Reporting, Recording and Relaying - But Always Telling It As I See It

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Class Dismissed

If you are one of the lucky few who purchased a Gillette M3Power Razor between May 1, 2004 and October 31, 2005, and managed to keep the receipt, you are in for a windfall. Turns out, you are entitled to be a member of a class action lawsuit.

Has the razor been shown to leap out of your hand and castrate you? No. Is it bad for women who are nursing, pregnant or may become pregnant? No. Does it cause erections lasting longer than four hours? Unfortunately - no.

The lawsuit contends that Gillette’s claim that the M3P “raises or stimulates hair up and away from the skin” was “false and misleading.”

What the fuck?

What metro-sexual freak was shaving in front of his anti-fog mirror in his waterfall shower and complained about this? Our fathers shaved with rusty butter knives for Christ-sakes and someone is bitching that their razor doesn’t stimulate their whiskers? And, they think they are owed something?

I bought a weed-whacker one time that didn’t work. It was a model that was supposed to feed line when you bumped the head on the ground – as advertised. After about the third week of continued and mounting frustration over the fact that it NEVER fed out line, you know what I did? I took it on the side of the house and beat it to death. I didn’t call for a lawyer; I just needed a garbage bag.

Anyone who has ever bought their child one of those 300 piece toys they saw on TV that takes a degree in particle physics to assemble knows that things do not work as advertised. It’s the American way!

More insane is that Gillette has ponied away $7,500,000 to compensate the members of this class – the pussified victims among us. This does not include the $1.2 million set aside for the lawyers!

But the more I thought (brooded) about this, the more I realized that maybe the entire thing was a big misunderstanding. Maybe the people that bought the M3Power Razor thought they were buying a new mobile device – as the name sure as hell seems to imply. In this case, I would sue too. I mean, my Blackberry can stimulate a lot of things, but the hair on my face is not one of them.

(Visit for all of the exciting details.)

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Thanksgiving Blessing

Tradition holds that the first recognized Thanksgiving in what would become the United States occurred in the fall of 1621. According to, the surviving fifty –three pilgrims and some ninety Indians gathered for three days and partook of a grand feast. Soon thereafter, Indians were slaughtered and subjugated by the thousands. RSVP to your dinner invitations wisely.

When I was in grade school, we always celebrated Thanksgiving with copious artwork usually involving construction paper, scissors with rounded points and glue. But mostly, we were supposed to be “thankful.” The pilgrims, we were told, celebrated Thanksgiving because they were grateful for a bountiful harvest. I’m thinking they were thankful to be alive and that the Indians they had pillaged during their first winter were not using their women as a pre-cursor schematic to the Thai sex trade.

But in order to uphold that great American tradition (no, not being a victim and looking for a handout) of Thanksgiving, here is my brief list of what I am thankful for this season:

1. John McCain. Without him, the world would never have been deluged with the Palin’s. But without them, Brandy would still be on Dancing with the Stars. (I never tire of Sarah say, “flippin’” and “getcha.”)

2. Jersey Shore, Swamp People and any other reality show that stars English speaking people but still requires subtitles.

3. Elections - because we now have a whole new group of incompetents to castrate.

4. The Chilean Miners for their faith and strength. Had that been me, I would have been having a miner buffet while carving passages from the book of Revelation into my chest.

As you sit down to your turkey this Thursday and before you fall asleep on the couch, I hope you remember the things that are blessings in your life. Yeah, sometimes it really sucks – but mostly it doesn’t. If you can get up to go to the bathroom without having to take your M4 with you, or if you are spending the day with even one person in whose life you make a difference, you are fortunate my friend. Hope it is safe, healthy and happy.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Dying Man Walking

There is an old man I have become friendly with who talks about death all the time. He speaks of it like the weather, but more certain and assured. He neither dreads it nor worries about it. He is eighty-six and dying of lung cancer. A fact he shares often.

I speak to him at the gym. He is there every morning, walking around the track and doing breathing exercises which he says helps. In his beige dress pants and flannel shirt he moves slowly around the ellipse of the track that outlines the basketball courts below. As he walks, he raises his hands over his head, and then thrusts them backwards. When he is finished, he sits on a couch outside of the weight room. It is here he holds court.

Gaining an audience is difficult. Everyone stops to say hello. If someone is speaking to him when I am walking toward the locker room, I always hope he is alone as I am leaving.

He doesn’t always speak about death. Sometimes he tells me about his grandson in Houston. Yesterday he told me about the time he told the Army to shove their pension after they wanted to cut the benefits of an amputee. “I told them to stick it,” he said. He said all of his Army records were burned in a fire in Saint Louis in 1973.

He also tells me that life goes fast and that most things we spend our time worrying about don’t matter all that much.

“This thing here,” he says as he points at his ribs under his right arm, the cancer, “it’s not bothering me too much today. So, it’s a good day.” He is eighty-six and dying, and he is having a good day. “Besides," he continues, then breaks away to say hello to another passer-by, “I’m going to a better place.”

What I want to tell him as I fish my car keys from my jacket is that I worry about the day he is not there, sitting on the couch as the morning sun casts its diagonal light on the tile floor around him. I will worry if he is alright or in the hospital. I will wonder if he is dead - if he went to his better place.

