Friday, June 27, 2008

Meme: My Memoir in Six Words

Random Chick tagged me with this meme: the task is to write your memoir in six words.

I’ve been tagged for the first time and add to that … this is the first time I’ve been invited to participate in a meme.
Since the majority of my readers are presently family and friends, I should explain what a “meme” is and what it means to be “tagged”.
Being “tagged” is when another blogger mentions me in their blog and provides a link to my blog … just like I have done above with Random Chick’s name. (go ahead and click on it)
A “meme”, (rhyming with theme) as I understand it is a form of Internet survey, quiz or as in this case, a task, passed around from one blogger to another through linking. The linking part is important because it brings new visitors to your blog. The more interesting the quiz, survey or task the more links it will develop as it gets passed along.

So here it goes … “My Memoir in Six Words”

Birth, School, Work, Marriage, Family, Blog

Birth: “Thanks mom” for bringing me into this world by cesarean section. It’s a well-known fact that c-section babies are always “good looking”.

School: I met my wife when we were high school sophomores, and though I have no college education, the sisters of Notre Dame and the Franciscan Fathers filled my brain with enough knowledge to get me to the here and now.

Work: I started working when I was a young teenager and over the years I have yet to discover a way to “not” have to work.

Marriage: Not yet twenty-one but yet we tied the knot … Thirty-six years and counting.

Family: Four years into our marriage the twin girls were born with a third daughter arriving six years later … so, for more than half my life I’ve been blessed with children and now … grandchildren.

Blog: So now, if the married c-sectioned high school graduate working stiff with kids and grandkids suddenly kicks the bucket, will somebody please repost this memoir?

Now I’m supposed to tag six people … but I’m too shy.
Any volunteers?
Okay ... my first (and most likely "only") volunteer ... the awesome b-dog

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Practically the World's Best Husband

“Joe, will you still love me when we’re old and grey?
“Honey, are you serious? You get your hair colored regularly and I’m constantly trimming my ear and nose hairs. Helloooo! We’re already there!”
I just read an article on how to be the best husband in the world.
The author claims to be the greatest husband and offers to share his wisdom by offering me some tips. He says if I follow his guidelines my wife will get the partner she deserves.
I’m not sure if this is a good idea.
I think he’s plotting to steal my wife.
If he’s the “greatest” and she deserves “the best”, where does that leave me?
“Joe, I’m so lucky to have you.”
“Honey, don’t be silly. If you’re so lucky, why hasn’t Ed McMahon come knocking on our door with one of those oversized million dollar checks from Publisher’s Clearing House?”
I guess there are men who need advise on maintaining a long lasting relationship, but it’s not going to happen unless they truly make the effort.
I’m afraid it takes a bit more than following some stranger’s tips.
“Joe, come over here and smooch me.”
“Sure sweetie, pucker up, oh wait, yikes! Were you eating garlic?”
So what’s his advice? I’m sure you can guess. He says you must be sensitive to her feelings, focus on her needs, value her opinion, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. It really sounds like a lot of work for something I feel should come naturally.
“Joe, come and cuddle with me for a while.”
“Okay sweetheart, but if you start snoring before I fall asleep, it’s hello HBO!” I have two pieces of advice of my own to give out about maintaining relationships, having been in one for over 40 years. First and foremost is you have to find the right mate no matter how long or how many tries it takes. The person you’re looking for is the one that’s going to honor the part of the vows that state “for better or worse”. Equally important is that once you’ve found your partner, you realize what you have and know that nothing else would ever do. I’m not saying it’s easy but I am saying it’s how it has to be.
“Joe, why have you stayed with me all these years?”
“Honeybunch, you’re kidding me right? Who the hell else would put up with my crap?”

