Glass Houses

WARNING: Strong opinion(s) lay ahead. Usually I reserve my strong opinions / editorials for another forum. This is not my usual "Father of Five" banter - but I felt strongly about it, and wanted to share my feelings on this matter. If you are offended - I am sorry. See that little "X" in the upper right hand corner of this window? Use it.

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One of the vices I enjoy in my life (and talk about here quite a bit) is the "adult content" ** of The Ron & Fez Show. Although (in my opinion they are not as funny as Ron & Fez), I also enjoy the Opie & Anthony show, and (despite O & A's disdain for him) I have in the past enjoyed the terrestrial version of the Howard Stern show. This goes to show you that it takes A LOT to offend me (The key phrase, and a foreshadowing statement).

** By "adult content" I am not refering to humor of a sexual nature. Although O & A and Howard Stern are often sexual in nature, Ron and Fez are not. The sexual humor bores me after a few minutes.

Additionally...
I am not a fan of Al Roker, (nor did I "dislike" him).
I am not a fan of Don Imus, (nor did I "dislike" him).
I am a fan of, and strongly believe in the principals and liberties this country was founded upon.
I am a fan of fan of the theory of free speech.
I am a huge fan of talk radio.

That being said, I will move forward.

By now, I am sure all of you are familiar with the controversy surrounding Don Imus' infamous "Nappy Headed Ho" comment.

Should he have said it? - No.
Do I believe it was intentional? - No.
Was he trying to be "funny"? - Yes.
Was he "funny"? - No, not really.
Did he make an apology? - Yes
Was it sincere? - I could be wrong, but I believe it was. (He certainly made an effort - more so than most would have.)

Admittedly, the "sincerity" portion is speculative on my part...

Many called for Don Imus to loose his job for his comment. Among those calling for Imus' firing was The Today Show's weather man Al Roker. In a quote taken from Mr. Roker's blog (which can be readily found all over the www), he said... (highlights in bold)


I cannot tell you how many people have asked me about my thoughts on Don Imus. As a student of broadcasting, I know Don Imus was one of the original shock jocks. I listened to him growing up in New York City in the late '60s and early '70s.

He is a radio icon.

That said, it is time for him to go.

I, for one, am really tired of the diatribes, the humor at others expense, the cruelty that passes for funny. Don Imus isn't the only one doing this, but today he's the one in the hot seat.

What he said was vile and disgusting. It denigrated an entire team and by extension, a community and its pride in a group that had excelled.

This controversy started and grew during the week. At first under the radar, we even had Dons wife, Deidre, on the program, talking about green cleaning. I thought she was so good I wanted to talk to her about a television program for my production company.

Don and his wife have done a lot of good things raising money for charity, including a ranch for children suffering from cancer and blood disorders.

Yet, Don Imus needs to be fired for what he said. And while were at it, his producer, Bernard McGuirk, needs to be canned as well. McGuirk is just as guilty, often egging Imus on.

The I'm a good person who said a bad thing apology doesn't cut it. At least he didn't try to weasel out of this by hiding behind alcohol or drug abuse. Still, he said it and a two-week suspension doesn't cut it. It is, at best, a slap on the wrist. A vacation. Nothing.

The general manager of Cartoon Network resigned after a publicity stunt went wrong and caused a panic in Boston. He did the right thing. Don Imus should do the right thing and resign. Not talk about taking a two-week suspension with dignity. I don't think Don Imus gets it.

After watching and listening to him this morning during an interview with Matt Lauer (video), Don Imus doesn't get it. Maybe its being stuck in a studio for 35 years or being stuck in the 1980s. Either way, its obvious that he needs to move on. Citing context within a comedy show is not an excuse.

He has to take his punishment and start over. Guess what? Hell get re-hired and well go on like nothing happened. CBS Radio and NBC News needs to remove Don Imus from the airwaves. That is what needs to happen. Otherwise, it just looks like profits and ratings rule over decency and justice.

Mr. Roker's opinion may or may not be justified. Again, I am not here to pass judgment on Mr. Imus' comment, or the subsequent consequences of his actions.

I AM here to point out what I find to be an OUTRAGEOUS HYPOCRISY!

You see, no matter if you believe Don Imus should have been fired or not, Al Roker does believe it. He has made his point perfectly clear. But you see, Al Roker (only 60 short days later) was quoted as saying...


Remember that controversial Olympic logo for the 2012 Olympics in London? Some folks have complained that the campaign actually sent them into epileptic seizures, Well, we asked you to weigh in on our Web site in an informal poll; those of you who could get up off the floor after shaking around were able to actually log in . . .

Which was dealt with by issuing the following apology...


I started joking about [the logo]. I want to make this clear - I was not joking about epilepsy or anyone who suffers from epilepsy. We understand and know that this is a serious affliction and would never joke about that. We were joking about the logo - not about epilepsy. If anybody was offended, I heartily and really humbly apologize.

