Monday, December 31, 2012

End of the Year Bitchin'

It's the end of the year.

Apparently it is not the end of the world, although with the news this morning that Kanye West and some woman named Kim having a baby, it might still be a possibility. Which brings me to my first thing to bitch about for the end of the year.

Celebrities. Or more accurately...people with no talent who for reasons I cannot fathom, are famous. Most of them are barely literate, ridiculously artificially enhanced and so damn annoying. People, people... come to your senses. Get a life, make a life for yourself. If we all ignore them they will go away... think "Jon & Kate Plus 8."

Politics: Where do we start? After over two years of campaigning, while the country went down the shitter, the election is finally over. The first thing Congress needs to deal with..the Fiscal Cliff. And what are they doing...posturing. Do some damn work, get it done and stop trying to save face in front of the American people. Trust me, it's too late for that.

Violence: Nothing throughout this year can compare with the tragedy at Newtown. We can only hope some progress is finally made in the name of mental health and controlling instruments of mass and easy killing.

Music: For the first time in a bunch of years, there's hope. Ok, so not yet on commercial radio, but there are some real good new bands out there. The grumbling from the past several years is actually starting to create a few changes with radio programming. Now if we can just get rid of the faux celebrity singers from the reality shows, and get some air time for the bands that have worked their asses off for years...then we might just see major improvement. Until then, I will keep the Music blog going and try to showcase as much good stuff as I can find.

Family: Even if they aren't related, family is all that matters at the end of the day, the year or your life. Never take them for granted, never miss a chance to show how you feel, and remember all the little things that make them the best part of your life.

A New Year is ahead, a clean slate. Try not to screw it up.

Happy New Year.


Friday, December 28, 2012

A Passing General and a Parade

Yesterday, a good man and one fine soldier died.

General H. Norman Schwarzkopf has died at the age of 78. Commander of the American led coalition which destroyed the Iraqi forces after their invasion of Kuwait in 1991, Schwarzkopf designed a decisive plan which worked to perfection, and resulted in a low casualty count.

In total, 148 Americans were killed in battle, 145 were killed in non-battle conditions and 467 were wounded. The total casualties were 760...for the entire three weeks of war. The General knew his adversary, Saddam Hussein. He was no match for the West Point graduate and native of New Jersey, I might add.

On June 10, 1991, New York City held a ticker-tape parade for the returning men and women who served in the Gulf War, General Schwarzkopf was among them. I was lucky enough to be living in New York City at the time and spent the day both attending the parade, and buying beers for the soldiers. The pride in their mission was evident, but what struck me the most was the gratitude they had towards the American people.  Gratitude that they, unlike their Vietnam era brothers, were welcomed back as the heroes they were.

We bought t-shirts off the vendors and had them signed by some of the soldiers. The adrenaline racing through their bodies was intense, but it could hardly be close to what they felt like during the war. It was my first ticker-tape parade and the atmosphere was more than electric. It was the best welcome home party you could ever imagine. And it was led by the man who was the reason for it all.

Thank you General. Easy journey.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

They Stuck What Up Where?

Ok, so it's been a while since I did one of those kinds of posts. And this one really, really just made my day.

From Deadspin, the story is "What Did We Get Caught In Our Rectums This Year?" ho ho ho...and you thought that Christmas was over.

It seems that The Sun Sentinel out of Florida, has created a database of the reasons for emergency room visits across the country. And in true Deadspin fashion, they have created a list of visits sorted by "Insertions" and "Orifices." Fun stuff. We can scroll down past the normal accidents like a button or fly in the ear, and begin to wonder about why someone has hot wax, a screwdriver or a knife stuck in their ear.

The nose has a few interesting objects as well: a Crucifix, battery, hair barrette and a dixie cup. But let's skip down to the real nitty gritty. Here are a few items the emergency room workers were telling jokes at the bar about, after their shift ended.

Items stuck in a penis: spoon, plastic zip tie, soda can pop top, piece of timber, forks...plural. WTF?

Vagina: bedpost...someone most have been real lonely, toy microphone stand, piece of basketball shorts, sewing needles???

And the most fun orifice, the rectum: french bread...I guess for making a sandwich after, hand wrench, cigarette lighter, vial of bath salts, drum stick...not specified whether a wooden one or a piece of chicken, various bottles, and artificial Christmas tree branch and a loofa with suction cup and hook atttached.

Whoa. What comes to mind is the line from Bill Murray's character in Stripes, when they recruits are all telling their life stories and he says "I wanna party with you guys." Seriously, a hand wrench up the ass?

Now, I haven't lived the most sheltered life, but this list has just got me flummoxed (I don't think I've ever used that word in a post before, how exciting). Somehow when they talk about heating up your sex life, I didn't think they meant shoving a cigarette lighter up your butt.