Thursday, June 19, 2008

PracticallyJoe Unveiled

“Joe, get up now, you know you’re not going back to sleep.”
”Wait! Who said that?”
“Oh, you again, why are you waking me, you know we haven’t had much sleep.”
I know I’m alone in the house, so it had to be “inner-thinner Joe”.
“Inner-thinner Joe” is that person inside of me who runs the whole show.
His real name is just “inner-Joe”, but I nicknamed him “inner-thinner Joe” because I know he’s about 20 pounds lighter than I would like to be.
After all … how else would he fit inside me?
You don’t know this about me. I’m sort of a ventriloquist.
I often talk to myself (or to “inner-Joe") but you wouldn’t know it.
My lips don’t move when “inner-Joe” and I are conversing.
Some people can’t help moving their mouths when they talk to themselves.
Listeners and onlookers often perceive these conversationalists as crazy people.
They’re probably not crazy. They’re probably just like me, only not ventriloquists.
“Come on Joe, get up. Don’t you close those eyes again!”
“Inner-Joe” is often annoying. He likes to have his way.
Once “inner-Joe” talks my brain into doing something, the rest of me just goes along with it, no matter how inappropriate, daring or idiotic the act.
Right now, I’m tired. I’ve only had about six hours sleep and for reasons yet unknown to me I feel I have to get up out of bed.
“That a boy! No, don’t take the pillow, set it back down on the bed and go straight to the bathroom and pee.”
Most of the time “inner-Joe” and I see eye-to-eye. Understandably, that isn’t physically possible, but, you know what I mean, we usually agree.
Other times, we act like we’re complete opposites.
Like when “inner-Joe” insists we start exercising today, but I can’t lift my ass out of bed. Or like when the wife asks me a question I should know better not to answer and “inner-Joe” says “Don’t answer! Don’t answer!” and I answer ... “Of course she’s hot … uh … But not as hot as you honey.”
“Inner-Joe” get’s angry with me when I get us in trouble.
He often forces me to stub my toe. I hate when he does that.
But, in my defense, there must be someone else in there with “inner-Joe”, maybe “oblivious-Joe” or “just plain stupid-Joe”.
No … “inner-Joe” insists ”It’s just me in here.”
“Come on Joe, lets go have some coffee and check our e-mail.”
So, I’m up now, sitting here with my coffee in front of the computer, typing this.
Wait a minute! That’s it!
I just realized … “inner-Joe” is really “PracticallyJoe”!
That is ... not quite "Joe" ... but "PracticallyJoe"!
Who would of thought?
“Okay, Joe, get it posted!”
“Wait! Who said that???”

Monday, June 16, 2008

No Arm to Pull

“Come on Joe, I’m feelin’ lucky. Let’s go!”
Last weekend the wife and I decided to do some recreational gambling. So we planned to go wrestling with the one-armed bandits. The wife only likes the slots and we hang out together, so I like the slots too. We usually play the twenty-five-cent machines. Sometimes we play them using multiple options bringing each pull of the arm to cost as much as $1.25 a "pull". (That’s slots lingo ... pretty cool, huh?) To help make our money last, I watch her play, then she watches me play. If one of us is doing well, the other will get tired of watching so we occasionally split up. We bring our cell phones in case we lose each other. All those aisles of machines look so much alike and it’s easy to get lost. Problem is ... it’s difficult to distinguish a cell phone ring from all the game music coming from the slot machines (if you’ve ever been to a slots casino you’d know what I mean). We set our phones to vibrate after lessons learned.
So she’s winning ... I’m getting bored ... I wander off to play my own game ... twenty minutes go by ... suddenly I feel a pleasant sensation in my left pant-leg ... I answer my phone ...
“Joe, where are you?”
After many minutes of giving her directions when all the time I don’t even know where I am, she usually gets close enough that I can hear her panicky voice over the machine noise, easier than listening to her over the phone. “Just three more machines on your left dear, see, over here, I’m waving, good!”
We have played the slots in Vegas, at the Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Casinos in Connecticut, in Atlantic City, on a cruise to Bermuda and even went out one time for a few hours on a gambling boat close to home. We enjoyed each time whether we won or lost. Our favorite games are the ones that look like this ...

Last weekend we stepped out of our comfort zone. We decided to try a place in Rhode Island called Twin Rivers. The website stated it only had slot machines and was just an hour away. It sounded good. But when we arrived we were not so happy. All of the games looked like this ...

Damn technology!!
First of all, what are we going to do with all these quarters?
Okay, so it’s been a while, I guess. Every machine took in bills only and would only spit back out … coupons! Where’s the fun gone? Where's the cha-ching cha-ching?
Then, another question. How the heck do you play these things?
It can’t be that difficult. I assume the more lines to play, the better the chance of winning, right?
My wife decided to break the ice and slipped a twenty into the slot. It was a 5-cent machine so what the hell, take a chance. Her look was one of disgust ... no friggin’ arm to pull. She selected the “maximum bet” button ... Let’s see ... twenty lines ... times 5-cents ... that’s one dollar ... give it a shot. Round and round went the colorful wheels ... about twenty- five different pictures of various sea creatures like crabs, sharks, mermaids, shells, fish, whales and such ... each with their own musical tune. Five seconds pass ... they all stop ... and ... nothing but silence.
After studying the results, we turned and looked at each other ... I don’t know which of us looked dumber ... then I said ... "Try it again."
“Joe, why does it say I only have three dollars left?”
I wanted to say “WTF”, but instead calmly asked, “What did you do? That just cost you seventeen dollars!” Even that didn’t go over very well.
So we searched and searched over the advertized 4,700 slot machines and couldn’t find one arm to pull. All the games were computerized, fancy-smancy musical bandits.
We observed others playing various machines while browsing the entire 300,000 square feet of modern technology and began to understand what we did wrong. We failed to travel the extra hour to Connecticut where the slot machines had arms.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Exciting Times