What was that? Was that an attempt at humor? It appears to me to be (an attempt at) humor at others (those that suffer with epilepsy) expense. It could even be viewed as cruelty that [tries to] pass for funny. I believe Al Roker is a good person at heart, but being a good person who said a bad thing (and then apologizes about) just does not cut it... According to Mr. Roker that is...

And what about that "We" in the apology. Do you want to know why he said "We"? He said "We" because the rest of the Today Show crew could be seen / heard snickering and giggling.. Almost "egging" him on in the same fashion as Bernard McGuirk - The same Bernard McGuirk that "needs to be canned as well. McGuirk is just as guilty, often egging Imus on." (to quote Mr. Roker)

In all fairness, I should apply the same set of "standards" to Al Roker's comment that I held Don Imus' to. Do my answers match up? Let's take a look.

Should he have said it? - No.
Do I believe it was intentional? - No.
Was he trying to be "funny"? - Yes.
Was he "funny"? - No, not really.
Did he make an apology? - Yes
Was it sincere? - I am actually not sure.

They match up pretty close. (There is one minor difference (the sincerity portion), but remember the sincerity portion is speculative on my part anyway).

I'll bet not everyone has heard about this comment - at least not as many as heard about Don Imus'. Why? I cannot help but wonder a couple of things. Why am I not hearing outraged media calling for Al Roker's firing? Why was this not covered in the national news media ad nauseam (as it was for Don Imus) and (most importantly), I am wondering why (given his own words)...


The general manager of Cartoon Network resigned after a publicity stunt went wrong and caused a panic in Boston. He did the right thing. Don Imus should do the right thing and resign. Not talk about taking a two-week suspension with dignity. I don't think Don Imus gets it.

I am wondering why Al Roker has not yet resigned his position? Why should Al Roker not be held to HIS OWN principals and standards?

Al Roker's shifting principals, and refusal to hold himself to the same standards he holds others to OFFENDS me. And remember (as I said earlier) it takes A LOT to offend me.

Mr. Roker, if by chance you ever end up reading this amateur, opinion laden editorial - perhaps you will take my advise to heart. Next time (since you were lucky enough to keep your job), you should be a bit more careful - or better yet - a bit more FORGIVING and much less JUDGMENTAL of the misgivings of others - especially when you live in a glass house.

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Sorry everyone - I just had to get this off my chest.

Degrees of Separation from Famousness

This is my cousin Bob. Bob is a "Bigwig" music buyer for a Corporate Electronic, Computer, Music, Software, and appliance mega retail giant.

To protect the store Company (an my cousin) I wont name them, but let's just say they are one of the "Best" in the business, and I almost always find something to "Buy" when I am there!

Anyway, some time last week, one of my cousins closest and dearest friends - Nikki Sixx (bass player for 80's glam metal - and one of our all time Favorite Bands - MÖTLEY CRÜE ) was in town, and when they get together.... well, lets just say they partied pretty hard!

Well... Ok... Maybe Nikki is not one of my cousins "closest and dearest friends", but my cousin did meet, and get to hang with Nikki through his job (which I was telling the truth about). And, MÖTLEY CRÜE was one of our all time favorite bands growing up together. So, for us, this is pretty darn amazing!

I'll have to take a picture of "Oakwood" (a forest hideaway in the woods of his family's cabin that Bob, his brother Mark, and I built as "tweens".) I believe there may have been a tribute or two to MÖTLEY CRÜE up there in the woods!

Hey, Bob - since I've hit a bit of a rut in playing the Bass, perhaps you could get your new friend to help me out there! What'cha say... Can you hook your cousin up?

P.S. Hey Bob, if you can hook me up with some bass lessons, I'll overlook your lack of Heavy Metal Umlauts from your email... Heck, I wont even tell Nikki you left them out! Now, just relax and have a Löwenbräu, and get on lining up some lessons!

FOF Observation #4

I have not had any recent "Observations" recently. For those of you that are newer visitors to my blog, I have started a series of posts called the "FOF Observations". You can find them in the drop down labels menu under Observations, or on the sidebar category called "Perpetual Posts" under "The FOF Observations". In any event, here is FOF Observation #4!

I had a couple of different ways to post this observation. Read them all, the are all "relevant".

1. Being a father of five, when you have a "horribly slow draining bathroom sink" it may behoove you to check the drain first before calling a plumber. You never know which missing toy you may find!

or

2. Ten years of "Hardware Store Experience" is a good foundation to successfully maintaining a household with five kids.

or

3. There is nothing more disgusting than the bathroom sink of a family with five kids! Especially when you have to figure out why your bathroom sink is not draining the way it should!

Take your pick. They all are observations I made while dealing with today's household crisis

The hairspray cap was the most recent "obvious" clog. It happened three or four days ago. But it did not fully explaining why the drain was flowing as slow at it was. When the hairspray cap would not come out, and I had to disassemble the drain, I discovered the bubble wand that I subsequently learned (after my wife pointed it out) it has been missing (and possibly in the drain) since early spring.

