Halloween…. the first film is the best in my opinion, but then I enjoyed the Nightmare Before Christmas, too.

Tuesday Afternoon… because of the Moody Blues imortalization ( so it can’t be that bad )and you might have had a lousy Monday so it may be time for a holiday.

And now as I write this it is 6-6-6 instead of cinco de juno, sorry.  It doesn’t make me a son of satan or anything, I just forgot to post it in a timely manner.  I did, though, remember the Alamo.

3 times a lady

May 29, 2006

Love is pretty cool.  I don’t mean the knock down, drag out conflicts that go along with love’s relationship.  The sleepless nights, self doubt and posturing is for the birds.  The whole concept of love is what I’m talking about.  Love is like putting 10 pounds of sugar in a 5 pound bag.  It bulges, erupts and oozes all over the place.  It can be sticky, sweet and cause youth decay.  There really isn’t anything quite like it.  So much has been written about love, is there really anything left to discover?

 Well if you ask me, we fall in love every day.  Each morning is a re-birth of sorts.  We re-acqauint ourselves with everything from the day before and sub-consciously say, “Oh, yeah… I breathe…. the air feels good today.  So good to be alive!  The sun is warm!  I remember now, I love life and all the things from the day before.  (Except for school, that still sucks)  But Emily from fourth period… wonder what she’ll be wearing… ” and so on.  Maybe it doesn’t happen exactly the same way for everyone, but lets face it.  If not for our memories we’d wake up virtually strangers every single day and learn to love the things we loved previously all over again.  So I say again, love is pretty cool.

I pity those who cannot find love in the open places, those who wait to be struck as if by a giant fist.  Love abounds in every thing we do.  It may sound naive, but of all our emotions… love comes the most easily.  We have to learn so many others, and most of those are counter productive to what we naturally want to do as humans, i.e. love and be loved in return.

Love is a lady to me.  She greets me with open arms and always offers a welcome smile.  I imagine myself walking with her hand in hand near a rushing stream.  Autumn leaves fall softly on the un-made bed of earth we tread so lightly upon.  Love laughs with me and I am never alone.  Love cries openly when I despair but seldom condones my self indulgences.  Her ample breast provides a resting place for my head, Love’s steady heartbeat encourages me like wedding drums.  My lady in waiting, Love adorns herself with angels breath and rose petals. 

Thrice I say, love is pretty cool.