What I want to tell him is that the girls at the desk who check us in love him. I want to tell him that my wife’s boss talks about him too. So do the guys in the locker room. I want to tell him that secretly, we all know he is stronger than the lot of us. I want to tell him that the one day when I was complaining about my upcoming commute and work and he told me not to worry? Well, that day I didn’t.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

An Exercise in Exorcism

Bishop Paprocki, in a New York Times story about the growing requests for exorcisms, says that signs of possession by the devil include: speaking in a language a person has never learned, extraordinary shows of strength, a sudden aversion to spiritual things, severe sleeplessness, lack of appetite, cutting, scratching and biting of the skin.

Dave Meyer, blogger-hack from Pittsburgh, was quoted as saying, “I think we are going to need more priests.”


As a lapsed Catholic, I often enjoy reading about, and disagreeing with, the edicts that trickle out of the Vatican. For instance, I am against the idea of protecting pedophiles.

However, I am a huge fan of bringing back the Rite of Exorcism, and would go to Church every Sunday if they would perform one in lieu of the Sign of Peace. And apparently, this may happen sooner than later. The “closed-door” conference (priests and closed-doors – frightening) was held due to the uptick in requests for exorcisms. According to the NYT story, Father Vega believes that the influx of “Hispanic and African Catholics into the United States could cause rising demand for exorcisms since people from those cultures are more attuned to the experience of the supernatural.”

That’s a curious position, but good news for me, a fourth generation American white guy. Now I can safely chalk up sleeplessness and biting my skin to regular old anxiety and depression – both easily treated with medication, alcohol and denial .

Bishop Paprocki goes on to say that, “the ordinary work of the devil is temptation.” Ordinary? Does that mean that sometimes the devil isn’t really interested in putting his all-evil ways into his work -and instead, manipulates us earthlings (and specifically the Hispanics and Africans) by simply subjecting us to garden variety temptations like twenty-five cent wing night and Facebook? Neither of which are particularly harmful – both of which can become an addiction.

I will leave possession, exorcism and other such spiritually lofty ideas up to the Ghostbusters in Rome to deal with. But for those of you who hear me say, “Yinz are jagoffs ‘n at,” I assure you I am not speaking a language I have never learned; I’m just a cynical Catholic from Pittsburgh. Anyone for wings?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Cruise Ship Adrift or Luxury Vacaton?

There is a boatload of people adrift in the Pacific Ocean. An engine fire knocked the Carnival Cruise ship Splendor out of commission, ending the seven day Mexican Riviera vacation for thousands. Personally, I can think of no better sabbatical than being adrift on a luxury cruise liner in the Pacific. I have seen people spend twelve dollars an hour for a raft to float around a resort pool. You could be floating around an entire ocean for less.

What I do not get is the supplies that have been helicoptered in: Spam, Pop Tarts and canned crab meat. Just what unruly passengers are hankering for. “Come up to the Lido Deck, the Purser is making Pop Tart Crab Sandwiches!”

You can get fresh Ahi Tuna in Nebraska but they can’t get a flounder fillet to a boat in the middle of the ocean?

I wonder if when the power went out the Captain went around screaming about not opening the refrigerator door. When our power went out a few weeks ago during a storm I guarded our fridge like a Marine at Gitmo. “Do NOT open the refrigerator door!” I commanded, then promptly went into the bathroom and flicked the dead light switch – it was another peeing by sound event.

If I was one of the fortunate ones to be on this ship, my requests in this blessed situation would be simple: Pacifico beer and a fishing rod. You wouldn’t hear from me for weeks. I guess I would ask for oranges also, to prevent scurvy – whatever the hell that is.

I would ask for the Pacifico because it reminds me of a trip many years ago (the same cruise itinerary, incidentally – sans the drifting part) when some friends and I commissioned a one-legged boat captain to take us to this secluded beach in Cabo San Lucas. A Mexican kid materialized out of the rocks and sold us Pacifico – already opened.

Come to think of it, I would take the Spam. Spam, Pacifico, oranges and a fishing rod - all while adrift in the Pacific Ocean. That sure as hell beats a twelve dollar per hour raft.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Bring Back The ED Commercials - A Brief Post-Election Wrap-Up

The headline read, “With midterms over, 2012 campaign begins.” Are you fucking kidding me? I am just starting to settle back into the erectile dysfunction commercials. Of course, it could be said that the pre-election commercials were about someone getting screwed – or being a dick.

Either way, we all woke this morning with a new batch of toys to get excited about, rip out of the packaging, play with for a while and toss aside. Like all toys, we will be bored with them soon enough or want the next best thing.

Depending on which side of the bed you sleep on, yesterday was either a resounding victory or a stupendous defeat. You are either elated or clinically depressed. You are Glenn Beck or Jon Stewart.

Or, you are exhausted of the muck-raking and mud-slinging. Tired of the incessant arguing that makes the kids fighting over a turn on the xBox seem welcome; wilted from the party politics and powerful lobbies.

Politicians love to trumpet their agendas. I don’t want an agenda, they are for meetings. Anyone who has ever attended a meeting knows those agendas inevitably dissolve to off topic conversations and storytelling. What I want is some agreement and some solutions. What I want is some compromise. If both sides get up from the table and each is a little pissed-off, something probably got done – that’s what I want.

Unfortunately, like most Americans, I like new toys too much.