Based on the "gunk" that was entangled in the bubble wand, I would have to agree with her.

Yuck.

I have failed. (aka – “The Significant Post”)

I have failed.

 

I try my hardest to be witty, light-hearted, and / or even funny at times on this blog.  I hope I have been able to bring a smile or a chuckle to (at least) some of the people who have been faithful and regular readers, as well as the numerous "once-and-done" visitors.

 

Today you will not find that witty, light-hearted, and/or even funny Father of Five.  No, today you find a broken man, a saddened father, a father who has failed his children, his family, and himself.  This was not a fun post to write, nor will it be a fun post to read.  Please consider yourself warned.  It is long, and it is intended for my children to read someday when they are old enough to understand.

 

A little over two years ago, the subject came up about the possibility of obtaining a dog.

 

Growing up, I never had a dog.  I had always wanted one, and (at one point) my sister and I thought we had our parents "just about" talked into getting a Cockapoo, but it never happened. 

 

My wife grew up with a dog in her home.  There was Heidi (a Samoyed) that was around in her younger years, and Buddy (part Springer, part "who knows what") who came along in the later years.  Buddy was still around when I met my wife, and lived until just a few years ago.  She talks of Heidi from time to time, and I spent time with Buddy.  I have never really heard her speak negatively about the experiences of growing up with a dog.

 

When we were first married, we did try a short stint with a "rescue" Pomeranian.  This dog was a Jekyll and Hyde.  By day he was a nice enough dog.  Although not house broken, he was paper trained.  But, and night this dog became the most vicious and wicked creature imaginable.  This dog would curl up on Benjamin's bed, and if you even walked by the open bedroom door he would growl.  If you walked into the room, he would snarl, and lash out at you.  Heaven forbid you try to remove him from the bed, because if you did, he would bite, scratch, and gnash at your arms and fingers.  Many times, both Michele and I would walk away with injuries from dealing with this dog after dark.  We would have to go in with a blanket, cover the dog, and scoop him up inside the blanket to keep from getting bitten.  Then, in the morning, the dog would again be your best friend.  And so it went – for about two months.  We could not keep a dog like that in our home with a baby.  I felt bad, but knew that the dog would have to go.

 

Fast forward a number of years, and I found out that Ed had gotten a dog.  Jake (Ed's dog) is a dream.  From day one Jake has been a faithful, loyal, and unbelievably well behaved dog.  Watching #3 of 5 (Zachary) with Jake was one of the key reasons I started  looking into getting a dog.

 

When the thought of getting a dog first came up, I did a lot of research on dog breeds.  I had some specific criteria that needed to be fulfilled.  I wanted a small dog.  I wanted a non-shedding dog.  I wanted a dog that would be good with children of all ages.  Right away the Cairn Terriers came to the forefront of the search.  I started doing a lot of reading on the cairn breed, I got books, and CD's and even talked to people. 

 

Looking back now, I can see that I was so excited about the possibility of getting a dog that I focused too much on the "pros", and failed to really give credence to the "cons" of cairn ownership.  Oh, the messages and warnings are all out there, but (at the time) the pros outshone the cons.

 

Michele and I talked, and we decided to give it a try.  Michele did warn me about the aspects of dog ownership, but again, I did not listen as well as I should have.

 

So, on 11-09-2005 we added Molly (a cairn Terrier) to the family.  My first attempt at a web page was based on my Aquarium Project.  (Ironically, I have not posted anything about my "aquatic interests" here – perhaps another time).  Just after Molly arrived, I added a couple of pages about her on my Aquarium pages.  You can find these pages HERE.  (Keep in mind that Geocities limits a person's bandwidth, and this site will frequently exceed its hourly bandwidth allotment (4.5MB/hr)).

 

Overall, Molly is a good girl.  She is WONDERFUL with children.  You could not ask for a better dog that way.  She is loyal.  She will (unless she is napping) follow you around the house like she was attached to your leg.  She can be enjoyable, and has provided our family with a lot of fun over the past two years. 

 

Yes, you are right.  You do hear a "but…."

 

But…  Molly is (as everything I read, and was told, and was warned about) unbelievably stubborn.  She is iron willed, independent, and "all Cairn". 

 

She did potty train… sort of.  She will (for the most part) "hold it" until we take her out, but when she cannot "hold it" any longer she will not tell us that she has to go out.  She simply sneaks off to some remote corner and poos and/or pees in the house.  We have tried many different methods to get her past this, but nothing works.  I take her out (on leash) to "go" in the morning (which she does) and within a few minutes of letting her loose inside, she will poo (again) in the house.  If you tie her up in the backyard, she will sometimes poo, but often times she will not.  Then, when you let her in, she will (after a short period of time) poo in the house instead.  If it is raining, or the snow is too deep, or it is too cold she WILL NOT poo outside. 