Saturday, December 22, 2012

Smiling Again

It is 9 pm Saturday before Christmas. The oven is finally off after another full day of baking. I need to do the filling for a double batch of cookies in the morning, and separate the ten varieties into the individual tins. Later tomorrow, on the way home from the Poconos, I will make three stops and drop some off. I am tired and not nearly as intoxicated as I would have hoped.

Thought I would share a little more holiday cheer since I won't be sharing any cookies with you. There have been a few weird sightings on the roads lately. Last week, the Drum Mamma told me of something she saw up in NW New Jersey, and a few days later I saw basically the same thing going through the Lincoln Tunnel leaving Manhattan. On both occasions we saw cars with lit Menorahs on the roof...fairly large Menorahs, with the correct number of lights on, for the specific night of Chanukkah.

Then there's this. Again, the Drum Mamma caught sight of this guy on an old motorcycle with Santa riding shotgun in the sidecar. Apparently this guy was flying on the backroads with the Drum Mamma hellbent on getting a picture of him. He blew past a cop doing over 60 in a 50 MPH zone and the Drum Mamma saw the cop just laugh. That was when she decided to slow down before the cop stopped smiling.

And last on the list, another great birthday card, this one from "the uncle."  It shows a Mariachi Band and when you open it up, it plays the Mexican Hat Dance. If you know my sense of humor, well, it's just perfect.

So, Christmas cookies are just about done, the holiday is almost here. It's nice to end off the year with something to smile about. Hope you are smiling too.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Just a Smile or Two

In my family, December is filled with birthdays and assorted religious holidays. It's a time of birthday cards, Christmas cards and for the various mixed faith couples, Holiday cards. Before they all end up in the recycle bin, I'd thought I'd share a couple of my favorites.

First up from my brother and sister-in-law. Well from my sister-in-law, my brother definitely had nothing to do with it. Inside says "You Rock." Trust me, my brother would never say anything remotely complimentary like that to me.

Love that card.

The second birthday card is from the drum-mamma. We have a long history of going for the perfect card. And yes, she always succeeds.  The cards tend to be two females, young, old, middle-aged...doing something fun, naughty, fun or naughty.

That's kinda us. She put our names on the card next to who she thinks we are in the picture. Me, in the picture bares an uncanny resemblance to my aunt back in the day. I even showed her a picture of my aunt with the same type of "babushka" on her head. It's the witchy, bitchy thing again

And here is the best Christmas card so far, hands down. It is The.Perfect.Tree.

A few more days of cards to come, can these be topped? News at 11.


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Newtown: Sadly the Song Does Remain the Same

"The silicon chip inside her head
Gets switched to overload
And nobody’s gonna go to school today
She’s gonna make them stay at home
And daddy doesn’t understand it
He always said she was good as gold
And he can see no reasons
'Cause there are no reasons
What reason do you need to be shown?"

On January 29, 1979 a sixteen year old girl in San Diego, took aim at a school playground from her home across the street, and started shooting with the rifle she had been given for her birthday. Two adults were killed, eight children and a police officer were wounded. Why, she was asked.

"I don't like Mondays."

Over thirty years later, we ask the same question, why? It's not likely we will ever know why the chip inside Adam Lanza's head got switched to overload. And while the voices become louder for more stringent gun control, discovering the cause for these increasing mental issues is far more important.

In this age where 1 in 88 children is identified as being under the autistic spectrum, where 5.2 million kids between the ages of 5-17 are diagnosed with ADHD, where so many, so many more have mental problems, diagnosed or not. Something has happened to the younger generations, something is causing the disintegration of the minds of our children.

Maybe sometime before another senseless killing takes place, we can get our legislators to stop adding pork to build bridges to nowhere, and start putting some real money to the multitude of mental health issues affecting this country.

Bob Geldof wrote the song "I Don't Like Mondays" after the 1979 shooting. Sadly, it is still relevant today.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

TaTas: All For A Good Cause

One of the codes I live by, and trust me I don't have a lot of them, is the message "We Can All Do Something." Though it can be used in many areas of life, mostly I think of it in terms of charitable acts. While donating money or volunteering time is not always possible, there are endless ways to help others. You just need to use your creative mind.

Apparently, the strippers of this country are using the gifts that God gave them, no...I'm talking about their brains, and are working their...well yeah, that, for a good cause. Yes, indeed, an Arkansas strip club is offering 2-for-1 lap dances if you bring in a new toy to be donated to charity. The Toys-for-Tatas campaign is in effect for the month of December, and all toys will be given to the Toy-for-Tots program run by the Marine Corps Reserve.

Here's the story.

But don't think these southern girls are the only ones stripping for a cause. A gentlemen's club in Minneapolis offered a similar night of fun and games, as did another one in Florida.

So far I haven't heard of any male groups offering any similar "Let's see what Santa has under the suit" events. Maybe it's time to get their under-stimulated brains thinking about doing some charity work

Ho Ho Ho.


