Here is how my 85-year-old mother-in-law spends a typical day: First, she goes out onto the back porch. Then, for some reason 10 minutes later, she walks through the house and goes onto the front stoop. A few minutes later, she walks through the house and returns to the back porch. After a few more minutes, she again leaves the back porch, walks through the house and makes yet another appearance on the front stoop.
It’s like watching a ping pong match with the oldest ball ever.
So, yesterday I was watching the England vs. Italy match but for some reason I was watching it on Italian TV. Now, I really don’t know much Italian besides what I can order in a restaurant, but that’s what I was doing.
In reality, it kinda added to the the experience, being an international event and all that. And let’s be truthful, if I heard the play-by-play on British TV, I probably would have understand the commentary about the same (Really chaps, you call what you speak English?).
While watching the telecast, it occurred to me that the frequent “downtime” in a soccer match (i.e., those minutes in between attacks on the goal and writhing around on the field with some faux injury) gives sportscasters ample time to talk about other things. Interestingly, the Italian commentators spoke with the same frenetic pace during those in between moments as they did when a shot on-goal was imminent.
As I said previously, I speak very little Italian so I cannot say for sure what the announcers were chatting about during these moments. I imagined that one of them was relating to the other the particulars of a recent family vacation. I will reprint the translation here, but to achieve the proper effect, read it aloud as quickly as you can, with increased pacing and pitch until you arrive at the end in an almost orgasmic frenzy…
"Yes Gianni the famiglia and I did go to Tuscany this past week we stayed in one of those villas belonging to the network and I nearly ate my weight in salami and cheese and the kids were acting all like brats saying ‘Papa we don’t want any more salami we want gelato’ so we drove all over the countryside looking for a friggin’ Gelato stand and after 2 hours we finally saw one in the distance and the kids began screaming in my ears and we pulled in hoping it would be open on a Sunday but NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! "
I live in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. The neighborhood has become a lot more integrated of late, with a large number of Asian and Russian families moving in. However, in some places it is still an Italian enclave, and at times, can appear like an outtake of Goodfellas.
Today, I was dispatched by my wife and her friend to buy them a prosciutto and mozzarella (or “mutz” in the local parlance) sandwich on Italian bread. I entered a local delicatessen (or salumeria, for you traditionalists) and placed my order, which was nicknamed “The Frank Sinatra” on the large menu that hung over the counter.
After the sandwich was prepared, I took it to the register to pay. A short, stout middle-aged man (OK, let’s call him Vinnie) stood behind the register. The sandwich was $13 dollars (I know it’s expensive, but hey, it’s fresh mutz) but I only had 12. I did have a credit card, but the minimum for charging food was $15.
I looked at Vinnie sheepishly. I asked if he could make an exception on the minimum for credit card orders and he just waved me off and took the cash I had. I headed home with the sandwich feeling guilty. And a little worried.
When I got home, I gave my wife and her friend their food, asked for a dollar and headed back to the delicatessen. I went up to the register and handed Vinnie the bill. He didn’t seem shocked that I had returned. In fact, he appeared as if he expected it.
I left the delicatessen feeling more than a little relieved. I know it’s not right to perpetuate stereotypes, but I couldn’t risk winding up on someone else’s sandwich under a layer of fresh mutz.
A couple of blocks from my house, on the far end of 13th Avenue, is a corner store location.
In the past couple of years, it has been a restaurant, a wedding video company, another restaurant and, yes, another restaurant. And yet, a month or 2 after opening, each establishment would close, ostensibly because it didn’t make any money. To be truthful, my neighborhood does not need another restaurant, wedding video company or even another restaurant.
Well, I was walking past the location today and I noticed that a new establishment was opening soon.
It’s going to be a small business development office. I think we need one of those.
Some of you may be familiar with this photo blog. Curated by “Babs”, reportedly an engineer in San Francisco, the K-hole is a bunch of homespun photos of people, mostly taken in the 1970s and 1980s. The homes, dress, style and activities depicted are wonderfully dated and those who lived during those decades will simultaneously smile and cringe.
You youngins will probably gawk in wonder like I do when I see photos and films of people during the 1920s and 1930s.
Babs states that about 20% of the photos are her family’s while the rest are from friends and random places on the Internet. There is a lot of focus on punk rock, skateboarding, mustaches, hair metal, partying and school hi-jinks. Oh yeah, there is also some random NSFW stuff, so let the buyer beware. Babs does not supply any captions for the photos which both adds to their creepiness and allows you to provide the stories behind them.
The blog is not updated all that frequently, so us fans have to enjoy it when we can. As a bonus, there are many Tumblr entries dedicated to the blog, so you can always search for the Internet K-hole tag.
So I see they’re installing 2 new saints today. That brings the total number to something like 823. Man, that’s a lot of righteous people. I would have guessed the number wasn’t much higher than 16.
According to scripture, in order to become Saint, one has to perform at least 1 verifiable miracle. Between you and me, the fact that I haven’t been audited by the IRS in 30 years should qualify, given my suspect math. But thankfully, this cannot be verified by anyone. Um, I mean until now.
It seems that the quality of miracles being performed by would-be saints has dropped in recent times. Back in the good ol’ days, people would part red seas, raise the dead, and feed a large group of people with a single loaf of bread.
Nowadays, not hitting or cursing at someone on the morning train commute qualifies.