 

She has learned a few commands.  She will sit and she will come… Sometimes.  If she is inside, Molly will sit, and will come (to me).  She will sometimes sit for my wife, and the kids, but does not easily come (when called) for the wife and kids.  If she sees a squirrel, a cat, another dog, a flying bug, or ANYTHING through the window – she can (and has) pushed herself out past the (latched) screen door and takes off. 

 

If we are outside though, all bets are off.  Molly will not listen whatsoever to us.  She will not come, she will not sit.  She will turn her head to acknowledge you have called her, but then ignores you and does whatever she wants.  I have even taken the bag of doggie cookies or treats outside and crumpled the bag. (The same cookies she will dash upstairs if she even hears us "touch" the bag.)  Once she is loose outside, all bets are off.  There is no getting her back.  She runs away, and does not stop to look back.  We have had people drop her off, call us to come and get her, I have had to change my answering machine to say that I know she got away, but had to leave, and to please tie her up on the leash in the back yard.  Several times we have had to just give up looking for her (when she has gotten away), and just hope for the best – only to hear her scratching at the back door at 3 in the morning.  You cannot open a door in our house without making sure she is nowhere close, and with all the kids we have at home, and all their friends going in and out all the time – it is a loosing battle.

 

Molly is a chewer.  She chews and destroys more than I can even keep track of.  Easily, I can count four pairs of shoes, three sets of flip-flops, too many toys and  stuffed animals to even count, and important papers.  We buy her dog toys, but honestly, the dog toys, and the kids stuffed animals, and miscellaneous toys do not look all that different.  I can't blame her for not being able to tell… Sometimes I can't even tell the difference.

 

Molly is a digger.  She has dug so many holes in our yard I have given up trying.  Not only does she dig holes, but she digs DEEP holes.  Easily – over a foot deep.  She has dug up at least four of our sprinkler heads, and cannot even be trusted outside (on leash)  without direct and constant supervision.

 

Molly is a scavenger.  She will have food in her bowl, but will not eat it.  She will instead eat the cat food, or scraps on the floor (always present with five children).  She digs in the garbage and will take half the contents of the garbage can (wrappers, empty boxes, popsicle sticks, freezee wrappers, etc – run off, hide it under (one of our) beds, couches, loveseats, chairs, or anywhere else we cant see / hear / or detect her presence – and lick, chew, rip and tear whatever her "treasure" is/was.  Then, she leaves (and leaves the mess there.)  When you get around to cleaning these spaces the mounds of garbage are "significant".  If anyone leaves a plate on the table for whatever reason (answer the telephone, answer the doorbell, run to the aid of a crying child), she will take any tiny moment of opportunity to jump up on the table and scamper away with whatever is on the table.  She will (literally) watch and wait for you to step away – and then strike.  If she cannot get real food or scraps, she will move on, and try to gain access to the litter boxes to eat the cat poo.  Only then (after the kitchen has been cleaned, and she has been denied access to the cat boxes) she will (reluctantly) eat her own food. 

 

Along those same lines, and because she will not stay out of the cat boxes, we have had to keep our laundry room (the location of the cat boxes) door closed, and add a "doggy door" for the cats to be able to get to their own littler boxes.  That has worked well for allowing them to get OUT of the laundry room, but for some reason, they do not know how to use it to get IN.  Subsequently, not only does the dog poo in the house, but because of the restricted access to their litter boxes, the cats do too. 

 

Herein lies the (depressing) realization that not only did I fail my family and myself, but I have also failed Molly.  Most of the issues listed above can be linked back to things we have not done, not been able to do, never followed up on, or have done completely wrong. 

 

Michele has (three times now) expressed her displeasure with Molly's behavior, and tried to let me know it was time that Molly finds a new home.  The first time, I really just ignored the whole problem, thinking that it was because Molly was just a puppy.  I checked into the possibility of training classes (where they were held, and how much they cost), but frankly, I did not have the time or the money for training classes.  I did do some reading on dog obedience though, and it worked… A tiny bit... 

 

The second time my wife brought it up, I got pretty upset (disguised as being about the cost of the dog, and vet bills, etc, etc,etc.)  I again looked into training, but (as my palm pilot can confirm) I have had a total of 4 days off this summer.  Every other day has been pretty much booked, or I had all the kids while my wife worked.  Yes, I suppose if I tried hard enough I could have worked it out, but our summer schedule was busier than I have EVER see it be before.  It was at this point that I started to detach emotionally from Molly.  I knew it would only be time before the whole "we have to get rid of Molly" speech would crop up again.

 

It did come up again.  Just recently.  Only this time, I have given up.  I cannot do it anymore.  I cannot keep playing this emotional yo-yo.  Think she is leaving / Think we are keeping her / Think she is leaving / Think we are keeping her.  It has ripped me apart.

 

So, now, I have to consider what is best for our family, and (quite honestly), what is best for Molly.  As much as I do like her, I am afraid that my failure (of choosing a cairn for our household) is not what is best for her. 

