Archive for May, 2012

An article in USA Today spoke to a growing trend of high school graduates using online registries to help friends and family pick gifts that match their lifestyle. Graduates may include the link to their sites in with the invitation. Personally I always liked cold hard cash. What’s next? Will preschoolers use registries for friends and family to purchase the right transition gifts for kindergarten?

I have two friends that are completely different when it comes to gift giving.  When I ask one what she wants for her birthday she leaves it up to me saying, “I’ll love whatever you get me.” The other pulls out a list and requires you check off which item you’ll get. She’ll even tell you where you can get it. She tells you what wrapping paper she likes. There are no surprises with her. No surprise and no look of surprise on her face. She does not like surprises.

Shouldn’t gift giving be about the element of surprise? I was always surprised with the gifts from my godmother. I was always surprised that year after year her gifts got increasing worse. Even at the young age of two I knew a chainsaw was not an appropriate gift for a toddler. As I aged I practiced smiling in front of a mirror and I wore that smile while I opened my gifts from her. The worse the gift, the bigger the smile; like ‘The Little Drummer Boy,’ it was fake. I welcomed opening her gifts with the same enthusiasm one has for entering a den of poisonous snakes. I prayed for cash. I got a heinous gift. I prayed for a doll. I got a heinous gift. Eventually I prayed for her to stop giving me gifts. I got a heinous gift. I believe she alone, was the driving force behind the need for gift registries. The heinous gift giving must stop.

The other day at the card store the saleswoman came up to me and asked, “May I help you?” When I replied, “No,” she walked away. Less than two minutes later the same lady inquired, “Do you need any help?” She was a stalker. She followed me around the store like a pesky car salesman. Every time I turned – there she was. She may have been annoying, but I was grateful she didn’t embarrass me.

Embarrassment came later at my local grocery store. It started when the cashier (a boy) asked if I found everything I needed. When I replied, “No” he asked, “What were you looking for?” When I told him he morphed into Tom Cruise in a Mission Impossible movie accepting an assignment. With chest puffed up he proclaims, “Me Tarzan, You Jane.” Alright, he didn’t say that, but it sounded good. Jane waited patiently as Tarzan went on his search. He returned empty-handed; not even a banana.

Back behind the register he calls his manager (another man.), Tom’s backup for this impossible mission. In detail and with graphics I explained what I needed. As I watched the manager with walkie-talkie in hand, exuding an air of great self importance that only he believed; I thought since he resembled Barney Fife it was a good thing he was carrying a walkie-talkie and not a gun as he probable would have shot himself in the foot. Barney took a description of the item, put out an APB and did a foot search of all 14 aisles. Barney came back empty-handed.

So, Barney and Tom (or Tarzan) hold a mini conference and despite my protest (I just wanted to get out of there) call in a third party. Once again, face red from embarrassment, I describe the item in question. Explaining what you need to a man hard of hearing is done repeatedly, slowly and loudly. “What? Wings? We carry chicken wings. No? What’s the matter? You don’t like our chicken wings? Why they’re the best in town! Oh, those wings.” Moe completed the threesome making it officially ‘The Three Stooges.’

As I ran from the store to my car, I wished the card store lady worked here. She would have helped. She was Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman does not embarrass. Wonder Woman wears maxi pads with wings.


InKansas City,Mo.This year there was an inaugural Cinco de MayoChihuahuaparade. Dogs showed up in costume dressed as tacos and ballerinas. I ask you, “Isn’t it bad enough that people dress up their dog, must we take it to the next level by having them march in a parade?” Man’s best friend sure puts up with a lot.

An article in USA Today reported that there is a growing trend for dog owners to get pet “tattoos” – airbrushed designed most commonly created with a stencil and non-toxic dye made for animals. Tattoos offer owners a fun and affordable way to celebrate their pets. Really? Can’t you just give it a bone?

I guarantee your dog does not share in your excitement. Just because they can’t voice their opinion does not mean they like getting dressed up. Just because they can’t voice their opinion does not mean they like the heart tattoo on their butt.

I understand that for some people their dog is their best friend. For some it may be their only friend. My next door neighbor fired her real estate because she was always Face Booking her dog.  She‘s probably the type who dresses up the dog for the holiday photo. If I was her dog I’d defriend her on Face Book.