”Joe, where have you been the past few days?
Awwww ... Isn’t that nice? You missed me.
Well ... It certainly was an exciting time.
I’ll quickly bring you up to date.
It all started on Friday, when the wife and I decided to play.
“ Joe, I really fell like hearing some ch-ching-ch-ching!”
We had already made plans to put our PaPa and NaNa hats on the next day to hang out with our 11-month old granddaughter, Lucia. Daughter #1 and her husband needed to go play with their friends. Thirty years ago, we took full advantage of having our parents goo-gooing and gah-gahing over her and her twin sister (daughter #2) to go play, so here we are “full-circle”. They live an hour away and not very far from two of our favorite recreational facilities. Sometimes we get this irresistible urge to donate our hard earned cash to our Native Americans at Foxwoods and The Mohegan Sun. We both thoroughly enjoy wrestling with the one-armed bandits as they happily entertain us with their melodious reactions to the fervent rituals we consistently perform with the hope they change their tune to ch-ching-ch-ching.
More on this adventure ... coming soon.

“ Luciaaaaa, NaNa and PaPa are here!!!”
We get ridiculously excited whenever we see Lucia.
But, to keep this post short and to the point, we spent all day Saturday goo-gooing and gah-gahing over grand-daughter #1 ... teaching her new words and new tricks. She was so much fun.
Lucia is also very talented ... Professional dancing is in her future.
Here’s a short clip ...

“Joe, that was an exhausting visit, I just want to relax now.”
Back home on Sunday, we were all set to recuperate and veg-out in front of the TV … then came the call. The wife answered the phone.
“Ma, my water broke ... we’re on the way top the hospital!”
Have I mentioned we’re expecting grandchild #2 any day now?
Daughter #2, our younger twin (by six minutes) apparently can’t wait to add to PaPa and NaNa’s fun.
Born early on Monday, introducing ... Aubrey Rose, granddaughter #2.

Isn’t it amazing? Just a few hours old and she already says “PaPa!”

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Listen to the Music

In Memory of Jeff Healey. An incredible musician, who at 8-months-old, lost his eyes to cancer. After living cancer-free for 38 years, he passed on in March of this year. He began playing guitar when he was three, developing his unique style of playing the instrument flat on his lap. Check it out ...

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Broken Grill

Today I plan on barbequing a couple of pieces of chicken.
Doesn’t the word barbeque look strange? It’s usually BBQ or Bar-B-Q.
In the first sentence I was going to write BBQing, but that didn’t look right.
Anyway ... before I put on my chef’s hat and light the grill, I would have to look into a problem my son-in-law experienced last week firing up the grill when I wasn’t at home. He said “I think something’s wrong, flames were coming out of the knobs”. OK, yep, sounds like something’s wrong.
So ... as I do with most unfamiliar tasks since the late 90’s … I seek help on the Internet. This should be easy … let me think … how should I start?
“ALLLL ABOARD!!!! We’re about to ride My Brain Train” (Click.)
Searching for BBQ Grill repairs brought me to an article on ... BBQ Grill repairs … so far so good. First thing … disconnect the propane tank or it can explode … Oh oh … better learn more about propane. Did you know that propane gas is the primary fuel for hot air balloons? (Click.) I find hot air balloon travel a bit scary. (Click.) A “Cloud Hopper” is a one-person hot air balloon where the pilot sits in a harness or small seat instead of a wicker basket (which isn’t much of a safe compartment to begin with unless you’re a picnic lunch.) There is often a propane tank behind the pilot's back, and the burner is on a frame above the pilot's head. (I’m going up now … throw a steak on my neck.) (Click.) Cluster ballooning is when someone ties a whole bunch of helium party balloons to a harness, straps it on and floats away, like in the cartoons. To come down one simply pops a ballon or two … oh … and they take bottled water with them so as they decend they spill out some water to slow themselves by becoming less heavy. Does someone cluster ballooning know the gravity of defying gravity? Gravity is our friend. It’s what keeps us from floating away in the first place. It’s what keeps our BBQ food on our plates. Without it nobody would come back if they jumped … no jumping up and down … just jumping up.
You know what I haven’t seen in a long, long time … Mexican jumping beans. (Click.) You know ... they didn’t actual jump, but they did jerk about and roll around. (Click.) Inside a thin shelled seed was some crazy moth that continually ran around inside smashing itself against the walls causing its movement. (Click.) The Atlas moth is the largest of all moths with a wing span between 10 to 12 inches. Yikes! Imagine that one fluttering about your porch light!
Hmmm … light? Something about light? (Back click. Back click. Back click.) Oh yeah, I was going to try to light the grill. Awww ... Forget it! ... I’ll just order a pizza.
“All those who’ve had enough better get off the Brain Train ... Next stop ... Nicky’s Pizza.”