 

The WORST part of all of this is how my failure will break the children's hearts.  They do enjoy playing with Molly, but I fear (especially as they get older) they will start having their own agendas that will not include her, and as they get older they will have  less attention available to give to her.  As they get busier,  so will Michele and I.  I fear that Molly will end up spending a lot of time alone (or kenneled) as the kids activity level increases.

 

I truly breaks my hart on so many different levels, and truly bothers me… deeply, but I do have to consider what is best for everyone. Although the "how" has not been fully decided, it is with somber heart, significant shame, and unimaginable dishonor that the decision to find Molly a new home has been made.

 

What I can do for her (at this point) is to try and find her the best possible loving and caring family to adopt her.  Perhaps one that is not quite as "busy" as ours.  A family that can dedicate the time needed to train her properly, and appreciate her for all the wonderful qualities that she does have.  (And, believe it or not – she does have some very good qualities!)

 

Any help or direction that ANYONE can give me in doing this will be appreciated more than you can imagine, or will ever realize. 

I am on the prowl.

I am going out on the prowl for a new clock radio alarm clock.

Seems pretty straight forward - right?

It is not. When it comes to "gadgets", I get very fussy. I get so fussy that no one even wants to shop with me. I start to drag whomever may be there with me into the dark abyss of my mind. As an example, when my last watch broke, I started looking for a replacement. I had a list or desirable features, but I could not find a watch that was "exactly" what I wanted. I found many that came "close", but instead of just making a decision, I kept watching / looking / waiting / shopping for EXACTLY what I wanted. I spent over three months searching. My wife refused to help me look anymore, and when I finally boarded the train for looney-town, (well, started going crazier than I already am...), I went out and replaced it with the same exact watch I previously had. I spent months looking for a watch, drove myself, and others around me to the brink of insanity and all for NOTHING.

I am now on the lookout for a new clock radio.

I had a Timex "Nature Sounds" Clock Radio, but because of a fall it took from the night stand, the antenna wire was yanked from the radio resulting in a wonderful staticy radio experience. (The antenna wire was tied to the lamp for better reception - ironically what gave the radio better reception was also what caused it's demise..)

The reason I bought this clock radio is because it was one of the first (affordable) "Nature Sounds" clock radios. What a great concept - drifting off to a blissful state of slumber to the relaxing sounds of a babbling brook, ocean waves, or from deep in the heart of the forest. It sounds all well and good, but in reality, the "low-res" digital sounds that are "oh-so-cool" in the store, start to show their ugly faces in the dark reality of the bedroom while trying to fall asleep. You see, the nature sounds (brook, ocean, or forest) are each about a five second recording that loops. They loop over, and over, and over, AND OVER. When you are at the store (with all the other background noise, and the stress of the crowds) the soothing nature sounds call to your inner spirit like a siren (not the police car type), telling your spirit this clock is what you need, what you want, and what you should have. When you get it home, and turn it on in the quiet bedroom, laying there trying to fall asleep, you can hear the ever-so-subtle background sounds (like that little birdie chirp of "forest", or that back-to-back bubble sound of "brook", or the seagull in "ocean") that you start to hear the sounds repeat. That "cycle" of repetition starts to drive you crazy! I think I used the "Nature Sounds" on the radio for about a week, and since - have never returned.

Side Note: I do enjoy "nature sounds" and find them very relaxing! If you are interested in falling asleep to "nature sounds", may I suggest that you instead purchase a clock radio with a CD player, and buy a quality set of "Nature Sounds" CD's. It does the same thing, only without "drive you to homicide" repeating sounds.

One thing I did like about that clock radio was the options you could have in which alarm you wanted to be awoken to. You could the radio, or choose cathedral, mechanical bells, or chimes. You could choose to be woken to a (starting softly, and increasing volume) set of what sounded like church bells, an old time mechanical "hammer and bell" alarm clock, or the typical electronic chime of your run-of-the-mill alarm clock. I preferred Cathedral.

Now, I have an opportunity to do this right (driving myself and those around me crazy while doing it too!). I would like to make sure I find "just the right clock radio" for my wants and needs.

Ideally, my perfect clock radio would include the following features.
- Dimming LED display or REVERSE LCD display
- Projection clock (displays the time on the ceiling in very dim red numbers
- Atomic Clock
- Battery Backup
- Adjustable Snooze
- Nap alarm (no need to reset the actual alarm time).
- AM/FM/CD (that plays CD, CD-R, CD-RW, and CD-mp3 discs
- Digital tuner for AM/FM.
- Aux Input (in both mini-jack, USB, and SD card slot)
- Headphone Jack (for headphones or my pillow speaker)
- S.A.M.E. technology Weather Radio
- Interior and Exterior Temperature display (exterior from a remote temp sensor).