I think the best part of being a saint would be being named the Patron Saint of something. When I become a saint—notice how I didn’t say, if—I will be named the Patron Saint of Humility. It’s only fitting.
Interestingly, the Jewish faith does not mention much about saints. We’re more into prophets, it appears. Jewish scripture mentions both major and minor prophets. Major prophets would predict 40 years of famine or that some miscreants will build a heinous Idol of a calf right in God’s own backyard. The minor prophets were prone to state things like, “I knew you were going to say that!” and “Looks like it’s going to rain soon.”
Anyway, a big hosanna to the new saints in the Roman Catholic faith. I’m sure you were both great guys and we sure need more of them to offset the doofuses, douchebags and tools that abound on this Earth.
I’m looking at you, Guy Fieri, if you haven’t already burst into flames by this time.
On Cosmos, Neil DeGrasse Tyson stated that when we look at stars in the sky we are notseeing them as they are in the present. Nay, due to the time that light takes to reach our eyes from the stars’ great distances, we are actually seeing what they werelike millions of years ago.
By extension, when we look at each other we are not seeing what the other person looks like at the present moment, but at some moment in the past.
All I have to say to all of you is, man, you have really let yourself go.
One of my favorite tracks, this has the perfect combination of gonzo guitar riffs, Johnny Rotten vocal delivery (patent pending) and totally subversive lyrics. It’s no wonder the UK establishment completely feared the Sex Pistols for the entire 8 seconds they were in existence.
They call it Good Friday. However, today was the day that Jesus was crucified, after being made to carry his own form of execution through the city and not too long after one of his besties betrayed him for a small bag of coins.
Scott: Hey, music fans! I’m Scott and I know that you love PBS’s dedication to good music and want PBS to continue to bring you the best performances. So that’s why we’re airing an encore presentation of one of our board of directors’ favorites: “Headbangers and Proto-Punks!”
And to help me talk about this wonderful encore presentation is the lead singer of the Flaming As*holes, Trevor Phlegminski. Trevor, how are you tonight?
Scott: Right. I can see you’re as excited as I am about this special. And who can blame you, with favorites like “I Want To Be Your Dog" by Iggy and the Stooges. You know, it’s on our companion CD, "Headbangers and Proto-Punks!" which new and old members can receive with a $100 donation.
Trevor: Iggy bites.
Scott: You bet he does. The drummer, the girl in the first row — all in “Headbangers and Proto-Punks!" But that’s not all you get. For a $150 donation, you can also receive a replica of Lemmy Kilmister’s mustache made out of real human hair (source unknown)!
Trevor: ANARCHY MOTHERF*CKERS!
Scott: Couldn’t have said it any better myself. But before Trevor and I take you back to The New York Dolls’ classic performance of “Shoot That Heroin Right Through My Heart, Baby" on "Headbangers and Proto-Punks!”, we just want to remind you that even a $25 dollar contribution can help PBS in their never ending quest to bring you the best in musical performances—or spring Wayne Kramer from jail, whichever is more pressing.
And now, Trevor, what can you tell us about The Dolls?
Well, there I was. Off from work for a week and with a few hours to kill on a Tuesday. So, I decided to go casket-shopping. It’s one of those activities that you cannot wait to do when the need arises.
You might be surprised at the range of features and prices of caskets nowadays. I remember back in the 80s, when you might have had 3 or 4 models from which to choose in the funeral home “showroom”. Not the case anymore. In fact, I found less options and packages while shopping recently for a Toyota minivan.
I also learned that caskets are more than just a vessel for your rotting flesh. They are supposed to reflect the lifestyle in which you lived, or more accurately, the lifestyle in which you wishedyou lived. That’s right, you may have led a simple, spartan life while you were alive, but there’s no reason you cannot emulate an Egyptian pharaoh after you kick the bucket.
To that end, I present my top 3 choices for caskets (along with the verbatim copy from the funeral home catalog):
1. The Eldorado - Leave this word in style and opulence! Make your friends and enemies jealous with this sumptuous body-box! Your pall-bearers will gasp in awe as they grab onto solid gold handles, double-reinforced to prevent accidental dissembly and the subsequent humiliation that comes with crashing to the floor and spilling out onto the feet of your mourners. Also fully lined with cushy bunting to make your ascension to the pearly gates as comfy as possible. Remember, it’s not just the destination, it’s also the ride! Only $30,000.
2. The Arcadia - So, you’re not the outdoorsy type. In fact, fresh air gives you the hives. But that’s no reason to forego this all-terrain casket that just screams, "I wrestle bears in my spare time!" Made from gnarled mahogany, this full-sized beast of a casket weighs in at a massive 300lbs. requiring only the burliest of pall-bearers to carry it past your loved ones and into that SUV hearse you had to rent. And don’t forget, each of our Arcadia caskets are manufactured in the good ol’ USA by registered Libertarians and gun-lovers. A steal at $27,000.
3. The Porsche - Were you safe, conservative and pokey in life? Well, be fast and furious in death!Aerodynamically designed and crafted, this casket is built to move! And its interior can be had in “speeding-ticket red” or “midnight-rendezvous black”, the latter being particularly slimming for you full-figured cadavers. Other details include polished chrome hinges and handles, and at an additional cost, a racing stripe down the top. Mmmmm, racy! These bad boys are literally flying out of the showroom at a very reasonable $42,000.
I am at the dealership service department with my car again. I don’t want to say I’ve been here a lot, but one service associate recently named her baby after me and another just asked how my colonoscopy went.