Sunday, December 9, 2012

COOKIES Again: Tis The Season

Right now, I have a lot of Christmas cookies in my freezer. Unfortunately, I believe I have an equal amount in my stomach.

Having spent a large portion of the day yesterday measuring, mixing, rolling, and of course tasting, I have a good head start on the holiday sweets. After last year when I spent nine straight hours baking, and during which time I consumed a bottle of wine and a shitload of cookies, I thought this year I would break up the baking into a couple of days. Double the cookies, double the alcohol. How can that be bad? Don't ever call me a glass half-empty girl.

I still have a lot of baking to do. Five more varieties at least, plus I need to frost or fill some of those that are now in the freezer. After that, it's time to fill the tins. You think baking is a pain, try filling tins for close to a dozen separate friends and family members. Who gets nuts, who doesn't. Who likes these, who likes those. While most are happy with whatever they get, the closer the friend or family member, the pickier they seem to become.

In the end, everyone is happy and I swear next year I will cut down on the cookies...baking them that is, not eating them.

Got milk?


Friday, December 7, 2012

Pearl Harbor: A Generation Defined

September 11, 2001. A day none of us will forget. It was, and is the defining moment of an era. Seventy-one years ago today, another defining moment took place. December 7, 1941. The day Franklin D. Roosevelt termed "a day which will live in infamy." The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Many generations have been born since the events of that day occurred. The passage of time makes it easy to forget just how horrific that day was. On one beautiful morning in Hawaii, 2402 Americans were killed and 1282 were wounded. Four battleships were sunk, including the Arizona, where 1177 men died, many still entombed at the bottom of the harbor.

After 9/11, we started to think of the world in before and after terms. The same was true with the Pearl Harbor attack. Before, the US stood on the sidelines, after...we were at war. Men, boys really, enlisted immediately. My father was one of them. Seventy-one years later so many of that generation of men have been lost, my father is one of them too.

On this anniversary, take a minute to remember those lost on this day, and the thousands who would be lost in the next several years after.

War is hell, and it began seventy-one years ago today.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

So, Who Do You Trust?

The Gallup people, they of the poll business, have published the results of their annual study into what professions are considered to be the most ethical. Well isn't that fun.

So this was the question that was asked:

Please tell me how you would rate the honesty and ethical standards of people in these different fields—very high, high, average, low or very low?

The top three rated professions are: Nurses, Pharmacists and Doctors. Nurses topping the list is no surprise, as they have been at the top for every year but one, since they were included in the list. The only year they came in second was in 2001 when firefighters were in added after 9/11. The interesting thing is the margin by which nurses were considered more ethical than doctors...15%.  Another interesting statistic, engineers and dentists are considered more ethical than cops.

So who's at the bottom of the list? Car salesmen, no surprise there. And right above them...Members of the House of Representatives. Senators rank a few places up on the list, but both rankings give us something to think about. Besides the fact that we think of Congress as a resource-sucking vacuum of do-nothings, we also question their core morality. And we question it a lot. Nurses got a low/very low rating of 3%, Congress... 49%. Scary.

For the entire list of the professions and their rankings, click here

In the big scheme of life, this poll doesn't mean much. It is interesting however, to note that being part of a high profile profession does not really make you all that trustworthy.

I end this with a quote from Senator Jeffrey Pelt in the movie 'The Hunt for Red October."
"Listen, I'm a politician which means I'm a liar and a cheat, and when I'm not kissing babies I'm stealing their lollipops."

Sounds just about right.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

COOKIES...that is all

Another holiday season is here, and while this one will not be quite the merry one within my family, there are still traditions, functions and gatherings needing participation. Since one side of the family does not observe the Christmas holidays and the other no longer exchanges gifts...the best family decision ever made, the most urgent task in my repertoire is the Christmas Cookie baking.

Over the years, I learned to bake with my mother. She was an exceptional baker. Me, I rarely get any complaints, but she was better. As time passed, she baked less and I baked more...a natural road to follow. These days she only bakes one batch of cookies, a fat-free variety for my dad and brother. This year I'm sure it will be a much harder task knowing it will only be my brother eating them.

And so it begins. I look at the calender to see when in the month we will be at the weekend house where the baking assembly line area is so much more user-friendly. Check the supplies to see what needs to be purchased, gather the recipes of the old favorites and look for some new cookie to throw in this year.

That's where I'm at. Last year the cookie marathon ran one day, 9 1/2 hours. Brutal. This year it's going to be broken up over a couple of weekends. All in all, it will be a big mess with vast quantities of alcohol needed for inspiration. In the end, it's all worth it. Everyone gets their own tin, we feast for a few days and enjoy the sugar high for as long as we can.

Another year and another tasty memory.
And a boatload of calories.
Works for me.