I really like the looks (and sound) of the Bose Wave Radios, Boston Acoustics MicroSystem CD, and/or the Boston Acoustics Receptor Radio, but lets face it - how realistic is it to have a clock radio that is worth more than you car is worth? That is just not going to happen.

So, as I started checking into clock radios. I found one that had most of the (realistic) features I wanted, and I really liked the look of too! It is called the Pure Chronos. The more exicted I got about it, the more I realized something must be wrong. It is too good to be true! Sure enough, Pure Chronos is made in England, and the (approximately) 90.00 (Euro) price tag I found translates to around 180 (US Dollars) - again, just a wee bit more than the budget allows for. (Not to mention it operates off 240v.)

GOOD NEWS! While writing this post I just discovered the Chronos actually operates off of DC power (9v). It comes with a 240vAC to 9vDC converter. So, I could find a converter (wall wart - like most people's Cellular phone charges with) that WOULD operate this clock radio in the US! It does receive DAB Radio (which is useless here in the USA), as well as AM and FM.. If only the price.... Hmmm.... I need to think some more on that... It has suddenly become a bit more "viable". I sent an email off to customer support to find out more about using the Chronos here in the US. Perhaps they would like to send on out to me on a "beta testing" basis!

Some of the (more realistic) contenders include (in no particular order) the Timex TM-80-BR (really nice with the USB and SD card access!), Timex T-617-S (the radio I am really leaning towards - so far), RCA RP-5640 (which has received several poor reviews), the RCA RP-5600, Teac SRL50, and the jWin JL-CD811.

Anyone have any special suggestions for an "out of this world" clock radio?

Post Script: Just to prove to you all that I am indeed as crazy as I say sometimes... Ask yourself who the heck would write a post THIS LONG about a clock radio?? But (and maybe even more importantly) don't forget to ask yourself how crazy a person is to actually have READ this whole long post about clock radios??

Let's do Lunch!

Today, there will be a "powerhouse" lunch meeting!

Lisa from Many Things Do Not Fly, Don the always witty former webmaster of the now defunct http://www.offthedeepend.org/ and soon-to-be published author, and myself are getting together for Lunch!

(In a recent email, Don has mentioned the possibility of putting Off the Deep End back up. I have checked several times, and it is not... Perhaps there is a possibility to add another "blog" to "My Blogging Friends" - he is a married father, and has an unbelievable sense of humor!)

There was a "fourth" (Jenny) who could not make it, but expressed an interest in getting together again at a later date/time. Sorry Jenny, I don't have any updates, or links for you - maybe next time I'll find out more!)

This should prove to be a great time, and I really am looking forward to getting together.

Many of you know that Lisa is an old high school friend. Don (for those of you who don't know) is also an old high school friend, but from a different graduating year. I got in touch with him through the Academy of the Holy Angels Alumni Page. It was GREAT hearing back from him - and since he graduated a different year, he was not at the reunion. He would have been a great addition to my reunion experience, but this will be just as good...

No... I am sure it will be even better!

A little more on Paruresis and Parcopresis.

My recent admission of having to deal with Paruresis and Parcopresis created an flurry of conversation at work and home. It would seem that several of my co-workers, and a member of my wife's family (with a medical background) have told me just how bad this is for me.

Perhaps... I don't know... But, it is not anything I have any control over. It just "wont happen". I have not talked much about it here, but I left a comment over on Many Things Do Not Fly a while ago that just touches on how I feel. At the bottom of that comment, you will see some "color commentary" I made about men's restrooms.

I am not sure most women believe me when I tell them what life is like in a men's room, I have been told that I am "exaggerating"...

Well - today with the help of (and thanks to) Jerry Chicken (another "Father Bloger" that I read) and HIS POST I am now able to confirm what I have been saying for years, and felt like no one has believed me.
(If you have recently eaten, or have a weak constitution, you may not want to read it. You have been warned!)

You may think that this is an exaggerated story... Think again. Jerry is opening up his soul here, and having spent time in a men's restroom, I can confirm the accuracy of what he is saying... (Although I was not a witness to HIS "event", I have been in a men's restroom for other's "events".)

My Paruresis and Parcopresis come from a fear of being either the accidental suspect or the unwilling victim of one of these "events"...

Thanks Jerry!

A great find!



A great find on Craigslist! It's just what we were looking for!!

A "key" to happiness?

Preface: I misplace things. Often. As my closest friend Ed, my wife, and many of my co-workers can attest to, my keys are the most frequent victim of my "scatterbrain" traits. More so when I was younger - an incident of misplaced keys would trigger to an all out “melt down”. I would not rest until the keys were found. I would go into a state that almost resembled “shock”. I would stammer around, yelling, walking in circles, looking in the same places over and over and over, and ranting and raving like a lunatic. I would begin to ransack drawers, closets, cabinets and cupboards. It was not a pretty site, and honestly, quite embarrassing (as Ed and my wife can tell you from having lived through a few of these "melt-downs"...) Ed can even tell a story of how once (for strictly entertainment purposes) he hid my keys just to watch me get worked up! He sat and watched, and laughed while I went ballistic for about thirty minutes. It was not until I found my keys (in a toolbox in the bed of my pickup truck – and Ed REALLY started laughing even harder) that I suspected he may have hid them on purpose - Which was later confirmed… (Butthead!)