I like going to the zoo. We have a membership. I love watching the seals swim and the penguins waddle. I love watching the elephants eat an entire pumpkin. No pureeing necessary before eating. What I don’t like are wild animals in my house.

When we lived in Pennsylvania we had a snake in our basement, bats under the siding, lady bugs in our loft and a baby cub and gopher in our backyard. Despite these bigger, more dangerous animals the worst for me is when we had a mouse. I hate mice. When I saw it I called my girlfriend. It was early morning when I called and asked frantically, “Rita, Help! I need you! There’s a…. I screamed and dropped the phone when the mouse scurried across the kitchen floor.  I didn’t get to tell her there was a mouse in the house. She thought I was in immediate danger. Within seconds she was at my door in her robe and slippers and carrying a baseball bat. When I told her it was a mouse she looked as though she wanted to club me with the bat.

This was the same friend who woke one morning to a squirrel sitting atop her headboard. If I was her I would start sleeping with the bat beside my bed.

The other day, my next door girlfriend called to let me know there was a strange creature in my front yard. I slowly opened the door to peek out. I had my exercise weight in hand for protection. (Don’t worry, it’s not like I use it to exercise.) It was a possum that had gone to her yard, had babies and died. The cops were called. Animal control was called. It looked like a crime scene. The possums were taken care of. I’m beginning to think with animals all around me I may not need my zoo membership.

Writers have to rely on their imagination to tell stories. And some stories are fiction and some are based on truth which is then stretched and twisted in order to make an interesting story.

Every person has about five good stories to tell. A perfect example is the holiday dinner table with family gathered around. Since the holidays may be the one and only annual get together for some family members it’s the perfect time to bring up the past and pass the hard feelings and blame. As you’re passing the gravy pay attention and you’ll notice uncle Bob is telling the same story. It didn’t take long for my daughter to draw the conclusion, “They tell the same five stories, over and over.” This is why no kid should ever be in a rush to leave the kiddy table. It’s more interesting watching your cousin shove peas up his nose.

My girlfriend is going around telling anyone and everyone of a recent incident. She thinks this story is hilarious. I was there when it happened. It’s not. She told her husband. He didn’t laugh. She got mad and questioned his sense of humor. But, she’ll keep telling this story to the end of time, until someone laughs. I pity the people who don’t laugh as they’ll be lifted by the shirt collar and bullied into laughter. It’s like a comedian paying people to laugh. At least I don’t have to spend Christmas dinner with her.

The Hangover Heaven bus is a mobile treatment center for tourists in Vegas who spent the night before drinking and in the morning suffer a hangover. For a fee they receive a quick way to rehydrate, rejuvenate and resume having fun. The idea is to bring relief for stomach-churning, wooziness, headaches and body pains. Treatment can take less than one hour for a $90 basic IV of saline solution, B vitamins and vitamin C. For an extra fee Burke (the owner) will bring treatment to a tourist’s hotel room.

Isn’t this rewarding bad behavior? A hangover was the price someone paid for making, bad, stupid decisions. Take that away and now you have someone who doesn’t learn choices have consequences.

But we can even take it one step further if the car GOOGLE is working on becomes a reality. Within the next decade GOOGLE hopes to have a ‘driverless car.’ Get in the car and punch in your destination.( I wonder then if people would still be required to take a driving test.) Simply get in the car, sit back, relax and text, tweet or watch a movie. Now you’ll be able to devote 100% of your attention to the distractions you previously devoted 90% to.

Between the Hangover Heaven bus and the ‘driverless car’ people could drink all day, everyday and not worry about hangovers, getting into an accident or running people over.

Yesterday, ‘the driverless car’ would have come in handy when a friend and I were driving in circles trying to exit a parking garage. You would think it’d be simple enough to get out – it was simple enough to get in. By the third go around I felt we were sucked into theBermudatriangle.

Much like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz who followed the yellow brick road and arrived at theEmeraldCitywe followed the Exit signs and kept going in circles. I imagine if we had a ‘driverless car’ we wouldn’t have had a problem finding the way out. When we emerged from the automobile circular vortex of hell I soothed my nerves with a drink. I would have paid big bucks to see the Hangover Heaven bus pull in my driveway this morning.