- - - - - - - - - - -

This post is dedicated to the first key I ever received. My first key was the key to my parent’s front door. I was around ten, maybe twelve years old, and my parents gave it to me. It started out on a string around my neck, but quickly moved to a green plastic key chain.

Given the information in my preface, you may think that this is an empty dedication. How can I dedicate this post to a key that must have been lost so long ago? Well, see, like I said, I MISPLACE things often, but MISPLACE is not the same as LOOSE.

I bet you are asking why am I dedicating a post to this key, and why today??

Quoting one of my favorite movies -the fact that I STILL HAVE that original key is a “Wonder of Wonder, Miracle of Miracles”, and why I am dedicating this post to that key.

Last night (due to a shift switch) I crashed at my parent’s house for a quick turn around and back to work in the morning.

My father had (since my last visit) replaced the original front door to his house. Because he replaced the door, he also replaced the lockset. Replacing the lockset means a new key. A new key ended an era for me. The era of my first key.

We have been through a lot together. I have nearly lost my mind on MANY instances making sure we stayed together (that key and I), and now (having been through as much as we have together), it is with great joy, and a little bit of sadness that I have the privilege of announcing the (well deserved) retirement of my very first key, and the introduction of it’s replacement…




R.I.P.
My first key
Circa 1980 – September 9 th, 2007.



Here’s to twenty-seven more years of MISPLACING, but not LOOSING my new key!

Postscript: Although I still misplace things quite a bit… (I am sure my comments will be filled with my co-worker’s testaments…), like a fine wine, or a good cigar… I have mellowed with age. I do not get worked up as I used to, and I can (honestly) say I can not remember my last “lost-key-meltdown”

An Old Callback.

Back on June 22 nd, I wrote an entry titled Catching Up #2. In Catching Up #2, I was speaking about Ben’s (1 of 5’s) culinary arts class, and how (as a final) he needed to create a three course meal, and the class set up a mock restaurant in the class room. At the end of the post I was going to post the menu, but did not remember exactly what the dishes were. I asked Ben to tell me what the dishes were, but he reply was - “Why? So you can put it in your Bloggie Thingie?” to which I affirmed. He said he was too embarrassed and refused to tell me. So I have kept asking him, and he kept smiling and saying “Yeah…. I don’t remember”. (I knew basicly what it was, but I was hoping to get the exact description and intrediant list)


Now, you see, Ben (1 of 5) does not fully comprehend the powers of being a father. He does not yet have the powers of patience, nor the suspicious nature that I have.

So, in order to help prove to you - my son - that I have powers beyond that of your wildest imagination - powers that make a Jedi’s power seem miniscule - I will not only provide the menu, I provide the menu and some additional information proving once and for all - the ulitmate power involved wih being a father!

Without further delay - May I present to you - A summary of Ben’s (1 of 5’s) culinary arts final exam!

- - - - - - - - - - -
3 Course Meal Evaluation
Culinary Arts 101

3 Courses
1. Tomato Bowl Salad - An Italian style salad served in a hallowed out tomato “bowl”
2. Antipasto Pasta - A pasta dish with pepperonis, parmesan cheese, shitake mushrooms, and olives
3. Fruit Cup - Layered whipped cream, strawberries and blackberries.

- - - - - - - - - - -
Now, the best part! Let’s see what else I discovered on my Quest!!
- - - - - - - - - - -

Number of Ingredients: Many
Score: 5/5

Skills Shown: Dressing - Pre-made from home / Whipped Cream - Cool Whip used, fresh would have been better
Score: 13/15

Organizational / Multi-tasking (followed schedule/many tasks managed at once/attention to food): Became a bit frazzled, but worked very hard. You were a great assistant too!
Score: 13/15

Kitchen Organization/Cleanliness (cleaned as worked/table organized): Tried very hard.
Score: 8/10

Plate Presentation/Garnish (appropriate choice/color/pattern/design/placement):
Course 1: Beautiful - You did it!
Course 2: Lovely and you did make it special! Color variety and height!
Course 3: Stemmed glass, layered fruit, with mint and strawberry - Lovely!
Score: 10/10

Quality of Food (taste/temperature):
All courses were wonderful - Thank you!
Score: 10/10

Time Management (started on time/used time wisely/done on time)
Yes, Yes, and Ok (took a bit longer)
Score: 9/10

Professionalism/Sanitation (lab coat/hair up and covered/concern/appropriate sanitation)
Yes, CLEF!
Score: 10/10

Overall Level of Difficulty / # of tasks:
Great choices Ben - Your attention to detail was wonderful! Will you please take Culinary 102?
Score: 5/5

Final grade: 94/100
- - - - - - - - - - -

Once again I have proven my powers as a father!

Now, you may all think what you want of me for posting his Menu, AND HIS GRADE on my “Bloggie Thingie” (even though he was too "embarrassed" to want it here - But as a proud Dad, don't I earn the right to embarrass my son / gloat / show off / share my pride once and a while, don't I ??

Ben, you really did do an unbelievable job on this meal. It was unforgetable (and that is why it is posted here - because I never forgot!) and I was very proud of you!

Any thing else you want to add Ben????

First day of School 2007

Hello folks, it has been a little bit since my last post. I apologize, but the last week (prior to the first day of school) was a bit hectic. It was pretty full of things to keep me busy, and the blog is the first thing to "suffer". The week's activities culminated last night - When I went to my father in law's house, and between myself, Ben (1 of 5), Michael (brother-in-law), and Joe (my father-in-law and owner of the house in question) started hanging the ceiling in his basement that he has been finishing. I spent 11 hours hanging drywall ceilings. It was a long day.

Also, my very close friend Ed's dad is scheduled for surgery. And not just a surgery, but a very significant and dangerous surgery. He goes in this morning at 9:30 and will be in for between four and six hours. I would like to try and get together with him while he is in town, and perhaps give him diversion for the stress of his day.

Now, on to what I have been up to.

Like I said. I have been busy. But, I also have been busy enough that getting a blog entry in was not going to happen. Thankfully, it worked out well that I really had nothing to post about. So, instead, I spent my blog time reading. Bill had some really good things going on this week. Jeff has been updating his blog with more contest photos. Eric has been working on some home projects, and on his lifejournal he has had some very interesting stories from work. And, last, but certainly not least, was Lisa's flurry of posting. Not only has she been in "Jolly ol' England" on a trip, but she has also been dealing with her mother's estate. You will see (in my opinion) the beautiful tribute to her mother there too. A truly fitting monument, to a wonderful, loving and warm woman. Lisa, if your are reading this, know that your mother would be very pleased!

In addition to my bloging friends, many of my other "friends" out in the blogsphere have been writing about their kids first day of school. Many of these blokes are stay at home dads, and have their first kids just starting school for the first time. I have been enjoying reading and reliving all the concerns, worries, joy and excitement of having the first child attend school for the first time!

Where I am in my life I have had many "first days of school". I did a little bit of counting (it required me to take my socks off and use my toes too!)

Ben (1 of 5) is graduated now, and so he had two years of preschool, two years of Kindergarten (repeated it), and twelve years of school. That is a total of 16 "First days" for Ben.

Jonathan (2 of 5) is in sixth grade. He did one year of preschool, then Kindergarten, and 6 years of school. That is a total of 8 "First Days" for Jonathan.

Zachary (3 of 5) is in fifth grade. He also did one year of preschool, then Kindergarten and 5 years of school. That is a total of 7 "First days for Zachary.

Rebecca (4 of 5) is in first grade. She did 2 years of preschool, then Kindergarten, and now 1 years of school. That is a total of 4 "First days" for Rebecca.

Melissa (5 of 5) is in her first year of preschool. She is a "Littlest Angel". That is a total of 1 "First Days" for Melissa.

So, as you can see, having been through a total of 5 true "never have been to school before" first days, and a grand total of 36 first days of school when added all up. So, it's pretty "old hat" for me, and I have grown quite accustom to the ritual of getting rid of sending the kids off to school.

So, to all the "Father Bloggers" out there that I have been lurking and sometimes commenting on (Most of the ones I read are on my sidebar under "More Fathers"- I want to thank you for taking me back a bit, and giving me a chuckle for all the "first time" jitters, concerns, joys and excitement of being a dad sending their first kid off to school for the first time!

So, as today marks the first day of the school year for 2007. To your right is a photo of three of my five, along with a close neighbor Friend. (Left to Right) Rebecca (4 of 5), Zachary (3 of 5), our neighbor and friend Ryan, and then Jonathan (2 of 5).

The first day of school always brings about mixed feelings for me. You see, I do enjoy the company of my children... But.....
I also enjoy the peace and quiet of our house and neighborhood when the kids are in school too! It is an internal turmoil.

I tell the kids that as soon as they get on the bus for school on the first day, the parent's party starts! I don't think they believe me. Thank goodness.

Well, I am on my way to this year's "Parent's First Day of School" party mow the lawn!!

One other quick note: A "Blog of Note" - WWI: Experiences of an English Soilder is a pretty cool blog that the writer is posting letters "real time" as they came in and were sent out each day to and from a WWI soldier back in 1917 (90 years from the date they were sent). It is pretty cool, and if you are into history and WWI, it wil be an enjoyable read for you! (P.S. The author does not revel the fate of Harry Lamin (the soldier) -they make you wait and read all the letters.)

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